Part 1: Locked up
Buffy approached the vampire slowly, aware that any sudden movements might cause him to kill the child.
"I swear, if you hurt him, I'll-"
"You'll do what slayer?" the vampire asked, with a smile.
The child in his arms began to cry louder than he already had been, blood starting to pour from the fresh puncture in his neck.
"God! He's so annoying! Shut up!" the vampire ordered shaking the boy and causing him to cease crying.
Buffy moved closer to them, keeping her stake hidden. "Just let the boy go, it's me you want."
The vampire laughed. "Why can't I have both of you?"
Distracted by distant sirens that were becoming louder, Buffy took her eyes from the vampire for a split second. The vampire took its chance and snapped the boy's neck.
Hearing a crack, Buffy spun around, watching in horror as the child's lifeless body fell to the ground.
The van jolted to a halt and caused Buffy to open her eyes after yet another nightmare of the murder. Hearing keys in the door, she turned around and sat up in her bed. The door swung open letting in a large amount of sunlight in and revealing an armed police officer.
"Get up!" he yelled at her.
Buffy obeyed and slowly stood. Following the silent order to follow him, she followed the officer and stepped off the van. Her arms were immediately grabbed and handcuffs shoved on them. She winced, as another entourage of officers surrounded and led her towards the prison.
Once inside, they were approached by a warden.
"This Summers?" she asked, pointing at Buffy.
"Yeah," the officer replied.
"D-17," the woman instructed.
Buffy was walked down the hall of cells each containing inmates that stood glaring at the latest addition to murderer's row. The slayer was stopped outside a cell and unchained. She watched as the officer was handed a key by the warden and used it to open the cell door.
"Enjoy your stay," he cooed, gesturing inside like some sort of hotel porter.
Buffy entered, immediately noticing another inmate. She searched the room, its contents only a barred window, a bunk bed and a bucket.
"Behave yourself Gypsy," Buffy heard as the cell door slammed.
"Fuck you!" The inmate yelled back. She waited for a reply and after hearing none, turned to Buffy.
"Brown's a fucking retard," she told her, standing up and eyeing the blonde. Sticking out her hand she said, "You probably gathered that I'm Gypsy."
When not given a reply, she pointed up saying, "you got top bunk," before sitting back down.
Buffy nodded slightly and climbed the bunk bed. She was tired. The journey from Sunnydale had been lengthy and she wanted to sleep. She lay down and looked up at the yellowing ceiling. A tear fell from her eyes.
"So," she heard. "What you in for?"
Buffy didn't reply. She lay silently hoping to fool her inmate. Hearing no more that night, she concluded her plan had worked. She closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep to be riddled with nightmares.
Part 2: Introductions
Gypsy shook her inmate vigorously.
"Wake up! The wardens'll be here soon," Buffy was told.
She opened her eyes and climbed out of bed as the cell door swung open.
"Out!" The warden shouted standing in the doorway. She handed both women fresh clothing as they left the cell. Gypsy led Buffy to the courtyard. She put down her things and asked Buffy to do the same.
"We have to rake the field for a few hours and clean up before breakfast at eight."
Buffy was silent as she was handed a rake. It was still dark and they sun was only just coming up, but she could just about make out armed officers spread sparingly around the field. She watched and then copied the other women as they raked the field, which was full of an unusually large amount of leaves. The rake was heavy and after a few hours of raking Buffy felt tired. She slowly ran the tool through the leaves, driven to continue only by the thought of measures the officers would take against defiant prisoners. The sun had come up and was shining very brightly on them. The slayer wiped the sweat from her forehead, relieved to hear an officer shout,
Buffy watched the women drop their rakes and head off the field. She was approached by her cellmate.
"C'mon," Gypsy told her, rubbing her palms together. "Breakfast time!"
She led Buffy inside and into what looked like some sort of common room. The women were sitting around tables and serving themselves food. Gypsy picked up a tray at the entrance and walked over to a crowded table. She looked around to talk to her blonde friend, only to find her having already taken a seat in a different place by herself. The woman shook her head and sat down. "Hey girls," she greeted those at the table.
"How's it going Gypsy?" one of the girls asked.
About to answer the question, the entrance of one of the other prisoners stopped her.
The red headed stocky woman entered and sat down at the nearest table.
