Spike and Fred meet at a bar and have a surprisingly pleasant conversation.
San Francisco - The Electric Blue Nightclub
The Electric Blue Nightclub is nothing like Fred's normal idea of a good time. The music is incredibly loud and the people are all crowded in dancing. Fred is more of a quiet, sciency type. However, there was a lead on one of their cases and they insisted on meeting here.
Fred can feel the loud thump of music against the beat of her heart and she's excused herself from Gunn and Wesley's questions about coven activity and made her way to the bar. She's certainly not dressed for this sort of place: her outfit is a floral print sundress. Her long hair is left loose, curls hanging haphazardly down her back. Pushing in past the crowd of people trying to get drinks, she waves a hand uselessly. "Pardon me, oh, sorry, but..." it's no use. They're all practiced club goers and she doesn't shove enough to get to the bar. "If ya'll just...!"
"Grrr....I LOVE this song!"
The voice belongs to one 'William the Bloody' - more commonly known, in this century at least, as Spike. He stands several feet behind the quiet, sciency Fred - rather, he dances - his arms spread wide, chest thrust out, legs tapping and lips puckered into an expression of 'punk style' ecstasy.
"WOO! Yeah! Awright!"
The vampire continues moving through the crowded dancefloor toward Burkle, his eyes fixated upon her - in something of a half-mocking, half-encouraging gaze. In his right hand he holds a half-empty bottle of beer. His left hand is empty. Spike twirls on the spot, and steps up to Fred. Noticing her difficulty in getting past some of the dancers, he leans over to one particular fellow - his lips awfully close to the man's ear - and bellows:
"Move, ya womble-nosed ponce!"
Fred has not noticed Spike just yet. There are so many people dancing and gyrating and trying to push amongst themselves that it's not until Spike leans right in to the man right in front of her and tells him off that she blinks a few times and smiles brightly at the bleach blonde haired vampire.
With relief, she starts to move upward toward the bar, trying to get there to order a water. It may not be the typical club order, but it's what she wants. "Thank you!" she yells over the music to Spike gratefully, almost pulling him along toward the bar as she keeps talking to him. "It's so crowded in here. I feel like I'm a sine wave and a cosine wave that are warring with each other! I think I can actually feel the sound of the bass counter against my blood flow. I'm amazed no one's tried to study this before. D'ya think that people who go to these sort of parties are more able to handle distracting atmospheres because of their exposure to them at night?" As she finally reaches the bar she tries to wave down the unamused looking bartender. "Hello! I just...I'd just like a water. Please?"
"Learn to own the moment, love," Spike replies, his puckered lips spreading into a gleeful smile as he leans against the bar next to the girl who just dragged him along with her. "No one come to these nests o' noise 'n debauchery to just fit in with the rest of the herd - I mean, crowd." And he does something of a 'Michael Jackson' kick with his right leg.
"They come to party!"
Then he stops. Swigs his beer. "Except... I take it you're a bird that never tried to spread her wings in a night club before, eh? No real music in the nest?" And he leans his back against the bar, with one elbow upon the bar-top. "You're brave, I'll give you that - coming out alone. Do you have a name to go with the 'shy, girl next door' thing you've got going on here, pet?"
"Own the moment," Fred repeats curiously as she thinks that over. "But, every moment is owned, isn't it? Every second is a moment in time and some people think that it actually goes backwards and forwards in time in a way that we can't even process. Did you know, there's actually a theory that there's only //one// electron. Everyone is //made up// of electrons and there's a theory that there's actually only one that moves about in time and space creating everything we know it! Now //that// is living a moment! Every moment!" The thought of science has made her feel more in her element and she perks up just speaking about it.
Finally, she's able to snag a bartender and the woman looks completely unamused that she wants to order a water. "I don't serve just waters," she says flatly.
"O-oh. Okay. Um. Then. A b-beer? Whatever he is drinking. And one for him too," she gestures at Spike and his bottle. "And then //also// the waters!" See, she's asserting herself. She gives Spike a self-satisfied grin when she does that last insistence.
