He didn't know until hours later. That was one thing that really stuck with him after. He sat at his desk, signing orders and reading documents not knowing they were gone. How had he not known?
When they didn't come back for hours he figured they were just getting Illyria settled. He wasn't even worried until Illyria came into his office alone. He didn't even look up as she came in.
"They're all dead." She said it simply and emotionlessly, and the words didn't even register for a few seconds.
Because how could they be dead?
Angel, who was supposed to be immortal, who had this huge destiny.
Wesley, who always had a plan, who even walked away from having his throat cut.
Lorne, who wasn't a fighter, but who could charm his way out of anything.
Even Spike, who like Angel was never supposed to be able to die.
Eventually he figured out what she meant and everything hit him. It was like being stabbed. He could feel all the air leave him. He was up and out of his chair in seconds and had Illyria pinned to the wall. He was screaming and crying and he didn't know what he said but in that moment, he was looking for blood.
He didn't give a shit if she was a god. She was gonna die. And if he was lucky maybe she'd take him with her.
He punched her over and over until his arms and fingers hurt and broke. Then he started kicking. Lawyers walked by, saw the scene, and walked away faster. She was bleeding now, and staring up at him like she wanted him to stop, so he hit harder.
Was this the expression they had had when she killed them?
Was Angel shocked? Did he catch on first and rush in to save the others only to be killed?
Was Wesley confused? Did he try to win till the end?
Was Lorne scared? Did he have time for any last words? Good ones?
Was Spike rude? Did he roll his eyes and say something snarky as he was dusted?
He knew this was the beginning of the end. First Fred had left, then the others. And he'd be last. He'd die alone.
And it was his own fault. He'd brought Illyria here and Illyria had killed Fred and then them. She'd killed all of them. And he'd opened the door for her.
He imagined telling Angel that. Angel'd tell him it wasn't his fault but he'd nod in understanding because Angel understood guilt.
And Wesley would nod too when he told him, but in agreement, not understanding.
Spike would tell him to stop brooding and that he needed to go kill something, which wasn't bad advice except he didn't think he could move anymore. Didn't think he could breath without all of them.
Lorne would call him some funny nickname, pat him on the back and tell him everything was going to be okay, maybe hug him.
Fred would laugh at him, and call him silly and she'd definitely hug him.
But Illyria was the only one left, and she just watched him like he was an animal in a zoo, some kind of exhibit on what a human will do when all his friends die. There was no comfort coming from her.
And now he was alone.
So when the papers crossed his desk (promotion to CEO, Angel's replacement, not the muscle, now the leader, but he hadn't wanted it like this) the decision was easy.