Xander wobbled in the next morning, smiling at Alexx when he ran into her.  "I'm happy."  He passed out in her arms.

She looked at the boy.  "Uh-huh.  Those construction worker muscles weigh a ton.  Someone come help me lift sleepy boy here!" she called.  Eric jogged in and helped her move Xander.  "He came in, said he was happy, and then passed out."

"Huh."  He grinned.  "H said he and Tim worked it out."

"Good!  About time!"  She checked the bandage on his hand.  "I'm wondering about that."

"I'm not.  Not with the day he had yesterday."  He moved his shirt, finding a bite mark.  They giggled and let it go, leaving him on Alexx's couch.  He went up to the office.  "Um, H.  Xander walked in to see Alexx and passed out.  He's on her couch."


"Well, there's a lot of nibble marks.  His hand's cut."

Horatio dialed the boys' house.  "Timothy, you cannot make Xander miss work ever again.  I will excuse it this time but not again."

"He's missing work?  Was he taken?" Tim's voice asked.

"No, he came in and passed out."

"Uh-huh.  Wasn't me, guys.  Really.  It was good.  Really good.  He got some sleep though.  Sorry, blame someone else.  Maybe even Ethan."  He hung up.

"He sounds happy," John said from the doorway.

"Xander walked in, told Alexx he was happy, then passed out," Eric said with a smirk.

"Good!  About time!"

"He has nibble marks too," Eric shared.  John snickered and nodded, smirking at that. "Tim said it's not his fault."

"Doubt that."  He walked off smiling, going to tell Calleigh.  "Your prize intern just passed out on Alexx after announcing he was happy."

She cooed.  "That's so cute!  I'll go wake him in an hour."  She beamed and went back to work. "Any other good news?"

"Delko said he had nibble marks."

She laughed.  "Good!  I like that!"  She called Tim.  "Nibble marks too?  I'm so proud!  Should I get him a seat with a pillow?"  She frowned.  "He didn't?  Okay."  She hung up.  "Um, nibble marks weren't Tim.  He thinks hickeys are teenager accessories."

"I'll tell Horatio."  He went to do that.  "Tim said hickeys are for teenagers."

"I'll go check on them," he agreed, going down there.  He found Xander curled up in a little ball. He patted him on the head.  "Xander?"  He got a quiet hum.  "Xander?" he asked again.  Xander blinked at him.  "Who nibbled on you?"

"Parking lot."

"I see.  Demonic?"  Xander nodded.  "Did you get it?"  He shook his head slowly, staring at him.  He smiled back.  "Do you know what it was?"

"Sucker fishie."

"Okay.  Will it hurt you?"

"Nope, just donated.  Got someone else.  Walked in on it.  Drove it off because I'm a tasty snack, made it full."

"That's good.  Can I look at the spots?"  Xander took off his shirt and curled up facing the back of the couch.  "Thank you, Xander.  Alexx?"  She came in.  "This happened outside, not at the house."

"Hmm.  Looks like an octopus got him."

"He said a sucker fish."

"Sucker fishie," Xander agreed quietly, nearly asleep again.  "Shh?"

"Sure, sugar, we'll be quiet and let you nap."  She took his pulse then carefully took his blood pressure.  "It looks like they took a few pints off him," she said finally.  Horatio smiled and nodded.  "He'll be fine.  Can we find this thing?"

"I'm going to do that right now."  He walked off, going to see who else had been attacked.  He found them outside and looked at Ryan since he was out there.  "Sucker fish?"

"I brought it to the side of the building and made it run away after telling it I was going to burn it.  Xander all right?  I sent him to Alexx."

"She said it took a few pints."

"That's fine."  He grabbed the building.  "I'm going to get a candy bar and then go to work."

"Lift your shirt please, Mr. Wolfe?"  Ryan groaned but did that.  "I see.  To the morgue, Ryan.  You can rest too."  He got the patrol supervisor and let them have the officers.  "Something that sucked some blood out," he said quietly.

"We've had it here a few times before, Lieutenant.  Your boys okay?"

"Fine.  They need some rest.  They apparently went missing a few pints of blood."  That got a nod.  "I'll have Xander deal with it later.  Let us know the next time it's spotted."  He walked Ryan inside, letting him go down there to curl up with Xander.  "There, you two rest, boys."  Xander snuffled him then patted Ryan on the head, mumbling at him.  Ryan grinned and let Xander curl up around him.  It was comfortable for him.  Horatio looked at Alexx.  "It's appeared a few times."

"Uh-huh.  We'll see if Xander can kill or drive it off again."  She closed her office door, letting Horatio go back to work while she kept a remote eye on the boys.  They were cute.  Like a small litter of puppies.


Xander came in two months later and Calleigh looked at him.  "Go change," she ordered in a hiss.  "Mac Taylor's down on a crossover case.  Go change really fast."  He nodded, going to the locker room to change.  She smiled when Horatio came down.  "Xander needed to change his shirt."

"That's fine," he agreed, smiling at her.  "Let him be himself, Calleigh.  Mac's got to deal with his personality."  She gave him a look.  "Yes, even the strange parts."  Xander came out in a better set of dress pants and shirt.  Court clothes.  "You're a bit wrinkled."

"Feel lucky I had this in my locker, Horatio."

"I am.  Come up to the office?"

"Sure."  He followed him up there.  "Detective Taylor, nice to see you again."

"You too, Xander."  He shook his hand with a smile.  "Horatio told me the budget's looking bad for keeping you."

"I want him back, Mac.  You won't get to keep him for good."

"I'll keep that in mind and make Stella not get too attached.  Can we borrow your office?"

"Of course."  He gave Xander a look, getting a smirk back.  "I did not pull out your file."  He left, going down to hover in ballistics.

Xander got into the desk and pulled out the thick file.  Mac gave it an odd look.  "I temped in the ballistics center for the LAPD before graduation and did some extra hours here with night shift," he explained.  "Plus the two specialties."

"Two?" he asked, giving him a look.

"I'd like to stay retired from the strange stuff for good.  I'm too old for hunting vampires anymore."  He handed it over and settled across from him, trying to look comfortable.

"Relax, Xander.  Horatio bragged about you for weeks."  Xander relaxed with a grin.  "So, roommate?"

"Is doing very well but he's trying to figure out what he wants to do now."

"Interesting.  What did he do before?"

"To be honest, he was my White Lighter."

Mac looked at him.  "You're kidding."  Xander shook his head.   "Do I know him?"

"He used to work here," he said quietly.

"Interesting."  He went through the references first, then the hour and case reports.  He smiled at one note saying that Xander was a cocky little bastard.  "It appears you've made quite an impression."

"I got a written offer from the LAPD to go to their lab.  I've gotten an offer from San Diego, one department in Mexico, and if the strange sh...stuff doesn't stop I was thinking about Canada to get away from it.  Not too many strange things in the snow."

Mac smiled.  "We have a few strange things but you wouldn't be fully responsible for them."

"I'd like to ignore them unless they attack me or my team."

"I'd like that too."  He went back over the hour reports.  "How were you doing this?"

"Full time here then half a shift for night shift when they got stuck.  I was doing a lot of field hours with them.  It led to some stress on this shift.  I ended up having a small 'I'm not an idiot, quit treating me like I'm retarded' fit one day on Horatio because he wouldn't let me do anything but ballistics.  We worked that out and he found out about those hours.  No one had told him and I thought he knew."

"That can happen.  How often do you want in the field?"

"Overflow situations, sick days.  Two, three cases a month so I don't get cold on that skill but not every time or even every week."

"That's reasonable.  Anything that's not in here?"

"Horatio keeps forgetting that I have construction, explosives, and artillery experience."  Mac looked at him.  He shrugged. "It came in handy."

"I bet it did.  Combat?  He mentioned it."

"I fought with the slayer since tenth grade until the year I started school, then I was in LA working with their protection group.  Hence me wanting to retire."

"I can understand that, Xander."  He closed the folder.  "What I can offer you is a ballistics job in my lab, on my shift.  You could have times in trace when we needed it.  You'd basically be free to go there when you were clear."

Xander nodded at that.  "That's what I do most of the time here."

"Good."  He smiled.  "Now, our pay scale is fairly top of the US, and you would be eligible for it, but I would understand if a spot opened and you came back down here."  Xander grinned.  He pulled out an envelope and handed it over.  "This is our offer, standard for lab techs."

Xander took it to look over, smiling at the high pay scale.  He grabbed the phone and put it on speaker.  "Timmy.  Mac's down."

"I hope you changed," he said dryly.

"Yes, Calleigh warned me.  Oh, how do you feel about t-shirts, Mac?"

"As long as you're not in the field, no one objects, and I've heard, Xander.  Horatio warned me."

"Good idea," Speed said.  "What's their offer?"

Xander looked at it.  "Fifty-six."  Mac came over to look and pointed at something.  "Sorry, fifty-four this year, fifty-six in three years then standard pay raises by time in.  Basically what I'm doing now for Horatio.  I showed him the full review file."

"I heard about the problem IAB has with you down here, Xander.  That's a clear case of bias and I know it won't happen in New York.  I tend to get upset and they don't like that."  Xander nodded.  "So you and ...Tim are more than welcome to be open together in the lab."

"I like that," Tim admitted.  "Down here I spend a lot of time hiding the fact I'm alive."   He groaned and sighed.  "Sorry, someone sucks in his sleep."

"I apologized!"

"Boys," Mac said, shaking his head but he was smiling.  "Behave.  At least for now."

"How many hours a week, Mac?  Xander likes overtime."

"I don't think he should have any unless it's for a field case.  How much artillery are you guys bringing?"

"Don't ask," Speed told him.  "Really."

"As long as I don't see it and if it's something that requires using it I hear *first* and they don't know it's Xander."

"Works for me," Tim agreed.  "How's the signing bonus?"

"What's a signing bonus?" Xander asked.

"It's the stuff they pay you to move up there, Xander.  When you sign you get a nice check, you use it to pay for the move and the new apartment."

"Oh.  That's kinda neat."

Speed smiled.  "Mac, did they tell you about the sports stuff?"

"Don't tell him that!  I want a good job," Xander complained.

"Fair warning and all that, Xander.  That way he can warn the guys in the lab before you start talking about football."

"I already heard that from Eric, boys.  Don't worry about it, Xander.  We don't mind some quirks.  Really.  You can't be any stranger than our ME Sid."  Xander nodded and went back to the offer.  "How about I give you two a few minutes to read it over and talk?"  Xander smiled and nodded.  "I'll go steal some coffee."

"Get the pot in the fridge and warm it up.  It's always the better stuff."  Mac smiled and left them alone.  "Fifty-four thousand?  Wow."

"Very wow.  When I went I was making nearly fifty-eight and I started at the starting offer you have."

"No wonder the budget doesn't want to stretch."

"True," Speed said, sounding like he was smiling.  "Take it, Xander.  We'll come back to Miami."

"You're sure?  I know you spent time there too."

"Yup and I'll keep you out of trouble too.  Take it."

"Yes, sir."  He hung up and signed it then went to hand it to Mac.  "Here."  He hugged him.  "I'll be up in a few months."

"We can use you as soon as you're done with your hours, Xander."

"He'll be done within four months, Mac."

"Good.  I can handle that.  Thank you, boys.  Xander, I'll send your signing bonus to Horatio when I get back, all right?"  He beamed and nodded.  "Good boy.  It'll have an office for you to call to talk about housing options as well.  We have someone in HR who helps with that."

"Good.  I could use the help.  Tim found our present place."

Mac smiled. "It'll be okay."  He smiled at Horatio.  "I'll make sure he's fine while we have him, Horatio.  Your boy is going to be fine until you can have him back."  He walked off with his coffee.  He was a very happy boy.

Horatio smiled at Xander. "Good choice.  I did not tell him about your eye."

"Okay."  Xander bounced down to the lab to get to work.


Mac walked into his office in New York, smiling at the woman who leaned in a minute later.  "I hired us a world class ballistics tech with a minor in trace and field experience."

"Should I clap?"

"Yes."  He waved her inside and handed over the copies Horatio had sent him to entice him down to Miami.  "He's a bit bouncy."

"How old?"

"Twenty-eight in a few weeks."

"Really?  Late starter."

"He was working construction before he went to school."

"Hmm.  More experience we could use.  What's he like?"

"A bit bouncy.  Likes to joke some.  Wears t-shirts that can give headaches."  She rolled her eyes so he handed over the picture Ryan had slipped him in warning.  "That's one of them."  She looked, then blinked and read slower.  He smirked at her.  "He also got forced to take the certificate program out of San Francisco.  Apparently his former town was a haven of strange things but he wants to retire from that.  He's bisexual but with a partner at the moment.  A very nice young man.  His hours are out of the ballpark.  He was pulling full time, not intern hours, but sixty hour weeks for Horatio and then doing a half shift when their nightshift got hung up.  Then he got the flu and Horatio started to count hours on him."

She looked at him.  "Wow.  I'm impressed.  Anything else I should know?"

"You'll want to mother him.  He's Calleigh's prize intern.  He only wants to do field hours when it's a case of overflow, sick days, that sort of thing.  Two or three a month to keep his skills fresh.  One weakness, he's very bad at taking pictures so he takes videos instead."  She smiled at that.  "Also, he's poisonous in the kitchen.  Literally from what I'm told."

"I'll help his partner make food if he wants."  She smiled.  "When?"

"Few months.  Speaking of, I need to send him his signing bonus and ...." She snatched the other file.   "IAB down there was harassing him because he was raised by some girls who warped him badly," he said gently.  "Someone filed a complaint against Horatio because Xander hugs when he's excited."  She gave him a look.  "Also, he has a club problem.  People like to come up and tip him even when he hasn't done anything to deserve it.  A few have taken him as well."

"Interesting.  Can't be worse than Lindsay."  She handed it back.  "I'll give him a month before I nag."

"Thank you, Stella.  Tell the others?"

"Sure."  She went to do that.  "Guys," she said, walking into the breakroom since it was lunch for the later shift.  Danny and Sheldon were in there eating and watching the news.  "We have a new ballistics tech coming in a few months."

"Hallelujah," Danny said happily.  "He any good?"

"World class.  Came out of UCLA's program.  Has a minor in Trace and field experience.  Wants to go into the field a few times a month to keep his hand in.  He can't cook, he's poisonous.  He wears t-shirts that can give headaches.  He tells jokes.  He's with a nice partner at the moment.  He's been doubling up on hours, he temped in for the LAPD before graduation by the files.  Mac's *impressed*," she offered with a grin.   "He's one of those guys who you hear rumors about, the type that gets tips in the clubs for no reason.  Also, he's from somewhere strange stuff happens so he can handle it but he wants to stay retired."

Don Flack strolled in.  "Congratulate me, I am a genius," he announced with a bright smile.  "I have found someone who actually told me what went on and told me the truth."

Stella smiled.  "Mac just hired us a new ballistics tech."

"Cool!  They any good?"

"They're very good.  They're world class.  They're in Miami at the moment.  Be here in a few months."

"He's got some field experience too," Danny told him with a grin.  "Now and then you'll see him.  What's his name?"

"Xander.  Xander Harris.  Formerly of Sunnydale."

"That town I know of," Don said dryly.

"He wants to stay retired from it," she told him firmly.

"I'm good with that, but if he'll answer questions I'll love him forever and ever," Don assured her.

"Mac said he's got a nice guy already."

Don grinned.  "Even better.  He'll look but not touch."

She grinned.  "You'll like Xander.  Mac came in smiling and happy.  He pulls his own weight.  He's Calleigh's pet intern at the moment."

"Whoa, I heard about him," Danny said happily.  "She's been bragging in the tech's chatroom now and then."

Mac walked in.  "Horatio said he's going back once he can hire a new lab tech.  Sheldon, I'll put him with you and Danny the first time he goes into the field.  Danny, he has one issue.  His pictures turn out less than perfect so he tapes instead."

"Fine with me.  Could use it later probably.  Doc?"

"That's fine with me," he agreed, smiling at them. "He sounds nice."  He saw Lindsay.  "Are they going to have problems?" he asked quietly.

"Xander was raised by some very warping young women," Mac said with a small smile.  "He doesn't understand most sports.  He calls football gay sex in teams.  I was told to warn you guys about that and some of his t-shirts."  He looked at Don.  "Yes, he'll answer questions about those sort of cases that make us all have headaches but he wants to stay retired.  That's how he met his boyfriend, but other than that it's all good with him.  He's a hard worker, he knows artillery as well."  Don snickered at that.

"That can help too," Stella agreed.

"Plus he's got construction and explosives experience," Mac offered.

"He coming up to meet us?" Danny asked.

"Sometime soon.  I'll have to bring him up for the paperwork and so they can look at apartments.  Just remember, Horatio wants him back some day."

"Sure," Danny said dryly.  "Most people don't want to leave once we've got 'em."

"We'll see," Mac agreed.  "I'll arrange for him to come up in a few weeks."  He went to talk to Lindsay.  "We've found a new ballistics and part time trace and field tech," he announced since he was in chem.  His tech Adam cheered.  He smiled at him.  "He's in Miami."

"You got us Xander?" he breathed.  "I love you, Mac!"  He hugged him, patting him on the back.  "Thank you, man!  I love you!"  He danced off to hug someone else.  "We're getting UCLA's top tech!"

"He sounds nice," Lindsay said.

Mac smiled.  "He's been a bit warped by some girls in the past."

"He's turned two into serial killers," Adam told him.

"Thankfully he's dating a very nice man now," Mac told them.  They all smiled at that.  "It'll be fine and he'll be up in a few months."

"He got done early?" Adam breathed.  "How?"

"He temped in a few times.  You done worshiping him, Adam?"

"Oh, yeah, I'll do it in person when he shows up."  He grinned at her.  "You'll do fine, Lindsay."

"I hope so.  Part time field?"

"He's got the training but he only wants to do overflow, sick days, those times."

"Oh.  Okay."  She nodded, going back to work.  "We'll throw him a party when he gets here."

"Sure, we can do that," Mac agreed.  He went to write Xander and tell him the entire lab wanted to meet him and one of them wanted to hug him.  He got back an answer from Tim saying that lots of people wanted a Xander of their own, that's why the clubbing problem happened but they'd be up in about two months to do the ID paperwork and find an apartment.  He also asked how much the signing bonus was.  He sent that to him and the local real estate listing's page plus the phone number for the person in HR who helped with the housing issues.


Xander came off the plane in New York to start his first day.  "Maxine didn't want to let me go and Alexx didn't want to let Timmy go."

"I can understand why.  Remember you can go back to visit and you'll be back there someday."

"I know.  So do they but they didn't want to give him up."

"Or you, Xander," Mac reminded him.  "Tim?"

"Driving the stuff up."  He shrugged.  "He did this on the move from LA too."

"That's reasonable."  He led him out to the car.  "Bags?"  Xander patted the one he carried.  "Okay."  He got him into the official SUV, taking him to his chosen apartment.  "Did you guys have to do a lot of work to make your old landlord happy?"

"No, he sold the house within a week of us announcing we were coming up.  They liked all the work we had done and that he had to put on a new roof recently.  I gave them a list of what else we had thought might need updating and they took it to their home improvement guy, who came in and admired our work, and agreed with us."  He grinned.  "So it's all good.  I've got more than enough to hold us over until I get my first check and Tim's decided he's going to school for a bit."

"That's a good idea and he'll probably be able to afford it.  There is a program to pay tuition reimbursement for partners."

Xander gave him a shy grin.  "You really don't mind?"

"I really don't mind and since I know who Tim is I have no problem with it, Xander.  I promise.  It'll be fine."  Xander nodded.  "Anything else happen since the last time we talked?  I know that one incident where you had to pounce the officers trying to shoot the crowd was bad."

"Did you tell the hiring board?"

"I did.  They said it showed you did what it took no matter who it was committing the crime.  They were impressed.  Even though you did jump in front of someone shooting to save someone."  He smiled at him.  "It'll be fine, Xander.  Remember, you met and liked everyone but Lindsay and she's promised she'll try to get along better this time.  She was having a bad day the last time; she had to move suddenly."

"I've had to do that too," he agreed.  "New York is really huge."

"It is," Mac agreed.  "Thankfully we only have to deal with part of it."  He patted him on the hand.  "It'll be fine.  You'll do great, and even we need maps."  Xander nodded.  "Good boy."  He finally made it to their apartment, letting Xander get them inside.  The landlord came out to look at them.  "I'm sure you remember Xander."

"I do.  When are the movers getting here?"

"Tim left Miami this morning," he admitted.  "So three days I think?"

"That'll work.  I'll keep an eye out for him."  He smiled.  "You go get settled in.  The stuff you two ordered already showed up."

Xander beamed and headed up there, opening the door on their apartment.   He looked around.  "Wow, I need to move stuff around."

