So I hit my first roadblock with this one. I had quite a bit of trouble figuring out a suitable fandom/pairing for this… until I realized that the “date” need not be romantic. It could be an appointment, or simply an agreed-upon meeting place/time. That made it a little easier to determine. And I brought out another title from Ye Old Notebook List.
So, for this one, I’m turning back to the Buffyverse—the Angel & Faith comics, specifically, as I’ve been enjoying them. The team-up between the two title characters is inspired… and I’m loving the current arc with Illyria. Oh yeah, this’ll probably get Jossed eventually, but do I care? Nope!
And, one more thing: SPOILER ALERT! Season 10’s “United” is referenced here, and it goes into the whole Fred/Illyria thing. You have been warned.
Day 5—5/13/15: “Your character has a date but decides not to show up. Your character believes he or she has a very good reason for this decision (you decide the reason). But your character’s date is furious and decides to make your character sorry… “
“You have kept me waiting.” Her voice was the too-cool cadence that marked her as alien, as nothing like the girl whose body she inhabited.
Angel cringed inwardly, but turned to face the ancient demon. While he did care for Illyria, in a way, he could never be entirely sure as to her reactions to… well, anything.
She most often expressed her displeasure through violence—or enjoyed violence for its own sake. And, since magic got the reboot, the Old One was much stronger than she used to be—making her very dangerous on the best of days. “Illyria, things come up. It happens.” He glared at her, annoyed. God-King of the Primordium or no, Angel wasn’t about to back down from her unblinking stare. “People needed saving. It’s a thing I do, remember?”
“These people are things that you amuse yourself with, under the delusion that saving one means that all can be saved,” was her dry, reproving response. “Yet there are billions of them in this world and only one of you.”
“So I try to save the ones I can,” he replied. “The ones here in Magic Town.”
“And yet many of them will die as well, many of them will not be saved. And those who you think you’ve saved today, has only resulted in merely a delay of the inevitable.” She tilted her head up, as if to look down her nose at all those tiny people. “All will die eventually. Even you. Even I, though not in the same manner or by the same means. All is born to die.”
“Doesn’t mean we can’t make the time we’ve got a little better,” Angel replied.
“Perhaps. But whose time? By saving one, you shorten the life of another.”
Ah, Angel realized. So finally we get to the point. This isn’t about me ditching her, it’s about Fred.
“Are you asking me if I’d still try to kill you to save Fred?”
She stared at him in her strange cat-like way. Waiting. Her gaze penetrating him like a sharp blade.
“No. I’d try to separate the two of you, if I could,” he replied. “But, if I had no choice… I do care for you, Illyria. But we all loved Fred.”
She struck with a swiftness that shocked him, his body sailing over his desk and into the wall. As he shook himself and rose from where he’d fallen, Illyria declared, “She is a human. A mote of dust whose life is so short, she might not as well be at all. I am a God.”
“The only reason you’re here is because of her,” Angel replied, clutching his stomach where she’d struck him. “You’re in her body, wearing her face, using her voice. If Knox hadn’t chosen her as your vessel, you wouldn’t be here. You’d still be in the Deeper Well.” He glared at her. “You might want to show a little gratitude for that by, say, maybe getting along with Fred enough to figure out how to timeshare her body.”
“A God does not compromise.” She pronounced the word as if it left a bitter taste in her (Fred’s) mouth.
“Compromise is the only thing you’ve got left, lady,” was Angel’s sharp reproof. “The world has gone on without you for millions of years—stop trying to rebuild something that’s long dead and gone, and start doing what the rest of us do… learn how to play the hand you’ve been dealt.”
Illyria’s voice became mild and cool once again. “For such a young half-breed, you speak wisdom upon occasion.”
Angel gave a mirthless laugh. “Out of the mouths of babes, huh?”
Illyria gave the slightest nod. “I will consider this discussion over the coming days.”
The I’ll think about it in Illyria-speak was likely the best concession he was going to get from her. At least for now. “Good. In the meantime, you don’t mind if I get back to work, do you?”
“You may continue,” she agreed. Then she simply turned and left, and he sighed in relief at her departure.
Like Giles’ aunts, Illyria was best taken in small doses. The strange comparison brought him a little comfort. Illyria wasn’t all that bad—once you got used to her throwing her massive ego around.
But he had still missed his good friend, Winifred Burkle, quite keenly. Fortunately, the magical reboot had brought her forward enough so that she was, potentially, as strong as Illyria now. And Fred had made herself known—that she still existed, or existed once again. However this crazy thing worked with the New Magic, at least the mystically-caused deaths were being altered to be less permanent.
Thank heavens for small favours. And, who knew? Maybe he could see Cordy again, one day…