Diamond Hard
Anne

 


Lilah Morgan was walking through the lobby of her firm. Well, maybe not hers exactly, but she was sure that it would be some day. If everything went according to her exquisitely worked out plan. And after the piece of information that she had received earlier, she could see herself moving one step further up. As long as Lindsey managed not to get sentimental and mess up her blueprint. This was so easy to do, even if she did say so herself. "Lee!" she called out to the suit ahead of her. "I've been looking for you." She looked at the eager to please under-secretary that was at her side, hanging onto her every word. Oh yes, she was making her way in this firm. Was that a junior partnership she could smell in the wind? Her mind, well trained from her Harvard days, carried on the conversation. "You call them back and tell them that's our drop-dead offer, and you make sure that they understand we mean literally not figuratively." She watched as the younger man nodded to her and scuttled away. She did a half step to catch up with one of her main challengers to that promotion. "How are you doing?"

"Good! You?"

"Great. I heard you came up with a good idea. How to deal with our friendly neighbourhood Vampire?" she noticed that he was surprised that she knew already, but concealed it well. The mask didn't stop her feeling smug though.

"No, I came up with a great idea. How do you find out these things so fast?"

"Part of my job." It was most definitely not part of her job, but inside these walls, you spent so much time watching your own back that you never had time to find out what every one else really did. "How did you find out there was a rogue Slayer in town?"

"Part of *my* job." Touché, thought Lilah, and allowed Lee a hint of a smile. "I've been reading, ah, the police reports. She's been a . . . busy little beaver."

"But you don't know where she is." This was her moment for the big finish. The one snippet of information that would assure her of a piece of the action.

"I will soon enough."

Lilah opened a folder teasingly. "I already do. Uh, I'll make the contact."

"I don't think so. It's my deal - I'll make the contact." Despite the determination in his voice, she knew that he was screwed unless he did this her way. If he didn't let her call the shots then she would go ahead and begin the project without him.

"Let me think about it...No."

"Why not?"

"It's your people skills - you don't have any."

"You bitch."

Lilah let out a throaty chuckle, knowing she had him in the palm of her hand. "See? If you behave I'll let you ride in the Limo." She walked a little ahead, smiling to herself at the thoughts that were no doubt going through his head.

******************

Later....

She was cursing the fact that she had not had time to change out of her work clothes before beginning her assignment. A perfectly tailored suit stood out in the nightclub she was in, and she still wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or not. She had memorised her target, and walked to the bar, knowing that it would give her the best view of the room. She had been studying Faith's profile, and suspected that in order to find her amongst the darkness and sweating bodies, a good view of the dance floor would be necessary.

She sipped delicately on her gin and tonic, every inch the lawyer on the prowl. The men instinctively kept away from her, and the women just watched in awe as she surveyed them with a well-trained cool eye.

"Hey." She hadn't noticed the brunette at her side, and jumped slightly when she realised that this was her target, and it had made the move on her rather than the other way round. She smiled to herself, thinking that if it was this easy then certain higher powers were involved. In her favour at that, and she could almost taste the promotion on her tongue.

"Hey." Her voice came out sultrier than she had intended, but judging by the way that the `rogue' Slayer was checking her out, she decided that it was not going to be a problem.

"Can I buy you a drink?" Lilah watched as Faith pulled a couple of twenties out of what was definitely a man's wallet.

"Gin and Tonic. Please." Well at least it would save her from having to fill out one of those company expense forms, and Lilah knew better than to search her conscience to see if she cared about the fact that the person who was really paying for the drinks was currently lying in intensive care. She watched as the Slayer handed over the cash, winked at the barmaid, and picked up the drinks. She was both ruthless and remorseless. Lilah liked this girl's attitude. She liked it a lot. She smiled as she took the drink from Faith, feeling the way that their fingers deliberately touched. This kid was playing her in a big way. And Lilah did not mind one iota. She enjoyed a challenge. "So are you new around here?"

"Yeah, just passing through yunno?" Faith shrugged off Lilah's question.

"Really?" It was more of a statement than a question. She knew better than to push a potential killer further than they wanted to go.

