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Who Can I Turn To? - 4

Spike lay in the slight indentation that Angel had left: it was cold now. He got the impression that Angel must have extricated himself some time ago. Maybe Angel had woken as soon as he had fallen asleep and left, disgusted. He tried to will himself back to sleep - back to the pain free realm where he could be what he once was.

He couldn't, and the day stabbed its icy shards into his head. As always these days, the tears began to flow unchecked. Initially he had welcomed the perpetual loneliness of being a souled demon, for it gave him space to cry unseen - now he craved constant company to repress this endless weakness. He didn't even know what he was crying for. Tears like these were so unnatural for him that he had no reference points by which to analyse them. They made him think about screams, about weak human bodies being made to dance to his sick music, and about ... Angelus. He tried not to think about Angel, but lying in the soft, musty smell of his bed, that was not so easy. Why had he decided not to feed while he was in Angel's city? It had seemed so easy on that depressing flight from England: to renounce eating even the evil that had sustained him on the long trip through Europe. Now he was not so sure. Being good made him feel ill, and he longed for the deep unconsciousness of sleep to take him.

He heard Angel come back: Cordelia's voice welcoming him. He left the bed and went into the shower to wash away the truth and put back on his masks.

He let the water cascade over him, puzzled by the bruises all over his arms. They almost looked like finger marks, and he laid his own hand outstretched over them. He had a frightening thought that maybe his soul was leaking somehow, that guilt was marking him with these intense colours, but laughed at his own fears. The laugh sounded good after the tears, so he did it again and thought about buying something with his money. Something had occurred to him in the bed, and he rolled the thought around in his head again.

Streaming water, he came out of the shower and padded into his room. Angel was standing there, waiting for him. Spike yelped. His defences shot up, and he wrapped himself up in his I-don't-give-a-fuck armour, but suddenly realised that was the only thing he was wrapped up in.

He debated what the old Spike would have done, and did it. He gave Angel a cheeky grin and continued into the room, swaggering slightly as he passed the dark immovable body. 'What y' want, poof? Missing this?'


'Good, cus you ain't getting it anyway. Thought you'd gone out.'

'I did. I thought... I wanted to talk to you about something.'

Spike dressed deliberately slowly, wiping himself down carefully with a towel, provocatively stretching to put his tee shirt on, staying with just a tee shirt while he made a show of looking for his jeans. He could hardly keep a smile off his face, but some internal struggle made that smile seem bitter and unsatisfying when it came out.

'What, poof?'

'I thought we might take a trip.' Angel sat down next to him on the bed, and Spike immediately got up and fastened his jeans standing.

'Uh huh. Where and why?'

'Well, firstly to the mall to get you some stuff and then... home.'

Spike jerked his chin back. 'Home? Sunnydale? I'm not .... '

'No, not Sunnydale. England. Your home.'



'No. I said, no.'


Spike whirled around. 'Fuck off! Nothing scares me! I'm not going back, that's all. Had enough, Angel. Didn't get what I wanted, and I'm not going back.'

'What did you want, Spike?'

'Fuck off. I'm not having this conversation with you.' He made to leave. Angel suddenly stood in his way, barring the door.

'Yes, you are.'

Spike began to panic, heaving waves of fear rushing up his gullet like vomit. He began to breathe, and this only increased the bewildering human sensations. 'Let me out. Now. Please, Angel.'

Angel saw the panic. He actually smelt the fear - exactly as he had sensed it last night as Spike had writhed in his arms. He stood to one side. 'Sorry.'

The apology calmed Spike somewhat, and he managed to make it out of the door without running. He went down the stairs, but sat on the bottom one, his legs still shaking. He felt tears coming again: that sickening wobble of his chin, and the inability to breathe even when he wasn't doing that anyway. Where to go? Where could he go that this weakness and fear would not follow him? Before he could stand and flee to a place of greater safety, he heard a quiet voice behind him. 'We could go to England, Spike. You could get free of it there.'

