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Chapter Two: Lilah
Fan Fiction: Never Look Back
Chapter Two: Enemy of My Enemy
SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2002, 3:13 AM (11:13 AM, GMT)
He appeared in Lilah Morgan's apartment without warning, while she was in the middle of counting her payoff for the third time. As it happened, five million pounds at an exchange rate of 1.48 or so had come out to seven million, four hundred thousand US dollars, all of which had been neatly packed in an overlarge briefcase for her tactile enjoyment. It was a drop in the bucket compared to the sums the firm had handled on a daily basis, but it seemed so much more impressive 'in person' than the cheque or direct deposit she'd been expecting-- and it was hers. All of it, hers. She was up to 'six million, five hundred ten thousand,' when a quiet "Ahem" broke into her thoughts.
"Sahjhan!" she exclaimed, blinking up at her visitor in shock. She'd almost forgotten he even existed, what with all the changes over the last several weeks. One day she'd been nodding and smiling, working his plots against Angel and his son into her own plans for the Souled Wonder's future misery; the next, it seemed, she had been staggering through a sewer with Wolfram and Hart disintegrating behind her. A lot of formerly important projects had seemed suddenly trivial, then.
"My, my," he said mildly, throwing a casual glance over the bundles of cash strewn on her bedspread. "We've done well for ourselves, haven't we?"
"I have done well for myself," she replied, regaining some of her composure. Her chin lifted a little, and she met his gaze squarely, resisting the urge to stuff the money back in the briefcase. "Strange how there's been no word from your corner since Linwood sucked the firm into Hell."
"What, you expected me to turn in a daily report?" he said, shrugging her sarcasm negligently away. "There wasn't anything you needed to know. But since my last few tries at Connor haven't gone quite as I'd hoped..."
"You thought you'd come and beg my help, like you did when Holtz fell through." Her plastic lawyer's smile slipped a little, and she narrowed her eyes at him as she got to her feet. "What, did you hang around in some other dimension just waiting for me to be in a good mood? I'm not going to help you for free, you know, rich or not."
He chuckled. "Hang around? My dear, time means nothing to me. What use would I have for waiting? I flit here, I flit there, I appear whenever I choose." He gestured expansively with his hands and posture as he spoke, like an actor on a stage. "One day I'm watching Angel mooning over that little human baby of his, the next the baby's all grown up and I'm insulting him with poetry..."
She must have blinked, because his tone abruptly shaded with amusement, and his scarred face cracked in an ugly smile. "What, that surprises you? I've got a lot of years under my belt, you know. You think I never cracked a book? I could quote for you if you want; how about 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'?"
She shook off the impulse to match him insult for insult, and counted ten seconds in her head for patience. It wasn't the poetry issue that had surprised her - erudite Big Bads weren't exactly uncommon in her world. The reference to 'all grown up', however, was new, and piqued her considerable curiosity. She widened her eyes a little, disarmingly, and cast out another question. "Isn't Connor just a little young for classical poetry, even if he was in the right dimension to read it?"
"Ah, ah, ah," he said, shaking a finger in her direction. "You do something for me, I do something for you. I don't work for free either."
Ah, here it was; the bargaining portion of this little encounter. The last time they'd done business had been a lot simpler. He'd had the plan and the prophecies, she'd had the infant's blood and the grudge, and they had simply merged goals. What was Sahjhan up to now? And was it compatible with her current goals? If not, they might have a problem.
"Mmmmm." She crossed her arms, pursing her lips a little in a semblance of disinterested irritation. "So you intend to pay me for services rendered with what, information? What makes you think I'd want this information of yours?"
"Trust me," he said, his voice warming with enthusiasm. "To some people, what I know is worth ten times what you were paid for kidnapping Faith. I'll even tell you part of it before you get started on my project, to prove it."
She frowned at the mention of Faith. Sahjhan could watch a lot of places at once, obviously, if he knew what the money was for; only Travers and a few of his friends on the Council had been involved. Rejecting this demon could be a risky proposition. What else might he know? And who would he tell, more importantly?
"And if I back out on you after that...?" she asked, slowly.
