The music was loud, the bass shaking through Neil's entire body. Nicky and Aaron had disappeared down to the dance floor two rounds ago; now he, Andrew and Kevin were at the table. Neil finished the last of his cola before putting the empty glass back on the tray.
"Your turn," Andrew said flatly. Neil looked at him before picking up the tray with the glasses on it and making his way through the crowd towards the bar. Roland waved at him and Neil rested against the counter to wait for him to finish with the other customers.
"Another round?" Roland asked and Neil nodded as the other man began mixing drinks. "Still soda for you?"
"Yeah," Neil said. Roland poured two drinks before picking up a fresh glass and can for Neil. Neil opened it, pouring his soda out while Roland mixed more drinks. How he knew so many, Neil didn't know.
The bar was crowded, and Neil subtly elbowed the guy next to him, who kept creeping into his space. Roland had turned around to get fresh glasses, and as Neil opened his mouth to ask something, the guy beside him pushed him.
"Hey!" Neil snapped, his elbow jutting out to meet the guy's ribs. "Watch it."
The guy looked at him sheepishly.
"Sorry, man," he said as he tried to right himself.
Neil frowned before turning back to Roland, who was finishing pouring the drinks.
"Thanks," Neil said as he picked the tray up and began going back to the table, where Andrew and Kevin were still sitting.
"Took you long enough," Andrew remarked as he picked up his drink. "Get lost or something?"
Neil rolled his eyes as he took a gulp of his soda. As he swallowed, he frowned. It tasted sweeter somehow. And familiar.
Neil took another mouthful but regretted it instantly. Cracker dust and something else filled his throat. He choked, trying to spit it out but it was too late. Andrew and Kevin looked at him curiously.
Their faces blurred and Neil spluttered again. At some point in the last five seconds, Nicky and Aaron had rejoined them.
"Didn't take you to be the type that spits instead of swallows, Neil," Nicky's voice said. Andrew snapped something back but Neil missed it.
He tried to stand up but the world spun and the floor tilted. Then he was on the floor with Andrew kneeling beside him.
"Neil?" Andrew asked. Neil looked up at him as colours and noise danced around them. Had Andrew drugged him again? Why? What was happening? Neil's memory disappeared like torchlight in a blackout of colours and music.
Everything hurt. Neil was convinced he was made up of injuries.
He groaned, rolling over and tried to sit up. When that failed, he blinked at the room around him. He was in the Cousins' house, in Nicky's bedroom by the look of it. Andrew was pacing beside the bed, growling lowly. Another few blinks, and Neil noticed the ice packs taped to his knuckles. On both hands.
Andrew whirled to face him and Neil flinched. The other man's expression was pure darkness - if looks could kill, Neil should have been obliterated. Then brought back to life to get hung and quartered. Then burned.
"'Drew what -" Neil didn't get any further before he was rolling onto his knees to retch over the side of the bed, where there was thankfully a trashcan waiting.
Andrew was still growling, low in his throat.
"What happened?" Neil choked out once he could breathe again. He spat into the bucket seconds before shakily sitting and turning to face the blonde.
The last time Neil had seen Andrew's expression so dark, it had been when Alison had slapped Aaron and Andrew had been ready to snap her neck in retaliation.
"Someone roofied you last night." Andrew ground the words out through his teeth like meat through a pulveriser. Neil blinked at him slowly, every muscle aching.
Before he could say anything else, Andrew whirled again and punched the bedroom door. It should have swung open, but it only groaned and dented.
"He's fucking awake," Andrew yelled through the wood.
Neil gagged and leaned over to retch again.
A few seconds later there was a bang and the door opened inwards. Andrew was pacing and swearing, alternating between English and German.
Nicky, Aaron and Kevin were now in the room.
"Fuck," Nicky said.
Neil sat up, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand an grimacing.
"Someone drugged you last night," Nicky cut in. "They must have done it when you went up for the last round. You went down after like two mouthfuls of that soda. When Andrew saw your face he lost it - had Roland in the backroom with a fucking knife to his throat, wanting to know what had happened. Roland said you poured the soda yourself, it was a clean glass but the two guys next to you kept elbowing their way closer so it must have been one of them. Andrew got Roland to tell them which guys they were - then Aaron stayed with Roland when Andrew went after the guys."
Nicky paused for breath and Neil looked to Andrew's fists again.
"Andrew beat them both up - me and Kevin had to pull him off of them. Would've fucking murdered them if we hadn't."
"They deserved it," Andrew growled.
"But the last thing we need is you back in jail or back on meds." By Kevin's tone, this was an ongoing argument.
"You passed out in the car on the way here," Nicky said slowly. "Andrew and Kevin were in the back with you. He wouldn't let any of us touch you to bring you in here, so he just carried you. Made sense at the time. As soon as you were here -" Nicky gestured to the room around them, "- he lost it again. Said he was going after the two guys. Hence why we kinda uhm-"
"Locked you both in here," Aaron supplied. "Since you're the only one he won't stab."
Neil frowned up at Andrew, who had stilled and was now glaring murder at him. Now, Neil knew that anger wasn't directed at him. It would never be directed at him.