Rough Diamond


Part Six

As soon as Spike and Penn approached the restaurant, Penn was amused to see one of the waitresses hustle out to hold open the door. Spike had obviously been here at least often enough for the help to know how to accommodate his quirky behavior.

Still, her smile was genuine and Penn had long ago accepted the fact that people were usually more than willing to overlook the oddities that made Spike such a strange bird because his endearing and compassionate personality far outweighed the few peculiar habits he displayed.

"You're late tonight, Detective Bradshaw."

Spike smiled and headed directly to his carefully chosen table. It was the one just far enough from the front door to avoid a draft, but equally distanced from both the men's room on the left and the kitchen to the

"Good evening, Patty. Yeah, I got a bit behind in my paperwork and forgot the time. We're not too late for dinner? yeah?"

Penn settled in across from his friend and grinned. He had seen Spike tip and wasn't worried that there would be any hesitation in serving them.

"Don't be silly Detective. Anytime you can stop in we're glad to serve you. Now you two just sit tight and I'll be right back."

Penn scowled and confusion wrinkled his brow as he watched the trim, attractive waitress's hips sway as she hurried away. "Wait a minute. She didn't take our orders. We didn't even see a menu."

Spike tried to control the look of disgust that crossed his face before he carefully shook out his paper napkin, checked both sides of it and then laid it neatly over his right knee. "Don't be silly, Penn. Those menu's are horrendous breeding grounds for germs of every shape and size. Do you know how many people come in here every day and touch them? God only knows where their hands have been before that. They blow their noses, pee and shake their dicks without washing up after, not to mention the women..." Spike visually shuddered as he forced himself to finish the sentence. "...that handle those sanitary nappy things before...."

Unable to continue, Spike gagged, snatching the napkin off his lap and clutching it to his mouth in a desperate bid not to vomit.

It was all Penn could do not to whoop with laughter. When he finally thought he could speak without chuckling, he asked. "So what did we order?"

Somewhat recovered, Spike crumpled the now unusable napkin and shoved it aside. "Turkey and swiss on toasted white bread, sliced tomatoes on the side, green beans in a separate dish and unsweetened ice tea in freshly washed glasses."

Penn just shrugged. He would have preferred a pounded steak and baked potato but the hassle really wasn't worth it.
"Yeah, ok. So how's it going on the drug case?"

Spike snorted and shook his head. "It's not. We have names and lists of suspected runners and king pins, mostly from South America, but when I run them on national and international records, it's like they don't exist. They're all clean. I can't even come up with a ticket for jay walking. I can't come up with one single reason to bring them in for interrogation."

Penn propped his elbows up on the table as he thought about it. "What about the money? You know the key to catching them is to follow the money trail. An operation the size of this, shit, you'd have to be looking at millions."

Spike sighed. All of this was information he had already examined from every side possible and the results were always the same. No results. Still, it helped immensly to have a good friend like Penn to bounce ideas off of. He had hoped his collegue could look at it with fresh eyes and see some small detail that Spike had overlooked.

"According to my estimation, over the last two years, the figure would be closer to a billion. It must be coming in, at least in part, through the docks but with the economy and the security force layoffs, I know they're not scanning all the incoming shipments like they should. I have INS watching their visas and none of them are one minute over their permitted time for a visit in the States."

"No squealers? No one on the streets selling any info on them?"

Spike laughed. "Hell no. Even my most reliable snitches are in hiding on this one. They are scared to death."

"Well, maybe......"

Before Penn could finish his thought, the waitress returned. With a pleasant smile, she set down Spike's plate directly in front of him. Next was the tea in it's appropriate spot and followed by the small bowl of green beans directly to the left. Spike visibly relaxed at her ability to get it right. She then set down a clean, wrapped set of silverware still steaming from the dishwasher.

Without missing a beat, she did exactly the same for Penn. He winked at her as indication that the ritual, while amusing, was not necessary for him. She just shrugged. "Ok then. You two need anything else?"

Spike carefully lifted the crumpled paper napkin in his fingertips and handed it to her.

"No, Love. I do believe we are all set."

As she walked away, he carefull unfolded the new napkin and placed it again on his right knee. After a few minutes of careful poking, prodding and examination of the food, he judged it all edible and with a grin, dove in.

Penn chuckled and followed suite.

