Pairing: Spike/Xander (& others as they appear *vbg*)
Spoilers: Um, none that I can think of off-hand.
Summary: Xander’s a homicide detective.
Notes: Human AU
Feedback: It’s ALL about the feedback (and naked Spike)! Don’t make me beg, it’s not pretty.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the series, characters and concepts are the property, copyright and trademark of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Grr Argh, the WB, UPN and whomever else they really belong to. No ownership is claimed by the author. This work is nonprofit, noncommercial and not for sale for commercial purposes. Characters and situations not specifically owned by the creators of BtVS/Ats or under copyright, are the sole copyright of the author.
Untitled human-AU cop-thingy
Xander pulled on a pair of latex gloves while he waited for the photographer. “Finished, Andrew?” he asked politely, when there were no further flashes from the camera.
Andrew glanced over at Xander with a shy smile that made him feel a little bit uncomfortable. He wasn’t used to having anyone look up to him the way Andrew seemed to.
“Yes, sir, Detective Harris,” Andrew replied eagerly. “I’ll get this film developed immediately, sir.”
“Thanks,” Xander said with a tight smile, and then turned his attention to the body. The woman was probably about 5'8", 150 lbs, but she looked smaller in death. Her throat had been cut and there was a hole in her chest. If this followed the M.O. of the other two deaths they’d had in the last couple of weeks, she’d have been exsanguinated, and her heart removed. No trace of her blood or her heart would be found at the scene.
While Andrew had been taking pictures, Xander had let his eyes wander around the rest of the room where she—Wendy Carter, based on the identification in the wallet on the dresser—had been found. Wendy was lying inside a chalk circle that had been drawn on the wooden floor of her bedroom. Other than the furniture being moved aside to make room for the circle, the room was undisturbed, so it looked like there hadn’t been a struggle.
As with the other crime scenes, there was a slight smell of sulphur in the air, as if a match had just been extinguished. If this was the same perp, then it was unlikely that any matches would be found at the scene. Nor hair, fingerprints, fibers, or anything else that would identify him. Or her. Just once, Xander wished they’d catch a break. Especially since it now looked like they had a serial killer on their hands.
With a sigh, Xander squatted beside the Medical Examiner. “What have you got?”
The corners of Faith’s lips turned up in a barely-disguised smile as she made a huge production out of checking the body’s temperature. “I’ll make sure Andrew personally runs those pictures up to you as soon as he gets them developed,” she offered.
“Shut it,” Xander responded, elbowing her in the side.
Faith grinned, then turned serious. “Time of death, approximately midnight, but anywhere between eleven and one.” Just like the others, Xander thought, grimacing as Faith carefully probed the hole in the woman’s chest. “Her heart’s miss—.”
“Oh, my God! Wendy!”
Xander twirled around and rose to his feet in one smooth movement. He recognized the distraught blonde in the doorway from pictures he’d seen in the apartment, and guessed she was the roommate. What he didn’t know was how she’d gotten this far into the apartment, and now she’d been exposed to the horrible tableau the killer had left behind.
“Shit!” he swore softly to himself. “How did she get in here?” he asked the room at large, directing the question at everyone, and no one. Wisely, no one answered. His partner appeared in the doorway, a tall dark figure behind the slight blonde who stood wide-eyed with horror, her hands covering her mouth. “Get her out of here,” Xander said softly.
After Angel had removed the woman from the room, Xander turned back to Faith. “Anything else you can tell me?” he asked brusquely.
Faith, who had ignored the interruption, was just now rolling the body back down onto its back. “No sign of livor mortis, so probably no blood left in the body. I’ll know more after the autopsy.”
“Okay.” Xander waited until the body had been removed, and then joined the forensics team in a careful and thorough examination of the bedroom. As he had feared, they found nothing. The rest of the apartment was clean as well.
When Xander finished his inspection, Angel was just handing the roommate off to an older woman Xander guessed was her mother. Xander moved up beside Angel and watched as the distressed woman was gently led from the apartment.
“The roommate?” he asked, once the door had closed behind the two women.
“Yeah.” Angel glanced briefly at his notes. “Buffy....”
“Buffy?” Xander interrupted with a grin.
