The Burning Season
by Laure Alexander

Rating: NC-17
Timeline: During the 19 days Spike was gone, and set in an AU after AtS 5.3, with no spoilers past that.
Author's notes: I started this before we learned the truth about Spike, so ignore AtS 5.4 and on. Chronologically this would be set past Halloween, but in my own universe. Thanks to Sallyanne and Rethought for the beta!


They lay together on top of the sheets, their bodies soaked with sweat from both the heat and their recent activities. With a groan, she finally peeled herself off of him and reached for the bottle of water on the night stand--lukewarm, of course.

"I still say it's unfair that you're warm now," Lilah groused, then chugged half the bottle.

"Rules have changed," Spike answered with an indifferent shrug. He sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "Gonna catch a shower before the match comes on."

"I don't know why you watch those things. They always end in ties. There's no satisfaction."

"You have to learn to enjoy the minutia, luv."

She rolled her eyes then watched him stroll naked across the room. "If you start enjoying that, then we'll start losing the cable every time there's a great strike or goal."

He managed a slightly sad smirk. "Probably. That would really be hell, then, right?"

As he disappeared into the bathroom, Lilah flopped back onto the too warm sheets and drank in the faint hint of smoke he left behind on her skin.


"Where did you go?" Lilah yelled, then grabbed him, then punched him in the chest, then hugged him. "You just disappeared! We were walking through the park and, poof, you were gone."

Spike stared into her distraught eyes, then glanced around the living room of their apartment. Confusion filled him. He remembered walking through the park...

Then he was here.

"What happened?"

She gave him a startled look and released him to step back. "You don't remember? Spike, you've been missing for nearly a week. You just vanished!"

"...Oh." He glanced around again, as if expecting the answer suddenly to materialize before him. "Does that happen a lot around here?"

"People vanishing from hell? Oh sure, all the time. We give free passes away when you get a car wash," she snapped sarcastically.

"Weird." Spike shrugged out of his duster and sank down on the lumpy couch. "Miss me?"

Narrowing her eyes at him, Lilah growled, then swiftly moved on top of him, straddling his legs and pressing his face against her breasts. "Parts of you." Spike leaned into her, his face nuzzling past the opening of her shirt, his tongue finding her warm cleavage. Lilah slid her hands down his back and purred in pleasure.


There were no seasons in hell. The vegetation always looked shriveled and dead. The temperature was always just on the unpleasant side of warm. It never rained or snowed. At least not in Lilah's hell.

The damned didn't really mark time. Why bother when they were there for eternity?

When Lilah emerged from hell, it was fall, although in L.A. it was hard to tell the changing of the seasons. There was a change in the air, though. It was mingled with the smell of distant fires which sadly reminded her of Spike. He'd never quite lost that odor of burning, and even months after his final disappearing act, when she'd finally accepted he wasn't coming back, she'd slept on sheets that smelled of smoke.

On a bright autumn day in Los Angeles, Lilah shopped for a whole new fall wardrobe. She had to look her best. First for Angel and his gang of goodie-two-shoes.

Then to find her missing lover.

The silk lingerie beneath her linen suit were just for him.


Angel stared at Lilah in consternation. She sat on his desk, one long leg crossed over the other, hands propped behind her.

"Miss me?"

"Why aren't you in hell?"

Her lips formed an elegant pout. "No wonder you have no dates, if that's how you greet a pretty lady."

Angel frowned and strode farther into his office. "I don't see any ladies here, Lilah. Now, why are you back?"

"But you think I'm pretty." At his look, she chuckled and slid from his desk. "All right, fine. Down to business. Eve wasn't working out. Too perky and not snarky enough. Plus, she slept with you, so big minus there, big guy." She patted him on the cheek as she walked past him to the wet bar to begin mixing a martini.

"But you're dead."

"Can't put anything past you." Smirking at him, she tossed an olive into her glass, then took a sip. "Ah, chilled just right. You really can't appreciate a chilled martini until all you've had is lukewarm for a few years."


"Time moves differently in hell, remember?" At his dark look, she only smirked more and took another sip.

"What about..." Angel struggled for a moment, before forcing the name of his son past his lips, "Connor, and everyone's lack of memories about him and how you're tied into all of that. Wesley," he emphasized, "and your past relationship which doesn't exist anymore to anyone but you and me. The fact that Cordelia killed you but that's been wiped from the everyone's memories, too."

