Xander walked into the FBI office the next morning, going to the same agent.  "They're still annoying me by mixing me up with Wolfe."

He looked up.  "There's almost none left after the raid last night, Harris."

"There's apparently plenty of them.  One of them tried to firebomb the house.  Pity that I know explosives better than the flame demon."  He stared at him.  "Do I really have to finish stopping them?  I'll tell Rosenburg."

"No, let us try one more thing."

Xander nodded.  "Please do.  I'm going to check on my lab."  He walked off, heading back to the lab.  He had snuck out while Tim was asleep, but he had left a note so he wouldn't worry.  Tim even got to miss him being impressive with a sword.  He walked in and waved at the receptionist, putting on his badge.  "In for a visit to see what damage I need to fix."

"Just the door.  Horatio said you can't go work."

"I'm not.  Apparently I have to finish taking down a law firm."  He walked into the lab, looking at the overly full bucket.  "We're that backed up?" he asked Melissa.

She sniffled.  "I don't know why, Xander.  We were nearly on target last night."

He shrugged then winced, holding his stitches.  "You'll handle it.  Do one piece of evidence at a time.  That's how we all do it.  That way you don't make rookie mistakes."  She nodded, getting back to work.  "I would suggest that you start your report while it's searching.  And maybe see if you can borrow Evan for the day if Dean's off?"

She beamed and went to ask for him back.  She even babbled at him.

Xander walked off, waving the button at Horatio.  "Did the news crew pulling past the neighborhood catch me being super with a sword again?" he asked as he walked past him.

"They did.  It was quite impressive.  Did you tear more stitches?"

"Nope.  You might wanna look over her shoulder.  She's backed up."

"I can do that."  He went to check, wincing at the amount of things that had to get done.  This was not a good test day for an intern.  Even if she had gotten the other former ballistics tech from chemistry.  "Evan, are you sure you can handle it?"

"Yes, Horatio.  We can call him or Dean if we need help, right?"

"You can.  I'll be checking in periodically until Calleigh gets out of court.  If you have problems, come get me."  They both nodded and got back to work.  He left to watch from the catwalk.  They were still both terribly slow.  He called Dean.  "How many samples did you leave yesterday?"  He winced at the answer of 'five'.  "She's got a full bucket and said that she might be calling for help now and then.  I have no idea.  Thank you, Dean."  He hung up and watched them work for a bit longer.  It was not a good day to be a ballistics intern.  Even if Dean did have it off for some bikini scoping time.

Sam walked up to him, looking in there then at him.  "It's not like I don't know guns, Horatio.  Not as well as Dean but I know how to run the searches and do test fires."

"I might let you," he admitted.  He smiled.  "Go find out what happened last night?"

He handed over a file.  "Dean told me to look it up.  Drug dealers.  They got most of a gang."

Horatio moaned, shaking his head.  "Go help.  I'll check over your shoulder too."

Sam nodded, going to do that.  He walked in with a smile.  "Not like I didn't do some cross-training, Melissa."

She gave him a hug.  "Thank you, Sam.  I have no idea what happened."

"Dean called from the beach.  Drug dealers.  They got most of a gang."

"Oh, shoot.  Why did they have to hurt Xander!"

"They wanted Ryan again," he told her.  He pulled out the top piece of evidence and got to work on the system there.  It was a bullet.  He knew what they were.  He knew how to search and write reports.  Apparently he knew it better than them since he was working about twice as fast.  He printed and resealed his sample then made sure they were in the right place so he could move on.  During his break, he texted Dean.  He wasn't going to have a happy day tomorrow.


Xander got the call from the agent saying he couldn't do anything else.  He looked at Tim, who was still growling about him going out this morning.  Then he pushed the big, red button.  Willow appeared with a crossbow.  "Bad time?"

"Why are you injured?"

"Wolfram and Hart can't figure out how to separate me from Ryan Wolfe.  That sandy-blond guy who wears pastel a lot?  They sent in an assault team yesterday to get me because they still think I'm him.  Even after we proved it in front of a judge and sued them over it."

She slumped, shaking her head.  "We're having a small apocalypse."

"I took out a flame demon this morning, the day after having a bullet removed from my arm."

She growled.  "They shot you!"

"They sent demons to the station to shoot him," Tim told her.  "Twice.  The other's a graze."

"Oh, they're so toasty," she muttered.  "I'll talk with Connor and Dawn tonight.  You rest, Xander.  Need some soup or a book?"  Xander pointed at Tim with a grin.  "Fine, he can baby you."

"If I can't, his adopted mother can."

"Good!"  She disappeared, going back there.  She put down her crossbow and pulled up magic.  She clearly had other issues to help with today.  Buffy looked at her when the demons suddenly disappeared.  "They're in the middle of the ocean since they're water soluble.  Did you know Wolfram and Hart can't tell Xander from one of his coworkers?  They shot him yesterday.  They sent demons to his lab to shoot him."

Buffy glared.  "Is he all right?"

"Stitches on his arm and leg it looked like.  He said they sent a flame demon this morning so he got to fight it off the day after getting shot."

Buffy growled.  "They're so toasty."

"Good!  You can help so I don't go all veiny and scary again."  They walked off together.  The minor apocalypse was over with.  The new one was just starting.  Starting with a cheerful warning to Dawn.


Horatio looked up as someone walked into his office and pulled on his arm.  "What's wrong, Frank."

"Big shit, Horatio."  He walked him down to the break room, letting him see the news coverage.  "Can Harris do that?"

He stared at the mess going on.  "No, I believe he called his friends since they're evil."

"Clearly, and stupid too!  They're still burning!"

Horatio looked at him.  "They might be used to it with the way they take souls."

"Still not a good idea."

"Is that the local office?"

"LA's.  The local one was raided again but there's still a few."  He sat down to watch the coverage going on.  Clearly someone was pissed as hell.

Horatio sat down to watch too.  It was so much nicer than paperwork.  He almost wanted popcorn but it would probably freak Frank out if he made himself any.  He looked up.  "John?" he called quietly.  Winchester faded in.  "Did the Cleveland group do that?"  He pointed at the tv.

He looked then shook his head.  "The LA group did that.  The Cleveland group went to their home realm to take out the higher beings that're behind them.  The Powers are pissed as hell.  We all pointed out they brought it on themselves but they don't seem to care too much at the moment.  They're still insisting that Ryan is Xander's new identity.  Even the higher ups don't know why."  He faded out, going back to watching it from a safe distance.  He didn't want to be too close.  That Willow girl was really dangerous.  No wonder she had warped the kid.


"Mr. Harris, I'm Niles Prescot.  I'm from Wolfram and Hart but I'm here to apologize."

Xander looked back at him.  "Go talk to my boyfriend.  He negotiates and calms people down after I go into a destruction mood.  You can have the person you bypassed at the sign-in desk call him."  It took them three days, he was amused at that he guessed.



"Oh, your white lighter."

"No, he descended.  John Hagen's my present white lighter."  He smirked but the guy couldn't see that.

"I didn't know they could do that," he muttered.  "Is he here today?"

"DNA but you still have to sign in to talk to him.  Those are federal and local rules."

"Of course, I wouldn't want to break those," he promised.  "Do you think he'd be open to negotiating a settlement of that suit as well?"  Xander shrugged.  "Thank you for telling me who to talk to, Mr. Harris.  Have a good day playing with the...guns."  He walked off quickly.  No one had told him that Harris was still active in the slaying business or that he had access to high powered handguns.  He signed in.  "Could you please summon Timothy Harris?"

"He goes by Speedle usually but sure," she said, calling DNA.  "There's a Niles Prescot here, Tim.  Clearly a lawyer.  Thank you."  She hung up.  "Give him two minutes to rebag a sample then he'll be out to talk to you, sir."

"Thank you."  He waited while the young man came out.  "Sir, Niles Prescot.  I'm here to apologize for some of my former coworkers complete stupidity and arrogance; also to see if we can talk settlement about that lawsuit.  Mr. Harris said he destroys things and you negotiate."

"Usually it's more calming people down but we can talk."  He led him to an interrogation room, setting in across from him at the table.  "Are they truly going to stop?"

"Our higher ups are no longer clouded with that strange information that they're the same person and they're very sorry."

"Is that because you only have about ten lawyers left?" he asked dryly.

"Mostly," he admitted with a small smile.  "But the ones who are left are quality people instead of being the lower members."  He pulled out something and handed it over.  "Our board has shown their displeasure on the lawyers that were responsible for starting off this problem."

"Did they get the souls of the ones that broke into the lab to shoot Xander the other day?"

"They did?  That was not ordered by any of us, sir.  I assure you.  I'm an assistant to a board member and none of them ordered that."

Tim grimaced but nodded.  "Thankfully I can tell when you're lying.  Those ones are dead."

"I'll bring that up so they can gather those souls for a ...discussion.  I'm sure they'll regret it and tell who sent them so they can regret it just as much."

Tim smirked at him.  "Have fun with that but take it out of Miami."

"We're going to have to close some regional offices anyway.  LA's is totally destroyed thanks to Miss Summers' temper tantrum the other day.  We heard that her daughter has been sick so she hadn't been sleeping well before then.  I'm sure that's reasonable for mothers now and then."  He coughed to clear his throat.  "We have every intention of closing the Miami office, the LA office, and paring down the New York office.  That will be our only east coast office while the Seattle office will take over west coast duties.  At least until we can hire and that could take decades to rebuild.  By then you'll be retired, hopefully peacefully."

"Possibly but Xander wanted to retire from hunting and they sent him to the special program out of San Francisco."

"We heard and we do welcome it.  It does help maintain the balance and takes out some annoying things that get in everyone's way."  He smiled as he pulled out another form, handing it over.  "This is the settlement the board has authorized on that lawsuit.  They're very sorry."

"Willow show up?" he asked dryly.

"Yes, it was nearly a Sunnydale and Summers woman reunion event in their home realm.  They were not pleased.  Especially since all the slayers came up to help.  Some of the senior members got slain when they said something about the girls needing chocolate for their tempers.  Another one got slain when he unwisely asked the younger Miss Summers where her daughter was.  Apparently she was giggling over the bad singers at a demon named Lorne's bar for a few hours."

"Even lesbians don't like it when you talk about them having PMS," he agreed.  He looked it over then handed it back.  "Not good enough."

"On what front, sir?"

Tim smirked meanly, going fully evil for a minute.  "Because I'm getting most of it as a spoiling present from my boyfriend.  After all, I had to baby him through another gunshot wound.  He's not fun when he's injured and they don't pay me enough to put up with whiny, cranky ballistics techs who like artillery."

The lawyer knew he looked a bit nervous.  "We heard he had given that part up."

"Nope.  Ballistics techs get to play with that.  He even buys from the demon arms dealers for the lab."

"I see.  I'll bring that back to the board and be back with their next offer, sir.  Thank you for talking to me and not hitting me."

He pointed behind him at Hagen and Winchester.  Those two were clearly hanging out too often since they were in the same stance and had similar scowls on their faces.  "They'd do it for me.  I'm not a physical brawler but Xander's still sore."

He looked then nodded.  "He has two?"  What was he doing that he needed two white lighters?

"I'm here for my boys," John said dryly.  "Sammy said he almost fell into your trap by interning back when he was in law school."

"Oh, you're a Winchester.  I understand.  We do like them down here.  The ones who were thinking about Miami have decided to move elsewhere because of the team of hunters locally."  He nodded politely at Tim.  "I'll be back in a few days.  Thank you for your time."  He got up and strolled out, trying very hard not to look like he was fleeing in terror.  A white lighter could destroy him.  He wouldn't do his bosses any good if he was permanently dead.  Next time he'd have to make sure that former white lighter took the deal he offered.  His bosses would want to know about what happened to him too.

Tim walked back to the lab, stopping in ballistics.  "The offer was way too low for any real spoiling."  Xander shot him a grin then got back to work.  "Both of them scared the piss out of him for some reason."  He came in to look over his shoulder to see what had him so engrossed.  "What is that?"

"Alexx pulled it out of someone's leg and it was what started the blood clot that ended his life.  It looks like it was shot but I'm still trying to figure out what it is."

"Can't  we run a piece to see what it's made of?"

"You can shoot nearly anything, but he had a lot of little pieces of plastic like this."

"Buckshot," Dean told him.  "You can pack those shells with nearly anything.  We use rock salt."

"Bet that stings," Tim said, considering the bullet.  "How hard is it?"

"Not very," Dean said.  "But the wound didn't look like it was shot that way."

Xander looked at him.  "I know someone's trying to make a good plastic bullet that won't show striations like metal does.  Maybe it fragmented?"  He took a kiss.  "I told him you calmed down and negotiated after I got done destroying," he offered with a grin.

"Of course I do."  He let him get back to it.  His boy's mind was leading in scary agent places this time instead of regular crimes.

Xander put it up on the monitor so he and Dean could look at the various little pieces.  "It's kibble."

"Chewed on and puked," Dean agreed, leaning back, crossing his arms over his chest as he stared at it.  "Recreate?"

"If it's buckshot we won't be able to.  Plus heat warping."

Dean pointed.  "Those two could go together.  So either he broke something up for irregular shrapnel pieces or it fractured once it entered the body."

Xander cocked his head to the side.  "You'd almost have to break something up to make it."  He pushed those two pieces together then found another piece that might work.  At the very least they'd be able to tell what he broke.  Maybe.

