After staring at the crater that was once Sunnydale, the one Spike had created to save the world from the First Evil, Buffy and the Scoobies boarded the school bus. Everyone was so zonked from the battle that they passed out pretty quickly once the bus started moving.
Buffy was the first to fall asleep. She dreamed of Spike and the battle. Eventually, her dreams shifted into something else entirely. She had been to this mystical place once before with Angel. As the image became clearer, the Powers That Be were there smiling at her which was unsettling since they rarely ever smiled.
The Powers That Be stepped forward. "Miss Summers, you have saved the world again from the forces of evil. You have done well. We would like to bestow upon you a gift. You can ask for anything. There are no limits on what you can do with this gift. Think carefully, Miss Summers." They stepped back to let Buffy think.
Buffy already knew exactly what she was going to ask for. She wasn't going to use it for herself. Willow was her first thought. Bring back Tara. She got a bit teary eyed thinking about it but she was incredibly happy about her decision. "I know what I want. I would like you to bring back Tara Maclay for my best friend Willow Rosenberg. With all her memories in tact from wherever her soul has been since her death and obviously the memories before she had died as well. Can you do that? I know it's a lot to ask but you did say anything." She smiled at them and the Powers That Be nodded in unison.
The Powers That Be stepped forward once again. "It is done, Miss Summer. You are a very selfless individual. It is rare to see that quality in a human. Very well Miss Maclay will be returned to Miss Rosenberg. Please give us some time to arrange everything properly." They stepped back again.
Buffy was smiling so widely. "I don't know what to say other than thank you for the gift. I was never expecting to be rewarded for saving the world. And obviously take all the time you need. It's a pretty big request. Oh and would it be possible for you to warn me when you will be resurrecting Tara? I don't want Willow to be driving when Tara suddenly appears. That would be a disaster!" She looked at the Powers That Be and they again nodded in agreement.
The Powers That Be looked at Buffy one last time. "We will be seeing you again soon, Miss Summers." They faded into the background.
Buffy was jolted awake after her encounter with the Powers That Be with a smile on her face. Willow and Tara will be reunited. Though she felt bad for Kennedy but she knew that she made the right call. Kennedy would understand considering all that Willow had told her about Tara. As she looked around she noticed everyone was still asleep except for Giles who was driving. She yawned and decided to go back to sleep and would inform Giles about what transpired with the Powers That Be later. She thought he would be interested to know and be very pleased with her decision, as she drifted back to sleep.
As Buffy felt like she was being jostled, she realised that someone was actually shaking her awake. She slowly opened her eyes and Giles was giving her a warm smile. "Hello, sleepyhead. How did you sleep? We saw a rest area so we are taking a break from driving to stretch our legs and such."
Buffy smiled back. "Hey, pretty restful for once. Good idea, getting leg cramps is the pits. Oh, I have something to discuss with you alone when you have a moment."
Giles looked at her worried. "Is it something bad? I think I have had enough bad for quite awhile, Buffy."
Buffy shook her head. "Not at all. Something happened while I was sleeping. Could you spare a moment now?" Giles nodded.
Giles ushered her out of the school bus. "Let's take a walk and we can chat."
Buffy and Giles walked a bit in silence. "So Buffy, I think we are far enough away from the others to have our talk." He stopped and saw that there was a picnic table and gestured to Buffy to sit with him.
Buffy thought about what to say. "I was dreaming about Spike and the battle." Giles gave her an odd look. "Perv, not that way! Anyway, I was dreaming and suddenly it shifted into something else and I was face-to-face with the Powers That Be. They were telling me a job well done and they were bestowing me with a gift for my hard work. Saying I could ask for anything. They told me to think about it but I already made up my mind."
Giles looked at her skeptically. "Oh Buffy you know you should not trust what they say. And when you do ask you have to be very careful of what you say."
Buffy stopped his rant. "Giles, this wasn't my first encounter with them. I saw them once before when I visited Angel in LA. And they made good on their promise. Anyway, will let me finish?" Giles nodded. "I told them I would like them to bring back Tara with all her memories in tact before and after her death. They seemed to be impressed with such a selfless act saying it is a rare quality to have in a human. And they agreed to all the terms. I just have to wait until I contact me again so I can make sure Willow isn't driving when Tara returns."
Giles looked a bit teary eyed. "Buffy, you could have asked for anything and you decided on Tara. The Powers That Be are correct. Selflessness is a bit rare. Willow will be so pleased. I am so proud of you. I am sorry I ever doubted you about anything including Spike. It was terribly wrong of me."
Buffy gave him a watery smile. "Willow hasn't been the same since she lost Tara. It kills me to see her blame herself. Remember that terrible ordeal when she turned into Warren? I can't sit back and watch her suffer any longer. She's my best friend. I know I could've asked for Mom for Dawn or Jenny for you. Or to be reunited with Spike or get Angel permanently ensouled or bringing back Anya for Xander but I thought about it and Tara is a mom to Dawn, you have moved on pretty much since Jenny, I've made peace with Spike, Anya died a hero and I've moved on from Angel. Nothing made sense except for bringing Tara back."
Giles gave a her smile. "I think you made a bloody brilliant decision. I am quite impressed. And you are correct in saying that I have more or less moved on from Jenny. I see your point about the others as well. Nothing else makes sense. If I was in your position, I think I would have chosen Tara as well. She grounded Willow in a way that no one else could. They are true soulmates. I look forward to Tara's return. Please let me know when it happens as well. I want to document it."
Buffy smiled like a loon. "I totally can't wait to see Willow's face! It will be priceless. And of course I'll keep you informed."
Giles looked pleased and nodded. "Ah good. Very well. We should head back before the others send out a search party. Again, Buffy I am quite proud of you. You have grown into a hell of a woman as Spike said." He stood and she followed. Giles walked closer to her and pulled her into a tight hug. She hugged just as tight. They let go after a moment and smiled at each other. They walked back to the bus in comfortable silence.
As Buffy and Giles approached the school bus, Willow and Xander greeted them. Willow smiled tiredly at Buffy. "Hey, where did you two run off to?"
Buffy wasn't sure how to answer and Giles saved her. "Buffy and I went for a walk to stretch our legs. Being on that blasted bus has done my legs in." Buffy and the Scoobies chuckled at how dramatic Giles was being.
Xander fidgeted. "Ready to continue driving or riding in your case Buff since your driving skills would send us off a cliff." Buffy rolled her eyes at him and huffed out a long, tortured sigh.
Buffy and the Scoobies piled back into the school bus. As Xander drove, Giles kept looking at Willow and smiled knowing what Buffy had done for her and couldn't wait for the witch's reaction.