Spike was glad that
Anya had finally decided to flesh out his character more. He had read treatises
about himself before, but no one seemed to truly understand him. He had hoped
that Anya, of all people, would be able to clarify his motivations, his personality and his justifications. He realized, then, that Anya was detailing her own perceptions at that time. To her, he had been peripheral when they first met. But as
time progressed in the story, his character would evolve. That night, he thought,
when the two of us commiserated about failed love, had been the point at which our relationship changed. Spike wondered how
much more she would have to say about him, so he continued reading.
Older than Grit
After Xander and
the others defeated A.D.A.M., I thought the two of us would finally have some time to catch our breath and spend some time
alone. Xander seemed depressed. He
was between jobs and really didn’t seem to have any prospects for a new one. I
thought that Xander needed some time away from all of his stress, so I called and told him to pack a bag. I decided we would take a road trip, just the two of us. I
mapped out our journey using the Internet, but I wanted our destination to be a surprise for Xander.
I decided that would
be a little difficult, since he would be the one driving. I planned to navigate
and have Xander drive blind. At first I thought that expression required him
to be blindfolded, but then I realized he’d still need to see the road. I packed one of our blindfolds, anyway, to use
I called and told
him my plans and he said he was ready for a change in scenery. He started jabbering
about Jack Kerouac and I stopped listening for a moment. He eventually started
winding things up, and I’d meet him that afternoon.
I carried my suitcase
to Xander’s house, cursing myself for not having him pick me up. When I
got there, he had his duffle bag packed, most likely with Bermuda shorts and tank tops.
It didn’t matter, because aside from my surprise side trip, he wouldn’t need any clothes for the rest of
our vacation. He asked me again where we were going, but I wouldn’t tell
him. He put my suitcase into the trunk and was closing it, when we heard the
voice of doom behind us.
Willow said, as she and Tara
ran toward us with bags over their shoulders.
“What are you
doing here?” I asked.
Willow said, ignoring me, “would it be okay if Tara and I joined you? The
idea of a road trip sounded great and we thought that maybe you wouldn’t mind.”
all right…” Tara said hesitantly, glancing over at me.
Xander stumbled, “I’m not sure.”
I said, as I led him away by the arm, “this weekend is supposed to be about us.”
they’ve already packed and everything. We can share the driving and get
separate rooms. Look at them,” he said, nodding in their direction, “they
I looked over and
saw Willow smiling at me, trying to look innocent. Tara had her head down,
standing behind Willow. They did indeed look sad and innocuous.
Xander said, “it may be a good opportunity for you and Willow to get to know each other, and
you know, bond.”
“Bond? Why would I… Xander, Willow doesn’t like me. I heard the two of you arguing about us from the bathroom the other day. I don’t think that spending more time together will help
us. Besides, that Tara girl is kind of odd.”
important to Willow, so we need to make an effort. Anya,
could you please do this for me?”
I really wanted to
put my foot down and refuse to go, even though the trip was my idea in the first place.
I looked at the girls again and Willow gave me a little wave.
“If she promises
to be nice,” I finally said, giving in once again to the will of Willow.
“She will be,”
Xander told me. “I know she will.”
Xander told the girls
that they could go, never once telling Willow to be nice to me. He added their bags
to those already in the trunk. I sat down in the passenger seat, forcing Willow to
climb into the back seat on the driver’s side.
Once everyone was
in, Xander started the car and asked where to go. I told him south and he asked
which way that was. I pointed right and he turned the car as we headed out of town.
As we drove south,
I noticed that ever so often, there would be giggling from the back seat. I’d
turn around and the two girls would be whispering and giggling. I felt very self-conscious,
thinking that they were, for some reason, talking about me.
I turned back around
and looked at Xander. He seemed perfectly content driving down the highway, heading
to an unknown location. I decided not to bother him with my thoughts and sat
with my arms crossed, watching for the exit that we needed.
After more and more
whispering and giggling, I’d finally had enough.
I said, yanking him from his thoughts, “could you please tell Willow and Tara to stop talking
Xander looked at
“We, um, we
weren’t…” Tara tried to say.
Willow interrupted her, “We weren’t talking about you, Anya. What makes you think we were?”
“You were whispering
and giggling,” I said, trying to explain myself. “I saw you looking
at me from the vanity mirror on my visor.” Even as I said it, I realized
that my explanation wasn’t very clear. “If you weren’t talking
to me, what were you talking about?”
They looked at each
other and giggled. I noticed Tara’s face turning red.
they said together.
“I knew it!”
I said, “You were talking about me, and now that I’ve caught you, you
are too cowardly to admit it.”
“If you have
to know,” Willow said, as she leaned forward and whispered in my ear.
I began to giggle
and said, “Okay. I was wrong.”
“So what was
it?” Xander asked, looking confused.
talking about sex,” I said, not going into the details of what Willow had told me.
Xander suddenly hit
the brakes and we all flew into our seat belts. Horns from other cars were being
honked as their drivers quickly swerved into other lanes of traffic to pass us.
he said, as he got us back up to the speed of the traffic.
I saw that Xander
had started perspiring. He’d glance ever once in a while to the back seat
and then perspire some more.
We finally made it
to the hotel, only to find out that the room I had reserved was the only one available.
Xander decided that we could all stay in the same room, not caring about the inconvenience it would be to me. I think he was hoping that he might have a chance at a four-some, but I could tell
that Willow and Tara were all into each other and no one else.
We were, luckily,
able to finagle a room with two beds. I spent the evening sexually frustrated
and woke up somewhat grumpy.