"Just looking for a good time," Faith said, seemingly to herself rather than to Lilah. She noticed the older woman had heard what she said, and came back into the game. She leaned forward slightly, so Lilah got a good view of her cleavage. "You wanna show me a good time?" she breathed into Lilah's face.

"What do you have in mind?" Lilah kept her tone even but looked Faith in the eyes, before her own travelled down to Faith's chest. That was what she was supposed to do. And if it meant getting her own way, then that is what she would do. Though, as she reached up to move a strand of hair from in front of her left eye, she had to concede that the view wasn't a bad one at all.

"Well, I'll skip the whole 'your place or mine' thing. Your place. You can show me what you do to earn those nice clothes of yours."

Lilah had to fight to stop herself pulling back slightly. Now she knew how the guys at work must feel about her. No wonder they made all those `pushy woman' comments. She watched as Faith knocked back her drink in one gulp. Deciding that she was not going to do the same, she took one final sip of her G&T and slipped off her stool. As she grabbed her purse and turned towards the door, she wasn't surprised as Faith put an arm around her waist. There was nothing warm in the touch, and Lilah felt more like it was a subtle warning for her to be a good girl. She sighed, knowing that a knife pressing into the side of her ribs would complete the picture. She just wanted to get out of there and into the Limo. The reasons why were something that she did not want to contemplate. Lilah knew that she didn't stand a chance against this woman and it left a bitter taste in her mouth that the twist of lemon in her drink only seemed to have made worse.

**********************

Lilah let out an involuntary shiver as they left the club and the cold air hit her. She noticed that Faith seemed to have no problem
with the cold and wondered whether it was a `Slayer' thing. She really should have done more research, but with the Grayson Project taking up all her time that afternoon, it hadn't been an option. She looked up and down for any sign of the Limo. Nothing. Then the sudden sound of her cell phone made them both jump. She snapped it open and moved away from Faith.

"Lilah Morgan."

"The engine's fallen out of the fucking Limo."

"Lee. This was not what I wanted to hear. That doesn't happen to our cars." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "Get yourself a fucking cab then."

"No can do Lilah. Don't seem to be carrying any cash." He sounded smug enough to make her slam the phone closed. She had a feeling that this was a definite case of payback, and being dead at the hands of a psychopathic Vampire Slayer really wasn't going to move her any further up the career ladder. She turned back to Faith with a bright smile. "Business," she said simply, waving the phone slightly as if to prove her point. "Now, where were we?"

"I guess we could go somewhere and talk, but I'm not much of a talker. I'm more of a doer." In a flash Lilah found a wire mesh
fence pressing into her back and a crazy looking girl in her face. She did something that Lilah Morgan never, ever did. She began to panic.

"I think you might have misunderstood my intentions."

"No, I think you misunderstood mine. I like that watch. Diamonds, right?"

"Faith." It slipped out before she knew it, and she silently prayed that it would go unnoticed. She saw the suspicion in Faith's eyes and knew there and then that the higher powers were most definitely not on her side. Too busy protecting Lindsey, she thought bitterly.

"How do you know my name? I don't think I told you."

"We are well aware of who you are - and what you do. We know you have been experiencing some - difficulties. We think we can help bring some order back to your life."

"We do, do we? Who is we, and why do they know me when I don't know Jack about you?"

"Green - is my favourite colour. I look good in diamonds - and I love riding in limousines. When they show up."

"You had a Limo booked for me?" Faith said with false sweetness. "Well, ain't that sweet. But it looks like you and me will
be doing a little walking while you tell me what this is all about. Because I want to know why a classy lady like yourself has a Limo for someone like me. Walk and talk, Lilah." The sarcasm dripped from her mouth as she pronounced the woman's name. She grabbed Lilah's arm and shoved it roughly behind her back as she began marching her away.

After about ten paces she stopped. "Urgh...where's your apartment?"

"Back the other way," said Lilah with a sigh. This was going to be a *very* long night. As they hit a more public road, Faith let go off her arm, but held her hand as they began to walk in the flow of the nightclub crowd. Lilah was surprised when she felt Faith's lips pressed hard against her cheek.

