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She hates the way he watches her. That patronising, sympathetic and pitying look is in his eyes, but she manages to ignore him. He's just background. Kubra's lawyer doesn't believe her; he's frowning, and reminds her she has sworn an oath not to lie –– he wants her to confess she knows this man, she's seen him before. But he's just background. He's nothing, just a bothersome detail in her life which she can easily shrug aside. She doesn't care.

Yet it is that childish nature which has led her to this stage. Deep down, she knows she's making a mistake; she knows she shouldn't lie, but she doesn't care. She has never cared about the insignificant faces, the secrets and dealings she was forced into (which she willingly forced herself into). Because those faces, and secrets and whatever else have no point to them. They are faces she should have seen and backed away from, and they are secrets she should have taken as a sign to leave this life behind, but she didn't notice them. She wasn't (isn't) looking at the faces and caring about the secrets.

All she has ever seen is Alex. Her confidence, her shocking yet so casual appearance, her husky voice which always manages to either send Piper into a state of content or excitement. Everything about Alex is dark and dangerous and addictive. Everything about Alex riddles Piper with emotions and sensations she didn't even know existed. All Piper has ever seen is Alex, because she was (is) all that matters, and, compared to her, everything and everyone is grey. Everything is just background.

The trial ends.

Everything starts.

'Fuck you, Alex! Fuck you!' Piper is livid, screaming, grasping the bars in a silly attempt to escape the prison cell and lunge at the woman who betrayed her once again. 'Fuck you!' It's childish, but when it comes to love, Piper is blind and stupid and an embarrassing sight. She hates Alex, hates her now more than ever; hates her for manipulating her again, telling her to lie –– lie that they ever knew Kubra. Only to turn around and confess the truth herself.

It was a trick. A cruel, clever trick. The type of mind game Alex has been master of for years, and it sends a shiver down Piper's spine. Makes her want to throw up, vomit out all the feelings she has for her. That bitch, that fucking selfish, horrible bitch. Piper hates her, loathes her with such a bitter distaste. But this unwanted, wild passion harbours within her, and she realises it isn't necessarily the betrayal which hurts. It's the fact she's gone; Alex has left her to finish a war they started. She walks away when Piper needs her the most; when the only person Piper can lean on is her.

How familiar. What sweet, ugly revenge.

She thinks of Larry, and she doesn't know why she thinks of Larry. Maybe because he's nice and even though their relationship has come to an apparent close, she misses him. But she doesn't miss him for the sex, for the romance, or him. She misses his kindness, his generosity and she misses his trust. Larry is loyal, and he is good. He is the exact opposite of Alex and, yet, even if he is the better one, the kinder one, the one who wouldn't stab her in the back and walk away, Piper's thoughts of him quickly distort into Alex again. She's there, and she's constant and she's ripping her in two.

Then she misses home. Her own house, with a roof, no bars, and she misses nice food, and manners and smiles. She wants to go back. Go back to how things were, before Alex named her, before she was sent to prison, before all of the shit happened.

Chicago lacks its beauty, even after several weeks when she's finally transferred back to Lichfield. There's just an emptiness in her stomach, and she knows better than to think of Alex and what's she done. Every time she so much as visions her face in her mind, a hot pang of anger rushes through her.

She doesn't return to her previous hall. The handcuffs around her wrists feel tighter when an officer grabs her by the arm and yanks her forwards; she's home, but she's nowhere near it. Instantly her mind flashes back to the night before her transferral, to the Christmas performance, to the chilly weather outside. She remembers how fucked everything was (and still is), and she remembers the blood, the cracking of bones and breaking of teeth. She remembers Doggett, half dead in the snow, and she remembers Healy, and then she remembers Alex.

The heartbreak in her eyes couldn't have been more evident. Piper chose Larry, Piper chooses Larry, and she managed to crush Alex's heart all over again.

Already, she knows where they're escorting her and she struggles at first, then behaves. She's mute, suddenly petrified; she can't feel herself move. Two officers escort her now, and their hands are heavy, and their grip is firm and far too tight. Her arms bruise under their touch, and she grimaces as one of them squeezes harder when she starts to resist.

The hallway is haunting. She hears yells, screams, women trapped behind heavy doors, strapped to their beds, and they are insane. Mad. Creatures of Hell.

And Piper is to be one of them.