He flung himself up and into the main part of the lobby: its size and space calmed him a little. Angel continued on into his office. It was hard; with so much fear inside him, so much panic, so much pain; to know how much of it leaked out for others to see. He thought he'd been hiding it well - now, he wasn't so sure.

Cordelia was staring at him, and he gave her a long, slow finger and immediately felt better. Then he remembered his plan from last night and went over, somewhat apologetically. 'Hey, bint, need a favour.' He leant around the counter slightly to gauge if Angel could hear, determined he couldn't, and relaxed.

Cordelia didn't bother to look up at this. 'No.'

'Hey! You don't know what it is yet.'

'Nothing you could ask me to do would get a yes, Spike.'

'Shop for me?'

'Oh.' She looked up. Then looked suspicious. 'Hey! Not evil stuff or ucky sex stuff!'

Spike looked genuinely offended. 'Why the hell would I want you to buy me sex toys, ya bint?'

'Hostile, much! What then?'

'Dunno. Something for a girl same age as you. But one with more taste, like.'

Cordelia wasn't even phased by this. She just said complacently, 'Yeah, yeah. So, what's it for? "I love you"?' She looked at Spike and shivered slightly. 'Okay, not I love you. "I want to do the groiny with you"?' She smirked at Spike's genuine smile.

'No, not either of those. It's to say I'm.... ' He gritted his teeth, but continued. 'To say I'm sorry.'

'Oh. Cool. Something special then. Hmm. How much you got?'

Spike looked cagey. 'About a hundred right now, but I'll have more soon.'

'Hah! I knew it!' Cordelia cast a mutinous look in the direction of Angel's office, but turned back to Spike with a smile. 'How sorry are you?'


'How sorry. How big was the no-no! And I DONT want details!'

'I'm very sorry - apparently. And the no-no was very bad - apparently.'

She smiled again at his infectious smile of false regret. 'Lots of dinero then.'

He frowned; she smiled. 'Payments!'


'Spike! It's the modern world's way of having it all NOW!'

''K. I get that. But how am I gonna do that, bint? I don't exist.'

'Oh yeah. Bummer and problem.' She brightened. 'I'll use Angel's card.'

Spike hesitated. 'No. I'd rather send something I paid for - even it it's only small.'

Cordelia sat back in her chair. She looked him over from head to toe. She tapped her pen against the edge of the desk in a staccato accompaniment to this intense scrutiny. Spike backed against the counter, nervously. 'What? Stop that. Hey! Bimbo - remember you're just the prom-bitch from hell I staked! HEY!'

She stopped and smiled. 'You've got them all fooled, Spike. Congrats. So, Mister-soul-boy - who is a lot more sorry than he's letting on - something small, but genuine, yes?' She grinned.

Spike pouted and dug the toe of his boot into the floor for a moment. 'Yeah.'

'Jewellery. It's got to be jewellery. What does she like?'

'Earrings. Dangly ones.'

'Okay. Earrings. Dangly. Three hundred dollars...'


'You can owe me.'

Spike smiled. 'Wrap them for me?'

She huffed. 'As if I'd let a man do it!' She smiled falsely and sweetly. 'Shall I mail them, too?'

Spike returned the sweet, false smile. 'Why not? You know who they're for.'



'Yeah, card?'

'Just say… ' It was on the tip of Spike's tongue to say "don't play with fire if you don't want to get burnt" but instead replied, 'Just put 'Sorry'; she'll get it.'

Cordelia nodded, and Spike turned away, unwilling to face that intense scrutiny again. He spent the rest of the morning doing exactly what he'd done the previous day, hanging around and being incredibly bored. Finally, he could stand it no longer and sought Angel out in his office.

'I'm bored.'


'So, entertain me.'

Angel looked up, perplexed. 'I have files to file, reports to write, letters to read, and you want me to do… what? Entertain you?'


He picked up his pen and began to write, then leant back in his chair with a small, evil smile. 'Mall? Clothes for the trip?'

