Author: Notmanos
E-Mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!
Summary: A virtually indestructable demon that almost killed Angel, Spike, and Dru a century before returns from the dead, stronger and meaner than ever. Can the three reunite to fight him once more, without killing each other in the process? (First Bob appearance.)


Los Angeles, California-Present Day

Spike glanced around the nightclub, taking a final drag off his cigarette, and wondered why he even bothered to come here.

This grimy city was chock full of sleazy dives, but no, he had to come to this trendoid pick up joint ,full of juicy young things he couldn't even think about biting if he didn't want a migraine of massive proportions. It must have been some weird sort of self- flagellation on his part.

But, on the other hand, the booze was very good.

He drained the dregs of his mondo expensive imported beer (way overpriced-but still worth it),and noticed some cute little chickie near the bar smiling at him. He smiled back, eyes immediately going to smooth, pale neck (and thanks to that so called shirt she was wearing, he could see lots of neck),and winced at the pain that knifed through his brain. Oh, how goddamn unfair was that-he was just bloody looking!

Some Fatboy Slim remix pounded along with the throb in his head, and he decided to get out of here, find someplace more demon friendly ... Oh right: Angel. He was avoiding the demon bars in case old caveman brow sauntered in, looking for trouble.

Los Angeles hadn't been his first choice in vacation destination-he'd have rather gone to Vegas. But his car had to pick now to make this new ca-chunking sort of noise that made him nervous, and he didn't have the cash to get it fixed right now; all he needed was to break down on a desert road, in the middle of bugfuck nowhere.

It just proved bad luck hit all at once.

He needed to be out of Sunnydale for now, because Slutty and her loser crew were still upset over that whole 'siding with Adam' thing-well what the hell did they expect him to do?! And he did help save their scrawny asses at the end, but did he get credit for that? No, of course not. Apparently vampires who didn't use two tons of mousse didn't rate in their books. Well, fuck them-as soon as he had this bloody chip out of his brain, they were dead anyways-and in the most painful way possible.

He winced again as a new pain shot through his head, and cursed under his breath as he clutched his forehead. The only way things could guess worse was if Angel stumbled through the door in his typically graceless way: as much as he liked the idea of beating the shit out of Vampenstein, he was too depressed-he just wanted to drink his troubles away. But he was starting to fear there wasn't enough alcohol in this world for that.

He'd just stood up, prepared to leave the Yuppie lust pit, when he felt something like a cold breeze wash over his spine, almost making him shiver. Weirdness-what the hell was that?

Suddenly he remembered when he'd felt something like that before ... no, that wasn't possible. That creepy fucker was long dead-or whatever passed for dead for it. What had Angelus said? It didn't die, it just lost its form on this plane-it always existed deathless in Hell. Which sounded like a fairy story you told the kiddies to keep them up at night ...

But then he saw him.

"Oh fuck," he exclaimed to no one, his curse swallowed by the loud techno music as he watched The Executioner cut his way through the milling crowd near the entrance.

He looked just like another human in this dreary place: tall and broad shouldered, with blond hair held back in a very eighties ponytail, clad in tight black jeans and a blue plaid shirt that seemed strangely grunge for this place. But then again, the doorman was probably no longer alive to object.

The Executioner smiled, his teeth as neat and uniform as highly polished tombstones, the acidic blue and green pulsing lights reflecting off his black mirrored sunglasses, and said, "Spike-long time no see. Where are the others, huh? The rest of the 'troop'."

Spike started slowly backing away, wondering where the hell the back exit to this place was. It couldn't have been caveman brow who came in, oh no, it had to be a pissed off Hellborne demi-god. But now was a very good time for Angel to show up...

"How the hell did you get back?" He asked. He didn't care-he was just trying to stall, hoping to put enough distance between them that running remained a viable option.

The Ex continued to grin like an idiot, shoving through the crowd like the demonic bulldozer he was, but some dickweed who obviously didn't have two brain cells to rub together got right into his face. "Hey fuckhead, watch where you're going," the thick necked weightlifter type snapped, spitting in his face.

