Rating: safe for all
Summary: Lilah and Wes have a discussion about her future.
Disclaimer. I own no one, not Wes and Lilah, who unfortunately remain firmly in Mutant Enemy’s hands, and definitely not this Dorian… who belongs to whomever made the movie, since he certainly wasn’t in the original comic.
Spoilers: Through AtS4: Home; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the movie
Notes: For the purposes of this ficlet, Dorian more or less survived the encounter in the evil castle. I like my Dorian alive. He’s much tastier that way. After watching the premier of AtS5, I found myself missing Lilah. So here’s my Lilah fix. I may do a sequel to this, depends on my state of mind, but until then, this just sort of spat itself out.
Dedication: For Jinni, just because.
“Hello lover boy.”
Wes glanced over his shoulder at Lilah, leaning casually in the doorway. He paused for a moment then turned back to the filing cabinet again. He rustled papers, flipping rapidly through manila file after manila file. Lilah watched him with a small frown, right hand trailing subconsciously to the scarf around her neck. She took a step forward, softly, and reached out to gently grasp his shoulder.
“Obsession isn’t healthy. Trust me, I know.”
Tensing, the former watcher let out a deep sigh, still not turning to face her again. “I’m sure you do, Lilah.”
“Then why the compulsive searching? What do you hope to find?”
He waved his hand abruptly and bowed his head. “An answer. Anything.”
He slammed the drawer shut, resting his palm on the next handle. He pointedly ignored the hundreds of other filing cabinets, closets, boxes, rolls, scrolls, books, and parchments. They would be dealt with too, in time. But first this next drawer, one drawer at a time.
“It’s not so bad, this eternity of servitude.” Lilah tried for cheeky but it came out rather maudlin.
He shook his head, hunched his shoulders and squatted down to reach the next drawer. “It isn’t? Well, that’s comforting.”
She ignored the sarcasm and crouched next to him, dismissing the way the linen of her pants wrinkled. She was past caring about such things now; besides, she reappeared every morning, perfectly pressed. “Wes…”
“Don’t. Burning didn’t work; I get the hint. Standard perpetuity contract.” He tilted his head, looking her in the eyes. “You could call this a bit of personal interest as well. I want to know just what we’re in for, now that Angel verbally sold our souls.”
“Yes, well, verbal contracts are one floor up. This is written ones. See? Rows upon rows upon rows of paper, all saying the same thing. Ours for eternity.” She flashed a toothy smile. “The Senior Partners are ever so thorough. But you aren’t going to sign one, are you?”
Wes was startled by the real-sounding concern in her voice. She gazed at him with an intensity he’d not thought possible, one hand ghosting out to almost touch his cheek. Lilah stopped a breath away from his skin, smiling sadly.
“No, Lilah, I won’t. But others might, and they should know what it means to sell their soul to the devil.”
“Flames and all?”
He snorted. “Perhaps. But maybe…”
“If you can figure out how to break my contract, you could break theirs?”
Wes nodded slightly, fingering yet another file. He narrowed his eyes and tilted his head, squatting further down. In the dim back of the cabinet was a rolled bit of canvas. He pulled it out, carefully unrolling it, and flinched.
It was a portrait of a rotted skeleton, shades of puce and pond scum. He wrinkled his nose, turning it this way and that. “What the hell?”
Lilah chuckled. “Ah, I see you’ve met Dorian.”
“As in Dorian Gray? I thought he was just a story?”
Now Lilah laughed in earnest. “No story, Wesley, but a very valuable employee. Been with us since his vampire ex-girlfriend left him staked to the wall with a sword through the heart. Resourceful woman, that Mina Murray… Anyway, came to us offering Dorian’s eternal servitude. Naturally, we were happy to oblige. He’s most creative and wonderful at wet-works.”
Wes tapped the now re-rolled canvas on his palm, brow creased in thought. “And his contract?”
“Actually, his portrait and the magics that bind him to it and this world were the model for most of our modern contracts.” She shrugged. “If you can break his contract, you could probably unravel most of all of ours, given enough time.” The wicked glint in her eye didn’t go unnoticed.
Arching an eyebrow, Wes smirked. “Well, I think I’ll be paying payroll and personnel a visit… see where Mr. Gray is lurking these days. I believe we’ll have to have a chat.”
Lilah stood, dusting off her pants. “Just to warn you, Dorian is a smidge unpredictable.” She looked at him, narrowing her eyes. “Then again, I think the two of you are going to get along just fine.”
Wes was still crouched on the floor, fingering the canvas. “Lilah?”
“Yes?” Lilah took a step towards the doorway, but stayed to listen.
“What if I succeed?” he whispered.
“Then you succeed.” She tried to smile gamely. “And my contract will be gone…”
“So will you. I know how it works, Lilah. No contract, no artificial life.”
He waited for Lilah to speak, but when she remained silent, he finally stood. A brief hesitation, then he closed the distance between them rapidly, drawing the lawyer into an embrace. They stood that way for a moment, his heart beating all too loudly in his chest. Lilah allowed herself a brief moment to pretend that the last few months hadn’t happened, that they were back in Wes’ flat making wagers on the nature of their relationship. A beat or two later, she stepped back.
Lifting her chin and flipping her hair over her shoulders, she said softly. “Good luck, Wesley.”
He nodded, the faint smile not reaching his eyes, and gripped the portrait tightly. Lilah turned and walked out of the hall of records, sharp heels tapping their way down the hall. He could still smell her there, long after the sounds had faded, and he breathed deep, before turning to make his way to Personnel. After all, he had an obsession to fulfill.