Notes: All the t-shirts are either from scribe's page (scribescribbles.com) or from coolsig.com.
Mac looked at his staff. "All right, we all here?" He looked around. "It's not a great bit of news. It's a policy change. We all have seen the mayor's change of rules for the PD. Correct?"
Xander raised a hand. "I'm having the 'I need to shoot someone now' feeling. Any protests?"
"Wait until you hear the news first," Stella ordered patiently. "Mac?"
He nodded. "I agree with Xander. We're not professional looking." Half of them burst out laughing. "He wants the men in ties and the women in pants suits." The rest of them burst out laughing. "He's not kidding."
"Ties are dangerous and they can lead to contamination in the lab," Xander pointed out dryly. "Does he know this?"
"He's not too sure what we do down here," Mac admitted. "I've got a week to protest this, I need any sort of real evidence. Research of that point, Xander. Letters of protest that give *good*, *logical* arguments."
"No shooting him. Then we'd end up with a bigger idiot." Danny frowned at him. "I'd like to see him do this job in what you wear, Mac. Much less in something like a tie."
"That's not a logical enough argument, Danny."
"Then have him do a scene with us," David suggested dryly. "Point out no one sees most of us. If someone comes down here, we all run and hide from them."
"I've made that argument already."
"Okay, so we need that research. It was in my Ballistics Three textbook. Critcheon?"
"We don't have that one," Danny admitted, looking at him. "We used the edition before what you would have. You?"
"No, I managed to lose it between UCLA and Vegas." He grimaced. "That and my Chem 3 book both disappeared along with my sparkly shirt."
David looked at him. "No, Greg threw out your sparkly shirt when it gave him nightmares," he said plainly. He looked at Mac again. "Think the local college would have it since it's got a program?"
"He can check. For now, give me logical arguments for the rest of you. Write them reasonably without threats, give them to me within five days. Cite cases, cite situations, do whatever you have because if I have to wear a tie every day, someone's going to be snapped at." They all smiled at that.
Mortty raised a hand. "I'm not dressing preppie. I'll move to Miami and be their shadowy goth person with a sunbrella."
Mac smiled. "I don't want you to change a thing, Mortty. Also, he thinks this will enhance our statistics." That got another laugh.
Xander shook his head. "We solve forty percent of our cases within the first two weeks we get them, Mac. What does he expect of us?"
"Fifty. If we can do that this month, we can have a massive bargaining chip. I don't care how you do it, but try to clear all the backlogs. Every lab. Those of you who have more than one area, help out where you can."
"I'm mostly clear every day," Xander protested. "But I can temp in to help Dave and Mortty. Oh, and Mac, can we discourage his plan to make us all have a Masters, soon, please? I hated college. A lot. That's why I have most of the threatening t-shirts."
"I'll try, Xander, but it would help. You're about the only tech who doesn't have one really." Xander glared at him. "I know, but one class at a time?"
"I *loathed* college," Xander said firmly. "Let's face it, I got help from gang kids to tutor my stupid ass. Can we see what'll happen if I have to go further up the chain? Besides, what am I going to major in? There's no master's in guns and ammo."
"Chemistry?" Greg suggested, looking over at him. "To help your minor in trace?"
"Barely passed, sweetie."
"Point," David agreed. "We'll think about that one, Mac."
"I understand. Xander's also the only one that a Masters really can't help." He shrugged. "Give me what you can within five days. For now, try to think and keep it down. Try to hype the stats with what you can."
"Sure, Mac, make the dead bodies quit coming in too while you're at it," Danny offered bitterly. "I've got three open cases and fourteen cold ones. We're one of the best in the country by our stats."
"I know that, Danny, but he wants more."
"He's still an idiot." He stood up. "We done? I feel the need ta get drunk."
"You've still got three hours left, then you can get drunk," he reminded him. "We're done." They all left. "Xander, try to make it reasonable," he called.
"Sure, Mac. Don't I usually?"
Mac moaned. That was a very bad sign.
Xander smiled at the teacher at the local program's head. "Hi. Harris, Manhattan Felony Ballistics." He shook his hand. "I need a reference work that's not available in the library and I was hoping someone had it on their shelves."
"Sure. For a case?"
"No, to cite a research source. The mayor's decided we should wear ties to scenes."
"We should present a good public image," he said patiently.
Xander looked at him. "Have you ever worked a scene? A tie not only gets evidence on it, it tends to transfer it, plus makes most techs miserable." Another teacher coughed and he looked at him. "Hi, Harris, Ballistics, Manhattan Felony lab." He shook his hand. "I need to photocopy a reference book but the library doesn't have it."
"I've heard of you." He smirked. "Nothing tragic today?"
"I only work the field part-time. Mostly I'm ballistics and trace." The other teacher sat up. "They told me I had to major and minor."
"Where were you trained?"
"UCLA. My advisor was she of the moron signal tower theory."
He laughed and nodded. "I remember her fondly. Which book, CSI Harris?"
"Critcheon. Ballistics three out there. I need the reference on the ties study."
"Ah, that's actually in three different books, and I have two of them on my shelves. The other I can find in another office if I can pop the lock."
"I wouldn't want to do anything illegal," he offered with a grin. That got a laugh and the teacher led him off. "Thank you. The mayor's also pushing for us to have a two-week solve average above forty percent."
The teacher stopped to look at him. "Most labs get thirty. There's only eight labs in the country that get forty, and only two get above forty-five now and then." He led him into his office, pulling books down so he could have them photocopied by his assistant. He called the other one, leaving a message. "I'm popping your lock to get a reference book for the local lab. We're photocopying a reference on the ties study." He hung up and led him that way, pulling out a library card to twitch the lock. Xander grinned and shook his head when it didn't work, pulling out a better one and getting the lock. He smirked at him. "You're good."
"I am," he agreed happily, beaming at him. "I lock myself out of the house all the time. My husband hates it when I ring the bell." The teacher laughed and led him inside to get that book and have it photocopied as well, then locked the door behind them. "Thank you. The library didn't have them." He shook his hand again and took the copies. "I hope to see some of your students as my pre-graduation intern if Mac can arrange it." That got a brilliant smile. "I'm a tough bastard in my lab, but I deal well with everyone. My bestest buddy is goth." He winked and walked off. "Thank you!" he called from the doorway before he disappeared. He skipped down the stairs and out to the car, heading back to the lab. He looked at Mac as he walked past him.
Mac stopped and looked at his t-shirt of the day. "Xander, didn't I say cover most of them?"
Xander stopped and looked down at his shirt, then at him. "Mac, it's not a threatening one. "'Just say no' prevents teenage pregnancy the way 'Have a nice day' cures chronic depression' isn't a threat, it's a statement of fact." He shrugged. "I can wear worse ones." He headed back to the office area to sit down and work on a report for him, citing this research. He also pulled up some fairly good crime scene photos from his own few cases to go with it. He summarized nicely then saved it down and went to hand it to his personal editor, his spouse. "Honey, can you please edit this for me?" he asked, giving him a kiss on the cheek and a grin. "It's the report Mac wanted."
"Fine." He pointed at the computer on the desk. "Put it there. If I have a few I'll do it tonight."
"Thank you." He gave him a better kiss and bounced out once the CD was on the desk. He went down to ballistics to get back to work. He'd clear up his few guns for the night and then go back up to Trace. He got down there and found someone looking in the cabinet. "Excuse me," he said loudly. "Who the fuck are you and why the hell are you in my fucking lab!" The man jumped and turned to face him, hand on his gun. "I'd drop it, moron. Now. Also, produce ID or die."
"I don't have to."
"You do." He looked around. "MAC! RAY! DON!" Don came jogging over. "Idiot in my lab," he noted, waving a hand at him.
Don looked. "You are?" he demanded. "I want ID and I want it now, buddy."
"Xander, have him." Xander beamed and lunged, grabbing his gun hand and beating his ass. Don checked his watch, giving him thirty extra seconds of choking. "That's enough! I want him able to sing like a canary." He pulled out his cuffs and put them on the guy, then patted him down. "One gun. One wallet." He looked inside. "No badge here." He went back to patting him down, finding his ID case. "Hey, Feds," he said dryly. He called Mac. "Get to ballistics. A Fed refused to hand over ID so I let Xander have him for busting into his lab." He hung up and let Xander grab a bag for his stuff, then hauled the groaning man up and away. "Bring that stuff, Xander. Let someone do an inventory against yours."
"Yes, Don." He walked out the door. "Someone illegal was just in my lab," he announced. "I need someone to do an inventory!"
"I can," Greg called, coming out of DNA. "Mortty's hellishly pissed," he said as he walked past him.
"I've been a good boy all day. Why is she pissed at me?" Xander asked, looking confused.
"She's mad at the world, Xander. Not just you."
"Oh, that mad. Okay." He grabbed the bag and pulled up his inventory list, letting him have it so he could help Don. He walked in and put the bag next to him. "Want me to do a bullet count and unload?"
"Please. By the book. If he's doing shit, I want him to fry for it." Xander nodded, sitting down with the paperwork and the tape recorder going to do a bullet count and unload.
Mac walked into the interrogation room. "Xander, ballistics is clear. Greg found two guns missing out of the cabinet but on the work bench. He give you a reason?"
"He's moaning so far. Unfortunately his arrest was fairly bad. He didn't produce his ID. He didn't want to give us a name and position. So I let Xander subdue him."
"I wondered why he needed an ice pack." He shrugged. "I guess it happens when you fight in such a small place." He came in, taking the paperwork from Xander. "Three bullets short?"
"Yeah," Xander agreed. "Also this, Mac," he said, holding up the ID. "Have Greg call up my case list?"
Mac typed that into his phone in a text message, getting back a 'three unsolved cases with his gun from home' back. He showed it to Xander. "Good work. Go back to ballistics, I've go this."
"Yes, sir. Oh, David's editing my report." He got up and headed back there, taking over for Greg, who was reprinting those reports. "Thank you."
"Not an issue." He smiled as Xander slid past him to look over those weapons. "They don't match back to these. I've already pulled up those cases as well. Where's Mac?"
Greg nodded, taking those guns and the reports down there. "Hey," he said, sticking his head in. "Got the reports pulled up that were with his gun from home and the guns he pulled out plus their reports." He handed them over. "Need me to write up what I found?"
"Please, just a statement." Greg nodded, handing that over as well. "Thank you, Greg. Go back to your other work." He nodded, heading back to DNA to help out in there. Mac looked them over, then at him. "These two guns weren't even about the one stolen from your house. They're gang related." He handed those reports to Don. He checked the guns, nodding at them. "This one's loaded."
"Now, I know Xander wouldn't allow that. He's a bastard about his guns," Don said dryly. "He's so anal about that he can probably close his eyes and name all the guns in that cabinet by type and type of case." The man whimpered. "You need an aspirin? I can get you some."
"No," he moaned. "Blackmail."
"Write it out," Mac demanded, handing over some paper and a pen. "I'll get your boss down here." He looked horrified. "No?"
"No, please. My partner?"
Mac leaned down. "Why your partner? Is your boss in on it?" He shook his head quickly. "Then why not your supervisor?"
"He's a figurehead," he admitted, looking at him. "My partner's good. He'll do it for me. If he doesn't already know I'd be surprised."
Mac looked at the ID, then at him. "I shouldn't. That's against protocol." He moaned and hung his head. "But I know someone in another office. I can call him," he said more quietly. He looked up at that. "I know Gibbs and so does Harris. That work for you?"
"It would. Thank you."
"Write out everything for me." He went to make the call, leaving Don to ask questions. He found the number in Xander's file and called it. "DiNozzo, it's Taylor in New York. I need Gibbs, is he there?" He sat down. "It's a case but not something that all you need to fly up here for. We've got one of your local agents here who's claiming blackmail. Xander found him breaking into his lab and the unsolved and unclaimed guns cabinet." He nodded, writing that down. "Thank you. No, he wanted his partner, not his supervisor. He's claiming blackmail. Please. I'll be in my office for the next twenty." He hung up, settling in to read the report Greg had given him, signing it. Then he called David. "You have a report for me from your spouse?" He smiled. "Thank you." He hung up and waited. The phone rang and he snatched it. "Detective Taylor. Gibbs, yes we do. Local NCIS agent. He was breaking into Xander's lab and separating out the guns. Also, he had a gun supposedly stolen from his house a few months back. It's been used at least twice that we know of. Robberies. He's claiming he's being blackmailed and he wanted his partner to investigate. Thank you. I'm sure you could even hide out at Xander's house." He smiled. "That's fine. Thank you, Gibbs." He hung up and went down there again. He walked in and closed the door. "Gibbs will be up here tonight. I gave him the basics. You're staying here."
"I will. In a cell?"
"In here for now. We'll put an officer outside the door. We'll check on you when we can. Don, get him a soda and some aspirin."
"He's a powerful officer," he praised.
Mac smirked. "Gibbs likes him too."
"That's fine. Thank you for your help, Detective."
"Next time, you come to us openly and we'll do it without Xander having to hurt you," Don offered, going to find him some aspirin and some soda. He brought it back, letting the officer hand it to him, then he went back to work.
Xander bounced down to the entrance when the receptionist told him Gibbs had come in, pouncing him. "Hi!" He beamed at him. "Did you bring Abby? Mortty's pouting badly."
"I'll talk to her in a few, Xander. Can I borrow your spare room?"
"Okay. I don't mind. David shouldn't. I'll check." He bounced off.
Gibbs shook his head. "Someone fed him too much sugar again," he complained, nodding at Mac as he came out. "Where is our idiot?"
"Interrogation two," he offered, leading him that way. He let him read the statement he had written out.
Gibbs snorted. "Wonderful. Any verification?"
"He said to let you handle it. Wouldn't let us try. Said he'd talk to you once you got here."
"Even worse for him." He looked at him through the window. "Xander did what to him?"
"Don said he got him against the gun cabinet and kicked him a few times."
"Interesting." He walked in there, looking at him. "I want details, I want facts, and I want it now." He nodded, handing over a second statement. Gibbs looked it over, then at him. "Give me an hour to make a few calls." He walked out, leaving him in there. "Can I borrow a desk?"
"Take Xander's. He's up in Trace by now." That got a nod and they headed that way. They found Xander in there putting down a note. "David didn't agree?"
"No, he did, and that's my spare key in case he needs it." He beamed at them. "By the way, he edited my report and agreed that the pictures made my case very well." He handed over that CD. "If I have to, I can present it myself tomorrow."
"How many candy bars did you eat?" Mac asked cautiously.
"Two. David said I can't have more than two at any given time."
"How many over the day, kid?" Gibbs asked.
Mac looked at his watch. "Xander, it's only five. You got here at one. How did you eat eight candy bars?" Xander inched toward the door. "Do it and I'm telling Ray to tie you down." Xander whimpered and looked down, shooting him a sheepish look. "Xander. Truth?"
"Eleven?" he asked.
Gibbs moaned. "Go do something in the gym, kid."
Xander beamed. "Good idea!" He hugged him, hugged Mac, then hurried out before he got spanked by one of them.
Mac called upstairs. "David, your spouse just admitted to having somewhere between eight and eleven candy bars. Gibbs sent him to the gym. Do something about him before he drives me to drink tonight." He hung up and walked off. "Tell me if you need help, Gibbs."
"I will. Have fun with that." He sat down at the desk, looking over the note, pocketing the key, and getting down to chasing this story down. Because this could be a very bad thing for the agency. Even the director wasn't happy about this.
Don looked around the gym, then at Mac. "I feel like Elmer Fudd when he hunts Bugs." Xander cackled from where he was hiding. "I'm a good cop but this is an insane exercise."
"Officers should be able to find a hiding suspect," Mac reminded him patiently. He had tried earlier but Xander had pounced out and hugged him, then hid again while he was still stunned stupid.
"Can't we use this as a training exercise for the dogs?"
"I did, he petted three of them and then hid again," Mac sighed, rubbing his neck. "They love him, Don, you know that." Personally he thought it was odd that the dogs gave their owners looks when they told them to track and hunt Xander. But that may just be him. "It's us or David, and he's refusing to let Xander come home while he's in this state."
"Fine." He handed over his gun and walked into the room, concentrating. "Xander, come on out and I'll let you pick out my clothes for tomorrow."
"I'm not that gay, Don," he called, then he giggled when Don looked in the direction of the voice. "Cold."
"Fuck," he muttered, heading on.
Danny leaned in, looking around. "What's going on? Someone else sneak in?"
"Xander's had about a dozen candybars," Mac sighed, looking at him. Xander let out a cackle. "Did you have more!"
"No, Mac, I'm high on life! Consider this a training exercise for when you have toddlers some decade soon!"
Danny walked in and over to where Xander was hiding, pulling him out to look at him. "Dumbass!" He handed him to Don, walking off shaking his head. "We needed you on today, Xander."
"Hey, I cleared up Trace!" he complained. "Plus mine! Plus helped in DNA and Fingerprints! That's why I had that much chocolate. So I could keep up."
Don looked at him, shaking his head. "Why were you helping in DNA?"
"Because she's backed up." He shrugged and looked at him. "You need tracking exercises." He walked out, kissing Mac on the cheek. "So do you." He skipped upstairs, smiling at his mate. "They need practice."
David looked at him. "You've had more."
"In between helping clear up DNA and Fingerprints, plus your lab, plus my lab." He shrugged and headed back to his lab, going to clean up any late additions. He grinned at Gibbs. "They couldn't find me in the gym." He took the new gun into the firing pen to start his report and do the test fire. "Firing one, hopefully. This is a filthy piece of crap." Gibbs snickered, putting someone on hold while he tried to fire. "Yup, jammed. Damn it." He came out and leaned out the door. "Sheldon, if this thing ever fired, I'd be shocked. Are you sure this was the only gun?"
"Yes," floated back up the hall. "I saw him fire it, Xander."
"Fine." He went back to it, shaking his head. He came out to get a pipe cleaner from the freezer. "Dropped his gum inside." He went back to pry it out. "Okay, now firing one!"
Gibbs listened to the report on the present case. "No, that was Xander doing a test fire, DiNozzo. Yeah, and he's on sugar too." He made more notes. "Thank you." He hung up and went to talk to the agent, not taking pity on him for being so bruised. "Truth, Stalk. Who's blackmailing you? Your supervisor or your partner?" The guy gave him a panicked look. "It was obviously within your office. I want the full details."
"They'll kill me and my family."
"If not, you're going to be a Fed in jail." He pushed back over the papers. "If you do, I'll see if someone in the FBI can protect you."
"There's agents over there too!" he complained.
Gibbs stared him down. "Do you really think Fornell's going to play those games?" he asked dryly.
"Well, no. Not if he's anything like you," he muttered, writing down a list of names and what he knew. He pushed it over and shrugged. "That's all I was involved in and who's doing it."
He looked it over, looking slightly impressed. "Good. Let me make a few calls." He called Fornell. "Let me guess, you're on a plane heading to New York? Because I've got an agent in the local field office up here who's being blackmailed and claims some of your guys are in on it too." He smirked at him. "They're on their way up." He walked off. "Sure, I can borrow the fax." He found Mac in his office. "Fax machine?" It was pointed out. "Your office, Fornell?" He grunted and hung up, dialing that one to send it over. "Either he's lying or we've got a minor conspiracy to make the government look like idiots. Again." He headed back to Xander's lab, but then came back a minute later. "You couldn't find him in the gym?"
"I nearly had him but he bounced out and pounced me, kissing me on the back of the neck. I was so stunned I lost him. He charmed the dogs into giving their owners dumbass looks for their orders to hunt him."
"It's days like these that I keep a flask in my desk for." He went back to ballistics, watching Xander write reports. He took it over, frowning as he read it. "I know him."
"Why?" Xander asked, looking at him.
"I served with him."
"This is the tenth time I've typed his name this month, Gibbs." He pulled up the other files and let him read them. "I'm thinking there's a pattern, Mac doesn't. Danny's torn, he just wants the guy before he goes worse."
Mac walked in. "Another one?"
"Yeah, and Sheldon brought it to me," he said dryly, looking at him. "This time he swears up and down that the guy who had it wasn't him, but it belongs to him, it was registered to him, it had been really used. Plus the guy slid some gun into it. I had to pipe cleaner it out." Mac grimaced at that. "It wouldn't mess up the rifling but with the amount of crap in the barrel, it's been well used and not cleaned."
"Where is it?" Xander handed over the boxed gun. He looked in the barrel, grimacing. "That has been used a lot."
"Which is against military protocol. He knew better when I served with him," Gibbs said quietly. "You can't find him?"
"No, and I'm about to ask the local office for help," Mac offered. "Danny's case but he can't find him. We've got his poster up and everything."
"Sure, if I can, I'll help you hunt the other scary Marine down, Mac," he taunted.
"I was trained the same way you were, Jethro, and believe me, I can't find the guy. I have no idea where he is. I'm about to let Xander hunt him."
Xander leaned his head in. "Ooooh, can I? Please?"
Gibbs watched him wiggle. "You look like a toddler who needs the bathroom. Go before you have an accident, Harris."
"Just for that, I'm sending Abby the t-shirts Dave said I have to get rid of." He pouted off. "David, Gibbs made fun of me!" he whined as he walked off.
Gibbs moaned and shook his head. "With my luck, she'll enjoy the scary ones and scare the director again."
Mac nodded. "That can be a benefit of being scary."
Gibbs gave him a dirty look. "This is Abby, Taylor. She's already scary enough without his t-shirts." He walked off, going to settle things for the night. That way he could wait on Fornell in peace and quiet since Xander was going to be spanked at home.
Mac walked in the next morning, it was his late morning so it was nearly nine.
"Mac, you gotta stop Xander," Danny called when he saw him. "I came in to ten million reports again!"
Mac blinked, looking at him. "Why is that a bad thing?"
"I'm confused between 'em! Hell, I've got my cases, the joint cases, Aiden's cases. A few of Flack's for some reason, I don't know why I got 'em."
"Don said so," drifted out of ballistics. Then the door slammed.
Mac shook his head. "Danny, it's a good thing if it helps us catch more bad guys," he said plainly.
Danny glared. "I don't care if it is, Mac! Today's another day of pick if you want me at my desk or in the field. I've got too much new paperwork to deal with."
"I second that motion," Sheldon offered as he joined them. "Though at a lower volume since I'm sure they're all pouting."
"So!" Danny demanded. "How many reports did you get? Height of the stack."
"About ten inches," he admitted. Mac gave him a horrified look. "That's from all the labs. I think they're all current, Mac." He walked off, stopping in ballistics. "Thank you, Xander. You slave very well for us and we do appreciate it, even though Danny's clearly got female issues today."
Xander pouted at him. "Mac said we needed to up our stats this month."
"He did, and hopefully we'll be able to go find people by tomorrow." He smiled at him. "You do good work."
"Thank you. Now shoo before I have to unleash the new t-shirt I found when Dave made me go play in the park last night."
"Let me see," he offered.
Xander undid his lab coat, showing him the new t-shirt. 'A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course, and no-one can talk to a corpse, of course. That is, of course, unless the corpse is the famous Mr. Dead!' was boldly proclaimed in lurid red letters on the pale pink t-shirt.
Sheldon moaned. "Show that to Sid, see how long he laughs." He walked off, shaking his head. The sad thing was, the theme song's tune had went along when he had started to read it.
"Is it a threat or a promise?" Don demanded. "Because I think all that new paperwork was a threat personally."
"No, it's just weird," Sheldon promised. "You just gotta read it for yourself, Don." He ran into Mac and Danny, slapping Danny on the arm. "You've made him pout so much he's moved into strange and dangerous." He walked off, nearly pouting. Xander was going to give everyone headaches and they'd all come to him for something to take for them.
Mac walked into ballistics. "T-shirt, Xander?"
"Why should I?"
"I just got here. That was Danny complaining about papercuts and reading headaches. Let me see." Xander took off his coat and Mac read, then reread, then whimpered and walked off to take something for the headache he knew he'd have soon. He came back. "When you're clear for the day, go help Gibbs hunt down that Marine he served with." Then he went to take something for the headache.
