Carved from hardened wood, with a two-foot piece of re-enforced steel to lend it support, and blessed by the Pope himself, the sword was one of Xander's preferred weapons for dealing with vamps up close and personal. He welded it with skill taught through use, deftly swinging it about to cause the most instantaneous damage possible, and it's deep red color was a testament to its precision. This night alone he had used it to dispatch over two dozen of the creatures, nearly clearing out the remaining vamp population of Sunnydale.

The Initiative had had a large piece of the action also, taking out most of the nests within the city that Spike had told them about, and by sunrise tomorrow there would be no vampires left within the influences of the Hellmouth. All in all, it had been a productive night, and the Executioner was beginning to feel the affects of it. He was ready for the coming of day, the chance to finally rest, and he felt that it only appropriate that he do it in Spike's hole.

Spike was officially a turn coat, a traitor to his own kind, and a being more hated than even the Executioner. He might not like how things had worked out for him, causing him to battle the very evils that he was a part of, but Spike knew how to play his cards. He had decided that if the humans were going to declare war on the vamps, then at least he would do what he could to stay off his own execution, possibly even win a reprieve for his help.

Xander pushed open the large door to the tomb, surprised to see Spike already there though sunrise was nearly an hour off, and just nodded at the vamp. Rolling his eyes at seeing Harris, Spike's expression conveyed only annoyance, fully aware that if Harris had been there as the Executioner, he would have kicked the door open.

"I thought we were bloody even, Harris," spat Spike. "What the 'ell do you want now?"

"A place to sleep."

Spike let out a short laugh, staring at the man with disbelief.

"A place that I don't have to worry about."

"Yeah, right. So you thought you'd just crash with your buddy Spike? Well, I've got news for you. You're not welcome here."

"Spike. Don't piss me off. I've had a rough night."

"Oh! You've had a rough night! What the hell do you think I've had, heh? Every vampire in the bloody world is going to want my head when word gets out."

"Then maybe I should put you out of your misery now," threatened Harris, taking off his coat and laying it over a chair.

Spike let out a low whistle as he saw just how heavily armed Xander was. Two machineguns hung from his shoulders on straps; two sawed off shot guns were snuggly placed in holsters on each of his legs; a harness crossed his chest, holding dozens of shiny, silver stakes; and a pair of .45s were tucked into the waist of his pants, one in front and one in back. From the way that his coat hung on the chair, Spike could also tell that there was some other type of weapon hidden within its folds, possibly a sword.

Spike wanted to ask him about the flaps of latex hanging about his neck, but thought better of it. Whatever it had been, Spike was sure that it had involved the death of a vampire somehow, and he just watched as Xander peeled it off of himself.

"What?" asked Xander, Spike silently staring at him.

"I was just wondering," started Spike, him hawing awkwardly, and not looking like his usual, cool, killer self.

"Spike, it's been a long night, and I'm pretty tired. Either spit it out or shut it up."

"You got 'em, didn't you?"

"Yeah, Spike," said Harris. "I got him."

"I wish you would've let me in on it, mate. I would've loved to've seen that bastard go down."

"Yeah," was all Xander said in response, grabbing some blankets from a heap in the corner.

"I mean that, Harris. I wanted him dead almost as much as you and the Boy Scout."

"Why? Because he stole your thunder? Because he broke up you and the blood queen? You're reasons were vanity only, which is why you never acted on them."

"You're as blind as she was," said Spike, almost silently. "I loved her, Harris. Yeah, it was a strange love at first, a sort of twisted longing for the very thing that could kill me, but towards the end… I loved her. I loved her more than anything else."

"But you still couldn't save her," said Harris, spreading the blanket on the floor. He continued working on his sleeping spot, his words full of the harsh rage that drove him. "You couldn't save her. You couldn't stop him. You couldn't do a damn thing."

"And you did?" demanded Spike, slamming a fist onto the top of a concrete coffin and shattering the lid. "I had that bloody chip in my head! What's your excuse?"

"I wasn't here," said Harris, laying down on the semi-soft spot that he had created.

"No, you were on your bloody honeymoon, having it up with that demon girl and enjoying something that most of us never 'ave the chance to."

"And where in the hell were you?" asked Xander. "We come back to find Angelus waiting for us, with Giles strapped to a chair, already half drained by Faith. You could have warned us, but no, you ran."

"What reason did I have to stay?" Spike's voice had a sorrow to it that Xander didn't think the vampire would have been capable of. "She was dead. Joyce was dead. I was powerless to stand up to him."

