Title: Lesser Men

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: They're not mine. In fact, take them back, Joss, please? They're taking over my life!

Spoilers: Everything up to "Normal Again" (6:17) in B:tVS, possible crossover would include everything up to "Sleep Tight" (3:16) in A:tS.

Feedback is highly appreciated.


Chapter One

They'd left him alone with the monitors again. Jonathan was beginning to wonder ... no. If he was going to be honest with himself, he'd have to admit that he'd been wondering for a very long time now what Warren was really up to.

It had been so much fun at the beginning. He'd been recognized again, important, playing on the same level as the Slayer and getting away with it. Not only that, he and his fellow super-villains had much better stuff than she did! A cool lair, a freeze gun, minions, money, chicks ...

Jonathan swallowed. Well, the chick thing hadn't gone so well. Hadn't they said, way back at the beginning, ix-nay on the urder-may? And look where that had gotten them. Katrina was dead. Katrina! Warren's ex! How had that happened? Where had their plans gone wrong?

Andrew didn't even seem to care anymore. He was like Warren, Part II. Fitting, maybe, since until he'd hooked up with Jonathan and Warren, he'd been just "Tucker's little brother". Sure, the "Run, Juliet" thing was funny and all, but when people thought about trained demons attacking the school, Tucker's devil dogs were what they remembered first. Not Andrew's flying monkeys. I mean, seriously. Prom vs. school play? No contest.

Jonathan sighed, and tried to shake off the cloud of depressing thoughts. The same ideas had been running in circles through his mind for days now, weeks even, and he was no closer to a solution. All he did was lose sleep, and Warren was getting more and more impatient with him. What was he going to do? He couldn't leave. Sure, he had magic, but nothing on a grand scale. With Warren's gadgets, and Andrew's summoning powers, they could hunt him down in no time.

He should have known. He should have realized a long time ago that this was going to turn out just like the other time he tried to be Jonathan the Great. Buffy had said something wise then, about him treating people like socks ... wait, that couldn't be right. Socks? Anyway. He had been practically king of Sunnydale, but there had been this dark side to all that power, that he hadn't known about at the beginning. And how had that turned out? The Slayer had bailed him out of it and returned him to obscurity.

It didn't look like that was going to happen this time. On the monitors, Jonathan could see Buffy huddled under a stairway, while her friends were getting pounded on. She looked almost catatonic. Were more people going to die? More people's lives on their heads? And not just Buffy and her friends. Didn't Warren realize? Without Buffy and the others around and active, the evil population would skyrocket in Sunnydale.

Warren might think they were big enough supervillains to hold off competition, but Jonathan wasn't so sure. What could they have done against the Mayor, for example? Or Adam? Sooner or later they were going to have to move off the Hellmouth, and then what? Some of Warren's gadgets depended on the strange effects the Hellmouth had on the laws of physics, and it would be a lot harder for Andrew, too, since the demons would have to travel further for less power. Not to mention the difficulty Jonathan would have getting ingredients for spells, unless they went to another hotspot like L.A., and they'd just run into more problems there. They'd be small fish in a very big pond.

Buffy was saying something on the monitors. Jonathan focused on the screen as her lost look suddenly cleared into her resolve face, and she leaped into the fray. He found himself holding his breath, watching intently as if she were fighting his problems instead of Andrew's unpronounceable demon.

It died. More than that, it died emphatically, with slime dripping off of Buffy's hand. She hadn't been that strong since they'd started surveilling her. Where had that come from? How had she shaken the poison off?

"Does it matter?" Jonathan said aloud, touching an index finger to the screen where the body was displayed. "She got out of it. How does she do that? She always gets out of it. I am so on the wrong side."

He turned then, looking around at the trappings of their lair. Where were the beanbag chairs, the imaginary schematics, the whiteboard with fun goals like "Conjure Fake I.D.s" and "Miniaturize Fort Knox"? They had suddenly gone all Initiative down here. He still had a few fuzzy memories rattling around from his day as Mr. Levinson, Tactical Advisor, and the comparison was sobering. The Initiative had seemed like such a good thing, but then there was Adam.

"Enough." He was no Buffy, but surely if she could snap out of her hallucinations, he could conquer the apathy and cowardice that were keeping him here.

Wait! That was it! He was no Buffy ... but he didn't have to be Jonathan, either ...

A few minutes later, Warren's monitors fuzzed out for a few moments, as the front door opened and then banged shut. Jonathan exited the house, muttering Latin under his breath, dressed in old sweats and carrying a duffel bag. He turned to look at the front door again, smiled grimly, then turned right and started down the sidewalk ...