Summary: Faith gets an unwanted visitor in prison. It forces some changes Spoiler: Through Buffy "Afterlife" #103(6-3) and Angel #44 "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb" Archive: If you want it, just let me know where you're putting it. Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". They were created by Joss Whedon and belong to him, Mutant Enemy, and their business partners. Feedback: I beg of you.
I was in the breakfast line with a few of my friends. Sharon was standing closest to me. She's a light-skinned Black woman fifteen years older and four inches taller than me. She'd worked as an EMT on an ambulance crew until she got hurt. She became addicted to the painkillers, then arrested for stealing more from a hospital.
The inmates, most of them, were in three gangs. Blacks, Latinos, and Whites. There were Asians and others as well, but not enough right then to make their own gang. Mostly all the women went with their own kind, not because they were racist, but because enough others were that it was the safe thing to do. The first day I was there they started pushing me. The second day they didn't. I've got better control of my temper now. I hadn't when I got there.
When Sharon arrived, she didn't really fit. Her features were Black, but she's not much darker than me. She was well educated. She was once in the Air Force, and still half talked that way. Came from a nice middle class family. Most of the Black women were from the slums. Badly, if at all educated. They thought Sharon was too white. I'd gone out of my way to stop anybody from being ganged up on there. Mostly, when I laid down the law, there was nobody left dumb enough to argue. I didn't go out of my way to help Sharon. Didn't know there was a problem. Until I was literally knocked to the ground by the problem. That was still before I had my temper entirely under control.
I stood up and put myself in the gang's way. They hesitated, but didn't back off. There were a dozen of them, and one of me. I was the smallest person there. By forty pounds or more. Sometimes being small and pretty isn't as much help as you might think it is.
Rolanda was the leader of the Blacks. She was a lifer. Big, tough and mean, with nothing left to lose. She'd been there nearly thirty years already, and she was under fifty. She wouldn't ever get out. Rolanda wasn't her real name, but she'd punch anyone who called her anything else. Even if it caused a riot. They told me it did, a few times, back in the day. They said she'd even hit the guards who used her real name.
"This is not your business, little white girl!" she told me.
"Then why did you just make it my business fat Black woman?" I shot back.
"You may be tough, but you can't deal with all of us! Get. Out. Of. The. Way."
She said that like I'm good at taking advice. "Move. Me."
She signaled to Monica, her top enforcer. Monica is probably the second toughest woman in the place. Tougher by far then anyone I'd tangled with there. She stepped in and punches me with everything she had. I've been punched by vampires. I've been punched by demons. I've been punched by Buffy. I laughed at her.
"Is that what you call a love tap?"
She actually growled as she swung again. I let it hit.
"You're never going to get me in bed doing the happy that way." I told her.
She hit me with a left hook that time. I smiled again.
"That was the last free you get." I told her "Now you pay bigtime for everything."
She swung a right hook, which I ducked under. Then I jumped straight up before she recovered and snapped a kick hard into her head. She stopped moving about ten feet away. She was groaning, but not trying to get up. So I was showing off. Big deal. Sometimes you just gotta.
I was looking straight at Rolanda when another woman rushed me from the left. She threw a punch but I caught her fist in my hand. I squeezed. She tried to pull away. I squeezed. Her eyes went wide. I squeezed. She let out a gasp. I squeezed. She fell to her knees and whimpered. She was easily twice my weight. I hadn't even looked at her.
Another big woman charged from my right. Without letting go of the one, I side kicked the next in the gut. She folded, fell to the ground and curled up all fetal and whimpering.
The Black gang had several women from the Caribbean. Jamaican, Dominican, Haitian. One of them was a top lieutenant. Everyone said she was a Voodoo High Priestess. I didn't believe she was too strong, or she wouldn't've still been there. Or if she were, she would have taken the leadership from Rolanda by then. But when Rolanda grabbed her arm and started to whisper to her, I had an idea. Surprised me so much I almost forgot it.
"I used to kill vampires for a living," I told them, looking Voodoo right in the eye. "Your gang isn't even a warm-up."
