Author: Jedi Buttercup
Summary: Illyria offers Wesley something more than a lie. 1100 words.
Disclaimer: All your Angel are belong to Joss Whedon & etc.
Spoilers: A:tS through "Not Fade Away" (5.22)
Notes: Wes/Illyria, character death, dark.
"Wesley," Illyria said, as she knelt beside the failing body of her guide. She knew, even before she got a clear look at the wound, that he would not survive it; she had seen too many beings wounded unto death in her lifetimes to mistake the symptoms. "This wound is mortal," she told him, aware even as she spoke of the uselessness of her words but unable to keep from speaking them; her emotional state, a condition of the human shell she currently wore that she was still adapting to, was unusually perturbed, to the point of affecting all her other mental functions.
"Aren't we all?" he replied weakly, then looked up at her and smiled. "It was good... that you came."
A stronger surge of emotion assailed Illyria in reaction to his words. It did not seem right, that she should grieve-- for that must be the emotion she was feeling-- for a creature so inferior to her; and yet she did, and did not seem able to stop herself from doing so. "I killed all mine, and I was..." she began to reply, then paused as she sought for the proper way to express the unsettling uncertainties assailing her. These would be her last moments with her guide, with the unique creature called Wesley Wyndham-Price; it did not seem enough to let him lie there and expire without impressing upon him how terribly his death was inconveniencing her.
"Concerned?" he prompted her, breathing shallowly. She was not adept at reading the nuances of human expression, but he seemed, in these last moments, to be looking upon her with more kindness than he had before; she did not understand it, nor why it made the ache of her emotions grow greater rather than less.
"I think so," she told him, glancing again at the widening stain upon his shirt. His time was slipping away, measured now in mere breaths, and she could neither stop nor reverse it as once she might have. "But I can't help. You'll be dead within moments."
"I know," he replied.
She remembered his words from earlier that day, when he had bandaged her wounds; he had said that as he did not intend to die, he would not let her lie to him by assuming Fred's form. Now that he was dying, however, would he want that? Would he allow it? It was easier, somehow, to express herself within the shell's limitations; gods did not cry, but graduate students from Texas could. If it would increase her own comfort, and his, it seemed only logical to do so.
Illyria opened her mouth to ask him for his opinion-- then closed it again, as something else occurred to her. Something she never would have thought to offer before, as it required willingness on the part of the recipient and offered no recompense but total annihilation. "You want to be with Fred," she said, as she had earlier that day.
"Yes," he replied faintly, a familiar expression overtaking his features. Yes, the name for the emotion Illyria felt must be grief-- it was the name Wesley had given the terrible emptiness and anger that had so often overtaken him since her arrival, all due to the absence of the woman he had-- loved.
"Would you share in her fate?" she asked him, a new sense of purpose lending urgency to her words.
"You know I would," he said, lifting a hand a few inches from the floor, gesturing as though he wished to brush it against her cheek. "Of course I--"
He paused then, and she saw his eyes widen as the full depth of her meaning sank in. "But who-- there's no-- I could not unleash--"
Illyria took up the hand that he had let drop again with one of her own. "At the height of my rule I lived seven lives at once," she reminded him, answering his half-spoken questions. "Two would pose no difficulty, and would increase my ability to adapt to this world." She knew that was important to him, that she learn her place in this time, though the ways of humanity were still repugnant to her. And there was another enticement she could offer, one she thought would convince him: "The fragments that would remain would be stored with all that is left of Fred; in this way, you would be with her again, for as long as I survive."
The shock that had momentarily banished the lines of pain from his features receded, and his eyes brightened, shimmering with unshed tears. "Yes," he said quietly. "Thank you. Yes."
Illyria smiled, allowing her features to slip into those of the shell as she prepared herself for the procedure. There would be no lingering pain for him, no drawn-out preparation as had befallen Fred; she had not been conscious of her state in that infectious form and could not direct the transformation as she was doing now. "Oh, Wesley," she said, bending low over him, tears forming in her own eyes. "My Wesley."
"Hello there," he answered softly. "I've missed you."
She cupped a hand behind his head and pressed her lips to his; it could not, perhaps, be called a kiss, but she allowed herself to linger there a moment, savoring the sensation of his lips moving against hers for the first and only time, before deliberately breathing her self into his open mouth. The infection took hold of him within seconds, raging like wildfire through his system; Illyria threw her head back, arching her spine and letting the shell's facade slip away as she felt the changes drawing from her own power to subsume his processes within her own.
It felt like an eternity; it was over within approximately 3.8 seconds. The new shell's abdomen ceased to bleed instantly as punctured flesh was replaced with other matter; the consciousness that had been Wesley's collapsed, fading into a collection of recorded electrical impulses within Illyria's mind. Then the former god-king opened eyes that had so briefly fluttered closed-- and looked back at her-self from mere inches away. He blinked momentarily as he adjusted to the long-forgotten sensation of multiplied perceptions, then nodded and propelled his new shell to its feet.
"This will do," he said, flexing his hands consideringly as he examined the changes wrought in the tint of his flesh and the new red armored covering that had replaced Wesley's damaged clothes. Then his gaze lit upon the fallen form of Vail, and he felt a predatory smile tug at his mouth.
This would do, indeed.