Beauty Effulgent

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Anya's Story 9

Anya's Story

Chapter Index

Part Nine 

Spike found himself getting angrier the more he read from Anya’s manuscript.  He flipped back and it seemed that every reference to him was that he was Giles’ pet or a neutered animal.  This wasn’t the first book he’d read about himself, but he had always been portrayed before as a ruthless, evil creature of the night.  It shouldn’t matter to him now that he had a soul, but it did.  Also, it hurt on a more personal level that those were Anya’s impressions of him.  They had had their moments together and he even told her once that she was the only one of the lot that he could stand.  Why would she treat him so shabbily when writing about him?


He had to find out.  Spike found his place again and continued reading.


The Scoobies


We found out later that Buffy had not actually been Buffy, which was the impression I had gotten from our last meeting.  Somehow, Faith had switched their bodies.  With Willow’s help, Buffy was surprisingly able to switch them back, and Faith skipped town.


At least with the Faith problem solved, the gang was able to focus on A.D.A.M.


For the first time, I was invited to patrol, which I soon realized was not the fun and excitement that everyone had led me to believe.  Most of the time, we didn’t see any vampires, and when we did, I found myself going home sweaty and with my clothes full of vamp dust.


Willow introduced us to her new friend, Tara.  She was very shy and did not fit in very well with the group, but then again, neither did I.  But Riley – Riley was accepted with open arms.  He was still working for the Initiative, but Buffy liked having him around, so he was always around.


Xander found a new job, driving a truck filled with sugar laced treats and frozen milk.  He’d stop when he saw children parading behind him and allow them to exchange money for goods.  He said that he’d make back all the money he’d lost selling the nutritional bars.


I was accompanying Xander on his rounds one day when he invited me to a party at Riley’s fraternity house.  I was reticent because of our previous frat house experience on Halloween and I also didn’t want to be surrounded by those demon-baiting Initiative soldiers.


I told him as much and he said, “They don’t even know you’re an ex-demon, and we don’t know that they’d care if they did know.”  He was right.  Perhaps my feelings of insecurity were unfounded.


“Besides,” he continued, “they’ll probably be too busy flirting with every other girl at the party to even notice you.”


Offended, I lashed back, “So, you don’t even think I’m desirable enough to be flirted with?  Is that it?  You don’t find me attractive any more?”


“What are you talking about?” he asked, “I think you’re gorgeous.”


“Oh, really?  Then, why didn’t we have sex last night?”


“We’ve gone other nights without having sex.”


I reminded him that it had only happened twice. “I can’t believe we’re breaking up.”


He acted surprised by that, so I continued, “You’ve grown tired of me.  I’ve seen it happen to thousands of women over the centuries.  I just never thought it would happen to me.”


“Anya,” he said, “There’s more to you and me than the sex.  I mean, a relationship is something you work at.  Work through. Together.”


As if I didn’t know that.  I’d been the one working at the relationship and I was tired.  We’d had similar arguments before and he kept promising that he would work at it, too.  There had to be something else going on.


“I don’t understand,” I told him, “I’m pretty, I’m young… I mean… Why didn’t you take advantage of me?  Is there something wrong with your body?”


“There’s nothing wrong with my body,” he said, getting defensive by that point.


I asked if he might have some sort of erectile dysfunction and he told me there was no function problem.


“You want sex?  Let’s have sex,” he said unbuttoning his shirt.  “Right here.  Hot, sweaty, big sex.”


At that moment, we noticed that there was a group of kids and their parents staring at us.  Xander blushed in a very attractive way.


While Xander was apologizing to the parents of the kids for openly showing his desire for me, I got out of the truck and started walking.  He didn’t even notice I was gone. I went to my apartment and started making a list of reasons Xander could have had for not liking me.  I really couldn’t come up with very many.


The next afternoon, I started walking around town.  I tried to figure out why I had made the mistake of revolving my life around Xander.  I should have known better.  How many acts of vengeance had I performed for women who’d made the same mistake?  Innumerable.  Yet here I had spent the last year doing the same thing.  I didn’t even realize it had become dark when I turned the corner toward the Bronze.


I was jumped by a growling vampire and I screamed. Then I realized it was just Spike.


“Oh, it’s you,” he said, changing his face back to human.


“Spike!” I said, “What are you doing? You made me yell really high.”


Pleased with himself, he asked me for money.


“I’m not paying you for scaring me,” I said pushing him away.


He told me he was robbing me, which I told him was stupid because I knew he couldn’t hurt me.


He tried unsuccessfully to scare me again.


“Does this really work?” I asked. “Scaring people into giving you their money?”


