Reopening the bar...
TITLE: More tales from the barman...
DISCLAIMER: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, any other crossover’s, characters, depictions set in this fic belong to their original owners. All I own is the twisted idea.
Xander propped himself up against the door of the old pub, the neon sign hanging from the wall was sadly broken now, showing serious signs of neglect. It had been over a year since Starbuck’s had pulled out of their ‘takeover’ of his bar, and while he had taken the time to go and see the world, starting in Mexico, the cold nature of Cleveland and the pull of the bar trade was enough to pull him back to familiar grounds.
He’d gone through hell and back, not literally, to get his bar back, talking to the people at Starbuck’s first, and then through the banker by the name of ‘Jrabbit’, who had finally pointed him in the direction of the receiver.
But now he’d bought it back, the bar was his again. It would take at least a few weeks, months of work maybe, maybe more to bring it back to its old state. He frowned as he slid the key into the lock, a ghost of a smile cracking his face as he pushed open the door and slid inside before locking the door behind him.
The sight that greeted him was disheartening to say the least, the bar was in serious disarray, his vaunted ‘trophy’ wall had been torn now, half of the back bar was actually completely missing, replaced with the green and yellow decorations that had been started when the manager from Starbuck’s had started to move in.
“This is gonna take a hell of a lot of work,” Xander muttered as he picked a bar stool off the floor, dusting it off before he put it back in its original place by the bar.
Taking stock of the place was his first order of business, he’d already been approved for him license again, he’d nearly jumped for joy, snoopy dance not included, when the clerk at the council had handed him his publican’s license again, along with the premises license for the bar.
Pulling out his smart phone he quickly scrolled through to his text messages and found the latest one from Faith. Strangely, him and Faith had become closer in the past year, ever since she had broken up with Robin, she’d had a short affair with Jon, an ice hockey player from Colorado Spring’s, but since then her and Xander had exchanged phone calls at least once a week, text messages daily.
He quickly typed out a message to her, asking for her help. He wasn’t above that, she’d become closer to him than anyone else in his journey, while Buffy and Willow, even Giles had called him once a month, Faith had been the one that he’d been able to talk to, she’d been the one that had constantly checked he was alright, she’d been the one that he’d sent to postcards to and told her everything.
Closing down the smart phone he placed it on the bar, blowing it first to remove a thick cloud of dust. “Jesus,” He muttered as he took off his leather jacket and wafted it in the air to clear the dust away before letting it drop on the dust covered bar. --=/^\=--
Xander frowned as he heard the knock at the door, he’d been sweeping the floor behind the bar, after checking the plumbing and electricity was still up to his standard, he’d begun simply cleaning up. Once he’d started he’d discovered that it wasn’t that large of a job as he’d originally thought. The main problem was the year of neglect that had covered the bar. The torn chairs, carpets and wallpaper could easily be replaced, the wood and brass polished, along with the mirror’s and windows. The main bar would obviously have to be replaced though, the piping having ceased up after a year of having gunk stuck in it, it would be worth just tearing the entire bar out and starting from scratch.
Shaking his head to clear the musings he grabbed the keys out of his jacket pocket on the bar, leaving the broom leaned up against the bar he quickly made his way over to the door to see who was there.
In all honesty he knew who it was, there was only one person he’d been expecting, though he had been disappointed that he hadn’t received a text message back from her, but his doubts were quickly washed away as he opened the door and was immediately enveloped in a slayer strength hug from the sultry brunette.
“Faith,” He said with a smile as he returned the hug, embracing her tightly as he breathed in her scent. They’d been talking over phone and text for so long, but that was nothing compared to actually holding her and being able to talk to her in person.
“X,” Faith grinned, releasing him so she could look at him properly. The year had been good for him, the California tan that had faded from his time in Cleveland had returned in force from his time south of the border. He’d bulked up as well, not hugely but enough to make his already tangible presence even more focused in the darkened bar.
“Good to see you,” Xander grinned. “I’d offer you a beer, but afraid it hasn’t been installed yet.” He smiled, moving aside so that Faith could walk through the doorway into the main bar area.
