Still Chosen

By WillowfanJ

Disclaimer: Don't own em…. have nothing to sue for…. imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….

Feedback: Oh…yes please!

Spoilers: Nope

Angst:  Not really.

Dedication: To Brendy!!! This is for being…well…you!

Chapter 1

                Jessie sat on the hard wooden bench and watched the girl pumping the weights. She was firm and very athletic, and she was gorgeous. She had heard stories about the girl, but decided that it was time.

                Jesse stood and walked over to the weights rack and selected a ten-pound bell. She casually made her way over to the brunette and stopped a few inches from the head of the bench, staring down at the girl as she sat the bar back into place.

                The brunette looked up at Jesse and raised an eyebrow. "Problem?" she asked, casually looking up at Jesse.

                Jesse just smiled and raised the barbell. "Not for much longer." She said quietly before smashing the barbell down towards the girl's head.

                The brunette moved faster than anyone Jesse had ever seen. She just shot her hand up and stopped the barbell in mid motion. "Oh please." She said, hardly straining from the effort. Exerting a little force, she shoved Jesse's hand up and jumped to her feet. "I don't have the time or the patience for you." She said, turning to walk away.

                Jesse growled and ran after the brunette.

                She was stopped cold as the girl shot her foot back into Jesse's stomach. All the wind flew from Jesse's lungs as she dropped to her knees. The whistles blared from three directions and the brunette tensed slightly and cursed herself.

                "Faith!" one of the guards called out, running up brandishing a nightstick. "Back off…now" the tone of the guards voice held a lilt of concern. The guard reached faith and eased her back. "Please." She added quietly. Monroe was the only guard Faith had met that actually gave a damn about what happened to the girl. She was the closest thing she had to a friend in here…hell…anywhere.

                Faith backed up and waited as the guards stood Jesse up and handcuffed her. Jesse shot daggers at Faith as she was led away.

                Monroe walked up to Faith and gestured towards an open door. "Want to tell me what that was all about?" she asked as they walked.

                Faith just shrugged. "Beats me." She tried to sound casual. "I was just workin' out when she went all psycho on me." Faith stopped and turned to Monroe. "I could have done a lot worse than I did….I could have probably killed her." She stated, an edge of panic in her voice.

                Monroe nodded. When Faith first arrived there had been a fight for dominance. Faith was the target of an attack by seven girls. One of them still walked funny. "I know, Faith." She said, gently laying a hand on Faiths shoulder. "I will try to talk the warden into being lenient. Your behavior the last few months has been exceptional…and you didn't start the fight." She smiled.

                Faith shuddered. She knew the punishment for fighting…solitary. Faith hated it. It gave her time alone with her thoughts and with everything she lost. She could not stand to be like that…and she did everything in her power to avoid it.

                Monroe just smiled reassuringly, she knew about Faith's fear and would and do her best to make sure the girl would not go to solitary.

                Monroe liked the brunette. There was just something about her that made her likable. Behind the gruff exterior, Faith turned out to be a very insecure, scared woman. She felt like she was alone and she felt like she couldn't ever measure up. As a result, Monroe made a conscious effort to make Faith feel like she was accepted.

                Monroe still believed in the reformation principle. She believed that a person could be reformed and that they could return to society. Sure she could be called naïve but she couldn't help it. She believed in the best of humanity. She saw something great in Faith and made Faith her own personal project. None of the other guards protested what little time they had to spend with the troublesome woman. They were more than happy to let Monroe deal with her.

                Monroe walked with Faith to the warden's office and sat with her. Faith was nervous, there was no love lost between the warden and the girl. They had established their relationship early in Faith's stay. He had tried to pay special attention to Faith and was swollen for a week.

                Warden Jacobson sat behind his nearly empty desk and read the incident report. Scowling, he looked up at Monroe and then let his gaze fall on Faith.

                "So…Faith…" he said, closing the file and removing his glasses. "It's been nearly two months since our last little visit. I was beginning to think you were mad at me." The sarcasm was heavy in his voice.

