Less Deserving
by Jennifer-Oksana

I'm starting to wonder if Lilah sometimes feels like the evil older sister I never had. She hands me the keys to her Mercedes one random Friday night about six months into our arrangement, the swank-ass silver convertible with the killer sound system, lifts one of her eyebrows, and smiles.

"Sleep at the hotel or something," she says sweetly. "I've got things to do."

By things, she means Wesley. By to do, she means fuck his brains out. We both know this, much as we both know that Wesley really wants me to hang around sometime and turn his life into a cheap, cheap porno, but with knives and possibly chains.

I don't get paid enough for that.

"Can I take it to Sunnydale?" I ask.

"Can I stop you?" she asks humorously, crossing her arms. Heh. The lady's got a point. If I really want to go, I'll go. "If you bring it back without gas, I'll chain you to the wall and molest you at unpredictable intervals for the next two days."

"Ooh," I say, licking my lips flippantly. "Don't tempt me."

Perhaps not evil older sister. I don't think I'd flirt with my evil older sister. Then again, she's not my sister, and she's damn sexy when she's not in vicious lawyer bitch mode. Plus, I'm still kind of thinking we both wish we'd actually gotten there in the back of the limo before I got sent up.

She flicks the tip of my nose with her finger. "Go. Drive. Have fun," she orders fondly, pushing her hair over her shoulder. "I'll see you tomorrow."

We are way, way too familial and domestic for ex-evil boss and employee. It's giving me the wig. Besides, it's an opportunity to ask something that bugs me constantly.

"What's your deal, Lilah?" I ask. "I knew you back in the day. What's up with your sudden conversion to less evil forms of gaining money, power, and influence? Not that I think the Republicans or whoever are all that less evil than Wolfram and Hart, but you're not ordering mass deaths anymore."

"It's like this," she says, tilting her head and folding her arms over her chest, pretending to be modest. "I want him so bad it hurts. So, you know, I'm reforming."

"Sorta," I say with a grin. I really want to fuck her all of a sudden. I don't know why. Probably because she's all hot and bothered, even if it is for Wes. "Except you're not sorry for all the things you did."

"You know where I came from, Faith," says Lilah with a shrug. "In fact, you've both been there and done that. I guess you know why I don't regret a day."

Indeed. I file this away for future reference. Her, me, one of those fights that she and Wes are always having because he's sure she's not quite good enough. A little too much to drink, and I'll get my wish. And she'll let it happen and move on. Because Lilah doesn't regret.

"Good, bad, it's all the same to you, right?" I ask, moving into her personal space.

"Hey," she replies, resolutely refusing to let me hit on her. "I don't have a mystical vocation. Angel didn't want to put the warm cuddlies on me. I have two or three things I really love, and the rest of it can fuck off."

I know the two or three things, too. There's her wardrobe, which, fucking A. The woman has herself a sick obsession, but she's got the taste and cash to carry off the addiction. Besides, I get to borrow anything not in the locked section of her walk-in closet. This includes her leather and vinyl selection, and enough tank tops to make this a good bargain.

Second, there is the bookshelf of curios. Lilah keeps trophies (I don't mean actual trophies, of course--more like serial killer trophies) and her CDs on the bookshelf. They go along with the four books that she really loves, and the tiny photograph collection she doesn't use to light her fire at night. I don't really get to see or touch the bookshelf, but I'm guessing her favorite sex toys are there, too.

Then there's number three. Wesley. My beloved bastard ex-watcher, who has become Lilah's reason to live and die, and the reason I'm not still in jail. She handed me my get-out-of-prison-free papers six months ago and said, "I need a bodyguard. Twenty grand a year and you live at my place. No strings. You can work for Angel in your spare time. Don't freelance for anyone else without asking. I won't ask you to freelance for Wolfram and Hart. You can use my car and most of my clothes and makeup. Deal?"

I wasn't buying it. "Give me a reason why."


Still not buying it. "Angel?"


And seeing as no one I know would admit to loving Wes, I shook her hand and walked out of prison free and clear. Angel tells me over and over she's going to play me, because she's Lilah and that's her MO. Some sort of pathological Judas, he says. Angel, I think, says that because he wants to screw her and his touching belief in her ongoing evil is the only reason he can think of not to. Not that he's obsessed with the idea, exactly, but every so often they'll bump into each other and there's the want. Like, if it were doable, they'd fuck. It's not, so they move on. Kinda.

