Notes: Yes, I broke. This idea came to me during a bath and wouldn't leave me alone. Sorta like the horrible romance story I just got that won't leave me alone. This is still NOT a series.
"Vecchio, Kowalski," Welsh yelled from his doorway.
"Out!" Huey yelled back. "Just left."
"Wonderful. Just wonderful. Feds come for them to talk to them about a set of cases and they duck out."
"It's not like they knew," Huey protested. "Hold on, Feds? What cases?" Welsh glared at him. "Sorry, I was hoping I could help."
"You can help by clearing your desk once in a while. Also, you're going to be doing more. They're getting the bad cases now. The Feds like them, that's why they're getting the horrible cases and why you're getting stuck doing their work. And, no, no Mounties this time. Call them and have them come back."
"Fraser's with them."
"Yay. I doubt he understands serial killers." He walked into his office and slammed the door. "Those two have Fed-sensing abilities, I'm sure they knew, that's why they ducked out." He called downstairs. "Harris, get them back here and follow them with Hodges. You're being reassigned to help with a serial case. Do I care?" he snorted. "Fine, tell Mort I said that." He hung up and waited. The two techs trudged up the stairs and Kowalski followed a few minutes later. Vecchio skipped up them until he saw the looks then he paused and looked afraid. "Get in here!" he yelled. They all trudged into his office. "You probably don't know this yet, but the Feds have decided there's a connection between ten open cases in this city and a new serial killer."
"Just our city?" Hodges asked.
"Yeah, so far." He looked at them. "You three, and David for his calmness and level-headed nature, are handling it according to them. If you whine, I will have to make you do this in addition to other cases." Both detectives winced. "They're expecting you at their building within the next hour or else they'll come pounce us here."
"Oh, man," Xander complained. "I don't care. I don't work in the field since that stupidity started."
"Tough," Welsh said. "You're too damn good and too experienced. You're doing it and the day people are going to fill in for normal cases."
David shook his head. "Not unless you're getting Crissy out of the L&D department at the university and mine out of a grave from her recent car wreck." Welsh looked stunned. "No day shift now, boss. We have to rehire again."
"Damn it," he muttered. "Fine. This has your top priority, borrow from somewhere else or get an intern or something."
"It'll take more time to train an intern," Xander complained. "I had to hand-hold my last one for at least a week. There's constant checking over their shoulders and things. It's more trouble with a major case going on than not."
"I don't care how you do it, just do it," Welsh told him.
"Fine and you call the DA's and tell them you said so," he retorted, glaring at him. "I'm not having a heart attack or a stroke for this department again."
"Harris," Welsh growled. "I didn't give this order. Go yell at them."
"Fine," he growled back, "but I'm going to chew asses this time." Welsh waved a hand. "Thank you. Where and with who?"
"Hell if I know. They said Ford was involved but in a minor way. I have no clue why *you* since it doesn't involve ballistics."
Stan looked at Xander. "So, it's either because you helped on that last one….."
"Or because it involves strange crap," David finished blandly. "Wanan take bets?"
"Nope," Xander sighed. "Which cases are we pulling and bringing?" Welsh handed over the faxed list. He looked it over, then at his boss, then at Vecchio. "You've had three sorcerers, a high priest, and a Santeria priestess as part of your caseload and I didn't hear a complaint about the strange crap I brought with me?" Vecchio snatched the list and then glared at him. "They are. I know they are."
"How do you know they are?"
"I did some research before I came. I wanted to find out who I'd have to duck and where I should run. Besides, Rennie likes the Santeria priestess. She's nice to him and makes him cookies."
"Is that who gave him those?" Stan demanded. Xander nodded. "How did they meet?"
"I'm gonna kill 'em both tonight," he complained, taking the list to go pull files. They all went into a box and then he grabbed David, talking quietly with him about how to handle this strangeness. Xander could do some leading but he was going to be odd long before this was over with. David agreed and assured him that he could probably keep Turnbull out of it so he wouldn't turn into a bigger, buffer, blonder version of Xander for real. They grabbed the other two and took them off, letting Ray drive the Riv since it had more room.
Xander sat in the back, looking over the cases, frowning a bit. "Muggings? A serial mugger?"
"Most of those probably had other problems too," Stan pointed out. "Xander. Look at me." Xander looked up. "Turnbull is not helping."
"Sure, Rennie can go hunt if I can't next weekend." He went back to looking. "None of these are dead people cases but the sorcerer Mackley."
"Who?" Ray asked.
"Dead white guy on a street corner, apparently died of a heart attack, no reason found during autopsy. Dead two blocks from the consulate?" he suggested, hoping he'd remember.
"That narrows it down to two or three," Ray admitted.
"Um, dead white guy wearing the big pentacle tattoo."
"Oh, him. Yeah, I kinda remember him. We put it down as natural causes. He's still unclaimed I think. You might check with your boss." He pulled up outside the Federal building and into the parking garage, stopping at the guard. "We were called for. Detectives Vecchio and Kowalski with CSI Hodges and Harris?"
"I've got three of you on my list," he admitted, looking it over. "I don't have CSI Hodges."
"He's our admin person," Xander said tiredly. "It's so I don't go postal on someone for making me do the work of four people this time." The guard nodded and let them in. Xander got out with the box, heading for the elevator. "Reception?"
"Probably a good idea," Stan called, walking to catch up to him. "Rennie's not hunting."
"Xander shouldn't be."
"If I don't, we'll never thin the pack and then we'll have to deal with a bunch of dead bodies no one wants to explain." The elevator opened and a female agent, by the suit she was wearing, gave him an odd look. "What?" he demanded. She flinched and backed into the corner so he got on, holding it for everyone else. "Reception?" he suggested. She pushed the button and got off before they could. Xander walked up to the receptionist and pulled his ID, showing it to her. "We were summoned by the forces of stupidity and those who can't research online?"
She looked at her notes, then at him. "Well, he can, but he stated he wanted an expert opinion because he's lost. Something about ritual murders." She handed them visitor passes, taking David's ID information down and handing him one. "Third floor, gentlemen, the oak paneled meeting room. Look for a pacing Agent Ford; he's there to liaison with you since you apparently like him."
"I do?" Ray asked. "Since when?"
"I can stand him, he doesn't play dumb and he stays out of my way," Xander admitted. "Besides, he's not into heroics or anything. I haven't seen him out trying to hunt now that he knows." He headed for the stairs, needing to work off some energy before he pummeled someone. He found the room first and whistled, bringing the others. The box was handed over and Xander looked at the agents. "Let me make something clear up front. I'm already doing the work of three people. David's here to help make sure I survive this and to do the clear, level-headed part of the operation. Don't fuck with my husband and I won't turn you into wolf chow. Got it?" he asked with a sweet smile.
"Sure," Ford agreed. "He keeps you calm, we like your husband, Harris. Detectives," he greeted, putting the box down. "I'm here to liaison since I have a clue. A very small clue and I'm totally lost. You're here because you do serial cases well and you can think around problems, plus you've got a small clue. Harris is here because he's got more than a small clue. These other agents are going to brief, then disappear to get drunk somewhere where they don't have to think about it after finding the scene this morning. Sit? Anyone want coffee or anything?"
"Xander's not allowed any more caffeine today," David said firmly. He sat down and looked at the files Ford handed over, then winced and handed them directly to Xander. "Magical marking?"
"Very," he agreed dryly, looking at it. "I need some of my old reference books and I don't have them," he admitted. He looked up at the agents. "I need to see someone in Cleveland about them. Can I pass on the picture? They're probably at risk too."
"If you must, but it must be kept confidential. It could cause a panic," one of the other agents noted calmly.
Xander looked at him. "Not with what my group used to do. No panicking, just sighs of frustration and 'not again's muttered into coffee and soda cups." He looked at the photo again. "I have no idea what a phoenix means beyond rebirth. It'll take me a few days. Any indication that this is going to be repeated?"
"You tell us," Ford told him.
Xander groaned and put down his head. "I need to go to Cleveland. Tonight. Someone clear that with Welsh."
"How are you planning on going?" David asked. "So I know which card not to use and not to have a heart attack at seeing the bill."
"I looked into flying over to see Dawnie and Mandy, but it wasn't that bad," Xander soothed. "The cheapest was a hundred one way, about one-fifty for both. The worst was only about three hundred." David raised an eyebrow. "Think about how much I spent going back and forth during my internship. Chicago to Vegas is more expensive." He stood up, taking the rest of that folder. "Okay. You guys turn this over to us. I'll go there, be back probably late tomorrow. Then we'll have a meeting. If there's anything new coming, I want to be told first. Are these all the photos?" Ford tossed him a USB storage key. "Thanks. Love you too. I'll see you guys tomorrow sometime. Tell Welsh I had to head back to the land of books." He kissed David. "Have fun."
"Leave the folder, Harris. The key has all of that," Ford offered.
"Sure." He handed the file over and left, heading out to catch a cab. He turned in his visitor's pass and headed for the airport, shaking his head the whole way.
"You in trouble?" the cabbie asked.
"No, I'm a CSI and I just got recruited to help profile." The cabbie snorted. "Not my field at all, man."
"Domestic or international?"
"I'd love to go international but my mate would freak out and hunt me down. Unfortunately I'm going to Ohio." The cabbie nodded and pulled into that terminal. Xander paid him and got out, heading for the desks. He saw the computer and checked prices, finding the next flight out was the most expensive, but if he wanted to wait another hour, he could take the cheaper one. He went to book that, pulling out his checkbook.
"Sir, are you armed?" the desk girl asked chipperly. Xander looked at her, then pulled his ID card, showing it to her and taking off his guns to hand over. She smiled and boxed them up, and he only corrected her a few times when she didn't check them for chambered rounds. She gave him a hurt look. "You can't do that?"
"If you leave it chambered, it can go off," he instructed. "That would be a bad thing." She nodded and let it go at that, doing everything for him. He took his ticket. "Thanks, ma'am. I'll see you on the way back."
"Why aren't you staying, sir?"
"I'm going to pick up some research materials. With any luck I won't need thirty pounds of books." He shrugged and headed for the security scanners, showing his ID. "I'm a ballistics tech, I'm covered in GSR," he told them.
"It won't pick up residue, sir," the screener assured him. The machine beeped and set off an alarm. "Or maybe I'm wrong." He looked over at the guys running. "He's a ballistics tech."
Xander looked at them. "I warned them," he offered as they pulled him out of line and patted him down, taking his pocket knife. "I thought I handed that over with my firearm," he said, frowning at it. They did the hand wand and he was released. "Can I have it back?"
"No, but you can ship it home."
