Long Day's Journey Into Night
Pairing: Jonathan/Andrew, Warren/Andrew
Summary: Jonathan and Andrew escape to Mexico; but as they begin to settle into their new lives, Andrew is continuously haunted by Warren, who won't let him forget his old one.
Rating: R (For slash and mega-angst)
Disclaimer: Belongs to Joss and FOX and WB and UPN and whoever the heck owns BtVS. It's not me, that's for darn sure.
Notes: Apologies to Eugene O'Neill for the blatant usage of the title of his autobiographical play, which is actually considered his greatest work. He'd probably have a heart attack if he knew the title was being used for such purposes.
Archival: FCFM, No Superman, DWTS. Anyone else - Want it? Ask for it. I'll say yes. Thanks: Thanks to Jen and Aphedas for their excellent betas. I really appreciate your taking the time to edit this whole thing. Also thanks to AK, who helped me the whole way through, from the very first line to the very last edit.
Dedication: This was written for Evette (wickedprincess3) for the Jonathan Ficathon. She wanted Jonathan/Andrew and angst. I hope this delivers. Now you see why I wouldn't share any details of my fic with you. <3
As the big rig drove away, the boys were left standing in the middle of nowhere, choking on the acrid cloud of dust that had been kicked up.
"This is all your fault," muttered Andrew, "if you had just let me-"
"Just let you, what?" said Jonathan, "Just let you become that skeezy trucker guy's bitch? Just let you do something incredibly stupid – again – that you can't ever take back? You don't even know if he was clean." He folded his arms and glared at Andrew in disgust.
"Let's think, Jonathan. We have no money and no idea where we are or where we're going. That guy was offering money and security-"
"What he was offering was twenty bucks and an opportunity to take advantage of you, which you would have taken because you're incredibly naive and idiotic like that."
"Shut up, dork! What are we going to do now, huh?"
Jonathan sighed. He looked down at the endless stretch of highway bordered by the driest looking dunes he had ever seen. Not that he had ever seen dunes before, but he knew that these were indeed dunes of death. He glanced upwards looking for the buzzards he knew would be circling above them, just waiting for them to croak so that they could feast on his and Andrew's carcasses. Jonathan was damned if he was going to wind up as some vulture's meal; and it was from pure nerve and luck that he had just saved Andrew from a similar fate. He turned to Andrew.
The motel room was cramped and dark, made out of the same clay that all the buildings seemed to be constructed from. It was stereotypical and cartoonish, and Andrew loved it. The clerk had taken pity on the two boys after they had shown up looking weak and haggard, worn out from long days of trekking in the scorching sun. They were both sunburned, and Andrew had looked near tears. The clerk had given them a room, allowing them only a few nights of free stay until they got a job, and even then they had to pay him retroactively. Jonathan, clearly being the more responsible and resourceful of the two, had taken it upon himself to get a job as a waiter in a little divey café a few blocks away from the motel. It had bright plastic parrot lights on the walls and potted palm trees in the corners. It was dark and grungy, and the guy who ran it, Eduardo, was grimy and more than a little rough around the edges. He had a hard looking face, but surprisingly, took a liking to Jonathan right away. Andrew, ever the optimist, thought that Eduardo was going to give Jonathan a pay increase at any moment and then they'd be able to move out of their little room.
"You know," said Jonathan one day as he tied the little apron that added legitimacy to his job around his waist, "we could move out of here a lot faster if you would get work, too. I don't see why I'm the only one supporting us here. I don't know why I just don't leave you alone-"
Andrew leapt from the corner of the ratty bed and glared at Jonathan for a minute. "You wouldn't... you couldn't..."
"I should," Jonathan grumbled quietly, tightening the apron strings.
"Please." Andrew looked as if he were about to burst out crying, "Please, don't leave. I'll try to get work, I will. I'm just... not very good at anything."
Jonathan frowned. This was true. Andrew wasn't very good at anything non-demon or media related. He contemplated this for a few minutes and was suddenly hit with an idea.
"You can bake!" Jonathan was quite pleased with himself.
"Where am I gonna bake here?"
Eduardo had taken one look at Andrew and promptly started rattling off in Spanish to Jonathan. It sounded to Andrew like a ton of protests and objections. Jonathan looked pretty nervous about trying to decipher what he was saying, but Andrew was thankful that Jonathan had enough rudimentary Spanish skills in order to assure Eduardo of Andrew's competence. After Jonathan had slowly and haltingly said, well, whatever he had said, Eduardo sent Andrew into the kitchen with an apron. In the kitchen was a small older woman by the name of Maria, who knew just enough English to explain to Andrew how to make empanadas. The rest of the day was spent rolling dough and making little turnovers. Jonathan caught Andrew's eye as he handed Maria the little order slip, and they allowed themselves a shared grin. They hadn't smiled in quite some time, and the muscles were sore from lack of use. They resolved to start smiling more in the future.
The resolve to smile quickly withered for Andrew. That evening, he and Jonathan lay curled up on their uncomfortable bed under their scratchy blanket. Jonathan had protested at first, preferring to sleep as far away from Andrew as possible, but one look at the grimy little room had quickly ended that train of thought. He was currently asleep, dreaming things only he knew about and would never share. Andrew, however, lay awake. He was unable to sleep, troubled by something he couldn't name, that resided somewhere within the pit of his stomach. He looked out the window through the slatted blinds. The moon was hazy in the damp heat, and the night felt thick and clogged his throat. The blanket started to feel as if it were burning him, and his skin felt as though thousands of little fire ants were crawling all over him. Andrew quickly rolled out of bed and began shaking his arms and legs, brushing frantically at the phantom bugs. Fearful of waking up Jonathan, he slipped on his sandals and padded out of the room, quietly shutting the door behind him. The air was just as sticky and cloying as he had expected it would be, and his shirt stuck to his arms and chest. He wandered around outside and started to circle the motel.
He was halfway around the back of the motel when he found an old box. Sighing heavily, Andrew sat down on it and stared at his hands. He was nervous and shaking, and wanted nothing more than to be curled up safe and sound, either on the couch or in his own bed. He wanted to hear the whirring and clicking of the computer, as well as the bickering between Jonathan and –
"Warren!" Andrew gasped and fell off the box. Warren loomed above him, a soft smile on his face.
Andrew gaped. His brain had shut off. He was frozen, his eyes large and his limbs numb. Warren just stood there, smiling sheepishly at Andrew and running his hand through his hair. Andrew couldn't take his eyes off of Warren.
"You're... you're... what are you?" Andrew stared, not even noticing that the box was digging into his back.
"It's me, Andrew. Only, well, not. I missed you." Warren crouched down to Andrew's level. "I know you missed me."
Andrew backed away slightly, scooting closer to the wall. "Of course I missed you! How could I not? God... what... how..."
Warren looked down at the sand, skimming his hand over it. "I'm... I'm dead, Andrew. Willow killed me. You know that."
"Well, doesn't being dead mean, um, being dead? As in not being here, um, looking at me?" Andrew forced himself to blink.
Warren stood back up and began to pace slowly in front of Andrew. "Well, yes. But I couldn't just go. Not like this. Not with things being how they are."
"And... and how are they?"
"They're bad, Andrew. Really bad. I'm a ghost, Andrew. A specter. Incorporeal."
Andrew blinked. Warren sighed and traced his hand down the front of Andrew's shirt, pressing in just hard enough to signify that he was through Andrew, as if he was trying to get a hold on his heart. Andrew shivered.
"What... what do you want with me?"
Warren kneeled down to Andrew's level and looked him straight in the eye.
"I need you, Andrew."
Andrew was jumpy the next few days. Both Maria and Eduardo had yelled at him; Maria in her broken English and Eduardo in his fluid Spanish. Jonathan frowned and pulled Andrew aside during a particularly slow time during the day. Probably during a siesta, Andrew thought.
"What are you doing?" hissed Jonathan. "Are you trying to get fired? Because I swear, Andrew, if you get fired for not being able to freaking toss a cake into the oven..."
Andrew shook his head, "No, I swear, I don't want to get fired. I'm just... not feeling well. I... I think I drank some of the water here by accident."
Jonathan curled his lip into a sneer. "Andrew, this is ridiculous, I know you. You hate work. This is all a ploy, a cheap and tired ploy to get out of your responsibilities, and I'm sick of it. You do your job, or you'll have to find another place to sleep."
Andrew bit his lip. "Jonathan..."
