When You Wish Upon An Anya
By Karen Jephson

Title: When You Wish Upon An Anya
Author: Karen Jephson
Rating: NC17, definitely.
Spoilers: End of Season 3. Xander didn't go away on his road trip, and Anya
came after him soon after the ascension.
Distribution: Solo, Anya, Headquarters, My own site. Everyone else, ask.
Summary: Cordelia wasn't the only scorned woman of Sunnydale.
Lynching: Just give me a head start please?


The young girl walked hesitantly into the cavern. Last time she'd been here she'd asked the demon before her to help retrieve her amulet. At his refusal, she'd never returned. Now she'd been summonsed to him. Naturally she was a little bit hesitant. Stopping in front of the demon, she cleared her throat. "You wanted to see me?"

The demon looked up from his scribbling. "Ah Anyanka. I haven't seen you in a while. I thought you'd have been back by now begging for your power back."

She shrugged, feigning unconcern. "You said I couldn't, and the one attempt I made at doing it myself was a failure."

"I know. I saw it."

Anya refrained from sticking her tongue out at the master demon. He was still technically her boss, after all. "I'm using this as a learning experience. Gives me a chance to get to know the humans better."

"Especially the male humans hey?"  He chuckled at the blush covering her face. "You're becoming human Anya."

"No I'm not! I just.." she suddenly realized she'd started shouting. "decided that this was a good time to learn more about the people I grant wishes to. A-and against."

He shook his head. "Not good enough. Well, no need to worry any more. I've decided to give you what you so desire. Your amulet will be returned to
 you."

"Oh, how wonderful." She wondered if he heard her lack of enthusiasm.

"Hmm. Well, go now. You'll find your amulet soon enough."

Turning away dejectedly, Anya fretted that she won't have time to say goodbye to Xander. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she left her demon master.

.

Joyce Summers hummed as she unpacked some new deliveries in her gallery. It was a beautiful sunny day, Sunnydale had avoided yet another catastrophe, and her daughter was about to attend university. Not a bad life at all.

Pausing at one of the artifacts, her hand drifted over the pendant resting among the packing. It was unusual and she found herself attracted to it. Looking around to make sure she wasn't seen, Joyce slipped the chain over her neck. The warmth of the metal surprised her.

"Hey Mom." Joyce jumped at the sound of her daughter's voice. She turned to see Buffy and her friends walking toward her. She smiled. She didn't know the girl Anya very well, but knew how much the others had helped Buffy over the years. She could only be grateful they were in her daughter's life. "I know. I'm late and I'm sorry."

Joyce sighed. "I'm sure it was something very important. It usually is." She muttered the last under her breath. "But at least you're here now and I'm almost finished. Then we can go shopping for some new clothes for the start of school."

The apologetic look on Buffy's face warned her what was about to happen. "I' m sorry Mom, but Giles called. He has something really important that he needs to talk to me about. I'm gonna have to break our date."

"Buffy." Her frustration was obvious.

"I know. I know, but Giles did say it was important."

"It's always important with Mr.. Giles." She relented at her daughter's expression. "Alright. Go on."

"Thanks Mom."

Joyce was surprised to notice Anya staying behind. "Aren't you going to run off to do Mr. Giles' bidding too?"

Anya shifted uncomfortably. "Well, actually I wondered where you got that necklace from. It's unusual."

Joyce looked down. "Oh, I'd forgotten about that. I found it." Finally her resentment flowed out. "You know, I am sick and tired of Mr. Giles coming first. Giles this, Giles that. He isn't even her watcher any more."

Anya winced. "Yes well, he's still involved. Um, do you think you should be wearing that? I mean, can I look at it?" She held her hand out.

Joyce lifted the chain, only to be distracted by her gradually growing anger. "Well, he shouldn't be. He's dictating Buffy's life more now than when he was a watcher. I bet another watcher wouldn't have had such an influence on her life. Look at that Mr. Wyndham-Price!"

"Er, yeah. The necklace?"

"You know the more I think about it I wonder that he should have even been a watcher. Let him have his own kids! We would have all been better off." She huffed. "You know something Anya? I wish."

"Mrs. Summers no!"

"I wish that Mr. Giles had never been a watcher!"

Anya sighed as her features changed. Her "Done" was smothered by Joyce's scream.

*********

Joyce pulled her hands from her face, looking about the gallery. She was alone. "Anya?" Moving slowly away, she waited only until she was clear of the packing crates before she bolted for the door. "Buffy!" She didn't see the others walking before her until she almost barreled into their leader.

"Mom! What's your hurry?"

Joyce looked down at her daughter. "A-An.. Buffy what are you wearing?"

