Great Pink Bug
Anya sighed as she slipped her key into the lock of
the door. It had not been a good day.
First, she'd made the mistake of getting into an
argument with Xander about the appropriateness of
public sex. She'd very reasonably brought up the
precedent of that time at the Mini Golf Course. And
at the Magic Box. It had taken nearly half an hour
for Xander to stop explaining that these places were
very different to the pulpit of St Michael's Church.
That, of course, had made her late for work, which
made Giles cranky, so he sent her to dust all the
really high shelves. She hated that. Not only did
the dusting make her sneeze, but there was no money
Her pensive expression suddenly changed to a delighted
smile, however, as the door swung open from her gentle
The apartment was dimly lit, accentuating the glow of
candles on the dining table. She couldn't see Xander,
but she could hear him moving around in the kitchen,
and she could definitely smell the rich scent of his
world-famous 'Making-Up Marinara'.
That could mean only one thing. Her eyes slipped to
the couch, immediately finding the familiar shape of
the Blockbuster video bag. It looked particularly
full, this time.
Closing the door as silently as she could, the
ex-demoness tip-toed over to the bag and checked
inside. Her smile broadened as she read the titles.
Xander had managed to find a perfect blend of
mushiness and bloodbaths. He definitely deserved a
Still smiling, Anya went to tell Xander she was home.
Neither her blouse or bra made it to the kitchen.
Much later; after they had sniffled through 'The
Parent Trap' and freeze-framed all the gory bits from
'Event Horizon', they lay together on the couch, Anya
snuggled on top of Xander.
"You taste of fish sauce." He teased her, his hands
creeping down her sides.
Anya pouted, pretending not to notice the fingers that
were sneaking along her skin.
"It's not my fault," she mock-sniffled, "There was
this handsome stranger and he plied me with delicious
food, then ravished me. Three times."
"A handsome stranger, huh?" then he frowned, "did you
say three times?"
Anya nodded solemnly, then burst into giggles as
Xander's fingers leapt to the tickle-attack.
It wasn't until the next evening, as she ladled
reheated Marinara into bowls, that Anya had 'The
Idea'. She paused in mid-ladle, frowning slightly,
then fished a shrimp out of the pasta and chewed it
"What are you up to?"
She started slightly at Xander's sudden question,
accidentally spilling some sauce on the table.
"You scared me deliberately." She accused.
He didn't bother to deny it,
"You looked like you were a million miles away."
"A whole different dimension, actually." She put the
ladle back in the pot.
Xander caught the thoughtfulness of her tone and
raised his eyebrows,
"Wanna share with the rest of us?"
"I was just thinking about how you didn't want to have
sex in St Michael's in case we got caught, because
then everyone in town would think we were sexual
"Yeah?" Xander leaned against the fridge, obviously
prepared to hear her out.
"Well, I was thinking, what if we did it in an
alternate universe? Then, if we got caught, no-one
here would know about it."
"Just the people in the alternate universe."
"Well, sure." Anya shrugged, "But why would we care
what the people in the World Without Shrimp thought of
us? We don't even exist, there."
Anya shook her head,
"Your grandparents met in hospital. Your grandmother
got food poisoning -"
"And my grandfather was a cleaner. I remember the
story." He ought to; he was the one who had told her.
"So in the World Without Shrimp -" he capitalised it
in his mind, "that didn't happen?"
"You can't get food poisoning from bad shrimp in a
world that doesn't have them."
Xander had to admit the logic of that. Still ...
"How do you know it was food poisoning from bad
"I knew your grandmother."
"Oh." He nodded. Then the other shoe dropped. "Oh."
"- and that's the whole story."
Xander cocked his head to one side, as if listening to
the silent block of stone that stood in front of him,
"I don't know how we ended up together either, man."
He shrugged, "But it feels good. It feels better than
good. Even when she drives me crazy, she still drives
me crazy. If you get what I mean."
He paused, then chuckled softly.
"Yes. Just like you and Cordy."
He knew that someone watching would have wondered if
he was crazy, standing there talking to a mausoleum,
but it had become such a regular part of his life that
he barely even thought about it, anymore. It wasn't
something that he talked about with the others; not
even Willow. He didn't think she had been back there
in years. Probably the only one who knew was Giles.
