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Challenge #1: The Client Meeting (Lilah/? from another fandom ;), NC17ish)

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  • Challenge #1: The Client Meeting (Lilah/? from another fandom ;), NC17ish)

    [Set during AtS season 4, post Habeas-Corpses]


    LA, 2003

    Lilah wasn't usually into younger men. Sure, she'd fu'ck them, but they didn't interest her beyond that. She liked men who crackled with an aura of power, who knew how to give her what she wanted, and how to make her wait for it.

    She liked arrogant, dangerous bastards. Not because she wanted to be treated badly – she was no victim - but because she could only be with someone who understood the rules: relationships were not about tenderness, or fidelity, or love. They were another set of games inside the game of Life, and the only rule was screw the other guy before he has a chance to screw you. Metaphorically speaking… She'd allowed Wesley to get under her skin, and to get the last word. She wouldn't be making that mistake again soon.

    And sleeping with clients…well, that was rarely a good idea, unless you wanted the Senior Partners to liquidate your, ah, assets.

    But when a certain young man walked into her office one winter afternoon, she felt that she might just break a few rules this time. The Senior Partners were paying less attention to the smaller details at present – they had their hands (or other appendages) full, what with Angel, the Beast and their behind-the-scenes work in enabling war in the Middle East.

    Things were crazed, in fact, but there was still business-as-usual to be conducted, and a lot was falling on Lilah’s beautifully-tailored shoulders.

    Her secretary Thomas had briefed her about the new client that morning: “He’s extra-dimensional,” Thomas explained. “…interested in our memory-modification package. You see, his home dimension was destroyed, and he’s been travelling for some time, looking for someone who can provide him with the service he needs.”

    “This isn’t pro-bono, is it?” Lilah said, with a frown. “I’ve got enough refugee cases on my hands with the exiled emperor of the Mandara and the Takash warriors of Boneworld.”

    The Senior Partners insisted on certain extra-dimensional pro-bono cases being taken on, where they served to cement useful inter-dimensional alliances. But, while that kind of work might pay dividends on a mystical level, and provide handy escape routes for clients who needed to get out of our world, it did NOT look good on the timesheets. Zero billable hours for a hell of a lot of work.

    “No,” Thomas replied, hurriedly. When Lilah was unhappy, it made his life distinctly uncomfortable. “He can pay. He’s independently wealthy.”

    “So…what’s his story? Who is he?”

    As Lilah heard the client’s name she couldn’t help smiling. She asked Thomas if he was joking. “Seriously? Him? As in...?”

    “Seriously. As in.”

    -----

    When four o'clock came around, and her client showed up, she was surprised by his appearance. The young man was tall and broad-shouldered, with perfectly-white hair and bright green eyes. He probably in his early twenties, but his eyes and mouth had the decisive, set look of someone far older. He was dressed in a smart suit, though the tie was loosened, giving him a slightly rumpled appearance.

    Only the tell-tale scar on his forehead fit with the picture she’d had in her head. This was no little moppety orphan boy. This was a world-battered man with further scars to prove it – a slash across his left cheek, and another on his right hand. A burned nub of skin, risen in a shape that looked like some kind of symbol. Perhaps a snake?

    Lilah got up from her desk and strode across the room to greet him, hand outstretched. “Mr Potter, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

    He took her hand and shook it – such cold hands - looking her right in the eyes as he did so. He seemed to be looking right through her, into her mind. She shivered; a pleasurable sensation. “Miss Morgan,” he said, with the slightest nod. “Please. Call me Harry.”

    His voice was quiet, but there was danger under the surface of it. Lilah had heard that kind of carefully-controlled rage before; from an as'shole who she wasn’t going to dignify with thinking about.

    But, seemed there was new British talent in Hollywood…and Lilah was more than eager to get W...him out of her system.

    She smiled and gestured for Harry to sit. They faced one another across her desk. He sat very still and very straight.

    “I expect you know a lot about me already,” he said.

    “My secretary briefed me, yes,” Lilah nodded. “But perhaps you could tell me a little more? I would like to build up a full picture, so that we can tailor your service package to fully meet your…needs.”

