Pouring herself a glass of water, Dawn noticed that a packet of painkillers and a tube of Berocca had been set out on the counter. She dutifully swallowed the painkillers and watched the Berocca fizz into a lurid red-orange concoction, which she drank with a grimace. She'd have to remember to ask Spike where he got the stuff from, but didn't think her higher brain functions would be firing on all cylinders for a while yet.
Returning to her bedroom, the simple task of getting dressed was too much for Dawn's seriously shot sense of balance, so she sat on the bed before she did herself any more damage. As she finally battled her way into a sweater that had refused to co-operate, a photo on her nightstand caught her eye.
She smiled to see herself mugging for the camera, a goofy grin on her face and a green, plush toy perched on her head. An extremely drunk-looking man, wearing a Viking helmet, stood behind her in the shot. Dawn chuckled as bits of the previous evening started to slot into place.
Picking up the photograph, Dawn headed to the kitchen to find something greasy to fortify her system. It didn't say much for her current powers of perception that she failed to notice the smell of Spike cooking bacon until almost tripping over him.
"Nice to see you're up and about at last." He nudged the bacon with a fork before turning back to Dawn.
Seating herself at the table, Dawn struggled not to bonelessly ooze onto the floor. It seemed the easier option, but she thought Spike would draw the line at her sleeping through breakfast. She straightened up and squinted at the clock until the numbers came into focus. "Morning."
"That's PM not AM, love."
"Oh." A tiny part of her brain knew she'd be annoyed at losing twelve hours, but that was the bit that had managed to avoid being pickled in alcohol the night before.
Spike snorted in amusement. "It's your own fault for hitting the pub during a date rate special."
Smiling to herself at Spike's entirely accurate, but less than politically correct, description of the promotions that ran at their local watering hole, Dawn finally understood why she felt like a zombie. Last night's promotion involved free samples of alcohol handed out to the female patrons. Dawn had more than taken advantage of the offer.
Looking down at the photo still clutched in her hand, her adventures with Viking boy came back to her. "You took this?" She held the Polaroid up for Spike to see.
"I thought it worth preserving the moment."
"The thought of blackmailing me at a later date never crossed your mind?"
Leaning back against the counter, Spike placed a hand over his heart. "Never entered my mind."
Dawn may not have been capable of walking in a straight line, but she knew Spike well enough to know that it was a safe bet he'd already e-mailed the photo to all and sundry. Which would be her own fault for the time she'd e-mailed the photocopy of Spike's arse the previous month.
Serving up bacon, eggs and toast to Dawn, Spike watched her attack it with a vengeance. By the time she'd demolished the eggs, she was starting to look less like the walking dead. "So, can you remember anything of last night?"
"I remember this guy telling me that he had a cask of the most magical wine from the hallowed halls of Asgard." It was at that point she had appropriated the green toy Cthulhu from someone else at the bar, sat it on her head, announced she was a much favoured snack of the elder god and proceeded to correct Viking boy's lack of knowledge about Norse legends. "I think I christened him Thor at some point during the evening."
"That you did." Spike neglected to mention that Dawn's christening had more of a nautical theme than was strictly necessary. She'd asked the gods to bless Thor and all that sailed upon him. Spike was thanking his quick reflexes that he'd managed to pull the switch that had seen Thor get the contents of a shot glass over his head instead of the traditional champagne bottle across the bow.
He'd shepherded Thor into the arms of a tall, solidly built, Goth girl. The girl had raised an eyebrow at Spike and looked him over once, before disappearing into the night with the good ship Thor.
Spike wasn't too worried about Thor waking up naked on an express train in the morning, it seemed to be a safer option than Spike could foresee if the boy continued to argue with Dawn over mythical gods.
"I tried to out drink you after that, didn't I?" Dawn groaned as she recalled the collection of shot glasses lined up on the bar.
She had to have been wasted to have even considered keeping pace with Spike, let alone actually competing. She could remember as far as five glasses and had a horrible feeling that a close encounter with the floor came just before number six. "I am an idiot."
"Yes, you are."
Dawn flailed about for something to throw at Spike, but everything that didn't involve getting sustenance into her abused system was out of reach. She gave up with a tired smile. "You're not supposed to agree."
"I wasn't wearing small demon on my head and christening people as gods." Spike leaned back in his chair with an amused smirk.
"Ah... I see your point."
"So, have you learned anything from last night's trip to the pub?"
Silently counting items off on her fingers, Dawn went through the evening again, smiling as she hit on the answer. "Don't drink cheap bourbon. If it was any good, they wouldn't be giving it away in pubs."
Spike shook his head and laughed. "Close enough, love. Close enough."
ozma914's challenge: dawn and alcohol
sadbhyl's soul cages ficathon master list — soul cages by sting
Many thanks to the luscious moonbeamsfanfic for volunteering as beta and for suggesting things that pointed me in the direction of the title.