He’d cleaned most of the bar up now, the tables and chairs were already arranged back in their standard positions, the floor neatly swept and the piles of debris were neatly pushed into big pile close to the bar front.
“I’m good,” Faith smiled as she walked through, happy to just be talking to the man that had become to mean so much to her. “Five by fine,” She grinned. “You know me.” She smirked back over her shoulder as she sauntered over to a stool and hopped up onto it, her tight leather pants accentuating her already voluptuous figure as she walked.
“Glad you came,” Xander said as he locked the door back up and flicked the light switch out of habit; the lighting in the bar flickered for a moment before going off again. “Need to work on that,” He smiled before pulling open the curtains on the windows at the front of the bar, the light streaming from outside making the air in the bar seem ever more full of dust that it had in the dimly lit atmosphere.
“Anything for you X, you know that.” Faith smiled, it was true, Xander had been there for her through a lot, he’d brought her through the depression after Robin had left her. That had hurt the most, Robin had been the one that had brought her out, he’d been the one that she’d finally fallen for, the one she’d actually opened up to, and he’d hurt her bad. Now Xander was the only man in her life that she could trust, he was the only one that had never hurt her, the one stable element in her life.
Xander smiled back as he hopped up on the stool next to Faith, wiping the table clear of dust and debris with his already filthy shirt sleeve. “I want to reopen the bar.” He said simply, no sense in beating around the bush he thought, might as well get it all out in the open as soon as possible.
“About time,” Faith smirked knowingly back. “Girl’s been going crazy, ain’t nowhere ‘round here to blow off steam. We need this place Xan,” Faith smiled. “You need this place, it’s as part of you as slayin’ is part of B.”
“Yeah,” Xander nodded, agreeing completely. He’d found that while he’d tried slipping away from things, getting back to the quiet life so to speak, he just couldn’t do it. The bar life was in his blood now, opening the bar was the only thing he could think about for the past couple of months, and now he was here, even with the bar as much of a mess as it was, he couldn’t have been happier.
“So?” Faith grinned, hopping off the stool. “What’s the what? C’mon, let’s get this place open.”
Xander smiled, nodding at her enthusiasm. “I want you here as well Faith, not just popping in. When I first opened Willow put spells and stuff up to protect the place, well, we haven’t got any of that yet, I'm not saying we won’t in the future, but for now, it’s just me and you.”
“So, what, you want me to bounce the place?” Faith asked, a bit confused.
“No,” Xander shook his head. “I want you to be my partner,” Xander rushed ahead before Faith could object. “Last time, this place got mad, I had to take on extra staff just to keep up, now with you here, I'll feel safe in taking a day off here and there, knowing the place is in good hands.”
Faith just stood there, her mouth open in shock over what Xander had just asked. No one had trusted her with that level of responsibility before, let alone trusting her with something this big. “You sure Xan? I mean, we ain’t gonna get much custom if the demons and shit all stay away ‘cause I'm here.”
“Then we’ll just focus on the other customers,” Xander smiled. “Also, I need to talk to Giles once we’re up and running, if we’re going to do this, I'm going to do it properly, which means converting the back room into a kitchen so we can do proper bar meals as well as beer.”
“Food?” Faith asked, raising her eye brows. “You’re gonna need a chef as well then, someone good if you wanna bring in the customers.”
“Yeah, Giles said his cousin was a chef, worked in the navy or something, I'll get to him once we’ve got the rest done.” Xander nodded around, taking in the sight of the heavily neglected bar. “There’s a lot of work to be done first though, not just the bar, I haven’t even looked at the flat above yet.”
“Think it’ll be a tip?” Faith asked, if the rest of the pub was anything to go by, and she could tell that Xander had already been hard at work here, then the flat would be nowhere near liveable for a while yet.
“Yeah,” Xander nodded, dreading to think about the state of the flat where he’d have to sleep tonight. “Well, I'll get onto the electrics, then onto Giles, if you can...” He trailed off, waving his hands around the bar. “Take your pick.” He laughed as Faith nodded.
“Get the water as well,” Faith smiled. “This is gonna be dirty work, we’re gonna need to get cleaned up once we’ve done.”
