World Enough

Author: Ruuger

Timeline: Post-"Not Fade Away"

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Spike, Illyria

Disclaimer: all belongs to Joss

Author's notes: The title comes from the oft-quoted first line of Andrew Marvell's To His Coy Mistress. And thanks to spikes_lady for the beta.

Summary: Illyria at the end of everything.


The shell is dying.

From her vantage point on top of an overturned pick-up truck lying on its side next to a pile of rubble and burned carcasses, Illyria can see all the way down the street and across the battlefield surrounding her; vast demon armies now scuffling amongst themselves having lost the scent of Angel and his companions.

If she closes her eyes, she can imagine the screams and snarls of the demons around her transform into songs and chants, celebrations of her greatness. In her dreams the God-King walks and the earth trembles, and the air is thick of the blood shed in her glory.

But she will not permit herself that comfort; will not yield to human weakness.

A demon twice her size finally spots her and rushes up the hill of bodies and Illyria raises her sword and leaps down to meet it.

"Off with the head," laughs the memory of the shell when her blade cuts through the neck of the demon, and the bloody ichor bathes her in purple. Even as the severed head hits the asphalt, the next demon is already hurtling towards her, a willing sacrifice to fall to her sword.

But the shell is tired, and so is Illyria.

She slices off the legs of a demon when it reaches her, leaving it writhing on the ground, and retreats back into the alley behind the Hyperion Hotel.

Her Wesley is dead, his shell lying empty and cold where she left him. She has not seen the dead shell of the other human, but she knows him to be dead too, knows that his weak and frail body would not have lasted long in the onslaught of demons they faced. The darker half-breed, Angel, is also gone - she watched him burn to ashes by the dragons flame. All that is left of her army then is the other half-breed, the insolent sub-creature she has nevertheless grown fond of.

As if summoned, Spike appears at the end of the alley. His sword is broken in half, his clothes ragged and bloodstained, and he sways tiredly as he takes shelter by the wall. "Have you seen Angel?" He asks, his voice slurred by the deep cut across his face.

She looks at him curiously, thinks: of course she has - but understands the real question underneath his vague inquiry. "He is dead."

The broken sword clatters to the ground. "Oh."

Spike shudders, his whole body trembling as if something alien were trying to escape from under his skin, and he turns away, taking support from the wall. Even though she cannot see his face, Illyria can still smell his grief, can still smell the reek of the human weakness that infects him.

"He died a hero's death," she says, but Spike remains quiet and just rests his head against the soot-covered wall as he stares at the ruined buildings beyond the alley.

Illyria picks up a discarded sword from the ground and tosses it to him. He sees it from the corner of his eye, catching it easily.

"I grow tired of this demonstration of human emotion," she tells him. "I wish to do more violence."

For a moment he stares at the sword, then looks up at her, tilts his head, smiles. "Well, Highness, guess it's up to us then to stop the whole bloody apocalypse."

She nods and follows him as they leave the shelter of the alley, for she knows that the end of the world will indeed be bloody.

When he reaches the street, he stops and turns to look at her with a frown. "Do you think if-"

"Did I miss anything?"

Spike re-appears from the other room, holding two containers of the same poison Illyria has often seen Wesley consume, and she follows him with his eyes as he approaches her.

"Want one?" he asks, proffering the beverage, but she does not accept his offering and merely glares at him. In the glass box in front of them vast armies clash on the battlefield, black blood spilling to the ground.

"Well, more for me then," Spike says with a shrug and sits down heavily next to her, his thigh brushing against hers. She glares at him again, but he just balances his drink between his knees and stretches himself until his arm rests on the cushion behind her head. If she still ruled her kingdom, Illyria would have made him pay for his insolence by having his hands cut off, but her kingdom is gone, and so she just sits and watches the battle rage on behind the glass.

After a moment, Spike mutters something about missing the best part and removes his arm from behind her to reach for a small plastic rectangle lying on the floor. He presses a button on the rectangle, and before Illyria's eyes the armies in the glass box stop and retreat.

