Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you for all those who took the time to read the beginning of my little fic. Many thanks to my beta, Sanityfair!
“Please, just kill me now.” Buffy rolled her eyes, her sarcastic plea loud in an otherwise quiet room.

“Buffy, you yourself claimed the Watcher’s Counsel never took the time to truly speak or listen to their charges. This is the perfect opportunity to genuinely open the lines of communication between Watchers and Slayers.” Giles leaned over slightly and lowered his voice, trying not to further disrupt the meeting in progress.

“I know, I know, but did you haveta pick this one?”—Eyes narrowing, Buffy glared at Giles—“Oh, now I get it. I’ve done something wrong and this is my punishment, isn’t it?” With a tilt of her head, Buffy gestured toward the presenter at the front of the room.

“The Vampyr walks amongst the shadows, committing evil under the cover of darkness. I myself have touched darkness, but the night wasn’t my only time for evil. Yet I’ve redeemed myself, fought against the evil lure of…um…evil. As I, there are others who’ve cast aside their villainous ways.”

For dramatic affect Andrew stopped pacing and pivoted to face the group of young Watchers. Straightening the lapels of his tweed jacket he continued, “Or more specifically one special Vampyr. One who against all odds, bravely fought for redemption and on the side of good. From your studies some of you know him as William the Bloody. Others, like myself, know him by a much virile moniker. Spike.”

Buffy grabbed the arms of her chair, the wood cracking under the pressure. Still after six years, small things like hearing his name, the smell of cigarettes and leather, even a Billy Idol song made her stomach lead-heavy and for days later she was lost to her thoughts and needed time alone. Each time it hurt a bit less. Day to day she was coping, not forgetting. Never forgetting.

“I had the distinct pleasure of working alongside this remarkable Vampyr. In Sunnydale, against The First Evil and then in Los Angeles, when argh—”

Before Andrew could get out another word, Buffy rushed him and had him by the throat. Only his toes left touching the floor.

“What. Did. You. Say?” Ever the Slayer in charge, she held him in place awaiting an answer.

Giles wasn’t too far behind when Buffy leapt from her chair and charged the front. Along the way he ordered the other Watchers to clear the room. Giles now stood off to the side, trying to keep calm despite Andrew sputtering for air.

“Buffy, is this completely necessary?”

“Giles, he saw Spike in LA! Alive! Well, not alive, but not a big pile of dust from the bottom of crater a-la-Sunnydale, and he never told me!” Buffy tightened her grip.

“I understand your anger Buffy, and it is completely justified. Clearly this was a gross miscalculation on Andrew’s part withholding invaluable information from you. However, I suggest if you want an answer before he’s rendered unconscious, it would be wise to let him breathe.”

Eying Andrew’s increasingly reddening face; Buffy heaved a resigned sigh and released him. Instantly he crumpled to the floor, wheezing and clutching his throat. She waited and watched him recover, his face returning to its normally pasty hue and his breaths slowing and leveling out.

“You okay?” Buffy crouched in front of Andrew.

“Yes,” Andrew squeaked, still holding his throat.

“Good. Now Andrew, I’m not the same Slayer I was back in Sunnydale. The hit first, ask questions, well, never type of gal.”—Buffy grabbed Andrew by his lapels and hauled him to his feet, roughly banging his back against the wall— “But I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, if you catch my drift. So I’m going to ask you again, when exactly did you see Spike in LA?”

“I swore allegiance to Spike’s plight and you are asking me to commit the ultimate betrayal. I can’t be the Captain Faro Argyus to this Republic.”

“Andrew.” Buffy’s tightening iron-grip and no-nonsense tone left little room for misunderstanding.

“Fine, I’ll talk! But know this confession was made under protest and severe duress.” Andrew squirmed, his feet slipping as he tried to gain footing.

“Dually noted, now spill.”

Andrew cleared his throat. His eyes took on a faraway look launching into storyteller mode. “Come along gentle listeners. Let me take you back to five years ago to the unforgiving, mean streets of LA. The stench of smog and desperation hung heavy in the night air…”

“Cut the crap, Andrew!” Buffy shook him slightly, bringing his attention back to her.

