Disclaimer: Joss owns Angel and I don't.
Spike's in his bedroom again. Angel finds him there, posed and motionless like a statue or a painting and staring fixatedly out the window at the city below. The blood that had stained bright red down the side of his neck and dried to his face is gone now.
"Did you use my shower?"
Spike turns slightly, looks at him from the side of his eye. "Couple of hours ago. Right after you did."
"Oh." Did he agree to that? Probably not. Spike doesn't normally ask about those kinds of things. Permission isn't his style. He always takes Angel's things. Angel's things are his things. His shower, his cars, his girlfriends, his friends…
He hasn't really done anything since Spike left his office with the new job in his mind. The past few hours he's spent at his desk, his shoulders slumped under the weight of the dwindling number of his friends, co-workers, family.
The sun won't set for another hour at least, and he's been on an almost human sleep schedule for years now, but he's exhausted from his fear and his worry, his rush and their fighting and now the grief that surpasses and engulfs all of those. The loss is draining him dry.
He sits on the edge of the bed, the mattress dipping heavily under his body, and takes off his shoes as Spike looks back out the window.
"It's kind of pretty," Spike says, "all whole and undestroyed and alive." He nods both to himself and to Angel. "We made the right choice." His voice is firm but raw and Angel can feel the pain there too, sharp and fresh and throbbing like his own.
He is right. They couldn't have done it. Not in the end. But he thinks of Wesley's eyes and he has to hesitate, to rethink how firm he is in this understanding. All the agony in that devastation of blue.
And Connor's eyes had been red and blue, too, when Angel had slit his throat.
There isn't a thing in any world Angel could love more than he loves Connor. There isn't a thing in any world that could compare. And he'd given him up to save all those people.
"Yes," Angel says, staring at the shoelaces in his hands. "We did."
But he'd saved Connor too, in the end, even if it doesn't feel like it some days, just because he is so far now. They couldn't save Fred. Everyone in his life is just steadily slipping away.
"I would have thought it'd have been the other way around, though, you know. I thought you'd have been the one to say 'no.' I thought I'd have done it. Right person. Person I loved. I thought I'd have done it."
"Yeah," says Angel. Shoes off, he sheds his jacket now too, but doesn't work at taking anything else off yet. He turns to watch Spike instead. "So did I."
"Maybe I would have," Spike says, drumming his fingers a little on the neck of the full-sized bottle of Jack that he's found somewhere. Probably Angel's cabinet. "If you'd have said 'no', maybe I would have tried to." He turns away to face Angel and grins a little. "Just can't agree with you."
Some other time, it would have been the other way around. So easily it could have been the other way around. Spike loves quickly and fiercely and once he does, it takes incredible betrayal to shake his affection. And Angel, he just can't do that.
But he's losing so much, so quickly now.
Maybe he should take back his offer to Spike. Send him far, far away. Let him have Buffy and let someone survive his presence for once.
Spike leaves the window completely and takes the few steps that bring him to Angel's side. He's finished most of the bottle and probably more and he's tipsy now, still far from weepy mess he becomes when he's fully drunk, but just a little uncoordinated enough that when he sits down on the bed he doesn't resist the incline enough and ends up slumping just a bit against Angel's shoulder for a moment before he straightens back up.
Angel lowers his head and holds it in his hands, his elbows on his knees. He shuts his eyes and rubs at his temples. "We saved a lot of people," he says after a pause. "We did the right thing. It just…"
"Doesn't feel like it," Spike agrees. Angel opens his eyes enough to see him nodding. "But it's only because we're so close to it." He holds the bottle out at arm's length and keeps his other hand near his eye, holding his thumb and forefinger apart, but the gesture doesn't look like much from Angel's vantage point. "More perspective, hm?"
Angel lifts his head up a little, just enough to prop his chin in his hands. "Yeah," he agrees quietly.
They sit in the same silence they'd held on the plane, before the scheming. The kind of quiet that is tinged with ache, that stings and burns at every tick of the clock, pain lulling over them as Spike drinks down the rest of the whiskey and as Angel thinks about whether he has the energy left in his bones to stay standing long enough to shower again or if he should just go to sleep and try to start over in the morning.
Finally he looks at Spike. "Do you need another car?"
"Depends on which one you're offering." Spike thumps the bottle against his knee idly. "I just don't…" He trails off with his sentence incomplete and with a look of concentration on his face. Then he says, "At least she was here, you know?"
"Here is what killed her, Spike."
Spike's apartment may be particularly uninviting on most days, but Angel is almost tempted to take that bed if it's vacant for the night. He doesn't really want to be here. Not in this building, this place of death and despair. Only a few floors down are the places where he last saw two women he loved. How could anyone want to stay here?
But this is what he signed up for, and he's got nowhere else to go, really.
If he doesn't stay here, then the only place left for him is the Hyperion, and he can't imagine that could be much better than here, sleeping in the now dead-silent building that had hummed with life and love months ago. He could go back to the Hyperion and sleep surrounded by the lack of Cordelia and Fred and Connor and by all of the things left behind by the people who'd run, fearful and heartbroken, when Fred had proved herself a champion.
The Hyperion is achingly empty in a way it hadn't been when he'd been the only one living there. At least Cordy and Connor aren't conspicuously missing from life here in the Wolfram and Hart building, but there's still going to be the hole left from Fred. Brave, brilliant, quiet, soothingly crazy Fred with her glasses slipping off her nose whom he'd saved from the monsters. But he couldn't save her this time.
"You can stay on the couch," says Angel. He sits up straight to begin unbuttoning his shirt.
But because he relents in this, Spike has to tease him. He has to. It's their way. It's how Spike deals with these things. The other vampire stands, grins a grin that doesn't meet his grieving eyes, and nods toward the bed. "You wouldn't rather have a cuddle?" he asks. "Bit of cold comfort?"
And Angel glares back, because that's what he has to do. "Goodnight, Spike," he says firmly.
Spike looks back down at him and his smile becomes smaller but a bit more genuine, more openly sad. He salutes with the empty bottle raising and falling back again. "Goodnight, Angel."
He kind of hopes Spike still talks in his sleep.