After a lovely continental
breakfast the hotel offered, I made Xander put on the blindfold.
this for?” he asked.
“To take you
to the surprise,” I said, hoping that Xander hadn’t been paying attention to his surroundings when we arrived. While Xander was in the bathroom the previous night, I let Tara and Willow in
on the surprise. Willow said that he would love it,
which gave me a sense of self-gratification.
I led Xander out
of the hotel with Willow and Tara behind us. A shuttle bus took us down
the street to the corner of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly
Boulevard, where we got out.
I took Xander’s
blindfold off and he started hopping up and down and screaming like a little girl.
he said, opening his mouth in a smile that showed all his beautiful teeth.
I said. “Are you happy?”
begin to describe it.”
We made our way to
the line and waited our turn to be interviewed. Several hours later we were branded
with yellow price tags with our names on it.
We found our seats
and a man came out on stage where he explained that they would be filming two episodes that day, but they’d be bringing
in a different audience for the second. We were told to show a lot of excitement,
which Xander could barely contain as it was. As he began explaining the rules,
Xander must have thanked me twenty more times.
After the man left
the stage, the music began. The applause signs flashed and the audience showed
A loud voice called
for people to come forward and Xander kept praying, something I’d never seen before, that his name would be called. We watched as the game show host came out with his phallic microphone and started
taking bids for the first item. We participated with the audience, screaming
out numbers to help the contestants. Xander seemed to be having a good time,
which pleased me.
After each pricing
game, another contestant would be called, but Xander wasn’t one of them. The
show ended and Xander was very disappointed. Here I had gone to the trouble of
making arrangements to get him on the show and they never chose him. It was Xander’s
dream. He had told me so, every weekday morning as we watched this bedeviled
I decided I had to
get him on stage. I told Willow and Tara to take Xander
to eat something and that I would meet up with them.
I made my way backstage,
after flirting with several security people, and found the host’s dressing room.
I walked in and he looked at me, a flittering of recognition on his face.
I said, menacingly. “Do you remember me?”
At the sound of my
voice he started, “Anyanka?”
I said, “do you remember our first meeting?”
in the early 70s. You were one of the first Barker’s Beauties. You were only here for a week and then you disappeared. Look
at you,” he said, checking me out, “you haven’t aged a day.”
“I was sent
to wreak vengeance on you,” I said, using my most intimidating voice. “You had been promising one of your models
that you would leave your wife, but you kept putting it off. I am the one who
cast the spell to make it where all you could ever do is host this silly show. You
would have no career, other than asking people for the price of merchandise. No
matter how hard you’ve tried to get out, you are in your own little hell. Because
of me. However, the spell did give you an untold fortune and for that, you owe
me. An aftereffect that I did not foresee.”
He looked at me,
beginning to understand what I was talking about.
I said, “I can make it all go away. All of your fame. All of your money. All of your spayed and neutered pets.” I was lying, but he didn’t know that.
“What do you
“I need tickets
to the next episode AND I need Xander Harris to be a contestant.”
He thought for a
second and decided to give in to my will. He made a call to supply us with tickets
and I left to find the others.
When I got to the
restaurant where Tara, Willow and Xander were, I told them that I had gotten us tickets for the next taping.
Xander said that
it would be no use. He’d never get to fulfill his dream.
After much encouragement,
he finally decided to give in and come with me.
We made our way back
to the studio and once again the man was explaining the rules. The music began
and the voice called out, “Xander Harris, come on down!”
Willow, Tara and I began jumping up and down and tried to push Xander down the row to the aisle. He stood there in shock, not moving. Finally,
I just pushed him and he fell into the aisle. He got up and was able to run down
Xander had the closest
bid on the first item, a diamond bracelet, and was allowed on stage, where he found out he’d get to play Plinko. He began to cry. After earning four chips
he went to the top of the Plinko board and slid the chips one by one. He only
won $500, but you would have thought his winnings had taken him into a higher tax bracket.
After failing at
the big wheel, Xander was ushered to the back. We didn’t see him for the
rest of the show. When he met us outside afterwards, his smile was infectious
and he said it was like being in the middle of joy. As if joy were a tangible
thing. That night, Xander gave me the diamond bracelet, valued at $890, and told
me that I had really made him happy.
The next day, we
made our way back to Sunnydale, where Xander regaled Giles, Buffy and Riley with his successes.
Xander felt like
his luck was changing for the better. A couple of weeks later, he found a job
doing construction work. I told him not to do any digging and he agreed, remembering
the heartbreak of mystical syphilis.
That summer I met
Joyce, Buffy’s mom. She was very nice to me and treated me with respect. It was kind of refreshing, considering how her daughter treated me.
I also met Dawn,
Buffy’s kid sister, maybe. It’s a little unclear whether I met her
that summer or not, but that’s a story to tell later. Anyway, it kind of nice having the little girl around, with her and Tara in the mix, I felt like less of
It was kind of slow,
demon-wise, that summer and everyone seemed to become more and more relaxed.
Buffy, Willow and
Tara seemed to be enjoying the break from school. Xander had started his
new job and seemed to take pleasure in it, as well. Giles was keeping busy cataloguing
his dusty books and Riley was adjusting to being a civilian. Within all this
happiness, I found myself bored. It was during that summer that I finally realized
that I would never get my powers back. I needed something. A purpose. Something that was just mine. Of course I had Xander, but
he couldn’t keep me occupied all the time, no matter how hard he tried.