On the Inside
There was a loud rap on the door, disturbing the silence. Silence so loud it was like a roar. The thing about prison is that you're left pretty much alone with your thoughts. Yeah, there's the regimented routine of shower, breakfast, exercise, lunch, rec. time, dinner, lockup, sleep. But mostly, there's time to think. Some of the cons might be thinking about the error of their ways, others plan the jobs they're gonna pull when they get out. Faith thought about... dark things mostly, things that could get her locked up. If she wasn't already. Nobody should know the things that went on in her head, the sick, dangerous seeds of imagination that swelled and ebbed as the days slowly trickled by. She remembered in detail the things that she had done and she wasn't as sorry as she felt she should be. The only thing she truly regretted was killing the deputy mayor. That was an accident. Everything else was a conscious decision, which she was now paying for. Three meals a day, a roof over her head, a gym, all at the expense of the Californian taxpayers. Sweet.
She was supposed to see the shrink every week, some buttoned up to the neck Harvard graduate whose earnest platitudes reminded her of Buffy. You need to deal with what you've done, Faith. Let's talk about your mother, Faith. "Get out of my face, bitch," was her usual response to that. So every week she went to her counselling session and they stared each other out. She wasn't gonna be the one to break. Eventually Harvard would have to write her off as a hopeless case. Which didn't bother Faith because people - social workers, foster homes, teachers, Buffy's friends - had been doing that all her life.
The peep hole slid open. "Wilkens, you got a visitor. Stand clear of the door." Faith didn't move from where she lay on the bunk, just smirked as she stared up the ceiling. She didn't have a cellmate because she was considered too dangerous. A fight soon after she'd arrived in this hole sealed her reputation among the rest of the women. Everyone kept clear of her, even those dykes that lusted after her in the shower. Maybe, if she got really horny, she might let one of them fuck her. Maybe... She'd been with a girl once, back in Boston. It happened in her fourth of fifth foster home with the daughter of the family she'd been staying with. Kelly, that was her name and Faith had been fourteen at the time, the other girl a couple of years older. The sex was good, even at fourteen she'd had enough experience to know but afterwards, Kelly had acted all guilty and weird around her. She hated how girls did that kinda shit so she'd kept away from them ever since. Except Buffy... The things you want the most you just can't have. But she'd tried and tried and it was part of the reason she was in this fucking place. Because Buffy teased and flirted and then, just when the stakes were high, decided she didn't want to play any more. Well, boo-fucking-hoo, if you can't stand the heat get your tongue outta my mouth.
The painful squeal of the key in the lock sliced through her nerves as it always did. She should've been used to it by now, being shuffled from her cell to the interview room and back several times a day. The cops were determined to pin everything they could on her while she was waiting for trial. Her lawyer, some charity-case jerk from the Public Defenders Office, instructed her not to answer any of their questions without him being present. He was a sweaty little guy in a badly-fitting polyester suit and he was just as scared of her as everyone else was. Actually, there was one exception. Detective Lockley wasn't. Lockely didn't take shit from anyone, you could see that just by looking in her hard blue eyes. And Faith respected that. But not enough to make the cop's job any easier.
The door swung open and the guard marched in. "Up," the beefy black woman said and, with a sigh, Faith slid off the low bunk. She held out her hands to be cuffed. She wondered idly if she could break out of the cuffs - these morons didn't know she was a Slayer after all...
The guard placed a heavy hand on her shoulder but she shoved it off and walked out the cell. The other women watched her as she strutted down the hall, some licking their lips at her. She winked at them, enjoying stirring them up. One of the few perks of being held in custody pending trial was that she got to wear her own gear so she dressed to impress her admirers. Today she was wearing a low cut white tank top and her black leather pants. The grrls really liked her in leather. There were a few catcalls and she rode the attention because she knew stuff about the world; vampires and demons and shit, monsters that they couldn't even conceive of, and they lived out their shitty little lives none the wiser. She was Faith the Vampire Slayer and she could kick their asses if they so much as squinted at her the wrong way. Yeah. It wasn't arrogance, it was fact. And they would never know, until it was too late, until she'd stuck the stake in and twisted it. They'd have that look on their faces, like the deputy mayor. Eyes wide, mouth hanging open. That look of complete shock and, in that moment, complete understanding too.
So who is it then, she thought. Thirty seven days she'd been here and not one visitor. Not that she cared. She didn't have anyone 'outside.' Fuck, she'd made sure that everyone who ever met Faith Wilkens hated her. Wilkens. She'd taken the Mayor's surname because she didn't have one of her own. Funny, just before the Ascension, the Boss had talked about adopting her for real. She missed him, missed the work. Back then she'd had a purpose, one that wasn't playing second fiddle to Buffy Summers. Unresolved issues, her shrink would say but she hadn't told her about Buffy. Basically, she didn't want to know just how fucked up she was. It'd been good; the Boss would tell her what to do, who to scare, who to beat up real bad or who to 'dispose of.' That's how he'd phrase it, while wiping his hands on a tissue. And off she'd go, whistling a tune, service with a smile, or at least a wicked snappy dress sense. He rewarded his girl, his Faith, like the father she never had - her Playstation, man, she missed her favourite toy. The guy even told her to drink her milk. It felt nice to be fussed over, to be praised. Because of that, she was able to overlook the whole eating people deal.
