Title: Hey You
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. The characters belong to Joss Whedon and the song belongs to Pink Floyd.
Summary: Anya's feeling during and after Xander leaves her at their wedding. Angst. This was written very long ago (I don't really write anymore). Feel free to review this with positive comments or constructive criticism – I'd always appreciate it.
Anya remembers how desperate she felt the day of her supposed wedding to Xander Harris. She should remember; it wasn't too long ago, after all. She remembers walking solemnly into the back of the chapel to where Xander was standing in shock as if he had seen something a hundred and ten times worse than the apocalypse, itself. She takes his hands, makes a small joke, and hopes everything will be all right now.
She only kids herself. As Xander proceeded with the dreadful things he had to say, Anya was half-tempted to have it all fall on deaf ears. She didn't want to hear this. God, this was the last thing that she needed to hear on her wedding day from her fiancé. No seconds thoughts, she urged, the words screaming inside her head, please… But her desires went unnoticed and unanswered. Anya senses her hands slowly slip away from Xander's and suddenly, she feels as if she were the only person on the face of the earth. At the release of Xander's touch, she now felt cold and forlorn. And as she turns back to face the aisle, she realizes what she really is. She is a thousand year old ex-demon having her heart broken all over again; a mere repetition of an ancient history of hers. Yet, it doesn't hurt any less. Probably more, she thinks, as she makes her way to the base of the aisle, taking what feels like years to do, aging ever still.
Out there in the cold,
Getting lonely, getting old,
Can you feel me?
Much to her own disbelief, Anya slowly begins to plod down the aisle. No! I've been through too much planning this wedding, and it is going to happen. It is going to be our perfect, perfect day if I have to kill every one of our guests and half this town to do it, she recalls telling Xander only a week ago. And she would have, she is sure of it. She's killed people before, she was a vengeance demon. It was nothing new to her. She wouldn't have had a problem with it … as long as she knew it meant getting married to Xander, then nothing else would matter.
She knows people would call it ironic how everything had turned to such ashes in only a week's time. Funny, they would say. But somehow she doesn't have it in her to laugh.
She sways slightly from side to side, unable to keep her balance, for some damage had occurred to the heels of the shoes during the demon attack. She feels as if she's tipsy. She wishes she was. She wishes so was drunk and would wake up tomorrow with the worst hangover ever, but at least she'd wake up with Xander. At least she would be able to harass him into making her tea and fetching her aspirin.
Drunk. She thinks about the waiting champagne bottle in the fridge of the restaurant at which they were going to have their reception. Anya will never hear the cork of that champagne bottle pop as she and Xander feed the drink to each other in locked arms. She will only hear his I am so sorry reiterate in her mind for the rest of her life. At the realization of this, Anya begins feel warm … as if her entire body were ablaze, starting from her feet up, itching until she can't take it. She brings her thumb to her cheek and feels hot tears. Her smile withers away, unable to maintain its functioning along with the rest of her body.
Standing in the aisle,
With itchy feet and fading smile,
Can you feel me?
She lies in a dark room now. Empty and desolate and … just black. So dark. That's another irony, she notices. This morning it was so bright. The dawn began with the clearest sky, not a cloud in sight. The sun shone the most gleaming rays of light that awoke her and Xander, cuddling under the cozy covers. Anya had woken up with a smile this morning because she knew she was going to wake up like this every day for many more happy decades to come. Her and her Xander. At least, she thought she knew.
No one would believe how arduously she had fought to retain that light. She pleaded; she wept; hell, she would have fallen apart at Xander's feet if she knew that would help her get him back. She tried to explain to him – It's all over now, he's dead, and it was just smoke and mirrors. She beseeched him – Look, you're just shaken up, okay? You just calm down and we'll start over, okay? She had sounded like a child then, begging a mother to purchase a toy. Anya was willing to start over … she didn't care about how long it would take to get their lives back on track; she just wanted to get there.
Anya tried not to give in without a good battle. She really did. She didn't yell or scream at him when he had kept on persisting that he couldn't go through this. She didn't become upset with him for ruining her perfect, perfect day, as she had once thought. Anya wanted to reason with him, which was something completely unusual for her. She was not angry; only numb. Just completely numb. She couldn't think straight; she thought everything would get better. Denial. She thinks that was worse than anything else. She wasn't herself when Xander let go of her hands and she thinks maybe that's why she didn't really believe him. Maybe her mind had taken off when they began to hear what Xander was suggesting. But rationalizing, imploring, and anything else would not work. For the first time in her existence, Anya had lost the battle to a man.
Don't help them to bury the light.
Don't give in without a fight.
