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
To any outsider, the morning activity of the Stark County
Sheriffs would have appeared to be routine if not mundane.
Uniformed officers coming and going, cruisers being prepped,
and a lobby full of citizens waiting to file complaints and
spin their tales of woe.
Spike loved it all. It was where he knew he wanted to be
for as long as he was able. There was no other occupation
on earth that could compare with this mish mash of organized
With a crisp, freshly pressed clean suit hanging sharply off his
trim form, and a cup of coffee in his hand, Spike marched
confidently through the front doors and right past the dispatch
"Morning Detective Pratt."
Spike looked up to see rookie officer Billy Temple behind the desk.
The young man's uniform was pressed into sharp creases, his
badge appeared to have been measured and positioned in exactly
the right spot and his neck tie, like a Christmas stocking was obviously
hung with great care.
Spike chuckled at both the boy's enthusiasm and new position.
"Morning Officer Temple. Look at you. Less than five months
on the job and you score the job of dispatch. That's great.
What happened to Officer Taylor?"
Spike did his best to ask the question with a straight face.
Billy just shrugged, his bright smile never faltering.
"Not sure. There are a couple rumors around that he pissed someone
off. The reassignment memo that was posted just says that he was being
transferred to parking meter duty and I got dispatch. I really don't
care what he did I'm gonna do the best job here I can and hope who
ever is ticked off at him stays that way."
Spike chuckled. Good old Giles. The man never was one to welch
on a losing bet.
"Well, I'm glad to see you there. I know you are going to do a great job.
Congratulations on the promotion."
In his overexuberance, rookie Temple saluted Spike as he started
to walk away. Laughing, Spike returned the salute and headed for
the locker room.
The hallway to the back part of the station house was bland. Institutional
grey with green tile squares on the floors that sparkled, kept clean by
the daily mopping and buffing of the prisoners who had earned the right
to be out of their cells during the day. It smelled of Pine Sol.
Spike's shoes tapped a steady rhythm down the hallway till he came to the
door marked "Authorized Personnel Only" He smacked the door with
the palm of his hand and sailed on through.
The front part of the locker room was a small sitting room, furnished
with mismatched chairs and a couple coffee tables. A water cooler in the
corner and a cheap television hanging on the wall completed the decor.
It was the type of space Spike found functional and professionally perfect.
With a regular stream of officers going in and out, Spike was not surprised
to see several uniforms and a couple suits milling around. What did seem
unusual was their focus. Everyone in the room had collected around the
sitting area and stood in front of the television as if waiting for the announcement
of a meteorite about to strike the earth.
"Hey, Oz, what's going on?"
Daniel Osborn turned and smiled when he saw Spike standing behind him.
"Hey, Spike. We're watching the afternoon news on channel 8. Angel's
old girlfriend is supposed to be back on as a news caster and we all have
bets on how long it will take her to fuck up. I got $5.00 on 30 seconds.
You want in?"
Spike looked around the group and was unsurprised to see Angel standing
in the middle of the group.
He wondered how much he had bet.
Spike set his briefcase down on the side table and decided he could give
it a minute or two. Besides, he recognized the speaker as Max Webster
and had come to know and like the man through the course of the
Spike stepped closer.
"Turn it up"
"...and so it is with a heavy heart that I leave the wonderful people
here at channel 8 and all the terrific viewers out there that have made
this such a wonderful learning experience for me."
Max was an on air natural. Handsome, comfortable, professional,
he was the type of news man that male viewers considered a peer
and women wanted to slither under and squirm as he wrapped his
tongue around first a riveting world crisis then the lips of their pussy.
He had bolstered their ratings 200% and as much as the management
hated to lose him, they were smart enough to know that simply replacing
him with a Max clone would be a strategical mistake. Thus, the drastic
Buffy waited in the wings. She had been given the general outline and
was told that when introduced by Max, she was to smile, walk out
and take her much deserved seat at the news desk.
Buffy couldn't stand the sight of Max. This was the man who had
stolen her job, her fame, her boyfriend and her lucrative endorsements.
She stood just off camera and watched him smile easily as the big words
and long foreign names rolled off his lips like candy. She scowled.
'The prick probably practices them beforehand. How fuckin' anal
can he be?'
She then giggled at her own joke and wondered if she couldn't
somehow work that into her first night on air. Viewers liked a
reporter who could be funny.
She shifted her weight from one pinched foot to the other and glanced
around. She hadn't seen any new or strange faces around the station
in the last day of so and wondered just who this amateur was that
they had hired for her to nursemaid.
Buffy frowned. The last thing she wanted to do was share the
spotlight with a newby. An inexperienced brat that she was going
to have to cover for and teach the ropes.
'Damn it' she pouted. 'I work alone. Fuck this family friendly shit'
With one eye on the camera man, she watched as he held up his
hand and counted his fingers down for Max to see.
Five. Four. Three. Two.
"And we'll be right back after these messages."
Commercial break always resulted in a flurry of timed activity as the
make up girl hustled out to dab his shiny forehead and the manager
in the directors booth spoke into the ear piece in Max's ear.
Jackie, the station intern rushed over to Buffy and clipped a microphone
on her lapel.
"As soon as we come off break, Max will introduce you as the returning
anchor. You will smile, thank him, yadda, yadda, yadda, then he will
introduce your new partner. The three of you will chat for three minutes
and that's it. Show over. Got it."
Buffy shoved Jackie's hand away and secured the electronics herself.
"I've done this for years, Dear. I know what I'm doing."
Ham Nichols stood in the directors booth. He really had a good feeling
about this new move. He had hawked this promo all day and had even
personally contacted school and church groups, hoping to get them
on board to his family friendly news cast. It was just the kick he needed
to boost his ratings even higher. He would feature human interest
stories and people usually overlooked by the other stations.
He paced the room tossing orders to the directors and sound technicians.
"Camera one stay on Max, scope to wide when he introduces Buffy.
Camera two pick her up as she comes on stage right. Now, and this
is the most important part, I want camera one to zoom in on her
expression when her partner is called out. Got it? Everybody ready?"
All the heads in the room nodded and proceeded to prep their set up
just in time for the break to end and Max Webster came back into view.
".....so I know you viewers will welcome Miss Buffy Summers back into
her seat as news anchor. Buffy?"
Max smiled and held out his hand as Buffy beamed confidently and walked
to her throne behind the massive wood and plastic news desk.
"Max, thank you so much. It's wonderful to be back although I certainly
will miss the challenging variety of weather we have here in southern California."
Luckily, due to the close up on Buffy's face, the camera missed the confused
wrinkle that briefly crossed Max's brow.
"Um, yes, well, we have one more surprise for you and a special treat for
our viewers. What better way to promote healthy family values than
a news team like this."
Max held his hand out again and Buffy's new partner stepped on stage.
Buffy leaped to her feet, her mouth fell open and a stray hair popped
out of place.
"Dawn??? What the FUCK?"
The station's switchboard lit up like the Vegas sky line at midnight.
Ham Nichols dropped his head.
Max Webster fell back into his seat, finally speechless.
Oz checked the time on his watch, punched his fist in the air and shouted