    Harry smiled at that, and Lilah leaned forward on her elbows, toying with the locket around her neck. Partly to draw attention to her beautiful white throat and the hint of cleavage under her silky shirt, but also, because she felt unaccountably nervous and needed to do something with her hands to steady her. She’d been face to face with all sorts of powerful, deadly people (and creatures) in her career, but seeing a fictional character come to life – albeit in an altered state – was a new one even for her.

    Calm down. He’s just a kid really, she told herself. But, if his file was to be believed, this 'kid' had done such amazing, terrible things…

    The young man leaned back slightly in his chair, fingers interlocked and elbows resting on the arms of the chair. He looked out of the window, thoughtfully. Lilah saw a wince of pain cross his face. Self-reflection clearly didn’t agree with him. “I’m not sure where to begin. It’s all still so…strange to me. Being here, in this…” he broke off, flicking his eyes back from the window to Lilah.

    “This dimension?” she prompted.

    “Yes. Being here, where I’m not supposed to exist, except as a character…an idea…” He grinned. The smile and the ghost-pale face reminded Lilah of a skull. “Strange hardly covers it.”

    He reached up and ran his fingers through his unnaturally-white hair. It was a boyish, nervous gesture, that didn’t fit with the calm of his face, or the power in his eyes.

    Harry replaced his hands on the arms of the chair. “But, perhaps I should start at the beginning?”

    “Please.”

    He nodded, and began. “I was still at school when it happened. My final year, in 2007…I suppose it’s technically the future for you, but perhaps time doesn’t work the same across dimensions?”

    “No. There’s often a disparity,” agreed Lilah. She didn’t really know a great deal about the subject. She had flunkeys for that kind of thing. But, past and future became moveable feasts when it came to dimension-hopping, she knew that much.

    “Right.” Harry licked his lips. “I was at school. I thought I’d been through a lot. Death, battle, all that.” He leaned forward with his elbows on the table, fixing her with his eyes. “But any fight people survive…there’s still hope, then, isn’t there?”

    “You survived,” said Lilah. “You survived the end of the world…You’re clearly a powerful man.”

    “Yeah.” Harry’s smile was unpleasant. “Oh yeah. I’m powerful.”

    Her flattery seemed to make him bristle rather than soothe him. God, she was off her game today. Or he was putting her off it. Her face felt flushed, feverish. Her initial impulse, when she met him – attraction – was morphing into a strange dizziness. She was almost afraid of this boy. Ridiculous, really. But she could feel his magicks humming through the room.

    “As powerful as Voldemort, it turned out,” he went on. “You know who he is?”

    “Yes. We have a file on him.”

    “I bet. He’s a real star. Or he was…til I killed him.”

    Lilah shifted in her chair. The young man’s gaze was starting to make her feel so uncomfortable. Naked. She now wanted to move things back to business. The safe ground of practicalities. “How did you… do it? If you don’t mind me asking?”

    “A spell,” said Harry. He looked away, back out at the window. Now his eyes weren’t on her, Lilah felt more relaxed. “I was ready to do anything…anything to stop him. He’d killed my friends…Ron…Hermione...Hagrid…anyone I’d ever cared for, he’d taken them.”

    Lilah studied his face as he talked. The muscles in his cheek, his jaw, were clenched and tight. The control was slipping. Rage even closer to the surface, rippling over the tense muscles, just under the skin. His face seemed to glow with it.

    “So," he went on. "I didn’t think about the consequences. I found a spell that would stop him. An ancient spell, so old it was written on a stone…I had to speak the words in parseltongue, not Latin.”

    Parsel…? Oh yeah. Snakes. Lilah remembered, with a flinch. She was not a fan of snakes, except as something to put in the beds of colleagues who pissed her off. Even then, she preferred not to handle them herself. “And the spell…? That was...?" She thought that the Enchantments department might find it useful. Focus on the practicalities.

