Saturation - Chapter 6
written by Jane Davitt & WesleysGirl
Dreams were good.
Dreaming, with dream-Giles there to touch Xander and
kiss him and say nice things to him that he didn't really say all that
often in real life -- which was okay, because Xander didn't say them
either -- was wonderful. Xander ran his own hand down along Giles' bare
chest, kissing the back of his neck and shoulder, rocking forward
against Giles' ass where it was spooned against him.
Xander was hard, which wasn't surprising, not with those sleepily
contented murmurs of encouragement he was hearing and the warm body
tight and close to his. He smiled against the skin he was kissing,
starting to emerge from sleep because the dreams were good, but like
most dreams, there were things that didn't belong.
In this case, clothes. Since when did he go to bed fully dressed? And
why was his hand, dropping down to tease Giles' cock until it matched
his own, if needed, brushing against denim and not skin?
The heel of Xander's hand rubbed the erection that was underneath that
layer of denim, and the ass against his own cock bumped back into him,
making him groan. The warm, half-dressed body in Xander's arms squirmed
around suddenly, eager lips finding his and driving all thoughts from
his head as an unfamiliar mouth tasting of beer kissed him. Xander
rocked his hips forward again, his cock rubbing against another, his
dreamy desire for more causing a second moan to escape him.
He kissed back, harder, his hand splayed over Giles' spine, only it
wasn't Giles, because in dreams no one looked like who they really
were, or felt like who they really were, or...
Xander opened his eyes and scrambled backward, almost falling off the
edge of the mattress in his haste as he realized that this
wasn't a dream, that he was in
bed with Spike and that he'd been
A hand -- Spike's hand -- came out and grabbed his arm, saving him from
ending up in a heap on the floor, but doing nothing to quell his panic.
He yelped and tried to break free, completely awake now even if he was
still trying to match up memories and find out how the
"Relax, Harris," Spike said, without releasing him. "Your manly
virtue's safe." Spike sounded tense and a little irritable, but as
Xander stared at him, still so close that he could feel the warmth of
Spike's body, he gave him a lazy grin. "You always wake Giles up that
way? No wonder he comes downstairs smiling."
"I was just... we were..." Xander couldn't find the right words, horror
at what he'd just been doing sweeping over him and joining the headache
pounding at his temples to make him feel more than a little like he
might need that bucket he'd been telling Spike about. Spike let go of
his arm and Xander sat up, still facing Spike. He blinked and took a
deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Sorry."
"For starting something? Or not finishing it?" It could've sounded flip
or sneering, but Spike's expression was neutral enough that it came
over as just a question.
A loaded, tricky, impossible-to-answer question.
"It's not my fault!" Xander said defensively, trying to ignore the fact
that his body still, most definitely wanted to finish. "I was asleep,
okay? Also drunk. Not my fault." He licked his lips, and then stopped
as soon as he realized that he could taste Spike there.
"That make it my fault then?" Something sparked in Spike's eyes, anger
and regret maybe; Xander wasn't sure. "I wake up to find you wrapped
around me and somehow I get the blame?" Spike glared at him.
"Newsflash, Xander. That was you making the running there."
Spike rolled onto his back, scrubbing his hand roughly over his bare
chest as if he was erasing Xander's touch. He glanced up at Xander and
his hand slowed, stroked lower, undid a button, eased down a zip...
Xander couldn't look away, but he shook his head in answer to a
question that hadn't been asked and Spike laughed without humor. "Get
out, Harris. Got some unfinished business to take care of."
Xander didn't know what else to do, so he fled the room as quickly as
Spike's door remained closed for the next hour with Xander making
noise, lots of noise, because if Spike was jerking off he didn't want
to hear it. He showered first, letting the water run scalding-hot over
his skin, closing his eyes against the spray. The day before he'd
jerked off in the shower, thinking of Giles, remembering what they'd
done in there more times than he could remember; not often actually
fucking, because there wasn't that much space, but getting each other
off with soap-slicked hands, or going dripping-wet from shower to bed,
arms around each other, kissing frantically in between laughing at
themselves for being so eager they couldn't wait to grab a towel.
And sometimes they did wait, although that was usually Giles' idea,
drawing out the anticipation, taking the towels and blotting away every
drop of water on each other, rubbing the thick material softly over
damp skin, kissing and touching and shivering from more than the cool
Today, even if he'd still been hard, he wouldn't have done that.
