Features
TOC
Events
Costumes
Wine
Books
Movies
Links
Previously
Books
DVD
VHS
Search by keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com


The Devil and Miss Jenkins - Part III

We still don't own Anya or any other Buffy characters, because how could they grow and become enlightened. If you try to hold onto a butterfly, it dies.

By the equally wonderous cjl.


PREVIOUSLY, ON BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER….

[Xander and Dawn are making their way out of Sunnydale High. As the building falls down around them, Xander screams out for Anya.]

XANDER: Anya….ANYA!

[He doesn't see her body lying limp and lifeless on the floor beneath some rubble. Dawn pulls him away toward the exit.]

[Freeze frame on Anya’s body. With Xander’s cries and the sounds of battle echoing from the hallway around her, we slowly zoom in on her face, until we’re practically lens-to-eye. High-speed pull-back from extreme close-up to reveal Anya standing, in one piece, surrounded by near total darkness--Arashmaharr, D’Hoffryn’s home dimension ("Something Blue," "Hell's Bells"). As before, no backdrop, no props, no scenery (and no identifiable light source). D'Hoffryn materializes from the shadows.]

D’HOFFRYN: Hello, Anyanka.

[Anya gives herself a quick pat-down, astonished that all her body parts are still contiguous. Then it hits her.]

ANYA: Oh, crap. Am I dead?

D’HOFFRYN: Quite dead. You didn’t watch your back. I always told you that was going to be a problem.

ANYA: I remember. [Brief flash of the Bringer, slicing and dicing her in two; anxiously:] Xander! What about Xander? Is he all right? Did we win? [D’Hoffryn does not look happy.] Of course we won. You have that “sucking lemons” expression on your face. Your face always looks like that when the world isn’t revolving around your Magnificence.

D’HOFFRYN: Yes, Anyanka, your associates—somehow—won the day. For the moment. But you’re still dead.

[Anya shrugs off the bad news with surprisingly little effort.]

ANYA: And this, I take it, is the initial phase of my afterlife. [Looks around; sighs nostalgically] The old neighborhood. I see you haven’t redecorated since the last time I was here. [Light bulb] Wait a minute—what am I doing here? I’m not a vengeance demon anymore.

D’HOFFRYN: Consider this a brief stopover. We have some unfinished business.

ANYA: Like what? I got all nice and dead without your help. You can call off your contract, and all your little hench-demons can crawl back into their holes and enjoy a nice, quiet hibernation.

D’HOFFRYN: I don’t appreciate your tone of voice, Anyanka.

ANYA: I don’t give a damn if you appreciate my tone of voice or not. I’m not one of your girls anymore, D’Hoffryn, and you can—

[D’Hoffryn touches a gleaming emerald pendant around his throat, and a bolt of energy rattles what-used-to-be Anya’s bones for a split-second. Woozy from the impact, Anya sinks to her knees.]

D’HOFFRYN: I’m afraid it’s not that easy, my dear. You were mine for over a millennium, and—to a degree—your spirit is still linked to the power of Arashmaharr. Now we’re going to have our little talk, Anyanka, and you WILL show me the proper respect.

[Anya slowly, painfully, rises to her feet.]

ANYA: Fine. If it stops you from roasting my spiritual essence with soul-searing pain, by all means, let’s have a pleasant conversation. What do you want to talk about?

[D’Hoffryn walks directly toward Anya, then veers off to the side and circles her, like a hawk circling its prey.]

D’HOFFRYN: It was my hope, Anyanka, that once you left the mortal coil, you might gain some perspective about your role in the universe and reconsider some of your more foolish notions of recent years.

ANYA (deeply irritated): Such as?

D’HOFFRYN: Such as your allegiance to those putrid bags of bone and blood you’ve been calling your friends. Such as the abandonment of your sisters and your birthright. Such as the idea that your “valiant sacrifice for the cause” had any value whatsoever.

ANYA: You wouldn’t understand.