She ran through all the people it might be. Angel. He seemed to be the only one who didn't hate her, but there was no way he could get into this place. Wesley. A twinge of guilt passed uncomfortably through her on that one, about torturing the poor guy and all. That was... a bad judgement call, as Harvard would say. Heh, really getting into the psychobabble here. Buffy. The blonde might've come to gloat and who could blame her? There was so much history between them. Someday she might write B a letter but not yet, the wounds were still fresh. Giles. Nah, the G-man wasn't even her Watcher, he never really cared, just turned a blind eye to her unconventional methods...
Faith reached the door to the interview room and ran out of guessing time. The room was empty and she slouched down on a cheap plastic chair. She put her feet up on the table, ignoring the tut of disapproval from the guard, and waited. A few minutes later the door opened. Faith looked up with an expectant smirk, only to find it wiped from her face.
Faith lost her trademarked tough-girl composure for a split second as she stared at the brunette standing in the doorway, casting an unimpressed gaze over the room. "The decor is very ugly," the girl commented to herself with a grimace then turned her brown eyes towards Faith. Shit, she was more confused than surprised by this. For one thing, she barely even knew this Alice, Ann, no, Anya chick to look at. She was Xander's main squeeze and an ex vengeance demon and that's about all Faith knew. Seemed mighty protective of Xander too, if she remembered correctly. She watched Anya carefully as she took the seat opposite the slayer and noticed that Anya didn't look nervous at all. Actually she looked pretty bored.
"You're probably wondering why I'm here," Anya began in a slightly haughty tone, as if her presence here was some great inconvenience to her. Maybe it was. But the slayer was sure as hell intrigued.
Faith just quirked an eyebrow, awaiting an explanation. She kept quiet, not wanting to show just how caught off guard she was by this. She expected almost anyone, including her dead mother, to visit rather than Anya so she didn't know what to say. Which was a first for her, she usually had a knock-'em-dead quip stored for every occasion. None seemed to apply to this situation.
"That Buffy girl sent me," the ex-demon continued in an ambiguous tone. Faith couldn't quite work out if there was dislike or grudging respect in there. Xander had always been into Buffy, so maybe Anya resented the blonde for that. Fuck, why do you care? Stop trying to work this chick out.
Faith nodded. "Why?" She wanted to squash the tiny hope that sprang up in her at the mere mention of B's name. She didn't want to be that Faith anymore. This was the new, improved Faith who didn't have a weakness for blonde slayers.
Anya gave an indifferent sigh. "She wanted to check if you were still criminally insane." She studied Faith intently, as if some clue to her mental stability might be stamped on her forehead. "Are you?"
Man, this girl was even more blunt than Faith was. And she like it, liked Anya. As if this wasn't screwy enough... She gave a low, husky laugh which only made the other girl frown. "Well, don't hold back, girlfriend," the slayer replied sarcastically.
"Clearly, you are insane. Can I leave now?" Anya pushed back her chair but Faith reached out and grabbed the other girl's hand, her reflexes still as sharp as ever. The ex-demon didn't even flinch which both disappointed and surprised the slayer. She enjoyed the fear she evoked in others. Intimidation was a tool, it gave her power. So she was a little put out that it had no effect on Anya and removed her grip on the brunette's hand.
There was a little flash of anger in Anya's brown eyes but mostly she was impatient. "Hold on," Faith said, knitting her eyebrows together in confusion. "Why did B send *you*?"
Anya shrugged. "How should I know? I was visiting LA and she asked me to visit you." The brunette paused momentarily, narrowing her eyes and it was enough to make Faith shrink back into her seat. Fuck, she was glad she'd never encountered this babe as a demon. "You hurt my Xander." It was an accusation, clear and simple.
Faith considered all the bitchy retorts that she could so easily have given. Normally, she wouldn't have thought twice about rubbing salt in the wounds. But with Anya... the girl was what-you-see-is-what-you-get. There was no bullshit there, probably cause that was a real human trait. She had a kind of honesty that most people couldn't deal with, the kind that was mistaken for arrogance, the kind which didn't win you many friends. But Faith found it inspired honesty in herself.
"Well... he got in the way. It wasn't anything personal..."
"That's what I keep telling him," Anya snapped, glaring at the wall, "he just gets in the way and puts himself in danger. He's good at hiding, it's a skill, I don't see why he doesn't appreciate that." She paused mid-rant and fixed that glare on Faith again, speaking ominously. "I don't like Xander getting hurt."
Yeah, I'm seeing that, thought Faith sardonically. "Look... for what it's worth. I'm sorry," the slayer said with only a little awkwardness. Hey, that wasn't so bad. "He's a real nice guy," she tagged on the end as some lame qualifier.
There was the sound of a sharp little breath being drawn in. "You would know. You slept with him after all. You were his first sexual partner." The ex-demon glowered darkly, "That makes me extremely annoyed."
Fuck, this chick was relentless. "Anya... he filled a gap, that's all. We weren't partners. Trust me, he isn't my type," Faith said and didn't even try to hide her grin.
"He's not good enough for you?" Anya demanded in apparent astonishment. "He has a large penis."
Faith laughed out loud at that. This was too, too fucking insane. She *really* liked this girl. "I remember," she snickered. "But that's not it. I like guys but..." she trailed off and stared pointedly at the other girl, slowly arching an eyebrow. She watched, with amusement, as confusion turned to realisation on Anya's face.
