Disclaimer: BtVS is owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling. I own nothing but the words.
Anya stood outside of the Leaky Cauldron, steeling herself to open the door. She hated the wizarding world. They were all so smug about their power and their stupid little wands, taking for granted that no "Muggle" could ever be as powerful as they were. Which was ridiculous, since as far as Anya knew, only Dumbledore had ever come close to Willow's power. Not that she would tell any of the wizards that. Let them have their delusions.
Besides, they were all so unashamedly twee, with their robes, and their stupid money that made no sense, and their broomsticks. The American wizarding community was a little better - at least their money added up to something rational - but not by much. So Anya avoided the whole insular world as much as she could.
Unfortunately, she couldn't do that right now. She didn't understand how her colleagues in Europe, let alone in England, were standing it, but she'd been feeling this woman's misery for months now, ever since she'd become a vengeance demon again, actually. She wasn't really supposed to be in England - D'Hoffryn had somewhat restricted her vengeance responses; he said it was probation, which was crazy, but whatever - but she couldn't stand this any longer. The woman was just so miserable, and it was like an itch under Anya's skin that kept getting worse and worse. She had to scratch it.
Someone bumped into her from behind her, and though she said, "Excuse you," in her most annoyed voice, he didn't even look back at her. This propelled her to finally open the door to the Leaky Cauldron, but by the time her eyes adjusted to the gloom inside, whoever had bumped into her had already passed through the arch into Diagon Alley. And that wasn't where she was going, so she put him out of her head and looked around for her client.
It wasn't hard to spot her; even if Anya hadn't been able to feel the waves of misery and despair coming off of her, all she had to do was use her eyes. The woman was slumped into a booth in a corner, a mug on the table in front of her, and Anya was sure she wasn't the only one who knew the poor girl was miserable. She went up to the bar and ordered a butterbeer, which as far as she was concerned, was the only good thing about the whole wizarding world. She paid for it with some of that stupid wizarding money, and then took the mug over to where her client sat.
"Mind if I join you?" she said, and then waited for quite some time before the women looked up at her. "You look like you could use a friend."
The woman shrugged, so Anya sat down, taking a sip of butterbeer and closing her eyes to enjoy the rich, buttery taste and the feel of it going down. Feeling almost charitable towards the client who had enabled her to get some, she opened her eyes and smiled at her. The woman wasn't even looking at her anymore; her eyes were fixed on the tabletop in front of her, but she obviously wasn't seeing it.
"So, can you?" Anya said.
Again, there was a pause before the woman looked up. "Can I what?" she asked.
"Use a friend," Anya said. "What's wrong? You look like you've lost your whole family and all of your pets."
The woman gave a wan smile. "No, everyone's fine," she said. Then she squinted her eyes at Anya. "I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Anya shook her head. "I'm Anya," she said, holding out her hand. After a few seconds, the woman shook it, but she didn't give her name until Anya didn't let go of her hand and raised her eyebrows.
"Tonks," she said. "Well, Nymphadora Tonks, but call me Tonks. My mother's insane."
"Okay, Tonks," Anya said, wondering if she'd meant it literally. She still had problems telling sometimes, and truly, Tonks was almost a worse thing to be called than Nymphadora. "Is that why you're upset?"
"Is that why - oh, no," Tonks said. "For awhile when I was five, yeah, but now I'm used to it."
"Ah," Anya said, taking a sip of butterbeer. She made a concerned face. "Money troubles, or is it a man?" She knew it was a man, of course, but she couldn't let Tonks know how she knew, so she had to ask. It was getting boring, actually. The first time she'd been a vengeance demon, she'd loved this part - the getting to know the client so she could make the vengeance truly personal and epic - but this time around, they all seemed the same, and she didn't know why.
Tonks finally took a sip out of her mug, her eyes fixed on the table in front of her. "A man," she said after she'd swallowed. Then she put the mug back down on the table, slopping some of the butterbeer out onto the table. Anya didn't think that was on purpose; she hadn't seemed angry, just sad. "I can't believe I'm acting like this," Tonks went on. "I always swore I wouldn't, and it's affecting my work, I know it is, but I just can't seem to help it."
