Watchers Council – Rosenberg’s Guest Suite – Early Evening
“So…are you seeing anyone?” Sheila asked, before taking a drink from her glass of tea.
“No Mom. I’m not,” Willow answered.
“Bad breakup? You know, just because someone doesn’t think it will work between you doesn’t mean there isn’t someone else out there.” she offered sympathetically.
“For the record, I broke up with her. It was my call.”
“Did she cheat on you like that Ox?” Sheila asked.
“Oz, Mom,” Willow corrected with a sigh. “And no, she didn’t.”
“But you said she was good for you,” Sheila probed.
“At the time, yes, but things change. We moved to Cleveland and I didn’t think she was right for me. That’s all.”
“Well, did you find someone who is?” Sheila asked, finishing her meal. “Is that why you broke up?”
Willow sighed. “No, Mother.”
“I’m just concerned, Willow,” Sheila explained. “I’d hate to see you end up alone.”
“Alone doesn’t mean lonely. Right now, alone is not bad. It’s for the best, really. I haven’t had a chance to look at myself since…well, since Tara died. When I find what I’m looking for I’m sure I’ll know it, but it doesn’t have to be right this second. I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life defining who I was by whom I was with. After everything that’s happened, I just wanna spend time with me right now.” Willow finished her tea and stood to clear the table.
“Well, I can certainly understand your need for self-exploration after such a traumatic event like losing Tara. I’m not shocked that it happened at Bunny-Buffy’s house but –”
“Mother, I’m begging you, no more criticism about my friends. Please?”
“Where is Buffy anyway? I thought she and Mr. Giles got closer after her mother passed away,” Sheila asked.
“They’re still close,” Willow explained as she filled the dishwasher and then wiped her hands. “But Buffy doesn’t…have a teaching degree so she and Dawn moved to San Francisco. Look, could we finish this discussion later maybe? I’ve got some more things I need to see to before the end of the day,” Willow said.
“Oh sure, Sweetie,” Sheila answered. “Besides, I need to call the airline for an update.”
Willow nodded and went to the door but then stopped. “Oh, by the way, Giles and I have things we need to go over tomorrow so our associate Rowena is going to show you and Dad around the grounds, if that’s okay?”
“Whatever you think is best,” Sheila said, sounding a little disappointed.
“Good then. See ya tomorrow.” Willow left briskly, then paused a moment outside the door to take a deep breath before she walked down the hallway.
Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Moments Later
Willow knocked on the door but didn’t wait for an answer. When she stepped inside, she found Kennedy on all fours crawling around, while Brell’s niece and nephew sat on her back.
“More horsey, more!” they both shouted.
Willow grinned as she looked down at the three of them. Kennedy turned her attention to the door and tried to move to a standing position. “Sorry sprouts,” Kennedy told them. “Everybody off.”
Grumbling their protests, the spawn slid from Kennedy’s back and she watched as their mother shooed them off to bed.
“So, how’s the folks?” Kennedy asked with a grin.
Willow growled, “Oh, don’t ask.”
Kennedy gave a light chuckle as they both walked to the door.
“Wanted to see if Brell’s demons needed anything,” Willow told her.
“Oh really?” Kennedy asked as she shut the door behind them and they began to walk down the hall. “Sure you weren’t just trying to escape your demanding parents?”
Willow gave a slight grin. “Okay, that too,” she admitted. “But I wanted to talk to you, if-if that’s okay. Is that okay?” she asked nervously.
“Sure,” Kennedy answered. “Is something else wrong – besides the Stepford Parents visit?”
“Well no, not really. I mean…” Willow stopped and faced Kennedy. “I feel horrible,” she answered, her voice filled with sympathy. “Faith finally broke down and told me what you two talked about the other night, and don’t get mad at her for saying anything, okay? But she could see I was worried.”
“Will, you don’t have to worry. Just chill, alright?”
“But I do worry,” the redhead insisted. “It’s me, ya know? If there’s worry around, then Willow’s the one that’s got it. It’s just…” Willow paused and considered her words. “I called things off so you could have the kind of girlfriend that you deserve. Not so you could go off and get bit by some evil vampire, mind you, but…”
“I’m never gonna live that down, am I?” Kennedy sighed.
“I’m not criticizing, honest,” Willow insisted as she held up her hands in front of her. “What I mean is I want you to find someone that will make you truly happy, someone that could devote everything they have to you.”
“I thought you could,” Kennedy answered.
“A-And so did I, but…Anya said something to me, when we spoke at Samhain, and since you and I have been apart these last couple of months, I finally realized what she meant.”
Kennedy’s eyebrows knitted in curiosity. “What did she say?”