"Sure, ship it to the twenty-seventh precinct, care of CSI Hodges. Thanks, guys." They nodded, writing that down and he went on. He needed a burger very badly. Very, very badly. Maybe if he gorged now, he could puke later in front of his former friends. Or possibly on his former friends. His flight was called and he boarded with his bag of lunch, settling into his seat. He patted himself down and muttered a swear, getting up to look at the seat. The USB key wasn't there either. He looked at the stewardess. "Can you call security? I think I left my USB key device there."
"You did. It's at the gate," she said, getting out of his way. He trudged that way and came back, taking his burgers back from the woman looking in the bag. The stewardess smiled at him. "Going home?"
"Going to be tortured by former friends," he muttered, flopping down again. This time the key went into his front pocket so he wouldn't lose it. The woman in the next seat stared at him. "I'm with the PD, lady. I'm hungry."
"Oh." She looked up as the doors closed and someone in a flak jacket was standing there. "Being escorted?"
"Oh, fuck," he said, standing up. He and the officer stared at each other. "I'm on a fed case. Mine was checked."
"That's fine, CSI Harris. I've got her." He smiled. "Got any extras?" Xander tossed him a burger and sat down again.
The woman looked back at the empty spot, then at her keeper. "Who was that?"
"CSI Harris. He's one of our top ballistics techs. He's also on call for SWAT when we need him. So if you run, he'll kill you painfully and slowly for me." He smiled at her. "Okay?" She nodded slowly, leaving it there. "Good girl." He buckled her in then sat down to nibble on the burger. He had needed a snack anyway.
"You're a cop?" the woman next to Xander asked.
"No, I'm a ballistics tech. I'm a lab person. I only get to shoot at the annoying ones who try to keep me from finding out it was them." He dug into his lunch again, eating to keep from talking to her. He hated planes. He really hated planes that had seatmates.
Xander walked into the current version of the Magic Box and paused, looking over at Giles. He knew he had killed the man but he was apparently back. He suspected a certain slayer whining at the Powers again but one never knew if certain witches had gotten there first. Then again, he was human and if Willow had done it on her own he'd still be a vamp. So maybe he was wrong. "It's a federal case," he admitted, walking over with the USB key. "We've had some sorcerers and priests and stuff killed. I'm here to mooch books."
"You can't even say hello? Ask how we've been?"
"I've talked to Dawn." Giles flinched and Xander stared him down. "Yeah, me too." He smirked at the squeal, dodging the grabbing arms. "Do not do that!" he complained. "Damn it, I'm still battle ready." Willow pouted at him and he stared her down. "I'm one of two hunters in Chicago, Willow. I trained the other one." She shuddered. "Exactly. And I get to do SWAT now and then too." He smirked at her. "It's a federal case. I need books on the ritual they're doing." He handed her the USB key. "I got conscripted since they figured out I had a clue."
"Let me look," she said happily, giving him a hug. "You can tell us all the gossip."
"Sure. I need something on how to make Anya leave my husband alone too." He looked at Giles. "Did she send over pictures from the wedding? She said she was going to."
"I was surprised I wasn't invited."
"You'd have gotten hives and she was there with the baby, Giles. I didn't need that shouting match that day." He nodded, accepting that. "Besides, you're the one who said not to invite you to those sort of things."
"You could have invited us," Buffy said, sounding hurt.
"Sure, and I could have hired some extra security to keep you and Dawn apart too," Xander reminded her, staring her down. She shivered. "I'm taking Dawn's side in that, Buffy. If I had a local source there, I'd be at home and ready to nap with my husband."
He nodded. "Yeah, appears so."
"But you weren't gay before. You dated a stripper."
"Who turned out to be a serial killer. She was killing blondes and redheads." Buffy flinched again. "Now, I'm on short sleep," he offered. "I've got to get back, be the paranormal and mojo guy on this case, and save the rest of the abnormal portion of Chicago. By the way, it took me nearly a day to fix that door you kicked in." She shuddered and walked off.
"She kicked your door in?" Willow asked. "Why?"
"Trying to get Dawn's child."
"Oh." She went back to her searching. "So, you're doing what now? I know you went to college and stuff to work in a lab. Which totally blew my mind. You did sucky in science, Xander."
"I'm a ballistics tech, I deal in guns," he said dryly, leaning against the front of the counter. "I'm the guy who tells you which guy shot which person and what gun the bullets came from. I'm basically on-call for the strange and unusual. I'm also training a Mountie how to hunt so I don't always have to, though his boyfriend is not happy with him."
"You know a lot of gay people?" Willow asked, looking over at him. "How? Like a union or a club or a dating pool?"
"I work with his boyfriend; he's one of the detectives I work with. David, my husband, was there during my internship. He was doing my Trace portion and we stuck together through a lot. I finally proposed this year and we got married about three months ago. Before it I got to paintball a bunch of bigots, but it was a nice ceremony. If you ask Dawn, she'll send you guys copies of the pictures."
"I have a set," Giles said quietly. "Are you all right, Xander? You seem…upset."
Xander gave him a look and he stepped back. "Giles, what was said on my last day with the group?" The door opened and Ray walked in. "You couldn't call?"
"Hell no, you're on the list. I'm protecting you while you tell me what I'm protecting you from. Outside of your former fiancé. Who's just a bit weird for my tastes." He shook his head. "Anyway, we got a clue yet? Stan's throwing a fit and getting Ma into it."
"Rebirth ritual," Willow said, printing something off and handing it over. "I'll go pull the hardcover books and take down URL's." She got up and went to do that for them, giving Buffy a pitiful look. "We did treat him crappy," she said quietly as she pulled down books.
"Yeah, I guess," she sighed. "How can he side with Dawn?"
"Maybe he thinks your mother would have been nicer to her," she offered. "Joyce wouldn't have been happy but there wouldn't be a restraining order in place and Dawn would have had some support during it." She gave her friend a hug. "I know it's hard, Buffy, but we've got to mend these fences. We're all mortal and we'll be ghosts with regrets if we don't."
"I won't, Mom wouldn't have stood up for her getting pregnant."
"It was an accident," Willow reminded her. "You were really mean. That's why he's sticking up for her, or I think so. I heard she went to visit him before you went chasing after Mandy."
"Your niece," Ray said from behind them. "How many books?"
"About ten." She smiled and held one up. "All about this size." He shuddered. "It's got bits and pieces, you won't have to read most of them," she promised, smiling at him. "Or you can have Xander read them and summarize it for you."
"Sure. So why are they picking on these guys and why is Xander on the list that was found at the site?"
"If they're going after people who have a clue," Willow offered, "he'd be one. He's not magical."
"You sure about that?" Ray asked sarcastically.
"Fairly so. It goes odd around him and he's hated it for a while," she told him. She found a few more and then one she didn't think they had, flipping through the index. She put that one down too and got another few on related subjects. "Sorry, but I forgot to mentally cross-reference. You can always check them on the plane." She got him a few boxes and let Buffy load and carry them out to his car, then went to look in another section, pulling down a thin book. She went to hand that to Xander. "For Anya."
"I have two other ghosts and I've done a protection and a purification that kept them out of everywhere but the garage and the attic. I just can't handle having her around. It hurts and she freaks out David. She calls him a rabid bunny."
Willow giggled. "I'm sure he's a sweetie to you." She kissed him on the cheek. "Got an email address?"
"Only the one at work." He handed over his card. "That's my cell too. In case it's an emergency with Mandy or something." She nodded, getting what he wasn't saying, or what she thought he was saying. "We all booked up?"
"You are," she assured him, smiling brightly. "I'll go back over the pictures tonight in detail and email you tomorrow if I find anything odd. I'll send the URL's to related sites then." She kissed him on the cheek again then patted the other one. "You behave and let the scary detective watch over you."
"He often does and his mother cooks for me," he said with a smirk. "I still can't cook."
"You're forbidden to cook," Ray corrected. "Get it right, Xander. If you try to cook, I'm arresting you." He looked at Willow. "You're not the one he got the odd sports ideas from, right?" She blushed and shook her head. "You sure? It's taken us over a year to make him quit calling football gay sex foreplay in teams."
"No, that was Tara," she squeaked, blushing bright red. "Mine was the hockey thing I think."
"He used to watch sports with us," Buffy complained. "Gymnastics and cheerleading and those things."
"Girly sports," Ray snorted. "Xander's not a girl. He's a manly man and should have manly views on sports."
"I don't mind watching you play street ball," Xander reminded him. "You don't play it like it's rough foreplay."
"Xander," he moaned. "Not tonight."
"Sorry, Ray. I won't tease you again tonight. Can we stop and get subs on the way back?"
"You're not staying overnight?" Giles asked.
Xander checked his tickets, then Ray's held out ones. "Well, we did have plans to fly out tomorrow," he admitted. "I'm guessing we could hotel it tonight. Ray?"
"Good with me. She can call your cell tomorrow to tell you what she found before we leave." He patted him on the back. "Come on, let's go find a hotel."
"I have a spare room upstairs," Giles offered. "That way Xander would be safe and you could work on this with us."
"I'm there to beat the perp up and arrest him, not to do this stuff," Ray told him. "I'm a very good Catholic boy and this stuff freaks me out." The door opened and he looked back at the blond man standing there.
Xander looked as well, then at Willow. "You guys getting punished?"
"Yup," Willow said dryly. "A lot. Now I know why you used to tie him to your chair at night."
"Oh, come on, pet, I'm not that bad," Spike said fondly, smirking at the two men. Then he looked again. "Whelp?" he asked, looking stunned. "You're still alive?" Xander gave him a patient look and nodded. "How?"
"I survived LA and retired when I graduated to do a real job, Spike. You?"
"Nah, pet, I got brought back, again," he said smugly, smirking at him. "Who's the bloke with you?"
"This is Ray Vecchio. He's one of the detectives I work with."
"You're a cop?" Spike asked, looking stunned. "Why?"
"I'm a CSI and I enjoy the hell out of it," Xander told him. "You still a blood sucking fiend with delusions of being grand, great, and funny?"
"Xander," Giles complained. "He's of great help to us."
"If you say so. By the way, Spike, I am a poof. Still gonna try that crap about me not being tasty?" Spike's eyes went wide and he looked at Ray.
"No, not me," he said quickly, moving out of the way. "My mother would get really pissed with me. She pouted at the Mounties and Stan when they became a trio."
"She didn't pout at me," Xander assured him. He smirked at him, then winked, looking at Spike again. "You didn't know this, but I'm married now. He's a great guy, smart, witty, casually sarcastic, and it's great sex. You and Anya should chat on the spirit plane when they stake you."
"Maybe we'll call her back so she can't be tainted," Buffy offered. "You married a guy?"
"Yeah, David. I said that earlier, didn't hear?" She shook her head. She had decided not to understand English for those few moments apparently. Or maybe she had just blocked it out. "Sorry. Dawn has pictures from the wedding. Mandy came up to help with our wine sharing and candle lighting." She pouted at him. "Again, I'd have to have hired extra guards to keep you two apart or paintballed one of you two."
