Chapter Four: Room With a View
He feigned unconsciousness as they hauled him out of the truck and loaded him onto a gurney. They weren’t too gentle, and he couldn’t hold back a grunt of pain as he curled up on his side. He risked a glance around once he rolled over and saw one of the goons that surrounded him holding Faith’s unconscious body. He tried to pay attention to where they were taking him, but he really was in quite a lot of pain; he was beginning to feel a bit lightheaded.
He must have passed out again at some point because the next thing he knew he was opening his eyes to a blindingly bright light. He tried to sit up, but hands caught at him and pushed him back down. He felt the prick of a needle as it slid into his arm and then he was floating in a sea of nothing.
She woke in darkness. For a brief, scary moment she thought she was still in jail, the last month and a half all just a fuzzy dream, but then she remembered. The attack, the van, and that fucking cattle prod thing they kept zapping her with. And Wesley. She wondered what they’d done with him. She didn’t think he was in here with her – wherever the hell she was – this room felt empty and cold. No, she was alone here, no doubt about it. Alone and a little bit scared. Who were these people, and what the hell did they want with her?
She felt her way around the room, trying to find a door or a window or some way for her to get the fuck out, but there was nothing. What kind of room had no way in or out? How was that even possible? And the walls were all soft and squishy; so was the floor. What the hell? She was in a fucking padded room. Shit. Was she in some kind of fucking asylum? What the hell was going on, and where the fuck was Wes?
* * * *
“Don’t struggle; we’re trying to help you.”
“I don’t want your bloody help,” he bit out as he continued to fight.
“Sir, please, if you’ll just lie still for a moment-” The doctor broke off as Wesley’s foot connected with a tray full of equipment, launching it across the room with a loud crash. “Dammit. I don’t know how you people expect me to work like this. Will someone anaesthetize him, please?” There was a brief moment of silence as the doctor’s attention was focused elsewhere, and then pandemonium broke out as Wesley threw a hard right, knocking one of his captors to the floor before shaking loose of the other and making a run for the door.
He made it to the hall easily enough, moving quickly through the labyrinth of corridors as he searched for a way out. Everything in this Godforsaken place looked exactly the same. Had he gone down that hallway already, or was that where he’d come from? He glanced behind him as he turned a corner, unsure of what his next move should be, and was halted by a stinging pain in his chest. He looked down to see a dart protruding from his body. When he looked up, Lilah stood before him, gun in her hand as she smiled.
“Sorry, lover.” And he dropped to the floor.
She was almost asleep again – though she wasn’t sure how the fuck she could sleep at a time like this – when she heard voices. They sounded like they were right outside and coming closer. She turned and pressed her ear against the wall to see if she could hear what they were saying, but before she could figure anything out, the wall in front of her lurched and fell away from her. She tumbled into a hallway, landing at the feet of three men. There was no hesitation, no thinking up a plan; she just bolted.
She had only moved about two steps away when she felt the blast of electricity hit her. Groaning in agony, she crumpled to her knees and was shoved unceremoniously back into her room. She felt a heavy weight land across her legs, and then the wall sealed shut again. She kicked whatever they’d thrown on her out of the way, and rose shakily to her knees to begin pounding on the wall.
“Open the fucking door, you bastards. Open. Up.”
“It’s no use,” a voice whispered behind her. Letting out a shriek, she scrambled away from the sound.
“Who the fuck are you?” She heard a familiar laugh that gave way to a sudden moan of pain.
“It’s me, you little idiot.”
“Wes?” she cried. “Holy shit.” She crawled towards him. “I thought you were probably fucking dead by now. Where the hell– Hey. Did I kick you a second ago?”
“Yes. You did. There’s nothing like a blow to the chest for a broken rib on the mend. Very… bracing.”
“Oh, shit. Sorry ‘bout that, but you seem alright, and you’re here, and-” She broke off. “Where were you anyway?” she asked, suddenly suspicious. “You’re not all evil now, are you?”
