Man! challenge in a can Man!






Anya picked up smoking back in the Ottoman Empire. The hookah she kept in her apartment was a secret antique, hidden away for those brief moments where she felt the need.

It had changed over the centuries, of course. She collected a variety of pipes. Cool green jade for opium. Scrimshawed whalebone smoked by the women residing by docks. Clean pure white clay that would melt if you smoked in the rain. Cigarillos with senoritas along the border.

The twenties were really the best, or so she would expound upon. Fine-rolled French cigarettes flavoured with exotic spices and scents while girls lived and loved and oh how they were scorned.

She still has several packs in her closet, next to her pipes and a few scattered remains of smoking centuries -- crushed poppy pods and chunks of amber-gold hashish. The packs of cigarettes, one for each decade, still wrapped in the paper and cellophane, one pack with a sepia-toned Louise Brooks card tucked in it (Anya still tried to explain her to Xander, but he was too 21st century for things of that nature.), another pack bought just three days ago.

She meant to open it -- sneaking cigarette breaks at least once a day at the shop, much to the dismay of Willow, who would cough dramatically and glare up at the "no smoking" sign on the door.

She had meant to smoke them -- ignoring her rough and indelicate humanity, ignoring the possible cancers and diseases and troubles multiplying with every delicate inhale.

She had meant to continue -- this little final protest against the loss of her demonhood, against her mortality, against menstrual cycles and food poisoning and common colds and cancer and wrinkles and everything she never had to deal with as a demon.

She had meant to keep smoking, but everything was packed away, carefully boxed away in the corner of her closet.

She had meant to stay a demon, but a broken wish and the love of a man had changed that.

She had meant to smoke, but now...

Well, a baby needed a good start, didn't it?

Anya. Sensuous. Cigarettes.

Man! challenge in a can Man!