Karma; Getting It
“You want to know what I wish?” Cordelia asked, not really caring if the new girl was listening or not.
“Yes?” Anya asked intently.
“I wish he got exactly what he deserved!” Cordelia swore. “I wish his karma would catch up with him.”
“Done!” Anya said with a frown. By invoking karma Cordelia had taken things out of her hands altogether. She consoled herself with the knowledge that a man who cheated on his girlfriend was unlikely to have positive karma in any case.
Cordelia turned and saw Anyanka in all her demonic glory.
Anyanka pulled her amulet from Cordelia's unresisting fingers. “Thanks for the wish!” she chimed before vanishing in a burst of light.
“Uh oh,” she said paling. While she might have been pissed at Xander and wished for him to die slowly and painfully she didn't want anything bad to happen to him.
The bell rang and she hurried to class, deciding she'd tell Giles and Buffy as soon as school was over.
Xander found himself being dragged into the library by an anxious Buffy.
“What is going on?” Xander asked in utter confusion.
“Cordelia may have cursed you,” Buffy warned him.
“Cordelia is not a witch,” Xander replied blandly. “She is however something that sounds similar, but without the magic.”
“You!” Cordelia growled, angry that she was going out of her way to help him after all he'd done and he had the balls to treat her this way.
“She wished for you to get what you deserved,” Giles interjected quickly. “Something involving karma.”
“I make wishes all the time.” Xander shrugged. “I'm still not Batman.”
“There was a demon involved,” Cordelia growled with a snarl.
“There are a group of demons who grant wishes, usually of the monkey's paw variety,” Giles explained.
“You aren't exactly rolling in the karma, Xan,” Buffy warned thinking of recent events.
“Let’s see … I first saved Cordelia's life at the Bronze during the whole harvest deal, kept her from getting eaten by tall dark and hairy during Helloween and covered her body with my own to protect her from the flames when saving her from being burned alive during the attempt to use her head as part of the bride of Frankenstein deal,” Xander listed, “and all that's just off the top of my head. On the other hand I did cheat on her with my oldest friend and we were caught smooching when we thought we were going to die. She ran off and got a chunk of rebar through the stomach after abandoning me who had a serious head injury and some internal injuries.”
The Scoobs exchanged glances, a little shocked at having things laid out that way.
“Sounds like karma has already spoken,” Xander continued, “and I feel fine.”
“Yesterday you were deeply upset by your breakup with Cordelia, yet now… nothing?” Giles asked.
“Nada, zip, zilch, zero,” Xander confirmed. “I'm back to factory specs where I hate shallow airheads, who only care about popularity and money and think being cruel to other people is a fun pass time.”
Cordelia looked horrified.
“Personally I'm thinking a monkey paw wish says it all,” Xander went on to explain. “She wanted me to suffer and made the wish so suddenly we were in a relationship that blew up; costing her, her precious popularity and me nothing.”
“What about Willow?” Buffy demanded.
“Karma smacked us all,” he guessed, shrugging. “I never thought me and Willow should be more than friends and I see that I was right. That relationship came out of nowhere too, which makes me wonder how much of the last year is because of your wish. Was Oz always a werewolf or is it his karma catching up with him?”
“Oz is a good guy!” Willow exclaimed as she and Oz came out of the stacks carrying a load of books.
“Yeah but he's real standoffish. How many times has he seen something bad go down and kept out of it? How involved with he was living before he was bit? The wolf forces him to be involved and respond to things when normally he'd probably just shrug and walk off. There is an old saying; for evil to triumph all that's required is for good men to stand aside and do nothing. Oz is a good man and he no longer has the choice about standing aside.”
“What about Willow?” Cordelia demanded.
“Willow has always been caring and supportive and willing to help anyone who asks,” Xander said. “She now knows me and her are better as friends and has a cool boyfriend – net gain.”
“A werewolf boyfriend,” Oz pointed out.
“Karma isn't static,” Xander replied. “Keep getting involved in helping others and see where it gets you. Maybe being a werewolf prevents some hereditary disease that would hit you otherwise. My point is this; me and Willow are fine and have learned something. Oz has a problem that is forcing him to change and Cordelia, who for instance completely destroyed Marcy's life, is suffering. I'd say karma is working.”
Cordelia looked devastated while everyone else looked thoughtful.
