NOTE: I don't own Angel or Buffy but I will gladly take position of them if Joss ever takes the big plunge.

A/N: I came up with this story talking to one of my friends. It just hit me in the head somehow. Anyway, here's the rundown. This takes place during the should be season eight of Buffy and the fifth season of Angel. Angel finally succeeds in saving the world so he is given the chance of a lifetime and I don't just mean W&H law offices. You'll see. Well, please enjoy.

                                                          CHAPTER 1

          Fire and devastation lay all around, the earth consumed by the flames and the destruction. It had all happened because of one thing, one being, one creature that was worse than any big bad anyone had ever come upon before.

          The beast was known as the Consumer, a creature who went from realm to realm feasting on children, even those unborn, managing to destroy all life in the process. Wesley had finally been able to track down a pattern of child murders, leading to the Consumer.

          Angel lay in the middle of the street, glass from a car window jammed into his leg. He held Fred in his lap as she bled excessively. Angel looked around, not at the devastation but at his friends. Gunn lay on the sidewalk, his neck snapped, Wesley's body had long burned when he was tossed into fire that spread across his body too fast to save him, and Cordelia had been stabbed to death by the Consumer's claws, the first to die. Only Angel and Fred were left and Fred barely hung on as she continued to bleed.

Angel held Fred close to him, ignoring the throbbing pain in his leg. "Fred, come on," he whispered gently to her. "We're going to get you some help."

Fred gasped for breath. "A-A-Angel, did we..." she trailed off in pain. "Did... we get... him?"

Angel couldn't bring himself to lie to her. "No, Fred, but I will. I won't let him hurt you, I swear."

Tears started to creep from Fred's eyes even though they were barely open. "I-I'm sorry, Angel." She sniffed. "I should have been more help to you."

"Fred, no," Angel said gently. "You've been with me this long, hanging on. I won't let anything happen to you."

"I... I'm not going to live, am I?"

"Yes, you are!" Angel answered her firmly. "Fred, you're going to live, it's that simple! I said I wouldn't let anything happen to you and I won't."

"I'll miss you, Angel," Fred continued to cry. "I'll never forget you. You, the others, you'll always be a part of me." Fred gasped her last breath as she said, "I love you all." She closed her eyes, never to open again.

Angel panicked. "No... no... Fred! Fred, wake up." Angel began to shake her limp body but soon found it was no lose. "F-Fred..." Tears formed in his eyes and took no time pouring out. "He did this to you... he did! Oh, God, Fred, I'm sorry. I couldn't keep you safe." Angel looked around at his lifeless friends. "I couldn't keep any of you safe. I failed you.. I'm so sorry." Angel cried into Fred's body, loud sobs of sorrow.

The Consumer approached then, a large, creature with black skin, only seen in nightmares.

Angel looked up, anger flashing in his eyes. He picked up the sword the lay next to him, gently placing Fred's body aside, and slowly stood, despite the pain in his leg. He and the Consumer stared each other down, two enemies, both with one purpose, to destroy. It was vampire against the beast, the final battle. If Angel won the world had a chance, if not then everything, every man, woman, and child would cease to exist.

With a deep breath Angel leapt into the air with a lighting fast motion, took one swipe of his sword, and the Consumer's head was instantly chopped off, causing the body to fall to pieces, dead. Despite his vampire agility, Angel crashed to the floor, his leg worse now. He knew it would only be a matter of time before he joined his friends. The vampire closed his eyes, allowing the fire around him to take hold of his body, his very name seemed to echo in the air as he was consumed in fire.

"Angel... Angel..." Angel's eyes shot open suddenly. He found himself staring into the worried eyes of Buffy. "Angel, what happened to you?"

          Angel, completely speechless, looked around his area. He was no longer in the middle of the street but in a graveyard, resting up against a tombstone. He looked towards his leg, which had no cut, no bleeding, in fact, it was completely healed.

"God, what happened to you?" Buffy asked. "You completely napped  on me."

Angel slowly stood up, his eyes fixed on the slayer. "B-B-Buffy?"

Buffy raised an eyebrow at him. "Yeah," she replied as if she was desperate to say the word duh. "Remember me? Buffy Anne Angel, your wife?"

Angel's eyes widened. "Wife?" He didn't know how to make sense of any of it. "What are you talking about? Where are Fred, Gunn, Cordy, and Wesley?"

