Title: Devil's Bargain (1/1)

Author: Cyclone

Feedback: Please be gentle.

Distribution: Gimme credit and a link. Plus, archived at http://fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62966 or http://fanfiction.net/~cyclone

Rating: I'm gonna go say PG.

Spoilers: Up to Chosen, but set between Grave and Lessons.

Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to the almighty Joss. I'm just borrowing them for a while.

Summary: To save Xander's life, Willow makes a deal.

Author's Note: This plot bunny just hit me, so I thought I'd do it so it would stop bothering me.

* * *

Xander was dying.

And it was all Willow's fault.

The redhead watched Xander's comatose form and clutched his hand, tears flowing freely. "Xander," she whispered, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

It was her fault. The energy he had intercepted when she tried to end the world. It was inside him, burning him up from the inside out.

Killing him.

"Miss Rosenberg?"

She started and turned, blinking at the woman standing in the doorway. "Uh, hi?"

The woman stepped in and closed the door. She extended a hand, "My name's Lilah Morgan. I'm with Wolfram and Hart."

"The law firm?" Willow frowned in confusion as she shook Lilah's hand. She'd heard about Wolfram and Hart. They'd sent a representative to Sunnydale High on Career Day way back when. There was something else too, but she couldn't quite recall...

Lilah nodded and spoke, breaking her train of thought. "We know what happened to your friend. What _really_ happened, that is." Willow paled, but the lawyer continued, "My company has certain... resources... available that could save his life."

"Really?" Willow asked, brightening suddenly.

"Yes," Lilah said.

"A-all right," she said, "b-but what's this gonna cost?"

"Just a favor," Lilah said, and _that_ set off alarm bells. Seeing the look on her face, Lilah hurriedly reassured her, "Oh, don't worry. It's for your own good too. In the next few months, certain... events are going to happen. We just want you to remember that in a fight, two are better than one... and that more than two would be even better."

Willow's forehead wrinkled in confusion. "That's it?"

"That's it," Lilah said, with her best smile.

Willow closed her eyes.

*I can't lose him...*

Opening her eyes, she nodded, "All right."

"Great!" Lilah nodded back cheerfully.

The lawyer turned and walked away, but stopped just as she was about to leave the room. Looking over her shoulder at the redhead, she said, "We can bring her back too. Think about that. I'll be around."

Willow's throat caught as the door closed behind Lilah.

"Tara..." she murmured shakily.

* * *

As she climbed into her car, Lilah pulled out her cell phone, "It's Lilah. Tell the Senior Partners that Project Slayer is in motion. By this time next year, we'll have an army of them at our disposal."

* * *

Author's Postscript:

I'm not sure exactly where this came from, except maybe trying to come up with a storyline for that big ol' energy blast the Xandman intercepted in Grave.