Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
“Against the wall, Lehane, hands flat at sides.”
As Faith faced the wall of her cell, allowing Larry the prison guard to cuff her quickly and then to pat her down for any hidden weapons, she gritted her teeth, keeping her eyes firmly fixed on the concrete wall before her. She was usually very aware of exactly where and how she was touched and enjoyed using it as an opportunity for much needed entertainment by provoking whoever was required to search her. And Larry was particularly easy to wind up. But today she was quiet and still, her muscles tensed, and it was enough for Larry to look at her with suspicion.
“Either this Lecter fellow really is something else altogether, or you’ve got something up your sleeve and been keeping it up there a long time now,” he muttered. He patted her down one more time, a little more firmly this time, as if to reassure himself that she was indeed carrying nothing.
Not that it mattered- both of them were well aware of the fact that if Faith wanted to be out of her handcuffs, she would find a way to do so, and if she wanted to hurt someone, her bare hands needed no weapon to achieve this.
Faith stood up a little straighter, forcing her muscles to relax, her jaw to unclench, and fiercely instructed herself to get herself together. The guy was just a man. Not a demon, not a monster, not a vampire, just a stupid big-mouthed old man, and she could kick his ass to Jupiter any time she wanted. This was stupid…she was being stupid. She was letting him get to her before she even saw him. It had been a month, a fucking MONTH. What the hell kind of wuss was she that she would still be so damn stupid over the guy and his stupid psychic shrink routine after a month?
She was getting soft. It was pathetic. She better get her head out of her ass and she better do it fast, because she was NOT going to give Lecter the satisfaction of thinking that she’s wasted a few second’s thought on him, let alone that he and his stupid “evaluation” had been hanging over her all month.
She lifted her chin slightly and made herself wiggle her eyebrows at Larry as he stepped away from her and turned her by the arm to face out away from the wall again. She let her lips twist into a smirk, her voice holding much insinuation as she looked up at him.
“Up my sleeve? More like down my throat and up my ass. I like a doc who believes in roleplay in therapy, Larry man. Leaves you having too many happy thoughts to have much room left for the murderous ones, ya know?”
The very thought of Lecter’s transparent, vein-riddled hand touching Faith was enough to make her stomach lurch, let alone any images of him kissing or fucking her, but Larry didn’t have to know that. And if her little act got him thinking she didn’t give a shit after all, then it was worth it.
Larry shook his head, and it was his jaw that was clinched now as he steered Faith out of her cell and towards the door to the prison hallway, his hand on her shoulder slightly tighter than was necessary.
“If you had any sort of sense at all, Lehane, you’d cooperate with the man, seeing as he holds the fate of your future in his hands,” he muttered, the tension in his jaw echoing that of Faith’s from earlier. “But then, none of you lot would be here if you had that, would you?”
“Shows how much clap you’ve got with the rest of the staff, man,” Faith snorted, cutting her eyes at him as they continued to walk. “I didn’t get caught. I turned myself in.”
As Larry glanced over at her sharply, obviously finding the idea that this girl, who had rarely been anything but ingratiating up until the past few weeks, would turn herself in for crimes that she could have easily got away with to be utterly confounding and astonishing, Faith smirked, raising her eyebrow at him again.
“Dude, you’ve seen me lift weights, you know I could leave whenever I want. Even if they had caught me, you really think I couldn’t have gotten away?”
She took some pleasure from the dubious realization and the sudden unease coming into Larry’s eyes, from the way his hand tightened even more on her shoulder, and this gave her the confidence to begin to feel more genuinely that she could get through whatever Lecter tried to throw at her. She was a Slayer, for Christ’s sake. She’d been through more shit than any normal person could even think of, and she’d gotten through without cracking up to now, at least more than once or twice. All he could do to her was talk.
Even so, Faith knew, whatever she told herself to the contrary, that simply talking was one of the worst things to survive of all.
He was waiting for her as before in the small interrogation room, seated at the table with his hands folded, not a trace of impatience or discomfort in his expression. In fact, he looked oddly settled, as if he were quite relaxed and comfortable to sit and wait for her arrival for however long it might take. However, as Larry pulled out Faith’s chair for her and gave her shoulder a slight push to sit in it, she was sure that she saw his eyes flicker with pleasure as he let them rest on her, and his lips turned up slightly at the corners.
Anger rose in her chest, and she unconsciously clinched her jaw again, averting her eyes and vowing once more to not give him anything, not any sort of reaction, no matter what. Even so, her stomach twisted, and she felt her heart pounding just at being in the same room with him again, sitting across from him, feeling his eyes watching her.