'Fuck off, Angel.' Spike stormed out and retreated to the kitchen, looking for some alcohol.

'Why don't you want to go, Spike? What are you afraid of?'

'Angel! No hounding! NO spying! Fuck off!'

Angel perched on the edge of the table, effectively blocking Spike's retreat if he wanted, and eyed his childe up for a few minutes as he rummaged in the cupboards. Without moving, he said, 'You are having intense nightmares every time you sleep, Spike; I've had to manacle you to the bed or restrain you myself.'

Spike did not turn around, but he stopped investigating the cupboards. He seemed to be thinking and, after a few moments, said, 'You lie, Angelus. You've always lied to me, ever since you turned me; it's the only power you have over me.'

'Ask Wesley. Ask Cordelia. They've been there each time; they've held you; they've patched you up and cleaned you off.'

Spike turned and leant back on a counter. He blinked very slowly and tipped his head to one side. 'So what?' He shrugged and studied his nails as if they held a key to a riddle.

'So… you are repressing all the pain, Spike. I didn't. I let it flow from me. Do you remember? I let it crawl over me with the lice I encouraged. Do you remember how you recoiled from the lice? You said they were souled, too, and you stamped on my clothes.'

'Fuck you, Angel. Twenty years! That's longer than some people get to live, and you fucked off and left me without a word and then came back expecting me to… to… accept that soddin' soul of yours?'

'You have one now; would it have been so hard, Spike? If you had really loved me.'

Finally, Spike took the bait. Finally, he lost the veneer of control that had held him together since he'd arrived in the Hyperion. He lunged at Angel and forced him back onto the table. He leant in, close to his face. 'Loved you? Angel, I'd have sucked your soul and spat holy water for you… it was you! You saw me with her blood in my mouth. You tasted slayer blood in my mouth - I made you taste it - and you HATED me! It was never me rejecting you! You rejected me! You fucking arsehole, Angel! I'd have loved you more than you can conceive of love - hell, I loved Buffy and she's got more soul than you'll ever know!'

His voice had risen to a pitch of fury. His whole body was shaking. Angel lay under his furious hold and tried to control his own anger. 'You see everything through your own warped vision, Spike. You hated what I'd become. You fucked anything that moved and then tortured it to death, and I watched you: loving you; wanting you; aching for you.'

'You! You! I tried to save you! Do you want to be like this, Angelus? Do you want me to be like this? Do you want your childe to cry until he bleeds from his heart? Do you want me to feel suicidal all the time? Do you want to be like this? I fucked my way back from getting this soul, Angel. I did things even the worse demon flesh in me recoiled from. I performed acts that made me physically sick to my stomach. Do you want that for me? Where is there a place in this universe for a souled demon? Who can I turn to when nobody needs me? Tell me, Angel; my heart wants to know. I didn't want this bleakness for you, and I don't want it for me. Fuck, Angel: what are we? We are blasphemy, and God reviles us.'

Angel pushed him off and thrust him back against the counter. 'Do you think I've not been through all this? How could I speak of this to you when you were so cut off from me? Hell is a huge cut off, Spike, and it lay between us. Welcome to my world. Feel the pain; feel the estrangement from God. You have to earn your redemption, Spike. You've been given this soul to earn something, to work for it, to suffer. Well suffer. I wash my hands of you. I love you, and you won't let me help you.'

He stormed out, pushed past the listening humans and retreated to the sanctity of the deserted corridors of the hotel.

Spike put a hand to the refrigerator to steady himself. He felt shaky, and for a demon with preternatural strength, that was scary.

Cordelia came in and perched on the table, watching him. Wesley came in and put the kettle on. He felt hemmed in and pressured and turned to leave. Wesley's quiet, flat voice held him, hovering on the threshold. 'You know… they hung him from that balcony… look, just over there.'

Spike turned to see what he was pointing at and then, looking from one to the other, said, 'I don't really care, but what the fuck are you talking about?'

