AN: A very short snippet inspired by the end of this week's episode. Feedback of any
sort would be appreciated. ~Kei PS: I've been reading too much Hemingway, elliptical
style, icky...

Standard disclaimers apply.



************************ Ashes to Ashes *************************


Tears slipped unnoticed from wide, disbelieving eyes. It was cold in the church, even
though the night was balmy and oh the shadows crept like nightmares across the scattered
pews. A Bible rested, flung open at her rooted feet.

He stood before her in his anguish. She shared it in part; he hated himself and she hated
him with everything that used to be love. She hated herself for a thousand words said
and actions too brave or foolish, taken. He hated her too. In the depths of his soul he
hated her.

His soul.

And the shadows spilled like ink across the smooth expanse of his bared shoulders. They
dipped into the line of his back, crawled like spiders and clung to his arms; a gossamer
shroud, he stood in darkness. By the light of the moon she could see the bright white of
his newly bleached hair, a baptism of sorts, the only kind ever rested upon his troubled
brow.

Could see the pale perfection of his skin, skin so cold it was like marble, cold and hot,
and god it burned. He burned. Burned like fire, burned like the sun on vampire skin,
until only ash remained.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, her trust had been broken. He had broken her.

She had broken him.

She watched, silent in horror and mute fascination as his unsteady tread brought him
before the cross that stood for all he could never have but would always yearn for. She
watched him embrace it, drape his slender, battered body against the stern, unyielding
lines.

Watched the smoke curl and envelop him in a halo. It softened the darkness.

He burned before her. For her.

"Can we rest Buffy? Can we rest now?"

She swallowed and looked away. The church was silent, and much too warm.