Beauty Effulgent

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Anya's Story 8

Anya's Story

Chapter Index

Part Eight

Spike was sitting in the cafeteria with the manuscript in his hand when he sensed someone approach him from behind.

 “Spike, cupcake,” he heard the voice say, “I understand you’ve been busy.”

 Spike sighed when he heard the voice.  It was that bloody green demon.  Spike hadn’t really gotten to know Lorne very well, nor did he have any intention to do so.  Anyone who was that chipper instantly irritated him.  Deciding he couldn’t evade Lorne, Spike turned around.

 “Don’t know what you mean,” Spike said, feigning ignorance.

 “Mary down at the LD said you’d picked up a manuscript for Angel.  We both know that Angel does many things, but reading for fun is not one of them.”

 “I lied,” Spike said, not feeling any need to hide what he was doing.  “I found a biography written by a friend of mine and I was curious.  ’ Suppose now you’re going to tell the big jefe.”

 “Why would I do that, pumpkin?” Lorne asked, as he sat down in the chair opposite Spike.

 “Cause that’s what all you goody goodies do, innit it?  Spy on the employees and report their actions to Admiral Haircut?”

 “Is it?” Lorne asked.  “Besides, last time I checked, you weren’t an employee.”

 “Damn right!”

 “So, since you’re not an employee, that would mean you were just stealing it.”

 “Suppose so.”

 “Just checking.  So, how is it?”

 After a pause, Spike said, “Educational.”

 Lorne sat there contemplating Spike’s answer.  “Hmm.  Well, I guess as long as you return it when you’re done, there’s no harm.”

 Lorne waited for a thank you, which was not forthcoming.  He shrugged and rose from his chair, humming the theme to Cops as he walked out of the cafeteria.

 Spike picked up his mug and took a sip of blood.  Cold.  Damn.  He got up and popped it in the microwave for a few seconds. He returned to his chair and continued reading…

 The Story of the Demon, the Soldiers, the Monster and the Slut

It was quiet.  The only sound was that of Xander moving in and out of me.  It was kind of an eerie feeling, because normally we were both rather vociferous during our lovemaking.  But with our ability to speak gone, the only sound that could be heard was that of our bodies moving together.

Suddenly, an audible groan came from Xander’s mouth.  Apparently the spell, or whatever it was, had been broken.  Now both of us were groaning and moaning at the pleasure we were feeling.

Once we were both fulfilled, Xander said that he needed to go get Spike.

“Why?” I asked.

Xander explained that Giles and Olivia might want to have some nookie time of their own.

I conceded, thinking that it would only be for one more night.  Xander took me home and then went on to pick up Spike.

Apparently, having a couple of nights without his vampire gave Giles amnesia.  He abandoned his pet and Xander felt obliged to take care of it.  Spike continued living at Xander’s for about a month.  During that time, I avoided visiting and made Xander come to me.  When Xander got off from his new job delivering melted cheese on bread, he would come see me at my apartment. After we had both enjoyed a pleasure moment (or two), Xander would go back home, to check up on Spike

Xander spent his first full night in my apartment on Christmas Eve.  When he asked me where my tree was, I told him that if I wanted something tall and sticky in my house, I would keep him there.

Xander laughed and praised me for my first intentional joke. It felt good to have someone appreciate my humor.  It had taken a while, but I finally felt normal and happy.

Spike had recently discovered that he couldn’t cause harm to humans, but could fight other demons.  (I didn’t know if he’d be able to fight former demons and had no intention of finding out.)  Finally, accepting that Spike was basically neutered, Giles told Xander he could let him go run the streets.

The morning after Spike moved out, Xander was awoken by a demon standing over him.  He successfully got rid of it, and came to my apartment and he told me what had happened.  My first thought was that Willow must have again been indulging in poorly executed spell casting.

We went to the dorm where we found Buffy and Willow.  The four of us found our way to Giles’ apartment.

