Who But I?
by Voleuse

I would have nobody to control me;
I would be absolute: and who but I?
-- Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes

Lilah's only been at work for two hours, and already she's had two arguments with Lindsey, been obliquely threatened by two vampires, and had someone "accidentally" spill coffee on her Jimmy Choos. All on top of the fact that her shoulder aches like a bitch, and the only way it will stop is if her bosses chop her into bits with a hacksaw.

When she steps into her office and finds Darla perched on her desk, it's the icing on an already twisted day.

"Hello, Lilah." She swings her legs like a schoolgirl. "Have I told you what a pleasure it is to work with another woman?"

"What about Drusilla?"

"Fine," Darla sighs. "Another sane woman, then."

"Where is she?" Lilah searches the shadows of her office, sees her colleagues screaming behind her eyes.

Darla blinks, innocently. "Cafeteria. She wanted to grab a bite."

"It's a good time." Lilah wishes she'd taken an extra Motrin. "Lots of variety at lunch."

Her hand doesn't shake as she returns a manila folder to its rightful place in the filing cabinet. She doesn't brace herself against the metal frame for a moment. She isn't afraid of a vampire who drank half of her division last night.

She isn't.

"I hate to disappoint you, Darla, but the firm hasn't chosen between Lindsey and me yet." She turns precisely, the carpet twisting underneath her stained heel. "You'll have to kill me some other time."

"Why would I want to kill you?" Darla crosses her legs, and Lilah admires the diamonds adorning her ankle. She'd sell her soul for a piece like that, and has. Twice.

"Do you really need a reason?" She wonders when Darla found time to change from couture black to whorish crimson. She wonders what Darla will be wearing that night. She wonders how she can get so distracted by a creature of the night's fashion choices, and decides it might be an effect of a vampire-related adrenaline rush.

Every time Angel threatens her, she focuses on his hands. Thinks about what he could do, with them, to her.

She doesn't realize she's gotten within arms' reach until Darla latches onto her hands with a grin.

"Lilah, darling." Darla draws her closer, deceptively manicured nails biting at her wrists. "There are much better things I could do with you." She eases her body back over the desk calendar, Lilah's hands still clutched in hers. "Or with those lovely pearls."

Quick as death, she unclasps Lilah's necklace--cultured Tahitian, of course--and loops it around Lilah's wrists, behind her back, tightly.

"It's time," she says, "to see how far Wolfram and Hart will go to make me happy." Forces Lilah to her knees. "You understand."

"Of course." Darla's knees are spread, almost obscenely. She isn't wearing hose, but the thong is La Perla, and the skirt, Armani. Lilah nods, understanding. "Our firm is customer service-oriented."

She expects to be rewarded with a smile. She doesn't expect Darla's hand, taloned in her recently-styled hair.

"Shut up, Lilah."

"Sorry." She doesn't look up: the vampire lisp is familiar, and she can't reconcile the demon with the Manolo Blahniks braced against her desk.

She wishes her wrists weren't bound; she's not sure what she'd do if they weren't.

"You could die today." Darla's voice is again without accent, and Lilah sees only the human face, now. "Maybe I won't be the one to kill you." Darla flicks a business card at Lilah's chest.

Lilah Morgan. Attorney-At-Law. Special Projects. Wolfram and Hart.

They'll most likely kill her in the morning.

"Are you scared?" Darla's voice is deceptively mild as she pulls Lilah into the V of her thighs. "Do you know how they'll do it?"

"No," she mumbles against the lace, "but I can guess." Darla tastes of ice, and want.

"Something messy, I hope." She arches a leg over Lilah's shoulder. "You'd look pretty with blood on your neck."

Darla's skirt rides up to her waist, and she digs her heel into Lilah's back.

"Do you think they'd let Lindsey watch?"

Her hand is surprisingly gentle now, though the other one tears the thong in its haste, scratching Lilah in the process.

"He's not a squeamish one, Lindsey." She's a little breathless now. "He wouldn't enjoy it, but he'd watch."

Her ramblings are punctuated with moans. Lilah's jaw is feeling sore.

"He'd get your blood all over his pretty face."

Something gets knocked off the desk and bounces, heavily, on the floor.

"You'd enjoy watching him die, though. Cut his lovely skin to ribbons."

The desk lamp tips over, shatters.

"You people excel at torture."

Both Darla's legs are hitched around Lilah now, and the vampire herself splays on the desktop.

"Not like my boy, though. He could make women scream for hours."

Her head thrashes back, counterpoint to her hips, and before Lilah can take a breath, she's on the desk herself, glass cool through her jacket and her hands, still bound, twisted under her. Darla's hands are smooth and hot, and three fingers deep, but still.

"You want him to hurt you, don't you, Lilah?" Out, and in, and out again. Too slowly. "You want him to make you scream."

"Better him than them." Lilah writhes on the desk, grits her teeth. "He'd be quicker."

Darla twists her fingers, and in human face leans over, bites Lilah's neck.

Lilah doesn't scream when she comes.

"You're strong, Lilah. Dru can feel it. She told me." Darla strokes the blood on her neck, gathering it with her fingers. "It's why you're still alive."

She laps the blood from her fingertips.

"Why are you afraid of them?" Darla's voice is a seething whisper. "They should fear you. They already do."

With a kiss and a smile, she tosses Lilah down, like nothing, to the carpet. "You just don't believe it."

The vampire is gone in two heartbeats, and the door clicks shut behind her.

Slowly, Lilah sits up. Tugs the pearls binding her wrists with her teeth.

They fall loose in a moment, and she knows something of power, on the tip of her tongue.

As she covers her wounds with makeup, she calls her assistant, and asks for a tape recorder and a microphone.

It's worth a shot.


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