A Safe Place


Faith_icon.gif Lane_icon.gif


Faith does not get the mail she was expecting. Instead, she gets to fight a nasty squid demon.

Date It Happened: January 16th, 2002

A Safe Place

County Jail

A mail call has been announced and those with mail taken from their cells and escorted to the mail room. Numbers are called out that correspond with inmates for people to come and take their mail and then are forced to open it in front of a guard to make sure they're not being given any contraband. Faith's number is called in short order and a thin packet is placed in front of her. "Sign here," the no-nonsense guard tells her and holds over a pen.

Next to Faith another woman is already signing that she received a package. She starts to undo all the brown packing paper, slowly but messily.

It's a rare occurrence for Faith to receive mail, and on those few occasions when she does, it's generally the type of mail she'd rather not read. There are a lot of sad, sick people out there. There are also a lot of angry people out there. In short, Faith doesn't like mail.

But this particular packet is abnormal enough to pique Faith's curiosity, and she arches a brow as the package is placed in front of her. Taking the pen in her hand without a word to the guard, she scrawls her name quickly, her handwriting messy from lack of use and carelessness. When the packet is officially hers, she slips a finger beneath the flap and starts to tear it open.

Faith doesn't get very far in opening that thin packet. It's a standard brown one, addressed only with Faith's name and the address for the jail. Nothing to give away who sent it or why it's there. She'll have no idea whether it's from some angry Sunnydale-er looking to air their grievances against her or something else entirely until she just reads it. But, as previously stated, she probably won't get get far. Because the woman next to her has finally opened her package and comments on it with a quite succinct, "What in the fu—-"

That's when all hell breaks loose in the mailroom. Whatever was in the package quickly reaches out and grabs the woman around the neck by a thick tendril. Others slither forward from the package, wrapping around whatever it comes across and squeezing tightly like a python. Two slippery tentacles shoot out toward Faith to grab her.

It's times like this that Faith really misses being able to carry a knife. Her knife, specifically; it was a beautiful weapon, and it's long gone by now. The second the other woman's tone of voice changes, the packet is out of the Slayer's hands and on the floor, forgotten. "Oh, what the hell," she hisses when the tentacles lash out at her, instinctively raising both hands to ward them off as best she can. Better they grab her wrists than her neck, at least, but she's hoping to grab them in such a way that they won't be able to wind around her arms.

The other inmate has started to jerk and pull, going limp in the strange creatures…tentacles as she slowly is strangled to death. A guard is being hefted up feet over head and everyone else is running and screaming away from whatever this thing is. In Faith's strong grip, the limbs can't manage to get a grip on her, but that doesn't mean they stop wriggling and grasping at her. Attempting to pull away and then wrap around her in different ways, it rustles and hisses. Out of the package, a round head emerges with shiny eyes and a mouth that can unhinge like snake to devour it's prey. It elongates once it's out of it's confines until the head itself is the size of a medium sized dog. It's likely to get much larger after it starts feeding on something.

Being left to deal with strange beasts alone is not a new game for Faith, and she can't say that she minds. Bystanders get in the way. Would-be heroes get themselves killed. But Faith? She can handle herself.

When the tentacles try to pull away from her, she makes her move; being free for a split second allows her to duck away from one tentacle and roll out of the way of another. With space between them, she backs up quickly to the glass partition separating the store-room clerk from the mail room. Gritting her teeth against what will undoubtedly hurt later, she draws one arm up and strikes her elbow hard against the glass to shatter it.

CRASH The glass splinters and cascades to the ground loudly. The now strangled inmate is slowly being brought up to whatever this thing's mouth is as it also stalks the attempting to escape Faith. Striking out, one tentacle moves to smack Faith in the face with decided force and the other attempts to wrap around her ankles. It's already decided that the easy approach of just wrapping around her neck may not get the results it wants.

Faith really, really dislikes things with tentacles, and this is why. It's not enough that one of the thing's slimy arms wraps around her ankles; no, it has to smack her in the face, too. Unable to move her feet to properly swing out of the way, she takes the strike to the side of her face and falls backward, striking the ground with considerable force, given the strength of the beast. Reaching out, she retrieves one of the larger shards of glass on the floor. "That all you got, fido?" It isn't even close to resembling a dog, but that's irrelevant. With one hand free to ward off any further swats from stray tentacles, she drives the shard of glass down for the one wrapped around her ankles.