“Yes, Buffy,” Angel continued, rolling his eyes at Xander’s juvenile behavior. “Buffy Summers. Spent the night with her boyfriend. Riley Finn. I’ve got his info, so we can check that out.”
Xander just nodded. “We done here?”
“Yeah,” Angel said, leading the way out of the apartment.
“Too bad,” Xander said as he headed for the stairs; he hated waiting for elevators.
“Another senseless death,” Angel raged quietly.
“Yeah, that too, of course, but I meant Buffy,” Xander replied.
“What’s too bad about Buffy?” Angel asked curtly.
“That she’s got a boyfriend. I figured you could console her. I mean, she is your type, right?” Xander pried as they exited the stairwell.
“Number one, as part of this case, she’s off limits, and number two, no, she is not my type,” Angel huffed.
“She’s not?” Xander asked, his tone full of faked surprise. “That’s odd. I figured it would be a blonde, ‘cause Faith and I both know it’s not brunettes,” he added as he pushed the front door to the apartment building open and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
“Bite me, Harris,” Angel growled as he brushed past Xander and headed for the car.
Xander followed, a grin splitting his face. Angel was just so easy.
The moment Xander and Angel walked into Homicide, they were summoned to the Captain’s office.
“Ah, Harris, Connell, good, you’ve returned,” Captain Giles said as he ushered them into his office and closed the door behind them. “The Mayor’s office has been inundated with calls from the press about this third murder, and he in turn has been calling the Chief, who’s been calling me. Does it appear to be the same killer?” he asked gravely.
“Looks like it, Captain,” Xander answered just as soberly.
“Perfect,” Giles replied as he removed his glasses, his tone indicating that it was anything but. “We’ve got to get a handle on this matter, and quickly, before it gets any messier.” Giles turned to the man who had remained sitting silently in one of the chairs in front of Giles’ desk during his conversation with the two detectives. He stepped aside now so that the three men had unobstructed views of each other.
“Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Wesley Wyndam-Price. Dr. Wyndam-Price, Detectives Harris and Connell. He’s going to be on your team,” Giles informed the two detectives after the doctor had stood to shake hands with them.
“Team?” Xander asked, since Angel was still staring at the good doctor and seemed not to have heard.
“Yes,” Giles said, slipping his glasses back on. “The Mayor seems to think that Dr. Wyndam-Price....”
“Wesley, please,” Wesley spoke for the first time. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both.” If Xander wasn’t so focused, he might have noticed that Angel blushed when Wesley looked at him.
Giles nodded in acknowledgment. “Certainly. The Mayor seems to think that Wesley will be of some assistance in this investigation.”
“How?” Xander asked baldly. At the look on his Captain’s face, he added, “I don’t mean to be rude, but, how? We already have a medical examiner and a forensics team, so I don’t understand what Dr. Wy—, er, Wesley can add to the investigation. Sir.”
“Ahem,” Wesley cleared his throat. “If I may?” He glanced at Giles before continuing. “I’m not actually a medical doctor,” he informed Xander. “I have a PhD. I’m a professor at the local University.”
Xander just stared. Dr. Wesley Wyndam-Price, wearing jeans and a sweater, with beard stubble on his face, didn’t look like any of his old professors. Suddenly, he had a bad feeling about this. “And what do you teach?” he asked.
“Ancient history and languages,” Wesley replied. Before Xander could ask how that would help them, he added, “But I also have some expertise in the area of witchcraft and the occult.”
Xander rolled his eyes. He knew it! “Captain,” he began, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door.
Looking past Xander to see who was at the door, Giles nodded to himself and called out, “Come in.”
Xander moved aside to allow the door to open, sucking his breath in when a bleached-blond punk stepped into the office.
“Detective Hamilton, welcome to Homicide.”
Xander’s whole body went numb, and he nearly missed the rest of the introductions. This guy was a cop? A detective? He looked like nothing more than a punk rocker, his bleached-blond hair spiked, torn blue jeans and a black zippered shirt, both looking like they were held together only by the safety pins decorating them. He had a piercing in his left eyebrow, and Xander wouldn’t be surprised if there were others that he couldn’t see, as well as a generous application of black eyeliner around both eyes, and was covered in silver jewelry—necklaces, bracelet, and rings.
“Thank you, sir,” the blond punk replied politely.
“Let me introduce you to the rest of the team.”
