Author: YamiPaladinofChaos PM
[Post Not Fade Away] The curtain falls, because it always does.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Words: 8,060 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-11-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2130813
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer- I don't own Angel the Series or anything within the Buffyverse.
AN: My first Angel fic. I know there are hundreds of these, but what's one more? My reasons? Well, I'd like to say that I was doing this for those of us who really wanted to see those last moments of the Fang Gang (Angel Investigations, or whatever you like to call them) in that alley. Of course, I'd be lying through my teeth. In reality, I just wanted to write one hell of a fight scene, complete with mind numbing violence! Somehow though, it ended up being longer than I intended though.
Oh, and the innumerable horde of horrific, terrifying, and utterly incomprehensible demons, dragons, ogres, all monsters from every single nightmare, fantasy, novel, or legend was hellbent on reaching these four individuals within an alley.
The night was black, and the rain hard and fast, like the tears of heaven for these four souls that now stood steadfast against impossible odds that no one could have ever imagined. The rain drenched them, covering them with wetness that numbed and froze, but not faster than the fear that they (or at least three of them) fought to contain. Rain that came down as fast and furious as the fight that would come would be.
No light shined on these four. No last minute cavalry, no more heroics, no deus ex machina, no more hope. All there was, all they had now was battle. They would fight to the bitter end, not to for the future, for sunshine and puppies and white picket fences, but to tell the Senior Partners, to tell Evil, to go to Hell. This fight, this entire strike at the Circle of the Black Thorn was all about one thing. Showing Evil that it didn't control free will.
The Senior Partners held the world with evil. Power would always be there. Corruption would always be there. Evil would always be there. But so would good. Free Will was all they had. Choice.
They chose to fight.
A street kid turned muscle for a detective agency turned lawyer. An ancient demon that had walked the earth when these demons would have trembled at her name, when the earth was nothing more than one of her playthings, to be commanded and ruled. Two ensouled vampires, each of them infamous in both sides of Good and Evil, Light and Dark, who had loved and lost the same girl, a girl who was supposed to be their mortal enemy, and the two of them who had never seen eye to eye, never in agreement, were now allies.
Charles Gunn stands, unwilling to show any weakness to his enemies, holding his axe firmly. Of course, he also wanted to prove himself worthy to stand next to one of the most powerful demons that ever existed, and two of the most infamous vampires that ever lived. He never thought his life would have gone the way it did, but Angel changed his life. Everyone did. Yet here he was, ending his life the way he knew it would. Against impossible odds, fighting a fight that might not make a difference for the world, but it was the fight that would make all the difference.
Illyria stands next to these half-breeds and monkeys, feeling nothing except two things. Grief for Wesley. And a desire to kill these lower beings because she felt grief for Wesley. She did not understand these feelings, did not understand what was happening, so she turned to her most basic comfort when things like this happened. She would kill. She was unarmed, but she was more than capable. As an Old One, as the ancient race of pure demons, she had been the god-king, had been supreme ruler, had walked worlds and traveled universes. Nothing mattered to her, nothing was a threat. The world was hers. And now it wasn't. But now these matters that troubled her were gone, replaced with a lust for battle she always hid beneath the impenetrable mask of power…
Spike stands next to his grandsire, looking strong and eager, despite his wounds, holding his sword, knowing that this was how he pictured himself dying. Crimson blood rained from his cheeks, unshed tears for the love he lost and died for. A love that was never meant to be. It would never be, after this. Maybe not the company, to be sure, but the exit was definitely one he had seen himself going, especially back down in the Hellmouth. He sure as hell never thought he and Angel, of all people, would fight side by side, against a horde of demons. But, that's the way life goes.
Angel stands firm, fighting the numbing feelings, hoping it's the rain, knowing its fear, holding his sword, feeling the power of Wolfram & Hart rushing through his veins thanks to Hamilton, knowing that this was how he wanted it. No business decisions, no having to compromise and be sneaky, just a fight, a sword, and demons to kill. Too late to give in, to back down. He made the power play, he made the choice, and he made the call. They all did. Now the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart, were pissed off, and going to collect their payback in spades.
None of them were walking away from this fight. The Senior Partners would make sure of that.
Why did he lead them into this mess? Why did he lead the people he loved (plus Spike and Illyria) into a hopeless fight? Why? What was the point?