Horatio came in.  "I have an order to hand over all evidence on a case."

"Let me guess, the scary agent who used the plastic bullet doesn't want us to find out why they shot a homeless guy?" Xander asked dryly.  Horatio nodded.  "Pity but the last time I knew they couldn't take over a homicide unless it was a matter of national security.  Them doing weapons tests isn't."

"They've got broader powers since 9/11.  They can basically classify it that way," Dean reminded him.

Xander shook his head.  "No, not unless the homeless person volunteered or he was something other than homeless.  Which, from what Alexx said, might be.  She said he was awfully clean."

Horatio looked at him.  "They want it now, Xander."

Xander smirked.  "You go ask Alexx for hers first."

"Please don't get the lab shut down."

Xander laughed, taking the form to look at.  "Sure."  He walked up there.  "They sent you because I'm here or because someone under you fucked up playing around with new ordinance?"

"How did you know it was me?" Finn asked with a sigh.

Xander stared.  "It's your group that does orders like this, Riley.  The others are all scared to death of Horatio.  Only someone who's stared into something like the hellmouth isn't."  He stared at him.  "The homeless guy?"

"I can't say."

"I'll find out anyway."

"That's a desist order," he said impatiently.

Xander smirked.  "Some of his crap hit a kid.  He was driving by when he shot him.  So, no, unless you're taking the wounding case as well?"  Finn stiffened.  Xander smirked.  "See, two hunters in ballistics, Riley.  We know more about ordinance than you've ever learned.  Cute plastic bullets.  Was it buckshot or not?  We're debating that."

"Not," he ground out.  "He was out of line."

"And the homeless guy wasn't.  Your boy still hit a civvie.  Granted, a minor wound...."

"It's a new trial and it's crap," he admitted.

Xander nodded.  "Figures.  Now, you're still scared and I know it's not of me so that leads me back to... the guy he shot was important?  Or in hiding or something?"

"Or something."

"Ah.  Well, that was down in gang land for Miami.  So he was spying on some of the South American gangs?"  Riley glared.  He smirked.  "Like I said, the kid's mother wants to know too."

"He made a fatal error and the people who sent me already corrected him for that mistake of taking testing ordinance out into the streets.  Tell her that if you want."

Xander handed over the order.  "Don't do it in Miami, Riley.  Because I will find out."

"I'll let them know."

Xander grinned.  "Just think, Wolfram and Hart kept mixing me up recently."

Finn shuddered.  "We saw their shutdown.  The people that sent me aren't happy."

"Then they should've read my file and not gotten me mixed up with one of the field CSI, huh?"

"Good point.  I'll pass that on."

Xander grinned.  "Tim's my reward for putting up with Buffy and Willow for so long."

Finn laughed.  "I can see that point, yes," he admitted dryly.  Tim strolled in.  He stared then moaned.  "You're his special friend?"

"No, I'm his lover.  His special friend is behind you."  Riley looked and waved.  "Finn, tell your masters that Miami doesn't play well with the covert teams.  They should realize that by now.  Not like Horatio retired and he's trained Xander in how to be scary in his place.  If we keep his intern, it's going to be scary for decades."

"We'll make sure they hear that part too.  So, are you two married now?"

"He won't let me propose," Xander said with a small shrug.  "He doesn't want presents like Anya did either.  Even if he does still owe me a dog."

"Keep it up, I'll make Willow make you a dog," he teased.

Xander looked at him.  "I hated being a dog the last time."

"I'm picking, Xander."  He patted him on the arm, watching him hiss.  "Let me see it."  Xander huffed but let him see his arm.  "Wolfram and Hart's assault team."  He checked under the bandage.  "Antibiotics?"

"Of course.  I think I need another set though.  I'm seeing him tonight, remember?"

"Good point," Horatio said as he walked in with the folders.  He looked at the wound.  "Make sure he gives you more antibiotics, Xander."  He handed over the folder.  "You can tell whoever sent you that the covert agent died fairly quickly of the stroke the shattered bullet caused.  You can also tell them that they're watching the wrong gang.  That one only does drugs.  Not weapons.  The ones who rule six blocks over is more tied to terrorists."  He handed over the folders.  "And don't do this again in Miami, Agent Finn."

"Next time I get to go back with you," Xander said with a grin.  Tim smacked him on the head.

Riley looked at Tim.  "It's good you have him on a leash.  My bosses wanted me to have him moved to Cleveland's PD but they won't take anyone with his special degree."

Xander looked up.  "Moving me to Cleveland means that I have to handle the hellmouth *my* way instead of the slayer way."  He looked at him with a grin.  "The Powers are really getting headaches recently about me.  Ask Cordy."

"Saw her recently.  She told my bosses to leave you alone.  The Powers want you here guarding this part of the US.  They had to accept it but they'd like all of us back in Cleveland."

"It's not big enough for me and Willow," Tim assured him.  "And our interns are to go only if they want to."

"Agreed.  We should be able to handle it.  They're paranoid."

"Which means there's a prophecy," Xander reminded him.  Riley shuddered.  "So let me know if we need more ordinance.  Not like I don't have underground contacts."

"Sure, we can do that," he agreed dryly.  "Thank you, Lieutenant.  I'll make sure they know that the Miami crime lab doesn't like this sort of thing happening in their area and were about to sic your attack dog on us.  I'm sure they'll be less pleased.  Someone taught the agent that erred a very harsh lesson already."

"As long as it does not happen again," Horatio warned.

"It hopefully won't."  He looked at Xander.  "I'll tell them you said hi and you're better now."  He left with the folders.  He was wearing a wire so his bosses could hear all of it.  They really hated Xander.  He had no idea why.  They hadn't even worked with him.

Horatio looked at Xander's arm.  "That does not look good."

"I've done what I should.  Tim wouldn't let me use the herbal stuff."

"That came from my orders," John told him.  He looked at it.  "I'm not sure that the infection isn't something that was on the bullets, Xander."

Xander looked at him then sighed.  "Then we'll swab the wound to see if there's residue.  Alexx should be able to do that."

"True," Speed said.  "I can do that."  He let Xander pop a stitch while he found a swab to use.  He came back with it and ran it between Ryan running tests, grabbing the results on his way back to ballistics since Xander was back at work.  "Nothing in it but infection."

Xander pulled something out of his bottom desk drawer, putting it on the wound.  He hissed but it started to drain.  "This stuff is a super puss puller," he told his intern.  He let him have the tin.  "I've never had an infection when I used it.  This time they wouldn't let me."

Tim watched his arm.  "That's gross.  Let's get Alexx to clean that?"

"I can," Dean offered.

"Lab rules, Dean.  If we're at home, go for it," Tim told him, walking Xander down to the lab.  Alexx was in her office fuming over that agent issue.  "He used his herbal stuff because he was still infecting."

She looked.  "I can see that.  That's disgusting looking."  She got her bandages and stuff to clean it for him.  He put on some new salve and it was better.  She put a clean bandage over it.  "Do what you should, Xander."  He nodded, walking off with Tim after giving her a short hug.  She cleaned up her small mess and went to make a note on her time sheet.  That was disgusting looking.

Hagen appeared, looking mussed and wind blown.  "They didn't want you to do that."

"I'm not dying for their pleasure today," Xander told him.

"They said that Willow's latest batch went bad.  Not that they were trying to kill you."

"That's not Willow's."  He smirked. "That's the herbal stuff I get off the blue demons.  I like Willow's for other stuff, but I carry this because it works faster on things that could get infected, like bites."

"Oh, okay."  He went to tell them that.  That got cleared and he got sent to tell Willow about her last batch of herbal stuff before it hurt someone else.  Then he went back to watching over Xander.  Those panicking  higher demons over some covert agents were not happy today.  He suggested that Cordelia should show up and tell them why Xander should be in Miami or New York.  She smirked and got clearance then went to blast them with some truths.  They decided to lay off Miami.  And New York.  Hagen faded into Mac's office.  "You're welcome.  The covert demons over some idiot agents decided to leave you and Miami alone."  He faded out again.

"I probably don't want to know about that," Mac decided.  He sent Xander an email anyway.  In case it was something he had to hear about.  A young woman appeared.  "Yes, can I help you?  Someone else's white lighter?"

"Messenger duty," she said with a smirk.  "The demons who were working with some of the higher authorities, but not all, decided that New York and Miami are too risky to work in and are not good targets for special duties for some of their guys.  They think Xander warped you guys too.  They really hate Xander but they don't want to know what he'd do to them if he got pissed like he did at Wolfram and Hart.  Though, they might like going head-to-head with Rosenburg.  Not real sure if they're that dumb or not."  She faded out again.

Mac shook his head quickly and amended his email to Xander.  Apparently that was a good thing but the warping hadn't been that much he thought.  He got one back from Tim saying that had been Cordelia, Xander's ex.  That explained a lot to him.


Calleigh pulled Dean up to the office a few days later.  "How sure are you that you want to apply?"

"We're going to test if I can go back to hunting once I'm more steady on my feet."  He considered it.  "I'm all for it.  Sammy loves the idea but we grew up hunting the evil bastards that do bad things to people.  I realize I can do that here, but there's a lot of rules.  Some make sense but now and then it gets really frustrating when our old life was pick up and go when things got too warm or we finished something."

"I can see that frustration.  I have seen it a few times.  Generally lab techs don't have to play the politics field techs get over cases."

"I get that.  I've seen it go on around Xander and him ignore it completely."  He gave her a long look.  "Does this mean I'm in the running for the secondary spot?"

"It means we'll be hiring one person to cover night shift and it's between you and three others who've applied," she admitted.  "Which is why I have to know soon, Dean.  Two of the others were Xander's interns as well.  None of them really stood out as spectacular.  They were good techs.  They had good terms as our interns.  The other one really wanted to work with Xander.  Horatio thinks there's a bit of an obsession over a higher tech going on there."

"So it's really me against two former interns?"  She nodded.  "I get that."  He looked at his cane.  "When do we have to know?  I can push myself a bit faster so I'm off it more often."

"Do not do anything that would endanger you getting better," she warned.  Then she smiled.  "We all know you'll get there.  If it's next year, it's next year."

"And doing it for a year might be a good idea?" he guessed.

"I wouldn't tell that to the hiring panel.  Or your doubts about going back to hunting."  Dean nodded at that wisdom.  "I know that they wanted more people who could do field work and you passed with a partial ability.  At least until we test you again once you're off the cane full time.  That shouldn't matter but they are all former officers."

"So they'd be thinking 'what can they do in the field'?"

She nodded.  "But they've also seen Xander kick butt in the field.  Literally in one case.  He showed up to look over an intern who was part-time field and most of the time chem and fingerprints.  Her ex showed up and pulled a gun.  Xander was in a very bad mood that morning and took it out on him.  He nearly sued us until it was pointed out that he threatened someone and Xander would've arrested him but it's not his job.  They decided that Xander had fun until the officer quit being so paralyzed thanks to the member of the hiring panel that nudged him out of it.  He needed three reconstructive surgeries but oh well.  Shouldn't have pointed a gun at an officer.  They told him next time to shoot the guy instead."  Dean grinned at that story.  "Half the board will see the injury but you can tell them that you're very close to being off the cane.  So you'll have a small limp and at that time you'll be cleared for field work again."

"Why are you helping if I'm still considering going again?"

"Think back to high school, Dean.  How many of them do you remember from your last one?"


"And they're doing what?"

"Met them as strippers actually.  I think one I had in my ninth grade year is a state senator or something though."

"Interns are a lot like that.  We see many of them every year.  We see them come, we mentor them, we see them fledge and either fly or fall to their deaths when they leave us.  Not many stick out in our minds.  Frankly, I think if you stay you have a very good chance of being a tech like Xander.  One who can brag about being in the top thirty in the US.  Some year you can teach interns what you know, both about hunting strategies that get them arrests faster and about ballistics.  Those other two, they're good, but they're not that memorable as someone who really did something to stand out."

"I'm so handsome I stick in your mind?" he teased with a grin.

She pinched him on the arm.  "You're not my type."  He just smirked.  "You're too cute.  I can't go for just cute.  I need major brains and a big heart."  She smirked back when he laughed.  "We're going to offer each of them a week's trial in the night shift lab.  Yours is going last so you have more hours done.  To be honest the fact that you've got about two months of hours left is going to count you down some.  They'll be expecting Horatio and I to grade them.  Horatio is over all the labs, Mary's going to give him her opinion on the matter."

"Mary likes Sam."

"Mary does like Sam," she agreed.  "And he could be hired on there or non-felony.  Very easily actually since we're hiring for them in about six months time.  If he puts in now that can short that out."

"Okay, so I'm seriously in the running and I've got a month to figure it out or have to wait a year?"

She nodded.  "Yes.  Because if you leave in the middle of a contract year, they'll make you pay penalties.  Part of your signing bonus back and those things."  He nodded.  "So I need you to really think and tell me within a few weeks.  They're meeting with the applicants then."

"I can do that."

"Good."  She smiled and patted his cheek.  "Now, go be head of ballistics for a few hours.  Melissa's in but she's still panicking.  I don't know why."

"I'm not sure she shouldn't be tested," he said, making smoking motions.  She grimaced.  "We've seen plenty over the years."

