Xander Harris, Jonathan Levinson, Andrew Wells, and all other characters, details, minutiae, and small, furry mammals of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and 20th Century Fox. George and all other related characters, settings, details, and stuff of Dead Like Me
are part of this complete breakfast as well as property of their creators, production company, and distributors. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit will be made.Not-the-Author's Note:
I did not write this, but then, you know that by now. My brother wrote this and still finds endless amusement by having me post it under my account. That's quite all right by me. Previously, he said he'd ended the series with "The Bitch Is Back", but then I tormented him into a sequel. I didn't even get a chance to torment him again when he came up with this one. I think he's successfully worked out some issues, myself. Enjoy.Don't Fear The ReaperSunnydale, California. November 12, 2002, 8:15 PM
Jonathan Levinson glanced around nervously as he stood by the El Camino. He looked down at his watch and shook his head.C'mon, Andrew. Hurry it up, we're on a timetable here.
He looked up at the door to the gas station men's room. There was a line of three men waiting outside, slowly losing their patience.Jesus, why couldn't he have gone back at the IHOP? I told him about preventative voiding, but he just doesn't listen.
Jonathan jumped at the voice. He spun around and saw a young woman standing a few feet from him. She was an oddly pretty girl in her late teens. She wore her shoulder length light brown hair pulled back, and had a guarded look on her face.
“Hi. I was wondering if you could help me. I'm supposed to meet a friend of mine at Starbucks right now, but I think we mixed up which one. Do you know the closest Starbucks to the high school?” she asked.
“Um, yeah. It's down two miles, then take a left. It'll be on the right hand side,” he told her. “I thought that was the only one in town.”
“I... think they opened up a new one a couple of months ago,” the girl said.
“Oh. I've been out of town for awhile. I just got back tonight,” Jonathan said. He glanced back at the men's room door, but the line was even longer now.
“Hey, do I know you? I think we went to high school together.”
“You went to Sunnydale High?” he asked, surprised.
“Yeah. I'm sure I remember you.”
“Oh,” Jonathan said with a blush. “I... didn't know I made an impression on anyone.”
“Yeah, I'm great with faces, but suck at names. Were you Jack? Jeremy? I'm thinking a J name.”
“Jonathan. I'm Jonathan.”
“Jonathan, that's it,” she gave him a relieved smile, then glanced down at a yellow post it note in her hand. “Jonathan Levinson, right?”
“Yeah. I'm sorry, I don't remember you,” he apologized.
“Peanut,” an older man called from about twenty feet away. He pointed to his watch. “We've got a deadline.”
“Peanut?” Jonathan asked.
“Yeah, that's a nickname my... dad gave me. I'm Millie... or you can just call me George,” she told him.
Jonathan gave a small laugh. “You went to Sunnydale all right. Between the Aphrodesias, Cordelias, Willlows, and Anyas, I don't think we had any common names like Susan or Mary. A George would fit right in. I'm still having trouble placing you, though. This is going to bug me for awhile. It's like when you try to remember your old locker combination. It's on the tip of your brain, but you just can't get it.”
“I have to get going. My dad isn't the most patient man,” George gave him a sad smile and patted his arm. He felt a slight tingle at her touch.
“Oh, right. It was good to see you again,” he gave her a small wave as she walked back to the older man.
“Jonathan!” Andrew Wells called. “We're running late!”
Jonathan shook his head as he got in the El Camino and started the engine. “We're late because it took you so long to use the bathroom.”
“People kept knocking on the door. You know I have a shy bladder,” Andrew whined. “And we're trying to keep a low profile. Who were talking to there?”
“She said she went to Sunnydale High. I'm trying to remember her.”
“We are on a covert mission here! James Bond doesn't stop to chat with cute girls while he's in the middle of a mission.”
“Actually, he does,” Jonathan pointed out. “That's kind of why he's James Bond.”
