Elizabeth observed Faith for a few moments from behind the one-way mirror. The brunette looked to be doing better. She managed to sit, although she needed to steady herself against the wall behind her. Her wrists were tied together, just like her ankles. She looked tired. Elizabeth drank a mouthful from the cup of coffee she held and turned to Roberts, standing beside her.
"So?" She asked. "Anything new?"
Roberts shook his head and shrugged.
"Marina and I interrogated her while you were with Maclay. She didn't say a word except to ask about Maclay. I don't think we'll get anything from her before the FBI team arrives."
"Anyway, there's not much we need to learn from her. She's a fugitive. We recaptured her. That's the most important fact," He added.
Elizabeth nodded and swallowed another mouthful of coffee.
"What about Maclay?"
"We don't have any reason to keep her here. She's clean. And she's not officially dead. If it weren't for you, there's no trace of what happened in Sunnydale. Are you sure…"
"I'm sure it was her," interrupted Elizabeth. "I saw her body at the morgue. I was just talking to her face to face. It's the same girl. I don't know how she did that. Maybe she faked her death for some reason. But it was her."
"Everything about it has disappeared McKinley, and…"
"What about the copies of the interviews I kept?"
Roberts shook his head.
"It's not enough."
Elizabeth didn't reply. She finished off her coffee and put it down on a table on her left.
"I'm going to talk to her." She announced.
"Okay," Roberts nodded. "Be careful. If you feel she's getting stronger, ask the doctor to give her more sedative."
"Don't worry boss," she answered. "I won't take any risks. Plus, she's quite tied down right now."
"You know what she can do. She threw herself through bullet resistant glass. It's damn near impossible. I don't think those restraints will hold her."
"Don't worry, I'll be careful. And you will be here." She grinned.
With that, she left Roberts alone and entered the interrogation room.
Faith looked up when she heard the door opening. She had no particular reaction. She just stared with indifference at Elizabeth approaching.
"God, someone new," she hissed when Elizabeth was close enough to hear. "Everyone's gonna come and see me?" she snorted.
"You're quite a phenomenon you know," Elizabeth replied. "Everyone wants to see the girl who threw herself though bullet resistant glass and survived a thirty meter fall."
"Looks like I've got my own fans," Faith smirked.
Elizabeth went round the table, seized a chair and turned it around before sitting.
"Are you feeling better?" She asked.
Faith looked at her blankly and winced.
"D'you think I'm stupid?" She spat, her voice mixed with anger and weariness. "If I tell you I'm good, you're gonna drug me even more."
"Smart thinking," acknowledged Elizabeth.
She remained silent as Faith tried to steady herself and waited a few moments to see if the girl was going to say something. As the brunette casually looked around, taking care to not pay attention to her, McKinley spoke up again.
"Why did you escape?" She asked.
Faith turned to her and raised a questioning eyebrow. Before she could answer, Elizabeth explained:
"Well, you turned yourself in, you looked to regret your actions and to want to redeem yourself. So, I'm asking, why did you escape? Did you change your mind?"
Faith couldn't help but snigger and she rolled her eyes when she replied.
"Well, like prison was SO fun,"
"So you changed your mind?" Elizabeth repeated.
"Let's say I had better things to do," Faith shrugged.
"What for example?" Asked McKinley coldly.
Faith mocked hard thinking for a few seconds before she finally answered.
"What could be more interesting than being locked in jail?" She said in an ironic tone. "That's a hard question for sure."
"Will you answer?"
As Faith remained mute, Elizabeth knew she had her response.
"Okay, you know that you're not doing anything to improve your case?" McKinley asked in an exasperated tone.
Faith shrugged once more and narrowed her eyes at the detective.
"Can I really do something to improve my case?" She demanded in a harsh tone.
"Do you want to?"
Faith shrugged and shook her head in annoyance.
"Let's say there're other ways to dispense justice than yours," she said.
"Oh God, you were trying to dispense justice!" Exclaimed Elizabeth in an ironic tone.