“Yeah, it works. Keeps me in blood and beers. Plus, it’s funny to watch those little humans quail.”


Yes, I remembered that was always fun, but I didn’t let him know what I was thinking. “I’m beginning to understand why you’re so friendless.”


“Look who’s talking!” he mocked. “I don’t see droopy boy on your arm.  Did he have better things to do?”


That hurt.  What was Xander doing and what was his problem?  I worried that he had found someone else to have the sex with.  I worried that he didn’t find me attractive anymore.


Spike asked if I wanted to go get a drink.  I agreed for no other reason than the company.


We went into the Bronze and Spike bought us some beer.  As we sat and talked and drank, I found myself really listening to him for the first time. He told me the hell he’d been going through with the chip in his head.  It was weird.  Until that point, I had really never even thought of Spike as much more than a nuisance, but like everyone, humans and demons included, he had real feelings.  It was something Xander and his friends simply didn’t understand. 


I started feeling comfortable with him and began to tell him how much I missed being a demon, something I could never tell Xander or the others.  I talked about some of my more interesting vengeance spells and he listened.  I told him how Xander didn’t really try to understand me and he told me about his ex Dru and how she couldn’t understand him either, of course, according to him, she didn’t have all the panes in her window.


“A year and a half ago,” I told him, “I could have eviscerated him with my thoughts. Now I can barely hurt his feelings.  Things used to be so much simpler.”


“You take the killing for granted,” Spike said, understanding perfectly what I meant. “And then it’s gone and you’re like ‘I wish I’d appreciated it more, stopped and smelled the corpses.’ You know?”


I agreed. My life had become too complicated.  Spike suggested the two of us should just do the vengeance.  He told me I could eviscerate Xander and he’d stake Dru.


I can’t say I hadn’t thought about it, but I’d decided it probably would have made my life even more complicated, what with the human laws and everything.  I told him he could still kill Dru, though.  He decided to wait and do it later.  We sat there in silence for a while, drinking our beers and occasionally reminiscing about our pasts.


As we sat there, I came up with a way that I could hurt Xander without using any evisceration.


“Do you want to go to a party, Spike?”


“Suppose it beats paying $3 a bottle at this litter box.”


Spike and I walked in silence to the frat house.  We entered and Spike seemed to recognize some of the men.


“Initiative soldiers,” I told him, “they live here.  Experiments happen in the lab under the house.  It’s where they put your chip in.  Let’s have fun.”


Spike got angry and couldn’t believe that I’d brought him there.  Then I got the reaction I was hoping for when Xander came up to us and became jealous that I had brought Spike.


I just stood there and glared at him.


“Anya, this is crazy,” he told me. “We had a little fight. It just means that we have to work our way through some stuff.  It doesn’t mean that we rebound with the evil undead.  What have you been doing with him anyway?”


Spike mocked him, “Oh, who’s the puffed up manly man? All splotchy and possessive.”


This was going exactly as I had planned.  Spike belittling Xander.  Xander getting all nervous and jealous. 


Xander started calling out to the soldiers that their Hostile 17 was there, but they seemed not to notice or care.  Spike decided it was safe enough and went to find some alcohol.


“What are you doing with him?” Xander asked.


“We didn’t have sex,” I told him. “That’s all I do now, not have sex.”


He told me I was overreacting and that it had been just a normal fight.


“I’m just trying to tell you that we have nothing in common besides both of us liking your penis.  And now I don’t even have that!  So I get to say when it’s done.  And it’s done.” I felt pretty sure that that was a good break up, but he wouldn’t even give me that.


“You don't deserve to be the one to walk away from this,” he said. “I've put up with a hell of a lot from you ... much of that in the last minute ... and if anyone gets to be the one to leave, it's me.”


I couldn’t believe his nerve. He had no right to leave me. I was the wronged party.  He started walking away and I asked where he was going. He told me he was going to enjoy the party, so I decided to enjoy the party too.  I was going to be sure to have more fun than he was. And that was how Xander and I broke up.  The first time.


As I wandered around the house, I spotted Spike sitting in a chair, drinking up.  He seemed to be enjoying himself, so I let him be.  Then I saw a group of college kids seemingly experiencing the pleasure moment by simply touching the wall. That was strange, I thought, but I just figured it was some sort of college thing I didn’t understand. 


Then the house started shaking and people started running out the door.  I was trying to get my bearings, when suddenly a girl came running right towards me and then went right through me.  This house was haunted!  What was up with the frat houses at UC Sunnydale?


Amidst the shaking of the house, I made my way toward the door where I found Xander, Willow and Tara.  Willow took me by the arm and led me outside.  Xander dragged out an unattractive female with red tufts of hair. 