They sometimes saw each other, when they came to visit
the friends they had lose.
"Wotcha doin', monkey-brains?"
Xander sighed. Make that Giles and Spike.
"The sun isn't down yet, Chipboy. Shouldn't you still
be in your hole?"
"Got me a nice bit of shadow, 'ere. And this is still
a free country, innit?"
"You're not American. Hell, you're not even alive."
"At least I ain't talkin' to a soddin' lump of rock
like a great poof."
"There's still sunlight out here, Dustboy." Xander
warned, "Want me to introduce you?"
He'd expected a typical Spike response, but instead
the vampire was silent for a long moment, before
speaking again in a serious tone of voice,
"Friend of yours, was it?"
"My best friend." Xander frowned, "Or the last place I
saw him alive, anyway. What do you want, Spike?
Shouldn't you be getting ready to spend your night
"Might have known you'd kick a man while he was down."
Spike attempted an injured tone. "As it happens, I
heard a little story 'bout you and the demoness.
Figured I'd find out if it was true."
Xander suppressed a sigh. The problem with having an
ex-demoness as a girlfriend was that she was far too
friendly with neutered British vampires.
"What do you want, Spike?"
"I want to come along. It sounds like fun. I can
have a poke around while you two have a poke of your
"Not a chance."
"Think the little witch would like to know about it?"
Xander didn't bother to suppress this sigh,
"You can come. Bit if you make any trouble at all,
we'll leave you there. Got it?"
"The World Without Shrimp!" Xander declared in
portentous tones, as the wibbly-wobbly distortion of
the dimensional warp faded away.
"Looks just the bloody same as back 'ome, to me."
Spike sniffed critically.
"I'm more than happy to ask Anya to send you back,
right now." The dark-haired young man responded
cheerfully, gesturing at his girlfriend.
"Guess I could take a look-see, first." The vampire
sounded like he was doing them a favour.
"Just be back here in five hours. That's an hour
before dawn." Anya smirked and poked him in the chest,
"If you aren't here, we'll leave you behind."
"Couldn't we leave him, anyway?"
This time it was Xander who received the poke in the
"Quiet. You're wasting valuable sex time."
"Fine!" Spike shouted after the pair, who were quickly
disappearing into the gloom. "Run off by yourselves
and get killed. See if I care!"
There was no answer. Spike swore. However, after a
few minutes reflection, he shrugged and lit a
cigarette. He'd give them a couple of minutes' start,
then follow to make sure they were okay. And if they
happened not to notice he was around, well ... he
wouldn't mind seeing the little demon girl with her
"This isn't St Michael's." Xander stared at the
church. "St Michael's is smaller. And it has fewer
statutes of men with clubs."
"It's St Patrick's." Anya pointed at the title of the
notice-board in front of the church. According to the
largest notice, the weekly basket-weaving courses had
recently been cancelled due to the unfortunate death
of the teacher. "This is an alternate universe,
Xander couldn't argue with her logic. So instead, he
jimmied open a window at the back of the building,
climbed through, and opened the door for Anya.
"Why has he got a club?" he asked, as he let her in.
"He used it to drive all the snakes out of Ireland."
Anya watched as Xander closed the door
"Did you lock it?" she whispered.
"Yeah." Xander replied in the same low tones. "I
didn't want any interruptions."
"The risk of interruptions is half the fun."
"Not if they are vampires. I don't want my blood
sucked in any dimension."
"Good point." Anya giggled softly. "That's not the
kind of sucking you like, right?"
"Minx." Xander grabbed her around the waist and
lowered them both to the floor, gently nibbling her
ear-lobe as he did so.
Anya's reply was broken off with a soft moan, and it
wasn't until several minutes later that any noise
could be heard but quickened breathing and the soft
rustle of clothing being removed.
Xander raised his eyebrows as Anya giggled in the
middle of stripping off his underwear.
"That's not your usual reaction." He mock-pouted.
"Sorry." She giggled again, "I was just thinking that
this was one snake St Patrick hasn't driven out."
"Well, at least it isn't poisonous."
"Are you sure?" Anya dipped her head, "I was thinking
I should suck the wound to make sure ..."
