bmblbee (bmblbee) wrote in bloodclaim,

Period Of Adjustment

Author: BmblBee
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

Dingle ding

The little bell over the door rang in a pleasant, familiar way welcoming
Spike as he entered Momma's for a quick lunch and a few minutes to
gather his notes and thoughts.

He headed straight for the booth in the back that had become his and
Xander's home away from home when they met over lunch, dinner,
or just a snack in between.

It seemed that Xander's appetite was something Momma knew well and did
not, in the least, find odd or peculiar, but then considering what a valuable
customer the boy was, even if she did, why would she mention it?

"Hey, there's my favorite cop. Where's your better half? Don't tell
me he isn't hungry."
Momma grabbed her round, aproned belly and rolled with laughter
as if that was the funniest thing she had ever heard.

Spike chuckled too. Maybe it was.
"Mornin' Mum. We both know him better than that, yeah? No, he's
prolly at work this time of day. Can I get a turkey on white and a cup
of tea?"

The heavy black woman patted Spike's shoulder affectionately and shuffled
off in her worn, soft house shoes.
Spike immediately turned all his concentration to the notes and pictures
in front of him. Clearly Mark Jacobs was top on his list of suspects.

After all he had the most to lose. If the planned move had been made at
the nursing home, his Aunt would have been entered as a full patient rather
than resident and all her assets, house, insurance, and bonds would have
reverted to the State to off set the cost of her advanced care.

Jacobs would have been out in the cold. Homeless?
Spike jotted down several notes to follow up. He wanted to look into
the financial condition of Jacobs investment business, poke around
into the bliss of his marital bed, so to speak, and try to find out if he
was the beneficiary and the terms of his Aunt's life insurance policy.
He also wanted to look into his alibi.

It was a lot to do and a short time to do it.
Laying his pencil down, Spike pondered one other bomb Jacobs had
dropped during the interview. He said Judge Rayne was one of his clients.
Spike's brow crinkled as he wondered what type of turd that would clog
his investigational toilet with.
No doubt a big one.
One that could possibly hit the fan later on.

"Psst. Turtle."

Spike had been so engrossed in his thoughts he hadn't noticed the small
dark figure that stealthily approached from behind. When the whisper
came, just inches from his ear, Spike jerked, grabbed for his gun, and
spun around in his seat braced for an attack.

What he found was a short, stocky man in an almost ankle length black
rain coat with the collar tugged high to circle his neck, if he had had one.
He had a dark fedora pulled low over his face and showed nothing but
a bit of cheek, chin, and one hand. The other was tucked inside the coat
and held tight to his body.

Spike ducked his head and squinted his eyes.
"Dr. Ahn?"

The figure twitched and looked about frantically to ensure himself that
no one had heard his partner's faux pas.

"Code word! You must use the code word!"

Spike's lips twitched, but he adopted a very serious demeanor.
"Of course. Sorry. Turtle."

Dr. Ahn nodded and pulled his hand from his coat. He held a thin
manilla folder which he quickly transferred to the detective's care.

"This is a copy of the autopsy photos and preliminary report. So far
there is nothing new I could find but I will need three more days to
complete all the toxicology and tissue studies."
Wink Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

Spike gladly accepted the file, despite the lack of additional forensic
evidence he was sure there was something in there he could use.

"Thanks. I spoke to Mr. Jacobs this morning and found him very interesting.
I have a few other leads I want to track down this afternoon and I may run
back out to the nursing home again. I really appreciate your help on this,
Doc. I'll stay in touch."

Doctor Ahn let a huge grin fill what was visible on his face before ducking
and looking in all directions to make sure he had not been noticed.
He then turned quickly and darted for the front door just as Momma was
leaving the kitchen with Spike's turkey on white.

"Morning Akhmed."
"Morning Momma."

And he was gone in the blink of an eye leaving nothing in his wake but
the tinkle of the bell over the door. Spike chortled and opened the file.
The humor quickly left him when he read the preliminary write up.

Two bites and the sandwich sat forgotten along side the cold tea.
He had read and reread the entire autopsy report and came to the
same conclusion Dr. Ahn had. There was absolutely no indication
that this was anything other than a misstep. A tragic accident.

Slowly an idea started to grow in the back of his mind. A concept
and hypothesis that he never would have even considered yesterday
was now something Spike was going to have to reluctantly accept.

Xander had been wrong. Spike had banked everything he had and put
himself on the line professionally on faith alone and Xander had been

He didn't know what to feel. Angry? Foolish? Disappointed? He just
wasn't sure. He did know one thing, though, he needed to talk to Xander.


"Xan? I think that's your phone. Xan?"

Willow stood, covered from head to toe in dusty dirt, and stared at
the ringing, vibrating phone that lay on the foyer table. She was pretty
sure she had heard Xander say he was going upstairs to help Tara wash
down the tall, floor to ceiling windows in the master bedroom and
wondered if she should answer it.


Decision made, she grabbed it up and punched the button.


Spike stared at the phone in his hand. Did he dial wrong? Couldn't
have. He used the speed number.

"Hello? This is Detective Pratt calling for Xander Harris. Is this the right

"Spike? Is this Xander's Spike? Hi. This is Willow, Xander probably
told you about me. Wow, I'll bet you're really excited about the house.
I know we all are. It is so perfect for the circle. Sometimes it's hard to
find a place with enough privacy and space for all of us to do what we do.
It's not the kind of thing you can do in public, ya know. Ha ha, we found
that out the hard way. People are just so closed minded sometimes.
Anyway look at me babble like we were old friends. So, anyway, Xander's
busy right now. He's upstairs in the bedroom with Tara. They have been
at it for a while so they should be about done. Do you want me to have him
call you?"

Spike's mouth fell open.
His lips flapped silently like a flag in the wind and the muscle in his left
cheek twitched.

The Corvette was one block down the street before the over door bell
had stopped swinging.

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