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There are over three million people in Los Angeles. The number rarely means anything to either of them, children of an era where the world crawls with billions of human beings. But, occasionally, it does make an impression.

How can you be alone, and so desperate to be wanted, to be desired, to be the center of the universe for just one other person when there are millions of other people around you ever day? What are the odds?

How can it be that a person you hate, a person you can’t even talk to unless his cock is hard and pressing against your thigh, makes everything mean something? How can a woman with no redeeming moral qualities have the unfortunate ability to be everything that you’ve ever needed, everything that you’ve wrecked your life over?

These are questions that cannot be asked, the kind that are drowned in alcohol, fighting, and fucking before they even bubble to the top of the subconscious. Instead they stay malevolent ghosts, unspoken and hovering, an invisible layer in the haze.

Wesley throws Lilah against a wall on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon so that he can cover her skin with kisses and bites. She laughs and whimpers, half-drunk on desire and the alcoholic coffee drink they brewed up for a lazy weekend of nothing but sex.

“You’re getting predictable, Wes,” she gasps. “I almost expected that.”

“Shh,” he whispers malevolently, kissing her jawline, her neck, her shoulder. The stereo is blasting The Joshua Tree, possibly the third greatest album of all time. It’s on both of their top ten lists, and it’s a turn-on that she knows what’s good music and what’s rehashed shit. “Tell me you want me.”

“I want you,” she says, closing her eyes and heating up under the touch. God, it’s true. It’s sad, it’s weak, and it’s true. Every time she thinks of Wesley, her brain is suddenly an amateur porn studio pumping out footage, but it’s more than that. Not love, of course. What she’s feeling is twenty times more intense and less cliched than fucking love, and only slightly scarier than obsession.

“Say it again,” he says, undoing her skirt and slipping a hand into her panties. He likes to watch how she moves and wails when he touches her, as though she were thoroughly possessed by her lust for him. “Do you want me?”

“I want you,” she growls, kissing his hair, stroking his neck, his back, anything she can reach. It would be bad, very bad, if she was unable to touch him. “What about you? Do you want me?”

“More than anything,” he says, feeling the way she moves against him. Nothing has ever been more right, or more dangerous than the way he feels when he’s with her. “More than anything in the world right now, I want you.”

She moans something obscene, her hips going like mad. Then...

“Yes,” she says. “Oh God yes.”

It isn’t usually this way. They don’t give each other this much reassurance as a rule. There’s usually the dance, the ritual taunting about information that’s given and not given. It has become emptier with every coupling. He doesn’t want to hear her telling him that she knows things that he doesn’t. He knows she knows things he doesn’t, and vice versa.

This afternoon, in the fading sunlight, things are raw, things are hurting, things are painfully real. The game is fucked, so fuck the game, fuck everything. He wants her, she wants him, and he’s going to have her until he can’t see straight and she can’t stand up.

“You make me crazy,” he hisses, pulling her hands to his shirt buttons. “I get you in my head and nothing feels right until I have you.”

Her eyes fly open, slightly alarmed. “Stop saying what I’m thinking,” she whispers. “I don’t want to be in love with you.”

“You’re not,” he tells her, the clothing falling to the floor in small, dejected heaps of expensive fabric. He ruins her clothes because it’s expensive; he’s costing her a fortune, but she’s not going to tell him that, because that would be giving him power and she’s never doing that.

“I don’t love you. I don’t believe in it,” she repeats anxiously, pushing him onto the bed and straddling him, pausing just long enough to tongue the scar. “But this is the best part of my day.”

“It’s the only part of the day that matters,” he agrees, flipping them over. “Yes?”

“Yes,” she says, pulling him closer. Oh, yes, yes, yes. The job could go to hell, Angel could go to heaven and take his kid with him, and the fucking Apocalypse could take a number. She has something better than all of it, and it’s not just the sex, though it’s mostly the sex. It’s everything. It’s having something that is hers and about only the two of them.

He thrusts into her and there’s to be no thinking now, not about Angel and isolation and a life he gave up to be himself and not his signifiers. It’s her. Her, his very own Lucrezia Borgia, and he can’t help but kiss her between her breasts. Nothing matters, nothing matters but the way she wants him and oh, how she wants him, her whole body and soul are his, and she’s his entire world every time he touches her.

“Mine,” he tells her. And she is. All his, from the way she bites on his scar to the way she screams for him to her acidic hellos and goodbyes.

