Turning A Corner
Faith had been dreaming again last night. There had been that blue scaly woman again, the one that thought it shouldn't matter what they looked like, but knew that it did. Faith really wondered who she meant when she said 'we', and if she was going to be a problem. There had also been a group of handsome pirates, but that had been a whole separate sort of dream, and she wasn't worried in the least about that one.
But most of her morning had been spent wondering if, between Lilah Morgan and whatever deviousness Wolfram & Hart were cooking up and whatever her dad and his cousin were digging up, she would end up walking out of this place. Free.
If they did let her out, what would she do? The fact that she'd still wind up in fights with the supernatural baddies as a given - she wouldn't get out of that until she died. But could she keep out of trouble? Get a job that would support her? Find herself a sexy pirate or two of her very own?
If the Watchers' Council would continue trying to kill her. If they would ever stop until she died and they had their more appropriate Slayer to push around like a little wind-up toy. How much she'd get hurt until they won. Because Faith couldn't see how they wouldn't win. They only had to get really lucky once - she had to get lucky or be just that good every time.
Everybody's luck ran out sometime.
Though if she wasn't alone, that would help. If she had other people watching her back, if she could trust them to watch her back. But if she couldn't trust her dad, how much chance did she really have anyhow?
"You have a visitor, Faith," the guard called from down the hallway.
"Is it too much to hope that it's a sexy, scruffy pirate?" Faith called back, rubbing at her temple. Her thoughts had been giving her a headache, along with a nagging feeling of something very bad approaching. Not like walking up the hallway or outside the wall approaching, but like the approach of winter or night - time, not distance. It was probably a Slayer thing, unless she was going paranoid.
"Your legal shark again. Some people might call her sexy, but she isn't scruffy, and not a pirate," the guard replied. "You planning on leaving us soon?"
"What's to stay for? The bed's hard, the food's bland, the decor sucks, no cute guys, and not much privacy," Faith grinned. "I'm sure I could find a better place elsewhere."
"Then you'll need to pay rent," the guard snickered, finally reaching the door. "Come on, you know the procedure."
It didn’t take long before Faith was slipping into the uncomfortable plastic chair behind the bullet proof glass. Lilah Morgan was there, a smug smile on her perfectly made-up face. It reminded Faith of a mask, thin, probably brittle, but well suited to preventing any sign of real emotion from being visible.
“Good to see you again, Miss Wilkins. Or perhaps I should call you Miss Cassidy?” Lilah’s smile showed white, even teeth but no warmth. “I must say that your father’s family leaves quite the impressive trail of records and opinions.”
“I haven’t had much contact with that side of the family. My parents divorced, which I’m sure you found in the research,” Faith considered the company that the woman worked for, and wondered just how much they had found. For that matter, she didn’t know how much of what her dad the mutant criminal – though he preferred the term political dissident – or his cousin the mutant law enforcement officer did was known and what was secret. For that matter, Faith was sure that there were vast amounts of what they’d been up to that her Dad hadn’t mentioned. “Mom didn’t approve of some of what Dad got up to.”
“Your father’s come to the attention of some of the more senior members of the firm, the local branches senior partners, though not the true Senior Partners of the company, if you follow the distinction. His cousin has also caught the attention of highly placed individuals, though in a different way. Both are very memorable.” Lilah paused before asking, “Are you familiar with the older Celtic mythology or stories of elemental creatures?”
Faith gave the woman a look, wondering just how a Slayer who’d had a Watcher could manage to remain completely ignorant of any sort of mythology, especially when it contained potential monsters. “Let’s say I know a few things, but I’m probably iffy on some of the finer details.”
“Your father’s side has caused a lot of people to take notice. Not all of them are what we’d call unimportant,” Lilah offered.
Faith considered those words and felt a chill. Wolfram & Hart weren’t nice people. In fact, a good number of their employees probably ate nice people. If her Dad’s side had made some of those sort sit up and take notice… not even remotely comforting. Adding in the idea that some things ran in families? “And how does this bring you to visit me here? I’ve heard bad things about a lot of office décor, but I bet it looks nicer than here.”
“Paperwork is in processing right now to arrange your release. Some of the more influential members of the firm would like you to remember our part in getting you out of here, when it comes time for your future legal needs,” Lilah smiled. “Or if your relatives need legal counsel. We take a large number of cases that are what we might call complicated or delicate.”
Faith had a few opinions about the wisdom of accepting anything from Wolfram & Hart, and those opinions could be summed up as ‘not smart, not wise, and consider all the other options very carefully first.’ Even beyond the idea of counting your fingers after shaking hands with them. If they had an interest in her family, or maybe her Dad’s family would be more accurate, then they were probably plotting something or three or five things. They also weren’t the sort of people who took well to a blunt ‘hell no’. Wolfram & Hart would be more likely to consider those words a challenge, and to try to arrange things so that approaching them seemed like the best or maybe only resort.
Thinking carefully, Faith gave her own smile. “I doubt I’d be able to forget what your firm has done for me. Everything they’ve done.”
Lilah’s smile was a bit stiffer, “We can’t ask for more than that, can we?”
Watching the lawyer, Faith couldn’t keep from wishing she were in a simple fight to the death. A simple, obvious threat she could understand and defeat – a hungry vampire, a rampaging werewolf, even a burning building. Lilah Morgan and Wolfram & Hart were much more dangerous, and a lot harder to figure out. “The idea of getting out of here has some appeal.”
“I’m sure your father will be able to pick you up when everything’s finished processing. Unless anything comes up, I’d suspect you’ll get the news within the next three days.” Lilah Morgan slid out of her chair, once more all smiles. “I do enjoy being able to share good news once in a while.”
“Everybody likes good news,” Faith murmured. She wondered just what the law firm was up to. What they’d found about her father’s family. How they expected to benefit from this. If she’d wind up having been safer in prison with the Council trying to kill her. “Three days?”
“Maybe less. Good luck with your new life,” Lilah Morgan left the visitors’ area.
Faith watched Lilah leave, wondering why she felt cold all of a sudden. Maybe there were just drafts. Maybe she was just being paranoid.
Nah, they were up to something. She just hoped she’d survive whatever they were plotting.
End My Daughter 16: Turning A Corner