Stay

By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: Post NFA, assuming the world didn't end, and that LA wasn't destroyed (as seems to be the general consensus among most of the post NFA fics I've read) and that things are going to continue as per normal with Angel and Co, Spike and Angel have an established relationship, the details of which are fairly self explanatory.

If this were a movie, the theme song would be "Stay" by Sugarland, NOT Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Although I do like the Zodiac's version, it kind of doesn't make a ton of sense with this fic. With that in mind, if you can loop the Sugarland version to keep playing while you read, that would probably be kinda cool.

The phone rang and Spike jumped at the sound. It was the sound he'd been waiting for, the sound he'd been dreading. He looked up at the clock, noticing that it was even earlier than the last time. She kept calling earlier and earlier. She must know . . .

"Hello? Hi, Nina . . . yeah, I'll be at the apartment in twenty minutes . . . milk? Sure, I can get milk--and steak? Okay . . ."

Spike smiled at Angel wearily as the bigger vampire passed him, hopping to pull on his pants. Angel was barely out of the room before Spike felt the helpless tears start rolling down his face.

It just wasn't fair.

He never thought he'd be playing second fiddle to Nina the Werewolf. Nina! Who Angel had jumped into bed with as soon as he figured out she might maybe kinda like him, sort of.

Spike wiped the tears away. Getting frustrated and angry at Angel would only prolong the time he'd wait until coming to see Spike again. Spike sniffed, rubbing at his eyes. Pull yourself together. Don't let him see you cry . . .

"That was Nina," Angel said, poking his head back in the bedroom.

"Yeah, got that, thanks."

"I have to go," Angel continued. "When can I see you again?"

"Don't go?"

"What?"

"Don't go. Just this once, stay the night with me?"

"But--"

"Lie. Lie your ass off. Accident, can't find the car keys, emergency with the big, evil law firm, apocalypse, anything you know will convince her."

"Spike, I can't--"

"Please?"

Angel stared down at Spike, who was sitting in the bed, his lap covered by the sheets, his chest bare. "Spike . . ."

"Please? Just this once? Just once?"

Just when Spike was sure that Angel was going to cave, Angel looked away. "I can't. Not tonight. It's the night before the full moon, and she gets . . ." Horny. "She gets antsy. I--I can't, not tonight . . . next time. I'll stay next time."

Spike nodded. It had been a long shot anyway. "It's all right. Go."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Be with Nina. She needs you . . ." Spike could have swallowed his tongue. He was never hard-assed enough to keep up his begging when Angel got that torn, "doing the right thing" look in his eyes. It was part of what he loved about Angel.

"When can we . . ." fuck again?

"Not tomorrow," Spike bit his lip, fighting back tears again. "Um . . . not tomorrow. I have . . . Buffy's coming, and Glinda, and maybe the boy, too."

"Buffy's coming?"

"Think so. I thought it was tomorrow, and . . . if it's not, I'll call you."

"Okay. So, day after?"

"Yeah."

Watching Angel leave and doing nothing to stop him was always the hardest part of these nights. When Spike finally heard the door close, he sank into the bed, letting himself go, tears falling like rain.

It was hours later when he finally fell asleep.

He woke up to find Angel's big form in bed next to him. He sat up, looking around blearily. No clock on the wall anymore. No cell phone left on the nightstand so Angel could get to it quickly when it went off. Spike's breath hitched. Could it be . . ?

He looked back over at Angel, and the bigger vampire's form twitched, then turned over. "Hey, Baby. You feeling better now that you've had a good cry?"

"Yeah," Spike answered, not sure whether he was awake or dreaming. "What time is it?"

"Don't know. Maybe we should put a clock in here, so we can always tell."

"Maybe . . ."

"What's the matter?"

"It's just . . . are you going to leave me?"

"Baby, you know I would never leave you. I love you. Now come back to bed, Nina."

Spike woke with a start and a scream.

Was it possible to have your insides replaced with lava? Because that couldn't be more painful than this, and maybe it would distract him from the pain of his breaking heart.

Some days, he could swear he was dying from the pain of it all.

All the rest of that night and all the next day and night too, Spike sat in his bedroom and stared at the wall, wondering what he had to do to get Angel to stay with him.

A few hours before their rendezvous time, Spike got up and showered and put on some clean clothes, just because he knew Angel liked taking them off again.

When Angel got there, it was the usual blur and sweep of their lovemaking, everything aching and fulfilling and gorgeous and painful.

"I love you Angel," Spike murmured.

"I know, Baby," Angel mumbled back, clearly tired from their activities. "I know."

"Stay with me tonight?"

"Can't. When Nina gets up in the morning, I'm always there . . ."

"Why don't you just stay until then? Leave before dawn?"

"Can't . . . have to make breakfast . . ."

"I--" Spike paused, wondering what he should say. "It's just . . . I'm always so lonely without you . . ."

"You have friends, Spike . . . they'll come over and keep you from being bored . . ."

"I didn't say I was bored, I said I was lonely."

"Isn't it the same thing? For you, I mean?"

"Never mind," Spike mumbled, stung. "I guess as long as you'll be here tomorrow night, I--"

"Can't come tomorrow night. Nina has me babysitting for her niece."

"Maybe you could come after?"

"I don't know. Maybe. I'll have to see. If it's too close to morning, then I can't."