Buffy looked down at her clothes, the leather mini-skirt stopping just below her hips. She wrapped the leather jacket around her. "What I always wear on a Saturday. I have to wear that stupid uniform all week, this my chance to chill." She shrugged. "Besides, Angel likes me in leather."

"Angel? What uniform?"

Buffy looked at her mother confused. "My work uniform. Remember? The one I wear for the job I had to take when Snyder had me expelled? And you do remember Angel my boyfriend?"

"Of course I remember Angel Buffy!" Joyce couldn't prevent from snapping back. She was confused, and looking at the others didn't help. Willow and Xander had the same confused look as Buffy. It was hard to tell with Oz, his expression never changed. "Aren't you meant to be meeting your watcher?"

Buffy barked out a laugh. "Him? It's mall day Mom, you know that. If I know my 'watcher' he's waiting at home for you!"

"Why." Joyce stopped, not wanting to make another mistake yet. "Well, perhaps I should go to him. Will we be seeing you later?"

Buffy shrugged. "Depends what time I finish at the mall, then we've got that Watcher Council thingy before patrol. I'll call you."

Joyce acknowledged the good-byes of the others, shaking her head in confusion. Deciding that her answers may be with Buffy's watcher, she locked up the gallery and walked home. Putting the key in the lock, Joyce came to the conclusion that Anya was somehow involved in everything. The sooner she found Xander's new girlfriend, the sooner she'd get a few answers.

"It's about bloody time." She looked up in shock at the familiar English accent. "Joyce I know she's your daughter, but that girl is the most disobedient, irresponsible slayer."

"Ethan?"

"Oh, I'm sorry love. I assumed Buffy had told you I'd be here. But that's still no excuse,"  he walked up to her, pulling her to his body. Too shocked to react, Joyce stared at him wide-eyed. "Hello darling."  Ethan bent down and began to thoroughly kiss her. The feel of his lips shaking her out of her stupor, Joyce began to push against him, only to gasp in surprise as his tongue pushed its way into her mouth, ravishing her fully.  By the time he pulled away, she was not only not fighting, but she'd actively participated in one of the most erotic kisses she'd ever been privy to. "Shall we continue this conversation upstairs?"

Joyce considered telling Ethan the truth, but his next kiss drew all thought from her mind. Wondering at the feeling of floating, she allowed herself to be carried away by her emotions, barely acknowledging that he was actually carrying her up the stairs. Whatever was happening, she decided it might not be that bad after all.

***********

Waking up to the feel of a heavy weight on her chest, Joyce wondered why she was in bed when the sun was shining. Realizing the weight was actually a male arm, she turned her head as memory flooded in. Sure enough, Ethan lay beside her. A very naked Ethan. Actually, a very sexy and naked Ethan.

As if feeling her eyes upon him, Ethan opened his own. Smiling, he leaned across and kissed her tenderly. "That was like the first time we made love. The look of wonder in your eyes was wonderful."

She blushed. "It felt like the first time." It didn't take much persuasion for her to move over to Ethan's side, and rest her head upon his shoulder. She rubbed her hand along the light covering of hair on his chest. "Ethan? Do you ever have one of those days where nothing seems the way you expect it to be?"

He kissed her forehead, sensing that something was bothering her. "Always. Especially since meeting your daughter. Do you want to talk about it?"

She shrugged. "I just feel as though I'm a stranger in a strange land. Buffy 's my daughter, but she doesn't fit the picture I have of her. It's almost as though somebody put me into a world that's like mine but not. Does that makes sense?"

He frowned. "On the Hellmouth? Anything is possible. Is it a good or bad different world?"

"Well.." She dragged the word out. "I haven't seen much of it, but some of it is not so good. Some very good." She looked up at him smiling, relieved when he returned that smile. "Can we play a game?"

"Oh, not the foreign spy one again. Buffy never let me live it down last time she caught me in that trench-coat."

"What?" Joyce decided she definitely wanted to find out more about that game! "No. But, I'll keep that one in mind. This is a different game of let' s pretend. In this game, we pretend that I really don't know anything, and you have to answer all my questions without asking any of your own. Okay?"

His look changed from rueful to concerned. "Of course love. But you would tell me if something was wrong, wouldn't you?"

"Of course." Looking down, she started her questions. "How did you become a watcher?"

He shifted in annoyance. "I told you before that I." Her hand on his mouth stopped his tirade.

"I'm new here remember. I don't know anything."

Ethan nibbled at her fingers before nodding his agreement. "I was running with a bad crowd. One of them was involved with the Watcher's Council. One day they came to fetch him, only he wasn't there. The bastard had run off. Unfortunately, they didn't know him by sight and took me instead. By the time they'd realized, and I'd come off the drugs I was on it was too late. They decided I'd do instead."