                Faith just stared at the balding man. He was heavy, bald, sweaty and that smell just permeated everything, but most of all he was filled with hatred. He hated his job, hated his wife and hated everyone in the prison. Faith sighed inwardly. 'I will not react…I will not jump up…I will not grab his fat neck and squeeze until…' her thoughts were interrupted by Monroe gently nudging her foot under the table.

                Faith's knuckles were white from gripping the arms of the chair. She nodded slightly and remained passive to the tirade spilling from Jacobson's lips.

                Jacobson waited for the response he knew was coming. He tried unsuccessfully to hide his disappointment when Faith did not react. Jacobson moved forward and folded his hands. Clearing his throat, he pulled out a pen. "Well then. As you know I'm transferring out of this hole and my replacement will be here tonight." He smiled evilly. "I have a final parting gift for you Faith." He scribbled his name across the bottom of a form and inserted it into Faith's file. Handing the file to Monroe, he stood.

                Monroe opened the file and read the form. Her face fell and her color drained. She looked up at Jacobson with smoldering hatred in her eyes.

                Jacobson just smiled smugly. Turning to Faith, he grinned when he saw her expression. Her eyes were glazing over and she was visibly shaking. "Solitary." He said, savoring every moment. "Two days."

                Faith was panicking inside. Everything in side of her was screaming to jump up and run. She knew that no one would be able to stop her. She could make it…. and be running for the rest of her life.

                Sighing, Faith stood up and looked into the eyes of the warden. Thrusting her jaw out defiantly, she turned and waited to be taken away.

                Jacobson's expression shifted immediately. Scowling, he waved Monroe out and went back to packing files. His replacement was due here around seven and it was only five, but the sun was setting and he wanted to be able to leave this hellhole as soon as she got here.

                Monroe led Faith down the cold, dim corridor to one of the solitary cells. She was shaking with rage and had not said a word since leaving the office. Stepping in front of the door, she pulled out her keys. Fumbling with the lock, she pulled open the heavy door and looked at Faith.

                Faith was as pale as a sheet and her eyes were as big as saucers.

                Monroe reached out and laid a hand on Faith's shoulder. "I'm so sorry Faith." was all she could get out before her own bitter tears threatened to fall.

                Faith looked at her and shrugged her shoulders. "Hey, no big." She feigned indifference. "It'll be cool. Time away from that chatty cathy will do me good." She joked about her cellmate.

                Monroe wasn't fooled. "He'll be gone by tonight." She said, matter of factly. "I'll talk to the new warden, see if I can't get you released early." She sighed "You did real good back there Faith…real good." Monroe frowned as Faith sat on the bed.

                Faith smiled and nodded at the guard. She was the only one Faith considered a friend. She was special, and Faith didn't snap that fat wardens neck because Monroe was there. Smiling, Faith nodded at the door. "Shut the door, Monroe…I'll be ok. I'm a big girl now." Faith tried to hide just how terrified she was. Monroe slowly closed the door, she did it slowly so the empty thud of the door closing wasn't quite as audible. Sighing, Faith laid down and muttered to herself. "It was a whole lot easier to kick the crap out of people when people expected it from me." Sighing, Faith closed her eyes and waited for sleep to come.

                Faith had barley drifted off to sleep when the dream began. She hadn't had it in a long, long time but she remembered it.

                Faith was running thru a cemetery, her legs pumping furiously as the tombstones whizzed by her. She was frantic, she had to get away. Her heart was pounding harder as she demanded more speed. Turning to look back, she saw a small blonde woman walking towards her. She was walking, but she seemed to be gaining on Faith. Faith turned back only to slam face first into a gray, brick structure.  The walls were cold and there were iron bars covering a window high above her.

