By Miss Murchison
Sequel to Pleasure Before Pain
Disclaimer: Characters stolen, as usual, from Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Notes: This is a sequel to Pleasure before Pain. I've now definitely moved away from AtS Season 1 canon. (The only surprise is that it took me so long--with the best of intentions, I usually manage to go AU by the third paragraph.) But I couldn't help wondering what would happen if Spike stayed in LA instead of going back to Sunnydale and getting chipped.
What if Spike fell for Lilah instead of Buffy? The results would be horrible and tragic, eventually, so I don' t think I have much interest in carrying the story very far. However, I couldn't resist taking a few steps down that road, at least.
Thanks: to Kes and DorothyL for the beta.
Shifting the shopping bag to her left hand, Lilah fumbled for the key to her apartment.
It wasn’t a grocery bag, of course. Lilah wasn’t a grocery bag kind of person.
The logo on the bag she held gave her almost as much pleasure as the purchase inside. Her new shoes were strappy and red, with dangerously sharp spiked heels. She had seen them in Prada’s shop window and known immediately they were destined to be hers. And she hadn’t had to think twice about spending the money for them. Not after her lovely day at work.
But as she opened the door and tossed the shopping bag onto the sofa, she realized that her perfect day had been shattered. “What the hell are you doing here?” she demanded of the man standing in the nebulous borderline between her living room and the kitchen. But she was afraid that she already knew the answer.
This afternoon, I started planning a move to a larger apartment. One that had clearly defined boundaries between kitchen and dining room and living room. But, suddenly, my plans have become much simpler. Like surviving this evening.
“Did you think I wouldn’t do something about it?” demanded the man.
“About what?” said Lilah, deciding, rather desperately, on the “play dumb” approach to the problem.
“About your ruining my life,” he said.
“Now, now, George,” she said in a soothing tone, stepping forward. He twitched, and she stepped back, hands upraised in a gesture designed to show how harmless she was. She had never been fond of George under the best of circumstances, and twitchy George held no attractions whatsoever.
His jaw worked for a moment before he was able to force words out through gritted teeth. “Shopping? You spent the afternoon destroying my life and then you went shopping?” He gestured at the bag on the sofa.
“Sorry I kept you waiting,” said Lilah. Her eyes flicked over him, thinking that he could profit from a fashion makeover himself. George was usually neat, if not exactly well-groomed. But tonight, his appearance was less than immaculate. Middle-aged and ridiculously tall, nature had intended him to be skinny, but sedentary habits had provided him with an impressive paunch. His hair, worn too long so that he could comb it over his balding crown, was standing up in odd tufts on one side of his head and dangling in greasy strands on the other. He stared at her furtively out of his rabbity eyes, through tortoiseshell glasses that sat askew on his long nose. His suit, which had never fit properly, was wrinkled, and his shirt was rucked up, hanging half in and half out of his pants. Lilah decided not to suggest a less rumpled look. She was afraid he was too angry with her already.
George jumped as the doorbell rang. “What’s that?”
Lilah was an expert at taking advantage of opportunity. “Excuse me,” she said with false politeness, and moved to answer the ring as if it were the most natural thing in the world. So natural that even George, in his probably homicidal and certainly overwrought state, did not question the movement.
She opened the door, hoping desperately that whoever was on the other side could be persuaded or tricked into rescuing her. But she was astonished when her gesture revealed a figure she had thought—and in her more rational moments, had hoped—never to see again.
“Spike?” She stared incredulously at the man leaning against the opposite wall of the hallway. He straightened somewhat, stepping closer to her. Her eyes were drawn involuntarily to the objects he held in his left hand.
Flowers? He bought me flowers? She looked more closely at the bouquet of obviously expensive, inadequately wrapped, and slightly damaged red roses. No, more likely he stole me flowers. At least two dozen bright crimson roses.
“Hello, pet.” His tone was affectedly casual. “I know you have other company, and I didn’t call ahead to see if you could pencil me into your Daytimer. Invite me in anyway?”
“What are you doing here?” The words were out before she could stop them.
He shrugged. “Well, you know how it goes. Lovely night, lonely guy. I remembered we had a moment. Caught your scent.”
Lilah tried to read the message in those dark blue eyes. They were blazing with some wild emotion, completely at odds with his calm expression. She doubted that it was her proximity that was the entire cause. Spike must have sensed George’s presence, as well as the stink of fear and hate that permeated the apartment.
