by Saber ShadowKitten
I Hated You Because... 17

Angel lightly kissed the top of the blond head lying on his chest and sighed. Although he was asleep, Spike's arm tightened around Angel's waist for a moment, then relaxed again. A smile tugged at the dark-haired vampire's lips. Even in sleep, Spike tried to comfort him.

Dressed in his Batman boxers, a gift in a long line of mocking Batman gifts, he and Spike were in bed, the navy sheet pulled up to their waists. The older vampire gently ran his fingers up and down Spike's shoulder, his dark eyes focused on the stuffed oval Bat-symbol the blond had suspended from the ceiling above the bed.

Angel knew he should be sleeping, like his Childe, but despite the post-orgasmic pull, he couldn't fall to sleep. His mind refused to allow him the peace needed to drift off. Instead, his thoughts kept revolving around the one he failed to save.

As Spike had pointed out, Angel had done everything he could to try and save Michael. But, he still failed. It had scared Angel deeply. If he couldn't save Michael, what about the other souls relying on him? Would he fail them, too? And what about his friends? Or, God forbid, Spike?

Angel nuzzled his nose in the top of Spike's hair and closed his eyes. He didn't want to imagine what unlife would be like without the blond at his side. Not a day went by that Angel didn't thank the Powers That Be for allowing him to love Spike, and for Spike loving him in return.

Spike's love. Angel was blessed to be able to receive it, and he knew it. Spike loved with an intensity that surpassed what a demon was supposed to feel. Not many vampires would be able to ally themselves with the Slayer.

Angel had to laugh when their friends thought Spike was gaining a soul, or was less evil, because he helped the good guys. Spike was just as much of a demon as he'd always been, and his reasons for helping were entirely selfish. He loved Angel, and if he didn't help, Angel would be killed; ergo, he helped.

Yes, Spike liked Buffy and their other friends, but that had only come about because he couldn't kill them. It was a simple "if you can't beat them, join them" mentality. Angel wasn't certain that Spike would give his own unlife to save one of them, but he'd do everything else in his power to keep them safe from harm, and Angel couldn't fault that.

Spike shifted, rubbed his cheek on the dark-haired vampire's bare chest, and unconsciously snuggled closer to Angel. The younger man had spent most of the night and early morning comforting Angel with his kisses and his touch, silently soothing Angel's emotional wounds.

Angel did feel much better than earlier, although the guilt and pain of losing the one he was supposed to have saved still gnawed at him. He knew with time the feelings would dissipate, but that didn't mean he would forget. If anything, failing Michael would make him work twice as hard than his normal intense efforts.

Spike suddenly lifted his head, and Angel opened his eyes to find the blond looking directly at him. A sleepy smile crossed Spike's lips. "I used your bomb-proof hairgel to glue the Ming Li vase back together."

Spike dropped his head back onto Angel's chest and was completely asleep again in seconds. Angel snorted softly, his Childe's silly confession throwing a blanket over his brooding. He closed his eyes and sighed.

Sleep was upon him in moments, and, as he drifted off, he wondered if somehow Spike had known, even in sleep, that Angel had needed him to relieve some of the guilt.

He would be right.