                Frantic, she turned and saw the small, blonde woman in the cell with her. The woman she recognized. It was Buffy…the woman who had plunged her own knife into her stomach and left her to die. A part of her still harbored a deep-seated hatred for the girl, but a bigger part wanted to beg for the girl's forgiveness. It had taken a long time to see that she had probably deserved what she had coming. She only wished that she could ask Buffy. But she could never return to Sunnydale…could never ask for that forgiveness. Looking into Buffy's eyes, she braced for what she knew was to come. Searing pain as Buffy slid the knife into Faith's stomach. Buffy reached behind her and pulled the knife out. Faith felt a tear welling in her eye. 'Is this how it will always be? Am I going to have to relive this nightmare every time I close my eyes?' Faith watched as Buffy flipped the knife around and offered the handle to Faith.

                Faith looked down, perplexed. Buffy smiled sadly and held out the knife, pressing the handle into Faith's palm. "You're gonna need this Slayer." She said softly. Buffy smiled and tilted her head "Good luck."

                Faith awoke with a start. Looking around, she got out of the bed. She felt the hair on the back of her neck stand on end and she looked around the room. The only illumination in the room came from the soft glowing of the incandescent bulb in the ceiling overhead. It was nearly pitch black, but her slayers sight allowed her to see as if it was broad daylight. She stood and made her way over to the sink. Running the water over her hands she splashed her face and gripped the sink. "Ok…that was new." She whispered to herself. Looking up into her reflection, she gasped and staggered a few steps back. Her face was coated in blood. Looking down, she saw that her hands also had blood on them. She walked back to the sink and saw the faucet running blood. Faith staggered back and flopped down on the bed, staring at her hands.

                "That's a lot of blood." Faith spun and saw Buffy sitting on the edge of the bed next to her.

                "Damn B." she stammered, trying to wipe the blood off, to no avail. "What the hell is going on?" she asked, her voice wavering.

                Buffy smiled and shrugged her shoulders. "You can't escape it you know." She said. "It's who you are."

                Faith shook her head and held up her hands. "There's to much blood B….too much." Her voice trailed off and she looked at Buffy, tears forming in her eyes.

                Buffy reached out and started to wipe Faith's hands with a towel. "You can't escape what you are, slayer. It's time to wake up." She spoke softly, holding Faith's clean hands up. Buffy smiled and looked into Faith's eyes. "Wake up and get ready slayer…they're here."

                Faith jumped as Monroe gently shook her. Monroe jumped back and clutched her chest, startled by Faiths sudden jumping.

                Faith looked at the sink and then her hands. Both were free of blood. Smiling at Monroe she sat up. "Has it been two days already?" she asked and Monroe just smiled in return.

                "No…I did it. I got you released early. It's been eleven hours." She beamed. Faith nodded her thanks and stood up.

                "The new warden wants to see you Faith…she seems really nice." Monroe gestured to the open door. "She came in with thirty new guards and fired a lot of the old ones. There are only a handful of the old ones and they have all been put on the daylight detail, so they can't try to cause trouble at night."

                Faith smiled and walked with Monroe. "She sounds like an absolute peach." She said.

                Monroe just nodded and playfully poked Faith in the ribs. "Now play nice. Give her a chance Faith." She smiled at the brunette. Faith just nodded and smiled.

                Faith sat across from the new warden and appraised the woman. She was tall and graceful, her eyes were deep blue and she held her blonde hair in a tight yet fashionable bun. She was very attractive and she held herself with dignity. Faith thought she would be a stuffy old bag, but she was totally unprepared for this.

                "So Faith." She spoke and her voice was like chimes. It danced over Faith's skin and she involuntarily shivered. The warden raised an eyebrow at the reaction and smiled slightly. "Are you ok?" she asked. "Is it to cold in here?"

                Faith shook her head. "No…it's cool. Just recovering from solitary." She lied. There was something about the woman that sent chills down her spine.

                The warden seemed to appraise Faith's words and then continued. "Very well. I see from your file that you had a series of…altercations…when you first arrived?" She made the statement a question. Faith just nodded.

                "Yeah. Some of the girls here thought I would just fold and play shop with them." She said, letting just an edge of venom into her voice. " I don't exactly play well with others." She finished, looking defiantly into the woman's eyes. She was surprised when she saw warmth and compassion there as opposed to the usual hatred that she was used to seeing. The warden nodded and flipped the page.