Wes, on the other hand, is being a dumbass. I saw the girl he's got the professed thing for. And Fred is cool, but she's just a girl. Like, if I were going to jeopardize good sex, cash, and someone totally into me from the way I fucked to the way I did up my jeans, I'd do it for someone who was a little less normal and a lot more into me. At all into me.

Meanwhile, I have the keys to the Mercedes and permission to head for Sunnydale. Even if I think Wesley's a tool, I'm glad he comes around here and gives me excuses to use the car and go places on Friday nights, playing my copy of Princess Superstar Is at eleven and being, in general, too sexy for myself.

"So it's okay if I go," I reiterate. "I mean, I don't think I will, but just in case the town's dead tonight, I might--"

"Go," Lilah says, smiling and happy. I don't understand how Wes can't just fall for her. It's not like people are beating down the door to give Wesley approval and adoration. And she's so damn gorgeous, especially when she's all happy-dreamy like this. If he fucks her over tonight, I swear to God, I'm going to give him brain damage.

Don't ask me when I fell for the lawyer beast. Honestly, it's half like I want to bang her, and half like she really is my sister. But she's just--there are a lot of people in LA who claim they want to help me. Lilah is not one of them. She's just the one who signs the checks, gives me useful advice, and doesn't nag on the days when all I want to do is run screaming down the street, killing anything that gets in my way. Even Angel, who's just as good as that, has his weird Connor and Cordelia issues that make him less fun to hang with, just a little less trustable.

"Okay, okay," I say. "Have fun. Don't let him be mean to you."

"Don't tell me how to run my life," she replies, turning away and heading for the kitchen, humming. Oh, he must have sweet talked her something fierce. The only time when Lilah is this happy is when she's spent a thousand dollars on clothes, or when she's doing crime and getting away with it. "Bye, Faith!"

"Bye, Lilah," I say, aping her ridiculous chipper tone. "Get laid already!"

"You know I'm gonna," she calls from the kitchen.

"I know," I say, leaving the apartment and plotting my arrival in Sunnydale. In the Benz, it's only going to be about an hour and a half before I get there. "Doesn't mean I like it."


Serves me right, not calling ahead. The house is empty when I pull up, and I know B is either off fucking Spike (more likely) or showing Kennedy, Amanda, and the rest of the former potential whiner squad how to patrol in a world of diminished supernaturality (still possible, but I know she's fucking Spike. Why lie?).

But I have the car, the knowledge that I don't want to go crash at the hotel and deal with Connor trying to win a little booty, and a long night ahead. I'm not going to be chased off because Buffy's not around. Buffy's house is like, a goddamn hotel. Someone will be there. It might be Willow (unfortunately), but it'll be someone.

I ring the bell and wait. Please, God, don't let it be Willow.

The door opens. "What are you doing here?" a sharp voice asks. Great. Little sis is here, looking bitchy as usual. At least it's not Willow.

"Hey, Dawn," I say, leaning against the doorway and smiling as hard as I can. "What's up?"

"Buffy's not here," she says flatly, giving me the brat look of death. "What do you want, anyway?"

"Nothing," I say, sneering. "I got to borrow the car and I wanted to say hey. Wanna see? It's superswank."

Dawn thinks about saying no, she really does, but I know she wants to see it.

"Fine, whatever," she says, following me outside. "F--f-freak, dude! That is a nice car. How come you got to drive it?"

"Sex is happening at my employer's posh little apartment," I say. "I had to clear out or get asked to play, too."

"Ew! I so didn't need to know that," Dawn says. "Buffy says your boss is evil. Is that true?"

"Was evil, now just kind of ambiguous. Lilah's reforming," I say. "Get in the car, we're gonna go for a ride."

Dawn looks at me and shakes her head. "Buffy would freak. She doesn't like me going out at night without her knowing," she says.

"We'll call her and leave a note in case she's not answering her cell," I say. "Come on, Dawn. Are you really scared of me? I just want to show off my Mercedes."

"Your boss's Mercedes," Dawn corrects. "I don't think it's a good idea."

Her little body's twitching at the idea of sliding onto the seat and playing with the CD player. I can totally tell, because that's everyone's response to the Benz. I've watched more cocks get hard and more girls get wet over the idea of riding in the car than I have doing a near strip-tease on the dance floor.

