October 2003 posts

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Anybody notice...? (Spoilers for Life of the Party... and a bit of speculation) -- monsieurxander, 13:14:44 10/31/03 Fri

Anybody notice that Lorne's assistant was actually a successful comedic character actor? Unless I'm mistaken, he was in Slums of Beverly Hills, Adams Family Values, and 10 Things I Hate About You, among others. So... I'm guessing he'll be a recurring character, maybe with some comedic payoff after a couple of episodes.

I'm just saying... the guy's been fairly successful over a fairly long amount of time... He's probably being paid well.. And the no-lines part he was given in "Life of the Party" could have easily been performed by someone who wouldn't need to get paid as much. Hmm.

Just a thought.


[> Yes! i thought that was odd... -- Nino, 13:25:51 10/31/03 Fri

...and again i say...did anyone notice that Lorne's skin is different? its more silvery then green...am i crazy?

[> [> Re: Yes! i thought that was odd... -- monsieurxander, 13:35:26 10/31/03 Fri

I noticed it was a different shade of green in 5.3 (the first ep I saw of the season... I missed the first two)... But since then I guess I've gotten used to it.

Then again, Buffy Season 3 Anyanka's demon make-up was far different than her Season 7 demon make-up. I remember reading an article in TV Guide where Emma Caulfield felt that the process for her one episode of demon-ness was too long and tedious... So I'm guessing they changed it for her sake.

So maybe Andy Hallet didn't like the make-up so much, and they changed it slightly to be more comfortable?

[> [> [> Re: Yes! i thought that was odd... -- angel's nibblet, 14:38:09 10/31/03 Fri

"So maybe Andy Hallet didn't like the make-up so much, and they changed it slightly to be more comfortable?"

Fair enough, he does have to wear it pretty much every day!

[> [> [> [> Re: Yes! i thought that was odd... (spoilery for 5.5) -- leslie, 16:29:24 10/31/03 Fri

Then again, lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your complexion.

Mirrors...(Thoughts on Tonight's ATS episode - spoilers 5.5 Ats) -- shadowkat, 22:35:51 10/29/03 Wed

Have been reading lots of interesting stuff on the internet lately. From a Buddhist scholar to MC ESCHER essay, and what I've realized is I'm living in a world of counter-points and counter-images. According to Ryieu's post below or on Angel After Spike if you missed it, there are 132 Buddhist hells, but Hell from the Buddhist point of view is what the damned make it. If you believe you are damned? You are damned. (Reminds me of Sandman comics, which Ryieu (sp?) also references.) Makes me wonder if it is true, that this is the only life we have and since time is a cycle, a snake literally eating its own tail or a widening gyre spiraling in on itself - perhaps we are doomed to cycle back in ourselves, reliving the same choices over and over until somehow we work our way outside the loops like some bewildered weather man caught in PA on Ground Hog Day.

I'm reminded of a Toltec Wisdom book written by Don Miguel Ruiz, called the Four Agreements, which was all the rage a few years back. According to Ruiz - "what others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream". So are we but mirrors for others reflections and are others mirrors for our own? Are we basically just sharing each other's dreams of existence?

In case anyone is curious, I was already thinking about this before I watched tonight's episode of Angel, about how we relate to art by often projecting ourselves upon it - so what we see may in fact be distorted by what we are. Even our own definition of ourselves can be distorted through the looking glasses of our friends' opinions, literature, and culture until we are no longer sure where their projection ends and ours begins. Is our writing reflective of who we read? If we read James Joyce instead of John Grisham would we be a better or worse writer? Or in Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy's case - is their art reflective of the comics they read or are the comics reflective of their art? In asking such questions, do we endanger ourselves by becoming like the Wicked Queen in Snow White, constantly asking a series of mirrors who we are and hoping to find a sort of validation through their answers?

The writers of Angel the Series often reference or use mirror images to describe their characters' dilemmas. In fact as someone mentioned recently on a list serve I frequent, Ats may in fact be a mirror world in more ways than one. The memory wipes, including depending on your definition the time reversal in IWRY, and later the literal wipe in Home, essentially create alternate realities or mirror dimensions, like the former dimension yet oddly different. Just as walking through portals lead the characters to parallel universes or hells. The trip to Pylea in S2 was called literally Through the Looking Glass. Cordelia in Tomorrow - sits talking to herself as if she were talking to a mirror. Angel, a master of self-reflection, finds himself projecting his own reflections on all who surround him and having those reflections of himself reflected back on him, until he is caught in a mirrored loop of constant reflections, yet is ironically unable to look in the glass himself. He, like the Queen in Snow White, is stuck asking the mirror what he looks like as opposed to being able to see for himself. His inability to gaze in that mirror, requires him to use his friends as mirrors - to catch his own reflection. Yet even in their eyes he is divided - two images, one that lurks in the mirror behind their eyes, the one he fears that he really is. The subconscious part he denies, which is all bottled up inside. Making me wonder if there is such a thing as too much self-reflection, leading one to be unable to see beyond the reflections themselves.

In tonight's episode Party Animal, 5.5 ..(detailed spoilers for the episode follow)

Lorne, the original party animal, has given up sleep. Apparently W&H can do more than just bend reality, it can remove those pesky emotions and physical needs we'd rather not have - like an evil Jeanie or Fairy granting us our dearest wish. Knowledge? Bingo! Want to give up sleep? No Problemo! Sort of like instant Prozac. You can even get ennui (boredom) removed like a shot in the arm. But like all things providing unnatural benefits - there are side-effects, which are nicely hidden in the fine print. Lorne being an empath, has the nasty side-effect of losing control of his gift and having his dark ego manifest in physical form. We see the first signs of this manifestation when Lorne talks to himself in the mirror, a nice reminder of the mirror dimension Lorne hails from - Pylea. The mirror image is friendly, upbeat, positive, annoyingly so - while Lorne is dying from what appears to be a migraine headache and is stressed. After he breaks the mirror - he becomes the mirror image, the other Lorne retreating inside bottled up again.

Prior to this conversation - we see Eve mention to Angel, that Angel is bottled up, that he needs to release the energy - not brood. And while he can do it while fighting it out with beasties, his friends and colleagues can't - they have no true outlet. Yet, one wonders if perhaps Lorne is yet another metaphor for Angel/Angelus - the evil inside Angel that will be unleashed if Angel ever loses control, lets go, sleeps? Angel like MC ESCHER's drawings is split in two, symmetrical, the two sides bleeding into each other. When one looks at Angel, the character, what one sees is similar to what one might see looking at an abstract drawing by MC Escher and that is different for everyone. One of the best examples is the picture I've referenced before - the birds turning into fish or the fish turning into birds or just birds and fish. There is no correct answer - what you see is what yourself bring to the picture - that's how abstract art often works. My brother, a conceptual and abstract artist, once told me that the point was the interaction, what the viewer felt the art meant to him or her. What they brought to it. So when you look at Angel - do you see Angel becoming Angelus or Angelus becoming Angel or the two remaining completely separate entities or see them as one entity split only by the color symmetry in Angel's mind? And do you feel the need to project your view on to others? Does it threaten you when someone states something contrary to it? Is it important to defend it? Does it reflect something about you? Are you too caught up in Angel's spiral of reflection?

Lorne similarly feels a need to project his desires regarding the others onto them, fed up with just receiving the information and giving advice that is unheeded. He tells Spike to be more positive. Gunn to stake out his territory (not let Angel walk all over him), Wes and Fred to lighten up, Angel to get it on with Eve already - and they all do it. Oddly enough - each of the things they do can also be metaphorically linked back to Angel and Angel's desires, anxieties - which are bottled up - his need to be positive, his need to stake out his territory, his need to lighten up, and his need to get laid. Lorne's evil alter ego manifests from his rage, his frustration, his inability to get anyone to see his point of view. And who does he attack? Those who frustrate him the most - Lorne, Angel, Gunn, the two party-goers wearing animal (Human and Pylean skin) as costumes. He attacks those who would not listen, who offend him, who unnerve him - just as posters on a posting board may lash out at those who offend, threaten, or unnerve them. And, as Lorne notes - man, I must really hate myself - for it is himself he immediately attacks and knocks out. Which reminded me of Angel fighting Angelus in Orpheus last season - except in that fight, unlike Lorne's, neither gained the upper hand. Angel similarly acts out against those who frustrate him the most. The He is frustrated with Lorne for thrusting the party on him. He is studiously ignoring Spike even when Spike wants to help, although to give him credit Spike was annoying. He treats Gunn and Wes like minions. (Which motivates Gunn to pee on his chair and around the office as a means of marking his territory.)

The solution to Lorne's problem is relatively simple. Give Lorne back his sleep. Let him work out his pain and fear and frustration when he is sleeping. But what is the solution for the rest of them? For Angel who is still battling his own reflection, Spike who wants to be seen and useful, Gunn who wants to be appreciated and in charge, Wes who wants Fred and the others to notice and appreciate him? If only the solution was as simple as a good night's sleep. In a way, Lorne has it easy, wish the rest of us did.

Thanks for reading. Been a while since I did a lengthy post on an episode. Agree? Disagree? But no flaming please. Not that you would, but never hurts to be careful. Just a few thoughts and opinions. Your mileage may vary of course. Actually I hope it does - makes life far more interesting.



[> Preserving the thread, masochistic as it is. -- sk, 15:34:49 10/30/03 Thu

[> Re: Mirrors...(Thoughts on Tonight's ATS episode - spoilers 5.5 Ats) -- sdev, 17:20:00 10/30/03 Thu

You brought up several interesting points especially about the relationship between the audience and the work. The art we do not relate to probably has no resonance in our lives. What does the art or characters we hate say about us? I personally responded to Lorne's desire to give up sleep, life's most wasteful activity. Yes I know, Lorne proves the lesson about it being necessary processing time. But I'm a minimalist.

Is brooding self-reflection or more like a gyre without the spiraling? The difficulty with being overly self-reflective is it can lead to inaction, the Hamlet flaw. On the other hand constant action is often a substitute for reflection. Sometimes I see more of Angel in the latter category, too much action not enough thought.

I think what I liked best about this episode was Angel's tenderness to Lorne. That's the side he needs to develop to get by in W&H and to live with himself.

[> [> Thanks for responses, was feeling lonely ;-) On audiences/ and actions(spoilers 5.5 Ats) -- s'kat, 21:19:03 10/30/03 Thu

You brought up several interesting points especially about the relationship between the audience and the work. The art we do not relate to probably has no resonance in our lives. What does the art or characters we hate say about us?

I wonder the same. I've read lots of criticism on this episode on the net. While Herc at AICN gave it four stars, others have been ranting about how awful it was. One friend I talked to tonight found it boring.

It was a comedic episode and comedy is a hard thing to do - so many people respond to it differently. For me - I respond to absurdity. The idea of Gunn peeing around the party to stake out his territory makes me laugh, because it is absurd. And that is Ben Edlund's trademark - absurdity.
He does it in Sacrifice with the desicated vampire making sarcastic cracks and he does it in his Live Action and Animated version of The Tick. Just as I found the paranoid
arch-duke somewhat absurdly humorous. Others online? Seemed offended.

I see the same thing in how we respond to each other, the posts we respond to, and the characters and how incredibly defensive we get. Just look at the Crowly Thread above or below, which is rapidly taking over the board, to see examples of this.

I don't know what it tells us - but I know there are artists who specialize in work that elicits responses from the viewer. Sometimes I think ME is doing the same.

Sometimes I see more of Angel in the latter category, too much action not enough thought.

Interesting I sagree. I see Angel as doing both, fluctuating between the two extreems. In Just Rewards we see him acting without thinking, while in Hell Bound he appears to be over-thinking the problem. I think part of Angel's problem is he is stuck in this lovely apartment at the top of the world - isolated from it. Remember what Doyle told him in "City of" if you isolate yourself from the people you want to help, you risk becoming what threatens them - what he became in If You ARe Now or If You Ever Were - the man who cannot allow himself to care for others. It was the mistake I think Buffy began to make in S6-s7, she shut herself off emotionally, so much so...that
she could not see the power of her friends until it was almost too late. She was alone, only because she thought she was. Spike kicked her out of it. Just as Angel sees himself as cut off, the memory wipe - the secret is what isolates him and that's dangerous. When we cut ourselves off from others - we begin to reflect back on ourselves - get caught in our own heads, as Cordelia did in S4. Seeing only what we want to see, whether that be all the negative or all the positive?

[> Smoking Mirrors...(Thoughts up to 5.5 Ats) -- fresne, 18:11:04 10/30/03 Thu

Mentioning Toltecs, you make me think of Tezcatlipoca or Smoking Mirror, an Aztec trickster god, with an obsidian mirror in the back of his head and another for a foot.

A god of night and magicians and a sower of discord on both sides.

Quetzalcoatl's brother and all that was light in the plumed serpent was dark shifting smoke in Smoking Mirror's obsidian gaze. Two brothers. Allies. Adversaries. Opposing. Balancing. Well, until as in one story, Tezcatlipoca drove his brother away by forcing him to see his own face in a mirror (oh, and tricked Quetz into sleeping with his sister.)

And once a year a young beautiful prisoner of war would be selected. Lived in luxury for a year. And then they sacrificed him to Tezcatlipoca by removing his heart.

If Angel sees any jaguars, he should be careful. Oh, wait, hmm .. Well, I'm sure there's no connection. Although, Angel is most certainly loosing heart.

Tin man. Woodsman. Red riding hood. The wolf. Angel's more of dog person.

[> [> Re: Smoking Mirrors...Gunn/Cordy(Thoughts up to 5.5 Ats) -- s'kat, 21:37:22 10/30/03 Thu

Thanks for the response!!

Mentioning Toltecs, you make me think of Tezcatlipoca or Smoking Mirror, an Aztec trickster god, with an obsidian mirror in the back of his head and another for a foot.

A god of night and magicians and a sower of discord on both sides.

