Summary: Buffy's talk with Glory's dying monk has surprising revelations.
"Uh, say Buffy, there's something I need to tell you ... " Spike stuttered to a stop. He stared at the mannequin with its blonde wig and blue sweater. "What on earth are you doing, Jamison? Girls don't like creepers."
Spike sighed. Then, he went to the battered old fridge where he kept his blood supply. He opened the door, and he gazed in at the blood. For some reason, it just didn't appeal to him.
He was hungry.
Blood wasn't appealing.
"What the bloody hell is wrong with me?" Spike grumbled. "I don't want blood. I'm actin' like a poncy nancy boy." He slammed the fridge door shut, and he stomped over to his chair.
Spike used the remote to turn on his television. The local college station played Dawson Creek reruns. He watched as slices of pizza and buffalo wings glide across the screen to a voice over.
"Come on down to The Pizza Parlor. We're around the corner from the Bison Lodge on Oak Park Street. We're the only pizza joint in Sunnydale that has over 200 topping choice. I, Giovanni Guzzetti, guarantee it."
"Look at those wings," Spike drooled. The next commercial came on. It was another food commercial. This time it was for the local Chinese restaurant.
It didn't stop there.
Two more Sunnydale restaurants flashed enticing food across the screen. After the tempting looking Chinese food from Panda Gardens, there was sandwiches from Pascel's and steak and lobster from Chez Roberto's.
Spike turned off the television and tossed the remote aside. "I need some food. That's all there is to it." He grabbed his duster, and he made his way down to the sewer entrance below his crypt.
Xander stepped into the Bronze. He was still mad over the fight that Anya and Willow were having at the Magic Box. He felt a little guilty about leaving Tara there with them, but it was every carpenter for himself.
Xander strolled over to the bar where he grabbed a bowl of peanuts. Then, he looked around for an open table. He was stunned to see Spike sitting at a table that was covered in plates of food.
Real human food like Buffalo wings and a strange flower like thing that might have been an onion.
Xander walked over to the table. "Whoa, dude, that's not what you normally eat."
Spike looked up at Xander. He stared at the human for a few seconds before shoved another sauce-laden French fry into his mouth. With his other hand he waved Xander into the seat across from him. After Spike swallowed, he replied, "Blood just didn't sound that appetizing."
"You know, you're getting weirder by the day." Xander slumped in his chair. "So no blood, just real human food."
"Oh yeah," Spike agreed. "The chicken wings are so soddin' good." He pointed to the onion dish. "This Bloomin' Onion thing is brilliant. When I'm done here I'm gonna have some pizza, and then, get some Chinese takeout."
Xander laughed. "Keep eating like that and you'll be a fat vampire." He tossed a peanut in his mouth.
Spike looked down at his growing pile of empty plates. "You're right. I need to pace myself."
"You do that."
Spike looked around. "You here alone in the middle of the day?"
"Just tired of being in the middle of Anya and Willow," Xander said with a casual shrug. "They get into these fights, and then, they're both looking to me like I'm the referee. Sometimes, I'll say something about Anya, and Willow will get this look on her face. You know the one. The one that says 'what the hell do you see in her' look."
"I know that look," Spike agreed. "Lots of people never got Dru. Girl can't help the way Angelus made her. A bit like Buffy in a way, I suppose."
Xander eyed Spike. "What are you talking about?"
"Angelus made Dru insane. Angel made Buffy think she needed 'normal'." Spike made quote marks in the air.
"Oh, so you heard?"
Spike gave Xander a suspicious look. "Heard what exactly?"
"Riley proposed and Buffy turned him down flat." Xander glanced over at the pool tables. "Hey, table just opened up. Wanna play?"
Spike shrugged. "Sure, why not. Gotta work up my appetite again for pizza."
"Just let me grab a drink, and I'll join you." Xander went to the bar for his soda.
"You think the Slayer found out about Finn's visits to the vamp flophouses? She'd be none too pleased about his bite fixation," Spike asked when Xander joined him at the pool table. He had already corralled the balls into a triangle.
"He was doing what?" Xander exclaimed in horror. "What a stupid, stupid thing to do! What if he'd been vamped?"
Spike shrugged while he lined up a shot. "The boy knew he couldn't compete with Angel. Knew he was just a substitute. So, what are you gonna do about your girl problem?"
"I don't know. I get all torn. Willow's my best friend, and I value her opinion. Anya's my girlfriend, you know."
Spike nodded. He moved around the table to take another shot, and he bumped into another person. "Hey, watch it, mate." Spike turned to look at the person.
Spike looked up and up and up.
"On second thought, do what you like." Spike edged away from the giant horned, green-skinned creature. "What the hell is that thing?" he side-whispered to Xander.
"Ale!" the thing bellowed in a happy voice while it marched towards the bar. At that moment, a Bronze employee exited the back room with a dolly of beer kegs. "Yes! Fragrant ale. I've been trapped for many centuries and along with my tasted of freedom I would appreciate the taste of a fine grain-based beverage."
"The Bronze isn't the place for that," Spike side-whispered again. "They only serve watered down cheap crap."
"I think that's a troll," Xander whispered back. His eyes didn't leave the spectacle of the troll putting away his hammer and grabbing one of the kegs and biting through the metal for a drink. "I'm pretty sure I saw one in one of Giles' reference books."
"Troll, right then. Big, ain't he?"
"You think I should run and get Buffy?" Xander asked.
The troll threw the empty keg aside. "Barmaid! Fetch me stronger ale and some plump succulent babies to eat."
