Title: Darkness Stirring
Author: Light Spinner
Disclaimer: I don’t own Ats or ABVH. They belong to Joss Whedon & Laurell K. Hamilton, respectively.
“Change is constant. Yet things remain the same,” Illyria told Angel before exploding. Within moments she was once again hiding in wait, for Wesley and his compatriots to enter the room in an attempt to kill her.
She keeled over. When she looked around she knew she was no longer in Wolfram & Hart.
She saw two small women, both black-haired. They appeared to be arguing, until one, and soon the other, turned and saw Illyria’s might.
Illyria could feel it. All of her grace, and it was free rather than in the many constraints of this Earth. No, not this Earth. But the Earth with Wesley.
They stared, unable to comprehend such power. They quivered in fear of it, just like Angel. The one with honey eyes began to scream, the other was mute, and Illyria wanted to smirk.
THIS was reality! THIS was the extent of her power! She was not as weak as Wesley, Angel, and the vampire’s entire kingdom seemed to believe.
Illyria waited. She observed what was happening. In the destruction of her timeline she had been pulled from one of the realities she had lived in so long ago to another. She was existing in more than one place at a time, like back in the days of the Old Ones. True, she was not walking among the stars, only to another’s Earth, but it was more than she had been capable of since awaking in the shell formerly known as Fred.
She saw the one who was of the dead, but not dead, wonder. If Illyria had been in a humanoid form and thus capable of smiling she would have. Many wondered when faced with her, even now in this Los Angeles, but it had been so long since one did when seeing all of Illyria’s grace rather than just imagining it.
She reached toward this woman; the one who did not scream. This one was different. A being that is of the dead, but not truly could prove entertaining. But the girl began whispering. Illyria wasn’t sure what she was saying, but it caused a white light to pore from her cross and try and push Illyria’s might back.
The thing broken inside of Illyria pulled her back to Wesley’s Earth, and her consciousness returned to the training just before Angel and his so-called kingdom came into the room. But the Angel who entered was the version she had pulled from linear progression, she could tell by his ranting.
Ignoring this anomaly, she went to slay Spike, but Angel pushed him out of the way and was staked in his place.
“Aah!” Angel staggered. “Wait, wait,” he paused to pull the object from his side. “Illyria, wait. Please. Wes, put that thing down. Spike, nobody move.”
“This, too,” Illyria pondered. “All changing.” She clutched her head, as she was nearly pulled back to that alternate world, and cried out in pain.
“I know what happens. I know you kill us all.”
“Oh, a bit pessimistic, aren’t you,” Spike interceded.
“And then you shudder,” Angel went on, “and you convulse with pain, and then the power inside you explodes.”
“You are the Angel from the past. You were swept up in my wake.”
He ignored her. “You’re not king anymore. Your domain is gone, swallowed by time.”
“And we’ve had this conversation.”
“You explode. I was there. It was powerful enough to blow me back through time. I have no idea what it does to the building.”
“More like the continental shelf, actually,” corrected Wesley.
“I have to stop that. Do you understand? I cannot have your death blow away my-”
Illyria was pulled from her momentary pondering about where she had been drawn. “Your kingdom?!”
“Yeah, sure, whatever.”
She could not understand his flippancy. “You ask me to allow you to murder me.”
“It’s not murder if you say yes,” replied Spike.
“No one is murdering you,” mediated Wesley. “This device won’t kill you.”
This day was too much for her to comprehend. Too much happening too fast. “Illyria, this device will draw the energy away from you safely,” her guide explained. Her betrayer. “It will allow you to live.”
“Your intent is not murder.”
“It never was.”
“But you tried to destroy me to bring back Fred.”
“That didn’t work. It was a failure. But now I know you’re all that’s left.”
“You want to take my power… to let me live.” She didn’t know what to think of the concept, and rebuked. “But I am my power. And I would rather be a titanic crater than to be like unto you.”
With that said, she attempted to kill them regardless of the change.
“Illyria,” called Angel, “the future can change here. You can choose a different path.”
“And be nothing.” How could she tolerate being lessened in such a way?
“And be what you are,” Angel contradicted. “Fighting to hold onto what you were… it’s destroying you.”
Once again fighting against being sucked back into another of her lives, she turned to Wesley. “You would do this to me.”
“I’d try anyway. Every time.”
“I possess so much grace, more grace than this bag of sticks could express. I was the immaculate embodiment of rule.” I aligned the most powerful vampires under my leadership, she added silently. Thinking on the power the humanoids of that world were able to contain, she added with resignation, “I blame this on the weakness of your species.”
“Fair enough,” he replied, and then used the device he had created to pull her power from her.
“Illyria...” Wesley was cautious in his approach, and rightfully so.
“Touch me and die, vermin.”
“Not a very dramatic difference, really,” Spike commented.
Wesley was more accurate in his response. “Everything is different.”
But that wasn’t completely true. For while her timeline was no longer torn, and her powers were weakened, Illyria still felt the pull to her life as the Mother of All Darkness.