Disclaimer: Not mine, etc.
Summary: Spike gets an offer he (almost) can't refuse.
Spoilers: Nothing specific. BtVS season 6 and AtS season 3 in general.
Thanks: To Cynthia for tolerating this weirdness and being as helpful as ever, despite her hatred for most of the characters. And to Laura for encouragement and enthusiasm.
You aren't very easy to sneak up on, generally speaking. The senses are tuned, tight, made strong from a century's use, and your sleep is light and often semi-conscious. The sleep of the undead. This afternoon, though, things are a little different. You've been drinking- quite heavily- and your head feels thick and cloudy when it hits the pillow.
The stupor that begins to set in is a welcome respite from conscious thought, reality. Escape. Escape is good, you decide, and you let yourself sleep deeply, without dreams. You let your guard down, which is always a mistake.
She slips in unnoticed. You're not sure when, but she's there when you wake up, hovering near your bed like it's her place. Like she belongs here, and you don't.
"Can I help you?" Is your first question, because "Who the hell are you, and what do you think you're doing, and you do realize I'm naked under this sheet, right?" is too many bloody words when you've just woken from a stupor.
"I hope so," she says. She's wearing a suit. No woman in a suit has ever been here. Well, except for that priggish sycophant from the Watcher's Council, but she was old.
It's a blue suit. The skirt is short, and the jacket is unbuttoned. She's got a white blouse under that, and she's showing a fair amount of cleavage.
"My name is Lilah Morgan. I'm an attorney with Wolfram and Hart."
An attorney. How entertaining. You wonder if you're being sued. There were all of those murders. Or maybe it's Buffy. A restraining order, perhaps?
"Does that mean anything to you, Spike?" she asks, like it ought to. But it doesn't. All it means is that when you went to sleep, you were alone, and when you woke up, there was a scantily-clad lawyer buggering about in your crypt, smelling of bitter, dying flowers.
"Am I supposed to know you?"
She smiles and crosses her arms over her chest. Something about that smile, about the way her eyes rake over you, is distinctly unpleasant. Lying motionless and naked under her gaze increases the effect. You're not one to feel uncomfortable in your own skin, and you can't ever remember feeling embarrassed by your nudity before. But this woman makes you long for your trousers. She makes you feel small, somehow. It's a familiar sensation, but you can't recall exactly who or what made you feel this way before.
You sit up, trying to regain some ground, and reach for the cigarettes on the nightstand.
"I'm sorry, I thought Drusilla might have mentioned the firm."
The thought of Dru mentioning a law firm by name in anything resembling a coherent fashion is ludicrous enough to distract you for a moment, but when it passes, it occurs to you how much this woman seems to know about you already.
"Haven't talked to Dru in a long time. Besides, she's afraid of lawyers."
"Oh. I thought she visited with you after conducting some business with us."
"Business, what business could she..."
And then you remember. Scraps of conversations you've tried hard to forget-
(evil, wicked people trying to bring daddy back, and we need you back because you're family, we're family, grandmother's back and daddy will be too and we need you, and the girl, the girl wants to hurt daddy, and we didn't eat her, but I wanted to, and she's so lovely, spike, oh you'll want to taste her too, pretty spike)
-come back to you, and it's falling into place now, who this woman is and why she might be here.
"Wolfram and Hart you say..."
You light up a smoke. A drink would be very very good. Unfortunately, the bottle is too far out of reach, and you're not prepared to go wandering about in your altogether in front of this...lawyer.
"Yes, I think we're working on some projects you might be interested in."
She walks purposefully to the dresser, grabs the bottle, and pours glasses for both of you. Voodoo, mind-reading lawyer.
She brings you your whiskey, and sits at the edge of the bed with hers. She's held so tightly together, you think she might crack into a thousand pieces if you tapped the surface.
"What sort of projects?"
You've been looking for some new projects lately, what with the whole getting-Buffy-to-love-you plan going all to cock. Having a purpose again is an appealing thought.
"Projects of the destroying Angel variety."
Very appealing indeed.
"Don't you already have a team on that? Isn't Darla in charge of that project?"
You don't want to work for Darla. Not again. And you don't want to see Dru. Not ever.
"Wow, you really are out of the loop," she says, looking at you with something resembling pity. Trousers, trousers, where are your trousers? "Darla's dead."