Mortty came down, reading it, then burst out in cackles. "I love that one! Where did you get it!"
"A small shop near the park. I'll take you tonight." He beamed at Danny when he came in. "I get to hunt."
"I heard. Don't dump that much paperwork on us all at once, okay? Give it out in large chucks through the day so we quit overlapping and getting confused." He read the shirt and whimpered. "I don't wanna know." He walked off shaking his head.
"Xander, which shirt are you wearing?" David called from the break room. That many people with incipient headaches could only be caused by his mate, and the only reason this early would be his shirt of the day.
"My Mr. Ed shirt."
"What Mr. Ed shirt!" He came out and met Xander half way, then moaned and walked off. "Change, Xander! Before the nice people with the pretty jacket with all the buckles show up again!"
"They've shown up before now?" he asked, looking confused. "When? You never told me they showed up to give me the pretty jacket with the extra long sleeves."
"I ran them off with Ray's help. Change!"
"Yes, dear." He ducked into the break room to get a candy bar, but Don walked in and pulled him away, pushing the coin return button for him before he drug him back to ballistics and shoved him inside. "Dave said I had to change."
"Changing doesn't require a candy bar." He looked at his shirt and moaned. "What's in your locker?"
"My vest and some sealed scrubs that're sterile and staying that way?" One of the other techs stuck his head in, then burst out cackling before leaving. "See, he likes my shirt and Mortty likes my shirt. Greggy liked my shirt too."
Gibbs walked in and stared, then moaned and walked off shaking his head. "Harris, you're helping me. Hurry up."
"Yes, Gibbs." He got back to work with his two guns leftover from night shift, then hurried after him to help him hunt down the Marine hiding in the woods outside the city. He hadn't gotten to hunt in a while and he was getting rusty. He needed the practice time. Gibbs even let him have two candy bars and a large soda to take with him. It was much appreciated. Running through the woods was hard work, especially when you weren't armed. Much. It was nearly four when they found the guy and Xander tapped him on the shoulder, giving him a manic grin. "Tag, you're it! Thank you! I needed that practice. You're a great playmate. Can we go again?"
The guy stared at him. "Who are you?"
"Harris, NYPD. And that's Gibbs, NCIS. It's like alphabet soup some days, but he's a bastard and I'm a hunter, so we work well together." Then he beamed. "Now, pack your camp and let's go. Before I have to prove I can out-bastard him and whine him into letting me hurt you." He smiled sweetly. "Please?" The guy scrambled to pack his kit at Gibbs's glare. "Awww, man! No one thinks I'm scary anymore."
"I do," Gibbs assured him, clapping him on the back. "I think you're very scary, Xander. Mostly because I think you might be contagious, especially around DiNozzo and Abby, but I think you're very scary." Xander beamed at that and helped by taking the Marine's bag and hiking back while Gibbs handcuffed him and led their suspect back. "Got any weapons around here? He loves weapons."
"I found a stash from someone named Sonny," he offered. Xander dropped the bag and stared him down. He swallowed. He didn't like that look. "It's in a cave up the hill."
"I need that," Xander said quietly, moving closer. "Where up the hill? Lead me to it and I'll drive instead of Gibbs. He drives like it's a pursuit. I'm more normal there."
"Um, sure." He let Gibbs get his bag while he led Xander to the stash. He didn't like the look of unholy glee that came over his face or the wicked, evil cackle that came out. Or even the phone call he made.
"Mac, our Marine found a stash of guns that belonged to some guy named Sonny. No, I don't have my field kit. You said you wanted him hunted down and he packed his camp into his duffle and backpack. Please? Thank you. Expect a hike." He hung up and texted the GPS coordinates from his watch's readout, then looked at Gibbs. "I need to stay here. Go lock him in the car and I'll drive."
"Taylor can drive him back," he offered, leading him off. "Any others? He's a ballistics tech and a weapon's guy."
"That's all I found but this was my fallback spot. They nearly found my other one in the city."
"Yeah, Taylor said you led him on a merry chase."
The guy shrugged. "I tried, Gunny."
"Too hard, Corporal. Too hard." He got him back to the car about the same time as the trucks pulled up. He put the gear bag into the trunk and pointed at one of the officers. "He's Taylor's prisoner. Watch him, watch his bag. Or else I'm handing Harris a box of candy bars and locking you in the gym with him."
"Torture is not legal," Don said as he walked past him. "How far up?"
Gibbs pointed. "See the shiny spot? Ten meters past that on that same trail. Take the left fork, it's an easier climb."
"Gee, you're all heart." He headed up that way, taking the easier trail. It wasn't much easier but Xander was chattering with Mac by the time he got up there, even being out of breath. "I need to run more often," he panted, bending down. Stella patted him on the back. "No fair, you're not huffing."
"I stopped for rest breaks, Don. Besides, I watched where you nearly fell since I was staring at your butt again." She smiled and he grinned back. "Okay, what's inside?" Xander led them up to the cave, letting them see. "That's a grenade launcher."
"It is," Mac agreed. "Who saw it, Xander?"
"Gibbs' Marine buddy."
"Okay. Was that cave his?" Xander nodded. "Good. Take the spare camera, go do that scene for me."
"He told Gibbs it was his fallback position. He had one in the city."
"I found that one. Go document that other scene since I can't let you near this one. After all, you did try to dismantle him."
Xander shrugged and took Stella's camera, heading off checking it to make sure it was on auto focus and the flash was on. Gibbs joined him with a curious look. "I kinda beat up on the potential owner of those weapons. He was coming after my family and had my house robbed. I wasn't happy that he took my babies. Or kicked my dog."
Gibbs shook his head. "So you can't work that one, but you can this one?"
"Yeah, I'm just a bloodhound for him." He shrugged and got to work. He finally looked at him. "Here, you take pictures, I'll gather other evidence. That way I know they're not blurry and off-center." Gibbs nodded, taking the camera to do that part of the job while Xander opened the kit to take other evidence and do a sketch.
Don came down. "Why aren't you doing pictures, Xander?"
"Because only having one eye means that my depth perception is off and even with the auto focus feature on I take fuzzy pictures. That leaves defense lawyers an opening about tampering when they have to clean them up. Everyone else on the team realizes that and lets me do everything else." He looked at him. "I can work alone but Mac said I'm not allowed."
"Fine. I understand. At least it's reasonable." He headed back up there. "Gibbs is doing the photos." Mac frowned. "He said something about blurry pictures?"
"Yeah, he does take them," he admitted.
"Mac, the guy's only got one eye, of course he does," Stella complained. "Especially since he should probably have his eye checked. He's squinting in the labs now and then. And yes, with the auto focus on, he takes really blurry ones." Mac nodded, he had seen those.
"He said defense lawyers could challenge it," Don admitted.
"They can and probably have," he agreed, getting back to work. "That's fine. Gibbs knows what he's doing. He does the same job." His phone rang and he answered it. "Detective Taylor." He listened. "He's down the hill from us, Tony. We had a Marine who went sniper in the city and he and Xander hunted him down for us once he was done with the last case. He had served with him. They're doing that crime scene right now." He smiled. "Sure, I'll have him call you, Tony. Thank you for letting us borrow him." He hung up and walked out of the cave. "Gibbs, call DiNozzo. He said he got a lead on a cold case of yours."
Mac went back to work. This was something else that would keep Sonny in jail for a very long time as long as they could tie him back to it.
Xander walked in the next morning and smiled at the people staring at his shirt. They all knew the t-shirt code by now. One would see a threat and pass it around. The stranger ones that would lead to people standing around to read and stare in confusion however, which was kinda fun. Today's though, today's was special. He knew that one of the women he worked with would be taking it home tonight. He grinned at the people who came back to read it a second time and shrugged. "I'm having one of *those* days."
"Obviously," Danny called, walking off shaking his head with a small moan. "Mac, you gotta read the shirt of the day. It's not a threat!"
Mac came out and read it. 'Things you should never, under any circumstances, say to a woman--"No, no, NO! You're doing it all wrong. Here, let me show you."' He moaned and shook his head. "Xander!"
"What? It's a nice shirt and very practical advice, Mac." He grinned at him. "I learned that lesson the one time I tried it. This way, others know not to do the same thing I did." He grinned and hugged Stella, who stared at his shirt, then cackled and nodded. "I learned the one time I tried to do it with woodworking stuff. Never, ever tell Buffy she's doing something wrong."
Mortty came up and looked at it, then walked closer to untuck it and take it off him and back to her lab, putting it up on the wall with some thumbtacks.
Xander shrugged, looking down at his spare t-shirt that he had been wearing underneath. Entropy - it's a tough job, but somebody's got to undo it.
"Ah, someone did listen in physics," Stella praised, beaming at him. "We need to get Mortty a frame for that shirt." She went to help her find one online.
"Don't you dare write a requisition for it," Mac called, looking at Xander. "Must you?"
"You want us to get over fifty percent? Yeah, I must, and I might even change at lunch time." He headed into his lab, finding the small stack of guns. "Awwww, someone loves me," he cooed, patting the top of a box. "Don't worry, babies, Uncle Xander will take good care of you before we find out what idiot used you."
Danny walked in to look at this one, then snickered. "I like that one. It's sane and normal. Sane and normal is good, Xander." He walked off, going to tell the cops about the t-shirt switch so they could quit laughing. "Guys, Mortty pulled the other one off him and hung it in DNA," he offered. "He's wearing a better one now. Entropy - it's a tough job, but somebody's got to undo it."
Ray Vecchio's eyes went wide. "No, not the entropy shirts! No, no no! Stan!"
"Going," he called, getting up to head down there.
"What's wrong with entropy?" Danny asked.
"His entropy shirts means he's in a playful mood and chaos will reign. That's what entropy is according to another one."
"Kinda," Danny admitted. "So that's a bad thing?"
Ray called David. "He's wearing one of his entropy t-shirts. Fix it!" Stan came back pale. "What?"
"He's going into the field. With Mac."
"Mac can keep him outta trouble," Danny promised, looking at Don, who shrugged. "It'll be fine, guys. New York thrives on chaos." Both Rays gave him a look like he was insane. "Fine, you guys cower up here. We'll show you it'll be okay." David stomped in. "He's going out with Mac."
"I saw and warned. I know he didn't walk out wearing that one this morning." He tossed Don a report. "Figure out why I got given slime? Please?" He looked at Danny again. "Where's his other one?"
"Mortty yanked it off him and put it in DNA."
"That's fine. Hopefully it'll be okay." He looked at Danny and Don. "They don't believe?" They shook their heads. "Well, as one of the other ones says: Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise. They'll learn the rest of the t-shirt code." He went back to his lab to hide and wait for the phone call. Because he was sure there would be one. He called Mortty, and Greg since he was down there. "He's wearing an entropy t- shirt. It was underneath the one she took off him or something." He put his head down. "He's out with Mac, Greg. Thanks." He hung up and got back to work. They didn't have the time to mope. Not if they wanted to raise the stats more.
Mac looked around at the scene, then at Xander, then at his t-shirt, shaking his head. "I got a call saying to watch out for the chaos, but I never expected to have a parade around us while we processed!" he called over the noise.
"It's a coincidence, Mac."
"There's no such thing, Xander. You know that. Everything is connected."
Xander looked at him. "I'm flattered that you think I'm that powerful, but not even I can spontaneously create a Pride parade out of thin air, Mac. Wish I could some nights, just to cheer David up, but I can't." He got back to work, taking pictures. Mac was taking his own, just in case Xander's came up bad like usual. "Did you hand in the tie study?"
"I'm doing it all together, Xander."
"That's fine. Need help?"
"No, that's all right. You'd scare the mayor. A lot. Like you do the rest of us now and then." He took one last picture then took Xander's to look over. "I swear, I'm going to figure out why your auto focus doesn't work." He flipped the switch, then tried it again, handing it back. "Try that." Xander gave him an odd look. "Do it." Xander took the series of pictures over again, letting Mac check. They were worse. He moaned. "I'm going to make you buy a new camera, Xander."
"Yes, Mac. Get it approved through our purchasing committee."
"I'll talk to David later." They switched places so Mac could take pictures on that side, letting Xander pick off little bits of stuff and bag them.
Lindsey walked into DNA and looked at the shirt, then at Mortty. "That's rather sexist."
"No, it's a life's lesson," she told her happily, grinning at her. "Xander learned that lesson when he tried to teach Buffy how to hammer in a nail correctly to hold up a board over a window. He ended up with a concussion from the hammer." She looked around. "What do I have of yours?"
"I'm down to get stuff for Danny."
"Okay, I've got tons of stuff for Danny, including some shit he wanted to see if there were other biologicals in. Which is what I'm running." Lindsey gave her an odd look. "Literally." She held up the swab container, getting a grimace and a shudder. She shrugged. "Which one was he looking for? Night shift was off last night and I'm just now getting to today's."
"I'll have him call." She walked out, going back to where Danny was. He gave her a sideways look then went back to his microscope. "She said night shift was off last night and she's just now getting to today's and your excrement sample."
"Rape kit," he said absently. "That's fine. I can wait another few hours." He pulled back and rubbed his eyes, then put down his glasses. He looked at her. "What?"
"Did you see that shirt?"
"Yeah, and it's the truth. Men who say things like that get hit with somethin'. I'm sure Xander got clobbered by at least one of those girls of his."
"She said Buffy hit him with a hammer."
"Doesn't really surprise me." He shrugged. Greg came in laughing and hugged him, whispering in his ear. Danny burst out laughing. "Okay, so maybe Dave was right," he admitted. "What parade?"
"Not a clue, man. Not a freakin' clue." He walked off, going to tell that to David. "Hey, David, Mac and Xander's case will have a lot of stuff for you. Fair warning."
"Why?" he moaned.
"They were in the middle of a parade." David moaned and put his head down on his table. "Xander called to warn me. He thought it was cute Mac blamed him for the parade."
"In one of his entropy t-shirts? I'm not surprised. I'll make him change at lunch," he complained. He pulled his head up and took the post-it off his forehead. "Thank you for the warning, Greg. Anything else?"
"Nope, not yet. Got mine done?" The report stack was pointed at. He found his two and brought Danny's back for him. "From Dave. He'll make Xander change t-shirts at lunch before it gets more chaosy around here." He walked off smiling and happy. "Yes! Love you, David!"
"I'm married, dumbass, and you're engaged to a woman!" floated out of Trace.
Stella squealed and hugged him. "You're engaged?"
"Popped the question two days ago," he said with a grin. "She's very nice, Stella, but Gods can she ride my ass now and then. She learned well at Xander's knee." She giggled and hugged him again. "Thanks. We haven't set a date yet or anything. We're at the 'yeah, let's do that' stage. We might even run back to Vegas and do it there but invite others out or to a party when we get back."
"That's fine." She patted him on the cheek. "David?"
"Moping. Xander was wearing an entropy t-shirt underneath the one Mortty stole and those usually mean chaos is coming one way or another." He shrugged. "Mac and Xander's scene was apparently in the middle of a parade."
"Yeah, a gay parade," she said fondly. "Mac's going to need an ice pack. One of them pouted at Xander, who pulled out a picture of his wedding and made some of the drag queens float squeal." She walked on, going to see Danny. "I see you're slaving away. Is that my sample?"
"Nope, mine. Yours was next on my plate, Stella."
"Thanks, Danny. Let me grab a jacket and I'll be right back."
"Sure." He looked at her. "What sort of parade?"
"Gay pride. Mac's ass is swollen from all the pinching." She smirked and walked off.
"Well, who wouldn't want a man like Mac if they were gay," Danny agreed. Monroe gaped at him. "It'd be like dating a guy like Gibbs or Xander, though I don't think Gibbs *is*, but a good minority of the gay guys I know want someone well built, kinda tough, and strong enough to drive 'em through a wall if it got that hot and heavy. All three of those guys could."
"You have no idea, Xander's mostly a bottom, and Mac will spank you when she tells him you said that," David said from the doorway. "Can I have yours back?" Danny found it and handed it back. "Put it in the wrong pile. That's Sheldon's." He went to change them out, bringing him his so he could go get another drink. Then he came back and went back to work.
Mac flopped into his seat with a moan of complaint.
"Want an ice pack?" Danny teased. Mac glared at him. "We all heard, Mac, and I'm betting a lot of them would want a guy like you. You're strong, well-built. Could probably drill 'em through the wall if it got that hot and heavy. I'm telling you I said this earlier before Monroe can come nark." He tossed over the ice pack in his hand. "You sound like you need it."
"Xander got beads and candy," he complained. "And I'm still straight."
"Sure, not saying you weren't, just why they'd like you."
Mac snorted. "Too much." He sat on the ice pack with a sigh. "Thank you, Danny. Anything good?"
"Mortty managed to rule out every person in CODIS for my rape kit. She's searching further out. Monroe hated the t-shirt Mortty stole. She came up to complain it was sexist. David is going to make Xander change t-shirts since he said any of the entropy ones means that chaos will happen."
"I knew the parade was his fault," he complained mildly. "Thank you. Anything else?"
"Your voicemail light is flashing."
"Thanks." He pushed the button and input his code, listening to it. He moaned. "The mayor's coming down today."
"On it," Danny said, going to spread that around. "Guys!" he yelled. "Mayor's coming down sometime soon!"
"Change, Xander!" someone yelled from up the hall.
"Already done!" he called back, coming out of ballistics. He shrugged. "I liked the parade." Danny snickered at that, walking off shaking his head to tell the others. Xander went back to work, ignoring the people who came in to look at his shirt to make sure it wasn't *too* bad. 'I'm very responsible, when ever something goes wrong they always say I'm responsible' was good enough for the mayor with the case those two had just pulled. At least until Mac saw it and made him change.
The mayor stopped in ballistics, finding Xander in there writing a report. "Well, it looks like this lab is caught up. Unlike DNA."
"DNA's nightshift person was off last night. Mortty's doing the work of two techs," Xander said absently, then saved it down. He looked at him. "Mr. Mayor, I'm told I was to give you this report that Mac asked me to write on some research about ties in the labs?" He handed over the papers and pictures. "Come on in, sir. I'm clear for another few minutes as long as I get this report finished."
"How many did you have today?"
"It was a light day, I only had ten guns and a rifle." The man blinked at that. "Plus I was out in the field to help Mac during the parade." He turned, and saw the mayor noticed his shirt. "Read the report first, sir. I'm the method of stress relief around here."
"I'd say. Yoda of Borg are we: Futile is resistance. Assimilate you, we will. That's not exactly professional, CSI..."
"Harris, sir." That got a surprised look. "This job is stressful enough without making us grim little pod people. Let's face it, we see dead bodies. A lot of dead bodies. Every day. Some very gruesome dead bodies and some very young dead bodies, and then we see the ones that we have to reconstruct to make sure they were human and not hamburger originally." He shuddered at that. "You wanted us to wear ties. There have been six very good studies about dress codes in the labs. Yes, field techs have to be decent enough to not get laughed at. Mac's the only CSI I know, well and Horatio Caine, who can wear a *jacket* on a scene. Not when you're on your knees, usually next to or in the pool of blood to gather things. Not when you're crawling in dirt or under bushes. Or even on the sidewalks because, hey, not that clean either. That's why most of us wear nicer jeans. They wash. Unless you want to give us a laundry allowance for dry cleaning?"
"The budget is a bit tight," he admitted, looking at the report. "Someone studied ties?"
"Of course they did. They did it starting back in the fifties when it was procedure that everyone wore one to work. The problem becomes that ties become infected because you can't keep them from hitting things on a scene or in the lab. Then it transfers. And in a job like mine, where I get gunpowder on *everything* there's no way. If I had to wear a tie, I'd transfer gunshot residue all over this building every time I went to hand reports over or to get a drink." Sheldon leaned in. "Ten minutes. It did have two matches but I'm not quite finished with the report."
"That's fine. I can come back. It's my secondary case. Need a soda?"
"That'd be great." He grinned and Sheldon headed off. He turned back to his computer and checked it over, then typed in his last few paragraphs and printed it while the older man read. He stapled it together and traded it and a dollar he pulled out of his pocket for his soda, winking at Sheldon, who read his t-shirt and smiled, heading out. "See?"
The mayor looked at him. "I do. What about on scenes."
"Did you see Detective Messer?"
"I did, but he was heading out."
Xander got up and leaned out. "Is Danny still here?" Stella nodded from up the hall. "Can I borrow him?"
"He's in Trace, Xander."
"Thanks." He walked back in and called. "Can I borrow Danny? Thanks, dear." He hung up and smiled at the shocked look. "My husband runs Trace. I'm married to David."
"Oh. I didn't...." Danny skipped in. "All right, that's not that dirty and nasty," he admitted.
"I haven't been out today," he complained. He looked at Xander, then back at the mayor. "Yes, I usually wear these or dockers. They wash. A decent enough shirt that also washes. Unless you want to give us a clothing and dry cleaning allowance? Because I've ruined cotton shirts on some scenes, much less something nicer that cost more than five bucks."
Xander nodded. "I went out earlier in these pants, a different t-shirt, and my CSI vest," he agreed. "We were in the middle of the gay pride parade." The mayor looked at him. "Detective Taylor was a great hit with the parade goers and they all respected both of us. Of course, they thought he was a detective detective while I was the crime scene guy, but then again he was wearing a jacket."
The mayor looked at the pictures attached to the report and grimaced. "What are these?"
"Representative samples of the less messy half of our cases, Mr. Mayor. The second one was about what we had this morning. They're all from my last three cases. Um, never mind, three out of four cases. One of them was a hamburger case. Guy was chopped up and I had to help retrieve stuff out of the drain he was shoving it down."
"Why?" he asked weakly.
"Because I worked construction for three years before going to college."
"Oh. I see." He swallowed and went back to the main report. Then he looked at Danny. "How long have you been a CSI?"
"Do you think dressing like Detective Taylor would improve your stats?"
"Frankly, sir, we're fifth in stats nationwide," he said honestly and dryly. "There's only eight labs that make it to the fortieth percent point for two week solve rate routinely. That's considered phenomenal. Only two of them get above forty-five."
"This last week, Mac's asked us to bust our asses to get above it," Xander admitted. "That's why you're going to be paying me twenty hours of overtime this week. We're at forty-two. We were at thirty-nine before then I think. It's been a busy week. Only two of the other labs in that group of eight are major labs. The others are all relatively small ones for smaller cities. Smaller state capitols that would maybe hold a borough if you're being generous." The mayor nodded at that. "We've all busted our ass in our own clothes, just like my t-shirts. Putting me in a dress shirt would slow me down, a lot. Some of the techs manage dress shirts and jeans. I can't stand how they feel and I'm the stress relief for the lab because it's a bad thing we see now and then."
He hopped up and came out of the lab, coming out to find one of the SWAT guys coming up the halls. "Problems?"
"One of our guys is going in front of a shooting review."
"I'm clear, I can do it now." He smiled and handed over the box. "Did you confiscate all of them so he doesn't go over tonight?"
"I did, they're in my desk, Harris." He looked at him. "You did that?"
"All the time," he agreed quietly. "The same as my husband does for me when I have to." That got a nod. "We even took pocket knives. We shared a precinct with one."
"I understand why, kid. I need to know which of those guns shot the guy." Xander nodded, taking them back there. "Bullet's in Hammerback's possession."
"I'll get it once I've got exemplars," Xander promised. "Thanks, Chief." He called down there once the box was on the table. "Sid, Xander. I've got to do a quick match for SWAT. A shooting for a review panel. I need it ASAP. So as soon as you pull it, call, please?" He smiled. "That's fine. Just make sure I can match it." He hung up and called Sheldon. "Sid's backed up." He grinned. "I know your last case was a kid, Sheldon. I thought you could use the stress relief." He smirked. "Thanks. Yeah, he's got one I need for a SWAT review panel. Thanks, man." He hung up and got to work. "Sorry, gotta start with this, sir." He took the box into the firing pen, then came back to get a pen, tags for the guns, and envelopes for the bullets. Then his jacket, which got a grimace. "Gunpowder gets everywhere. Danny, it's going to be a cloud."
