Title: Aftermath
Rating: Hard R
Spoilers: Through "NFA"
Pairing: Spike/Angel
Characters: Spike, Angel, Illyria
Summary: What happend after the fight in the alley. Is the bookend piece to another peice I wrote (link to my LJ) called Survival Incentive, although not necessary to have read to understand. Spangel.

As you stretch out your preternatural feelings, trying to gain your bearings, really the only thing that you can be sure of is that being burned by a dragon hurts like a bitch. You are vaguely aware that you are lying on a bed, and you're pretty sure that Illyria was the one who deposited you there, unceremoniously, before stalking off to try and abscond to God knows where. You can't hardly blame her. The protection spells you had Lorne cast about the hotel were merely ceremonial at best.

You try shifting a bit, and your world is filled with pain. Well, at least you can feel something. Your entire right side feels like it has been stretched taut, like the smallest of movements and you'll open up like a hot knife through butter. You would panic if you thought there was something productive awaiting the other side, but you know the harsh truth. You are alone.

You experimentally reach your left hand up to touch the side of your face, wincing a bit when your fingers find what your mind already knew. Ragged sinew and bone, that's all that's left of any defining features of your right profile. You trace the edges of what will surely be a nasty scar for at least the coming weeks, but take comfort in the fact that you still have both your eyes. Thank the gods for small favors. Or not.

The blood you took from Hamilton is working powerfully through your system, trying to heal you, the sensation almost making you crazy. Yet you stay your hands from clawing at your skin, knowing this will just re-open your wounds. The gnawing hunger is kind of a bitch, too.

You hear something, almost outside the realm of your sensitive ears, and you think maybe you are crazy, but it is a steady sound. Not quite mechanical, but close. You begin to smell something as well then, even above that of your burned flesh, and you realize whatever you heard was a heartbeat, and its owner is coming closer. You scent acrid sulphur and you are flooded with relief to find that you are not alone, recognizing the smell to be one you are acquainted with. Illyria. You knew she'd survive. Why she didn't abandon you is what you can't work out.

"You are awake, half breed." You don't want to lift your head, so you roll your neck onto its good side, the better to see her. She's standing in the doorway with that weirdly clinical birdlike tilt to her head, appraising you. You've decided that it's those wide glassy blue eyes that freak you out the most.

"Yeah…" Your voice sounds rough, like you've been yelling a lot. Which, in fact, you have. More like screaming, but who's counting? You try to move into a more comfortable position, so you can make at least an attempt at what passes as conversation between the two of you, but immediately regret this decision with a hiss of bright pain. Fuck. Bad idea. You feel her move closer in response, and you open your eyes wide in surprise at her concern.

She freezes immediately, owlishly regarding you, careful to cover any emotion. Not that you could tell anyways. Those eyes really freak you out. Does she ever blink? "You require blood."

The mention of it almost has you folding in half, your demon's response to the suggestion that visceral. You moan out loud as your body is wracked with spasms and you try to hold yourself still, hands clenched tightly against the bedspread. You know how much agony you'd be in if you moved. Fuckfuckfuck. You try breathing, hauling in useless air in an attempt to settle yourself down. You don't know why, but it works sometimes. Once the tempest has passed, you heave a great sigh that seems to rattle out of your chest and look back up at her.

She hasn't moved during the whole ordeal, just watched you with a kind of detached fascination, always the observer. She nods, a curt formal valediction, and takes off down the hall. Off towards blood, you silently pray. You feel your body's need for sleep, but your mind is too busy to allow this, so you decide to revisit the events that led to your becoming vampire flambé.

You were, to borrow a phrase, eye deep in hell. It was hard to keep your focus, so many sights and sounds and smells coming at you from all directions, and you were already stretched to the limits trying to keep tabs on who was left of the home team. Still, you managed to know the exact moment Gunn had fallen. Illyria flicked her eyes at you, sharing her acknowledgement of his passing before turning back, calculatedly demolishing any who deigned to share the same breathing space that she did. You knew Spike felt it as well, as he let out an anguished wail, striking with a renewed berserker's passion. The grief that tore at you almost had you staggering, but just then the dragon came in for a low pass and you decided to pour your despair into a tangible target, making good on your promise.