So Xander showered, threw everything he'd worn the night before into
the laundry basket, and then he went downstairs. Spike's door was still
closed, so he put on music, not even caring that the CD was one of
Giles', and that his head was throbbing, and he waited for Spike to
come out of his room, because he sure as hell wasn't going in there.
He settled down on the couch after forcing down some toast, closing his
eyes and lifting a mug of coffee to his lips now and then, trusting his
hand to know the way blind, letting the sound of some band whose
members were either dead or collecting their pension wash over him.
"Open your eyes, Harris. Want to talk to you."
The music cut off, and Xander opened his eyes and stared up at Spike,
fully dressed, thank God, and looking determined.
Not a good sign.
"What?" Xander asked. "If you're planning on telling me in great detail
what you did after I left your room, skip it, okay?"
"What?" Spike frowned, and then shook his head, looking mildly amused.
"Huh. No. Something about you fleeing in terror killed the urge." He
pulled over a footstool and sat down in front of Xander. "You're scared
I'm gonna tell Giles, aren't you?" he asked abruptly. "Cause trouble
Xander shook his head, looking down at the knee of his pants. "No. I'm
going to tell him. I have to. I l--" But he'd hardly ever said that
word to Giles; maybe just once, and it didn't seem right to say it to
Spike, considering. Even though it was true. "I'll tell him. It's my
fault anyway, not yours."
He wasn't sure he wanted to get into why he felt so fucking guilty. It
wasn't because of what had happened, not really -- well, a little bit,
but he hadn't even been awake. That part had just been a mistake.
The real problem was that, even once he'd woken up, he'd still wanted
Spike. And that was something Xander was working very hard to repress.
Spike sighed. "Do you have to? The way my head feels I'm not up to
getting bounced off a wall or yelled at. And if he kicks me out,
judging by the rent on those places we looked at yesterday, I'm heading
for a cosy spot in a doorway."
Flat-hunting hadn't gone well. They'd trailed around the neighborhood
on Saturday morning looking at half a dozen places, most of which had
been snapped up before they got there, all of which had been
over-priced dumps, before giving up and going home.
"Besides," Spike said reasonably, "it's not like we did anything. Not
really. Christ, you were fully dressed! You'd be upsetting him for
nothing." He leaned forward. "And I've known Giles for long enough to
know he's never going to believe you when you say it's not my fault."
"It wasn't either of our faults," Xander said,
trying to sound reasonable, too. "We were asleep. It just happened." He
looked up, meeting Spike's blue eyes. "But I can't not tell him. That's
not... it's not how I want things to be between us."
He got a long, searching look, and then Spike rolled his eyes. "Fine.
Tell him. Just let me get the hell out of the way first, okay?" He
stood up, fumbling in his pocket. "Going outside for a smoke." He got
as far as the door before he paused. "Xander?"
"How do you want things to be between us?"
Oh, Xander so wasn't up to answering that question,
because admitting that he hadn't been able to forget what Spike's cock
felt like under his hand or what Spike's mouth had tasted like wasn't
something he even wanted to do himself, let alone tell Spike. And he
couldn't tell Spike and not tell Giles. So he had to
pretend like it wasn't true.
"We can be friends," Xander said finally. "I mean... we can, can't we?"
"Could have been," Spike said. "Not sure that's an option any more. I
don't mind trying though."
A key grated in the lock of the front door and their eyes met. "I'll
give you a couple of hours," Spike said. "If I get back and my suitcase
is on the step, I'll take the hint."
Oh, no. Giles couldn't be home early. Any other time, of course, Xander
would have been thrilled, but he hadn't figured out what he was going
to say yet. He needed at least a few more hours to figure out how he
was going to tell Giles what had happened. This was too soon.
He got up without even knowing that he had and was standing in the
doorway between the hall and the living room when Giles opened the
door, his stomach all aflutter with tension as Spike muttered something
to Giles and slipped past him and outside before Xander could say
Giles' eyes met his, and Xander could tell that Giles was pleased to be
home early, but the pleased expression faded to concern as Giles saw
"Hi," Xander said, because he had to say
"Hello," Giles replied, turning to presumably watch Spike slouch away,
a frown on his face. He closed the door, using his shoulder because his
hands were full of suitcases and a clinking bag of duty-free booze with
-- oh God, a long carton of the cigarettes Spike smoked sticking out of
the top of it. Giles put everything down and stood there looking
uncertain. "I managed to get an earlier -- Xander, what on earth is the
matter? Has Spike been bothering you?"
