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Who Can I Turn To? - 8

Spike woke in a back room on some crates out of the way of the direct sunlight that streaked in through some windows. He sat up and immediately lay back down, sat up once more and vomited noisily all over the floor. He felt worse than death, and as he knew what death felt like, that was bad. No blood since Devon, soaked in alcohol - his body was sick inside and out from dehydration and the poisonous effects of the spirits. He desperately needed to feed, but the thought of taking blood into his body to maintain the hated demon sickened him… and he could smell it. There was a strong smell of blood in the room, and he sat up again, his head swimming, his belly heaving. A cool box sat on the floor, now splattered by vomit. He grimaced and kicked the lid off with his foot. It was full with blood bags, chilling in ice. Cursing, he ripped the top off one and sniffed it like a man in a desert, smelling a stream. Human.

He recoiled and smashed the bag against the wall and followed it with the others, the pattern of blood looking like a bad slash movie, dripping in theatrical streaks to the floor. Overpowered now by the smell, the sight, and the taste of the blood in the air, he vomited again and staggered to the door, hammering on it when he discovered it was locked.

Eventually, he gave up and sank down, only then noticing a drain in the middle of the floor. He wrenched it open and, taking off his duster, slid through the narrow opening and dropped some feet into a wide sewer.

He shrugged his coat back on and began to take his bearings, then headed west towards the hotel. Again, he didn't notice the dark figure peel itself off a wall and follow him. It had been so still and appeared to have been there so long that it was merely a shadow in the shadows, and Spike sauntered on oblivious to it, lost in his own misery.

When he got back to the hotel, he went to his new room on the top floor and stripped to shower. He stood under hot water for almost fifteen minutes, scrubbing himself hard, trying to get clean. He couldn't, as usual, and returned dripping to the bedroom. Angel was stretched out on the bed in his new, leather-and-silk look. He seemed pleased with something and was chuckling as he looked at the ceiling. Spike grabbed a towel and wrapped it securely around his waist. 'What do you want, bastard?'

Angel sat up as if the laughter was incidental to being here with his childe and merely replied. 'I want to know when you're leaving, Spike.'

Spike stopped rummaging for clean clothes and sat down heavily on the arm of the chair. Embarrassingly, he felt the nausea rise again, and he clenched his jaw to it. It refused to go. His stomach turned over, and he was forced to return to the bathroom and weakly heave the last contents of his belly into the bowl. He noticed some blood in the vomit and hoped he was dying like a human might.

He came back into the room; Angel was pacing and turned angrily when he came back in. 'I asked you a question.'

'Tonight then. I'll go tonight.'

'Good, cus you're kinda upsetting the balance now, ya know?'


'Well, you're stealing my thunder, Spike. I was the souled demon, and now I'm just a demon with a soul, and it's a pisser.'

'How does it affect you?' Spike didn't care, but he felt too depressed to make the effort not to ask.

'Well duh! I've got a reputation; now you have, and you're letting the side down. Fuck, Spike, you stood by like a wet tee shirt in that warehouse, and we couldn't even find you last night. So if you can't help, piss off, yes?'

Spike nodded and put his head between his legs.

'What's wrong with you?'

He shook his head, unable to do anything else.

He heard Angel leave and couldn't even make it to the bed; he slid onto the floor and lay on the old carpet, knowing if he didn't feed soon he would be too weak to animate the corpse he inhabited.

He woke on the bed and it was dark. He felt better, stronger and wondered if the soul was giving him divine succour somehow - like manna from heaven. There seemed to be an aftertaste of blood in his mouth. He felt around inside to see if he'd bitten himself from hunger, but the blood was human. He felt a chill in his soul. Had he risen in the night and taken a life? Apparently not, the bed was full of discarded blood bags, a trail of them leading into his room. He was having the night tremors again it seemed, only this time to more avail. A tenderness, like bruising, all around his throat puzzled him though, and he rubbed his neck thoughtfully.

