S p i k e / B u f f y . F a n f i c t i o n . b y .K J .D r a f t



Chapter Two

"I just mean," Buffy clarifies defensively, "of all the people he could have killed, I'm not exactly weeping for the trio."

"They're still people," Xander replies, confused and a little disturbed by her flippant dismissal. He toys with an empty shot glass. Slurs his way into a rant: "Depraved, asshole, killer nerd type people, but people. And by the way, why do I not see Spike's dust covering the bottom of your shoes? He's fair slay-game now, I don't care how many times you two" (he shivers violently) " did what you did, and really, I'd prefer not to know, ever, but my point is, you can't just not slay him. There's no excuse now. He's a chipless, soulless killer."

He knocks back his fourth shot of the night to punctuate the remark.

"Anyone who wants legal drinks, I'm buying!" Dawn interrupts, tugging a stool over next to Willow and flashing a wad of cash.

"Be gone, I have no use for you," Xander answers, only half teasing.

"And just when did you acquire buying capabilities?" Buffy questions suspiciously.

"Babysitting. Twelve bucks an hour," she retorts pointedly.

Buffy raises her eyebrows.

Willow, sensing things about to get really, really ugly, pipes up, "I'll have another cherry coke, twist of lemon."

Pleased, Dawn heads off on her task.

"And then we're going home," Buffy calls after her. Dawn pivots, gets her Brat on.

"It's only ten o'clock! "

"Ask me if I care."

"You're actually jealous because I make more money than you," Dawn squeals.

"Yes, Dawn, I'm paralyzed with rage. You got me pegged. We're still going home."

Dawn frowns and heads to the bar. Xander and Willow remain silent, looking anywhere but in the direction of their seriously pissed off friend.

"Did you hear that? She makes more money than me," Buffy states in disbelief to neither in particular.

Xander clears his throat. "Yes, well, the baby sitting arts do tend to bring in the bank. But she just wants to contribute to the household. You should, uh, be proud. Of her. Let her stay out and hang."

"Nice try. She shouldn't be subjected to Drunk Xander every night this week."

"No one should. But Falsely Cheerful Xander is better than Morose, Barely Holding Onto His Job and Apartment Xander," he suggests.

Willow puts her hand on Buffy's arm. "You and Dawnie go, I'll take Xander to Tara's and baby sit."

Xander grins sloppily. Every heart broken fool who abandons his once and current Vengeance Demon at the altar should get two adorable lesbians to pamper him afterwards. For as long as possible.

"I can't afford twelve bucks an hour," he informs Willow, straight faced and suddenly panicked.

"I think we'll manage," she assures him.

Xander downs another shot, seeming to gain courage (or at least anger) from it, and turns back to Buffy. "So where is Beyond The Pale, anyway?"

"Are de-invitations necessary?" Willow adds, chewing her straw, not sure she wants an answer.

Buffy shakes her head. "Spike's gone. Don't know where."

"Too bad, so sad," Xander mutters bitterly. "Wonder if he gave Anya a proper goodbye."

Buffy turns her gaze on him sharply, so sharp it manages to actually penetrate the buzz he has going. Buffy the Drunk Friend Soberizer, he thinks and chuckles. No, wait, still buzzing.

"Y'know," Buffy pronounces slowly, also submitting to chew-the-straw mode, "It's weird. Three humans gave me more grief this year than all the demons I fought combined."

"True," Willow agrees, glancing at Xander. She's unsettled by Buffy's tone. Senses that it's leading up to a Creepy. Something to discuss with Tara, obviously - Xander can barely keep his head up.

"Makes me wonder why I'm spending so much time patrolling for vamps or other-dimensional types," Buffy continues irritably, "Seriously."

"What are you saying?"