Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners. I do not own any of them.
Buffy characters created by Joss Whedon
A/N: This is my send up to Jonathan. Enjoy.
Jonathan Levinson stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back. Images flashed before his eyes. He stood in a bell tower holding a gun, ready to end his life. He was tired of it all, tired of being ignored and tired of feeling like he did not matter. He just wanted his pain to end. The rifle was heavy in his hands as he loaded a shell into the chamber and prepared to end his existence. Then Buffy was there and she cared. She told him that he was not alone and that everyone, even her, felt the same things that he was feeling. She gave him hope, then realizing that she had made a mistake left him there, alone.
Alone, a simple word that embodied much of his life; it drove him relentlessly, causing him to commit desperate acts in his quest for acceptance.
They stood together in a cave facing a monster brought forth by his hubris, his pride; the spell that had gained his acceptance now hung by a fragile thread. The beast launched itself at him seeking reunification, roaring its outrage at being unwanted, cast off. He watched in horror as Buffy raced toward the creature intent on its destruction, unaware that she could not defeat it.
The battle was furious with neither demon nor Slayer giving an inch. Buffy ducked a blow that would have taken off her head and retaliated with a series of short, swift punches to its ribcage driving it back from her. Enraged, the beast renewed its attack, raining down blow after blow on the slayer. It lashed out with a particularly cruel blow that flung Buffy across the cavern floor and sent her crashing into a wall. The demon was at her side in an instant. It chuckled wickedly and then lashed out at her head. She launched herself up off the floor forcing the monster back with a sharp blow to its head. Without stopping she let the moment carry her and brought her left leg up sharply in a reverse roundhouse kick that drove the air from the demons lungs.
Jonathan watched the battle from his hiding spot behind a large rock. Strange emotions course through his body, happiness that Buffy was strong again and sadness at the impending prospect of loneliness. He found himself cheering her on to victory while, simultaneously, hoping that she would lose.
Buffy's vision was starting to blur and there was ringing in her ears. She closed her eyes for a precious moment and tried to find some semblance of inner-balance. The monster charged. Her eyes flipped open and she delivered two swift, powerful kicks that knocked it back and off of its feet. She took a breath and then charged the beast, hoping to finish the battle. It rolled to one side and lashed out at her feet knocking her to the ground. The upper half of her body pitched forward into the pit as the monster moved in for the kill.
Jonathan winced at the sound that her head made as it banged against the cavern wall. His heart broke when she cried out for his help. He stood up and took a step forward then froze, contemplating leaving her there and fleeing back into his fantasy, back into the world where he was never alone, the world that he had made. Shame filled him then, an agonizing self loathing that seared his heart and threatened to burn his soul to ash. With a frustrated roar he leaped forward and shoved the beast into the pit. A hairy claw lashed out grabbing the front of his shirt and pulled him forward into the pits, Plutonian, embrace.
Something grabbed his ankle, as a wave of shimmering light broke across his vision. He heard someone gasp, and then the hand around his ankle tightened its grip and began to pull him up. "Th-thanks," he said. "I thought I was a goner!"
Buffy stared at him for a moment, like he was something icky she had discovered on the bottom of her shoe; then without a word she turned and left him there. Alone.
He wailed, a damned soul screaming out in torment. The darkness writhed, twisting itself around him tighter, burrowing its way deeper into his soul. Images sputtered and flashed, like rockets in a night sky over a field of war. He could not bear to look, but at the same time he could not tear his eyes away from the scene presented. Like a raging torrent it rolled over him, washing him away.
The new high school smelled funny and the basement was giving him a major wiggins, not to mention that he felt grimy from all the digging. "No, I'm serious. I really miss it," he said, setting the shovel to the side. "Time goes by, and everything drops away. All the cruelty, all the pain, all that humiliation. It all washes away."
Andrew stopped digging and leaned on his shovel, looking at Jonathon.
"I miss my friends. I miss my enemies. I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss 'em all," Jonathan said, looking Andrew in the eyes. "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."
"You know what?" Andrew said, looking over Jonathan's shoulder. "They don't wanna talk to you, all those people you just 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. That's why I'm here."
Jonathan wiped the sweat from his brow and began to pack up his tools. A contented smile rested on his face as he thought of all the people who would never know that he had saved them. It made him feel toasty inside, like a warm bowl of chili on a cold day.
The hand on his shoulder brought him out of his reverie. He shouldered his pack and stood, looking at Andrew. His eyes widened when he saw Warren standing behind his friend. He was about to warn Andrew when he felt a sharp pain in his stomach. His eyes wandered from Warren to Andrew, the hurt and betrayal in them lay bare, raw. He fell to the ground, gasping in pain. He fell to the ground gasping in pain, hands clasped around the hilt of the dagger.
Despair filled him when he heard Andrew leave the room, shutting the door behind him. He wanted to cry. He wanted to call out. He wanted not to die. The world started to fade around him and his vision began to dim. All he could feel was the cold metal beneath him and the pain in his gut. He felt his heartbeat slow as the Seal of Danzathar absorbed the last of his blood. The last of the light flickered and went out. Only the cold remained.
The visions stopped. Jonathan pitched forward almost falling off of the ledge and into the swirling maelstrom below. He wobbled for a moment as his fingers dug into the tiny fissures that lined the face of the cliff behind him, keeping him from falling. He took a deep breath, then another. Tears streaked his face. He was edging toward the borders of madness without a passport.
"They never cared about you," whispered a dark, velvety voice in his mind. "You were less than nothing in their eyes."
"N... No," Jonathan stuttered, scrunching his eyes shut. "You... You're wrong!"