She nodded.  "I'll be talking with her later.  She's falling behind on performance goals."

"Hold on, I only have two months?"

"Yeah.  Xander's had you working overtime again, Dean.  You're about a month ahead at the moment.  You and Sam both really."

"So it's really possible I'll get hired on."  She nodded.  "We'll talk about it tonight."

"Good."  She walked off.  "Melissa, conference in the office.  Dean's taking over."  She let him walk around her.  Melissa resealed and followed her to the office.  "You've had some problems recently that seem a bit like panicking.  Do you need to talk about it?"

"I don't know what's wrong, Calleigh.  It's not the pressure.  I'm good with that part, but it's like nothing's going right and I'm almost paranoid that Xander's going to snap my head off."

"He doesn't do that unless you screw up majorly," she told her.  "If you're not tampering with evidence then you don't have to worry about it."

"He went psycho over that law firm going near his boyfriend and he's been growly recently.  I don't know what I'm doing wrong."

"I'll talk with him.  You could've come to me sooner."

"You're a field tech, even if you are one of us, Calleigh."

"I'm still the head of ballistics, Melissa.  Or you could've went to Horatio."

"He's kind of scary too."

"No he's not."  She stared at her.  "I'll talk with Xander.  For now, get back to work.  We'll talk again later, all right?"  She nodded.  She texted Xander to come up and talk to her.  He walked in and shut the door.  "What did she do wrong?"

"She's been smelling off.  Like she's been hitting on Tim.  I don't know why she smells like Tim but even he's noticed it and started to avoid her."

She nodded at that.  "Have we noticed anything?  Or is he reacting to you growling at her?"

"I don't know.  I think he noticed it too and started to avoid her.  I was off the day Max said he started to be absent for lunch breaks."

She nodded.  "I can see that.  Get him up here?"  He did that.  Tim came strolling in.  "What's going on with his intern?  He hasn't had any problems with any of the others.  He's had a lot of female interns."

"None that smell like my aftershave and come in smelling like sex and my aftershave."

Calleigh stared at them.  "Can we prove she's doing it on purpose?"  They shook their heads.  "This is really subtle."

"Alexx noticed it," Tim said.  "She asked me why I was avoiding the interns.  I told her I had a bad feeling about her.  Then Xander started to smell, basically, me on her."

"She does smell like she scent marked herself with you," Xander admitted.  "I don't know why.  I'm trying to keep it out of the lab."

"She said you went psycho over that law firm touching him."

"Well, kind of," he admitted.  "But necessary."

"It was," she agreed.  She sighed, looking at them.  "Okay, I'm going to start working with Melissa.  Dean's up for that spot on night shift, Xander.  The panel will be giving each of the four people a week's trial.  Which Horatio and I will be grading."

"I'll send you any irregularities."

"Thank you.  For now, let me work with Melissa."

Tim shook his head.  "I want H to work with her.  See what she does."

She stared then nodded.  "That could help.  I can do that.  She's got to do a few field hours anyway, right?"  Xander nodded.  "Then I can do that.  Let me talk to him.  Avoiding is fine.  No more growling, Xander."

"Even Sam noticed it," he said quietly.  "He's not sure why and had his dad ask John.  John's mystified too."

"Let us work with her, see where it's coming from," she ordered.  Xander nodded, heading back down there.  "Tim, do you feel threatened or anything by that?"

"I'm very worried why she's doing it.  I'm at the point where I'm starting to think that she's a more subtle version of the DNA intern."

"Dean thought she was on something the other day," she admitted quietly.  "Okay, let me handle this."  He nodded, leaving her alone.  She went to find Horatio, pulling him into an alcove so they could talk.  "Xander's having problems."

"I've noticed Melissa's been wary of him.  Why?"

"He says she smells just like Tim and his aftershave for some reason."


"I know she needs some field hours.  We're going to ask you to do them."  He nodded at that.  "That way you can evaluate her for that," she said, catching sight of her coming their way.

"I can do that."  He looked at the young woman as she appeared.  "Problems in ballistics?"

"Dean just fell.  Xander sent me to find Sam and I can't.  Do we know where he is?"

"No," she said.  "Last time I knew he was in trace."  She nodded, going to look there again.  Calleigh looked at Horatio.  "She is wearing the same aftershave," she said quietly. "I just realized that."

He nodded.  "I'm going to do a little test then we'll see where it falls.  See if she leads back to that stupid law firm?"

"I can do that."  She went to get Frank's help with that.  She leaned down to get next to his ear.  "We need to background check Melissa, Xander's intern."  She stood up again.  He looked up at her.  "There's been something off recently.  Xander's growling at her but not for the usual reason."


"He said she smells like Tim.  Too much like him.  That she scent marked herself."

"That's strange."  He got to work on that.  "Let me see what I can find.  Have Cooper use that laptop the boy got from Willow."  She smiled and went to do that.  He dug into her past.  If it was that way, something was going to snap and Xander would kill her.  He had fierce bitch syndrome about his boyfriend.


Sam walked into ballistics, finding Dean sitting on the floor.  "Got dizzy and fell or tripped and fell?" he asked, squatting in front of him.

"Tripped and I don't know why since there wasn't anything there."  He looked at him.  "We're not haunted and Dad won't come," he said quietly.

Xander walked in and shut the door.  "Hagen?" he hissed.  He appeared, looking at him.  "Did someone on that side trip Dean?"


"Why?" Dean demanded, looking at him.

"Because otherwise you'd be in the way of the rampaging later on and get very badly hurt.  Better a turned ankle now with a few bruises than being caught in the middle of that."  He looked at the boy.  "So said your dad."

"It was him?" Sam demanded, standing up.

"Yup."  He smirked some.  "Something about problem witches."  He looked at Xander.

"We didn't realize that?" he asked dryly.

"I didn't look."

"Neither did I.  So why is she Tim-scented?" he asked quietly.

"Because she wants to be, Xander."

"She can't have him."

"She doesn't want him.  Someone wants you two split."  Xander growled.  "I know," he said, backing up some.  "Calm down.  I'll lead Horatio and Frank to where they need to be.  Let me watch Tim.  Okay?"  He nodded.  "Good.  Sam, take Dean home for the day.  He'll end up in the middle and get hurt much worse when things start to go bad."  He looked at the younger boy.  "This is keeping you both out of the ER today so shoo."

Sam nodded, helping Dean up.  "Tell Dad we want to hear this from him."

"Did.  He's sulking because his wife just tore a strip offa his ass."  The boys smirked at that but Sam helped Dean out.  He looked at the boy.  "Relax.  If it happens it does," he reminded him.  "I'll guard Tim."

He nodded.  "Thank you."  Hagen disappeared.  Xander went to clean up the small mess from handling his bruised ankle.  Horatio walked in.  "Dean tripped."

"I heard.  Is he all right?"

"Bruised ankle, slightly turned.  Bruise on his bad knee.  John Hagen said to bring him home for the day."

Horatio closed the door to look at him.  "Why would John Hagen be involved, Xander?"

Xander smirked and plucked at something, changing her back.  "Cute, Melissa, really."

"How did you do that?"  He just stared her down.  "Do you know how much you messed things up for others?" she snarled, moving closer.

"Usually because I had to.  The battle plans from the higher ups sucked sometimes.  They weren't looking at reality, only their plans."

She glared.  "It's not your job."

"It is my job if I make it my job.  Now, this is my job."

"Not for long," she sneered.  "I'll make sure of it."  She ripped her blouse.

He pointed at the corner.  "Cameras, Melissa.  We have cameras in all the labs and I check them every day to make sure no one tampered.  Especially with interns being left alone so often.  That way I can do subtle checks on you guys."  Someone pounded.  "It's not locked."  Calleigh stomped in.  "Hey."

"What happened to her?"  Xander pointed at her.  "Melissa, why is your shirt torn?"

"He did it," she sniffled.

Xander got something from his desk, then ran the cameras back, letting Calleigh see it.  She glared at him.  He looked, it was what happened.  So he threw something on her that would break the spells.  She shrieked as the potion hit her.  He grinned. "Feeling more like yourself?"

"Yes," she said.  "What was that?"

"To break stuff like Willow can do."  He replayed the video.  She glared at the girl.  He glared at her too.  "Nice try.  Hair based?"

"How dare you," she snarled.  "You have no right to get into the business of slayers or anything else."

"I was already in that business, dear.  I was born there.  With my gifts, they would've come for me.  And then I would've destroyed a hell of a lot of things.  Thanks to Cordy, I found out what I'd be like when I was turned."  He smirked.  "I wasn't pretty.  Angel torturing was apparently a lot more fun that way."  She tried to attack him.  He tripped her, using her momentum against her.  He wasn't going to physically hit her.  That would give her ammunition.  Rick Stetler stomped in with two guards.  "Do we need to find more potion for you?"

"Why would you?" he sneered.

"Because she's like Willow and trying to discredit Xander," Calleigh said, replaying the tape for him.

Rick watched then looked at her.  "That's very interesting.  Is she like that one intern?"

"No," Xander said.  "I think she leads back to the Council."  He stared down at her.  "Don't you?"  She tried to get up.  He moved out of her way.  "I don't like to hit girls.  It makes me feel like a bully and I'm not."

"You've interfered for the last time, Harris!  You screwed everyone's plans up!  You have to die for that!  Before you cause the next apocalypse!"

Xander quirked an eyebrow up.  "How can I, a human, cause an apocalypse?"

"Tim," she sneered.  "White lighters don't descend."

Xander smirked.  "There's more than one power in the universe, Melissa.  We called on ones outside the Powers.  After all, no one was sure why I got a white lighter since I have visions."

She glared.  "That's your own stupidity for being where you shouldn't have been."

"Where I was born and living?  Yeah, I belonged there.  Jumping in saved my ass many times."  She tried to hit him.  He only blocked.  "But you're not going to win."

"The Powers sent me," she sneered.

Xander grabbed the second vial and tossed it on her.  The thin glass broke and she shrieked as the potion soaked her.  "I'm sure you think they did."  She tried to cast something at him.  It came out but it fizzled inches from her.  "Before you ask, it's a leeching potion," he said blandly, leaning against the edge of the desk.  "I'm not going to play these games.  I don't need your shit on top of the stuff I already get.  Really."  She tried to grab him but Stetler put her down this time.  "Thank you."

"This won't hurt anyone else?"

"Only if they're in the middle of major spell casting.  By the way, can you see why she smells like Tim?"

Rick gave him an odd look.  "How did she do that?  Are we thinking she somehow got something and made herself pregnant?"

"Tim's sterile," Xander said quietly.  "So I'm doubting it.  But you never know."  They nodded at that.  The officers hauled her up.  "I'm sorry she had to expose you guys."

"I brought them because they've seen you work in the past," Rick admitted.  "She filed an abuse of power complaint."

"Watch the cameras," Xander offered.  "We have one in here and have for years.  It's how I check on the interns when I leave them alone for hours at a time."

Rick smirked.  "Not that unwise."

"I've had good interns except for her."

"Two others and Dean applied for the night shift," Calleigh told him.  "Bart and Cynthia both did."

Xander grinned.  "They weren't bad.  They lived up to my expectations and standards.  I checked into their first few months in their new labs and they were handling it all right.  Any of the three of them would be more than acceptable to me."  She struggled but the officers were keeping her in grip.  He looked at Rick.  "You know me too well to know that I push around my power.  If I want the interns to change that much, I'm subtle about it.  Or I nag.  Her, since she came in smelling like my boyfriend, I've been growling at.  I'll admit that."

Horatio walked in.  "What happened?"

"She attacked him," Calleigh told him.

"Why?" he asked Xander.

Xander sighed.  "I need more of that potion."

"I'll let you have my shirt if it'll help," Calleigh said dryly.

"No."  Tim walked up behind Horatio and hit him with it, messing up his hair and the back of his jacket.  "Ow.  Sorry, Horatio.  Had to happen."

He looked back at Tim.  Then at him.  "I feel less clouded.  Why?"

Xander pointed.  "Her doing.  That counteracted any spells on you.  Hers or Willow's."  That got a small smirk.  "I figured she did.  If not, Dawn might've."

"I see."  He looked at Rick.  "You had fortuitous timing?"

"Abuse of power complaint."

"Interesting method of getting Xander back.  Wolfram and Hart?"

"Former Watchers," Xander said with a smirk.  "Which means someone has to tell Giles."

"Go for it," Rick said dryly.  "I don't want to."  He walked out.  "With me, boys.  We'll deal with her in my office so she can't attack anyone else."

Xander sat down, shaking his head.  "Thank you, Tim."

"Welcome.  Glad I made more."  He came in to look at him.  "You screwed things up so they actually worked, Xander.  That's not a bad thing.  That was necessary.  The oldtime watchers are fucking idiots."  He took a kiss.  "Calm down."  He walked back to DNA.  He had dosed Max and Alexx earlier in the day when Hagen had told him what was going to happen.  The rest of the lab would get a more human body friendly version from the coffee maker.

Horatio called the Council's present headquarters.  "Mr. Giles please.  Horatio Caine.  Tell him we have a problem with a former watcher's offspring."  It was transferred to a young woman.  "I needed to speak to Mr. Giles.  Ah, Miss Rosenburg.  No, she was sent to break Tim and Xander up, plus to discredit him, because of what happened back in Sunnydale and how he had to change plans so they worked."

