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Lock Down

by Subversive Theatre

"Prison Fic" Challenge:

Third Place



Rating: NC-17
Oral's Note: There ya go, Subby...Heh.

indle Download (click here for instructions)


Chapter 1

I can feel that tingle in the back of my skull that tells me somethin' is up.

Somethin' is coming. I can practically taste the static electricity on the air. Magic. It's always magic. But it's too much to deal with right now. Too much distraction for what I'm doin'.

"Now…are ya gonna talk ta me, or do I gotta get ugly?"

The demon wriggles a little, tryin' ta get out from under the knee I have pressed into his chest.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. I told ya about that wrigglin', didn't I?"

My hand moves faster than he can blink, and I plunge the long blunted silver stake into his shoulder ta pin him before I stand.  

"You wanna take a minute ta think it over?"

He nods, an' I give him a smile before lighting my cigarette. A throat clears behind me but I don't turn, an' I sure as fuck don't acknowledge it either. I know who it is.  I'm fuckin' workin' here. The least he could do is wait me out.

"Okay, okay… uh, look…uh,  I'll tell you anything you want to know, just uh, let me go. Okay? We can work this out. I've worked with Slayers before."

Oh has he now? Well, that's part of what I wanted ta know. I take a long drag an' let the silence stretch between us. I'm not agreein' ta shit. As soon as he gives it up, I'm leavin' no witnesses.

"I mean…ya know…once or twice we've made deals. Like, look-the-other- way deals. You know. On account I'm a nice guy."

"Yeah, ya seem it."

I kneel on the ground close to his head, cigarette hangin' from my lips.

"See that guy back there? The one watchin'?"

The demon shakes his head cause I don't think he can see over that far.

"Christ, you call yourself a demon? Ya can't smell him on the air? Can't feel the tingle of magic on your skin? Fuckin' useless."

I give the stake a twist an' he squeals out in pain.

"Now. Let's try this again, yeah?"

The demon nods a lot.

"See that guy?"

He nods again.

"You don't give me names, an' I'm gonna sell you to him for a pack of smokes. See…I'm a nice guy too. Me, I'll just hurt ya a little. Him? Well…he likes 'em ta struggle when he's playin' his games. Makes him hard."

The look I give him says more than my words, and the demon starts babblin' like a fuckin' idiot.

"Jesus, okay! What do you want to know? I'll tell you everything, I swear to God, just don't sell me."

Heh. Knew it'd work. I pat his face with my free hand as I take another drag. Good boy.

"Whose money is payin' off Slayers to look the other way?"

The demon groans an' I hold the cigarette close to one of his five eyes. It blinks rapidly, makin' the liquid orange swirl. It's almost pretty. At least…that's probably what B would think.

"We're not gonna hafta do this the hard way are we, Morris?"

So far I haven't called him by name, but now that I have, a whole new world of terror shows up behind his eyes.

"Wha? You think I don't know everything about every one of my marks? You think I don't know about the apartment ya keep in the Meadows? Or the honey ya keep visitin' at Trixies?"

Demons. Too fuckin' predictable. Just like every other animal with a dick.  They care about two things, a place ta crash, an' pussy. Not that I'm all that far off the radar on that. I care about four things. Food, a place to crash, pussy, and Buffy's ass. Only not so much in that order. Or specifically her ass. But that part is nice too.

"His name is Dante. At least that's the name he goes by on the street. No one really knows who or what he is. Looks human enough, but he smells like sulfur. Like the old ones."

Hrm. Got a name at least. More'en we had a month ago.

"See, that's all well an' good, but Dante's fucked with the wrong people. Your buddy Dante fucked with what's mine."

An' I don't like people fuckin' with what's mine. The demon goes from yellow to green at the look on my face. I pull back my sleeve an' look at my watch.

"Mm. Time's getting short. Hate ta keep potential clients waitin'."

I still want more. Morris the demon starts screamin' before I even touch him an' that makes me smile like the goddamn devil.

"Shhhh now. It's only gonna hurt til ya pass out."

"He had to pay them! Had to get her out of the way!" Bingo. I let my hands roam down his chest almost like I'm diggin' it.

"Oh god oh god oh god please don't hurt me any more." I raise my head an' look him in the eye before ashin' out my cigarette by his head.

"Keep talkin', Morris. I like the sound of your voice. Makes me have second thoughts about sellin' ya."

He nods like he's just this side of pissin' himself. Probably is. But he's not talkin' fast enough so I dig my fingertips in ta the soft flesh of his belly. Dig, an' push, and grip until I can feel the sting of his hot blood bubblin' over my hands. He screams again. Goddamn it's makin' me sick.

Sick cause I fuckin' love it.

"She was the key to the whole thing. But she's alive…I mean he didn't kill her, right? He could have killed her!"

Wrong. The look I give him makes him start cryin'. Pussy.

"We had to get her out of the picture, I swear to god I had nothing to do with it. All I did was hand money off. The others were supposed to make sure she was there."


"Which others?" I give him another hard tug of my fingers in his guts an' this time he passes out. Fuck. I hate when that happens. I give a heavy sigh an' give him a few wet slaps with my bloody hand.

"Wakey, wakey, sunshine. We're not done yet, an' well, takes a lil' more than that ta get me off."

Fear rises off his skin in waves I can feel against my skin. It's hot an' it's sick all in one. But that's okay, that's when I get my best work done.

"I don't know the names. F-f-four Slayers. Ugh…please…please I want to live."

"So does Buffy," I don't even look at him when I twist his neck. It snaps, an' okay, he's a demon. He'll live.

"Is that it, then? You've just killed him before he could finish giving you information?"

I'm slow to stand cause I gotta take a few breaths to steady myself. Plus I take the time to light another cigarette. I know I just had one but I'm needin' a lil somethin' ta take the edge off, or I'm gonna shove this stake right up Giles' ass.


"You think I'm that stupid, G?"

I reach down ta pull the silver stake from Morris' shoulder before yankin' his body up an' tossin' it towards Giles. He struggles with the dead weight that was so easy for me to lift.

"He'll live, but I figured ya might want ta question him yourself."

 If Morris thinks I've really sold him ta Giles for a pack of cigarettes, he'll sing like a bird.

"Just don't take him ta HQ. At least until he tells ya who he paid off. I don't trust anyone but Sushi there."

He sighs and gives me a nod before fightin' ta lean Morris against the trash dumpster.

"Agreed. In the meantime, you'll be doing what, exactly?"


An' tryin 'not to think of Buffy all locked up in prison. Gotta admit. This Dante fucker is smart.

Ya try ta kill B, an' ya got an army after your ass. But get her outta the way…and the world is yours. Funny that. She's only one person, but the whole fuckin' organization don't work for shit if she aint runnin' it. Good thing she's a bossy lil thing. Giles clears his throat an' I sigh.

"We've already been through this Giles. I. AM. NOT. GOING."

"Faith, please. She won't speak to any of us. She won't accept her innocence. You're the only person who may be able to talk some sense into her. We need her!"

Of course they do. Everyone always does.

"Ever think she's happy where she's at?"  

In prison? Not likely.  But it makes him stop an' think.

"Sure she's stuck in a concrete cell all day, but she doesn't hafta fight demons, doesn't hafta cry at every fuckin' funeral, doesn't even hafta worry about dyin' so soon. She doesn't wanna talk ta ya for a reason, Giles. She doesn't wanna go back."

It's like a sucker punch to the gut for him. All the air rushes outta his lungs an he has to move quick or Morris'll slide to the ground in a big heap of bloody yellow skin. See, it's like this. Giles knows Buffy pretty fuckin' well by now. Just not as well as I do. Not the way I do. No one knows her like that. Even B, doesn't know herself the way I know her. She's stayin' there because she needs it for some reason, an' I'm not gonna be the one to go get her an' make her inta some fuckin' robot. I won't take her to that place, no matter what they say ta me.