"That's fine, I can take him on and let him ask questions of the others." He walked the mayor off. "You know, two of my last six have been in the park and crawling under bushes, sir."
"Is it always like that?"
"Yup. Xander keeps us up when things start to look bad to us. Sheldon's last two cases were kids. One was an accidental one and the other was an intentional one. Xander's kept him from going off the deep end and internalizing it. He does it for all of us. Xander was our best poach to date, sir."
"Where did we get him from?"
"Chicago. We got him, his husband, our DNA tech Mortty, Greg Sanders, and two detectives from them when they started to abuse Xander."
"I see." He looked at him. "You're serious about the statistics?"
"We are. Vegas and Miami both ride the two week line a lot. Most labs think it's great when they hit thirty-five. We pout when we don't hit forty or really close. There's been a few months when we had so many bodies we couldn't hit twenty. You get turns like that." They ran into Mac. "Xander got handed stuff from SWAT for a review panel."
"I heard. He gave you his report?"
"He did. It's well documented." He looked at Mac. "Isn't he the one without the Masters?"
Mac nodded. "Xander had some problems with school and some of the required classes. He's a genius in ballistics and he can minor in trace. He knows how to run the tests in DNA if he has to help over there on a major case. The others? He's the sort who knows what he's supposed to do in those areas but doesn't get why most of the time. He's a ballistics tech with a minor in trace and the field. We appreciate Xander for his areas of genius."
"That's fine. Would more education help?"
Danny coughed. "He had a gang member tutoring him in the mandatory economics classes he had ta take, sir," he offered dryly. "Xander's an excellent tech but he's a hands-on guy. That's why his areas are guns and trace. It's very hands on and practical application. Not the more esoteric of DNA and the various ways you can split it. Not the ways of fingerprints, which can be problematic. He can put samples in and run them, he can get prints off things, but that's as far as he can. That's basic levels of competency. That's all we require outta our areas."
"I really don't think sending him to further education would help his areas any more," Mac admitted. "I might ask him to go take further chemistry classes or maybe a higher level Trace class through the local program but that would be in-line with keeping his skills current and continuing education." That got a nod. "He's one of the best ballistics techs in the country. He trained under one and loves the other like a sister. The two guys on the west coast and he have differences of opinions but they realize he's an expert in some things. They called him about crossbows the other day from what Xander was bragging." Danny nodded at that. "I really don't think anything other than continuing education would help him and with our hours here, it'd be almost impossible for him to do that and work full time for us."
"I can understand that. He seemed very knowledgeable about things." He looked at Mac's outfit, then at Danny's, then back at Mac. "Do you find problems with what you wear to scenes?"
"To be honest, sir, there's been plenty of cases I've changed into a pair of jeans for. Then again, I can afford to replace clothes if I ruin some due to my higher pay. My staff works best when they can decide these things for themselves. The same as Mortty's happier in goth gear and a spiked dog collar." He nodded, he had seen her. "She's one of the better DNA techs. She's rated fifteenth in the country I think. Her cousin Abby is the one that's rated top overall from NCIS. I let my staff be themselves and they reward me by working their tails off for me."
"Fuck!" Xander yelled.
"And they occasionally swear," Danny offered, heading that way with Mortty beating him. "Xander?"
"Misfire. I'm fine." He got helped to the sink to clean out the injury. "I'm fine, guys. Mac, the one on the floor under the firing table is jammed. It misfired."
"I'll check it, Xander. You okay?"
"Burned. I think I got some shrapnel scrapes too." He held up his hand. "I'll be fine in a minute."
"That's fine. I'll come help you in here while someone looks that over." He put a hand on Mortty's head since she was babbling into the phone. "It's a scrape and burn, Mortty. We don't need an ambulance. We need Sheldon if he's not down in the morgue." She nodded, hanging up and hurrying that way. David came walking in. "Misfire," he offered, going to check the gun.
"It's not the first." He nudged Danny out of the way. "Go cover Trace. I've got him." That got a nod and Danny headed up there. "Let's see, baby," he soothed, pulling the hand out from under the water. "Flash powder burn and some little pieces of metal." He found some gloves and a pair of tweezers, pulling a stool over with his foot for both of them. He pulled down a paper towel and got to work plucking out the small pieces of metal he could find, saving them for later. He rinsed between plucking. Finally he could feel a few pieces but not see them. "Okay, you've still got a few, but they're deeper than I can get." He reached over, calling Mortty. "Where are they?" He nodded. "That'll work." He hung up and called down there. "Sid, did you want him down there? I plucked out most of them but he's got a few deeper ones and we need the burn cream. That's fine. Yeah, that's probably what he's working on. Thanks, Sid." He hung up and stuck his hand back under the water, taking off the gloves and moving to DNA to get some of the alcohol pads. "Some small bits and pieces, he's fine," he soothed, giving her a hug. She sniffled and nodded. "It happens. Someone's a dead person when I tell the commander that it jammed that way." He found what he needed and brought it back, finding Sheldon in there. "Here," he said, handing over the pads.
"Thanks, David. Nice work."
"My last one was just a flash burn," Xander admitted bitterly, looking at his hand. He looked away. "Go ahead." He let David hold his head against his chest while Sheldon dug out the deeper pieces. A few presses, some more water, one more piece. Some more prodding. Water. Then the water was turned off. Xander looked. "It all out?"
"It's all out. You'll be fine." He dried it with a clean papertowel, patting it gently. "It's not really bleeding. Let me slap some cream on here and then we'll wrap it up, Xander."
"I've got to get this done. It's for a shooting review."
"Then we'll do it so you can wear gloves over it," he promised.
"I've got my firing gloves under the table," Xander admitted. "In the drawer." David got them and Sheldon wrapped the bandage over the injury, letting Xander put on that glove, then the latex one over it. "Thanks, guys."
"Not a problem, Xander." He gathered the bits and pieces up, putting it into an envelope. "In case it's necessary. You probably know the first aid for those things. Let me see it tomorrow just in case." Xander nodded so Sheldon smiled. "Good boy. Good work, David." He patted him on the arm. Then he ducked in to see Mac. "He'll be fine. Flash burn mostly. A few little pieces and I extracted the deeper ones for him. They're all in an envelope for you. We wrapped it, he put his target gloves overtop of the bandage and latex over it."
"That's fine. Thank you, Sheldon." He smiled at him. Sheldon smiled and nodded, going to write a short report on that for him. He knew Mac would want one. "Xander?" He came in to look over his arm. "This came from SWAT?"
"That was in the box from him, Mac. It was my third or fourth."
"Okay, I'll let you do the comparison and log in the guns. I'll do the test fires." Xander nodded, going to do that with the exemplars he had and the guns he had done. Mac put that one specially aside. He wanted to tell the commander himself.
The mayor slipped out, going to talk to Danny again. "He's fine."
"Of course he is. He's Xander. He's always fine. He got radiated by a dirty bomb and he's still fine," he said, looking at him. "Even if we do occasionally joke about him glowing now and then." David came back in. "Burn?"
"Now. Sheldon got the rest of the pieces out." He sat down and looked at the mayor. "He'll be fine. He won't want to take time off for this."
"I'd be moaning and babying myself," the Mayor offered.
"Xander's past includes some survival training," Danny said wisely. "Dave will baby him later." That got a nod from David. "Ice cream?"
"Possibly." He shrugged. "I'll see what he wants. By then he'll be whimpering in pain." He got to work on his next sample. "How many did you do?"
"The goat hairs, the cat hairs, and the bunny rabbit hairs."
"Ah, the hair sample. Get the camel or llama one?"
"I did but it's still running to see which it is." He shrugged and got back to work on what he was doing. "With all due respect, sir, you really should be covered and gloved in here."
"That's fine. I'll go back to my office and think about what you've told me. Thank you for explaining it to me."
"Not an issue," Danny said, looking at him. "We're usually more than happy to brag about what we're doin' if you wanna know. We bore most of our friends who aren't in the labs with what we do. Just know that we get stressed and uptight sometimes too and may snap during the bad ones. That's the reason we put up with Xander's t-shirts." That got a smile and the mayor patted him on the back shoulder before leaving. "It is."
"I know. I use it to gauge what sort of mood he's in." He shrugged and got back to work.
Mac looked at his staff a few days later, smiling at Xander's t-shirt - <-*-o-*-o-*-o-*-o-*--- Tribble & onion kabob. "Cute, Xander, but why would anyone want to eat a tribble?"
"Klingons would probably eat anything," he said wisely. "If not, I'm sure some other culture would." He grinned. "Are we clear?"
"We're clear. He showed up at a few of the crime scenes and was disgusted by six out of the eight he showed up on. Stella told him that the other two were freakishly neat, then one started to rain and the blood started to drip. It was enough for him to understand. We have been given permission to wear what we want, within reason. So my usual dress code rules stand." Everyone clapped. "Xander, how's your hand?"
"A little ouchy but I'm fine, Mac. I'm down to the last few spots of flash burn."
"Good. We won on that point but not on one other one. He does want us to do what we can to keep current. That includes some people going to retake classes they may have flunked in college, or going back to retake some things that may have changed."
"Aw, man, not A&P again," Xander moaned.
"No, I want you to take chemistry, Xander. Some physics if you want, but chemistry classes. That way you know more about the tests you run in trace. It can only help you in there." He pouted. "You can have Danny help you when you get stuck. Take one a semester for now. I looked at your transcript. You were taking four hard classes every semester. I'm surprised you didn't get worn out doing A&P Biology, Physics, Field Tech 1, and Chem 1 together." Danny looked at him in awe. "Even if you did have tutors for Chem. Just take one. It won't affect your present job but it could help." Xander slumped down and nodded. "There's a few good teachers at the local schools. Go to one of them, take Chem. You don't have to go to the one that has the program. I doubt you need any of the advanced, continuing ed classes." Xander shrugged at that. "Thank you."
"If I must."
"Who's paying for this?" David asked.
"Tuition reimbursement is part of the perks," Mac assured him. Danny raised an eyebrow. "The same as any of you wanting to go back and retake things would get the same benefit." Danny smirked at that. "We'll rearrange your schedules for that. Also, David, get him a camera he absolutely can't take fuzzy pictures with. Please. I'll try to get you reimbursed but he needs one. His present one can be sold to someone else. Just buy him one he can take decent field pictures with."
"I'll try," he grumped.
"Thank you." He handed down a card. "Try there first. That's where I got mine and the guy who runs it was a photographer in the military." David tucked it into his shirt pocket. "Thank you." He looked around. "All right. Other than that, he was very impressed that Mortty wasn't snacking on people. He thought the tutu skirt was cute but not really work material."
"I was wearing it over leggings."
"I realize that. We'll try to give warning so you can change into a better skirt the next time, Mortty," he offered with a smile.
"I've got one of my schoolgirl ones in my locker but I didn't have time to run and DNA is first on his list most times."
"Put it in your desk. Just in case. You know I don't care but you scared him. He thought you should be nibbling on baby parts."
"Well, I did have gingerbread arms," she offered dryly, smirking at him.
"We try not to freak him out," Danny said patiently, smirking at her. "Please? Or else he cuts our budget. Oh, Mac, I suggested a clothing or laundry allowance since we get into so much nasty crap."
"So did I," Xander admitted.
"I pointed out I could afford to replace some clothes now and then being paid more," Mac agreed. "We'll see what comes of it." He smiled at them. "Any other issues?" Lindsey raised her hand. "Yes, Lindsey?"
"The t-shirt hanging in DNA, Mac?"
"I like it," Mortty said, then cat-hissed at her. She backed away.
"I learned that lesson the hard way," Xander assured her. "I tried to tell Buffy how to hammer in a nail. I got a concussion from the hammer." She gave him a horrified look, then he looked at Stella. "You're a female and the alpha bitch of the pack. You mind it?"
"No, not at all. Jane, the nightshift DNA tech adores it. She's the one who got the frame for it." She looked at Lindsey. "What's your problem with it? Most of the women I know would get the guy trying to tell them how to do stuff. That's the New York woman's way."
"I wasn't trained that way. I was trained to take it under advisement and then ignore it."
"Yeah, well, most of New York isn't socially polite," Greg noted. "In case you haven't been flipped off today, they're not." He smirked at Danny. "I'm now at one hundred fingers!" he said proudly. "Today's was stereotypical since it came from a cabbie, but I'll take it."
Stella patted him on the back. "Congrats, Greggy." He beamed at her. "Did everyone hear he's engaged?"
"Really?" Xander asked, staring him down.
"We've decided to go ahead and take that step but not when, Xander. We were telling you this weekend."
He snorted and slumped some. "I'm going to be spanking Dawnie later."
"She'll enjoy it, you know she will," Stella teased him. He smirked and shrugged.
"Congratulations, Greg. As soon as you set a date, I want paperwork for leave. That way no one and nothing can take it from you. If it comes down to a jammed time someone with more rank or more time in can get yours canceled. If it's in there first, they can't."
"Gotcha. We're seriously talking about going out to Vegas to do that, then coming home to do the celebration for whoever couldn't fly out with us."
"I like that idea," Mac agreed, smiling at him.
"Tech's Convention's in Vegas this year," Dave said casually. Greg stared at him. David smirked. "That would get most of us out there anyway, Sanders, and the friends from Chicago and Vegas, plus the guys from Miami and Abby. She probably wouldn't mind much and you'd take a few extra days afterward for your honeymoon."
Greg smiled. "I'll suggest it tonight. Thanks, Dave. Mac?"
"That would work and it'd mean most of us could get reimbursed for the airfare." He smiled at him. "Let me know as soon as possible. Signups for that convention are next month." Greg nodded at that. "Okay, anything else?" No one said anything. "Lindsey?"
"No, if she won't take it down, I can ignore it."
"I have one," Xander offered. "How are we doing holiday gift exchange?"
"We usually do a Secret Santa," Stella offered. "We start that at the beginning of November." She looked at him. "You've already started shopping? It's barely October."
"I know that, but I get mine done early because I used to work hellish hours around the holidays with all the robberies."
"Point," she agreed, shaking her head. "We do one official gift for the office then private gifts if you want to give anyone anything." She smiled at him. "I'm sure you're a very good shopper, Xander."
"I put him on a budget," David said firmly. "Nothing from Tiffanies. The usual limit is twenty?"
"Twenty-five," Stella offered. "Let him do his normal list and then we'll pick that one early next month. He can pick it up after work one night." David nodded at that. "We do try not to give presents that would make the other person feel guilty for getting you something cheap."
"I found some great t-shirts for the guys in Miami and one for Griss. Lieutenant Welsh is getting a gift certificate to his favorite deli. The rest I'm still working on." He looked at David. "I sent Horatio the package of presents I already did for them so he can hide them in his closet. That way Eric can't snoop. I think Calleigh and Mac will like theirs."
"Me?" Mac asked.
"No, her dog, Mackenzie."
"Ah. I'm sure she will. He's a good lab dog." He smiled at him. "Try to make it reasonable gifts. Don usually works that night since he's single."
"We usually bring in coffee and snacks for the guys who do," David agreed. "Since we celebrate Solstice." He nodded at Xander.
"Dawn does too but we'll be doing the present exchange Christmas morning."
"That's how we do it too, Greg," David assured him. "That way I get my holiday and he gets his, but we have the big dinner on Solstice."
"That's what we were planning but I'm thinking about taking her out." Xander shook his head. "No?"
"No, Solstice is a restarting of the year. She'll be cleaning all day. She'll want a fire of some sort, even a fake one, and she'll want to make a dinner. Unless she's really fragged from work. Then she might accept a nice dinner somewhere that has a fireplace and looks like it's been cleaned."
"Okay. I'll look up the various holiday rituals." He smiled at him and looked at Mac again. "Do we light a Menorah around here too?"
"We have a group of officers who have one downtown. They all go down there each night for the lighting." Everyone nodded at that. "Xander, you're about the only Pagan on staff." Mortty snorted. "Sorry." She shrugged. "Will either of you complain about holiday decorations?"
"The tree, tinsel, and lights all started out Pagan, Mac. Why would we complain about you guys decorating for our holiday?" Mortty said dryly. "I will walk *far* around any manger scene but lights, tinsel, and a tree are ours originally. You guys took them when you came to civilize us."
He smiled. "That's fine. We usually do have an angel on a tree."
"So?" she asked, looking at Xander, who shrugged. "We're flexible about that. I know Xander escorted one of the Jewish cops back in Chicago because he was having problems after an injury. We're not the picky ones. Can I put up the giant singing Santa?"
"Please, no," Greg moaned. "Especially not yours, Mortty." Everyone stared at him and she pouted. "She made hers sing Goth-versions of the holiday carols, guys."
"I liked the rap ones she added in last year," Xander offered. "I have no idea who got a rap group to do _Grandma Got Run Over By A Drive-by_." Greg put his head down and shook it on the table. "I did!"
"I know you did," David said, patting him on the arm. "Mortty, honey, carols are annoying after the first ten renditions."
"He can say other things."
"Yes, I remember you having him say _Merry Christmas to my Bitches_ last year," he offered. He patted her too. Just like he did when he thought his mate was delusional or going that way.
"If it gets that annoying, we'll go stick it by Don's desk," Xander said, shrugging. "They could use some levity."
Mac had a sudden vision of Don jumping when a rap version of a carol started next to his desk and shook his head quickly. "No, Xander. He'd kill you."
"Stan liked it," he defended, pouting a bit. "Ray went off about how we were destroying a good, solid Catholic holiday. So I got him a book on how his faith stole it. He was not amused. He read it, but he wasn't amused."
"You got him one on the origins of Easter too," David reminded him.
"I did." He leered at him.
"There is no way you're going to get me to dance and revel in a field, then fornicate outside to hype the fertility of the earth, Xander. Don't even try," David said firmly. Greg squeaked at that. "Beltane, Greg."
"I know," he moaned. "Mac, I'll need that night off," he said into the table. "She'll nag if I don't."
"I'll try, Greg." He shook his head and made that note too. Also to get those books from Ray. "Anything else?"
"Can I make candle cookies?" Mortty asked.
"As long as you put them out, keep them up, let them beg when they run down, and put out an ingredient list in case anyone's allergic," Mac told her. She nodded, accepting that. "That rule goes for any other holiday food. Though those of us on duty usually do some sort of dinner. Last year it was Chinese. The year before that it was pot-luck. We'll talk about that at the beginning of December. Xander, needless to say, you can buy yours. We won't be offended."
"Thank you, I don't bake," David assured him. Xander pouted at him. "Except for cookies for pouty here. Anything else? I've got to get him home and straightened out for a while again." No one said anything. "Mac?"
"Not a thing. Thanks, guys." They nodded and traipsed out. Mac went to see Ray Vecchio since he should still be in and getting ready to head home. He found him swearing at his computer. "Eat another report?"
"We had a power blink in here." He grimaced and found it, reopening it. He looked up. "What?"
"We were talking about the holidays. Xander wanted to know about the Secret Santa that we do. He said you have some books?"
He snorted and pulled them out of his desk. "I can't bring 'em home, Ma complains," he said, handing them over. "It's pretty much the same, just take God outta it and that's the Pagan Solstice. Dinner and all."
"Okay. We agreed that the tree, tinsel, and candles or lights were fine."
"Hmm. Mortty's candle cookies look funny but they're great. Stan pigged himself sick last year."
"I'll keep that in mind. Anything else I should know from the last one in Chicago?"
"Yeah, if I see that stupid santa of hers, I'm shooting it," he growled. "Seriously."
"We've got one in storage," Mac offered.
"She'll change the soundtrack. Fair warning. I never wanna hear another grunge version of 'Oh, Come All Ye Faithful' ever again, Mac."
"I'll keep that in mind, Ray. Thank you."
"Ehh. Watch out if you're putting up a manger scene."
"No, we don't usually. A tree, some lights, some tinsel or garlands, but nothing else."
"They'll want a live one, but Xander's practical. She'll pout but relent."
"Okay. Anything else?" Ray shook his head. "Have you guys heard anything bad about the t-shirt she's got in DNA?"
"Some guys agreed that their wives would kill 'em if they tried to tell 'em how ta do something. Otherwise? Nope. A few guys thought it was cute. Then again, they think Mortty's cute." He smirked and shrugged. "We're all good. Xander will work that night since he doesn't celebrate."
Don walked in. "When?"
"Xander doesn't celebrate Christmas?"
"He's Pagan, Don," Mac reminded him. "Him and Mortty both."
"Okay, so trees and stuff are bad?"
"Trees and stuff started out as theirs," Ray offered. "If you take that holiday and strip the religion outta it, that's the Pagan Solstice celebration. Dinner and all."
"Okay," he agreed, nodding at that. "As long as we can have a tree, food, and all that stuff."
"We can. They even said they could stand the angel on top of the tree. They only thing they'd protest was a manger scene."
"Works for me. I don't think that belongs at work anyway," Don agreed. "Hey, Ray, you wanna go to Midnight Mass with me and Pops?"
"Sure, if I'm here. Ma wants me home." He shrugged. "We'll have to see how that works out."
"Sure. If you're here, let me know." He looked at Mac. "Any other no-nos?"
"Just the manger according to them."
"Mortty's candle cookies look funny but they're great," Ray told him. "But watch out for any talking decorations. Mortty has a way of changing soundtracks. Rap songs, goth songs, things that shouldn't be said by Stan's talking angel desk ornament. Last year, she made his say 'drop trou, it's time for the body cavity search'. Shocked everyone since it's a cherub angel statue." Don snickered at that. "So anything talking watch out for."
"We've agreed, if she gets into our talking santa, it's coming up here," Mac offered, walking off. "Thanks for the lending, Ray."
"Not a problem, Mac." He looked at him. "A rap version of 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer', Don. Watch out for anything talking."
"Sure. We've got a few Jewish officers in patrol."
Ray shrugged. "Xander went with one last year. He was injured and couldn't drive. He's respectful but annoyed by some things."
"That's fine. I'd be annoyed by some things too. Hell, I am annoyed by most carols after a day or so. Plus the bell ringers." Ray nodded at that. "Why were they talking holidays?"
"Our lab wasn't just felonies," Ray reminded him dryly. "Xander was our hard-working ballistics tech during the holiday robbery season too."
"Ahhh. So he's nearly done?"
"Probably starting. Maybe halfway. He'll use his overtime from last week for it." That got a grin. "You hear? The mayor said they could be themselves."
"So more Xander t-shirts?" Ray nodded. "Okay then. Hey, you hear about Mac going off on the SWAT commander?" Ray nodded. "Why?"
"Xander got burned by a misfire from one of their guns. Mac found it dirty, jammed, and nasty inside. He went to rip him a new one and they ripped the officer a new one together," he said dryly, looking at him. "I heard Dave say he had ta pick small bits outta his hand from it."
"Eww. He okay?"
"Yeah. It's down to a small burn," Xander offered as he came in. He looked at Don. "Would you rather have music, something cute, or a t-shirt?"
"A t-shirt or something cute." He grinned. "Are you doing your lab?" Xander nodded. "Garland?"
"Yup, living ones. Ray?"
"Anything's fine, Xander. You know I'm not that picky." Xander kissed him on the head. "Gee, thanks."
"It'll make hair grow on you. A few lesbians told me that I was man enough to make hair grow on them." He grinned at Don. "You're sure?" Don nodded. "Cool, because I found the *perfect* gift but David thought it was corny." He skipped out through their entrance and headed to the car.
"Last year I got a gameboy and two books on the symbolism of Christmas and Easter and where they came from." He looked at Don. "He's always good with the presents. Last year he got Mortty thirty pounds of liquored chocolates. She was happy for *months*." Don grinned at that. "I wonder what he's getting for Ma." He shrugged and finished his report then printed it, checked it over so he could hand it in, then headed home. "Later, Don."
"Later, Ray." He got back to work. He still had to finish a few things before he could go home.
David frowned as he walked in, holding up a sign. 'Xander's having an REM day, ignore the shirt if it confuses you'. The receptionist nodded and called one of the techs to get that passed out. He walked past Danny and handed it to him then disappeared.