Buffy sighed and nodded, going to help Willow. "Eww, what is that?"
"A serial killer that I'm working to catch," Xander told her. "That's part of my job, Buffy."
"Eww. Not even vampires are that gross and sickening." She walked off shuddering.
Xander looked at Giles. "We'll be up the street at the Ashbury."
"It's been taken over by vampires," he said grimly.
"Really? Which family clan?"
"Hydrith's clan. You'd probably be safe if he remembered his promise to you." He handed over the phone after dialing it.
Xander beamed at the familiar voice. "Tyler, my man!" He beamed at Ray. "No, an overnight for me and one of my detective buddies. I'm working in Chicago, man. No, I'm not quite the only hunter since that slayer went mental and did her aunt, but I'm training the other guy. No, man, a Mountie. Great hunter. Got great stamina and all that too. Yeah, him, he's my student." He smirked. "No, we're looking for a place near Giles' for the night. Because Spike's here and it'll cut down on the emotional scenes. Yeah, me and one other guest. I'll pay for our rooms," he defended. "You just can't eat us. Yeah, ask the boss. Hydrith should remember me fondly, hopefully. If not, I can always stay at the Hyatt or by the convention center." He waited and smirked at Ray. "I saved their butts a few times. They don't really hunt and some bigger wannabe bad demons were trying to make them party favors." He listened as a new voice came on. "No, I was explaining it to Detective Vecchio. Yeah, I work with him. No, I'm in Chicago now. Sure. Please. Just as long as we'll be safe." He smirked. "No, I got appointed odd and mojo knowledge source for a serial killer case. I'm here to borrow books. Sure! Let us stop and get supper on the way. Maybe an hour. Because Spike's here." He chuckled and looked at Spike. "Hydrith said if you eat me he'll never let you into the bar again." He listened again. "Sure. Nope, he's not mine. Nor is the blond guy. Nope, my guy's the one in the silver car. The one Buffy stole." He snickered. "Sure, man. See you in about an hour. You can tell Ray what a fuckup I used ta be." He hung up and grinned at Ray. "You're in for a small experience but they won't hurt us. Hydrith's pretty cool for a vampire from Europe. Old school ancient Russian. Willow?"
"I'll call your cell if I get something else," she said with a fond smirk. "Stop in before you leave."
"We're going at ten," he told her.
"Eeeeh, never mind." She shook her head. "I'm not getting up that early. I haven't in nearly a year. You behave and write me back when I write you." She got up to hug them both, kissing Ray on the cheek. "Take care of my Xander-shaped friend. He gets into trouble and I'd miss him if he was turned."
Xander looked at Giles, who shrugged. "The Powers," he said grimly. "And Willow."
"I thought so." He shrugged and smirked at her. "Buffy, want a hug? I'm leaving."
"No thanks. I'm still having gay thoughts about you and making myself sick."
"That's your thing, little girl." He looked at Spike. "Want one too?"
"Hell no," he snorted. He looked at Ray. "I wish you many mental pills for him, mate. He'll drive you loonier than my ex." He headed into the back.
Xander looked at Ray. "Tie a blood sucking fiend into your recliner and make him sleep there for three weeks and they complain forever." He walked out to his rental car, getting in to drive. Ray pulled out behind him, and he could only imagine what he was telling himself about staying calm and not beating him. Then again, Ray was fun to play with. He always reacted so prettily when Xander was in a teasing mood. He drove them to the hotel and parked in the empty spots out front, getting out to lean against the side of his car, waiting on Ray to park. "Should we bring the books up with us?"
"I'd rather not." He came around to walk behind Xander, nodding politely at their greeting committee. "Boys."
The vampire in the lead giggled and rushed Xander, hugging him as hard as he could. "I missed you!" he squealed, pulling back to look at him. "Look at you! Someone feeds you now! I can tell, you've got a bit of softness to all those muscles you used to have." He looked him over again. "You've got to tell me everything!"
"Well, first, you were right, I did like ballistics stuff. I'm a CSI out of Chicago. Ray's one of the detectives I work with often and one of my buddies. He came to recruit me and he's been like a favorite daddy person since." The vampire leered at Ray. "He's swearing he's straight. But I'm not. You were right about that too. I married David recently." He took out the photo from the wedding to show him. "See? Dawnie was there." He beamed at the other vampires. "Sorry, we're catching up."
"Not a problem, Xan-man," one of them offered with a smirk. "Your boy good to you?"
"Oh, hell yeah," Xander growled. "The things he does to me are *divine*!" Ray moaned. "Sorry, Ray, I won't share details while you're listening. I know it gives you a headache." He grinned at him. Then at the vampires. "See why he's one of my favorites and I consider him family? Besides and beyond the fact that his mother feeds me."
"We had to; otherwise you'd have cooked and poisoned more people."
"I was trying to be good and nice," Xander retorted with a smirk. "I could have made my tuna surprise."
"What's that do? Kill people by eating 'em? You made two cops have flaming, burning runs, Xander. That's not nice or sweet or any other verb that you call yourself."
"I was making it for David and he couldn't eat it. Stan did."
"Stan used to eat Stella's cooking and that's worse than yours. If we could, we'd ban her from cooking too." He looked at the vampires around them. "Did he do that to you guys too?"
"He once put grasshoppers into our blood martinis," one offered. "Added a nice bit of crunch but some of us didn't like it. How did he give them flaming runs?"
"Hamburger helper," Ray said bitterly. "That and mixed bread."
The vampires gave Xander an awed look. "You're my God," one of them said. "I love you, you old Discordian." He hugged him and grinned at Ray. "You sure you want to keep him in Chicago?"
"Hell yes, otherwise his student will have to turn into him and Kowalski would never put up with that. He'd come here to hunt Xander down and bring him back. Besides, his husband just bought him a house. I doubt you're getting him out of Chicago for a bit."
"Rich guy?" one asked hopefully.
"Fellow CSI but he handles our money," Xander offered with a goofy grin. "He loves me. He's a snarky and sarcastic person. I call him my Snape." Everyone let out a wistful sigh at that. "Yeah, you guys have got to meet David some day. He's great to me. When I nearly had a stroke even let me eat peanut butter. He hates my hunting but he appreciates me when I open jars and he's great to me. He even *cuddles*," he told them. They moaned in appreciation. "After I had to shoot a lot of people with SWAT, he climbed into the bathtub with me and make sure I didn't have a single nightmare or flashback." That got another wistful sigh. "I'd tell you guys to come see me but then I'd have to hunt more often to keep the population down."
"That's okay. We like you too much to make you hunt us," one of the vampires in the back offered, grinning at him. "I'm kinda new but we've all been told stories about you and the group up the street. Too bad the slayer doesn't have a sense of humor."
"She never really did. I'm guessing that's why she and Angel got on so well together when they were dating and shagging." The vampires tittered at that and they were led to the bar, where they were given normal drinks.
Ray could only sit there and listen to the Xander stories. He'd save them to tell Stan. Too bad he didn't have a recorder on him. David would *love* some of these. He'd have blackmail for months.
One of the vampires leaned over next to Ray's ear. "I'll tell his mate so you don't have to, Vecchio. Someone's got to keep the bad girls away from him and apparently his mate is good at that." He kissed him on the cheek and went back to his listening and sharing stories.
Ray wiped off his cheek. "Thanks, he'll laugh just as much as I am." He looked at him. "Don't kiss me. I like women."
"Sorry, we're a males only family," that one offered with a smug look. "Sure you won't try it? Just once? You know what they say about vampires and sex. We do have unlimited stamina."
"Yeah, unless you believe Anne Rice," Ray said dryly. "Which I do." The vampire chuckled and left it at that, not teasing him any more. He was too nice for that and he did watch out for their Xander.
Ray walked into the precinct with his box of books and put them down onto his magically clear desk. "Okay, who stole the files? I was using them to hide the ugliness of the wood from the world."
"We had to," Dewey complained. "I put back the half-eaten dog treat." He sat up and looked at the box. "For that Federal case?"
"Yes." He grimaced at Xander as he walked in, Hodges following behind him. "Did you know there's a whole family of male vampires who want to turn him and eat his cooking?" he asked. Everyone grimaced and shuddered at that. "They consider him next to God for getting into trouble."
"They're nice guys and we worked together very well," Xander defended. "Ray, I'm not going to be turned!"
"No, you're not," David said firmly, grabbing a firm, fierce kiss. "Those vampires can wait in line, Xander. You're mine. All mine."
Xander beamed. "They wanted to meet you because you had to be God to be so special to me. I told my poker and pranking buddies allll about you and they wanted to rush up and meet you."
"Fortunately one called me today to share some of those stories with me," David told him, smirking hard. "Weren't you going to clean the bathroom last weekend?"
"Oops," Xander said, blushing a bit. "What did he tell you?"
"Everything," David said smugly. "So, the shoveling this winter….?"
"All me," Xander agreed, kissing him again, hoping to distract him.
"Geez, it was only a day," Stan complained as he walked in. "Use the closet like normal people!"
"I heard that," Welsh complained, coming out of the office. He stopped to stare at the kissing couple then shuddered. "Boys, not in my squad room!" he shouted. Xander flapped a hand then went for a butt-grab, making David moan. "Oh, no, someone hose them down or something. I do not need to see that." He stomped back into his office. "Only a day? I wasn't even that bad our first year together."
Vecchio took David, Stan took Xander, and they pulled. David panted, leaning against Ray's chest. "You know he's trying to make you forget, right?"
"I've got it on tape," he panted, grabbing Xander again to kiss him stupid. Or to make him forget a bunch of horny, gay vampires and those women he used to know. "You are mine, Xander. Repeat that."
"Yours, all yours," he said happily, then went back to kissing. They were separated again and he grabbed Stan's handcuffs, hitching him to the desk before he could try to struggle. Then he went back to his kisses. "They brought Giles back. He's human again. Spike was there too. I got to snark at Buffy and Willow," he said, each sentence between a kiss. "I missed you. You make me sane. You're keeping me sane so I don't turn out like them or the clan. Love you."
"Use the closet," Huey and Dewey called in unison.
"Hmm, closet. I have one of those."
"You have workers in your lab," David complained. "Bathroom sex is tawdry."
"Broom closet," Ray said in David's ear, making him hum happily and drag Xander off again. Ray could only shake his head. "I wasn't that hot for it when I was married," he complained, sitting down behind his desk. He pulled out his keys and got Stan free so he wasn't staring at his ass, then gave him a shove. "Go away. Bad enough the vampires wanted to give me a lap dance last night. I don't need ta stare at your ass too."
"They did?" Huey asked. "Why?" That was more a Xander statement than a Ray thing to have happen. He was almost feeling Xander'd.
