Ballistics in Film and Fun.

"CSI Harris," Vecchio said, looking at his list, then at his friend. "This last note is straight from the head office and only for you."  He leaned back, looking at the rest of his staff, which was a thought he instantly censored since he hated being there.  "There is a show taping downtown and they'd like it greatly if you wouldn't interrupt them," he said dryly.

Xander shrugged.  "Why would I?  I'm not some crazed fan unless they're taping elves and things."  His mate shook his head at that image.  "Why does this concern me?"

"Because they're going to be taping outside, that means they'll be shooting people outside," Vecchio said grimly.  "With your duty to jump in and stop people it was thought you'd stop them from doing that and that would cost the city a lot of money and a lot of jobs.  It was even advised that the first time you felt you had to, you'd be put on a nice vacation for a few weeks so you could go visit Vegas again and stop their crimes."

Xander snickered.  "Fine, if they're going to have problems, they're reasonable enough to stop them.  I won't jump in and save them unless I have to.  How about that, Ray?" he asked sarcastically.

"Good.  So you can keep your strange crap down, we like that.  The Chief will be very impressed with that."

"I don't schedule that stuff," he said patiently.  "It happens and I deal with it so you don't have to.  So that Huey and Dewey and the boss upstairs don't have to get the headaches."  He stared Ray down, getting a smug look.  "They want me to keep away so much that if they're attacked they're on their own?"  He nodded.  "Fine.  If they're attacked by vampires or something, it's all them, babe.  I won't save 'em at all."  He leaned back, getting comfortable.  "Then again, I also won't cater and pander to the lowest common denominator either.  So don't expect my help if something goes wrong."

"No, we want you *far* away from everyone there," Ray assured him.  "If they're attacked, that's their own stupidity.  You're not to ...go out or anything near them. Got it, kid?"

"Not my intention."

"It never is, but the last time it wasn't your intention you stopped an international gem thief who was about to take out the Embassy."  Xander shrugged, he had been out for a jog with Diefenbaker.  "Fine.  They're going to be downtown on Embassy Row. You are not to go anywhere near a single one of them and we'll keep them away from you."

"Good.  I'll agree to that.  It's not like I want the notoriety."

"Good," Ray agreed.  "Then we'll let David keep you inside for the duration of the filming.  Just in case you decide to go to the movies and run into something like another car chase," Ray said dryly, staring him down.

"Hey, I stopped him so he wouldn't run over my chubby ass.  You don't like it, next time you shoot out his tires while he's driving," he shot back.

David groaned.  "Honey, we don't need more attention.  Just stay calm and we'll gladly stay away from everyone there."  Ray nodded, making a note of that.  "But I want daily shooting schedules put up.  That way they won't harm the commute since we do work at dinner time."

"Fine," Ray agreed, handing one over.  "Copy that and post it upstairs."

Someone upstairs started to scream and holler. Xander moaned and put his head down, looking at Ray, who snorted and waved a hand.  Xander stopped trouble within seconds, it took everyone else longer than that.

Xander walked up the stairs and met Stan in the doorway.  "What's going on!" he yelled.  The screaming stopped and the people stared at them.  "You brought me from a staff meeting in CSI and Kowalski from his coffee.  It had better be a world-ending emergency."

The desk sergeant shook his head and pointed at the screaming people.  "We've got someone here to talk to you.  I was about to page you."

Xander looked at that person.  "And you are?"

"I'm Morice.  You're fabulous!" he said, walking over to him.  "I hear you're the city's resident action hero?"

Xander snorted and shook his head.  "Not hardly.  What did you need, Morice?"  He looked him over.  "Besides to not wear animal hair in the CSI unit so you can't contaminate anything."

The other man ran a hand through his dreadlocks then grinned at him.  "We need our specialist to study you.  We think he's unbelievable."  He looked at the detective.  "You're cute," he said with a wink.

"Yeah, and I've got two Mounties who'll kick yer ass," he noted patiently.  "CSI Harris is really busy solving actual crimes.  He's also been warned to stay away from your set.  Now, whatcha need with him?"

"I just need our star to stand and watch him for a few days.  He's supposed to be very heroic and very impressive."

"Heroics is in the normal things," Xander told him.  "My thing has always been to be in the wrong place at the right time.  As such, you've got to get permission from both the Chief and the Lieutenant upstairs, plus my shift supervisor to stand around my lab and watch me match bullets."

"You.... don't go out and chase down criminals?" he asked, looking defeated.

"I'm a ballistics tech primarily.  I shoot guns, I match bullets, and I write a lot of reports so I can give them to detectives, like Kowalski here."  He nodded at Stan.  "There's nothing glamorous about my job, Morice. Anytime I had to play hero, I was in the wrong spot and something was happening.  If you want your star to be believable, have him follow SWAT.  Now, I've got guns to match to homicides.  If you'll excuse me?"  he walked down the stairs and whispered in Ray's ear before heading back to his lab and slamming the door.

"One of the lackeys on the site just came up with a plan to make their star seem more realistic," he announced.  "They want to follow Xander and watch him match bullets.  He's trying to discourage him."  David moaned.  "He's already trying, Dave.  Calm down.  There's a ton of paperwork."  He hit a button the phone, dialing upstairs.  "Lieutenant, head's up.  There's a guy named Morice who wants to follow Xander around to make his star seem real.  No, he's already agreed to let them die if necessary.  Yeah.  That's what he said.  Do I care?" he snorted.  "I'm not for this project.  Not unless you've got a really good bargaining chip," he offered smugly.  "He told him he had to go through you, the Chief, and me.  I'm against it, I'm hoping you are?"  He nodded, looking smug.  "I'll make sure he's grounded to the lab if necessary but no.  No, he said he'd let them die before helping, even the strange stuff he can't plan or announce beforehand.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "They already knew.  The chief wants him to pressure me."  He leaned his head back.  "Xander!"  His dog Sarah came down the hall, carrying a message.  He grinned and scratched behind her ears.  "Good girl."  She barked and drank some water, then went back to daddy's lab to watch him blow things up.  Ray read the note.  "Xander said he'd rather head far away.  The fax is still in his lab."  He handed it to David.  "Just try to keep him calm, all right?"

"Fat chance."

"Try, I said try.  I know you can't, but try," he ordered.  He stood up.  "Everyone go do something productive while the dweeb's here."  They all went back to their labs and the field techs sat down to read and wait on something to come in. Ray went to take his first tums of the week.  He had made it to Thursday, he was proud of himself.  Even if he had been drinking the gross domestic product of Minnesota in milk for the last month.  He really hated being stuck over this bunch of lunatics.


Xander looked over as someone walked into his lab, raising an eyebrow.  "If you're going to be in here, you will be clean.  I will not allow random samples of hair, perfumes, or anything else that might compromise investigations around here.  That means you'd better go bathe off the stench and put on a hat after you've tied back the length."  He went back to his report.  "David!"  He opened the door between the labs.  "Here, for Greg," he said, printing it off and handing it over.  "For your report with him."

"Thanks, Xander."  He looked at the guy standing there. "New recruit or intern?" he asked hopefully.

"You don't know who I am?"

"He watches action movies and comedies.  I watch dramas and comedies.  If you're a romantic guy, we wouldn't know."

"I've been in three action movies so far this year."

"We're about six months behind.  We work during prime movie hours, guy," Xander told him.  "For that matter, I work six to midnight.  Feel free to take that shower now.  Our DNA tech is allergic to perfumes as well.  If she gets sent to the hospital tonight, that's going to screw many samples and cases."  He nodded, going to do that.  Xander looked at him.  "Should I treat him like the usual incoming intern class?"

"It might be easier," he noted.

"CSI Hodges!" someone yelled.

"Yeah!" he yelled back.  He headed that way, finding their overlord in the doorway.  "Yes, Lieutenant Welsh?"

"Did Harris just yell at him?"

"He came in dripping with cologne and covered in fur with his hair down.  Of course he did.  He's breaking lab protocol and we can't allow any transfer.  That's why we brush the dog every day," he said facetiously.  The lieutenant just gave him a long stare.  "Hey, he didn't like this idea either.  Have him watch Greg."

"Sanders is off tonight."

"Even better," David agreed, "but he's in my lab."  He walked off shaking his head.  He handed the report to Greg.  "From Xander."

"I heard."  He flipped through it, grinning a bit.  "That busts my theory."

"Yeah, but not mine," David reminded him, handing over his report.  "Better and better.  We've just ruled out all your suspects and I told you it was the maid."

Greg grimaced.  "That's so dime-store novel though," he complained as he headed out to check it against the case file.  Just in case something popped up at him.

"I thought those always had butlers and you slept with the maid," Xander said from the connecting door with a grin before he closed it.  He picked up his next three test fires and walked them into the firing pen, putting on his ear muffs.  "Firing three over the next ten minutes!" he yelled.  It was close enough in his book.  Someone chuckled behind him but he decided it was probably his husband or Ray so he went to it, putting the test bullet into the proper box in an envelope.  Then he came out and found the Chief in his lab looking at his computer.  "Greg's case," he told him, sitting down to compare the samples and input them into the database.  "What's up, boss?" he asked as he typed.

"Did you yell at him?"

"He came in stinking of perfume and Daphne's still here as an intern, alone tonight," he said patiently.  "She's so allergic I'm surprised she hasn't hit her panic switch."  He got up and peeked into DNA but she was dancing to her top 40 station and he sighed, going back to his work.  The Chief walked over to read over his shoulder.  "Remember, I can't mistype or I have to redo everything," he said when he made his first typo.  He restarted that one, doing it faster since he didn't have to look at the box this time.  He glanced at his boss.  "He also came in with dirty hair, covered in hair, and with his hair down.  I don't allow that. It can contaminate.  I was told to stay away from him and I'm treating him like I do my interns.  My last one learned what a pony tail was when I handed him the scissors his first day."

"I heard.  He understood why you did that after David took him through a tour of the labs and how a hair here can get onto something he was working on or into Chemistry."  He pulled out a stool and sat beside him. "I could send him to Morgan but they're determined to follow you around."

Xander stopped typing and looked at him. "You wanted me to be good," he reminded him dryly, smirking a bit.  "Haven't I been?"  He got a nod and a grin.  "Then why am I being forced to do this when I've been warned to stay away from their filming area?"

"Because their people are morons," he said, patting him on the arm.  "They're getting death threats.  They want SWAT to guard them."

"They have security," he reminded him.  "I got told repeatedly when I got drug into your office to be yelled at for that stupid b&e case that they had security and that their security company was set up to work with the thirteenth.  Not with us.  Not with me.  With the thirteenth.  Besides, if they're getting death threats, that's major crimes and that's also the thirteenth and upstairs."

"I know, but you're the hero that the news reports and they saw you take down that deli robber who tried to run through them.  They've decided you're the role model for the hero of this story, who's supposedly a cop."

"Which I'm not."

"No, you're not," he agreed dryly, patting him on the arm again.  "Treat him like you do any rookie."

"I did.  I sent him to bathe, put up his hair, and change clothes before he contaminated anything," he said patiently.  He heard a bunch of running feet and groaned.  "Not today," he whined. "Ray!"

"Rookie didn't search someone well enough," he called back.  "You're not needed unless you want to do the body cavity."

"Hell no!" he yelled back.  He shook his head and relaxed.  "Check on Daphne!" he yelled.  Ray walked that way, going to check on her.  He looked at his boss.  "I'm sorry if I'm really mean to him.  I'm not a cop.  I'm a CSI.  I've always maintained that and that's why I didn't want the badge."

"I know, Xander.  I think you're scarier now that you have to carry the gun," he promised with a grin. "Has David made you sleep in your vest yet?"

"Yeah, once.  That stalker got free and he had me sleep in a locked room in it that night," he said bitterly.  "All I wanted was cuddles."  His dog barked so he picked her up to hug her.  "Yes, you gave me good cuddles, Sarah."  He kissed her on the head and then put her back down.  "Go help Ray.  He's bored."  She trotted out to find Ray and help him be unbored.  She liked Ray, he played fetch with her with the paperwork balls.

"Fine.  Just try to be a bit nicer," he prompted, smiling at him.  "I promise it won't be for long.  He won't become one of your stalkers and you'll be fine, Xander."

"No, I won't."

"Yes, you will.  I promise you will."  Xander gave him a dirty look.  "You know, you're up for a raise again this year," he noted dryly.  "You're about to start your fourth year with us."

"Yeah, and with my work record, I'd better get it too," Xander reminded him firmly.  "I don't do blackmail, chief.  You knew that about me when you hired my chubby ass."

"You're not fat.  Get over it.  Take up jogging."

"You forbid me from jogging.  The last time I caught a jewel thief."

"Oh, yeah, I remember that.  Fine, go to the gym and get drooled on or work out upstairs.  Just lay low until they leave and try to cooperate as well as you can."

"Fine.  If I must."

"You must," he agreed, standing up and clapping him on the back.  "Good work, and you know you've got a medal coming from that last SWAT action, right?"

Xander snorted.  "Since when have I shown up for those?" he asked dryly.  "The others are in David's drawer.  Give it to him like the last one."

"Fine."  He walked out, going to talk to David.  The surest way to get Xander to accept this was to make David make him.  David may be a sarcastic bastard but he had a firm hold on Xander's leash most of the time.  They worked well together that way so it was all good to him.  Xander suddenly swore and got up, slamming the door and heading off at a run.  "What's going on?" he asked.

David looked at his phone, then shrugged, getting up to follow. "I'll make him calm down at lunch.  I wouldn't dream of taking personal time during shift to calm him down again."  He ran after his mate, finding him and Ray facing off with someone in the entry.  Someone fairly round and fat, but also among the local mafia.  "Oh, hell," he muttered.  He glanced at Xander, unhooking his holster for him.  Xander glanced at him and nodded, a small smirk coming to him.

Ray cleared his throat, looking at the desk sergeant.  "You paged a 911?"

"I did," he said, pointing at the guy.  "He has some guys with openly carried guns with him.  He's demanding to talk to you, Detective Vecchio.  Do you want me to page SWAT back?"

"They're on exercises today," Xander reminded him.  "Halfway outside the city."  He looked at the guy and leaned on Ray's shoulder, tipping his head closer to him while managing to look totally comfortable.  "Ray, do I get to shoot this interesting person for bringing guns into our station or can someone else?" he asked sweetly.

"No, not yet, Xander," he said, patting him on the arm leaning on him.  "Get off.  I'm not your husband or your leaning post."

"But you're so cute," he cooed, pinching him on the cheek.  Ray swatted him and glared so Xander smirked his most evil smirk at the guy standing there shocked. "You're interrupting my break time playing.  What the fuck do you want, moron?"

"Who are you?" he sneered back.  "This is between Raymundo and myself."

"I'm CSI Harris.  I'm Ray's backup."  The guy's backup winced at that and took a step back.  "Now, you're in a police station with guns.  I'd suggest you pull your licenses and present them for a start.  Otherwise, there's no discussion until I come break in your door with SWAT and arrest you. Your choice of course," he finished with the scarier 'sweet' grin look.

"Xander," Ray warned.  "Let me."  He stepped forward.  "You're keeping us from doing our work catching your minions.  What do you want?" he sneered.  "Make it snappy."

"Fine. I want my brother arrested."

"For?" Xander asked.

"Again, this is private...."  Xander changed his stance and crossed his arms, and now you could see his hands were next to his weapons and that was probably a bad thing.  He looked at Ray.  "Call off your bitch."

"My mother likes him.  She'd get upset with me if I made him not have any fun today."  He moved closer.  "For?" he hissed.  The guy whispered in his ear.  "You'll have to swear out a complaint and next time, call.  I could have sent someone over to collect the evidence and fill that out at home."

"Fine. I'll remember that.  Call here?  You're not at your desk."

"I'm over the CSI unit," he said blandly. "That's why my mother likes Xander.  Ma thinks he's nice."

The don looked at Xander, then at Ray.  "She likes little gay boys?"

"No, but she likes that one.  That's the guy who protected Maria last year."  The guy just nodded at that.  "Now, if you'll come upstairs, alone, we'll do that report and I'll have someone go after him."

"Thank you.  She's at my sister's house."

"Eh, that happens," Ray reminded him.  "Send your goons outside."  The guy waved a hand and they slowly backed up.  "Xander, back down," he ordered.

"Once they're out of my station.  They can wait in the car," he said, his voice calm and cold.  The guys stared at him and he stared back.  "Now, boys.  This is my pound and I'm the king of this block."  His dog barked and he grinned at her.  "Yes, I know you're the queen bitch on the block, Sarah.  You always have been," he offered with a small grin. He looked up and they ran out, leaving one bodyguard.  "I'm sure he can do without you unless you're a material witness?"  He nodded.  "Then follow and be ...nicer."  The guy nodded and followed the other two up.  Xander scooped up his dog and headed back to his lab, going back to his typing and inputting so he could compare samples.  His new shadow came back an hour later and was much more presentable at least.  "Fine.  Sit and watch. I'm matching bullets to samples today."