"Try anything sugar, and I'll rip your arm off," Faith breathed onto her face. Lilah couldn't help swallowing as she offered a jerky nod in response. "Oh, and with the whole bonding thing - I like black."

***********************

Lilah was shaking by the time she got to her apartment. The night watchman - she had to be very careful about security - noted the fact that she was with someone, but knew better than to ask questions. It was all part of his no-win situation. She fumbled around with the key for a few seconds before Faith lost her patience and snatched them off her, opened the door and shoved her inside.

Lilah felt just a fraction better when she noticed how Faith looked around the apartment. She guessed that she had never been in a place like this before, and when you are on the run from the law, a near penthouse suit with comfy leather couches and a bottle of good white wine chilling in the refrigerator was something that you take notice of. The way that Lilah saw it - it evened things up a little.

"Wine?"

"More of a beer drinker myself." She turned round and watched as Lilah opened the fridge door and tossed her a cold one, then pulled out a bottle of wine for herself. Faith snapped back the tap and took a long pull on the beer. "Do you wanna start talking at any point soon. Coz," she jiggled the can around, gauging how much was left in, "I figure you got about another two minutes before I run out of patience."

"Well, just before those two minutes are up I can toss you another one. Buy myself a little more time." She said it with a good-natured smile. She knew that Faith would hurt her if she wanted to, but not before she had all the information that she needed. So the way that things were looking for her right now, she reasoned that she might as well enjoy herself while it lasted. She knew enough about the girl to realise that if things went badly then she might be spending the next few weeks eating through a straw. If she was lucky.

"Ok then, a little background about me. I'm Lilah Morgan. You know that I like green. But I am also a lawyer for one of the bigger LA firms." She finished uncorking the bottle and opened a cupboard, reaching up for a glass. She knew that Faith was keeping a close eye on her. But at least she was giving her a chance to talk. "A felony arrest warrant from Sunnydale was issued in your name. " She took a sip of the wine, nodded to herself appreciatively, and walked over to her bureau. She pulled a photocopy out of the folder she had tossed there earlier, and handed it over to Faith. She felt a resurge of power as Faith flinched a little. Strike Two. She walked over to the couch and eased herself down. "Physical description is quite accurate. The photograph, however, is - not flattering." Faith looked up with a smirk on her face, the first sign of humour that Lilah had seen all night. "There is a lot of personal stuff that is of no interest to me, but what they do fail to mention is that you are a Slayer. Which is why I came to that club tonight to find you. Being a Vampire Slayer is something which we may have a lot of use for in our firm. It is the very trait that we found so appealing."

She watched as Faith tossed the photocopy onto the counter and walked over to the fridge, helping herself to another beer. Lilah took that as a good sign. Faith might take a lot of winning over, but she was coming round slowly. "You have a problem. We have a problem. A colleague of mine just had a perfectly good murder case go up in smoke, not that I mind because he seems to be, well, a complete bastard, but it doesn't look good for the firm. And as we seem to be so closely associated with each other, for some reason it doesn't reflect well on me either. So we need a little problem out of the way and you seem to - have a certain expertise in that area. So to make a long story - less long - I think if a service is rendered - we can get you off."

She paused as Faith knelt down in front of the couch, one eyebrow quirked. "You don't know how many women have promised me that."

"I'm certain you won't be disappointed in our performance." Lilah leant forward, and replied in the same husky tone that Faith had used. She was beginning to get a feel for the girl and what she responded to. And, forgive her, she wanted to get out of this alive *and* a winner. Faith unconsciously ran her tongue over her lips and then stood back up, folding her arms across her chest.

"Who am I supposed to kill?"

"Please understand that we would never advocate the killing of another human being," Lilah toed the company line, "His name is
Angel. - He's somewhat of a private..."

"No problem."

"Don't you want to know anything more?" Lilah stared at Faith shocked that she had answered so quickly. She looked into her eyes and noticed that the hard ruthless look was back there with a vengeance. Lilah suspected that somehow Faith had crossed paths with Angel before. This wasn't just business, it was payback. Which was fine with her, it made the whole thing taste sweeter. And increased the chance of success.

