Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

By Croupier
For Rheya

"How did I guess you'd get the air-conditioned office?"

"Don't let the temperate sixty-five degrees fool you. The computers don't have solitaire and there are no CD-ROM drives. Still, I must say ... I like Hell." Lilah beamed towards her door. "And what can I do for you today, Miss Chase?"

Cordelia glided into the room, oak-and-cedar curls bouncing about her shoulders. "Um, gee, I don't know. You could, say, burn my contract?"

Lilah laughed and sat back in her chair. "Can I tell you how much I love that you didn't take care of that in L.A.?"

"Don't fool with me, Missy. My work here is done, and I don't waste time with associates."

"I can remember you being pretty willing to waste time with Gavin Park," Lilah smiled, swishing past Cordelia in a rustle of Armani silk. "Something about Gucci loafers?"

"They won't go with the pink."

Lilah met Cordelia's eyes, her face softened just a hair. "The pink is out this spring."

Cordelia's smile was rueful. "I always thought you could have used more good girlfriends."

"Like Lindsey McDonald didn't count." Lilah opened the door for Cordelia and the two women started down the long hallway before them. "I've gotta say, the gunmetal-and-bronze thing looks fabulous on you."

"Well, thank you, Lilah. You're holding up pretty well yourself. I mean, considering where you are and all."

"You should see what they want us to wear down here. I'm pushing dress code as it is, and this? 2001." Lilah grinned.

"That's Hell for you. I had noticed that things were a little less ... cutting-edge down here."

"Was it the lack of elevators that tipped you off or the fact that our coffee machine is two porcelain jugs suspended over an eternal flame?"

"Will you hit me if I say that this promotion sucks?"

"It wouldn't be the truth. Senior partner." Lilah savored the words like 1964 Black Bowmore. Cordelia watched Lilah's whole face breathe the words, bulletproof porcelain cheeks buoying green eyes in an indecipherable maybe-smile. "I am a Power That Is."

"And all it took was a million dead people to get you here," Cordelia said softly. "You must be so proud."

The maybe-smile went oblong around the mouth, and Lilah's eyes had to pull themselves up, her cheekbones having finally let her down. "If Mom could see me, I'm sure she'd be."

They walked in a small silence.

"I always figured being dead would make you smarter. Like you'd know everything or something."

"And you met Spike when, exactly?"

Cordelia exhaled, half a chuckle that sounded like the dying pump of a factory piston.

"We're not all of the Powers, you know." Lilah looked down for a moment, then re-leveled her gaze. "A sizeable faction, yes, but not all of them."

"Yeah, I know."

Lilah paused. "I know that calling it unfair seems inadequate."

Cordelia's voice hardened. "It is."

"It would be unconscionable, but the universe is unconscionable, so that term doesn't really have any meaning. What shocks the conscience of a place that lets genocide happen?"

"Maybe unconscionable doesn't mean anything on the surface, either."

"It does, sometimes. But this stuff is so unfair to everybody that all the universe's contracts would be unenforceable. And the world has to turn."

"Oh-kay ... That wasn't even English."

Lilah smiled. "I should have gotten you a law dictionary when you first ascended."

"It would have been something to do up there. God, that sucked."

"Well, if the afterlife is anywhere near as boring, you could always come work for us. It's not as bad as it sounds. We watch Prometheus get his liver eaten out every day at 5:30. It goes great with the bad Scotch at cocktail hour."

"Did you just ask me out? Anyway, I have plans. I've earned my beach vacation in Heaven, and I'm going to go, damn it. Does this hallway ever end?"

"No. One of the wonders of the cheap ethereal estate down here. But we're about to walk over the glass-bottomed part. I skip underwear when I wear a skirt in the hopes that Judas is looking up."

Cordelia smiled, shaking her head. "You? Horrible. And why are you skipping underwear today? Those are pants, Lilah."

"Aww, Cordelia, you noticed!"

"Please. Nobody can wear pants that tight without panty lines, no matter how tiny her G-string is."

"Duh. Why do you think I'm skipping?"

Cordelia let out something that could have been a sigh. "Can I just say that it's kind of freaking me out how happy you are here? I've never seen you all ... glowy. Well, except after screwing Wesley."

"You were watching that? Pervert. And I don't know; that time I almost fucked Angel on the desk was pretty good. I was kinda glowy then."

"I didn't see that, 'cause I wasn't there. And I was, you know, mortal ... at the time ... "

"And you should have been there."

A beat passed between them. "I wouldn't have said no."

Lilah turned her green eyes towards Cordelia, a smile creeping across her face. Cordelia dropped her head, blushing grin hiding behind her curls. A moment passed.

"This hallway really is eternal, isn't it?"

Lilah was still smiling. "It's not like we don't have time."

"Maybe not, but--"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, beach vacation, you want to be in another place. The cause of all suffering is desire, sweetie, or did you not get that memo?"

"I'm getting a desire to kick you in the shins right now."

"Don't tease. You like these pants too much to follow through."

"Don't bet on it, lady. And I'm blaming the pants on your ass. 2001 was a far better year for Valentino than it was for Armani."

Lilah snorted. "Do you have any idea how ridiculous I would look in Valentino?"

Cordelia looked straight ahead, her expression blank. "You would have looked lovely in it. Before."

Lilah shook her head. "I don't know that there was a before."

"If there was. You would have looked stunning in Valentino then. The 1992 ecru wool coat and slipdress."

"1992? Way too late. Try the 1988 off-white ruffle top."

"That would have been beautiful on you. And that's coming from someone who hates that top."

"You could wear it with a black wool suit."

"And you could have worn the 1985 blue polka dot. You wouldn't even have to change your hair."

Lilah looked away. "I can just see my 1990 self scrambling around an Oldsmobile in that."

"You could have been a mother."

"Not in that dress. A girlfriend, maybe. A really good girlfriend."

"I hope it's worth it."

"It's worth it. It was worth every second. I earned it."

"You earned old Armani and a tombstone. No family, no Valentino, no walking down the aisle in Badgley Mishka."

"We're walking down a hallway in Armani. It's practically the same thing. And I will watch out for my own contracts, Cordelia. And--again--I would look stupid in Mishka."

Cordelia paused. "You couldn't look stupid if you tried."

"Thank you."

"But you would have looked lovely in it."



"There is no before. Not for this game face."

"It must have set in awhile ago."

"So long ago I can't remember."

"There is no before." A beat. "But there's now."

"There's forever." Lilah smiled.

"It might be worth it to see you in Mishka." Lilah said nothing. "It would work with the glow."



"Do you want me to take the rest of the day off so I can model my entire closet for you?"

"That's what you can do for me today, Miss Morgan."

"It's Ms., okay? Ms."

"You're the Underworld's Next Top Model, Lilah."

"I'll secure us a better runway."

"Dial it down there, Ms. Turlington. Contract?"

"Oh, that." Lilah waved her French manicure in the air. "It was an oral agreement. Nothing to burn. Still binding--extra binding, in fact, thanks to that magical je ne sais quois--but done."

"I'm free."

"You've been free."

"And we were walking down Hell's eternal hallway this whole time why?"

"Because the next doors on the left are the exit closest to my place."

"Well, that was presumptuous." Cordelia paused. "Got air conditioning?"

"No. But it's close enough to the rings of traitors enclosed in ice that it's cool enough."


"I could use a really good girlfriend."

Cordelia tightened her hand around Lilah's. "I just want to see you in Dior."