"Personally, I kind of want to slay the dragon."

That said, Angel gripped his sword harder and advanced on the rapidly coming demon hordes.

Spike, never one to stay behind, followed him close. They fought for a long time, the tiredness they felt in the bones since losing Fred to an ancient God slowly getting the best of them.

Finally Angel reached the dragon and in one last inhuman effort pierced its skull, miraculously avoiding the fire it's breathed. Deed done, he fell to his knees, wanting nothing more than to rest finally.

The sharp pain in his chest brought him back to consciousness, the sudden and forgotten need to breathe accompanied with thoughts tumbling in his head:
*no, it's not possible, I signed it away... what's happening here?*

Loud thumping in his head and a feeling like all his senses were dulled at once convinced him that yes, his heart was beating and despite signing the prophecy away he somehow became human. The one thing he wanted for so long, his redemption, his reward... He had to tell Spike, he has won and no matter what Spike thought about it, the reward was HIS!

He turned around, looking for Spike, a victorious smile on his lips, just in time to see one of the bigger demons taking a swing and impaling Spike's chest with a long piece of... wood?

He blinked, not believing his now human eyes, but the unmistakable sight of a body crumbling to dust, wind scattering the ashes everywhere, didn't left any doubts.

He blinked again, smile long gone without him noticing it, and felt the ashes covering his face. He brought a hand up, wiping it away and wondering about the wetness it encountered on his cheeks. Like watching a car accident happen, the slow-motion feeling was replaced by a sharp, unforgiving return of all senses and now the pain he felt had nothing to do with his body changing to human form. A horrible wail rose in his throat, his blood pumping in his veins and finally he lost the battle against the pain "Noo! Spike!"

One clear second, one all encompassing thought
*He's gone. My boy is gone.
No, no, nonono... I didn't tell you... I wanted to tell you... Spike!* In this moment he understood the real extent of Wolfram & Hart's revenge - his long awaited reward was nothing but a means to prolong his suffering, opening his eyes to what he truly lost.

Angel brought the hand covered in Spike's ashes to his lips and whispered, "I love you, William. See you soon." Then he stood up and walked toward the next demon, welcoming the advancing sword.


*For Andy, in love*





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