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
"Um, yes, hello. We're selling magazines. Big, nice, colorful
magazines and, um........."
"It's o.k., Willow. He's not here."
"Oh, God, Xander I'm so sorry. Was it us? Was it because we were there?
We had no idea you hadn't told him. That was a poopy thing to do, Xan.
Just springing all our existential oddness on him without warning. You of
all people, know how important honesty is. What were you thinking?"
Xander sat down in the red chair and stared at it's empty twin. He closed
his eyes and snorted a bitter laugh.
"I guess I was thinking I didn't want to lose him. That worked out really well
Willow's voice went quiet with sympathy.
"Xan, I'm so sorry Where did he go?"
"I don't know. Just.....away."
"Do you want us to come over? You know we are all here for you, Xan."
"No. No, thanks. I think I just want to be by myself. I really thought we
were meant to be together, but now I'm not sure. Was I wrong, Willow?"
Without pause, Willow's voice took on a strength and conviction that gave
Xander new hope.
"No, Xander, you weren't wrong. Tara and I made sure. We did the tarot
cards, Xan. THE TAROT! You know they are never wrong.
Spike is the one, but you have thrown a roadblock in the highway to
happiness and you are going to have to find a way to make this right."
Xander sighed, he knew she was right. There was no way to avoid it.
It was his stupidity and manipulation that had caused this.
"I think the best thing I can do tonight is nothing. He needs time.
Time to decide what he wants. He's a grown man, Willow and I can't
make his heart love me."
"It already does, Xan. You get some rest and we'll talk tomorrow, k?"
"Thanks, Willow. Kiss Tara for me and I'll call you. Bye."
Xander set down the phone. His Willow could always make him feel
better. Some better. A little better. Not much.
Xander considered going upstairs, but the thought of climbing into the
huge bed that they had cleaned and prepared with the care of a
honeymoon bed, just made him more depressed.
With nothing but the need for distraction, Xander slipped into his shoes
and headed for the carriage house. If he could get the gun cabinet and
the dining room set done at least Patrick would be happy.
He followed the path Andrew had carefully cleared for him and
settled in on the stool in his new work room. Taking a few minutes
to clear his mind and flush the negative energy from his body,
Xander stretched his arms high over his head, reached for his tools,
and went to work.
He had 12 hours till morning and hoped to fill them all.
After driving around for nearly an hour, Spike pulled up to the curb
and climbed out of the little red sports car. He climbed the steps
and with a whimper, slipped his key into the lock.
He stepped into the small apartment and immediately was surrounded
by everything Xander. The smell that hung in the air, the sight of the
hand carved bar, the sound of the whir of the refrigerator, it all
screamed it's emptiness without Xander.
Tossing his briefcase on the coffee table, Spike let the car keys slip
from his fingers as he passed the bar. Stopping in the doorway to the
bedroom, Spike stared at the ship on the headboard of the still rumpled
He remembered when he first met Xander and Xander told him he
was making the bed for a man who wanted to surprise his sweetheart
with it. He hadn't been surprised. He had been stunned. Both by
the beauty of the bed and by Xander knowing that they would be together.
Spike walked in and sat on the edge of the bed. He kicked his shoes off
and curled up, pulling his knees up toward his chest, he sniffled and
rubbed is face in Xander's pillow like a cat.
Rocking slightly, he allowed his thoughts to run free.
'What have I done? No! This is Xander's fault for being dishonest.
He should have told me about them. I would have understood.'
Spike snorted. He knew better than that. After all, look how well
he had handled the truth when it was finally given to him. He
remembered the cruel and mean things he had said to Xander's friends.
He scowled and rolled over on his other side trying to understand where
his anger at them had come from.
It didn't take too much self examination to discern. Several descriptive
words all fought to be first on the list in his brain. Words like jealousy,
suspicion, embarrassment, and frustration.
One other one was there too. Disappointment. Xander had been
wrong. He had automatically taken Xander's word as gospel and
dove off the deep end into an investigation of a homicide that didn't
Xander was wrong.
It was a revelation that shook Spike's world more than the realization
some weeks ago that Xander was right. It was as if he had taken his
life savings and invested it in a vacation resort on Mars.
He had believed, wholeheartedly, and now had to face the fact that there
is no life on the red planet.
Spike tried his best to fan the flames of his anger, but apparently oxygen
was in short supply there too. All he could feel now was defeat.
The case, the house, Xander, he had to admit he had done a pretty
fair job of mucking it all to hell.
Spike sat back up and considered taking a shower and just going to
sleep. 'Shit', he moped, what else was there. After wiping his
nose on his shirt sleeve, and before swinging his legs over the side
of the bed, Spike felt a swish of air. It whizzed past the back of his
head with enough force to ruffle his hair and breeze past his nose
carrying the scent of cigar smoke with it.
Spike jumped to his feet and spun around. The windows were tightly
sealed and he knew, even if they weren't, there was no air moving outside
His heart pounded in his chest and his breath burned in his lungs.
Looking in all directions of the tiny room, Spike knew he was alone, yet
His grandda. His constant companion. One of the things he had accepted
from Xander as fact. The tears welled up in Spike's eyes and he knew the
old man would be paddling his butt right now if he were able.
Suddenly, Spike's face lit up with a smile fueled by a light heart he hadn't felt
in days. Raymond, Grandda was here! Xander was right.
XANDER WAS RIGHT!
Spike ran to the living room and popped open his briefcase immediately
spreading everything out in front of him. It was here. Somehow, somewhere,
the answer had to be here.
If Xander said it was so. It was so.
Spike made a pot of tea and settled in for a long night.
Faith sat in the drivers seat of the small Kia Sportage watching the front
of the yellow brick ranch house. The suspect should have been home hours
ago and they had no recourse but sit the stake out and patiently wait
to make the arrest.
She tried valiantly to ignore the sniffles of the man beside her and prayed
the perp would appear and save the night with a good tussle, a bit of
resisting arrest, and if she was lucky, an attempt to flee.
"I just don't know what he wants. I mean I try to do everything for him
but he never seems satisfied. He always looks at women when we go out
and I think he might be having an affair."
Faith clenched her teeth so tightly her jaw started to ache. She didn't
know what the fuck Spike needed to say to that fucking psychiatrist to
get a work release slip, but he better fuckin' hurry up and say it.
"Look, Angel, maybe Max just isn't totally gay. Maybe he's bi and still wants
to see other people. Maybe you should give him a little space to........."
The damn burst and Angel threw himself sobbing into Faith's reluctant arms.
She did her best to pat his heaving back as his big head and spiky hair blocked
her view and the perp slipped quietly into his front door, unseen.