"Oh," Anya said quietly, then nodded. "Well, that explains a *lot*." She looked thoughtful now, her eyes losing all trace of their anger. "It's quite common actually. When I was - " Anya stopped herself, glanced through the corner of her eye at the guard who had an expression of studied ignorance on her face, and leaned forward, dropping her voice to a conspiratorial whisper, "in my previous profession, quite a lot of women expressed the wish to become lesbian. Who can blame them? Throughout the centuries men have proved to be untrustworthy, unfaithful and mean. Before Xander I even considered it myself." If it was possible, Anya seemed to have an ever lower opinion of men than Faith did. Which was really saying something.
Faith grinned broadly, her attention captured. "Really? Did you have anyone in mind?" Things were just becoming interesting...
"Wilkens, time's up," the guard interrupted.
Faith turned her head to look irritably at the woman. "In a minute," she shot back. "This I *have* to hear." She looked at Anya again but as soon as she did, the guard forcibly dragged her out of her chair, knocking it over. "Get your fucking hands off me!" she yelled. She didn't know where it came from but the rage just took hold of her and the next thing she knew, she had the guard pressed up against the wall, her forearm pinning the woman's neck. The scene was like a haze before her eyes and she was aware of her own rapid breathing and the absolute terror on the guard's face. Almost as soon as she lost control, it slipped back into place, leaving her disorientated. She backed away slowly from the officer and glanced over at Anya who had an expression of subdued interest on her face that was quickly followed by mild disappointment. Looked like Xander's chick wanted to see her really go some at the guard. Faith smirked.
"Now you have something to report back to B. Tell her Faith went crazy again," she said with a nasty grin. "Oh, and tell her and Beefstick I said 'hi.'"
The guard nervously reached for the door handle, opening it for Faith. "Be seein' ya," the slayer said and threw a wink over her shoulder at Anya before walking out, a swagger in her step.
"So," Faith drawled, cocking her head to one side, "how did B take the news?" She turned dark brown eyes on the girl sitting in front of her and gave one of her patented Faith 'I'm having a blast even though the shit's hit the fan' grins. It'd been three days since Anya's previous visit. What was more surprising than the original visit was that she'd come back. Why would she? They weren't pals, that's for sure. Far from it. Still, here she was, in the interview room, not looking quite so... cool. Seems news got around this joint fast because the next day her shrink had been asking questions about her visitor. Harvard said it was an encouraging development and that Faith should arrange further contact with the outside world, that it would be conducive to her rehabilitation if she established a network of support. Whatever the fuck that meant. Her answer had been 'screw that.'
"You mean your continuing reckless behaviour? Your unprovoked attack on an innocent correctional department officer?" Anya asked cheerfully.
Faith's grin widened. "What else, girlfriend?"
"She seemed upset but I told her you said 'hi.'" The ex-demon frowned slightly. "It didn't seem to cheer her up at all. In fact she left abruptly to go do slayer things."
Well, Faith couldn't conceal her amusement at that. Even from here, she could still get under B's skin. And she was hardly even trying. Sometimes, when she was real bored, she'd lie on her bunk and daydream about the rematch that she and Buffy might have one day if she ever went back to Sunnydale. But, really, she wasn't interested in that anymore. Her heart wasn't in revenge as much as it used to be. Was there really anything left to avenge? The scores were even now, as far as she was concerned. She was after bigger and better things. What they were, she wasn't sure, but she intended to go find them when she got out of this hole.
Anya cleared her throat loudly, a gesture that she obviously hadn't mastered yet. "Well, this silence isn't at all awkward," she commented.
There was something about Anya's directness, the way she maintained eye contact long after it was comfortable, like she hadn't quite grasped the basics of interacting with other people, that was highly unnerving. Generally, Faith was so laid back that no one made her nervous but, damn, she was getting fidgety here. Which put her on the offensive. "Why exactly are you here?"
The brunette seemed puzzled. "Humans enjoy company, don't they? To talk about the weather and other things of little consequence."
Faith snorted. "Not me. I'm on my side. That's all I need." She didn't need anyone's pity, especially not the feigned variety.
"Okay," Anya said quietly. She stared down at her hands on her lap. "I was only offering to help," she paused to eye Faith disapprovingly, "there's no need to be so rude. You should be grateful. It's not like anyone else is rushing to see you."
Is this girl for real? She *did* know this was Faith she was talking to, right? Faith who'd beaten, murdered and maimed people, demons, whatever she could get her hands on. She'd tried to strangle this chick's boyfriend, for chrissakes. Being rude just didn't figure into it. "Listen, you seem to think I'm some kinda, I don't know, fucking Mary Poppins or something. Let me clear it up for you. I'm not some misunderstood good girl gone bad and I don't need your help." She could see that Anya was hurt, the girl didn't hide her emotions very well. Or at all really. Briefly, Faith felt a stab of remorse and fought it - she hadn't cared about hurting people for such a long time. Why the fuck start now?
There was a strained silence between them. Anyone else would've left but Anya stayed in her chair. "The bad girl act is all very... attractive," the ex-demon said suddenly, her brown eyes flicking over the slayer, "but it won't make you any friends and that can be very lonely. Speaking as a person without friends, I would know." Well, it was kinda obvious that Anya was only allowed hallowed admittence into the Scooby Gang because she was fucking Xander. It was a bonus that Faith hadn't received for doing the same thing. Heh, now that Red was batting for the other team, maybe she'd screwed the wrong Scoob. She could just picture the wicked petrified look on Willow's face if she'd ever come onto her... Now *that* woulda been a hoot and a half.