"Hey Bertha," everyone chimed.
"What's up ladies," Bertha replied. She looked around the room. "How was field duty?" she asked with a smile, causing the others to laugh hysterically.
"Oh it was tiresome, Bertha," one of the inmates replied.
"Did you sleep well?" another asked.
Ignoring the question Bertha searched the room. "Steel not down yet?" she asked.
"No," someone replied. "She's probably busy with that Venezuelan chick that came last week."
The redhead smiled. She caught sight of a pretty blonde sitting at a table by herself.
"Who's that?" she asked.
Gypsy followed her gaze. "Oh her? The new girl. I dunno her name. She don't talk much. I think she's shy-"
"Hey you, sitting at the table by yourself!" Bertha called at Buffy.
The room became silent as if all were waiting for the blonde girl's response. The inmates all watched as Buffy didn't respond and continued to poke at her food.
"Blonde girl!" Bertha tried again, with no response. Embarrassed at being ignored, the red head left her table and walked towards Buffy's. "Hey blondey, I'm fucking talking to you," she told her.
Buffy continued to look at her plate.
Bertha, getting angry at the coos and snickers coming from the other inmates, moved in and grabbed Buffy by the collar. "You fucking deaf, bitch?" she asked, attempting to pull Buffy to her feet.
Buffy grabbed the woman's arm and twisted it until she heard a crack, causing Bertha to scream in pain. Tears welling in her eyes, she rushed towards Buffy who dodged her attack.
About to swing again, Bertha was stopped by the prison's alarm bell. She got up and back-stepped towards the main building, keeping her eyes on Buffy who continued to stare at her table.
"You're dead bitch!" she yelled at her. "Fucking count on it!"
Buffy remained unresponsive. She didn't care. As far as she was concerned, she was already dead.
Part 3: Steel
Having spent the day digging a pit and completing other stressful tasks, Buffy found it exhilarating to have a rest. She left the other girls, who were heading for the common room, to go and sit in the shade of a tree behind the shower room. She closed her eyes and took in deep breaths fighting back the tears that were ready to emerge. She thought about Dawn, Willow, Anya, Giles, Xander, even Spike. She'd have given anything to be with them at that moment.
Chastising herself for having taken freedom for granted, the slayer picked up a clump of grass and hurled it a few inches from herself. Tears rolled down from her eyes and she remembered the little boy that died as a result of her carelessness. *I let him die,* she thought, silently sobbing. She buried her face in her hands and cried, until a shadow cast upon her, causing her to stop.
"There you are, blondey," she heard.
Buffy looked up to recognise the beefy, ginger-haired woman from the day before, surrounded by some other prisoners. She wiped her eyes.
"I warned you yesterday that you were mine," the woman told her, shaking her bandaged arm and stepping towards her.
Buffy stood, looking from the woman to the gang around her. Most of them were armed and sneering at her.
"Cut her open Bertha, I wanna see if she bleeds red," Buffy heard.
Bertha opened her hand to reveal a chain and let it dangle to full length. "So what d'ya say blonde?" she asked. "You wanna go at it?"
Buffy contemplated trying to fight. There were around fifteen armed women and she felt that she wouldn't get far without a serious injury or worse. Realising the fact that she had no-where to run to, Buffy squared up. She decided that if she was going to die, she'd do so with a fight. She raised her fists, causing Bertha to roar with laughter. The redhead swung her chain at Buffy who caught it and swung it back, knocking Bertha off balance.
In the process of disarming Bertha, Buffy felt a sharp blow to her back. Not having enough time to react, she felt another blow to the legs from another prisoner. Buffy attempted a roundhouse kick, but her leg was caught and she was forced onto her hands and knees. She could barely cover her body from blows, for the pain.
Bertha stood up and wiped the blood from her mouth. "You bitch!" she called, kicking Buffy in the stomach. "Who the fuck do you think you're messing with!"
About to punch her victim, Bertha was stopped by someone shouting,
"Whoa Big B! Don't you think you've done enough?"
Bertha stopped, her anger deflating. She smiled. "Steel." She addressed Buffy, "Blonde's a trouble maker. I was just explaining to her how things work around here."
