Snooker loopy, nuts are we,
me and him and them and me.
We'll show you what we can do
with a load of balls and a snooker cue.
Pot the reds, then screw back
for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.
Snooker loopy, nuts are we.
We're all snooker loopy.
It had been a slow night, but not a total waste. Spike kept a sharp lookout for fresh marks. He was just racking the balls for another game when he heard the half expected voice behind him.
"I found you," Xander said, sounding a bit smug. Spike hid his smile and turned to sneer at him disdainfully.
"Right detective, then, ain't you? Regular Sherlock Holmes."
Spike had practiced that sneer and that tone often enough that the target of either should at least look insulted. Xander barreled on as though Spike had never spoken.
"Whatchya doing?" he asked, leaning against the pool table. Spike raised an eyebrow and ostentatiously looked around at the table, balls, and cue.
"Obvious, innit? I'm teaching wombats to juggle," he said. Dru had actually tried that once, but it hadn't been much of a success. When they hadn't learnt fast enough, she'd drained the poor little blighters, and Spike had had to console her about their deaths. He'd spent days badgering her to pick the fur out of her teeth. His Drusilla had never been boring. Nor sane, neither, but never boring.
Xander grinned at him. "Nice wombat you got there. Oooh, hang on while I get a drink." Spike sighed and picked up his cue, twirling it and watching the boy's progress through the crowd. The plain, dark shirt Xander was wearing tonight fit him well, and it gave Spike a little glow of pride to see it. Through determined effort, he'd managed to cull the more egregious offenses against fashion from Xander's wardrobe. The effect was a man Spike was almost not ashamed to be seen in public with.
"So," Xander said, returning with drink in hand, "Why'd you decide to embark on this little pool playing expedition instead of coming on patrol tonight?"
Spike opened his mouth to make a cutting remark about the Slayerettes' need for his help, but he stopped himself when he saw two young men walking up to the pool tables. He eyed them over Xander's shoulder, trying to gauge their skill and level of drunkenness by appearance alone. They'd do. He shifted his grip on his cue, as though he didn't quite know how to hold it, and he let his posture slide into an awkward stance with the slightest bit of a slump.
He opened his eyes wide and innocent and said, "I thought I'd come find a snooker hall, but this is the closest I could find. I reckon I understand the rules now, though." Xander gave him a baffled stare, but the blokes behind him looked interested, especially when he added. "Up for a bit of flutter on a game?" and held out a twenty dollar note.
"We'll play you," one of the men said, stepping closer. "If you wanna team up, we can double the bet," he added with a derisive look at Xander. Spike bristled a bit at that. *He* was the one who was supposed to mock Xander.
"You're on," Spike said.
"Are you insane, Spike?" Xander hissed.
"Why? You can't be that bad, mate."
Xander rolled his eyes skyward, as though asking advice form above. Spike could have told him that it rarely came. "Okay, fine. Whatever," Xander said, putting his drink on a table.
The other team broke. Spike watched them closely for the first few minutes, but when it became clear that they were as mediocre as he'd hoped, he let his attention slip over to his companion. Xander was biting his lip and hanging onto his pool cue. Spike smirked at the notion that occurred to him. He still owed the boy for that show at the Bronze last week. Spike leaned close and spoke into his ear, grinning when the human jumped. "Hold my stick for me, Harris," he said, handing over his cue. When Xander was looking at him, he stripped off his duster and draped it over a chair. He returned to the table to take his first shot, leaning over and wiggling his arse in Xander's direction. If the game was going to be an easy win, he might as well put on a good show.
Spike thought his performance was inspired. He should have been on stage, really. He managed to lose the first game while making it look like he was really trying. Xander cooperated beautifully, praising Spike when he landed easy shots, as though that was an improvement. They handed over forty dollars with a minimum of grumbling and asked the other blokes for a chance to win it back. The idiots not only agreed, they volunteered to raise the bet unprompted.
Of course, Spike and Xander won the second game handily. Spike played at the top of his game, and Xander wasn't half bad, either. It all went so well, in fact, that Spike wasn't at all surprised when their opponents got belligerent when it came time to pay up. Of course something had to go wrong. He tried shifting to gameface, thinking that'd scare them into paying their debt, but that only prompted them to start swinging. Spike took a good few hits before he went down, but he didn't even try to return them. He wasn't dealing with the pain of the chip *and* the pain of a beating.
He wasn't terribly surprised by the attack, but he was surprised when Xander pulled him away and handed him a pool cue. "Break this for me?" the human asked. Spike shrugged and snapped the wooden pole, keeping the sharp edges carefully away from his chest. Xander flashed him a grin. "Thanks." Then the boy turned to their two opponents and started fighting back, using the thick half of the cue like a club. He wasn't a good fighter, but neither were they, and Xander had a weapon. After a few coshes each, he had them down on the floor. He stood over them, breathing hard, then looked at Spike. "Wanna get out of here?" he asked.
"In a minute," Spike replied. He leaned over and dragged out the blokes' wallets. "I was only gonna take the eighty you owed," he told their unconscious forms. "But now I'm taking it all." And he did. He gave them a mocking salute. "Ta," he said. Then he grabbed his coat and looked at Xander expectantly. "Coming?"
They pushed their way out through the crowd that had been gathering near their table during the fight. They were almost to the door when someone shouted for them to wait. They didn't even look back, just started running. Spike held himself back to Xander's speed, but it didn't take them long to get away. After several blocks, Spike slowed to a walk and fished out his cigarettes.
"You didn't think," Xander panted, "that ripping off humans was maybe not the safest way to make money?"
Spike took a drag from his cigarette. "Where's the fun in safe?" he asked. He fingered the cash in his pocket and raised a speculative eyebrow. "Wanna try it at another bar?"
"I was right before. You are completely insane," Xander said.
Spike smirked at him. "That didn't sound like a 'no.'"
Xander started laughing, still a little breathless from the run. "Damn. I guess I'm crazy, too. Lead on Vampire Boy."