"Yeah." Faith moved back to her position in front of Lilah, bending over her and placing a hand on her knee, her little finger somehow making its way slightly under the hem of Lilah's skirt. "Besides getting me off," the voice was husky yet again, "how much are you going to pay?"

"It might behove you to know more about your intended. So, before we discuss remuneration..."

"Huh?" Note to self, avoid using big words.

"Payment. I want to make sure you understand that this firm is in no way connected to anything you do. You see, it's my ass on the line here. I was the one making the connection with you, and our little group has had enough fuck-ups in the last few months thanks to Angel. I'm not looking to add another to the list. You see, I don't want you to make me look bad." The next thing Lilah knew, Faith's face was up close to her own, and the hand that was suddenly on her shoulder was biting into her hand. She winced.

"Do you know how I could make you look? Bad enough so that no one will want to touch your pretty little face again. I can do the job. I *don't* fuck things up. You got that?"

"Dinner?" was Lilah's feeble response. She let out a breath as Faith took another hard look at her and then stood back up straight.

"Now we're talking."

***********

While she began preparing dinner, Lilah silently prayed that either Lee or Lindsey would call her. At least to see if she was alive and not the Slayer's latest conquest. Maybe conquest was the wrong word. She glanced up to where Faith was sitting on the counter, watching everything that she did, and decided that it might not be the wrong term after all. As she put the brioche on the plates, she debated whether it would be a bad idea anyway. Faith might give her the best time of her life, but it was against company policy to sleep with the hired members of the firm. And company policy was something that she really didn't want to go against. She licked a trace of food off her fingers and wondered whether it could be classed as in the line of duty.

Shaking her head, wondering why on earth she was even thinking such a thing, she grabbed a plate and handed it to Faith, who looked at it suspiciously. Lilah suspected that it was the fear of any food that didn't come in a carton of some kind. Sighing, she made her way into the dining area, and Faith followed, picking at the food on her plate with her fingers. Lilah sighed to herself for what must be the hundredth time that evening. Why did she have to work with these kinds of people? The kind whose idea of a conversation is to punctuate the other person's talk with a grunt, and have no idea how to use cutlery. She looked up. And try to eat an entire meal in one mouthful, she thought, as she rolled her eyes.

******************

"So, where's the bedroom?"

"Huh?" Lilah rarely, if ever, used the 'huh' sound, but this seemed like an exception.

"You heard me. C'mon, you're not telling me that this whole thing was strictly business are you?"

"Well, that was my intention."

"Oh really." Faith looked her up and down, slowly, her eyes resting in all the right places until Lilah felt herself blush and cursed
herself for doing so. As she glanced up, Faith let out a deep, throaty chuckle. "I can see it in your eyes." Faith reached down and grabbed Lilah's hand, pulling her off the couch. She put her hands on the woman's hips to stop her moving away, and pressed her advantage. "Whenever I get in a good kill," Faith said with relish, "It makes me really horny yunno?" Lilah seemed to have a constant need to swallow and had to keep reminding herself that if the worst came to the worst, she could always lie back and think of Wolfram and Hart. "And my guess is, you got to me before your little team of suits did. That means when I dust Angel, you win. What is it Lilah? A better way to the top than sleeping your way up?" Without warning, Faith leant in and nipped Lilah's earlobe, making her jump and tense involuntarily. She started shaking a little when Faith didn't move herself away, but began whispering in her ear. "How does victory make you feel Lilah? Does it make you feel like I do when I kill things? Does it makes you itch for some action? Coz I could scratch that itch for you..." Her voice trailed off as she scraped her teeth lightly down the length of Lilah's neck. Lilah could feel her head tipping back just as Faith pulled away again. She felt Faith
take her hand and lead her to the bedroom, her legs walking like they had a mind of their own. As Faith shut the door behind them, she pulled Lilah towards her roughly. "Oh, and Lilah?" She leant forward and brushed her lips against the lawyer's. "Try not to forget the safety word."