Lucy Lawless as Elizabeth Giles, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Helen Shaver as Becca Giles, Alexa Davalos as Gwen Raiden, Burn Gorman as Vaughn Rayne, Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing, Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser, Alan Tudyk as Martin Giles, Mischa Barton as Shannon Matthewson, Zach Braff as Norman Hansen, Sean Astin as Alex Rosenberg, Carey Mulligan as Jen Rosenberg, Jamie Bamber as Jake Allister, Scarlett Johansson as Sophie Allister, Marsha Thomason as Nikki Wood, Gabrielle Christian as Joyce Harris, Deanna Casaluce as Vanessa Calendar and Renee O'Connor as Janice Weaver
Rupert Evans as Belizet
Watchers Council – Lobby – Later That Morning
In the crowded lobby, Kennedy cleared the security checkpoint, and the officer handed her back two baskets of arranged flowers.
"Have a good day, ma'am," she said to the former slayer.
"You too." Kennedy nodded with a polite grin.
Watchers Council – Coven Room – Moments Later
Willow and Jeff were laughing with each other when they heard a light tap on the open door. Both of them turned.
"Hey there," Kennedy said as she entered.
"Hey to you, too," Willow replied.
When the pair met, Kennedy leaned in and gave Willow a slow and tender kiss on the lips. "I think this is what you wanted."
"They're perfect," Willow said about the flowers Kennedy was carrying. "Thank you."
"Well, I'm gonna go, ladies," Jeff said. "I'm sure my wife is wondering why I'm not at home packing for the trip. But just remember if you need anything…"
"I don't want to suffer the wrath of Grace," Willow joked. "I make you cancel this trip, and we're both goners." Jeff chuckled. "Besides, I'm sure we'll be fine. Just give me a call when you get back and tell me all about the vacation."
"You got it," he told her. Before leaving, he patted Kennedy on the arm in goodbye.
"About ready?" Kennedy asked.
"Yeah," she said as she took one of the baskets and put her other hand on Kennedy's waist as they began to leave the room.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Later That Morning
A blonde woman in her mid-thirties stood at the end of the security line, looking impatient as she waited on someone to pass through security.
"You're late," the woman told Liz as she stood at the security checkpoint.
"I know. I know," Liz said quickly as she placed her thumb on a pad.
The computer said, "Fingerprint not identified. Retina scan required."
"You still haven't gotten that fixed?" the woman chastised.
"I haven't had time," Liz replied as she kept her head still and a light beam crossed her face.
"Access approved. Welcome Chairwoman Giles," the computer now said.
She walked through the detectors and picked up her briefcase from the conveyer belt.
"You do own a watch, don't you?" the woman asked as she took a few steps closer. Liz held up her wrist, showing her. "Good…Does it work?" she added.
Liz stopped walking. "You know you can be replaced, Janice. I can find another assistant."
Janice harrumphed. "Ha! That's funny," she said, although her face showed no merriment. "No one here is willing to put up with you."
Liz seemed to consider the comment and then smiled. "Yeah, you're right," she admitted as they started walking again. "So run it down for me then."
"You already missed the 8 o'clock meeting, and the 9 o'clock is already in progress. So technically you haven't missed it, but rather, you're missing it right now," the woman continued as they walked briskly through the crowded halls. "And Jackson says he never got those J26 reports you promised yesterday." Liz sighed. "I told you I'd handle it," Janice replied with a bit of annoyance. "It's not like I haven't done them before, you know." she added.
"I know, but there're other things I need to include first. I'll get that done after the meeting with Kotcher in development."
The two women stepped into a glass elevator, working their way through the other passengers to the back. Liz immediately turned so that her back was to the glass.
"Morning, Ms. Giles, Ms. Weaver," a woman next to the control panel greeted. "Your office?" she asked Liz.
"Yes, thank you," Liz replied. The woman pushed the last button, going to the highest floor.
Janice tapped Liz's arm. "Hey, ask Kotcher to fix your fingerprint ID while you're at it. I'm sure he could do it," Janice said as the doors began to close.