"All right, then . . ."

Spike dreamt that night of Angel, constant Angel, perfect Angel, Angel as he was before Nina and the Affair. Angel as he should be. Angel as he could be. When he woke up, Angel was gone, leaving only a note.

Can't come for a few days. If you need me, leave a message with Harmony. I'll for sure see you on Tuesday, maybe a little sooner. Angel.

Spike tore the note up. Tuesday. That was practically a full week away.

He got out of bed, a feat in and of itself on a morning after. With determination, he looked in his closet, pulling out items he hadn't worn in months. He'd been going with blue jeans and t-shirts for home, and crisp, mini-Angel suits for when he went out.

Not today.

Black jeans, black t-shirt, red button-down, duster, boots, and an eyeliner pencil all lined up on his bed. Slowly, he began pulling the items on, one at a time, until he was dressed in his full "Big Bad" uniform, penciling eyeliner around his eyes and very deliberately not thinking about the plan that had fully formed in the back of his mind.

Because what he was about to do, that was scary as hell.

An hour later, he was at Angel's office. He breezed by Harmony and into Angel's office. "We need to talk."

Angel put the phone down. "What's the matter, Spike?"

"Do I please you?"

"What?"

"Sexually, git. Do I give you what you need?"

"Yes, of course. What makes you think--"

"Because I know I'm physically pleasing to you, and apparently mentally so as well. We get along all right, and yet . . ."

"What is it Spike. You came for something specific. Out with it."

"We don't have to live like this."

"Like what?"

"Like this! Hiding from Nina and everyone else, leaving in the middle of the night, meeting at neutral places and sneaking out. We don't have to live that way."

"I know, Spike."

"Then why don't you stay?"

"I can't. Nina needs me right now, and I--"

"You keep saying that. 'Nina needs me.' I'm not buying it. Not again."

"She does, though. Maybe in a few months, when she's more . . ."

"No. No, I don't think you ever will leave her. She's comfortable. She's safe. She's needy. And I'm none of those things. I'm independent and I'm headstrong and dangerous and I take stupid risks."

"Yes," Angel answered quietly. "You do that."

"I don't like this, Angel. You're using me. For what I don't know."

"I don't think that this is the time for this conversation, Spike."

Spike stared at Angel. Something clicked into place, and he shook his head. "Now is the only time. I'm tired of waiting for you to decide that we need to talk. We do need to talk, and we're going to do it now."

"Look, I have a meeting in a few minutes. I really can't miss it. Maybe . . ."

Spike closed his eyes and shook his head. "Come to my apartment tonight."

"Okay."

"What will you tell Nina?"

"That I'm stuck in a meeting."

"Will you ever tell her the truth?"

"I don't know. Maybe."

"You won't."

"No, I won't."

Spike nodded. "I'll see you tonight then."

The rest of Spike's day was agony. He went straight home, turned on the TV and sat, fully clothed still, staring at the screen. He didn't see what was playing. Instead, he thought about him and Angel, and what was going to happen when Angel walked into the apartment tonight.

Angel knocked when he arrived.

"Just come in," Spike called.

Angel did, not saying anything. He put his key on the coffee table, instead of in his pocket.

"It's too much to bear," Spike said quietly by way of starting things. "Loving a man I have to share with another woman."

"I'm sorry," Angel whispered.

"I know you are," Spike nodded. "We need to fix this."

"I know."

"Stay with me?"

Angel's face twisted in pain. "I can't."

"I know that too," Spike murmured. "I'd beg you on my knees if I thought it would make a difference. But I know it won't."

"I'm sorry," Angel said again.

"I can't take this any longer," Spike said, firmly. "I spent all day trying to figure out a way to keep things the same, but I can't. I can't do it. There's only one thing left to do."

"I didn't want it to turn out this way," Angel half-sighed.

"I gave you my best, but I only got your seconds."

"I didn't mean--"

"It doesn't matter."

"It does."

"No. Not anymore. From now on, we stay away from each other. Next time you want to have a fling, have your fling with Nina. I'm tired of being lonely and of begging for time with you and of listening with every muscle tense for your cell phone to ring. I'm sure Nina is tired of fighting against a faceless enemy, and I'm tired of waking up in the night hoping to find you and knowing you're gone. I don't have to live like this, and I'm not going to. Not anymore. Not again. Stay with her, or stay with me, but don't keep on like this," Spike paused. "Don't make us keep on like this."

"I am sorry, you know."

"I do. I do know, and I'm sorry too."

"I don't want to leave you here . . ."

"Go, Angel. I'm letting you go. You have to be the hero. Be the hero for me. For her."

Slowly, Angel stood. "I'll miss you."

"I know."

"I love you."

"I know that, too," Spike smiled, suppressing a pained gasp at the words.

He watched as Angel walked slowly toward the doors. He paused and looked back into the apartment. "If you need anything, anything at all . . ."

"I know who to find," Spike nodded. "Don't worry. I'll be fine. And so will you."

Angel stepped out, and the door closed. Spike stood, locked it, and turned around. He pressed a hand to his mouth, biting the fleshy side, holding in his screams of loss and need and pain. He slid down the door, covering his face with his hands, sucking in deep breaths as he tried so hard not to sob.

It wasn't until he pulled his hands away already wet that he realized he'd been crying all along.