Disclaimer: The Buffyverse
belongs to Joss Whedon and company. The Stand
belongs to Stephen King and company.
Notes: Written for the livejournal community joss100 for the prompt "illness." Faith becomes ill in prison and is offered a way out. What does she decide?
Even before I was a Chosen One, I’d never been sick in my life. Until Captain Trips that is. The flu rushed through the prison like wild fire and it took everyone with it. At first I thought that I might have been immune to it, not that it really mattered. I quickly realized that I was a rat stuck in a cage and if everyone else was dead, I wasn’t in an enviable position. Then I started to get sick, and I knew my days were numbered. I was in a cellblock by myself and only two of the guards had made it in on the day that I realized that I was sick with the deadly flu. They laughed at my request to go to the hospital wing. It wasn’t cruel laughter; it was just the bitter laugh of futility. I was given an extra blanket, some bottled water, more food than normal and a bottle of Nyquil. Something to make me comfortable in my time of dying, and then I was left alone. They weren’t going to release me but they were going to ease their conscience about leaving me to die in the prison. Not that I blame them or anything, but I was scared for the first time since I’d been called. I didn’t want to die alone, and I didn’t want to die from the flu that had killed everyone else. But I didn’t have any choice in the matter and I wasn’t expecting any last minute reprieves.
I’m not sure of how many dies that had passed, I was in and out of consciousness as the disease slowly burned up my body. I knew I was hallucinating but it all seemed so real to me. Buffy’d be there when I woke up and she’d yell at me for betraying her and then it’d be Angel with his soulful eyes and his kind words. As if someone like me could really be saved by kind words. Sometimes it was my mom yelling at me and calling me a worthless whore who’d brought shame to the family, as if our family name wasn’t already dirtied. Still other times it’d be the Mayor telling me to buck up or one of my victims starting at me, making me feel guilty. Throughout it all I knew that they were all hallucinations. There was no way that any of them could be there and in my lucid moments I knew that. But during the hallucinations, I was never quite sure. So when he came, I was confused and I didn’t know if he was real or a product of my overheated brain.
I was falling asleep, my body ached and my lungs were so congested that every breath hurt, and I knew that if I went to sleep it’d be the last time. Just as I was about to succumb to the siren call of sleep, I heard footsteps in the corridor slowly approaching my cell. I struggled to sit up as my heart filled with dread. I knew that something bad was about to happen and I wanted to run. But yet again, I knew I was powerless to run. So I decided to face whatever it was coming towards me with as much dignity as I could.
“Why hello Faithy, you don’t look to good,” the man said in a sing-song voice that sent chills down my spine.
”W-who are you?” I managed to croak at my visitor.
“Randy Flagg,” he replied with a grin that almost caused my heart to stop in terror. I knew he was one bad dude.
“What do you want?”
”I have an offer for you. It’d seem that being a Slayer is helping you beat this flu and I could use a girl like you on my side.”
”What,” I asked confused at what he was saying.
“You’re getting better, Faith.”
”Oh,” I dumbly replied. It certainly hadn’t felt that way before his arrival, but it did now.
“And I don’t think that you’re going to want to be stuck in here. Even being a Slayer won’t get you out. But I have a need for someone with your talent. So in exchange for your freedom, I’d like you to work for me. What do you say?”
Something told me that working for Flagg would make working for the Mayor look innocent. If he’d come to me a year earlier with his offer, I would have accepted his offer without hesitation. Now was a very different story. Sure I didn’t want to die, whether from the flu or from starvation. Yet I wasn’t a murderer anymore and when I looked into Flagg’s eyes to give him my answer, I saw a glimpse of my future if I accepted his offer. I shuddered at the sight of the hollow future that awaited me.
”You little fool. You’d rather die in your filth than with blood on your hands again. Do you think that you’ll be forgiven because you found redemption? You broke every single law and there’s no saving of your soul now, Faithy. Last chance to change your mind,” Flagg said as he tried to hide his anger.
“No,” I replied again.
He spent more time yelling at me and eventually he turned into my mother. I ignored it and eventually he/she/it went away. Maybe I’d made the wrong decision but I didn’t care. I’d rather die in my own filth alone than become an empty shell again following some madman’s orders. I started to get sicker again and I wondered briefly what my fate would be. Was Flagg right about my search for redemption, had it been worthless? Or had it actually meant something?