The Voodoo wannabe knew enough that the blood drained from her face. Two other women also froze in shock. Rolanda had nothing but rage in her face now, and she started for me. Voodoo grabbed her arm and tried to pull her back.
"You can't!" she half screamed. "You can't fight a vampire fighter! She could be the Slayer! She'll kill us all!"
I was counting on anyone knowing any voodoo, or any mojo for that matter, to believe in vampires. To be afraid of them, and to fear anyone who would fight them. I hadn't counted on Voodoo having ever heard of Slayers. Who has? She had one power I did believe in though: Nobody could lie to Voodoo. Everybody agreed to that. They didn't know what a Slayer was. But they were afraid of Voodoo. And the three I had already put down.
I never had another fight with the Black gang.
Breakfast was always boring. But there was plenty of it. I'm a big eater. Surprises the hell out of people.
I felt something prick me on my butt. A voice I didn't recognize spoke behind me.
"The Watchers Council sends its love."
Stupid move. I felt the first dizziness hit, but I'm still a Slayer. Even falling, when I put everything into a punch, it'll hurt a person bad. I don't remember hitting the floor.
I was dizzy and felt all dried out when I came to. My mouth felt, tasted, like I had puked a dozen times and then slept with it wide open. I had a killer headache. Even my muscles and joints were sore, and that hasn't happened to me since I was Chosen. I wasn't tied, so I sat bolt upright. Big mistake.
Sharon was sitting nearby and was startled awake. I was in the infirmary. She was allowed to work there because of her experience. It had outside windows, and I noticed it was dark out.
"How do you feel?" She asked me.
"Water." I croaked back.
She had a quart bottle on the table nearby and held it up for me. I drank it all. That helped. She went and got another bottle, and brought back aspirin as well. Aspirin and non-alcohol disinfectant were the only medicines an inmate could get to without prison staff.
"Coffee?" I asked with no real hope, but this is when I started to believe God might still have a use for me because Sharon had a thermos.
Between the aspirin and the coffee I was ready to live in another half hour or so. It really wasn't a bad infirmary. Bathroom. Shower. Refrigerator. Sick inmates might need some things outside the prison schedule. I even found toothpaste. No toothbrush, had to use my fingers.
Sharon hadn't said much as I pulled myself together. Now I noticed she was kind of starting at me in shock.
"What?" I asked.
"Your heart was stopped. You weren't breathing. I had to do CPR for more than four minutes. I know how long. I've done it a thousand times. Lifeguard. EMT. People don't get up again after four minutes. Even when I got a pulse, it was too weak. Too late. You should be brain dead."
"Yeah, they said that when I was in a coma for eight months too. Guess I'm just a medical miracle."
"But now you're acting like nothing happened!"
"Something happened. But it's happened before, and it'll happen again."
"What did happen? What are the Watchers?"
"People I used to work for. I think that's the fourth time they've tried to kill me. Maybe five." I shrugged "Depends on what you count. The funny part is... Or is that the ironic part? Never can keep them straight. Anyways, the people who want me dead are the good guys. What happened to that bitch?"
"She was taken to a real hospital. I told them to take you too, but the doc disagreed."
"Doesn't matter. This'll be just as easy."
"Easy for what?"
I looked at her, got her full attention.
"When I die, I'm going down fighting. I'm gonna have a weapon in my hand and the bodies piled around me. If I don't have a weapon, I'll die with their throat in my teeth. I am not gonna be put to sleep in a cage like a dog at the pound! Funny how having someone try to kill you makes you want to live."
"But the infirmary is still in the prison. Sure we're separated from the cell blocks here, but there are bars on the windows and doors and guards between here and the exit."
I got dressed and walked over to the window. The wall was about two feet thick. Solid concrete. On the outside of the opening was the window itself. On the inside were the bars. The opening was about three feet high and six feet long. You could reach between the bars and open the glass. The bars were set into a heavy frame into the concrete top and bottom, but there were no cross bars in the middle. Sloppy.
"Remember the fight when we met? What I said to them that scared Voodoo?"
"That you used to kill vampires for a living. That scared her bigtime. Said you might be a Slayer."
"She was right. I am a Slayer."
