Author: Sullen Siren (adena(at)direcway(dot)com)
Summary: Illyria has more than Fred's memories - she has her fantasies too.
Disclaimer: Angel, Buffy, and their merry band of miscreants do not belong to me. They belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the bastards at Fox. Please don't sue; you can't get blood from a stone anyway.
Feedback: Yes please!
Note: Written for the Illyria Ficathon. I was assigned virtualinsomnia and I'm about umm . . . well WAY late. So sorry to ms_dollsome and virtualinsomnia. I suck. virtualinsomnia requested dark, angst, lust, Illyria and Wesley. Wesley I didn't manage actually in the room, so I hope it's okay. Hope this works for you! The title comes from the Pablo Neruda poem "I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair."
"Desire is the essence of a man."
-- Benedict Spinoza
Gunn leaned forward, white smile against his dark lips as he kissed the hollow of her shoulder, his fingers teasing along her sides, light as butterflies, but the roughened skin of his fingers tips sending shivers along her skin wherever the touched. She breathed his name against his cheek and he laughed, the vibrations bringing gooseflesh to her skin. "Don't neglect English now." He chastised gently.
She smiled, fingers reaching out for Wesley, who watched silently. His blue eyes were filled with lust and love, but he was content to wait until asked; an English gentleman to the last - capable of taking what he wanted, but waiting until bidden first. His fingers were smoother, long as the eased the skirt up around her waist, teased at her thighs, inching ever upward in a maddeningly slow climb.
Sometimes when she was alone, her fingers deep inside herself, she imagined Wesley, rough and ruthless, pushing into Lilah while she watched.
But she wasn't alone now. The hardness of Charles against her back, hot and insistent, Wesley bare in front of her, their hands roaming over her, sometimes beyond her to linger on one another as their eyes met over her head.
Sometimes she imagined them together as she watched, Charles on his hands and knees as Wesley pushed into him so hard it looked painful, and Gunn's beautiful face twisted up in a grimace of pained pleasure, fingers knotting in the carpet as he watched her watch them.
She gasped as Wesley's fingers moved up inside of her, gentle but insistent, and Gunn's arms came around to tease at her nipples as-
Illyria howled and struck her fist deep into the wall, the cheap mortar breaking away, crumbling away to dust her arms in bits of molded white "This was not meant to be! I should not be so tortured, saddled by these traits of mortal flesh. It is the fault of those who brought me back."
"Well then blame him, since he's dead. In the meantime shut the hell up and stop busting up the room - if I lose my security deposit because of you I'll-"
Illyria whirled on him, dangerous in her anger, she could feel it bubbling up inside her, tidal and primal and fierce. Worlds perished beneath rages like this. "You will WHAT, vampire?"
The vampire twisted his face about, and then submitted with a puff of nonsensical air. "Nothing. Bloody hell woman, what's got your panties in a twist?"
Panties. She knew of those. In the dreams Fred had worn ones painted the dark shade of death and edged with lace. "I wear no panties."
"Right. That's another thing we need to talk about. You've been running about in the real world for a time now, pet. 'Bout time we changed your clothes, isn't it? Not that the red leather isn't a fashion statement."
Leather. The hide of dead things, stripped and dried and sewn to cover their skin. "It is not LEATHER. It is a formation of my will, made material. In my day we wore nothing and needed nothing-"
"I've seen your 'before' shot, love. You wouldn't have fit into anything smaller than Antarctica anyway."
"Yes. I was immense." She did not understand the insult of size that humanity seemed to hold. To grow in power was to grow in size. Even then she had been forced to hide her true form when walking the worlds, or she would have blotted out suns. "My size is limited, here, by the size of Winnifred Burkle."
The Vampire - Spike, such an odd name - rolled over, turning his back to her as he lounged on the cushioned sleep-chair. "Yeah well, you can blame that one on the mad professor too. He picked Fred."
Absurd that he assumed the Qwa'ha Xahn - frail human thing that he was - would have had the power to bring her, to bind her. "He was used. A piece in the great game. The purpose of my return has not yet been shown. Neither has its perpetrator - the Wolf, Ram, and Hart perhaps. Though in my time the thought of them with enough power to do such things was laughable."
"We're not laughing now."
She had known when he entered the room, as she always did. "No. You do not laugh often though, Vampire."
He made that wind noise again, the sigh that was not needed because his dead lungs needed no air. She resented that her own were human enough to crave it still - though she would not perish without it of course. She had not fallen that far. "We have names, Illyria."
"Yes. I know."
