Title: First Day of My Life
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.
Summary: Set two years after Chosen. Faith decided to return to prison after the big battle but thanks to new lawyers Angel provided, her sentence is reduced to two years. Once she's out, where will she go?
Sunlight slowly began to creep into the small cell on an ordinary Thursday morning. Normally, the small change in the area, the slow appearance of light, would be enough to wake up the only occupant there. Not today though. No one had been asleep to be woken up in the cell that morning.
Faith hadn't even attempted to lie down after lights out the previous night. Instead, she had only sat on the bed with her back pressed against the cool wall and listened to all the sounds the prison had to offer. All of them were familiar and oddly comforting since the building, her cell, had been her home for the last two years.
While prison was far from a place that anyone should find comforting, Faith had had to make the best of the situation. She knew it had been necessary to keep her sanity in the place that should have been her home for most or even the rest of her life. There was some comfort to be found in the routine of what went on in the prison and Faith accepted it easily.
For the first time during the entire last two years there was no one else in the cell with Faith. The guards had turned their heads and had let her normal cellmate be elsewhere for the night, leaving her alone with her thoughts. She wasn't sure where the other woman was and in the end, she really didn't care. Faith had tried her hardest to keep her head down and keep out of any prison drama that many of the women seemed to feed on.
She looked at the walls, noticing how bare they were for the first time. She knew others tried to decorate their surroundings in order to make prison life more bearable but to her that would've made it worse. Faith didn't want to be reminded of what she was missing on the outside. No reminders needed to grace her walls.
After Sunnydale had fallen and after she had proved to everyone that she could be counted on to be one of the good guys, Faith had a choice. She was a fugitive and even though she was given an out by both Willow and Buffy, there was a part of her that knew taking that out would be the wrong choice. The crimes she'd committed hadn't been paid for and she wanted to do the right thing. That's what she thought she was doing by turning herself in.
Of course, she hadn't counted on one thing and that was Angel. When she had said her goodbyes to everyone as they left to patch up the injured and decide where to go next, she didn't expect they would give what she was doing a second thought. Faith thought all of them were too busy to even contemplate what she was doing in going back to prison.
It only took a week to figure out her assumption was wrong. She received a visit from Gunn and one other man and it didn't take long to see they were trying to get her out of prison the legal way. Faith had no idea what happened but Gunn turned out to be an excellent lawyer and it was all she could do to stop her new legal team from getting all the charges against her dropped. It didn't feel right.
Gunn said she was being foolish by not letting them do their job but Faith did let them get some of the charges dropped, most importantly the murder charges. Her confession was thrown out and without it there wasn't much else to make the charges stick. Evidence had a habit of getting lost in Sunnydale and due to the high mortality rate, witnesses disappear. Lacking both of those things, her 25 to life sentence faded away.
What she was left with was the charges from LA and Gunn had that reduced to three and a half years, out in two with good behavior. That included escaping from prison, too, something Faith figured would have been added on to the deal. It should have been a dream come true.
All it did for Faith was that it made her nervous. In prison she had to deal with her demons but that was all. The other prisoners knew not to mess with her and she stuck to herself. Most of her days were spent sticking to the routine, working out and reading. Over the last two years she'd found she enjoyed reading when it didn't involve research.
She knew outside of the prison everything was unknown and she didn't know what she would do when she was out. It's not like she kept up on current events or what else was going on in the world. She didn't watch TV. The thought in the back of her mind would always be if the story was hiding something supernatural and that was something she wanted to stay away from.
When she turned herself back in two years ago she'd asked all of gang not to visit her and not to write. Faith didn't even want a phone call on holidays. She didn't want to know about how many vampires and demons were in Cleveland or anywhere else in the world. She didn't want to know about the new slayers and she especially didn't want to know if there was a new big bad she was missing out on.
All of that would just make her feel guilty that she had chosen her own redemption instead of trying to be one of the gang and save the world. Faith didn't want the extra guilt. She had enough of it already because of all the things she'd done.
Some shouting rang out from another part of the prison and Faith figured the first risers were just starting to wake up. There were a couple of cells that held prisoners who didn't like each other very much and started mornings trading punches. The guards would eventually get involved but not until they tired themselves out a little.
