Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Pairing/Characters: Faith Lehane, Buffy Sunmers, implied Buffy/Faith (mention of other characters)
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and company. The title comes from Joyce Kilmer's poem "Madness."
Prompts: Written for the author's choice round at femslash_minis for warpedminded who wanted the pairing set in Normal!verse along with scared, comfort and TV room. Along with no escaping or character death.
Warning: The girls are confined to an institution where the goal isn't really on rehabilitation. Depending on how you read this story, you might feel that there are implied signs of abuse. There are also mentions of solitary confinements for misbehaviour.
Notes 1: There's swearing, in fact Faith swears a lot in this story.
Notes 2: I've probably rated this higher than what it is but I figure that I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Summary: Faith just wants to get out of the institution when Buffy arrives
Word Count: 2819
She exhales a stream of smoke out through her mouth. She likes being allowed in the TV room. When she's allowed in it means that she can just sit there in peace, pretending to watch some stupid shit program while she sits there and smokes her cigarettes. And according to her doctor, the Oxford educated Dr. Diana Dormer, Faith's been making great strides towards her recovery.
(Even if there's days when she feels like the world of the hospital is some sort of illusion and that out there somewhere she should be fighting monsters and trying to save the world from evil.)
She's on the verge of stubbing out her cigarette when a panicked voice calls out her name from the doorway. Faith turns to look at who's calling her but she doesn't recognize the blonde girl who the orderlies are dragging away. Faith shrugs her shoulders as she turns away already bored with the scene.
* * *
Once a week (sometimes twice a week depending on how much of a nutcase you are). Dr. Diana Dormer has group meetings. Faith has come to hate them since Dr. Dormer always calls on her to set an example of the newer girls or the ones who are reluctant to work towards rehabilitation. To be honest, Faith only really cares about getting herself out of the hospital. She doesn't really want to care about the other girls and their needs or wants. Still Faith knows how to play the game.
When the orderlies tell her that it's time for the meeting, Faith makes her way to the group therapy room. (It's a large, cold and white room that reeks of antiseptic that often terrifies Faith more than it brings her any sort of comfort.) She takes a seat next to the seat that Dr Dormer will be taking and she sits around looking at the girls, taking note of who's missing and who's new.
The blonde girl from the other day is there. In a way she reminds Faith of when she first arrived, she's closed off as she sits on the chair, knees drawn up to her chest, her chin resting on her knees. Faith knows that this girl isn't going to survive this place. Girls like her either take the easy way out or they go deeper inside of themselves until they might as well as be in the grave.
She pushes the thoughts away when Dr. Dormer walks in and takes her seat. Faith tries her best to listen intently to the girls that share and she makes sure to share about how she feels. (Or more accurately how she's supposed to feel. She's not sure why she's supposed to feel remorse and regret over something that never happened but she knows how to mimic the sentiment.)
When it's over, Dr. Dormer asks her to stay and the pair of them watch the other girls file out, it's a sad march of humanity that just hardens Faith's resolve to get out of this place. (It doesn't matter anymore what she believes as long as she can be free.)
"Faith I want you to take that girl Buffy under your wing, I think it'll help you to overcome the last steps you need to take until you are completely rehabilitated."
"Alright, doc," Faith blandly replies. (Being too emotional about anything in this place is never a good sign.) "Anything I should know?"
"No, I think I'll be interested to hear about what you find out."
"Okay," Faith says before leaving the room.
* * *
It takes her almost a week before she can get Buffy alone. The girl hasn't won herself any friends with the staff or the patients. She fights a lot, which lands her time in solitary. The only time she seems to get out of solitary is when her parents come to visit. Faith can't understand how a girl like Buffy could turn away from parents that care about their daughter. Then again, Faith's has a bus load of daddy and mommy issues. But she can't help but think if her mother or father had cared for as much as Buffy's parents seemingly do, she'd never wind up in a place like the Sunnydale Home.
* * *
"Hey, my name's Faith," Faith quietly says as she cautiously approaches the girl.
Faith leans against the wall opposite Buffy and she waits for Buffy to respond. She's wary of the girl, she could attack at any minute and Faith still has the scars from that crazy bitch Darla.
"I know," Buffy says.
Her voice is oddly flat and Faith wonders what meds the girl is on. It's bad form to ask so Faith waits for Buffy to make the next move.
"I know who you are, what I can't get is why you're here," Buffy says.
"I expect that it's for the same reason that you're here. Same as any of the girls are here for," Faith tells her. (She carefully avoids saying anything about how they're all mad as hatters, or were upon first admittance.)