“Mine,” she says, and she’s not echoing him in some sort of languorous surrender. She’s making her own claim for what’s hers. Because if she’s his–and it’s probably true–he’s completely and totally hers. Also, she’s rolling them over now and wow, it’s never a bad thing to be the woman on top, spine arched, eyes half-opened in delirium. Not bad at all. Not with him deep in her like this, stroking her skin as if she were some sort of cat.

It’s the first time someone has wanted her as desperately as this, wanted her until it feels like needing, until separation hurts–even though they can’t manage to speak to each other coherently without it being foreplay. He wants her even though he knows what and who she is. Everything they tell each other is a lie, but she’s never been more honest with another human being in her life.

With him she is not Miss Modesto 1987, the UC Irvine co-ed on a volleyball scholarship, the pretty and ambitious Stanford law grad, the wannabe vice-president of special projects. She’s not a goal to be achieved or an undiscovered country. She is all of it and none of it.

“Harder,” he growls at her, annoyed at the leisurely way she’s going about it. This isn’t a damn love scene in a movie. She doesn’t have to look like that, blissed out of her head even if they have spent the afternoon drinking like alcoholics and watching DVDs, and the sex is as good as all that. “Dammit, woman...”

Her laugh makes him smile even as he sets his hands on her hips and sets the pace a damn sight faster. What reason do they have to worry about time? His employees are not allowed to call during weekends. He has the place set up so nothing’s hearing or watching them. Time, in essence, does not exist until Monday morning at seven-thirty, and that’s hours away.

But he wants something intense, frantic and scrabbling and there she goes, wailing something loud and incoherent for him. It could be an I love you, but given that it’s Lilah and not, say, an actual woman, he’s guessing not.

She makes these noises when she’s winding down, in particular this mewling wail that’s the gentlest sound to ever come from her lips, and they’re usually what gets him off. Her vulnerability does it for him every time, watching her spine melt, her slightly glassy cross-eyed look of satiation, and he just pounces on it.

Now he’s on top of her again, thrusting into her and damned if soundproofing his apartment was the best investment he ever made. His neighbors would throw him out on his perverse British ass if they knew all Wesley wanted to do with his life was to make a little cash as a demon killer/local hero and spend the rest of his time taunting and fucking a dangerous and beautiful woman who got off on pain. Especially if they knew it was because she wanted him so bad that he could taste it.

She’s a screamer. She’s a drug. She’s his addiction, the one that he wants, even though he knows it’ll kill them both in the end.

He needs Lilah to want him, to turn her head to look at him with those knowing, hopelessly corrupt eyes. She knows what he was capable of, and she never looks away, the way they–his traitor friends, not friends, his leeches pretending to be friends–all had. She accepts him mentally with the same easy grace as her body accepted his and it means so much so very much–too much–

“Fuck!” he shouts. “Fuck yes-- Lilah--”

Lazy smile of triumph from her. He collapses against her body, familiar with every inch of it now. She smells like sex and Chanel and he knows that Angel knows about them, that Angel even got a cheap thrill out of mentioning that to her, but he can’t bring himself to care. Doesn’t matter anyway; Angel’s a lifetime away from here and he understands what it’s like to need the wrong woman desperately.

“We’re ordering in tonight,” she murmurs, pulling him up for a slow, sensual kiss. “No more pizza. Thai?”

“Sounds lovely,” he replies, moving his hand between their bodies. “What do you want to watch after this?”

“Mmm-mmm– Annie Hall,” she says, wiggling under his ministrations. No one did this better, no one ever. “No–ooh–oh-oh–um–the Royal Tenenbaums.”

There are worse things to have than an antagonistic lover who finds your orgasms to be absolutely fascinating, she thinks, half-exhausted and on the verge of coming hard.

“You have a sick obsession with romantic comedy in its perverse form,” he says. “It’s very–”

But whatever it is will have to wait. There she goes again and he can’t help but enjoy the tableaux: Lilah in ecstasy, 2002. Very pretty. This one’s a keeper.

She yawns afterwards, and she’s decided she’s not moving for a while. Nope, no way. “Good for you?” she asks, groping around for a blanket.

“God, yes.” Millions of people surrounding them, he’s thinking, and he wants her the way she wants him. Fatally, desperately, and without question. He hands her the blanket and she curls under it, looking at him without a thought in her head except that she’s tired. “You?”

“No complaints,” she says sleepily, radiant dark heat under the blanket. As if he had any doubts about how very, very good he was at making her scream. “We can...we’ll watch the movie later, okay?”

He nods, notices she’s already asleep, and heads for the living room and the pile of distractions on the coffee table. His drink is waiting, and he can watch the end of Stargate while she’s out.

And this is exactly what he does.