By Andrew Crouch
Rated PG for some violence, some mild language. Nothing you wouldn't see on any given episode of the real show.
I wrote this one to help soothe my own disappointment at the way the producers chose to end Season Six on "Buffy". I really thought they had struck gold with the "Willow goes evil" angle, but leave it to these writers to screw it up royally. I got the main plot ideas and started writing right after "Normal Again" aired and I got a few spoilers about the finale (i.e. Tara dies, Will goes crazy), so the path of this story diverges from the "real" story from that point on. In this version, Anya hasn't come back yet, Spike never tried to rape Buffy (his relationship with her is currently in limbo) and of course never left Sunnydale. I wanted to finish this in time for the actual airing of the related TV episode, but you know how things do tend to come up.
The general structure is that of your typical episode, split into acts separated by commercial breaks. I considered writing this in screenplay format, but that would have been needlessly complicated as well much harder to read. I also feel like I've got a bit more room to say things this way.
As always, all the characters belong to M.E. and not me. Please enjoy.
"Red" --- Part One
Jonathan started almost out of his chair at the sudden intrusion, the voice from his shoulder. Warren was at his side, staring past him at the computer screen, a wide smile brightening his narrow features.
"Nothing," Jonathan said quietly, trying to appear less nervous than he felt. This was the state of affairs, it seemed, whenever he and Warren were in the same room together these days. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing," Warren repeated, the smile still on his face. "Just curious. Typing something?"
Jonathan turned back to the screen.
"For the newsletter?"
Jonathan shook his head, irritated. "I thought we scrapped that stupid newsletter idea."
"We gotta have a newsletter. You know, to keep our fans in the know."
Jonathan rolled his eyes. "I didn't think supervillians needed fans."
Warren tilted his head, as if confused, though the grin remained. "How else are we supposed to know how well we're doing?"
"Body count, maybe," Jonathan murmured sadly.
"Nothing, nothing," Jonathan replied stonily. "Look, did you need something, or you just gonna stand there smiling at me all day?"
"Minor kink," said another voice from a different direction. Jonathan looked up sharply at Warren standing over his shoulder, but the smile was frozen in place.
And then the real Warren stepped out of the shadows closer to the stairs.
"What do you think?"
"Jeez," Jonathan whispered, still staring at the robot. "It's really good."
"I thought so," the real Warren said airily. "Actually, I kind of like the smile. It really brightens your day, if you're feeling blue."
Jonathan turned to look suspiciously at him. "When did you build it?"
"Oh, I've been tinkering with it for a month or so."
"You were building this thing for a month, and you didn't tell us?"
"Andrew knew," Warren replied simply. He was smiling, though unlike his robot doppelganger, the expression was not pleasant in the slightest.
"You just seemed to be less and less interested in Trio business, so I didn't want to bother you. You know, in case you were busy with something more..." he glanced significantly over Jonathan's shoulder at the computer screen. "...important."
"Yeah, well, you going Invasion of the Body Snatchers on me, I might wanna know that."
Warren raised his hands. "Sorry."
He turned to robot. "You can leave now."
Warrenbot nodded to both of them, the goofy smile still plastered on its face, and left the room.
"What are you writing?"
Jonathan swiveled back to the computer, and began to type again. "A story."
"It's about three guys who have no business messing with the stuff they mess with, but they do it anyway. They think they're big bads, or something, when they don't even know what it means. Like mosquitoes, they peck and buzz and draw blood, until one day they itch enough to be swatted."
"He's a poet and don't know it," Warren smirked. "Sounds familiar. How does it end?"
Jonathan grimaced, as if he tasted something bitter.