                "I see that you fought off seven girls….and broke one girls leg in…dear lord…eight places?" she finished, looking a little ruffled.

                Faith smiled. 'Dear lord…she sounds like…' her thought stopped before she could reach back to Sunnydale. It hurt sometimes, remembering what she lost. Faith just nodded and lowered her head.

                The warden simply kept reading. "It says that your behavior has changed drastically over the last few months. An almost total reversal from where it was." she dazzled Faith with a smile.

                Faith couldn't help but respond with a smile of her own. The warden sat and looked at Faith.

                "I know you've had problems in the past. But I am here to make sure that it ends. Ex-Warden Jacobson is getting exactly what he deserves as we speak." There was a hint of glee in the woman's voice.

"You're file say's that you will be coming up for a parole hearing in a few weeks." She said, drawing Faith's attention back to the folder. "I feel very confidant that you will do well…" she leaned forward and smiled slightly, " long as you stay out of trouble."

                Faith smiled and stood. "Not a problem." Turning, Faith walked out with Monroe. She was nearly overrun with excitement. Monroe picked up on this and felt just the same. Nothing could stop Faith now. She would be leaving and Monroe would make sure that she never came back. She deserved better.

Three weeks later

                Faith was in the weight room, working out. Normally she would be in the courtyard enjoying the sunshine, but it was raining out.

                She had just finished another set when her concentration was interrupted by a shrill scream splitting the air. Driven on pure instinct, Faith jumped up and ran in the direction of the scream.

                She skidded to a halt and saw the source. One of the girls was mopping and had opened a closet to get some new cleaning supplies. Faith looked into the closet and saw the source of the distress. There crumpled in the corner, was the bloated, half decayed corpse of Warden Jacobson. On his neck there were two distinct holes. Faith slumped her shoulders and cursed. "Shit…just what I need before my parole hearing."

                The guards gathered quickly and Faith found herself watching them all very carefully. She tried to push the sight out of her head but she couldn't. The entire cellblock had been escorted to their cells and locked inside. Faith's cellmate chattered incessantly about what had been seen. Faith tried to push everything out and get some rest. She had a parole hearing in three days to consider.

                Blood flowed all around her. Faith tried to walk but her feet would only slip. She could not fall. She had spent so much time trying to get out of this river of blood…she could not fall again. She struggled to reach the shore to crawl out. On the shore she saw a familiar face. Buffy. Buffy would help her. It's what she did.

                "Buffy!" Faith called out. "Buffy, help me!" she cried. Buffy had her back turned and was just standing there. Faith struggled and made a little progress. Buffy slowly turned and cocked her head at Faith's struggling form.

                "What are you trying to do Faith?" she asked. Faith reached for Buffy but she was still to far away.

                "B." she tried calling to Buffy again. "Please…help me out of this…" she was desperate.

                Buffy rolled her eyes and walked across the river of blood to where Faith was struggling. "Faith…. I've already forgiven you. Now you need to forgive yourself." Buffy pulled Faith out of the river and set her down on top of the flowing blood. Faith immediately began to sink again. Buffy grabbed her arm and looked sternly at Faith. "Faith!" she snapped. "I have already forgiven you, little sister…now wake up…you have a visitor."

                Faith opened her eyes and saw a form quietly opening her cell. The form stalked in and Faith watched it the entire time. It stopped at the side of Faith's bed and crouched. Faith began to make out the features of the person next to her. It was Monroe. She had gotten off at five and Faith had not seen her since then.

                Monroe reached out slowly and shook Faith. Faith feigned waking up and rolled onto her side, facing the guard.

                "Huh…wha?" she began to speak. A hand clamped down onto Faith's mouth.

                "Shhh…." Monroe whispered. "Faith…come with me." She stood slowly.

                Faith walked quietly with Monroe and was led down a darkened corridor. The warden stood and watched as the two figures walked down a dark corridor. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and smiled. Glancing at the blood on her hand she snaked her tongue out and lapped it slowly. "Desert." She said to no one in particular.