Buffy remained on all fours, trying to catch her breath. She listened for a moment when she could make an escape. If she could only lure Bertha away from her crew, she could show her some slayer strength.
"Let her go Bertha," she heard. "I think I can explain how things work from here."
Bertha laughed. "Come on girls," she told the others. "We don't wanna be here when Steel has to clean blood off the ground." She began to leave, stopping to say to Buffy, "Later Blonde."
Buffy was relieved as she heard Bertha and the others leave. She knew she could take this 'Steel' as long as she was alone. She heard footsteps approaching and when she felt the person right above her, she looked up, shocked by what she saw.
"Faith?" Buffy asked confused.
Faith smiled. "I heard you were in here. I had to see for myself."
Buffy felt sick. She clutched her stomach, her mind torn.
Faith offered a hand to the winded slayer. "C'mon," she told her. "Let's get checked out."
Buffy ignored the hand, stood and stepped away from her. She turned and walked away, heading back to the main building and leaving Faith staring at her disappearing form.
Part 4: A friend
The inmates were told to retire for the night after an evening of scrubbing the grounds and filling the field with leaves. Buffy wiped her face with the sleeve of her orange overalls, wincing as she wiped over a bruise from earlier. She took a deep breath and left the field to go to inside.
"Hey," Gypsy greeted, leaving the cell as Buffy entered. She looked at Buffy's swollen face. "Oh my God, what happened to you?" She asked, reaching to touch the blonde's face and causing Buffy to turn away.
"You should get yourself seen to," Gypsy told her. "If you go to the officers' block they can have a nurse take a look at you. I'll take you if you want."
Buffy moved past her. "I'm fine," she told her, mounting her bunk bed.
Gypsy shook her head. About to leave, she turned and said, "everyone's meeting in the common room for poker, why don't you come? It'll take your mind off things."
The blonde remained silent.
"Suit yourself," Gypsy replied, before she left.
When Buffy could no longer hear her footsteps, she jumped down from her bed. She was filthy and if everyone was in the common room then she'd be able to have a peaceful shower and get back in time for lock-down.
Gypsy left the prison ward and headed for the common room. She entered, hearing the women discussing someone.
"Hey girls," she greeted, sitting down with them.
The others paused to look at her for a moment, before continuing with their conversation.
"So anyway, Steel, what d'ya do to the bitch?" Bertha asked.
"I just explained to her who's boss."
"You explained? Why? You usually just show them," another inmate said, punching the air in demonstration.
"Yeah. But I didn't need to, she got it," Faith replied.
"Really?" Bertha asked suspiciously. "I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that she's a total b.u.l.f."
"Give it up Steel. Everyone knows you have a thing for blondes."
Faith laughed. "Stop talkin' out your ass Bertha and deal me another hand."
Bertha dealt the cards for the players. She looked at her own hand, before asking, "So, what are the prizes?"
"Ten pack of cigarettes," one of the prisoners replied.
"I got a gold lighter," another added.
"A bottle of gin," said another.
"Bar of soap," added someone else.
"I'll put up my silver ring," Bertha told them, showing off the ring on her hand.
"Nice," Faith approved. "I'm putting up my tv."
Bertha grinned, looking at the four queens in her hands. "Okay, what's everyone got?"
Buffy left the shower upon hearing the alarm bell. She quickly got dressed and ran back to the ward. The slayer made it to her cell and climbed her bunk, in time for the warden's entrance to check on the inmates.
"Bush!" she called.
"Present," Gypsy responded.
"Present," Buffy replied.
The warden left the cell and pulled the door forward before locking it.
"That was close Summers," Gypsy called up.
Buffy turned around in her bed, facing the wall.
Gypsy stood up and faced Buffy's turned back.
"Look Summers, I dunno what you're in here for or what your first name is for that matter, but I bet if you tell me, you'll feel better."
The inmate received no response.
"Ok. How 'bout I start. My name is Gypsy Bush and yeah, I did get bullied at school."
"I grew up in Texas and moved to LA when I was sixteen. I got mixed up in the wrong crowd and fell for this real sleaze ball. He was an alcoholic, slapped me around. Then one night, I'd had enough. Went to the store, bought a gun and shot him in the head. That's how I got my one-way ticket to the LA pen." She stopped. "How 'bout you?" she asked.