"No field work?"

"Field is a very minor part of my day; I'm last on the list to be called in case something major happens.  I only go into the field enough to keep up my certifications."

"Your chemical one is due next month," David called.

"Thanks.  Leave me a post-it."

"Already done.  I just got the email from SWAT's commander.  He also said you've got to requalify on the range.  It's time for the six month one, which means the walk-through."

"With as much as I do every day, I still have to qualify?" he muttered, going back his microscope.  "Interesting.  David!"  He came over and Xander let him see.  "Is that or is that not DNA?"  He found the gun and opened it, then showed him the blood inside.  "You want this one or DNA?"

"Daphne's about ready to cry.  Greg's hiding.  I'll let him swab it."  He took the gun parts and the box, going to hand them to Greg while Xander cleaned up the bullet with a few swabs and got  to work comparing.

"This is really your whole day?"

"On the good days, yeah," Xander told him.  He heard toenails clicking.  "Watch out for my dog, Sarah.  She's about to pounce you because you're in front of the treats and she expects to get some."

"A dog's allowed in here?"

"She doesn't shed.  We make sure of it," Xander said absently as he worked.  "Sarah."  She walked in, leaving DNA alone for now.  If the intern was about to cry, they'd have to brush the water out of Sarah's coat before she could enter any of the labs.

"Meathead!  Ma sent lunch," Ray called.

"Thanks, Ray!  I love your mother!" he called back.  "Tell Dewey no match but this is a well-loved gun with many past uses."  He ran the serial number and it came back with multiple matches and the computer matched the bullets to those cases, all but one.  He printed out the matches and the case summaries, then went to do his report.  By the time he had opened the new document, the detective was leaning in his doorway.  "Fifteen cases.  That's the record so far this year, Dewey.  What's he wanted for?"

"Burglary mostly.  What about those?"

"A few assaults with random scare shots mostly.  A few muggings and one attempted homicide that was filed against someone but they didn't have the gun at that time."  He typed one-handed, handing over the case summaries.  "Give me ten to type this up."

"Thanks, Xander.  I love you, man.  Another bad guy out to pasture for at least five-to- ten."  He grinned at the guy.  "New intern?" he asked, shaking his hand.

"No, I'm Quinlan Jones."

"The action star?  You're usually pictured more scruffy."

"Not in my lab," Xander said in a sing-song voice, then he had to backspace and retype something, saving it and moving on.  "You know better.  Check on Daphne, Dewey.  Greg said she's about to cry and if she does it on Sarah we'll have to brush her again."

Dewey walked over, looking in the Chemistry and DNA lab, then snickered, leaning in the doorway.  "Xander said if you're crying on her, you've got to brush her before she's allowed in any of the labs.  She sheds really badly when she's wet."

"Yes, sir," she said weakly.  "How does he do this?"

"This is probably one of the worse days," he offered. "I know some days he's only got seventeen or eighteen samples."  She looked around, then whimpered and put everything away, going to brush the dog upstairs so she could take a break and regroup.

Greg looked inside, then sighed and came in to close samples and things.  He made notes on the chart in his hand, then went to talk to her.  She had to be able to handle full nights on her own.  She was in her fifth month of post-graduation internship, it was more than time.  He came back alone and got to work.  "I'm going to enjoy my overtime," he said blandly when the detective grinned at him.  "She's got to do better soon."  He checked the prior results and went back over them, then got back to work on the new samples.

Xander came over a few minutes later and leaned on his shoulder, looking at what he was doing.  He whispered in his ear and Greg giggled, then nudged him with an elbow so he went back to being stared at.  "David?  We've got to get Greg to date Dawnie," he offered from the joining doorway.

"That's almost a nightmare image," David said dryly, shaking his head quickly.  He looked at the lab, then at him.  "You done?"

"Hell no."  He went back to work.  "But we still have to get them to date."

"I like women older than your baby sister," Greg called a few minutes later.  "Even if she is pretty."

"I'll tell her you said that," Xander called with a grin, getting back to work.

"So, you guys are like a big family?" the actor asked from his corner seat.  He didn't want to move much but he was really bored already.  "You really do this all day and night?"

"Four six hour shifts and two eight hours, yup.  That's why I'm here six days a week."

"Six days?  You only take one day off?  Isn't that against the law or something?"

"I more arrange my own schedule and since my cohort on days is off on the weekends due to her kids, I've got to cover them or we'll get backlogged," he noted as he worked.  "That's why I work shorter hours during the week, so I can spend more time with my man."

"You're *gay*?" he demanded, looking stunned.

Xander looked back at him and nodded.  "I am.  I was also raised by girls so I don't really get the macho crap most guys go off on.  I also read sci-fi, fantasy, and romance novels, but I don't cook.  I'm told I'm nearly poisonous," he finished sarcastically.  "I also happen to be one of the best bomb people in the city. Welcome to the real world, Quinlan.  Gay guys make up at least ten percent of the world around you.  If you're going to have hives, I suggest a watching episode with SWAT to cure that."  He got back to work.  "David, pick dinner," he yelled suddenly.

"Ma sent you food for that," Greg said from the doorway.  "Ray said come eat while it's warm."  He looked at the actor.  "There's a break room with machines and stuff upstairs if you don't want to run out.  Xander!"

"Ten more.  I just matched this I think."  He gave it one last look, then got up to do the quick report, printing it off and signing it before putting it in the 'going upstairs' box.  He took off his coat and stretched, then nodded.  "Come on.  We lock all the labs since the janitor broke in."  The actor nodded and they walked out, letting him lock the lab with the keypad next to the door.  They joined the others in the main area, Xander sniffing at everything before accepting his plate.  "No beans?" he asked with a small pout.

"She only sent a small pot, Xander, sorry," Ray said before digging in.  he looked at the actor.  "You sure you want to be him?"

David smiled at him.  "We know Xander's a bit odd...."  Someone upstairs screamed Xander's last name.  "I think that's your cue, dear."  He ate a bite of pasta.

Xander picked up the phone and dialed the main desk.  "What, I'm eating food Ray's Ma cooked," he said gruffly.  He listened.  "Dawn's a good girl.  She can come visit.  Why?"  He listened and nodded.  "No, the blonde can't come down.  Tell Dawn I'll be up in about ten minutes and to wait."  He hung up and started to eat faster.  "Dawn said Buffy just suddenly showed up today.  She and Rona are upstairs with her," he explained, inhaling the last of his food and belching.  "Sorry.  Thanks, Ray."  He got up and headed up there licking his lips and the spilled bits of sauce off his fingers.  Rona gave him a long stare and he shrugged.  "It's lunch."  He looked at Buffy.  "Reasonable excuse this time?" he asked tiredly.

"I needed to come see Dawn.  Mom's lawyers sent letters to be opened so long after she died."  She held up Dawn's.  "She won't take hers."

Xander took it and opened it, glancing over it then handing it to Dawn.  "It is from her.  I remember her handwriting."

"You don't trust me?" Buffy demanded.

"Are you breaking probation?" he retorted.  She huffed and stomped off.

"Thank you, Buffy.  Call next time," Dawn called after her. "I would have come for the day."  Buffy turned and nodded, grinning at her.  Then she left.

Xander rolled his eyes.  "Just mail it," he muttered, making Rona laugh.  Dawn glared at him.  "You, behave. And take Sarah away from Daphne so she can go lounge in front of the tv."  He kissed them both on the cheek.  "Rona, we're to stay away from the places they're filming, even if they're calling demons and summoning the dead to come eat them again," he told her.

She snorted.  "They're in prime hunting territory."

Xander shrugged. "They don't care. I'm not allowed and I was ordered to keep it down around them.  So therefore you're not hunting."  She nodded, sighing a bit at that.  "We'll hit the other areas later this week."

"Yes, Xander.  I don't mind but I don't want to be whined at by Giles if they get eaten or something."

"That's their own fault," he reminded her.  "Just do it. I don't like it either but I'm trying to stay out of trouble."  He tweaked Dawn's ear.  "Next time, call, don't scream."  He kissed each woman on the cheek then went back down to see if there was anything left.  It turned out there was some garlic bread and it made him a happy Xander.  "Joyce sent a letter to her attorney for the girls before she died to be delivered this year.  Buffy brought it and Dawn reminded her to call," he told David, giving him a quick kiss as he headed back to his lab.

"Xander, you've got time left on lunch," Ray reminded him.

"I'll take a break later, Ray."  He opened his lab and walked in, eating the last of the garlic bread.  He used a wet wipe to clean his hands then got back to work.

Ray looked at the very confused actor.  "The year he got here, we enacted our mandatory retirement clause.  Xander was working eighteen hour days with pneumonia."  David moaned at that reminder.  "He's a good guy but you're going to be bored all evening watching him.  He's not due in the field for another week."  He finished off his lunch and looked at the remains, then at David, who stole it and settled back in to finish up.  "How's your backlog?"

"Not too bad.  I've got two shirts to process and one to do for other substances.  Greg did it earlier for DNA but I've got to check it over for other stuff. He thinks he found a grass stain or something."  He shrugged and dug in for another bite.  "I told him your mother sent dinner."

"No, she said you're coming to raid the fridge for dinner," he reminded him.  "That way she makes sure we all eat, even at midnight."  He shrugged and went back to his paperwork, carrying a bunch of the balled-up forms upstairs to drop off.  He came back down, looking at the desk sergeant.  "Harris doesn't mind being bothered today," he reminded him.

"I know but I remember the blonde from the last time she had been here and he wasn't thrilled to see her.  I take it Miss Summers is a special friend?"

"The blonde's little sister and Xander's by extension.  He's still with David."  The guy looked stunned.  "You hadn't figured that out yet?" he asked dryly.  "Most of us went to his wedding."

"He's gay?  I didn't think he could even *think* about gay stuff.  He's so tough."

Ray snorted.  "Not all gays are the stereotype.  Besides, Xander ended up turning one girl stalker just by being in class with her and one stripper he dated ended up being a serial killer."

"So, CSI Hodges calms him down?"

"A lot.  Really a lot," Ray agreed dryly.  "Next time, page me or call down."  He headed down there, going back to work.  The actor had disappeared and he didn't hear screaming so either Xander had shot him cleanly or he was trying to be respectful at least.  Either way, it wasn't going to bother him until Xander got tired of it and whined at him again.


Xander walked into the house and shut the door, leaning on it.  He looked at his husband, who only raised an eyebrow.  "It wasn't me."

"What wasn't you?"

"There was an officer-involved shooting near the set and I was on the commute home, with Stan in the car with me, and it wasn't me."

"Good!" he said, sounding much happier with that admission.  As long as it hadn't been Xander, they'd be fine.  The phone rang and he decided maybe he had gotten happy too soon.  He answered it. "It wasn't Xander."  He listened to the lieutenant tell him why it was Xander. "He said he had Stan in the car, yell at him to make sure.  But Xander came in and the first words out of his mouth were 'it wasn't me'."  He shrugged at his husband and nodded behind him so Xander moved, letting Greg walk in and drop onto the couch.  "Greg's here.  He probably followed Xander back since it was his night to babysit," he joked.  Xander stuck his tongue out and went to get the dogs to take outside and play.  David hung up and looked at Greg.  "Be thankful you're off.  Peterson just had to shoot someone on the movie set for trying to plant a bomb.  It was the only way to stop him."

"Xander was two cars in front of me and he wasn't there," he noted patiently.

"No, but Welsh thinks he probably should have been.  He thinks Xander has danger- sensing radar or something. He hasn't figured out yet most of those are coincidence.  After all, he sends Xander out into danger and so he captures people."  He headed for the kitchen. "Ray's Ma sent me home with real food."

"Thank you."  Greg heaved himself up and headed back that way, going to stuff himself.  Xander came in a few minutes later with the tired dogs and sat down, looking expectant.  "Not cooking doesn't mean you can't dish up."

David snorted and handed Xander a plate.  "I'd rather have him on that side of the kitchen.  Something might spontaneously combust."  He sat down next to his  husband to eat, getting a hug in reward.  "You did good today."

"I thought so.  I only snapped that once.  Can I wear my special shirt tomorrow?" he pleaded with a goofy grin.

"If you must," David agreed, smiling at him.  "Greg can wear one of his rock t-shirts so you at least look cute together."



Xander got out of his car and made sure he had his bag, heading to the front door of the station.  He saw a few cops look at his shirt and grin but one stepped in front of him looking very serious.  He held up his badge.  "Sir, you still can't wear threatening shirts into the station, and no badge I know has that high of a number."

"Kid, I'm a CSI.  Our badges are special," he said dryly.  He looked him over.  "How long have you been here?"

"Three days."

"I'm CSI Harris."  The guy looked clueless so he looked at the other cops.  "You guys haven't told him about me yet?  I'm shocked and appalled.  I should pout!" he called at them, making them laugh.  He looked at the kid and grinned.  "Do you to take me to the Desk Sergeant or Lieutenant Welsh, kid?"

"I'm not that young!"

Xander grinned.  "I said the same thing when Ray Vecchio started calling me that four years ago.  Come on.  We can go see Welsh so he can explain things to you."  He walked him inside, noticing he was still giving him wary looks and had a hand near his gun.  He waved off the Desk Sergeant.  "He's worried I'm a threat."

"You are, but only to the criminals, usually," he offered.  "Maybe a random building and some nerves now and then, but mostly criminals."  He watched the guy take the new rookie upstairs to be talked to, then burst out laughing.  He called the Shift Supervisor.  "Did no one think to tell the rookies about Harris?  He just walked one upstairs.  I'm guessing the kid got him because of his t-shirt.  No, one I hadn't seen."  He laughed again.  "I have ADHD and a gun. I may forget why I wanted to shoot you but once I'm no longer distracted I'll shoot you anyway," he reported. "He tried to pop CSI Sanders for his 'Atomic Death Maidens Blow Me' shirt.  Shouldn't you include them in the intro lecture?"  He smiled and hung up.  He nodded at Vecchio as he came in.  "We've got rookies, Detective Vecchio.  One's upstairs with CSI Harris.  He apparently thought his t-shirt was a threat."

Ray groaned.  "Welsh can handle it.  I'll see him later.  Who else?"

"Sanders," he said with a grin.  "His Atomic Death t-shirt again."

"Is it a girl?"

"No, he thought it was a threat.  They're both upstairs since Sanders had to brief someone from the DA's office."


"Not her but he's in.  His Mountie entourage isn't in tonight but he was complaining about watching out for Fraser when he comes in later, that he's on a sugar kick and hunting."

"Ooooh," he said with a wince.  "Our actor person?"

"Down there already, sir.  David's showing him around the lab and telling him many Harris horror stories from Las Vegas I imagine."

"At least it'll be realistic if he decides to become Xander," he muttered as he walked up to get some coffee, then head downstairs.  "Harris, shift meeting," he called as he headed back down the stairs.  Greg and Xander both came out and he saw the t-shirt, then smirked at him.  "Cute.  It fits you well.  I'll have to remember to keep distractions and shiny things away from you again."  He sipped his coffee as they passed the desk and headed down to their labs, noticing the smoke. "That had better be car exhaust," he yelled.

"Fried compressor in the morgue," David reported.  "We've already reported it, called someone, and opened windows."

"Good.  Another thing I don't have to deal with."  He sat down.  "Meeting!" he bellowed.

The actor looked at Xander's shirt, then at David, pointing at it. "He can get away with that?  It's not very PC."

"No, but we're extraordinary," David assured him.  "Since we don't deal with real people, just bits and pieces of people, we pretty much get around the dress code.  He's got stuff in his locker in case he's called to testify.  We all do."  Greg moaned and nodded.  "Where were you?  You beat me here."

"Rookie guy hadn't heard of us," Xander said with a grin. "Welsh is kindly explaining to him why I get to wear t-shirts like this and why it's the truth so it's counted as a warning.  Greg's just got a horrified look.  I think he's a bit of a Puritan, honey."

"That's fine.  He won't be bothering us," David reminded him.  "That's the good thing about being down here.  We don't have to deal with nearly anyone if we're not field techs."

"And those of us who double make a better impression on our days in the field," Greg agreed with a grin.  "Where's Daphne?"

"I have a fax from Xander's desk that says she's not coming in, that she's excused today and tomorrow for exhaustion," David said, presenting it to him.  "So, you don't have to go into the field at all, Greg."

"Yay," he said flatly.  He looked at Ray.  "Anything interesting?"