"That's a mixed metaphohhhhhhhyeahhhh."
Spike peered into the church through a grimy window.
It wasn't much of a view, but it was good enough that
he was just about to take matters in hand, so to
speak, when a voice spoke from behind him.
"What the 'ell are you doin'?"
Zipping himself hastily, Spike turned, trying to look
And then his jaw sagged open.
"Bloody 'ell!" the newcomer took a step back, an unlit
cigarette falling from his mouth. "Where did you get
my face from, you ponce?"
Spike closed his mouth with a snap.
"Keep your shirt on." He fished out a cigarette of his
own, "We're the same person. It's just that I'm from
an alternate universe."
"Your hair's the wrong colour." This universe's
version of Spike objected, running a hand through his
own orange-died scalp.
"That's why they call it an alternate universe,
mate." Spike offered himself a cigarette, which his
counterpart took wordlessly.
For several moments, they stood in silence, watching
one another through the blue cigarette smoke.
"So what were you doing?" his orange-haired self asked
at last, pointing at the window.
"Coupla kids screwing inside."
There was another long silence, then:
"Room for two up there, do you think?"
"Did you hear something?"
"Only my name." Xander grinned, making Anya playfully
swat him on the chest.
"You mean 'Oh yes Xander, harder, more more' was just
Anya pretended to think,
"You know, I'm not sure. My memory is fuzzy. Care to
"They're going again?"
Spike snorted at the hoarse tone of wonder in his
alternate self's voice.
"They're regular little Energizer bunnies, mate." He
tried to get comfortable in his jeans. They were
feeling very confining. "Oh, sod it." He unzipped
and let it all hang out. Wasn't like the guy next to
him didn't see it every day, anyway.
There was a matching zippering noise from beside him,
and despite his interest in the show inside, he
couldn't help but sneak a peek.
It really was quite impressive, he thought smugly,
before raising his eyes to meet those of his
The orange-haired vampire licked his lips and raised
his eyebrows nervously,
"You know ... since we're the same person, it wouldn't
be like we were really poofs ..."
"Oh, save it, mate." Spike threw away his cigarette
and grabbed the other man for a bruising kiss, "I know
about all those times with Peaches, remember?"
It was a week later before they returned to the World
"Was it just me, or did Spike seem really eager to
come back here?" Anya asked, as she and Xander waited
for the ferry on Sunnydale Pier.
"I'm just glad he didn't want to stay with us." Xander
waggled his eyebrows.
"Maybe he's found an alternate dimension orgasm
friend?" the ex-demoness suggested brightly, oblivious
to the strange looks they received from the people
"Really not wanting to know, Ahn." Xander helped her
aboard the ferry, staring at the strange vessel with a
frown. "What's with all the netting on the sides of
the boat? They worried about people falling in the
"Oh, that's Kraken Mesh." Anya replied airily, as she
dragged him toward one of the ferry's small cabins.
She'd been planning this voyage for the entire week,
and she wanted to get started.
"It's what mesh?" Xander came to a dead halt.
"Kraken Mesh." Anya shrugged, "They still have Krakens
here, you see. In your world, they got wiped out in a
genocidal war with the Shrimp."
Xander decided not to ask how shrimp had managed to
wipe out a race of sixty-foot long tentacled
"You brought me on a boat trip in a universe with sea
monsters?" He waved his hands in the air, his voice
rising, as Anya closed the door of the cabin to give
them some privacy.
She stared at him, her lower lip trembling very
slightly. Guilt smacked Xander in the forehead like
an oversized brick.
"I'm sorry, Ahn." He said gently, enfolding her in his
arms. "I just wasn't expecting these trips of ours to
involve the risk of being eaten."
Anya sniffled, then said quietly,
"I just thought water was supposed to be romantic.
All the books say that keeping the romance alive is
important in a relationship. But I guess I got it
"No." Xander put his fingers to her lips to quiet her,
"No, you did great, honey. I just wasn't expecting
the Kraken thing, and overreacted. You didn't do
She looked up again, and now her eyes were bright with
mischief, not tears.
"Does that mean you aren't going to spank me?"
"I never said that."
Moments later, delighted squeals could be heard from
emanating from the cabin.