D’HOFFRYN: Oh you’re right, Anyanka, I don’t understand. For the past five months, I’ve been sending my ‘hench-demons,’ as you call them, to drill some sense into [points to her hair] the kaleidoscopic color wheel you call your head. Maybe, I said to myself, maybe if I could put a little fear of the Pit into the girl—

ANYA: You mean—you weren’t trying to kill me?

D’HOFFRYN: Of course not! You disappoint me, child. What was the first rule I taught you when it comes to vengeance?

ANYA (almost automatically): “Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain.”

D’HOFFRYN: Exactly.

ANYA: Then what was the point?

[D’Hoffryn leans over and whispers in Anya’s ear.]

D’HOFFRYN: When you were a vengeance demon, you could have destroyed my assassins with a thought, and maybe even less than a thought. But you wanted to experience the joys and sensations of a mortal life. Well, how did it feel, Anyanka? How did it feel to realize that your head could be crushed like a grape and your heart could be ripped from your chest in a split-second?

ANYA: It…it wasn’t very pleasant.

[D’Hoffryn straightens up and resumes circling.]

D’HOFFRYN: No, I suppose it wasn’t. And it must have done wonders for your ego to cower behind the Slayer and that pathetic excuse for a vampire.

ANYA: Not exactly beaming with pride here….

[D’Hoffryn stops, reaches out, and caresses Anya’s cheek.]

D’HOFFRYN: So let’s start over.

ANYA: Excuse me?

D’HOFFRYN: Now that you realize the fragility—the futility—of mortal existence, I’m perfectly willing to put this madness behind us.

ANYA: You must be joking.

D’HOFFRYN: I never joke about business, Anyanka. Granted, the initiation ceremony will be a bit more complicated than usual—I mean, with you being dead and all—but I’m sure the girls will be happy to help out.

[Anya jerks away from D’Hoffryn’s touch.]

ANYA: Halfrek won’t be here to ‘help out.’

D’HOFFRYN: No, she won’t. Most regrettable. But you have to understand—

ANYA (angry): Spare me. I understand why you did it, D’Hoffryn. I’ve seen you do it over and over for the past thousand years. You have to ‘maintain discipline’; you can’t have your little pack of vengeance whores breaking your rules willy-nilly, because the Lords of the Lower Depths might think you’re losing it. Just don’t give me this crap that Hallie was one of your favorites, and you loved her like you love all the other girls, and—

D’HOFFRYN (reaches out): Anyanka….

ANYA: No! Stay away from me. [Starts to cry; brushes a tear off her cheek and stares at it in disbelief] Damn it! I’m dead, how can I be crying? That’s what your world is about, D’Hoffryn—pain and suffering and retribution, and I’m sick of it. I’m out of the business. Get used to it.

D’HOFFRYN: I see. And you’ve come to this conclusion drawing upon your many years of experience as a mortal woman?

ANYA: You’re employing sarcasm, but yes. Exactly.

D’HOFFRYN: Let me guess. Over the eleven centuries of your existence, you reveled in the power of the wish, and you avenged yourself against the worthless race of men—but you had forgotten the possibilities of life beyond simple vengeance.

ANYA: I suppose.

D’HOFFRYN: And I suppose the Slayer—in between all the hacking and slashing and stabbing, of course—taught you that humanity isn’t just a collection of weak-willed, craven fools indulging their most depraved passions, but a pure and noble breed, capable of fighting for the highest ideals.

ANYA: You’d be surprised. Buffy does have that effect on people.

D’HOFFRYN: I’m sure she does. But she wouldn’t have been able to convince you if you weren’t listening in the first place.

[D’Hoffryn waves his hand, and an image of Xander materializes in the dim light in front of them. He’s wearing the tuxedo from the day of the wedding.]

D’HOFFRYN: Your young man. [D’Hoffryn circles the image, inspecting it with a visible look of disdain.] You know, he did get puffy over the last couple of years.

ANYA: He’s not puffy. He has a slight midriff bulge—but that in no way affected the frequency of our lovemaking or the longevity of his sexual performance.

