Beauty Effulgent

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Perpetuity by karabair

Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Wes/Lilah

Spoilers: "Not Fade Away"

Disclaimers: Like Joss would touch this with a ten foot pole.

Warning: Character death, dark themes

Thanks: To Smash for beta, Sue and Stoney for squee.



Wesley felt his body settle against the warm fullness of the woman's hips.  How long? he thought.  How long since he had felt anything so completely? Felt pleasure, felt pain, felt heat or cold?  He raised his eyes to trace the perfect whiteness of her throat, the red gash of her predator's mouth as it settled into a lazy smile.  For all his body was feeling, Wesley's head was remarkably clear.  But still -- "Doesn't this seem like an odd time," he said, "For us to be doing this?"


"Considering that you just died in the arms of sweet little Freddles?"  Lilah Morgan arched her back, and after all the time they had been apart, after all the fear and pain and doubt, it was so easy to slip inside her again.  Her body closed around him, a warm and living trap, and Lilah responded the way she did every time, with a rich  full laugh that bubbled like blood in a butcher's sink.  "What was it the man said, lover?  There is sex after death, it's just -- "


"You can't feel it."  He tried to rise up on his hands but lost purchase in the slippery bed. "It's the damnedest thing, though, because I can."  No, there was nothing wrong with the bed.  His brain sent the signal to his hands.  The hands never tried.  His legs kept moving, his body burying itself deeper in her body.  His mind said this was impossible, and more than that, this was treason.  Why had he died into this memory, this woman?  Not into the arms of the woman he loved, madly, desperately, from-now-to-the-end-of-time-maybe-since-before-he-ever-met-her, death-never-to-part two steadfast and devoted star-crossed lovers such as Winifred and Wesley.


But no, a watcher separated truth from illusion.  He couldn't have died in Fred's arms  And he couldn't be here, in the dark of a shabby apartment he had long abandoned, thrusting blindly into Lilah Morgan.  And also. . .


"Also, you're not cold."


"I've been called a lot of things," Lilah said, "But never frigid.  Though you did like that trick with the ice cubes.  Too bad we don't get to do it here."


Oh, bugger this, Wesley thought, or maybe he spoke out loud because Lilah's face changed for the first time, amused now, as she said, "It's an interesting suggestion, but, I think you'll find it's not an option."  He stopped, and rolled abruptly off of her.


Except that he didn't.  He told his body, once again, to leave her, but his hands moved to her hips, and traced the violin curves of her sides.  His fingers joined under her shoulder blades, and he raised her toward him.  The noise in her throat was half purr and half growl as her chin rested on his shoulder. 


Then, their bodies still joined, she pushed him back onto the bed.  Lilah arched her back as Welsey's hands rose to press themselves upon her breasts.  He did not will them to go there, yet he knew how it would feel when they met the flesh, when his palms flattened and two hard points stiffened against his skin.  He was not controlling his body but living it, living it over, this one time, their first time together  Then it had felt like the darkest night he could ever endure.  Now he felt sharp pain for the innocence of that darkness, an abyss he could have turned from so easily.  Then. 


He tried to give in to his body, to let sensation overcome thought.  Yet, it wouldn't.  No, he realized.  It couldn't.  Wherever he was, the narrowness of human consciousness no longer applied.  He felt it all: the pain and pleasure of his body, the absence of Fred, the guilt of this encounter, and no sensation, no emotion, allowed the others to become any less.


"Pretty crazy, huh, lover?  You're feeling it now.  Deep focus of the soul.  I have to admit, I've thought about you from time to time, down here.  A man of science, like Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, he'd die to see a place like this.  Of course, then I realized  he'd have to."  She tightened her thighs and rose up, guided his hand over the narrow shaven strip between her legs.  A few stiff stray hairs tickled his fingers, and he remembered loving the carelessness of her intimate grooming, stowed like a dirty secret beneath those perfect suits.  "The research division, they were always trying to replicate this on the terrestrial plane.  The money they'd make off it in the sex trade, of course, but also --"


Her hand was warm against his balls, her body still tight around his erection.  Two of his fingers entered her ass, and he felt the constricting flesh close around his fingers.  He felt a wave of regret that they'd miss out on the ice cubes this time, but the emotion didn't interfere with the logical processes of his mind.  "Torture.  As long as the victim can lose consciousness, as long as he can hide in his mind from some of the pain.  He has that small means of escape." 


