Set shortly after the events of the season 5 finale "The Gift".

A lone figure drenched in an oily black coat stood perfectly still, his hands deep in his pockets while he looked down at a single tombstone.

Time was lost in the darkness and in his unknowing moment all he could concentrate on was standing perfectly still - not moving, not thinking, not hurting – just being still.

After a long while he felt a presence, and went to great pains to make his first movement; he blinked his eyes and raised his head slightly, acknowledging a familiar smell mixed with a particularly repugnant whisky.

He didn't turn around, not even as the scent became stronger, and he finally heard the tread of boots on damp grass and leaves behind him.

"What are you doing here?" he still couldn't summon the strength to turn to the company now standing beside him as he spoke.

When he gained no reply Angel turned his head slightly, and from the corner of his eye observed the porcelain-white hue of Spike's face as he too observed the tombstone before them.

"Get out of here" his words were quiet but strong, and as he spoke, he slowly slid his now clenched hands out of his pockets.

Spike turned his head and looked down, observing the fists which now hung by Angel's side. "Don't" he said in a quiet, broken murmur.



"I am paying my respects…" Angel hoped that the waver in his tone went unnoticed by his foe; clearing his throat, he spoke again in a stronger, lower voice; "…and you shouldn't be here".

Spike scoffed and shook his head, laughing bitterly. Angel turned and watched him, watched as his smile quickly vanished and he lowered his head….Angel's brow furrowed when he looked up again, the flooded moonlight revealing a wet glimmer in his eyes.

"What in the hell do you think your doing?". He couldn't help it; bile rose in his throat and his blood burned when he looked upon Spike's tears.

How dare he shed tears for her? Who was he to mourn or miss her?

It disgusted him…. And it angered him more when Spike didn't turn away from him, didn't try and hide his pathetic, worthless tears.

"Stop it!" Angel growled, and in one swift move he had pushed Spike hard in the chest, pushed him to the ground.

"I have every right!" Spike spoke evenly as he slowly and unsteadily pulled himself to standing position again; "I have every right!" his voice cracked this time.

"What?" Angel asked, mockingly. "What right?" he shook his head as his eyes looked Spike up and down, accusing and revolted, "For years you tried to hurt her, kill her…."

Spike shook his head and wiped furiously at his wet cheeks, but Angel continued "…For years she loathed you and fought against you…." He shook his head solemnly, "what right do you think you have?"

Spike sucked in some air, composing himself as he lifted his head and looked Angel right n the eye, "I fought along side of her...I was even there for her final battle" on that word, final, his voice shrunk just a little, Angel heard it. "I tried…" Spike's eyes narrowed for a moment, as though he was trying to remember something, "I tried to protect her…. But I didn't, I failed and she had to…." He was rambling now, his words whispered and feverish, "…If I could go back, for just a second maybe I could have done something different, maybe I could have saved her…" Spike's eyes connected again with Angel's, and he realized his words were lost on him. He wasn't there. He didn't know.

Composing himself again, Spike sighed just a little and he blinked, looking to the ground he whispered "and I loved her, I loved her".

Angel's eyes narrowed on him, "you loved her?".

Spike looked up, "she knew it…." Shaking his head slightly, "….maybe she didn't believe it, but she knew how I felt….she knew it…."

Angel scoffed, and quickly while Spike wasn't looking, swiped at a stray tear that had slid down his cheek. "You say you loved her?"

"I did!" Spike yelled, shattering the black stillness of the cemetery.

Angel shook his head again, "You don't know love…" he said, simply, matter-of-factly, "…. You can't".

Spike opened his mouth, about to say more, but Angel turned his back on him, turned back to the tombstone, to Buffy's tombstone. "Just go" he ordered softly.

Spike stood behind him for a moment, staring at the back of his head. Finally he blinked, creased his brow and felt determination course through his veins. "I won't" he whispered to Angel's turned back. "I am going to stay…" Angel's head turned slightly, and Spike continued, "….I've got things to do here, people who need me…" he urged himself on by giving a small, determined nod, "….and I wont leave. I will stay, for her", he could feel Angel tense at those words, "…I am going to stay here…." With a slight shake of his head, Spike finished, "…which is more than what you ever did".

Angel was about to turn around, but he heard Spike's footsteps begin to slowly walk away and he couldn't move. He was paralyzed - paralyzed by the truth of Spike's words.

"More than I ever did" he whispered to himself, and to her… wherever she was.

- The End -

"Nightminds" is the name of a Missy Higgins song from her album The Sound of White- it is from this song that I got the inspiration for this fan-fic.