That night, Anya had turned to a cheap, run-down, gloomy hotel room as well. She knew there was no possibility of returning to her former home. It had belonged to them and now that there's no them anymore, she wouldn't be able to stay there and keep her sanity. She couldn't return to a place that held memories of happiness. His clothes, which had touched her soft skin so many times as he would wrap his arms around her waist. Their covers, making love, feeling truly alive, under cool sheets after Joyce had died. No, her heart would certainly explode into a billion of pieces if she went back to there.
So, instead she sat at the edge of the hotel room's bed, its pallid sheets filthy with food stains all over. She takes a glance at herself in a murky mirror and sees her white gown covered in crimson marks from the cut on her arm, dripping blood. Violently, she tears her dress off, part after part. The gown, the garter, the shoes, the undergarments, the earrings, the necklace … all gone within a minute. She exhales loudly, each breath heavier than the one before. Nude and shivering, she takes her place near a phone, hoping that he will search every hotel number and call her. She ignores the fact that the phone is disconnected.
Out there on your own,
Sitting naked by the phone,
Would you touch me?
After hours of waiting and hoping, Anya allows her head to fall against the bedpost. Slowly, it slips down to her pillow. She cries into the dirty cushion and does not stop until the sheet of it is soaked in bitter tears. And even when this occurs, she turns the pillow onto its reverse side.
The night is long for Anya as it finally hits her: she's lost him. She's lost the only man that she loved … the only man that ever loved her. For centuries, Anya's only intention was to punish men. Her only connection to the human world was condemning men for their horrid acts against women. They were all cheats, liars, brutes. They were all damn scoundrels. They all deserved it … whatever the reprimand might be, they all deserved it for the way they behaved and for the things they'd done. But Xander wasn't any of these. Xander was an honest, hard-working, man. He never wanted to hurt Anya, hurting himself in the process. So how does a former vengeance demon react to that? She knows him … inside out. What does she do? What can she do?
"Anyanka," a concerned voice calls.
"What is it?" Anya sniffles, and responds.
"I think you already know. Are you willing to become the greatness that you once were? Think of all that you accomplished; think of all you can do in the future. Have you considered my offer?" D'Hoffryn inquires.
She barely nods, with her head hung low.
"And what is your reply, my dear Anyanka?"
She looks to him, miserable and hopeless, and echoes, "I think you already know."
With your ear against the wall,
Waiting for someone to call out,
Would you touch me?
Anya knows, more or less, exactly what will happen in a week or two. Xander will return to Sunnydale, and will first reconcile with Buffy and Willow. After all, they are his best friends, his most treasured confidants. What is she to those two girls, Anya thinks scornfully. And then, Xander will come to her. To Anya, the woman he ditched at their wedding. And will knock on her door and wait, butterflies fluttering in his stomach. When she finally opens the door, his heart will begin pounding out of his chest. And they'll only stare at each other for the first few minutes, until Xander breaks the silence with "Ahn." Ahn, she will think, what a stupid nickname. Ahn. Like it's all the same. Like we're still dating. Like the second we see each other again we'll jump into each other's arms and twirl into bed. Like nothing happened. What a stupid nickname.
But she won't say a word of that. She'll only look at him, with eyes made of stone to show him she doesn't need him. She doesn't need pity, she never did. He'll ask her then to understand. To understand that he didn't want to leave her. He'll tell her he still loves her. And maybe he won't want to hear back, but he'll want her to know it and to hope in his heart that she at least still feels it. He'll want her to forgive him, but she's really not sure she can. He will explain to her, gradually and patronizingly, as if she's a child and everything needs to taken step by step.
Would you help me to carry the stone?
Open your heart, I'm coming home.
Xander's going to explain, as best as he can, like all the other times he's tried to explain something to her. He'll tell what he saw, how the visions he imagined dug into his brain like rats delving a hole. How the things he saw pained him ten times more than anything else in the world … even if they did never happen. Even if it was all imagined. Like a nightmare. Or a bad fantasy. And Anya's mind takes her back to the wedding where she had said: But it wa - it wasn't real. What he showed you, it wasn't real. And Xander had immediately answered, in a frightened, small voice, I know it wasn't real. But it could be. And she would say they would figure the bad stuff out when it arrived, if it ever even arrived.
"No, Anya, you don't get it. These visions … they were like worms eating into my brain, and I couldn't detach myself from them. It's like in the army where they make you climb those really high walls, you know. Some guys just can't do. It's not nobody's fault … it's just … I don't want to be stuck in a marriage that's destined to die. I don't want to hate you. I love you too much to ever wanna hate you. Please." Yes, that would be something Xander would say, Anya thinks.
Though Anya makes a special point not to rely on her sketch of their reunion. Things haven't been turning out the way she expects them to lately.
But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high, as you can see.
