Sam was kicked back watching the news when a special report came on. "Um, Dean?" he called. His brother was in the kitchen so he came out to lean on the back of the couch and watch the take down. "Is that Horatio, Detective Tripp, and Xander?"
"And SWAT it looks like," he said. He came around to sit down so they could watch the raid. A few minutes later ambulances pulled up and people started to be brought out. Clearly limping and injured. "Sacrificial rite?"
"Possibly. Hey, that's the failed one they sent into DNA." He considered it. "Hey, Dad?" He appeared, watching it. "Xander a bit pissed about her?"
"Definitely." He watched the action. "His white lighter is there to help protect him. This means the other offices will try to come for him."
"I'm pretty sure we heard that Xander plans," Dean admitted.
"They probably have federal charges too," Sam agreed. "See, FBI." Some rushed in. They were escorted out in cuffs. More showed up and a few of them got cuffed by the rest of the agents still standing. "Oooh. That's messy."
"Very," Dean agreed. "I guess you don't fuck with Tim."
"They're major players on the side of evil, boys. This is going to cause problems."
Dean shrugged. "Not for hunters. Maybe for the lab. Or the PD. Probably for some senators if they're that high."
"Clearly for some agents," Sam added. He sipped his coffee, shaking his head. "That's a huge ass bomb."
"Yeah, glad they didn't set it off," Dean agreed.
John looked up. "They're in the files room. Want me to stay, boys?"
"Go," Dean ordered. "Help the insane one. He could probably use some backing up." Their father swatted him but disappeared to help Xander. The brothers shared a look. They had learned to respect Xander with all the stories they had heard. Pity no one else had listened. "I'm wondering if this not seeing him as dangerous thing that they apparently had was what happened with the people in Cleveland."
"Probably. He does seem like a nice, goofy guy. Oooh, demon." Xander stepped out with an agent and took it down. It fell before it could hurt an ambulance. "Nice action."
"Very. I'll get back there some day soon."
Sam patted him on the arm. "He knows artillery too."
"I can learn that from him," he agreed. He got up to answer the call of their microwave, bringing back the slightly browned popcorn for them to snack on. This was a good show. He called Bobby. "You should see if the takedown of the Miami Wolfram and Hart office is on any other station, Bobby. The lawyers for hell tried to touch Xander's boyfriend." He hung up since Bobby was muttering but heading inside to check. They nibbled, watching the show go on. Suddenly everyone fled. The building started to crumble but the things inside it were still there. "How did they do that?"
"Magic?" Sam suggested.
"Possibly." Xander was stomping over to one and getting into his face to sneer, Horatio and an agent right behind him. "Jeez, Xander's pissed. Tomorrow's going to be a trip in the lab."
"If he doesn't have paperwork all night, Tim'll calm him down."
"He will." He took another few pieces of popcorn to nibble on. Their dad came back. "Done?"
"Yes they are. They set off the special failsafe but both of us stopped it from eating the contents of the file room that had links back to the other offices." Dean held up the bowl of popcorn. "Thanks, son." He sat down on Dean's other side, watching it go off. "They're screwed."
"Clearly," Dean agreed. "In the head too. I'm hoping Tim isn't too mad because I think he was cooking dinner tonight."
Sam called him. "Are you watching tv? Because your boyfriend just went off on the people who tried to separate you two. No, like SWAT, Feds, all sorts of neat stuff, Tim." Tim grumbled but turned on the tv, then let out a yell of anger. "Ooops, sorry. Didn't mean to give bad news, dude." He hung up. On the screen Xander grabbed his phone and winced as apparently someone started to yell at him for it. He walked off talking into it, away from the news vans. Then they heard something like 'guys, I'm in deep if this takes too long since we're having our anniversary dinner tonight'."
A few of the agents gave him dirty looks but Horatio was laughing. The clean up team went back to it. Night shift came in to help. The FBI's lab crews came in too and shooed all the Miami-Dade people off. Horatio and the head lab guy got into a standoff but they had priority processing this time since it clearly was an inter-state matter. They let them handle the things from down here but otherwise, to step off. Horatio had to give in but they did promise, in hearing of the news crews, that they weren't going to let anyone get away this time. No one was going to ignore it this time. The crew that caught that started to shout questions, getting a glare over the sunglasses from Horatio and Xander both.
They stepped back but continued to shout questions. One asked Xander about his anniversary so he quipped and said it was their sixth and he had plans but his boy was now pissed as hell. But they had tried to touch him earlier. A few agents gave him dirty looks for that so he smirked back. They got back to work. Xander even got to help process with Horatio. They knew they worked up to Federal standards and hated to work with them but they'd let them. Then a hidden room came into the open when Xander opened the door. He also disabled the traps and handed them to SWAT. Not happy for the lawyers shrieking off to the side. Xander just smirked at them before going in.
"Oooh," John winced. "He's pissed. I didn't think anyone had a temper like your mom, boys."
Dean smirked at him. "She did?"
"I have a few good scars from her being pissed at me, son. I block those memories out." He ate another bite of popcorn. John Hagen faded in. "No more danger?"
"The ones on high are going to order Xander out of there soon. To let it fall where it does. The Powers aren't that happy. Don't know *why*."
"The Powers like balance," Sam told him.
"The guys in San Francisco said that Xander had to make his own plea for a white lighter that wouldn't kill him because he had screwed up a prophecy or something so they didn't like him."
"Try six or seven," John said dryly. "They don't take him into account so it's their own fault." The agents found more evidence and took the case totally from Miami-Dade. Horatio tried to argue but they showed him why so they bowed out. They made sure Horatio knew that he could have it back if they failed. Xander glared at them for that. They promised so he and Horatio walked off with Frank following. SWAT had to stay in case more bombs were found. They had found another room of hostages too. Hagen smirked. "That's my boy. Damn the kid's fierce when he goes into 'fuck with what's mine' mode." He looked at the boys. "That's why you were sent to intern with him. They decided you two were a lot like that too."
Dean smirked. "Yes we are."
Sam nodded. "We hate it when things screw with us."
"Good. Tim's going to be chewing Xander a new one for postponing dinner. But Xander's going to be celebrating. I'll make sure they make it in tomorrow." He faded out to talk to Tim. "Feds took it over totally."
"I saw and heard." He looked up. "Paperwork?"
"Nope. Horatio's giving him a ride home."
Tim smirked. "Good enough." He went back to his cooking. "He good?"
"Happy. He's calling Angel to brag. Angel's swearing," he said with a fond grin.
"Even better." He called out there. "Tell whoever's not arrested on that coast thank you for screwing with my relationship with Xander, Connor. I knew my boy loved me and taking down that big of an evil proved it to me for our anniversary. It's a great present." He said that to his father, who walked off ranting. He heard female cackling and smiled. "Dawn's enjoying it too I hear. Nope, don't call later tonight. He'll be busy." He hung up. "Shoo, John."
"Don't want to watch you two go at it anyway." He faded, going to bother Maxine. She was single. She was microwaving dinner. She smirked at him. He turned on the tv. "They screwed with Tim."
"I knew Xander wouldn't let it go." She sat down to watch the replay of information and the current goings on. "Yeah, Tim's going to make him pay for making their dinner wait."
"The Feds took it over fully so Horatio drove him home. Tim told me he wouldn't be walking right tomorrow."
"Which one?" She ate another bite.
"Don't know but I don't need to either." She giggled, nearly snorting her pasta out her nose.
"I swear, he walked in last night and said 'honey, I slayed the great evil, can I have some dinner and cuddles in reward'," Tim complained to Maxine. Who was giggling as she leaned against their shared table. "Seriously! Then he snuggled in like nothing had happened. Even when Angel called to growl at us."
She gave him a hug. "You did good with him, Tim. He's a good boy."
"Yeah, he is most of the time. Now and then my goofball is seriously uptight though." She pinched him, making him yelp. "Easy!"
"I wondered which of you wouldn't be able to sit this morning," she teased.
"Neither of us. I came so close to spanking him, Maxine."
"He went to other agents who were frustrated that they couldn't bust them too, Tim. They were already trying to get him. He was the safest person to do it."
"Still overly macho. I expected him to swing in on a vine last night."
"If you ask he might dress up for you," she teased.
He blushed. "Don't give him any ideas."
"Fine." She gave him another hug. "Was it a good celebration?"
"After I got over my urge to spank him. Yeah," he admitted with a half-grin. "Not bad."
"Which is why you can't sit," she teased.
She giggled and went to check on him. "Xander, do you need any tylenol?"
He blushed, shaking his head. "No thanks, I'll just stand today, Max. Is Tim okay?"
She gave him a hug. "He's fine. He complained that you went super macho last night. Said he expected you to swing in on a vine."
He shivered. "That's a dirty thought." He considered it.
She poked him. "No dirty thoughts around me, Xander. I might want to watch." He blushed, shaking his head. "Good boy." She left, going back to her lab. "Baby him tonight."
"I think we'll both be soaking tonight." Horatio walked in, staring at him. "I'm fine."
"You're not sitting," he said with a mild grin.
"Neither's he. Did Calleigh want to spank you too, H?" He blushed but nodded. "Good! Next time, take more than SWAT."
"I will. I doubt it'll be a problem for a while." He walked off to check on Xander. "Xander?" He blushed but looked up, ducking his head some. "The agents are going to come in to ask some questions later."
"That's fine. I figured they'd want to know why Angel had taken over the LA office with his crew."
"I hadn't thought about that. They probably will ask." Xander nodded. "Good. Are you ...all right?" he asked, looking him over. Xander blushed bright red. "Need some tylenol?"
"No, I think we'll try the bubble bath cure later," he said, turning brighter red.
"That's fine then. Let me know if you have to head home due to soreness." He walked off, going to meet the agents coming in. "Xander is in ballistics. He thought you might be asking him why his former hunting team took over the LA office for a bit."
"We did find that information. Plus their file on you, Caine."
"They had one?" It was handed over. Horatio read it over. "Interesting." He handed it back. "Do not let that get out?"
"I saw. I won't. Can we borrow your office or should we use an interrogation room?"
"Use my office." He showed him up there. "How many are staying in custody?"
"The judges that gave use warrants refused them all bail. They said there was a high risk of them trying to retaliate."
"I'm sure there is." He paged Xander up there. "Here you go." He left to give them some privacy.
"Sit, CSI Harris."
"Um, I'd rather not today."
"Sorry, forgot you had an anniversary last night. Your boyfriend very mad?"
Xander shrugged. "He wanted to spank but I talked him out of it," he offered with a grin. "They gave Angel the LA office for a while."
"I saw that." He looked at him. "I also found your file." Xander shrugged. "You knew they had one?"
"Figured they did. Is it actually right?"
He let him see it. "You tell me." He stared at him. "Why was that one incident, if it is correct, never investigated?"
"The base commander saw why." He looked at him. "We got a nice tape in the mail from the mall with us during the cleaning up and a note saying 'next time don't use our base'." He went back to looking it over. "One inaccuracy. My plans." He kept going, nodding and pointing at something. "I did pass that class. Someone hacked in to try to change my grades but we got them." He made note of that too. He kept going. "Hmm, they even list Tim." He handed it back. "I did what I had to do and most people who know about Sunnydale and Angel helping protect LA know that. There's a whole precinct of cops that've seen us having to handle things."
"We heard that from the LA branch." He stared at him. "We also classified that incident with the base." Xander beamed at that, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Plenty of people would like it if you would move back to the strange people."
"They dumped me because of my eye after that battle. They told me I was useless. I'll be damned and every time they come down here it's been an issue."
"I saw that."
"Also there are hunters who do roam."
"I've heard rumors. Thankfully you're covered with that little speciality degree of yours." He stared at him. "Your present interns?"
"Are very cool. I like them a lot. Why?" He grinned. "I'm sure they don't have a file."
Xander shrugged. "Sometimes the calling needs you outside the full spectrum of the light."
"Good point." He stared at him. "I want to tell them to stay in this field. That going back to their old ways would be...dangerous and get noticed."
"That's between you and them. I'm not their mouthpiece. Threatening probably won't help you though."
"Good point. Can you pass that on?"
"Understood." He stared at him. "Thank you for breaking some of the lower of us out of enforced stasis on that matter, Mr. Harris."
"They tried to touch what was mine. Even their file says it's not a good idea. They should've listened."
"I asked one why. He thought you were Officer Wolfe. The others nearly killed him for that. Apparently some heard why you were the wall behind the slayer out in Sunnydale."
"Too bad no one told her." He shrugged. "I'm always happy to make the world safer for peaceful beings of any species."
"Good. That's what we want to hear. By the way, did you know where your present ranking is?" Xander shook his head. He handed over an envelope. "This year's tech rankings."
"What about that delusional DNA tech that tried to say I compromised stuff?"
"She was yelled at when she tried to push it earlier. They said they brainwashed her and compelled her." Xander nodded once. "No clue."
"Sam said he tried holy water, it didn't work."
"It didn't when the hunter we have tried it. He went to the same school."
"Decent. Less work for me. I wanted to retire before they forced me to go."
He smirked. "Gladly, Mr. Harris. You're on reserve as far as we're concerned. Except for spring break and the holiday issues." Xander grinned and walked out. "Send him up here please?"
"Sure." He walked into ballistics. "Dean, wanted in the office to answer a few questions."
"I think they had your family's file."
"Probably not good," he muttered, walking up there, leaning on his cane up the stairs. "You wanted to see me?" he asked as he walked in.
"Mr. Winchester." He looked him over. "Some of us have went through the same program you did. Not me personally but I was in the LA office for a good bit. I actually saw what was going on out there before I transferred somewhere safer." Dean nodded. "One of us who trained in the same program noted that your family had a past...history with the same sort of skills."
"We did hunt, yes."
"We also know that someone gave you some help with a certain set of files, kid." He stared him down. "As a warning, not an order but a warning, if you or your brother should go back into the field instead of staying in this one. Meaning roaming around doing it the way you did before the accident, not the field hunting you can do that's covered by the degree. If you should, then there would be those who would take faster notice. Because techs with your skills get found and watched. Especially if they drop out of sight because the higher ups think that you've changed sides."
Dean nodded once at that. "Thank you for that warning, sir."
"I'm not trying to be mean, Mr. Winchester. I know that you and Harris and probably the rest of your family consider this a calling. I'm all for taking care of those things. But you've now got bullets next to your name for being so good."
Dean smirked. "But this way we still get to hunt."
"Yes you do. Legitimately. It may not cover for others, but the ones who know are increasing after the last few apocalypses that've happened on the west coast. This year's in Cleveland nearly got the city eaten as well. The whole federal building up there was very unhappy when they suddenly got enlightened by the city being transported off plane to become snacks. When they fixed it, they still remembered so they were not happy agents."
"I didn't figure any would be if they found out anyway."
"No, you guys cure problems for us. We realize that if we know about it. But with you being so good in your chosen field and your brother being so good in his, there's no way you won't get noticed if you quit and go back to roaming."
"So staying in the field to hunt both sorts of monsters works, covers our asses, and gives us a nifty paycheck," Dean finished.
He smiled. "Exactly. The same as Harris does. Though we'd love it if more people went to handle Cleveland before it drives us nuts."