Lilah felt a pang of sorrow, but she had known she would have to deal with that when she accepted the Senior Partners' offer. "I won't give out any hints about your once upon a time son or anything, and I'll just say I got myself killed. I'm sure they'll all buy it since the previous holders of my job never lasted long before some eager beaver killed them...or left them to die in a wine cellar. And...Wesley...he's firmly in the past. Anyway, I'm sure without the scar on his throat and all the darkness that came with it, he isn't half as interesting."

"You're such a cold bitch."

She grinned nastily over her glass. "Thanks. Now, shall we get down to business?"


Gunn, Fred, Wesley and Lorne answered the CEO's summons and all were mildly surprised or annoyed to find Lilah waiting for them. She slid her eyes across all of them, noting the changes the summer had wrought. Wesley remained scruffy, which surprised her, but his eyes held none of the darkness that had attracted her.

"So reports of your death were highly exaggerated?" Gunn asked, folding his arms over his chest and glaring at her.

"Oh, no, I'm dead." Smiling, she tugged the high collar away from her neck revealing the angry red scar. "Someone chopped off my head."

"Are you a ghost, or..." Fred looked at Angel. "Is she another non-corporeal being? Did you come out of an amulet?"

Lilah's smile turned indulgent. "Not a ghost. Not non-corporeal. I'm real. Just dead."

"Vampire?" asked Wesley.

"No, just dead. Look, learn to deal with it. I'm the new liaison to the Senior Partners."

Gunn frowned. "What happened to Eve?"

"Does anyone really care?" Lilah grinned and perched herself on the corner of Angel's desk. "So, I'll have a little chat with each of you later. Just wanted to let you know there's been a changing of the guard, so to speak."

"Still the same Lilah," Lorne muttered.

"Yeah, I always was a hell bitch."

Everyone started talking at once, Angel trying to interject reason into the complaints and arguments. In the middle of it, Spike strolled into the office.

"Just got the memo. What'd I miss?" Spying Lilah, he ran his eyes over her. "Who's this?"

It was the first thing since returning to the world that threw her, and the smile fled her face, replaced by confusion.

The bickering died away and Angel rose to introduce them. "This is Lilah Morgan. She used to be a lawyer here and a thorn in my side. Now she's our new dead liaison to the Senior Partners and she's still proving to be a thorn in my side."

Spike grinned. "Well, then, I have to like the lady. Spike's my name. Tormenting Angel's my game."

"I...know who you are. You're another vampire with a soul." She quickly regained her equilibrium. "The Senior Partners have quite a bit of interest in you. No, I don't know what it is," she added, forestalling the questions from the group. "You're solid now? Back to being undead?"

"Yeah, I'm anchored to this realm. Kept slipping away every so often but we've solved that."

"Where did you go?"

He shrugged. "Hell, I suppose. I don't remember."

It was then she noticed he no longer smelled of flames.


Lilah never knew why they assigned Spike to her level of hell. She had her theories--that the Senior Partners knew he wouldn't be in hell long so they stuck him some place convenient, or that they wanted them together for some nefarious purpose.

She really didn't care. She was just happy to have someone interesting to talk to.

Everyone else was a lawyer. Even those not working as lawyers were lawyers. It was incredibly dull. She'd go to a bar and the bartender would speak legalese to her. The dry cleaner was always complaining in detail about lawsuits brought against dry cleaners. It was truly hell.

Until he showed up, looking lost and a bit singed around the edges...and smelling of burning. Of course she recognized him immediately, but she didn't let on that she knew him until much later.

They met in her favorite bar. He ordered lager and got warm beer. As he complained to the bartender who began spouting municipal code to him, Lilah sidled up to him and sat next to him at the bar.

"It's useless to argue with him. Everything is warm in here."

Spike eyed the brunette who'd sat down next to him. "Then why do you bother drinking this piss?"

"Because I'm thirsty, and it still gets you drunk. Of course, hangovers are ten times worse here." She finished her martini and gestured for another one.

Spike stared morosely into his cup of flat warm beer. "This is hell, isn't it."

Nodding, she decided to go easy on him. There was something odd about him anyway. The only vampires she'd seen in hell were just like they were on earth. Nasty blood drinkers who partied too much. Unlike the souls condemned here, they were having a grand time in hell. "You're new here, I take it."

Spike nodded back. "I was kind of expecting...I dunno, firepits, pitchforks, torture."

"Oh, there's torture. Polyester blouses, no silk. Knock off Jimmy Choos with heels that break at the most inconvenient time. It's always too warm. Food is too hot or too cold, depending. And you see what you get for beer." She gave him a calculating look as he made a face at the warm beer he was sipping. "On the other hand, they don't really care if we fuck ourselves stupid."

