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
Xander was exhausted. The muscles in his arms and back
screamed from the long hours of nonstop, repetitious
movement as he worked, through the night, shutting off his
brain to everything except the development of the furniture
transforming in his hands.
He had completed and oiled the promised gun cabinet before
midnight then spent the rest of the long dark hours shaping and
perfecting the china cabinet. He knew Patrick would be thrilled.
Xander had to admit the older man had been more than understanding
with him lately. Ever since Spike had come in to Xander's life, his
work had taken a back seat to nursing wounds, vacationing, and
In return, Patrick had been forgiving, generous, and patient.
Xander felt the unequal balance of energy and knew that was part of
what was impacting his life. He had been guilty of taking from too
many of his friends with out equal reciprocation lately and vowed to
correct his sins.
Spike had not proven to have a positive impact on his life, but Xander
was honest enough to admit to himself that that had been his fault.
Dishonesty, selfishness and deceit had caused an atmosphere of
negative energy that he had trapped himself in.
But no more.
By 7:00 a.m. Xander was surprised when he looked up and realized
the sun had risen over the horizon flooding the work room in a
glorious golden glow. It was a new day. A new start. Xander smiled
and recognized it as another chance, like every morning, to make
himself a better person.
Picking up the phone, he called the Divine Creation Furniture Shop
and ordered the truck by to pick up the completed projects and drop
off whatever was sitting there undone.
Xander grinned, suddenly he felt hungry enough to eat a buffalo.
Spike jerked awake with a start. He had laid his head down on the bar
around 3 to just rest his eyes and dozed off.
He pealed a paper off his cheek where it had stuck to a dribble of dried
spittle and he rubbed the bristle on his chin.
Lifting his head, he blinked, and for a moment felt the wave of sadness
and loss wash over him as he remembered what he had done
Instantly, before the whoosh of air had a chance to hit him in the
back of his head, he climbed off the stool and stretched out his sore,
The solitude last night had given him time to reflect. He had taken a
good hard look at himself and the direction his life had gone since
the Rosebud murders and he was not pleased.
Somehow, after the "incident" as he had taken to calling it, he had
allowed himself to become a victim, a weakling at the mercy of others.
Crashing against the rocks as everyone around him controlled his
It was a realization that turned his stomach.
Turning to the sink, Spike dumped out the remainder of his cold cup of
tea and set it on the counter. He looked out the window at the clear,
cloudless, blue sky and made himself a promise.
"This is it, Spike. New day, new attitude. You are not little Will Pratt
anymore. You are Lead Detective William aka. Spike Pratt. You are
not Hiney's guinea pig and you are not Rupert Giles gopher. You are
head of a crack team of homicide investigators and you have a difficult
case on your hands. Now, get off your whining, sniveling, arse and
Spike slapped his hand down and felt an energy shoot through him that he
hadn't known in weeks. Suddenly the little twinge of pain in his side
was no longer a fearful reminder. It was now a badge of courage that
proved he was a survivor. He had faced the worst and he was still
here. Spike laughed and twisted, turning himself twice more just to feel
the dull ache that he hoped he would never heal enough to fade completely.
Eager to get moving, Spike was anxious to shower, change and get
started on his case. He scooped up the pile of papers he had scattered
over the top of the bar yesterday and he began stuffing them into
the file folder when something caught his eye and stopped him in his tracks.
He studied it for a moment, holding it up close to his face.
His breath stopped and his heart jumped to his throat.
Immediately he rushed to the junk drawer in the bottom of the bathroom
vanity and located the magnifying glass he knew Xander kept there for
wayward splinters, a hazard of the wood carver's job.
Hurrying back to the kitchen he held the picture to the light and examined
the one tiny elusive clue. The minor blip that had eluded his radar, now
glowed like a candle in the dark.
His brain, like a computer absorbed, filed, and categorized it.
It sorted through the interviews he had done and the facts he collected.
It came up with nothing, but Spike wasn't deterred. He knew he
was on track.
"Shit! Holy hell! That's it! I know that's what I'm looking for."
Spike was stunned. He knew he had found the one small piece of
inconsistancy that would lead to the answer, he just need to talk to
his new partner, Dr. Ahn, and see what it meant.
His cops instinct told him the that whatever had caused this anomily would
also answer the questions as to who was behind it and why. He finally had the
one thing Spike had needed all along.
He had a direction.
He was ecstatic.
Rushing through his morning routine, Spike took the time to wash his
cup and saucer and pick up his wet towel off the bathroom floor, tossing
it with perfect aim, across the room and into the hamper.
He snatched up his belongings and the car keys he had dropped the night
before. Sailing down the steps he dialed his phone and kicked open
the outside door
"Hello? This is the office of the Medical Examiner who is this?"
"This is turtle, Doc. This is turtle."
"Woo Hoo! Where are you? What have you got? Did we solve the crime?"
Spike jumped in his car and chuckled at the excitement in the doctor's voice.
Before the start of this case, he had never seen any emotion from the
little Indian other than bored annoyance and indifference.
"Not quite yet, but I think we are hot on his trail. I'm on my way in to the station
now and I wonder if I could have a few minutes of your time. I have some
questions about one of the autopsy photos you gave me. Would that be
all right with you? Say in about an hour?"
"Yes, yes, my boy. You say one of my pictures helped?"
Dr. Ahn's voice took on a pride and an awe that rivaled that of a five
year old boy who rose on Christmas morning to find a live pony under the
"It sure did, Doc. The credit for this one will go to you. I have an appointment
this morning but as soon as I can I'll be down. See you then."
"Yes, I will look for you then. Excellent. Goodbye my Boy."
Spike whipped out onto the quiet street and headed toward the town center.
He checked his watch. He had a Hiney this morning and did NOT intend
to miss it or be late.