"Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead."
- Anna Cummins


She sat down roughly next to them, half empty vodka bottle clutched awkwardly in her hand.
Well, half empty or half full. The way she saw it, the bottle was half empty. Maybe that said a lot
about her mental state at the moment. Either it did or it didn't, right.

"So, Buff, are you gonna share the vodka or keep it all to your lonesome?"

Buffy giggled in the hystercal way that drunk people do. Playfully she held out the bottle to him,
then snatched it away again. He sighed, and she smiled.

"You can't talk, Xander Wander. You're all up in the clouds too."

"Not as much as you, I don't think."

"I am!"

Both girls giggled now, and Buffy took another swig from the bottle. Clambering unsteadily to her
feet, she raised her finger and shook it at Willow.

"Okay. Who am I? Blah blah demons, blah blah blah kill them, blah blah blah boring and wimpy."

"Ummm…Dawn?"

"No!"

"Wesley!"

"Ding ding ding, you win a zillion pounds. G'night."

"You can't stop now."

"Okay, okay. Heres 'nother one."

The blonde made a crude imitation of a snarling, twisted vampire face. Clasped her hands over
her heart.

"Oh, Buffy, Slayer. I really really love you…only I don't. Cause I'm evil. Ha ha ha."

"Spike?"

"In one, got it."

She collapsed to the floor in another set of giggles. When a person really laughs, they become
helpless. After a while, they forget what it was that they were laughing at, and find themselves
trapped in this paraody of happiness. It was that sort of laughter.

It stopped.

She sat once more in front of them, and wiped the tears from her eyes. Held her sides, ribs
aching.

"Oh, you guys. I love you guys."

They didn't reply. She carried on.

"Willow…sweet, wonderful Will. Don't know if I tell you enough how much I really, really love you.
Not in a gay way, in a best friend way. You're just…."

Waving hands wildly, couldn't find the words.

"Just….Willow. And Xander…you've been so great to me. You're my rock. My solid, dependable,
funny rock. With black hair that'll never go white. And I tell you guys everything. Except about that
crush I had on Ethan…gross. It was only teeny weeny…weenier than anything. Well, I had an
even weenier tiny one on Spike…only the first time I ever saw him. After that, he pissed me off."

She suddenly started crying again. Only this time it wasn't from forced happiness, but raw pain.
Threw her her arms around them both and hugged them close.

Hugged both the bodies close.

Her tears echoed loudly in the cold reality of the morgue, as she wept over their corpses.
Realised the truth in calling them stiffs. Hard, resisting, cold flesh offered no compfort. This was
not a soft place.

"Stop crying…it's okay."

"Come on Buffster…time to go home."

Imagined voices couldn't soothe the tears anymore. It didn't work. Even though she knew what
they would say, clear as a bell, would never be a substitute for what was real. Footsteps behind
her told the time better than any clock.

"Come on, pet. It's time."

He thrust a stake into her hand. She stood back, and through a veil of salt water spoke in a
choked voice.

"Ashes to ashes…"

Wham. Bam.

"Dust to dust."

Thankyou, ma'am.

He took her by the arm, and for once, she let him. For she would grasp at what little comfort was
offered in this callous cruel world, where death was like sparrows.

Friends fell like breadcrumbs.