“Good afternoon, Faith,” he said cordially, and when Faith gritted her teeth, keeping her eyes turned, he looked to Larry with a slight nod.
“Thank you, Larry. I believe that we are prepared to proceed.”
“Be back in an hour, Dr. Lecter,” Larry nodded, and as his eyes cut to Faith, she was somewhat gratified to see that he still looked uneasy, as if her words in regards to the ease of her possible escape, should she choose to, were still weighing on his mind.
At least someone else was uncomfortable right now, and made so by her. That damn Lecter, she could tell even without looking him in the face, was entirely at ease, and even enjoying himself, she bet, though she had not yet said a word to him.
Faith could feel his eyes on her and tensed, even as she tried to make her muscles loosen up enough to slump back in her chair as if she didn’t’ care at all about him, as if she was entirely unbothered and even bored by being in this room, in his presence. She told herself that she didn’t, even as her heart continued to pound unsteadily in her chest.
God, she hoped the freaky bastard couldn’t hear it. Old men were supposed to have bad senses of hearing and eyesight, but she wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was like a bloodhound or something.
“I am sure that at least one of us will be anxiously awaiting your return, but that is not a reason to hurry, of course,” Dr. Lecter said wryly to Larry, and as his eyes focused once more on Faith, Faith felt her cheeks burn, her cuffed hands forming fists, nails digging into her palms. Nevertheless, she forced herself not to shoot back a caustic reply, to surrender control she had told herself she would have, as Dr. Lecter finished dismissively. “Goodbye, Larry.”
As Larry exited, closing the door behind him, Dr. Lecter’s eyes remained focused on Faith with quiet scrutiny that she could not escape from, even as she doggedly kept her eyes averted, her head lowered slightly, slumping in her chair. She hoped that this display of apparent apathetic nature would convey to him that she was not only not dreading anything he could toss her way, but was also not defensive or defiant against it…that she simply did not care. Last time, her rage and denials had seemed to entertain him as much as any pain or softening she had not been able to conceal had…this time, she would hold back all of it.
She had had a lot of time to think about this over the past thirty days.
For several moments she tried not to move as Dr. Lecter eyed her beadily. By something as simple as clearing her throat or shifting her weight, she was bothered by the thought that he might interpret it as a direct reaction to him. Of course, that was all she wanted to do then. She felt so restless and restrained sitting in that hard chair, with the man she despised before her that she wanted to jump up and pace, if not simply run, to ease the feeling of raw exposure scrabbling inside of her. And it seemed that the guy was just as good at the quiet game as she was, and way more comfortable with it…how long was he going to just sit there and STARE at her?
When Dr. Lecter finally spoke, his words were quiet, measured, and yet there was an undercurrent of steel present in them. He did not shift his gaze from her.
“I addressed you earlier, Faith, if you will recall. I am certain you heard me, and yet you did not respond. Such behavior is very rude. I am very much opposed to rudeness, especially from those whom I am devoting my time to in order to…help. Normally, I will not stand for such rudeness…in my opinion, those who display it are individuals who are not worthy of the life that they so callously take for granted as owed to them,” he said, and in spite of herself Faith let her eyes shift to his face quickly at that later sentence. Was it just her, or had he sounded more than a little Charles Manson-ish with that insinuation, and the way his voice had practically caressed each syllable spoken?
“However, I suspect that rudeness on your part, more than an inborn trait of personality, is due to a flawed coping mechanism that you developed over your short and rather traumatic lifetime…a mechanism that was born as a form of self-preservation, to protect you from experiencing additional pain and exposing fears and weaknesses,” Dr. Lecter continued in that same soft tone that made Faith just as tensed up and angry in reaction to it as if he had screamed.
She wanted to swing her cuffed hands out to hit him, to lean across the table and slam his head into hers, to take those unwavering eyes and gouge them out, throw them into the wall. But she didn’t. She remained still and silent, and Lecter’s voice went on even without a response from her.
“It is quite clear that you are not pleased to be here, and that is because for you to be here, it feels hard, doesn’t it, Faith? You have always recoiled from anything that takes focus and effort and devotion, anything that will bring mental strain and emotional pain…haven’t you? No pain, no gain…I’m sure you have heard that phrase before. And you certainly haven’t gained very much, have you, Faith?”
Don’t talk to him…don’t talk, don’t answer, don’t even fucking look at him…just words, just fucking words, Faith repeated to herself fiercely, even as her palm began to drip blood from the small wounds she was inflicting upon herself unnoticed with her nails. She could do this. She would.
This was going to be the longest fucking hour of her life.