Author:  Meltha

Rating:  PG

Feedback:  Yes, thank you.

Spoilers:  For season four very generally.

Distribution: The Blackberry Patch and  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  Between seasons four and five, Anya can't sleep and remembers how her life used to be.

Author's Note:  The twentieth installment in the Jewel Box series, a group of fics based on the concept of the 500 Club, which accepts only 500 word fics, and Challenge in the Can, which provided the original notion of a character, emotion, and object.  For this series, the object is always a piece of jewelry.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Xander's Girl

He's snoring again.  She's tried everything over the last year to stop it: rolling him over, gizmos from TV; once she even put a pillow over his face.  He wasn't happy about that.  Now he's making noises that are causing that dangly thing in the back of her throat to want to crawl up into her nose in sympathetic pain.  It's been three hours, and she'd sleep on the couch if the basement had a couch other than the one she's already sleeping on, but it doesn't.

Bored, Anya stares at the ceiling.  There's a sickly greenish stain about the size of a basketball on the acoustical tile, and if she squints it looks a lot like the profile of a Grasnik demon… which actually sounds a lot like Xander does right now.

If she told him that, she can picture his reaction.  He'd pat her shoulder in a way that was supposed to comfort her but that really was to make him feel better and tell her that she shouldn't talk about her demon past.  Then he'd smile at her the same way he smiles at the toddler next door who's just learning to walk and keeps falling on his bottom.  Oh, silly little Anya, he'd think.

Anya is over a thousand years old.  She remembers when no one knew about North America.  She's older than Spike, older than Angel, even older than the Master had been that Buffy still talks about in awe.  She is no child.  She really doesn't like being treated as one.

As a vengeance demon she had needed no one and nothing, and centuries had passed under her eyes.  There are times when she falls asleep and forgets she's human.  In those dreams, her pendant still hangs around her neck, the stone warm and quietly humming with power.  She holds the fate of countless men in her hands, and she kills them without a thought for the consequences.  She's never sure how to feel when she wakes up.

Now, she isn't powerful.  She knows she's a running joke among the others.  Their reactions to her range from amusement to annoyance, though there are times she's seen Spike watching her with a shrewdly calculating look.  She rather enjoys that because for a moment she's a threat instead of just something Xander drags around with him.

As Xander's symphonic snoring continues, she thinks about what would have happened if the necklace hadn't left her, and she knows.  She still would be wielding the power of the wish without a second thought, D'Hoffryn's darling, enjoying perfect health, eternal youth, and the esteem of her fellow demons as a consummate artiste, unbothered by conscience.

And she knows that she should probably be ashamed of it, since everyone keeps telling her she should be, but as the basement clock ticks loudly and the odors and cacophony and drabness of human life surround her like ravening wolves, for one second, she envies Anyanka with all of her heart.