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 Appalachian mountains to search for
and destroy illegal alcohol when he has an accident.
Xander is a moonshiner who takes him in.
The winter had been long and harder than usual.
Xander kept busy, throwing himself into his chores
and not allowing his mind to wander any further than the
task at hand
He exhausted his body till his brain couldn't think.
He had cleaned and reoiled his traps, doubling his catch from
the previous year. The pelts were skinned and stretched in the
air to dry.
He knew when he took them to town for sale it would bring
enough money to see to all his needs for months.
He could buy seeds and canning jars for his garden, and the
basic supplies of flour, coffee, and lard.
Yes, Xander had everything he needed.
Christmas had come and gone with no note taken of the day.
The new year the same.
The day didn't matter since he had made his resolutions long
The still had been dismantled and the cave closed over.
A trip to the junk yard found a windshield that fit the car
The seats were put back in and the car parked.
Xander still lovingly washed and cared for it, but no longer
took it on the adventurous treks through the mountain trails.
Time spent in the Lincoln was painful. It often forced him to
recall the last night he took it out.
His heart twisted when he remembered nearly tossing Spike
out the door and driving away.
He didn't make his run that night, instead driving straight to
Percy's Tavern to see old Joe Smith.
Pulling in to the rear of the building, Joe had come out to greet
him as he always did.
"Xander, my boy. You're early. Come in. Sit with me for a while."
Walking to the side of the car and peering in, Joe's brow wrinkled.
"You got a full load. You not drop off at your other stops? Hey,
who broke your window?"
Joe backed up looking all around "You got revenuers on
Quickly Xander reassured him, "No, Joe. Just had a little
accident. It's o.k. I'm just not making deliveries any more.
I'm out of business. This is the last of my stock. You want it,
you can have it. No cost."
Joe walked over and put his arm around Xander's shoulder.
"Come in boy. You look like you need to talk."
Fighting hard to keep the tears at bay, Xander nodded.
Once he settled into a chair in Joe's back office, Xander
Everything poured out of him in a flood of pained words.
He spoke of all the mistakes and deceit on both their parts and
his shame and self revelations. Joe sat silently and let Xander
go on. He knew the young man had all this festering in him
and it had to come out.
At the finish he told how he had almost tossed Spike out
on his ear, then left him alone in the woods.
Xander's strength drained away with the words. When the
story was finished, so was he. He sat slumped over with
his head in his hands.
Moving to sit beside him, Joe put his arm around the young
man and pulled him close.
"Who are you really mad at, Xander? Him? Or yourself?"
Xander shrugged. "Both of us, I guess. It doesn't matter.
He's gone and I'm back to being alone." Lifting his head,
Xander looked Joe in the eye.
"Do you think this is an omen? Because I have feelings for
him and not a woman?"
Joe gave his shoulder a squeeze and laughed. "No, Xander.
Your heart seeks out another heart. It doesn't look first at
the plumbing. Sides, I got a younger brother who likes
the men too. It don't matter none. What matters is that
it is not meant for a man to be alone.
You all by yourself on that mountain. Not good Xander.
You gonna wear your hand out."
Both men laughed, and Xander relaxed. He knew coming
here was the right choice.
"Now, be a good boy and help me unload your crates.
If you not gonna run shine no more, I gotta take all you
got to give."
Feeling some better, Xander carried the jugs in and stacked
them up in Joe's hidden store room. When he was finished
Joe walked him to the car.
Placing the palm of his hand on Xander's cheek, he patted.
"Watch the signs, boy. It will come when you least expect it
and when it does you will know what to do."
Thanking him, Xander climbed behind the wheel and drove off.
And so it went. Time passed and Xander watched for a sign,
but none came.
'Maybe that is a sign in itself' He wondered.
He cut the wood and canned his food. The hunting was good
and he had plenty of meat.
Using the copper tubing from the still, Xander piped water
from the spring house to the cabin. He found a good used
hand pump and, by February, had water.
April saw the first new buds of the spring flowers. He knew
when the last of the ground frost was done, he would start
It had been six months since Spike had gone, and Xander had
all but given up on a sign. He wasn't even sure anymore if it all
had really happened as he remembered it.
Xander rocked slowly. The day had been the same as all the
Nothing changed, not bad, not good, just the same.
He dozed in his chair.
Even after all these months the bed still held too many
Sleep came quickly and his dreams this night were vivid.
He was back to that terrible night all those months ago.
He had told Spike to shut up and get in the car.
Xander turned and fussed in his sleep.
He drove like a fool, scareing them both till he came to the town.
His dream relived the car stopping and Xander telling him to go.
The tears rolled down as Xander struggled to wake.
Suddenly the dream changed.
Before getting out of the car, Spike turned to him.
He placed his small hand on Xander's arm and smiled with
those blue eyes.
"I'll wait for you, Xander. Come for me when you're ready."
Then he turned and was gone.
Xander woke with a start. That wasn't what happened!
What was that?
His heart jumped and hope flooded his body with warmth and
He had finally had his sign.
He knew what to do.
Xander rushed around packing for his trip to the city.