The Scene: a nondescript bar somewhere on the East Coast...'Ah......... back in the US at last!'
Xander Harris took a deep, refreshing breath of good old frosty USA air as he paused with his hand on the door. 'And *pleagh* - boy that stinks. Nothing like good ole USA pollution.'
Sighing to himself, he pushed open the door and went on in, pausing a moment to allow his eyes - eye, that is - to adjust to the dim light. Once he was accustomed to the gloom, he rolled his shoulders to work a bit of the stiffness out and ambled over to the bar, settling onto a stool with a slight groan.
"What'll ya have?"
"Any particular brand?"
Xander fixed the bartender with a bemused look. "Wet."
"Got it. Draft it is."
A few minutes later he was just about to hoist his glass of certified Grade-A 100% guaranteed Wet Beer to his lips when he was jostled slightly by someone sliding onto the stool next to him.
"Sorry mate, din't mean to elbow you. Bloody 'ell it's cold out there." The voice apologized for the jostle, following it with, "Gimme a beer, mate," to the bartender.
Xander closed his eyes briefly, sending a short invocation wafting upwards to whatever gods he was certain didn't exist. 'Oh please god no... not him.'
He was right. The gods didn't exist. Or else they really, REALLY hated him, which as he thought about it, might actually be the case. He turned slightly on his seat to look over his new bar mate.
"Spike." The name rolled out of his mouth with as little inflection as there was pleasure in it.
*pleah!* Spike started, spraying draft over the bar top in surprise. "Bloody hell! Harris?"
"Unfortunately," Xander shook his head, looking Spike over with a disgusted eye. (Just one) "Aren't you dead?"
"Was. Got better, I did." Spike snickered and took a long draught, "Aren't you supposed to be in Africa?"
"Was. Got home, I did," Xander smirked.
Xander took a long draught off of his own brew. No point in wasting it just because the company sucked. First damned beer back in the states - not about to let Spike ruin it.
"So... " they both began at the same time, then broke off glaring.
"What the hell are you doing here?" They both finished at the same time as well. Spike met his glare and then laughed, recognizing the humor in it.
"Just got back in," Xander said. "Wanted a beer. You?"
"Just got here from LA. Wanted a beer."
"Ah. So. Live? You? What?"
Spike gave him a curious look. "Shouldn't there be verbs in that someplace, whelp?"
"Bar. No women. Man no need verbs." Xander let the old lopsided grin roll over his face.
"Ha. Bloody right then," Spike tipped his mug and took another drink. "Beer good."
"For bleedin' Yank horsepiss, anyway," Xander said, deadpan.
"Yeah, but at least it's wet."
"Well, yes, it is that," Spike agreed.
"Right then. Me. Living. All that," Spike motioned the bartender to refill them. "Amulet. Mailed to Poofter at Wolfram and Hart. Resurrected me it did."
"Yoda you seek?"
"Hey! Not my fault it's bleedin hard to explain that without using verbs, is it?"
"I suppose not," Xander rolled his eye (just the one). "So, how is Deadboy?"
Angel's dead? Xander raised an eyebrow. Spike didn't look too horribly distressed by that, but maybe he wouldn't. As Xander recalled... there hadn't been that much love lost between the two vampires. He tried to muster up something resembling grief for the (other) souled vampire. Failed miserably. "What happened?"
"Bloody' wanker picked a fight with the Wolfram & Hart Senior Partners, got everyone bleedin killed," Spike stated. He took a long drink of his fresh beer. "Well, everyone except me and Bluebird."
"Bluebird?" It didn't surprise Xander that Spike survived whatever it was. Damned vamp was slipperier than an eel.
"Fred. Girl that worked there, got eaten by a Hellgoddess named Ilyria," Spike said.
"Ah. Happens. Sucks."
"That it does, mate," Spike shook his head, sadly. "That it does. Bloody wonderful bird to have around in a fight, though."
"You two survived it then? Where's she?"
"Who knows?" Spike shrugged, unconcerned. "Mumbled something about needing more violence and grief being like worms in her teeth or something. Then she said she was going to go pay Poofter's ex a visit."
"Ah." Xander thought about that for a bit. Buffy. Grieving Hellgoddess. Worms. Buffy always liked violence. Should be fun. Meanwhile, Spike was muttering something under his breath. Something that sounded like... "HUH?!?"
"What'd you just say?"
"Didn't say nuthin. Was muttering to meself, I was. Bloody eavesdropper."
"Well don't whisper it in my ear next time, luv," Xander smirked, "and I won't ask."
Spike stared at him, "Oh... that's just bloody wrong, mate."
"You started it."
"ANY way, what the hell did you mutter? Something about real... ?" Xander fixed Spike with a patient stare, prepared to be as annoying as possible. He hadn't been able to get any quality Spike needling in in a long time.
