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.
Spike had always heard that you couldn't change your
life till you hit rock bottom.
Standing alone in the woods, bag in hand, sick, and
heartbroken, he would have thought his life was as
low as it could go.
He would have been wrong.
After getting lost, it took him the better part of an
hour to find his way to town.
Once there he slept on a bench in front of the bus
station waiting for morning.
Knowing he had no money for a ticket, Spike had no
idea what to do next.
He woke to someone intermittently shaking him roughly
and kicking the bench.
"Wake up Spike! Jesus Fuck I can smell the booze all
Startled, Spike attempted to jump up only to lose his
balance and fall to the ground.
Liam stood over him with a disgusted look on his face
he made no attempt to conceal.
At least that boy had been right and he had found Spike
with very little effort.
"Mr. O'Connor?" Spike struggled to his feet. His head
still throbbed, but his stomach seemed to have settled
enough that he possibly might live through the day.
"What are you doing here?"
Liam grabbed him by the arm and roughly steered him towards
the dark vehicle parked across the street.
"What the fuck do you think I'm doing. You haven't checked
in for over a week, Spike. Guess I can see why. You been l
aying drunk this whole time?"
Spike allowed himself to be manhandled into the car silently.
He thought about the past week and straining to hold back the
tears, said nothing.
Liam rolled his eyes "Yea, I figured. Well this is it Spike.
When we get back you can collect your things. You're fired."
Spike heard the words but didn't care. He had lost everything
else what was a job he no longer wanted any way?
He sat and watched out the window.
The trip back to the city was long and lonely. Liam ragged on him
nonstop. Told him what a loser he was. How he was just going to
drink himself to death anyway so why didn't he hurry up and do it.
Nothing said touched Spike in the least. How could it? It was all
the same things he had told himself a million times over.
Besides, Liam O'Connor's opinion of him didn't mean squat.
The next few months were all consuming.
Spike was unceremoniously tossed out of the agency the day he
Jobs were hard to find especially for a foreigner with no real skills.
After the first two months of unemployment, he was evicted.
Christmas was spent living in a flop house with fifty other men down
on their luck.
New Years dinner was soup in a bread line, and he was grateful for it.
Still, he was able to fight his need to get drunk.
Whenever the urge would become too strong, he remembered
All the man had done to help him quit, and the look of disgust
when he failed.
Sobriety was the biggest achievement of his life. He was proud
of himself for the first time ever.
The first of the year came with no parties, no friends. But it did
come with something Spike needed much more.
It came with a job.
A man had come to the shelter looking for sober, young men
who could work on the docks.
It was hard back breaking work especially for someone of
Spike's smaller stature, but it was honest work that paid
enough to get him on his feet.
A small rental room and regular meals were all the needs he had,
or so he told himself.
Still, there was not a day that went by that Spike didn't think of
Miss him and wonder if he had found that someone special to
share his home with.
The snow and ice of February bit into his skin and no amount
of clothes or gloves could make him warm. Spike clearly
reveled in the day in April when he stepped outside and
could smell spring in the air. The sun had a warming promise
to it and the sky a cloudless blue.
He pulled his collar up around his neck and started for work.
The wind had kicked up and was still cold and biting. Out of
nowhere a maple leaf blew up and swirled around him.
The fact that there were no trees any where around made it
seem such an oddity.
Mesmerized. Spike watched it as it tumbled and lifted in the air.
Spinning and turning it went higher till it was almost out of sight.
On a silly impulse, Spike blew it a kiss and called after it
"Take that to Xander."
He laughed at the himself and the childishness of the action.
Then bracing against the frigid air, continued on to the docks.