                Faith had all of her senses on high alert. She could feel evil all around her. The kind of evil she was very familiar with. The vampire kind of evil. "Hey…Monroe…where are we going?" she asked softly. Monroe turned slightly and gestured to the machine shop.

                Monroe opened the door and walked into the work area. When the two were alone, Monroe turned to Faith. "Look…I need to tell you something that…I'm not even sure is real." She began. Reaching into her jeans pocket, Monroe removed a small silver cross. "Take this." She said, pressing the jewelry into Faith's hand. Faith took the cross and nodded her head. "I know this will make me sound crazy, but there is something you need to know." Monroe continued in hushed tones. "I think…that is….I think there might be…"she leaned in closer to Faith. "…I think there are vampires in the prison." She said quietly, searching for the inevitable disbelief from Faith. When it did not come, she backed up a little. "Did you hear me?" she asked.

                Faith tried to hide a snicker. "Um…yeah…I heard you, but I've got to wonder why it is you picked me to tell?" she asked, smiling broadly.

                Monroe stood a little taller and looked at Faith. "Well…to be perfectly honest, I like you. "she said quietly. "Well…not like THAT…but I thought you should know." She said glancing around. "And forewarned is forearmed." She gestured towards Faith's hand that held the cross. "And you are one hell of a fighter. I figured I could use some help killing the damn things." She smiled a little. "You in?" she asked.

                Faith raised an eyebrow and smiled slowly. "Sure. Just as long as it doesn't interfere with my parole." She said nodding. Monroe smiled and walked to the door, looking out.

                "I've identified two of the guards as vampires. I figured we'd start with them." She said, smiling.

                Faith walked with Monroe along the corridor watching Monroe. The woman moved like she was stalking. Faith walked casually down the middle of the corridor watching Monroe darting in and out of the light. One of the cell doors was hanging open and Faith's hearing was picking up soft, slurping sounds. She gestured to the open door and Monroe pulled out a wooden stake and handed it to Faith. "Take this…try to stab it in the heart." She spoke softly. Faith took the stake and smiled. This was just so funny.

                The guard walked from the cell and nearly ran into Monroe. "Monroe?" he asked, unaware his game face was still on.

Monroe raised her stake and screamed like a mad woman. "DIE DEMON SPAWN!"

The vampire stepped aside and stuck his foot out as Monroe charged by, tripping over the vampire's outstretched foot. "Well, well, well…look who thinks she is the slayer." He mocked stalking towards the fallen Monroe.

Faith walked up behind the vampire and tapped him on the shoulder. The creature turned and looked at Faith. She smiled and punched him in the face. He flew back and landed with a thud against a wall. "She may think she's the slayer, but I know I am." She walked to the vampire and plunged the wood into his heart. He turned to ash as an inhuman scream pierced the air.    

                Faith walked over to Monroe, who was crouched wide-eyed staring at Faith. "That was…I mean…. you're really strong…"she stammered as Faith helped her up. Faith was in full battle mode and was looking around. There was another one around here somewhere. She could feel it.

                Faith walked further down the hallway and peered into the chapel. Smiling, she entered and opened the vestibule bowl. It had water in it and Faith looked around for something to put it into. "You have something to put this in?" she asked Monroe, who was still chatting away about Faith's performance. "MONROE!" she snapped, shaking the babbling guard out of her revere.

                Monroe looked up and nodded at Faith. "Um…in there..there are bottles of water." She pointed to a small refrigerator in the chapel office.

                Faith ran to the refrigerator and snapped the flimsy lock with ease. Inside there were several bottles of water. Faith twisted off a cap and poured the water out, handing the bottles to Monroe. "Fill these with the water in the bowl." She said, reaching for another bottle. Monroe complied and soon they had four bottles filled with the Holy Water.

                Monroe walked with Faith the rest of the night. They had killed seven vamps; the last one Monroe had actually dusted herself. Faith insisted that Monroe take the Holy Water with her when Faith went back to her cell. They would hunt tonight, and she felt better knowing that Monroe was protected at dusk. She meant well, but her fighting skills were not that great. Keeping an unarmed girl in prison for robbery was far easier than killing the worlds most perfect predator. Faith would do the killing, and she would make sure that Monroe was safe as well. She wasn't about to lose her only friend.