“Send him away,” hissed George from behind her. “Whoever that is, get rid of him.”
Lilah made some quick calculations. I have to choose between the devil I know—she glanced back at George—and—she returned her gaze to the figure slouched in the doorway—the devil I know in the purely Biblical sense. “Come in,” she said to Spike.
Spike strolled in, tossing the roses into her arms. She tried to juggle them, pricked her finger on a thorn, and tossed them on the coffee table. “Thanks,” she said. “They’re beautiful.”
Spike was staring past her to her other guest. “Who’s this pillock?” he asked. He sounded mildly curious, not angry or jealous. Obviously in no hurry for a response, he leaned forward and kissed her on the lips, his tongue teasing her mouth and flooding her mind with a dozen erotic memories. He pulled back, smiling at her.
“This is George,” said Lilah, a little breathlessly. “George, this is Spike.”
George did not reply. He stared at Spike, his reaction even more incredulous than Lilah’s had been when she opened the door. It was obvious that Spike was not the sort of gentleman caller he expected her to receive.
Lilah could understand that. If she had been asked to describe her ideal escort, she would not have said, “Barely average height, bleached blond hair, chipped black nail polish, tight black jeans, faded red shirt, battered boots, and ancient leather duster.” Those deceptively angelic features could well have been on the wish-list, though. And the aura of dangerous sexuality. She smiled tightly at George’s reaction. He thinks I’m slumming. But he has no idea what Spike really is.
“Not your escort for the evening, I hope,” said Spike, moving further into the room on a trajectory that would take him between Lilah and George.
“Stay where you are!” George pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Spike, veered the barrel in Lilah’s direction, and then swerved back to Spike again.
Spike stared at the weapon, mildly affronted. “Balls! Just who is this stupid git?” he demanded. “Besides Basil Fawlty’s out-of-shape older brother, that is?”
“George is a whining, anal-retentive, ass-kisser who had a really bad day at work.” This statement brought the gun barrel back to point at Lilah again, but she was now confident, smiling down the threat.
“Should I offer my condolences?” Spike didn't try to move between George and Lilah again. Instead, he leaned against the living room wall, apparently at his ease, groping in his pocket for cigarettes and a lighter.
“This bitch will probably say no,” said George, his nostrils flaring in distaste at the smell of tobacco. “And I didn’t just happen to have a bad day. This slut destroyed my life.”
Spike stopped halfway through a drag on his cigarette, standing straighter, his eyes glittering angrily. “Watch your language in front of the lady, you bloody useless wanker,” he demanded. Nonetheless, he turned to Lilah and asked, “What exactly did you do to this bastard?”
Lilah shrugged. “There was a rival attorney in town who was causing my employer some distress and embarrassment. It was common knowledge the next promotion would go to whoever figured out how to get rid of the little twerp. George was boasting around the office for weeks that he had the perfect plan.”
“Months of spreadsheet analysis,” moaned George. “All the databases merged and cross-referenced. I had the solution all ready. I went without sleep for days just preparing the PowerPoint presentation. The assassination plans were perfection itself.”
“Except for one thing,” Lilah reminded him. She merely smirked when George moaned in response.
“And that would be?” asked Spike, in the tone of someone who hopes the punch line will be amusing.
“The attorney was a Dracorta,” said Lilah.
“Well, bugger that. Dracorta are immortal,” said Spike. “You can plot to kill them until the cows come home, but you won’t get around that. They live forever. Even blowing them up or setting them on fire is a waste of time.”
“I know, I know,” moaned George. The gun wobbled in his hand as he mopped his sweating brow with his free hand. “But no one told me.” His grip tightened on the gun. “She didn’t tell me. But she knew. She knew. She waited until after I’d given my presentation. Until after I’d staked my reputation on my plan.”
Spike gazed at Lilah admiringly. “And then you dropped the news?”
“You have to understand, working in that office is like riding a tiger,” cried George. He wiped greasy sweat off his forehead with one hand as the gun shook in the other. “If you lose your grip, if you ever slip—it's all over! She could have said something. Anything to spare me the humiliation! Even if I didn’t get the promotion, at least I wouldn’t have been totally ruined.” A tear that should have been pitiable coursed down his cheek.
“Why didn’t you tell the poor sod?” Spike asked Lilah in a tone of amused curiosity.
