Anya stormed into her apartment, slamming the door behind her, and immediately shouted to the empty air: "Hallie! Halfrek, I need to speak with you, right now!"
The air shimmered for a moment, then Halfrek stood before her, arms crossed and with an equally cross look on her face. "What is it now? I have an adult child of an alcoholic on hold, so I really hope you're not going to ask me to take a client off your hands again."
"I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have done it the first time," Anya grumbled, glaring at her friend. "Antarctica? I'm in the middle of the second-best sex of my life, and you send him off to Antarctica?"
"Would you rather she'd wished him into a hell dimension?" Halfrek pointed out logically. "Besides, Antarctica's only temporary. Sometime in the next three months, he should find himself on his way to the Pegasus Galaxy."
The other vengeance demon sputtered. "The Pegasus Galaxy?"
Hallie sighed and claimed a spot on Anya's couch without being invited. "Really, Anyanka, you've got to stop falling for the men you're supposed to be punishing. It's doing nothing to help your reputation. A girl has to learn how to separate business and pleasure, and you seem to have forgotten how to do that while you were human."
The other woman scowled and sat down beside her with a dramatic sigh. "I suppose you're right--I should be glad she didn't wish him into a hell dimension or a slow, painful death."
"Exactly," Halfrek agreed with a pleased smile. "And besides, as vengeance goes, this really isn't half as bad as it looks, though I certainly didn’t tell the poor girl that. The only way I could get him transferred to another galaxy was to hook him up with an expedition to find Atlantis."
That made Anya's eyebrows shoot up. "Atlantis? The lost city of the Powers That Be?"
"The same," Hallie agreed. "It's the adventure of a lifetime, really, not much of a punishment, but--"
"It's not his punishment that worries me," Anya snapped, getting annoyed again. "Who am I going to go to for orgasms if I'm not speaking to Xander and Rodney's in another galaxy?"
"Darling, it's not as if you won’t be able to reach him there. Your teleportation privileges aren't exactly restricted anymore. And besides, with a group that small? There's bound to be some relationships gone sour eventually."
Anya blinked, startled. "Oh. I hadn't thought of that."
Halfrek gave her friend's knee a reassuring pat. "See? That's what comes of dating humans--sex gets involved, and thinking just goes right out the window. That's why most of us just stick to our own kind."
The voice that interrupted his conversation with Elizabeth was so familiar to him and yet so utterly foreign to this place that McKay just about jumped out of his skin. He jerked around to face the source of the voice and found himself staring in something beyond disbelief at the petite blonde approaching them from across the large main cavern of the Ancient outpost. It was her. How the hell was that possible?
Oblivious to or at least ignoring the aghast scientist, the young woman calmly approached Dr. Weir and proceeded to hold out a handful of pages. "The translation you wanted."
Rodney blinked repeatedly and shook himself as if the combination of the two actions would dislodge this hallucination he must be having and allow him to see who was really standing in front of him. Because in spite of the voice and the face and the painfully familiar--even under all the thinsulate--body...it couldn't be Anya. She didn't act like Anya. He might not have known the woman very well, but the one thing he was pretty sure he did know was that she was incapable of standing there so patiently while Elizabeth read over what she'd just been handed.
Weir smiled and offered the papers back. "Thank you, Dr..."
"Jenkins," the young woman supplied helpfully and Rodney’s hopes sank as he remembered their first introduction: "By the way, I'm Anya. Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins." Oh God, it was her. Either that or she had a sane twin.
"Dr. Jenkins," Elizabeth repeated. "Good work."
"I'm pleased to be doing my part to further human exploitation of the universe," Anya answered cheerfully. "Particularly since it pays so much better than shopkeeping. I would have taken it up years ago if I'd known all you needed was a few simple translations."
Dr. Weir shot Rodney a speculative look at that, with a hint of a smile. He was doing his best not to sink through the floor in mortification. "Elizabeth, if you don’t mind, I'd like to speak to Dr. Jenkins privately for a moment?"
"Of course." She smiled, nodding again at the blonde before disappearing in Peter Grodin's direction. "Good to meet you, Doctor."