"Ten sperm samples for a college rape case," he offered, looking at the list.  He looked at Xander.  "A new drug dealer wannabe thug for you.  It says here that your days girl left you the girly derringer since you understand those things better than she does."

"Being raised by girls can be like that," he agreed with a grin.  "Does that mean I can watch the curling game tonight because I'll be bored?"

"Quite possibly," Ray sighed.  "David, if you're clear from days, they only listed five cases with samples for you.  Apparently you'll get to cheer on Ottawa with him."  He turned the page.  "Ah, Greg, you've got about ten others too."  He looked at him and held out the list.  "Days went home early apparently."

"Bugger," he muttered.

"You're speaking British?" Xander teased with a bright grin.  "Are you going to join Harry Potter on the Draco and Ron train, Greggie?"

"No, but Welsh told me to quit swearing in the field when he caught me last time and no one in the barrio understands Brit swears.  Therefore I can say bugger and all those things all I want," he said lightly.  He headed for his lab then came back and pulled on Ray's arm, going to show him the state of the lab.  "Call Mortty in, Xan," he called.

"Please," Ray agreed.

Xander pulled out his cell and called.  "Mortty, babe, I *know* you're on vacation, but Greg just had to drag Ray into the lab to see the mess and Daphne had a small breakdown while they were giving her a night alone.  No, she only had ten samples but she left some open and she went to cry on Sarah.  Please?" he begged.  "I'm even wearing a very appropriate t-shirt.  The new rookie boy thought I was threatening people," he offered with a grin.  "Plus I've got a watcher in my lab allllll night.  Please?  We love you, Mortty."  He chuckled.  "Sure, if I'm not busy I'll give you a backrub as long as you don't interrupt my curling match.  Thanks, love.  You too."  He hung up.  "Thirty minutes, Ray!"

"Bless you!" Greg called back.  He came out.  "I'm not touching a thing until she gets here.  I want her to see this.  Ray's taking pictures so he can beat the shit outta the day supe over this again."  He sat down, pouting a bit.  "I'm so gonna be here all night."

Xander kissed him on the cheek.  "We'll save you something in the fridge or get you a sandwich or something."  He grinned at David and kissed him for real.  "All right, everyone know their assignments?"  Everyone groaned and headed to their labs.  "Later, babe.  Get me for lunch."  He headed into his lab, going to check his coat before he put it on then go to do the test fires.  His actor shadow came in to watch him work, frowning at him when he was handed a pair of earmuffs.  "What're these for?"

"Protection.  I've got to do some test fires.  Firing four in the next half-hour!" he shouted.  He prepared and shot the first one.  Then he went to extract it from the jello looking stuff that had trapped it.  He checked on his shadow then got back to work.  A little bit of gunpowder on this t-shirt would only lend veracity to his taunt.

Mortty came in and screamed in rage.  "What happened to my lab!"

"Days," Greg called.  "Ray went to chew someone a new one," he offered, coming back to look over her shoulder, giving her a hug.  "This is really pitiful."

"It is!  I can't even tell what's a sample and what's not!"  She stomped in, looking around.  "Have we taken pictures?"

"Many.  Ray told us to give him ten minutes to drag the guy back here by his short and curlies."  He peeked in on Xander then nodded her over, making her look really confused.  "They wanted him to be Xander-like for his movie.  Xander, Mortty's here!" he called.

Xander came out and gave her a hug, letting her see his shirt, which made her giggle and hug him.  "You're so truthful this time," she cooed, pinching him on the cheek. "Did you see that?"

"I peeked but I was afraid to touch," he offered.  "I'll give you both backrubs if you can clear that up."  She grinned and hugged him again before going to put on her lab coat and get to work finding the samples from the trash that had been left.  Xander went back to his job, coming out once he was all done.  Then he sat down to input, compare, and notate.  Since it only took an hour, he was in front of his curling match with a bag of cheetos fairly quickly.  His actor just gave him an odd look once he saw what curling was.  "It's Canadian," Xander explained, handing him the bag of Cheetos.

"I don't eat anything unhealthy.  My trainer would be really upset with me."  He handed them back. "Thanks anyway."

"You've got to live while you've got time, kid.  It's my wisdom of the week."  He ate another cheeto, looking at Ray as he came in.  "Mortty shrieked.  She's not a happy girl."  The dayshift guy walked in, glaring at him.  "Ray, I'm done."

"I noticed. Did you hand out reports?"

"Huey's not up there, Dewey's off tonight, Welsh took them for them.  Stan's got his stuff from last night that he wasn't here to get and his new one.  Fraser's hunting chocolate bars.  Fair warning."

"I'm sure Stan can cater to that desire," he said smugly.

"Are you all gay?" Quinlin asked Ray.

"No, just happy boy and David, and Detective Kowalski and his two Mounties."

"*Two* Mounties?" he asked, just to make sure.

Xander nodded.  "Yeah, they were fighting over him and that's not the Canadian way.  They're much more sharing.  And hey, Stan looks good surrounded by big, buff guys in red," he noted dryly, eating another cheeto.  He handed the bag to Ray, who took some and glanced at the screen.  "Ottawa's up and I promised back rubs to both of them if they could get the mess cleaned up.  Why did she go home?"

"Migraine.  Nothing like birth or seizures that would mean she *couldn't* clean up," Ray said bitterly.  "I'm sorry for Greg and Mortty, but that's just wrong."

"It is," Xander agreed, grinning at him. Then he turned back to the screen.  "Sweep, bastard, sweep!  Damn!"

Ray looked at the actor, who was looking very confused.  "No one but Canadians and Xander understands curling."

"Nick said he thought it was girls doing their hair," Greg joked from the doorway.  "He's trying to talk Mortty into coming in for day shift.  She's ripping him a new one and I don't want to witness the homicide."

"Sure," Ray agreed.  "Take Quinlin here upstairs and introduce him to Stan.  He'll be going out to break down doors."

"Take my vest," Xander ordered.  "Stan's backup is usually on Rennie these days."  He ate another cheeto and groaned.  "Damn, lost possession too soon."

Greg grinned and nodded Quinlin with him, getting Xander's spare vest and fitting it to him.  "There, that works well enough."  He walked him up the stairs and into the bullpen.  "Stan, he's trying to become Xander.  We think you can temper that back toward the funnier side of crime.  This is Quinlan Jones, Ray said he's followin' you around tonight since Xander's without work."

"Fine," he agreed.

"What's the score on the game?" Fraser asked as he came out of the office.

Greg shrugged.  "I've got a holy mess in the lab.  She left trash, cookie wrappers, all sorts of crap on the table with the samples.  Her boss is trying to talk Mortty into filling in while she's on vacation."

"Ewwwww.  I'm going to deny any knowledge of why Xander will be removing a body later," Stanley decided.  He looked at the actor.  "Quinlan?"  He nodded. "You Canadian?"

"No, sir.  My mother has a sense of humor and a former Uncle."

"Ah."  He nodded.  "My mom's a fan of Brando.  I'm Stanley Raymond Kowalski.  I understand."  The guy snickered and shook his hand.  "Shoo, Greg.  We'll make sure you make it home for breakfast."

"Sure. Thanks."  He headed down the stairs, his good deed for the week done.  One of the field techs trudged in.  "Xander's free and watching curling, but if that's for us, it's low man on the priority list."

"I saw the lab," CSI Tracy told him.  "Mostly for David.  Nothing at all for Xander."  He headed down to hand his bag of stuff to David.  "Rape kit, sorry.  We have a person in custody but she refused to do a swab.  So you're it."

"I'm nearly done with this one," he offered with a small smile.  "Go find Xander something to do?"

"I can't promise," he muttered.  "What's he doing?"

"Eating cheetos and watching curling.  We sent the actor upstairs to hover around Stan."

"Good choice.  Xander and Stan's love child would be an action star."  He grinned and headed back to fill out his notes and hand them in.  "One bag of stuff for David, all clothes. She refused a kit being done," he reported.  "The officer already has a suspect and David's nearly to it."

"That's fine."  Ray signed it and handed it off.  "Nice work.  Go steal Xander and make him do something."

"I can't make up crimes, boss."

"Point.  Nothing cold?"

"Nothing that he hasn't gone through already.  Region One's back in the flow of things, Morgan's not backed up, and his interns won't be here until tomorrow.  Didn't Crissy leave him anything?"

"Four things, but he's done."  He grimaced.  "Did you see the lab?"

"I had," he admitted.  "That's why I called you to come in early."  Ray sighed and nodded, handing him a form to sign.  He read it and signed it, then handed it back. "Should I help?"

"No.  They're in there carefully picking things apart.  At least she sealed the samples, but we're hoping nothing transfers."

"They're good, boss.  Greg's one of the top guys in the country.  He's also a pretty good field tech."  He headed to watch the game with Xander, stealing some of the cheetos.  "Aw, man, Aubachon's screwing up already," he whined a moment later.

Xander nodded.  "Yup, he is."  He ate a cheeto and grinned at him. "Nick thought it was girls doing their hair.  He said he didn't think that could be a competitive sport when we made him watch it with us at a sports bar in Vegas.  I had to point out the bar scene was competitive and yes, they can make that into an arena event.  Just do it in bikinis and guys'll watch it by the truck full."  Tracy laughed, leaning on his shoulder.  He pushed him off with a happy grin. "I thought you'd enjoy that.  We had to drag him kicking and whining in to watch it with us.  Brass thought they'd have to do mall hair to be picked up on the screens to show the details."

"I just had the most horrible image," Tracy laughed.  "All the girls going to a Winger concert circa 1987 participating in the US's hottest new sport.  Mall hair fixin'."  Xander giggled and fell onto his side, clutching the bag of cheetos to his chest.  "Hey!  Share!"  He saw the t-shirt and burst out in another fit of giggles.  "Oh, damn, Xander.  That's so true!"

David came out, looking at them.  He just shook his head and went to get a new bottle of sterile water from the stockpile closet.

Almost two hours into shift, Xander got a page. He looked at his phone, then swore and got up.  "Tell me the score."  He headed to his desk, getting his guns and badge, then his case.  He walked out, pausing in Ray's office.  "Stan just got shot at by some big guy he called a mother-fucking bastard on a rope.  He wanted me to process personally.  I'm off.  Make sure I know the score."  He headed out to his car, going to where the page had told him to.  He got out and sniffed, then looked around.  His gun came out and his case was held in his other hand.  He closed and locked the car's door, pocketing the keys awkwardly.  Nothing was going to get in his way at the moment.  He headed for the warehouse, glancing around before moving inside.  Stan was being held at gunpoint by some guy in a Crypts bandana.  "Oh, just take me away from Curling for this," he complained, pointing his gun at the people coming in.  "CSI Harris, out!"  They backed up at least.  He walked back to where Stan and the actor were, handing the actor his case. "Hold that.  I'll need it to process in a minute."  He looked at the guy holding the gun on Stan.  "Do you really wanna do this with more cops coming?  After all, most of them know better than to leave me at a scene alone since the last serial killer case."  The guy gave him an amused look.  "I'm CSI Harris."  The guy looked even more amused.  "I got called here for a case, man.  Detective Kowalski and the pretty boy following him have nothing to do you with you unless you did it."

"This is our crib."

"That's nice and someone needs to dust, you've got cobwebs," Xander said, pointing at one.  He looked at him.  "We don't care.  Did you do it?"  He shook his head. "Then why would we want you?  We're only here about whatever Stan got called about."

"A shootin'," Stan noted, nodding at the dead guy.  "Then more guys came out and tried it, and we got them, sent them with patrol, then these guys just showed up."  He looked at the guys pointing the Mac 10 at them, then at the guy with the revolver who had gotten them first.  "I don't care who you are.  As far as I'm concerned you're a figment if you didn't do this.  That's all I care about."

"Who was it that got taken away?" he asked.

"Some guys in purple and jean jackets.  They came in after the body had been reported.  One of them said he found it and called it in and his boys started in on him.  They shot at him and us, so we retaliated."  He shrugged and moved closer.  "I don't care what you're doin', but this is a crime scene.  All we want is that.  If we find drugs or guns, we'll have to confiscate 'em, but I don't care.  Shoo and let him do his work before he gets cranky."

Xander popped a piece of gum into his mouth. "I'm not *usually* cranky, Stan."

One of the guys in the back looked at him.  "I know you.  You shot at me once."

"Were you doing stupid shit?"  The guy nodded, grinning a bit. "Then you probably deserved it.  Why was I shooting at you?"

"You said something about real food.  It was years ago.  You said you knew the gangs in LA."

"I did my college in LA and worked in LA.  I partied hard with the Crypts for about three weeks during one of my semesters.  My tutor in Chem 1 was down with them."  He grinned a bit.  "They asked me if I came from farm country."

"Where you from, white boy?" he asked, moving closer.

"Sunnydale.  Three hours outside of LA.  We had a biker gang and a few other notable excursions into town but nothing more serious than a rogue member of the Dragons trying to set up shop.  He got eaten after about two days."

"Eaten?  You had wild animals?" the guy with the gun asked.

"No, we had vampires."  Stan gave him an odd look.  "What?  We did!"  He shrugged. "I'm not going to lie about it."  He pulled off his shirt and pointed at a few marks.  "See, I got bitten too."  The guys just gave him an odd look so he put it back on.  They all looked at the shirt, then at him.  He grinned.  "It's the truth.  Like I said, we're not here for you guys.  Clear out.  Please."

"Fine.  We'll be watching."

"Hey, anything found while we're looking for who did it is fair game," Xander reminded him.  "Find better hiding spots next time."  They snickered at that.  "He one of you or do you know his affiliation?"

"He's a pretty boy, a Ghost Rider," someone in the back called.  "They hustle ...."

"Meth and Justice, yeah, I know," he sighed.  "I know someone dating one.  Shoo, guys.  Let me work.  The sooner I get done, the sooner you guys can come back."  They nodded and most of them left.  He looked at the few remaining.  "You wanted to watch?  Not like I care.  Should he have been here?"

"He was probably here snooping," the guy who recognized him offered.  "Their meth is for personal use, white boy."

"Xander," he said, grinning at him.  "I was raised by girls and I stripped for a bit.  I can dance."

The lead guy put up his gun.  "You're funny, I'll give you that.  You like that pretty boy there?"

Xander looked at the actor, then at him.  "He's here because the movie people thought he needed a better role model.  They picked me."  His phone vibrated and he pulled it out, looking at it.  "Man, Ottawa lost," he complained.  He shook his head and went to start with the body, the reasonable point of starting.  Pictures first, and then moving onto calling the coroner and all that stuff.  It was about ten when he got out of there, and Stan had stayed with the actor to make sure he was safe.  He nodded at the guy.  "So, Quinlan, still think being a cop is fun?"

"No," he said weakly.  "You knew other gang members?"

"Yeah, my Chem 1 tutor took me somewhere called the Graveyard with him one night and I went back my last year a few times."  He opened his car door and put the case and samples in his passenger seat.  He looked at him.  "You get to know a lot about people in this job.  Like the Mac 10s are easy guns.  Quick, fast, but they run out quickly.  Like an Italian temper for stupid anger reasons.  It burns hot and then fades quickly.  Uzis and that whole class are like that.  Now, they're cheap, so that's the other reason you see so many of them.  You find revolvers on either old school sorts or those who didn't plan on it.  People with training who want an infallible weapon or those who're doing something in anger so they picked the cheapest and nearest thing.  You find autos in varying calibers and strengths for the home-anger sort of crimes.  What weapon someone chooses tells you a lot about things.  The guy who was holding you hostage had a revolver.  He either had skills and knowledge or he was being a hothead and picked up whatever he could.  I'm guessing the prior.  He was nearly my age.  That means he's been fighting on the streets, statistically, since his early teens, until he's probably about thirty.  He knew what he was doing.  It would have been a clean kill.  I was more worried about him than his backup.  Yeah, they'd have shot, but they would have aimed for the chest, the easier target.  Spray and pray probably.  The lead guy, he'd have taken you out with careful shots and done it quick."

Stan nodded to back him up. "Yeah, that's about how I saw it too," he admitted.  He nodded politely at the leader.  "We'll tell them if you don't want to."

"That's fine.  Just find out who killed him.  Go boys, it's well past nice boys' bedtimes."

"Not yet," Xander offered with a grin.  "My husband hasn't said a thing about that yet."  The guys burst out laughing and he got into his car, heading back to the station.  On the way he called Rona.  "I know you're dating a Ghost Rider.  We've got what we think is one of them in the morgue.  I need someone to come ID and tell us relatives.  Thanks, Rona."  He hung up and sped up a bit.  This was not the part of town to be caught in after dark.  He parked and got out, watching as Stan came in and parked, letting the actor out so he could walk inside.  He looked at his buddy.  "You okay?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah.  A few life-flashy moments but nothing too bad.  Thanks."  He hit him on the arm and they walked inside together.  Stan even carried his case for him.