“Water’s fine,” Xander explained. “Guess they never cancelled it, so showers and taps are good, wouldn’t trust the cups or glasses, if there are any surviving ones, until we’ve cleaned ‘em.”
“Gotcha,” Faith nodded. “You make the calls; I'll grab some drinks and shit from the shop.”
“My kind of plan,” Xander grinned as he fished into his pocket for the duplicate keys that he’d got from the receiver when he’d bought back the bar. “Here, might as well hold onto them,” Xander nodded as he threw the keys through the air to Faith where she deftly snatched them out of the air before staring at them. “If you want, we can set up a second bedroom for you, the flat’s big enough for two, and it’ll be easier locking up if you’re just crashing upstairs.”
“Xan... you sure?” Faith asked, a bit in shock that Xander was, in effect, asking her to move in with him.
“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t,” Xander said with a smile. “Now scoot, I'll call Giles first, then book an electrician, gas as well if we want a decent kitchen. Then once you’re back with the drinks, we can take a look at upstairs.”
“Be back in a sec,” Faith nodded. “Oh, and you’re springing for pizza.” She grinned as she headed for the door.
“Oh am I?” Xander retorted, a smirk on his lips.
“Definitely, you’re the one rolling in the cash,” Faith grinned. “You told me how much you made on this place remember,” She smiled as she knew Xander knew this was all friendly teasing. “So supper’s on you, as well as the drinks.”
“Fine,” Xander conceded with a laugh. “Get what you can; I'll get you the cash tomorrow when I can get to the bank.”
“Skinflint,” Faith grinned, sticking her tongue out before ducking out of the door.
“Tease,” Xander laughed back before watching the door close as Faith walked off.
“Yeah, it’s good to be home,” He laughed to himself in the quiet atmosphere, this was definitely going to work, with Faith on board, and hopefully soon Giles, they’d have a good enough team to really make the place successful, even more than before.
Pulling out his phone Xander quickly scrolled through his contacts to Giles, filed under ‘G-man’ for ease. He smiled as he pressed the dial button and slid back onto the bar stool. “Giles...” He began with a smile. “I’m back...”--=/^\=--
The first week had gone by very quickly, too quickly in fact. Giles had been around almost daily, helping them here and there with things, helping get the orders in and everything delivered on time. Everything was now really taking shape, Xander had been in touch with the breweries, and now the bar shone with freshly polished mahogany, while three glittering brass ‘T’ bar’s decorated it, with six ale pumps shining in the middle.
The new fridges were stocked up and humming away in the background, their fluorescent lighting casting a white glow over the back bar. Now all Xander had to do was wait for Giles’ cousin to show up. The kitchen was ready to go, polished metal and gleaming white tiles filled the large room, which was now enhanced with grills, ovens, deep fat fryers, microwaves, fridges, freezes... hell, there was kitchen equipment in there that Xander didn’t even have a name for, but Giles had insisted that he got a proper kitchen, if his cousin was cooking there, then he’d want the full stock apparently.
So now he was waiting, they weren’t due to open for another couple of days, but he figured that both he and Faith, along with the new chef, would want a couple of days to get to know each other, get to know their temperaments and strengths. He paused as he walked into the kitchen, the gleaming white still shocking him even now. It was nice, seeing everything coming together like this, and once the final piece got here, then they’d be ready to open.
He was just about to call Faith to ask when the lager and ale was arriving when a knock at the door grabbed his attention. “Here goes,” He muttered, trying to imaging what Giles’ cousin would be like. All he knew was that the man was in the navy, American navy, which surprised him as he’d figured all of Giles’ family were tweed wearers, apparently not. “Coming,” He shouted as he made his way across to the front door, opening it quickly so he could sate his curiosity about the man he’d already hired but never met before. “Hey,” He grinned, opening the door widely so he could stand in it and properly offer his hand to the man standing there. “Xander Harris...” He trailed off, feeling stupid that Giles’ hadn’t told him his cousin's name, he’d just always referred to the man as ‘knives’.
“Casey,” The tall man introduced himself as he shook the offered hand tightly. “Casey Ryback.”