The Basement of Sunndydale High School. 8:53 PM
Jonathan threw another shovelful of dirt to the side. He dug the shovel in once again.
“We've almost got this thing uncovered.”
“Yep,” Andrew said.
“I hope Buffy'll know how to destroy it."
He stopped digging for a moment. “36-19-27! That's it! That was my locker combination,” Jonathan said in triumph. He continued his digging. “God, it's been bugging me all night.”
“Dude, we spent the last few years trying to forget about high school,” Andrew said, a little louder than necessary. “Why are you trying so hard to remember it?”
“I don't know. I guess I miss it. Don't you?” he asked, throwing another shovelful of dirt on the growing pile to the side.
“Yeah, I really miss it.”
“No, I'm serious,” Jonathan said, stopping his digging. “I really miss it. Time goes by, and everything drops away. All the cruelty, all the pain, all that humiliation. It all washes away.”
Andrew stopped his digging. He watched Jonathan, now lost in thought. Every few seconds Andrew glanced past Jonathan's shoulder.
“I miss my friends,” Jonathan continued musing. “I miss my enemies. I miss the people I talked to every day. I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss 'em all. I want to talk to them, you know. I want to find out how they're doing. I want to know what's going on in their lives.”
Andrew shook his head. “You know what? They don't wanna talk to you, all those people you mentioned. Not one of them is sitting around going, 'I wonder what Jonathan's up to right now.' Not one of them cares about you.”
“Well I still care about them,” Jonathan answered. “That's why I'm here.”
Jonathan went back to digging, and Andrew quickly followed him.
The Basement of Sunndydale High School. 8:57 PM
“AAGGHH! HE STABBED ME! OH GOD, I'VE BEEN STABBED!” Jonathan screamed. “AND WARREN! WARREN WAS NEXT TO HIM! HE WAS NEXT TO ANDREW WHEN HE STABBED ME!”
“Can you keep the volume down?”
Jonathan turned and saw George and the older man by the doorway.
“I just got...” he trailed off and looked down, then around the room. “I'm not bleeding. That's not right. I was on the ground. And I felt so cold. Now...” he looked at Andrew standing over a fallen form lying on the seal they had worked so hard to uncover. “This is not good.”
“I've got some bad news for you, skipper,” the man said.
“I'm dead, aren't I?” he asked. “And you two are some kind of angels of death.”
“Wow, you're certainly taking to this a lot quicker than I did,” George said.
“I should have expected it. I knew I'd die in this school,” he lamented, as he sat down on the dirt floor. He looked over to his dead body. “And I did see Warren. Oh, that's not good. I should warn someone.”
“That's against the rules, skipper,” the man said.
“Rube, just give him a minute,” George told the older man. “Look, Jonathan. I'm sorry, but you can't have any contact with people from your old life.”
“Old life? I'm dead. I was stabbed in the back by THAT TRAITOR! THAT BENEDICT ARNOLD! THAT ANAKIN SKYWALKER!” he shouted. “He's not even an Anakin. He's a Fredo!”
“We'll explain everything,” George assured him. “Normally there'd be this light, but we're short staffed right now, so you've just been drafted.”
“Drafted?” he asked. “Like in a cosmic struggle between good and evil?”
“More like into the post office,” Rube told him.
Seattle Washington. Der Waffle Haus. July 3th, 2007. 9:45 AM
“Okay, people. Listen up. I've got your holiday assignments,” Rube told the Reapers seated around the booth. “First up. Roxie, you've got a drunk driver. Three in the car, two have appointments. Be sure to tag the right ones.”
“I always do,” Roxie said as she took the yellow post it note from Rube.
“Peanut. You've got a drowning at the marina,” he told her. She took the Post-it with the name, time, and location of the soon to be deceased. “And for the big one, I've got seven in a fireworks display gone wrong.”
Jonathan sat up and reached over. “I'll make sure to get them before anyone suffers.”