Willow looked apprehensive at first. “I never really let Tara go, and that hasn’t been fair to you. I thought I had but…I think about her everyday, and I still play the what if game.”
“What if game?”
“Yeah, what if we had stayed at her dorm longer or what if we left the house ten minutes sooner like we planned…stuff like that. When you have someone in your life who fills that void, you stop asking yourself those questions. A-And truth is, I never stopped wondering. I thought with time it would go away but…”
“It didn’t?” Kennedy prompted.
Sadly, Willow shook her head. “The whole time I was with you it felt like I was waiting for something to happen,” Willow tried to explain, “I didn’t know what it was, but lately, since I’ve been on my own, I figured it out…I was waiting for Tara.”
“This is comforting. So you never really loved me then.” Kennedy began to walk away, but the witch reached out for her arm.
“No,” Willow insisted, pulling her back. “I just never really let her go, Ken, there’s a difference. I never opened my heart to you like I should have. I always found reasons and excuses to walk away and close myself off from letting you in all the way because… if I did, and I lost you…I don’t know how I’d handle it. So I kept you at arm’s length and it was an awful thing to do. And like I said at dinner that night, I broke up because you really deserve much more than I can give you.”
“So it’s not about the fact I like Monty Python then?” Kennedy said with a slight grin.
“Well no, it’s that too,” Willow admitted. “We really didn’t do much outside the bedroom together and sometimes the simplest suggestions led to an argument.”
“Discussion,” Kennedy countered.
“Whatever,” Willow said, letting it go, “Point is, I didn’t walk away from you as a person. To this day, if Oz came to me, I would help. I didn’t cast you aside without caring about what might happen to you.”
Kennedy looked to the floor. “It felt that way,” she muttered.
“I know that now. A-And I’m sorry I didn’t realize that sooner. But I really didn’t know how to reach you, to make you understand that…I left for your sake too.”
Kennedy sighed. “So, now what?”
“So now, this is where you get the trite and painful cliché of ‘Let’s be friends.’ Granted, I’m physically attracted to you and I’d be totally insane not to be,” Willow said with a small grin. Kennedy looked up and began to smile herself. “But I want to try to get to know you and prove that you’re really not alone, okay?”
Kennedy’s blushed slightly and nodded. “Agreed.”
“Good,” Willow said, sounding more lighthearted. “Now tell me what’s up with the little monsters in there,” Willow said, nodding behind her as they began to walk along the hall again.
“Everything’s cool. We were just playing horsey, as you saw,” Kennedy said, pitching a thumb back to the room as she and Willow walked down the hall side by side.
“Yeah, you’re good with kids I see. Probably had practice with your sister.”
“Just the opposite,” Kennedy began. “My half-sister and step-mother pretty much avoided me…hence the reason their rooms were in different wings of the house. I was the black sheep of the family.”
“What did you do?” Willow asked.
“Made the mistake of being someone else’s bastard daughter,” Kennedy told her. Willow still looked a bit confused, so she went on. “My father met my mother in Los Angeles when he was attending UCLA for his MBA. My mom, birth mother I mean,” she added to clarify, “she was an undergraduate studying computers. When she got pregnant, neither family approved of them marrying and she didn’t want to get married anyway. Her work was important, my dad said. Soon after I was born, my mother gave up custody to my dad and then disappeared without a trace.”
“Did you ever see her?” Willow asked.
Kennedy just shook her head. “Dad said he tried to find her again, but I don’t think he looked very hard. I just always wondered, y’know… who she was, what she did, was it me? Was I the reason she gave me up?”
“Oh, I know that’s not it, Ken. You were a baby. She probably did what she thought was best.”
“Yeah, I tell myself that. It’s logical. But…it’s just hard not to be curious,” Kennedy shrugged.
“Have you ever considered finding her?”
“All the time when I was growing up. Especially when my step-family made me feel like the bastard child I am. My father always said that I had a mother already, I didn’t need to go searching for another. He said he tried before to find her, but couldn’t. I’m not sure what to believe.”
“Well, you know we’ve got access to lots of information. If you wanted to, I could help you search,” Willow offered.
Kennedy paused a moment in consideration. “I don’t know. I mean, I’m an adult now. I wouldn’t expect anything from her. Maybe just some conversation and a cup of coffee…do you think I should?” she asked.
“You’re asking me for advice on parents?” Willow remarked.
Kennedy smiled. “Yeah, I am.”
“Well, I could always start a search and then if we find her you can decide at that point whether or not to make contact.”
“Okay.” Kennedy nodded. “I don’t know much. Just the UCLA thing, computer major and her name – Janna Kalderash. Other than that, I’ve got nothing, but I guess I could call my father. I’m older now, so maybe he’d be more willing to help…” Kennedy looked at Willow’s pale face. “Willow? Are you okay?”