D’HOFFRYN: I don’t want to hear about it.

ANYA: Honestly, once I gave him a couple of simple pointers, our mutual orgasms went up exponentially.

D’HOFFRYN: Anyanka…

ANYA: Not that it was all one-sided. After 1100 years, I was a little out of practice with a mortal body.

D’HOFFRYN: Will you please—

ANYA: He showed me things I never would have imagined doing back in Sweden. Olaf would have had a heart attack if he--

D’HOFFRYN: Be. QUIET!

ANYA (sweet and innocent): Something wrong?

D’HOFFRYN: You did that deliberately. You know I’ve never been comfortable when you’re chattering about your….repulsive desires.

ANYA: And I always found it sad that you thought my desires were repulsive. [A question pops into her head, and Anya is amazed she’s never asked D’Hoffryn this question in all the time she’s knows him:] Haven’t you ever been in love?

D’HOFFRYN (snorts derisively): Don’t be absurd. I am Vengeance Incarnate—eternal and unchanging. I am beyond such transitory mortal concepts. [Pause.] Besides, what does ‘love’ have to do with any of this? [Looks over at the image of Xander] Sounds like we’re talking about sex—as usual.

ANYA: That’s not true. I-it may have started out that way, but Xander and I developed a deep and mutually fulfilling bond that—

D’HOFFRYN: To quote a learned philosopher, Anyanka—spare me. You may have been watching me for the past thousand years, but I’ve been watching you as well—and this so-called relationship isn’t any different from any of the other transitory and grotesquely explicit ‘relationships’ you’ve had in the past.

ANYA: You don’t know anything about my relationships, old man.

D’HOFFRYN: Really? I seem to recall a particularly gratifying wish fulfillment slash mass slaughter near the Bavarian Alps around—what was it? 1590? 1595? I’m getting so bad with dates these days.

ANYA (ashamed): 1599.

D’HOFFRYN: I nearly stepped right in the middle of the moonlight bacchanal you were throwing in the town square. I will never forget the look in your eyes, Anyanka. They were empty. In one day, you destroyed a community thousands of years old--but it wasn’t enough to satisfy your hatred, your desire for vengeance, the void in the center of your being. You were dancing around the funeral pyre, and—

ANYA (can’t bear to hear any more): I know what I did. But that was a long time ago.

D’HOFFRYN: Then let’s talk about now. You prattle on about this wonderful, mutually fulfilling bond you have with our dear Mr. Harris, but you’re still defining your relationship in terms of ‘orgasms.’ If you really had a special bond with the boy, if he filled the emptiness in your heart, you wouldn’t brag about screwing him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

ANYA: You’re twisting—

D’HOFFRYN: And if you had this magnificent, fairy tale romance, if you filled the emptiness in his heart, why did he call off the wedding? How could any man, any man truly in love, abandon the vision that was my Anyanka on her wedding day?

[Score. Anya was caught off-guard, again.]

ANYA: H-he must have had his reasons.

D’HOFFRYN: Reasons, I take it, he never shared. [Shakes his head; tsk tsks] Poor Anyanka. But perhaps I could shed some light on the matter.

[D’Hoffryn waves his hand, and the image of Xander changes to that of a messy living room. An ironing board piled with clothes, stuff on the floor, etc. In the background, we see a foyer and a door to the outside. It's sunny. In the foreground, there's a big leather-covered armchair. Xander, wearing the tuxedo from the wedding, is holding a bottle of beer in one hand and a TV remote in the other.

[Shot of the TV, showing a football game.]

XANDER (calls): Anya.

[No reply. He sits staring at the TV for a beat.]

XANDER: Anya!

[Anya appears in the doorway, wearing a red suit, tucking her blouse into the skirt. Her expression is bored, or resigned.]

ANYA (to Xander): What.

XANDER: You going out again?

ANYA (picking up a small wastebasket): I'm doing a make-over party.

XANDER: I thought you hated those.