"Goddamnit, Faith ,this isn't about Buffy. It's about saving the world!"

It always is. I inhale a bit, lettin' smoke curl around me while I consider my answer.

"So save the fuckin' world, Giles. I'm busy."

"Doing what?!" He's shoutin' at my back, because I'm already walkin' away.

Truth is he's right about one thing. I need ta see Buffy. Not ta talk her out of this or anythin' cause that's not my gig. But just ta see her. I know my face is the last thing she wants ta see, but I have ta see hers. Just one more time at least.

"Savin' B. What else?"


I don't know the date. I know the day. It's Wednesday. Apple pie day. That's how I count time in here. I know everyone else has a different measurement. But well…I'll kinda be here longer than most of them. So really there's no point in knowing the date. Here being Metro State Prison for Women. It's a maximum security prison. Only the baddest of the bad come here. At least that's what I've been told.

Even if it wasn't this place I probably wouldn't leave. Okay. I know I wouldn't leave. I deserve to be in here. I took a life. I took a child's life. People like that don't deserve the freedom of the outside world. So here I sit. Feeling guilty over the tiny shred of happiness I get knowing that in about six hours I'll be happily munching my cardboard and apple paste that goes for pie around here. Well. I'll be munching it happily if it doesn't get taken away from me by Ditto.

I know I've said some pretty colorful things about Faith from time to time, but this woman makes Faith look only slightly less crazy than say…ooh Ilene Wuornos. Of course…Faith never killed a child. So it's a little harsh of me to think that way about her. The trouble is, that's who Faith is. At least the Faith she shows to the world. I know better. I think I've always known better. But. Well. Too little too late to tell her I was wrong. Even if I could admit it to her face, I don't think she'd accept my apology.

In fact, I think she might actually laugh in my face. Or spit. But I've never actually seen Faith spit before. It's just something that I think of now, because everyone in here spits. I still haven't gotten the hang of it. I can honestly say that I still think spitting is pretty disgusting. But when you have people like Ditto spitting in your face, it's more like gag-worthy. I'm starting to wonder if she brushes her teeth at all. I guess I shouldn't complain all that much. For the most part everyone leaves me alone. They all think I belong to Ditto.

The problem with that logic is that I don't belong to Ditto. I don't belong to anyone. And at this rate, it's likely the only person I'll ever belong to is the meanest stud in this place. Honest to God. She punched her so-called wife in the face just because she didn't bring her cigarettes. I realllllly don't want to be next on her list of marital possessions. I say that because in this place, you don't own anything. Except what you can take from someone else. I'm starting to understand some things about Faith's behavior when we were kids. If she had anything half this bad at home, its' a wonder she turned out the way she did.

And I mean that. She's not the savage killer you'd think. Or at least. She's not the savage killer I thought. Okay. Maybe a little. Probably maybe a little more than just a little. But that's not all there is to her. Where Ditto is dominant and destructive, Faith was just strong. And also destructive. That part I guess doesn’t' really bother me that much.

"Hey fishy, fishy."

Crap. Here they come.

I reach up and haul myself off the bottom bunk using the top one for balance. It's great that I heal unnaturally fast, but that healing doesn't help when I get my bones re-broken just about every day. I try not to fight. I try to just let the pain roll over me, and accept it. Sometimes I fail. Most times I can be found in a pool of my own blood on the floor of the showers. Which by the way…so gross.

Even the mold on the floor looks like it wants to rear up and crawl away from the filth. The footsteps are louder and I count them. One. Two. Three. I'm guessing her usual buddies are with her. One to watch the door, one to watch Ditto beating on me, and then Ditto herself. Not generally a problem for a Slayer, but I'm trying to stay out of trouble. That's not as easy as I once thought. I'm up on the empty top bunk watching the door of my cell. It's open and they can just walk in any damn time they want. But I won't make it easy for them.

"Hey there, little fishy."

God. You'd think after all these months they'd finally change my nickname. I mean. I'm not the newest intake here anymore. There are plenty of other girls they could be calling Fish. But noooo. They save that one special for me. I roll my eyes at Ditto. She's massive. I swear the width of her chest is the same as Angel's. I'm thinking half demon at least. Or you know,  just a really butch stud. She weight-trains a lot.

"Ditto." I don't bother addressing her pals. It's like that in prison. You only talk to someone when you're being spoken to.

"Gonna come down or do I have to come up there and get you?" I'm thinking she's going to have to come up and get me. I'm so not willingly going down there. On her or for her. Yeesh. Just the thought makes me feel ill. It's not the idea of having sex with a woman, because hello, been there done that, but it's…Ditto. And ew.

"Well, you know me Ditto. I like to play hard to get." She smiles at me and I wish I could unlearn my snappy retorts. Her big hairy monkey paw reaches up and grips the bunk right next to my nose. Shit. Shit. Shit. Once she's up here she's going to want to get comfortable and thus far, I've managed to avoid that particular torture.

"Summers comma Buffy."

Oh, thank god. We all freeze and look over at the guard by the door.

"You've got a visitor."

As much as I don't want to see or be seen by anyone, I know this has got to be a gift. Because I'm about ten seconds away from having to choose. Either fight back and get beaten and possibly sexually assaulted, or don't fight back and get beaten and definitely sexually assaulted. Now I don't have to choose.

"Don't you have your own cell to be in, Dorthea?"


Ditto turns her head super slow to look at me. Oh crap. I shouldn't have said anything. Her grin is crooked and I can see the stumps of blackened and rotted out teeth. Well, no wonder her breath reeks. She's using the toilet brush to wash her mouth. Ugh. I shudder thinking about that, which she mistakes for a sign of fear.

"Later, Fish." She and her friends leave and I hop down lightly. I'd thank the guard, but I don't think she gives a flying furry thing about that. But I do nod at her and she nods back as we walk down the long catwalk to the cell block gates. They buzz open and I'm cuffed and shackled and directed along another corridor to another set of gates. I hate having to do this shuffle the whole way there, but if I take too big of a step I'll go down face first on the ground. And believe me. They don't even try to catch you when you fall.

There's a long wait at the solid metal door that takes you to the visitors lounge. I spend most of that time looking at the peeling vomit-green paint on the wall thinking about who it is this time. God. I hope it's not Dawn. I always come the closest to escaping when she's here pleading me to come home. But I cant. I can't just leave like that. I have to pay. Somehow I have to pay for it all. The shocking buzz of the door jerks me out of my thoughts and I make my prison shuffle into the room.

Oh. God. It's worse than I thought. The guard pushes me down none too gently in my hard plastic chair, but I make no move to pick up the black phone receiver on the wall. Her hand reaches out to pick up her end. I just stare. Finally a tanned knuckle raps lightly on the glass between us and I sigh. I pick up the phone and stare at the last person on Earth that Id ever think would show up here.

"Hello, Faith."

Chapter 2

"Hey, B."

This is weird. I'm not used ta bein' on the other side of the glass. And it's really weird cause its' Buffy that's on lock down. I'm the one that's supposed to be in prison. I'm the one with the criminal history an' the crazy streak a mile wide an' six feet deep. She fidgets a lil bit in her seat. I know that shit ain't comfy but I don't think it's the chair that's makin' her squirm. I think it's me. I shouldn’t' have come here.

"What are you doing here? I mean…not that I'm not…but…here?"

Huh. I'm not exactly sure what that's supposed ta mean. I think she's not unhappy ta see me. But I can't be sure, cause her Buffy-speak has gotten worse. I wonder if it's because the only person she can talk to is herself. No one else would get it. Or her. I kinda smile a little at that an' shrug.

"You're totally at ease here, aren't you?"