Whoa, team? Xander thought frantically. How had he suddenly lost control of his own investigation?
“These two,” Giles said, indicating Xander and Angel, “are the detectives assigned to the case, Alexander Harris and Liam Connell; they’ll be lead on this one. Gentlemen, William Hamilton, formerly of Vice.”
You don’t say, Xander thought, but was smart enough not to say it out loud. William looked at the two of them arrogantly and nodded a greeting; he didn’t offer his hand.
“And this is Dr. Wesley Wyndam-Price; he will also be on the team investigating these murders.”
Wesley held his hand out to William. “Please, call me Wesley, Detective.”
William looked at the hand and hesitated before accepting it. “You can call me Spike,” he said. “Nice to meet you.”
“And you,” Wesley replied courteously.
“I’m Angel, and this is Xander,” Angel said, glancing briefly at Spike, but giving most of his attention to Wesley.
Xander, though completely flummoxed by the sudden, unanticipated, and completely unwanted creation of a team, still didn’t miss the flush that covered Wesley’s neck. Hmm, he thought, finally noticing the subtle interest the two men were showing each other, perhaps he’d just figured out what Angel’s type was. This could be interesting.
“All right, I believe you gentlemen have some work to do. While you two...” Giles indicated Xander and Angel, “...type up your reports, Wesley and Hamilton can familiarize themselves with the first two murders. Set them up in the conference room.” When no one moved, Giles added pointedly, “If there’s nothing else?”
Angel opened the door and led the way out of the office, Wesley close behind him. Xander paused in the doorway. “Actually, Captain, if we’re going to be doing a lot of...research on this one, I’d like to bring Willow in on it,” he suggested.
Giles, deep in thought, removed his glasses. “All right. Tell her this is a priority, but try to remember that she’ll have other cases she needs to work on.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander eagerly agreed.
“Now, I believe you have some reports to type? Oh, and Hamilton? Nice outfit, but before you go out on any interviews, swing home for a change of clothes, all right?”
“Yes, sir,” Spike said respectfully.
As they made their way across the bullpen to Xander’s desk, he asked, “You do own clothes that aren’t held together by safety pins, right?”
“Shove it, Harris,” Spike snarled, and pushed past him.
Xander grinned as he stared at Spike’s ass in the tight, holey jeans; this team business might work out all right, after all.
Xander reached his desk just a moment behind Spike. Angel was standing with his hands in the front pockets of his slacks, head ducked shyly while Wesley nattered on about some ancient language or another. Xander rolled his eyes and gathered the files on the first two murders.
“How about some coffee, or something from the vending machines before you two get settled in the conference room?” Xander suggested.
“I could use some tea,” Wesley replied.
“Of course you could,” Xander said. “Angel, why don’t you show Wesley....”
“Sure, Xander,” Angel interrupted. “Come on, Wes, I’ll show you where everything is.”
‘Wes?’ Xander mouthed mockingly, and then turned to Spike. “How about you, Will? Anything from the break room?”
“It’s Spike, Harris, and yeah, I could do with something to drink.” Spike turned away from Xander and followed the other two men.
Xander knew he should feel chastened for his teasing, but he just couldn’t help himself. Angel had been fun enough, so easy to rile, and this Spike looked like he didn’t have much of a sense of humor, either. But he did look like he’d be hell on wheels in the sack. Xander wondered what he’d have to do to get him there, then slapped the files on the desk and headed for the break room.
Once the two men were settled in the conference room with the files, as well as notepads, pens, and highlighters, Xander and Angel returned to their desks to write up the reports detailing their visit to the crime scene that morning. When they walked into the bullpen, Xander saw Andrew seated on the edge of the chair stationed next to their desks.
“Andrew,” he said as he took the seat behind his desk.
“Hi, Detective Harris,” Andrew replied breathlessly. “Detective Connell.”
“Hi, Andrew,” Angel greeted him. “Got the pictures of the crime scene for us?”
“Yes, sir,” Andrew said, holding the envelope out to Xander. “I told Detective Harris I’d get it done immediately.”
“We appreciate that, Andrew,” Angel said as Xander took the envelope and opened it, letting the pictures slide out into his hand.
“Yeah, thanks, Andrew,” Xander added distractedly as he looked at the pictures one-by-one, and then handed each one across the desk to Angel.
