by Amy

The apocalypse is coming.

No. Edit. Backspace. Restart.

The apocalypse isn't coming.

The apocalypse is here.

Lilah Morgan stops sometimes to revisit the past few years. Climbing the corporate ladder, turning legal loops around everyone in her path. Life and death, every day, and fuck if it wasn't fun.

Of course, now the world is ending, so it doesn't really make much difference, now does it?

To Lilah it does.

She's strong.

She's a survivor.

"Right, Dawnie?" she murmurs absently to the terrified girl chained inside the closet in her bedroom.

Lilah can't really make out what the girl is trying to say around the gag she's been fitted with, but she's fairly certain that there's some agreement in the noise.

Well. Good.

Wesley had a girl chained up in his closet once.

It's hardly Lilah's fault if she's better at it than he was.

"If I take off the gag, are you going to scream?" Lilah asks.

Dawn shakes her head no. She's trembling.

"Good girl." Lilah carefully removes it. "Healing okay, Dawnie?"

They have her because she is the key- because as the key her blood is important.

But she's a virgin, too.

You'd be amazed how many times a week Dawn's blood can come in handy.

Lilah thought Dawn would hate this, would consider her life now some bizarre version of hell.

She's never been inclined to feel much pity for that. Whole world's going to hell; might as well be early to the party.

She never expected Dawn to be malleable- agreeable, even. But in Sunnydale Dawn had been nothing, floating through life without a single goal. In LA, she's important. She has a purpose. She wants to make Lilah proud. Make Lilah happy.

Lilah doesn't play with the good guys. If she's supposed to feel guilt about keeping a seventeen-year-old girl chained up in her closet, she's missed the memo.

Besides, any guilt she might have felt disappears the second Dawn is unchained. Lilah's kept Dawn in her apartment for five weeks now, and the girl has developed three specific and highly important skills. She can pick out the perfect outfit from Lilah's closet under any circumstances. She can make the best martini Lilah has ever had the pleasure of drinking.

And she can get Lilah off in under seven minutes, guaranteed.

"We shouldn't have to take any more for a while," Lilah says now, running a hand carefully along the newest scab, a thin strip of scar tissue on Dawn's lower stomach, and feels the young girl shudder. "At least a week or two."

"But you'll still need me?"

"Of course." Lilah is surprised at how easy it is, how little it takes. Dawn has become different in the past month. A little harder. But there's still an innocence to her. The part that just wants to be needed.

If Lilah were Freudian...

Well, if Lilah were Freudian, she'd have a field day analyzing the prophecies to begin with, examining how often a virgin's blood is required, and how it's always the female virgins (of course), never the prepubescent boys.

It's a masters thesis waiting to happen, really.

But Lilah already has her degree, an expensive law degree in point of fact, and a naked seventeen-year-old girl who, the second Lilah releases the last chain, is kneeling submissively and asking what she can do.

What amazes Lilah isn't how broken the girl is. It's that she didn't actually have to break her at all.

>From what she can gather it happened in Sunnydale, but she doesn't really know and she doesn't quite care. Lilah hasn't hurt the girl at all, except for blood for rituals, and Dawn will do literally anything she asks.

Between Wesley and Dawn, not to mention all the fucking vampires, Lilah sometimes feels like she's trapped in an Anne Rice book.

But better-written, and with better hair. Also, she's not dead.

At least, not yet.

She's a survivor.

Dawn is mewling pathetically and Lilah finally takes pity and looks down at her.

"Please," Dawn whispers. "Please."

Anyone else would be pleading to be let free, would be begging to go back to her all-powerful sister and the Superfriends. Not Dawnie, though. "What do you want?" Lilah asks her, almost gently. "You have to tell me or I can't help."

She always expects the voice of rebellion, or at least prayer. "Please don't leave me," Dawn begs quietly. "Please don't make me go."

And Lilah is calm, and soothing, and you would never guess she's not one of the good guys except that anyone could see it in her eyes. "It's okay, Dawnie," she murmurs. "I still need you. I promise."

"May I-" Dawn's voice sounds raw, from crying, or from lack of use, or maybe from the booze that Lilah knows she's been sneaking. Dawn is only chained up when Wesley might be stopping by; when Lilah knows he won't be around, Dawn is free to wander the apartment naked, reruns of 90210 blaring from the giant TV in Lilah's bedroom while sipping at Lilahs expe'nsive drinks.

Lilah's been holding off on telling her that she has full twenty-four-hour surveillance on the apartment. It's so much more fun this way.

Lilah nods, almost imperceptibly, but Dawn can follow cues by now, and she's undressing Lilah now, carefully, slowly, sensually, exactly the way she knows Lilah wants it.

Lilah can feel Dawn's tongue. Tick-tock, and it's four minutes three minutes two ding ding ding new record Dawnie, good girl. Tiny fireworks are going off in her head and if Lilah ever gave up control now would be the time, but she doesn't and it's not and her skin is vibrating with relaxation she won't ever give in to. Instead she just murmurs "good girl", over and over, stroking Dawn's hair like she's Lilah's pet cocker spaniel.

Dawn is so pleased, so helpful, so happy at being good that she practically purrs. Good girl, good Dawnie, nice, good, good.

The perfect broken Barbie doll, heart of gold and skin riddled with battle scars.

But no worse than before she found Lilah. Never worse.

Which may say something about how Lilah takes care of her. Or it may say something about how Buffy used to. Neither is a particularly good sign.

Lilah feels herself coming down from her high and debates letting her fingers do the walking to get Dawn off. Last time she did, Dawn had nearly passed out.

Oh, well. World is ending; gotta factor that in sometimes.

She slips her fingers between Dawn's legs and the girl squeaks in surprise, then fights to stay still. Like she's afraid to move. Like she can't let loose. Like she thinks this is a test.

Lilah's cruel, but she's not that cruel. She wonders absently what happened in Sunnydale, then dismisses it again. The past is unimportant. The future's not going to exist.

Everything that matters is right now.

It doesn't take long to get Dawn off, not that this is surprising. But Lilah barely has to whisper "It's okay, Dawnie. Come for me." and the girl is arching off the bed.

Their own personal apocalypse.

She's fucking beautiful, sometimes. When she's cowering in terror, yes, but also when she's crying out like this.

It's a different type of strength, the kind that Dawn has. Hers is the passive kind, almost weak. But is it? She's alive. The world is ending and she's not ending with it.

But she's surviving. Dawn is, and Lilah. Both of them. Alone and together.

It's the apocalypse. The end of the world.

Welcome to the beginning of everything else.


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