Calleigh took the phone.  "She said repeatedly that he screwed things up on their plans.  Yes, that intern.  In Rick Stetler's office at the moment."

"I used a leeching potion on her," Xander called.  He looked at Horatio.  "I'm very sorry my old life keeps coming back this year."

Horatio smiled.  "You make sure it's never boring, Xander.  How's your arm?"  He let him see it.  "Good.  Much nicer looking today.  Where's Dean?"

"Home.  His dad tripped him so he couldn't be involved."

"That's probably very wise in this situation."

"Dean might've killed her for casting in here," he admitted.  "They did hunt bad witches."

"With what I've heard about what some of them have done, I'm not surprised."  He patted the boy on the head.  "Clean up in here.  Take a lunch with Tim."  He left to change clothes.  Then he went to get some coffee.  There seemed to be something on the coffee that made him want some.  He nearly poured out the cup when he realized that.  He went to see Tim.  "Coffee maker?"

"Antidote to what she did," he said dryly.  "Small compulsion so everyone gets it."

"Thank you.  I didn't want it to be her."

"Nope.  Just me."  He smirked.  "My boy okay?"

"Talking to Giles.  After he's cleaned up, take him to lunch in the bushes, Speed."  He walked off sipping it.  That way no more spells would be on him, no matter which source caused them.

Xander came out after cleaning up the small mess she had made.  Tim came out of DNA when he saw him walk past.  "Did we bring lunch?"

"No.  Truck's here by now."  That got a grin and they went to get something off it.  Then sit off to the side by the trees so they could have some personal time to calm down.  They hated it when demons and witches came to the station.


Dean and Sam stalked the ghost through the graveyard.  Dean had a brace on his bad leg so he didn't have to use his cane tonight.  Sam was going slower than normal so he wouldn't have to catch up.  Dean had silenced their shotguns with a homemade silencer. Now all they had to do was find her grave, salt and burn it while holding her off, and they'd have done another one.  Sam found the grave, putting down their shovels so they could get to work.  The ghost showed up so Dean blasted her.  She faded.  He got to work too.

"I didn't know grave diggers worked at night," a guy said.  "Grave robbers are trashy and should be shot."  The ghost came back.  "See, that's why!  They come back!"

"She was already back, we're sending her on," Dean told him.  He looked back.  Gang member, damn it.  "We're sending her on so she quits attacking you guys."  He went back to digging.  The guy tried to stop him so he elbowed him in the throat, knocking him down.  Sam kept digging while Dean dragged him to a safer spot.  Then he came back to help.  His leg was aching like hell.  More guys came.  Dean hit the casket before they got there.  "Salt her and burn her, Sammy."  He turned to look at the group.  And one cop.  "Sending it on," he told the officer.  "She's been hurting people."

"I heard about Harris."

"I'm one of his interns."

"He can't do this himself?" he demanded.

Dean smirked.  "My family's been doing this for decades."  The ghost came back and headed for the gang kids.  Dean pulled up his shotgun and hit her with a new rock salt shell.  She screamed and faded.  "Sorry, rock salt."  He felt the fire start behind him and looked.  "We good?"

"I can hear her screaming as she's forced on," Sam said.  They let the fire go for a bit then shoveled back in the dirt.  Usually they left the clean up but this time they'd handle it.  They patted the dirt over it, then straightened up.  "Thanks for the assist, guys.  Can we go now?"

"You're still doing strange crap in our turf," one sneered.

"And I'm still a CSI intern," Dean told them.  "Which means I'm with the police department, like he is."

"He's family," one sneered.

"Harris won't like it," the officer warned.  "You know how he is."

"He won't hurt us for doing them."

Sam moved to a more ready stance.  "Yeah he might.  But we're not the easy sort."  They rushed.  Dean got two and he shot one with rock salt, making him howl.  "Hurts, huh?" he asked dryly.  He got the next one with the butt of the rifle to the chest.  He went down gasping for breath.  Dean wasn't doing too well so he got one of them off him and down.  Dean knocked the other one down.  "Let's head, Dean.  Next time something tries to eat them, let it."

Dean looked at him.  "Not like we do it for the thanks."  He looked at the officer.  "Have a better night."

"I think we'll enjoy the hell out of arresting you two for shooting off firearms in the cemetery," he said with a grin.

Dean smirked.  "Really?"  He looked behind him.

"Oldest trick in the book, kids."

The officer behind him tapped him on the shoulder.  "Problems?"

"We're Harris' interns," Sam told him.  "Handling something."

"I heard there's been a few assaults.  Shift Supe said to up patrol here.  Saw the fire.  Why?"

"Sending her on," Dean told him. "Salt and burn."

"Heard about that."  He looked at the officer then at the groaning gang members.  Then back at the boys.  "Hit the bricks, boys.  Go be good for the rest of the night."  They walked off.  Dean was nearly wincing in pain at each step.  He looked at the officer.  "That was stupid and you knew it."

"They're strange little pricks," he sneered.

"I don't care.  Do you want to handle things like her?  I'd rather let them do it and avoid them.  That way I don't have to do it myself."

The officer grimaced.  "He attacked."

"Bullshit.  I saw it myself, kid."  He walked him off by the back of his neck.  "Let's have a talk."


Sam knocked on Horatio's door.  "We got caught salting and burning the ghost.  There were a few gang kids and an officer there who decided to try us.  Another one stepped in and sent us off.  Dean's in a shitload of pain so he might be a bit late tomorrow."

"That's fine, Sam.  Where were you two working?"


"I know of it and the assaults recently.  Thank you.  Head home and baby his leg."  Sam grinned, heading to do that.  Horatio closed the door, going to make a note to the chief of detectives.  He kept track of when Xander had to hunt.

Sam got them home and helped Dean up to the couch, letting him flop down.  He got his painkillers and handed over the bottle and a soda.  "You know you can't drink with it," he said at his brother's dirty look.

"Yeah, well, still sucks," he muttered, taking the much needed relief.  He put a pillow under his ankle to keep his leg straighter and took off the brace.  "Speaking of sucks."

Sam sat beside his foot, looking at his leg.  "Want me to work on the muscles?"

"No thanks."

"Hot bath?"

"If you suggest bubbles I'm going to use the brace to beat you senseless."

"Of course you will.  I'd ignore it if you put bubbles in," he promised with a grin.  "But it could help the pain."

"I'll be fine with some sleep."

"I told Horatio you might be a bit late.  In case you're stiff and can't drive.  He said that was fine."  He shifted, putting Dean's foot in his lap so he could work on the tense muscles.  His brother hissed and grabbed the couch.  "It'll feel better in a second."

"Let go, Sammy."

"Dean, let me help."

"Samuel, let go," he snarled.

Sammy had only heard that tone of voice once and the last time he had gotten a concussion for not doing what his brother had ordered.  So he let his foot go.  "If that's what you want," he agreed.  "I was trying to help."

"It hurt like a bitch."

Sam sighed.  "I'm trying, Dean.  You know that."

"I know."

"So quit being mad at yourself."

Dean glared at him.  "I'm not."

"You are.  Because it wasn't the same as it used to be."  He stared at him.  "I didn't feel the same as when we used to hunt either.  It's worse than it was after you picked me up at Stanford."

"Whatever."  He shifted and hissed, grabbing his back.  "That's new."

"You haven't had to dig in a while," Sam reminded him.  "Roll over, let me get that one at least."

"I'm fine."

"Shut up, Dean.  Let me help."

"I said I'm fine."

"Let your brother help," John called.  "Before I paddle your ass and hand you to him to fuss over."

Dean glared at the ceiling.  "Butt out, Dad."  He found himself flipped over and Sam working on his aching back no matter what he wanted.  Those extra few inches of height and some added weight were working against him right now.  Really, he didn't want to admit that it was helping but he was slowly relaxing.

Sam hid his grin.  Dean would paste him the next time he was able to chase him if he saw him grinning about winning this time.  He moved up to get his neck and moved down.  He was still too tense.  "Keep it up, watch me hire you the most skanky prostitute in Miami, Dean."

"Don't wish an STD on me, Sammy, or I'll start making wishes that you become the father of triplet girly girls who coo at pink things and puppies."

"Jess would've loved them."  He kept going, making Dean finish relaxing and untense finally.  "There, how's that?"

"Good enough."

"I can do more."

"I'd hate to have to beat you with something."

"Fine.  Want that hot bath?  It'll help and you know it will."

"I'm not really the soaking type."

"Then fall asleep in a really hot bath, Dean.  I don't care.  You need it to stop the pain."  He stood up, letting Dean sit up again.  Dean nodded his thanks at him.  "You sure?  You, a decent enough Playboy, some soaking to take the pain out of your leg?  It really could help."

"Dad said you nagged like Mom," he complained.  "I'm glad I didn't inherit that part of the legacy."

Sam gave him a dirty look.  "I wouldn't have to nag if you let me help or took care of it yourself, Dean."

"Let me nap.  The pain pill will help the rest."

"If you're sure.  Want dinner?"

"No, I'm not hungry."  He limped to bed, curling up to get comfortable.  His leg was throbbing and the pain pill wasn't doing much to help it.  He would not give Sam the satisfaction of knowing he was right and a hot bath would help.  He sighed, shifting position.  Eventually, the pain pill won out and he did fall asleep.

Sam checked on him, then went to run the hot bath he knew would help Dean.  He came back to find his father undressing him.  "I gave him the stronger one," he said quietly.  John smirked at him for being so sneaky and they carried Dean to the tub together.  Sam arranged him so his legs and back were in the hot water.  He was even nice enough to leave a can of soda, unopened, and a Playboy in there for him when he woke up.  He shut the door and headed to his own bed.  It had been a long night.  "Dad?" he called.  John walked in.  "It felt wrong again."

"It's been a long time since you two hunted ghosts," he pointed out.  He sat on the end of the bed.  "What part felt wrong?"

"Having to take out the gang kids.  I felt like I should've produced an ID and cuffs."  He grimaced at his lap then looked at his father again.  "You're not going to be really pissed if I want to stay in the lab?"

"I think you're doing something that's just as important for humanity, Sammy.  We ran into plenty of monsters that we couldn't take out because they were human.  I always found a way to get them noticed, but we didn't have CSI like you and Dean then.  They probably would've been stopped sooner, before they caused more hurt."  He shifted, looking at his son.  "I think that the training you boys have as hunters will serve you well finding all sorts of monsters.  Plus, with his injury, guarding a location instead of generalized hunting is probably going to be easier on Dean.  He's probably going to have arthritis in those joints before too much longer from the injuries.  The heat will do him good."  He smirked.  "Plus Xander could use the backup for when he finally has to retire."  He faded out, going to check on Dean, finding him glaring at the tub wall toward Sam's room.  He settled in on the toilet, looking at his oldest boy.  "Dean, being practical, it's going to be easier and better for you."

"The family's never done things the easy way," he pointed out.

John stared at him.  "Want a really good reason then?  In three years there's going to be an apocalypse locally.  Something about an apocalypse cult.  Human, not demons, and magic users.  Do you think Xander's going to be able to handle them?  Even he's slowing down and he's Sammy's age, son."

"He is?  I thought he was mine."

"Sammy's.  He's about six months older.  With the way he is, I'm almost surprised that one demon didn't try him."  He leaned forward.  "It's a higher calling.  Remember that asshole in Iowa that killed and ate that child?  Someone like you could've stopped him before then.  You can still handle demons.  You can still salt and burn ghosts.  You can help other hunters if they show up locally.  But this area of the country needs guarded."

Dean stared at him then grimaced.  "I hate being compared to Xander."

"I don't think they are really.  I think Xander set the bar fairly high for hunters coming in.  He's the measuring stick.  He came in with a few good years of work, multiple apocalypses under his belt, and emotionally damaged thanks to those girls.  You and Sammy brought in your own skills.  Technically, Xander's more oriented toward the heavier weapons where you're more used to handguns and shotguns.  You two should compliment each other very well in the lab.  You cover his weak spots.  The boy's been searching for a hunter to cover some of those."

"He's not pushing me for the lab spot."

"That's because Xander's not real sure what people are thinking.  Demons he gets, people other than those who warped him are mysteries sometimes.  You understand a lot more about people than he does, son.  That's one of the glaring faults that Tim was meant to cover.  That and his inability to cook."  He smiled slightly.  "I'm proud of how good you've done.  You're doing something that's just as much of a calling as being a priest or a hunter."

Dean nodded.  "So all the stories they told us weren't comparing?"

"I think they were more warning you.  You got to know Xander fairly well before you showed up in Miami.  Right?"  Dean nodded slowly at that.  "Could you have handled Xander on day one with the way he was warped without it?"

"He would've driven me nuts," Dean admitted, realizing that.

John smirked.  "Destra's a fairly smart cookie, son.  She knew that.  She reads people very well.  That's why she suggests that certain interns of hers don't apply down here.  That way they can't be driven nuts by the boy.  She heard about you from Angel and knew you'd do good with the boy.  That's why everyone told you stories.  The ones at the other school probably did some measuring.  A few other hunters have went now.  Xander came in and had to show his ass to get that year skipped.  His first teacher tried to tell him demons didn't exist and Rosenburg was going to teach the magic classes."

"He bust her?"

