last01standing: (spike)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: Deception
Rating: PG-13 to be safe
Characters: Anya, Xander, Halfrek, Jesse
Ships: Mild Xander/Anya
Spoilers: Selfless, CwDP, The Harvest
Summarty: Xander, Anya, Conversations with Dead People. You do the math.
Author's note: The first of my Buffy fics that I actually liked. Originally posted October of 2004 on my fanfiction account.

“Go away Xander.” Anya mumbled without much conviction.

He sat down across from her instead. “An, I was just thinking that we should talk or something.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“I thought maybe you needed some company or something.”

“Look Xander.” She turned to look at him. “There’s a reason people sit in a dark corner drinking these sorts of foamy alcoholic beverages, and that reason in moping. So let me mope already and just go away.”

“Hey I’m trying to be fun loving guy here!”

“You’re moping.” Anya accused, “Just like me.”

“Misery loves company?” He offered with a tentative smile.

“You know what Xander Harris, you’re impossible!” She stood up in a random fit of blind anger. “Half the time you don’t even want to talk and the other half you’re all ‘let’s be friends’ and I can’t take it anymore!” Face red she impulsively emptied the last of her glass of beer on his head. “Now look what you made me do!” She turned and stalked out of the room.

Xander stood up and stared at her retreating back. “Yeah! Well...” no suitable comeback came to mind. “I’m going to go home and get a new shirt then!”

Anya slammed the door to her apartment because things like that were supposed to make her feel better.

It didn’t work.

It never did.

“Well what did you expect sweetie?” A voice asked from behind her. “That’s what you get for hanging around with humans.”

Anya spun around. “Hallie?”

“Stupid girls.” Xander muttered as he examined his ruined shirt before grabbing a new one and pulling it on instead.

“They’ll be the death of you.” A voice sing-songed from behind him. “You should never trust beautiful women.”

“I’d say that’s good advice only it’s coming from someone who’s broken into my place.”

“You can hear me?” The incredulous remark came with a chillingly familiar voice. “Well it’s about damn time! I’ve only been talking to you for six years!”

“You’re dead.” Anya said slowly, voice catching. “D’Hoffryn killed you.”

“There’s the thing about Vengeance demons. We can exist in many dimensions at once. You can’t kill us unless we’re all there. Or have you already forgotten.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Me too. You were the best of us once Anyanka. Remember that?”

“I was wondering if you guys even remembered me.”

Xander couldn’t make himself turn around.

“Because I died when? A dozen apocalypses ago? There’s no reason you should remember me.”

He made himself turn around. He owed his friend that much. “Jesse.”

“In the flesh... Uh ghost flesh... Do ghosts have flesh?”

“I killed you.”

Jesse plopped down on the bed. “Nah you just killed a vampire.”

“I’m still sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it man. Buffy was the one who really killed me.”

Xander blinked at the bitterness that had invaded his tone. “What?”

“Don’t you get it? Buffy could have saved me, but she didn’t. See. Another pretty girl. Causing all of your problems. More trouble than they’ll worth.” Jesse scoffed. “And you know what. When they’re gone, they’ll forget all about you. Just like you and Willow forgot all about me.”

“Anya, sweetie. They’ve corrupted you plain and simple.” Halfrek explained, and Anya noticed for the first time just how demonic her friend looked, how demonic she must have looked once upon a time. But then again they were demons. “I tell you this as your last real friend. You’ve lost your edge. You’re not one of them. They haven’t even looked at you the same since you were a demon.”

“Well how would you look at a murderer?” Anya retorted, her voice completely devoid of it’s usual bite.

“Murderer?” Halfrek asked, incredulous, “We’re justice demons. Those frat kids got exactly what they deserved. You see, this is what I mean! They’ve changed you for the worst Anyanka, and I know you’re just dying to be where you were before.”

Anya was unwilling admit that she did miss it. That she longed for the simplicity that used to accompany her old life.

“You could go back you know.”