He now felt incredible: powerful and reinvigorated. He recoiled, shocked; he was full of human blood. He was evil, demonic and unclean. Once more the showering started, but he could not make the soap clean his memory or his feelings so, eventually, sat despondently on the bed, wondering what to do. He was supposed to leave; he remembered that.

He laughed quietly to himself. What a ride unlife had been: fear, possession, finding Angelus and being with Angelus, losing him, finding him again but worse than the losing had been, chipped, souled, loving Angel, still loving Angel, loving Angel more than he loved his soul… Spike sat up. He laughed out loud. He returned to the shower and took shampoo to his hair, washing out the temporary brown dye. He shook out his black leather jeans from a drawer. He found his red shirt. He sat with great concentration and painted his nails.

He stood up when he was dressed and shook himself all over. He was back. He was bad. He was so depressed, he wanted to die, and he was going to take some people with him - and now he could.

Cordelia was leaving the hotel when he got to the bottom of the stairs. She did a double take and swiftly backed behind the counter and came up with a large stake in her hand. Spike giggled and came towards her, and the next thing she knew, the stake was embedded in the wall to her right. Spike folded his arms and licked his lips. 'Fuck, I'm starving.' Then a smile played about his lips. 'No, hey, what am I saying? I'm horny, and look, bed and breakfast right here.'

He pushed Cordelia back onto a desk and climbed slowly onto her, pinning her with a raised leg. He slipped into game face and darted at her neck, chuckling when she recoiled in fear. He slid a hand up her leg and fumbled with her panties, sliding under the soft material. He almost reached what he wanted when he screamed and fell away holding his eyes. Cordelia backed away, a jug in her hands.

'You keep holy water in the bleedin' office?'

'Sure do.'

'You're sick!'

'You're dust.'

He went into human form and backed away some more. 'Put it down.'

Cordelia advanced. 'This'll kill Angel. He loves you.'

Spike laughed unpleasantly. 'He's fucking Wesley right now, so I doubt that.'

Cordelia lowered the jug, but did not relax her stance. 'No, he's not. Hello! Angel/Wesley expert here, and I told you - no way are they an item.'

'I've seen them.'

'No, you haven't. I don't care what you say, you haven't.'

'In the shower together. That good enough proof? Or is it just a perk of working at Angel Investigations, showering with the boss?'

Cordelia sat on the edge of her desk. 'Something's wrong.'

Spike sat down warily, some distance away. 'I know.'

'No, with Angel. He's … kind of grrr, ya know?'

Spike answered carefully. 'Grrr? As in Angelus grrr?'

'Oh yeah.'

'Fuck. How d'ya work that out then?'

'Jees, Spike, unobservant or what? He's been laughing and paying for things!'

'Oh. He paid me a hundred dollars a day when I first got here; he didn't seem Angelus-like then.'

Cordelia advanced on him, the water sloshing from the jug as she walked. 'Hey! Bint! Mind the jeans; they're me best!'

She poked him in the chest. 'A hundred dollars? For what? Do you know what I get paid?'

'You get paid? You don't do anything! OW!'

Spike eyed his blistering nail polish with fascination. 'I could save a fortune on remover.'

'Spike! Focus here - forget killing me, your heart wasn't in it. That was the most pathetic attempt at grrr I've ever seen and, remember, hellmouth girl here! Seen a few vamps in my time.'

'Fuck off.'

'Yeah, but not with you, mister. So, what we gonna do about Angel?'

Spike looked morosely at her. 'Don't ask me: I'm having enough trouble with one soul - don't ask for advice on his, for fuck's sake.'

Cordelia began to pace, keeping a wary eye on Spike. 'He's pissed about you. That's what it is.'

'Jesus, what have I done? I'm just trying to be good here!'

Cordelia began to laugh. Spike gave her a furious look then began to chuckle, too. 'This is as good as I get, bint… and two seconds more and you'd have been mine.'

'Dream on blondie, and so much prefer the hair!'

Spike ran his hand through it and pouted. Can't even bleedin' see it either way, can I?'

'Take a picture.'


