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People, Places, and Things

by Minim Calibre

If she ever gets out, the first thing she's going to do is take a bath. She doesn't know where--hell, she doesn't even know where the fuck she'll go if they do release her. Maybe that hotel of Angel's. Not that he's been around lately, but he's the closest thing she's got to someone on the outside.

A bath's the only dream Faith lets herself have anymore. The time in prison has given her some discipline; Wesley and Giles would be so fuckin' proud of her. She works, she trains, she even meditates, kind of. Last Christmas, Angel gave her a copy of Zen For Dummies. She hasn't read more than a few pages, but she sleeps with it under her pillow, so maybe she's absorbed some of it.

A big old tub, a whole bottle of bubble bath, and maybe even a rubber-fucking-ducky. As dreams go, it's a small one, and it's still about as likely to happen as snowballs in hell. No family, no friends, no prospects, and no patience pretty much all add up to no chance at parole. Faith's life is a cell smaller than most people's closets, and it's likely to stay that way.

She thinks of the bath when she's in the showers. The soap is cheap and hard, the water temperature seems to depend on the whims of the guards--they seem to like it best when the water's just this side of freezing or so hot you feel like a lobster in a pot--but it's as close as she can get to what she wants.

She thinks of that bath she had when she was in B's body, thinks of running her hands down the curves and hollows that had kept her up for so many sleepless nights in Sunnydale, and kept her company through the sleep that wouldn't end. She knows that body now inside and out, knows what it wants, what it needs, where it tickles and where it lights up like the Fourth of July. If she ever lets herself have a second dream, she knows just what it'll be. In the meantime, there's TV, the laundry room, and short stints in the yard.

There's also a girl. Faith's not to keen on becoming the women in prison cliche poster child, but there's something about this one that reminds her a little of B, small, blonde, kind of uppity. She's in for manslaughter. Says it was self-defense, and Faith believes her. She's seen the scars. It's not what she dreams of, but what the hell--it just might be close enough.


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