Story: Three Years in Hell, A Lifetime of Pain (chapter 2)

Authors: BillGopher

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Chapter 2

Three Years in Hell, A Lifetime of Pain

By Bill Gopher and Red Demon

Pairing – Beth/Faith (well it will be at least! ), Willow/Tara

Rating – PG13 for now, NC17/R later.

Spoilers – Not really, no. The story starts 3 years after what would have been Season 5. So everything after the beginning ep of Season 5 (The Freshman) never happened. Well mostly up to Season 5 everything stays the same, except for Faith .

Summary – This is an AU where Buffy is framed for the murder of Deputy Mayor Finch and ends up in the US Marines.

Comments, thoughts, suggestion and criticisms are welcome. You can reach me at .

[Indicates Thoughts]

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they
made a difference.
The Marines don’t have that problem.”
--President Ronald Reagan, 1985

Chapter 2

Beth looked up from the book she was reading when she noticed a young girl in front of her. The child was about seven years old with a light pink dress and dark hair.

“Miss,” the young girl shyly asked. “My mom says you're a soldier, is that true?”

“Yes, why?” Beth answered, wondering what this child wanted.

“Are you gonna go and kill those mean people in eurrrp, uhmm eurrrop?”

Leaning forward towards the little girl, “What's your name?”

“Prudence, but my friends call me Prue.” The little girl smiled at Beth.

“Well Prue, I'm a Marine. But I don't go out killing mean people, killing people is wrong.” The little girl looked confused as Beth spoke. “What I do is to talk to them to convince them they've made a mistake, this way people don't get hurt. You don't like it when you get hurt, right Prue?”

“Nuh uh, it's not fun and it hurts.”

“See? Now you go back over to your mom. She's probably worried about you, ok?” Beth ruffled Prue's hair and the girl turned with a smile on her face and ran over to her mother.

Standing up as he heard the call for her bus, she folded the newspaper she had been reading. Walking to the gate she saw the little girl’s mother with a newspaper and across the front she saw the headline. “6 Marines killed, 12 wounded in Paris during attack on US Embassy.” [Sometimes I wish life were as simple as that little girl sees it] Beth thought.

Arriving at her gate, Beth saw the bus that would take her home and boarded, stopping only to hand the driver her ticket and find a seat at the back, settling in.

As the bus started driving Beth pulled out the book Taylor had lent her, opened it and started reading “On War” by Clausewitz.

After reading for several hours, Beth stared out the window as the road blurred by, broken only by the occasional house or car. [God how things have changed for me in the last three years. If only...] Beth’s mind wandered back to the day everything had changed her life as she started to fall asleep.

Three years earlier....

Buffy had just returned from her Psych class with Professor Walsh and threw her books down on her bed when she heard a knock on the door. Opening the door Beth saw two Sunnydale police officers and the detective that had spoken to her once after Kendra had died.

“Yes?” Beth asked puzzled at why they were at her dorm room.

“Buffy Anne Summers, you're under arrest for the murder of Deputy-Mayor Richard Finch. Place your hands behind your head,” the detective grabbed the girl’s arms pulling them behind her and cuffing her just as another girl walked in.

“Willow, call Giles, quick please!!!” Buffy yelled as she was walked out of the dorm room.

In shock, Buffy had let the police escort her to the car. The drive itself she didn't remember, but by the time they started to process her into the system the numbness that had hit her when she was told she was under arrest for murder had started to wear off. As they took her fingerprints and pictures Beth began to feel angry and confused. she thought.

When they were done, Buffy had been stripped, searched, photographed, fingerprinted and was now wearing bright orange coveralls as she stood in the holding cell with several other prisoners. It was several hours before she was moved to her cell in solitary confinement.

As the cell door slammed shut behind her Buffy looked around the cell. There was a ‘toilet’ if you could call it that in the far right corner and a small bed against the left wall. Moving towards the bed Buffy fell down on it and curled up trying to fight the tears she felt. She was scared, tired and wanted to go home; most of all she wanted to be told that this was a bad dream, only it wasn't.

After three days Buffy was finally meeting the attorney Giles had hired for her All Buffy knew was that he was British and he was coming from London to represent her. The door opened and in walked rather distinguished looking man in his 50’s. He sat down in front of Buffy at the steel table in this otherwise empty room.

