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's trip across town was quick and he grudgingly had to admit
there was little traffic on this route and it wasn't actually all that
Still, he wanted to know who these people were at his house with
HIS Xander. The woman on the phone knew him by name and
assumed he knew her.
Spike was rattled. Xander had never been devious. He had never
given Spike reason to doubt or be suspicious of him but now, now
everything felt wrong. He had gone out on a limb for a case that turned
out to be an empty shell, the final repercussions, he was certain, were
yet to be felt.
On top of that a woman he didn't know told him Xander was
apparently in bed with someone named Tara. Spike's stomach
It had been years since he had believed in anything. Now, in the
short time they had been together, he believed in Xander. 100%.
Whole heartily and unquestionably.
He knew it would kill him to find that trust misplaced.
Whipping the car onto his new street, Spike pulled up in front of
what he thought was the right address but now wasn't sure.
The difference was night and day. The jungle and overgrowth of
noxious weeds and foliage in the front of the house was gone.
The wall of ivy from the iron gate had been torn down and the
front of the house could now be seen from the street. It actually
wasn't in as bad a shape as Spike had originally thought.
Everything was neatly trimmed, mowed and raked. It still had a long
way to go, but the potential was now obvious. If Spike hadn't been
a man on a mission he might have taken the time to admire it.
Leaping from the car, briefcase in hand, Spike charged up the front
walkway which, he briefly registered, were expensively laid antique
Just as he reached front steps a voice called to him.
"Who are you?"
Spike spun around to see a young blond boy standing, rake in hand,
scowling at him from the side corner of the house. Andrew. The name
popped into his head, remembering Xander saying he knew someone
with a lawn service.
"Are you Andrew? I'm Detective Pratt. I'm looking for Xander.
Do you know where he is?"
Andrew dropped his rake and rushed forward, a huge grin now lit
his eyes and bubbled from his lips.
"Xander talked about me? What did he say? Was it good?
He's in the house, I'll go get him. You know Xander and I are the
same and we're VERY close. He's teaching me. Xander is going
to teach me about EVERTYHING, if you know what I mean."
Andrew giggled, winked and pushed the front door wide open.
Spike followed him in and any retort he may have had for Andrew
died on his lips.
This couldn't be the same house. The foyer was now bright, sunny and
clean. The air was fresh and filled with the scent of the lemon cleaner
used to buff the dark wood furniture to a gleaming shine.
The windows in the rooms on both sides of the house had been washed
and the heavy drapes removed for cleaning causing the sunlight to explode
and fill the whole area in a golden glow. All the small architectural detail
that had been concealed in dirt, dark and dust was now obvious, giving the
mansion an air of aristocracy and magnificence that took Spike's breath away.
With a shake of the head, Spike tried to return to the track he was on and
looked back in time to see Andrew dashing up the huge sweeping staircase
and off to the left in the direction of the master bedroom. Tears of anger
stung Spike's eyes but he remained silent
"Hi. Are you Spike? I'm Willow, we just spoke on the phone. Wow, you
got here quick. I'm not sure where Xan is."
Spike gave serious consideration to the tiny redhead in front of him.
True enough, she was cute as a pair of lace panties, however, the fact
that she was dusty and wearing sloppy sweats gave Spike a sense
of relief. Whatever Xander was doing with "Tara", Willow was not
"I think Andrew went to find him. Didn't you say he was in the.....bedroom
Willow pulled the bandanna off her head and shook out her shoulder
length soft hair.
"Yeah, they have been up there for hours. I should have made them
come down here and help me but Xander wanted that so bad I didn't
have the heart to complain. Besides, there wasn't really as much work
down here as I thought. It actually looks pretty good. What do you think?"
Spike was totally disinterested in how well the sitting room had fared under
the little woman's spit and polish. His eyes were aimed upstairs as he warred
with himself between charging up there and putting a stop to what "Xander
wanted so bad" and just turning around and driving away.
Before he could make up his mind, Andrew appeared at the top of
the steps, smiling, he waved his arms and slowly descended like
"Xanny and Tara are washing up. They will be right down."
Suddenly an odd thought hit Spike and he turned to the small redhead
who was patiently waiting for the fornicators to drag their exhausted
bodies down the steps. He knew what the circle was! He knew
what this mysterious group did together and why Xander had been
so secretive about them.
"Are you part of the group? The circle? Is Andrew? How many of
you are there?"
Willow was confused. She was sure Xander would have told Spike
everything. Xander certainly hadn't held back on telling them about
his detective. She could feel the anger, the suspicion and insecurity
rolling off the man and the negative energy made her shudder.
"Yes, we are all part of the circle. There are 6 of us. A positive number.
There is the four of us plus Gunilla and her husband. Didn't Xander
tell you? Explain each of us and what we do in the circle?"
Willow could see in his eyes that Xander hadn't. Suddenly feeling
very uncomfortable, Willow looked to the staircase and the young
boy gracefully gliding down, one hand on the solid oak banister and
the other sweeping the air.
Pretending to flip a full head of hair from his shoulder, Andrew tossed
back his head and announced in his best attempt at a southern accent,
"The master of the estate will join us shortly. Would you like some julep
while you tarry?"
"Forget it, Andrew, you don't even know what julep is and anyway
you're too young to drink."
All eyes in the room turned to the top of the stairs and the handsome,
strong, confident young man who stood there. A gorgeous blond
waited, smiling at his side.
Spike felt the knife plunge into his heart and he briefly noted how much
more painful it was than when Elvin had stabbed him. He blanked his
expression and except for the steel tension in his jaw, showed no reaction.
Everyone in the room shuddered at the emotion that spilled from Spike,
saturating the house in negativity. Immediately the smile fell from Xander's
face and he rushed down.
"Spike? What's wrong?"
Spike dropped his briefcase on the foyer table and glared.
"You need to ask your friends to leave. It's time to talk, Xander.