Faith shrugged again and looked away with a scowl of contempt on her face. Elizabeth waited for her to go on but Faith remained silent. Seeing the stubborn look on her face, Elizabeth understood she wouldn't get more from the brunette and she decided to change the subject.
"So, talk to me about Tara Maclay,"
Faith winced and looked questioningly at her.
"What about her?"
"What is she doing with you?"
"What's weird with that? I'm nice,"
Elizabeth felt an amused smile forming at the corner of her lips but she suppressed it before Faith could notice. She was about to say something but Faith interrupted her.
"God, you've got a double murderer and you're asking about the shy silent girl. Are you sure you're a detective?"
"She's supposed to be dead," explained McKinley without reacting to Faith's remark. "Did you know that?"
"Believe me, she's really very much alive…" Faith snorted.
She leaned back against the wall and looked away with a bored grimace.
"There's nothing to say about her," she said, finally looking again at Elizabeth. "We met in Cleveland, she doesn't know anything about me. You have no reason to keep her here."
"That's our decision to make." Elizabeth answered back icily. "A supposed dead girl traveling with a wanted murderer? Gives us some reason to wonder what's going on."
"Nothing's going on."
"So, you're pretending she has no idea who you are?"
"Yeah," Faith replied, boringly. "I already told that to the guy before."
She looked away again and Elizabeth stared at her closed face and her bored pout for a few moments. She knew she wouldn't get anything from the brunette. She got up and put the chair back in place.
"Where is she?" Faith asked suddenly as Elizabeth was about to leave the room.
"She's being interrogated just like you," she answered.
"I want to see her," Faith asked. "Want to make sure she's okay" she clarified.
Elizabeth frowned and shrugged. Faith was looking at her all differently than before. Her previous smugness was gone. She only looked worried.
"I'm not sure…"
"Please," Faith insisted.
Elizabeth winced. This was a surprise. She wasn't expecting Faith to change all that much all of a sudden.
"I'll see if that's possible," she answered after a moment of internal debate. "But you're going to get more sedative before."
Faith's face crumpled a little but she didn't answer anything at first. When she noticed that Elizabeth was waiting for her to say something, she simply said:
Elizabeth and Mark were closely flanking Faith, as the brunette was slowly walking along a hallway with her wrists and ankles still tightly restrained.
"I'd walk faster without those," she said after her silence, her voice bitter.
"We don't want you to run away," replied Mark. "Apparently, you run terribly fast."
"You drugged me," Faith shot back in an angry tone. "I'm not sure I'd be able to run at all."
Mark shrugged casually.
"Got orders," he said.
"I bet," grumbled Faith.
They covered the remaining distance in silence and stopped in front of a regular cell. Inside, Tara got up from the back of the room where she was curled up on a bench.
"You've got a visitor, Maclay," Mark smirked.
Elizabeth opened the cell and pushed Faith inside. She closed the cell back as soon as Faith crossed the threshold.
"Good night girls," she said just after. "You've got the night before the sun rises and the FBI gets here. Get some sleep."
She and Mark then turned around and went away down the corridor. Before the cell disappeared from her sight, Elizabeth glanced quickly at it and saw Faith dismissing Tara's offer of help.
"A-are you o-okay?" Tara asked when Faith finally sat on the bench of the cell.
Faith leaned back against the wall and deeply sighed before answering.
"Five by five Blondie," she grumbled and rolled her eyes. "I'm having a lot of fun right now."
Tara looked away a second and bit her bottom lip.
"I'm so-sorry," she breathed without looking at Faith.
Faith turned to her surprisingly.
"Sorry?" She asked. "Why are you sorry? It's not your fault Blondie."
"I shouldn't have looked at the cops like that this morning," Tara explained. "You told me and…"
"It has nothing to do with that," Faith interrupted. "We were at the background of a crime scene picture. And guess what? We have to come across a former cop from Sunnydale who recognized me. I call that being terribly unlucky." She finished in a defeated tone.
Tara felt obviously relieved.