She shrugged again. “I wanted that office. Nice view. Besides, George here always makes a big fuss and holds things up at office dinners because he’s a vegetarian. But, confidentially,” she leaned forward and dropped her voice, “it’s really because he waves his hand in front of my face when he’s making a point in meetings. And he’s always making a point. He’s one of those people who, when someone asks, ‘is there anything else?’ always has something else to say. And he cracks his knuckles while he's saying it.” She shook her head and looked disapproving. "Then, when other people are talking, he hums—what is that stupid song you're always humming, George?"
George stared at her in disbelief. "The Circle of Life," he responded, as if the words had been dragged out of him involuntarily.
Spike appeared to consider this information carefully before responding. “Bastard deserved whatever you did to him,” he told Lilah at last.
“That’s what I thought. So he didn’t get the promotion,” she said. “It went to—someone else.”
“And that would be you,” said Spike.
“Well, while he was planning assassinations, I just had a coven of witches vaporize the demon into a spirit and trap him in a bottle. Then I had the bottle buried in one of those surplus missile silos the military’s been trying to unload over the past few years. A few tons of concrete, and the problem’s solved.” She waved an airy hand to illustrate the ease of the operation.
“The only thing I ever wanted,” moaned George. He turned to Spike, desperate enough to beg for sympathy. “It meant everything to me. I worked for it day and night. That office, that job. I prided myself on it. Not one assassination attempt missed. Not only completed, but completed on time. According to schedule. No one else had a record like that. Slipshod, all of them. But my schedules were perfect. Every murder on time and exquisitely planned. Every soul bought and sold on behalf of the firm logged in an Access database with reports issued promptly on the first of the month. All blackmail receipts carefully entered, with spreadsheets that always balanced. Until today. They laughed at me. Took away my promotion. And gave it to her. A woman. A woman who doesn’t even care about schedules. Admits she can't use MS Project. She’s never even done a PowerPoint presentation. All she ever does is march in and talk about results.”
“Now this wanker is a major loser,” said Spike in an almost admiring tone. He turned to Lilah. “He has a fun job like killing people and worries about timetables.”
Apparently, this insult to his schedules was George's breaking point. He raised his gun, uttering an incoherent gasp of rage, his hand shaking as he took aim at his persecutor.
Spike moved so quickly that even Lilah was astonished. George had no time to pull the trigger. His gun was on the floor, and Spike was holding him from behind, one arm around George’s shoulders in a casually unbreakable grip. “You’re a slow learner, mate,” he said. “You’d think that after today, it would have occurred to you to ask what kind of demon I am.”
“I’ll give you a hint,” Lilah said to George. She was standing across the room, arms folded, her pose elaborately detached and serene. “He’s not a vegetarian.”
The vampire’s free hand came up to yank down George’s tie and collar, tilting his cowering victim’s head to one side. Spike gave a hungry, involuntary growl at the proximity of that exposed neck, with the jugular pulsing just beneath the skin.
"Please," cried George. "I'll give you anything!"
"Other than a few pints of A Positive, what do you imagine you have that he could possibly want?" asked Lilah in a curious tone.
George's eyes rolled back. "I can see he wants what you want. I—I'll do anything for you. I'll reconcile those monthly spreadsheets you're always complaining about. I'll run all the statistics you need on those vampire gangs. If you tell him not to—" He gulped as Spike gave another growl. "If you tell him not to, I'll even prepare a PowerPoint for you to show at the next quarterly review."
"How—pathetic of you," said Lilah with calm satisfaction. She looked at Spike expectantly.
He gazed back at her. “Do you want him dead, love?” he asked. In spite of his obvious blood-lust, he seemed anxious to reassure himself that he was doing the favor she desired, apparently not wanting to commit the faux pas of murdering her coworker if she still had some use for the man.
How nice. It’s so unusual to find a man who really tries to please you instead of making the evening all about what he wants. Lilah ignored George’s frantically pleading eyes and smiled into Spike’s game face. “Yes, please,” she breathed, with a gentle, almost flirtatious sigh.
With a grin of pure pleasure, Spike buried his fangs into his victim, but kept his gaze locked on Lilah.
She stared into burning yellow eyes, and her tongue darted out to lick her lips as Spike drank from George’s throat. The smell of blood permeated the room, mixing with the scent of the roses and overwhelming her senses. She realized that her left hand had stolen to her chest and that she was gently stroking her breast through the thin, silky fabric of her shirt. Her other hand strayed to her hip and slid along her thigh, as she felt the sudden, forceful arousal deep inside her. Spike’s grip on his victim’s shoulders tightened, and he sucked even harder at the mutilated flesh, his eyes never breaking from Lilah’s fascinated gaze. George gave a last gasp of pain before his body slumped lifelessly against Spike’s chest. Lilah caught her lower lip between her teeth and gave a low moan of profound satisfaction.
