Notes and disclaimers: All this from property of Mutant Enemy and corporate entities who are not me. No profit ever. Written for adecadeofbuffy. Thanks to Signe and Dine.
BUNNY BUNNY OXEN-FREE
"I know," Buffy said. She looked around the empty diner and then back at the very alive Anya. Anya was actually sort of bursting with health. Maybe even glowing. "No complaints over here. I'm no-complainy Buffy."
"Not to my face," Anya said, laughing. "Would you like some adulterated orange juice? Vitamin C is good for you, even you Slayers. How did that work out, by the way?"
"Pretty good," Buffy said. "We defeated the First, leveled Sunnydale, closed the Hellmouth, you know, average day at the factory."
"You leveled Sunnydale? What happened to my store?"
"In a big crater. Sorry," Buffy said. She took a sip of Anya's glass and gagged. "Are you, what do you remember, Anya?"
"I remember fighting those Bringers with the annoying virgin. He was cowering in fear and I was doing pretty okay. No cowering on my part. And then there was a tremendous amount of pain and then nothing. Certainly none of your floating around in Birkenstocks with harps and the like. And then I was here, in this diner with you staring at me like I'd grown a fifth head. Which I now realize was a perfectly understandable reaction to my coming back from the dead." Anya sipped her drink and then put it back in the middle of the table. "You're sure it was a vengeance spell."
"That was what Willow said. I'm not sure who's getting vengeance here. Or what. Who's getting venged? I thought bringing back people from the dead was really hard. And all that Tony Romo-genesis stuff. That traveler thing, remember?"
Anya said, "I remember little Dawnie breathing fire and me apparently decorating my face with a knife. So yes, I remember, Buffy. But yours was a mystical death. You generally can't bring back people from natural deaths, like slicing and old age and being run over by public transportation. I was sliced and diced by a blind Bringer working for the First Evil and then, apparently, buried under a big crater with my bones and flesh helping to close the Hellmouth. Sounds pretty normal to me."
"I guess. You're the vengeance expert." Buffy got up and went to the coffee machine behind the counter. She found the coffee and filters and loaded up the machine.
The diner had been deserted for a week, ever since the three hour lightning storm followed by the whole demonic shapes in the sky aurora borealis in southern Idaho thing. Everyone ran away and Buffy ran in, typical. She'd had back up but then nothing happened. Nothing at all until this morning when Buffy walked into the diner and found Anya behind the counter.
Anya said, "Here's a wrinkle. I'm wearing the same clothes. Minus the death blow and blood and separation of blood and bone from blood and bone. Maybe I wasn't so much brought back to life as snatched at the exact moment before the killing blow."
"Then how do you remember the killing blow? You know, tremendous amount of pain and all that?"
Anya sighed. "That's a good point, Buffy. I'm surprised you thought of it and I didn't. I guess I was resurrected then."
"Willow said she sensed a strong magic and a feeling of vengeance. Getting even. But it wasn't a wish. She was also pretty sure of that."
"And Willow's never wrong," Anya said, smirking. "Look, I know I was sliced, blah blah pain, blackness and then I open my eyes, I feel fine, and I'm standing in the bathroom of this diner. Which was very convenient because I did have to pee."
"Do you have, um, is there a scar? From the slicing?"
"Excellent question, Buffy. First thought I had, too." Anya opened her coat and shirt and showed Buffy the clean unmarked skin on her shoulder and chest. And her very pretty red bra. Anya smiled. "I decided to wear my prettiest bra and panties in case after the big battle, Xander and I reunited in post-Apocalypse sex again. I suppose he had that with one of your spiffy new Slayers instead."
"He didn't. He was really sad, about you." Buffy smiled. "It's been two years, you know, and I don't think he's seeing anyone. Not, like, seriously."
"Excellent," Anya said. "I should be less selfish, I think. I should want him happy. But I like that he's pining."
"It's not so much pining," Buffy said. "It's more like, he told me once he can't find anyone who's as, uh, fun as you."
"Now, Buffy." Anya took a long sip of her drink. "This is girl talk here, we're having girl talk. And you need to tell me what he said, because I can tell it wasn't fun."
Buffy smiled. Her coffee was finally ready. She took a sip and gagged again. Diner coffee came in a special brand of crap apparently. She said, "He can't find anyone who drives him crazy the way you did. He loved that."
Anya smiled. "Excellent. That's great news."
Buffy put down her coffee cup. What really worried her, and she couldn't bring herself to say, was that maybe all this was temporary. Maybe it would go away, maybe Anya would. It had just been a half hour, but it was pretty horrible to think. Maybe if she said it out loud, it would be real. Like she didn't believe enough.
Anya said, "Of course, this could all be temporary."
