Chapter Four

“Wherever you are
You will carry always
Truth of the scars
And darkness of your faith”
-- Bush, “Cold Contagious”

Faith awoke from her dream with a start. She was covered in sweat, but her skin was cold to the touch. Her breathing was incredibly labored and a dull pain spread its way from her head throughout her entire body.

Faith dealt with the reaction the only way that she knew how. She pulled herself up into a seated position and sat Indian-style. She inhaled several deep breaths and began to meditate.

After a couple of minutes like that, she was finally able to relax a little.

That had been one of her most intensive flashback dreams yet. She'd hoped that they would start to get easier, but it turned out to be opposite; they were getting worse.

Nightmares like the one she'd just had plagued Faith relentlessly after she was first put in prison. However, she figured that it was part of her redemption and simply dismissed them.

The dreams weren't so much nightmares as they were visions from her past, but there wasn't really a big difference between the two. Her life, in her own opinion, was a giant nightmare. The reason that these dreams seemed so harsh to Faith was because she was now looking at her life from a different point of view. What might not have seemed wrong to her then definitely seemed wrong to her now.

The dream that she'd just had was pretty much the same one that replayed the most often. However, Faith was never really given the whole “show.” Never once did she get to see the dream through to completion. It had, for her, always ended just as she grabbed the Mayor's hand to seal the deal. As far as she knew it, that was where her dream ended; her memory didn't hold anything beyond that point.

Something or someone had always blocked the rest of the memory from her, thus holding it back from her dream as well. She never saw the Mayor perform the spell on her, and nothing had ever hinted to her that there was anything further about that particular encounter that she needed to investigate.

She couldn't believe that she'd been so naïve; that she'd rejected Buffy's help like that. And what was worse, she couldn't believe that she'd agreed to work for the Mayor whether she had good intentions or not.

Settling back onto her cot, she sighed loudly to herself.

There was no sense in trying to sleep again. She really was starting to believe that there was no rest for the wicked.

Her mind was flooded with thoughts. Memories of the past swept through her, making her entire body tremble. Suddenly, she heard a sob escape her lips. Then another, and another.

Soon, she was sobbing uncontrollably.

Tears flowed freely from her eyes. She kept seeing Buffy in her mind. Buffy trying to make her feel welcome. Buffy inviting her to Christmas dinner at her house. Buffy coming to the motel to visit her. Buffy involving her in nightly patrols. Buffy pleading with her to accept her help. Buffy telling her she wasn't alone.

Suddenly she was panicked. She knew there was nothing to say to make up for the way she'd treated her. There weren't even any actions she could take to help. Faith felt like an idiot; she knew that she didn't deserve Buffy's friendship, nor her forgiveness.

She continued to have those thoughts as she laid awake for the remainder of the night. As the lights came on in her cell and she heard the sounds of the other inmates waking up, she snapped out of her thoughts.

By that point, Faith had convinced herself that there was no use in writing a letter of apology or explanation to Buffy. Nothing she could say or do could make things right. With that, she reached under her cot and pulled out the spiral notebook.

She opened it to the list of names and hesitantly scribbled out the name from the top of the list.


Faith's POV

This day is definitely goin' by too slow. Sure, every day goes by kinda slow when you're locked in an 8x10 cell, but you do what you can to keep from losing your mind.

I was glad that they let me hop right into the Diploma program. It took up a lot of my time, but I really didn't care. It served as a welcomed distraction. I wanted to get it done and do it right, so I really dove into it. I guess the fact that I scored a 95% on my final exam just goes to prove that point.

Besides studying and reading, there really isn't too much that an inmate can do. Exercise. Write. Draw. Devise elaborate escape plans. Get off. Sleep.

Every now and then, they give you an hour or two of yard time. Not for me, though. Since I've been here, a couple inmates have taken it upon themselves to try to put me in my place or kill me; I'm not really sure yet. Whether it was to prove they were tough or whether they were put up to it by the Watchers Council, Wolfram & Hart, or any number of demon clans, I'll never know.

But I'm not gonna stand around and get beat down, ya know?

So I defend myself. I'll throw down, but I don't go all bad-girl and permanently maim anyone. I give them just enough to let them know that I'm not gonna take their shit. The guards know that it's not my fault, so they go easy on me. I get along well with most of the guards; I think they can tell that I'm special.

Or at least I like to tell myself that. They probably just enjoy the fact that I have a rockin body.

Still, they think it's not a good idea for me to mingle with the general population. The compromise? I get about twenty-minutes of solo yard time a day. I get to do my own thing, seeing as that the guards generally let me get away with just a little more than the average prisoner.

I started doing Tai-Chi and yoga, and that's mainly what I do outside. The fresh air, the sun, the space; three things I don't enjoy the luxury of while in my cell.

I know what you're thinking. Being outside and all . . . do I ever get the urge to run? Sure. What does the caged bird want? I know that I can out-run the guards and hop the wall in a cinch. But I don't. I'm here for a reason.

I don't deserve to be out in the real world.

Someday, but not yet.

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