This Is Where It Ends
by Signe

Humans are bloody, Illyria thinks. Full of blood, thrumming with it, leaking it like they leak their puny emotions. They depend on it, this thick red fluid, it is their life.

And now Wesley is losing it, dribbling garish red through his fingers.

She wonders if it is the pretence of being Winifred Burkle that makes her respond the way she does. If the shell is somehow influencing her, even though she knows the concept is ludicrous. The shell is just that, hollow, a vessel for Illyria, or what is left of Illyria, and Illyria alone.

But she wants an excuse. A rationale for her foolish physical response. Her nose feels stuffy and her eyes are wet and salty. It is uncomfortable and humiliating. And yet, much as she needs to excuse it, she also doesn't care. Something inside her, something that makes her chest ache, is pushing away the logic and making Wesley's life blood and Wesley's last moments the most important thing in her life.

Absurd. It is totally absurd. She is a goddess. Generations of humans and other feeble breeds have come and gone in her lifetime, nations have risen and fallen, entire universes have collapsed, and she has lived on, immune to it all. She is above it.

She whispers to him.

"It's gonna be OK."

More sweet nothings in Fred's silly Texan accent, lilting lies that they both recognize for what they are. And all the while, blood keeps dripping through Wesley's fingers, then on to hers as she holds him.

The blood is warm, though it doesn't stay warm long once he closes his eyes and his spirit flees to a safer place. It congeals on her hands, sticky and dry and unpleasant.

Humans are bloody, and now maybe so is she.

Human and bloody and full of hurt.


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