on now Rupert, be reasonable.”
being very reasonable Spike.”
I’m a lone wolf, I work alone, always have, always will. I don’t need a partner!”
Giles, the editor of the L.A. Herald, 3rd biggest newspaper in Los Angeles, glared at his star photographer. “Spike,
listen to me very carefully. You are our best photographer and you always will be. But this Law Firm story we’ve stumbled
upon is too big for just pictures, we need a text man. Mr. Harris is good, he’s enthusiastic and he has a keen nose
for a story. He sees things that others miss. If you work together, you could be the hottest thing in LA news. However, if
you still insist you don’t need a partner, I’m sure we can find some other story for you to work on, photographing
state fairs, maybe?”
slumped in his chair, Rupert had won this round and they both knew it.
editor turned his attention to the print copy on his desk and Spike realized he had been dismissed. Mumbling a goodbye, Spike
made his way through the busy newsroom and to his desk. It was a good desk in a prime location, next to the large windows
that looked out over downtown Los Angeles, and usually he enjoyed just sitting and taking in the view, but not today.
just wasn’t fair! In the five years he’d been at the Herald, he’d never been partnered with a reporter.
Rupert told him what type of pictures they needed and he went out and got them, simple as that. “Bloody hell, stupid
Spiiike.” Drusilla, the loony bird who wrote the horoscopes, flitted over to his desk. “There’s a puppy
here for you Spike, I’ve seen him. All bouncing and eager and sharp little teeth. You’ll have such fun together!”
The waiflike brunette smiled at him and wandered off again. Drusilla was as crazy as they came, but her horoscopes were eerily
accurate, so Rupert kept her on staff, despite her sometimes bizarre ramblings.
Spike could figure out what Dru was talking about, he saw him, making his way towards Spike’s little corner of the newsroom.
Tall, shaggy brown hair, young, maybe early twenties and walking with a bouncing, eager step. He was dressed in a pair of
baggy khaki cargo pants, pockets stuffed full, and a loud Hawaiian print shirt. A broad, goofy smile graced his face.
hell,” Spike swore under his breath, “he’s a bloody child!”
made his way across the crowded newsroom, heading for the scowling blonde in the corner. He kept his trademark goofy grin
firmly in place as he took in his new partner. Spike was everything Xander had expected from L.A.’s hottest news photographer.
Slim, well muscled, chiseled features, ice blue eyes, platinum blonde hair, a smirk gracing his gorgeous face. He looked arrogant
and jaded and he obviously knew it all. Great, Xander gave a small sigh, this is gonna be a blast. Xander stopped in front of Spike’s desk and held out his hand. “Hi! You must be Spike. G-man
told me I’d find you here. I’m Xander, Xander Harris. Well, okay I publish under Alex, it just sounds more professional,
you know? But my friends call me Xander. You can call me Xander if you want. ‘Cuz, you know, we should be friends, seeing
as we’re gonna be working together and all. Can I just say I’m really excited to be working with you? I’ve
seen all your stuff, I think we’ll make a great team.”
brunette finally paused for breath and Spike stared incredulously at the babbling child in front of him. Hm, Dru was right,
Puppy fits him, all bouncing and over-eager. “Bloody ‘ell puppy,
do you ever shut up?”
brunette blinked large brown eyes at him. “Puppy?”
smirked. “It’s what Dru called you.” He gestured over to where Drusilla was swaying in place and talking
to the office plants. “I think she was right. It fits. You’re all bouncy and young and slobbery.”
grin slipped just a little. “Slobbery?” Quickly his grin reaffixed itself. “Oh! I get it. You think I’m
too inexperienced for this! Well don’t you worry about me, I’ve got lots of experience. I was top of my class
at UCLA’s School of Journalism and this isn’t my first out of college job or anything. You can see my portfolio
if you want.”
growled at the boy. “Christ boy! No I don’t want to see your portfolio, calm down.”
sat on the other side of the desk and stared at Spike with his head cocked to the side. “So, I guess it kind of sucks
getting paired with the new guy when you’ve been around for as long as you have.”
grunted and stared out the window, soaking up the autumn sunshine and trying to ignore his new partner.
babbled on. “Yeah. You’ve been around for a few years now; you’ve seen everything, know everything. I must
look really young to you, even though I’m not, I’m like, 25.”
turned shocked eyes on the boy. “Are you implying that I’m old?”
just grinned, shaking his head. “No. Course you never tell anyone your age. I read that in the story about you last
year. It’s just usually people only don’t tell their age when they feel they’re too old, of course usually
only women do that…” Xander trailed off with a frown.
Spike growled at the boy. "I am not old. I'm not jaded, and I'm not a bloody bint!"
Xander grinned, "Course not. Did I say that? I just meant that you'd been around the block a few times, you know?
It must be weird to be paired with someone so new. I've got that newbie energy going for me.
Where as you're settled in the job, used to it. It's harder to get excited about anything with as many years as you've been around anyway. But I’m sure you have plenty of energy. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to wear you out.”
Spike stood up angrily, slamming
his fist onto his desk. “Shut the fuck up whelp. I am NOT old. I’m 29 fer christ’s sake! It will be a cold
day in hell when I can’t keep up with the likes of you!” Suddenly
Spike stopped, his mouth falling open in shock. The boy, this puppy of a boy had actually gotten him to disclose his age!
He closed his mouth with a snap and glared at the boy.
grin never faltered. “Whelp, I guess I like that better than puppy, or boy. Well, if you’re not even thirty, then
I guess we’ll have no trouble keeping up with each other.” The brunette stood and grabbed the notebook he had
been carrying. “Come on, G-man wants us to check out this meeting that Law Firm’s rumored to be having this afternoon.”
turned and headed towards the elevator, the bounce in his step never faltering, despite the daggers that Spike was glaring
at his back.
grabbed his camera bag and followed after his new partner, amusement at the boy’s audacity warring with annoyance and
anger. Christ almighty, what have I gotten myself into now?