Did a little research in Encarta Encyclopedia-"Tezcatlipoca, in Toltec and Aztec religions, the god of the night sky, the moon and stars, and young men. Also called Yaotl (the warrior), this god was associated with the forces of destruction and evil. He ruled over the district schools where Aztec youths received an elementary education and military training. He was also the protector of slaves and punished anyone who mistreated them. Tezcatlipoca was also a wizard and a master of black magic and was usually depicted with a black stripe across his face or a mirror on his chest, in which he saw all deeds and thoughts of humankind. Human sacrifice was introduced through his cult into central Mexico. For one year before he was to be the sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca, a young, handsome prisoner was chosen to live in luxury. At the end of that year, during the fifth ritual month (Toxcatl), he climbed the steps of a temple and was sacrificed by having his heart cut out."

In ATS - I wonder if Gunn fits that role - is Gunn possibly Tezcatlipoca, retreating to the white room to comune with the jaguar? Living in Luxuery. Only to become a sacrifice in the end?

I keep wondering about Gunn/Cordy connection. Gunn like Cordelia - had been a leader of a gang, he and she are almost mirrors - Cordelia from the wealthy who falls low, takes on the visions, fashions herself a warrior, is considered ditzy/no brain - yet she is chosen as the conduit to the PTB and she allows them to make her part demon, to apparently elevate her to help Angel. Gunn likewise - is a warrior, but he started out poor - so poor he'd sell his soul for a truck as Cordy would at one time sell her's for a dress, both are considered not brainy - yet Gunn is chosen by the W&H conduit to have his mind enhanced so he can help the Gang. Is the enhancement both obtain like the mirror in the Toltec god's mind? Is Gunn like Cordy doomed? Cordy finds herself in a coma which is a pre-longed dream state - where the mind remains self-contained, she is perpetually locked inside herself. Like the young beautiful prisoner - she had the life of luxery or wonder - then got sacrificed. Is Gunn going the same route?

Is Angel's loss of heart reflected in the manipulation by outside forces of the two people who at one time or another represented the heart of his team? Gunn who refused to be manipulated even by Fred and outwitted Gwen when she attempted it - who suggested they flip over the board - has now allowed his mind to be toyed with?

Just as silly Lorne - allows W&H to remove his sleep so he can function at full capacity. But the loss of sleep causes him to talk to mirrors until the mirror self manifests.

[> [> I saw a jaguar! -- Ponygirl, 13:16:17 10/31/03 Fri

I noticed in the scene at the end with Knox and Fred laughing, there was a decoration above them that looked exactly like a big jungle cat about to pounce. Odd, I thought.

Looking forward to next week...

Angel, hopelessness and helplessness .. -- LittleBit [rambling longishly], 19:10:36 10/31/03 Fri

The following are just some thoughts of mine.

When Angel Investigations is originally by Cordelia (let's be honest here, without her there never would have been a business), their slogan was "We help the hopeless."

From "I Fall To Pieces": Cordy: Angel Investigation. We help the hopeless.

From "Room With a View": Machine in Cordy's voice: "Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless. If that's you leave a message. [Beep]"

At some point between the inception of AI and the current season, this changed. Hopeless became helpless. Despair was replaced with helplessness .. an inability to act or react. Now it's neither. Angel Investigations has been consumed by Wolfram & Hart. Hopeless and helpless are now what defines Angel, no longer what he devotes himself to alleviating.

Hopelessness, part of the original slogan, is something that Angel has often felt, if not nearly constantly. I believe it is a large part of what defined Liam. No matter what he did he never seemed to please his father, so that he eventually lost any hope of doing so and thus chose to do that which he knew would not please him. There's a certain control in that choice. If what you do meets with inevitable disapproval then doing that which you know is undesirable behavior to get that reaction becomes better than actually trying for approval and failing. Liam gleefully accepts Darla's offer, seeing naught more than a new adventure, one that would have his father's disapproval, of course.

As Angelus, he sought vengeance first, cold anger and hatred replacing the hopelessness; he embarked on a campaign of evil that made him legendary in demonic circles as well as among those humans who were aware of his activities. He did things not to enrage his father but because he enjoyed them. He had found hope in a new sense of purpose. He made cruelty into an art form. Angelus was not hopeless - this was a concept foreign to him. He had desires and he satisfied them. In one case, his action caused a reaction that cursed him with his soul, which brought back his hopelessness along with overwhelming guilt over his actions. In another instance, he did that which would eventually lead him to the lowest point in his life/unlife, taking the lives of one man's family and turning his young daughter. Angelus was never helpless, either. He was in control. Even when the Fanged Four was together, and Spike was annoying the heck out of him with what Angelus saw as reckless behavior, he was still in control of the group, the leader.

After he was cursed with the soul, the direct result of his murder of a favorite daughter of the Kalderash gypsy clan, he was stricken not only with the guilt of all he had done as Angelus, but with the hopelessness he had known as Liam. He attempted to hide the change, unsuccessfully. He tried to rationalize his situation, seeking out the unsavory to feed upon, telling himself the world was better off without them. Darla suspected something, and tested him, then threw him to the streets as soon as she found out.

Angel spent the next century, give or take a few years, wallowing in his guilt and hopelessness. He occasionally did 'right' things but these things are more ones that fall across his path, as opposed to ones he sought out. Even his attempt to help in the Hyperion Hotel failed. Angel didn't try to help because he cared about the people, he just found himself in the middle of a situation. When they turned on him, he turned his back on them and left them and their paranoia to the mercy of the Thesulac demon.

He stayed mired in this guilt-ridden and hopeless state until Whistler intervened and gave him an opportunity. To his credit, he accepted the opportunity, even if it was originally just for the girl he watched find out what she is. Angel makes contact in Sunnydale, but at first his help is only given in the form of warnings, earning him the appellation "cryptic guy." The first time he actively helped is in "Angel" and, although he may have done things behind the scenes we don't see him again until "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" when he offered to help Giles research the Master and the prophecy, and then is there to save Giles, Xander and Willow when he returned with the book Giles needed. Even then, his assistance against the Master in "Prophecy Girl" is only given when he is forced to help by Xander. Angel, left alone, viewed the prophecy hopelessly, seeing no way around it. Even afterward, when Buffy has "flunked the written" and they have begun a romantic relationship and Angel started to believe that maybe he could do good by helping her, those hopes were dashed when he finally allowed himself to let go of the guilt and hopelessness, just momentarily, and Angelus is freed.

Angelus still felt emotion for Buffy but he was repulsed at the love felt by his human-souled counterpart and sought to destroy Buffy. Not to kill her, but to pull her world to pieces. Spike never understood what Angelus was doing, but Drusilla did. She understood the way he played with the head and the heart to break a person. Buffy, however, was tougher than Angelus realized, and he underestimated the degree to which Spike was attached to Drusilla. Spike gave Buffy her chance and she was able to do what she had to do .. send Angelus to Acathla's hell dimension.

Only it isn't Angelus who was sent. It was a newly re-souled Angel, who didn't even have time to know what had happened to him. Sent for a hundred years of torture, and returned for reason he didn't know. He was able to find Buffy through his emotional pain and pull himself back from the primitive level of pure survival to which he had regressed. But this time his hopelessness didn't leave him. He allowed himself to be comforted by Buffy's presence, but he knew they could never be together the way he (and she) wanted. To allow himself to love her, to be with her, would ultimately bring a daily regret that he could never feel the contentment with her lest Angelus be released. He doubted his own existence in this world and was ready to let himself go with the sunrise because he had no hope that he had a purpose, that he could continue to keep the restraints on Angelus and his hunger. Even Buffy was unable to give him hope, but he was given a 'sign' that he had some reason for being here. He left Buffy because of his hopelessness, because he does not believe they can have a future together, that they could live with the limitations imposed on both of them. He may have hoped for better for her, but never for himself. The curse of the Kalderash clan continues and their vengeance remains active.

When he got to Los Angeles, he met Doyle who forced him to look beyond himself .. to look at strangers as people, people whose welfare can involve him. He's forced to interact not just act or react. Cordelia joined him and pulled him farther into the flow of humanity. He began to believe that atonement may be possible, that even though he can never make up for the lives he ended or destroyed, he could begin to live among the living, to care, to help. He is even given the hope that his deeds may one day allow him to become human. That if he acts as a Champion he may receive his due reward. When things began to go badly for him, when Darla returned and was unable to live with her humanity (literally and figuratively) and he was unable to help her even though he won her a life, Angel was devastated. He lost hope again when Darla was turned by Drusilla. He rejected his friends and allowed that hopelessness to begin to consume him until it culminated in a form of pure despair.

However, he found though that he couldn't reject everything he had learned and reluctantly helped others, while he held himself aloof from them. Eventually, though, he was handed a chance by Kate, someone with whom he had a connection, albeit an emotionally strained one. He saved her from her attempt at suicide and discovered that he had a new purpose, one where the faint strains of hope he had felt at the beginnings of Season 2 were no longer necessary to continuing his path. He no longer sought his 'redemption', to be a 'Champion', to get the 'great reward', but only to do what he could, day by day, to make life better. He rejoined his friends, no longer their leader, but as one of the "gang."

In time, Darla returned and Angel was given a hope he had never even dared think about. He had a son. He had a chance to love again, to care. He had someone for whom he, and only he, is responsible. And his life as Angelus came back again to destroy this. Holtz kidnapped his son, and circumstances force Angel to not only lose his son, but to actually stand aside and allow Holtz take his son to Quortoth, the worst of the hell dimensions. His despair caused him to try whatever means he could to get to Quortoth, but it wasn't possible. He had been betrayed by Wes whom he had come to trust. Then the impossible happens. Connor returned, grown to a young man, taught to despise and hate Angel. Angel reached out to him, wanted to show him that he loved him then and still does. Connor began to show a softening in his attitude toward his father, a change ostensibly encouraged by Holtz. And then Holtz arranged his own death in such a way as to make a relationship between Angel and his son impossible. Connor believed Angel murdered Holtz, the man he looked to as his father, and that he did so in his vampire state. Connor didn't try to kill Angel this time. He wanted Angel to live in eternal nothingness, without hope of rescue, with the knowledge that his son hated him enough to do that to him.

When Angel was finally rescued, he in his turn rejects Connor, ordering him to get out. He then watched over Connor from the rooftops. But when Cordelia returned without her memories, Angel found himself placed in opposition to his son as Cordelia consistently declined to believe what Angel told her about her life there and turned to Connor. When Cordelia recovered her memories, she still remained with Connor, keeping a distance between the father and the son. Angel's desire to be closer to his son was a odds with the feelings he had for Cordelia and with his feelings about Connor rejecting him, disbelieving in him, sending him to what could have been an eternal watery hell. But before any of this can be addressed the Beast is unleashed and L.A. faced the rain of fire and reign of terror. Angel saw Cordelia and Connor together. Anger and jealousy kept him from repairing relationships with either of them.

To defeat the Beast Angel agreed to relinquish his soul under controls and Angelus is released. Angelus did indeed defeat the Beast but Connor was further distanced from him by both Cordelia and by seeing the vampire he was raised to hate. Once Angel's soul was returned they were faced with several challenges which, once again, prevented any relationship repair with Connor, especially since Cordelia did her best to keep Connor off-balance and away from Angel. Skip destroyed whatever little belief Angel still had in the Powers.

The 'birth' of Jasmine put all conflicts aside for everyone. Everyone loved everybody else. Angel and Connor were happy together as father and son. They even, erm, 'sang.' Jasmine gave Angel hope, happiness, the possibility of true redemption with the removal of the evil within him. But when he learned what she truly was, he was appalled and opposed her. This action put him once again in direct opposition with Connor who had known Jasmine's true nature all along. She gave Connor something that he wanted to believe in. However, Angel destroyed that. Connor in turn destroyed Jasmine, his last hope for inner peace. In doing so, he reached the depths of total hopelessness.

Finally, when it mattered the most to him, Angel truly could not help the hopeless. He became helpless in the face of Connor accelerating self-destruction. Then Angel found himself in a quandary. Wolfram & Hart offered control of the Los Angeles division, a chance for all of them to use those considerable resources to further their own agenda of fighting evil. Angel rejected this initial offer. It held no appeal for him. The counter-offer however was less easy to ignore, for it held out the one thing Angel truly needed: real hope. He was shown Connor, ready to end his life and the lives of other strangers. Connor had broken when his final small hope for 'family' was torn from him by his own hand. Connor appeared truly beyond Angel's reach now. Connor no longer believed in the strength of love. He no longer believed anyone could love him. So Angel made a deal with Wolfram & Hart in which he accepts their proposal for all of the gang ("Executive decision") in exchange for not only putting Connor out of his misery but giving him a normal life with a good family. And only Angel carries the knowledge of the deal.

What made him make that choice? Angel felt helpless to do anything for Connor. He lost his hope when he lost Connor. Angel knew what it meant to believe no one could ever truly love him. And, in giving Connor hope for love and the future, Angel once again takes away his own. Angel begins his time at Wolfram & Hart without hope. He doesn't believe there's redemption. He doesn't believe there's atonement. He believes hell awaits him when the time comes. He continues to fight 'the good fight' because he doesn't see anything else to do. Angel finds himself helpless within a trap of his own making. He doesn't know what he is accomplishing at Wolfram & Hart, but he has no choice but to continue. When Angel had his epiphany he realized that he wanted to help because people shouldn't suffer the way they did. Now he just doesn't know what else to do.

It will be an interesting to accompany Angel on the next leg of his journey; to see how he regains his hope and sense of empowerment. And how the choices he has made put roadblocks and detours in his path.

Comments? Other views?


[> Thanks for posting -- Lunasea, 06:09:29 11/01/03 Sat

I will write more when I get home Sunday evening. I just wanted to dash off a quick prayer of preservationy goodness so that it will still be here when I get back. This helps me tie together something I've been thinking about, but didn't even realize that I was. It is about our nature and how it relates to hope. I've written about that before, but this is the role that perceiving ourselves as different from others plays in hope.

Halloween was great. The girls had a ball. I've taken two rolls of film so far and hope to get more today and when we get back. The first words out of the baby's mouth this morning were "I'm up now. Where's my candy?" I'll tell you more when I get home.

Thanks and Hi [waves]

[> Great post, Bit! (late S4/early already-aired S5 AtS ep spoilers) -- Rob, 21:44:14 11/01/03 Sat

The counter-offer however was less easy to ignore, for it held out the one thing Angel truly needed: real hope.

