The Truth of the Matter Is…

Back story: Post-Chosen. Middle of Angel: Season 5, Buffy is in Rome with Dawn and Andrew when she learns of the slayer, Dana, in Los Angeles. Everyone knows the story of Buffy's distrust for Angel and Wolfram & Hart but what if Andrew told Buffy that Spike was alive again?

Chapter 1 – Something to Know

Buffy anxiously awaited Andrew's return from Los Angeles. He had called her and she had given the order for him to bring Dana back to her. Buffy didn't trust Angel now that he was with Wolfram & Hart. She waits for Andrew in the training facility's medical ward where Dana can be properly cared for. She's been sitting and standing and pacing for nearly an hour trying to figure out what Andrew wanted to tell her. When she had talked to him on the phone he had sounded deathly calm when he said "There's something you need to know Buffy."

Her mind kept replaying his words until she could discern nothing further from them, but she was still confused as to what she would need to know. He wouldn't tell her over the phone which led her to believe that it may have had something to do with Angel. She hoped there wasn't bad news about Angel… like him turning evil or something. While she didn't trust him she didn't think he had gone evil either. Mostly Buffy just didn't think that Angel could be given vital information because of his connection with Wolfram & Hart.

She looked at the clock on the wall behind the desk. A small framed nurse sat quietly looking at papers or doing something on the computer. Buffy couldn't tell which and she didn't really care at the moment. The clock read 12:20 am. Buffy couldn't believe she'd been here since 11 pm. "Where the hell is he?" she said in a slightly annoyed tone.

Suddenly the doors swung open and there stood Andrew with Dana just behind him and being held firmly by other slayers. Buffy stared at him for a moment. Quickly she asked, "Where have you been? I've been waiting for over an hour." She was angry with him for making her wait, but she didn't pay any more attention to him as her eyes darted to Dana. Buffy took a few quick steps to Dana and looked in her eyes.

It was plain to see that the girl had been hurt. She was damaged and Buffy wasn't sure if it was even repairable, but she had to try. They were all a family now, the several hundred slayers around the world fighting the good fight. They were there for each other and now this girl needed Buffy.

Andrew started to make some pathetic apology, "Sorry Buffy…" She could hear it in his voice that it wasn't going to be a good apology. Andrew was truly good now and a part of the team, but she didn't have time for apologies. She waved a hand to quiet him. Buffy then turned to the nurse at the desk. "We'll see the doctor now," Buffy said firmly.

The nurse stood up calmly and walked out from behind the desk and around the corner to go find the doctor. A minute later the nurse came back with the doctor. The nurse sat down again behind the desk and the doctor walked to Buffy and looked closely at the damaged slayer. As Buffy watched him look her over she stood aside a little and said to the doctor, "She'll need to be taken care of, and I want to know if there's any possibility of normalcy… normal for a slayer that is." She smiled as she thought to herself about 'normal'.

Buffy didn't care about being normal any more. It was something she knew she'd never have and she had finally come to terms with that. She was the leader of the slayers and they looked up to her. She did her best to do right by them and make the right decisions. Since Sunnydale there hadn't been any major apocalypses to avert which was a relief to Buffy as well as her closest friends.

Those friends weren't with her now… not in the same capacity that they had been back at home anyway. Xander was playing a major role in the Watchers' Council. He was in charge of training the non-magical soldiers that they had in their growing armies. This included helping Giles breaking in new watchers as well as helping with the young slayers which were part of the more magical. Buffy didn't get to spend much time with Xander nowadays but she did see him some. Xander and Willow saw more of each other than Buffy saw of either of them or they saw of her. Willow had traveled the world for a short time after the Hell mouth was closed, but after discovering some covens and not learning much more than she already knew she returned to England to help Giles with the training of the Wicca's that would be helping to fight the good fight.

So they were all back together now and yet they were far apart. The gang wasn't the same as it had once been. This was largely in part of the added responsibility of hundreds of slayers as well as the distance between them, but it wasn't a physical distance. There was something else between them now and no one spoke of it.

Buffy spoke to the doctor for a few moments longer as a nurse took Dana to a room. Buffy's eyes followed the damaged slayer and the nurse while speaking to the doctor. The doctor explained to Buffy what would likely happen. "If she is treatable it will take some time to get her back to a workable mental state, but… if there is nothing I can do to 'fix' her, so to speak, then we will keep her here to be cared for and monitored." Buffy shook her head in agreement and let her eyes fall back to the doctor.

"Thank you doctor," she said calmly. "That's all for tonight. I'll stop by in the next couple of days." Buffy turned to leave and put a hand on Andrew's back for a second to initiate their conversation when she looked back at the doctor again and added, "Oh, do call me if anything changes. Good night."

Her hand pushed the door open and she led the way out to the street. Buffy looked around and saw a bar just down the street that was still open. "Ok Andrew. We're going to talk about this thing I need to know before going back to the apartment and being faced with lots of Dawnie questions."

There was a smirk in the way her eyes lit up at the joke about Dawn pestering him about whatever he had to say and Andrew noticed that. He hadn't spoken a word to Buffy since he arrived with Dana at the hospital and he was doing his best to put off the inevitable conversation with the blonde slayer. At the moment he was feeling a bit nervous over the matter on his mind. There was a tiny fleck in his soul that told him he should just keep his mouth shut, but the bigger part of him was insisting, 'Tell her! Tell her!'

Andrew sighed as they walked down the street to the bar and followed Buffy as they entered the dark, smoky room. His sigh had not gone unnoticed by Buffy, but she decided to ignore it seeing as it was of no importance to the matter at hand. She took a look around the place and saw an out-of-the-way empty corner booth. Buffy sat down across from Andrew and gave him a look to tell him to start talking.

"What's to know Andrew?" she said trying to remain calm as she felt her heart beat faster with anticipation.

Andrew looked at her a little nervously and said, "Drinks first?"

"Ok, but then you've got to spill." Buffy walked up to the bar and got two beers before heading back to the booth and sitting down across from Andrew again. She gave him his beer and set hers down in front of her without drinking it yet. "Now Andrew…"

Andrew took a swallow from his beer before looking at the slayer and readying himself to say what needed to be said. "You know Angel's really trying to do good there," he said trying to make some small talk about his trip to LA as he worked up to the real topic of conversation.

Buffy was incredulous. "Please tell me that's not the 'something' I need to know. Andrew I don't want to listen to your small talk about LA…so get to the point." She was serious and Andrew could tell.

"I'm getting there Buffy. There's just other stuff that came first…well stuff that explains it a little anyway."

"Explains what?" Buffy asked feeling confused. "What's going on Andrew?"

"Well…" Andrew was beginning to feel there wasn't any easy way to say what had to be said. "You know how some of us have been able to come back from the dead?"

Buffy was getting irritated with Andrew's cryptic angle on the conversation. "Get to it already." Buffy was feeling more confused and could feel one of her hands wandering over the wooden booth. The seat wasn't particularly comfortable and that only mirrored how uncomfortable she was with not knowing whatever it was that Andrew thought she needed to know.

"Spike's alive!" He spit it out quickly and flinched back against the booth half expecting Buffy to hit him.

A/N: Don't forget to review!! Please! They feed the muse and let me know if you like the story!