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Pairing: Angel/?

Rating: Tame/Angst

Warning: Character death.

Note: Thanks to my muse Saber Shadowkitten. Thanks to Nancy as always for XX and The Odyssey. This is unbetad as it is just a spur of the moment thing. Listening to Jewel and I'm majorly depressed after two of her always!

Things weren't supposed to happen like this.

He was the hero and heros always got the girl in the end.


He was supposed to be lying in bed, content. Happy, his heart beating to the rythym of pure bliss. Arms wrapped around a warm body, legs entangled with ones so much browner than his own. Maybe even one of his arms would be numb from having his lovers head use it as a pillow? Who knows...and now, neither of them would have a chance to find out.

Really, things should have gone differently. All those plans he had made. Little things like buying a mirror, tasting garlic for the first time. Big things like taking communion again, using his human name. Taking a walk in the moonlight with his lover not because it was the only choice but because he *had* the choice to do so. To be able to choose between the moonlight and the sunshine.

He couldn't help it. Bitter, the only word he could use for how he felt about the way things had eventuated.

He had felt it. Felt the warmth spread from his toes, creeping slowly up his body till his hair stood upright. Every fibre in his whole being had been shrieking in agony. His long dead cells waking from the slumber they had been subjected to for so long, each one flooded with the searing heat of being human again.

He had done it. Fought the war the scrolls had predicted. Won it as well. Defeated the demon hordes from the realm of Fire and Rain. He had been surrounded by all his friends from the Hellmouth and L.A., all battered and bruised from fighting by his side. All too excited to feel their pain by what was happening in front of them. Each one had stared down at him as he had gasped and writhed on the wet and partially scorched grass, a few murmering soothing words while his lungs filled with air for the first time in 250 years. He had looked wildly at each friend, seeing a mixture of joy and love intertwined with the tears everyone was shedding.

His head had been cradled in his lovers warm lap, his body jerking from the pins and needles running down each limb, eyes scrunched shut as the warm blood had finally reached his heart.

He had achieved his Shanshu and he had never thought to wonder if there was a price to pay for his redemption.

Angel had never thought to ask just how long he would be human.

Two minutes.

An eternity for one who had been dead for so long.

Long enough for him to scream as he had felt his heart beat once and then refuse to do so again. Long enough for him to open his eyes and watch as his lover had shed tears onto his once cool skin.

Two minutes.

Long enough to realise that he had never said *those* words and that he would be dead by the time he got enough breath to be able to whisper them.

Two minutes.

Too short a time to memorise his lovers tear drenched face as the man had realised just what had been happening. Too quick for him to reach a hand up and wipe a tear away from those large chocolate brown eyes.

Two minutes.

Too short for him to offer a word of comfort to those he had been about to leave behind. Too short for him to understand what his lover had been trying to tell him inbetween loud sobs.

He was bitter because he had never thought to ask how long.

If he had known then he would never have broken an already shattered heart, one that had been mended so haphazardly, it was a wonder all pieces had been put together so many times before.

If he had known, he would never have worked so hard to break down the barriers between them, never have torn down the walls on a relationship that was still being re-drawn as a tentative friendship grew into something more.

He was a hero and he was supposed to get his this case, his guy but somewhere, somehow things stuffed up and he was bitter.

He was bitter because life was a bitch and fate always had it in for you. And sometimes, the hero failed to get the girl, he had never thought that it would be him though.

If only he had known just how long, then he would have never smiled for the first time at one of Xander's jokes.

The end.