Vi ran to Andrew’s apartment. She wasn’t going to waste anytime getting to him. He needed her, god knew he needed her when that Game Master bastard took him and did what he did to him. She knelt down beside Andrew, checking him over. He looked fine on the outside, except for the nasty brand on his chest.
“No, no, no. You weren’t yourself Andy. I care about you Andy, always have and always will. Don’t think like that.” She put her arm behind his head and hugged him. She could feel his tears staining her shirt. She couldn’t keep hold hers back, she let them fall as she held Andrew closer to her. “Andy…you’re not him. You’ll never be him again, you hear me? You’re a good man, a great man.” She had only vaguely heard about what Andrew was like back then when he was evil. But she knew enough that he wasn’t him anymore. He had changed and had grown into a wonderful, great man. Sure, last week he wasn’t the best but that wasn’t his fault. No one had been themselves that week.
She lifted his face so then he was looking at her. “Andy, listen to me. I’m gonna find this bastard and I’m gonna make him pay. You understand me? He’s gonna pay for hurting you.” She was going to at least try to find whoever this Game Master guy was. No one was going to hurt her friends, especially not her best friend. “Andy, I need you to tell me everything you can remember about him.” She didn’t exactly know what she was going to do when and if she ever found this mystery guy. She just knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Andrew was babbling. Drunk, sad, and in pain, his words were just spilling out, faster than Vi could keep up. She thought he had been making reference to himself, to his villainous past, the man he once was. In a way, he was, but really, he had meant someone else, someone Vi had never met and wouldn’t ever have to meet. Warren Mears. Someone Andrew had, unbeknownst to him at the time, fallen in love with. Someone who he now recognized as unrepentantly evil. Was it possible to be in love with someone and hate them all at once?
He set about trying to explain to Vi the man who had kidnapped him and scalded the symbol into his flesh. “He was a tall guy. Looked older, old enough to be my dad, I think. He used magic, though, so I dunno, he could look like anyone, I guess. Could be a shapeshifter, or using a glamour, or any sort of thing, who knows? All I know for sure is that he wants everyone to know he’s out there. He’s making a play for something, and he wants me to tell everyone the tale. He knew my name, who all my friends and contacts where, and where I worked. He’s starting with me and working his way up the food chain.”
"I’ll die before I let him get to you or any of the other Slayers, Vi, but even that might not be enough to stop him. We’ve got to warn the others. We’ve got to warn everybody. The Watchers, the Scoobies, the PI guys, even Oz the werewolf could be in danger. Promise me nobody else is going to get hurt because of me. Nobody else will die because of me. Nobody else is going to get gutted by their best friend because I wasn’t brave or smart or strong enough to say no." Andrew’s blubbering resumed anew at the tail end of his explanation, which more strongly resembled pleading by that point. He held onto Vi, heedless of the fact that hugging her just pressed her into the mark of his chest, and laid on his kitchen floor sobbing, silently praying to be redeemed.
I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, so instead I’m having Batman Day.