"Yes, and it appears to be a permanent condition this time."
Well, then. Isn't it nice to be so well-informed? Honestly, someone could've phoned. Or, well, written anyway.
You tip your glass and have a drink to the old bitch, the queen mum. It's sad in a way. There was a time when her death would've meant something to you. There was a time when she meant something.
And then it hits you; it was Darla. Darla was the one, the one like this woman, who made you feel-
(cold, her fist was cold when it cracked the bones in your nose that night when you told her, that night when you grabbed her because everyone was grabbing and it seemed like the thing to do, but it wasn't. Then later, in shackles, in the basement, hanging from the ceiling and a lead ball gag in your "smart mouth, idiot mouth, damnable fool, boy mouth" and it's thirty lashes from Daddy for you because "you are never to touch her, never to speak to her like that, never, ever, ever again, do you hear me, boy?" and you're not sure why, because you're still new and everything is a confusing, exhilarating mess. Then it's him fucking you, but you want it to be her because it doesn't make any sense that it can't be, and it makes you angry because she's so cold, and she wants him, and Dru wants him, and nobody wants you, wants you a lot, even as they take you again and again and you want them all, and what is it with you, anyway? Are you...)
-unworthy. Small. Insignificant.
"So you want me to, what? Take her place? Don't think I've got quite the same power over him."
"No," she concedes, smiling faintly and bringing her hand to her throat in a bizarre gesture that makes you think of choking her, makes you wonder if she'd like that. "No, you wouldn't be taking her place exactly. We've had to change our plans where Angel is concerned. Things with Darla didn't go quite as expected. I can't go into details, of course. I'm sure you understand."
"No. I'm sure I don't. What exactly do you want me to do? And, more importantly, what's in it for me?"
"Isn't causing Angel agonizing pain sort of its own reward?"
You're tempted to say yes, God, yes, and especially if it gets me out of this hell hole of a town right quick, but you force yourself to rein in that old, unbridled enthusiasm. This is bargaining, and you need to hold your ground, milk her and her eight hundred dollar shoes for everything you can get. Because, really, how often does an opportunity like this come wandering into your crypt?
"I want money."
She nods, and somehow that hand has moved from her throat to your knee, but you don't remember when. How long has it been there? She squeezes through the sheet, and you realize a fundamental truth; you're going to wind up shagging this woman tonight, one way or another.
"I could give you more," she offers. Offers herself, and it's actually a little bit funny. You've never been propositioned by a corporate whore before. You wonder if every company's got one of these. It would explain a lot.
"I know what you want," she says, and it's seductive, her voice is, but it's also more than a little bit sinister. An almost irresistable combination.
"You don't know me."
"I think that I do." She rests her drink on the table next to your ashtray and takes her hand off your leg, begins ticking the list off on her fingers. "You want money, sure, but you also want power, control of your life again, you want to be evil, and terrifying, and you want to be somebody important. You want to be your own man, not so pathetic as you've become. You want all the human blood you can drink, and you want some good, old-fashioned sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Did I leave anything out?"
"We could give you all of that, Spike. We could give you everything."
They can't give you Buffy, though, can they. Can't give you love. Still, it's become glaringly apparent that you're not going to get that on your own, either. It's become glaringly apparent to anyone but the most thick-headed imbecile that it's time to give up on that dream already.
But maybe...maybe there's something else they could give you. Something better. Something that would change everything.
"Can you get this chip out of my head?"
"No. No way. We can't do that."
She's lying. You can see it. You can fucking smell it.
"Can't or won't?"
"This isn't a negotiable point, Spike. What else do you want?"
"Wouldn't I be more useful to you without it? I can't even-"
"There won't be any physical violence in your work. Not towards humans, anyway. Probably not even towards Angel."
"No physical violence? Well then, what's the bloody point?"
She smiles at you and laughs through her nose, like you're making a sodding joke. Really, though, what is the point? Surely they couldn't want you this badly for your mind.
"We've already got demons working for us who could rip Angel in two. We don't need you for that, and frankly, you're not capable of it."
But you are capable of ripping her in two, without the chip. You could kill them all, and that's why she'll never give you what you really need.
"What do you want me for, then? I'm still a bit confused on that."
"We feel that you have certain skills, certain knowledge that would prove very valuable to the firm."
