When the bus pulled up outside of the Hyperion, Angel was already prepared to mourn.How could he not be?He had felt that small flame of life in his mind snuffed.His only hope was some sort of miracle, but when he saw Xander’s face, drawn and fragile, he knew.
Spike was gone.
He’d known it was dangerous when he offered to wear it for Buffy.He hadn’t told Xander or Spike about it because he didn’t want to be talked out of it.Didn’t want Spike to volunteer.It was about protecting him, but Spike had been pissed when he found out Angel’s plan.
So had Xander, but that anger had then been turned on Spike when the human learned that he had agreed to wear it instead.Bitter, hurting words had been flung around the apartment in Sunnydale.Tears had threatened to spill, but, as men, they had washed them away with a few beers and some borderline-violent sex.
Now, though, it was all Angel could do not to grab Xander’s arm and drag him to his private rooms.Not to demand to know exactly what happened and how.Not to steal an escape for them for a short while for their grief.
He knew they weren’t alone in grieving for Spike.Dawn had lost her best friend, Buffy a trusted comrade.But he and Xander had lost the most.
A lover to them both.A Childe of Angel.Not someone either was prepared to lose despite how the murmurs of their final night all together may have made them sound.
The only blessing Angel could consider as he finally pulled a tearing Xander into his broad arms was that at least he hadn’t lost them both.