Title: Devil's Price (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.

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

Summary: Lilah talks to Willow about their deal... and her other offer. Sequel to Devil's Bargain.

Author's Note: I did this for two reasons. One, to address the whole "Buffy came up with the idea, not Willow" issue, and two, to resolve the issue of Lilah's other offer.

* * *

Willow sighed as she peered listlessly into her untouched coffee. She'd come here, to a local cafe, to think. She'd just had another fight with Kennedy. Their personalities just clashed too much.

Her shoulders sagged as she thought back.

They'd gone to Cleveland, as they'd planned, and the situation was pretty much Sunnydale on a larger scale. Big city like this had a lot more places for vampires and demons to hide than one-Starbucks place like Sunnydale.

Still, they'd managed. They'd even started the "Summers Institute for Gifted Young Women." Translated, it was the Buffy Summers Slayer Academy.

But then the reports came in. From the news, from what was left of the Watchers' Council, from Angel's resources in L.A.

Slayers were going rogue by the dozen. Women, girls, females of all ages were getting these powers, and the remains of the Watchers' network was spread too thin to reach them all.

They were becoming criminals, robbers, bullies... and some just disappeared. What happened to _them_ was a mystery, and one that made Willow even more worried about what she'd done.

And Buffy was blaming herself for it, when it wasn't really her idea.

"Hi, there."

Willow jerked her head up and blinked. "Miss Morgan?"

"Please, call me Lilah," she lawyer said. "Is this seat taken?"

"N-no..." Willow murmured and watched as Lilah sat across from her.

Why was she wearing a scarf in this weather?

"How'd you find me?" the redhead asked.

"I said I'd be around," Lilah shrugged. "So," she said, leaning over the table conspiratorially, "I have to know. How'd you do it? All the talk flying around says the Slayer came up with the idea."

Willow looked away, ashamed. "I... planted it. In her mind. I saw how she was acting, just like I was. She wasn't going to listen to anyone else. I had to make her think it was her idea."

"Brilliant!" Lilah congratulated her, with a smile. "A stroke of genius. You'll do fine in this business."

"What?" Willow snapped her head up at that.

"Oh, nothing," Lilah said, waving it off. "So, have you thought about my other offer?"

Willow shook her head, not trusting herself to speak. There'd been so much happening, they'd been so busy, she hadn't had a chance to really think it over. To have Tara back... but at what cost?

"You haven't told me what you want for... that."

"Just a small favor," Lilah said. "We want Angel's soul."

Willow's jaw dropped in outraged shock, but before she could speak, Lilah said, "You don't have to answer right away. Here." Lilah lifted her briefcase and put it on the table, "This is everything you need to do what we want. If you accept, just do the spell, and we'll know, and we'll do what we promised. Unlike some people, we keep our word."

Lilah rose and left.

Willow stared at the briefcase.

*I should throw it away,* she thought unconvincingly. *Just get rid of it.*

But she made no move to do so.

*Tara...* she thought, her heart aching.

Finally, she reached for the briefcase.

* * *

Author's Postscript:

Okay, so maybe "resolve" was a little too strong. Perhaps "explore" is a better word choice.