Christ Almighty, but this lawyer-speak is getting tiresome. Doesn't really matter anyway, does it? You have to admit, it's nice to meet a woman who wants anything from you at all. You're not picky, and you have no morals. Most importantly, you have absolutely nothing to lose.
"All right. Gimme money. And sex. Then we'll talk."
She flinches a little at that, and the small victory causes you to smirk. Just for once, you'd like an even playing field. Maybe you can get that with her. Maybe you already have.
She pulls open her jacket and reaches for the inner pocket, pulls out a checkbook and a pen and starts writing.
"I can't cash a check," you tell her. No bank account. No identification. No proof of existence.
"You'll be able to cash it once you start working for us. That's another thing we can give you. An identity."
She hands it over to you, and there's so many numbers written on there that your eyes are confused. Then she starts unbuttoning her blouse, with fingers that could-
(cut you, like ribbons of glass, ripping open your flesh, her nails are always long, and you felt them the night that Dru ran away from home because she finally figured out that Daddy was never coming back, not ever, and you tried to hurt her the same but it was never enough, and sometimes it was too much, like the night she ran away and you looked everywhere, but the night was too short, and the sun brought you home to her, and her nails, and she cut you open because "You didn't find her, useless, stupid, worthless, imbecile" but on that night, finally, you were enough, because there wasn't anything else left. The floor was hard, wooden, splintery, and it cracked when she pushed you down, tore at your clothes, your skin, and it didn't knock the house down but it was close...oh, it was close. You still haven't figured out what it is about you that makes women want to)
-hit you, hurt you, maybe even bruise you. They are strong, Lilah's hands. Not as strong as a slayer, not as strong as a vampire, but stronger than they should be. Tighter grip than you expected as she squeezes you through the sheet, bringing you to a state of full arousal.
She leans in and kisses you, and it's strange, you think. Strange for her to take a claim like that, to seek out the affection. She bites and sucks at your lips with a queer desperation, and you plunder her mouth with your tongue in kind.
Of course, it isn't her you're kissing, and you doubt she's kissing you. There are enough people in this bed to make an orgy. Like every other whore you've taken before, she is Cecily's cool disdain, Dru's fickle, mad heart, Angelus's cruel discipline, Darla's cold, loveless claws, Buffy's hard, hot fists.
You don't know who you are, and you don't care.
Quickly, so quickly, she's pulling at her clothes, kissing and grabbing you with a sudden ferocity that's just...strange. It makes you think she's got all her sexual energy bottled and pickled in a jar somewhere inside her, in a safe, behind a locked door, and when she decides to open it up and let it out, well, there it is.
It's easy to get swept into it, easy to forget that when it's all said and done, you don't even like it very much- fucking girls you aren't in love with. It's easy to forget she isn't the girl you're in love with, and that she's straddling your lap for the good of the company. And when she takes you in, and you open your eyes, she's still wearing a white lacy bra, and she's moaning, and digging her nails into your shoulders, and you notice that she is a little bit beautiful.
A little bit sad, because, Christ, she's doing this for the good of the company. Who does that?
You wrap your arms around her hard, bony back, and pull her tight against your chest. You kiss her, because it's important, and you're not sure, but it's pretty likely that she's a tiny bit taller than you.
She rides you hard and fast and perilous, and you let her noisy need pull at you, surround you.
"Is it good?" she asks into your ear. "Should it be more violent?"
"It's good," you tell her, and you hope that she doesn't talk anymore, because it only reminds you that she's a-
(prostitute is what she was, before she was turned, and she's spent her whole bloody unlife trying to get beyond that, to be something else, something better, and you understand that, maybe you understand it more than anyone, but she never seemed to understand that operas, and elaborate clothing, and mannerisms pilfered from royalty and the obscenely wealthy couldn't really change things because everything she did, everything she said, every move she made was sexualized nearly to the point of histrionics. You can take the girl out of the whorehouse, you suppose...she fucked you like a whore, and you weren't surprised, but maybe just a little bit disappointed because she was supposed to be the prize, the ultimate unattainable finally in your grasp, but she wasn't ever in your grasp- not really-and when it finally happened all you could think about was Dru, because at least with Dru there was a sense that you were needed. Needed for yourself, not as a surrogate, not as a victim, not as an outlet for rage and loneliness and utter despair, but as a protector, a lover, and Dru may have been insane, and she may not have loved you as much or as well as you would have liked, but at least she wasn't a-)
"It's very good."