“Well, you guys are busy. I guess I’ll get going. Unless you need anything...,” Andrew said hopefully.
Xander finally looked up from the pictures. “We’re all set, Andrew. These are great. We’ll get back to you if we need copies, okay?” he asked, then turned his attention back to the pictures.
“Yeah, okay. See ya,” Andrew said, and then slowly walked away.
“Why don’t you put the poor boy out of his misery?” Angel asked as he reached for another picture. “Just take him home one night and fuck him.”
“Get real,” Xander replied as he handed the last picture over. “That would be too much like fucking my kid brother.”
“You mean you haven’t?” Angel asked.
“So, Wes get’s your motor revving, huh?” Xander said, turning the tables.
Angel blushed. He stacked the photos together without replying, then said, “We’d better get these reports typed up.”
Xander grinned. Yeah, this was gonna be fun.
When their reports were typed, Angel and Xander read what the other had written to bring themselves up to speed, and then headed to Giles’ office.
“Our reports are typed, Captain, and we’ve got the crime scene photographs,” Angel said, holding the file folder up for emphasis.
Giles held his hand out and Angel passed the folder over, then sat beside Xander in one of the two chairs in front of Giles’ desk. They sat silent while Giles looked through the photos. When he was done, he looked up at them.
“I’ll read your reports later, just give me the bullet points for now.”
Xander began with the examination of the crime scene and the body, which had turned up nothing; Angel followed up with his interview of the roommate, Buffy Summers, as well as the young man who had discovered the body. “They both said the vic was well liked, didn’t have any enemies,” he concluded.
“They never do,” Xander muttered disgustedly. “And some killers don’t need a reason. At least, not a reason we’d ever understand.”
Giles didn’t comment on that. “They both have alibis for the time of the killing?”
“So they say,” Angel replied. “We’ll follow up on that to see if we can confirm their alibis and get them knocked further down the short list. We should speak to the roommate again when she’s had some time to process what’s happened; she was pretty upset this morning. Maybe she’ll remember something useful,” he concluded.
Giles nodded, then pulled his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose. If he was anything like Xander, this case was giving him a massive headache. “What are your plans for this afternoon?” he asked.
“See what the forensics’ and MEs’ reports turn up,” Xander said, “and what our other team mates
have to add. Once we know what information Wesley’s going to be able to provide us with, maybe get him together with Willow.”
Despite the seriousness of their discussion, Xander didn’t miss Angel’s discomfort with the way he’d worded that.
“All right, go see what Wesley and Hamilton have come up with on the first two murders. Let me know as soon as you get the reports from forensics and the ME,” Giles commanded, handing the file back over the desk.
“Yes, sir,” Xander said as he stood and took the file. He led the way out of Giles’ office. “I need some coffee,” he told Angel, “and then we can go see how Wesley and Spike are faring.”
“Christ,” Angel said as he followed Xander, “I could use a cigarette.”
“Thought you’d quit?”
“Could still use one,” Angel replied with a sigh. “This case is getting to me, and now the Mayor’s involved....”
“You should be pleased, since he sent Wesley over,” Xander teased. “Besides, maybe he’ll send come cookies over if we solve it,” he suggested hopefully.
“You and those damned cookies,” Angel snorted. “It’s a wonder you don’t marry Faith just to get your hands on the recipe.”
“Hey, don’t think I haven’t thought about it,” Xander responded with a grin.
File in hand, and fortified by coffee, yet with a sudden craving for chocolate chip cookies, Xander followed Angel as the other man headed for the conference room. Spike and Wesley were sitting opposite each other, folders open in front of them as they discussed a picture Wesley was holding up.
“Done with your homework?” Xander asked facetiously, grinning as he took the seat beside Wesley, partly to annoy Angel, and partly so he could more easily watch Spike. He wondered what the pierced eyebrow would feel like under his tongue.
“I think what he means,” Angel said, throwing Xander a look as he lowered himself into the seat across from him, “is have you both had time to review the files?”
“Yes, we have,” Wesley spoke up, his tone conveying keen interest, “and I have some questions regarding the circles these two women were inside of when they were found.” He eagerly waved the photo he held, which clearly showed a body inside a chalked circle.
“Like what?” Angel asked curiously.