That little spark of intrigue fired up in Faith again. Mmm, so Anya thought she was 'attractive' (accompanied by that hot look) and she knew from experience when someone was checking her out. Men, and some women, had been looking at her like that since she was in her early teens. She'd always known it and exploited it. All just part of the game. "What makes you think it's an act?" she asked with a dangerous smile. A delinquent thought crossed her mind. Pretending to stretch her legs under the table, she deliberately brushed her leather clad calf against Anya's bare one, feeling the heat of skin through the leather. The other girl stiffened slightly. Oh, baby, don't wanna know what you're getting into... "You wanna be my friend?" she asked, a flirtatious edge to her words, and followed with a wolfish grin.
She could see the effect she was having on the other girl. Anya was clutching the edge of the table as Faith pressed her leg more firmly against the brunette's. She watched the ex-demon's tongue dart out to moisten her top lip. Fuck, she was getting off on this. "So, you never told me who you had in mind when you thought about giving up the meat and two veg," Faith said, leaning forward, dropping her voice to a husky murmur. She lifted one eyebrow, boring her dark eyes into lighter brown. She already knew the answer, of course, it was why Anya was still here now, why she'd come back. But she wanted to hear her say it, because they were playing by Faith's rules. A smile spread over her lips, watching Anya gasp lightly as she moved her leg between the other girl's thighs. When Anya didn't answer, the slayer withdrew her leg and witnessed the flash of frustration in brown eyes.
"It was you," Anya admitted in a rush of words and Faith rewarded her by replacing her leg, focusing her gaze on the other girl's dilated pupils.
Oh, man, this was so fucking crazy. They were eyeballing each other, Anya practically humping her leg, both so turned on and there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. With a tiny growl of defeat, Faith sat back abruptly, breaking all contact with the other girl. "Don't come back here," she said tonelessly and looked towards the guard. With a quick nod, she stood up. The door was opened for her without a word.
"Faith..." Anya stared at her in open confusion and something approaching anger. She wanted so badly to kiss that gorgeous, angry little mouth, to warm that skin with her hands. But she didn't look back, just walked out the door. Yeah, it was a game, and she'd won, but what's the point if you can't claim your prize? So she'd just go back to her cell, do the five digit disco, and deal. Maybe, for once, she'd picture a face that wasn't like Buffy's. Brown eyes instead of green, brunette instead of blonde, angular features, generous lips... Oh, yeah.
'He used to give me roses,
I wish he would again,
but that was on the outside,
and things were different then...'
Prisoner: Cell Block H theme tune 'On the Inside'
Faith was momentarily engulfed by steam as she brought the laundry press down, a task made easy by her slayer, superhuman strength. The stocky brunette had quickly grasped the power struggle that went on in the laundry, the kitchens and the prison grounds but it was almost unheard of for a remand prisoner to muscle their way to the top. Well, Faith had done that, and then some. If she was gonna be in here for thirty years she had to guarantee herself some kicks or she really would go crazy. No one could match her for strength or agility or her improvised fighting style. Yeah, she'd been in quite a few scrapes since she got here and had put a fair number of women into the infirmary. Which didn't exactly get her into the governor's good books. In fact, she'd even done a stint in the solitary confinement block and that sucked. Big time. So the laundry room was her territory and the press her throne. Plus, she looked real butch operating it and half the woman were in lust with her. Bonus.
In the laundry she had her own little hand-picked gang, mostly misfits and underdogs. Maybe she was getting soft or something but she felt like she had to look out for them. She'd gone wrong on the outside but maybe she do right by them in here. Protecting the innocent and weak and all. That's part of what being a slayer is all about, right? And there wasn't exactly a lot of vamps in here so... Anyways, there was Doreen, a fat blonde chick who was a couple of years older than Faith, inside for the second time for prostitution. Real dense sometimes but her heart was in the right place. She also had the hots for Faith. That was wicked obvious and in no way reciprocated. Faith didn't dig on pork. But Doreen had brawn though and that was useful in here.
Then there was Lizzie, an ancient (there was a-guess Lizzie's-age competition that had been running for years) prune-like wino who was probably gonna die in the slammer. The old-timer claimed that's what she wanted all along, all her friends were in the pen and she had nothing to go back to. It was a real shame. As soon as Lizzie got released on parole she would go to some liquor store and steal some 'grog' just to get back in here. Fucking crazy. But she treated Faith like a granddaughter and that was kinda cool 'cause she never knew her grandparents - they croaked long before she was even born. While Lizzie was frail, she had a sly mind and knew this place inside out, having been in Wentworth County Penitentiary longer than most. She also spent time tending her lethal rocket fuel home-brew and the screws were still trying to ferret out the exact location of her rumoured still.
The other women who worked in the laundry did what they were told and things mostly ran smoothly. 'Course there were rival gangs but the one they had to watch out for was Margo's mob. Margo was vicious and petty. A pretty fucked up combination and, somehow, the wiry bitch had got a switchblade in here. She had a little protection racket going on and liked to threaten people with her knife but it was mainly for show. Faith doubted Margo had the balls to actually use it. She was shit scared of Faith anyway but they were cruising for a big confrontation. Mouse, who delivered the laundry carts to the various wings of the prison, kept her ear to the ground and told Faith when anything was going down.