Liz rolled her eyes.
"Just killing two birds and all that," Janice defended.
Watchers Council – Elevator – Continuous
"Oh, you also have an 11 o'clock with Congressmen Brighton," Janice continued as the elevator car began to move. Liz didn't look toward her. Instead, she focused on the closed doors directly across from her, her eyes avoiding their ascent to the top floor. "We've already rescheduled him twice, and he's getting more antsy about getting those stats on the B-Harris 77 anti-magical weapons."
The doors opened, and several people got off.
"Yeah, I know," Liz replied. "No matter what, I will speak to him today."
"Promise?" Janice asked hopefully.
Liz paused as if seriously considering the question. Finally, she said, "I don't make promises I might not keep, but I'll make every effort to speak to him today. That much I can promise."
The doors of the elevator closed again.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Continuous
Liz and Janice were the only two people in the elevator when the doors opened again. Liz swiftly exited, and Janice had to move quicker to catch up.
"It's always entertaining traveling with you in the elevator," Janice told her.
"Yeah, you'll bitch slap a Natti Demon, but moving 40 floors in a safe glass enclosure makes you look faint. It's kinda funny and…unnerving in a way." Liz didn't say anything as they continued walking down the practically vacant hallway. "You could always have those windows blacked out – you are the boss."
"Nah, other people like them," Liz replied. "Besides, as long as I don't look down, I'm fine."
They were now alone, but it was short lived. A man walking the opposite way began to approach them.
"Hey, Ms. Giles," he greeted. "I'm glad I caught you. I need your signature on these," he said, handing her a folder.
She didn't stop moving, and he had to turn direction to keep up. Instead of looking at the folder, she handed it over to Janice.
"Give me 24 hours," she told him. He nodded and started back in the other direction. "What else do we have today?" Liz asked Janice.
"Well, the coven meeting at noon, then a half hour lunch because at 1 o'clock you've got to talk to Jen Rosenberg about the new slayer unit idea she has."
"Call Jen," Liz interrupted as they came to an office door with a desk outside of it. "Tell her it's a working lunch and see if she'll go eat with me at 12:30? My treat."
Janice nodded. "Okay. Well, after that you've got the block meeting with research and development on the new additions to WILLOW – not the high priestess…"
"The computer program, right," Liz said as she turned to the door of her office.
Watchers Council – Liz's Office – Continuous
The pair walked inside the large suite, past Janice's outer area, and then into Liz's inner office, but Liz stopped in her tracks, and Janice, who was looking at a palm planner, bumped into her.
"What the…?" Janice began and then looked up to see why Liz had suddenly stopped.
Martin stood behind Liz's desk, looking tired.
"It's impossible to reach you by com link," he began with an affection grin. "Mom and I both figured this was faster."
"What's wrong?" Liz asked with a worried tone in her voice.
"Dad passed out at home last night. He's at the Cleveland Clinic…It doesn't look good, Liz."
Liz didn't say anything for a moment. Her eyes never left Martin's as she turned her head slightly toward Janice.
"Clear my schedule. And let my Aunt Buffy know what's going on. Ask her to call the Scoobies."
"Scoobies?" Janice asked.
Janice offered no argument. She gently patted Liz's shoulder and then left the room, going toward her own desk.
Hospital Room – Short Time Later
Liz walked in the hospital room first with Martin behind her. In the corner, sitting in a chair, was her mom, and to her left was Giles in the bed. She stopped walking any further and just looked in his direction.
Picking up on her mood, Martin put a hand on her shoulder. "You all right? You want to sit down?"
Liz bit her lip for a moment. "No, I'm-I'm okay. I just realized it's been five years since I've been in a hospital. Not since…"
A small silence hung between them as she nervously licked her lips.
"That wasn't your fault, Liz," Martin said in a reassuring tone.
Roker's Manufacturing – Day
Liz smiled and motioned for Rowena to follow her as they began to make their way down the sidewalk. Joyce and Calendar seemed to pick up on the animated conversation, not following them.