"She recognized me too," she whispered.
"Yeah," confirmed Faith. "She asked many questions about you."
"They asked many questions about you too," Tara replied.
"What did you say?" Faith queried.
"What we agreed on if we ever ran into the cops."
"Good," approved Faith.
They fell silent for a moment before Faith turned to Tara. She examined her tired face for a moment and gently said:
"They will release you soon y'know, they've got no reason to keep you."
"I guess…" Tara nodded slightly, seemingly lost in thoughts. "But… What about you?" She added after a silence.
Faith shrugged and her face crumpled a little at the question.
"I guess I'll be back in jail," she said. "If I'm not sentenced to death."
"Oh!" Tara exclaimed, horror appearing on her tired face. "They won't do that." She added quickly. "You will just be sentenced for a few years more…"
Faith shrugged and grimaced.
"Wonderful," she answered bitterly. "But don't worry, I'll escape before that happens." She added and tried to smile.
She tried to get rid of her bonds but she was still too weak to succeed. She sighed in despair.
"Those bastards drugged me," she explained as Tara was looking curiously at her. "I don't know what they gave me but I felt weaker than ever before." She said bitterly. "But I'll escape no matter what."
"How… what are y-ou go-gonna do?"
"I'll wait until my transfer to wherever they'll send me," she explained. "I'll pretend to be still under the effects of the drugs and I'll break out of the vehicle when they don't expect me to."
"What if they drug you all the time?" Tara asked shyly.
"They can't drug me 'till the end of time," she said.
But her voice didn't sound really convinced. She looked more defeated than she wanted to appear. Tara looked at her in silence for a few seconds, turned to the locked door of the cell, then to Faith again.
"I can help you," she finally said.
Faith arched a skeptical eyebrow at the blonde.
"I'm a w-witch," Tara explained. "I can do a sp-spell to open the door and make us invisible or something…"
Faith stared at Tara in disbelief.
"You can do that?" She asked in a dubious tone. "Don't you need ingredients or something?"
"Well, most of the times I do," Tara explained. "But some spells can be done without any and some powerful witches would be able to do certain spells without ingredients when I would need some."
She fell silent and looked at Faith with a light smile on her lips.
"I read some spells earlier at the motel," she went on. "I remember them very well. And you know, I've been practicing witchcraft since I'm little. I'll use simple tricks."
"You know you're talking about doing something very illegal?" Faith asked.
"I know," Tara answered.
"Well, I thought you had some sort of rules: like not using magic for personal interest or something like that." Faith said.
She had expected Tara to backpedal or at least to hesitate. But the witch simply nodded with a serious look on her face.
"First, it's not for personal interest, it's for you," Tara asserted. "Second, I should be dead, so what's a little spell against this huge bug in the natural order?"
Faith couldn't help but grin, highly amused by the witch's seriousness and way of thinking.
"God," she exclaimed. "Don't tell me I had a bad influence on you, B will kill me when she finds out."
Tara frowned, confused.
"What?" She asked.
"Buffy," Faith clarified.
"Oh," Tara laughed. "She's not that bad you know!"
"Yeah!" Faith replied, raising her eyes to the sky, obviously not convinced.
They fell silent again, staring at each other for a few seconds.
"You're talking about taking a huge risk," Faith said. "I'm not sure I can let you do something like that."
"Faith," interrupted Tara firmly. "You've been taking care of me for months. It's time I do something for you."
Faith gazed at Tara silently once more, assessing the witch's resolution.
"Okay," she finally said, since Tara's will wasn't softening. "What about beginning with this?"
She stretched her handcuffed wrists to Tara and the witch smiled.
"That'll be a good start," she replied.
"It can't be serious boss," Elizabeth exclaimed, a hint of anger in her voice.
She was with John Roberts in his office. The man was sitting behind his desk, a severe frown on his face. He just hung up the phone and didn't look happy with whatever had been said.
But it was nothing compared to Elizabeth. The blonde stood in front of her boss and had a hard time hiding her anger.
