Title: Survivors' Guilt
Author: babies stole my dingo (agilebrit)
Fandom: Angel
Rating: PG-13
Length: Short story (around 3500 words)
Disclaimer: Joss is the genius behind these characters; I am but a lowly follower. I make no money from any of this, so please don't sue me.
Written for: Soundingsea's UnFicathon. Requestor was Doyle-sb4 and was from the "Threesome with a Twist" ficathon. Three characters: Spike, Illyria, and Angel. No Wes. Darkfic set after NFA. No non-con or use of the word "childe." Genre: Angst.
Notes: A bit out of my comfort zone, but thought I'd try. Not sure if what came out is what was wanted; it's not real dark and some mention of Wes was unavoidable (hey, more angst!), but the characters wouldn't cooperate--so I thought it better to be true to what I thought they'd actually do rather than force them into a mold they wouldn't fit in.
They stumbled into the Hyperion, exhausted from the battle. Illyria did not know if she would call it a "victory," or even a "win." Nevertheless, she and the half-breeds were alive, while their opponents were not. Charles Gunn had succumbed to his injuries sometime during the middle of the fight, and his bloodless corpse lay among the dead, surrounded by unwary demons who had underestimated that valiant warrior. She grieved for him, even as she did what she had to do in order to ensure she lost no other companions this night.

Spike was slung over her right shoulder, unconscious, his duster missing and the rest of his clothing nearly torn from his shredded body. Angel could barely stand on his shattered knee, and she supported him on her left. These vampires were so frail, and yet they had won through and would live--in a manner of speaking--to fight another day. She helped Angel to a chair and placed Spike, gently for her, on the couch in the lobby.

"Blood," Angel gasped. "In the...fridge."

He had prepared, then. She had questioned his leadership qualities in the past, but these people followed him into this war with unflinching loyalty. Even the Pylean, who had expressed distaste for his assignment, had carried out his instructions, although he had made it clear that he would not return to help in the final engagement. She opened the refrigerator and was pleased to see bags and bags of blood. Human blood, she noted, more restorative to vampires than animal blood. She grabbed a couple, emptied them into mugs, and took them over, along with some spares.

She handed Angel one cup and sat next to Spike. Propping him up, she placed the other mug to his lips and tilted it slowly. "Drink, Spike," she said--but was disturbed to see that his reflexes apparently no longer worked, as the blood ran down his chin without any being swallowed. "Angel. He will not drink."

Angel swore tiredly. "Shake him awake. If he's not dust now, you can't hurt him any worse." He dumped a second bag into his mug and swallowed it down, closing his eyes.

Illyria frowned a little, but grabbed Spike's shoulder and shook it. His head lolled bonelessly, and he still didn't respond. She tried the cup again, with the same results. "Spike, you must awake. If you die after all this, I will be very annoyed."

Angel, his eyes still closed, snorted. "Like he gives a rat's ass about your feelings."

She stood up, grasped his arm in an iron grip, and hauled him bodily to the couch over his protests, depositing him on the floor next to Spike's head. "You are of his Line, his Grandsire. Feed him."

"If he's not feeding, he's not feeding. There's nothing I can do."

"Nonsense. You can at least make the attempt." She crossed her arms and glared.

He huffed out a sigh. "Fine, I'll try to give him a jump-start. I won't promise anything, though. Bring me a dagger from the weapons case." With the weapon she selected, he made a slice across his wrist and held the bleeding cut against Spike's mouth. For a moment, nothing happened, then Spike vamped and sank his fangs in. Angel yelped, giving Illyria his own glare, and gritted out, "He's lucky he's still unconscious..."

At that moment, Spike's eyes snapped open, his features went back to human, and he shoved Angel's arm violently away from him. "Bloody buggering hell!"

"Well excuse me for trying to save your damn life, Spike," Angel said petulantly. "You wouldn't eat, and Illyria was concerned. You need to eat to heal. Here." He pushed the mug Illyria had gotten for Spike at him.

Spike swallowed the blood down and lifted an eyebrow at Illyria. "You were worried about me?"

She drew herself up with dignity. "Not worried as such. But I have lost two companions this night, and I would not lose another."

"Two? Charlie?" At Illyria's bare nod, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Bloody hell. Lost track of him in the fight..."