As soon as her back was turned, McKay grabbed Anya roughly by the arm and pulled her into a side alcove.
"Ow!" she protested irritably, slapping at his hand with her own. "What was that for? Unless you were thinking rough sex, which I have been known to go for on occasion--"
"What was--!" Much to his own amazement, Rodney found himself almost speechless. He let go more out of surprise than any real certainty that she’d stay put. "What the hell was that? 'I would have taken it up years ago if I’d known all you needed was a few simple translations'? A few simple translations?"
"You want me to pretend that was hard?" she shot back with a little snort. "Obviously you've never tried to read Middle Pylean."
Obviously not, since he’d never even heard of the language; she was probably making it up to show off. "You're missing the point," Rodney snapped. "Breaking into my apartment is one thing. But this is a highly sensitive installation. You can't just waltz in here like...like...and for that matter, how the hell did you get past security?"
Anya scowled. "If I'd known you would be this happy to see me, I would've stayed on the surface with those strapping young servicemen," she grumbled, rubbing her arm as if he'd actually hurt her.
Oh, for God’s sake. "I am neither happy nor unhappy to see you; I'm a little too busy being shocked at the moment, considering you apparently broke into one of the most secure locations on the planet. And since when are you a doctor of anything?"
"I told you, I'm a vengeance demon. I can be whatever or wherever I need to be to get the job done," she stated in that infuriating way she had of treating the utterly ludicrous like a fact of life. "Although, granted, I'm here for pleasure, not business. Even though there are a few people around having vengeful thoughts about someone named Kavanaugh. And a few that have your name on them, too, you heartbreaker."
Damn it. He should have known better. She really believed her little delusion, so when he'd let himself get comfortable and let the truth slip, she'd believed him as well despite insisting otherwise. Which basically meant that he'd risked his job for an insane blonde trollop of a stalker and if he didn’t do something about it, he was likely to lose that job.
Anya glared at him. "Honestly, you'd think a man in your line of work would be a little more open-minded. I mean, really, is there that much difference between hostile serpentine aliens taking over your body and actual demons?"
Rodney just stared, floored. Breaking into the Antarctic outpost was nearly impossible. Doing that and managing to crack the SGC? Either she was the most brilliant hacker he'd ever met, had a hell of a lot more clearance than he'd given her credit for...or she was telling the truth. None of those options were particularly appealing.
"You know about the Goa'uld?"
"Of course. Who do you think cursed Osiris to spend his next life as a woman?"
"But you said you were a thousand years old and Osiris was imprisoned something like 10,000 years ago," McKay pointed out.
Anya rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "And if you'd been Isis, trapped in a canopic jar for 9000 years because your husband was thinking with his host's penis, you’d be wishing vengeance on him too. Now, are we going to have sex or aren't we? I'd hate to think I came all this way for nothing."
He would have retorted that he had much more important things to do at the moment, except his body was already cheerfully declaring him a liar. And his mind wasn't helping either, the traitor; instead it was only too happy to feed him memories of what that hungry look in her eyes had foreshadowed in the past. Closing his eyes just conjured up vivid images of Anya naked, slick with sweat and riding him like something out of every wet dream he'd ever had as a teenager.
Rodney swallowed hard. Oh hell--it wasn’t like he had any reason not to take her up on her offer. There certainly wasn't a line of women outside his door, waiting eagerly to get into his bed, and especially not here.
"Not here," he managed to croak out. "Too public."
Not to mention too damned cold not to make him look like a fool--at least his quarters at McMurdo had heat enough to deal with certain, er, consequences of spending one's time in Antarctica.
The only trick was how to get there with a raging hard-on, without embarrassing himself in front of every single other person between here and McMurdo, like that cocky wiseass of a helicopter pilot that he would be only too happy to see the last of if and when they ever made it to Atlantis and away from here.
Anya smiled almost gleefully and grabbed his hand. "I know just the place."
It was so nice to have full teleportation privileges again, although that astonished look on Rodney's face was beginning to get annoying. If he didn't stop being amazed that she'd told him the truth, it might just distract him from giving her orgasms and that was unacceptable.