You switch positions quickly, tossing her onto her back and pushing yourself inside her from above, grabbing her wrists and pounding her, kissing her again to make sure she keeps her fucking mouth shut.
And it is good. It's good to know where you stand for once. To have an understanding. An agreement. She may be using you, which is nothing new, but it is new to be using her right back. It makes you feel like maybe there's something in your life that you can control.
You'd like to control her. To have a woman like this, a woman so strong and hard and vital at your mercy...God, it would be everything. She would be all of them; Dru and Darla and Angel and Angelus and Buffy...especially Buffy. She would be all of them, but you would be on top. You would call the shots.
For a minute or two it seems almost like a possibility, but then you pull back a little, look at her face.
Her eyes are closed, squeezed tight, and she's panting. She's lost, not here, which you knew, but there's something else. Something you can just...feel.
She isn't doing this for the good of the company. It isn't about the company at all. It's personal, and it's even more twisted than you thought, and it's all about-
(Angelus is the one Darla really wanted, the one she thought of as she fucked you senseless because you were there, and you killed a Slayer, and when you were done she said, "I guess that you're a man now, William," as though you hadn't been one until that moment, as though she'd made you into one by gracing you with her claws and her cunt and a pile of broken glass. Then she asked you if you wanted to move to America, and it was the first time she'd ever asked your opinion about anything, but you wouldn't leave without Dru, and she thought that was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. "Dru is gone," she said. "Dru is weak, and she's gone, and isn't it time you got over her?" and you thought of all the times you'd watched those women holding each other, loving each other through fire and blood and death, and it was just a little bit too much. You punched her hard, for Dru, and then you shagged her again, for yourself, and you're still not sure if you were trying to pound his memory out of her, or remind her of her hypocrisy because even with your cock inside her she was thinking of-)
Angel. She's doing this for Angel- to hurt him, to possess him, to own a piece of his past. She's happy to fuck you, because she knows precisely where you've been, and if she squeezes her eyes tight enough she can pretend you're not the vampire between her legs.
You're both fucking Angel, in one way or another, and it's really just too pathetic and insane, even for you. You want to stop. Just...stop. But your body has a will of its own, and it keeps going, almost without your consent. It goes until it gets what it wants.
Later, when she's sitting on your bed, buttoning her blouse back up, then combing her hair, she asks you if you're ready to leave tonight.
Funny, you'd almost forgotten the point of all this.
"You know, I've been thinking about your offer, Lilah, and I'm afraid I'll have to decline this time 'round," you tell her, and you think it's really kind of a shame.
The comb falls out of her hand and clatters to the floor, and she jumps out of the bed like her ass is on fire.
"Who the hell do you think you are? You can't decline. It's too late!"
She's furious. You're glad.
"Well, see, honey, the thing is, I'm something of an anarchist. Not really interested in selling my soul to the company store, so to speak."
"You don't have a soul!"
"S'just an expression. Point is, I don't much fancy working for anyone but me."
"Son of a bitch..."
You wonder if she's going to beg you, bargain with you, offer more stuff, but you think she's probably smarter than that. You think it's probably obvious that you're done.
"You never planned on coming back with me at all, did you?" she asks, and you just shrug 'cause honestly, you're not really sure. She looks like she wants to hit you, like she's seriously considering it, but instead she just steps into her shoes and shrugs on her jacket. "You're a bastard, Spike. If I ever see you again, I'll kill you."
You're a bloody imbecile because you left the check on the bedside table, and you cringe when she lifts it up and rips it into a hundred tiny pieces. She tosses the bits of paper onto your naked chest. When she leaves, you are smiling, but not particularly happy.
And you remember what it was like when you found Dru, finally. Turned out, she'd joined the circus. The freak show. Your girlfriend ran away to tell fortunes at the freak show, but when you showed up in her tent she kissed you, and she cried, and you and Darla brought her to America.
And then it hits you, a strange sense of sadness and longing. A nostalgic wish, the thought that this horrid lawyer could've been like Dru, like Darla. That you could've done great, evil, terrible things together, and it might've been fun. Maybe you made a mistake.
But then you remember it- the essential truth that brings logic to the insanity of your entire existence. Women are like a box of disappointing chocolates- all fucking nuts.
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