Title: Irony's Ironic Like That
Summary: Go underground, change your name...and maybe run into a surprising old face.
Spoilers: Through Angel 4x08 - Habeas Corpses
Feedback: Greatly appreciated (APostModernSleaz at 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: Written for the Lilah Friendship Ficathon. Thanks to Becky for the beta! (Completed 4/30/04)
San Francisco agreed with Lilah. It was a shadow of her former existence, but it sure as hell beat getting her intestines gouged out by a magma-dipped evil goat.
"Miss! Do you have these in a size six?"
Lilah turned around and gave the customer a wan smile. The older woman was shaking a box of black Manolo Blahnik kitten-heel pumps in her face and scowling. She was as much a size six as Lilah was a nun.
"Sorry, ma'am," she smiled, adjusting her Neiman Marcus nametag -- Chastity Goode, because Wesley had said to change her name, and it wasn't like her sense of humor had died along with the rest of Wolfram and Hart. "Those only go up to size four," she continued, smiling sweetly.
"Hmm." The woman frowned and studied the box. "Well, I guess I could squeeze in. I'll take them."
Would you like a crowbar and complimentary toe removal to go with those? "Sure thing, ma'am," Lilah said, hoping the grit of her teeth wasn't overly noticeable. "I'll go get them from the back."
The storeroom was lined with candy-colored boxes, the creamy middle being ridiculously expensive shoes of which she'd once owned rows upon rows. She used to crush insolent employees under the heels of those deadly shoes, used to drive a silver convertible and shop at Neiman Marcus....
Now, she worked there. Lived in a small apartment in a questionable neighborhood, and spent most of her spare time waiting for the sun to go out, or looking over her shoulder for a satanic walking volcano to finish the job he'd started in LA.
Grabbing a box of size fours and grinning wryly, Lilah headed back into the store and muttered, "At least it can't get worse than this."
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Lilah Morgan," came a voice from behind a large display of Steve Maddens. Out popped a shaggy head and a smarmy grim aimed in her direction. "And here I thought going on a shopping trip with my girlfriend was gonna be boring as hell."
Lindsey. Turning her eyes to the fluorescent-laden ceiling, Lilah sighed and said, "You had to take that 'can't get worse' thing literally, didn't you?"
"My break's only twenty minutes, so say whatever you want to say and go away." Lilah dumped a packet of sugar into her coffee and stirred, clinking the spoon against the cheap ceramic café mug with as much force as she could muster.
Lindsey raised an eyebrow. "Well first of all, what did that cup ever do to you?" When she didn't answer, he laughed and leaned back in the chair, pulling a pair of sunglasses from his shirt pocket and slipping them on. The midday sun streamed down on the sidewalk café, and Lilah wished she'd thought of grabbing her sunglasses, too. "So, Lilah, you gonna tell me what you're doing in San Francisco?"
"Like you don't already know."
"I do," he smiled. "Just want to hear it from you."
"The Beast. Killed everyone at Wolfram and Hart and followed up by blocking the sun. Yours truly got away, but only with the clothes on my back." She picked at the croissant he'd bought for her. She would have been fine going without - being without credit cards and a lot of cash had made her disgustingly frugal to the point of leaving her wallet at home to curb any impulse spending - but he'd simply gone ahead and ordered before she could protest. Well, fine, but she would pay him back as soon as humanly possible. Fucking pathetic, table of one.
"Seems like you're doing okay for yourself," he said.
Lilah looked up, studying him. Christ, he wasn't being sarcastic. She must be in worse shape than she thought. "Yeah, well. Called in enough favors to keep me out of the women's shelters by getting enough money to keep me afloat until I landed this thrilling job."
"Never thought I'd see you on that side of a counter, that's for sure," Lindsey grinned, popping a fry into his mouth.
Being beyond dignity at this point, Lilah said, "Actually, I worked retail to put myself through college."
"Damn," he whistled. "I'd always pegged you as a silver spoon brat."
"Would anyone who comes from money work for a company that makes you sign a perpetuity clause?"
He nodded. "Point taken. You know, this is nice...catching up."
"Yeah, it is." Lilah frowned. "Aren't we supposed to be adversaries?"
"Nah," Lindsey said, waving his hand dismissively. "We worked fine together until the Senior Partners started pitting us against each other."
"True. You know, when this is all done, they might come calling on us to start the Los Angeles branch up again."
"Figured as much. Think I'll respectfully decline. Got a nice life here, working for the D.A. The office is laid back. I get to wear chinos to work."
Lilah raised an eyebrow and smiled. "You say that like it's a good thing."
"Ouch," he chuckled. "We can't all have your keen fashion sense. So what about you? Gonna take them up on the offer if it comes?"
"Let me think about that...yes. Yes, absolutely, and without a second's hesitation."
"Lilah, this is your chance to get out. You should take it."
"Sorry, Linds," she said, shaking her head. "I never had your crisis of conscience. I liked my old life. If I were ever going to leave it to be a white hat, it would have been for Wesley. But I didn't."
"Oh, right!" He took off his sunglasses and grinned, blue eyes sparkling. "I heard about you and the Watcher."
"How the hell did you hear about that?" she asked, jaw hanging slightly open.
"Gavin Park e-mailed me."
"That little worm's luck he's already dead," she grumbled.
"Hey, what you do's your own business," Lindsey said. "If I was gonna go for any male member of Angel Investigations, it would have been the black guy, but taste's subjective."
"Mm hmm," she said, sipping her coffee. Teasing him over his hard-on for Sir Broods-A-Lot was getting old; if he wasn't gonna acknowledge it, she'd refrain. For now.
The cellphone on the table bleated out a tinny version of The Doors' "L.A. Woman," and Lindsey flipped it open. "Ah, one sec." Pressing the talk button, he said, "Sorry, Katie, I just stepped out for some coffee. Yes...uh-huh. Oh, don't worry, that'll only take me a few years to pay off," he laughed. "Yeah, meet you at the car in a few." Snapping the phone shut, Lindsey pulled out his wallet and plunked a few dollars on the table. "Duty calls."
"Someone's made an honest man of you," Lilah teased.
"I wouldn't go that far. Listen, here's my number," he said, handing her a business card. "Give me a call. We can get together for drinks before you head back to rule Los Angeles with an iron fist."
He waved and headed back towards the store. She tucked the card into her pocket, wondering whether she'd ever actually use it. He wasn't the same guy from two years ago, but she'd changed a lot, too. It couldn't hurt, having an ally in this strange town.
Besides, Lilah had a huge stockpile of Angel jokes she'd been dying to try out on someone.