Anya stood in the hallway of
the high school holding a sword with both hands. Panic began filling her as she
heard the sounds of footsteps running toward them from the basement.
“I think they’re
coming,” she heard Andrew say as he hid behind her.
The pounding of her heart became
almost unbearable. “Oh, God,” she said. “I’m terrified. I didn’t think. I mean, I just figured you’d be terrified, and I would be sarcastic about it.”
The sound of footsteps matched
the pounding of Anya’s heart.
“Picture happy things,”
Andrew said trying to calm her nerves, “a lake, candy canes, bunnies…”
pictured the despicable little creatures. She could feel rage replace the terror
she had felt. “Floppy, hoppy, bunnies.”
Before Anya could finish her
thought, she realized her surroundings had changed. She was no longer at Sunnydale
High. The stone walls. The smell
of sulfur. The tapestries. She immediately
recognized her new surroundings. At first she felt comfort. She was home. Then she remembered that this was no longer her home.
She was at Arashmahar. She could feel his cold eyes boring down on her.
She looked up knowing whom she was facing.
said with a wide grin on his face. “Welcome home.”
have you brought me here?” Anya said confused. “I’m in the
middle of a life or death situation.”
“Life and death are precisely
what I wish to discuss.”
Anya stared at the towering
demon who had once been her mentor. There had been a time, not too long ago,
when she had been his favorite. She had been revered by lower beings and by others
like her. But no longer.
“…your life and death to be precise.”
“You have tried to have
me killed for months. I realize that my life is forfeit and has been since you
granted my wish. Why now do you bring me here?”
“It really hurt me, Anyanka. You came to me when your life was in shambles.
You asked me to take away your pain. I made you a vengeance demon again. How did you thank me? By feeling remorse and guilt.
By asking me to undo the glorious death of twelve college students.”
“I wanted to die,”
Anya said quietly.
“Yes, I know,”
D’Hoffryn chuckled, “but I always go for the pain. The death of Halfrek was your punishment.”
“Why are we going over
this? If you’re going to kill me, be quick about it.”
went on, “you do not pay attention to details. You never have. I said we would be speaking of <i>life</i> and death.
I offer you a final chance at life.”
“Are you saying that
if I go back I will die?”
“That will be up to you. However, you may choose to live forever here at Arashmahar. You will live as a lower being serving me and my vengeance demons, but you will live.”
Anya was stunned, a guarantee
to live forever, something she had taken for granted when she was Anyanka, but as Anya, she knew she was destined to die at
some point, perhaps during the current battle.
She was intrigued by
D’Hoffryn’s offer. Life as a lower being, although a life in servitude,
was better than certain death. She was about to accept, when she thought about
why she was fighting. She thought about the conversation she and Andrew had had
at the hospital, when he surmised that she actually liked humans. He was right,
of course, but she would never have admitted it. She knew her friends were fighting
for the survival of mankind, and despite the odds, they were determined. How
could she live with herself if her absence from the fight made the difference and they died and mankind with them?
It had taken a few years living
as a human, but she had really become one of them. Despite the flaws of the race,
despite the annoying emotions and the hatred and the greed, she realized she liked being one.
She knew she had to do her part, regardless of the ramifications.
“I decline,” she
“What!?” D’Hoffran’s voice resounded throughout his palace. “I offer you life and you decline?!”
Anya repeated more forcefully, standing up to face D’Hoffryn.
Regaining his composure, D’Hoffryn
sighed and snapped his fingers.
Anya was back in the
fight at the exact moment in which she had left. She hefted her sword and began
fighting the Turok-Han valiantly.
Anya hefted her sword
and dusted two of the übervamps in a row.
Suddenly bringers began to
attack. They were going after Andrew. She
tried to fight them off, but there were too many. She had just fought off one,
when she felt the cold metal of a sword go into her shoulder and then everything became light.
It was so bright. She tried to call for Andrew, but there was no answer.
Suddenly out of the light
she saw two figures emerge. She strained her eyes, but couldn’t make out
their faces. They walked slowly toward her.
Anya turned around to run the
other way. An unseen force kept her where she was. She began to cry, something she rarely did.
She felt a comforting
hand clasp hers. “There’s no need to cry.”
She felt an arm come around
her neck from the other side, “You made the right choice.”
Anya turned around and, without
a second thought, let Joyce and Tara
lead her away.