They would all be dead tomorrow, and the world might not have changed.
But it might have.
Was that enough? Was it enough to die so that there would be a chance that the thousand year old apocalypse, the fact that Hell is on Earth, that the world is slowing spiraling into oblivion thanks to entropy, might not be fact, that there might be a chance to change things?
Could he die with a clean conscience, knowing that Evil still existed?
But, like he told all of them once, Evil isn't there to be destroyed. It's there to be fought.
And now, now was the time to fight, because there would be no tomorrow. No dawn for them.
"Lets get to work."
The second those four words had left Angel's mouth, all Hell broke loose. Not the fire and brimstone kind.
Angel was first, feeling the power of his archenemy rushing through his veins, his sword swung in a head level arc with impossible speed. First blood had been spilled. A lot of it.
This was thanks to the fact that Angel's swing decapitated three demons in one go, sending their heads flying and their blood splattering everywhere like a fountain had exploded.
Illyria had the next kills, all of her confusion and grief flew forward with her fist, collapsing the chest cavity of one demon, and sending his flying bits of bone and flesh into others, blinding them.
Spike rushed headlong against a much larger demon, which looked like the love child of a troll and a dragon. The creature swung towards his head, its spiked fist intent on crushing the blonde vampire, when Spike leapt over it, and stabbed the creature in the eye. As the demon, on instinct, slapped towards its head, Spike back-flipped over, and the demon crushed its own head.
Gunn, weakened by the gaping hole in his stomach, smashed the face of a demon that looked remarkably like an orc. Before he had time to make a comment, another orc leapt forward, its curved blade raised. Gunny smashed his axe into its gut, and kicked it back, before wincing as more blood flooded through his shirt. Ten minutes. It's going to be the longest ten minutes of my life.
Spike v-stepped aside a thrust from a spiky armored demon's claws, and hacked its head off.
Illyria demolished one demon's skull with her fist, before destroying another demon with her foot, sending it straight through the demon before it's organs liquefied with the force of her kick.
Angel smashed the face in of one demon with his sword, intent on reaching that dragon. As he hacked through the demon horde like a gardener hacks through the weeds, he pictured his life as a child. As Liam. Back then, he had always dreamed secretly of being a knight, of slaying the dragon. It looked like he would get his chance.
The dragon swooped down, and Angel took his chance. Leaping into the air, he landed on its back. An impossible feat, even for vampires, and he did it anyway.
Angel stabbed the carapace of the dragon, and found his sword puncturing not as deeply as he thought. The dragon still screeched in agony, and threw its body forward.
Somehow, despite the insanity of the situation, Angel found that he was thinking that Lindsey would have been amused to see Angel riding on top of a dragon in the way that rodeo cowboys rode on bulls.
However, he found a matching prey in the gigantic centaur like demon that was now charging him. Nearly taller than both buildings that made the walls of the alley, it promised Spike a fight he wouldn't soon forget.
A promise that he would love to take it up on.
Spike kicked off of one of the walls, like that movie, the Matter or whatever it was, he saw, and slashed the haunch of the centaur. It screamed in protest, like Spike's body. It turned to strike him with its fist, and he leapt backwards, avoiding the blow, and then slashing the fist.
He grinned as the centaur screamed in agony, which turned to surprise and shock as the other fist crashed into his ribcage, sending him flying into a wall, and then scattering the bricks that had turned loose by his impact. He landed amidst the bricks, most of his internal organs heavily damaged by the impact and the fact that a few of his ribs had probably punctured them. "Feels like my bloody guts are gone. Good thing I don't need 'em." Spike spat through the blood that flowed freely out of his mouth, before running towards the centaur again.
Gunn ducked another blow from an orc, and hacked its head off. Before he could spin around and block the next strike, it slashed his shoulder down to the bone.
Gasping in agony, he punched the demon's face in and hacked into its chest. Before he had time to pull his axe free, another demon charged him.
Gunny spun around, punching the demon in the chest. It doubled over, and Gunny kneed its face in. Pulling his axe free, he spun with the moment and on his returned spin, hacked the demon's head off.
