He hadn’t really meant to end up in the bar, sitting in a corner at a barely clean table, nursing a beer. Not even a good beer. Drinking bad beer in a shifty dirty bar in the wrong part of town. Damn, he was a beer belly and some angry yelling away from turning in to his own father.
Xander peeled the beer label off the bottle and closed his eyes. He was so worn out. His body felt at least ten years older than it actually was. Ten? Hell, make that thirty.
The bar was only half filled and Xander wasn’t really expecting to see it get more crowded as the evening progressed. This bar mostly served as a place for alcoholics to escape their nagging wife, mediocre job and shitty life.
He didn’t have a wife but he did have a mediocre job and well…okay so his life could have been worse. He could have been Andrew. Andrew with his crush on Spike and his muffin baking and his mousy voice.
It was like his uncle always said: no matter how fucked up your life was some sorry bastard was always worse off.
At least he wasn’t Spike.
The door to the bar was splintered by something heavy slamming against it and Xander made sure to grab his beer. There was no reason to waste it by letting it meet its untimely end on the floor. A figure moved around in the pieces of wood left over from the door’s destruction. The room was so dimly lit that Xander couldn’t see if it was a woman or a man.
The bartender reached down under the bar counter and pulled out an old battered baseball bat. The overweight older man hefted it a few times and looked around the room uncertainly.
One very drunk man got up, swaying a little, and walked over to the person rolling around on the floor.
“H-Heyyyy buddy,” he said drunkenly, “You okay. Door’s not locked, you know,” he pointed at the door with his beer bottle, “Could just open it,” he was about to continue when a big man stepped into the bar. The smaller pieces of splintered wood crackled under his boots.
Without a word he reached out for the drunk’s beer bottle and then he started slamming it against the person on the floor.
On the second impact the bottle broke against the victim’s temple. Xander shot up from his chair and yelled to the bartender, “Call the cops!” The old man looked from the big beer bottle wielding man and back to Xander, “Just call them!” He snatched the bat out of the bartender’s hands and pushed past the little tables, zigzagging around the big eyed drunks.
“You,” Xander yelled and used the baseball bat to point at the attacker, “Get out of here.”
The man just shot him an angry look and lifted the bottle again. Xander hefted the bat once and then took the first swing. The bat made a whooshing sound as it cleaved the air. It hit the attacker on the upper part of his shoulder and then proceeded to snap in two.
“Oh,” Xander said and took a step back, certain he was about to get his brains smashed in with a broken beer bottle. The big man swayed a second and took a small step forward when the bartender yelled
“I called the cops!”
The attacker looked Xander straight in the eyes, pointed a long finger at him and snarled, “I’m gonna find you and fuck you up.”
“Sure,” Xander said, while his brain kept screaming at him to just shut up before he got himself into trouble, “Before or after you find a vocabulary and pick up a few new shiny words to perfect your intimidation routine?”
The big man looked confused, opened his mouth and then kicked the man on the floor one last time before the attacker disappeared out the bar.
“You’ll have to call an ambulance as well,” Xander said as he knelt down at the victim’s side. He very gently started looking over the moaning man on the floor. The amount of blood made his stomach roll for a second, until he got it under control and then he moved the man’s black open button-down shirt out of the way so he could see the busted up face.
“Oh, great,” Xander mumbled, “Spike.”
The chipped vampire looked up at him with dizzy blue eyes and Xander looked out the door just in time to catch a glimpse of the attacker turning the corner and disappearing.
“Hey!” he yelled after him, “Come back! I changed my mind!”
“F-fucker,” Spike managed to glare up at Xander despite the damage to his face.
“Yeah, yeah,” Xander drawled and gently helped the vampire up. He didn’t like the way Spike’s left leg seemed to bend where it wasn’t supposed to.
“Ow,” Spike inanely said when the bone poked out as he put his weight down on the left leg.
“That’s just disgusting,” Xander swallowed and looked away from the unsightly injury.
Spike put his left arm over Xander’s broad shoulders and grunted in pain when they had to maneuver around the pieces of the broken door littering the floor. With a maximum of strange British curses and what sound like demonic growling, they managed to get outside and across the street where Xander’s car was parked.
“Shitty car,” Spike spat blood at the pavement.
“Well,” Xander propped the bloodied vampire against the small puke-green Toyota and got the door unlocked, “Can’t really argue with that.”
He stared at the grey upholstery on the car seat and sighed before he helped Spike into the passenger seat and, as and afterthought, buckled him in.
“Making sure your driving doesn’t kill me?” Spike said and little droplets of blood hit the dashboard. Xander just flinched at the sight and hurried over to the driver’s side, opened the door and got in. It took three tries to get the engine running and Spike badmouthing the car didn’t really help.
Driving down the main street they saw a police car cruising slowly past them. One of the officers had a sandwich in his hand and was chewing like mad.
“I’m just gonna…” Spike muttered and tried to lift his hand but the motion stopped and the vampire’s head tilted to the side. Xander pulled over and reached behind him into the mess on the backseat. He pulled an old yellow sweater out. Bunching it up, he very carefully lifted Spike’s lolling head, just enough for him to push the makeshift pillow between the vampire’s head and shoulder. Patted the uninjured right hand, pulled out into the almost nonexistent traffic again and headed home.