There's a strange howl that erupts from whatever this thing is. There are legs sticking out of what most likely passes for it's mouth, but it's certainly not sated. The glass shard through one of it's tentacles makes it shy away from the Slayer for the moment, bringing it's injured digit back toward itself. The blood it oozes is a thick green variety, obviously not human. Now, it's angry. With another howl - this one of anger - it lunges forward, body and all in attempt to crush Faith beneath it's weight. It's not exactly a quick mover this way, however, so it should not be that difficult to get out of it's way. Somewhere, in the background, a phone is ringing.

Free from its grasp, Faith is swift to rise back to her feet, the glass shard still held tightly in one hand. The jagged edges are cutting into the skin of her palm, but she's felt worse; if the option is to become the mutated squid's next meal, she'll take a cut up hand, thank you very much. At least it isn't fast. Taking advantage of its slow and clumsy movements, she charges toward the creature, circling around to one side as she moves. Using the glass shard like a knife - man, she really misses her knife - she slashes for its side, aiming for a deep gash.

Faith raises her free hand swiftly to fend off one of the incoming tentacles, keeping a tight grip on her makeshift weapon. It's all she has, at this juncture, and she isn't about to give that up. Simultaneous attacks prove challenging, however, and as she fights off the first tentacle, she largely neglects the one reaching out for her legs. Again she finds herself wrapped up and incapacitated by the creature, and again she curses her mistake. She's a little rusty. That was unexpected. This time, it's difficult to maneuver in such a way to allow her to strike at the tentacle with the piece of glass, so she works on freeing one of her legs, instead, yanking back against the beast's hold.

However, now that this creature has a hold of the little thing that's been causing it so much pain, it doesn't seem to want to let go. Instead, it whips her around and attempts to smash her against the ground to dole out some of that pain that she was dealing out just moments earlier. It's in pain, though, so after the impact, it rests. It's hard to hold a woman above ground when bleeding from various places. From her position, though, Faith will be able to see the phone that's ringing. It's a thin, pink cellphone laying among the glass and wooden shards on the floor. A little bit of a reach, but certainly something she could grab.

Generally speaking, Faith has a high pain threshold, able to keep her calm in the face of injuries which might cause others to cry out. Being slammed forcefully into a floor, however, goes above and beyond her capacity to remain silent. At the moment of impact, she yells out in shock and pain, dropping the shard of glass as she strikes the floor. And then there's that cell phone. The noise is becoming obnoxious now; hasn't the person realized that whomever they're trying to call isn't going to answer it? Give up, already. Stretching out her hand, she reaches for…

…the piece of glass she had been using. Why the hell would she answer a cell phone that isn't even hers? Gripping the glass by a corner this time, she drives herself up from the floor with her free hand. She draws it back behind her ear, then throws it the way she might throw a knife, aiming for the creature's face.

There's no real reason for Faith to answer that cellphone. However, that doesn't mean it's going to stop ringing. The glass shard that she aims at the creature strikes true, slicing through the air and by some lucky chance lodges itself right in it's eye as it tries to dodge out of the way. Stumbling backwards, it collapses in on itself and then just falls over. The tentacle that wrapped itself around Faith's legs goes slack, though it no longer can move, so she'll have to untangle it from around herself.

And, still, in the now complete silence (other than the soft tingling of yet another small glass shard dropping to the ground) that phone just keeps ringing. Persistent, aren't they?

"Finally," Faith mutters beneath her breath, her tone one of clear frustration, as the creature goes still. She unravels the tentacle from around her legs and heaves it to the side. The floor is marked with her own blood as well as the beast's, and she leaves another partial handprint as she pushes herself up to her feet, her injured hand still bleeding. "Don't even think about getting up again." Demons have been known to do that. With her life no longer in immediate danger, she stoops to grab the cell phone from the floor, with the intention of heaving it back against the floor to silence it— but the name on the display catches her eye by some tiny chance, and she rolls her eyes, hitting the button to answer the call. "I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you're looking for me."

