Summary: All Faith wants is a nice quiet day to day existence to figure out who she is and what she wants. Then in walked Gwen.
Disclaimer: Buffy and the gang belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Setting: Angel season 2.
Notes: Written for cadence_k as a backup for the nevermet ficathon, though I believe the orginal request was by seraphcelene. Big, big thanks go to empressvesica and hardlyfatal for looking over this for me - you're both superstars.
Characters: Gwen/Faith, paired or meeting but with some sort of tension
Three requirements OR a prompt: references to Angel
What don't you want?: happily ever after
Acceptable range of ratings: Anything through NC-17
Cross-posted to facets_of_faith and faith_slash.
The first time Faith saw her there was… something. Looking back, Faith hated to use the term ‘electricity’, but damn if it didn’t fit Gwen.
Those smoldering glances they would exchange across the room, each one a challenge thrown down and answered in its turn. All non verbal, of course – the guards in that particular prison had a habit of cracking down on any possible hookups.
‘Heat’ was close. But nothing summed up Gwen more than ‘electricity’.
Up to that point, Faith had been trying to play it cool. Keep her head down, don’t stand out, blend in with the crowd. Try to get her head sorted. That’s what Angel had told her to try and do, and naturally enough she’d failed completely.
Prison life is very much concerned with power; who has the power? Who do they follow? Who follows them? In a strict hierarchy, there is a place for everyone and everyone has a place. Kinda ironic, Faith later mused, that everything was so orderly and structured but composed of some of the most chaotic people around.
Anyway, whenever a new person came inside, they’d be assessed immediately by a hundred staring eyes. Weaknesses would be noticed, every hesitation analyzed and then placed into a slot. Faith was young, good looking, withdrawn into herself and not known to anyone.
“Fresh meat!” was the politest term screamed down at her.
Slayer reflexes are a wonderful thing to witness in action against vampires, demons and assorted nasties. To watch a Slayer in full motion and control is, as one nineteenth century Watcher wrote, “a vision of grace and movement, interrupted only by moments of savage aggression and sheer strength. A symphony of pain conducted by what would appear to be a young and innocent girl. Truly, a wonder to behold.”
A Slayer’s speed and power is to help her against creatures of far greater speed and strength. Three of the more aggressive dykes attempting to make a move in the shower room? Against a naked Faith, armed only with a towel? To call it a fight would be cheapening it. Fortunately, only two of them required long stays in the infirmary, and Faith made the first of her many trips to Solitary.
Solitary was Faith’s salvation in so many ways. All she wanted was to just be for a bit, to sort out the shattered fragments of her life, to figure out who she was and where she was going. No one to talk to her, to distract her, or to stop her from dealing with her ghosts.
And all the time outside those four walls, a debate raged through the prison populace about her. No one could understand her or get close to her. Some said that anyone who could deal that much damage to others in so little a time was dangerous, and needed to be cozied up next to. Others viewed her as a threat to their own power, and someone to be eliminated or co-opted. The guards saw her as like a tiger, patiently waiting the time to turn and strike, but always, always dangerous.
Angel was the only one who saw her as just Faith.
Things followed a strict cycle for a while. Faith would come out of Solitary, having fought her own demons for a while, and attempt to merge back into the prison population. Angel would visit, somehow always seeming to pick those times when she was among the other prisoners. They would talk for as long as they were permitted, of both their pasts, of things done and undone, things said and unsaid, of those they’d hurt and left behind.
The longer she was back in the general population, the more her fellow inmates forgot. Once again, people would try to fit Faith into a pattern, to define her in their terms, to have her with them or against them. Inevitably, someone would attack her in some way, Faith would retaliate and she would return once more to her welcomed friend, Solitary.
Everything changed the day Gwen Raiden was admitted.
For once, Faith was in her newish non-Solitary cell, high up in one of the bank of cells on the second level. It was a reasonable size for two people, and one of the more sought-after ones to have. Marianne Wilson and her grouping of assorted suck-ups and sycophants controlled the cell arrangements due to one of her ‘girls’ working in the offices. Prison power is made up of these tiny little advantages when used to its fullest extent.
