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Major Spoilers for the last episode of Angel.

This is my own last chapter.

Thank you, Joss. I will miss your stories... until they return.

Rated G

PTB Ex Machina

The rain abruptly stops and the four stand, blinking in the sudden still and quiet. They are in a great, vaulted room.

"What's this?" whispers Gunn through gritted teeth.

"The Powers that Be, I'm guessing," says Angel, looking around.

"Yes," says Illyria. "There is great ancient power in this place."

"Why can't they quit playing with us like we're a bunch of bloody action figures?" gripes Spike.

"You have made the Wolf, Ram, and Hart kneel. We will grant one request for each of you," declares a sexless voice from nowhere and everywhere.

"Heal Gunn. Make him strong for the fight," says Illyria without hesitation.

Gunn draws in a sudden sharp breath and hesitantly pulls up his blood-soaked shirt. Smooth dark skin is all he finds. He smiles at Illyria, "thanks, babe."

"Give Lorne what he needs to recover and have a happy life," says Angel after a moment's thought.

Gunn stands and grips his axe, studying it. "I just wish this town would have a chance to rest and heal. The sun going out, earthquakes, monsters. It's been a nasty couple of years. The City of Angels needs a chance to rest her wings and take a nap."

There is a silence in the hall. "William?"

"Huh?" Spike starts. "Oh, my turn. I could do the noble wish and want everyone alive and well again. But then you'd make zombies, or bring back the bad guys, or something nasty. Lets see, there is the old long life, and wealth thing. Nope. Done that. I guess I could wish for Buffy to get over the Immortal and come back to me where she belongs."

"Spike," Angel growls warningly.

"But," Spike says sharply, not looking at Angel, "What I most want is to win this fight with all of us intact. Physically and mentally. Well, as mentally intact as any of us are." Spike hooks a thumb at Angel, who glares at him, almost fondly. "Then have a pint or two with my pals, hang up this hero business for a while and find a quiet place where..." he mutters something quietly under his breath.

Abruptly, they are in the pouring rain again. Now, they each grasp a worthy weapon and Gunn stands tall and ready. 

"What did you say, Spike?" Angel asks as the tide of monsters bares down.

"Tell ya later!" With a battle cry, Spike runs out to meet the tide.

Angel leaps to the roof top to shout down the dragon.

Gunn jumps atop a dumpster to gain higher ground.

Illyria strides forward and starts killing everything she touches.

Some unknowable time later:

Spike looks up from the chaos demon he has ripped the antlers off of to see the dragon spiraling in toward the ground. One wing is in tatters. A dark figure clings to it's back. He feels the impact when it hits. Bodies of every kind lay around him. The battle is apparently done. He's done some good killing today, time for a pint. He hefts his sword and heads for the dragon.

"Hey, how about giving a brother a hand!" comes a call from a very dusty alley. Spike peers in to find Gunn sitting with his back against a wall, covered in sweat, blood and dust.

"How ya doing, mate?" Spike asks as he helps Gunn to his feet.

"Tired. I'm ready for that drink you wished for." He slings his arm around Spike's shoulders. "Did I see Angel being a dragon rider?"

Spike chuckles tiredly. "Yeah. He's always had a thing for St. George."

As the two head for where the dragon landed, a figure with a leathery head steps out before them. The two instantly drop into fight mode. Suddenly, the head melts away and Illyria cocks her head at them. "Are you still in need to test me?"

Spike laughs and lowers his sword. "You had a helmet on. You made a helmet. Clever. Come on, let's go hear Angel crow about his battle."

Spike and Gunn lean on one another as they pick their way through the battlefield.

The dragon's body had crashed through the roof of a Starbucks. It's massive head lays in the middle of the street. Angel is sitting tiredly atop it. 

"You finally St. Georged a dragon! Congratulations!" Spike calls.

"He put up a hell of a fight! I was trying to decide if it would be cooler to have the head mounted or the skull cleaned." 

"Hell, do both!" Spike climbs the head and sits beside Angel.

"I do not understand," says Illyria, watching the scene.

"You see, it's trophy thing. To display the proof of one's prowess," Gunn explains from where he sits on one of the dragon's massive feet.

"No. I completely understand the power of trophies. It can make one's enemies fearful. What I do not understand is how they can be standing there."

Gunn blinks through his weariness and the light in his eyes. "Wait. When did the sun come up?"

Both Angel and Spike hear him and instinctively cringe away from the warmth and bat at non-existent flames. They stop, study one another and start laughing. "Shanshu!" they cry together, leaping to their feet. Spike grabs Angel and tries to pick him up which only causes them to both loose their footing and slide off the dragon's nose. Gunn joins them in a round of listening to heartbeats and dancing. 

Understanding what is going on, Illyria turns her attention back to the battlefield. As the sun's rays hit the blood and bodies, they vanish. "No trophies," she says almost sadly. 

As the dragon fades out around them, Angel lets out a moan of disappointment. "I wanted to make a dragon bone chair!"

"That's okay, Mate. Your grandchildren can share stories with my grandchildren!" Spike laughs and throws off his leather coat to feel the sun on his arms.

"You wished for this! That was the rest of your wish!" Angel looks at him in wonder.

"Nope. I just wished for the chance to spend a nice, long, peaceful time working on my poetry. This is all PTB. Now I believe I owe you all a pint or twelve!"

Angel smiles. "That you do." They head off to find a bar open when Angel pauses. He stands in the place the dragon's head was and looks around at the clean, sun-lit streets, the mysteriously repaired Starbucks, and the people heading to work. "Thank you. For everything," he whispers, knowing he will be heard.

"Come on! If you dawdle too much, I'll make you buy the wings!" 

Angel runs up and throws his arms around his pals. 

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