Does any of this matter? The question kept popping in his mind, but the words he heard earlier affirmed what he should do. Just keep doing what you're doing, even if it might not matter. In the end, maybe it will matter. Maybe evil could be stopped just for a moment, maybe that was enough for him.
He gasped again as the blood continued to flow like a crimson river with his stomach as its mouth, feeling his internal organs begin to feel air on them, burning with a new sensation that was definitely unnatural. That was definitely an experience he remembered.
As the tide of memories from the nightmarish time he spent in the Wolfram & Hart's holding cell, having his heart cut out of him every day, spending all other moments with that pseudo family he knew wasn't real, but played along with anyway.
He was cut from the memories when the loud clangs of metal, which was his axe against the sword of another demon. The demon grinned at him with tusks, and held his black katana in front of him. It wore no armor, and its naked body was crisscrossed with scars, but one look at the knotted muscles underneath showed that he didn't want to see the other guy. It looked at him challengingly through its crimson eyes.
Gunn nodded slightly, recognizing a kindred fighter in this demon. The demon let out a guttural bark, and the other demons backed off, heading after Angel, Spike, and Illyria.
The demon nodded once, a formal enough bow for this demon, before letting out a guttural roar and charging right for Charles Gunn.
Without stopping, she demolished two more demons simultaneously by punching through their chests. Their blood and bone and guts splattered onto the former god-king, soaking her already soaked leather and body, yet nothing happened to her, not on the inside.
She felt nothing.
She felt numb.
Why didn't the violence stop her pain, stop this numbness? Working off her anger and frustration on subordinates had once worked, so why didn't this grief go away?
Every time the grief surfaced, her confusion grew. With her confusion, grew her pain. Her misery. Her torment. For the first time in her eon spanning existence, which spread throughout hundreds of worlds, she felt pain like no other. And with this pain, she took part in more violence to do away with it. Each time she did violence, she felt only more confusion, so she did more violence. A cycle of death that would never stop, whose constant loop would result in the deaths of hundreds of demons before the next hour was done.
She wished her older powers were back, wished that she could have saved Wesley. Maybe he could have understood her grief. He grieved for Fred, did he not?
And yet he was the cause of her grief.
The man she first met, angry with her for taking away the creature whose body she inhabited. This… Fred. He loved her.
She wanted him as a guide, and he led her through the world. She found herself fond of him. Not as she was fond of a particular servant, but fond as if he was… a comrade? An ally?
She wanted those feelings gone. They weakened her.
And yet here and now, without many of her previous powers and strength and speed, she felt strong, because she had something new.
A reason to fight, to fight on, to kill, to break, to smash, to make trophies of spines and turn eyeballs to their owners heads, to break bodies apart and let the blood rain and anoint her.
Because this is what Wesley died for. She would fight because of him, for him. Because he couldn't fight. She would fight in his place and take his part in a battle that she could have walked away from.
But she wouldn't. She wouldn't have even if she wanted to. She couldn't.
The Wolf, Ram, and Hart were once fearful of her, her minor annoyances, things that did not even matter, things that she would not have spared more than an instant to think about. Now they ruled her world, the world she once had.
They had supplicated her.
Such an insult would not go unpunished.
And yet, she couldn't have touched them with her body. Without her armies, without their belief and without their might behind her, the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart were stronger now.
She could not destroy them for their insult.
But she could hurt them. She stayed because one day, she could take back the power they stole from her, the world they took from her. She could take their plans apart, unravel their plans and destroy their servants. Without servants, even the mightiest ruler is not all-powerful. She had learned that lesson quite well.
She continued on her path of violence, fighting to harm those who had taken what was hers, and for Wesley.
Finally, Angel, angry and frustrated, slashed once more, but this time, after so many blows, the dragon screeched, and black blood flowed freely from a major wound, the carapace cracked and broken after multiple hammering blows. The dragon's movements slowed.
Angel saw that the wildly thrashing head was finally slowing, and he took his chance. Taking his sword, he struck. Right into the center of its head, he struck with everything he had.
With the waning force of the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart in his veins, amplifying his own demonic strength, it was more than enough. Echoing Illyria's takedown of the Reality Mage Vail, the dragon's head shattered, scattering blood, bone, and brains everywhere.
Angel realized that this might not have been the smartest move as the dragon dropped from the sky, like a cartoon weight.
