I have a lot of favorites when it comes to television and movies but, I must admit, there is a special, frilly pink umbrella award in my heart for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm sure this subject has been well explored by all of the amazing writers on this site, but here is my take on something I felt should have happened when Angel wrapped.

Note: I am a die hard Buffy and Angel devotee. No disrespect for those who love Buffy/Spike or Angel/Cordy. Those were great romances, but for me, it's still all about Buffy/Angel. I haven't read the comics, so this is just my take based on content from the shows only.

Takes place after Not Fade Away with numerous references to I Will Remember You from season one. I own nothing relating to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or any other entity in the Whedonverse.

Angel dropped to his knees, his body wracked with exhaustion. It had started to rain, the drops mixing with the blood and grime in the alley until it began to pool up in sickening puddles around the team. Spike stood off to Angel's left, his eyes already swelling shut in his beaten and bloody face. He looked worse than Angel felt, but Angel still insisted he stay back.

He wasn't kidding when he'd said the dragon was his.

Illyria sat cradling an unconscious, maybe dead, Gunn in her arms. Her expression was the same as it always was, casually detached and emotionless, yet she hugged the fallen member of the team protectively to her body as if he were her child. Maybe it was losing Wesley that night, maybe it was the shreds of Fred's consciousness that still circulated within her or maybe she was gaining humanity bit by bit. Angel didn't know at that moment, and truthfully, he didn't much care. Once he killed this dragon, the fight would be over.

They would win.

The knowledge coursed through him like the blood that once would have coursed through his veins and he stood, his eyes boring into the unnatural ones before him. The dragon saw him regroup and opened its enormous wings to their full span, blocking out the lonely glow of the street light and engulfing them in black shadow.

The rain was coming in sheets now as Angel tightened his grip on the sword in his hand. His shirt was ripped to shreds across his back, exposing three deep scratch marks to the burning baptism that fell from the heavens, but he paid the pain no attention. He'd given as good as he'd gotten in the battle tonight and now it was time for the killing blow.

Slowly, he began to advance on the dragon, walking toward it with a purposeful stride. His ears felt like they were about to explode as the monster let out a blood-curdling roar of warning but he never faltered. If he died tonight, at this moment, he was taking that thing with him. That would be his last sacrifice to right his wrongs, to make amends.

The dragon batted its wings, the sheer size of them sending up a gust of wind that almost knocked Angel back. It rose up from the ground just high enough to free its talons from the ground and Angel knew the thing's feet would reach him before he could get close enough to do the beast any real damage. Where was a rocket launcher when he needed it?

Whatever he was going to do, he was going to have to do it now. The dragon screamed again, the sound shaking the ground beneath Angel's feet, and flapped its wings down again to stay aloft. Angel saw his opportunity immediately, a plan forming in his mind in milliseconds.

As the monster raised his wings back up, exposing his chest, Angel turned his back on it and began to run the opposite way down the alley.

"You Nancy! You can't just bugger off in the middle of a fight!"

Angel ignored Spike's furious insult as he ran by, knowing that his plan was working by the enraged scream that issued forth from the dragon and the incredible disturbance of the air around him as he heard it take off a bit higher to pursue him.

The flapping of its wings was getting louder and he had to fight himself not to move too soon. The flying nightmare behind him had to be in just the right spot or it would be he who would die tonight. He lifted the sword, grabbing the hilt with both hands and holding it straight up in front of him as he ran, his exhausted legs beginning to scream from the effort. He was soaked to the bone and a chill ran through him as he felt the hot air of the dragon's breath on his back. The time was now.

Angel stopped on a dime and threw the sword up and over his head with all of his remaining strength before he fell to the ground from the effort, rolling to look up immediately. He had to be sure his weapon had hit its mark. If it didn't, it was all over.

The dragon's wings batted frantically as its screams ripped through the air, piercing Angel's ears. The sword was fully sheathed in the dragon's heart and the look of pain and disbelief in its eyes told Angel all he needed to know. The beast fell to the ground with a rumbling boom, its strangled breath coming out in labored bursts.

Angel slowly got his feet, the familiar feeling that he'd been hit by a truck beginning to set into his limbs. He'd felt this way before and knew that, like the other times, it would pass. He had to look this thing, this representative of the senior partners, in the eye as it died. The last thing it would see was the side of what is right standing in victory.

One of its eyes rolled to watch Angel as he approached, the look of inevitability replacing the fear that had been in it when the vampire had struck him down.

"You lose. Take that to your hell." Angel murmured softly, his eyes never leaving the beast's enormous one.

The dragon's lips parted in a slow, pained, unnatural smile, surprising Angel. In the entire fight the beast had made no hint that it was capable of anything other than pure animal instinct. Its sentience was unsettling.

With a great effort the dragon took in a deep, shaking breath and closed its eyes. As it exhaled, the deep and rumbling sound of its voice sent chills up and down Angel's spine with the single word it uttered.

"Shansu."

As the dragon's body went utterly still in death, Angel's eyebrows slammed down in confusion. Before he could question why the monster had chosen that as its final word, an inexplicable tightening spread across his chest.

A great whoop of triumph went up down the alley and Angel could tell from the sound that it was Spike. The tightening began to edge its way into a searing pain and Angel dropped to his knees as every inch of his body began to burn as if it were on fire.

He heard Spike stop just behind him, his excited voice going unheard because of the screaming buzz in his ears.

Suddenly, his chest began to pound and waves of dizziness swept over him. He gasped and fell to his side as he realized that the air he took in actually inflated his lungs, that the relentless pounding in his chest was his heart. He felt electric, his skin buzzed and his head swam. Realization hit him all at once and he lay on the ground staring up at the rain pouring down on him from the Powers That Be.

Angel was alive, but not how he usually was.

Angel was again a man.