Andrew was bored. Bored and hungry. The former supervillain had assumed
that moving to Cleveland would include sight-seeing but so far -- no go.
Willow and Giles were so busy getting the new Watcher's Council set up that
no one had thought to take a break.
The young man sighed for what must have been the dozenth time. Was dozenth even a word? Andrew wasn't sure. Maybe he should ask someone.
If he could find anyone, that is. Faith had taken Kennedy and some of the other poten... -no wait they were slayers now- slayers out for some training. Willow and Giles were still up to their elbows in paperwork, and Wood... well Principal Wood tended to make Andrew a bit nervous. He wasn't sure why yet, but he was trying to avoid the man for the time being.
So Andrew was alone again. Giles and Willow hadn't needed his help today, and he had spent the past three hours wandering around the new "digs", and now had nothing left to explore. Sighing for the dozenth plus one time, he flopped heavily into a big comfy chair in what served as the living room. This not-so-quaint boarding house was serving as their temporary residence until Giles could find the "perfect place" for the new Council.
Though he would never tell anyone, Andrew was terrified of being alone. He'd been alone most of his life and hated it. His parents and his brother had never paid much attention to him, except maybe to yell at or pick on him. He hadn't had many friends growing up. In fact, only one or two names came to mind when he tried to remember who he had hung out with in grade school. High school was worse by comparison.
Until he'd met Warren and Jonathan, that is.
Andrew jumped at the sudden intrusion. He turned frantically toward the door, crouching immediately into "something's come to get me" mode, before he realized it was only Willow standing at the doorway.
The red-headed woman raised an eyebrow at his reaction.
"You okay there, Andrew? I didn't mean to scare you." She said with a slight grin.
"Um...uh, no I'm okay. Just uh...thinking. Yeah. Lost in thought. You just startled me, that's all." Andrew babbled, trying to still his rapidly beating heart. She hadn't caught him off guard. Oh no. His time as a crime lord had given him cat-like instincts. Yes, that was the word. Cat- like.
Willow was still grinning at him, waiting for him to snap out of his thoughts. Slightly annoyed by her nonchalance when she was the one who had forced this boredom on him in the first place, Andrew stared at her, trying to keep an even face.
"Did you want something?"
"Giles and I are going out for a while. Can you keep an ear out for the phone in case Faith or Kennedy calls?"
Great. Wonderful. Reception-boy. Just what he'd been hoping to do tonight.
"Sure." He said. It wouldn't be smart to let her see his frustration. Willow was a powerful woman. Even if she wasn't all dark side anymore, it still wasn't a good idea to make her angry. Darth Maul had nothing on Dark Willow.
The witch smiled and left the room, muttering her thanks. Andrew just rolled his eyes and flopped backwards into the chair again. It wasn't that he didn't like Willow, but...
Wait. Was that why he had been so irritated with her lately? Did he not like Willow? Andrew ran through the list of people that he'd gotten to know during his time at Buffy's house. He liked Xander. He liked Dawn. He had liked Anya and Spike, even if he had been a little afraid of the vampire sometimes. He kind of liked Buffy, even if she was usually mean to him. He had assumed that he liked Willow too, but... But what?
But that was absurd, that was what. He hadn't been annoyed or angry at Willow back in Sunnydale. Well, except for at first when he was still mad at her for killing...
Andrew shuttered at the thought and jumped out of the chair. He sprinted through the hallway and rushed down the stairs as fast as he could without risk of breaking his neck. He needed a distraction. Now was not the time to think of Warren, or of Jonathan and Katrina and Tara and all of the horrible things that had happened. Not when everyone had up and abandoned him in this musty old building, where everything creaked and groaned like it was trying to make up for the lack of inhabitants.
As if in response to his musings, an eerie groan came from the direction of the kitchen. Andrew swallowed hard as he continued forward. He wasn't scared. He was an ex-supervillain, a powerful demon summoner. His nerves were not so easily frayed.
Besides, the microwave popcorn was in there.
He'd braved an apocalypse. A creepy old house was nothing difficult. Andrew smiled to himself as he fixed a snack.
Horror washed over the skinny blond's face when he threw open the refrigerator door.