“Against my better judgment, I'm giving this one to Mason and Daisy,” Rube said. He turned to the two other Reapers at the booth. “I'm counting on you. Don't fuck this one up.”
“Of course,” Mason said. “So why do we get the nod? You finally tired of giving the golden boy all the cool assignments?”
“He doesn't give me the cool ones,” Jonathan said, glaring his coworker. “He splits the dicey cases between me and Roxie, because he knows we won't screw up.”
“Kiss ass,” Mason said.
“You're just mad that I'm making money with my eBay business, and you're still pulling scams.”
“No, I'm pissed that you won't let me in on it.”
“You had your chance. But you blew it with those counterfeit Beanie Babies. My seller rating took a big hit on that on. No way I'm letting you screw it up even more,” Jonathan said.
“Enough,” Rube stopped them. “Skipper, look. I've got an out of town assignment for you. I need you in Chicago by tomorrow afternoon. So you're going to have to book a flight right now. It'll cost you some for a ticket this late.”
“Chicago? Why there? And why do I have to go out of town?”
“I had to pull some strings to get you this assignment,” Rub said, handing him the post it note. “But I think you'll find this to be worth it.”
Jonathan glanced down at the name. His eyes widened. “Is this for real?”
“Yep. Now are you going to do it, or do I shoot this back to the Illinois team?”
“Oh, no. I'll take it,” Jonathan said.
Chicago, Illinois. Lake Michigan Beach. July 4, 2007 11:28 PM
“It's coming around the left!” Xander Harris yelled. “Watch the flank!”
Two figures ran past Jonathan. Neither noticed him as they went by, not even when Jonathan brushed his hand on the shoulder of the second figure. He sat back down and watched the battle with relative calmness. The pack of eight Gnarl demons had broken into four groups of two. They were met and fought by the group led by Xander Harris.
Xander waved a battleaxe, while a robotic dog with the designation K-9 on its side shot a red laser from its nose. K-9 forced one of the Gnarls back, while Xander sunk his axe into the skull of its partner. Twenty feet further down, Buffy Summers swung a sword at her target. Her sister, Dawn Summers, covered the second Gnarl with a crossbow, preventing it from attacking either of them.
Jonathan looked over and saw an African American girl leap about as she moved between the two Gnarls, while a well groomed, overly dressed man waited in reserve by the side. Jonathan guessed the girl to be a Slayer, although he wasn't sure why there were multiple Slayers at one time.
He turned his attention back to the two fighters that had just passed him. The red headed girl finished decapitating the first Gnarl, when the second one leapt at her. Her companion screamed, and dropped the short sword he carried. He turned and ran past his partner.
“No, Andrew! Cover me!” she yelled. The Gnarl ran towards her, as she struggled to pull her sword free from the demon corpse. She had just turned, when the Gnarl swiped its claws across her side. She cried out in pain, but did not fall. The Gnarl continued past her, pursuing Andrew Wells.
Jonathan stepped back as Andrew ran towards his position. Andrew glanced over at him, then frowned. He slowed a little, distracted. Just as Andrew looked directly at him, the Gnarl hit him from behind. They fell to the ground, with the Gnarl on top. Andrew screamed and pushed the demon off, crawling away. The Gnarl raised its claw, but a sword point ran through it from behind.
“Violet?” Andrew asked.
Violet pulled her sword free from the creature, then swayed off balance. “I don't feel so good,” she moaned, before falling to the ground.
“Guys! What happened?” Xander asked, running up to them.
“Um, they broke through,” Andrew said. “We managed to get both of them, but...” he trailed off and wiped the sweat covering his brow. Looking down, Andrew saw a shallow scrape on his leg.
“Reg!” Xander yelled. “They've been hit! Get the anti-toxin over here, now!”
Xander steadied Andrew, and lowered him to the ground next to Violet. Jonathan stepped back and watched the actions, ignored by all.
Reg, the well groomed man, rushed up to the group, holding a first aid kit. He kneeled down and looked over the wounds. “Oh, dear,” he muttered.