David looked up from the main table, taking what was his from the bags.  "What was it?"

"Gang shooting in the wrong spot," Xander said grimly.  "One of the Ghost Riders got shot in Crypt territory in one of their cribs."  He headed back to the lab to look at the bullet evidence he had collected, then came out to get the one from the ME about an hour later.  His shadow was back and he had made sure his vest was back in place.  It was nice of him.  He was paged to come out and meet the person coming in, nodding at him.  "Yo.  Rona send you?"  He nodded.  "Good.  This way."  He led him into the morgue, nodding at the case.  The ME in there nodded and got back to work.  He pulled open the door and pulled out the table partway, letting him see the face of the man in there. "He was found in a Crypt hidey-hole," he said quietly.  "They said he was one of yours and Kowalski said he was met by some guys in purple.  I don't particularly want to be overloaded with another war.  Help me solve this, please," he offered.

The guy looked at him.  "The guys in purple are affiliated with us.  That's Roger.  He rides a tiger-striped bike. Did you see it?"  Xander shook his head.  "Then his killer probably has it as a trophy."

"Possibly.  Any idea who that could be?"  He closed the drawer and the door again, leading him back to the main room to take a statement.  "Got a last name on Roger?  Any family we can contact?"

"We're his family, man."  He looked at him.  "I know you."

He held out his hand.  "CSI Xander Harris," he said simply.  The man smiled it and shook it.  "I work with Rona and you might recognize me from that stuff since you guys sometimes deal with her stuff too."

"Yeah, we do."  He looked him over, grinning at his shirt.  "You'll do well finding him.  I can send you his journal, see if it's in there.  Where was he?"

"A warehouse by the auto yard."  He handed over the address.  "The guys in purple walked out and some Crypts came in."

"He was probably helping the guys there with something.  He was a great one for talking things out," he said sadly.  He wrote down what he knew, then handed it over.  "I'll let you know what I find."

"Please don't turn the streets red.  Let us."

"I agree with that.  We don't need a war in the streets, brother.  Thank you."  He got up and walked out.

Xander walked back into the morgue, going to make a card for the door.  "We've got an ID and his friends will claim his body as his only remaining family," he told the ME.  "He's a Ghost Rider so be gentle with him.  They thought he was helping some people talk things out."

"I'm always gentle, Xander.  Will I see more because of this?"

"He said he'd turn 'em over to me."  He walked out, going to put this into his report and hand it to Ray, then to Stan once Ray signed it.  Stan looked at it, then at him.  "Rona's dating one of them," he admitted.

"Fine."  He put it on his desk.  "Tell me what you find, Xan."

"Of course.  I always tell you what I find, even when it's the week-old piece of chocolate."  He winked and headed downstairs, going back to work.  He popped in on David, who was sending samples over to DNA from the guy's clothes.  David gave him a hug so he was nice enough to carry stuff over there, giving them both very nice shoulder rubs for doing such good work tonight.  He appreciated his coworkers who tried to understand him.


Xander looked up as his lab was invaded the next night, looking at the actor.  "Are you enjoying this or did they actually force you to come be bored again?"

"A bit of both.  They said I'm too hard now."  He grimaced.  "Isn't it your night off?"

"Yeah, but I'm only waiting on a fax from someone.  Then I'm taking David out to a movie.  Sorry, Quinlan.  Go follow Stan around."

"Sure. I even got a vest from our props people.  They assured me it was real."  He let Xander check it and got a nod.  "Thanks, man."  He headed up the stairs, mentally preparing how he was going to change the role just a bit.  These CSI guys weren't the stuffy people he was supposed to have in the movie and Stan wore t-shirts and jeans.  The only detectives he had seen who wore dress clothes were Vecchio and Huey, and one was a supervisor now.  He smiled at Lieutenant Welsh.  "It's Xander's night off."

"I forgot he has one," he admitted.  "What're they doing?"

"Movies.  He's waiting on a fax."  Stan looked at him so he shrugged.  "That's what he said.  He checked the vest I got given too."

"That's good," Stan agreed.  "We've got a suspect for that gang shootin'.  You're wearing sneakers, right?"  The actor nodded.  "Good!  We'll probably be doing some running later."  He got up and found his vest.  "We've got to stop and pick up Dief.  You mind fur?"

"Not a bit.  I have a husky who travels with me."  He followed Stan out, smiling and happy.  This was what he thought real cops were like.  Not the science guys and the nerdly guys downstairs like Greg and David.  Real cops were like Stan.  They chased people down and ran them over with their cars.  He got into the pretty black GTO and buckled up.  Chicago drivers were worse than anywhere he'd ever been, except Paris.

Stan found the guy's house and they sat there, staring at it for a few minutes.  No lights were on inside.  So they'd wait for him to come home.  He saw the garage door open and groaned, reaching for the keys.  He'd either be in a car chase or have to get out.  A zebra striped bike zipped out and he turned over the motor, heading after him, turning on his lights.  "I knew it.  He's a runner.  Had ta happen."  He sped up, running a red light.  He had a siren, he was allowed.  But the guy on the bike would be getting charged with various traffic offenses too if he had his way.

"There's a blockade around the set today on the next corner," Quinlan said, looking at the buildings rushing past.  "Are we going to hit it?"

"Nope.  We'll go around it, he'll go through it.  That's the beauty of a bike."  He swerved around the blockade, mirroring the bike's path.  He sped up to block it off when it came
out the other end of the block, making him turn, which was what Stanley wanted.  He wanted him stuck in a gridlock of traffic.  It was rush hour, things were nasty on the roads in Chicago.  The guy tried to aim for the sidewalk but he was blocked by the people.  He wasn't stupid enough to try to run them over, too many of them probably had guns.  He saw an opening and took it and Stan headed off after him.


David looked around when he heard the siren, wincing and groaning. "Please don't," he told Xander.

"Not unless I have to.  It's my night off."

"Thank you," he said, giving him a kiss.

Someone shot at their car.  Xander got out at that, holding up his badge.  Someone shot at him and he got them.  Then he calmly pulled out his phone and called it in.  "Welsh, someone just tried to shoot my car and me.  No, I got him.  East Third, at the big parking lot near the toystore.  Yup, that's us.  I don't know.  He's still standing but he's clutching his arm and giving me a 'how could you' look.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Chicago PD!"  The guy started to swear so he grabbed his cuffs and walked over there, slamming him into a nearby car.  "What the fuck were you thinking!"

"You're kissing another man!"

"So!  Who died and made you fucking god!" he shouted back.  "Did you see a lightening bolt!  If not, it's fucking well legal and I'm going to make you fucking well pay for shooting at my husband!  No one touches my man!"  A traffic cop pulled up and he spun the guy around once he was finished yelling at him, shoving him at him.  "He shot at my car. He shot at me and David because I was giving him a damn kiss and he'd better be damn lucky that I didn't aim to kill!"

The traffic cop looked at the guy, then pointed at Xander.  "He was worse when he was straight.  His man calmed him down.  Before he turned women into serial killers and stalkers."  The guy groaned.

"That's right, your pitiful little heterosexual mandates were worthless and useless.  They got in my way and they annoyed the fuck outta me.  Why in the hell would I want some *girl* who couldn't keep up with me?"  The guy moaned and allowed himself to be led off.  "Need the car?"

"Yeah, you know that," the officer called back.  "Where are you headed, CSI Harris?"

"Movies.  About three blocks down apparently."  He walked over there and handed the cop his keys, locking everything else in the trunk under his careful gaze.  "It had better still be in there.  Park it in the lot when they're done.  Tracey or someone can drive it back."  The cop nodded and David walked him off, taking him to his treat.  He had been a good boy, mostly, for the last week.  This had been his first mess up.

"I'm proud," David assured him, smiling at him.  "Good boy, Xander."

Xander barked and grinned at him, making him laugh.  "Does that mean I can have belly rubs?" he asked, starting to bounce around a bit.  He felt someone's hand on his pocket.  "Unless you want a ring, I wouldn't play with my ass.  Only people who want it for real get that privilege," he called.  "Put the wallet back!"  It was shoved back in and the kid ran off.  "Thank you!"  He grinned at his man again.  "See, I'm being good."

"You're being very good, if a bit scary," David assured him, leading him off to the movies.

The cop left behind just shook his head, looking at the mugger giving him a horrified look.  "CSI Harris," he said, pointing after them.  "And CSI Hodges.  Aren't they cute?"  The mugger whimpered.  "If you run and go straight, I never saw you.  He won't want the paperwork."  The kid ran off, making him shake his head.  "Less paperwork for me."  His shift supervisor showed up with the CSI in tow and he pointed at back seat.  "The guy didn't like CSI Harris and Hodges kissing so he shot at them.  Harris stood up and showed his badge, the guy shot again, Harris shot back and called.  Then Harris walked over and screamed at his narrow-minded view of the world.  Harris damaged his fragile mental state and the guy confessed while sobbing on me."  He wiped at the wet spot on his shirt.  He looked at his boss, handing over the paperwork, and tossing over the keys.  "His pistol's in the trunk.  He said park it in the lot when you're done with it.  They're at the movies."

"Good.  Xander could use it.  He's been followed around by an actor for the last few days."  They heard a siren and a motorcycle and got out of the way.  The motorcycle slammed into the back of the car, denting it and sending him over the roof.  Field Tech Terrence looked at him, then snickered.  "Even when Harris isn't here, he's helpful."

Stan opened his door.  "Shoot the bastard!  He shot a Ghost Rider and stole his bike!"  He stomped forward, looking at the car.  "Xan's?"  The CSI nodded.  "What happened?"

"Someone's afraid of gay guys kissing in their car.  Shot at 'em."  Stan snorted, shaking his head.  "Basically. Here, pull it off to the side for me, Kowalski.  I'll get the bike."  He nodded, taking the keys to pull the car out of the way of the starting-to-move traffic.  The supervisor got the guy into the back of his car and the actor got to watch a field scene again.

Stan got to call Xander and tell him his car had a new dent.  He got David and heard him start to swear.  "My perp ran the Ghost Rider's bike into the back of the car.  Take a cab tonight.  You've got a good dent.  Have fun at the movies, guys."  He hung up on the swearing, shaking his head at the actor, who was snickering.  "Xan'll calm him down and kiss him stupid.  They'll come back later happier."

"I'm just glad they stopped him before we hit the traffic jam."

"Oh, the guy would've stopped again and then I would've probably shot at him.  He'd have tried to take off running and we'd get a good jog."  He grinned at him.  "Good thing you're in sneakers, huh?"  The actor nodded, looking amazed.  "Vecchio was worse about it.  He used to complain every day that Fraser ruined his suits with stuff.  Armani and ruined totally."
"Was he screaming?"

"At first, but after the sixth one, he just kinda got depressed and sullen."  He shrugged and got to work documenting what happened.


Xander came into work the next day smiling and happy. And of course the Chief and Welsh descended on him.  He looked at them, waving a bit as he put on his coat.  "I was a good boy.  I wasn't anywhere near their scene.  I had nothing to do with the news report either.  David and I were necking in the movies."

Welsh groaned, looking at him.  "What was your idea last night?"

"Not get shot and go to the movies?  He shot at us!  I held up my badge first!"

"I know you did," the Chief agreed patiently.  "You still shot on a crowded street!"

"I was a good boy.  He was shooting at us.  Did you want us to die instead?"

"Of course not," Welsh noted sarcastically.  "But I didn't want you to shoot at someone in the crowded traffic jam in the middle of the city with cameras around either!"

"What cameras?"

"You didn't see the news van covering the wreck?"

"No!  We were blocks back from them.  I couldn't even see the wreck when I got out!"

"Calm down."


"Calm down," David called from his lab, opening the door.  "What camera crew?"

"You didn't see them either?"

"No, and we walked three blocks to the movies and dinner.  There were no camera crews, no news vans, nothing.  By the quality of the picture it looked like a hand-held and it's not like he wanted to.  I'd rather remain unshot for kissing my spouse in my car."

"Calm down," the Chief said more quietly.  "We're not blaming you.  Just that it looked bad."

"So would us having died," Xander said bitterly.  "I'm not risking him or myself.  If someone shoots at me, even without the fucking badge I'm going to fire back."  The Chief backed up at that statement, looking a bit more concerned.  "Nothing and no one threatens me.  I used to hunt those things that did and I'll be damned if I'm going to let it be a stupid human who can't accept his own latent homosexual tendencies and leave well enough alone.  Did you scream at him for a really bad shot across traffic?  He nearly clipped three cars and it could have ricocheted off our car and hit another person or even a pedestrian.  Even without the badge, I wouldn't let that go on.  Even as a civilian I would have tried to stop him before he harmed someone.  That's what good people do.  That's what I signed up for as a ballistics tech, to keep people like that guy off the damn streets."

"Xander, calm down," David said, moving closer.  He made Xander looked at him.  "Calm down.  They don't want me hurt or you hurt.  They're not here to yell about that.  They didn't think you should have done that and gotten caught by the press.  That's all they're saying."

"So!  I wasn't going to let some moron hurt you!"

Ray leaned in, looking at him.  "You did a good job, but next time chase his ass down and nail him in an alley."  Xander looked at him.  "It was a fair cop and the tape did come from an off-duty waitress with a video phone.  She sold it to get some extra pocket cash.  Including you holding up your badge.  The IAD guys already looked at it and sent me an email.  The film showed it."  Xander nodded at that.  "Next time, just chase the idiot and beat his ass in an alley then hand him over."  He looked at the Chief and his boss.  "Considering his past, of course he was going to go after the guy!  The guy was endangering the general public AND David.  I woulda beaten his ass then brought him in sobbing in misery.  Be thankful he only clipped him and then screamed."  He looked at them.  "Meeting.  Xander, how many do you have?"  He pointed at the stack.  "That's fine.  Benny said he can't watch the match tonight either."

"I'm taping it," David promised.  "He can come over tomorrow and watch it with him."  He looked at the chief.   "He's right, right?"

"He is," he agreed.  "I just thought it would have better suited the public good for you to have chased him down."  Xander sat down and rolled up his pantsleg, showing the bruise on it.  "Oowww.  How did you do that?"

"The workout regime you had me start," Xander said bitterly.  "I can't really run."

Welsh coughed.  "That's fine, Xander.  I agree, you should have gotten him.  If you couldn't chase him down I don't mind.  Next time, just be a bit more vocal about shouting your name and Chicago PD, okay?"  Xander nodded.  "Thank you.  That's all we wanted.  We want you to keep protecting David.  David could use it.  People want you and they're not scared to come after you.  We want you to continue to protect David, kid.  Protect him all you want, just learn more *subtlety*.  Sneak off and beat someone instead of shooting 'em."  Xander grimaced.  "I know, you're not a good physical brawler, but I'll excuse some bumps and bruises.  Next time, make 'im run away in fear and chase."

"You can come to gym with me, Xander.  I'll help you work on your physical fighting."

"He's not that bad," David pointed out dryly.  "We've all seen him have to fight."

"Yeah, but that's geared toward bigger and faster things, not puny little mortal things," Ray pointed out.  "He'll misjudge people."  Xander nodded, still glaring at the two heads over his job.  "Good, now come work.  We got to get this meeting done so you don't backlog Crissy.  Her kid's got the sniffles, she was on the phone half the day because she brought the medicine with her so the kid couldn't take extra."

"Yes, sir."  He looked at the others.  "You done?"  They nodded, shaking his hand and leaving.

David kissed him, making Xander relax and look at him.  "Sarcasm, Xander.  Learn sarcasm.  It'll help you instead of you getting angry."

"I don't wanna turn into Cordy."

"Am I ever going to meet her?"

"She's dead, but I guess I could call Her Highness back."  He shrugged. "Up to you."

David gave him another kiss.  "That's okay.  I don't like ghosts."  He walked off, heading back to his lab to calm himself down.  It wasn't often Xander lost his temper but being told to blatantly not protect him was probably the worst thing those two could have done. Xander did not need that.  He'd have enough to do today.  He gathered his notepad and went out to the meeting, sitting in his usual spot.  Xander sat next to him and rested his head on his shoulder, earning a pat and a small smirk, but then got shoved off since they were at work.  "Work now, cuddle later."

"Fine."  He looked at Ray, who shrugged.

"I don't care and most of us already walked in on it earlier.  You okay, kid?"


"You sure?"  He stared Xander down.  "They only wanted it less public."

"Not unless they were speaking a vastly different language."