Xander came in a few minutes later, he had been talking with someone outside. Danny looked at his shirt.... His lips moved as he read it, then he stopped Xander to read it again. "I wouldn't mind the wombats nesting in my lingerie drawer, but they WILL insist on wearing my Wonderbra," he said finally, then he looked at Xander. "Most men wouldn't even be caught dead reading it, Xander." Xander beamed and bounced. "Um, Sheldon!" he called, knowing he was nearby. "We need a t-shirt ruling!" He let the receptionist see it when she cleared her throat, making her blink and stare.
"*That* is the confused with the Xander look," Mortty said proudly, hugging Xander. "He's caused strokes and heart attacks with that look before. I'm so proud! It's only been six months and you're already doing it!"
Sheldon moved her out of the way to look at the t-shirt, then blinked and did it again. He started to get the same look, just staring at it. "Is Mac around?" he asked finally, sounding a bit odd to his ears.
"Yeah, he's in the office," Danny offered, walking Xander that way. "Doc, go take a few to get your wits again," he called as he marched Xander off. They walked in and Mac read the shirt, then shook his head quickly. "Is that a no? Because Mortty called the look on Sheldon and the Receptionist's face that Confused With The Xander look. Claims it's caused strokes and heart attacks?"
"I got warned about that look. No, Xander. Not that one. Please." Xander sighed and took it off, putting on the one inside his bag. _Elephants wear tu-tus so they can hide in pine trees. Did you ever see an elephant in a pine tree? No? Well then, you know it works_. Mac got that look now, then shuddered and shook himself free.
Danny read it, then looked at Xander. "I know you love us, but we can't join you in your insanity, Xander. We really can't." He got that t-shirt off him and the one from earlier, putting them on Mac's desk. "I'll let Don hold those so you can't cause mass strokes."
"I'm not a public health hazard. They said the radiation was all gone," Xander defended. "I can't make anyone glow in the dark."
"Radiation... No, that wouldn't matter with digital pictures," Mac sighed. "Got any other ones? If not, put on your NYPD t-shirt, Xander. You can't run around without one."
He looked in his bag. "I've got two left in here. One's slightly rude and the other's less mind warping. Sorry, Mac. Don't mean to cause strokes."
"Put on the rude one first," Danny suggested. He saw Stella walk in and showed her the others, making her blink and frown. "Yeah, can you see if Don's in here?"
"I'm looking at the scars on Xander's back. Otherwise my brain might explode with the image of him or David in a wonderbra." Xander slid on his new t-shirt and turned, making her burst out in high-pitched giggles. She pulled it off him and handed him a twenty. "It's worth it to not eat lunch today." She walked off with it. "Don!" she called, seeing him up the hall. "Danny said you're guarding two of Xander's t-shirts." She held up hers, making him laugh. _Single Women Can't fart, They Don't get Assholes till they Marry_. "It's worth not eating lunch to have this one." She went to put it in her locker so it'd be safely away from dirt and other nasty things.
Don walked in and Danny handed him the first two, making him blink in confusion. "Why am I guarding them?"
"So he can't wear them and cause strokes," Danny said firmly. Xander was sliding into his other t-shirt. Don looked. _Fur is more actively protested than leather 'cause its easier to harass rich women than biker gangs_. He shook his head and walked away. Danny read. He groaned.
Mac read it and cracked a smile. "It's true at least. I'll let that one stand. Don will hold the other two until you can make him bring them to the house. You can't wear those two to work ever again, Xander."
"Not even to make Hillborne have a stroke?"
Mac hesitated on that, then sighed and nodded. "For that purpose, you may," he decided. That was nearly a worthy cause. Xander beamed and skipped out. He looked at Danny, who was still staring at that spot. "Danny, go get a drink and gather your wits again," he ordered patiently, talking to him like he was two.
"Yeah, coffee good," he agreed, heading to the break room. He sat beside Sheldon, who passed over the sugar. He poured some into his cup and drank it dry. "The second one said 'Elephants wear tu-tus so they can hide in pine trees. Did you ever see an elephant in a pine tree? No? Well then, you know it works'." He took another drink of sugar.
Sheldon whimpered. He looked at Danny. "I thought he loved us."
"He does. David's note said he's having an REM day." He finished off his cup of sugar and went to pour some coffee, then head back to the lab, only stopping to shake his head vigorously.
"I warned you, feel lucky," David called sweetly from Trace.
Mac walked Danny back down to the break room and put him back beside Sheldon. "You two take a nap in here for an hour then get back to work. All right? I'll make sure Xander's being a good boy. His newest one isn't as bad." They both looked at him so he patted them on the heads. "Take a short nap, guys, you'll feel better afterward." He walked out to find Xander dancing to music in his lab. He kept going, not wanting to go in there. He went to talk to David. "Can you keep those down? He damaged Danny and Sheldon."
David looked at him. "Why do you think I have control of his t-shirt habit?" Mac moaned. "That's my warning code too, Mac. He's having an REM day. Watch out for a few other surreal ones and one on Homeland Security. That was in his bag. He's saving it."
"Sure. Thank you. We let Don handle his first and second one. That way he can make sure no one else gets damaged."
"So, what is he wearing? The women one or the fur one?"
"The fur one. Stella yanked the other one and paid him twenty for it."
"Sounds like he's buying lunch today."
Mac sighed and walked off, going to find Don, who was head down on his desk and napping. "Good. He damaged Sheldon with the first one, then got Danny with that one and the elephant one. Is there any known cure?"
Stan looked at him. "Exposure, Mac. It's like a virus. The more you're exposed the less you get hit. Don'll be fine and they're in my desk drawer. Watch out for the tootsie roll shirt, the one about lawyers and IRS agents, and one about monkeys and dil pickles."
"And his DHS one," Ray agreed from his desk. He looked over, then put his feet down. "Especially if they're in the building."
"Thank you, guys. Make sure he can't wear those around the office, okay? Stella said she got bad mental images from the wonderbra one, namely either of them in one." He walked off.
Ray Vecchio shook his head quickly. "Keep those in the drawer, Stan. Just in case, okay?"
"Sure. I'll even remind Rennie and Benny not ta give 'em back this time," he promised, checking on Don before going back to work. Their boss walked in and looked at Don, mouth opening to yell. "Xander had a t-shirt day and it damaged him." He handed them over. She read them, then whimpered, handing them back before she left again.
One of the other detectives looked over. "What's going on?" he called.
"Xander was having a surreal/REM t-shirt mood. They're the sort that can cause strokes." He came over to look, then squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, shuddering. He went back to his desk, deciding a nap was a good thing for him too. "Does this mean we can have a day without paperwork?" Stan called to the guy who was in charge when the boss was gone. He nodded at that, looking at the shirts, then bursting out in laughter. "Yeah, that look they had on their face is called the confused with the Xander look. It's been known to cause strokes and heart attacks. Fair warning. What's he wearing now?" he asked Lindsey when she came in.
"Something about fur and gangs." She shrugged, handing him paperwork. "Yours. When do you want to get him?"
"Let me read it over, give me an hour?" She nodded. He looked at Ray. "Fur?"
"Fur is more actively protested than leather 'cause its easier to harass rich women than biker gangs," he recited from memory.
"Yeah," the lead detective admitted. "It is. Most of them would never think about going after a biker gang for wearing cows." The other detectives looked at him. "Really. Then again I like working with Harris. He gives me indigestion with all the paperwork I get now and then but he clears incredibly fast."
Ray nodded. "He does, even though he is a known cause of stroke." The other guys nodded at that and got back to work. He checked the clock and nudged Don awake. "You better now?" Don nodded and yawned. "Good. Now let's get back to work. We scared the lieutenant home for the day."
"Cool." He pulled open a file and got to work, slowly but work. You couldn't expect a guy to be at top performance after a mental shock like that one.
Xander heard the alarm going off and covered his work, sliding the bullets back into their proper envelopes. He retaped and initialed, then did a visual check, taking the key for the gun locker with him. He followed the others out, frowning around. "Dave, where's Mortty?" he called.
"Haven't seen her yet," he called back. He moved his way closer, pointing at Mac. "There's Mac and Stella. I'll do a head count."
Xander nodded and moved over that way. "Guys, where's Mortty?"
"She should have heard the alarm," Mac offered, frowning inside. "Stella, you do a head count."
"Okay, get it from him." He headed inside, finding her asleep on her table. He nudged her shoulder, coughing at the smoke in there. "Mortty!" She moaned. He pulled her off her stool and outside, letting the fire department take her. "DNA has smoke."
"Thank you, Detective." They went back inside while Xander and Mac got to work on her.
Mac looked at Xander. "She had her headphones on."
"Mac, I can hear through mine and I listen to mine a lot louder than she does. Dave!" He looked over. "Who else is missing?"
"One of the ME's according to Sid, and Sheldon's not here."
"Sheldon's out on a call." Mac got up to tell the firemen that and came back when Mortty started to cough. "Mortty, you didn't hear the alarm?" She coughed and hacked, shaking her head.
"Mac, feel this," Xander said, taking his hand to put on the back of her arm. There was a small bruise there. Mac moved his fingers, finding blood. "She wasn't bleeding earlier."
"She wasn't." He waved the paramedics over. "Take blood." They looked stunned. "Sid!" He came jogging over. "Take a look at this." He moved her arm, letting Xander hold her while she coughed.
"That's a needle mark," he agreed. Mac got handed a camera by Danny and took a picture. "Mortty, dear, can you breathe? Is this an allergy or smoke?" She shrugged, still coughing.
"Give her benadryl anyway," Xander ordered quietly. Sid nodded, getting some from the paramedics and administering it. She calmed down after a few more minutes. Xander put the oxygen mask back on, now that it would do some more good. "Mac, you said there's smoke in DNA?" Mac nodded. "Doesn't DNA and Trace have individual air circulation? To keep contamination down? Like the morgue does?" He gave him a look, then slowly shook his head. "Just filters?"
"Just filters but good ones. CDC approved. Why?"
"I'm just up the hall and there wasn't smoke in ballistics when I came out. Where did it start?"
"The morgue," Sid noted. He checked her over. "All right, let's let her go, Mac. You as well, Xander."
"Dave, go with her. We have joint power of attorney if something happens," he told the paramedics." They nodded. He looked at what she was wearing. "I can get her out of this too. You'll never be able to cut it." He followed them into the ambulance, weathering the swats to his hands from her. "You'd rather they try to cut it off?"
"No," she moaned. He gave her a look and went back to freeing her from the PVC and leather outfit, plus her collars. Xander tapped one. "That's sealed."
"I understand, sweetie."
He kissed her on the forehead. "Protect my Dave." She nodded, taking Dave's hand. He got out and handed Greg her clothes. "She's still got the one that's sealed around her throat."
"Why would you seal it?" Sid asked.
"Like mine, it's to remember someone special," Xander said quietly. "Some people have remembrance earrings that they play with. We have chains." That got a nod. "Different reasons though. Either that or she goes sub and only her master has the key. You'd have to ask her." He walked back to where Mac was. "Put those in my car, Greg?" He nodded, going to do that. "She's off. I got her out of everything but her locked chain." Mac gave him a sideways look. "Now what do I do, boss?"
"We wait. They're going over everything. Did you close down ballistics?"
"I have the key to the gun locker on me. Last samples were put up and I took the time to retape them." Mac nodded at that. "I didn't save my last report, or the one behind it I think, but otherwise yeah, it's closed. Only needed cleaned before I went to help in Trace."
"Okay." The firemen came out and Mac walked over to talk to their boss. "What's going on?"
"We're not sure the smoke isn't chemical in nature. You've got some tipped things in some labs."
"Mortty had a few in DNA but they weren't anything that would produce smoke or heat."
"David!" He looked around. "Xander?" Xander's head popped up. "Text David, make sure Trace wasn't tipping chemicals?"
"I was there, Mac, it was cleaned up. We were clear and talking about going back over some of the cold case stuff or waiting for a new one," Danny offered, coming over. "We had just wiped down the tables. Why?"
"There's openly tipped containers in the ones labeled Trace, DNA, and ballistics."
"There aren't any chemicals in ballistics," Danny assured him.
"Some acid for acid etching," Xander offered. "You have two fill-in techs and me here if you need us to look." That got a nod. "Still smokey?"
"No, sir. We've turned the exhaust fans backwards and ran it through the filter system." Xander nodded, walking past him. "Which one are you, sir?"
"Harris, ballistics and Trace." He glanced in DNA, pausing to stare at the mess. "Oh, God." He dug the keys out of his pocket, heading into ballistics with Mac behind him. He paused, staring at the mess. "Mac, most of this isn't native to here and the gun cabinet's open, isn't it?" Mac nodded. "I locked that, Mac, I swear I locked that."
"I know you did, Xander." He carefully walked around the mess, finding it empty. "It's all gone. How many did you have in here?"
"We did the dump to storage two days ago. I can pull you up a timestamp list." He moved to his computer, canceling the screen saver of his dog running across the screen. "Thankfully, Sarah was at home today." He glanced around then back at the screen. "Mac...." Mac came over to look. His computer was doing a countdown. He unhooked it from the system, ejected all the discs and everything, but at the end, a computerized explosion happened and it went blank, then rebooted itself. "Not good."
"Very not good," he agreed. He looked around. "Get Stella in here, Xander. Put that down." Xander nodded, putting it down. "Where were the samples?" Xander pointed at the table in front of the microscope. Nothing. "Get Stella. Now."
Xander carefully made his way out of the mss, glancing into the firing pen. "More in here, Mac." He walked out and looked around. "STELLA!" She came running in. He pointed behind him. "The locker's open. The firing pen has more chemicals in there. I need to check the exemplar cabinet." He held his head. "I have the most splitting headache at the moment." He took a deep breath and led her back inside, letting Mac tell her what was needed. He walked into the firing pen and opened the exemplar cabinet, then whimpered. "Mac?" he moaned. That's the last thing he remembered before he passed out.
Mac walked into there, seeing the open cabinet, which was empty, and his tech on the floor. "Medics!" he called, coming in to move him out of there. "There's no exhaust system in here," he noted, helping carry him out. "Stella, the cabinets were opened and emptied." He shook his head.
"Xander said he had a headache," Stella ordered. "Take Mac too." They nodded, taking them both. Stella was led out and pointed at the doorway. "Tape it. I want it filmed, I want the doors sealed. I want the security footage," she ordered. Danny nodded, running to get it done for her. "Do the same for Trace and DNA!"
"I'm doing DNA now," Greg called. "Half of this isn't native, Stella!" She headed that way. "What happened?"
"Opened the gun locker, took it all. Took the exemplar cabinet. May have taken some samples. His computer was rebooting and came up with no harddrive." Greg moaned. "Exactly. This is a wreck."
Greg pointed at a group of things. "Together those make a gas that can be too heavy to breathe through. Mortty?"
"Mac was taking pictures of the back of her arm." She looked at the containers. "We don't even have these."
"I know," he agreed, taking another picture. He grabbed onto the desk. "I think we're going to need to air it out before anything else. This is heavy gas." She nodded, leading him out. "Tape this doorway, no one in or out. Those chemicals create a heavy gas," Greg told one of the firemen, who nodded. "Take readings near the floor or ankle height in DNA, but be wearing a fume hood."
"Take it in ballistic's firing pen too. There's no ventilation in there," she ordered. That got a nod and they went to do that then call the hospital with that information. Mac and Xander had already been taken. Danny was led out gasping and choking too. Sid came over to help them. Stella did the bad thing, she called uptown. "Sir, this is Detective Bonasera, Mac Taylor's second in command. Our lab got attacked. Gas, chemicals, stolen information and guns. Please. Now, sir, but we may not be able to go back in. One of the techs realized that the chemicals placed around create a heavy gas. We've got three, possibly four, techs down. One before the rest after we were allowed to go in. Also, Ballistics was raided by someone. Exemplar cabinet and gun locker, plus the samples he had been working on. Yes, sir. That's bad. DNA, Trace, and Ballistics, sir. Please. Thank you." She hung up and sighed, looking up. She called Mac's phone, leaving a message. "It's me, I started the notification chain. Check to make sure they know about the heavy gas. Greg identified it. He's on his way to you if they have any questions. Danny's going too," she said, nodding for them to take him. "It's bad, Mac. Really bad." She hung up and started to pace. "Someone call in Chad and Adam, now," she snapped. "Have them on standby for when we can get back inside." That got nods and a few went to do that.
"Chad's out of the city," one of them reported. "It'll be two hours. Should I tell him anything?"
She looked at them. "Tell him Ballistics was raided. The sample he was working on, the computer, the gun locker, the exemplar cabinet, and chemicals put around." She repeated that then winced. "Tell me he didn't just wreck his car."
"Hit a tree, Stella, but with his fist. He'll be back as soon as he can." She nodded at that, going back to pacing. "Chad, they took Xander and Mac out of here. Someone had drugged Mortty. They just took Danny and Greg, they said something about a heavy gas. Thanks, man." She hung up. "Was Mortty the gas or whatever Mac was taking the picture of?"
Stella turned to look at her. "What?"
"Mac took pictures of the shot mark on the back of Mortty's arm," Sid told her.
"I need Taylor's camera," she called. "Now! It's got evidence on it!" The firemen found the cameras in there and brought them out. They were starting to melt. "Crap!" The AV tech came forward to take control of them. "Pull the pictures if you can," she ordered. He nodded, going to do that. "If you have to, borrow a lab," she called.
She looked at the building, then at the detective's side, seeing them standing there. "Why weren't they affected?"
"We cleared them," one of them offered from beside her. "GSMAC readings on the gas, ma'am?" She pointed at the AV tech. "Yes, ma'am. We've informed the hospital as well."
"Thank you." She walked over to where the detectives were. "No Vecchio, Kowalski, or Flack?"
"Flack was here," one of the guys offered. "Kowalski and Vecchio were off chasing down suspects, literally I think in Vecchio's case. I called dispatch to have them notified. They said he reported running after a suspect. Kowalski reported he'd be back within the hour. Flack!" he called. Don came out of the alley, talking into his phone. "Girlfriend?"
"Sanders' fiance. Danny's girlfriend too," he said as he hung up. "I sent them to the usual place. That good?" She nodded. "We have a clue yet?"
"They totally stripped ballistics, including the computer and the exemplar cabinet. They put down stuff that created a heavy gas. Danny and Greg were affected even after they cleared it. Xander passed out. Mac was apparently affected in there too. Mortty had been given a shot earlier and had an allergic reaction." Don scowled at that. "We're going to have Feds."
"I called the kid's parents. They're on their way up too." She nodded and relaxed. "It'll be okay. We'll get this scumbag, Stella."
"They just endangered thousands of cases."
"That's fine. It's reasonable. Not like anyone touched anything except in those areas." He patted her on the shoulder. "Someone go check on the prisoners so we can move 'em," he called. The lead detective did that with another one. He looked around. "The others?"
"Coming in. The lab people are going to come too."
"It's all right. Not like you can't prove we didn't do this."
"True." She looked over as a car with lights pulled up and stopped. "Crap." She walked over there. "Hold it!" she ordered. "There's a heavy gas in there! They opened canisters of chemicals we don't have in the labs and created a heavy gas. We've already sent techs to the ER and it's corrosive. It ate a few cameras." Their contact with the Department of Homeland Security stared at her. "Containers were put into Ballistics, Trace, and DNA. Maybe other places. Greg Sanders is a DNA and Chem tech in addition to field. He said we don't have most of them."
"He'd know," she agreed. "I was briefed on this lab last month." Stella nodded. "I want a complete rundown of what we know and I need the security tapes."
"I'm working on those," she admitted. She led her off to the side, then looked at the car. "Have someone move it." She nodded, going to park and then come back. "We need a timeline, guys, and we need real-time camera images if possible."
"We're plugged into the surveillance system, Detective. Was that DHS?" She nodded. "Okay. We'll work with her. I will tell you now there's no good angles into ballistics."
"No, but we've got the secondary system for that," she noted, pointing at something. "That system." He smirked and nodded. She leaned out. "Someone break into the secondary surveillance system and download it for us!" she yelled.
"Trying to," their AV tech called.
"I've gotten a report on what was given to Mortty," Sid offered, handing over the note. "That's the doctor's name and what they found in her blood."
She looked at the results, then winced. "Why is there THC?" Sid shrugged. "Could it be medical?"
"If she's got cancer or something. They can prescribe it. I'd ask her."
"We can do that." She brought what they had into the command center to hand it over. "We're not sure if she was prescribed it or not," she said at the opening mouth. "Mortty's never been high that I know of. She's got a natural life high, she doesn't need it. We'll be checking on that soon."
"That's fine." Someone stomped in. "You are?"
"Vecchio. I used to run the lab in Chicago." He looked at the report in Stella's hand, then pointed at the THC. "They put her on it to make her eat. Her thyroid's out of balance and she forgets for months at a time while she's on the meds, then she'll go off the meds and eat like crazy. They don't know why the meds make it so she doesn't eat but she told me that when she came in and had a doctor's note. Mac's files should have it too."
"Good," she said, that cleared that up. She was happier now. "Does Xander know?"
"Of course. He's the ultimate busybody. Where is he?"
"Passed out. The gas in ballistics got to him and he passed out. Mac got him out and we took them both at the same time."
"Wonderful. Someone notified Dawn and everyone?"
"Dave went with Mortty. Don called Dawn and Xander's parents. No one to notify for Mac but he did get Danny's girlfriend too since he got hit with Greg in the last dose. Greg identified it and we've got a gas match."
"Good. What can I do ta help?"
"Go move prisoners." He nodded, heading to do that. "He brought in a lot of us."
"Why those three labs?" she asked.
"It could be related back to a case. Trace and DNA both have linked air filtration systems. Ballistics has a filter for GSR but nothing else. The morgue was also hit. Did we ever find the missing ME?" she called.
"We did, he was passed out too," one of the firemen called. "Still had a needle in his arm."
"Wonderful. We also know that Mortty, in DNA, was given something. She was having an allergic reaction when we pulled her out." Stella looked at the pictures. "Chem's got the gas too." She kept flipping. "So does the morgue." She bent down to look at it.
"Stella," their AV tech offered from the tent's entrance. "You gotta see this." He came in and brought his laptop, running the pictures on a quad-split screen. "I enhanced one of the vests. It said LVPD. Dave and Xander both came from there." She nodded, and he kept it going. They raided a few different labs and took two bodies. It was very clinically done and very efficient. "They knew where they were going. That means they either had maps or they've been in here before. And I sincerely doubt the second best lab in the country did this."
"True," she agreed. "And that would explain getting DNA too since Greg was a DNA tech," she murmured. He nodded. The DHS agent stared at her, mouth slightly open. "Greg Sanders, our field tech who identified the gas, he came from Vegas originally too. He, Hodges, and Harris all moved from Vegas to Chicago when Chicago had that horrible manpower thing and the lab in Vegas got bombed. Then Chicago started to play games with Harris so he brought those two, Mortty, Vecchio, and Kowalski from Chicago, plus two mounties, a girlfriend, a dog, a wolf, and the girlfriend's daughter." She slapped herself on the head. "Tell them to get Dawn's daughter out of daycare if she didn't." He nodded, setting the film to rerun then do that. She looked at her then moved closer. "Be aware, Harris' parents are DHS like you, only on the covert side. His father's Stetson." She moaned at that. "They're on their way up as well. He's got contacts in those labs, NCIS, and Miami."
"That's fine. We'll do what we can. For now, we'll make sure this lab is cleaned up and the person found. Even if I do have to move around twittering parents who carry a badge."
"Mortty's cousin is like her sister. That's Abby at NCIS." She moaned. "Gibbs like Xander. Called him a good agent but too many bad things happen around him."
"I'll make sure it's known. Thank you for the warning."
"Not an issue." She looked at the film again. "I'm not so sure this isn't military anyway."
Xander walked back toward the station about two and a half days later. The feds in his way gave him an odd look but he shoved one and stomped inside, finding Mac. "Do we know what happened yet?"
"You should be resting."
"Fuck you. What happened?" He stared him down. "This is my lab!" He coughed then cleared it up. "I'm fine. What's going on and can I help?"
