Cemetery – Day
Buffy stood next to Giles’s graveside with Xander beside her and Dawn and Skye behind her. Mourners were already starting to make their way toward the Giles family.
“It feels like when I lost my mom,” Buffy confessed to Xander.
“Well, this is new for me,” Xander admitted. “My parents…yeah, a lot of unresolved stuff when they went. But this…like I said, this is new.”
Buffy smiled just a small amount. “Sucks, doesn’t it?” she asked him.
“It sure does,” he agreed with a sigh, as she rested her head against his arm.
Liz stood next to her mother, who remained seated in her chair as the mourners said their final goodbyes to Giles. They were offering hugs and shaking hands to the family. Gwen and her son, Vaughn Rayne, came through the receiving line toward the end.
“I won’t ask how you’re doing,” Vaughn told her. “I’ve been there, so I know how it feels, but with time it doesn’t hurt as much…if that’s any consolation.”
Liz looked as though she might cry as she brought the young man into her arms. “Thank you, Vaughn.” She pulled back and asked him and Gwen, “Are you both going to the wake?”
“We’ll be there,” Gwen told her.
“Good,” Liz said, as she spotted Faith walking away. “Excuse me.” She headed off in Faith’s direction.
Martin stepped up to take her place.
In the front row, Willow saw that Becca was now alone and sat down and took her hand.
“Chances are you’ve had lots of offers already for help,” she said. “But if you need anything, let me know.”
Becca nodded her thanks and then said, “Tell me something?”
“It was you, wasn’t it? You told Rupert that he could go, didn’t you?” Willow looked away, not saying anything. “I’m not angry, Willow,” Becca told her, which made her look back in surprise. “You know what Rupert once told me? He said you were one of the strongest and smartest women he’d ever met. And you proved him right. You did something the Slayer couldn’t do. Not even the Head of the Watchers Council could do it. You let him go, and you gave him peace.”
“Becca…” Willow took an unsteady breath. “I don’t even know how to respond to that. Just…please don’t tell Buffy. Don’t tell anyone. Kennedy doesn’t even know.”
“Oh, I won’t. They wouldn’t understand,” Becca assured her.
“But you do?” Willow asked tentatively.
Becca looked over at the casket and nodded toward it.
“You heard what the doctor said that day, and you were smart enough to know that being trapped in a body without a mind, without the ability to speak…that would have been hell for Rupert, far worse than death. He loves his speeches, after all.” She smiled for a brief moment and then corrected herself. “I mean, loved his speeches…the point is, dear, you knew it would be torture for him and rather than possibly see him suffer, you put your feelings aside to do the right thing. So no, I’m not mad. I’m devastated right now, but…like Rupert said – smart and strong, that’s you.”
Willow cleared her throat. “I find my faith helps me, Becca. I’ll miss Giles…but we’ll meet again, someday. For me, that helps. It’s what helped get me through Rowena’s death.”
Becca took Willow’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “You do know what it feels like right now, I guess.”
Willow nodded and said, “So if you need anything, really, come to me. I’ve been where you’re sitting. If you need someone to just listen, I’m here.”
Becca raised Willow’s hand to her lips and gave it a kiss.
Cemetery – Moments Later
Most of the mourners were already in their cars when Liz finally caught up to Faith. Seeing her approach, Faith walked up to Liz, giving her a hug.
“Are you leaving?” Liz asked.
“Yeah, I think it’s best for everyone if I just take off,” she told her.
“Come to the wake, at least. That way I can talk you into staying an extra day to pick your brain about this problem I’ve got going on.”
Faith chuckled. “You’re somethin’ else, girl.”
“I didn’t hear a no,” Liz teased.
Faith let out a heavy sigh. “Fine. I’ll come to the wake.”
“Great!” Liz said, then immediately turned around. “Hey Nikki!” she shouted. “Give your mom a lift to the wake for me. That’s an order.” Liz turned around and gave Faith a conspiratorial smile.
“You’re evil,” Faith told her. “She’s been doing her best to avoid me.”