The rest of the meal was relaxed and companionable as they tossed about ideas on Spike's case and laughed over fond memories of oft repeated stories of their early days as rookie patrol officers.

When the check finally came, Spike sat back and smiled across the table. Penn was his best friend in the world, something as a lonely child he thought he would never have. In the beginning, he had wished Penn were gay and they could be a couple. Now he was older and much wiser. Sex would ruin what they had and that was too much to risk.

No, Tom Penndelton was straight as an arrow and Spike wouldn't want it any other way.

Part Seven

Xander was exhausted. The long walk home in the early predawn hour seemed to take forever. Tugging the collar of his thin white shirt up around his neck did little to insulate him from the chilly, damp air. When he finally arrived back to his small home, Xander darted up the steps, turned the key in the lock and closed the door behind him.

Reaching into his pocket, he marveled at the huge wad of bills that he pulled out and tossed down on his kitchenette counter. He grinned and did a quick happy jig as he dropped the cowboy hat overtop his windfall before double checking the bolt lock on his front door.


With a wrinkle of his nose, he pealed off the sour smelling clothes, ignoring the numerous patches of stiff, crusty flakes that sparkled in the artificial light of his small bedside lamp. He stank. There was no way around it and no ignoring it.

Sitting on the edge of his bed, Xander stared down at his wrinkled, limp, spent dick and considered whether or not he had enough strength left to drag his well used ass down the hall to take a shower.

In the end, he determined that he did not. He laid back, threw the blanket over top of himself and within minutes, was sound asleep. When he next opened his eyes, it was twelve hours later. He felt relaxed, refreshed and like a million bucks, or at least five hundred.

Xander chuckled as he remembered the night before and his hand reached up to feel the weight of the diamond earring he had swiped. It felt good. It felt right and Xander told himself that he deserved it.

Rolling over on his stomach, Xander plumped his pillow under his face and smiled. He guessed he was going to have to bite the bullet and admit to his friend that this was one S&P that went well. Very well.

Unfortunately, the act of moving caused the blanket to lift and release a wave of funk that could no longer be ignored. With a groan, he hoisted himself from his warm, crumpled nest and he staggered to his feet.

Rooting through his closet, he grabbed a clean shirt and a pair of jeans. He then wrapped a towel around his waist and sauntered casually down the hall, totally unconcerned that any of the other renters in the boarding house might see him.

Within the hour, he was stepping out into the late afternoon warmth of a perfect California day. He was clean, fresh and hungry enough to eat the asshole out of a skunk. Whistling a happy tune, he patted the pocket that bulged with cash and headed in the direction of Denny's for a Grand Slam Breakfast.

After eating, he took the long way home. He strolled through the park and watched the normal people go about their day. He chatted with an old man who was feeding the pigeons and he flirted with a young woman who was jogging with her dog. He smirked as she waved and ran on.

"Fuck, yeah, I could hit that if I wanted."

Sometime during his shower, he had decided not to work tonight and tomorrow was doubtful. In fact, since Joey was in the same windfall situation, Xander headed toward the south side, hoping to catch his friend before any of that money was boiled in the center of a spoon and injected in a thin, stretched vein. Maybe they could take in a movie or just hang out like regular guys. Maybe shoot some pool and share a beer or two. Xander was hyped.

After two hours of seeking and not finding, the sun was starting to dip low in the sky and he knew any chance of catching Joey now was gone. He was certain his friend was already slumped in the back room of a flop house with his eyes rolled back, a needle in his arm and a skank stealing the rest of his cash.

"Well, fuck."

Xander headed home. A sack of Whoppers and fries in front of the television wasn't exactly what he had planned, but to tell the truth, that sounded pretty fresh too. By 7 PM he was climbing the steps and entering the front door. When he got to the entrance of his own small rooms, Xander stopped.

Something was wrong. He stood in the hallway and stared at his door. It was open just an fraction of an inch, but it might as well have been ripped from it's hinges. The meaning would be the same. Someone had been here. Maybe someone was still here.

Xander's heart pounded in his chest and his ears strained to hear any sound or movement from within. He was torn. What should he do? Who would do this? Shit he knew. This was crack alley and he was actually surprised he hadn't been robbed before. Course, a radio, a small television, and a coffee pot were his only earthly positions, but it was still like bait to a hungry trout.

