Chapter 2 - Two Lonely People
Friday, May 3rd, 2002
The Magic Box was empty of customers, its only occupants the two vengeance demons who were engrossed in discussing Xander's fate. For some reason distress at Xander's departure had affected Anya's brain function in such a way that she forgot that her companion was also a vengeance demon. A vengeance demon who didn't particularly like Xander. A vengeance demon who shouldn't have any objection to granting any wish Anya might care to make concerning the Scoobies' omega male.
Halfrek seemed to have let this slip her mind as well. Maybe D'Hoffryn held them financially responsible for the cost of any wishes they granted. Whatever the reason this meant that the pair were trying to think of possible candidates to trick, coerce or bribe into making a wish against Anya's (former?) beloved.
Anya was currently bemoaning her limited social circle.
"What am I supposed to do, just stumble upon someone who doesn't give a fig's ass if Xander gets hurt?"
Right on cue, the bell over the shop door heralded Spike's arrival. "Hey," said the peroxide vamp. "I need some stuff."
Anya immediately put on the guise of a hyper efficient shopkeeper. "So. what's your pleasure?"
"Fresh out of pleasure..." Spike moved over to the display of candles and pulled all the red ones from the shelf. "But I'll take these, if you've got another four the same stashed away in the basement or somewhere."
"I'll check for you, Spike. Are you planning on doing some magic then? You're not normally bothered about whether your candles match or not."
"Yeah, thought I might try something."
Anya pulled Halfrek with her as she headed for the cellar and Spike could hear the two whispering to each other, though he didn't strain to hear what they were saying. The two returned to the main shop, Anya carrying an armful of red candles. She added four to those Spike had placed on the counter and put the rest to one side, ready to restock.
Halfrek grabbed her handbag and headed toward the door. "So, you know. good luck, with that. whole thing." She waved goodbye and left Spike and Anya alone in the shop.
"Sorry to bust up the little girls' night out." Spike apologised.
"Don't worry. I'm always ready to do business. Is there anything else you need?"
"No, pet. I've already got everythin' else."
"I thought you objected to magic on principle. I didn't know you even had any talent. You were the one who kept going on about consequences. but I've still rung those candles up so you still have to buy them."
"I never said I objected to the mojo, just that you have to treat it with respect. The end result has to justify the risks. Last spell I did was to bring Dru back to strength. That worked fine. It was a certain stupid little bint and her mates that caused all the problems. As to consequences, I doubt I could end up any worse off than I am now, luv."
"In that case can I recommend what I have here." Anya reached beneath the counter, pulling out a bottle of bourbon.
"Thanks, pet, but no. If I'm going to be mucking around with magic later on, then I think I'd best be sobering up not getting more drunk. I could go for something to eat though, if you feel like going to the Bronze. It must be nearly time to shut up shop."
The two demons in human form sat in the Bronze sharing a plate of spicy chicken wings and a "flowering onion" and a couple of beers.
"Xander thought I was rude." Anya moaned.
"That's because he's one of them. Uptight. Repressed." Spike gave vent to his own particular grievance.
"Please," The vamp retorted. "It's no wonder they couldn't deal with the likes of you and me, luv. We both should have been dead hundreds of years ago - and we're the only ones that are really alive.
We know what's really important. We know if you get a chance at love you don't throw it away. Being in love with someone who loves you back is the best you can get in this world and they throw it away like garbage."
The band on stage slowed its paced and the two blondes slowed to a halt.
"Thank you." Anya's message was barely loud enough to be heard over the club's PA system.
"Just a dance, pet. No biggie."
"No." She took hold of his sleeve as he was about to leave the floor, making him look back into her face. "Thank you."
Forestalled by her grip on his coat, Spike in turn cupped his hands under the girls elbows and the pair began to sway in time to the music; looking into her eyes he silently encouraged her to continue.
"This is the first time since. It feels good to be with someone who understands."
"This whole time, I've been coming on all hell bent and mad. Wanting his head, you know?"
"Yeah." It didn't take any effort at all for the vamp to understand her feelings.
She looked near to tears as she continued. "When, really, I can't sleep at night, thinking it has to be my fault somehow-"
"Shhhhh." The vampire pulled his companion into his arms, leaving only enough distance between them to allow him to focus on her face as all her pent up cares flowed out.
"I mean, what if he was just pretending? What if he never really wanted me? I mean the way I wanted." Tears finally spilled from her eyes and she made an effort to regain control. "Oh God. I'm sorry."
Spike's voice was tender as he reassured her, his fingers moving to frame her cheeks, thumbs wiping away the tears as they trickled down. "Now, now. He'd have to be more than just the git he is, Anya. He'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to want a woman like you."
"The two of them, they're weak is all." He pulled her tight in his arm, oblivious to the fact that whilst their motions had gradually stilled both the band and the crowd around them had returned to a more upbeat tempo.
The three original Scoobies had taken over the Summers' dining room, Willow tapping away at her laptop's keyboard while Buffy and Xander watched from the other end of the table.
The slayer pushed for her friend to break the security on the nerd's transmission. "Can you get a location?"
Willow glanced up at her answering the question with her eyes before she even opened her mouth. "Hey, I'm still me. Just one- whoa."
"What? What?" questioned the blonde.
"There are other cameras." Willow's hands stilled momentarily before she began to switch between different links. "Oh my God. The Double Meat Palace. The Bronze. My classrooms on campus. Xander's site. The Bronze." The redhead cycled back to the feed from the club as her conscious brain caught up with what her subconscious had recognised on the first run through.
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