Pairing: S/X, references to X/A, allusions to: S/A, F/A, F/W
word count: 3650
the set-up: Human AU, Riley is dead, whodunit. Um. yeah, and the only description of sex is between Xander and Angel. But it might not even be real.
A/N: This is my first try at Human AU. And, I don't like Riley, but it's not a bashing story. Somebody just had to die.
The Bad Seed
Xander twisted his foot and tapped his insole against the table leg. The handcuffs chafed. He slumped further into the hard plastic chair.
"So. You going to tell me what you were doing there?"
Squinting against the bright overhead light, Xander scowled. "I already told the guy with the beer gut. It was a party."
"So you said. But I'd like to hear your version of events."
Xander remained silent, rotating his wrists to find a spot where the metal didn't dig into bone.
"You're in a lot of trouble, son. It's in your best interest to cooperate."
Xander chuckled. "If I'm in a lot of trouble, then you already think I did it. Don't I get a lawyer or something?"
"You're not under arrest. Yet. Look, just tell me what happened last night, and if it's like you say, there's no reason to keep you."
Xander nodded, his hair flopping over one eye. "You have a name?"
"What's that now?"
"I'm calling you 'bald cop' and the other guy, 'beer gut cop.' You know mine. I figure it's only fair that, if we're having story time, I should know yours."
The cop laughed. "If it'll get you to tell me what happened, you can call me Detective Henderson. The 'beer gut' cop is Detective Johnson. And I'll make sure he hears about your little nickname for him. I'm sure he'll find it amusing."
"Pleased to meet you, Detective Henderson. I'm Alexander Harris. Where do you want me to start?"
"Why don't you begin with why you were there?"
"Well, it's like this:"
Willow is my best friend. We go way back. Her parents are always out of town, and sometimes I can convince her to throw a party. Nothing big, you know, just a couple of friends getting together.
My cousin is in a band, and they're getting good enough to book gigs. So I invited them to play at Willow's. When word got out that "Creatures of the Night" were playing… well, the house filled up fast.
There were a lot of kids that we knew, like from school, but… my cousin's band kind of has a weird following. So there were a lot of people there that I didn't know. Like the kind of kids who're really sad, and wear eyeliner? Which I really don't get. I mean, sure the name sounds creepy: "Creatures of the Night," but I mean, nobody in the band is a goth. Well, Spike is kind of a punk, but that's not really the same thing. And they sound much more like-
Oh, right. Well, when it started to get overcrowded, Willow and I went to go hang by the pool.
That's when I saw the fight happen. The kid who died? Riley? I didn't know him very well, but he um, he seemed really drunk. He was yelling at his girlfriend. She's a friend of mine. They both seemed really upset, but I wasn't close enough to hear what they were arguing about.
The fight broke out when Riley grabbed Buffy's arm, and she tried to get away from him. Buffy's my friend - mine and Willow's – that's when Angel stopped playing and ran out to get between them. He warned Riley to back off, but the guy just whirled around and socked Angel in the jaw. Angel still had his guitar strapped around his neck, so he brought it up to defend himself, and ended up clocking the guy right in the head. Willow got up and ran over to stop it, but Riley punched her, too. I think it was an accident, because the guy was really jacked up. I don't think he even knew what he was doing.
Well, that's when all hell broke loose. I managed to get Buffy and Willow out of it, and Buffy and I took Willow to the bathroom to make sure she was o.k.. Thankfully, she was. It was just a scratch.
By the time we went back out, the party was breaking up. The band had stopped playing when Angel jumped off the stage, and people were scattering to get away from the fight.
Out by the pool, Spike – he's the lead singer – was holding Angel back and a couple of guys I didn't know had Riley pinned down. So yeah, the guy was definitely alive when he left the party. I saw him get up and leave with Buffy.
Huh? Oh, yeah, Angel's my cousin. He lives with me and my folks, though. His parents kicked him out a couple of years ago. …Well, it's not so much that he's a bad kid… it's more like his family is really, um, strict, you know? And there was a lot of friction, I guess.
So that's it. Riley took off with Buffy after the fight. I don't know where they went after that. I stayed around for awhile, helping Willow clean up, and then I left.
I went home.
I don't know how to prove what time I got there, because I didn't look at a clock. It's not like I knew I'd need an alibi.
I just know I'm telling you the truth. The fight was kind of a buzzkill and I got tired and left. I guess you can ask my parents, but they're usually too knocked out to notice what time I get in. Besides, you picked me up there this morning, right?
