One minute Anya was an ex demon on a mission, standing beside the little twerp and the next there was nothing but an excruciating pain. This couldn’t be the end, she thought. She never got a chance to fix things with Xander. She wasn’t ready, but death waits for nobody. She gasped and looked into the place where the eyes of the Bringer should have been and managed her last breath before everything went black.
When Anya came to and opened her eyes, she was floating in a sea of darkness. Her fuzzy mind couldn’t process what was going on until she remembered the white hot pain of the Bringer’s knife. Am I dead? She must be, because this sure as hell wasn’t Sunnydale.
“What the hell?” she yelled.
There was a loud chuckle and Anya suddenly felt herself being pulled upward. She tried to scream, but all that came out was a muffled moan, her lips wouldn’t open. There was a whooshing sound as she was sucked into the air. She could feel goose bumps erupting all over her skin and the darkness was being replaced by an incredible bright light. This light was dazzling and yet she felt no need to shield her eyes. Was this heaven? With a lurch, she landed on solid ground at last. She looked down at her legs and did a quick check that she had all of her limbs before sighing in relief. She looked around and examined her surroundings. There was nothing to see. It seemed to be a vast nothingness – the ground underneath her and the sky above her, just whiteness as far as the eye could see. However, she could hear the echo of voices. They seemed to come from all around her, but the volume was low and she couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was kind of like tuning into a channel on the radio only to find the frequency was disrupted.
A voice called out from behind her and this time she could make out what was being said.
“How on earth did you end up here? Shouldn’t you be burning in the fires of hell somewhere?”
Anya’s head turned, there was something familiar about that voice. A beautiful dark haired woman walked into view. Cordelia Chase was wearing a simple white dress and her nose in the air.
“I sacrificed myself to save the world,” Anya announced proudly, prepared to see shock in the other woman’s eyes.
She found none, Cordelia just smiled. “Fancy that? Vampires and vengeance demons showing up the humans. Looks like the almighty Buffy Summers doesn’t have the monopoly on martyrdom after all.”
Anya was stunned. “Were you watching from up here?”
“Maybe,” Cordelia said. “So, hanging out with humans finally caused you to behave like one – foolish and noble.”
Anya shrugged, “Yeah – it was weird. Xander was always telling me how I just act “human” and what was okay and wasn’t okay. I finally figured it out before I was cut into half.”
Cordelia grimaced, “Looked painful.”
“So you were watching.” Anya frowned. “What are you? Some sort of stalker ghost?”
“Apparently, I’m a higher being now,” Cordelia said, with a shrug. “Being the Queen Bee of Sunnydale wasn’t enough for me, but I guess I always knew I was destined for bigger, better things.”
“A stalker is still a stalker,” she pointed out. “Shouldn’t I be meeting with lost loves or something instead of high school bitches? Why are you even here?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes, “It’s isn’t usually part of the job description. I volunteered, because I miss being human and Sunnydale.” She paused and fixed Anya with a stony expression. “I’m starting to wish I didn’t. I forgot how much of a forthright bitch you can be.”
“I got to be a demon again and it wasn’t all I remembered,” Anya said softly. “Sometimes, the past seems sweeter, because you aren’t there anymore.”
“I know,” Cordelia said with nod. “We’ve both changed.”
The ex-demon looked at her, saw the age in her eyes. The last time she had seen Cordelia had been at Buffy’s funeral, when she had been hanging of Angel’s arm. Anya hadn’t been happy to hear that Xander’s ex was coming, but she need not have worried as Angel had monopolised all of the dark haired woman’s attention. Thoughts of her former lover make her heart clench. If this was truly heaven shouldn’t she not be feeling this pain, bitterness and loss? Then again, if this wasn’t heaven or some heavenly dimension at least, she didn’t want to know.
“If Xander ends up here you can’t have him.” The words burst from her mouth before she could stop them.
Amused, Cordelia laughed. “Don’t worry I’m more into broody, dark and handsome these day than one eyed carpenters.”
“You have been keeping up,” Anya said, trying and failing to sound impressed. “Did you say broody? Are you talking about Angel?”
Cordelia smiled sheepishly, “We never got past the friends part.”
“No doubt that was his fault,” Anya said. “Men are idiots.”
She could see the wistfulness in the other woman’s expression and she felt a stab of pity for her.
Wanting to change the subject, she asked, “So, what’s there to do in this place?”
Cordelia put her arm around Anya’s shoulders, “The best thing about this place is the shoes.”
“There’s shoes?” Anya’s eyes lit up.
A shoe store materialised right in front of them and Anya could see a gorgeous, shiny pair of red stilettos in the large shop window. The sign on the store front read "Shoes for You" and the red brick of the wall gave it a charm of one of those European boutiques.
“These shoes are to die for!” Cordelia quirked a brow when Anya’s mouth dropped, “Too soon?”
“No,” Anya said. “But I have no money.”
Cordelia’s mouth quirked into a smile, “That’s the best part – it’s all free.”
The ex-demon eyes widened at the thought of all the wonderful things she could buy without money. Then it hit her like a train. “There’s no money?”