I grabbed one bar with both hands and swung my feet up to rest on another bar. I did it slow, a bit at a time, but in less then a minute both bars were badly bent. The opening wasn't large enough, so I went to work on the neighboring bars. In three minutes I had an opening I could get through. Sharon was staring at me in complete shock. I went to the bed and stripped off the pillowcase and blanket. I went to the fridge and grabbed whatever looked good, then filled every quart bottle I could find and put them in the sack. The prison was in the desert, after all, and I hadn't eaten all day.
Prison clothes were bright orange jumpsuits for transport, but jeans, white tee shirts and denim shirts for everyday. All with big numbers stenciled on them.
"Take off your shirt." I said to Sharon.
She didn't follow me at first, but I got through the second time. I buttoned up the shirt, tied the bottom together and the sleeves together with the pillowcase inside. Then I had a dark blue pack instead of a white sack. I arranged the blanket in as secure and compact a bundle as I could. Sharon got up and started to strip off the sheets.
"Leave them." I told her.
"We're three floors up," she said "Don't you want a rope?"
"Don't bother. Really don't need one."
I double-checked that I'd thought of everything I could, but I wanted to move fast now. I gave Sharon a quick hug goodbye.
"Take care of yourself now."
Then I went to the window. I held the pack through as I wiggled through and jumped to the ground, holding the pack so I wouldn't crush it. The ground beneath the window was just to the left of the staff parking lot. The lot was brightly lit, which made the ground dark in comparison. I Stood up and waved to Sharon at the window. Then I put the pack over my shoulder and headed for the fence. The fence was tall and electric, with razor wire all over the top. The trick to an electric fence is the same as birds use: Don't touch anything but the wire. No ground, no electrocution. I hit the fence with my feet about four feet from the ground and did to it what I'd done to the bars. Only faster. I was able to rip an opening and scramble through before I attracted any attention. I jumped to the ground safe on the other side just as the alarm started sounding. The outer fence was only eight feet, to stop any idiot from getting to the electric fence. I just dove over it, rolled to my feet and took off running.
They let us watch a lot of TV inside. Keeps us occupied and not causing trouble. Found I really like the History Channel and Discovery Channel. One day the show was talking about this general who said that the radio is the most deadly weapon ever invented by man. I had a boyfriend once. Total loser. Drummer for a fourth rate bar band. I was fifteen. He was maybe thirty. He had a motorcycle and taught me to ride. Drive a car too. His bike was fast, and he was a very good rider. It was the only thing he was good at. He didn't speed. Much. When we did get pulled over once, he pulled over right away. I asked him why; he said no car or bike could outrun a radio.
A Slayer can. Not in a straight line, but on my feet I can move faster than a good racehorse. And longer than a marathoner. The guards had dogs and jeeps, but they kept looking behind me. Guess the secret is not the radio, but the brains behind it. They couldn't imagine how fast I was going, so they kept looking in the wrong place. I can also hide in small places, and get to places people in cars can't get to. The dogs could track me, but they couldn't keep up. I couldn't keep to a straight line. But in the desert I really didn't dare risk getting lost. The lights of the prison itself gave me a landmark for a while. Then the lights on the road. The problem with following the road is that you have to stay close enough to keep it in sight, but far enough to not get spotted. The dark makes that easier, but it makes it tougher to move fast. Slayers do most of their work in the dark. I was used to moving fast in the dark. The Slayer reflexes and Slayer instinct did the rest.
They called the cops for help right away, but it was more than an hour before a helicopter showed up. It kept looking much closer to the prison than I was.
I caught a real break. A freight train moving slow enough for me to get onboard. That was as good as it gets. No one is going to stop a train to search for one escapee. And they run around the clock. Only stopping once in a while. You need to cover a lot of ground quick and quiet, take the train.
It was going the wrong way though. I ended up in Flagstaff, AZ.
I had to get new clothes and food, but I had no money. Want. Take. Have. Funny how being reformed just isn't practical sometimes.