'Duh. Photography, Spike. Take a picture.'

'We don't show up in photographs.'

Cordelia gave him an incredulous look, rummaged in her drawer and handed him a piece of paper. He studied it for a long time then put a hand over his eyes, shading them slightly. 'Angel.'

'Sure is. Dark avenger, much? So, hello, Spike. Get a picture taken.'

Spike nodded and didn't hand the picture back, sliding it instead into the pocket of his duster.

'So come on, Brian, what's your plan for Angel?'

'What have you done in the past when this has happened?'

'There's always something to cause it… a spell, a drug, a shroud, Darla.'


'Not even going there, Spike; you'll get all weepy on me or something.'

'But Darla made him like Angelus?'

Cordelia only shuddered. Spike tipped his head back. 'It must be me then. Somehow, it's me being here.'

Cordelia suddenly brightened. 'It's you not wanting him… that's what did it with Darla. He couldn't have her, so he got all moody.'

'I'm not talking about this with you.'

'Spike. Look at me. Do I look like I could be embarrassed? Now, fess up, what's going on between you two?'

'He wanted me to love him, but I've.…'

She came closer and Spike leant forward thinking he was going to get a sympathetic hearing; he shouted in outrage when she kicked his shin, hard. 'What the hell was that for?'

'He wanted you to love him and you didn't! Like in immediately? Have YOU SEEN HIM?'

'Shut up! I got confused. If I love him, I'm loving a demon! How can you love a demon? I'm trying to … be good….' He trailed off, waiting for the derisive laughter and was not disappointed.

'Stupid much, Spike?'

'Yeah, I know.' He looked at her briefly then down, then held her gaze. 'I've been loving him for so long, when the opportunity came? I blew it.'

'Hmm. We'll see. He needs to see you're better for him than Wesley.'

'Well, I can fuck him better; I guarantee that.'

'Eeew! Too much information and yeah, you can, and that's what we've gotta play on.'

'I'm supposed to be leaving tonight; I think it's too late for this.'

'Shut up, I'm planning.'

'Oh, God. Look, why don't I just kill Wesley.'

'Yeah, really believing that, Brian.'

'Could you kinda go with Spike again?'

'In that case, it's Cordelia, not bint, okay?'

'But bint suits you.'

Cordelia laughed and tipped her chair back. 'You'd better move in with me.'


'He'll think you've gone then.'

'Oh good. And that's good why?'

'He'll miss you.'

'No, he won't. I've been out of his life for a hundred years, and he didn't miss me all that much. I was only in Sunnydale.'

'Err… soul now?'

'Oh, that. You got cable?'

Angel and Wesley came in from dusting the remaining vamps in the warehouse and shook off their coats. Angel stood with his eyes closed for a moment, sensing the atmosphere, and then shook his head. 'He's not here.'

Wesley nodded and visibly relaxed.

Angel looked at him. 'How you holding up?'



'I'm rather tired, Angel, and I wish I'd never agreed to do this.'

Angel came close to him and put a hand on his shoulder. 'I'm sorry. I thought he'd be eating out of my hand by now.'

'If he's not, I almost am!'

Angel laughed, but they both knew there was too much truth in this to be truly amusing. 'What next, Angel? If this little make-Spike-jealous act doesn't work any better than this?'

Angel slumped morosely on one of the couches. 'Then I spend my eternity alone.'

'Oh God. I suppose the kissing continues then.'

Angel smiled faintly and started to climb the stairs. 'I'll see you in the morning, Wesley.'

Wesley nodded and sat for a while, cleaning the swords. He nearly sliced a finger off when Cordelia suddenly said from behind him. ' Gullible.'

'What? Good God! Don't do that! And what?'

'Angel's only using you, Wesley. He doesn't love you.'

'Thank you for that stunning, rapier-like observation. I'll bear it in mind next time Angel kisses me, shall I?'

Cordelia sat dumbfounded, looking at him, then got up and slapped him across the face. She stormed up to Angel's room and marched in, ignoring his squeak and poor attempt to cover his nakedness. She slapped him as well and stormed out without speaking to either of them.