He shrugged, and his expression went serious and still. "You won't. We both know I can follow you anywhere and anywhen, and there's nothing to stop me from recruiting a few more minions. Ask Holtz. Oh wait, you can't; gee, I wonder why that is."
She winced at the sarcasm. "And if you back out on me, or feed me lies?" she prompted. "Seems like you have all the power, here."
"I guess you'll just have to trust me," he said, blinking innocently at her, and gave her another mild, ugly smile. "Really, what possible benefit could I get from double-crossing my primary contact in this time period?"
What, indeed. She nibbled a little at the inside of her lower lip, thinking hard. It was true, there were any number of supernatural groups who would pay handsomely for information about Angel's son, not to mention the fact that if he were an adult she might be able to bargain with him, as well-- surely, with Holtz to raise him, he couldn't be much of a White Hat? Besides, if worse came to worst, there was a Resikhian Urn sitting in her closet that she could try. She'd done her homework the first time, and knew they were supposed to trap his kind; it was sheer luck that she hadn't taken it into the offices before they were destroyed.
After a few moments, she came to a decision, and met the demon's mocking gaze once more. "Okay. Tell me what it is you want me to do, and if I think it's feasible, we've got a deal." She moved toward the dresser as she spoke, where a bottle of her favorite wine stood next to a half-filled glass, residue of her earlier celebration. She needed it to calm her nerves, now.
He smirked at her. "Good choice. Besides, I think you'll find the task kind of fun. Do you remember Angelus' grandchilde, Spike?"
She rolled her eyes and poured a bit more wine in the glass. "Of course I remember him. Bleached blond, obnoxious, lived with Drusilla for a hundred years? She had quite a bit to say about him, when we brought her to turn Darla, and some of it I could even understand. If it hadn't been for that chip of his, we would have considered him for our payroll, as well, but a killer who can't kill isn't very useful."
"So make him useful," Sahjhan suggested.
"What?" That wasn't what she'd been expecting, not even close. "You want me to take out Spike's chip?" Somehow, she'd thought he would want to cause harm to Angel, not to... Oh. She blinked, and for the first time since he'd shown up, her mouth curved upward in a genuine smile. "I think I see where you're going with this."
"Take it out, deactivate it, I don't care," he said, waving a hand dismissively. "Just take it permanently out of the picture, and let his nature take care of the rest."
She took a sip of the wine to cover her excitement as visions of potential mayhem danced in her mind. It was a matter of record that Spike had been helping the Slayer and her crew in Sunnydale, but he'd also sworn to bathe in their blood the moment the chip came out. And now that Angel's little gang had merged with Buffy's once more, the potential fallout was amazing. Angel would kill him in the end, of course, but in the meantime?
She nodded. "I'll have to get into the Initiative's sealed records and find a way to implement, which might take some time, but it sounds like a plan to me."
"Good." He rubbed his hands together, and took a step backward as if he were ready to depart. "So here's a snack to tide you over: Connor had a protective shield cast over him when Holtz took him through to Quar-Toth. That defeated the purpose of the exercise, so I sent him somewhere else, instead... or maybe I should say, somewhen?"
Without further ado, he disappeared, leaving Lilah blinking in confusion. Somewhen? He'd actually sent the baby back in time? The idea went spinning through her mind, rippling with possibilities, and she sank back to a seat on the bed, deep in thought.
Connor couldn't have already lived and died; Sahjhan might be able to travel to many wheres and whens, but whatever he was up to had to be in the here and now. She'd bet all her money on it. And given what she knew of the complex prophecies, Connor was virtually guaranteed to be living somewhere in Los Angeles, near his father. Was it possible that she'd already run across him somewhere?
Hell, he could be anyone. He could even be Spike. Would Sahjhan have tossed him back that far, to a time when Holtz would have been more comfortable? The idea appealed to her, and she turned it around in her mind a few minutes longer before setting it aside. It was impossible to be sure without more information, and there wasn't any Files and Records girl to ask questions of, anymore.
With a sigh, she set the empty wine glass down on the floor beside the bed and started gathering the bundles of money back into the briefcase. She'd better get this somewhere safe, and then...
Sahjhan had been right; she was going to have fun.
© 2004 Jedi Buttercup.