Spoilers: through Chosen
Summary: Even after you die, there's red tape.
Disclaimer: BtVS and all characters owned by Joss and ME
Feedback: always appreciated
Special Thanks: to Kelly for the beta
Notes: This is a fluffy (hopefully) little thing - maybe it will help us feel better about what became of some of our fallen comrades, of both the human and non-human varieties.
"Hello Anya. I was hoping you'd remember me." He smiled and sat next to her on the sofa. As she looked around, she saw that they seemed to be in a large waiting area of some type. There were several people milling about with clipboards. Others, looking as dazed and confused as she felt, were sitting on the sofas and chairs in the tastefully decorated, but rather bland, room.
She reached out and pinched Jonathan in the arm. Hard.
"OW! What did you do that for?" he asked, rubbing his arm to take away the sting.
"I wanted to ensure that you were corporeal and not the First Evil. None of this waiting around for months to see if you pick anything up crap for me. Not again. Been there, done that, have the t- shirt, thank you." Her brow knitted in confusion. "But, wait. You actually *are* dead. And if you *are* dead, how is it that I can touch you?"
Jonathan nodded and continued to rub his arm. "You're able to touch me because, well," he looked at her apologetically, "you're dead, too."
She started. "Really? Hmm. You know, I always thought dead would feel different, somehow."
"It's surprising isn't it?" He nodded and smiled at her again.
"So what the hell is going on?" She let out an exasperated breath.
Jonathan's face began to flush. "Oh, right! Sorry. I'm supposed to be helping you through the processing."
"Yes. The, uh, after-death processing. To determine your, you know."
"I know what?"
He began to pick at a loose thread on the upholstery. "Your destination."
Anya nodded in understanding. "I see. You mean, whether I go to heaven or hell, right?"
"Well, that's a bit of an oversimplification, really. There are hundreds of different places you could go of various, um, climates." He tried to smile reassuringly, and nearly succeeded. "Myself, for example? I'm working on a few problem areas from the lame attempt to be an evil nemeses period. Which is why I'm here, helping you, instead of eating grapes on a cloud somewhere or something. But it's fine, really. Not a big deal. And I get to meet lots of great people. Former people." He nodded. "Yup, I'm a people person."
A flash of black leather caught both of their eyes, and they turned to see Spike being quickly ushered past them by a slender woman wearing wire rimmed glasses and a business suit.
"Spike!" Anya called out.
He spun around at the sound of his name, and beamed at her. "Anya! Hold on a minute, Lydia," he said to his companion. His eyes narrowed. "Who's that you've got with you, pet?"
"It's Jonathan, remember? Andrew's geeky little friend." Spike still look confused. "You remember, the one he killed."
"Oh, right. How ya doin', mate?"
"J...just fine, s...sir," Jonathan stammered.
Spike took a step toward Anya. "So you bought it for the cause, did you? So sorry."
She smiled gently at him. "Yeah, I see you did, too. Well, at least we died, if not young, then beautiful."
Spike laughed, then the woman with him smiled and tugged on his coat sleeve as she whispered something in his ear. "I have to go, Anya. But, maybe I'll see you again sometime."
Anya and Jonathan watched as the woman led Spike toward the single doorway in the room. The door opened, and Spike and Lydia walked through and disappeared on the other side.
"How come he doesn't have to wait like the rest of us?" Anya asked, a little put out. "That doesn't seem at all fair."
"Oh, because he's a champion. Special dispensation, yadda, yadda, yadda."
Anya brightened. "Really? I had sex with a champion! Yay me!" Then her face turned serious again. "Now, back to the whole `processing' thing - I have a few concerns."
Jonathan shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Yes?"
"Now, you're working off your measly little barely evil deeds by doing this," she said, sweeping her eyes around the room.
"Then in your experience, seeing that I am a thousand year old former vengeance demon with a string of dead men in my wake that if laid end to end would circle the earth a hundred times, what's going to happen to me?"
Jonathan swallowed hard. "Well, I never actually had a vengeance demon for a client before, but...um... well, you see, based on ... hmm. How to say this....?"
"Oh, God!" said Anya, "I'm doomed, aren't I?" She fell sideways onto the sofa and pulled her knees up to her chest. "Ohgodohgodohgodohgod...."
Jonathan awkwardly attempted to pat her shoulder, and she just shut her eyes and curled up tighter. He stood up, scratched his head, and looked nervously around the room. How was he ever going to get Anya's paperwork filled out if she was catatonic? He smiled when he spied a teenage girl who was clutching an armful of stuffed animals as she waited. Maybe he could distract her. Girls liked cute, cuddly things, didn't they? He walked over to her, and returned with his hands behind his back.
"Anya? Look what I have. Amanda, that young lady over there? She said that you could hold one of her stuffed animals. What do you say? It might make you feel better."
Anya opened her eyes and gave him a withering look. "Oh, for Pete's sake, I'm a grown woman!"
"Sorry, didn't mean to offend you." He began to turn away.
She sat up. "Wait. What have you got? And you better not say bunnies."
Jonathan glanced behind him to see what he had. Best not to piss off a former vengeance demon. "Nope. I have a bear," he said, holding out a teddy bear with a red ribbon around its neck, "and..." he looked at the animal in his other hand. "I think it's a pig."
Anya sniffled and took a tissue out of her pocket. "That's Mr. Gordo. Buffy showed him to me once." She blew her nose loudly. "I'll take him."
Anya sat with Mr. Gordo in her arms, unconsciously rocking back and forth as she answered Jonathan's questions. She stayed that way as he took his clipboard up to the front desk and handed it in.
"Wow," said the man behind the desk as he glanced it over. "This is one of the biggest death tolls I've ever seen for an individual! And that doesn't even cover the maiming!"
"True," said the woman, reading over his shoulder. "But she helped save the world at least twice. That's got to count for something."
"I guess so," said the man reluctantly. He turned the document over and whistled through his teeth. "Wow," he repeated.
"Have you ever seen anyone turn such a profit in this short a period of time? And legitimately!" said the woman, obviously impressed. She and the man looked at each other. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" she asked him.
"Gift shop?" he said.
"It needs help. Lots and lots of help," she agreed. "But do you think we'll get away with it? I mean, she did do a lot of damage."
The man smiled. "When the higher ups see these numbers, they'll think we're brilliant," he said. "Besides," he added slyly, "they always say, retail is hell."