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His hand shook as he put pen to paper. It had been so long since he’d done this. It had once been his outlet for all the pent up emotion he felt, his refuge, but he’d put it away in favor of the release and feeling of power he got from killing. Now though, he needed the gentleness, the comfort of words.

He didn’t pay any attention to what he was writing; just let the words flow as they would. The sound of the old fountain pen scratching across the heavy vellum was soothing to his battered soul. A dry, humorless laugh escaped at that thought. His soul. That’s why he was doing this, why he’d reverted back to that shy, desperate person he’d once been.

On the one hand, he knew he wasn’t responsible for the things he’d done over the last century and change. But on the other…on the other, he was horrified by the acts his hands had committed. Hands that had once been so gentle, that would never have even entertained the thought of harming a living being, let alone laying the path of destruction that he had.

He didn’t regret his life, not really. He just needed to come to terms with it.

The sound changed and Spike looked down. He saw that he’d gone through the entire ream of paper and had started to write on bare wood. He blinked in surprise then carefully peeled his fingers off the pen he still held. He had no idea how much time had passed, but from the way his fingers were cramping, it must have been several hours.

He gathered the pages and tidied them up before looking at what he’d written. It wasn’t all poetry, which surprised him. There was some, sprinkled throughout, but the whole was more of a diary. Over a hundred years of life set down on cream linen stock in black ink.

He came to one page and stared at the words:

I am drawn like a moth to your flame, and I cannot for the life of me explain why. There can be nothing but pain between us, and yet I still try. If I cannot kill you, I will kiss you instead. Is that the reason? We are natural born enemies, you and I, but circumstances have forced us together. I put up with the insults, mocking, and distrust because I have no other choice. But that is not entirely true, is it?

Pride keeps me from seeking the help of my sire. He was once my passion, my promise, my end, and then he left without a word. I have never forgiven him for that. Is he the reason I seek your love? He had you once and I want what he had?

Possibly. Hell, probably.

In the end, does it really matter why? I don’t think it does. You cannot or will not give me your heart, and I can no longer give you my body just to let you feel alive. You need help, Buffy, help that I cannot provide. I was willing to give you everything, but I almost lost what was left of myself in the process.

That stops now.

He traced a finger over one particular line, ‘He was once my passion, my promise, my end.’ And he had been all that and more. Angelus had provided another sort of refuge for him. His sire would know how to help him. Maybe. If they could stop baiting one another for two minutes they might have a chance, might be able to help each other. Could he swallow his pride and make the first move?

His hand inched towards his phone and it was ringing before he realized he’d even dialed.

“This is Angel.”

Now or never.