"Yeah, I'm gonna go get Buffy now." Xander backed away. "You think you can fight him?"
"Somehow I think he could swat me down like a pesky fly." Spike started to back away too. He wasn't stupid enough to fight a troll. Sure, he was strong, but trolls were another matter entirely.
The troll turned his attention onto Spike and Xander. "You there! Do you know where the babies are?" he bellowed again.
"No babies here!" Xander blurted out. "We're completely babyless."
The troll let out a fierce roar. "I find myself very hungry and when I am hungry I get short of patience."
"Well, we can take care of hungry," Xander replied "You just sit down in one of the sturdier chairs and we can talk food." He gestured towards Jack the bartender. "Why don't you get ..."
"Olaf," the troll boomed. "My name is Olaf Bonebreaker."
Xander nodded. "Why don't you get Olaf some wings? Better make that all the wings."
Jack nodded before she scooted towards the kitchen. "I'll just get started on that," she muttered. Anything to get herself out of the line of fire.
"Can't it be babies?" Olaf thundered.
"Well, not so much. Remember we're babyless here. Right, everyone?" Xander asked the crowd. They all nodded in agreement. "So maybe we can get some roast pigs in here. Maybe a few ... uh ... stags and much hearty grog. Anyone know where to get some good grog?"
Spike looked at Xander like he was crazy before he tried to calm down the troll too. "They have this brilliant bloomin' onion ..."
"You cannot appease me! Do not try!" Olaf turned away for another keg of beer. Spike and Xander used the distraction to back away even further. At the door, they ran into Anya and Willow who had a book in her hands.
"Xander! You shouldn't be here! There's a troll on the loose," Anya exclaimed. She'd hoped that she and Willow could fix the troll problem before anyone else found out about it.
"Yeah. Big guy with a hammer?" Xander nodded. "Think I noticed him. He sure noticed us. Big with ale and baby eating that one."
"I wish Buffy was here," Willow grumbled.
Buffy and Tara entered the Bronze behind Anya and Willow. "I'm here," Buffy said.
"I wish for a million dollars." Willow shrugged when everyone looked at her. "I was just checking."
Tara hugged Willow. "I'm glad you're okay."
"What's going on?" Buffy spied Olaf drinking out of another keg of beer and munching on some buffalo wings.
Bones and all.
Spike stepped towards Buffy. "Hello, Buffy."
"Hey, Spike," Buffy greeted the vampire. "What's the story?"
"Harris and I were playin' some pool when the troll showed up," Spike informed the Slayer.
"Willow stole ingredients and released him from a purple crystal," Anya announced.
"Yeah, we figured that out. Looks like a picture from one of those books of Giles'," Xander said.
"Willow, you did this?" Buffy asked while she gestured at Olaf.
Willow shook her head. "Not me! We! I mean us. Her!" She pointed at Anya. "It's very complex."
"But we can stop him. Willow, do the spell."
Willow stepped forward and started to speak, but Olaf had noticed Anya. He grabbed his hammer.
"Stop," Olaf bellowed.
Willow startled to a stop. "No one lets me finish," she complained.
"You told the witch to do that." Olaf pointed his hammer at Anya. "You seem to be determined to put an end to all my fun, just like you always did when we were dating!"
The Scoobies turned to look at Anya who looked at a loss for words.
"You dated him?" Xander asked. "You dated a troll?"
"And we're surprised by that?" Willow muttered.
"He wasn't a troll then," Anya protested. "He was just a big, dumb guy. He cheated on me, and I made him a troll. Which, by the way if anyone is interested, is how I got the job as a vengeance demon."
Spike put a hand on Xander's shoulder. "Mate, let that be a lesson. Don't ever cheat on demon girl here."
Xander nodded his agreement. Before he could say more, Olaf smashed the bar with his hammer. Everything, including the bowl of buffalo wings, went flying, and everyone still at the bar scrambled away in terror.
"I did not cheat!" Olaf boomed. "Not in my heart. It was only one wench, and I'd had a great deal of mead. Next thing I know, I'm a troll. Curse you, Anyanka. You will die for this."
"You seem to enjoy being a troll," Xander suggested.
"I adjusted. Then what happens?" Olaf glared at Xander. "Witches, I tell you. Disgusting witches. They trapped me. I was imprisoned in that crystal for centuries without mead. Without food. A curse on all witches. All must die." He turned his attention to Willow.
"I'll distract him. You get to the conjuring."
Buffy leapt to meet Olaf head on. She heard Willow reading a spell behind her. Buffy managed to punch Olaf several times before he flung her aside with his hammer.
"The hammer is his power," Anya called out helpfully.
Spike rushed to Buffy's side, and he helped her to her feet.
"Thanks," Buffy said to Spike. "That hammer sure does pack a punch."
"I see that." Spike checked Buffy over for injuries. "We need to get him out of here before he gets really angry."
"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me if I was angry," Buffy muttered. "But you're right. Too many people could be hurt here. Thanks for thinking that, Spike. Stay safe."
"You too." Spike smiled to himself as Buffy marched away to her friends. After the Scoobies lured Olaf out of the Bronze, he looked around at the dazed patrons. He wasn't worried about Buffy. She was a strong Slayer, but nonetheless he'd go check on her after dark. He felt filled with love towards the petite female.
A strange feeling wrenched through the left side of his chest. He put a hand over his unbeating heart.
It almost felt like he had a heartbeat. That couldn't be though. Spike was a vampire. He had been for over a hundred years.