Rosebud Murders


Part Twenty-One

"Do you think my underarms are starting to get flabby?"

Max dropped the newspaper from his face and looked over the tops of his reading glasses at the Brenda Starr wannabe beside him. He was bored. Bored out of his mind and with another thirteen minutes left in the allotted sixty he decided maybe a bit of drama would liven things up.

Very calmly he folded the paper and turned to her. "Now that you mention it, yes. I did notice that when you were doing that location shoot in Sear's appliance store that you had a bit of a wing effect when you waved your arms at the Clearance sign."

A look of pure shocked horror filled her eyes as all the blood drained from her face. Even though Max knew he had already hit a home run, he couldn't resist one more swing at bat.

"That doesn't worry you does it? Shit, Buffy, you know I wouldn't have mentioned it if I thought it would upset you. Besides, I figured it would come easier from a friend than when the station starts getting calls and e-mails from viewers at home. Sides, it ain't nothin' to worry about. Happens to all women when they hit middle age."

Max shook the folds out of his paper and pretended to go back to reading the riveting story of the two legged pup who had a little wheely cart made for him and wondered how long before they were assigned to cover the story.

"MIDDLE AGED??? MIDDLE AGED???? I'll have you know I'm only twenty sev....five. Twenty five Buster! Oh My God! Oh My God!"

Max tried his best to suppress the chuckle as he listened to her hyperventilate beside him. Then, glancing down at his watch, he sighed. Ten more minutes.


Watching Xander tidy up the small kitchen, Spike smiled. "You always so clean?"

Xander wrung the water out of the dish cloth and laid it over the side of the sink. "Yeah, I am. My brain is always buzzing, voices and thoughts swarming like a hive of bumblebees, and I can't stand the added confusion of visual clutter and mess. That's why honesty is so important to me."

Xander made sure he had Spike's full attention before he continued. "Lies and deceit are like a cancer to our energy. It drains us, it contaminates us and makes us less. We can't be who we're truly meant to be, Spike, without total honesty."

Spike's breath caught in his lungs. He felt as though Xander were digging down into his very core. Clawing with ragged, sharp fingernails and uncovering every secret he had hidden there.

Standing and taking a step backward towards the door, Spike's voice was quiet and soft. "You don't understand. My life. They're not as simple as yours. I have too much to lose."

Xander eased forward as if approaching a wild animal threatening to run. "You have more to lose if you're not. You lose yourself when you live a lie. Just let it go. Start with one person, Spike. Say it to me."

Spike stood with his back against the wall. He briefly, very briefly, considered telling Xander he had no idea what he was talking about and leaving but maybe the boy was right. Every cell in Spike's body screamed for the truth. Could he do it? Could he give everything up? Despite the great night's sleep, Spike suddenly felt tired. Tired of the stress of the LIE. Maybe, just maybe, he would be gaining more than he lost.

Spike hung his head and whispered so low Xander could hardly hear. "I'm gay."

Xander took a step forward. "What?"

Spike cleared his throat, lifted his head and looked Xander in the eye. "I said I'm gay."

Xander closed the distance between them, scooped Spike up in his arms and with their lips just a hair's breath apart, he murmured. "Good. That makes what's going to happen between us much more logical."

Spike grabbed the front of Xander's shirt and pulled him in close. Their lips slammed together but it was Xander's tongue that first forced it's way forward.

Spike felt himself melt under the incredible body heat of the man in his arms. His mouth, his chest, everything about the wood carver radiated a temperature far above anything Spike had ever felt. He wondered if Xander were sick, if he had a fever, if............. 'Oh Lord, that tongue, those hands'.

Spike gasp when the heat of his hands touched Spike's chest and he realized Xander had unbuttoned his shirt. He closed his eyes and tipped his head to the side as Xander kissed the side of Spike's neck from ear to shoulder, all the time unzipping the fly on Spike's wrinkled suit pants.

"Oh, Fuck! I'm gay, Xander. I'm gay."

Xander chuckled and pulled back slightly, his own body reacting and raging for the slim man he had pressed against the wall.