Luckily, the dragon's body took most of the impact, landing on top of several very surprised demons that had swarmed after Illyria.
Even if Angel had survived such a fall (and he had survived worse, remembering Illyria throwing him out a God-knows how high story window), those demons would have killed him.
The horde surged after him once more, and Angel made a quick, hopefully not his last breath of air, knowing it might be his final breath. He tasted the night air again, filled with blood and death and destruction and rain, and savored it.
Then he ran headlong into the murderous horde.
But the bloody wanker wouldn't die. He leapt off of its back again before it could hit him again, before even more of his organs could be torn apart by his ribs. Most of them were probably shredded as it was, with his constant leaping around and stuff.
He ducked a second blow, and danced backwards, out of reach.
For not the first time today, he wondered why the bloody hell he was doing this. He could easily hop across the pond, find the Slayer and the Bit, even that ponce, Andrew.
Why was he fighting alongside Angel, of all people?
He hated Angel, for the longest time. Two hundred or so years of hatred is hard to get over, but they had become… friends was a little extreme. Comrades.
He hated Angel because of many things. One of the first and foremost, most recent, was that Angel and Buffy had had something. Something he and Buffy never had.
Angel, Angelus had always been better. Smarter, crueler, far better at the evil plan bit than him. Angelus was stronger, and Angelus made Spike in his image. Spike wanted to be like him, to become like him, and replace him.
But he never could. Maybe that's why Dru didn't stay with him forever, why Buffy never loved him. He tried to be Angel, tried to help out, but it wasn't him. He got the soul, for Buffy. Angel didn't. They were too damn different.
Spike would never be like Angel, and Buffy could never love him the way she loved Angel. But maybe she could have loved him in another way. Spike wondered if she had already.
So here he was, fighting alongside Angel because living here, living alongside the evil of Wolfram & Hart had made him fight for a different cause. Not to impress Buffy or to protect the Bit, but simply because it was right.
And yet he held a tiny wisp of regret for not saying something to any of them, to the Sunnydale gang, the Scoobies, about his little return from ghosty land.
He missed them, as strange as it seemed. Not just Buffy and the Bit, but all of them. Even Andrew. Not that he would ever tell the little bastard that.
Still, he didn't want to. Buffy didn't need a vampire hopelessly in love with her, a love she didn't return. Oh she said it alright, but she said it because Spike had longed for those words. She knew that his death would pass easier if he at least heard those words.
Their relationship had been strange. Abusive, painful, tormenting, a crucible of all of this mixed with confused feelings of love and lust, hate and love, love and loathing. She slept with him to feel, he slept with her because he wanted her. He knew she was using him, yet every time she came back, he could not refuse her. He asked her to say she loved him, but to no avail. He stopped trying. She drove him mad with love, made him feel something in that void where his soul was, forcing him to get a soul back and feel more pain, anguish, torment. All because he loved her.
She didn't love him. Maybe if they had had more time, but not now. And unless the Powers that Bloody Be decide to bring him back, again, they would never have that chance.
He wasn't Buffy. He didn't have a friend who was the most powerful wicca, well, ever, he didn't have family or friends to want to bring him back. He had nothing. He wouldn't be coming back, not this time. He'd never survive tonight.
Still, he would make tonight the best damn brawl he ever had, he thought as he leapt for the centaur, and, in a flying leap and defiance of the laws of physics, slashed its head off as he flew on by.
The demon blocked with his katana, before kicking Gunn directly in his wound, causing a sickly wet popping sound when his foot got free.
Gunn cried out in pain, stumbling back a few steps, when the demon came at him again, slashing with his katana upwards. Gunn managed a weak block, causing him to stumble black further. The demon slashed again and again, with Gunn only offering weak blocks each time, nearly losing his grip on the now slippery axe handle, slippery with rain and blood and whatever bodily fluids the other demons had.
Finally, the demon seemed bored and slashed hard with a horizontal blow, straight for the hilt of the axe. It nearly cleaved it in half, and sent the axe flying, where it hit the wall with a loud metal clang.
The demon looked at him disdainfully, and then punched him in the head.
Gunn toppled over, feeling weak and lightheaded. He was dying. This demon would kill him.