And, ironically, this act that gives real hope to Connor's future is based on an illusion. As you said, though, I truly think Angel, upon seeing Connor in that department store, ready to kill himself and everybody inside, completely lost all hope, and hasn't regained it yet. Even seeing Connor happy and at peace, in a good, "normal" family isn't enough to restore true hope in him, because of the price he had to pay to attain that for Connor. All of this is strongly tied in to the fact that in saving L.A. and by extension the world from Jasmine's reign, he doomed it to misery and discontent. This situation with Connor is the flipside of this...he doomed himself to work to basically work for the devil, but in the process created a life of love and warmth for his son. In both cases, though, no matter what good he may be doing, it doesn't dissuade him from the fact that he cannot be redeemed, because in both cases, negative outcomes arise from his actions. No matter what good he does, he has no hope for the future of his own soul and future. And from the clues we've gotten this year, it doesn't seem like he is taking as much comfort in Connor's present happiness as he was before. His doubts feed into his hopelessness, as well.


[> [> Great points Rob and another prayer of preservation -- Lunasea, 07:52:47 11/02/03 Sun

I should be home tonight, so hopefully I will respond tomorrow.

[> Hope, happiness and being helpless -- Lunasea, 12:20:10 11/03/03 Mon

Nice to know that prayers do work sometimes. I'm glad this is still here.

Hope is virtue that is tied to happiness. As the Catechism says: 1818. "The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity. "

I could just as easily say that we evolved to be this way, so it really doesn't matter what placed it in our hearts. Hope is tied to happiness. Angel isn't allowed to be happy. He can't be perfectly happy or he will lose his soul. He is helpless against this. All he can do is respect the curse and not be perfectly happy. He can be somewhat happy, though. Again, Angel's helplessness manifests itself as circumstances keep him from this. We may be the captains of our destinies, but the winds have a lot to say where a boat goes.

Gunn may believe that we can kick the board and start over again and people applauded this sentiment, but I find it interesting that when one character actually gets to start over (Connor) people are upset. He didn't do the kicking. How many of us actually kick the board and start over? Can we? A show that has from the beginning said that our past informs us and this season that our memories and feelings make us who we are isn't going to allow us to kick over anything. The board is cemented to the ground. We can change our strategy, that is about it. We have choice, our power is in that, but we can't start over. Even if we move somewhere where no one knows us, we have to bring ourselves with us.

Angel was able to give his son what he wants, but there is no one to give that to Angel. No one to kick the board over for him. The closest thing is the idea of Shanshu and he has lost hope in even that. Angel's prophecy comes in an episode that deals with the interplay of separation and connection. Vocah is trying to rip Angel from the PTBs and to "bring this creature down to us." Vocah tries to separate Angel from his messenger by connecting her to everyone's pain. The Oracles another of Angel's connections to the PTBs are killed, but the woman does tell Angel that Vocah is linked to Wolfram and Hart.

The prophecy is an important way that separation and connection play in the episode. Angel is separated from humanity because he doesn't desire anything. As the episode goes on, we see that Angel isn't as disconnected as Wesley fears. Cordy is buying Angel some art supplies to help connect him, but she has already given him what he needed, herself. The prophecy is mistranslated because life and death are seen as a cycle, as connected. In separating them, the prophecy is mistranslated (and based on what Doyle says, I would say there is a chance that Angel is going to become Human at the end of everything). The importance of the prophecy is that it connects Angel back to his mortality, back to life.

Angel isn't connected though. Through no fault of his own, he was disconnected from humanity. Then again, through no fault of his own, he was disconnected from other vampires. It is not good for man to be alone. Vampires don't seem to be solitary creatures either. He is trying so hard to connect with others. It is in his nature. He sees Buffy and he wants to warm her heart with his own. He sees the helpless and he has to help. He confused his feelings of friendship with Cordy for something more romantic.

He can help them, but he is still apart from them. As Whistler told him, "The more you live in this world, the more you see how apart from it you really are." Angel is helpless to change that. His nature is to want to connect and be a part of things. He can't change that. So how can he be happy? Even without the curse, his circumstances have set him apart from everyone. Whatever the deal that he made with Wolfram and Hart was, it has isolated him. He is helpless and hopeless because he is other. Even with Spike. He reaches out to Spike and admits that he liked his poetry and Spike just dismisses this. Angel keeps reaching out to others and having his efforts rejected.

So which way will ME go? Will Angel find his hope in the midst of all this rejection or will he not be rejected any more? Will Angel find that his humanity is in his despair? Heroes turn pain to strength, not just do to what they have to, but to deal with the feelings their hero-sized hearts generate.

"Anya, Interrupted: A Triptych of Bunny Terror" (maybe Spoilers S7 Buffster) -- fresne, rob, cjl, 21:06:20 10/31/03 Fri

Mwhwhahahah, jacket cover for the tales of terror to follow.



[> Thank you! -- Ann, 12:51:26 11/02/03 Sun

I ran out of ink just as I was going to print it. Ran to Office Max, purchased new ink and then was able to enjoy these stories.


[> That was wonderful! -- Ponygirl, 17:00:23 11/02/03 Sun

Anya finally got the send-off she deserved.

[> The Real Me -- fresne, 21:10:01 10/31/03 Fri

The Future's Eyes are Wide Shut
A beautiful winter's day in the City by the Bay. Sun shining on the water. Birds singing. Well, flying. Well, sitting on the bridge. Sitting there and watching her with their beady little eyes that were beady and focused and watching and ..

A cheerful voice from her speakers said, "I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me that is on this adventure."

"I am at home with the me. I am rooted in the me that is on this adventure." Repeated Anya. She let her foot off the brake and moved her car forward one car length.

Also, technically, the sun wasn't really shining down on the City by the Bay. The sun shown down on the city to her right. The sun shown down on the city to her left. The sun shown down on Oakland behind her.

She wondered if there were oaks there. It didn't look like it. Just buildings and signs and giant skeletal machines, which looked like something out of that second Star Wars movie, ready and able to crush the rebellion.

But yeah, the sun. For whatever reason, although it was a warm and beautiful day on the east side of the bay, a wall of fog stamped on giant Katnor demon's feet across San Francisco and was now preparing to devour the bridge and all the helpless people on it.

Every now and again, Anya could see a high rise struggle out from behind a fog tentacle, only to be wrestled back down under the white bright nothing.

She'd been on the bridge for forty minutes and had driven forty feet. Up ahead, she could see a cheery yellow sign pointing left. A series of cones gradually eviscerating her lane. Typical. She had her turn signal on, but there was no where to go. Just typical.

"Now visualize yourself breathing," said the happy, happy voice, "and say, this is me breathing."

"This is me breathing," said Anya, edging forward, "some adventure."

Interlude Before We've Begun

Anya was not having a good day.

She was hot and sticky from driving all day from Sunnydale to San Francisco. She'd been listening to self help tapes and all she felt like was as if she'd been listening to really boring self help tapes all day, but that had been okay at 90 miles an hour. Now she was hot and sticky and bored and cold all at the same time, because you couldn't even see the sun through the really thick fog. Thick as jellied brains only thicker and ickier and whole lot colder and wetter and she'd been driving around San Francisco for hours and all the streets were one way and they didn't make any sense and that guy at the gas station, he didn't speak any English and she'd had to buy a map for $7.50 and his bathroom didn't look like it had been cleaned since she had been human the first time and she couldn't look at the map and drive at the same time and she had ripped the map and she was frustrated. Really, really frustrated. It didn't seem fair that finding yourself should be so hard and take so much time and it's stupid and this city was stupid and no one would ever let her change lanes and why are there streets and avenues with numbers in the names and why is there so much fog?

Oh, look the hotel.

Anya maneuvered her car into the park lot and shimmied her car into a tiny space. Please,don't scratch. Carefully opened her door and slid out sidewise. Pulled out her nice little wheely suitcase. Skreatch, skreatch into the hotel.

The nice man at the counter, whose name was Kshetrapala Guptakrishnan, call me Guppy, checked her in, gave her a free parking pass, and told her where the "Getting to Know You" dinner for the "Achieving Synergy by Actualizing the Real You" seminar was being held.

Anya wanted a shower and a fruity drink with both alcohol and a small festive umbrella, in that order.

So, she went to her room and Anya looked upon the bathroom, of which she was the sole user and possessor, and saw that it was good. Plus hot water, which Anya felt was also good.

After an excessive wallow, she went and changed into something that went with this week's hair and put on a little sticker that said, "Hello, my name is Anya." Although she really wasn't sure if she should keep that name or change it again to suit the new her. Whoever that was.

She looked into the mirror and practiced smiling. "Hello, my name is Anya Emmanuelle Jenkins. I own a magic shop. Except my ex-fiancee's best friend destroyed it. But at least she didn't destroy the whole world." Bright smile, head bob.

She took a breath, cracked her spine, and smiled at the mirror again, "Hi, I'm Anya Jenkins, I was born on the Fourth of July, except I made that up. And I made up the Jenkins part too."

She sighed and stopped smiling, "My name is Anyanka and four years ago I'd have pulled your intestines out through your nostrils if some woman had cried angrily enough and said I wish. Nice to meet you. What do you do?"

She put on some lipstick and went get to know some strangers.
Getting to Know You, the Really Real You

There was assigned seating. Assigned seating is good. It has structure.

There was a choice of chicken fiesta or vegetarian delight. This was not good. The chicken was not festive. The vegetables were not delightful. But, Hi My Name is Bob, a young computer something/something, entertained their table by speculating that the chicken was in fact alligator tail, which only tastes like chicken. The conversation went from there. Anya did briefly manage to stop the flow when she suggested that the chicken was the flesh of a saponaceous Saroya demon. But then she smiled and everyone laughed.

One of her books had suggested smiling when you weren't sure of "the lay of the land." and it was working pretty well for Anya.

She had several alcoholic, yet fruity, drinks Including one with a miniature plastic sword through a piece of pineapple, which she used as a prop in an amusing anecdote about the Decembrist Revolution, and progressively everyone got wittier and wittier, became best friends, Hi My Name is Bob was declared to in fact be everyone's uncle and then Anya went to bed.

There were no girls or giggles or fights. She brushed her teeth in peace.

"Hey sweetie." Anya glanced to the right. Hallie was perched on the vast counter top next to the complementary shampoo. Ever the fidget, Hallie jumped down and walked around Anya, who watched non Hallie in the mirror. "You don't look so good."

The room had been kind of spinning even before the First Evil showed up and now, "I think I'm going to throw up. If I projective vomit, will go away you?" said Anya.

"You never could hold your alcohol. Kind of like your men." Hallie smiled and twitched her dress. "Why I remember when you and Dracula broke up. Well really it was mostly you mooning over him. As if a big name like that would give you the time of day."

Anya sat down on the wonderful cold linoleum. The room was spinning so white. And if she sat very, very still, then her stomach wouldn't know that it existed and except for the incarnation of supreme evil sitting on her toilet and the slight nausea, she felt, he, he, he, the floor was cold on the bottom of her legs. She had goosebumps.

Hallie leaned forward and snapped her fingers, "Hey, honey pay attention. If it weren't for you and your little Miss Soft serve attitude, I'd be alive right now." Hallie burst into heatless flames.

Anya jumped back and regretted it. She hit her head on the counter top. "Ow! You made me hit my head. And you're not Hallie." Anya began to laugh and cry at the same time, which just sort of resolved itself into a big hiccup. "You're just the First Evil in a Hallie suit."

"Sweetheart, it doesn't work that way. I am Hallie or a part of Hallie." Hallie burnt face smiled, blackened and creased, "A real big burned for your spineless whining part. Do you think D'Hoffryn is ever going to stop sending little reminders? Not enough to really kill you. Just enough to keep you latched on to a group of people who can hardly stand you. Barely tolerate you." Hallie leaned forward on her throne, "They don't know you like I do."

Anya closed one eye to see if that would affect spin factor. Then she tried the other eye. First Evil Hallie jumping back and forth via perspective. It was. Not. A. Good. Idea. Hot tears traced down cheeks. Rough laughter spasming her chest. Fiery hiccups jerking her lungs. "How can you know the really real me? I don't know the really real me."

"Well, sweetie, that's because there is no real you. You're nothing but a whim in an Anya suit. Anyanka. Aud. Odd little nothing. Planting Cockle shells in your little garden because no one will play with little Miss Contrary." Hallie crouched down next to Anya. Close enough to touch. Touch. More burning laughter. Shake the nausea and stir.

Still talking, taunting, burnt not Hallie, "But I'll play. You let anger fill you once. You weren't empty then. It gave you a name and a burning garden to play in. Then you were someone. Then you had power. Then .. "

Anya pushed herself to her feet and waved her hand through Hallie, "I'm going to go pass out now. See you later." Anya dragged slow steps the long way westward old woman to the big soft spinning bed.

Anya sort of jump/fell into bed cloud and closed her eyes. Some man was saying something about some vengeance something. "I'm not listening. I'm really drunk and those were really tasty drinks and I'll feel guilty later when the room isn't so busy. Kay. Kay." Anya snuggled into her pillow and ignored the First Evil until it went away.

Light glowing under the burgundy curtains. Anya opened an eye. No Hallie, Vengeance Victim, Vengeance Wisher, Buffy, Potential, no one. Just a room.

She leveraged herself standing and looked in the mirror, made sure there were no dead people in the bathroom, told herself that she was a nice person and that everyone liked her and that her only responsibility was to be the most really real me that she could be and that this was incredibly stupid and that she had better leave this seminar fully and utterly enlightened or she was going to ask for her money back.

The first session was in a large beige room decorated with paintings of blue and purple splotches of pain. Paint. They do not look like bruises. They are probably artistic, but Anya just couldn't see it, because she never understood and she was just a little tired of always having to ask for an explanation and her head hurt and she was fairly certain that she was having a bad hair day. But she only asked questions if she didn't understand and it wasn't like she actually said all the things that went through her head, even if it seemed like it, because she didn't. It had always been like that and people were always laughing and they never explained and no matter how much she acquired, it never worked. And Anya was sure that if General Buffy were here, she'd just look at the paintings and know what they meant. And Anya had thought she'd finally figured out one thing, except she hadn't and those were really ugly paintings. And she was going to sit down now.