“We have to go back in there,” Willow said.


I asked why and Xander told me that Buffy and Riley were trapped.


“So?” I asked. “She’s the Slayer; he’s a big soldier boy. What do they need you for?”


“Anya,” Xander said, “look around.  There’s ghosts and shaking and people are cutting their hair.  We’re fresh out of super people and somebody’s gotta go back in there.  Now, who’s with me?”


Just when I was about to tell him that those were exactly my reasons for someone not going in there, Spike volunteered, to everyone’s surprise


“I’m not the first choice for heroics,” he said. “And Buffy’s tried to kill me more than once. And I don’t like any of you.”  Then he realized that he had no reason to help, so he left.


“Xander,” I said, “let’s get out of here.”


“You wanna bail,” he said, “fine.  I’m going back in there and I’m not coming out till I bring my friend with me.”


Xander opened the door and was walking in when an unseen force threw him back out.  He landed on his back and I grimaced, still hurting-when-he-hurt, I suppose.


We decided to find Giles, who was supposed to be at some grown-up meeting at the Espresso Pump, the local coffee shop.


As we neared the shop, we heard the most melodious voice I’d ever heard coming from inside.  I didn’t know if it was an after-effect of the house of sex we had just left, but the music was causing me to think happy-horny thoughts about Xander, whom I was still mad at.  We got closer to the source and discovered that it was Giles.  Singing.  It was a completely new aspect of the Watcher that I had ever witnessed.  How could someone who seemed to have a stick up his rectum the majority of the time be causing me these feelings with his pleasant voice?


It wasn’t just me.  Willow and even Tara seemed to be feeling it, too.


Once Giles’ was done singing, we told him what had happened and he decided we needed to do some research on the house.  He was back to his tweed-clad British self.  We went to the university library to try to find the history of the house.


We told him about the sexual oddness of the house.  Willow found information that in the fifties, the house had been a home for disturbed children.  We found out that the former house director was still alive, so Giles, Xander and I (on one of my first actual missions) went to see her.


During our conversation, we soon realized that the lady was completely insane and had abused and traumatized the children in her care.  That was what had caused the malevolent presence in the house to manifest itself. And it was somehow linked to Buffy and Riley doing it all the time.


Giles, Tara and Willow worked to bind the spirits of those children so that Xander and I could rescue Buffy and Riley.


Xander and I stood outside the house and waited.  The door opened and we discovered the stairwell was covered in vines.  Xander cut his way through the vines and I followed. 


Suddenly, the evil force returned and dragged Xander toward the bathroom.  Before I could get to him, I was thrown off the stairwell. 


I got up and with all the determination I could muster, I made my way back up the stairs.  I got injured by one of the vines punching through my hand.  I ignored the pain and continued on.  I got to the bathroom, where I found Xander drowning in the bathtub.  I pulled him up and we opened the door to find that there were now even more vines blocking our way to Riley’s bedroom.  Together we went through the vines and once there were able to open the door.


Buffy and Riley were in his bed and she was put out that we didn’t knock.  What was the big deal about knocking, anyway?  The two of us walked away, exhausted. 


For the first time, who was it that saved the day?  It was me (and Xander).  This should have been my moment of acceptance into the group, but I didn’t even get a thank you.


Xander and I walked back to Buffy’s dorm room, where we had left the other three.  During the whole experience, I realized that I didn’t want to be broken up with Xander.  If anything, I wanted to protect him.  He needed me to protect him. I’ll admit I needed him too.


Xander knew this, too, and after informing the others what had happened, we went to his basement and made up.  That night we made up for the days we had missed in multiple and various positions. (No evil spirits were manifested, but many gods were called upon.)


A few days later, all seven of us were all at Giles’ apartment, which seemed to be getting more and more crowded, getting our daily briefing.  Why didn’t Giles just have Willow send a newsletter by e-mail updating us on what’s going on?  Buffy told just us that she’d been finding fewer and fewer vamps and demons during her patrols.  However, Riley told us that the Initiative had been getting more and more crowded.


This was one of Tara’s first “Scooby” meetings, as Xander and the others liked to call it, for some odd reason.  Willow kept explaining everything to her, which I found kind of grating. 


Giles was going on and on about something when the door opened to reveal Willow’s ex-boyfriend, the werewolf.


Willow stood there in shock as Xander and Buffy greeted him.


He told Willow he wanted to meet with her later and then left.


I broke the silence that was palpable by stating, “Everyone’s uncomfortable now.”


Buffy went to Willow to see if she was okay and Tara made a hasty exit.  I was beginning to get an idea about what kind of relationship Willow and Tara had, but I didn’t say anything.


