Disclaimer: I own nothing and am bitter and spiteful for it.
Setting: Starts at "Grave", but departs cannon from there. The story takes place in the summer between 6 and 7. After all is said and done if someone wants to take it into season 7, just ask, but I won't as it won't be the same.
Chaos reigned the day and heroes fought unspeakable odds hoping to stave off annihilation one more time.
Buffy and Dawn were spending the early morning hour fighting creatures that their former friend, now psycho Wicca Willow had conjured into existence to keep them busy.
Anya and Giles were huddled together in the Magic Box with all their hopes for salvation riding on a long shot of epic proportions. Anya nervously stroking Giles hair and hoping that he could hold on as she felt his very life force dimming as each moment passed.
Xander was... Well, Xander was doing the only thing he could. That was try to put a stop to this insanity that had corrupted his best friend and now threatened the world itself.
Moments passed for all of them as they struggled on ever desperate for an opening, a chance that maybe this wouldn't be the end.
Breaking the quiet of that spring morning was a single gunshot. The shot rang out and echoed far as it carried the weight of the world's very life with it.
The monsters fighting Buffy and Dawn instantly dusted as if puppets whose strings had been cut. A moments confusion caused both sisters to look to the other before the sound they barely registered a moment before dawned on them what may have happened.
Back in the Magic Box Giles sits up his face flitting between relief and pain. The pain both for what Willow had done to his body and what he knew through his connection to the magic Willow stole had happened. Anya, overjoyed at Giles' apparent recovery hugged him tightly causing the aging Brit to wince under the pressure she brought to bear.
As the world took a deep sigh and released the pressure that had held it on the cusp of eternity silence reigned throughout the town of Sunnydale.
That silence was broken seconds later by a primal scream that resonated thru much of the populace whether awake or still asleep.
The scream seemed to last an endless minute before waning then cutting off. As if the life itself left with the very voice that lifted the call.
In the tomb, Buffy and Dawn became frantic as they sped up their efforts to get themselves out of the repository for the dead. Both knew that something had happened and both feared the worst possible outcome. After several minutes they finally made their way out of the grave and unable to appreciate the vista that nature had laid out for them they both tried to determine the direction to head in and took off.
Back in the Magic Box Giles was by himself as he had sent Anya off to try and get an ambulance called to get him. After the beating and draining he had taken he dare not over exert himself too soon. His eyes were misty as he sniffed and mumbled to himself. Words like my fault, my burden, what have I done and similar phrases spilled from his lips as he dreaded what may have been lost this morning. He had had another reason for occupying Anya's time as he didn't want for her to try to go to Kingman's Bluff to find out about the scream they had heard. Only by keeping her mind on his ailment had he been able to save her that pain of what she would likely find. He only wished he could do the same for Buffy and Dawn as he was certain that they both soon would be finding their way to Xander and Willow. He tried to shut his eyes to hold back the tears that threatened to overwhelm him only to be confronted by his own vivid imagination as to what lay out at the bluff.
Approaching the scene, both the Summers girls appeared to be shocked to the spot as it took them several moments to just absorb the scene that lay in front of them.
Just near the cliff itself was a spire that rose from the ground with a hideous edifice to some demonic bitch or another that had been Willow's focus for the spell she had attempted to end the world with. No more than a dozen paces from that lay two bodies. One that was obviously Willow's from the red hair and dress was face down on the ground with an exit wound in her upper middle back. Near her laying flat on his back was Xander with a vacant look in his eyes and his body motionless except for some irregular breathing. Deep furrows raked across his chest and lighter ones marred his left cheek.
Finally Dawn was able to shake herself out of the spell the scene had cast on them long enough to check Xander only to find that his pulse was normal, but after repeated attempts he was unresponsive to her calling his name or making motions in front of his eyes. Neither girl approached Willow's corpse as it was apparent that death was immediate to when she had been shot apparently thru the heart.
Buffy still lost could only wander around as she tried to put together in her mind what happened. Had Xander really shot Willow? Why? Couldn't he stop her another way? Where did he get a gun? How could he after Tara had been shot to death? What do they do now? Will Xander be charged? How do they get Xander to the hospital? Can he be moved?
These and countless others plagued her leaving Dawn to try and find solutions as Buffy looked unable to deal with the moment.
Several hours later an ambulance had finally come and gone along with Sunnydale's finest. They had found the gun, but they already were indicating with their questions that they wouldn't be asking too many outside of the necessary. They mentioned things like self defense and necessary force after seeing upclose the damage to Xander and the paramedics' comments about not seeing how they could have been caused naturally.
But these things weren't on the Summers sister's minds as they stared out over the bluff trying to will themselves to leave. They needed to be there for Xander, but both found it next to impossible to pry themselves from the place and the only thing that didn't cause them to become nauseous was to look out over the cliff at the Pacific ocean before them.
There's a saying that the Pacific has no memory. Both girls found themselves desperately longing for that to be true and for it to take this one from them.
Finally when it appeared the ocean was unwilling or unable to answer their pleas to it they turn back to the remnants of that awful scene and tried to move past it. Making their way back towards town, towards Xander if he was still in that husk they had found, towards Giles if he would hopefully stay and finally towards life. They would have enough to grieve as they continued to try and move forward, but for now they needed to be reminded that all this had happened for the preservation of life and for some greater purpose.