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When he can no longer taste the whiskey he was drinking, Fred appears and crawls into his lap.

"You're going to get sick, Wesley," Fred scolds him and gives his drink a pointed look.

Wesley takes another drink and she kisses up the line of his jaw. Fred flicks out her tongue to lick his earlobe and runs her fingers slowly down his sides.

"Sometimes even I want to stop talking," she whispers into his ear.

"Perhaps," Wesley says, breath hitching when she palms his crotch with one hand and moves her hand up his shirt with the other.

Illyria smells arousal. It intrigues her. She tilts her head to the side and watches Wesley talk to his ghost.


"I know the truth, Wesley," Fred says. She's massaging his shoulders. "You're a good man." She leans over and turns so that Wesley can see her warm smile. "Wes."

Wesley drops his cup. The glass shatters on the ground.

Fred presses a kiss on his neck. "Klutzy. I must be rubbing off on you."

"I'm afraid that's not true," Wesley says. He stands up and crosses the room to pour another drink.

"There is no one here yet you talk as if someone is," Illyria says to him. "And you're drinking poison. Explain."

Wesley turns around. Takes a drink. "Do you worry about me?"

Illyria dislikes the way Wesley smiles at her.


"Does this help you follow Angel during the day?" Illyria asks. "To pretend she is there at night? Is this how humans deal with grief?"

Wesley's eyes are lidded. "This is not dealing, Illyria." He chuckles. "In fact, it is quite the opposite."

"You cling to her even though it makes you unwell?" Illyria walks over to him. "And you harm your body with that poison." She leans over to sniff the alcohol in his cup. "I do not understand."

"It's the closest thing to meaning that I have," Wesley tells her.

"Humanity is sneaky," Illyria says, remembering Knox's words. "It is how they rule this land."

"Yes," Wesley says.


Illyria watches the way Wesley's face flushes, memorizes the way his arousal smells, and carefully notes the exact way in which his heartbeat increases in strength and speed.


Wesley can still taste the scotch when Fred appears on the bed next to him. "Don't do this, Illyria."

She pushes him down, resting on top of him and kisses the corner of his mouth. "I'm tired of waiting, Wesley."

Wesley grabs her shoulders, digging his nails in the soft skin, and rolls them over. His eyes flash. "It would be wise for you to remember your vow to abide."

"I said I would not kill," Illyria says in Fred's voice and makes her shell's body warm up slightly at the way he flinches. "I will abide that rule," she moves her hands down his back and rests them on his hips, "I will not abide you."

"What could possibly be your motive for this?" Wesley asks. His voice has lost all sharpness and it sounds broken.

"I desire to understand," Illryria tells him. "You indulge in the lies of your own mind but not the lies I offer you." She tightened her grip on Wesley's hips and jerks their positions around to remind him who is stronger.

She moves her hands up to cup his face. "Am I always going to have to make the first move?" He swallows and she kisses him. "Or are you waiting for a reason?"

Wesley closes his eyes tightly and chokes out, "It should be special."

Illyria brushes her lips across his, makes Fred's face flush slightly. "Don't you know? It's always special." She moves her hands down and finds she approves of the way he shivers slightly. "Do you want me to show you?"

He opens his eyes. Looks at her with a softness that she has only seen in Fred's memories. He reaches up and wraps his arms around her, pulling her down and close. "Please."


Wesley wakes with Illyria in his arms. She is staring at him, eyes unblinking. "You slept without nightmares invading your dreams."

"They just didn't wake me up," Wesley corrects her.

"I wish to do this again," Illyria says. "I find it pleases me to touch you and watch you sleep." She rolls on top of him again.

Wesley pushes her off of him and does not look at her. "Tonight.".