"Oi, watch the top shelf!" A row of second-tier bottles crashed to the floor around Spike. "Wastrel."
Buffy could have taken this opportunity to fix her shoulder, but Spike looked so beaten and hapless sitting there. She had to taunt him.
Choosing a bottle from the top shelf, she shook it before his face and down-talked, "What is it, boy? Are ya thirsty?" She uncorked it with her teeth and upended it over some jagged glass shards. "Why don't ya lick it up like a good little OHmygod it's blood!"
"Yeah, hello? Vampire bar?" He pointed at the sign she'd used to fry the fledgling. "Did the flashing neon sign not make it clear enough?"
"Oh, 'fresh blood'," she said, seeing all the letters now. "I thought it said 'fresh blond'."
"Why would it say--? Never mind." He dipped a finger in the spill and tasted it. "Type O neg, extra virgin. Now that's quality blond."
"Extra ...Eww!" She smashed that bottle, then smashed another. "Whoopsie! Butterfingers."
Sampling the new spill, he deadpanned, "Type A choir boy. Not really my thing, but..."
"Oh my GOD!" She smashed three more in succession as Spike looked on in amusement. Her sanctimonious outrage was almost as entertaining as her bull riding. Almost.
Smash! "Say goodbye to your precious top shelf, you vile," smash! "disgusting--"
"WAIT!" he shouted, frantically raising his hands in white flag. "Not that one, not that one! Truce! Truce!"
"Why, what's in it?" She'd put her free hand on her hip if she could. "Fresh-squeezed baby?"
"It's sixty year old Scotch, you nit." He swiped and opened it, cheered her and poised it at his mouth. "Fresh-squeezed baby's over there."
She followed his glance, but didn't see anything.
"Made you look."
She kicked him in the shin.
"Hey, truce I said!"
"I didn't agree to any truce." But, her shoulder was dislocated and there was majorly icky blood everywhere, so she shambled off, casting backward glances along the way. Satisfied that he'd stay put for a while, she lay on the couch to discreetly ram her shoulder into place. "UNH!"
Well, it was supposed to be discreet.
Spike could only see a tan leather rectangle. "You all right over there?"
"Fine," she said, eyes clamped shut in agony. "Don't get excited."
"Mm. First-rate grog, this is." He limped toward her, pointed it her way. "Helps numb the pain."
"Ew, no thanks."
"It's just whiskey. No babies harmed in the making. Presumably."
"And I repeat, ew."
He shrugged, peeled off his wet jacket, draped it over the broken coffee table and plopped slouchily on the open spot on the couch. "Your loss."
She peered at him. "It really numbs pain?"
"Like a dream."
"Okay." She dragged herself into a seated position. "One sip. And then the truce is over."
"How about until the bottle's done? Trust me, won't be long."
"Whatever," she said, though she was secretly hoping he'd suggest that. She found an unbroken shot glass near the coffee table and polished it on her dress. "But I'm not swapping spit with you."
Only slightly offended, he poured. "Say when."
"When! I said a sip, not a shot."
He clinked his bottleneck on her glass. "To pain management."
"To your imminent death."
"To yours being first."
"Oh just drink, will you? Truce'll never be over if you keep prattling."
"Cheers," she said with rancor, then swallowed and burst out coughing.
Serves her right. While she carried on, Spike patted his pockets for his flattened pack of menthols and his lighter. After a deep inhale, he said, "Bit much for a first-timer, I expect."
"Try last-timer. God, that's revolting."
"More for me." He swigged. Smoked. Sang along with Steve Perry, "...mmm-mm cheap perfu-ume... for a smile they can share the night, it goes on and on and on and ooon..." On his thigh, he air-drummed the fill into the bridge. "Streetlight--"
"Know what?" Buffy put the shot glass down. This wasn't just weird; this was a whole new level of weird. The weird elevator had broken through the weird ceiling and was now launching into the couldn't-possibly-be-weirdersphere. "It's late, we're wrecked. How 'bout we kill each other some other time?"
He hooked her elbow. "Don't make me lasso you again."
She wrested free. "What's with the separation anxiety, Spike? You're usually so quick to bail."
"Am not! Alright, I am. But not tonight. Mark my words, Slayer: we're gonna finish this, you and me, if it takes all weekend."
"What? Why?" Exasperated, she said, "If that's the way you want it, fine. Intermission's over. Lose the refreshments and let's get to the finale already."
"What's the rush, puffin? Got somewhere to be? Got a hot date?"