"It depends, can you do anything with the computer to get the files back?"
"Did anyone check the backups I've got inside the safe?"
"We did, but you last backed it up a week ago. Last Saturday?" Xander nodded, that was his usual day. "Did you do one since then?"
"No, but you'd be surprised. Where?"
"Your lab. They finally got the gas out of there, but you're still sick. Go home and rest."
Xander gave him an odd look, then burst out giggling, ending in a few more coughs. "Good joke. Really." He punched him on the arm and headed to help, letting Mac rub his sore spot. He walked in and tossed his jacket onto the table, coming over to move the computer tech out of the way. "I grew up with a hacker," he muttered quietly before getting into what he was doing. He frowned and went into his safe, pulling out a green CD, putting it in. The thing ran automatically upon bootup, showing him partial file fragments. He pulled a stool over and got deeper into it, smirking and getting into the menu. "She said a lot of hackers used this sort of thing."
"Don't," the tech ordered. "We tried that on Mortty's and it erased it." Xander gave him a look and shook his head, clicking on three options. Then he ran it. He got up to put in a few more CD's into his laptop, then hooked them together. "Huh?" he asked.
"I grew up with a hacker. She dated another one." He came over to hit enter, then hit it again when the yes/no box came up. His laptop came to life and started to download all the file fragments and completed ones, but his computer was processing them to put them back together. Another yes/no box came up and he looked at it, then nodded and clicked on 'yes'. It pulled the longer-term ones, the ones that had been there so long it was like they were engraved into the hard drive. A third one came up and he shrugged. "You want it to reformat it now or later?"
"Later," he said, clicking on that option. "Please." He moved to look at Xander's laptop, then stared at him. "Think it can get Mortty's off hers?"
"Not a clue. It'd take a higher level of hacker. Not like I'm going to call Willow up here either." He gave him a horrified look. "Yeah, her." He turned his head and coughed. "If you know one," he wheezed. He sat down again, calming himself down. "If you know one, I'll let them borrow it. I don't think it can be copied but I'll gladly let them borrow it to do the others around here."
"Please. I'll ask. Do you know of any others?"
"Abby." The AV and computer tech moaned. Xander gave him a small smirk. "So you know Abby?"
"Yes, I remember her very fondly. Is she up to see Mortty?"
"As soon as they're done with their current case Gibbs is escorting her. Let me call." He tapped in a number and put her on speaker.
"NCIS Lab, this is Abby speaking."
"Baby vamp?" Xander asked, sounding pitiful to his own ears. He coughed. "They wiped our computers. Do you know a convenient fed approveable hacker I can hand some hacker buddy's stuff to so they can pull it off one that got more wiped when the local guy tried what he thought would work?"
"Okay. She's at home napping. We're both still coughing." He turned his head and coughed again, then went to spit in the sink. "Sorry, still got some cloudy lungs."
"You should talk to Tony, he had the plague." She turned her head away from the phone. "MCGEE!" She giggled and there was the sound of running feet. "Here, Xander. Let me put you on speaker." A click then a beep. "Here we are. What's going on?"
"I came in and canceled my screensaver, it was countdown. I know I had to use a hacker buddy's recovery tool but it's not like I'm gonna call Willow down here to work on this. It's got about eighty percent off my computer but they tried the standard response before and the tech said it wiped it cleaner. So we need someone who can do more than click on the menus in this thing to figure out how to pull up the files. They took evidence, Abs," he finished miserably. "They stripped my lab bare, even took the exemplar cabinet. All the evidence, everything."
"You poor baby! What are you doing out of bed?"
"This is my lab," he said firmly. "I should be here!"
"Sweetie, you should be in bed," she said firmly. "What recovery tool are you using and is your tech there?"
"I am, Abby, and..."
"Hi." He smiled. "It's not one that's known to me. All Xander said was that he grew up with a hacker buddy and he wouldn't want Willow to come help. It's got menu options to try different forms of retrieval. He doesn't think it can be copied but he's willing to let someone come borrow it."
"Sounds interesting," she admitted, and a tapping sound happened. "Timmy?"
"I'd have to look, Abby. There's a few viruses that do that. Xander, where are you?"
"My lab. Where else would I be?" he asked, sounding confused. He started to cough again and went to lean on the sink. "Sorry," he gasped between bouts.
"They laid out some chemicals that created a heavy gas," the computer tech offered bitterly. "They drugged Mortty before laying it in her lab. She had her i-pod in and didn't hear them come in. They stripped a few of the labs. Including the computers. We weren't sure we could recover anything. I'm good but I'm not hacker good."
"I'll see if I can bring him up with me tonight when I come up," Abby promised. "Can you get me in remotely so we can look at what he's got running?"
"Sure. Let me hook this one back in." A cough came from the doorway. "Mac, this is Abby, Gibbs' Abby, the one who helped us. Xander called her to see if someone with more than special programs from hackers could help us and he knew she knew something about computers so he called to see if she could find us an approveable hacker." He plugged them back in. "Okay, we're back into the intranet. Do you have his IP?"
"I do, just in case ya know? Lee has me hack to check on him now and then," she admitted sotto-voice, earning a laugh from the guy next to her on her end. She typed in something then giggled. "I know her." The guy on her end grumbled. "Be nice. Her stuff is being helpful!" The sound of a punch. "Meany." The screen in front of him changed and a menu was dropped down.
"Abby, what are you doing?" Gibbs' voice came from over the phone.
"We're asking her to find us a hacker and she's seeing what we need," Mac called. "Xander, go lay down in my office." Xander flipped him off and took a few gulps of air, then came back over. "Xander!"
"Bite me, Mac. This is my lab they stripped. Abby, I got into the green one and it should still be set. I had everything downloaded onto my laptop."
"That's fine, but maybe you should go lay down. Mac's probably huffing in irritation."
"My lab and they fucked with it. They're getting my foot up their asses and through their ears for fucking with my lab." He started to cough again, bending down, grabbing onto the table.
"I thought Tony sounded bad when he came back after the plague and refused to take long enough to recover fully," McGee said quietly.
"I'm fine!" Xander snapped. "I've had worse."
"Sure." Another menu was clicked on and he hummed. "I can do something with that. Can I copy it?"
"I'm not sure if you can or not, but if you can I don't care. I trust Gibbs."
"Thanks, kid, but you should still be in bed," Gibbs ordered. "Go home. This is computer tech work. I'll send McGee up with Abby when I send her."
"I thought you were coming up," she complained. "Mortty will be upset."
"Yeah, so did I," Gibbs complained. "Our director had other ideas. I'm going to help his parents for a week."
"Hmm, they're both up here and nagging David," Xander said dryly, then started to cough again.
"All right, that's enough," Mac decided. He came in and hauled Xander up but the guy fought. He knocked him out and shook his head. "I'm taking him to my office, guys. Do whatever you can and the rest when you get up here. Good luck on your present case." He carried Xander off, listening to him cough. "You sound like you have pneumonia." He called David. "Did he handcuff you?" He listened to how Xander got out. "Is the dog with you? He's here alone." He smirked. "I'll get her from Don and make him drive him home. He's still coughing up stuff, David. He needs to be in bed. Even if you do have to handcuff him." The pitiful answer of 'I hate hearing him bark when I do that to him' made him shake his head. "He does what?"
David explained it and he moaned. "That's fine. He sounds like he's got pneumonia. I want a medical clearance on all of us who went in before I can let him back. I have to have it for the federal paperwork. He did help. Yup, right after I hang up. No, I knocked him out with a choke hold." He laughed. "It worked. He flipped me off one too many times. Thanks." He hung up and called Don's desk. "If you have Sarah...." He listened to his car radio. He must have it forwarded. "You're taking her to question someone? Oh, a child witness. I guess that's fine. No, nothing you can do if you're doing that. Thanks. Good luck." He hung up and called Stan's desk. "Are you in?" He smirked. "Coughing and hacking boy. Yes, that one. He came in." He watched as Greg trudged past his doorway. "Greg!"
"I came in with second degree burns, I came in sore and shaking after the explosion, I'll wear a mask so I don't cough on things!" he yelled as he kept walking.
"Stan, come get both of them. I need medical clearance to let them back in here and Xander sounds really bad. I'm about to knock Greg out too. Thanks." He hung up and went to track down Greg, putting him into a choke hold and then carrying him back to the office. He put him down next to Xander, letting them cough in each other's ears for now. Not that he felt much better but at least he wasn't hacking like one and in pain like the other. Stan walked in and he waved a hand. "Those two. Xander sounds like he's got pneumonia. Greg's grumpy and swore at me."
Stan chuckled. "They'll do it again later."
"Hand them both to David and let him handcuff them both, even if Xander does bark. Oh, and tell him Don's got Sarah out to help him interview a child witness."
"Sure." He looked outside. "Help me heft the sick CSI, guys. Down to my car." They nodded and came in to pick them up. Xander started to wake so Stan knocked him back out then nodded. "Thanks, Mac. Never boring, ya know." He headed out after them, finding his car keys in his pocket. He let them into his car and got in to drive, shaking his head. David was not going to be happy with his husband for this. Xander started to cough again, waking up enough to try to curl up. Stan rolled down the window for him, giving him some fresh air. "You need to be back in the hospital. Wonder if you checked yourself out." He called David. "I've got 'em both. Grumpy Greg and Hacking Xander. Yup, still. Sounds like when he had pneumonia for us. Thanks, man." He pulled into the hospital's parking lot and up to the ER entrance, getting out and waving at the guard. "Take the dark haired one back inside. His husband was told he escaped without the paperwork. His name is Detective Harris." The guard nodded wisely at that and came to get him and carry him inside. "Thanks. His husband will be down once he gets the other one settled!" He got back in to drive Greg to David and Xander's. They could watch over him.
Xander trudged into work the next day and Mac stopped him. Xander glared. "I can't have you here if you don't have permission to come back."
"Fuck doctors, they're evil."
"Did you escape again?" he asked patiently. Xander nodded. "Xander."
"Tough shit. Let me get back to work and then I'll go rest in the break room."
"Abby and McGee are in there, Xander."
"I know, I heard they're in our house too." He trudged that way but Mac stopped him. Xander glared at him. "I've had worse and went to work."
"Not in my lab. I need medical clearance for the federal paperwork."
"I'll have some forged for you tonight." Two officers came in and Xander growled, making them back up. "It's not like I'm a danger to others."
"No, sir, just yourself, and the hospital said if you don't come back peacefully they're going to put you in for psych evaluation as well," one offered.
"Boys," Mac said, shaking his head. "His lab was broken into."
"Not our fault, sir. He didn't sign the paperwork."
"They wouldn't give it to me," Xander said grimly. "Do you have it?" One of them handed it over. He looked, then signed and handed it back. "Better?" They both nodded. "Then go do something else, something productive for humanity. Before I bite." They both ran out. He looked at Mac.
"That's still not medical clearance. You know that."
Xander kissed him on the cheek. "Let me go or else I'm going to make sure you need a remodel too," he said quietly. "It's not like I'm going to chase someone down an alley and trip. I've worked with worse. I worked the bombing in Vegas with full blown pneumonia and one lung working at thirty percent. Now, let go." Mac let him go. "Thank you." He headed back there. "I'm back." Abby hugged him. "I'm fine. I've had worse."
"I saw your service file," she agreed, patting him on the cheek. "If you don't rest, I can't make you good cookies tonight. David said so."
"Then someone's not getting sex tonight," Xander said dryly. "How can I help?"
"You should be in bed, you look like hell," McGee offered.
Xander looked at him. "There's this thing called tact, McGee. Did it miss you? That's usually my sort of line. Or maybe you got raised by Willow and Buffy too?"
"No," he snorted, smirking at him. "But if you tell me where Rosenburg is, I won't tell Gibbs how you worked the case in Vegas with pneumonia so bad you should've been on oxygen, like today."
Abby gaped. "You did what!" she shrieked.
"It was needed," Xander said grimly. "Ask Agent Ford. He keeps track of her for me. By the way, I stole that off her."
"So?" He shrugged. "Hackers who do things like this are still a blight."
"She hasn't been doing it that I know of."
McGee snorted. "Six times into a federal database to try to erase hers and Miss Summer's records."
"Pity. Ask Agent Ford. He knows where they are."
"Oh, I will be. Thank you. She got into our system to try to erase any mention of you as well."
"Double pity then," Xander said with a shrug. "How can I help?" He coughed off to the side. He saw the cautious looks. "Not like I can chase someone down right now. I'm restricting myself to lab work."
"Okay. Pull up all your ballistics files from the database," Abby offered. "We're using your laptop to help us with the other's computers too." He nodded, going to the desk and pulling something out of there. "You have two?" she asked.
"Part of my emergency kit. Some Willow stuff, some other stuff, some great stuff, but I can log onto the database and search by tech with it." He got into it, plugging into the system so he could recline in his chair and work from his lap. Mac walked in. "I'm being good."
"I'm sure you're trying. What are you doing and that's not a registered computer. They caught you logging on."
"She's got my normal one. She wanted my cases pulled up from the database."
"Okay. Which one is that?"
"The one from the black bag."
"Can I see that bag?" Xander gave him a long stare. "I won't say anything." Xander pointed at his bottom drawer and got back to pulling it up. "Will you ever show me that laptop?"
"Nope. Based on who I log in as is how I get different things."
"Like Yoda you do speak," Abby quipped, grinning at him. She came over to look, staring at something. "How did you get the odd knuckle thing?"
"Bought it off someone at UCLA's labs." He opened it and fired it at the wall, watching the laser burn. Then he put it back. "I have the feeling someone took that from somewhere. So you guys didn't see that."
"Sure," she agreed, browsing and then she went back to work.
"Hey, Mac. McGee said Willow's trying to erase me from the federal databases. Can I use that on her?" Xander asked as he sorted the search by date. "Damn I'm a busy tech," he said grimly. "Just my name alone came up with ten thousand-three-hundred-forty-eight matches."
"Congrats, Xander," Abby called. "You're a great tech."
"Thank you. I do try. Patiences." Mac nodded at that. He held up one last thing. "I know, it's my explosives squishy ball. It's what I use to squeeze when I've got stress, Mac. I used to wear the timer on my necklace but Brass freaked when he saw me do it that once." He shrugged. "Horatio heard that story and checked me for a fever."
Mac checked his forehead. "Well, you are running one," he admitted dryly.
"I'm fine. I'm restricting myself to the lab for now."
"Thank you but I still need clearance."
"I did, he said to get it yourself. The doctor wouldn't even give him one. Something about his blood pressure...." Xander moaned and called his mate, talking quietly then hanging up. "He still mad?"
"Yup, I'm sleeping on Greg's couch tonight." He shrugged. "They knew when I had pneumonia. We got them to Chicago right after I got better. My body was shutting down because it was so tired. That's how we got them into our labs," he said, smirking at him. "That and David loves me."
"He does, which is why his blood pressure is so high," Mac reminded him.
"I'll make it up to him later," he promised. "He knew I'd be here too." He opened another browser window and typed in something quickly, then sent it to his mate. Then he got back to work. "Just the last two weeks? Since the dump to storage or did they hit storage?"
"Any file you've accessed in the last two weeks, Xander," Mac ordered. Xander nodded and printed off the list of names, case files, and dates. Mac took it with him to pull those up in his office so he could see if there was a common thread. Or maybe it did relate back to Vegas. One came up odd. "Xander, why did you call Horatio on one? It's got yours and Calleigh's name on it." He listened. "Oh. Who's over it?" He groaned. "Tell me that's not your other one?" he demanded. "We'll figure it out then." He hung up and called Horatio. "Xander just informed me, belatedly, that his last field case came back to your jurisdiction. Do you need him? No, he's got a low grade fever and pneumonia but he's here because they took from his lab," he said dryly. "Yeah, that reason. I know but he's still sick. He escaped from the hospital two days in a row, Horatio." He smirked. "Exactly. He got given the paperwork today. No, he's not been cleared. Do you need him?" He smirked. "He said he had sent you the Christmas presents. He said he shopped early because the lab in Chicago wasn't just felonies. He did a lot of robberies." He smiled.
"That's fine. Some warmth might do him and David good. Get one get the other one, Horatio. You know how it is with married couples." He grinned. "That's fine. No, he's pulling up case lists. They wrecked his computer, stole all the guns from the locker and the exemplar cabinet, and then put a heavy gas in there. Sure, I can have his medical records forwarded to Alexx just in case. Thanks." He hung up and called David. "I need his medical records forwarded down to Horatio, David, and for you to get down there. His last case is in their turf and the rest would do him good. I do, really." He smiled. "I thought you might. Thank you, David. That's fine. Let him solve it, get me medical clearance from Alexx or someone when you get back. Not yet. You want to or do you want me to tell him?" He smirked. "That's fine. Thanks." He hung up and got back to cross- referencing. This had to have a reason. You didn't break into the lab without a good reason.
Horatio looked up as Xander and David came off the plane. "Xander, how are you feeling?"
"Don't nag. David gets enough of that in." He hugged him, then handed over his file. "That's what I had before my computer got eaten. Abby managed to pull it up."
"Thank you. Let's head back to the labs. Alexx is going to look you over to make sure you can help us chase this person down." Xander sighed, rolling his eyes. "Tough. You know that. David, I saw your email with your reservations. Very nice choice."
"Thanks, Horatio. I thought it looked nice online." He walked his mate off, following the local boss. "I've got our bag, he's got the joint briefcase so we're good."
"That's fine, boys." He smiled at the transit officer, getting a polite nod. "You remembered sunscreen, right?"
"I'm from Cali, near the dessert, Horatio. The only difference is the humidity," Xander said dryly. He patted him on the arm. "So, in that case, we know he ran down here and we know he committed that homicide. Calleigh found the match in the system as I was typing it in because I was a day behind. Chad's had some funky respiratory thing too. See, honey, I could have what Chad has."
"I doubt it," he noted dryly. He handed Horatio his file. "What we got off Trace's computer, DNA's computer, and Chem. Chem was the only untouched one. The others were fragmented and had to be reconstructed."
"I'll keep that in mind." He got them into his hummer, smiling because Xander let David have the front passenger's seat. "Xander, if she doesn't clear you, I can only let you in the lab. Do you understand?"
"Horatio, I love you, but this guy shot two of our own during a robbery. If your people have to run after him, I can wheeze behind them if I must. One of us will get him," he said firmly, staring back. "I know David sent what I had when I had to do the bombing in Vegas. I ran then, I can run now if I have to. I'll wheeze later."
"As long as Alexx clears you," he assured him, turning around to start the engine. Now he knew why Mac said he was too stubborn and needed a diversion.
Eric waved at them as they walked in. "Pulled up that case file and what we got sent so far," he admitted. "It hasn't been much."
"We brought down what we reconstructed and Chem's files, the only non-touched system that he was in," David offered, shaking his hand. "Horatio has them and he's dragging Xander down to Alexx's office to get him checked over. Don't let him run."
"I'll try not to. What sort of heavy gas was it?"
"They opened a few containers of chemicals and spilled them together," he admitted, writing out the formula he had been researching. "They drugged Mortty before they did hers. She probably would've died if Xander hadn't realized she wasn't outside. They did ballistics and it pooled in the firing pen since it's not ventilated at all. They did it in my lab too. Then, while it gathered, they stripped each of the labs. Ballistics got the gun locker, the exemplar cabinet in the firing pen, everything, even the two samples he had been working on. They also had enough time to virus the computers so they were fragged totally. It took something Willow wrote to bring them back and then Abby and McGee from NCIS to finish pulling the information off. They'll still need replaced."
"Man," Eric complained. "Any leads?"
"They were very tight, very military according to Mac and Xander when he saw it in the pressure chamber." Eric moaned. "The heavy gas settled into his lungs. He's got pneumonia. So please don't let him run, even if he tries it. I know he did it in Vegas and we appreciated that, but I would've stopped him then if I had known, and so would've everyone else." Eric nodded, getting that. "The one odd thing was that they were wearing LVPD vests. The CSI vests." Eric gave him a long look. "Yeah, all six of them. Mac talked to Grissom but I'm not in the loop about that right now." He looked around then back at him. "Can I help? I'm bored. Taking care of Xander is making my blood pressure skyrocket."
"Go see Speed. He's in Trace."
"Bless you." He headed that way, finding him in the lab. "Please, God, let me do something other than baby my husband."
Speed smirked at him. "Sure. Pull up some gloves and come help with soil samples."
"Thank you. I hate it when he's sick. Especially when he's so sick he ignores it and keeps going." Speed snickered at that, leaning on the table. "Idiot walked out of the hospital *twice*, two days in a row," David said as he pulled on gloves. "Without signing out. They were going to declare him a danger to himself and put him in psych if they had to bring him back. Thankfully one of the patrol guys brought in the paperwork for him. He swore at Mac. He growled at Mac. He ignored direct orders to go home from Mac. The first day they sent me him and Greg. I handcuffed them together and they nearly managed to escape but Don was bringing home Sarah and saw them." Speed shook his head. "Seriously. Unfortunately seriously. Speaking of, she's being dog sat. Don's thinking about getting a dog so he's keeping her at the moment."
"That's fine. We've got Mackenzie in anyway." He gave him a shoulder nudge. "Remember, he gets better and spoils you."
"Oh, he's already started on his 'please forgive me for being a bastard' plans. I've gotten flowers. Food, candy. Spa time. All in one very nice package sent to me. His mother thought it was cute."
Speed giggled, leaning on the table. "Only Xander."
"Yeah, only my husband. Horatio said Alexx has to clear him."
"Yeah, and that'll work," Speed agreed sarcastically. "We heard about Vegas. She told me how bad off he was then. Not breaking confidentiality or anything," he offered at the look.
"That's okay. At least someone realizes." He got to work helping him. Eric leaned in the door. "Did Alexx knock him out again?"
"No. She's feeding him tea." He shrugged. "Calleigh's back, she wants to know where Sarah is."
"Don's thinking about getting a dog so he's watching her."
"I'll tell her. Speed, Horatio's back in his office, looking over that file with Calleigh."
"Going. Have fun, David."
"Thanks. I needed this little bit of extended sanity." Speed left him alone but Eric came in. "Am I that fascinating?"
"Yup. Because otherwise I'm going to have to break open a new case ten minutes before I leave for the day. Since I've got a hot date tonight...."
"Ah. It's a wise man who does that when he must." He gave him a look. "Are you bringing flowers?"
"She doesn't like them." He shrugged and came over to look at what he was doing. "We found a lot of acidic traces there."
"That's what I'm seeing too," he admitted. "I'm fine, Eric. Go take a long time changing." Eric grinned and skipped off.
Xander grinned as he came in. "I'm okay as long as I have someone with me. Horatio is sulking. What can I do to help?"
"Okay." He washed his hands, put on gloves and came over to help until someone else needed him.
Horatio looked down from his office. "Now I know why it's so easy to abuse him," he said dryly. Alexx nodded and made an agreeing noise. "Are you sure?"
"He's done it before and this way someone will be there if he starts to cough up that dirty lung of his, Horatio. The poor boy's exhausted." Horatio looked at her. "He is. He won't admit it but he's got to be. They had him in a diving chamber."
"That's not unreasonable with a heavy gas. Do we know what was used?" She shrugged. "It wasn't in there?"
"No. Call David." He called down there and smiled, then called Eric, who jogged the paper up to him then saluted and left. "Hmm, someone's got a date and plans on getting some tonight."
"He usually does, Alexx," he sighed, shaking his head. He looked over the formula, glaring. "No wonder. Look." He handed it over and she moaned, going to check Xander's lungs over again. That was corrosive. No wonder he was still coughing if it was in there. He called Mac. "Did you know the gas was corrosive?" He smirked. "It is. She's looking him over now, Mac. Thanks. No, they're in Trace at the moment. Thank you." He hung up and opened the door. "Mac didn't know it was corrosive, Alexx. He said their insurance would cover it if you needed him on breathing treatments down here."
"I'm fine!" drifted up from Trace. Then the sound of a slap before David stomped off.
