It starts with his hand at her throat.
(This is, more or less, also how it ends. He did always like her best quiet.)
(Well. That's not entirely true.)
Maybe she is. "Maybe you are," she manages to murmur. His grip tightens imperceptibly; she doesn't breathe. It's not fear. No, it's much worse than that. Anticipation. This isn't part of the job. She doesn't tolerate men who hurt her. But there's a fraying line in Wesley between wanting to hurt and to be hurt instead. In her experience, men either want one or the other; Wesley hasn't made up his mind yet. God help her, she finds it interesting. "What are you gonna do next, Wes?"
His answering gaze is one part fury, one part despair, several parts desperation, battling for dominance on his well-chiselled features. It all adds up to something a lot like unadulterated lust.
She can't help the smile that curves her mouth.
He may not be thinking of her when she's gone, but she's thinking of him.
It's inconvenient. This is the least that can be said. She's no giggly schoolgirl with a crush. It's not like she sits in board meetings struggling to concentrate; her fingers don't twitch restlessly, grasp at her skirt beneath her desk.
No, it's much worse than that. She just wishes that agony on him. Hopes he's lying in the dark, missing her solid beneath him; hopes he knows damn well she’s not coming around again.
This is even worse than she could have imagined.
It happens again because she can't resist.
She could beat around the bush about that, but truthfully there are enough half-truths and obfuscation in this "relationship". She turns up at his door because she's bored and horny. The half-baked employment pitch on her tongue--for insurance, naturally--proves unneeded. She can't say she was counting on him roughly pulling her inside, slamming the door, and promptly attacking her clothing as though he'd been thinking of nothing else since last they met--but she can't say it's surprising either. Lilah isn't surprised by much. And Wesley was a done deal from the word "go".
What's less expected is the smile that breaks over her face as he noses the curve of her neck. But that's okay. No one can see it in the dark.
"You look disturbingly pleased with yourself," Gavin notes one afternoon. "It's creepy."
"Mind your own business, Gavin," she says. Hides a smile behind a well-manicured hand.
"We're going to have to stop these little rendezvous, you know,” she breathes. Wesley's arching beneath her, face upturned toward the bedpost; even the hollow of his throat glistens with sweat. She's momentarily distracted, leans down to lick it off.
He groans slightly, grabs a clump of her hair. "And why the hell would we want to do that?"
She can't help smirking into his throat, "It could get…" Affectionately nips the skin there. "… Complicated."
He makes a sound that's something like a growl, grips her hips tighter. "What nonsense."
"Hey, I'm just looking out for you, lover."
"We both know that's not necessary."
He sounds a little too arrogant about that for her liking, so she grabs his arms, pins him down on the mattress at the wrists. "You wanna bet?"
He struggles slightly, but then sighs, as though he were expecting this to happen sooner or later. "Yes. Fine." Gazes up at her, eyes glittering with lust, and something like mischief. "Let's bet."
She cocks an eyebrow, and chuckles. "For the record, Wes…" Leans down to brush her lips against his. "I don't make a habit of losing."
"I guess we'll see about that, won't we?" he murmurs against her lips.
She supposes they will.
"Oh, God. Are those the same clothes from yesterday?" Gavin surveys her, nose wrinkled unattractively.
"Mind your own business, Gavin."
He smirks in an equally unattractive fashion. "Sloppy, Morgan."
"One more word out of you, and I'll staple your tongue to the door."
"Nice." Gavin steps out of the elevator. "But I think you're losing your edge."
The doors close before she can throw a shoe at him.
"Had a good day, Wes?"
He's preoccupied with undoing the tricky buttons on her shirt. "I've had worse."
"Nothing exciting happen?"
"Nothing of note," he murmurs, working his lips over her the underside of her jaw.
"Really? Nothing at all?" She tips her head back to give him better access. "Not even in that little coffee break with Angel and the old gang?"
He pauses. "You were following me?"
"Don't flatter yourself, Wes. It so happened I was running an errand." She leans in to bite his earlobe, whispers, "A really evil one, too."
He makes an impatient sound in the back of his throat, pushes her down on the mattress. "Don't ruin this."
"Ruin what," she almost spits. A storm is building in her chest, a bitter roiling she can't identify, though she can allow that it intensifies with every time they meet. It feels a lot like losing control.
"I've been looking forward to seeing you all day, you know," he tells her.
Any other night, this confession would make her grin, and return the sentiment with something seductive and affectionate--as is their way. Tonight, it only makes her scoff. "You mean, when you were catching up with your white-hat folks? When you were… " She fingers a button on his shirt, rips it right off the fabric. "… exchanging pleasantries with your Texan gal pal, all you could think about was what you were gonna do to me when you got home." Tearing his shirt open all the way, she slides her hand deftly below his belt. "Isn't that right, Wes?"