                Warden Arkenson, Faith later learned her name, was not in her office as Faith entered. She had been summoned to the Wardens office earlier and arrived to an empty room. The only thing in the room was a chair, three bottles of water and a badge. The badge was covered in blood. Faith swore and turned, nearly running into a shrouded figure.

                It smiled; it's fangs glistening at her. Faith backed up and the vampire advanced. "Come with me…or your cop friend dies…slowly." It snarled.

                Faith could deal with herself being in danger. It was all part and parcel with the whole slayer gig. But this was Monroe. Her only friend and an innocent woman. That was unacceptable. Faith was left with little recourse. Nodding her head, the vampire turned and began its walk out. Faith reached out and snapped a piece off of the back of the chair. The vampire, who was already out of the room, heard nothing. Faith slipped the piece of wood up into her sleeve.

                Monroe was terrified. She was just coming onto her shift when she was jumped. She tried to use the holy water, but she was to slow. The vampires beat her brutally and dragged her prone form to one of the solitary cells. She was tied to the bed and blindfolded. She had tried to break free but she was handcuffed to the bed frame.

                Monroe turned and tried to shift her weight to get more comfortable. She ached all over and she had bruises on her bruises. That's when she heard it. Faith. Faith was walking down the corridor. Faith was asking about her. Monroe suddenly felt a lot better. She called out to Faith, who in return yelled for her.

                "Monroe?!" Faith called after hearing the guard's voice. The vampire with her snarled and leaped at Faith. The slayer knocked the creature aside and whipped her stake out of its hiding place. She jabbed the creature as it fell and it was ashes before it hit the ground.

                Faith ran to the solitary cell and opened the door. Monroe was one big bruise. Faith cringed as she reached down and twisted the cuffs free of the frame. It took some doing but they finally snapped. During the entire ordeal, Faith noticed Monroe wincing in pain, but no sound ever escaped her lips. Faith silently nodded her approval. She reached up and removed the blindfold from Monroe.

                Monroe blinked rapidly as the light hit her eyes. She smiled weakly as Faith helped her stand. "Guess I got in a little over my head, huh?" she asked. Faith just smiled back.

                "We all make mistakes, Monroe." She spoke softly and Monroe knew Faith was not speaking of her capture. "The thing that makes them dumb mistakes is not learning from them." She finished.

                Monroe nodded. "And what have we learned?" she asked.

                Faith looked at the woman and smiled a crooked grin. "That no matter where we go and what we do…there is no escaping destiny." She spoke softly.

                Monroe nodded sagely before speaking. "I was going to say to watch our backs and carry a cross…but that works too." She smiled.

                Faith grinned and they walked out of the door.

                Faith waited until nightfall before she moved. She was back in her cell when the guards came. Seven of them. Faith just stood there in her cell, cleaning under her nails with a stake. Looking up, Faith stood and moved slowly to the front of her cell. "Ready to dance?" she asked.

                The guards looked at each other, reluctant to move near the door. Faith made the decision for them. Lashing out, powerful muscles rippled in her leg. Her foot connected with the cell door and the metal twisted under the force. Spinning she lashed out again and the doors lock snapped. The cell door flew open and she swaggered out.

                The vampires looked at her with amazement on their faces. They were used to meek and scared prisoners. It was why they had chosen the prison. It was an endless supply of food and they didn't have to worry about hunting. They also believed they didn't have to worry about the slayer. At last count, the slayer was in Sunnydale, dealing with the Hellmouth and all the creatures there.