Mac looked and nodded.  "Probably wouldn't hurt."

Xander grinned and put down his bag, going to do that.  At least the new bed was in the right room.  So was the desk.  He moved the couch and chairs around, then flopped down.  "Good."

"That'll work until Tim gets here," Mac teased.

"His first day up I'll help him decorate."

"You don't start for a week, Xander.  Take the time to get settled in.  Find the good take out places.  Danny and Stella have been saving you menus for weeks now."  Xander grinned shyly at that.  "It'll be fine.  Your first day you'll be great and perfect, like usual."

"I hope so.  Horatio's going to miss me."

"I'm sure he'll call all the time.  Or at least email."  He patted him on the head.  "There's a good restaurant up the street.   You have my number if you get lost somewhere.  Remember Tim's lessons about cabs."  Xander grinned and nodded. "Good.  Now, let me out so you can flop down and remind yourself you'll be back."  Xander let him out and came back to flop down again.  Mac went back to the office, smiling at his anxious techs.  "He's at his place moping.  Tim'll be up in a few days with their stuff."

"It'll be fine," Danny agreed.  "We'll pop around the day before he starts.  That way he knows who to fear."  Stella hit him on the arm.  "Should we bring Lindsay?"

"I think Tim would be mean to her," Mac said gently.

"Maybe.  He sounds snarky."

"He can be sarcastic," Stella agreed.  "He and I talked a few times."

"It'll be fine," Mac reminded them.  "Give him a few days to settle in before popping around."

Don walked over.  "Wonder boy in?"

"He is and his boyfriend will be up in a few days with their stuff," Mac told him.  "We'll pop around in a few days."

"Sure, I could like that.  Maybe get him straightened out on sports."  Don gave them a look.  "His boyfriend, do we know him?"

"That's part of the strange stuff, Don," Mac said quietly.  "He got given to Xander to help him when he needs it."

"Sure, I can get with that.  Bet Miami's pissed he had ta go."

"Pouting," Mac agreed, smiling at him.  "Both sides can visit and I'm sure Horatio reminded them that they're going to come back soon."  They all nodded.  "Guys, I did promise that you were saving Xander menus."

"We still are," Danny agreed.  "Especially since Lindsay decided to throw the old pile out."

"I talked with her, Danny.  She didn't understand."

"Yeah, well, let's let her eat some of Xander's cooking," Stella said with a mean grin.  She walked off.  "Come on, Don.  I've got someone for you."

"Cool.  I could use a good pounce."

"Talk ta Xander.  He likes ta hug and pounce," Danny called after him.  Don chuckled all the way up the hall.  He looked at Mac.  "They're gonna clash," he said quietly.

"They're adults."

"They are but Xander's been raised by mean girls and then Tim."

"Point.  I'm sure it'll be fine, Danny.  If not, I'll mediate."

"Can you spank her this time?"

"If I must."  He walked off, going back to his office to get some work done.


Xander walked in his first day wearing one of his favorite t-shirts: 'All right! I know I'm in there! If I don't come out with my hands up, I'm coming in after me!'  He grinned at Mac, who only shook his head at the saying.  "Sometimes it's true."

"Sometimes you can go out of your mind," he agreed.  "This way, Xander.  Your lab is waiting on you."  Xander bounced behind him.  "You need to wear your ID badge."  Xander clipped it on his beltloop.  "That'll work.  You have your lab coats and things?"  Xander pointed at his backpack.  "Good."  He let him see his lab, watching him 'ooh' over things.

"Can I expand my exemplar cabinet?"

"Sure. We'll figure out how to do that."  Xander walked out with him.  "This is the trace lab you'll be using," he said, pointing at it.  Xander waved at Danny and they kept going.  "Here's the locker room," he said, letting him inside.  Xander found his locker with his name on it and unpacked his backpack.  "Where's your kits?"

"Home.  I didn't think I'd need them today and I took the subway in."  He looked at him. "I'll bring them tomorrow and keep a separate hunting pack at home in case it becomes necessary."

"I can agree to that.  The car?"

"Stayed in Miami."

"Probably a good idea.  Parking around here is terrible."  He watched Xander unpack.  "Sterile scrubs?"

"We had someone making uranium bullets back in LA.  I've had a set packed since that day."

"That works."  Xander handed him the spare key to his locker, put on his lab coat, his glasses, then closed and locked his locker.  "Thank you.  Now, what injury?"

Xander grinned.  "It doesn't matter."

"I still need to know."

"You promise you won't treat me like I'm handicapped?"  Mac nodded.  He moved closer.  "I'm missing an eye, Mac."

"Hence the depth perception problems," he said.  Xander nodded.  "I'm sure you've got it compensated for.  I won't send you out alone."

"I wouldn't expect you to anyway."

"Good.  Then we're realistic and if I treat you like that you can scream at me like you did Horatio that day."

"That'll work.  Back to work?"

"Back to work," he agreed, leading him that way.  "Lindsay, did you have something for ballistics?"

"Yeah, I left it in there," she called from where she was working.

Xander found the box and looked then frowned.  "A squirt gun?"

Mac looked then snickered.  "I don't think that could've killed anyone."  Xander went over it then shook his head.  "How are you on fingerprints?"

"My weakest subject."

"That's reasonable.  You can't be great at everything, Xander."

"I can only work the machines in DNA."

"Again, reasonable."  He patted him on the back.  "I'll tell her."  He went to do that.  "Lindsay, did you realize that was a squirt gun?" he asked.  Danny burst out laughing.  "Tell me that was a joke?"

"It was dark and gun shaped," she defended.  "I collected it after dark from a sewer tunnel."

"It definitely was.  He'll try for fingerprints on it."

"Fine."  She went to take it back.  "I can do that," she said, sounding cheerful.

He looked at her.  "Not like I'm busy yet, Lindsay."  He went back to lifting them. "You can go get me some lift sheets if you wouldn't mind."

"You sure?"

"I am."  She nodded, going to do that.   She came back with the wrong size and he looked at her.  He put down the brush and turned to look at her.  "Lindsay, to stop this attitude thing you've got going for not being the baby of the lab, I'm as well trained as you are.  I've probably worked about as many hours as you have, and I'm a damn good tech.  I don't care if you don't like me for whatever reason but I will expect to stay socially and professionally polite even if you don't like me personally.  Okay?"  She growled.  "I do that better too, dear.  So let's not play 'push the Xander'.  I've had enough of that.  That's why I'm primarily a lab tech.  Now, can you please go get me lift sheets for fingerprints since I don't know where they are?"  She stomped off and he put those others away.  They might come in handy.  Danny came in with a box.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  What'd you tell her?"

"I don't care if she doesn't like me, I'll expect her to be professionally and socially polite.  I also pointed out she was acting like I was taking her 'baby of the lab' spot.  He looked at him.  "Plus that I'm as well trained as she is and probably have just about as many hours."

"Possibly."  He shrugged.  "You get any?  Fingerprints is my second area."

"I've got two I think."  He let him see.  "One's kinda smudgy.  One's a bit better."  He lifted them both so he could see.  He found another one and grimaced.  "Trigger guard.  Wonderful."

Danny laughed.  "Let me get the tiny ones.  I heard you've got a depth perception problem."

"Yup, mostly on my left side."  Danny made him look at him.  "I'm fine in the field," he promised.

"I heard.  I talked to Calleigh and Eric to get the real story."  He shrugged.  "As long as you keep being able to handle it."

"I usually do.  I only hate handling the strange crap."

"I heard."  He lifted that print and took all three with him.  "Rebox that for her."

"Sure."  He did that, signing off once he had it sealed.  Then he put it aside and wrote a quick report on it.  He printed it and put it on top of the box, then went to check out the storage areas of his lab.  He found the storage cabinet for gun cases.  He found the bullet storage.  He turned and found Mac standing there.  "I laid out a rule."

"I heard.  I was lurking.  I like that.  She should be able to."  He looked at the report.  "I still like those."  He took it with him.  "We've got another one coming in.  You might want to ask the morgue about going down to collect them."

"Morgues don't bother me.  I had a friend who was working his way through school putting med school cadaver parts back in."  He headed down there, going to lurk in plain sight until an older man looked over.  "Hi, Xander, from ballistics.  Mac said you might have one for me?"

"Six or seven actually.  Someone hasn't picked them up yet."  He pointed at the plastic tray by the phone.  "So, where are you from?"

"Sunnydale originally then LA, via Miami for an internship."  The older man's scalpel paused above the body, him staring at him.  "I know, but I don't like to deal with it.  I'm a nice guy until you piss me off by trying to hurt an innocent or what's mine."

"I'll remember that.  Anything else I should know?"

"I took the cert out of 'Frisco so I've got a good book of markings at home if you need it for things."

"I'll remember that."  He smiled.  "Take those and go, Xander."  He nodded, taking the envelopes with him.  He smiled down at the body.  "He's going to be very fun to work with," he told her, going back to his cutting.  "Let's hope the others like him too."

Xander walked back into his lab, finding a gun had mysteriously appeared.  He looked at it.  Not tagged.  He checked it over.  Loaded.  He pulled out a tag and did that for whoever, putting his initials on it in the 'tech' slot.  Then he got to work on the bullets, glancing at the gun.  Danny came back in a few minutes later.  "That appeared."

"Yeah, it appeared at the desk."

"That's fine.  I put my initials on it."

"That works for us."  He noted the origin on the tag for him and put it back.  "You see Sid yet?"

"Was he the nice older guy in the morgue?"

"Yup.  Tells stories too.  Some kinda creepy but interesting."

"That's fine.  I don't mind stories."  He held up a bullet.  "You guys mind if I clean them up?"

"Nah, we do all the time.  Anything foreign you note and take samples."

"I know, just making sure.  Every lab has different protocols."  Danny nodded at that.  He got to work on the first bullet, logging, notating in the system, trying to find a match, doing the report while the match ran.  No match but that was fine.  He sealed the bullet and finished his report, putting it aside.  Danny took it to look over.  "I use that same style no matter what.  With cases I'll give name and number on matches."

"Good.  I like that.  It'll work."  He walked out reading it.  "Stella, Xander went to pick up in the morgue," he called.  "He's starting now."

"Good.  Thank you."

He handed the report to Sheldon.  "First one done."

"Thanks, Danny."  He looked at it.  "No match so we need the gun," he said, frowning.  "It's easy to understand."

"It is.  He said it's always going to be like that."

"That's fine with me."  He looked at it.  "That's not a type of gun I've seen."  Danny looked then pulled up a picture.  "Hmm.  Revolver.  Old school."

"Very old school.  They don't even make these anymore," Danny told him.  "Xander's probably going to be expanding his exemplar.  It's kinda pitiful."

Mac walked in.  "We have anything?"

"I need an ancient gun," Sheldon admitted.  He let Mac have the report.

"I haven't seen one of those in years."  He saw Xander walking around with files and smiled.  "He's quick."

"He probably found a match for someone."  Danny looked in the system to find a stolen one listed, nothing.  So he looked for registered ones.  "We're in luck, there's ten registered in this borough that aren't former police issue from back in the day."

"We can start there."  He took the printed out list and looked it over.  "One's a few blocks from the scene.  Let's start with that one and work out."  Danny nodded so they left.

Mac watched Xander walk back to the lab with his new soda and smiled.  He'd go check over his shoulder in an hour.


Xander came in from his first day and looked at Speed.  "My first day and I got to stake the vampire trying to eat an ME, got to handle the demonic slime Lindsay found, and then I got to deal with Don Flack coming in to ask me about some of the strange crap."

"Poor baby.  I made pudding," Speed said from the couch.  Xander walked over and curled against his side, getting petted.  "It'll be fine.  It'll slow down."  He got given a kiss and smiled at him.  "Welcome."

"Thank you.  Pudding for supper?"

"Pork chops for supper, pudding for dessert."

"How about pudding for supper and you for dessert?"

Speed looked at him.  "Fine, we'll have the pork chops later."  Xander beamed and went to get the pudding, bringing it back to eat beside him, feeding him bites now and then.  "Dog?"

"Hmmmmmmmm."  Xander moaned.  He took another kiss and put the pudding down, pouncing Speed, making his book go away too.  Speed ended up on his back with a chestful of Xander and a horny boyfriend that was begging to be played with.  "Mine?" he growled.

"Yours," he promised.  "Want top?"


Speed laughed.  "Then let's go to that big, metal, mediaeval monstrosity you picked out."

"You don't like the bed?"

"It's very comfortable but the headboard's a bit odd."

"But cheap."

"It was.  I can live with cheap.  Handcuffs work well."  Xander moaned.  "Come on.  If you want bottom, show me how much."  Xander got up and stripped for him, letting him watch, then letting him watch him walk into the bedroom naked.  "I can definitely live with that," he said, getting up to follow him.  He pounced Xander onto the bed, holding him down while he worked on his back.  Xander's back had more hot spots than his chest and Xander loved his backrubs.  He was such a sensualist.  They were interrupted by the phone and since he was on top it was his duty to get it.  "It had better be a damn big emergency," he said in greeting.  "Yes, one of those, Mac.  No, I've got Xander held down and naked.  What did you need?"  He winced.  "Mac, Xander's retired from that."

Xander grabbed the phone.  "Tell me what it looks like."  He winced.  "Stab it in the lower right hip area on the back, like where we'd have the curve off our pelvic bone.  Yeah, there. Stab.  Two inches deep.  Mac, unless you're right outside, how long would it take me to get there?" he asked.  He nodded.  "I'll give you guys a sword."  He wiggled free and went to find his 'loaner' sword, magicing it at Mac.  "Catch," he said once it was sent.  It landed, he heard it land on the pavement.  "Simple thrust, Mac.  Who's with you?"  He nodded.  "Yeah, simple lunge.  Should sound like it's dying, not like it's in pain.  There. That's the right sound.  Now, once it's gone, hydrochloric acid will dissolve it and make it into goo that's safe to be washed down the sewer.  That's fine, keep it in your SUV or whatever, Mac.  That's my loaner.  Welcome."  He hung up and went to cuddle his mate.  "I sent him a sword."

"That's the right thing to do.  If they're that far away, you still can't teleport."

"True."  He took a kiss.

Speed flipped him back over, going to work on his back some more.  At least until someone knocked.  "I'm going to kill," Speed decided, going to answer it.  "Hi, Stella.  Bad timing."

She smiled and handed over the pot.  "Stew?  Homemade."

He grinned.  "Thanks for that.  I cook for him when I have the energy."

"I know."  She beamed.  "Is he around?"


"Oooh!  That sort of bad timing.  Okay, feed your boy, I'll see him tomorrow.  Sorry."  She grinned and left.  He smiled and put the stew on the stove, then went back to making Xander forget that there were other human beings.


Xander walked in the next morning with both his cases and magazine-sized book under one arm.  He dropped both cases in his lab and went to find Mac.  He put the book down in front of him.  "Because I'm not God, I can't be in two places at once.  That's a minimized ID manual.  The short and sweet of it.  The longer stuff, you call."  He walked off, going back to his lab, finding Lindsay going through his other one.  "Lindsay, that's to deal with things so you don't.  Get out of it unless you have the four grand handy to restock it."

"Why is there a dried iguana head?"

"From a cult I stopped in Mexico during my education."  He looked then held out a hand.  "Holy water and smoke."  She snorted but handed it over.  "Thank you.  Go away unless you have something."  He put that one in a cabinet and locked it then put the other one on the counter so he could check it over.  Since it was full he put what needed to into the sterilizer.  He turned and found Mac.  "In my other kit."

"That's fine, Xander.  Iguana head?"

"I stopped a cult to a demonic one in Mexico with Tim's help.  It's a souvenir of their idol."


"Very."  He grinned.  "Then again..."

"Point.  That is all odd stuff you deal with.  Sid okay?"

"Haven't talked to Sid.  Let her talk to Sid.  Or go down there."

"I'll talk with her."

"Send her on one?" he asked with a sweet grin.

"That's mean."


"I try not to be that mean.  Holy smoke?"

"Blessed dry ice."

Mac smiled.  "I guess that'll work."  He pointed at the piles.  "Night got backed up."

"Good."  He beamed and got to work, only coming over to remove his things from the sterilizer when it went off.    Mac left and he worked along like normal until Don came in.  "I don't have anything with your name on it, Don."

"You really deal with the strange stuff?"

"Unfortunately," he admitted while he typed.  "Why?"

"Lindsay said you got a whole kit for it."

"I do.  Because different things kill different things."  He glanced at him then went back to typing.  "It's like my former life, Don.  I wanted to retire from that stuff."

"Yeah, well, helpful of you last night, kid."


"You have a few swords?"

"Yup, six or seven, a battle axe too."

"Wow.  You should show those off."

"Then I have to put the artillery and hand grenades in the open too.  Tim doesn't like that decorating scheme too much."  Don laughed and came closer.  "Gloves."  He put on a pair of gloves.  "Thanks.  Now, what did you really want to know?"

"Last night, we ran into someone else who went there.  Him and his partner, who had this sudden splitting headache."

Xander saved his report and looked at him.  "Ever seen the show with the witches?"

"Yeah, one's pretty hot."

"Remember the guy on the show?"  Don nodded slowly.  "In the odd program, if you pass high enough, you get one of those.  That was his.  Mine's a bit less active and doesn't get the headache problem because I don't have to work that way most of the time."

"So, Tim...."

"Tim," he agreed with a small grin.  "We suit each other."

"I'd say.  Does that mean he's not fully back?"

"He gave up the job to be with me, Don," he said quietly.  "Like I said, I'm mostly retired from that stuff."

"Sure, that'll work.  Of course, Stella's got a case with a coven at the moment."

"Stella's a big girl and can come to me for research.  Or Tim."

"Good.  I'll let her know.  Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome.  I'm a nice guy.  I'm easy to get along with, Don.  Even for the nosy one."

Don smirked.  "You have no idea.  She and Danny fought for months."

Xander smirked.  "I don't have that sort of patience."  Don walked off laughing.  Xander got back to work on his next one, at least until Stella peeked in.  "What sort of coven?"


"Self interest, promotion of the self over that of the group.  Not all are evil," he repeated by rote.  "Often greedy, feel disenfranchised, and want things that they can only dream of."

"Good to know.  We had one killed in a drug deal."

"That's one way to promote self growth and wealth," he pointed out as he typed.  He backed up a word and retyped it then went on.  "Was she using as well to open up her inner eye or anything?"

"Not that I've seen.  One of the coven was."

"That can happen.  Depending on what she had it could help or hinder that process. There's a fantastic book that I don't have that deals with the biochemical responses and how it helps with the psychic faculties."

"Wow.  They actually study that?"

"I think that was someone's doctoral thesis, but yeah.  Some do.  The main group of them are now in Cleveland since the rest got blown up for it."  He shrugged.  "That was right before Sunnydale fell in and we had eighteen girls in one house with one vampire named Spike, one guy my age named Andrew, and one bathroom."

Stella shuddered.  "That's a good reason for homicide."

"No, we made them have *some* order," he said blandly, glancing at her.  "Needed anything else?"


"Ask Tim.  That's his thing.  I do hands-on better than I do lecture."


"Souvenir from a cult in Mexico Tim and I stopped during my special certification."

She grinned and patted him on the back.  "I think you're wonderful, Xander.  Don't let her get to you."

"I won't.  But if she keeps it up can I call one of my exes to come eat her?"

"Not nice."

"I know, but now and then...."

"Not a good night?" she teased.

"You notice I'm not sitting?" he countered, making her giggle and blush but leave him alone.  He finished that report and put it aside, going back to his next sample once that one was sealed and put away.


Two days later Xander looked up from his lunch at the screaming, grabbing his gun on the way out the door.  He found everyone being faced down by two things that looked like fantasy orcs with battle axes.  "Mac!" he called.  "Sword!"  Mac ducked to get it from his office and Xander took aim, firing at their foreheads.  It'd slow them down but not much else.  They staggered, giving him time to get his sword, the gun going back into the holster once he had it so he could jump in.  "Stella, back!" he ordered.  "Back them up!"

"You heard him, move!" Mac ordered.  Most everyone but Lindsay moved.  Stella had to pull her out of the way.  He guarded them while Xander fought with the creatures.  One got his hand cut off and went down wailing.  Xander got the other across the chest before being batted at by the side of the axe he was holding.  Xander jumped the next blow and hit him again, this time getting him in the neck.  He stabbed the other one and panted, using a foot to brace against the beast so he could get his sword back.  He walked back to Mac, still panting.  "Corrosive."

"I'll have it cleaned.  Are you okay? You got hit in the head, Xander."

"Not the first time.  Going back to lunch now."  He wobbled that way, getting himself an extra soda and candy bar.  He deserved it.