Wilson was trying to get Faith into her little group, and was now trying the carrot approach on her. Faith had to admit-- as cells went, it was a nice one. Even had a decent view. Not so many people around her which wasn’t too bad either, considering that bitch Jonni had tried to stick a shank in her only two weeks ago.
Sara McCabe, her cellmate, realized what was going on before Faith did. “They bringing in the new bitches, man!” she exclaimed rolling off her bunk and pressing up against the bars. “Fresh meat!” she whooped.
Faith rolled her eyes, but joined her at the cell door to gaze uninterestedly downwards. As good a way as any to pass the time, she supposed. The first three women pushed into the block by the screws were your run-of-the-mill female inmates; tattooed, arrogant and just like everyone else there.
But the last one….
She was different. For one, the guards weren’t actually touching her. She had long, strikingly red hair down to the small of her back, and she strode into the block as if she was doing the guards a favor. Her standard issue one-size-fits-nobody prison uniform seemed to cling snugly to her body, and she looked very much out of place.
For the first time, Faith got an inkling of how she was regarded by the other inmates.
The newcomer’s striking good looks stunned everyone for a moment. But they soon recovered, and pressing up close to the edges of their cells, started with the normal mix of catcalls, jeers and threats. A small smile crossed the face of the young woman (young? What? Three, maybe four years older than her, Faith estimated) and one hand trailed casually near the iron railings that led upwards and throughout the cell block.
As she touched it, a spark of static electricity jumped in series, along the line of every single cell door that women were pressed against, causing all the inmates to suddenly jump back and swear. Rubbing their sore body parts, the catcalls soon started up again, if in a more ragged manner than before. There were a few grumbling mutters about the antiquated power system mixed in this time.
Except for Faith, who remained exactly where she was, hand still gripped tightly around one bar. Her attention was fixed firmly on one particular red-haired inmate below her. As if somehow aware of this particular observer, the object of her fascination looked up and their eyes met.
The first of their smoldering gazes. There was a challenge implicit in that look and for the first time in ages Faith felt something responding deep inside her. Question asked, question answered.
“McCabe?” said Faith, her voice steady and firm. “Tell Wilson I want a word with her. Then start getting your shit together.”
Her gaze traveled down once more. “I want a new roomie.”
She was even more spectacular close up.
Gwen strode into her new cell in a way like she was parading along a catwalk. Fully on display, and confident in herself – very much ‘look and don’t touch’. Her prison outfit seemed to hint at things hidden beneath the surface, teasing and tantalizing any onlookers.
“I’m Gwen Raiden,” she stated. “I’m your new cellmate, apparently.”
Something in the way she stood, something in the way she moved, something in the way Faith had to stop thinking in song lyrics. There was definitely something about Gwen Raiden that intrigued Faith.
Marianne Wilson had not proved co-operative to begin with. She’d made the mistake of assuming Faith had come as a supplicant, begging to join her little collective. All she’d wanted from Faith was a new enforcer. Faith had tried (not all that hard admittedly) to explain that there was no way in hell she was gonna do that kind of shit for anyone.
Wilson had then made the mistake of slapping Faith. Well, trying to. Slayer reflexes came in very handy for things like that. Tonya and Sharon, Marianne’s two hard women, had jumped in to protect their boss, and things had escalated.
Faith grinned inwardly as she remembered the stalking through the cell block for the next two days. An odd rash of dislocations, broken arms and accidental falls down the staircases seemed prevalent throughout anyone connected in any way to Marianne Wilson’s group. And each and every time, she was there. Some distance away and obviously having nothing to do with whatever misfortune had befallen, but present and smiling.
After the tenth accident, Wilson capitulated. Making it clear to everyone present with eyes, she approached Faith at mealtime. And the grapevine went wild. Rumors started soaring through the entire prison. Faith was making a move; something was going on. At the back of her mind, Faith knew she was letting them slot her into the hierarchy, making her a known quantity. But she didn’t care.