"That right? Let's see how gay."

Xander dropped to his knees and pulled Spike's heavy, wet erection out into the cool air. Spike struggled to get his legs a bit further apart hoping Xander would take the hint and tug the balls out too.
He did.

Xander looked up at the fierce homicide detective looming above him and let his brain shut down. All the voices went silent as his body reacted to it's need. The blood surged to the rock hard cock he was fumbling to pull from his jeans as he rubbed his cheeks over the dribbling cock waiting impatiently for his lips.

Spike struggled to keep from grabbing the boys head and shoving his cock down his throat. He dug his hands into the thick, soft hair and did his best to find that last shred of control inside himself.

With his own erection finally freed and secured tightly in his fist, Xander again turned his concentration to the thick piece of police work in front of him. Leaning his head forward he wrapped his lips around the head, took three quick stabs at the gooey slit with his tongue, then swallowed it to the root.

"OH FUCK!" Spike jerked forward. He had never felt anything like it. THE HEAT! Jesus, the heat. It felt as though his batter had been poured into a loaf pan and slid into an Easy Bake Oven.

Xander had always been ambidextrous. He easily jacked himself with one hand and rolled the sac of the man above him with the other. With nothing but blessed silence in his head he was free to fill himself with everything Spike.

The grunts, moans, and curses as he played the cop's cock with every tongue trick he ever knew. The smell of him. The deep, musky masculine scent of a man in need of a shower. It surged through Xander and charged his cock, causing it to harden even more.

Letting the cock slip from his mouth, Xander held it up, causing the sac to stretch it's wrinkled skin taut allowing him better access to lick, suck, and sniff the area below and behind the balls.

Spike's vision whited out. He grabbed Xander by the ears and knew as soon as those burning lips touched his cock again it was over. "Please, Xander. Come on, Baby. Suck me again. I'm so close. Suck me." Spike's hips humped forward seeking the thermal heaven.

Xander spit on his hand and gripped himself tighter, speeding up the pace of the strokes and knew he would last only as long as Spike. Nipping the head almost painfully, Xander the attached his mouth to Spike's cock with a heated suction and slowly sucked him down.


Xander then set a quick, deep pace with both their cocks and felt them harden and draw tight at the same time. Xander froze, overwhelmed by the intensity of his own orgasm he relaxed and let his body roll with the wave after wave of pleasure that washed through him.

Watching the boy spill into his own hand was the tip over. Spike held Xander's head in place and pumped twice more into his mouth before releasing his own load down Xander's unresisting throat.

Part Twenty-Two

"Here they come! Here they come! Get the fucking camera ready and remember the shot of the perp falling to the ground twitching as the heartless cop tasers him repeatedly is the money shot."

Buffy was perched in the van. One hand on her microphone and the other on the door handle. As soon as Officer Pratt slammed the cuffed suspect against his unmarked car she would be right there, demanding an on tape explanation. Buffy checked her mirror one more time for split ends or a wayward booger in her nose. That would NEVER happen again.

The news crew watched the two men leave the brick warehouse. Both smiled and appeared to be chatting easily. They waited while Detective Pratt pressed the larger man against the Corvette and leaned in whispering in his ear.

Buffy frowned in confusion when there was no rubber bullets or signs of police brutality. She couldn't imagine what the detective would have to say that would require him to nuzzle that close or run his hands up and down the dark haired man's arms.

Max was clearly traveling down the more perceptive side of the street. Detective Pratt was gay! Not only gay, but gay with a gay boyfriend. The possibilities were stunning. Outing the lead detective on an active homicide investigation would be a huge story. They could rush over right now and catch them in the act. It would be the lead story on tonight's news and make Buffy the star she always wanted to be.

He glanced over and watched her adjust her tiny boobs in an attempt to create a little cleavage. Decision made.

"That don't look like a suspect to me. I think they're just friends. Come on, Buffy let's go. There isn't any story here and if we hurry we can still get the hemp drama on tape and into the engineer's booth before the noon news filing."