"Spoken like an expert," said Lilah.  "Mortality does impose certain parameters.  I don't know.  Call me old fashioned, but I've always thought that a few limitations helped to perfect the art.  Painting on a little bit of ivory."  Lilah's head rolled back and she gasped.  He pressed one finger hard against her clit and felt the spasms of her body as she came.  "Like us.  If you hadn't been all miserable and tortured, from losing that baby and disappointing Labcoat Barbie, we wouldn't have done anything  half this hot that we could relive."  She laughed.  "So to speak."  Her breathing slowed.  "That takes care of me, lover.  Now lie down.  You remember how this part goes."


Wesley rolled back his shoulders and neck until he lay with his chin to the ceiling.  Lilah started to move off of him and he tried to focus, from force of habit, on staying hard -- wasn't this the time to close your eyes and think about cricket?  But he was already outgrowing the habits of consciousness and free will, and he let his mind go elsewhere as her hand circled his cock.   She eased him out of her.  "Ask me why we can't be stuck in a time loop where I'm getting head," she muttered  "Typical." 


"A loop," Wes repeated, "Are we --?"  He felt the warmth of her mouth on him.  Instinctively, he said, "Oh, sorry."


"Seriously lover --" Her voice was clear and close, even as her lips circled his shaft -- the warm, the living trap.  "You don't think we're really here, talking, with our bodies?  Just because we feel them?"


"A time loop," he persisted.  "How long?" 


"Now this is a development.  Are you forgetting every time?  I just thought you were slow to catch on?"


"Lilah, this is important.  Do you want to be stuck -- ?  What am I saying.  Of course, you're just a composite of my memories."


"Oh yes, like Jacob Marley.  The prologue.  A fragment of underdone potato.  Any minute you'll go on to Christmas past with sweet Cordelia!  Then Freddykins as your  Christmas present.  And if you're extra special good, I don't know.  Maybe you'll get to fuck Angel forever?  Now that you've cracked the case, you can settle in and enjoy screwing the brains out of the psycho bitch.  Good theory, just a few problems.   They haven't made a hell big enough to hold Angel's soul.  Cordy's in a place none of us are ever getting.  Ex-higher-beings fly first class.  And little Fred?  That soul was just a write-off.  Cost of doing business."


"If I could, Lilah, I would strangle you with my bare hands."


"And, if I could, lover?  I'd bite down.  Hard.  Too bad we've ascended beyond that silly old free will."  Her tongue slowed and traced a lazy loop around the end of his erection.  "This is really me, Wesley.  This is really you.  Well, as real as we're getting.  It looks like we deserved each other in the end."


"And this --" He felt the climax coming, felt it in a way he'd never felt sex in his life, yet it left his mind clear.  "This is a strange kind of hell."


"Oh, I don't know.  You hate me.  I hate you.  We're stuck to each other.  And unlike me -- you never get to come."


And suddenly he stood, fully clothed, his arousal without release, or pain.  He only needed the smell of the place -- mildew, rat dung, and putrefied incense -- to know that he was in the basement of the Hyperion.  To know, before looking down, that Lilah's body lay there, naked and white, blood blossoming and congealing from her throat.  "This is the part," she said, "that I'm not so wild about."


Wesley's hands brought the bonesaw down.  He knew the futility, by now, of trying to stop himself.  He had seen this moment often enough in dreams to give himself to it now.  Even to like it, a little, and to hate the way he liked it. 


"It hurts a lot more this time.  Now that I can feel it."  Lilah's face and eyes were dead, but the voice came as clear as if her lips brushed his ear.  "But at least I get to talk to you while you do it."


"You talked to me last time," he said.  "You talk to me every time."


"Nice going, lover.  I knew you'd remember if you tried!"