“I know, and now she can’t,” Liz said. She took Faith by the arm, leading her toward Nikki.
Nikki’s Car – Moments Later
There was silence between Nikki and Faith as they sat in the car. Neither was touching the steering wheel, as the car drove itself to their destination.
“This was Liz’s idea,” Faith said, breaking the silence. “Just so you know. I didn’t ask her to have you take me there.”
“Of course not,” Nikki replied. “Why would you want to spend time with me?”
Faith turned her body to face Nikki. “Nothing would make me happier, but I know I’m on your list of least favorite people in the world.”
Nikki finally faced her mother. “Tell me the truth…was it me? Am I the reason you left?”
Faith considered the question for a long moment, then just said, “Yes.”
Nikki looked away again, her bottom lip trembling. “You’re such a bitch.”
“But it’s not what you’re thinking, Star,” Faith clarified. “Nothing would have pleased me more than watching you grow up, being a part of your life…being with your dad. The cold truth is, you were better off without me. All of you were.”
“How can you say that? Dad adored you. I think he still does, which means it’s either genuine love or stupidity. He never got over it, not really. Sure, he dated women over the years, but nothing really serious, not enough to get married…unlike you.”
“I have four ex-husbands,” Faith told her firmly. “Believe me, none of them were serious, either. That’s why they’re ex-husbands.”
“I just don’t get it,” Nikki told her.
“That makes two of us, Kiddo,” she told her. “But I’ve had two children in my life, and I walked away from both because it was the best thing for them. I started becoming an angry person, and I grew up with an angry person…I wanted to spare you that, so I left.”
“But why?” Nikki asked. “What did you have to be angry about?”
Faith was now the one who looked away. “I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I just don’t know.”
“So back to square one then,” Nikki said. “And I’m no closer to knowing why I wasn’t enough to make you happy – why none of us were.”
Faith had nothing to say.
Wake – Minutes Later
“I just want to know why you find fault with every girl I date,” Calendar told an agitated-looking Joyce, who looked agitated. The two of them sat in two chairs near the entrance of an event hall. It bustled with people behind them, most of them dressed in black.
“Your standards aren’t high enough, in my opinion. There. I said it,” Joyce replied.
“Maybe it’s because they’re not you,” Calendar remarked pointedly.
Joyce laughed and brushed her off. “Oh please. I’m not even entertaining this idea. I need some air.”
Calendar watched Joyce rise and walk outside the hall. A moment later, she followed along.
Outside the door, Calendar saw Joyce walking away down the front walk of the hall. “You don’t get it, do you?” she called after her, making Joyce stop and turn around.
“Get what, Vanessa?” Joyce asked.
“It’s you,” Calendar said, walking toward her. “You’re the reason. Why do you think all these dates I go on end terribly?”
“Just stop. You can’t blame me for your dating failures,” Joyce said, trying to turn around.
Calendar forcefully turned Joyce around and planted a heated kiss on her lips.
“Listen to me,” Calendar said as she pulled back, her hands still holding Joyce’s face. “I’m in love with you. I think I always have been.”
Joyce said nothing at first, but the shock registered on her face. “I gotta go,” she said quickly, before bolting away.
Calendar helplessly watched her start to run down the street, then closed her eyes. When she opened them again, they were moist.
Wake – Same Time
“Are these seats taken?” Andrew asked, as he stood across from Martin and Becca where the pair sat at one of the tables. He and Tracey stood side-by-side, holding drinks and some food.
“Go ahead,” Becca told him. Andrew and Tracey nodded their thanks and put down their food as Becca began to smile.
“Two trailer park girls go round the outside,” Becca started to sing. “Round the outside, round the outside.”
Andrew smiled widely and began to sing, “Guess who’s back? Back again. Shady’s back. Tell a friend…”
Together, he and Becca both continued to sing, “Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, Guess who’s back, whaillll…yeah, yeah, ya–”
The two erupted into giggles, while Martin just looked at the two of them, extreme confusion on his face. “I don’t get it,” he said.