Buffy frowned as she watched the two men cuddle and kiss before getting into the small sports car and drive away. "Shit. Yeah, o.k. Damn. Coulda been a hell of a story. Let's go."

She tossed her microphone in the back seat and pouted as Max started the van and pulled out onto the street in the direction of the fishermen and their nets.

The stop off at Spike's was quick. Just long enough to shower and change. As much as both wanted an encore it was agreed to take care of business first. After a quick call to check in with Faith, they were on their way. Back in the car and speeding across town, Spike glanced over at Xander wondering about the young man and his feelings for him. "So how do we do this? What do you need me to do?"

Xander watched out the window, clearing his thoughts and trying to put his relationship with the Detective into the back of his mind. He also tried to ignore the huge smile on the face of the old man clinging and fading in and out behind Spike. "When we get there don't tell me anything. Nothing about the crime, the victim or the killer. Just let me talk and you take notes. Write down everything. Even things that don't seem important then we can go over it after."

Fifteen minutes later and they arrived at the scene. Still empty, Spike secured the key from the manager and they stepped inside. Immediately, Xander flinched. He paused, taking several deep breaths before his body seemed to take on a separate personality. Smaller, delicate, hesitant.

"First I'm going to speak from the victim. I'm young, female, small. I live alone but I'm not afraid, I'm happy. My life is good. I have friends and family who love me." He walked to the closed front door and pressed his hands against it. Spike began writing.

"Someone is at the door. I'm surprised because it is so late, but I'm up so it doesn't matter. I look through the peep hole and it is safe. I don't know him but it is safe."

Xander steps back and turns toward the interior of the apartment. "I ask him in. I'm confused. I'm safe."

Xander walked toward the kitchen then jerks to a stop. "NO! No. He has grabbed me from behind. Scared, surprised, confused, stupid, I feel so stupid for trusting him. He grabs me from behind. Fast. It happens so fast. Choking! I can't breath!"

Spike watched Xander struggle to breath as he clutched at his throat. He wanted to go to the boy, help him, but the detective in him knew better. Xander was exact. Everything he described was right on. Spike's pen flew across the paper.

Xander's face started to turn blue as he fought to breath. Collapsing to his knees he then tumbled to the floor and lay still. Just as Spike was beginning to become genuinely concerned, Xander moved. He rolled to his stomach and spread his arms straight out to his sides. Spike was flabbergasted.

Slowly then Xander pulled himself to his feet. The expression on his face and the posture of his body shifted drastically. He took on a hard, angry, evil expression that sent chills down Spike's spine.

"Are you the killer? Can you feel him?"

Xander never answered. Instead he returned to the front door and placed his hands in the same spot they were before.

"She's in there." He sneered, his voice a deep growl. "I can smell the bitch right behind the door. Smile, smile and show her what she needs to see to let me in. LET ME IN!" He slapped the palms of his hands against the wooden door.

Xander visibly relaxed as he rolled his head from side to side and stepped back toward the kitchen. "Look at her, fuckin' bitch. Close. Now. Now."

Xander's hands went up and tensioned into straining fists as his whole body shook with the force used on his victim. Then, just as suddenly, he went limp and stared down at the floor. Panting and sweating, Xander's face went blank.

He dropped down and began a flurry of invisible hand activity, mumbling. "It's all their fault. They're so fuckin' smart, they should stop me. Smart enough to fuck all over me, they should be able to catch me."

Suddenly Xander sat back on his butt with a look of blind fury on his face. He pointed directly at Spike and screamed.

Spike threw down his pen and paper and rushed to Xander's side. He dropped to his knees, scooped the crazed, hysterical man up in his arms and pulled him close, fighting to still the struggling man. Spike was shocked that the normally overheated body was now cold as ice. "Shhh. Xander. Xander. It's me. It's o.k. It's Spike. Come on, Love, wake up, wake up."

Spike continued to rock and hold the psychic as he slowly calmed down and returned to himself. The tears and sweat soaked his face and dripped onto the shoulder of Spike's suit. When he began to realized what was happening, Xander threw his arms around Spike and clung to him, desperately gasping for air.