Of course, there were always the cellmates that really liked each other and she thought she'd probably hear that in the next half hour or so. Her own cellmate had tried to initiate something when they'd been paired together but Faith shut that down quickly. She didn't want that kind of complication.
Faith looked around her cell again. It surprised her that she was going to miss the four walls that surrounded her. They had given her a sort of peace that she was thankful for and it was one of the reasons she had chosen to go back. It would have been hard to concentrate on her thoughts on the outside.
Her eyes once again moved toward the light and thought of where she would be at the end of the day. It scared her that she didn't know.
The morning had been a blur and for Faith that might have been a good thing. It meant she didn't think.
She knew that most people would laugh at the notion that she was a thinker but most people didn't know her, especially not in the last two years. Faith didn't think there was really anyone who knew her before she went to prison either but that was partially her fault. She had kept her guard up and didn't let anyone in, even when she wanted to.
That had happened with Buffy, both when they first met and when Faith had broken out of prison to help with the First. She had wanted to let Buffy in and she knew there were a couple of times the other slayer wanted the same. Now that seemed to be a lost cause.
"Ready to get out of here, Lehane?"
Faith looked up at the guard as she stood up in her cell. "Sure, Eddie."
"You know, most people are thrilled to get the hell out of here," he said as they walked out of the cell and down the block. Prisoners began to shout but they ignored them. "Especially when they've stayed out of trouble like you have."
"I'm thrilled," Faith said dryly.
He laughed. "Most guards don't pay attention but I do. I know some big legal team fought to get your sentence reduced. I figured we'd be together until I retired."
Faith couldn't help but laugh at the comment. "Me, too, Eddie. Me, too."
They walk in silence for a minute, Faith looking around at the cells and corridors. She had to admit she was happy to be getting out even if the thought of being free made her anxious and a little scared. When she really looked at the place, she had to admit it was depressing.
When they got to the doors Eddie placed his hand on Faith's shoulder, causing her to look at him. "Take care of yourself, Faith. Don't let me see you back in here."
"Won't happen," she said. "I wanna get as far away from all this as possible."
He gave her one last smile as the doors opened and Faith walked through alone. The people on the other side gave her back the possessions she came in with and then she changed into some actual clothes. That was one thing that felt incredible: no more prison uniform.
After signing some papers she was hastily given a bus schedule and left to her own thoughts once again. Faith looked down at it and thought about where she wanted to go. She definitely wanted to get out of California but outside of that she wasn't sure. She didn't even know if she wanted to anyone from the gang or not.
In the end she just decided to go as far as she could with the few hundred dollars Angel had left. After that she just wanted a clean hotel room with clean sheets and a hot shower. And maybe a nice, hot meal, too.
She walked outside and squinted into the sun. Faith took a deep breath and let it out slowly, savoring the fact that she was outside and would never have to go back in. The thought put a smile on her face and the apprehension of getting released was starting to fade away.
When she walked to the road there was a car waiting there and she wondered if there was someone else getting released that day. Maybe someone who actually had someone who cared on the outside. Then a person exited the driver's side of the vehicle and Faith frowned as she recognized who was now walking toward her.
"Andy?" she said as she walked toward the car. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
"Good to see you, Faith," he said as he nervously smoothed out the gray suit he wore.
"How the hell did you know I was getting out today?" she asked and was surprised that she was angry he had shown up. To her, it meant that someone was keeping tabs on her in prison and that wasn't what she wanted.
"Did you think we weren't going to be waiting for you when you got out?" he said but it looked like all his confidence was fake. "Buffy sent me to get you."
Faith sighed. She had hoped that if she chose to meet up with the rest of them it would be on her own time but it didn't look like that was going to happen. "What if I turn you down?"
Andrew pulled out a piece of paper and started to read. "Faith, don't be an idiot. I know you want to do your own thing but prison should've put some sense into that head of yours. We need you to join the team."
When he looked up Faith shook her head. "She really has a way with words, doesn't she?" She sighed again and looked around. There were one else around and she knew she would be waiting awhile for a bus. That only left her one option since she really didn't have anywhere else to go. "Where are we headed?"
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