"You could have tried."

"I did, damn you!" screamed Spike, his voice quivering. "I tried to stop his blood thirsty arse from entering her house, but that bloody, damn chip stopped me! He just stood there, laughing at old Spike, and spat on me! I tried to stop him with every fiber of my being, but that bloody chip wouldn't let me."

"You still ran."

"It was run or be killed. He made that clear enough. He wasn't toying around this time, not with her. He killed her and her mother, and I couldn't do a damn thing to stop him."

"You could have helped the others stop him. You could have told them, warned them at least."

"It was run or die, Harris," snarled Spike, anger washing away the anguish that he had been feeling. "Who the hell are you to judge me? You took off out of her faster than shit when he killed your woman."

Xander was on feet faster than Spike would have thought possible, with a stake out and the ready, and that old hatred was burning in his eyes. He wanted to do it, Spike could tell, but he held himself back, seething with rage.

Spike was suddenly tired. Tired of the fights. Tired of the dangers. Tired of living a life without her.

"That's right, I ran," said Harris through clenched teeth. "I ran as far from this place as I could, and I swore I would do what ever I had to, to kill that bastard."

"Which was more than I could ever think about doing."

"You could have helped."

"I have. I betrayed my own kind. I passed you information. I rolled at your feet like a bloody dog and did every trick that you commanded me to. Even after I was finally free of that damn chip, I still helped you."

"Yeah," said Harris, lowering the stake. "You did, didn't you."

"You were too caught up in your hatred to notice."

"Why, Spike? Why did you keep helping?"

"Because I loved her, Xander," he said. "And… And I think that chip changed something in me over the years… I think it helped me find something I lost a long time ago."


"My soul."

They stood there, silently, just staring at each other for a few moments, and Xander finally mumbled a "good night", returning to his impromptu bed. He pulled a blanket over himself, turning his back to Spike so that the vampire wouldn't see the tears streaming down his face. Tears for all of the death and horror he had witnessed over the last decade. Tears for the love that he so desperately missed.

"She'll be coming after you," said Spike. "You know that?"

"Yeah, I know," answered Harris.

"Do you want my help now?"

"Yeah, Spike. I think that might be a good idea."

Spike dropped back into his chair, closing his eyes to let his body shut down for the approaching day. He knew it wouldn't be long before she showed up, and he wanted to be at his best when they faced her.

Xander lay there for a few hours, motionless, longing for the sleep that he so desperately needed. Images kept flooding through his mind, of that day that his life had been forever changed, of that day that the Executioner had been born.

He and Anya had returned from their honeymoon, more in love than ever, and confident that the world was theirs for the taking. Then he had opened the door, and they found that their apartment had been turned into hell.

Giles was strapped to a chair, his shirt drenched with his own blood, being straddled by Faith. Angelus was standing there, surrounded by followers of his evil, and smirking at the surprised couple. Faith turned to look at them, her face covered with Giles' blood, and she smiled at them before turning back to the ex-Watcher and tearing into him with a savagery that was final.

The vamps swarmed over the two, and things went black for Xander, a rain of blows falling upon his head. When he finally came to, he found himself tied to his bed, the body of Anya chained to the ceiling, only a few feet from him. He cried and screamed as she awoke, now a vampire, and he realized what Angelus had planned for both of them.

Sunlight was beginning to slip through the windows of the room, and in her newly risen form, Anya was not strong enough to break free of her bindings. Xander watched as she twisted about, screaming in pain, fighting to free herself as sunrise blossomed full.

When she finally burst into flames, after pleading with him to save her, she nearly set the room on fire. Fortunately, for Xander, police and paramedics arrived before the fire could spread, and he was sparred from the fate planned for him by Angelus.

Xander probably would have faced murder charges if it hadn't been for Angelus and his brood going on a bloody spree during the night. Vampires were no longer a creature of myth, and the world was forever changed as other creatures of darkness emerged to challenge humankind's hold on it.

The Initiative became a world wide organization over night, and the world slowly slipped into darkness. That darkness was being forced back, slowly, as humankind rose to the fight, but it was a long and bloody battle. Martial law had to be declared to maintain some sense of order, and it helped, but it would be a very long time before things would ever be even remotely considered back to normal.

Harris planned to be there when it happened, even if it ment joining forces with a vamp that he would just as soon see dusted. Besides, he had no doubts that the coming battle would be a violent and trying one.

Nothing about Faith was ever easy.