Xander marginally relaxed. Crackheads were a quick in and out. They were probably gone hours ago and his prized telly was already perched on the shelf of the neighborhood hock shop. Still, as a bit of insurance, Xander kicked his boot firmly against the door frame and announced loudly. "Anybody in there better get the fuck out before I bust some heads."

He then jumped back and waited. When that resulted in no thieves charging past him, Xander clutched his burger sack in one hand and his Big Gulp drink in the other as he cautiously stepped in.

The sight that assaulted his eyes caused him to drop his dinner, spilling fried potatoes and slimy meat patties on his prized boots. When the drink slipped from his fingers, the lid popped off and the Dr. Pepper flowed out and blended with the huge pool of blood that coated the floor.  "Joey?"

He barely noticed that his couch and chair had been cut to shreds or that every drawer had been emptied. Somewhere in the back of his mind a little voice found the word, 'Ransacked.'

But none of that mattered. His furniture was unimportant and his food was forgotten. All he saw was that his friend was dead. Xander's stomach rolled over and he knew he would never be able to eat again as his attention was locked on the body of his friend and the grotesque way his throat had been sliced from ear to ear giving him a clownish
look like a second grin.

Xander's voice was low and whispery as though he were afraid of waking the young boy on the floor. "Oh, God, Joey."

Part Eight

Another wave of violent shudders wracked Xander's body and he tried to fold up within himself. Whichever of his neighbors had called the police to complain about his annoying screaming, must have also called an ambulance. The first ones on the scene, the EMT's were nice. One of them had given him this scratchy wool blanket that he had tightly wrapped around himself.

Then the cops came. Xander couldn't remember the ride, but one of them had stuffed him in the backseat of a cruiser and brought him in. With no conversation or explanation, they had put him here, in this small windowless room, and told him they would be back but now, Xander wondered if they had forgotten about him.

There was no one to ask. There was no way to tell the time. The walls were blank. There was no phone. There was only a large mirror on the far wall, supposedly to make sure you looked your best when they brought in the rubber hoses.

Xander sat silently on the straight backed wooden chair. The only other items in the room were a table and another matching chair. Xander wished there were a bed. His body had surged and plummeted and now the need to sleep was overwhelming, yet he knew as soon as he closed his eyes, he would see it again.

In fact, he was certain that every night for the rest of his life, when he laid his head down and closed his eyes, he would see it.

The blood.

All that blood. Blood that splattered the walls and the ceiling. Blood that dripped off the furniture and curtains. So much blood. Xander wonder how all that blood could come from just one person. From Joey. He tried not to let his friend's name come to mind because that's what drove him closer to breaking and, for now, he needed to hold it together.

"So whadda think?"

The questioning officer stood with his uniformed arms crossed over his chest and stared through the two way mirror at the boy in the interrogation room. His partner and the driver of the cruiser that had been the first on the scene simply shrugged.

"I dunno Bill. If we're taking bets, I guess I'd say no. I mean from the Mickey D's that was dumped on the floor and the shocked expression on his face, he didn't look like he had just offed his friend, but, hey, what do I know? I'm just the cop on the street. They pay the big bucks to the suits. Speaking of which, who got called in?"

Roy checked his notes before tucking the small flip pad back in his pocket.

"Bradshaw and Penndelton. I think they were going to the scene to take some notes and talk to the next door neighbor who called before turning things over to the CSI. They should be here shortly. I don't imagine this investigation will be too in depth. After all, one street whore kills another one, who cares, right?"

Bill's eyebrows went up and he leaned closer to the mirror to get a better look.

"The boy's a whore? You mean he actually bends for bucks? Like a woman?"

Roy laughed and slapped his young partner on the back.

"You ain't workin' the suburbs anymore, pal. This is the down and dirty inner city. The boy lets anyone with a couple dollars fuck him in the ass. Probably got every disease in the books."

Bill nose wrinkled in disgust but before the conversation could continue, the door opened and their mouths wisely snapped shut.

"Good evening, Gentlemen. How is our witness doing?"

Officer Roy snorted. "Seems to be cooling his heels. He hasn't made any statements and he just sits there rocking back and forth like a baby. I figure he'll be sucking his thumb soon. Course it won't be the first thing he's sucked,
if you get my drift."

Penn just rolled his eyes. "Yeah, drift received and we appreciate your expert opinion. You guys can go. We'll take it from here."