"Someone had to take care of Alex," Liz told Rowena. "The guy is totally useless after all," she teased, bumping shoulders with Rowena. They walked along in silence for a few steps. "On your way to the hospital?"
"Yeah, Will and Jen'r with him. They said he's gonna be fine, but…"
"You're his mom," Liz said.
"Yeah," she said. "And like I said, he's still my baby."
Liz just nodded in understanding. "But all in all, it was a good day, wouldn't you say?" she asked.
Rowena smiled and then looked up at the sunny sky around them. "It is a beautiful day…and you did an exceptional job. I'm proud of the watcher you've become."
Liz smiled. "I've got the best teacher – it helps."
Rowena took Liz's hand and gave it a squeeze as they walked on.
Suddenly, Liz felt as if Rowena was trying to rip her arm from its socket with all her strength. Then, Liz's face and shoulder slammed into the wall beside where they were walking, and she slumped to the ground. At the same time she could hear Joyce yelling, "Look out!" from a distance.
"Aunt…" Liz began as she turned. The name died in her throat as she saw a demon land in the location where she had just been standing. Had Rowena not pushed her away, she would have been crushed. In mere seconds, the demon grabbed Rowena by the arms and lifted her up. As Liz scrambled to her feet, the demon's head descended, and its fangs penetrated Rowena's throat.
"Nooo!" Liz screamed as she tried to charge forward.
The demon tossed Rowena's body aside and reached out for Liz. Before it could make contact, however, it reared back, as if trying to reach behind to grab something. Seconds later it fell face first with Joyce standing behind it and a sword sticking out of its back.
Liz rushed over to Rowena's body.
"You guys passed a parking meter, and it-it changed," Joyce tried to explain. "I yelled, but…"
Liz ripped off her shirt and used it to apply pressure to Rowena's profusely bleeding neck.
"Find a coven member! Someone to stop the bleeding!" she yelled to Joyce. Calendar was now there too as others began to make their way over to find out what the commotion was about.
"They left," Calendar said. "I saw them leave."
"Then call them back and get the medics!" Liz shouted.
Joyce and Calendar took off, talking to each other. Joyce ran toward Shannon while Calendar took off in another direction. Liz tried to prop Rowena up in her lap.
"Aunt Ro? Hang on, okay? Joyce is calling the medics, but you gotta hang on, all right?" Rowena's eyes fluttered open, and Liz smiled. "That's it," Liz praised. "It'll only be a few minutes. They're just down the street." She looked over and shouted to Joyce. "How long?"
"Two minutes, maybe less," the slayer replied.
"Good girl," Liz told her. "See that? Two minutes," Liz told Rowena. "I got a pretty good slayer, huh? You were annoyingly right as usual," she teased to lighten the mood, "so you gotta stick around, okay? See how I make her one of the best, right?"
Rowena tried to speak, and Liz bent down until she was practically ear to lip with her. She heard her say, "Flll…flowers."
Liz sat back up. "I-I don't understand. You want flowers? You see flowers? What?"
Rowena gripped Liz's arm, and the younger woman bent over again. "Y-you…flllowers."
Liz then got a look of recognition. "Stop and smell the flowers?"
Rowena grinned and then gave the smallest of nods, which was the most she could manage. The medic craft flew overhead and promptly landed in the street as Rowena closed her eyes.
"They're here," Liz told her. "Hang on, okay?" Rowena didn't respond. "Aunt Ro?" She still didn't reply.
Two medics came to kneel beside Liz, and she stood up to give them space. She stood across from a third medic, who looked on.
"Is she gonna be okay?" Liz asked as they began to work. "Hey! I'm asking a question here!"
"No vitals," one of the medics told the other.
"No vitals?" Liz asked. "She was just talking to me," she added. "She-she-she's…do something!"
Joyce came to stand beside Liz. "Here," she said, handing her a shirt. "Put this on." Joyce then asked the medics, "Are you going to the Clinic?"
"Yeah," he replied as they began to load Rowena on a hover gurney.
