by Sing To Angels

He was dying.

Alone in her cell, Faith stared at the peeling grey prison walls. She tried to ignore the twisting ache deep in the pit of her stomach. The bond wasn't supposed to be this close.

Faith never felt it at all until she tried to kill him. With every shallow slice and burn, the link grew stronger. It had incensed her, made her even more passionate with anger and the fear she could smell coming from her hands. Her very own hands, which were clenched so tightly that blood pooled in the well of her palm.

"It wasn't supposed to be this way," Faith whispered as she studied the dagger of moonlight carving the darkness from a box they euphemistically referred to as a window in her dumpy hole. He was out there, bleeding blackened silver rain down in the grass. Yeah, real poetic.

Faith had time now to read and educate herself. If he hadn't hated her so much, he might have been proud. But that didn't matter now.

Wesley was dying.

It wasn't fair. She had worked so hard, hoping someday to earn some shred of forgiveness, a curt nod, anything but the sense of impending-death peace that lit her brain on fire from righteous anger.

"Fight it, Wes," she muttered, wrapping her arms around her knees. "Fight it, damn you. Don't give in just 'cause you're tired, and you fucked up. You gotta fight to die, now fight to live. Make it right."

She shouldn't care. It wasn't as if he would give a fuck if she laid dying somewhere unredeemed. But those damn Slayer genes, well, they had something else in mind. There was supposed to be a bond between Watcher and Slayer. She and the English Patient never had it before. Then she tried to kill him and there it was; all mystical, and glowing, and waiting to strangle her with writhing tentacles of muffled thought and shared emotion.

He could feel it, too, she knew he could. He was thinking about her, how he was just like her and he had failed. Failed her? Fuck, it was a two way street, y'know. After all, she was the original bad seed. The wild child. Nobody could have tamed her down. At least not anybody but the good ol' California correctional system. Even they only helped so much. The burn for a good slay was still rampant in her blood. The fire of every kill was raging inside. Kill doesn't equal slay; two totally different animals, she had to remember that. Demons, slay. Humans, kill. Killing bad, slaying . . . good?

His breathing was shallow. Not dead yet, but might as well be. He had given up the ghost and lay there, just waiting for the end to come; accepting, willing, hell, even happy.

It pissed her off.

"You asshole," Faith bit out, her teeth clenched so hard they ached. Don't give in. Don't leave me alone here, you're all I have. The only voice I hear in the night. The only connection to a world that doesn't want me, never did, but I want it. I want it so bad that it hurts. Always has hurt. Full of pain. Heaven doesn't want me but Hell does. Yeah, they want to see the anguish. I yearn for the light, but all I get is a wicked blow. Ain't that a kicker?

She punched the wall with her fist and her knuckles were quickly smothered in blood. Faith withdrew it from the cracked surface and tentatively stretched her fingers. His heart was slowing down, getting quiet. Just a little beat every few seconds. Life's blood was almost spent in the grass. Faith crossed her arms over her chest, her fingers gripping her thin shoulders. Come on, come on. You can't go yet. I still need you. Crap, what a baby she had become. Needing someone, needing a fucking English ex-Watcher man who wouldn't piss on her body if it were in flames.

Come on.

Faith's knees buckled and she dropped to the floor with a thud. There it was, what she had been waiting for. The other shoe finally fell. She pounded the floor with her hands until they were bruised and dry like his body. That was it, she was alone. Not just a little bit, but one-hundred percent alone-in-this-world. She crawled across the floor up to the wall and banged her head against it a few times. When blood seeped down from her scalp, she stopped.

Turning her head, Faith couldn't see the moon outside of her tiny cell any more. The clouds had enshrouded it in their delicate mantles and flown it away. Darkness. Just a lot of darkness. Empty and yawning, waiting to swallow her up with hundreds of teeth all gnashing her skin to shreds. Vacant years ahead, nothing to fill them with. No voice hidden in the darkness, telling her that a world existed beyond her cell bars. It was waiting for her. Gonna give her another chance. But none of it was there anymore, it disappeared with the voice of her former Watcher, the Englishman, Wesley.

Faith lifted her hands to her trembling cheeks and slowly drew gashes down the sides of her face with dull fingernails. Her palms slid up and pressed against her throbbing temples. Oh God, it really happened. He's gone. I'm by myself for real this time. All alone. Oh God.

"No!" she screamed, her voice hoarse and broken.

The agony was overtaking her, crushing her. The guards were coming. They had rough up the prisoner who can't keep her damn trap shut and sleep. Maybe they would kill her. Yeah, sure, and she would meet Wes on the other side. That would happen. Wes should wind up in a nice, cushy Heaven where all the white hats go. And she would go on a screaming joyride straight to Hell.

Faith had always been of the opinion that where you go in the afterlife is determined by how you view yourself in this one. And if that was really the case, well, she knew that Wesley was making a room all cosy for her on the other side of the Hellmouth.


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