The buzz today was that there was a new inmate arriving in H block - the place most of the laundry babes called home. One of the girls who had the privileged position of working in reception had seen her being inducted. It was the time-honoured routine of standing on the white line, the mug-shots, the shower and the body cavity search. Not exactly a real hoot. Finally, you meet the governor, listen to the little pep talk and go. Half the women, the nice girls from good families who somehow wind up in this place, are snivelling by this point, all remorseful and shit. The rest, the ones that have been through it once, twice, whatever before, just coast through it, totally immune to the whole thing. Faith had been in juvenile detention for a couple of months, back when she was thirteen, between her second and third foster homes, so she kinda knew what to expect. Plus, she wasn't the melodramatic kind.
Letting the press rest, Faith approached Lizzie and Doreen who were folding sheets. "Smoke-o, girls," she said in a voice loud enough for all of the women to hear. There were sighs of relief and good natured banter. Faith bummed a cigarette off Lizzie who grumbled something about ungrateful youth and it had barely touched her lips when one of the screws came in. It was Mrs. Morris, who, for a guard, wasn't half bad. The blonde woman with the Seventies throwback feather cut had a deserved reputation for being firm but fair - Saint Meg was her nickname - and she genuinely cared about the welfare of the prisoners, despite the fact that her husband had been killed in a riot in this same prison. So Mrs. M was okay in Faith's book.
Anyways, Mrs. Morris stood beside the open gate, next to the huge washers. "Ladies, I'd like to introduce a new prisoner to you." Just then the girl stepped into the laundry room, hair still slicked back from the recent shower and wearing the prison-issue blue denim dungarees and check shirt. The cigarette fell from Faith's lips and Lizzie, quick as a flash, caught it before it fell on the floor. Holy fucking mother of shit.
"This is Anya," Mrs. M announced with a friendly smile. "I'll leave you to get acquainted with the other women," she said to Anya whose eyes were locked on Faith. "If you have any trouble, don't hesitate to find me or any other officer, alright?"
The brunette nodded absently and the officer left. Faith blinked, unable to believe her eyes. What the fuck? Doreen and Lizzie had noticed the strange look on Faith's face. "You alright, love?" Lizzie asked, in her frog-like voice that spoke volumes of a lifelong love of cigarettes and booze. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Do you know her?" Doreen added, pulling back her chubby chin and casting a look of instant distrust toward Anya.
"Fuck," was all that Faith could utter. It was Anya who made the move to approach the unlikely trio of women, shoving her hands into the pockets of the unflattering denim dungarees that were at least a size too big. Faith took the cigarette off Lizzie again and lit it with a slightly shaking hand. She needed to to be cool here. Just chill. "What the fuck are you doing here?" she demanded. Oh, real cool, girlfriend, she chided herself.
"I wanted to see you," Anya replied defensively, "and you weren't exactly taking appointments." She looked at Doreen abruptly, as if she could smell or sense something. They eyed each other for a moment, like they were sizing the other up. Faith guessed that, after over a millennium in the vengeance demon business, Anya could still detect the wrath of a jealous woman at twenty paces.
Faith stared at the brunette incredulously. "So you got yourself banged up? Jesus Christ!" Faith took a few quick, successive drags on her cigarette. It was something to do with her hands that would stop her throttling this crazy chick.
Anya gave a shrug. "Incarceration seemed like the most direct option," she paused, giving Doreen another slit-eyed look, before leaning towards Faith, lowering her voice. "Can we go somewhere private? Where we can be alone. Together. Without the fat one. Or the decrepit one."
Faith leaned in close to the brunette and noticed that Anya took that opportunity to peer down her low-cut top. "I hate to bring up reality but this isn't a fucking hotel. We can't just sneak off to my boudoir, y'know." But, fuck, yeah, she really wanted to 'cause Anya smelled so clean and fresh and so sweet. And the wet-look was really working for her.
"Oh," Anya said despondently. "I hadn't thought about it that way. Well, when *can* we have sex?" she asked loudly. All eyes in the laundry were suddenly pinned on Faith and the new girl.
At this Lizzie choked on the cigarette hanging out the corner of her mouth, coughing up plumes of smoke. "Bugger me gently," the old woman said, shocked, under her breath. Doreen's mouth had formed a tiny pout like a cat's arse and her eyes were boring into Anya's head but the brunette ignored her.
Faith raised one eyebrow. Anya had committed a crime just to get laid by her? That was truly fucked up. That was psychotic. It was also very flattering. Man... She shook her head in stunned disbelief. Just then Officer Vera 'Vinegar Tits' Bennett walked in, casting her beady eye at the idle women. "Get back to work, you filth," she barked and stalked out again. The women grumbled and did as they were told because Vinegar enjoyed making life hell for all of them. Frigid old bitch.
Stubbing out her cigarette, Faith stroked a stray damp lock of hair off Anya's face. "Later," she said, her lips brushing against Anya's ear, before returning to the laundry press. Anya watched her, marvelling at just how butch Faith looked working that press...
