Title: A Code Waiting To Be Broken
Author: Beer Good
Rating: PG13
Word Count: About 1100
Fandom: Buffyverse/Twin Peaks. Roughly Angel s2, so about 10 years after the Twin Peaks finale.
Pairing: Faith/Audrey (vague allusions to Faith/Buffy and Audrey/Cooper)
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Joss Whedon, David Lynch, Mark Frost and their various production companies. If I make money off of them, feel free to toss me in the same jail as the characters.
Prompt: "Faith. Audrey. Prison. Shower."

"The good Dale is in the lodge and can't leave." (Annie Blackburn)

A Code Waiting To Be Broken

"How'd you get that?"

The other prisoners take a step back. A couple quickly grab their towels and leave the shower, others hang around at a safe distance hoping to see a good smackdown. The new girl on the block obviously doesn't know the unspoken rules; first of all, nobody tries to mess with Faith. One or two learned that the hard way when she got here, and the rumor of what happened to them has kept anyone else from trying. If she wants to be left alone, everyone's fine with that. Second, nobody bothers Faith in the shower; it's too slippery to run. Third, nobody – but NOBODY – asks about that scar across her belly. Not that anyone's ever tried, but it just seems safer that way.

Luckily, Faith seems pretty mellow today; she doesn't even look up when she gets the question, just keeps washing her hair, carrying her naked self with that horrifying ease that says look all you want, but don't touch or I'll rip your head clean off your body loud enough for nobody to doubt it. "None of your business."

But the new chick – black hair, Monroe mole, traces of red lipstick washing off – either can't take a hint or just likes to play with fire. She's got almost ten years on Faith, but still seems a little too girlishly confident as she reaches around her and grabs the soap, her fingers oh-so-accidentally brushing against Faith on the way back. "Bet I can make you tell me," she smiles.

When she turns to leave, everyone can see the scars criss-crossing her back, from her neck to her thighs. She sashays across the wet floor with a slight limp.

Her name's Audrey. The Southern belle act has no one fooled; rumor has it she's from up North someplace, practically Canadian. Still, she obviously comes from money – she's got that I'm not supposed to be here look. She plays tough and puts on a pretty good show, like she learned the role long before she actually had to play it. It's not likely to hold up for a year and a half, but points for effort. Faith is just trying to keep to herself, but keeps running into Audrey in convenient situations; nobody's really sure why, but everyone leaves the newbies alone when Faith is around. It seems safer that way.

Four days after their first meeting, Audrey parks herself beside Faith at lunch and starts talking, prying, insinuating. When she can't get more than two words and a dark look out of the younger woman, she starts talking about herself.

Short version: She's doing 18 months for fraud, second offence but her first hard time. From what Faith gathers, it all started in a small town, with a dead blonde, a manipulative father, and a mysterious man with too much hair gel who tried to help her.

Gee. What are the odds.

Then there were murders, broken hearts, weasels (no, really, actual weasels) and long story short, she found herself tied up in a bank vault that blew up; hence the scars. After three months in the hospital she came home to an almost empty town, her father dead, her trust fund impounded, and her knight in black suit and tie long gone. From there on her story gets depressingly trite; good intentions, bad company, bad decisions, bad planning... whatever it was she searched for, she only found trouble. Hell, hearing her tell it it's almost like one of those old Bogart movies, and Faith has lived in enough no-cable motels to know that those never end well.

Audrey might play hard, but she doesn't play hard to get. She's like a labrador puppy with a passive-aggressive sex drive, constantly at Faith's heels. Faith, who's been honing her lone wolf act for a year now, finally has enough; grabs her, drags her into one of the supply closets the guards have agreed to overlook, and shoves her against the wall.

"OK, what the hell is your deal? What's it gonna take for you to leave me alone?"

Audrey somehow manages to look both unperturbed and innocent. "I just thought... You seemed like you needed a friend."

"Sorry, I don't do friendship. And if it's protection you're looking for, trust me, I'm the last person in here you wanna get close to. That's a sure way to get hurt." She stalks closer, slams her knuckles against the wall next to Audrey's face; they both flinch at the impact, strong enough to shake the thin wall. "I'm the thing you need protection from."

For a few seconds, Audrey just looks at her. "You really believe that, don't you?"

"Why'd you think I'm in here?" Faith rolls her eyes and gives off a bitter snort. "Get out of here before I show you."

She takes a step back to let Audrey pass, but the older woman doesn't move; instead she reaches out and puts her hand on Faith's cheek. "Show me what?" For the first time, there's more than just eagerness to please in her voice; an amused bitterness, pent up for years. "You think you're bad? I've seen darkness, Faith, I've seen evil. I've had people I love disappear inside it and never come back. Trust me..." She smiles, sadly. "You don't have what it takes to scare a Twin Peaks girl."

Faith moves closer again. "That a fact?"

"Try me."

Faith cocks her head, trying to keep the sneer from cracking, and then dives in and kisses her hard, as if to prove something. When she pulls away Audrey refuses to let her retreat back inside her own space; pulls her back by her wrists, uncurls Faith's fists and guides them downwards, pulling up the one-size-fits-all prison garb as she leans forward to kiss her back. And as Faith lets herself be pulled and her fingers find the warmth underneath, Audrey clings to her dark stranger with the desperation of someone who needs to believe that it's never too late; when her legs wobble, Faith's got two good hands and easily holds her up without even thinking twice about it. They don't say anything more.

Afterwards, with both of them in an undignified heap on the floor, Audrey starts to feel what will show up as bruises on her back tomorrow. Faith flinches when Audrey glides her hand over her belly, and then quickly gets up and fixes her clothes. She stands there for a second, trying to get her mask back on, absent-mindedly wiping her hands on her pants. Then she mumbles something ("I should just...") and walks out, leaving the door open. Audrey plays with the idea of asking her about the scar again, but decides against it for now; it's not like it's going anywhere, and she'll get there eventually. She was never one to play it safe.