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Deliverance

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Andrew stood at the edge of the cliff as the wind blew damp ocean air across his face. He stared down at the rocks and water below him. He hated Mexico. He'd left California with dreams of being a villain in exile, lounging on the beach and making devious plans with Jonathan. In his fantasies, they devised elaborate schemes to regain power and return home triumphant, defeating Willow easily and finally achieving their dream of ruling Sunnydale.

When Jonathan used his magic skills to help them escape from that creepy trucker, and to rob a small liquor store so they'd have money to live on, it seemed like his dreams were going to come true. Then Jonathan shut down. He refused to do any more magic, and wouldn't talk about plans to return to Sunnydale. He insisted he was done with the whole villain gig and was working for the forces of good from now on. Andrew pleaded with him, arguing that Darth Rosenberg was still out there, and they *had* to accumulate power before she found them. Jonathan retorted that Willow was a *witch*, and she could track them if he used magic. Andrew was going to summon a demon to force Jonathan to do magic, but Jonathan hid his panpipes so wasn't even able to do that.

This was their life now; living in a crappy apartment in this tiny Mexican town which smelled like a R'Pthon demon, taking the occasional odd job helping American tourists, never earning more than a few pesos for their work. They couldn't get a better job because they didn't speak the language. Andrew had taken Spanish in high school, but the way people spoke here didn't resemble the stuff he'd learned in class. And he didn't *want* to learn the language here. If he was going to take the time to do that then he'd be admitting that they were staying here and he did not want to think about that.

But he couldn't leave either. He had no money, no skills, nowhere to go. He closed his eyes, suddenly furious at Buffy and Willow for screwing up all of Warren's plans. If things had gone as planned, he'd be down here with Warren, not Jonathan. They'd be guests at the resort, soaking in the hot tub and drinking drinks that were unnatural colors and had little umbrellas sticking out of them. The people who worked at the resort would be standing around, ready to cater to their every whim, not chasing them away from the entrance yelling what was probably something really dirty in Mexican.

But Warren was dead. Gone. For several weeks after they'd arrived here, Andrew had hoped that it wasn't true. He'd never seen the- he hadn't seen any evidence of Warren's death. He kept waiting for Warren to show up alive and tell him all the details of how he'd fooled Willow, Buffy and everyone. But Warren never appeared, so he must be dead. It didn't matter what Jonathan said. Andrew knew that if Warren was alive, he would have found Andrew by now.

So Andrew stood at the edge of the cliff. He had no friends left, no future, no way to go except straight down to the rocks. Funny. Back when death at the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West Coast seemed inevitable, he would have done anything to stay alive. Now he couldn't stand the thought of living another day. Couldn't spend another night in that filthy apartment. Couldn't face Jonathan again. Andrew opened his eyes and looked out to sea. He took a deep breath and lifted his right foot to step off the cliff.

"Dude! What are you doing?" came a voice from behind him. Andrew started, and lost his balance. He grabbed for a handhold, but slipped off the edge and tumbled down about ten feet before landing on a ledge. He looked up, stunned to see Warren standing above him.

"I - uh - you - you're alive!" Andrew stammered.

"Not quite," replied Warren. "But you are. Get your ass back up here, and let's keep it that way."

Andrew started climbing back to the top of the cliff.

"I could use a hand here," he said.

"'I've got some rope up here. But I do not think that you will accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.'" Warren quoted in a pseudo-Spanish accent.

"Kill me?" Andrew asked, startled.

"No, man. I'm kidding. Princess Bride, remember? Actually, I'm incorporeal. Drawback of being deceased," Warren said.

"Oh, right. 'That does put a damper on our relationship,'" said Andrew. He managed to struggle his way back up, although he had a bad moment when he accidentally looked down. The rocks below looked a lot sharper and a lot further away then they had a few minutes ago.

Once he'd reached the top he crawled a few feet away from the edge and stopped to catch his breath. Warren watched him, amused.

"What did you think you were doing?" Warren asked.

"Duh! I was going to jump," retorted Andrew.

"Why?"

"'Cause... life sucks," sulked Andrew. "How did you get here? Are you really dead?"

"Unfortunately," said Warren. "But don't worry. It's only temporary."

"Really?" Andrew stood up and brushed the dirt off his clothes and hands.

"Yeah. That's why I'm here. I've got a plan, but I need your help. If you're willing, that is," said Warren.

"Anything. Tell me what you want me to do," said Andrew. Warren grinned.

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