Title: Haven't Changed A Bit
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Spoilers/Timeline: Around the time of season seven's "Selfless".
Summary: Anya all the way!
Author's Notes: Okay, I am, at last, back with an update, for which you can thank Slayer87, who reviewed and asked me to continue updating this story, which warmed my Grinchy heart to its very core. Okay, maybe not to its very core, but it made me happy. So, ladies and gents, I give you a chapter born out of my happiness. I promise the chapter won't be as flowery and overwritten as this author's note.
Also, I apologize to any Dutch-speakers—I'm afraid I don't speak Dutch, and translation sites only help so much. If the spell Willow says in Dutch is completely wrong, I apologize.
Ah, the Exposition
After Anya had been tucked in bed, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Dawn sat down around the dining room table to decide on the best course of action.
"We have no idea how long she'll be like this," Buffy remarked. "Should we maybe hire a babysitter or something?"
"Yeah, and no one at all will wonder where the kid suddenly came from," Dawn replied sarcastically.
"We can say she's…our cousin," Buffy suggested.
"Okay," Willow interrupted, "before we concentrate on getting someone to babysit Anya, let's concentrate on getting her back to normal so she won't need to be babysat." She held up an old book that she'd been looking through. "Now, this supposedly lists all the vengeance demons known to exist in the dimension. Of course, it'll take forever to go through the entire book."
"Is there a spell you can do to make this go faster, Will?" Xander asked.
"Well, there's this spell I know of that's similar to an Internet search engine, in a way. After you cast the spell on the book, you say a key word or phrase, and the spell will search for that word or phrase through the whole book. When it finds what it's looking for, it will make the text there glow. I figure we can search the book for 'Anyanka', and see if any of the other demons' historical blurbs mention them holding a grudge against Anya."
"Okay, then, Will," Buffy said. "Go for it."
Willow pulled another old book toward herself and flipped to the page she needed. "Okay," she said. "Here goes nothing:
"Vind wat wordt verloren.
Geef me antwoorden."
She paused, then looked at the vengeance demon book and said, "Anyanka."
Suddenly, a gust of wind blew through the dining room, causing the pages of the book to turn wildly. After a moment, the wind died down, and the pages flipped to the first page where Anyanka was mentioned. The entire page glowed at first, but then faded so that only the word "Anyanka" was highlighted.
"That's one handy spell you've got there, Will," Buffy remarked, before saying, "All right, everyone, let's get to work."
Three hours later, none of them had found anything helpful. It was late, and everyone, especially Xander, was exhausted after a day of mini-Anya. Everyone was pretty much ready to give up when Willow suddenly shouted, "I've got it!"
Dawn, who had been dozing off, awoke with a start and nearly fell right off her chair.
"What is it?" Buffy asked, leaning over to read.
"It says here," Willow began, "that Anya wasn't the only one from her village to be made into a vengeance demon back in the day. Another woman, Rannveig, was made a vengeance demon not long after. This book refers to her dislike for another woman in the village, Audhild, also known as Aud."
"Wait," Buffy said. "How do we know that's Anya?"
"Because," Willow continued, "I read the historical blurb for Anyanka first. It appears Anya's gone by many names over the years—Aud, Anyanka, Anya, and even Var, which is a Norse name that means 'punishes adulterers'."
"Okay, so this Ran-wig or whatever her name is—why does she dislike Anya?"
"Apparently, she was going to run off with Anya's husband. Only Anya turned him into a troll before they could go. And Anya didn't get a chance to punish Rannveig, because of the vengeance demon gig she got offered. She was moving on to bigger and better things, and that made Rannveig angry. I guess she figured it's one thing to turn her lover into a troll, but to then be rewarded for it…"
"Okay," Dawn said, becoming interested. "What happened then?"
"Well, Rannveig practiced a little magic of her own. It was she who put Olaf's essence into that crystal that was in the Magic Box. But she wasn't exactly Little Miss Dark Magic. She had to practically beg D'Hoffryn for a vengeance demon job. He finally got sick of her asking and gave her one."
"But why didn't D'Hoffryn just kill her, if she irritated him so much?" Buffy asked.
"Got me," Willow replied. "Anyway, Rannveig was given the name Syn, which, in Norse, means 'invoked during trials'. She punished unfair competitors."
Dawn scrunched her eyebrows. "So, you mean, if someone cheated in a race or a contest or something and made you lose, you could call her and she'd punish them?"
"Pretty much," Willow nodded. "Only, they wouldn't actually have to cheat; you'd just have to believe that they had. Like, with Anya, women who'd been dumped fair and square would only have to believe they'd really been wronged, and Anya would grant their wishes."
"So this demon could grant Anya's wish 'cause Anya has a competitor, and that's Syn?" Xander asked. "But Anya wasn't making a wish against her competitor. She just wanted Hallie back."
Willow jumped in with an explanation. "No, see, in this case, Anya saw D'Hoffryn as her competitor, in a way. She was working against his wishes, correct? That put them at odds. And he wanted Hallie dead. Anya saw him as cheating her of Hallie's friendship, or, at the very least, her prescence."
"Seems like a stretch to me," Buffy remarked.
"It is," Willow replied, "but it was all Syn needed to grant Anya's wish. She's willing to do anything to make Anya suffer like Syn herself suffered."
"But Anya doesn't seem to be suffering," Buffy said. "In fact, if anything, Syn's helped her. Anya doesn't even remember Hallie, which means she's not wallowing in her own grief."
"True," Willow said.
Dawn suddenly stood up. "Did you guys hear that?" she asked.
Everyone was quiet, listening. Then, they heard an unmistakable voice yell, "No! Leave me alone! I'm not going anywhere!"
"Anya!" Xander cried. The entire group jumped up from the table and raced upstairs to Dawn's room, where Anya had been put for the night. Buffy flung the door open and stared at the empty room…and the open window.
Anya was gone.
Nice cliffhanger, eh? (evil grin.)
Audhild, Var, and Syn are real Norse names. Var and Syn really do mean "punishes adulterers" and "invoked during trials", respectively, and "Audhild" means "strong warrior woman". (I only used "Audhild" because it seemed logical, seeing as Anya's name was Aud and all.)
Reviews welcome, as always.