Right now, however, it seemed more likely that he was going to hyperventilate and die, which would prevent her from having sex with him for much, much longer since the only dead people she cared to sleep with were vampires.
"What...how...where...where are we?"
"My apartment. Los Angeles," was all the explanation she offered before pushing him up against a wall and kissing him aggressively.
Much to her aggravation, Rodney pulled away. "But...how...?"
"Weren't you listening to me the first six times I told you?" Anya snapped impatiently. "Now please stop talking and just screw me already." She punctuated that last with a not-so-subtle grab to the crotch.
Rodney let out a yelp somewhere in the soprano register, which really wasn't fair since she hadn't grabbed that hard. Fortunately, his penis was much more honest, as was usually the case with men--it leapt quite happily into her hands. "Well, that's a relief," she stated a bit more calmly. "I was beginning to wonder if you were gay and the first nine times were just a fluke."
He grabbed her by the arms again, the yelp descending into a much more attractive growl. "I'll show you flukes..."
Pulled into a crushing kiss, Anya wriggled impatiently against him, almost letting out a mew of frustration when he pulled back yet again. Fortunately, this time it was only long enough to pant out, "...and then we need to have a talk about this vengeance demon thing, because this is getting a little too weird even for me," and then his lips and hands were on her again and Anya quite happily stopped thinking.
The first thing to cross Rodney's mind as he crept back to awareness the next morning was that someone had finally fixed the heater in his quarters. It might be summer in Antarctica--and daylight twenty-four-seven, which was rather obnoxious--but summer at the farthest point on the globe from the sun was still too cold to be without a functioning thermostat.
He shifted in bed, then, and suddenly became aware of two things: one, that he was naked and covered only by a thin sheet, and two, that there was someone else lying beside him, also naked.
His eyes flew open, his body jerking upright into a sitting position as he stared in a mixture of wonder and dismay at the slim, blonde-haired figure beside him. "Oh God. Not a dream."
Anya opened her eyes then and glared at him. "Are you always this tiresome?"
Rodney gaped. "Wh-what?"
She just snorted and clambered out of bed, not bothering to dress before stomping across the room and into the bathroom, slamming the door. McKay went over the morning again in his mind, trying to figure out what had put her into such a bad temper. It didn't take long--there wasn’t much to review--but by the time she emerged from the bathroom (now dressed in a silk robe, much to his disappointment), he still hadn't come up with an answer.
"Well?" she demanded.
"If you really find me so 'tiresome,'" he snapped, "then maybe you should stop accosting me at odd hours and demanding that I have sex with you."
Anya rolled her eyes as if he’d missed something incredibly obvious. "I'm not referring to your sexual prowess--that was quite satisfactory, although you could use a little more practice. I simply resent being relegated to a figment of your imagination every time your teeny brain doesn't like what I’m telling you."
"'Teeny' brain? Did you just accuse me of having a 'teeny' brain?" Rodney sputtered. "I'll have you know that I have one of the biggest brains on the planet! Earth would be toast--probably several times over--if it wasn't for me!"
"Well, it's certainly bigger than Xander's," she conceded grumpily. "Why is it you men are always so concerned with the size of your brains? It’s how you handle it that matters."
"And what’s wrong with the way I'm handling mine?"
Anya just sighed, then her face shifted. Instead of the beautiful young woman he'd bedded the night before, Rodney suddenly found himself staring a creature of some sort--a face that looked like it had been stripped of skin to reveal the striated muscle underneath, framing eyes that gleamed with an unfamiliar and terrifying malice.
"Oh my God!" He scrambled backwards, almost falling out of the bed in his hurry to get away. "How did you...what did you...what are you?"
"I already told you. I'm a vengeance demon. Why is that so hard to believe for a man who works with aliens?"
She took a step closer, and he recoiled. Normally, arguing like this with her would be turning him on, but that face...well, it was better than a cold shower.
"I'm a scientist, damn it!" he almost shrieked. "The Goa'uld, the Asgard...as much as their technology may look like magic, it still obeys the laws of physics. This is..." He forced himself to open his eyes and peek back over his shoulder. Oh, God, she was still...with the face, and the eyes. "I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable!"