When we got there, we discovered that his house had been ransacked.  When I found his coat with a giant tear in it, my first thought was that the demon must have eaten Giles.  I was glad that Xander had been able to fend off the demon that morning or else I might have gone to his basement and found a shredded pair of Batman pajamas.  We began looking through Giles’ exhaustive library to try and discover what kind of demon it could have been.

Buffy’s new boyfriend Riley showed up.  We were never formally introduced, which I must say was a little rude of Buffy.  Xander had pointed him out to me at Buffy’s birthday party a couple days before.

He was one of the commandos who had been lurking around the town.  Xander had told me about him and his organization, the Initiative.  They were demon hunters, Xander had said a little too excitedly.  I was leery of the whole thing.  What if they found out I had been a demon?  Would they be coming after me?  I kept those feelings to myself for the time being.

The Initiative had intercepted a 911 call from Giles’ apartment and flagged the call as possibly a demon encounter or something.  Buffy told him that Giles was missing and he promised to help.

It was kind of weird for me.  I felt a little jealous of how easily the others seemed to be accepting Riley into the mix, when I’d been with Xander for months and still felt like an outsider.  I wasn’t invited to patrol with them and was only occasionally asked to help with the research (which I guess wasn’t such a bad thing, considering how boring it could get), but Mr. Soldier Man entered the picture and he was immediately brought in or consulted or whatever.

Finally, Xander found a picture of the demon, which really didn’t resemble his description.  It was a Fyarl.  Riley got a call about a possible sighting and he and Buffy both left.  Willow, Xander and I were left to keep researching.  Later that night, Buffy and a shirtless Giles returned to tell us that the demon had actually been Giles under a spell that was not cast by Willow. Well, that was different. However, it would have been nice if they had called to tell us to stop researching, but I suppose their inconsiderateness prevented them.

So Buffy started spending all her time with her new boyfriend.  This was fine with me, because it gave me more time to spend with Xander.  Unfortunately, it also gave me more time with Willow.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like Willow, but Xander had told me all about his relationship with her.  She had known him longer than anyone and pretty much knew everything about him.  I’d known him for a year and was just brushing the surface.  I wanted to be the one who knew him best.

So it was with great trepidation that I found myself agreeing to play cards with Xander, Willow and Buffy.  Buffy didn’t show, so that left the three of us.  It was my first time to play poker, and I really didn’t understand why there were so many rules just to win plastic disks.  Xander explained that the chips represented money.

At that point, money wasn’t very important to me, which is inconceivable to me now.  I had what seemed like a never ending supply, which I basically kept to myself.  If I needed something, I’d buy it.  I never even thought about it.

Xander, though, thought about it a lot.  He was always trying to find a way to get more.  At that point, I think he was trying to sell some energy bars, having lost his delivery job.

So the three of us played and talked about Buffy and the commandos.  Xander was a little concerned about the commandos and I was very concerned.  If these people were anti-demon, I was scared that they might cause me harm.  Willow tried to allay my fears; however, I continued to feel threatened.

The next night at the Bronze, Willow and I sat in uncomfortable silence at a table while Xander tried to sell his cardboard candy bars.  He was completely ignoring me so I confronted him.

“Xander,” I said, “You haven’t been paying attention to me tonight.  Just peddling those processed food bricks.  I don’t understand why.”

Then Xander explained, “Sell bars. Make money. Take Anya nice places. Buy pretty things.”

I knew he was being condescending, but he really gave me a new concept of the good that money can do.  I liked it when Xander bought me presents and took me out.  For some reason, it was inherently more interesting that when I just bought things for myself.

“That does make sense,” I told him. “All right.  Go sell more.”

Buffy finally arrived, followed by Riley and several of his commando friends.  They really made me uneasy, so I immediately grabbed Xander and went to the dance floor to avoid any questions that might have come up.

Luckily it wasn’t long after that that they all got called in to go fight something.

Willow and Xander talked about their own worries about the Initiative and Buffy’s involvement in it.

The next day, while Xander was trying to sell Giles some of the candy, Spike burst into the apartment.

