Summary: Some things are explained to Kate.
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Sanctuary
Disclaimer: If I owned them, this whole situation wouldn't have arisen.

Straight Talk in L.A.
By Matt

It was late. Near last call. Kate sat by herself at the end of the bar, nursing an Amaretto Sour. She'd set out tonight with the intention of drowning her sorrows, but she found that she just didn't have it in her to get drunk on purpose. Her profession and, indeed, most of her life was devoted to maintaining control. She couldn't just deliberately throw it away, not even for the sake of forgetting.

At least she had some solitude. The Treetop Tavern, her neighborhood bar, was nearly deserted.

It was just as she was thinking this that someone sat down next to her.

"I'm not looking for company." Kate said, not looking away from her drink.

"Too bad. You've got it." Kate looked sharply up at the intruder. Where had she seen that hard little face before? Oh, yes. The girl following along on Angel's coattails. "Until you tell me why you wanted to murder him."

Kate stood up and turned away. "I don't owe you an explanation."

The girl grabbed her arm. Kate tried to pull loose, but the little hand was like an iron shackle. "I think you do. And you're not leaving until I get it."

"Are you threatening me? I certainly hope not, because you look old enough to be tried as an adult."

Kate had never seen a purer look of contempt and disgust than the one the girl directed at her as she released her arm. "Is that your solution to everything? Wave your gun and badge at it? Pathetic. I was hoping you had a better reason for trying to kill someone than being a petty, tyrannical little control freak who saw her chance to punish someone who wouldn't do what she wanted."

Kate stood frozen where she was, trembling in rage. "How…dare…you…"

"Want to set me straight? Sit down and talk."

Kate slammed herself back down on the barstool. She knew that she was doing just what the little bitch wanted her to, but she was so angry she didn't care. "Now listen, whoever you are-"

"My name's Buffy."

"-Buffy. You listen to me. Killing a monster like that isn't murder. Hell, he's already dead."

Buffy nodded. "In most cases, I'd agree with you. But Angel's special, and I think you know it."

"Special? You mean his whole tortured Forever Knight I-must-make-up-for-my-crimes act? So he should be above the law? He was aiding and abetting a known felon."

"So you sentenced him to death without a trial. And appointed yourself his executioner. Now who thinks she's above the law?"

Kate froze.

Buffy waved at the bartender. "Could I have a Coke, please?" The bartender brought it to her and she paid. Then she turned back to Kate and took a sip, watching the Detective's mouth helplessly work as she made attempt after aborted attempt to explain herself.

"Let me guess: He's the one that opened your eyes to the fabulous world of vampires and demons and things that go bump in the night."

Kate nodded numbly.

Buffy chuckled slightly. "I remember when that happened to me. I know just how you feel."

Kate looked up at her, eyes hardening. "Oh, you do, do you?"

Buffy took a sip from her Coke. "Yes, I do. You think you must be going crazy. Things that aren't supposed to exist-things straight out of horror movies, for God's sake-are running around. The world you knew before, where you knew what you were doing and had everything pretty much down, is gone and you don't know what's real anymore. You want to go back to the way things were, but you can't, and you resent the person who did this to you."

Kate stared at her, astonished. "That's right."

"Happened to me when I was fifteen. I dealt better than you are, but then, I had less world to turn upside down. In case you're wondering: no, it wasn't Angel."

"Do you know why he finally told me?" Kate said, leaning in aggressively. "A vampire he made came to town and started killing people."

Buffy didn't look surprised at all. "Was it Spike or Drusilla?"

"Who? This guy's name was Penn."

"Really?" Buffy seemed mildly surprised by that. Then she rolled her eyes. "Another one? Xander was right. He really was busy in his evil days."

"Right," Kate agreed, her conviction and righteous anger started to grow again. "So I did a little research on Angelus, and I found out just how much of a monster he'd been. So forgive me if his penance doesn't impress me."

"There's something personal here."

"Vampires murdered my father."

"I'm sorry," Buffy murmured. "I've lost some friends, but it's not the same."

"No," Kate agreed, her voice hard. "It's not."

"But if I know Angel, he did his absolute best to save him, and avenge him."
Kate scowled and stared into her drink.

"Well? Did he?"

"Yes." Kate admitted grudgingly.

They sat in silence for a long moment. It was Buffy who finally broke the silence. "What do you know about vampires?"


"What do you know about vampires? Really know?"

"Well, um…I know they need to be invited in. No reflections. I know that crosses, stakes, holy water, sunlight, fire, and decapitation are all bad for them," Kate recited, counting off on her fingers.

"Do you know what a vampire is?"

"What do you mean?" Kate asked, honestly perplexed. "A vampire is a dead person who rises up from their grave and drinks the blood of the living. They're monsters."

"Actually, they're demons." Buffy countered.

Kate shuddered. "Could you call them something else? I'm still having a hard time dealing with this whole otherworldly concept."

"All you really need to know is that the person that used to be there is dead. Their soul is gone, and a demon takes their place. They keep the memories, the personality-but they're a demon. So the Angel we both know-brave and determined-becomes the most ruthless vampire in history."


Buffy nodded. "You've never met Angelus. If he was here, there'd be a slaughter like you can't imagine going on in this city."

"What do you mean I've never met Angelus?"

"A hundred years ago, some gypsies cursed Angel and gave him his soul back."

"And he's been good ever since?"

Buffy winced. "Pretty much. So that's what makes Angel special. He's the only vampire in the world with a human soul." Buffy finished her Coke and started to rise. "Angel is the best friend you'll ever have. If you want to throw that away, that's your business. But there's something you should know: Angel and I are on the front lines of a war that lets people like you sleep safe in your beds at night. If it weren't for us, the darkness would swallow the world. It's come pretty close a couple of times already, and Angel's been pretty key in stopping it. He's got a purpose, a destiny-we don't know what it is yet, but it's pretty big. Think about that the next time he hurts your pride and you feel like putting him in that east-facing cell: that the whole world might come crashing down and you might be left knowing that it's all your fault."

Buffy turned and walked out the door. Leaving Kate in the bar, nursing her drink and
waiting for last call.



Matt Fic