Rating Adult overall
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story and make
no profit from them
Summary: Set in the early 1940's, Spike is a G-man sent on
a mission in the Applachian mountains to search for
and destroy illegal alcohol when he has an accident.
Xander is a moonshiner who takes him in.
Spike woke only marginally when Xander returned. He was the
most relaxed he had ever been.
Even with the partial paralysis in his legs, he felt totally unconcerned.
He was clean, cared for and Xander was laying hot compresses and
massaging his back.
The nagging need for a drink was still there, but for once it
wasn't the most life controlling thing on his mind.
He knew there were several issues to be delt with such as his health,
his job, his car, his life in general, but all that will still be the
Equally pressing was the matter of his feelings for Xander.
Frowning slightly, Xander was on his mind for other reasons.
Just who was this man?
He obviously was not the ignorant uneducated man he presented
himself to be, but why.
Why does a man pretend to be something he is not.
What is he hiding?
Realizing how hypocritical that was, Spike tucked it all away
for examination later.
Feeling those skilled hands work out a particularly hard knot,
Spike decided that whatever it was, there was nothing he could
do about it now, so why not just relax and enjoy.
The universe had never been generous with the freebies in
He figured he was due.
Smiling at the moans, groans and grunts Spike was making with
each kneading pass Xander's hands made on his back, Xander
studied the slight form lying on his bed.
All the unanswered questions he had about this man and what
he was doing here hung heavily in the back of Xander's mind.
He knew it was unadvisable to allow himself any type of emotional
He already had everything planned out.
He would run shine for a few more years and save his money.
When he had enough he would, what? What was he saving for?
If he didn't know that, how would he know when he had
Truth was, he hadn't really thought to much about the future.
He loved the excitement of rumrunning. The thrill of being the
fastest, the best.
The rush of adrenalin.
No, it was best to just get this stranger on his feet and off Xander's
So caught up in his thoughts, Xander had not noticed that Spike
had fallen sound asleep. Drying his hands, he knew this might be
his best chance to get some necessary work done outside.
After all, he was a business man first, and he had been neglecting
Xander tip toed to the door and quietly slipped out.
The late fall air was getting more cutting as the days passed.
Cursing himself for not grabbing a coat, Xander hurried down
the trail. Coming to the still, he knew he had to fire it up and
start the pot and coils heating for the fermentation.
Banking a fire, he went to the back to check the tubing.
As he reached out, Xander snatched his hand back seconds before
he touched the pipe.
He stared at the copper head that had wrapped itself around
the base of the still.
Slowly Xander stepped away, knowing any sudden move could
cause the poisonous snake to react.
He hadn't seen any copper heads in this area for a long time
and he felt sure this was an omen that could not be ignored.
The feeling of impending doom twisted and curled in his stomach
in a way that matched the slithering coil of the snake's body.
What did this mean?
He desperately searched the area for a sign that would make
the meaning of the omen clear, but saw nothing out of place.
Quickly he threw a fire into the tent shaped stack if sticks under
the copper pot.
Much to his dismay the snake made no effort to leave, preferring
to cling to the coil and burn to death.
Oh God, this was not good.
Xander remained watching as the snake went up in flames.
Turning quickly he rushed back down the path to the cabin.
Tripping and stumbling, he finally tried to cool down.
'Stop it Xander' He admonished himself Slowing, he detoured
to the barn. 'Don't let yourself fall apart over something crazy
Everything is all right.'
He pulled out the key and opened the door. The sight of his car
always pleased him.
It was his greatest accomplishment. It sat waiting for the next run.
It sat untouched. He slid in and sat behind the wheel.
It calmed him. It reassured him.
He thought about all the things he had in his life.
Oddly, his thoughts focused on the man in his bed.
He looked at the crates half filled with jugs of shine.
For the first time in his life he thought seriously about what he did.
He wondered how many of the people who drank his liquor
suffered the way Spike did.
How many lives had he destroyed?
It was a shocking realization, too overwhelming to resolve
without time and deep consideration.
Climbing out, he closed the car door and left the barn.
He knew what ever happened, his life was about to take a
Xander had been gone a long time when he finally kicked open
the cabin door and rushed in, his hands and face numb from the
Spike had just woken up and was noting to his delight that his
back felt much better and in stretching he found he could wiggle
his toes. He was thrilled and couldn't wait to tell the man he
"Hey, you're awake." Xander felt like a weight had been lifted
from his shoulders. He wasn't sure what he was going to do
about the omen, or Spike, or how he would find their connection,
but he now knew a sign would show him the right way.
"Look, Xander, look." He wiggled his toes and pulled the top
half of his body up to rest on his elbows.
Each man looked at the other and they burst out laughing, delighted.
"This calls for a celebration." That's when Spike noticed what
Xander was carrying.
He had a skinned rabbit and a large round white ball.
"What the hell is that?' Spike chuckled.
"It's a puff ball. You have never tasted puff ball? Well you, my
good man, are in for a treat."
The rest of the afternoon was one of the best either man had
They laughed and talked easily as Xander cooked. He showed
Spike how to slice, roll in flour and fry the puff ball explaining
that it was a type of mushroom.
By evening they had feasted and were both content to rub full bellies
and relax by the warmth of the fire.
The conversation had quieted comfortably.
"Xander?" Spike watched Xander rock lazily in his chair by the hearth.
"Will you sleep with me tonight?"
Xander gazed into the bluest eyes he had ever seen.
He no longer cared who Spike really was.
He didn't even care who he really was.
He knew what he wanted and for tonight, he would have it.