"Because they were very, very gay and very, very Xanderish," he complained. "They used to be Xander's poker buddies and stuff. You figure it out." They all gaped at him and he nodded. "Yeah. Xander's their patron saint of mischief and their inspiration. If he ever needs turned, they're gonna be there ta do it. They promised him. Told a bunch of stories about him too. I wish I had a recorder at times. Some of them would keep Xander behaving for *years*."
"Anything *really* juicy?" Dewey asked. A loud moan came from up the hall. "Quit that! I don't need to know how you two do that!"
"Oh, you have no idea," Ray said with a smirk. "We're talking putting nair into shampoo for starters and moving up to making 'special dishes' for others." They all groaned at that and he smirked at them all. "And that was just the pranks."
David let out a moan this time; his voice was a tiny bit higher than Xander's. Everyone stared in that direction and then groaned. Huey got up and went to intervene, knocking hard on the closet door. "Do you mind!" He got another moan for his trouble and went to open the door, but it was locked. He kicked it and Xander started to shriek and giggle in pleasure. He looked back at the squad room, seeing Welsh. He pointed. "Well?"
"Open it. I wanna yell. This is much worse than the park." He tossed over the keys.
Huey opened it and saw Xander against the wall, David pounding him, and closed it, leaning against it. "I didn't need that image," he complained, getting around Welsh to go hide in the bathroom.
Welsh opened the door and glared at them and Xander got off, then went limp against his man. "Do you mind? I'm trying to housetrain a Xander here," David complained, shutting the door on him.
Welsh just stared, open mouth, shocked look on his face. He blinked a few times then a gentle hand came to lead him back to his couch so he could have a nap and forget that he ever saw that Xander was a bottom and that both of them were very well built. Not that he was looking or anything, but they had been. He let out a small whimper and someone covered him with the throw off the back of the couch, leaving him in his office to nap.
Vecchio came out of the office and went to open the door. "Guys, you just made Welsh lose it *again*. No more sex in the closet. No more sex in the squad room. No sex in front of Ma or the kids or any of us. We did not need to know that Xander takes it for you, David, nor did we need to hear it. So clean up, get dressed, and come read boring books on magic!" He slammed the door and went back to his desk, scowling at the people being led up the stairs. "I don't care, I'm not dealing with them," he told the patrol. "Unless they know about paranormal shit, they're someone else's problem for the next year."
"Xander was taking it?" Dewey asked. Stan balled up a paper and threw it at his head, making him flinch and glare. "Hey, what was that for!"
"For making me see that mental image too." He looked at the closet. "We're waiting! I'm faster than that with both mine in there!"
"Another mental image I didn't need," Vecchio shouted overtop of him. "Shut up, Kowalski! I did not need to know how many times you've had sex in there too!"
"Sorry," he snapped back, glaring at him. "You want tape next time too? You stared long enough."
"I had to watch the gayest of the gay vampires hit on him! I didn't need to know *more* about his sex life!"
David came out of the closet, glaring at him. "They hit on Xander?"
"It's playful, honey. They're my old poker buddies. I turned down the lap dance this time." He came out tucking in his shirt. "I was a good boy with them. I only had a beer." He stole a quick kiss and grinned. "I turned down all the offers they used."
"I'm sure you did," David agreed, pulling him closer to kiss him harder. "Do I have to tattoo my name on your ass?" he asked, staring into his eyes. "Maybe get you a collar and tags?" Xander beamed and shook his head. "You sure? People still seem to think that I'll let them poach."
"I'd never go with them, David. You know where my heart and my ass belong," he soothed, cuddling him and kissing him gently. "I'm sorry they hit on me, they're just old friends. We used to prank the slayers together. We used to play poker. They told Ray a bunch of embarrassing stories." He stole another kiss and smiled at him, getting a raised eyebrow in return. "I was very good. I sent the ones who tried off and I refused to do more than get hugs and a kiss on the cheek or two. I was a good boy and I defended your property rights and I snarked at Buffy, Willow, and Giles, and even Spike when he showed up. I was a very good boy and I wasn't even tempted to make my famous tuna surprise."
David pulled him closer. "If one more person tries for your ass, I'm going to find markers and write my name allll over your body, including your face, Xander. Do you understand?" He gave him a goofy grin and a nod. "You're sure you understand?" Xander beamed and nodded again. "Good." He opened the closet door and shoved him back inside, going to make sure Xander knew his claim was in place and that no one, and he meant no one, was going to take his Xander snuggly away. He was going to make sure everyone knew Xander was his and that no one was going to doubt his claim to him.
All the detectives glared at the closet at the howling going on. Someone was getting spanked apparently and it wasn't the fun kind. Or maybe not, Xander had just said to 'fuck me harder' so maybe they were wrong and it was the fun kind.
Stan got up, it was his turn after all and Dewey would never do it, and opened the door, staring a bit. "You need to arch up more. It'll go faster and spare the rest of them naughty gay thoughts."
Xander growled at him. "I'm being claimed here, do you mind!" He kicked at Stan and then David slammed the door for him. "Nosy parker! Get your own! You've got two and my David's still better!"
"Yes, I am," David assured him. "Especially for you." Xander let out a howl when he started again, letting him do whatever he wanted. "Claimed. I like the sound of that," he mused as he rode his lover hard. "Yes, that's what I should do later, I should *claim* you properly." He slammed in and came, then helped his lover get off, settling in on an upturned bucket to cuddle him for a few minutes. "You know we've just embarrassed ourselves horribly?"
"Do I care?" Xander asked with a bright grin. "I wouldn't have missed that for the world!" He stole a kiss and snuggled in. "Damn you're good."
David grinned down at him. Xander appreciated him and loved him, and he was all his. Even if he did cause those uncivil, unpolite, and very naughty images and urges to start.
Turnbull opened the door. "David? Is Xander able to work tonight? We really do have to get on with this case and need him rather a lot. I'm sure you'll be able to mark your territory later and all that," he said with his best upper crust and polite accent. "Can we have him now?"
"In a minute, I'm getting cuddles. They're important to keep me sane and healthy," Xander said. "Just like being played with is." He smirked at him. "Stan watched us, he tried to give advice."
Turnbull smirked. "Well, you are both adorable men and all, and quite well built from what I can see, but I'm sure I can cure him of any desire toward either of you. May I have the closet when you're done?"
"Hell no!" Vecchio called.
"I wasn't talking to you," he said firmly, glaring at his mate. "We're going to have a normal discussion I do believe." Stan swallowed and shook his head. "I believe we should, before I tell Benton." He helped Xander up and handed him back his pants, then turned around to guard their modesty while they redressed. Xander hissed a few times but he did wobble out and head for the break room, coming back with a pastry from the machine and a coke. He however, needed to have a long…talk with his mate. He pulled his lover up and into the closet, giving him a blowjob that would forever make sure he never thought of Xander again. Even if Xander had told him how to do so.
"We done now?" Vecchio said loudly as Stan wobbled out and passed out on his desk. "Can we get back to real work and not sex? Some of us didn't need to know that much about any of your sex lives."
"Jealous?" David quipped. "We all know I've got the best and greatest lover and I please him more than anyone else ever has."
"Brag some more, I'm sure I can find bodily fluid samples for you at the next crime scene, *David*."
Hodges only smirked. "Not my area. That would be DNA." He patted his Xander on the head and stole a bite of his Danish, then leaned back. "Okay, do we have an idea what we're looking at?"
"Rebirth ritual," Xander said between bites. He finished up and wiped off his hands and his mouth, then stole a quick kiss. "They're raising power to bring back someone or to make themselves immortal. Take your pick at the moment. We've got ten major sources, some cross-referenced ones, and I got a book to make Anya leave you alone." David patted him for that and got a beaming grin in return. "So, we need to skim, scan, and read, possibly taking notes. Then again, they're not all about this sort of thing, there's only bits and pieces. Do you want to help read, Ray?"
"Nope. I might have to have nightmares about more than you not bein' able ta sit."
"Fine. I'll take them and read them over, making notes for the clueless and helpless. Turnbull, you wanna help with the research stuff?"
"If you want, Xander."
"Thanks, I could use it. This was my weaker area. I never had the focus for it before."
David leaned closer. "I reward good boys who find answers," he whispered. "I reward them with very good treats tonight at home. All night if possible. Think you can focus and find it?"
Xander moaned and nodded. "Oh, I think I can. I know I can." He picked up the first box and carried it to the break room, coming back for the other, letting Rennie get some paper and pens from Dewey's drawers. He sat down with the first book and started in the table of contents, flipping to the right section. It had something on the meaning of phoenixes in magic and he took some paper and a pen to make notes so he could give a concise report later, even to Ford if he needed it.
Xander paced back and forth in front of everyone, glaring a bit, frowning greatly. "Okay, from nearest I could figure, given what we've got, which isn't much, it's one of two things. They're trying to become immortal or they're trying to bring something quite powerful back. Now, if they're trying to become immortal, they should have eaten gravox spiders. Don't ask me how I know this, but I do. This ritual is one of rebirth. Of renewal. I'm hoping it's that they're trying to become immortal." He stopped pacing to look at the confused people. "Where did I lose you?"
"That ever so tasty image of eating spiders," Vecchio assured him.
"Immortal?" Stan asked. Xander nodded. "Can they do that?"
"Ask me sometime about our old mayor in Sunnydale," he said coolly, glaring at him. "Not the point." Both detectives shook themselves free. "Okay," he started again. "Either immortal or bringing something big, bad, and nasty back. I don't know what. There's no prophecy on the books or in the system to show why. So it's a personal reason. I've already called my local source and he doesn't have a clue either but he's putting the word out for us for everyone to be *really* careful. They know I don't want to go to their scenes and find them." He started to pace again. "The real problem becomes if they manage to call something back. If it's too big, I'm fucked. I'm good but I ain't God. If they do, I'm going to have to do an emergency call to Cleveland and get the cranky ones here."
David captured Xander and sat him down. "You're making me dizzy." He stroked his back. "What could they be trying to bring back?"
"That's what I don't know," he admitted. "Anything I could think of, they're not gonna want. I don't have enough experience profiling to tell you."
"I was once told that the moment the serial psycho's ritual is done, that's what makes it God for them," Ray told him. "What about how the bodies were laying?"
"Haphazardly. He went for known people in their fields, but not anyone of great power. So I'm guessing this person is either a normal or lightly powered. Otherwise we'd be seeing someone like Kovaks in there. Or Dremiton. Or even someone like Rosenburg." Ray looked confused. "I don't know. I'm going to *try* to talk to someone later tonight. If they're in and they'll see me. Most sorcerers won't. If this is magical and they're trying to bring something back, I don't know what. I hunt things, not people."
"We hunt people," Stan pointed out. "Who could do this? Physically or mentally, however."
