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
Faith was exhausted. The extra work load was kicking her ass
and the 14 hour days were becoming the norm.
She had actually thought that having Angel reassigned as her
partner may give some relief, but had quickly realized that
he was more a hindrance than a help.
Likeable enough, Angel seemed to have no natural instincts for
interrogation and evidence discovery. Along with that, some
partners just seemed to click. She and Spike had been in sync
from day one.
They slipped easily into nonverbal communication and found their
weak and strong points complimented each other perfectly.
She and Angel, well, didn't.
That became glaringly obvious during their very first suspect interview..
Faith had noticed blood drops on the perp's shoes. Nodding slightly
to Angel to look down, he misunderstood the signal and blurted out
"Great shoes. Where the hell did you find them in that shade of brown?"
The shock in the killer's eyes when he noticed the evidence sent Faith
scurrying. She had dashed from the interrogation room, scrambled for a
warrant and hustled to confiscate the shoes before he could get out and
Angel was clueless.
In the weeks that followed, things went from bad to worse.
Her home life had sunk to an all time low and seemed to be going lower.
She was working too much and Kennedy not at all.
Arriving back home, Faith looked at her watch and saw that it was well
past one. Again. She had promised Kennedy that they could spend the
evening together but something had come up
Something always seemed to come up and the tension around the
apartment was thick enough to cut with a knife.
Kennedy was antsy, irritable, and bored at the delayed release allowing
her to return to work. Her dreaded appointments with that moron,
Dr. Hiney left her frustrated and feeling guilty, as though everything
Elvin had done was her fault.
Add to that two women PMSing at the same time and the hormones
in the air were reaching toxic levels.
They had done nothing but argue since the whole rosebud case had
exploded in their faces and now, Faith knew, coming in late would only
add fuel to the blazing fire.
Quietly she opened the door and slipped into the silent apartment.
All the lights were off and she sighed, although she didn't blame
Kennedy for not waiting up, she really did want to talk.
Easing open the bedroom door, Faith stuck her head in and blinked
into the darkness.
"Ken, Ken, honey, you awake?"
When she got no answer, Faith slipped in, quickly slithered out of her clothes
and slid her naked body into the cool sheets. Reaching out it didn't take long to
realize she was alone. In a panic, she immediately she flipped on the light.
Kennedy's side of the bed was smooth, unrumpled and clearly had not been
slept in. But the worst thing Faith saw there was the note. The single sheet
of paper that laid on her lover's pillow.
Faith's hand shook as she reached for it. She prayed it said Kennedy had
run to the store to satisfy her late night craving for chocolate cherry ice cream,
or maybe a family problem had called her away. She knew better.
"Please." Faith whispered. "Please, not that."
I'm sorry. I just can't do this. Ever since we got together there has been
nothing but trouble. Maybe everything that has happened is karma
punishing us. Maybe I am just alone too much. Thinking too many thoughts.
I'm lonely, Faith and you are busy. Too busy for us. Don't worry about
me, I'll call you.
Faith balled the note up in her fist and curled up under the covers. Wrapping her
arms around Kennedy's pillow, Faith gave in to her crushing emotions and
sobbed. It took an hour to run out of tears and cry herself to sleep. A sleep
of unhappy dreams that brought no peace.
Xander woke with a start. Something was wrong. Something was missing.
Rolling over he looked at the clock by the bed and watched as the
digital numbers snapped over to 3:00am.
Turning over he reached for his lover only to find his side of the bed cold
and empty. He remembered Spike telling him to go on in and he would
follow shortly, but apparently he hadn't.
Tossing back the covers, Xander pulled on the sleep pants he laid at the foot
of the bed and he went in search. A task made simpler by the fact that
the apartment was so small. Xander wondered how much trouble he was
going to have tracking Spike down in the mansion.
Just as he suspected, Spike was sitting at the lion's head bar in the kitchen.
He had a file with reports and pictures spread out in front of him and he
was tapping away at the keyboard of his laptop.
"Hey, you still up? It's really late, Babe. Come on, tomorrow's Saturday
and you can finish that up later. Come to bed."
Spike rubbed his hands over his face and smiled at the tussled haired man
who sat down beside him. His heart warmed each time he looked into
Xander's face and read the love that shined for him.
"I'm almost finished. It's a simple case but Giles wanted it done before
tomorrow. I guess he's getting pressure to wrap it up. Besides, I
thought we had packing to do tomorrow. You know as much as I hate
to admit it, a separate den for an office will really be great."
Xander chuckled. He knew that admission had to be difficult for his
stubborn, bull headed lover.
"See, I told you you would love it. Go ahead, I'll keep you company
till you're report is complete then we can go to bed together.
But I warn you that I plan on having my wicked way with you"
Xander waggled his eyebrows dramatically, wringing his hands and giving his best
"Well, shit then I better hurry. I wouldn't want to keep you waiting."
Spike laughed and resumed his tic tic on the keyboard.
Quietly, Xander sifted through the pictures of the scene of the accident
in the nursing home. He picked each one up, feeling the sadness that
saturated the rooms, the walls, the very air of the nursing home.
It was like that in so many of them. Tired, aged, forgotten souls filled
with regret and unhappiness as they wait out their last days knowing
there was no more future for them to look to. No plans to make, no
excitement of anticipation.
He recognized the photos as one's Spike had taken. Angles and shots
of things that were not directly case related, but helped the detective
pick up on a detail, a minor tic, that could possibly have been overlooked.
Finally coming to the last pictures, Xander knew by their glossy, professional
texture, that these were the official crime scene photos. These were the
ones that would be included and sealed in the file when the case closed.
"Spike. Stop typing for a minute. We need to talk."
Spike sighed and removed his glasses.
"What? What do we need to talk about?"
Xander handed Spike the picture of Myrtle face down in the tub.
"This was not an accident, Spike. This lady was killed."
Spike snatched the picture out of Xander's hands and looked at it again
as if expecting to see someone in the room, lurking in the shadows.
"Shit. Are you sure? Oh, of course you're sure. How do you know?
Oh, you just know. Right? Shit. O.k. then. So we have us a homicide."
Spike struggled not to grin.