Chapter Seven: Welcome Home

Kennedy hurtled through time and space for what seemed like a few seconds and then was thrown onto a hard floor covered by a thick blanket folded in two. Again, the wind got knocked out of her but when she recovered, she realized to her great relief that she was back home. There was Willow, with the long flowing white hair before it returned back to its usual beautiful red.

Kennedy smiled as she made her way over to Willow and wrapped her arms around her in a tight hug.

"Oh god Willow, are you a sight for sore yes. I missed you so much baby." Willow said as she held Kennedy tight.

"I missed you too Kennedy. But you're home now."

After a little bit of hugging and a whole lot of kissing Willow stood up and led Kennedy out of the library and into the living room, where Buffy, Faith and Dawn were waiting anxiously to see if Willow had done it.

As soon as they saw her all three ladies rushed over and gave her big hugs.

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The next morning, Kennedy sat in the living room again and recounted her experience to the gang. Kennedy even told them about meeting her mother when she was still a teenager and also meeting a future slayer Patti Pryor. Willow was the first to speak after Kennedy finished.

"Wow baby. You really met your mother? What was she like?"

"She was actually pretty cool. Funny, loyal, honest. I liked her. I even got her to quit smoking, I hope."

"Wow, so what about this Pryor chick, the potential slayer I mean. What was she like?"

Kennedy thought about it. "She was, young. Only 13 and not yet called. She's like you Buffy, she doesn't know anything about slayers or vamps or demons. Gonna be quite a shock to her system when her watcher shows up. But I did get to spend some time with her talking. She's a little know-it-all but she's also got that slayer boldness going for her. Too bad she doesn't last long as the slayer. Did you guys find out what killed her?"

"Car accident." Dawn says, finally speaking. "Her watcher was driving and there was a fatal crash, she died instantly but the watcher hung on for five days, just long enough to document how she died. It's ironic really."

"Ironic? How?"

"Oh, D just means cuz Patti survives that Cruciamentum test and then a few weeks later dies in a car crash."

"Oh." Willow had told Kennedy about that test that was given to slayers if the reached their 18th birthday. She was just glad she never had to go through that, and now that there's a new order in place, no slayer will ever have to again.

"Meg was the one I spent the most time with, well her and Roxanne my mother. But Meg knew the truth that I was from the future. She believed me without proof. She kept my secret and even gave me a place to stay for the week I was there. Oh, and I told Roxanne about you Willow. Well, I didn't tell her you were my girlfriend cuz that woulda been too much but I told her about you. And she liked you. That's probably the closest I'll ever get to having her blessing as far as we're concerned. But it's better than the nothing I had before."

Willow just smiled. Knowing that it meant a lot to Kennedy that her mother liked her. Even if it was in a roundabout sort of way.

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Later that afternoon, Kennedy was walking through town and she found herself in front of the house that used to be Meg's house. She smiled at the memories she had of the house when it was newer. She stopped by the gate and looked at the house. She was lost in the memories and didn't notice someone approaching from her left.

"Hello there, can I help you?" Came a voice Kennedy never thought she'd hear again.

She turned to face the speaker and saw Meg standing there. Forty years older than she remembered her but still the same face, just with a few wrinkles. Kennedy smiled at Meg but soon realized Meg didn't remember her.

"Are you Meg Pryor?"

"I used to be, I'm Meg Riley now. My husband Jimmy, God rest his soul passed away a few years ago. Who are you? Do I know you?"

"You used to, it's me Kennedy Williams. We spent a week together back in 1964. Do you remember?"

Meg thought back into her memory and suddenly remembered. "Kennedy Williams! From the future, Kennedy oh God it's been forty years. Come inside." Meg led the way inside the house. Kennedy was attacked by memories as she stepped inside and saw the interior was exactly the same as it has been the last time she'd been in this kitchen in 1964.

"Wow, deja vu. You've kept it the same all this time?"

"Yup, I got the house ten years after you left when mom and dad retired to Florida. I couldn't bear to change the decor, it reminded me of a simpler time. Sit down, want a drink?"

"No thanks I'm good. God I can't believe it's really you. Sorry about your husband but did I hear you right? You married Jimmy Riley?"

"Yup, best years of my life were with him. We had three children, two boys and a girl, all grown now with kids of their own. I'm a grandma. Can you believe it?"

"Yeah I can, I always knew you'd be a grandma. How's Roxanne doing?" Though Kennedy knew the answer she's never told Meg about Roxanne being her mother so she knew she had to ask.

A sadness came to Meg's eyes just then but it passed quickly. "Roxanne and I lost touch in 1979. She met this older man and moved to New York with him. I tried to get her to stay but she wouldn't listen, she was in love. We got into a huge fight and I never heard from her again. I don't even know if she's even still alive or what."

"I'm sorry Meg. How's the rest of your family?"

"Will's a schoolteacher in Massachusetts, Boston I think. JJ came back from the war alive and well and he married Beth Mason. He became a lawyer but he's retired now. And Patti, well Patti died in a car crash back in 1968. She was only 18."

Though Kennedy already knew that, hearing Meg say it made it more real somehow.

They sat in the kitchen and talked about that week they spent together and about everything that happened over the forty years since then.

"Oh, I just remembered. On her 18th birthday, Patti opened that letter you gave her. The next day, she gave me a sealed envelope and made me promise that if I ever saw you again I'd give it to you. I'll be right back."

Meg got up, still as active as she'd been at 17, and made her way upstairs. After a few minutes, she returned with a yellowing envelope in her hand. "I honestly never thought I'd see you again but after Patti died I promised myself I'd honor her wish and hold on to this letter. I am so glad I am able to finally give it to you." Meg handed the letter over to Kennedy.

Kennedy let her eyes rest on her name written in Patti's handwriting and wondered what the letter contained. After a few seconds, Kennedy raised her eyes and met Meg's curious, expectant blue eyes.

"Aren't you going to open it? I've been wondering for forty years what Patti wrote to you."

Kennedy thought about it, "Believe it or not, I'm nervous. I remember what I wrote to Patti and I am guessing this is some sort of reply but, with her dead it almost seems like a message from the grave you know?"

"Yeah it does, doesnt it? But you have to open it Kennedy. Patti wanted you to read it, and now you finally can."

"You're right I know," Kennedy took a deep breath, "ok, here goes."

Kennedy turned the envelope over and carefully opened it. Slowly, she slid the single folded sheet out and opened it. What she read there surprised her so much that she passed out.

THE END