stilljustandrew: (d20s)
They're up at first light, huddling in their sleeping bags against the lingering chill, drinking coffee and eating breakfast bars, not talking much. By the time they're done, the air has warmed; the locator spell is still glowing underneath the dig site, and they pick up work where they left off.



It's just past noon when their shovels first start turning up things that Andrew thinks he recognizes: fragments of rotting fabric in familiar patterns, pieces of wood that might have once been furniture in Buffy's house.

Jonathan's shovel strikes metal, and a shaft of brilliant light shoots up from under the dirt.
stilljustandrew: (d20s)
Ten years, and nothing's been done about the crater that used to be Sunnydale. By the looks of things, aside from marking the turn-off with DEAD END signs, nothing's even been tried. Maybe some last residual effect of whatever kept people from noticing anything strange was going on there, Andrew thinks. Or maybe somebody who knew exactly what was going on there made the call to leave it alone.



They park the car about a dozen yards back from the edge of the crater and leave it there, the contents of the trunk parceled out between them.

Descending into the pit that used to be a city is part hiking, part scrambling, part abseiling; they leave climbing ropes anchored at the edge and further down, to use on their way back up. The ground levels off once they're past the initial slope, but the footing is still broken and treacherous.
stilljustandrew: (d20s)
They've given Angel and the others as much explanation as they can; they've gotten their plane tickets -- one-way, as they don't know how long it will take them to finish the job; they've packed, setting a few charms on their luggage to keep them from setting off security alarms at the airport. The flight from New York to LA takes about six hours, setting them down shortly before noon California time.

(California time. That feels so much stranger than it should.)

They rent a car at the airport, load the trunk with two duffelbags of very specialized gear, fill a styrofoam cooler with bottled water and sandwiches at a convenience store, and start driving north. It shouldn't be more than two or three hours on the road ...



... at least so long as the road holds out.

Andrew's leaning his forehead against the window, watching the scrub brush to the side of the highway.

"Ten years," he says abruptly. "You realize it's been ten years since the last time we came this way?"
stilljustandrew: (d20s)
The Library of the New Watchers' Council has a central rotunda, vast and vaulted, lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. It also has a number of smaller side rooms, and a tangle of interconnected corridors and passageways.

Right now one of those smaller rooms has two witches sitting quietly at a table, waiting for the door opposite them to open -- which it shortly does, onto a much noisier room than this place generally permits.

Andrew Wells steps out, and holds the door for his guest.
stilljustandrew: (look out now)
The corridors that honeycomb Castle Terminus lead everywhere and nowhere, curling in on themselves or branching in a dozen directions, stretching impossible distances to bring one back where one began. They're not dark, which may be their one saving grace; they're lit with a dusty golden light that somehow looks weary.

Andrew is following the faint tug of Baby's presence.

Andrew and Ava are following the Fool.
stilljustandrew: (dark)
Blackness.



Two minds, hovering in the blackness; they believe themselves to still have a shape, and so they do.
stilljustandrew: (serious 2)
Andrew's got a table near the Observation Window, a Coke, a plate of fried paradoxes, and an X-Factor trade paperback in a plain brown cover.

(You never know when an actual member of X-Factor might walk in, here.)

It's shaping up to be a pretty okay evening.
stilljustandrew: (with Jonathan - brothers)
[From here.]

It's been days, maybe weeks, since he's been home. Except of course on the other side of the door it hasn't been any time at all.

The sight of the familiar shared bedroom still aches, though; not for what it is but because it isn't that deserted roadside in Wyoming.

He follows Jonathan silently.
stilljustandrew: (contemplative)
He's been spending most of his time at Milliways since he and Sam talked; he's been reluctant to leave at all except to pick up things he needs, afraid of returning and finding that weeks have gone by for Sam in his absence, afraid of being too late again.

Right now he's sitting at a table with a chicken sandwich and a notebook, mumbling pieces of a transcribed incantation with his mouth half full.
stilljustandrew: (comic: pretentious)
The note reads:

Dear Andrew,

There's a tape in the camcorder in your room upstairs. It'll explain everything.

