Disclaimer: I own none, all belong to Joss Whedon
Comments: Always welcomed!
Summary: Warren Meer’s has been murdered, Spike and Xander must investigate.
Warnings/Spoilers: Human Verse. Total Out of Character.
Beta’d by: Dragonfly_64
Xander had to wait around in Harmony’s hotel room. As soon as she saw him she told him she wasn’t going to talk to him without her lawyer. So half an hour later a man in a navy blue suit and rim glasses walked in; Xander was more than relieved because he couldn’t stand to listen to Harmony go on about her latest shoes she had bought. He may be gay but not that gay!
“Detective Harris, I am Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Ms. Kendall’s attorney. I thought you had already spoken with her?” Wesley asked sitting next to his client.
“I did, I just have a follow up question. I won’t take up a lot of her time.” Xander replied before turning back to Harmony. “The coroner found scratches on Warren’s left arm and there were flecks of nail polish.” Xander looked down at his notes, “Chic boutique. I was just wondering what color it is that you wear.”
Harmony scrunched up her nose in disgust, “I don’t wear that color; it is ugly! My color is fondola gondola.” She said and wiggled her fingers in front of Xander’s face.
“Alright, do you know anyone that does wear chic boutique?” Xander asked really wanting to get away from Harmony.
“Oh, I can tell you exactly who wears it!” Harmony said before looking at her polished nails.
Xander and Wesley exchanged looks, “Ms. Kendall, I believe he wants a name.”
“Oh right!” Harmony laughed, “Buffy Summers. She was Warren’s silent partner at the hardware store. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she killed him.”
“Why would you say that?” Xander asked writing down the new name.
“Why did I say what?” Harmony asked looking confused at Xander. “Oh! You mean Buffy? Well duh, with Warren dead she owns the entire store. With it being the only hardware store in town he’s made a lot of money over the years, as you can see from my house. I mean, that has to be a really good reason to kill someone right?”
Xander stood not answering, “Do you know where I could find her?”
“I don’t know we’re not exactly friends.” Harmony said flipping her hair. “Try the store.”
“Alright thanks, that’s it for now.” He walked out deciding to head to the hardware store.
Twenty minutes later Xander was at Meer’s Hardware store. The bell jingled as he entered, “Hello?”
“Can I help you?” A man came out from a back office.
“Yes, I am looking for Buffy Summers,” Xander replied pulling out his badge. “Who are you?”
“Riley Finn,” Riley put his hand out and shook Xander’s. “Buffy isn’t here right now. There was a mix-up in an order so she had to go the next town over and fix it.”
Xander didn’t look very convinced; it seemed a bit more than a coincidence that she was out of town, “How long as she been gone?”
“She left about three hours ago.” Riley answered rubbing his hands on his jeans, “Can I ask what this is about?”
“Warren Meer’s was murdered,” Xander told Riley.
“Warren is dead?” Riley leaned against the counter.
Xander nodded watching the other man’s reaction. “Can I ask how you know him?”
“Of course, I am his accountant and dating Buffy,” Riley answered. “I can’t believe he’s dead. I don’t know anyone who would have wanted him dead.”
“No one at all?” Xander asked, “No arguments over the last couple days?”
Riley shook his head, “No he was a great guy.”
“Do you happen to know when Buffy will be back?” Xander enquired.
“Some time this evening I believe,” Riley crossed his arms over his chest. “You don’t think she killed him do you?”
“I just need to talk to her.” Xander explained and pulled out a card, “If you could get her to give me a call when she gets back into town.”
Riley accepted the card, “Of course I’ll give it to her as soon as she gets back.”
“Thank you,” Xander shook Riley’s hand. “Oh just a quick question, where were you this morning between seven and eight?”
“Here, Buffy was having an early breakfast with her mom before her mom had to go out of town for a business trip,” Riley answered.
“Thanks,” Xander replied before leaving and headed to his car.
Spike was looking through a catalogue book they had trying to determine the type of knife that had been used as the murder weapon. He was thankful that Willow had been able to narrow it down somewhat with the hilt of the knife.
“Now if I could just find the damn thing,” Spike muttered to himself rubbing his eyes. He had been looking at the collection of knifes for the last couple hours and they were all beginning to look the same.
“Want to take a break?” Xander asked startling Spike. “I brought dinner.”
Spike looked up and saw Xander holding Chinese take out, “I think I could eat.” He led Xander into the lunch room. “Did you find anything out?”
“Kind of,” Xander answered. “Look Spike, could we not talk about work? I really need to talk to you.”
