Summer Holiday 2
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead! Which old Witch?
The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.
She's gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing
and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead!
-- "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!", The Wizard of Oz
Xander felt Anya stir and slipped his arms around her,
waking her with a gentle kiss.
"How's my favourite slayer this morning?" he quipped,
quirking his eyebrows as he did so.
Anya smiled sleepily and kissed him again,
"It's been two weeks since Vegas. Aren't you ever
going to get tired of reliving the moment?"
"I doubt it." The dark-haired young man grinned, "We
took that vampire without any special powers or magic
spells. We just had a plan and some courage. That's
something to be proud of."
"Is this a guy thing?" the ex-demoness smiled
indulgently, her fingers stroking his shoulder, "The
hunter and warrior, proving his worth in combat?"
"No." Xander frowned, then shrugged, "Well, maybe a
little. But I was thinking more about all the people
we saved. If that vampire fed once a week, that's
over fifty people a year. We probably saved hundreds
of lives when we staked her."
Anya kissed him, long and deep and slow. When their
lips finally parted, Xander raised an eyebrow.
"Not that I'm complaining, but where did that come
"From what you said," she smiled, her hands sliding
down from his shoulders, "I didn't realise until now
why you wanted to help fight vamps. I'd just assumed
it was a penis thing."
Xander's eyes widened as the girl's hands slid ever
lower, mirroring her words. She giggled at his
expression, and he growled playfully, rolling her onto
Their lips met.
"So where do you want to go today?" Xander asked,
spreading the road map over the hood of the car.
"We're fully tanked, and a bit ahead on the budget
since your little performance in that bar last week."
He did his best to sound disapproving.
"You loved it." Anya smirked, squeezing his arm
gently, "I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't." she
leant over the map, her finger tracing circles around
their current location.
Xander smiled at her fondly. He really hadn't known
what to expect of four weeks alone with Anya, but with
the trip just over half over, things were going even
better than he had dared hope. Since Las Vegas, the
tenderness she had only occasionally displayed in the
past was emerging more often.
"I wish you wouldn't unfold the whole map." She
complained suddenly, "You know you can never fold it
back up properly, and then I have to do it."
Xander's smile broadened. Extra tenderness or not,
Anya's caustic side had certainly not disappeared
"Does that mean you know where you want to go?" he
teased, tracing circles on her back with his
"Kansas." She answered primly. "I want to see
"This is a Wizard of Oz thing again, isn't it?"
Anya nodded, sporting a sly grin as she did so. They
had seen the movie at a motel four days earlier, and
to Xander's surprise the ex-demoness had loved it.
There was something deeply disturbing about the glee
with which she would sing "Ding Dong! The Witch Is
"So what if it is?" she teased, "We had to go all the
way to Alberqueque just to satisfy your creepy rabbit
"Hey! That's Bugs Bunny you're talking about!" he
adopted a posture of mock outrage, then grinned, "but
we need something a little more specific to aim for
than an entire state."
"Wherever. I don't really care."
Xander peered at the map over her shoulder, then
reached out to tap it excitedly,
"Dodge City! The wildest town in the west! Well, a
hundred or so years ago, anyway. I bet there'll be a
cowboy museum! With real six-shooters!"
Anya snorted in amusement,
"You boys and your guns . . ."
"We're coming up on the intersection with Highway 27
in about twenty miles." Xander flicked a glance at the
fuel gauge. "There'll be a town there. We should
stop to get gas and lunch."
"Syracuse." Anya half-yawned, without opening her
eyes. The ex-demoness had her chair tilted back as
far as it would go, and appeared extremely
"Syracuse. It's the name of the town at the
"Since when did you become such an expert on the
geography of Kansas?"
"The last wish I granted before Sunnydale was in
Syracuse. It's got about sixteen hundred people, and
the school football team is the Bulldogs." Anya opened
an eye long enough to catch Xander's surprised glance,
"What, you thought I just jumped into each assignment
"Pretty much, yeah." Xander frowned, "So will you be
recognised in this town?"
"Hardly." The girl snorted, "When I was last here I
was a forty year old Chinese woman. Besides, the
woman whose wish I granted was from Denver. She and
her husband; he was some sort of military guy; just
happened to be in Syracuse when she found out what a
dirtbag he was."
"So what happened to all your old wishes when you lost
your powers? Were they all reversed, like the one you
tried to do for Cordelia?" the question had occurred
to Xander before, but he had never actually asked it.