"Hmm, someone's seen Superman Xander before," he mused.
"Ya think?" Speed asked dryly as he joined him. "I heard he did it for Vegas after the bomb too."
"This time the gas was corrosive."
"Yeah, Stella told me it ate a few of the cameras." Horatio looked at him. "It did."
"Wonderful. Does he know that?"
"Do you think it'd matter?"
"No," he admitted, walking down there and into the lab. "Xander, Stella told Speed that the gas ate some of the cameras."
"Really? My laptop was in ballistics and so was my special one and neither of them got hurt."
"We can check on that, but if it is corrosive....." Xander sighed and looked at him. "I know you're trying to help, but if you're that sick, it'll cut your career short. Or it could kill you. Then what would David do."
"Mope," he admitted. "I'm really not that badly off, Horatio. It's a mild cough and a small fever now and then. Putting me in the pressure chamber cleared it out of my lungs but it brought back the pneumonia I had a few years back. They put me on an antibiotic and I'm taking it religiously. Even if David doesn't realize it I am. I'm taking good care of myself and I'll be *fine*. No matter how much he fusses."
"If you say so, but should you start to get worse, we will handcuff you and bring you to the hospital."
"And I'm all for that, but worse is not always what you think it is. Just because I cough and I wheeze doesn't mean I'm in bad shape. I had worse when I was working eighteen hours days with pneumonia. Then I wasn't coughing. It wasn't coming out. I was down to a lung and a third. Well, technically three-quarters of a lung and a third." He leaned on the table. "I'm at full capacity now but I'm coughing a bit. I can handle coughing even if it does annoy the crap out of me."
"As long as you tell us if you start to feel worse."
"I take sudden turns for the worst, Horatio. I'll pass out probably. I did when I quit coughing. So if you hear me quit coughing, it's a bad thing."
"I'll keep that in mind. Doesn't David know about the antibiotics?"
"I don't think so. I never outright told him but I did take them a few times while he was in the room."
"Yes, I know about them," David said, leaning in the doorway. "You'll actually admit it when you start to feel worse?"
"I will and I'm cutting back my hours for a few weeks too, Dave. I know I'm stupid but I'm not quite that dumb. I'm not in the same shape I was when I had to fill in for half the lab and then come do you guys' bomb. Since then I got glowy and stuff." David nodded. "Just because I'm coughing doesn't mean I'm that sick."
"With the radiation you took, it could be," he reminded him, coming in to look at him. Xander kissed him gently. "No necking in the lab."
"I know that. It was to reassure you. I did tell them that. They have the files there from Chicago. I saw it. They were going over the radiation stuff with me while I was in the pressure chamber. The same as I'm on the right meds for it and I'm taking them. All right?" David nodded. "Good, then go sit on the beach and wallow in the sun." He stole another kiss. "I'll be heading to the hotel within an hour." David shook his head. "Let me finish this testing series."
David looked. "Why are you doing that one?"
"Because the mass spec said it was an alkaline, not an acid." He grimaced and handed it over. "See?" He got back to work. "I figured it'd double up but this one would tell us if there was more than one and relative concentration, plus probably what form it was poured on in. That's just confirmation since your acid test came back negative."
"Fine," he agreed, regloving to help.
"I'll trust you, Xander, but remember what I said," Horatio warned.
"Yes, mom." He grinned at him. "You fuss nearly as well as Mac does."
"He told me you swore at him and threatened him."
"Yeah, well, a bored Xander is a freak of nature that is worse than a black hole for destroying the world. I really should have that printed on a t-shirt," he offered, looking at his mate, who moaned and shook his head. "Sorry." He got back to work, smirking slightly.
Horatio walked off shaking his head. Those t-shirts of his were something else. He had seen the holiday presents.
Speed looked at Xander's t-shirt when he came in, then burst out laughing. "I like that one."
Eric came out of his lab, reading it silently. _Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant. The population is growing_. He nodded. "Especially among the criminal contingent." He nodded. "I've got something for you."
"Ooh, presents," he said happily, following him. "What do we have?"
"Two of the files weren't put back together right, but I may have found out why," Eric offered. "Before you ask, I had Horatio email that to Mac already. It looks like it may have related back to Vegas." He pushed over the two complete folders. "See, they had the same things involved so the computer put it together. Shouldn't have been though. Checking them against the other, untouched, computers, meant that we found a link for that."
"Woo-hoo!" he shouted, hugging him. "I love you!"
"If he's that nice to you, he can have you," David called. "You snored worse last night."
"Sorry, honey, but he's too young and pretty for me. You know I like older and sarcastic."
"You can have Speed," Eric offered getting free so they could go over it.
"I heard that, Delko, I will get you for that," Speed called from the hallway.
"Boys, no hurting each other because Eric found Xander a clue," Horatio said patiently.
"But he offered me to Xander, H!" Speed complained.
Horatio looked at him. "You are more like his husband than Eric himself is, Speed."
"Oohh, I'm so going to get you both," he warned, stomping off. "McKenzie, Horatio's got chocolate dog biscuits," he called. The small dog came running out to bark at Horatio, bouncing up and down around him as he walked.
"Down, McKenzie," Horatio ordered. "They're in my desk." The dog ran that way and barked loudly until he sighed and came up to get him one. He handed one over and the dog barked again, trotting off happily to show his mommy his treat.
"Awww, that's so sweet of Horatio to treat you," she cooed, smiling at him.
"Speed sicced him on me," he complained.
She hit him on the arm. "Quit being so mean to Speed, Horatio. We know you love my McKenzie like he was your own." She carried her dog off, cooing and teasing him with the dog biscuit's end. "Who's a good boy then?" she cooed, kissing Speed on the cheek. "Quit using my dog to torment Horatio," she ordered in his ear. "Or else I'll get you worse than Eric ever could." He smirked and nodded. "Besides, you would look cute against Xander. You're both dark but he's well dressed, sometimes, and you're beach boy scruffy." She went back into ballistics. "Go get the granddaddy to help me," she ordered. McKenzie barked and went to find Xander and bring him back for her. She smiled and held up a gun, getting a squeal. "I could use the help anyway. I'm a bit backed up with a smuggler the other day." He nodded, coming over to help, the dog laying down in his basket to watch the mommy and granddaddy work together. It was a good day for him.
Xander got off the plane in Vegas and waved at the cop there to meet him, giving him a hug. "Hi, Brass."
"Hi, Xander. What's going on?"
"When we were reconstructing the files, two of them went back together wrong but Eric and Abby figured it out. When they did that, they figured out other stuff." He handed over what he had carried up. "Including them."
"I see." He frowned, then nodded, walking him out to the car. "No Hodges this time?"
"He had to run home and get back to the lab. His was just cleared. Mine is still in lock- down since they stripped it bare. I don't get to go back to work until the Feds release me so Mac told me to come liaise here after we got done with my case that crossed us into Miami."
"That works for me," he admitted, smiling at him. "Hodges did call Grissom and warn him you're coughing again."
"Heavy gas settled into my lungs and I've got the end of the pneumonia it gave me. I'm fine. I chased the asshole down in Miami with Eric and Speed." He got yelled at for it too but oh well, that was the job. Brass gave him a look. "Let me guess, someone from down there called?"
"Yup. Alexx called Grissom too." Xander moaned and he smirked, patting him on the back. "It'll be okay, kid. Come on, let's go give this to Grissom, see what he thinks."
"Oh, we don't think, we know. Go to the last page." He did that and moaned. "Therefore, yeah, we know."
"Damn it," he muttered, letting him into their SUV and heading back to the station. "How did you guys figure out he was involved?"
"Not that hard really. Abby checked my grudge and case lists and came up with him and two other cases. So when Eric realized those files had been put together wrong... it came up suddenly in the middle of the night. Made David give me an evil look for saying his name too." He looked at him. "How is everyone?"
"Doing good. We're all okay. Nick may pout that you didn't bring the dog."
"We'll be in for the convention. For a few reasons I think," he offered with a shy grin.
"Oh, really? Redoing our vows?"
"No, but Greg's engaged to Dawn."
"Really?" he asked, smirking brighter. "Warrick got some news that he hadn't shared."
"Yup. He wanted it kept quiet because they weren't sure they were doing it that way, but they were talking about it since most of our friends would be there anyway."
"That makes sense and it'd be cheaper since the departments would be reimbursing for part of the convention costs." He smirked as he pulled into the station. "I'll keep it quiet but you tell me when they make that decision."
"If they tell me," Xander noted dryly. "Dawn's mad at me for going back to work and escaping the hospital." Brass laughed, leaned on the steering wheel laughed. "Exactly." He took the folder and slid out, heading inside. He smiled and waved at the receptionist, getting a squeal and a hug. "I'm back on a case," he teased. "David's doing very well."
"It's a good thing he makes you happy!" she assured him. "Let me get you a visitor's pass, Xander." She dug one out and handed it over. "There you go. Gris is in his office sulking."
"Thank you, Brass will be following when he quits laughing." He grinned and winked, using his pass to get back into the CSI section. He ducked under Warrick's arm since he was in the way. "Geeze, hall blocking much?" he taunted.
"Xander!" he complained, frowning at him. Xander shot him a smirk and waved the folder. "Ooh, you found out something."
"Eric found out something and it started off the clue." He leaned in ballistics, blowing a kiss. "I miss your sanity. I'm still shut out of my lab."
Bobby, the guy who mentored him, smiled and came over to give him a hug. "Visiting?"
"In to kill the assholes who got me locked out of my lab," he said blandly. "But we need you and whoever it got handed to."
"Gris took it with Warrick and Nick."
"Cool. Clean up and come on."
"Be right there." He went back to what he had been doing, cleaning it up and following.
Xander leaned against the doorway to Grissom's office. "I thought it was just me who was looking older," he said dryly. "You really need a moisturizer, Grissom."
He looked up and smiled. "Thank you for the advice, Xander. Got any good suggestions?"
"Greg likes this pear scented one from Clinque or someone." He shrugged. "It works for him. He found a wrinkle the other day and a gray hair. There were many hours of freakage and yelling then a good week of pouting." He walked in and handed over the folder. "When we had to put back together the files on my computer, two got stuck together wrong. Delko, down in Miami, figured it out because it related back to his case, but it ends up relating back here and I'm fairly certain following this one down will get me back in my lab and so we can find all the shit they stole from New York." He gave him a look. "Then I had a screaming epiphany in the middle of the night and got disgusted looks for the name I yelled out."
"Did Hodges say it had better not have been a good and happy dream?" Bobby teased.
Xander looked at him and nodded. "You bet." He turned his head and coughed. "I'm still fine."
"I'm sure you are. Sit." Xander flopped down and sprawled out. Grissom smirked. "You sat that same way during part of your interview."
"My back was out," he complained. Grissom smiled at that. "Besides, you knew by that alone that I was the right tech because I could keep up with everyone here, even Greg and David."
"Nah, you were worse than Greg and David," Nick said as he came in, giving him a hug. "Did you bring me more work?"
"No, I brought you less work, snookums." He patted him on the arm. "Get off." Nick laughed but got off his neck. "Thanks. Heavy gas released into my lab makes me cough."
"I can see why." He looked at the folder, then smirked and took it to read over. "That does fit."
"I thought so. Eric Delko down in Miami found the flaw when we put two files back together that shouldn't have been. Between that and a screaming epiphany? Proving it might be more difficult, but easier out here than out there."
"Good point." Nick looked at him. "I thought you guys were in New York."
"We are but I had a crossover case down in Miami, multiple homicides, and since I still can't get into my lab thanks to the Feds, Mac sent me down there to coordinate with them and to give us some time on the beach. David went home since his lab is open and Don's tired of puppysitting. The Feds are hinting I can't have my lab back until we find the missing evidence."
"Crap, man. We'll see what we can do. Where are you staying?"
"Not a clue. Who's having the specials this month?"
"Stay out of Braun's places," Bobby ordered. "He's been using connections to taunt the lab."
Xander nodded. "Okay, I can do that." He grinned at him. "Dinner sometime soon?"
"I can do that tonight. I'm off tonight." He punched him on the arm, seeing the wince. "Awww, are you tired?"
"Hell yes, I had to stock up on my infusion of husband since I'm going to be here until it's solved and I can get back into my lab." He smiled sweetly at Nick, who shuddered. "I see you see my point. Can I help?"
"Nope. Let me get to work on this, I'll send Bobby over with notes tonight, Xander." He patted him on the head as he walked past him.
Xander grinned at Bobby. "There was this many guns in the lab that they stole," he admitted, handing over that list from his pocket. Mac had faxed it to him before he had left. "We're going to have to verify every single one of them."
"Oh, crap," he said, mentally counting. "They took your exemplar?" Xander moaned and nodded. "You poor thing!"
"It's in the firing pen and that's where I passed out from the gas." He stood up. "Okay, I'm to find a hotel room. I'll call down here to tell you where I am so you can call when you're ready." He gave him a hug and shot a grin at Grissom. "If I get bored, can I come help him?"
"If he's got things to do. We're having a low gun crime run. A lot of stabbings and poisonings."
"Pity. But okay." He waved and left, handing back his pass. "I'll call in a few." She handed over a coupon and he smiled, winking at her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He headed out, catching a cab to the suggested hotel and then heading to his room to nap after calling Bobby.
Nick looked up as Bobby's lab door didn't open when he tried it. He knocked. No answer. He peeked in the windows. No one in there. He went to the office. "Grissom, did Bobby call in sick? Too much Xander maybe?"
"He's not here yet. His lab door is locked."
Grissom called the hotel. "Can you please connect me with Detective Harris' room.... really? Was a report made by anyone? Thank you." He hung up. "Someone broke into his room and tried to take him. Bobby's probably still at the ER. Xander's nowhere to be found."
"Aw, crap. He comes to Vegas and gets kidnaped again?" Grissom nodded. "Any idea who?"
"Torres got the call. Go ask him."
"Yay, new guy," he said bitterly, going to find him. He found him at the ER. "Okay, which CSI got the call?" he demanded.
"Um, Sidle, why?"
"He's in on a case that links our PD back to the lab assault in New York." The man moaned.
"Let's not forget that Xander hunting was a sport of rich women," Bobby said quietly from his bed. "They had masks, Nick, dressed the same as the video we got sent from the team in New York. Vests like you're wearing and all."
"Did they drag him out?" Bobby nodded slowly, holding his head. "You gonna live?"
"If only so I can kick the crap out of them for it," he agreed. "Xander had his phone on him. If David's smart it's got GPS."
"Thanks, man. I'll call Sarah and let her know." He patted him on the foot and looked at the detective. "We want to know all of it. Brief me on the way back to the station. Better yet, we'll sit down with Sarah and get it all together."
"Sure," he agreed, looking at Bobby. "Anything else, call him, okay?" Bobby nodded at that. He followed Nick out. "He said Harris was a local?"
"He did his post-grad internship with us. He was Bobby's protege and favorite student outside of his wife. He spent part of his internship running the lab since Bobby's mom had cancer. It let him get home to her a lot more than he would've been able to. He also handled a lot of stuff for us. Plus he married Hodges and took him with him. Sanders went with him when Hodges transferred to Chicago. Harris did our bomb investigation when we got blown up."
"Oh. So he's really tight with the lab?"
"Yeah, and we've had to rescue the guy before. He draws trouble. A lot of expensive trouble." He opened the door to his SUV. "Meet me back there?"
"Sure. I'll stop in on Sidle."
"Oh, she'll be there," he assured him. "She really will." He slid in and went back. First, he called Sarah. "You do know that it was Xander they took, right?" He smirked. "Because of the lab assault in New York. No, they moved there last year, Sarah. Chicago was yanking their chains again. So you've got a missing Xander, we've got the case he was sent out on. Meet me back there to switch since it looks like Internal Affairs is going to be down our throats. I've already filled him in some. He'll be joining us." He hung up and called Grissom. "You're going to hate me. Xander's been taken. Bobby's in the hospital, looked like a sprained wrist and a concussion by the way he was holding his head. Sarah got the call to the hotel. Torres was the officer. They're meeting me there so we can do an information switch. Warn everyone that IA is going to be showing up sometime probably." He hung up and drove a bit faster. This was a bad thing to have happen. He was sure someone was going to call David and they'd get a screaming, worried spouse soon enough. After all, Xander had only been radiated a little over a year ago. Now he was sick again and snatched. Xander just didn't have the luck some days.
Xander waited until his present captor was done sneering at him and then shifted, crossing his legs. They had left them unbound. "You know, you really should get new lines. You've used those already today, twice." The man sneered and pulled a gun. "Hey, I know that piece. It came out of my exemplar cabinet. Nice choice. Did you take the british made bullets for it too?" The man frowned. Then he grinned. "That's why I put them in there. That's what I use when I need to blow off steam doing targets," he said talking down to him. "I'm a gun tech. I have many, many guns. I like my guns. I'm good with my guns." He coughed, then spit it on his captor. "Ah, I feel better now. Your gas gave me pneumonia."
"I'll kill you!"
"No you won't. Right now your group's highest crime was attempted murder. That's a life in prison thing, not a death penalty thing. Of course, I'm going to kill you for trying to kill Mortty because she's my bitch, but oh, well. It's not like you're going to be missed in the gene pool. No one will ever miss you."
"I've got family, they will."
"If you had a family that gave a damn, you wouldn't be here. Neither would I."
"My wife would care!"
"She'd get your insurance from the PD and your pension. Even though you were a fuckup they'd still give it to her for your two kids. The Sheriff would make her take the single payout instead of taking it over the years, but she'd get something to keep her for a few years. Besides, she'd be better off with a guy like Nick. She stares at his ass every time she sees him walking." Not that half the women around the city didn't, but.... "Then again, maybe your kids will marry well. They probably won't want to become cops so they'll get good marks in school and go somewhere better and more profitable. Either that or Wendy's." The man slapped him. Xander shrugged. "I've had worse and we both know this."
"Shut him up!" someone yelled from the next room. "Just kill him already!"
"Huh, gotta love that at the leach motels." He concentrated, feeling the inhabitants. Just his luck, no demons to drive into a frenzy so he could get free. He got punched this time, breaking his concentration. Xander casually kicked the guy in the nuts, making him moan and go down. "Ah, I feel better now." The door slammed open and he waved his foot at the guy standing there. "I'd wave my hand but it's rather tied down."
"Why won't you shut up!"
"Because I'm a fucking cop and my husband hates it when I'm quiet. He thinks I'm going evil." The man gave him a horrified look. He checked behind him just to make sure then at him. "You know, if you call the crime lab in Vegas and tell them where I am, they might forget you're here."
He shook his head. "I can't stand cops and we're in Laughlin."
Xander sighed. "Can you hand me the phone then?" His gun was cocked. Xander looked at him, then kicked him under the chin before smiling sweetly at the demon in human form. "Please." He shook his head and stomped off. Xander sighed and concentrated really hard, floating his cellphone over from where it had been put. He turned it on and then hit the speed dial for the number two, all he could reach comfortably. He knew who it lead to. "Hey, Greggy, can you please call Nicky or Warrick. Tell them Laughlin sucks and it's dirty and nasty, not to mention having neighbors who wanted the guy to kill me faster." He heard the yelling and could just make out words. "One of the cops who broke in. I think I broke his neck. Kicked him under the chin. Thanks. I'll leave my phone on in case they need GPS." He heard the click and dropped his phone onto the floor, sighing in relief that he could release the magic. "This must be a null spot," he said wisely. "This so sucks ass. Wonder if I could pull a Sunnydale and draw the power this way...." He shook his head. "No, not a good thing." He waved a foot at the guy in the doorway. "Hi, who're you?"
"Detective Harris, NYPD. I'd show you my badge but it's over there," he said with a nod for his things. "Along with my antibiotics. Can I have one?" He came in and helped him pop his antibiotics, then got him some water. "Thanks, had pneumonia thanks to this guy and a few others. You are?"
"Um, not here, Detective."
"Uh-huh. LVPD is rolling this way at the moment."
"Thank you for the warning, sir." He headed off at a run for his room.
Xander shook his head. "At least I got my antibiotic." He blinked at the woman in the doorway. "Not again," he complained. She smirked and nodded. "Oh, blow off, Anya."
"If you want."
"Well, you could untie me, as long as you don't try to keep me."
"Nope, sorry. Not my field. How's the spouse?"
"Fine. At work probably with what time it is. How's the afterlife?"
"I got sent back to work."
"I was bored. I jumped and begged prettily when D'Hoffryn called." She shrugged. "So, how's Sarah?"
"She was fine the last time I saw her. Why? Did Don do something bad?"
"I haven't stopped in, I wouldn't know." She shrugged. "So, what's this?"
"Oh, he and some buddies broke into my ballistics lab in New York and stripped it bare. Why I'm not real sure and I don't care, but he did."
"Sucks to be them then. Can I get you anything?"
"Can't. Against union rules."
Xander sighed. "Can you go find Stokes or Warrick and give them a physical address of wherever I am when they get here?"
"Maybe. What's in it for me?"
"I won't have to banish you again," he said blandly. "I'll wear a t-shirt that makes people have those headaches you giggled at," he offered when she shook her head.
"I enjoyed your t-shirts." She disappeared. Then she came back. "You know you won't be here, right?" He nodded. "That's fine, I'll tell them where you'll be when they get here." She disappeared again.
He groaned and got comfortable. He couldn't remember if Laughlin had a lake or not...
Greg hung up and called Nick's phone. "Nick, it's Greg. I just got a head's up from Xander. One of the guys has him Laughlin. His phone's on now so you can get a GPS lock. He said he's somewhere that the neighbors wanted him killed faster and it's dirty and nasty. He thinks he broke the guy's neck since he kicked him. Thanks." He saw a glowy figure. "Hold on, Nick. Incoming message."
Anya materialized and shrugged. "He tempts well."
"Anya," David growled.
"Chill, pookie, I'm me again. Greg, he's not going to be there when they show up. He's with a lot of serial killers and psychos. One of them is going to take him to their Bates' Motel place and make him sorry he was ever born. It's the one who's three down on the..." She closed her eyes and held up a hand. "Three down that way facing the door to the motel." He blinked. She shrugged. "I'm bound by what I can do, dear. The same as I can't undo him." She shrugged and smiled. "Pet the doggies for me, they're *so* cute!" She disappeared.
"Nick, did you hear Anya?" Greg asked. "Yes, that Anya. He dated demonic women, Nick. Does it really surprise you. This is one of Xander's exes here." He listened. "Thanks. Third down on the right to where he presently is looking at the door. He said high percentage of serial and psycho killers. Yeah, that sounds like it. Let me know, man. I've got David here with me. Thanks." He hung up. "They broke into the hotel room, knocked out Bobby and took him, David."
David said something Xander usually did and something in the next lab over exploded. David frowned that way. "I didn't know I could do that."
The rest of the team stared at him. "Us either," Danny said finally. He looked at Greg. "He gonna be okay?"
"This is Xander," he pointed out. "He'll be fine." That got a nod. He looked at Mac. "If she *ever* shows up again, call Dawn to send her packing. She's a scary woman."
"Of course she is, Xander dated her," Stella agreed, shaking her head. "She's what?"
"Vengeance. Scorned women."
"She was human when they dated," David assured her.
"Still charming," she said dryly. She looked at Lindsey, then at Sheldon. "That's why we handle those things when they come up," she assured him.
He shrugged. "I've seen her before. My roommate in medical school ended up turning into a giant mouse for his psych experiment maze. She cackled pleasingly then."
"And she dated Xander, why does this not surprise me," Danny noted. The ones who could think laughed.
Mac shook himself free. "Do we think Xander will be fine?"
"He's a Xander," Greg reminded him.
"He can still be killed."
"No, Dawn saw how they'd be killed," Greg said, staring him down. "It's not today."
"Okay. I'll leave that there. Lindsey?" She shook herself free. "Are you all right?"
"Where did she go?"
"She disappeared," Danny assured her. "You won't have ta see her. She only comes for girlfriends who were wronged." She gave him an odd look. "I'm sure you had girlfriends done wrong in Montana," he noted dryly. She got up and stomped out. "They didn't?"