Uh. No. Actually I'm tryin' really hard not ta run away. I hate bein' here. Bein' this close to a secured facility. I get the heebies just bein' around Giles back at headquarters.

"What can I say. I adapt pretty easy." It's all bullshit. Smoke an' mirrors ta make her think it's cool. An' I'm only doin' it because she looks like she needs someone ta tell her it's all good. "So how's it goin in there?"

Buffy flinches at my question a lil bit. That tells me everythin' I need to know right there.

"It's going. It's just like being in a hotel. Only with roaches and red jumpsuits."

Yeah, an' the food sucks, the beds suck, an if you're real lucky, someone's suckin' you. I doubt B's that lucky. Oh, don't get me wrong. She could get more pussy than a pimp in here. But she's not a bull. Her heart is too soft for that shit.

"That bad ,huh?"

Buffy sighs an puts her head down a lil.

"Ya know B, ya don't gotta just take it." Okay. What'd I say? Buffy's lookin' at me all green fire an' daggers. If I'm really honest with myself' Id admit that the look gets me a lil wet. But I'm not feelin' the honesty vibe today. So I'm just gonna say that the look gets me ready ta fight.

"I thought you would understand."

She starts ta hang up but I press my palm flat against the glass window. WAIT! I didn't say it out loud but Buffy stops ta stare at me anyway. Her brow comes up in surprise but she's just starin' at my hand. Not me. Just my hand. I'm just lucky she's still holdin' on to the phone.

"I think I do understand, Buffy. I think I understand better'n most." Her head nods a little but she's still not lookin' me in the eye. "I'm not the one you're runnin' from, B. Sit down for a minute with me." B is slow to move but she settles down into the chair. I take the time ta slide my hand down the glass but I don't take it away. I'm afraid if I do she'll leave. "Look, I didn't mean, ya know, peacin' on this place." Not that she should be here. But it's not my choice ta make for her.

Buffy nods an' finally tears her gaze away from my hand to look right at me.

"So Giles didn't send you to try and convince me that I shouldn't be here?"

 Kinda. But I'm smart enough not ta tell her that. I roll my eyes.

"Yeah well, G an me ain't so close these days." Her brows come up at that. It's a question without askin' one. Buffy's real good at those. "I kinda sorta won't help him save the world." Her mouth puckers inta a cute lil 'oh' at that. God, she's fuckin adorable. Bet she's got every dyke in the place droolin' after her. Cause I know I'd be. Fuck. I'm on the outside an I'm droolin' after her. Even with the cuffs. Hrm. Maybe because of the cuffs. I dunno.

"So…you gave up on the road to redemption?"

Not exactly. I shake my head a lil bit.

"Let's just say I'm takin' a long holiday." I dunno how long, exactly. Buffy nods once an' leans back in her chair with her brow all furrowed an' wrinkly.

"You have to go back."

What? Is she out of her fuckin' mind?

 "No, I'm not insane, so stop looking at me like I am."

I wait a beat before she gives me her version of my sigh. "You have to go back, Faith. There are only two Slayers strong enough to carry the burden. And I'm…here." Oh so that's what it's about? Bein' strong enough. I give her a hard snort an' lean back as far as the cord to the phone lets me.

"Hey, you made your choice, B. Ya ain't gotta be here, but ya are. My choice? Is not bein' there. Giles has a whole goddamned army of Slayers. What the fuck makes you think I'm special enough ta lead them?"

Because I'm not. I fuckin hate it, but I'm just not that girl, ya know?

"Because you're the Slayer, Faith. You were born to lead people. It's kind of in the job description."

Oh fuck you, Buffy. I give her a look an' pat my jacket pocket for a cigarette. Fuck. Can't smoke in here. I sigh an' shake my head.

"Don't. Don't do that to me. You know it's true. You cant just hide from this, Faith. It's bigger than your self- doubt."

She's one ta talk. I'm lookin' at her hard for a long second before I speak.

"What're you? Insane? Fuckin' retarded? I barely know where I am half the fuckin' time. What makes you think I should be tellin' people where ta go or what ta do? That's just not my thing, B."

She rolls her eyes. "Fine. Then what is your thing? Besides interrupting playtime with Ditto?"

Ditto? The way she says the name makes me wanna hiss an' spit like a cat. I already know without knowin'. Ditto is the kind of name that girls in the big house learn ta fear. An even though she doesn't look afraid, even though she'll never admit it, I can smell her fear. It's not the same as Morris. His fear was bitter an' tasted too strong. But Buffy's fear smells different. There's a hint of acid in the air but mostly its just a soft, rich scent. Like blood. I bite my lip an' look down.

My thing is lovin' her. She doesn't know that yet. But she will.

"Ditto the one that gave ya that shiner?"

Buffy's hand goes up to her eye but she drops it before touchin' the tender skin there. Her head does a tiny dip that's her way of sayin' yes.

"Why didn't ya pop her a good one?" I get an eye roll for that. "Okay, okay. Ya don't gotta get all uppity about it. I'm just sayin'."

She almost cracks a grin at that. "I can't just hit her Faith. I could hurt her."

And the problem with that is what, exactly? It's my turn ta roll my eyes now.

"Don't even say it."

Wha? I wasn't gonna call her a pussy. Okay I was a lil bit.

"That doesn't change the fact that you shouldn't be here, you should be helping Giles and the gang."

That again huh? Everyone is so fuckin' keen for me ta help save the world. Dunno why.

"Just cause you don't wanna own up ta your life doesn't mean I gotta own up ta your life. I'm not you, B. I never was, an I'm never gonna be you. Someone needs the world ta be saved that's not my problem. My problem is findin' a date for tonight." Heh. That time her lips do twitch. Oh, she's still rollin' her eyes at me but at least she's sorta smilin'. "And anyway. I'm not tryin' ta make ya leave this place, so you shouldn't be tryin' ta make me go there."

"Point." Good. I'm glad we got that shit settled. "So why are you here again?" Oh, yeah. That. I shrug an give her my best dimpled grin.

"Well, I'm kinda glad you're behind that reinforced glass. I just came by ta see how shitty your hair is." Boy, if looks could kill…well I'd probably still be alive, but I bet I'd have a broken nose. "Wha? Like you wouldn't wanna see me all fucked up lookin'."

"Faith. Shut up." Uh huh. I smirk at her an' she shakes her head with a chuckle. "So you're really not going to save the world, huh?" I shake my head to that.

"So you're not really gonna ditch this place even though ya know ya don't belong here, huh?"

Hey, she wants ta be all pissy about it I'm gonna get pissy right back.

"I killed an innocent, Faith."

So what? I killed lots of them. Buffy didn't seem to mind so much once she pulled the stick outta her ass.

 "I killed a child."

Yeah. She did. Only she didn't really. But I can't make her believe that. I can't make her do anythin' she doesn't wanna.

"I belong here."

"Yeah. Like I belong in an all girls school. Shut the fuck up already."

Buffy flips me the bird an I have ta admit. I kinda like it.

"Yeah baby, that's the finger I want ya to use."

That makes her blink for a second before she snarls at me an' crosses her arms over her chest. It's gotta suck ta hold on to the phone with a shoulder but she's managing ta make it look easy.

"Okay, okay. Whatever. You belong there. Happy now?"


I knew it. Nothin' can make this one happy. No one can make her happy. I know, cause I know almost all of the 'would be forever's in her life. An' all of them hate themselves cause they couldn't ever be enough for her. I'm in the same boat as the rest of them. I was just smart enough ta never try before.

"Listen, Faith, I have to tell you something."

Why do I get the feelin' I'm not gonna like whatever it is she has ta tell me?

"I am…so sorry. For everything I ever said to you, everything I ever did to hurt you. I didnt understand then."