ANYA: Well, one of us has to make some money. [picking up empty beer bottles]

XANDER (angry): Well, what do you want me to do, Anya? Huh? I can't work. My back is shot.

ANYA: And whose fault is that?

XANDER: Oh, no no no. Not the Buffy thing again.

ANYA: You had no business fighting demons with her.

XANDER: Buffy needed me. I had to help.

ANYA (bitterly): Well, it didn't save her, did it? [Xander drinking beer] All it did was ruin our lives.

[Anya turns away, puts the wastebasket down. Xander sits staring at the TV, but not seeing it, looking hurt.]

ANYA (OS): I'll be late.

[Xander continues sitting there upset. Anya leaves out the front door, slamming it.]

XANDER (yells): I hope you crash in your stupid pink car!

[Present day: Anya is watching in disbelief, anguished.]

D’HOFFRYN: Wait. It gets better.

[Flash to a kitchen, years later. The sink is piled with dirty dishes.]

XANDER (O.S.): If you were so unhappy, why didn't you just leave?

ANYA (O.S.): I wanted to. I should have!

[Pan over to a small table against a wall. Xander and Anya sit there, facing each other across the table. He is still in his tux and still the same age. Anya is much older.]

XANDER: Yeah, you should have. 'Cause then maybe I would have gotten some touch in the past twenty years.

ANYA: I wasn't the one who stopped touching!

XANDER: Oh! Maybe, but you weren't touching me!

[He jumps up angrily, begins to pace.]

ANYA: What did you expect me to do? You wouldn't come near me after Buffy--

XANDER (shouts): Don't bring her into this!

ANYA: Fine. Forget her. Maybe you were just born to be a bitter, angry old man.

XANDER (quietly, very angry): Shut up.

ANYA: No! (tearfully) I want my life back! If I hadn't married you I wouldn't have had to hate myself for the last THIRTY YEARS!

[Xander grabs a frying pan off the stove and lunges toward Anya, screaming.]

XANDER: SHUT UP!

[As he swings the frying pan toward her face, we switch back to present-day Anya, as she instinctively jerks her head back from the oncoming blow.]

ANYA (stunned): He never told me.

[The image of Xander is frozen at the point where he’s swinging his arm back and ready to smash Anya across the face with the frying pan. He’s wild-eyed, enraged. D’Hoffryn looks at the tableau with something resembling admiration.]

ANYA (despairing): Why didn’t he tell me?

[D’Hoffryn turns away from the lovely picture and faces Anya.]

D’HOFFRYN: Oh, come now, Anyanka, you know perfectly well why he didn’t tell you. He was ashamed. Our friend, Mr. Burns, showed the brave, young Mr. Harris what was festering inside, and he didn’t have the courage to face it.

ANYA: But that’s not who he is. That’s not how it was going to be.

D’HOFFRYN: Really? I think it looks absolutely convincing. “The son of abusive parents taking out the pain of his miserable childhood on his beloved spouse and family.” Quite sad.

[Suddenly, something that should have been plainly obvious falls into place for Anya.]

ANYA: You knew.

D’HOFFRYN: About what?

ANYA: Wait, what am I saying?! You didn’t just “know”—you set the whole thing up! Stewart Burns, the crystal, the prophecies—you son of a bitch, you set the whole thing up!

D’HOFFRYN (smiling): Finally. I was wondering if you would ever figure it out. Hmm…who had fifteen months in the pool?

ANYA: Shut up! Stop making those stupid little jokes about MY LIFE! Stop it! You ruined everything!

D’HOFFRYN: I did no such thing. Honestly, Anyanka, what exactly did I do? I gave our old friend Stewart Burns some time off for good behavior, so he could attend the wedding. I gave him a crystal so he could show Mr. Harris some pretty pictures. Anything that happened afterwards was pretty much up to your stalwart fiance and yourself.

ANYA: No.

D’HOFFRYN: And what the brave, loyal, good-hearted Mr. Harris did was look into the eyes of the woman he claimed to love more than anything else in the world, say absolutely nothing, and walk out into the rain, leaving her to humiliate herself in front of her guests.