Roy bristled at the perceived insult and the flip dismissal but knew that was the way it worked so, with a nod to his partner and a look of disdain to the detectives, he left the room. When they were finally alone, Penn turned all his attention to the young man in the mirror. Spike, too, was taking a minute to assess him.

"On first peck, I'd say he didn't do it, but I'll bet a week's pay he knows who did."

Spike nodded his agreement. He was almost grateful that the boy had gotten killed when his name came up on the call in list. A good homicide was just what he needed to get his mind off the Colombian drug case.

"So, you ready to do this?"

Spike reached into his pocket and pulled out a small sealed pack which he quickly tore open. He immediately shook out the enclosed rubber gloves and slipped them on his hands before announcing,

"I'm ready."

Penn just grinned. He was fairly sure his partner didn't know this boy's chosen occupation and he couldn't wait to see the look on Spike's face when he figured it out.

Xander had been waiting for what seemed like hours, yet when the door finally opened, he nearly jumped out of his skin. He eyed the two men who came in suspiciously. Both dressed in suits, they could have been insurance agents or bankers, but they sure didn't look to him like cops.

"Alexander Harris? Good evening. I'm Detective Penndelton and this is Detective Bradshaw. We would like to ask you a few questions, but first we want to express our sympathy for the death of your, um, friend? Is that what he was? Was Joseph Bellows your friend or was there something more between you?"

Xander silently stared. He knew what they wanted. They wanted tears and outrage. They wanted revealing, shouted facts that they could use against him later. Hell, he thought with a snort, They probably want donuts and Starbucks.

Finally, Xander turned his head to face the more obnoxious one and he smiled. "Joey and I were just friends, Yeah, sometimes we doubled up but we only fucked each other when the customer paid extra. You ever pay extra?"

Penn grinned, thinking 'Touche!'

Spike's eyes got big as his brain found the words. A whore? and he took a step back. There was no telling how far germs could jump in such a confined space. It was an action that caught Xander's eye and for the first time he really looked at the smaller, blond detective. Under different circumstances, he would have been just the type of man that would have attracted him. Short, trim, muscular, with a body that just screamed 'understated Power'.

Then Xander's eye saw the detective's hands and it was like a slap to the face. Rubber gloves! He was so afraid of actually coming in contact with the contamination of a whore that he wore rubber gloves! Xander turned away and sniffed. He also promised himself that at some point,as soon as the opportunity presented itself, he would make a point of touching the bastard.

Part Nine

Penn sat on the chair directly across the table from Xander and calmly reached for his note pad and pen. Spike stood, one step behind his partner and slightly to the left with his arms crossed. Xander waited silently to see which way the wind would blow.

"Now, Alex, can you tell us what happened tonight?"

Xander tugged his borrowed blanket tighter around himself as protection against the chill in the air. "First, don't call me Alex. My name is Xander. Second, I already told the cops what happened."

Penn smiled. He took the name correction as a sign of friendly cooperation and he immediately altered his persona to fit. "I realize that, Son, but we need to hear it from you so we have a good starting place."

Xander batted his eyes innocently. "Well, Dad, I would say the best place to start would be in my fucking, blood
soaked apartment"

Before he could stop himself, Spike snorted. The kid was a real smart ass. Spike liked that. At a distance.

Penn ignored his partner and wiped the smile off his face.

"Look, if you want us to find out who did this, we need some answers from you."

Xander nodded. Although he doubted that these stick up the butt detectives really cared who slaughtered Joey, Xander cared and he wanted someone to pay.


Spike began with their usual first question. "Where were you tonight?"

Xander turned his attention to the man who, up to now, had been mute. He then looked back at Penn. "Why the fuck doesn't he sit down?"

Penn just shrugged. "He never sits. Answer the question."

So, with a sigh of resignation, the interrogation began.

"I was out getting food, taking a walk and looking for Joey. When I came home, I found him."

"Were you working tonight?

"No! Getting food is not a code phrase for selling ass."

"When was the last time you saw Joey?"

"Last night. We worked a job together. An S&P party down at the Holiday Inn."

Spike's brow wrinkled.


Xander stared him in the face and smirked. "Yeah, a stack and pack. It's where a bunch of old guys gang up on a couple of us and group fuck us till they're too pooped to pack. You and your buddy here interested?"

Spike swallowed. If he had his paper napkin, he would have no doubt gagged into it. As it was, he did his best to check his response. Penn mentally chuckled and continued.