"They have a whole lot up there."
"I heard. I also heard why Harris won't go up there. I can agree with his reasons. I just wanted to warn you. In case the topic came up sometime in the future, like when you do make it off that cane."
Dean nodded. "We'll take that into consideration."
"Thank you, Mr. Winchester. How are you enjoying Miami?"
"I love the sun and the beaches," he said dryly. "I can even get Sammy laid so he's less uptight." He smirked at that. "We done?"
"We're good." He nodded and left. The agent sat down to go over the other files of the people he needed to talk to. Tim Speedle walked in and shut the door. "I didn't need to see you, Detective Speedle." He looked up. "Thank you for tempering his temper and attention deficit issue."
"You worked in LA until when?"
"The invasion. I left for more sane shores."
"Miami usually is."
"I've seen that. Is he happy?"
"I try my best."
"Good." He handed him the file. "He said they got a few things wrong."
"I saw it as a vision."
"Are you still like his present one?"
"No. I descended."
"I understand. He's a special young man. Try to keep him calm? He scared some people yesterday when he grabbed that piece of artillery and went after that demon."
"I saw that on replay."
"Good. Then I'll leave you and his present one to handle him." He took the file back. "Do have a good relationship. I hope you both stay happy with it." Tim nodded and left with a smirk. He went to find Horatio to go over what was found.
Dean walked into trace, pulling Sam out into the hallway to talk to him. "I just got warned that if we left doing it this way, people would definitely notice because we're now considered too good to ignore," he said quietly. "That doing it this way covered our asses nicely and gave us a paycheck that wouldn't create any new files."
Sam nodded. "I figured if someone knew why they were bad, they would've drawn a link back to us, Dean. Just a warning?"
"Clearly he wanted to order it but he probably knew we'd get very stubborn."
Sam nodded. "Well, if you do get back to fully able to hunt the old way, we'll make that decision." Dean nodded at that, relaxing some. "Until then, this is a killer paycheck once we're out of our internship. We can save tons of money."
"Good point." He looked around then at him. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. This current case is going to annoy me to death." Dean grinned. "Thanks for the head's up, Dean."
"Jerk, go back to work before someone thinks we're making out again," he teased back with a grin. Dean walked off smirking. Sam went back into trace, weathering the looks his way. "The agent told Dean something that he thought I should hear," he said finally.
Eric coughed. "Some of us are aware of what Xander learned out in San Francisco, Sam."
Sam looked at him. "I'm sure you were. He told us that." He grinned. "The agent wanted us to encourage others to go this way and to stay hunting this way."
"It's probably better and you can do it legally," Eric agreed quietly. "We've seen some of the roaming hunters working down here in the past. Even before Xander got here." He gave him a pointed look. Sam kept grinning. "It's probably a lot easier to do it this way. We pay you while letting you help us by using those skills to catch guys like this one."
"We know. That's why we agreed to do it." He shrugged. "It's a shelved topic until Dean can fully run again."
"Good." He grinned and relaxed. "Xander okay with them?"
"Yeah. Apparently he's fine. He's in ballistics with the radio on."
"Even better." He got back to work. He heard the small growl at a test result. "Channel the frustration into the interrogation, Sam. Find a way to smoothly threaten without anyone realizing that you're tripping them up." He looked at him. "Every crook thinks that they're smooth. That arrogance is what brings them down."
Sam nodded. "Thanks, Eric."
"Welcome. We don't mind mentoring good interns. We hate it when we get substandard ones like that one from DNA."
"They pulled her out of the building last night. Did you see?"
"I did. I'm kinda hoping that she's been cured."
"No, they think she was mentally coerced," Xander said as he walked in. "Take it as the warning it was, Sam, not an absolute order. Only you two can decide that. Your ...friend is helping mine today with that spirit. Apparently he's feeling guilty about something. Since I don't want to be possessed, they can't figure out what. He thinks you can?"
"I don't know if I can or not."
"Can you try? He's freaking out the patrol officers."
"I can do that. Coming?"
"Sure. I'll be possessed as a last resort. Tim'll baby me if I am." He walked off with him. "Behave while I'm gone. Dean's in charge," he called into ballistics. They walked into the detective's unit a few minutes later, staring at the ghost.
Sam moved closer and stared at it. "Tell me." It stared at him then moved closer to babble at him. He blinked. "Hold on. Slower. You killed them and buried them then killed yourself? Where and who are they?" The ghost babbled at him some more. "Thank you for telling us. We'll make sure they're given proper honors. Why did you do it?" The ghost slumped and said something. "Let the others help you off. We'll gather them and be respectful." The ghost faded out. He took a piece of paper and a pencil from someone, writing down what the spirit had told him, handing it over. "He killed his family in a moment of jealous rage, then buried them in his former house. Then he killed himself when he realized what he had done. He's feeling guilty. Make sure they get properly identified and buried for him please." The detective nodded. He walked off with Xander. "That sucks."
"It does but you see a lot of that sometimes," Xander said, patting him on the back. "The same as now and then you see a peaceful demon that had to kill someone to protect himself or his family." Sam looked at him. Xander nodded. "I had one last month. The human had seen him, decided he was going to be bigoted because he was slightly purple and had an antenna. So he decided to try to burn them down in their house. The demon stopped him."
"That's not the demon's fault."
"No, it's not. So what do you do?"
"I don't know," Sam admitted.
Xander smiled. "I didn't either. I did talk to Horatio and the overlord about it. They decided to make him move somewhere safer. Somewhere his kids could forget they had gotten targeted. They moved into a demon safe commune up-county. He has a good job here."
"There are? We never ran into other types before the accident. I found out in LA by walking into a bar."
"Yeah, Lorne said he had met you." He grinned. "He helps Angel sometimes too." He patted him on the back again. "It comes down to we do what we have to do to protect the most people, Sam. The same as arresting someone for killing the person attacking them isn't really fair. That's not for us to decide. That's for a judge. We just find out who did it. When we're hunting, it's a bit more of our call."
"That's something we have to think about."
Xander nodded. "I ran into that ethical issue plenty. Including vamps who were people I used to like." They walked back into the lab. "Go back to work. Let them find it so they can call the ME." Sam nodded, going to head back to the lab. "Lunch is in an hour."
"Sure, Xander. Thanks."
Xander walked into ballistics. "Why don't you and Sam take lunch together?"
"We usually try to. Why? What did the spirit want?"
"To bury his family that he killed."
"He killed himself when he stopped and realized what he had done."
"I guess that's decent of him so he didn't hurt anyone else. Still."
Xander nodded. "The world isn't black and white. We see more of the ethically gray area than nearly everyone else around here. Even when we feel more sorry for the perp than the victim." He pointed at a case. "Like that one." Dean looked at the report Xander had been working on before going out. Then he stared at him in horror. "It's not my call to make. I can help them. I can't do more than nudge the prosecutor. Because that's stepping outside and taking justice into my hands."
Dean nodded. "I can understand how badly that sucks, Xander."
Xander nodded. "And you'll get it on both sides." He looked at his interns. "Some cases will rip at you for years," Xander told them. "It's nothing you can control. My ballistics case that I was working on earlier, when I got fingerprints I knew who had done it. The kid was shooting the person who broke into his house to steal him. I can't do more than nudge the prosecutor because we have to let Justice take its course. Even when it sucks ass."
"But that's the hardest part of doing the job," Horatio said from behind him. Xander looked back and nodded. "Justice still usually works to free those who shouldn't be hurt for protecting themselves. No system's perfect but the kid will beat himself up for years for that, Xander. You know that."
"I do." He handed over the report. "Still sucks ass."
"It does. Why don't you guys take lunch as soon as you finish your current report." Xander nodded, going to find Tim for a hug. "We've all had cases like that. Field techs get it worse. Lab techs only see bits and pieces of the cases, not the full thing. We'll all think back on these, even after we've quit or retired. Some of them will haunt you because justice didn't work. In those instances, you can talk to the other techs. We've all been here." He went to check on them, finding Calleigh working in trace with Eric and Sam. "He finished the report, Calleigh."
She looked at him. "I feel sorry for the kid, Horatio."
"We'll nudge the prosecutor. That's all we can do. That and make sure the boy gets the help he needs to handle it."
She nodded. "It still sucks." Eric looked at her. "My last case had a child shooter protecting himself."
He gave her a one-armed hug. "They do suck but we're here too, Calleigh. We all have them." She nodded, letting him let go of her so she could get back to work. "Xander?"
"Hopefully discretely making Tim hug him." He smiled. "Sometimes that is the best balm in these situations." He patted Calleigh on the back, letting her have the report so she could handle it. She smiled weakly and went to talk to the boy and his parent. Plus the prosecutor. "If you run into ethical debates like that, we will listen," he reminded the other techs. Then he went up to his office.
Sam looked at Eric. "It happens often?"
"About every hundred cases you get someone who was protecting themselves or something similar. Someone who had a good reason to do it that makes you feel sorry for them. Last year I had to arrest a rape victim who shot her attacker when he was trying to come after her again. She got off, but she still had to go through the system."
"That does suck."
"The system's not perfect. We're human the same as they are."
Sam nodded. "But you have support."
"We do. H is really good to talk to when you have ethical issues. He sees more than the black/white line that most people see."
"I'll remember that." He looked down then at him. "Do you think they'll be retaliating against Xander for doing that?"
"Maybe but most of them are in jail. Including all the people who they were blackmailing from what the news this morning said. If they do, we'll back them up. The lab's like a family, Sam."
Sam nodded. "I can understand that." He got back to work. Maybe it'd work out okay after all.
Xander woke up panting, glaring at the ceiling. "Try it and watch the whole line die," he hissed.
"Why did you get a white lighter if you have visions?" Tim mumbled, still half asleep.
"You're my reward for putting up with Buffy, Angel, and passing quantum mechanics," he said in his ear, kissing him on it too. Speed smiled at that, drifting off again. Xander calmed himself, sending himself out of his body. He saw John Hagen giving him the oddest look. "Have to have a chat. Be right back. Watch Tim for me." He disappeared, landing in front of the Oracles. "You know, you'd think after all this time, you'd have accounted for me in the plans. Really."
The male oracle gave him an odd look. "How are you doing that? You are not a white lighter or a chosen."
"You so sure about that?" Xander asked dryly. He crossed his arms over his chest. "I do have visions. After you guys decided Cordy wasn't good enough because you forgot how fragile humans are, I was Angel's seer." They both shook their heads. "Yeah, I was."
"The Messenger gave him information still."
"And I still had visions for him. You might wanna check, people." He stared at the female Oracle. "Beyond that, are you sure I'm not a white lighter?"
"You have not died."
"You're not the only powers out there." They both looked alarmed. "Pity, but yeah," he said with a wave. "It was nice that I somehow survived my car being blown up around me on my road trip. Huh?" He stared them down. "Now, sending an apocalypse to Miami is really dumb. The girls won't be able to fix it. The citizens of Miami will only have me, two other hunters, one who's injured, and two white lighters, plus one descended one."
"They cannot descend once they are chosen," the male said, still looking confused.
"Again, not the only power in the universes," he said, holding up the palm he had cut to sacrifice and bond Tim to him with his blood. "I know you guys really want balance and all that shit, but maybe you guys should take a bit of look at reality. Your chessboard got overturned *years* ago. Especially since the apocalypse showed us riding horses," he said dryly. "We haven't done that in over a century."
"You cannot be a white lighter. You were not chosen by a champion."
"Yet I backed up slayers, I backed up Angel, and then I became the only Knight in Miami," he said dryly. "Now I teach others." He smirked at their horrified looks. "Yeah, I saw that one. That's what got me wondering how I survived the car blowing up around me." He grinned a bit, then snarled and turned to hit someone. "Hey, Angel." He looked at them again with a mean smirk. "So.... You wanted to do what to my city that I'll have to stop since the slayers won't be able to handle it?"
"The slayers can and will. It is their duty," the female assured him.
"The slayers are still trapped in Cleveland by the way they closed the hellmouth the last time. None of them who were there can leave the city. Since almost all of them, all but about ten, were there when it happened.... No, they can't."
The Oracles looked at each other. "That is not right."
"No, that's not what you had *planned*. It's the reality because Willow Sunnydale'd it. Please, take a good look around before making plans? It's what every battle planner has to do. I should know. I did them for slayers plenty of times and for this guy," he said with a head nod back at Angel.
"He is your seer?" the female asked Angel.
"He was. Then he retired to a higher calling. He now protects Miami's citizens and trains others. I'm still wondering why you guys gave him a white lighter. I didn't think he'd need one."
"I didn't but Tim's one of the best things in my life," Xander told him. He looked at them. "Thank you for doing that by the way. I do love Tim."
"How did he descend?" the male asked. "That is not possible." Xander held out his hand, letting him read the spell residue. "He will still die."
"We all die some day," Xander assured him. "I've faced that reality many times." He looked at Angel again. "They're still stuck there, right?"
"They can't find a way out of Cleveland," he agreed. "The spell that bound the hellmouth that time is what's trapping them in. If they break it, it reopens only it goes fully open this time."
"I can send artillery," Xander offered.
"They have some and it hasn't helped yet." He looked at them. "Why did you call me up here?"
"Me," Xander said. "I just had a vision of an apocalypse demon in Miami."
"Miami doesn't have any power points," Angel said, looking confused.
"Exactly. And we were all on horses too. Clearly, someone had flashbacks."
"Could be," Angel admitted.
The Oracles looked at each other. "That is a wise suggestion. We will look at the battlefield again since there is things that have been hidden from us." She stared at him. "You do not need a white lighter however."
"Usually I have John helping me with problems. Tim is my research and backup as well as my lover. John's my link. Right now, we're training another set of hunters with a white lighter. I don't mind John. He's helping his soul get cleaner from the problems he had in life that drove him over the edge." He shrugged. "Please leave Miami alone? We have nothing that would interest you. Especially since Wolfram and Hart are now gone."
"The power behind them stands," the male told him firmly.
Xander nodded. "That's fine. Hopefully they learned not to fuck with what's mine. They cam after Tim. Of course I helped destroy the assholes."
"More manners," Angel ordered.
Xander looked at him. "I'm sure they know the meaning of those words, even used in the more vulgar way, Angel. How's Connor and how did you get brought back?"
"Tell me we don't have another First situation?"
"Not like that."
"Good!" He looked at the oracles. "Am I clear for that apocalypse or do I have to warn the city?"
They disappeared then came back a moment later. "We were looking at the wrong plane's plans," the female said. "We apologize for alarming you."
Xander grinned. "Hey, if we've got legitimate problems, let one of us know. I'm kinda glad Tim doesn't get visions anymore. His gave him headaches. I can handle pain better than he can. And John can't see that well mentally. So please, let us know."
"We shall," the male assured him. "Go in peace."
Xander grinned. "Thanks. And no, I'm not looking forward to that prophecy. It's just not the man I am. They can kiss my ass and you can tell them that."
"We will pass along that message as well," the female assured him. "It seems that the prophecy would not fit you very well."