"How is that possible?" She asked in a pressing voice. "We can't let this happen."
Roberts grimaced and shook his head.
"I understand your feelings McKinley," he said. "I know you're upset. That's a lot for you to deal with."
"There must be something to do," Elizabeth resumed.
"We don't have a choice." Roberts replied. "The orders are clear."
"What about the FBI?" Asked Elizabeth. " I though a team has been sent here."
"This is coming from high up." Roberts explained. "We just have to obey."
"God," Elizabeth whispered. "You know we may not have this chance twice?"
He nodded but didn't acknowledge her words.
"Just do it," he said. "Then, we'll all go home. It's been a long day and a long evening."
Elizabeth bit her bottom lip in frustration. But she knew she had no choice.
"Okay," she gave in. "I'm going."
She reached Faith and Tara's cell a few minutes later. She opened the door and found both girls standing inside. They both heavily frowned when McKinley appeared in the doorway. The detective was too upset to notice that Faith had her wrists and ankles free
"Major surprise girls," she said in monotone voice.
"What?" Asked Tara hesitantly.
"You're free to go." Elizabeth announced bitterly.
Faith and Tara exchanged a curious glance at that assertion.
"What?" Faith repeated in an unbelieving tone.
"Believe me; I'm as surprised as you are." Elizabeth said. "But you're free."
Faith and Tara looked at each other again, obviously having some trouble to believe what they heard.
"You must have powerful friends," Elizabeth added in a harsh voice. "Get out now."
Tara glanced at Faith and the brunette shrugged.
"Let's go," she said.
They exited the room and followed Elizabeth leading them down several hallways up to the building entrance.
"So?" Tara asked shyly. "What…"
"You're free," repeated Elizabeth. "There's no charge against you. Just go."
With that, she turned on her heels and went away without another glance to her former prisoners. Tara pushed the door open and both girls left the police station. It was pitch dark outside.
"What was that about?" Faith asked.
"She didn't look really happy to let us go," Tara commented.
"Yeah," Faith approved. "We have to be careful until we know why they…"
"You will not have to wait long for that, Faith," declared a new voice.
Faith turned sharply to her left and found herself face to face with a smiling Giles.
"Giles!" She exclaimed.
"Good evening, girls," he greeted them casually.
"Mr. Giles," Tara smiled warmly at him.
"I'm glad to see the two of you are looking quite well," he said.
"Are you responsible for this?" Faith asked, gesturing vaguely around her.
"Actually I am," Giles replied.
"How did you know?" Faith asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
"Well, hum…" he coughed a little to clear his throat and suddenly appeared to be a little embarrassed. "I have to admit I was a little worried about you two, then…"
"God," interrupted Faith. "You spied on us."
"Well, I wouldn't say that Faith," Giles calmly replied. "I just had people of mine watching over you two…"
"Watching over us!" Faith repeated, rolling her eyes. "You didn't trust me?"
"Of course I did!" Giles answered severely. "I was just concerned that this sort of thing might happen."
Faith arched a skeptical eyebrow but remained silent.
"Well, I parked my car over there," Giles said, gesturing behind him.
"And?" Faith asked.
"I thought we could spend a moment together," Giles explained.
Faith stared at him, dumbfounded.
"What?" She asked.
"I think it's a gr-great idea," interjected Tara. "We could have a snack together. We didn't eat anything since lunch. I'm starving."
"And now she's starving," Faith snorted. "It's been a weird day."
"What do you think Faith?" Tara asked, grinning at her.
"I guess I can use something to eat," the Slayer admitted.
"Wonderful," Giles began.
"If you're paying G-man!" Faith smirked.
"Well, I should have known you would add a clause like that," he sighed. "Let's go then."
Giles and Faith were alone at a table in a good restaurant of a Portland hotel. Tara slipped away to the restroom near the end of the meal, leaving them alone.
"So," Faith asked hesitantly. "Did you talk to her when I was ordering?"
