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Attend the Tale

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This story is No. 2 in the series "An Inspired Future". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Anya remembers how Anyanka inspired one of the greatest of Broadway musicals.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Miscellaneous > Musicals/PlaysEricJablowFR1332,628154,11323 Jan 0723 Jan 07Yes

A Wife and Her Barber

Anya knows a lot about Broadway musicals. This story posits that she had inspired one. Credits and spoilers at the bottom. This is set in Season 6, a couple of weeks before OMWF.

----

This is a crossover between Buffy the Vampire Slayer, owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and libretto by Hugh Wheeler. It was based on the 1973 play of the same name by Christopher Bond, which was based on a Victorian penny dreadful novel, The String of Pearls. I do not know what companies or legal entities own the copyright to Sweeney other than the entities I named, but I claim no rights to copyrighted material owned by anyone involved with Sweeney or with BtVS.

---

"Honey, turn the alarm off," moans Anya from underneath her pillow. "Honey? Xan?" The blare continues; Xander was nowhere to be seen. Anya drags herself up from the bed and shuts the alarm off; bleary-eyed, she now looks at Xander's pillow; there's a note on it:

A,

Took the crew to the I-5 rest stop project. Back Thursday. Coffee on timer, rolls warming in oven. Don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Love,
X

"Darn it, I forgot." Anya shakily stands up and walks slowly to the kitchen. "Must have coffee."

---

Anya sits at the kitchen table; she holds the local newspaper in her left hand and dips a roll into a pool of honey with her right. "Idiot politicians." She tosses the first section at the wastebasket; it misses. The local section follows. She skims through the Arts section; she whistles and reads one of the ads. "The UCS Theatre Club presents 'Stephen Sondheim in Repertory: Three Musicals'" Anya says to herself, "I wonder," and reads further.

"'Company', January 15 to January 21." Anya says, "I wouldn't grant any of those Yuppies revenge, even if d'Hoffryn insisted."

"'Into the Woods', January 22 to January 28." "Not bad."

"'Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street', January 29 to February 4." She drops the newspaper to the table and remembers....

---

Flashback: London, 1844

Anyanka wanders through a poor area of London; it's dank, it's dark, and the fog is beginning to settle in. She's looking for someone--the psychic scent of desired vengeance is heavy in the ether. She passes an alehouse and stops at the door to listen to a prostitute rant about her madam; it's just a sordid business dispute, unworthy of her attention. She walks further; two blocks later, she hears a voice.

"Alms, alms, for a miserable woman."

Anyanka looks at the beggar walking toward her. The beggar looks incredibly bedraggled and unkempt, and Anyanka's professional opinion is that the beggar's unsteady gait is the beginning of tabes dorsalis. "How could anyone let herself fall so low?" She sniffs at the air. "Her?"

"Daisies?"

The woman reaches for her, but Anyanka shies away.

"A little rough and tumble?"

Anyanka scowls and walks a few paces away. Then, she turns and demands, "What happened to you?" The woman shrinks from her. "Scared of me. I can use that," Anyanka thinks.

The woman sinks toward the ground, but she has enough sense to avoid sitting on the filthy curb. Anyanka walks to her and leans above her. Anyanka cringes as she asks, "What happened, sister?"

"He ruined me and stole my lovely daughter. Oh, Johanna, where are you now?" The woman starts to cry.

"Your husband did this?"

The woman hisses, "No, never him. Never my wonderful Benjamin." She has a remnant of spirit left. "No, the Judge had his beadle arrest him. Ordered him transported to Australia, he did. And when I went to his house to plead for my darling husband's release, he ruined me, dishonored me. And then he turned me over to his friends. Oh, Judge Turpin, you are an evil man." She started to cry again. "And then he stole my poor baby, my lovely girl. And he will ruin her the way he did me." She starts to sob loudly.

Anyanka says, "I shall help you. What would you have done?" The woman replies, "Oh, if only my darling Benjamin were back. He's strike down old Turpin, he would. Oh, I wish he would return to England; he'd strike old Turpin down, he'd save our daughter."

Anyanka touches her power stone, shows her demonic form, and says, "Done." The woman looks at her, shrieks, and runs off.

Anyanka walks toward her flat; she always feels tired when she enacts a profound act of vengeance. "I wonder what will happen this time?" As she turns onto her street, she hears an odd sound, like hearing a tiny bell ringing at the back of her head, the Summons of d'Hoffryn. She steps into an alley, speaks a Word of Power, and is transported to Aramsharr. A drunkard laying on trash at the back of the alley blinks.

---

Anyanka stands on a blasted plain and waits for her Lord. He's usually prompt. Soon, he walks out of the mist and stands before her. Anyanka says, "Lord d'Hoffryn, I have come."

"No bow, dear Anyanka? No curtsy?"

"I bow to no one, Lord."

"Always so consistent. It is beautiful, in a way."

"What do you want of me, Lord d'Hoffryn?"

"You have done well, dear Anyanka. Done well indeed. It is not given to me to see the future distinctly, but I see that the vengeance you have raised shall be truly profound. It shall be slow, but sure. Children will tell tales of it as far into the future as I can see. Centuries from now, men and women will sing of it, and you and I will hear them do so. It will be fun to watch."

"Thank you, d'Hoffryn."

The demon lord kisses Anyanka on the forehead, and says, "Return to London, but it shall be a year until this vengeance is wrought." Lord d'Hoffryn waves, and Anyanka stands in her flat. She speaks a Minor Word of Power, and the grime on her body disappears. She falls asleep.

---End of Part One---

---

"Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is a 1979 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler, originally starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and Len Cariou as Sweeney Todd. It was based on the 1973 play, "Sweeney Todd", by Christopher Bond. In turn, that was based on the famous British urban legend. The sources aren't clear about when the musical was set, so I may have that wrong. I have just read that the film version Tim Burton will be starting next month will include Anthony Stewart Head in the cast. (He wasn't.)

The woman is Lucy Barker, wife of Benjamin Barker, who returns as Sweeney Todd to wreak vengeance on Judge Turpin, the Beadle, and much of London, killing Lucy and nearly his daughter before being killed himself.
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