You jumped halfway up the nearest fire escape, quickly climbing to the roof of what used to be a low-rent high-rise. You flew from rooftop to rooftop, keeping your eyes up so as not to be distracted by the chaos below, trying to find the best position to get at her. She was circling slowly, biding her time, looking for an opening. She finally flew near enough, and as you launched yourself through the air, you had a brief thought that you'd better get it right, since you probably only had this one shot at her. Your hands frantically scrabbled for purchase on her oily scales, but you were able to dig in and hold on. She thrashed from side to side, flying erratically, trying to shake you free, but you held fast, dragging yourself hand over hand up her leathery hide.

You finally got into a good position and waited for her to turn her head towards you and expose her soft neck before shoving your sword in to the hilt. She let out a gurgling scream and her eyes bulged in shock. You kinda couldn't believe that worked, either. You became aware that you were plummeting earthwards fast; you hadn't thought about that part. You screamed a warning down below, and to your relief you saw Spike let go of the Wurlisk he'd been pummeling and skitter to safety. Her body landed with a great whoomp and you heard the satisfying sound of crunching bones beneath you.

Knowing it wasn't quite over yet, you slid down her neck and ran your hands over her massive chest, trying to find a soft spot to punch through. Her pulse was thready and fading, but loud enough to guide you to the right place. You thrust inside, and she emitted a sickening screech that caught the attention of several of the demons fighting each other to try and get at you. You felt like you had put your hand inside a furnace, but luckily, your aim was true and your fist closed over her heart. You ripped it from her chest, a great glowing thing still faintly pulsing, and pulled out the large gleaming dragon stone from inside. You let out an involuntary gasp at the amount of power you held in your hand, the lull of it instantly making you heady. An indistinct murmur broke out around you, and something told you to hold it aloft. Immediately, a hush fell over the denizens, and they began laying down their arms, falling prostrate before you. You kinda felt like Belloq in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when he held up the golden idol he stole from Indy and all the Hovitos fell to their feet. In other words, you felt pretty fucking cool.

Spike was standing about 50 feet in front of you, grinning like maybe he thought you looked pretty cool, too. His game face was streaked with many different shades of blood, making him look like an ancient warrior or a gladiator or something. That could have just been the adrenaline clouding your brain, though. You remember smiling proudly back at him, briefly, before you widened your eyes in horror. You had suddenly realized what that scent of brimstone and the steadily growing warmth from the giant body behind you meant. Spike tilted his head at you, confused, and you just threw yourself towards him, knocking him down and covering him the best that you could from the dying breath of the dragon. You felt the flames rush over you like waves, licking around the protective arm you had thrown up over your face, the fire fighting to stay alive against the pouring rain. Spike wasn't moving beneath you, but then again, you were only dimly aware he was even there. The world suddenly tilted when Illyria one-handedly hauled you up off of the ground by your foot, which was pretty much the last thing you remembered before everything went black.

Which brings you to your current position. Lying on your back, confirming again that there are exactly 83 ceiling tiles in your room, if you combine some of the half-pieces into wholes. 94 if you are counting the actual pieces of tile that were used.

You can no longer ignore the clench in your gut, so you finally allow yourself to think on all the people that you lost. Maybe it was because they were too human, but mostly it was because they made the mistake of choosing to be your friend. Gunn. Wesley. Fred. Cordelia. Doyle. You close your eyes, overcome with the emotion of their sacrifices, knowing you're nowhere near to deserving what they willingly gave you. You're pretty sure the only good decision you made was sending your son away, or you would have lost him, too. You don't let yourself dwell on that one, knowing it would drag you down to a dark place you may not be able to come back from.