ANYA (heartbroken): He didn’t –

D’HOFFRYN: But maybe I’m being too hard on the boy. How many people can face the truth about themselves? Sometimes I wonder why they don’t all go mad.

ANYA (trying to hold it together): T-they’re not all like that.

D’HOFFRYN: Yes, Anyanka, they are ALL. LIKE. THAT. I’ve been the Lord of Vengeance for nearly 20,000 years, and there isn’t one mortal, not since they crawled out of the slime, not since Cain slew Abel, who hasn’t felt the need for vengeance at one time or another.

[D’Hoffryn snaps his fingers, and the image of Xander disappears. Anya is visibly relieved. D’Hoffryn then waves his hand, and the darkness around and above them is replaced by the stars of the night sky.]

D’HOFFRYN: This is how the universe runs, my dear. It does not run on mercy. It does not run on compassion. It is the living instrument of a vengeful God, and I am merely one of his minions—as are you. But, if you persist in thinking that “love makes the world go ‘round” or some such nonsense, by all means—prove me wrong.

ANYA (warily): How?

D’HOFFRYN: Walk away.

[D’Hoffryn snaps his fingers again, and the star field vanishes.]

D’HOFFRYN: Simply walk beyond the borders of Arashmaharr, and into the next world. I won’t do anything to stop you. If the universe is truly a place of "love" and "mercy," the gods will smile down upon you and your repentance and sacrifice will be duly rewarded. [Pause; Anya turns to leave.] Maybe.

[As Anya wanders out toward the edge of the darkness, a wall of flame shoots up in her path. She looks back at D’Hoffryn with utter loathing; D’Hoffryn shrugs, as if to say, "Hey, wasn't me."]

[Anya slowly, hesitantly, approaches the flames.]

ANYA (v.o.; singing softly): "So I will walk through the fire."

[She flinches slightly from the heat.]

ANYA (v.o.): "’Cause where else can I turn."

[She reaches out to touch the flame.]

ANYA (v.o.): "I will walk through the fire, and let it--"

[Her hand trembles, then drops to her side—she’s not going anywhere. She closes her eyes and bows her head in shame. The wall of flame dissipates. D’Hoffryn approaches Anya, stopping just behind her shoulder.]

D’HOFFRYN: I know what you’re thinking, Anyanka. You think you’ve betrayed your principles. You think you’re a coward.

ANYA: I am a coward.

D’HOFFRYN: You’re a realist. When it counted, when you looked into the darkness of your soul to find the truth, you knew the universe was everything I said it was. You saw through the illusions the Slayer and her friends have been feeding you the past three years.

[D’Hoffryn gently places a hand on her shoulder.]

D’HOFFRYN: You’re finally ready to come home.

ANYA: There’s no place for me here anymore.

D'HOFFRYN: There is always a place for you here, child. You are Anyanka. Don’t you remember what that name means? Really means?

ANYA: Of course I know what it means. You've told me a million times. It means "fury," or something like that.

D'HOFFRYN: You don't understand. A thousand years, and you still don't understand. It means so much more than that. In the language of Arashmaharr, "anyanka" describes a hurricane ripping up a forest at the roots, or an earthquake swallowing a village like an appetizer. It is the Force of Nature, beautiful and unstoppable, and beyond any of your petty mortal concepts of good and evil. That is what I saw in your eyes when I met you, Anyanka.

[D’Hoffryn turns Anya around, places both hands on her shoulders, and looks deeply into her eyes, with surprising warmth and sensitivity.]

D’HOFFRYN: It is your place in the universe, and you will never be able to deny it.

[Anya lowers her eyes and turns her head away, defeated.]

ANYA: All right.

D’HOFFRYN: Excellent.

[D’Hoffryn’s pendant flashes a blinding, emerald green, and almost instantaneously, D’Hoffryn and Anya are surrounded by a circle of her fellow vengeance demons. D’Hoffryn breaks away from Anya, magisterially striding his way to the center of the circle with a sweep of his robes. He beckons to Anya to join him.]