When met with no reply, she left Buffy's bed side, sighed and got into the lower bunk.
"Buffy," she heard.
"My name. Buffy."
Gypsy smiled. "Where you from Buffy?"
Buffy contemplated sharing, but eventually remained silent.
Gypsy's smile became wider. "It's alright Buffy, we'll take it a few words at a time." She turned in her bed. "Night."
Buffy stared up at her ceiling. Unable to see it after a while, when the lights of the building went out. She closed her eyes tightly, squeezing back the tears.
Faith entered her room shutting its door behind her. She took a packet of cigarettes from her pocket, opened it and took one out. Using her gold lighter, she lit it and took a drag. *Buffy Summers in jail for murder,* she thought with a laugh.
"Who'd have thought it?"
She remembered the night she'd first killed. Slaying was a risky business and sometimes it was hard to tell a freakin' guy from a vamp. *B's probably feelin' like shit right now,* she thought, sitting on her bed and deciding that she was going to give Buffy what she'd never had; a friend who understood.
Part 5: Favours
Buffy was getting used to waking up at five in the morning. It had been almost a week since she'd first arrived and she felt like she'd been there for months. She got off her bunk bed and wiped her eyes.
"Hey Buffy." Gypsy smiled. "How'd you sleep?"
"Ok," Buffy replied.
Hearing the door open, Buffy moved out and left the cell. She walked into the yard, picked up a rake and began to shovel the leaves. She raked harder and faster than the other women and had finished an entire length of the field by the time an officer announced the break.
Faith got up early and got dressed. She headed down to field determined to make things right between her and Buffy. As soon as she stepped onto the field, she was greeted by women left, right and centre trying to find out how she was and whether she'd slept well.
"I'm great," Faith answered, looking around for Buffy. Locating the slayer and seeing her about to leave the field, she separated from them. "Girls gimme a sec, will ya?" she asked them. "I'm gonna go take a leak. I'll meet you all inside."
Faith waited until they had all filed inside and took her chance. She approached the blonde, stopping when she saw Buffy speed up towards the officer on duty. The brunette stood hidden and listened intently.
"Excuse me, er, sir," Buffy began. "About that phone call to my sister, if I can still make it?"
The officer eyed the blonde up, "what phone call?" he asked her.
"I-I spoke to an officer earlier who said that I should ask you if I could call home. I never got my one phone call-"
"I'm sorry," he told her, leaving.
"Please sir," she begged, walking after him. "I really need to talk to her."
The officer paused. "I'll think about it," he lied. "Now if you'll excuse me."
Buffy felt like crying as she watched the officer walk away.
Faith watched as the slayer covered her face as if she was about to cry. She came out of hiding and moved towards her.
"Hey B, what's up?" she asked.
Buffy wiped her eyes. She looked up at the younger brunette and stood up to her full height. "What do you want?" she asked through gritted teeth.
"Just wanted to help."
"I don't need your help. Stay away from me Faith," the blonde half-whispered, walking past Faith and heading for the main building.
The brunette slayer watched Buffy walk away. *Same old self righteous-* she thought, stopping herself. She decided to walk down to the officers' block before Buffy pissed her off so much she changed her mind. Once there, she located a specific office and knocked on the door.
"Yeah," she heard.
Faith opened the door and let herself in.
"Steel," the officer said with a smile. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I wanna use the phone," Faith replied, closing the door behind her.
"What's wrong with the ones in the hall?"
"They're not working as usual and besides it only gives you about five seconds before you get cut off. I wanna use a proper phone."
His smile widened. He got up and put a cap on the security camera taping the room. The officer undid the top button of his trousers. "Well, you know the price," he told her.
Faith moved towards him as he unzipped his pants. She got on her knees.
Buffy turned around as a warden, burst into her cell.
"Summers, officer Brown has requested you see him," the woman told her.
Buffy got up out of her bed and left the cell, following the warden to the officers' building block. There, the warden knocked on the officer's door and when he responded, she led Buffy inside.
"Buffy Summers," she announced to the officer Buffy recognised from before, taking a seat.
"Thanks." He turned to Buffy. "Summers, the phone's all yours," he told her, indicating the phone on his desk.
Surprised, the blonde replied, "uh, thank you, so much."