Finally when the shaking had eased, Xander drew back and wiped his face with the back of his hand.

"He's evil, Spike. I've never felt anything like that. He aches to kill again and he's doing it for you. It's all about you and your partner. He's so mad, but he wants you to catch him so he can tell the world why he did it. Everything you need to know is left at the scene. It's all about the crime."

Spike was more confused than ever. He had felt all along that they were missing something but he didn't know what. It made him sick to think that this could even remotely be their fault. They know him? Who was it? "Come on, Love, let's get out of here. We'll go get something to eat and when you're up to it we can talk about this."

Xander nodded weakly and allowed Spike to pull him to his feet. Just as they were leaving, Xander stopped. He lifted his face and inhaled deeply. "Wait. Wait a minute, Spike. I noticed it in the other victims place but I didn't think it was important. Now it's here too."

Spike sniffed but couldn't detect anything past the stuffy smell of a sealed up crime scene. "What, Pet? What is it?"

Xander looked the detective in the eye with an expression of uncertainty. "Roses. I smell roses."

Part Twenty-Three

Spike sat in his office, coffee cup in one hand, pencil tapping the desk in the other. It was early, before seven am and the privacy gave him time to think about the uberwierdness that was quickly becoming his life.

The overhead light was off and his features were highlighted only by the dim glow of the metal goose necked lamp that sat on his desk and aimed it's beam on the scattered notes in front of him.

After the unsettling morning at the crime scene yesterday he had taken Xander to lunch, fed him and then insisted he go home to rest. He was starting to understand the boy's voracious appetite.

Between the abnormally high body temperature and the extreme energy he witnessed him expend during a psychic reading, he realized the young man's metabolism must burn like a blast furnace.

Even though Xander gave a weak refusal, Spike had dropped him off at Divine Creations and told him they would talk later. Xander was wiped out. He needed sleep.

The rest of Spike's day had been spent going over his notes from Xander's reading and trying to concentrate on keeping his cock soft. Everything about Xander filled his brain and body. He wanted him more than he had ever wanted anything in his life.

He wanted to go to him, spend time with him, talk to him, laugh with him. He wanted to exchange ideas and body fluids with him. He craved to understand him, touch him and feel Xander's hot hands on his body.

'Fuck!' Spike admitted to himself  'I want to roll over and take every inch of him up the arse till we
both explode.'

Making sure he was alone, Spike murmured quietly, experimentally, "I'm gay"  Surprisingly it didn't feel too foreign. He still couldn't believe Xander had gotten him to admit it especially after knowing the boy for such a short while.

Hell, he had never said it to anyone. Not even to Angel who had fucked him at least a dozen times. At the time, with him on his knees and Angel's dick pounding his prostate, saying it would have seemed a bit redundant.

Besides, Angel always swore he wasn't gay and went out of his way to fuck every female he came in contact with as proof. Married, single, fat, skinny, old and young - sometimes too young - Angel fucked them all, but he always came back to Spike. Obviously Angel couldn't say the words either.

That was exactly why Spike always insisted on Angel using condoms, the good ones, the expensive kind. Ribbed for Spike's pleasure.

Spike thought again about Xander and knew the message that was sent to him was on target. There was no more Angel in Spike's life. Thank God. "Fuck!" Spike shook his mental wanderings and tried to focus. He still had a murder case to solve and if he was correct, three weeks left to do it before the killer struck again.

"Hey, there you are. Where the fuck have you been? I thought we were partners. I feel like you've abandoned me to work on this fucking case alone. If I find out you're hiding out with some cheap slut, I'll........I'll....... well I'm not sure what I'll do, but it won't be pretty."

Faith slammed the office door behind her and stomped into Spike's office. She dropped down into the chair across the desk from him and waited for the explanation, her arms crossed over her chest.

Spike looked her over and felt guilty as hell. He really had been a terrible partner the last few days and her appearance startled him. Her usual neat blouse and skirt were wrinkled and the bags under her eyes clearly showed through the excessive makeup she had used to try to conceal them.