"Of course not." Anya raised her seat to an upright
position and opened her eyes. There was a gleam of
enthusiasm in them that Xander well remembered. The
ex-demoness did enjoy every chance she got to
reminisce about her wish-granting days. "Twenty-four
hours after I granted a wish, I would reclaim my
necklace. At that point, the effects of the wish were
sealed. But stupid Giles had to go and interfere
before the time was up on Cordelia's wish."
"Score a touch down for the Big G." Xander did not
share his girlfriend's regrets. "I'd rather not live
in that world."
"You didn't." Anya answered absently, "you were a
vampire. You and Willow were the Master's chief
"Oh." A thought occurred to Xander, "were that Willow
and I, uh . . ."
"Having sex?" Anya supplied, "Oh, all the time. You
saw how she was with all that leather and stuff. The
"Vampire Willow . . ." Xander felt a grin beginning to
spread on his lips and suppressed it quickly, "That,
uh . . . sounds awful."
"I'm sure." Anya's response was dry.
"So, what did this woman in Syracuse wish for?" it
was the first question Xander thought of change the
subject, and even she said it he was wincing,
realising it was a mistake.
"Castration." The ex-demoness shrugged, "Not very
imaginative of her, really. But I gave her what she
wanted. Two miles out of Syracuse they were in a car
accident that tore his -"
Desperately, Xander burst into a round of coughing as
an attempt to distract Anya from finishing her
To his regret, it did not succeed.
The two men watched from the shadowy room in the upper
storey as a travel-dusted car pulled slowly into a
parking space in front of the diner.
"Are you sure that's her?" the speaker was the shorter
of the two, a sour-faced man who leant on a cane,
though he did not look like he had even reached fifty
years of age.
"I've been magically influencing their course for
almost a week, now." The taller man replied in a
British-accented voice. His tone was ever so slightly
condescending. "I assure you it is her."
"She looks different."
"Of course she does." A note of exasperation crept
into the man's tone, "She is a demon, after all. You
do realise that killing her won't reverse what
happened to you?"
"Don't treat me like an idiot. I'm well aware that I
have to live with what that bitch did to me. I'm
willing to settle for revenge." The man with the cane
paused, "What about the boy? Is he a demon, too?"
"Young Master Harris?" the taller man sounded amused,
"Oh no. He's quite human. You needn't concern
yourself about him. He is no threat to your plans for
Xander paused as he got out of the car, stopping to
stare at a battered van three parking spaces away. He
pointed it out to Anya,
"Does that van seem familiar to you?"
"Of course not." The ex-demoness barely gave the
vehicle a glance, "How much research do you think I
did on this place? It's not like I'm National
"I don't mean from here. I meant from Sunnydale."
Xander pushed open the door to the diner for Anya,
then followed her inside. "It looks a lot like -" he
broke off, his gaze falling on a small, wiry man who
sat in one of the booths closest to the door. "Oz!"
The werewolf and sometime guitarist glanced up at
Xander's exclamation, then gave the two travellers a
brief nod, displaying not even a trace of surprise to
"Monosyllabic as ever, big guy?" Xander slid onto the
chair opposite Oz, "I like the new hair. Burgundy is
"Thanks man." Oz pushed a couple of french fries
around his plate, but made no move to eat them. His
eyes slid across the table, not rising to Xander's
"You okay?" the dark-haired young man moved over some
more to allow Anya to sit beside him, "It's just that
you seem distracted."
"It's cool." Oz put his fork down and gave them both
one of his fractional smiles, "I just didn't expect to
see you guys."
"Well, we didn't expect to see you, either." Anya
offered helpfully, "We all thought you'd run off to
Tibet again to work on your hairiness problem."
"Anya -" Xander began, then sighed. He knew she
didn't mean to be so rude, "Could you order for us,
"Sure." The girl held out her hand expectantly, then
smiled when he gave her a twenty-dollar bill. Xander
shook his head ruefully as Anya headed for the
counter. He was sure he would never see the change.
"So how've you been, man?" he decided to stick to a
"Okay." Oz answered, then elaborated, "I went to Tibet
again to work on my hairiness problem."
"Oh." Xander nodded, somewhat at a loss for a reply,
"And how did that go?"
"It's not perfect, but I'm in control." Oz
half-shrugged, "So you're safe mentioning Willow
around me. How is she, anyway?"
"Will's good." Xander tried to choose his words
carefully, "The witchy stuff is coming along well for
her, especially since Giles bought the magic shop."
"Is she still with -"
"Yeah, she is." Xander paused, wondering if there was
a less painful way to say any more on that subject,
"They're good together, Oz. She's happy."
A small smile flickered on the werewolf's face for a
"So what have you been up to since you got back?
Still doing the guitar thing?" Xander cast about for
another topic of conversation.
