Today is a soft day.

Her hair is red and her eyes are green and the rattle of his demon's chains is faint - almost inaudible and easy to ignore. She is Willow today and she smells like sunshine and purity and hope.

Smooth skin under his palm, a child seeking guidance. She is his - always. Gentle and tractable and repentant.

"Do you forgive me?" Her voice is low, and it trembles with uncertainty.

"Of course I do." He is strong and his words are strong and he gives them to her as though they had weight and form and substance, hoping she'll find some place to carry them within her.

"Do they forgive me?" Desperation and pleading, there is heartbreak for him in that question, because there is nothing to offer but silence as he takes her in his arms. Damn her so-called friends for leaving him with nothing to give her but what he has inside himself, because he knows it's not what she really needs. Her tears are scalding and they burn like holy water.

He loves her today.

Today is a hard day.

Her hair is black and her eyes are blacker, pupil and iris blend and then bleed into the white and the chains rattle loudly as his demon roars within him. She is darkness and death today and she reeks of brimstone.

"An-gel." Sensuous and taunting and cruel. She is desire and the denial of fulfillment.

"Yes?" Disinterested and unconcerned. He's not had two and more centuries to school his tongue and tone to obey his will for nothing.

"You know you want me. It would be sooo ea-sy," she draws out the words like the caress she's giving her own thighs as she speaks, "to just give in and take what you want, lose that pesky baggage, have some fun." She smiles. There's no joy in that smile. She may be offering him the chance to take, but she's the taker. His demon itches for the fight, but Angel knows better.

"I don't want you." She's sure he's lying, but he isn't, not completely. His heart revolts even as his cock stirs. She mocks him and taunts him, crackling with pent-up energy, until she tires and sleeps. He thinks of taking her while she's weak.

He wants to fuck her today.

Every day is a terrible day

Her hair is red or black, her eyes green or dark as pitch and no matter who or what she is, his demon is always there, answering some sort of call he wishes he couldn't hear. She is Willow either way, goddess or godless, light or shadow.

"Will it ever get easier?" She's begging now, wanting hope, just hope, that's all. The one thing he doesn't have to give her. He gives it anyway.

"Yes." Lying is too easy, not that she believes him. He consoles himself with the knowledge that she wouldn't believe him even if it were true.

"I'll be okay someday? Normal again? No more magic and darkness and evil?" Her eyes are full of tears and he almost fancies he can see himself reflected in them.

He pulls her close to him. Today is a safe day for touching. There is never a safe day for touching.

"You'll be okay, Willow. I promise." It's far, far too easy to lie. He might bother to hate himself if she believed him.

He loves her every day and he wants her every day.

Today is the last day.

He has to do something today, has to choose the world over her, to save the many because he can't save her, and because losing himself will cost the lives of numberless others. This is all Giles' fault and Buffy's fault and Xander's fault and her death is on their heads, not his, but it doesn't feel that way. She doesn't hate him, though. Today her hair is red, her eyes are green, and she knows what must be done.

He gets the ritual from Wesley. Wesley, to whom Willow is nothing but a symbol of his ultimate superiority to Giles as Watcher and magician, who sees Willow as little more than a former source of humiliation who's getting her comeuppance at long last, who is almost glad to call her evil and see her vanquished. He refuses to allow Wesley to be present.

Just them, for now and for always, at least that's how he sees it. He speaks the words as she sits wide-eyed and fearful, knowing what he's doing all the while. He is grateful for her acquiescence. He hates her for the ease with which she's leaving him.

He raises the knife and he sees - sees a fawn in a field, sees Buffy in a coffin gasping for breath, sees the world standing at the edge of oblivion, sees Tara triumphant and waiting for her love as Oz's eyes scream pain and panic and loss. He sees a scythe mow them down - all of them, everyone who has ever loved her or been loved by her. When its work is finished, Willow stands lost and lonely and waiting until he joins her.

She sees nothing.

The magick bleeds out of her and back into the Earth where it belongs...as does her life. She smiles as she drifts away and he screams his anguish to the heavens where he is scorned and to the depths where he is despised.

He loves her.

The End