“Miss Summers, I'm Oliver Cromwell, your barrister and I'll be representing you. I know what the police here have said occurred; now I should like to hear your version of the events.”

Buffy hesitated at this, since she was unsure if she could tell him ‘everything’ since she didn't want to have him run out of the room screaming.

“If your hesitation has to do with your, shall we say, ‘nocturnal’ occupation, I can say I am familiar with it. So please do not hesitate for that reason.”

“Alright, that night Faith...err the other Slayer and I were fighting vamps to get to Balthazar's lair...” Buffy proceeded to tell the lawyer everything that happened that night with Finch, Faith and Balthazar. When she was finished she leaned back, the chains on her arms and legs rattling slightly. “And that's everything that happened, so now what?”

“From what you've told me I believe we can have the charges reduced or dropped in favor of your testimony against this Faith Spencer.”

“Uh, what? No, I won't testify against her, she's already suffered enough because of me. Right now she's in a coma, what if they find her guilty? They could decide to kill her as she's sleeping. No, not happening.”

“Miss Summers, you have several witnesses who can ID you as in the area when the murder took place. That and your ‘previous record’ at your last two high schools, the fights and other problems will be shown as evidence that you are dangerous and unstable.”

The sound of the door unlocking halted any further conversation as it swung open to reveal the Sunnydale ADA, Thomas Nox as he entered the room.

“Mr. Cromwell, have you informed your client as to the deal we are offering her?”

“Not yet, I was just speaking to her about that now.”

“Well let me save you some time then. what we are offering is Man 1 and a minimum of 25 years before parole if you testify against Miss Spencer, otherwise we go to trial.”

“WHAT!! Are you crazy? I didn't kill anyone.” [Well alive at least,] Buffy added silently.

“Miss Summers, please be quiet.” Cromwell said to his client before turning to the Assistant District Attorney. “Mr. Nox, your ‘deal’ for Miss Summers is premature at best and bordering on malicious at worst. If you continue to harass my client I will call for a mistrial based on your conduct here as well as calling for a review board for your actions…”

“That's not what the evidence will show in court Miss Summers and if we go to trial you'll be tried for Murder 1. Which means you'll be facing the death penalty.” Nox said as he ignored Summers’ attorney. “Not only that, but if we find out that your family has been concealing knowledge of this murder, I will have your mother arrested for perjury and obstruction of justice and your sister will end up in foster care. This is your last chance Miss Summers. Cooperate or your family will pay as well as you,” Nox smiled evilly.

Anger filled Buffy as she stood up suddenly, the chains holding her until she snapped the links holding her arms down. “No-one’s gonna hurt Dawn or my Mom.”

“Guards!!” Nox yelled out as he backed away in fear, and in rushed three large guards who grabbed the small young woman who was partially free from her chains.

As the guards grabbed her, Buffy didn't fight back, she allowed them to hold her down and cuff her. “Nox, get out of my face, we have nothing to talk about. I didn't kill anyone and I'm not going to testify against Faith. Now get out of here before I do something I won't regret.”

“Guards, it's ok to leave now. I need to speak with my client. There will be no further outbursts.” Cromwell looked at Buffy sternly as he spoke. The guards reluctantly let the prisoner go and walked out of the room.

“Are you going to do anything else that foolish Miss Summers? Just so that I'm prepared.”

“No. But he threatened Dawn and Mom. How can you...”

“Enough. That was all it was Miss Summers, a threat, nothing more. However if you continue with these outbursts I cannot defend you properly.”

The dream changed and she moved restlessly in her seat as she recognized where she was now....

She'd been in solitary for two months and she longed to see Dawn or her mom. Out of all the things she missed from her life on the outside, the aching for her mom and sister were unbearable. Buffy had Cromwell tell her Mom that she was okay and that she missed them, but they never replied, and the ache that they might think she was a murderer cut her worse than anything.

Turning as Cromwell faced her, she tried to push away the thought of never seeing her family again. It was the middle of the trial and the police officer who had ‘discovered’ the murder weapon was on the stand and ADA Nox had finished questioning him. Cromwell stood up and walked over to the prosecutor’s table picking up the murder weapon.

“Officer Johannsen, how long have you been with the Sunnydale Police?” Cromwell asked as he walked towards the Prosecution’s chief witness

“Almost two years now.” Officer Johannsen replied.