Wesley smiled at Cordelia, and she just nodded for him to continue. 'When Angel was struggling with his soul, he lived in this hotel. The residents took offence at him and strung him up.'

'Uh huh. And I want to know this… because?'

'Because he can help you, Spike. He's been through what you are going through.'

Spike turned to Wesley and laid a hand on his arm. He increased his grip, pound by pound of pressure. Wesley began to wince. Cordelia got up, nervously. Wesley sank to his knees. Spike kept up the pressure. Wesley began to sweat. Spike knelt until they were face to face. 'I don't care. Do you get that? I - do - not - care. I don't care about this soul. I don't care about you. I don't care what I've done in the past, but do you know what I don't care about the most?' Wesley felt the flesh of his arm bruise and swell and groaned out his ignorance of Spike's concerns. 'I don't care about him.' Wesley groaned again, a pain filled sound. Spike repeated that he didn't care; he let go of the crushed arm; he put a hand out to steady the collapsing human. He looked to Cordelia, puzzled as to why Wesley was in pain. He dashed a hand across his eyes, frowned when his sleeve came away wet? Why tears? 'I don't care about Angel. I don't. I don't. What's happening to me?'

He sank back on his heels. He looked aghast at the groaning human. He looked over at Cordelia. She hesitated then came toward him and took his hand, kneeling on the floor with him. 'It 's just called being human, Spike. It came as a shock to me, too.'

Wesley tried to stand, but his legs felt weak, and he sat back down. Cordelia laid a hand on his arm. 'Brood boy doesn't find out about this. Ever.'

Both men looked at the steely resolve in her eyes. Spike gave a faint smile; Wesley nodded. She looked at Spike. 'Sort yourself out. Wipe your face, and go talk to him…' She saw his look. 'NOW! Or I show you how soulless a woman can be!'

Spike pouted but got to his feet. He frowned down at Wesley, turned away, but then turned back and stuck out his hand. 'Sorry, mate. But if I'd been trying to hurt you… well, you'd be hurt.'

Wesley accepted the hand and got to his feet. He nodded gratefully at Spike, turned away, then turned back and punched him, accurately and hard, in the belly. 'Fuck you, Spike.'

Spike found Angel in one of the deserted rooms on the upper floor. He was staring at an empty bed in an unnerving way. Spike hesitated on the threshold, but then went in boldly and threw himself in an armchair.

'What ya doing?'

Angel turned and sat on the bed, looking at him. 'I think you should go.'

Spike tried to laugh, but couldn't summon up that much bravado. 'Sorry 'bout downstairs, mate'

'Don't call me that, Spike; it assumes a level of friendship I'm beginning to question whether we ever had.'

Spike pursed his lips and fumbled in his pockets for a cigarette, then, when it was lit, said nonchalantly, 'You've always had a short memory, Angel.'

'My memory is excellent, and memories of you are becoming increasingly… '


Angel couldn't help a faint smile. 'No, unlikely.'

Spike laughed. 'Yeah, I'm beginning to feel a bit unlikely meself. Look, Angel…' He took a long drag. 'I'm sorry, 'k; it weren't your fault - China - 'know what I'm saying? If you felt like I feel now, then I'm sorry. I gave you shit and … well … you couldn't help being a souled cunt, could you?' He smiled sweetly, but they both knew that genuine amusement hardly left his brain, let alone reached that smile.

Angel looked down for a moment, then caught Spike's gaze. 'Like you feel now? Are you trying to tell me something, Spike? Are you actually, in your usual, warped way, now asking for my help?'

Spike laughed. 'Not bleedin' likely… I just need an advance for tonight's binging.'

Angel laughed out loud and lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. 'Do you know, Spike, every so often you do something to piss me off… to wind me up… to try and screw with my life, and you only end up reminding me why I was your lover for two decades.'