There hadn't been enough time, and Xander hadn't figured out what to
say. He opened his mouth to say something that would deflect the
conversation -- not for long, just enough so that his brain would start
working again -- and heard himself say, "I kissed Spike."
The frown on Giles' face disappeared, leaving it closed-off and blank.
"Really? And what had he done to deserve that? Or shouldn't I ask?"
Xander could still feel the lingering headache at his temples, and the
look on Giles' face -- or lack thereof -- made him feel like he was
going to puke. He launched into a hasty, desperate explanation, inching
toward Giles as he tried to describe what had happened, because he
needed Giles to understand and, hopefully, to tell
him that it was okay.
"We went out. Last night. Just to the pub down the street, that one
that you and I keep saying we should try, but never do? Which, okay,
isn't the point. But we both got drunk, and then we came back here and
I kind of... passed out on Spike's bed. Before that there wasn't
anything, I swear -- just talking. But I was dreaming that it was you,
and there was touching, and then he turned around and we... kissed."
Xander ran out of breath and added, in a very small voice, "As soon as
I woke up enough to realize it wasn't you, we stopped."
Giles looked tired suddenly. Xander felt guilty about that, too. God,
he hadn't even let Giles get through the door...
"Xander, spare me the -- well, the sparing me. Please. I understand."
Giles wasn't meeting Xander's eyes anymore, just staring down at the
floor, his left hand flexing into a fist and then relaxing, over and
over. "Do you mind? I think I'll just - "
Giles turned and moved towards the stairs, reaching out almost blindly
for the banister rail.
Xander moved toward him. He couldn't help it. "Giles... it wasn't my
fault, I swear. I was asleep." It felt like there
wasn't enough air in the air.
"You sleepwalked into Spike's bedroom? Into his
bed?" Giles' voice was calm until the final word,
and then it roughened with an anger that replaced the lack of
expression, but was equally unwelcome. "I don't think so. I think you
ended up just where you wanted to be, Xander. Now, if you'll excuse me
"No, I'm not going to 'excuse you'," Xander said, more loudly than he'd
meant to. "I thought he was you. God, doesn't that
count for anything?"
"Yes," Giles said, after a long moment of staring at Xander, his face
back to unreadable again. "It adds insult to injury. Satisfied?" He
turned and snatched up his bags, the sudden movement unexpected enough
to make Xander flinch, and then went quickly up the stairs, the sound
of his footsteps punctuated by the slam of a door.
Xander was breathing through his nose, the sound of it uneven and
strange. He didn't know what to do; he didn't even know where to start.
Giles wouldn't even listen to him, and he didn't have anyone to talk
to, or any friends, even. No one who'd understand.
He couldn't talk to Spike, because any chance he might have of making
things right with Giles had to be based on him not
going to Spike now.
Slowly, feeling like he was moving underwater, Xander went into the
living room and sat down. He stayed there until he heard the front door
open and close, until he knew Spike was standing in the hall looking at
him. Then Xander said, "Don't. Whatever it is, just... don't. Stay away
from me for a while, okay?" His voice was pleading enough that Spike
obeyed, going down the hallway and into his own room, shutting the door
They stayed like that for hours. Three of them, locked away in three
private hells. At least Xander thought that was where he was, because
Giles had never looked at him like that before, and
it would've hurt back in the days when Giles was a friend, but now it
left him feeling as if he'd been beaten, his skin tight and bruised and
But life, yeah, life went on, and the strained, heavy silence of the
house was broken eventually by the sound of a door opening and
footsteps on the stairs.
When Giles just kept on walking past the door to the front room without
hesitating and went into the kitchen, Xander let himself start to get
just a little bit angry. It was either that or let the stinging in his
one good eye become tears and, thanks, but he wasn't there yet. Time
for that when it was his bag on the doorstep.
And if it was going to be, he wanted to know sooner rather than later.
Getting up, Xander walked to the kitchen and stood in the doorway. "Do
you want me to leave?" he asked.
