Title: To the Baba Yagas
Pairing: Fred Burkle/Lilah Morgan
Summary: I would offer a mouthful of roses for every dead incisor.
Notes: Set after 5.15.
and what's more--spared.
When Fred died, she felt it like a snap, like she was a twig in a fire. It felt like her body was cracking open like a pistachio and she was being swallowed whole, leaving the shell behind to be swept away.
And then it stopped, and she was panting, naked, in the middle of an elaborate Persian rug. The threads caught under her fingernails as she scrabbled for a frantic moment, shivering and terrified. She breathed in gulping sobs, finally biting her lip, willing her lungs to still.
Fred looked up, and Lilah uncrossed her legs and pushed away from the wall.
"Good, you're here." Lilah's gaze flicked over Fred's face, her breasts, her ankles. "HR said they weren't sure if they caught your soul in time."
Fred swallowed, her throat dry. "Caught my soul?"
"Before it was consumed by the fires of Hell," Lilah replied. "They're always so dramatic."
"Right." Fred curled, wrapped her arms around her knees. "I died."
"A lot," Lilah said. "Thank god," she smirked, "or whatever, your contract included a subclause on providing a new body. Otherwise I'd have to keep you in a jar."
"Though the outfit would probably work for you," Lilah continued. "Are you going to stand up, or do you plan to huddle naked in a fetal position for the rest of eternity?"
Her new lab was exactly the same as the old one, except backwards. And empty. Fred walked down the stairs, her robe trailing behind her on the steps. "Where are we?" she asked.
Lilah settled onto the counter, next to the microscope. "Arden."
"Like, in England?"
"Trust me, that's actually hilarious," Lilah replied. She crossed her legs, the silk of her stockings slithering loudly in the silence. "What else do you need?"
Fred bit her lip. "I could do for some tacos," she said. "And underwear."
Lilah tilted her head. "And?"
"And what happened to Wesley? And everybody?" Fred pulled her robe more tightly across her chest. "Are they okay?"
"Relatively." Something like sympathy flickered over Lilah's face. "Don't try to find out." She stepped forward, caught the edges of Fred's sleeves in her fingers. "Not yet."
Fred raised her chin, watched Lilah glance at her lips. "Or what?"
"Trust me," Lilah responded, and then she dipped her head, brushed their lips together once, then again, drawing deeply. Fred leaned forward, and Lilah's hands slipped inside her sleeves, trailing heat against her skin.
When Lilah broke away, Fred caught a whimper behind her teeth. "Why would I trust you?" she managed.
Lilah smiled and tugged Fred's robe down, and it pooled like ink on the tiled floor.
Fred woke in a bedroom that was like hers, but not. The walls were the same, and the window, but the furniture was sleek and chic, and also Lilah Morgan was naked in her bed. Fred blinked, and then memory rushed back, the agony of death and the sting of resurrection.
Fred moaned, disentangling her legs from Lilah's and shrinking back in a shudder.
Lilah stirred, her palm sliding across Fred's belly as she opened her eyes. She eyed Fred's misery for a moment, then she studiously looked away, stretching.
"Who says there's no rest for the wicked?" Lilah said, her tone so droll that pique surged in Fred's throat, drowning the panic, and she sat up, irritated.
"I'm not evil," she protested.
Lilah rolled onto her side, propping her chin against her hand. The scarf twined around her neck was a splash of vermilion, startling. "No. You just work for us."
Fred looked away.
"And you're alive. Well, technically undead." Lilah rolled onto her stomach, and Fred looked sidelong, watching the slow flex of her muscles. "And you've got a new body to break in."
Fred fell back onto the mattress, very aware of the pleasantly sore ache in her thighs and...elsewhere. "I died yesterday," she said, to say it out loud. "I'm dead."
"Undead," Lilah emphasized.
Fred looked at her, and tried to do it without expression. "And it's just been wonderful for you?"
"Of course." Lilah didn't smile as she caught a lock of Fred's hair in her hand, twining it around her palm, tugging Fred close for a kiss. Fred sighed into her mouth, and Lilah nipped her bottom lip. "It gets better," she murmured.
"Liar," Fred whispered.
Lilah grinned then. "And proud." Then her thigh nudged just right, and Fred saved the rest of her protests for later.
A/N: Title, summary, and heading adapted from Amy E. Parker's Rapture at 24th and Guadelupe. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.