A plague upon it when thieves cannot be true one to another!

Henry IV- Shakespeare

If Piper didn't know any better, she would have thought that he was just uninterested. Since she did know better, however, she knew that was a terrible understatement.

"You're Damian Maddox, right?" she asked, as if she didn't already know.

The man in question looked up, taking the cigarette out of his mouth and blowing out smoke. He eyed her for another moment before speaking. "Depends on the day."

She didn't really know how to respond to that. If she weren't trying to be professional, she would have asked if he'd been punched in the face one too many times to have a properly functioning brain. "So," she started, taking on a lighthearted tone, "how long have you got left?"

"Depends on the day."

"You're a witty one, aren't you?"

"Do me a favor?" He paused, but didn't give her enough time to answer. "Fuck off."

"Twenty-eight years is a long time," she continued, seemingly not bothered by Damian's unwillingness to participate in their conversation.

She seemed to have finally caught his attention. He didn't say anything, but he lowered hishand with the cigarette so it was sitting by his knee. At first, Piper couldn't tell whether that was an invitation to continue, but as the seconds passed along and Damian still wouldn't say anything, she realized that it was. "I'm twenty-eight now and let me tell you, that's a pretty long time.

The cigarette came back up. "Okay."

"I've got thirteen left," she prompted.

"I don't care."

Piper's eyes shut in frustration. During the past few weeks, she found out that he wasn't exactly sociable, but she didn't realize how truly atrocious his communication skills really were. She'd rehearsed what she would say, since it was pretty clear from the beginning that Damian would be difficult. He was being even less cooperative than Piper anticipated, but she wasn't about to fly off script just because he didn't know his part and refused to learn it. So, she trudged on.

"It's only been seventeen months so far and I'm already sexually frustrated beyond belief. I mean, I'll probably kill myself before thirteen years is up, nevertheless twenty-eight years."

He blinked. "I'm not going to have sex with you."

Piper almost laughed. Was that what he thought she was here for?

"Right," she said. "You've got your hand, and once you're bored of that, chances are that someone somewhere will drop the soap."

"I'm still not having sex with you."

It looked like she was just going to have to get right to it, then. "You see, the great thing is, you don't have to!"

"If you could do me that favor right about now, I'd appreciate it." He took a drag of his cigarette and stoically looked toward the inmates playing basketball at the other side of the prison yard. Apparently, that was her signal to go. If she didn't have a perfectly good reason to stick around, she would have been long gone before they even started talking. But, since she did, she took the completely empty table as an invitation to sit down.

"So, armed robbery, huh?"

When his head snapped toward her, she was surprised to see such vibrant green eyes glaring at her with a murderous intensity. "You, shut the fuck up."

"I know you're supposed to be scary," she said, looking at the fading discoloration on his knuckles, "but I doubt you'd hit a girl."

"Most people here don't give two shits about what's between your legs."

Piper snapped. "Damn. I've gone my whole life thinking that I was getting away with things because I've got a vagina… and a pretty decent rack if I do say so myself."

She could have sworn she heard him chuckle, but it was too soft to actually tell. "Too bad it couldn't get you out of jail."

"Too bad indeed," she agreed. "But since my lady parts couldn't get me out of jail, maybe you could."

"I don't think my man parts are going to help you much either."

"No, probably not," she laughed, not being able to help herself. "But there is a way you could help. Like I said, twenty-eight years is a long time."

He nodded and put his cigarette back up to his lips. By now, he knew what she was getting at, which seemed to give her a good quarter of his attention. After he blew out some smoke, he responded, "I haven't had sex in a long time either, but I still know when I'm being fucked."

"You're funnier than I thought you'd be," she noted dryly.

Damian hummed understandingly, studying the fag in his hand before tapping the ash off. "How long have you been stalking me, anyway?"

It was marveling how lackadaisical he sounded.

"Few weeks now," Piper said.

"And what have you learned?"

"You have a cigarette twice a week: Tuesdays and Fridays. You don't back down from fights, on the rare occasion you don't start them, if the bruises on your cheek and hand are any indication. You're not that dumb, despite the fact that you broke into a bank in broad daylight with nothing but a pistol. Twice."

He nodded slowly, saying, "Sounds about right."

Piper paused. In a normal conversation, this would be the time where the other person asks questions as well. It wasn't as if she was oblivious to the fact that this was in no way a normal conversation— any idiot could see that— but she thought that even Damian would want to know about someone who knew all about him.

Unless, he already knew?

"Do you know anything about me?" she asked, since it looked like he wouldn't be saying anything.

"Nope. Don't really care, either."

"Considering the fact that I'm offering to give you back almost thirty years of your life," Piper couldn't help but snap, "maybe you should care."

"Should I?" The question was just about as sarcastic as it was rhetorical.

She had a sinking feeling that even if she did end up working with Damian, she'd be stuck in jail for an extra forty years for killing him. Tommy said the guy was smart, but wow did he forget to add the 'ass' after it. It wouldn't be the first time she tried partnering up with someone she wasn't too fond of, but none of them ever made her want to stick a burning cigarette in their eye.

"We could be out of here in five months." Standing up, she brushed off her jumpsuit and took a few steps away. "You're my first choice, not my only." She didn't know whether what she said was because dramatic exits were always fun or if she wanted to drive him to show some sort of reaction.

He stared at her.