Xander leaned closer. "They never took a good look at me. Wolfram and Hart had my file and still mistook me for another officer. You guys didn't plan for me to be there, even when I was, so I had to screw up prophecies. I didn't *want* to piss you off but you guys made it happen."
"We realize the error," the female told him.
Xander beamed. "Thank you. And we won't hurt Tim or John?"
"No, it appears you learn much from them. Including manners and caution," the male said firmly.
Xander beamed. "Thanks, guys. Great having this talk with you." He closed his eyes and concentrated. "Angel, get Connor some wards before that demon decides to make him knock up Dawn again?" He disappeared, going back to his body. He ran into both Johns on the astral plane. "Hi." He grinned. "Let me go back to sleep. If Sam got a vision of an apocalypse in Miami, it won't be happening. I pointed out things were different, including the fact that we don't all ride horses anymore." He faded back into his body and turned to snuggle into Tim's back, realizing he was cold. He checked, he had a pulse. The air conditioner was up too high so he got up to turn it down and crawled back in to snuggle and warm his boyfriend up again. Tim was a wonderful reward.
Hagen looked at Winchester. "Did you understand that?"
"A little bit. Looking into what the boy did back in Sunnydale showed me how often certain higher beings forgot he was there."
"I saw it but ... Yeah, I guess he did warp some things. I saw an explosion too. Would that make him one of us?"
"I think he's more like what you said Tim was like when he was a white lighter. I can't be sure though," John Winchester admitted. "I know he's not demonic. I know he's not a full white lighter. Who knows with that kid."
"Good point. How are your boys?"
"Doing all right. Dean's working hard in therapy for his leg. Maybe within a year he'll be off the cane totally."
John considered it. "I don't know. I'd want them to continue to hunt demons but this way they still are. Just less of them."
"Yeah but they're using those skills to hunt the demons and monsters that hurt more people than your kind do every year. It's just as much a calling, Winchester."
"I can see that. You guys have my full respect for doing it. I don't know. I know the boys decided to not think about it until it came true. Then we'll have a talk or get a vision or something I guess. I don't know." He shrugged. "I'm proud. It took me a long time to see that Sam's his own man and just as good as Dean is. I'm spending a lot of time making up for the past."
John nodded. "Me too." He looked down at them, shaking his head. "Cuddly goofball."
Winchester smirked. "He apparently is. Let me check on my boys. See you tomorrow, Hagen."
"Yup. We'll trail them into the field." He faded, going back to his own resting state. He was tired watching Xander do things he shouldn't be able to do.
Winchester checked on his boys, tucking Dean in better before going to lay down on the couch and watch the all night news channel until he fell asleep again.
"So, why did you get a white lighter if you have visions?" Sam asked Xander outside the station the next morning.
Xander shrugged. "I consider Tim my reward for putting up with Buffy and Angel." He watched his boy pull in on his bike. "See? He's a great reward." He grinned at Sam again. "Does that mean you that you decided only Dean got yours?"
"Usually. He nags Dean more now." He shrugged a bit. "Tim?" He came over. "We got the strangest information this morning."
"Yeah, I'm his reward for passing quantum mechanics." He swatted his boy gently across the back of the head. "Pain in my ass."
"At least I'm not a pain in your head."
"True. I didn't hardly have visions with you." He took a kiss. "See you inside." He strolled in.
Sam quit staring at Tim's blatant display of really tight ass, seeing Xander looking amused. "Wasn't watching him, Xander. I promise."
"I know you don't poach and others can appreciate as long as they don't try to touch or take him from me." He grinned. "They also said that Tim shouldn't have been able to descend. But Tim wasn't like the two we presently have, who're a lot more ghostly."
"Dad's a lot more solid than Hagen is now and then," Sam admitted. He considered it. "Who knows. Maybe it'll drive Dad nuts since he'll have to watch us hunt but can't physically help."
"See, Tim couldn't fade out. He could barely orb."
"Huh. That is strange." He shrugged. "As a reward, he seems to be a good one for you." Xander grinned. "Anything you did get from it?"
"They said they were sending for the wrong plane last night. No apocalypse demon."
"Even better." They walked inside and found some people staring at the woman huffing in the middle of the lab. "Hmm. Xander? Can we slay her?"
"She might complain, Sam. Hey, Cordy. How are you?" He grinned. "Take it out of the halls, now." He dragged her off to the ballistics lab and shut them inside.
She stared at him. "You actually had the balls to come up and tell the Powers that they were wrong? How stupid are you?"
He shrugged. "They had us still riding horses, Cordelia. Something wasn't right. And even though I was there, I wasn't there?" She gaped. He shrugged. "I pointed out the faults in that plan of theirs. They said they were looking on the wrong plane."
"I swear God was drunk when he thought you up. There had to be some Godly Tequila involved, maybe even a challenge from another higher being." Her hands went to her hips. "It's the only way to explain how you mess *everything* up."
He shrugged. "If he was, he probably created you and Buffy and all the other cheerleaders with the hangover he had," he shot back. "So?" He grinned. "I'm happy this way. And hey, I even pointed out them being mad at me was their own fault for not seeing others there."
She swatted at him but he ducked it. "You stupid moron. They're the Powers, Xander. They don't get to be wrong."
"Then I wouldn't have gotten a vision for another plane last night," he shot back dryly. "One where we were all riding horses. With slayers who weren't trapped in Cleveland. Now, shouldn't you be reminding Dawn why birth control exists before that demon compels Connor into knocking her up?"
She growled. "They're not happy."
"Not my fault they screwed up," he said firmly. "Anything else?" Both white lighters and Tim came out to surround her. "Guys, don't hurt her. She's doing her duty by telling me the Powers are a bit pissy this morning because they sent me the wrong vision."
"If Sam has visions too, does that mean Winchester's Dean's white lighter and not both's?" Tim asked John Hagen. He was the older one.
"No. Sam's are from the demon that tainted him," he said. "Not from on high like Xander's or ours are." He looked at her. "You're not here on official business."
Xander grinned at that piece of news. "Awww, did you want to relive the bad days in high school? And look, you told me to be gay and whatever funky curse I activated by dating you is still in effect."
"If I had cursed you it certainly wouldn't get you paid in the clubs, Xander," she said, glaring at him. "How could you do that?"
"I was mostly respectful," Xander protested. "I had to put up the protest though. Something clearly wasn't right. All I told them to do was to look at the reality, not the planned events. They went off track back in Sunnydale when they didn't see others stepping in; Willow and I warped a few things. They didn't even know the slayers are trapped."
"They are not!" she huffed.
"They are. Willow can't undo the spell holding them in Cleveland without making the hellmouth open fully."
She stared at him. "Huh?" He nodded with a small smirk. "But that wasn't what she was supposed to do." She started to look confused and looked up. "They did?" She looked at him again. "They said you're still an arrogant asshole and of course they didn't plan for you. No one was supposed to step in that way."
"Well, gee, it happened. Nothing planned ahead makes it all the way through the first battle," he quipped with a grin. He kissed her. "Now, you have a good time hopping over to yell at Willow for screwing up something else. I'm going to be talking my baby here into getting me the dog he promised me last year. Since he gave my last one away."
Cordelia looked at Tim. "Are you evil?" He shook his head. "Then why are you with him?"
"I'm his reward for putting up with bitchy women like you. And for passing quantum mechanics."
She groaned, rubbing her forehead. "They do that to me now and then too, Cordy," Xander soothed. "The Powers were mean and they didn't pay attention to how frail humans are either. They seem to not see a lot of reality." She swatted at him so he hugged her. "Aww, poor baby. Do you need fussed over?"
"No. Let go!" She got free, glaring at him. "Now I remember why we broke up. Your strange mental places are infectious."
"Maybe that's why Tim's mellowed on my t-shirts," he said, looking at his lover. "Is it?"
"No, I got tired of fighting over them and I hide the really horrible ones." He looked at the shocked and horrified looking young woman with a grin. "They do serve to lighten the atmosphere around here during bad weeks. Not to mention showing that he's not a stick-up-the-ass sort like some techs are. I appreciate Xander for all that he is, Cordelia. Thank you for not being the one for him and making sure he made it until I got given to him and could descend again."
She whimpered, looking at the two Johns. "Do you have to put up with him?"
"He's not my charge but my boys can be as bad. I should introduce you to Dean," John Winchester said.
Dean leaned in. "Heard my name mentioned. Can we get to work now?"
"Dean, this is my ex, Cordelia Chase. She's now the Messenger for the Powers That Be. She came down to nag me because I had to point out a fallacy in a plan last night."
"Hey," he said with a wave. "I thought you said all your exes were psychos."
"No, she only tried to kill my self esteem and other things like that. Not physically," Xander said dryly. He smirked at her. "Thankfully Tim likes to help me with that and only swats me gently when I have a new bout of low self esteem."
She looked at Tim. "Spank him more often."
"He doesn't like those sex games." She gave him a horrified look and faded out. He kissed Xander. "There, I feel better. I had my moment of snark." He stared at his boy. "Even if he was drunk it makes you more special. Like the platypus, everyone wonders about you but only I have you." He walked out.
Xander grinned. "He's sweet."
"Gaggingly so," Dean agreed. "Guys, anything else?"
"Going to follow Sam into the field," John Winchester said.
Hagen looked at Xander. "You dated that?"
"Yeah, and groped in many closets."
He shook his head. "Thank you for having better taste now, Xander. I couldn't stand to watch you date things like that now. I might've had to do something to them."
"You can do it to the one from the club the other night."
"Don't remind me, kid." He disappeared, going to warn Horatio about her.
Xander grinned at Dean. "Are the other minions out there?"
"Melissa's off today and Evan doesn't come in until this afternoon." He came over to log in and get to work.
Xander adjusted his clock. "Sorry, she didn't mean to make you late." Calleigh walked in and looked around before staring at him. "My ex came back to nag me."
"Is she a white lighter too?"
"Messenger for the Powers That Be. She claims God was drunk when he made me. So maybe I was a drinking challenge by a chaos god."
She stared at him then nodded quickly, walking off holding her head. "You certainly are," she called back.
Xander grinned at his buddy. "Sometimes you need the bad thoughts so your brain can restart and clear out the cobwebs."
"I've done that to Sammy now and then."
"Xander, please quit warping the other techs," Horatio said as he walked past the door. "Before I have to put a reprimand in your file."
"It wasn't me, it was my ex who came to visit, boss."
Horatio paused then stared into ballistics, walking in there. "Excuse me?" Xander walked him to AV, getting into the security footage, letting him see that conversation. He copied it down and then erased it. He even gave Xander a hug. "We enjoy you being so unique but please don't give more techs migraines."
"She needed a brain restart to clear out the cobwebs, Horatio. That way she can find her last case's bad guy. She had 'I know who did it but I can't figure out how' syndrome."
"I've had that myself. It usually means you're tired. Which you probably did cure for her," he decided. "Go back to work, Xander. I'll make sure others don't see it."
"Tim and both Johns were there." He bounced back to ballistics. Ryan stopped him in the hall and handed him a soda. "Thanks," he said, blowing a kiss.
Tim leaned out of DNA. "No matter how much soda you feed him, you can't steal him, Wolfe."
"Not even to get my mother off my back?"
"Hell no. She might talk Willow into making him have babies. I'd hate to kill Willow for that. Well, maybe not *hate* to kill her but I'd have to." He smirked and went back to work.
Ryan looked at Xander. "Good night?" he asked.
"Strange night. But he slept through most of it." He finished his soda. "Thanks, Ry." He went back to ballistics to get back to work. Dean was snickering against the table, shaking his head. "What?"
"She can't do that, right?"
"Yes she can."
Dean gave him a horrified look. "She can?"
"Yeah, she can. She did it to one of the slayer's dogs."
Dean whimpered. "Can we hunt her?"
"Let her fix Cleveland first."
"You know, I don't know. She's got to get outside of Cleveland to fix Cleveland."
"Can we summon her?"
"She's still alive. Huh." He pushed his big, red button. She appeared, looking confused. "It just occurred to me how to get you out of Cleveland so you could fix it. Cordy caused a brain restart."
She stared at him then squealed and hugged him. "Thank you, Xander!" She disappeared, going up to see how she had messed up the spell this time.
Xander smirked. "Remember, don't push it unless it's an emergency or she'll turn you cute and fluffy. You'd hate to be Sam's lap cat."
"Yeah, I can't see me being anyone's pussy," he said dryly. Someone outside the lab choked so he looked back. "Hey, Detective Tripp."
"Boys, both of you need a brain cleaning."
"I had a brain restart because my ex showed up," Xander offered with a grin.
"Damn it. Do we have to take down more evil things?"
"No, she's in Cleveland, trapped until Willow fixes her spell."
"Good!" He walked off to talk to Horatio. "Maybe Winchester and Harris should be taking a nap?"
"I doubt it'll do much good," Horatio said from his couch. "His former girlfriend was quite mean this morning. It's a reaction to that." He looked up at him. "He'll calm down once work starts coming in."
"I'll see if non-felony is overloaded for him," Tripp said, calling down there. "Teller, Detective Tripp. Harris is causing migraines again. Do you have anything for him to do?" He smirked. "Excellent. Please do. He's got an intern today too." He hung up. "They had a drug bust with weapons last night. Since all of your night shift was somewhere, they sent them to her."
"Why weren't they in?"
"I'll check on that. Thank you, Frank."
"Welcome, Horatio. Have a good nap." He closed his office door behind him. The man deserved a nap. He ran into Speed out getting a drink at the fountain. "Do you need a nap too?"
"No, I slept last night. Xander even got up to turn down the a/c when it got too cold."
"Can't you cure him more often?"
Tim smirked. "No time this morning, Frank. Sorry." He went back to DNA.
Dean opened the lab door when it was knocked on, looking at the woman with the hand cart. "That looks bad."
"Night shift disappeared for some reason," she said grimly.
Xander looked at her. "I think they had a conveniently scheduled night off. What's up?"
"Drug dealer's stash." She handed over the cart and let him sign the form. "Thank you. Have fun, guys." She left happier.
Xander looked then at the inbox. "We'll be able to start on this by noon," he decided. Dean gave him a look. "We can. You can work at the non-intern speed, Dean. I know you're that good." He handed him his next sample and got to work on his own.
Dean settled on his new stool, thankfully padded, and got to work. Yeah, he could work like a real tech today instead of an intern.
Dean and Sam looked at each other that night. "Did you ever think hunting something through the woods all night long was less work than working?" Sam asked finally.
Dean shook his head. "No, I didn't. Damn, Xander works faster than everyone else."
"That's because he's been doing it longer. Soon enough you'll be working at his speed," Sam offered.
"Thanks. Why was yours so bad?"
"Hands and knees search on the beach and then sifting through the sand." Dean moaned, shaking his head. "We found her ID case but damn."
Dean nodded, getting up with a groan to limp in and get them beers, handing Sam his. "We deserve it."
"We do," he agreed, clinking bottles with him.
John appeared, smiling at them. "Good work today, boys."
"Thanks, Dad, but we're too tired to do more than sit and stare." Sam leaned back. "Ryan and Eric both said they've pulled seventy-two hour rush and push cases in the lab, straight. I don't know how."