"I meant the first time --."  The saw hit the bone of her spine.  He could not look.  He could not not look.  "Lilah, how long?"


"Thirty-eight minutes, twenty-seven and a half seconds, all told.  That is, the fucking and the cutting and the bleeding and the dying." 


"How long has it been like this?"


"Hard to say," Lilah answered.  "Just believe me that this is better than what they had me doing before you joined us down here.  And can I tell you how terrified I was they were going to stick me with Lindsey?  Dodged that bullet.  Can you imagine an eternity with the East Texas sneer factory and his Napoleon complex?  Don't answer that."


"Eternity?" Wesley repeated.  After the head, he cut her arms from the bare white shoulders.  They seemed to cling there far too long.


"Except when they need you for special assignments of course.  Why?  What did you think a perpetuity clause meant?"


"I never signed a perpetuity clause!"   Here the saw was dull.  He had to stop and sharpen


"Of course you didn't have a chance to sign anything, did you?" The left arm had a particularly stubborn bit of sinew.  Lilah's voice soothed.  "Father knows best and all.  Angel signed for the whole gang.  And yet out of all of you?  Angel's the one who doesn't seem to be so perpetual.  Ironic."


Angel.  The name rang through him dully.  Wesley had given Angel his last measure of belief, and for what?  But Lilah had said no hell could hold him.  If his soul had somehow escaped -- but where? "And of course," said Wesley, "you've taken the Shanshu Prophecy into account?"


"Why didn't you hear?  Angel signed the last best hope away."


"Lilah, it's a prophecy, not an insurance policy."  Open the chest.  Remove the heart.  Put some wood through it, just in case.  "Asking Angel to sign away a prophecy doesn't make any sense, except as a very crude motivational tactic."


"Really, lover.  Do you think Wolfram & Hart got where it is today by promoting people into upper management who would make that kind of common-sense point to the  Circle of the Black Thorn?  The people who handle those accounts like to keep their heads attached to their bodies.  I'm sorry."  A laugh.  "That was in poor taste." 


Wesley's body moved methodically, his heart beat steadily, but his mind raced.  There was a chance for Angel, then, and -- "The others survived?"


"Well, the Blondie Bear dusted."  Remove the hands at the wrists, feet at the ankles.  He couldn't even remember if this had been important, or just something to do with his hands.


"That's never stopped him yet."  So that was the end of Spike.  Whether he'd turned out to be loyal in the end, or just had a death wish -- either way, Wes could relate   "Of course, Spike wasn't part of the deal in the first place." 


"That was down to Lindsey," Lilah agreed.  "So no real loss, I guess.  And the green guy?  Well, I never understood exactly what he did for you all.  He played his part, the partners will probably let him be."


"What about  Gunn and --?" Wes hesitated. "Illyria?"   


"Your former goddess turned out to be quite the champ in the big fight.  After the vamps dusted, she turned tail and ran.  Took the other human with her, nobody's figured out where.  That's why most of L.A. is still standing.  The fight was over before it started.  Senior partners didn't see any point in sending out the biggest guns."


"Aside from losing the Circle of the Thorn." Wes hoped that Lilah would confirm his hope, that the others had been successful in their missions.


"Nice try.  Obvious, but nice.  I don't mind telling you though -- It's not like you're getting out to tell anybody."


"Yes, our friend Dante had something to say about that."


"Believe me, there are some people happy to have the Circle out of commission.  There's always room at the top.  But Illyria's not getting away.  And hey, that should give you something to look forward to.  When they finally do find a way to put that freakish thing out of commission, maybe Freddles will be able to join us down here  I wouldn't object to a threesome and for you -- screw two, kill two.  It would certainly lend you some variety."


"Shut the hell up, Lilah," he said, and looked down at the saw and the pools of blood  He was talking to meat and bone.  "Thirty-eight minutes, twenty-seven seconds" flashed through his mind.  He wondered again, how long?  And then --


Wesley felt his body settle onto the warm fullness of the woman's hips.  "Doesn't this seem like an odd time," he said, "For us to be doing this?"

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