“I see, and how exactly did you know where to look for this weapon?” Cromwell asked as he held the stake up so the jury could see it.

“We caught a lucky break, we were searching down at the docks when I found it near a trash can in an alley.”

“So you just ‘happened’ to find this lying on the ground from a murder that occurred a year earlier. Is that right?”

The officer visibly squirmed in the witness chair. “Well I wouldn't put it that way...”

“Oh really!” Cromwell pounced on the opening he was waiting for. “And how ‘would’ you put it?”

“I'd say she probably tried to dump it and just ran afterwards.” Officer Johannsen offered.

“So Miss Summers, after coldly murdering the Deputy Mayor, decides to leave the murder weapon lying in an alley instead of disposing of it? That is your conclusion Officer?”


Cromwell handed the clear, evidence bag to the officer, “Officer. tell the jury exactly what this is.”

Taking the bag, Johannsen looked at it. “It's a stake.”

“And it's made of wood, correct? Not some other material such as steel?”

“No, it’s just a wooden stake.”

“Then why didn't the defendant just burn it or carve it into a toothpick?”

“Objection, your honor, where is defense counsel going with this?” Nox asked as he stood up.

“Sustained, defense counsel will keep to the facts at hand and stop raising speculation on this.” Judge Green said in agreement.

“What? How can I defend my client this way? The defense must have the latitude to raise reasonable doubt as to the reliability of this being the murder weapon.” Cromwell protested.

“Mr. Cromwell, I've made my decision. One more outburst and I'll have you held in contempt, do I make myself clear?”

From there Buffy knew the outcome had already been decided...


Buffy turned around looking for her Mom and Dawn in the courtroom. But she only saw Dawn enter and duck her head, letting her hair, which was longer now, cover her face as she sat down next to Giles. Turning back around quickly, she couldn't bring herself to look at her, and see the anger and hurt in Dawn's eyes, and looked at her orange clad legs barely paying attention to what Cromwell was saying.

Cromwell looked at the defeat written on her face. “The judge is going to be back any second. You need not react harshly, Miss Summers, no matter what the outcome.”

She sat back letting the chains rattle loudly in the otherwise quiet courtroom.

“All rise for the Honorable Richard Green,” the bailiff called out as the judge entered the room.

“Has the jury made a decision?” Judge Green asked once he had sat down and looked over at the jury.

“We have your Honor,” the Jury Foreman replied and handed a folded piece of paper to the bailiff who in turn walked over and handed it to Judge Green. Reading the paper Judge Green handed it back to the bailiff who returned it to the Jury Foreman then opened the piece of paper. “We the jury, in the case of California vs. Elizabeth Anne Summers on the sole count of the indictment, Murder in the First Degree, find the defendant, guilty.”

“The Court thanks the jury for their time.” Judge Green said before turning his attention to the defendant. “Sentencing will take place in one hour.”

Present day……

“Ma'am?” Beth felt a hand on her shoulder and barely remembered that she was in public. She quickly curbed her initial reaction to fight back. Beth felt the dried tears on her face and the after effects of the dream started to drift away.

“This is the last stop Ma'am, Sunnydale, California.” The bus driver repeated.

Beth glanced up, noticing the empty bus and the sun starting to drift below the horizon. “Oh, sorry for falling asleep.” Beth quickly grabbed her bag and slid past the bus driver. “Home,” Beth murmured as she stepped off the bus and into the cooling April air. It felt strange to be back in Sunnydale. This place had been her home for five years and yet now she felt like a stranger. [This place is no longer my home] Beth thought, [I'm just a stranger here.]

Squaring her shoulders Beth headed down the street in search of a payphone and spotted a sign at one of the stores and headed on over. As she got closer she saw the name, [The Magic Box, sounds like someplace Will would have gone to...]

Opening the door Beth stepped inside and looked around for a payphone. She saw quite a variety of books on magic, herbs and other odd items on the shelves in here. Beth spotted the payphone by the front register and walked over, not paying attention to the young woman behind the counter.

As she reached the payphone, Beth stiffened as she heard a voice she thought she'd never hear again and dropped her duffel bag.

“Can I help you Miss?”

Beth turned around slowly to see Giles standing in front of her.

“Buffy!” Giles whispered his eyes widening in surprise. “What are you...How?” Giles knees buckled underneath him and he collapsed to the floor.

End Chapter 2

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