Author's Note: Something that came into my mind ages ago and I've been fiddling with ever since, as it never felt quite right, but figured it was time to let it go. Hope you enjoy.
He shouldn't have been surprised, really.
Just as the battle was looking grim, the dragon slain but the demons growing and growing in number, that it was evident that they were going to die here tonight. They were only five people, they needed an army.
And then her voice rung through the alley, and he turned. She was a goddess in that moment, bringing him his salvation, an army of Slayers charging into battle. And their eyes met, a myriad of emotions and words passing between them. At the fire in her eyes, he felt his determination to live through this grow, her flame bringing him back from the resolution of death. In that moment, she saved him again. And he fought on.
The battle continued for hours, Slayers hacking, yelling, and cutting their way through the opposing army. In each moment, he was completely aware of where she was, an extra sense brought to life as he watched her. His blonde goddess sliced through hundreds, shouting orders to her Slayers and rushing to their defense when they needed help.
It was when Buffy dragged a protesting, broken Kennedy away from the battle that Angel realized something: They were all alive. And they were winning.
But the Powers can never let the balance of the universe tilt too far to one side, and the act that ripped his soul apart happened in the eerie calm, as the last demons were being cut down.
A hatchet came flying, and collided into his goddess' back, bringing her down with a sharp gasp. Even as his shout of anguish filled the air, so did an arrow, slamming into the demon's throat with such force he flew back several feet.
By the time he reached her, she was already coughing up blood, a bitter smile on her face. "Always be on your guard. Lesson one."
He drew her close, and he could see the hand of death on her shoulder, "We'll get Willow. Just hold on."
"Not this time." Her hand reached up to his face, touching it lightly before it shook, a coughing fit that sent blood staining her shirt.
He could feel the boiling of despair, regret, anger, and pain all pushing on his very being, clambering to be let loose. He had felt this before – after the Master, when he heard of her sacrifice for Dawn. But this time, this time he was at fault. He was the reason she was here. "Why?"
"Better to die with you than live without," she managed, the light dimming from her eyes. As he shook his head vehemently, feeling his tear ducts, which had been dry for so long, begin to swell and sting, she smiled faintly. "Always your girl, Angel."
As the Sun's first rays of light fell upon the alley, she died in his arms. And pressing a kiss to her lips, he saw her in the sunlight one last time before his battered body became dust, falling on her, bring them the closest they had been in years.
Their army watched them die – the warrior and his goddess.