A/N: Man, I should really do some homework. Freakin summer school. Anywho, after such positive reviews of my last fic (and my general obsession with this fandom), I felt compelled to write something else. And then, as if by magic, my media ethics professor today was talking about reasonable people's reactions to certain situations and made a comment about crazy people that just want to start fights in bars.
And voila, here we are.
Disclaimer: I do not own Common Law, or the characters. I just have a pathetically boring life.
Rated T for violence and some language.
I certainly hope you enjoy. Again, too lazy for a beta, so mistakes are all mine.
"I've got an idea," Travis exclaimed suddenly as Wes was packing up for the day. Wes turned to his partner, giving him a suspicious look.
"I rarely like it when you start a conversation with those words," Wes said sarcastically.
Travis stood from his desk, grabbing his jacket and pretending to look offended.
"Please, you love my ideas," he retorted, waving off Wes's attitude. "Anyway, as I was going to say before you interrupted me, 'what do you say we get a beer?'"
Wes stopped straightening up his desk to give Travis an incredulous look, quirking an eyebrow and scrunching his face slightly. After a beat of silence he replied, "No," and finished gathering his things, headed for the door.
Travis rolled his eyes as his partner walked past him toward the doors, turning and taking a couple jogging steps to catch up.
"Come on! We never just hang out anymore, and besides, this will cover our homework from Doctor Ryan this week!" Wes held up a hand as if to silence Travis as he punched the elevator down button.
"The homework for this week is 'date night' and I have absolutely no intention of going on a date with you," he retorted. Travis gave his partner an exasperated look. He was really hoping that for once he wouldn't have to pester Wes into doing something related to therapy. No such luck apparently.
"Wes, we're obviously not dating. But we have to get this done, there's no way we can fake this one and we're already on thin ice with Doctor Ryan. It's one beer!" Wes's face remained stoic as he impatiently watched the floor indicator light for the elevator. Travis changed tactics. "My treat," he said, cocking his head slightly and using his best charmer smile.
Wes's head turned sharply to look at Travis, a skeptical look on his face.
"You always say that, and then I end up paying anyway," he finally replied, stepping onto the elevator. Travis followed him, punching the button for the parking garage.
"Okay, well for real this time," Travis pulled his wallet from his back pocket and displayed a set of twenties for Wes's benefit. "I'm good for it, no tricks!" Wes just shook his head.
"We're off the clock, and I really have no desire to spend extra time with you outside of work." In true Wes fashion, he was attempting to rid himself of Travis by insulting him, but Travis saw right through it. He was cracking just a little bit. Travis just had to find the right incentive to get him to cave.
The doors opened as they hit the parking level, and Wes stepped off the elevator.
"You can pick food places for the next two weeks," he offered grudgingly. Wes turned to look at Travis who was holding the door to the elevator. He calculated the cost-benefit of this scenario. A couple of hours watching Travis try to pick up everything female in sight as a trade for two weeks of hassle-free meal selections. He sighed loudly.
"Fine, fine, deal," he said finally. Travis stepped out of the elevator and began his touchdown dance as Wes added, "But that also means you can't complain about my food choices either," he said, pointing an accusatory finger as his partner. Travis halted his dance, looking slightly downtrodden. Then he shrugged it off and headed in the direction of Wes's car.
"Man, I never complain, you're the one that does all that," he said casually, brushing past his partner.
Wes's mouth dropped open to dispute Travis's words, turning after him, but thought better of it, and instead called after him:
"This also means I get to pick the bar!"
After several squabbles about restaurant bars versus actual bars, they finally settled on a relatively quiet bar near Travis's apartment. It was 7pm on a Friday, and the place was not exactly packed.
They settled in at the bar and Travis ordered the first round, flashing his classic smile at the female bartender and leaning over the bar to tell her their order. Wes rolled his eyes at his partner's antics.
"You're ridiculous," he scoffed at his partner when he sat back down.
