Angel wanted to spare Buffy. "I don't want Buffy to see this," is what he actually said, as if Spike had been a pet dog of hers and was now maimed and lying in the road. It was reasonable and his motives for trying to stake Spike probably did have more to do with mercy than anything else, but none of that was important. All that mattered was that Angel's wish to keep Spike from Buffy lined up with Spike's own wish, as Wes presumed it. No man would want the woman he loved to see him like this. Crippled, unmanned, degraded. Vulnerable. He didn't even know Spike and it hurt to see him. When he helped Angel ease him off the shelf, it was like cradling a defaced artwork, fragile and valuable but unexpectedly soft, not marble. A weight of hard stone would have been a relief; as soon as Wes touched flesh, his throat locked tight. It was terrible and too real.
The vampire's truncated body was scarred all over, and his face. The tortures had been varied and sustained over a long period of time. He didn't respond when Wes spoke to him or touched him. He was far gone. Wes couldn't imagine anyone *not* retreating inside himself under such conditions. He took off his shirt and laid it over Spike, not wanting to expose him any longer. Even tough-as-nails Faith looked as if she'd been shocked ten years younger, her eyes wider than usual. She didn't say anything. Then she turned and went off, obviously searching for more things to kill.