Lindsay stormed in.  "What were those!" she demanded.

"You ask like I can pronounce their names," he shot back, glaring at her.  "I'm trying to eat.  Do you mind?"  She backed off.  "Thank you!  Go look them up.  Mac's got a manual."  He took a bite of his sandwich and went back to the important, mind clearing of the day.  After his next bite he called his former fellow student.  "Can you tell Dumbass that I just had to remove two of the orc thingies from life inside my station?  Yeah, I'm here in the city.  Lower Manhattan.  Felony crime lab.  Could still be in the halls for all I care," he noted, eating another bite.  "Yup," he mumbled while he chewed.  "Thanks, man."  He hung up and went back to it.  How his fellow student had gone through at least one White Lighter he wasn't sure but that wasn't the same voice as his first one.

Sheldon walked in.  "Xander, Mac wanted me to check your head."

"I'm fine."

"I'm sure you think you are, but head injuries are tricky."

"Had a few, Sheldon."  He looked at him.  "I'm fine."

"Let me check, Xander. Or else he's calling Tim."  Xander moaned but let him check while he sipped his soda and had his candy bar.  "Well, you look okay.  Want to take the rest of the day off?"

Xander gave him a strange look. "For two orc thingies?"  He snorted.  "Not hardly.  I'll go lock myself in my lab so I don't have to hear the whispers but I'm good to work."  He finished up and put his trash away before going back to his lab.  He locked himself in, opened the delivery chute, and turned up the music.


Tim hung up and called Cleveland.  "Giles, Tim, Xander's former White Lighter.  Well, no.  He needed me in a different way and the Powers decided it was counter-productive so now I'm just the boyfriend.  Can we get a slayer up here in New York?  One of the stations was just attacked, that's why.  Xander calls them orc thingies.  Yeah, them.  That's why he's better at hands-on stuff and I'm better at lecture stuff, but he still doesn't want to handle it most of the time, Giles.  Exactly.  That would help, yes.  Thank you."  He hung up and shook his head, going to the station to check on his boy.  He found them being cleaned up and looked at the mess.  "Rubbing alcohol.  Straight onto the blood mess.  Then use lysol, then bleach.  It'll all be better then.  You might wanna strip the wax too."  He walked around the mess, heading for Xander's lab.  He had drawn him a map.  The receptionist gave him an odd look.  "I'm Xander's Tim."

"Oh!  Should I call?"

"I'm coming to check on him."

"Sure.  He's in his lab.  Locked in from what I heard."  She leaned closer.  "He looked very impressive with that sword."

"He usually does but the last woman he dated turned into a serial killer."   She giggled and handed him a pass, letting him go check on his boyfriend.  He tapped on the lab's door, then frowned when no one answered.  He sighed and pulled his ID badge off, using it to get past the lock and walk inside, closing and locking it again.  "Hey."  Xander jumped.  "I made the good call to Giles to get one of the girls up here."

"That'd be nice.  Remember the guy who got one of you at the same time I got you?"  Tim nodded slowly.  "Apparently his white lighter changed too."

"Yeah, he's went through two who couldn't stand him after a few days."  He walked over to give him a hug.  "You good?"

"Small headache."  He grinned at him.  "Good thing I let him have the sword, huh?"

"Very."  He took a kiss.  "Come home tonight, Xander."

"Ooh, I plan on it," he said, leering a little bit.

"If it wouldn't get you in trouble I'd bang you here," he said, smirking back, "but it would."

"We need a car."

"We don't have anywhere to park it."

"But how can we have energetic quickie car sex without a car?"

Tim looked at him.  "It's that sort of question that'll get you in trouble with someone sometime soon."  He took another kiss.  "Fully okay?"

"Headache.  One batted me with his axe."

"Pity."  He took another kiss but stepped back when someone rattled the door more effectively.

"Use the chute, I'm not taking company at the moment," Xander called.

"Fat chance," Stella ordered.  Tim went to open the door, making her smirk.  "Aha."

"Not like that.  It was locked when I came in too.  I'm simply smart enough to use a badge."

"Not like we care.  I went to check Mac over because he was in the way and nearly got hit."  She walked in.  "Who is Crowly?"

"Bad news," Xander said simply.  "Your coven?"

"One of them said I'd make a fantastic practitioner."

"Think sadists for power raising," Tim told her.

She grimaced.  "Ewww.  Okay.  So that wasn't a compliment."

"Actually, coming from a Satanist, it might be," Xander offered.  "Though Crowly-ites do tend to scare the rest of us.  They're mostly all very strong willed."

"So maybe a compliment or maybe she called me a bitch.  Okay, I can deal with that.  Did you do my bullets yet?"

"I have bullets?"

"Sid had them backlogged."

"Sweetie, I did those the first day," he said, looking confused.  "Unless I'm horribly backlogged, I do everything the same day I get them.  Have you checked your desk yet?"  She smiled and went to do that.  He looked at Tim.  "Someone was inefficient."

"Sometimes that happens around a lab," he reminded him.  Danny came up the hall so he stole a kiss from Xander.  "Want anything special for dinner?"

"You?  Chocolate sauce?"

"I don't need to be put into traction," he said patiently.  Xander just gave him his best good boy grin.  "I'll see if I can work that in later.  For food, Xander?"

"I had lunch."

Tim closed the door and walked over.  "Quit stressing."  He kissed him again.  "You don't need to stress out over this stuff.  Really.  I promise."  He took another kiss.  "Steaks?"

"Less heavy?  Steak bits on pasta?"

"I can do that."  He gave him a cuddle and his boy relaxed.  "That's my boy.  It'll be okay," he promised.  Someone knocked.  "Use the chute."

"Uh-huh.  We're all nosy."  He walked in and looked at them, smiling at the cuteness.  "Don't worry about anyone but Montana, Xander."

"Isn't that a show on the Disney channel?" Xander asked.  Speed snickered and gave him an extra squeeze.  "Thanks, Tim."

"Welcome.  I'll make us a good dinner. You come home on time."  He took another kiss then looked at Danny.  "You need one too?"

"Nah, I'm good on those.  Shoo.  Let us coopt him for a few more hours."

"Sure.  Soon, Xander."  He walked out, handing back his ID badge on his way with a smirk.  Quickie car sex didn't sound so bad.  Too bad having a car in the city was horrible.

Danny looked at Xander.  "So, Sid had three bullets of mine?"

"Danny, I tend to do things the same day I got them.  I've already cleared nightshift's backlog and you guys have only brought me four bullets so far today."


"Desk?" he suggested.

"That could work.  I haven't seen it in a few days," he admitted, going to check.  Sure enough, right in the center. A few didn't make him happy but the rest were okay.  Xander really had done everything they'd sent him.   He looked over and found Lindsay at her desk, trying to work.  "You okay?"

"No."  She looked at him.  "I'm not sure I can be around those things."

Danny snorted.  "It happens everywhere now and then, Lindsay.  That's why they make so many paranormal movies in New York.  That and cop shows."  She frowned.  "Listen, they're everywhere.  Before none of them attacked you.  There's probably a pretty small percentage that would attack people, especially at a police station.  We all know it happens now and then.  Mostly you get someone who looks a bit funny and sometimes can't speak English.  The two worlds hardly ever collide."

"Did Xander draw them here?"

He snorted and shook his head.  "Hell no.  Those ones were probably hungry, figured we'd be easier snacks 'cause we're geeks."  He called Xander on speaker.  "Why would those things have come here?"

"The orc thingies are usually either very fierce guards or warriors for a demonic ruler's army.  I'm guessing they were forward scouts and the idiot in charge wanted this area for himself.  Not a clue why though.  It definitely wasn't peaceful.  They're smart enough to not have brandished weapons if they had a peaceful intent, even if everyone had screamed and pulled guns."

"Thanks, man."  He hung up.  "There, see?"

She nodded, but still didn't look convinced.  "Why here?"

"Who knows?  Maybe the station's got some sort of significance to it.  I'm sure he and Mac can figure that out and stop it."

"Fine."  She went back to her paperwork.  "How do you learn to deal with that stuff?"

"There's a program out in San Francisco that can teach you that.  It's a two year thing, but I heard Xander got through it in one somehow.  It's where he got the extra kit.  Tim said they have special chemistry classes and all sorts of stuff.  That's where those two met."


"Few days back Mac and Don ran into another graduate out hunting things when they got attacked.  There's probably a few graduates around here."

"So just anyone can take it?"

"It's like college I'm sure."

"Oh."  She considered it.  "Do they teach forensics?"

"Maybe a bit for the hunting stuff," he offered.  "Then again, Xander went in while he was in his forensics program from what he said.  Got railroaded by his teachers."  She nodded and slumped down again.  "If you wanna go, you could probably get him to give you their number so you could call, maybe even get a recommendation."

"No thanks.  I don't want to deal with that."

"Most of the time it's a suspect that looks a little funny," he assured her patiently.  "I'm surprised you haven't had one yet."

"She did," Stella called.  "The case in Chinatown."  She walked in.  "Xander is a very hard worker."  He smiled at her.  She handed over a report.  "From last night's backlog.  He asked me to please deliver so we actually found ours this time.  He's done and on his way to trace."

"Why?" Lindsay asked.

"Because he's got a major in ballistics and a minor in trace and field work," Stella told her.  "Xander was one of UCLA's prize students.  That's why he got the internship in Miami."

"How did he get out of his sooner than everyone else?"

"Easy, Xander jumps in," Danny told her.  "He was filling in some on night shift when they caught him, plus he was pulling normal full time hours for Caine."

"Mac heard he temped in his last semester for LAPD too," Stella told them.  "All he had was a chem and an english class so they let him when someone went on maternity leave."  Lindsay gaped.  She nodded.  "Yeah.  Xander may be a bit of a goofball now and then, but he knows his stuff.   Mac said he could hit the field with us this week, Danny."

"Sure, I'll take him on my next one."

"Good."  She smiled.  "Remember his picture thing."

"I can do that too."   He looked over his reports, sitting up suddenly.  "Hold on.  Tell me that's a typo."

She looked then shook her head.  "He said to tell you to tell the one that'll scream he checked three times but he didn't talk to the person in question because he didn't know him well enough yet."

"I can handle that."  He got up and went to the detective's side, getting a happy Don.  "Hey, you have a thirty-eight at home?"

"Filed a missing gun case last year.  Why?"  Danny handed it over.  "It's not listed?"

"Not that he found."  Don growled and got into the system, shaking his head.  "Anything?"

"Nope.  I've got the paperwork at home."

"Good.  He said he didn't know you well enough to come tell you himself."

"I can handle that.   He did it quietly?"

"He didn't tell Stella which report it was, just to tell me that he had checked it three times to make sure."

"Good.  I like that about the kid.  I'll get the paperwork for you tonight, Danny."

"Thanks, Don.  Sorry."

"Hey, it happens.  I knew that when it came up missing.  It was a pretty standard 'someone broke in and stole all my stuff' moment."

"That's good.  Maybe we can get the guy who did it."  He smiled at Xander as he walked in.  "Something good?"

"Something problematic.  We found out a while back that Chicago had a gun leak in the department.  I just got one that came from here, got used out there, supposedly got destroyed, then managed to end up back here in another person in the same family's hand.  What are the odds of that?"

"Really long shot," Don said, taking the report.  He looked it over.  "I like this report.  Easy to read.  Thank you."

"I do them all like that, even in Trace."  He looked at Danny.  "Does the nightshift guy not handle cases on the same day they come in?"

"Now and then he gets pretty backed up.  We were down to him for the last month."

"That's reasonable then.  Anyway, we've told the gun database admins about the leak out there.  Calleigh did because we found one in Miami.  They were supposedly fixed but I'm starting to doubt a 'not' moment."

"We can talk to them too," Don promised.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome."  He looked at him.  Then he grinned.  "The system took out a few reports of missing guns around that time, Detective Flack.  It had a notice in the system."  He walked off.

"Huh."  He nodded and went to talk to his boss, handing it to her.  "The mythical gun.  Started here, went to Chicago, got destroyed, ended up back here in the hands of someone in the same family."

"How did it get destroyed?"

"Harris, the new ballistics guy, said that they had a gun leak in their department."

"Call out there to see if it's a current gun leak."

"Yes, ma'am."  He went to do that, getting a very nice detective.  He wasn't going to call the lab itself, he'd call someone who worked with the labs.  Calling the lab was Mac's job or Xander's job.


Xander called Horatio later that weekend.  "Can I come home yet?"  He smiled at the sigh.  "My first field case and it's a strange one.  I walk in and there's strange stuff waiting on me.  Strange stuff came to attack the station too, Horatio."  He listened to the calming voice and nodded.  "I know it'll settle down but can I come home soon?"  He smiled.  "Thanks, boss.  Want Tim?"  He smiled and handed the phone over, cuddling into him, at least until his phone went off.  He snuck a kiss and got ready, heading to the address on the text message.  He walked in with his case, signing in with a sigh.  "Hi, all."  Everyone stared at him.  "Who're you guys?"

"Stabler, SVU.  You?"

"Harris, CSI.  Feel like you're playing an alphabet game on Sesame Street?"

Elliot cracked a small smile.  "Now and then.  Why'd they call you?"

"Either it's something strange, which I get, or it was my turn on the roster.  I'm Mac's backup field guy."  That got nods so they let him at the body.  "I know you," he said, frowning some.  "I don't know from where.  Do we have a name?"

"One Buffy Summers."

Xander snatched the ID then snickered.  "Um, this is a fake, the real one is one of the girls who warped me so badly."  He stared at her.  "I think this is Magnolia, but she's from the same group in Cleveland.  She probably wanted to not be found so she's borrowing Buffy's ID.  Let me tape this."

"You tape instead of taking photos?" the ME asked.

"Yeah, I take crappy photos," Xander admitted, taping the scene.  "Back up please?"  The detectives got out of his way so he could get measuring shots.  He finished and came closer again, camera on the strap around his neck.  "Let me guess, I got called in for the strange people eating marks?  Because I haven't seen a cannibal in nearly five months."  He looked at the ME, getting a nod, so he put the flaps of skin together for a better view, taking another bit of film.  "Interesting bite pattern.  Doc, there's some bite tread on her organs, can you cast it?"

She looked.  "Maybe."  She went over the body while he helped.  He plucked off a hair.  "What's that?"

"Not a clue yet."  He bagged it then moved to do more.  "Hmm.  Tuft of fur," he said, plucking it out of the wound and bagging it too.  He got the rest and put it in there as well.  He sealed it and wrote on it, then kept going.  "Let me know, Doc?"

"Sure.  Where should I call?"

"Ballistics.  Taylor's lab."  She nodded, making a note of that.  They moved the body and he got to work on the bed and surrounding areas.  "I'll do the front door last since it's the most contaminated."

"That's fine," Stabler agreed.  "So, this is your backup thing?"

"I've got a major in ballistics, a minor in trace and a minor in field work," he admitted while he worked.  "Plus I handle the strange shit cases because that's where I'm from and that's where you might be going on this because she's one who handles it too."

"Charming," he said grimly.  "Do you know anything about her?"

"I only knew her for a few weeks about six years ago.  I remember she got called to the duty, her mother didn't like that idea however.  She ended up running away to protect her family after she got called."

"Okay, let's start there.  Called?"

Xander looked at him.  "She's a slayer, Detective."  A guy in the hall groaned.  "I think he knows what that means."  An older guy walked in.  "Hey, Harris, CSI."

"Well, at least they called the expert on it."

"Not hardly.  Do I look like a Watcher?" he asked dryly, going back to work.  "If I'm right, that was Magnolia.  I haven't seen her in years.  She's one of the junior slayers."

"Where are they now, kid?"

"Cleveland leaving me the hell alone before I kill them all," Xander said dryly.

"Why?" Elliot asked.

Xander looked at them.  "According to one I was about as useful as dryer lint after fighting with them for six years."  He gaped.  He nodded.  "Yeah.  So I went to work on LA's protection and went to school because I annoyed the crap out of the head guardian in LA.  Brooding vampire, not a fun boss most of the time until it was time to prank him."  He went back to work. "More of the fur.  Either he as wearing something furry or he had a dense undercoat.  This is underfur."  He bagged it as well and moved onto the restraints.  "Huh.  Play quality," he said, undoing them and bagging them.  "Okay, let's track back to the doorway.  Did we follow a path, guys?"  Elliot nodded so he did a circuit of the room and came up without much.  One other fingerprint, then the outer room and finally the doorway.  "There we go.  Give me three days before you call, that gives me time to run everything."  They nodded.  "Good."  He dug out a card and handed it over once everything was in the evidence box.  He checked, he had everything.  "Okay, I'm off, no comments please, and I'll see you guys in three days.  If you haven't called, I'll pop around with the report."  They nodded.  "Do you need the number down there to call them?  I'm not sure of the protocol about them versus her parents."

"I'll do down there, I've got the number," the older guy said.

Xander grinned.  "Good, cause I'd have to look it up.  Tata for now."  He walked off, going  back to the lab.  Mac gave him an odd look so he shook his head.  "Field call for SVU.  Cleveland," he said briefly, going to work in Trace.  He found Danny working late and put down his box, getting an odd look.  "Got a call for SVU."

"Interesting.  They're kinda uptight."

"It was a slayer," he complained.  "Someone called since she'd been nibbled on."  He got down to work once he had on clean gloves and his coat, finding his glasses were still in there from earlier.   He started with the restraints, sorting things so all his fingerprints were together in one pile waiting for more.  Then the hairs in another.  The few swabs went together, then he got down to fingerprint the bigger stuff.  Danny watched him and he gave him a look.  "It's my weaker area."

"It happens to the best of us.  Ask if you need help."

"I always do.  I'm like that.  I know I'm not a God yet.  When I am some future ballistics tech will come up and bow to me like I once did to Calleigh and Bobby from Las Vegas."


"Teacher made us."

"Okay, that's reasonable.  Tops in their field," he decided, moving to help.  "I'd use the other one on that surface, Xander."  He took it to do the prints.  "Slept through fingerprinting?"

"No.  Had a concussion through fingerprinting but I didn't get to sleep through it.  I'm good at the baseline stuff in there and DNA."

"That's good though, you know where you belong."  He found a print.  "Pretty one right there."  He lifted it and took the others to run for him.   Xander opened his mouth.  "I'm waiting on mine to run, I can start fingerprints for you."

"Okay.  I'm used to doing my own cases all by myself."

"We're not greedy around here.  That's why we get to borrow you."  Xander grinned and got back to work on the rest of everything, ending up with the hairs last.  Danny brought over reports.  "Only one registered in the system."

"Thanks.  Bunny fur."  He let Danny see.  Danny grinned at him.  "Found inside the wound so either someone was wearing bunny or someone was a bunny and shed."

"Let's hope they were wearing bunny instead of were a bunny."  He nudged him with a grin.  "Report?"

"Going to start it now."  He got to work on that, not having fun with it.  There wasn't much he could conclude. The single fingerprint that matched was the victim's.  He finished up the report and looked at it, then sighed.  "That's not a lot."

"You've still got the three swabs to run," he reminded him.

Xander hit himself on the head and moved to run them.

"Go home," Danny ordered.  "You've already pulled a full one plus a few hours."

"I need to..."

"They'll either be run by night shift or you can do it in the morning, Xander.  Go cuddle Tim."  He turned the boy around and gave him a light shove.  "Now."  Xander nodded, packing everything back together with his report in there, plus the swabs.  He tucked it into the work cabinet then left, going home. Danny shook his head, finishing up his own case so he could take his advice.  Mac came in a while later.  "Why're you still here?"

"Paperwork.  I thought I'd check Xander's case for him."

"I made him go home already.  He was starting to yawn and he forgot he had swabs."

"He got here at nine and it's nearly... ten," he said after checking his watch.  "It's time for him to go.  He only had an hour before he was called out."

"You too, Mac.  That's when you got here too."

"Point."  He smiled.  "You staying?"

"Nope.  I'm finishing up this one test then heading."

"Thanks, Danny."  He walked out, going to his car to go home.  He was even nice enough to give Xander a ride.  It was only a block out of his way.  Being that tired on the subway would mean he'd get pickpocketed.


Xander walked late the next afternoon, smiling at the chaos of SVU.  "I'm magnificent but it's mostly going to be footwork," he said, handing the two reports to Stabler.  "The swabs took longer so they're separate."

"What can you tell me?"