"I'd think they shot their guys instead of waiting," David muttered, shaking his head. He looked at Greg. "When?"
He shrugged. "She didn't say. All she did was cry about seeing it. Gasped in pain and woke up sobbing from a dream."
"I'll make sure we've got wills," he sighed, making a note of that. "Together?"
Greg looked at him. "All I got out of her was that you'd never feel it, David." He nodded, accepting that. "And that it wasn't this year."
"Thank you." He made another note and pushed it out of his mind. "We should call to check on Nick."
"We can't. He'll hang up on us."
"Point. Call Brass?"
"No, David," Mac ordered. "I know it's hard but we can wait for information. Interrupting them means it takes longer to get him back." He nodded, grimacing at that. "Let's go ahead and break this meeting. We'll take it up once we hear about Xander." They nodded, going to visit the snack machines and hang around David and Greg for information. Mac went to his office, finding Dawn in there. "How did you get in?"
"Magic. I sent Anya away." She got up and let him have his chair. She kissed him on the forehead. "Danny will handle it, but he'll turn into Xander to solve it," she said quietly, making him shudder. "Greg will go further. They won't feel anything and it won't be this year. They'll be asleep cuddled together and it'll be a single shot. That's all I'm sure of." She stroked his cheek. "It'll hurt but they'll be together and the funeral will be well attended." He nodded, looking at her. "He looked a bit older than he does now. Some gray hairs and things." He relaxed at that. "Okay?" He nodded. "Then forget it." She blocked the memory before going to see her boy. "Hi. Did the skanky Xander-ex get you?" she teased.
"Yeah, and why she came here instead of there I'm not sure."
"You were probably as direct as she could get. Not like anyone in Vegas would've paid any attention to her." She gave him a cuddle, blocking the memory from him as well. He relaxed and she nuzzled his throat. "I'm starting to like the wedding during the convention idea." He smiled and nodded. "That way we'll have plenty of backup if my sister shows up."
"I forgot about her. Must we?"
"She is family."
"Point," he sighed, kissing her for real.
"Eww," Lindsey complained from the doorway.
"Shut up," Greg ordered, glaring at her. "We just set our wedding date, I'm allowed to kiss her." He did it again, using his tongue this time too.
Lindsey stomped off. "Mac, make Greg and Dawn stop making out in the labs!"
"We're doing it during the convention," he called. He gave her another kiss while Mac brought in a sign-up list and smiled, walking away again. He sat down, letting her snuggle into his lap. "We're waiting on word."
"I know we are." She stroked his chest, smiling at David. "I'd give you a hug but you'd break another beaker."
"How did I do it in the first place?" She motioned him closer and tapped something that Xander had given him. "Okay." He sat down with a soda, sipping it. Then he realized what he was doing and gave it an odd look, earning a laugh from the other couple. "I'm turning into him."
"You can't. You don't like guns," she reminded him.
"Good. Then I won't worry. Much." He finished his soda and looked at Greg, who handed over his cellphone. He checked the call log. No missed calls.
Nick found Xander later that afternoon. He was a bit more bruised and had a cut on his stomach, but the killer had been shot by the cops. "Can't you stay in one spot?"
"Not like I could resist kidnaping, Nick. She put me and the chair into the truck."
"Point." He got him undone and helped him stand. "You good? Need an ambulance?" Xander gave him a look. "I know, it's you. That's fine, you'll go so David knows to fuss."
"Can I have my stuff? I should've taken my antibiotic a few hours ago."
"Sure." He walked him out. "You can have it at the ER." Jim Brass looked at him. "He'll need his antibiotic."
"It's in the car with Grissom. He called David and got yelled at."
"I'll calm him down in a minute. You know, he doesn't yell at the doctors in New York."
"That's because you can't get past them," Nick reminded him patiently as he walked him down to where the ambulance was. "One kidnaping victim twice over." They nodded, taking Xander to look over and take in for an exam. Nick called Greg's phone this time, getting David. "Calm down. He was fine. He's going to have a new scar on his stomach. No, she tied his feet down this time. Took him chair and all from the last place, David. He couldn't fight back. I'm sure he was fine, he asked for his antibiotics." He smiled at that. "Desert Palms. Yup. He's fine. We'll get some information then send him home, David. I promise. You and Sarah the dog can have him back in a day. Should we let him go to the mall to pick up presents too?" He smirked. "That's fine. Thanks, man. No, Grissom knows you were being a worried spouse. He's been yelled at by many of them over the years. Of course. I'll even see if Jim can go with him. Of course I will. On Greg's or yours?" He smiled. "Thanks, man. Yup, it gave us all we needed to know and we found all his. That's between the departments, man. Ask Mac to come out or call." He hung up and looked at Brass. "He's got to bring back a present for upsetting David."
"That's kind of a standard Xander thing," he agreed. "And?"
"Greg's getting married during the convention." Brass smiled at that. "I guess they figure everyone's going to be out here anyway." He shrugged and headed to where Grissom was. "David apologized for being a worrying spouse."
"I figured he would be. That's why I called Greg's phone."
"So did I. I'm guessing he confiscated it. Did you hear, Greg's going to be marrying during the convention." Grissom smiled at that. "That way we can pick on him."
Grissom nodded. "I'll keep that in mind for attendance. Where is he heading?"
Grissom looked at the ambulance that was pulling up. "Then why is there a third one?"
Nick looked and moaned, going to see if they were the right ones with Brass.
Mac came off the plane with David, letting him go when they saw Xander waiting on them.
David walked up to him, looking him over. "I should spank you."
"Not my fault the ambulance driver wanted to keep me," he muttered, hugging him.
"Ooops. Didn't hear about the fake ambulance? They found me about ten minutes later but he was pushing his suit to get me as his slave." He kissed him, making David's mind depart. "Come with me? I set up our hotel room very nicely since I'm on rest and Bobby can't deal with the guns for another day, when the Feds release them."
"Fine. Mac, we're heading to the hotel."
"Of course you are. I'll see you both later. Xander, I'll want a report."
"It's waiting on you at the hotel, Mac."
"Thanks." He watched him walk off then looked at Brass, shaking his hand. "I was warned when they transferred in but I've never seen it that bad."
"The weird and psychotic were having a convention in Laughlin this year according to the locals on patrol there."
"So of course they congregated around him," Mac complained. Brass nodded. "The usual happen?"
"No, I sat in his hotel room with him. He wasn't even allowed out for a soda. I figure Hodges will wear it out someday soon." He walked him out to the car he had signed out for the day. "Grissom is about to release his tarantula on the Feds."
"I've thought about shooting them personally. They're still crawling over our lab." He got in, letting him drive him in. When the finally got there, he got given a visitor's pass and headed back there. Nick pointed and let out a small groan. "Still?"
"Yup. Bad too."
"We've had them for the last three weeks," Mac told him. He walked in and put his bag against the wall next to the door. "Grissom. Hodges has Xander well in hand."
"Thankfully." He shook his hand with a smile. "Can we send them back with him?"
"He'll be ecstatic if you do, Grissom. Any evidence of tampering?"
"They didn't break the seals except for on an envelope in a garbage bag. The officer who had Xander hostage had one of his that was listed as being part of his exemplar collection." Mac moaned at that. "It's evidence but he can probably replace it. Did you bring the list?"
"In my bag." He got it out and handed it over. "Need help with the matching?"
"No, we'll be fine, Mac." He smiled. "Bobby wanted to look since Xander said he'd been helping build it. Said he had hyped the exemplar cabinet with a lot of big and idiot shiny guns." Mac nodded, smiling at that. "He'll have fun."
"That's fine. I can let Xander work with him. He'll coo and pet them like his babies. He usually does." He looked at the Fed. "Anything else?"
"No," he ground out. "We'll be overseeing the transfer."
Mac shook his head. "The only Feds that we trust are a team in NCIS, Harris's parents, or Special Agent Ford from the FBI. Get one of them so you don't butt heads with Harris again. This time he'll bite you." He stomped off. "He accused Xander of masterminding this," he said quietly. "Xander broke four of his ribs for him."
"I noticed how he was moving. Who stopped him?"
"No one. He decided, after hacking phlegm on him, that he wasn't worth it. How are his lungs?"
"Still a bit cloudy but I haven't heard him cough. I had the doctors check to make sure." Mac smiled at that. "Would you like to see their storehouse?"
"I would. Any idea why they did this?"
"Some. They were paid. One of Xander's grudge list took his retirement all at once and paid them to do it."
"You're kidding." Grissom shook his head. He started to say something then shook his head. "Does he know?"
"We couldn't keep it from him. Xander was giving a statement and he walked into the hospital with a gun, ranting about what was going on. Fortunately Nick was using a tape recorder for the statement." Mac shook his head. "Xander got off the hospital bed and started to sing Disney songs, particularly _It's A Small World_ and it made him grab his head and scream. Nick got him in handcuffs and sent him back here to his new cell."
"Interesting." They went to look at the sealed warehouse that had ten officers guarding the doors. "Good security."
"It's too much to move safely. It was them or the Feds and they demanded the right to guard it to take the stain the others had caused." He signed them in and let Mac open the door and walk in first.
"Damn," Mac said, staring around. He took out his camera and took pictures. "They emptied our guns, our drugs, and our money storage?"
"They did," Grissom agreed. He looked at him. "We've got well-lit photos as well. You can send some of those back."
"They're going to be impressed that the Feds missed the storage areas. They never even checked," he said dryly. Grissom laughed at that. "So, how much is there?"
"Approximately eight million, mostly in hundreds. That's what the wrapped bundles are. We're not sure if that's original or not. The drugs are in the wrapped boxes, we did that." Mac nodded at that. "The guns are in crates with styrofoam around them."
"They're going to have a fit at home." He called his office. "Danny, where's Stella?" He frowned. "I thought I left her in charge... oh. Okay. Well, she can handle Lindsey for the day. That's fine. I need a report sent to Grissom's lab about what our storage areas had in them. It looks like they got them too. Oh, I don't know, about eight mil in cash, mostly hundreds?" He smirked. "Thanks, Danny." He hung up. "He'll send out a precise list of what should be in there."
"It'll be helpful to compare." He led Mac back out, relocking the warehouse. "Just a few more days, guys." They nodded and he took Mac back to the office.
Warrick handed over the list. "That's less than we've got there, Grissom."
"Why?" Mac complained, looking it over. He looked at Warrick. "Did you ask them if they planned on keeping him too?"
"I hadn't, but I can do that." He walked down there with Mac. They were in a solitary section by themselves. "Guys, were you planning on setting up a nest to keep Harris? The things you guys had are more than what New York had in storage."
One of them started to cry. "He said we could keep whatever we stole but I was going to bring him home to my mother," he admitted.
Mac groaned. "He's already married."
"Yeah, but my momma would treat him nice," he defended.
"He's married to Hodges, our former Trace tech. He's gay, guys," Warrick noted. They all whimpered at that. "I thought the lesbians at the dance club were bad." He walked Mac off shaking his head.
"David doesn't let him out that often," Mac offered.
"Thankfully!" He looked at him then smirked. "Well, now we know."
"We do. You want that report?"
"Sure, I'm still writing mine. I'll bring him out and go back to interrogation with him." He looked at the guards. "Bring Martin to one of the rooms and come get me when he's in there." That got a nod. He walked him back into the labs, handing him to Grissom. "They were promised anything they took and one of them was going to give Xander to his mother." He walked off, going to find a clean tape and a tape recorder.
Grissom made a phone call. "Jim, Gil. They wanted to keep Xander as well. Thank you, Jim." He hung up. "He'll have someone on his room."
"Thanks. We'd miss the insanity David doesn't let him bring." He sat down across from him. "How did you want to do this, Gil? It's your area, I'll help."
"Thank you, Mac." He smiled at him. "We'll bring it here by category and count, seal, and notate, then dispose of the drugs that day if that's all right."
"As far as I know." He looked at the list. "Yeah, Danny asked. He said they could be destroyed. The money was confiscated from a vault and the home of someone. They need that back. The DA wants the guns back in New York as well."
"That's fine. Anything else we'll figure it out as we come to it."
Mac nodded. "That's reasonable. You know, I should send that to Horatio and Ray Vecchio, plus my lab." Grissom handed over a CD and a postit with a temporary log-on. "Thanks. Anywhere you need me to not go?"
"Ballistics is free. I'm sure you've spent time in there calming Xander down."
"Not usually. He's done pretty good with us. Of course, after he beat the crap out of the guy who broke into his house and stole his collection, who handcuffed David and kicked his dog, we don't let him go out alone anymore. David keeps the rest down."
"I'm glad they got it worked out." Mac grinned and got up to send those pictures and a note about what was going on.
In Miami, Calleigh opened her email and frowned. "HORATIO! MESSAGE FROM NEW YORK'S GUYS!" He came running in. "I don't know why they sent it to me." She let him have it, looking at the pictures of the warehouse. "Wow."
He looked at the approximate list and shook his head. "And they wanted to keep Xander as well. They got very greedy." He sent one back to Mac, getting a 'your inbox bounced' back. He smiled. "My inbox was full." He let the others see the pictures. "They caught the person behind it, the officers who did it, found their stash, rescued Xander from not one, but two sociopaths, and now they're going to verify the evidence."
"Man!" Calleigh sighed, shaking her head. She read over the note, then smiled. "Greggy's getting married during the next convention. We have to go." She looked down at her dog, picking him up to cuddle. "Yes, we will. We will go see the Nicky's daddy and the Granddaddy and we'll celebrate the Nicky's daddy's marriage to the Dawn." The dog barked and wagged his tail at her happy tone. She smiled at him. "You deserve a treat. Beg Uncle Horatio for another dog biscuit." The dog pounced Horatio, making him catch him, and licked his face until he gave up and brought him to get one so he could wash his face. She forwarded it to Eric and Speed, getting stereo groans from up the hall. She laughed. That was so cute! They were setting up a Xander kidnaping fund!
"David, I know I told you to not let him out," Mac said coolly.
"I didn't! I let him go for a soda," he complained, watching SWAT go in to retrieve his mate. "They took him out of the hallway, Mac. It was not my fault." Mac glared at him. "It wasn't! He was walking funny and everything, all right?"
"Fine." Xander was brought out, pouting. "Xander." He smiled and came over to hug David. "What happened?"
"He decided me being with David was morally wrong so he was going to give me to his sister. That way I'd be straight and since she's a stripper making good money she'd be able to keep me in style."
Mac moaned and walked off shaking his head.
"Not my fault! All I did was go for a soda!"
"You're confined to your hotel room, Xander. Order room service."
"That's how we stole him back last night," David complained. "They had knock out gas." Mac moaned and held his head. "Go hug him."
Xander trudged that way and gave him a hug. "I'm sorry I'm such a pain." He went to hug Grissom and tell him the same thing then found himself staring at a guy with a very impressive gun. "Man, talking about big and idiot shiny," he said in awe. "The new Eagle Talon model." He took it from the guy to look over, swatting the hands trying to get it back. "Baby, can I have one for my birthday?" he called, waving it. "The new model's out."
"Only if you give last year's model to the lab," David called. "Someone get the person he took the gun off of, please!" he demanded. A few of the guys walked him off, protesting. David shook his head. "Xander, hand the nice gun over. We'll go look at a good one in the stores."
"Yes, David." He handed it to Nick and went back to cuddle his man. "I'm sorry."
"I know, dear. I know." He patted him on the back. "Did you want to pop around to LA before we head home?"
"Nope." He snuck a kiss and grinned. "Can we go back to the hotel now?"
"As soon as they take a statement. You know that, Xander," he said patiently. Nick and Grissom came over to take it and escorted them back personally.
Mac walked into his office and flopped down in his very comfortable desk chair, which was even warm from someone using it. "I'm not back yet," he called.
Danny stuck his head in. "I heard the hotel staff got him a few times."
"Plus the one guy who came up to him as we were rescuing him and wanted him. Xander took his gun to look it over and the guy swatted at him to get it back." He closed his eyes. "How were things while we were gone?"
"Trace is clear. Ballistics is clear. Crime's been pretty down for the last few days. Mortty's pouting. With this latest scare she wants the baby Xander now instead of later. Stella's thinking it might be a good idea too." He came in and closed the door. "Stella was in here but she went to ride Monroe's ass about stuff. She got it into her head that all this was an attempt to take Xander again."
"No, it was an attempt to discredit the techs from Vegas. Remember hearing about Ecklie?"
"Yeah, the guy he drove nuts and gave the heart attack to with Disney music. Why?"
"He paid them." He rubbed his eyes. "One was going to keep Xander as a spoil of war. Was going to give him to his mother."
Danny sighed and shook his head. "Is it worn out again?" Mac moaned and pointed at his briefcase. He opened it, putting the laundry aside carefully since it was folded. He found the file marked 'Xander paperwork' and looked inside, flipping through the reports. "Man! They let him go out to the clubs?"
"No, the last kidnaping attempt was someone who remembered him from the last time they were in. She took him out at knifepoint and made him go to the clubs with her."
"Just a knife?" He found that report and looked at it. "Electroshock cock ring. Ow."
"Very. He said after the second time, he wised up and did what she said, sending clues back to David and Nick," he complained. He stood up and stretched, then sat back down again. "Anything I need to handle? I've got a headache."
"Not yet. She did all the mundane stuff. Unless you wanna straighten out Monroe?"
"I probably will," he agreed. "Have Stella file those so she can laugh." He got up and gathered up his laundry and his bag, clapping him on the back. "Nice work keeping it down while we were gone, Danny." He left, going home to take a real nap. He hated hotel rooms.
Danny walked the folder to Stella, looking at her until she motioned him closer since she was talking with Lindsey. "Mac's been here and gone again. He went home with a headache. Remember hearing about Ecklie?"
"Yeah, the supe he drove insane. Right?" she asked. He nodded. "He was behind it?"
"He paid the cops to discredit them by breaking into the labs. Thought Sanders was back in DNA here. They could keep anything they stole or sell it, and one was going to claim Xander as an additional prize for his mother." He handed over the folder. "Whatever makes Xander and you get hit at the clubs went into overdrive for a while. Room service guys, hotel workers, one with an electroshock cock ring that made him go into the clubs. Mac said ta file those for him please."
"Sure." She went through the reports, then at him. "Hold on, they were rescuing him and someone new came up?"
"Yeah. Read that one. Xander took his gun from him to look over, asked for it as a birthday present. David made them arrest the guy."
She moaned and kept going. "Ellie Brass. Any relation?"
"Jim's daughter. She fixated. He was probably not the happiest former New Jersey cop."
She shuddered and kept going, coming to the end of the file. "Well, discrediting the Vegas group is a better reason than just wanting Xander and Mortty." She walked off, taking it to make copies and file or send them where they needed to go.
Mortty tapped on Xander's door, smiling at David. "Can we talk?" He nodded, letting her inside. "Thanks." She hung up her cloak and followed him back into the living room. "Guys, that time was too close," she said, staring at them. "I know you hate kids, David, but we almost lost him, four times." David nodded, giving Xander a squeeze. "Is there any way I can convince you guys to let me have a baby now?"
David nodded. "We talked about that last night. We're wary of having one left behind."
"But I'll be here."
"You will be and we'd want it to go to Gibbs and/or Abby if something happened to you," Xander said firmly." She beamed at that. "That leaves the details. What doctor did we want to use?"
"Doctor?" She gave them the puppy eyed look, getting a glare from David. "Oh, come on!"
"Mine," David reminded her.
"Not like I'll want to keep him, Dave, and he's said often enough that I'm his bitch. It'd be pack bonding," she offered, smiling at him. "Please! Just once? I'm sure it'd take since he's so strong." Xander blushed at that. "Pretty please? I'll get between you two and everything!"
David looked at Xander, who shrugged. "You know I don't cheat," Xander reminded him.
"I know." He kissed him, considering it. "When are you fertile?"
"Pretty much all the time." She gave him a manic grin. "I've been a naughty girl. I'm off my meds again." Xander pulled her into his lap, and David took a kiss. She purred and David was very nice to her. "Thank you!"
"I'll use a condom, he won't," he reminded her. "You get one you get both." She nodded, getting up and taking them upstairs to do this the right way. She wanted the full David and Xander experience.
Abby answered her phone. "NCIS Lab.... Mortty." She looked around and smiled. "Yeah, I'm free. Why?" She pulled a stool over and sat, listening to her babble, moaning a bit. "Ohh, sissy." The door opened. "Hold on, sis." She put her on hold. "Sorry, Director, my sister. What did you need today?"
"Is it important family news?"
"She's telling me how the attempt to have a baby for her two best friends is going."
"Oh. I see. Did it work?"
"She won't know for another few weeks, but they've been spoiling her rotten so she thinks so." She smiled. "If I ever have one it'd probably be from the same source."
"David and Xander, out of the NYPD lab?" She moaned and walked off. "Did you need something?"
"Not anymore. Only something for my headache."
Abby took her off hold. "So, how was it?" she asked, getting a giggle that made her blush. "Cool! So, are you and Don still...." She nodded. "Then it's probably better that way. I'm sure he'll still cuddle you whenever you need it." She listened to her babble about how great it had been. David was apparently a very good lover, he had learned a lot pleasuring Xander. And Xander had rocked her to the core. "Wow. Think they'd want twins?" She giggled. "I know, but I want one if you have one," she complained. She pouted. "I understand. Thank you for trying for me." She smiled. "You're right, I should. Love you. Be safe. Remember to tell me if it did work. Yup. You too." She hung up and went upstairs, going to pout at Gibbs and Tony. "Hi." They gave her a look. "Mortty just called."
"Something happen?" Gibbs asked, staring at her.
"She talked them into letting her have their baby. She said it was fantastic and they're great." He blushed at that. "They're spoiling her horribly." She pouted, looking at Tony then back at him. "I want one, Gibbs. We've always done everything together."
"Go get some in the clubs," Gibbs muttered.
"I'm not that sort of girl!" she said, swatting him. She walked over to where Tony was sitting. "Can you help me pick a nice boy to have one with?" He gave into her puppy eyes and nodded. "Would you be the nice boy I can have one with? You'd be nearly as cool as having one with Xander and we can make Gibbs give it baby Marine lessons while I dress it goth and make it pretty and dance." Tony let out a strangled squeak. "Please don't die on us?"
"Not," he squeaked, then he cleared his throat. "That's a big request, Abby. I'd have to be there to help. I'm the sort I'd marry the girl."
She shrugged. "You can be there but I'm not looking for a ring. I want a baby." She smiled at Jamie, Xander's brother, when he came over. She gave him a hug. "Xander and David got talked into it by Mortty. She said they're *fantastic* and they're spoiling her rotten." He blushed at that. "So there'll be a baby Xander goth vamp up there in about a year." He went to call his parents and tell them that. She smiled at Tony. "Please! I'll even let you talk me into the horribly unnatural way and go through the medical office."
He coughed. "Give me a day to think, Abby. Please? This is a big decision."
"If you think you'll say no," she pouted. She knew he couldn't resist her pout. "It's you or Gibbs." Gibbs moaned and shook his head. "Come on! Please!" she begged.
Ziva walked over to her desk. "New case?"
"No, my sister Mortty is having a baby Xander and we do everything together so I want mine now. So I'm young enough to take my kid to his or her first rave and all that." She pouted at Tony again. "Please?"
"Having a baby is a big commitment, Abby," Gibbs reminded her.
"I know. Mortty and I have been studying this. But I figure the only way I can have one that'll love me back will be with one of you two. Of course, I could suggest we play roulette but you'd spank me for that suggestion." He glared and nodded. She shrugged. "I tried. Tony? Please? It'll be a really cool kid and you can do however much you want to with him or her."
"You want...Tony to father it?" Ziva asked. "Why?"
"Because he's a good daddy," she said, turning to glare at her. "Back off." She backed up and then walked away. She growled and Tony gave her a hug. "I know but she's an evil bitch like Xander would date." Gibbs snickered at that. "Let me guess, you got briefed about what happened in Vegas?"