Joyce couldn't believe it. She almost shouted in delight. Rupert Giles was not a watcher. Her wish had come true! But what did that mean to Buffy and all she'd been through? Well, her daughter was still alive, so it couldn't have been all bad. Still, just to make sure. "I can't imagine you being much for the research."

He laughed. "I rely more on my magic and Buffy's skill. It's Willow who is the research member of our team. A pity really. If she wasn't so involved with that side, I could teach her some good magic."

Joyce remembered the things she knew Mr. Giles had been directly connected with. What had happened if he hadn't been there? "Angel is Buffy's boyfriend. But he went bad last year right?"

"You are playing the game aren't you? Yes he went bad. Killed that poor Calendar woman. Didn't like her much, but she'd helped us in the past. I suppose she felt guilty because she didn't warn Buffy in time."

"And Acathla?"

"Angelus tried to bring it to life. Buffy intervened before he could complete the ritual. Willow found the restoration spell amongst Miss Calendar's things and we were able to recurse him. He's not a bad sort, and as long as he and Buffy don't make the same mistake, there's no problem."

"Ethan? The test for slayers."

He sighed. "I've already apologized for that Joyce. But it's a necessary part of the development of the slayer. And she passed with flying colors. The council is extremely pleased. They've actually decided to retire  Kendra."

"Oh, she mentioned something about a watcher council thingy?"

"Ah yes. They want to know more about the Mayor's ascension, and how Buffy stopped it. She and Quentin are meeting about it tonight. If there's one person she dislikes more than me, it's Quentin Travers. If only I was a fly on that meeting." She could feel his chest rumble in humor.

"And you and I Ethan? How did we get together?"

"Well, you found out about Buffy not long after you came to Sunnydale. I was having trouble with her. She was insolent and wouldn't obey me. I came toyou for help. Instead we ended up consoling each other, and one thing led to another." He squeezed her to him. "Are you my Joyce?"

She hesitated, trying to think of one reason why she should try and turn things back to the way they were. Looking up at him, she smiled. "I am now."

.

Anya walked down the street, a feeling of dread weighing her down. She hadn' t wanted to grant Mrs. Summers' wish, but rules were rules. The woman was scorned, even if it was by her own daughter, and she'd made a wish. She only hoped that there wasn't too much damage done. She also needed to find Mrs. Summers to get her amulet back and get the wish undone.

A movement up ahead caught her eye. Smiling as she recognized the ambling gait of one of the teens before her, she started to run. "Xander!"  So happy to see his face as he turned, she didn't register the look of surprise on his face. She launched herself into his arms. "I've missed you. I know it's only been a few minutes but it seems like a lifetime."

"Er, right."  Awkwardly, he extracted himself from her arms. "It's great to see you and all, but," he looked at the others, "do I know you?"

Anya froze. She looked at the others, noting their expressions of humor and curiosity. "Come on guys, this isn't funny."

Buffy stepped closer. "It would be if we knew what was going on. But Xander here doesn't normally have cute strangers throwing themselves into his arms. Except Larry of course, but he wasn't a stranger at the time."

"Ha." It was obvious Xander didn't find it amusing. "Look, I'm sure you're a really nice person, but my girlfriend doesn't like me hugging others."

"Girlfriend?" She felt sick.

"Yeah. Cordelia Chase. Do you know her?"

Oh God. "Of course. I thought you two had broken up."

He did not look happy at that. "We had. But we're back together now." He looked at the others. "Come on guys."

Willow turned her back. "Xander, if Cordy finds out I didn't know anything about it."

Oz nodded. "Hey." He then loped off to catch up with the others.

Buffy tilted her head to one side. "I'd avoid Xander like the plague if I were you. Cordy doesn't like anybody encroaching on her territory." Looking the girl up and down she smiled before jauntily moving off to rejoin her friends.

Anya held back the tears with great effort. That did it. The sooner she found Joyce Summers the better. Nobody was going to take her Xander away.

***********

The High School library was a buzz of activity, more than would be expected during summer break. Actually, there was more activity than would be found during a school day. This time of night was the only time more than one or two people actually occupied the room.

Willow continued searching different internet sites looking for information that could help them in the upcoming battle. Beside her, Oz alternated his time between helping her check through the information she found and reading a large book on demonology. Xander and Cordelia returned from the stacks with another pile of books, adding them to the growing columns already on the desk. Angel paced as he tried to remember anything he could on their latest nemesis.

Xander looked across at Buffy and Ethan. The only two not studying were currently bickering. Again. Every time some researching was needed done, those two would start arguing. He searched for some excuse to stop them. It got so boring with them at each other's throat all the time. "There's a strange smell coming from the stacks by the way. Kind of sweet."