She was doing this for Gwen.
“So what you in for, Raiden?” she asked almost casually, knowing exactly what the grapevine had said.
“Huh,” snorted Gwen, throwing back her hair with an annoyed sweep, “Some crap charge of breaking and entering. My lawyer’s appealing it now.” She glanced up, eyes dancing a dare, “And what should I call you, Lehane?”
“Faith. Just Faith’ll do. And I know your secret, Raiden,” she said, staring down from the top bunk at her new roommate. And just for one brief lightning speed moment there, her new roomie had tensed up. Yes, Gwen Raiden was definitely hiding something.
“Look, I’m flattered and all, but like I told my last cellmate, I just don’t go that way, okay?” said Gwen, one eyebrow arching upwards before returning to arranging what few things she’d brought along. Before she could even move one bottle, there was a presence suddenly behind Gwen and she found herself jerked upright by one arm and staring directly into Faith’s eyes.
“I wasn’t talking about that,” Faith spoke calmly and slowly, each word falling deliberately between them. Raising Gwen’s wrist up so that her hand was almost between them, Faith dropped her voice, “I’m talking about what you did before. What you can do, electro-girl.”
Gwen snatched her arm out of the surprisingly strong grasp, and glared at her. “What the fuck are you talking about?” she angrily whispered.
Faith chuckled grimly. “I was like you when I first came in here; lost, alone and putting up a brave face. Thing is, I was different.”
Gwen snorted. “Yeah, right. Different – like you mean you like….” Her voice trailed off, as she watched Faith bending the steel bed frame easily between two fingers. “Fuuuck…” she eventually got out.
“Unlike most people, I know when something ain’t right about someone – and why,” Faith commented, casually bending the frame back. “I can tell you’re human easily enough, and that ain’t no magic shit you got going there.”
She threw herself back up onto her bunk, and fixed Gwen with a firm gaze. “I know it’s real though, and that means one thing. We freaks gotta stick together, cos sure as hell no-one else is gonna look after us.”
A brief flash of cold calculation passed across Gwen’s face. “That makes sense, I suppose. So what – just the two of us then?” she said, offering her hand.
A small tiny spark jumped between the two of them as Faith reached out and shook it firmly. She smiled. “You and me, Raiden. You and me.”
Night in the cellblock was always…. interesting.
After lights out, there was always quiet. A strange calm would fall, waiting impatiently for time to pass by. And then the noises would start. Soft, passionate noises. Of kissing and caressing, holding and touching. A quiet crescendo building of gasps and moans.
Soft noises, just out of the range of hearing, but all too easy to be heard by a Slayer. Faith wasn’t surprised by any of this behavior – whether it was one woman relieving herself, or two cellmates coming together under the cover of darkness. Stick that many horny women in one place long enough, something was gonna happen.
It wasn’t even like she was a stranger to that sort of thing between women. Back in Boston, before all the crap that happened with her watcher, she’d been wild. Young, hot and up for anything that promised a good time. Threesomes, foursomes, hot lesbian action, whatever. ‘Get some, get gone’ had been the only mantra she lived by.
But for some reason, it seemed different now. Whereas before she’d just stayed silent and awake, staring sightlessly at the ceiling of her cell, and wishing they’d just get on with it and leave her in peace, now she felt turned on.
Her hands moved beneath her top, gently stroking her firm breasts. She teased them softly, never quite moving in for the kill, feeling the heat inside her start to rise. Unbuttoning her top as quietly as she can, she started to tweak and caress the hard nipples, each tiny stroke sending a jolt through her. God, it had been so long since the last time she’d done this – and even then that had been in Buffy’s body.
The image of Gwen just lying there beneath her shot through her mind, and she pushed it back down immediately. Still, she felt her breathing start to accelerate as she rolled her nipples between her powerful fingers. The longing continued to build inside her, as she began to shift around uncomfortably, desperate not to writhe in pleasure that openly. Her legs found themselves opening, and the warm heat between her thighs only grew.