"They've got to be pretty strong. Unless they had them drugged, one of the victims weighed close to two hundred pounds. That's why I'm ruling out women totally. I'm also going to say that it was someone who wants really bad for some reason or they've got a bit of power and want more. Again, I'm not sure. I can tell you about the ritual and all that stuff but nothing else." That got another round of nods. "If I'm good enough, I might have some answers for you guys later. The blood on the circle came back from DNA. It wasn't the victim's and it wasn't cow or pig blood. It was horse blood. So you've got something you can try to trace there. The symbols were painted on with a very stiff brush, and the Trace analysis said it was Weasel. I know not why. The mirrors at the scene were fairly generic but I'm not sure where they're sold at. The powder around the figures and in the blood you'll never find. You'll have to go to a real herbalist, someone who knows their shit and hides stuff from everyone, especially the importers, and I doubt they'd talk to you. I'm hoping Dremiton will know who and where so I can talk to them. I'll be taking Rennie with me, Stan. He's got some cred since he hunts with me. No, I'm not getting into trouble with him." He looked at David. "I need you to finish up on the bodies. Anything, even animal hair, could help. Tox isn't back yet and I'm figuring they found something but can't tell what." David nodded that he was right and Xander sighed. "Do we have a clue?"
"Herbal. No one's got more than a chemical compound mix and some of those aren't for single ingredients. We can't get what it was originally. Not even Greg when I emailed it to him."
"Search out the usual calming, paralyzing, and peyote stuff."
"Dreaming and imagining are almost as good as paralyzing and it could have been part of the ritual. One did have the sacrifice 'seeing' the spirits as they died. That would do that." David nodded, making a note of that. "Get these guys the generic stuff; let them track it down while I find Dremiton."
"He's having a party tonight," David reminded him. He had seen it in the paper and mentioned it to Xander. It never hurt to keep track of such people.
"Yeah, and I'm not in his circle and they hate people like me because I'm one of the good guys and they're not." He stood up and ran his hands through his hair. "I'll be back. Rennie's waiting for me by the car. If I'm not back in two hours, call me. On my cell. Do not try to come for me or he'll shove me into some antechamber in hell and leave me there while he cackles madly." He stole a quick kiss and was gone with the pictures he wanted and the reports he had already. He headed out to the car, going to drive, Turnbull silent beside him. "You're playing guard. He may not let you in. I should be fine but he's having a party and I'm gonna end up pissing someone off because I'm not part of their circle. They're not rooting for the home team and if it's not someone with light duties they're probably in there." Turnbull nodded at that. "Just guard the car, listen for me to scream in pain or horror. Not in outrage. This is driving me nuts." He turned the corner, going onto another section of town. The higher, classier end to be precise. He pulled up outside the gate of the house he wanted and rolled down his window, weathering the sneer. "Listen, I'm Harris, I'm a Knight. I need help, there's someone going after practioners and I don't know the ritual. All I want is five minutes and maybe a clue. If I can't see him tonight, I understand, but I need an appointment."
"Stay there, turn off the engine."
"Sure." He did so. He sat quietly, trying to make himself relax. The gates opened and he looked over, getting a nod. So he started the car and pulled up the driveway, parking as far off to the side as he could. "You stay here. Unless I call for you." He got out, taking the pictures and reports with him. He tidied everything into the folder on his way to the front door, bowing deeply to the man standing there. "I have bad timing," he admitted. "But they gave me the case with the phoenix ritual and I'm clueless. They expect me to find the guy and stop him."
"Or a calling," he admitted. "Way too many bodies, all talented or priests of some sort. If tonight's a bad time, I'll take an appointment. I know I'm begging for mercy here."
"I've heard of you," he admitted. "You're said to be fair. You're said to be tough."
"I'm also said to be a hunter and cruel to those who deserve it," Xander admitted. "Like Ethan Rayne, who I'm sure is inside and would shit himself if he saw me here." Dremiton smirked at that. "I'm under no illusions. You're not going to like me. I'm a Knight, I screw up magic. I managed to make Rosenburg lose focus many times."
"You stopped her?" Xander nodded at that. "Then I can help you this time. Come into my office, Knight." He walked him that way, taking the folder once he was inside. He sat down to look at the pictures first. "You work with the police?" he asked, sounding amused.
"I'm a ballistics tech and I have a minor in Trace," he offered quietly. "I know that they were given something herbal, Toxicology is still trying to figure out what. I suggested paralytics, hallucinogens, and tranquilizers."
"That's a very hard ritual and not that common. You're thinking in Princes instead of soldiers. Why?"
Xander shrugged. "Horse blood made up the figure. The number of bodies. The fact that no trace was found around the scene, it was like it appeared and happened somewhere else. There was no spilled blood found from the bodies either." He hadn't stopped to consider why before but it was adding up in his head. "I'd say they were trying to call something powerful but I don't know what or why. There's no major Sabbaths coming. There's no major holidays or remembrances that I could find either. Personally this is freaking me out. I'm good with weapons, with hunting, with minor research, but I'm not finding anything in what I got from Cleveland and I'm clueless and I'm being expected to stop this. The FBI agent liaisoning with me is one I had to clue in. They asked about my weapons stash and why," he said at the amused look. "I took him to the bar and showed him." He suddenly felt very tired and knew he looked it by the look he was being given. "I can take out something bigger than me, but it's me and Turnbull here if it's too big. He's half trained. There's plenty of things I need told how to kill, and if something appears, Cleveland's about six hours away by car and at least an hour by plane."
"True." He went back to looking. "The powder came from Ochia. It's down on Eighth." He looked up. "Tell her I sent you, she'll be straight with you. She might remember who bought it. It's fairly expensive." Xander nodded at that. "Are you all right, Knight?"
"No, I'm not. I'm having one of those 'the world is sitting on my prostate and nibbling' moments. It's me and my friends and those I consider family. I hate those days."
"I agree. Then again, you are retired."
"As I usually put it, if the city's bending over and grabbing her ankles, I'm there." He shrugged at the mild chuckle. "Sorry about the language. Been a long week."
"I understand, Knight. Sit."
"I'll end up napping if I do. I'll stop pacing and lean though." He went to lean against the wall, staring out the windows. "What I'm thinking is that it's someone with lesser powers or someone who wants power. Either they're looking for immortality or they're doing their best to bring something back. I've already sent out a warning through the comic shop."
"I've noticed it," Dremiton admitted as he looked at the chemical reports. "It's a calling. They're using spruce." He put it down, pointing at it. "They're calling from a higher hell. They're calling a powerful demon to beg. I'd say you're right."
"Can or should the demon be fought?"
"No, he should be banished and it'll be a hard one." Xander nodded at that. "I can send someone to help you."
"Anyone who's a cop?"
"Two or three. Why weren't they called?"
"Agent Ford knows me. I had to expose him to it and I had to help him with a SWAT assault when his own people couldn't show up in time. I saved his life."
"So he endangers yours?"
"He has no idea," Xander said quietly. "Then again, this is what I do." He gave him a weak smile. "Banish? Standard banishment?"
"Yes, just with a lot of power. You'll be quite tired and sore afterward. I'll tell them to come to you. Who else is working on this?"
"Some of the detectives at the Twenty-seventh and myself. My husband. Turnbull." He shrugged. "I'm still working on his training for hunting. He's very good."
"I'm sure he is. Did you finally stake Dru?" Xander beamed and nodded. "I'd heard you had. Thank you, she was haunting my gardens and singing to me about flaming birds." He smirked at the boy. "Need anything else?"
"No, sir. I can take it from here. Thank you for your help. If you need me and my various skills, yell my way." He bowed and gathered everything, taking them back to the car. He slid in and looked at Turnbull, then got out. "You drive." He moved around the front, letting him slide over. He climbed in and rested his head against the back of the seat. His phone was pulled out and something fell out, letting him pick it up to look at it. He tucked the small pin into his pocket again. If he needed it, Dremiton would help him this time. He called Ray's phone. "Vecchio, take notes. I'm exhausted and napping on the way back. Go ahead, Stan. Er, Rennie. Sorry." He closed his eyes. "They are trying to call on something to give them power. It's the standard banishment if they succeed. Make a note for me to go to Ochia to see about that powder. The key was the spruce. Remind me it's on eighth. Also remind me that someone should be coming to help, but I'm not sure when. Yeah, when I get back." He yawned. "Be there soon if Rennie ever starts the car." Turnbull started the car and they were off, heading back to the station. "No, I'm good. He was very helpful. Thanks." He hung up. "Ray said to swing through Burger Barn or somewhere and get him something to munch on and some fries." He yawned again and closed his eyes. "I'll wake up when we get back there. I'm exhausted."
"Of course," Turnbull agreed, glancing at him when they were stopped by red lights. He continued on, sure it was going to be fine now.
Xander looked up from his reading when someone whistled. "Have some couth," he yelled. The woman walked into the break room, looking right at him. "You are?"
"Lucinda Mayquest. Detective out of the fifteenth." She walked in and shook his hand. "You're Harris?" He nodded. "Kovaks sent me."
"Great." He handed her what he had been reading. "That's the ritual they're using. They've done steps one through four, we're looking for step five tonight and it's another human sacrifice, then step six is a major one and we're all goners if we don't stop it. I'm assuming that it's got to either be in the same place or nearly?"
She sat down to look it over. Then she shook her head. "Not necessarily. With the creation of the sacred space it could be anywhere. That's why the proper preparation of the ritual area is in big, bold letters, detective."
"CSI. Ballistics." He smirked at her. "Fairly typical I know, but I do good with guns." She chuckled at that, shaking her head. "Stan and Ray are working it with me, Turnbull, and my husband David."
"I've met him when he had to testify after doing a case for us," she admitted quietly. "Do you have much trouble with the meatheads around here?"
Xander smirked. "No, we tend to traumatize them. They all came to the wedding too."
"You certainly do traumatize us," Dewey yelled from the squad room. "If she's not a perp bring her out so we know that you know normal people."
"Funny," Xander called back. "You wanna meet a straight guy without a clue on how to please women?"
"Sure, I know plenty all ready, what's one more to the corral of cops?" She brought the book with her, walking out into the main bullpen area. She looked at Dewey, who was kicked back. "Detective, I'm ashamed I'm one of you," she said dryly, smirking coolly at him. "Then again, I do believe my colleague was correct in saying that you're not offering much to the wrong woman, which I am." The other officers laughed. "Now I'm sure you're not the one working with he and I on this homicide, are you?"
Huey shook his head quickly. "Hell no! Xander can keep the strange stuff to himself. My partner and I want nothing to do with that stuff nor do we care. We'll cover your back if they start shooting real weapons, but otherwise you're on your own." He looked at Dewey, then at her. "He's not that bad with the wrong women, detective, it's the right women that he manages to drive off."
She laughed. "I like you two. You're adorable." She pinched them both on the cheek. "Someday you two will grow into fine men-folk instead of little boys." She smiled at the obvious little boy behind his desk; he was the one eating candy. "You're one of them?"
