brooding and alchohol.
main characters: Angel, Nick Knight (non-pairing)
disclaimer: I hold no legal rights to Angel (of BtVS/A:tS) or Nick (of Forever Knight).
distribution: Twisting, quickfics, Paula, Wic
note: response to the TNL Scenario # 18. Semi set in Angel season 1/2. Doyle is gone, Wesley's dating Virginia, & Cordy's got a boyfriend of the month.
Angel dreaded holidays. It didn't really matter which one, they were all miserable experiences for him. Holidays were supposed to be a time for friends, family, for sharing the joys of life with the ones closest to you. It would be much easier if he had someone close, or some joy to share. Thanks to a long series of tragedy, complications, and misery, he didn't have anyone close. Not a single soul.... or even a friendly demon or two.
Which was why he was sitting in a bar on the evening of Saint Patrick's Day, testing the limits of the vampiric resistance to alcohol.
"Miserable holiday. Why did they have to decide to have yet another day for togetherness..." The voice came from a man just two barstools down from Angel, someone with short sandy blond hair, and the sort of clothing that just blended in with the crowd. But there was something about him that seemed... off. He was slowly peeling the beer label with his thumbnail, allowing the curls of paper to fall damply to the bar.
"Marketing ploy." Angel almost growled the words. "Force people to buy the women in their lives flowers and presents... And you're doomed if you're alone."
The blond man looked over at Angel, and offered a thin smile that didn't reach his eyes. Eyes that were filled with age and guilt and loneliness. "Funny, I didn't realize that hell looked like an imitation Irish pub in the middle of Los Angeles."
"No, this isn't hell. Less green in Hell. But it's still a sort of doom." Angel sighed, looking over. "And this is a really bad imitation of Ireland, unless they're going for a really bad Irish pub. There were... probably still are a few."
The blond man chuckled just a little, swallowing the last of his beer with a grimace. "Apparently with rather bad beer as well. Think the whiskey's any better?"
"Might as well find out. I'm Angel." He had a small, hopeful smile. The beer here... well, maybe it was partly because he was a vampire, but it really wasn't doing anything for him.
"Nick." After gesturing for the bartender, and ordering some whiskey for both of them, Nick looked over at Angel. "No friends in the city to spend the holiday with?"
"Cordy had a date with what's-his-name." Angel waved his hand, not worried about the name of Cordelia's current boyfriend. He'd probably be gone soon enough anyhow - so many guys seemed to have a problem with the 'migraines' and the erratic hours of her job. "And Wesley is spending the weekend with his girlfriend. Doyle would have been right here with me, but he's... he died."
As it turned out the whiskey was better than the beer. A lot better. The pair of them were soon drinking, toasting to the memory of departed friends and missing family. Occasionally, one of them would say something insulting about the modern commercialization of the many holidays.
Gradually, Angel was starting to suspect that Nick wasn't quite the normal human that he appeared to be. As the bar emptied, Angel tried to figure it out. Nick didn't smell like some of the more identifiable demons, just sort of leather and whiskey and blood. Hmm... wait a moment, where was Nick's heartbeat? The faint beckoning swish of his blood coursing through his veins, sustaining, tempting, calling...
"Gentlemen, I'm going to have to ask the two of you to leave." The voice of the waitress, her own pulse a soft thrum in the background, interrupted Angel's thoughts. "You see, it's closing time."
Nick blinked at her, his gaze sort of sliding from her eyes to the side of her neck and back again. "Closing time already?"
"Sorry." She didn't sound terribly sincere, but it had probably been a long night for her.
Angel leaned towards Nick, having nodded at the waitress. He made his offer, letting the words hand temptingly in the air. "It is that time. But... I've got some more whiskey back at my place. I can share..."
"More drinks... no bad music or cheap decorations?" Nick looked hopeful, and he appeared to be swaying a bit in his seat. "How much did we have to drink?"
"No holiday decorations. Plentiful drinks." Angel smiled almost triumphantly. "And I have leather couches!"
Nick stood up, one hand gripping the table as he swayed on his feet. "Whoa... Yes, your place sounds good. They won't sell us any more here anyhow."
The next thing Angel knew, there was this impression of lurching, spinning flight, as if the world had really and truly fallen out from under him, and they were standing in front of the Hyperion. Nick looked at the building, frowning. "Your place is a hotel room? It's all dark, I hope you have your keys."
"I own the damn building. Nobody's here, no lights. And I have the keys, unless the fell out over Fifth street..." He paused, searching his pockets. A couple cards, a beer cap, one of Cordy's earrings, and finally, his keys. Keys... wait a minute, where was his car? He must have left it near that pub... Well, he'd just have to collect it later. "Keys. Now, we can go inside, and have peace, quiet, and Whiskey. Or maybe Scotch. I think I have both."
Fifteen minutes later, they were each draped on a leather couch, watching the flames in the fireplace. Bottles of alcohol were in hand, and their dislike of the holiday and their similarly lonely state had caused them to drink far more than they would have otherwise done.
“Might be better with a bit of blood…” Nick’s soft words would have been entirely unheard if Angel were a mortal.
As it happened, Angel was no more mortal than Nick. He glanced over with a slightly too large smile, pleased that he’d been right. Nick had a lot in common with him after all. “That’s in the refrigerator. Goes nasty otherwise, unless you just grab someone. That way leads to guilt… Hey, can you bring me one?”
Nick made a sort of noise, and lurched up from the couch. “Right…” There was a pause as he went into the kitchen, and the faint sound of the refrigerator opening and closing before Nick came back. “Angel, why do you have Red Cross bags in your refrigerator? This is… too much whiskey.”
“I’m a vampire, same as you are. That’s why you were wanting to drink it. Probably have something like it in your own fridge… Only other brooding vampire I’ve met. Should I feel jealous about that?” Angel paused, trying to consider the situation. Another brooding, guilty vampire, with a father who didn’t like the way he was running his life. A failed romance with a woman who couldn’t accept all of him and all of his past. Nick sounded so similar is a few ways that it was just bizarre.
“Right.” Nick sat back down, tossing one of the bags towards Angel. “Can’t tell anyone though, the Enforcer’s would start a bloodbath. Bad things would happen. Then LaCroix would show up and be very dissa… disappointed with me. Again. Same as always… nearly eight hundred damn years and he’s still following me telling me what a failure I am…”
“I killed Darla. Made her be quiet about how vile she figured I was now that I don’t eat people anymore. No more bloodbaths for Angelus, no… gotta be good, gotta be an angel now…” With a sigh, Angel poured the bag of blood into the bottle, swirling it until it was blended with the alcohol.
“Mine won’t die. Tried staking him… saw him in a burning building once. He just won’t die. Could send him off to a damn Hellmouth if I knew where one was, but he probably wouldn’t’ die there either.” Nick looked mournful.
“Sunnydale. Don’t go there, you could end up… wait, you already broke up with yours. My breakup ended up being a sword through the chest and a trip to hell. Which doesn’t look like a cheep Irish pub. And there’s no whiskey.” Angel sighed, feeling a good brood coming on. Or maybe drunken maudlin ramblings.
“Thank God for whiskey.” Nick raised his bottle, the fluid inside now a good deal thicker, redder, and less alcoholic, as if in a toast.
“I’ll drink to that.” Angel’s own bottle was lifted in an answering toast. And they did drink to that. Quite a lot, actually.
End Whiskey Sour.