One hand snuck downwards, trailing over her hot and sweaty skin, sending a ripple of desire through her. Again her mind conjured a vision of Gwen, with that look in her eyes stroking her. “God….” she breathed, lost in the fantasy for a moment.
Her fingers reached the damp spot, and Faith felt her body arc upwards in the sheer delight coursing through her. Stroking a finger up and down the hot slit, she moaned again at the pleasure and desire within. Dipping one finger inside for a moment, she realized just how warm and moist she was already. Flicking her clit with the thumb, her pulse started racing faster than ever, her breath now coming in short pants.
Lost in the moment, she wished it was someone else there. Someone else’s finger, someone else’s tongue licking her. Prodding her hot pussy, a surge of pleasure running through her veins as a thumb traced delicate circles around her clit. Someone with long red hair that Faith could run her hands through as she ate the Slayer out.
Her finger started to pump in and out faster and faster as her orgasm built. Sweat glistened on her arm as she added a second finger to the motion. God, she needed this. Oh god, she needed her. “Gwen!” she whispered into the darkness, as she felt her pussy lips grow ever more puffy and wet; as her nipples hardened even more; as yet another wave of passion spread through her.
“You only had to ask,” came the whisper into her ear, and another finger joined the motion between her thighs. And with that, Faith exploded. Bright, brilliant white light soared within her as her body twisted and spasmed. Only Gwen’s hand clamped down over her mouth stopped her from screaming loudly.
Lying there, panting, she caught Gwen’s gaze in the dim light. “Thought you….thought you said you… didn’t go that way,” she managed to get out, still coming down after that incredible high. Her body tensed up again as Gwen slowly pushed her finger in deeper and more deliberately than before.
“Like you said, Faith,” Gwen said, lowering her head down to gently lick one outthrust nipple, “Us ‘freaks’ got to stick together.” If Faith had noticed the odd undercurrent of self-loathing in that sentence, it was lost in the sensations coursing through her as the woman standing next to her started a rhymic pumping with her finger.
And when Gwen slowly trailed her warm, teasing mouth down Faith’s body, pausing only to give Faith another of those challenging looks, that was it. Oh god, that talented tongue… The way Gwen’s spare hand trickled along Faith’s body, sending a slight micro current through her..... Faith didn’t think she could take much more of this bliss. Gwen lowered her mouth and licked Faith’s hot, wet, waiting pussy, and Faith just gave herself up to the moment and stopped thinking for a few hours.
Something wasn’t right.
Faith could feel it in her bones, in her Slayer instincts telling her that something was off. All her survival talents, honed to a fine edge by growing up in Boston and supercharged by Slayerness, told her that trouble was coming fast.
But not the where or the who or the how.
Estelle Diaz strolled out of her cell, chatting to Simone Swanbuck busily, and almost ran straight into Faith. Her look of sheer panic and almost babbling for forgiveness amused Faith. Nothing to worry about there.
So Faith prowled the prison, scowling at most people that even thought about getting in her way. Even the guards all mutually and mutely decided not to bother doing anything about her. No-one wanted to get in the way of this glowering black cloud that stalked the block.
Her thoughts raced, darting from one subject to another like wildfire. She should be happy, dammit! Hot sex with her room-mate at night, with fiery debate and all the fun of making up in the daytime. Not to mention the increased level of fear and respect for her around the block now.
Marianne Wilson saw her coming round the corner, and disappeared as fast as she could. Nothing to worry there – she was still way too cowed to even think about revenge.
At the back of her mind, a little Angel-shaped conscience was telling her that this wasn’t what she’d come into prison for, but she ruthlessly quashed it. Still, memories of Angel surfaced at the oddest time these days. Gwen had boasted that she could even make a dead man sit up and pay attention. Faith had just smiled and thought of one dead man in particular.
Passing by the visiting section, Faith’s heart gave an unexpected little leap in her chest as she spotted Gwen deep in conversation with her lawyer. Head down over the paperwork, the two heads, one blonde, one red, were busy. Faith didn’t like this Eve chick lawyer of Gwen’s but if she could do something about this bullshit charge Gwen was on, she was even prepared to forgive her for working for Wolfram & Hart. Hell, at least it wasn’t that Lilah bitch.
