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Written for the ninth round of femslash_minis: Anya. I was assigned settiai, who requested Anya/Inara, in which someone other than Inara makes a wish, silk scarves, and happy endings.

Title: The Anti-Obvious
Author: voleuse
Fandom: BtVS/Firefly
Ship: Anya/Inara
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Your body is opium and you are its only true smoker.
Notes: Post-Chosen, pre-Firefly

i. never be light

Anya's fighting, swinging her blade wildly, and there's blood under the soles of her shoes. She can hear Andrew yelling behind her, For the Shire! and the building is shaking, shrieking apart.

Then something sharp slices through her, leaving numbness behind, and then there isn't anything at all.

The next thing she knows, D'Hoffryn's standing in front of her, and he's shaking his head.

Anya stands up, rubs at a tender spot on her shoulder. "I was fighting," she protests.

"You died," he replies. "You wouldn't believe the strings I had to pull to get you here."

"I..." Anya blinks, shakes her head. "What about Xander? What happened? Are they all right?"

D'Hoffryn waves his hand. Not an invocation, just indifference. "That's centuries past, now."

"Centuries?" And suddenly Anya's aware of the strength under her skin, a tingle in her fingertips she thought had been lost. She puts a hand to her throat, and finds a locket hanging there. "I'm--"

"One of us again, yes." D'Hoffryn chuckles. "And you have work to do."

ii. you're only as sick as your secrets

It takes her a few weeks to get used to the universe in which she finds herself. There's so much she's missed in the intervening centuries, and technology has changed in ways she needs to assimilate.

Finally, however, she gets the hang of things, and finagles her way to an Alliance source box. (Bosses and secretaries will always have affairs, and the affairs will always go awry.)

The details regarding that era are hazy at best, though there's more detail about the supernatural than she expected to find. There is no mention, however, of Southern California collapsing into chaos. No supernatural phenomena, though mention of a small earthquake piques her interest.

But the past is passed, and Anya has work to do. She puts aside the person she was, and concentrates on the demon she can be.

iii. shimmer, shmimmer

She's having tea and whiskey at an upscale Londinium restaurant when she feels the familiar tug of a wish impending.

With a flick and a twinkle, she's on Sihnon, and through a temple archway, she sees two young women. One is primly seated, though her expression is anything but. The other is draped casually over the bench, and there's a ping in Anya's mind as she recognizes her target.

Before she approaches, she assesses her clothing, converts it to a gown of silk and wispy lace, a match for what the other two wear.

As she concocts her appearance, she tilts her head, and catches their conversation in progress.

"--really, Nandi. He was only a client." The prim one rests her chin on her hand as she scolds. "I would think you of all people would know better."

iv. in the dark a dare

Nandi arches her eyebrows at her, and Inara tries to be serious. Not simply to escape Nandi's momentary wrath, but also because their roles have been reversed, before, and she remembers Nandi's sympathy then.

"I know he was only a client," Nandi responds. "That doesn't mean it's forgiveable."

She seems ready to launch into another tirade, but then a flicker of movement catches Inara's eye, and she holds up her hand.

A woman she doesn't recognize steps into the gardens. She's petite, and dressed as finely as they are, though her scarf is draped artlessly.

Inara smiles, specifically the smile of one who has been interrupted, but is pleased anyway. "Good afternoon."

The woman nods and inclines her chin. "Good afternoon," she echoes, looking directly at Nandi.

Nandi grumbles under her breath, and Inara places a hand on her wrist. Nandi rolls her eyes. "And may the evening fall with grace," she replies. "Can we help you?"

The woman smiles, but it's not one Inara recognizes. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help overhearing your conversation." She sits across from them, uninvited, and leans forward. "My name's Anya, by the way."

Inara exchanges a glance with Nandi. If this Anya is a Companion, she's new to her training, and gauche.

"You're talking about a man?" Anya continues. "Did he wrong you?"

It's bad form to discuss clientele, but Nandi's still in high dudgeon. "One of my clients switched on me," she spits out, nails digging into her skirt. "Aston Shane's been calling on me for half a year now, and he got his head turned by some slip of a blonde whore on Ariel."

"Nandi, language," Inara admonishes, but the two women are past niceties.

Anya's eyes spark. "That bastard!" She claps her hands together. "Couldn't you just strangle him?"

"I could just," Nandi growls, and leans back in her seat. "Or even better, I'd teach him a lesson."

"Like what?" Anya asks. "What do you wish would happen?"

Inara thinks she sounds entirely too eager.

"I wish..." Nandi bites her lip, thinking, then brightens. "I wish he never gets it up, ever again."

Anya laughs, almost a cackle, and snaps her fingers. "Perfect!"

For a second, Inara feels dizzy, watching Anya, and then--

She blinks hard, twice, and decides she didn't see what she though she saw.

And Nandi is laughing, and Anya is walking away.

v. simple to last your whole life long

The next morning, Inara runs into Anya again, in another part of the gardens.

She stops short, startled into frankness. "I didn't expect to see you here."

"Yeah, well." Anya smiles at her, then gestures to a slender palm tree growing by the temple's outer wall. "It reminds me a place I used to live."

Inara smiles at the wistful note in her voice, and settles carefully on a nearby bench. "You haven't been training very long, have you?"

"Training for--" Anya frowns. "Oh! To be a Companion." She shakes her head. "No, not really." She walks over, sits next to Inara. Close.

Anya smells like vanilla and musk, sugar and silk. Inara's mouth is dry, she shifts her legs.

"I don't think this is for me," Anya murmurs, and she's leaning closer still. "I've sworn off men." She sounds almost sad.

Inara manages a low laugh. "That would be a problem for many Companions." She turns to face Anya, and their heads are only inches apart. "But we don't have to select men, of course."

"Of course," Anya repeats. "Do you?"

Inara catches her breath as Anya's hand presses over hers. "Sometimes," she answers. "Not always."

Anya touches her elbow, her shoulder, her throat. "Do you have anyone tonight?"

Inara answers her with a kiss.


A/N: Title, summary and headings adapted from Brenda Shaughnessy's Your One Good Dress. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here and linked on femslash_minis.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2005 10:42 am (UTC)
Love this. Excellent Anya and her adaptability.
Jan. 1st, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Dec. 30th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
Jan. 1st, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
Wonderful fic! The title matches so well to the flow of the story. I love how each snippet creates a prism of a story but also adds so much to the whole.
The details are lovely, particularly Inara's observations on Anya.
Anya smells like vanilla and musk, sugar and silk. Inara's mouth is dry, she shifts her legs.
Just gorgeous!
Jan. 1st, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Jan. 4th, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
I really, really loved this. Love Andrew's "For the Shire!" and Inara's voice and thoughts and quiet youth, and the way both Anya and Inara seem themselves and different and the innocence of each of them that's still there despite their chosen professions, and

Inara manages a low laugh. "That would be a problem for many Companions." She turns to face Anya, and their heads are only inches apart. "But we don't have to select men, of course."

"Of course," Anya repeats. "Do you?"

Inara catches her breath as Anya's hand presses over hers. "Sometimes," she answers. "Not always."

is so perfect. :) Lovely!
Jan. 6th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm thrilled you liked it.
Jan. 31st, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
Fic: The Anti-Obvious
Anya's great. And moving her into the future worked very well.
The small bit of Andrew was fabulous.
Inara's thoughts on Anya were fabulous, too. Inara, altogether, poised and observant.
Mar. 1st, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Fic: The Anti-Obvious
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
Mar. 6th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
I just exhaled with a huge whoooosh at the end of this... It's so simple and so suggestive - amazingly hot just because of a few little implications at the end!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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