Wesley, of course, hates the car. Because he is an asshole. An asshole who gets to fuck the finest piece of ass that isn't currently claimed by Spike or Angel. Sometimes I hate Wesley so much I wish I'd actually killed him back in the day. Then I realize that I'm just bitter because everyone in the word is getting laid but me.

"We'll just go through town. Well-lit parts," I promise. "Nothing sketchy like the Bronze. Unless you want to hit the Bronze."

Dawn gulps. "I--do you really think Buffy will mind? We could just drive to 7-11 and get Slurpees," she says. "We can get Slurpees, right?"

"We can't drink 'em in the car," I say. "But we can get 'em. And candy bars. Let's go, Dawn. It'll be fun. This car is fucking amazing. You'll love it."

She smiles a little, a thrill of excitement lighting up those baby blues. "Okay, cool," Dawn decides. "Let's go."

We get into the car and Dawn almost bounces, which is totally cute. B would have been too cool to bounce back in the day. Dawn is less uptight, and I dig that. It's sweet, in a way Buffy and I were never sweet, maybe like how Willow would be if she and I didn't loathe each other. But this is too much thinking.

I put the car into reverse and off we go.

"This car is totally bumpin," Dawn says as I shift into gear and start speeding up. "Is that the right word? I'd say cool, but I say cool too much. It's all leather and it's a convertible and oh my god, we're going 60 on a residential road. This is so rad!"

"Hell yeah it is," I tell her. "Sometime you should come down to LA, you and B, and we can take this thing on Mulholland Drive at two am. It's the best feeling in the entire world. Lilah will totally let us take it out. Hell, you're tall enough to actually wear her clothes, so we'd have to go through the mega-wardrobe and dress like rock stars, too."

Dawn looks uncomfortable. "Buffy wouldn't go for it," she tells me. "Plus, Angel and Wes are both kinda worried about you working for this chick. Wasn't she like, behind all this bad shit of the past year or two? I mean, she's not like, our secret evil lawyer fairy godmother or anything. She's a killer. Was a killer."

"And wasn't Angel responsible for locking a whole fuckload of people in a wine cellar? And didn't Spike sire a whole army of vampires? And Willow, I recall, flayed someone for fun. Shit, Dawnie, people change," I say. "She's not that bad. She's nice to me, even on my bad days. Everyone else is always worried I'm gonna snap, and she's like, hey. Ice cream? Wine? Weapon?"

"You called me Dawnie," Dawn says. "You never call me that."

Like it fucking matters if I call her Dawn or Dawnie or B's Little Sis.

"Sorry, Dawn," I say. "It's just I get pissed off. All you guys are like, let's help the helpless and forgive people, and like, Lilah actually is trying to be a decent person even though she'd be much better off--and happier--fucking us all over, and you all spit on her. And you don't even know her."

Dawn sighs. "Sorry. Didn't mean to bag on your crush," she says. "Just sayin' what I heard."

"Dude, it's all bullshit. And she's not my crush."

"Whatever," Dawn says with a grin. "You are totally into her. Buffy's all jealous, by the way. She doesn't even know why she's jealous."

"You know B," I say, calming down a little. It's not Dawn's fault that Wesley and Angel are assholes. And I am totally crushing on Lilah, though not in a cute teenage way. More in an I want her naked and dripping and screaming for me way. Still. "Denial, denial, denial. I bet she gets all hot and bothered at the thought of Willow and Kennedy and then goes out slaying."

Dawn giggles. "Buffy isn't into girls. Remember? She's all about guys. As she's told us on more than one occasion."

"It's okay to be all about both," I reply, getting on the 101. "Remind me where the next 7-11 is, okay? Or we'll end up in LA and you'll be in SO much trouble."

"Kay," Dawn says. "So are you all about both?"

"Yeah, I guess," I say. "Like, I can't figure it out. Because prison messes with your sexual gauges for a while, but it's not like I don't like getting with cute guys. Sex is weird. Complicated."

"Everyone thinks it's a crime to talk sex with me," Dawn says, looking at me sidewise. "Like, everyone is always like, Anya, stop with the Giles sexcapade talk, Dawn might hear. And Xander's new girlfriend is already on board with operation 'Dawn needs to die a virgin,' and it's so wrong. Like, get off on El Sueno."

I switch lanes and enjoy the fact that I am going ninety on the 101 in Sunnydale.

"Dawn, babe, it's not that they think you should die a virgin," I say sagely. "But sex is complicated. Especially here. When it's great, it's great. Seriously, it's amazing. But the Man is always trying to make it bad, and really bad if you're a girl. And no one wants you to get hurt like Buffy got hurt."

