Rome. May 19th.
The phone rang at least four times before Dawn picked it up. Buffy could hear her younger sister's muffled voice from the living room. Buffy was still in bed. It was almost 5 a.m., and she had no intention of getting up. Even though her slayer duties have pretty much ceased, she still could not escape from her usual schedule of staying up late, and waking at...whenever. After leaving Sunnydale, she and Dawn traveled a little, ending up in Italy. Although she felt like she can have a life long holiday, Buffy knew that evil doesn't sleep so neither can she. Giles told her about some girls that needed her help in Rome. Not girls, slayers. They were already pretty strong, they just needed decent combat training. She hasn't taken them out patrolling in a while. Hell, she hadn't even gone herself in like a week. There was little to no vamp action here in Rome and Buffy was enjoying every minute of it. The girls she's training were far from you're average teens. Yet you can never tell by looking at them. Most of them were barely sixteen. Buffy couldn't believe she was about that age when she started her journey. Now, here she is, not the one and only anymore, in her adorable apartment in Rome with Dawn and … Andrew. Andrew, temporarily. After his place got burned down by the Immortal's dragon minions, he moved in. He is quite the helper now.
Having him around does make it hard to date, though. Buffy did meet a guy, but after about five minutes, she was completely turned off. He called himself The Immortal. She laughed every time she called him that. Couldn't he think of a not so obvious name? He made plays for Buffy but she blew him off. There were a few nights he persuaded her to get out of the house and have a little fun, so she did. Although, she swore she'd never do it again, he couldn't keep his hands to himself. If it were up to Buffy, he'd be The Immortal walking around without arms. It occurred to her that it may even be him calling. She rarely got calls this early. Xander called a few times in the wee hours just to tell her about his Nubian Goddess he met in Africa, or some cool new food he discovered. She recalled Willow calling a few times to ask for more weapons Kennedy. Other than that, everyone knew that calling this early was only reserved for emergencies.
"Buongiorno!... uh no, this is Dawn, her sister... yea... oh... um..."
Buffy can hear the shaky tone of her sister's voice. These old buildings had a cool echoey quality to them. Her flat was stone and concrete but she would still hear through the walls. Dawn snoring sometimes, or Andrew crying out in his sleep from some dream. She found it soothing, just to know she wasn't alone yet not sharing her space with an army. After sharing her house with a billion Slayers the year before, she was content on having her two roomies.
Buffy lifted her head at the sound of her door opening. Dawn stood at the entrance with the cordless phone in hand. Her complexion was pale, which was unusual for Dawn. She had opened up here in Rome. She spent hours walking around the Villa Borghese with her new beau Antoine. She was even doing well in school, learning Italian, making friends, and it made Buffy gleam. All she ever wanted for Dawn was a normal life. After all they went through in Sunnydale, she deserved a lifetime of pure bliss. Dawn grew up. She blossomed here. It was weird seeing her usual sun kissed cheeks ashen in front of Buffy's eyes.
"Dawn... what is...?" Before Buffy could finish, Dawn was handing her the phone, motioning for her to take it.
Buffy hesitated, then grabbed it, shooting Dawn an irritated look. There was the sound of slight breathing on the other end. Then she could swear she heard the faint sounds of music. Was it Heart of Glass by Blondie?
"Hey Sunshine. Sorry to call ya this early in the A.M. an' all, but there's a bit of a prob here in the golden state of Californ I.A and I thought..."
Buffy recalled meeting Lorne when she came for one of her Angel visits. He was always very nice to her and always made her laugh She hung out with him a few times with Angel and thought he was a good member of Angel's team.
"It's me sugar beets. Listen, about why I'm calling. Seems our old pal Angel has gotten himself into quite a Vlasic... and well, I think you may want to sit. Are you sitting?"
Buffy looked down at her bed. She felt like she wasn't even laying in it, like she was floating. A wave of dizziness came over her, then the nausea. What has Angel gotten himself into now?
"Actually Lorne, I'm still in bed, what is it?" she asked anxiously.
"Right. Okay, Angel decided to take down the Legion of Doom and well, I think he's biting off more than he can chew which is saying a lot cus, have you seen those fangs of his?" Lorne giggled nervously.
"Anyway, with help from yours truly... Moi... Spike, Gunn, Wes, and a new blue member of our Justice League, we're about to start a war I don't think we can finish. Capeish?"
Buffy turned her head to Dawn with a look of shock in her eyes. Spike? What the hell was Lorne talking about? She thought he had clearly lost his mind. Maybe he was drunk, maybe he was...
"Buff? Are you there?"
Buffy choked on the words she tried to get out. "Lorne..."
Lorne's voice went from nervous to outright shaky. "Buffy, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for all this to come out the way it did... I..."
Buffy felt hot, she threw the covers off of her and sat up in bed. She glanced back at Dawn who was standing next to her bed, obviously confused.
"Lorne, please explain this again to me. What is Angel doing and why did you say Spike was helping?"
Dawn's eyes bulged. "Spike?"
Buffy waved at her hand at Dawn to shut her up and held the phone close to her ear so she didn't miss a word.
"Okay princess, I guess I gotta be the one, although I really wish I wasn't." Lorne stammered.
"Lorne." Buffy said in a soft tone but with a hint of annoyance.
"Well here it goes," Lorne continued. "Spike came back all Aladdin like, poofing out of the amulet he wore when he... and then he was ghostly but like Casper. Anyway, someone delivered a package to Wolfram and Hart which Harmony gave to him and then, woosh, he was corporeal again! So now he's been helping us out with things, fighting the big bads, getting on Angel's nerves and well, who doesn't get on Angel's nerves these days? " Lorne cleared his throat as if to cover a nervous giggle.
Buffy didn't look up at all. She stared at the floor, listening closely, afraid she would miss a word. She felt Dawn staring at her but she just couldn't focus on anything but this conversation. She almost thought she was dreaming.
Lorne continued. "He's about to fight the big fight in L.A. Ya know, the one I'm trying to tell you about. I don't have the details on when this apocalypse is premiering, but we've got front row seats and we'd really love for you to make an appearance. With your gals, of course."
Buffy's mind reeled. Spike, the amulet, ghost, apocalypse? She jumped out of bed nearly knocking Dawn over. She walked over to the window and stared outside at the rising sun.
Lorne continued. "The sooner the better, Wonder Woman, just sayin."
"Lorne, are you telling me that Spike is alive?" Buffy asked, completely ignoring all the other details Lorne just gave her.
"Well, in a sense, I mean he is still highly allergic to the sun and all but yea, he's here in L.A., being a hero. I'm not sure how long they will last. I don't think they have much time left. This Black Thorn gang are really high profile and if ya ask me, I think we're all a bunch of crazy straws, but Angel's plan is convincing. We can't just sit around and wait. We have to do something. Well, that's Angel talk. I'd rather go to the Kitty Klub and have a fuzzy cocktail myself, but... on the level Buffy, their hero clock is ticking fast... ya know what I mean?"
Buffy understood exactly what he meant. She was going to L.A.