"Don't talk to me." Jonathan turned and walked across the restaurant, presumably to tell Eduardo what a screw-up Andrew was.
The rest of the day passed by uneventfully. Andrew buckled down and desperately tried to focus on his work, and only a few tortillas came out burned. Jonathan glared at Andrew every time he delivered an order to Maria, but by the end of the day his glare had just turned into the watchful eye of an older brother. They were paid that day, and left the café with their pockets a little fuller than when they had arrived. As was customary, they bought a bottle of tequila. Jonathan felt that they deserved it. After all, in this tiny town, what else was there to do? Not much, it seemed, and Jonathan and Andrew were still too shaken by their past to do anything but drink and contemplate just how things had gone so wrong for the both of them.
They sat on the bed, drinking the tequila straight from the bottle; not caring that the other's spit was on the rim. Jonathan took deeper and longer drinks than Andrew, having had a couple more years to get accustomed to the taste. Andrew; as was to be expected, drank smaller sips and complained that his tongue felt heavy and coated with wool. Jonathan pushed him lazily, arguing that Andrew was just a lightweight who couldn't hold his liquor in a bucket. Andrew snickered and went to push Jonathan and promptly fell over into his lap. Jonathan shoved Andrew, but the tequila had made him kitten-weak, and his efforts were best described as half-hearted.
"Andrew... I can't feel my legs." Jonathan twitched his leg impatiently. Andrew giggled and curled up, his head nestled on Jonathan's thigh.
"M'comfy," he murmured, his eyes heavy with sleep. He yawned and settled more comfortably on Jonathan.
Jonathan twitched his leg again and, realizing his efforts were futile, settled for stretching his legs out as best he could. He looked down at the now-sleeping Andrew and sighed.
"God, what are we gonna do?" he whispered to no one in particular.
Andrew watched as Warren circled the tiny room.
"This is nice, Andrew. A little small; but nice." He looked over at the bed. "You and shortstack share that?"
Andrew nodded, but added hastily, "It's only because we have to! We can't afford another bed, or room for that matter. Besides, it's not like... not like that."
Warren nodded. "I'm glad."
"You... you are?"
"Of course I am," Warren looked offended. "You think I want you stooping to that level? You and I fit, Andrew. You and him? Not even close."
Andrew nodded wistfully. Jonathan was great; he was a good friend and had mellowed out somewhat once he saw that Andrew was really trying very hard to earn his keep. But he was no Warren. No one could make him melt with such little effort. No one could look at him the way Warren could; the way Warren was looking at him right now. He ached to be able to touch Warren, and gave into that urge, reaching his hand out and plunging it through Warren's arm.
"Hey, hey, hey there, Andrew, let's back that up a little, okay? I need to tell you something, before Mighty Mouse comes back." Warren's words were stern, but his gaze was soft. Andrew nodded.
Warren leaned in conspiratorially, only inches from Andrew's face. "Jonathan is incredibly important to me. To us. Understand? I need to know that you'll take care of him."
Andrew parted his mouth instinctively, moving in towards Warren; desperate for the whisper of breath against his lips that he knew would not come.
Jonathan sat at the head of the bed, picking at his food. He felt uncomfortable, and looked up. Andrew was sitting at the foot of the bed, staring at him.
"What do you want?"
Andrew blushed furiously and glanced down at his food before looking up at Jonathan again.
"I just... well... thanks. I really appreciate this. That you went out to get food and all."
Jonathan flushed. "Well, um, that's nice of you, Andrew. Thank you."
Andrew grinned shyly and looked down at the blanket. Jonathan went back to picking at his food. He had maybe taken only a bite when Andrew spoke up again.
"I think... do you think maybe we could... maybe we could get a new blanket?"
Jonathan looked down at the straw-colored blanket that had served as their only real source of warmth for weeks now. He felt a strange sense of familiarity towards the blanket, and frowned.
"What's wrong with the blanket?"
Andrew shifted on the bed, running his hand over the rough fabric. "Well, it's awfully uncomfortable. A bed is supposed to be one's sanctuary, the place where they feel most comfortable. I don't feel good with this blanket."
Jonathan blinked. "It's just a blanket. It's a crappy little blanket in this crappy little room on this crappy little bed that we happen to share."
"But..." Andrew was persistent now. "It's our bed. And it's uncomfortable sometimes with your feet pressed up against my legs. I know you can't be comfortable scrunched up like that. I... I think we deserve a new blanket."
Jonathan didn't know how to tell Andrew that he didn't really mind sharing a bed, so he just nodded. "Okay, we'll get a new blanket."
Andrew grinned and went back to his food.
The new blanket was nice, a soft cotton/poly blend in cool shades of navy and cream. Andrew fell in love with it instantly, and proceeded to spend all his time in the room cuddled up with it somehow. Jonathan found it oddly endearing as he watched Andrew fold it up into a soft pillow.
"That's just... adorable," he said, his words barely audible. Then, in realizing what he had said, Jonathan blinked a few times.
"The heat must be getting to me."
Andrew looked up from his meticulous folding job. "Why?" he asked, "What's wrong?"
Jonathan shook his head. "Just hot, I guess."
"You look hot," said Andrew, smoothing down a corner. "You could always take your shirt off or something; that would cool you down."
Jonathan paused at that. Coming from anybody else, that would have been an innocent comment. But Jonathan wasn't stupid; he had seen the looks Andrew had given Warren. He had probably planned this, the blanket thing was just a cover for "Hi, Jonathan, may I ogle you?" Well, he wasn't going to fall for that.
"I think I'll just take a walk," he said. As he quickly left the room he barely heard Andrew's "bye."
He had to think.
Jonathan walked the dusty streets, his hands shoved in his pockets. He kicked at the dirt and it made little clouds puff around his feet. This was insane. This was positively stupid. How could he... Andrew? No, not even. He listed off the people he had ever been attracted to. Buffy, Cordelia, those twins, Buffy, Willow on occasion, Anya during her Pay-per-View special, Buffy. All girls. All incredibly beautiful, untouchable girls. He thought of the twins again. Well, not entirely untouchable. He allowed himself to drift for a minute before snapping back to his thoughts. And then there was Andrew, who, despite his actions, was not a girl. But he was sweet, and nice, and was working really hard to try to earn his keep. Jonathan almost forgave him. Almost. But every time he felt a surge of anger and resentment towards Andrew, he kept seeing him folding that stupid blanket, so eager and focused on his work. Yes. It was the blanket's fault. Andrew was the one who had wanted the stupid thing. He had planned this all out. He must have known that Jonathan would fall for him once he had that blanket in his possession. Wait a minute. Fall for him? Was he kidding? He wasn't falling for anyone, especially not Andrew.
Jonathan walked faster, Andrew's image burned into his brain.
Andrew looked at the closed door, watching through the little window until Jonathan became a tiny speck, and then faded entirely. He frowned and went back to his smoothing. What the heck was wrong with him? Was it something he'd said?
"Come on, Andrew; don't tell me you're that oblivious."
Andrew squeaked, tossing the blanket into the air in surprise, his careful work undone in a matter of seconds. Warren chuckled and walked over to where Andrew was sitting.
"What's the matter? Didn't expect to see me? You know I'd never leave you."
Andrew swallowed heavily and looked at Warren, who had a twinkle in his eye and was looking at the blanket that now lay on the floor. Andrew reached over and grabbed the blanket, clutching it to his chest.
"That's a nice blanket you got there, Andrew. It looks good on your skin." Warren stared at Andrew thoughtfully.
"You always had nice skin, Andrew; did I ever tell you that?" He paused. "No; probably not. Skin never really mattered that much to me before. I guess I took it for granted." Warren ran his hands over one another slowly, as if trying to rub some feeling back into them.
Andrew gulped, blinking back tears. "I really miss you," he sniffed. "And now something's wrong with Jonathan, and I don't have anybody." He wiped at his eyes with the blanket.
Warren reached out, an intangible hand ghosting by Andrew's cheek. "You know you have me, Andrew. And there's nothing wrong with Jonathan, well, not really."
Andrew looked at Warren, now very confused. "What?"
"Isn't it obvious? The little guy's got it bad for you. I wanted you to keep him safe for me, but I didn't know this would happen. This just makes my plan easier." Warren's face broke into a wide grin.
"Um, Warren?" Andrew fidgeted. "What is your plan?"
Warren stared at Andrew, his gaze becoming dark.