Stan looked at her and smirked back. "Yup, sorry and all that. Stan Kowalski." He waved and ate another chocolate frog. "Xander, I broke into the leftover box."
"Just don't tell David where it is," Xander demanded. "Give him all the cards too."
"You've got more?" Huey demanded.
Xander gave him the sweetest, most innocent smile. "Of course I do. The last time I bought some, that night that I made Ray chase me, I went and bought six more cases before going to play in the park, Huey." He kissed him on the top of the head. "I'll still share if the temptation is too great for you. After all, the only way to keep me from eating them all by myself is for someone else to eat them. I still have four whole cases and a partial fifth left."
Stan nodded. "He does. I found another Dumbledore." He waved the card and smirked at the pretty detective. She had nice, but kinda short, auburn hair. A plump figure but it looked like she could easily out-do a suspect. She wasn't that pretty in the face but it would do because you could see her intelligence in her eyes. "Want one? I can go steal another for you."
"No, that's okay. I've had my chocolate for the month, thank you anyway, Detective." She looked around. "Where's everyone else?"
"Due in about two hours," Xander told her, shrugging a bit. "Ray had the day off. Ma needed ta go to the hospital. He'll be back then and he's supposed to be picking up Turnbull at the Consulate." Stan nodded at that. "Then who's telling Ford?"
"Not me," Huey noted. "I don't like the Feds. They sicken the air in here."
"Ford's turning out to be decent enough," Xander defended. "He could be a real asshole about this and a glory hog. I've seen worse."
"I'm sure you did in Vegas," Dewey agreed. "The first time we saw Agent Ford, he was pushing his weight around with his clone and being clueless. Since then he's only gotten mean."
Xander smirked at him. "So, the next time he tries to give you a wedgie, tell him I'll get him back," he retorted, rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, I'm so going to give a Federal Agent a wedgie," Huey snorted. "Some of us are older than that, Xander."
"I find they don't expect it so it's a valuable asset in today's modern urban warfare situation," Xander assured them. "You always have to do something unexpected to the enemy or they don't run away cursing your name and screaming in fear."
"You can do that with a wedgie?"
"You ever seen a vampire trying to walk with one?" he retorted. "I'm the reason Spike and three other vampires gave up wearing underwear," he said with a proud, smug smirk. "Never again will the biteless one taunt me to not tie him in the chair." Lucinda laughed at that. "By the way, he is, once again, back. He's in Cleveland with Giles."
"I heard he was staked."
Xander looked at her. "Rosenburg."
"Ah. Understood." She nodded and sighed. "That poor, deluded young woman."
"Who thought I was worthless," Xander assured her smugly. "Even after I stopped her."
"Was she insane?" Huey asked.
"Grieving," Xander told him. "Tried to end the world. Hurt like hell when she tried to kill me too." All the detectives stared at him. "What can I say? I'm a popular guy that way," he said dryly.
Lucinda just nodded, looking at Stan. "You let him play with your boyfriends?"
"Turnbull thought he was neat before he jumped me," he offered dryly. "So he's been teaching him how to hunt."
"Really? Can he do something about Druscilla?"
"Did that the day I went to play in the park," Xander said proudly. "She irked me beyond all common sense and I'd had enough. She wanted pushed on the swing, so I did, for a few minutes, then I staked her while doing so."
"Xander, strange shit out of our squad room," Dewey reminded him.
"Fine, I'll take her downstairs and reintroduce her to the hubby." Some perps came up the stairs in cuffs, screaming and trying to get to each other. "HEY!" They stared at him in shock. "Do not debase yourself in front of a lady that way! Did your mother teach you *no* manners! You fucking morons are going to get your asses killed by her!" They gaped at Lucinda, who only sneered back. "Now, settle down like the bitches you'll become in prison and be good little boys before *I* have to get cranky!" They both sat where they were, staring at him in shock. "Thank you!" He smiled at her. "Detective Mayquest, would you like to follow me? We've got a nicer lab down there since it'll be a wait."
"I'll hang up here for a bit I think," she offered with a small smile for him. "Thank you for reminding everyone I'm one of the scarier women in the city."
"All women are scary but they only turn evil when they want to date me. It's a good thing you're immune," he joked, then he skipped down the stairs.
"Who was that?" one of the perps asked, staring at Xander's back before he disappeared.
"CSI Harris," Stan called. He looked at the officer. "Terminally stupid or just temporarily stupid?"
"They were holding up pawn shop to get jewelry for their girl, who they then started to fight over when they found out they were both sleeping with her."
"With their luck, she's probably a trannie too," Lucinda joked. Both boys looked horrified.
"Okay, so they're terminally stupid," Stan decided.
"Hey!" the second one complained.
"Bring one of the stupid twins here, I'll check him in. Let one of those two have the other one."
"Sure thing, Detective Kowalski. We heard you and Harris were working a special serial case together."
"Yeah, but we've got to wait for Vecchio so it'll be a few hours. Nothing better ta do since I'm dating and Mayquest there is being looked at like a bone by the other dog in the house." Dewey quit staring at her butt long enough to glare at him, then she casually slapped him, making him moan a bit. "Don't do that, he might like it and then take a page outta one of Xander's stalker's books." She giggled, turning around and heading back into the break room to hide it. It wouldn't do her reputation any good to be seen giggling like a hippie on 'shrooms. Stan glared at the two on the floor. "Whichever of you doesn't want Dewey, c'mere."
They both ran for Dewey's desk, fighting over his chair and who got him.
The patrol officer looked at him. "Sir, can you and Harris maybe coordinate your next vacation? That way we can have some quiet times?" he suggested. "Maybe take Vecchio with you five?"
"With your luck, there'd be a long-term hostage thing and they'd be demanding us."
"Point," he sighed, walking back downstairs shaking his head. It would probably happen if they did, he had forgotten that. After all, look at Valentine's Day and what happened then because Harris had the night off. They all *knew* it had been because he had the night off. Otherwise it would have been a nicer, more normal SWAT bust and no one would have gotten injured or killed in the line of duty.
Ray trudged in and flopped down in his desk chair, looking at the empty office. "Did Xander cook and make them all go on sick leave?" he demanded tiredly.
"Well, I did order chili but I didn't cook it," Xander offered with a sweet grin. "How's Ma?"
"She came out frowning and wouldn't tell me why."
"Is she okay? Did they order more tests?" Xander demanded. "I can take her some of the time so you don't have to, Ray."
"No, no more tests or anything, she just came out frowning. It looked like she was more irritated than worried. You know that look she gives Diefenbaker when he steals the cheese she's slicing for lasagna? That look." Xander nodded, he had gotten that look once for stealing the cheese she was slicing too. Then he had kissed her on the cheek and she had sighed, handing him something to nibble on. "So I'm guessing the doctor decided she was old and should be slowing down."
"I'll call her later," Xander promised. "Maybe she'll tell me if I beg."
"Maybe," Ray agreed. "She hates to worry me." He shrugged and looked at the new addition to their happy little group. "You are?"
"Detective Lucinda Mayquest. I was sent to help, Detective Vecchio. I'm one of those who deal in the odd and unusual most of the time."
"Demitron passed it on to another of the group who deals with this sort of thing more and he sent us a specialist," Xander told him. "Which is good because I've only managed to banish Anya to the lawn now."
"You have a spirit?" she asked.
"I have three and two are really nice so I let them roam around, but my ex likes to scare and piss off my mate. Since she's also a pervy voyeur, he's decided we can't have sex until she's totally gone."
"Make her pass on."
"Can't quite manage that. She was a demon, then a human, then a demon, then a human, then she died," he said dryly. "She was in Vengeance."
"You dated Anyanka?" Xander nodded. "Damn, you're brave," she said in awe.
"I'm part of the reason she lost her power center too," he admitted. "Me and Rosenburg."
"Okay, now I'm ready to bow at your feet."
"As long as you don't try to steal him, we'll let you do that," David said sarcastically. "If you try to steal him, I'll have to hurt you."
She smiled. "I wouldn't want him. I couldn't keep up with him." David smirked at her for that honest assessment. It took a strong man to keep up with Xander some days. "Are we all here?" Xander nodded, curling up in the chair he had stolen. "Good. Do we have a plan?"
"Can we find out where they're working tonight?" Xander asked.
"Technically, how were you supposing to do that?"
"Look for major points of magic?" he suggested. "You can probably rule out the usual spots and the private residences."
"Good point." She looked at the ritual for tonight again. "It's almost got to be in an open area or the baseball stadium. There's got to be a lot of room for that portal to come and for them to work tonight."
"Stadium's got guards," Ray noted tiredly. "Where else?"
"Calls upon the Earth, needs Nature. The shore? A beach? One of the many parks in the city?" She looked at him. "Take your pick, detective."
"I'd rather not. Can we narrow it down a bit? That's about a third of the city's width we're talking about."
"Can we do a location charm or something?" Turnbull asked. Everyone stared at him. "That thing with the map and the crystal. What Xander….." Xander coughed and shook his head. "No, we can't?"
"You did what?" Lucinda asked with a chuckle.
"Stan was missing, I needed to find him," he shrugged a bit, looking guilty as hell. "It's simple enough. A one time thing, trust me."
She hummed and looked at him. "You're sure?" He glared at her and she smiled. "Fine, I won't tease you about that then, Harris." She patted him on the head. "That's not a bad idea but we don't know what we're looking for." Xander handed her a small pouch. "What's this?"
"The powder from the outer circle the first time," he told her simply. "It's called for."
"That I can work with," she decided, going to find a map and the emptiest break room table. She came back a few minutes later, smirking hard. "The beach." Everyone looked at her. "One of the side, cut off to people, ones. Shall we, gentlemen?"
"We shall," Xander agreed, standing up and pulling up a bag. He pulled out his axe and looked it over, then tossed the bag to Rennie. "I put in your fav short sword, big guy. David, honey, there's a crossbow in there for you too," he said with a grin. "Just like the one I taught you on back in Vegas." He followed her out. "I'm not driving. I could use a quick sharpen."
"I'll drive me and Rennie," Stan called.
"Then I've got Xander and David," Ray agreed, looking in the bag. There were bullets for them. Xander had remembered, how thoughtful. They left the empty bag there and headed out to their cars, getting in to follow Lucinda, who was not using her lights and sirens yet. Apparently they had some time.
Xander looked across the small beach, then at her. "You're sure?"
"The powder's already down. The figure is drawn in the sand, no blood this time," she admitted. She slipped behind a pile of rocks. "See, there's our person," she noted, pointing at the person watching over the figures on the sand. "There'll be others soon."
Xander nodded and looked at Ray. "Capture now or later?" he hissed.