Ray left it at that.  Welsh could do his own bootlicking to apologize.  It wasn't Ray's job.  Ray's job was to make sure Xander was doing okay on his job.  "How many did you have?"

"Three boxes and eight or nine bullets."

"Good. So, a few hour's work?"  Xander nodded.  "Fine.  After that, have the ME look at your leg.  That bruise looked bad."

"I got hurt on the barbell. It hit me."

"So?   Have him check it anyway."

"It's a bruise, Ray.  I've already iced it and I'm fine.  I walk fine I just can't run."

"So?  Have him check it anyway," he repeated more slowly and clearly.

"Yes, sir," he sighed, slumping down some.

"Thank you.  I need you in top form.  SWAT's got the new bomb tech starting tonight.  I'm not sure she can handle it."

"She can. I saw her training and practice exercises.  She's as good as me but faster with smaller fingers."

"Good!  She's still a girl."

"Who can kick your ass," Xander finished dryly, staring him down.  "She was a Marine, Ray.  She can kick *my* ass."

"Fine.  Still, I want you in top form for the next few days.  Just in case.  Remember, we've still got that movie project here for the next three weeks.  Who knows what'll happen because of that."  He looked at his list again. "David, I've got six things marked.  Any idea what's in your lab?"

"I'm clean," he told him.  "I checked, there's reports on the desk.  The intern was in and did 'em.  I can go back and check if you want."

"Please, just in case.  Your dayshift guy is out most of this week and he's been doing his shift."  David nodded.  "Just a casual glance, a back check."

"Of course.  I trust him, he's good enough."

"That says a lot, but two of them are marked as Stella's and one's Murphy's."  That got a small moan from David.  "So, just in case."

"I'll call him and let him know I'm doing quality review and why," he agreed.

"Thanks.  Mortty, good to have you back on swing shift.  What'cha got tonight?" he asked, looking at her.

"Zilch.  Blotto."  She shrugged. "It wasn't a big day for biting, raping, and DNA cases."

"Good.  Then I want you to clean that lab top to bottom tonight. The dayshift person is now being transferred to Detroit.  They like messy people apparently."  He looked at the list again and the lights went out.  "Ah, good old Chicago and old buildings," he said dryly.
Xander patted his hips down then David's lap, getting a squeak.  He found his phone and pulled it out, flipping it open. "Sorry, I forgot mine."

"Next time, ask!"

"Sorry."  He blew a kiss and called the Desk.  "Yo, it's dark down here.  Is there something we should know?"  He listened.  Then he groaned.  "Do you need Field?"  He nodded with a sigh.  "Thank you Goddess I don't have to go," he noted.  "I'll tell Ray.  How soon?"  He snorted.  "Oh, yeah, with dead bodies, man.  Generator?"  He groaned.  "Fine, I'll look at it once the power comes back on.  I can't do it by flashlight.  Sure.  If I can."  He hung up.  "One of our *beloved* movie crew ran a camera truck chasing the main chase scene into a power pole and knocked it over, trapping one of the cars from the chase scene under it.  It blew the main line, folks.  The radio upstairs said they have no idea and our generator is apparently broken."  He nudged David's arm with his elbow.  "Here.  Your phone."  David took it back and slid it back into his pocket.  "So, Ray, what're we doing tonight?"

"Go get some of the portable field lights.  Did they need field techs?"

"Yeah, but dispatch got 'em already.  Tracey, Terrence, and my favorite bitch Myers.  She's going to chew someone a new one since her kid is home alone and he's a teenager without a tv, computer, MP3 player, or game system."  Ray shuddered, you could hear him do it.  "I can't fix a generator with shadows, Ray.  I've only done it a few times.  I'm not that comfortable with it."

"Fine. Let's see if we can figure out if it's a simple thing, like it's out of gas."  Xander sighed and nodded, getting up and slowly making his way back to his lab and the field case he kept beside the door for easy grabbing.  He came back with his flashlight, heading up the stairs.  "Okay.  Let's just sit here and wait.  Doc!"  The morgues' doors opened.  "The movie crew hit a power line with a camera truck.  It broke over one of the cars in the chase scene.  You know anything about generators?"

"No, but you better start praying.  Remember, we're running on one compressor and barely keeping cold enough."

"Why me," Ray whined, putting his head down.  "Fine.  Go get some ice from wherever.  Improvise and call Benny ta help if you must."

"Thanks, Ray."  He went to call Benny from Ray's office since he had him on his cellphone and it was blinking in there.  "Ray, he already called. He said power's out over there and they're stuck guarding the jewelry exhibit that's being transferred to the museum tomorrow from that nice Canadian matriarch."

"Oh, dam."  Ray stumbled his way up the steps.  "Perkins," he called from the door.  "Send at least one unit to the Consulate.  They've got a stash of jewels tonight being transferred out.  They're without power too."

"Yes, Detective.  Any luck on the generator?"

"Xander went to check."

"Thanks."  He went to call dispatch from his cellphone.  Fortunately that routed through another precinct.

Ray stumbled further out.  "Where is the generator?  Xander?"  A flashlight's beam appeared so he followed it, finding him and the generator in a closet.  "Any idea what's wrong?"

"No gas, but it was hooked up to the wrong line.  It was actually hooked into the power line to charge the battery, which blew up.  Also, it's ancient and it's shedding rust," he said, focusing the beam on the ground.  Then on Ray's face.  "I'm good but I'm not God, Ray."

"Sure, kid, at least you looked.  Thanks for that.  Head down, I'm going up."  Xander nodded and headed out so Ray made his way to the door upstairs, which was, of course, electronically locked and had sealed as a safety measure when the power went off.  Just like the cells did.  He patted himself until he found his pocket knife, jimmying the door once again.  He carefully found a wall and a handrail, walking up the stairs.  He came out up there and walked back to where he could see faint light.  "Welsh," he called from the doorway.  He came out of his office, which had candles.  "Good.  The generator's crap and its battery blew.  I had Xander look at it.  Maybe a car guy like Kowalski could fix it, but it's shedding rust."  He walked over there, following him into his office and shutting the door.  "You broke Xander.  Did you have to do that?"

"All I wanted was for him to be a bit more careful who saw him pulling stunts like that," he defended.  "The Chief thought there had to be a better way."

"Yeah, sure.  In a car, in a traffic jam, with no vests, someone shooting at your car because you're a sitting duck.  He's damn lucky the guy didn't come closer and try again or try to hit him when he got out."  Welsh groaned at that, rubbing his stomach and forehead.  "You broke the guy.  He was openly asking for affection at the meeting by trying ta snuggle.  Do you mind not hurting my people?  Especially the fragile ones?  Xander's got enough on his plate without this shit.  It's bad enough the Chief's decided he's the spout that all the bad rain comes out of in this city and made him even take a different way to and from work to go around the site.  Then he gets blamed for a suspect running toward them.  After that someone gets hurt there and they blame him in the press because he wasn't lurking.  He don't need your crap on top of it."

"I know.  I'm sorry."

"Now.  You told the kid not to protect his mate.  If it was your wife and you, you'd have gotten out and killed the guy, the same as I would have with my ex. The same as Kowalski would for the Mounties.  You knew it when ya said it.  You hurt him.  I'm not losing Xander because the Chief is having a paranoid day because it's nearing election and he'll lose his spot if someone else is elected.  He should be damn glad neither of them was hurt.  How would that have looked?"  Welsh looked up and nodded.  "I'd apologize personally.  I'm not gonna do it for you.  It's your own foot in your mouth.  The Chief can blow Kowalski too for all I care.  If that's my lab, you let me handle my people.  No matter how bad they are, they're mine."

"Fine.  I'm sorry.  Tell him I'm sorry."

"That's not in my job description.  I'm not your secretary."  Welsh sighed and nodded.  "I'd do it soon though."  He walked out, going back down the stairs just as carefully.  He slammed the door and looked at the desk sergeant, who had a small lantern next to him.  "Anything for us, call down on the cells.  You should have the number somewhere."

"I've already pulled them, detective.  Is Harris all right?  He just walked out."

"Yeah, he's fine.  Did he drive off?"

"No, he's just outside.  I was wondering if he was maybe a bit claustrophobic?"

"Not that I know of but I've never been trapped in a safe with him."  He walked that way, noticing it was lighter outside as he sat down next to the boy.  "He's sure he's an idiot."  Xander looked at him.  "If it had been me and my ex, I'd have shot the bastard right there and then cuffed him once he was dead."

Xander sighed and nodded. "I know.  I was aiming to graze so I wouldn't have to write a report about that and face a review panel."  He slumped forward, leaning on his knees.  "I'm sorry, Ray, but I'm going to protect David."

"The same as I do and Welsh would with his wife," he agreed.  "Your anger was reasonable.  It's election time and the Chief is worried that the mayor'll look bad so he won't get elected and he'll lose his spot."  Xander snorted.  "Yeah, the politics at the station."  He pulled Xander closer, letting him lean on him.  "You better now?"

"No.  I still ache.  I just hit a wall.  David thought it was something like that.  He's so *good* at that politics stuff and I could care less. I guess that's one of the quirks that irks him too."

"Maybe, but then again he's got to think of his career at his age.  You should think about it."

"I've got what I want."

"Good. I'm glad ta hear it," Ray said more lightly.  "What else does David want?"

"I don't know."  He shrugged and rested his head on Ray's shoulder.  "I have no idea about this stuff.  I missed career ambition and politics classes in high school from slaying.  It was probably covered in first period or home room and I barely made those."

Ray snorted. "You do okay, kid.  Usually you stay out of it.  That's always been the best policy as far as I'm concerned.  I hate playing politics.  It wrecks careers and makes people look at cha funny."  He patted him on the back.  "Sit up, your brain weighs more than I do."  Xander snorted but he did sit back up again.  "You are smart."

"No I'm not."

"Yeah, you are."

"No.  I'm not, Ray.  I've got a good feel for my area.  Every now and then I hit a flash of brilliance on a case but otherwise it's not smarts. I had tutors through most of my schooling.  I hated school.  I still hate school."

"You don't have to go back."

"I should.  It'll mean a higher pay grade."

"Do you need it?"

"No, but David probably wants it for me."

"You could try asking me," David said from behind them, leaning on the closed door.  Ray looked back at him so he sat on Xander's other side.  "Do you want it?"  Xander shook his head, leaning on his shoulder now.  David put an arm around him.  "Then don't get it.  Yeah, I have ambition. You've always known that.  Some year, I want to be the second-in- command of the lab."

"You can have mine," Xander promised. "I don't want it."

"It's good for you to take on some responsibility, Xander."

Xander looked at him.  "I have a husband, a house, and a dog.  Isn't that enough?"  David kissed him on the forehead.  "Fine.  You can still have it if you want it.  It's not making me happy to do the extra paperwork."

"I feel that's a title you earn, Xander, and I don't feel that Mort thought I had," he explained.  He entwined their fingers, all he usually allowed them at work. "Mort thought you had a better grasp of the job so he gave it to you over everyone else.  Personally I think most of it could be done by a secretary."  He gave the hand in his a squeeze.  "Now, what's wrong?  This isn't about the ambition stuff or even Welsh and the Chief being assholes."

"Remember when we used to have fun?" Xander asked, sitting up to look at him.  "Back in Vegas we used to go out.  Last year we went out.  We don't go out and do things anymore.  I like staying at home but I'm starting to feel like I'm an invalid or I'm a horrible creature or something.  The more I feel like that, the more I react to the little things."

"The more the anger grows and the worse things become around here," David finished.  Xander nodded, putting his head back down.  David used his free hand to brush through his hair.  "You haven't even managed a haircut recently, Xan."  He looked at Ray.  "Can't you hire a swing shift person?  Crissy needs less hours too, Ray.  Xander's already done ten hours of overtime this week and it's only Wednesday and it's not like he's backed up or anything critical came in."

"I wish I could but we're in a hiring freeze."

"It's only going to get worse," Xander said quietly. "Morgan wants to take that Federal job Ford was backgrounding her for.  Prestons isn't even up to his in-school internship yet. They might count all his hours in Region Three, but we won't have anyone over there.  We'll have more interns to train and things'll start going wrong again because I'll start to get backed up between them and the flood from Region Three.  Region One only has one ballistics tech anyway."

David groaned. "No.  No more eighteen hour days.  You're already working six eight or ten hour shifts a week, Xander.  No more."  He looked at Ray.  "Really, no more, Ray."

"I'll see what I can do.  The Chief suggested the interns."

"Interns have to be watched, monitored, and checked after.  They make more work, not less," David told him.  "Besides, all we're getting are in-school interns.  Those take hand holding because they've never done more than a few practical exercises in the labs."

"My last one didn't know how to fire a gun," Xander said bitterly.

"You've got to get a swing and someone for Morgan to fill her spot until Prestons is graduated and through his internship."

"I wouldn't mind putting a *good* intern on swing," Xander admitted.  "We could use Prestons on swing; he's had a lot of experience thanks to helping Morgan all the time.  It wouldn't be that hard to follow behind him and do quality control once a week or so. Even every other day if we had to."  He sat up and let David's hand go.  "Ray, I want a life again.  I don't need to work eighty hours a week.  I'm not that driven.  I was more than happy to be a simple lab tech working forty or fifty hours a week.  That's all I want."

"We're worried about the budget so the city put up a hiring freeze," Ray reminded him again.  "You were at the meeting and reminded them that the PD had a lot of spots we needed to fill desperately.  They didn't seem to care until their houses got hit."

"Then either they're going to have to start waiting for results or they're going to have to start hiring again," Xander said simply.  "From now on, I work my shift.  My shift is six to two five days a week."

David nodded.  "I agree, Ray.  Even I'm working longer hours than I should.  I don't mind doing the occasional sixty hours a week but I'm tired.  I haven't even gotten to play with our dog recently."

Xander stood up.  "I'm going home.  I can't do anything and I'm cutting back my field hours to two cases a month.  Period."  Ray looked up and nodded.  "Can I?"

"Go," he agreed.  Xander headed off, going to his car and heading home.  He looked at David.  "I agree," he noted. "It's not my decision though."

David pulled out Xander's phone and handed it over.  "Welsh is on speed dial and so is the Chief's office so he could update him about the serial killer case last year."

Ray looked in the phonebook and found the number, hitting 'send'.  He listened to the grumpy greeting.  "Oh, get over it.  We're in the dark too at the twenty-seventh.  Is he in?"  He waited while she transferred him.  "Chief, Vecchio.  Yeah, I'm about to have a revolt.  No, my techs are working overtime for no reason. While that's nice, Xander's doing sixty- plus hour weeks.  He's working six days a week for no reason.  No, you can't.  I asked him about that.  They've got to be monitored and paperwork has to be filled out on them.  Even Prestons, sir.  He's not even graduated so they'd have to file more paperwork on him.  When Morgan leaves next month, it's going to be a wreck.  Prestons may be qualified but he doesn't have the degree yet.  That means that the FBI can cut him out of the database and demand we route everything to Xander.  No, he's not.  I don't care, Chief.  I'm not stressing my best guys out like that.  Xander's working six days a week.

"No, Chief, you did it for the advancement and the higher badge.  Xander didn't even want the badge.  He wants to be a lab tech.  That's it.  Lab techs, by definition of the PD, work straight 40 hours a week shifts.  Nothing more.  Yay, I reminded him of that.  He hasn't even been able to pet his dog.  Listen, Brad.  Do I care?" he asked impatiently.  "Yay.  Xander's a *lab* tech.  He's doing more than his fair share.  Region One's only got one ballistics tech.  Our day tech is about to have to cut back because she's got a really sick kid about to start an experimental treatment for asthma next week.  We need a swing shift.  Morgan needs a replacement.  Region One's fine.  They don't get gun crimes.  We get gun crimes.  No, once Prestons graduates Xander said he could have swing here, that way he'd only have to do quality control on him but guess what... you can't do that until he's in his post-school internship, which means he gets paid. Well, overtime would be cut if you'd give us better staffing, Chief. So?  Xander doesn't need the money.  He and David make plenty but even David's complained about the hours.  DNA has a swing with Mortty and you're not removing her.  We need a swing ballistics and we need a swing Trace."

"My intern's about to graduate and I'll trust him to work swing so he covers with both of us and the gap," David offered.  "That way I can check over his shoulder, do that paperwork and all that stuff.  He's good enough to do that with.  Prestons is good enough to do that with once he graduates."

"Did ya hear that?" Ray demanded. "No.  Xander went into his internship more than trained enough.  He's a unique case.  There's a special folder in Heaven marked 'Xander' that's just a definition of the guy.  Which would they hate more?  Paying time and a half or paying people to do the work so they don't have overtime except in extreme circumstances.  Oh, yeah, we will.  Vegas wants him back.  Their new sheriff sent him flowers and an offer of dayshift ballistics with David on dayshift Trace if they'd come back.  How much more salary, Dave?"