"The fur I found was bunny so either someone was wearing it or was it.  It was the dense undercoat part of the fur."  He yawned. "Sorry, subway knocks me out.  Two prints were no match in the system.  Bring me a suspect and we can match them fairly quickly.  The restraints were bought at one of the local porn stores but I didn't track down which one yet since I don't know where they all are.  Only been in town for a few weeks," he said at the curious look.  "They weren't high end, they weren't customed in any way, so probably hundreds sold in the last year.  That'll be a long-shot search.  I do know that Magnolia did fight back.  One of the swabs was spit from another person and it had minute amounts of blood in it.  The others were KY Jelly lube."  He yawned again.  "Sorry.  Let's see.  The only thing that could help you the most is the DNA on the blood, still waiting on that.  Jane's backed up by about a day at the moment.  I gave her your name to call you."  Elliot nodded.  "Other than that, your ME should probably have a field day to see if she had anything under her nails or in her mouth.  If I remember right she was kinda a biter.  She bit Dawn for trying to get into the bathroom ahead of her."

"Our killer female or male?"

"Have to wait on Jane for that."  He called over there.  "Jane, do you have even a gender on mine?" he asked.  "Yeah, I am."  He grinned.  "I'll tell him that.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "She said it'd be tomorrow morning and you could make her day by coming down if you needed to.  She got sent the fingernail scrapings by the ME."  That got a smile.   "So, yes. She'll have that tomorrow.  Right now, look for someone wearing dense bunny fur.  Get us fingerprints.  They're in the system so you should be able to pull and process them from closer if you need to."

"That'll work.  Nothing else?"

"From practical experience I'd say you're looking for someone smaller.  Someone bigger could've held her down until he had her knocked out.  She probably wasn't *awake* when he took bites out of her," he said dryly.  "Everyone would've heard the screams.  I'd expect a sedative of some sort or another.  Maybe a physical blow to keep her down.  Having her handcuffed was redundant unless it was a power move or they had to so they could administer whatever knock out agent.  Maybe they felt it was necessary in case she woke up.  Wish I could do more for you, Detective.   This is a legwork case and I'll help if you want."

"No, I've got a good idea from this, Harris.  Thanks."

He grinned.  "Welcome.  I'm off to play with my guns again if you need me, and remember, I'm supposedly retired from the strange shit that floats around now and then.  Good luck."  He walked off, going back to the subway so he could go back to work.

Elliot looked over the report, blinking at it.  "Why doesn't our usual tech write like this?" he complained.

John Munch came over to look then smiled.  "Easily understood.  I want to work with Taylor's team if they all write like this."  He took it to look over.  "Huh.  Looks like we should hit the ME."

"We can do that.  He said she sent fingernail scrapings to their DNA tech."

"So she's got to have at least some idea."  They took the reports with them, heading down to the ME's domain.  "Hey, doc?"  She smiled.  "Got the reports from Harris."

"Everything but DNA.  We'll have that tomorrow.  He said Jane's backed up."

"She usually is," she agreed.  "We are too."

"Did we find a sedative?"

"We found two.  I also took his advice to see if we could cast the bite marks.  We could and did, plus I had someone do a drawing from the tears around her abdomen.  They were ripped, not cut open."  They both looked sick.  "She was a strong girl.  Her muscle mass was extremely high."

"He thought the attacker might've been smaller," Elliot told her.  "Used the handcuffs to subdue her until he could knock her out."

"Probably."  She took the report to look over, blinking.  "Not as technical as usual.  Taylor must be upset."

"Not hardly," Mac said as he walked in with his newest body.  "We have an officer, Doc."

"Why not take them to Sid?"

"Because it's a relative to someone in my morgue.  Besides, I wanted to come down to look over Xander's shoulder, make sure he's settling in okay."

"He's new?"

"Just out of his internship in Miami," he said with a smirk.  "He's from the UCLA program."

"Good.  They're good people."   She frowned.  "Is he normally a field tech?"

"Nope, ballistics," Elliot told her.

"He's my backup tech, doc."

"Wow.  You like his reports?"

"We do.  They're easy to understand for the detectives and technical enough for us.   He does good work."  He let her have the clipboard, exchanging it for the report.  "Rabbit fur."

"He said they were either wearing very dense rabbit fur or they were a bunny because that was undercoat fur," Elliot said with a smirk.

Mac nodded.  "I've had this recently.  Come down in a while, give me enough time to find it.  It might be nothing."  He handed it back and took the clipboard once she had checked the body and signed.  "Thanks, doc."

"Welcome, Mac.  You know we love to help."  He smiled and left.  She looked at them.  "A bit odd."

"That's okay, she's part of the strange stuff patrol," Elliot told her.  "John had the pleasure of calling Cleveland."

"Her mother's from Maine.  We notified her."

"We called her sponsoring group," John told her.

"Okay."  She went back to her report.  "See this mark?"  They looked and she turned on the lights for him.  "Someone got happy after biting into her.  I sent that swab to Jane as well.  I figured it was the same person."  They nodded.  "What was she doing in New York?"

"Handling some of the strange stuff," John said dryly. "It's her appointed job."

"One of those," she said grimly.  He nodded.  "Okay.  Let's hope her attacker is normal then."

"Should be," Elliot offered.  "That looks like normal semen."

"It does.  Let me know if you find anything."  They nodded, taking the report with them.  That and DNA were their best hope.  She put the body into the cooler and got to work on her newest one.  A fallen officer was not happy for anyone and they wanted those solved quickly.


Mac and Stabler walked two other folders into ballistics but Xander held up a hand.  "I'll lose my train of thought."  He had to back up and retype the sentence he was working on.  A few minutes later and his report was done and saved.  "Sorry, had to get it all out."  He turned to look at theirs.  "Hmm, not eaten but bitten," he said, looking at one folder.  The other one was similar.  "Practice or not worthy?" he asked, looking at Mac.

"You tell us, you've got more experience in serials than most techs, I want your thoughts, Xander."  Mac watched him work.

Xander leaned on the table to get closer, taking off his glasses.  He studied each picture, eventually pushing aside the third.  "Not this guy or for a different reason.  This one has the same marks, the same style.  That one's lesser, not worthy or something.  Maybe a trainee thing?"  He went back over the two, frowning.  "Did I swab the cuffs for skin cells?"  He moved to open his report, finding that he did.  "Did Jane get that to you?"

"Not yet.  She said another two hours," Elliot said.

Xander nodded, coming back.  "Hmm."  Ran a finger over the results list, tapping one.   "Chaptstick on the body.  Could get DNA from that to compare maybe."  Elliot pulled out his phone to call the ME.  He looked at Mac.  "I don't know a ritual significance of eating someone like that.  It's definitely nothing in my old sphere of problems.  I do remember the cannibal case in Miami.  The guy testified that he microwaved some parts because that was his preference.  Some guys cooked and ate, some guys microwaved, some guys ate raw, it led them back to their carnivorous roots.  Those guys do it to feel like the animal spirit that they embody.  Sort of like they think that they're possessed, or could be possessed by an animal spirit; it could be urging them.  I've only seen one of those since it happened to me back in high school though, that's pretty rare, takes a ritual, plus access to the animals for a good month."  He got back down closer to the pictures.  "But if it's that, why Bunny fur?"  He hit himself on the head.  "If they're going with their innate animal nature, they'd have to have a costume.  The more realistic the better.  What did the castings look like?"  He looked at Elliot.

"He wanted to know what the teeth castings looked like, Doc.  Yeah.  That's what he's thinking.  She said they're a bit distorted."

"Maybe it's how he's had his fixed or a dental implant," Xander offered.  He nodded and held out his phone when the picture got sent.  He looked at it then smiled.  "Wolf.  Those are wolf teeth."  He handed it back.  "So he's probably enacting his hunting instincts.  Then why go after Magnolia?  She was a hunter herself."

"It's part sexual," Elliot said, hanging up.  "He got off on both bodies.  You're right, she did find chapstick."  He came back.  "So, you think this guy dresses up in a wolf costume?"

"At least a headdress.  He's trying to pull the spirit that he feels is within him, like his ancestor or who had blessed his line, into him while he hunts.  If he's going after strong women it's to prove he's vital, strong enough for the pack, strong enough to get a mate, etc and so forth."  Elliot smirked and nodded.  "I know, that's more your area, right?"

"Yup.  So the costume is where the rabbit fur is?"

"Probably couldn't find a pure wolf hide.  Had to make some of it.  Used rabbit since it's close in texture to gray wolves.  With the white undercoat we found I'd guess that's the sort, that or arctic wolf."  He handed them back with a grin.  "Not too bright either.  His ancestor would be *pissed* to have their lesser, weaker, food source as part of the costume.  As for psychology of the person?  Got a shrink?"

"I do and I can tell him what you said, let him finish it.  Thanks, kid."

"Welcome.  Don't forget Jane."

"Oh, I'm not.  I'm hoping he's in the system."

"If not, check his hunting patterns and see if the last one might've been a training hunt, an early hunt, or even a brother or son hunting.  It's lesser, like a cub."

"I can do that too.  Thanks."  He walked off.

Mac smiled at him.  "I appreciate you, Xander.  A lot."

"Then can I have less strange crap cases?"

Mac chuckled and nodded. "Definitely.  Though you'll have one last one.  I heard that another precinct got your former student?"

"Fellow student, please.  I only taught him by putting him on his back repeatedly.  He thought he was Batman, always jumping in.  Claimed he was just as good as Blade but he lacked the sense of style and the moves."

Mac nodded. "I'll see if it's true.  If so, do you want it?"

"If he was killed by something you'll need me to handle, maybe.  It might be in the book.  See what happened to his White Lighter."

"I will.  Maybe we can talk to him?"

"I'll see."  He shrugged.  "Best I can do.  I don't make the rules for the Powers.  If I did, no one else like me would be created so they couldn't be warped by girls."

"Sure.  I'll check into that for you."  He walked off, going to check with Jane since one of them was on his case as well.  Now he saw why Horatio wanted the boy back so desperately.


Xander looked at Tim later that night after dinner.  "Why do cannibal cases come for me?"

"Latent hyena instincts?" he suggested.


"Basically.  Another one?"

"Magnolia's case."

"Pity.  Hold on, rabid bunnies?  You had rabbit fur."

"Wolf.   Costume probably."

"A wolf sprit would be pissed.   Or I would be if I was."  He shrugged and gave him a cuddle.  "They find him?"

"DNA matched someone.  Mac and Stabler are working it since it was two cases with a possible third."

"Ehh.  Charming.  Okay, now what?"

"Now....  I'm wondering if we're getting another one."

"Yup.  I called to make sure they knew.  We are getting Rona."

"I like Rona.  She had some common sense.  She's also about four years younger than me.  That means I won't have to smack around a teenage girl."

"Decent.  What about the other guy you graduated with?"  Xander sighed.  "That stupid this week?"

"Yup and it got him dead."  Speed looked down at him.  He nodded.  "Yuppers.  I had to do a summoning to see if we could get him or his white lighter.  Got his first white lighter, who was sniffling.  She was watching over him.  He went through three."

"They sacrificed their existence to protect him and he went through *three* in two years?"  Xander nodded.  "Damn."

"Nothing that hard either, he had lack of planning.  Never the right weapon sort."  He snuggled in again.  "How's Miami?"

"Okay.  Wolfe's having a bad week."

"Hoof disease again?"

"Little bit.  She goaded him into it this time, with H standing there.  Horatio arrested her on the spot for it too."

"Goodie."  He grinned then nuzzled.  "Are we getting visitors soon?"

"Next month.  Which means we've got to finish fixing up the guest room/office."


"Uncomfortable," Speed reminded him.


"Better.  We'll see what we can find."

"Sure."  He ran a hand over Tim's stomach.  "First payday's tomorrow.  Am I getting take out?"

"Yup.  Or we could go out."  Xander looked at him.  "You're on call?"

"I have the feeling I am," he said, nodding at the spot of light in the kitchen.  It expanded then solidified into a body.  "Hey, Detective Hagen."

Speed looked then groaned.  "Call Mac, we'll go down for the funeral."  Xander called, walking away.  "Hey, Hagen."

"Hey, Speed.  This is really odd.  I don't want to be here."

"You and Xander both."

"Yeah, now I know why."  He looked up.  "Can't I just be dead?" he called quietly.  He got a sudden headache.  "Apparently not."  He looked over.  "No wonder he's so warped."

"Yeah, that's about what I said too," he agreed, going back to his reading.  "When is it?"

"Two days," Xander called.

"That's fine, you've got a bug thing invasion tonight," Hagen offered.

Xander looked at him.  "Charming.  Flame thrower?"  Hagen nodded.  "Good.  Tim?"

"Back closet.  Blue case.  Bring a sword too, just in case, dear."

"Not coming?"

Tim looked at him.  "Bring Lindsay."

Xander beamed.  "Sure."  He snickered and went to call Mac.  "Mac, Xander.  Bad things.  I need help tonight with an invasion of bug things and ...  Flame thrower actually.  I've got one.  I could probably improvise another with a trip to a hardware store.  Yeah, we're needed in Miami for a funeral.  One of the detectives I worked with.  Calleigh's boyfriend, Mac.  Two days.  So I'll handle that, fly out sometime late tomorrow, and be back the day after?  That'll work.  Sure, come on over.  I'll send Tim to the hardware store.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Okay, gotta go improvise one."  He grabbed his wallet and looked at Tim, who sighed.  He made out a list and gave him a kiss before he left so he could deal with John.  "Are you going to stay tangible most of the time?"

"I hope not.  I need to be in Miami at least once.  I've got to warn someone."  He grabbed his head again.  "Or maybe not."



"Junior?"  Hagen looked at him.  "Ah.  Never made it?"

"No cause to yet."

"I'll lt him know quietly.  Thanks."  He went to pack a small bag for each of them, including suits and Tim's sunglasses.  He came out when someone knocked, opening the door.  "Hey, Mac.  Tim's at the hardware store.  John, where are we heading?"

"Docks.  They're coming off a ship."

Mac walked in and closed the door.  "I called Lindsay.  I figured it'd stop problems."

"It would."  He looked at John. "Tell him where so he can figure out what we're doing and how we're deploying.  I don't know the area that well."

"Sure, kid."  He walked over to help Mac plan that, getting the door when Lindsay walked in.  "Hey."  He smiled at Speed, letting Xander help carry.  "At least I don't have to do that."

"His new White Lighter?" Mac asked quietly.  John nodded.  "So the funeral..."  That got another nod.  "I'm sorry."

"I ran out of options, Mac.  It's not anyone's fault but my own."

"I'm still sorry."

"Yeah, I realize now how bad I was.  And in punishment, I get to help the kid."

Mac smiled.  "He's very dynamic."

"I got to see first hand how those stupid brats warped him.  Speaking of, Buffy's in town."  Tim dropped his wrench to stare at him.  "Yup."

"Aw, shit.  Xander, Buffy's in town."

"Am I making another one for her?"

"No," John said.  "Not like she'd get *dirty* since she's went administrative, kid."

"Ehh, then I'll be mean when I see her."  He finished putting the first one together and tested it, turning it off and going to the next one.  He finished that one and it was better.  "There.  Done.  Where are we going?"  Mac let them see.  "Can we do it from the shadows?  Will we have to watch out for the guards?"

"No guards on that dock," John told him.

"How do you know and who are you?" Lindsay asked.

"John Hagen."  He shook her hand.  "I'm assigned to help Xander with the strange crap issues."

"Then what are we doing?"

"We are going to stop a harmful invasion coming off a ship, Lindsay," Xander told her.  "It'll be like burning roaches only these eat people."  He got his own, smiling at the extra fuel tank.  "Thanks, Tim."

"I'll make you cocoa when you come back," he promised, giving him another kiss.  Lindsay gagged and looked away.  "Be safe, don't get bitten.  Remember, they can carry rabies."  Xander nodded and headed out with John and the others, Mac carrying the flame throwers for him and Lindsay.  He shook his head.  "That poor, deluded girl."  He went to clean up the parts and then called Calleigh.  "I heard, sweetie.  We're coming down tomorrow."  He smiled, letting her cry and talk to him while he made flight reservations online.  "Of course.  No, he's out handling a bug infestation.  Eats people, carries rabies.  Exactly.  That's my girl.  You can have all the cuddles you need tomorrow.  Well...." he said at her question about seeing him.  He smirked and nodded at her guess.  "That's what makes you such a good CSI.  Yeah, we'll watch out for him, sweetie, I promise.  Just hold on and we'll be down tomorrow."  She sniffled and hung up, he finished the reservations.


Mac looked at the small scurrying thing.  "Will they eat rats?"

"And dogs, cats, people, cows.  They're from the African plains and they'll pretty much eat anything with a pulse."  He burned the rat then looked at her.  "Okay, that's the ship John got told about.  Watch out for a dark, scuttling cloud."  They watched the ship dock, ropes were tied down, people got checked off as they came off.  Mac nudged him, pointing.  "Yup, that's them.  John, can you go tell them to hold the cargo?"  John nodded, phasing out to do that.

"What..." she started.

Xander popped her on the forehead.  "Yes, he can do that.  That's why he got assigned to me for things like this.  Which are for emergencies only," he said dryly.  He turned back around.  "Ah, there's the swarm.  Mac, take left, that's their most likely exit.  Lindsay, take center.  I'll herd toward Mac and you do the same.  Aim for the heads.  That's the least amount of armor."  They headed out to do that, charring bugs on the way.  Mac stomped one.  "Doesn't work and they bite back."  Lindsay burned that one for him and they got down to circling the swarm and destroying it.  By the time they got the last one, someone was standing there waiting.  Xander looked over at him.  "Customs?"  He nodded once. "They're carnivorous."

"I saw the bite one of your people got.  You are?"

"Harris, from Sunnydale."

"I used to work LA," he moaned.

Xander grinned.  "Me too!  I worked with Angel.  Small world, huh?"

"That ship?"

"Yuppers.  African plains demon ants."

"That'll work for me.  Burn 'em where?"

"Head, less armor.  They do bite, they can carry rabies.  Go for anything with a pulse."

"I'll have a sweep done starting tomorrow.  Thank you.  Go away."  He walked off.

"Okay."  They walked back to Mac's car.  "Who got bit?"

"I got one small one," Mac admitted.

Lindsay looked down.  "I'm wearing cowboy boots.  It got most of them."

"Check and have the ER tend to it if not," Xander instructed.  "Remember, they can carry rabies."

"Sure.  I'll do that."  She handed over her flame thrower and got into the front.  "Do you do that every night?"

"Hell no."  Xander got into the back.  "Mac, can you drop me off?"

"Sure, you're on the way home.  Lindsay, I'll get as close as I can to yours."

"Thanks, Mac."

"Welcome."  He looked back at Xander.  "Can they get them all?"

"They can even do it in the daylight," he said dryly.

"Even better.  When are you two leaving tomorrow?"

Xander pulled out his phone.  "Sweetie, when are we heading down for the funeral?"  He nodded.  "Be there soon.  Leaving now.  No, no bites.  Mac might have one.  Lindsay had boots on."  He smiled.  "Sure."  He hung up.  "Drop me at the corner so I can get him the good ice cream?"

"Sure."   He started the car and headed that way.

"We're leaving at seven so I shouldn't need to leave that early."

"That's fine, Xander.  Things like that are important."  He turned on the radio.  "Tim doesn't like these things?"

"He kinda got put into that against his will.  They put him with me because of my training and his training basically.  He wasn't on the list.  The other guy I graduated with, well, he went through a few thanks to lack of planning.  That's why he died."

"You can die doing this?" Lindsay asked.

"Do you think the things came into the station couldn't and wouldn't have killed someone, Lindsay?" he countered.  "There's plenty of them, even some of the more gentle ones, if only so they're left alone.  The world is a lot wider than you think."

"Oh."  She settled down to think about it.  "Does Don Flack go with you guys?  And Danny?"

"Never invited either of them," Xander admitted.  "I think Don was with Mac when something attacked them."  Mac nodded.  "That's why I gave him the ID manual.  Just in case."

"I guess that's good.  Who died?"

"A detective we worked with in Miami," he said quietly.  "Things got overwhelming and he ended up killing himself."

"Oh."  She nodded.  "I'm sorry you lost him."

"He wasn't a *close* friend but the boyfriend of someone who was and I did work with him a few times."  He undid his seatbelt.  "Here's good, Mac.  Thank you."

"Welcome."  He watched Xander get out, rolling down the window.  "Xander, flamethrower?"

"I'll get it in a few days, Mac."

"Sure."  He rolled back up the window and dropped Lindsay a few blocks from her place, then headed home.  He needed to treat his leg wounds.  When he got there he found Stella waiting on him and her not looking happy.  "Something happen?"

"You got bitten by a carnivorous demon and you're *home*?" she demanded, turning him around and walking him off.  "Do not make me cuff you, Mac Taylor, because I will!  You have got to take better care of yourself!"

"Who called?" he groaned.


He shook his head, surrendering his keys.  Stella in this mood meant he was doomed if he complained.  She'd start hitting soon if he didn't do what she said.  She even stayed at the ER with him so he couldn't escape.  "You know, Lindsay may've been bitten too."

