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25 July 2005 @ 08:28 am
Trust issues  
The motel sign said 'hot and cold running water'. If I was still in lawyer-mode I'd be in the middle of drafting a claim against false advertising. A much better way of saying it would be 'tepid', 'lukewarm', 'anything but hot'. It'll do though, so long as I don't pay too close attention to the stains that I can only hope are rust around the drain. I check one last time to make sure Faith's gone and finally step into the shower.

I let the water course over me, trying to work out the kinks in my neck, the aches from driving for too long, trying not to think about how I ended up here, in this shithole with a convicted killer as the only person I can even think about trusting. I laugh bitterly, who am I kidding? I don't trust her to be in the next room when I'm naked, vulnerable, of course I don't trust her. If it wasn't for Angel's say so she'd have either walked away the first chance she got or I'd be some other John Doe on a morgue slab in some back woods town.

Still might turn out that way.

Something's different about her, she's not the desperate kid I first saw in Lilah's office … what? About fifteen months ago? There's this odd calm coming from her, she's still dangerous, I can see that in the glint in her eyes when she's watching me. I don't think she thinks I know how often she does that, or maybe she doesn't care if I know. The way she looks at me, it was as if she was expecting me to grow horns or something, hell maybe that's what she did expect. Girl like her, a Slayer, she's gotta be used to seeing things in that whole black and white way. Demons bad, humans good. World doesn't work like that though, she saw that, hell it's how she ended up in the mess she was in. Maybe she's just hoping that the world can be the way she wanted it to be.

Nothing's clear cut though.

She clearly doesn't trust me either. I wonder for a second if this was all a mistake. Bringing her along. Nothing's happened so far, maybe I'm just jumping at shadows, maybe the Senior Partners won't send anyone after me, maybe I'm not important enough to make it onto their radar. Maybe…

A noise from the other room brings me out of my thoughts abruptly. I stop and listen. There's no other sound but there's definitely someone, or something, out there. I keep the water running but grab a towel and quickly wrap it around my waist. I step out of the still-running shower as quietly as I can and scan the tiny bathroom for any kind of weapon. Nothing. Everything I have is in the holdall in the other room.

Cursing under my breath at my own stupidity, I take in my options. Not much beyond a bar of soap which… I gag a little, is very obviously used. Looks like I'm limited to what I've got on me. A grin works its way onto my face, been a while since I've been in a throw-down brawl. Just hope there's a chance I'm evenly matched.

There's another hint of movement out there, someone's making the kind of noise amateurs make when they're trying to be silent. Good, means it's not a professional, and given the fact that it's still daylight outside, chances are pretty good it's not a vampire. Could still be a demon I guess, but I figure I'll deal with that bridge when I cross it. I pick up my jeans from where I dropped them and quickly drag them on and put my ear to the door, might be my imagination but I could swear I can hear breathing on the other side.

I swallow the last of the fear that could paralyse me, and steel myself for whatever's out there. I throw open the door.
 
 
 
faith_misplaced on July 25th, 2005 08:31 am (UTC)
This place has got a lot of nerve calling itself a town. There can't be more than three streets and one general store, and a ten room motel. Looks like maybe there was a mine at one point, but there's no sign of industry now, just some rusting machinery. Whatever seam they were mining must've run dry. Town's on it's last legs now, no one's walking on the streets, more than one house is boarded up and the yards all have that half-abandoned look. Like the town lost its heart somewhere.

There wasn't a lot of choice in the little store, chips and beer being pretty much all that was on offer. Guy didn't even look at me as he rang it through, probably just as well since I'm not exactly legal to buy beer yet. Wonder if Lindsey knows that? Funny how it's cool for them to try me as an adult, but when it comes to celebrating my freedom I gotta do it illegally.

As I head into the parking lot I notice a car that looks out of place parked kinda haphazardly beside lawyer-boy's pride and joy. A Merc. I frown at the sight. Definitely doesn't fit in with the pick-up trucks and camper vans parked all round it.

I scan the area, looking for any sign of a look out, if this is a set up then chances are there's a spotter somewhere nearby. I grin as I spot him, guy's obviously been hired for muscle more than brains. He's leaning against the wall of the kiosk, trying for the whole nonchalant look but the way he's staring straight at the door of room 9 belies that. I drop the grocery sack I'm carrying and sneak up behind him. He's got at least a foot on my in height and this guy must weigh about 200 pounds, most of it muscle. Guess he's meant to be the intimidating kind.

I swing the beer bottle I'm carrying up and wince at the thud it makes as it connects with the back of his skull. He drops to the ground without making a sound. I stoop to check his pulse, slow but steady, and breathe a sigh of relief. Last thing I need to do right now is actually kill a human being.

Moving automatically, I run silently over to the row of shabby doors. Slowing as I get near, I creep towards room nine, listening for any sounds of trouble from within. There's movement, definite sounds of a fight, that's got to be good. Means I'm not too late. I reach for the handle wishing I had a weapon of some kind, but something makes me pull back.

Just in time, the door bursts open and a figure comes sailing through to land in the dirt. One glance tells me it's not Lindsey and a second look tells me this guy aint going anywhere anytime soon. I look into the room and see lawyer-boy standing there in just a pair of 501s and a look of sheer anger on his face.

He's breathing heavily and there's blood on his knuckles. Looks like he gave the guy a damn good beating.