Is that it? Can I go?
Henderson escorted the kid back to a holding cell and met Johnson in the hallway outside the interrogation room.
"What do you think?"
Johnson shrugged. "Seems on the level."
"His story check out?"
"Spoke to his folks when I brought him in. They weren't awake."
Henderson nodded. "Who's next?"
Johnson looked at the file. "Uh, Liam O'Connor. AKA Angel. Guitarist for "Creatures of the Night" and the kid who tussled with the corpse." Johnson smirked, "And lookee here, he's got priors."
"As a minor?"
"Yep. Mayhem, assault; resisting arrest. Even did a stint in juvie."
"Doesn't look good for him."
"Nope. Want me to bring him in?"
Xander sat on the concrete ledge that jutted out from the wall. The room was beige from floor to ceiling. The door had a small window, looking out into the corridor. There was nothing else to look at, except the stainless steel toilet.
His shirt was sticking to him. He felt a trickle of sweat run down his spine, and he shivered in the air-conditioned cell.
He wondered who else they brought in. He figured they'd pinch Angel for sure. Possibly Spike. God, he hoped they didn't bring in Willow.
"Alright, Mr. O'Connor." Johnson flopped into the folding chair across the table from Angel. "We've got your record, so I know you know how this goes. Why don't you start with why you live at the Harris'."
"I don't see how that's relevant."
"Well," Henderson sucked his teeth, "It wouldn't be except for the fact that I've got a dead kid, and all the evidence points to two suspects who happen to share a room."
Angel studied the triangle of grey plastic between his knees, taking a long, steadying breath.
Leaning across the table and speaking in a low voice, he said, "Let's be honest. You haven't got a thing on Xander. He's a good kid, and he didn't kill anybody. You want me to believe that you've got him over a barrel, so that I'll crack and confess. You figure if I think Xander's gonna take the rap, I'll step in to save him."
Henderson smiled confidentially, "If Xander didn't do it, why don't you tell me who did?"
"You can't because you're protecting someone else?"
"I can't tell you who killed that guy, because I don't know. The last time I saw him, he was alive and nursing a very sore jaw."
"Right. O.K., tell me something you do know, like what's your relationship with Alex?"
Angel shrugged, "Xander is my cousin. We share a room. He looks up to me, and he follows me around."
"Follows you? So you're like his hero?"
"I guess." Angel glared at the table.
"You're his hero, he idolizes you… imitates you, and he'd do anything you asked him to?"
Angel's head snapped up, "No. He wouldn't cover up a crime for me, if that's what you mean."
"So why don't you explain it to me, then? You're his hero how exactly?"
Angel leaned back in the chair, letting his knees fall wider, resting his shackled hands on the table; and began:
My parents are fundies. Real bible thumpers. They didn't like the way I was turning out, so I saved them the headache. Went to live with Xander's folks.
They're good people. If you look in my file, you'll see that all the trouble I got into stopped when I went to live with them.
Getting out of that house really turned my life around. I graduated, started learning guitar. I'm enrolled in junior college now.
Living with Xander helped him, too. I got him to buckle down and start studying. He's a senior now, and his grades are good enough to get him into U.C. Sunnydale.
By following me around, I mean that he comes with me to band practice. He likes to hang out with the older kids. Says he's going to learn drums. Plus, I like to tease him that he's got a crush on our singer.
Spike. Yeah, he does lead vocals. He's a stand up guy. Not from here originally. England, I think.
If you're asking me if I think Xander's gay, I don't know. I just see him staring at Spike a little too long sometimes. But then, Spike's pretty charismatic.
Sharing a room with a guy, sometimes you hear things.
Like yeah, sometimes I hear him jacking off. Sometimes I get turned on enough to start jacking off, too. Then when he hears me going at it, he starts to moan and shift under the covers.
All I can see in the dark is the shadow of blankets, tented up over bent knees. Bed springs creaking, hushed voices urging each other on, flesh slapping against flesh.
And sometimes, when he's really vocal, I'll get up and slip into his bed. I knock his hand away and strip his cock the way he likes it, fast and tight. He'll close his eyes and bury his face in my chest. One arm locked around my neck, the other fumbling for my dick, trying to show me how much he likes it when I touch him.
And when he's on the point of climax, he'll wrap his legs around my waist and fuck my hand, crying out Spike's name. So I took a guess that maybe the kid had a crush.
Hey, you asked.
