Rating: Adult for language and sexual content
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters or products named
in this story, however the plot and words are her own.
Warning: Violence (nongraphic) and strong M/M sexual content.
Summary: OCD Spike is back! It has been a year since Xander and
Spike met in Rough Diamond and they have been living and working
together ever since. As an anniversary present, Xander takes a reluctant
Spike on a gay ocean cruise and everything, including murder, goes with
Appreciation to: Petxnd for her wonderful banner and patient preread
and to Silk_ Labyrinth for her beta. Any remaining boo-boos are the
result of the Bee's stubbornness.
Thanks to Petxnd for the wonderful banner and the faithful friendship.
Xander headed off down and around the long, looping mazes of hallways. He
briefly stuck his head in the Starfish, a steak and seafood restaurant, and after
a fast glance, proclaimed it spotless and perfect for their dinner. He then happily
trotted towards the lounge for a beer.
After passing through the swinging glass and brass doors, he stepped into a small,
cozy room of wood and polish decorated in a nautical theme. There were stuffed
parrots hanging from the ceiling and a life-sized carved wooden pirate standing
in the center of the room. He had an eye-patch and a sword in a sash around his
Someone had draped a jock strap over Jolly Roger's head.
Happily, Xander slipped onto a comfy stool and he waved towards the good-
looking bartender who answered with a fifty-watt smile.
"Me too, Larry. Bring me another."
Xander glanced over at the man who sat two seats down and seemed to be
inordinately interested in him. Xander didn't mind a guy being friendly but there
was a thin line between being amiable and a psychotic stalker, and the way this
dude was staring at him, he was pushing the envelope.
Rather than let the situation grow uncomfortable, Xander paid Larry for the beer,
tipped his bottle, took a cold swallow then turned fully in the stranger's direction.
"Do I know you?"
The stranger appeared to be a man of Spike's age. He exuded an air of dignity
that added an element of bizarre to his obvious interest in Xander. He was tall,
trim, tan and ruggedly handsome. His face was slightly craggy and his salt-and-
pepper hair was close cropped in a military fashion.
"Not personally, but I would bet you and I have a great deal in common."
Xander bristled at the response. He remembered the almost identical words
coming from Juan, and the sleazy Latino's erroneous comparison of them in the
disco. The muscles in Xander's jaw flexed and he took another gulp before
turning to read the intent in this man's expression.
He had the same look of recognition in his eyes and this time Xander resolved
he would not walk away as amicably. So, with one arm resting on the bar top
he decided to confront the situation.
"And just what is it you think we have in common?"
The stranger's face showed no accusation or criticism as he continued to smile
"Come on now, son. You know this is one occupation that sniffs each other out
like dogs sniffin' butts in a kennel. I could see it in your walk and the way you
sat down. I could tell by the way your eyes scanned the room and you chose
the seat nearest the door. The only thing that threw me was the hair. I don't
know of any departments that allow their officers to wear their hair past touching
the collar. Do you work undercover?"
The man reached over and easily tucked a long, wayward strand of hair behind
Xander's ear. It wasn't a sexual move and surprisingly did not feel intrusive or
Xander was stunned. He shook his head and snorted. A cop. He had been
recognized as being a cop. Suddenly the grin snapped back into place. Now
that he really took the time to look, he could see it. This man was a cop too.
It was a warm and fuzzy feeling. A brotherhood. A respectable acceptance.
"Not exactly. I'm the personal assistant to the Chief of Police."
The stranger nodded, showing due respect for Xander's position. He took a
drink of his beer before waggling his bottle, directing the bartender to bring
them two more.
Xander wiggled his butt proudly on the stool and held his head up high.
"Yep. I just received my certification a month ago. I have worked for the Chief
for a year but I just now finished the academy."
Xander's drinking companion held his beer up in a congratulatory toast, took
a swallow and set it back down.
"Well, Mr. Personal Assistant, I'm Michelangelo Cook, Border Control agent.
All my friends call me Mickey."
Xander stuck his hand out, which Mickey accepted and shook with a firm grip.
"Alexander Harris. Xander. I'm very pleased to meet you, Mickey. Are
you on this cruise alone?"
Mickey smiled and winked at the bartender as he accepted two more bottles
of frosty refreshment.
"No, my boyfriend, Kevin, is back in the cabin. He is 'grooming'."