"mumble mumble," Spike answered into his beer. If he was hoping that Xander'd let it go, or not hear him, he was sadly mistaken. Years of deciphering embarrassed Willow-mumblings had given Xander Harris preternatural expertise at hearing that which others could not, and deciphering what others found unintelligible.
"BLOODY HELL! Will you keep it DOWN, Whelp?" Spike whipped his head around, examining the bar in a state of high alarm. "Someone might bleedin' hear you, dammit!"
Xander snickered. Oh... this promised to be good. He fixed Spike with an expectant stare. "Human? You?"
"Right. Bloody wanker," Spike sighed theatrically.
"Spill it, Peroxide Boy."
"Come on... " Xander was grinning from ear to ear now. "I've spent a year wandering miles and miles of bloody Africa. The least you can do is entertain me."
"An' why the bleedin' hell should I entertain you?" Spike glared at him.
"I'll pour holy water in your beer if you don't?"
"Right. Like THAT'LL do anything to me now.... " Spike winced as he saw the victory gleam in his drinking mates eyes (eye) from his confirmation.
"You. Not lying. Real boy now? For real?"
"Yes," Spike growled. "Me. Damned poof signed away his bloody Shansu and the bleedin' Powers-that-fucking-won't-let-it-Be gave it to me as a freaking reward for being too stupid to run like hell instead of joining in on his idiotic Wolfram and Hart battle."
Xander wasn't exactly sure what it was that Spike just said. Angel had a Shitzu and gave it away and the PTB turned Spike human as a reward for Angel being an idiot? Something like that. His mind picked at it slowly, and then zeroed in on the important
part of whatever the hell it was that Spike just said...
Xander lit up grinning like Santa just gave him a roomful of horseshit and a shovel. There IS a pony!!! "So... " he said, slowly, "human now, huh?"
"Yeah, whelp. Just a boy again, mate."
"Regular, non-vampire, normal type human?"
"Yup. Wot, are you bleedin' 'ard of 'earing or something?"
"Nope." Staring morosely into his beer again, Spike completely missed the gleam in Xander's eye. "Sucks," Xander hid a small, lopsided grin.
"Yer tellin me, mate." Spike shook his head. "Yeah yeah - sunlight and all. But I forgot how bloody weak humans are."
"Yeah. Weak." Xander commiserated. Spike took another drink, sending Xander a grateful nod at the surprisingly compassionate tone in the former Sunnydaler's voice. Completely oblivious. "Say... you remember the good old days in Sunnydale, still? Like when you were my forced roomate and we used to spend all day long watching Passions?"
"Of course I do," Spike nodded. "Human, not bloody daft. Remember all of that, I do."
"Including when you tried to rape Buffy? And slammed Dawn through a table?" Until the questions and the solid right cross came out of somewhere in Kansas and smashed into the side of the bleached (former) vampire's jaw, Spike thought they were starting to get along surprisingly well.
Teeth flew. So did Spike. He looked up from the floor a couple of stools over to find Harris standing over him with a truly peculiar smile. "Ow! Wot the bleedin' 'ell you do that for?"
"Get the fuck up, Peroxide-boy. We're gonna have a short, sharp chat in the parking lot."
"I don't suppose it'd help any to remind you that I have a soul now, would it?" Spike wiped at the blood trickling down his chin with the back of one hand.
"Right then." Spike swung his legs, cutting Xander's feet out from under him and depositing him on his back. "This should be fun," he said, rolling onto the balls of his feet and lunging at the (much) younger man.
Xander broke his momentum, and his nose, with a short straight punch to the face and rolled out from under the ex-vampire. "Why yes, it should."
Spike clambered to his feet, grinning. So did Xander. Spike worked his jaw slowly, "You hit pretty good for a human."
"I could say the same for you," Xander slipped a punch off of the side of one forearm and dotted one of Spike's eyes with a quick jab. "Except you haven't landed any yet."
The followup punch that Xander didn't block crossed his eye briefly. Spike grinned, "How's that then?"
Xander shook his head, "You hit like a girl." He took another punch to the face to land a solid shot to the peroxided man's stomach.
"Considering some of the girls we know," Spike gasped out, "That's a bleedin' compliment."
"So it is," Xander agreed. He attempted a rabbit punch to the doubled over man's neck that Spike dodged back away from.
"You've been waiting for years to do this, 'aven't you, Whelp?" Spike's head rocked from a punch he didn't dodge. He straightened up with a punch that rocked Xander back, splitting his lip.
"Yup," Xander returnd it with interest, grinning and knocking him backwards into the small bar Christmas tree. "Merry Christmas."
Spike shook his head and clawed tinsel out of his hair, standing up. "Same to you, Whelp. This might just be the best Christmas I've had in years... "
"Huh." Xander cocked his head thoughtfully, "You know? Me too."
They were still laughing and trading punches when the bartender and three patrons threw them out on their asses into the snowy street.