"Well, this is who I am. And I'm frankly sick of it not being 'acceptable.'" Those newly-frightening eyes burned as she began to pace the room, gesticulating wildly with both hands. "Everybody always telling me to act 'more human': 'don't do this, Anya,' 'don't do that,' 'don't turn that lying, cheating bastard into a steaming pile of entrails even though he deserves it.' Maybe I don’t want to be human--I'd rather be honest. And if that's 'unacceptable'--"
She stopped, pivoted to face him with a look of cold fury...and vanished.
Rodney let out a yelp. "Anya! Anya, come back here right now! That isn't funny!"
There was no answer, and a look of dismay slowly drained the anger from his face as he brought up both hands to cover it. "Oh God..."
Now how was he supposed to get back to Antarctica?
Rodney’s posture suddenly straightened. "Sergeant! Oh, thank God. Look, I need to speak to General O'Neill right away."
"Doctor McKay?" the little Radar O'Reilly wannabe exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing calling from an unsecured line in the 310 area code?"
"Because that's where I am," he snapped. "Look, I need someone to send a plane out to Edwards to pick me up and take me back to McMurdo."
Harriman laughed. "That's a good one, Doctor McKay. And Colonel Carter said you don't have a sense of humor!"
McKay stared at the phone in disbelief. "You think this is some sort of joke?"
"Sir, I have all the transport logs from McMurdo--there's been no arrivals or departures to or from the outpost in the last twenty four hours, by ground or air transportation."
"I didn't take ground or air transportation, you imbecile. I was teleported here!"
"There's been no record of any Asgard activity in this sector, the Prometheus' transporter is being upgraded, and the Daedalus isn’t finished yet."
"Look. I'm in Los Angeles," McKay snapped. "Don't waste my time telling me how I could or couldn't have gotten here, just send someone to come get me and take me back!"
"Sorry, Doctor. It's a good joke, and I'd love to help out, but then I might get roped into some sort of wacky revenge scheme by General O'Neill, and you know how it is--it's a never ending cycle. Let me know how it goes, though!"
The line went dead, and he stared at it for a minute in disbelief before hanging up. They thought he was joking? Yeah, well, they might have second thoughts when Elizabeth called and reported him missing. He just had to decide if he wanted to wait that long, considering on he was scheduled to be sleeping for the next five hours.
Looking around the abandoned apartment, Rodney felt an odd sinking in his stomach. Probably because of that five-hour window looming ahead of him...but it didn't feel like it. It felt almost like regret.
He shook his head, chasing the thought away. What did he have to feel regretful about, except maybe not waiting to tell her she was crazy until after she took him back?
Maybe the fact that you know what it feels like not to be accepted for who you are?
Ridiculous. Utter nonsense. What did he care if he was 'accepted'? He was brilliant, and he was usually right. Why should he pretend to be ignorant of that just to ingratiate himself with his colleagues? If they didn't like it, they could just...
Rodney gave his conscience a vicious mental kick.
"You're still here?"
Rodney just about jumped out of his seat, but quickly covered his surprise with a sharp, "Considering that you stranded me here without transportation, where did you expect me to go?"
Anya shrugged, keeping a rather bored expression on her face with no little effort. "Well, it would be nice if you had gone begging door to do for a place to sleep rather than continue to presume on my generosity when I'm not speaking to you, but it's just as well. I have to send you back anyway--I'll be in big trouble if I interfere with you going to Atlantis, and I'm on thin enough ice as it is."
McKay frowned, looking up at her. "What? What difference does it make to you whether or not we find Atlantis?"
"None, I guess--if you're not going to be giving me orgasms anymore." She sighed dramatically then crossed to his side and peered over his shoulder, changing the subject before he could demand further explanation. "What's that you're scribbling?"
The scientist blushed furiously, ducking his head. "Nothing. It's...nothing important."
"Then you've wasted an awful lot of my paper on nothing. I expect to be reimbursed."
