"The one girl in all the world?" Wesley said. "I thought --"
"You apparently missed my sarcasm," Giles said.” Willow’s spell activated every Slayer in the world. But as far as I know the only one with any training at all is Kennedy."
"So there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of women, who have Slayer strength and abilities and likely have no idea what to do with them?" Wesley asked.
"Yes. And before you ask, at the moment I have no plans to deal with any of it. I have no plans of any sort beyond finding somewhere to sleep. I have managed to get the survivors here, I have gotten Robin Wood the medical attention he needs, and that is the end of my duties."
Angel looked up. "I'm guessing all of you feel the same way?" Everyone nodded. "Okay. I can have people set up rooms for all of you --"
"I'm staying with Willow," Kennedy said.
"So that'll be five rooms. Does anyone want anything to eat or drink?"
"I don't think any of us are hungry right now," Xander said.
"Wait here, then. Wes --"
Angel and Wesley moved over near the check-in desk. "Do you think Wolfram & Hart would have any mechanism for locating Slayers?
"I'm sure we could find a way -- why?"
"Because there is no organized Watcher's council right now, and someone needs to train these girls in what to do," he said. "Or at least let them know that they're not going crazy."
"I'll see what I can do," Wesley said. "And Angel --"
"Sometimes, you astonish me. You've just been told that Buffy and Faith -- two people who you cared for -- have died, and you're being completely businesslike."
Angel said, "Trust me, Wes. Right now, inside, I'm grieving. To have lost Buffy, twice, in two years, is almost more than I can stand. And that's not counting Faith, or even Spike. But look at them. Giles is the only one keeping them from completely losing it, and he's holding himself together right now by spit and chewing gum. If I break down -- or even go back to being my old brooding self -- it's not going to do any of them any good. I'll let it out later. Right now, I can't afford to."
"You're being strong for them."
"As I said, Angel. Sometimes, you astonish me."
X X X X X
"Where am -- what happened?"
When Willow didn't get an answer, she struggled to sit up and look around.
She was in an unfamiliar hotel room, lit by the dim glow of a single lamp. It appeared to be dark outside.
No; wait; she'd been in a room like this before, when she'd come up to help change Angelus back into Angel. They must've come to Angel Investigations to bask in the glow of their victory and to try to figure out what to do next.
She barely remembered anything from between when she said, "That was nifty," on the floor of the Robin Wood's former office, and when she'd just woken up. Vague memories of being carried by Xander, and Kennedy, but that's about it.
She sat up in in the bed and looked around.
Kennedy was sitting in a chair, gazing blankly out into space. She looked like she'd been crying. "Kennedy?"
The potential -- no, the Slayer -- shook her head, as though she were trying to fight off the effects of sleep, and said, "Hey. You're awake."
Willow smiled. "Your talent for stating the obvious is undimmed. Did the spell work?"
"It worked," she said. "I'm a Slayer." It was said
"How are you feeling?" The question was asked almost automatically.
"Tired. But I've apparently been sleeping for . . ."
"About seven hours," Kennedy said. "We got here a few hours ago." She was speaking almost in a monotone -- the tone of the completely emotionally exhausted. She'd seen it before, when Buffy had --
When Buffy had died . . .
She asked a question she wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to. "What happened in the battle?"
"I don't know."
"How could you not know?"
"I never got there. I carried the Scythe down the hall like I was supposed to. I saw a handful of Turok-Han come up -- too far away for me to be able to catch -- and I was just about to go downstairs when there was this huge rumble. It knocked me down. When I got up, I went into the basement and -- and --"
"And the entrance to Hell was blocked. Tons of rubble had fallen. I couldn't get down there."
Oh my God . . . "And they couldn't get out." Buffy. Faith. Spike. Chao-Ahn. Amanda. Rona. Vi. All of them.
"No. I tried to dig my way through but I couldn't. And then this bolt of light came and everything began to shake around me -- much worse than the first tremor. And -- and -"
"And the only thing I could think of was getting you out of there before the place collapsed!" She began to cry again. "I left them there while Sunnydale became a crater, Will. I left them all there to die."
"There was nothing you could have done --"
"You don't know that," Kennedy said. "And I don't know that. Maybe if I'd just stayed there and dug a little longer --"
"Then you'd be dead too. And so would I."
"That's the only thing keeping me going right now," she said. "That I got you out of there."
Willow had seen Kennedy sensual, angry, self-righteous, funny, tender, and upset. She had never, ever seen her like this. Numb. Depressed. Angry at herself.
Almost like she was sorry she was alive.
"Come on, sweetie," she said as she stood up. "Come over her and come to bed." Willow wasn't tired, not after having slept for the last seven hours, but she wasn't going to let Kennedy be by herself right now. Whatever else had happened, she'd figure that out later.
Kennedy stood up and took a step forward, then said, "Goddammit!", threw the Scythe down, and leapt into the bed.
Willow held her until she fell asleep.