"Brave?" Fred shakes her head, tucking some hair behind her ear. "Oh, no, I don't know about that. I'm here with a buncha people. They're off trying to figure things out and I couldn't handle the noise. Not so brave." She can't help but grin at his antics, gesturing at the dance floor. "You like this place?"
Spike puts his empty beer bottle down on the bartop and then places two fingers over each ear as he listens to the sciency technobabble. "Easy, love - I 'aven't 'ad nearly enough beer to be able to process all that... wow. How'd you fit all that stuff in there?"
He stops talking as soon as the bartender hands him another beer.
"You bleedin' angel," he remarks - speaking either to Fred or to the barkeep, or both. Then he downs another mouthful. "Nah, you're brave. Take my word for it, love. I know bravery - I can SMELL it. 'N yeah, I like this place. Not as good as some o' the old haunts back in L.A., but still..." His voice trails off, his eyes scanning the crowd as he thrusts his chin out repeatedly, in time to the music.
"So. You gotta name, love?"
"In where?" Fred tilts her head innocently, totally unsure of where anything is stuffed that it could be a problem. The beers arrive and she moves the neck to cheers with Spike before she drinks it. It's a custom she's learning again due to hanging around Wesley and Gunn more. She's far more outgoing than she was when she first arrived from Pylea.
Whether or not Spike meant for the compliment to go to the bartender or to Fred, she blushes just a bit - maybe at his talking about her bravery. "Aw, you don't even know me." Then, she perks. "L.A.!" She almost jumps at the name. "I used to live in L.A.! Until just recently! Oh, I miss the tacos there. You were there? What brought you to San Francisco?"
Beaming, she stretches out a hand to shake Spike's. "I'm Fred! Fred Burkle. I've been told I don't look like a Fred, but I definitely //feel// like I am one! Even without a mustache. What's your name?"
"Spike," says Spike.
Then he frowns, taking a swig of his beer and arches an eyebrow at Fred. "Fred, eh? Funny - you really /don't/ look like a 'Fred'. I used to know a guy called Fred - ugly chap. Could make the arse of a old sheep grateful for its looks." Then he turns sideways so as to better face his new friend. Tucking his chin inward, he peers 'upward' at her, lips pursed in an expression of contemplation.
"Hmm. The moustache might work... nah, just kidding!" He downs more beer. "Funny thing - the whole move to San Francisco...I /liked/ L.A. - except for the name, bugger me..." The vampire gives a small, rueful shake of his bleach-blond head. "And suddenly - poof. Here I am. Had to find me a decent - or indecent - night club real quick-smart..."
He smirks at Fred.
"Let me guess... you're a... scientist-person-type-thing, am I right? Warm? Cold?"
"Spike." The name rings a sort of bell for Fred, but she's not exactly sure where she's heard it before. As such, she decides it may just be a Pylean thing and therefore not quite important.
"Everyone keeps telling me that!" she replies almost exasperated that no one believes that she's a Fred. "My full name's Winifred, but I'm not a 'Winnie'. I'm not a bear who loves honey, nor am I sound a horse makes! I'm just a Fred!" Taking another sip of her bear, she looks down at it and then up again at Spike. "Oh, I like this. What beer is this? You know, I heaven't really had much to drink since I've been back. This may just go to my head."
As Spike talks more about his move to San Francisco, her eyes widen. "That's! That's just like us! We were in LA, we run an investigations agency there. And then all of the sudden we're here." She gestures at Spike to come in closer so she can whisper a secret. Though, over the thudding noise of the music and the speakers, it's really just a less loud shout. "I think it may be witches."
At his guess, she beams again. "Warm! Very warm! I'm a physicist! Or, I was. Before all this."
Spike listens, still rhythmically moving his chin in time to the music, lips pursed tightly enough to make his cheekbones stand out. Of all the things Fred says, it's the beer comment that catches his attention first. Glancing at the bottle in his hand, he frowns then takes another swig.