Wesley crept hesitantly into Angel's room. Angel covered up even more. 'What the hell was that?'

'I have no idea, Angel. Did you say something to her about the money?'


'PMT maybe then?'

'Oh yes.' Angel looked at Wesley, looked down at the scrap of material barely covering the essential and raised an eyebrow. Wesley stuttered an apology and left.

When Angel came down the next morning, Spike was in the reception, leaning on the counter, drinking… blood. Angel came up to him, eyeing him up and down.


Spike grinned, shyly. 'Yeah. I'm back. Like the hair again?'

Angel felt tears prick his eyes - not at the hair, or the clothes, or the blood drinking, or the scruffy polish, or any of the other the other Spike traits that were back - but at his words. Spike was talking to him again, and that made his heart want to beat.

Angel put a hand to his arm, but Spike moved casually away and sat down at his desk. Cordelia came out of the office and perched on the edge, showing Spike something on the computer. He wasn't watching the screen, but her thigh, which was bare and stretched across the desk, disappearing under a bandage of a skirt. Suddenly, Spike shook himself and made to concentrate on what she was showing him. She caught the look and swiped at him. He caught at the hand and brought it slowly to his lips and, holding her gaze, licked the inside of her palm. She grimaced and whacked him across the head then jumped off the desk, kicking him as she went. He made to catch her; she side stepped neatly and stuck her tongue out at him.

He laughed and raised one eyebrow at her. 'So, poof, wanna do some training?'

Angel stood as if turned to stone, then blinked slowly and nodded.

They both turned when Cordelia said 'Hey!' loudly and clearly to Spike.

Spike winced as if already used to this and cowered down a little, as he replied. 'What, pet!'

'The mall! Shopping. This morning. You carry bags.'

'Now? It's sunny.'

'Hello! Car's blacked out. And who's got no shorts?'

Spike cowered some more and shot a small, embarrassed glance at Angel. 'Put it on the Internet, luv; some people still don't know.'

'Angel. You don't need Spike today, do you? Good, cus he's not going 'round like that anymore. Jesus, Xander Harris who hardly needed to wear any and now you! How do I do it? What have I done to deserve it? Lift your butt, mister; we're going shopping. And if you're real lucky, I'll let you buy me something flimsy. So shift!'

Spike gave Angel an apologetic look. 'Sorry, luv. Train later, hey! I really want to do that,' and he ran to catch Cordelia up, slipping a hand to the small of her back. She elbowed him in the ribs, but placed the hand back herself, as they made a dash to the car.

Angel sat down, realised too late there was no chair on that side of the counter, and grunted as his backside smashed into the tiles. He got up, looking furtively around, then went into his office. He sat with his hands tented under his chin until Wesley came in, looking around. 'Where is everyone? Cordelia not well?'

'She seemed fine, Wesley. She's taken Spike shopping for underwear.'

'Oh. Odd.'

The couple didn't get back 'til late in the afternoon. Laden with bags, Spike staggered to a couch and dropped everything, muttering to himself. Cordelia delved in a bag and held up a shirt against him. Wesley came out into the lobby and stood watching them. Spike nodded at him. 'Poof in?'

'He's in the office.'

'Hey! Angel, we got you something.'

When Angel came slowly out, Spike, grinning, held the shirt against him. 'She's a wonder, mate. Look, seeing as you like the silk an' all.'

The shirt was pure ivory and slipped over the skin. Angel took it in a daze. Spike held out an arm behind him, and Cordelia appeared in the embrace. Spike leant into her. 'Don't she look great, Angel?'


Spike stepped back a little, annoyed. 'Hair! Cordy's had her hair cut, ain't it nice?' He ran his hands through the silky strands, and although she rolled her eyes at him, she caught at his hand and held it for a moment.

Spike turned back to Angel. 'So, what about that film you went to. Think we'd like it?'

'You're going to a movie tonight?'