Anya put a sympathetic look on her face, and it wasn't as hard as the concerned look had been. She felt the same way about how she'd acted about Xander.
"Did he break up with you?" she asked. "Leave you at the altar and take away the love of your life and your best friend all at the same time?" Okay, maybe that had been a little too personal. Tonks didn't seem to notice, though.
"If only I could get him to the altar," she said. "And, no he hasn't broken up with me, quite. He just won't marry me."
"Maybe he's just not ready," Anya said. She traced an infinity sign with her fingertip in the butterbeer Tonks had spilled. It would have been better if Xander hadn't proposed, since he hadn't been ready. Maybe Tonks was luckier than she realized.
Tonks sighed and scrunched down in the booth. "It's not that," she said. "He thinks he can't ever get married." She looked at Anya through her eyelashes. "He's a werewolf."
"How annoying that he's giving you a stupid excuse like that," she said. "Don't you wish -"
"Stupid excuse?" Tonks said, lifting her head and staring at her. "I mean, I think it's stupid, yeah, because I don't care if he can't work regularly, I make enough as an Auror for the both of us, but..." She trailed off, obviously not seeing what she was expecting in Anya's face. Anya wondered what that was, but since she had no idea, she knew she couldn't fake it. "Are you sure you're a wizard?"
"Oh," Anya said. "American, you know. Things are really different here."
"They must be," Tonks said, looking wistful. "So werewolves are accepted in America? Here, Remus can't keep a job, because no one wants to hire a werewolf. And," she added, lowering her voice, "I think things are going to get even worse."
Anya had no idea how werewolves were treated in wizarding America, and she didn't care. Her job was to get Tonks to make a wish to get back at this Remus guy, so she needed to stop getting side-tracked.
"He still shouldn't use that as an excuse," she said. "If you say it doesn't matter, it's disrespectful. Don't you wish -"
"I just don't know how to convince him I mean what I say," Tonks said. "Maybe it's because he's so much older, but I don't think he thinks I understand the problems. And I do, but I don't care."
Anya could use that. "I hate when men think they know better than we do, even if they are older," she said. "Don't you sometimes wish he'd turn younger just so you could turn it around on him?" If Tonks did make that wish, she could turn this Remus guy into a baby. D'Hoffryn would like that.
But Tonks shook her head. "I like that he's older. I mean," and she blushed, "I just like it."
"Well, that's a perfectly valid lifestyle choice," Anya said. "But even if he's older than you are, he shouldn't treat you like you don't know your own mind." She couldn't try the exact same wish again; Tonks was sharp and would obviously pick up on that. She had to get something else out of her.
"I don't think he does, really," Tonks said. "He just thinks I can't understand what it would be like to be married to a werewolf. And maybe I can't, maybe nobody can, but I'd still like to try."
"Hmm," Anya said. "Sounds like you wish you were married already."
Tonks shook her head. "I want the whole thing," she said. "I want Remus to realize that I don't care if he's a werewolf, that I want to marry him anyway. I don't think I'm the only one who wouldn't care; I'm certain if someone else was in love with a werewolf, she'd feel the same way. I wish there were a way to show him that."
There it was. Since Tonks was an Auror, Anya didn't want to run the risk of getting arrested in the wizarding world. Their legal system was as barbaric as their money. So, she waited until she'd extricated herself from the conversation and was back outside the Leaky Cauldron to shift into her demon face and formally say, "Done." She knew exactly how she'd grant that wish, and it should please D'Hoffryn more than some of her other recent wish grants. D'Hoffryn had always been partial to handsome men being mutilated. Plus, he'd never admit it, but he had a soft spot for beautiful women still loving those handsome men. Sure, Tonks would get a happy ending, but there should be enough misery to go around that D’Hoffryn wouldn’t care. It would happen that night, and finally, finally, the itch of Tonks' misery would be gone. Anya took a deep breath and teleported back to California. Maybe she'd even take a nap.