One impressive eyebrow arched her way. "Is that an offer?"

"It's a way to spend eternity."

Sadness flowed across his face and he shook his head. "Maybe, but...not yet. I...there's this girl, you see."

"There's always a girl," Lilah replied, but not bitterly. After all, they did have eternity. "My name's Lilah, by the way."



"As long as there are no dog jokes."

Lilah grinned and twirled her olive in her fresh drink. "So, how'd you end up here, Spike?"

"...Saved the world."


They met again at the bar, chatted about the torments they were suffering--her secretary always misfiled everything; his telly only broadcast inane sitcoms--drank the warm alcohol, and slowly became friends. Spike told her all about Sunnydale, the hellmouth...the slayer. Lilah got quite a kick out of the latter and finally had to admit that she knew who he was because she knew Angel.

They were both rather pleased that being a pain in Angel's ass had been a mutual pastime.

Time passed and the two became closer, and then one night he asked her to the movies.

They went to see Disney's Lion King--as the only movies shown in theaters in that part of hell were for children or in foreign languages without dubbing or subtitles--then ended up back at her place.

"Nice." Spike glanced around the elegantly decorated living room.

"Yeah, well, I was semi-important on Earth. It looks nice, but half the appliances don't work, and I've had the sewer back up half a dozen times."

He grinned. "Hell is what we make it."

"Yeah." She shrugged out of her suit jacket and stepped out of her pumps. "Want to make it a little bit better for a time?" Lilah watched the emotions play across his face and knew he was thinking of his lost love. He wasn't the only one. She'd told him about Wesley and their doomed relationship, too. Another thing they had in common.

Spike took a step towards her as he removed his duster, and replied a bit sadly, "I think it's time to let go."

"Me, too," she whispered back and moved into his arms. The first kiss was tentative and soft. His lips were room-temperature, his tongue a tad warmer. It felt good tickling against hers when the kiss deepened. Her hands slid up his arms, feeling the muscular leanness beneath skin and cotton. His found her back, roving down to pull her shirt from the waist of her skirt. The first touch of his experienced fingers on the small of her back made her gasp.

As the passion swelled between them, his lips twisted on hers, his tongue caressing hers. Finding the hem of her short skirt, Spike tugged it up over her hips, revealing her tiny French cut panties and garterless stockings. Lilah ground herself against the bulge in his jeans, her panties quickly dampening as her body began to tense with need.

"Bed," she mumbled against his lips, then moaned as he swiftly caught her ear between his teeth and nipped.


Still kissing and caressing, they maneuvered into the bedroom, flipping on the overhead light to illuminate the narrow bed--there wasn't anything larger than a three-quarter sized bed in hell. Spike pushed Lilah gently down onto the mattress, then stripped his t-shirt over his head. As she wriggled up the bed to the pillows, he sat down and removed his boots, then turned and leaned down to kiss her again. His hands found the buttons on her shirt and he deftly opened them, one at a time, until he could pull the polyester away from her breasts.

Peppering warm, soft kisses down her face and neck, passing lightly over the scar that would never fade, he buried his mouth between her flushed breasts bound in plain cotton and nylon. Lilah moaned in pleasure and arched into his kisses, her fingers sliding through his surprisingly soft hair. One benefit of hell was no one changed physically, so he would always have the short peroxide blond curls cut close to his skull, and she enjoyed the feel of his scalp beneath her fingers.

Apparently Spike did, too, because he growled and nipped the inner curve of one breast as he undulated against her, rubbing his denim-encased erection against her thigh. Parting her legs, Lilah rolled her hands down his back, pulling him between her thighs. With another low growl, Spike settled against her and pulled her bra open and away from her breasts. His mouth captured one of her nipples and he worried it hungrily, as his other hand cupped her other breast, his thumb circling the erect and aching nub.

Lilah wrapped her legs loosely around his hips and arched off the bed. "Been so long," she crooned, pleasure suffusing her from head to toe. She writhed and moaned his name.

Groaning, Spike rose enough from her to unfasten his jeans. Together they pushed and tugged them down and off his legs, leaving him nude. Spike lifted his head from her breasts and Lilah's eyes widened in eagerness at the sight of his erection, pale and hard, angling up from a nest of brown curls. As he fumbled with the button and zipper of her skirt, she wrapped one hand around the base of his cock and slowly slid it up to the tip, her thumb teasing the foreskin.