Getting to LA was easy, once I could see the train schedule. Angel had moved since I was there last. By the time I found his place there was at least a dozen people watching it. Some were cops. Some might have been from the watchers. I didn't know for sure who some were. No sign of life inside, so it didn't make sense to try and sneak past them all. Couple of days, nothing happens. No sign of Angel. I checked where I knew Wesley and Cordelia lived. No sign that anybody had been home recently. I checked the hotel one last time before heading to Sunnydale. I saw Willow go in and just wait there. That was scary. That went on a few days, and then Angel and crew were back. I could guess what Willow told Angel, because he took off alone right after.
It didn't take long to get to Sunnydale. The town was a mess. I picked up info from some of the lowlifes and a few demons. Got more spying on the Scoobys. I kept out of sight. I followed them to Buffy's grave. When nobody was around, I stayed near there. I don't have the words to say what I was feeling. Not even to myself.
I was going to leave. Didn't know where too. But whatever had gone down seemed to attract all sorts of demons. The Scoobys tried to pick up the slack. I worked whatever area they weren't. Sometimes I worked around the edge of what they were doing, when it looked like more than they could handle.
They had this Buffy double I didn't get. Was she alive? It was too strong to be a regular person, but they all still acted like she was dead. I had to sneak close, and heard them call it the Buffybot. I have no idea. Spike the vampire was helping them too. I have no idea there either.
One night a few months later Willow led some of them to Buffy's grave, and I could see they were trying some spell. Then a bunch of demons on motorcycles scattered them and started tearing up the town. I took down a couple that looked like they might catch Tara and Anya. Then they were clear enough so I took one of the bikes and headed into town. There was trouble all over the place. I had a dozen or more fights without running into any of the Scoobys. I saw the demons destroy the Buffybot. I wasn't close, so I went to the roofs for a better look. I was ready to jump them when I saw another Buffy. I was frozen in shock for a while. I didn't know what to think. Then some demons jumped some civilians behind me and I took off to deal with that.
It was morning, couple of days later. I was prowling around the magic shop the Scoobys had been using for a base since I got to town. I thought I would try and spy out what was going on. I came in from the back, but something stopped me, and I looked carefully first. The vampire Spike was hanging out behind the place, in the shadows. I never did find out what the deal was with him. Why he was helping the Scoobys since Buffy died. I backed out and went to the rooftops and came back slowly to where I could watch. I got real close without being seen or heard. I saw Buffy come out of the back door. She didn't see me, so I stayed very still.
I heard everything that she said.
..."And now I'm not." She was telling Spike "I was torn out of there. Pulled out ... by my friends. Everything here is ... hard, and bright, and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch ... this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that ... knowing what I've lost..."
She looked up; realized Spike was still there. She looked uncomfortable, got up.
She walked just to the line where the shadows become sunlight, and paused, but didn't turn back to face Spike.
"They can never know. Never." she told Spike.
I listened from my hiding place on the roof while Buffy told Spike she had been in Heaven. I could see Spike's face from where I was and saw the horror in his expression. I could feel the matching expression on my own face. I could barely see Buffy, but her stillness and the lack of expression in her voice were almost the worst part.
She still didn't look back at him, just continued walking into the sunlight.
I didn't move for a moment after that. Then I gathered up my nerve and left my hiding place, crossed the building to where she was walking and dropped to the ground. Not too close. Buffy looked at me, but didn't react in any other way. We locked eyes for a moment, but both looked away. I walked over to where Buffy was, and sat down beyond arms reach.
"You heard?" Buffy asked.
"Yeah." I replied.
"They can never know."
"I wasn't going to talk to them at all."
"How long have you been here?"
"The Watchers tried to kill me, probably right after you died. I broke out and got here a few days later. Been here ever since. Don't think any of your friends have figured out I'm here. Don't want them to. Don't know what I could say to them."
"Not doing great at that myself."
Neither of us said anything for a minute.
"Why come to Sunnydale at all?" Buffy asked.