Cordelia looked up. "Yeah, it was funny. And I could have sworn I smelt cloves."

Buffy looked at Ethan, her face furious. "I thought you'd stopped smoking your funny cigarettes. You know how Mom doesn't like you doing it."

He growled. "Which is why I did stop. I wish you would not continue to think the worse of me." He looked toward Oz, the others following suit.

The young man sensed the eyes upon him. "It wasn't me."

Multiple "Oh"s signaled his return to the book. "Well whatever it was it can wait. We need some more information on this damned demon."

Buffy lifted her hands and stretched, the rising of her skirt distracting at least one of the males. "Well I wish you'd hurry up. I want to kick some butt, and this Dribble guy sounds perfect."

"Droboyale." Both Ethan and Angel corrected her in irritated voices. She never got the name right.

"Droboyale, a demon of the lower middle age who's favorite past-time used to be pulling the horns off unicorns. Until they became extinct that is." Seven heads turned toward the source of the semi-cultured English voice. Buffy shivered as the smooth tones caressed her skin.  Her eyes rose to the upper level of the stacks. Her breath caught at the sight before her.

He leaned against the bookshelf, his legs crossed at the ankles. Not as slim as Angel or Ethan, yet his body was obviously well toned and subject to consistent and considerable exercise. The soft beige leather of his tailored trousers caressed his legs and torso, the black leather belt and gold buckle emphasizing his trim waist. The soft wool of his black pullover made her fingers tingle to touch it, a natural affect of Angora Cordelia would later guarantee her. His black leather jacket completed the ensemble, his only adornment the silver loop in his left ear. Her eyes were drawn to his long fingers as he brought the cigarette in his hand to his lips. Following the line of his nose, and wondering where he got it broken, she found herself caught by his green eyes, the dangerous glint and amused twinkle in them at such contrast. Every part of him, from his slightly long hair to the black loafers, bespoke danger. Yet his eyes were framed by a pair of glasses, prescription by the look of them. Definitely a man of contrasts. She blushed when she realized he'd caught her looking at him, the color deepening when he winked at her.

A sharp gasp to her right had her turning to her watcher. The look of fury on his face made her take an involuntary step backward. "Ripper." The word was literally spat out.

"Hallo Ethan. Miss me?"

*********

He languidly uncoiled himself, pulling away from the bookcase in one smooth moment. Walking down the stairs, he never took his eyes from Buffy, a look of almost possession in them. Shivering against the sensual pull of him, she turned back to her watcher. "You know this guy?"

An almost feral growl emitted from Ethan's throat. "Once, long ago, to my detriment."

"Come now Ethan, is that a way to talk about an old mate?"  Buffy had a sense that the stranger enjoyed toying with the other man, baiting him as they used to bait bears. "Aren't you going to introduce me?"

Reluctantly, Ethan pointed toward the young girl standing beside him. "This is Buffy Summers."

"Enchanted." The greeting sounded more evocative than polite.

"Buffy, this is Rupert Giles, the man who was meant to become your watcher."

A shocked gasp filled the following silence, its source unknown. All but Ethan experienced varying degrees of surprise at his announcement. Rupert Giles smiled a feral smile, one that Buffy instinctively knew meant trouble for her. "You're the slayer? If I'd known I would have ended up with you I might not have run away all those years ago."

"Yes you would." The hatred in Ethan's voice was unmistakable.

The other man's smile changed to a definite smirk. "Yes I would. Can you blame me old chum? Knowing what they put you through, surely you can understand why I absconded?"  He'd finally stopped in front of Buffy, just a few inches separating their bodies. His voice dropped a few octaves. "Not even for you."

Angel stepped forward as Buffy blushed. "I'm Angel, her boyfriend."

The stranger smiled until he looked toward the other man, his face transforming into a snarl. Several of the other occupants in the room stepped back at his vicious look. "Angelus! You dare to associate yourself with the slayer monster? Does she not know what you are?"  None had noticed the small weapon that slipped from his shirt sleeve into his palm. Positioning himself, he prepared to strike the deathblow.  Only Buffy's timely intervention prevented him accomplishing it.

"Hey, that's my boyfriend you're trying to kill mister! And he's Angel now, not Angelus." She suppressed a shiver as he turned a look of contempt upon her.

"You let your slayer sleep with a vampire Ethan? What kind of watcher are you?"

Knowing he would have to intervene before blood was spilled Ethan stepped forward. Not that he wouldn't have liked Ripper's guts for garters, but he sensed that it would be his slayer and Angel that may have come off the worse for wear. "What are you doing here Ripper?"

Acknowledging the change of subject for what it was, he stepped down from the confrontation. "I was passing through and heard of your trouble. Decided to help."