"Yes, I did," Giles replied. "I'm happy to see she looks a lot better than the last time I saw her."
"I think she is," Faith approved.
She fell silent and looked down to her spoon she was distractedly playing with.
"Is there something you want to ask Faith?" Giles quietly demanded.
"Well," Faith began. "I guess you asked her if she feels like going back to Cleveland with you?"
"I did actually," he replied.
"Yeah," Faith commented.
She didn't add anything at first and waited for Giles to speak. But the older man continued drinking his tea silently.
"So," Faith asked finally in a detached tone. "What did she decide?"
Giles removed his glasses and started to clean them with a piece of cloth in his trademark way.
"Umm," he answered. "To quote her 'being with a pain-in-the-ass Slayer is better for me than being around Willow right now...'"
Faith smirked and got up. She turned round, gestured vaguely to point at herself. When she faced Giles again, she offered a highly amused smile.
"Well, you can understand why," she chuckled.
Giles interrupted his gesture as he was raising his cup of tea to his mouth and looked at her blankly. Faith grimaced and she rolled her eyes before sitting again.
"Okay, obviously you don't," she concluded.
Giles frowned and stared at her for a few seconds but he didn't ask what she meant.
"I booked two rooms for you in this hotel," Giles finally said.
"What?" Faith asked. "I don't need…"
"Faith," interrupted Giles. "You two just spent hours at the police station, a good night is in order."
"I'm not working for the council anymore," Faith replied. "You can't…"
"It has nothing to do with the council," Giles interrupted. "Consider it a gift from a friend."
As Faith was about to open her mouth to protest again, Giles went on:
"If you don't accept, Tara will," he said. "She needs a good night's sleep."
Faith winced but nevertheless gave in.
"Okay, G-man," she said. "You won. And after all, I was beginning to be fed up with crappy motels."
She looked around her and showed a grimace of approval.
"Seems to be kinda neat," she stated. "I like it here."
Tara came back then and sat at her place, beside Giles.
"Listen to this, Blondie," Faith exclaimed. "Giles booked two rooms for us here."
Tara nodded and smiled.
"Great," she said simply.
"You two seem to get along well," Giles remarked.
"We got used to each other," Faith commented casually.
Giles smiled at Faith's demeanor. They remained together a long while, just quietly talking about the past few months, each of them trying to know what happened in the others' life. It was really late when they finally decided to go to bed.
Giles went with them to the lobby where the girls got their room keys. The Englishman hugged both girls – Faith quickly, Tara for a longer time – and left for his own accommodations.
"Be careful," he said before leaving. "And think about coming back to Cleveland someday."
Faith exited the bathroom of her room with a towel hanging on her shoulders and literally jumped on the king bed. She spread her arms and legs and smiled widely. The room was huge, the bed larger than any she ever saw. She had her own bathroom, a fridge and a television. The Slayer was as excited as a child discovering Disneyland as she rummaged in the fridge. She took out a can of beer and looked at it for a split second before deciding to go for it.
"A beer will be good," she said to herself.
She plopped onto the bed again and switched the TV on. Her attention drifted away from the screen several minutes later when she heard a slight tapping at the door.
"S'open," she shouted.
The door opened slowly and Tara appeared in the doorway. She wore her pajamas and carried her new witchcraft book under her arm.
"Hey," Faith greeted. "You ain't sleeping? It's late."
Tara looked embarrassed and she looked down at her feet as she replied.
"Well, it may sound weird to you, but I couldn't sleep," she explained.
"Missed your little Faith?" The Slayer chuckled.
"Well, kinda," admitted the witch.
Faith asked her to come in and Tara finally came in and closed the door behind her. She went up to the bed and Faith gestured for her to sit. The witch complied while Faith was crawling to the bottom of the bed and stretched her arm to the fridge.
"What do you want to drink?" She asked. "I've got beer, wine, alcohol, fruit juices, sodas. What'd you want?"
Tara wavered and looked around her and saw what Faith was drinking.
"A beer would be good," she answered.