"They offered me about ten grand more a year," he said honestly.  "I'm satisfied with my salary, Ray.  I love you and your family.  I like Chicago.  I might miss some of the people in Vegas, but I feel more comfortable here and more relaxed here.  There I was pushing for the higher levels.  Here I'm not.  I agree with Xander.  I'm happy being a lab tech until I get chosen as lab second or lab head.  I don't expect that for at least five more years."  He shrugged.  "All we want are reasonable hours.  Me, Xander, Greg, who was promised a four day schedule so he could do his Ph.D. and isn't getting it.  Fingerprints has had to work overtime for the last two weeks straight and he's newly married.  AV is working overtime because her dayshift and Computer's dayshift are out on their honeymoons together.  I might love this department, but ten extra grand a year and steady shifts with no overtime is starting to look really good to me.  We'd try to bring Greg back with us."

Ray listened.  "No.  Morgan's going to need replaced, Chief.  Because Prestons is still in school.  Well, if you could clone Xander, we need three of 'em.  Yeah, and think about his anger recently.  When did that start, Brad?  Ya think maybe it was when he stopped being able to sleep beside his husband at night because they're working too hard?  That's what broke up your marriage.  It's part of what did it to mine.  They're happy and they're lab techs.  There's no reason they should be doing sixty a week.  There's no reason for them to be so tired that they can't play with their dog or why Xander had to go home to play with the dog because he forgot to feed her.  No, we're in the dark," he said, looking back at the building.  He opened the door and saw a light.  "Maybe we're getting them soon."  The lights went back off and someone swore. "Apparently we had it for a few minutes and they're back out.  Well, the lab runs on computers, boss.  What did you want them to do?"  He rolled his eyes and held his head.  "Listen, Brad.  If you want me over this lab, then listen to my ass.  I don't care if the city council is complaining about the overtime.  Remind them *why* they're paying overtime, because there's not enough people for the job.  That's also leading to higher absenteeism and sick days being taken.  I'd rather not see anyone having a stroke on the shift like Xander nearly did when he faced off with you about the badge.  Yeah, he nearly did.  His blood pressure was up at three-hundred over one-ninety."

"Three-oh-two," David corrected.

"Sorry, three-oh-two," Ray told him.  "No, David's sitting right here with me.  Good, then have him do something *good* for the city and fight the hiring freeze for the good of the budget.  Paying for the extra people will save on the overtime, which is more expensive.  And?" he snorted.  "I'll tell him myself if I have to.  No, you can't use someone not graduated.  Because they can't give expert testimony and it calls doubt into the cases, Chief.  Call the DA if you don't believe me."  He hung up and handed the phone back. "Moron."

"I think the local signal tower's in City Hall personally," David said as he put the phone into his pocket.  He looked inside.  They almost had lights, they were flickering now.  "Is that the generator?" he called.

"Yeah, Kowalski got it going.  It'll be enough to run the freezers and the radios, plus some recharging stations, no lab equipment, CSI Hodges," the desk sergeant called.  "As ordered by Welsh."

"Thanks.  Tell him Xander went home with a headache."  He closed the door again, looking at Ray.  Then he called Region Three, something he had been avoiding.  "Morgan, David.  No, Xander's got a headache.  Hmm, let's see.  Six days a week, eight hour shifts.....  And they don't want to replace you when you go Fed."  He listened to her swear.  "Ray tried to tell the Chief that, Morgan.  We need a swing person too.  Xan said Prestons was more than welcome to swing if it was open when he graduated.  He's had more than enough experience to only have quality control every few days or once a week.  No, we need a swing to cover our gap since Crissy's kid is going to be starting some experimental treatment.  You're leaving and leaving only an in-school intern.  You might have him check to make sure he can count this."

He grinned.  "I thought you had but just making sure.  No, he's about to give up and head back to Vegas.  Forty hour shifts together and ten grand more a year.  Region One has one ballistics tech.  I've got an intern about to graduate who's good enough for me to say he can work swing and be looked over that way. Morgan, Xander swore at the Chief and Welsh earlier when they told him not to protect me," he said honestly.  "He went home with a headache. We're working odd shifts and I'm doing fifty, he's doing sixty again.  Greg's doing nearly seventy at the moment.  We're tired."  He grinned.  "That's what I thought.  The hiring freeze.  Someone's got to get through to that man.  He thinks he can leave Prestons there without support and guidance.  Ray tried, Morgan.  Ten minutes of trying.

"No, Xander wants to be a lab tech.  He doesn't want to go higher. He's fighting at the second's paperwork now and then.  I want it some day but not until I've earned it. No, truthfully, a secretary could do it," he admitted.  "I'm the ambitious one.  I want to head the lab some day.  Xander wants to be a lab tech and be a happy guy.  I'm going to have to stick up for that."  He relaxed and grinned.  "Yeah.  You need to point out the truths why, Morgan.  Ray tried but it wasn't enough.  Thanks, dear.  Yeah, you too.  No, leave Xander alone.  He's probably asleep on the couch with the dog or out in the backyard playing since he hasn't been able to play recently.  Ten minutes on Sunday between naps isn't enough.  Nope.  Too many hours.  Thanks, love.  Bye."  He hung up.

"She gonna yell at him?"

"At the top of her lungs.  Even Prestons said he wasn't ready to be left alone in the lab, but he did appreciate that Xander wanted him as swing person and that he would be qualified enough to lord over the lab on his own at that point."  He yawned.  "I agree. I need a nap."  The air conditioner next to them went on.  "There goes that idea."  The lights all suddenly went off, even the emergency lights.  David sat up, looking around.  "That was magic."

"It was?"

"Didn't you get that stomach tingling feeling?"

"No," Ray admitted.

"I did.  That was magic."  He called the house.  "Tell me that wasn't you," he begged.  He relaxed.  "Thank you, Xander.  No, just making sure.  No, I got the stomach tingles again, like whenever you do the banishings.  Sure.  Thanks.  No, go back to your nap. Play with Sarah and Nick later, babe."  He hung up and looked at Ray.  "It wasn't him.  Someone should check on the embassy and other high risk targets."

Ray heaved himself up and opened the door again.  "Call the guys on the embassy, see if they're getting a problem."

"I just tried, they're out of the car," the desk guy said.  "I sent another unit to help.  What's over there?"

"Some Canadian matriarch of an old family sent some of her jewelry down here to be shown at some jewelry exhibit.  They shipped it through the embassy for safety."

"It's going into the Natural History, in the geological exhibit," David said as he stood up.   He heard Stan swearing.  "Stan, I felt Xander and Willow stuff," he called.  "Wait ten minutes and try again."

"You sure?"

"That stomach tingling thing happened."

"Fine.  Thanks, David.  Where is Xander?"

"Home.  Napping with the dog on the couch."  He looked at Ray.  "I'll gladly move to an overnight schedule.  So will Xander," he said quietly.  "So will Greg.  That means Morty can take a later swing and the DNA person, should they hire one again, can fix her hours so Morty comes in on our old shift.  Ten to six?"  Ray nodded.  "Crissy comes in at eight. That leaves you with a good swing shift in between if she stops at four for the kids like she wants.  When do you want us to start it?"

"Tomorrow's fine, or the day after," Ray said with a shrug.  "It'll make more sense.  Tell Xander he's not allowed to come in as a vampire and give that as a reason for the switch."

"Yes, sir."  He looked inside, then at him.  "Permission to scram and have you call me back if they come back on? I've got a hot man stud at home napping innocently."

Ray smirked.  "Shoo.  Go home."  David ran for his car, then had to make his way back inside to get his car keys, then he ran for the car again.  Ray shook his head.  "Those two," he said as he walked inside.  He headed up the stairs, going up to bother Welsh some more.  He leaned in his office door.  "I'm rearranging the hours.  You either get me a swing DNA, Trace, and Ballistics or else we're all screwed and remember, Morgan's leaving next month so they'll need to replace her too.  Xander's already home, David went to baby the poor dear. By the way, Xander's going to be working *forty* hours a week, not sixty, not seventy, and sure as hell no more six day weeks. And I need an assistant to take over the excess paperwork or else you'll get more paper balls to read."  He slammed the door and headed downstairs to his office.  At least his cellphone had some games and it had a backlight.  Plus he had the field lights to set up down there if they needed 'em.


The next night Xander walked inside, looking at the snickering people standing around.  "What?" he asked, smiling a bit.  He headed inside and past the desk sergeant, heading down to the labs.  He heard the laughter and smiled sweetly at Stan as they passed on the stairs.

Stan stopped and looked at the t-shirt the kid was wearing, then he shook his head.  As long as Rennie didn't get one of those he'd be sane.  Though he did wonder about Xander's ears. He was still standing there when Ray came in so he stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "Is tonight Dave's night off?"  Ray nodded.  "Okay, that explains a lot."  He walked off shaking his head quickly to get rid of that image.

Ray looked at him.  "I saw the laughs. Who?"

"Guess," Stan called back.

"Xander," he sighed.  He walked through the bottom door and heard Mortty giggling madly at something so he headed back to DNA, looking at Xander's shirt first.  That was the usual cause.  "The sexiest elf since Legolas," he read.  He opened his mouth and Mortty moved the dark hair, showing off ear tips the younger guy was wearing.  "Uh-huh," he decided, going back to his office to take a tums.  He found a boxed DVD set in there and looked at it.  "The Lord of the Rings?" he muttered.  Well, he didn't have anything else to do tonight.  He popped the first one in and found out why Xander's t-shirt said that.  It was cute he decided.  He got up when the door opened, finding CSI Tracy there with the mayor.  "Hola.  Watch out for Xander.  It's a t-shirt night."

Tracy nodded, understanding that warning very well. "Is Greg in?"

"Nope.  He and David have tonight off.  Oh, Mayor, did Welsh send up orders that we need people for the staff again?"

"You can't make due?"

"Sure.  I can also watch my staff die of strokes and quit due to stress and then you're going to be paying more to get decent people in.  After all, our reputations are what gets us quality officers," he noted dryly.  "Tracy, Morgan's retiring next month."

"I heard," he cooed, grinning back.  "Lucky lady, going Fed!"  He headed down the hall.  "I found the Mayor wandering around looking confused upstairs and brought him home, Ma," he called as he walked.

"Shoot and I didn't even bring Sarah in tonight to play with the new stray," Xander called back.

"I'm not changing out of my mega-bitch t-shirt," Mortty called.  "Or my collar and tie."

"We wouldn't wanna change you anyway," Ray called back.  He looked at the mayor, who only whimpered.  "They're night shift, they're allowed to be total morons and fuckups with bad personalities, but they're good folk," he noted dryly.  "Even if Mortty is wearing a dog leash tonight for some reason."  He shrugged.  "I like my screwballs, sue me."

The mayor swallowed.  "This plan, it would ...hide these people?"

"Mortty would be swing unless Greg truly wanted to stay in the field.  Then we'd let Mortty be our night DNA tech.  We'd be ten ta six, five days a week. We'd stagger shifts to keep weekends covered.   Days would get Saturdays, mine would get Sundays, that means we'd be off Friday and Saturday instead. Swing would work Monday through Friday, so we'd be covered during the heavier days.  Namely Monday and Tuesday.  But we need a swing DNA, Ballistics, Trace, and Morgan's going to need replaced.  AV, Computers, and Fingerprints can stay with a single shift."

"What about her helper?"

"He hasn't graduated yet and Xander said he's good enough to work swing under him and Crissy when he does finally graduate, but that's about a year and a half from now I think.  Interns take more time and pressure to teach. You've got to handhold, fill out paperwork and reports, get them ready to handle a lab on their own, things like that.  You can't leave an intern on a shift by themselves, usually, but David and Xander both said Prestons and David's interns are good enough already to do that with if we have to once they graduate.  David's graduates this year."

"Can you wait until Prestons graduates?"

Ray shook his head.  "Nope.  You can't leave Region Three uncovered like that."

"What if we move all the centers together?"

"Then field techs can't get to a location soon enough and they do some of the investigative work themselves.  They're in the labs almost as much as the real lab techs are.  Besides, the PD itself needs at least a hundred more officers.  We're slow reacting to crimes since we're backed up.  That lowers your approval rating."

"True.  The budget is still very fragile."

"You hate paying overtime.  Which is worse?"

"Paying people to do nothing."

"Only a few days a month and those days, Ballistics and Trace are more than welcome to go home.  They've already agreed to it now and then if we run into a long dry spell, but I doubt it'll happen.  Xander helped stop the last gang war from starting by helping find who killed one of the Ghost Riders."

The mayor sighed and nodded.  "I see the necessity, Detective Vecchio.  What about your center, did you need anything else?"

"A secretary.  Xander's been working too hard to fulfill his second's duties.  He's doing sixty and seventy hour weeks for no reason, just because we need someone to cover the shift."

"You can't work out an on-call?"

"No," Ray told him.  "I can't. That's not fair to him and there's almost always stuff leftover from the shift before."

"Fine," he decided.  "I understand the necessity.  I'll talk with the council tonight before the meeting to see what we can work out.  You think only a hundred officers?"

"I think it'd help," Ray told him.  "That's at least a patrol unit per precinct. We've got cars idle at the moment.  The union guys are screaming about how we're being stretched.  You guys are paying more overtime than any other time, beside when you initiated the mandatory retirement clause and only replaced half the people.  This is the others that we needed replaced from that and you promised it'd be handled by last year."  Xander came out and he grimaced at him.  "No work?"

"No, plenty of work. I need to wait for the AV tech.  My computer just crashed.  Again."

"Is it a problem that's going to cost us something?" the mayor asked hesitantly.

"No. It's more he needs to take the thing apart again and fix a loose wire and blow out dust.  Routine maintenance.  Our tech does it since the computer techs for the PD take so long to respond to whining.  We leave it to the last minute possible."

"I understand about that.  I didn't realize you had pointy ears."  Xander opened his lab coat, making him laugh.  "Do your coworkers mind?"

"No.  They know me."  He grinned at him.  "My husband's off tonight.  I get to be playful."

The mayor nodded.  "That's fine, CSI Harris.  Can you call CSI Sanders?  Does he want to be a lab tech or a field tech?"

"He wants to be a field tech but he's supposed to be on a four-day schedule because he's trying to get his Ph. D.  He doesn't manage it," he offered dryly.  "Then again, I don't manage forty hours a week either.  You can tell them I'm this way due to the stress and am about to have a breakdown because I don't have the time or energy to cuddle my husband and play with my dog."

The mayor smiled.  "I'll use that as an argument."  The door behind him opened and someone came in with a box, looking very grim.  "Yours, CSI Harris?"

He looked at it and nodded.  "Yeah, unfortunately."  He looked at the SWAT guy.  "Do I need to come take weapons to test for a review board?"

"Yeah, and two of them are first timers," he said simply.

Xander nodded.  "Sure.  Ray, put that in my lab.  I'll be back."  He headed up after him, going to find those two officers.  He nodded at the head guy, who grimaced and pointed.  Xander headed that way, noticing one guy hissed and winced.  "It's not a big deal," he said quietly.  "It's mandatory."

"How can it not be a big deal, I killed someone!" one of the guys yelled.

Xander caught his arms, pinning them at his sides, looking at him.  "So have I.  So have a lot of us here," he said quietly.  "It's a brotherhood.  You talk to us and we help you through this.  No one here is going to make fun of you or hurt you more."

"I hesitated.  Someone died," he said miserably, staring at him.

Xander nodded.  "Been there, done that," he told him, giving him a hug.  The guy started to sniffle and he patted him on the back.  "If there's ever a time to cry, it's after things like this," he said quietly, moving them to a table and sitting down so he could talk to the guy.  "Do you know me?"  He shook his head. "I'm Harris."

"You're here for my gun?" he asked miserably.

"I'm here for all your weapons so you don't use them on yourself tonight," he said quietly.  The guy nodded.  "But I'm also here to talk to.  My first day here, while I was interviewing, I had to shoot people on Racine.  I've had to shoot others.  Most of the guys here had military service and some of them saw combat.  Most everyone in this room has had to fire, and almost all of us hesitated at some point or another.  I know Philips, that guy over there," he said, pointing at one guy, "had to shoot a little kid holding a gun on a store clerk last year."  The guy nodded when the new guy looked.  "So *talk* to us.  We have counselors, you have me if you need me after shift, and you've got your brothers up here.  SWAT is close for that reason. You guys have to do shit that no one else on the force has to," he said quietly.  The guy nodded and emptied out his gun, handing it over.  "I meant all of them.  A lot of guys reach for their knives, their backups, or a bottle to get over this.  We don't want to lose you to any of them."  The guy nodded and handed over everything, even his pocket knife.  "Good man.  Now."  He wrote down a name and held it up.  "This guy is one of the PD counselors.  He's good.  He even understands me and I've seen more death than you guys could ever dream of seeing."