It seems like the demon is taking orders from Faith for now. It doesn't get up, nor does the tentacles look like they're going to snake out to grab the woman again. As soon as Faith presses the answer call button, she can hear traffic and honking horns, mostly from inside. "Hello? Hello? Faith? Are you okay?" Though Faith may not recognize the voice right away, it's her new blonde attorney, Lane. "I've been trying to call you forever. You've got to get out of that jail cell. Someone's out to kill you. They've sent a Calamrius demon to your prison and we just got confirmation that they delivered it today. I'm on my way to pick you up to get you transfered to a more secure facility."

Oh, and isn't this rich? Faith can't help the swift, sardonic laugh that escapes her as she hears the voice on the other end of the phone. "You're a little late to the party, girlfriend," she quips in response, circling around the felled demon to inspect it while she speaks. "Been there, done that, watched it bleed all over the floor. You can relax. I took care of it." She nudges one of the thing's limbs with a grimace. "I hate tentacles."

There's the sound of a car parking and a door being slammed on the other side of the phone. Then, a puzzled question as it sounds like she's jogging, "You removed it's brains and burned it?" What a funny question to ask at that juncture in time because the squid-like demon shivers and then flops and those dead limbs from before once again it's tentacles comes to life and this time it doesn't have very far to go to attempt to wrap them all around Faith's torso, hoping to get her arms trapped in the bargain. It seems like the tentacles don't really like Faith, either.

She just had to go and poke at it, didn't she? Consequently, Faith is entirely too close to the demon when it comes back to life. "What are you talking ab— oh, no way." That is pure, unadultered contempt in her voice, in case Lane might have been curious. On the lawyer's end, she'll hear a loud clatter as Faith drops the phone to the ground - because one of the tentacles has wrapped straight around her, pinning her arms. "Why the hell doesn't anything die the first time?" So, Plan B. What was her Plan B again? …right, she didn't have one. In an effort to distract the beast before it can heft her up from the ground or strangle her, she slams a foot down several times over, trying to stamp on a writhing tentacle.

Whatever this thing it, perhaps it's brains aren't in it's head. Which would be funny, wouldn't it? Now that it has Faith in it's grasp, it staggers up to a somewhat standing position and could almost look like it's grinning. If it's mouth moved that way, that is. Slowly, it starts to squeeze, waving her this way and that in an attempt to keep out of the way of her kicks. Faith may be able to hear Lane shouting on the other end of the phone, "Faith?! Faith?!"

Fantastic. Excellent. This is going exactly as Faith planned it - or would have, if she really wanted to die today. Only she'd really rather not die, pitiful as her life is being willingly incarcerated. Without the use of her hands, and with the demon jerking her back and forth this way, she's finding it increasingly difficult to land a blow on the tentacles. Struggling against the demon's grip, she tries to pull free, even just loosen the tentacles around her before they can break bones or suffocate her.

As she's jerking back and forth, the Calamrius demon swoops and attempts to smack her against a few things again in an attempt to knock the fight out of her. First there's the wall, then a desk. That last hit actually managed to stab itself with a pen and it jerks and screams again in pain - this time done to it by itself. "Faith, I'm almost there, just…stay alive, okay?" The tinny sound of Lane over the phone may not really be a comfort to Faith, but at least the blonde girl's trying.

"Oh, hey, no problem!" That's Faith yelling back at the phone, her voice dripping with sarcasm the way the demon's tentacles are dripping with blood. Some of which was its own doing, which would be funnier if the Slayer wasn't actually thinking she might get to meet her maker today. "Smooth move, genius," she taunts when the demon stabs itself with a pen. It's really just a pity that her hands aren't free, or she'd make a grab for it herself. The next time the demon swings her at all near to its face, she swings out a foot to try and strike the piece of glass in its eye - twisting the knife, so to speak.

Faith doesn't have to wait all that long. What with one of it's eyes out of commission, it's vision is slightly impaired. Plus, it's angry and in a lot of pain. Swinging one way and then the other, there's a short window of time where Faith's legs are just within reach of the glass shard still stuck in the creature's eye. There's nothing from Lane on the other end of the phone, however, the sound of high heels running down the corridor may be an indication that help, in whatever form that it comes in, is on it's way.

That had better be who she thinks it is. Faith hadn't thought she'd be hoping to see Lane, but there are certain times when she has to admit, albeit reluctantly, that she is out of her element. She was never the research and knowledge type, so this whole thing about cutting out the brain and burning it? Yeah, not going to know that. All she knows is, when she threw the glass in the thing's eye, it was in pain. So when she's within reach again, she kicks her foot down at the glass shard with force.