The Executioner casually grabbed the man's head and twisted it around all the way, the snapping of his bones audible over the techno, and ripped his head clean off his neck, the skin tearing with a wet paper sound, and his body hit the floor like a bag of hammers. "Watch who you're talking to," Ex said to the head, before tossing it away. The head hit the mirror behind the bar with enough force to shatter it into a thousand pieces, the bartender ducking for cover as the shards of glass sheeted down like frozen rain.

The moronic crowd finally realized what had happened and started screaming and fleeing in all directions, streaming around Ex like he was a stone in a river. Ex randomly reached out and casually swatted at anyone close to him, caving in skulls and throwing people across the previously crowded dance floor, causing even more panic among the stupid people. Spike sort of wished the Ex would kill them all so they'd knock off the screaming-it was really getting on his nerves.

"Now come on, Spike-I know your girlfriend's around, and the annoying old sire. Do you really think you can pretend to be a hero after all this time?"

"Girlf-Dru? Dru's in town?" He had no idea. She didn't even call!

This was bad; this was very, very bad.

The Ex's grin turned feral, monstrous. "I'm going to especially enjoy killing her."

The club's bouncer attacked the Ex from behind, jabbing a taser in his neck, and Spike whirled on his heels, taking that as his cue to leave. He ran, following the crowd of trampled bodies to the rear fire exit, and didn't dare look back, even as he heard the bouncer scream and his bones crack like tree limbs.

He wasn't sure what he was going to do, but he knew for sure this night could only get worse.



Angel was so lost in thought as he cut through the sewers, headed back to Cordy's place, he didn't recognize the strange smell in the sewer tunnel until he was almost completely past it.

He backtracked, trying to follow his nose to the source. It was an oddly familiar scent; sulfurous, redolent of rotten flesh and old blood, pain and death, strong enough to make even his flesh crawl. What instinctively made a vampire want to run and hide? The usual suspects, of course: sunlight, crosses, holy water, possibly a Slayer ... but this was something that was stirring his animal brain, agitating the demon inside him, making him want to run. It took every ounce of his will to carry him forward one more step, towards the source of that ... death. It was beyond evil; it was almost beyond death.

When he came around the bend in the tunnel, he walked right into the center of carnage.

It looked like a massacre had taken place: body parts were scattered everywhere, blood dripping from the walls, mingling with the rainwater oozing down from the streets above, resulting in an ankle deep bloody soup, coated with a light sprinkling of ash. As he was looking at the parts, limbs and entrails, he realized some were demonic, some were vampiric ... some were human. He guessed there may have been as many as twenty victims, although there was no way to accurately tell the number of vampires from the volume of ash. What had they been doing in the sewers?

Suddenly a corpse, disemboweled, its stomach and abdomen a large open wound, opened its eyes and stared at him, nearly making him gasp in shock. It was a vampire-and while mortally wounded, this mutilation wasn't enough to kill it. "Please, Angel," it croaked, its eyes glassy from pain. "Kill me."

"What did this?" he asked, pulling a stake out of his pocket.

The vampire, a young male who looked like the quintessential California surfer dude, his long blond hair now matted with blood and ash, shook his head. "The others said it was The Executioner. But I don't know... I didn't know ..."he shuddered painfully, unable to go on, but there was no need.

The Executioner. Oh god. If he had a beating heart, it would have stopped.

"Who were the others?" He asked. "Why were they trying to bring the Executioner back?"

"Wolfram and Hart," he wheezed, closing his eyes tightly as he shuddered anew. Pain and fear came off him waves so overpowering they almost overcame the stench of death.

He knew he wasn't going to get anything more out of the disemboweled vampire, but in a way he had all he needed: Wolfram and Hart. The bastards had really done it now; they'd raised a creature that existed solely to kill, that had no loyalty to anything save for himself and the sheer pleasure he took in killing. Had they really thought they could control him?