"I think it's called... beer," he explains rather lamely. "Heh, now there's a story - 'I was a physicist... before beer. And after beer, I... wanted more beer.'" And the vampire breaks into a light chuckle at himself.
Then he stops.
Leaning toward Fred, he gestures at her with his now-half-empty bottle, peering at her from beneath two slender eyebrows - one of which totes a curved scar - and says, "Now 'old on a moment here, little bear - you said an 'investigations agency' - " and he lifts his other hand to make the 'quotes' sign. " - in L.A., that somehow got magically 'tele-rogered' only to end up here? In San Francisco? Since 'Magnum P.I.' stayed put, you'd have to be...bloody hell."
He stands back up.
"Oh, bloody, bloody hell and bollocks! I don't believe this! You're working for that ponce, Prince Broodalot, Angel - am I right? I'm right, aren't I?" It is unclear if whether or not he is entirely dismayed or happy to have found someone in this strange city with ties to himself.
Fred looks down at her beer bottle at Spike's answer. "I meant, I thought it might have another name. Other than beer." That's a more generic word to call it by. She smiles up at Spike, though, unperturbed by his explanation. Then, she laughs. "Oh, that's perfect! Because things are, they were and they will be!" It's a very physics way of thinking of it. "It will always be beer!" She's genuinely excited to talk about it.
His sudden change of demeanor is met with a surprised and curious look. His mention of Angel - despite all the other swear words around it is met with a grin. "Angel! Yes! He saved me from monsters! You know him?" The very fact that he knows Angel is enough to make Fred trust him all the more. "See! I knew there was a reason you were such a good man. You know Angel! I'm so glad we're drinking together. How do you know him?"
The vampire with the 'Billy Idol' look goes back to leaning against the bar, facing the dancefloor, sullenly drinking the rest of his beer. This time, when he puckers his lips together tightly, the expression is quite obviously...
"Yeah, I know him," Spike mutters with a curl of his lip. "Angel, Angel - always sodding, bloody 'Angel'. 'Angel's my hero!'" he exclaims in a falsetto voice, making a mockery of the 'damsel in distress' stereotype. "'Angel is so noble, and broody, and soulful, and heroic! He's going to save the world from the apocalypse!'" The vampire finishes his beer and thuds the bottle down on the bartop.
"Sod the apocalypse. Sod the bloody prophecy." He trails off, muttering to himself and making 'sneery faces' - much like a spoiled ten-year-old might do, in defiance of his parents. Eventually, he turns his head to the side and looks Fred over.
"Let me guess - you're staying at the Hyperion Hotel too, yeah?"
Fred can certainly tell that Spike's happy-go-lucky demeanor has changed since they started talking about Angel. But, the innocent woman is a bit confused about his change. As far as she can tell, Angel is the best among men. He saved her from Pylea, brought her to LA and let her stay at the Hyperion without questions.
"Yes," she replies, almost surprised that he knows that. "But, he //did//." That's all the more confusing to her, as she now assumes he knows how she and Angel met.
"He saved me from a beheading from running away from slavery." Then, she frowns, putting an elbow on the bar and studying Spike very thoroughly. There has to be a reason for this dislike. And she knows Angel has not always been a good guy in the past.
"Did---Did you know him when he was..." she makes the word softer - or as soft as it can be in such a club - "//Angelus//?" she asks. That's all she can imagine why he dislikes the vampire with a soul.
Now THERE'S a question.
As Spike considers his reply, he moves his tongue along his upper row of front teeth, behind his lips, a few times and ends by smacking his lips together as though having tasted something... peculiar. He turns his head to the side once again to look directly at Fred - an expression of long-suffering upon his perfectly chiselled, pale face - and then leans forward conspiratorially, opening his mouth to answer.
"Thanks for the beer, little bear," he promptly says, and then pushes away from the bar. Spike, pouting visibly, /stalks/ off through the crowd on the dance floor, shaking his head from side to side.