'Yep. First off like, then clubbing.'

Cordelia groaned. 'Finally, someone with some life about them. Pick me up at eight.'

Spike did a mock salute. 'Yes, Ma'am.'

Cordelia laughed. 'You'd better believe - now come here for your reward.'

Mere feet from Angel, they came together in a soft kiss. Cordelia ran her hands through the hair at the back of Spike's head; he slipped his hands around her waist and pulled her to his groin. She groaned, feeling his arousal, and they pushed apart, her eyes dilated and panting slightly. 'Seven. Make it seven, Spike.'

Spike grinned. 'Half six. I'm a vampire, remember? I'm like a Duracell battery - I just keep going and going.'

She flashed him a grin, selected a few bags from the pile and ran out of the front door.

Angel wanted to sit down, but remembered in time that there were still no chairs.

He made it to a couch and sat slowly, lowering himself as if he were old and stiff.

Spike bounced around for a while, chattering about nothing and chucking the bags left and right as he unpacked them. After a few minutes, he looked at Angel. 'So, training right? Come on, I'm hard as a bloody dildo here, mate! Need to work a bit off before I get there - she's only human, ya know? Tends to squeal a bit after an hour or so. Downstairs?'

He went down the stairs, humming tunelessly.

Angel followed. He peeled off his shirt. Spike laughed and stripped off his tee shirt. 'Yey! Gonna get sweaty, are we?'

'What's happened to your soul, Spike?'

Spike laughed at him. 'Whacha mean?'

'Where's the geek-in-a-suit look gone, and what the hell are you doing with Cordelia?'

'Angel, I don't have a clause to my soul, remember? It's staying - so I can have as much fun as I ever did. I just wised up and rinsed the angst off. Now, we gonna train, or what?'

Angel still hesitated, so Spike sighed, turned away as if to go to the weapons cabinet, then spun a vicious kick into Angel's belly.

...Try and trick him?

…Try and fuck with his mind?

…Try and make him jealous?

…Make him want to fucking kill himself with jealousy?

…Make him listen to them in the shower?

…Make him actually watch them kissing?

Every slither of jealousy, every moment of pain Angel had given him, Spike now gave back with interest. He pummelled Angel until he felt bones crack and resistance falter.

Angel doubled over and staggered back… but he was not so easily defeated. He came at Spike low and hard, knocking him off his feet. They slid into the wall, Angel straddling Spike's groin. He broke Spike's nose with a hard punch. Tears in his eyes from the pain, reeling slightly from the feel of the blood on his face, Spike lashed out and caught Angel a lucky blow to his mouth. Angel's lip split, and he put a hand up to check his teeth. Spike grinned at the weakness and caught Angel slightly off-guard when he kneed him in the balls. Angel grunted and theatrically slid off Spike like a dead weight. Spike flipped to his feet and kicked Angel in the ribs, then backed away, finally wiping the blood from his face.

If Angel wondered where the training benefit was in all this, he didn't mention it, for he suddenly swung his legs around and swept Spike off his feet and, with a powerful scissor motion, pinned him to the ground. Rolling around on the dusty floor, their own blood made them sticky and gritty.

Angel got hold of Spike's arm and was beginning to lever himself up to sitting again, but Spike pulled Angel's hand to his mouth and began to bite. Angel looked at him, bewildered; this was not vampire biting but a vicious, street fighting tactic that only drew blood and made Angel wince with the pain. He shouted and tried to stand, tearing his bleeding hand from Spike's mouth. He turned and pulled a sword out of the cabinet, hesitated, then threw Spike one, too.

They circled each other, blood already masking their features. Angel swung at Spike and caught his across the belly, just the tip opening him up like a pen, drawing a line of red across his ridged abs. Spike looked down at the slowly seeping wound with astonishment. They both knew that Angel was not that good and a fraction of an inch further in would have done a vast amount of internal damage. He swore viciously and went for Angel's neck, swinging in an uncontrolled fury. Angel backed away with all his vampiric speed, but still the blow caught him on the side of his head, slicing his ear and scalp. He bled profusely and put a stunned hand up to the wound.