He was desperate to discuss this strange turn of events with her but not sure how. Maybe, he thought, if he just dipped one foot in, eased up to the ankle, and tested the waters, they might be doing the back stroke in no time.

"Look, Faith, I'm really sorry. I actually have been working on the case but just in a roundabout sort of way. I really want to talk to you about it, but I need you to keep an open mind. Will you do that? Promise?"

Faith nodded warily, uncrossed her arms and leaned forward. "Yeah, I promise. At this point I would be willing to consider the killer was a leprechaun flying in the windows on a wave of fairy dust. So whatcha got?"

Spike took a deep breath. If ever there was, in the history of mankind, a true "what the fuck" moment, this was it.

"Well, I met this young man. He has a certain talent for reading people, understanding their emotions and motivations."

Faith's eyes lit up. "A profiler? The department is kicking out the funds to hire a profiler?"

Spike felt encouraged.

"Yes. That's just what he is. No, this cheap arse department didn't approve money for something that logical, this is a young man who sort of works on his own. He approached me and I've been talking to him for a few days now. I didn't want to say anything to you till I was sure his information might help."

Faith shook her head in an attempt to clear out the confusion. "Free lance? You're working with somebody that just popped up out of the blue and offered to help you solve the case of a serial killer by being  a free lance profiler? Spike, do you know how fucking stupid and suspicious that sounds? Have you checked this guy out? Made sure he has an alibi for the nights of the crimes?"

Spike cringed. Put like that it really did sound bad, unfortunately psychic wood carver sounded a hell of a lot worse.

"Come on now. Open mind. You promised, remember? He's just very intuitive. He's uncanny in his ability to read peoples motivations and I really think he can help us understand the killer and why he's committing these crimes."

Faith threw up her hands and slumped back in her chair. "Fine. So what does Dr. Freud think is driving our boy to slaughter these innocent women and then leave........FUCK! Spike, please tell me you didn't discuss the you know what with him."

Spike looked offended. Still, he couldn't stop the shudder that ran through his body when he remembered Xander smelling the roses. Even though he had come to believe in the boy, this type of affirmation was unnerving.

"No. Of course not. Geesh Faith, give me a little credit. Look, he just has some insight into people like this and offered some ideas and maybe a new direction we could look. It isn't like we're doing so great on our own. I don't know about you, but I'm not so proud or arrogant to refuse help, no matter where it comes from."

Faith had to admit he was right. What could it hurt to just listen?

Relieved, Spike continued. "Xander thinks this might be personal. He suggested we look into this guy being someone connected to one of us. At first I thought maybe it could be somebody we arrested or came into contact with professionally but the more I listened to him the more another idea started to form. Listen, all of these girls were killed late at night. Even though they were alone and didn't know the killer they were comfortable letting him in their homes. Why the hell would they feel safe letting a stranger in? When I read over your report from the last victim the neighbor said the only ones he saw at her door were the cops and her boyfriend. He said it in that order. He didn't say the boyfriend found the body and then the cops showed up, he said....."

Faith's eyes got big and she slapped her hand over her mouth. After a moments hesitation she leaned in and whispered.

"You think the killer is a cop? Holy Fuck, Spike!"

Part Twenty-Four

Faith jumped up and ran to the office door to make sure it was secured and there was no chance of them being over heard. "Damn, Spike, give a girl a little warning before you drop a bomb like that. You really think it's possible?"

Faith continued to pace restlessly back and forth in front of Spike's desk. She wanted to be outraged. She wanted to tell him to go fuck himself but something was stopping her. Something settling in her gut like a ten pound sack of fertilizer.

Suddenly she hopped back in her chair and scooted it up close to the desk where he sat, patiently waiting till she landed.
"O.k., say it's a possibility. How do we go about finding out without anyone picking up on the direction our investigation is going. Do we go to Giles?"

Spike shook his head. "No. We don't tell anyone. Not yet. I mean, what do we have? Really nothing but a hunch. No, first we need to go back and take another look at everything from this different perspective. First thing I'd like to do is go back and talk to that old man. The neighbor with the peep hole. Um, I hate to ask but would you mind if I brought Xander along? I think he might be able to help, besides, I'd really like you to meet him."

