disclaimer in first part

Lesser Evils
By Matt


Statement of Buffy Summers, Taken by caseworker Shannon Delahunt of the Disciplinary Office

Delahunt: State your name for the record, please.

Summers: Buffy Anne Summers.

Delahunt: Buffy is your real name?

S: (Sigh) Yes, it is. You can check my file if you don’t believe me.

D: That won’t be necessary. Now: you attended the party at the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house on the night of the alleged incident?

S: Yes.

D: You are aware that twenty-one is the legal drinking age in California.

S: Yes, which is why I wasn’t planning on drinking.

D: I’m afraid that’s not good enough. By school regulations, you’re not even supposed to attend parties where alcohol is served.

S: I know. Now.

D: Ignorance of the rules is no defense, Ms. Summers.

S: I know. Look, can’t we get off me and get to the real reason we’re here?

D: Just trying to get all of the facts straight. Now. You were approached by Mr. Edwards.

S: Yes.

D: And he gave you a cup of punch.

S: Yes.

D: I’m confused. I thought you said you weren’t planning on drinking.

S: I know that this sounds hideously naïve, but I didn’t assume that the punch was alcoholic.

D: That would be naïve. But I don’t think you’re naïve, Ms. Summers.

S: Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about it. My boyfriend was really late, I was getting worried, and this guy handed me a drink. I just drank it to be polite.

D: Ms. Summers, I assume that you attended "Safe Party Training" during Orientation? Learned not to accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended?

S: I told you, I wasn’t thinking about it.

D: Apparently not.

S: Why are you grilling me like this? This isn’t my hearing!

D: Ms. Summers…

S: A half-hour after drinking that one drink he gave me, I was so completely knocked out that my boyfriend had to carry me home! Parker had to do the same for Willow! Then he finally gets lucky with Sung. Doesn’t that form a pattern for you?

D: Please calm down, Ms. Summers.

S: Since this happened, I’ve been hearing things around campus. Stories about Phi Kap, how it isn’t a safe place for women to go. Come to think of it, there weren’t many women older than sophomores at that party…

D: Are you saying that you never heard these rumors before the party you attended?

S: I wasn’t listening for them. I’m just a first-semester First year, I haven’t really had time to pick up all the campus knowledge yet.

D: Interesting.

S: Have you heard what his nickname is among his frat brothers?

D: Yes, Ms. Summers, we have. He claims that they gave it to him out of envy for his high success rate with women.

S: ‘Success’ is easy when a woman is unconscious.

D: That’s a very strong allegation, Ms. Summers. And you have very little evidence to support it.

S: I’m giving my evidence.

D: No. You’re making unsupported accusations and repeating rumors.

S: Excuse me?

D: Look at it from our point of view, Ms. Summers: your "evidence" amounts to your word against his. Perhaps things happened as you said, but there are other options. Consider this scenario: Ms. Olsen has a one-night stand with Mr. Edwards and is upset to discover that he’s no longer interested in her in the morning. She decides to punish him, and you and Ms. Rosenberg, as her friends, agree to help.

S: I never even met Sung before—

D: Please let me finish, Ms. Summers. All of you have heard the rumors about Phi Kappa Sigma and have even heard of Mr. Edwards’ nickname, so you believe that they’ll be vulnerable to certain accusations.

S: Are you pulling this directly out of Darren’s ass?

D: There’s no need for that kind of language, Ms. Summers. It certainly won’t help your case at your disciplinary hearing.

S: You know what? You’re a joke. Your entire office—your entire system—is a joke. You’re just trying to cover your legal asses. The fact that an eighteen-year-old-girl has been raped doesn’t matter to you.

D: Ms. Summers, if you don’t have anything useful left to say, this meeting is over.

S: I guess we’re done, then. Because nothing I say is going to be ‘useful’ as long as I’m talking to you.

False Witness

Still fuming, Buffy entered the dining hall. She scanned the room for familiar faces, hoping to spot Riley. Instead, she saw Willow, sitting at a round table with Sung, Althea, and that shy-looking blond girl from the Wicca group.

She stalked across the room. A group of hulking football players scattered before her, perhaps sensing genuine danger from this tiny woman, half the size of the smallest of them. When she reached the table, Buffy grabbed a chair, spun it around, and slammed herself down into it, crossing her arms over the back and glaring at the rest of the table so balefully that even Willow looked concerned.

"Didn’t go well, huh?" The red-haired witch asked tentatively.

"Oh, no, they made sure to get every last detail—about my drinking," Buffy snapped.

"I wish I could say I was shocked," Althea said. "But there’s some people who are more worried about keeping things quiet than justice, and a lot of them work for this school."

"Well, there’s an unusually large number of them living in Sunnydale…" Willow offered timidly.