"You can help us, love," Lizzie said, distracting Anya from her ogling. After a few minutes of conscientious folding, Lizzie eyed the new prisoner, her gossip antenna up. "So, what're you in for?" Despite her animosity, Doreen's curiosity was piqued too.
Anya took a breath. "Well... it's a long story."
"What... completely starkers?" Doreen asked in a tone that conveyed total stupidity.
A chorus of derisive voices all mocked Doreen's question. Faith just smirked, because she was still trying to get over the mental image of Anya... naked... dashing across the UC Sunnydale football field in front of several thousand people. Man, she would've paid good money to see that. Then again, if Anya got her way, she'd be getting her own private viewing pretty damn soon.
"Well, that *is* the point of streaking, love," Lizzie responded, patting the blonde girl's hand kindly. "I remember back when I was a girl, I did a bit of streaking meself." The old woman had a faraway look in her eye and sighed in reverie. "The 1932 Wulabalooga County croquet championships final...."
There was a sudden silence then, as everyone tried not to contemplate a prune-like old wraith like Lizzie streaking. Several noses wrinkled in distaste and some had to choke back this morning's porridge which was threatening a reappearance any second.
"Yeah, but, Anya, why did you get chucked into jail for that?" Doreen asked after a moment. And, for once, it wasn't a dumb question that left her lips.
"As I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me," Anya continued, commanding her audience once more, "I was arrested for indecent exposure after my boyfriend Xander dared me to streak at the ritualistic sporting event - "
"The football match, Doreen," Faith explained, slipping another cigarette bummed from Lizzie between her fulsome lips.
" - but that great oaf of a policeman groped me. So I punched him on the nose."
Faith raised an eyebrow, impressed, as she lit the cigarette. "Knock him out?"
The ex-vengence demon gave a self-satisfied smirk. "He was at least a foot taller than me. It makes me miss my old line of work. Retribution is so much fun."
"Were you a contract killer or something?" Doreen asked dubiously, edging away from the brunette.
"No," Anya said, casting a withering look at the blonde. "I was the patron saint of scorned women. Well, before I was sentenced to live out the rest of my life as a human female, at least," she added in a bored tone.
"Oh. Right," Doreen said blankly.
Lizzie pursed her lips. "I was scorned once, y'know, when I was a girl..."
Ignoring the old woman, Anya walked up to Faith, gazing up through her eyelashes. A little trick she must've learned over the years. "Are you still angry with me? Even though I did it all for you?"
"No," Faith responded sarcastically. "I'm real thrilled you exposed yourself to thousands of people, just for me. Fuck, would you jump off a cliff if I told you to?"
Anya pouted, obviously hurt. "I just wanted to 'cheer you up.'"
"You don't get it, do you?" Faith said softly, and reached out to lift Anya's chin. "If I get convicted, I could be in here for most of my life. Are you gonna beat up a cop every couple of weeks just to keep me sweet?"
Anya was silent for a moment. "Not if I'm going to keep breaking a nail," she replied seriously. "But I know a good lawyer, maybe she can help with your case. I'll call her."
Faith shrugged. "Do what you want, I just don't rate her chances."
"Rate who's chances?" Doreen asked, sidling up to the pair.
Anya's eyes swivelled to the rotund blonde, giving an evil glare that had made hundreds of thousands of men tremble during the course of a millennium. "Excuse me, were you invited into this conversation, fat girl?"
The blonde's lower lip jutted petulantly. "I'm not fat, I'm big boned. So why don't you shut your face?" She took a threatening step towards Anya. "Before I shut it for you. Freak."
Anya folded her arms, totally unimpressed by Doreen's butch posturing. Angered further by the other girl's lack of intimidation, Doreen lunged and grabbed a handful of Anya's hair still damp from the shower. The rest of the women formed a cheering circle around them, eagerly anticipating the catfight unfolding before them. Despite the frustrations inherent in being cooped up all day long, fights broke out rarely enough for them to still be entertaining. As the two girls struggled, pulling hair, biting and scratching, Lizzie quickly made her way round the audience taking bets on the outcome. Yeah, so Lizzie was Doreen's best friend but it didn't stop the sly old buzzard making a few bucks out of her.
For her part, Faith hung back beside the laundry press, watching the action like the others. If it got out of hand, she'd step in but... she wanted to see what this Anya chick was made of. In here she wouldn't last five minutes unless she could handle herself. Right now Doreen had her in a headlock but the tables quickly turned when Anya stomped on the blonde's foot. It allowed her to slip out of Doreen's grasp, catching her off guard. Taking the advantage, Anya landed a left hook on Doreen's double chin, knocking her onto her ass on the cold, concrete floor. "I'm gonna get you, you bitch!" Doreen screeched, enraged.
Just then two officers came running in, having heard the commotion from the corridor. One was Mrs. Morris, who struggled to help Doreen to her feet, and the other was 'Vinegar Tits' Bennett. "What's going on here?" Mrs. Morris demanded calmly.
"Have you been fighting again, Burns? It'll be solitary confinement for you this time," Vinegar said to a red-faced Doreen.
Doreen shook her head angrily and Vinegar turned her beady stare to the new girl. The woman, whose hair was pulled back into a severe bun, looked Anya up and down with a look of disgust which the ex-demon returned. "And you. What have you got to say for yourself? In here five minutes and you're already causing a fight."
Anya looked to Faith, opening her mouth as if she was about to say something.