He laughed, whispering to her. "Honey, thank Steel. Girl's got a mouth like a motor."
Too grateful to be disgusted, Buffy picked up the phone.
"Dial nine for the outside line," the officer instructed, taking a seat.
Buffy took the receiver, pressed nine and then and dialled her home.
Willow picked up the ringing phone. "Hello."
The slayer smiled upon hearing her friend's voice. "Will it's me."
"Oh my God, Buffy," Willow replied. "How are you?"
"Good. How are you?"
"We're all fine. Listen, we're getting the best lawyers in Sunnydale to work on your case. You'll be back home soon."
Buffy's smile widened. She listened as Willow asked her, "How are they treating you in there?"
"Ok," Buffy replied. "How's Dawn?"
"She's ok. She misses you so much. We all do."
"I miss you all too."
"She wants to talk to you," Willow told her, before handing the phone over to Dawn.
"Buffy!" Dawn exclaimed, once with the phone.
"Dawn. How are you?"
"I should be asking you that. How is it there?"
"Well, I'd much rather be home."
"Willow says you'll be home soon. Is that true?"
The officer got up and gestured at his watch. "Time's up Summers," he told her.
Buffy nodded. "Dawn, my time's up. I love you so much," she told her sister.
"I love you too Buffy. I'll see you soon."
"Ok. Tell-" the blonde managed before the officer pressed down on the phone pedals, cutting her off.
"You're due back Summers," he reminded her. "I aint sticking my ass out for you."
Buffy replaced the receiver and got up. "Thanks again," she told him, before she and the warden left his office and headed for her cell.
Once there, Buffy mounted her bunk bed and lay down. She smiled, grateful that her family and friends were alright. She held on to the fact that she'd be out of prison soon. Dawn's words `I'll see you soon' resounded in her head, as she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Part 6: A plan
Buffy scoured the common room during breakfast. Locking her eyes on her target, she remained inconspicuous until she found her alone.
Buffy closed in.
"Hey," she said to Faith, standing opposite her carrying her tray of food.
"Can I?" She asked the brunette, motioning at the empty seat in front of her.
"Sure," Faith replied. She glanced around to make sure Bertha and the others had left the common room.
Buffy sat down opposite her. "I just wanted to say thank you. For the phone call."
"No sweat," Faith replied.
"Seriously, thank you. I can't believe you kissed that guy for me, he's really gross. That was really....thanks."
"Yeah," Faith replied, desperate not to go into the topic. "So how are Red and Xander?" She asked changing it. She took a bite of some of her breakfast.
"They're ok," Buffy replied.
Faith smiled. About to ask something, she was interrupted by someone shouting,
Faith spun around to see Bertha and her gang of girls, staring at her from across the room. She got up leaving her food and Buffy, briefly turning to say, "I'll see ya round," before leaving to meet up with the stocky red head.
"Hey big B. 'Sup?" She asked, upon reaching Bertha.
"What the fuck was that?" the older woman asked, angry.
"What the fuck was what?" Faith replied.
"You, talking to the blonde. Didn't you hear that everyone who allies with her has to answer to me?"
"Hey, it's a free country big B."
"Are you forgetting that lethally blonde damn near broke my fucking arm?"
"No," Faith replied, smiling. "But from what I heard, you started it."
"You defending her Steel?"
"Good," Bertha replied with a smile. "Cause I'd really hate for us to fight over the same girl."
Faith faked a laugh.
"So what were you two talking about?" the redhead asked. "It looked pretty friendly from over here."
"If you have to know," Faith replied. "Brown wanted me to give her a message."
Bertha paused searching the brunette's face. "Ok," she decided. "It's just that I thought you might be into her."
"Big B, we've been over this."
"So she's fair game?"
"For all I care," Faith told her.
"Good," Bertha replied. She turned to the other prisoners. "Plan's on girls."
Faith looked to see the other girls smiling to each other. "What plan?" she asked.
"Plan: tame the bitch," Bertha informed her.
Faith laughed. "And how exactly are you gonna do that? She's already whooped your ass once."
Bertha ignored the comment for a moment, before smiling and replying to Faith. "The same way I tame all the trouble makers." She turned to the other women. "I want everyone to meet ten minutes after lights out tonight outside my cell. Then we'll find out if our friend's as good a fucker as she is a fighter."