"You were not at fault. Now that you are out of danger, I wish to go clean myself." She looked with distaste at her body, covered with blood, ichor, and who-knew-what.

"Showers upstairs, in any room you pick," Angel said. She acknowledged that with a jerk of her chin and turned to go. "Hey!" he protested. "A little help back to the chair here? My knee's still blown out, you know."

"You should stay by Spike in case his condition deteriorates again." She continued out while he sputtered behind her. Climbing the stairs, she walked down the hall and turned the knob to a room a few doors down from the end. Only after closing the door behind her did she allow herself to collapse backwards onto the bed, her arm over her eyes. It would not do to show weakness before the half-breeds, but Illyria could admit to herself that she was very tired indeed.

Sighing and heaving herself up, she made her way into the bathroom and stepped into the shower enclosure. She turned the taps on and let the cold liquid sluice over her armor for a moment. She dissolved her armor as the water heated and briefly enjoyed the feel of it running down her bare body--until the memory of Wesley's last request hit her like an unexpected punch to the gut, and she sat down on the tiles with her face in her hands.

"Lie to me." She understood how, even then, he would want the other, the shell, there with him at the end. But it still hurt, as unreasonable as she knew her own feelings were. The tears she had cried in the guise of the Burkle persona had been her own, and she let them come again. Wesley hadn't known, and she would not show such vulnerability to the vampires, but in the privacy of this room she could succumb to her grief.

Time passed, and the water pouring on her head cooled. She didn't hear the door to the room open and close softly, was unaware of the quiet footsteps on the floor of the bathroom. The sound of the shower curtain being drawn away, and the feel of a hand on her back, surprised her, and she reacted without thinking. Her fist flew out, seemingly of its own accord, and the hand was withdrawn. She looked up to see Spike kneeling next to the shower, fingering his jaw with a compassionate expression on his face. That brazen half-breed was pitying her!

"You dare--" she began, her eyes blazing.

"You've been up here a long sodding while. Wanted to make sure you were all right." He rubbed his chin. "Nothing wrong with your reflexes, anyway."

Illyria deflated. "You came to laugh and mock." She fastened her eyes on the drain and wrapped her arms around her bent knees.

"Don't see anything mock-worthy here, pet. We're all a bit thrown right now. There's no shame in it."

"It is weakness." She clenched a fist. "Weakness leaves you vulnerable to your enemies."

"Don't see any enemies here either. And it's all right to be vulnerable in front of your friends."

"I have no friends." This further realization hit her harder than she thought it would, and she hunched her shoulders and turned her face away from Spike.

"Why, no, pet, I'm not your friend. That's why I brought you some soap and shampoo, because I knew you wouldn't think of them. That's why I'm sitting here in a bathroom letting cold water spray all over me while I try to drag you out of this funk you're in." He put his hand on her back again, and she allowed it this time. Why not, after all? What was the point of standing on dignity and protocol when this insolent half-breed violated both at will?

Wesley had been correct. She did not belong in this world, and the sooner she could return to the Deeper Well, the better off everyone would be.

She was startled when Spike stepped into the shower behind her, placed his hands under her arms, and lifted her to her feet. He rubbed circles on her back with the soap he had brought, and she hadn't realized just how good it would feel to be ministered to this way. She started to turn around, to say something, but he put his finger on her lips. "Sh. Just let me do this for you, yeah? I used to do it for Dru when she had one of her bad turns; did her a world of good."

He went to work on her hair next, slowly massaging her scalp, rubbing the shampoo through the long tresses, finger-combing the water through it as it rinsed. She suddenly realized that this was, oddly enough, a sort of worship, one she had never been able to enjoy in her original form, both for the reason that she hadn't had hair to begin with, and that her subjects feared her too much to dare approach her to offer the service. She felt a strange clench in her chest as she realized that this half-breed's very impertinence was what allowed him to...

Love her?

Love was a form of worship, it was true, but for Spike to love her--at least, the way humans loved each other--was patently impossible. But if she took his friendship at face value, she at least had his regard. And his regard was not something she would toss away lightly. He was back to soaping her shoulders, and a sudden impulse (...from the shell? she speculated for a brief instant) made her turn, grab his face, and kiss him solidly on the mouth.