Don't. Say. A. Word. That's what Faith communicated fiercely in her eyes. See, cons lived by a code of honour. The one thing you never, ever do is rag on another prisoner. The consequences of squealing were harsh and the cons meted out their own kind of justice. But how the hell was Anya gonna know that?
Before Anya could put her foot in it, Faith stepped down from the press, positioning herself between the ex-demon and Vinegar. "She tripped Doreen up, accidentally," Faith said, plucking her cigarette from her lips and flicking ash deliberately onto the officer's shoe. "Shit happens, y'know."
Vinegar narrowed her eyes. "Watch your language, Wilkens, and if I want your opinion, I'll ask for it." She turned her attention back to Anya. "Well? I'm waiting, did Burns start a brawl?"
Anya glanced at Doreen who was shooting daggers at her. "No. I must be clumsy," she replied flatly. It was obvious to everyone there, including the guards, that she was lying but there was no proof so they couldn't pin anything on Doreen.
Vinegar gave a twisted smirk. "I'm watching you, Burns. The next time you slip up, I'll be there to throw the book at you."
Mrs. Morris chose that moment to intervene. "Alright, ladies, back to work now." With that the officers left but not before posting a junior officer at the gate to keep an eye out for any more trouble.
Doreen approached Anya slowly, hands buried in her pockets. "You coulda dobbed on me. But you didn't."
"If that's a thank you, I accept," Anya said condescendingly, "but you're still fat."
"Why you..." Doreen raised her fist, ready to whack the other girl but Faith grabbed the blonde's hand before it could connect.
"You lay one finger on her," Faith said in a low, dangerous voice, crushing Doreen's hand painfully as she spoke," and I'll break each of 'em. And that's gonna be wicked painful. Got that, Dumbo?"
Wincing, Doreen nodded. "I got it, I got it. Just let go of my hand will ya? Jeez." Once released, the blonde wandered away, nursing her hand and her grievances, casting dirty looks as she went. Reluctantly the other women returned to their work in silence, disappointed that the fight was cut short. Muttering to herself, Lizzie scurried around and returned their bets.
"That was very chivalrous of you," Anya murmured, batting her eyelashes at Faith.
Faith frowned. "Huh?"
"The way you stood up for me, it was very endearing."
"Yeah, well..." Faith ducked her head, trying to hide her embarrassment behind a curtain of dark hair. "You're gonna end up dead or maimed if someone doesn't look out for you."
Anya took a step closer to the brunette. "What about you? Who's going to look out for you?"
"I don't need anyone. Never have, never will. I'm five by five." That was a line she knew by heart now. Fuck, she'd said it often enough that even she was starting to believe it. She could see, though, that Anya wasn't buying it. So Xander's chick wasn't exactly an expert on human interaction but she seemed to have good instincts.
The bell rang then, informing them that it was time for lunch. Talk about saved by the bell. The women dutifully formed two lines and waited to be led out into the corridor by the guards to the prison canteen. As they walked along the cheap linolium-floored corridor, Faith was surprised when Anya's hand slipped into her own. What surprised her more was that she resisted the urge to throw off the other girl's trusting touch. Shit, she really was going soft...
"She ripples. Like Xander used to. Before he got fat," Anya said in reverie, her voice little more than a breathy whisper. "She doesn’t sweat as much as he did but it still makes me want to have sex with her."
Anya, Doreen and Lizzie stood in the doorway of the prison exercise room which basically consisted of a few benches, a punch bag and some weights. It made Giles’ meagre workout space in the library look impressive. The three were watching Faith work off her aggression, and the sludge that passed for breakfast, on the punch bag. The brunette was literally knocking the stuffing out of it, with tufts of man-made fibre flying off in every direction.
"God, doesn’t she just make you want to have sex with her?" Anya said aloud, mesmerised by the flexing of muscles under the sheen of perspiring skin.
Lizzie and Doreen swapped glances. "Well…" Doreen ventured only to be cut short by Anya’s narrowed eyes facing her.
"That was a rhetorical question. I’m the patron saint of scorned *me* now and if I find out you’ve been so much as thinking about having sex with her." Anya paused, smirking slightly. "Let’s just say I still know a few spells and I’m not adverse to casting them on annoying fat girls…."
Doreen swallowed uneasily and edged her gaze towards Lizzie. "Um, Lizzie, I think I left something in me cell. Y’know, something *important*." She widened her eyes pointedly.
"What, love? Oh!" The old woman took the hint, hooking her arm in Doreen’s and they both sped off down the corridor as fast as their legs would carry them. Despite a wheezing Lizzie having to pause for breath a few yards away, her old ticker not being what it used to.
With a roll of her eyes, Anya turned her attention back to Faith who was now doing bench presses. The punch bag was lying in the corner, the stuffing spilling out of it onto the floor. That was the fifth punch bag the slayer had gone through in two weeks. Anya sat herself on a vacant bench, admiring the taut lines of Faith’s body; the suppleness of her limbs as the other girl began doing one handed presses. Just watching Faith’s physical prowess was nigh on a sexual experience.
Then she stopped and Anya was filled with disappointment. She wanted to see Faith use the skipping rope again. All that bouncing up and down with no bra on… The slayer was wiping the sweat off her shoulders and neck with an unworthy towel and it was such a waste. But Anya knew what would happen next and she wasn’t nearly so displeased. Grabbing another towel, Faith slung it over her shoulder and sauntered down the corridor to the showers, trailed closely by Anya.