"You'll know when it's time for you to know. Jonathan trusts you now; that's the important thing."
Work was confusing after that. Andrew listened to Maria, picking up enough Spanish to know that when she said "No mas!" it meant he had added too much flour, and when she said "Dios mio!" it meant he had done something wrong again. Jonathan worked just as hard as ever, but his trips to the kitchen were a lot more frequent, and his time spent there was a lot longer. Eduardo noticed this and pulled Jonathan aside one evening before their shifts had ended. Andrew watched through the open space as inconspicuously as he could, and could barely make out what was going on. Eduardo was speaking rapid fire Spanish now, and Jonathan was nodding slowly. Suddenly his face turned bright pink and he shrank down, which made him look even smaller than he already was. He nodded to Eduardo while looking down at his shoes, and then sheepishly walked over to the bar and gave a drink order.
Later that evening Jonathan and Andrew sat on their bed, the still full bottle of tequila between them. Neither of them felt like drinking.
"So what did Eduardo say to you?" asked Andrew, picking at a stray thread on his pants leg. Jonathan flushed and grabbed the bottle.
"I think maybe I will drink some of this," he muttered.
Andrew watched as Jonathan opened the bottle and began to chug.
"Um, Jonathan? Jonathan? I don't think... maybe that's not such... er..." Andrew fidgeted, watching as Jonathan began to tear up from the pain of drinking so quickly. Frowning, he reached out and grabbed the bottle away from Jonathan. The liquid sloshed onto Andrew's pants and he looked down and then glared at Jonathan.
"Look what you made me do! What's wrong with you anyway? You're acting very... schizo!"
Jonathan watched; his mind disconnected from his body, as Andrew took away the bottle and leaned over to place it on the floor. His mind in a haze; he watched Andrew's shirt ride up and took the opportunity to stare at the small expanse of back it uncovered.
Andrew sat back up and looked at him. Jonathan's jaw was slack and he was staring dully at Andrew, his face blank.
Andrew furrowed his brow and recalled what Warren had said to him. Jonathan... Jonathan wanted him? What the heck? No, that was just silly. Jonathan was very into girls and girl parts. Just because he was gay didn't mean he had to turn everybody else gay along with him. Maybe Warren was wrong. He looked at Jonathan, who was still sitting there very slack.
"Jonathan? Are you all right?"
Jonathan stared at Andrew. Andrew was nothing more than a blur of colors to him, a man created from alcohol and lust. God, lust. The stupid feeling that ruined everything for everyone every time. Andrew's skin seemed to glow in this liquorlust gaze, and Jonathan tilted his head, as if that would give him a better view. Andrew was staring at him now, and Jonathan felt captivated. He blinked, trying to get the fuzziness out of his head. Andrew reached over and put a hand on his shoulder.
Jonathan couldn't take it anymore.
Andrew gasped as Jonathan crawled over and into his lap. This wasn't right. Jonathan was drunk. This was just... so wrong. Jonathan began to suck gently at Andrew's neck, sending a shiver down his back. God, so wrong. He should put a stop to this. He should end this.
Jonathan gently combed his fingers through Andrew's hair, stumbling slightly and snuggling more fully into his lap.
He should end this later.
Jonathan pressed up against Andrew, gasping softly. So this was what it was like. He slowly kissed along Andrew's jaw line, listening to Andrew's little moans and sighs. He kissed across Andrew's cheek and pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. He grasped at Andrew's shirt, trying to get a firm grip, but his fingers weren't working right and he wound up splaying his hand across Andrew's chest. In return, Andrew gently clenched Jonathan's shirt, which, along with the alcohol, fed his courage. He leaned in and pressed his lips against Andrew's.
When Andrew felt Jonathan's lips press up against his, he was amazed by how full and lush they were. He gently bit Jonathan's lower lip and tugged at it, as if it would explode as a burst of flavor into his mouth. Jonathan's breath hitched in his throat, and he pressed up against Andrew. Andrew groaned at the feeling of that compact body pressed up against him, and he released Jonathan's lip, tilting his head back and letting it rest on his shoulders. Jonathan licked the column of Andrew's throat, pressing wet kisses over the cool skin. Andrew whimpered and twitched. Jonathan took that as a sign to continue, and began to move slowly against him, thrusting hesitantly onto Andrew as he kissed. He had a rhythm worked out, but that dissolved in a few seconds as the alcohol seeped in. It was this cessation of rhythm that forced Andrew to acknowledge that Jonathan really was drunk, and he wasn't doing him any favors by furthering something he knew Jonathan would regret in the morning.
Andrew pulled away and ran his hands over Jonathan's smooth jaw and down his neck, resting them on his shoulders. Jonathan looked at him, his eyes wide and glassy. He had a thin sheen of sweat covering him, and he was breathing heavily. He looked disappointed, his lower lip jutting out in a luscious pout. Andrew became weak, and leaned in to kiss him. Their lips had just touched when Andrew smelled the alcohol mixed in with the sweat. He felt horribly guilty and pulled away again.
"What'd I do?" Jonathan whimpered, pressing against Andrew and clawing at his shirt.
Andrew closed his eyes and ignored the throbbing in his groin. "Jonathan, this... this isn't right. We can't."
Jonathan took the hand that had been clinging to Andrew's shirt and weakly slapped him with it. "Why not? Dontchoo... you don't want me?"
Andrew ran his hand over Jonathan's shoulder. Weeks of waiting tables had made those shoulders strong and hard. That just made it that much more difficult.
"That's not the point." Andrew was amazed at how responsible he sounded, but he figured it didn't take much to sound responsible when one was up against someone who was incredibly wasted.
"Jonathan, you're... you're drunk. Really drunk. And this is just, just amazing. But not like this. It can't be like this. We both have to want it."
Jonathan pouted and punched Andrew's shoulder, barely even touching it. "I want it. I want you. God, really want you."
Andrew gently disentangled himself from Jonathan and got off the bed, still shaking.
"But will you in the morning?"
Andrew left the still pouting Jonathan curled up in bed and within seconds, Jonathan was asleep. Andrew placed the little bathroom wastebasket next to him on the floor, just in case he had to puke. Sighing, he shuffled into the bathroom and sat on the closed lid of the toilet, having mixed feelings about what he had done, and being painfully aware that the ache in his pants wasn't going to just go away from sitting there.
"Well, that was interesting."
Andrew gasped and fell back in shock, his spine hitting the back of the toilet. Warren was... in the bathtub? That would have amused Andrew if he hadn't been so flustered.
"Um... what was interesting?"
Warren let out a puff of laughter.
"You and the spectacular drunk out there; what else would I be talking about?"
Andrew colored and stared down, suddenly becoming very interested in his toes.
"You know, that was actually pretty hot. Who knew the shrimp had it in him."
Andrew scuffed his foot against the floor's sticky tiles.
"You were watching?"
Warren chuckled. "How could I miss that? That was so surprisingly... stimulating that I started touching myself."
Andrew snapped his head up to look at Warren. "Really?" he flushed and a small grin spread across his face, but then he furrowed his brow in thought. "Wait, but you're incorporeal, you can't do that."
Warren ran his hand down his chest and stopped just above his belt, resting his fingers on the rough leather. He looked up at Andrew, his dark eyes sparkling. "Want to bet on that?"
Andrew's jaw dropped and his eyes widened. He made a move to speak, but instead, a squeak escaped his from his mouth. He was breathing heavily and his pupils were dilated. He had been turned on before with Jonathan, for sure, but... well, this was his Warren. He nodded, his head heavy.
Warren smirked and slowly let his hand rest on the front of his pants. Andrew sighed, and as Warren went to make his move, he heard it.
Jonathan was throwing up into the little basket. Andrew turned quickly towards the door, where, on the other side, Jonathan was emptying the contents of his stomach. He frantically turned to look back at Warren, but he was gone.
Andrew let out a helpless whimper. He frowned and ran his fingers over his crotch once, very lightly. Shaking his head, Andrew came out of his fog, and grabbing a washcloth, he went to go help Jonathan.
Jonathan felt like a Mack truck had slammed him halfway across Mexico when he woke up; and smacking his lips, he felt as though he had been chewing on moss in his sleep. He turned slightly, seeing Andrew fast asleep next to him. He looked troubled as he slept, and Jonathan could see his eyes darting back and forth behind his eyelids. He reached out and ran his hand over Andrew's shoulder, gently squeezing the fleshiest part. Jonathan wanted to stay there and perhaps comfort Andrew, but he really had to use the bathroom.
