He was there. He was there for her through it all. When she had come back from England sick with the guilt and the loss of her love, he was the only one who was there. The burden of his soul still burned in his gut and still he willingly shouldered the pain of his beloved. Willow never asked him to care, but he did anyway. She begged him to stay away, telling him that she didn’t want to use him. That she didn’t want to treat him the way Buffy had, as a substitute or a way to escape the pain. But he would not be dissuaded. And he had found solace in the fact that she never tried to dispel her friends’ belief that they were lovers, not even to escape the hatred burning sharply in Buffy’s eyes, or the scornful words of Xander, her childhood friend, or the tasteless comments of Anya. She had defended him and told them that she would do as she liked. That since they couldn’t even trust her, let alone love her, why should they expect her to discard the only affection she had known since Tara’s murder. That was a wonderful day for him. He knew then that at least she would let him love her. But if only one day…no, he couldn’t think like that. That day might never come and it was best to try to be content with his lot. Sharing Willow’s bed, but not her body. Having her gratitude, her affection, but not her heart. He pulled her closer to him as he tried to sleep.
“Mmm, love you, Tara,” Willow said drowsily.
And Spike couldn’t help but let the tears fall again.