"You and Joey argue about anything?"

"Not last night. It all went smoothly. Everybody came and I went."

"Joey didn't go home with you?"

"No, he was sleeping and wanted to stay till morning."

"Why do you think Joey came to your place?"

Xander shook his head. "I guess he was looking for me. The party had paid good and we talked about taking a couple nights off and just hanging out."

Penn continued to write, recording the boy's answers and jotting notes in the margins. "Your room had been torn up, furniture cut, mattress ripped open, someone was looking for something. Do you think Joey did that? Do you think he was looking for something? You said the party paid good, do you think he was looking for your cut of the money? Word on the street was that your friend had a drug problem."

Xander was taken aback. That was something he had never considered. Would Joey steal from him? No, he really didn't think so. Joe knew Xander would give him the shirt off his back. In fact, he often had. Besides, whoever cut his couch repeated the action on Joey's throat.

"Yeah, that must have been it. Joey broke in to my palatial estate looking for my stash of cash and when he didn't find it, he slit his own throat in frustration. Case closed. Damn, you two are good!"

This time Spike was not amused but he chose to ignore the boy's sarcasm and stay on track. "Tell us about the men you, ah, serviced last night."

Xander flopped back in his chair and stretched his legs out in front of him.

"There was four of them. Probably in their forty's or fifty's, you know, real old guys. They didn't give us their names but most don't. They must have been rich cause they split a large between us and didn't nobody get tied up or beat for it."

Spike refused to allow himself to be distracted with sympathy for this young man and how he had to survive. "What did they look like?"

Xander scratched his head and tried to remember.

"One tall, one short, two average. One chubby, one skinny, two average. They were foreigners. Dark skinned and didn't speak much English. All had good sized dicks. Maybe it's an ethnic thing."

Spike asked before Penn had the chance. "An ethnic thing?"

"Yeah, you know what they say, the darker the skin the bigger the cock. Speaking of which, you need to get out in the sun more. You're pale as a ghost."

Spike ignored the comment that had been directed to him. If the boy had any idea of the statistics on skin cancer as it related to exposure to UV rays he would never have made such an ignorant, uninformed statement.

Sporting a comfortable tan of his own, Penn continued. "What was the room number at the hotel?"

Xander was quickly getting frustrated. None of these questions were getting them any closer to the bastard that killed his friend.  "329, but what's the point? I'm sure they're long gone by now and I doubt they left a forwarding address."

Then, Xander caught the quick darting glance between the detectives and he wondered if he had dozed off and missed something. He knew one thing, that look was not a good one. "What? What was that look? Why would they break into my place and kill Joey?"

Penn pushed aside his note pad and he folded his hands on the table. This was the part he dreaded.

"We need to go to the hotel room, Xander because we believe there was a second crime scene. Your friend, Joey had ligature marks on his wrists and burn marks all over his body. Whoever killed him took their time at it."

Xander's mouth fell open and his heart dropped to his stomach. If he had had the chance to eat that sandwich, there would now be Whopper all over the floor of the interrogation room. With a sob, and as a single tear ran down his cheek, Xander grabbed Penn's forearm arm and squeezed. "You catch them! You fucking catch those Columbian bastards!"

Part Ten

Buffy hurried through the front door of the government building. She had her briefcase clutched in her hand and tried her best to look professional despite her disheveled appearance.

It was well after midnight and she had only been in bed two hours when her cell phone vibrated on her night stand, ringing to the snappy, recently downloaded tune of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".

At first she thought it must be a prank. After all, her job was not one that ordinarily required twenty-four hour, on call, response. It was one of the things she liked most about it. Steady hours, great pay and surrounded by good looking men all day long. The only thing that would make the job perfect was if one of those men would ask her out once in a while.

So, when she finally was alert enough to catch the underlying urgency in Detective Penndelton's voice, Buffy knew it was serious. Within thirty-five minutes she had arrived, hair in a pony tail and wearing a green shirt and blue pin striped trousers, trying not to yawn.

She swiped her I.D. tag at the door and headed straight for the back interrogation rooms. That's where she spotted them, standing with their heads together, in animated conversation and she rushed toward them, breathless. "Hi. I'm here, what's the big to do?"

Penn spun around and his eyes lit up at the arrival of the Department sketch artist. He knew Buffy could be a bit of an airhead, but she was one of the best reconstructionists he had ever seen. Her work in perp identification had broken more than one case and they knew it was exactly what was needed now.

