A cold, archaic voice awoke him with a commanding tone. Spike opened his eyes. All he could see was a blue blur. Blinking, he asked, "Illyria?"
"Yes. It's me."
Finally, his eyes began to focus and he saw the unmoving goddess kneeling beside him. She looked concerned. Had he been himself, he would have made a joke about it, but he knew it wasn't the right time. He sat up and looked around him. Thousands of corpses covered the alleyway in which the battle had occurred.
"Oh. My. God," he sighed.
"There were more. They've been slowly disappearing. You'll find this if you watch a few moments longer." Illyria pointed a blue hand ahead of them. A few moments later, there was a small popping sound, and a decapitated corpse evaporated into thin air, its misplaced head a second or two later.
"Well, pop goes the bloody weasel." Spike gingerly got to his feet. The bodies seemed to go on for miles.
"That's why I never rely on magic," Illyria sneered.
"Remember, though, that's what brought you back. The both of us."
Illyria looked slightly annoyed.
Spike rubbed his eyes. "Well, where is everybody?
Spike felt his stomach drop to the bloodstained ground. Whether or not he knew it, he had come to care about these people. Even Angel had started to be less annoying.
Illyria took a few steps to his right to reveal the body of Charles Gunn. Spike felt sick. Gunn had a broadsword that went all the way through his stomach. Spike recoiled at the dead eyes staring at him. He rolled his eyes, took a deep breath, then like a band-aid, pulled the sword from his back in one swift move, and threw the sword aside with disgust.
"Cowards didn't even face him to do it." He reached a shaking hand out towards Gunn's cold face and carefully closed his eyes. He cleared his throat, preparing himself for the next blow. "Where's Angel?"
"Missing. I couldn't find a body, but he has to be gone. The only reason you're still alive is because when you were knocked unconscious. The fools assumed you were dead." Illyria had a look on her face that unsettled Spike. He wasn't entirely sure that she wasn't loving all of this chaos and destruction. "He could be alive and on the run. But it's more likely that they ate him or staked him and we've yet to find the bones or dust."
"Well, have you looked?" Spike asked.
"Of course I looked! Don't belittle me, Vampire!" She had her hand at his throat so fast he didn't even see it move. "I'm in no mood." /
Spike felt as though she was going to make his head pop off with one hand. A tear glistened in Illyria's eye and she let go, turning away as he rubbed the painful ring around his neck in confusion. Then, comprehension dawned. Illyria had not yet had the chance to grieve for the loss of Wesley. She had channeled all emotion into the battle, and now it was coming to the surface.
"Listen, pet. Wesley, he's…" What words could Spike say to comfort a demon that wouldn't ever admit she needed comforting in the first place? "I'm sorry," he finished lamely. Illyria faced him.
"Don't call me pet."
Spike smiled. He knew she was back to normal—for the time being. "Aye, aye, Sir."
Illyria narrowed her eyes. Spike moved once again to the lifeless body of Gunn. He put his arms under Gunn's armpits and began to try and lift him.
"What are you doing?" Illyria looked alarmed.
"Don't you think we should bury him? Oh, God. Talk about dead weight."
"Stupid, weak vampire," Illyria said as she walked over and slung Gunn over her shoulder.
"Or we could do it that way."
As they laid the body into the makeshift grave, Spike felt an overwhelming sense of everything that had happened. This had truly been a battle for the ages and Spike and Illyria would be the only ones to remember it. Everyone else around them would continue to live their normal lives, but they knew nothing would ever be the same again.
"Poor Charles," Illyria sighed before heaving a pile of dirt into the earthen tomb.
"Goodbye, mate." Spike began helping her and soon it was done. Spike felt exhausted, but Illyria looked as though she hadn't exerted any energy. He took a moment to catch his breath, then yelled, "Angel!"
"What are you doing?" Illyria asked sharply.
"Yodeling. What does it look like I'm doing? I'm looking for Angel. He might still be alive, you know."
"Why does it matter to you? It seems as though it would be easier for you if Angel was dead." She cocked her head to the side inquisitively.
"Well, yeah, but it's not simple. Just because I don't really like him doesn't mean I want him dead. Well, sometimes I do." Spike shook his head. "But that's not the point. Buffy wouldn't want it."
"A vampire with a soul who loves the Slayer. Hmm…I believe I recall that story from somewhere before." She smiled cynically.
"Hey! I loved her before I had a soul! Angel didn't even want his bleeding soul! I sought mine out!" Spike was screaming now. Illyria began to laugh at him. "Oh, sod off." He began to walk slowly through the alleyway. There was a significantly smaller amount of bodies lying before them. Good. Now it's just the matter of finding a needle in a somewhat large pile of hay, he thought to himself.
Though many of the dead were now gone, there were still such an enormous amount, Spike was tired just from thinking about trying to figure out if any of them were Angel. He looked up at the purple sky, unchanged by the events of the night.
"Come on, Blue. Nighttime's burnin'."
Illyria joined Spike and they began to carefully examine each body and the area around them. It was grueling work and Spike began feeling very tired. Even Illyria looked slightly fatigued. For Buffy. These two words kept him going.
"Spike. I think he's gone." Illyria's voice was gentle, if that was possible. Spike knew she was right. He stood up.
"Oh, bollocks. Sun's about to rise." He turned to the large building of Wolfram Hart behind him. It was still standing, but much of it was destroyed during the battle. Spike could feel the sun as it began to creep out from the moon's shadow. He ran as fast as he could towards the only possible shelter now: Hell, Inc. Spike's skin was beginning to sizzle. Running even faster, he pulled his coat over his head, the sun now blazing above him. Finally, he reached the building, panting heavily as he put out the tiny flames on his pant legs. He sat down and tried to catch his breath—or lack thereof. Much to his surprise, Winifred Burkle stood before him.
"Hey, Spike. You okay?"
Spike squinted at her, his brain thick with confusion.
"You think I can go into public unnoticed now?" She morphed into Illyria.
Spike exhaled sharply. He had forgotten about that little trick of hers.
"What are you talkin' about?" Spike's head felt like it was stuffed with cotton. Perhaps it was the concussion, or the fact that he hadn't slept in over forty-eight hours. But most likely, it was that he didn't know what to do. He had nothing left except a few pieces of rubble. Unless…
"Do you think there's still anything of value in here?" Spike asked. Illyria said nothing, but helped him to his feet and they began to assess what was left of Wolfram Hart. Spike worked absent-mindedly. All he could think about was Buffy. She needed to know about Angel, and Spike himself, he supposed. But how? After much thought, he realized—
"I need to go see Buffy. Illyria, I don't know what you're going to do next, but I'm going to Italy. It'd be nice to have you, for company, and all that, but you don't have to go if you don't want to." Spike figured that being his friend was the last possible thought to ever cross Illyria's mind.
"I'll go with you, Spike. You're the only thing left that connects me to this world. I wouldn't be able to survive without you. I know little about this age." She cocked her head to the side, as she was wonton to do.
"Well, then. We need to find a way to get out of here as soon as possible." Spike began to search again with renewed purpose.
A few moments later, Illryia's voice distracted him.
"Will this be enough funds for our needs?" She stood before an enormous, open vault that was filled with cash. Spike gulped.
"Yeah," his voice squeaked. "That'll do."