There's another howl of pain and as the shard of glass digs itself deeper and deeper into the creature's head, it starts to wobble again and fall over, taking Faith down with it. And, lucky for the Slayer, that is who she thinks it is. Lane, along with a very scared looking guard comes bursting into the room just about the time when the woman and the tentacles crash to the ground for a second time. "Come on, get away from there!" Dashing in, despite glass and wood and high heels, Lane moves to pull the darker haired woman out of the tangle of tentacles and blood.

Given how many times she has been slammed into things in the last half hour, Faith can't say she's upset by Lane's offer of help. She willingly accepts the help to get to her feet, in fact, as she makes a few sounds of pain and discomfort. "Didn't think I'd be glad to see you, Lou," she admits, moving quickly for the door now that she's free from the tentacles once more. This time, she plans to stay that way. "Wanna tell me who sent that thing to kill me?" Not that there's a whole lot she can do about it now, but it's still worth knowing.

Though Lane doesn't look all that strong, she's got a good grip and doesn't falter when yanking Faith up and away from the tentacles of that creature. Pulling her backward, she eyes the guard an the firearm she has hanging at her waist. "If I were you, I'd shoot that thing right in the big tentacle. A couple times." Gesturing with her head, she kicks the poor little guard closer to sink or swim. "Go on! Shoot it!"

Hesitant and scared, the guard pulls out and then aims her weapon, turning her head as she fires. "Don't look away from it! For God's sake!" Lane yells as the shots go wide and hit not a damn thing. "You've got to look at it if you want to hit something. Seriously. These are the people who've kept you in custody for how many years?" More shots ring out and when Lane looks back, one of the tentacles is bleeding profusely and the thing remains prone on the ground. That's when Lane pulls out a box of matches. "It's complicated, Faith. I'll explain in the car ride back to LA. Hey, lady, you might want to scram from the room. I'm about to light it on fire. Don't worry, I'll give you my card and my firm will be glad to pay for the damages." Steering the women away from that demon, she strikes the entire packet of matches and tosses it to land on a particularly flammable pile of broken wood. Closing the door behind them, she adds, "Wolfram and Hart is always looking to help the community."

Standing well clear of the line of fire when Lane urges the guard to shoot the demon, Faith can't help but smirk at the woman's berating words. "It isn't them that keeps me locked up," she replies, once the room is set aflame and the guard has high-tailed it back to the hallway. Once she's in the hallway, she rolls her shoulders with another wince, trying to assess just how much damage the demon did to her with its attacks. "Christ. That thing's strong for an overgrown squid." She's silent for about two seconds before something finally clicks, and she stops abruptly, holding up her hands at shoulder height. "Whoa, whoa, wait. Back to LA?"

Stopping with Faith, maybe a few steps ahead of her because of the sudden not-moving, Lane turns just slightly and balances her briefcase so that she can open it just enough to pull out a folded up blue bundle of papers. "Yeah, that squid demon's not going to be the last thing you'll see here. There's a bad front moving in and they're not looking for a trained Slayer to be around when it all goes down. I've put in a petition with a judge to have you moved to some place that can protect you and certainly won't allow such…dubious matter into it's mail rooms. You can't protect yourself here, Faith. And, worse, you're going to get people killed if they keep sending stronger and stronger foes in here."

She had to throw in that comment about people getting killed. At once, Faith recalls the woman who had opened the package and released the demon. When she doesn't speak, it isn't clear whether the grimace on her face is caused by pain as she tips her head to one side, or something else - like, perhaps, the sight of a pair of disembodied legs falling to the floor. "Right," she says grudgingly, resuming her pace down the hallway as she speaks. "What'd you have in mind? And shouldn't you technically wait for the judge to say go before you take me out of a maximum security prison?"

There's a little laugh and the lawyer waves that blue paper again before sliding it back into her briefcase. "Don't worry. It's some place you'll find much more agreeable than here." As she walks with the ever increasingly worried prison guard, she just smiles. "You just give me one second and I'll have the go ahead." Pulling out her cellphone again, she dials a quick number and waits for a pick up. "It's Lane." There's another pause, a grin and she hangs up. "You're all clear. My people will bring up the remaining paperwork to your warden later this evening. For now, I think we need to get you cleaned up and into something that suits you better than bright orange."