Faith stared at her partner. There was something else going on here and she just couldn't put her finger on it. She had never seen Spike so into anyone. The way his eyes sparkled and his cheeks flushed whenever he said the man's name.....
it almost appeared, Faith scratched her head, and concluded it must be her imagination. After all the only person in the station house who was a bigger cockhound than Spike was that sleazy Liam O'Connor.

"Yeah, sure, give him a call. Hell, anything that helps. Listen, I'm going to run to my office and make a couple calls. If you get hold of him let me know and we can hit the road as soon as he's ready."

Spike waited till she was gone before picking up the phone. He fought down the excited tingle he was certain was a teenaged girl thing and hoped his voice was able to maintain a normal tone without cracking.

There was no need to locate the card. He knew the number by heart. One ring. Spike tapped his pen impatiently on the desk. Two rings. Spike stilled all movement and frowned. Three rings. Just as he was about to scream in frustration, toss the phone down and rush over there, it stopped.

"'Ello?" The voice was muffled, slow and sleepy. Spike smiled.

"Morning, Pet. Did I wake you?"

"Hey, Spike. No, well, yeah, but that's o.k. I'm glad you called. Sorry I conked out on you yesterday. Sometimes it really drains me."

"'s'all right. I'm just glad you're better this morning. Say, Pet, I have a bit of a favor to ask. My partner and I are going over to reinterview a possible witness to the last victim. He is really old and I wondered if you would like to come along. You know, see if he knows something he just doesn't remember. What do you think?"

"I think hell yes! So, um, you're in your office? The office where I first came to see you?"

Spike was a little confused. "Yeah, that's where I am. Why?"

"Is your door shut? Are you alone?" Automatically Spike glanced up and saw that, yes, Faith had closed the door on her way out.

"It's closed. What's buzzin' about in your brain, Love?"

"Oh not much. I was just lying here wishing you were with me. You know I don't wear anything to bed. All warm and naked here." Xander stretch-strained his body like a cat in the sun.

Spike's mouth fell open. He couldn't believe what Xander apparently had in mind. Unfortunately his cock had tossed his vote in and was already starting to twitch.

"XANDER! Are you insane? I have no intention of having phone sex with you while I'm sitting at my OFFICIAL desk. It's out of the question! It's not going to happen! I'm on duty, Xander!"

Spike did not hang up the phone.

Xander chucked deeply, a sound that shot through Spike's body and landed in his pants with a 'plop'. "That's o.k. You don't have to do anything. I just woke up with this annoying stiff, thick hard on and the memory of a lovely dream of you. You don't have to do anything, just talk to me while I do."

Spike groaned and let his hand slide down to the front of his suit pants pressing his hand firmly against the tent that already protruded. "What do you want me to say?" Spike's voice was breathless.

"Um, just talk police talk to me. I'm all coated with KY and it feels so good just stroking. Easy, slow, I don't want to cum yet. Talk to me Spike. Say something about serving and protecting."

The throbbing in his balls was becoming uncomfortable and Spike tried justifying what he was about to do by telling himself that if he didn't free his cock immediately the leaking would cause an embarrassing stain on the front of his pants.

Spike unzipped himself and struggled to free his rock hard cock just seconds before the thick bubble dribbled down the side. His brain floated in a fog and tried to comply with Xander's request. Finally he said the only official police thing he could think of. "You have the right to remain silent!"

Xander gasp. "Yeah, that's it."

"Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law." Spike lifted his balls out and widened his legs. Quickly rummaging in his top desk drawer he located a small bottle of hand lotion he remembered Faith leaving there and he poured some in his hand. He heard the breathing on the other end become quicker, more shallow.

"You have the right to have an attorney present during any questioning."

Spike could hear Xander moan softly and the wet sound of skin slapping briskly against skin. "I can't afford a lawyer, Officer."