Silence greeted this declaration, but Angel heard the faint sound of an armchair giving up its occupant. He felt the mattress depress next to him. He closed his eyes - experience had taught him that disappointment was mitigated if you couldn't see what you wanted but would never have.

Spike ran a finger lightly down Angel's forehead, nose and over his lips, as if checking on the familiarity of the profile. Angel thought about trying to capture the finger as it passed over his lips, but didn't.

Spike's voice was frighteningly close to him when he spoke. 'Lover? Was it love, Angel? We were both demons; I think you're remembering it with soul-tinted spectacles.'

He turned his head to find Spike lying on his stomach next to him, his face merely inches away. 'You loved Drusilla.'

Spike seemed to be thinking about this. 'Not like I loved Buffy though.'

Angel raised an eyebrow. 'Err… you weren't souled then, either.'

Spike reared back, but did not drop his gaze. 'But I was chipped. What you and me had was … before chips or souls or any of that shit, Angel. We were demonic.'

Angel blinked slowly but did not drop his gaze. Spike didn't speak either, but looked intently into his eyes and over his face.

'It's a pity you've swapped sides, Angel, cus… I could take you… now.'

Angel sat up, his head spinning. 'I've not. Not from … I mean … still demon …' He looked at Spike. 'Still men, but … not take, Spike. Not fuck. Look around you, Spike; look at them … I've a life, a job, friends, property; I've almost become human, and I want love. Sorry … I don't think, soul or not, that you can give that to me, can you?'

Spike sat up, too, tipped his head on one side and said with a distinct bitterness to his voice, 'No, Angel, I can't. Don't love nothing anymore. Don't want to. It's all shit. Life's shit; this soul is shit, and I can't love you, cus I can't love anything.'

The room seemed haunted when Spike left, but then, as Angel reflected bitterly, it had been haunted before he'd come in. Spike was right. Life was shit, and sometimes he wished they had staked him and not just strung him up.

Spike took his misery and self-loathing to bed, hoping they would be short-lived bedfellows and that he would drift into a deep, dream-free, angst-free sleep. Remembering Angel's assertion, however, he didn't undress fully, and kept his jeans on for wussy-in-the-middle-of-sleep thrashing that he seemingly couldn't control.

It was early afternoon, and the sun was strong behind the shutters. He didn't really feel tired, so began to playback the events of the morning. He was more than a little annoyed when Angel came into his own room and began to undress. He put up with it for a few minutes, but then said bitterly.

'Angel. You aren't permitted to come in here when I'm asleep. Do you hear me?'

Angel immediately came into the room, his chest naked, his jeans undone in preparation for taking them off. He crawled onto the bed, much to Spike's horror, and pinned his arms down. 'Whatever we've been to each other, whatever you think or I think - whether we have souls or chips, or the world is round or flat - one truth in immutable, Spike: I am your sire, and you owe me obedience. I created you; I chose you; I made you; I trained you, and I gave you eternity. You owe me, and I will come into your room; I will hold you; I will do to you whatever I see fit, whenever I feel that it is needed. Do you understand me?'

He didn't wait for a reply, but climbed off the bed and went back to his own room, shedding his jeans as he went. He showed as little concern for being naked as Spike had done that morning, deliberately provoking Spike with his hard, toned body.

Spike pouted, huffed slightly, sat up and said with a slightly childish tone, 'That include nicking me book then, mate? Cus you've still got it, an' I was at the best bit like.'

Angel paused, grinned quietly to himself, picked up the book and walked naked back into Spike's room. He was aroused. His penis swayed parallel to the ground; not erect enough to sit snugly against his belly; but enough to entice, to swing, to leak slightly, and flush a deep purple-red against his cold, white skin. He walked up to the side of the bed, and it swayed inches from Spike's face. He slowly, provocatively, handed him the book. 'I'm going to take a shower, Spike. Do you have anything else to complain about before I do? I won't be able to hear you in there, and I'd hate to miss some of your whining.'