"By Lee," he agreed, looking at her. "Think about it, DiNozzo. It's probably the only way she'll get a baby who'll be like her. Otherwise it'll just be a geek."
"Boss, babies take a lot of work."
She turned to look at him. "Tony, if you don't, we could all be killed tomorrow and then there's no little Tonys in the world to make it laugh and play and be great investigators. Or maybe they'll take after me and be a goddess of the lab, but either way still great. Please?" She cuddled into his arms. "Pretty please? Tonight?" she asked quietly.
He looked down at her and he could see it, but it was still a lot of work. "Abby...."
"How else are we going to have a great next generation of NCIS agents?" she asked. "It's for the good of the country."
"No, that's a Gibbs reason," he noted dryly, spanking her.
"Agent DiNozzo!" the director bellowed. "What are you doing?"
"Talking to the young woman who wants to share a child with me, Director. She thinks the prospects of getting agents like Gibbs is abysmal without us having one together and letting him help train it." Gibbs moaned and put his head down, shaking it. "It could wear goth camo," he told her, smiling. She squealed and hugged him. "Tonight. Are you sure it'll take?"
She winked. "Practice is nice," she reminded him. "Not like I'm going to apply for strings or anything." He gave her a smug look. "Yes, I've heard you're fantastic. So maybe our baby will be a slut but that's okay." She smiled at the director as she came down. "My sister convinced me I needed to have mine now too. Just in case something happens to my chosen parents. It was kinda tied between Tony and Gibbs but Gibbs said no." Gibbs let out another moan. "So can I borrow Tony for the day to get it done?"
"Will it take today?"
She counted mentally. "Should. If not, tomorrow definitely." She smiled sweetly. "My sis and I are on the same schedule."
"Go," she moaned, walking off shaking her head. Abby whooped and drug Tony from the building and down to his car to take him home. Maybe she could talk Gibbs into a second one if she and Mortty decided to have two each.
Xander opened the suite door, nodding everyone inside. "You all came together?"
"We were waiting in the lobby for the others," Horatio offered, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "Why weren't you down there?"
"Mortty wasn't feeling well." He bounced back over and stroked her stomach. "We decided to let her have a baby Xander," he said proudly.
The entire Vegas and Miami teams stared and the ones from Chicago came over to pat the belly and hug her.
Xander beamed. "She wants a baby David after this but he's being cranky today."
"He told us he was being cranky but not why," Calleigh said, giving him a hug. "Congratulations! When is the baby Xander due?"
"Two more months," he said proudly. "We painted the nursery midnight blue and put up those glowy stars and got him a pretty crib too."
"Oooh, a boy," Calleigh said happily. "Does everyone up there know?"
"Yup, they said we could tell you guys, that way no one was babbling by the time they saw you," he teased, poking her on the stomach. "Then next generation of great techs. Abby's pregnant too. She's having a baby Tony."
"We do everything together," Mortty agreed, grinning at Horatio and waving. "Hi, Horatio."
"Hi, Mortty." He kissed her on the forehead. "Congratulations."
"Thank you. And you know what? He hasn't been hit on recently at all!"
Speed gave Calleigh a look. Then looked at Eric, who shook his head quickly. He'd do many things to help her, but not that. He looked at Horatio's back, then caught her eye, giving her a look.
"Oh, no. It's not a proven cure," she said, backing away from him.
"Yes it is. They even took Xander to a club in slutty clothes and he only got appreciative looks," Mortty told her. "Mac was giving Stella and Danny that same look. Tony's has worn out too."
"What's Abby having?" Horatio asked, ignoring what was going on behind him.
"A boy. We're both having boys." She pulled his hand down and put it on her stomach, then poked the other side, getting him kicked. "Neat, huh? He already takes hints."
He laughed and gave her a hug. "I'm glad you're happy, Mortty. You deserve every happiness." He patted her on the head and sat down in a chair. "Boys, leave Calleigh alone."
"But, H, she went and got kidnaped again," Eric complained. "Not that I'm offering, it'd be an odd looking kid, but if it worked on Xander and on Tony...."
"No!" Calleigh said firmly. "No, no nono nonono!"
"Fine, we'll have to keep taking you back," Speed told her.
Calleigh opened the door, she knew the New York contingent was up the halls. "Stella, save me!"
She leaned out of her room. "I'm still reminding Mac why it's a bad idea. Danny's cackling and said he's sterile. I still think it's a lie."
Calleigh pouted. "We should go out together."
"We should. Give me ten to change."
"Yup, me too. Meet you downstairs?" She heard the handcuffs be opened and ran. "Ten minutes." She made it to the elevator and got the doors closed before Speed could catch her.
Stella smirked at him. "You know, this cure won't work on Danny."
"We don't live with Danny. She got taken twice this month." He looked at her and brought the handcuffs up but she disappeared and slammed the door. "Damn it." He trudged back into the suite. "Lost her, Horatio. She made it to the elevator."
"I'm sure it'll be fine," Horatio said blandly, staring at him. "It might not work on her anyway, Speed."
Speed gave him a look and pointed at Xander. "If they're not doing it to him or Tony, then it's a cure."
"Maybe it's fluke and it'll come back," Mortty offered.
Speed looked at her. "Most likely it got transferred to the kid."
"Xander was picked on in high school," she said fondly. "The baby Xander will bo goth by then."
He moaned and took Eric off, going to find the other guys from New York and Vegas to work out how to manage this one.
Calleigh woke up the next morning, blinking at the ceiling. There was a mirror on the ceiling. Then she let out a scream. "Horatio!"
He hummed and rolled back onto his side.
She poked him, making him wake up. "What the hell are we doing...." She looked at her hand, then at his, then let out another shriek. "What did they do!"
"Calleigh, it's very early and I have a headache," he noted quietly.
"Hangover?" she taunted.
"Hmm. After taking you back from the group of Mounties." He blinked at her. "Are you okay?" She shook her head, holding up her left hand. He looked at it, then at his. "That is not my taste." She swatted him. "Quit," he growled. She shrunk down. "Thank you. For right now, let's start the day and then we'll think rationally. All right?" She nodded, storming into the bathroom. He found a robe and got up to look around the motel room. Which was very cheezy. Red hearts and cupids everywhere. There was a note on one of them and he opened it, sitting down to read it.
//Horatio, we tried to stop you, but you claimed her in front of the Mounties and they demanded you prove it. This was after the bachelor party so I'm pretty sure you don't remember it,// the note offered. //You told her it was going to happen, carried her off, and got it done at the same place we got married. We'll all gladly lie and say that you didn't consummate it if you need us to. Even Mac said he'd lie for you. Before you ask, we stopped taping when you pushed her against a wall in the club and had her there. We stopped it at the kiss. It was a great party. Also, just so you know, Sheldon pounced Stella to make her be normal when someone tried to take her out of the club as well. They're down the hall from you. No one's sure where Danny is but we're hoping he's safe since the doorman saw him leaving with a girl. We've already alerted LVPD to find him. So for now, just sit and think. Call us when you're ready to talk to us. We're taping the lectures today for you and the other couple. But you do look very nice together. Let us know if you need anything, Xander tried to save you twice. Greg.//
Horatio put it down and went into the bathroom. "Greg left us a note. We need to watch the tape. He said it was my idea."
She stuck her head out of the shower. "I'm starting to remember. You?"
"Not really." He stared at her. "Save me some hot water please." He went back to the bed. He still had a headache. Someone tapped on the door so he changed directions, going to open it. "Xander."
"I tried, Horatio. I tried a hell of a lot."
"The note said that." Xander handed over the tape and a bag. "Breakfast?"
"Painkillers and a fertility test. Just in case, man." Horatio nodded at that wisdom. "The Mounties put up a small tab since you were obviously more worthy of her than they were. If you need to talk, I'll listen. I delivered a copy to Sheldon. He's two to the right." Horatio nodded. "Take the painkillers. You look like you could use them." He gave him a hug. "Pass that on." He left.
Horatio sat down o the bed to take the painkillers, handing her the test when she came out. She gave it a dirty look. "Calleigh." She sighed and went to take it, coming back shaking her head. "That's one blessing at least. The note's by the gaudy gold cupid and the chair." She walked over and sat down to read it while he put in the tape. He handed her the painkillers, then decided he wanted a shower first. He felt slimy.
She watched it, smiling at the cuteness of Greg's wedding and party. She vaguely remembered the Mounties. Ah, there they were. She was being carried off. Nope, Horatio saved her. Claimed she was his. "Hopefully in the departmental sense," she muttered. Nope, he kissed her to prove it and she moaned. So it was a good one. He looked down at her, said something quiet, then drug her off. She didn't protest. At one point he ended up carrying her over his shoulder. She heard the shower shut off but he turned on the hairdryer. So apparently he was going to fuss with his hair for a few minutes. The tape moved on to the wedding, which was cute. Then Stella's and Sheldon's since apparently he had saved her and decided to end that streak. It moved to a club they were having the post-wedding party at with most of their friends, and it cut away just after Horatio shoved her into a wall and took control of her mouth. Her body seemed to remember that, she could feel it responding. He came out and she rewound it, letting him have it while she fussed with her hair. She found their clothes in the closet, hanging neatly, and laid his out on the bed, then glanced at him. He was standing still watching it, staring intently at the screen. "Horatio?"
He paused it and looked at her. "I'm guessing I decided to give you the cure."
She pouted. "I don't think marriage was the one noted."
He shrugged. "At least you weren't fertile or I was careful." He went back to watching, smirking at the scene with the kiss. He turned it off after watching Sheldon and Stella drunkenly grope at a table for a minute. He looked at her. "What do you want to do about this?"
"Get dressed so we can have breakfast? I'm hungry."
"That's fine," he agreed, taking his clothes into the bathroom to change modestly then came back out. He tipped her face up. "I would never force it, Calleigh."
"I know. Even if my body has memories that I don't." She blushed a bit and he chuckled, kissing her on the forehead. "I heard the knock, who delivered it?"
"Xander. He tried to stop us."
"I saw. It's a good friend that points out when you're doing stupid stuff and tries to stop you." He frowned. "Horatio, think about work."
"I know about work. I'm sure both Eric and Speed are hiding from us at the moment."
"Plus you'd have to tell everyone and Alexx would get mushy and cry on me."
He smiled. "She'd hit me." He stroked her cheek. "We'll see," he offered. She nodded, leading the way out to get breakfast. The tape went into her bag back at the original hotel and David handed over coffee and a morning after pill pack. "Not necessary," Horatio offered.
"Still better to be safe than sorry," he pointed out. Horatio nodded and Calleigh took them. "So, we've seen Danny, finally. Xander went and laid down the law with the cheerleaders who had him. They gave him back with a pout. He took Warrick with him," he offered. "Mac's pouting now. We handed Danny to him and he's keeping him out of trouble. Stella's already had her pills and she's in our room sulking while Sheldon's beating his head against a wall and hoping like hell that Don doesn't hear." She smiled at that. "Go ahead up. Mortty's with us." She nodded, going that way. He looked at Horatio. "Think long and hard, Horatio," he said quietly, watching him stare after her. "She could use the love. Remember, people get shot in our jobs." He walked off, his wise act for the day done.
Horatio considered it, going to find his boys. They both gave him a look from their corner in the coffee shop. "Don't say it."
"I was willing to sub in, Horatio," Speed offered. "You carried her off like a caveman."
Horatio glared at him. "Don't start. I mean it." Speed shrugged and handed him a cup of coffee. "What am I going to do?"
Eric stroked him on the arm. "Up to you, Horatio. Does she know?" He shook his head. "Would any one in that bed with you mind?" Speed shook his head and Eric grinned. "We all know my answer." Horatio smirked at him. "Tell her, see what she says. You can't expect her to make a decision without that."
"I can't." He got up and headed to talk to her. "Calleigh?" he asked when she opened the door. "Can we talk? It was pointed out there were things you don't know." She nodded, going with him back to his room. He opened the closet and stood her in front of it. It was clearly a mix of three people's clothes. He wrapped his arms around her. "You had to know before you could make any decision and they're thinking as well," he said in her ear, earning a shiver. "My boys and I have been together now for over a year." She turned to look at him. "You'd end up agreeing to all of us. They keep me centered."
She swallowed and nodded. "I understand." She hugged him. "Is it hot?"
"Very," he moaned.
"What about Eric's playboy reputation?"
"Sometimes he still needs the softer sex, so we give him permission as long as we see it, watch it, and he plays safely." She shivered at that. "You would be doing that when we needed that." She nodded, swallowing. "You had to know to make a choice."
She kissed him. "Can we all talk?" He nodded, paging them. They came in a few minutes later. "Hi, guys. I'm sorry."
Eric hugged her. "It's all right, Calleigh. This is Vegas, it happens here." He let Speed get her front to hug her. "We'll figure it out together." He sniffed her hair. "Horatio's shampoo."
"It was the only one in there." She blushed as she looked at Speed, who stared into her eyes. "What?"
"We all know I was willing to use Xander's cure on you," he said, stroking her cheek. "It's more likely it would happen now." She swallowed. "But we'd still get to rescue you all too often." She moaned and hid her face. "Up to you, Calleigh. Eric and I still get urges for girls. Horatio likes to watch it most of the time. He's got too much self-denial going," he whispered in her ear. She hiccuped on her next moan. He smiled at Horatio. "So, how was it?"
"I can't remember."
"No more drinking for you," Eric teased, pinching him hard. Horatio winced and rubbed the sore spot. He got Calleigh down onto the bed and put Horatio down next to her, he and Speed taking the other bed to watch. Horatio kissed her gently and she moaned, arching into his gentle fingers. Eric looked at Speed, who shrugged before kissing him. "Guys, want your honeymoon day alone and then we'll come back tonight to take our rightful spots?"
She looked back at him. "You don't mind?"
"Of course we do, but we'll get you later," Speed reminded her. "This'll be your honeymoon with him and then he'll bring you home to the harem. Because we basically are Horatio's harem at home." She blushed and giggled at that. "By the way, no using his shampoo. He gets possessive about it." He reached over to kiss her, then their boy. "If that's what you want."
"I should spank you."
"Eric would enjoy it too much."
"Point. Go be good boys while we talk." They nodded, kissing her then him before leaving. "They're playing."
"I can see you having a harem," she offered, playing with his shirt. "You take care of those around you. It's only natural that we'd please you in return." He moaned and she shifted closer. "Would I be a toy?"
He shook his head. "You'd be an equal with those two. I don't have toys in my house, except for this purple thing that Speed brought with him. Eric picks on him horribly about it." She blushed and giggled. "You would be ours. We're equal, Calleigh." She nodded, kissing him again. "Also, don't touch Speed's books of the moment, he tends to complain and then Eric has to pounce him to get him back into a good mood." She nodded, stroking up his face. "Eric's picky about his razor and those things." He stroked down her side. "He's got a personal hygiene thing going most days."
"I've noticed that. What about Ryan?"
"I like Ryan but it's not a thought any of us have had." She nodded, kissing him again. "Hmm, you're a sensualist at heart. I could enjoy more of that." He took control this time, showing her what he could do for her.
Mac looked over as Danny walked into his office the day they got back. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. It was horny cheerleaders, Mac." He shrugged and looked sheepish. "Not like I wanted it ta happen but it was kinda fun."
Mac looked him over. "Danny, did you think you needed someone to watch your back more often?"
"Usually Stella and I would, but she's with Sheldon and they're figuring things out at home. Don's still pouting. So I guess I was gonna ask you if you wanted a beer?"
"I wouldn't mind a beer but I've got about three forms to finish first. Mostly change of status paperwork for Stella and Sheldon."
"Will it be a problem?"
"No, I'm listing them as newly married but not to who. I won't let them work cases together for a while but otherwise it'll be fine." He smiled at Don as he came in. "He said you were pouting."
"I don't pout." He gave Danny a shove on the arm. "Beer?"
"Mac said he's got to fill out about three forms but he can join us." He looked at him. "Anywhere special?"
"Not Sullivans." He looked at Mac, who raised an eyebrow, then he looked at Danny. "You went to him?"
"No, I got handed to him and you were pouting."
"I don't pout."
"You do pout, Flack. You pout worse'n Xander sometimes." He stared him down, then it clicked. "Crap." He backed away. "Don...."
"Yeah?" he snorted.
"I didn't think you were...."
"You never asked."
"True, I never asked." He sat down. Don closed the door, making him swallow. "Um... Am I on the wrong track here?"
"No," Mac said quietly, going back to his paperwork. "Don, what did you want to do about this?"
"I wanna have that one and you," he said bitterly, glaring at him. Mac flinched. "What?"
"I haven't done that in a very long time," he said quietly, looking at him. Don shrugged. "Let's let me think first, okay? Danny I could probably take and tie down but I'm particular."
"I've noticed. So you mind if I have him?"
"I'm not some war prize," Danny said firmly.
Don looked at him. "Ya think? Not like you're any sort of prize, Messer, but you're good at what you do and I wanna sink into your mouth right here." Danny blushed at that. He pulled him closer to get into his face. "If it happens between us, I'm possessive as hell. You'd be mine. Mac would be mine. Anything else and it's not happening. I am the Master your momma warned you about." Danny swallowed at that. "Got me here?" Danny nodded slowly. "Truly?"
"Truly," he squeaked. Don smirked at that and he glared. "Don't you dare."
"It was cute."
"I don't do cute. I'm not a girl."
"Never said you were, but I can still make you scream like one," Don promised, latching onto his eyes again. Danny went tense at that. "I can make you scream whole octaves of scales. Up and back down then up again. In two weeks I'd have you back to normal but I'd fix the wrong spots first, Messer. Are we clear?" He swallowed and nodded. "No more trouble, none of it."
"Yes or no? If not then maybe I'll take a leaf from the cheerleaders and show you what you've been missing." Danny's eyes went wide. "Mac, you mind?"
"As long as you don't break him, Don. I can't have him here if he's broken."
"No, I'll take out that self-esteem stuff he's got a problem with. In two weeks he'll be the same Danny he was before. In between might be a bit odd but after two weeks he'll be great."
Mac looked at him. "Are you asking for leave time for him?" Don shrugged, looking at Danny, who shook his head. "Technically he was kidnaped during the convention. Plus we found out Horatio's got a harem out of his lab." Don smirked at that. "You knew?"
"Eric acts like his bitch now and then." He looked at Danny again. "Yes, no? You try it for a night and think?"
"Don...." he let out in a strangled sounding noise. Don smirked and nodded. "I'm not a sub."
"You'd be surprised. Try it for a night. Let me show you." He nodded at Mac and walked him off to his car. Danny balked at one point but Don got him inside and headed home with him to show him where his place should be. He wasn't surprised when Mac came over later that night. He seemed like he knew the life. He let him help, training him in how he liked it as he was working with Danny. By the time Danny gave up for the night Don was sweaty and hard but it was good for them all. In the morning they could apply for leave for Danny and Don and it'd be good.
Xander smiled at the people crowding into his house. Everyone was there for the baby shower. Well, post birth baby shower since Mortty had insisted they wait until after she gave birth. He smiled at Stella, who smiled back. It had been a loud few fights with Sheldon but it was okay now. Danny and Don were being cute on the couch next to the baby. Danny was a lot more secure in some things now and he had quit picking on Lindsey, who was making faces at the baby and teasing him with a rattle. She even offered to change diapers. Mac was watching his boys play. He and Don had worked it out easily enough that first night. Calleigh was curled up next to Eric, smiling and chatting with Speed and Sheldon about a recent case. Horatio was looking on in paternal pride, then he went back to his conversation with David and Grissom. The rest of the LVPD team was spread around the house, mostly trying to keep Xander out of the kitchen. Xander heard the doorbell so he went to answer it, finding a messenger there. "Hi. What's up?"
"Is there a Mr Messer here?"
"Danny!" he called. Danny came out and took the message, signing for it. Xander looked at it, then at him. "It's from Cleveland."
"Yeah, it is." He opened it then moaned. It was fairly short.
//You were right, they do settle each other and he keeps her in line. She reminds him he's not all powerful and the greatest ever. He screws her against walls. And now they're going to South America to hunt demons together since he's on the run. Wish Granted, Danny Messer. Thank you for the fun.//
Xander took it from the limp hand, then let out a whimper. "Honey!" David came over and took the message, then moaned and went to hand it to Mac. Xander hugged him. "They're not going to come back, right?"
"No, not coming back. Never coming back."
Mac watched them then looked at the note. He choked. "Stella, what was it you were talking about with Danny after the two women showed up?"
"You met Buffy and Willow and you survived?" Calleigh asked.
"Yeah, but we thought we should lock Sonny Sassone and Buffy in a room together. She'd become a girl again and she'd bring down his ego by kicking his ass. Why?" Stella asked.
"You were right, they do settle each other and he keeps her in line. She reminds him he's not all powerful and the greatest ever. He screws her against walls. And now they're going to South America to hunt demons together since he's on the run. Wish Granted, Danny Messer. Thank you for the fun. Anyanka and Mirith." He looked at Xander, who moaned again. Xander whimpered and sat down on the stairs. "We should hand this over since he's a fugitive."
"I'll do it on my way home," Abby called from the kitchen, coming out to take it. Then she looked at the two in mental agony. "Hey, Buffy's getting some. It'll make her happier and she'll make sure he knows she, a girl, is a better thug than he is. It's a good compromise."
"Abby, honey, are you feeling all right?" Gibbs asked, taking the note and handing it back, helping her to the couch to sit next to her sister. "Is the baby being mean again?"
"No." She smiled. "But I'm having contractions ten minutes apart."
"At five we go to the hospital, right?" he prompted.
"Yes," Sheldon called. "That's standard unless there's a problem." He looked at her. "I don't want to deliver any baby vampires."
"Okay." She smiled. "Tony can do that. That's why he's hiding in the pantry calling my OB." Gibbs went to help with that. She giggled and hugged Xander when he was brought back in. "It'll be okay. I promise it will be, Xander."
"I know it will but still!" he complained.
"Shhh, it'll be fine." She patted him and let David have him. Tony and Gibbs came out, picking her up between them to carry out. "But, guys, I had stuff in the oven," she complained.
"Tough," Gibbs ordered. "Suck it up, Abby. You can have croissants later."
"I'll buy you the big box of them once the baby's born," Tony promised. They got her into the car and headed for the hospital their doctor was briefing.
Xander looked around. "We should toast the other baby vampire." That got a laugh from Horatio, who went to get the sparkling juice for them. "To baby vampires. May they be as close as their mothers," he toasted.
"And more sane than their fathers," Nick teased.
"Amen," David agreed, taking a drink.
"So, David, can we plan for a baby David sometime soon?" Mortty asked. He spluttered and choked. "What? That way the baby Xander has someone to calm him down from the start."
Horatio moaned and looked at his harem. "No kids," he said quietly, heading into the kitchen to take the stuff out of the oven.
Calleigh looked at Speed. "Didn't we already settle that one?"
"Hmm, yup. Ooops." Horatio came back and stared at him. "Don't look at me."
Horatio growled and looked at Calleigh, who shrugged. "We'll be talking, Calleigh."
"Ooh, someone's gettin' spanked," Danny taunted.
"Yeah, you," she shot back, making him laugh.
"Well, at least no one will kidnap her anymore," Sheldon admitted, looking at Stella.
"No one's tried to kidnap me in months," she protested.
"Even Xander had null spots," he reminded her. She glared. He grinned. "It's one sure way of knowing."
"Well, the next time you have to rescue me, you can try it. I won't promise it'll work but you can try," she noted sarcastically.
Don pulled her into his lap and spanked her. "If we have ta rescue you again, I get you before you go to him, Stella. Mac said I could spank you for real." He let her go and settled Danny back into his lap. "If you get taken again, we'll see what we're doing."
"I haven't been taken since the cheerleaders."
"I'll check for you," Warrick offered.
"Thanks," Danny said with a grimace.
Horatio pulled Calleigh up and back into the back guest bedroom with him to talk to her. Or possibly spank her. He hadn't decided yet.
The others laughed. They were sure it'd be fine and another future CSI great one. Maybe they'd even work together some year.