Author : hold_that_thought
Summary : Lilah, Wesley, 2000 words, and several glasses of scotch.
Rating : R
Spoilers : Through Angel Season 4
Feedback : Greatly appreciated (APostModernSleaz@aol.com)
Archive : More than likely okay, but please ask first.
Disclaimer : The characters used within are the property of Mutant Enemy, Twentieth Century Fox, and of course Joss Whedon. It's their sandbox, I'm just playing in it.
Notes: Half of these drabbles were written for the LiveJournal sunday100 community. The other half were written when I realized that all my Wesley/Lilah sunday100 drabbles added up to about half a story. My thanks to everyone who's taken part in this great weekly excercise and who've been so supportive. And as always, thanks to my cadre of betas, who've each helped me with at least one of these sections, if not many, many, many sections: little_bit, soda, nongenius, fenwic, cousinjean. I love you guys. (Completed 6/12/03)
All the perfect drugs,
Wouldn't be enough,
To bring me up to zero.
So get out while you can.
- Aimee Mann, "Humpty Dumpty"
Huh. That's new. When she'd snarked at Wesley before leaving, she didn't expect him to actually one-up her. No one ever had before. Lilah'd always got off and got out, stopping only to drop the lucky guy or girl a cool gaze and a quip before jetting. No use getting emotional or attached.
"I wasn't thinking about you when you were here."
That's just...ouch, you know? But impressive, the way he didn't even blink. Even more impressive considering the shuddering mass he'd been minutes before.
Yeah, she was definitely gonna drop by his apartment tomorrow. Mmm, let the games begin.
He hoped Lilah never noticed. Never noticed the way he'd fix his gaze to the ceiling, to the headboard, even to her eyes, as he was inside her. Looking everywhere but the huge mirror that took up half the wall in Wesley's bedroom. Like whistling past the graveyard, maybe he wasn't really with a woman he was supposed to—but couldn't—hate, if he couldn't actually see himself on top of her, couldn't watch her nails rake red across his back as she came. Not that avoiding the mirror helped, because he could always see himself reflected in her eyes.
Lilah swung the car keys around and rolled her eyes. "Gavin, I don't have time for this. Why don't you prove that you have more brains than an average fast-food employee and find a sub-contractor for the translations all by yourself?" She snapped the cell phone closed without waiting for his answer, then sauntered back into her bedroom, smiling apologetically at Wesley.
"Sorry, you know how it gets this time of year. Any time of year, actually. Funny, you'd think with—"
Wesley cleared his throat.
"Oh, right. See, I told you, the handcuff keys were with my car keys."
Wesley fell back against the pillows, panting. He looked over at Lilah, who had already curled herself around him, leg slung casually over his hip, hand skimming his chest. It seemed like, after a couple months of friction, they had finally ground each other into an perfect fit, physically if not mentally.
He loved this part. The afterglow. Coming down, running his hands through Lilah's hair and watching her press into him. Pretending there wasn't a scar on his throat, a girl in his closet, the enemy in his bed. Enjoying those few moments before reality came crashing back in.
A lamp was the first casualty. It was hideous, with its yellow fringe and beads, and if it hadn't been a gift from her mother, Lilah would've trashed it years ago. So she wasn't exactly heartbroken when Wesley ripped off her shirt, flung it aside, smashing the lamp to pieces. But the most notable furniture death was his kitchen table. The firm had flown Lilah to Reno for two days for a conference. When she got back, Wesley had given her an...enthusiastic greeting.
The next time she went to a conference, Lilah brought Wesley along. Furniture was, after all, expensive.
"This is your captain speaking. We are currently experiencing some turbulence, but we expect it to pass soon. We thank you for your patience."
Lilah grinned. "Good timing, huh?"
Wesley responded by nuzzling her neck and hitching her further up the microscopic bathroom's wall. Lilah moaned and wrapped her legs around him, matching her rhythm to the rocking of the plane.
Later, when they were back at their seats, Lilah said, "You really do have some weird kinks."
Wesley raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to elaborate.
"Well, who else would wanna fuck in the bathroom...of a private jet?"
Like father, like son. The phrase danced across Lilah's tongue, primed to pour out. No one gets to the top of Wolfram and Hart without knowing how to spot everyone's Achilles' heel, and Wesley's daddy-issues hung over him like a neon sign. So when Lilah noticed the delicious parallel between Wesley's girl-in-the-closet and father-locking-him-under-the-stairs—he'd never told her, of course, it was in the firm's file—she tucked it away for the perfect time.
Which shoulda been now. But she took the lenient route, teasing him about his Angel-quest instead. Perfect time would come around again. And she'd be there.
He pushed her onto the table, pinning her arms above her head. Wesley was fairly sure there was a letter opener pressing into her back, but she didn't complain. She never did, never would. For reasons unknown, Lilah trusted him. It was the only explanation for the way she'd occasionally drop her defenses, allow herself to giggle and smile in anyone's presence, let alone his.
It was the only explanation for the hurt look that had passed over her face for a split second when he didn't deny that her Lorne fakeout worked only because he'd never trust her back.
"What?" Wesley smiled as he looked Lilah up and down. "You look great."
She arched an eyebrow. "I knew you had some kinks, but this?"
"Now Lilah, you promised. I accompany you clothes shopping, and you dress up as any movie character I want."
"I remember, I was there for the discussion. I figured Princess Lea or Lara Croft. You Tarzan, me Jane. Something with a fur bikini. But this? This is weird, even for you."
Wesley picked Lilah up and threw her on the bed, sliding his hand under her petticoats and skirt.