"Like anything else you learn, you have to build up stamina for it," John said wisely. "Though I'm sure they took naps. I think Xander's the only one that could stay up that long."
Dean nodded. "I asked about apocalypses. He asked which one." He took a drink, sighing in pleasure. His cellphone rang. "Damn it." He shifted so he could pull it out of his pocket. "Yeah, it's Dean. Exhausted, Ellen. Why? Lots and lots of work today. Even though interns only work part time. Sure, we can write up what you learn there and all that, not a problem. Is it for Jo or for another hunter?" He nodded. "I'll get Sammy to send that to you by tomorrow. Right now we're enjoying not looking through microscopes. Yeah, I know, I don't seem like the science sort but ballistics isn't that much science. Sammy was on his hands and knees most of the morning on the beach. He gets the real science stuff." He handed it over then groaned as he shifted to put his bad leg up on the coffee table.
"He's fine, Ellen, just put his leg up. Some very long hours today. Dean had a drug dealer's weapons stash and I had a body call. No, we're learning a lot. The hunter they have us under is pretty cool. He answers questions and gives advice. He tells jokes to make it seem like it's less hard."
"He was joking about artillery earlier," Dean said. "Got to shock the hell out of a few ATF agents who came in about the drug dealer." He took another drink.
"Yeah, that's what he said. Harris, formerly of Sunnydale. Yeah, he said the girls thought that. I don't know. All I know is we're exhausted. This Sunday he's taking us to meet with the local overlord so he can get to know us and see if there's anything around we need to handle. He and Xander meet about once a month to make sure there's nothing too huge going on. No, we're cool. Just really exhausted after today. But hey, after we're out of our internship, we'll have a pretty good paying career and still able to hunt. Yup. I would suggest that they do have some background in other classes but they can hire on with some places with just that degree. Two years but we got to cut out a year due to experience. They asked us what we had handled. Tested us on some stuff." He grinned. "Sure, we're here. Let us know and I'll send that out tonight." He hung up. "It's not Jo. It's one of the ones who got injured recently. He wants to fall back to part time."
"It's not a bad career if you can do it and get paid for it," John admitted.
"Xander told me the guy he graduated with went to New York that way but he died pretty quickly. Inside a year. Then again, Xander said he thought he was Blade." Dean took another drink and sighed in pleasure. "Ooh, better."
Sam grinned. "Anything left for night shift in your lab?"
"Xander said he hates doing it to them. He bounced off to cuddle Tim probably."
"He's at home curled up with him on the couch watching the news," John told them. "I think he's tired too."
Sam looked at him. "Why are you watching over him too, Dad?"
"He's a bit strange, boys. He's got experience and all that but he's very...odd. I'm not sure if I could trust him in the field. Especially not missing an eye." He looked toward the door. "It's Miss Valera."
Sam looked then groaned and got up to answer it before she could knock. "Hi."
"Hi. Ah, white lighter security system," she teased, pinching his cheek. "Alexx and I agreed Xander was a bit brutal on you guys today." She held up a dish. "Casserole?"
"Thank god, or I'd have to eat a delivery driver," Dean told her. She giggled, coming over to kiss him on the forehead. "Thanks, Maxine."
"You're welcome, Dean." She patted him on the head. "You eat. And remember, Xander will understand if you need a day off to recuperate from a long day like today or even from a brutal PT session."
"I skipped today. I told him why and he agreed I got plenty of stretching every time I got off the stool." He grinned. "Thank you for taking care of us."
"You're welcome. It's nice to have nice guys in the lab." She kissed Sam on the cheek by standing on tip-toe. "Damn, maybe I'll switch to seven-inch heels for that." She walked out once he was blushing.
"I'm not that tall," Sam complained once she was gone. He sniffed. "Beef and cheese at least."
"Dad, you're not hungry, right?"
"No, boys. Eat." He got them forks and they dug it out of the dish. He shook his head. Sometimes he wondered how his boys managed on their own.
Xander reported to Horatio's office, as the note on his locker had ordered. "Problems with yesterday's count, boss?"
"No, Xander. Problem with night shift."
"Dietrich or Tanner?" he asked dryly.
"Tanner's missing. Dietrich's in hiding or missing. Their intern has come in both nights but couldn't work because no one was there to oversee him."
"Huh. Any idea why? I know Tanner's got family issues."
"No clue," he admitted. "We think Dietrich's okay. He's former military and knows how to go deep to protect himself. We're fairly certain that's what he's done since someone called and said they got a coded message from him late last night. We have no idea what's going on."
"Want me to investigate?"
"No, I can; can you handle overseeing night shift?"
"Probably. I'll have to move Dean there. He's the most competent we have. Unless you want me to move and then Calleigh to oversee the three here? Or me to come in for swing and have Dean running Melissa in the mornings until I get in then Evan and what's his name on nights having me until I go home."
"I haven't decided yet. I don't want to overload you."
"If we had room for all four interns at once I'd do it that way, Horatio. I know these things happen." He shrugged. "I'll call a ballistics plus interns meeting this afternoon. The other one should be up by then."
"Welcome. Let me know what's going on." He left, going to find Calleigh and Dean already in. Melissa came in at noon and Evan at three. "Guys, meeting this afternoon. Dean, when do you get out of therapy?"
"About five but I'm usually too tired to do more than sit for an hour or so. Why?"
"Night shift has disappeared." Calleigh gave him a horrified look. "Tanner's missing. Dietrich may be in deep cover. We're not really sure. Their intern's showed up but no one else has. So we have to figure this out."
She considered it. "I can pull more hours in the morning, Xander. Move you back to a later swing maybe. Then we'd resplit the interns." She looked at Dean. "Would you rather work with me or him?"
"Both of you are good and I can learn from you. If I have to, my PT knows I might have to arrange my schedule."
"If I move to nights or swing, and you move with me, that means coming in after you get done with your physical therapist," Xander pointed out.
Dean nodded at that. "I'll figure that out today before the meeting. Let me check with Sammy to see how his is working out. Is this a temporary change?"
"I hope so. That'd put me on different shifts than Tim."
Calleigh smiled. "You'd still get to see each other if you were on swing."
He smirked. "But I wouldn't get dinner. I'd starve or have to go back to takeout all the time."
She shuddered. "Please don't threaten to cook. Dean, they told you not to eat his cooking, right?" He nodded quickly. "Good!" She walked off. "Let me talk to Horatio. We'll hold the meeting after Dean's done. A dinner meeting out at the sports bar, Xander."
"Sure." He looked at him. "Remind me not to make fun of the no-necked bastards who go there. Timmy hates it when I get into bar brawls these days."
"I can do that." He patted him on the shoulder. "The inbox is clean."
Xander whooped. "Cool! Let me pull up his cases to see how mentoring that other guy'll need." Dean nodded. "I want you to .... Do you think you can do the bullet sorting by case? It requires some standing and a bit of bending or reaching."
"I'll try." Xander pointed at the cases. "How is it sorted?" Xander handed over the instruction sheet, letting him read it over. "That makes sense." He walked over to work on it. Halfway through his leg started to throb. "Hey, Xander, can I have a break?"
"Ten minute potty and soda or a twenty go lay down on the couch?" he asked, looking up from his reading and marking reports. He saw how he was moving. "Go take half an hour on the couch, Dean. Stretch out or whatever helps." Dean nodded. "I'll have Evan finish it later. He likes nitpicky details." He smiled. "Maybe by then we'll have something new come in."
Dean limped that way, leaning heavily on his cane. He saw Horatio's worried look. "I was doing the bullet sorting. I cramped."
"That's fine," he said, making sure he made it to the break room. "Do you need an hour to see your physical therapist?"
"No, I should be fine with some working on the muscles and stretching out. Thanks, Horatio."
"Not a problem, Dean. I know you're not going to abuse the privilege. The same as Xander doesn't on the days we sedate him to do his eye washes." He got him a bottle of water then left him alone. He saw Sam looking worried. "He had a few muscle cramps."
"He's had some bad ones over the last few years," Sam sighed. "Was he standing?"
"He thought he could handle the bullet sorting but he couldn't fully. He's taking a break to stretch out."
"That's fine." He texted him, getting back a 'no, stay' command. "He says he's fine."
"That's fine." He went to check on Xander. "How much work does he need?" Xander held up a report, making him wince. "Rosalie lets him get away with this?"
"Tanner is overseeing him and you know her reports are screwy," Xander said dryly. He looked at him. "We're not babying him, Horatio."
"I know. He'll tell us when he needs the help or something to assist his duties. He told Sam he didn't need help."
Xander snorted, shaking his head. "There's a cure for that. Ryan took a few massage classes in his undergrad."
"I didn't realize that." He went to talk to him. "Can you check on Dean's cramping thigh?" he asked in his ear. He got a nod and Ryan headed that way.
Ryan walked in and shut the door, coming over to sit beside Dean's foot on the table. "I took some massage classes if you think it'll help."
"It's just a standing cramp, Ryan. I'm good. I've been mean to it recently."
Ryan smiled. "We've all been mean to our bodies around here recently, Dean. Let me check it?" Dean sighed but let him. Ryan found the cramp and worked it out for him, making him hiss and flinch but it released a moment later. "It'll hurt for a minute but it should be done with." He looked at him. "I can show Sam if you want or suggest he take the classes?"
"He might like more classes," he admitted weakly. "Thanks."
"It's not a problem. I've done them to Xander when he threw his back helping Alexx pick up a huge body. It took him and his construction worker muscles, plus three patrol guys, two paramedics, and Alexx, and they all were sore from that simple lift."
"The ambulance riding real low?" he asked.
"Someone had replaced his blood with pressurized liquid lead then let it firm up before dumping the body. He was probably only about two hundred before then." Dean gaped in horror. "Yeah. And we all made fun of that one when we caught him." He smiled. "If you need it, let me know. I took the classes to help my own tiredness and arm cramps from writing papers. Plus girls like it." He grinned as he stood up. "Stretch however you do to warm up. That should help some." Dean nodded. "Let me know if I can help more." He left, going to pull Sam out of trace to talk to him. "In my undergrad I took some massage classes."
"I learned some over the years, but I never took a formal class."
"It can help with things like cramps. Right now he's stretching."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"U of M has them in their community and technical college portion. Plus a few of them as part of the physical therapy degree if you wanted to look at it for after hours."
"I'll keep that in mind. He okay?"
"I got the cramp stopped. It hurt for another minute or so."
"Thank you." He patted him and went to check. "Want me to take those classes, jerk?"
"He said girls like them so maybe you can finally find a good chick to date," Dean joked.
Sam stared at him. "You've needed some after some sessions."
"The hospital had one there for when I needed one."
"So we'll check into it. Ryan said there's a few different classes. You'd be a good one to practice on. It can only help us." Dean nodded at that. "Need more help?"
"I'm good. I promise, Sammy."
"Okay. Let me know if you're not." He left him alone to swear at his leg in peace. He knew Dean would be. He hated that he was so weak sometimes.
When he came back, Xander looked at him. "The gym that we can belong to has a masseuse as well as physical therapists but they also have whirlpools and hot tubs to help ease those aches. It's unlimited going."
"I'll keep that in mind. It's expensive."
"Yeah, but it's handy when you wrench something doing the job."
"Ryan told me about the guy with lead in his veins."
"I did three separate sessions before I was comfortable." He stared at him. "All you have to do is let me know. I wouldn't advise snapping at people who're trying to be helpful. Even if you think they're being pushy."
Dean sighed. "Did you get this?"
"I had to fight to not be seen as retarded for missing an eye, Dean. We had a yelling match about that. We're generally helpful but if you seem to have a good handle on it we back off more. We've seen plenty of techs down for two week evaluation periods after severe injuries."
"I can see why. We were exhausted last night. We ate out of the casserole dish Maxine brought us."
Xander grinned. "I went home and collapsed next to Tim on the couch. I didn't move at all last night." Dean nodded at that. "If we're being too harsh you have to let us know. We're willing to push you as far and as fast as you think you can handle but we don't want to see you having to take two weeks off because you overdid it."
"I get that," he promised. "No, it was good. Ryan got the cramp stopped really fast. Even if it did hurt."
"Yeah, they can," he agreed with a small grin. "Why don't you check the firing pen and do a water and cardboard sheet replace for me?" Dean nodded, going to do that. That would let him move around instead of just standing and reaching or bending. Xander finished up his last report and frowned at the kid's skills. He had looked pretty good on paper but doing quality control had been a problem. He sent those to Calleigh since she was technically the head of ballistics. It was her job to do that.
She walked in a few minutes later. "That bad?" He let her see the one he had pulled after a review of the report. She winced, then sighed, shaking her head. "Why?"
"I'm not sure if he did it or not. Maybe Rosalie did it? I know she was drunk on duty a few times recently."
"It's possible." She pulled all his to review. "How are the other two doing? I know Dean's doing pretty good."
"They're doing good. Melissa's coming on well. She's definitely a 'only trained hands should have guns' sort. Evan's coming along a bit more slowly. His reports are good. He's very methodical. He's not very fast but he's methodical. I caught him doing unnecessary checks yesterday." She nodded at that. "So we'll see I guess."
"We will. There's no way he could've missed this."
"Want him before or after the meeting?"
"I'll get him before the meeting." She went to call his cellphone. It woke him up but he had to justify these ones.
Xander went over to finish the bullet sorting. He was used to it. Dean got finished and came out. "Do the minor cleaning stuff if you can. If not, check the exemplar inventory."
"Gun petting, all right," he said with a grin.
Xander smirked. "Calleigh, Teller, and I all sit down and clean them when we're thinking. And if you're good we can call a pop gun exam later this week so we can go pop the officers on the head for not cleaning theirs."
"Sounds like a good time."
"It can be." He smirked and they got back to their boring chores that made the lab run more smoothly. He pulled all the evidence from those cases to make sure Calleigh could find them. "These are Calleigh's for QC."
"QC?" Dean asked.
"Quality control pull, Dean. I look over your shoulder too much to have to do one on you unless you majorly screw up. We have to check over night shift's to make sure he's okay."
"Gotcha." He went back to work on the exemplar. He looked. Something was wrong. He looked more slowly. "Xander, we're missing at least one gun."
"Not sure yet but I think it's on your rack."
Xander got the inventory, coming in to go over it with him. They were missing three guns. "Check the bullets?" Dean looked and did a count. "How many boxes in forty-fives?"
Xander sighed. "We had six or seven. We were about to run out of box seven." He took down their particulars, printing up their profiles and heading up to Horatio's office. He wasn't there. "Calleigh?" he called. No answer. So he texted her. No answer. "Shit, it would be a court day." He walked off, not finding any of the senior field techs. "Fuck," he muttered, trying to call Horatio. No answer. "Must be in court or out in the boonies." He sighed, calling the next best thing. "Tripp, Harris. Please tell me you or someone you absolutely trust is here? Three of my exemplar are missing and so are three to four boxes fo bullets. Forty-fives."