D’HOFFRYN: Come, child. This shouldn’t take long. Your essence is already bound to the crystal. All we need is the Invocation.

[Anya sits, cross-legged, at the center of the circle. D’Hoffryn nods, and a low, eerie hum pervades the darkness. One by one, the pendants of the vengeance demons flare into brilliance, then are joined together in a circle of pure energy.]

[Close-up: Anya, sitting in the middle of the circle, her mind working feverishly. She thinks back on D’Hoffryn’s words: “Your spirit is linked to the power of Arashmaharr.” “Your essence is…bound to the crystal.” She whispers the start of a spell under her breath.]

[The hum grows progressively louder, almost deafening, as D’Hoffryn draws the power from the circle into his body and projects it through his pendant. Anya, bathed in the light of the pendant, intones the final words to her spell, and her eyes glow, a pale green. The pendant snaps off D'Hoffryn's neck and flies into her hand.]

ANYA: Gotcha.

[She plays Green Lantern with the pendant, blasting D’Hoffryn completely off screen with an energy bolt. She's got the old man down, but she hesitates for a moment, pondering what to do next....]

FLASH

Anya's pendant glows, and the pendants of all the other vengeance demons shatter like glass.

FLASH

Anya stands over D'Hoffryn, who is cowering, helpless.

FLASH

Two shot: Anya zaps him again, a sustained blast, and D’Hoffryn lets out a horrible, inhuman scream.

FLASH

Close-up on Anya: she's hideous and vein-y again.

FLASH

D'Hoffryn is gone, a wisp of smoke rising from where he was groveling.

FLASH

Camera pans up Anya, then pulls back: she's not Anya anymore. She's not Anyanka, either. She's wearing (a much sexier version of) D'Hoffryn's robes--she is Queen of Arashmaharr....

[Out of the revenge fantasy and back to Anya. She's still considering what to do with the pendant. The almost-imperceptible smile on her lips tells us she’s decided. A faint glow emerges from Anya's forehead, and energy pours down into the pendant. We see a rapid-fire, five-second montage of Anya's entire life--Olaf, D'Hoffryn, Hallie, Cordy, Xander, Buffy, Giles, the wedding, Dark Willow, Harmony, Oz, Touched, Chosen, Her Death--and then the beam cuts off. The pendant, and the pendants of all the other vengeance demons flash like a supernova, then go dark. Anya slumps forward, exhausted.]

[D'Hoffryn, stunned by the unexpected maneuver, grabs Anya's arm, nearly wrenching it from its socket.]

D'HOFFRYN: You stupid little--what have you done?!

ANYA: I gave the girls something to think about.

[As one, the vengeance demons vanish in a blaze of light. Anya flips the pendant back to D'Hoffryn.]

ANYA: Nice try.

[D'Hoffryn releases her arm to catch the pendant.]

D'HOFFRYN: You knew.

ANYA: Of course I knew. [Stands] God, D'Hoffryn, you must think I'm an idiot. Ever since I got here, you've been waving that pendant in my face, practically begging me to take a shot at you. Typical D’Hoffryn set-up. Let me guess—killing you….that was the initiation. The REAL initiation. Am I right?

D'HOFFRYN (devilish grin): I would have owned you body and soul.

ANYA (laughs; wags a finger): Oh, you're good. [More serious] But I told you--I'm not interested in vengeance anymore. I'm out of the business.

D'HOFFRYN: Very well.

ANYA: "Very well"? You mean that's it? No more games, no more tests, no more tricks? I'm free to go?

D'HOFFRYN: Yes, you're free to go….

[D’Hoffryn goes into his big, scary demon routine, with accompanying SFX and Dolby surround sound.]

D’HOFFRYN: But rest assured, child, that next time we meet--

ANYA: Oh, please! Are you going to give me the whole, cliched speech about you're letting me go now, but "the next time we meet, it will be as deadly foes"? Because I don't think I could keep my lunch. Can a spiritual essence vomit?