“Whoa,” Xander stepped back, getting a full measure of the man stood in front of him. “You’re G-man’s cousin?” He had to ask, the man was easily six foot, maybe six five, and almost all pure muscle. The tight black vest top he had on did nothing to hide the man’s build, and the large back he had slung over his shoulder with apparent ease just made his right bicep bulge that much more.
“G-man,” Casey laughed, a low rumbling sound. “I like that, better than Ripper that he got stuck with.”
“Dunno, Ripper’s pretty cool,” Xander grinned, “C’mon in, I'll show you around.” He smiled as he stepped back and allowed Casey to enter.
“Thanks,” Casey nodded as he walked through and dropped his back on the floor with a resounding thud. “Ripper’s not that cool, especially when I'm the one who stuck him with it.”
“So? He says it’s from some time he spent as a teenager in England, something about his time as a mage or something, he doesn’t really talk about it much.” Xander explained as he locked the door back up and moved back towards Casey.
“That what he’s telling you is it?” Casey grinned, and Xander could tell right away that it wasn’t a nice one. “Trust me, it hasn’t got anything to do with his magic wands or anything like that, fact is, we use to call him Ripper to get a rise out of him, see when we were younger, we’re talking nearly forty years ago here kid, Ripper had a problem, he couldn’t stop, well, farting.”
Xander could barely hold himself together as he bellowed out in laughter. “Wait... wait...” Xander tried to get himself under control. “You’re telling me, that G-man got the nickname Ripper, because...”
“He literally let rip, especially when he was nervous, like asking a girl out or something.” Case joined in the laughter as he helped Xander sit on a stool in the middle of the room. “This one time, I heard it from the house, and he was outside driving his date home,” Casey continued as Xander continued to howl with laughter. “Swear to god.”
“Oh man...” Xander gasped for air as he tried to get himself under control. “That’s priceless, god, I've got to get those pictures of G-man back.”
“Pictures?” Casey asked, immediately fishing around for information about what his older cousin had been up to, it had been a while since he’d seen him, but they spoke on the phone every couple of weeks, which was how he’d heard that Xander had needed a good, reliable chef to help run the place.
“Oh yeah, used to have them behind the bar,” Xander said sadly, wiping the tears of laughter from his face. “We used to collect stuff, you know, something to tell a story by, something to remember customers by, and we’d pin it on the back bar, you know, something for the other customer’s to get a kick out of.” Xander grinned as he continued. “Well, Willow, a friend of mine, she found this picture of G-man, must have been years ago, all dressed up in women’s underwear for this movie thing...”
“Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Casey interrupted with a rumble of laughter. “He always loved that movie, guess he finally did it.”
“Looks like it,” Xander nodded. “Man, I'll have to start another wall, star a whole new collection of stories.” Xander grinned, turning back to his new chef. “You got anything to add?” He nodded over to the large freshly stained wall where his trophies used to be. “Star the place off?”
“Nope,” Casey shook his head. “You want my story, you have to eat as well, and I've still got to meet this slayer of yours. Faith was it?”
“Yup,” Xander nodded. “She’s upstairs sorting out the TV and bedroom’s, we’ve got a spare room up there, so you can bunk up until you find your own place.”
“Appreciated,” Casey nodded. “You fetch Faith then, give me half an hour or so, then I'll tell you my story.”
“Over food,” Xander emphasised.
“Of course,” Casey nodded back, picking up his duffle bag again before heading towards the kitchen.
“You’ve met slayers before then?” Xander called after him. “Better make enough for ten.” He smiled as he heard Casey’s rumbling laugh come as he walked through the double swing doors into the kitchen. “Yeah, he’ll fit in just fine.” Xander laughed as he made his way upstairs to get Faith. He had a feeling that tonight was going to be entertaining and informative for all of them.--=/^\=--
“Shit...” Faith breathed out, she’d already finished her portion of bouillabaisse and was quite happily digging into her second portion, which Casey had quite happily scooped onto her plate. “So they were trying to steal nukes?”