No matter how he tried he could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.
So, instead, so goes job-hunting after a few days. If she's not strong enough to take revenge out on Xander yet, then she'll practice on some other men. It just takes baby steps. Anya needs to get into the swing of the things. She needs to get back on the horse, is all. Nothing more than that. She visits Halfrek first, the only person that's been with Anya through thick and thin.
She'll see Halfrek and then she'll tell her what to do. What women to see. What countries to go to (she reminds herself to revisit Russia for she has fond memories of it). Whatever Halfrek thinks of, she'll do. They'll travel the world together again. Before there was anything else, there were the good times shared in the punishment of evil men by Anyanka and Halfrek.
Anya just needs to stick to basics. After seeing Xander for the first time since the nightmare, she knows that she never wants to see him again. She thought it would be different. She thought that they'd make up. The anger inside her had begun to dissolve and a part of her really hoped she and Xander would just follow through with the wedding. She hoped that Xander had reconsidered his thoughts. Understood that if he loves her, with he claims he does, he'd be willing to take the risks and marry her. He says he wants to marry her in the future – someday. Xander's witnessed and took part in stopping the end of the world how many times, and he still doesn't get that if someday comes they might not be around for it? Why doesn't he understand that?
No, Anya concludes. She's not going to frustrate herself over this. She attends back to searching for someone to hurt – to make suffer like she has been these past weeks.
Out there on the road,
Always doing what you're told,
Can you help me?
By the end of the day, Anya is exhausted. She has tried to get people to wish Xander harm, but with no avail. She told Dawn, what if it were you, Dawn? What if ... all you dreamed about was that magical day? The day when the one person you loved with all your soul would promise to cherish and protect your heart for the rest of his life, but instead he shatters it into a million jagged pieces? And funny part is … she wasn't even making that up. She didn't just mention that for pity. When she said it, she did so with an ache in her heart.
As soon as Spike entered the Magic Box, it seemed as if her prayers were answered. Spike hates Xander. He can make a wish on him. Perfect. This is perfect. Anya hadn't felt so relieved in what it feels like years. She knows what they need. Whiskey. Whiskey to drown the pain in and whiskey to get Spike wishing and cursing Xander all about. Anya hadn't counted on what happened next, though.
It's no wonder they couldn't deal with the likes of you and me, love. We should have been dead hundreds of years ago ... and we're the only ones who are really alive. Spike's words clung to her. They really did. She's always felt as a regular woman when she was with Xander. And she's forgotten what she used to be. She used to be powerful and controlling. And if she and Spike are the only ones that are really alive then that ought to be a good match. The thought expands itself and she suddenly finds Spike on top of her, making her feel alive.
But everything has consequences. Though Anya thinks she finally found the right revenge to put on Xander, it doesn't have the effects she wished it would have. Seeing him like that, screaming like that, the way he stormed off after he found out she had had slept with Spike. She's never seen him that upset. Not like that. And instead of enjoying Xander's suffering because of this, she finds herself hating it and ashamed for what she's done. You know, I wish-, Spike begins. Don't, Anya interrupts. She doesn't want to hear it anymore. She just re-enters the Magic Box and slams the whiskey bottle against the wall.
Out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
So it looks like that's it. Anya doesn't think she'll ever be able to reconcile with Xander. She'll never be able to marry him. She'll never be able to have those children with him. I mean, there's just so much to consider, though, I mean, planning the wedding, and, and new cars, house and babies. You have to plan for babies, or they just run roughshod over your entire existence. Anya hates remembering these things, but that's all she seems to do. She lives in the happiness of the past, rather than the uncertainty of the future. Sometimes, she wishes she kept her big mouth shut rather than tell everyone her plans about her and Xander's marriage. At least, then, there'd be less to remember. Less to have hurt her now.
Still, though, a great section of Anya hopes, with everything inside of her, that she can be with Xander again. But when? Now, when he can't look at her because it makes him sick to see her and imagine Spike? Or now, when she's still upset about the wedding fiasco. They need time. That's all. Then everything will be all right. That's what she initially thought and that's what she believes in now. Everything just needs to come full circle.
Anya remembers Caesar's popular slogan, though, all of sudden. She doesn't know why. But she's always liked history, having lived most of it. She once studied one of the greatest military rulers of all time and she admired him for his tactics. In fact, Anya often used it in her vengeance business. "Divide and conquer." If one is all alone, they will surely fall. However, if they stick together, they will survive and prosper. Anya remembers Caesar's slogan, and hopes that she and Xander will be able to patch up things up before the final fall. Because, despite the recent ire and sadness, she loves him too much to admit there might be no hope left for them…
Don't tell me there's no hope at all.
Together we stand, divided we fall.