A sharp intake of unneeded breath, a widening of startled eyes that took just long enough that she wondered if he was going to push her away--and Spike crushed her to him and returned the kiss. She clung to him, feeling as if she were drowning. Closer, she must get closer to him. He had stepped fully dressed into the shower, and that clothing was now an impediment, the shirt ruined anyway. She tore it from his body and made "oh" noises over his healing scars, tracing them with her fingers, then diving in for another kiss.

"Leery--" he started, pulling back slightly.

"Be silent." She covered his mouth with hers to enforce the command. Memories from the shell told her how, and a disconnected thought flitted through her mind. I wonder if Angel ever attempted to do this to bring a halt to Spike's "nonstop yammering." It seemed to be working. "I choose this," she said against his ear. "Do not deny me."

"Just so you understand what it is you're choosing. I'm hardly--"

She cut him off again. "I choose you." Another flash of thought--Spike would do anything for a pretty girl (and oh, yes, he found her pretty) who asked, especially if... "I need you. As my mate." She ripped his jeans off next, noting with pleasure that a certain part of his anatomy, at least, seemed in agreement.

And after that, conscious thought left her altogether as she lost herself in him.


Angel's knee felt much better. He cast a gimlet eye towards the stairs. Spike had been gone an awfully long time, and he was starting to wonder just exactly what he was doing up there. Standing up with a put-upon sigh, he headed towards the stairs, still limping slightly.

The room Illyria had chosen was eerily silent, and he knocked on the door, half-dreading what he was going to find. "Illyria? Spike? Are you two okay?" He was fairly confident that they hadn't hurt each other, because the Sanctorum spell he'd had the Furies reinstate would have prevented that, but Illyria had looked pretty rough around the edges when she'd come upstairs, and Spike hadn't appeared to be a whole lot better. Whether the spell would stop them from hurting themselves...

Steeling himself, he opened the door, but nothing could have prepared him for the sight that met his startled eyes. He twitched violently when he saw the vampire and the God-King, naked and wet and sleeping curled around each other, on top of the bed. A stab of petty jealousy lanced through him as he envied the easy camaraderie they seemed to enjoy in slumber. He shoved the jealousy down and allowed himself to feel glad that they had at least found some solace in each other.

Spike never fully slept when Angel was around, and today was no exception. He opened his eyes and smiled lazily, indicating with a jerk of his chin that Angel should come sit on the bed. He wasn't fazed at all by the fact that he was stark nude, the older vampire noted sourly to himself.

"You all right, mate?" Spike whispered. "You're looking pretty bloody rocky."

"Am I?" He supposed he had reason, after all.

"You should take a shower." Spike stroked Illyria's hair, and she snuggled closer to him. "Do you a world of good. Give Fido-girl a call, see if she'll join you."

"I sent her to Mexico." Angel found himself hoping desperately that Nina had gotten herself and her family out.

He'd never felt so alone in his life. Not even when Darla had abandoned him after the curse. Back then, he hadn't really known what it was to lose something precious, because nothing had been precious to him, not even her. Now? He'd lost more than friends tonight; he'd lost a sense of belonging. And these two outsiders, united in their own cocoon of togetherness, brought home to him just how separated he was from everyone and everything he'd once held dear.

He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. "Yeah. Shower." He was even too tired to snark at Spike, he realized wearily. If he'd been himself, he would have made some remark or other; but at this point, he had nothin'. So.

Angel hauled himself up again and stumbled into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He turned the taps on, shed his clothes, and stepped into the shower, leaning one hand on the wall and letting the spray beat down on his head.

They'd used up all the hot water. Dammit. How the hell long had they been in the shower, anyway? At least they'd left him some soap and shampoo. Not that he deserved hot water. He'd sent Wes and Gunn to their deaths as surely as if he'd put a pistol to their heads and pulled the trigger himself. Okay, they'd volunteered, and they were very very good at what they did, but that didn't change the fact that he should have protected them better than he had. They were his responsibility, and he'd let them down.

Well, Wes hadn't really had anything left. Fred's death had left him a shadow of himself, and he'd probably welcomed dying with open arms, truth be told. And Gunn would have wanted to go out the way he had, with demon blood on his blade and surrounded by evil dead that he'd sent back to whatever Hell dimension had spawned them. Angel was rationalizing, and he knew it, but he couldn't seem to help himself.

He got out of the shower and snorted at the thought that he felt nearly human again as he toweled himself off. Grimacing at his filthy clothing and loathe to don it again, he wrapped the towel around his waist and stepped back into the bedroom.

