Xander hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep since the botched wedding, and he was in no mood to see Spike. He’d thought, a little drinking, good times with friends, boogieing with his girls.... His plans for the evening had not included pretending to ignore Spike while he soaked up the vampire’s presence.
Spike shouldered his way through the crowd with equal parts charm and snark, and made his way to the pool tables across The Bronze. He approached a large bear of a man who was leaning on his pool stick as he watched another man take his shot, and they greeted each other with an elaborate handshake. Spike pulled a handful of quarters from his jeans pocket and lined them up on the edge of the table, and then proceeded to chat and drink until it was his turn to play.
Xander couldn’t pull his eyes away from Spike, who he’d never seen like this before—he was actually enjoying himself, and he wasn’t killing anything! The only people he knew Spike hung with was, well, them, but they’d made it pretty clear they didn’t want him around. He shouldn’t be surprised then, that the vampire had found other things to do, made other friends. What? Had he really expected that Spike sat alone in his crypt just waiting until they needed him?
The girls came back and they chatted for a while, but Xander’s attention drifted back to the pool tables where Spike was leaning one hip against the table, cue stick held between his legs as he flirted with the waitress who was handing him another beer. He watched Spike’s eyes slide over the waitress’s body when she turned to walk away, and then he smirked when the guy he’d originally spoken with slapped him on the back and mouthed something Xander couldn’t hear.
“We’ve gotten our second wind, so we’re going back out,” Buffy said as she and Willow stood. “Join us?”
“Oh. No, thanks,” Xander said, whipping his head back around. “You go ahead. I’ll just veg here for a few minutes. Crowd watch. Drink. Contemplate my idiocy,” he added when he realized he was starting to babble.
“No contemplating tonight, Xander!” Buffy admonished with a smile and a waggle of her finger.
“Okay, nix that one,” he agreed, feeling a little punchy. “Just drinking and watching, then.” He forced his eyes to stay on the girls until they’d turned away and disappeared into the teeming mass of bodies. For the hell of it, and to show that he wasn’t completely under Spike’s spell, he took a drink of the beer warming in his plastic cup before turning his head slowly, deliberately, towards the pool tables.
Spike had moved away from the table to give his opponent room to shoot. He raised the beer to his mouth, tilted his head back, and took a swig. Xander reached beneath the table to adjust himself while he watched the vampire’s throat work as he swallowed, watched the way his lips fit around the mouth of the bottle as he pulled the beer out of it.
“Oh, god,” he groaned.
Spike turned, looked the pool table over, and then set the bottle down on the edge. He bent over and lined up his shot, then shifted his legs. Xander was breathing heavily, and he forced himself to look away. Christ, what was wrong with him? Despite the stupid vision, he didn’t even like Spike. He glanced back over to see Spike prowling around the table as he picked his next shot. He imagined the vampire circling him that way, predator and prey, and moaned.
“You all right, Xander?” Buffy asked.
Xander’s focus immediately rocketed back to the table where Buffy and Willow were just pulling out their chairs. “Uh, yeah,” he said, picking up his cup and draining it to have something to do with his hand. “You’re back quick. I was, um, just thinking I should have gotten a refill before you got back.” He gestured towards the empty pitcher with his equally empty cup.
“Oh. That’s no problem.” Buffy looked around. “There’s the waitress. I’ll go order.”
“Oh, hey!” Willow said as Buffy slipped away. “Did you know Spike was here?”
“Really? Where?” Xander asked, his voice coming out strangled.