"Okay," she told him. She then turned to her watcher. "Let's meet them there, okay Liz?" Liz still didn't take her eyes off of Rowena, so Joyce physically turned her so that they would face each other. "Listen, Shannon just called Jen, so we'll all meet there at the E.R."
Liz just stood in shock.
Emergency Room – Waiting Room – Moments Later
Liz still looked dazed as she entered the emergency room waiting area.
"Oh Goddess," Willow sighed as she saw Liz.
Jen put a hand on her mom's knee. "Wait here a second," she told her as she rose to meet Liz.
Liz had dried blood smears over her hands and forearms as well as across her pants where she'd been holding Rowena.
"It should have been me," Liz told Jen. "She pushed me out of the way and-and it grabbed her instead and…"
"Allister," a doctor called out.
Sophie walked over with Willow, joining Jen, Liz, and Joyce, who were already there.
"Come with me," he said, leading Willow to a nearby seat. As she sat back down, he knelt in front of her and said, "I'm sorry, but we weren't able to help her."
"She's dead?" Jen asked.
The doctor nodded. Liz and Jen immediately teared up as did Joyce and Sophie. Willow, however, seemed to have no reaction, her face a mask.
The doctor went on. "The damage she sustained in the attack was too great. We tried to suspend death, but the extent of the injury compounded by the loss of blood made the procedure impossible…I am sorry."
No one in the room said anything for a few moments, but it was Willow's sudden wail that broke the silence. Liz watched in shock once more as Sophie and Jen wrapped their arms around Willow.
Liz jumped when she felt a hand on her back. She turned to see Joyce next to her.
"I'm gonna com link my folks," Joyce told her. "Are you gonna be okay?" she asked.
Liz didn't answer immediately and then muttered, "No."
Joyce didn't wait for an invitation. She pulled Liz into her arms and hugged her. Liz returned the hug but also turned to the doctor.
"Can I see her?" Liz asked.
"Certainly," the doctor replied. "Just follow me."
Jen stood up. "Liz…" She seemed at a loss for words. "I don't know if I can…"
"It's okay. I'll go. You guys stay here," Liz told her.
Emergency Room – Treatment Area – Moments Later
The doctor slowly pulled back the divider curtain and carefully stepped out of the way.
"Take as long as you need," he told her.
Liz just nodded to him, and he walked away, but not before giving her arm a light squeeze.
She stood watching Rowena silently for a few moments before putting her hands in her face, sobbing uncontrollably. She quieted for a moment and pulled back. Her face was streaked with tears as she continued to watch Rowena again.
She heard a voice and turned to see Alex standing behind her, still wearing a hospital gown, his eyes glistening.
"Oh God, Alex," Liz whimpered. She turned and gave him a hug. "I'm so sorry."
He didn't say anything at first. "The doctors just told me. Shannon called earlier, but…" He trailed off. Liz pulled back and wiped her eyes. "It wasn't your fault," he told her.
Liz began to cry all over again, and Alex pulled her into his arms again. He looked over to see Rowena lying motionless in the bed, and he closed his eyes for a few moments before watching her again.
Hospital Room – Resume Present Day
Liz looked at her father lying in the bed.
"Yeah, not my fault," Liz mumbled to her brother. She then walked over to Becca, who was seated in a chair. "Any change?" she asked her.
Becca shook her head. "They've done some tests…He's still not responding." She paused for a moment, and a light grin came to her lips. "I'm glad you're here."
"Of course I'm here," Liz told her as she took the seat beside her.
"Well, running the Council is a busy job. I remember what it's like."
"I'll never be too busy for you guys – ever."
Outdoor Park – Morning
Someone held a basket of flowers, moving along a grassy well-manicured lawn. As the basket came to rest on the ground, it was apparent the person was sitting in front of a gravestone. Across the top it read 'Allister-Rosenberg' and underneath etched in the stone was the Council logo along with two names – 'B. Rowena' and 'Willow'. The only date that appeared was under Rowena's name – September 2036.
Willow examined the name in silence for a moment. A hand came around her shoulder, and she began to smile.