"You command them with that device?" she asks, and he looks at her curiously. "Your armies," she repeats; points at the glass box, frustrated by the limitations of his inferior mind. "You command them with that device?"

He lets out that barking breath that humans call laughter, and she idly wonders if he would continue to breathe should she cut off his tongue.

"What, the armies of Mordor, you mean?" He laughs again and hands her the controlling device. "Go on," he says. "Make the buggers run."

She studies the rectangular object, running her fingers over the smooth surface before tentatively licking it.

(Acrylonitrile butadine styrene, whispers the memory of the shell.)

The rectangle is cool and heavy against her palm, and if she concentrates, she can sense the small electric current flowing within it. She gently touches the small nubs on the device, and then glances at Spike. He is looking at her, his lips curved to a smile as if to challenge her.

Illyria points the device at the glass box and presses

She has come to realise that humans too possess the skill to bend time.

They cannot control it, of course, not as she could, but they can affect its flow unconsciously at moments of great importance. Next to her, Spike says something, and then she blinks, and time slows down, stretches, until one second contains the entire universe.

The demon's spear is made of dark smooth wood with a crudely carved triangular metallic head, stained with rust and blood, and there is a part of her that wants to reach out and touch it - wants to feel the power humming within the lifeless thing; crude and primitive, but capable of great destruction.

From the corner of her eye she can see the demon running towards them, but she is trapped in that frozen second and cannot take her eyes off her companion. Spike is still looking at her, but his eyes are empty as his hand clutches the spear piercing his chest. His lips are moving in an attempt to speak, but no words come out - only the blood which she has often seen him consume flows freely from his mouth. For the briefest moment Illyria wonders if someone has reversed time, but then the vampire falls, crumbling to dust before his knees touch the ground.

And Illyria is alone.

The wet dust that was the half-breed clings to the soles of her feet as she walks over it and picks up the sword he had been holding. When the demon that killed him reaches her, she decapitates it with one swift movement of her left hand, while skewering another one with the sword on her right, and then steps over the bodies to rejoin the battle.

The sun rises, the pale light illuminating the chaos around her, and Illyria can't help wondering what will happen to her when the shell dies. Will she die with it, fade into the ether as if she had never even existed, or will she return to the deeper wells where her kingdom still thrives in her dreams.

A demon collides with her, bringing her to the ground. She struggles to stand up again, skewering the demon as she pushes up on her feet, and then stops. There is a human hand on the ground, severed and trampled by the quarrelling armies, and suddenly Illyria is struck with grief - for Wes, for Charles, for the half-breeds, for the shell and for herself, for the pitiful insects who inhabit this world she has failed to protect.

She screams in rage, taking a dozen more demons down in her frenzy, but there are too many of them now, approaching her from every direction, three more attacking her for every one she kills. She catches a glint of the sword coming towards her, but the shell is already dying and she stumbles, falls, and the blade passes through her as if she was already nothing.

("Wave goodbye, Fegenbaum!")

Her sword slips from her fingers, slipperyslick from blood and sweat, and as the world tumbles into darkness, Illyria laughs, and presses


"-when skies are grey."

When Lorne opens his eyes, he is lying on his back at the bottom of the stairs with the worried-looking Fred hovering over him.

"Are you... are you alright?" Her voice is ashes and brimstone, the scent of ozone and burning flesh, and when she speaks, the blue of her lips is stained with blood.

He blinks.

"You haven't been doing that non-sleepy thing again, have you?"

There is a shadow at the back of his mind, an echo of something that he knows he is supposed to remember, like the weight of something dark and terrifying just beyond his reach. But when he opens his mouth to speak, he can no longer remember what he was supposed to say, and so he just smiles. "No, Freddikins, my days as the queen of the night are as over as Dennis Quaid's career."

She returns his smile and together she and Wes help him back to his feet.

And God-King Illyria rules in the deeps.


ps. this is not a Spike/Illyria fic as such, but I like to think that in the flashback Spike and Illyria are on a date and he just neglected to tell her ;)

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