Mickey's fingers made air quotes and Xander nodded knowingly. He got the
distinct impression that Kevin had a few quirks of his own.
"Is Kevin with your department?"
Up to this point, Mickey had been friendly, pleasant and very open. Now the
curtain dropped slightly and his expression shifted to one of reserve and guarded
concern. He turned away from Xander and as he answered, he appeared to
concentrate on the wet circle his bottle had left on the smooth wooden bar top.
"No. Kevin is a dancer. An exotic dancer. He works at a strip joint on the
outskirts of town. I know, I know, you are wondering how someone who
works a job like ours could get involved with a guy who clearly has little respect
for the law and who makes a living doing things that polite society looks waaaay
down their nose at. It's just hard to put into words. Maybe it's as simple as
opposites attract. It's more than sexual, although damn if he isn't that. I don't
know exactly what it is. And more than that, I don't understand what he sees
in me. The other agents think I'm insane. What do you think? Do you think I'm
Mickey finally set his bottle down and turned back as though Xander's opinion
of the unconventional relationship really mattered to him. He couldn't have
known how close his arrow had hit Spike and Xander's own target. The older
man saw nothing critical or judgmental in the boy's eyes and only a smile on his lips.
"Not so much, Mickey. We are all who we are and there is no telling who the
heart will pick out. It's kinda like laying naked on the beach. Say there are a
thousand mosquitos cruising the area. What makes that one certain bug zero in
on your bare ass and bite right where it is hard to scratch? Chemistry. You just
can't fight it. You and that mosquito are destined to meet. It's the same thing
with lovers. You meet the right one, your bell goes 'ding' and he flies in to bite
you on the tush. Can't fight fate, Mickey."
Mickey nodded sagely at the boy's wisdom. It was put so simply yet it was
everything he had tried to explain to the other men on his squad, who just couldn't
understand how he could involve himself with a boy who took off his clothes for
men to gawk and grab at him.
"You are a very wise man, Xander. I like you. Speaking of boyfriends, I assume
you have one floating around here somewhere? Is he a cop?"
Xander thought of Spike curled up on the bed napping. A wistful smile tugged at
the corners of his mouth and a soft, faraway look drifted across his eyes as he
"Yeah, he's a cop. In fact, Spike is the Police Chief that I work with. We've
been together for about a year, personally and professionally."
Mickey sat up straight and the surprise clearly showed on his face.
"Wow, that must be tough. Most Police Chiefs are wound up tighter than a
clockwork monkey. Either yours is the exception or you are very easy-going
to make a relationship like that work."
Xander laughed at the description. A clockwork monkey was Spike to a tee.
Right down to obsessively counting the number of little hammer strikes on the
bell that would announce the time.
"I think it is like you and Kevin. There is no accounting for what makes a relationship
work. I guess maybe Spike and I are opposite sides of the same coin. Sometimes
we drive each other crazy but there is no one else that would fit like we do. We
were thrown together on a case and by the time the suspect was caught, so were we.
What can I say? He's an aggravating pain in the ass, but he is a brilliant detective and
a good man. I love him."
Mickey reached over and slapped Xander on the back congenially.
"Well said, Xander. Well said. Say, why don't you and Spike join Kevin and
me for dinner tonight?"
Xander knew that would not work for Spike. Food was a tenuous situation
at best and throwing strange people into the mix might set Spike on a tangent
that would easily ruin the rest of the cruise. No, dinner was out of the question,
but maybe a day together was not.
"Um, I don't think. Spike is quirky about eating with other people. Don't ask.
Anyway, the ship is docking at St. Barts tomorrow. Why don't we plan a
foursome? Explore the island together."
Mickey nodded thoughtfully.
"Sounds great. Kev and I will meet you two on the deck by the gangplank
thirty minutes before docking. Is that good for you?"
Xander gulped the last two swallows of his beer and hopped down off his stool.
He knew he had been gone long enough and if Spike woke and he wasn't there,
he would slide into a grouch mode that Xander would spend all evening trying to
tug him out of. And since he had elicited a promise from Spike that they could
go to the casino tonight, a pouty Spike would ruin the positive energy he needed
"Perfect. We'll be there. It should be fun. Now, I better run. His highness
does not like it when I'm gone too long."
Mickey laughed. He understood completely. That is to say, he understood from
Spike's point of view and although Mickey didn't mention it, he had a feeling that he
and Spike had a lot more in common than he and Xander. Tomorrow should be