As the sky exploded with color – reds and blues and greens between them and the distant stars – Xander let out a laugh of pure delight. For a second Spike saw Dru in the smile: not the cruelty, which he'd said he loved, but the artlessness, which he'd never stopped looking for, which had been buried so deeply that it might never have been there at all. But as always someone was there between them. That time Angelus; this time Anya. Close enough to make no real difference.

Spike closed his eyes to shut himself off from the light.