Faith’s eyes narrowed. Something was off there, between Eve and Gwen. They were almost sitting too carefully apart, like they were making a conscious effort to be in those positions. Eve’s hand strayed across the paperwork on the table and paused for a moment almost touching Gwen’s. Something in the way Eve glanced up at Gwen’s intent face through her eyelashes tipped Faith off – Eve had the hots for her too.
Faith smirked. At least she had good taste, but end of the day, Faith was the one Gwen spent her nights with. And looking at Gwen’s cool exterior there, there was no way in hell she felt anything for Eve. Faith laughed, shook it out of her mind, and carried on prowling.
Tanya Pierce, the cell block’s fixer and introducer, took one look at Faith and smiled sycophantically at her. Obviously, she’d done something she thought Faith would be glad about. Nothing to worry there.
So why did she have this sickening sensation in her stomach?
The answer came two days later.
Returning to her cell in the middle of the day, Faith paused in the doorway. “You were going to tell me about your leaving at some point, right?”
Gwen looked up momentarily from her packing, and smiled humorlessly. “No. No, I don’t think I was.”
Faith swung herself into the cell and stood there next to her. “So what? That’s it? Got your sentence quashed, and it’s hi-ho off I go?”
Gwen glanced back over her shoulder at her. “Pretty much. That was the plan in the first place, so why change it?” she said with a shrug.
Faith blinked. “Plan? You wanted this?”
Gwen threw the last of her toiletries in the bag, zipped it shut with a flourish and stood up. Facing Faith, her eyes flashed scorn at the Slayer. “You? Not so much. This place? With all its contacts and people who know people? Hell, yes. For a girl in my intended profession, this place is a goldmine.”
Leaning forward, she stared directly at Faith, and spoke clearly and distinctively, “You were just convenient. Top dog, and everyone sucked up to me, to suck up to you. Perfect scam.”
Faith snapped. “You bitch!” she exclaimed, and swung a punch towards Gwen.
There was a sound like SZZZZZACK! and suddenly Faith flew backwards, slamming into the wall, with what felt like a hundred volts running through her. Trying to struggle to her feet as she slid down to the floor, Faith could hear the sounds of Gwen shouldering her bag.
In a cool, disinterested tone, Gwen remarked “I wouldn’t. Now that I’m not dampened down, I’m fairly sure I could take you if I had to. Do yourself a favor and stay down there.”
Her voice receded further away, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a taxi to catch and a fence to see.”
And finally, from a long distance away, “And Faith? Grow up.”
Faith wanted nothing more than to jump up and run after Gwen. Slayer healing would have her up again in just a few more seconds, but she stayed sitting there. Biting her lip so bad she could taste the blood in her mouth.
She wanted to hurt Gwen bad. Hurt her just as badly as Gwen’d hurt her. But one thing kept her down there; Angel. He’d believed in her, trusted her, and if she did what she wanted, pounded Gwen’s face into the concrete until the blood ran free, he’d be disappointed in her.
What was it he’d said? ”I won’t lie to you and tell you that it’ll be easy – cuz it won’t.” Damn straight, dead-boy. ”All that pain, all that suffering you caused is coming back on you. Feel it! Deal with it! Then maybe you’ve got a chance of being free.”
Yeah, it wasn’t like she didn’t deserve it. And just because Gwen was a piece of shit, didn’t mean that once, just once in her life, she could possibly take the high road and you know, actually learn something from this.
Fuck. Maybe she was growing up after all.
Los Angeles 2011
Faith walked slowly into the room, pausing in the doorway, eyes constantly scanning for any danger or threat. You didn’t hit 30 as a Slayer without learning some things. “Well? You gonna show me what you wanted me down here for?” she coolly inquired to the only other occupant of the room.
The young looking woman said nothing, but just pulled one of the mortuary drawers open. The body lying there stared sightlessly upwards, that still so-familiar red hair visible, yet strangely subdued.