I have ta close my mouth or somethin' is gonna fly in there. It closes with a click an' I grunt. I don't even know what ta say about all that.

"I wished so many times that I could understand and now…I do."

"Kinda that be careful what ya wish for crap huh?"

She smiles sadly at me an' nods her head. Yeah. I can't do this. She's breakin' my heart. I put my hand on the window, higher up where she can see it better. Buffy's gaze goes right to it an' she reaches up ta put her hand against the glass too. I can feel the tiny vibrations of power through the glass.

"Wish it was different, B. Wish it was all different."

"Me too."

I gotta get outta here. I hang up the receiver an' get up. Buffy's still got her hand pressed to the glass, watchin' me get up and walk away. I can't look back at her cause if I do I'll never leave. An sittin' around in the waiting room is not helpin' anyone. The heavy metal doors slam closed behind me an' I practically run out. Sweat beads on my forehead an' I resist the temptation ta squirm under the guard's gaze. He knows I'm bad an shouldn't probably be on this side. Must be some instinct he's picked up. Whatever. I Don't care. Once I'm out in the sun again I take a few deep breaths an' break out a cigarette. Motherfucker. That was hard.

I'm at the car I jacked ta get here before I pull out my cell an' dial Giles. He answers on the second ring.


"Faith. Where are you?" That's not Important, an' I'm not gonna tell him. "Are you alright?" I give a slow exhale of my smoke an' lean against the trunk of the car.

"Yeah. Morris talkin 'yet?"

He sighs softly an' I cringe.

"Not as yet. It's taking his body a little longer to heal his broken neck than I would like. I'm not above using mystical influences to speed things up, but with your strictures on who can know what's going on…" Right. He wants Willow ta help.

"I trust ya, G." He gets quiet at that. "Anyway. You're gonna need her help soon."

"Faith…are you in trouble?" It's almost kinda sweet how concerned he sounds. I grin into the phone before flickin' some ash to the hard scrabble asphalt.

"Not yet."

I hang up before he can say anything. I know him. An' I know he's gonna get someone ta trace me. That's all well an' good. I don't mind him knowin' what I'm up to. Just don't want him knowin' until I'm where I need ta be. I get in the car after givin' the building one last long look. The razor wire doesn't look nearly as scary on this side of the fence.

"Hang on baby, just gimme a lil time."

I know she can't hear me, an' she'd probably put her foot up my ass for callin' her baby, but I hope Buffy holds on a lil bit longer in there.



"Here Fishy, Fishy."

Again? I feel like this is the third time this week. Wait. I think it is the third time this week. I sigh heavily and quickly finish what's left of my lunch. Not that I'm hungry, because I'm really not, but if I don't eat it someone else will, and by three or so in the morning I really will be hungry. Hungry enough to even want to eat this crap.

The heat of her rancid breath on my neck makes me stiffen up waiting for it.

"I'm talking to you. Fish." Another sigh.

"I heard you, Ditto."

My body moves before I fully think it through, and her fist goes slicing through the air right where my head was. That's fighting dirty. You don't just punch someone in the back of the head like that. My elbow goes back into her gut and another rush of heat brushes my skin when the air gets knocked out of her. A whistle goes up and we all freeze before the bulls come in with pepper spray and batons. This was barely anything, but you don't fuck around in the mess hall.

My eyes sweep to the left to watch Ditto. She's watching me through narrowed, angry eyes. Her rough voice comes out barely louder than a whisper.

"Next time bitch." Crap.

Two guards start making the rounds, pushing people out of clusters until they reach us. Both of them look at me for an answer and I just shrug. Ditto keeps her mouth shut and gives them a smirk. For now we'll play nice. In front of them, anyway. Ditto backs up and I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. Hey, any day I can get away with not having to fight is a good day. It takes a few minutes for things to settle down, so I wait it out before picking up my tray and taking it to the corner where the rest of them are stacked. If I can make it to my cell I might just have a record breaking day for minimal violence.

It doesn't take long to get to my cell. It almost feels like home. Except for the shampoo. Oh and the scratchy, nubbly sheet. And the fact that most of my day is spent hiding behind bars to keep from getting beaten and raped. How did it get this far? How did I get so far from who I was? For awhile I thought it was all so clear, but then she had to come here and shake my faith. So to speak. Faith. I wonder if she's gone back to Giles to do the right thing. She hasn't been back to visit so that could mean anything. She could be halfway to South America right now. I normally Don't keep track of time but I've been keeping track since she was here. It's been forty- two days. I think.

I think a little part of me hopes she'll come back to visit. Another part is horrified at the idea that she just might. I crawl into my bunk and stare up at the one above me. It's still empty. Just like me. I miss my life but I can't seem to Imagine what it was like. I know I had friends and family and I know that I was loved. But I don't remember feeling happy. I don't remember what it was like to go where I wanted when I wanted. I guess…I guess it's been a long time since I was able to do that too. Even before I was incarcerated.

Maybe that's what made me so jealous of Faith. She never had to do anything she didn't want. Hey, I fucked up, let me skip out. Hey, I have weird issues with some girl, let me skip out, hey I kissed Buffy, let me bail. Hey, I fucked Buffy's boyfriend, let me take off. Hey, I came back but don't get attached because I've got to go. Hey, you're in prison now, see you later. Okay. That's not really fair. I know that. I'm just…I don't know what I am. Lonely I suppose. Seeing Faith again changed something. It made me feel things that I thought I was going to feel anymore. Things I thought I shouldn't be able to feel.

No, I'm not talking about lust. It'd be Impossible for me not to feel lust when it comes to Faith. I'm talking about more. I'm talking about trust. Whatever reason she had for coming here, I trusted her to understand me. And she did. I felt that much at least. I wish I had been able to feel more. Like how soft her hair is. Or how warm her skin is. I wish I could have had just a little time to lean into her body and take in her scent and let that trust wash over me. I want to feel like it's okay to be me. And more than anything, I want her. I want Faith. It's not just the slow burn of need from not having had it in awhile. It's her.

It's the way she moves, the way she talks. It's the way everything about her shifts and slides and slinks. A creature that never stops moving, changing, or growing. If I'm honest I'd say that this has been going on from the beginning. I've been attracted to her from day one. I was confused and frustrated and just a kid, but I knew I wanted to know what it was like to be with her. To kiss her. My nipples harden at the thought of Faith being that close to my body.

An abrasive buzz sounds out of the overhead speakers causing feet to shuffle and murmured curses. All along the block I can smell the phosphorus of freshly lit matches and stale sweat and cigarettes. I can feel the restless pulse of energy through the thick walls. I can even feel the anticipatory rise as the guards walk the line, slamming doors and locking them.

My door slides shut with a dull clang. The key scrapes and twists setting the tumblers rolling. I made it. I tip my head back to make sure that the guard is gone before I snap open the buttons to my red jumper. The next guard won't be along for another half hour. It gives me time. I wonder what Faith is doing right now. I wonder who she's with and if she's making them feel good. That's the thing about Faith. She has the capacity to make a person feel like shit with just her words. I'm assuming she's just as skilled at making them feel good with just her mouth. I shiver at the idea of it. Her lips are so soft and full and I bet they'd feel so good on my skin. I let out a breath and slide my hand up under my tank top. My fingertips just graze along the skin lightly.

But the second I close my eyes, it stops being my hand and becomes Faiths. I can feel my lips curve softly at the gentle touch. It'd never be like this, but this is my fantasy right? I bite my lower lip and reach lower along the line of my belly. Just barely teasing the skin and baby fine hairs. It makes me squirm, my hips rocking slightly, begging for friction. I can almost hear her breath go ragged when she finally slips between my legs and feels how wet I am for her. I give a soft groan as she works her thumb lightly over my clit. Open wide for me baby… God, I so would. I'd do anything she asked of me as long as she didn't stop stroking and caressing me. I give a frustrated grunt as I try to squirm further out of my jumpsuit so I can have better access.