Anya sat down in an empty chair towards the front, because she wanted to get her monies worth and self actualization was hard work and the air conditioner in the back of the room was freezing.

There was a vaguely familiar blond woman sitting on her left. She was wearing this long purple and turquoise velvet drippy gown thing, with really big romantic sleeves, and a black velvet corset top that was very, very tight. This woman was clearly not human. Her breasts were not heaving up, which is the natural result when you wear a device that prevents your chest from heaving out.

Probably a vampire. A really familiar vampire.

"Excuse me." said Anya, "I know you. Who are you?"

"Oh, My GOD!" said the woman, "Anya. It's Harmony! I went to school with you. In Sunnydale. We had Algebra and English, I think. And we were both friends with Cordelia. You wished me a nice summer if I survived the Ascension in my yearbook."

"Hey, I do know you. You broke my arm. Or was it your minions? I don't remember. I don't care. You broke my arm. I don't think I like you."

"Oh!" Harmony began to cry, "I suck. I tried to kill Cordelia too and she was actually my friend. Except I even suck at sucking. My own minions tried to kill me." Harmony began to sniffle.

The room was filling with people. People who were looking at them. Normally when this happened, Anya was the one drawing the attention. She patted Harmony on her shoulder. "There, there. There, there. So, why are you here?"

Harmony bounced in her seat, "Oh, I love Dr. Aldman. He's incredible. I've been to this session six times and I feel soooo much better and more in control of my own un-life."

"Six times, huh. I would have hoped at these prices for faster results. But isn't it daylight? Not that that ever stops Spike."

"Oh, don't even mention His name. I am sooo over Spike. I have a new guy in my life, Raistlin, and he's, okay, not cuter, but he hasn't tried to stake me. And he's really smart. He's really been helping me understand the whole undead thing." Harmony shook her head wisely, sadly and knowingly, causing the ankh on her black velvet chocker to dance about, "Raistlin says that we are tragically driven by our cursed natures to stand alone, looking out longingly from the magrawbolis, the city of the dead, at the eternally swimming tides of humanity as they sweep. It sucks, but in a cool popular way."



"It's necropolis. The city of the dead thing. I don't know what a magrawbo is." Anya rolled her eyes, winced at the pain and stopped, "And what kind of lame evil creature of the night are you?" asked Anya, "It's nine in the morning."

"Not a very good one." Harmony sighed, "Or is it bad one." Her brow wrinkled. "I get so confused some times."

Anya said, "I know what you mean." They looked around at the room's fascinating purple, blue and beige color scheme. Did the I have nothing to say head bobble. "Oh," said Anya, remembering point six in Making Small Talk Work for You!, "I like your top. It makes your waist look very small, and," Anya gestured with her hands, "Your breasts appealingly large."

"You think so?" Harmony looked down her side, "You don't think it makes my butt look too big?"

"No, your butt is appealingly big. In contrast to your tiny waist and large breasts. It is a very nice outfit. And your sleeves are appealingly floppy and poetic."

"Thanks. That's so sweet." They smiled at one another and then glanced around the room some more.

Fortunately, since Anya could not remember points one through five or point seven of how to make small talk, Dr. Aldman walked up to the podium.

For the next two hours, Anya learned about the Pyramid of Change, four steps for Avoiding Scripting and Anti-Scripting, and the six methods for Leveraging her Potentiality.

Then there was a break. The attendees disgorged from the hotel into a plaza area theoretically overlooking the ocean. Anya had seen pictures, which was fortunate because there was no ocean. Only fog and wave sounds. There was also a faint glowy spot where the sun theoretically should be. Harmony quickly smoked a clove cigarette, which apparently Raistlin found to be far more acceptable than actual cigarettes.

After the break, Dr. Aldman said more stuff. Anya doodled a wreath of flowers and implements of self actualization on side of her handouts. This was remarkably like school, except that she'd come of here of her own free will. Although, school hadn't had Visio slides that made swishy noises. She'd hoped actually going to a seminar would make more sense than the stack of self-actualization books that she'd been acquiring.

Ah, lunch.

Anya chose the empowering three cheese lasagna, symbolic no doubt of the Pyramid of Change. While Harmony had a "shake" because of her dietary restrictions (i.e., she was trying to watch her weight, this corset was custom fitted at this little place in the city). There was gossip of Spike (He got what!), Xander (He did what!), Willow, (twewaa, She did what!), Buffy (Okay, What!) and Dawn (Huh?).

And after lunch, there were exercises.

There was this one where Anya learned trust by falling backwards into the arms of her partner, in this case, Harmony. Oh, yeah. Feeling the trust.

A role playing exercise. Harmony cried and got in touch with her feminine side. Anya wondered if it was too late to go back to vengeance.

During the turning "Bears into Bunnies" session on transforming curdles into cuddles, Anya discovered an urgent need to over there now. Why would anyone spring bunnies on a person like that. And she'd paid for this!

Then they played telephone. Apparently, Hi My Name is Ganji red maraca Xerox. And other stuff that Anya was too busy writing notes to Harmony to notice.

And the day was done. Everyone stood up and told each other that they were okay.

So, not much has happened has it?

"I am not going to a rave with you." said Anya, "I like your dress, but you're evil. You'll eat me and I don't want to be eaten. Although, it would be nice to leave the hotel." She took a sip from her apple martini. It didn't taste like apples and she wasn't sure that she liked it. However, it was a very attractive green, which as she had learned today, was a positive color.

"There's nothing to do on this end of town. It's all damp and I'm bored." Harmony twirled a strand of hair around a finger, "Anyway, I couldn't possibly kill a friend. I am a creature of passion. Raistlin says that I'm a natural Toreador, because I'm so artistic. He's more of a Tremere, because he's into magic and he knows stuff."

Anya snorted and grabbed a calamari appetizer, mmm .. lime sauce, and leaned back in her person devouring lounge chair. Where was that waiter? Maybe a cranberry martini would be better. "I've never heard of those kinds of vampires. I just thought that there were vampires. Well, except for the prehistoric ones that we're dealing with now in Sunnydale."

"What do they look like?" said Harmony, eager to display her vast occult knowledge.

"Oh, you know, bumpy. Ugly. Very grr, rip your throat out, scream helplessly. That sort of thing." Anya savored the taste of lime, reluctant to wash it away with not-apple.

"Oh, Nosfarto. Yeah, Raistlin says that they're bad. Very, very bad." Harmony sipped her margarita, nibbled a bit of salt, and looked around the room.

Hi My Name is Bob was sitting at the bar and was halfway through something brown with ice. He noticed Anya and gave her a little nod and smiled.

Harmony turned to Anya with a white flash of grin, "Hey, Anya, that guy at the bar, he's checking you out. He's kinda cute. Invite him over."

"No. It'll just end in tragedy and entrails. I'm just going to stay here in this overpriced hotel bar and drink great quantities of alcohol because I'm too lame to ever self actualize."

Harmony leaned forward, "You're not lame. You're very cool. You know all sorts of things about demons, way more than me and maybe even Raistlin. And even though you're really old, you don't look it. Not even around your eyes. Now invite the cute guy over here."

Anya smiled and had a sip of her green drink, for courage, if not taste, "Thank you, Harmony! You know, despite your utter vacuousness, you can be really nice sometimes."

"Oh, thanks. You're so sweet." Harmony played with her throat ankh, "Now, invite the guy over."

Anya glanced over at the bar and made a little wave at Bob, who promptly picked up his drink and sauntered over.

"Hey, .. 'Uncle' Bob," Anya made sure that she was giving Bob her biggest bestest smile, "This is Harmony. We went to high school together. She is also attending the seminar."

"Nice to meet you." Bob smiled, obviously also attempting his best brightest, like me, like me smile. "So, what did you think of the lecture today?" He sat down in an empty lounge chair and promptly had to right himself due to extreme soft devouring chairness.

There was a pause. Harmony gestured in an extremely un-subtle manner that Anya should say something. Now.

"It was unsatisfactory," said Anya, "I have read all of the books and I was hoping that an in person meeting would make more sense and guide me towards a more leveraged and actualized me." Anya forgot that she was supposed to be smiling With All the Inner You, and rolled her eyes a bit and snorted. Snorted in front of an attractive guy. Sigh.

Bob laughed, "I know what you mean. These things can be a bit granola and buzzword. I guess the important thing is to get you thinking. Get some guidelines, you know. Not like an exact map or anything."

Harmony gave Anya an extremely subtle thumbs up.

"Anyway," said Bob, "Maybe you're not the group help type. Maybe you're more the forty days in the desert type. You know, eat locusts and honey and get all wise and enlightened." He did a vague finger wave in the air, "The emptiness of the sublime thing. Did that once in college. Just went out in the Mojave and just watched the moon rise. It was incredible. Plus, I saw wild burros. And I should so shut up now and let the pretty woman talk."

"I want to see wild burros." said Anya. She leaned forward a bit.

"Well, there you go." Bob danced his fingers a bit on the little table.

There was a lot of a bit in the air.

Anya smiled and then broke eye contact. Sipped and then smiled some more into her drink. Froze and then a horrible thought crept into her brain. She glanced up at Bob and then back down. Drank a large gulp of drink. Terrible thought remained, because a horrible, horrible truth - scripting, it exists. Dark hair, dark eyes, funny, talks too much, does the crinkly smile thing. Sympathetic now, sure.

"Soooo," said Harmony, "Anya and I were thinking of going to this rave. Want to come?"

"Harmony!" Anya waved her hands back and forth, "Ixnay on the, oh, I suck at pig Latin. I thought we'd already discussed, Not Going."

"Oh, but I thought you were just worried about two girls going by themselves to some dark spot. Now that Bob's here it'll be okay." Harmony wound, un-wound, re-wound a strand of hair around her index finger, "Come on. It'll be fun. They'll be dancing and other alcohol and I'd only eat strangers, really. Come on."

"Ummm .. " said Bob, with extreme helpfulness, glancing from Anya to Harmony, Harmony to Anya. And being a guy, Harmony's velvet corset and the flesh there constrained. He glanced up. "Heh."

"No I don't want to go. In fact, I think we should both go to bed." Anya made a vague sign of the cross at Harmony.

"Um .. " said Bob, "So, did I get my wires crossed here, because if I did I can just go?"

"Yes." said Anya.

"What?" said Harmony, the veritable portrait of confused predation.

"Yes." said Anya. "You've corrected deduced the situation. We are indeed Sapphic fellow-travelers, journeying together on the road to self and mutual fulfillment. C'mon, honey--I've got an Indigo Girls CD cranked up in the room." Anya glared at Harmony.

"Huh?" said Harmony. "What are you talking about?" Harmony smile, smile, smiled at Bob, "She's just," air quotes, "shy. She was like this in High School too. Ummm .. Plus, her fiancZe just dumped her at the alter and she needs to go out and have some fun. Dancing. At a rave."

"Ohhh-kaaay." said Bob.

"Hey!" said Anya.

"So," said Bob, "Anya, do you want to go out and forget a bit? I'm pretty familiar with the city."

"Yes, at a rave," said Harmony.

"Harmony, you one track imbecile, I can't even believe that I gossiped with you." said Anya. "I'm sorry Bob, but Harmony's a vampire," Anya glared some more at Harmony, "and there's no such thing as a Toreador." She looked back at Bob, believe this stupid story, believe in me, "She just wants to suck you dry of all your blood and discard your lifeless corpse to rot in some deserted ally. Trust me. I know her type." Back serve to Harmony, "And they're Turok-han, not Nosfarts. Idiot!"

"Okay then." said Bob, "I think I'm going to go back to the bar now."

"Anya! You just met this guy and he looks kinda like Xander, so it's perfect. Come on. Don't you want me to express the real me and reach my full potential?"

"Oh, I think you've reached the fullest possible potential for a dimwit."

Harmony scowled, "That's not very nice." Her face rippled into ridges. Her eyes deepened into popcorn butter yellow. "You are so on my kill list now."

"Oh, please!" Anya reached into her purse and pulled out a mister and gave it a little squeeze. Harmony gave a satisfying sizzle. "I was a demon for 1100 years. I eviscerated twits like you for breakfast. Which I now feel bad about, but not enough to let you eat me or Bob here. Now shoo."

Harmony growled in a girlish, cross eyed kind of way.

Anya hit Harmony with another sprits and pulled a stake from her purse, "I've got more where that came from."

"You're so Mean!" Harmony ran for the door and paused for dramatic effect, "And they're all going to die you know. I'm connected to a great and powerful evil and it's going to do really evil stuff to you. And you'll totally regret being mean to me."

"Oh, get a job you large bottomed leach on society," said Anya, brandishing the stake in a random sort of way.

"Oh!" said Harmony, who turned to head out the door, missed by a foot, because two margaritas with three shots a piece will do that to your coordination, slammed into the door frame, took out a chunk and sobbing, poor little lost demon girl, fled from the room.

Anya shook her head, "Vampires, no work ethic. Well, that calls for a drink."

Bob stared at her in frozen, what the f***!

"Yes, definitely a drink." The waiter, who had been about to ask if they wanted more drinks, also stood frozen in definite guh?

"So, which of these oddly-named mixed drinks contains the largest quantity of alcoholic beverages?" said Anya.

"Uhh .. the Long Island Ice Tea. I uh, did her face get all bumpy?" said the waiter.

"Was she burning? What is that? Acid?" said Bob.

"No, that's not fruity enough. And no, holy water," said Anya, "See," She gave her face a sprits, "Both refreshing and sanctifying. I sold tons of these at the Magic Box. Not really useful against a determined vampire, but well, a good bargain at 6.99. So, do you have anything that tastes like punch? But with lots of alcohol."

"Um, the uh .. Long Beach Ice Tea. Tastes like a bit like punch and will knock you on your .. did her eyes change color?"

"Yeah, I'll have one of those. Do you want one too Bob?" said Anya.

"Yeah. I think that would be a good idea." said Bob, sitting back down. This time taking full advantage of the soft large padding of his chair.

"Three Long Beach Ice Teas it is then. Grande," said the waiter, who wandered back to the bar. Glanced at Anya and began to mix some large drinks. Hurray for America, land of the super size.