As it raised his katana, Gunn felt a surge. He remembered that the others were still fighting. He wouldn't give up! Lashing out with his foot, he smashed in the demon's kneecap, or whatever it had, and caused it to grunt in pain. It didn't fall over, but it was in pain, and Gunn used that to his advantage.
Rolling, he grabbed his axe. Although its hilt had nearly been shorn in two, it was still usable. Grasping it tightly, he looked at the demon and a smirk worked its way across his features. "Round two."
The demon grinned, it seemed, satisfied that his opponent might be stronger than he thought. Raising the sword, he slashed again, the quick katana threatening to cut the young man to pieces.
Gunn sidestepped and rammed the axe head towards the demon's gut, but it leapt back, easily avoiding the blow. It came at him again, slashing again and again, each time threatening to cleave the dying Charles Gunn into pieces.
This time, Gunn struck back with everything he had, smashing the katana back with all the strength he had. Ignoring the blood that flowed freely from his gut, he struck with burning fervor.
The demon seemed surprised by such strength, and began losing ground. Finally, Gunn saw his chance. He smashed the katana thrust downwards with everything he had, and the demon stumbled forward. Without missing a beat and with a speed that defied that of a dying man, he kneed the demon in the face.
As blood flowed from the demon's face, it dropped the katana and a second later, its head join it on the floor, courtesy of Gunn's axe.
Charles Gunn smiled as he leaned against the wall. His axe dropped to the floor, its former wielder too tired to hold it any more, too far gone.
He didn't scream when the demons swarmed in on him.
He smashed, hacked, slashed, cleaved, broke, and did as much damage as possible, trying to get to Gunn's body before more damage could be done. Just then, two demons next to him went flying. Standing there, looking as tired and beaten as Spike felt, was his grandsire. Angel.
"Where are the others?" Angel asked, knocking one demon down.
Spike didn't reply at first, kicking one demon in the gut and then smashing his sword down onto its head. "Gunn's dead." Spike said bitterly. "I don't know where Blue is."
Their question was answered as said Old One sent more demons flying into the air. "Charles is dead." She said simply. "He lasted more than ten minutes."
"Yeah." Spike replied, kicking in the head of another demon.
"I wish to more violence still. Why do I feel pain at his death? I am not wounded." Illyria asked as she sent two more demons back to the underworld, sans physical bodies.
"Its called grief, Blue." Spike said simply, blocking one blow from a demon while taking another to the shoulder. He winced, and said, "It's a human thing."
"But you are not human." Illyria countered as she took out the demon that had wounded spike.
"But we feel. Feelings are what make us human, what make us people." Angel gritted out, holding two demon swords back with his one.
"I am not a weak primitive. I am Illyria." She said imperiously, "And yet…" She added, her tone of superiority gone for a moment, "I feel things I have never felt before. They make me hurt, and make me want to inflict more pain."
"Good then. We all need to inflict a little more pain, for Charlie boy." Spike quipped, before the tide of demons separated our remaining three heroes once more.
Actually, they just might have.
At least most of these demons were pushovers, Spike thought to himself, unlike those Uber vamps back up at the Hellmouth. But there were an endless army of them, and this time, Spike didn't have a mystical amulet to take them out. Just a sword.
But that was way better than any amulet, Spike thought to himself as he smashed one more face in…
Then more swarmed in. After that, even more, like ants after a piece of meat.
Spike spun in a circle, slashing outwards in an arc of death. Blood sprayed around him, but he didn't stop. To stop would be to die. One of their numbers lashed forward with a spear.
Spike grabbed it, and pulled forward, impaling the demon on his sword, before kicking out, sending it crashing back into the mob.
With a new weapon in hand, Spike continued his fight, hacking and slashing with his sword and thrusting and stabbing with his spear.
One demon lashed out and knocked his sword from his hands. A moment later, the demon found a wicked looking spear impaled into his gut.
Kicking his spear free, he blocked another blow, while kicking backwards, sending another demon back into the mob. Knowing that he needed room, Spike imitated another move from that movie he saw. Stabbing the spear into the ground, he used it to kick one of the demons in the chest, and began spinning himself in an circular motion, while still suspended in midair, defying gravity by using each demon as more leverage, each one buying him more time to defy gravity and continuously kick outwards.