"Oh, Miss Summers, thank God, look we just got a huge break on that Colombian drug case we've been working. We have an eye witness! Now he didn't get any names but if we can get some accurate drawings of them, it will go a long way toward identifying them. Oh, and the best part? The fuckers killed somebody so we can haul their asses in immediately."

Buffy stood silently, nodding her understanding and trying to pay attention to everything Penn was telling her, unfortunately, the detective's partner was standing off to the side scrutinizing her as though she had a booger hanging from her nose. When she couldn't stand the distraction of it any longer, she whirled around to face him.

"WHAT? Why the hell are you looking at me like that?"

Spike wanted to stay silent. He understood that certain leeway must be given on the fact that she had been called out of bed, still....

"Um, well, since you ask. If you tagged and color coded your clothes closet in a system of simple efficiency, you would be able to appropriately match anything in your wardrobe instantly. Even in the dark. Even at midnight. It's surprisingly easy to do. I could assist you in setting it up."

Buffy stared at Spike for a few seconds before turning back to his partner. "So, you want me to sketch four separate perps? That's going to take a while depending on the witness's accuracy of description and memory."

Penn nodded. "Sure, we understand. Take your time. We've already called INS and they're sending down Liam O'Connor. He's worked with us in the past and I think we need his office involved in this. Now, with an eye witness, picture identification and whatever evidence CSI can collect at the crime scenes, we have enough to round them up and hold them on the murder charge. From there, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to getting what we need to bust this drug and gun running business wide open. So, he's in there. His name is Xander. Go get 'em."

Buffy smiled and nodded. "I'll do my best Penn, I know how hard you guys have worked this case, I hope this breaks it. Oh, and Spike?" Buffy turned and smiled sweetly. "Thank's for the offer, Hon, there is no one on the department that is more of a closet expert than you. Maybe I will let you show me a thing or two."

With that, she unexpectedly leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek before heading for the waiting witness. Spike was stunned and horrified! He sputtered and choked. He wanted to rub his hand over his face but he
hadn't had the chance to wash up in at least fifteen minutes. Not since the removal of the gloves.

His eyes bugged and he took a step back. "What the...?? She just.....! Did you see.....? Oh, Lord! I'll be back"

Detective Penndelton howled with laughter as his partner rushed toward the nearest men's room and the antiseptic soap he had insisted be kept there. He couldn't help feeling optimistic. This was the first break they had and the possibility of a conviction at last seemed within reach.

When Buffy entered the room she took a minute to just observe. Her livelihood and her expertise were in the faces of mankind. It was what she knew. Without saying a word, she could read a person by the smallest detail and the slight nuances in their eyes as well as the way they smiled and the movement of their heads as they talked.

What she read here was misery. Pure, unadulterated sorrow that was bravely trying to be masked and concealed from a cruel world. His eyes were puffy and his nose was red. She knew whatever had touched this boy had very
nearly broken him.

Xander sat up straight when the woman walked in the room. As soon as the ethnicity of the men had been revealed, the detectives had taken on a whole new frenetic attitude. They had bombarded him with questions, not giving him time to answer one before three more were thrown out. It had been frightening and overwhelming and he finally just stopped talking. At that point, they left the room and Xander laid his head down to cry. All he could think of was Joey.

He couldn't imagine who this woman was and what she wanted of him. She didn't look like one of the detectives. He wondered briefly if someone was supplying him with the Miranda required lawyer. Did that mean he was under arrest? He wished they would tell him something or let him go........home? No. Xander knew he could never go back there again.

Buffy sat down across the table from him. She laid down her briefcase then popped the locks to open the lid and she extracted several pencils and a large artist's pad.

"Hi, Xander. My name's Buffy. I work for the department as a sketch artist. The detectives thought that if you could tell me what the men looked like, I'll draw it and you can tell me if it's right or wrong. Can we try?"

Before Xander could answer, his stomach growled loudly and he blushed. "Sorry. I haven't eaten today, or, I guess if it's after midnight, yesterday."

Buffy frowned and pushed her equipment out of the way. "Well, that's something I can fix. You sit tight and I'll make sure one of the guys gets you something."

Immediately, she got up and left. Xander was surprised. Maybe not everyone around here was a fuckhead after all.

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