The next day, as Xander and I were sleeping in together, because he wasn’t supposed to start his route until 2:00, the phone rang.  I was ready to throw that phone out the tiny window above the sink.  Every time the phone rang we knew that we were being summoned.


It was Giles telling us that something had happened to the werewolf and that we needed to meet. Could these summons be more vague? We got dressed and made our way over there and arrived about the same time as Willow and Buffy.


Willow told us that the werewolf had been captured by the Initiative after wolfing out and trying to attack Tara.


“Tara said they took him right before she found me,” Willow told us.


“So that’s good, right?” I said, trying to lessen Willow’s worry. “They probably haven’t had time to eviscerate him yet.”


“An,” Xander said, “you can help by making this a quiet time.”


I was trying to help, but once again, I kept my silence.


Giles decided we needed to infiltrate the Initiative. Again.  Buffy had been trying unsuccessfully to get a hold of Riley to let him know what had happened.  We sat there for hours, waiting for Riley to call Buffy back.  She’d get up and call him every so often, but he never called back.


After an eternity of waiting and Xander missing his rounds in the ice cream truck, Buffy finally decided to take action.


“Xander and I are gonna go in,” she said. “We’ve done it before.”


Yes, I thought, and got Xander injured in the process.


Willow, in a moment of decisiveness, demanded that she go, too.


They were making their plans on getting into the Initiative through the frat house, when Spike entered furtively, which was remarkable, considering it was still afternoon.


He told us that he knew a back way into the Initiative.  Of course, he wanted to be paid.  Apparently scaring tourists for cash wasn’t working out for him.


Giles and I were to stay behind and shut down the power to the campus.  Willow gave us detailed and color-coded instructions to follow.


Once the sun went down, Buffy, Willow, Xander and Spike left.  I sat down in front of the computer and started reading Willow’s instructions.  Much of it I didn’t understand, and neither did Giles.  I had taken a computer class during my one year of high school, but the teacher was a coach who allowed us to play solitaire every day.  Apparently the previous computer teacher had left rather abruptly the preceding year.


We finally figured out our way into the city’s mainframe and Giles read me the code I would need to shut it down. A few moments later, the power went out.


“Slap my hand now,” I said in jubilation.


Giles seemed perplexed.


I had seen many people do this before so I explained, “In celebration.”


Giles slapped and it hurt.


Then we waited. In the dark.  I considered asking Giles for a song, but his demeanor told me it wouldn’t be forthcoming.


Xander came back in one piece.  He told us that they had succeeded in rescuing the werewolf and that Riley had deserted the Initiative.  Buffy was taking him some place safe and Willow was saying goodbye to the werewolf who was leaving town again.


I hoped that Willow wouldn’t become all whiney about him again, especially now that she had Tara.


About a week later, Buffy showed up at Xander’s door.  I was alone in the basement waiting for him to be done peddling his frozen sugar. I invited her in and she told me she needed our help.


“What is it now?” I asked.


“I’m going out of town.  I need Xander to take care of Riley while I’m gone.”


“Where are you going?” she asked.


“L.A.  Giles got word that Faith’s there and that she had tried to kill Angel.  I have to go and see if I can help him.”


“Oh,” I said, not fully understanding why she felt the need to protect him, after all, it had been a year since they broke up.


“So can you give Xander the message?” she asked.


“Of course,” I said, feeling glad to be a part of the team.


 Buffy started walking back toward the door and I stopped her, “Can I ask you a question?”


“Okay,” she said hesitantly.


“Xander and Faith?  They used to date, I know, but Xander’s never told me anything else.  Do you know…?”


“Date?” she said perplexed. Then she let out a short laugh. “Not really. Faith doesn’t date.  Let me put it this way. Faith’s philosophy is ‘want, take, have’ or ‘see, want, take’ depending on the day, if you understand what I mean.”


“I think I do,” I said.  I thanked her and she left.


I sat there thinking.  So Faith had seen Xander, wanted him and took him.  It didn’t sound very romantic.  But when I thought about it more, I realized I had kind of done the same thing.  Except, I didn’t get bored with him.  I kept him.  I decided not to worry about Faith and to refocus myself on keeping him.


Xander came back and I could tell that he was upset by something.  I asked him what was wrong and he told me he had lost his delivery job.  He told me the whole sex scene with me had gotten back to the management company and that his services would no longer be needed. Also, he had eaten more than he sold.


Trying to lift his spirits, I told him his new mission.  Take care of Riley.  He was holed up in the remains of the high school.  We took him food that night and realized how much he stank.  He hadn’t changed clothes since he went AWOL. 