D'HOFFRYN (back to normal; chuckles): Standard demonic overlord speech. Contractual obligation.

ANYA (waves it off): I know, I know. But it doesn't have to be this way. We've known each other for a long time, D'Hoffryn. Now that the whole "professional relationship" thing is over, couldn't we be--

D'HOFFRYN: Friends? You must realize you're asking a lot, my dear.

ANYA: Okay, maybe not friends. But--

D'HOFFRYN: Yes?

[Anya looks past D’Hoffryn, off into the darkness.]

ANYA: I-I don't know what's out there.

D'HOFFRYN: The next world. The next part of your journey.

ANYA: It would be nice if I could have somebody along with me--kinda show me the way. Couldn't you take a couple of days off? I mean, you haven't taken a vacation in 10,000 years. I'm sure the Lords of the Lower Depths wouldn't mind.

D'HOFFRYN: You're scared, aren't you, child?

ANYA: A little.

D'HOFFRYN: You should be. Because I don't know what's out there any more than you do. [D'Hoffryn starts to melt into the shadows.] I tried to offer you the blessings and power of Arashmaharr and the Lower Depths--but obviously, that's not who you are anymore. I've done all that I can do.

ANYA: W-wait...

D'HOFFRYN: You're on your own. Goodbye, Anya. [Vanishes]

[Anya, alone. Her name seems to hang in the air, and the air is suddenly warmer, brighter. The smooth, polished floor of the chamber gives way to the pleasant sensation of earth and grass beneath her feet. Sunlight pours in, and Anya is now standing in the midst of a bright, green field, with trees, birds and butterflies, a lake, and a hillside, off to her right. There’s a woman in a canary yellow sun dress waiting patiently for Anya on the slope of the hill. Anya briskly walks up the hillside to confirm what she already knows in her heart: it’s Halfrek, the real Halfrek. The two women look at each other for a moment, then melt into a warm embrace. Anya’s crying again; Hallie isn’t exactly dry-eyed either.]

ANYA: I thought I’d never see you again.

[The hug is going on a little too long for Hallie’s taste.]

HALFREK: You’re wrinkling the dress, honey. [Anya disengages.]

ANYA: Oh. Sorry.

HALFREK: That’s OK. Good to see you too.

[Now that all the mushy, borderline-slashy stuff is out of the way, Anya soaks in her surroundings.]

ANYA: Sylvan glades, adorable woodland creatures, general bucolic splendor—Hallie, are these the Elysian Fields? [Off Halfrek’s look] You know, drinking ambrosia, dancing to the pipes of Pan, frolicking with muscular, if mythological, Greek deities? That would be amazing---because, let me tell you, after the day I’ve had, I could really go for some frolicking.

HALFREK: Nnnnnnot quite. Consider this, for lack of a better word, a classroom. If you’re going to get where you’re going, you need to learn a couple of lessons first.

ANYA: Lessons? Like what? And where exactly am I going?

HALFREK: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

ANYA: And for that matter, how did I get here?

HALFREK: All right, let’s call that Lesson One. Actually, sweetie, you didn’t "get here" at all. You’ve always been in this place, but you just didn’t see it until now.

ANYA: You’re losing me.

HALFREK: Look at it this way. [Halfrek plucks a dandelion from the hillside.] From the old days as vengeance demons, we both know the mortal world is barely the tip of a multiversal iceberg. [She puffs away the dandelion blooms, leaving the stem intact.] But even the multiverse is an outward manifestation of a single, deeper Truth.

ANYA: Oh! I think I understand: It’s all a matter of perspective. The universe is always what it is, but its outward appearance changes according our level of perception.

HALFREK: You can put it that way, yes.

ANYA (applauds playfully): This is fun! I haven’t had a philosophical conversation in ages. You’d be surprised how obtuse Xander could be about things like metaphysics.

HALFREK: Hm. Consider me shocked.

ANYA: Come on! I’m just getting warmed up here! What’s the next lesson?