"The truth Ripper!"

He shrugged. "Let's just say I'm not the most popular human with Droboyale right now. I thought we could help each other."

"Um, excuse us? Just a thought, but maybe we could use him?" All eyes turned to Xander. "Well research isn't getting us anywhere, and if Mr. Um, Rip - that is he.."

"For God's sake lad stop farting about and call me Ripper."

A snicker from his girlfriend increased Xander's embarrassment. "Right. If Ripper here can help us destroy Droboyale sooner, why not?"

"Because he's a bastard and a coward, and I bloody want to kill him!"

"Tsk, tsk. Really Ethan, such language in front of the children. Speaking of which?"  He cocked a brow at the four young people who'd born witness to the earlier arguments.

"Oh, I'm Willow, hey." She felt herself relaxing at the man's friendly smile. He wasn't so scary after all. "And this is Oz, you've met Xander, and that's Cordy." She felt like giggling as the other girl blushed at the glint in his eyes. Maybe a little bit dangerous.

Ripper nodded at them all. "And exactly who are you?"

"The Scooby Gang. That is," she rushed on to explain as his smile turned to one of amusement, "we help Buffy and Ethan with research and stuff."

"Ah." He turned back to Ethan. "Civilians?"

"As she said, they help with research."

Ripper shook his head. "You never were any good with actual studying were you old chum?"

This time it was Buffy's turn to intervene. "Before somebody's blood gets spilled here why don't you tell us what you know?"

Ripper shrugged. "For you love," only she saw his wink at the growls from Angel and Ethan at his words, "gladly. Droboyale is only a minor demon. As I said, he used to pick on unicorns until they became extinct. Now he's just bored and looking for something to tear apart. Hopefully me, after a little dispute we had a few weeks ago."

"How do we destroy him? And unicorns really existed?"

Ripper smiled at the enthusiasm of the little redhead. He could smell the traces of magic upon her, although not as strong as Ethan. It might have been interesting to take her under his wing, but she wasn't his target. His loins tightened as he glanced at the true reason for his appearance. It wasn 't his wing he wanted the slayer under. And what Ripper wanted, he usually got. "Oh yes, they existed. And how to destroy Droboyale is easy. Just the usual rocksalt incantation should do it."

Ethan looked at his old friend suspiciously. "If it's that easy why haven't you done it?"

Ripper once more grinned down at Buffy. "Because I don't have access to all of the ingredients. And the potion has to be brushed onto the tips of Droboyale's wings. I thought that was a task more suited to your slayer old chum."

"How do you know about all this? Only the demonology texts would have that
kind of information, and if you're not a watcher why should you read them?"
Animosity and suspicion were heavy in Angel's voice.

Ripper shrugged. "I like to read. Everything and anything. Besides, in my line of work, information is essential, any kind of information."

"And what kind of work is that?" Buffy let him know that he hadn't won her over either, yet.

His shoulders rose and dropped again. "Oh, this and that. Whatever keeps the clothes on my back and my tummy full."

"Those don't exactly seem off the rack." Once again Angel took up the gauntlet.

"I have expensive tastes." As if tired of the subject, Ripper turned again to Ethan. "Do you want my help or not?"

The other man sighed. They had truly run out of options. "Very well. Give us the ingredients and meet us here tomorrow night. We'll formulate a plan then." With a slight nod of the head and another jaunty grin, Ripper turned to leave. "Ripper! Don't believe I trust you, because barge poles are getting heavier by the year."

"Huh?"

"English slang, Xander?" At the young man's acknowledging nod, Ripper continued. "The exact phrase is 'I wouldn't trust you as far as I could throw a barge pole.' Barges are long boats people live in, and they used to be propelled by large poles.  Slacking off in your cross-cultural training Ethan?" At Ethan's expletive response, the other man merely laughed before disappearing once again in the stacks.

"Wow!" Willow summed up everybody's feelings.

"Yeah, wow." Buffy's words were quieter, but their emotion different. Nobody noticed but Angel.

********

Joyce hummed as she prepared dinner for two. Ethan promised he'd be round before the meeting with Buffy and the others. She felt that he was keeping something from her, but decided it wasn't that important. He would have said something otherwise. Turning the oven down, she decided to make her lover a special dessert when somebody knocked at her front door. Wiping her hands on the nearby dishcloth she went to find out who it was.

Anya stood on the other side of the door, smiling and bouncing a little on the spot. "Hi." She waved at Joyce.

"What are you doing here?" Joyce let her displeasure be known, half-considering shutting the door in the face of the young girl or whatever she was.

"We need to talk. Please?" Reluctantly Joyce moved back to allow her in.

Following the older woman into the living room, Anya didn't like the emotions she was getting off her. Joyce spun round and confronted her. "What are you and what did you do to me?"