"I called her.  She's fine.  They all got her boots.  She needs new ones."

"Good.  That's good."  The nurse came back to tend to the injuries.  "We were told they might be carrying rabies but we burned them all."

"We called the docks and got a sample, Detective.  So far the indicators are negative but it'll be a while longer."

"Does he have to stay?"

"No, we can treat them and then call him when we have it.  It shouldn't be much past dawn.  At which time he'll have to rush back and start treatments if it is positive.  Sound fair enough?" she asked with a smile.

"Call me," Stella ordered, handing over her card.  "I'll make sure of it, ma'am."

"Good."  She got to work fussing over his bite marks.


Xander walked into Calleigh's apartment and hugged her.  "I'm here.  Let it go," he whispered, walking her off.  She let go, letting him handle it for now.

Tim walked Horatio off since he was there.  "John said something," he said quietly.  "About Ray."  Horatio stiffened.  "That there was no cause for him to make it to the other side."

Horatio swallowed.  "No cause?"

"No cause."

"That means..."

"He may be alive," he agreed quietly.

Horatio patted him on the arm.  "Thank you, Tim."

"If I had thought I would've asked."  That got a nod.  "I'm sorry, H."

"It's not your fault.  How is John?"

"Much more ghostly than I was.  He doesn't tend to stick around."  He looked around, nodding in the corner.  "He's been watching over her."

"That should comfort her," he agreed, walking over to whisper in Xander's ear, getting a nod.  "Calleigh, I've got to go to the office for a few minutes.  Can I leave you with them?"

"Thank you."  She wiped her eyes off.  "I know you've got other things to do than baby me."

He smiled.  "I'll be back in a little while.  You need us right now.  That's all that matters."  He stroked over her hair.  "Try to rest."  He left, going to check out that lead.  Something was very wrong if his brother was still alive.

Tim sat on her other side, letting her hug him.  "How is he?" she asked.

"Good.  He spends a lot of time gone.  A lot more than I did."

"Xander needed you," she reminded him.

"True, if only to make him quit wearing the t-shirts that induce headaches."

"Mac said that he happy with them."

"That's because every time he works himself into a headache, you show up wearing one of those and he had to take a nap," Tim said dryly.

"Exactly," Xander said happily.  "I get to wear my favorite shirts *and* do good for the department."

"Read him a story next time.  You keep giving Danny headaches too, Xan."

"I missed you two."

Tim smiled.  "He can read you a story too."

"That's okay.  I can't sleep."

Xander pulled her up and carried her into the bedroom, laying her down and taking off her shoes, then curling up around her to murmur a story into her ear, making her relax and eventually fall asleep against his chest.


Xander walked in his first day back, looking at Mac.   "Hi."

"Hi.  How was Miami?"

"Kinda depressing.  Calleigh is doing a bit better.  She's sleeping on her own now."  Mac nodded at that.  "Did you get the wolf guy?"

"Arctic wolf costume that he wore while feasting," he said, handing over the file.  Xander grinned.  "How are you going to explain this if the defense asks?"

"Mac, what cannibal isn't going to ask for mental help?"

"He isn't yet."

"Then I'll point out that I did have to do some profiler training as part of my training and a bit more thanks to an ex-girlfriend with that issue.  That I've handled another cannibal case in Miami and talked to that guy.  Plus I like animals.  Speaking of, we're going to get a dog tonight.  Wanna come?"

"No, I'll let you two visit the pound alone. I might come back with one myself."  He patted him on the shoulder.  "I hope we can work that out in a logical manner?"

"I have before."  He handed it back.  "I can dissemble with the best when necessary, Mac."

"Good."  He smiled.  "You have a backlog.  Chad was out last night."

"Charming."  He went to his lab, finding his glasses in there and his lab coat still hanging up.  "I'm back!" he called.  "Anyone have anything else for me?"

Sheldon leaned in.  "I've got a gun in fingerprint and trace."

"That'll work.  Any others?"

"Stella's scraping a bullet for trace.  Sid's got four."

"I like Sid, he can walk."

"I'll let him know."  He smiled.  "Welcome back."  He walked off.

"Thanks."  He looked at his samples, starting oldest first.  That way some ADA somewhere could quit fussing.  His phone rang.  "Ballistics," he answered.  He looked at it then at the packages.  "DA Smith, I'm just back from a funeral.  It's about ten down on my list so I'll get to it today, barring unforeseen things.  Lab assaults, those sort of things.  You'll have it by the end of my shift, ma'am.  No, I'm not.  Because protocol is first come first served unless there's a temporal reason.  A gun doesn't have those.  Then you tell the judge the ballistics tech just got back from a funeral for a fellow officer and friend in Miami and I'll have it for you at the end of my shift, which is seven tonight.  I'll have it nicely reported and all that.  Then put him on."  He waited.  "Sir, CSI Harris, Ballistics.  No, sir, a fellow officer's funeral in Miami.  Because I just transferred up from Miami, sir.  Apparently the night shift person didn't get to it.  I will have it by the end of my shift today.  Sir, I'm not breaking *federal* protocol for your convenience. *Federal* protocol says first come first served unless there's a temporal issue, like a degrading sample.   You don't have those on guns and there's ten in front of hers.  You'll have it by seven, sooner if possible.

"I'm not that slow but I do have to do it.  You do realize that arguing with me is not only futile but wasting time that could be used to get that gun sooner?  I'm aware of that.  Actually, whoever marked the tag put that he shot a child.  In front of it are another six homicides and the rest are robberies.  I want this guy to go away just as much as you do, sir.  I'm sure you do, sir.  Then let me get back to work and I'll have it for you by seven.  Sir, I am one of the original stubborn bastards about protocol.  You've already lost this argument.  Now you're keeping me from doing my work and getting you that report sooner.  Your choice," he said firmly.  "Now, are there any other cases you want to see by tonight?"  He made a note.  "If they're here.  I don't see one of those names.  Were they sent to Manhattan Felony?  I'd have someone check, sir.  I only work in this lab."  He hung up and got back to work.  Stella came in a few later.  "I do not break protocol for you either, Stella.  First come, first served unless there's a degrading sample."

"I know.  I wasn't going to ask, just going to warn you not to piss off the judge.  They'll go harder on the rest of us."

"I told him twice it was federal protocol. Which it is.  Got something for me?"

"One bullet," she agreed, putting it where he pointed.  "You okay?"

"I hate politicians."

She smiled.  "It happens now and then."    She watched him work for a minute.  "How's Tim?"

"Good.  Happy.  Why?"

"Just asking."  He stared her down until she shivered and looked away.  "Lindsay said something."

"What's the rule on spanking?"

"Only Mac can."

"Pity."  He got back to work.  "He needs these by seven."

"Sure.  I'll let you work."  She left him alone, going back to her lab.  She ran into Danny.  "Xander's back."

"I heard."  He grinned.  "He hear about what she said?"

"I mentioned she said something.  He asked about the rules for spanking."

"You tell him only Mac could?"


"Think he'll listen?" he asked.

"Nope."  She walked off much happier.  Lindsay was about to be taught a few things.

Danny walked off smiling.  It was a good day.  He popped into ballistics.  "Hey, when you get mine done, page me.  Don't leave things on my desk.  I don't see it for days."

"Sure."  He was comparing with the microscope.  "She said what?"

"That Tim and you were together, that you were wrong in the head, that there was something wrong with him.  Said something about you and dead bodies....."

"Well, technically Tim was my White Lighter."

"Was he dead?"

"For a while."

"Is he now?"


"Good.  Then can I watch when you spank her?"

"Maybe," he agreed, still working.  "We'll see."  Danny walked off chuckling.  Xander went back to work. Someone would come in and tell him all of it soon.  That's the way gossip worked.  When he heard from Adam, he went to find her on his break, dragging her into Mac's office.  He closed all the shades, then spanked the hell out of her, handing her to Mac with a sweet smile.  "Fix her.  Please.  I don't want to have to."  He walked off again, going back to work once he had a soda.

Mac looked at her.  "What did you say?"  She glared and rubbed her butt.  "Lindsay?"

"Just what I heard."

"First of all, Tim is not dead."

"He was!"

"He's not."  She wilted. "What else did you say?"  She mumbled something.  "Excuse me?"  She mumbled it a bit louder.  "Sit!  We will be talking!"

"I can file a complaint against him," she said.

"You do and I'll make *sure* what you said makes it into the record," Danny said from the doorway.  "Mac, Judge on line three.  Said Xander's a smartass."

"He is," he said dryly.  "What did he do?"

"Won't hurry samples, told them it was federal protocol, and said that a few of the samples he was backlogged and impatiently waiting on weren't his job."

"They might not be."  He made shooing motions.  Danny left and he answered the phone.  "Detective Mac Taylor."  He listened to the rant.  "No, sir, that is federal protocol."  He typed into the computer.  "That's non-felony, sir, not our lab, nor his job to process.  That one as well," he said after checking the name.  "Yes, that would be their lab supervisor but I'm not sure if it's a case of someone being on vacation or not, sir.  Actually, that is appropriate.  I would've said tomorrow just in case, but ..."  He was cut off.  "Actually, sir, he just returned this morning from the funeral of an officer he served with in Miami.  I would have said tomorrow, but if he thinks he can get it done that's fine.  Usually within a day of him getting it, sir, but this time night shift was off for an emergency and he was out for the funeral.  Thank you, sir.  Sir, he doesn't play politics.  He doesn't understand it and he doesn't care.  He's more than happy being a lab tech for life, that's all he wants, and you pressuring him makes him more stubborn so the rest of us have problems.  With all due respect, yes, sir.  Thank you, Your Honor.  I'll have it couriered over since Xander doesn't have a car at the moment.  Thank you, sir."  He hung up and called Xander's lab.  "Try for more polite next time, Xander.  That's all I have issue with.  Try for more polite and the rest was fine."  He hung up and looked at her.  "You and I are going to talk, Lindsay."

"Fine.  Just make him apologize."

"If it had been myself or Stella, we would have done the same thing."

She pouted.  "But..."

"What you said was highly inappropriate, a very good way for him to not be trusted in the field, and could ruin his reputation, Lindsay.  He has every reason to sue you for ruining his reputation and he can include this department.  Thankfully he decided to settle it in other ways.  Not that I approve of him paddling you, but apparently he thought it was the only way to get through to you."  He leaned forward.  "I have no idea what to do with you at this moment, Lindsay.  Trying to intentionally ruin his career is not good for yours."


"I don't care!" he said cooly.  "You will recant it.  You will apologize, and you will never do it again."

"Yes, Mac," she said, looking down.

"You are also off shift for the next three days and I expect better behavior from you, Lindsay.  Am I clear?"  She nodded silently.  "Then do that then go home."  She stomped out.  He went to talk to Xander.  "She's very sorry."

"Yes, she will be," Xander said bluntly.  "Next time, I'm not going to stop at spanking, Mac.  I would've done that to any of the Slayers.  I will kick her ass if she does it again."

"I agree.  Next time, come to me first."

Xander looked at him.  "It looks really bad for you to stick up for the new guy over one of your field team."

"I stick up for what's right, Xander.  Not what's easy."  He walked away, finding her telling Adam what had happened.  Her lie that Tim had 'disappeared and was presumed dead in the past' wasn't that great but it would do.  He went back to his office and found Stabler and a DA in there.  "Let me guess, the lies she told got to you?"

"Dead guy?" Stabler asked.

"If you'll excuse us, Councilor, this is a private matter."

"If it's his style...."

"It's not," Stabler told her.  "But I have a feeling it's classified, like that file you found on him."  She left.  "So?"

"When Xander went through that program in San Francisco, they assigned him a partner.  A White Lighter to use the phrase he uses."

"My daughter likes that show."

Mac smiled.  "Tim used to be part of Miami's lab."

"Ah.  Okay.  That explains that.  You can prove he's tangible?"  Mac nodded.  "That's fine.  Does he have a current one?"

"He just got back from his funeral," Mac said quietly.   "His name's John Hagen."

"Interesting.  I heard what happened."

"It's a shame but he's seen a lot of error in that."

"Good."  He looked around.  "Is he here?"

"Probably.  John?"  He phased in, looking amused.  "You heard?"

"I'm the reason she tripped down the stairs last night," he admitted.  "I'm going to help him kill her.  No one deserves that rep.  By the way, Tim's on his way in."

"Thank you."  Elliot waved her inside and she stared at John, or through John.  "Close the door."  She did that, leaning on it.  "You found that he went to San Francisco?" Mac asked.

"He said forced," Elliot said.

"Oh, he was.  Someone in LAPD and his teachers forced him," John told them.  "I saw."


"Technically dead but assigned to help Xander when things happen."

"So, Tim..."

"Used to have my job but they're perpetually cute and gag making if you don't like gay boys going at it," John said bluntly.  "Which is Lindsay's problem.  That's why she said he likes dead guys."

"Tim's fully alive?"

"Yeah, has been.  He gave up on this to be with Xander.  Xander had to pull major magical sacrifice to get him free.  Blood bound them and everything.  He pissed off the Powers so much he got me."

"Okay, so I can counter that it's the rantings of a jealous coworker who doesn't like gay men.  I can do that," she decided.

"She laid a lie saying that Tim had been presumed dead once," Mac offered.

"That'll work too."  She looked at Elliot.  "Can we meet with him?"

"He has to get some cases done for Judge Stevens."

"Ah, those.  I heard that your night shift was out."

"Emergency situation.  His mother fell and broke her hip," he said.  "Xander was at Detective Hagen's funeral.  He told him he'd have it by seven tonight."

"Can we have him for lunch?"

"If you want, or after shift," Mac agreed.  She nodded that was reasonable.  "He did say he did know how to dissemble about those issues if he had to."

"Good.  That's a good thing."  She walked off, going to find ballistics.  "CSI Harris?"  He waved a hand then went back to typing.  "I'm....."

"I know.  You can have me at lunch."

"That's fine.  Your statement?  We'll need to depose you."

"In a few days if you have the time please.  I need to get caught up.  I'll be done within two days to clear the backlog then I'll have free time out the butt."

"Sure.  I can do that.  We do have a few days leeway."

"That'll work."

"I did some background on you.  Sealed federal file?"

"A military group came to my former town to do some mind control work.  Unfortunately, they picked on the wrong group.  It made my friends and I stop them."  He glanced over. "They didn't like that.  In it's a rating to not come near me because I'm a vindictive bitch."

She smiled.  "Okay, I can deal with that.  Are you going to go with the presumed dead lie?"  He shrugged and got back to work.  "Is the Karakov case in yours?"  He looked then waved it.  "Thank you."

"When I get there, counselor.  I don't rush evidence for anyone.  First come first served unless there's a degrading sample or other temporal issue."

"That's fine and reasonable.  He's trying to take a deal."

He counted.  "Stall until tomorrow night."

"I can do that.  I'll see you in a few days."  She walked off, going to tell her boss that.

Elliot leaned in.  "You okay?"

He grinned at him.  "I beat the hell out of her ass for it," he said just loud enough to be heard.  Elliot laughed.  "By the way, got warned Buffy's in town."

"We've seen her.  She and Magnolia's mother got into it in the morgue.  John pulled her aside and asked politely that she assign someone else since the last one died and we only had a retired former one.  She wants to see you."

"I'll run.  I hear Alaska is nice."

"John didn't tell her you worked here, Xander.  Thanks for the help."

"Any time.  I'm like that."

"Good to know."  He walked off, going back to his unit.  Where Buffy was waiting.   "I checked on Xander, he's backed up with work today."

"Where is he?"

"He's an officer," John told her.

She burst out laughing.  "A one-eyed officer?"

Elliot frowned.  "He only has one?  You can't tell."  She went pale.  "I asked, he said he didn't want to see you.  Ever.  Something about Alaska would be better."

She pouted.  "But he's my friend."

"Friends don't treat each other like that," John said blandly.  "Grow up."

His partner looked over.  "I don't think she knows what that is."

Buffy glared at him.  "No one asked you."

He snorted.  "She'll never grow up."  He went back to work.  "You're keeping us from finding people who hurt women and children.  You mind going back to Cleveland and sending someone reasonable?"

"Rona's here," she pouted, looking at John again.  "I'm nice to him.  He's my friend."

Tim walked in and pulled her up.  "Excuse us.  I'm going to reenact something."  He walked off with her, taking her to an interrogation room.  Where he sat down, pulled her over his lap even though she struggled, and spanked the hell out of her until she cried.  He stood her up and stood up, making her look at him.  "I saw *everything* in Xander's past when I started as his White Lighter," he said quietly.  "Every single thing, Buffy.  So did his current one.  If you come near Xander again, I will make this spanking look like playtime."  He let her go and walked out.  "Sorry about that, guys.  You need me to do a statement saying I am indeed alive so they leave Xander alone?"

"Lindsay said she heard you were presumed dead," Elliot said.

"Good.  That'll work. I'm bringing my boy lunch.  Need him?"

"Not yet," Finn said, looking at him.  "You look familiar."  Tim grinned and walked out, heading down to the lab.  "Who was he?"

"Harris' boyfriend.  The one who was supposedly dead," John Munch said.  "We should go retrieve her."

"Let her cry," Finn said.  "It'll do her good.  Did when my momma beat me."

"Mine too," Elliot agreed.  He stayed where he was, letting her come out in her own time.  It'd save some of her modesty and them later headaches dealing with her.  "Do we know this Rona girl?"

"She's got sense, she's smart, she's from LA so she's a city girl, and she's about four years younger than the boy himself," John said happily.  "No more jumping knights."

"Good.  Like that even better," Finn agreed.  "Think she'd watch out for us too?"

"I already talked to her.  She said if she sees it, she's going to kick an ass then drag them to us once the victim has help."

"Even better," Elliot agreed.  Buffy came out and he held up the tissue box without looking.  She took one and blew her nose.  "You okay?"

"Yes."  She winced when she sat down.  "Are you guys allowed to do that to me?"

"You're not a suspect, Buffy, we can't stop Tim from spanking you," John said dryly.  "Next time, don't hurt his boyfriend."

"Boy... what?"

"He's Xander's boyfriend."

"I thought he worked with Xander."

"No, not anymore," John said.  "Boyfriend now."

"Oh.  So Xander's gay?  Is that why he makes women go evil?"  Everyone in the unit looked at her.  "He turned one serial killer.  Angel told me, and that he went with a pro," she said with a shudder, "and she went stalker trying to get him back.  She threatened to blow up Angel and the San Diego lab people thingies to get him back."

"That's a skill," Finn said, nodding and smirking.  "John?"

"Yeah, he did.  He has that same club problem that Finderson downstairs has too, guys."

"We'll put him on the watch list to make sure he's not kidnaped," their Captain said from his doorway.  "Are we done with Miss Summers?"

"We are as long as the victim's mother doesn't want to charge her with kidnaping," John said, looking back at him.  "Is she?"

"She's still deciding.  What happened to you?"

"CSI Harris' boyfriend showed up to talk to her since they were old friends."

"He spanked me," she said with a pout.

"Uh-huh."  He walked back into his office and shut the door, thinking he needed to send the guy a card for that.


Tim walked a take out bag into Xander's office, putting it on his desk out of the way.  "I got you the good stuff."

Xander grinned at him.  "Have I mentioned that I love you?"

"Even though I spanked Buffy?"

"If Willow has an oops I'll bear babies."

Tim kissed him.  "No babies, Xander.  Kids scare me and Willow having that sort of oops scares me even worse."   He took another kiss.  "Come home when you get done."  Xander smiled.  "Good.  I'm going to talk to Mac.  You be a good boy."

"I try so hard."

"Uh-huh."  He walked off, going to find Mac, who was with Don in a lab.  He tapped before walking in.  "Hey."

"Hey," Don said, smiling at him.  "Brought Xander lunch?"  He nodded.  "Give him extra?" he begged.

"Sorry. I'm only obligated to cook for the one I'm sleeping with at that time," he quipped back.  "Mac, can we find a way to deal with me?"

Mac looked at him.  "Go back to school, Tim."

He frowned.  "That's expensive since he makes so much."

"They can't count that," Don pointed out. "The government hates you guys for being cute and cuddly.  I don't know why, because hey, more for me."  He shrugged but smirked.

"Small problem, I went to Columbia."

"Then go to NYU this time," Mac said.  "Go as a DNA tech."

Tim nodded.  "I could do that.  Thanks, guys."

"Welcome," Don agreed.  "Does that mean you make cookies?"

"I can make cookies so he can bring you some," he agreed dryly, walking out.  "I spanked Buffy.  She still wants to see him."  He strolled off, going to talk to the local schools and get information.   He didn't want to be a *lab* tech but maybe he could find some way to be a field tech again.  Once he got home he started the cookies and called Horatio.  "It's me.  Got a few?"  He smiled and put him on speaker.  "I'm bored."