Spike groaned and tucked a handkerchief around the base of his cock to keep the dripping lotion and precum from soaking his pants. He gripped the phone tightly and his strokes picked up speed. "If you can't afford an attorney one will be appointed for you at the court's expense. Do you understand your rights as I have explained them to you?"

"Uh,Uh, yes sir. I understand. Will I be in trouble if I don't speak to you?" Xander could already feel the slight tingle in his thighs and balls he knew it wouldn't take much more.

Spike's cock ached almost painfully. He wanted Xander's lips back where they belonged. He wanted to rush over there. He wanted the hand wrapped around his cock to be larger, calloused, ten degrees hotter.

"You refuse to make a statement now and you will find yourself locked in a 6x6 cell looking at the world through steel bars! You don't play with the cops, Boy. Do I need to come over there and slap the cuffs on you myself?"

"OH, DAMN!! OH YES!!" Xander held it off just long enough to make it a bit painful before allowing the rush to slam through him. Dropping the phone away from his ear his head fell back into the pillow and his cock pumped copious amounts of hot, thick cum onto his stomach, pooling in the small little inny of a belly button.

The mental visual of his boy, naked, hard and jacking off to a telephone call from Homicide Detective William Pratt sent Spike shooting into his hand and over the edge of the chair onto the floor.

Spike laid the receiver of the phone down on the desk while he rode out the aftershocks of the naughty phone sex. He closed his eyes and let the wonderful waves of passion flush through him.

When the blood slowly seeped back into his brain he quickly fumbled to clean himself up and stuff his half hard member back out of sight. He could NOT believe he had just done that.

"Spike? Spike? Hey, you still there?"

Snatching the phone up, Spike growled, "Yes I'm here. That could have been very embarrassing! What if we had
been caught?"

Xander laughed easily and stretched, throwing the covers off he sated body.

"We weren't. You worry too much. Give me thirty minutes to shower and eat then pick me up. I can't wait to see you. Bye."

Spike stared at the dead phone. "Prat!" He hung it up.

Part Twenty-Five

Faith had made a quick call to her apartment and satisfied herself that Kennedy was alone and safe. Both women had agreed that next week at the divorce hearing they would petition the court for a TOP against Kennedy's estranged husband.

A Temporary Order of Protection would prevent Elvin from coming within one hundred yards of the women and when he violated it, as they knew he would, it would land him in jail. It was Kennedy's opinion that a few days in lock up may be just what Elvin needed to come to his senses. Faith had her doubts.

The only other issue of real concern was Elvin's threat to shout from the rooftops that two members of the Stark Co. Sheriff's department were carpet munching, lip licking, muff diving lesbos, as he put it.

It was something that scared the shit out of Faith - at first. Now that she had time to think about it, it was almost a relief. She was sick to death of hiding. The lies, the deceit, it was all so stressful that she looked forward to it being over. Her lawyer had secretly checked and assured her that it would be a violation of their constitutional rights to fire them for their sexual orientation.

The taunts and ostricization that was sure to follow could be dealt with. Finally she would be free. But it would be a freedom on her terms. Faith had resolved to come out before next week. Before Elvin had the chance to do it and exert any control over her future. No matter which way the chips fell on this, she would be the one tossing them.

"Hey, you ready?" Faith stuck he head in Spike's office.

Spike jumped like he had been shot and fumbled around, tossing papers in his desk drawer hoping she didn't see the bottle of lotion. "Yeah, sure, ready, o.k."

Faith stepped in and shut the door behind her. "What the fuck is wrong with you? You look flushed and fevered. You're not coming down with something are you? If you got something don't you dare give it to me."

Spike laughed. He didn't think homosexuality was contagious. Faith had nothing to worry about. "No, I'm fine. Are you ready to go? We're going to have to take your car. Mine's too small for the three of us." Spike jumped and rushed out of the room, glancing down quickly to make sure the front of his slacks was chaste and innocent. Faith frowned.

The morning drive had been short but strange. Faith was surprised at the sight of the young man waiting by the curb at the front of the old warehouse. She had expected older. She had expected a professional man. She had expected...........not what she got.