"So it’s okay for me to get raped," Sung said jabbing angrily at her food. "Unless I talk about it. But if I start making some noise, and—God forbid—somebody speaks up with me, making even more noise, then they mobilize the troops."

Althea nodded. "It’s pretty obvious what they’re trying to do," she said. "If they can get Buffy to keep quiet for fear of getting in trouble for drinking, your case gets a lot weaker. Maybe you’ll shut up entirely."

"But I thought your interview was with Mrs. Delahunt," Willow said to Buffy, a bewildered look on her face.

"It was," Buffy replied.

"But…she’s a woman," Willow protested. "How could a woman—"

"Because she thinks she’s above it all," Buffy answered. "You’ve seen denial before, Willow, you should know what it looks like. We’re just little freshwomen who got in trouble because we were someplace we’re not supposed to be, and now we’re causing trouble for everyone else. She’s married, probably with kids—who are getting raised better than we must have been—and she’s a respectable working woman. She’s living right." Buffy caught herself, realizing that she was ranting. Her voice had risen to a peak of volume and sarcasm. Everyone at the table—and some people at neighboring tables—were staring at her. She deflated with a sigh, her shoulders drooping. "She has to believe that we did something wrong or stupid," she continued, much more quietly. "Otherwise, she might have to admit that it can happen to anyone. That it could happen to her or someone she cares about. And she just can’t deal with that."

Althea nodded in agreement. "That sounds about right."

Willow and Tara both looked crestfallen. Sung stabbed much more violently at her food.

Buffy sighed and started to get to her feet. Supper might not make anything better, but not having it tended to make things worse.

It was just then that a young man clothed entirely in Abercrombie & Fitch arrived at their table. "Hi," he said. "Is one of you ladies Sung Olsen?"

"Uh, that’s me," Sung said, giving him a small wave.

"Hi," he repeated. "I’m from Alpha Gamma. We’re having a party on Friday, and we were hoping you could come."

"Oh, I don’t think so," Sung answered quickly, taking a sudden interest in her food. "But thanks anyway."

"Oh, come on," he coaxed. "We hear that you’re the life of the party."

Everyone at the table went very still. Sung looked back up, the color starting to drain from her face. "What have you heard?" She asked quietly.

"Oh, nothing much," the young man answered, his winning smile growing strained. "Just that you’re quite the party girl. That’s all."

"And who did you hear this from?" She continued.

"Oh, everybody knows," he said. Then he poked a thumb over his shoulder. "The Phi Kaps are telling everyone. Now every frat on campus wants you on the guest list."

All of them followed where he was pointing. Across the room was a table full of brothers of Phi Kappa Sigma. Darren was sitting in the middle of the table, and he noticed them looking his way. With a grin, he raised his cup in a mocking toast.

"I see," Sung said, turning back to her visitor. Her face had gone from golden to the color of bleached parchment. "That’s very kind of you. Still," she turned her attention back to her plate. "Thank you, but no."

The grin finally slipped from his face. "Look, didn’t you hear? I said everybody knows what happened. There’s no point in playing hard to get."

Sung flinched and looked away.

Buffy had had enough. "She said no," She said firmly, crossing her arms and planting herself in front of him.

He ignored her. "Who do you think you are?" He said angrily. "You pull a train in Phi Kap, but you’re too good for Alpha Gamma? I don’t fucking think so!"

His voice had risen to a shout and half the cafeteria was looking at them by the time he was done. The rest of the cafeteria was Not Looking, studiously staring at their meals.

Sung flinched again and lowered her head further. Althea started to her feet and Buffy took a step forward.

"I said leave her alone," Buffy ordered.

"Shut up, bitch, this is none of your business," he snarled, not even looking at her as he focused on Sung.

Buffy’s arms uncrossed and her fists clenched. She was an instant away from punching him so hard that they’d never be able to put his jaw back together properly when another voice came out of the milling cafeteria crowd.

"That’s my girlfriend you just called a bitch, Lewis," This voice said. "That’s my business."

Riley, Forrest, and Graham stepped out of the crowd. The now-identified Lewis took a nervous step away from the table. Something else everybody knew about was what had happened to Parker Abrams when he’d spoken ill of Riley’s girlfriend.

"She said no," Forrest menaced. "Take it as an answer and move on."

"Yes, sir," Lewis said meekly before scurrying off into the crowd.

"Everything okay here?" Riley asked the table. By way of reply, all of the women turned to look at Sung.

Sung was clearly trying to keep her composure, but she was pale and trembling and still not looking up. "Yes," she answered, her voice still steady. "Thank you for your help." Her eyes started to glisten. "I think I’d better go now, though," she said. "I’m not hungry any more."

"We can come with," Willow offered, rising to her feet as Sung did.