"Within minutes of seeing her there."  He smirked some.  "That wasn't comparing.  You can measure yourself against him but in a lot of ways you're very alike.  The only big difference is that Xander knows more about the lower classes of demons, artillery, and bombs than you do.  He knows very little about the classes of demons we dealt with.  He had no idea how to do ghosts before San Francisco.  He doesn't handle them very often either unless they're having a problem and then he tries the talking route.  That's why he's still got a former Roman slave living in an urn in his study."

"How did that happen?"

"Delko ended up possessed by him.  He's a nice boy.  Scared to death of crossing over because he thinks it's dark.  Joyce Summers, Buffy and Dawn's mother, has been helping him too."

"So he banishes more than salts and burns?"  His father nodded.  "We learned that it was the proper way."

"He probably did too.  But Xander's also a medium.  If he gets that close, they can use him like a suit.  I think he has a white lighter mainly to keep him from being taken over again."  He shifted, leaning back some.  "Beyond that, Xander needs you and your skills, son.  That apocalypse is going to be bad and the slayers aren't going to get here in time.  They're overly concerned with one area and not everywhere else.  Xander's going to be injured again right before then from what has been foreseen.  Hagen was swearing at Cordelia when she told him.  Plus, think of all the assholes you can keep from hurting their wives and kids.  Or keep from hurting anyone else if they've already done it."

Dean nodded.  "I'm not against it.  I just felt like I wasn't measuring up to the yardstick of Xander."

"Son, Xander doesn't always measure up to his legend," he said dryly.  "Tim's tried to combat that and failed a few times.  Xander also got told by Destra that she had told you two what he was like so he was warned.  And she said it that way.  That's why he's never pressured you but let you find your niche in the lab and mentored you to be the tech you are.  Not him junior."

Dean nodded, relaxing some.  "I didn't look at it that way.  He doesn't baby my injury either."

"When he and Horatio had that 'I'm not retarded, quit treating me like missing an eye makes me that way' screaming match that one time, he had to break a lot of barriers.  The lab down here hadn't had more than someone who was a pure lab tech on a set of those arm-band crutches.  She didn't want to go into the field.  She was an AV tech if I heard right from Tim.  She never pushed for anything more than a few extra days for doctors appointments.  She decided to go to a fairly inactive lab.  Xander had to make his own barrier battering ram.  At first all they saw was the horrible t-shirts and his eye."

Dean nodded.  "Which is why he lets me set my own boundaries for how to treat my injury."

"Yup."  He smiled.  "He's a good boy.  He knows that you got told all that stuff, but he heard it was a warning.  He's been a bit confused why you got pissed recently."

"A few of the officers compared me to him again.  Not in a good way.  They said I was less creepy but a more boring, plain tech."

"That's not a really bad thing.  Plain techs get backed up.  Xander in the field doesn't get backup.  They think he's handling something in his other area instead of a field case.  The whole PD knows what he can do.  After that fit, he had to handle something in a hotel in front of officers.  When Buffy came down and stabbed him, the officer didn't want to help at all.  He tossed him cuffs instead of coming over to help."  Dean shuddered.  "So that may have been a compliment, son."

"Maybe," he decided.  "I've seen officers helping him."

"Those are on the shit list, son.  They have no choice."


"Which means that every time Xander has to pull something spectacular because he's not backed up, his legend grows.  If he was backed up for normal things, then he wouldn't be nearly as awed about."

"I guess that can happen.  They really don't back him up?"

"No.  He's been left at scenes and things.  Horatio's written officers up, gotten some fired, all that.  It won't stop the problem.  Eventually Xander will get really injured again and he'll have to retire.  That means he'll need someone who can take over and then teach the next one of you that goes through the program."

Dean nodded.  "I can see that.  So he's seeing me like a next generation."

"Yes he is.  Which is why he's letting you look at his artillery notebooks and his explosives manuals.  That way you know what to do when you have to but he's not there.   Horatio will probably be made to retire at the same time from injuries.  That'll leave you and Sammy being the badasses of the lab.  Wolfe could be but he's got problems that have kept people from seeing how bad he can be."

"Calleigh could."

"Calleigh's got a slight temper but no, son.  She won't be able to.  The sort of scenes where Xander and Horatio handle things quietly, she'd never be able to do.  After the first she'd break down.  Horatio had to go after gang members and ended up shooting a few of them.  She's had to fire in the field but she's a normal cop.  Sometimes officers come out as the quiet ones that handle things.  That's Xander and Horatio.  She and Delko are normal cops.  They follow procedure.  If Horatio has to shoot someone, he has to and then he turns it in after it's all over with.  Xander's the same way, mostly because he has to be.  That and he's used to no one telling him he did a good job.  Every time he gets told he did something good, he expects things to go to hell."

"I've seen that."  He grimaced then let it clear up.  "So I'm the one who'll take over his spot and teach the next few when he's too injured."

John nodded.  "If you want it.  It's a hard job.  Even seeing what you do can be soul sucking.  That's what got to Hagen.  He committed suicide behind Calleigh in the ballistics lab."


"Yup.  So you have to decide if you can keep doing this stuff.  I know you can handle it.  I know not traveling will get boring.  Just don't make me a grandfather with some cute thing on spring break, Dean."  He faded out.

Dean leaned back to consider that new information.  He hadn't known that Xander didn't read people.  He always seemed to but maybe he just read body language to find threats.  He'd have to watch him for the next few days.  He opened the soda and picked up the Playboy.  Since he was in here, he might as well take advantage of it.  It was making his leg feel better.  Not that he'd ever tell them.


Hagen faded into Horatio's apartment, waking him without waking Calleigh.  He nodded at the kitchen, heading that way.  Horatio grabbed his robe and followed, glaring at him.  "Cordelia came out with a head's up for a few years from now," he said quietly.

"How bad?"

"Apocalypse cult of humans.  Using magic to summon things to make sure of it.  With your boy's inability to get backed up, it'll be you, him, and Dean if he's still here.  Sam will help but we think the demon will try to get him so he might be in protective custody."

Horatio nodded once.  "How long?"

"About three years before they start to show up.  They will mange to summon or open something to get something huge here.  The slayers won't be paying attention because of their own problems.  Which means you'll have an apocalypse off to the west of the downtown area.  Not in the 'Glades but in the 'burbs, Horatio."

"So we need to make plans for when it happens?"

Hagen nodded.  "Yes you do.  We need to start setting up an apocalypse vault for the lab.  With oversight by the boys.  Dean can handle it but he's more used to guns and shotguns."

"I've seen that.  It's a spot where Xander has technical knowledge but limited experience in daily handling."  He considered it.  "Confiscated all right?"

"It should be fine," he told him.  "I have no idea if you want to clue in the higher ups or not.  I know they know about me and Tim.  Also, avoid the question about how Tim descended.  The Powers didn't help that, other higher authorities did because Tim was needed here for the boy and others.  Otherwise he would've died years ago and you would've had to handle all that on your own, leaving Miami and therefore the South unprotected."

"Good to know.  How much?  Like the problem in LA?"

"Hopefully less.  Get him to tell you about Glory.  It'll be about her power level but have a lot more powerful minions that will be causing problems.  I'll see if Tim can dig up anything on the cult when they start to gather."

Horatio nodded.  "Thank you for that warning."

"Not a problem.  Hate to see you on this side, Horatio.  You might take my job."  He faded out.

Horatio went back to bed to think.  What did Miami need in an apocalypse vault?  Three years to gather it would let them do it subtly.  Could they use the excuse of a terrorism preparedness vault?  Homeland Security would like that.  They had wondered why they didn't have one already.


Horatio stopped Dean and Sam the next morning.  "My office to consult," he ordered quietly.  They went up there.  He noticed Dean was limping very badly.  He checked ballistics, no Xander.  He went up to the office.  "Is Xander off today, Dean?"

"Yeah.  It's his scheduled day off.  Though he was warned he might get called into court."  He shifted in his chair.  "What's up?"

"John Hagen told me last night that we'll be having an apocalypse cult in about three years.  That we need to start preparing supplies."  He looked at Sam.  "He also said that the cult or the demon that they're going to call may be coming after you, Sam."

Sam grimaced.  "Again?"

Dean snorted.  "Probably because of the first one, Sammy.  So we need to know what we have that we can count on and build up from?"

"We do. I know you don't handle artillery but I need to know what's in our present exemplar and plan for something slightly less than the invasion in LA.  I was told the demon would have powerful minions but it would only be as strong as whoever Glory was."

"She was a special lecture and research topic at the second school.  Glory was a hell goddess that wanted Dawn's blood so she could suck her hell dimension onto earth," Sam told him.  "She nearly managed it but Buffy closed her portals by dying.  Bringing her back caused the First Evil stuff."  He shifted some.  "She was fairly powerful but she was rumored to suck sanity from her victims to top her own off."

"So we may be looking at a hell god?" Dean asked him.

"She had a small flaw that was meant to contain her.  She had to have a host body.  She could take it over fully and change it to look like her, but she had to have a body to inhabit.  From the stuff I got from Tim, she fully changed the guy's body to hers."

Dean nodded at that.  "So, really fucking powerful with a limitation."

Sam nodded.  "These minions are going to be how powerful?"

"All Hagen said was powerful.  We have no idea which one it is yet."

Dean nodded at that.  "Good to know.  Okay."  He stood up.  "I'll start looking at what we have, what Xander has, and talk to him about what we can get subtly and store in case of ...terrorist attack."

Horatio smiled.  "Exactly.  Homeland can't really complain about that since I had to blow some up a few years back with a LANS system."

"Cool," Dean said.  He grinned.  "Let us look, Horatio.  Sammy's the geek god of research at times."

"Thank you, boys.  Dean, your time in the night shift lab is in two weeks."

Dean nodded.  "Let me know when I'm supposed to start.  I'll handle it."  Horatio smiled, quirking up an eyebrow.  "I think hunting's on hold.  We're getting plenty of evil bitches going to hell this way for now."  Horatio nodded at that decision.  "But I'd want Sammy on my shift so he didn't need his own car and I could protect his stupid ass when he gets into something only he and Xander could."

"Mary does have an open spot for some lucky intern."

"Thanks," Sam said, heading to find that form to fill it out for her.

"Dad told me Xander doesn't get backup," he said quietly.

"No, he doesn't.  If you should have that problem, I want to know immediately so I can try to head them off."

Dean nodded.  "That's fine with me.  You know, more hunters might join the PD if they knew that they could still hunt demons."  He left, going down to ballistics.  He ran into Tim down there.  "Not your day off too?"

"No, not this week.  You okay?"

"I'm fine.  Still a bit sore from last night."

"Yeah, those two officers talked and we reamed them a new one.  By the way, nice work with the gang."  He smirked as he walked off.

"Sammy's a research geek, Tim."

Tim smirked back at him.  "Of course he is.  When we know, he'll know."  He went back to DNA to find his next cold case to see if there was anything someone had missed.

Dean walked into ballistics, finding Melissa in there.  "How did you get back in?  I heard you got fired."

"Why would I get fired?" she asked with a sweet smile, waving a hand at him.

"Magic crap doesn't work on us, Melissa."

"Why not?"

"Because we've been demon hunters for a very long time."  She shrieked and tried to hit him.  He knocked her out then leaned out.  "Hey, Horatio, didn't Melissa get fired?  She just tried to take me out."

He came in to get her with two officers.  "Thank you.  Do we have any more of that stuff he threw on her the last time?"

Dean got into his magic and necromancy kit, handing it to him.  "More powerful.  Sammy overcooked it."

"Thank you."  He poured it over her then let the officers drag her off while he called Rick Stetler.  "Didn't you take that ballistic intern's ID?"  He hung up and handcuffed her on the couch.  Rick stomped in to deal with her.  "I applied more of that liquid Xander used."

"Good."  He sneered at her.  "We'll see what's going on."

"She tried to attack Dean."

"That was really dumb.  He's probably gotten in more fights than some pro boxers."  He hauled her up.  "To my office," he told the officers.  They walked her that way.  "Wonder boy not here today?"

"It's his day off."  Rick groaned, heading off to deal with that problem again.   Horatio made notes and then emailed Xander so he'd know that there had been a problem but it was solved.  That way he didn't have to come in on his day off.  He heard a shriek and looked out, finding a young, brunette woman with a child against her leg in the middle of the hallway.  "Do none of you appear more subtly?  Perhaps in a bathroom or an elevator?" he asked as he walked down to her.

"I would but it was full.  Is Xander in today?"

"It's his day off.  You're which one?"

"Dawn."  She smirked at him.  "The nice Summers woman that never treated him like crap."  She looked down.  "Mandy, do not go visiting."  Her daughter pouted.  "Is Tim in then?"

"He's in DNA.  Let's get you to somewhere you're allowed to be and I'll get him for you."

"Sure."  Mandy saw someone and squealed, running at them.  "Amanda!" she complained.  "Get back here?"

Tim walked out of DNA, looking at the baby.  "Hey, Princess Summers."  He looked at Sam, who was staring at the baby oddly.  "She likes you," he said with a mean grin.

"She thought she knew me but she hasn't seen us since before she was walking.  She ran over to hug me."  He gave her a hug then handed her to Tim.  She pouted at him.  "Don't do that.  I'm not who you think I am, little one."

Dean came out of ballistics to look at her, then smirked at Sam.  "Maybe she sees something similar?"