Spike held out his hand for the book, his gaze anywhere but on the semi-erect penis he could have taken to full hardness in less time than it took for him to place the book on the bed beside him. He looked up at Angel, silhouetted slightly against the light from the shutters. 'Prick.' He turned away and found his place in the book.

Angel looked down at his turned back for a moment, smiled, and went into the shower. He left the door open, aware that Spike could watch him if he wanted to.

He turned the water on and climbed over the rim of the bath. He left the curtain open as well, twitching it over just enough to make the pretence of closing it, without blocking the view for his childe. In his mind, this wasn't seduction. This was … he shrugged, maybe it was; maybe this was seduction; maybe he was taking advantage of that level playing field that Wesley had outlined - maybe he was just thinking back to that naked body writhing in his arms the previous night.

He felt the hand on his back but had not sensed Spike's approach. He tried not to rear away, turning slowly and facing him.

Spike, slowly, and with utter concentration, began to soap his hands, rubbing the small green bar over and over until it bubbled in his hands. He climbed over the rim of the bath and began to run his hands down Angel's arms, then took them and turned him round. He soaped and rinsed, soaped and rinsed Angel's back, scratching with his nails occasionally, never dipping below the waistline, working in total silence.

Angel braced against the wall and lost himself to the familiar, so-missed hands. Lovers for twenty years? - those hands had been on him more times than he could remember and more times than he could forget.

The hands left his back; Angel thought they were merely going for more soap. They did not return. He took his head from the stream of water and turned. Spike was back on his bed, his hair shinning and wet, his body glistening - but his back was turned and, once again, he was reading.

Angel groaned and put his head to the wall. He climbed out of the shower and picked up a towel, drying himself as he went to stand by Spike's bed. 'Turn around.'

Spike ignored him.

'Spike, turn around. Please.'

Reluctantly, Spike turned over, and Angel sucked in his breath. Spike was achingly hard, his penis swollen against his belly, bursting out of its skin, the red tip looking hot and angry.

Angel blinked slowly and knelt on the bed. Spike backed away slightly. 'Don't do this, Angel.'

Angel frowned. 'Don't do what?'

'Don't play the sire with me. Not with me.'

'Is that what you think this is?'

'Angel, read the fucking reports the watcher has. I know that's what this is. I've seen more of those…' He nodded at Angel's erection. '… in the last six months, than I've seen since you buggered off and left me in China. So don't tell me what this is. I know.'

Angel nodded. Spike raised his eyebrows. 'That's it? You're just agreeing with me?'

Angel smiled. 'As I wasn't coming over as your sire, no, I'm not. But you aren't in the mood to reason, so that's a "I'm too confused to know what this is" nod, I guess.'

Spike laughed and almost looked as if he regretted his hasty decision. Angel sat back on his heels and looked at him. 'I enjoyed it when we read together yesterday. That was like old times, no… misunderstandings.…'

Spike nodded, his hand stretching unconsciously for his book. 'If I … read with me again?'

Angel fetched a book and slid into the bed alongside Spike. He turned non-threateningly on his side away from him and propped himself on his elbow to read. He heard Spike not reading and smiled inwardly. Spike didn't read for a long time, and Angel listened intently to every turn of the page he didn't make, every word he didn't read. Eventually, he was not surprised to hear Spike sigh - the sort of unnecessary sigh that demanded interrogation.

Without turning around, Angel said, 'What's wrong, Spike…? Other than the life-changingly obvious, that is.'

'I miss you.'

Angel turned over swiftly. 'And just which part of your anatomy is talking here, Spike?'

Spike frowned. 'Stop taking the piss, Angel; I don't feel like sparring with you.'

Angel almost had to choke back an incredulous retort at this. Spike saw the effort and smiled slightly. 'Look at us, Angel: I'm hard; you're hard, and we're lying here as if we'd never put that hardness into interesting places and made it soft. Why is that?'

Angel lay on his back and folded his arms under his head. 'Do you want the truth, Spike?'