“The first time I ever met your mom, Marty,” Andrew explained, “she caught me singing that Eminem song and joined in. Your dad thought she was insane. Oh, I hadn’t thought about that in years.”
Martin still looked confused. “M&M like the candy?” he asked.
“No, but Liz would know Eminem,” Becca replied.
“Because my sister knows everything in the world, right?” Martin countered, with a bit of acidity at which the group evidenced surprise.
“Uh, no,” Becca replied, sounding annoyed. “Because she listened to a lot of the music I listened to.” She looked over her shoulder and called out, “Lizzie, come here a second.”
Liz excused herself talking with from Robin and Faith and made her way over.
“Watchya need?” she asked.
Becca cleared her throat and then sang, “I’ve created a monster, cuz nobody wants to see Marshall no more. They want Shady. I’m chopped liver.” She then motioned to Liz.
“Well if you want Shady, this is what I’ll give ya – a little bit of me mixed with some hard liquor. Some vodka that’ll jumpstart my heart quicker then a shock when I get shocked at the hospital by the doctor when I’m not cooperating, when I’m rocking the table while he’s operating. Hey!”
“Oh my gosh,” Tracey gushed, as everyone except Martin smiled. “She really does know it.”
“Told you,” Becca said, motioning to Liz.
“Proving that there really isn’t anything Liz doesn’t know,” Martin snapped.
“Excuse me?” Liz asked, sounding testy herself. “What the hell’s your problem?”
“Allow me to proudly introduce Elizabeth Giles,” he continued sarcastically, “the second coming. Pardon me while I go throw up.”
He got up briskly and left. Those remaining at the table looked at each other.
“Okay, what just happened here?” Liz asked.
“Let him go,” Becca told him. “He’s probably tired of playing nursemaid to me. I told him to go home. I don’t need him there 24/7. He might just need some rest.”
“Still, I’d rather talk to him,” Liz said. She walked away the direction he had gone.
Becca turned back to Andrew. “So how do you like the California Branch?” she asked.
“I miss Cleveland sometimes…well, not Cleveland exactly, but the people here. I have to say, though, that the sunshine is a nice tradeoff.”
A pre-teen boy came up with a huge plate of food.
“Geez,” Andrew began. “Did you leave any for everyone else?”
“I’m hungry,” he replied.
“Don’t worry, Sweetie,” Becca told the young man. “There’s plenty, so have as much as you like.”
“He was so small when he was born,” Tracey said. “Now look at him – we can’t fill him up.” She tussled his hair, much to his discomfort. “I’m not complaining, though. We’re lucky to have him. The doctors always said if we did it’d be a small miracle.”
“I know what it’s like to try and fail…and finally succeed,” Becca said with a smile. “Of course, after that episode you just witnessed, I’m wondering if I should have stopped at one.”
“Beccaaaa,” Andrew chastised.
“I’m teasing, just teasing,” she told them.
Wake – Another Table – Same Time
“How have you been, Faith?” Robin asked. “We really didn’t get a chance to talk at the showing.”
“Okay,” she replied. “Not really much to report. Still living in the mountains – it’s nice, solitude and all that. How about you?”
“I see Norman’s grandson quite a bit. He’s a little ham,” Robin chuckled.
Faith smiled for a small moment and then looked disappointed. “I’ve only seen him in pictures. He looks like a doll, though – a real cutie. Damn that grandson of mine for making me a great-grandma already.”
Robin chuckled. “Well, when it comes to great grandmas, I’d have to say you’re probably the best looking one on the planet.”
“Why, Robin Wood, are you flirting with me?” Faith asked with a coy grin.
“Just stating a fact,” Robin told her with a similar grin.
Faith shrugged. “Well, Norman talks about the tyke all the time.” Faith looked off to the side and motioned. “Speak of the devil.”
“I’m telling you it wasn’t mine,” Norman insisted to Shannon. Both came over carrying food with Jeff and Grace following.
“What’s going on?” Robin asked.
“I found the Lorinda Playboy issue in his office this morning,” Shannon told them, still sounding ticked.
“It wasn’t mine,” Norman repeated forcefully.