He jabbed the stake through the vamp's partially exposed heart, dusting him without resistance. Angel had never mercy killed a vampire before, but it only proved there was a first time for everything.

Although, for the Executioner, it would be the second time.



Spike knew he was drunk-there was no other explanation for what he was doing.

He continued running down the rain slicked alleyways of Los Angeles, deliberately taking a circuitous route in case he was followed: he hadn't seen him, but that didn't mean anything with that bastard.

He'd run into a clot of vamps two blocks back-they had fled the sewers because there was something 'wicked bad' down there, and Angel was down there as well, to add to the misery. But that's all he needed to know. He didn't tell them the big bad was now on the streets-while Ex was killing them, it would put a few more precious seconds between him and it.

He came out on a side street, and saw a manhole cover in the middle of the road. As soon as some dickhead's red Camero sped by (he had to really tamp down the urge to yell, “Sorry about your penis!' It was almost always balding men having a mid-life crisis and inadequacy issues driving those fiberglass phallic symbols), he walked out into the center of the street, just in time for the cover to slide itself aside. He stopped, and saw the back of someone's head emerge.

Well, speak of the devi l- he'd recognize that hair anywhere. Mousse boy himself. "Angel," he shouted, heading towards him.

It was proof he was drunk; in retrospect, it was a very bad move.

Angel's head snapped around, and he glared at him in surprise and hatred as he jumped out of the sewer access. And before Spike was even aware of it, the manhole cover came zooming at him like a frisbee and nailed him hard in the midsection, knocking all the wind out of him and sending him sprawling on the wet pavement.

He immediately forced himself up, only to get a boot in the face, but he rolled with it, trying to put distance between him and Angel in total asshole mode. As he sprung back up to his feet, Angel was closing in, a stake now clenched tightly in his fist. "Nice of you to drop in, Spike," he growled, as Spike took a step back for every step he took forward.

"Will you cool your jets, Batman? I'm not here to fight," he said, holding up his hands to prove they were empty.

But Angel only scoffed. "You never run out of lame ideas, do you?"

"Would you just stop being a dickhead and listen?!" He snapped, itching to smash his smug face in-but now was not the time.

Why was he even bothering?

Because he remembered the last time they met Ex; how close he'd come to losing Dru, and how close he'd come to having his own head torn off by that butt ugly Hellbeast ... Until Angelus, ironically, saved his life. Angel probably kicked himself for that now, and he was glad. He hoped he choked on it. The only good thing about Angelus was the fact that anything that pissed him off royally never lived long-but Angelus wasn't around anymore, was he?

Or was he? Maybe it depended on motivation, regardless of the soul crap.

"The Executioner's back," he said, hoping that would jar some sense into Angel.

But he didn't even blink, he just kept on coming. "I know. Were you in on it, Spike?"

It was now Spike's turn to scoff. "Yeah, right-I'm gonna help bring back an unstoppable killing machine who has me at the top of his shit list. How dumb do you think I am?" As soon as Angel opened his mouth to speak, he quickly added, "It was a rhetorical question, jackass. Look, he just tried to attack me at a nightclub a few blocks back, and I'm not sure he isn't right behind me, so let's knock off the macho bullshit for now, okay John Wayne?"

Finally Angel stopped, lowering the stake to his side. "A nightclub? Which one?"

Spike shook his head, happy to stop his retreat; not only was it humiliating, but he was quickly running out of street. "It doesn't matter-whoever didn't flee in blind panic is dead now, and he's on the move. He recognized me, Angel-I think he came looking for me."

"What are you doing here anyways?"

Oh, this was just fucking unbelievable. "Look, this wasn't my first vacation choice either, thanks to you. In retrospect, I'd rather have taken my chances in Vegas, but I haven't mastered time travel ... although god knows I'm adding it to my 'to do' list now. We don't have time to argue, genius! The Ex is back, and he's pissed. We need to find Dru and get the fuck outta Dodge while we still can. Unless you have a rocket launcher-do you have a rocket launcher?"

