"Here, boy. Here, boy."

"Oh, please, you think that's gonna get him? He ran away from you, lack-brain. Think the dulcet tones of your voice are gonna bring him back?"

"Spike? Help. Or. Shut. Up."

"Oh, yeah, Harris, go on. Gimme more, you manly hunk of authority."

Xander took a deep breath. "Why, exactly, are you here?"

That got the amused smirk to falter—but only just a bit. "'S a cemetery. Right at home here, I am."

"Good. Fine. Go find some dead bodies to annoy." Xander stumped along, occasionally calling ‘here, boy'. Which eventually became ‘I'm going to sell you to Ling's on Carson if you don't show up now, boy'.

Halfway through the cemetery, Xander was close to giving up. Wills was going to kill him for losing her uncle's dog. Dead Xander. Dog-Xander, since she could probably do that and then give him to her uncle. There was nothing but badness and dog-collars in his future. He knew it.

Not even the low whistle made him look up.

"Scared of the dumb carpenter, are you? Well, now, Spike's here. Heh, yeah, that's it you big dumb dog. Rrrrrr."

Xander looked up slowly.

Spike. On his knees. Willow's uncle's cocker spaniel dancing with eagerness in front of him.

"Do I want to know how you did that?"


"Okay. I'm going to owe you for this, aren't I?"

"Oh, you better believe it. C'mon, then!" Carefree as a boy, Spike bounded to his feet and chased the dog through the graves.

His life was so messed up.