"Those jerks ate all of the garlic popcorn!"
That was the last straw. No more mister nice Andrew. Oh no. Now they would see what a demon summoner's fury was REALLY like. With an appropriately vengeful maniacal laugh, Andrew slammed the fridge door.
The lights promptly went out.
Andrew would have at least felt better about being suddenly plunged into total darkness if he hadn't immediately squealed like a girl. It was one thing to be afraid of the dark; it was another to be a wuss about it.
Not that he was afraid of the dark or anything. No, of course not. Supervillains aren't afraid of the dark.
But he wasn't a supervillain anymore.
So not thinking about that right now when the house was groaning again and some mysterious creaking was coming from the stairs.
"Supervillain, supervillain. I am a dangerous man. I can handle myself." He muttered to himself. "I'm not scared."
Warren wouldn't have been afraid.
And there goes that twinge in his heart again. The one he's been trying to get rid of for months. Because that's something else he couldn't share with his newfound friends.
He missed Warren.
He'd been extra good and helpful after Sunnydale had gone under, hoping they wouldn't notice that he was still around and tell him to go away. He had been their hostage after all, and evil, even if he was trying to reform, so why should they keep him around any longer? He didn't know what he'd do if they sent him away. It's not like he was really good at anything, except maybe summoning demons and he wasn't even very good at that. And it was time to admit that he just plain sucked at being evil. He had no plan, nothing to look forward to. He wasn't the thinker, wasn't the planner.
Andrew swallowed the lump in his throat. Even Jonathan would have done better than Andrew had. Jonathan would have come up with a plan. He was good at that too. As soon as Warren was gone, Jonathan had started making the plans. And Andrew followed him, because what else was he going to do?
And now Jonathan was dead. Jonathan was dead and Warren was dead.
Andrew was the only one left. The only one who even seemed to care that Warren and Jonathan were gone. He knew that nobody around here would ever miss Warren. Not after what he had done to Willow's girlfriend. But it was sad that they didn't even seem to really remember Jonathan. Hadn't they been in the same class with him at Sunnydale High? He'd overheard Willow talking to Buffy on the phone the other night, reminiscing about the old high school days. He hadn't heard Jonathan's name come up at all.
Andrew felt his way around the counter, wedging himself in the corner near the microwave. The little light didn't turn on when he popped open the door. Not that he thought it would, but he now realized it was something he had always taken for granted. The microwave had shut off with only half of the popcorn popped, and Andrew was suddenly starving. He grabbed the bag anyway, grumbling about having to settle for the gross cinnamon flavored stuff, and then felt his way around the nearby cabinets until he found a bag of chips and some fudgy cookies that Vi liked to think she'd cleverly hidden behind the hot cocoa.
Giles had understood. Well, he had understood as much as Andrew had told him. The old Watcher had known that Andrew was scared of being sent away, and he had offered Andrew a place on his staff, to help rebuild the Council and keep the place in order while the group collected and trained the slayers of the world. They still wanted him around. They needed his help. They appreciated his efforts.
That had to count for something, right? So why was he suddenly feeling like the loneliest person on the face of the Earth?
He deposited his cache on the counter in front of him, slightly annoyed that he couldn't see what he was doing. He wished he knew where they kept the candles. Or if they even had any candles. Willow probably had some, but she most likely kept them in her bedroom, which was upstairs. A flashlight would be good too. And some cocoa to calm his nerves. Not that he was scared or anything. It was just a power outage, after all, nothing to freak out about. But cocoa would go great with the cookies. He wondered if the stove still worked.
It was gas, so it did. After smashing his shin on the open dishwasher door (and he was so going to kill the last person who had grabbed a dish out of there without just emptying the whole thing...) he had filled the kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil. It took a little more effort to find a mug. Especially considering they hadn't bought any yet. Giles had one, though it was probably back in his office. He hadn't seen Willow or anyone else drinking tea or coffee yet either. It had probably slipped their minds. Or maybe they were all keeping their mugs hidden in their bedrooms, just to bug him.
Irritated beyond belief, Andrew finally settled on a worn travel mug that probably belonged to Faith, due to the large Harley Davidson logo emblazoned across the front. He figured she wouldn't mind as long as he washed it before she got back.