Anya pondered a bit and then took a drink from Harmony's margarita. Well, Harmony wasn't going to need it.
Gratuitous Dream Sequence
White slabs of concrete arranged in a crawling line stretched across the green prairie grass

Anya was a knight. She knew that because of the yellow fuzzy blankie tied around her neck. Andrew was her squire. He didn't have a blankie.

She had a sword that was shiny and swishy and a cardboard shield shaped like a heart. Not an actual heart, but the representation of a heart and it was decorated with seven concentric bands of pink and red.

And then she was a child sitting on white carpet, coloring the bands in with a stubby felt marker. Careful back and forth and don't go over the lines.

And then she was a knight again and her name was written on the back of the shield in Black Block Letters and the shield was strapped to her forearm. Andrew was holding her helmet and cardboard greaves that had been spray painted silver with her logo, a medallion of mighty morphing magical vengeance. Bar sinister.

She looked at the grass, which was short and thick and lush and very, very green. And full of holes.

It was very, very important that they walk in the absolute center of the sidewalk or white, white arms, like in that time machine movie, would reach up from the holes in the ground and try and grab them.

Anya knew that if they got her that they would drag her under the grass and devour her, even her bones. So, she cut them with her swishy shiny sword and their blood stood out thick on their arms and on the white concrete.

And then she was running over the grass. Slashing and cutting and running faster than they could grab. Practically flying. Falling forward. She was the wind and they couldn't touch her. She was the fire and she burned them. She was a knight on a quest for a tree. A spreading tree in the midst of all that grass.

She climbed the tree and it was tall and smooth and leafy and safe. She pulled off one of the leaves. It was wide and long, covered in white down. She ate it, because this was the Tree of Knowledge. The leaf tasted like leather and ink and sweat. And she knew how to read the Monolith, like the one in 2001, which was next to the tree. And it would explain everything. Absolutely everything.

And then she woke up and was very, very pissed.

So, she put on a silky robe and made demanding calls to room service that she would regret and pay for later if the world was not destroyed.

On the Road Again

It was a horrible fuggly day in the City by the Bay. If you could see the Bay. You could barely see the seagulls huddled on the bridge.

"Going slowly," sang out the chorus.

"Yeah, slowly." Anya moved her foot off the brake and inched forward. "If I ever get to move."

Then she saw the dreaded sign of changing lanes. This time to the right. Great. She sat there for a moment with her turn signal on. "Oh, this stupid. We're all going three miles an hour." And not waiting for the car next to her to give way, she just started to move into the right lane and magically, because Anya knew her magic, there was room. And then she passed the wrecked car that was blocking traffic and traffic was kinda sorta moving and she went through a tunnel and there was no fog on the other side, just a bright sunny day and industrial buildings in the distance and she made it all the way up to thirty miles an hour. Yay!

She started to sing her favorite musical book song, "Why go nowhere slowly, when you can go nowhere fast?" and did her groove while driving thing. She put on her sunglasses with the sparkles. "Maybe today won't suck."

"I wouldn't count on it," said Hallie.

"Oh, shut up!" and singing, "God Speed. God Speed. I'm going God Speed," Anya drove past the Port of Oakland monsters and into the day.

[> Walkabout -- Rob, 21:21:39 10/31/03 Fri

Coyote howls ricochet across the night desert - Owooooooooooooooo!!! - hitting sand, cactus, the dying embers of a pathetic little campfire, before shooting upwards, finally absorbed by the ghostly galleon moon and her millions of starry cohorts. Anya loves this part. The split second after the echo of one of those mournful wolves' discontent cries finally disperses into the chilly night air, and she can fool herself into thinking she might be able to fall asleep. Blink and you miss it.

Her eyelids flutter. She sighs and settles on the coarse rug laid out on the uneven ground, finally (after hours of squirming and shifting) finding the perfect position, where the small pebbles don't dig into her back quite so sharply and the twiggy bits of underbrush don't stick her quite so offensively. A small sigh, and her eyes close. She is peaceful. She is content. She feels herself slowly drifting to -


- "Oh, crap!" she says and sits up. "Well, this is not going to work."

She glares daggers of accusation at the beckoning moon, which beams with the kind of confidence that can only come from being completely unaware of (or ignoring) that all her brilliant light is merely reflected. The cold disk is full; complete; conceited. It mocks her with indifference and inspires the wolves to begin their song anew.

"Having trouble sleeping, sweetie?"

Anya looks at her dead friend indifferently. "Well, if you must know, yes. The coyotes are howling because, dumb animals that they are, they have nothing better to do, I have grains of sand up places even Xander's never been properly introduced to, and I have an intense desire to be at home in my apartment, curled up with a good book. And I don't even like to read! And come to think of it, I don't even have an apartment anymore, since D'Hoffryn's been sending his lackeys after me and you've been all intent on taking over the world."

"Hey, I'm the First. It's what I do!" Hallie innocently shrugs and smiles in that effortlessly charismatic way that she has. Had.

"Yeah, well, I wish you'd just get it over with already. I'm sick of all this waiting."

"That's my Anyanka! You never could sit still. Always raring to go and inflict some new grisly torture on some unsuspecting male."
Anya sees the familiar glint in Hallie's eye and almost wants to believe that the past had come undone, that she has never been the cause of her death, and she is inviting her over for tea, getting a vicarious, nostalgic thrill out of talks of evisceration and vengeance. But these feelings just arise out of habit. Suddenly uncomfortable in her own skin, she shudders thoughts of the grisly old days away.

"Why don't you do us both a favor, and save your lack-of-breath? We both know what's going to happen here. You are, once again, going to attempt to convince me that evil is the only way for me, and that if I continue to fight my inborn nature and side with the good guys, I will be chopped up into little pieces in a manner that is both surprising and painful, along with all the other girls and .. Xander."

Hallie chuckles. "That sounds about right."

"And I, in turn, will muster up my strength and tell you that you will never win, that good is stronger than evil, and that you will never be able to defeat the Slayer, even while knowing inside that this whole battle is useless and it will only be a matter of time before we're all fodder for your Bringers and their unwieldy yet efficient weapons. That is if we're not first turned into appetizers by your indestructible vampires and their jagged teeth."

"I like the way you think, girl!"

"But, so there you have it," Anya says. "I have fully acknowledged the futility of this fight and expect to die fairly soon. You may go now." She smiles broadly.

"Not so fast - "

"What now?" Anya quickly cuts her off. "You have no reason to interrupt my precious moments of alone time. I'm nothing special or important, any more. Why don't you go do something productive, like bother that Faith girl Willow's bringing back from L.A.? She was evil for a while, too. Rogue slayer, just got out of two years in prison. Yes, she's much more suited for you to attempt to use for your own ends."

"All in good time, sweetie. For now, you're my main girl."

"Well, that's just doesn't make sense."

With eyes full of pity, Hallie watches Anya and responds, "Oh, Anyanka, what have they done to you? The once-great vengeance demon, reduced to a quivering mess of a girl, all alone in the world, with nothing but a dying fire and sand up her butt. It's really quite sad. You do not need to torture yourself like this - a Tony Robbins wannabe seminar in San Francisco, cheesy self-help tapes, a Casteneda-induced nightmare here in Nevada - when will you just realize once and for all that you needn't search for the real you? Embrace your past, Anyanka. That is who you are."

Anya looks up at her. "You actually think I would allow myself to be swayed by your flawed arguments and your just barely acceptable Halfrek impersonation? You obviously don't know me as well as you might think. D'Hoffryn came to me with the same arguments, and I turned him down."

"Yes, and in the process doomed your only friend to death."

Anya's eyes dart up at her; this wound hurts.

"These people, sweetie, they're not your friends. Xander is their friend; you're just his ex. They have no respect for you. I mean, Buffy - please, talk about a superiority complex! God's gift to herself, if you ask me. I'm the only one who knew you. I'm the only one who loved you. And you .. you killed me."

Anya bites down on her trembling lip. "D'Hoffryn killed you."

"Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night." She pauses, innocently. "Oh, but wait, that's just it - you're not sleeping at night, are you?" Her laugh sounds like tinkling bells.

"You don't scare me."

"You're right," Hallie sighs. "But, look! There's something that does."

She points to a spot not five feet away, and there it is: snowy white. ethereal. terrifying. Its lower lip quivers, as if intently nibbling on invisible entrails. Its eyes glimmer with charcoal-colored malice. The delicate pink padding of its paws belie the jugular-slashing claws surrounding its feet. Anya shrieks.

"A bunny? You sent a bunny after me?"

She looks over, and Hallie is gone. Anya is alone with the creature.

"I've been here three days. I haven't seen a single bunny yet."
It tentatively sidles a bit closer to her.

"No!" Another shriek. "Okay, Anya Christina Emanuelle Jenkins, you can handle this."

The eyes. The claws.

"It's just a tiny, fluffy little bunny."

The teeth. The fur.

"What can it do to you?" She laughs, full of false bravado. "Do ya hear me, Hopper? You're nothing. So, you turn your little bunny ass around, and - "

It looks up at her.


The eyes. The claws. The teeth. The fur.

"Oh, crap!"

Then, a deep, guttural growl -


A pounce. Anya stands frozen as she sees the bunny disappear under a whirling circle of fangs and black fur. Red splatters across its formerly white back as the rabbit seems to explode into chunks of meat and bone. Slash, slash, growl, growl. The floppy menace is devoured right before her, less tasty parts discarded in smelly, bloody lumps. Anya has no time to catch her breath before the wolf tosses to the ground the the last bits of what now looks like some of the more fortunate victims of Anyanka's wrathful thousand-year reign. Thick blood mats the fur around its mouth, but the virile beast's appetite is not sated. It regards Anya seductively, lewdly, hungrily.

She screams.

She runs, as fast as her legs can move, and it takes up the chase, making an odd two-syllable growl all the way.

"Well, this is just great!" she yells as she runs, the rhythm of her words matching the rhythm of her movement. "I eat - almost - nothing - for - three days - I'm - getting - constant - visit - a - tions from - my dead - best friend - and - now a - wolf is - going to - eat me. Life can't get any - "

She trips and falls, quickly rubs her bruised left leg and jumps up again. The wolf is almost upon her. The strange two-syllable growl again.

"This is it," she cries, and squeezes her eyes shut, bracing herself.

"Anya? Is that you?"

"What?" She recognizes that voice.

She opens her eyes slowly.



"I didn't recognize you without your vaguely distracting highlighted hair and your tiny body."

"Uh - "

"And you know, all werewolves do look alike. If you've seen one blood-drenched, furry back, you've seen them all, I always say." Her attempts at nonchalance leave much to be desired. "And, wait a minute, you just turned yourself back into a human."

"Looks like it."

"Well, that's remarkable!"


"How did you - You certainly don't talk very much, do you?"


She nods, waiting for him to continue. He doesn't.

She nods again, and he gives in: "Not when I can help it."

"I think I remember that about you. Although it's been such a long time! Last time we saw each other, Willow wasn't nearly as big a lesbian as she is now." She smiles broadly and sweetly, in her trying-too-hard way.

"Suppose not."

"Well," she laughs, "as much fun as it's been catching up, I think I'd best get back to my - "

She looks over at the scratchy blanket she's been using as a bed and the blackened twigs that aren't even sending off wisps of smoke any more.

"Fire?" he asks.

"Right, so um, I'm glad the werewolf thing's working out for you, and - "


"Yes?" she smiles innocently.

"How is Willow?"

"Well, she is .. great. She's just great. As I said, still a lesbian, so don't you be getting any ideas, mister!"

"I know." He voice becomes somber. "I know about Tara, also."

"Oh," she says. "How?"

"She came to me."

"Came to you? Oh, I believe I know where you're going with this. Please," she pats him on the shoulder. "Continue!"

"I was just minding my business .. and Tara appeared to me. But I knew it wasn't her."

"You didn't even hear she'd died. How could you tell it wasn't Tara?"

"Walked through her."

"Yes, well that would do it."

"I didn't know Tara very well - "

"No, I should think not," she laughs. "What with you almost turning her into Kibbles N' Bits, when you found out about her and Willow's sweet and affectionate girl-on-girl action. After you left, they had many pleasurable orgasms together."

"Good to know."

"I thought that might bring you comfort."

"So, what came to me? It definitely wasn't Tara's ghost. It was .. mean. And not quiet."

"Ah, yes. You and Tara are very quiet. Hey, it's almost like she found a female version of you!" She thinks this will make him feel better.

"Anyway .. "

She nods.

" .. it was being all temptationy. Tried to convince me to go back to Sunnydale and kill Willow. She said that Will needed to be punished for having a new girlfriend so soon after her death. That she was betraying her, just like she betrayed me. That she needed to be punished."

"That was The First."

"The First." He thinks for a moment. "Oh, you mean that Big Nasty that was tormenting Angel a few years back?"

"Wow, you have a great memory!"

"It's impeccable."

"So, um, did The First get to you?"

"Get to me?"

"Yeah, you know - get to you. Was it able to use its powers of persuasion to have you feeling, even for a brief moment, how great it would feel to succumb to the Beast within, haul that furry ass of yours down to Sunnydale and wreak fiery vengeance on him for all the wrongs he did to you?!?"

"Uh, Anya?"

"Yes?" she asks nonchalantly.

"I think you might be projecting."

"Oh, right," she laughs. Then stops. "I tend to do that sometimes."

"That's okay. So, has The First gotten to you?"

"Me?" she laughs even louder. "No! That's the most ridiculous - "

"So, you were talking to yourself back there?"

"Yes. Yes. I was talking to myself."

"Really? Because you looked like you were having quite the heated discussion."

"Well, I am .. very angry at myself. Whenever I really piss myself off, I take myself to the desert and give myself a good talking to."

"Anya?" He rests his hand on her shoulder.


"You're a bad liar."

"Oh, crap. Okay, if you must know," she says, biting her lower lip and beginning to pace a little, "yes, I was just having a nice conversation with my dead friend, Halfrek."

"Send her my regards."

"Yes, that is indeed humorous."

"That must've been tough."

"Well, it's never easy when your deceased best friend comes to you, taunts you about all your deepest insecurities, and tempts you with something part of you wants to do very much even though you know it's wrong."

"I guess not."

"From your tone of voice, I'm assuming that The First didn't bother you."

"Well, I was disturbed. A little disarmed. But I never thought about harming Willow."

