Fighting For Family

Xander pulled up outside the school Ray Jr. went to, waiting patiently.  He looked at the other waiting parents, one of them catching his eye.  He pulled out his camera and took a few pictures, then put it back in his backpack.  He saw Ray Jr. come out and honked, nodding at him.  He hurried over.  "Hey.  Have a bad day?"

"The usual."  He grimaced and slid in, shutting the door and buckling up.  He looked at the same guy.

"Who is he?"

"I don't know but he's creepy and he's always here," Ray admitted quietly.  He got out and went to find a guard, pointing at the guy.  The guard came to expel him and he got back in the car, waiting while Xander took pictures of the guy's license plate and car.  "He's been hanging around for the last few days," he admitted, buckling up again.  "The guards can only expel him but he hasn't done anything suspicious.  They claim they notified the cops."

"Yeah, well, so am I," Xander admitted.  "You up for a visit?"

"Sure.  I wish like hell everyone was here and not in Federal Protection at the moment."

"You and me both, nephew, you and me both."  Ray laughed at that so he drove off, heading for the station.  He walked the kid inside with his camera, nodding at the door guard.  "Is Frank Tripp in?"

"He's on a scene."

"Who's that way?"

"The new guy," the guard admitted.  "Why?"

"There's a guy who keeps hanging at Ray Jr.'s school," he said grimly.  "He's sparking my serial killer senses."  He walked the kid inside, heading back to the detective's squad.  "Detective?"  He looked over, frowning a bit.  "Yes, I know, you don't expect to see us since his mother's not here and neither is my family, but we've got a suspicious person hanging at his school."

"Define suspicious."

"Even the guards are worried but he hasn't done anything yet," Ray said patiently, sitting down.  "He's been kicked off six days of the last ten school days."  The detective nodded for him to go on.  "He's been staring at me and two girls.  The guards are kicking him off as soon as they see him and even Xander's noticed him."

"How would you know anything about bad guys, Xander?"

"Because I've had to save my ass from about six serial killers," Xander said dryly.  "Two of them here."  He laughed.  "Ask Frank if you don't believe me."  He dialed the desk phone, swatting the guy's hand when he tried to stop him, putting it on speaker.

"Tripp," he said, sounding upset.

"Frank, there's a stalker guy at Ray's school."

"Hell.  Is he doing anything?"

"Watching Ray and two girls," Xander offered.  "And he creeped me out when I went to pick him up today.  I got pictures."

"I think they're worrying for nothing," the detective offered.

"Kid, Xander knows serial killers.  He's been hunted by at least six of them.  Including two down here that New York wanted.  Trust Xander's instincts."

"Seriously, Frank, this guy creeped me the hell out," Xander offered.  "Like my instincts are screaming to take him and run.  Like I said, I got pictures."

Frank was quiet for a minute.  "Okay," he said finally.  "You know the routine, Xander."

"That's why I took the pictures and his licence plate and stuff."  He shifted slightly.  "Frank, I'm seriously wanting to run."

"Go," he decided.  "You know where."

"Yeah, I know where.  Get word back to his mom and don't warn him I'm coming with Ray.  I've got the tickets.  Call my teachers for me?"

"Sure."  He hung up.

Xander looked at Ray.  "Okay, let's go."  He looked at the detective, pulling over his laptop to download a copy of the pictures.  "That's the guy, his car, and the license plate."  He unhooked his camera, then took Ray with him.  "We're heading out.  Thank you."  He walked Ray back to the car, nodding at the guard.  He got Ray into the car.  "Okay, the plan is, we're going to New York."  That got a nod.  "I need to stop at the bank and then one other spot."  He started the car and backed out, heading to his bank and the safety deposit box that held some stuff his former psychos had sent him after he had retired.  "You are not to tell your uncle I know these people, Ray.  I learned about them while I was stripping.  He would be most upset if he learned I knew where this place was."  He glanced at him when he had to stop at a sign.  "Are you stripping?"

"I tried it once," he admitted with a blush.  "The girls are."

Xander nodded.  "Liked it?" he asked dryly as he turned the corner and drove on at the honk.

"Nope.  I was really sore."

"Yeah, me too.  I won't tell your mother, kid.  But I wouldn't go back to it again because Horatio is watching for that stuff.  Besides, when your mom finds out, she's gonna scream and your uncle and I are going to be hiding with Speed."  Ray laughed at that.  "You think I'm kidding?"

"No," he admitted.  He turned on the radio, content that Xander had his back for now.


