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Aftermath of a Murder

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It’s like this.

Kennedy didn’t like her half-sister much, but she never wished her dead.

Kennedy especially didn’t wish her half-sister into the pit of Hell, which she, being a good WASP (okay, half WASP, half Latina Catholic, but nobody said Kennedy’s daddy’s second marriage was for anything other than love, what with the first marriage being all about money, and everyone knew how well that shit went), never actually believed in until she was brought to Sunnydale.

But Kennedy’s sister? Dead. In Hell.

And how did Kennedy find out? Oh, not from the folks who did it (and gee, shock and surprise. Buffy’s ex-vampire boyfriend and his people? Completely and totally responsible and not all that sorry it happened) and not from Wolfram and Hart.

Lilah’s mom called, all frantic, about six days ago. Kennedy doesn’t know how Patricia Morgan-Heath tracked Kennedy down instead of her father, but she did, while Kennedy was in Rio telling Willow all about her mother’s family, rich Brasilianos who loved when their American cousin came to visit.

“Kennedy?” Patricia asked, sounding old and scary. “Is this little Kennedy?”

“Who is this?” Kennedy said, frowning at Willow, who was trying to tickle her feet.

“It’s Patricia Morgan-Heath,” the voice said primly. “I trust you remember who I am.”

“Yes, ma’am,” said Kennedy, remembering all to well an awkward Easter or two when Mami had tried to take her to Mass while Patricia was there and the nasty comments about Catholics that had been made. “How can I help you? Is there something wrong?”

“They told me she’s dead,” Patricia said. “Those lawyers. They told me Lilah wouldn’t speak to me because she’s dead. That’s absurd. Lilah couldn’t very well be dead. She called me day before yesterday to tell me she’d seen you this week.”

The last time Kennedy saw her sister was right before things had gone insane — almost two years ago. Lilah had been in the best mood of her entire life, dragging Kennedy shopping and staring at lingerie, jewelry, sheets, with an almost domestic air. Kennedy realized there had been a boyfriend, but when she’d tried to get that out of Lilah, she laughed.

“Boyfriend’s such a romantic notion, and you know me,” Lilah replied, scrutinizing the MAC lipstick closely. “What do you think, Kenny?”

“Kennedy?” Patricia’s voice said, sounding further away than Northern California. “Did you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Kennedy said, frozen. Her sister was dead. Might be dead. Was probably dead. “Would you like me to do something?”

“Call Lilah. Tell her to call her mother,” Patricia said, and the lump in Kennedy’s throat won’t shrink and won’t let her speak. “Would you? I would ask Thomas, but it wouldn’t be good for his heart to hear that some fool of a secretary thinks Lilah’s dead. He’s fond of her, you see. She looked so much like his mother, the poisonous old bitch.”

Dad. Kennedy would have to call him. After she found out it was true. Patricia was right; Dad would be devastated. He’d been so happy to see Lilah in a good mood for once that he’d ignored the judicious theft of the thirty-year-old scotch and the Veuve Cliquot.

“I’ll do that, Patricia,” Kennedy said. “All right? You just keep calm, and I’ll call you back.”

“That’s kind of you, dear,” Patricia said. “You make her call me.”

“I will,” Kennedy lied. “Good-bye now.”

The phone clicked off and Kennedy stared at the wall, not quite sure what to say, do, or think. Lilah dead? Impossible. Absurd, as Patricia said. Lilah was too fucking MEAN to die; she was hardcore and badass and couldn’t be dead.

“Baby? What’s wrong?” Willow asked, putting an arm over Kennedy’s waist, which Kennedy shook off. “Who was that?”

“My dad’s first wife,” Kennedy said. “Patricia. She called me about my sister…”

Willow made a noise. “Oh, God. Is something wrong?” she asked.

“I think she’s dead, Will,” said Kennedy, surprised at how clear her voice was, how high and thin. “I have to call Los Angeles now, to make sure. Patricia, she has senile dementia. She forgets. But I think Patricia knows that it’s true or she wouldn’t have called me.”

Kennedy picked up the phone, no tears yet. Just the lump in her throat. Lilah was a middling-to-poor sister at best, but she wasn’t supposed to be dead. She was supposed to be Kennedy’s LA hook-up, or the sullen lurker at Christmas when Kennedy brought Willow to meet the family this year, or whatever, but dead was not right.

“Wolfram and Hart Los Angeles,” a perky voice said. “How may I direct your call?”

“I want to talk to whoever’s in charge,” Kennedy said. “I want to know about my sister.”

“Mr. Angel is very busy at the moment; who’s your sister?” the woman asked.

“Lilah Morgan. Fucking Lilah fucking Morgan, former head of the goddamn LA office, so don’t TELL me Mr. Angel is too fucking busy to take my call,” Kennedy said.

Long pause. “I’ll put you through.”