"I've been meeting other people like me." Oz pushed
his plate away, glanced at the clock on the diner
wall. "Helping them to control the change the way I
"Kinda like being 'Sensei Oz'?" the dark-haired boy
"Kinda." Oz agreed non-committally. "Look, I've
already finished my lunch. Maybe I should just leave
you and Anya -"
"No." Xander surprised himself with the vehemence of
his reply. "Please. It's good to see you, Oz. And
the others will want to hear what's been going on with
you. Willow will want to know. Stay. Speak.
Partake of the milkshake with us."
Oz paused, then shrugged, a glimmer of a smile
flickering over his lips.
"Okay. As long as it's chocolate."
"An excellent choice." Xander twisted in his seat to
call out to Anya, and frowned. The girl was not at
the counter. For a moment, he felt concern, but then
he spotted the restrooms, and settled back, figuring
he knew where she had gone.
Thus it was blind chance that he turned back toward
the window in time to see two men bundle Anya into a
car in front of the diner.
"I have to admit, your invisibility spell worked like
"Firstly, it's not an invisibility spell. It just
causes people to overlook you unless they are actively
looking for you. Secondly, it actually is a charm."
"No need to get so uptight, Ethan." The man with the
cane gave his associate a grim smile. "We've got what
we wanted, and your spell was a great help. It seems
the effort I invested in getting you out of that
government prison was well spent."
"I'm so glad my services meet with your approval." The
British warlock's tone was acerbic, "I still think you
should have taken her out of town for this. Syracuse
is a small place. Her friends will find her here."
"Not in time, they won't." the shorter man smiled
grimly as he glanced at the girl. She had been placed
in a chair, with her hands tied behind the backrest.
He had considered gagging her at first, but there was
no need. The walls of the building were thick enough
that her screams would not be heard by anyone who was
not already inside.
"Just don't play for too long." Ethan Rayne suggested
testily, "Unless you have an objection, I'll be
leaving now. As per our agreement."
"I thought you'd want to watch the show." The other
man raised his eyebrows, "I've read your file. You
were quite the troublemaker. To be honest, if the
Brass hadn't been so eager to cut ties with anything
to do with the Initiative, they never would have let
you out. Don't tell me you've gone squeamish?"
"Of course not. It's just that after my last
escapade, I finally realised it is rarely a good idea
to linger at the scene of the crime."
As the Englishman spoke, Anya stirred, and raised her
head. For a moment, she stared rather blearily at
them both, still suffering from the after effects of
the pacifying spell Ethan had used on her. Then her
eyes cleared, and her mouth firmed
"Colonel Cabot." She addressed the man with cane, "How
is your lovely wife?"
"The bitch left me." The man snapped, rapping the cane
on the concrete floor, "After the accident. The
accident you caused."
"I merely granted your wife's wish." Anya shrugged as
best she could with her hands tied as they were, "You
were the one sleeping with your adjutant."
"My, my, Colonel." Ethan smirked, "I guess they didn't
ask and you didn't tell?"
"My adjutant was a woman, you fairy." Colonel Cabot
"Oh, well that makes it all okay, then." Ethan rolled
his eyes, "Now, I've delivered your little demoness,
and I'll be on my way."
"Fine." Cabot didn't look at the Englishman, his gaze
fixed on Anya, "You've met your part of the bargain,
and you can go. But don't expect any favours if you
get yourself locked up again."
"I shall keep that in mind." Ethan's dry tones floated
back through the door of the room as he made his
"So did your pet warlock tell you what I did?" Anya
asked, in the hope that it might use up some time for
Xander to find her. Assuming the big lug had noticed
she was missing.
"I worked it out myself, after I learned of the
Initiative." Cabot limped toward her, his face grim,
but satisfied. "I had a lot of time to read whilst I
was recuperating from the accident, you see. Nearly
half a year in rehab has that kind of effect. It took
five months before I could begin to walk again."
"And now you look ready to dance." Anya smirked,
"Though you won't be doing any of the horizontal
"I was already going to enjoy this." The man hissed in
anger, "You're just making the moment even more
"So you worked out what I was and got yourself a
Warlock to help find me." Anya kept her face calm,
despite the fear she was feeling, "You've had months
to track me down. What's been the delay? It's not
like I've been moving around much."
"In Sunnydale you have that 'Slayer' to protect you."
The Colonel curled his lip, "I just had to wait until
you were away from her. Plus, there is a certain
satisfaction in ending your life at the place where
you ruined mine."
"Big talk from Mr Eunuch." Anya jeered, striking out
with words, "Xander will find me."
"Not in time, he won't." the Colonel stepped closer,
within arm's reach.
Slowly, he raised the cane above his head.