                Now there was one very pissed off slayer and they were totally unprepared for her. Faith moved like greased lightning. Four were dust before they could react. One lashed out with a huge fist and narrowly missed Faith's head. Faith ducked and plunged the stake into the vampire's chest. It crumbled to ash as Faith spun and kicked the nearest vampire into the cell. She reached out and twisted another vampire's neck until she heard a pop. The vampire would live, but it would not be able to move until it healed. And to do that it would need blood. Faith concentrated on the remaining vampire in her cell. It snarled as Faith walked in and smiled. "You know…it's been awhile since I've had this much exercise." She writhed in place as shivers ran the entire length of her body. "Feels good…like I'm all charged up, you know?" she opened her eyes and plunged the stake into the creature's chest. Faith turned and walked to the crippled vampire. It was staring up at her with wide eyes. "Oh…don't worry sweetness…I need you." Faith reached out and plucked the vampire from the ground. She slammed it into the bars and leaned in close. "Now." She said softly. "Where's the boss at?"

                The vampire just gurgled a little then spit in Faith's face. Faith reached up and wiped her cheek. Looking down, Faith nodded. "That's the way you want to play it…fine with me." She looped the vampire's arm thru the bars on the cell. Yanking down, the vampire's arm snapped with a wet crunch. It screamed in pain. "You see…we can do this all day. None of it will kill you. But it will all hurt like hell." She reached for the vampires other arm and looped it thru. "Now…where is the boss?"

                The vampire looked at Faith and smiled. "Behind you." It said. Faith spun and a massive punch sent her reeling. She hit the bars on the cell and her lip split in two places. A rain of blows landed all over Faith as she began to black out. 'Oh well…now maybe someone who can do the job right will be called'. With that last thought, Faith slipped into darkness.

                Faith was in pain. She was swollen and bleeding, that much she knew. She was also in the dark. No…not the dark. She was blindfolded. She could sense movement around her and could feel the presence of the vampires in her midst. She and Monroe had put a sizeable dent in their population. But there were still more to consider. At least nine, not including the leader. Faith tried to move and found herself strapped in with plastic zip ties. She smiled cruelly. She had long ago found out that she could snap these things with ease. Apparently the vamps were not used to dealing with The Slayer. She would be more than happy to show them the error of their ways.

                "She's awake, boss." She heard a voice say. Faith looked in the direction of the voice. "Good…remove the blindfold." A feminine voice answered. Faith felt her blindfold being removed and blinked at the sight before her. There were eight vampires around her and the warden was sitting on a workout bench. She was in the weight room. The warden just smiled at her and stood. "Faith…Faith…Faith…" she shook her head as she walked up to the dark slayer. "I thought I told you that you would go free if you didn't cause any trouble." She smirked.

                Faith just glared at the woman. Looking around the room, she surveyed the area. She saw the rest of the Wardens brood lurking around the area. The slayers instincts formulated several battle plans subconsciously and sent the best one into Faith conscious mind in the span of a few seconds. She could take out all of the brood in a matter of two minutes and twelve seconds.

                The warden kneeled in front of Faith and smirked. "I don't know what you are thinking, slayer, but I would not advise it." She raised her arm and a new vampire entered the room. Behind her, she dragged the battered form of Monroe. "You see Faith. I am a cautious woman. It's how I have survived this long." She stood and walked over to Monroe, lifting the woman's chin with her fingers. "Imagine my surprise when I find that there is a slayer here. I mean, really….what are the odds?" she dropped Monroe's chin and turned to face Faith. "Here's the deal. You drop your head to one side, I bite you and drink until you die. I then allow Monroe here to leave unscathed." She looked up and down Monroe's battered form. "Well…anymore unscathed." She smiled. "If you refuse, well than I will drain, turn and let loose every single woman in this prison. At last count, that was one thousand, twenty-four. Even for a slayer, that's a lot of vampires." The warden walked over to Faith and ran her fingers thru the brunette locks that cascaded down Faiths back. Grabbing a handful, she yanked back, nearly ripping the handful out.

                Peering down, her game face on, the warden lowered her face to bite the slayer. Faith chose the time to act. Using her strength, she snapped the plastic ties and grabbed the warden's head, twisting and snapping the warden's neck. Faith jumped up and spun, kicking out with a crescent kick and dropping two of the vampires. She ran full tilt at Monroe and snatched her from the grasp of a very shocked vampire. Faith ran, half dragging, half carrying Monroe behind her. She threw the guard out of the door and slammed it shut, staying in the room. Monroe stood and banged on the Plexiglas door. "Faith!!" she screamed frantically. Faith put her hand on the glass and Monroe followed suit.

