Title: The Color of Mourning
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: All your Angel are belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Summary: Lilah sees a chance to end it all, and takes it. 700 words.
Spoilers: Angel 5.15 "A Hole in the World".
Notes: Another idea from the plot bunny scrap file, that may or may not ever grow into anything more.
Lilah stood in front of the glass window overlooking Winifred's lab for several minutes, nibbling one of her expensively manicured nails, before making her final decision.
Thank God-- or whatever deity might still be listening to the prayers of the condemned dead-- for office politics; if the members of the Black Thorn weren't so interested in counting coup on each other in the midst of all their daily evil, she'd still be warming her toes in the hell she'd signed on for, bored out of her fucking skull and wishing she at least had the security of knowing *someone* up here still thought of her with a shred of warmth in his heart. Angel's little do-over for his son had erased a lot of the more-- interesting-- parts of her relationship with Wesley right along with him.
Designer hells: gotta love 'em.
Instead, she had free roam of the old stomping grounds for a few hours at a time, just long enough to pick up hints of all the intrigue just simmering under the surface. Seemed the Firm didn't completely trust their newest darling girl to run their errands-- and with good reason, from what Lilah had learned. Not that she was surprised. Eve was, after all, a child of the senior partners, and therefore by definition *evil*.
Watching the gradual corruption of Angel's team over the last several months had almost been... fun. The Firm had, per long standing practice, appealed to each of them where they were weakest-- and each had taken step after step further into the Dark. They may all have been careful *not* to sign the perpetuity clause Lilah had fallen afoul of, but her odds of still being there to greet them after they died were getting better and better.
So why was she here, then, contemplating ending it all? Because it meant something that Wesley tried to free her, even if he hadn't succeeded. And because...
*flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything*
...this was probably the only way out she'd ever get. There was no such thing as redemption for the evil dead, unless your name was Angel, or Spike; *they* both had the Powers pulling for them, and it still wasn't a sure thing. No, she could either burn for all eternity, with only these few glimpses to entertain her-- glimpses which would end when Angel's crew fell eventually to the schemes of the Black Thorn-- or she could burn once, now, and save Wesley's saccharine little lover into the bargain.
Not for the girl's sake, of course. She hated Fred with all the emotion death had left her; in what world could that Texas twig ever think herself Wesley's equal? No, she'd just as soon see Fred screaming in pain as she was hollowed out from the inside. Lilah was doing this for *Wesley's* sake, as much as for her own freedom. First mostly-unselfish thing she'd probably ever done, but there you go.
Lilah strolled into the darkened lab and up to the stone coffin, wondering what Fred would make of the inert shell of the thing when she found it here in a few hours time. Hopefully, she'd sprain a brain cell or two worrying about it. And as for Knox...
Lilah wrinkled her nose and traced a hand along the carved stone surface, feeling the rough surface catch at her fingertips. Then she raised one finger and touched it to a crystal set in the surface near the thing's iris. It was purple: the color of royalty, the color pinned on wounded soldiers, the color a widow wore in mourning in Thailand.
How fitting, she thought, and smiled, inhaling deeply as the iris opened, spitting out a cloud of contaminated air. She didn't actually need to breathe, but that would prove no impediment to the virus that contained Illyria's essence; all the demonic entity needed was a shell to gestate in, and she would give it that.
She wondered what Wesley would think when he met Illyria wearing Lilah's body.
Li-llyria? She smirked at the thought and walked back out of the lab, savoring the tingle deep inside where the charged dust was already taking root.