Title: Sharp Edges
Characters/Relationships: Anya, Amy Madison. Gen.
Summary: AU Post Hell's Bells: When Anya meets Amy Madison at a diner, grievances are aired, and Sunnydale will never be the same.
Word count: 1237
Notes: Written for multi_genfic, for kwritten, who wanted a mistreated lady/ladies, the run-away scenario, bad diner food, and no fluff or dub/noncon. So sorry this is late! The whole month of May got away from me.
Warnings: Neither Anya nor Amy are feeling particularly charitable towards the Scoobies.
The Greasy Fork Diner was a humans-only establishment. Usually Anya could spot a demon or two just about anywhere, but there wasn’t a single one here tonight.
There weren’t many humans, either, which was fine with her. She’d rather not run into one of Xander’s friends tonight.
Anya pressed down on the pie crust with the side of her fork, but the crust stubbornly refused to yield. She sawed with her knife, but it was one of those stupid dull ones that didn’t really do anything. In exasperation, she blurted out, “This pie crust is impervious to force.”
Another one of those stilted sentences that made her seem strange to other people. (Xander had said that he’d liked the way she talked. But maybe that was a lie, just like his promise to marry her had been.)
A girl poked her head out of a nearby booth and said, “Try my steak knife. It didn’t make a dent on my chicken-fried steak, but maybe the pie crust is a little softer.” She moved out of the booth and handed the knife over.
There was something familiar about her. “Oh, you’re Willow’s friend. The one who Xander thinks is a bad influence.” But since Xander had been wrong about just about everything, that led to only one conclusion. “Which means I’ll probably like you.”
Amy laughed. “Is this the table where we complain about Willow? Because I’m all in for that.” She sat down across from Anya.
Anya tried the steak knife; the pie crust finally gave way. “She is irksome. But I was thinking about Xander and how stupid and wrong he is about--everything.”
Amy looked away for a moment, then said, “I heard about Xander. I’m sorry he was such a dick to you.”
Anya felt tears well up. Part of her still loved him, even after everything he’d done.
Amy said, “Believe me, you’re better off without him. Did you know that he blackmailed me into doing a love spell on Cordelia once? She’d broken up with him and he wanted to make her love him just so he could dump her and hurt her. Then the spell went wrong and hexed every woman in Sunnydale. Willow was mad at him for five minutes, and then they were best buds again. But one teensy magic buzz, and I’m Miss Pariah to Willow.”
Anya didn’t know what to say to that. She took a bite of the pie, her jaw aching as she bit through the tough, gritty crust. The filling was even worse, somehow managing to combine acrid and overly sweet flavors, and seemed oddly familiar. She sighed. “I thought eating something sweet was the remedy for being dumped. But it’s not working.”
Amy asked, “Does it taste good?”
Anya shook her head.
“Well, that’s your first problem.” She waved her hand. The air crackled with magic, and a plate of brownies appeared on the table.
Anya took a bite. The crust was crispy, and the inside was soft, buttery and sweet. “This is better than the pie.” Then a realization hit her with force. “The pie tasted like Mohra eggs. I used to love Mohra eggs.”
“People’s tastes change.” Amy took a small bite of the pie, made a face, and spat it into her napkin. “I think yours have changed for the better.”
Anya pushed the plate of brownies away. “Because of Xander. I’ve gone soft and human because of him. And now I don’t know if I can go back to being a vengeance demon.”
“You can decide to do that any time you want?” Amy grabbed another brownie, but kept her eyes on Anya, a curious expression on her face.
“Well, no. D’Hoffryn gave me twenty-four hours to decide. And I don’t know what to do.”
“Ok, so let’s make a list of the pros and cons.” Amy fished around in her bag and pulled out a pen and notebook.
The first one was easy. "Pro: I get to live forever. No stupid mortal expiration date.”
Amy scribbled in her notebook “Ok, that's a biggie. But that's not the only way to get there. I know some spells you could try.”
That was true. It was a perk of being a vengeance demon, but D'Hoffryn wasn't the only path to immortality.
Amy asked, "How about a con?"
"D'Hoffryn can be unforgiving to demons who make mistakes." D'Hoffryn was being a lot nicer to her now than he had been after she lost her amulet. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't he have been kinder to her when she'd been desperate to become a demon again? Didn't he value her past loyalty?
Amy wrote it down, then said, "Ok, ready for the next one."
“Pro: I could use a vengeance wish to hurt Xander.”
Amy wrote it down. “Ok, but aren’t vengeance wishes kind of unpredictable? I mean, you could end up with the Master rising again like that last time.”
Anya gaped. “You--remember that?” No one else, not even Giles, had ever shown any sign of remembering that reality.
“Sorta? After Willow de-ratted me, I did a reality-testing spell. I wanted to figure out if I was still a rat and only dreaming, or if I’d dreamed the whole rat thing. And then I found out about your reality and the whole stupid Jonathan worship reality and the Dawn reality. But my whole crappy life was undisturbed by all of that meddling.” Her mouth twisted up in a wry smile. “Back to the subject, there are lots of other ways to hurt him.”
Also a good point. Humans hurt each other all the time.
This was getting more complicated than Anya liked, so she decided to move on, "Con: Vengeance demons have to fill quotas." She wasn't sure where that thought came from. She'd never had a problem filling her quotas before. But what if her taste for vengeance had changed as much as her taste for Mohra eggs?
Amy stopped writing, closed her notebook, and looked Anya in the eye. "I have a counter-offer for you. I've been thinking about running away to New York. I could use a friend and magic partner. No rules, no punishments, just the two of us doing whatever we want. There's no Slayer and no Scoobies to slow us down. And to sweeten the deal, I'll take care of Xander for you."
She rummaged through her bag, found a candle and lit it. She sprinkled some dried blackberry leaves over the table, then passed her hand over the candle until it singed her hand. As Anya breathed in the scent of burnt flesh, Amy murmured, "I conjure thee by deed and spell, make Xander's heart create its hell." The magic flowed against Anya's skin, ice-cold and deliciously malevolent.
"What was that?" Anya gasped.
"Just a penance malediction hex I’ve been working on." Amy smirked. "The best part is, he'll pick his own punishment. It's always worse than anything anyone else can come up with. And Willow's off the magic, so there's nobody but that little killjoy pure-Wicca-only girlfriend to help him. She'll never figure out what's wrong with him, never mind how to de-hex him."
"Good." Anya stood up. "Let's grab some supplies from the Magic Box and get out of here.”
In a hotel room thirty miles outside Sunnydale, Xander took a look in the bathroom mirror, and screamed.