Took a drag.

Exhaled, slowly.

Tapped the ash off.


Once she was well out of his view, Damian dropped his cigarette on the ground and stomped it out. He'd seen her around; it wasn't exactly a huge prison with only around 350 inmates. Even so, he had never spoken to her, never really even looked at her. Which is precisely why he gave her no reason to believe that he didn't want to just wait out his sentence and hopefully get let out early on good behavior, or that he would even have the skill-set to help the two of them break out anyway.

That, and the fact that he was pretty sure he didn't like her. She seemed to know quite a bit about him, so clearly she'd done her homework. Sneaky people were never a good thing. At least, not ones that he'd met.

But, seeing as he knew nothing about her, he came to the realization that he was actually at quite the disadvantage. Never one to be left in the dark, he decided to do a bit of homework of his own, maybe to figure out if he wanted to team up with her and hopefully escape his six by ten feet hell, but definitely so that he knew as much about her as she seemed to him.

What did she say her name was again?

Piper sat by herself during meals, right in the middle of all the tables lined up on the wall. It gave her more of a chance to blend in, but in a way so subtle she'd be surprised if anyone had noticed. As she surveyed Ian Tare, she almost groaned at his attempts to be incognito, which, unlike hers, were very poor. The man was clearly a loner, sitting in the far corner seat in the far corner table at the far corner of the room, and with his hunched shoulders, it certainly seemed as though the last thing he wanted was to be noticed.

Naturally, she spotted him in .5 seconds.

He was sitting in literally the most obvious place possible, and that annoyed Piper. She could only fix so much stupid. Since he was arrested for aggravated assault, she figured he was plenty stupid. The violent ones usually were.

"Tare?" Damian asked, taking the seat across her. His entire face remained usually stoic, except the eyebrow that was raised in cruel amusement. "You're serious?"

Speaking of the violent ones…

Masking her surprise, Piper coolly replied, "Why not? He would be eager to take me up on my offer, and he would follow my plans to a T." Why she was defending her choice and not asking why he was so interested, she had no idea.

"I'm sure."

She hated the sarcastic bite in his tone. Sneering, she shot back a retort. "It's better than what I can say for you."

"So not getting caught isn't a priority of yours?"

"Why would I get caught?"

"Because I have anger management with him." Damian looked over his shoulder at the man in question. "And I can say without a doubt, his IQ is no more than twenty."

"Imbeciles make the best followers." She hoped he noticed her pointed look.


"Why are you here?"

Damian shrugged. "Just thought I should tell you how many pieces my heart has shattered into thanks to you moving on so quickly."


"Three, maybe four." He paused and smirked. "Which is less than I can say for you. You need me."

Of all the arrogant

Piper scowled at him. How on Earth did he manage to make such a short sentence annoy her so much? 'You need me.' Who the hell did he think he was?

Well, he was right, but that didn't mean he had to brag about it. Hello, humility.

"What makes you even think I still want you?"

"Because, Piper Elaine Castell, you are a lot of things, but I doubt stupid is one of them. And if Ian Tare is your next resort, well that's some pretty desperate shit right there."

Piper's eyebrow raised of its own accord. She knew what he was doing here now, and he may have been 'heartbroken,' but that was only a secondary goal, if a goal at all. He was interested, though he did anything but show it. Maybe his being so aloof wasn't such a bad thing.

She hated that she was starting to make excuses for him at the first semblance of enthusiasm in him. And she was using that term very loosely.

"How long exactly have you been stalking me?"

"Few weeks now." So he has a good memory.

"And what have you learned?"

He leaned forward slightly, just enough to let her see the mischievous glint in his eyes. "You're an art thief from a family of art thieves. You've been rumored to have stolen more than fifty pieces of art, but the police have only recovered six of them. You were sentenced to fifteen years, and have served about two years already."

"Am I supposed to be impressed? Anyone can find out that stuff."

"You're far more analytic than you are smart," he continued as if she hadn't spoken, "but you're plenty of that. You try to blend in without looking like you're blending in, and you can see how well that works. You don't have any friends here, but you're very social. You were probably so successful before you got caught because you are just as good as charm and manipulation as you are planning. Also, you're the one who stole all of C-Block's internet chips. Fuck you for that one."

Damn, she had to give it to him; he was pretty good.

"I'm also picky, and you forgot to mention that. Looks like you're not as good as you thought you were."

"Maybe not, but it would be a shame if someone happened to tip off the guards."

"Is that supposed to be blackmail?" That son of a bitch.

"Just presenting the facts as I see them. I found out everything about you and more in the span of twenty-four hours. Do you really want to take the chance that I won't know when you're trying to break out of jail?"

This could actually work, she thought. He probably didn't realize that now that he threatened her, she was more inclined to believe that he would actually take this— and her— seriously.

"Fine." She brushed her hands off on her pants and stood. "If this is going to work, I expect you to listen to everything I say."

"Yeah, not doing that." When she glared down at him, he added, "If Big Eddie couldn't make me his bitch, you can't either."

Eyebrow raised, she shrugged a shoulder. "If you're sure. It was a pleasure doing business with you."

She heard him ask, "What the hell are you talking about?" as she walked away, but she didn't deign him with an answer.

He'd learn soon enough that she ran the show, and on the day he finally acknowledged it, she'd get him a nice little pillow for his knees; all the good bitches had one.