“Now if you'll excuse me, my mom wants me home because she has an announcement to make and she'll be pissed if I'm not there.”
“It could be something horrible,” Buffy said.
“And it could be something great,” Xander shrugged unconcerned. “Later.”
When the doors closed behind him Cordelia asked, “What if he's right? What if all the good I've done is completely buried under all the bad? You know what I was like, am I even as nice as I am now?”
Buffy seemed to understand what she meant. “Doesn't matter if it was lipo or dieting the weight is gone. The important question is; are you going to keep exercising?”
Cordelia slowly began to smile. “I want to keep working out.”
“Then there you go!” Buffy encouraged her. “And like with Oz, it ain't over until Oprah sings so keep plugging away at it.”
“Yeah,” Cordelia agreed but then frowned. “Did Xander seem …”
“Off?” Buffy asked.
“He's usually not so forceful or confident.”
“He could be possessed again,” Buffy offered.
“No, that's Xander,” Willow disagreed. “He gets like that sometimes.”
“Really?” Giles asked.
“Yeah,” Buffy said, recalling Xander threatening her once. “Well, enough moping. Feel up to patrolling?”
“I could use the good karma,” Cordy said with a chuckle.
“We're moving!” Jessica announced with a smile that Tony shared, both looking far more sober and clean cut than he was used to.
“B-but I like it here!” Xander quickly blurted out.
His parents exchanged looks.
“We were pretty sure you were going to say that,” Tony admitted.
“So we set things up so you could stay here if you chose,” Jessica added, continuing his thought.
“Your grandfather never approved of me,” Tony said. “Which is where a lot of our problems came from, but he had a change of heart recently so …”
“We're richer than the Chase's,” Jessica said. “So letting you have this house and a big enough allowance to run it is no problem.”
Earlier that afternoon in class…
Xander began to smile for no reason, feeling much better than he had been … since ever. His mind drifted as his teacher droned on about … Second Impact?!
Xander actually paid attention for a moment and found the history teacher was going into another one of her conspiracy rants; the Second Impact comment was referring to something involving the Kennedy assassination.
Zoning out once more his mind flickered through the various games he'd played and he recalled how much he'd liked Shadowrun. He mentally created a character sheet for himself and was surprised at how easy it was to picture.
He was a bit shocked at the contents; he didn't realize he subconsciously believed he had so many quirks and flaws. Though that would explain why he seemed to have so much karma to spend.
Since he was basing this character on his real self he figured it was only fair to spend his points as if it were real.
The first thing he did was spend a couple of points to upgrade resources and background. In the game it wasn't all that important since the majority of your cash depended almost solely on in game events, but in reality having rich parents and a couple of points in resources meant never having to say “Do you want fries with that?”
Next … Xander bought off disabilities. In game an inferiority complex just meant a couple of modifiers on some infrequent die rolls and adding a bit of acting to the game, but in real life it crippled you, ensuring you could never live up to your potential because you were subconsciously sabotaging yourself.
He wasn't all that surprised to find that he had no-dress-sense and inappropriate humor. Cordelia and just about everyone else had told him repeatedly that he had them.
He'd bought them off and bought Personal Sense of Style; which in reality was just a way of opting out of the fashion wars since it just made his personal taste seem fashionable for him.
Unrequited love, heart on his sleeve, empathy, chivalry … he was surprised that so many of the things that he considered merits were flaws. He considered buying them off but decided to leave them be; he wasn't really sure he'd be recognizable without them – okay maybe buy off a few.
He was mildly surprised to find that Universe's Butt monkey and wonky magic weren't on the list. However bad luck was.
He bought off bad luck and purchased a couple of points of luck; knowing he'd have to be an idiot not to.
Photographic memory and jack of all trades were quickly added to the merit category, both of them being insanely useful in real life as opposed to the game.
Finding he still had a lot of karma he decided to have a little fun and made himself an elf shaman before boosting all his stats.
Seeing he was a dog shaman he quickly switched that to spider and then amused himself by spending some points on a little bioware and abilities to fit a Spiderman theme.
He finished deep in the red but that just meant he didn't get anything he didn't have the karma to buy until he had the points to pay for it. Kinda like layaway.
The bell rang and he got ready to go home forgetting everything he'd just been thinking of. AN: Typing by Godogma.