Man! challenge in a can Man!






Or, after all, perhaps there's none;
Suppose there is no secret after all,
But only just my fun.
-- Christina Rossetti


We all have them, the only difference is depth and legality and potential for pain and emotional trauma. Hiding a box of chocolate from a roommate is nothing like holding a ream of documents and photos that could destroy half your colleagues except in the way it makes you feel. Shaky and nervous, but strong and powerful all at once ... like you can ruin someone with a little word but still fear the repercussions.

And I know about repercussions. In fact, I'd have to say that I know more about repercussions than most people or demons; most of it is simply self-preservation, working as I do for the top demonically oriented law firm on the West Coast. However, there's also the knowledge that everything has its price, a basic knowledge that all people have, but only some choose to acknowledge. My former partner and colleague and competitor, he knew all about actions and repercussions -- I'd like to think that's why he left, but I know better. What surprised me, still astounds me, is that for all he knew about my little stash, he never discovered my recent and darkest secret.

It only started a few weeks ago ... or did start even earlier? I'm not quite sure, though what I'm actually talking about is a recent development in the life of Lilah Morgan. Long days and longer nights are part of the territory, but I was exhausted that night and dismissed my first glance as a delusion, a figment of my imagination.

Then she moved, and a long, dark curtain of hair spilled over alabaster shoulders draped in scarlet and burgundy silk, and mesmeric eyes held mine as she stretched to the tip of her toes. "My pretty," I can still hear her whisper. "You've come home to me."

Stark, vivid and so very, very vague are my memories of that night. I remember pain, scorching, rending pain, but exquisite and luminous pleasure ... and blood, so much blood. Burning through my veins, flames licked at my skin and my soul, and passion consumed me as surely as the vampire in my bed. Her nails gouged, teeth pierced, arms gripped ... her body encircled mine until it seemed she was the cocoon and I the aspiring butterfly. Cold flesh and silken hair bound up in a web of pain and desire ... and sharp teeth and soft lips made me wish I need never emerge.

And all the while she whispered and sang of the moon and the stars, of Daddy and the Angel Beast, of her Grandmummy and Baby and of her Spike and the Slayer. She told me then, as she has each night ever since, that the stars told her to come to me ... to return to this city so that we could have tea and play as I once promised we would ... a promise, an invitation extended one dark night among pain and blood and fear and death.

I mocked him, twisted him up and I finally have what I want ... but only because he left. She brings rapture and glorious pain to me each night ... but only because she cannot have whom she truly wants. I should be bitter, but I'm not; I worked for this and now it's mine and I will delight in it every damn day. And for now, it's enough that she's here.

She is my lover, my confidant, my companion.

My secret.

Lilah. Delight. Curtains.

Man! challenge in a can Man!