"Yeah, with my shower," she sassed. "And not that it's any business of yours, but I was supposed to meet my friends at the Bronze tonight."
"The Slaymates without a Slayer? Tragedy strikes Sunnyhell. Hurry, before they get boring again -- ooh, sorry! Too late." He swigged. "You were right to ditch them."
"I didn't 'ditch them'. This," she waved her hand around, "was a gross miscalculation of epic proportions."
"Blast that wrong turn at Albuquerque."
Absolutely refusing to laugh, she said, "I don't know why I'm talking to you."
"Simple. You're stuck with me and I'm a damn good time." He sucked on his cig, blew smoke through his nose. "Go on then; I'm all ears."
"It's a very long story, okay?"
"Lucky for you," he refilled her glass, "I'm immortal."
She sighed. "Long story short, I get as far as the parking lot, where I hear these vamps talking up a new hotspot." Smokin' babes, cheap brewskis. Best part about it? Slayer never leaves town, so there's no chance of a raid.
"Bloody loudmouths. I hope you killed them."
"Well, yeah, eventually. But first, I hid in their pickup truck." Come on, I'll take you there, it ain't far. "Strictly for recon -- I was gonna case the joint, hitch a ride back home, call Giles, dance the night away. That is until that... bile-spitting excuse for a bouncer started screeching at me."
Spike nodded. "Sewer beasts have sonar detection talents. They can hear you breathe a mile away. And the Dir'hok?" He pointed at the lifeless cowboy demon. "They can smell your secretions."
"That's disgusting," she surmised. "And has 'buddy movie' written all over it."
"I bet they were thrilled to see you."
"Not so much. They dragged me inside to make an example of me." The place was packed to the rafters. Buffy thought she was a goner ...until the fight began. To her profound relief, not one was remotely skilled, except for the Dir'hok and Robert Smith. The best part was when the pig-faced owner believed she'd spiked the tonic with holy water. "And here we are."
"Can't you see the true tragedy in this, Buffy?"
"Yes. These boots were brand new. Now look at them." Oh hey, there was an idea.
If you asked him, the blood spatters only made them look more enticing. But wait. He had a point. "These poor sods weren't hurting anyone. Not like there's people to eat in a ghost town, right? We come here to be left alone. Where are you going?"
"Tonic," she said, grabbing the spout and pulling it over to the couch.
"Point is--" He watched her place a toe on the couch arm and spray her boot, knee and thigh with fizzy water while flipping her hair out of her face. What was he talking about? "Are you even listening to me?"
"Blah blah, respectable vampire establishment, blah," she switched feet, "not hurting anyone, blah, we only come here to drink fresh-squeezed virgins and scheme out the next apocalypse in peace, sure, why not?" Legs dripping, she tucked the tonic spout in the couch and sat down to dry off and inspect her boots. "That's harmless."
Her thighs were so supple and shiny and... Yeah. He needed some sex. Preferably with someone who wouldn't drive a stake through his heart. "Not what I came here for."
Which begged the question: "What did you come here for? Where's your hot date?"
"I'm sitting with it."
She wrinkled her brow. He wagged his bottle.
Oh. That. "No, I mean, where's Drrr--" He glowered at her. "...She Who Can't Be Named? You're practically married; shouldn't you always have 'somewhere to be'?"
"She's not the boss of me. All right? I'm my own man."
"Oh," she concluded, "so she's busy."
"If you must know, she's out cavorting with your ex." At her blanch, he prodded, "You remember the one. Tall dark and cumbersome, Neanderthal forehead, hair like that sensitive bloke on Friends?"
"Yeah, thanks for clearing that up."
She sprayed dried blood off of a closed cut on her knee. "So... what are they up to?"
"Frankly my dear, I don't give a shit."
"I just mean, y'know, on a scale of say, schoolyard bullying to full-on world domination, what they were doing would be..."
He squinted at her. "Why should I tell you?"
He rolled his eyes. "It's nothing major, all right? No need to flounce out to save the kittens and trees. He's just got a hard-on for torturing me. And you know, you."
"Why, what do you know?"
"Look, I said truce, not let's be bestest friends and share all our secrets. All right? Pfft. Not gonna spy for you."
"You're right. This is stupid." She gave him her empty glass. "I'm gonna go."
"He wants you to suffer for making him feel human." Spike really hated to drink alone. "That's all I know."
"Why does he want you to suffer?"
"Because he's a gigantic tool," he answered plainly.
She sat down again. "Amen to that."
Up next: fish.