Demon after demon was thrown back, had their heads kicked in, had their chests damaged and broken, had their limbs shattered by the force of Spike's kicks.
Finally, Spike could no longer perform the move, and toppled back to the ground, stumbling for a moment, before getting hit in the stomach as a demon charged him with a spiked shoulder, and with a perfect spear tackle, sent William the Bloody into a wall.
Spike managed to keep a hold of his spear, and broke it over the demon's head. The demon toppled down, and more surged forward.
Using the two broken halves of his spear, Spike fought on, stabbing with the pointed half and using the other as a cudgel, eventually breaking it on the particularly hard head of a flat-headed demon.
He ran that one through, but another smashed his face in, breaking his nose and sending him flying, dropping the pointed half of the spear, and straight back against the wall. The indiscriminate tide of bodies rose again, ready to smash him into oblivion.
It's like fighting the bloody ocean! Spike thought to himself as he punched and kicked back every demon that came in range.
But then one got a claw on his shoulder and shoved him back, and another hit him in the stomach, and another punched him in the face, and another slashed his shoulder…
And suddenly Spike was surrounded, back to a wall, demons hacking into every piece of him as he smashed their faces in, broke them, and still more kept coming.
And suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his chest and knew he was done for. Spike felt pain ripple through his body, causing his kind's natural reaction, a reaction he had seen hundreds of times but never felt. Even being set on fire was different than this. He felt his body disintegrate, looking into the eyes of his destroyer, a pale demon with cruel looking armor and a stake, which was currently lodged deep within his chest. "Bugger."
He felt unimaginable pain rip through him, along with unimaginable numbness. He could taste his mouth disintegrating into ash before his tounge went away too. He felt his fingers, every part of his body disintegrate in slow motion it seemed, every organ turning to dust, every bone becoming brittle and then dissipating into dust, then his sight went, his eyes going into dust as well.
As he felt himself die again, he knew that he had given it his all. He was satisfied.
Can't top an exit like this either…
The Old One felt more pain. Spike had been different than the others. Where the others followed Angel willingly and loyally, Spike was rebellious, the outsider, the loner.
Where the others feared her, Spike had challenged her, defied her. Even Wesley did not do such a thing. Spike understood the most that Illyria was there, and that Fred was gone. He had no qualms about hitting her, he had said. And he didn't.
She had considered him amusing, like a jester in court. When she hit him, he got up and challenged her again. He had an unbreakable will. His quips were annoying and his humor insulting at times, but only he and Wesley ever truly understood her.
If Wesley might have the honor of being her friend, Spike deserved such honor as well.
And now the two people she considered friends were gone. Gone thanks to the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart.
She would make them pay.
Angel felt it, somehow. His grandchilde was dead. Spike, that annoying bastard, that constant in his universe, one of the few people who understood his torment, was gone.
And now it was just down to him and Illyria.
Angel didn't know how much longer he would last, either.
The strength in his veins, strength stolen from Hamilton, from the Senior Partners, was almost gone. He had lost almost all of the enhanced abilities, and all of his regular vampire strength, stamina, and speed were pretty much shot. All that really held him together was the strength of his mortal enemies.
But what kept him in the fight had not waned one bit.
The fire in him, that Lindsey thought was gone, that Spike had said was corrupted by Wolfram and Hart, that… Cordelia, God rest her soul, had said the same, was back and burning hotter than ever.
Even if his immortal body gave out, his spirit would not.
He would not quit, even when his body was dust.
Yet a part of him commented bitterly, Sixth soldier down…
First Doyle, that cocky man with his Irish accent and cowardly act, but a true hero in the end. He died so Angel could keep fighting.
Then Cordelia, some higher power who used her, who raped her of her sunny, youthful spirit, who took over her body and left her for dead, who used her as a conduit to take over the world. She used her last breath and her last favor with the God damned Powers that Be, to put him on the right track, to put him here. Killing the Circle of the Black Thorn.
Then Fred. Sweet, sunny Fred. Cordelia and Fred. His twin rays of sunshine in that world of his that was supposed to constantly be in the darkness. They were gone, and he had been left in the dark. He should never have taken her back, never have brought her to this terrible world. Just like Cordy, she was killed from the inside by a greater entity. But this time, an Old One, the ancient race of demons. He failed her; he didn't save her because if he did, he would have killed thousands. Fred would never have accepted her life if he did that for her.
