Paring: What else? S/X of course.
Rating: Adult for language and M/M activity.
Disclaimer: None of the characters in this story belong to the Bee.
and she makes no money off them, or anything else. The Bee is broke.
Summary: The Rosebud Murders took an emotional toll on
everyone involved. Is love enough for a happily ever after or does
it take a hell of a lot of work and compromise to build a life together?
Spike and Xander struggle to find out.
Thanks to Petxnd for the lovely banner
Spike sat in the side chair across from Chief Inspector Giles and
eyed him suspiciously. Spike hadn't been allowed to do much
more than shuffle papers since his return to duty and he hated it.
He felt as though he was being punished for allowing Elvin's psycho
ass stab him in the chest. And he wasn't the only one suffering.
His guilt wrenched him everytime he saw Faith come rushing through
the station house on her way in or out trying to keep up on all
the cases that were stacking up.
Making matters worse for both of them was the fact that Angel had
been temporarily reassigned to their division to assist her. Faith had
confided in Spike one morning that having him around was bad enough
but combine that with his obsessive need to call and check up on Max
twenty times an hour and she just wanted to scream.
He knew Faith was also stressed out because of Kennedy. The young
officer wasn't even allowed back in the station house. Being involved
in an investigation that resulted in her husband being uncovered as a
serial killer and her lover, one of the Detectives that arrested him, well,
she was lined up with enough Hiney appointments to make Spike's
skin crawl with sympathy.
He sarcastically wondered if Hiney had ask what Elvin had done to
make her "vant da pussy".
Giles made sure he had Spike's attention before continuing.
"I know this restrictive duty has been hard on you, Detective, but it is
departmental regulation. Don't take it personally."
Spike stared at Giles with disdain. Even though he knew that what
the Chief Inspector was saying was true, it didn't make it any easier.
"Of course not, Giles. So what do you have for me? All the department
staplers need refilled or maybe the toilet paper in the loo run short?"
Giles chose to ignore Spike's sullen, childish behavior. He rooted through
the papers on his desk and retrieved a small manilla folder. Flipping
it across the desk, it landed in front of Spike causing his eyebrows
"A case? You're giving me a case? Oh thank God. I promise you I'm
fine Giles. You know all I really need is to get back to work. What is it?
Ax murder? Convenience store hold up and shooting? Hell at this point
I'll even take a harried housewife that shoved a pillow over her sleeping
Spike snatched up the file, cradling it like it was solid gold. He squiggled
down comfortably in his seat and settled in for a good read.
Giles braced himself.
It didn't take long.
"What the fuck? Is this a joke? Well fuck you, Giles. I don't need
Spike slammed down the file and stood with every intention of storming
off. He was already planning on a door slam that would rattle the hinges
and give Giles a fierce what for.
Giles sat back calmly. He slid the file over again allowing his fingertips to
remain on it as long as his eyes held Spike's. Giles then responded, his voice
adapting the frigid air of pure professionalism that Spike knew better than
"I can assure you Detective Pratt that this is no joke. The case involves
Mrs. Myrtle Miller. 87 years old, Mrs Miller was a resident of the
Leesville Nursing and Convalescent Center. Apparently last evening
when she prepared to take a bath she slipped, hit her head and fell,
drowning in the water. As you are aware, whenever there is an
accidental demise while in a state run institution a full investigation
must be done to clear the employees of any liability.
I'm sorry of this case is not up to your defining standards, Mr. Pratt,
however you will handle the statements, interviews, and prepare
to close the case. Unless you wish to refuse, at which time you will be
suspended for insubordination and the matter referred to Dr. Hiney."
Of all of it, it was the last part that caused the full body shudder to
roll down Spike's spine and curdle in his stomach. With what he
hoped was a terrifyingly piercing scowl, Spike grabbed up the
folder and reopened it.
The pictures showed a tiny, old woman at the end of her life. The first
shot showed how she had been found, on her knees, with her face down
in the water. She still wore her pink fuzzy slippers and over sized, faded
The subsequent photos were of her stretched out on the floor of her
small bathroom. The EMT's had checked her and pronounced her DOA.
Spike's anger abated. He knew it wasn't Myrtle's fault that she met her end
in such an unhappy way. Fuckin' attendants should have been looking out
for her. Spike felt his outrage shift from selfish indignation to professional
ire. It wasn't much of a case. It wasn't anything Spike would have touched
a month ago, but it was his now, and by damn, he would give it his best.
Spike snatched up the paperwork and nodded briskly to the Chief
"I'll take it. Where is the body now?"
Giles stood and smiled. He knew Spike wouldn't let him down and
whether Spike realized it or not this was the best thing Giles could have
done for him.
"It's in the morgue. The ME's preliminary report is in there. If you get
this all wrapped up today, the nephew would like the body released by
day after tomorrow. There was no other family and he wants an
immediate cremation. I know this is a rookie case Spike, but as soon
as the psych releases you we will swamp you with all the shootings,
stabbings, and poisoners you can handle."
Spike relenyed, accepted the offered hand shake, the food stamp
case and chuckled. Hell he had to admit sometimes a little charity is
better than starvation.
"I'll hold you to that promise."
With a wave of the file folder and a brisk nod of his head, Spike turned
and headed out. Checking the time on his watch he wondered if Xander
was free for lunch. He snorted knowing the odds of him passing up a
meal were slim to none. Spike grinned. Suddenly he felt great and
wanted to share it with his Xan.
Letting his mind wander he thought back over the last few weeks.
It had taken several days for the adrenelin rush to abate after that night
of the arrest. The weeks that followed his release from the hospital
were a blur of court dates, preliminaries, evidentury hearings and finally
the Grand Jury's indictment of all the charges against Elvin Masters.
Following that had been their 10 day vacation in Vegas. Hot mornings
in the sun, cool afternoons in the casinos and erotic nights in Xander. It
had all been perfect. It had all culminated in the crash of reality when
they returned home.
The stress of returning to duty, but not, the odd looks and snide remarks
from some of the officers, now the strain of trying to figure out what to
say and not do to pass the Hiney test........
Spike shook his head.
He knew he had been acting like a total arse and taking all his frustrations
out on Xander but he didn't seem able to stop. On one hand that tiny
flat seemed smaller than a prison cell, yet the thought of leaving
it and the man inside almost made him physically sick. He loved Xander.
He needed Xander. He hated that he needed Xander so much.
Spike straightened his shoulders and held his head up high. He promised
himself, for the hundredth time to be a better boyfriend. He vowed to
stop nagging about moving to a larger place because he knew Xander
would never want to. 'Hell' he reasoned, 'it's not that cramped. More
like cozy. Yeah, that's it our flat is cozy.'
Spike was surprised at how much better he felt. Maybe things were
going to start to finally turn around. He was ashamed to admit it but he
was almost grateful to Myrtle for taking a swan dive.
Rushing back down the hall to his office, Spike went into professional
mode. If anyone at the nursing home was negligent or irresponsible
enough to be in any way responsible for this poor ladies premature death,
he'd sniff them out.
'O.k." He thought. 'Considering her age maybe she was on borrowed
time but that doesn't mean shit.'
This case, and Myrtle Miller, would get his best.