I asked Xander if he noticed how bad Riley smelled.  Xander said he would take Riley some clean clothes the next day and bring his other clothes back to wash.


The next morning, while Xander was upstairs making breakfast, I picked out a shirt and a pair of pants that I hoped Riley would never return to Xander and put them in a backpack.  When he came downstairs, I told him what I had done and he praised me for my thoughtfulness.  Xander ate quickly and left to take Riley the clothes.  I sat on the sofa and ate my cereal in silence.


The next morning, Giles called Xander and asked him to take some army clothes to Spike, who was going to try and infiltrate the Initiative to get more information on A.D.A.M. 


I went with him on this mission.  Once we were in Spike’s crypt, Xander told Spike, “You should’ve just saved the ensemble from the last time we snuck into the Initiative.  I’m not a clothing delivery service.”


“He is, kinda,” I told Spike, “He did Riley yesterday.”


Xander glared at me, so I kept my next thought to myself. 


Spike then asked about Xander’s plans to join the army, which I hadn’t heard about.  I hit Xander hard.  Was he really going to leave me for months to learn to be like those demon-hating commandos?


Xander told me he wasn’t joining the army and asked where Spike got the idea.


Spike told us that he’d heard Willow and Buffy talking about Xander joining.


Xander started pacing. “Can you believe this?  Like I’m some kind of useless lunk.  It happens I’m good at a lot of things.  I help out with all kinds of stuff.  I have skills and stratagems. I’m very… Anya, help me out.”


“He’s a Viking in the sack,” I informed Spike.


Then Xander got off on one of his rants about the girls and their college life and how they thought they were better than him.


“They look down on you,” I said helpfully.


“And they hate you,” he told me.  What?  I didn’t think Xander was right about that.  They might not have liked me as much as Xander did, but they didn’t hate me.


“But they don’t look down on me,” I said.


I spent the rest of the day trying to console Xander and build him up.  Let him know that he was a valuable member of the team and an extraordinary lover.


We went to Giles’ apartment where the tight-knit “Scoobies” had a blowout.  Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander all started arguing.  It was the first time I had ever seen them fight each other.  I watched as Tara subtly made her way to the bathroom and I followed, deciding not to get involved.


Tara and I sat there staring at each other for a while, never having really talked to one another. 


“You think this will go on for a while?” Tara asked.


“Hard to say.”


Then we started talking about how nice Giles’ bathroom was. 


Eventually, Buffy left and Xander came to the bathroom to fetch me.  On the way back to the basement, Xander continued to complain about his friends.  He paused at one moment and asked if I knew Tara was Willow’s girlfriend.  I nodded and then I had to hear about how clueless he felt and why didn’t they ever tell him what was going on.


After we made love, which I thought would cheer him up, he told me he wanted to be alone.  I tried to argue with him, but gave up when I saw he was beyond talking and I had already played the orgasm card.


The next morning, I went to Xander’s basement to check on him.  I called down to him from the top of the stairs, but he didn’t answer.


“You said you wanted to check the board at the unemployment office this morning,” I said as I came down the stairs seeing him lying in the bed.  Again I got no response.  I lifted the sheets to see his hard muscular body completely nude.


“You can’t go like that,” I told him. “They won’t even interview you if you’re naked.”


He told me he wasn’t going and said that maybe he should join the army.  I reminded them that they make people get up really early.


“Are you still upset about that fight you had with your friends?” I asked “It was hours ago.  Get over it.”


He told me that he thought that they were right about him having no direction or plans for the future.


I joined him in the bed and put my head on is chest, trying to console him.  “So what if they are?  You’re a good person, and a good boyfriend, and…and I’m in love with you.  Whatever they think of you, it shouldn’t matter.”


The two of us lay there for hours.  He got a phone call that afternoon from Buffy, saying that she wanted the four of them to meet.  He asked me if I wanted to join him and I said no.  I walked down to the unemployment office that afternoon to see if I could find Xander a job.


That night, Xander called me to let me know that the Scoobies had gotten over their differences and had successfully defeated A.D.A.M.  When I asked how, he told me they had combined their essences and that he was the heart.  This ‘combining essences’ sounded vaguely sexual to me, but he assured me that it was all very professional. 


I told him how proud I was of him.  He asked if I wanted to join them at Buffy’s mother’s house, but I decided to let him spend time with his friends.


Xander was the heart of the self-acclaimed Scoobies.  He was also the heart of my existence.  I soon realized I needed more, though.  I needed some direction in my life.  I had been a human for over a year and a half, but my life had little purpose.  I decided that finding that purpose would be my next objective.

Part 10

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