He padded towards the toilet, and as he passed the little sink, he noticed that the trash can was sitting in it, almost filled to the brim with water.
"I wonder what Andrew was doing," he muttered to himself, but he didn't bother to think of an answer, because he really, really had to pee.
After he had relieved himself, he went to wash his hands. His mouth still felt cottony, and he flicked his tongue against his teeth, trying to get the fuzziness to go away. Frowning, Jonathan looked into the mirror. He gasped.
His eyes were bloodshot, rimmed in red, and his face looked heavy, like his jaw was trying to drag his face down to meet his feet. He clutched at his head, realizing it felt as though someone were trying to knock a wrecking ball through his skull. What had happened? He leaned against the sink, wracking his still spongy brains. He remembered tequila, which accounted for the haziness. He bit down on his lip, and suddenly had a flash of déjà vu; only it was Andrew who was tugging at his lip. Andrew, who had made him feel so good that he forgot he was a straight heterosexual male. Andrew, who had made him feel loved and wanted and not alone for the first time since things he'd rather not think about had happened. Andrew, who... who... who actually hadn't started any of it. Crap.
He picked up the bucket and dumped the water into the sink, wincing as some of the water splashed onto his shirt. Ignoring it, he shook the bucket to get the little droplets out. His brain rattled as he shook, and the bucket slipped from his hands and thudded to the floor as he clutched at his head. Wincing in pain, Jonathan doubled over, his hand gripping the edge of the sink. He heard a gasp, and looked up, the sight barely perceptible between his fluttering lashes. Andrew was running over to him, and within seconds, Jonathan felt a pair of warm arms wrap themselves around him, rubbing at his back soothingly.
"Jonathan, you need to get back to bed," Andrew slowly turned Jonathan towards the direction of the bed and helped him walk over. "You probably have a wicked hangover. Plus you puked last night."
"Not all I did last night," murmured Jonathan, falling over onto the bed and looking up at Andrew. Andrew blushed and tried to look anywhere but at Jonathan. Jonathan reached out and grabbed Andrew's wrist, and Andrew recoiled.
"What... what are you doing?" Andrew looked extremely frightened.
Jonathan tugged him over until Andrew was perched gingerly on the bed next to him. He struggled with sitting up, but eventually faced Andrew, still holding onto his wrist. Once he was satisfied with how he was sitting, he released Andrew's wrist and looked at him, a grave expression on his face.
"Andrew, I may have been... really, really drunk; but I remember, uh, I remember the... stuff." Jonathan chided himself for how stupid he sounded. He had kissed another guy. If he did it, surely he could talk about it. "Stuff like... like kissing. A lot," he amended.
Andrew flushed and started toying with a loose string on his pants. He didn't say anything.
Jonathan continued. "Yesterday was... weird. Like, really weird, what with the... stuff. And it's not going to happen again. I'm not gay, Andrew. You're... well, you're very... but you're not what I want. Um, relationshipwise."
Andrew nodded. Satisfied, Jonathan ran his hands through his hair and smacked his lips, biting his tongue.
"God, I feel like garbage. I'm gonna shower and brush my teeth for like, a million years." Jonathan scooted off the bed and walked to the bathroom, still clutching his head.
Andrew listened to the pattering of the water against the tile in the bathroom. He closed his eyes and thought about what Jonathan had said.
"You're not what I want."
Images from last night flashed through his mind like a slide show. Jonathan; sucking at his neck, rubbing up against him, running his fingers through Andrew's hair. Andrew sighed and listened to the noise of the water, hearing the floor of the rickety old bathtub creak as Jonathan moved, presumably further under the tepid spray in an attempt to shake off the headache. Andrew tried desperately to not think of warm, wet, naked skin. He tried not to think of strong shoulders and full lips slick with water. Still remembering, he touched the front of his throat, sliding his hand down to his collarbone and then up and through his hair. The tub floor creaked again as Jonathan shifted. Andrew shifted too. He thought of a pliant tongue and the dizzy feeling he'd had when Jonathan pressed his fingers against his chest, making the skin there feel unbelievably hot. His skin still burned under the protective layer of his t-shirt. Unable to control himself, Andrew gently trailed his fingers down the front of his shirt, resting them hesitantly at his belt loops.
"It can't be like this. We both have to want it."
He slipped his hand below his waistband.
"I want it. I want you. God, really want you."
Whimpering, he traced soft fingers over hard flesh. Stifling a moan, desperately trying to not be heard; he curled his fingers and furiously increased his actions, thinking of ice blue eyes glassy with need and desire. He fell back, hitting worn pillows, oblivious to the fact that he had done so.
"You're not what I want."
Almost crying now, the want tearing up inside of him, rushing into his bloodstream, making his skin tingle. The longing he never knew he had spilling out of him as he squeezed his eyes shut, effectively blocking the onset of tears as he moaned Jonathan's name through clenched teeth. He lay there, gasping for breath, unable to move, unaware that the rhythmic spray of the water against tiles had stopped long ago.
Jonathan blinked, resting his head against the closed bathroom door. He had finished his shower a while ago, and had gone to get his clothes when he had seen much more of Andrew than he had ever wanted to. He quickly turned and went back into the bathroom, faintly hearing Andrew cry out his name. Completely freaked out, Jonathan had been sitting in the bathroom for the past fifteen or so minutes, desperately trying to come to grips with what he had seen, and not being able to cope with any of it.
The evening arrived quickly, and soon Andrew was tying his little apron around his waist, ready to go to work. He noticed that on the way to work that evening, Jonathan was twitchy and jumpy. Andrew figured he must still be uncomfortable being around him, which hurt him, because he'd thought they would be back on friendly terms by now.
After all, that was what Jonathan said he wanted.
As soon as they reached the café, Jonathan disappeared immediately, a difficult feat in a restaurant the size of a shoebox. Despite Maria's chastising, Andrew worked slowly, taking his frustrations out on the dough. He punched the dough and smacked it with the rolling pin, ignoring the fact that he had been working on the same piece of crust for a good twenty minutes. He was heading into his twenty-first minute of brutally punishing the dough when Maria placed her hand on his arm. He looked at her, and her eyes were painfully kind.
"Go home," she said gently, patting his arm.
"Am I fired?" he asked, biting his lip. "I need this job, I'm sorry, I'll do better."
She patted his arm again and shook her head. "Not fired. Go home. Rest."
He nodded, placing the rolling pin next to the dough. "I'm sorry."
Maria smiled and waved him away, taking the rolling pin and shaking it at him mockingly. "Rest!"
Andrew nodded, looking back at her as he left. He was still looking at the kitchen when he smacked into someone.
"I'm sorry!" He looked at who he had hit. "Sorry!" Jonathan just stared at him, and then quickly turned and walked off. Andrew groaned. God, this was so predictable. Jonathan wanting everyone but him; but being kept close because he was such a good friend, all while he quietly pined away. Kind of like Spider-Man; only the movie version. Which he hadn't seen, what with running away scared for his life and all that, but he'd read all the spoilers on various Marvel message boards. But, wait. Did that make him Tobey Maguire? He wished he had superpowers; then maybe he'd be able to stomp out these feelings and concentrate on saving the day and things like that. He maneuvered his way through the crowd of people, avoiding Eduardo's mistrustful glare. He pushed his way out of the café, stumbling over the terra-cotta entranceway and almost falling into a palm tree. After he had escaped, he took a deep breath. The air was humid, but it was clean, which was more than he could say for the inside of the smoky restaurant.
Andrew walked down the dusty road cautiously, having decided to take back streets in order to be alone with his thoughts. He realized that wasn't the safest thing to do, but being around people wasn't an option he was currently considering. He was miserable, and his only friend had abandoned him. He was completely alone.
Well, maybe not completely.
"What do you want?" Andrew grumbled, kicking his feet as he walked, making the dust swirl around his ankles.
"Andrew. I'm offended. Can't a dead guy visit his best friend without wanting something?"
Andrew stopped and turned to face Warren.
"Look, I'm having a really bad day, so now isn't the greatest time for us to chat."
Warren raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I know you're not having a good day. It's terrible, the way he's treating you. You know, if I was him, I'd be ecstatic that someone actually wanted me. Of course, if I was him, I'd have to have all my pants shortened."
Andrew smiled in spite of his mood. "I wouldn't want you to be him. I like you the way you are. Or, well, were."