All the best,
Andrew


There's a smiley face drawn in below the signature.
stilljustandrew: (comic: unease)
It's been dark for hours when they get to the empty warehouse. Andrew's visibly on edge, looking into the shadows and trying to stare in all directions at once, until Jonathan finds the unbolted door that let him out the first time and lets them both in now.

"We're gonna need some light," he says in an undertone as Jonathan closes the door behind them.
stilljustandrew: (comic: heavy heart)
It's his first time ever in New York, and he's having trouble enjoying it.

Andrew leans against the railing around the edge of the rooftop balcony and stares moodily out over the city. There's a skyscraper not too far away that he recognizes as the Chrysler building; he wastes a few minutes trying to make out the silver falcons that he knows are there on the corners of the spire.

Inside and a few floors down, Buffy and Willow and Vi are still conferring about Jonathan. Probably-Jonathan. He doesn't know what they're going to decide.

He doesn't know what he's going to do once they have.
stilljustandrew: (comic: ceci n'est pas une geek)
There's a vague blur on the screen, jostling as though someone's moving the camera to set it up. It stabilizes and recedes, turning into the faded blue t-shirt of a young man backing away from the camera.

"So, um ... hi, Andrew Prime. The bar downstairs gave me the key to your room. I hope you don't mind me crashing here while you're gone? Ray Stantz says this can happen from time to time, so I think we're cool."

The younger Andrew scratches his head, a bit uneasily.

"They tell me that it's not really predictable how time passes back home while you're here, so I think I better head for home now. I'll try and come back if I can. Meanwhile, uh, I met a few new people, and I ran into some people who know you, and I think I managed to make pretty clear that we're not really the same person? Um, one thing, though ... I might have warned Felix Gaeta about his future. I didn't tell him what was coming, just tipped him off that maybe he shouldn't go on the Demetrius mission. So you shouldn't run into too much trouble there. I hope."

Beat.

"So I guess that's it. Leave me a message if you get back here before I do?" He reaches to turn off the camera, pauses, and adds "This is Andrew Wells, somewhere in the multiverse."

Click. Blank screen.
stilljustandrew: (comic: steady)
It's maybe three or four hours later when Willow finishes her detection spell. It's exhausted her completely; she makes her report to Buffy lying flat on her back, her head pillowed on Kennedy's lap. Andrew stands by the door to listen, silent and more or less unnoticed.

There's definitely residue of a world-changing wish hanging around Jonathan, Willow tells them. But she wasn't able to get any kind of visual on the world he came from. And maybe he's not a vampire, but ... they all know that doesn't mean he's a good guy.

They can't hold him indefinitely on suspicion of maybe being a bad guy, says Buffy.



They're still arguing when Andrew quietly lets himself out of the room, and heads for where Jonathan's being held.
stilljustandrew: (contemplative)
Andrew's heading for the Bar to get some dinner.

It's been a weird day, for some reason. Nothing weird has actually happened; he's just felt faintly off, an inch removed from the rest of the universe.

He's hoping it's just low blood sugar.
stilljustandrew: (weary)
Ever since they started what he's been mentally referring to as the Interdimensional Witness Relocation Program, Andrew's been getting most of his sleep at Milliways. Between helping Sam Winchester settle in at the Academy as a putative Watcher-in-training and trying to juggle his own schedule around that, there hasn't been time to sleep at home.

Especially since about half the time he finds himself lying awake anyway, jittering from a combination of nerves and caffeine.

Andrew rolls over, bunches up the pillow under his head, and lets out a sigh of tired frustration as he tries to relax again.
stilljustandrew: (grim)
He's expecting something like a throne room, when Meg leads him upstairs.

He's not too far wrong ... but a closer simile, he thinks numbly, would be a war room.
stilljustandrew: (d20s)
Sam's been here before, a couple of years ago.

Very little has changed; it still has the timeless feel of most libraries, the central rotunda still vast and hushed and reverent.
stilljustandrew: (silent)
[After this.]


It's been literally years since the last time Andrew lost his way in the Milliways upstairs corridors.

He turns around at the dead end with a tired grimace, and heads back the way he came.
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