He listened. "Are you by any chance near any of the senior field techs then?" He groaned. "No answer. I didn't try Eric by phone. He's not here and neither is Ryan. Want me to put out an alert for it? Because I tell Horatio and he tells someone. The only thing I can do is flag them in the system. Which will automatically get them destroyed if we find them on a scene. All three are forty-fives. We were about to go to a new box so we had six boxes and a about three bullets in the seventh. Now we have three boxes. Exactly. Please do. Are they in court?" He groaned, rubbing his forehead. "Okay, want me to flag them? Because if they show up on a crime scene I get to kick an ass. Good idea, thanks, Frank." He hung up and went to lean into DNA. "Tim, what do I do when three of my exemplar are missing?"
Tim looked at him for a second. "Tell Horatio and Calleigh?"
"No answer, not here. Frank said not to flag them because we've got two missing techs too. Dietrich could've taken them and Tanner's just missing."
"That kinda sucks," Maxine said.
"Sucks is that we're going to have to rearrange hours," Xander said dryly. "We don't know how yet." He looked at his boyfriend, who used to be the lab's second-in-command. "Beyond that?"
"No clue, Xander. Horatio deals with that stuff. Especially if that one tech has them. Dietrich was former military, right?"
"Special Forces," he said dryly.
"Then he could have them. Can we find him?"
"No and Horatio said to let him look."
Tim winced. "Damn. Um, put in a note about looking at them as part of an ongoing investigation on the file so we don't get federal notice." Xander nodded, going to do that. He stepped back from his samples, trying everyone's phone. He found Ryan. "Are you near Calleigh or H?" He listened to his 'no, they're somewhere though' answer. "Yeah, but they need a head's up and I can't find them. Who's with them? Sam. That's good." He hung up and went to ballistics. "Dean, get your brother somehow to let him know about those missing guns. H has him with him on whatever he's working on."
"I can do that," he said, pulling out his phone to text that to him. He looked up. "Hey, Dad?"
"I didn't even think about that," Xander admitted.
John Winchester faded in. "What's wrong, son?"
"We have three missing guns and two missing techs," Xander told him. He held out the papers. "Can you give those to H?"
"I can give them to Sam." He took them and disappeared. He found his son and Horatio back in the hummer, appearing behind them to hand them over. "From Xander and Dean. They have three missing guns."
"From cases?" Horatio asked calmly.
"No. Those are listed as exemplar copies."
"Dietrich," Horatio muttered. "I'm going to kill him if it doesn't have a good reason."
Sam looked them over. "Bullets too, Horatio. Xander put a note on the files that they're under investigation but didn't flag them." He looked back. "They couldn't call?"
"You guys won't answer your phones."
"Calleigh's in court," Horatio said. He checked his. "Mine's off." He turned it on and sure enough he had a missed call from Xander. "All right, we'll handle it. Thank you, John. Thank them too."
"Can we help? Hagen's feeling bored. I have the feeling Sammy's going to be in trouble soon."
Horatio glanced back at him then took a left turn. "I hope not."
"Me too. Be safe, son." He disappeared. Xander nearly flinched when he appeared. "They'll deal with it. His phone was off. Calleigh's in court." Xander nodded. "Dietrich?"
"Night shift guy," Xander admitted. "Special Forces. Missing at the moment."
"Let's hope he needed them then."
"I do hope that, yeah." He looked up. "Hagen?" He appeared. "You knew Dietrich, right?" He nodded. "Where is he?"
"I can pinpoint him but he's not in his head."
"Charming! How soon?"
"Give me an hour or so." He disappeared, taking Winchester with him. With the way Horatio's luck went, that's where they were going. He could play white lighter for Horatio too he guessed. "At least I don't get visions," he told the other John.
Who grinned. "Sammy still has his too."
"So are you both's white lighter or just Dean's?"
"You know, I didn't ask." That got a nod. "You know this guy?"
"A few years back he had a bad bout of PTSD. We don't know why. He can't say because it's classified. With any luck he's near home. He was last time." He went to check, finding the guy in his safe room. "This is charming." He appeared. "Dietrich."
He looked up and flinched. "Hagen?"
"Unless you want to join me on this side, disarm it, kid. Now."
"I can't. They're coming."
"I don't care if they are! Horatio is coming too!"
He shook his head. "I have to protect him. Make him stay away before they get me!"
"What gets you?" John Winchester asked, fading in. "Which demon are you fighting, boy?"
He stared at him. Then he burst out laughing. "I wish it were that simple. If it were, I'd let Xander do it for me."
"Xander's not perfect but maybe we can help? I'm a Marine. John was one of you."
"No one can help."
"Don't you dare!" John ordered. He shoved at Winchester, making him go warn Horatio. "Put it down, Dietrich. Now!"
"I can't! They'll get me!"
"The whole neighborhood could die!"
"Then at least they won't get them too!"
"No," he said, taking the switch from him. He realized he could log into Xander's memories and could tweak the wires. He pulled one and sighed in relief. "You need help."
"They'll still get me and them. I'm saving their lives!"
"They don't need saved this way."
"Too late." He smiled. "Xander can't disarm everything, Hagen."
Hagen gave him a horrified look and looked around, finding another bomb. "God, man! We can't help them! You're an officer!"
"They'll be saved this way!"
John appeared in the back of the hummer again. "He has multiple bombs, he's flipped, and he's got enough ordinance there to take down a good part of the block," he said. "You need to evacuate it now, Caine. Hagen's not talking him down this time. He said something's going to get him and them. He's saving them by killing them."
"Demons?" Sam asked.
"No, he said if it was, he'd let Xander kill it." He pointed. "That way. Two blocks to the right."
Horatio called that in. "This is Lieutenant Caine. I am going to the sixteen hundred block of Loudres Ave. We have reports of a massive bomb somewhere on that block with a person who has snapped back into PTSD. I need units to clear it now." He hung up on their assurance and sped up, turning on his lights. "A church. Sam, start there. Where is he?" he asked John. Who pointed at the house. "Upstairs?"
"Back of the house. Ground floor." He faded out, going to someone he felt he knew. "Doug?"
"John?" he asked, putting down his whiskey bottle. "You're dead."
"I'm a white lighter for my boys. We've got a bomb on the other side of the block. The cop there's going psycho and is going to save you all by blowing you up."
"I'll help." He got up and grabbed his pistols, heading out. "Get out of the building!" he yelled in Spanish. "There's a bomb that's going to take down the block!" People started to run. He pulled the fire alarm. The rest ran because they knew what that meant.
Xander heard that call and groaned. "Shit!" He called Horatio. "Can I help? Deal." He hung up, jogging out to the middle of the lab to hit the emergency switch. "People, Horatio just called in. Dietrich has a bomb in the middle of a pretty populous block on Loudres. Someone tell the ME's to be ready. Officers are responding. Any of you with special call outs, go to them now!" He headed off. "Dean, take ballistics and seal it. You and Melissa do nothing until Calleigh gets back. I'm on call for SWAT."
"Yes, Xander." He watched him go. He came out. "I'm fairly good at field medic stuff."
"No, stay here. If the ME's need that, we call out the local medical school's students," Maxine said. She got through to Alexx. "Dietrich went psycho again. He's got a bomb on Loudres. Horatio called for an evac." She hung up. "Go lock it down. Clean or whatever you can, Dean." He nodded, going to do that. She looked at Tim. "He'll be fine."
"I know he will." He looked at her. "I'm hoping they can disarm it."
"Me too." She gave him a hug and they got back to work. Neither of them could help this time.
Tim went to take control of the lab. Nearly everyone in the lab *knew* who he had been. It was natural. He called Tripp. "Please tell me you heard the call out?" He nodded. "Good. I've got the lab." He hung up and calmed himself down. He hated being in command.
Xander walked up to the SWAT leader. "Where am I? Field medics or otherwise?"
"Can you stitch?"
"Yeah. I'm not great but yeah. I know enough to splint and move, that stuff."
"Good. We've got some injuries from people moving. Some of the neighbors are helping too."
Xander nodded. "I can do that. Where?"
"The church won't evacuate," one panted as he jogged back.
"Let me handle that." Xander walked that way, looking up. "Sorry." He walked inside. "Father, do you really want to meet your god today?" he asked. "If so I can hand you my sidearm so you can shoot yourself."
"We have relics, young man."
"Are they worth your life? It's a thing, Father, and a building. Out or I'm arresting you. I don't have time to be nice and I'm not known for it."
"You would protect your own."
"I do protect my own and everyone else's, Father. If you can't carry them, walk out and we'll dig them out. You're far enough away to only get building damage. Now, out!" He walked him out, shoving him out of the church and closing the door. "Go help calm people down. They need you more than some relic. People are more important to God than things, aren't they?" He nodded, looking ashamed as he walked off to do that. The SWAT team leader smiled at that. "Where do you need me?"
"Victims." Xander went to do that. Someone came over to him, whispering in his ear. Xander nodded he was right. So he went back to the captain. "At least we can trust Hagen," he said. "And he won't die again."
Xander shrugged at that. "No clue." That got a nod of understanding. He looked at the gathered people. "Let's move to the other side of the street. There's a small parking lot, we're going to commandeer it, people." He pointed for those who didn't understand. "Move there, it's safe there," he called in Spanish, and then in Chinese. They moved that way. He grabbed a kit from an ambulance, moving to help them. A few had cuts and bruises from being knocked around. "Any stray kids, I want them by the Volvo so parents can find them," he shouted.
"That way we keep track and nothing happens." That got a nod and any kids without parents were moved there. With an officer watching over them so no one could take advantage of the situation. He looked over. That bad feeling was growing. It was growing bad. He started to mutter protection spells at Horatio, John, and Sam since he was out here. He only flinched when the bomb went off. "Fuck." He handed over the one he was bandaging. "Finish that." He ran back. "Horatio and our field intern?"
"Both fine in the other safe spot," someone called.
"Good. Let's find survivors, people. Now. Team 3, come with me. I actually have construction experience," he said at the opening mouths. "And combat and field medic training." They let him go. He waved at Sam. "I'll start here, you start there." He nodded, going to the farther edge of the debris pit. He heard tweeting and moved toward it. "An alarm." He checked. Nothing near it. He sent out magical feelers. "There," he said with a point. "Someone little and bleeding. Unconscious."
He moved to another he could feel while they dug that one out. Xander fell back into apocalypse mode. He had to do this then he could throw a fit and shake later. More officers came. "The building's foundation isn't stable," he called. "Start on the north side, work toward the middle!" They headed that way. He pointed at some. "Take the edge and move up. The rest of you change out or help carry to the ambulances!" They nodded, coming in to help remove people once they found them.
The buildings down here were flimsy. He saw news crews coming and groaned. "Someone go stop them before they cause more problems." A few officers went to cordon them away from the survivors. Xander kept searching. He found a few dead bodies and went back to looking for them. They deserved to come out of there too. It was nearly mid-afternoon before he was relieved of his search duties. He had found a lot of them. He was walked over to where Horatio and Sam were sitting. "How are we doing?"
"We'll have the major debris moved by tonight," Horatio said. He handed him a bottle of water, watching him gulp it. "Are you all right?"
"Few cuts. I slipped once. Nothing major. Sam, did you tell Dean you're all right?"
"Yeah." He looked up at him. "Why?"
"I don't know," Xander said honestly. "I understand breaking mentally. I understand reliving the moment. I don't understand this." Sam nodded, looking down again. "We did what we could, Sam." Sam nodded. "We saved a lot more than we could have if it wasn't for your dad and John."
Hagen appeared inside the car they were leaning against. "We're fine. We've been leading a few who're sensitive to psychics to some of the living," Hagen said. "I tried, Horatio."
"I know, John. You did your best. Thank you." That got a nod and he disappeared. He looked at Xander. "So did both of you."
Xander nodded. "Then we'll figure it out," he agreed. He sighed, grabbing another bottle of water and trying to head off but Sam stopped him. "Unlike interns, I can work overtime, Sam." He went back to it. John was leading him to where he needed to be to find living bodies. There was a whole set of them. "Guys, I need help," he called. They came over to pry off the debris, freeing the family that was hiding. And some of their neighbors apparently. They were walked off. Someone tried to get Xander to come out again but he went back to it. He had to find them all. No one deserved to lose someone this way.
Horatio came out an hour later, stopping Xander from moving things. "You're bleeding. You need bandaged and to eat," he said quietly. "Tim's waiting on you. Eric and Ryan are taking our spots."
"He was my fellow tech," he said quietly. "No one deserves this."
"No, they don't." He walked him off, handing him to Tim to bandage his hands. "Eric, Ryan, he was working on the blue building. Take his spot." They went out to do that. The Chief stomped over. "We tried to stop him."
"Who was it? I heard your call and then the explosion call."
"Dietrich," Xander said quietly, looking up at him. "He had another flashback and went off. He may be the reason I'm missing a few guns from my exemplar. Or it could be Rosalie. I have no idea, sir."
"That's fine, Xander. What else happened?"
John Hagen appeared. "He decided if they died it'd save them from whatever was coming for him," he said quietly. "I tried, boss."
"I know you did, John. You talked him out of it last time too." He stared at him. "How many more survivors?"
"I feel six. Winchester feels eight but he's on the other side of the block."
"Winchester?" Sam waved his hand weakly. "Like this one is for Harris?" Sam nodded. "Good. I'm glad you're here to help us, son." He patted him on the head. "Xander, you cannot blame yourself. You probably haven't talked to Dietrich in days."
"Weeks and I should have."
"You can't blame yourself for not being omnipotent. If Hagen isn't, you're not."
Xander looked at him. "Still guilty feeling."
"That's fine. Timothy can talk you out of that I'm sure." He looked around then at Horatio. "We did what we could, Caine."
"I know. It's still something that I don't like."
"Was the other one you said was missing involved?"
Hagen shook his head. "No, sir. I have no idea where she is."
Xander looked at his dirty watch, wiping some smudged dirt off it. "At this time of night she's either at the lab or she should be awake." He found Horatio's phone. "Tell me if someone finds my phone, guys." He dialed the lab. "Why are you still there, Dean?" He nodded. "That's reasonable. Did Tim look over your shoulder? Decent. Is the other intern in?" He nodded. "Have him come down ... never mind. I don't want to put him through that. Release him for the night, tell him to come in on dayshift tomorrow for that meeting we should've had tonight. Lock down the lab. If she's there. Mary, Xander. It was Dietrich, Mary. Find Rosalie? She's missing. Send the intern home, tell Dean Sam's exhausted so I'll bring him to my place. He can pick him up there." He hung up, handing it back. "She knows her haunts better." He looked at Sam. "C'mon. You can nap on the couch, Sam. Then Dean'll pick you up." He helped him up. "I'm sorry, Chief."
"You did your part, Harris. Go home. Take the intern with you." He watched him walk him off. Hagen faded out. He looked at Horatio. "Are you all right?"
"I'd like to hit him," he admitted, looking at his boss.
"Me too. Is anyone going to say anything about someone in your lab?"
"Someone might say something about how Xander was warped in the past but he's not going to do this. Even if he can find artillery within an hour's notice."
"Good to know. Does he have any?"
"I've had him put it into very secure storage, sir. It's a holdover from apocalypse years."
"I can understand that. Let me know if anyone else needs to be relieved of duty." He left, going to make a statement to the press. "Listen up," he shouted, getting attention. "We're going to continue to dig for survivors tonight. Right now, by resident estimates we're missing about twenty people."
