Disclaimer: The characters and settings in the following story all belong to people with much better looking driver’s license photos than me. That and they all are involved with the entertainment industry in some way, shape, or form (which I am not). Since none of these characters are mine I will eventually return them with a full tank of gas and, perhaps, a fresh coat of wax. Halfrek’s Gift
Anyanka was not happy.
Everything was as it should be. She was here. Her bridesmaids were all here in gowns cleverly designed to make her look more beautiful than them. The guests had all arrived and were alternating between arguing furiously and pointedly ignoring each other. She had to pee. Everything was perfect except for one thing.
Someone hadn’t brought her (well, her and Xander) a wedding gift. How could she (she and Xander) be married and have many orgasms and live happily ever after if she (they) didn’t get all of wonderful presents that were her (their) due? But, someone had been stingy.
The former Vengeance Demon knew, she had checked three times.
With a snort and a stomp of her foot Anya stormed into the overcrowded dressing room to confront her oldest friend. She paused briefly to admire how the eggplant colored gowns completely failed to compliment any of her bridesmaids’ completions, hair, or eye color, and then marched up to Halfrek to confront her.
“Some best friend you are.”
Halfrek turned and raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
Sensing the potential argument, Buffy and Willow edged closer to better hear the discussion. Anya felt better knowing that the two other bridesmaids were behind her. Not that Willow was a bridesmaid. She was Xander’s Best man…um…Best woman. Whatever. Willow was a female and she did have to change for the wedding and she couldn’t very well change in the chapel. Well, she could, but then everything wouldn’t be perfect for Anya’s wedding.
And so not the point.
“You didn’t bring me a wedding gift.” The ex-demon accused back on topic.
“Xander and I.” Buffy helped.
“Me and Xander.” Willow corrected.
“Fine,” Anya fluttered in exasperation. “You didn’t bring I and Xander a wedding gift.”
“Yes I did.”
“No. No, I checked twice.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Only twice?”
Anya looked back to the Slayer. “Okay. I checked three times.” She confessed. “And you are so not helping.”
Amused, Buffy raised her hands in surrender.
Halfrek’s face scrunched slightly as she mentally went over the possible conversations in her head and came to the conclusion that nothing would stop an argument except to present Ahnyaka with her present earlier than she had planned. With a small sigh she turned and pulled from her purse and presented to her long time friend a red sphere slightly smaller than the palm of her hand.
“Oooo, oooo, I know what that is.” The wicca gushed. “That’s a Dercenian Orb.” She turned to the confused and suspicious blond. “It stores memories. It…it’s like a demony V.C.R..”
Anya lifted her hand to the globe, and then turned to the Slayer and the witch. “Well? Come on. What’s the point of getting a gift if I don’t show it off?”
“Right,” Buffy nodded. “On three.”
“Waitwaitwait. Are we supposed to touch it on three, or say three then touch it? I mean, if we don’t touch it at the same time could it get all Hellmouthy? Maybe I should do some research, or…”
Simultaneously, three hands touched the orb.
Halfrek straightened the creases on her nurse’s uniform and quickly checked to be sure that no one had noticed her sudden appearance in the hospital corridor. Assured that she was in the clear, she peaked into the room that held her assignment. This would be easy.
Dejected and alone, Alexander Lavelle Harris lay quietly on his bed halfheartedly drawing on the four-week-old cast that encased his arm with a box of crayons that he had charmed from one of the other nurses. The cast itself was dirty and frayed from neglect and gave sharp contrast to the clean white bandages that had recently been bound about his head.
The Vengeance demon smiled to herself. The five year old Harris boy had been in the hospital three time in the last four months after (she checked her clipboard) ‘falling down a flight of stairs’ twice and now, seemingly for variety, ‘running into a door’.
Alexander looked up at her, tilting his head to better focus on her with the eye that wasn’t swollen shut, as she entered. Halfrek changed her smile to something less predatory and more friendly in answer to the half grin that he shot in her direction.
“Hi, I’m Holly.” She introduced herself as she moved to his bedside. “Mind if I sit down?”
He shifted silently in his bed to give room to perch.
“That’s some smile you got there, Alexander. I bet that when you grow up you’re going to be quite the ladies’ man.”
He shrugged slightly and his smile broadened.
“So, Alexander? Do you mind if I call you Alex?”
He shrugged again, but his smile dimmed. “That’s what mom and dad call me.”
“Well, what do your friends call you?”
Another shrug. “Dunno.”
“Well, how about I call you Alexander? Like the great hero?”
“Not a hero,” The boy disagreed, shrinking in on himself. “I’m bad.”
“Oh, I don’t think you’re bad.”
His smile completely gone, Alexander nodded sadly. “I’m bad a lot. I don’t listen.”
“Is that why you come to the hospital a lot? ‘Cause you don’t listen?”
The boy shook his head hard and edged away, turning partially away from the demon.
“Don’t like the horse-pitel. It’s stinky.”
“It does stink a little, doesn’t it?” Halfrek agreed, scrunching her nose. “I bet you wish you didn’t have to come back here anymore.”