Warren ghosted his hand over Andrew's cheek. "It makes me happy, you know? I'm glad that even though I'm not able to be there physically, I'm with you, regardless. Jonathan should be so lucky. But I'm not surprised he's acting this way."
"What do you mean?" Andrew frowned.
Warren smirked. "Well, I would assume watching one of your closest friends jerk off while groaning your name has got to weird a guy out. But what do I know? I'm just a dead guy. Maybe it's for the best. It's doubtful he could ever have with you what I had with you."
Warren shrugged. "It's a shame, really. The two of you... well, let's just say that the two of you could be great together. You could do important things. Intensely powerful and significant things."
"He what?" Andrew turned to look at Warren, but he was gone.
Jonathan waved to the last drunken patron stumbling out of the café, no doubt on their way to a better bar, one that stayed open all night and didn't stop serving you alcohol, even after you'd forgotten your own name. Jonathan felt bad for the man, but he wasn't about to follow him. He had been too drunk and too lecherous. Shuddering, Jonathan turned and went back to the kitchen. Maria was there washing dishes, and her face lit up when she saw Jonathan. She waved him over, and he started drying dishes and stacking them up as she talked.
"Such a nice boy, your friend. He was sad, I could tell. He needed rest."
Jonathan nodded, trying to concentrate on drying dishes and not on what Maria was saying.
"He seems troubled. Usually so joyful; but now, very sad."
Jonathan winced and bit his lip. He began to dry slower as she continued.
"It is very strange. Poor boy. You are his friend. You should help him, make him happy again."
The image of Andrew spread-eagled on the bed, his head thrown back and his eyes clenched shut, moaning his name as he worked himself into a frenzy, ran through his head. Jonathan closed his eyes and shivered, forgetting what he was doing and dropping the dish. It slammed to the floor, shattering into millions of pieces. He froze, and then stared dumbly at the broken plate. He looked up at Maria.
She raised an eyebrow. "I think you need rest, too," she said.
Jonathan blushed, his face crimson in the poor light. He placed the dishtowel on the counter and mumbled, "I'll just go get the broom."
Maria patted him on the shoulder. He glanced at her, knowing that he looked pitiful and pathetic.
"Rest," she said. "Rest and talk. Such nice boys." She pushed him towards the direction of the swinging doors. He wanted to tell her that he would stay and help, but she gave him a stern look that told him he would be better off just going back to his room.
Andrew sat on the closed toilet, twitching madly. He had locked the door to the bathroom and decided that he would not open it for anything, not even if David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were on the other side, begging him to participate in a three-way. No, he was too humiliated, even for that. Jonathan knew. He had seen him. He had heard him. God, if only this weren’t true, then he could keep his crush buried deep down, just where it was supposed to stay. But Warren had told him that Jonathan knew.
And his Warren would never lie to him.
He kicked the wall across from him, thudding out a rhythm as he thought of what he was going to do. Well, he certainly wasn’t going to talk to Jonathan again, he knew that much. And he wasn’t going to leave this bathroom. Death by starvation and embarrassment. It sounded good to him. As he was debating what he wanted his epitaph to say ("Lord God Andrew" was an idea, as was "Here lies Andrew. He died of shame. A lot.") he heard the door open and then slam shut. He immediately stopped kicking the wall and tucked his legs under him, staring at the bathroom doorknob. He heard footsteps and then there was a sharp rap on the door. Andrew squeaked and flailed his legs.
"Andrew! I know you're in there. Come out, we need to talk."
"You can't stay in there forever."
"I have tequila."
Andrew sighed, unlocked the door, and walked out into the little room. Jonathan stood there, clutching his apron in front of him like a shield. Andrew looked at his feet, not daring to look Jonathan in the eye. The silence in the room was deafening, and Andrew felt like he was about to choke from the thick, smoggy heat that was wrapping around his body. He looked up, daring to glance at Jonathan for just a second. Jonathan was biting his lip and looking so utterly conflicted that Andrew wanted to hug him. But, of course, he couldn't do that. Jonathan took a deep breath and Andrew hung on that breath with fearful anticipation.
After Jonathan had taken a deep, hopefully cleansing breath, he decided to put the plan he had come up with into action. It was a ridiculous idea, and something he knew could lead to nothing good, but he had to do it. He had to prove that this whole Andrew thing was a fluke. Andrew stood there, bouncing on the balls of his feet and looking like he wanted to throw up. Jonathan swallowed back his revulsion and crossed over to Andrew, who was staring at him, eyes wide. He dropped the apron; and still shaking, Jonathan wrapped his arms around Andrew and pulled him down to his level, looking him straight in the eye.
"I'm completely sober," he said, and Andrew cocked his head in confusion.
Quaking, Jonathan pressed his lips to Andrew's.
Andrew gasped. Jonathan clenched his eyes shut and continued the kiss, still holding Andrew firmly by the shoulders. He bit at Andrew's lower lip, almost too roughly, and Andrew whimpered, opening his mouth helplessly. Jonathan forced himself to continue, sweeping his tongue across Andrew's teeth and tongue. Andrew choked a little from the force of it, and Jonathan pulled back slightly to look at him. Andrew's eyes were glassy and unfocused, and his lips were red and swollen. He looked deathly pale and fragile in the milky glow of the moonlight that filled the small room. Jonathan softened a little and moved in for a gentler kiss, sweeping his tongue gently across Andrew's lips in apology. Andrew moaned and opened his mouth against Jonathan's, kissing back. Jonathan could feel the want in the kiss, the sheer need behind it, and allowed him to continue, running his hand down Andrew's cheek and marveling at the softness of it. Rough times had left them both broken and worn down, and yet, Andrew's skin felt as if it had never felt pain or torment ever. Jonathan rested his hands on Andrew's slim shoulders, and allowed himself to be pulled closer into Andrew's arms. He groaned as Andrew tangled his fingers in his hair, lightly tugging at the dark locks. Trembling, Jonathan pulled back just enough to look Andrew in the eye.
"I'm not gay," he whispered.
"No one's saying you are," Andrew whispered back.
"Just so we're clear."
Andrew nodded. Jonathan tugged at his shoulders, walking backwards until his legs hit the threadbare mattress and he tumbled backwards, dragging Andrew down on top of him. He ran his hands down Andrew's back until he reached the bottom of his t-shirt, and slowly began to pull it up, getting frustrated when the shirt wouldn't come off as easily as he thought it would. Giving up, he threw his arms back on the mattress and looked at Andrew with what he hoped was a pitiful expression.
"Little help, here?"
Andrew blushed, but sat up. Still straddling Jonathan, he slowly pulled off his shirt and threw it across the room, immediately wrapping his arms around himself. Jonathan frowned and tugged at Andrew's elbow.
"I want to see you," he said, and Andrew dropped his arms. Jonathan reached out and ran his hand down Andrew's chest and abdomen, smiling when Andrew wriggled.
"It tickles," he explained, and Jonathan laughed.
"What, you mean this?" he asked, spiderwalking his fingers over Andrew's stomach. Andrew squeaked and twitched and made a move to get off, but Jonathan grabbed his arms and pulled him down.
"I don't think so," he smirked, pulling Andrew down for another kiss. He ran his fingers through Andrew's hair, stopping at the top of his neck and letting his palm rest on the warm skin there. Andrew whimpered, and Jonathan felt a surge of pride go through him, knowing that he was the one inspiring such noises. He rolled them over until he was the one straddling Andrew, and nodded. This was much better. He could be the one in control, and if things started to get too weird for him, well then, he could just leave.
Andrew bucked his hips sharply and Jonathan gasped, arching his back before falling forward, resting on his elbows so he could look at Andrew as he kissed his nose, his cheek, his chin.
Nope; not weird yet.