"I can understand why.  What are you doing now?"

"Making cookies for Don Flack and Taylor.  They suggested I go back to school."

"You liked school," he agreed.  "What else were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that I don't have an ID."

"Perhaps we could fix that for you," he admitted.  "The best way would be for you to be your brother."

"I have one of those.  He might not be amused."

"Another one, Tim."

"I'm still giddy from spanking Buffy."

"You did?"

"I did and then I told her to leave my boy alone."  Horatio laughed.  "Exactly.  Then again, Xander had to get Lindsay.  She was saying he slept with dead bodies."

"Charming.  Did Mac handle it?"

"Yup.  He's got a small backlog at the moment so he'll be late."  He got up to take the cookies out.  "So, you think I could?"

"I think you'd do wonderfully at it, Tim."

"Thanks, H.  Think we could get to work on the ID thing?"

"I'll talk to Mac and see what contacts we have."

"Thanks, man.  Any idea when we can come back?  I feel like I'm in exile."

You could almost hear the smile. "I'm working on it.  As soon as I can, Tim.  As soon as I can.  I'll give everyone your love.  Be safe."  He hung up.

Tim went to make more cookies while deciding what area he wanted to major in this time.  He'd minor in trace so it wouldn't look odd when he broke out in skills but he needed a new field.


Elliot looked up as Xander strolled in wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  He read it:  In space, no one can hear your teddy bear scream.  "Uh-huh."

Xander grinned.  "It's actually one of my warning t-shirts.  I got woken up this morning at six with a case that you guys should've been sent from homicide."  He handed it over.  "Not making for a happy me."  John looked over and read his shirt, then snorted.  "I'll wear a better one next time but Mac made me change from my one that said _Give a man a match and he'll be warm for an hour... Set him on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life_.  He was not a happy Mac this morning either."  He looked at Elliot again.  "Anyway," he sighed.  "I needed to see if you guys had him in your system already, if you guys wanted him for anything, and Don said if you did he'd share half the paperwork with you."

"Let me check," Elliot agreed, typing the name in.  Of course, when something happened outside, Xander was still standing so he was the first out there and he managed to get the screaming man with the knife onto the floor and held down before the others made it out of the squad room.  "Xander, need handcuffs?"

"Please.  As a tech I don't usually carry them.  Only guns."  He pulled a pair of gloves out of his back pocket and used them to move the knife out of the way.  "Aww, you used a tiny little dagger.  Isn't that so cute," he cooed, pinching him on the cheek.  "You chose something the same size as your underdeveloped penis.  That's so nice of you.  Most guys would've went for compensation.  Unless that is?"  The guy tried to struggle.  He snickered.  "Keep going, little man.  My boyfriend will *love* this story tonight."  He went still.  "Not like I like underdeveloped men.  Did you have to take hormones to get it that small or was it a birth defect?"  The man started to cry.  "Good boy."  He finished cuffing him and let them have him, using the gloves to bag the knife for them.  "Sorry, I've always had this problem with jumping in.  That's how I met Buffy."  He shrugged.  "He in or out or just Don's?" he asked Elliot once he walked back in there.

"Looks like we've had him for three perv priors, all peeping."  He looked.  "Homicide?"

"Waiting on the cause, but yeah.  Sid did say there was semen.  I found his DNA and fingerprints on her and around her place."

"So maybe it was his girlfriend," Olivia offered.  "Nice pounce, kid."

He looked at her. "I'm not that young, thank you, but thanks for the compliment."  He looked at him again.  "He's shaking in interrogation.  Don's giving him a break while I'm here."

He shrugged.  "All we've got is peeping, Xander.  Not a clue."  He handed the folder back.  "There's a five year gap in the crimes though."

"That's something he can use.  Thanks, guys."  He walked out, calling Don on the way.  "Two facts.  He's a peeper, three priors for it, Don.  Also, five year gap since the last complaint.  Yeah, that's what he said.  Sorry, got interrupted by a guy with a tiny knife screaming in the halls.  Yeah, as soon as I can," he agreed.  He hung up, going down to the patrol desk.  "Is anyone heading toward Manhattan Felony CSI?" he asked, showing his ID.  "I didn't check out a car."

"Sure, CSI Harris.  We can do that for you."

"Thanks. I don't want to make anyone detour."

"That's fine.  It's only a few blocks."  He paged someone and they came out of the break room.  "Your route goes nearest Taylor's people?"  She nodded.  "This is Harris."

"Hey," he said, smiling and shaking her hand.  "Can I catch a ride?"

"Sure.  I'm nearly done with lunch."  She went back to finish her lunch quickly and watched him get a soda.  "I thought you guys lived on coffee, like us," she teased.

He grinned.  "I just came up from Miami.  Too hot for coffee and no closing lids that're safe for the lab."  He sat down.  "Field's my secondary thing.  I'm the ballistics tech."

She smiled. "So you get paid to play with guns all day?"  He nodded, smirking a bit.  "That's a sweet job."

"Four years of college and you can do it too.  We could use another one."

She smiled.  "I'll think about it."

"Good.  We could use more women in the lab.  The one I interned under is and she's one of the best in the country."  She laughed and nodded, finishing up so she could take him back to his home precinct.  "Thank you for this."

"Not a problem.  Four years?"

"Yeah, I did mine at UCLA.  Forensics degree with a major and a minor.  Lots of hard classes but yeah."

"Huh.  I'll have to think about that."

"You start out about double what you make now.  Plus the PD might pay for it if you go."

"Then I'm *definitely* thinking about it."  She dropped him off.  "There you go, CSI Harris.  Have a good day."

He grinned.  "You too.  Thanks."  He waved and jogged up the stairs, going to help Don.  He found the guy being booked.  "Sorry, had to catch a ride."

"We sign out cars for that, Xander," he said blandly.


"That's something we'll have to tell you.  Mac should've."  He walked him that way to show him how to do that.  "Don't you sign one out for cases?"

"Yeah but I thought they were only for cases.  Usually someone else does but the last time I got handed the paperwork in the parking lot by the receptionist."

"You can use them to go finding information too.  Danny used one to move the last time.  We're pretty lax about that."  Xander nodded.  "Good boy."  He walked him into Mac's office.  "You never told him he could use a SUV to go to other precincts for information?"

"No, I didn't think about it.  Yes, you can, Xander.  I was wondering where you were."

"SVU helping Don."

"Hmm.  So you pounced the guy?"  Xander nodded.  "Good work from what I heard, even if you did pick on him about how small his knife and penis were."  Don gave Xander an odd look.  "We woke him up *very* early this morning for your case, Don."

"No wonder you're wearing a threat shirt."  He walked off, leaving it there.

Mac looked at him, then nodded. "If you're doing lab business you can use one of the SUV's as long as there's enough for field calls."

"They were all out anyway."


"Yeah, Auto Detail towed two earlier."  Mac moaned and called someone.  "Going back to the lab since he's done."

"Thank you, Xander."  He watched him walk away.  "This is Detective Taylor, CSI.  You have two of our SUV's for some reason that I wasn't told?"  He listened to him.  "Uh-huh.  No, I wasn't told.  How long will it take?  Because we only have three?" he said grimly.  "Thank you.  As soon as possible, yes."  He hung up and shook his head. That was going to cause more headaches.  He sent a page out to the lab about the SUV's being gone for winter servicing, to use patrol to get rides.  Then he put his head down.  Xander's shirt was still giving him a headache.


Tim looked over as John Hagen reappeared suddenly.  "Problems coming up?"

"I can't get into the station," he said quietly.

"Here or there?"

"Here.  There's this... fog sorta stuff.  I don't know what it is but I know it burns."  He held up a hand to show the burns.  "I tried to push through it."

"That is evil stink," Speed said.  "Thankfully we have a way around that."  He called him.  "Xander, it's me.  John's here.  He can't get into the station for the evil stink fog around it."  He listened.  "No, strong enough that it burned him, Xander.  Exactly.  You've got major action your way."  He nodded.  "Be there."  He hung up.  "Gotta go.  Did it smell like anything?"

"Sulfur and dead, wet leaves.  The cloud had orange hints through it."

"Okay."  He went to get something from the back room, coming out putting it around his neck. "Be back, join us when you can."  He hurried out, catching a cab to the station.


Xander hung up and pulled out something, putting it onto the desk.  It pointed in a direction so he walked off with it, carrying it flat in the palm of his hand.  He ran into Stella.  "Walk with me," he ordered.  She gave him an odd look.  "Now."  He walked on, letting the little stone needle point the way.

"Where are we going?"

"We are following this to the person that is keeping my White Lighter from getting in here by creating a negative power surge."  He shook his head.  "Now I sound like Horatio."  He found where it was pointing.  "Stella, go get into my other kit.  It's under the microscope.  I need the medium opaque bottle and some cloths like I'm cleaning."  She still looked confused so he turned her around and gave her a nudge.  "Now."  She went to get that for him while he watched the interrogation.  Danny was in there with a detective he hadn't worked with yet.  She brought it back and he smiled, tapping before walking in.  "Sorry, but the last group in here had someone with a skin infection so I'm going to need to clean the table and hands that've touched it just in case, okay?" he asked with a sweet, kind smile.  "Don't want it to spread if it's possible."

"Sure," Danny agreed, moving the folder and letting him clean his section.  The mother did the same.  The daughter moved her hands when he got to her section and then he cleaned hands.  Both detectives then the mother, watching her not react.   He cleaned the girl's hands and she flinched and blew on them like they were burning.  "Sorry.  A bit of sterilized water.  Are you allergic to holy water usually?"

Danny got up and pulled him out of the room.  "What the fuck?"

"There's a miasma coming from in here," he said quietly.  "It's from her.  I cleaned the table with holy water."

"She was nearly attacked last night.  She's a witness."

"She's also drawing it to her," he said quietly.  "When I first got out of Sunnydale it stuck to me too."  Danny moaned.  "I'm sorry but she sent Tim and John into a snit fit because it's so strong John can't float in."

"Crap," he muttered.  "Probably not relevant this time, right?"

"Hope not."

"Good."  He walked inside.  "Sorry.  Your hands okay?"

"Mostly."  She showed the redness.  "Why did that happen?"  She looked at her mother.  "Yours didn't."

"No, it didn't," she said, staring out the window at Xander.  "Let me go talk to him."

"Sure, Mom."  She watched her go.  "You clean with holy water?"

"The last guy was spraying around blood and things.  He was reblessing as well as cleaning.  It had a sterlizer as well to kill the germs, just in case so no one else gets it."

"Oh.  That's good then," she said with a smile.

Xander looked at the mother then back inside.  "Is she yours naturally?"

"Who are you?"

He looked at her.  "I'm from Sunnydale," he said honestly.  "I'm trained to handle this."  He stared at her.  "Adopted?"  She nodded.  "Does she know?"  She shook her head.  "Any birthmarks?"

"Two.   I know what they mean."

"Can they be removed?"

"I can't get her near a church."

"Then call a coven," he said quietly.  He wrote down a name and number.  "Call her.  She's one of the truest and purest in the city.  There's every chance we can save her if you do."

She pocketed it.  "Thank you."

"CSI Harris."

She blinked.  "You worked with Rupert."

"I did."  He smiled slightly.  "That's another option for you."

She nodded.  "I used to be married to a Watcher.  He swore about Rupert a lot."

"So do I," he agreed, then he grinned.  "All I know is that I was told the emanations were so bad that it was blocking the whole precinct building."  Mac joined them.  "Sorry, Mac.  Her daughter's very tainted.  John called because he couldn't get in."

"Tim's in my office.  He thinks there's more than one."

"Possibly.  She's a born sacrifice," Xander said quietly, staring at the mother.

"I'll call Rupert tonight."  Xander smiled.  "Is there another?"

"Could be.  I have a tell and it registered her."  She nodded, going back in there.  He pulled out the bottle again and marked the door and window then walked off, going to pick up the small case he had put down earlier.  He walked it off again, finding a new source by the reception desk.  He followed it, finding Tim pacing.  He nodded, handing him the bottle.  "Get the full kit?  It's changing colors.  We've got a major problem."   Tim hurried to get it for him, letting him follow the little needle to the detective's side.  He found what he was looking for, it had frozen everyone and was trying to snack on someone.  He put down the small tell and coughed.  "Yeah, right," he said when it growled at him.  "Poor little demon.  Can't get enough willingly you have to steal 'em?"  The demon dropped the officer.  "Let 'em go.  I'm worth more.  I'm even on hell's hit list," he said with a smug look, crossing his arms over his chest.  "You don't want them."

"I do," he assured him, sniffing.  "The tainted one."  He sneered.  "You'll be mine soon."

"Only if you challenge me and you let them go.  Otherwise I kick your ass and then kill you without the challenge.  It means you go down in standing."  The demon released them, making everyone stare in horror.  "Get the guy off the floor.  Get him treated, get him to a priest, a real one, and leave us," Xander ordered coolly.  "Now!" he said when no one moved.  They hurried out, clearing the room.  The officer was drug out.  One suspect was left hitched to a chair but Tim got him undone and walked him out to hand him off.  Then he came back with the sword from Mac's office.  "I told him to clean that," he complained. "Whatever."  He held a hand and chanted, bringing his from home.  "Challenge me," he purred, moving closer.  The demon blacked out the room, making it look like they were in blank space.  Fortunately he knew the room very well.  The demon lunged and he parried, knocking him back and followed.  Back and forth, fighting sword and claw.  "Eww," he said when the demon breathed on him.  "Gross, buy mouthwash!  No one would ever want to be eaten by that."  He saw a bright light appear.  "No, John."

"Oh, whine, kid," John Munch said.

"No, you out.  Me, my White Lighter, that's it."

"Fine.  You know everyone can see you."

Xander chanted something and they both reappeared, even the demon.  The cops watching gasped and backed off.  "I could've *sworn* I said to clear the fucking room!" he shouted.  They ran off again, taking Munch with them.  He shrugged.  "They're nice guys, very sweet to risk their lives to be eaten by your stinky breath."  The demon chuckled.  "Yeah, yeah, I know, you're so big and bad.  Yay."

"You are nothing. You are merely a tag-along. You helped but you did not cure."

"Actually I did cure.  I brought Buffy back.  I hunted on my own.  I've cured since then.  Not my fault the bitches thought I was useless."  He lunged again and the demon went immaterial.  "Cute.  Really," he said blandly.  He heard someone come in.  "Out, Tim."

"Holy smoke," he said, releasing it and tossing it over.  The demon howled.  "Good!  Bastard!  This means he won't be happy tonight and I'm going to be working for hours to make him feel better."

Xander looked at him.  "Not really."  He grinned and blew a kiss then dove back in, chanting something while he worked on the demon. It finally screamed and he stabbed it in the eye.  He was knocked down by a wild paw swing but that was normal.  He saw John Hagen appear with the girl.  "No!" he growled, shoving her back.  He grabbed a vial of holy water and doused her, making her scream, then he laid a hand on her and chanted until she was down to whimpers.  Then he dove at the demon again.  "No wonder you showed up!  Stupid fucking thing!  How dumb are you!"  He went after his throat this time, beheading it finally.  It fell down and he panted, leaning on the desk.  "Damn I hate the higher courts."  He dropped the sword and looked at the scared girl.  "You were born different, child."

She sniffled.  "The dreams."

He nodded. "Most likely."  He wrote out an address. "I need you to go here tonight.  As soon as humanly possible.  They will protect you and fix this problem.  It'll make the holy water quit burning."  She took it and nodded.  "Go now.  Right now."  She hurried off.  He looked at the body, then spit on it.  "Bastard.  I did not need this tonight."  He got the spray bottle of holy water and began watering the neck area then moving down.  The demon's head still whimpered.  "Good."  A priest walked in and he waved with his free hand.  "Hi, Father."

"What are you doing, son?"

"I'm pouring holy water on the demon, father."

"I see the creature."

Xander looked at him.  Then he said something in Latin, making him nod once and come over to help.  "He'll thrash if you bless him but it'll help."

"I can do that.  His head?"

"That'd be safer for you. You can only banish these, not destroy them.  Hell calls them back if you try to destroy them."  He got out the rest of his holy water stash and got to work with that as well.  Plus dropping the dry ice on it.  The priest gave him an odd look.  He grinned.  "Holy smoke."

"Ah, a fan of Batman.  You are a rare one, my son."

"Xander.  I'm borderline pagan, Father."

"That's fine.  You're still a child of God."

"And a warrior of man," he said blandly.  He held his side.  "A very sore one.  My man's going to baby my ass later for this."  The priest gave him an odd look so he smirked. "Yeah, I'm gay.  Tough."   He went back to it.  He even stuck some down the demon's pants, making him howl and thrash.  He finally faded out with a pop and Xander helped the priest up.  "Thank you for your help, Father.  Can I get you to bless more water and ice in a few days?"

"Of course."  He looked at him.  "Which one are you?"

"Ballistics and trace," he said with a shy grin.  "Harris."

"Ah.  I've heard of you."  He blessed him, watching him wince.  "Head hurt?"

"Yeah, I hit a desk with it," he sighed.  He let him finish then packed up his stuff.  "Thanks, Padre.  Have a better night."

"You as well, my son.  Go in peace."

"Have a good drink, Father."  He walked off with both swords and his case, handing his good sword to Tim.   "Thank you."  He kissed him, earning a few coughs.  "I deserve it. Get over it.  If I date women they turn into serial killers."  He kissed him again and handed him the case.  "Thanks, babe.  Let me go log out?  Can you start a bath?"

"I'm going with you," he promised, walking him back there.  Mac took back the loaner sword.  "Hey, Mac."

"Hi.  What was that?"

"The girl from earlier was a born sacrifice.  It came to collect, and got the nibbles."  He walked back to ballistics. "Let me put things up, Mac, then I'm going to go take a hot bath."

"I want a report, Xander!" he called after him.

"Sure, I'll make him do it tonight, Mac," Speed promised. "Night."

He growled and went to stop the priest.  "What was that?"

"That was a very bad creature come for the officers and a young lady you had here, Detective.  It's good that your boy knew what to do."  He patted him on the cheek.  "It'll be fine.  I'll rebless it tonight, I'll work on the officer who nearly got eaten as well.  It'll be fine.  It's gone and staying gone."  He walked off again, going to visit the young officer in the hospital first.  He'd need him more.  Then he and another priest he knew could bless the squad room.

Mac walked off, going to find the others to see what had happened.  He found Don still shaking and walked up to him. "Don?"

Don looked at him.  "It was going to eat Peter," he said quietly.  He looked at his hands then at him.  "I wanted to move and I couldn't, Mac."  Mac moved closer.  "I wanted so bad to draw my gun and hit it."

"Us too, Taylor," another of the detective said.  "We couldn't.  Then your boy came in and he made it let us go.  We ran when he said to.  Then they disappeared.  He reappeared, they both reappeared.  Then the boy got knocked around some then nearly killed after he stabbed it in the eye.  He got back up and went to grab it.  It got beheaded then he started with holy water.  I know I'm going to church tonight.  Anyone need a ride?"

"I'm not fit to drive but I could use one," Don agreed.  "Xander good?"

"Sore," Mac told him.

"Good.  Damn I'm glad he knew what to do.  What's with that girl?"

"He said she was a born sacrifice," Danny said as he walked over.  "He gave her an address and sent her off for her own protection."  He tipped Don's face up.  "After church, come over for dinner?"

Don nodded.  "I can do that.  Thanks, man."

"Didn't figure you'd want to be alone.  We'll put in something stupid and let it run."  Don grinned and nodded.  "Go to church, guys."  They walked off, going to the church of their choice.

Mac stared around then at Danny.  "I want to know from minute one, Danny."

"Ask Xander!  All I know is that he showed up in my statement taking, claiming he needed to clean the table.  He did that, all our hands, and she reacted to it.  Then the mother talked to him and he walked off when she came back in."

"All right."  He went to call Xander's house.  "Tim, what happened?"  He hung up and started to reload his inbox until it showed up.  The short message of 'the bad stink kept John out so we had Xander investigate then kill the demon' did not amuse him.  He called back but got the answering machine and the message of 'Xander has bruises. It's going to be a while'."   He was still not amused.  He called Horatio. "You never told me Xander was the jumpiest knight on the planet," he said grimly.  "Killed a huge demon in the squad room that was trying to eat a detective, Horatio.  Bruised.  I don't know.  They won't talk to me yet.  All I've gotten is a partial story.  Please.  Sure, come on up.  I could use the humanity."  He hung up and put his head down, then calmed himself down.  He called them back.  "Tim, it's Mac.  I need a comprehensive report on what happened.  Moment by moment if possible.  I know you can do that and he can do that in the bathtub if necessary.  Am I clear?"  He hung up and went back to his rest.  He needed a rest.


