Author's Note: This is a post-NFA oneshot. It is in no way connected to my Ouroboros fics. Except that I don't own this one either. Thanks to BohemianCane04 for beta.

Nothing So Sweet

"Mom's out of town again." Buffy smiles as she closes the door behind her, stopping in front of the mirror to run a hand through her damp hair.

The smell of lavender mixes with the scent of jasmine from the open window, the room spicy-sweet as she massages lotion into skin which glows nearly translucent in the moonlight. Her pajamas are pink gauzy silk, and they rustle in the still darkness as she sets the bottle down on her dresser and makes her way over to the bed.

She has to move stuffed animals in order to make room for herself, hands deadly in battle now impossibly tender as she lines the menagerie up on a shelf. Angel holds the blankets aside for her as she slides into bed beside him. She curls into his bare chest, breathing in the scent and warmth of his skin. The ends of her hair tickle as she leans over to kiss the place she once ran him through with a sword.

-

Sometimes, when the wind is very strong, whipping the curtains and the blankets and anything else it can reach through the open window, he can remember the wing beats.

Fire, raining down from the creature above, scorching the pavement and making the dirty rain boil, the sizzling not quite loud enough to drown out the screams of battle.

Dust, and tar, and grime. Blood dripping down from his hairline to mingle with tears, putrid and sour on his lips.

The world smells and tastes and sounds of death, and he falls to his knees, vomiting guilt and shame onto what used to be the sidewalk.

-

"Come for a walk with me?" She's standing in her underwear at the foot of the bed, gold hair radiant in the early morning sunlight. A powder blue sundress is draped over her arm, her smooth, exposed skin lined with silvery scars.

Angel swings his legs over the side of the bed and retrieves his shirt from her bedpost, pulling it over his head as he stretches. The day is spring-new and pure; impossibly, it reminds him of her. The dreams reality has at last managed to taint. He can feel the sun, warm and welcome on his back as he crosses the room to take her hand, helpless in the face of her request, as always.

"You'd better put some clothes on first."

-

He doesn't remember if the others are alive.

Sometimes, he dreams of them. Horrible, tortured deaths, dismembered at the hands of the demon horde. Spike, dissolving into dust which blows away into the storm wind, and coats the bodies of the others. Illyria, sharp blue eyes dulled with pain. And sometimes Fred, and sometimes Wes, and sometimes both of them, curled together on the blackened pavement.

Sometimes, in the dreams, he is the one who kills them. Their hot blood gurgles and spurts between his lips, burning a swath of passion from his throat to his aching cock, dying pulses thundering in his ears.

And, really, how is it any different?

-

Buffy stands at the kitchen counter, white gloves of flour covering her fingers. She's trying to bake chocolate chip muffins, but most of the chocolate is ending up in her mouth. Angel leans against the wall and watches, unable to take his eyes off of her.

She smiles mischievously when she notices, and comes over to leave white handprints all over his black shirt. The flour flies up in a little cloud around their heads as she stretches on tiptoe to kiss him. Her mouth is full of bittersweet dark chocolate, and her tongue practically burns him as he returns her kiss.

-

If he thinks about it long enough, he can still feel the dragon's talons.

The heat of its breath, knocking him flat on his stomach. The claws, several inches long, closing over his shoulders and digging into his skin until he can see the blood dripping toward the receding ground below, enormous scaled wings cutting the air to either side of his head.

From above, the battle looks even worse. The city is leveled for miles around, angry storm clouds obscuring his view before he can pick out any undamaged areas. He wonders why the fight is still going on.

Why the demons haven't already taken back what was once theirs.

-

There aren't any battles to be fought anymore. Fate has already made up its mind.

In the evenings, he lies curled up on her couch, head rested in the lap of this timeless, innocent girl even he can't manage to corrupt. Sometimes she runs her fingers through his hair, or up his back, next to his skin. They live in fear of nothing but a mother who is perpetually gone.

Sometimes, he tells her stories of the battle. How he killed one of his most trusted allies. How he led his hard-made family into hell, and how they died needlessly for the arrogance of his fight.

She doesn't hear. Her fingers keep soothing, and sometimes she covers his lips with her own.

Sometimes, he wishes walking into the white-hot fire of the light was still an option.

-

He remembers that the Dragon flew directly into the sun. Up through the clouds, and away from the cries of the battle that still ring in his ears.

Light, and heat, and pain. Searing whiteness, like the conduit at Wolfram and Hart. And suddenly he knows.

Knows that he isn't saved, isn't human, isn't ever going to be forgiven.

-

When the guilt and shame and rage get to be too much, he rips her throat out.

Tears her shirt from her body and lets the demon in him take control. His teeth work at her neck until there's nothing left but blood, and more blood, staining his skin and the white carpet a crimson so deep it's almost black. He puts his tongue to her dying pulse and sucks until there's nothing left.

-

In the morning, he wakes in her arms to another perfect day. Not one trace of a scar on her neck, or the carpet, or his hands. She's a seventeen-year-old goddess lying next to him, but he's never felt so sick.

She makes love to him in the sunrise that once would have turned his body to ash. Her hands soothe over his skin, and he writhes in her touch, hopelessly tormented in the face of retribution he'll never get to pay.

"I love you," she whispers, and he knows, unequivocally, that the Dragon has left him in Hell.

-