McKay lifted his chin. "Fine. If you must know, it's a theoretical proof. Designed to..." He paused, then muttered the rest of his words in a rush under his breath.
Anya shot him a look. "I'll have you know that talking that fast is illegal in several hell dimensions. And if it's illegal in hell, it certainly should be here."
Rodney scowled in return. "It's designed to account for the existence of metaphysical properties in a physical universe. Satisfied?"
By the time she finished giving him her answer, McKay was out of breath, not to mention rock hard. "I thought you didn't want me giving you any more orgasms," he panted. "What was that for?"
Anya kissed him again, then grabbed him by the collar and started to tug him towards the bedroom. "No one's ever written a proof for me before."
"Oh, well, in that case...who am I to argue with the power of numbers?"
"I could get used to this," Rodney mumbled drowsily into Anya's hair. She was lying stretched out on top of him--not, she'd been careful to point out, because he was the man but because he was a lot more comfortable to lie on than she would be--blonde strands tickling his nose. He wondered if she'd take it personally if he sneezed, then wondered why he cared.
"I fail to see how this is a problem," she retorted with a lazy yawn.
"Oh, I don't know, how about the fact that I may be leaving for another planet sometime in the near future?"
Anya sighed again, but with far less genuine exasperation this time. "Honestly. If I can teleport from Antarctica to Los Angeles and between dimensions, do you think another planet or even another galaxy is going to be a problem? Magic isn't like your technology, alien or otherwise--it doesn't have a range."
That got his attention. "Really? So you could find me anywhere in the universe?"
"If I wanted to," she smirked, running one finger down the line of hair on his chest. "Of course, you'd have to make it worth my while..."
"Oh, I think I can manage that," he retorted with a pleased shudder. "But unless you're really planning to come with us, you'll have to be discreet--I don't want to have to explain to Elizabeth why the linguist that we left behind on Earth is coming out of my bedroom all the time without having come through the Stargate first."
"We could just not come out."
Rodney groaned happily. "We could...but that might be even more difficult to explain. Of course, this all depends on us finding Atlantis, and it being viable. If not, we could just...ah, stay here."
Anya frowned and rolled away, leading him to make a small noise of protest. "Damn, I knew I forgot something. I have to take you back to Antarctica."
"Yes, you will find Atlantis, and yes it will be viable. And if I stop you from going--"
"--you'll be in enormous trouble, yes, I got that. What I still don’t understand is why?"
She rolled out of bed and began to dress. McKay resisted the sharp impulse to whimper as that beautiful ass was covered up with a pair of lace panties. "Because," Anya explained with a sigh. "It's considered very rude to interfere with the granting of another vengeance demon's wish. And while I may not have the best grasp of human niceties, I've been a demon for a lot longer."
He let out a squawk. "Someone made a wish involving me? What--oh my God, I'm going to die horribly as soon as we get there, aren't I?"
She cocked her head and turned to frown at him, hands planted on her hips. "How should I know? Do I look like a Seer?"
"But you just said--!"
"I know what the wish entails," she explained calmly, fastening her bra before sitting back down on the edge of the bed. "Vengeance demons don't have any power over the future beyond that. Magic may not have a physical range, but it still has limits."
A sour expression crossed Rodney’s face. "Wonderful."
"If it helps any, I don't want you to die horribly," she informed him with a bright smile. "Not when I'm just getting you broken in."
"Unless you can keep me alive, I'm not sure what good that does me," he muttered. "Still...I suppose the fact that I'm not already horribly dead means something."
"As vengeance wishes go, it was more creative than vindictive," she agreed.
"I'll make you a deal," Rodney offered. "You do what you can to keep me alive whenever you're around, and I let you break me in as thoroughly as you want."
"So I do all the work and you reap all the benefit?" she asked with a small snort.
"Mutual benefit," he argued.
"True," she nodded. "It's a satisfactory arrangement. And I haven't been to the Pegasus Galaxy in a while--it might be fun to see how it's changed in the last nine hundred years."
McKay’s pleased smile faded into a look of absolute horror. "Wait a second--who said anything about the Pegasus Galaxy?"