Fuck. I always get this wet thinking about Faith, but this is just…it's like she's here. Like I can hear her and feel her. Like it's really her inside of me, thrusting just deep enough to make me want to beg for more. I bend my knees and feel the throb of my orgasm building from the deeper thrust.

God, yes. Don't stop, Faith, please Don't stop. I'll never stop, B. I'll never stop loving you. Her fingers curl and I swallow down a loud moan as I come. My hips stop jerking just as the tears finally bubble over and slide down my cheeks. It wasn't her at all. It was just me. Lonely little me. I pull my hand free of my soaked body and roll onto my side so I can cry myself to sleep for the forty-third night in a row.


Chapter 3

"Do you have anything to say for yourself, Miss Lehane?"

I raise my head slowly and look at the judge. I should be repentant, ya know? But this judge is a softy. He's lookin' ta let me off easy, an' that's not what I want. So I smile. I smile an' rock on my heels. His soft doughy face goes cold when he realizes that he just made a mistake. "Remember that I can hold you in contempt of court, something that would likely not go well for you."

"Probably not, but I never was the go easy kinda girl, if ya know what I mean."

He sighs, resigning himself to the fact that I'm gonna be an asshole about things.

"Guess I should say sorry for, ya know…stealin' that car an' drivin' it through the bank. Probably should say sorry for beatin' up that security guard too." He waits an' I shrug. "Truth is, Big Man, I kinda fuckin' liked it. An' if I had to do over again, I probably should aim for the guard this time."

There's uproar of shoutin' an' shit, but the judge just stares at me for a long minute. He slams that gavel down so hard it makes my ears hurt.

"Very well, Miss Lehane. Clearly you show no remorse for your actions. In the case of the State of Georgia v. Faith Lehane, I find you culpable and guilty. As we are quite full up in the local jail you'll be remanded to a maximum security facility until your sentencing begins." My lawyer clears his throat, an' I gotta sigh. I told the guy I didn't want him ta do anythin' but stand there an look pretty.

"Your honor, on the matter of bail…" I hafta snicker when he gets cut off.

"Mr. Salinger, your client has no permanent residence, has a previous history of assault as well as murder charges, and no family or friends close at hand. You don't honestly think she qualifies as a low flight risk, do you?"

My legal eagle stutters. Maybe I shoulda called him legal pigeon. Not exactly eagle material just yet. But he'll get better in time with other clients. Clients that want him to fight for them.

"Now if we're all in agreement, bailiff…take her away please."

I'm considerin' fightin' it out, just to give the guards a lil incentive to make sure I get stuck in the worst possible cell block they can toss me in. But let's face it. I'm goin' down hard for this. I don't need ta make it any worse now. I just grin an' go along with the nice terrified custody assistant.

"Don't worry, Hoss, I don't bite."

Well. I give him a look when he relaxes a little bit.

"At least I don't bite boys."

His grip on my arm tightens reflexively, lettin 'me know I just said somethin' damn interesting to him.

"Like that, huh?"

His pale blue eyes cut to mine with a look that's both greedy an' slimy. I knew it.

"Yeah, ya look like the type."

The comment earns me a hard shove in the center of my back. Typical. But it's not like he can really hurt me or anything. I stumble through the door and out to the antechamber to get cuffed and shackled. My guard takes his time at my feet cause it puts his head right at waist level. I watch him turn just slightly an take a deep breath. Ya gotta be kiddin' me.

I laugh at him an' shake my head. Poor bastard has ta resort ta fuckin' with the inmates. That's just sad, man. Hoss gives me a growl of irritation and shoves me toward the door. Ain't no thang to me. I just shrug an' keep my smirk in place as I shuffle out of the court house and down the back steps of the building. A county van is waitin' for me. How sweet. Last time they just chucked me face down in the back of a swat van. At least this time I got a cushy seat.

"I don't get you. You act like this is some big fucking game. What are you, crazy or something? You're going to prison and you're laughing your ass off."

Prison. Been there, done that. Not really where I wanna be but, I gotta do what I gotta do. Even if it means ridin' into the belly of the beast with the devil on my shoulder. I shrug at him, an' jerk my head to fling my hair over my shoulder. I notice him noticin' me. I wonder if he's a regular bull at the prison. His attention could be to my benefit.

"You know any sane people that crash into banks for shits an' giggles?"

Yeah, I didn't think so, douche bag. I'm still smirkin' when he slams the door shut on the side of the van. I don't plan on breakin' out or anything, but I give the chains bolted to the floor a lil testing tug. Well. I hope this thing doesn't roll on the way there.

On second thought…now that I remember the body cavity search, maybe I do want this thing ta get busted up. My mood goes from pretty fuckin' pleased with myself to annoyed silence. The guard turns in his seat a little to look through the grate separating him and the driver from me.

"What's the matter? Not having such a good time now?"

I roll my eyes.

"Just remembered I gotta give a free show ta get into this place."

I'm kinda surprised when he doesn't get creepy, an' just nods. Whatever. The greenery on the side of the road looks more like a sluggish crawling worm. Creepin' along in its own way, slowly takin' over more and more of the road. See. Industry pushes back the wild, holds it at bay.

Science makes people believe that the world is safe an' boxed-in, an' always bright and sunny. Makes people forget about the things that they fear in the dark. But if you leave it, if you stop pushin' your humanity and civility on the world, it'll start ta take it back. Just like the side of the road, an' all the lil creepy crawlies peekin' out from the shadows.

That's what prison is for. Keepin' ya safe an' boxed-in. Or at least keepin' everyone outside the box safe from you. But the truth is people in there are just like the swamp growin'. They're wild, an' dangerous, an' if you turn your back for just one second. We'll take it all back. Take everything you are and make it ours again.

 My lip curls up in disgust as we pull on to Constitution Road. Last time I was here, this all seemed like a good idea. Now that I'm gettin closer I'm startin' ta wonder if I'm a fuckin' retard or what. B better be real happy ta see me or I'm gonna go a lil homicidal on someone. Maybe Bucko up front if he doesn't stop lookin 'at me in his visor mirror. He oughta take a picture, it'll last longer.

Man. I must be scared. Even my attitude is lackin' it's usual punch. The rusty motor that opens the gate screeches out a protest. Yeah. Me too, buddy. I slink down a lil bit in my seat an' huff as we chug along into the docking bays. Alright. I'm Slayer enough ta admit that I got a lump the size of a baseball in my throat.  Metro SP. As soon as I'm unbuckled and unbolted I step out into the sticky hot humidity an' sigh. Home sweet fuckin' home. A whistle blows an' I turn my head to watch a fight bein' broken up in the chain link yard across from me. A familiar throb picks up at the base of my spine. Buffy. I cant' see her yet but I can feel her.

I push my senses a lil harder until I can just barely feel her power pushin' back against mine. Someone's in a tangle in the school yard. Heh. That's my girl. Someone snaps their fingers in front of my face, an' I slowly draw my gaze away from the fight to the hand, arm, an' finally face of the person tryin' ta get my attention. I already know I'm not gonna like this one. She's the type of woman that got called big boned growin 'up. Her frame is tall an' sturdy like a work horse. My lips quirk only slightly at her pissed-off expression.

 "Sorry." Not really.

"Lehane, Faith?"

I dunno why she's askin' cause she really doesn't want an answer. If she did she wouldn't keep talkin' before I can answer.

"We have a few simple rules. Don't break them and you'll do just fine."

This broad is a Lifer. She's been doin' this shit for so long she can do it in her sleep. I give a slight nod an' jingle my chains a lil.

"Right. Impatient. You've been locked up before."