“Yes, Faith,” he sighed, “They injected me with evil. That’s where I’ve been all this time; they had to make sure the transplant – the evil transplant – would take.”
“First of all,” she fumed. “You don’t have to be an ass. Second,” she grabbed him by the collar, “you better fucking be kidding.” She let go of him suddenly and dropped down to sit beside him. “How did your rib get broken? I checked after the fight, and everything seemed fine.”
“Yes. Well. I haven’t exactly been a model prisoner.” She smiled briefly.
“Do you have any idea how long we’ve been here?”
“I was hoping you’d know; they shot me full of drugs every time I got… unmanageable. Hard to know how long I was out each time.”
“I haven’t seen daylight since they took us,” she whispered. “Time loses a little meaning when you can’t see it passing.” She felt him move closer, thought his hand might have brushed her shoulder, but then he moved away again. “Why do you suppose they put you in here with me? Isn’t it easier to plan an escape if we’re together?”
“Yes, doesn’t seem very wise, does it?” He moved again, and she heard him bite back a groan. “Unless they know that there is no escape.”
“So, what, we just knock on the,” she gestured vaguely, “wall and tell them we give up?” She snorted in disgust. “I don’t know why I expected you to be any help; shoulda known I’d have to do all the fucking work myself.”
“Faith, I’ve gotten loose more times than I can count. It’s a bloody maze out there, and everything looks exactly the same. Even if we managed to get out of this room, which would be difficult in and of itself, I can’t even begin to guess what way we’d need to go to get out of the building. I’m not even sure we’re in the Wolfram and Hart offices; they may have taken us to an alternate location.”
“Wait.” Faith interrupted. “Wait a goddamn minute.”
“Wolfram and Hart? Wolfram and fucking Hart?” Her voice rose in anger. “Are you telling me that you’re girlfriend kidnapped me? Let her goons beat you damn near to death, and then threw us in a fucking truck for God knows what reason?” She let out a harsh laugh. “You really no how to pick ‘em, stud. ‘Least the losers I’ve picked never tried to kill me.”
“A little hard for them to do as you were choking the life out of them, hmm?”
“Oh, shut the fuck up.”
“You started it.”
“Real mature, Wes. You’re such an asshole.”
“Bitch,” he muttered.
“Ooh, yeah, talk dirty to me.” He let out a disgusted sigh, and they fell into an angry silence. She crossed her arms, biting her lip to keep from making another comment. If he could keep his mouth shut so could she. It’d be a cold fucking day in hell before she said one more word to that prick. Bastard. She hoped he – Suddenly, he laughed. It was quiet, but she could tell it was definitely laughter. “What’s so fucking funny?”
“You. Us. We’ve been scared and alone for who knows how long, and the first thing we do when they put us in the same room is argue like schoolchildren.” He sighed. “I’m sorry.” She stared into the darkness, trying to make out his expression.
“Okay, yeah. I, uh, I guess I’m sorry too.” She leaned back against the wall. “But just for the record, I was not scared.” She crossed one ankle over the other. “I can’t believe you told me you were scared. Do you even realize how much mocking you’re in for? God, you’re so easy.” She heard him sigh.
“I was trying to make a point.”
“Sod off,” he muttered, his foot connecting sharply with her shin, and Faith laughed out loud.
“So, do they feed you in here?”
“Yeah. Didn’t figure it out until about three days in. You know how fucking hungry I was? Best goddamn meal I ever had.” He looked at her in confusion.
“What do you mean, figure it out?” He heard her move and suddenly she was right in front of him.
“Take my hand; I’ll show you.” He felt her hand move across his stomach, obviously searching. He just stood for a moment, amused as her hand drifted almost embarrassingly low. “Quit fucking around, Wes. I’m not really looking to cop a feel here; just take my damn hand.” He did as she said, and she began to pull him across the room. After a moment she stopped and lifted his hand to press against something. “You feel that slight bump there in the padding?”
“Push it, and it opens two doors. Door on the left is a bathroom.” She paused for a moment. “Very handy. Door on the right is a tiny little room where food magically appears.”