Faith paled as the others laughed hysterically.
"Doesn't she bunk with someone?" one of them pointed out.
"Yeah," Bertha replied, thinking. "Bush. I need someone to make sure she's late to her cell tonight so the blonde's locked up alone."
"Consider her taken care of," another prisoner chimed.
"Ok. We're good to go," the redhead told them with a smile.
"Big B, there's no way, you can make this happen," Faith told her. "Security's tighter now. Come lights out the wardens lock the cells and officers check 'em."
"That's where you come in."
"Huh?" Faith replied.
"Yeah, Steel. You're the only one Brown gives the time of day. I need you to get the keys to cells C11, D14 and the blonde's. Can you do that?"
All eyes were on the brunette.
"Yeah," she replied.
"Great!" Bertha told her, hugging the brunette with one arm. Her smile widened and she exhaled. "Just like old times," she reminded Faith.
Faith faked a smile. She stole a peak at Buffy, who was sitting eating alone at the other end of the room, feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt.
Part 7: Decisions
Faith entered the common room and sought Bertha out sat at a table with a group of other women. She dropped three keys in front of her.
"C11, D14 and D17. The last one's to the blonde's cell."
Bertha examined the keys and smiled. "Steel, honey, I knew you'd come through. You rule!"
Faith returned her smile and sat down as Bertha turned to the other women.
"Ok, girls, all systems are go for tonight." She pointed at one of the inmates. "Jen, you're in charge of tracking the blonde. You make sure you know where she is at all times." She turned to another woman. "Tina, you make sure all the weapons are at the check points. Eddie took away my chain, so I want about four rakes with the ends broken off them."
"How do I get them?" Tina asked her.
"After field duty, just keep a few behind," Bertha replied. She smiled, before turning to Faith. "You gonna be there?"
"Atta girl," The redhead replied.
Faith stood up. "I'm gonna go take a shower," she told the group.
"What? You just got here. We're just about to start a poker game and you got a pack of cigarettes I wanna win."
Faith sighed. She took the pack from her pocket and threw them to her fellow inmate.
"Here, enjoy," she said, as Bertha caught them. With that the brunette left the common room.
Faith walked across the field towards the shower room.
*Buffy can handle herself, right? Right. Fuck. I can't stop this, I'll be screwed. It's ok. Just don't think about it. Don't think about her.* Faith opened the shower room door and entered. *You'll be fine as long as you don't think about Buffy.*
"Hey. You scared me," Faith heard.
She turned around to see a towel wrapped and wet Buffy.
"What are you doing here?" Buffy asked. "Usually around this time everyone's in the common room."
"Yeah," Faith replied. "I needed a shower."
"Oh." Buffy picked up her clothes. "I was just leaving."
"Don't go on my account," Faith told her, removing her clothing.
Buffy stood speechless at the naked Faith in front of her. She dramatically turned away once Faith had finished.
"Faith!" she exclaimed.
"What?" Faith replied. She looked down and realised. "Oh. It's ok B, I've seen you naked. I guess now we're even."
Buffy turned back around. "What? When?"
Faith laughed. She stepped in front of one of the showers lined against the wall and turned one on. Buffy watched as the brunette used the water to caress her hair, face, neck and chest. She suddenly felt her heart rate increase. Unable to stand the feeling, the slayer took the opportunity to quickly get dressed.
Faith felt the warm water soothe her. Fighting the urge to turn around and tell Buffy everything, she allowed the water to wash over her and ease the pain. Eventually consumed by guilt, she turned off the water and turned to warn Buffy. The slayer looked around the shower room for the blonde, to find she had gone. Confused as to what to do, the brunette stepped from the shower and dried herself with a towel on the rack nearby. Replacing it, she began to dress. *It's out of my hands now,* she told herself.
Buffy entered her cell. She sat down on her bed and listened to the silence. It seemed everyone was at the common room. Everyone except her and Faith. *Why wasn't Faith with the others?* Buffy asked herself. *She was usually there playing poker with them. Unless. She did seem distracted tonight. Maybe something's wrong.*
The slayer got up and left her cell. She went back outside and ran back to the shower room. The blonde opened the door to it and found it empty. Feeling a little defeated, Buffy returned back to the prison ward. She walked down the row of cells to find them all empty. The blonde made her way to the warden's block, finding a warden there, asleep in front of the monitors. Buffy looked towards the screens, there were about fifteen. One showed different angles of the common room, a few showed the outside grounds, whilst the rest seemed to alternate between the different cells. Buffy heard footsteps approaching about ten feet around the corner. She contemplated leaving, but felt it too risky.
