"Men," the blonde at the bar muttered distastefully, tossing back her drink with a sour look.
"Tell me about it," the woman sitting next to her sympathized with a sidelong glance and a glass raised in solidarity. "What'd yours do?"
The other woman took a deep breath. "Well, there was the troll who cheated on me with a buxom barmaid, then there was the fiance who left me at the altar and then went running to tattle to his precious Buffy when I went back to work, then there was the boss who lied to me when he said I could quit if I didn't like the work anymore--"
"Wow," the brunette laughed uneasily. "I probably would've given up on them altogether after just the first one."
"I did briefly consider becoming a lesbian," the blonde stated as if it were the most normal thing in the world. "But the only living gay woman I knew was my ex-fiance's best friend, which didn’t exactly help matters." She set her glass back down on the bar with a sigh and turned to face her comiserator. "But we're not here to talk about me. What's your story?"
The brunette sighed. "The usual. I've got this neighbor...real pig, loves to brag about his 'top secret' job and his supposedly incomparable intellect, but he’s got the sweetest cat...I don’t know how the poor thing puts up with him."
"Well, at least it's a cat and not bunnies," the blonde answered cryptically. "So what happened?"
"Damned if I know," the other woman grimaced. "He just...showed up at my apartment the other night with this devastated look on his face. Mumbled something about his sister and the next thing I know, I'm letting him in and offering him a drink. One drink led to another, and..." She made a gesture designed to imply what happened next.
Her companion nodded wisely. "I'm intimately familiar with drunken sex. Yet clearly you're not here to try to think of a way to break it to him gently that you still think he's a worthless piece of scum with good taste in cats, so..."
"Oh, he sucked me in," the brunette admitted angrily. "Told me a bunch of crap about there being no one in his life who cared about him and he only acted like an ass to hide how much it hurt...and then when he came, he called me 'Sam.'"
"He's gay," the blonde guessed. "Figures. I've often thought Xander slipped once or twice and almost called me Andrew, but since my name's Anya--"
"No, Sam's a woman," the other woman corrected, her tone seething with bitterness. "Major Samantha Carter, an Air Force officer. After it was...over, I demanded to know who she was. And he proceeded to tell me--that she was the most brilliant, most beautiful, most everything, most goddamned perfect woman he'd ever met in his life. He damn well rhapsodized about her, and then had the audacity to be surprised that I threw him out!"
Anya leaned in eagerly, almost as if she'd been waiting for this part. "And don't you just wish it would come back on him a hundredfold? That he'd, I don’t know, be eviscerated slowly by thousands of shrimp or something?"
The other woman shook her head. "No, but I'll tell you what I do wish. I wish that Dr. Rodney McKay--"
Anya threw up a hand to stop her mid-wish. "Wait, did you say Rodney McKay?"
"Yes. Oh, God, don't tell me he screwed you over too?"
The blonde's eyes narrowed. "I certainly intend to find out. I'm sorry, I'm afraid I won't be able to help you with this one after all." Okay, so that wasn’t exactly true—other people could wish vengeance on someone she'd slept with, she just couldn't—but she didn’t want Rodney McKay to die horribly before she could get the answer to her question. Ghosts were so much more difficult to track down and threaten. "But I'll send someone--"
The brunette stared. "What are you talking about? Help me with what?"
"Why, vengeance of course," Anya replied blithely. "Just stay put, I'll go find Hallie and send her your way as soon as I clear a few things up."
With that, she hopped off the bar stool and disappeared into the crowd, leaving a very bewildered almost-client behind her.
Someone was pounding on his door at half past one in the morning. McKay groaned, rolled over and pulled the pillow over his head, trying to shut out the noise. If he ignored it long enough, maybe whoever it was would go away.
After a few agonizing minutes, the pounding stopped and he let out a long sigh of relief.
"Hey, you. Butthole."
Rodney yelped and sprang up in bed, almost smacking noses with the woman who was looming over him. He couldn't see well enough to make out who it was, but having fantasies about strange women appearing in his bedroom were one thing, having it actually happen was on the verge of giving him a heart attack.
"Were you thinking about Major Samantha Carter while you were having sex with me?" she demanded in a voice that sounded vaguely familiar.
"What???" McKay reached for the light, blinking in shock when the features hanging over him resolved themselves into the face of a woman he'd had a one-night stand with something like three years ago in Siberia. "What the hell are you doing here? And how the hell did you get in here?" he demanded. "For that matter, how the hell did you even know where to find me?"
She ignored his questions and repeated her own in a tone of condescending false patience. "Were you thinking about Major Samantha Carter while you were having sex with me? I'd advise you to answer--there's a woman at a bar a few blocks from here wishing vengeance on you, and I'm told I can be very creative when I want to."
Rodney sputtered. "So you broke into my apartment in the middle of the night just to ask me that?"
"Just answer the question," Anya demanded crossly.
Her eyebrows shot up. "Excuse me?"
"I don't think I should have to answer that," he sniped at her, his own temper rising. Unfortunately, it wasn't the only thing that was rising--when he was being honest with himself, half of the attraction with Major Carter was the way she fought with him. Apparently it was just how he was wired because the angrier Anya got, the more vivid his memories of their night together were becoming as a result. And it had been a memorable night. "Especially considering you admitted up front when you propositioned me that you were planning to pretend I was your ex-fiance."