"Were you in a gang?"

Xander smiled.  "No, honey, I'm originally from Sunnydale, California.  I'm from three hours outside LA.  My town had a fifty percent death rate per year and a seventy percent death and disappearance rate for my school years."  The guy shivered.  "Then we had a massive earthquake that ate the town."  The guy nodded.  "So, this guy understands me.  I've seen and helped find serial killers.  I dated a serial killer and he understands me.  He's seen combat as well.  If you can't find one of your brothers here or me, find him."  The guy nodded.  "I'm down in the basement if you need ta talk."

"I will.  Thanks, Harris."

"Hey, this is a brotherhood and I'm on call for SWAT for demolitions and construction stuff."  The guy nodded, wiping his face off and heading off to the bathroom.  He looked at the other guy he didn't know, who quickly shook his head and pointed at one guy he did.  "Hey."  The guy sighed and emptied everything into a baggie, handing it over.  Xander grinned as he took it.  "Thanks.  Need a hug?"

"No.  I'm good without a hug.  I might get gay boy cooties."

Xander grinned.  "David's off tonight.  So's Greg.  So it's just me and Mortty.  So if you need ta talk, I'm down there."

"Of course.  Thanks, Xander."

"Not a problem."  He gathered up the other stuff, stuffing them into his coat pockets.  "The rifle was from...."

"The other sniper," the boss said.

"Gotcha.  I'll test it first.  I'll lock theirs into the safe.  Have them come get it before their next shift."

"Thanks."  He picked up something and handed it over with a slight grin.  "What's the t- shirt say?"  Xander opened his lab coat and showed him, making him laugh.  "I wondered about the elf ears."  The new guy looked and cracked a smile.  "Harris is just like that," he shared once Xander was gone.  "He's a nut and a half, but he's a good guy.  Half the time he handles things so the detectives don't have to and we don't have to.  He's gone on raids with us before.  That guy's seen some shit."  The guy nodded, smiling a bit more.  "Now, let's get you and Rivers home.  And no protest."

"Yes, sir."  He pocketed the guy's name and number, heading to get his jacket from his locker.

One of the older guys stopped their boss.  "Have you realized we haven't had a post- shooting suicide in this precinct and among us since Harris started?" he asked quietly.

"I had and I'm praying it stays that way," he assured him.  "Even if God doesn't like him because he's gay, he's gotta like him for keeping you guys sane."  He patted him on the arm.  "Hold down the fort, I'm gonna drive 'em home."  He headed after his guys, taking them home so they couldn't drive out later and get into wrecks while they were thinking too hard.


Xander came in and flopped down beside David, looking from him to Greg, and back.

"I didn't see elf ears, did I?" David asked, staring his mate down.

"The mayor liked 'em," he said with a grin.  "We're switching shifts.  All CSI have a meeting tomorrow to figure out the new shifts.  We've had three people sitting in the hiring board now for a few months.  They're going to contact them immediately.  David, your intern is getting Swing."  He looked at Greg.  "You're getting field, four days a week."

Greg squealed and hugged him.  "I love you, man, and I mean that totally platonically and all that.  Why the change of heart?"

"They added up the overtime they're paying this month," Xander said dryly.  "It's going to break the budget.  Ray's staying on our shift."  David smiled a bit at that.  "We're working eleven to seven instead of ten to six. Get the first part of rush hour, just in case."

"Fine," he agreed. "That works for me.  What weekend are we getting?"

"Sundays.  We'll be off Friday and Saturday."  He coughed.  "Also, we're talking about redistricting.  Region One is being farmed out to us and we're getting some of them as our swing people.  It'll save the city about five hundred thousand this year and nearly a million next year once they sell that building and build the new precinct that needs to be rebuilt instead of trying to fix the old wreck that's eating money by the day.  They're putting this year's savings into more cops."  David beamed at that.  "The Mayor announced it on the news."

"I don't watch the news.  I get depressed," David reminded him.  He pulled Xander over, kissing him hard. "You did good."

"Thanks."  He grinned at him, sitting in his lap.  "I've got to leave my phone on, David.  Two of the SWAT guys had ta shoot a sniper and bag team earlier.  One's a newbie.  Six months out of the academy and straight off his rookie time into SWAT.  His second day."

David nodded, patting him on the back.  "I understand, Xander.  It's fine with me."  He stole another kiss.  "You've been there and I haven't.  I won't keep you from helping those guys."  Xander grinned and nuzzled his cheek.  "You're a good boy and you deserve a reward."

"Trivial Pursuit, music edition?" he offered.  "Or eighties?"

"Eighties," David promised, giving him a swat.  "Go find it and get the dogs so we can pet them."  Xander bounced up and went to get the poor ignored babies and the game.  Then he went to get sodas, ice cream, and chips.

Greg grinned at him.  "He's a happy boy."

"He is and he deserves to be," David agreed happily.  He got down to arrange things on the coffee table, turning on the local all-news channel so they could catch the announcement.  "When's our meeting tomorrow?" he asked.

"You've got a voice mail.  Frannie called everyone."  He stole a kiss.  "They were deciding when I left. Mortty liked my elf ears."

"I like your elf ears too but you're a naughty Xander," he teased.

Xander just beamed. "Thank you!"



Xander walked into the station shaking his head.  "If IAD comes looking for me, I'm in the lab," he told the desk guy.  "I'll fax Welsh the report too."  He headed down the stairs, sighing as he walked into the air conditioning.  "Ray....  It happened again."

"I told you not to go out to the clubs," Ray called from his office.  A paper ball came out and hit him on the head.  "Where's your IAD shadow?"

"Probably coming."  He headed back to his lab, shaking his head at Mortty. "I went clubbing," he said miserably, hugging her.

"What happened?" she cooed, patting him on the back.  "You poor thing.  Did David get hit on?"

"No, but I made a killing off the flirting women who wouldn't leave me alone, even when I was dancing with David and snuggling.  Ten grand from the lesbians who wanted to watch me kiss him again.  They caught us later in the corner," he whined.  He trudged into his lab, nodding at the SWAT head in there.  "Hey," he said, sounding pathetic.

"What did you do?" he asked with a grin.

"We went clubbing.  I saved Greg from being taken by some heathenish bitch but he's mad at me.  Or he was until Dawn pounced him this morning so he might not be so mad now."

"So..... did someone hit on you two?  Or three?" he asked with a grin.

Xander shook his head.  "Women won't leave me alone!" he whined.

"One of them sent you flowers," he offered, pointing at the roses on the desk.

Xander whimpered and got the card, frowning at it.  "Ray!"  Ray walked in, smirking a bit with the IAD guy.  He handed over the card.  "I think I'm getting a new stalker."  He looked at the IAD guy.  "You know why I called you."

"I know," he said with a fond grin.  "How much did you get paid to not do anything this time?"

"He's done it before?" the head of SWAT asked.

"Remember that mafia wife a few years back?" Ray asked dryly, looking at him as he handed off the card.  "That was Xander.  She took him shopping and gave a donation to Vegas in his name."  The other cops shook their heads at that.  "Xander went salsa dancing and made about forty grand one night."  Xander moaned and held his head, sitting down at his computer.

"Xander made ten grand because some lesbians caught us kissing in the corner and thought it was hot when he worked me off without any of us knowing they were there," David said from the connecting doorway.  The flower card was handed to him and he snorted.  "You might want to find her and warn her I'm possessive and jealous.  Tell her all sorts of horror stories about me."

"Will it work?" Xander asked dryly.

"Hopefully.  I'd hate to have to sic Dawn on her," he said smugly. "Oh, Ray, Greg's not coming in tonight.  He'll be in tomorrow instead.  He can't move.  Dawn wrecked his back and had that smug little girl smirk when I went to check on him to see if he needed a ride."

"I take it he had fun?" Ray teased.

David nodded. "He kept me up and was loud enough so we heard it while *we* had sex."  He looked at the IAD guy.  "Do you want mine too?  Apparently whatever Xander's got rubbed off on me and I got a set of ruby earrings and a diamond ring shoved in my pockets."

"Please," he agreed.  "We have Harris on a special list, we'll include you too."  Xander wrote out something and handed it over, along with a baggie of cash and another baggie.  "You got given drugs?"

"Yeah.  She stuffed it down my thong last night."  He scratched behind his ear.  "I took it out and looked at it, then at her.  I assured her that I would have my fellow police officers destroy it for her.  She looked horrified and ran off."

"That's fine.  Do you know what it is?"

"China White."

"Ah."   He rebagged it. "Was this at the gay bar, the regular club, or at the biker bar?"

"The regular club.  I wanted to see if I still had what it took at an amateur night but David refused to let me strip ever again."

"You stripped?" the head of SWAT asked, looking really confused now.

"I had a car break down during a road trip just after high school.  I stripped, washed dishes, bartended, and did waiter stuff at the club until the car was fixed.  I didn't make hardly anything," he offered with a grin, "but I did strip a number of times.  I also met Greg there, but I didn't realize it until halfway through an interview with him."

Ray snickered.  "Don't worry, he did this in Vegas too.  Have you heard his thing about sports?"

"Oh, Ray, you wanted to know the results of the gay sex foreplay in teams?  Detroit won by ten points.  37 to 27."  Ray snorted and walked off shaking his head.  "Honey, did you remember to set up the VCR to record my curling match?"

"I did," he said patiently.  He looked at the two cops, shrugging a bit. "He was raised by girls," he reminded them.   He looked at Xander.  "If you're a *good* boy, I'll get tickets to the ice skating National's next month.  But only if you're a good boy, Xander."

"I'm a good Xander," he assured him, smiling at him.  "I've been a very good Xander.  I could have called off tonight since I can't sit either, but I came to work and 'fessed up and everything.  Please?" he begged.  "Or to the gymnastics event at the college?  Please?"

"Fine," David agreed, shaking his head.  "Those girls nearly ruined you."

"Hey, I watch curling!  It's a guy's sport!"

"Curling?" the head of SWAT asked.

"It's a Canadian thing," David assured him.  "Fraser introduced him to it."   That just got a nod and he left.  He shrugged at the IAD guy.  "Like I said, he was raised by girls."

"I've seen others with that problem," he promised, looking at Xander. "Is that all the money?"  Xander nodded, sighing a bit at it.  "Let me count it."

"You can use my lab," David promised.  "The stuff I got is on my desk."  He nodded, heading that way while David got a kiss. "Good boy, Xander," he said quietly.  "It's going to pay off more of the mortgage, right?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Good boy."

Mortty stuck her head in, grinning at him.  "How much did you make?  Ray's saying you're buying us all dinner."

"Most of whatever we get back is going to the mortgage," David told her.

"Honey, I got asked to come back to LA for a few days to see the gang," he said, teasing his stomach.  "Would you go with me so I don't get sucked back in?" he asked with puppy eyes.

"Sure," he agreed, smiling at him.  "If you're a good boy I'll let you show me all the places you used to play in LA.  Did you fill out forms?"  Xander pulled some out of his desk drawer, handing them to him.  "Oh, and a set for me?"

"I figured I needed backup and it might be a ploy by Angel to get me back."

"Fine."  He stole another kiss as the door opened and the IAD officer came back, handing them the money.  "You guys don't get a cut?"

"No.  Of course, if he wants to he can put some into the widows and orphans fund," he offered with a grin.

"Mortgage," David said slowly and clearly.  "We donate ten percent to that yearly."

"That's fine then," he promised with a grin.  "What're those?  Reports?"

"Leave forms.  I got asked to go to LA to visit some of my old hunting buddies," Xander said with a scrunched up face.  "I'm not wanting to go alone."

"Can I go?" Mortty asked happily.  "I've wanted to meet Angel and Spike from your stories about them and I have *so* many questions to ask the undead guy."

The IAD guy looked at Mortty then at Xander.  "I can't imagine you being a goth kid," he noted dryly.  "Did you get any names?"

"Only the ones that had been in the bag."

"That's fine.  If this happens in LA I'll need a report made as soon as you get back or fax it to me directly at the office, Harris, and be careful.  We want you back.  You liven up the office when you go out and get happy."  He left, taking the leave forms once David had signed his.  It was his nice deed of the year.  He looked at Ray, who groaned.  "He said some hunting buddies wanted to see him for a few days.  Mortty wanted to go too."

"I'm sure she did," he said dryly.  "Thanks.  He in trouble?"

"No.  Xander's a good boy.  Doing these incidences is much nicer than dealing with dirty cops and things.  It makes up for the wanting to kill others."  He headed up, smirking at the desk sergeant.  "Did any calls come in last night about CSI Harris, Hodges, and Sanders being out on the town?"

"Only the one where CSI Harris called in a drug deal going down and they left that club."

"Can I get a tape?"  One was handed over.  "Thanks.  You expected this?"

"Yeah, after Welsh called down to warn me it was another episode of club envy, I figured you'd need one.  How much did he get this time?"

"About thirty grand cash and some minor jewelry, and Hodges got some ruby earrings and a diamond ring shoved at him.  Ten grand from some lesbians who caught them necking in a corner and got turned on."  He giggled at that.  "Anything I need to take with me?"

"No, we're good," he offered.  "Everyone here's too scared of The Trio to step outta line too far."

"What trio?  Kowalski and his Mounties?"

"No, Kowalski, Vecchio, and Harris.  They scared the rookies straight, the cadets to pissing themselves, and the old guys into realizing they were in deep shit the last time they caught a dirty cop.  Vecchio points his hounds, Stan and Xander, at dirty cops and they run like hell before being caught."

"Good!  We like that!" he said happily, leaving with the tape and the short report.


Mortty looked at the newly redeadened guy who met them at the airport, tipping her head slightly to the side.  "Wow. You're much cuter than Xander said.  I'd figure a gay guy like him would have noticed more cuteness."  She beamed and shook his hand. "I'm Mortty, I'm one of Xander's escorts to keep him out of trouble.  Xander's dragging someone off the plane and David's moaning that he couldn't stay out of trouble."  She smiled at the cops heading their way.  "Be gentle with my fellow CSI guys," she called after them, beaming at Angel again.  "So, how does it feel to die?  Is it scary or icky?  Or is it sexual like Anne Rice said?"

Angel looked at her.  "How do you know Xander?"

"Oh, I'm his favorite DNA tech.  I work with him in Chicago."  She glanced at the causeway, then waved.  "There's David, Xander's husband."  She grinned at Angel again.  "He tries so *hard* to keep Xander out of trouble, but you know Xander."

"I do.  That's why I sent him to college," he noted blandly.  Xander came off chatting and smiling with one of the cops, who shook his hand and let him walk off.  "Harris."

"Deadboy!" he said with a grin, taking David's hand to hold.  "This is David, my husband. I know you've already met but I doubt you introduced yourself last time.  David, this is Angel. He sent me to college so I couldn't annoy the hell outta him with Spike.  And I see you've met Mortty.  She's one of my new girlfriends."  He grinned at him.  "So, what's the what?"

"Crythsm's been injured, he wanted to see you before he passed on."

"Pity but what does the bitch queen want me for?" he asked as they walked.  "And you couldn't say that over the phone?"

"Well, Cordy's returned for a few days and wanted to see you too.  Apparently the Ascended thing is boring.  Gunn wanted to know if you wanted to party with his gang too."

"That's cool," Xander said with a grin.  They met up with Spike further down and Xander smirked at him.  "Mortty, David, this is Spike."  She squealed and launched herself at him to hug him and hang off him with her legs around his waist.  "David, honey, the fangless wonder that used to annoy me and sleep duct taped to my old recliner."  David nodded a bit, smirking at him.

Spike peeled the girl off him, looking at her.  "Goth?" he suggested.

"No, this is my normal, sunny personality, Spike.  Xander's told me *so* much about you both!" she squealed, taking their arms and walking between them. "I *so* lucked out when I got to work on Xander and David's shift.  Did you get to go to the wedding?"

"No," Angel told her.  "Holy ground."

"Poo, I'd forgotten about that."  She grinned back at Xander and David.  "Can I bring them home?"

"Only if you clear it with Rona and feed and clean up after them," David said dryly.  "Just like you would any pet, vampires take a lot of work to care for, Mortty."


"Your Ma named you Mortty?" Spike snickered.

"No, she named me Morticia Elizabeth, but I'm much too cool to be a Morticia.  That's why I'm a Mortty and a DNA tech."  She beamed at him.  "William."

He snickered and hugged her.  "I like her, whelp."

"Me too and if she's got any bite marks when we go home they'd better be consensual," Xander pointed out firmly.  "I'd hate to deprive the world of you again, Spike."