Andrew fumbled at his back, and Jonathan, taking the hint, sat up and stripped off his own shirt as well before hovering over Andrew, bracing his arms on the bed. He looked down and was floored. Andrew's face was contorted into an expression of sheer ecstasy, his mouth slightly parted, his cheeks flushed. His eyes were closed, but, as if sensing he was being watched, he opened them and looked at Jonathan. Andrew's eyes were such a deep blue and looked warm in contrast to his own, which he had been told before looked icy. Andrew was breathing heavily now, and Jonathan watched his chest rise and fall for a minute. Sighing, Jonathan leaned over and pressed a light kiss onto Andrew's lips before slowly kissing his way down his neck, past his collarbone, and onto his chest. Andrew shifted below him and tossed his head sideways, unable to keep still for very long. Still in awe that he was the cause of this, Jonathan kissed down Andrew's chest and onto his stomach, pausing to dip his tongue into Andrew's bellybutton before working his way back up to Andrew's neck. Andrew squirmed, wrapping his arms around Jonathan and pulling him into a sweaty embrace, rocking his hips. Jonathan groaned and thrust against Andrew, who let out a breathy moan and responded by thrusting his hips up to meet Jonathan's. A shiver went down Jonathan's spine and he clutched at Andrew's shoulders and rolled them over so that Andrew was now on top of him. He wanted to know what it felt like, having someone thrust down onto him. He twitched his hips and Andrew let out a soft cry before bringing his hips down hard on top of Jonathan. Jonathan continued pushing up against Andrew, who kept rubbing against him with equal fervor; only pausing so that Jonathan could give Andrew a long kiss, or so that Andrew could nuzzle his head into the crook of Jonathan's neck. They writhed and twitched, unable to remember ever feeling this good before; and when Andrew slipped his hand under Jonathan's waistband and gently massaged, he snapped, liquid lightning coursing through his veins.
Jonathan screamed and arched his back as hard as he could, frozen in time as the rest of the world faded away and he was left in nothing, a blank place with no time or space or distance. He could vaguely hear Andrew whining and panting as he gave a final thrust and was also thrown into this vacuum.
Andrew cuddled up next to him as he slept, and absentmindedly Jonathan ran his fingers through Andrew's hair. He was still awake, unable to process what he had just done. Never in his lifetime would he ever have considered doing anything remotely like… that. He couldn't even give a name to what he had done; he was so shocked by it. Jonathan sighed. Even if he had considered something like this before, which he hadn't, he never would have expected it to be quite so… wonderful. He snorted. Wonderful? Who did he think he was, Jackie Collins? It wasn't wonderful; it was sick and wrong and he was incredibly straight. How could he lead Andrew on like this? As if he sensed that he was being thought about; Andrew curled up closer against Jonathan's side, making a little snuffling noise as he slept. Jonathan looked down at the boy next to him and a fresh wave of guilt washed over him. He was straight. As straight as the straightest arrow that had ever been made.
That's all there was to it. Andrew would just have to understand that what had just happened was a one time deal. It wouldn't happen again.
Andrew groaned as Jonathan bit down on his nipple and gently tugged. Inspired by Andrew's noises, Jonathan continued, licking a path down Andrew's side and over his hipbone. Andrew whimpered and shook under him, but Jonathan persisted, ignoring Andrew's plea for him to stop. He sucked at Andrew's hip, tasting the salty skin. Andrew panted, bringing his hips fully off the bed.
"Please, please, just do it," he begged. Jonathan pulled away and looked at him.
"Someone's indecisive," he snickered, wriggling around till he was close enough to kiss Andrew's neck. Still laughing, he traced the line of Andrew's hipbone with the tip of one finger.
"Like this?" he asked, and then splayed his palm out. "Or maybe like this?"
"Either," he whimpered, thrusting up to meet Jonathan's hand, "Just do it, already."
Jonathan rubbed slowly, watching Andrew's face as he did so. Andrew was making the most exquisitely painful faces, but Jonathan knew he was in no pain whatsoever. He sped up his actions, and Andrew squirmed, unable to do anything but gasp for air. Jonathan stretched out and kissed Andrew, matching his kisses to the rhythm of his strokes. Andrew moaned into his mouth as he shuddered, clutching at Jonathan wildly before collapsing, too sated to move. Jonathan looked at the sweaty boy sprawled out next to him. Sighing, he leaned over and placed a kiss on Andrew's forehead, then rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom to solve his own discomfort. This had been about Andrew; and as he turned the creaky handle and watched the water spill out of the showerhead, he felt something stir deep inside his chest. Feelings of deep affection towards Andrew, and a need to protect him and make him happy. It was a new and strange feeling, but Jonathan liked it.
Andrew lay on the bed, his limbs feeling like rubber. He sighed contentedly and lazily rolled over onto his side to look out the teeny window at the cloudless afternoon sky. God, he felt so good. Things were just... great. Work was going well; he had earned a slight increase in his salary, and Jonathan had been promoted to head waiter or whatever it was that they called really important not quite manager-type guys in Mexico. And Jonathan... well, he couldn't believe his good luck. He had never felt so safe. It was almost enough to make him forget-
"Woah. Never expected… well, I mean, maybe expected a little. Maybe even encouraged it kind of, but... wow. I knew the two of you were close, and it was cool. But this is... really intense."
Squeaking, Andrew sat up and pressed himself against the headboard. Warren was standing there, looking dumbfounded. Andrew looked down and realized that he was incredibly nude, and made a motion to grab for the blanket, but Warren held up his hand.
"You don't have to do that. I mean, it's not like I've never seen you naked before."
Andrew blushed and drew his knees up to his chest, reaching for the blanket anyway. He watched as Warren looked around the room, at the bed, over to the hallway that disappeared into the bathroom, and then back to Andrew.
"So. You… you've forgotten about me that quickly, Andrew?"
Andrew shook his head furiously.
"No, I never! I mean, Jonathan, he's… I like him. A lot. But I never forgot you."
Warren frowned, his eyes cloudy with, disappointment? Anger? Andrew couldn't tell, but he couldn't bear to see his Warren in pain.
"I never ever forgot you," he continued; "How could you even say that? You… I loved you."
Warren scowled and glared at Andrew.
"Did you? Or did you just love how I made you feel? How I pushed into you, claimed you, marked you as mine? I loved you, Andrew. Loved you with everything I had, and you go and throw it all away for some fling with the very person who would have ditched us both given the opportunity. You were mine. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
A chill ran down Andrew's spine, and he wasn't able to stop the tears from running down his cheeks.
"Warren, no! I loved you! I still love you, God, please…"
Warren ignored him and continued.
"God; do you know what it was like for me? I worked so hard, made so many plans; and that bitch and her Slayer took it all away from us, Andrew. She took me away from you. The whole time she was torturing me, making me beg for my life; all I could think about was if you were going to be okay. I was glad she was attacking me, because it meant she wasn't near you. She fucking ripped my skin off, Andrew. She tore me apart and all I could think about was you. And then, then you go and just... you fuck around with the guy who sold us out. If he hadn't done that, this never would have happened. And you know why I did what I did? So that you could be safe, so we could be safe. How could we ever have anything if that whore was after us? And then it all ended, Andrew. For me, for us, for all of it. And what do you do? You go and hook up with anybody who's willing to fucking tolerate you for more than five minutes. You slept with the guy that killed me, and you don't even care. I can't believe I ever loved somebody as worthless as you, Andrew."
Andrew sobbed, muffling his cries with the blanket. He looked up at Warren, his eyes red and wet.
"Warren, I... I miss you so much. Every day it feels like I'm sinking into this, this... muck, and it makes no difference if I ever get pulled out. I can't stand it. I love you so much, and I never got to say goodbye. Everyone should get to say goodbye, and I never... and he meant nothing, and if I could take it back, I would! I just, God, I'm so sorry. I would do anything to be with you again!"
Warren paused. He walked over to Andrew and stared at him.
"Anything?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Anything!" sobbed Andrew.
A slow smile crossed Warren's face.
Jonathan turned off the water, wincing as the spigot screeched shut. He shook his head to get rid of any stray water droplets that were still clinging stubbornly to his hair. He went to get his clothes, wrapping the towel around his waist as he walked, and paused as he heard a noise.
Andrew was crying.
Jonathan was at Andrew's side in a few brisk paces, and he sat next to him on the bed and immediately started rubbing his back.
"Andrew, what happened? You were fine when I left."
Andrew recoiled at Jonathan's touch, which left Jonathan feeling very confused. He couldn't think of what could have possibly happened in the short time he had been gone to make Andrew so upset, so he tried again.
"Andrew? What's wrong?"
Andrew looked at him with red-rimmed eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
"I… I miss home. I miss my brother. I miss being able to understand what people are saying and I miss having clean water to drink."
Jonathan nodded in recognition. "I understand; I do. I miss home too. But it's not safe there, not yet. You know that."
Andrew sniffed into the blanket, "I know."
"And you have me," Jonathan added, making a move to rub Andrew's arm. Andrew jerked his arm away from Jonathan, looking as though he'd been burned. Jonathan frowned.