Willow waved Kennedy’s concern off with a motion of her hands. “Fine, just making a mental note of the info. I, uh, I’ll see what I can dig up,” she told her in a rush.
“Thanks Will,” Kennedy replied as they arrived at her door. “I’ll let you know what my dad says, too.”
Willow just nodded as Kennedy slipped inside her apartment with a wave goodnight. Once the door was closed, Willow ran her hand over her mouth.
“Oh wow,” she muttered.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Morning
“Okay, everyone. Grab your plates,” Andrew told the demon family as he rushed away from the south entrance door. “Rosenbergs at twelve o’clock. Move it out.”
The family all gathered their bowls as Andrew pushed them through the north exit doors. He watched as Rowena stuck her head inside first and he gave her a thumbs-up sign. With that, Rowena finished her tour group’s journey inside.
“Good,” she said, turning to Willow’s parents. “Just wanted to make sure none of our younger students were on their way through the door. They have lots of energy and they don’t often watch where they’re going.”
“Really?” Ira mentioned. “If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were hiding something.”
“Hiding?” Rowena squeaked out, before clearing her throat. “Oh no, sir. I just don’t want anything to happen, since Willow entrusted me with the tour.”
“Speaking of which, where is our daughter?” he asked sternly.
Rowena opened her mouth but found herself incapable of making any noise, a look of fear on her face. Instead, she closed her mouth with a snap and attempted a smile.
Watchers Council Hallway – Same time
Andrew rounded the corner to see Tracey taking off her jacket near the coat closet. Quickly Andrew opened a door beside him and started to push each member of the family inside the supply closet. As he shut the door, Tracey walked over.
“Hey Andrew,” she said in a friendly tone.
“Nothing!” he replied as he finished closing the door.
“What?” Tracey asked.
“Uh, nothing. Nothing but snow out there, huh?” he replied.
“Oh yeah, that,” she said a bit timidly. “I’m sorry I’m late, but I left a half an hour earlier today. I guess it wasn’t enough.” When Andrew just nodded and didn’t say anything, Tracey continued. “What are you doing…out here…just standing?” she asked suspiciously.
“Oh that,” Andrew said, “I just came to get a roll of those recycled paper towels we use. Gotta save the planet after all,” he replied nervously.
When he didn’t move, she pointed to the door. “Well, aren’t you going to get them?”
Closet – Same Time
The male demon, Tram, took down a roll and held it out near the door opening.
Watchers Council- Hallway – Same time
“Oh yeah, sure,” Andrew replied and cracked the door. Spotting the offered towels, he quickly grabbed them and shut the door. “Here they are!”
He handed them over. “Could you take those into the kitchen and fire up the stove, Tracey?”
She paused a moment, looking at Andrew, then at the paper towels and then Andrew again. “Sure,” she replied and walked away.
Once she was out of sight, Andrew flung the door open. “Nice towel save. Okay, follow me, again,” he told them as they all rushed out.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Same Time
“Well she would be here,” Rowena began. “But she did have matters she’d already planned with Mr. Giles regarding the school.”
“That’s perfectly understandable, dear,” Sheila told her, giving Rowena a pat on the arm. “We don’t want to intrude.”
“Well this is the Sla-Student Kitchen,” Rowena caught herself just as Tracey walked in. “And this is Tracey, who helps Andrew in the mornings and afternoons.”
“Hello,” Tracey said politely.
“Tracey, this is Sheila and Ira Rosenberg, Willow’s parents.”
“Nice to meet you.” Tracey nodded, before setting the paper towels down and starting her chores.
“So,” Ira began as he looked at Rowena. “You’re a teacher here, then? Like Willow?”
Rowena gave him a nod.
“And are you just like Willow?”
Rowena scrunched her eyebrows at first, but then she realized what he meant. “Well, not just like Willow. I’m more, well, asexual at the moment.” She looked supremely uncomfortable.
“Now, no human is asexual,” Sheila told her. “Studies show that the majority of people trend towards bisexuality to some degree or other. It’s just that most never completely act on their desires, due to society’s mores.”
“Well it’s…it’s…well, it’s not like that,” Rowena stuttered. “I mean I have no problem with your daughter or other gay individuals. I think she’s wonderful and…and… without a doubt, talented, and I highly respect her, so I don’t have a problem with…you know. I just –”
“Have you ever been involved with a woman?” Sheila asked. Rowena looked reluctant to answer. “I’m sorry, perhaps that’s too personal, but you shouldn’t be afraid.”
“I’m not a-afraid, Mrs. Rosenberg. I just don’t have that kind of focus at the moment. I teach world religions and…” she paused, as if trying to think of something else. “Folklore!” she added quickly. “So my students and my work keep me busy. I really don’t have much time for a private life, but thank you for your concern. Shall we move on now?” she said in a rush.