Spike's face had brightened and shone in a way Faith had never seen before when they picked him up. The introductions were done with a tone of pride and Spike spent the entire trip glancing and making small talk with the very unremarkable looking boy in the back seat. For some odd reason the name Rasputen popped into Faith's brain.

Parking in front of the brownstone, Faith led the way to the latest crime scene. Bypassing the apartment manager, the three went directly to the door facing the one that contained the horror of the murder. With no verbal conversation between them, each knew instinctively what their roles with the old man would be. Spike rang the bell.

"Yes? Who is it? What do you want?"

Spike stepped back from the door and held up his badge so that the occupant could see both it and it's owner. Glancing back over his shoulder he realized if the killer was a cop, that is exactly what he would have done.

The sound of several locks being released preceded the opening of the door.

"Good morning Mr. Harvey. Do you remember me? Detective St. John? I spoke to you the morning of the tragedy with your neighbor."

A look of recognition filled the old man's face and it wrinkled up in a relaxed smile. The door swung open wide and the three were invited in. "Yes, yes, of course. Please come in. Excuse the mess. My daughter comes in to help out once a week, but I think she's forgotten lately."

The small apartment was cluttered with weeks of newspapers and the empty Styrofoam containers used by the Methodist Church's meals on wheels. The daughter's amnesia was not short term. Spike took out his note pad as Faith led the old man over to the sofa.

A short discussion established that yes, it was a cop first, then the boyfriend discovered the body about an hour later. Spike motioned the three to the side.

"Xan, how about you talk to the witness for a bit while Faith and I check this out. Faith I want you to watch through the peep hole while I go to the victims door. Tell me what you see when I step back to show my badge."

The others nodded and Faith and Spike moved into position. Xander returned to the witness and sat with him on the couch. The sadness and loneliness of the old man broke Xander's heart.

"How long ago did your wife pass?"

The old man was surprised by the question but realized that the apartment was full of her pictures. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume she was his wife. Still, it was the last thing he expected to be asked but the first thing he had wanted. He longed to talk about her but no one would listen. It was all that he thought about these days.

"It's been nearly eight years now. We were married almost sixty-two years." The old man laughed. "For the first thirty-seven her family still insisted it wouldn't last."

Xander chuckled and glanced over the old man's shoulder at the lovely face of the woman who had never left his side.

The smile and joy soon slipped and Mr. Harvey leaned close. "I miss her so much. I try to believe. Mary was so strong in her faith and I try to believe all the things she used to say, but I'm so afraid I'll never be with her again. What's the point of living all these long lonely years if there's nothing at the end of it?"

Xander gently took the old man's weathered, bent hands in his. The heat and strength soothed the arthritic knuckles and instantly eased the constant pain.

"Don't ever lose faith, Mr. Harvey. Mary is here with you now. She has never left you and she waits patiently for you.
She says you took such good care of her. Cleaned her, fed her....," Xander fell silent for a moment then laughed and returned his attention to the hopeful old man.

"She says she even forgives you for giving her teeth to charity?"

For a moment, the old man feared his feeble heart would surly stop from shock. The tears welled in his eyes. There was no way the boy could have known. Mary had been so sick and he tried to clear away some of the clutter. He donated several boxes of glassware to the Salvation Army and hadn't realized that the little flowered cup in the bathroom contained her teeth.

Together they drove down to retrieve them. A beautiful sunny day, it was their last outing. She had passed a week later.

Spike and Faith rushed over to where Xander rocked the old man in his strong arms. A shake of Xander's head told them to leave it alone and they backed away. After a few minutes and the promise to return, Xander released the man and stood with his friends.

Mr. Harvey struggled to his feet to see them to the door. At the last minute he clutched Xander's sleeve in his weak shaky hand.

"How long? Please, Son, how long.?'

Xander patted the hand lovingly. "Soon, Mr. Harvey, very soon."

It was an answer that brought great relief and joy to the wrinkled, weathered face, and he nodded. "Thank you."

Back Index Next

Feed the Author

Visit the Author's Livejournal

Home Categories New Stories Non Spander