“What? C'mon, Reg. The poison is fast acting. Give them the shot before they die,” Xander ordered.
Reg leaned over and whispered in Xander's ear. “Violet's wounds are very deep. She received a full dose of the poison. We have a limited supply of anti-toxin with us.”
“What? We don't have enough for her?” Xander asked.
“If I give her a double dose, combined with her Slayer healing, she should pull through. But that will deplete the supply. If I give Andrew a regular dose, he'll definitely recover, but Violet won't stand a chance.”
Xander looked down at the two wounded members of his group. His face paled as he looked from one to the other.
Jonathan stepped over. “You know who to treat,” he told Xander. “It's difficult, but it's the right choice.”
Xander looked up at Jonathan in a daze. He squinted, but shook his head in distraction.
“Mr. Harris! We need to give the shot now!” Reg pleaded.
Xander grabbed the needle from Reg and injected the treatment.
“He was only here a week,” Xander said.
Dawn hugged him close. “You did everything you could.”
“It wasn't good enough. He was on my team. I should have done better.”
“He shouldn't have run. That's why he died,” Rona said. The others looked at her with disapproval. “What? It's not like y'all aren't thinking the same thing.”
“Violet said he didn't run,” Xander mumbled.
“Violet's covering for him. Doesn't want to speak ill of the dead. But I know what I saw. He ran,” Rona stated. “And he nearly got Violet killed in the process.”
Xander shook his head and walked down the beach. Dawn began walking after him, but Rona stopped her.
“Boss needs some time alone. It's hitting him pretty hard.”
“That's why I need to be there for him. I've seen him after he's seen friends die before,” Dawn said.
“This is different. Andrew wasn't his friend. He was his responsibility. Xander was in charge, and he made the call. Violet lives. Andrew dies. You can give him all the support you want when we get back to the base. Right now he needs to work this through by himself. C'mon, let's take a ride back.”
Down the beach, Xander watched Rona and Dawn depart. He sat down on the sand and picked up a small stone next to him. Throwing it, he saw the stone skip three times on the surface of the water before sinking.
“You made the right call.”
Xander turned and spotted the short man seated a few feet from him. “You were there. At the fight. You watched him die.”
“Yep,” Jonathan said.
“Were you hurt? We tried to stop them before they got to any bystanders.”
“I'm fine. You did good work today, no matter what you think. You helped save lives.”
“Not everyone,” Xander shook his head.
“It wasn't your fault. He did run. The fact is that he shouldn't have been there in the first place. But you trusted him and he failed you. You're just lucky he was the only one dead.”
Xander turned to look at the waves hit the beach. He sat in silence for a minute before responding. “Yeah, I guess.”
Jonathan studied Xander. “You knew that already, didn't you? Something like this had happened before.”
Xander remained silent, but gave a small nod.
“But you kept him around anyway,” Jonathan said.
“Wasn't my call. He... he did some bad things. And I never trusted him. I hope no one else did either. But he made himself useful, barely,” Xander got up from the ground and dusted off the sand from his pants. “I'm not surprised this is how it ended. I just wish I didn't have to make the call personally.”
“You made sure everyone else survived,” he assured him. “It could have been so much worse.”
“Yeah,” Xander said. He stopped and studied Jonathan. “Have we met before? You seem familiar. Where in Chicago do you live?”
“I'm just visiting for the holiday,” Jonathan told him. “I live in Seattle. This is my first time out to the Windy City.”
“Oh,” Xander said, disappointed. “For some reason I feel like I know you.”
“Maybe another lifetime,” Jonathan shrugged. He got up and dusted himself off. “I've got to be heading back. My boss needs me back at work in the morning, so I have to red eye it.”
“Why were you in Chicago?” Xander asked.
“I was meeting an old... acquaintance. Things ended badly last time I saw him. I just needed some closure.”
“Hope you got it.”
Jonathan gave him a sad smile. “I did.”The End.