Another creak came from the hallway. Andrew turned to investigate when the kitchen window suddenly began to shake. Something was trying to get in the window! It had to be a demon of some kind. Maybe the demon had caused the power outage so it could get into the houses of unsuspecting folk and gobble them up?!
Nerves of steel or not, the eerie groaning mixed with shaking window and howling wind was too much for Andrew. With a frightened cry he ran from the room.
What if it was the First again? What if they hadn't really killed it back in Sunnydale? It would come for him again, he knew. Things like that always happened to weak, geeky Andrew. If he was left alone, he'd get attacked. If anyone took him along, they'd all get attacked and he'd either be hurt, in the way, or used as a weapon.
Andrew could handle vampires, demons, and other various Hellmouth activities. Heck, he could probably even handle random robbers and hooligans. He could not, however, handle it if Jonathan started talking to him again, exchanging mean-spirited banter like nothing had happened. He couldn't handle it if Warren starting whispering in his ear again as he lay in bed at night. Whispering promises of a world where Andrew didn't have to sit alone in the dark night after night, missing his friends and crying ever so softly into his pillow so Giles wouldn't hear him and get that frustrated grate to his voice that signaled he was annoyed again.
Outside the wind pounded at the walls and the creaking of the house had increased in the last five minutes. Andrew had no idea where he was going, as it was nearly impossible to see anything. Suddenly, Andrew was smacked in the face by an open door and he crumpled to the ground.
"Ow. Stupid door!" He managed after the shock had worn off. He could feel blood coming from his nose and hoped it wasn't broken.
Maybe running wildly through a pitch black house wasn't the best idea in the world. Why did the best ideas always come to him AFTER he was bleeding?
Andrew slowly eased himself to his feet and felt around for the door he'd run into. He knew this door. There were only three doors on the main floor. One led outside, one led to the bathroom, and this one led to the room that Giles was using as his office. He pushed the door open further and stepped inside.
The room wasn't very big. None of the rooms were all that large. He hoped that would change in the new place, wherever that would be. He'd like to have his own room again, someplace he could retreat to whenever Kennedy got on his nerves, or whenever Giles told him to go do something with himself because he was getting 'underfoot'.
With the moonlight streaming in through the office window, Andrew spotted an old-fashioned oil lamp sat on Giles' desk. Where it had come from, Andrew had no idea. All he knew was that it was a source of light. He felt momentarily guilty rooting around through Giles's things, but rationalized that matches were a necessity he could not go without tonight. And everyone would appreciate his efforts when they got home and had to rely on Andrew to lead them to their rooms, since there were no candles.
Unless they brought candles home with them.
Every drawer in the desk was filled with paper except for the bottom right one. Andrew could see blurry shapes inside that looked distinctly un- paperlike.
"Finally!" He exclaimed. His luck was looking up.
Andrew reached eagerly inside the drawer and moved his hand around. He thought he felt something shoved in the back of the drawer, but when he reached to get it a sharp pain went through his hand.
"Yowch! Ow ow ow!" He screeched as he jumped backwards, pulling his hand out of the drawer. A drop of blood welled up from his palm and slowly wound its way down his wrist. It entranced Andrew for a moment. He wasn't sure he knew what a flashback was, but he thought this might be what it felt like. A dozen memories suddenly flooded into his mind.
Blood. Blood on his hands. Blood on his wrist. Sitting in a little room with walls painted a cheery yellow. Listening to pale, weary eyed kids talking about how nobody loved them and they wanted it all to end.
Listening to Jonathan.
Andrew felt a sob bubbling up in his throat. He tried to swallow it down and it came out as a strangled moan. He was almost afraid to look in the drawer.
It was the dagger. Somehow he had known it would be. Because that would be the perfect ending to his perfect night wouldn't it? To be stabbed by the very weapon he'd used to murder his friend. The weapon he had stuck in the only person he ever really trusted. Jonathan knew things about him that he had never told anyone. Not even Warren. And Andrew and Warren had been...close. But Warren never knew. Never even asked. Never really cared.
