wesleynotponcy: (neu: checking someone out)
[personal profile] wesleynotponcy
Weeks had passed for Wesley since Gunn's visit, and in the meantime he found himself on the receiving end of peace and quiet.

Well. 'Peace' probably wasn't the word -- he certainly didn't feel peaceful; on the contrary, he was and continued to be angrier than he'd ever been, albeit a cold kind of anger. But it certainly was quiet.

Then came a day when there was another knock on his door, and he was quicker to answer it than he'd been the last time. Call it loneliness, call it desperation for someone to talk to. Wesley honestly didn't care.


"I would have called," said Lilah, not a trace of shame in her voice but not a trace of bullshit either, "but I figured you'd just tell me to go to hell, so I figured I'd just take a shot and drop by."

She waited a moment, then cocked her head. "Aren't you going to invite me in?"


Wesley didn't move, nor did he remove his arm from the doorway. "No."


Too bad Lilah wasn't bothered. "Okay," she said, and she stepped forward, confident that Wesley would move his arm when it got to be in her way.

She was right.

As she entered, she surveyed his apartment. It was... exactly what she'd expected, honestly.

"Hmm. Not what I'd expected," she lied. "You know. A bunch of flowers and get-well cards. Maybe a couple of those balloons with the smiley faces on them?"


If Lilah honestly thought that that would hurt, she clearly hadn't thought of all the mental torture Wesley had been putting himself through during this period of radio silence from the rest of his former team.

Wesley, who had been checking the hallway for any other Wolfram and Hart personnel that Lilah might have brought for back-up, just turned back to look at her now. He didn't say anything.


That was quite a poker face he had there.

"Wow," Lilah commented. "I guess when she slit your throat, she nicked your sense of humor."


"Not at all," Wesley replied. Now the rasp in his voice was pronounced enough for Lilah to hear it; in single-syllable responses, he could get away with passing for simply grouchy, but not for much longer than that. "I find you being here extremely funny."


Finally, something to work with, here.

"And how's that?" Lilah asked, crossing her arms.


Really, Lilah. You could cut the bullshit.

The motive here was apparent. Charles had stopped by the other week because he needed help. Lilah was no different.

People didn't just come by to talk to him for the fun of it. Not anymore.

"Because you're going to offer me a job."


Lilah had to admit to being just a tiny bit taken aback that he'd picked up on that. Maybe she should have waited a little longer to pay him this visit. The loneliness might have dulled his analytic skills.

Then again, maybe it would have just sharpened them.

She smiled slightly, then turned to examine a statue on a bookshelf. "It's a shame, really," she said. There was no sense in denying what she was here for now that he'd pointed it out; she just had to make the sell with her cards on the table. "You dedicate your life to a cause, and the very people you try to help turn their backs on you."


Wesley appreciated that she wasn't simply feeding him bullshit, but not enough to listen to this spiel.

"Yes. Tragic. Now get the hell out."


Lilah ignored him and the front door he'd just opened. "A man of your talent... a scholar and a man of intellect..."


"...Deep inside knowledge of Angel Investigations..." Wesley put in, unamused.


"Did I mention that Wolfram and Hart has the finest library of mystical, occult, and supernatural reference material in the world?" Lilah asked, putting on a big, tour-guide smile to go with it. "Full medical, dental, 401(k) package..."

But that wasn't the real reason she thought he'd consider her offer. In fact, she didn't even expect him to consider it now. She had another bullet up her sleeve first, and it would take a while to take effect.


She was screwing with him.

She was pretending to care, and Wesley knew it. But the name of the game was playing along.

"Not interested."


"Hey, it was worth a shot," said Lilah, not sounding all that disappointed. As she crossed back toward the door, she withdrew a gift-wrapped book from her handbag, extending it out to Wesley. "Anyway. Here's something to help pass the time in the unemployment line."


Undisguised suspicion was all over Wesley's face as he hesitated, then took the package. He removed the wrapping without much care, then held the book up to examine the spine.

"Dante's Divine Comedy," he read out.


Lilah had to applaud herself on her skills here. He actually looked a little surprised.

"Actually, it's just part one," she said, though she knew he knew. "The Inferno. It's not a first-edition, more like the 1500s, but it's in the original Tuscan. Have you read it?"


"Several times."

And for the first time in his life, Wesley tossed a book to the side. It landed on a couch, but he couldn't even say he was looking to make sure of that.


She was sure that he had read it, actually. It was what would make this moment so gloriously sweet.

"Then you know it's a guided tour of the underworld," she said. "The nine levels of hell."


"Yes," said Wesley boredly. "Descending, concentric rings based on severity of the sin."


And now for the moment she'd been waiting for. Lilah tilted her head and crossed her arms, doing her best to look confused.

"You know, I always forget," she lied. "The very bottom of hell, in the ninth circle, the devil is frozen in ice, right? He's got three heads, three mouths, and those mouths are reserved for the worst sinners. Now, I can't remember -- who is in the center mouth? What was his name? The one person in all of human history deemed the greatest sinner?"


Ah. Yes. The killing blow.

Wesley resisted the urge to look down, to not meet her eyes. He looked up. "Judas Iscariot."


"Right," said Lilah, doing a very poor job of feigning dawning comprehension. It didn't matter, anyway: the cards were on the table and he knew why she was here. She met his eyes, and, enunciating very clearly to make sure the message hit home, she said, "The worst spot in hell is reserved for those who betray."

She let that sink in, advancing toward the door, then turned back to him.

"So don't pretend you're too good to work for us."

And then she left, closing the door behind her.

[[from angel 3x20 "a new world." this is one of my favorite scenes in the whole show, omg. possibly number one. nfb, but open for phone calls, sure.]]
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