Written post-Get It Done. Two enemies bond over beer and frustration over Buffy.
1 am and no one good on Conan. Xander turned off the TV, restless as hell and wishing he were anywhere but here, in Buffy’s living room, listening to the snores of endless slayers in training. Everyone had gone to sleep, but Xander wasn’t tired. Well, not true. He was tired of a lot of things. Tired of Buffy’s speeches, tired of the strange tension of being around Anya so much, tired of not having a life anymore. He stood up, stretched, then headed out to the back porch, looking for fresh air, but only getting the smell of cigarette smoke instead.
“Haven’t seen you smoke in a while,” Xander said to the shadows where he knew Spike stood.
There was a pause before Spike answered. “Haven’t been that stressed til now… that n’ the price is bloody ridiculous for these things now.”
“So, do you have a How To Be A Badass Again checklist that you’ve going down? Stinky leather duster. Check. Cigarettes. Check. Killing of Demons… Check.”
“Knocking Xander on his ass now that I’m chip-free’s the last item on that list,” Spike added pleasantly.
“Aw, come on. We’re buds now!”
“Yeah, I know. Want a beer?”
“Sure, why not.”
Xander went back inside, rooted through the fridge, and grabbed two beers from the vegetable drawer. God only knew how long they had been there, but his nerves were frayed and he needed a beer.
Xander walked back outside and held out a beer toward Spike, who looked at the silver label on the bottle and rolled his eyes.
“That beer is crap.”
“Yes, but it is the only crap available in the fridge,” Xander said, handing Spike the bottle and then taking a long draw from his . His face crunched up in displeasure.
“Oh, man. Not only is this beer crap. It is skunked crap.” Xander shrugged and drank some more anyway. Spike practically downed the beer in one gulp.
“So…” Xander began, “Judges have officially ruled that Buffy’s Newest Speech gets a thumbs down from everyone in the house.” He sat down and leaned back against the post, looking out over the back yard.
Spike let out a derisive snort. “Yeah. Well. Like you said, she’s the bloody boss of the lot of you.”
“Oh, but not you?” Xander asked, eyebrows raised.
Spike finished off the beer, grimacing in distaste. “Now, I didn’t say that.” He shrugged. “She was right, anyway. It needed to be said. ‘Bout me, anyway. It’s better for the fight in the end.”
“Buffy is reminiscing about when you used to want to kill her and you think you’re better for it? I mean, I hate you with every fiber of my being, of course, but I think she was out of line.”
Spike stared off angrily into space, nodding in agreement. “Tell me about it. Bloody hypocritical. ‘Sides, when hasn’t anyone done anything she commanded? We do nothing but what she orders us to, and it isn’t enough.”
“Yeah!” Xander nodded enthusiastically. “And, you know, between you and me… sometimes I think her judgment is impaired. Willow told me she was offered more power… granted, it was dark, demony power, but she refused it. Meanwhile, she’s demanding that you and Willow embrace your inner evil psycho to do her bidding. What the hell?”
“Yeah!” Spike said.
Then there was a very awkward pause. Xander and Spike frowned at each other in confusion, then looked away.
“Being in love with Buffy totally sucks ass,” Xander said after a while, to break the silence.
“You still love her then?” Spike said casually, taking another drag from his smoke before putting it out under his boot.
“Nah. I mean, I guess, really, it wasn’t ‘in love,’ more like, a 16-year-old’s huge horny crush… It sure seemed like love though. Buffy’s a tough one.”
“She’s the Slayer. Supposed to be tough.”
“She wasn’t always… like this though. I don’t know.” Xander smiled faintly. “What the hell do I know about love? I’m just a carpenter who left his bride at the alter, right?”
Spike laughed a little at that. He lit another cigarette. “Asking the wrong man, mate. I’m just a twisted ex-killer who got a soul for a girl who doesn’t give a toss about him.”
Xander sighed. Spike sighed. Xander finished his crappy, skunked beer and put it down with a thud.
“That’s it. We need real beer. And we need to get away from all this twisted, sick, insanity.”
“You mean The First?” Spike said.
“No. I mean women.” Xander stood up and brushed himself off. “I’ll buy the first round.”
Spike glanced over at Xander. He considered for a moment, then shrugged. “You’re on.”
Continued in Chapter 2