When he woke, it was from an unimaginably deep sleep, but Spike was in his arms and that was all that mattered. Any memories that might have marred the moment, memories of life, of their love, of his death, fell away as lips came together in a kiss. As he lost himself in Spike, his arm – programmed to act automatically for that very purpose – swept up, stabbing a stake through Spike's heart. Xander barely noticed the clatter of the stake as he fell to his knees and grabbed at the scattering ash, which escaped his clutches and drifted to the floor. He was still too stunned to think when metallic things, about the size of mice, started scrambling across the floor, rushing this way and that for a few minutes before retreating back into the walls. They took Spike's ashes with them.

The sound of his voice echoed back at him until there was nothing but that eternity, full of screams.