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Illyria has read of human culture. He— she— understands that these little monkeys can work together to achieve extraordinary feats, that they build things in homage of their gods. The idea is pleasing. Though this body is an echo and a shell, though it can contain only a fraction of her former power, Illyria is still a God-King. These humans enjoy tributes, to deities and to their dead — sometimes, most fascinatingly, both at once.

"I wish to travel to the Pyramids of Egypt," she tells Wesley, who looks up from the massive book flat on his desk and peers over his glasses — just another sign of his human imperfection. He disgusts her.

"Now?" he asks, doesn't wait for an answer. "I'm afraid we're going to need you here." A pause. "However, once this whole thing has blown over, I suppose we may be able to contact our offices in Cairo and arrange a vacation."

"Need," she echoes, and tastes the word in her mouth. Wretched, grasping need. "You need me."

Wesley's eyes slide away; she has made him uncomfortable. "Well," he says. Illyria knows he thinks of the shell — he had needed Winifred Burkle. He had apotheosized her frail human form. Now that worship belongs, rightfully, to Illyria. Perhaps she does not have to go as far as Egypt. "Angel," he adds, looking back at her with a boldness that should by rights have her flay him on the spot — but sometimes she enjoys his insouciance, for reasons she does not understand. "And Wolfram and Hart. They need you here."

"And what do you need?" Illyria asks, circling the desk in measured steps so her shadow falls upon him. He squints up at her with an expression she cannot catalogue or decipher. Pushes the chair back. Stands, and looks into her face as though searching for a game or a trick. He shall find none.

The clothing she wears is meaningless to her, both as armor and as a barrier from shame. Illyria does not acknowledge shame. She runs her hands over her breasts, across her stomach, down to her hips, and it fades away. She allows Wesley Wyndam-Pryce to touch her with worshipful fingers that skim over her clavicle, down to rest upon her diaphragm. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes briefly.

"Illyria," he says: pained. His heart-rate is increased, which would indicate arousal, but when she leans in to taste the pheromones up the line of his neck it turns her mouth dry with ashes of grief and fear. She has no interest in his emotions.

"You will kneel before me," she commands. His pupils dilate, and his Adam's apple bobs. After a moment, he acquiesces.

She is acutely aware of her nervous system, the bright flare of pleasure between her legs as Wesley breathes her in. This useless human body has sensitive, breakable skin, and the rough brush of his stubble over her hipbone seems to awaken something in her, those residual pieces of herself which are a bubbly Texan girl named Fred. Without meaning to, she buries a hand in his hair. It is softer than she expected.

Illyria widens her stance and he groans, murmurs something that could be an endearment and opens his mouth against her. His eyes are shut again, squeezed tight like he is suffering, or holding back tears. Illyria is no longer sure whether he is exalting her or mourning the shell. Perhaps, like the Pyramids, it is both.