"No, I don't get why you are here. Why can't someone like Willow or even Cordelia be here, why you?"
For a moment Faith pauses. She's fairly certain that she's never met this girl before but the girl seems to have an issue with her.
"Look B, I don't know a thing about your girlfriends, but Sandy had a really nice girl before she ended up here and from what I can gather the State frowns upon girlfriends being housed in the same place. Your girls are probably at different locations."
Buffy sighs as she looks up at Faith with a look of pure hate.
"Are you always this stupid Faith. Why are you here? Can't I ever get away from you?"
Faith holds up her hands as she leans back against the wall. "I don't know who you are. I've never met you in my life and I think you have me confused for some other girl."
When the orderlies approach, Faith is grateful for their presence, which allows her to get away from Buffy. The girl's insane.
* * *
"She seems to think I know her, doc, and she said something about her friends not being here but me instead and I don't think there's any way that I can help her," Faith says.
"I am positive that you will be the one to reach her," Dr. Dormer says. "You're a great success for us Faith. You have no idea."
"Well I'll keep trying if that's what you want but I am pretty sure the girl's going to attack me."
"Just remember that if she does, you can use enough force to defend yourself."
Faith looks up in surprise at her doctor, physical violence has always been frowned upon. When Darla had attacked her, Faith had spent a week on solitary for defending herself. Yet she knows better than to say anything.
* * *
Buffy seeks her out the second time they meet up.
"I've heard some things about you Faith, some very interesting things," Buffy says.
Faith takes a drag off of her cigarette. She hates the fact that the blonde is interrupting her time in the TV room but Faith knows that if she wants out, she'll have to play the doctor's game.
"Alright, you know shit about me, what are you gonna do?" Faith asks.
"I know why you're here."
"Not a big secret, I talk about it every week in group," Faith replies.
"You are my Faith, not someone I've mistaken as being my Faith," Buffy says. "I want to know how and why."
"I don't know how to explain it to you B but I've never laid eyes on you until you showed up here."
"Every night you dream about monsters don't you?" Buffy demands.
"I think you can say that all of the girls here dream about monsters," Faith calmly replies.
She stubs out her cigarette before lighting up another one.
"Not just any monster though," Buffy says with a sly smile. "No you dream about vampires, don't you? Vampires that you have to slay to protect the world."
Faith laughs. "Actually I think you're thinking of Drusilla, she's the one who has all the gothic fucked up dreams about Lestat and Dracula."
Buffy pauses for a second, her face a mask of confusion and hate. Faith clenches one hand into a fist. No one is supposed to know about she dreamt of being a Slayer, of how she was supposed to save the world but she sold her soul out to a monster. Not even Dr. Dormer knows the full extent of Faith's delusions.
"Don't lie to me," Buffy whispers as she leans into Faith's personal space. "If you promise not to lie to me, I won't lie to you."
Faith blows smoke into Buffy's face. "It doesn't work like that here. That shit might have worked for you in high school but it won't work for you here. You wanna talk about vamps and stakes and fangs, talk to Drusilla. Leave me out of it."
* * *
Faith makes it a point to make up some shit about her conversation with Buffy when she meets with Dr. Dormer. There's no point in lying about the conversation itself but nobody was close enough to overhear them.
By the time of the next group session, Faith's starting to get angry. Buffy watches her intently and Faith hates the weight of the blonde's judgment. No one's supposed to know about the Mayor or Kakistos but someone wrote the vampire's name on the mirror of the bathroom when Faith was having a shower.
Faith finds herself wishing she'd never laid eyes on Buffy since the blonde's arrival her nightmares have gotten worse.
* * *
"What do you want?" Faith hisses at Buffy who's creeped into her room. If any of the orderlies catch Buffy here, it'll be solitary for the both of them. (Relationships of a physical nature between the girls is frowned upon. It happens but it always leads to trouble.)
"I'm scared," Buffy says. "They're trying to make me forget about Dawn and Willow and Xander and Angel and Giles."
"I don't know who they are and I care even less," Faith tells her. "You need to get out of here."
(The truth of the matter is that Faith does care, she knows what it's like to have holes in your memory and she knows the pain of having those wires shoved in your head to erase parts of you.)
"Please, Faith," Buffy pleads. "You're the only one here that I can trust."
"Then you're putting your faith in the wrong girl B, cuz I'll sell you out to get out of this hell hole."
"We're never going to leave," Buffy tells her.
"I've been told I am on my way out. Maybe another month at the most," Faith says. "But that's all contingent on good behaviour so get out."