“Like...were there any other spell-casting accoutrements found at the scene?” Wesley leaned forward as he spoke.
“What type of ‘spell-casting accoutrements’ would you be talking about?” Xander asked with a trace of sarcasm.
Finding out that his case dealt with the supernatural was bad enough, but being assigned team members not of his own choosing was making him cranky. Even if Wesley’s presence gave him another reason to take the piss with Angel, and despite any...mild...attraction he might feel towards Spike. It was the principal of the thing! And had nothing at all to do with him being a control freak.
“Well, um, candles, an athame, er, a, uh, ritual knife or dagger,” Wesley amended at their confused expressions. “Salt, herbs, a cauldron or bowl of some sort, the chalk that was used to draw the circle, anything along those lines,” he continued his explanation, using his hands for emphasis.
“Whatever was found at the scene would have been bagged and logged in. There should be a list of the evidence in the file. I’m afraid you’ll have to tell us if you see any items that might have been used for spell casting,” Angel explained.
Wesley’s excitement faded a bit, and his expression turned to one of disappointment. “Unfortunately, nothing like that shows up on the list of evidence.”
“What does that mean?” Xander asked, glancing over at Spike who had remained quiet. He was slouched in the chair, his body language screaming bored now, but his eyes told a different story, and Xander got the impression that he was taking everything around him in and processing it despite appearances to the contrary.
“It could mean a lot of things,” Wesley began, slipping easily into lecture mode. “The tools used by many spell casters are...personal. He, or she, could have taken them with him when he left. Or....”
“Or what?” Angel asked, leaning over the table with interest.
“Perhaps there were no tools.”
“Because you don’t need tools to cast a spell?” Xander hazarded a guess.
“Because he didn’t really cast a spell, and the circle was merely meant to throw the investigation off by sending it in another direction.”
Almost as one, Angel and Xander slid back into their seats as they thought about that possibility. Not that it had mattered much before, since they hadn’t been pursuing a supernatural angle, but now they had to wonder whether the killer had been trying to throw them off track. In which case, it was good that they hadn’t been fooled, Xander thought wryly.
“Do you think that’s likely?” Spike asked. Xander was glad of the excuse to quit sneaking glances at the other man, and looked at him directly. “That the killer was trying to throw the investigation off?” he elaborated.
“No,” Wesley admitted. “Based on the lack of hair, fingerprints, etcetera, I rather think he cleaned up after himself and removed everything that could incriminate him, including anything he used to cast the spell.”
“Do we know for certain that there was a spell involved?” Angel asked.
“Of course not,” Wesley conceded. “Not without more than just a chalk circle.”
Xander pursed his lips as he thought. “What about the pictures?”
“What about them?” Wesley asked.
“Did you see anything in them that we might have missed? Might not have realized was part of the crime scene. Candles that were sitting on the night table, for instance. Herbs in a bowl on a dresser that resembled potpourri.”
Wesley blinked. “That’s a good idea.” He began to carefully go through the photos in the file before him.
“I do have them, you know,” Xander muttered, taking the photos as Wesley finished with them.
Across the table, Spike and Angel looked through the pictures from the other murder file. When they were done, they switched files.
“Well, that’s disappointing,” Spike said when the pictures yielded no new information.
“Yes,” Wesley replied distractedly. “Could I visit these crime scenes?” he asked, tapping the folder in front of him.
“No. Neither of the women lived alone, so after forensics finished their examination, we turned the premises back over to the owners,” Angel informed him apologetically.
Before Wesley could slump down even further in his seat at all the roadblocks he was encountering, Spike spoke up. “But that hasn’t happened yet with the scene of last night’s murder, right?”
Wesley visibly perked up. “Yes, of course! Would that one still be intact?” he asked anxiously.
“Yes, it is,” Angel said. “We could go out there this afternoon....”
“Great idea,” Xander said, snatching the reins of his investigation back. “After we’ve set up the board, and they’ve had a chance to look over this file. In the meantime, we’ll order in lunch, Angel can check with forensics, and you two can take a gander at this.” Xander slid the folder across the table.
“Where are you ordering lunch from?” Wesley asked as he moved to the chair at the end of the table so he and Spike could peruse the file together.
“Queen C’s,” three voices announced as one, and Xander grinned over at Spike.
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