"Did I do something wrong?"
Andrew chewed on his lip and took a deep breath. "No, I'm just… and you're just a reminder of home… and I'm not feeling so great right now. Do you think maybe you could tell Eduardo that I won't be able to work this evening?"
Jonathan walked over to the small pile of clothes in the corner of the room and began to get dressed.
"Yeah, I'll tell him. I'm sorry, Andrew, I wish there was something I could do."
Andrew curled up in bed and pulled the blanket up to his chin. "You're doing plenty."
Jonathan left a few minutes later, his apron tucked into the pocket of his pants. As he walked down the mostly-deserted street, he threaded his belt through the loops in his pants and he thought. How could he help Andrew? Why was Andrew shying away from him? Well… he didn't care. If Andrew didn't want to be near him, fine. He liked girls anyway, not Andrew. But, he just looked so pitiful. Still conflicted, Jonathan pushed open the door to the little restaurant, ready to begin his shift.
Satisfied that Jonathan was gone for good, Andrew went to put his clothes on. Warren had told him that this knife he had to get was somewhere in this crummy little town, and that all he had to do was find it. It was a good thing he remembered a summoning spell that didn't require one of his mystical instruments, as he had left them all in Sunnydale. He would just call up some sort of demon and make them take him to wherever this knife happened to be, or at the very least, tell him how to get it. Yes. An excellent plan.
The night passed slowly, and Jonathan found his mind wandering more often than it had in a long time. He worked mechanically, not focusing on his job, but rather on his thoughts. He realized that Andrew was missing home, and that he was indeed a reminder of the life they'd been forced to leave. But, he was a part of the life they now had here in Mexico. He had thought he had played a bit bigger of a role in Andrew's current life than he had in their Sunnydale one; and he couldn't understand why Andrew suddenly couldn't stand to be near him. And it was when his thoughts veered down this off-ramp that Jonathan realized how very girly he sounded, and resolved to stop caring or thinking about Andrew. He was able to keep that resolve for a few minutes before he started thinking about Andrew again. He just couldn't understand how someone could be so… well, intimate, with someone and then, barely a half hour later, not even want to be in the same room with them.
Jonathan felt incredibly hurt. He had never been so intimate with someone before, not really, and certainly not a… a… Andrew. He was already freaked out enough about that, if he stopped to think about it, and he didn't want to have that to worry about on top of what he had now dubbed The Andrew Thing. Though, The Andrew Thing and the thing he didn't want to think about were interconnected. God, the thought that he had enjoyed being… intimate with a guy still freaked him out beyond measure. He never really thought about it while they were in the process of… that, but afterwards he couldn't stop thinking about it. If Jonathan were honest with himself, he realized that the thought of being with some random guy actually still disgusted him to his very core, but, well, Andrew wasn't some random guy. Which freaked him out even more, because even after all this time he still had a teeny little feeling of mistrust somewhere deep within the pit of his heart. He knew Andrew had blindly followed Warren, and it was that misguided devotion that had screwed them both over. But now Andrew was with him. Jonathan shuddered. He had to rephrase that. Andrew was now infatuated with him; and Jonathan considered himself a good man, overall. So maybe Andrew would listen to him now, and try to be a better man, himself. Of course, currently, Andrew was acting like a complete spaz. God, this sucked. Things were never allowed to be simple, were they?
Andrew stared at the brick wall in front of him. He glanced back down the narrow alleyway and then again concentrated on the wall. God, this sucked. Things were never allowed to be simple, were they? He started pounding out a rhythm on the bricks, pausing every few seconds to murmur something under his breath. After about a minute of pounding and chanting, the bricks slowly dissolved, and a wind whipped around Andrew. He closed his eyes instinctively, and when he opened them he was standing in a tiny marketplace. It was crowded, and Andrew was jostled around as people pushed by him. But wait; these weren't people. The horns and scales told him that much. Andrew breathed a sigh of relief. It had worked. Now all he had to do was find this demon guy who was apparently stationed in some little tavern and sold weapons on the sly. He wandered around the marketplace, his arms folded tightly against his chest. He walked quickly, trying to avoid prolonged contact with anyone, as you never knew when a demon would have poisonous skin, or if making eye contact with one of them would send you to an alternate universe; like a world without shrimp or something.
And Andrew happened to like shrimp, thank you very much.
He stumbled through the crowd before pushing his way into a tavern on the corner of some street and some other street, Andrew didn't bother reading the names. The tavern was dark and unpleasant, and Andrew shivered. He made his way to the bar and recoiled at the sight of the spiny bartender. Coughing, he started to ask about the knife, unsure if this was the demon he was supposed to meet, but the bartender pointed a long, bony finger to a door on the other side of the tavern.
"Back there?" squeaked Andrew.
The bartender nodded.
"Thank you," he choked, and walked over to the door. It was tall and heavy-looking, solid wood, possibly oak. Andrew took a deep breath and pushed as hard as he could, and the door flew open. He fell headfirst and when he came to, he was sprawled out on the floor looking up into the faces of some very interesting creatures. Smiling weakly, he forced himself to stand up.
"Um, sorry," he began as he looked around. This back room appeared to be the "classier" part of the tavern and Andrew marveled.
"This is like the Mos Eisley cantina!"
He turned and was greeted by a sea of blank-looking faces. He blushed a deep pink.
"Right. Never mind. Sorry about that. I'll just be… actually; do you know where I could get this knife? It's not like, a steak knife, though I guess it could be used for one, but it's supposed to be all shiny and cool-looking and –"
A tall demon was making its way through the crowd. Andrew hunched his shoulders, trying to hide within himself. It was a Tuarick demon, a species not exactly known for their kindness to humans, but he stopped in front of Andrew and continued speaking to him.
"Come with me," he said, and Andrew was grateful that he knew Tuarick, as the demon's words would have sounded like "I'm going to eat your soul" if one didn't understand the deep guttural language. Andrew followed, twisting his hands around in his pockets.
The demon walked past the bar and past the currently empty stage to a corner of the room. He lifted a large trunk off the floor and slammed it on the table, opening it. It was a case of weapons.
"Oh cool," said Andrew, "This one's really awesome." He reached out and picked up a sword, swinging it only once before it folded up and he was left staring at the hilt. The Tuarick demon reached over and snatched the sword from him, and it materialized out of the handle. Andrew swallowed heavily as the demon glared at him.
"This sword is designed to be used only by the one in possession of it. For all others, as with you, it collapses," he said. Andrew nodded, looking at the rest of the stuff in the trunk.
"Ooh, what about these?" he asked, reaching out at a bundle of sticks. The demon slapped his hand and Andrew winced.
"Those are poison arrows. I suggest you not touch them if you want to keep your life. Though, you are becoming most annoying to me, so you may lose your life anyway."
Andrew gulped. "Sorry."
The demon pulled a thin box out from the bottom of the trunk. He opened it, revealing a long shiny knife with an intricately carved blade.
"I believe this is what you came for," he said, holding the box out to Andrew.
"It's pretty," said Andrew, taking the box and closing the lid. "Uh... thank you. I'll just be going now."
The demon frowned. "There is the matter of payment."
Andrew let out a nervous chuckle. "Oh, right." He fumbled around in his pockets and pulled out a handful of glittering gold coins that the first demon he had summoned had given him. The Tuarick demon looked at Andrew and then the coins. Andrew dumped them into his hand and the demon held them up for a closer inspection. After a minute, he spoke.
"I am satisfied with your payment. Go now."
"But I don't know-" began Andrew, but then a wind whipped around him and he squeezed his eyes shut, holding the box close to him.
When he opened his eyes, he was back in his room. Once he had determined that he was alone, he let out a huge sigh of relief and slid the box under the bed.
It was nearly three in the morning when Jonathan finished wiping down all the tables, and he was exhausted and ready to go to bed. He nodded to Eduardo, who was arguing with some shady looking guy who Jonathan didn't want to get any closer to. Eduardo gave a curt nod, and Jonathan finally decided to leave.
He walked home slowly, still pondering over what he had been focused on all evening. Andrew. He stuffed his hands in his pockets, finding the little pencil he used for writing orders down with, and twirled it around in his fingers. This was ridiculous. Andrew was his friend, but Andrew wasn't the sort of person one would want to get involved in a relationship with. He was clingy and weird and a boy for God's sake. That was something Jonathan still couldn't wrap his mind around, even though he had been over it before in his head, and realized that during their… encounters, he hadn't even stopped to consider the boy thing because he had felt so good and loved to see that he was making Andrew feel good as well.