Dawn strolled over.  "Better not be or I get to mash Connor's nuts in with my spikiest heels."  She smirked at him.  "Beyond that, she has a thing for tall guys.  No idea why.  You must be Dean and Sam?"  They nodded.  "Dawn Summers.  You caught her with Gunn babysitting during patrols."  She smiled at Sam.  "You might as well.  She'll start to be noisy to get another one."  She looked at Tim.  "Frolanx demons trying to take over Orlando and the former watcher there is now down."

"Xander's got the day off but he's mostly retired and they're a bitch to kill," he told her.

"Yeah, but these ones want to party at Disney.  They're trying to rent the park out for the day.  The people aren't obliging so they're going to cause problems.  Got someone to call up there?"

"I can do that," he decided, going to find his cellphone and do that.

Ryan came out, staring at the baby.  "You're too small to be a suspect.  I hope."

"She'd better never be a suspect or I'd beat her ass like my mother would have beaten me if she had caught me shoplifting."

Dean snickered.  "Not your sister?"

"No, but Xander did."  She took her daughter back.  "Also," she said, smirking at Sam and Dean.  "Huge ass problem at the local magic store.  It got taken over by a possessed person trying to make mystical drugs."

"Xander handled that already," Tim called from where he was calling.

"Okay, that's good to know.  Third thing.  Wes's will was probated."  Tim came out to stare at her.  She smirked as Hagen appeared.  "Thank you for the placement, precious."

"You're welcome, Dawn.  We like you being the only good woman from Sunnydale that ever liked him."  He looked at Tim.  "When Xander finally does get to retire, fully retire, he'll be the local watcher and resource."

"We need more library room," Tim said dryly.  Dawn smirked and nodded.  "Damn it.  I don't want to move.  We just paid off the house and remodeled the kitchen."

She pinched him on the arm, letting her daughter do the same.  "So don't.  Add more bookcases."

"Tim's a booknerd," Dean told her.  "They don't have room for more bookcases.  Add on an addition?" he suggested.

"I might be talked into that.  How bad, Dawn?"

"Very.  The thing that got him knocked Gunn stupid and got both our slayers in LA."  Tim moaned.  "Connor and I managed to kick its ass so it's dead now but Gunn's got some major healing time coming up.  Head cracked nicely and cracked the pavement as well."  Tim winced.  "Exactly.  So we're off to bum more from Cleveland and let you guys know that two of the major idiots headed this way decided to detour and hit Chicago instead.  They heard about what happens when they touch you.  They don't want to mess with Xander."  She put the baby down, rubbing her wrist.  Mandy instantly stuck herself to Sam's thigh and grinned up at him.  "He's not yours and I'm not dating him, dear.  We live too far away for that."  Mandy pouted at him.  "It's not his fault we live in LA, Mandy.  Quit trying to get a stepdaddy's who's a foot taller than I am."  She looked at Tim again.  "Anyway, got the list of stuff," she said, pulling an envelope out of her back jeans pocket to hand to him.  "All his."

He looked it over.  "We need a second house."

"Not my fault.  But hey, room to store other stuff too."

"Not cute," he assured her with a smirk.

She grinned back.  "Yes I am.  Xander taught me how to be cute."  She beamed.  "Anyway, we need to set up an intel exchange so others realize what's going on.  Because Wolfram and Hart decided to try to reopen the LA building."

"The guy told me they were going to have an office in Seattle instead."

"Pity but they were using it to start a blood power rite.  The LAPD contingent that caught Xander blowing things away for Angel with artillery got told and they stopped it for us.  They've been begging me and Willow to leave them alone."  She smiled sweetly.  "Fat chance."  She looked at her daughter then at Tim.  "The last page is an emergency contingency plan in case something that big happens in LA.  We don't think it will...."

Tim looked it over then at her.  "You sure?"

"You want them to turn her into the next Xander?"

"I'm not sure we could find another white lighter who could deal with that," Hagen said dryly.  "Tim got chosen.  I learned to respect the boy.  We'd almost have to taint someone beforehand."

"Plus Mandy has some of my skills," Dawn said dryly with a smirk.  "And I'm going to let Xander teach her gun and artillery skills, plus self defense over a few summers if that's all right?"

Tim nodded.  "That'd be fine, Dawn.  I'm sure he'd be squealy with delight."  She beamed and gave him a hug.  "Get off," he said dryly.  She punched him on the arm, making her daughter swat him.   He looked down.  "You're mouthy like your momma," he told her.  She just beamed and hugged Sam's leg harder.

"She keeps trying to set me up with really tall, pretty guys," Dawn quipped then waved a hand around.  "Anyway.  That's your head's up of the week from the lower sources."

"Dawn, could I have you talk to a young witch who was trying to break Tim and Xander up to get back at him for jumping into the hunting?" Horatio asked.

She smirked evilly. "Sure I can beat her ass for you, sweetie.  Mandy, c'mon.  Bad witchies need spanked."  She pointed at Sam and grunted, giving her a begging look.  "You learned that off Connor when he was begging for cookies," she said dryly, plucking her daughter off him.  "Say thank you for the cuddles."

"Fank you!" she shouted with a beaming, happy grin and a wave.  "Cuddle good!"  She beamed at Dean too, giving him a hug.  He patted her, making her a happy baby.  "Bad witchies, momma?"

"Yup, bad witchies that want to annoy Uncle Xander."  Her daughter scowled.  "You're so fierce," she teased with a grin.  She followed Horatio off.

Dean looked at Sam.  "If she lived on this coast...."

John Winchester appeared, shaking his head.  "No way in hell, boys.  She's got a destiny problem.  She's the female version of Xander only she uses magic instead of guns.  I don't want either of you to be widows like I was."

Sam smiled.  "Her daughter was adorable.  Clearly brilliant."

John glared at his son.  "I said no, son."

Sam grinned at Tim.  "Think she'd like to go out later?"

"Could, yeah.  She needs someone better than the baby's daddy who's a shitbag.  Wolfe, you could use someone that nice too."

"My OCD would drive her nuts, Tim."  He went back to the lab since it wasn't a problem.

"I wasn't sure about Xander teaching him to hunt as his backup but apparently it's good for him."  He went back to his lab.  He and Xander would have to talk about those books.

Sam grinned at Dean.  "You'd like a niece, right?"

"Yeah, she seemed sweet and smart.  Dawn's kind of mouthy but I can see you and her together."  John huffed and disappeared.  Dean smirked at his brother.  "So bad," he mouthed.  "I taught you well, Sammy."  He went back to ballistics.

Sam went back to Trace, still grinning at the way they were driving their father insane for making that deal to save Dean's life.  He knew better than to make deals with demons.  He had taught them that.  He should've listened to his own advice.


Three weeks later, Dean was dressed up more than usual.  He had to meet with the hiring committee.  It was his turn to interview.  He walked into the room they were meeting in, closing the door behind him.  "Morning," he said.

The three-member panel looked at him.  "Mr. Winchester, I'm told that your affliction is temporary?"

"I've been slowly getting back to being without the cane since the accident.  I'm nearly fully off it.  Then I'll be evaluated for field work again.  I passed provisionally already."

"Sit," one told him, waving at a chair.  Dean checked it then sat down.  "We've seen your work.  We've gotten lab evaluations from CSI's Harris, Duquesne, Caine, and Moriston."


"Mary," one told him.

"Oh.  I didn't know her last name.  We haven't worked together too often."

"She had some good things to say about all the interns trained by CSI Harris," the third member told him.  She stared at him.  "It's come down to the three interns.  Harris isn't hard to work with but he does have high expectations.  He trained all three of you to have the same sort of expectations.  The other one wasn't as...fussy as he can be now and then about the lab's protocol."

Dean nodded.  "Xander complained that he didn't clean up a mess he made in the firing pen."

"Before or after your week?" the first member asked.

"After.  I've spent plenty of time mopping for him."

"So he trained you to be just as fussy," the third member told him.  Dean nodded that was true.  "How certain are you that you'll be field worthy?"

"I'm told it's a thirty point scale.  I passed with a nineteen.  At twenty you're fully field cleared.  Since I plan to be mostly off my cane within three months, I'll be tested soon after that.  Last time I couldn't crawl if necessary or squat down."

"Will you be able to afterward?"

"I'll ache.  I already have a brace for those days," he told them.

They nodded, making notes.  "So, you'll be fully able to handle any duties," the second said.  Dean nodded.  "Can you now?"

"The only problem I've had was doing the bullet sorting.  That requires some bending and stretching for a good, long time.  I cramped the first time I tried.  After that, I brought a smaller stool in to sit on.  That storage system is a bit low."

"I'd have to do that myself," the third member admitted.  She looked at him after making a note.  "We've heard that you and your brother both wish to stay on the same shift?"

"We do.  Sammy and I have watched each other's backs since we were kids.  Sammy used to draw some of the strangest problems.  Plus I'm used to how he thinks.  A lot of the field techs think very...clinically.  Like their minds are in a table chart and they're going down the table as they exclude ideas.  Sammy and I are used to handling things happening without having to categorize every little thing."

"So you do have a similar background to CSI Harris?" the middle one asked.

Dean nodded.  "We both did.  It was his mentor that came to us after the crash to get me into the program.  She had heard that we were a lot alike."

They looked at him.  "I'm sure you've seen that CSI Harris has had some problems with the normal officers," the female said.  "Have you?"

"Now and then we get a few funny looks but my brother and I are more subtle than he was.  Xander grew up in a town that had a high denial rate.  He told us at one point in time they had walked down the street with openly carried weapons and no one said a thing to them.  LA wanted to ignore it so bad that they did the same thing in some areas.  Mostly where he had to work."

"Then again, you can't be subtle when you have two officers who're in the same room as the thing that's eating furniture," the female pointed out.

"He probably could've asked them to leave.   From what I understand, that day he was having a really bad day that had started with an accusation from internal affairs and had moved on from there to even worse."

"True, he did," she agreed.  "So he probably wasn't thinking too much about being subtle?"

"I like Xander but Xander's not real subtle at the best of times, ma'am.  He does things that get noticed."

"Like his t-shirt habit," the first one said dryly.

"That too," Dean agreed.  "Yet, have you noticed that you can overlook him even when he's wearing something brain damaging?"

"We have," she told him.  "It's an interesting trait."  She looked at her notes then at him.  "What things would you like to see changed about the ballistics lab?"

"I'd like to rearrange our exemplar.  It was hung with weight considerations in mind.  I'd arrange it more alphabetically.   Xander said that would be fine to do, but the way they're hung could come down in a few spots."

"Didn't he help with the rebuild in that area?" she asked.

"No.  From what he said it's a structural problem.  The ones who put the framework up put the joists holding the wall too far apart so some of the frames holding guns aren't anchored into stud walls.  I was told that wasn't a problem with the fixing after the explosion or after the remodel, it was an original construction flaw that he told us happened in other parts as well.  Especially in one bathroom that now has a fully mirrored wall to hide the holes that the towel dispenser caused when it kept falling."

"I saw that one in action," the middle one admitted.  "Do you think you can handle field work?"

"A lot of the type of hunting Sammy and I did included questioning people about events and doing research, sir.  It's a lot alike only this time we won't get to salt and burn anyone or simply shoot them to keep them from killing more people.  I think we've adapted wonderfully to not having to shoot bastards that annoy us."

The female member burst out laughing.  "CSI Harris said he wished he could shoot more of them when he was asked that question," she said with a smile.

"Xander handled things like that one in the hotel.  Sammy and I handled things like was happening in Crestview."

"We heard," the middle one told him.  "What would be your expectations about being a full time tech?"

"A better paycheck.  To be honest, Xander's had me working extra hours.  Sammy and I are already about a month ahead of the other interns for hours.  I've headed ballistics while Xander and Calleigh were both in the field on cases while watching the other interns.  I'd expect to be able to relax some of the nitpicking that Xander can do now and then.  Other than that, I'd expect to do the same sort of jobs I do now.  And some year to have my own interns to fuss and nitpick over."

She smiled.  "He can be fussy.  Do you get along well with the ME on that shift?"

"Alexx tries very hard to mother Sammy and I but we're not used to that sort of attention.  Most of the time she lets Maxine deal with it since she fusses over Xander."

The middle one nodded.  "Some boys can't stand being fussed over."

"Our mother died when I was four.  I'm not used to any mothering at all, sir."

"Good to know."  He looked at him.  "How would you rank yourself against Xander's skills?"

"I know some areas better than he does because we had to use more handguns and shotguns daily.  He knows what they are, what they feel like and look like.  I know how they fire and have fired a great many more of them.  Especially shotguns and rifles.  He knows more about bombs and artillery.  I've been taking his manuals to go through in case we might need that information while he's busy with Horatio somewhere.  As for work ethic, I didn't realize that he was upping our hours because working should be full time.  I'm a very hard worker, just like he is.  We share similar ways of looking at guns.  I think some day I'll be rated up there with him if I get a good lab to work with me."

The female looked at him. "You think some won't?"

"I think one of the agents that came in on a case sneered that I'm using a cane," he told her.  "I also think that we could go to a smaller lab, somewhere where our other specialty is more needed, and be really bored most of the time.  Miami has hardware I've never seen before.  I'm used to hunters, those who hunt bad things and food.  We're Midwest boys.  We have common sense, which seems to be lacking in about half of Miami.  My brother nearly looked at a victim and asked her how she got along without thinking last week because we're not used to flighty things that are more concerned about their tans than their lives."