"I was - am - the patron demon of scorned women. I lost my power last year after granting a wish to Cordelia. My boss decided to give my power back to me the other day. Unfortunately, my amulet was among the things delivered to your gallery."

Joyce touched the necklace still around her neck. "But why me?"

Anya shrugged. "You made a wish. I suppose the powers that be decided you were scorned because of Buffy's relationship with Giles. Your wish was granted."

Joyce turned away from her, moving further into the room. "So because of my wish, I'm here in this other universe."

"But it can easily be fixed." Anya rushed on, hoping her boss didn't hear about this. "All you have to do is break the amulet and."

Joyce laughed. "Why would I want to do that? What would I gain by going back to my universe? Here my daughter has time for me, and I have a man who loves me dearly. It's not as though she would have died without Mr. Giles."

"But she's not going to school." Anya couldn't believe the stupid woman wanted everything to stay the same.

Joyce hesitated then shrugged. "Nothing's perfect. She's happy and she's with Angel. I'm happy and I'm with Ethan. What's wrong with that?"

"I'm not happy and I'm not with Xander!" Anya didn't care if she was yelling. "He and Cordelia made up in this universe so Cordelia didn't need me. It's not fair!" She stamped her foot to emphasize her words.

"So you want me to break my wish so you can get Xander back?" Joyce tutted. "What would your boss say?"

"It's not fair."

"Then why don't you break the amulet?"

A pout appeared on the girl's lips. "I can't. It's protected so I can't damage it or reverse any of the wishes. Only a human can do that."

Joyce laughed. "In that case, here." She removed the amulet and returned it to Anya. "I wouldn't want to be tempted. I doubt if anybody would be interested in reversing this wish. Goodbye Anya. Go find another scorned woman to grant wishes to. You're so good at it." Anya ran from the house crying.

*********

Ripper entered the library to the sound of metal on metal. By the sound of things quite a duel was happening. It would be interesting to see who was winning. Rounding the stacks, he paused to watch the poetry of the slayer going through her moves. His appreciative look changed to a frown when he realized her sparring partner was Angel.

Suddenly Angel parried, getting under Buffy's guard and disarming her. "No Buffy! You're being lazy again. How many times must I tell you to concentrate?" Ethan's scathing comments echoed around the room.

Looking at the downcast angle of the girl's neck, Ripper decided to come to her rescue and have some fun at the same time. "It might help Ethan if you didn't yell at her. I don't suppose you've shown her how to perfect that move either." Walking down the steps he ignored the scowls of the two other males and concentrated only on Buffy. "It's easy to do once you're shown how properly."

Buffy smiled in depreciation. "Only if you're not an idiot like me."

Tapping her on the nose, he admonished. "I don't want to hear you talking like that again. You can't be an idiot because I'm never attracted to idiots." Not giving any of the others time to respond to his comments he grabbed her shoulders and spun her round to face Angel. "Now let's try this again." Pushing himself against her back, he ran his hand along her arm before resting it against the hand holding her sword. He felt her body tense but she didn't pull away. Whispering "Relax," in her ear, he started to show her the positions designed to defend against an attack similar to the one Angel made. Only when he knew she was ready and Angel frustratingly angry did he enguard the other man.

Buffy smirked as the two of them again parried an attack by Angel. She was beginning to get the moves now, but didn't tell Ripper. Who did it harm if she enjoyed his heat surrounding her a little while longer? And what did it matter if he occasionally pushed a little harder against her, allowing her to feel his arousal? She loved Angel after all, and it wasn't like she was cheating on him. Not really. Besides he was being a baby and deserved a little punishment.

The little tableaux continued to be played out silently between the three combatants with Ethan as the only witness. There was more than one battle being played out, and Ripper seemed to be the winner on all fronts. They continued their subtle games until the rest of the gang came storming into the library. "I think we got everything." Willow was as oblivious as everybody else to the tensions emanating in the room, and only one other person was aware of the reason for Ripper turning away from them.

Once he'd gotten himself in hand Ripper turned back to his small audience. "Good girl. We can make the potion tonight and perhaps Buffy can confront the demon tomorrow evening."

"Why so long?"

"Because it has to steep dear girl. You Americans are always in a hurry. Some things should be savored."

"Oh." Willow's response was hesitant. Not only had Ripper told her off, but from the look he was giving Buffy he wasn't necessarily talking about the potion.

Buffy cleared her throat. "Well, I guess I'll go patrol."

Angel eagerly stepped forward. "I'll come with you."

"Actually," Ethan inadvertently changed the course of Buffy's destiny, "I think the two of you should patrol separately. I don't want you trying to tackle Droboyale until we're all ready, and you'll both finish earlier this way." Reluctantly accepting the watcher's logic, Angel walked with Buffy out of the library.