“Well it sure as hell wasn’t mine! So who does that leave, huh?”
“I can’t say,” he muttered.
“Because it’s yours,” Shannon told him. “I’ve seen her recently, by the way. She doesn’t look the same. In fact, she looks older than me now. I wish you’d just come out and admit it.”
“It’s not his,” Jeff spoke up. “It belonged to me. We were talking about it, and I brought it over.”
The group collectively ewwed.
“She was your slayer,” Grace said with disgust. “Do you know how sick you are?” She got up and stormed off.
Jeff opened his arms and mouth, but nothing came out. He then turned to the group. “I didn’t buy it, okay? She was giving them away like candy when the issue came out, remember?”
Faith and Robin looked at each other for a moment and then started laughing, much to everyone’s annoyance.
“This is not funny,” Shannon said.
“Lighten up,” Faith told her. Robin laughed even harder. “So they looked at a naked woman? Cut ’em some slack. I swear, you kids today are so repressed it’s unreal.”
Shannon got up and stomped off.
“Shan,” Norman called out. He turned to Faith. “Thanks a lot,” he said, before giving chase to Shannon.
Faith turned to Robin. “What? It’s true.”
Robin didn’t say anything. He just looked at Faith with a large smile.
Wake – Same Time
“Hold up!” Liz shouted to Martin’s retreating back outside the hall. When he didn’t stop, she tried again. “Marty, stop!…Martin Reginald Giles!” That made him stop, and he turned around swiftly.
“Do not treat me like a child!” he shouted.
“What is your problem?!” Liz said, catching up to him. “If you’re upset about dad, that’s fine, but don’t take it out on us! You got it?!”
“You are not the boss of me! You never have been, and you never will be! It’s not my fault that I’m not special, okay? I’m not Chosen!”
Liz looked dumbfounded. “Where is this coming from?” she asked. “Did I say something recently, or do something…?”
“It’s everything you do. It’s everything you’ve ever done. I know the score, all right? Sons are supposed to follow in their father’s footsteps, but I got passed over. Passed over for you! I know Dad absolutely adored you. You were the heir, and I was the spare.”
“Dad loved you, Marty! Just as much as he loved me!” Liz shouted. “So don’t stand there and give me some fake sob story about how you feel slighted because you don’t have a job where the fate of the world rests on your shoulders. Would you like to switch?” Liz challenged. “Would you? Because I have days where I’d love to walk away and buy a farm somewhere and raise goats.”
Martin’s look of anger turned sharply to confusion. “Goats?” he asked.
Liz paused, realizing what she had said, and began to giggle. “I’m getting upset, and I’m saying things that don’t make sense, okay?”
Martin said nothing at first. “Yeah, but goats?”
Liz held up a hand, appearing calmer. “Answer me this – has anyone said or done anything recently to make you feel inadequate?”
Martin shook his head. “I don’t know where all that came from, to be honest. I know Dad loved me. I know Mom does too.” When he didn’t say more, Liz motioned toward herself. He smiled. “And I know you love me, too.”
“Good, because it’s true. Let’s just chalk all this up to stress, okay? Some weird, stress-induced freak-out.” She held her hand toward him and asked, “Truce?”
He took it and then pulled her into a hug. “Yeah, truce. I’m sorry. I just…I lost my head.”
“It’s okay,” Liz assured him. “We’re cool.”
Liz heard raised voices off to the right. When she looked, she saw Shannon, Norman, Grace and Jeff all arguing with each other.
“Guess tensions are high everywhere today,” Martin remarked.
“Yeah,” Liz said absently, as if carefully considering what was happening. She shook it off and said, “Let’s go back inside.”
Wake – Moments Later
When Martin and Liz walked inside hand-in-hand, Liz noticed Calendar sitting at a table with her head pointed toward the floor and Kennedy talking to her.
“I’m going to apologize to everyone at the table,” Martin said.
“Okay, I’m gonna talk to Ken real quick,” Liz said, before they kissed each other on the cheek and went different directions.