"Oh, Rhett," Lilah moaned.
He'd kept the dollar bill hidden, tucked away in his wallet. Like everything with Lilah, the memories surrounding it were a dissonant mix of good and bad. Her warmth pressing down on him as she grinned, followed almost immediately by her deception. The way she could go from cutting him down with her sharp words one minute to looking at him with such love the next. But it wasn't love, was it? She'd built her defenses up, sold her soul to who-knows-what, she was incapable of loving anyone. The dollar bill was merely proof he was a surprisingly naive optimist.
Lilah'd taken the night off work so that she and Wesley could go out. A real date, like they were flighty little teenagers. It was crazy, wasn't it? His friends had given him hell, but Wesley told her that he didn't care. The restaurant was beautiful, candles everywhere and Beethoven playing softly in the background.
The chardonnay was perfectly chilled, the fettuccine alfredo was amazing, and when the band started to play their song, he took her hand and...
...climaxed, pulling her close. After a moment, he pushed her away and looked down. "You can take the glasses off now."
For the first time in six months, Wesley found that scotch was suddenly not enough to suppress his guilt. All summer, he'd buried all his assorted remorse in scotch and Lilah. But now, for the first time, his guilt was over Lilah, and it was proving surprisingly hard to shunt aside, even after two glasses of scotch.
There was a creeping feeling that he'd perhaps taken their daily who-has-the-upper-hand tango a step too far with his keep-the-glasses-on stunt.
The phone ringing broke his preoccupation. With any luck, it'd be a client. Nothing like the world in peril to distract him.
A year and a half ago, Wolfram and Hart went into lockdown when dimensions started crashing into each other. Lilah spent the night doing lines of coke and drinking scotch with the metaphysics department.
This apocalypse was different. Anything that actually made the Senior Partners nervous could only end badly. And anything that made Lilah Morgan nervous for someone else's well-being definitely heralded the end of the world. So it was disconcerting when she found herself standing at her window, watching fire fall from the sky and worrying about the man who was no doubt in the thick of it.
She was two blocks from his apartment when the first drop hit her cheek. Lilah looked up—no rainclouds. Tears, then. Perfect. Add a pint of Haagen-Dazs, stir well, and you've got yourself a woman scorned.
If Lilah'd known what a cliché she was gonna become, she would have gone all out. Thrown herself at his feet, begged him to take her back. Except she'd never do that, and he knew it.
Funny, though. He talked about morality, but Wesley never said he didn't love her....
Would a bounce in her step be another cliché reaction? She honestly didn't care.
When the third rat brushed against Lilah's ankle, she accepted that he wasn't going to call after her. Not surprising, really. Even if there wasn't Angel's son to save, people like Wesley and Lilah never looked back. Regrets were for women in Merchant Ivory films, bored Midwest housewives, and other weak, pathetic people.
So she continued on, ignoring the pain ripping through her abdomen like fire, ignoring the sewer stench, pushing every single thought of him aside. It didn't matter. Let the apocalypse come; she was a survivor. In the end, it would be the cockroaches, Twinkies, and Lilah Morgan.
He'd made the right choice.
Lilah and Wesley, they'd never have worked out. Better he broke it off before they'd annihilated each other. Wesley's jaw, throbbing from Gunn's punches, told him pursuing a relationship with Fred would be nearly as messy. But in the end, it would be right.
Even if Angelus' comment about bending Fred over the kitchen counter had brought up a memory of Lilah trailing a cherry popsicle down her body and inviting Wesley to help her get clean. Even if Wesley couldn't stop wishing he'd gone after her in the sewer.
He'd made the right choice.
Now this was pathetic. Lilah'd managed to hang on to most of her dignity in the sewers, but this was asking too much. She stared at the pile of broken china at her feet, coffee soaking the carpet. Lilah Morgan, respected attorney, was incapable of doing the menial labor most dimwits managed. Fan-fucking-tastic. And the stab through her abdomen? Not hurting less.
Still, Champion Central had some amusing diversions. Like making Fred squirm every time Lilah even looked at Wes.
And now that Angel was back, maybe Wesley'd wise up and realize what a good thing he'd had with her.
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. After joining the Council, Wesley was going to go into the field and train an active Slayer until her inevitable early death. Then, he would settle down, finally fall in love. She'd come from a good family, fine education, would love ballet, trips to the museum.
He'd realized, too late, about the Council...and everything got off-track. So it almost made sense that he'd finally fallen in love and hadn't wanted to realize it, because it was her. Didn't realize until he saw Lilah in Angelus's arms, dead.
Wesley always was a step behind.
Everything was crashing down around the good guys' feet, and she couldn't even bring herself to be amused. As irony goes, Lilah was impressed. Spend years working towards the big apocalyptic war, get killed in an insignificant battle. Ironic, too, when you spend years learning to guard your heart, only to fall for exactly the wrong guy. Or maybe the right guy, which was just as bad. Worse, even.
"It's not always about holding hands," he'd said.
Ironic because that's exactly what it would always be about for him. And that was exactly why he'd stand alone in the end.
Candles were scattered throughout Wesley's apartment—for decoration instead of foreplay. Chilled chardonnay, fettuccine alfredo, Beethoven's 3rd on the stereo. Lilah was the last person in the world who deserved some kind of cosmic reward, but it was the only explanation she could come up with for this. For Wesley remembering her, remembering them, despite every other Connor-related memory being wiped from his mind. He remembered the signed dollar bill, her death—good times, bad times, all more or less intact. She didn't deserve it, but she got it anyway.
"To second chances," Wesley said, raising his glass.