Ethan hurried down the stairs to the ground floor of
the building. He was whistling a jaunty tune, and
fumbling in his pocket for the car keys, when he was
lifted from the ground and slammed against a wall.
"Hello, Ethan." Xander had the warlock by the lapels
of his jacket, and was bodily pressing the Englishman
against the wall, "I might have known you'd be
involved in something like this."
"Just paying the price of my freedom." Ethan shrugged,
glancing at the smaller man behind Xander Harris.
There was a suggestion of wildness about him, a hint
of something other than human. He wondered how the
boy had found an ally like that so quickly. "I must
say you found us much more quickly than even I
"It's a small town, and you came straight here." The
shorter man half-spoke, half-growled. "Her scent
wasn't hard to follow."
"Oz is a werewolf." Xander supplied helpfully,
slamming Ethan against the wall again for emphasis,
"Now. Where is Anya?"
"She's upstairs with Cabot." As always, Ethan felt no
loyalty to his erstwhile employer. "Your girlfriend
cursed him a couple of years back, and now he wants
"He's the only one up there." Oz said. It was not a
"This was a one man operation." Ethan confirmed it
anyway. "I'm just the hired help."
Suddenly, there was a howl of pain from above them.
It was muffled and distorted by the building's
interior walls, but all three heard it clearly.
"Anya!" Xander's grip on Ethan relaxed for a moment,
and the warlock seized his chance, breaking free of
the boy and running for the exit. He had a good turn
of speed when he needed it. But then, he had plenty
"Damn!" Xander pointed after the fleeing Englishman,
"Oz! See if you can grab him! I'm going to help
Colonel Cabot staggered backward, all but doubled
over. For a long moment after his scream, he was
silent, drawing in shocked lungfuls of air. Then
slowly he straightened, his movements making it clear
that he was still feeling the after-effects of Anya's
"I guess you're still sensitive there, huh?" the
ex-demoness quipped, "Who would have thought, after
what happened to it in the past? Guess you should
have tied my feet as well as my hands, Colonel. Might
have made it easier for you to handle me."
"Bitch." Cabot's knuckles whitened as he gripped his
cane. "I'm going to kill you even more slowly, now."
"No, you're not." Xander charged as the Colonel
turned, tackling the older man around the waist. The
pair rolled across the floor, the younger man using
the other's surprise to its full advantage. He was
glad that Cabot had been so distracted when he
arrived. Trust Anya to be anything but a docile
Cabot tried to smash the head of his cane into
Xander's face, but the younger man twisted so that the
blow struck his shoulder, then rolled so that the
Colonel was beneath him, with all of Xander's weight
on his legs.
The older man shouted in pain and dropped his cane,
but Xander took no notice, dragging Cabot to his feet
and throwing him against a wall. As the Colonel
staggered, his balance obviously hampered by the lack
of a cane, Xander stepped close and punched him twice:
first to the stomach and then to the jaw.
Cabot crashed to the ground, and Xander quickly rolled
him onto his front and tied his hands together, then
rushed to free Anya.
"My hero!" she grinned, hugging him tightly and
kissing his mouth.
"It was nothing." He smiled in reply, "You seemed to
have things quite well in hand without me."
"Well, he was a very stupid man." Anya sniffed
disdainfully, "what sort of idiot leaves the feet of
their torture victim untied?"
"I really don't need to think about that." Xander
shook his head, "What do you want to do about him,
"Him?" Anya glanced at the semi-conscious Colonel.
"What could I do that I haven't already? Let's just
They walked together from the room, Anya's hand
sneaking into Xander's as they headed down the stairs
to the ground floor.
Just outside the building, they found Oz sitting on a
low brick wall. He was bent over, sneezing
repeatedly, and occasionally muttering under his
"Are you okay, man?" Xander asked, "Because I could
swear you actually look ticked off."
"Ethan got away -" Oz paused to sneeze, "used
Wolfsbane on me." He sneezed again.
"Wolfsbane?" Xander asked.
"It's a herb with a strong scent that irritates the
nose of wolves." Anya explained, "certain spells
duplicate the effects on werewolves. He should be
okay in a few minutes."
"I'm okay now." Oz sneezed. "Just annoyed that I
never got that chocolate milkshake you promised me."
"Ah! Chocolately goodness!" Xander grinned and hugged
Anya, "C'mon, Dorothy. I think Toto over there has
had enough of Kansas for a while."
"Toto?" Oz clambered to his feet, "Shouldn't that be
"No, he's my Scarecrow." Anya grinned as they began to
walk toward the car, "If he only had a brain . . ."
"Hey!" Xander protested mildly.
"Or maybe my Cowardly Lion . . ."