“Don’t you ever shut up, Lilah?"
"Hmm. You'd like that, wouldn't you? Except that you wouldn’t.”
He's distracted, working on the clasp of her bra. "You make complete sense, as always."
She grabs him by the collar, drags him down so their foreheads bump. "Who are you fooling, Wes? Isn't that exactly why we're here, together, right now?"
He fists her hair, harsh and demanding and exactly what she wants, what she comes here to draw out of him. "Stop it."
"You'll never make me," she hisses in the dark. Laughter rises in her throat, sprung from somewhere in her hollow chest; it's a strange and vaguely hysterical sound.
He works his tongue between her teeth to make her quiet. She's somewhat glad.
After the rain of fire, Wesley offers up some garbage about waging a war, picking sides, cutting his losses. Blah blah fucking blah.
Lilah Morgan doesn't tolerate men who hurt her.
She tells him in no uncertain terms what a fool he is. The only loss here is his own.
He probably doesn't take it in. He never really does. It doesn't matter. She's the one who got the last word.
"You look like someone just killed your aunt."
"So help me God, Gavin - "
Gavin backs away, arms raised.
When they're standing underground--after the Beast has thoroughly rampaged through any sort of personal success she worked her ass off to achieve--there is a moment. (Considering the dankness, the dirt, and the foul smell, it's naturally a prime venue for a touching farewell.) The wound in her gut makes it difficult to stay upright, though she does, somehow--Wesley's carried her far enough.
There's a moment, where he turns, and she calls him back; he faces her, and waits for what she has to say.
What does she have to say? She hasn't thought it through. She is Lilah Morgan, but she doesn't know.
So she stands uselessly, and clutches her side. Wesley looks at her with something like apprehension.
He doesn't want to hear it. Has never wanted to hear it, even though she's sure she's told him a dozen times, in one way or the other. He's still trying as hard as he can to not listen, even as he stands before her and waits for her to speak.
Usually she'd keep pushing, and push some more until something broke. But not today. Maybe she's just tired. Maybe she's growing as a person.
She opens her mouth, and tells him to save Connor. She thinks maybe he's relieved.
Stumbling for hours through the L.A. sewers, Lilah ponders the meaning of losing.
There's no use beating around the bush. She has lost--lost everything, one way or the other. Of course, she was always too smart to be on the losing team, but here she is anyway, stumbling through a filthy dark tunnel on her own. She'd laugh at herself, but the hole in her gut would probably protest. The searing pain is now a dull throb. This should be easier to deal with--but really, it's a different kind of unbearable, a steady ache that feels like it'll never subside.
When she has nowhere else to go, she finds herself in enemy territory, where the only familiar thing is him. Of course. This is more or less how it started--only the other way round.
Angel's consulting with the goody goods; they keep sneaking dirty looks at her, and even dirtier ones at Wesley. He's not been invited to gossip over the two of them, needless to say.
"You know, it might just be the gut wound going to my head. But why do I get this feeling I'm not the only one out of place?"
Wesley's gaze is tired and sharp at the same time. "My place was never with you, Lilah."
It's not meant unkindly, but there's a twist in her side all the same. Stupid gut wound. "Ouch."
He opens his mouth, to offer some sort of apology, or something, she doesn't know, doesn't care.
"No, it's fine, Wes," she says dryly, turns her back. "I'll stop bothering you now. You won't hear another word out of me."
These are, of course, the last words with which she leaves him alive.
Suspended in limbo between life and Wolfram & Hart's hell, Lilah is oddly proud.
That should be the end. But of course it's not.
She finds him when he's alone. (Again. Always.) Even in her afterlife, things don't change much. She follows him to Wolfram & Hart's record room, and muses on the irony of the situation, that only after her death are the two of them ever on the same side. Maybe the powers that be orchestrated it that way. They so do love their cruel twists of fate. Blah, blah blah, blah.
"But it means something that you tried."
This is the closest she will ever come to verbalising it. She knows that deep in her bones, in the defunct heart she never had a use for before.
Wesley looks at her with something like regret. "Lilah, I -" He stops. She takes an unnecessary breath. "I never," he continues. "I never told you…"
She stops him on impulse. Later, she will put it down to pragmatism; what use would his words have here? Their time has long run out.
But in the moment, she is driven by is something like kindness; she could swear she never possessed it in life. "Hush, lover. You don't have to give me anything you haven't got."
He opens his mouth, presumably to argue.
And it dawns on her that it doesn't matter. It won't change any of it. Not a thing. She wouldn't want it to.
"I have to say it," he's insisting, caught in some wave of emotion she almost can't resist.