Then Wesley. Wesley, the bookish, nervous young man. Wesley the determined, hardened man who became distant. Wesley lasted the longest with him. Of all those he knew, Wesley had fought the longest. And Angel had killed him, sent him against a mage twice as powerful and hundreds of years older. He should have known that Vail would have been too much for Wesley. Wesley who had loved Fred the greatest of any of the them, who was the one person on the team who could have been counted on to do something Angel always tried not to do. The toughest decisions rested on him. None of that had broken him, the torture Faith put him through, the times he betrayed Angel, the times when he was at odds with the entire team, when he shot his own father. But Illyria did. She destroyed Wesley, and left him broken. He had been mostly a shell, an unstable shell that was liable to break or explode at any moment. Without Fred, Wesley was the most lost of all.
Then Gunn. The troubled young man he met long ago, who helped him because he wanted to do some good, to fight the fight. Who was given a new purpose, a greater purpose. Who could turn that down? Angel had hunted for a purpose for so long, fighting the fight, helping the helpless. Take that away, and Angel was lost. He could never blame Gunn for wanting to keep the knowledge of the law, never blame him for signing a piece of paper that unknowingly killed Fred. Gunn who had been right there alongside him, fighting the fight, backing him. Gunn whose fighting spirit was perhaps the greatest of all of them.
And now, Spike. William. That timid poet who became vicious and bloodthirsty, because of him, no, because of Angelus. Angelus forced William to become Spike, to learn to want, take, have in order to win Drusilla. Angelus made Spike, taught him to be cruel and vicious, because what Spike said was true. He did want to know there were others like him, there were others as depraved as him. Spike who had been a bitter enemy, who turned out to be helpful in putting Angelus back when Angel lost his soul, who took Angel's place as the vampire ally in Sunnydale. Without a soul. Yet Spike fought for one anyway, he fought and nearly died for a soul that Angelus had to have forced on him. He stuck around in L.A., and once again, did what Angel had given up. He helped the helpless. He became a formidable ally, and a comrade. Spike proved himself different, maybe even better than Angel. And now, just like the others, he was dead.
Sixth soldier down…
She slaughtered, let blood flow like the rain above her, and numbness continued to settle over her. She just couldn't figure out why she felt so hurt. These demons did not have the power to touch her, to wound her, but the deaths of monkeys and half-breeds did.
Why was it so painful that in the space of a single rising and setting of the sun, Illyria, former god-king, she had lost three… people. Wesley. Gunn. Spike.
Why did it hurt?
What was the meaning of this emotion?
It is because I took a human host. Not only were my powers too great, but these emotions mixed in with my own, like ash mixing with water, dirtying it, making it impure.
And yet I felt fulfilled somehow, the same way I was fulfilled when I looked over my kingdoms, my world. Being near these inferiors gave me… pleasure.
And now Wolfram and Hart had taken something once more from her. She would make them bleed, as the demons that died before, because of her bled.
A gigantic, bloated creature rose up before her, a massive bulk. A one she recognized, with its pale yellow skin covering the bloated intestines and large bones, the thick feet to keep it steady, black teeth sharpened into daggers and covered in blood, claws as thick as swords, capable of shredding bodies instantly, with an eye that looked and gleamed like fire, standing as tall as both mortal walls. Illyria found it was one of an older race of demons that had existed in her time. Insignificant to an Old One, deadly to a mortal.
And Illyria was both now.
The creature roared, pulling back for a moment. Illyria remembered almost too late that it had one deadly power that made it a fearsome killer. She leapt aside as a torrent of black bile went forth from the mouth of the creature, burning and sizzling into its allies and the ground, turning them to a sludgy pulp that it enjoyed to eat.
Illyria lashed out with her foot, striking the heel of the creature with vicious precision. It screamed and turned, slashing at her. Illyria was not able to dodge in time, and it slashed in her stomach, revealing in gory slashes the organs within.
She growled and lashed out again, several more times, striking the demon with precision as it screamed and slashed back, forcing her to retreat, which was what it wanted. Once more, it spewed out the black acid from its innards that would boil Illyria down to nothing.