I give a short nod an' raise my brows when her look goes from bored to cold.

"Take her in, strip her down, I'll have Martinez do the search and placement assessment."

Placement assessment. Well now, that sounds promising. I sigh and follow the guards in. It's gonna be a long afternoon. But don't worry B, I'm here now. An' pretty soon you an' me are gonna be paintin' the cell block red.

Probably not really. I chance a look over my shoulder at the yard one last time. I still don't see her, an' the pulse of her power has faded. Whatever I missed, whatever she missed…doesn't matter. She knows I'm here now. She felt me just as sure as I felt her. Soon baby. So fuckin' soon.

She's out there. I know she is. I can feel her. I fucking felt her earlier too. It's what got me a fat lip. I Don't mind, really. It's already healed over. By the time I get out of here and back to my cell it'll be more than healed over, it'll be like the lip was never split open to begin with. Not that any of that matters because she's here. Faith is here. And that moment of distraction was worth the pain of getting hit. I guess that sounds incredibly needy of me, but if it is so be it. I need her. At least…I need to see her for visiting hours.

It's been so long since she was here last, and I swear I never expected her to really come back to me. As soon as the infirmary nurse nods her head I jump off the table and hold out my hands to the guard. He gives my wrists a look before shaking his head once.

"Not necessary Summers. You didn't start that fight."

My hands stay hovering in midair for a second before I lower them slowly. If we were going to the visiting booths then he'd lock me up. But we're not. Which leaves me wondering what's going on. Is Faith here or not?


I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I shuffle out of the infirmary with my very own big beefy bodyguard to lead me to my cell. We cross the cold vestibule to the security door. I wait as it buzzes and releases. Warm sticky air steals in from outside and I sigh. With my hearing stretched as far as I can get it, I listen for the telltale signs of things gone awry. You'd be surprised how often that happens in prison. It's not that the guards aren't quick enough to stop shit from happening. It's just that they don't care to stop things from happening. At least most of them don't.

This one isn't so bad. He takes me by the elbow and leads me across the campus to my block. There are about seven housing units here and they fit about 120 inmates. At least that's what I was told. Mine is reserved for the worst offenders. Block F as in Fail. My guard leads me into the block and down to my cell in silence. That's okay. I'm not so big of a talker these days. Except. You know. In my own head. That's probably not as healthy as I pretend it is, but it's better than telling my secrets to anyone here. There's a faint throb that I know is my Slayer connection. It's annoyed and I'm very confused by it. What's happening? Where is Faith? Why can I feel her but I can't go to her? The door to my cell opens and I slink into the room and settle on the edge of my bunk. I don't want to lay my body down on it because I'm just going to get up again soon enough.

Juuuuuust as soon as someone comes to tell me that Faith is waiting to see me. So I sit here with my hands tucked under my thighs while I wait. Of course I wait so long I'm starting to think I'm just Imagining things. That couldn't have been Faith. Maybe it's another Slayer. One that's here for some other reason. A frown tugs at my lips as I think that over. Why would another Slayer be here? Unless of course they were going to try and convince me to escape. Or break me out. My eyes narrow as I sort through all the possibilities. Giles wouldn't have sent someone here to get me out. Not after I made it clear that I needed to be here.

Oh. God. What if something happened to Faith? What if there is another Slayer here to break the news to me that something's happened to her. My breath catches in my throat and I get up to pace the small cell. No. No. That can't be it. If something had happened to Faith I would know it. Besides. This all too familiar tingle has nothing to do with anyone but Faith. I KNOW it's her even if I don't have proof. What I don't understand is why she's here but not trying to get in to see me. Wait. Maybe she is. Maybe they won't let her in to see me. My chest gets tight again as I consider all the terrible things that could be happening right now.  I'm so lost in thought that I almost don't notice the buzz of the alarm or the clanging of the doors sliding shut. What?

I spin around as another buzz sounds down the line. A chorus of shouts and cat calls fill the air and I push myself against the bars to try and get a peek at whatever is going on. I can't quite see but it looks like it's a new intake. A particularly shrill whistle cuts the air and I pull back with my hands over my ears. I don't care. I don't want to know. I just want to focus on that part of Faith that I can feel. The throb of her power makes me shiver as I crawl back onto my bunk with my knees up, arms around them. I'm rocking slowly back and forth trying to focus on that constant pulse. If I close my eyes I can see the sunburst pattern behind my eyelids.

As the calls get louder, the once faint jerk behind my navel grows stronger. She's close. But that can't be. I shove my fingers in my ear and rock harder trying to drown out the sound again. I can feel her when it's quiet. Shuffle shuffle. Everyone here shuffles. The force of Faith's power jabs me hard and I blink open my eyes. Oh God. The guards give the woman another shove past my cell but it's too late. I know her. Faith. I'm up off the bunk and pressed back against the bars. My fingers just barely manage to graze against the dark blue jumper she's wearing. The smack of a thick baton hitting my hand out of the way makes me jerk back. Faith isn't looking at me but I know she knows I'm here.

Down the line they stop. Fuck. I can't see. Where is it, where is it…? Ah. When I'm done rummaging through my things I stick my hand out through the bars again. This time the glint of my hand mirror picks up the guards and Faith. I watch with a rock in my belly as they unlock the gates to the next block. Just before the gate closes Faith shakes her hair out of her eyes with a glance over her shoulder. I can see her looking right at me. Or. What part of me she can see. I'm so fucking confused but she winks and suddenly everything seems like it's going to get better. It takes me forever to pull my hand back, but when I do I can't seem to put the mirror down. I hold it in my shaking hand and lean back against the wall in my bunk. She's here. She didn't forget me. Faith didn't abandon me. Thank God.


Chapter 4

Alright. I know logically that not every prison looks the same, but now that I'm here I kinda feel like I never left. Maybe it's the paint. Or the bars. Yeah that's gotta be it. I smirk just because that's my usual state of being, an' trudge into the mess hall. Grub line to the left, seats to the right. Okay. Not bad. I grab one of the trays near the wall an' get in line. A few people grumble an' stare. One or two give me the "I'm-thinkin'-of-fuckin'-you" look. Nothin' new there. And then there's one that's givin' me an eyeful of piss an' anger. Ding ding ding. Somethin' tells me I'm gonna be makin' myself known to that one.

But not right now. You never wanna start shit inside. Always wait until you're outside. Chances are you'll get a lot more hits in before they pull ya apart that way. Plus not so crowded that you can get held down by the watching crowd if ya start to lose them some bet money. Not that I blame them. Ya gotta make your ducks where ya can, ya know? Doesn't mean I don't get all bent outta shape when one of 'em tries to hold me down. Just means I feel maybe a lil bit bad about hittin' them too. But then…the fuckers shouldn't have bet against me. Cause I'm a sure thing baby.

Tingles of the Buffy variety pause my wandering thoughts. I actually have ta stop in line an' gaze around until my dark eyes meet hers in one of those across-the-room stares. Probably I could stay like this, ya know? Just starin' at her. But it's not like the people behind me are gonna wait an' be understandin 'while I stand here with my goddamned mouth open. I pull my gaze away an' hold out my tray for my daily portion of slop. Oh that's not pretty. Well, it could be worse. It could be Xander's cooking.

Holy shit. I swear somethin' in this just moved. I blink at the congealing glob of porridge before shudderin' an' finding a spot three tables away from B.  I'm new. New meat doesn't sit next to red jumpers. New meat has ta find a spot with the rest of the general population. But this is close enough anyway. She glances at me an' raises a brow. I just smirk at her. For a second she's pissed. I can see it in the set of her mouth an' the stiffness in her shoulders. My smirk widens to give me a lil dimple to flash, an' she half smiles. Oh yeah. My girl is happy ta see me. Good.