"They chose Andrew over you. Let him join their gang. Live in her house with them," the whisper said. "He cooks their food and sits in on their war councils. Everything you wanted, deserved, they give to him without reservation."
"You're lying," he muttered.
"Am I?" came the whisper. "Look."
He opened his eyes and the images began to flow.
Andrew stood in a strange kitchen surrounded by five teenage girls; one of them was the Slayer's sister, Dawn. They were talking to each other and every so often one of them would crack a smile and start to laugh. An unfamiliar red-haired girl, sporting a floppy white hat, watched the pair with interest, only looking away when one of the other girls spoke to her.
Buffy and Xander walked in from the outside through the backdoor. Xander rummaged through one of the cabinets and pulled out a box of Twinkies. He tossed one to Andrew, and then went to pour himself a glass of milk. Dawn shot a glare in his direction then snatched the Twinkie from Andrew's hand and ran out of the room. The red-haired girl, Vi, laughed when Andrew chased after her to retrieve his snack food. Buffy just sighed and followed them into the living room.
The image shifted. Now he watched as Andrew followed people around the house with a video recorder. Some of them chased him away, annoyed by his constant questioning, but a greater percentage made the time to sit and share their stories with him. They drew him into their lives without reservation; implicitly trusting him with secrets that they would not have told their priest, much less a stranger.
His heart sank as the Battle of Sunnydale commenced. He saw young girls fighting for their lives, fighting to stem the flow of darkness into a world that did not know enough to care. He watched as they began to fall beneath the claws of the ravening monsters. The scent of blood and the terror engendered by the Turok-Han were overwhelming. He felt them grow strong, felt the magicks coursing through their bodies and activating their potential. They were Slayers, all. The battle shifted and the Turok-Han began to die. For every Slayer that fell, five Turok-Han were turned to dust. They were magnificent, he thought; mythical creatures possessed of an innate, graceful savageness that normally was reserved for jungle cats and used car salesmen.
A sense of foreboding ran down his spine, and then his view changed. He watched as dozens of Harbingers assaulted the newly erected, Sunnydale High School. They were silent in their attack. Their tongues were as dumb as their eyes were blind; their black robes the whisper of cottony death as they glided down the barren hallways of the school, moving inexorably toward their goal.
Anya tried to stop them. It was her job after all, her assigned duty. She fought well and hard, where she struck a Harbinger fell. Andrew cowered by her side as she fought, trying to avoid the press of battle, trying to survive. A Harbinger lunged at him, determined to make him into a shish-kabob. Then Anya was there, her gore encrusted sword swinging, loping off the offenders head with one mighty blow. She flashed a quick smile at Andrew and was about to turn back to the battle when the blade of a sword burst forth from her chest. Her eyes widened momentarily in surprise and a small whimper of pain escaped her lips. She glanced down disbelievingly as her blood stained her blouse crimson. Then she fell forward, dead.
The Harbinger took a step toward Andrew, raising his sword for the killing blow, and then stopped. He cocked his head to the side as if he were listening to an unheard order. Then he turned his back on him and walked away, leaving Anya where she lay and leaving Andrew alive.
Rage against the injustice of the situation began to foment within him, setting his soul aflame as he watched the man who had murdered him being showered with everything that he had ever wanted. Each bit of laughter, each shared experience, and each moment of acceptance pierced him like a shard of glass that was dipped in brine. Hatred seeped like poison into his veins. Twisting his emotions and tainting his perceptions.
"See," the voice came audibly now. "They prefer him to you. They prefer anyone but you. I'd wager that if Warren were to reappear they would take him in with open arms. But then that's no surprise is it? You were always in the background, watching, seeing."
The air seemed to shimmer before him, the darkness coalescing into a familiar form. His eyes widened as she stepped into the light. "I need you Jonathan," Buffy said. "I need you to be my hero, my champion."
"How...?" he asked. "What's going on?"
"You know Slayers Jonathan," she said, as she sauntered toward him. "You know how they think, how they act. You know what motivates them. And I need that. I need you."
She stopped, no more than an inch away from him now. He could feel her warmth across the minute distance. Her fragrance hung heavily in the air between them. His pulse quickened when he realized how near she actually was. "Are you for real?" he asked.
"I'm as real as you are," she said; wrapping her arms around him and drawing him into her embrace. "I want to be real for you, wherever you are."
They held onto each other for a moment, for an eternity, for no time at all. "I want you to be my scion, Jonathan," she whispered into his ear. "My instrument, my own personal twilight, of the Slayers."
He could still feel her touch blazing like fire through his soul. It was a blessing to him, the fulfillment of her promise that he would never again be alone. Like a black comet he rose through the underworld, borne aloft on wings of shadow and flame. His rage fueled him, granting him the strength that he would need to balance the Slayer line. The power to save the world.
With a roar he burst forth from his grave, the dried earth running in rivulets down his desiccated form. The pain was immense, incredible. It felt as if his every nerve sparked with an eldritch energy. Overhead the moon was full and bright, a gentle reminder of his new condition. His voice escaped him then, tearing through the darkness in an endless wail, joining with the mournful chorus of the cursed and damned.
Visions of his past assailed him, attempting to blunt his purpose, threatening to cast him back into the abyss from which he came. Then she was there, vibrant and shining like a star; her light warming him, shielding him from the coldness of being. "I love you," she said. Then she was gone.
Jonathan stood and wiped away his tears. He had a job to do and he had her love to strengthen him. It was enough. With a thought he rose into the sky; the music from Wagner's, Götterdämmerung ringing through his mind. 'Twilight of the Gods,
" he thought. 'How apropos.
Twilight turned northwest, toward his first stop. San Francisco.