She laughs again, "Oh, come on, Werewolf Boy. Last time you left Sunnydale, you couldn't even look at Willow without sprouting fur and fangs."

He looks down. "True."

"And now you're telling me you harbor no ill feelings for the girl who stomped on your heart and threw it to the dogs. Um, sorry for the canine humor."

"Anya, what are you doing here, really?"

"Well," she sighs, "I was supposed to be out researching these primordial vampires The First conjured up from the Hellmouth, but I decided to take a brief detour and find myself. Now as good a time as any. The world is going to be taken over by The First and its minions very soon, you know. We're all going to die. And, me? No, I couldn't just be happy with my reinstated demon status and maintain my alliance with evil. No, I had to go all wimpy, get a conscience, and doom myself to death!

"And, now to top it all off, I've been wandering around the desert for the past three days, sweating to death in the day, freezing my ass off at night, completely starving. My head hurts, my back hurts, I haven't gotten one decent night of sleep .. and I can't get a single friggin' moment of spiritual transcendence! How am I supposed to have a vision quest if I can't get one crappy vision?"

"That was a mouthful."

"Yes. It was," she responds, noting the irony that a werewolf of all things was saying these words to her. "You seem pretty sure and comfortable with yourself, I mean, not becoming a ferocious monster at a moment's notice."

"But that's just the thing."


"I am a ferocious monster."

"Oh, great. Leave it to me to run into another self-flagellating demon with a soul!"

"No, no flagellation of any kind."

"You mean, you don't even masturbate?" she whispers.

Ignoring that, he continues, "The thing is I went all the way to Tibet to control the wolf. That backfired."

"You can say that again!"

"But there's a reason it backfired."

Anya is all ears.

"I am the werewolf. The werewolf is me. I spent such a long time denying the wolf - locking myself up in a cage, suppressing my nature. The fact is the wolf inside me is an animal. He's ferocious and dangerous. But he's not evil. I'm not evil. Visiting Willow really helped me put that in perspective. I realized that sometimes the wolf needs to get out, and if I don't let that side of myself out willingly, it will happen by itself."

"That's why you're out here, isn't it?"

"Yes. Each full moon, I take myself away from civilization, away from people, and I let myself go. I live on small animals. I roam. I howl at the moon."

"You were the one keeping me up?"

"Not necessarily."


"There are a lot of coyotes out here. Anyway, once I gave that part of myself free reign, I realized I could turn back and forth any time. The wolf and I are completely integrated now."

"So, you found yourself. That's really great. But I don't see how I'm going to be able to. You have an identity. You're a wolf. But who am I? I'm not a vengeance demon. Not anymore. I'm not really a girl."

"You're whoever you want to be."

Anya takes this in, pauses. "Listen, Oz, I think I'd like to talk a walk by myself for a little while, think a bit."

"Sure," he says. "Would you like me to hang around a while? I can build you a new fire while you're gone."

"That would be really nice," she says. "I won't be gone long."

She walks and waits, walks and waits, surveying the vista, desperate for some sort of sign.

I am the werewolf. The werewolf is me.

"But it isn't so simple for me," she says. "I can't just embrace my dark side, like Oz does."

"Sure, ya can!"

"Buzz off, Halfrek!"

She does.

"Well," she perks up. "That gave me a great deal of satisfaction." She sighs again. "Maybe I should dig out those tapes again."

"Now, why would you go and do that?"

Without even looking her way, Anya crossly says, "Halfrek - "

"No, not Halfrek."

"What?" Anya asks confused. She looks all around her, and can't find the source of the voice. "Who are you?"

"That is unimportant. Well, okay, not unimportant. Let's say more a cloaked-in-mystery type deal."

"Wait a minute .. You're my vision guide, aren't you?"

"Okay, ya caught me!"

"It's about time! I've been waiting forever for you! I didn't think you were coming."

"Hey, doll, my name ain't Godot."

"Oh, great," she says. "Absurdist humor. So, tell me, who am I?"


"I have been both patient and reasonable, and now I am ready. I came here to find myself. I have completed my portion of the job, and now it is your responsibility to give me a swift answer so I can go back home, where it is less sandy but infinitely more dangerous."


"No? What do you mean 'no'?"

"There will be no swift answers here. All answers will be slow in coming and difficult to decipher once they do."

"What? What's the point?"

"It's a vision guide prerequisite - we must be cryptic."

"You've got to be kidding me. I'm in sort of a rush here."

A sigh. "Okay, here's the lesson. Look down."

She laughs, "What?"

"C'mon, just look down."

"Okay," she says, "Not sure what you expect me to - "

And she lets out an ear-shattering scream.

"You're a .. you're a .. "

"Hey, would you mind quieting down a little?"

"I do not take orders from a bunny!" she screams.

"You have to face your deepest fear, Anya, to find yourself." His shifty, rabbit eyes fix her in their stare. "You must .. "

"What? What?!?"

"You must pet me."

"No! Are you out of your mind?"

"Am I out of my mind? You're the one who thinks she's talking to a bunny."

"Okay, I've had enough. This vision quest is over. It's over."

"Wait! Wait! Don't you understand? It's the only way."

"Okay, listen here, Little Buffy Foo Foo, if you don't - "

He snickers, his big, buck teeth sticking out of his pink mouth.

Insulted, Anya asks, "Are you laughing at me?"

"You just called me 'Little Buffy Foo Foo.'"

"I did not."

"Yes, you did."

"Did not!"

"Did, too. Freudian slip much?"

She's had it. "You have to choose an accent and stick with it. One moment, you're a retro pastiche gangster circa 1930s, the next you're talking like you graduated from Sunnydale High!"

"Are you mad at me?"

"Yes!" she cries, exasperated.

"Not scared any longer, though, are ya?"

"Oh, no, you're not going to fool me with your devious, carrot-munching ways and your cotton-tailed tricks! You're not a real bunny. You think that by getting me to succumb to your fluffy charms that I will therefore feel less apprehensive about approaching a real Cadbury-laying menace. But it's not going to work. I don't trust you pad-legged freaks. Give you a pat on the head, and the next moment I'll be in the hospital, trying to remove your jagged little teeth from my bloodied wrists. No, thank you very much."

"You're incorrigible."

"That's what they tell me."

"Anya, what's really bothering you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You say you want to find yourself. Why?"

She sits down in the sand. Not close to the bunny, though. Oh, no. Not close at all.

"Because I have spent my entire life following other people and ideas: Olaf, D'Hoffryn, socialism, Xander, capitalism and all its monetary goodness. I've always been a follower. It's - Hey, you're my spirit guide. Aren't you supposed to know this stuff?"

"Yes. Now, please go on."

"I have done .. terrible things. I can't go back to that life, and yet I miss the power. I don't know what to do. I can't just get a primal high, reveling in my powers like Wolf Boy. For a vengeance demon, it's either follow D'Hoffryn, or face the flames. There's no free use of the powers."

"I'm not so sure about that, Anya. I think that one day, you will be able to follow in Oz's footsteps. To surpass them, even. He thinks he's found himself, and that's all well and fine, but what good do his wolf powers do for others? At the most you can say he helps people by avoiding them a few days a month. But whereas his power is for him alone, yours can help others. Yours can inspire others. One day, Anya, you will find yourself, and oh, how glorious that day will be. The power is not for him alone to wield, Anya, it is for you."

"What do you mean?"

"Remember what I said about the cryptic prerequisite?"


"Now, go back to your friend, Anya. He begins to worry."

"But how am I supposed to know .. "

"All in good time, Anya. All in good time."

"You know, repeating it twice doesn't make it any more resonant. These stock responses are growing quite tiresome."

"Well, luckily for you, it is time for me to take my leave."

"Okay, then."

She turns to leave.


She pauses, stops.


"Sure you don't want to give me one pat on the head?"

"Not on your life."

He tentatively approaches her, and she screams.

"Okay, alright, I'm off."


Anya walks back to the camp, where a fire is roaring and a wolf is wolfing down a small animal.

"Lovely," she says.

He quickly turns. "Sorry. My bad."

"Quite alright," she says. "Don't let me stop your natural albeit slightly nauseating habits."

"Okay, then."

Back in wolf form, he quickly finishes the last twitching remains of the animal, and in a flourish of fur and teeth, he is once again Oz-shaped. His metamorphoses have become quite beautiful. No longer the slow, painful process as before, he can now slip in and out of it like a warm, inviting coat; the thick fur swiftly rise upwards like hair under a brush full of static when he wills the change upon himself, and disappears just as suddenly as that same hair dropping lifelessly once the brush is taken away. It really is quite beautiful.

She smiles.

"You have a nice walk?"

"Yes, it was quite rewarding, actually."


"I didn't find myself, nothing like that, but I, well let's just say, I think everything is going to be alright."

"That's great."

"Yeah, it is, isn't it? Of course, I can't say for sure. You know those desert visions."

"Being cryptic is like a prerequisite."

"Yeah!" she says. "Exactly!"

"Hey, Anya, I asked you earlier, but we kind of got sidetracked .. "

"Uh huh?"

"Willow, she's happy, right?"

"Oh, sure, she's happy," she says. "I think she really likes this new girl, Kennedy."

"That's good." He smiles.

"You know, she could be the next Slayer."

"Really?" He is impressed. "Willow and a potential Slayer? Wow."

"She was really crushed by Tara's death, though. It took her a long time to get her life back to normal."

He nods, empathetically. "I can imagine. I felt awful for her."

"It really is a good thing she has a new girlfriend now, too."

He sighs.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she says. "It must suck for you, your one true love being a big lesbian and all."


"Kennedy really is the best thing for her now, though. She was getting so desperate for a while back there. Earlier this year, when she first got back from England, she was hitting on me! I had to tell her, Willow, sorry, but I am just not interested in you that way."

He smiles, uncomfortably.

"Oh, Oz?"


"Might I ask you what that animal you ate a little while ago was?"

"I think it was a bunny. Funny, you never see them around here, but this is the third I've caught tonight."

"Funny," she laughs, and darts her eyes around quickly, worried that an errant bunny might fall on top of her at any moment and rub its soft, squirming body across her lap.

"Are you .. afraid of bunnies?"

She laughs, shaking her head. Then stops. "Just a little bit."

"Well, don't worry. Between you and me - "


"Never trusted bunnies myself."

[> [> Re: Walkabout -- jane, 23:20:45 10/31/03 Fri

Rob,Fresne, this is terrific! I think you've both done Anya proud. Loved the whole darn thing, especially the scenes with Harmony, and Oz and the bunnies. Great job. Is there a part three?

[> [> [> re: Walkabout -- Rob, 23:22:02 10/31/03 Fri

Thanks, jane! Really nice of you to say. Part 3 has just been posted. :o)


[> The Devil and Miss Jenkins -- cjl, 23:20:57 10/31/03 Fri


[Xander and Dawn are making their way out of Sunnydale High. As the building falls down around them, Xander screams out for Anya.]

XANDER: Anya .. .ANYA!

[He doesn't see her body lying limp and lifeless on the floor beneath some rubble. Dawn pulls him away toward the exit.]

[Freeze frame on Anya's body. With Xander's cries and the sounds of battle echoing from the hallway around her, we slowly zoom in on her face, until we're practically lens-to-eye. High-speed pull-back from extreme close-up to reveal Anya standing, in one piece, surrounded by near total darkness--Arashmaharr, D'Hoffryn's home dimension ("Something Blue," "Hell's Bells"). As before, no backdrop, no props, no scenery (and no identifiable light source). D'Hoffryn materializes from the shadows.]

D'HOFFRYN: Hello, Anyanka.

[Anya gives herself a quick pat-down, astonished that all her body parts are still contiguous. Then it hits her.]

ANYA: Oh, crap. Am I dead?

D'HOFFRYN: Quite dead. You didn't watch your back. I always told you that was going to be a problem.

ANYA: I remember. [Brief flash of the Bringer, slicing and dicing her in two; anxiously:] Xander! What about Xander? Is he all right? Did we win? [D'Hoffryn does not look happy.] Of course we won. You have that "sucking lemons" expression on your face. Your face always looks like that when the world isn't revolving around your Magnificence.

D'HOFFRYN: Yes, Anyanka, your associates - somehow - won the day. For the moment. But you're still dead.

[Anya shrugs off the bad news with surprisingly little effort.]

ANYA: And this, I take it, is the initial phase of my afterlife. [Looks around; sighs nostalgically] The old neighborhood. I see you haven't redecorated since the last time I was here. [Light bulb] Wait a minute - what am I doing here? I'm not a vengeance demon anymore.

D'HOFFRYN: Consider this a brief stopover. We have some unfinished business.

ANYA: Like what? I got all nice and dead without your help. You can call off your contract, and all your little hench-demons can crawl back into their holes and enjoy a nice, quiet hibernation.

D'HOFFRYN: I don't appreciate your tone of voice, Anyanka.

ANYA: I don't give a damn if you appreciate my tone of voice or not. I'm not one of your girls anymore, D'Hoffryn, and you can -

[D'Hoffryn touches a gleaming emerald pendant around his throat, and a bolt of energy rattles what-used-to-be Anya's bones for a split-second. Woozy from the impact, Anya sinks to her knees.]

D'HOFFRYN: I'm afraid it's not that easy, my dear. You were mine for over a millennium, and - to a degree - your spirit is still linked to the power of Arashmaharr. Now we're going to have our little talk, Anyanka, and you WILL show me the proper respect.

[Anya slowly, painfully, rises to her feet.]

ANYA: Fine. If it stops you from roasting my spiritual essence with soul-searing pain, by all means, let's have a pleasant conversation. What do you want to talk about?

[D'Hoffryn walks directly toward Anya, then veers off to the side and circles her, like a hawk circling its prey.]

D'HOFFRYN: It was my hope, Anyanka, that once you left the mortal coil, you might gain some perspective about your role in the universe and reconsider some of your more foolish notions of recent years.

ANYA (deeply irritated): Such as?

D'HOFFRYN: Such as your allegiance to those putrid bags of bone and blood you've been calling your friends. Such as the abandonment of your sisters and your birthright. Such as the idea that your "valiant sacrifice for the cause" had any value whatsoever.

ANYA: You wouldn't understand.

