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It wouldn't be you. It would never be you. Then the bit that really cut -- couldn't remember telling her just what Cecily'd said, but he must've, how else'd she know? You're beneath me.

"Beneath you, all right. I'd take it that way, luv, if that's how you like it." He wished he'd said that. Woulda liked to see her face. Always a laugh, seeing her angry. If he could make her angry then he wasn't so much beneath, now, was he?

Not that the face wasn't prettier later, just empty with tears running.

He'd said something like that, hadn't he? She's cute when she's hurtin'. He remembered saying that. To Angel, not even listening to himself, really, just wanting to see the great pillock glare. It wasn't good enough. Jeer him, call his sweet blondie a tart, stick him bloody full of pokers and he still looked at a fellow like he was maggots. Like there was some difference between them, like that soul made a bloody bit of difference.

Maybe he didn't even believe it. He had a soul, didn't he, before? That's how the stories went. But he didn't remember feeling any different. He could see himself hiding in corners, watching those other banties sticking around Cecily and wishing they could get up her skirts. He'd have killed them all to get her if he'd thought it'd work. Hadn't he told himself that?

Life wasn't so different with a soul, then. Just shorter. Weaker. Less blood, drunk or spilt.

Wasn't like all the warmbloods with souls had an idea what they had. Blondie, what'd she do with hers? Nothing. Probably never gave it a thought. But show her a bloke without and she didn't even ask his name before she staked him. Like he wasn't a bloke to her then; he wasn't anything at all.

"You're a vampire, you sod. She's a Slayer. You kill her or she kills you, that's how it works. Not so hard, is it?"

That's why she was prettier when she cried. Because then, she forgot about vampires and slayers. She didn't look at him like he was a rat she was sorry she hadn't poisoned. For a half hour there she'd just been scared and crying, and he'd just been a bloke.

And that was good as having a soul, wasn't it?