Giles turned, startled, tea leaves scattering across the countertop
from the spoon he held. Tea. Figured. Sometimes Giles was every
stereotype there was.
But mostly he was Giles.
They stayed like that, staring at each other, for long enough to make
Xander start to hope that Giles was about to drop that fucking spoon
and come over to him and grab him and kiss him and tell him that he was
sorry and let Xander tell him that no, he was sorry.
Any second. Yeah, any second now...
Then Spike appeared in the doorway, glancing between them warily. "You
two kissed and made up yet? Because I'm getting bored stuck in there.
Not to mention peckish."
Irritated, Xander dug his wallet out and thrust some notes at Spike,
wondering exactly when he'd learned to throw money at problems. "Here.
Go for a walk and get yourself some dinner. Two birds with one stone,
"Yeah," Spike said flatly, taking the money. "Sure."
Xander couldn't spare the energy to feel bad for Spike, not right then,
so he ignored him and kept looking at Giles.
Who was looking at Spike.
"And now you're paying him?" Giles asked. "Well, that's just bloody
marvelous! Tell me, Spike, how did you earn that little handout?"
Okay, this was better, Xander told himself desperately. They were
speaking at least.
"Not for services rendered, Rupert, if that's what you mean," Spike
said. "I'm still young enough to get fucked for free. Unlike -"
The sound of Spike getting slammed up against the wall wasn't as
satisfying as it used to be.
"Spike, just shut up," Xander said desperately, not
reaching out to touch Giles, because he didn't have any reason in that
moment to think it would help. "Giles..." But he didn't know what to
say. He felt cold and confused, like he'd woken up to this with no idea
how they'd gotten here. "It's not Spike's fault. I just want some time
to talk to you. That's all."
"He's not going to listen to you," Spike said, managing to sound fairly
relaxed, despite being pressed up against a wall with Giles looking as
if he was about to use one of the hands currently gripping Spike's
shirt to do some serious damage to Spike's face. "Thinks he loves you
too much to know if you're lying, because he can't trust himself to
look that deep in case you are. But you'll know if I am, won't you,
"Too bloody right, I will," Giles hissed.
Spike nodded slowly. "Fine. Lad got pissed, passed out on my bed, woke
up groping me and muttering your name. Woke up all the way, went paler
than I used to look, and was out the door before I had a chance to tell
him thanks, but no thanks. Now get your fucking hands off me and tell
him you're sorry, you stupid git."
Giles let go and stepped back, his gaze going to Xander and then back
"What," Xander said. "You don't believe him, either?"
"It's not that," Giles said slowly.
"Then what?" Xander's gaze was locked on Giles' face. "Spike?"
"Yeah?" Spike said.
"Could you do us a favor and give us a few minutes? Alone?" Xander had
to hope that Spike would go along with it, because at that point he
wasn't seeing how it was possible that he and Giles could get anywhere
with Spike in the room.
"Yeah, sure," Spike said, and left the kitchen.
"I'm sorry," Xander said, still looking nowhere but at Giles. "You know
how I feel about you. You can't think I'd deliberately do
anything to fuck things up between us."
Some of the tension left Giles' expression. "Deliberately? No, I don't
think that." He sighed and turned away to deal with the spilled tea
leaves, using the edge of his hand to push them along the counter and
into the sink, giving the small task more attention than it needed.
"You think I'm overreacting, don't you? Being rather embarrassingly
jealous and possessive."
"I don't think you're overreacting," Xander said gently. "I get why
you're upset. But it was a mistake -- that's all it
was." He eased closer to Giles, wanting to touch him. He hated seeing
Giles hurt like this, especially knowing that he'd
been the cause of it.
Giles turned and took the few steps needed to bring him within touching
distance for the first time since he walked through the door. His hand
came up to cup Xander's face, warm and familiar. "Was it? And you
didn't like it? And you didn't want to carry on pretending just a
little longer? And it'll never happen again?"
The questions were voiced softly, but if Giles had screamed them into
his face the effect would've been the same.
And Giles' hand fell away.
Xander wanted to grab onto Giles and refuse to let go, to sink down
onto his knees and beg Giles to forgive him. With his voice shaking and
his eyes threatening tears, Xander said, "I love you. I know I don't
say it much, but I do, and if there's anything I can do to make things
right again... I'll do it. Just tell me there's a chance."