"The Watchers poisoned me. When I came to, I decided that I wasn't willing to just sit there till they did kill me. After I broke out, I started to wonder why they were coming after me now. They had to have known I was there for more than a year. I thought what if something happened to you? They wouldn't want me to be the only Slayer. Kill me, they get a new one. I couldn't get to Angel, cops watching him, then he disappeared. I have no idea if I can trust Wesley or Cordelia. Came here to look for myself. Stayed out of your friend's way, but picked up enough of the story. It's been ugly here, B. They kept trying to take your place. Too many vamps. I started... backing them up. Protect them without being seen. Almost got caught a few times. They had some rough fights. This town needs one of us. You. What's the deal with that robot, anyways?"
When Buffy didn't go on, I decided to let it go. Nothing was said for a minute. She sat down near me.
Then Buffy asked, "Are you here to kill me?"
I was startled by this, and shrunk back from Buffy.
"I swear to God I will never try to hurt you or the people around you again."
"I half wish you would." Buffy said. "I'd let you win this time."
There was nothing I could say to that, I stared at her wide-eyed for a minute.
"When I left here last time, I went to LA. Some lawyers hired me to kill Angel. I could have. Easy. I tried to get him to kill me instead. He wouldn't. Then you showed up. I wished you would kill me. Or let the watchers do it. You didn't. I'm glad now. Maybe. I think so, anyway. Maybe in a year or two you'll be glad I didn't kill you."
She didn't have an answer for that. She just looked away. We sat in silence for a few more minutes.
"What will you do now?" she asked.
"I got a motorcycle from those demons. Figured I'd head east."
"You could stay."
Our eyes met for a moment before I answered. I think there were tears in her eyes. I know there was in mine.
"I'm not ready. Prison was good for me. I'm not a thinker. Not smart. In prison I had a lot of time to think, and nothing else to really do. I need that. Not prison. I'll die fighting if I have to, but I won't be murdered in a cage. But I need to do a lot more thinking. Haven't thought everything through. Figured things out. Don't know if I ever will. But I have to try."
We shared another moment in silence. Somehow it managed to not be awkward anymore.
"I never hated you," she said. "I was mad enough to kill you, but I never hated you. I think about you sometimes. I did think about you when you were in the coma. I couldn't bring myself to visit. I thought about you in prison, but couldn't think of anything to say. Figured it would just make things worse. I get so confused when I think of you. Friends. Sisters in a way. We clashed the way only sisters can. We're so different. I was horrified. Then terrified. Of the cops. They frightened me like nothing ever has. You deserted me. Saved me. Betrayed me. I was angry. Hurt. Guilty. Ashamed of myself. I failed you. I failed Kendra and she died. I failed you and you became my enemy. I can't straighten out what I feel about you."
"I made my own choices. I deserved what I got. I was so jealous of you. People love you. Nobody ever loved me. Nobody I've ever needed has ever been there for me. Everyone who should have protected me didn't. Maybe my first Watcher would have. She was killed too soon for me to really know. I... I don't know the words... Expected? Was waiting for? Things to go bad between us. Kind of pushed it to happen. It was the only thing I knew. I couldn't see how much you were reaching out to me. Wouldn't let myself see it. Till it was too late. I did hate you. Over that. You had everything I ever wanted. You didn't fail me. It was too late for me before we met."
She looked at me, and our eyes locked again. We stayed that way for a while. Then she got up.
"Walk with me?" She asked.
I got up and walked beside her. Neither of us said anything. After a minute I realized we were headed for her house. When we got there we went inside. She motioned for me to follow her as she went upstairs. She went to the attic entrance and reached in. Pulled out a box. We went back down to the living room. She opened the box and lifted something out. My knife. She set the box aside and held it out to me, hilt first. She must have gone back to my apartment for the sheath. I didn't take it from her. I stepped back and shook my head. My eyes were wide. I was having trouble breathing.
"He loved you," she said.
"He was a monster." I wouldn't say his name.
"Just remember the part where he loved you."
We locked eyes again. It seemed like forever this time. Then I stepped in close to her. I put my arms around her and pulled her tight. Her arms went around my back. Words would have been wrong then. I wouldn't cry when she was in such pain. We stood like that for hours. Or maybe it just seemed that way. She let go, so I did to. I turned to the door. There was nothing more to be said. For the first time in my life I knew I was leaving someplace where I would be welcomed back.
Someday I would come back.
She held the knife out to me again.
I took the knife and left.
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