"What happened?" one person shouted. "We heard a call out that there was a bomb? Was it a terrorist?"
"No. We know who it was and it was not a terrorist. It was an unfortunate person who ..." He looked back then at her. "He had PTSD and he fell off the edge of sanity. He said he was saving them from what was coming for him. As soon as anyone got any word of this, we started an evacuation. The residents helped the officers a lot." They all nodded, taking notes for those who didn't have cameras. "Unfortunately the officer who did this had only been missing for a little over a day. We had no idea he had done this or that he was having problems. We will be doing a review of the officers who have similar problems to make sure any of them won't have similar outcomes. This is fairly rare to have someone in the middle of a PTSD episode snap this way. We're very sorry we did not see it coming and if we had, we would've gotten the poor man help."
"We know which officer it was?" one of the reporters asked.
"We do but we're not releasing any names until we've notified his family if he has any. Let us finish digging out who we can. Then we'll deal with the rest."
"How long would it have taken him to make a bomb this big?" that reporter asked him.
"Probably not more than a few hours," he admitted. "He was former military."
"No. A detective but no."
"I noticed the lab was in attendance," another one said. "We saw Caine and Harris. We know the initial call came from Caine."
"Lieutenant Caine was searching for the officer since he was reported as possibly missing. He had one of our interns with us. You saw him out there too." That got a nod. "As for right now, the lab are some of the best equipped to handle the searching. They're used to searching for people and signs that would indicate someone was somewhere."
"You're comparing searching for survivors to searching for clues on the ground?" the first reporter asked.
"No, but I'm tired as well, people. I didn't mean it to sound that callus. Just that they're trained to search."
"Quite a lot of us have been trained on search and rescue details," one of the SWAT team said as he walked up behind him. "The lab cross-trains with us for those events." That got a nod. "As for why the crime lab was here, it's because they're like that. Harris and Caine are both that way." That got another nod. "As for right now, the residents need to be left alone please. They need to finish finding their loved ones and the Red Cross is opening a shelter for them. We will be putting guards on them so they won't be bothered tonight in their grief. If any of them want to talk to you, they can come out to do that, but we won't let you bother them any. Am I clear, people?" They nodded. "Good. Now, if you're going to be shining lights, we're going to confiscate them for the rescue efforts." The other officers came in to get them. "Thank you. Ours have a few cracked bulbs and won't be here for another hour. They were damaged after the last hurricane clean up." He walked off again. "Chief, we have point of origin."
"The last of the survivors?"
"We're down to missing ten reported, sir." He went back to coordinate. It was his turn. His boss was taking a short nap in their truck to calm down and rest for his turn later. A priest walked up to him. "Sir, are you needing to report anyone?"
"No, Officer. I was wondering what part the angels had in helping."
He looked at him. "Father, are you sure you didn't hit your head?"
"I saw the one that appeared. Other officers have said that they saw them as well. They were talking about it."
He stared at him. He knew who he was talking about. "You'd have to ask the Chief about that, sir. If there were angels and they were here, it's only for the help of the residents. Please don't spread that one around. We don't need kooks that would come to a new holy site, Father."
"I can agree to that. May I open my church?"
He looked at it. "Father, you're missing part of a wall. They'll probably make you move everything out so you can rebuild it." He looked at him again. "For right now, go with the other residents unless you have a home somewhere else. If you want to minister to those who want it, go for it. They could probably use the calmness. If not, let us do what we can, Father." He nodded, leaving him alone. He went to report that to his higher ups. They'd need to know before the fanatical sort showed up to verify the miracle.
Xander walked in the next morning, taking off his sunglasses when he ran into Dean. "Sam okay?"
"Sam's fine. He had nightmares all night when he could sleep." Xander nodded. "Thanks, Xander."
"He's well trained to help with that, Dean. The same as I know I could've counted on you to get out there with me if you could have." He patted him on the shoulder. "C'mon. We're going to have a few very long days." He walked into the lab after signing them both in. "Mary?" he called, seeing her office open. She came to the door so he walked up there. "Did we find her?"
"Is she or was he the reason I have three guns missing?"
"She was." Xander sighed, shaking her head. "I don't know what's going on, Xander. Usually she has more sense. Her husband's been a bastard to her recently and she's started to drink."
He looked at her. "Have you talked to Calleigh?"
"I have. I saw what she found. The intern is yours."
"The whole lab is mine," he said dryly.
"I am putting her on administrative leave. She was found drunk last night after being tossed out of one of the casinos."
"Wonderful," he muttered. "Okay." He looked at her. "We need to know if it's permanent or not."
"I can do that." She watched him walk off. He was so young sometimes.
Xander ran into Horatio. "Rosalie was tossed out of a casino last night, drunk."
"That's not good news."
"No, it's not."
"Can you handle it?"
"I can but she had the three."
"On admin leave. Mary's in her office." He nodded, going to talk to her. He walked into ballistics, closing them in when he saw them all there, including non-felony. "We have to cover night shift in this lab."
Teller looked at him. "It was Dietrich?" Xander nodded. Calleigh too. "Damn!"
"Tanner's on admin leave for other issues." He looked at the tech. "I'm too tired to be anything but blunt. Were they yours or hers with her signing your name?"
"Hers," he said, looking down. "I'm sorry, Harris."
"We'll handle it." He looked at Teller then her night shift. "How is your night shift doing?"
"We're not usually overloaded. Each shift has two interns."
"We've got four in this lab. Dean's good, he can probably run swing if we can get a night shift tech to watch the end of his shift." He considered it. "Anyone feeling the need to switch labs?" Melissa raised a hand. Evan too. "Are we losing you to chem, Evan?" He nodded. "That's fine. Tell Horatio?"
"I have. He agreed to it."
Xander nodded at that. "Melissa?"
"I was going to ask to go to nights. They only had the one intern."
Xander nodded. "Calleigh? Teller?"
She considered it. "I can switch to nights for now. Looking over the interns' work, Dean is nearly as good as you were when you came in, Xander. You had more varied knowledge of types of esoteric guns."
"I learned identification at pawn shops," he agreed. Dean gave him an odd look. "Seriously. I went to all the pawn shops in LA to grope, take apart, clean, all that, every single weapon I could. I can identify some by feel." He looked at her. "Can he?"
"I'll let Dean take swing. I'll take Melissa. You take the other one. We'll split Dean."
Dean nodded. "I can do that."
"How long before we know if Tanner's quitting?" Teller asked.
"No clue," Xander admitted. "Mary said she's having spouse problems."
"He's making her warp cases," Calleigh added. Everyone winced but Xander. He already knew. "I'll clear it with Horatio." They all nodded. "Actually, let me and Melissa take swing, Xander. You take days. That way I'm not too far out of the loop of current cases. We can still cover the lab but I'll pull back from field work for a few weeks until we have an idea." That got a nod so she went to tell Horatio.
Xander looked at the others. "Is that going to work for everyone?" They all nodded. "Good. Dean, I'll miss having you come in for gun petting time with me."
He smirked. "I'll be back soon."
"Cool. You're... Richard?" he asked the kid, who nodded. "Okay, you're with me. Melissa, you and Dean get your new schedules from Calleigh then hit the bricks today. Dean, if we have to, I can stop in to give Sam a ride."
"Not an issue. You guys only live a mile from me." He shrugged. "In other news, the site was cleared last night from the explosion. All the bodies were found. Including Dietrich's. He had two bombs, one was slightly disarmed. If both had gone off, we would've had to clear the other block too." That got a nod. "Field techs are going to be there today helping with the clean up I think. I'm not real sure. I do know that one reporter noted that a lot of us in the lab were there to help clean things up. The Chief did cover and did not tell them yet. So I don't know how that's going to fall out for the lab. If any of you start getting hostile reactions from other officers or from the general population, we need to know immediately. We all know we had nothing to do with it but the general people will think that we should've stopped him. It's the way the human people work."
"We'll handle it for ours," Teller assured him. "Or you guys tell Horatio so he can handle it." The interns nodded at that. "Okay. One other thing. Xander, can you please work some magic to get us some new samples of the two new street guns? I know you guys have one?"
"I have a copy of one of the newest six lego guns." The interns looked confused. "A lot of the newest models of guns on the street are hybrids. You take parts of this one, of that one, then you combine them. Lego guns." He looked at her. "As for *new* gear? There's at least twenty that we need samples of that came out this year if you include the new type of silencer and things."
"Any way we can get our hands on it?" Dean asked.
"We can ask the companies nicely. Two are military issue that got removed from their hands. Oh, and we had a corner-shot killing last week so they're back in town too. Those are Israeli made," he told the interns. "You can literally shoot around corners." Dean gaped in horror. "Yeah. We've had a few of those." He looked back as Calleigh and Horatio came in. "New gear?"
"We don't have the funds for it but if we confiscate we can keep."
"So you want us to sorta lurk in the pawn shops to see if they're selling any?" Melissa asked. "I could handle that."
"Hell no," Xander said firmly. "We have officers who do that. Interns do not do undercovers. Not even me and I was a pushy intern." Horatio smiled and nodded. "See?"
"We do have the street units and those doing undercovers alerted," Calleigh promised. "As soon as we get one, we'll bring it to everyone so they can see it and test it." She looked at Xander. "Unless your friends at Ellory's might have a few?"
"Probably not the lego guns but the new silencer I think they have. I don't know. I'll check my contacts too. But I might need reimbursed for some of it."
"That we may be able to do," Horatio offered. "Not outright buying it, but possibly reimbursing. Especially if it were used and we could get it off the streets."
"Then let me check the underground."
"They use guns?" Dean asked.
Xander smiled and nodded. "Yeah, some do." He looked at the interns. Then back at the bosses. "Horatio, will that plan work for you?"
"It will. Calleigh will take swing so she'll overlap with you for about an hour, Xander. Dean, can you reschedule?"
"I can. I told him yesterday that we might be moving shifts around due to problems on the night shift. He told me to let him know as soon as I could."
"Good." He looked at the non-felony people. "Any problems that we should be aware of?"
"We did warn them if they did face negative feedback about us not being able to stop him to come to you, Horatio."
"Thank you. Then let's get to work. I'm sure crime didn't stop last night."
"I checked with Dispatch. It was pretty slow last night. Most everyone was apparently watching it on tv," Calleigh said. "Usually they'd take advantage of it."
Xander nodded. "Bank robberies during tsunamis come to mind," he agreed dryly. He clapped his hands. "Get to where you need to be. I'll work on that too." They went back to their own labs or got their schedules from Calleigh so they could go home. Xander went over the lab's protocol with Richard and made sure he could handle it. Evan removed all his stuff to Chem and it was better for him. They settled down to do what they did every day, protect the innocent from the not-so-innocent.
Dean leaned back later that night, looking back at Sam. "Think you can sleep tonight?"
"I have a few of the sleeping pills left," he admitted quietly. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Someone knocked and John appeared. "Bad news?"
It ended up being Xander when Dean checked. "You smell like a demon?"
"I took down two demon arms dealers with Tim's help." He smirked. "We need help unloading at the lab. Wanna?"
"Interns get the shit jobs," he said dryly with a smirk.
"You know, I don't know. I know my mother married her husband but I've never been sure if I was his." Dean swatted at him. "Sam, want some weapons petting time?"
"No thanks." He smiled. "Can I go hang with Tim?"
"Sure. He's at home growling at the slime he needs to get out of things."
"Thanks, Xander." He headed over in a cab while Xander drove Dean back to the lab. Their truck showed up a few minutes later and the two demons that got out gave them dirty looks.
Xander grinned. "Next time don't challenge me or offer to sell me teenagers. You know damn well the Overlord and I won't put up with that. I'm still a hunter." They groaned but let the guys unload the truck. "Where's the other one?"
"Hubert wanted it."
"Hubert can kiss my ass. I killed him, it's mine. We need them in the exemplar." He grinned sweetly. They groaned and one called to growl that at him. Xander took the phone. "Hubert, baby, it's Xander Harris. Those are mine. I got him when he challenged me. Besides, my babies in the exemplar need new friends." He laughed. "Sure, you try to touch Tim. I can do to you what I did to Wolfram and Hart." He spluttered and promised they'd be right there. "Thank you, my man, and by the way, Miami is still *my* city to protect." He hung up on his new spluttering. "There you go. Thank you for your help, boys. Need a tip?"
They grumbled but got into the truck to head off again.
Xander grinned at Dean. "Demonic arms dealers deal with apocalypse demons all too often."
"Think there's any in Cleveland?"
"Yeah but I think the remains of Riley Finn's people are using them. Besides, we can't get Cleveland PD to take a hunter into service." They rolled the cart inside to ballistics then came out when the guards called panicking about the orange demons with guns. Xander took the guns, and their personal weapons, then walked off. "Thanks, guys. Bring the artillery here tomorrow so we can all pet it please."
"Fine," one shouted. "You're mean and evil."
Xander blew a kiss. "Only if you make me protect others." He smirked. "Though, my protégé of ballistics, Dean Winchester here," Dean waved, "he was trying to figure out how to take out your brethren in Cleveland. Just to make the world safer." They groaned and left again. He grinned at the guard. "He challenged me. It was only fair. Besides, I don't think demons need to be dealing arms. Do you?"
"Can we get you examined by the same people who should've caught that one guy?"
"I hunted them for years. They know that. I'm a protector." He smirked at John Winchester when he faded in. "I'm abusing your son horribly by making him pet and learn new weapons."
"I doubt my boy's going to complain about that. Some priest is saying something about angels who were helping?"
"Well, I don't know, white lighter. What do you think?"
"Damn, they caught us," he sighed, fading out. He and Hagen needed orders on how to handle this one.
Xander grinned at the guard. "Wanna be a ballistics tech?"
"Hell no!" He moved away from him. "Please go away?"
"Sure. If the vamp sucking off the patrol guy over there gets around to doing more than blowing him for a quick dinner, let me know so she can be staked?" He walked off with the new weapons and Dean laughing. "What?" he asked once they were in the elevator, grinning some. "They all know I'm warped. My t-shirts did it to me too."
"I heard how Buffy and Willow did it to you," he promised. They carried those into ballistics too. "How do we notate demons handing over their weapons?"
"Ah, we have a good cover story. They were handed in for a gun trade." He grinned. "We've had to do this before." They got to work and Xander showed him how to notate it for the system. "Gun buybacks are put in the same way." Dean nodded. "Or any others that get left on your porch or anything like that. I run a 'hand it to me instead of selling it, but I still might find a former user' service." Rick Stetler stomped in. "I went hunting demonic arms dealers. The guard on the door caught them handing some over. I freaked him out so he'd quit since he was trying to tell gay jokes last week. Pretty, huh?" he asked, holding one up.
"We already know you're warped, Harris. We know you won't be blowing up yourself or anyone else. Unless it's an accident." He looked at the guns then at him. "No artillery this time?"
"Tomorrow morning." He grinned. "Dean wants to clear out Cleveland's."
"You don't work for Cleveland. Let your psychotic former friends deal with it." He held up a report. "Your exemplar?"