Horatio knocked on the boy's door the next morning, giving Tim a look over the top of his sunglasses.  "Is Xander all right?"

"Nope.  Won't get out of bed.  Horrified because everyone saw him doing it."  He let him in.  "I sent Mac the report.  Xander, Horatio's here."  He heard the bedroom door slam and sighed, shaking his head.  "He's hiding under the duvet."

"Thank you."  He walked that way, tapping on the door.  "Xander?  Can I come in?"  The quiet 'please don't' made him smile.  "Well, I do think you need to talk to someone, Xander."  He opened the door, closing it most of the way once he was inside.  He sat on the bed beside the lump.  "What happened?"

"Can I run away?  If you guys had seen me doing that I'd run."

"I know you would but right now isn't the time for that yet."  He patted him on the arm.  "Tell me what happened?"

"John came in to try to visit.  He couldn't get in because of the evil fog around the station.  He told Tim, Tim called me, I went looking.  I found a born sacrifice first.  I talked to her mother when she came out.  I went to search the other one.  I found him trying to eat a detective.  I challenged him and got them out of the way but he made them see me and not him so they saw me fighting air.  That didn't quite work so I made us both visible.  Some had come back so I made them go away and then I went after him.  I got him in the eye and got knocked over a desk then I beheaded him and got to work on the holy water.  Then a priest came in and helped."

"Well, it sounds like you were responsible for saving that detective's life," Horatio said quietly.  Xander handed him something off the bedside table. "What's this?"

"Got up for ice cream at three.  Found it under the door."  Now he sounded like he was pouting.

Horatio looked at the note, grimacing. "How about....how about I take this to Mac?"

"Mac's gonna hate me.  I'll never be hired in Miami."

"That's not true, Xander.  We want you in Miami."  He patted him again.  "We all miss you."  Xander moved the blanket to look at him.  "We do.  We all miss you."  Xander gave him a pitiful look.  "It won't be too much longer, Xander.  I'm working on it."  He gave him another pat.  "Did you get any others?"

"Tim found one and wouldn't let me see it."

"Then I'll take both of them to Mac," he promised, getting off the bed and going out to take the threat from Tim.  He showed him the other one and Tim sighed, nodding.  "I think it'd be a good thing if he called off today.  I'm going to tell Mac that."  He patted him on the shoulder.  "It'll be all right, Tim.  I promise it will be."

"He's right, there's every chance he can't work up here anymore, H."

"I know.  We'll figure it out, Speed."  He walked out, finding a patrol car outside.  "Officer.  Is there a problem?"

"Detective Taylor asked me to watch the building, sir.  He said that there might be a problem later."

"Indeed there might.  Thank you."  He caught a cab to the station, walking into the CSI portion.  He signed in and went to find Mac.  "Taylor?"  Mac turned and gave him a grateful look.  "I agree, they should be there."

"I heard someone was going to try to run him off.  That's why I set the guard."  Horatio handed over the letters.  He sighed and nodded.  "I can see why."  He looked at him.  "Is he all right?"

"He found the longer one earlier.  He's under his comforter.  Tim's worried."

"I know why."  He walked him off to his office, calling Don.  "Can you go over to Xander's?  Try to draw him out of his bedroom?  I don't want him in today, he's been getting threats, Don.  Thank you."  He hung up and looked at Horatio.  "I don't know what to do.  I want to tell him to come in.  I want him to ignore it.  I can't send him into the field with this hanging over him however.  Not to mention what happens if they decide to act against him and he has to protect himself."

"True, so what do we do?"  Horatio asked.

"Any chance you've got room for him?"

"Not yet.  New budget year starts in four months."  He sat down, smiling and waving Stella inside.  "Stella."

"Horatio.  Are you up here to help Xander?"

"I am.  He's presently hiding under the blanket feeling miserable."

"I can't say as I'm not freaked out, Horatio, but I'm more thankful Xander was here to save them."

"Yes, but some don't see it that way," he said, handing over the notes.

She looked then stomped off.  "We'll be settling this," she assured Danny when he gave her an odd look.

"Okay.  I'm going to be out here."   He went to talk to Mac.  "She okay?"

"I can ask Xander to check her for possession if you want," Horatio said with a small smile.

"No, I think it's better Xander stay at home today.  I've already reminded people that he didn't draw them here, they were already here and he came to help solve it.  Most everyone's still jumpy.  Can we get the Father back?"

"That's already been suggested," Mac admitted.  "He'll be here at lunch."

"Good.  That could help."  He grinned.  "You taking him back home?"

"I wish I could.  Half the lab is pouting about not having him.  Miss Valera is having empty next syndrome because he's the first boy she ever mothered."

Mac smiled.  "I'll miss him when you do finally bring him back, Horatio.  Xander does liven things up.  I wasn't so sure I wasn't going to come in to find him in here in a really mean t-shirt, rocking out to some music while doing test fires."

"He's done that in the past, usually when IAB came in to persecute him for being with Tim."

"Did he get fired?" Danny asked.

"Moved laterally to a terrorism task force."

"Well, he does make terroristic threats," Mac agreed.

"Indeed, and they all know why.  Xander went to the Chief to make complaints," Horatio assured him. "He knows *exactly* what went on and why."

"Good.  I don't care about Tim.  He's a nice guy.  He brought me and Don cookies last week," Mac said with a smile.  "Did we get the ID thing worked out?"  Horatio pulled out an envelope to wave it a bit then put it back.  "That'll help a lot.  Anything else we need to know?"

"Hopefully Xander will bounce back quickly.  Right now he's horrified about how others see him."

"I'm hoping that we can convince the others to leave him alone," Danny offered.

Stella stomped in, handing over two sheets. "Their fingerprints were on the notes.  They're on their way down.  Did you want to talk to them too?"  She walked off again, going to wait on the officers.  When they got there she grabbed them by their ears and led them to an office to scream at them.  "How dare you threaten Xander for saving a detective's life!  He's a nice little boy who ended up being *forced* to train to do that!  He did not bring them here!  He did not make them show up at the station!  He SAVED THAT DETECTIVE'S LIFE and you're trying to make him leave?"  One started to splutter so she slapped him.  "Shut up!"  He shrank down.  "How dare you send a member of this crime lab a threatening letter for saving lives!  You stupid fucking morons!"

Sheldon walked in.  "Stella, Mac wants you to calm down please.  He can hear you in his office."

"I don't care."

"Good.  Then you go tell him that and I'll talk to them about the notes."  He walked her out and slammed the door, locking it behind her.  "There, that's better."


"Shut up," Sheldon ordered, moving to face them.  "In case you didn't know I'm an ME as well.  I was for years.  I saw so many strange things it's not funny.  I had to stake vampires who were rising.  I've had to examine bodies that were configured or colored in ways that no human ever was," he said calmly.  "I have seen creatures and half creatures, peaceful and not.  I have seen them help us, hurt us, and hurt others.  Xander was *forced* by his teachers during his forensic program to learn how to deal with those.  They sent him to a special school for it. The fact he was able to beat that unkillable thing last night means we should be thanking him, even if we are scared."

"It wasn't ..." one asked.  Sheldon shook his head.  "How could it not be killed?"

"Even the priest said it wasn't killed.  They discomfited it until it disappeared.  You can ask him later, when he comes in to talk to everyone at lunch.  Xander kept it from eating a lot of people, including a young girl who was here giving a statement about a fight she witnessed.  Because it wanted her, not us.  We were convenient snacks to it while it waited."

"He's still freaky," the other complained.  "He doesn't like sports.  He doesn't do guy things."

Sheldon smirked.  "He was raised by two very girly young girls his own age," he assured them.  "Yes, he's not the average guy.  He calls football gay sex in teams.  He's still a very nice young man.  He's very good at what he does.  He's a credit to this department and Miami wants him back as soon as they get the budget.  Until then, he's here to help protect you guys and us, and the regular citizens of this city.  Can you handle that?"

"Can we duck out of working with him in the field?" the second guy asked.

"That's between you and your supervisor if you keep your badge," Sheldon told him.  "Because you making those threats means that we have to turn it over.  Mac's very uptight about those things.  You'd better go beg for him to not turn those in if he hasn't yet.  Am I clear, gentlemen?"

"The priest can answer questions?" the first one asked quietly, looking down.

"I'm sure he can.  Right now I'm more concerned that you guys have hurt Xander so much he doesn't feel safe coming to work.  He's so miserable right now his boyfriend is trying to talk him out of the bed."

"He's gay?" the first one asked, looking at him.

Sheldon gave him a disapproving look.  "His last girlfriend went serial killer and killed fourteen people before she was caught.  She was a stripper."  They gaped.  He nodded.  "Xander doesn't date women for a very good reason.  Any other questions?"  They shook their head.  "Then you go talk to Mac to see if he'll be nice and only report you to your bosses."  He unlocked the door and pointed.  "That way, officers."  They trudged that way and he went back to work.  He looked at Lindsay.  "Are we going to have to have the same talk with you?" he asked quietly.

"No.  I'm over it.  Xander's very gay and he's very happy with Tim, who is strange, just as strange as Xander, and I don't want to work with him in the field."

"You don't get to make that decision," he reminded her.  "Xander is an excellent tech."

"Things weren't...."

He held up a hand.  "I asked Xander.  It was after the girl Danny was taking a statement from.  Something had happened to taint her and it came for her.  Again, Xander saved us all.  If you have any doubts, go talk to Mac now, Lindsay.  If we let this fester, someone's going to get hurt and it'll probably be him when he's not backed up.  Unless you want Stella to scream at you too?"  She shook her head, going to talk to Mac.  Sheldon sighed and went to talk to Sid.  "Sid?"

He got a smile.  "Xander will be fine, Sheldon.  It'll blow over."

"I hope."

"It will."  He patted him on the arm.  "I thought I heard screaming.  Do I have a body upstairs?"

"A few patrol officers decided to slip threatening notes under Xander's door."

"Ah, yes, the beauteous goddess did correct her humble servants."

"A lot," he agreed dryly.  "Plus I had to talk to Lindsay."

"She'll get over this not being Montana eventually as well.  Did I ever tell you about the first vampire I staked?  Quite a handsome woman...."  Sheldon patted him and walked off smiling, letting Sid do the same.  "Good.  Things will go back to normal and I'll play more go fish with Xander."


Horatio knocked on the boys' door after lunch, getting John.  "Good to see you again."

"I'm sorry I overreacted and got the kid shunned."

"It'll be fine.  A lot of talking has gone on since then."

"Yeah, we heard," Xander said from the kitchen.  "One came here to threaten me to leave the city before more of them came for me."  He came out with a mug of cocoa.  "Can we move back and not work for a while?"

"I'm working on the chief, Xander."

"I know.  It sucks."

Horatio tipped his face up.  "You said that about Miami too," he reminded him gently.  Xander nodded, flopping down to sip his cocoa.  "I do have something for Tim.  Is he hiding?"

"Groceries," Xander admitted.  "He thought he'd be safe."  He took another drink and looked at John.  "Is he?"

"So far.  One of the patrol guys gave him an odd look and a lot of room on the sidewalk."

Xander nodded.  "Thanks, John."

"Welcome, kid."  He looked at Horatio.  "What does Taylor want to do?"

"Right now he's willing to give it another day then he wants Xander to come in and hide in ballistics to see what happens."  Xander looked at him.  "He thinks it'll be okay."

"I don't."

"I know, which is why he wanted you to come in and hide in ballistics for a day."

"Can I lock Lindsay out?"

"You can," Horatio agreed.  "She and Mac have had another talk."  He reached over to brush his hair back down.  "I heard you had to spank her."

"She put around that I was sleeping with dead people!" he complained.  "I should've kicked her ass."

"Probably," he agreed, smiling some.  "It'll be okay."

"It's not okay, Horatio."

"It will be okay, Xander."  He stared him down until he looked at his cocoa again.  "Believe me.  We're going to make it okay."

"You can't prove that."

"We can't *prove* it but I know it will be true.  We will be fine and they'll all calm down in a few days.  Then you can come down on vacation next time and spank Ryan for us."

"He needs someone to guide him, Horatio."

"I know that, but it's not been us recently."

Xander shrugged.  "John can pop down some more."

"He has a few times."  He smiled at him.  "Let us handle it, Xander.  You know we will."

"I know you will," he agreed.

"Good boy."  He smiled at Tim when he came in with a few bags, pulling out the envelope to look at then hold up.  "This is yours, Timothy."

"Bless you."  He put things down and took it to look inside, giving him a hug.  "You're second in my affection behind Xander, man, I swear it."  He gave him a pat then hugged Xander.  "It'll be good, Xander.  All good."  Xander looked at him.  "Really.  One of the patrol officers stopped me on the way back to tell me it was okay again, they understood now."  He stroked through his hair.  "You still need another haircut."  He took a kiss and went to put up groceries.  "The only problem I can see is ATF is in town.  I saw one across the street.  I think he recognized me since he spit his soda all over the window."

"Swords haven't been weapons of mass destruction since the fourteen hundreds," Xander said, looking confused.  Speed gave him a look.  "It's fine."

"Good."  He looked at John.  "How are you?"

"I'm fine.  Want me to check on anyone?"

"No, I'm good," Xander promised.  "I can hide."

"Good."  Tim looked at the documents again then at Horatio.  "So if they come up here?"

"It was probably your landlord," he said dryly.  "It was probably from the bug incident."

"I had to," Xander complained.

"I know you did.  Did you have fun?"  Xander wobbled then grinned slightly and nodded.  "Good.  It's probably a harmless issue for you."  He smiled at Tim when he brought him a bottle of water.  "Thank you."


"Incoming," John noted, fading out.

Tim listened at the door then opened it before the people paused outside could knock.  "What?"

"Timothy Speedle?" he asked.

"No.  Darren Speedle.  Younger brother."

"Oh.  No wonder you look like him.  May we come in?" the agent in the lead asked.  "ATF, sir."

Tim let them inside.  "I'm sure you know Lieutenant Caine.  The other is my boyfriend, CSI Harris."

"He's the reason I'm here.  Sir, we got a report from someone in Cleveland and someone in LA that you have weapons you've moved across state lines?"  Xander pointed at the wall and he gave him a confused look.  He went to look anyway and went pale.  "You went to the program in San Francisco?"

"Yup and I'm from Sunnydale too," Xander said dryly.  "It's necessary sometimes.  Which brat in Cleveland called?"

"A Miss Summers, sir."

"Ah, loyalty from my friends," he said dryly, finishing his cocoa and putting it down.  "Did you also find the file?"

"I found it and unlocked it, sir.  I wanted to know why."


"I found that file as well.  Didn't like it, got very sick."

"They had a friend," he said bluntly.  "They were torturing others and trying to break our group up so they could kill us or use us."

The agents both nodded.  "Sounds reasonable," the second one noted.  "Um, graduation, sir?"

"Did you see the remains?"

"Pictures of and the files that said it was reasonable."

Xander nodded.  "It fixed it when we couldn't before then.  Am I in trouble for that?"

"That's what we're looking at, sir," the lead agent said.  He looked at him.  "Do you still have artillery?"

"Last night he ended up having to save lives by taking on a very bad creature trying to kill detectives," Tim told him.

"Damn."  The lead agent came over.  "Okay.  You're a ballistics tech, right?"

"And gun collector," he agreed dryly.  "Yes, I do have some artillery.  I have moved it.  LA was too unstable most of the time to leave it."

"It'll work for us.  I'm sure you're careful?"

"I do an inventory every week," Xander assured him.  "The same as I do with my swords, my guns, all the other stuff."

"That's fine, sir.  Why didn't you apply with our lab?"

"Because I've got a minor in trace and a minor in field work," Xander said with a small grin.  "Otherwise I might've.  Originally all I wanted was a small department I could raise dogs in."

"I can understand that, sir," the secondary agent agreed.  "So you're content to do what you do?"  Xander nodded.  "How did you get the weapons?"

"Demon underground.  Them and the hunters have their own conduits."

"Can you point them out to us?"

"And cripple the others?  Can I just give you the links to Cleveland and my former friends?" he asked with a sweet grin.

"I can see you doing that.  We had to strong-arm the people in LA, Mr. Harris," the lead agent said.  He smirked at him.  "They liked you."

"Yeah, because they actually tried to see me.  Unlike the people in Cleveland who told me I'm like dryer lint.  Angel and them were annoyed by my hyperactivity and other things but I was a useful tool to them.  That's why Angel sent me to college.  So he'd have his hunter nearby but contained and out of his hair.  He told my boyfriend to watch me for violent urges even though I don't have any."

"Not until you have to protect others," Tim agreed causally.  "They all treated him like he was a toy," he told them.

"Even better for us to shut them down," the secondary agent said.

Xander looked at him.  "Have you ever been in combat, kid?"  He shook his head.  "I have.  Eleven years of combat.  Since tenth grade," he said quietly.  "I wanted to retire but they made me go through the program and get him."  He smiled at Tim.  "You're probably keeping me from going to Cleveland to kill them."

"That's a joint fun," he reminded him.  He looked at the agents.  "Have you ever talked to Hamid Johansen?  South African guy in LA?"

"We have him on a watch list," the lead agent admitted.  "Is he a major link?"

"No, but if you ask the right questions he's got the good stuff in the secondary back room.  He makes good stakes too."

"I'm sure he does," he agreed.  He sat down across from him. "I know that you need it.  I was in combat for two years, kid."  Xander grinned at him.  "Granted, mine wasn't a nightly thing with people or creatures who could have been my best friends the day before."  Xander gave him a look.  "We're trying to make sure no terrorist can crossover."

"That'd mean they'd have to know.  Hamid makes us recite what he is."

"So he could know who would be willing to crossover?"

"I busted three before I left LA," Xander told him quietly.  Tim stared at him.  "That last case, dear."  He looked at him again.  "I knew there were loopholes and I used what I had to close them.  Hence the FBI coming in and making me go home early one night."

That got a smile.  "I can check on that and ask them."  Xander tipped his head.  "Can we see your collection?  Just in case?"

"It's in a binder," Speed said, getting up to get it.  He tossed it over.  "Want water, guys?"

"No thank you, sir," the secondary agent said.  Someone knocked and Tim went to get it.  "Anything we were looking for?"

"Nothing that new."

"The older stuff is easier to get, cheaper to get, and sometimes easier to use," Xander pointed out.   "No one looks for grenade launchers, they all look for LANS these days."

"True," the lead agent agreed, smiling at him.

Tim came back from talking to the landlord.  "He did ask about the flamethrowers. I told him it was to help on that case, Xander.  Explained that it was to help burn some bugs that had been brought in from overseas."

"Very true.  Did Customs have fun finding the rest?" he asked the secondary agent.  He nodded and grimaced.  "Mac got bitten."

The agents both smiled at that.  "It can happen.  One of the Customs agents nearly got mauled by a swarm," the secondary agent admitted.  "Things like that we're more than happy to have you help with."  John reappeared and he blinked.  "Wow."

"Partner," Speed said.  "What's wrong?"

"Monroe's odd."

"Monroe's partially possessed but she thought she fought it off," Xander said blandly.  "It's integrated by now."  He smiled and pulled Tim into his lap.  "Can I have a cuddle?"  He nodded and let him cuddle.  "I know I'm not the usual gun nutjob that you guys see, even though my teachers have called me it a few times."

The lead agent smiled.  "Ballistics techs are all strange, Xander."  He went back to it.  He finally handed it back. "Thank you for cooperating."

"As long as I don't end up in a cell," he said quietly.

"I see no reason to.  You're doing things we don't want to do yet are necessary.  You're not selling them.  You're not endangering lives with it.  You're damn good at keeping them from everyone.  Until someone in Cleveland ratted you out we had no idea you existed."  He stood up.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Let me know if I can help.  I don't like the other gun runners.  They're scary bastards who make me work harder to protect others."

They smiled.  "That's a good reason, sir.  You'll find most ballistics techs of prominence have good collections as well."

"Does that mean I can go to you guys to up my exemplar at work?"

"Sure.  I think we could do that."  He winked then walked out with his second, going down to talk to Mac.  He walked into his office a few minutes later.  "I love your ballistics tech.  I really do."  Mac smiled at that.  "He said your exemplar is pitiful, not in so many words?"

"It could use expanded.  We've had to check things out of the Property office a few times over the years."

"We'll see what we can do," he agreed.  "One of the brats in Cleveland gave him up for his artillery collection.  We've cleared him.  It's all good with us."

"Good.  I like Xander.  Even if something happens."

"He said you got bitten," the second agent said.

Mac nodded.  "I did."  He leaned back.  "No other problems?"

