If Wishes Were Demons

by Wolfling

(Rated PG)

 

She watched him.

How could she not when he was the reason she was trapped here -- in this universe, in this town, in this life.

Oh, she knew that at least part of the blame was hers; she had been too complacent, too confident, too assured of her own powers, too secure in her superiority and his weakness. She'd gone over what had happened time and time again -- hell, she even dreamed it!

She knew what she'd done wrong; how could she not when she replayed it over and over in her head every night? Staring at the darkened ceiling or at the darkness inside her closed eyelids; it didn't matter which. Either one provided the screen for the memory of that horrible few minutes to play out again, like a movie stuck on an endless möbius strip.

If she had a second chance, if she was sent back in time to that moment when he had summoned her, she knew exactly what she would do differently. There would be no threats, no taunting. She wouldn't allow herself any conversation at all, no matter how intrigued she was by the audacity of the man who dared to summon her and risk her wrath. There would be no hesitation, no giving him time to say or do anything.

If she had it to do all over again, she would snap his neck as soon as she appeared.

But the odds of her getting that second chance were, she knew, vanishingly slim to none. She really only had one hope: D'hoffryn would have the ability to send her back or, alternatively, just return her power source to her; he had, after all, given it to her in the first place. But she'd been trying daily to summon him since it had happened to no avail. D'hoffryn wasn't answering.

So that left her stuck in this life of a teenage girl with other teenagers she had to interact with, and their tedious teenage dramas, as well as having to deal with school and classes and tests she was made to take, and which the stupid teacher failed her on.

Faced with that as her reality, was it any wonder that she latched onto anything that connected her, however tenuously, to her old life, her real life?

Even if he was the man who was responsible for ripping it from her.

So she found herself watching him, constantly, covertly... obsessively.

Of course he wasn't the same in this reality -- no one was -- but it was with him that Anya found herself noting and cataloguing every little difference. There were the obvious ones, the physical ones. He was more put together in this reality -- all buttoned down in his three piece suits of tweed.

At first glance he seemed every inch the stuffy British librarian, but Anya knew there was far more there than what was evident at first glance. She'd seen it in the other reality; the iron core of the man, the strength and determination to do what he needed to, no matter the cost.

Even in that other reality he'd retained a ridiculous idealism, a belief that things would be better just because they should be. Sure, from his point of view, he'd been right; in this reality things were better for him and his. That still didn't make his idealism any less ridiculous.

And that ridiculous idealism seemed even stronger in this reality's version of the man, what with far less vampires and death, loss and failure, to erode it.

The idealism, the determination, the silly compassion, the quiet competence and the faint air of danger that seemed to hang around him, like the smell of smoke hangs around after a fire had been extinguished -- Anya watched and made note of them all.

She had concluded that body, mind and soul, he really was a fine figure of a man. But Anya had spent 1100 years wreaking vengeance on all sorts of men who cut all sorts of figures from the finest to the most pathetic and repulsive; underneath the surface they were all the same. All men were the same -- they were all potential heartbreak and ruin for the women they met.

Rupert Giles was merely another case in point; after all he certainly had brought ruin to Anya herself. And she didn't even have the option of wishing vengeance down on his head in payment. Not now at any rate.

She was reduced to watching and evaluating and fruitless wishing with no power to back it up.

Then the Hansel and Gretel demon showed up in Sunnydale and Anya watched with a professional eye as it skillfully ripped the townsfolk into a frenzy of terror, anger and suspicion. She took a more personal pleasure in the fallout that the hysteria had on Giles and his charges.

His books were taken from him, and he was powerless to stop it. Anya had lingered near the library door and had seen it all, taking satisfaction in his impotent fury. It felt good to see him get a taste of what she was feeling; to not have the power to do anything, to be reduced to standing and watching as his precious collection was carted away.

It would feel even better, Anya had thought, when the hysteria reached its logical peak. Witches and most likely the Slayer would be first to be sacrificed to the fear and anger that had been engendered in the townspeople, and that would be another painful blow to Giles. But after, if the demon had done its job and whipped the people into enough of a frenzy, they'd go after anyone who had the faintest whiff of magic dabbling about them. If there was any justice that would include Rupert Giles.

It had all looked to be playing out just the way Anya had anticipated -- until Giles had done it again. He did the same thing that he had done to her; he faced down the demon and broke its power.

The next day, Giles and the others of that little grouping were in the library unpacking and reshelving all of the books that had been retrieved after the demon's death. Anya watched through the door's window for a few moments before walking off in a huff.

It wasn't fair. Why should he get to banish demon after demon and always come out smelling like a rose? What about the demons' rights? Why shouldn't she get to wake up some morning with everything back the way it was?

Well, she wasn't going to put up with it. She would contact D'hoffryn and she would get her power source back -- with or without D'hoffryn's help.

Then Giles would see that pissing off a vengeance demon is far from a wise thing to do.

An old saying passed through Anya's mind -- If wishes were horses....

But wishes weren't horses as Anya was in a position to know. Wishes were demons. And when you crossed a vengeance demon, wishes were demons that would rip your living heart out.

 

-fin-

 


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