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All Roads Lead to Rome

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Buffy was getting pissed. Andrew had been home for less than a day and every time she wanted to discuss what had happened in Los Angeles, he pulled a vanishing act. She needed to know what was going on with Angel… how his new leadership in Wolfram & Hart could be used to aid team Europe, as she’d come to think of the new Watchers/Slayers gig, or if there were potential problems. All their research about W&H prior to Angel’s arrival had shown them to be overwhelmingly evil, with a capital E!

Spying Andrew scurrying past once more, Buffy called out to him. “Andrew, what's wrong? You seem awful avoidy. You know we really need to talk about your visit. It’s part of why we sent you there in the first place.”

Cringing as he stood his ground, Andrew said, “Nothing... must be jet lag. Can we talk later? I need my beauty sleep.”

Not wanting to scare him off, she tried to keep it light, teasing. “C'mon, you little weasel. You lie about as convincingly as Spike.” And look, she thought… hardly hurt that time… yeah, not much at all.

Squirming in place, Andrew replied somewhat cagily, “Buffy... what would you do if someone asked you not to tell something secret... but...it was a good secret... and he was hurting... and...”

Needing to stop the babble before she lost her mind, altogether, she said, “Andrew! Spill it already. Who are you talking about? And what’s this secret? Secrets are never of the good.”

”Well... Buffy,” he hedged. “Remember how Spike went all dusty and combusty in the Hellmouth?”

Sniffling slightly, she replied, “And your point is?”

“He's looking better now,” Andrew whispered.

Buffy stared at him, seemingly unable to comprehend what she had just heard.

“Uh, Buffy... did you hear me?” asked Andrew.

Nothing… she just continued to stare, breathing shallow, eyes blinking slowly.

Andrew waved his hands wildly in front of her face. “Hello... Buffy, are you in there? 'Cause...”

Buffy shook her head, as though trying to clear cottonwool from her ears, then... “Andrew, would you mind repeating what you just said? And say it very slowly, 'cause I'm sure I heard you wrong.”

”I said, Spike's looking less... you know... ashy now.”

Concerned that he was a bit light on brain power, Buffy narrowed her eyes and demanded, “Did you have a Zima on the plane trip back? Are you out of your mind with drink and… and… lack of fresh air or something?”

Andrew practically bleated, “No, no! I swear! I'm completely sober! Just drunk on Spike! He's back - he's really, really back. All undead and all!”

Buffy couldn’t believe this:, “How... I don't understa... how? When?”

Andrew said, “I dunno. He and Angel...”

Voice verging on a shriek, Buffy managed to force the words out. “ANGEL??? Angel knew Spike was back? And he didn't call me? Nobody called me??? I'll kill them both. Again!”

“Now, now Buffy... calm down... please...” Andrew begged. “You're turning purple! Not an attractive color for a Spring.”

Buffy sneered, “I'll be purple if I want to. Hell, I'll be multi-color. Technicolor, even!”

“A veritable palette of emotion!” Andrew sighed.

About to ask for the phone, she dropped her hand and said, “Forget the phone - I'll just get on the first plane I can. The new Council of Watchers will have to spring for it - it'll be deductible as a... as a... business expense... yeah... a researchy... thing!”

Being as helpful as he could, Andrew said, “Buffy... I called the airport - the jet is awaiting your arrival and they already have their flight plan for LA. Go... fly, little one. Reunite with your heart’s desire.”

Buffy smacked Andrew lightly on the shoulder. “Don't you dare call anyone to warn them. I'm gonna give them the same consideration they gave me. And when I get there... the fangs are gonna fly!”

”Don't worry, Buffy,” he promised. “I won't say anything here, either. My lips are sealed.”

Buffy raised a well-shaped brow and said, “Like you promised Spike, huh?”

”No, I swear,” he cried. “For the sake of true love!” he said, ducking another of Buffy's flying smacks, which missed this time.

”Well, don't know what I'll find over there, Andrew... but... but... thank you for being a lousy liar. And wish me luck.”

”Adieu, my VamPyre Slayer... there's an aching heart waiting for you in the belly of the beast,” Andrew murmured, once more, ducking, needlessly, this time.

As Buffy settled herself on the plane's soft cushiony seat, she leaned back, closed her eyes, and dared to breathe.