Buffy couldn't believe him. "Man, you did hit your head hard." She took hold of his arms and began to guide him away from the cemetery. "Thanks God I handled all the vamps, no thanks to you, before you woke up all dopey and such."

Angel didn't know what to do so just allowed himself to be directed by Buffy. The duo ended up at a large, old New England looking home where Buffy proceeded to unlock the door. They both entered, Angel looked around confused.

Buffy hung her keys up and turned to him. "Maybe you should lie down for..." she trailed off, watching him glance around, a perplex on his face. "A very, very long time."

          Buffy went into towards the kitchen and Angel quickly followed still gazing about. Buffy went to the freezer and pulled out a tray of ice and took an ice pack out from the cupboard above the sink that she had left there one day and proceeded to put the cold ice into the pack.

Angel slowly sat down at the table. "Buffy, what happened? Where am I? What are you doing in LA?"

Buffy gave him a funny look. "Cute, Angel. We're in Sunnydale. Remember that? Evil place with the big, scary hellmouth that goes from opened to closed, closed to open? It's like one of those hellish open sesame things."

Angel stared at her. "No... this isn't right. I'm not supposed to be here and where are Fred, Gunn, and the others?"

"Angel, stop it already!" Buffy suddenly shouted. "This is getting less cute so knock it off." She went up and sat the ice pack on top of his head. "Since when can a vampire take you down that hard? He barely touched you and then you're all out of it for like fifteen minutes, leaving me to fight on my own. Good to know we're a team in this marriage."

"What marriage? Buffy, I left Sunnydale a long time ago to go to LA."

Buffy held his ice pack on his head. "Yeah, I know that. But you also came back a long time ago." She left the pack on his head. "I'm gonna tell Giles we're here and check on Rachel." Buffy headed out.

"Rachel? Who's Rachel?" Angel asked, holding the ice pack on his head.

Buffy turned back to him, an annoyed look on her face. "Our five-year-old daughter? Well, almost five. Her birthday is tomorrow."

Angel shot up from his seat. "Wife, daughter, birthday?" He began to storm out of the room, going straight upstairs.

"Angel!" Buffy called, going after him.

Angel shut the door to the bathroom. He turned on the cold water in the sink and began to splash himself in the face with it. What was going on? When Angel looked up again he saw what looked like an image of Darla in the mirror. Angel spun around and, indeed, saw Darla.

"Hello, lover," she smiled at him. "Former lover, anyway."

"What are you doing here?" Angel asked quietly. "More importantly, what am I doing here?"

"Why, Angel, don't you recognize your own home, wife, and, pretty much, life?"

Angel was bewildered. "Talk to me! What is going on?"

"Calm down, my dear," Darla soothed. "They only wanted to make you happy. After all you are the big hero of the entire planet. Don't you think you deserve it?"

"Deserve what?" Angel shouted.

"God, calm down. The powers that be only wanted to give you a little thank you. You were all nice like and everything what with saving everyone's ass and all."

"I don't understand."

Darla sighed. "This is your gift, Angel. You've done so much good that saving the world was just the cherry on top. You were granted your greatest desires. Your friends live on, you have your humanity, in a vampire-ish kind of way, you even have your little soul mate, Buffy."

Angel nearly fell up against the sink. He couldn't believe it. "Are you saying...?"

"It's over, Angel," Darla supplied. "Your struggle to find humanity... it's over. You have it."

Angel realized something then and glanced around. "How did I know where this bathroom was?"

"It's a part of it all. The time will come soon when you will remember all of this and nothing of yours friends' deaths. Kinda cool, isn't it?"

"I... but why? Why do I deserve it all?"

"You saved the world didn't you? I think that's entitled to a little reward." Darla turned away from him and seemed to fade off, away from him.

Angel blinked his eyes and slowly exited the bathroom, bumping into Buffy.

She glared at him. "There you are. What's wrong with you?"

Angel thought for a minute. "Nothing. I, uh... how is Rachel?"

"She's fine. I just sent Giles home."

Angel nodded. "Why don't I go check on her?"

He speeded off towards the little girl's room, finding that he knew exactly which room it was. Angel saw a little girl with dark brown hair, snuggled in bed, her night-light burning brightly. Angel slowly went over to her. She looked so peaceful, sleeping happily. The vampire found himself reaching out to her and stroking her hair gently. Was all of this real or just some sort of... wonderful dream?

A/N: Well, let's hope this isn't just a wonderful dream because that would suck big time. Please review.