“What? I’m just trying to set the scene. All good stories start with a big opening scene. Just ask all the greats: Tarantino, Scorsese, Hitchcock.” Andrew winced as Buffy’s grip tightened further, her knuckles digging deeper into his chest.

“Andrew, setting the scene is not necessary, I assure you. Especially at this juncture, you may not make it to the opening credits.” Giles shook his head, his patience waning.

“Fine, steal away my thunder. Everyone now-a-days are such critics. Like I said, it was five years ago. During my first big undercover mission, when I infiltrated Wolfram and Hart’s evil stronghold to free our captive slayer Dana.” Buffy released Andrew. He slid down the wall and she stepped back.

Buffy remembered this as if it was yesterday. The Coven had given them information about a Slayer in LA who was locked away for years in a psych hospital. Buffy took personal interest in Dana, remembering her own experiences years before. Both real and otherwise. She couldn’t begin to fathom everything Dana must’ve gone through. Originally, she was going to retrieve Dana herself and give Angel a royal ass-kicking for joining up with the likes of Wolfram and Hart, but at the last minute she got called away and Giles sent Andrew instead.

It should’ve been me.

Buffy felt the instant pang of regret for not being the one to go to LA. Taking a deep breath, she refocused. Over the years she’d learned to accept that no amount of regret would change the past, but this didn’t mean she couldn’t change the future.

“Buffy, where are you going?” Giles called to her as she headed toward the door.

“I’m calling Willow. If anyone can tell me where Spike is, it’s her.”


“Okay, I’ll see you when you get in.”—Buffy paced the length of Giles’ office, her gaze shifting between him and the clock—“And Will, sorry about waking you. Totally spaced on the time difference. Bye.”

Buffy ended the call and dropped into the high-backed chair across the small mahogany table from Giles. “She’ll be on the next flight.”

Giles closed the lid of the teapot, leaving the tea leaves to steep, and then continued to set the table for afternoon tea. Buffy watched in amusement Giles’ compulsory need to keep his hands busy while he talked. Today a matching antique English tea set was the substitute for his glasses and handkerchief.

“Buffy, I know the possibility of Spike being alive is, well, is—”

“Overwhelming? Totally mind blowing?”

“I was going to say, unprecedented.” Giles set a plate of heart-shaped Linzer cookies in front of Buffy.

“Giles, I know your feelings about Spike. Back in Sunnydale…” She toyed with a cookie, breaking into pieces.

“Sunnydale was a long time ago, and I’ve had time to reflect on my choices to…”

“Dust Spike?” Buffy wiped the crumbs and raspberry jam from her hands then started on another cookie.

“Yes, that and many others made. Granted, at the time doing away with Spike seemed warranted, but after his ultimate sacrifice and the long process of earning back your trust, I feel as though this wasn’t one of my wisest decisions.” Giles poured them some tea.

“Looking back, I get why you did what you did. Not saying that I agree, but I get it. It’s just after all this time, I don’t know how I really feel about Spike being back. For so long I thought he was gone. Like gone, gone. Now the thought he may or may not be back, it’s a lot to take in. The only thing I am sure of is that I need to know for sure. After that, I don’t know. You know?” Buffy continued spooning heaps of sugar into her tea, stopping only when Giles covered the sugar bowl.

“Oddly enough, I do.” Giles patted Buffy’s hand, giving her a soft smile.

Chapter End Notes:
Small Side Note: Faro Argyus: was “Captain of the Senate Commandos who was bribed by Count Dooku to free Viceroy Nute Gunray from Republic captivity.” I don’t follow Star Wars but after reading about this character I felt this would fit (if I’m wrong, tell me). Also, this character’s only appearance was on “Cloak of Darkness” and the voice was done by our one and only James Marsters!

Please take a brief moment to let me know your thoughts. (Especially about Andrew, another character I sadly don't write often) Thank you.

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