"No, that’s okay," Sung said, snatching up her backpack. "Stay and finish your supper."

"I don’t—"

"Please," Sung interrupted, her voice breaking. Willow froze. Sung took advantage of that moment to hurry out the door and away.


"Are you okay?" Riley asked Buffy quietly.

"Why didn’t he listen to me, Riley?" Was her answer, her face and voice deceptively calm. "Why did he act like I wasn’t even there, but go away the moment you told him to?"

"I don’t know," he replied. He wasn’t fooled by the mildness. Best to calm her now, discuss it later.

"Yes, you do," she said steadily. "I know. I just want to hear someone say it out loud."

Riley sighed. She did know. Any attempt to sugar-coat it would just make her angrier. "He didn’t listen to you because you’re a tiny woman, and he listened to me because I’m a big, hulking farmboy."

Buffy looked up at him steadily, her eyes filling up with fire.

"He’s an idiot, Buffy. He doesn’t realize—"

Without saying a word, Buffy turned on her heel and started to walk across the cafeteria.



Buffy slammed her hands down on the Phi Kap table, rattling dishes down its entire length and putting some cracks into it, though no one noticed those at the time.

She glared down at Darren, who only looked startled for a moment before returning to the smug grin that gave the lie to the winning smile and soulful eyes of the week before.

"Haven’t you done enough to her already, you bastard?" She demanded

"I did who to the what now?" Darren asked, raising a chuckle from his friends.

"You know who I’m talking about," Buffy retorted, her voice dangerously calm. Anyone who knew her would have been considering flight. "You’re the ones who are spreading lies about her."

Darren didn’t know her. "I wouldn’t call them lies…" He said. "She’s telling her side of the story, I’m telling mine."

"We both know what really happened that night," she said. "And it was nothing like ‘your side of the story’."

"How do you know that?" One of the brothers scoffed. " ‘Cause she told you?"

"Did she tell you how much of a little slut she is, too?" Another taunted. "She was totally gagging for it, but of course she doesn’t want anybody to know that."

Buffy’s grip tightened spasmodically on the table, leaving finger-marks on the surface. But she didn’t look away from Darren. Their eyes met, and the grin faded from his face. Time to take this seriously.

"You know that Sung is pressing charges," she said. "How many times have you done this before? With your nickname, I’m betting a lot—and I’m betting a lot of them will come forward."

The brothers of Phi Kap started looking at each other uneasily, but Darren never dropped Buffy’s gaze. "You sound like you’re on the edge of making some pretty serious accusations," he said. "If you do, you’d better have either some pretty solid proof or a good lawyer."

Buffy’s face clouded with confusion as he stood, planted his hands on the table, and leaned across, forcing her to straighten and look up at him.

"I’m already suing that slant-eyed little piggy for slander," he said softly. "The night of the party, she was all ‘me rove you rong time’, but the morning after, she has some second thoughts. So she cries rape. Typical. Well, she and that half-breed family of hers will be living out of Alpo cans pretty soon. Once word of that gets out, I don’t think anybody else is going to try to smear my good name."

Buffy could hear her heart pounding in her ears, and feel the adrenaline saturating her blood, turning her muscles into coils of crushing fury. She’d never felt this kind of rage toward a human being before. Not toward Quentin Travers, maybe not even toward Faith. She wanted to kill him. She wanted to reach out and snap his neck, rid the world of this woman-eating monster. No, better yet, she wanted to grab him and drag him across the table and hit him until he hurt as much as Sung did, as much as Willow did, as much as she did. Smash his face so he had to bait his woman-trap with something else. Make him live in fear—like Willow, who "wasn’t interested" in going to any more parties, like Sung, who couldn’t even go to dinner now.

It was going to happen. She could already see it. Then a big hand settled on her shoulder. She was about to shake it off, or maybe even break it, when Riley’s voice penetrated the red haze that was filling her mind. "Buffy. Come on. Let’s go back to the table. He isn’t worth it."

"Oh, I think he is," Buffy rumbled.

"He deserves it, no question," Riley said, too softly for any of the Phi Kaps to hear. "But you don’t deserve what’ll happen if you do crush him."

Buffy stared at Darren’s now smugly-grinning face for another moment before taking a deep breath and allowing Riley to lead her away.

"Better keep your girlfriend on a tighter leash, Finn," Darren called after them. "She almost got in more trouble than she could handle."

"You don’t know how big a favor I just did for you, Edwards," Riley replied. "Don’t make me regret it any more than I already do."

Darren said something that Riley couldn’t quite make out, though Buffy was able to hear something about how terrified he was of a tiny bleach-blond valley bimbo. The brothers of Phi Kappa Sigma burst into laughter as the Slayer and the field-leader of the Initiative returned to their table.