"What? It doesn't hurt to be friendly," he shrugged, and then pointed at Wes, "you could actually learn a thing or two about that."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Wes replied. Travis scoffed. "I'm always pleasant to people." That caused Travis to laugh out loud.
"'Pleasant to people'? Man, I sometimes wonder if you were dropped off by aliens," Travis shook his head, chuckling slightly. The bartender placed their beers in front of them and gave Travis a coy smile before moving to the opposite end of the bar to attend to other customers.
Wes didn't get a chance to respond to that, as a burly man suddenly appeared behind Travis and shoved him slightly into the bar. Travis whipped around to face the man.
"Hey, watch it man!"
The man ignored Travis's words.
"Are you hitting on my girl?" the man was slurring his words a little, and Wes had to roll his eyes. It was only 7 o' clock and this guy was already halfway gone.
Travis's brow furrowed in confusion, looking around.
"What're you talking about?" The man pointed a beefy hand to the end of the bar without taking his eyes off of Travis. Wes followed his finger. The only girl at the end of the bar was the bartender. Great.
Travis had apparently come to the same conclusion.
"That's your girl? Man, I wasn't hitting on her I was just being friendly. Why don't you just relax," he said with a placating smile, turning back toward the bar.
But the man wasn't done. He shoved Travis into the bar again. "No, I'm not gonna 'relax,'" he sneered. Travis had had enough of this guy. He stood from his bar stool, stepping into the man's space. The guy had 6 inches and probably 75 pounds on Travis, but mismatches never stopped him.
"Look, I don't want to have to hurt you, so I'm gonna ask you again, relax," Travis said, a defiant look on his face. Wes remained tense on his seat, watching the room. To his extreme discomfort, he noticed several other large men descending on the situation, surrounding them. He would have flashed his gun and badge to cut this whole thing short, but they'd both left their shields and guns in the car.
The guy laughed in Travis's face.
"Oh I'm plenty relaxed, my girl would never go for some short, black guy anyway," he said, shoving Travis in the chest.
Travis, to his credit, still remained cool. He forced out a fake, and somewhat demented sounding laugh. Wes rose to his feet and stepped away from the bar, sensing the other men closing in around them.
"Travis-" he began, but Travis ignored him.
"Oh I see, but she is into fat drunks that hang around in bars and probably still live with their mothers, huh? Interesting!"
Wes watched in horror as the man's face turned into an angry snarl, and he launched a wild punch at Travis's face.
Travis dodged it, and the surrounding area erupted in violence. Travis was handling the big man, and Wes adopted a fighting stance as the man nearest to him rushed him. He could have handled him fine, if the man Wes didn't see hadn't hit him over the head with a full bottle of beer.
The blow sent him to the floor, the worst possible place to be in a bar fight. He lay dazed for a moment, head dripping a mixture of beer and blood, before a hard kick to his ribs reminded him he needed to pick himself up. There was no chance of that he realized as he lifted himself to his hands and knees and was rewarded with another kick to his ribs, sending him sprawling to the floor again. He was out numbered three to one, and these guys seemed bent on causing as much damage as possible. He'd lost sight of Travis after getting hit over the head, but he hoped his partner was handling his attackers better than he was.
He was quickly losing his grip on the world around him, as blows rained down on his head and torso. He curled in on himself as much as he could, but his vision was darkening around the edges. Just before he was certain he was going to pass out, a gunshot went off somewhere behind him.
"Get your sorry asses out of my bar! NOW!" he heard a female voice shout from somewhere behind him. When no one moved, he heard her pump another round into what had to be a shotgun. "I said GET OUT!"
Wes's attackers bolted for the door, and he let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. A different pair of shoes appeared in front of him and suddenly Travis's face was in his field of vision.
"Wes? Wes, are you all right? Jesus," Travis breathed, taking stock of his partner's injuries. Wes was bleeding profusely from a wound in the back of his head. The way he was cradling his midsection, Travis wouldn't be surprised if he had a broken rib or two. He had several cuts on his face, and bruises were already developing. Travis hadn't been focusing on his partner during the fight, as he was busy deflecting blows from four other guys. Someone had obviously gotten the jump on Wes though, because he was a much more calculating fighter than Travis, and rarely allowed anyone to get the better of him.