Spike laughed. 'I dunno; I'm not sure you've ever tried that with me… bit scary.'

'I had Wesley follow you so I could bring you here. I needed you; I wanted you. All these years, Spike, I've been wondering what we would be like if you had a soul, too. Then you did. So, the truth? I want you. But here's the truth as well; there's more to that want than these.…' He, too, indicated their unsatisfied erections. 'I don't really care if they are hard or soft or somewhere in between. I don't care where they get put or what happens to them. I want the whole package: you, Spike, not the parts of you I focused on for twenty years. Do you get it?'

'Apparently not.'

Angel turned, but saw that Spike was smiling. He smiled, too, and stayed on his side, facing Spike. 'You have some way to go yet, Spike, before you get to that place, haven't you?'

'Do you mean… do I want you without… jees! Someone wash me mouth out with soap! Without… want you without fucking?'

'Yes, exactly. If I were… I don't know… old, or in a wheelchair… would you still want me?'

'No. Not really.'

Angel reared back slightly. 'Jesus, Spike, hesitate, why don't you?'

'Well, fuck you, Angel! You can be truthful, but I can't? You are this!' He took hold of Angel's penis, and Angel winced and doubled up slightly at the intense, intimate intrusion. 'You are a vampire, mate! That's it, isn't it?' Spike sat up, animated by what he was trying to say. 'You've totally denied the vampire in you! Fuck, I see it now! The friends, the job, the human way of life! You - are - not - human, Angel! You'll never be satisfied by human love - if you think that, you'll always be pissing into the wind - temporarily satisfied, but ultimately just a wet prick.'

Angel got off the bed and began to pace. Spike was not immune to the effect the rigidly hard cock made rising from Angel's dark thatch of curls at every pace. He groaned and hunched over his own erection, longing to take it in his hands and bring himself off.

'I only used that as an illustration, Spike. I've no intension of not having sex - ultimately - when the time is right. All I'm trying to say is that … the sex must be incidental to the relationship, not the focus of it - not the reason for it. So, you've admitted you don't want me without sex: when you do, then I'll know the time is right.'

'So I can't have sex with you until I don't want it anymore?' Spike's puzzlement was not feigned, and Angel heard the genuine confusion.

'When you're ready, you'll understand, Spike.'

'So, when I don't want sex with you - and I understand that I don't - that means I can?'

''Err… say that again?'

Spike put his head under his pillow and said 'Fuck off' slowly, and distinctly.

Angel hesitated, and then went to his own room.

He lay on his more comfortable bed on his belly, stretched out, rocking slightly, denying himself the further relief of masturbating, fearful that Spike would hear him. Engrossed in trying not to focus on his erection, engrossed in trying to prove to himself the truth of his own spur-of-the-moment rant, he did not sense Spike in the room until the mattress depressed slightly next to him. Spike slipped under the cool sheet and didn't move, but Angel heard a quiet, almost apologetic murmur. 'I don't want to sleep alone anymore, Angel. I don't understand a fucking word of what you said just then, but I don't want to be alone. No… sex - just let me stay. Please.'

Angel twisted his neck to look at him. Spike was all eyes, their intense blue dominating his pale face. Angel watched the lids lower and open as Spike blinked slowly. Angel turned fully; Spike turned to him, and they enmeshed as if a hundred years did not separate them. Angel nuzzled his face into Spike's neck. 'I am still a vampire, Spike. For all I say, for all I try to do, I am still a vampire, and I need this as much as you do. I've not really slept well since I lost you.' He felt Spike nod his agreement, felt Spike rubbing and twisting his face around his neck as if scenting himself with musky essence. Every inch of Angel's body seemed to be in contact with Spike's. He allowed Spike to twist and turn his entire body, the familiarity of the pre-sleep movements only making him want to weep for his lost past. Finally, Spike settled with his back and backside pressed tightly against Angel's belly; he made a small, half-purr sound and fell into a deep sleep.

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