Suddenly, she's speaking and she can't stop, 'I'm not insane! Please, I'm not insane––' It's hopeless, and she knows she's only making this worse. She glances at each officer, desperate, but they ignore her and she needs to stop, she needs to stop talking, 'I'm not insane.' She isn't angry anymore, she doesn't feel empty; she's terrified, and she's pleading, and now she's fighting. Piper jerks her elbow back, and hits the officer's heavy jacket. It's a mistake. A fatal mistake. They will use any means of force necessary in order to get her strapped to a bed.

The officers aren't human anymore. They're beasts and she attacks. Piper is under shock, she's consciously aware she isn't herself, that her body is moving unintentionally, but she can't stop. She writhes out of their grip, and manages to succeed momentarily. However, one of the officers yanks her by the arm and pulls her back so harshly he manages to pull her arm out of its socket. Piper exclaims, agony soaring from her dislocated limb, spreading across her chest. It's enough to make her stop, and it's enough for the officers to have a better grip on her and literally drag the prisoner to her room.

She starts to panic. They enter the bleak, empty cell and it's idiotic how they think she'll willingly let herself be strapped down to the bed.

Nothing feels real. Piper tries to move, but she can't, and within seconds, she's staring up at the ceiling, her back pressed to the thin mattress. As soon as they remove the handcuffs, she reacts. She sits upright and tries to escape, but it's a pointless attempt. The two officers are a lot bigger and stronger. They manage to press her down instantly, and, this time, she gives up. She gives up trying. There isn't any point. She's stuck here. She's trapped here.

The yells of patients echo in her ears and she glances at the wrists that have now been strapped to the bed. Her dislocated arm is killing her, and she winces, groaning, then hears someone speaking. It's not the two officers; it's someone in the doorway, and he looks like a doctor. He's carrying a folder in his arm, and he glances at Piper shortly before turning to the officers. They leave, and the doctor steps inside. His glasses appear huge, and he looks tired and bored. A sigh escapes his lips and he's fiddling with a syringe.

'... I'm not insane.'

Her voice is a mere whisper now. It's pathetic.
Tears sting her eyes when he looks at her.

'Yeah.' Sarcasm. 'If you're not insane, then you wouldn't be insisting so.'

Flashes of that night reoccur in her mind. She can't remember how she came to hitting Doggett, she can't remember what happened after Healy abandoned her, a knife pointed in her direction. She can't remember. The memory is gone. But she knows she wasn't herself then, because hitting Doggett felt good –– she remembers that at least. Hitting Doggett again and again, and feeling the blood on her hands and knuckles, felt good.

Too good.

Piper says nothing, and doesn't complain when the doctor stabs the syringe into her wrist. Almost at once, she feels soothed, calm, better, and she exhales slowly, letting her head fall back––


The agony of her arm being popped back into place is so excruciating Piper lurches forwards, and even though she opens her mouth to scream, no noise is heard. Heavily, she collapses, and moans, a horrid, prickly sensation travelling from her arm downwards. She doesn't hear the doctor leave, but knows he's gone. The room is silent, eery. It's nearly a relief that she can't hear the wails of the psychopathic patients, but, after a few seconds, the silence becomes scary in itself.

Whatever he injected into her starts to work again –– a sedative. The pain in her arm fades away, and her eyelids feel heavier. She tries to recount the events of what happened with Doggett, but fails, so she resorts to Larry again. She thinks of his eyes, his smile, and she thinks of the first time they met, and she thinks of the way he used to kiss her, softly, almost hesitantly, he allowed her to take the initiative. To take charge.

He's going to forget you.

They won't say how long Piper is in here for, they won't provide any explanations, they will say nothing to her.
They will let her waste in this room, let the insanity of her inmates pass onto her, like a plague.

And you'll forget him too eventually.

She remembers the way she touched her, how rough and exciting her kisses were, how her hands glided up her body, pinched her flesh tenderly, how her breath felt hot against her mouth, how her tongue was so slow and amazing inside her, and how she made Piper feel –– she made Piper feel alive. She made Piper feel loved, accepted and wanted. She made Piper –– let Piper be who she really was, and she gave Piper's tiny, fucked up world a point.

She remembers Alex, and, despite everything, that's all she needs to remember as sleep takes over.

Because everything else –– everything and everyone except Alex Vause –– is background.