"Gonna make me come, luv," Spike stuttered as he shuddered at her touch.

"Wouldn't want that...yet," she moaned back. She wriggled out of her skirt and he tossed it aside, then his fingers found the sides of her panties, and, as he began to tug them down her long legs, he bent and inhaled deeply.

"You smell so good." Panties gone, he lifted her legs from around his hips and pulled them over his shoulders, then lowered himself to her. He dashed heated kisses over her trembling stomach, then ran his tongue down to the neatly trimmed curls between her legs. "Bet you taste as good." Another flick of his tongue and he parted her swollen folds and delved into her slippery cleft. As he moaned in pleasure, Lilah began to pant harshly and reached up, wrapping her fingers around the bars of her headboard. Using it as leverage she bucked up against his mouth, driving his tongue against her swollen clitoris.

Rolling her hips higher, Spike slid two fingers inside her, stroking her quickly, and his mouth fastened around her clit, suckling hungrily. Lilah's inner muscles clamped down around his fingers, and he felt her tremble as her juices flowed over his tongue. Lifting his head and ignoring her cry of protest, he slid upwards and crushed her lips beneath his as he thrust into her.

Her orgasm hit powerfully and they both cried out as she shook beneath him. Her hands found his shoulders, his back, and she clawed at him, whimpering now as with each thrust he drew out her pleasure. His cock was so hard and his thrusts were so powerful. He pummeled her into the bed and she met him stroke for stroke. Finally, they broke the kiss, both gasping, and their eyes met.

They were both filled with such need. Lilah clutched at him. Spike cupped her cheeks. They kissed again as he shuddered and spilled inside her, and the aroma of smoke and ash filled her nose.


Lilah was standing at the window of her office when Spike came in for his evening meeting. As she turned, a soft smile on her face, he plopped down in a chair and crossed his hands behind his head.

"So, you're from hell."

"So are you," she countered, and watched him frown. "You don't remember, do you."

His hands fell away and he sat up straighter, staring intently at her. "I kept...blipping out. Don't know where I went but I had my suspicions."

Lilah nodded and moved to lean against the desk in front of him. "Hell. My hell, to be exact."

He grew even more surprised, his eyes widening. "Why don't I remember?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. You never remembered where you went when you blipped, as you say, out on me, either." She could see him processing everything she said, along with the things she wasn't saying.

"We knew each other."

"Do you know that time passes much differently in hell?"

Spike nodded slowly. "Heard about that, yeah."

"Nineteen days here, Spike. Years there," Lilah said gently. "We knew each other."

"But...Buffy..." Confused, he shook his head, his eyes full of sorrow and a bit of fear.

"She wasn't there, and neither was Wesley. Yeah, Wesley," she confirmed the look he gave her, "and we can go into that story another time. Time passed, we got to know each other, and we let our lovers go. We thought we had eternity there."

Spike mulled that for a moment, unable to meet her eyes, then mumbled, "Did we love each other?"

"We never dared say the words for fear of them separating us, but...yeah...I think we did," she answered sadly.

"I...this is...I can't be him. I don't remember you. All I know is I love...her."

"I know. I don't know why I remember and you don't, but I'm not going anywhere, and I suspect that neither are you. We can still have eternity." Lilah leaned forward and took one of his hands, feeling the coolness match her own. "Will you give us the chance to get to know each other again?"

Spike was silent for a moment, then gave her a hesitant look. "Yeah, I'd like that. And I'd like to find out just why I've been brought back. Reborn, so to speak.

"The timing can't be a coincidence, either. Fall is a time of dying, but also of beginnings. We're both dead, but we're also both here in this world, moving forward, back in the eternal cycle." She flashed him a smile. If you believe that kind of thing."

He shrugged and grinned. "Never really cared one way or another, though I remember sneaking out to the harvest festivals when I was a boy to catch a glimpse of cavorting farmers' daughters. And then there's that song from that Lion King movie, 'Cycle of Life' or something. Drusilla loved that flick."

"Circle," Lilah replied, smiling at the memory of their first date.

"Ah, yeah. Not sure if it's true for a vampire and a...what are you, luv?"

"Dead but still pretty."

Spike chuckled and rose to his feet, tucking her hand into the crook of his arm. "Why don't we go get a drink on this warm autumn night and get reacquainted. Maybe the truth will come to us over beer."

As they walked out of her office, Lilah turned her head slightly and whispered, "Fall is also the burning season, but I'm glad we're not burning anymore."

"Me, too, luv. Me too."

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