“Everything okay?” Liz asked, as she came up to Calendar and Kennedy.
When Calendar looked up, it was clear that she had been crying.
“I’ll be all right,” Calendar told her. “But I’m going to take off.” She came over and gave Liz a hug. “I’m sorry about your dad, Liz. I’ll miss him.”
“Thanks, Sweetie,” Liz replied.
Calendar then turned to Kennedy. “I’m gonna head home,” she told her.
“Okay, we probably won’t be far behind,” Kennedy answered, giving her arm a light squeeze.
After Calendar walked away, Liz asked, “Is she okay? It looks like she’s been crying.”
“Yeah,” Kennedy replied. “She and Joyce got into a fight and–”
“Wait,” Liz said, cutting her short. “They never fight. I mean, they bicker and jab each other, but it’s all in fun. Do you mean like a fight fight?”
Kennedy nodded. Liz began to stare off in the distance. “What’s wrong?” Kennedy asked.
“Something…but I’m not sure what.” Liz then gave Kennedy her full attention. “If you start to argue with someone, stop and let me know, okay?”
Kennedy grinned nervously. “Uh, okay, I guess. Why?”
“Like I said, I don’t know yet. But something is definitely up.”
Buffy and Xander’s House – Living Room – Later
Buffy looked up from the fashion magazine she was leafing through when her daughter slammed open the front door.
“Joyce, how many times do I have to tell you–” She cut off as the young slayer, ignoring her mother, raced up the stairs. A moment later, the sound of a slamming door echoed through the house.
Buffy sighed, tossed the magazine to the couch and stood up to close the front door.
Buffy and Xander’s House – Joyce’s Bedroom – Moments Later
Joyce was lying face down on her bed when there was a knock on her door.
“Joyce?” Buffy called from outside. “Can I come in?”
“No!” Joyce said, her voice muffled by the pillow. She jumped up when the door opened and Buffy walked in. “I thought we agreed you wouldn’t just walk into my room anymore!”
“Yes, and you agreed to start acting more like an adult. After that entrance, all bets are off.” Buffy sat down next to Joyce on the bed. “So tell me, what’s wrong? Is it Giles?”
Joyce hung her head and shook it. “Yeah, I mean that’s pretty depressing, but no.”
“So what is it, then? Boy trouble? I thought you were between boyfriends at the moment.”
Joyce groaned and held her head in her hands. “No, not boy trouble. Just the opposite, in fact.”
Buffy seemed confused, then a look of surprise broke out on her face. “Oh…oh!” she said. “Wait, I thought…” Her voice died off.
“I’m not gay.” Joyce looked at her mother.
“Okay, I’m…” Buffy broke off. “I’m thoroughly confused then.”
Joyce sighed and, as a distraction, picked up her pillow and hugged it to herself. “Calendar told me she loves me.” A bright blush broke out on her face.
“Oh,” Buffy said. “More than the best friend kind of love?”
Joyce nodded and said, “We got into a fight, and the next thing I knew, she was kissing me.”
“She kissed you?” Buffy asked.
Joyce nodded again. “She said she’s in love with me, and-and she kissed me.”
“Oh,” Buffy said. She was quiet for a moment. “What did you do?”
“What did I do?” Joyce looked at her mother as if she were insane. “I took off.”
Buffy sighed and rubbed her temple. “Look, honey, you two have been friends all of your lives.”
“I know, and that’s why I ran,” Joyce said. “I love her…I just don’t love her, and I didn’t want to say anything stupid right then and there, so…I left. Worst part is, now she’ll think I’m homophobic.” She snorted and added, “I mean, come on. I grew up in Lesbo-Central!”
Buffy laughed. “Well, sometimes it does feel like us straight gals are outnumbered.”
Joyce smiled for a moment, but then she went back to looking depressed again.
“Mom…” She took a breath and continued, “I’m straight, and straight girls don’t sleep with other girls.”
Buffy shrugged her shoulders. “Sometimes they do. I did, and I’ve always considered myself straight.”