D'HOFFRYN: Oh you're right, Anyanka, I don't understand. For the past five months, I've been sending my 'hench-demons,' as you call them, to drill some sense into [points to her hair] the kaleidoscopic color wheel you call your head. Maybe, I said to myself, maybe if I could put a little fear of the Pit into the girl -

ANYA: You mean - you weren't trying to kill me?

D'HOFFRYN: Of course not! You disappoint me, child. What was the first rule I taught you when it comes to vengeance?

ANYA (almost automatically): "Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain."

D'HOFFRYN: Exactly.

ANYA: Then what was the point?

[D'Hoffryn leans over and whispers in Anya's ear.]

D'HOFFRYN: When you were a vengeance demon, you could have destroyed my assassins with a thought, and maybe even less than a thought. But you wanted to experience the joys and sensations of a mortal life. Well, how did it feel, Anyanka? How did it feel to realize that your head could be crushed like a grape and your heart could be ripped from your chest in a split-second?

ANYA: It .. it wasn't very pleasant.

[D'Hoffryn straightens up and resumes circling.]

D'HOFFRYN: No, I suppose it wasn't. And it must have done wonders for your ego to cower behind the Slayer and that pathetic excuse for a vampire.

ANYA: Not exactly beaming with pride here .. .

[D'Hoffryn stops, reaches out, and caresses Anya's cheek.]

D'HOFFRYN: So let's start over.

ANYA: Excuse me?

D'HOFFRYN: Now that you realize the fragility - the futility - of mortal existence, I'm perfectly willing to put this madness behind us.

ANYA: You must be joking.

D'HOFFRYN: I never joke about business, Anyanka. Granted, the initiation ceremony will be a bit more complicated than usual - I mean, with you being dead and all - but I'm sure the girls will be happy to help out.

[Anya jerks away from D'Hoffryn's touch.]

ANYA: Halfrek won't be here to 'help out.'

D'HOFFRYN: No, she won't. Most regrettable. But you have to understand -

ANYA (angry): Spare me. I understand why you did it, D'Hoffryn. I've seen you do it over and over for the past thousand years. You have to 'maintain discipline'; you can't have your little pack of vengeance whores breaking your rules willy-nilly, because the Lords of the Lower Depths might think you're losing it. Just don't give me this crap that Hallie was one of your favorites, and you loved her like you love all the other girls, and -

D'HOFFRYN (reaches out): Anyanka .. .

ANYA: No! Stay away from me. [Starts to cry; brushes a tear off her cheek and stares at it in disbelief] Damn it! I'm dead, how can I be crying? That's what your world is about, D'Hoffryn - pain and suffering and retribution, and I'm sick of it. I'm out of the business. Get used to it.

D'HOFFRYN: I see. And you've come to this conclusion drawing upon your many years of experience as a mortal woman?

ANYA: You're employing sarcasm, but yes. Exactly.

D'HOFFRYN: Let me guess. Over the eleven centuries of your existence, you reveled in the power of the wish, and you avenged yourself against the worthless race of men - but you had forgotten the possibilities of life beyond simple vengeance.

ANYA: I suppose.

D'HOFFRYN: And I suppose the Slayer - in between all the hacking and slashing and stabbing, of course - taught you that humanity isn't just a collection of weak-willed, craven fools indulging their most depraved passions, but a pure and noble breed, capable of fighting for the highest ideals.

ANYA: You'd be surprised. Buffy does have that effect on people.

D'HOFFRYN: I'm sure she does. But she wouldn't have been able to convince you if you weren't listening in the first place.

[D'Hoffryn waves his hand, and an image of Xander materializes in the dim light in front of them. He's wearing the tuxedo from the day of the wedding.]

D'HOFFRYN: Your young man. [D'Hoffryn circles the image, inspecting it with a visible look of disdain.] You know, he did get puffy over the last couple of years.

ANYA: He's not puffy. He has a slight midriff bulge - but that in no way affected the frequency of our lovemaking or the longevity of his sexual performance.

D'HOFFRYN: I don't want to hear about it.

ANYA: Honestly, once I gave him a couple of simple pointers, our mutual orgasms went up exponentially.

D'HOFFRYN: Anyanka ..

ANYA: Not that it was all one-sided. After 1100 years, I was a little out of practice with a mortal body.

D'HOFFRYN: Will you please -

ANYA: He showed me things I never would have imagined doing back in Sweden. Olaf would have had a heart attack if he--


ANYA (sweet and innocent): Something wrong?

D'HOFFRYN: You did that deliberately. You know I've never been comfortable when you're chattering about your .. .repulsive desires.

ANYA: And I always found it sad that you thought my desires were repulsive. [A question pops into her head, and Anya is amazed she's never asked D'Hoffryn this question in all the time she's knows him:] Haven't you ever been in love?

D'HOFFRYN (snorts derisively): Don't be absurd. I am Vengeance Incarnate - eternal and unchanging. I am beyond such transitory mortal concepts. [Pause.] Besides, what does 'love' have to do with any of this? [Looks over at the image of Xander] Sounds like we're talking about sex - as usual.

ANYA: That's not true. I-it may have started out that way, but Xander and I developed a deep and mutually fulfilling bond that -

D'HOFFRYN: To quote a learned philosopher, Anyanka - spare me. You may have been watching me for the past thousand years, but I've been watching you as well - and this so-called relationship isn't any different from any of the other transitory and grotesquely explicit 'relationships' you've had in the past.

ANYA: You don't know anything about my relationships, old man.

D'HOFFRYN: Really? I seem to recall a particularly gratifying wish fulfillment slash mass slaughter near the Bavarian Alps around - what was it? 1590? 1595? I'm getting so bad with dates these days.

ANYA (ashamed): 1599.

D'HOFFRYN: I nearly stepped right in the middle of the moonlight bacchanal you were throwing in the town square. I will never forget the look in your eyes, Anyanka. They were empty. In one day, you destroyed a community thousands of years old--but it wasn't enough to satisfy your hatred, your desire for vengeance, the void in the center of your being. You were dancing around the funeral pyre, and -

ANYA (can't bear to hear any more): I know what I did. But that was a long time ago.

D'HOFFRYN: Then let's talk about now. You prattle on about this wonderful, mutually fulfilling bond you have with our dear Mr. Harris, but you're still defining your relationship in terms of 'orgasms.' If you really had a special bond with the boy, if he filled the emptiness in your heart, you wouldn't brag about screwing him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ANYA: You're twisting -

D'HOFFRYN: And if you had this magnificent, fairy tale romance, if you filled the emptiness in his heart, why did he call off the wedding? How could any man, any man truly in love, abandon the vision that was my Anyanka on her wedding day?

[Score. Anya was caught off-guard, again.]

ANYA: H-he must have had his reasons.

D'HOFFRYN: Reasons, I take it, he never shared. [Shakes his head; tsk tsks] Poor Anyanka. But perhaps I could shed some light on the matter.

[D'Hoffryn waves his hand, and the image of Xander changes to that of a messy living room. An ironing board piled with clothes, stuff on the floor, etc. In the background, we see a foyer and a door to the outside. It's sunny. In the foreground, there's a big leather-covered armchair. Xander, wearing the tuxedo from the wedding, is holding a bottle of beer in one hand and a TV remote in the other.

[Shot of the TV, showing a football game.]

XANDER (calls): Anya.

[No reply. He sits staring at the TV for a beat.]


[Anya appears in the doorway, wearing a red suit, tucking her blouse into the skirt. Her expression is bored, or resigned.]

ANYA (to Xander): What.

XANDER: You going out again?

ANYA (picking up a small wastebasket): I'm doing a make-over party.

XANDER: I thought you hated those.

ANYA: Well, one of us has to make some money. [picking up empty beer bottles]

XANDER (angry): Well, what do you want me to do, Anya? Huh? I can't work. My back is shot.

ANYA: And whose fault is that?

XANDER: Oh, no no no. Not the Buffy thing again.

ANYA: You had no business fighting demons with her.

XANDER: Buffy needed me. I had to help.

ANYA (bitterly): Well, it didn't save her, did it? [Xander drinking beer] All it did was ruin our lives.

[Anya turns away, puts the wastebasket down. Xander sits staring at the TV, but not seeing it, looking hurt.]

ANYA (OS): I'll be late.

[Xander continues sitting there upset. Anya leaves out the front door, slamming it.]

XANDER (yells): I hope you crash in your stupid pink car!

[Present day: Anya is watching in disbelief, anguished.]

D'HOFFRYN: Wait. It gets better.

[Flash to a kitchen, years later. The sink is piled with dirty dishes.]

XANDER (O.S.): If you were so unhappy, why didn't you just leave?

ANYA (O.S.): I wanted to. I should have!

[Pan over to a small table against a wall. Xander and Anya sit there, facing each other across the table. He is still in his tux and still the same age. Anya is much older.]

XANDER: Yeah, you should have. 'Cause then maybe I would have gotten some touch in the past twenty years.

ANYA: I wasn't the one who stopped touching!

XANDER: Oh! Maybe, but you weren't touching me!

[He jumps up angrily, begins to pace.]

ANYA: What did you expect me to do? You wouldn't come near me after Buffy--

XANDER (shouts): Don't bring her into this!

ANYA: Fine. Forget her. Maybe you were just born to be a bitter, angry old man.

XANDER (quietly, very angry): Shut up.

ANYA: No! (tearfully) I want my life back! If I hadn't married you I wouldn't have had to hate myself for the last THIRTY YEARS!

[Xander grabs a frying pan off the stove and lunges toward Anya, screaming.]


[As he swings the frying pan toward her face, we switch back to present-day Anya, as she instinctively jerks her head back from the oncoming blow.]

ANYA (stunned): He never told me.

[The image of Xander is frozen at the point where he's swinging his arm back and ready to smash Anya across the face with the frying pan. He's wild-eyed, enraged. D'Hoffryn looks at the tableau with something resembling admiration.]

ANYA (despairing): Why didn't he tell me?

[D'Hoffryn turns away from the lovely picture and faces Anya.]

D'HOFFRYN: Oh, come now, Anyanka, you know perfectly well why he didn't tell you. He was ashamed. Our friend, Mr. Burns, showed the brave, young Mr. Harris what was festering inside, and he didn't have the courage to face it.

ANYA: But that's not who he is. That's not how it was going to be.

D'HOFFRYN: Really? I think it looks absolutely convincing. "The son of abusive parents taking out the pain of his miserable childhood on his beloved spouse and family." Quite sad.

[Suddenly, something that should have been plainly obvious falls into place for Anya.]

ANYA: You knew.

D'HOFFRYN: About what?

ANYA: Wait, what am I saying?! You didn't just "know" - you set the whole thing up! Stewart Burns, the crystal, the prophecies - you son of a bitch, you set the whole thing up!

D'HOFFRYN (smiling): Finally. I was wondering if you would ever figure it out. Hmm .. who had fifteen months in the pool?

ANYA: Shut up! Stop making those stupid little jokes about MY LIFE! Stop it! You ruined everything!

D'HOFFRYN: I did no such thing. Honestly, Anyanka, what exactly did I do? I gave our old friend Stewart Burns some time off for good behavior, so he could attend the wedding. I gave him a crystal so he could show Mr. Harris some pretty pictures. Anything that happened afterwards was pretty much up to your stalwart fiance and yourself.


D'HOFFRYN: And what the brave, loyal, good-hearted Mr. Harris did was look into the eyes of the woman he claimed to love more than anything else in the world, say absolutely nothing, and walk out into the rain, leaving her to humiliate herself in front of her guests.

ANYA (heartbroken): He didn't -

D'HOFFRYN: But maybe I'm being too hard on the boy. How many people can face the truth about themselves? Sometimes I wonder why they don't all go mad.

ANYA (trying to hold it together): T-they're not all like that.

D'HOFFRYN: Yes, Anyanka, they are ALL. LIKE. THAT. I've been the Lord of Vengeance for nearly 20,000 years, and there isn't one mortal, not since they crawled out of the slime, not since Cain slew Abel, who hasn't felt the need for vengeance at one time or another.

[D'Hoffryn snaps his fingers, and the image of Xander disappears. Anya is visibly relieved. D'Hoffryn then waves his hand, and the darkness around and above them is replaced by the stars of the night sky.]

D'HOFFRYN: This is how the universe runs, my dear. It does not run on mercy. It does not run on compassion. It is the living instrument of a vengeful God, and I am merely one of his minions - as are you. But, if you persist in thinking that "love makes the world go 'round" or some such nonsense, by all means - prove me wrong.

ANYA (warily): How?

D'HOFFRYN: Walk away.

[D'Hoffryn snaps his fingers again, and the star field vanishes.]

D'HOFFRYN: Simply walk beyond the borders of Arashmaharr, and into the next world. I won't do anything to stop you. If the universe is truly a place of "love" and "mercy," the gods will smile down upon you and your repentance and sacrifice will be duly rewarded. [Pause; Anya turns to leave.] Maybe.

[As Anya wanders out toward the edge of the darkness, a wall of flame shoots up in her path. She looks back at D'Hoffryn with utter loathing; D'Hoffryn shrugs, as if to say, "Hey, wasn't me."]

[Anya slowly, hesitantly, approaches the flames.]

ANYA (v.o.; singing softly): "So I will walk through the fire."

[She flinches slightly from the heat.]

ANYA (v.o.): "'Cause where else can I turn."

[She reaches out to touch the flame.]

ANYA (v.o.): "I will walk through the fire, and let it--"

[Her hand trembles, then drops to her side - she's not going anywhere. She closes her eyes and bows her head in shame. The wall of flame dissipates. D'Hoffryn approaches Anya, stopping just behind her shoulder.]

D'HOFFRYN: I know what you're thinking, Anyanka. You think you've betrayed your principles. You think you're a coward.

ANYA: I am a coward.

D'HOFFRYN: You're a realist. When it counted, when you looked into the darkness of your soul to find the truth, you knew the universe was everything I said it was. You saw through the illusions the Slayer and her friends have been feeding you the past three years.

[D'Hoffryn gently places a hand on her shoulder.]

D'HOFFRYN: You're finally ready to come home.

ANYA: There's no place for me here anymore.