“Gwen,” murmured Faith, as the reality of the situation finally hit home. “Somehow I never saw you ending up this way.”
She moved closer and gazed down at the disfigured face where the bullets had entered. Something so mundane in a way, scarring and ruining such beauty. Slowly tracing one finger down the untouched side, she shook her head slowly.
“Oh, Gwen, Gwen, Gwen…. Why wouldn’t you listen to me? Why throw it all away like that, you damned stupid fucking idiot!!”
Whirling, Faith punched the nearest wall with great force and just stood there for a moment, panting slightly. “Marvelous,” came the voice from behind her oozing sarcasm, “Are you feeling all cathartic now?”
Faith’s head turned and she shot Eve a poisonous look. “Don’t push it, Eve,” she snarled, “Or do you want me to drop another building on you?”
Eve’s eyes rolled. “Whatever,” she said, “After all, it’s not like I had to tell you about this… this…” For the first time since Faith had entered the mortuary, Eve seemed as young and as lost as her looks. And just like that, Faith’s anger was gone.
Standing next to Gwen’s body, they stood there for a moment, regarding the woman between them one last time. “You’ve come a long way since I first saw you, Eve,” remarked Faith after a moment, “I blamed you for her decisions for a long time. Well, Wolfram and Hart mainly, but you in particular too.”
Eve smiled tightly, her eyes never quite lifting from the body before them. “Yes, well…. Our Gwen did have a habit of getting under your skin, and leaving you not thinking quite straight.” She laughed - a short, almost barked laugh with no trace of humor in at all. “As her lawyer, all I knew was what to do and when to do it. Using my own magic to dampen down her powers…. Fuck. I really was a fool for love in those days.”
“Huh,” Faith said, her own gaze also never leaving the corpse before them, “Kinda what I eventually figured. Once I could think straight where she was concerned.”
Faith reached out, and rested one hand on the drawer edge. “You know, Illyria told us about her and Angel meeting up. Well, Illyria remembered Fred remembering…. Hell, you know what I mean.”
She sighed. “Gwen… why the hell couldn’t you take any of the helping hands offered to you? Angel would have… He saved me, a long ago in a rainy alley. Why couldn’t he save you?”
Beside her, Eve slowly shook her head. “She wouldn’t have taken it. Her powers cut her off from touching people, but she consciously chose to keep people away from her heart. She could touch you, and me, but we never, ever could touch her.”
Faith looked up at her long-time adversary with an odd respect in her eyes. “Sounds like I’m not the only one who’s been doing some thinking recently.” With one convulsive motion, she slammed the drawer shut.
Turning and slowly walking out of the room together, Faith glanced at Eve briefly, “This doesn’t change a thing between you and me, you understand. Come tomorrow, we’ll still be trying to stop you from rebuilding Wolfram and Hart, same as ever.”
Eve smirked. “I’d expect nothing less.”
The cold night air hit them as they left the building and stood on the steps down to the car park for the moment. In front of them, on opposite sides of the car park, their respective groupings stood-- somehow having managed to resist spilling blood, Faith idly noticed.
“Um…thanks,” she somehow managed to get out. “Thanks for letting me know.” For some reason she felt like she was back in high school, resisting the temptation to stare down at her feet and trace little grooves on the ground.
Eve pulled her coat a little closer, shivering in the cold night breeze. “It’s not like anyone else would have understood just how she could make you feel. She was unique….”
“One of a kind,” said Faith, her tone light and steady, “And she shouldn’t have ended up like that.”
“Stupid, ordinary, gun-toting wanna-be gangster Kordian demons,” Eve said offhandedly, her tone just as light and steady.
Their eyes met in a moment of perfect understanding, and a tiny slip of paper appeared in Eve’s hand. “For Gwen,” Eve said softly.
They shook hands, and Faith could almost feel the address on the slip of paper now in her grasp.
“For Gwen,” Faith agreed, and smiled. It wasn’t a nice smile.
Someone, very soon, was going to be very sorry.