“Well, I don’t know if it’s magic or not, but I’ve never heard or seen anyone in here. Still, food’s there everyday. Barely enough to get by on, of course, but I’m not complaining.” He moved away from her, feeling along the wall. “I searched the whole place; you won’t find anything useful.” He smiled as his fingers ran over a familiar shape embedded in the wall.
“There’s a light switch here, you know.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t…” he saw her blink as subdued lighting flooded the room, “work.” She looked over at him, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Wow. She must really like you. You have the bestest girlfriend in the whole world.” She turned away, anger crawling across her face. “I can’t believe that bitch made me sit here in the fucking dark all this time. Nearly went out of my friggin’ mind, but you’re here two seconds, and suddenly everything works right. Nothing but the best for you, huh, big man?”
“I hardly think being locked up in a padded room and held against my will qualifies as ‘the best’.”
“Whatever.” She dropped back down to lean against the wall. “So, why are we here? What do they want me for?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did she get jealous or something?”
“Jealous?” he asked cautiously. He didn’t like the look on her face.
“Yeah, you know, of us.” He crossed his arms and frowned.
“There is no “us”, Faith.”
“Well, after the scene I caused that morning at your house and then you dogging me all around town, I figured she might be wondering what the fuck was up.” She flashed him a seductive grin, and he felt himself blush slightly. “Why were you following me, Wes? Just couldn’t resist my many, many charms?”
“I didn’t follow you.” He moved across the room, unable to meet her eyes, but she got to her feet quickly and moved to follow him.
“Oh, yeah? I know I saw you at the club, and then you were there in the alley. I’ve seen you all over the place, watching me.” She had moved very close to him, and he was beginning to get nervous. What was she playing at now? “See, I think you just couldn’t stand to let me get away without giving me a little test drive of your own because, deep down, you know I’m still a bad girl, and that’s what you like now, isn’t it, Wes?” She crowded him, backing him up against the wall, her fingers trailing up over his chest. He decided he’d had enough. He grabbed her wrist, pushing her back away from him, his expression angry.
“You think the reason I followed you was for sex?” he demanded. She smiled as she crossed her arms, and suddenly he realized what an idiot he was.
“So, you admit it. You were following me.”
“That’s not what I m-”
“Oh, give it up. You know, it’s funny; I didn’t even know for sure if it was true until you just said it. Nice to know I wasn’t losing my mind.” She gave him an infuriating little smirk and retreated to the other side of the room. “You know she’s probably been having you followed, right? I’m sure she knows all about your little stalker fetish. I swear to God, Wes, if these bastards took me because you couldn’t stay your ass outta my life, I will beat you bloody.”
“Yes, and that would be such a startling contrast to your usual treatment of me.” She threw her hands up in frustration.
“God, it never ends with you, does it? What the fuck do you want from me, Wes?” She stalked over to stand in front of him. “Look, I know what I did to you was awful; I’ve admitted that. I’m not the kind of girl that says sorry real easy, you know, but I came to you, and I made my peace. I’m not expecting you to forgive me; I don’t even deserve that from you, but do you really think I need to have it thrown in my face every fucking day?” She closed her eyes briefly before looking him straight in the eye. “You think I don’t see the blood and the pain every time I close my fucking eyes? I don’t need your fucking contempt or your mocking reminders; what I did is part of me, and I will never forget a second of it. Bringing it up all the time like that, just makes it harder for me to remember that I’ve changed.”
She was staring at him, her emotions so raw, so close to the surface he could practically feel the pain emanating from her skin. How did she do it; how did she manage to make him feel like such a bumbling idiot with so very little effort? He wanted to reach out to her, but he knew she wouldn’t look kindly on any offer of comfort from him. So he just watched her, unsure of what he should say. A burst of static broke the silence, and a voice filled the room.
“Well, I, for one, am deeply moved,” Lilah said. “Is this the part where you two crazy kids kiss and make up?”