"You could try using them."
He tested her patience. "Which shall I use then? Angel? Angelus? Liam was one as well, though Fred thought you wished her not to know that one. A human name - yours before they ripped away your soul and pushed a remnant of demon inside of you."
"Angel is fine." He said evenly.
She hated that she could no longer anger him. It would have been . . . welcome. A release to see him angry, when she could not contain her own fury. "Angel, then."
She stalked past him, shoving him roughly aside as she walked out into the hall and up the stairs to the roof. Here at least she could feel the air. Wesley had shown her that, once.
"Feel that, pet? Corporeal now, thanks to you." Spike's fingers pinched lightly at Fred's nipples as she moaned and whimpered, grinding herself against the black denim of his thigh as he laughed.
Wesley watched, looking pained, as Spike slid off her shirt, her bra, her skirt - until she wore nothing but socks and there was something wicked about that, but she wanted it that way. Spike slid down her, his tongue slipping into the folds of her as she pulled Wesley near her, fingers working open his fly, pulling him out. She murmured that she loved him as she took him in her mouth-
She sensed him behind her. "Do not follow me. I do not desire your presence Va- Angel." She spoke a moment later without entirely intending to. "These things did not even happen. They were only imaginings."
"What things?" She did not deign to answer him, and he spoke again a moment later, his tone smug. "It's getting to you, isn't it?"
She knew of what he spoke, but preferred to pretend that she did not. She too, was becoming a deceiver, like the human insects. "Getting to me?"
"I am no human!"
"No. But she was. And you're getting closer. I can see it. We all can."
She looked out over the dingy roofs and streets. The moon could barely be seen through the smog of the city, and even the glittering lights of the signs and markers looked dim. "This is a dead place."
He moved to stand next to her. "The place maybe. The people in it aren't though."
"They are. I see it in everyone. Death, decay - it rots them, these short-lived creatures. It is revolting, hateful. I long to burn this city to its root; destroy them and take their rot from my skin and my eyes. And yet . . ."
"And yet you don't."
"No. I don't. I am lessened, yes, but still. I could destroy you and yours, did I want to. I could pull apart the bones of the white - of Spike's head and feast on the gray of his brain until it turned to dust in my heads to halt his constant insults. I could flay the human with the name of a weapon. I could turn you to ash. But I don't. I refrain. I obey laws that I do not understand simply because though I long to break them - to break all of you - I do not truly want to. And I do not understand it."
He watched her, and she felt it. She felt their gazes now - knew when they watched and when they didn't. Once it had been assumed that all eyes were always on her. To look away would have been foolish, after all. Now she felt their attention and their disregard. "Yes you do."
"Yes. I do." She agreed after a moment, the admission like a bolt through her frail human chest. "It is an infection, this humanity."
"No. It's a gift. You were the infection that took it away."
"You say that without malice. As if I were but some strange virus. How is it you no longer hate me for what I took away from you?"
"You didn't take her from me. You took her from Wesley. The rest of us were incidental."
"True. Yet she cared for you. There are stories in her head of white horses and armored men. Fairy tales. Children's tales. You are in them. The rescuer. The hero. Once she thought she was the princess doomed to love you forever for it."
"Doomed? Seems a bit strong. Destined, maybe? I mean it wasn't true or anything, but doomed makes it sound as if loving me would have been bad, when really it was-"
"Doomed. That is what it would have been. You, who love a demon-hunter and a dead woman. She would have pined for you as you passed her by." There was anger in her voice and she did not know why. "Why do I feel fury over the slights that might have been done to this Shell?"
He didn't answer, and that too angered her. All things angered her. The days passed slow and unsteady, claustrophobic and empty. She was lost and hemmed in all at once. Drowning and adrift. And the memories that had once lain dormant and then began to trickle up when she was still as dreams. Now they came all times. Taking over her thoughts, images pressing in on her mind and her being, speeding her pulse and wetting her mouth.
Most of them had never even happened. Pale fantasy lives Winnifred Burkle would never dared have lived save within the confines of her own body and mind, where none would ever see. And even in her imaginings Wesley was there, always, watching, thrusting, his presence overlaying everything.
His question startled her. "Do you regret it?"
"Killing Fred, waking up, Wesley dying - all of it?"
"Regret is foreign. We had no laments, only victory chants. The losers cowered or died and the victors sang of their triumph. In loss we regretted nothing, but only longed for a chance to challenge again, and in victory we cared nothing for the cost of winning."
"So you didn't always win?"