D'HOFFRYN: There is always a place for you here, child. You are Anyanka. Don't you remember what that name means? Really means?

ANYA: Of course I know what it means. You've told me a million times. It means "fury," or something like that.

D'HOFFRYN: You don't understand. A thousand years, and you still don't understand. It means so much more than that. In the language of Arashmaharr, "anyanka" describes a hurricane ripping up a forest at the roots, or an earthquake swallowing a village like an appetizer. It is the Force of Nature, beautiful and unstoppable, and beyond any of your petty mortal concepts of good and evil. That is what I saw in your eyes when I met you, Anyanka.

[D'Hoffryn turns Anya around, places both hands on her shoulders, and looks deeply into her eyes, with surprising warmth and sensitivity.]

D'HOFFRYN: It is your place in the universe, and you will never be able to deny it.

[Anya lowers her eyes and turns her head away, defeated.]

ANYA: All right.

D'HOFFRYN: Excellent.

[D'Hoffryn's pendant flashes a blinding, emerald green, and almost instantaneously, D'Hoffryn and Anya are surrounded by a circle of her fellow vengeance demons. D'Hoffryn breaks away from Anya, magisterially striding his way to the center of the circle with a sweep of his robes. He beckons to Anya to join him.]

D'HOFFRYN: Come, child. This shouldn't take long. Your essence is already bound to the crystal. All we need is the Invocation.

[Anya sits, cross-legged, at the center of the circle. D'Hoffryn nods, and a low, eerie hum pervades the darkness. One by one, the pendants of the vengeance demons flare into brilliance, then are joined together in a circle of pure energy.]

[Close-up: Anya, sitting in the middle of the circle, her mind working feverishly. She thinks back on D'Hoffryn's words: "Your spirit is linked to the power of Arashmaharr." "Your essence is .. bound to the crystal." She whispers the start of a spell under her breath.]

[The hum grows progressively louder, almost deafening, as D'Hoffryn draws the power from the circle into his body and projects it through his pendant. Anya, bathed in the light of the pendant, intones the final words to her spell, and her eyes glow, a pale green. The pendant snaps off D'Hoffryn's neck and flies into her hand.]

ANYA: Gotcha.

[She plays Green Lantern with the pendant, blasting D'Hoffryn completely off screen with an energy bolt. She's got the old man down, but she hesitates for a moment, pondering what to do next....]


Anya's pendant glows, and the pendants of all the other vengeance demons shatter like glass.


Anya stands over D'Hoffryn, who is cowering, helpless.


Two shot: Anya zaps him again, a sustained blast, and D'Hoffryn lets out a horrible, inhuman scream.


Close-up on Anya: she's hideous and vein-y again.


D'Hoffryn is gone, a wisp of smoke rising from where he was groveling.


Camera pans up Anya, then pulls back: she's not Anya anymore. She's not Anyanka, either. She's wearing (a much sexier version of) D'Hoffryn's robes--she is Queen of Arashmaharr....

[Out of the revenge fantasy and back to Anya. She's still considering what to do with the pendant. The almost-imperceptible smile on her lips tells us she's decided. A faint glow emerges from Anya's forehead, and energy pours down into the pendant. We see a rapid-fire, five-second montage of Anya's entire life--Olaf, D'Hoffryn, Hallie, Cordy, Xander, Buffy, Giles, the wedding, Dark Willow, Harmony, Oz, Touched, Chosen, Her Death--and then the beam cuts off. The pendant, and the pendants of all the other vengeance demons flash like a supernova, then go dark. Anya slumps forward, exhausted.]

[D'Hoffryn, stunned by the unexpected maneuver, grabs Anya's arm, nearly wrenching it from its socket.]

D'HOFFRYN: You stupid little--what have you done?!

ANYA: I gave the girls something to think about.

[As one, the vengeance demons vanish in a blaze of light. Anya flips the pendant back to D'Hoffryn.]

ANYA: Nice try.

[D'Hoffryn releases her arm to catch the pendant.]

D'HOFFRYN: You knew.

ANYA: Of course I knew. [Stands] God, D'Hoffryn, you must think I'm an idiot. Ever since I got here, you've been waving that pendant in my face, practically begging me to take a shot at you. Typical D'Hoffryn set-up. Let me guess - killing you .. .that was the initiation. The REAL initiation. Am I right?

D'HOFFRYN (devilish grin): I would have owned you body and soul.

ANYA (laughs; wags a finger): Oh, you're good. [More serious] But I told you--I'm not interested in vengeance anymore. I'm out of the business.

D'HOFFRYN: Very well.

ANYA: "Very well"? You mean that's it? No more games, no more tests, no more tricks? I'm free to go?

D'HOFFRYN: Yes, you're free to go .. .

[D'Hoffryn goes into his big, scary demon routine, with accompanying SFX and Dolby surround sound.]

D'HOFFRYN: But rest assured, child, that next time we meet--

ANYA: Oh, please! Are you going to give me the whole, cliched speech about you're letting me go now, but "the next time we meet, it will be as deadly foes"? Because I don't think I could keep my lunch. Can a spiritual essence vomit?

D'HOFFRYN (back to normal; chuckles): Standard demonic overlord speech. Contractual obligation.

ANYA (waves it off): I know, I know. But it doesn't have to be this way. We've known each other for a long time, D'Hoffryn. Now that the whole "professional relationship" thing is over, couldn't we be--

D'HOFFRYN: Friends? You must realize you're asking a lot, my dear.

ANYA: Okay, maybe not friends. But--


[Anya looks past D'Hoffryn, off into the darkness.]

ANYA: I-I don't know what's out there.

D'HOFFRYN: The next world. The next part of your journey.

ANYA: It would be nice if I could have somebody along with me--kinda show me the way. Couldn't you take a couple of days off? I mean, you haven't taken a vacation in 10,000 years. I'm sure the Lords of the Lower Depths wouldn't mind.

D'HOFFRYN: You're scared, aren't you, child?

ANYA: A little.

D'HOFFRYN: You should be. Because I don't know what's out there any more than you do. [D'Hoffryn starts to melt into the shadows.] I tried to offer you the blessings and power of Arashmaharr and the Lower Depths--but obviously, that's not who you are anymore. I've done all that I can do.

ANYA: W-wait...

D'HOFFRYN: You're on your own. Goodbye, Anya. [Vanishes]

[Anya, alone. Her name seems to hang in the air, and the air is suddenly warmer, brighter. The smooth, polished floor of the chamber gives way to the pleasant sensation of earth and grass beneath her feet. Sunlight pours in, and Anya is now standing in the midst of a bright, green field, with trees, birds and butterflies, a lake, and a hillside, off to her right. There's a woman in a canary yellow sun dress waiting patiently for Anya on the slope of the hill. Anya briskly walks up the hillside to confirm what she already knows in her heart: it's Halfrek, the real Halfrek. The two women look at each other for a moment, then melt into a warm embrace. Anya's crying again; Hallie isn't exactly dry-eyed either.]

ANYA: I thought I'd never see you again.

[The hug is going on a little too long for Hallie's taste.]

HALFREK: You're wrinkling the dress, honey. [Anya disengages.]

ANYA: Oh. Sorry.

HALFREK: That's OK. Good to see you too.

[Now that all the mushy, borderline-slashy stuff is out of the way, Anya soaks in her surroundings.]

ANYA: Sylvan glades, adorable woodland creatures, general bucolic splendor - Hallie, are these the Elysian Fields? [Off Halfrek's look] You know, drinking ambrosia, dancing to the pipes of Pan, frolicking with muscular, if mythological, Greek deities? That would be amazing---because, let me tell you, after the day I've had, I could really go for some frolicking.

HALFREK: Nnnnnnot quite. Consider this, for lack of a better word, a classroom. If you're going to get where you're going, you need to learn a couple of lessons first.

ANYA: Lessons? Like what? And where exactly am I going?

HALFREK: Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

ANYA: And for that matter, how did I get here?

HALFREK: All right, let's call that Lesson One. Actually, sweetie, you didn't "get here" at all. You've always been in this place, but you just didn't see it until now.

ANYA: You're losing me.

HALFREK: Look at it this way. [Halfrek plucks a dandelion from the hillside.] From the old days as vengeance demons, we both know the mortal world is barely the tip of a multiversal iceberg. [She puffs away the dandelion blooms, leaving the stem intact.] But even the multiverse is an outward manifestation of a single, deeper Truth.

ANYA: Oh! I think I understand: It's all a matter of perspective. The universe is always what it is, but its outward appearance changes according our level of perception.

HALFREK: You can put it that way, yes.

ANYA (applauds playfully): This is fun! I haven't had a philosophical conversation in ages. You'd be surprised how obtuse Xander could be about things like metaphysics.

HALFREK: Hm. Consider me shocked.

ANYA: Come on! I'm just getting warmed up here! What's the next lesson?

HALFREK: I think it's coming your way right now.

[Halfrek points to the hillside below. An adorable, white fluffy bunny rabbit is hopping up towards Anya. Anya's playful mood instantly disappears. She fixes the rabbit with a glare, and it freezes in place. Stare-down.]

HALFREK: Anya ..

ANYA: Not now. If I let my guard down for a minute, it's going to attack.

HALFREK: It's not going to attack.

ANYA: Mock me all you want, Halfrek. You don't know these things like I do. Look at it. Back on its haunches, ready to spring at a moment's notice.

HALFREK: Sweetie, we can't stay like this for the rest of eternity. Places to go, people to see, you know? Instead of automatically reacting like it's some kind of monster, why don't you take the time to listen to it?

ANYA (never taking her eye off the bunny): My last conversation with a rabbit didn't work out too well.

HALFREK: But this isn't the Nevada desert; this isn't even the mortal world anymore. Go ahead. Try. Trust me, it's not going to kill you.

[Anya - with extreme reluctance - inches her way toward the rabbit.]

ANYA: All right. Trying to be broad-minded here. Everything is part of creation and all that crap.

[She squats down, her face only inches away from the rabbit.]

ANYA (to the rabbit): Hello. [There's no audible sound, but Anya tilts her head as if listening to the other half of a conversation.] Really? [Listens again] No. There's no problem at all. Thank you.

HALFREK: What did he say?

ANYA: Well, he said he's sorry if any other rabbits scared me in the past, and he hopes I won't hold that against him.

HALFREK: DO you hold that against him?

ANYA: No, of course not. I'm not a bigot. Wait .. . [Listens again.]

HALFREK: Now what?

ANYA: He's wondering why I don't pick him up and stroke his soft, sensuous fur. He says he would greatly enjoy that.

HALFREK: Watch out. It could be a trap.

ANYA: Don't be ridiculous.

[Anya picks up the rabbit, straightens up, and walks back over to Halfrek, stroking the rabbit all the while.]

ANYA: He's right. This is a very pleasurable experience. To think, I've been missing out on this for centuries. But .. technically speaking, I'm not really stroking his fur, am I? I don't really have hands, and he doesn't have fur. I'm enjoying the Platonic Idea of Rabbit.

HALFREK (rolls eyes): Oh, for - will you just go with it, please? [Anya nods, and continues stroking.] C'mon. Playtime's over.

[All during the next stretch of dialogue, Anya and Halfrek - and friend--walk down the hillside and alongside the lake, gradually disappearing from view.]

ANYA: Halfrek?


ANYA: Did you know about the wedding - about D'Hoffryn, and the crystal ball and everything?


ANYA: I seem to be asking this question a lot today: Why didn't you tell me?

HALFREK: Because he would have roasted me alive if I said a word.

ANYA: In case you hadn't noticed, he roasted you alive anyway.

HALFREK: I noticed. And thank you for that.

ANYA: Sorry.

HALFREK: Never mind. It's all brimstone under the bridge, anyway.

ANYA: Did you know he actually called me 'Anya'?

HALFREK: I heard. That was a big step for him.

ANYA: It sounded weird coming from D'Hoffryn. Do you like the name Anya? If I'm on this new level of existence, shouldn't I have a new name, like Scheherazade, or Delirium, or Masquerade?

HALFREK: What's wrong with Anya?

ANYA: I don't think I've ever lived up to the meaning.

HALFREK: You mean it actually means something? I thought it was just short for Anyanka.

ANYA: It's Russian. It means "grace."

HALFREK: Perfect.

[Fade to white.]


ANYA (v.o.): That's not sarcasm, is it?

[> [> Re: The Devil and Miss Jenkins -- jane, 23:39:47 10/31/03 Fri

Yay! A perfectly wonderful ending to Anya's story (at least her story in this manifestation of the Universe..) You three rock! Thanks for writing this. I'm planning on printing it out to go in my own little book of Buffyverse fiction I have read and loved. Do it again, please!

[> [> [> Thanks, Jane. Maybe we could explain what the heck Giles was thinking for most of S7.... -- cjl, 11:00:52 11/03/03 Mon

[> [> very nice -- lakrids, 06:16:15 11/01/03 Sat

Mostly excellent, good Anya voice, and even the script form did work. And I dislike the scripts format in fanfic. But I think that, that part did unnecessarily fracture the reading.
Do you have a place, where you post your stories?

[> [> Re: The Devil and Miss Jenkins -- angel's nibblet, 19:44:16 11/01/03 Sat

yaaaaaay! *sniff* *whipes away tear* Well done you guys, you really did Anya justice and gave me warm fuzzies :-D That's definitely the kind of afterlife that I'd envision for her! *hugs the authors*

[> [> [> Hugs back, nibblet. Definitely a labor of love for all concerned. -- cjl, 08:23:01 11/02/03 Sun

[> Thanks, ya'all! Great reads! -- OnM, 18:08:48 11/01/03 Sat

[> Wonderful, all of you! -- HonorH, 21:09:58 11/01/03 Sat

Beautifully done by all three participants. I loved each part--you've all got such a good grasp of Anya that it was an utter delight to read her dialogue.

[> Damn this was excellent! -- Rahael, 04:44:10 11/02/03 Sun

Thank you very much!

[> Trinal Unity -- Tchaikovsky, 05:20:45 11/02/03 Sun

I'm impressed by the way the three parts are non-continuous but interlink so nicely. And you all write beautifully, although that's hardly a shock.

Thank you.


[> worth the wait! (more specific comments later, if the time works out) -- anom, 23:12:47 11/02/03 Sun

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