Disclaimer: I don't claim to own these characters.

A/N: A fill for elfgirljen at comment-fic who prompted: "any, any, all that was left was ash"


In the end, all that's left is ash.

A little pile of ash at the bottom of a hole in a place where a town used to be but isn't anymore. She searches through the leftovers, the bags that wait to be reclaimed by their owners but never will be. She hopes and prays and gets so so close to even wishing, but there's nothing in there of his.

There's nothing left of him.

All summer, his coat hung in her closet, waiting, reminding. Buffy still remembers the feeling of his lighter crammed into the too-small pocket of her jeans, how it pressed into the little space between her hip and thigh with every movement. His ring had sat in her jewellery box for almost two years before she threw it in the trash.

But now she doesn't even have a cigarette butt dropped on her lawn to prove he was here. He was here, he stood beside her, he mattered. And the world will never know.

She cries when Angel hands it to her. He doesn't wrap it, doesn't try to present it to her like Spike is something fun or frivolous, like her mourning is something that can be tied up and contained by a shiny ribbon.

It's only what it is.

Spike stares at her, smug and dangerous and loving all at once, his skin made of charcoal and his face trapped behind a frame and a sheet of glass. She holds the drawing to her and sobs.

It's only what it is, but it's enough.