Thinking back, Andrew realized that Jonathan probably did care about him. He had told himself that the shorter geek didn't give a damn, and that made things a little easier. But Jonathan did care. Jonathan cared a lot. Probably too much. Wasn't that what Andrew had told him? That he shouldn't care so much about the people who didn't give a damn about him?
The blond man was crying openly now, unable to tear his eyes away from the dagger in front of him. It would be so easy. So easy to just take that weapon and use it on himself. Would anyone even care?
Jonathan would have cared. But Jonathan wasn't here. Slowly, Andrew reached into the drawer and picked up the dagger. He wondered for a moment why Giles had bothered to keep it. Last he'd seen of it Buffy was holding it to his throat.
The blade was dulled. He hadn't really expected it to be shiny, but it would have been nice. A decorative piece like that should be shiny.
He guessed it was because of all the blood.
Andrew was so preoccupied with the dagger that he hadn't noticed the wind picking up again, or the flashes of lightning and booms of thunder rattling the house. His mind had gone nearly blank with pain; his only thoughts were of his friends and how much he missed them. Xander had tried to talk to him. Telling him over and over that he didn't deserve to die in Anya's place. That the ex-demon had lived a long, full life and had gone out like a hero.
He had almost believed it.
Andrew no longer felt aware of what he was doing. It was like he was outside of his body looking in. He saw himself raise the dagger to his wrist. He saw a small drop of blood bubble up. There should have been a lot of pain, but Andrew couldn't feel anything. He just felt out of control. Lost.
Just when Andrew thought that he was going to scream, the window behind him shattered. A thick tree branch pushed through the broken glass and landed on top of the desk, knocking the antique oil lamp to the floor.
Finally free of whatever force had gripped him, Andrew threw the dagger across the room and screamed. Gut-wrenching sobs racked his body and he pounded his palms on the carpet, ignoring the glass that sliced them open.
After a few minutes, Andrew managed to stop screaming. His sobs continued and it took him another couple of minutes to realize that the screaming hadn't stopped when he'd stopped. A horrifying wail echoed through the house. Something that didn't sound like the wind.
Tears streaming down his scratched and bruised face, Andrew scooted backwards until his back rested flush against the wall. The screaming continued, and his hands were just now starting to hurt. He knew that he should do something. Find a cell phone maybe? Call someone? Go outside and try to find help?
Plans and ideas raced through his head, but still Andrew sat, staring at the dagger embedded in the far wall.
It was dripping with blood, and Andrew had never been more frightened in his life.
An hour passed while Andrew sat in the room, listening to the screaming, groaning house and the howling wind. Finally the front door flew open and footsteps echoed from the entry way.
"Hello? Anybody here?" Kennedy's voice called out.
Before Andrew could muster a reply, Willow was standing in the office doorway.
"Andrew! Dear Goddess, are you all right? What happened?" Willow cried as she and Kennedy rushed into the room.
Andrew tried to tell them what had happened, but the words wouldn't come. Finally, he just broke down again, sobbing into Willow's puffy white jacket. Kennedy examined the window, but wisely said nothing. After a moment, Giles entered and stood in the entrance, taking in the scene. His eyes trailed down the wall beside the door and took notice of an odd smear of blood on the otherwise unscathed and blank wall. He raised an eyebrow before catching Willow's eye and motioning for her to take Andrew upstairs.
Willow cleaned Andrew up, bandaged his wounds, and put him to bed. Downstairs, Rona could be heard complaining loudly about their ruined kettle and how Andrew had very nearly burned the house down.
Andrew pulled the blanket up to his chin when Willow left. He could hear her and Giles mumbling out in the hallway. Something about malevolent spirits and finding a new place to live quickly. 'Oh.' Andrew thought. 'Like that episode of the X-Files, with the ghosts on Christmas Eve.' He'd seen that episode like, ten times. Why hadn't it occurred to him before that spirits were playing tricks on him? Andrew shook the thoughts from his head. He didn't really care anymore. He just wanted the power to come back on. Not because he was scared or anything. He was just annoyed by not being able to see anything.
Yes, that was it. He wasn't scared at all.
Because supervillains are never afraid of the dark.
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