Now it was Giles wincing, as if that was the last thing he wanted to
hear, giving Xander a desperate, almost imploring look. "Xander --
please." Xander didn't know what Giles meant, but he didn't get chance
to ask. Giles stepped back -- stepped away -- and
said, "Xander, you asked if I wanted you to leave. I don't. Of course I
don't. And I won't descend into melodrama enough to kick Spike out
either, although I do trust that at some point in the weekend's
activities you managed to squeeze in some house-hunting?"
With every word Giles was building up a wall between them, his voice
alternating between bitter and casual in a way that was making Xander
feel dizzy. Really dizzy.
Xander swallowed and nodded. "Yeah. No luck, but we looked at some
places." He really, really wanted to get off the topic of Spike. In
fact, in that moment, he wished Spike had never shown up at their door;
if he hadn't, none of this would have happened. Everything would have
Pushing his hair back out of his eyes, Xander decided that he couldn't
stand to do this anymore. Not now. Maybe tomorrow, when they'd both had
a chance to think. "I'm gonna go lie down," he said, and then
remembered that their room wasn't really an option. "Um, in my old
He turned away, walking down the hallway and thinking that he might
have heard a faint click from Spike's door as he
started up the stairs to his old, empty room.
Maybe he could just go to sleep, and when he woke up none of this would
Spike lay back on his bed staring up at nothing in particular. Xander
had retreated to his old room and Giles was being a solid lump of
misery in the kitchenen, drinking his bloody tea and looking as if he
was waiting for the sun to hitch itself over the yardarm so he could
move on to whiskey. Spike had emerged, taken one look at him, got a
level look from angry eyes that didn't bode well, and gone back into
his room. Eventually they'd all have to eat and he supposed there'd be
yelling, recriminations and soggy shoulders, but for now it was sticky
silence and brooding tension.
Typical English Sunday afternoon in fact.
With nothing to do but think, it didn't take him long to get to
Xander's refusal to answer Giles' questions. Spike had been listening
-- if they didn't know he was, it didn't count; they still had their
precious space, right? -- and he'd waited, resigned, for Xander to
launch into a fervent denial, assuring Giles that Spike had cooties,
bad breath and all the rest of it. Wouldn't have been true, of course,
but it was what Giles had wanted to hear, and Xander could've pulled it
off and been tucked up in bed with company right now, with Giles
shagging the arse off him just to prove a point.
But he hadn't. He'd stood there in silence, and Spike hadn't needed to
see the look on Giles' face to know that that hadn't gone down well.
Trouble was, although Xander had been tempted -- and Spike wasn't just
thinking about the morning wake-up either, because Xander had been
wide-awake when his neck was getting nibbled on and it'd taken him a
while to get around to pushing Spike away. Funny how no one had
mentioned that to Giles, wasn't it? So, yeah, Xander
had been tempted, but he loved Giles. Spike could tell. Knee-deep in
hearts and flowers, the both of them.
So what the hell was Xander doing? And what was Giles picking up on
that had made him make a right prat of himself like that? He was old
enough to know that was the wrong way to play it. Bit of a manly tear
to really put the screws on Xander, and then a spot of magnanimous
forgiveness and he'd have had the boy on his knees.
Spike spared a thought for that and shuddered with a swift, savage
arousal. Fuck. Xander, all penitent and eager, and
there -- God, Giles was a fool!
Except he wasn't.
It didn't help that they'd all known each other for years and been
about as close as you could get really. There was something about
coming close to death that let you see people clearly. Spike'd watched
them both fight and kill and mourn. Watched them laugh and sometimes,
yeah, now and then, he'd been part of it with them. Didn't help now
though. Not really. Because this was new; him as human, them as a
couple; it changed everything.
And he was on the outside again when all he wanted --
Fuck this. He was hungry and he wasn't leaving the house to get
something to eat in case Giles changed his mind and didn't let him back
Spike slammed out of his room, not even trying to be quiet, and headed
towards the kitchen.
Giles was still there, of course, but he didn't say a word as Spike
opened the refrigerator and took out sliced meats and cheeses to make
himself a sandwich. Spike could practically feel
Giles glaring at his back as he piled ham onto bread and added a smear
of Branston pickle, then smashed the other slice of bread down on top
and put everything away.
He couldn't keep quiet, though, not knowing that Xander was upstairs,
miserable. "He loves you, you know," Spike said quietly.