"What are you doing here?"  It's barely a whisper but it doesn't need to be any louder. I can hear her just fine. I shrug. Dunno what to tell her exactly.

"Got tired of payin' rent at the No Tell Motel. Figured you weren't doin 'so bad in here with room and board an' all."

Buffy gives me an irritated look that I almost smile at. But that would probably make her even more upset. An' I don't wanna do that because then she'll just be uncooperative. See. Me an' B, we're not so different. It's just a matter of findin' the right way to talk to her. Just like she once found the right way to talk to me. When I needed it. When I needed her. Least I can do is return the favor, yeah? So no smilin' at her when she's getting pissed off at me.


It's a hiss, an' I know I said I wasn't gonna laugh, but I can't help the lil snort that escapes me.

"Its not funny! You shouldn't be here."

"No, B, I think I should be exactly here."

With that my humor slides off my face. She starts to open her mouth to protest, but the big butch that was eyein' me in line starts makin' her way over. She must have noticed us starin' at each other. That's my bad. I called attention to Buffy. When my attention strays from her, Buffy turns to see what has me so caught up. Her face goes a lil pale, an' I swear to Christ she cowers.

What the fuck? Buffy Summers doesn't cower to anyone.

"B?" It's quiet, an' a question. Is she gonna handle this?

"What's this, Fishy? See something you like? Huh?"

Alright. I'm really tryin' hard not to get into this right here an' now. But I can already tell it's gonna be a struggle not to throttle this bitch right the fuck now. Her big hand curls an' tangles in Buffy's blonde hair, yankin' her head back an' makin 'Buffy yelp.

"Keep your eyes to yourself,  Fish. You're my property."

Buffy's eyes roll up to look at me then her bully. She nods a lil frantically an' her torturer lets her go. I keep shovelin' food in my craw. I might not wanna eat it, but it's keepin' me from pickin' a fight too early.

"Next time I see you with your eyes on her, I'm going to have to teach you a lesson."

Yeah right. Empty threat. It only works on people that have never been in a real fight before.

But when I glance at B, I can see that its workin' on her. I don't like that. This has gotta be that Ditto bitch. She an' her two gorillas swing by my table on the way out to the yard. One of them yanks my tray an' tosses it on the floor as she goes. I watch it clatter down with a lil bit of disappointment. The apple pie looked kinda promising.

"You got something to say?"

The voice is deep and rumbley, like she's chewin' rocks. Not surprising. I just smirk wider an shake my head.


She gives a faint nod.

"Good. Keep it that way, bitch."

Oooo. Big fuckin' words. If she only knew what she was dealin' with she wouldn't be so pushy. I look down an' away in a submissive gesture. It practically kills me to do, but I do it. Once they think they've won they shuffle out. Buffy's slow exhale makes me look up at her. She's ashamed. I can read it all over her face. An' I can't do dick about it right now. I bend over an' pick up the tray, scrapin' as much food as I can back on it before takin' it to the bus buckets. I can feel her heat behind me. Not close. But there. My tray goes in, an' hers clacks down on top of it with a final sound.  

"We need to talk."

She's right about that. We do need ta talk. But it ain't gonna be right now. I shrug an' push right past her so I can make it out to the yard.

"Faith. Wait."

Crap. Didn't she learn anything so far here? I growl softly an' reach for Buffy's wrist. The second we're at a blind corner I yank her behind me in to a dimly lit alcove. Looks like someone takes a smoke here from time to time.

"Look, B, let's get somethin' straight here. I got into a lil trouble. Maybe more than I thought. An it's landed me here. Not so new for me, but that doesn't mean I wanna be stuck in this fuckin' shit hole. Okay? You don't get ta tell me what I should an' shouldn't be doin'. Not when you're in here too."

I don't wanna be harsh to her but when it comes right down to it, B ain't my boss.

"We all have our reasons ta hide."

I watch her pupils narrow as she focuses on me.

"How much trouble?"

That's what she's askin'? Well. I guess it's a fair question. I shrug a lil bit. She knows that means it's more than I'm willin' ta talk about.

"Does Giles know?"

I don't answer. Buffy sighs an' reaches out to rest a warm hand on my arm. We both look at it as our connection throbs almost painfully between us. It's only a half breath of time, but I pull her against my chest in a hug.

"I'm so glad you're here….I didn't know if I could…"

"Shhh, B. We'll work it all out. Just not right here an not right now."

Right now we have to get out of this place or this will get us into trouble. My head pokes out from around the corner for a second. Coast is clear. We walk with enough of a distance between us that no one would think anything of it. Pretty soon that's all gonna be pointless, but it has to be done in the right way. Ya can't just walk into a place like this and upset the balance. There are rules. Once we're outside I head straight for the free weights. Buffy tags along behind me a few steps.

"So you wanna tell me about your lil friend back there?"

I look at the bench-press bar an' start loading some weight onto it. Each weight is nothin' more than a pillow to me, but that's not why I like lifting. Mostly I like the feel of the bar in my hands. I like the steady repetition. It calms me inside sometimes.

"Not really."

I have to smirk at that. Buffy crosses her arms an' shifts from foot to foot. She doesn't even know what to do with herself. Now that's a fuckin shame right there. I sigh an' unbutton my jumper. I pull the sleeves down to my waist an' tie it off before settling on the bench under my bar.

"I'm gonna find out anyway. Might as well tell me what the what is now."

She sighs but I notice that she's watchin' me and not the crowd around her. That's good. I want her eyes on me. Not for any ulterior motive here really. I just like knowin' it's me that has her attention.

"She's been on my case since I got here.  It's no big deal, really."

No big deal? This freak has Buffy all stressed out, an' she thinks it's no big deal? Okay, well I'm about ta fix this shit right the fuck now. I let the bar rest on my chest for a second before pushing up an lettin' it rest in its cradle.

I can see Buffy watchin' me. She's nervous like a caged cat. I stalk over to her, careful of the claws every cornered cat has. I half expect her to pull away but she doesn't. Not even when I get real close to her an' grip the front of her jumper before tuggin' the snaps open. Her eyes go wide but I'm not so much lookin' at that as I am over her shoulder at her buddy. She's watchin 'me just as hard as I'm watchin' her.

"Ya look hot, B."

"Uh….wha…Faith…what are you doing?"

Aw. She's nervous. I can taste it on the air. I grin an' get in closer to her as I pull her sleeves down slowly.

"Relax, B. Just helpin' ya out." Her breath catches when my fingers graze lightly over her arms.

"Now…about this woman. You don't talk to her. Don't even look at her."


I know that took her off guard, cause she wasn't expecting me ta keep talkin'. That's promising. Maybe for later though.

I let my hands roam back up Buffy's arms, an' I gotta say I'm suddenly not so thrilled to have a confrontation right now. I didn't think B would be so willin' to let me touch her like this. But then. I guess I don't know this new broken Buffy as well as I knew the other Buffy. A shadow falls over us, an' I look up, right into those mean, muddy brown eyes. Buffy tries ta turn, but I grip her harder to keep her in place.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing, Fish??"

Fish. I really fuckin' hate that name. I pause. Hrm. Maybe I should stop callin' the kid, Sushi. Cause that's the same right?

"Did I say you could talk to my girl?" Oh, she doesn't like that. Which is fine. I knew she wouldn't. But I'm here now an' I'm not givin' this up. Not without it getting' real ugly. As her fist pulls back I have two seconds to think that she can't get much uglier, but were about ta find out for sure.



I don't know what's happening. All I know is that when Faith started touching me, my brain just dribbled out of my ears. How the hell does she manage to look sexy like…all the time? I can feel Ditto breathing heavily behind me but Faith has me gripped tightly. So turning isn't going to happen. Which is okay by me. I don't exactly want to see Ditto, especially since right now my eyes are riveted to Faith's cleavage. Hey. How come she gets a wife beater and I'm stuck with a regular white T-shirt? So not fair. I could be hotter too if I had a wife beater.