Their argument carried back through the silent corridors to the group of people busily working. All of them studiously ignored the raised voices and harsh words, except one. He made sure none of the others noticed his satisfied smile.

**********

Buffy finished her final turn around one of the several cemeteries in Sunnydale. She just needed to do one more sweep of the warehouse district, and then she was home to enjoy another fun night of Ethan and her Mom cooing at each other. What joy.

A movement ahead pulled her out of her not so pleasant thoughts of her watcher and mother. Moving quietly, she slid toward the corner on her right, always keeping her eye on the action in front of her. Droboyale stood within the street light, arguing with somebody. He was as ugly as she remembered, and she had no idea how she was going to get that potion on his wings. Concentrating on looking for a weak spot she'd be able to use the following evening, she didn't notice at first when he pulled something out from under his left wing. A small packet was held out toward his unknown companion, impatience in the movement. A long slim hand appeared from the dark, taking the package from the demon. Buffy was surprised that a human was working with Droboyale. Just wait until Ethan found out. His business done, Droboyale stomped off into the night, the shadows swallowing up his shape. Buffy waited, her patience rewarded when the human he'd been talking to walked into the light. Whoever it was watched until Droboyale had disappeared, before turning to face Buffy, a self-satisfied smile on his face. Buffy just barely managed to smother the shocked gasp as she recognized who it was.

Ripper smiled as he tapped the package against his palm. A very profitable evening. Shoving it into his inside jacket pocket, he sauntered away from the meeting spot, whistling a jaunty tune. Passing the nearby corner, he smiled again as he looked forward to his next meeting with the slayer.

A hand grasped the soft flesh of his upper arm hard, and he was swung in a 270 degree turn. He winced as his body was smashed against the hard brick wall, his air passage restricted by the arm pressed against his throat. He looked down into the furious green eyes of the slayer, shock and wariness threatening to overwhelm him before his survival instincts kicked in. He smiled his most pleasant smile. "Buffy! I was just thinking about yo -  ooph." He didn't see the punch to his stomach coming. He'd been too busy concentrating on reducing the pressure on his throat.

"Liar! Traitor!" Her fury and pain was obvious. "You were working for that - thing- all along."

He tried a more conciliatory tone. "If you'd just let me explain."

"You're not going to weasel out of this! I know what I saw!"

"You saw me take a payment from Droboyale." When in doubt, use the truth.

Buffy backed off in shock. "Why?"

"Because he hired me to do a job. Distract you and Ethan while he regained his full strength and power. But that was before I met you Buffy."

"Liar! Why should I believe you? I should go over to the library right now and tell Ethan and the others. A-and then I'll send Angel after you. He's looking for an excuse to beat you up."

"But you won't."

She halted her tirade at his confident words. "Why won't I?"

His hand snaked out, entangling in her hair. She gasped as he pulled her to him, bending to meet her mouth with his own. Shock held her still as he massaged her lips, nibbling and licking them until they finally parted. Not giving her time to object, his tongue plundered her mouth, exploring every inch of her warm cavity. Moaning, Buffy closed her eyes and succumbed to his sensual pull. Several pleasant minutes passed as they learnt the taste and feel of each other. The evidence of his arousal pressing against the juncture of her thighs only increased her excitement. It wasn't until she felt his hand at her ass that she pulled away.

Panting, she looked up at him, her eyes glassy with passion. "D-don't think that this means I trust you. If you cause any danger to any of the others, I 'll kill you myself."

He licked his lips. "Fair enough." Raising his hand, he traced the fingers along the flesh exposed by her open jacket. She shivered as he ran along the edge of her crop top. She'd never felt more vulnerable, or exposed. She found herself drowning in his eyes. "But do you honestly thing I'd throw this away for a profit? Droboyale thinks I've distracted you enough for him to finish his job. He won't be expecting any trouble tomorrow night." He moved his hand, gripping her breast lightly through the thin fabric.

Buffy slapped the offending hand away, knowing she only succeeded because he let her. "Stop that. I'm in love with Angel remember?"

"Uh-huh." He certainly didn't sound like he believed her. "And tomorrow night, after you've won will you seek him out or me? Will you submit yourself to his cold, chaste kiss, or will you allow me to wrap you in my heat? Does he make you burn as you are doing now Buffy? Does he make you moist just by the scent of him?"

Buffy stepped back, terrified of what magic this strange man had woven upon her. "He loves me, and he's proven himself to me. You've done the opposite. Why would I even consider throwing away something as wonderful as Angel's love for me for a mindless fuck with you?"