“Uhuh,” Casey nodded, dipping some crusty baguette into his bouillabaisse before scooping some of the fish on top. “Would have got away with it too, very efficient operation, military precision.” He remembered that night, the night their ship became a battle ground and he was forced into the combat zone once again. He’d been demoted due to an ‘incident’ with his CO, basically the man had ballsed up an operation, causing the deaths of three of his men, he’d then had the balls to say it wasn’t his fault and blamed the dead men for their actions. That had been when he’d lost it and struck the older man, which had been the cause of his demotion, and now he could only hold the rank of a yeoman or the ships cook, something he had found a great passion for.
“So, you’re trained in what...” Xander asked in-between mouthfuls of the amazing food.
“CTU, hand to hand, weapons, knives... the usual,” Casey grinned as he mopped up the remaining sauce with another piece of bread.
“Damn, can we keep him Xan?” Faith asked sarcastically, making puppy dog eyes at Xander across the table.
“Dunno Faith,” Xander replied just as sarcastically. “If he keeps feeding us like this, we’ll need to start a new work out as well.” He grinned as Casey laughed at them. “Seriously man, excellent food, we were just gonna order pizza or Indian again, but... damn.”
“Any time,” Casey smiled as he started piling the clean dishes again, almost loosing his hand as Faith growled at him for taking her almost empty bowl before she’d finished mopping up the last of the sauce with her bread.
“Leave the dishes man,” Xander said, standing up from the table. “We’ll head upstairs, Faith can show you the room, and I'll get some wine to celebrate.”
“Sure thing,” Faith nodded as she popped the last of the crusty baguette into her mouth.
“Red or white?” Xander asked as he walked behind the bar, he’d managed to get in contact with all of his suppliers now, and was just waiting on the lager and ale that was due to be delivered tomorrow by eight am.
“Red,” Casey said with a smile, piling the dishes in the corner next to the till and bank card machine before letting Faith show him where the stairs were and the key code for the door that let them into the private flat area.
“You know... this might actually work,” Xander said to himself as he grabbed a couple of bottles of Shiraz from the wine rack along with three glasses. “It might just.”
They’d already decided not to put off opening any longer; they’d get the delivery in, then just wait and see what happened next. Xander had organised which ales he wanted for their grand opening, while Casey seemed pretty satisfied with what had been already set up in the kitchen, he had his own ideas for things, like doing daily specials and certain other things, but other than that, they were ready to go.
Xander just smiled to himself as he made his way up the stairs, the tray with the glasses and wine on balanced in one hand while he flicked the light switch with the other. it'd be morning soon, and then they'd see if all the trouble had been worthwhile, they'd done amazing work, getting the bar back to its heyday, but the real test were the customers, they were the ones he had done all the work for.
Maybe some of them would return, maybe bring some new stories to the bar, and maybe even some new trophies for him to start the wall again. Or maybe he'd have new customers, one's with their own interesting stories and histories. well, time would tell, maybe it would just be an adventure in its own right, it certainly would be interesting, spending even just a couple of hours with Faith and Casey had told him that much.
He'd just wait and see; he smiled as he punched in the key code for the door and let himself in, smiling more when he saw Faith and Casey on the couch, animatedly discussing knife techniques and sparring times.
Yeah, this would work, he was sure of it. He spared one last glance at the upstairs of the pub, the neatly stacked tables and chairs, the polished mirrors and windows, before nodding his head at a job well done and closing the door. --=/^\=----=/^\=--
AN: Yup, you read correctly... Night's is back open for business, by popular request.
Same rules apply as they did for the first round robin, choose a character or fandom, and bring them in the bar for a pint, a chat, or a meal. Doesn't have to be one fandom, bring two or three, as many as you want.
You can add as many chapters as you want, though out of respect to other authors, try not to hog one fandom all the time, let other people have some fun as well.
Also, if this story grows to the length of the first one, please only view it by chapter only. The last story placed a great strain on the TTH servers because people were viewing it in its entirety. Please place a note at the top or bottom of the chapter, explaining who the crossover is with, just in case it's not blindingly obvious.
Other than that, the bar is open people... bring in whoever you want, McGyver, The Doctor, Superman, Captain Jack Harkness... hell, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Picard if you fancy a challenge.
Everyone's welcome at Night's, so pull up a pew and enjoy the fic.