You wonder what the hell happened to Spike. You're pretty sure you'd know if he didn't make it, that you'd feel that last tug of familial bond leaving in a rushing vortex as you always did when one of yours fell. But then again, you were pretty out of it at the time. The thought of losing him, the thought of facing eternity alone, is too much to bear, and you don't want to dwell on that one, either. Which kind of makes you mad. Since when did you worry about Spike? And, more importantly, where was Illyria with your blood?

You hear movement below and your mouth waters in anticipation, Pavlov's dog and all that. Illyria stalks in, pitching one of the bags of blood at you which lands with a slap in the center of your chest. In better times, you know you'd wait for her to leave before feeding, but you really need this. You involuntarily go into vamp face, trying your best to muffle the scream the pain this action causes into the plastic bag. Everything goes a pleasing red for a bit, and you become aware of a gentle rhythmic buzzing noise, hazily recognizing this is coming from you. Holy hell. She brought you human. You don't even want to know. You suck ravenously at the plastic, rolling your thumb down to squeeze out every last drop. You drop the bag and hold out your hand again insistently, aware she is staring at you as you purr and mewl at her, at this point beyond words. You'd never let one of the humans see you like this. Nevertheless a sharp stab of shame cuts through the miasma, and you try to bring your keening demon back in check, but by now you are far too gone and far too injured. She places another bag in your hand wordlessly and the world fades to red once more.

You're not sure how much time passes before the world swirls back into focus, bringing with it the pain and desolation of your situation. You glutted yourself on the blood and your stomach is roiling, but with some effort, you are finally able to slide back into your human face. Illyria's still just standing there impassively. You haul in another deep breath. "Thanks." She almost nods. "Why did you…" You stop, momentarily distracted by the sensation of the blood spreading through your veins, rushing to heal your injured cells. Jesus. You swallow. "Why did you stay?"

She regards you curiously, considering her answer. Or maybe she's communing with the plastic flowers. You never could tell with her. "You were successful in battle. You thwarted your enemies." She paused, looking at you with…respect? Nah. "You proved yourself a worthy leader. I could not leave you to perish in ignominy." Huh. Well how about that?

You can't help but give her a little smile and a nod. "So, what about the others? Did you see what happened to Spike?" You think that comes off pretty nonchalant, but you are a little distracted by the fact that you can't pull his scent from anywhere off of her.

"I left the other half breed when I retrieved your body. He got up and began to follow, but became distracted when he saw that your offspring was in peril."

You scrunch your brow, trying to parse out what she said. Oh. My. God. Your blood freezes in your veins you fly up to a seated position once her words cut through the haze. That was pretty much the last thing you remember before everything faded to black once more.

You almost feel like you are floating, aware that you are being lured awake by something that smells both comforting and familiar. You feel it pulling you away from the protective dark and you aren't strong enough to resist, blinking your eyes at the sudden light. You automatically look towards where you know he's sitting guard over you, frantically watching. "Where is he?"

Spike rears back and you almost hear the shutters slamming down behind his eyes, but then he just slumps into the chair, trying to cover both his obvious hurt and relief with studied indifference. "He's fine." You close your eyes and nod, your own relief that you've finally caught your son's scent and steady heartbeat from the floor below so palpable that you're almost shaking. "He's resting in one of the rooms. Got hit on the noggin', was down for the count. How'd he escaped inheriting that caveman brow is beyond me. Might've softened the blow a bit."

He's smirking at you while you stare at him, and you think maybe you've never been so grateful to anyone in your entire life. Something passes between the two of you, although you have no idea what the fuck it was, and when you speak, your voice is really rough and you have to clear your throat and start again. "I just…I…Thank you, Spike."

He clenches his jaw and nods at you, then stands and walks towards the bed, eyeing the stone on your nightstand. You hadn't noticed it before. Illyria must have left it for you. "This it?" You nod in response and watch as he reaches out almost reverently and picks it up, catching the small shiver that passes through him as his skin comes in contact. "God." His voice is hushed and soft, and you nod again in agreement, still not trusting yourself to speak. He looks between you and the stone, smiling at you once more before placing it carefully back on the shelf. "Not bad, old man." He's looking at you again, and the room feels like it is falling away and you are looking at him from inside of a tunnel.

