Series: xxxHolic, Buffy
Character/Pairing: Yuuko, Watanuki, other
Summary: Yuuko is going on vacation, but she's not leaving Watanuki to look after the shop on his own.
Notes: I can tell that you can't be what you pretend
"What do you mean you're going on vacation for two weeks?" The fact that Watanuki was shrieking was normal, but a connoisseur of his various moods would have noticed that this particular shriek was a half-octave higher than would normally be expected.
Yuuko merely peered at him through hooded eyes and coil upon coil of smoke. A connoisseur of her moods would have called bullshit on the solemn expression and given even odds that some sort of mischief was in the offing.
"The store will remain open, of course, and you will work for my substitute just as you would normally work for me," she said, deftly squashing the just-risen hope that he might actually have two weeks' liberty from her various demands, whims, extravagances, and flights of fancy. "She'll be here tomorrow morning when you get in."
"I see," he said through clenched teeth. "Is there anything I should know about your replacement?"
Yuuko gave a languorous one-shouldered shrug. "She has over a thousand years' experience in granting wishes, and she came highly recommended."
Watanuki gritted his teeth. "You have no idea who she is, do you?"
* * *
Watanuki wasn't exactly sure what to expect when he showed up the next morning. The shop looked the same, but the distinctly American pop music emanating from the front door was new.
He poked his head in through the door. No sign of Maru or Moro. Mokona, of course, had gone with Yuuko, damn his long, fuzzy ears.
No answer. He went further inside.
There, where Yuuko would normally be slounging on her chaise, the 'no, it's not opium' smoke swirling around her, a perky young woman with blonde wavy hair, was bopping around the room in time to the music. Eventually, as she spun around, she spotted him, and her face lit up with a wide grin that was perfectly friendly but that still sent chills down his spine.
"Oh! Hi!" She walked straight towards him, hand outstretched in a Western-style greeting. "You must be Wanatiki!"
He hesitated, held out his hand. Despite the cheerfulness, he had a feeling that offending her would be a very, very bad idea indeed. "Uh, that would be 'Watanuki.'"
"Whatever," she said with the same, plastic cheer, literally waving aside his name as nothing important. "My name is Anya Emmanuella Christina Jenkins." She folded her hands behind her back and bounced perkily on the balls of her feet. "But you can call me Anya!"
"Oookay... Please to meet you, Anya-san," he lied. Right then and there he determined that under no circumstances must Doumeki ever be allowed to meet this 'Anya' person.
"Right. Now that you're here, let's go shopping. I have a big list of impractical items that people back home are expecting me to bring back as souvenirs, and I'll need you to carry them for me. Now, Wakaniti--"
"Please don't interrupt me. As I was saying, I don't want to spend a lot of money on things that I'm not going to be able to keep for myself, so I'm counting on you to help me find the best bargains." There was a brief pause during which Watanuki wondered if she'd be able to tell if he was faking being sick enough not to come in for two weeks. "Also, Yuuko told me that you were a fabulous cook, so I'm expecting there to be a really good Japanese-style lunch once we get back. Oh, but make sure it's one that doesn't have anything raw or icky in it."
Watanuki sighed, and fished a piece of paper out of his pocket so he could make a list. Maybe she'd be content with ramen and some teriyaki chicken.
* * *
Later that morning, they trudged back to the shop (well, Watanuki was trudging and Anya was striding merrily along, being that she was unencumbered by nearly fifty kilos of Sanrio merchandise). After a cursory inquiry into the kinds of things he saw, Anya smiled, nodded, then started talking about her own experience with the spirit world.
Much of it was rather grim. Or at least, he thought so. Anya sounded positively cheerful about it, as if she were gossiping about all her old friends back home.
"You've never seen a Hrrgrul demon, have you, Wikinuta? No, of course you haven't because you're still here and I don't have to carry you around in a bucket. Anyhow, they're really creative with torture. I once saw three of them suck a girl's brains out using straws--you know, the twisty bendy fun kind."
Watanuki wished she didn't sound quite so approving.
He also found himself wondering just how Anya would handle the customers who came to the shop. She'd already spent a good half hour complaining about the way Yuuko's rules work, saying that a fair exchange was 'anti-capitalist,' and that if she did a good job, her customers should give her lots of money as well.
Two minutes later, he wished he hadn't wondered. They passed by a couple who was arguing over something or other having to do with the man's 'inability to keep it in his pants,' or some such. Anya paused to watch, and the cheerful smile that Watanuki had nearly grown accustomed to became a thin, grim line. But when the woman screamed 'Takeo, I wish you'd never been born!' the grim line became a smile. But not a cheerful one.
"Done," she whispered. There were two simultaneous screams. The wronged woman's as a loud pop! announced the rushing in of air to fill someone's sudden non-existence, and Watanuki's, as his spirit sense gave him a good, true look at Anya's face.
"What the hell are you?!"
She turned and looked at him, and the curdled, veiny look of her skin did nothing do disguise her utter scorn. "Vengeance demon--duh!" she said, hands on her hips. "Now stop being such a drama queen and go into that shop and get me some chocolate cake for desert! Chop-chop! Hop to it!" She clapped her hands together briskly.
"Yes, ma'am!" he squeaked.
He already missed Yuuko.