A/N: Between the end of the last season of BTVS, and when Andrew appeared on Angel.


Andrew is sitting in the London rain, shivering quietly, hair matted to his face. It's grown since he left Sunnydale, and he still doesn't care enough to cut it. Just like the small fuzzy beard that's taken over his chin, that probably makes him look like some kind of psychopath. But it doesn't matter; he's not even sure why he's here.

He does know, however, that he likes the sound of the heavy downpour against the pavement, and how it slaps wetly against his sweater because he's been out here for quite a while. The scraping of metal against concrete causes him to jump slightly, and he looks up.

There's a girl standing there across the street, laughing under an umbrella, which is being held by a boy. The bin on the ground at their feet is spewing refuse onto the sidewalk, but they are wrapped up in each other. The neon lights of the pub behind them caress their skin intimately, touching all the right places. And suddenly with that glow, their eyes are alive. Even from here he can see it.

This is what the beautiful people get, he thinks. And he laughs while he hates himself, because he really is happy for them. Spike would say that it's all antiquated rubbish, and then Andrew would agree just to look cool. But inside, he'd be thinking all his secret thoughts about how wonderful it must be to have someone care that much, imagining how just the touch of their hand could bring you a moment's peace. He always was a hopeless romantic...

The girl looks at the man sitting on the opposite curb, who is looking back at her, and her smile dies just a little bit. The boy doesn't seem to notice Andrew at all, and they soon hurry on their way. He wonders if they're going home, or to another pub, or nowhere at all. And when he thinks about her eyes, he can't decide whether she felt bad for him, or was just scared.

He might be scared too. He thinks that he is.

He swishes his feet through the puddle forming in front of him, and tries to empty his head completely. But that only makes him think more of things that he shouldn't, because there is no 'replay' function for life. The rain is letting up a little, and he wishes for it to keep coming. If it can hold up a little longer, if he can hold out... then maybe it will wash away all these thoughts that have taken root in his brain, that are sucking the life right out of him. Drying up his heart. Maybe if the rain doesn't stop, he won't turn to dust.

Like Spike did when he went all superhero on Andrew, and left him alone. Andrew had always loved comics, how the superhero always eventually saved the day. What he never learned was that the heroes usually died, in the end, to save the ones they loved, the world they loved. The ultimate sacrifice for a shit load of people who probably didn't even notice or care, who might never know. It's one of those things Andrew thinks people should teach their children, but don't.

Even with all the buildings surrounding him, looming in the distance, the earth is suddenly wide. It stretches before him like a freshly healed scar about to tear, but it never does. The world is as painfully limited as it is free.

The rain gives one last burst of power, and then the water in the air is sucked back into the sky. Soon it will rain on someone else, but never again on the one person he could love enough to let go.

He is gone. I am gone.

We are gone.

And here comes the sinking feeling in the pit of his belly, the warning sign that he can't go on this way anymore. Spike would probably kick him in the ass and tell him to stop staring at the sky like a git. But since Spike isn't here to do it for him, he has to do it for himself.

When he stands he feels absolved. The world never shrinks back to the size it once was, just keeps on growing bigger and better and worse. It dips and bends, and winds itself securely around him. He rides on currents of air, follows them to the sea and back. And sometimes he feels the earth pulling down on his feet; not sinking, but firmly anchored. That's when he really smiles like he used to before, because that's where Spike is, keeping him grounded with his head in the clouds.