Hmm. I really should be concentrating on the next chapter of 'Change' (or, y'know, some of those uni assignments I need to get done). Instead I wrote this.

Enjoy, and I'd appreciate any feedback, big or small :-).

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss, ME, Fox, WB, and UPN.

*******

Insidious


It happens quickly, really, but it seems sooo slow. It feels like when you're in a traffic accident, and time slows around you and it feels like it's taking forever even though it's only a split second and definitely not enough time to stop the inevitable and then everything snaps back and it's too late.

Bang.

You're gone.

Actually Andrew hasn't ever really been in a car accident. But if he had, he suspects it would be kinda like this. Because one minute he's sitting at the table feeling kind of fidgety while Willow does this spell that's supposed to make the Bringer they've captured actually able to talk and the next...

He looks up and he's suddenly aware that the Bringer is looking at him, even though that's probably crazy because it doesn't actually have any eyes or anything. Though maybe the magical-symbol-scar-things on it's face work like eyes do, because the Bringers never seem to have that much trouble getting around. Maybe Xander could get a magical scar that lets him see out of his lost eye. That'd be kind of weird and strange and... and...

The Bringer is looking at him, and suddenly time slows to a crawl and he feels terribly, horribly cold. All his senses feel hyper alert, like they're about to start screaming. He wants to get up, or run away, or whimper or yell or something. There's just no time, no time at all until it begins.

A cold presence seeps from the Bringer and weaves it's way across the room through the frozen figures, who don't see anything at all. It crawls towards Andrew and wraps itself around him while he watches, helpless, and then it... oh god, and then it's in him.

It crawls through his body and seeps through his mind and he can't scream, can't move, can't react...

Can't fight.

He's trying. He's trying so hard, his body screaming at the invasion. His senses wailing, his mind thrashing wildly at the thing that pushes itself inside his mind. And it feels hideous, revolting, obscene. Connected to something worse than anything Andrew's ever felt and God. Oh God, he'd been working for it. He'd been helping it. Oh God makeitstopmakeitstop...

He wants to be screaming. There's nothing he can do, and a tiny piece inside of him is aware of that and is sobbing like a baby. It's not the Bringer he's fighting, it's Willow's spell, Willow who killed Warren, Willow who's one of the most powerful beings in the world. She's said her spell and the Bringer needs a voice and it's going to take his and he is

completely

and

utterly

helpless.

The presence pushes itself brutally into his mind and freezes it cold. He's losing it; he's losing himself and everything that is Andrew is being deadened under the inevitable tide. He tries one last time to twitch, to let out a noise, to anything, but it's too late...

He's numb. He's floating on nothing and he feels nothing and he hears nothing and... He can still see. He can see through eyes that stare at nothing and no one at a small crowd of people who don't even realise what's happened to him. When the Bringer begins to move Andrew's lips he barely registers it, they don't even feel like his anymore.

Numb. Incapacitated. Barely there while evil talks through him. Deep, deep inside there is still a small part of Andrew that is screaming in terror, but most of him is incapable of feeling anything at all. He watches with dead eyes as the others looked annoyed at him and then as they finally realise what's happened. He watches them jump up, watches as they ask questions that are answered in a voice that he can no longer recognize as his own. Watches as Kennedy grabs a knife and presses it to the Bringer's throat.

The tiny bit of Andrew that is still there screams even louder at that, and he dimly realizes that if the Bringer dies while it's in him there's no guarantee that he'll survive either. Vague threads of worry manage to penetrate his frozen state. No. No dying. Don't want to die I don't...

I don't want to die. I'm scared of dying.

I deserve to die.

Please... Oh please...

He doesn't know what he's asking. Doesn't know which way he wants it to go. But Giles grabs Kennedy's knife and he fades back out as they talk more and as the Bringer drones on and then...

Giles grabs the knife and the Bringer, and there's not even enough time to feel the threads of panic this time as Giles brings the knife up and slashes it down...

The presence leaves brutally quickly. Surges through his body almost painfully and he's left gasping as the horrible coldness finally dissipates and he can feel. He jumps to his feet and stares wildly at Giles and almost shouts at him "What the bananas?! You are so lucky that you did not just... magically decapitate me."

Giles doesn't look sorry. Giles doesn't even look that interested.

Andrew isn't disappointed, he's not. He's used to that by now. He stands shakily as the others talk some more and takes deep breaths and tells himself that he's not going to vomit, he's not going to scream, he's not going to cry, he's not going to be any more of a burden because he's a good guy now and there are a million more important things in this household than him.

When they all march upstairs, he follows, and the only complaint he allows himself is, "I feel used and violated, and... I need a lozenge."

Because despite everything he feels a quiet, desperate desire to let them know that he's here, and he's doing his best, and he's trying to help all he can.

And because his throat really does hurt.