Thursday's Child
by Abaddon

Once when Lilah was ten, she came home from school to the old, slightly imposing mansion where her family had, did and would always live for several centuries more, unlaced her straw hat (it was part of her school uniform), dropped her school bag in the entrance hall, and traipsed into the kitchen to get a snack. There she saw her stepfather making love to her mother over the dining table.

Her mother didn't seem to be enjoying it much; she had her face crumpled, her skirt bunched up around her hips, and her hair in disarray. And Lilah knew that her mother never let her hair be in disarray. Her stepfather was holding her mother down with one hand on her chin and the other on her shoulder. When her mother saw her there she cried out. Her stepfather turned to look, but didn't stop, just kept moving his body, and grinned. In between gasps, her mother told Lilah to be a good girl and go to her room.

Lilah was after all, a good little girl the most of the time. She never asked her mother where her father was, never stole things or went through her mother's makeup. She rarely complained, was good at school, and didn't protest when her mother dragged her down to the den every year for the ritual appeasement of Cthulhu.

Lilah never protested, never cried, not even when her mother sacrificed her favourite plush toy one year and the family cat the next. After all, the family's money had to be protected and her mother's looks safeguarded, and her mother wasn't about to trust to surgeons and their knives. In comparison, making deals with various demons seemed sensible. Lilah's mother never sacrificed her own things either; the child's grief was enough, and Cthulhu fed.

So in accordance with expectation, Lilah looked for a few more moments with her big green eyes, tossed her hair back, and went to pick up hat and bag from the hall. She trooped by her stepfather, and didn't give him another look as he continued rocking in and out of her mother. When she got upstairs, Lilah combed her hair in the gilt mirror that rested on top of her dresser, and did her homework.

That night after dinner Lilah crept down to a kitchen and took a knife from the drawer. It wasn't anything too fancy; just a steak knife that her mother never would have touched, because that was the cook's job. She went back up the stairs oh so quiet and oh so calm and oh so careful not to wake her mother, slowly pushing open the door to her stepfather's bedroom, and then she held the knife to his throat and woke him up and quietly told him in a soft, lisping voice that if he tried doing something like that again, she'd let the knife slide into his throat -- and although she didn't understand love making, she did understand killing people.

Her stepfather was packed and gone by the time Lilah came home from school the next day. Her mother pulled at her hair and nearly threw her down the stairs, but Lilah refused to tell her what she did to drive him away. Mother had Cthulhu; Lilah wanted her own secrets to keep. Besides, her mother gave her a long and arduous lecture on the meaning of sex and the relative importance of blackmail, presuming that it taught Lilah all she needed to know about men, but all Lilah learnt was not to get caught next time.

Lilah tells herself that she won't be so easy. That if she screws someone over, she's not going to do it by spreading her legs.

Things settle back into a pattern. Lilah skips home with hat on and dress clean, and her eyes watch all the men her mother brings home without judgement or outcry. That's what annoys her mother most of all, so when Lilah turns fourteen, her mother packs her up and sends her off to St. Catherine's School for Girls in Los Angeles. On her first day Lilah finds out all about St. Catherine - the saint who thought she was married to Christ, His foreskin her wedding ring.

And she thought demon worshippers were odd.

Lilah doesn't make friends in her first six months; she doesn't want to, and so she doesn't, no matter what encouragement the nuns give her. The encouragement turns to prodding, and Lilah doesn't care about the looks the other girls give her either; people are clingy and needy and all too human, and they carry with them a reminder of her own inexcusable fear. Lilah does her homework and spends all her time in Church until the nuns get off her case.

She begins to believe; not with any certainty, but with the terror of someone who is frightened they are wrong and the world is right, which only makes Lilah listen more closely to Father Jacob and her eyes widen whenever he says 'sin'. Lilah watches the other girls to see who else fears what is to come, and she keeps their names close to her chest. Her mother taught that fear was power, and Lilah isn't prepared to be helpless, even here.

There's another girl who doesn't fit in, a month older than Lilah, but she isn't aloof and she doesn't hide her fear half as well.

Catherine -- although the nuns call her Kate and she does so as well -- is pretty, with an open round face and the kind of skin Lilah expects to see on the television. But Kate is also gangly and taller, all knees and elbows and stringy, frizzy hair, growing faster than her clothes will allow. She has the kind of face that can be innocent no matter what. Kate could hate you, and her hate would be so pure that it almost makes it seem just. Lilah thinks she would do anything to have a face like that, and not the one she has currently, all sly curves and hooded glances, making her look guilty even when she's not.

Lilah deliberately bumps into Kate one day after she sees Kate leaving the small chapel, and things progress as they do. Kate spills her life story out onto Lilah as if she's looking for salvation, and Lilah feels as though she's almost drowning in Kate, in her need for attention from the mother who died to the father who stayed. Even when she doesn't talk, Kate's always crying out for him, always "Daddy Daddy look at me, tell me I'm good please I want to be good, like you, I want to have a purpose, Daddy please!", and .

One night Kate takes what she's always been wanting, and Lilah lets her because this is a lesson they both must learn. It's neither pleasant nor unpleasant, and a kitchen bench is as good as any place Lilah supposes to get fucked. Better than a dining table, and when one of the sisters catches them out of their dorm, Kate stands there tongue-tied and intimidated by authority. Lilah lies and says they were getting a midnight snack; she knows what sin is now, and she knows that God did not prevent it.