My quick scan of his current state takes in the red welts across his chest, the rising bruise on his jaw. Looks like he took a fair beating himself.

I lean against the door jamb and cross my arms.

"Sure you need me around? Looks like you got this under control."
lost_lawyer on July 25th, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
My heart's pounding so loud I can't hear anything over it. Guy knew what he was doing in a fight, if he hadn't slipped up - given away the element of surprise - he'd have had me. Guess it'll teach me to think maybe I've got away with it.

He's laid out in the parking lot, not moving, not a threat any more. Guess it'll teach him to think maybe a lawyer'd be an easy target.

As I bring my breathing back under control I hear her toss a glib comment at me, I bite back the instant reaction and glare up at her.

She's leaning against what's left of the door grinning at me, something new's in her eyes, and maybe if I could think straight I'd see what it was, but right now all I can think is that we need to get gone.

"He won'tta been alone, we'd best clear out." A small part of me realizes that all that vocal training to get rid of my accent just flew out the window with the hired thug, but right now I really don't care.
faith_misplaced on July 25th, 2005 10:14 am (UTC)
He glares at me and it's like he's staring straight through me. Guess he's got himself caught in that whole tunnel-vision thing that comes from being in the heat of a fight. Amongst other things.

When he speaks it's all business, but his voice isn't like anything I've heard him use before. Pure cowboy. Guess this is the real him, definitely fits the pick-up truck image now.

I grin as I realize this new him is definitely an improvement in my books.

"Taken care of." I say, shrugging lightly as if beating a guy senseless with a bottle was an every day thing. Truth is it shook me more than I want to admit - hurting someone, even a low life hired thug, kinda goes against this whole redemption kick I got going.

I push myself away from the door as I see his breathing come under control and his hands relax from the white knuckled clenched fists. "Still, might be an idea to get outta here 'fore the cops show. I just got out, not looking to go back in for a while."
lost_lawyer on July 25th, 2005 11:24 am (UTC)
I nod distractedly as she comes towards me, cops, yeah, they'll be on the way. The implications hit me and I swing my head up to meet her stare.

"Shit." All pretense of coolness is gone now, I'm not in control of the situation so why pretend I am?

I take a step towards my holdall, meaning to grab a shirt and throw everything else back in, but I stumble on the way. I know it's the adrenaline leaving my system, but knowing what's happening doesn't make it any less dramatic. Somehow I manage to stay on my feet and push myself on. Not the best time in the world to crash.

Faith takes a step towards me but I brush her aside as the ghost of sirens reaches my ears. Quicker than I would have thought, guess the owner of this place is more on the ball than he seemed to be. Makes me glad I used an alias when I paid for the room.

I fish the keys out of my pocket and toss them to Faith, "Get the engine going, I'll be out in a sec." She grabs the keys from mid-air and turns without a word. I grab everything I can see and ram it into bag without caring whether it's hers, mine or the motels'. One last scan of the room to check it's clear, and I leave at a run.

I toss the bag in the back of the truck and jump into the passenger seat as she pulls away with a squeal of tires that make me wince.
faith_misplaced on July 25th, 2005 11:36 am (UTC)
I keep checking the rearview the whole time, I think we got away clean but this town just ain't that big and if anyone ID's the truck the cops'll be onto us faster than I can blink. I keep the truck under the speed limit, but not too far under, don't want to draw any attention to us other than what we're already getting.

It's a good fifteen minutes before I let myself believe noone's following us, that we're not heading into a trap. The motel's far enough behind us now and if the thugs really are hired hands from the law firm then they're probably in as deep shit as we'd be right about now.

I glance over and see lawyer-boy watching the wing mirror like his life depends on it. Hell, I guess it does.

Up till now I'd been bored, seemed like he was exaggerating the threat, or maybe had some kinda ulterior motive for wanting me along on this trip. Hell, if I hadn't seem him straight after throwing the guy out of the room maybe I'd still be thinking that, but there's no faking that kind of fight/flee reaction. Those guys were for real, guess that means maybe he's on the level then.

He's shaking a little, shivering really. "You might want to put something on, y'know? I mean, I got no objection to the view but it's gettin' dark and it'll be cooling down before long." He looks at me, no clue what I'm talking about. "Look at what you're wearing." I say patiently, and doesn't that just freak me out a little? Me? Patient? Ha!
lost_lawyer on July 25th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
I frown at her as she starts talking about clothes. Yeah it's cold but... I look down and realize that I never did manage to get that shirt on. Nor am I wearing anything on my feet. Way to fit the hillbilly stereotype.

I close my eyes for a second, all my plans and schemes just came crashing down around my ears and I'm sitting, being driven away from a crime scene, wearing nothing more than a pair of old Levis. What the hell happened to my life?

No. I won't be embarrassed, I won't let this get to me. I've got nothing to hide from her, not any more anyway. As I open my eyes again it occurs to me that I'm letting her drive, I just tossed the keys at her. No one but me's driven this truck... well, except for Angel putting it through some demon's front window, but that was definitely not my choice. This truck - and what's in it - are pretty much all I have now. I trusted her with that, automatically.

I smile, genuinely this time, guess all it took for me to get past these trust issues was getting into a brawl that could've gotten me killed. If I'd known that I'dda done it sooner.