HALFREK: I think it’s coming your way right now.

[Halfrek points to the hillside below. An adorable, white fluffy bunny rabbit is hopping up towards Anya. Anya’s playful mood instantly disappears. She fixes the rabbit with a glare, and it freezes in place. Stare-down.]

HALFREK: Anya…

ANYA: Not now. If I let my guard down for a minute, it’s going to attack.

HALFREK: It’s not going to attack.

ANYA: Mock me all you want, Halfrek. You don’t know these things like I do. Look at it. Back on its haunches, ready to spring at a moment’s notice.

HALFREK: Sweetie, we can’t stay like this for the rest of eternity. Places to go, people to see, you know? Instead of automatically reacting like it’s some kind of monster, why don’t you take the time to listen to it?

ANYA (never taking her eye off the bunny): My last conversation with a rabbit didn’t work out too well.

HALFREK: But this isn’t the Nevada desert; this isn’t even the mortal world anymore. Go ahead. Try. Trust me, it’s not going to kill you.

[Anya—with extreme reluctance—inches her way toward the rabbit.]

ANYA: All right. Trying to be broad-minded here. Everything is part of creation and all that crap.

[She squats down, her face only inches away from the rabbit.]

ANYA (to the rabbit): Hello. [There’s no audible sound, but Anya tilts her head as if listening to the other half of a conversation.] Really? [Listens again] No. There’s no problem at all. Thank you.

HALFREK: What did he say?

ANYA: Well, he said he’s sorry if any other rabbits scared me in the past, and he hopes I won’t hold that against him.

HALFREK: DO you hold that against him?

ANYA: No, of course not. I’m not a bigot. Wait…. [Listens again.]

HALFREK: Now what?

ANYA: He’s wondering why I don’t pick him up and stroke his soft, sensuous fur. He says he would greatly enjoy that.

HALFREK: Watch out. It could be a trap.

ANYA: Don’t be ridiculous.

[Anya picks up the rabbit, straightens up, and walks back over to Halfrek, stroking the rabbit all the while.]

ANYA: He’s right. This is a very pleasurable experience. To think, I’ve been missing out on this for centuries. But…technically speaking, I’m not really stroking his fur, am I? I don’t really have hands, and he doesn’t have fur. I’m enjoying the Platonic Idea of Rabbit.

HALFREK (rolls eyes): Oh, for—will you just go with it, please? [Anya nods, and continues stroking.] C’mon. Playtime’s over.

[All during the next stretch of dialogue, Anya and Halfrek—and friend--walk down the hillside and alongside the lake, gradually disappearing from view.]

ANYA: Halfrek?

HALFREK: Hm?

ANYA: Did you know about the wedding—about D’Hoffryn, and the crystal ball and everything?

HALFREK: Yes.

ANYA: I seem to be asking this question a lot today: Why didn’t you tell me?

HALFREK: Because he would have roasted me alive if I said a word.

ANYA: In case you hadn’t noticed, he roasted you alive anyway.

HALFREK: I noticed. And thank you for that.

ANYA: Sorry.

HALFREK: Never mind. It’s all brimstone under the bridge, anyway.

ANYA: Did you know he actually called me ‘Anya’?

HALFREK: I heard. That was a big step for him.

ANYA: It sounded weird coming from D’Hoffryn. Do you like the name Anya? If I’m on this new level of existence, shouldn’t I have a new name, like Scheherazade, or Delirium, or Masquerade?

HALFREK: What’s wrong with Anya?

ANYA: I don’t think I’ve ever lived up to the meaning.

HALFREK: You mean it actually means something? I thought it was just short for Anyanka.

ANYA: It’s Russian. It means "grace."

HALFREK: Perfect.

[Fade to white.]

[Pause.]

ANYA (v.o.): That’s not sarcasm, is it?

 

 
Main Page | Links | About Us | Contact Us | Map of the Bay Area
Contents may not be reproduced without the express permission of Life Am Good and author(s). Contact Karen or Crystal with any comments, suggestions, or contrary opinions.