Kate is solicitous afterwards, but never apologetic, because that would mean she admitted that she did something wrong. It's good to have an older girl -- stronger, a bit athletic, a bit butch -- who'll stand up for her in the courtyard and protect her, and Kate babbles when she talks to Lilah and steals things for her from the kitchen and helps her with homework and covers for her with the nuns, and they both know that none of it alters the fact that Lilah told her no.

They graduate. Lilah finally meets Kate's father and says all the right things and touches Kate just a little too long so as to get her in trouble with her old man. It's petty but fun, and Lilah likes to have fun. Kate's going to become a cop, of course, because maybe she might feel all powerful with a big gun in her pocket and a shiny badge on her shirt telling her she can do no wrong. Lilah has her mind set on something different. The law, because screwing someone over is so much more fun when you have an audience, and perhaps she is her mother's daughter after all.

She gets the grades to get into law school on a scholarship. She could have used her family's money, but that would have involved talking to her mother or to her mother's parents, and she tried to do that as little as possible. Her grandfather was typically drunk on scotch on the rocks, and pontificating about the next bursary he was going to give to a college, just to see what they would name after him. When she was eleven, he sat her on his knee and breathed whiskey all over her and told her how the Morgans were just like the Kennedys, except they weren't damn Massachusetts liberals and they didn't get shot. But apart from that, they were exactly alike.

In her second year of college she sleeps with her politics professor and threatens to tell his wife if he didn't come up with a good recommendation for a scholarship for her. He does. She didn't need the money, but it does look good on her resume, and Lilah is nothing if not in this for the long-term. She does all the typical college student things, just so people see her as a typical college student. She learns about sex and drugs and even rock and roll, drinks too much, doesn't study much (where people can see her, anyway), and snorts more types of substances than were illegally available. And she fucks a lot of people. The more bizarre and radical the better -- as long as it doesn't leave a scar, and if it does she turns back to magic simply so she can hide them up. Magic is just another tool she adds to her repertoire, and Lilah does like to be multi-faceted.

When she graduates from college, Wolfram and Hart is there ready to offer her a position. Lilah goes out and buys herself new suits, anything with a foreign sounding name and an expensive price tag. She doesn't really have a great deal of fashion sense yet, but she does it because she can, and maxes out her credit card in the process. Her family's money is good for that, at least, and when Lilah gets the invitation to her high school reunion, she ditches the shoulder pads, and wears her longest short skirt, because professional types have to have some sort of public dignity, after all.

Lilah glides around the old school hall watching everyone else like a hawk. She holds a champagne flute in her hand but doesn't drink it; it's just for appearance's sake, like most things about her. When Kate Lockley sees her, Kate goes stiff and silent and looks like a hunted animal. Lilah just smiles, and raises her champagne flute across the hall floor. She didn't think she'd see Kate there, but then Kate is good and honest and does things because people expect her to. Funny. She never thought Kate was too good with people, but maybe that's the point.

Half an hour later in the ladies', Kate is the one saying no to Lilah's hand down her pants and those smirking lips dangerously close to her neck.

Lilah raises an eyebrow. Smiles. Removes her hand from Kate's pants, and crosses to the old, familiar mirror, washing her hands under the spray. She deftly fishes her lipstick out of her purse and reapplies it, before touching up her blush, and her mascara for good measure. It's all part of the master plan, that being to have Kate squirming as much as possible for as long as possible, and it does seem to be working. Lilah smacks her lips together with an audible sound, and glances over in the mirror to watch Kate flinch. She pulls a tissue out, blots the lipstick, and crumples it in a ball to toss it under the basin and into the bin.

"You'd think they'd change where they put the can in ten years, wouldn't you?"

Kate just looks at her as if she's been violated, as if Lilah's the monster here, and perhaps she is, but so are they all. "I suppose you think this makes you better than me," she says, referring to the fact that Lilah actually stopped. Lilah just smirks.

"Sweetie, I didn't need morality to tell me I'm better than you. For one thing, I have better taste in shoes."

"Stay away from me," Kate orders, as if the trembling authority in her voice means anything, or the badge she wears holds any power over Lilah Morgan. Lilah's a lawyer and singularly disinterested in law and order but she does know exactly what authority Detective Lockley does and doesn't have.

"I promise," and Lilah's surprised by her own candor. Kate doesn't trust her, but that's a given, and she just snorts and walks out of the ladies' with her arms tightly crossed over her chest, pretending that she wasn't actually wet when Lilah opened her fly, pretending that she isn't actually part-dyke, because Cop Daddy might not approve and that sounds more wrong that Lilah intended.

When Kate comes up on the W&H radar, Lilah lets Lindsey deal with it and doesn't respond to Holland's queries except with a bullshit story about how they didn't get on at St. Cat's, so she wouldn't be much use now. Lilah hasn't got much use for promises, but this one she keeps, just to see if she can. Call it curiosity. Call it the last vestige of her humanity. Lilah doesn't care; she's not in this business to care, after all.

She's come far and done a lot, but Lilah Morgan knows she still has very far to go.


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