Angel frowned, looking puzzled (normal)."Dru? Dru's in South America."

"Not according to the Executioner. He said she's here. He knew you were here too."

Angel thought about that, his large forehead creasing as his dark brows drew together over his eyes as he did that hard (for him at any rate) thinking thing. He finally glared at him again, as that must have been the easiest thing to do. "Where was the nightclub?"

Spike rolled his eyes. God,this was bloody pointless-why had he even bothered? "Just off Sunset, a Yuppie lust pit full of people in two hundred dollar jeans with twenty dollar microbrews. Does that help?"

"I'll just follow the bodies," he said grimly, turning towards the alley Spike had come out of earlier.

"Hey-are you fucking mentally challenged? You're gonna go after the demon Terminator by yourself-without a rocket launcher-when he very nearly killed all three of us last time?" Angel just kept walking, squaring his shoulders beneath his long black duster, making him look even more broad shouldered than usual (quite a trick-he was built like a linebacker crossed with a bear. Which would explain a lot, if he came to think about it)."What about Dru?"

"What about her?" He replied, disappearing into the alleyway.

Fine-fuck the bastard. If he wanted to commit suicide, that was no skin off his nose. Hell, that was a reason to celebrate.

Now where the hell would Dru be? She had to know the Ex was back; she knew he was coming before they met him the first time. So she would be hiding. Well ,not exactly hiding, not if she did what she did last time.

He decided to head to the nearest park-maybe he'd get lucky.

It was about time for his luck to start changing-could it possibly get worse?



Angel didn't have to go far before he was overcome with the deja vu feeling of a ghost walking over his grave.

Well, figuratively speaking.

The Executioner exuded an evil so powerful you just knew when he was near; it seemed to nestle in your spine and turn your blood to ice. How living humans couldn't feel it always amazed him...but then again, they weren't aware they were surrounded by vampires either.

He slowly crossed the street, the intersection eerily dead, as he tried to pinpoint where the Executioner was in the sea of shadows surrounding him. All the small businesses on the block were closed for the night, the windows shuttered and barred against more mundane, everyday monsters, the only noise the occasional car and its earth shaking stereo on the neighboring street.

As he stepped up onto the curb, he heard a noise like the crackling of a fire, and a body plunged from the roof of a building, thudding to the sidewalk right in front of him, its bones already so pulverized that it only made sort of a wet sound on impact.

It was a human, his head turned at an impossible angle, his limbs akimbo and all bent at equally improbable angles: the Executioner's idea of fun.

He glanced up, but he was not looking over the edge as he expected; he must have just tossed him over the side, bored with his broken toy.

Angel ran around the front of the building, only to find a huge hole in the locked glass doors of the small office building-the Executioner had just walked through it. He was briefly surprised there were no alarms going off, but figured the Executioner just ripped out whatever started blaring at him. He walked through the gaping hole, shattered glass crunching beneath his boots, and started running up the stairs, headed for the roof.

On the fifth floor landing, he found the body of a security guard, his skull so perfectly mashed flat most of it had been left on the wall where the demon must have done it. There were no facial features left to recognize anywhere, and if he had been carrying weapons, he wasn't anymore. Angel knew he couldn't face the Executioner without anything-stakes would be little better than toothpicks against this monster-so he kicked a metal bar in the railing until it loosened, and ripped it out before continuing. It was better than nothing.

As he climbed the last flight, he felt the cold, rain scented air from outside, and was not surprised to find the roof door had been completely ripped off its hinges-it gave him a clear view of ... nothing but roof. But he heard that crackling noise again: bones crunching like so many eggshells. He carefully emerged, and saw the broad back of the Executioner's new form about twenty feet away, wrenching the neck of a Kailiff demon before tossing him off the roof as well, this time watching him fall. "Two points!" He crowed happily, as Angel heard a slightly metallic thud below.