Spike was panting and leaning on his sword, watching Angel warily. Angel advanced on him. Spike retreated, slipped on blood and crashed to his back. He made to flip up again, slipped again, and Angel was on him, the sword forgotten, and hard, personal, intimate blows punched into Spike's face. Spike lifted his hands to ward off the blows. Angel caught his wrists and wrestled them back down to the floor on either side of Spike's head.

Angel's blood dripped on Spike. Spike's blood made Angel come closer: it called to him and demanded his attention. He went for Spike's face again, but this time with his tongue. This time not blows but long, powerful licks, and Spike sucked in an unnecessary breath.

Angel pushed the wrists higher, further away from them and sank his chest down onto Spike's in the process. He groaned and felt Spike's chest echo that sound. He nuzzled into the blood on the neck, licked the blood on the nipples, bit his own lips and made blood trail down the sternum to the belly button. He couldn't reach the small indentation and hold the wrists, but as he felt no resistance, he let go and groaned again as hands flew to his hair and worked his scalp erotically.

Spike looked blearily at him through, confused eyes. Angel hesitated. 'You want me to stop, don't you? Because of her?'

Spike only looked even more confused and said uncertainly, 'I want....'

Angel looked at Spike. Spike looked back at him - they groaned and fell on each other as if feeding an emptiness they had not fed for years.

They couldn't get the remains of their clothing off fast enough. They ripped at buttons, fumbled with blood-slick fingers on zippers, groaned as, suddenly freed and potent, they could hold and taste and smell each other's arousal.

They fell to the floor again but did not notice the descent. They writhed together on the blood, hair held and released, mouths biting and taking, fingers gripping muscles, muscles being flexed and discovered.

No turns taken this time: Angel entered Spike in a forceful dominance they both respected. He just lay on his childe, made him ready with spit and blood and entered him as he plundered his mouth and held him down on the floor.

Spike tried to open himself wider to Angel, his mouth and his anus, aching for Angel to take him harder. He was so full. For the first time since finding his soul, he was full - so why did he feel tears tracking down his face? Why the maw of emptiness that the thrusting of Angel's hard cock could not fill?

Angel's tongue thrust less and explored more. Angel's cock slowed, and his movements drew out, long and gentle.

Still, Spike's tears made pale tracks through the caked blood on his cheeks.

Angel stopped kissing and put a hand to Spike's face; at first he only murmured incoherently, but gradually the words made sense. 'Kiss me, Spike.'

Spike did, raising his head from the floor to meet Angel's mouth.

Angel let their lips meet, and then rained small kisses all over Spike's face. Angel's rhythmic sliding in and out of Spike's ass increased in tempo, so Spike captured his mouth and kissed him again, his hands wrapped around the back of Angel's neck. Angel lifted Spike's thigh, and they both groaned at the increased depth of the penetration: now Angel could work Spike's prostate gland from the side, sliding over it with his ridged cockhead. Spike moaned again and put one hand to his own cock and began to work it.

Angel glanced down and shifted position again, experimenting for Spike, hitting him full on with each thrust. Spike's eyes opened wide then shut tight in deep concentration on the orgasm that was beginning to rumble deep within him. He felt Angel's hand on his face; Angel's fingers near his eyes. 'Look at me, Spike.'

Spike opened his eyes, and Angel's face was very close. Angel smiled the smile of a man trying to bring himself to orgasm. 'Keep looking at me. I want to see your face as I cum in you.'

Spike nodded, but a blink turned into a slow closing of his eyes; he could hardly bear the need on Angel's face; for he knew - this was Angel's definition of love. This was Angel laid bare, giving something special of himself. To Angel, this meant something - he had crossed the line he said he would not cross until his childe was there to meet him.

Angel began to speed up, and his thrusting became more urgent. Spike had a moment of complete clarity - Angel was doing this despite believing he was not loved in return - before he groaned and spilt his cum over his fist and belly.

