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Xander stared in shock. It couldn't be possible. Living on the Hellmouth, fighting on the Hellmouth, he had always known there was a definite limit on his lifespan. He'd always known that one day the luck that seemed to keep him alive would run out. Vampire bite. Demonic venom. A spell gone wrong, or right as the case might be. He knew he would be the first of them to go. This possibility just never occurred to him. His lover, the man he'd shared practically every moment of the last year with was supposed to be immortal. What would happen after Xander died was never really talked about, but it had always been in the back of their minds. This...This had never occurred to them. That Xander would be the survivor.

A light wind picked up covering Xander in a light coat of ash. The reality of it hit Xander like a knife in the chest and he dropped to his knees. Sobs ripped their way up his throat, so painful that he was robbed of breath, could do nothing to quell the tremors that raced through him. The world around him faded away as all he focused on was what he'd just lost. He didn't notice the others coming to stand around him. Didn't feel Willow's arms as they wrapped around him, as if she could keep him from flying apart. Like she could somehow make-up for what had just happened. A broken tree branch in the wrong place and Xander's world came to an end.

Gut-wrenching agony filled him until he threw back his head and let out a howl of pure grief for the love he never should have had to lose.