“What exactly are you saying?” Xander asked his friend, no longer disturbed in the slightest that he was talking to a ghost. In Sunnydale, there were often stranger occurrences. “We didn’t forget!”

“Not really I guess.” Jesse muttered. “You just stopped saying my name. And in a lot of way, that was worse.”

“What’s that got to do with anything? Why can I see you all of a sudden?”

Jesse stood up and Xander noticed that he was wearing the clothes he had died in, a bite mark had materialized seemingly out of nowhere and was oozing blood at a steady rate. “I’m just making sure the same doesn’t happen to you.”

“OK!” Xander said, more loudly than necessary and backed up a step. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’ve seen it all.” Jesse admitted, eyes haunted. “I know how it’s going to end...”

“And?” Xander prodded, hating the crypticness of the statements.

“You’re not going to see it.”

“How?” Anya asked, defensive anger creeping into her voice. “D’Hoffryn’s been sending people here to kill me! You don’t let someone with that kind of a hit on their head just get back in.”

“You’re not looking at it the right way. The witch is the key. If you can convince the witch to take the job, he’d welcome you back gladly.”

Anya’s eyes narrowed. “The last thing Willow needs is more power. She nearly killed me last time. Not to mention Giles and Buffy and Dawn and...” She stopped herself before she said the name of her ex-fiancé. She didn’t care about him. Nope. Not at all. “I wouldn’t give her any more power. Not even if I did get to go back.”

Halfrek cocked her head to the side a smiled that annoying knowing half smile of her’s.

“What? Do I have a zit or something?”

“You don’t even want to go back do you?” Halfrek asked softly.

“Tried it already. It didn’t end very well.”

“You know they’ll never accept you Anya.” The name was said with a distinct sarcastic bite. “You were on the outside before this started and you’re even farther from the group now.”

Anya noticed an unfamiliar anger in Halfrek’s tone. She had always been calm, collected. In the hundreds of years Anya had known her, she’d never blown her temper. “Who are you?”

“Does it matter Anya? It won’t change anything. You’ve got blood on your hands.” Anya looked down self-consciously, afraid that she still did have the sticky red blood all over her. “They’ll never look at you the same again. You’re nothing!”

In a blind fit of anger, Anya swung a fist at the image of her friend only to have her hand go straight through her. “What are you?”

The apparition smiled. “You’ll find out soon enough.” She raised her hand dramatically. “From beneath you it devours.” And with a pop she disappeared.

Anya just stood there for a minute, gaping and then, she grabbed her jacket made her way quickly out the door.

“Jesse if there’s any way I can help I’m not leaving!” Xander told him shakily.

“There isn’t man. In the end, you just get in the way. It’ll be a relief to them when you’re gone. One less person to protect. And little by little they’ll forget about you.”

“Why are you telling me this!?”

“I’m trying to save your life! Because I’ve done the whole unresolved death issues thing and trust me, it’s not for you!” He pressed a hand against his neck and tried to temper the steady flow of blood. Xander gave him a horrified look. “Price of manifestation I guess.” He laughed humorlessly. “I always wanted to do this again.”

“Jesse. Why bother?”

“Because I can change it. You don’t have to die. You can get out of the line of fire.” He was trying to get out all of the information, but his voice was weak, his form fading. “You can’t trust her.”

“Who?” Xander asked.

“Buffy.” Jesse muttered and disappeared completely.

Xander looked around. “Jesse! Jesse!”

There was no answer. The large apartment was oppressively silent. Xander glanced around and then spontaneously sprinted out of the apartment.

He ran headlong into Anya a couple blocks from his place and they both simultaneously launched into monologues about their encounters. Both were frantic to get the story off their chest. Neither heard a word the other said.

After a minute they both seemed to realize that they were mad at each other, stopped in unison, glared and stalked off in opposite direction.

Anya ended up back at the Bronze, replaying the conversation in her head over and over, wondering what sort of demon had decided to play with her mind...

And Xander ended up at an old friend’s empty grave, half wondering if he had dreamed it all.

And by the time the first glint of light hit the town, both had decided not to tell a soul.