"You know," Kennedy began. "It really is a beautiful spot."
Willow turned and planted a loving kiss on Kennedy's lips as she snuggled into the embrace.
"Yeah, it is," Willow replied. "And best of all I get to spend eternity between the two women I adore," she added as she motioned toward the gravestone next to hers.
Off to the right was an adjoining tombstone that was similar in nature. But it read 'Calendar – VanHelsing', with Kennedy's dates vacant and Kadin's next to it reading 'May 2034'.
Kennedy wore a melancholy grin. "Me too," she said.
Cleveland May 2034
Warehouse – Day
"So much for a routine patrol," Kadin joked. "You go up first," she told Kennedy as she pointed to a ladder. "I'll go last, and we'll put the girls between us."
Twenty young girls looked petrified as the banging on the door across the large room continued. With each thud the door seemed to give way more and more.
"I brought them out; they're my responsibility," Kennedy argued.
"You're not a slayer anymore, Ken. You don't have your powers. "
"And your point?"
"I still have mine."
"I have magic."
"Look, just get your cute ass up that ladder," Kadin said as she gently pushed Kennedy toward it. "These girls are so fresh they can't take on Biras Demons! Protect them so they all get out."
Kennedy spent only a moment longer contemplating the situation before realizing Kadin was right.
"Come on, girls," Kennedy said as she began to lead the two squads – twenty girls total – up a ladder as the banging outside continued.
As Kennedy made it to the top landing, she began to help the girls up and over the final step. From the ground Kadin kept the girls in line, helping each one move as she watched the door.
When the last girl had just started to make her way up, Kadin began to follow suit. She was up only about five rungs when the door finally gave way.
"Kadin!" Kennedy shouted below.
Kadin looked to the scared girl just above her.
"Go on, Sweetheart," she told the girl. Kadin looked back and saw the demons approaching closer. She looked up at Kennedy for a moment and blew her a kiss. "Tell her I love her," she told the girl.
With that Kadin jumped back down to the warehouse floor and stood her ground against the advancing demon horde, not letting a single one get near the ladder.
Kennedy fired a magical shot that took three demons off their feet.
"Kadin, I'm coming down!" Kennedy yelled again.
Below Kadin worked her sword with deadly, exact precision.
Kennedy looked around for a way to reach Kadin, but couldn't find one. She fired another bolt toward two more of them, but she missed.
"Damn it," she swore.
Kennedy impatiently waved for the last girl to come up, but before she could get turned around to work her way down the ladder, she heard the sickening sound of ripping flesh and breaking bones.
"Noooo!" Kennedy yelled. The group collectively reacted – some turned their heads away from what they witnessed while a few others visibly heaved their shoulders as if they might be sick. One of the girls grabbed Kennedy and pulled her back.
"Let me go!" Kennedy yelled. "That's an order!"
"It's too late," the girl told her. "We can't help her." The girl then turned to one of the others. "Get everyone out," she said.
Kennedy tried to fight again, but the girl reared back and punched her hard across the jaw, knocking her unconscious. She picked up Kennedy's limp body and carried the former slayer across her back as she raced to catch up to the other fleeing girls.
Outdoor Park – Resume Present Day
"I didn't expect it to happen that way – that quick. But she saved 20 troops that day. Twenty girls got to go on because of her," Kennedy said proudly. "Even Tina, the girl who saved my life by knocking me out…It's odd…"
"What is?" Willow asked.
"You spend so much time trying to stay alive in this job you really don't plan for the end, even though you know it could be right around the corner…" Kennedy shook her head as if wiping away the thoughts of Kadin's death. "Anyway, you needed a resting place for Ro, and this seemed like a great spot, somewhere that you would like, too."
"It is," Willow said, looking around them. The hill sat above the others, and across the distance the faint water line of Lake Erie could be seen. "Thanks," she said sincerely.
"It was nothing, Will. I know you needed help getting the arrangements together. You had so much on your mind then."