The soldiers had shot him with something, and now he wanted our help.  After some debate between him and Giles, it was decided that we would help.  Apparently, the soldiers had shot him with some sort of tracking devise.  Giles had Willow come over to put up a disrupter spell, which surprisingly worked.  Giles was able to dig out the tracer and flush it.

Giles was trying to figure out why the Initiative had shot Spike. After all, they had already neutered him, how much more did they want? Buffy came in abruptly, very upset.  She told us that the Initiative had set her up to be killed.  She had been asking too many questions causing someone to get anxious.  Buffy had put us all in danger. 

It was decided that we should hide, a very sensible decision, I might add.  Someone suggested we move everyone to Xander’s basement. I was not too keen on that idea, considering we had just gotten rid of one unwanted houseguest.  Then Riley came in.  I was about to ask why it was okay for Buffy and Riley to come in without knocking, but when I did it, Giles acted like I was breaking and entering.  However, the opportunity never presented itself.

Buffy and Riley discussed what had happened, while I tried to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, fearing that Riley would discover my past.  Then Riley saw Spike and recognized him as the demon who had escaped.  He got angry that we were harboring him. Buffy tried to explain that we weren’t harboring him, necessarily, but Riley didn’t give her much of a chance.

Spike left, and after much bickering between him and Buffy, thankfully so did Riley.

Now that the riffraff had left, Giles told everyone to take only what they needed to Xander’s house.  Then he brought out several empty boxes from his closet and had us pack up his books.  How many books did he have on the Initiative, I wondered, but I went ahead and helped Xander with the packing and we hauled the boxes out to the car.  Giles brought out a laundry basket full of dirty clothes.

“You have a machine, I assume, Xander?”

“Yes,” I said trying to be helpful, “feel free to bring all your dirty laundry with you.” Then I added, “Except for whites.”

We packed ourselves into Xander’s car, having to almost sit on each other’s laps to make room for Giles’ ‘necessities’.

After a relatively short stop at the dorm to pick up Buffy and Willow’s overnight bags, we made our way to Xander’s house.

So now instead of one unwanted houseguest, Xander had three.  If the Initiative was after Buffy, all of us were in danger.  I was visibly annoyed at Xander for having all these people in his basement. 

Xander tried to calm me down.  “You know how you always want to have new experiences?”  I nodded.  “The slumber party is one of the great passages of life.”

I had seen Xander’s movie collection on the subject and knew that it was true.  The girls in the movies really seemed to enjoy it when they would be hitting each other with pillows and their tops fell off.

Xander hung up a sheet to give us girls some privacy and proceeded to blow up a plastic chair for Giles to use as a bed.

We changed into our pajamas and Buffy and Willow lay down in the fold out bed.  After kissing Xander good night. I grabbed a pillow and started hitting Willow and Buffy.  They started screaming and asking what I was doing.

“We’re having a pillow fight,” I told them.

Opening the curtain and looking at Buffy and Willow huddled together on the bed, and then at me towering above them, pillow in hand, Xander said, “Looks more like a pillow massacre.”

Xander explained to me that it wasn’t the appropriate time for us to have a pillow fight.  I didn’t really understand, but I apologized and joined the others in the bed, which wasn’t as interesting as it sounds. 

When I was almost asleep, Buffy tapped me on the shoulder and thanked me for getting her mind off of stuff. Then she fell asleep, displaying that her Slayer skills extended to sonic snoring.

The next morning, Buffy’s mind was back on her problems.  I considered starting another pillow fight, but decided to hold off until I understood what I’d done wrong the previous night.

Willow tried to console her. “It’ll be okay, Buffy,” she told her.  “Riley’s just confused.”

I tried to help as well, “You really should get yourself a boring boyfriend.  Like Xander.”  Then when I realized what I had said, I clarified, “You can’t have Xander!”

She said that Riley was supposed to be a normal guy.

I told her to dump him, but reminder her she could not have Xander.

She said, “It’s too late. I’m already at the I-hurt-when-he-hurts, I-smile-when-he-smiles stage.”