His human face restored, Spike tossed the body aside, wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, and threw himself onto the sofa. Lilah’s eyes followed his every movement like a predator tracking its quarry, her body shaking with terror and delight. His head tilted back as he smiled up at her ferociously. “That was bloody brilliant. I wasn’t even sure you wanted to see me again, pet. And here you invite me in and offer me a snack, right off.” His gaze strayed over her, noting that her hands were still spread across her skirt and breast, and that her tongue was licking her quivering lips. “Anything else you’d consider offering me tonight?”
A moment later, she was on him, straddling him with the skirt of her exquisitely-tailored business suit rucked up around her waist, her hands running through his slicked-back hair and her lips hard against his. The taste of George’s blood was thick in her mouth and salty on her tongue, reaching some primal place in her back-brain that she hadn’t know existed until that moment. All her previous killings had been dispassionate and cerebral; in spite of this one’s second-hand nature, she felt as if some feral aspect of her nature had been released.
Spike returned her kiss and her embrace enthusiastically, laughing harshly as his hands slid along her thighs, snapping open the clips on her garter belt and grasping her buttocks to grind her against his hips. She reached down with one hand, forcing it between their eager bodies to fumble with the zipper of his jeans, even as his fingers found the opening to her crotchless panties and he moaned his approval against her lips.
“Naughty girl,” he said. “Did it give you a thrill, wearing these while you ground that sad bastard’s hopes into the ground? Did you get all hot and juicy and come when you found out you’d climbed your corporate ladder by stepping on his back? Was it good for you then?”
“Not as good as it’s going to be when I come right now,” she gasped, raising herself on her knees for a moment as she wrenched open his jeans and guided the long, thick shaft of his cock inside her.
She was slick and moist, and he slid inside smoothly, making her whole body shudder with waves of delight as she moved above him. He let her set the pace as he pushed her head back, his human lips moving gently but urgently along her cheeks, jaw, and down to her throat. She screamed with delight and came with as exquisite a pleasure as she had anticipated, as his mouth and tongue gently teased the pulse over her jugular. He gave a roar of equally intense satisfaction and thrust his hips upward, driving himself into her with almost painful intensity as his head lolled back and he morphed into game face with the strength of his orgasm.
Lilah took several long, shuddery breaths, her head resting against his shoulder, hand against his chest, slowly realizing how inhumanly still he was after that incredible burst of passion.
“Hungry?” The sound of a voice emanating from the unnaturally motionless body beneath her startled her. For a moment, she thought he was offering her a share of his kill, but then realized that he had heard her stomach growl and was concerned for her simple human appetite. Fear and passion having subsided, more mundane desires had taken over her body.
She tried to remember the details of her day before the moment when she had walked through her apartment door to find George standing there. “Um, I didn’t have time for dinner,” she admitted. “Or lunch.”
He gave her a long, gentle kiss, one that she would have considered almost soppy-romantic had there not been a brutally savaged body lying at his feet.
Then he stood up, holding her easily in his arms for a moment before dropping her unceremoniously on the sofa. His careless movements dislodged the remaining roses from the coffee table and tumbled them across the carpet. “No worries, love. I’m going to get rid of this bastard before he starts to smell and ruins your appetite. I’ll bring back something more suitable for you to nibble on.”
She stared up at him, her clothes mussed, her hair in disarray, her legs splayed awkwardly across the cushions, her arm dislodging the bag from Prada, which tumbled open and spilled her new shoes over the fallen roses. Her entire body began to quiver slightly as it tried to return to some kind of normal functioning mode after the mad adrenaline rush of the past hour.
He leaned over her and flicked her check with one black-lacquered fingertip. “All right, pet?” He seemed genuinely concerned.
“All right,” she gasped.
When Spike had gone out the door with George’s body tossed over his shoulder, Lilah could have fled the apartment. She could have summoned one of the vampire experts employed by Wolfram and Hart to kill him when he returned. She could have called a witch to bar him from entry in spite of her earlier invitation. Instead, she rose shakily from the sofa, cleaned the blood off the floor, found a vase for the battered roses, and went into the bedroom to put on her sexiest nightgown.
Continued in Chapter Two