"Aaaaahhhhh! My eyes! I'm blind!"
Twin Spike faces peered up from their naked embrace at
the sudden screams of horror. Xander staggered away,
falling to his knees and begging someone to tear our
his eyes. Anya, meanwhile, was looking at the two
vampires with a blatantly appraising eye.
"Humans. Can we eat 'em?"
Spike shook his head at his orange-haired counterpart.
"Not unless they ask to join us nicely."
Anya opened her mouth, but Xander shot immediately to
his feet and clamped a hand over her lips,
"I am not having group sex with Spike ... Spikes."
He glared at the two vampires, who had made no attempt
to move out of their entwined position.
Anya pushed his hand down,
"I was just going to remind Spike that we were
supposed to have a midnight picnic, together." She
answered primly, earning a look of disbelief from both
Xander and the blonde vampire.
"You're back early." said vampire grumbled, producing
a cigarette and lighter from
"Actually, we're late." The ex-demoness replied
cheerfully, "You boys must have got carried away with
each other and lost track of the time. Does your
friend want to come, Spike? We've got enough food -"
"Hang on, it's bad enough that you had to invite one
Spike, let alone two!" Xander interrupted her,
"Besides, what will we call this guy?"
"We can call him Shrike."
"'s a good name." The orange-haired vampire looked
impressed, "Shrikes are nasty little buggers." He
caught their confused looks, "Shrikes? The butcher
"It was short for ShrimpSpike." Anya confessed in a
"Wouldn't our Spike be ShrimpSpike?" Xander
pondered, "This guy is actually NoShrimpSpike."
"Do I look like a shrimp to you?" Spike rolled onto
his back and presented himself for investigation.
Xander blanched. Anya gave a nonchalant shrug and
cuddled closer to her boyfriend, which earned her
glares from both vampires.
"What's a shrimp?" the newly-christened Shrike asked.
"It's a type of seafood!" Anya beamed, "I brought some
for the picnic. For purposes of irony, which I have
heard humans appreciate."
"Did you bring blood?" Vampires apparently had little
interest in irony.
"Weetabix?" Spike asked hopefully.
"And honey." Anya confirmed.
"Well, what are we waiting around here for?"
"You can't be meaning to eat that." Shrike stared at
the shrimp in Anya's hand with an expression of
"Why not?" she ripped off its head and began to
methodically remove the legs and shell.
"Why not?" he stared at her like she had grown a
second head, "It's a giant pink bug, for Christ's
"It's tasty." Xander scooped one out of the cool bag
and offered it to the repulsed vampire, who recoiled
"Xander, don't tease the undead." Anya slapped his
"Give me that." Spike snatched the shrimp out of
Xander's grip and turned to Shrike, "They really
aren't that bad, you know." He made as if to de-shell
"Eat that disgusting thing and I'll never kiss you
"You know," Xander remarked the next night, as he and
Anya lay spooned together in bed, "I don't know what's
more disturbing. That Spike is having sex with
himself, or that he threw away a perfectly good shrimp
to keep getting it."
"Definitely throwing away the shrimp." Anya murmured,
without opening her eyes, "there's nothing wrong with
pretty naked boys."
Xander made choking noises, and the girl reached back
to slap his behind.
"Like the idea of Tara and Willow in bed doesn't turn
The silence that followed was answer enough. Anya
smiled smugly. Then a thought occurred to her.
"Who would you be willing to have group sex with?"
Epilogue: The World Without Shrimp
Willow sighed and rubbed her eyes with the back of her
"He's right." She admitted at last, "It's like nothing
I've ever seen before. About the only thing it can be
is some kind of new demon spawn."
"Or an alien." Shrike offered helpfully, then spread
his hands when all eyes were turned on him, "What?
None of you saw 'The Faculty'?"
Everyone in the room stared at the dissected shrimp on
the table. With it's beady black eyes and repulsively
pink colour, it did indeed look like something from
"We'd better break into teams and check all the usual
haunts." Buffy said at last, with a sigh. "There's no
telling what the Mama-beast could be up to."
Shrike grinned to himself. With luck, he could keep
the Slayer chasing non-existent demons for days. This
was going to be such fun.