“I hate that part,” I said thinking about my relationship with Xander.  Truth be told, I was still at that stage with Xander, but I didn’t let on.

Xander came down the stairs, telling us to turn on the news. There was a story about a boy being skewered and mutilated in a park.  Buffy thought it must have been the Polgara demon that the Initiative had captured.  She guessed he must have gotten sidetracked from coming to kill all of us.  Buffy decided to check out the scene and the rest of us were left to research.

Instead of pulling her weight, Willow left abruptly, saying that she had something she needed to do.  I found that very inconsiderate, but endeavored to keep my mouth quiet.

Giles, Xander and I poured over the books to find information on Polgara demons. 

That afternoon, Buffy brought Riley to Xander’s basement.  Now if it were me, and I were trying to keep the Initiative from knowing where my friends and I were, I don’t think I’d be bringing the lead commando to our hideout, but as always, I wasn’t consulted.

Buffy told us that the leader of the Initiative, Professor Walsh, was dead, presumably killed by the Polgara.  She also told us that Riley had collapsed.

Riley looked awful.  He reminded me of Xander when he was infested with the mystical syphilis.

I asked Buffy if she thought that Professor Walsh had done something to him and she said she was going to find out.  She figured that there had to be records at the Initiative.

She decided to go in undercover with Xander.

“Hey!” I said.  “Remember before. No Xander!  Not in a boyfriend way or a lead him to a certain death way.” 

“He’s the only one with military experience,” she countered.

“It’s not like he was in the ‘Nam.  He was GI Joe for one night.” 

Xander had told me how one Halloween, all of them became their costumes, which thank the pestilent Gods did not happen this past Halloween.  I couldn’t imagine my life as a bunny.  Anyway, Xander had turned into a soldier and could still sporadically remember bits and pieces from his experience.

So here Buffy was relying on that sketchy experience to back her up.  Xander held my hands and promised to be careful.  I begrudgingly let him go.

Giles continued to research and I pretended to help. 

Willow returned to tell us a spell she was trying to do to locate the demon had failed.  No surprise there.  We discussed that the event that occurred at the park, which did not mesh with what we’d found out about Polgaras.

Riley woke up, asking for Buffy, and Willow reluctantly told him where she was. Still feeling uncomfortable around him, I was grateful when he left to go find Buffy and Xander.

Giles and Willow continued to look though the books and I pulled out the bed and went to sleep.  I woke up when Buffy and Xander returned.

I grabbed Xander tight and he let out a groan of pain.

“He’s injured,” I said to Buffy who didn’t respond. Then turning back to Xander, I said, “I thought you said you would be careful.”

Xander and Buffy proceeded to tell us about what they had discovered.  Apparently, the uber-intelligent Professor Walsh had decided to create her own Frankenstein monster.  Had she not read how that ended?  He was called A.D.A.M. and he had been pieced together from human, demon and mechanical parts.  What a surprise that he had malfunctioned!  After skewering Riley and knocking Xander into a wall, he had escaped.

Buffy seemed unsure what his plan was, but it seemed the danger from Professor Walsh extended beyond her mortal life.  Buffy had grudgingly left Riley in the care of the Initiative doctors as she and Xander made their way back to the basement.

It was late and everyone decided to spend another night in the basement of discontent.  Well, at least it was discontent for me, because I hadn’t been alone with Xander for a couple of days.

The next morning, they all, thankfully, left and went back to their lives.  Unfortunately, though, it seemed that they had made an unspoken decision to use the basement as their new headquarters, at least for a while.

I made myself scarce, spending my time alone in my apartment. 

A couple days later, there was a pounding on my door.  It opened to reveal Xander, looking somewhat terrified.

“Faith’s awake,” he said frantically. “She woke up and now she’s after me.”

“What?” I asked, not understanding what he was talking about.

“Faith,” he reiterated.  “She’s going to try to kill Buffy and the rest of us.”

“Who’s Faith?” I finally asked.