"Later. They'll figure out we're here if you do it now," he hissed back. And they said Xander knew strategy? He shook his head and looked at Lucinda, who frowned back. "What?" he mouthed.
"Go now, Xander, I think he's a zombie. They'll think he wandered off to eat someone."
Xander nodded, sneaking that way. He disappeared and none of them saw what he was doing until the zombie was grabbed and pulled behind some other rocks. Then Xander was suddenly back. "Not a zombie, but definitely unliving. It was demonic instead of human."
"Demons can be zombies," Lucinda defended.
"They've got their own classification in the Watcher's manual and that's how I was trained," he reminded her. He looked over as more people came up to the sand. A few looked around but most of them just started to check the figure, pouring out more powder. One though, he was staring in their direction. Xander looked at them, then snorted and walked off, coming out behind some distant rocks since it looked like the person was tracking him. "Hey." He smirked at him. "You're upsetting me greatly. You're keeping me from sex too. Must you do this tonight? It's my anniversary and my husband *hates* it when I come in covered in blood."
The sorcerer blinked at him a few times. "Huh?" he finally demanded.
Xander chuckled. "You were tracking me; I'm here to stop you. What part didn't you get?"
The sorcerer still looked confused and looked at his brethren, who were also staring. "Why is this chaos magnet here and not in the circle?"
"Sorry, we couldn't capture him," one of them defended. "He's a cop."
"CSI, please," he said with a smirk. "I'm also a Knight." The sorcerer gaped at him and he nodded, smirking at him. "And like I said, tonight's my anniversary and you are *not* making my husband happy by forcing me to go home covered in your blood."
"You could join us," the guy facing him suggested.
"Sorry, don't do the magic stuff. It makes my hair frizzy. Then I have to fall back on all those *girl* things I learned at the slayer's side." They all backed away from him. "So, shall we dance now, that way I can make it home in time for a good, cuddling bath with my man?" He smiled at him. "Or did you wanna wait?"
The sorcerer looked really confused. "You can't hope to stop us, you're a mortal."
"So are you. Hate ta break it to ya, but I've seen immortals, they're usually germphobic and scarier because they always seem to appear to be nice and calm people." The sorcerer looked even more confused. "I'm from Sunnydale," he shared with a smirk. "Ever met our former mayor, turned snake?"
"No," he said slowly, drawing it out. "Why would I?"
"He ascended. He managed to make it all the way to giant snake. Well, then ya know what happened," he said with a sheepish grin. "It was a pretty explosion in case you weren't there. Oh, but I see another alumnus here. Hi, Bert!" He grinned and waved at the former star of the basketball team. "How's tricks?"
"Xander?" he asked, pushing back his hood. "You worked with Buffy Summers."
"No, shit," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Which made me a knight to her slayer." Bert's eyes went wide. "I also worked in LA during Angel's tenure in Wolfram and Hart." He walked over to give the man a hug, damaging the circle a bit. "So, how've you been? Got a wife, kids? Decent job? Or are you just a sorcerer now?"
"No, I work in an investment firm. You?"
"I'm a CSI with the local PD. I've got a wonderful husband who's going to kill me for coming home bloody tonight and spoiling our anniversary celebration." Bert could only blink at that and Xander pulled out his wallet to show him. "See? That's my David. He's a sweetheart, if a bit sarcastic and snarky now and then, oh, but he's a great guy. He even cuddles after the bad fights and doesn't mind the nightmares from graduation. So, wife and kiddies?"
"Not yet. I've got a girlfriend but she's not exactly onto this part of my life. Where did Summers, Rosenburg, and Oz end up?"
"Oz is still probably in Tibet. He's a bit furry now and then. Summers and Rosenburg are in Cleveland with the rest of the slayers. So, did any other of us manage to make it into the real world? I haven't heard a thing about reunions."
"I'm guessing they figured it was pointless since the whole town was gone," Bert said, looking confused. "What happened anyway? I figure you were there and all."
"Oh, yeah. The First Evil. We went into the Hellmouth to fight her." He shrugged. "Hell of a battle. I lost my last fiancé there. You remember Anya, right? I almost ended up marrying her, but I got shown a vision of the future with me having a beer gut and ran away from her at the altar." Bert nodded at that, apparently understanding it. "Anyway, Hell was really crowded and when the First Bitch died, it kinda sucked the town back into itself. You know, magical displacement is like a bomb, outgoing and then filling in the vacuum."
Bert nodded. "I've seen that before, with our last rite. So, you're assigned to stop us?" Xander beamed and nodded. "Pity for you, man."
Xander swung his axe back, then followed it to get the other one sneaking up behind him, then turned back around. "No, it'll only be a pity if the paperwork deprives me of sex tonight. It's finally my turn to top again," he said with a goofy grin.
"I never pictured you as gay and that was way too much information, Xander," Bert noted. He shook his head a few times to clear it. "Well, um, unfortunately we've got to kill you now so we can do this. Otherwise we'll be in deep shit when the demon eats us instead," he said with a winning smile. "I'm sure you understand, right?"
"Sure, of course I do." Xander casually gave him a hug, then backhanded him into the figure. "You have fun with that demon, man, it's already here." Bert looked up and gaped in horror, then screamed when his head was grabbed by a massive mouth. Xander looked up at the demon. "Please go away. You really can't have the others. I can't file this in an official report. I'll sound like I'm nuts. Then the city would go to hell and life would stop moving forward for too many residents while I was taking funny pills, and then my husband would have to get really upset and watch me fight some more if you don't leave, and I'd never hear the end of it."
"You're already nuts," Stan called as he stood up, gun out. "Freeze, creeps."
"Yes, please do," Lucinda said as she stood up. She ducked when Xander threw a stake at her, then looked behind her as the demon dusted. "Nice shot."
"Typical of them to have guards," he said with a shrug. "David, honey, there's probably a few more. You and Rennie take care of that while Lucinda and I take care of the demon and the two Rays deal with the rest of this mess." He nodded, going after Turnbull to help him find more vampires.
Lucinda pulled out the scroll she had made earlier, unrolling it and starting the chant as she walked closer. She could feel the magical barrier and stopped next to it, working hard at sending the demon back.
The demon stared at her, then at Xander, then snorted and took his snack with him, closing the portal fully.
Lucinda looked up, frowning a bit. "That's not nice," she called.
"Well, he was a demon and I hear banishment hurts," Xander said as he walked across the figure, scuffing as he went. The first confused sorcerer came for him and he gutted him, looking down at him. "Hi," he said with a grin, wiggling his fingers. "Feel more omnipotent now?"
The man could only moan and try to hold in his intestines.
"Someone really should call for backup," Stan offered.
Ray nodded. "Yeah, they should. Can we do that safely though?"
"Of course," Lucinda said with a grin. "It's all good now."
They both nodded and made separate calls, Stan advising of the injured and Ray requesting a bus to transport everyone and the victims. Someone, likely a Fed, would sort it all out without their help. He looked at Stan. "Ma wanted you and happy boy over there for a late dinner. You think we're done?"
"Sure. Let me grab my Mountie and you grab Xander. We'll let the others figure this out."
"You're not leaving me with this paperwork!" Lucinda said hotly, glaring at them.
"We never do ours upfront," Stan said with a grin. "I've got stuff on my desk from two years ago." He and Ray walked off to gather their respective friends, then headed to Ma's for a nice dinner and some calm time.
Lucinda glared at the officers responding, including her own boss. "Crossover with the twenty-seventh," she reported. "They just left."
"I'll send them the paperwork tonight. Who had the sword?"
"Constable Turnbull but he was hunting vampires." The sorcerers were pointed at. "Oh, CSI Harris." She smirked at him. "He's only slightly insane. He's from the hellmouth."
"I don't need ta know those things," her boss nearly sang as he walked off, forcing himself to forget such things. He found a vampire lurking and looked at it. "Mayquest, there's another one here." She threw him a stake and he got it, then walked off after tossing the stake down. Tomorrow it'd look like so much driftwood so it was all good. He would file away the information that CSI Harris was another to turn to in case of strange and unusual events. It would come in handy some day he supposed.
Xander looked at David and grinned. "Can I be on top tonight?"
"You shouldn't have promised those others that without checking first," he taunted lightly. He wanted to work Xander up into a good claiming mood. He wanted to be pounced. They had survived a horrible thing nearly coming out to eat them all and he wanted to be pounced and cuddled. Xander could and would if he was in the right mood. "So, did you sleep with Bert too?"
"Bert? Hell no! He was uber-jock of the basketball team. He did help during Graduation but nothing more than that. I never wanted that pale, pimply ass. Even the thought of it makes me shudder in horror and lose my hard on."
David smirked at him. "How did you know what it looked like?"
"I had gym with the jocks and most of them went commando every day. It made it easier to slip some to the girls they tormented and harassed." He wiggled a bit closer and kissed him. "Why do I think you're jealous?" he teased.
"I'm not, just wondering what number I was on the list." He turned the page on his book.
"Twelve?" he asked, looking at him again.
"Well, yeah, I got a bit wild on my roadtrip," he said sheepishly. "Sorry to burst any bubbles." He stole another kiss and grinned. "But you're only number two on the guy side."
"That's handy to know." He let Xander kiss him and steal his book this time. "Let me guess, you're horny from the battle?" he teased.
Xander pounced, making David nearly fall off the bed, but it was a good pounce and exactly what he wanted. This was a true Xander pounce and even if he didn't bottom, he wouldn't be sitting right tomorrow.
Xander bounced into the station the next day and grinned at everyone. "Hi!"
"How much chocolate did you eat *this* time!" Ray demanded from the doorway behind him.
Xander beamed at him. "Two cups of coffee and a natural cuddle high," he said proudly. He bounced over to hug him. "So I can share the wealth until I can find a suitably semi-slutty woman to date you." He bounced again, heading up the stairs to gather the paperwork he knew he had, beaming at Welsh and hugging him. "I love you."
"Kowalski, handcuff him," Welsh demanded, shoving Xander to get free of him. "Damn octopus!"
"I am not," Xander pouted. "I'm on a cuddle high and sharing the wealth." He saw Fraser and Turnbull and hugged them then bounced back downstairs. He hugged Ray again. "Should I look for a brunette?" Ray just stared at him so he beamed and went to bounce his coworkers around. David was in but his door was closed and Xander knew better than to bounce over to hug him. He hugged Mort, who chuckled. "I'm on a natural cuddle high, with two cups of coffee."
The DNA tech glared at him. "I quit! This shit is too strange for me! I want to work for a normal department, not this den of lunacy!" She got up and stomped off.
Xander followed to give her a hug. "We'll miss you," he promised, kissing her on the cheek. "You're one of my favorite cranky straight women. You and Sarah Sidle." He went to his lab, giggling at the guns laid out for him. "Wow, someone had a field trip," he called.
Mort looked at the DNA tech. "He's not always like this," he reminded her.
