Angel stood alone in the center of the chamber that Drogyn had left him in. The air felt heavy, expectant; Drogyn had prepared the way for Illyria to be called back, all that remained to complete the spell was the blood of a Champion that had travelled to this place from where Illyria's sarcophagus lay.
But he hesitated -- how could he not? This spell would reimprison Illyria and save Wesley, but at the cost of countless thousands of lives. Did he have the right to do that? He knew what Wesley would say if Angel left the decision up to him -- Wesley would say not to do it, that his life was not worth the sacrifice of so many.
It was the logical decision, the right decision. The decision a Champion should make.
It was Wesley.
Before he could second guess himself again, Angel ran the blade of the knife he was holding across his palm and let his blood drip onto the charged stone. He spoke the words Drogyn had given him to activate the spell, then stood there as the ground shook and the air crackled with power as the force he'd just released reached out to drag Illyria back to its grave.
There was a rush of wind and an inhuman, unbearable shriek of rage. In it, Angel thought he could hear all the dying screams of the people he had just condemned to death for the sake of one man's life.
Wesley, he knew, would hate him for this, would try and take the guilt for the dead on his own shoulders even though it belonged nowhere but squarely on Angel's own. It was equal odds that he would ever speak to Angel again, far less than that that they would ever get past this.
It didn't matter. There were some very few things, Angel had learned, that he would burn the world down for if necessary; Connor was one, he'd just discovered that Wesley was another.
Thousands of people had just died because of his actions, but Wesley was alive.
It was worth it.