After the encounters? Well, that was part of what he had been mulling over all night. He was still pondering this when he heard a voice call out, "Excuse me!"
Jonathan turned. A beautiful young woman was walking over in his direction, and he blinked a few times. He turned to see if she had been talking to someone else, but except for a few people sitting on the porch of a rickety old house about halfway down the street, he saw no one. The girl stopped in front of him. Jonathan blinked.
"Yeah?" he asked.
The girl blushed, twisting her foot around in the sand. "I'm sorry to bother you, but, well, I got off work late and I was walking home, and I really don't feel safe. Would you mind walking with me?"
Jonathan was stunned. This didn't happen to people like him. This happened to people like Devon or Xander. Girls just didn't come up to him, wanting him to be their knight in shining armor or something. Girls never approached Jonathan without wanting to humiliate him publicly. But there was no one around to witness a potential humiliation, and this girl was beautiful, what with her soft doe eyes and full lips and tight low cut dress...
"Sure!" he said, "Where do you live?"
"Kind of near the outskirts of town," she said as they began to walk. "I really appreciate this. I wouldn't ordinarily ask a stranger to do this, but…"
Jonathan nodded. "It's okay. Hey, what's your name?"
"Miranda," she said, running her fingers through her hair and looking shyly over at Jonathan.
"I'm Jonathan. There. Now we're not strangers anymore."
She giggled. "Now I feel a lot better; thanks."
"Happy to help," said Jonathan.
For a few minutes they walked in silence. Jonathan kept looking at Miranda out of the corner of his eye. She was incredibly hot, and he noticed that she kept looking at him as well. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and began twirling the pencil around in his fingers again to work off his nerves, hoping he wasn't coming across as a spaz.
"It's this way," said Miranda, pointing down a side street. She walked briskly and Jonathan followed.
"It seems pretty quiet out here," he mused. "Nothing much to be afraid of."
Miranda turned. "I guess it was silly. But… well… I actually just wanted to get a chance to talk to you."
Jonathan stopped walking and took his hands out of his pockets. "Oh. Well."
Miranda looked down at her shoes again. "I know, not very smooth of me. But my house is over this way, so I'll just be going. Though… I would like to thank you. You know, for walking with me this way."
She walked over to Jonathan, who still stood there dumbstruck. She reached out and ran her finger down his arm. "If that's okay with you," she added.
Jonathan nodded, still unable to speak. Miranda leaned over and gently pressed her lips to his. Jonathan kissed back, but… this was weird. When he had kissed Andrew, there had been heat and a passion behind it. Miranda was attractive, but… this kiss was leaving him cold. He felt incredibly guilty and knew he couldn't do this. He pulled away, intent on telling Miranda that he was involved with someone, but when he looked at her to tell her this, he stumbled back in shock.
Ridges, yellow eyes, sharp pointy fangs. Crap. Miranda lunged at him, and Jonathan dove out of the way, falling face-first into the sand. He heard her snarl, and rolled out of the way before Miranda crashed into the sand next to him. He had to get out of here, he had to kill her, he had to do something. Wood, wood, where was wood when you needed it? He stood up and looked around frantically, but there was nothing. In that split second of time, Miranda had caught up to him and jerked his head to the side, exposing his neck. Jonathan struggled and flailed, but she held fast.
"Don't worry," she growled, "this will be quick." She shoved her thigh in between his legs, bracing herself for a better hold, and when she did, Jonathan cried out as he felt a sharp pain in his leg. Gasping, he fumbled around in his pocket and tucked the pencil he had been twirling all evening into his fist. With his other hand he reached out at Miranda, ripping the shoulder of her dress. She pulled away, examining the tear, and snickered.
"Oh, that's nice. All you did was rip up my sleeve." She leapt at him again, still laughing. But Jonathan was ready for her.
He jammed the pencil into her heart, watching as she exploded in a cloud of dust. Breathing heavily, he slumped to his knees, watching as the ashes scattered.
"Wrong," he choked out, "all I did was distract you until I had a clear shot."
He knew he couldn't stay there long, so he forced himself to get up. Still clutching the pencil, he limped home. He rubbed at his leg, feeling where the pencil had jabbed into him. He walked up the little path that led to their room and reached in his pocket for his keys. Jonathan grimaced as he realized that in his frustration earlier that afternoon, he had left without them. He pounded on the door, hoping that Andrew would hear him. After a few seconds he pounded again. The door opened and Andrew stood there looking nervous.
"Oh, it's you," he said, stepping aside so Jonathan could enter.
"Who else would it be?" he asked, kicking off his shoes into the corner and removing his dusty jacket.
"Right. Um, no one, I guess," said Andrew, sitting gingerly on the corner of the bed. He stared at Jonathan for a minute. "Hey, you're all dusty. Well, more so than usual."
Jonathan winced and nodded. "I met a girl."
Andrew swallowed heavily. "Oh."
Jonathan pulled off his shirt and fell into bed, looking up at the ceiling. "Beautiful, shy, wanted me… vampire."
Andrew choked. "Vampire?" He jumped off the edge of the bed and grabbed the tiny end table. "Get thee back, foul villain!"
Jonathan glared at him. "I staked her, genius. Hence the dust."
Andrew frowned. "How do I know you're not vampire Jonathan and just saying that to get me to trust you so you can kill me in my sleep?"
Jonathan rolled his eyes and held his arm out. "Feel my pulse. It's beating away."
Andrew hesitantly set the table down. He walked over to Jonathan and reached out, pressing his fingers on Jonathan's wrist and feeling the steady pulse. "Yup. Beating away." He ran his finger up and down Jonathan's wrist.
Jonathan pulled his arm back. "What're you doing?"
Andrew looked down at his feet.
"I'm sorry. For how I acted earlier. I didn't… well… I did, but… Sorry."
Jonathan raised an eyebrow. "So what, you thought we'd kiss and make up?"
Andrew bit his lip. "No… yes… I don't know. No, I guess." He wrapped his arms around his waist.
Jonathan sighed. "You know, Andrew. Before that chick tried to bite me, she kissed me."
Jonathan continued. "And… I felt nothing when I kissed her. Beautiful girl, you know, barring the dead thing, but… nothing."
Andrew cocked his head. "Uh huh…"
"And, well," said Jonathan, standing up and walking over to Andrew, "I didn't feel right kissing her. Because, well, because of you. Because I… I…"
Andrew blinked. "Because you… you what?"
Jonathan sighed. "Because I like you a lot and I would have felt disloyal, and by the way, do I get like, a badge or something for becoming gay?"
Andrew snickered. "You're not gay. You're… you're incredibly straight with Andrew leanings."
Jonathan shrugged. "Maybe. Anyway, I've had a really long evening, and I'm still creeped out over the whole thing. So... I think I'm just gonna try to fall asleep as soon as I lie down, which I hope is in about two minutes. Night, Andrew."
Jonathan walked over and fell onto the bed again and pulled the blanket over him, and true to his word, he was asleep almost instantly.
Andrew watched Jonathan sleep for a few minutes. He felt horribly guilty. Maybe… maybe he could talk to Warren. Maybe they could work something out in which he just gave Jonathan a paper cut or something. He sighed. He really didn't think he could go through with it. He liked Jonathan. A lot. He thought back to what Warren had said to him.
"Come on, Andrew. Once you stab him and open that seal… you'll get everything you've ever wanted. We can be together again. You and me. And I'll be able to run my hands through your hair and kiss you and tell you how much I love you, and we'll never be separated again. It'll be like we're Gods or something. Don't you want that?"
He did want that. He wanted it more than anything. He thought of the knife resting in its little box under the bed. It would be all right. Jonathan… he'd be fine. Warren said he'd be okay, that the stabbing would feel like a burst of sunlight and then Jonathan would be able to have whatever he wanted as well. Everyone would win. And he could have his Warren again. He stripped off his shirt and laid down next to Jonathan, who subconsciously cuddled against him in sleep. Andrew looked at him and smiled, watching as Jonathan tried to curl into a more comfortable sleeping position against him, resting his hand on Andrew's stomach. It was going to be okay. He pressed a kiss onto Jonathan's forehead and then yawned himself to sleep. Yes, things would all work out.
Andrew trusted his Warren.