This Girl Is Taking Bets

Author: Minervacat
Fandom: Angel: the Series
Spoilers: Through "Not Fade Away" and heavily for the end of Season 4 and the series finale in S5.
Pairing: Wes/Lilah
Rating: R
Summary: she's the four minute warning, she is hell to pay
Author's notes: For Manda on her birthday. Happy (early) birthday, lovely. I couldn't ask for a better friend. ♥ Title, summary and section breaks from Thea Gilmore, "This Girl Is Taking Bets".

she's the ghost of a city, she's a body through the windscreen

Wesley knew from the beginning that there was no way this – any of this, his affair with Lilah, Angel Investigations, moving to Los Angeles – could end well. He had never lacked for self-awareness (at least, not after the Council had fired him, he hadn't) and he knew with the clarity of unmarked glass that everything he'd done would crash down around his ears without warning or notice.

Lilah was never the beginning of anything, but she was the middle and Wesley knew that she would be his ending, one way or another, whether she'd have to come back from hell to cause it or not.

Wesley knew that Lilah knew that all of this was a mistake he'd never meant to make, but Wesley was a good sport – he'd play it out to the end of the game, because that is what you did.

It all crashes down no matter how you play it, anyway.

this girl is a black eye, she's the bruise on your knee

The whole thing starts because Lilah is everything that Angel isn't – she's female, and forthcoming, and eminently present where Angel was distant and distracted. The fact that she works for a force that stands against everything Angel stands for is simply a bonus of the deal.

It continues because she isn't Fred. Where Fred is soft and comforting, Lilah is sharp angles and angry contention. Fred is a child. Lilah is a woman.

The trouble is that Lilah isn't woman enough, and no matter what Wesley does, there is always someone else at the back of his mind. He can't commit to anything one hundred percent, and everything he does with Lilah he doesn't do from sheer pleasure or sheer desire.

There are other forces at work from the start, ghosts in Wesley's mind that he can't shake, that make the whole thing less than it is, or maybe just less than it should be.

she's the ashes of the people you really meant to be

The whole thing ends because of Jasmine, because of the promise of something that he can't have in the end. Which is appropriate, Wes thinks, when he thinks about it at all. He tries not to think about it. About her.

He only thinks about Lilah, and what he did to her, with her, and what she did to him, in the dark, after midnight, with his eyes closed. It's like praying without religion, his hand wrapped around his cock and the overwhelming sensation building in his gut.

It leaves him feeling as unsatisfied as confession used to. At least when he was with her, there was something there. With Lilah gone, there's just a hole in his chest and an inability to really care about anything.

It isn't that he was in love with her, or even that he loved her – he didn't, either of them. But at least she made him feel something, even if it was shame and anger and lust.

That's better than having a hole in the middle of his chest, a gaping spot where his soul used to be.

she's the nametag on the toe of your long dead love affairs

The memories were in his mind even when the hundreds of thousands of others had been erased by Angel's careless care for his son. Wesley remembered her, even when he wasn't sure why he was supposed to remember her. Lilah is an imprint on the backs of his eyelids, a tangible but long faded memory that he can almost grasp.

Almost being the key word and the details of it all run through his fingers like sand when he tries to close his hands around them, around her.

Everything about Lilah is sepia toned and ancient in feeling if not years. It's a remote place, a place he can't return to, and the fall of the axe from his own hands sealed that fate.

It was fate, and their futures diverged and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Occasionally, when the memories flash to a place in the forefront of his mind, he wonders why he didn't try.

she's the four minute warning, she is hell to pay

Wesley believes in creating your own destiny – see also the entry for Demon Hunter, Rogue – but he knew that Wolfram and Hart will be the end of him, of all of them. It wouldn't be sudden, though he wouldn't put it past the Senior Partners to try and surprise them, and it wouldn't be soon after their acquisition, but it would be certain and devastating when it happened, the sort of accident that left no survivors and no evidence.

When Angel takes matters into his own hands, Eve and Lindsey wrapped around each other on the couch and the rest of their motley, slowly dying little band standing at his back, Wesley wishes suddenly and fiercely for Lilah. He hasn't thought of her in weeks, not since the memories he'd forgotten flooded back into his brain.

As though remembering her clearly erased her entirely – but standing in Angel's office, at the end of the world, he wishes desperately for her. Lilah escaped everything she could, everything except the inevitable, and when Wesley lies bleeding to death on the floor, he thinks that this time, she might have escaped even that.

She might have taken him with her if she did.

He almost loved her, after all.

this girl's a silhouette, can't you see

feedback always welcome.