The ex-demon waited until the slayer had disappeared into a cubicle before quickly shirking her prison-issue denim dungarees and plaid shirt. She could hear Faith humming a tune and she recognised it as something by that irritating blonde female, Britney Spears. Navigating through the steam-filled room, Anya opened the cubicle door and slipped inside.
Immediately, Faith whipped round to face her. "Anya? What the fuck are you doing?" she demanded roughly, wiping a bit of soapy foam away from her eye.
Anya talked directly to the other girl’s breasts. "I can’t wait any longer. I want to have sex with you." She took a bold step closer, their bodies almost touching. "Now."
Faith just stared at her for a moment, watching Anya watching her. Dark eyes travelled with the rivulets of water cascading down the other girl’s body. The slayer licked her lips and backed Anya up against the cubicle door, reaching around her to lock it. Underneath the harsh tang of institutional soap, Anya could still detect the faint scent of Faith’s sweat. She didn’t need any more prompting than that.
Grabbing Faith’s face with both her hands, Anya pulled her down for a kiss, her tongue sneaking between the slayer’s parted lips. She whimpered slightly as Faith pressed closer, crushing their slippery bodies closer. Abruptly, Faith broke the kiss and turned her attention to Anya’s neck; kissing and sucking at the damp flesh as the ex-demon hissed her pleasure at the sandpapery roughness of Faith’s tongue on her skin. Then the slayer’s hands were on her breasts, circling pebbled nipples with calloused palms before replacing one hand with her lips. Anya felt her knees weaken but Faith’s body wedged her upright against the door and she couldn’t tell whether it was Faith or the deluge of hot water that was making her skin prickle and sweat.
Mrs Morris was making her usual rounds when she passed by the shower block. There had been numerous brawls and knifings in this particular part of the prison over the years so the officers always made a point of checking that unseemly was going on. Peering inside, she saw two sets of clothes thrown haphazardly on the floor. With a maternal roll of her eyes, she ventured inside and hung them up neatly.
It occurred to her then that there was only one cubicle occupied. Which meant… oh dear. Normally, it was prison procedure to intervene during … liaisons between inmates. However, judging by the high-pitched moans coming from the cubicle in question, Meg didn’t really want to see what was going on in there. With a blush creeping up her neck, Mrs Morris tiptoed out in embarrassment hoping that Vera Bennett wouldn’t stumble across the amorous pair. For everyone’s sake.
Faith sat in the uncomfortable plastic chair, looking at the two lawyers with thinly-disguised boredom. The skinny-ass brunette one was peering over Faith’s inch thick file, occasionally glancing at the slayer with wide eyes before returning to the page. ‘Course, Faith knew why she was so surprised. How many eighteen year-olds have a list of serious misdemeanours as long as your arm? So the murder charges had been dropped last week – lack of evidence, wouldn’t ya know? The Mayor had covered her ass well. But there was whole bunch of other stuff – assault and battery, theft, breaking and entering, assaulting police officers… Plus a few grand theft auto charges back from when she was in Boston.
So, all in all, she wasn’t exactly a model citizen.
The other lawyer, a glossy Oriental chick was just staring her out. She couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like the woman was growling even though her lips weren’t moving at all.
"Ling, behave," the whippet-thin brunette said in a warning tone to the Oriental chick, not looking up from the file in her hands.
Faith was beginning to wonder how exactly Anya knew these lawyers ‘cause their firm was based in Boston. Anya said they owed her a favour or something and now Faith’s curiosity was bugging her. Still, if they thought they could get her outta here then she wasn’t gonna start asking questions. How they were going to do that was the thing. No judge was gonna think she was some innocent dragged into a life of felony.
She never could carry off the pastel, butter wouldn’t melt look that Buffy had. She remembered how damn stupid and awkward she felt in that peach dress the Mayor had her try on. So the judge would take one look at her and think ‘you are what you wear.’ If you look like a badass, more often than not, people are gonna think you are one.
The brunette lawyer gave a strained, slightly nervous smile and closed the file, placing it on the desk in front of her. "So, Faith, um, we’ll be basing our case on the fact that you were emotionally and psychologically unstable during the period you committed these crimes."
"Great, Ally," Ling said coolly, "why do we always represent the crazy people?"
Ally glared at the other woman. "As I was saying," she continued pointedly, "I think we might be able to convince the jury that your broken home, unhappy childhood and the murder of your guardian led you to commit these crimes."
"Juries always love a good sob story," Ling added in a disinterested tone. "They’re vultures like that."
Faith grimaced. "This isn’t gonna involve me wearing a peach dress, is it?"
Ally glanced at Ling. "Well, you might want to, um, tone down your clothing. A little."
"The judge is going to think you’re a cheap slut, so you shouldn’t dress like one for the trial," Ling clarified, to yet another annoyed stare from her co-council.
With the tension going on between these chicks it was obvious they were hot for each other. Faith smirked to herself. What was it with repressed straight women? Heh, this might be fun after all. So she let herself tune out as Ally outlined their strategy and idly thought about her tryst in the shower with Anya.
Besides, there was always the back-up plan if they couldn’t get her off ‘cause there was no way in hell she was spending years cooped up in this shithole…
To be continued...