"Can I help you?" the slayer heard behind her.
She turned around and smiled. "Yeah," she replied the warden. "I'm kind of lost. I'm new here."
The warden eyed her. "I'll say. I don't recognise you?"
Buffy smiled, batting her eyelashes.
"What's your name?" the warden asked, about to walk past her and into the office. "I'll look your cell number up in the records."
"No!" Buffy protested a little too abruptly. "What I mean is, I know it's the one next to Faith's."
"Who?" the warden asked.
"Oh, er, Iron, no, er, Steel."
"Oh," the warden replied, looking at her sceptically. "Steel doesn't stay in a cell. She's in the old warden's room."
"Yeah, that's, er, what I meant," Buffy replied. "If you direct me to her room, I can find my way to my cell thus learning the route and having a trip both educational a-and fun."
The warden eyed the blonde again and smiled in disbelief. About to reply, she looked towards the office to see her colleague sleeping in front of the monitors and a screen showing the fight erupting in the common room.
"Aw, hell!" She screamed, bursting into the office. She shook her colleague and picked up a radio.
"All units to the lounge, we have a code red," she said into it. She turned on the prison alarm.
"I'm sorry," replied the newly awoken warden.
"Yeah," the other replied. She got ready to leave the office, seeing Buffy again. "Oh, you're still here," she said. "It's down this hall, first door on your left." The warden left and ran in the opposite direction.
"Thanks!" Buffy shouted after her. She followed the warden's instruction and knocked on the door she was told belonged to Faith. When met with no answer, she backed away. *Maybe she's gone back to the common room,* she wondered. She listened through the door.
"Fifty one, fifty two, fifty three," Buffy heard. She stepped away from the door. Half-wanting to leave, she felt the urge to stay. She stayed and listened to Faith count, panting after each number. When Faith reached what sounded like seventy, Buffy could no longer hear anything. *Uh-oh,* she thought. She saw the handle pressed down and turned to leave.
"B," she heard.
"Hey Faith. I-I was lost. But I'm fine now. So I'll just be on my way."
"Yeah," Faith replied, watching as the blonde left.
Bertha was handed a stick.
"Ok Girls, ready?" she asked, tossing the key to Buffy's cell in the air and catching it. After receiving simultaneous nods, she smiled. "Let's go teach that bitch a lesson she'll never forget."
Part 8: Consequences
Gypsy sat across the table from an officer and warden.
"And you haven't seen her this morning at all?"
"No sir. When I was let into our cell this morning, I found it empty. Buffy wasn't there and there was blood on the floor."
The warden turned to the officer and added, "the other inmates reported they heard screaming."
The officer faced the woman. "Get every warden on this, I want every cell searched. I'll put officers on site to search the perimeter. We have to find the body and dispose of it before this gets out. Another death could shut us down."
Gypsy's face turned white. "Sir, you don't think-?" she asked.
"It wouldn't be the first time Bush."
"You should have seen it," Bertha gloated. "Bitch went down, clutching her face, screaming."
The others laughed.
"And there was blood everywhere and she was like, 'please I beg you stop' and I was like, 'shut the fuck up bitch,' kicking and punching that bitch's ass." She smiled tightening her fist. "That's what you get for crossing me, fuckin' bitch."
"So you've died twice?" Faith asked.
"Well three times if you count the time I was shot in the heart and Willow took the bullet out."
"Wow, you're freakin' invincible."
Faith looked towards the window. "It's light," she said. "We must have been talking for hours."
"Yeah," Buffy replied. "It was nice."
"Yeah," Faith agreed. "I would have-" she began, before she was interrupted by a knock on the door.
"Steel!" she heard.
"Fuck!" Faith replied. She searched around the room for a hiding place for Buffy. *Think dammit,* she thought. Spying the bed, she turned to Buffy. "Take down your overalls and lie down on the bed," she ordered.
