How to Fly
Author notes: This takes place in the timeline of my Watch Your Back series, when Faith was 14-15, both before living with her Watcher and up to the time period of when she was called. I was asked to write a story from Legs’s point of view, so I have done so…everything that Legs mentions about her past is directly from Joyce Carol Oates’s book Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang. In fact there are several quotes that are directly from the novel. The purpose of this story, mainly, is for people who have followed the series to have an understanding of Legs’s background and what drove her to betray Faith as she is- and for them to understand that she is not the sociopath that from Faith’s point of view, she appears to be.
Also, although I have it categorized under movie crossover, this entire series is really more of a crossover with the book Foxfire than the movie.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, that would be Joss Whedon and Joyce Carol Oates. All quotes from Joyce Carol Oates I do not own, either.
I probably wouldn’t have stopped, if she hadn’t reminded me of Maddy.
I mean it wasn’t like it was the best thing to do, for me or for her. The kid was obviously new to the streets- I could tell from the way she was dressed that she hadn’t worked out the art of layering yet, and that’s something you have to do in the winter just to stay alive sometimes. It looked to me like the clothes she was wearing, when I first saw her, were the clothes she’d been wearing for the past week or two, which was probably exactly how long she’d been on the streets. You just can’t do that, go so long without swapping out for new stuff for so long, and except to still blend in. And it sure as hell doesn’t help when you’re like 13 or 14 and scrawny as hell, which she was.
Cops will be all over you if you don’t know your stuff about blending in, moving fast, and always, always looking like you know exactly what you’re doing. You stumble for half a second and they catch you before you hit the ground on your own, throw you down way harder than you’d ever hit all on your own. If you didn’t know how to act, you were screwed in more than just the literal way, and it was pretty much guaranteed you were gonna end up getting screwed that way too.
The kid looked like she definitely didn’t know what she was doing. First off, she didn’t have the right way of carrying herself- it was like she was drawing herself up all defensive, just daring someone to cross her, but since I’d bet all the money I’d ever lifted in my lifetime she wasn’t older than 14, didn’t weigh more than 100 pounds, and hadn’t been on the streets for more than two weeks, it was total bullshit. You want people to leave you alone, you have to be casual along with confident, blending in, not walking around like you’re challenging someone to call you out. Then the way she hung around outside the gas station too long before going in, not even smoking a cigarette or doing something to look like she had a reason to be hanging around other than stealing, total amateur stuff. I swear it was as bad as Rita practically, before we worked Rita over. Then when I followed her inside, she was walking around STARING at everything, picking up fucking CHIPS, like anyone can walk out the door with those crackling under their clothes and not get a one way ride to juvie in the deal for the effort. The kid was screwed.
I wasn’t gonna help her. I was just watching, because honestly it’s a long, boring day sometimes, out there alone with nothing much you have to do other than the same kind of shit every day. What good would it do if I helped the girl out? She was so young and new, and there would be so much to teach her before I could trust she wasn’t gonna get us both caught down the line. And I damn well couldn’t afford to get caught, not when I was probably wanted with a warrant and everything, back in New York. With what I’d done, it wouldn’t be just juvie this time, it would be prison, and then what about the rest of Foxfire, what if they got in trouble too? Or what if this girl couldn’t be trusted?
Prison…I’d kill people before I would go back to juvie, I swear I would, or at least hurt them so I could get away. I would kill myself before I’d go to prison. That’s the one thing I always promised, after getting out, that no one would ever do to me again what they did to me in there, no matter what. No one would ever hurt me, no one would ever touch me, no one was ever gonna put their foot to the back of my neck again…and not to Maddy either. And if they got me…if this girl got me caught…it might not matter what I said, Maddy might go down with me.
It was too much at risk, helping the girl out. I shouldn’t do it. It wasn’t like she was Foxfire…not one of my sisters, my blood. I never promised her anything. I didn’t even know her.
But then I started thinking about the girl getting caught, and going to juvie like I did when I was her age. I was almost sixteen, but I was only almost fifteen back then, and still just a kid, just like her. I thought about this girl getting stripped and searched, this girl getting kicked in the ribs and poked in the eye until the pus ran for weeks. I thought about the guards and then I couldn’t think about it anymore because it made my hands shake and my stomach cramp up, and I thought I might puke if I didn’t watch it.
She reminded me of Maddy, and I would never, ever let that happen to Maddy. So I had to help.
I stepped up behind the girl with Maddy’s long dark hair and Maddy’s bony body, and it was almost like I could go back in time, like I was 13 and climbing through Maddy’s window, crawling into her bed, as I slipped an arm around the girl’s shoulders and whispered in her ear.
“You haven’t been doing this for too long, have you, babe?”