Watchers Council – Dining Room – Moments Later
Giles sat at one of the many tables, drinking his tea with Becca beside him. A variety of papers were spread over the table. They both looked up as Willow came over, and Becca got up to get more coffee.
“Where are your parents?” he asked Willow as she sat down next to him.
“Oh, Rowena is making the supreme sacrifice for me by taking them on a tour. Look, Giles, I spent all night researching something and I’m just gonna ask this…”
“What is it?” Giles asked, sensing her concern.
“Did Jenny Calendar ever mention having a daughter?”
Giles swallowed the tea he was sipping with a gulping noise. “With me?”
“No, before she came to Sunnydale,” Willow clarified.
“No, she didn’t,” Giles replied. “Why do you ask?”
Willow turned to look over her shoulder, then turned back to Giles. “Look at Kennedy…what do you see?”
Giles’s eyes followed Willow’s over to Kennedy, who was smiling and chatting with a group of other slayers at a long table. Giles paused for a moment and then opened his mouth in surprise. “Well, there is a bit of a resemblance,” he finally answered.
“A bit?” Willow challenged.
“All right,” he conceded. “A striking resemblance, but how much have you gathered…”
“Jenny’s birth certificates and death certificates match her given name and that’s the same name Kennedy gave me. Jenny also had a degree from UCLA right?”
Giles nodded slowly.
“Yet another match,” Willow replied. “I really believe it’s her, Giles. I’m searching blood types and stuff like that right now, too, but…I told Kennedy I’d help her find her birth mother and now, I don’t know what to say. Can you help me here?”
“Absolutely, but let’s go over things more thoroughly first.”
“Agreed,” Willow replied. “I don’t wanna jump the gun here, ya know? Tell her that Jenny’s dead and Angel killed her. Speaking of which, if it is Jenny, what do we say? Ken’s been doing so well lately, Giles, like she’s getting herself together. I don’t want her going on some suicide mission to off Angel. I know you’ve got no love for the guy, but still…”
“No, I agree. What’s in the past is in the past. And I don’t want to see harm befall Kennedy, least of all over him,” Giles sighed. “Let’s wait until you have the information you’re waiting on and we’ll approach her together, if need be.”
“Thanks Giles,” Willow said sincerely as Becca returned.
On the other side of the room, Rowena was stopped at Kennedy’s table, with the Rosenbergs standing behind her. Kennedy nodded and then motioned the Rosenbergs to follow her. Rowena then made her way over to Giles’s table.
Once there, Rowena took a seat next to Willow and began to rub her temples.
“So?” Willow asked knowingly. “How goes the tour?”
Rowena held her hands up with her palms outstretched, as if surrendering before putting her hands on her hips.
“You win,” she told the witch. “And I know, without a doubt now, you are the strongest woman on the planet if you had to endure that for eighteen years.”
“Truthfully, they didn’t analyze me all that much, and I rarely saw them. When I was in a coma, this one time, as, y’know, happens sometimes, I saw Giles before I saw them, and he had been beaten to a bloody pulp by Angelus. But still he wheeled his way down to see me.”
“Are you serious?” Rowena asked, looking over at Giles a few moments later.
He casually shrugged and nodded.
“I think you might have gotten the better deal,” Rowena told her.
“Oh, but not to fear. After I came out, they had a great time trying to figure me out then.”
“Room for one more?” they heard a voice ask from behind them.
“Oh, Xander!” Willow started. “Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t get over to Andrew’s last night. Something came up and –”
“No big, Will,” Xander remarked casually.
“Well yeah, kinda big, I mean, I don’t get my Xander time like I used to, you know? I don’t want to miss any. A-And before you ask, I’m not being avoidy girl, either, because I didn’t mention the break up. I just didn’t say anything because I didn’t want you to feel bad, like you were the reason. That’s all.”
“I know. I talked to Kennedy last night.”
“You did?” Willow asked, her eyebrows raised in surprise. Her arm jerked and nearly collided with her coffee cup. As if in anticipation, Xander casually reached out and moved it out of her way.
Xander simply nodded at Willow’s question.
“Well, if you don’t mind me asking, what did you talk about?” Willow asked, as if she wasn’t sure she really wanted an answer.
Xander grinned. “That lack of Xander time…do you mean it?”
“You know I do,” Willow told him.
“Well, if you guys will have me, I’d like to come back, settle down, see if I can fit in here. I’ve got some ideas for some new weapons for the slayers on the drawing board, but I wanted to check with Kennedy first, to clear the air. She doesn’t have a problem, so what about you guys? Got room for one more?”
Willow and Giles both smiled.
End of Act Two