"We've seen a few of those," the middle one admitted, pushing his papers together.  "We'll be considering among the final three, which you're part of.  We'll tell you in a few weeks, Mr. Winchester."

"Thank you for considering me."  He stood up.  "Have a good day."  He left, thinking he had bombed it.  He ran into Sammy waiting on him.  He had taken today off.  "I so bombed."

"Maybe not," Sam told him.  "Sometimes they like to make you think it."  He gave him a pat on the back.  "Lunch?"

"Sure.  I could eat."  He got into the car to drive, letting Sammy get in and then head off to their favorite cheap lunch spot.  Intern paychecks really were crappy.  "So, if we have to move, where're we going?"

"New York has an open spot.  Mac Taylor offered for us specially through Horatio last night when he heard we might be open.  They pay more, there's a variety of labs around the city.  We'll get a lot more interesting cases according to him and Xander.  Did he tell you about the wolf costume wearing cannibal?"

"No," Dean said slowly. "I hadn't heard that story at all."  Sammy went over it, making him shake his head.  "Interesting."

"Very.  So we'd get a lot more interesting cases.  Plus a lot more speciality cases.  They have tours of haunted places.  Tons of demons living in a mostly peaceful enclave.  Now and then something higher appears to try to take over part of the city or nibble on people.  We'd have a slayer in the city too."

"That might be nice," he admitted.  "How much more pay?"

"About five grand more a year to start, then merit and time-in based pay raises."

"Huh.  So very good."

"Very.  Plus some great hospitals and specialists if you need one."

Dean nodded.  "Not a bad idea.  Cost of living about the same?"

"Tim said a bit higher in some areas.  Manhattan was atrocious.  That's where you can pay three-quarters of a million for a guaranteed parking spot in a new building.  Or over a million for a new condo that's a loft with one bedroom."

Dean shuddered.  "That's bad."

"Very.  In the other boroughs it's supposed to be cheaper and less trendy.  Manhattan is all about the trendy and rich.  Plus Broadway and the park."

"I'm not much into plays, Sammy," he said dryly.  "Or the opera."

"They have a lot of comedy clubs there too, Dean."

"Fine."  He pulled into the parking lot, getting out to go eat.  His phone beeped with a text message, making him look at it.  "Xander's fussing."  He sent back he wasn't sure but they didn't seem too happy with him.  He got back an unhappy scowl text.   He reminded him that things happened the way they did.  "Guaranteed in the same lab up there?" Dean asked him.

"Probably but maybe not the same shift at first.   If we go to Queens instead of Manhattan there's an almost guarantee of the same shift and lab.  Manhattan would have you on one shift and field techs rotate out shifts.  So I'd have a few shifts on yours and then a few mornings probably.  Though I was warned by Tim that now and then you do pull quads as a field tech up there.  Higher pressure for some cases."

"I guess that makes sense.  Stars are up there, the UN, all that shit."  He  got out and headed inside to get them a table.  The waitress smiled and got them their ususal.  They ate here a lot these days.  It was nice to be known somewhere for a good thing instead of for having given someone nightmares.


Dean walked into the lab a few weeks later, finding Horatio and Xander standing in the doorway waiting on him and Sam.  "Did one of us do something wrong?" he asked, dreading the answer.  He knew the hiring committee had made a decision.  Calleigh had told him but she hadn't known what it was.  Tim walked out to stand behind Xander.   Both Johns appeared behind him.  "Guys, scaring the shit out of us like we just turned evil," Dean pointed out when they continued to stare.

"You have to work within the dress code," Tim told him.  "Mary hates Xander's t-shirts.  She blames it for the lab's stats for leave time going up."

Sam beamed.  "Really?  We got it?"

"With two conditions," Horatio said.  "First, that you handle our new apocalypse vault.  They don't want Xander to.  They think he'll overload it with things that could endanger Miami."

"Of course you'll have input, probably more than you want," Xander told him dryly.

"The second condition is that you let Sam work dayshift now and then," Horatio told him smoothly, smiling at the boys.  "That way we have someone beyond Xander who can work well with Ryan."

"Which means that sometimes we might have to have dual heads in ballistics, especially if I'm in the field," Xander told him.  "Because we're about to lose Calleigh to injury leave."  He glared at Horatio, who shrugged.  Then back at Hagen.

"I tried, she didn't listen to me about her brakes.  It'll only be a dislocated knee," he defended.

"Uh-huh."  Xander looked at the boys.  "They picked Cynthia to be your second, Dean."

Dean grinned.  "I can deal with that.  So I'm really the head of night shift ballistics?"

"As of when you graduate, as long as you do graduate your internship," Tim said.

"Which brings up a problem," John Winchester told him.  "There's things who want you to fail, boys.  We've got to stop them."

Xander snorted.  "Not really that big of a problem, John.  Most of them ran to New York instead of pissing me off again."  He looked at the boys.  "I'll expect the same level of work, Dean.  Even if you do loosen some of the rules for her since she got really uptight with all the little details I make interns handle so they know what to do when it's their lab."

"I can do that.  Hold on, who's your second on dayshift?"

Xander snorted.  "Like I need one," he said dryly.  He smirked at Sam.  "So you get to help Ryan now and then.  He's moving to swing.  You guys are moving to late swing.  That way the only time ballistics isn't covered is overnight.  They can wait for me."

Dean nodded.  "I can handle that.  Then some year I'll take over your spot," Dean taunted with a smirk.

"If you really want it, I can get the girls down to warp you too," Xander offered with a grin.  "That way you can really take my spot."

"Don't do that to my boys; I'll beat your ass, Xander," John Winchester complained.  "Right after we burn Rosenburg at the stake."

"Oh, that's right, you didn't hear," John Hagen said with a smirk of his own.  "Rosenburg's presently going head-to-head with Wolfram and Hart again.  They tried to open an office in Cleveland."

"You know, the guy who came to negotiate didn't say they were going to do that," Tim said dryly.  He smirked at Xander.  "They still haven't settled that lawsuit."

"It hits the judge next week for mediation."  He smirked evilly.  "By the way, boss.  They're presently really, really sorry for screwing with Calleigh's brakes.  They're also tied up in the  decontam and radiation vault."  He grinned.  "They've got about another two hours of air.  Oh, and Tim changed the combination for you."  He looked at Dean.  "Now you can make Cynthia sort bullets and mop."

Dean snorted.  "I'm sure we'll work it out.  If she put up with you for a year, she can deal with me.  How many more hours do I have, Horatio?"

"About three weeks worth," he admitted.  "Let me go release them."

"And remind them that I'm waiting on the settlement so I get spoiled," Tim said with a grin.


"Fuck 'em," Xander said bluntly.  "Next time they shouldn't be caught tampering with Tim's bike."  He walked off, taking Dean to ballistics.  "All this shall be yours when the time is right and I fall back to research and hunting help."  He looked at his most recent protege.  "Now, it's your job to make Mary loosen up.  She won't allow my t-shirts, or dirty jokes, but the whole of night shift needs to loosen their thongs.  So have fun with that."  He clapped him on the back.  "And go clean the exemplar for me.  I'm feeling the need to go clean my babies in my personal vault.  Which is presently in ours."  He winked.  "Horatio has no idea what I had stored at home."  He strolled off to pet his babies.  He found his non-felony counterpart giving them an odd look.  "An apocalypse vault."

"Why do we need one of those?" she asked tiredly.

"Because we have terrorists and an apocalypse coming in three years," he told her.  "So we're building up an anti-terrorist vault."  He grinned.  "Homeland gave us a grant to buy from some of the demon underground to get more neat stuff.  Dean's in charge of it once he takes over night shift felony."

She looked at him.  "Cynthia didn't get it?"

"She got his secondary spot since he's a part-time field tech once he gets fully cleared."

"Who's your second?"

"Like I need one?" he asked dryly.  "That's why I have interns."

"Good point."  She nodded, pointing at the case of rifles.  "That got sent to my lab addressed to this room."

Xander looked then grinned at her.  "From some of the gun dealing demons.  We'll need the regular people to be better armed while those of us with special skills head out to handle less mundane things."

"Uh-huh.  I'll be retired by then," she told him.

"It's only an apocalypse cult of humans," he offered.


"Wolfram and Hart came after Calleigh earlier.  They're in the radiation vault.  Tim changed the code."

She groaned, going to open that for Horatio.  Non-felony had their own codes.  She gave him a slight shove and punched in her code, opening the doorway.  Then she looked at him.  "Xander's insane again.  Can't you make Tim screw him into better sanity?"

"They haven't had the same day off in weeks thanks to the maneuverings of these sort.  He won't be getting one anytime soon either with Calleigh out with a car crash."  She whimpered.  "Dean's taking over the vault once he's fully on.  He's got three weeks left."

"Thanks, really.  I put the upgraded rifles that got sent addressed to that room in there.  He told me why.  Can I quit about then?"

"Take a sabbatical but you might have to cover his lab for a while."  She groaned, walking off muttering.  He looked at the gasping lawyers.  "Did we perhaps piss off Xander again, gentlemen?" he asked dryly.  "Or Timothy?  It's not often you get Timothy into a destructive mood but when you do the only one who can calm him down is often Alexx.  Xander cheers for him.  Last time he even had pompoms.  Oh, Timothy said you forgot that the lawsuit is going up in front of a judge next week."  They whimpered.  "Now, let's get you logged in since it looks like someone stapled booking sheets around your necks."  He summoned officers to come help him.  "These nice people orchestrated CSI Duquesne's car crash this morning and were found tampering with Timothy's motorcycle."

"They didn't learn the first time not to piss off Harris?" one asked him.

"Apparently not.  This time they made Timothy go into destruction mood.  He was even humming earlier."  The officers all shuddered.  They knew what it meant when Xander was in that mood.

"That poor law firm," one said.  "They'll never recover now."  They hauled the people up to take them to booking since they already had the proper sheets ready.  The booking sergeant looked at them.  "Screwing with the CSI's again," he told him.  "They didn't learn the last time."

"Oh, them again."  He took the first one's sheet off his shirt, booking him into their holding cells.  "Most lawyers don't get to see holding from the inside.  Feel privileged."


Tim looked at the nice lawyer who came back to negotiate.  "No, I'm sorry.  They screwed with us.  They made Xander work overtime again so I don't get my usual level of cuddles or anything else."

"It's a good offer," Niles Prescot said.

"Except for the fact that Calleigh's presently in traction and I nearly had my own wreck?"

Mr. Prescot winced.  "That was not ordered."

"Neither was the office in LA or Cleveland reopening?"

"I didn't know about that."

"They did and Rosenburg is less than pleased."  Prescot flinched and glanced around.  "So, no.  Not very good.  I know it goes to mediation tomorrow."  He pushed back the paperwork.  "Do better if you want to keep this out of the official news."  He got up and walked off.

Niles called his boss.  "He said he's adding to it because we arranged to open offices in LA and Cleveland, plus we made his boyfriend work overtime thanks to the accidents arranged for them, sir."  He listened.  "No, Mr. Speedle will not.  I can talk to Mr. Harris since he's the one suing but he told me to negotiate with Mr. Speedle, sir.  Yes, that one.  I have no idea.  Thank you.  I'll try but it may not be good enough."  He got up and walked back to the lab.  "May I talk to Mr. Harris please?"

The receptionist looked at him.  "Are you sure you want to do that?  He's trying to keep Tim from destroying you guys.  He even pulled out his pompoms."

Prescot winced.  "Technically he's the one suing us so I have to offer him the current offer."

"It's your soul," she told him.  She paged him.

Xander came out to look at him.  "Didn't you talk to Tim?"

"I did, sir, but my boss wanted me to make sure you heard the current offer."  He handed it over with a hopeful look.  "The board was not involved in any of the situations he told me about."

Xander handed it back and wrote out something, handing it over.  "I'll accept that and it'll get higher once it goes to mediation."  He walked off.  "Or else I get to be mean because you're making me work overtime and keeping me from calming Tim down.  Which means some crook's going to cry soon, and probably the judge who complains about that fact too."  He waved, turning the corner.  He kissed Tim on the cheek.  "I gave him a counter offer that was thirty times higher than they wanted.  That way we can take a vacation?" he offered with a shy grin.  "Just us?  No white lighters, no interns?"

Tim smirked. "I could like that."  Xander grinned and bounced off.

"Should we check for plastique yet?" Sam asked as he came out of fingerprints with a folder.

"Depends if they keep trying to lowball the negotiations.  He just promised me a vacation together without anyone around."

Sam grinned.  "You guys deserve it for putting up with Dad."  He walked off happier.  Xander was humming.  Dean was growling.  Yeah, someone was going to be destroyed.


Dean walked up to the lawyer later that night in the demon bar.  "I don't give a damn what your boss wants.  Give Harris whatever he wants before he finishes destroying Miami to make sure he gets all of you.  He was talking with someone earlier about the nuclear bomb they wanted to build."  Prescot moaned a whimpering sound.  "Exactly.  And you're keeping him from getting with Tim to calm him down again.  We've already had to pull him out of our apocalypse vault.  Three times since lunch, dude.  You won't last if you don't settle quickly.  This is the only warning you'll get because Tim now has the pompoms and he makes a happy, sarcastic cheerleader to Xander's destruction.  You thought it was bad before?"  He got a beer and went to talk to the overlord.  "We're really sorry if Xander destroys the city.  The lawyers are lowballing their negotiations and they're making sure he can't get home on time thanks to the accident Calleigh had."  He sipped his beer.  "We've tried."