Or Xander, I think but don't say.

"Yeah, but how will I know if I'm a lesbian or a straight girl if I can't even get dates?" Dawn asks. "Like, sometimes I think about--you won't tell, will you?"

"No, of course not," I say, getting off on El Sueno. "Left or right?"

"Left," Dawn says. "But okay. Sometimes, like--I--well, you know. And sometimes I think about guys. Like cute guys at school. And once--and you can NEVER TELL BUFFY--I thought about Riley when I was doing it. Cuz he was so cute, and he was cool to her. But then, you know, sometimes I think about girls, and that's--like, I think about Tara, a lot. And once I thought about Kit. I mean, usually, it's guys, but--right on Hollister."

I turned right. "Sounds normal to me," I say. "At least you don't want to screw a woman who's--" I thought about it-- "Twelve years older than you are. And who's totally in love with someone you really don't like. Also, I approve of the non-vamp fantasizing. Very healthy of you."

"Ick. Vamps are way cold," Dawn says. "I totally got over that after I kissed that one vamp guy. And besides, Angel's a dork and Spike's got wicked issues."

"Totally," I say, turning into the 7-11 parking lot. "Don't worry, Dawn. You're going to get to college and have so many dates that you'll wish that you were back in the Dale, whining about your lack of dateage."

I turn off the motor and look over at Dawn. Her eyes are enormous, and she's looking at me like she's going to ask a question. I feel my stomach sink, because I know exactly what question she's going to ask, and no matter what I answer--it's gonna be bad.

"Faith?" she asks, licking her lips nervously. "Would you kiss me?"

God damn it, the instincts are never wrong. This is another reason I like Lilah. She also has the instincts of a sexual predator, and more than once, we have the same look on our faces when we realize what's up in a situation. For example, I have never laughed so hard as when we walked out of the Hyperion one time and Lilah said, flat out, "God damn, Wesley and Gunn, just whip them out already and have at it."

The best part is she said it to be heard, and Fred later had to tell me in confidence, in a "you must never tell that evil lawyer bitch" way, that she didn't think Lilah was wrong either.

"Dawn?" I say, hoping that maybe she'll change her mind.

"You kissed Buffy. You want to kiss Lilah," she says. "Like, just. Would you?"

"Dawn," I say, gulping. Oh, fuck it. She wants to kiss a girl to see what it's like? What the hell. I've got a long night ahead of me and the fireworks should be spectacular.



I get back right at sunrise, making sure that the car's got half a tank of gas before I park it in the structure. I take off my shoes before I get to the door, because I don't want to wake Lilah up. She's a total monster when she gets woken up in the morning, and I can't deal with a catfight. Not after what Dawn said. Not after the night I had.

Turns out I don't need to be so careful. She's sitting on the couch, tear-stained and tipsy, in her favorite post-fight tank top and a pair of bikini bottoms that show off every inch of her legs. A cigarette is burning unattended in the one ashtray that exists in this entire house. The carton of ice cream is in her lap, and I haven't gotten home a minute too soon.

"Hey," I say, closing the door. "Not so much fun after all?"

"It doesn't matter," she murmurs, looking at me as if she doesn't see me. "Nothing I do is ever going to be enough. Because I can't be sorry. I can't be like him, always sorry for the past. It's not who I am. So I'm never going to--are you okay? You look like hell."

"Wesley's mental," I say. "He's got mass issues. You know that, right? You know that he's actually crazy about you, except he's a dick, right? Because you're sexy and fun and you love him."

"What are you, my cheerleader?" she asks, scooping out more Chocolate Malted Krunch. "And really. What happened to you? Did you and Buffy get in a fight?"

I sit down next to her on the couch and take the ice cream away. Lilah's not bulimic or anything, but whenever something really bad happens, she'll pull out a half-gallon of Thrifty's ice cream and eat it until she throws up. I don't think she realizes how much she's had to eat until she does.

"Dawn," I say shortly. "I took her for a ride. She told me where to get off."

"Dawn? She's a fucking brat. I got to hear some of her greatest whiny hits on tape and I'm less than impressed," Lilah says, looking at the carton. "I was eating that."