"No," Willow corrected her. "I meant thank you for letting me go…all those years ago." Kennedy simply shrugged. "And thank you for supporting me when I needed it most," Willow continued. "I wouldn't have made it without you."
"You were there for me when Kadin died – so was Rowena. I know what that felt like…feels like the end of the world."
"But it's not," Willow replied. "You showed me that. And, best of all, eventually you took me back."
Kennedy grinned. "That part wasn't hard at all. But I don't think you can call it taking you back exactly. We're different people."
"Older and wiser, huh?" Willow asked.
"Older, most definitely. Am I wiser? Depends on who you ask," Kennedy said with a chuckle.
Willow smiled. "Then how about better late than never?"
Kennedy shook her head. "Not late. Just right. You and Ro…me and Kadin…we all had some good times, raised some fantastic kids. I wouldn't trade any of that. Like I've said before, no regrets."
Kennedy brought Willow in for another tender kiss, but then Willow and Kennedy's com links both began to go off. The older witch's brow furrowed, and she squinted her eyes to read the name.
"It's Buffy," she told Kennedy.
"She's calling me too," Kennedy said, peering at her own link.
They looked at each other in concern. Willow answered, opening the screen and holding it out far enough to try to fit Kennedy in the screen too.
"Buffy, Ken and I are together. What's wrong?"
"Liz's assistant just called me," she told them. She appeared to be in a car as she spoke. "It's Giles. Can you meet us at the Clinic?"
"On our way now."
Hospital – ICU Waiting Area – Later
The elevator doors opened, and Robin and Nikki stepped off, looking around. He spotted Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Kennedy, seated with Liz and Alex in the waiting area. The pair made their way over.
"Any news?" Nikki asked Liz.
"Not yet," she replied. Alex sat next to her and ran his hand over Liz's shoulder.
"Did you reach Faith?" Buffy asked Robin.
"Yeah, just before we pulled in," Robin answered as he and Nikki took a seat. "Did you guys tell the kids what's going on?" he asked the group.
"Not yet," Buffy answered.
"Yeah, we figured we didn't want to take up the entire waiting room," Kennedy said with a grin.
"I did call Joyce actually," Liz answered. "But I told her to stay put for now."
"You mean my daughter actually listens to you?" Buffy asked. "She never listened to me."
Liz grinned. "She's a good slayer – she listens to her watcher."
"Oh really?" Buffy said skeptically.
"Yes," Liz replied. After a moment she added, "Okay, she listens when it really matters, but usually it's an uphill battle."
Buffy chuckled slightly. "Now that I believe," she replied.
They all simultaneously looked over and watched as a doctor entered with Becca and Martin following behind. Nikki got up and gave Becca her seat.
"We figured you guys were out here," Martin said. "This way the doctor only has to explain everything once."
"So what's the word?" Buffy asked.
The doctor cleared his throat. "Mr. Giles appears to have experienced a hemorrhagic stroke, the result of a brain infarction. At this time we're unable to judge how much damage he's sustained."
"Will he wake up?" Xander asked.
"We don't know," the doctor replied. "And right now it's difficult to say how much damage he'll have. From what I see on the tests, I believe it's highly unlikely he'll ever be able to walk or talk again should he recover." Buffy hung her head. "I'm sorry," the doctor added. "I wish I had better news. But we've done what we can. Now…I'm not going to pretend that I don't know who you folks are," he replied. "Medically, there's nothing more I can do. Magically…that's not my department."
All eyes turned to Willow. "Brain issues…" she tried to begin. Not finding the right words, she simply said, "…they're complicated and dangerous at best. Even for someone like me."
"As in my profession," the doctor agreed with a nod. "Had it been an issue with his heart or lungs or other organs…those we can re-create in many cases. With a brain, though, that's something science has yet to perfect."
"If he has as much damage as you-you say," Liz asked, "how is he able t-to even breathe on his own?"
The doctor shrugged. "It's not uncommon for some people to…hang on. The body for all practical purposes…'gives out'…but it's like they need permission to die. They have to know that it's okay."