"I overheard Dr. Dormer speaking to another doctor. She said that there's no way they will let you out, that you can't ever be reformed."
"I don't know what game you're playing sister but it ain't gonna work on me."
"Please Faith I am scared."
Before Faith can respond, the orderlies are throwing the door open and despite the fact that they're both fully clothed and Buffy's never moved from the door, Faith knows how this is going to go down on her record.
* * *
"I have to say that I am very disappointed in you Faith," Dr. Dormer says. "I had great hopes for your rehabilitation but that little stunt with Buffy has caused me to worry about your good intent."
"I didn't do anything, she came into my room to try to tell me lies," Faith says.
"Now Faith, I would hope that you weren't going to lie to me but Buffy has told me about your dreams about the vampires and being a slayer."
"She's lying doc, can't you see that?"
Dr. Dormer gives her a sad frown as she turns away from her and Faith realizes that Buffy was right. There was never any intent on letting her walk away from this place.
* * *
"How'd you know?" Faith asks as she corners Buffy in the bathroom.
"What do you mean?" Buffy asks, the picture of wide-eyed innocence.
"How'd you know about the dreams? About Kakistos?"
"Oh," Buffy flatly says. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Faith grabs Buffy by the shoulders. "No, you ain't gonna play dumb blonde on me now B, not when you cost me my way out of here."
"I know because you're from the other place too, just like Sandy and Drusilla and even me."
"What's the other place?" Faith asks.
"The real Sunnydale," Buffy says.
Faith lets her go as she slides down the shower wall, a laugh tumbling out of her lips. Buffy stands there and watches her.
"This is the real Sunnydale honey," Faith says. "All that other shit is just made up shit in our head."
"No it's not, it's real."
"Yeah then how come I don't remember you?"
"You were in a coma in Sunnydale," Buffy says as she looks away guiltily. "I know because I put you in it."
"Look this is too crazy, even for me."
"Wait," Buffy calls out. "You were a Slayer like me. You were the one girl in all ..."
"... the world, the chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer," Buffy and Faith finish together.
"I never told anyone any of that," Faith says. "Not even my doctor."
"I didn't want to tell them but my parents made me tell them about some of it," Buffy quietly says.
"Every now and then I see flashes of the real world and I think I am doing terrible things to my friends because I'd rather be here in this place because my Mom's alive."
Buffy starts to cry and Faith feels completely useless, she's not the type to offer comfort. But there's a strange connection that she feels with Buffy and she can't help but feel if there's a hole in her memory that's Buffy.
Faith slides over and wraps an arm around Buffy's shoulders.
"I'm so scared Faith, what I am going to do?" Buffy asks.
"What do you want to do?" Faith asks in return.
"Part of me wants to stay here because at least I'll have my mom again and in a messed up way I'll have you but they need me, Dawn needs me."
"Yeah miles to go B, little sis is coming, I know B, I know," Faith says and she can almost smell the scent of clean sheets and blood.
Buffy shivers beside her.
"Don't let me keep you here, B." Faith says. "This was never your place to be."
Faith pulls away from Buffy. She stands up and turns away. She knew this moment was always going to come. Somehow, this is how it always works between them: Buffy shows up and wrecks everything because there can only be one girl. They're like that stupid show with the warriors and swords: there can only be one.
"Please don't go," Buffy pleads.
"It's not me who's going, it's you." Faith says.
"I want to stay here with you and my Mom," Buffy says, her voice breaking up.
Faith laughs. Her laugh is cold and emotionless because its' best to never show any sort of emotion here: happiness is just as bad as fear and anger.
"This ain't the real world and Little Miss Muffet needs you so do the others," Faith says. "They all need you a lot more than I do."
"But," Buffy begins to say.
"No B, this ain't about you for once," Faith says. "I don't want you here, I don't you taking my place again, it's time you go and face the music."
When Buffy comes closer, Faith pushes her away. Faith starts to scream as loudly as she can and Buffy shrinks away. When the orderlies come for her, Faith gives Buffy a wink. Her girl's got work to do and the real world to save.
Faith mouths at her: "It's gotta be you B, never could be me."
* * *
"I don't know what you did to that poor girl but she's catatonic. I am disappointed in you Faith," Dr. Dormer coldly says. "I had so much hope for you but you're back to your old tricks again. This is just like it was with Darla."
"Don't know what you're talking about doc,' Faith replies, her voice flat and dull. "Not a clue at all. Ain't my fault if that Buffy girl was a vegetable in the making."