    “I don’t even remember doing it, not the details,” he said. “Though it left its marks…” He held up his hand, then brushed it through his hair. He laughed, coldly. “But you should see the other guy…if he still… If anything still existed…”

    He met her eyes directly, again, and Lilah felt her hands gripping at the arms of her chair, to keep her in her place. She forced a smile.

    “Everything’s gone,” said Harry. His eyes were burning. Lilah couldn’t tell if they were really glowing, or if it was just her imagination. He stood up, pushing his chair back suddenly, and leaned on the desk.

    “Do you understand? Everything. And I destroyed it…I was supposed to…” He stood up straight and turned away from her, then back again, full of frantic energy, furious.

    “People thought I was the f’ucking second coming, and in the end, I destroyed the universe.”

    His shoulders fell and he turned to the window, suddenly spent. He walked closer to the glass, and Lilah got up and joined him. The sun was setting, casting a pale red light over the skyscrapers, and glinting windows and the tiny cars below.

    “It’s a beautiful view,” he said.

    “Thank you. It’s why I chose this office. It helps me relax.” She folded her arms in front of her.

    “Yes. I can see why.” Harry’s eyes remained on the lights. “You could lose yourself in a view like this.”

    Then he turned to her, and put a hand on her arm. He gripped her upper-arm tightly, suddenly. “That’s what I want. Do you understand? I don’t want…I don’t want to be me any more. You can do that, right?”

    Lilah nodded, and he relaxed his grip and let his arm fall. “We can do whatever you need, Harry. Anything you want…” She smiled mischievously. “Full service law firm, remember?”

    But the smile was misjudged. Harry gave her a fierce look and jabbed the air with his finger. “I know what you are.”

    Lilah looked at him, curiously and leaned against her desk, one high-heeled foot swinging. “And you disapprove?”

    “No.” Harry put a hand to the window, palm flat against the glass. After a pause, he took it away and rubbed his hands together, massaging the scarred hand. “No. I don’t disapprove.” He stepped closer to her. “I don’t care.”

    Lilah stood up straight, and they were standing face-to-face now. Lilah laid her hand softly on his arm, half expecting him to push her away, but he just glanced down, then back at her. “We can help you. I can help you,” she said.

    “I just want to forget,” he said. His eyes were dead, the fire in them, all gone “But before I do…”

    He moved, fast as a vampire, and grabbed her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing. His hands were around her waist, pinching – oh so like Wesley, those cruel, nimble hands – digging his nails into the skin under her shirt, and she kissed him back.

    Control. I need it back. Push him. Don’t let him take… She shoved him back against the window, his back flat against the tough glass – how tough, tough enough to hold their weight? She had her hands in his hair. Soft hair, like a child’s. But he was strong, and pushed back, lifted her onto the desk, hitching her skirt up over her thighs.

    Moments like these, of tender violence, were Lilah’s oblivion. In a building full of eyes and ears, in a place where she had to play a game and act a part…she was f'ucking a man who’d destroyed a universe. She didn’t care about any of it…she just wanted to taste this boy’s mouth, and feel his skin on hers, and forget.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Later, as they dressed, she looked at his body – pale and lean, with the muscles of a sportsman, but none of the healthy glow. She wondered where he’d been, and where the scar on his belly came from. She knew he’d been through numerous dimensions before coming here... who knew what he’d seen, and done, and fought there. But she didn’t ask. She didn't touch him again.

    As he did up his tie, he didn’t look at her. “I’m ready,” he said.

    Lilah led him through the corridors, to the office of the head shaman. The door closed behind him – it was a sacred space, she couldn’t enter. Harry didn’t look back.

    When he emerged, hours later, his mind would be pristine. His body, too – the shaman would take away the scars, the physical memories of what he’d suffered. He would have new memories, a new life, a ready-made family, friends, job…probably for Wolfram and Hart, considering his skills, though they might set him up with his own business, in order to retain him as a paying client.

    He might even be happy. Lilah pondered this, as she smoothed her wrinkled skirt, walking away down the hall. And people say we never do good things. She smiled to herself. I guess I've done my good deed for the day.


    The End
    Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 23-06-07, 06:08 PM.


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