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Spike was pleasantly dreaming of running his hands up and down the soft golden skin of Buffy's back. She moaned under his touch and he brushed her hair over her shoulder and leaned down to tenderly kiss the back of her neck. Just as she was turning to face him she disappeared and Spike was standing in the middle of a dank warehouse. The air around him was thick with a sweet smell and a girl with long, dark hair hanging in front of her face was approaching him with a small hacksaw. Suddenly a searing pain shot through his skull and his hands went numb.

He awoke screaming and clutching his head. When he opened his eyes he saw sunlight filling the room in front of him and he jumped back, anticipating the usual painful burning sensation. He grasped frantically for something to cover himself with, but found nothing. Once he realized that there was no burning and the pain in his head had dissipated slightly, he looked around and finally realized where he was. He was on the sofa in the living room of Angel's penthouse, crouched in the corner of it in his attempt to get away from the sun.

"Spike, what's going on?" Angel growled impatiently as he ran into the living room. Spike's scream had clearly interrupted his shower as he had a towel wrapped around his waist and water was still dripping off of him.

"Sorry, um...bad dream? And splitting headache...and I was disoriented when I woke up and the sunlight...well, I just wasn't expecting it, I s'pose." Spike realized that he was still cowering in the corner of the sofa and scooted forward, setting his feet on the floor and leaning his elbows on his knees.

"You just woke up screaming because you had a headache? In your sleep?" Angel asked hesitantly. He was afraid he knew what was going on, but didn't want to jump to any conclusions.

"Yeah, s'what it seemed like. Didn't realize I'd drank so much last night."

Angel walked around the table and sat down on the other end of the sofa. "What was the dream?"

Spike looked at Angel, confused, then looked at his hands for a moment. "Well I was having a pleasant dream about giving a massage to a...um...well, a particular Slayer." Spike watched as Angel shifted uncomfortably. "Then that was all gone and I was in some kind of factory type room and a girl was coming at me with some sorta saw. Then it was like I'd been shot in the bloody forehead."

After Spike had finished, Angel stared at the floor for a minute, looking graver than normal. Finally, he stood up and went to the kitchen. He prepared two mugs of blood, then walked back to the living room, handing one to Spike and sitting back down on the sofa.

Angel sighed a heavy, melancholy sigh before turning to Spike. "You had a vision."

Spike shook his head violently. "Wait a minute now. Let's not be jumping to conclusions. I had a crazy dream, is all. We got no good reason to think it's a soddin' vision." He looked at Angel with a hint of panic in his eyes.

Angel wanted nothing more that to pull Spike towards him and tell him he was wrong. That he hadn't just been saddled with the big, painful burden of guiding Angel back to a path he'd strayed perilously far from in the past few months. But he was almost certain that he was right. Part of him was rejoicing at the thought that he had a guide again, that the Powers hadn't given up on him. But the rest of him was saddened and worried because he knew the suffering that Spike would have to endure from now on.

Spike had turned away from Angel and rested his head in his hands. "It's not right. I can't do this. What the hell are the Powers thinking? I mean, sure I can make a few grand gestures when the stakes are high, but this, every day, this bleedin' responsibility, I can't do it. I can't be trusted. Why would they give this to me?" Spike was talking to himself more than anyone. As he was speaking his eyes had begun to well up and tears were now dripping onto his knees.

Angel couldn't hold back any longer. He shifted closer to Spike and laid an arm across Spike's back, gently pulling him towards his side. Spike stiffened at first, then relaxed and leaned into Angel, giving in to violent sobs that shook his entire frame.

Angel clutched Spike closer and gently kissed the top of his head. "Shh. It'll be alright. We can go downstairs and you can sing for Lorne. Maybe he can tell us how this happened...and why. Then we can start working on figuring out the vision." Spike just trembled and continued to lean against Angel.

After holding Spike for a few minutes, Angel made to get up. "I'm going to go get dressed so we can head down to the office. Do you want me to reheat your blood? Or if you want to shower or anything you can..."

"...I'm not a bleedin' baby." Spike wiped the lingering tears from his face and looked up at Angel. "I mean, yeah, I'm caught off guard and more than a little thrown by this, but...but I don't need to be coddled." He stood up and made a show of grabbing his mug and downing the blood in one long swallow. When he looked back at Angel, he could see the concern in his eyes. He was surprised that it wasn't accompanied by any pity or mockery. Just genuine concern and a hint of kindness.

"Yeah, alright, maybe I'll shower. Clear my head a bit."

"Towels are in the cupboard under the sink." Angel turned and headed back into his room with Spike close behind.

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