Spike laughed.  "Fine.  She's cute."

"I am," Mortty agreed happily.  "That's why gay guys like Xander like me."

Angel looked back at him, then snickered.  "I didn't know you swung that way."

"That's odd considering I was sleeping with Wesley there for about two weeks," he noted dryly.  "Stress relief of course," he added with a shit eating grin.  Mortty snickered at that.  "David, can I put on my elf ears and go to the Lord of the Rings showing?"

"No," he said patiently. "We couldn't get tickets, remember?"

"Oh, yeah."  He pouted a bit.  "Can we take Mortty to a goth club instead?"

"Fine," he agreed, shaking his head.  "None of the usual clubbing, Xander."

"I don't usually let it happen, it just comes out now and then," he defended.  "And hey, I only turned two women evil the last time and one was already using drugs.  Deadboy, baggage," he called.  That got a sigh and they headed that way with Mortty chatting away.  "I think she and Cordy will like each other," he decided happily.

David felt Xander's forehead.  "No fever.  Are you airsick?"  Xander just kissed him and smiled.


Xander trudged back into the CSI Unit and flopped down in a chair, rolling his head to look at Ray.  "Oh, Gods, shoot me?" he pleaded.

"Can't do that. It'd be more paperwork than I feel like doing.  What happened? Did you let Mortty get eaten?" he asked as he went back to making The List.

"No.  She's coming in.  She almost brought a matched set of twin vampires home as her new pets but she's fine."  He pulled something out of his pocket with a moan and handed it over.  "Here, from the LAPD."

Ray looked at it, then got up and headed to the fax machine, sending it to Welsh.  Once it was done he read it more closely, going for his antacid stash.  Mortty came in beaming and babbling and David and Greg were behind her.  He came back to his spot, watching them settle in for another midnight shift.  "Mortty, are those bite marks on your neck?"

"My new pets needed a sip for strength, Ray.  They were good boys," she said hoarsely.

"Do I want to know why your voice is going?"

"Because Mortty got us into the concert I'm sure you already heard about," David said impatiently, looking at his napping mate.  "Sorry, long flight."

Ray looked at Xander, then shook his head.  "How bad?"

"The band wrote a song about us kissing in the front row," he offered as he sat down.  "Mortty got to play with her new friends and annoy Angel and Spike.  She and Cordy got together to look at old Xander pictures.  I got told older Xander stories and met his former friends.  I got to see Xander with a battle axe again when the lawyers who prove that they're all evil showed up and wanted to hire or steal him.  I also got to beat two pretty, rich boys off him and an aspiring model with money who wanted him.  The gay clubs out in LA are much more competitive.   They thought Xander should bring home someone pretty for his sugar daddy, me."  He grinned at him, making Ray snort and hold his head for a minute.  "One of them offered him half a million for a blow and a night between us."  Ray pinched the bridge of his nose.  "The aspiring model wanted to know if he'd do porn with him since it'd be his first time and Xander had, quote, the look."  He reached over to wipe off the drool coming out of Xander's mouth then looked at Ray again.  "The dogs are upstairs."

"I heard them yap when you came in," he admitted.  "What about the other pretty boy?"

"He just wanted to take a ride and get high.  Xander pointed out he was a cop and I was a cop and Mortty was a cop so he fled in his shiny limo and got into an auto accident.  Oh."  He pulled something out of his pocket and handed it over.  "My half of the reports."  Ray looked it over, then handed it back, going to take more antacids.  "At least they didn't succeed in kidnaping us."

"I don't care!"  He slammed his office door.  "Fax that to Welsh," came through faintly.

David got up and went to do that.  No one would dare touch Xander while he was gone.  By the time he got back, Mortty was letting Xander sleep on her shoulder and telling Greg all about her pets and Spike.  "When did you meet Angel?" he asked him.

"That week you went to Tahoe," Greg said dryly, smirking at him.  "He showed up to see if Xander would come back and handle something.  So we got to pretend we were dating and I was possessive and unable to let him go."

David smirked.  "Sure.  You make a good one of those.  How late was Dawn today?"

"She wasn't.  She no longer takes appointments before ten," he said smugly.  David and Mortty both snickered at that.  "Did you guys get to see Mistress Heather?  Mortty described the woman who came up and kissed him and hugged him."

"Yup.  She still likes him," David said sarcastically as he sat down.  "Offered him a job with her if he ever gets tired of doing lab work.  I had to point out I was the top in our relationship and I held his leash a bit tightly.  She thought that was cute and of course I did.  She said no one let a guy like Xander get away unless they were terminally stupid."

"Yeah, if he were mine, I'd keep him tied to the bed too," Mortty agreed happily.

David gave her his most dry and withering look.  "I tried that.  He barks."  She giggled, waking up Xander, who yawned and smiled at David.  "Did you remember to put in the money you got offered to do porn?"

"No.  I didn't get any of it shoved in my pants this time."

"You got offers to do porn?" Greg joked, grinning at him.  "By who!"

"Some up and coming company," he said tiredly.  "They wanted to pay me good money and even would have let me stay with David, but they wanted to write out the fantasies.  I told them I'd write some out for them but David drug me off."

"That would get you in trouble with the department," David said impatiently.  "I told you that."

"I know."  He blew a kiss and grinned at the others coming in.  "We're back."

"I can see that," their fingerprint tech noted.  "How was LA?"

"Hot and muggy," David told him.  "With people who wanted Xander to do porn."

"Ah.  Well, he is cute," he offered, going back to check his lab before coming back out.  He took his usual seat.  "Ray!  We're almost all here."

"I have a headache," he called.  "Give me ten more."

Xander closed his eyes and curled up on Mortty's shoulder again, going back to his nap.

David sighed and shook his head.  "He drools."

"I noticed but it's cute," she offered with a grin.  "You wouldn't have believed the hotties that kept trying to hit on Xander, Greg.  They had to go to the gay club to get women to hit on him again.  They just wanted to watch.  One wanted him to help them raise energy for their fertility rite by having sex in front of them."

"It took me twenty minutes to convince him that I wasn't going to help them that way.  Prayers, positive energy, blood magic if I had to, but not sex magic for their pleasure," David said dryly.

Greg and the fingerprint tech snickered at that.  "So, how bad was it this time?" Greg asked.

"If he had taken the money from the porn company, I'd have paid off the mortgage on the way here.  One of the pretty, rich boys offered him a half million for a night between us and a blow.  The model wanted him to do porn.  The evil lawyers wanted him to work in their weapons labs.  By the way, we've got to head home at lunch and clear out his office.  Apparently Xander's been looking at ways to magic weapons and didn't tell me."  Greg grinned and nodded and the fingerprint tech looked very confused.  "You've met Rona, right?  Saw her at the picnic?"  He nodded once.  "Xander used to do that before he went to college.  He's her backup.  It exists."

"Damn!" he said, sounding happy.  "Cool!  Can anyone?"

"It takes a lot of willpower," Mortty told him.  "I dabbled.  I could only light candles and I'm a really stubborn person I thought."

"You are," Greg assured her, reaching over to pat her on the hand.  "You're very stubborn."  He looked at their tech.  "Xander's fairly mild, at the level of banishing his ex girlfriend.  She likes to pop in and watch the sex."

"I bet that's fun."

"If you say her name she'll probably show up," David reminded Greg.  That's why they had to banish Anya the last time. "That way leads to sex in the park since it takes time to get her gone again."

"That's okay, Cordy said she peeks in now and then and said that you're cute enough for her ex," Mortty told him.  "She doesn't lurk though.  She doesn't like to watch sex stuff."

David blushed and shook his head.  "Hopefully not."

"I wish...."  David covered his mouth.  "What?" Greg mumbled.

"No making wishes.  Didn't Xander and Dawn tell you about that stuff?" he said warmly.

"Sorry."  He moved the hand off his mouth.  "I'll be a good boy.  I just wanted to hear some of the goofy guy Xander stories."

"I got 'em taped," David assured him.  "That vampire clan sent me tapes of them and I taped Cordy's stories too so we can remind him of them when he's too naughty."

Ray came out of his office, looking at them.  "Okay, I'm ready.  Let's get started," he called.  The other techs came out of their offices.  He nudged Xander's other shoulder and he woke up again.  "Good morning, princess."

"Bite me, Ray.  I had to deal with the evil lawyers who want me to design weapons to use against Angel and his crew."  He yawned and stretched.  "Besides, I just got back from vacation."

"And you've got about thirty guns waiting on you.  They had a major bust through SWAT earlier, kid."

"Sure.  Everyone okay or do I have to go confiscate weapons?"

"No, they're fine."  He looked at the list. "David, you've got a bad night too.  A homicide. Bedding and various ropes to test for DNA samples and stuff.  Send the DNA over to Mortty of course.  She'll have a light night."  He nodded, looking at her, and she nodded that she'd come over and help him look.  "AV, you've got...."  Someone upstairs started to shriek in fear.  "Hell.  Xander?"

Xander sighed as he got up and headed up there, looking at the person standing in the lobby.  "Hey," he said, nodding at Rona, who was covered in blood.  "It for a good reason?"

"Yeah.  Someone just broke into my house.  I'm fine, this is theirs.  I wanted to borrow your shower and let you collect the clothes for me if necessary."   She looked at the desk sergeant.  "Two scum sucking lawyers tried to break into my house with a thug.  They're very sorry but no one from CSI showed up."  She looked at Xander again.  "Can I borrow a t-shirt and a shower?"

"Sure.  Come downstairs for a few.  We've got the chemical shower down there."

"She can use the changing area's showers," the desk guy offered.  "Are they dead?"

"Begging for it," she said with a grin.  "Xander taught me a lot."

He nodded, suddenly getting it.  This was the girl Xander was mentoring!  "Use the locker room, Xander.  I'll show her where once shift change is done."

"Sure.  Thanks.  Go ahead, Rona.  He's a nice guy.  He's got year-old twin girls."

"Oooh," she cooed, grinning at him.  "I love babies!  They're so cute!"

"Some days," he agreed wisely.  "Then there's days when they've got the runs at the same time."  He walked her off and Xander went back downstairs.  He even showed her a picture.

Xander walked back into the meeting.  "Greg, Rona's upstairs.  Apparently some of the slime fucking lawyers broke into her house with a thug but no field tech showed up.  She's covered in blood and in the locker room getting a shower."

"Sure."  He went to get his case and a few bags then headed up there.  Since he wasn't assigned a case yet.

Ray looked at him. "She okay?"

"Yeah.  She said it's their blood.   They're begging for death, she's fine."

"Good.  I like Rona."  He looked at the list again.  "Get to work, Xander."

"Going."  He went back to his lab, grinning at all the guns.  He loved his job!  Xander grinned as the new IAD guy came in, waving and smiling.  "Hi.  You get the fun job tonight?"

"That depends."  The usual guy came in and patted Xander on the back.  "You know about this dirty cop?"

"He's not a dirty cop.  Remember I showed you that special list?" he prompted.  "The one for people who get things in the clubs without trying?"

"What did he do for that money!" he demanded.

Xander pulled the guy in and slammed him into the wall, getting closer to his ear.  "Listen, baby boy.  I'm not a dirty CSI.  I never have been.  Cursed because people want my ass. Liked because I've got good rhythm and I know what I'm doing on the dance floor.  I don't sleep around.  I've *never* slept around, even when I was single.  I'm one of the best people on this force and the more you try to say I'm dirty the more I want to find out what you're hiding," he hissed.  "Since I'm the CSI I can do things like that."  The man whimpered so he patted him down, finding his wallet.  He looked at the ID card, then at his usual IAD contact, showing it to him.  "Is that real for you guys?"

"No," he admitted, looking at it.  "Let him go, Harris."  He looked at the other cards and held up one.  "Does that look like Vegas's?"  Xander pulled out his and showed it to him.   "Not even close.  Hodges?" he called.  David came over and looked at the ID, laughing at it.  "Where is that from?"

"UNLV. It's faded," he said, pointing at some of the very faint lettering.  He grinned at Xander, pulling out his IDs.  "That's the new one and the old one."

He looked at them, then nodded, taking Xander's cuffs.  "Thanks, I'll get you a new set."

"That's okay, mine's got a cranky lock.  I had to pick one the last time."  He grinned at him.  "I got offered a half-mil for a night with a guy between us," he said with a grin.  The IAD guy laughed.  "Needless to say, David was not a happy camper."

"I can tell.  How much did you come home with?"

"Barely two.  I got to turn down the offers to do porn.  I'm not the sort of guy that LA likes.  I'm not movie star quality."  He grinned at him.  "I'm too earthy for LA to like me that much."

"That's fine.  We like you around here.  Go out your next night off.  I could use some new laughs."

"Tell David.  He's got my leash and I'm a happy puppy for him."

"We'll see," David said, going back to his work.

The IAD guy led off the fake person, going to report in from upstairs.  He loved hearing about Xander's exploits.  Welsh came out of his office to look at him.  "Harris didn't get hardly anything but offers in LA.  This is a fake guy."

"Have fun with him.  How much did he come home with?"

"Two grand."

Huey groaned.  "That's lowball of the whole pool."  He looked at the list.  "Stan, you won.  How?"

"Easy.  Xander had trouble getting dates in LA."  He grinned, sucking on his lollipop.  "Pay up."  Huey groaned but handed over the money from the pot.  "Thanks, my boys will thank you later after I get 'em some ice cream."  He got back to work.

Welsh shook his head, going back to Ray's paper balls.  He'd have to talk to him about not balling them up anymore.  Someone screamed and he came out, looking interested.  "What was that?"

The IAD guy came up from downstairs.  "One of his friends from LA sent his stalker from out there out here.  Mortty just squealed because they brought her new friend Cordelia."

David came up the stairs and made Stan look at him.  "Cordy's here," he said simply.   Stan got up and ran down there to keep her away from Ray and Xander.  Bad things would happen if she stayed.  David handed the IAD guy the envelope the woman had been carrying.  "Someone sent it to Angel.  Fred cackled on my voicemail when she said it was coming."  He went back to his blood-soaked sheets, giving a glare at Ray.  "Cordy's here."

"Hell," Ray muttered, going to take more antacids.

The IAD guy brought the envelope down a few minutes later, snickering a lot.  "David?"  He looked over but went back to work.  "You don't want to know?"

"No.  Make sure he gets a haircut.  He looks like he belongs on the cover of one of his romance novels."  He went back to work.

"It's a big check," he offered, waving it.

Mortty took it and opened it, eyes going wide.  "Wow.  David, consider your mortgage paid, man.  Can I get you to hold my leash and be my sugar daddy?"  She held it up so he could look at it.

He sighed and shook his head.  "Nope.  Sorry, I have enough problems keeping up with Xander.  Xander, plan on getting a haircut!" he called.  "Come get this crap!"  He got back to work.

Mortty grinned at Xander when he stuck his head in. "They *really* wanted in your tighty whities this time."

"I was wearing a thong."

"You're never wearing another one unless I've got you in a collar and a leash," David said dryly.

"Does that mean we're going to go to the S&M club?" Xander asked.  "Fraser said it was really a nice place when he went in there to talk to someone."

David looked at him.  "Fraser went into an S&M club?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  David shuddered.  "Does Stan know?"

"I don't know.  Should I tell him?"

"Dial my phone, detective?"  He shrugged and dialed upstairs.  "Thanks.  Frannie, put Stan on.  Stan, did you know Fraser went into an S&M club?  He was telling Xander about how neat it sounded.  Sure. You do that."  He shook his head and it was hung up for him.  "Expect some yelling," he offered.  He went back to work.  "Get a haircut, dear."

"Yes, dear."  He went back to work.

David and Mortty shared a look.  "You're a better man than I am," Mortty assured him. "Where's your next night out?"

"The club where we didn't get hit on.  I'm ignoring his desire to go back to Vegas for a few days.  He wants to go salsa dancing out there."

"Yeah," she snorted.  "I'm sure he did.  Need a new car?"

"No, we're pretty good on cars.  The insurance fixed the cars after the last time they got hit.  Why, did you?"

"No, I'm good with my car."  She grinned at him.  "Can Xander be my sugar daddy?"

"Ask him, sweetie.  Ask him."

She giggled and went to ask him if he'd adopt her.

The IAD guy shook his head.  "You guys lighten my life so much."  He went to hand Xander the envelope.  Then he went to share this with his boss, stopping to remind the guy on the desk to call him if any more envelopes like that showed up for Xander, David, or Greg.  This time he decided to add Mortty as well since she was sucked into their circle of influence and power.  Another one corrupted by the awesome power of Xander, but at least she'd never turn into a serial killer.  She was already too warped in the other direction for that.

The End.