"A beer for Blondie then," Faith said and she rolled back towards her with another can of beer.
She opened the can and handed it to the blonde.
"Let's drink to our freedom," she said, raising her can toward the witch.
Tara raised her can as well and the cans clinked softly.
"To our freedom," she repeated.
They both silently drank a few mouthfuls and Tara settled more comfortably on the bed beside Faith.
"So, how are you feeling?" The witch asked after a silence.
"I'm good," replied Faith, shrugging. "Giles told me I'll get all my strength back in a day or two. We have to be careful until then."
Tara nodded and drank again as Faith leaned against a giant pillow.
"Beautiful room," she commented. "I never saw a room this big and cool before. And believe me, I saw a lot of motel rooms."
"You used to live in motel rooms?" Tara asked.
Faith nodded thoughtfully and remained silent for a few seconds.
"Yeah," she finally replied. "Before going to jail, before the mayor, I used to live in crappy motel rooms."
"Well," Tara said. "All that time went by but there's not so much changed, right? You're still living in motel rooms."
Faith smiled, a half-bitter, half-warm smile.
"We may live in motel rooms lately," she responded. "But I see a great difference from before."
"What is it?" Tara asked. "You feel different because of all the redemption stuff? At peace with yourself? Slaying the good way? So, the crappy motel rooms feel less crappy now?"
Faith grinned at Tara's questions and assertions and shook her head.
"Well, you could say that. But that was not exactly what I was talking about. That's not the biggest point."
"Will you tell me what the biggest point is?" Tara asked quietly. "Or maybe I have to guess?" She added playfully.
"You can guess?" Faith chuckled. "I can give you three guesses if you want."
"Come on, Faith." Tara pressed. "Tell what you meant! What is the thing making things so different?"
Faith didn't reply immediately and drank new mouthfuls of her beer instead. Then, she shrugged casually and turned to look at Tara in the eye.
"You," she answered simply.
"I mean, I'm not alone." She added after a short silence. "And sharing a crappy motel room with someone you can think of as a friend is so much different from being alone in a crappy motel room thinking of the friends you'll never have."
Tara's mouth opened in surprise at the Slayer admission and she smiled shyly but brightly in response. She didn't say anything and Faith remained silent as well. They eventually looked away and their attention went back to the screen. When the beers were finished, Faith switched off the TV after glancing at her watch.
"It's three in the morning Blondie," she explained. "We should sleep now."
Faith slipped beneath her sheets under Tara's stare. The witch wasn't moving and looked down at her crossed legs.
"Is something wrong?" The Slayer asked.
"Well," Tara began, looking away from the brunette, discomfort obvious on her face. "I know it may sound stupid… but can I sleep with you tonight?"
Faith looked at her, puzzled and dumbfounded.
"Hmm, well…" she stammered hesitantly.
"Don't worry," Tara resumed in a firmer tone. "No mixed signals here. It's just… I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep alone… I'm…"
"Okay," interrupted Faith. "No mixed signals. Then it's okay."
Tara smiled gratefully to the Slayer and slipped under the cold sheets in turn.
"Like you're my type anyway," she grumbled as she lay down in the bed.
Faith rose on her elbows and turned to her, her look sharing surprise and annoyance.
"I thought you were into girls," she remarked. "It may have escaped your keen notice, but I'm a girl."
"Not my type of girl," Tara shot back.
"What do you mean 'not your type of girl'?" Faith replied in an offended tone. "I'm hot."
"And what?" Tara answered, turning her head slightly towards her. "Willow's so much hotter than you."
"What?" Faith replied, horrified. "There's no way Willow's hotter than me."
Faith switched the light off and fell back lying in the bed with a grimace of disgust. She raised the blanket up to her shoulders and listened to Tara's breathing for several minutes. The witch had fallen asleep. She turned her back to the blonde and grumbled to herself:
"There's no way Willow's hotter than me…"
End of "Justice"
To be continued in "Dark deeds"
Please tell me what you thought about the episode