Xander & Anya LIFE


Summer Holiday 2
Adam Windsor

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?"

"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 her back.

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 entirely.

"Does that mean you know where you want to go?" he teased, tracing circles on her back with his fingertips.

"Kansas." She answered primly. "I want to see Kansas."

He sighed,

"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 Dead!".

"So what if it is?" she teased, "We had to go all the way to Alberqueque just to satisfy your creepy rabbit fetish."

"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."

Anya shrugged,

"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 comfortable.


"Syracuse. It's the name of the town at the intersection."

"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 without research?"

"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 lieutenants."

"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 trollop."

"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 sentence.

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 Anyanka."


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 Geographic."

"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 see them.


"Monosyllabic as ever, big guy?" Xander slid onto the chair opposite Oz, "I like the new hair. Burgundy is your colour."

"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 own.

"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, sweetie?"

"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 non-confrontational topic.

"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 moment.

"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 can."

"Kinda like being 'Sensei Oz'?" the dark-haired boy quipped.

"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 a charm."

"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 snapped.

"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 escape.

"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 kind."

"I was already going to enjoy this." The man hissed in anger, "You're just making the moment even more pleasant."

"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 expected."

"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 payback."

"He's the only one up there." Oz said. It was not a question.

"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 of practice.

"Damn!" Xander pointed after the fleeing Englishman, "Oz! See if you can grab him! I'm going to help Anya!"


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 kick.

"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 prisoner.

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, though?"

"Him?" Anya glanced at the semi-conscious Colonel. "What could I do that I haven't already? Let's just go."

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 breath.

"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 you?"

"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 . . ."