Buffy obeyed, taking down the orange overalls and getting into the bed.
Faith messed her hair up, lay in bed next to Buffy and called out, "Yeah."
The door was opened by a warden who looked in and saw the two women together.
"This better be fucking important," Faith told her.
The warden looked from Steel to the half naked blonde beside her.
"I'm sorry," she apologised. She looked to the blonde and asked her, "You wouldn't happen to be Buffy Summers would you?"
"Yeah, she is?" Faith replied. "Anything else?" She added, putting her arm around Buffy. "'Cause we're kinda busy."
"No," the warden said with a smile. "That's all." She left, closing the door behind her.
Faith exhaled. "That was close."
"Yeah," Buffy replied, noticing her heart beating faster. She took a whiff of Faith's hair.
Faith got out of bed. "I'm gonna see what I can do about making that call, then I'll head to the rec room before I'm missed." She opened the door and scanned the area outside. "Feel free to stay as long as you want," she told Buffy, leaving.
Faith walked down the prison ward to the prisoner's phone to find it unmanned and without a line in front it. She picked up the phone and heard the dial tone.
*Weird,* she thought dialling nine and then the operator.
"Yeah, hi. I need the number for a Wolfram and Hart."
"Ok," the operator replied, typing away. "The number is 555-0121. Do you want me to connect you?"
"Yeah," Faith replied. *Dumbass.*
The slayer listened as the operator connected her.
"Hello Wolfram and Hart, Cole speaking," she heard.
"Hi," Faith said into the receiver. "I wanna speak to Lilah."
"Lilah who, miss?" the man asked.
"I dunno. Lilah the woman who handles the paying of assassins, Lilah."
"I'm sorry miss but that doesn't help. There are dozens of people with that name who work here. Do you know which division she works in?"
"No," Faith replied, trying to remember. "She works with a guy called Lindsey. They deal with vampires and demons and shit-"
"Oh. Lilah Morgan of the special projects division. Is she expecting a call from you?"
"No," Faith replied him. "But this is fucking important."
"Please hold," he told her.
Faith waited on the line for a while, listening to the cheesy 'waiting' music, before hearing the music stop and the phone line tweak.
"Hello," she heard.
"Speaking. And to whom do I owe the pleasure?"
"Ok, Lilah, don't hang up, but this is Faith."
"The vampire slayer?"
"Yeah. I need to ask you a favour."
Lilah laughed. "You're joking, right. I seem to recall that we hired you to kill Angel, who by the way is still very much alive and paid you half up front. You pull a disappearing act and I'm supposed to do you a favour?"
"What makes you think that?"
"Because what if I told you that I could give you back that money you paid me and get you a contract assassin?"
"I'd ask what the favour is."
"I need you to get someone out of a murder sentence."
"That's worth a lot more than $8000 and an assassin Faith."
"Not if they didn't do it and the client is Buffy Summers."
"Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel's old flame. Think of the press it would get for Wolfy and H."
Lilah considered it. "Say if I do this, what makes me so sure I'll get my money."
"You'll get it," Faith assured her. "You have my word."
"Not good enough Faith. I'll have a contract sent to you. I want it signed and returned."
"Does that mean you'll do it?"
"I can't promise anything, but I'll see what I can do. I'll be in touch."
"Thanks," Faith replied. The brunette slayer replaced the receiver and smiled. She left the phones and headed to the common room. Once inside, she immediately noticed that it was crowded and that the atmosphere was gloomy. She sat down at a table of her friends.
"Hey," she said, whilst sitting. "Somebody die?" She joked. She looked around noticing Bertha missing. "Where's big B?"
"Bertha's in solitary," one of the inmates replied.
"For real?" Faith asked. "Why?"
"She killed Jen last night."
Faith paled. "God. Why, I mean, what did she do?"
"Everyone was ready to carry out the plan last night and when we got to the cell and found that that blonde girl wasn't there, Bertha flipped. She picked up a stick and started hitting Jen with it. It was horrible."
"The officers put her in solitary," another continued. "I think she's gonna be moved to a different prison."
Faith was shocked. She remained silent.
"But you're not gonna let that happen, are you Steel?" another prisoner added. "You'll get her out, right?"
All eyes were on Faith. Everyone were counting on her to make things right. She was speechless.