"Right. So if I want an appeal, it takes months, maybe more," Faith says, before using her teeth to tear a strip from the hem of her shirt, "but all it takes for me to walk out of here is for you to make a phone call?" Apparently, she didn't think much of their first conversation. Must have thought the woman was bluffing. As they walk, Faith winds the trip of fabric tightly around her bleeding hand. "Remind me not to get on your bad side."

Lane gives Faith a beaming smile, all innocence and angels. The blonde can look innocent when she wants. "We're the people to call when you're in trouble. We know the right people to get in touch with to make sure justice is served." Or at least the justice they want. As they head toward the area to check Faith out of the maximum security prison, she gestures for her to follow. "But, how does that saying go from that tv show? 'You wouldn't like us when when we're angry?' Then again, I think you could fit into that work philosophy, hm?"

Any guards they encounter now are likely to wonder what, precisely, Lane is doing with the battered and bloody Faith, walking her down the hall unsupervised. Leading her to the door, even. "Something like that," she replies, cautioning a small smirk at the line. Lane's doing a very good job of appealing to the Slayer's particular personality this time around; she's much more successful than their first encounter. "I have a hard time believing they're going to let me just walk out of here."

"While you're collecting your personal affects, I'll be giving the judge order to your warden." Lane gestures with her briefcase to show that she has other legal documents in there that aren't just the motions she showed to Faith earlier. "I'll have him call if it's necessary. But by judge order, you're now legally under the care of Wolfram and Hart, Faith. All I need you to do, is sign at the bottom of the order and, yes, they will just let you walk out of here. There are, of course, stipulations to the deal. You'll have to stay in the Wolfram and Hart building in LA, and there will be an officer checking up on you, but other than that, keep your nose clean and you can serve your sentence with us as opposed to behind bars. Consider it community service."

"Community service, huh?" Stay in the Wolfram and Hart building. Officers will check up on her. Well, it's sort of like being in prison, and if Lane means what she says about someone sending bigger and badder things after her… then Faith would rather be with the people who seem to know something about all of this, rather than a prison full of idiots who need to get a clue. Looking sidelong to Lane, with only the slightest apprehension now, Faith arches a brow. "Just show me where to sign."

The apprehension is hopefully matched with what Lane means to be sympathetic expression. It's pretty good, too. But, when Faith agrees, the woman nods and pulls out a couple of papers clipped together. There are the normal legal 'sign here' tabs sticking out of the document and Lane flips to one immediately and hands over a pen. Closing up her briefcase, she also holds it up for her to have something to sign on. "We'll take good care of you, Faith. Trust me."

Faith isn't the type to take a magnifying glass to the contract and inspect every last word and turn of phrase to ensure she isn't being roped into some sordid deal. In fact, while she ought to be more cautious, she hardly even glances over the words on the page. They mean very little to her, regardless; legalese is not her forte, to say the least. She takes the pen from Lane, setting the papers down to scrawl her name in the indicated spaces. "There you go," she says, handing the papers and pen to the lawyer, her apprehension only slightly abated.

That's something that Lane is really hoping on. The whole 'not reading the fine print' stuff. However, even if she does, there's nothing much there that will incriminate them until much farther in the document. "Excellent!" Taking the pen back, she slips the document carefully back into her briefcase and smiles again. "Let me go talk to that warden and I'll meet you out by release. Don't let them give you any lip." She doubts that they will, but she doesn't mind saying it.

"Generally not a problem," Faith says with a derisive snort, shaking her head. "They don't tend to give me lip around here." Flashing the lawyer a self-assured smirk, she starts to move away, walking backwards. "And if I were you? I'd try to avoid setting other rooms on fire, or you'll wind up in my old cell." Raising one hand to mimic a gun, she grins and tips it back as if firing. "See you soon, Lou."

"I've got lawyers to handle that," Lane beams at Faith. "You don't have to worry about me." She's no small fish. "I'll explain in detail the issue we had with security and make sure that he's well compensated for the damage." Nothing like money being thrown around to help out a cause. "Indeed. See you soon, Faith. And then it's a scenic drive back to your new home."

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