Spike and Illyria had moved under the covers of the bed, at least. The image of them curled up together was still burned on Angel's retinas, and he didn't need a replay. "Feelin' better?" Spike asked.

"A little." Angel sat on the corner of Illyria's side of the bed.

"Don't suppose you've got any spare clothes around? Not that I mind being starkers around our blue goddess, but it's a bit problematic if I have to leave the hotel." Illyria smiled and put her hand on Spike's chest possessively.

"Okay, you guys want to just stop that? I'm very glad you've found happiness in each other's arms, but, seriously, I'm going to throw up if you keep it up."

"You are lookin' a bit green, mate." Spike exchanged a glance with Illyria that Angel didn't like at all, and, acting in concert, they grabbed him and yanked him into the space between them.

He yelped. He'd been doing that a lot today. "Guys..." Before he got any farther, Spike let out a yelp of his own and removed his hand as if Angel were red-hot. "Um. What?"

"Bloody buggering hell." Spike's voice was awed. "You really didn't notice? Not surprising, really, because you have to be the most unobservant sod ever to walk the earth, but..."

"What? What?" Angel was now more than disturbed.

"Put your hand on your heart."

"What? Why?" Illyria snatched his wrist and put his hand on his chest. A steady thumping greeted him, and he leaped from the bed, the towel falling unheeded from his waist. "What the hell?"

"You got the Shanshu," Spike said wonderingly. "You played a part in your bloody apocalypse, and you've got a heartbeat and body heat."

"But, but, I was drinking blood earlier. And I signed it away anyhow."

Illyria snorted. "You cannot sign a prophecy away." The words You idiot were unspoken, but Angel could hear them just as clearly as if she'd said them.

"But I don't..." He trailed off helplessly.

"But us no buts, Peaches. Shanshu's yours. Congrats."

"The Cup of Torment--"

"Was a fake. Angel." Spike obviously wanted to slap him silly. "You've got the thing you've been working for, for years. Quit bloody brooding about it and be happy for once in your sodding unlife."

Angel snagged his towel back from the floor, gathering what shreds of dignity he could. Those shreds abandoned him, however, when his legs refused to hold him up and he sat abruptly on the bed again. "I figured you'd be a little more put out."

"Eh." Spike shrugged. "It was never mine anyway, and I wouldn't be able to keep up with Smurfette here as a human." He leaned forward and punched Angel in the arm, maybe just a little harder than he needed to. "Enjoy your time in the sun."

Angel wasn't sure he was ready to celebrate just yet. He put his elbow on his knee and his chin in his hand, frowning. "What am I going to do?"

"Do? Whatever you want, you bloody great pillock. At least whatever woman you set your sights on won't have to worry about you going all evil if you get a big happy anymore. Go down to Mexico, find the dog-girl, and have a passel of puppies. You've just been given a life. Go live it."


"Oh, sure, go to Rome and battle the Immortal for her affections." Spike rolled his eyes. "That always goes ever so well. The point is, dumbass, you have a choice."

"Huh. I guess I do."


"You are not upset that Angel got the Shanshu?" Illyria asked Spike, much later.

"Naw, pet." He squeezed her shoulders and stroked her hair, which he couldn't get enough of. "Peaches's been working out his redemption a lot longer than me. 'Sides, you'd break a bloody human in half."

"What will we do now?"

Now, there was a question. Footloose and fancy free, they could go anywhere and do anything they pleased. Angel, before taking off, had offered them the hotel as a headquarters if they wanted it, and Spike had taken him up on it with alacrity, only too pleased for a chance to finally get out of the bloody basement. And surely they hadn't killed all the demons in L.A., even though it had certainly seemed that every single one had been involved in the battle in the rain-soaked alley.

Nothing obligated them to stay, however. A Hellmouth in Cleveland could use some looking to, after all, and he knew Faith wouldn't turn down a bit of help in that department. Other cities, no doubt, had their own demon problems. New York, Denver, Seattle...He'd heard of some wizard in Chicago that maybe could use a hand.

Or they could go back to Europe. Surprise Buffy and the Bit. Knock around the ancient capitols some, show Bluebird the sights, kick demon ass where they found it--


He gave her another squeeze and a crooked smile. "How do you feel about helping the helpless?"

The End