Angel charged at him, holding the metal rod like a spear, and as the Executioner turned around, Angel drove it straight through the center of his chest.

The Executioner staggered a step back, but quickly recovered, and gave him an amused, shit eating grin. "Hey, Angelus. That almost hurt!"

The Executioner grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him towards him, impaling him on the very rod he had just driven into his chest. "Group hug!" The Executioner said, smiling, as Angel saw nothing reflected in his black mirrored sunglasses but the rod that had punched its way through his heart and out his back.

Briefly paralyzed by the pain, he could do nothing but gasp as the Executioner pulled him off the rod and tossed him across the roof as easily as a sack of garbage. He hit the edge and almost went over, but he managed to grab on and pull himself back onto the roof. Still, he needed to lay there for a moment, the pain radiating from his chest and back excruciating, as he couldn't help but think, 'What if that had been wooden?'

"But you don't have a group anymore, do you Angelus?" He said, suddenly appearing over him and hauling him to his feet by the collar of his shirt.

"What happened? I dug you and blondie and the creepy girl-you were fun."

Angel threw a punch that connected solidly with the Executioner's square jaw, but he instantly regretted it as several knuckles broke on impact. The Executioner responded with a punch to the stomach so hard Angel saw stars as he dropped to his knees and retched, seeing and tasting nothing but his own blood as the pain threatened to knock him out.

"Also, what's with the hair? I mean, what Spike did to his is really bad, but you're a close second. .Ever cut yourself on your own hair?" The Executioner pulled the metal rod out of his chest with a squelching sound, the skin instantaneously sealing as it was withdrawn. He then jabbed it downward, stabbing him through the shoulder and embedding the other end of the rod in the roof. Angel was too busy choking on his own blood to scream.

"You know, I'm really going to enjoy this, "the Executioner went on, sounding as falsely cheerful as a
game show host. "Killing you one piece at a time. Do you have a request for the next bit? Arm? Leg? Pancreas?"

With all the strength he could muster, he pushed himself up, pulling himself off the rod as he swallowed back another scream, and spun into a high kick that caught the demon right where the jaw met the skull, and the Executioner stumbled away as Angel fought to retain his own balance; staggering as the pain shuddered through his body and made black spots appear before his eyes. He felt weak in the knees, and could barely keep standing.

Oh shit-what had he been thinking?

It galled him to think Spike had the right idea-run away-but it looked like it now. But he had to kill the Executioner before he killed everyone in this city, demon and human alike. He knew he could do it. The Executioner had done it before.

He tried to head towards the door, but the Executioner recovered first and spun around, punching him so hard in the chest it threw Angel all the way across the roof, where he landed on his side and screamed silently as the shattered bones in his torso stabbed him like molten needles, his vision fading to gray as blood filled his mouth once more.

"Is that the best you can do?" The Executioner chided. "Is that all you've got? That's it?"

Angel couldn't stand; he could barely remain conscious, but he knew he had to, because if he passed out now he really was dead. He heard traffic noises not far below him, and crawled towards the edge of the roof.

"You've gotten soft over the century, Angelus. Know what-it must have been the hair. You were cooler with long hair."

He looked over the edge, and saw the street just below, a fairly regular stream of cars and trucks speeding past on either side. It was seven stories down, and if he missed, it would be messy - but it was better than the alternative.

"What? Are you gonna jump for it? Oh, please do: that'll be funny!" He said, his shoes thudding heavily on the roof as he approached him.

With more pain than he thought possible, he pulled himself up into a crouch on the ledge, turning to face the Executioner as he kept the corner of his eye on the street below, looking out for a suitable target, something large enough for him to hit. He saw it, a red van, approaching fast on the near side of the street.

The Executioner grinned at him. "What? Think you got one more good punch in you, Angelus?" He held up his fists in a mock fighter's

stance, chuckling at his own joke. "Come on, let's go, mano a mano. Make the most of the three seconds you have left."

