"Andrew! I told you to stop calling me!" Xander's voice muffled then, as if a hand had been placed over the phone. "Right. See you!"
"But you told me to call you when Enterprise came on so we could trade notes while watching it!"
"Yeah, I know. Sorry. Dawn was just leaving, and I had to cover. Let me get my TV on. No...let me find my remote..."
"Archer looks so rugged in the previews. And I think the Xindi are gonna turn out to be, like, the Borg."
"Are you an idiot? The Borg are nothing like the Xindi! And...you know, they should put a beeper or something in these things. Hold on, I'm digging through couch cushions..."
"Hey, you remember in The Two Towers when Gandalf came back from the dead and he was Gandalf the White?"
"Got it! Just in time for an exciting commercial about feminine hygiene products! And...what?"
"Cause...okay, promise not to tell anyone about this?"
"What I'm about to tell you."
"Fine, I promise."
"Okay, I just got back from L.A. and Spike's there. Just like Gandalf."
"What? How? Just...what?"
"Oh, hold on. It's been a long time...getting from there to here..."
"Andrew, stop singing along with the intro. What's this about Spike being back?"
"He doesn't want Buffy to know. So don't spread it around, okay?"
"...my lips are sealed."
"Xander!" She giggled. "No, stop it. I'm on the phone, baby."
"Did I interrupt something?"
"Just a - " Another giggle. "Just a tickle fight."
"With clothes or without?"
"I'm required by Man Law to at least ask."
"You big man, you. What's going on?"
"Okay, I shouldn't tell you this, but ever since Andrew told me...it's just been bugging me, you know? And I figure I can trust you."
"Uh...Xander, we all know Andrew's gay. It's okay. Tell him he can come out."
"Huh? Andrew's gay?"
"Oh. Oops. I mean, what were you wanting to tell me?"
"Promise you won't tell anybody else?"
"On my honor, good sir."
"Well, you know Andrew went to L.A. to pick up that Slayer a while ago? Apparently, Spike's there with her or something. With the whole undusty thing. And Andrew said something about him being really old, like Gandalf."
There was silence.
"Will? You there?"
"Huh? Yeah. Just...how? And old? Cause I mean, he is a vampire, so of course he's - "
"No, no. Like he looks old."
"Oh. Well. That's...interesting."
"Just don't tell Buffy, okay? Spike doesn't want her to know."
"Oh, of course. I won't breathe a word."
"Giles? Giles, please tell me I didn't wake you up. I know it's, like, midnight. And you're old and British so you like to go to bed early."
"No, no, Willow. I was awake, thank you. What do you need?"
"Listen, Xander told me something a few days ago, and it's been bouncing around my head and I just can't not tell someone, you know? I mean, it has nothing to do with me. At all. Completely none of my business. Except...it kinda is cause it involves Buffy, you know?"
"Wait, slow down. What about Buffy?"
"No, not about Buffy! About Spike!"
"Yes! Andrew said that Spike showed up in L.A. with a Slayer and that he looked really old. And I don't know how he got back or if he escaped from the Hellmouth and why he apparently looks like an old guy...or what he's doing with a Slayer. But Xander said not to say anything to anybody because Spike's being all secretive and stuff."
"Yes, I see...I think."
"Um...what, exactly, are you wanting me to do?"
"Actually, I think that's it. I feel better now. Thanks, Giles."
"Of course. Anytime."
"It'll be a huge dinner, Giles. I'm planning on inviting everybody so you guys can try out my new tomato bread and salmon macaroni."
"That sounds...wonderful, Dawn."
"Buffy's already trying to weasel out of it, but you know what? I went to her stupid 'Dress Like a Vampire' Halloween party, so she has to come to my dinner party."
"Fair's fair and all. Dawn, I actually was wanting to discuss something with you."
"Oh no. Are you allergic to salmon? Cause I can change the menu!"
"No. Unfortunately, I'm not. But...well, Willow told me something that's been bothering me, and...I hate to burden you but - "
"Giles, share. What's the what?"
A sigh. "Apparently, Spike's back. Willow said he's paired up with a Slayer and is hiding out somewhere in L.A. Doing God knows what, I'm sure. Also, he's apparently aged..."
"I have no idea. I'll admit, I'm concerned that he may...well, he may be evil somehow if he's trying to conceal his whereabouts."
"No. No, not if he's human!"
"I'm worried he may try to contact Buffy - "
"I'll call her right now!"
"Actually, Dawn, I don't think that's...Dawn?"
"I'm two feet away from a nice, hot, relaxing bath. This better be an apocalypse."
"Buffy! Buffy, ohmigod! Buffy!"
"Well. You know my name. I'm glad your studies have been going so well."
"Spike! He's back. He's...I don't know what he is. But he's back!"
There's a long silence.
"Buffy, did you hear me?"
"Yeah, I...I mean...how do you know?"
"Giles told me! Spike's in L.A. and he's human. And...well, Giles thinks he's evil, but I don't see how he can be if he's human. Anyway, Spike's apparently hiding or something and Giles mentioned something about him shacking up with a Slayer."
"Spike's in L.A.."
"Living with a Slayer."
The faucet handles squeaked as Buffy turned the bath water off.
"Buffy? What are you gonna do?"
"Do? Nothing. Dawnie, it's ridiculous. Tell Giles not to listen to dumb rumors."
"But - "
"I bet Andrew started it."
"Buffy - "
"I'm taking my bath now. Do your homework. Bye."
Besides, Buffy thought as she stepped into the tub. Spike would totally call me if he were alive.