Whatever weird shit going on linking you ends abruptly when he finally gets a good look at you up close, and you recognize sympathy and something that looks a lot like pain in his eyes. You feel the desire to hide your face from him, but you don't want to show him any weakness because then you'd be done for. You think you smell the start of tears and you really don't think you could handle that at this point. "Spike…"

He clears his throat and licks his lips, trying to look everywhere but at the mess that is your face. "Angel…why?" His eyebrows are pulled together and he has wrapped his duster tight around himself, making him appear smaller than he really is. "Why did you do it?"

How the hell should you know? "Instinct?" It kinda comes out like a question, like you're not too sure yourself. His eyes go wide, instantly wounded. Shit. He has to know that you suck at this sort of thing during the best of times, and this is a couple of counties over from that. And, you're not entirely sure what this sort of thing is in the first place. You roll your eyes back to the ceiling and sigh loudly. "Instinct to protect you, dumbass." Wow. And, you were really trying to hold on to that grateful feeling, knowing what he did was a big deal, but he's still able to annoy you. You let your eyes drift shut, blinking them open once again when you feel the bed shift on your good side.

Spike's sitting on the edge of the bed staring down at you. He slides down on his side so he is facing you, keeping a respectful distance apart. He brings his wrist to his mouth and bites down, holding out the wound to you in offering. Your lips part in surprise but your eyes never leave his as you reach out, hauling him closer towards you as you place his wrist to your lips. You both sigh, overtaken by the sensation. Holy fuck. This is family blood, this is eternity here. This is something you haven't had in over 100 years. You are swamped in his essence, and your body instantly grows hard. You are purring and mewling again, but don't give a fuck since this is Spike, and he's doing it, too. He's also curling around your leg, rubbing his own arousal insistently against you. You tear his wrist from your mouth and tug his hair back, fastening onto his neck.

"Christ!" He does this full body shudder thing which results in his cock rubbing precariously close to your own, and your hips buck upwards beneath him. You are both purring so loudly, a steady strum of matching intensity, that it sounds like there's a small engine in running somewhere in the room.

You begin to knead the back of his head, milking the blood from his neck, finally stopping when you feel him start to shake beneath you. Once your head clears enough for you to realize you kinda made a mess you lave at his neck, slowly making your way up towards his lips. He begins eagerly rubbing at your crotch with an open palm, eliciting needy little grunts from you that you don't seem to be able to control. So much for not showing weakness.

You finally find his lips with your own and he sucks your tongue into his mouth, trying to get as drunk as you are from his own blood. He's kinda half moved on top of you, trying to be careful not to hurt you, but honestly, you're pretty much beyond the point of caring. You bend your knee, giving him a hard thigh to thrust against and he moans into your mouth at the exact second that he frees your cock from your pants. Oh fuck. You know you are not long for this world, and he nicks you right under your chin, just trying to get a little taste of his own. You're kinda surprised he had the balls to try because you know he remembers the day you removed his kneecaps with an ice pick for that little maneuver. Lucky for him he's caught you in such a forgiving mood.

He's pulling firmly at you, long hard strokes with a kind of intensity that only another demon can achieve, and you're all kinds of amazed that he remembered exactly what you liked after all this time. Your brain is shutting down, and you feel the tightening in your groin and the twinging of your spine an instant before you come with a loud cry, your mouth finding his again hungrily.

You just lay there in the aftershocks unable to move, although he's still sliding his hard length up and down your thigh like a champ. This is all too much for your overtaxed body and although you feebly try to fight off the slumber pulling you down, wanting to give him release as well, it's a lost cause. It's been kind of a long day. You sigh regretfully, finally surrendering. Dammit. This means you owe him, again.