"We're not talking about this," Giles said. "My love life is none of
your business, and neither is Xander."
"Gotta disagree with you there, mate," Spike told him, despite the fact
that he'd have shut up if he had any sense. "Not really interested in
seeing either of you moping about, not talking, shutting doors in each
other's faces. You both deserve better treatment than that."
"It's none of your concern," Giles said, looking right at him. "Leave
it, Spike. Xander and I... we'll work things out." He sounded resigned
and, Spike thought, not particularly happy.
Sighing, Spike gave up for the moment and went back to his room,
deliberately leaving the door open. He spent the rest of the evening in
there, reading some books that had to be Giles' and, after Giles and
Xander had both, apparently, gone to bed, messing around on the
computer a bit. Still, it wasn't all that late when he finally turned
off the lights and crawled between the sheets.
Something startled Spike awake a few hours later, the pounding of his
heart loud against his ribs as he tried to sort out what had woken him.
After a minute, he realized there were sounds coming from the kitchen.
Getting up, he pulled on a pair of jeans, and then, thinking about it,
a T-shirt. No point in giving either Giles or Xander more reason to act
He wandered into the kitchen, where Xander was staring blankly into the
open refrigerator. There was a blanket wrapped around his shoulders,
but he wasn't wearing anything save a pair of soft cotton sleep
trousers. In the light from the fridge, he looked pale, his eyes
glassy, his hair tousled.
Spike hesitated, not sure if Xander wanted his company, and then
shrugged mentally and walked over to him. "You all right?" he asked
softly. "Was expecting you to come down and get something to eat
before, but you didn't. You must be starving."
"What?" Xander's voice sounded off, but he turned his head to look at
Spike. "Oh. No. Not hungry." Which left the question of why he was
standing in front of the open refrigerator. "Aren't you cold? It's
freezing in here." Xander shut the fridge and leaned against it,
pulling the blanket around his shoulders tighter, and Spike saw that he
It was warm enough for Spike to wish he wasn't wearing anything; a
humid summer night in a non-air conditioned house. He frowned, reaching
out and resting the back of his hand against Xander's cheek. Even
before he touched him, he could feel the heat radiating from Xander's
body, a warning backed up by the rough, dry feel of his skin.
"Looks like you've come down with something," Spike murmured, trying
not to panic. Slashed skin, dark bruises; he was used to those. Illness
was new and unfamiliar and terrifying. "Bit of a cold, maybe? Better
get you back to bed."
"Can't," Xander said, shaking his head and weaving a little bit like
his sense of balance was off. Spike could hear something else in
Xander's voice now, the thin thread of near-hysteria that wasn't
unfamiliar to him, just unfamiliar coming from Xander.
"Why not?" Spike asked reasonably.
"Don't want to," Xander said. "All alone in there. The room's too
small, and my hands..." He held them out and they both looked down at
them. "Don't my hands look too big to you? I'll keep getting bigger and
pretty soon I won't even fit in there. M'only safe with Giles, and he
doesn't want me anymore." His eyes, wide and scared, met Spike's.
"Shit," Spike muttered succinctly. This was beyond him. Drusilla's
ravings, yeah, those he could take in his stride, but the delirium of
sickness had a logic of its own and he was lost. Taking Xander's hands
in his, he studied them carefully. "Look fine to me, Xander. And Giles
does want you, so don't go fretting about that." He
glanced up hopefully, but Xander was staring over his shoulder, his
face twisted up as if he was trying to focus on something that didn't
"Sorry to interrupt," Giles said from the doorway, his voice cold. His
gaze dropped to Spike and Xander's linked hands. "What
am I interrupting, just out of interest?"
"Save it, Giles," Spike snapped, not in the mood for any more of Giles'
attitude. "Something's wrong with him. He's hot and he's not making any
Xander's hands clutched at Spike's, tightening. "I'm not sick," Xander
said. "And I'm not hot, I'm cold. And... dreaming. I think."
Spike turned to look at Xander's face again just in time to see his
eyes go all unfocused, his hands in Spike's going slack as he started
to collapse. Spike barely managed to catch him as he fell, sliding to
the floor right along with him in his anxiousness to keep Xander's head
from hitting anything on the way down.
He was surprised by how much he cared.
Read: Chapter 7