"No, he told us were to start looking to close down some wider loopholes in the hunter's weapon pipeline.  Apparently he busted a few before he left LA," the secondary agent said.  "Has anyone ever tried to profile him?  He seems a bit...young mentally."

Mac nodded.  "Did you ever meet Miss Rosenburg?"  They both grimaced but nodded.  "They've known each other since the first day of school and Willow basically raised him.  He's a bit on the warped side because of that and it makes him odd.  We appreciate the oddness however. It makes him have great insights into other people.  That and all the experience hunting that stunted some of that.  We're hoping Tim helps that."


"His boyfriend?" Mac asked.

"He said his name was Darren."

"Then again, a deceased detective did show up out of thin air and did look spectral," the lead agent decided.  "That's fine with us.  I'm sure his former boss has that part covered too since he was there."  He scratched his forehead.  "Do you know what a gift you have in him?"

Mac nodded.  "I'm slowly learning why Horatio's adamant he's getting him back as soon as he has room in the budget."

"Good.  We'll up your exemplar. I'm sure he's got a wish list."

"Or four," Don said from behind him.  "He faxed it over."  He handed it to him.  "How is Xander?"

"Fine," the second agent said with a small smile.  "Very cuddlesome."

"Good.  That's how we like Xander."  He grinned.  "Anything else you guys need?"

"No, we're perfectly fine.  He didn't seem too surprised his former friends told us about that."

"They're so screwed up," Don complained.  "They did it to him.  They were his only friends."

The second agent looked at him.  "He's very lucky.  He could have very easily become a serial killer."

"I know," Mac agreed, smiling some.  "We're very lucky."  They nodded and took the wish list with them.  Mac smiled at Don.  "We're good."

"Good.  Can we convince Xander to come out of his apartment?  I couldn't earlier."

"I think he'll be in the day after tomorrow.  That's what Horatio and I agreed on.  It should be fine, Don."

"Good.  Let's hope so."  He walked off again.  "Hey, Adam, call Xander tomorrow to let him know how backed up he'll be," he called into Trace as he walked past.

"Sure, Detective."  He called Xander's house.  "Are you okay?"  He smiled.  "That'll work.  A bit backed up but not horribly so.  Chad'll be back tonight.  I've already talked to him and he said it'd be okay.  Also, Stabler was looking for you earlier?"  He grinned. It turned into a gape.  "Aren't they your *friends*?" he complained.  "Damn, boy.  Remember, some friends are better than those friends.  I'm not like that.  Neither is Danny.  Good.  No, you get cuddles.  Well, Detective Flack said to call you tomorrow.  Sure.  See you then."  He hung up and grinned at Danny.  "He'll be back the day after tomorrow.  Mac and Horatio said so."

"That works.  It'll give people time ta think and see sense."  He went back to work.  "Anything else going on?"

"He's cuddling Tim."  Danny grinned but nodded.  "Feds were there."

"I saw the ATF guys.  They dress just worse than FBI guys or are in jeans most times."  He smiled and went back to work at his amazed look.  "How's Chad's mom?"

"She's okay.  They've got it fixed. They've got her a homecare nurse. He said he was going to come in tonight anyway."

"Good.  It's good she's good and that he can come do guns for us.  Then again, I like Xander's reports."

"I like Xander's reports," Adam grumbled, going back to his own work.  Maybe he'd work on changing his report style to something less wordy.


Xander peeked around the doorway but the receptionist nodded him inside. "You sure?"

"I'm sure.  Go run and hide."  He nodded, sneaking down to ballistics.  She signed him in and noted the time since he was about ten minutes late. "Probably too much nookie."

Xander slid into his jacket and closed the lab door, looking at his night counterpart.  "Hi."

"Hi.  You okay?"

"I don't want to be beaten up today."

"That's a reason I can appreciate."

"How's your mom?"

"Better.  They fixed her hip.  She's back home with a caretaker there to do the little things and be nagged by my mom."  He grinned.  "How are you?"

"Jumpy."  Chad grinned at that.  "How backed up am I?"

"Only three left.  Stabler's left about ten messages."

"I talked to him two days ago," he said, sighing.  "Thanks, Chad."

"Welcome, Xander.  By the way, the wish list for our exemplar?  You've got some odd taste."

"Only in a few quirky choices, the rest were pretty standard."

"True.  Very pretty too."  He pointed and Xander went to look, squealing happily.  "They showed up late last night."  Xander hugged him and went back to looking at them.  Chad smiled and finished up for the day.  "I'll head home, Xander.  Be safe and hide in there when you can."

"Sure.  Thank you."

"Welcome."  He left, closing the door behind him.

Xander pulled out his cellphone to call him.  "Why didn't you call the house?" he asked.  "Yeah, and I was hiding my stupid ass.  Oh, please.  I know very well John was here."  He nodded. "Exactly.  No, I'm cooing over my new exemplar samples.  I'm at work but hiding.  Sure, bring me a regular coke please," he offered with a grin.  Then he hung up and went back to his rearranging.  Someone knocked and leaned in.  "Look, pretties," he said with a bright grin.

"Good, you got your new toys."  Mac came in to look.  "Is that..."  Xander handed that one over when he pointed.  "It is.  I'll be damned."

Xander grinned at him.  "They're great guns."  He put it back into its new spot and walked out to the main lab.  "What's up?  Chad said he left me three."

"He did and I've got a bullet."  He handed it over. "What did Stabler want?"

"An opinion.  I don't know why he didn't come or call the house.  Ooh, Tim said we're going to the pound tonight instead.  He said last time they had a small fire so they had to move all the dogs and weren't doing anything."

"That's fine, Xander.  Are you okay?"

"Hiding.  I don't want to be beaten up."

"It'll be fine."

"I hope you're right or I'm taking Tim and we're going on a trip so I can charm European women and tempt them."

"Stay in New York and hit the UN, Xander."  He patted him on the back.  "It'll be fine."

"I hope so."

"Good.  Get those to me when you can."  Xander nodded, getting to work.  He watched him for a minute then left, closing the lab door behind him.  He saw Stella watching.  "Leave him alone."

"I was going to give him a hug."  She went in to do that then came back out, the door closed behind her.  She went to work on her own case, smiling when Elliot came in.  "Aww, you brought him presents."

"He probably won't go out for a few hours."  He tapped then leaned in, letting Xander have the soda.  "We need to do the deposition?"

"Crap.  Why didn't you come over?"

"I heard what John said."  He came in.  "You okay?"

"Worried about having to protect myself from thugs."

"There's not too many of those here."  He watched him work.  "She'll be down in a few."

"That's fine.  I'll get this done as soon as I can.  Chad managed to get us caught up and I got a new exemplar cabinet."

"Congrats.  How?"

"My former friends turned me into the ATF for having artillery.  Apparently Buffy called them about my unhealthy gun and artillery habits."

Stabler groaned, shaking his head.  "Can't you have something eat them?"

"There's innocent people who've been warped by them."  John appeared, shaking his head.  "Problems in Miami?"




"ATF?" Xander guessed.

"No, they haven't come back yet.   No, it's Buffy.  Tim just slammed the door in her face and then ended up pulling a gun on her to get her to go away when she kicked the door in."  Xander glared at him.  "I told her where you are so she can come here."

"Thank you for protecting Tim."

"Not a problem.  I like to protect Tim.  You two are very cute, kid."  He faded back out.

Stabler looked at him.  "I should call Finn.   He hates her about as much as you do."

Xander looked at him.  "I don't care enough to hate.  I haven't in years.  Now, hiding, I'll do that.  Can you tell Mac?"

"Sure."  He went to do that.  "Taylor?"  He looked up.  "Buffy's on her way over."

"Charming," Stella said with an evil smile.

"John just showed up to say she kicked in their door and he had to pull a gun to protect himself.  John told her where he is."

"Even better," Stella promised.  "Did you need him on another case?"


"Ah."  She nodded. "Did he tell you about the nice visit?"

"Yup."  He grinned back.  "Remember, she's tiny and blonde.  We've seen her recently."  He walked back to the lab, meeting the ADA down there.  "Hey, Alex."

"Hi, Elliot.  Thanks for joining us."

"Not a problem.  By the way, we may get interrupted by a small blonde woman."


"Remember seeing Buffy?" Elliot asked.


"She just broke in my door looking for me," Xander said.  "She's one of my former friends.  Let me finish this report first?"  She nodded, setting up to take it there.  "Thank you."  He got back to work.  "Sorry.  Small backlog and you guys get fussy."

"That's fine," Elliot agreed.  He caught the door when it bounced inward toward him.  "Whoa!" he ordered the patrol officer.  "What are you doing?"

"That freak!" he said, pointing.  "He brought them!"

"I did not," Xander complained.  "It was here long before I was born.  I was trained to fight it!"

The officer pouted.  "But they like you."

"That's because I was born on the mouth of hell!" he shouted back.  "Of course they like me!  I'm on their fucking hitlist, man!  I fought them for eleven years and all I wanted to do was retire and they showed back up!"  He whimpered.  "Now, sit your ass down!" he commanded, pointing.  The officer sat in the corner, holding his knees.  "Good, stay there!"  He got back to work, shaking his head.  "Whatever," he mumbled.

Elliot leaned out, finding Danny looking confused.  He motioned him closer and pointed.  "Oh, that's why there was screaming and no breaking glass."  He walked in and looked at the officer.  "Come on."

"He said to sit here."  He gave him a sullen look.  "He's mean."

"Sure he is.  Xander, can I have him?"


"See, you can move now.  Come on, we'll go talk to Mac, tell him why he's so mean and so bad."  The officer let him help him up and walk him out.

Elliot closed the door.  "Not the explosion I was waiting on."

"I hope she gets lost," Xander told him. He finished his report and spell checked it then turned around and sat on a stool.  "What can I do for you, ADA Cross?"

She smiled.  "We need to depose you, CSI Harris."

"Not the first time," he admitted.   "I will warn you, I babble.  I have ADHD."

"Okay.  I'll take that into account."  She sat across from him, letting Elliot run interference if necessary.  The expected problem came about halfway through and Xander growled when she barged in.  She said something, he said something back.  Elliot walked her off by her hair.   Stella saw her and came out to grab her, taking her to talk in Mac's office.  They went on with the deposition.  She'd have it transcribed later without the interruptions.


Horatio walked into his boss's office that weekend.  "You called, sir?"

"I did."  He looked at him.  "How much do you want Harris back?"

"Quite a lot."

"We can work something out?"

"There would be another one coming after a few years," he admitted.  "His boyfriend is starting his own training."  That got a smirk.  "He had been in biochem but quit when his brother died.  He's the youngest Speedle," he said quietly.

"Interesting.  Three or four?"

"Probably four years."

"That might work.  I won't guarantee it."  He picked up a folder.  "You're getting a grant in a year to update the hummers."  He tossed it over, smiling when he caught it.  "You let his boyfriend write it?"

"He needed something to do and I needed it written."  He read it over then looked at him. "You're serious?"

"Next year, Horatio.  A few months after the budget starts over is when it's supposed to start.  You can use it to put Harris on.  In the future, it would a bit iffy but budgets go up every year."

"We also did have some excess with that one tech being fired," he said quietly.

"I remember.  Why?"

"She was our mole.  She had also taken part of the grant as a fee, as well as monthly payments that the source could not be identified."  That got a nod.  "What about the problem with Stetler?"

"He's not in IAB and he's not to go near Harris, Horatio."

"Thank you, sir."

"Good.  When you get it, you can bring him down and have him back."

"Thank you."

"You need the help anyway.  It can ease some of the overtime budget.  Even if you do only put him on three-quarter's time.  I noticed it was part of that."  Horatio nodded. "Good.  Shoo."

"Thank you, Chief."  He walked out, going to call Tim.  "Good news."  He smiled.  "The grant you wrote for us came through."  He chuckled.  "Exactly.  A few months after next year's budget comes in.  Good.  Thank you, Tim."  He hung up and went to tell the others.  Maybe Xander would spank Ryan for him.


Tim walked into Mac's office, dragging Xander.  He turned to look at him and smiled, getting a squeal and hug.  "Horatio's grant came through.  It'll be next budget year, after the budget starts."  Xander hugged him then hugged Mac.  "Sorry, Mac."

"That's fine," he agreed, patting Xander on the back. "So we have you two for another year and a bit?"  Tim nodded.  "Excellent. What about yours?"

"I'm going to enjoy doing some classes to update myself.  I can go through the same program Wolfe did."  Xander pulled him over and kissed him, making him moan and grab his hips.  "Not in the office, Xander," he complained.

"Please," Mac agreed.

Sheldon leaned in.  "I take it a position came open in Miami?"

"In a year and a bit," Mac told him with a small grin.

"Fine, rob us of Xander.  Can he train an intern so we have one like him?"

"I wouldn't care," Xander said, looking at him. "Do we have a potential one?"

"I do," Mac agreed, handing that application over.  "I know you're just out but you could do good at it."

"I can do that."  He looked it over with Tim, getting a nod.  "Good.  I can mentor him."  He grinned and handed it back.  "Thanks, Mac.  He's taking me to lunch."

"That's fine, Xander.  Go.  Shoo."  They walked out together, making him shake his head.  Xander's t-shirt of the day was one of the ones that makes everyone's head hurt.  _'Bother!' said Pooh, as he uncovered a hive of Smurfs_ is not what he'd expect from his ballistics tech.

Danny came in, pointing.  "They were saying they needed a car to have quickie lunchtime sex?  Are we all celebrating?"

"I'm sure.  A position is going to come open in Miami in just over a year."

"Wow.  That's preplanning."

"Indeed," Mac agreed, but he was happy.  "He's agreed to take in an intern."

"Good!  Maybe we'll keep that one."

"Maybe," he agreed.  "Do you want one?"

Danny snorted.  "Hell no."


"Ask Doc yet?"

"He said he'd think about it."

"They're some work."  He shrugged.  "Anyway," he said, grimacing for a moment.  "My case, ended up being a suicide by accident."

"Interesting.  How?"

"The gunshot?  He was cleaning it.  Idiot didn't check the chamber."

"The distance?"

"Between his knees.  We found the GSR there."

Mac shook his head.  "Interesting.  Wrap it up then."

"Do I rule it suicide or accidental death due to stupidity?"

"Put it as accidental death, leave off the obvious case of stupidity."

"Sure."  He handed it over. "There ya go.  Check the box for me please?"  He walked off, going to clear his name off the board.

Mac looked it over and checked the box for him, signing off on it so it could go to a different desk.


Xander looked at his newest intern, shaking his head.  "You're my tenth intern so I've got this speech down pat by now.  Welcome to Miami, it's always hot and humid here.  You will have spoiled rich brats in about half your cases.  Don't roll your eyes in front of them.  Half of them won't understand and they'll think it's a sign of interest.  The other half will instantly lawyer up, even if they don't need one, or they'll call daddy.  Second thing you should know, I have multiple fields.  Put up with it, deal with it, move on now," he said blandly.  "Like my boyfriend, you can't do anything about it and if you try I'll probably mourn you horribly while someone is searching for your body futilely in the Everglades.  Also I'm trained to deal with strange shit."  His intern nodded her head slowly.  "You don't have to but if you want to I can train you.  That is why there are artillery and ancient weapon examples lying around the lab complex, especially in here. Also, do not touch the easy button.  It may be big, red, and tempting but if you do that the redheaded witch of babbling shows up.  She won't like you.  She'll think you're trying to take me from my boy.  She'll be wrong but she'll never be convinced of it before you've been turned into something by her."

"Do you use it?"

"She likes me now and then.  Plus I have coffee.  I need coffee when I'm dealing with her.  Trust me, it helps.  Fourthly, if a book starts to smoke, CALL ME," he said firmly.  "Books do not naturally smoke.  CSI Delko found that out when he got possessed a few years back.  That's sorta like how sometimes the morgue calls because the dead don't always stay dead.  Again, if you want to deal with that, call me, and carry silver.  It's a good idea around me anyway."  She nodded, making notes on that.  "I'd suggest a pocket knife, dear."  He moved around the lab.  "I was raised by the redheaded babble patrol. That means I was warped heavily by girls.  No matter how much the others try it's still here.  Again, nothing you can do about it.  Survive.  Leave me alone about it.  I'm not usually violent but...."  He grinned sweetly.

"Okay, one last thing.  Horatio has recently lost his family.  You bother him and the whole lab will spank you.  Delko recently lost his sister.  He might like hugs but he doesn't like mine.  So offer if you're a hugger but don't sleep with him.  Calleigh's the other tech in here.  She's the blonde spitfire up the hall in chem right now.  She'll try to correct you.  She tried on me.  I did my internship with her.  Again, hasn't worked yet, don't even try."  She nodded at that.  "Good.  Now, I'm here for you for the next month, then we're slowly going to get me back into the field.  You can work with Cal whenever she's in here and the others whenever they come in.  I'm not greedy, I'm here, trace, or in the field.  You can call."  She nodded and he handed over his card.  "On the back is the home phone.  If one of us grunts at you ask another question.  If it's a bad time we'll hang  up.  Give it ten and call back unless it's an emergency."

"Do we all get this speech?"

"Yup and I've trained the last three great ones personally.   If you are is up to you."  He stared her down.  "Agreed?"  She nodded. "Good.  Anything you want to know?"

"Dress code?"

"Semi-professional.  Nothing that you wouldn't want to be accidentally shown on the evening news in.  Nothing slutty please.  Won't impress anyone around here."  She nodded then waved a hand.  "A bit uptight, especially if you want to be in the field as well.  Remember, field work involves getting dirty and crawling around sometimes.  Ask Calleigh if you have problems.  She tried to get rid of my t-shirts.  Didn't work," he offered with a wicked grin.  "She's good if you've got questions about that or how to handle female issues in the field.  My last female intern had that one.  I refer those questions to her.  I already know plenty about that issue but I'm gay so I can ignore it for the rest of my very long life.  Any other questions?"

"Personal firearm?"

"Are you licensed to carry?"

"Um, not yet."

"Get one. You're a ballistics tech."

"Yes, sir."

"Xander," he said slowly and clearly.  "Say it with me.  Xander."

"Xander," she said with a small smile.  Someone screamed and he leaned out of the lab then pulled out a bootknife and threw it at them, making the screaming stop.  "Um....."

"Delko's heading that way and it's his ex."  He shrugged.  "It'll come back to me in a few."

"Xander!" Eric yelled.


"You pinned her to the wall again."

"Next time tell her to shut up!" he yelled back.  He grinned at his intern.  "Remember, we are a family here.  If you have problems, even personal problems, come to me.  If I'm the problem, come to me.  I can't guarantee it'll help but it might."  She nodded at that.  "If not, go to Calleigh.  All right?"  She nodded.  "Good.  Then take your notebook, go into the exemplar cabinet, write down the make and model of every gun in there, the condition, and the serial number if it has one."  She reached for the manual and he shook his head.  "Without the books.  By the time you graduate I want you able to do that.  For right now, do what you can, we'll use it as a before and after test."  She sighed but went to do that.   "Call me when you're done, I'm going to see Horatio."  He walked out, going to take his knife back from Eric. "Next time, don't scream like something's eating you.  I'm trained to kill things that make people scream like that."  She nodded, looking scared.  "Good."  He walked up to Horatio's office, interrupting his newest brood.  He closed the door and leaned against it.  "They're alive, boss."

"I know."  He looked at his t-shirt of the day... _2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Chaos will Reign._   "Speed buy that one?"

Xander grinned and nodded.  "He said it's fair warning for the interns."  He walked closer.  "You know, you're not alone.  We're a family there too, Horatio, and we miss you horribly."  Horatio looked confused.  "You haven't been yourself in a really long time.  Like nearly forever.  Remember, Calleigh is like a pesky little sister.  Eric and Speed are like your brothers.  You can consider me a nephew if you want."  Horatio got up and gave him a hug.  "I know it's hard."

"Thank you, Xander," he said quietly.

"I just want you better, Horatio.  Don't make me pull out the nap-inducing t-shirts.  Maxine said she'd spank me this time."  Horatio laughed at that and ruffled his hair.  "Now, I've thoroughly scared my intern and told her to go to Calleigh for sanity.  You need to come out and hover and lurk.  I need to go be more scary so Eric's girlfriend doesn't come in shrieking again."

"I told you not to throw daggers at her."

"Then she should quit yelling."  He grinned wickedly.

"If I treat you like my nephew, I should spank."

"No you shouldn't.  You should go pick on Eric for his taste in women.  He's clearly gotten my skills rubbed off on him."  Horatio cracked another smile.  "Now, do I have to get mean?"

"No, Xander.  You're a good boy.  Don't be mean."  He kissed him on the temple.  "Thank you."  He walked out, feeling a bit better.  Sometimes he knew just the right thing to say.  Sometimes, he put his foot in his mouth.  Then again, that was just being a Xander.

The End.

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