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's cell phone jangled in the pocket of her tight black dress pants
and she dug for it frantically.
It had been two days since she had spoken to Kennedy and she was
beginning to feel genuinely depressed. She had left at least twenty
messages, none returned, and had taken to circling Kennedy and
Elvin's old house to look for signs of occupation.
From what she could tell there was no one there.
Checking the caller ID she recognized the number and cringed.
She knew it was extremely unprofessional not to answer, but the
last thing she could deal with right now was another of Liam's
sob stories. She let it go to voice mail then checked it to make
sure it wasn't an emergency.
Of course what Liam saw as an emergency these days was that Max
oogled a waitress or that Max preferred to stay up late and watch the news
rather than go to bed. Anything Max related seemed to qualify as an
emergency situation. Faith had vowed not to discuss her personal
situation with Liam, she wished he had done the same.
She punched in her password and code and waited.
"Hello, Faith? This is your partner, Liam. Liam O'Connor"
Faith rolled her eyes.
"I hate to do this to you but Max is taking a big high powered, very
important job in Washington D.C. Well, actually he is just going for
the interview, but you know how magnificent he is so it's a done deal.
Anyway, he, of course, wants me with him. We are leaving on a red
eye tonight and will be gone for at least three days. I hate to stick you
with all the work, but you know some things are just more important
than the job. I'll call you when we get back. Bye."
Faith held the phone in her hand and stared at it as though she
expected it to spew forth a little bit more of an explanation.
She knew she should be mad but, shit, this was the best news she
had had all month. Now if Spike could just get cleared and return
to work, at least her professional life would be back on track.
Faith dialed Kennedy's cell and left another message.
Spike flew out to the car parked at the curb, grabbed the small file
folder that laid on the front seat and darted back to the house.
He no longer entertained thoughts that this type of thing was a
waste of time. He may be a cop, but he wasn't a blind one.
Not any more.
Rushing in the front door he was somewhat surprised to see Dr. Hiney
with Andrew by the ear, dragging him off to the study. Spike had no
intention of asking what the boy had done. He was just grateful it wasn't
When he returned to the dining room he found that the others had cleared
away the food and dishes and waited for his return. Seeing them so willing
to help him made Spike doubly ashamed of the way he had spoken to them
He promised himself that when this was all over he would make it up to
them. To all of them but especially to his Xander.
Maybe have that house warming party Xander had talked about.
Yeah, he could do a party. If Xander would let him. If Xander
forgave him and took him back.
Clearing the depressing thoughts from his mind Spike dropped the
folder on the polished antique table.
"Well, here's the file. Not much there, just some crime scene photos
and a few witness statements. So where do we start?"
Xander was the first to speak as he spread the items out over the table
giving everyone easy access to them.
"O.k. Here's the problem. Myrtle never saw it coming. Her spirit is still
in a state of confusion and unrest. Although she can't move on till this is
resolved, she also isn't going to be of any help to us. She's in flux.
Also, when I tried to read the emotions of the killer I drew a blank.
It appears whoever killed our sweet Miss Miller had absolutely no
emotional attachment to her. No love, anger, jealousy, nothing.
So I think this is going to be extremely difficult, maybe next to
"I got it!"
The room fell quiet and all eyes turned to Tara. The usually shy blond
held one of the witness statements in her hand and waved it in the air.
"Look. Right at the end of this page where Mr. Jacobs talks about his
alibi he says that he was dining, and I think we all know what that means,
with his receptionist, Miss Greene. GREENE! I'll bet she was involved."
Willow frowned as she considered it.
"But if dinner, and yes, we know what they were probably eating, is his
alibi, isn't it her's too?"
Xander ran his hands over the first crime scene picture.
"Yeah, and anyway, I'm getting a man here. We need to keep her on our
short list but I'm sure she isn't the one who actually did Myrtle in."
Spike sat back and listened. He had never in his career imagined an
investigation like this, but amazingly it was extremely effective.
This group, this Circle, was analytical, methodical, and when you
threw in their psychic abilities, Spike was beginning to think he had
hit pay dirt. Investigatively speaking.
Slapping her hands down on the solid oak table, Gunilla heaved her
round body up out of her chair.
"I have done my part. I get the wine."
As the conversation continued and the statements, notes, and pictures
made the rounds of the four people remaining at the table, Spike
let his focus drift back to the man he loved.
He remembered all the stupid things he had said and done. Not only
yesterday but ever since they had gotten back from their trip to Vegas.
He had whined, complained, bitched, and intentionally done things
to try to set Xander off.
He knew the wet towels had really hit the mark.
He wanted to stop, but something inside him, some inner demon,
said if he was unhappy, everyone around him should be unhappy.
Spike tipped his head slightly as he watched Xander's eyes as he
smiled and spoke to the girls he clearly loved.
There was no doubt in Spike's mind that Xander was the most wonderful
person he had ever met and he wondered if his eyes shone with the same
glow when he looked at him as the other's did.
He saw Xander touch Gunilla's hand lightly when she returned and
poured him a glass of wine. It was a brush of the fingertips that appeared
so light, Spike was surprised she even felt it, but from the crinkles
around her eyes and the flicker of change in her ever present scowl, Spike
knew she had and he also knew that these women worshiped his Xander.
Spike wasn't ashamed to admit that he did too.
"Ve are back."
The room fell silent as all eyes turned to the doorway and Dr. Hiney.
Andrew was close by on his heels, his face beet red and his eyes
cast downward. When he entered the room he glanced quickly
back and forth between Spike and Xander. An expression of awe
and horror caused his eyes to bug and his blush deepen.
"Um, I got some, um, leaves to rake. Yeah, that's it. Leaves
Lots of leaves. I'll be outside if you need me."
With that stammering explanation, he was gone.
Xander and the girls burst into laughter. Even Gunilla had to chuckle.
Heinrich poured himself a large glass of wine and waited to be
brought up to speed on the investigation.
Spike didn't ask.