"No. So long ago its memory is dim and clouded even to me, I was less than the others. I had to battle my way up from nothing to become the Shaper. And when I fell it was not because another was greater, but because time had changed all of the worlds around us - made them lesser, too weak to support our glory. The others died - but for me I knew it was only a sleep. That I would rise again to reclaim what we had lost and rule all." She tilted her head, feeling the muscles stretch along her neck. "It did not go as planned."
"I kinda got that." He looked around, turning in a slow circle that somehow made her want to slap him. "It's nicer up here."
"The air has movement."
"Yeah." Silence fell between them, and it was less strained and harsh than when it fell between her and others. For some reason he felt the need to break it though. "Do you miss him?"
Miss him. "I did not know him. Not as she did." But she remembered, and the memories . . . "Yes. It is strange, this feeling. But yes. I think that it is sorrow. Pain. Perhaps even regret. I hate the weakness that comes with such feelings, yet the feelings themselves . . . they are a comfort. The pain, it is somehow welcome."
"Oh yeah. You're getting human, all right."
"Do you envy me that then, Angel? You will always be a vampire, after all."
"You'll always be a demon posing as a human."
"Yes." The wind along her face reminded her of fingers, in the dreams that did not stop. "She wanted, Winnifred Burkle. She wanted many things. When first I took this shell, the impulses - memories - were slight. Easily ignored. The longer I remain, the more they become unstoppable. I remember her youth, her love, her hates. I see the fantasies she kept hidden, and wake with heat and longing that is repulsive to me."
"Well that's part of - wait, fantasies? You mean . . ."
She looked at him, hearing the embarrassed curiosity in his voice. "Your kind is too much obsessed with mating. Even you, a dead thing, spend energy on it."
"Well I'm dead but not DEAD dead. So she . . . and you feel."
"I feel her desire. Her dreams. In her secret longings she had Wesley and Gunn all at once. She saw Wesley with Lilah - before he cut off her head, Gunn and Wesley together, gasping, straining. I feel what she wanted, and it heats me. I want. As Fred wanted."
"Wait . . . together?" There was incredulity in his voice and it irritated her.
"You are slow to comprehend."
"What . . . I mean since she used to have that crush on me . . ."
"She did not think of you as such. Even then, you were her rescuer. Sexless. There were no carnal intents."
"Wait - sexless? I'm NOT sexless. She probably just-"
"You are too large. And bumpy. It was not you she wanted. It was the human men. And sometimes the white-haired one."
"Spike! And bumpy?" He was irritated now, and she felt the alien twinges at the corner of her mouth. A smile. "She thought I was bumpy?"
"Yes. She found it endearing, somehow. She was not a woman of high standards." He grunted in annoyed understanding and the silence came again. She broke it this time, not sure why she did so. "I abide, and Wesley is no longer here to guide me. Then I thought to use him to regain my place. But my place is gone. I am a remnant. You will help me now."
"Yes. I guess I will."
"Once, she dreamed of lying with you beneath a tree. You were both clothed and she lay curled against you like a pup against its mother. Safe, encased by your bulk and your unattractive bumps. Protected. That is how she remembered you, and how she thought of you. Even in the end, when you had failed to protect her many times - the last time leading to my coming."
Some small part of her felt remorse at his wince, but she did not apologize. God-Kings did not beg forgiveness. And neither did their muted reborn remains.
"These feelings that arise. This . . . desire. Heat. Wet. I want it to cease. It hums beneath my skin and grows. It sets my teeth on edge and makes my rage burn closer to the surface. Were Wesley here, I would ask him. But he is dead and buried beneath the dirt. Teach me to control this."
He groaned and the sound was oddly pained. As if her words had hurt him. His skin flushed red, and she did not understand how it is he managed that without body heat raising it. "It's not really . . . humans can't control it that well, really. We just learn to . . . manage it?"
"You are not human." She reminded him. More because she knew it would bother him than anything else.
"All right THEY learn to manage it."
He groaned again and spoke in an embarrassed rush. "I don't suppose . . . in a conversation I'd really rather forget I ever had, Cordelia once mentioned the value of massaging shower heads."
Shower heads. Spitting water to cleanse their skin. "My skin and form repel dirt. I have no need of showers. And what do you mean?"
He grunted. "That's another thing. Spike was right. It's time you wore clothes."
Clothes. Petty human inconveniences.
Fred had liked a blue skirt that showed Wesley her legs.
"Very well. Now explain what you meant by the shower."
Vastly late of course, but better late than never, no? I hope so, anyway.