Travis sucked in a shaky breath and yelled to the bartender to call an ambulance.
"No, no ambulance," Wes whispered, speaking carefully to avoid taking in too much air and moving his broken ribs. "I'll be fine, just help me up." His blue eyes were watery and pain filled. Travis looked at him like he was crazy.
"You're going to the hospital Wes, you probably have some broken ribs and I'd be willing to bet on a concussion too," Travis said softly, placing a gentle hand on his partner's shoulder to keep him from getting any insane ideas about moving. Wes gave a soft sigh, and decided he was too tired to argue. He really hated the hospital.
He finally focused his brain enough to get a look at Travis. He had a split lip and a bruise was forming around his left eye, but other than that, he appeared fine. Concern tightened his features, as he looked Wes over more carefully checking for any signs of serious injury.
They could hear sirens outside now, and Travis looked visibly relieved to know help had arrived.
"This is your fault you know," Wes managed to say between labored breaths. Travis met his eyes, feeling absolutely horrible about the situation. He had dragged Wes out to this bar in an attempt to find someway to connect to him, and instead he'd nearly gotten him killed in a bar fight. He opened his mouth to apologize.
"If you weren't so damn friendly…" Wes managed a tiny, tiny Wes-smart-ass-grin. Travis could have slapped him. Travis shook his head, maintaining a serious face.
"I'm telling you, you're the one who needs to work on your social skills," he grinned at his partner. "After all, I managed to play relatively nice with our new friends. You got your ass handed to you by a couple of wannabe rednecks."
Wes had to laugh at that, which caused fire to shoot through his upper body. He sucked in an equally painful breath, and the last thing he remembered before he passed out was Travis calling his name.
Wes awoke with a start, not knowing where he was. He gasped in a breath and pain shot through his chest. A shrill beeping noise increased in frequency and suddenly Travis was standing over him, putting his hands carefully on Wes's shoulders.
"Easy buddy, easy. You're in the hospital," he explained. Wes's brain finally began processing information, and he looked around the room. The beeping heart monitor was finally returning to a normal pace. He looked at Travis, who had just risen from a chair at the side of Wes's bed. "They said you're gonna be fine. You've got two broken ribs, but not close to puncturing a lung or anything. Mild concussion and a pretty nasty cut from the guy clocking you with a beer, and some other cuts and bruises. No serious internal injuries, but they want to keep you overnight just in case. You were lucky."
Wes looked at him, with that same incredulous look as when Travis first suggested going for a beer.
"Well, I mean, considering the circumstances," Travis backpedaled, releasing his grip on Wes and settling back into his chair.
"You don't have to stay," Wes said, his voice gravelly from exhaustion. Travis poured him a cup of water from pitcher on the bedside table.
"I know," he said, handing Wes the cup, "I want to." Wes downed the cup and looked at his partner. "You were right, this was my fault. I'm sorry Wes, I shouldn't have provoked that guy." He shook his head, unable to meet Wes's eyes and studying the floor instead.
"Hey," Wes said, and Travis looked up. "It's not your fault. That guy was a drunk asshole and you were…just being you," he smiled at his partner as a signal of forgiveness.
They held eye contact for a moment, letting the situation sink in, before Wes rolled his eyes toward the ceiling.
"Please tell me you kicked that guy's ass," he said.
Travis's multi-watt smile finally made its appearance.
"Hell yeah I did, when I called for an ambulance, it was for him. I don't think he's going to be worrying about people hitting on 'his girl' for a long time," he said, leaning back in his chair and looking pleased with himself.
Wes nodded, leaning back against his pillows and closing his eyes to sleep.
"Well this will make for an interesting 'date night' story in group," he said. Travis chuckled.
"Doctor Ryan might think twice about giving us homework in the future!" he said sarcastically.
"Silver lining," Wes mumbled before drifting into sleep.