"You've had enough," I say. "Anyway, he's an asshole. You know that."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," she says, and she really is close to crying. There's the shaky voice, and wow, it must have been a fight to remember. "I know I'm not a good person. I know I'm not Fred. Is that really so--"

I lean over and turn her head toward me, shaking my head. "It's okay," I say, taking a chance and kissing her. She's shivering, and she tastes like the ice cream, sweet and frothy. I think about what Dawn said. I'm never going to be the one girl in all the world. Not special enough to be it. Not good enough to be Buffy, not bad enough to be the anti-Christ I was supposed to be. I don't deserve what attention I get.

"Some days," she says, pulling back a few inches and looking at me with her eyes, those big dark eyes that tell you that she's bad--but not that bad. More human than anyone in this crazy world of vamps and demons and slayers, that's for sure. "I don't care what team I'm supposed to be playing for, good or evil or whatever. I just want to enjoy having my car and my clothes and my money and just--being me. And I occasionally want people not to hate me for it."

I lean in again and kiss her, letting my fingers slide over her bare shoulder. She loosens up just a little, letting me climb into her lap and slide my tongue into her eager mouth.

"I don't hate you," I point out after a while.

"That's because you want to fuck me," she replies cynically, but her hand's on my waist and it's moving down and not up.

"You're a big girl, Lilah," I say. "And I really don't hate you. You're messed up when it comes to Wesley, but you're cool otherwise."

"Thanks," she says, undoing my pants and clinically putting her hand where I really want it to be. "Wow, Faith. A little hot to trot, are we?"

I growl and pull both of her arms up over her head. She gasps like she's surprised, but those eyes of hers tell a different story. That's how my bosslady likes it, nice and rough and dirty. And she needs the comforting--and I need the sex.

"I'm gonna fuck you 'til we're both screaming," I tell her, grinding against her in those flimsy little panties. "Good by you?"

Just for emphasis, I let go of her wrists and tear her tank top in half before taking my t-shirt off and throwing it across the room, still rubbing against her. I'm so fucking hot that I can't believe.

Lilah grabs me by the back of my head and pulls my mouth against hers, thrusting her tongue into my mouth while her other hand squeezes my right tit so hard that it hurts. In a good way, of course, but it surprises me, and it's all I can do to stop kissing her and get her answer.

"Fuck away," she replies, her eyes lusting and hurting and trying not to hurt. Fucking Wesley. What the hell is wrong with him? If someone loved me the way she loves him, I'd fucking change the world to be with her. I wouldn't tell her she wasn't good enough. You'd think he'd know better. None of us ever get enough love to be able to just turn it away.

"Hey," I say. "Seriously. You're worth it. Don't start hating yourself just because we're all like that."

Lilah smiles this sad little smile. "For a slayer, you're a sweet kid," she says, looking up at me. "Thanks."

"No prob," I say, feeling less turned on. But then I realize, hello, mostly naked Lilah here, totally willing to be got on. There are some opportunities I don't pass up as a rule, and this would be one of them. "You're sure you're okay?"

"I'll feel better once we stop talking about how Wes is an asshole and get back to the sex," she points out. "Don't worry. I'm a big girl, remember? One who always wanted to have you for dinner besides. And you're wet for me."

"Too fuckin' right," I mutter, licking her earlobe. She whimpers and I start feeling less like a wannabe guidance counselor and more like a Slayer who's been denied a kill. "Forget about it, babe."

Lilah pulls off my bra and kisses the spot between my breasts. "Forgotten," she says, the fun coming back into her eyes. Her fingernails drag lightly across my stomach and I will have to get these pants off soon before I completely ruin them forever.

"And again I say," my fingers entangled in her hair, her breath hot against my breast, my brain shorting out because it feels so good to be touching someone who touches back, "No prob. God damn, you smell good."

"Mm," she says, kind of laughing as I move down her body, feeling my way against the curves. "I also look, feel, sound, and taste good. Or so I've been told."

My head now lying on her thighs, I look up and blink. "Good to know you don't suffer from low self-esteem."

"Low self-esteem is for losers and goody-goodies," Lilah replies wryly as she half-closes her eyes and grins. "And I'm neither."

"No," I say cheerfully, kissing her hip and parting her thighs with one very impatient hand. "You're not."

It could be very bad, this little experiment, except I know a very simple truth: Lilah doesn't regret. And I'm not going to let her have anything to even want to regret, either.

"No," she says, far-away and so close as I hook my fingers into her panties and begin to tug. "I'm really--really--not."

And I know what she's thinking, because I'm thinking it too: and neither am I.


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