Last night? Nothing to tell. Xander invited the band to play at his friend's house. We went. That guy was a real asshole, so I clocked him. Then I left.
We packed up our gear and took it back to Spike's. That's where we practice.
Yeah, he lives alone. I helped Spike unload the stuff, and we sat around drinking beers. It was me, Spike, Oz and Gunn.
Oz plays bass and Gunn's on drums.
Uh, Daniel and Charles.
Oz and Gunn took off after a few, and Spike and I played Final Fantasy VII.
It's a video game.
Then nothing, I went home.
Everybody was already asleep. There's a separate entrance to me and Xan's room.
No, I never met the guy before last night. Buffy and I used to have a thing, yeah, but… she said she was looking for someone more together. A grownup.
It was a long time ago. I just don't like seeing people get tossed around is all. The guy seemed like a real meathead. Plus, I think he was on something.
I don't know, maybe ketamine? PCP? E? I don't take that stuff, so I couldn't say. All I know is, he was acting weird. Like, slurring his words.
Oh yeah, and he was real loud, too. When we got there, he was already kind of staggering around and acting belligerent.
I don't know, just talking loud about how he was in the R.O.T.C., and how he was learning all kinds of secret ops stuff. I didn't listen because it sounded like a lot of bragging.
I think the guy was looking for a fight.
Are you sure there's nothing else you'd like to know?
As Angel was escorted to another room he passed by Spike, who was sitting on a bench, smoking compulsively. He had a small pile of cigarette butts next to his feet. Feeling Angel pass him, he looked up, eyebrow cocked.
Angel winked as his shoulder was yanked up at a sharp angle and he was led away.
Johnson flipped through his notebook. "William Geoffrey Morrison III?"
Spike shot to his feet, dusting ash off his lap. "Yes, sir, that's me."
"You're not wanted for questioning, William."
"No, I know, but you've got my friends detained and someone's been killed. I thought any extra light I might shed on the incidents of last night may help in your investigations."
Spike looked up at the detective with wide blue eyes.
"Alright, follow me."
"Thank you, sir."
Spike sat down at the table and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. "Do you mind if I smoke, officer?"
"It's Detective. Johnson. Go right ahead."
"Thank you, Detective."
"So what would you like to share?"
"First, I'd like to say that I'm quite shaken up over the whole thing. I didn't know the lad well, but his death is just tragic. I'm fairly close with his girlfriend, Buffy. The poor girl, what she must be going through. Not to mention our small community. Sunnydale has been so welcoming to me, and I'm shocked that something like this could happen here."
Johnson cleared his throat. "Yes, it's a tragedy. Finn was an asset to the community. Captain of the football team, with a full scholarship to U.C. Sunnydale. Member of the R.O.T.C. It's a shame. His parents are shattered."
"Yes, his poor family." Spike took a long drag and ashed into the Styrofoam cup Johnson provided.
"William, I think the best way you could help the investigation is to give me your version of events. Can you tell me what happened last night?"
"Certainly, officer. Er, Detective."
Angel and I were – oh, excuse me, Liam – and I were arriving at Willow's house early in order to set up our equipment when I noticed Riley and Buffy having a bit of a spat outside the front door. I didn't think much of it at the time.
It seems Riley didn't like the idea of Liam being around Buffy. Which, of course, is ridiculous. Liam and Buffy haven't been involved for ages. In fact, their affair had ended before I got here.
I drew Liam aside to warn him that Buffy's new beau was on the warpath. We were speaking confidentially in the bedroom hallway when Xander came up and saw us together. He seemed a bit upset.
Liam went off to see to Xander and I set up the rest of the gear.
I mingled for a bit. It seemed a little early for a party, really, but Willow's friends were all in attendance before the sun had gone down.
I took the opportunity to introduce Faith, that's Liam's girlfriend, to Willow. They hadn't met previously, and I was pleased to make the introductions. They hit it off famously. I've a bit of a knack for that sort of thing.
Hm? Oh, yes, they've been dating for at least eight months now.
As I was saying, I mingled. Met some very nice people, but mostly kids still in high school. Oz and Gunn, they're in our band, showed up after sundown and we prepared to play our set.
It was during our third song that Riley started to get belligerent. Right in the middle of the crowded living room, he started making disparaging remarks about Buffy's friends. Particularly Xander.
Well, he was shouting loud enough to drown out my performance, certainly. But I wasn't able to catch all of it. The gist of it was that Xander was a pansy, the rest of us were lowlifes, and Riley didn't understand why Buffy allowed her friends to drag her down. Xander attempted to intercede, looking like bloody murder. But Willow restrained him and took him outside.