"I will see you dead. Again." He promised, as he stood up, crying out in pain at the movement, and did a back flip off the roof, his vision blurring with tears as he fell through the air.

He landed back first on the roof, hard enough to dent it and blow out a side window, but while the van swerved, it didn't stop. As both the building and his vision receded, he saw the dark shape of the Executioner on the edge of the roof, and heard him bellow, loud and clear even as he lost consciousness, "You can't hide from me, Angelus! This time, you're going back to hell!"

And Angel feared he was probably right.



Spike considered it a good omen, of sorts. At least as far as tonight was concerned.

He needed wheels to get around the city, but there was no way in hell he was going back to the nightclub for his car-what if the Ex was still in the area? Besides, he still needed to get the piece of shit fixed, and it was some sort of universal law that when you really needed something, it quit on you (this especially applied to people).

And just as he was trying to figure out what kind of car he'd like to steal, he came around the corner and found a plug ugly biker vamp parking his hog. The bastard never saw him coming; he beat the shit out of him, took his keys, and jacked his Harley before he knew what had happened to him. When he woke up, he'd probably be pissed, but who the fuck cared? He'd be long gone by then, and besides, he could mop the street with that inbred dumbass.

The motorcycle was a real beauty, and ran like a dream-even though he'd have to dump it for something with a roof before sunrise, he was determined to keep it somehow. It also turned out to be a prime vehicle choice; he wove in and out of stalled traffic at dangerous speeds, which he could have never done in a car, and the sidewalk remained an option if worse came to worst.

He was trying to remember where Los Angeles kept their parks-there wasn't a lot of choice, was there?-when he drove past a cemetery that suddenly caught his eye. He did a u-turn in the middle of the street and came to a stop before the cemetery gates - which were ajar.

It was a gothic sort of cemetery: black wrought iron gates concealed a more high tech security system as the high fence wrapped around the front and trailed off into the distance; the entrance paved and perfectly maintained, weaving in and out of trees on their way to the neat, uniform tombstones...


He revved the engine and drove inside, kicking the gate all the way open on his way in. It was possible newly risen vampires or even zombies had broken open the gate from the inside (and that would also explain the lack of security response-they'd been eaten), but he had a feeling Dru would love this place. It had 'atmosphere' (whatever the hell that was, beyond a weather condition).

He drove at a near crawling pace, keeping an eye out for any moment in the thickening shadows, but he hadn't seen anything so far except some very dead dead people's final resting places, where they were slowly but surely becoming compost for the ages six feet underground. He was so glad he had missed that scene, and he intended to keep missing it. But where was bloody Dru?

As the road wound up, towards a thicket of large, old trees partitioning the pseudo-celebrities graves from that of the wealthy riff raff, he thought he saw something red high up in a weeping willow. He killed the engine and put down the kickstand, deciding to go on foot and not risk such a great bike on unknown ground. "Dru?" He asked quietly, entering the thicket.

The tree was quite large, its branches spreading out for meters in all directions, and he guessed it to be about sixty years old at least (a pup):it dominated the copse, a showy tree that put the others to shame, but had an appropriate 'sad' air that made it graveyard suitable. It was just the type of thing Dru would love.

And as soon as he got past one of its thicker, lower hanging branches, he saw it was indeed Dru, sitting on a branch about twenty feet up, her back to the trunk and her legs drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped tightly around her knees. She was humming ever so slightly (Fere Jacques?),and the red he had seen was her outfit: leather pants and a tight velvet shirt. Only her boots were black. And how in the hell had she climbed the tree in those?

"Dru baby, come down-we have to go." He said it louder now, hoping she wasn't in that trance she was last time; he wasn't in a mood to get hurt.

For a minute she just continued staring into space, rocking ever so slightly and humming to herself, her dark hair framing her pale face as exquisitely as a painting. With a frustrated groan he started towards her, but that's when she looked at him, her azure eyes as wide as silver dollars. "He's back, Spike," she said in a scared, breathless whisper.