Xander went on to tell me the story of Faith, the Vampire Slayer.  He told me that the two of them used to be an item and that Buffy had tried to kill her.  I never found out if the two events were related.  The more emphatic he was, the more nervous I became for him.

“You’ll stay here, Xander.  With me,” I told him.

He told me he couldn’t, because they had to try to find her and get her put away for good.

I argued that he and Giles would be no good up against a Slayer.  They were just too weak and easily breakable.

He said it was his duty and left me alone to worry all night about it.

Xander did come back that night.  He was exhausted and worried. I took care of him and he nodded off in my arms. 

When he woke up a few minutes later, I told him that I would always take care of him and asked what he thought about lighting a bunch of candles and having sex next to them.  Before I could finish telling him all the things I wanted to do to him, he was already in the kitchen in his boxers looking through the cabinets for the candles.

Giles called and interrupted the candle lighting.  He said it was very important for us to meet at his apartment.

Xander blew out the candles and started putting his clothes back on.

“What are you doing, Xander?” I asked, irritated.

“Getting ready to go to Giles’,” he told me.

“But what about our romantic evening?”

“We’ll do it later. I promise.”

“Why do you always have to drop everything whenever Giles or Buffy or Willow calls?  Don’t you care about me?  Where do I fit in?”

“Can we talk about this later?”

“I want to talk about it now,” I said grabbing his shirt before he could put it on.

“Anya,” he said trying to calm me down, “you fit in.”

“Do I?” I asked.  “I don’t really.  You never make me a priority.  It’s as if you’d rather do anything before being with me.”

“That’s not true,” he said, gently grabbing me around the waist.  “I really love…” he paused, “being with you.”  He winked that all knowing wink.

“You love all the orgasms, but it always seems to be on your schedule. When it’s convenient for you and Buffy and Willow and even Giles.”

“What do you want from me?” he asked.

“I want you to respect me.”  I said, keeping my voice low. “I want you to respect my feelings.”

He said nothing.  He just stood there in deep thought. After a few moments, he muttered, “I’m sorry.  I’ll try.  It’s just that I’m kinda new at this relationship thing and I didn’t exactly grow up in an environment of mutual respect.  I promise, Anya, I will try.  I don’t want to lose you.”

I hugged him.  “I forgive you.”

“So, as soon as we get done at Giles’, we’ll spend the rest of the day respecting each other.”

I smiled and handed him his shirt.

We arrived at Giles’ apartment and found only Willow and Giles.  We were beginning to talk about Faith, when Buffy came in.  She proceeded to tell us that she had kicked Faith’s ass and that the other Slayer was on her way to jail.

Giles told us that there was a special operations unit of the Watcher’s Council in town to retrieve Faith and take her to England.

Buffy began laughing uncontrollably, which I thought was kind of out of character for her.

“So,” I said to Giles, “what you’re saying is that everything’s fine?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Well, I’m glad you called us all here because that information could never be conveyed by telephone.”

“Well,” Giles said, “I just thought it was best to convene in case there are any loose ends or things we might have forgotten.  But if you want to go, please, by all means, go.”

“We were gonna have a romantic evening,” Xander explained.

“We were gonna light a bunch of candles and have sex near them,” I expanded.

Buffy jumped in, “Well, we certainly don’t want to cut into that seven minutes.”

I couldn’t figure out what was up with her.  I knew, or at least thought, she didn’t like me, but just as I had always tried to be nice to her, she had never said anything blatantly mean to me, let alone to Xander.

On the way back to my apartment, I tried to explain to Xander that I thought there might be something wrong with Buffy, but he just chalked it up to her being under stress what with the stuff with Riley, the Initiative, A.D.A.M. and Faith all coming within a few days.  I let it go and concentrated instead on Xander, who convinced me that the insult wasn’t worth allowing Buffy to watch us have sex so that she could see for herself that Xander was good for way longer than seven minutes. I comforted myself with the knowledge that she was probably just projecting her own experiences with Riley.

We had our romantic evening with the candles and all the trimmings and fell asleep in each other’s arms.   

Part 9

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