Part 16. Buffalo Soldier
the first time I've been invited into this house since I became a demon again.
I'm good enough to help save the World. I'm not good enough to invite for
dinner. What's new? She was my bridesmaid. I paid for the dress, and she didn't
even try to care for me, when he dumped me, at the altar, in front of everyone
I know. She was fast enough to claim to be my friend when it let her tear Spike
to pieces. Why is that claim so hard to believe? Must be having lived through
that 'friendship.' She was never my friend: not really; she was his. I was
there on sufferance. I can see it; now I'm me again. I was the barely tolerated
appendage to Xander, not family, not really.
I'm invited back in the house. Why? Because Giles might think the worst of her
if I'm not invited, after helping, and getting battered to prove it? Because Willow was supposed to be my
friend, like she is? Mm...nasty little comments - check; despising looks -
check; not listening to a word I say, 'coz what does the ex-demon know about
anything - check; failing to do their jobs at my wedding - big check in the
debit column. By the Scooby definition of friendship, 'to those that are not
us', Willow must have been my friend. If I was able to sell short on how loved they
made me feel, I'd be able to pay for the destruction of my shop.
keep thinking of my last wish, before I came to Sunnydale. It was in Jamaica. It took hours of
listening to the woman, in bars that blared out Bob Marley on repeat, before
the woman made a wish, on the man that beat her. It was one of my most
original. I'm still proud of that one. Every time he hit her he broke one of
his own bones. Payback's a bitch, and that was a doozy. I don't have music in
my head. I don't hum old rock songs in the shop, like Giles, when he thinks
he's alone. I loathe the music of pain Xander inflicted on me, when he brooded
about Buffy. But I've got 'Buffalo Soldier' stuck in my head, and I can't get
seem to get rid of it, and I hate that. I hate knowing I'm the Buffalo Soldier
- or I was for my last human years. Not wanted for me: something to be used,
not a real person. I don't like that feeling. It hurt as a mortal. It hurts as
me. Something to be used is all I'll ever be to them. I can see that now.
currently being used to bring, and pay for, the liquor.
supposed to forget all about the destruction of my property, the bruises, the
unconsciousness, the pain, having my brain manipulated - again. It's a wake,
I'm told. I'm supposed be sad, and mourn. It's official. Ppfftt! Humans! It's
strange though, I'm still sad for Joyce. She was nice to me, and I miss her,
and I still don't understand why she had to die. It hurt so much when I thought
Giles was going to die, and he's human, and these things happen. I can still
feel that pain, even though I'm me again. I have all these queasy feelings in
my stomach, about Spike and Giles arriving. But I don't feel sad about Willow. I have all this baggage
from the last few years, saying I should; but I don't. Is this human? Am I a
bad demon? I don't understand why it's all still so complicated. It's supposed
to be simple. I'm supposed be happy. I was for centuries. It didn't hurt, and I
had fun. What have they done to me?
tried to be Willow's friend. I didn't like
her: not after all those little comments. Who would? Helen Keller? But I tried,
because I loved him, and it was what he wanted. I always did what he wanted.
She never wanted my friendship, or to be my friend. She'd use me; that's true.
I tried to ignore it: for him. Why did I waste my breath - that's valuable, and
would have been irreplaceable, if I weren't me again. I could have spent my
whole mortal existence being insulted, ignored, and put down, if he'd been man
enough to go through with the wedding. Why was I willing to do that? Fear? Fear
of living, and dying, alone and unwanted? I wish I knew - but I can't grant my
own wishes, even if I forgot for a while. Being reminded of the rules by Hallie
- now that's embarrassing.
only ones who really were my friends were Giles, and Spike.
gave me a purpose in life, even if he destroyed my old one, with my necklace.
Spike gave me solace, and understanding, even if we couldn't help each other.
I've missed them. I'm glad they're coming home - even if it will be awkward,
for others, who aren't me. I also don't trust her to look after Giles, after
what she let happen to him in the shop, let alone trust her anywhere near
Spike. It's why I'm putting the three of them up. After the last time I saw
Spike, I want him somewhere I can make sure there's no flying axes anywhere
near him. He's my friend. I don't love him. The orgasm was good, considering we
were both drunk, and miserable, but we're not going there again. He's the other
Buffalo soldier, and we've got to
look after each other - right?
got the room. Thank D'Hoffryn for that short sale on WorldCom, and that lovely
profit, which funded my new apartment. It's big enough for guests too. It had
to be, to take the surviving stock from my shop. I couldn't take it all to Arashmahar
anyway. D'Hoffryn wouldn't approve of the explosions taking some of the amulets
would cause, and I'm still trying to make it up to everyone over the wedding
presents thing, as it is. It's not as if my family could send their presents
back to Macy's. Besides, after last time, I feel happier having a place for me,
and my possessions, outside Arashmahar - something I can't lose, something
of course, was big with not allowing me to have my friends stay in my own home.
Well it's my property, and he gave up the right to interfere when he dumped me.