Naturally, Buffy did what she could to quiet him down. But Riley seemed to be intoxicated, and had very little idea of the impression he was making. He stormed outside to confront Xander, and that's when Liam jumped off stage and punched him.
Well, I was still singing, so I didn't have a direct view of the fight, no. I couldn't say with any certainty who started it.
Once everyone got involved, I went out to the pool area and got between Riley and Liam. Riley was unequivocally on drugs. It took three men to keep him on the ground, and his eyes were bloodshot and bleary. I held Liam back, knowing that with his record, another assault charge would do him no good.
Once Buffy was able to get Riley calmed down, they left. She made her apologies to Willow and Xander, promising to call them in the morning.
After that, the party was over. A few people stayed, oblivious to the drama. We decided it was best to go.
Oz, Gunn, Liam and I packed up the van. Faith elected to stay behind and help Willow and Xander clean up.
The band hung around at my house for awhile, then Oz and Gunn left and Liam and I played video games.
Um, Final Fantasy and Crash Bandicoot. He was at my house until about six this morning.
My father moved the family here about a year ago. He's the CEO of a law firm. I'm finishing up my equivalency credits, then I intend to go to U.C. Sunnydale. That's where I met Liam, at the junior college.
Excuse me, but there's one thing I've been confused about. Would you mind telling me how they found the body? All of us saw Riley leave the party, very much alive.
Johnson scrutinized the boy. He meant well. He was helping out a police investigation voluntarily.
Scraping his chair back from the table, he picked up the file and flipped through a couple of pages.
"Riley Finn's body was found in an alley behind the Bronze at approximately 4:30 am this morning."
"I see. Was there evidence of foul play?"
"The coroner's doing an autopsy now."
"Ah. Thank you very much, Officer Johnson. Is there anything more I can tell you?"
"No, thank you William. Your cooperation will be noted."
"I'll see myself out, then." Spike stood up and stretched out his hand, "Goodbye."
Johnson returned the handshake with a firm grip. "Goodbye."
Xander paced his cell. With no window to the outside, it was impossible to gauge how long he'd been there.
He'd counted all the cement blocks from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall. Then he'd spent what felt like hours trying to multiply the numbers together. After giving up, he chewed each of his fingernails to the quick.
Henderson was at his desk, going over the forms necessary to formally charge a minor, when Johnson came up.
"Just got the coroner's report."
"What's it say?"
"Finn overdosed on a combination of ketamine and cocaine."
Henderson whistled. "Where'd a kid in Sunnydale get ahold of stuff like that?"
"Dunno, but the coroner's ruling it accidental. Also said the kid had track marks like he'd never seen. Guess he'd been at it awhile."
"Mainlining? Man, how does such a good kid get so screwed up?"
"Should I release Harris and O'Connor?"
"Yeah. No reason to hold them, is there?"
The sun was setting again when Angel and Xander walked out of the jail. Spike was leaning against his car's passenger door, tongue curled around his teeth and squinting against the last rays of the day.
"You did good, pet."
Xander nodded shyly. "Thanks, but, um, could we not do that again? Holding cells are on the top of my Not To Do List."
"Told you I'd take care of it, didn't I? Nobody messes with mine."
"That you did." Xander scuffed the toe of his sneaker in the grass. "Thanks."
Angel walked up to them, glaring.
"What's got your knickers in a twist?"
"Did you have to give testimony, Spike? You could've blown it."
Spike smirked and ran light fingers down Xander's cheek. "Knew what I was doing."
"Yeah, well, thanks for making me sweat."
Angel grunted and looked away. "So what now?"
"Now, I've got to pick up a shipment at the docks. Gunn's gonna meet us there. Unload and then it's back to mine. You coming?"
The sound of squealing tires and ear-splitting Black Sabbath cut off Angel's reply.
Faith turned down the stereo as she pulled up, sliding into the passenger side of the convertible. "Hey baby, long time no see." She grinned.
"Spike was having fun making me believe it was gonna be longer."
Faith looked over at Xander and Spike, standing close enough to touch.
"Aw, you didn't trust him? Spike's got this town sewn up. C'mon lover, I've got some business to take care of."
Angel glanced back at Spike once before jumping into the driver's seat and cranking the stereo back up. "So, tell me what happened with Willow."
Laughing, Faith slid a hand up Angel's thigh, "Wouldn't you like to know?"