Buffy found herself laughing and couldn't stop. Anya got up and smacked her hard on the back. "Snap out of it, Buffy, we have important things to figure out."
"I was just, I didn't want to say it."
"That's very nice of you. But it's me, Buffy. I can handle the bad news." Anya smiled again. "I find myself already a little scared of it, but I can handle it. I was ready for death, I think. Or I told myself I was. I was very convincing. I imagined hell, you know. It's probably where I would end up, after all that Vengeance Demon-ing."
"What did you think hell was like?" Buffy took a long drink of her crappy coffee. She'd finished it without realizing so she poured herself another cup.
"You know, the usual. Torment, fire, bad music, pink fluffy Easter bunnies hopping around chomping on your flesh," Anya said. She poured herself a glass of coffee after staring at a mug to see if it was clean. "Much like this coffee, frankly, if it were distilled into little hellish beans of horrible flavor."
"Seriously," Buffy said. "I hope it's not temporary, Anya. It's nice to have you back."
"It is, isn't it?" She smiled and poured sugar into her coffee.
Suddenly an older man, sweaty and crazy-looking burst through the door. Buffy pulled her stake out and Anya kept sipping her coffee.
Crazy guy stared at them and then said, "Wrong. WRONG GIRL! You weren't the one I wanted. Where did you die?"
"Which one of us? I know it sounds ludicrous, but we have both risen from the dead," Anya said. "Buffy's done it twice."
Crazy Guy yelled and pulled at his hair. "In Sunnydale. In the crater. Which one of you?"
"Her," Buffy said. She stepped in front of Anya. "What do you want?"
"We have coffee," Anya said brightly. "It's excellent."
"You're the wrong girl. I sold my soul and one of my kidneys and two teeth to get Marianna back. She was there, she went down with the crater. They promised me."
"You really loved her," Anya said. "That's very sweet."
"I hated her. She was a bitter evil bitch. But she was going to marry Brad, and if she came back, Brad wouldn't marry Lily and I could. Don't you get it?"
Buffy upgraded Crazy Guy to Crazy Evil Watches Too Much Passions Guy and switched her stake for a dagger. Maybe not so dangerous missing a kidney, but you could never be too sure.
"That should have been a very good plan," Anya said. She poured a cup of coffee and put it on the edge of the counter for the Passions Fan. "Kidney, soul and two teeth, huh? Sounds like you went to a Channgaruth demon. They tend to be very bad at identifying dead humans. Though they are very good at resurrection, now that I think about it. Unfortunately, as you now see, you have to be careful about going to them because they do frequently grab the wrong body. Once when I was a Vengeance Demon, I saw a Channgaruth demon resurrect a man's mother-in-law instead of the mother. We had a big laugh about that one."
"Shut up," Passions Fan yelled. He took the coffee and as he sipped, Buffy beat him on the head with the sugar container.
"Thanks, Buffy," Anya said. "And now we have our explanation."
"When those Chingy Garth Brooks demons bring you back, do you stay back?" Buffy hopped over the counter and stepped over Passions Fan. "He's out cold."
"They stay back. How exciting for me," Anya said. "And with my human soul and everything."
"You don't have this guy's soul, do you?"
"No, I have my own. It's an exchange thing. I think. I haven't thought about it in ages. I wonder where he found a Channgaruth? They don't breed because of the body odor issue; they're unattractive even to their own kind, of course. And last I heard there were only about five in this dimension. And when I last heard, people were very very excited about the invention of the printing press. Yay for words and typing and the eventual development of tabloids with pictures of bat babies born to large women in trailer parks." She frowned and poured out the rest of her coffee on the Passions Fan's face. He didn't wake up. "Just like I thought. He's burned up and died."
"I didn't kill him, did I?" Buffy stepped back a little and felt cold. She hadn't hit him that hard.
"No, you just knocked him out. That's the part of the deal the Channgaruths don't mention. You get about a week after you trade your soul and kidney and teeth. And it's not a very pleasant week. Balance, exchange, the usual." Anya walked around the counter. She patted Buffy's shoulder. "I think we should head out. I trust you have a car?"
"Yeah," Buffy said. "I think we should track down that Channgaruth."
"Absolutely. Somewhere near a clothing store, I think."
"They hide out in clothing stores?"
"Not at all, but I'd like to wear something really smashing when I come into everyone's life. Then we'll get back to all this demon business, okay?" Anya grinned and dragged Buffy out of the diner.
Buffy found herself smiling. "Yeah, let's go to a mall. And a Starbucks."
"And Starbucks," Anya said. "How are their plans for world domination through ubiquity and addictive caffeine coming?"
"Oh, really well," Buffy said. "But they've stopped serving trans fats, so no more yummy muffins."
"Damn it," Anya said. "Well, you can't have everything."
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