The boy nodded, but turned farther away.
“Ya know.” The demoness pressed. “Sometimes wishes come true. Sometimes.”
Halfrek’s statement was met with silence and the last of her smile faded away. It was always difficult to get an assignment to make a wish if they refused to talk. With a mental shrug, she changed tactics and reengaged.
“So, Alexander?” She asked, her voice lowering to a conspiratorial whisper. “Would you like to see some magic?”
Her assignment nodded his assent. The demon edged closer and made a great show of looking around the room for any unnoticed eavesdroppers. A motion that was mimicked a moment later by the boy, who even went so far as to check the other side of the bed for unwanted observers.
By the time the inspection of the room was complete the boy almost looked eager to see, what he probably expected, was the old coin-behind-the-ear trick. With a bit of concentration, a few phrases mumbled under her breath and a dramatic wave of her hands, Halfrek held forth, like a giant golden firefly, a small globe of iridescent light.
With a whisper of awe, the boy reached out his hand to touch the sphere, only to snatch back his hand at the last second.
“Go on.” Halfrek encouraged, offering the light to the child. “You can hold it if you like.”
Eyes wide with wonder, Alexander took the enchanted ball from the demon with his uninjured hand and leveraged his other arm and its cast in a way for him to pet the globe with a finger-tip.
“It tickles.” He giggled.
The demon’s smile returned in a show of sympathetic joy
“A super special friend showed me that trick.”
“I wish I had super special friends like you.”
She hadn’t expected that. She hadn’t planed for a wish like that. But a wish was a wish.
The boy was so enraptured by the glowing sphere that he completely missed the pretty young nurse’s transformation into her true demonic form. He even failed to notice the deep, dangerous tone her voice took when she spoke.
When the boy looked back up it was to see the young nurse looking back at him, her eyes a little to bright and with a smile that was maybe a bit too wide.
“I’m sorry, Alexander, I’ve got to go and see other little boys and girls who got hurt. Are you going to be okay?”
With a slightly depressed nod the boy returned the globe to her hand.
“Yeah. I think so.”
Kissing the boy on his unbrused cheek, Halfrek let the globe fade away and turned to leave.
At the door, she turned back to the child.
“W…Will you be my girlfriend?”
A rare moment of guilt passed through the woman’s mind as for the first time a genuine smile crossed her lips.
“I think I’m a little to old for you. Don’t you think?”
“Well how about when I get older?”
“I think I’ll still be a lot older than you. Maybe you should think about getting a girlfriend that’s the same age as you are.”
Putting a determined look on his face, Alexander squared his shoulders and gave a quick nod. “Okay. When I get older I wish to have a girlfriend that’s just like you.”
As she turned to leave she slowly shook her head and chuckled. “Sorry, kid. One wish per customer.”
Halfrek glanced back one last time as she closed the door to see the boy return to drawing on his neglected arm-cast, the sad look once again on his face.
“Oh, what the hell. Wish granted.”
Everything was so wrong.
Willow stood on the small front lawn of the church her face streaked with forgotten tears, un-noticing and unnoticed by the other wedding guest as they collectively milled about in anger, shock and confusion.
She was still, to an extent, in shock herself. It had happened so fast. First, a demon had shown up and attacked Xander. (And boy, you know that he wasn’t on the guest list.) And then Xander ran off with out saying anything to anyone, even his oldest friend. That so wasn’t like him at all.
Why couldn’t he have told her what was wrong?
Willow sniffed to keep her tears from starting all over again
Then Anya told everyone that the wedding was off, and ran off in tears in the opposite direction.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be a perfect day. A fairy-tale wedding, with the happily-ever-after and…and the whole goodness of wishes coming true thing, and…
The wish. “When I get older I wish to have a girlfriend that’s just like you.”
It explained so much; Mrs. French, Ampata, Cordelia…Okay, so maybe Cordelia wasn’t a demon, but still…But if Anya was Xander’s wish come true…literally…then why couldn’t they get their happily-ever-after? Why did something like this have to happen today of all days?
Because demon wishes didn’t come with happily-ever-afters.
Wishes? What was it about the word wishes that nagged at the back of her mind?
Xander had been given two wishes.
What would ‘Super Special Friends’ mean? What would a demon make it mean?
A dropped stake on the first day of sophomore year. A broken crayon. Was it real?
Willow’s lip quivered and her resolve face made its appearance. Wish, or no wish Xander was her friend and she was his, forever. But if she thought about it, every one of his friends was magical…‘special’… in some way. She was a witch, Buffy was The Slayer, and though they would never be friends, her Xander-shaped bestest bud could tolerate Angel and Spike, and they were vampi…
No, not that. Xander could never find out. It would destroy him if he ever thought that…
The redhead’s teary eyes wandered over to a group of the more human looking demons talking around a tree. Halfrek looked up and for a moment their gazes locked. The vengeance demon turning pale and vanishing in a flash of light was all the confirmation the young wicca needed.
The wedding and everything else was forgotten, drowned out by the one word, the one name that echoed through her mind.
Oh, goddess, please no.