Buffy scoffed. "So the man who has pretty much no brain activity needs to be told he can die? That sounds like a load of horse crap," she said, growing a bit angry.
"It's odd, but it's true. There is no scientific explanation for it," the doctor replied.
Buffy cleared her throat. "So we should go in there and tell Giles, 'Hey, we don't care if you die, Giles, that's fine by us.' I'm not going to do that," Buffy replied. She looked at Liz. "Can you do that?" she asked. Liz just shook her head. "So where does that leave us then?" Buffy asked the doctor.
"As I said, recovery doesn't appear to be a option at this point, and it's just a matter of time now. If he hasn't made arrangements, I'd suggest as a family you start planning them."
A voice came over the speaker saying, "Paging Dr. Michaels. Paging Dr. Michaels."
He looked to the ceiling. "That's me," he said. "If you have any other questions, I'll be happy to answer them if you'd like to wait a few moments."
Buffy opened her mouth and looked as if she might start arguing again, but Willow reached out and took her hand. The witch turned to the doctor, "No, that will be all for now, doctor. Thank you for your candor."
The doctor nodded. "Again, I wish I had better news," he said and then walked back down the hallway.
"Tell him it's okay to die?" Buffy grumbled. "What a crock."
"Have you guys eaten?" Liz asked Martin and Becca. They both shook their heads. "Then let's get some food," she said.
"I'm really not hungry," Becca said with a whimper.
"Yeah," Liz said. "Neither are we, Mom, but you're diabetic. We can come back after breakfast, okay? I'm sure the cafeteria is open downstairs."
Becca nodded, and everyone then began to rise. They started to make their way toward the elevator, but Willow took Kennedy aside.
"I'm going to tell the nurse's station where we'll be," she said. "I'll catch up."
"Do you want me to stay?" Kennedy asked.
Willow grinned for a moment at the concern in Kennedy's voice. "No, you guys make sure Becca eats and keep an eye on Buffy – her temper might get the worst of her right now."
Kennedy nodded and gave Willow a kiss on the cheek. As she moved to catch up to the elevator group, Willow walked in the opposite direction.
Hospital Room – Moments Later
The only noise in Giles's room was the beep of the heart monitor. Willow walked in and looked at him a moment from the doorway before going in. She took a seat next to the bed and picked up his hand, placing it in hers.
"The Scoobies stopped by, Giles, but since we can't all fit in the room, they put us in the waiting area. You realize if everyone came, we'd hog the entire floor." Although she had tears in her eyes, she had a grin on her face. "That's proof that you've had a great life – surrounded by people who love you. Present company included," she continued. Slowly she began to look serious. "The doctor doesn't think you'll get better, and he says the only reason you're still here is you need someone to tell you it's okay to go…Buffy won't do it. Liz won't do it…so that leaves you and me…just like the old days. Remember?"
Willow smiled a bit more. "All the hours we spent making charters, figuring out slayer rotations, buying a Council building…and then another building…and another building." She let out a snort. "Seemed like every year we blew up a building…Point is…we created an entire Council from the ground up. A-And you've got a wonderful daughter who's keeping it all on track…"
Willow began to appear serious again. "What I'm saying, Giles, is…you deserve to rest. Go to Summerland…You've got people that love you here, yes, but you also have people who love you there, too. People that will welcome you with open arms…So if you're still here because you're worried, don't be. I'm here to keep watch, a-and even if I'm not – even if I'm standing in Summerland tomorrow – we've got a great group of kids doing a fantastic job – heck, better than we did sometimes," she added with a slight chuckle.
Willow let go of Giles's hand as she stood up, but she still kept her hand on top of his. The tears that were in her eyes were now streaming down her face.
"You won, Giles," she tried to say optimistically, although her voice was cracking. "The monsters didn't get you in the end, so you can die on your terms now…I'll miss you…I'll miss you every day, but the world will be safe and your family will be cared for the rest of their days. I promise…So if you're ready, just know that you can go…You've earned it."
Willow closed her eyes as she leaned over and kissed Giles on top of the forehead.
End of Act One
On to Act Two