Summary: "He knows why she cries, and he knows why they stay together."
Pairing: Spike/Lilah (Spike/Buffy and Wesley/Lilah implied)
Spoilers: Through Angel 5x02, "Just Rewards"
Feedback: Greatly appreciated (APostModernSleaz@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: Buckets of love to Nongenius for the beta! (Completed 10/13/03)
We ain't even got a sister or brother
Ain't it just great, ain't it just grand?
We've got each other
-Richard Adler & Jerry Ross, Damn Yankees
Some nights, she comes home looking a little worse for the wear. Her hair hangs lank around her face, and the look in her eyes clearly says she'd throw in the towel, if she could. But she can't. For starters, Lilah isn't a quitter. And second of all, there's no quitting Hell, is there? Kind of the whole point. Eternal torment, and all.
But other nights, she comes home to the apartment they share, and Spike thinks he knows what she looked like when she was alive. When she was happy. Assuming she ever was. Happiness seems like a distant memory.
He doesn't have to work. Wasn't the one who signed a perpetuity clause. Mostly, he sits around during the day, in her apartment with the white, white walls. Sometimes, he gets restless, uncomfortable in his own skin because the temperature is always fifteen degrees above cozy. But there's no brimstone, no devils with pitchforks. None of the frightening images the church used to keep him in line when he was young. Hell's pretty much New Jersey minus the clean air.
Which explains a lot about New Jersey, actually.
Not the place heroes go, but not as bad as he'd feared. They'd tried to save him, of course. Fred, Wesley, even Angel. In the end, it wasn't enough, and he fell. Just another check in the 'didn't save' column for the new Angel Investigations.
He fell, and he fell, and he fell, and then he wasn't falling anymore. He was crouched on the ground, nice and corporeal again, and he was looking at a pair of crimson stilettos belonging to a leggy brunette who turned out to be a good two inches taller than him. Without heels.
"Lilah Morgan, Wolfram and Hart. The Senior Partners wanted me to make sure you were comfortable after your...trip," she'd said, extending a hand.
They'd gone to a bar and she'd filled him in. Spike came to Hell in Angel's place, of course. The Partners regretted the mix-up, and would spare Spike any real torture, but they couldn't allow him to return to Earth. Not how things are done, she'd said.
Spike didn't pretend to understand. Simply nodded, knocked back another whiskey, and stared gloomily at the bar.
At first, Spike stayed close to her for lack of a better offer. If he couldn't have a friendly face -- and God, he would have taken even Darla in those early days -- he might as well have someone who knew some of the people he did. He'd even forgiven her the fact that she'd delivered the shiny bauble that'd gotten him in Hell in the first place.
Now, he stays with her because she's the same as him. Souls left behind, forgotten by the world and by the ones they'd loved. His love has moved on, found a way to be happy and live her life without the mantle of Chosen One weighing her down, and though Spike tries to be happy for Buffy, it kills him inside. Hers was forced to move on, Lilah says. Angel worked some mojo, wiped every nuance of Lilah from Wesley's mind. Doused every flame inside the boy that had dared burn for anyone but Angel. Which is...so utterly Angel, Spike can't help but laugh.
Lilah's lips burn against Spike's already-warm skin. Their nightly couplings start out frantic. Spike rips her blouse in two, traces the curve of her breast with his tongue. Teases the scar on her side, the two scars on her shoulder, but never the one that rings her throat. That belongs to the other world, something he can't touch. Eventually, they wear themselves out in the heat and the melancholy that's thick enough to drown in. Touches become lazy, slow. Lilah moves a manicured hand in circles across his chest, gives one of her throaty laughs and grazes his nipple with the side of her nail. Some nights, he's buried in her and Spike can feel her tears trickling onto his shoulder as she comes, clawing his back. Doesn't take it personally, because she's the same as him. He knows why she cries, and he knows why they stay together.
Some nights, it's enough.