Anya shook her head impatiently. "What does that have to do with anything?"
He sputtered again. "What does--well, everything! You're allowed to use me for a comfort screw, but I can't do the same?"
"Yes, exactly," she stated in an exasperated voice, as if this was something he should have known all along.
Well, at least she was honest.
"I believe that's what’s called a double standard," he shot back.
"Well, it was all your fault to begin with," she retorted, her voice still unreasonably cross with him as she folded her arms over her chest and glared. "If you hadn’t been looking at me like something you wanted to eat, I would never have gotten so horny in the first place and would've been content to just drown my sorrows. But let me guess--that was about this Major Carter too."
"So what if it was?" He was getting really angry now, not to mention really turned on. He fumbled with the blankets, shoving as much fabric into his lap as he could manage to hide the evidence of his arousal. "And you're crazy if you think my finding you attractive forced you to have sex with me! I wasn’t the one propositioning a perfect stranger in a bar in the middle of Siberia."
"Because I’m sick of it, that’s 'so what,'" she retorted, invading his personal space to poke him repeatedly in the chest. "Xander really wanted Buffy or Willow, or maybe that little pissant Andrew for all I know, Spike wanted Buffy too, Olaf wanted Ronweig--"
It was too much for his tortured libido. Rodney grabbed her by the back of the neck and cut her off mid-rant by pulling her into a fierce, aggressive kiss. Anya responded immediately and without question, pushing him back on the bed and crawling eagerly on top of him. Apparently he wasn't the only one who’d gotten turned on by their fight.
Flipping them both over, Rodney went to work on her collarbone while Anya wriggled impatiently beneath him, her fingers finding the waistband of his boxers.
"What do you want now?" he growled against her skin.
She let out a noise somewhere between a whimper and a purr. "You. And hurry, dammit."
The next time Rodney looked at the clock, it was after four. Anya was lying tangled in the sheets beside him, a sheepish look on her face that he already knew was uncharacteristic. Her clothes and his sleeping attire lay scattered about the room as if they’d been blown there by a whirlwind.
Which, come to think of it, was a pretty accurate description for what had just transpired.
Concluding that they were both sated, at least for the moment, Anya propped herself up on one elbow and looked at him, the expression on her face morphing into a bright smile. "You didn’t say her name."
His brain still a little fried from the past few hours' exertions, McKay just stared at her. "What?"
"Samantha Carter," she explained with that same infuriating false patience. "You didn't call her name when I gave you those orgasms."
It took a minute to register, but when it did he nodded slowly, still trying to catch his breath. "You didn’t call me Xander either."
"You're actually much better at this than Xander was," she admitted. "More experience, I guess." Not as good at it as Spike, but she didn't add that. Despite what Xander and his friends had thought about her, she did occasionally know when it was best to leave something unsaid. "It makes me wonder why I ever settled for that boy when I could have had a man." She sighed melodramatically.
"Well thank you...I think."
Anya studied him frankly, the only way she knew how. "So what's this top secret job that I'm told you always talk about?"
"If I told you that, it wouldn’t be top secret anymore, would it?" he pointed out logically.
She dismissed that notion with a wave. "Oh please. People spill their deep dark secrets all the time. For instance, what would you say if I told you I was a thousand-year-old vengeance demon, the patron of scorned women?"
"I'd say you were crazy, but clearly able to function somewhat normally in society so that’s none of my business." And, he added silently to himself, it would certainly explain the expression 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'
"Exactly," she responded, seeming pleased. "So you could tell me everything and I probably wouldn't believe you either."
There was an absurd logic in that statement, something else he was coming to recognize as typical of her. "So if I told you I was one of the world's leading experts on wormhole physics and involved in a top secret project doing reconnaissance and exploration of other planets all the while seeking technologies to aid in the defense of Earth from a hostile alien species--?"
"I'd attribute it to your fragile male ego and smile and nod," she agreed cheerfully.
Liar. It hung between them, but he didn’t care. Whatever else she may or may not be, Anya was apparently one of the only women he’d ever met who seemed to speak his language. It was just a pity they hadn't figured that out three years ago.
"...but what I really wish is that this precious top secret job of his would send him to...I don’t know, Antarctica. Or better yet, another galaxy." She took another swallow of her drink and glanced over at the sympathetic woman sitting beside her. "Just far, far away from me and from Samantha Carter."
Halfrek beamed. "Done."
The other woman blinked at her. "What?"
"Done. He should be receiving the call any minute now," the vengeance demon repeated cheerfully.
"Wait a second--" Rodney McKay's neighbor held up a hand. "You're telling me you somehow managed to get him transferred to Antarctica?"
Halfrek nodded. "With a subsequent transfer to another galaxy, if all goes well. Oh, and as a bonus, you can expect him to ask you to take the cat. I thought you might like that touch."
The human woman blinked, twice, not quite sure whether to believe her ears or dismiss the other woman as insane. But it sounded good, so... "Well...wow. Thanks."