"Rosalie from what I'm told. Dean spotted them missing. We did an inventory to find out what. Including bullets. Mary said she'd had some problems. Actually, that's how we found out Dietrich was heading over the edge. They were both missing. Horatio went hunting him. John Hagen found out he had a bomb."
"That's reasonable," he decided. "You all did what you could." He put down the report. "They're flagged in the system?"
"That would get them destroyed," he said, giving him a dirty look. "I have them noted as being part of an open investigation."
"Which it now is. Code it for IAB." Xander got into his system to do that, printing off the new files for him. "You'll need to hire."
"I'd prefer one of my interns if possible. But we'll see who applies. You know getting a position filled can take months."
"Unfortunately I do. Happy overtime," he sneered.
"It means better prezzies for Tim," he shot back with an eviler smirk. He snorted and walked out. "And that was Rick Stetler, Internal Affairs. He has a thing for Horatio, that's why he's stalking him all the time and he tried to gay bash me when I was an intern. I nearly sued Miami over him."
Dean snickered. "You're so bad."
"He tried to have Horatio fired for inappropriate conduct because I'm a hugging person." Dean burst out laughing, shaking his head. "Honestly." He got back to work. "We'll get to see Teller and Calleigh bounce with joy tomorrow."
"Good. I could like seeing her bounce."
Xander leaned closer. "She has a thing with a certain redhead," he said quietly.
"Gotcha. Can I still look?"
"He doesn't mind as long as you don't make her too upset. I make her blush now and then. She goes up to complain to him so he gets to calm her down however they do that. It works well for Horatio time for her." They shared a grin. Calleigh was a beautiful woman who liked being appreciated. They got back to work.
Horatio and Calleigh both walked in the next morning. "Were you here all night?" Calleigh demanded.
Xander looked up from his inputting information, handing her something. "The new corner shot system. It's an updated version of the old one we saw a few years back. Dean's napping in the exemplar on my emergency sleeping bag." He went back to inputting. "I'm expecting the rest of the delivery in a few hours, guys. Let me know when they get here."
"Demonic arms dealer?" she asked.
"Got us all but two of them. We've already separated out for Teller." He pointed at that box. "She'll be missing three of the new things." He looked back at her. "Stetler had me code those three missing things as being under IAB investigation."
"He wished me happy overtime."
"I'm sure we both will."
He grinned. "Tim needs new presents."
She patted him on the back. "He could because you spoil him horribly." She looked at what they had with Horatio. "Oooh, that's pretty."
"The newest Remington." He went back to what he had been doing. "Ah, there," he said once he got done. "All ready for today's influx of weapons." He beamed at them. "Let me get some coffee."
"Go ahead," Horatio agreed. "Dean, would you like some coffee?"
"Please," he moaned, getting up and heading after Xander. He ran into his brother, who gave him a dirty look. "He found a demonic arms dealer."
Sam walked off rolling his eyes. "Gun nuts."
Eric handed over the coffee pot. "All nighter? New case?"
"Found a demonic arms dealer who had some of the newer stuff we can't afford to get for the exemplar," Xander said through a yawn, pouring himself a cup. Dean got one too and they headed back, drinking it in the hallway.
"It's like his mini-me only Dean's taller," Eric complained. Dean shot him a dirty look. "You are."
"Take it back, Delko. I'm not a mini anything," he said dryly. "Except next to Samzilla."
"It must be tough being the smaller brother," Xander teased.
"There's days I wanted to be an only brother," Dean said dryly.
"Don't say the 'W' word," Xander warned.
"We know. Trust me, we know, dude. We've run into it before."
"I dated a former vengeance demon," he sighed. "There's days I miss Anya's need for oral sex."
Dean gave him an odd look. "You dated what?"
"That's a lot of his dating history," Tripp said from behind them. "And occasionally some of his friends too."
"We met Angel and his crew," Dean assured him.
"We've seen Buffy and Willow."
"I'm sure Buffy's all better now. She won't come down to stab me again," Xander assured him. "Dean wants to go bust their demonic weapons dealers."
"More power to you. I'd hate to see what they'd do with it."
"There are other planes of them and some of them are at war," Xander offered.
"Yay, they can build their own. You're expecting some artillery?"
Xander nodded, following him down to oversee the unloading of his new toys. "Hi, guys." They all grumbled but let him help them.
Rick Stetler stomped out. "Harris!" he snarled. Xander turned to look at him, letting down the case he was pulling out of the truck. "You busted arms dealers to get new samples?"
"No, I went down there to buy new samples since we haven't found any on the streets and we can't afford to buy them new. I can usually get a pretty decent price." He grinned. "Then one challenged me. So I beat him. And one offered me a teenage boy. So I killed him since we can't arrest demons. It would've been noticeable since he was four-foot-two and a round ball of blue and orange fur."
"What did you do with the one he wanted you to buy?" he demanded.
"I took him to a hospital and handed him over with the explanation. They could call social services for him once they made sure he was all right. That's their job."
"Can't you get them busted by the ATF? That's *their* job."
"I went down to buy, Stetler, not to intentionally get into fights. It happened those two wanted to get violent instead of selling stuff. All this I bought." He shrugged and waved a hand. "I'm a good boy about that. I keep track of it."
"Caine knows?" he demanded, hands going to his hips.
"Yeah, I keep him updated when I hear about new demonic arms shipments and what I get from them. Also what I personally keep in my private exemplar. I'd tell the ATF on some of the worst of them that I know sell to humans but they won't bust demons."
"These were selling to humans?"
"No but I'm a special case," he offered with a grin. "I didn't mean to go to get into fights so I got stuff this way, Stetler. I truly didn't. They pushed it."
"Whatever. I want an account of how much you've turned over."
"Horatio has it in a file in his cabinet. He's in his office. I'll be adding this to it later. I'll be filing for reimbursement for the things I bought too. The Chief knows. He asked after the first one and I told him why. He agreed ATF won't bust demons and if I'm taking them off the streets it's good for Miami." Rick moaned, rubbing his forehead. "Hey, did the officer the vamp was blowing last night make it back to shift all right? They didn't call to say I needed to stake her."
"I'm sure he did," he growled, huffing off again.
Xander waved at his back, then looked at the demons. "Internal Affairs. The same guy who tried to gay bash me." They laughed, helping him unload the rest. "You guys know I run a gun drop service, right?" They all nodded. "Good. I'd rather not have them recycled if possible. If it's going to go to any humans I have to butt in. I can't butt in on other planes but if you guys hear about more stuff I should hear about let me know please."
"Fine. Would you let them in human hands?"
Xander snorted. "Hell no. I trust most of you guys not to use them on others. Them I'd rush in with SWAT and Horatio behind me. I'll be damned if I don't bust every single human weapons dealer I can find. Demonic ones I'll leave alone as long as they take them out of Miami and aren't selling to any humans or any apocalypse cults, anything like that. I can't touch the off-plane wars."
They nodded. "I guess that makes sense," one decided. "If you could hit Cleveland there's a few good ones."
"We've got problems in the lab or I'd let the ATF borrow me. You can pass back that I do take dropped guns from them if you want and I'll gladly see if I can buy some of their stock to take it out of everyone's hands."
"I'll pass that around. How's your budget looking?"
Xander finished his coffee. "Pitiful." He shrugged. "It happens." That got a nod and they drove off, letting him conscript a few officers to help him wheel the carts inside to ballistics. "Ah, presents." He sat down to fill out what he had paid for last night, handing it to Dean. "Go lighten up Horatio's life. Tell him one of them is passing onto Cleveland's demonic arms dealers that I take dropped guns and that I might be willing to buy their stock so it can't be used too." He patted a box. "Then we can pat these babies."
Dean grinned, heading that way. He ran into Horatio on the stairs heading up to his office. "Xander's having fun petting the artillery he bought to get it off the street last night, boss." He handed over the form. "He said the ones who dropped it off will tell Cleveland's people that he accepts dropped guns and might buy some of theirs to keep them out of use."
"If I had more of a budget or another tech who could sub in, I'd let him go up there to bust them himself," Horatio admitted. He looked over the list. "He got what?"
Dean shrugged. "I'm used to shotguns and handguns, not artillery. We don't have to handle many apocalypses."
"Unfortunately Xander's handled a few too many," Horatio complained. "Rick, did you want to see them?" he asked, catching sight of him stomping his way.
"I saw him offloading them," he complained, taking that form. He read it over on his way to get some milk for his stomach. Harris caused too many ulcers.
Horatio and Dean both came down to help Xander log in and pet the artillery. Some of it they hadn't seen before so they had to look it up. It was very educational. When Calleigh came back in she nearly squealed in joy too.
Dean and Sam sat together that night, looking at each other. "So," Sam said.
Dean grinned. "It was good to pet the artillery. I had no idea we had ordinance that could do some of that stuff."
"Some of it's an act to keep people from getting too close, Sammy." He sipped his beer. "How was your day?"
"Not nearly as full of squealing as yours. He was loud!"
Dean nodded. "He did squeal very well. Tim came in to complain that he should only be making those noises at home." Sam snorted some of his beer, choking a little bit too. Dean smirked at him. "Maxine came in to see how phallic some of them were. I got to tease her back and ask her if she wanted to pose on top of some of them for my mental enjoyment tonight. She and Calleigh both swatted me for it but they both blushed and laughed."
"Xander's warping you bad, dude."
"He is not, bitch."
"Yes he is, jerk."
"He offered Tim the same posing opportunity. Max swatted him for it too. Then said she wanted pictures if he did."
Sam shook his head, drowning out his response with a new drink of beer.
John appeared, looking at his boys. "I knew he was a bit strange and warped. The squealing gave Hagen a headache."
"You guys can get headaches?" Dean asked. "That's good to know."
"Did you have fun, son?"
"A lot, Dad," he said with a smug grin. "You?"
"I haven't seen some of those outside of military ordinance." He settled in the chair, looking at them. "Cleveland seems to be locked up again."
"All of it or just the hellmouth?" Sam asked.
"All of it. I don't know what Rosenburg did." He looked at them. "So, anything else new?"
"It may take months to get a night shift tech back," Dean offered. Sam looked at him. "No one even hinted at that, Sammy."
"I wouldn't mind if they did," he offered. "You clearly like it here."
Dean shrugged. "We've still got nearly ten months on our internships."
"Good point." He finished his beer, getting up to get another. "Dad? Dean?"
"Please," John begged. He looked at Dean. "I won't stop you, son."
Dean shrugged. "I won't be out of my internship by then, Dad. Moot point. I might be asked to fill in the secondary spot when I am. I don't know."
"If not, Cleveland might."
"Cleveland won't take anyone who came out of that special program," Sam called. "I checked in case it was an option. They want to ignore the demons who're presently trying to take over their town." He came out with two more beers, handing his father his. "You remember Xander and I are hitting Disney in three weeks, right?" Dean nodded. John grimaced but nodded. "He wants to go and Tim's horrified. So we'll go and he'll get something to horrify Tim with at home." He grinned. "Plus it'll be a nice weekend off. Unlike the last spring break we spent in Tijuana. Which I still can't remember all that well." He took a drink, looking at his brother.
"I didn't let you kiss, grope, or sleep with the donkey someone offered you," Dean said with a grin.
"Thanks, really. Did I sleep with any nasty things?"
"A couple of cheerleaders. Neither one looked too skanky but they were only wearing string bikinis and a pair of flipflops at the time. I think you went back to nursing there for a while on one." He sipped his beer while his father spluttered. "It was Sammy's idea to go on spring break, Dad. I kept him out of trouble for the most part. I didn't let the rebels take him for a hostage. I didn't let the drug dealers take him as a toy. I didn't let the cheerleaders keep him. I did a good job."
John faded out to go talk to his wife. She'd make him see that his sons were only playful, they didn't need to have sense beaten into them.
"Wonder if he heard that Bobby went with us that time," Dean said.
"I'm still wondering what he has in those pictures he's got for blackmail," Sam admitted.
"Of all three of us."
"No telling, little brother." He finished his beer. "You didn't get me one?"
"I asked, you didn't say to bring you one." He looked at him. "Long day?" he asked. Dean nodded. "I can....."
"No, it's my job to get my own beer, Sammy. I was only picking." He got up and walked in there.
Sam looked at him. "Ryan taught me some of what he learned if you're cramping."
"Nah, not the problem and you're not stacked enough to fix the other one. Thanks though."
"We could hit a club."
"I'm not on tomorrow but you are. Plus Xander warned me we're coming up on the ususal point where the interns get drug tested."
"Hmm," Sam said, taking another drink. "Remember to admit to yours."
"I usually do." He came out a minute later with a plate of leftovers and his second beer. "Did you give Maxine back her dish?"
"I did." He grinned. "What're you going to do tomorrow, Dean?"
"I'm going to spend the day sleeping in and then at the gym with the therapist since I've had to miss a few sessions. Artillery's heavier than it looks."
"I'd suppose it was." He finished his beer as he stood up, stretching upward. "Since I've got be in early tomorrow I'll see you after I get back?"
"Sure. Have fun digging tomorrow."
"Hope not. I think I'm due in the lab tomorrow instead of in the field." He went to shower and then go to bed. He got so filthy in the field. Thankfully lemons were cheap down here because half the bodies stunk worse than zombies did.
Dean went back to his snack and his beer, relaxing for the whole night. He hadn't known how tiring being an intern would be. How did Xander work extra hours during his?
Horatio caught both boys when they came in the day after Dean's day off. "You two are both over hours."
"We are?" Dean asked.
"You're about twenty hours over, Dean."
Dean grinned. "I wasn't sure but damn it seemed like a lot now and then."
"With the explosion clean up, we all worked some overtime. Overtime isn't paid for interns so go home."
"Calleigh won't have any help," Dean told him. "Melissa's off tonight."
"There were only two shootings today and they were both robberies. She has nothing to do but clean guns." The boys beamed and headed back to the car so they could go have some fun.
Xander and Calleigh came out of the trace lab. "They deserved it." He looked at Horatio. "Are we holding it open for him if he wants it?"
"I'll let an intern apply if he's very close to being done. The Chief said we can't hire anyone for the night shift lab for at least three months due to the budget." He looked at Xander. "He said no more buying weapons off the demons for the same amount of time."
"Shoot. I wanted to buy the stupid bomb they have up there."
Horatio raised an eyebrow. "Bomb?"
"Yeah. In Cleveland."
"Can they get a human to sell it to someone?" Calleigh asked.
"Riley Finn's people but I don't trust him. I can call Connor, see if Angel will buy it and have it destroyed through my program. That way the students get to look it over."
"That might help," she decided.
He called. "Gunn, me. Actually, I was looking for Connor and Angel. There's a huge ass bomb up for sale in Cleveland through some of the demonic arms dealers. I was hoping, since I can't afford it or get reimbursed for it for months on end, that they could and hand it to Professor Destra so my future minions of evil can look it over?" He grinned. "We definitely don't want it there. Sure, I can list all the demonic arms dealers I know. Who wanted to know? You mean they're actually going to do something about them? Huh. Sure I can start that list so you can compare it to yours. Thanks, man. Gratsburg. Yup, them. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll talk to Angel about it and one of us is in the ATF now. They're going to handle all sorts of demonic arms." He beamed. "He'll be coming down in a few days for a list."
