Sometimes Andrew wakes up screaming and finds Jonathan holding him, looking scared. He wonders in that moment between sleeping and waking if Jonathan comforts him because he cares, or if he just does it out of a sense of duty. Andrew guesses- or hopes, at least- that duty is wrapped up in caring, so it's probably a little bit of both. He's too vulnerable at those times to be picky about why he's got a warm body pressed against him. His nightmares are violent and so real that he can feel the skin peel off his body, exposing his muscle and tissue, and can smell the heat and bodily juices rising off of him in the crisp night air. It's nice to wake up and feel Jonathan around him, reassuring him, reminding him that they're in Oaxaca, thousands of miles from Sunnydale, and Willow has lost their trail a long time ago. He's safe. Don't worry. One night, Andrew learns just how much Jonathan cares, because when he wakes up, Jonathan is stroking his hair and occasionally caressing his face. Andrew doesn't know a lot about interpersonal relationships, but he does know that people don't stroke your face and hair out of a sense of duty. They usually do it because they really, really like you. Somewhere inside, Andrew smiles. He's still too scared of everything to smile for real with his mouth, but that little internal smile is progress, he decides. After that, he starts to notice things that Jonathan does. Watery looks that you only get from someone who likes you. More caressing when he has nightmares. That's fine with Andrew. He and Jonathan are the proverbial two peas in a pod. Not only are they supreme geeks of the universe, they've been through some amazing shit together. It would make sense for them to get together at some point.
Dia de los Muertos comes and he lights a candle for Warren. A little wax head that a dirty street urchin shows him how to make. He sticks some dark twigs on it and decides that it's a suitable facsimile of Warren and his crazy hair. If he had more time, he might make an entire wax skeleton to commemorate his old hero, and he would even find some sort of fur to stick on as a representation of Warren's out of control chest hair. As he sits in a tiny coffee shop finishing some flan, he thinks back to how he ended up here. Mentally kicks himself for being so pliable and doing whatever Warren wanted because he had a little crush. Of course, he couldn't say with any degree of certainty that if Warren walked through that door right now and told him to summon some demon and wreak havoc on the people of Oaxaca with him, he would turn him down. There was something about Warren. Not the power he possessed, because he was pretty mediocre in the power department, but in his fire. He had a passion for power and destruction that Andrew had seldom heard of outside history books.
He wanders back to the room where stays with Jonathan. It's pretty run-down, but he doesn't care. It's better than being dead and buried in one of Sunnydale's numerous and luxurious cemeteries. Jonathan is there, looking through their worn Spanish/English dictionary. He looks up when Andrew comes back.
"Where were you? I was worried," he asks and tries to sound nonchalant. He fails.
Andrew kind of smirks. "I was just out celebrating Dia de los Muertos. With some flan."
"Oh. You wanna go and get some mescal? I just learned how to order some," Jonathan explains.
"Bueno. Let's go, amigo."
Two hours and a bottle of mescal later, both boys are seeing pink elephants and stumbling back to the hacienda. Andrew has never been certifiably drunk before, and he notices that he's a very hyper drunk. He keeps talking, reminiscing with Jonathan about better times. Before Warren got quite so megalomaniacal, even all the way back to when they met in group therapy. Jonathan just sits in the rickety chair under the light and stares straight ahead. He looks like he might cry, but Andrew is in mid-rant and he doesn't even notice right away.
"Hey. Hey. Whassa matter, Jonathan?" he slurs as he crouches in front of Jonathan.
Jonathan turns his head and looks at Andrew. Andrew barely has time to register Jonathan's face moving slowly toward him. Before he can protest- not that he would, even if he did have the time- Jonathan's mouth lands on his. The lips are soft and warm and Andrew is only a little surprised to feel Jonathan's tongue nudging his lips. He obliges and opens his mouth. As their tongues play against each other, Jonathan moves off the chair and sinks down on top of Andrew. Andrew's mind swims. He's barely even made out with girls before, let alone his male best friend. Most shocking of all is that he likes it. There's an easiness to it. All the pain of losing Warren, the fucking shitty choices they've made in the past couple years, even the pain they both endured during their respective times in high school, all flows between them. The kiss gets deeper; it seems as though hours have passed with neither of them stopping to breathe.
Jonathan breaks the kiss first, horrified at the line he thinks he's crossed. "Wow. I'm . . . um, sorry." He turns to go into the bathroom, but Andrew grabs his arm.
"No, it's okay. 'Cause we're, like, prisoners or something. And we're stuck here like this and we're our only friends. Inevitable, right?" Andrew tries to reassure. There's a spark of hope in Jonathan's eyes. Andrew has snapped marginally out of his drunkenness. He's still drunk, but at least he has some control over his words and actions. He knows what he's doing.
He knows what he's doing as he pulls Jonathan in for another kiss. He knows what he's doing when he guides them both down to the bed to continue their kissing. And when he reaches a shaky hand into Jonathan's pants, he still knows what he's doing.
They fall asleep tangled in each other, both holding on because they both know they've thrown themselves off a cliff, and neither is sure when they'll reach solid ground again. After being friends for so long, it took the memory of a witch and the memory of a dead wanna-be evil mastermind to bring them together. Andrew thinks, as he drifts off to sleep, that he's made so many bad choices already. He hasn't even reached his twenties yet. But out of all the bad choices, out of the ashes of all the stupid shit he did to impress Warren, came this. The one good choice. Because he's not sure what, exactly, he feels for his friend, but he knows it's more than he's felt for most people. He knows that it's something both of them need right now. The next morning, as he stands under the paltry spray of the shower nursing a headache that he isn't even sure is physically possible, he realizes he has gone to a place he can't come back from. Throwing making out into the mix of his friendship is touchy, no pun intended. He doesn't want to hurt, piss off, or in any other way alienate the only person who really cares about him. But some risks, Andrew decides, are worth taking.
A month later, Andrew sits by the window in Buffy's house and looks out over the dark, deserted streets of Sunnydale. Jonathan is gone. The First, gracefully disguised as Warren, saw to that. Andrew muses on the irony that it knew exactly what image would drive him to kill his . . . he stops before he even THINKS any incriminating words. So here he is, thrown among people who tolerate him at best, tie him up and insult him at worst. Alone, and with no one but himself to blame.
The only thing that gives him a modicum of joy is reminiscing. Reminiscing about the few days after Dia de los Muertos, and before they decided it was "safe" to return to Sunnydale. Things were good for that couple of days. There was timid passion, deep kisses, and hungry embraces. He remembers the feel of Jonathan all around him. It's still funny to him that Jonathan was so small, yet he could fill all of Andrew's space. In the now, Andrew hugs his knees to his chest, bows his head, and tries to think of something less painful. The Cantina scene in Star Wars. His old comic books and action figures. Seven-of-Nine in that skin tight outfit. But when he thinks that Jonathan loved all that stuff too, and would always match him word for geeky word when they got in a heated debate over Star Trek canon, he gets sad again. But rather than get bogged down in "I-wish-I-hads" and "if-I'd-justs", he decides something. He'll stay here and do what he can. It's the least he can do for Jonathan, because he knows that Jonathan would want him to make things right, no matter what he did in his past. And some promises, Andrew decides, are worth keeping.