"I know, pet, I saw him. That's why we have to leave now."

"He wants us," she said, as Spike realized she was looking straight through him and seeing something else. "He wants to hurt us-but not in a good way." She seemed to snap out of it, finally returning to the real world, and looked at him, her brow furrowing in concern. "We need daddy. Where's daddy?"

He rolled his eyes at her old, childish nickname for Angelus."'Daddy' is the same stupid wanker he's always been. Last I saw him, he left on a kamikaze mission to find old Ex. I figure that gives us a few seconds head start while Ex kills him, and we're wasting it. So get out of the bloody tree. Dru! If we're going, we have to do it now! Your precious daddy is dust in the gutter!" He couldn't help but lose his temper; he just knew the Executioner was closing in, and she was worried about Angel?! Goddamn it! Did things ever change? He wanted to know where the hell her bloody disgusting new boyfriend was - and why she never called - but he figure that could wait until they were in Mexico. Wasn't it enough that he was here?

Her eyes widened further, and he wondered what sin he had committed now when she gasped, "He's here. Oh god Spike, he's here and he sees us!"

She whimpered and buried her face in her knees, pulling herself into a tighter ball, just as Spike felt that familiar chill.

"Oh fuck!" He exclaimed, and whirled to make a run for his bike. But he had to stop instantly, as there was the grinning motherfucker standing just beyond the trees, sauntering towards them as if he was in no particular hurry to rip their heads off through their sternums.

"Hey, Spikey-you didn't think you were actually going somewhere, did ya?"

Spike backed up until he ran into the tree trunk. "Look, let's let bygones be bygones, okay? I mean-no hard feelings." It was lame and he knew it, but he had no weapons on him, and there appeared to be nothing useful in the grass around him, unless Ex happened to be allergic to pinecones.

The Ex laughed like the smug bastard he was, and Spike noticed he smelled vaguely of vampire blood. For once, he wished he had been wrong about Angel's chances. "That's really pathetic. You guys killed me-that's not the type of thing you forgive. At least Angelus had the balls-and the sheer idiocy-to try and take me on. You know, he missed his calling as a stunt man, or maybe an Olympic diver; I've never seen such a spot on swan dive."

"Yeah well, he's always been a big drama queen," he admitted, slowly easing his way around the tree.

"You're not going anywhere, blondie. But if you want to have a chase, I'm up for it. Angelus was fun, but he left just as things were getting good." The Executioner suddenly stopped, and gave him a quizzical glance. "Hey, where's creepy girl?" Spike spared a brief glance up at the tree limb, and saw Dru was gone. Oh, how perfect was that? He'd risked his ass to save her, and she used him as a distraction so she could escape. Typical.

The Executioner shrugged. "Oh well-it's not like she can hide from me either. On your mark ... get set ..."

It was then that Spike heard Dru scream in rage, and she appeared charging at the Ex from behind; he didn't even have time to turn before the broken end of a tree branch burst through the Ex's chest-his entire chest. It was a pine tree limb about three feet thick, and white fragments of bone and pink clots of tissue erupted with the limb as Dru shoved it through him with all her strength. The Ex gasped in pain as he lost his balance and stumbled to his knees.

"Ah holy fuck-that really hurts!" He exclaimed, sounding shocked.

Spike went up and kicked him in the face as hard as he could, making him fall onto his side Then he darted past him, grabbing Dru's hand and pulling him with her as he ran back towards the bike. She didn't fight him this time.

As he got on the bike and kick-started it, she got on the back, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist. "He's still coming, Spike," she breathed in his ear. It felt familiar and extremely good, especially under the circumstances.

"I know, but you hurt him bad, love. Thanks." As he turned the bike around and sped out of the cemetery as fast as it could go, he wondered how much time they had before he found them again. And where you could get a rocket launcher in L.A. at this time of night.