"I don't care! There's strange shit floating around here. I either quit or I want transferred to Region one!" she yelled.
"Fine," Mort agreed phlegmatically. "I'll arrange for you to head over there tonight and send Mortty back. I do hope they suit you better, dear." He smiled and shook her hand, calling them from the nearest phone. Once she was gone, he looked around. "We're getting Mortty back." Xander let out a squeal and came out to hug him again then went back to work. He could hear the test fires going on.
Mortty, the former DNA tech who had been forced to transfer, walked in and looked around the new area. "Nothing much has changed," she said dryly.
Xander came out and hugged her, bouncing around with her. "You're back! You're back! We love you and you're back! I should get so lucky as to get David too!" he squealed, making her grin and hug him back, bouncing with him. "I invited you but you missed the wedding!"
"I'm sorry but my mother was having a baby, she demanded I had to go watch. Which was very ick-acious," she shared, smirking at him. "David, can't I have a hug?"
"Give me a minute and calm him down some more," he called back. "I'm in the middle of a sample."
"Sure." She continued to bounce around with Xander until he came out and gave her a hug. "I missed you, Dave."
"We missed having someone competent and nice here," he offered with a grin for her. "Then again, we missed you for whole different reasons."
"Isn't he suave," Xander teased, pinching his honey on the butt.
Mort came out of his office, waving the phone. "Xander, it's Vegas. It's Greg." He jogged over to get it, looking at Mortty. "I have missed you as well," he promised.
"It's good to be missed." She beamed at him, then at David. "Sorry about the wedding, but mom demanded I be there when she had the final brat of the pack."
David shrugged but nodded. "I understood, so did he. You missed him shooting paintballs at the bigots and flirting with a nun to make her blush. Come on, she's probably left the lab a mess."
"She's got an attendance problem from what I hear."
"Oh, that's putting it mildly," David assured her, walking her back to her lab. "No coat?"
"I was off tonight. I was going to bum one of Xander's since his fit better." He got her one and handed it over with a smile. "So, will I be working with that yummy Greg soon?"
"Probably," he agreed, watching as his mate ran past them, grabbed his jacket, then ran out of the office. "Xander!"
"Go," she said, smiling at him. He nodded and left, heading after his lunatic spouse. Something must be wrong. He had to take a cab to the airport since they had rode in together and Xander was already gone by the time he got outside. He managed to get a seat on a plane going that hour, but Xander was apparently on another flight, and he was off, racing after him. He made it to the Las Vegas airport in time to hear someone announce Xander's name and rush after him but he was gone when he got to that point. He did find his contact, Nick, and shook the living hell out of him. "What is going on and where is Xander!" he demanded as he shook.
"Whoa! Greg's been taken by some vampires! We're not able to handle that! He's going there. Warrick's driving him! I'll take you, just calm down, Hodges." He walked him off, taking him out to his car to get him there. Xander was apparently making him insane too. Or at least paranoid and upset. Either it was love or Hodges had turned into one of Xander's stalkers. He pulled up outside the old abandoned club and let him go, handing him a stake when he opened the door. "Be safe."
Hodges growled as he got out, going to open the door.
Xander walked into the bar and glared at the vampires around Greg. "What the hell are you doing!" he shouted. "You're making me worry about him!"
"No," Hydrinth offered, holding out a drink. "We saved him from the untidy and dirty vampires who had him. Welcome, Xander. Come sit and relax. Gregory is perfectly safe."
Xander glared at him. "I should have someone put a soul in you."
"Now, now, that's not nice," Hydrinth complained, smirking at him. "I promise, we did not harm Gregory, nor was he harmed by them. The three newbies were no match to my clan." He waved a hand around and everyone beamed at Xander and waved. "Now, settle down and come have a drink with us, Xander."
"Fine." He walked over, looking Greg over. "You okay?"
"Better now," he slurred, looking very drunk. "They were grungy and dirty and looked like a bad eighties metal hair band." He passed out on the bar.
"We thought it best to lubricate his panic," Tyler, Hydrinth's second in command, noted quietly. He poured Xander a shot. "They were stupid enough to put the video of capturing him on the internet. I had Paulette pull it and put on a note that he had been rescued and was fine, and where to find him. Did his coworkers send you?" Xander pursed his lips and nodded, not looking happy. "I know you're worried, but we like Gregory. He was a friend of yours and told us this hilarious story about you and a salsa club." He grinned at him. "Can you please relax and drop the stake?" The door opened and he beamed. "You must be David!" he squealed, rushing over to hug him. "It's so nice to finally meet you!"
"Down, boy. Mine!" Xander said, swatting at him. "When did you get here?"
"I followed you, moron," David said, glaring at him, then at the passed out Greg. "Is he all right?"
"Drunk. They lubricated his squealing in fear away." Xander sat down, taking his drink and sipping it. "Eww, what is this?"
"Whiskey?" Tyler offered hesitantly.
"Ick. Bad whiskey, not even good whiskey. Am I being demoted in your love life?"
"Mine," David growled.
Hydrinth sighed in pleasure, clapping his hands together. "You two are so cute! And he's protective, something our little Xander has always needed."
"I'm calling Rosenburg and having her soul you," David snarled, coming over to look Xander over. "Are you all right?"
"Fine, dear," he agreed happily. David had came after him! It was something no one had ever done before.
"Why are you smiling?" Tyler asked.
"No one ever comes after me," Xander said happily. "David did." He kissed his mate, hard, making him drop his stake and wobble closer. "I love you. With everything in me I love you." He kissed him again. "You're the most wonderful man in the whole wide world."
"I'm going to go stake those women," David complained, but let Xander wear it out on him. "We came after you while you were here."
"Yeah but that was official stuff. This isn't. You left work for me and traveled this far and I love you for it."
Hydrinth sighed, smiling at them. "I love true love." He looked over as the door opened. "Ah, you must be Captain Brass, and I know the naughty boy behind you is Mr. Grissom. Do come in, we're not the mean ones who took Gregory from his car. They've become unfortunate dinner choices." He burped delicately and looked at Greg, then back at the older men. "We let him lubricate his fear a bit."
"So he's drunk then?" Brass asked. Hydrinth nodded. "Xander?" Xander pulled away to look at him. "You okay?"
"These guys used to be my poker buddies in LA. They're good folk for being undead." The door was kicked in and he threw his stake at the idiot stomping in wearing black leather. He noticed the blood and winced. "Oops. Sorry." He looked at the nearest vampire. "Who's he?"
"Vargas. It's a stage name. We think he's some rich kid from the North East but he's pretending to be a knight now and trying to hunt. He thought a Latino name would make him more feared and wanted with the ladies."
Xander got up, putting David in his spot to keep it warm, then walked over there to pull out his stake. "Hi, Xander Harris," he said with a smirk. The man gaped at him. "So…you wanna be a knight? What sort of training did you go through?"
"School, martial arts."
"Which is nice if you're against normal humans but vampires are faster."
"You're turned," he gasped.
"No, no I'm not," he said with a fond smirk. "I'm a knight. I'm the knight of Sunnydale and a former one of LA." The vampires all moaned at that. "Quit, guys." He looked at the man again. "Sorry about the stake but you look like a vamp." He pulled him up, looking at the stomach wound. "Eh, it's nothing. I had worse than that from a pool cue and sparring with Fred. Now there was a woman who was fast, even though she was alive." The man whimpered a bit, staring at him. "Now then, if you're going to be a knight, you really should use your own name. There's not much risk, even if you've got a very distinctive name like Dinglehopper or something like that. Most of them won't go after your family for you tormenting them. They go after your friends first. That's their modus operandi. That's just how they are," he said at the confused look. "See, there's a few things you should read first, like Vampire manuals put out by the Watchers. You really should go to Cleveland and let Giles train you, buddy. It's the fastest way to become me if you wanted. And let's face it, with you wanting to be a knight, you obviously want to." He beamed at him. "So, use your own name, quit watching Anne Rice movies because she did get some stuff wrong. Trust me, Buffy and Angel had the sex at least that once."
"He seems to think we're all Kindred," Hydrinth offered from the bar. "Drinks, gentlemen?"
"No, thanks, we're on duty," Brass assured him. He walked over to check on Greg, finding him snoring into the wood. He looked at David. "You chased him?"
"Yeah, he took off before I could include myself." He grimaced at his mate, who was talking to the boy still. "Send him to the hospital, Xan. Let me recuperate and think. After all, he's got to learn he's mortal sometime soon. Hopefully before he loses an eye or worse."
"I realized it when the troll hammer struck me in two," Xander assured him with a grin. "Plus I had a nasty flash of mortality during graduation." He looked at the kid again, grinning gently and paternally at him. "When you've gone to Cleveland and gotten some training, come see us in Chicago and I'll let you hunt in part of my city. With some training you might do okay."
"You…you lost an eye?"
"Yeah, but I was fighting a minion of the First Evil at the time," he promised. "You don't usually get things like that, just fast little suckers like the vampire trying to clean your wound for you." He nudged him with a knee as the guy looked down in horror. "It won't turn you."
"No!" he shrieked, backing up. "No! This is wrong!"
"No, kid, this is life," David said dryly. "You wanted this job, now accept responsibility and do the job." The man screamed and left, and David looked at all the vampires vamped out. "Guys, eww." They all returned and clinked glasses before going back to their party. He looked at Grissom. "Should I try to wake Greg?"
"No, I think Greg would do well with you guys for a while," Grissom told him. "Something here has been targeting him since Xander was here."
"We stopped them," Tyler assured him.
"Yes, but we've had eighteen vampires coming awake in our morgue in the last year," Grissom responded kindly. "It's getting a bit too much."
"Which family clan is that from?" Xander asked Tyler.
"I'm not sure, ducks, I just barely got out here. I do know that there's a few out here from someone Spike turned. Some of his minions. They're the ones who broke into a Founding Member's home and had a blood orgy, which he came home to find. He made them clean it up too when he found out they weren't dead, then had one of his boys kindly take them out to see the sunrise in the desert."
"Hell, send the rest to Cleveland. I'm sure he'll be pleased to lord over his family and stop them." He kissed him on the cheek, then kissed David on the lips. "We really should go soon."
"No, stay tonight," Brass offered dryly, patting him on the back. "Take care of some of this and take Sanders with you when you go back." He walked out with Grissom, going to tell everyone what had happened and that Greg was safe and going back to Chicago, for good if they could arrange it. He'd be safer there with Xander watching over him. Maybe they'd all be safer if Xander was back to watch over them, but you couldn't take him from Chicago. So either they all moved, or they all stayed and let Xander protect Greg for a while. Then they'd get Greg back. In the meantime, Greg would be happy, Xander would have someone to club with again, and David would have someone to complain to about having a husband who was geekier than he was. So it'd all work out in the end. As long as the trio didn't destroy the world.