                "Monroe….run. Run far and don't look back. This is what I do…it's what I am." Faith felt emotion start to well in her eyes and she shook her head. "I am The Slayer. I'm still chosen and I have a job to do. I need you safe to do that." She smiled and shook her head. "I can't imagine how B deals….with the scoob's…." she smiled to herself. Monroe raised her eyebrow. "Scoob's?" she asked. Faith just shook her head. "Look. Just go. I'll handle the fang gang." Faith turned and spun into battle. Monroe watched wide eyes as Faith moved thru the vampires with an ease and grace that defied logic. She was like a living work of art, literally poetry in motion.

                Faith was in hell. The battle was going well, but they just kept coming. All she could do was hurt them. Without a stake, or blade she would have a very tough time killing them. Faith kept up her tempo and doubled her speed. She was literally a blur, but this level of movement had it's drawbacks. She could only keep it up for another few minutes, and then she would drop into a deep sleep. It didn't matter where she was or what she was doing, she would just…stop.

                Faith heard a loud screeching and then saw the Plexiglas shatter. Monroe stepped thru the door with a portable circular saw and smiled. She threw a stake at Faith and turned behind her to pull out a fire hose. The prison's priest stood in the hallway and blessed the water in the hose. Monroe smiled and opened the valve. Vampire's screamed in pain as they burned under the waters touch. Faith caught the stake and smiled wickedly. 'Now this is fun.' She thought to herself.

                The battle was short and decisive. The vampire's had fallen. Faith limped back to her cell, supported by Monroe. "I can't believe it." Monroe said softly, lowering Faith onto her bunk. "You go home tomorrow Faith." She smiled as Faith groaned.

                "No….I get out tomorrow. I don't have a home…yet." She added with a small smile. She was still the slayer, still had to try to redeem herself in her own eyes and then in the eyes of the world.

                "I can't believe that the warden signed that glowing report before…well.." Monroe's head dropped and Faith chuckled.

                "Before she tried to eat me?" she finished. Monroe smiled.

                "Yeah. The parole board granted the parole without that long of a hearing. I'm proud of you Faith…you did great." Monroe stepped back and smiled. "Get some rest. The world is waiting with baited breath to meet the new Faith tomorrow."

                Faith was asleep before the door shut.

                The sun shined down on Faith as she sat on the grass. She was eating a grape and saw her. Buffy. The Slayer. But…wasn't Faith the slayer? Buffy walked over to the blanket and sat down. She had a smile across her face. She looked at Faith and smiled broadly. "You did a good job, Slayer." Buffy reached over and patted Faith's knee. Faith unconsciously recoiled from Buffy's touch. The last time she had seen Buffy, they had fought. Buffy looked at Faith and tilted her head. "Faith. You have a destiny, a calling." She looked into the sky and sighed before continuing. "You strayed a little from the path, but you found your way back. It takes a lot of time and work to do that Faith, and you've done it." Buffy sighed. "We don't have much time, and you need real rest. This is where you make a choice. You can go out into the world and fade away, ignoring the darkness around you. The darkness you have the power to stop. Or, you can try to fight Faith…fight and find redemption in the light." Buffy stood and brushed off her knees. "It's your choice…."

                Buffy was gone and Faith was awakened by a loud clanging. Looking up, she saw her cell door open and Monroe standing there. "Ready to go Faith?" she asked.

                Faith nodded and stood. "I have to make a call." Was all she said. Monroe nodded and led Faith to the gatehouse.

                Faith had thought about it all night and had decided on her course of action. She dialed the number and waited. She had a lot of things to answer for, a lot of wrongs to put right. It was a long road, but for the first time she felt like she could make it. "Hey red…B there?" She had a lot to do, to be sure, but she was ready to do it. She had a destiny…a calling. She was still chosen. Faith was ready to take on anything…and she decided to start now.

The End