If Angel noticed Spike's release, he didn't let it ruin his own concentration. He lifted himself higher over Spike, so his thrusts had the hard floor to aim for and tore into the invulnerable body beneath him. All his pent up frustration, all his need for Spike, and Spike's utter, blind refusal to accept that need poured out of him in the pounding he gave Spike's body - but when he came? When he came, it was the agony of knowing that Spike had moved on, the agony of knowing that Spike was enjoying the benefits of having a soul with a female human, that poured into Spike's body and leaked out of Angel's softening penis.

Angel gave a short, guttural bark of release and rolled away onto his back. Spike lowered his legs and opened his eyes.

He turned his head and looked at Angel's profile, then turned back. He felt Angel do the same. Spike was about to speak. He was about to take a huge leap of faith and tell Angel that he knew about Wesley...

… but Angel sat up and said, 'Remember what I said. Tell him about this, and I'll stake you.' Spike heard the hesitation in Angel's words. He heard the reluctance to continue with the lie, but still the words were said.

Spike bit off his declaration and turned his words into forced ascent. He looked around at the state of the room and their clothes, and laughed bitterly. 'Shirts survived.'

'They'll be gone. We can get upstairs unobserved.'

Spike sat up and pursed his lips slightly, then said casually. ''Bout that. I've moved out.'

Angel shook his head. 'What?'

'Well, she wanted it. You know what girls are like 'bout all that living together shit. I 'ate it, and she makes me smoke in the street. But hey! Ya know, worth it when I'm getting off like.'

Angel watched Spike, attempting to make his ripped jeans do up.

'Where are you going?'

Spike winced. 'Cinema, remember? If it's Steel Magnolias, mate, I'll come back to the dark side with you. One thing about fucking men, you get to watch bloody good films together.'

He went slowly up the stairs and did not allow Angel to see his expression.

Angel showered; he fed; he moved. He thought he was thinking so assumed he was still vaguely alive. He had no reference points left for anything much and just sat in his office, watching dust spiral in the filtered sunlight.

Wesley came in and sat on the edge of the desk. 'Hello.'

Angel nodded at him but did not catch his eye.

'Bad fight?'

Angel nodded, realised Wesley meant physical and put an automatic hand to his face. He laughed and said darkly, 'I don't suppose you want to fuck for real, Wesley, because we might as well now.'

'Thank you, no, Angel. Standing fully dressed in your shower, watching you in your underpants was quite enough for me. I shall stick to theatres, museums, and other more intellectual pursuits.'

'Liar.' Angel glanced up through lowered lids.

Wesley twitched his lips and merely said, 'Lovers come and go, Angel. Friends... true friends are much harder to keep.'

Angel sat back, pleased, but he pretended not to be for a while until Wesley poured them both a drink, and he fell back on the habit of relying on that very friendship.

'I've lost him.'

'Rubbish. You've temporarily misplaced him. He's momentarily infatuated with Cordelia. It won't last on either side.'

Angel looked up. 'That's not the issue, Wesley. He's realised the flaw in my plan. I can't move on. He can. And he has.'

'I don't understand.'

'I can't move on, Wesley. My options are somewhat limited. For my soul's sake, I can only sleep with a demon; for my sanity, that demon has to be... redeemed.' He looked bitterly at Wesley. 'Not going to happen, is it? Whereas Spike....'

'Has the whole world to chose from, and the looks to bring that world to him.'


'What? Wasn't that what you were going to say?'

Angel fumed for a moment then reluctantly nodded. 'Yes. That's exactly it. Even if I wait for this thing with Cordelia to fizzle out - and I give it until her first plan to have a day excursion - then he'll move on to the next and the next and the next and the....'

'Yes, Angel, I do get the picture. I don't know what to say, other than to repeat what I said in my apartment: don't despair too much - Spike has eyes.'

Angel looked up once more, and some of the bitterness was gone. He smiled a slow, lazy smile. 'You sure you aren't up for some real vampire action, Wesley?'

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