"Please let him handle some of them," Horatio ordered. "That way you don't have to wait to be paid back."
Xander nodded. "I can do that. Oooh!" He smiled and bounced some. "We're making the last payment on the house this paycheck."
"Congratulations, Xander. Does Tim realize this?"
"Yes, he was making kitchen remodeling plans." They walked off to talk to him. Xander went to start his list with his address book in his desk.
Xander looked at the guy storming through his door. "Let me guess, you're the hunter in the ATF. You kinda move like Professor Kurt."
"You're Harris?" he demanded. Xander nodded. "But you're wearing an eye patch."
"Missing an eye doesn't mean I don't know what I'm doing. I'm a fully rated field and ballistics tech. For that matter, I'm from Sunnydale." The guy went pale and backed up. He grinned. "So, which ones did you want to start with? I usually only concentrate on the looser links. I get cooperation in Miami when I want to buy something for the lab, most of the time. Now and then someone wants to be violent so I have to deal with it. Got some neat artillery last week from it."
He blinked a few times. "Someone?"
"Well, yeah, they are sentient. Otherwise they'd be somethings, like dogs are."
"You know this how?"
"Sunnydale," Xander prompted. "We worked with a lot of the harmless species. Especially after the Initiative."
"You were one of them?" he demanded.
"No, I backed up Buffy. And Kendra when she was alive, and Faith when she was hunting with us." The guy shuddered. "So, I take it you're a kill 'em all sort? I know some hunters are but that's not my thing. I'll leave peaceful things alone. Why make them mad?"
"You infatuated or possibly in thrall to one?" he sneered.
"No, I've only dated former demons." The guy gave him a horrified look. "Anyanka when her powers were gone." He smirked back. "Now, anything else?" He fled, going to report that one to his boss. "Horatio, slight problem. The guy's a panicking dweeb. Look for better ATF agents to come in," he called up to his office. Sure enough, three hours later one of his favorite local agents came in. "Did you know he wanted to kill anything that he couldn't identify as fully human?"
"Yeah, we know, but he's useful at the moment. Then we'll get rid of him for being racist." He stared at him. "We like it when you buy from the locals but you leave some alone?"
"They're dealing with off-plane wars and things. I can't touch those. Only the ones that are willing to sell to humans. For all I know some of those wars might have a really good reason or be fighting against a major evil."
"I guess that's a good point. That bomb in Cleveland was bought by your former coworkers by the way. Sent to your old school?"
"That way my future proteges of evil can see and grope one. Plus, hey, not near the current hellmouth." He grinned. "They wouldn't reimburse me for that."
"Figures. How many do you have?" Xander handed him the list. "All that'll sell to humans?"
"Yup. And I put there if they're open to working with the lab. Some of them will turn over guns or let us buy them but they're still pretty cash up front, I don't wanna know what you're doing with it sorts. Some don't care, some do."
"Good to know." He looked it over. "I can handle this one and him." He looked at him. "He's not staying in Miami."
"That's cool. I appreciate that and I'm sure the overlord would too. He looked kinda disgusted when I admitted I dated Anya."
"I don't know how you did."
"Hey, you got to miss Cordy showing up to chew me a new one a few weeks back," he said dryly.
"From what we heard about her time in that group in LA I'm glad I saved myself the headache." He shook his hand. "Anything recent?"
"Yup, but I'm expecting a reimbursement check in about a month for it. Which will be in time to get a good anniversary of 'when I met you' present."
"Sure, I'm sure your boy will like that, Harris." He walked off to tell his boss. The boss was chewing that agent a new one. "These are the loose links in the chain. The ones who'll sell to humans. He marked a few who'll work with him when he needs stuff for the lab or he's buying to get it off the streets. Some are greedy though and some are tighter." He handed over the list. "I promised Harris this one wouldn't be here for very long."
"That's not a problem." He looked it over. "There's some links to cases that we already have?"
"I didn't stop to search any of them, sir," he admitted. He looked at the hunter. "Miami's a calm city. Our overlord makes sure of it. If one of them causes problems, he calls Harris for that." He looked at his boss again.
"But... but," he spluttered. "They 're *demons*! They're evil and wrong!"
"Some of them just exist and some of them have helped fight against evil," the lesser agent told him. "LA's protection detail is in the hands of a vampire and his son. He seems to keep apocalypses from happening all the time."
"Aren't you glad you transferred," his boss said dryly without looking up.
"Every day I hear bad news from out there. By the way, they bought the bomb we heard rumors about in Cleveland to give to Harris' old program. He said that way his future proteges of evil can grope it."
His boss looked up with a smirk. "We get some good techs out of UCLA's program. They're good at rehabbing the roaming hunter sort too. His current intern is one of those sort who had a car crash. He's a lot better suited to what he's doing and not doing anything wrong anymore."
"Hopefully he stays then." He smirked. "He bought artillery. He's waiting on Miami to reimburse him. He said it'll be about the same time as his 'meeting you' anniversary."
"I like his boyfriend. He keeps him nicely calm. From what we heard, he jumped into every little thing he could in LA. Having a white lighter definitely calmed him down."
"He has one?" the guy demanded.
"Yeah, he's a former detective. He was helping with the explosion search too. That's who the priest was going on about." He looked at his boss. "How are we handling it?"
"Think we can get his intern?"
"He might not know artillery. Plus they're down their night shift."
"I forgot." He considered it. "Send out a memo saying we need someone who can handle strange cases. It's going to be a long hunt through multiple states and possibly somewhat international. I'll take a whole team if I have to."
"You know who they'll give it to."
"Have them deal with any in their area. A few reach that way." He handed it back. "Sort it into regions if you can." His agent nodded, going to do that. He looked at the guy. "How did you get out of your education with that attitude? Didn't your white lighter at least knock that out of you?" He stomped off. "Maybe I'll check on his graduated status," he muttered, looking up the number to call out there.
Dean looked around the lab. "Why aren't we busy? It's gun crime season everywhere else."
"Everyone's mellow today," Xander said with a grin. "Feel thankful these days, Dean. Between the bust at the international docks by ATF last night and a few other good busts by Vice, we're in the 'stockpiling' stage. We'll get a few murders in a few days. Then we'll get the next dealer who has too many and is busted. But if you're that bored, you can call Teller to see if she's overloaded and wants us to take some of them."
Dean called down there. "Teller, Winchester. We have nothing to do. Do you?" He grinned. "She's swearing at us."
"Who got busted?" he asked with a grin.
"ATF wanted them to process the bust last night."
"Why not us?"
Horatio walked in with one of the agents. "Because someone had one of Xander's pieces of artillery."
"Xander only has three pieces of artillery. The rest went to Ellory's to get us the new exemplar after that explosion," Xander said dryly. "And unless they broke into it today, no they didn't."
"One said they got it from you, Harris." He held up a picture.
He looked. "That is Connor, Angel's son." The guy groaned. "Or his evil twin. I didn't think I left any back in LA when I moved out here. What did they have of mine?"
"A banned automatic rifle."
Xander considered it. "I had one back then but I gave it to Gunn as a birthday present one year and took it off my registration." He got into the files on himself, finding it. "See, transfer of ownership. Or was it another one?" The serial number came back to that gun so he shrugged. "I notated it in the system."
"That's fine. You're covered for that. Would you please talk to this guy? All he does is grunt."
"He was raised off-plane." He got up. "Dean, hold it down for me." He walked off, finding him in an interrogation room. "You took the gun I gave to Gunn for his birthday?"
Connor looked at him. "We were using it to lure someone out so we could get them."
"If you had asked, I would've helped, Connor." He sat down. "Who were you down here to get?"
"Ah. Well, kinda a pity since he challenged me a few weeks back when I was buying for the lab's exemplar."
"I heard that last night and then the ATF busted in to get some of the international dealers who were meeting." He shrugged at the agent. "Not my fault. We were trying to get the little druggie demon."
Xander nodded. "He had went unstable. The local overlord and I had talked a few times about him going bad." He looked at him then at the agent. "Did you need to know more than that?"
"I need to check his story."
"That's fine. Do you want me to help Teller or send Dean?"
"I'll ask Winchester to go help her. You can't since you used to own one. Keeps any hint of impropriety out of it. You guys don't need more hell right now."
"True." He looked at Connor. "Tim's not on today. If they release you, want me to call and see if you can come to dinner?"
"Nah, I'm good. I've got a motel room." He grinned. "Besides, I saw him earlier."
"He came to help?"
"No, they asked him about your collection."
"Mine's under Horatio's careful watch."
"We know that," the ATF agent assured him. "We keep tabs on it as well, Harris." He smirked. "If we have an apocalypse down here...."
"Hey, I argued when the Powers tried to think up one," he said firmly. "That's why I got yelled at by Cordelia. She told me God got drunk to make me."
He patted him on the back of the head. "You're not that unique but close." He went to check on the story. He came back ten minutes later. "It does check out. You're free to go, Connor Angel, but try to be more subtle."
"I never learned subtle. I was raised on a demon plane." He stood up. "Nice seeing you again, Xander."
Xander grinned. "You could visit. Not like you and Dawn were banned from the house or anything."
"I'll remind the bitch of that. I swear she barks more than some dogs." He walked off shaking his head.
Xander grinned at the agent. "Need me for more help?"
"No thanks. She's nearly done. She said you needed Winchester to help you be less warped." He walked out.
Xander followed, grinning at Stetler. "My former coworkers."
"Why?" he asked, sounding miserable.
"They were baiting one of their sort who were dealing weapons. We were going after an international dealer. Turned out to the be the same group," the agent told him. "Harris used to own one of the guns so we can't let him process. We cleared his coworker of any wrongdoing." Rick walked off rubbing his head.
Xander watched him go. "I think he's about to get an ulcer." He walked off. "Horatio, if I'm responsible for Stetler having an ulcer, should I send him something nice like pepto as an apology?"
Horatio looked at him. "It's thoughtful but I doubt he wouldn't bite back if you tried, Xander."
"Then I'll send him something small like a card." He went back to his lab. "The ATF guys think you'll try to unwarp me, Dean."
"I have tried, Xander. It's too firmly entrenched. Otherwise I'd invite you over to watch the game tonight."
"The cheerleaders look like pretty hookers but Tim had the day off," he offered with a grin. "I might come home to a demolished kitchen."
"Tim wants to remodel?"
"Yeah. I told him I'd help with it. He's been making plans since we're paying off the house this payday."
Dean nodded at that. "Good job, dude." Xander beamed. "What now, boss?"
He looked at the bin then around. "We're clean, sorted, all that. Hey, Horatio, since I can't help Teller, can I show the interns how to do a pop gun exam?" he called.
"No, Xander. Do it tomorrow if you're still clear. That way you can bring her interns up for some fun too," he said dryly. He went to drink his own shot of pepto. Sometimes Xander did drive him nuts. No matter how much he liked the boy. Clearly it was rubbing off since Dean was wearing one of Xander's t-shirts today and Xander's was a headache in the making anyway. He called Tim. "Tell me you're doing something nice to make your lover calm down?" he asked quietly. "Yes, that one. Because his minion, as he calls him, is wearing one of his shirts too, Speed. He just asked me if it was appropriate to send Rick Stetler something for giving him an ulcer. I know the girls told him about apology presents," he said when Speed said something smart. "Please? Thank you." He hung up and called down there. "Tim said you might need to call off tomorrow, Xander." He hung up. He hoped Tim could calm him down that much. He enjoyed the calm days.
Ryan looked at Dean's t-shirt and shook his head. "I did that a few times too," he told him. "Babysitting the lonely shirts makes people give you funny looks."
"It creeped out Maxine. She wanted to make sure I wasn't going to try to steal him from Tim."
"I doubt that's possible. Where is Xander?"
"He's running a bit late from lunch due to traffic. He said he had to pick up something." Dean shrugged. "Got something for us?"
"Not really. It's been a slow week so far." He looked over as Xander came in without anything. "Sending Tim flowers?" he guessed.
"No, I caused an ulcer. I decided I probably should apologize for that." He grinned.
"As long as you didn't cook," Ryan complained. He looked at Dean. "So, how are you enjoying being an intern?"
"I'm learning a lot. Including about bouncing around with guns." He watched Xander do that. "That's not safe carry," he noted.
Xander beamed. "Good catch, Dean!" He went back to work.
Ryan shook his head. He walked off calling Tim. "Xander's bouncy with his guns and even Dean's giving him looks like he's considering a straight jacket for you to undo later." Tim cackled at that. "He was sending someone something in apology he said." He hung up. He went to warn Eric. "Xander's bouncy."
"Too much chocolate bouncy?"
"Demented and cackling bouncy," he said dryly.
Eric sighed and called Tim. "Your boy needs cured." He hung up and got back to work.
"I called him too."
"Tim will do something about him. Hopefully. He went to stop Alexx. "Xander's bouncy."
"Who fed him chocolate?" she demanded.
"No one that we know of."
"Oh, it's *that* sort of bouncy. Well, I have a bullet for him." Dean came out and grabbed it then went back. "Thank you, sugar. Are you feeling all right?"
"Xander's sapping all the energy out of the air." He looked at his mentor once he was back in the lab. "Is it your idea to drive them all nuts?"
"They'll call Tim, who'll pounce me later," Xander said with a wicked grin. "I may not be able to sit tomorrow but it'll be fun tonight."
Dean shook his head. "Monogamy does drive you insane. I knew it would. That's why I avoid it so hard. First Dad and Sammy, now you." He settled in to work on that bullet. He had been bored. "Think Teller would let me go do her inventory?"
"You can call and ask if you want."
"I might after I do this." He ran the bullet through the system, starting his report. Yeah, Xander was a cause for headaches. Just like the teachers had warned them about.
Rick Stetler opened the card carefully. They had x-rayed it for him already. No one sent him anything that wasn't malicious in nature. He looked at the words on the card, then checked the signature. "Every time he does something like that I know I'm going to join him in his insanity," he muttered. But the pepto in the box was very nice of him. Since he had caused him to need it.
One of the patrol officers stopped Xander that night, giving him a dirty look. "You sent something to IAB? The asshole of IAB?"
"I kinda gave him the start of an ulcer dealing with the shit that's been going on in the lab. I thought I'd apologize and send him some pepto. He clearly needed it earlier when he walked off to guzzle milk instead of his usual drink."
The officer looked at him. "None of us would've done more than cheer."
Xander grinned. "I did cheer, but I was also raised and warped by girls, who said I should apologize when I give people headaches, even if I don't personally like them. They said it was polite."
"We thought they only gave you those cute pet names for sports that make us all drink," he said grimly, walking off shaking his head.
Xander shrugged. "They did that too. And the t-shirts probably since they taught me what humor was." The guy shuddered and walked faster. He headed toward his car but he found a bike in his way. "Hi, Tim."
"Get on," he ordered. Xander got on behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist. "I should paddle you for doing it on purpose, Xander." He took off, letting his boy get some good vibrations from the bike so he could do less work later. Apparently his boy *really* needed to be calmed down the hard way tonight.
to part 3
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