The upshot of the whole mess was that Kennedy promptly got into a screaming match with Angel, which shocked Willow, who’d been avoiding Angel anyway because of all the ruckus about the evil law firm, which sent Kennedy and Willow into a tiff because Kennedy’s sister had been the former dominatrix of Wolfram and Hart and Willow had actually known she was dead for a long time (“Willow, how many fucking Lilah Morgans do you think there ARE at Wolfram and Hart?”) and now, after all the shouting, Kennedy is here.

Wolfram and Hart, Los Angeles. No Willow, mostly because Willow found out about what happened to Fred and suddenly got really pissed at Giles and Buffy for the “No Helping Angel” ban and had gone to Rome to scream at them, but a little because Willow didn’t understand why Kennedy had to come here immediately. Wasn’t like Lilah was getting any less dead.

Wesley is standing there, and Kennedy understands immediately why Lilah loved him, and Kennedy’s very sure Lilah did. And not just because of the shopping spree. He is cold, cruel, and crazy around the eyes. Her sister’s perfect match.

“You’re Kennedy Morgan,” Wesley says in a precise voice, atomically precise, and Kennedy can tell he hates having to talk about Lilah. Which, given he’d just lost another girlfriend to Evil, Inc? Understandable. But if he didn’t want this now, he could have called Kennedy a year ago. Called their father, called her mother…anyone.

“You’re Wesley Wyndam-Pryce,” Kennedy replies tensely. “Willow was right…you’re hot. And Lilah was right…you’re not a romantic notion.”

It catches him off guard and he laughs. “Is that what she said about me?” Wesley asks in a low, strange voice that could be sexy if Kennedy swung that way.

“She said boyfriends were romantic notions and I knew her,” Kennedy replies, shivering. “God, this is fucked up. I’m really sorry that it had to happen now.”

“I should have thought to see if there was family,” Wesley says, ushering her out of the building instead of further up and further in, possibly because putting Kennedy anywhere near Angel is going to lead to dusting. “Lilah was not particularly forthcoming in her life story. I assumed otherwise.”

“Yeah, well,” Kennedy says helplessly. “She was like that ever since I knew her, too. Of course, she’s fifteen years older than me, so I never knew her when she was really young young. When she wasn’t the way she is. Was. My mom is only ten years older than her. Was. I mean.”

Wesley shifts nervously and it occurs to Kennedy they’re walking in LA and that’s kind of funny, but whatever. She wants him to tell her about Lilah. Something that Kennedy can tell their father, Lilah’s mother, Willow, when people ask about what happened.

“I thought her family was dead. And not one of the wealthiest families in America,” Wesley admits. “She was difficult and proud and stubborn to the very end. I told her to get out of town. Lilah wouldn’t go. She fought to stop the Beast and she didn’t deserve to die the way she died.”

“She fought against the Beast? Why? Did he cut off her line of credit?” Kennedy asks, and it hurts to snicker, but it’s not like Kennedy didn’t know her sister. Lilah first, Lilah second, and everything else third, with maybe Patricia at two point five and Wesley at two point four, and maybe Dad and Kennedy at two point six.

“It punctured her stomach and drove her literally underground,” Wesley says. “I didn’t think she was — you know your sister. More resourceful than anyone on this earth, and there were others who needed my help so much more.”

“Lilah could always save herself,” Kennedy agrees. “Except maybe not.”

“Except maybe not,” and they’re at a Starbuck’s and Kennedy sits down. Wesley joins her. “I’m terribly sorry, Kennedy.”

“It’s the crappy conclusion to a weird year,” Kennedy replies. “For both of us.”

Wesley nods. “I wish I had better news for you,” he says. “She doesn’t deserve to be held by that contract. Which is not to whitewash fault, but I…”

“Did you love her?” Kennedy asks, unable to keep it back now. Lilah deserves to have had him love her, she thinks, because after all, she died following him around.

“I think in a slightly different world, we loved each other more than I can possibly imagine,” Wesley answers. “And nobody has ever known me the way she did, which still rather terrifies me.”

It’s not a gushing proclamation of love, but Kennedy wouldn’t buy that, anyway. It’s good enough to tell Patricia, and Dad. That Lilah died doing something meaningful for someone she loved, not just in an unfortunate accident caused by her own vanity, greed, whatever dark thing drove her to be this strange and unknowable person that Lilah always was. That maybe she loved someone as much as her wardrobe, which is good. Kennedy’s less angry now, even if she is pretty sure Angel both sucks and blows.

Though it makes her wish she’d seen her before she died. Been able to say goodbye.

Like she’s said before: Kennedy didn’t like her half-sister much, but it didn’t change the part where they were sisters.

She stares at the traffic, eyes too blurred to pick out individual cars. Wesley stays silent.

She’ll have to call Willow soon.