By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: For the Challenge. In the BestFriendsVerse. Which is starting to become a favorite. Direct sequel to "Smudge."

Spike slammed the door to his room shut and slid to the floor. Oh god. He'd touched him. His Liam--his Angel--had touched him. His face still felt hot and tingly where Liam's fingers had trailed over his skin and rubbed away the grease.

He'd been so tender. Like more than friends. Like a lover. Like--no, damn it! No! It had just been Liam's usual care for his friends. He knew how much Spike hated being dirty, so he'd helped remove dirt. He was reading too much into the whole incident.

Then why is your heart racing? he asked himself, his eyes tearing up as he thought about it. Why do you feel like you can fly just because he touched you, and why are you thinking about it so much if it's just nothing?

"Oh, shit," Spike moaned. "Getting worse."

Someone knocked on the door.

Spike had to gasp for breath and choke back tears before he could answer around the lump in his throat. "Wh-who's there?"

"It's me, Spike," Liam's voice called through the door. "Is anything wrong? You ran out of the garage so fast--is it anything I did?"

"No," Spike managed on a choked laugh. "No, it's not you. It's me. It's definitely me."

There was a pause, and Spike thought maybe Liam had left. Then, "Um . . . are you breaking up with me?"

Spike did manage a laugh at that, although it came out in the middle of one of the sobs he was trying to choke back. "God, no. I just--um. Just don't feel very well."

There was another pause. "Um . . . look, if I made you uncomfortable . . . with the whole touching thing . . . I'm sorry, I just . . ."

Spike waited. Please, he begged whoever was listening, don't let him say "I just know how you hate being dirty," or that he didn't think it was a big deal.

Liam sighed, and Spike could hear it through the door. "I don't know. I guess I thought that you . . . that we . . . that there was . . ."

Cautiously Spike opened the door. "What?"

Liam was leaning with one arm against the door frame, all casual and concerned and confused. "Look, don't take this the wrong way, but--have you been crying?" His brow wrinkled, his concern deepening.

"What?" Spike repeated. He touched a hand to his face, self conscious about his tears. "Oh, I--"

"Damn, Spike, I'm sorry," Liam apologized. "I didn't mean to make you cry." Without thinking he reached out a hand to brush away the tears, but Spike jerked back.

"Don't," he gasped, turning away, feeling his heart constrict painfully as he saw Liam take a step backward at the word.

"I'm sorry," Liam repeated. "I'll go?"

"Don't!" Spike repeated, frantic now. "No, don't, just--no. Don't go? Or, go, I guess, maybe you should, it's almost time for dinner, but--"

"Hey," Liam stepped closer again, concern returning and replacing the hurt that Spike had caused. "Maybe we should talk?"

"Yeah," Spike agreed. "Just . . . yeah. Maybe we should."


They stood awkwardly in Spike's doorway. Liam reached out to touch him again, but Spike jerked back a second time. "Please don't," he whispered. "Not unless you . . ."

"What?" It was Liam's turn to ask the questions. "Not unless I what?"

"Not unless you mean it," Spike finished, his voice catching.

"Oh," Liam sighed, his shoulders relaxing. He smiled and reached out to stroke Spike's hair. Spike flinched but didn't move away again. Warm fingers threaded through Spike's hair and cupped his skull, cradling, treasuring. Spike was breathing hard, his chest heaving as Liam leaned in. "I mean it."

Spike took a deep breath, watching in fascination as Liam twined his free hand with one of Spike's. "Are you sure?"

Liam nodded, his eyes dark and serious. "I'm sure. I was just waiting for a sign from you. I've been fighting with myself for so long . . ." He huffed out a breath and gave Spike a small smile as he leaned in closer.

Spike's heart was pounding, beating furiously against his chest, but the moment Liam kissed him, everything stopped, and Spike swore his heart did too.