What the hell is wrong with me? Someone is about to get hurt and I'm worried about tanks versus tees.

"Did I say you could talk to my girl?"

Her girl? Really? I glance up at Faith, but she's not looking at me. Just as well. I don't know what I'd do if she caught that hopeful look on my face. I can't see Ditto raise her fist but as I stare at the lines and contours of Faith's face I can tell. My body reacts in tandem to hers and we both move to the right in one swift and fluid movement. Like we're dancing together. The dirty fist goes past in a slight whoosh of air. In that flash of time where it's still, Faith gives my arm a squeeze and we break apart.

If we had been anywhere but here, fighting anyone but humans, I'd probably go back-to-back with her and power through the fight. But we aren't anywhere but here. And these may be questionable humans, but they're still human. I think. I'm pretty sure. Ditto might be a were-ape though. Hard to tell. Still. I take up a spot just behind Faith's shoulders, and far enough back to give her some room.

"I'm gonna fuck you up bitch! Get her!"

Did…Faith just laugh?

My attention goes from the rushing bodies to Faith. Faith and her body. Her perfectly still body. I blink and that's all the time it takes for the whirlwind of motion to kick up. I always did like to watch Faith fight, but there's something entirely different about it when she's fighting to protect me. That wild abandon doesn't seem to be there this time. It's all perfectly controlled. I think. I think this is the first time that I've ever seen Faith actively try to control herself in a fight.

Eventually everything fades out around me. The guards, the other inmates, even the sounds of bones crunching and the hard coughing grunts as Faith lands punch after punch. All I see, all I hear is her. It causes a reaction in my body so deep that I swear to God my clit is throbbing in time to my heartbeat. A sharp crack cuts the air and everyone goes down to the ground, face first, spread-eagled. Faith and Ditto are still rolling around on the ground, but it's pretty clear that Faith has the advantage over her. There's a wet pop and a scream and then stillness.

"Shut up! Stupid bitch. You ever. An' I mean ever, look at her again an' I'll rip this fuckin' arm right offa your body. I'm the new bull in the pen. You got me?"

Ditto doesn't answer, so Faith yanks hard on her arm making her scream again.

"Alright!! I swear…Jesus…"

Tears are streaking down her face and I almost feel sorry for her. It's got to hurt having a person's full weight on your dislocated shoulder.

"Let go…please…please…"

Faith hesitates before looking up at the oncoming mass of guards in riot gear. She slams Dittos head into the ground face first once to knock her out.

"Don't fuckin' forget."

I watch in horror as she lifts Ditto's limp body and tosses it at the first round of guards warily approaching.

"Faith!" What the hell is she doing??

"All part of the plan, B."

 And that's the last thing out of her mouth before the guards fall on her in a pile of batons and Plexiglas masks. Oh my God. She's going to let them beat her unconscious. I start to get up from the ground to run to her but a big boot comes down in the middle of my back, forcing me back to the ground with a grunt. Gravel digs into my cheek, but I don't care. I twist my neck as far as I can to see Faith. She's got her arms up to cover her head, but I can see her face. At least. I can see her eyes.

She looks pained. Okay. Getting the shit beaten out of you is painful. But there's something else there. Something more than the physical pain of the beating. I feel sick to my stomach watching but I don't want to look away. She's taking this beating for me. The least I can do is not look away in shame. Her eyes flick away from mine to rest on Ditto's heaped form. Oh. She feels bad about that. About what she did and how she had to do it. I don't know how I know that, but I do. I know it deep down to the core of my being.

Guilt. That's what I'm feeling. And it's not mine. I concentrate hard on the connection between us, feeling it stretch out from me to her. My body tenses and I start to get up again but the boot comes back down.


I gasp at a sudden surge of fury, and glance back over at Faith. Her eyes are blazing and her hands are down on the ground already starting to push herself up. Fear like I have never known in my life flares up bright and strong in my chest. She's going to kill him for that.


I shove all of that anxiety into the connection, and it makes her stop. Long enough for someone to bring a baton down on the back of her head. Long enough for them to finally take her down. She hadn't fought them. Any of them. She laid there and took it. And she did it all for me. I watch them zip tie her hands and feet before they drag her off. Probably to the infirmary. If they bother to stop there before they chuck her into solitary. A choked whimper pulls my attention away from Faith. Ditto's eyes are closed and she's huddling in on herself.

Finally the weight on my back lifts and I scramble to my knees to take a look around. Faith is gone. Most of the guards are too. Shit. Now what? A brown hand and arm reach down in front of my face, and I blink to focus on it. It's another inmate.

"Easy, white girl. Just offering you a hand up."

Oh. Well. Okay then. I take the hand and haul myself up.

"You got shit on your face."

What? Actual shit? I reach up and brush away the imbedded chunks of blacktop. Okay. Well, as long as it's not actual shit I'm okay.

"Thanks. I think."

I turn to focus on her and notice two things at once. One. She's attractive. And two, she's not human.

"You know, I've had my face smooshed into the pavement plenty of times since I got here and you've never helped me up before. Why now?"

Her arms cross over her chest and she turns slowly from me to watch Ditto and her friends get helped up to the infirmary.

"Never had a reason to before." And she does now? I glance at her warily.

"And now?"

She turns just as slowly as before, but this time to focus on me. I'm instantly caught in her amber eyes. They're so intense, they look like they're glowing. I have to blink to keep my focus and she smiles. God, she's got great teeth. Except for the part where they're just a little too sharp for my liking.

"Wasn't sure you were the Slayer before. Now I am."

Um. What? I know my eyes must bug out of my head at that. She chuckles a little bit and rocks on her heels.

"How's your back?"

My what? Oh. I reach back and touch the soft cotton of my T-shirt. Its gritty. And I'm pretty sure there's going to be a bruise, but it'll heal.

"It's okay." She nods. "I'm Buffy, by the way. And you are?"

I hold out my hand to her and she looks at it for a long second. I don't think she's used to people offering her a hand. And I wouldn't normally but she hasn't done anything weird. Except surprise me by knowing who I am.

"Watching your back until your friend gets let out of the box."

I narrow my eyes and it makes her smile more. Just what I need, another Faith in my life.

"You can call me Ramsey."

Ramsey. Hrm. I nod and start following her toward the building. I note that she's wearing a red jumper too, but the arms are cut off of this one. If I had tattoos all down my arms I'd probably cut the sleeves off my jumper too.

"So, do you often help Slayers in prison?" No. Because as far as I know there are only two and they're both here. Her laugh is warm even if it sounds throaty like a growl.

"Only ones that shouldn't be here."

Annnnnd whaaaaaaat? Let's just cue the music here while I figure out what the hell to say.

"What do you mean by that?"

The doors to the building click locked behind us as we tread the concrete halls. I notice that Ramsey doesn't make a sound as she moves. Even with my sensitive hearing I can barely hear the brush of cotton against cotton as she walks. Trippy.

"I mean that not everyone in the Underground is on Dante's side."

Dante? Who's Dante? What is she talking about? Who is she talking about?

"I don't know any Dante. And I don't know how you know whatever it is that you know. But I do belong here. I killed someone. I killed a kid." She snorts again.

"If you say so." We stop at my cell and she leans against the bars as if she's perfectly at home.

"She's probably going to be gone a few days, but I expect they'll release her back in to the G.P. before too long."

General population. That's where Faith was before. I nod slowly still trying to figure this all out.

"I don't think anyone is going to bother you for awhile anyway, but…all you have to do is call my name."

There's something about the way she says it that makes me wonder. I start to nod but she's already gone.




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