The overlord nodded.  "We know.  We heard from a source within the PD.  Have him go clubbing?  It might get him some nice things for the vault."

"They are.  Tim said he needed to have his topic switched tonight."  He took another drink.  "Looks like we're staying on night shift."

The overlord smiled.  "Congratulations, Dean.  I'm sure your father is very proud of you.  I know you'll help to keep Harris calmer until we have something happen."

"Three years, dude."

The overlord winced.  "I heard.  We'll have some donations for the vault soon."  Dean grinned.  "Have a nice party the day you graduate."

"I plan on it if the city's standing."  He finished his beer and headed out to let Sammy drive them home.  They turned on the police scanner to listen to what trouble Xander got into.  SWAT was already alerted just in case.  Horatio was sedated so he didn't have to hear.  Their father and John Hagen were off playing poker with Cordelia so she could distract them.  It only took an hour, they were very proud of their mentors.


Xander walked in the next morning, handing over the keys.  "The very nice people who were building bombs by the docks decided I was too cute to pass up.  SWAT said to handle that."

"What are these keys to, Xander?" Horatio asked.

"The rental truck they were using.  They're in the back."  He grinned.  "Along with the baggies of stuff so Rick can note it for the records."

Horatio sighed, heading out to look.  What he saw did not amuse him.  He called his former coworkers in bomb squad.  "Did we not want these bombs?" he asked.  He listened to the reason why.  "I see.  Of course.  Did we search the rest of their residences?  Do have fun with that today.  Of course I can."  He hung up, glaring at the stupid idiots.  "Next time, hire a prostitute instead of going after Xander and Tim, ladies.  Doing so has ruined many lives."  He got the field techs to come help him.  They'd have to dismantle and find out where the various parts came from.   He found the 'baggie' of things, which turned out to be a gym bag this time.  He looked inside and sighed, going to hand it over to his boss.  "Xander was trying to calm Tim down from his destruction urge last night by clubbing.  Thankfully they found the nice women building bombs by the docks."  He walked off to help his techs.

Ryan looked at him, looking very pitiful.  "Can't we give Tim and Xander the day off together so we stop this trend, H?"

"Dean's in, right, Sam?" Eric asked.

"He is, he wants to get done with his internship as soon as possible," Sam agreed, hiding his grin.  "Which one got given it?  Tim or Xander?  I always figured that problem could rub off on Tim."

"He didn't say," Horatio admitted.  He went to check on Dean, who was cooing over a new gun that had been brought in.  "Seized?"

"Yup, from a gang," Dean said, letting him see it.  "She's beautiful and someone went to a lot of trouble to modify her so she'd be better than the others of her kind."

Horatio looked it over, nodding and handing it back.  "Where did Xander go?"

"Court.  He had that mediation hearing today."

"Take over in here for him?"

"Gladly," Dean agreed with a smirk.  "Before they destroy everyone like they're Godzilla twins."

Horatio nodded.  "Bomb makers last night."

Dean snickered.  "Good one, Horatio."

"Not kidding."

Dean groaned.  "Have fun with that."

"You too.  When he gets back, tell them to see me about taking the rest of today off."

Dean nodded. "I can do that."  He turned up the radio he had playing, letting him listen to the start of the hostage situation at the courthouse.  "They didn't like it."

Horatio sighed.  "Wonderful.  Tell me if something major happens like they're taken to the hospital."  He went back to help.  "They're in court.  There's a hostage situation."  His phone rang.  "Horatio."  He listened.  "Yes, sir, I was told that by Dean Winchester.  No, Xander's got that suit against Wolfram and Hart today.  Yes, that.  Because they weren't being generous.  Tim and Xander decided they needed more to take a nice vacation together somewhere there weren't people who needed destroyed."  His boss choked but gasped out he agreed.  "So we'll be kept informed of what's going on?  Thank you, sir."  He hung up, calling Alexx.  "Your boy and his boy are presently in the middle of a hostage situation with lawyers."  He hung up, getting to work on the bomb parts.  This was going to be a long day.


Horatio looked at his two techs that were brought in wearing handcuffs.  "Were they the ones taking hostages?"

"No, Lieutenant, but it kept CSI Speedle from attacking them again and Harris from finishing them off for daring to hurt his lover."  He handed them over once he had the cuffs off them.  "The commander of Rapid Response wanted to know if they could have the rest of the day off.  They were a bit stressed and upset in the courtroom.  They couldn't even come up with good insults this time."

"Yes they can, as long as they order dinner in and don't come out of the house except for emergencies until Tuesday."  The officer smiled, going to report that.  He looked at his errant techs.  "Really, Speed."

"They tried to say that Xander was bad!  Not like I'm going to let that happen!"

"I do not care," he said bluntly.  "Take him home, Xander.  Make him feel happier with the world.  Unless it's an emergency, don't come out until you come to work on Tuesday.  Even groceries can be delivered.  Or send Hagen."  They nodded, Xander walking Tim out fussing over his bruised knuckles.

John Winchester faded in.  "The boy makes you want to drink," he said.  Horatio smiled, nodding a little bit.  "I'd beat Sammy if he turned into that much of a trouble magnet."

"Mary may appreciate that if it happens on her shift."

"Are the boys going to make it home for dinner?"

"Dean probably will.  Sam, perhaps."

"Then I'll leave him leftovers in the fridge."  He faded out, going home to cackle at what had happened.  He and Hagen had seen the bombs and the hostage situation.

Horatio sat down to call Mac.  "Would you like Xander and Tim back?"  Mac said something.  "Bombs this time.  Club presents."  He listened.  Then he sighed.  "I understand.  No, it's very helpful but the law firm screwed up again.  This time, Tim had to act, Mac.  Exactly.  Thank you."  He hung up on the promise to call the boys to see if he could calm them down.  Or maybe Stella could.  She was good at that.  Horatio went back to helping trace parts.  They were going to be doing this for days unless the ATF agents came to take it over for them.  He called them.  "It's Caine," he said in greeting.  The agent Xander liked over there asked a question.  "They went clubbing last night.  Bombs this time.  We are.  Bomb squad is doing the rest of them today.  That's what I was wondering.  Would you like the rest of them?"  He smirked at his techs.  "Come to the lab please."  He hung up.  "Bag it up for them, boys."

Sam waved a hand.  "Horatio, this one's got something running.  I can hear a clicking."  He came over to look, removing the wire that had been jostled.  "Xander didn't remove it?"

"They probably didn't do more than see if it was moving.  It looks like they were ready to finish it and put the casing on it."  He patted Sam on the back.  "Xander has a complete set of bomb manuals if you wanted to look them over, Sam."

"Dean has been in case it's needed."

"Good.  It's a skill we sometimes need."

"Some people do like to take techs out for being so good," Eric agreed.  He looked.  Six agents came off the elevator in formation.  "They're trying for impressive."

"They can spend all night tracing all this," Ryan told him.  "I have a date tonight."

"Isn't that usually his line?" Sam teased.

"Yup, but I still need to find someone who can put up with my OCD.  Or else I'll have to let Xander set me up with one of his evil women."

The agent in the lead gave him a look.  "If you should end up with his clubbing problem, try to arrest them if they kidnap you, Wolfe.  Bombs?"  They pointed at the table.  The agents behind him groaned.  "Just these, Lieutenant?"

"No, there's a few more safe boxes," he said, leading them to the ones stored in the other room.   The agents whimpered.  "We also got the makers, all female, in the same rental truck.  Then they went to the mediation hearing for the lawsuit against Wolfram and Hart's remains."

"I heard about the hostage situation."

"Timothy lost his temper," he said dryly.  "They're grounded to their home until Tuesday."

"At least Tim can cook," he decided.  "Boys, hike this down to our truck."  They started carrying.  A few got help from Eric and Ryan to gather up the parts.  They even gave them reports on what they had found. "Major terrorist link?"

"I'm not sure," Horatio admitted.  "Rapid Response had their houses."

"I've already got a call into Chuck, Horatio.  Relax and let us do it so Wolfe can go on his date tonight."  He left with a smile.  It was good that Harris drove others nuts.  He'd probably come bouncing in Tuesday wearing a brain-warping t-shirt too.

Horatio looked at the much cleaner and neater labs.  "Sam, I do believe your hours are done for the day."

"Dean and I are both working overtime to get onto our night shift jobs sooner," Sam told him.

Horatio smiled.  "You only have three weeks."

"If we can get that shift set up sooner, then Xander doesn't have to work as much overtime, which means more time with Tim," he said.

Horatio nodded.  "As you wish.  I won't complain."  He went to check on Dean, finding him cleaning the lab.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He grinned.  "The agents of doom take the bombs?"


"Cool.  We'll check on Xander Sunday or Monday night."

"Thank you.  Remember, you only have so many hours you have to do, Dean."

"I know."

"And an autopsy."

"I can go do that after I clean here.  Bring Sammy with me to gross him out."  Horatio smiled, nodding some so he could go take something for his headache.  Dean finished his cleaning and walked over to Trace.  "Sammy, we have a mandatory autopsy we have to do."

"Crap," he muttered.  "Give me a minute, Dean."  Dean nodded, sitting on a stool while Sam finished up what he was doing.  Then they headed down.  Sam smiled at Alexx.  "We have to do an autopsy?"

"Yes you do, sugar.  You two pull stools over and ask questions where you need to.  This one was unfortunately burned after being beaten."

Dean looked over the body, turning a bit green.  "Is that a hole?"

"Yep.  We'll see why in a few minutes.  Sit and watch.  Puke in the trash can if you need to.  If you feel faint, try to fall on each other."  They nodded, watching what she was doing.  They had stronger stomachs than most interns.


John Winchester faded in.  "The Chief is pissed that you found a cult of bomb making women."

"Why is he pissed at us for evil women hitting on Xander?"

"He missed a few."  Xander looked at him.  "Rapid Response caught them and got to arrest them.  Horatio let them take credit for the bust until the Chief heard why.  Horatio assured him that Xander didn't want credit for more than handing over what he had heard in the club.  The higher ups said no more clubbing.  Something about first a law firm, then terrorists.  If he keeps it up he'll destroy Miami."

"I like Miami.  I'd never destroy it," Xander pouted.  "You can tell them I said that."

"Horatio did, kiddo.  Just try to keep quiet for a few weeks so they calm down.  Before they need psych drugs."  He faded out again, going to check on his boys.

Xander called his boss's boss.  "You wanted me to leave them free so they could use the bombs, sir?"  He grinned.  "I could have."  He heard him complain.  "Not my fault they wanted me.  Any more than the ones who give me money are.  Exactly.  They didn't have money so they gave me bombs.  I don't know but it was nice of them."  He grinned at Tim.  "Horatio said Tuesday.  We can't.  Dean can't start on night shift until his hours are done.  Then we're taking a vacation with what the judge told the lawyers to give us after they cleared up the hostage situation earlier.  He was really pissed that they tried to say I was Calleigh this time."  The Chief of Detectives groaned, clearly having a bad night now.  "So, yeah.  He threw the book and the bookcase at them then gave us enough for a very nice vacation and retirement fund, sir."

Tim took the phone.  "Once things slow down and night shift is set up fully I'm taking him somewhere quiet without any women.  Yes, a gay, nudist resort, Chief.  I'm sure we'll like it.  Want pictures when we come back?"  He got hung up on. He grinned at Xander.  "There's one in Georgia."

Xander considered it.  "I might like being naked in the woods if I can play hunter."

Tim smirked.  "We'll see if I can be a good prey."  Xander gave him a wicked grin.  "Get the door."  Xander went to do that.  They had ordered a nice dinner tonight to celebrate another threat being gone.


Dean walked into his first shift in his new lab, looking around.  It looked just like he had left it a few hours earlier.  He nodded at Cynthia.  "Evening."

"I saw your cabinet had a case like Xander's.  You took the freaky thing classes too?"

"Yup.  That's why they sent us to Xander.  My brother Sammy is the new field tech."

"Cool with me.  How much did day shift leave us?"

Dean looked, handing over one thing.  "Card."  He sat down with his, smiling at the congratulations and the promise of Tim making them dinner the next night.  Cynthia smiled.  "How was your year with Xander?"

"Fairly quiet from what I understand this last one was like."

"Xander was a bit bouncy and destructive, yeah."

She looked at him.  "You're just getting out?"  Dean smirked and nodded.  "Then why are you senior?"

"They sent us to Xander because my brother and I had a similar background to his.  We hunted for years."

"Oh, that reason."

"That and I'm a gun god like he is, only I like shotguns instead of artillery."  She moaned.  "I consider you an equal.  It means I have to do extra paperwork."

"Have fun with that," she quipped.  The first case's boxes came in.  "Aww, work for us?"

"Yes, a lot of work for you," Ryan said with a grin.  "And then I'm off."

"Have fun with her," Dean told him.

"No date tonight except with the vacuum."  He headed off after signing out.  Maybe Miami would be more sane with two of them?  One could only hope that two Winchesters were enough to counteract the chaos that one Harris brought.

The End.

Back to Ballistics Index