"Because it would be mindless. I'll be waiting for you Buffy, near the gymnasium. Come to me." Grabbing her head, he pulled her to him again, grinding his teeth against her lip as he plundered her mouth. Releasing her before she could respond, he stepped past her and into the shadows.
"Tomorrow night."

**********

Ethan checked and rechecked everything. He didn't trust Ripper, and wanted to take every precaution to ensure his slayer's life. If only he'd spent more time in the watcher's compound studying. But he hadn't wanted to be there, hadn't wanted to learn their stupid world. Look where it had gotten him.

The sound of the library door opening pulled him from his dark thoughts. A young girl stood there, somebody he was sure he would have remembered seeing before. "Can I help you?"

"Are you Ethan Rayne?"  At his nod, she continued. "Buffy Summers' watcher?" Ethan sat open-mouthed in shock. "I have to speak to you."

................................

"This sounds incredible!" Ethan shook his head for at least the tenth time since the girl started speaking.

"But it's true, and only you can fix it."

"But why should I?"

"Because you're the watcher damnit, and watcher's are self-sacrificing."

"Look Miss er."

"Anya."

"Alright, Anya, even if what you say is true, what gain would there be for me to break the amulet? According to you in the other world I'm a villain, and Joyce and I aren't together. If she's happy why should I change things?"

"What about Buffy? What about her needs?"

"What needs? She's alive, and doing well. She has her friends around her, and no major catastrophe happened because of the change in history. Even you admit that."

Anya felt like screaming in frustration. What was it with the people in this Reality? "You hate this Ripper right?" She waited only for his agreeing nod. "Well, in the other Reality he gets to be the watcher with all the responsibilities. And you get to have all the fun. Besides, Buffy isn't as happy as she could be. She's going to be starting University next semester, and you and Joyce are taking that away from her." Seeing he'd been swayed by her words, Anya took the amulet from around her neck. "Here," she passed it to him, "I hope you do the right thing by your slayer with this." Knowing she could do no more, Anya got up and left the library, leaving behind a very confused watcher.

**********

Everything went according to plan. Thanks to the potion, and Ripper's tutelage, Droboyale was destroyed and the citizens of Sunnydale could once again sleep safely in their beds, not knowing the danger they were in. The gang decided this was cause for celebration at The Bronze, but Buffy opted out. She and Angel had had another fight, and he'd stalked off. Feeling guilty, she'd decided to go talk to him at his place.

Why was it then that her feet took her the other way? That instead of going toward Crawford street she ended up in front of the High School. Realizing that her body had made her decision for her, she pushed open the doors, turning not toward the library and her watcher, but the gymnasium. He stood there waiting for her, a tremulous smile on his lips. That look of uncertainty was the final straw, and she launched herself at him, their mouths fusing as her legs wrapped around his waist.

Ripper pulled the slight body further into his own, his hands kneading the firm cheeks of her bottom. Turning, he pushed her up against the wall, using his weight to support her there. He'd had some vague thought of a long gentle night of lovemaking for their first coupling. But the desperate passion in her kiss, and the aching arousal between his legs put any chance of that to an end. Moving his hand, he slipped the already short skirt up past her hips before trailing his fingers along the rim of her satin panties. He moaned in her mouth as he felt her stomach muscles clench. Moving down along the material, he touched his fingers to her sex, pleased to find her already hot and wet, waiting for him. She bucked and screamed in his mouth, his touch almost sending her over the top. Frustration making him impatient, Ripper tore the material of her panties before throwing them to the floor.

..........................

Ethan Rayne sat in silent splendour at the study table, turning the amulet over in his hands. He'd been doing so for the past few hours, ever since Anya, or Anyanka, had left him. He knew their plan had worked, or else Buffy or one of the others would have returned. So all he had to worry about was his silent argument with his conscience. Ripper or himself, Buffy or Joyce. How hard should the decision have been? Had the watcher's council actually drummed some moral fibers into his soul? If they had, it had lain dormant until this moment. What should he do?

.............................

They both groaned at the feel of her flesh against his trousers. Unable to stop his own actions, he pushed against her in imitation of what was about to happen. Kissing along her jawline, he licked her exposed neck before gently biting it. Her breathless, "Ripper," caused him to increase the pressure of his teeth.

"Yes love?" His voice vibrated along all of her sensitive nerve endings.

"Now? Please?" With a deep growl, Ripper unbuttoned his trousers before drawing the zipper down. As she felt his hot flesh touch hers, she realized he hadn't worn any underwear. She whimpered as he positioned them, his tip pressing into her eager opening.

.................................


Ethan lifted the amulet above his head, conscience having finally won out. Preparing to smash it against the hard tabletop, he paused as the memory of his sweet Joyce's passion just that morning surfaced.

END