Walking the streets of Heaven, Prior encounters Rabbi Isador Chemelwitz and Sarah Ironson playing cards. In Heaven, where everything is known, the rabbi says, the only pleasure comes from the indeterminacy found in games of chance. The rabbi c alls forth a ladder to descend. Sarah asks Prior to tell Louis that she forgives him, and that he must always struggle with the Almighty.
As Prior descends from Heaven, he sees Roy far in the distance, in what seems to be the pit of Hell. Roy is talking to an unseen client, the King of the Universe, promising to defend him against a lawsuit for abandonment. Roy tells his client he is cl early guilty but that he will make something up.
Prior slips back into bed and wakes the next morning, exhausted. His fever has broken, Emily says. Prior thanks Hannah for saving his life, but she denies it, and comments on her "peculiar" dream. Louis enters, cut and bruised from his fight with Joe. Hannah and Belize say their goodbyes, Belize handing Prior the bag full of AZT. Alone, Louis asks Prior if he can come back.
At home in Brooklyn, Harper asks Joe for his credit card—it is the only thing of his she needs, she says. He pleads with her not to go, but she only slaps him. He will never hear from her again, she says. She hands him two Valium pills and tells him to go exploring, then leaves. Meanwhile, Louis repeats his desire to come back to Prior. Prior tells him he loves him, but that he cannot ever come back.
Harper is on a flight to San Francisco to begin a new life. She describes a dream of the ozone layer: it was torn and ragged until the souls of the dead, rising from the earth, joined it and made it whole again.
Prior, Louis, Belize and Hannah sit on the rim of the Bethesda Fountain. Louis and Belize are arguing about the fall of the Berlin Wall, but Prior tunes them out. He tells the audience that five years have passed, longer than the time he lived with Louis. Louis tells the story of the angel Bethesda, who touched down in Jerusalem and left a healing fountain where she walked. When the Millennium comes—not the year 2000, but the "Capital M Millennium"—they will all bathe themselves clean there, P rior says. He plans to live to see it again in the summer, he says. No matter what, the struggle for life and full citizenship—"the Great Work"—will continue.