As the Old One avoided it once more, she remembered the demon's peculiar physiology, because it amused her once. The demon had a sack within itself to hold the acid, all other parts of its body would have been dissolved otherwise. And it was located in…
There. The gut. Illyria avoided another vicious cleaving blow and lashed forward with all her might, breaking the skin and entering its black gut, puncturing the bag where the acid was held. She grinned, but winced as the acid burned her, and she retreated her fist.
The demon screamed in agony, but still slashed at the distracted and still close Illyria, and the demon claws was able to rend her arm down to bone, causing her to scream in agony after it.
She glared at the demon with her unnatural cobalt eyes, holding her arm in pain. The bile began spilling into the street, burning the ground and sizzling in the rain.
The creature lunged once more for the Old One, hungry for more blood, and Illyria leapt aside, lashing out with her foot and breaking the wrist of the creature.
However, the creature, aided by the speed of its anger and pain, smashed the former god-king into the sky like a rocket taking flight, before she fell to the earth, stunned momentarily.
That moment cost her everything.
The creature opened its gigantic mouth, a hungry abyss with teeth and a tounge black as night. In one go, Illyria, former god-king of the universe, was swallowed whole.
Angel knew he could not defeat such a creature. If Illyria, as powerful as she was, could not do it, then he couldn't, not when the only thing keeping him standing was a wisp of Wolfram and Hart's power and a burning desire to fight. But the desire wasn't enough. The body cannot keep up with the immortal spirit.
And so, Angel weakly parried one blow, staggering back, his energy near spent, his body screaming at him to just lay down and die.
The creature that killed Illyria lumbered over, bleeding furiously but miraculously still standing, looking at angel with a predatory smirk and a deadly glint.
And then it exploded.
Or at least that's what it looked like to Angel, when Illyria stumbled out of the massive hole she punctured in the demon, who looked at her in shock as its lifeblood, organs, and the rain mixed together in a bloody mosaic.
The former-god king stepped out, bloody and naked, glaring out at the demons, her fists blistered by the exertions within, and feet in similar condition.
The creatures retreated for a moment, like the tide moving back into the ocean, unbelieving that the Old One was still standing.
Angel looked on in disbelief. He opened his mouth to say something when Illyria spoke. "I am dying. Although I once fought death, now I accept it, as a true warrior should."
Angel blinked. Illyria continued, "The acid… it… it will dissolve me in moments. There is no hope."
"But-…" Angel started, but knew it was pointless. He noticed it now. Her skin was sizzling, boiling, melting away, just as her clothes were. Only her powers kept her around longer. "I'm sorry."
"I came of my own accord, half-breed. I was not forced into this. I wished to do harm to the Wolf, Ram, and Hart, and I have." She paused for a moment, swallowing down what little of her pride she had as her legs began sizzling.
"I… It was an honor, to fight alongside you." Illyria whispered, before her legs dissolved into the sludgy putrid goo that the ground had turned into, and then she was gone.
And then there was one.
Around him, the demons were gathering bravado once more, ready to destroy Angel once and for all, to send the champion, the ensouled vampire, back to Hell.
"It looks like its back to Hell for me." He muttered softly, before turning back to the crowd. His sword felt heavy. Too heavy.
He dropped it.
He vamped out, and walked towards the crowd. "Let's go." He said challengingly, glaring at the vicious legion of demons.
As one, they roared and charged Angel, formerly Angelus, former Head of Angel Investigations, who had loved a Slayer, a Seer, and a werewolf, who had slaughtered hundreds of people before gaining his soul and feeling remorse, who fought by the Slayer on the Hellmouth, and who came to the City of Angels to fight the fight, who had become C.E.O. of the L.A. branch of Wolfram and Hart, the Champion of the Powers that Be.
And as they bore down on him like the onrushing tide of Death itself, Angel realized that this was worth it. This was how he wanted to go down. Against all odds, hopelessly fighting the hopeless fight. This was what being a Champion, being a hero, was all about. He smiled.
He was still smiling grimly as the horde struck him as one, and he still smiled as the organs within him turned to dust and his bones too, as his skin dissolved and his eyeballs went and his mouth tasted nothing but ash until it tasted nothing at all, until his mortal body was dissolved, and his soul was finally free.
AN: Mind numbing violence, with some poetic touches. What more could you want! Thanks for reading and please review!