Joyce’s eyes grew wide. “What?” Buffy didn’t say anything, but the tops of her ears turned pink. “You slept with a girl? Who? It was Aunt Will, wasn’t it?” Buffy opened her mouth to respond, but then Joyce held up a hand to stop her mother. “Wait…no. On second thought, I don’t want to know.”
Buffy sighed. “Honey…with you, this is different. Van Calendar is a lesbian.”
“What do you mean, with me it’s different?” Joyce asked.
“I slept with Faith.” Buffy started, stopped and then started again. “And both–”
“Lehane?” Joyce said, her face shocked. She rose to her feet in agitation and started pacing. “Is that why Faith and Robin split up? You cheated on Dad? Did she leave the Council because of you?”
“No to all of the above,” Buffy said, answering all the questions. “It happened before anyone was married. But you’re missing the point here, Joyce.”
“The point’s getting lost due to the fact my mind is blown. I need a minute or two to absorb this all,” Joyce said, holding her hands up.
A few moments of silence ensued. “Ready?” Buffy eventually asked.
“Not just yet,” Joyce said, and then took a calming breath. “Okay, continue,” she said, motioning with her hands.
“I’m straight. Faith is straight. And it was just a beautiful once-in-a-lifetime moment that we shared, but we both understood it for what it was. But Calendar…she took a big risk here, Babygirl. She laid herself out on the line for you, because she’ll want something more than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She’ll want a lifetime. See the difference?”
Joyce was quiet and then sat down again next to her mother. “I know, and that’s why I bolted. I don’t want to lose my best friend, Mom.”
“I’m sure she doesn’t want that, either. But you have to figure out a way to tell her how you feel without building her hopes too high or letting her crash and burn.” Buffy put an arm around Joyce’s shoulder, drawing her close. “Gotta say…I don’t envy where you are right now.”
Joyce sighed and laid her head on Buffy’s shoulder. “Is that what you did with Faith?” she asked. “Worked it out?”
Buffy snorted. “No,” she admitted. “It was just our private memory – something the two of us shared. She might have told Robin, since they were dating at the time, but he never really let on. And I never told anyone until today, not even your father.”
Joyce’s face scrunched up in confusion, and she looked at Buffy. “Wait a minute,” she said. “Dad lost his virginity to Faith, and she’s the only girl you’ve slept with.”
Buffy tried to smother a smirk and only nodded.
“Oh my God!” Joyce said and threw up her arms. “Both of my parents slept with Faith? No wonder Maxim voted her GILF of the Year!”
Buffy let out a hearty laugh. “Here’s the bottom line,” she said, growing serious again, “if you’re curious…find another girl. And if you’re sure you’re straight, tell Vanessa the truth.” Buffy rose and looked down at Joyce. “I’m sure you’ll figure out what to say. You’re a lot like your dad in that way.” She patted her on the shoulder and the rose to walk toward the door.
“Dad always puts his foot in his mouth – I’m doomed.”
“Not when it really matters. When someone has to lay it on the line, your dad’s one of the best there is. It’s one of the reasons I love him so much…so I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
Buffy paused in the doorway. “And as for the Faith thing…”
“I won’t say anything,” Joyce replied.
Buffy nodded her thanks and then left the room.
Watchers Council – Holding Cell – Same Time
“Keep it down in there!” a guard shouted.
Belizet, Brell’s son, paced in his cell. His rambling began to grow louder and louder.
“I did what you wanted,” he cried. “I did what you asked. It wasn’t my fault…I said, it wasn’t my fault!” he yelled.
The guard came down the row to Belizet’s cell. “Listen buddy,” he said, pointing a nightstick. “I’m not gonna tell you again – keep it down.”
“You don’t get it,” Belizet said to him. “It’s here. She brought it here.” He began to cry. “Why did she bring it here, of all places? I warned her. I told her! No, no, I won’t. I won’t do it – I’ll die first! No, nooooo!”
Belizet’s erratic behavior seemed to frighten the guard, and he took off, heading back down the row of cells at a rapid pace.
Belizet’s cries soon turned into screams of anguish.
End of Act Three