“Sure ,luv,” Spike said and visibly cringed at that. “Sorry.”
Xander couldn’t help the smile that appeared on his face, “It’s fine.”
“So what did you want to talk about?” Spike asked desperately trying to change the subject.
“I wanted to tell you I was sorry, I never wanted to end things with you.” Xander answered as he pulled out his chop sticks. “I was so tired of just petty thefts; I thought I was a better cop than that.”
Spike frowned not understanding, “You are a better cop that that.”
“You were right about me not being able to cut it with the big guys,” Xander said looking up at Spike.
“What was Rupert talking about earlier? What happened in L.A?” Spike asked, what made Xander decide to come back?
Xander sat quietly for a few minutes making Spike think that maybe he wasn’t going to get an answer. “There was a hostage situation. A man owed a druggie a lot of money and didn’t pay it off. So this guy came to the man’s house and took him, his wife and their daughter hostage. This guy was already high and the crying wife and kid weren’t helping. He shot off a warning shot to make them shut up. Luckily someone heard it and phoned the cops.” Xander said starting the story. “The negotiator was late and they needed someone to go in. They decided I was the best choice because I have a way of calming down people.”
Spike bobbed his head in agreement.
“So the guy allowed me to come in and talk to him. It was going pretty well, I told him I was sure that the man would pay off his debt as soon as possible and with the economy it was a tough time for everyone. He agreed and said he didn’t want it to come to this but he had his own rent to pay.” Xander took a sip of his soda that didn’t really help his dry mouth. “All my attention was on him that I didn’t see the other guy pull out a gun. It was completely my fault I know that; I should have been watching him. I could understand he wanted to protect his family but I had the situation basically under control. I heard him cock the gun and when I looked up I knew he was intending on shooting him anyways. I pushed him out of the way just before the gun went off.”
Spike knew what happened next, it didn’t take a scientist to figure it out. “You were wearing a bullet proof vest right?” He demanded to know.
“I was, but when I pushed him away I was at an angle that wasn’t protected. You always told me I had broad shoulders,” Xander joked. “After the shot was fired the other cops stormed in. I was in the hospital for about a month, the doctors weren’t sure if I’d have motor skills in my right shoulder again. But with a lot of physical therapy I got all movement back.” Xander explained and rolled his shoulder to prove it.
“That doesn’t really explain why you came back here,” Spike said still shocked that Xander had been shot. That was the main reason he didn’t want Xander to go. In Sunnydale there weren’t maybe situations like that.
“When the bullet hit me, before I knew it wasn’t that bad all I could think about was you. How I’d never be able to apologize for being a jerk. I picked up the phone so many times to call but I chickened out every time.” Xander told Spike and took a hold of Spike’s hand. “I threw away the best thing I had going for me.”
Spike wrapped his own fingers around Xander’s as much as he wanted to tell Xander to sod off he knew he couldn’t. “Before I get ahead of this conversation and jumping to conclusions I need to know what you want.”
“You,” Xander said with a smile and scrapped his chair closer to Spike, leaning in for a kiss. He didn’t chance a passionate kiss just a plain peck on the side of Spike’s mouth. “I really am sorry, Spike.” Xander whispered.
“I know, luv,” Spike replied and he knew it. Xander never could keep his feelings a secret, his eyes always gave them away.
A knock interrupted them and they both looked over to see Angel looking embarrassed for disturbing them, “Sorry.”
“No, it’s alright. Did you get a hit?” Spike asked not letting go of Xander’s hand. He wasn’t sure what was going on with them but he missed him.
“Yeah,” Angel handed over a piece of paper. “Andrew Wells, he was arrested multiple times for prostitution.”
“So Harmony was cheating,” Xander said looking at the picture. “She seems to go for the nerdy guys.” He turned back to Angel, “What about that blood drop? Was it this Andrew guy, too?"
Angel shook his head handing over a second piece of paper, “The blood belongs to Harmony Kendall. She’s in the system because she works at the casino.”
Xander sighed; he’d have to talk to her… again. “You couldn’t have told me earlier?”
“I was backed up,” Angel replied glowering.
“Sorry, it’s just this girl is annoying as hell.” Xander apologized.
Spike through the empty containers in the garbage, “Let’s go have a chat with him. Then we can go talk to her.”
“Shouldn’t you keep looking for the type of knife was used?” Xander asked.
“Bloody hell,” Spike had forgotten about that. Xander had always been a distraction for him. Not that he was complaining, he still did his job well sometimes he’d just get a little side tracked.