Darkness had sounds and smells. It also had pain. She struggled against it. Her eyes blinked open. There was nothing but rubles and fire before her eyes. The stench of death and decay poisoned the air. Buffy crawled slowly to her knees, staring in stunned disbelief at the desolated land.
The sky was dark, starless; a small ball of dim light had replaced the moon. Its white sickly glow illuminated the destruction. She could see only darkness passed that blinding flare. A lightening shot out from the ball. It lashed out against the earth, opening a new flaming smocking gash. Buffy looked up and squinted to inspect that new moon. Something dark and winged emerged from within it. It disappeared in the horizon.
It was the portal; it was still opened. She wasn't dead and the portal had not closed. Buffy found the strength to get up.
She screamed. Her legs moved and she searched, frantically, for a way to reach the portal. There was nothing to climb. Not a single perch for Dawn to stand on. She looked up at the ball and screamed again and again. Only the echoes of her heart-rending wails responded her.
Buffy walked the desolated land like a ghost. She knew now that it was Sunnydale. There it was the Magic Shop, a chunk of its sign sticking out from within a cluster of carbonized wood. There it was the basement of her home, exposed for the world to see its ravaged insides. There it was the ruins of High School. Strangely, it was the only thing still standing as she remembered it. Xander's apartment, the University...everything else was different; it was destroyed.
Her shuffling feet, seemly trying to hurt her, continued taking her to the places that were part of her life, where the people she loved should be. All she found was destruction; the stench of death and decay followed her everywhere. Sometimes there was movement amidst the ruins, whispers at her right, growls at her left, and then the world was still once again.
It seemed only demons roamed the earth; she could hear their wails and shrieks in the distance. Perhaps she was dreaming. This was just a nightmare; it had to be. This couldn't be the real Sunnydale. She couldn't have survived to see this, to die here. The webs of madness tightened their hold on her brain.
The place was abandoned. Nothing alive roamed its corners. Flickering shadows moved amidst the debris and rooting furniture. A steady stream of water fell from the half-collapsed roof, hitting the burnt TV's surface. She glanced around. Giles' apartment had, somehow, survived the devastation a little better but it was still gone. Everything was gone.
Buffy sat down calmly on the remains of the staircase, staring dully ahead. The tears had stopped flowing. Her heart beat slow and steadily. A stake of half-rooting wood was clasped firmly on her hands. The tip rested firmly on her chest. Buffy swallowed, took a deep breath and…
"Buffy? Buffy! Is that really you?! My Lord!"
Her eyes snapped back open, her heart racing at the sound of that familiar voice. She whirled around to find Giles standing by the door. He looked tired and hurt but it wasn't a vision. He was really there. She leapt blindly. Giles grunted as his slayer crushed him in a powerful bear-hug. Moved by her heart-rending sobbing, he closed his arms around her.
"I thought you were gone." He said. "You jumped to the portal and we lost sight of you. We thought your body just…burnt or that you were transferred to another dimension…But here you are. Alive and well!"
"Yeah…." Buffy whispered. "Lucky me…How long was I gone?"
"...I think it's been a century now..."
"I am afraid we lost contact some time ago. I am alone here."
He pushed her gently away. Buffy felt another part of her dying inside as the sight of his face confirmed what she had known the second her ear touched his chest. Giles' human visage was twisted horribly; his burrow was all wrinkles and lumps. His sage eyes were burning with feral hunger. His mouth was filled with sharp wicked teeth.
"But you are here now." He said gently, his hands perched on her shoulders. His face twisted in a mockery of paternal comfort. "It will not hurt much, I promise."
He leaned over and Buffy slumped against his chest. For a moment, she caressed the idea of just letting him do it. What was the point of being alive in this place? There were only demons; it was just best if she was a demon too. She would stay with Giles and they would kill other demons. Maybe they would find the others, also vamps, and reassemble the Scooby Gang. And they would live an eternity in the destroyed Sunnydale to live a hideous parody of what their life had once been.
"Where are the others?" She asked, baring the pain of his fangs slowly pinching her neck. "Please, I need to know."
"This is rather important, Buffy. Social frivolous matters can wait. Please, hold still."
"I do not know."
"They are still around…"
A growl of annoyance; the hold on her shoulders grew painful. The fangs penetrated. Feral ancient instincts took over. Buffy's hand stroke like lightening, burying the stake on Gile's heart. He stiffened and straightened to give her an all too familiar look of disapproval and shocked anger…right before he turned into dust. It was blown away by the wind.
With nothing to support her, Buffy fell to her knees, crying like a heart-broken child.