He was so full of jealous garbage. "I couldn't have a rapist in my
home". I know better. I told Spike to stop, and he did. I'm the one that
had sex with Spike, and knows what he's like, not Xander - though from all he
says anyone would think it were the other way round. "Giles place is with
Buffy". Yes, and being at her beck and call does him so much good. He's my
friend, and I'm taking care of him, and any baggage he's bringing with him,
even if it's Wesley.
is pleasant, though it's difficult not to be when you just say, "Hey, good
to see you," after more than two years. His friend makes up for it though.
He babbles like Willow. Since Dawn can't leave Mike alone, I hope, for her sake, Oz hasn't
turned gay too. Dawn's a little young for vengeance. I'm pretty sure Mike's not
gay though. I saw him eyeing my breasts. At least I have some; unlike some
people who shall remain unemployable.
of vengeance, I don't feel a thirst for it from Buffy. She's much the same as
when I got back - a padded cell, compared to Willow's scream. But that's appropriate, I
suppose, when she thought she was in a padded cell she didn't try to kill me -
I didn't qualify as a friend. Not that I was there, of course, but it's the
thought that counts - it's what fuels vengeance. Why would a Slayer need, or
want, my services anyway, she can destroy anyone, or anything, she wants. I've
seen her do it.
been sent to Super Food World to get more snacks, since he ate all the existing
ones. At least I won't have to see him eat with his mouth open anymore. I mean,
a vampire eats with better manners, and they prefer their prey alive and
screaming. But if he lingers in the chips aisle, at least there's a chance,
Giles and Spike will get here before he can start raving again.
arranged to meet here at Buffy's. It's not like they're using a cab, and having
it wait outside with the luggage costing money. I'm not sure a cab would take
human remains anyway.
of a car stopping outside the house, and a door shutting. Heavy steps walking
up to the door. A knock on that door. Everyone freezes. They're all such drama
queens. I opened the door.
was Giles and Wesley. Synchronised exhaling from Buffy and Dawn.
pulled Giles into a quick hug. Well, if I didn't I wouldn't get the chance once
Miss Everything's About Me got her hooks into him. Giles hugged me back, and
said, "Thank you Anya. Your hair looks lovely brown." I didn't even
have to mention it this time. Yay me!
looked ashen, and just stood there. I didn't know him as a demon, and didn't
care to know him as a human. But now I'm me I can see such pain, and such
suffering. I can see a child locked into a dark cupboard; a thin woman dumping
a teapot on a floor; a bald black man shutting a door; a snarling, spitting,
vampire with a pillow. So much pain I can't believe Hallie didn't help. But
maybe a watcher child was warded against us, and there are so many abused
children in the world, and even we can't be in two places at once. Such agony,
such guilt, and I keep seeing pillows, children whose faces change, and
did at least wait until Giles finished talking to me before coming up. Her eyes
looked huge, and scared. The lower lip came out in a pout and, more
apprehensively than I've seen from her before, she looked up at him and said,
hugged her too, for a long time. More than I got, but she is his slayer I
suppose, and I 'm just the business partner, in a destroyed business.
sat across the room looking bewildered, and confused. Oz observed, and Mike
went into the kitchen to make tea.
unburied her head from Giles jacket, and said, "You don't hate me?"
smiled, sniffed and said, "Never."
swallowed, and said, "No Spike?"
snort from Dawn. Buffy let go of Giles, stroked Dawn's hair, and said to her,
"We talked about this. It's right he's here, for Willow's sake, and I...I need to talk to
him. So...we're ok with this, right?" She nodded, her face buried in her
let her talk to Dawn. When she'd finished he said, "I wanted to come in
first, and see how you are. I also didn't want you to have to re-invite him in
person. Making things easier on everyone, and all that."
glimmering from her eyes, or lint from Giles jacket, with a cracked voice she
said, "There's no dis-invite, Giles. I know...I know. But there isn't.
said, "I'll get him. Be useful and all that."
returned with Spike, in a black woollen suit jacket, that swam on his thin
form. He was thin before, well I do know exactly what he's like under all that
leather. He's dreadfully thin now. I'm gonna need more blood in the cooler.
not looking him in the face.
looks sick, looking at Buffy. I didn't think a vampire could look that ill.
there's something else about him, about his smell. He smelt wonderful before,
now there's something else - something fattening the veins on my face. Such
beautiful pain. A girl that looks strangely familiar; a dark haired girl
covered in slime and fungus; Buffy pounding his face to mush - screaming
obscenities at him. All that pain and scorn, filling me with the power and
pleasures of vengeance, and pulling my veins out in my face. His pain was a
siren before; now it's irresistible. I would have given him a wish before, now
my legs have turned to jello, as every fibre of my demon screams to grant
vengeance to such pain.
there's such a stench of guilt - the reek of guilt over crimes committed;
horrors done with joy; and such self-loathing. Guilt that forces down my demon;
that denies the right to vengeance. Guilt that believes the pain to be
deserved, that denies any right to justice. The stink of the soul that forces
my veins back into my skin.
got a soul."
Continued in Part 17. Walls Come Tumbling Down