Xander walked the kid off the plane and turned on his cellphone, calling Don's.  "Hey, it's me.  Where am I heading to come visit?" he asked patiently.  "No, it's important.  Where?  Precinct, Don?"  He sighed and hung up, leading Ray to the cabs.  He called Aiden on the walk.  "Which precinct am I heading to to see Don and them?" he asked.  The cab pulled up in front of them and he checked around before letting Ray in and following him.  "Aiden?" he asked.  He smiled.  "All I know is that they're in Manhattan somewhere."  The cabbie nodded and took off that way.  "Aiden?" he called sweetly.  "Yes, it's important.   I wouldn't be anywhere near my former stalkers and their state of incarceration without a very good reason."  He smiled. "Thank you."  He hung up.  "115 please."

"Sure.  Any particular entrance?"

"CSI if it's got a different one."

"You guys cops?" the cabbie asked as he pulled onto the highway.

"I'm a profiling student and his mom and uncle are a cop," Xander admitted.  "We're paying a professional courtesy visit and bringing information."

"Ah.  Where you two from?"


He laughed.  "Not nearly as much sun up here at the moment.  No bags?"

"I'll buy new," Xander said dryly.  "I'm good with shopping most of the time."  The cabbie laughed.  "I am.  Speaking of, got a decent hotel recommendation?  Somewhere south of the Waldorf and north of the local rent-a-ho spots?"

"Raddison's near there," he offered.  "It's decent and clean, plus a bit cheaper."

"Thank you."  He smiled at him and got comfortable.  "Don't worry, Ray, you remember the guys.  Don's like my big brother."

Ray nodded.  "Good.  Do you have any idea?"

"Yeah," he sighed, shaking his head.  "I have a very bad idea, hence our running.  I figured out who he was on the plane."  He shifted to look at him.  "He looks just like the guy who delivered the bunny paper presents to me."  Ray moaned, holding his head. "So we're going to have a very *full* discussion when we get there."

Ray nodded.  "Yes, Xander.  I agree."  They continued on, letting the kid see the sights as the cabbie drove.  When they got there, Xander let Ray pay the cabbie since he had the wallet.  Xander walked them inside, checking around, much to the amusement of the cops they walked past.  Ray stopped at the desk.  "Hi.  Is Detective Flack or CSI Taylor or Messer around?  It's kinda important but not critical," he offered quietly.

"You a relative, kid?"

Xander looked at him.  "It's about a case they worked in Miami.  The guy's after him now.  This is Caine's nephew Ray."

"Oh.  I remember Lieutenant Caine when he came up the last time."  He picked up his phone and talked quietly to someone.  He hung up and grimaced. "They're on a case but CSI Bonasera's in.  Can she help?"

"I don't know, I never met her," Xander admitted.  "It might, yeah."  He smiled and paged her.  "Thank you."  He led Ray out of the way and waited.  Aiden had shown him pictures of all her friends and this one hadn't changed much.  "Stella," he called when he saw her.  She looked really confused so he motioned her closer.  "I'm Xander."


He grinned, shaking her hand.  "Xander Harris.  I'm the guy they caught the bunny paper psycho with."

"Oh, yeah, Horatio's Xander."  She smiled at him then at Ray.  "Okay, what's wrong?"

"Is he out?  He's stalking Ray, Horatio's nephew Ray," he said, nodding at the kid.  She blinked a few times.  "Looks just like him, the guy's stalking his school.  Horatio and them are in protective custody since someone tried to blow up the building to kill them.  It's an FBI case so they're hiding until the trial.  They had to drag most of them away in handcuffs to take them, but they're safely hidden and Frank agreed I should come see Don since it was you guys' case originally."

"Sure," she agreed, smiling at him. "I swear I've seen you."

"Well, either you saw a picture Aiden had of me since I'm the kid she sorta adopted in Sunnydale."  That got a laugh.  "Or you saw the robot me a friend sent up to soothe Danny."

"Ah!  You're the guy the stupid robot was based on!"  He beamed and nodded and Ray groaned.  "Sorry, kid."  She looked at them.  "What sort of proof do you have?"

Xander pulled out the camera and let her see the pictures he took.  "That's from his school.  It's him and two girls.  Ray here decided to try my former job one night for a kick.  He thinks the girls are doing the same job."

"Okay.  Let's go to our breakroom."  She led them off, getting them visitor badges.  She also called Don.  "Where's the bunny paper killer files?"  She smirked at Xander.  "Because a kid's here saying that he's out of prison, he's got pictures, and he's dragging Horatio's nephew Ray, who the guy is stalking."  She nodded. "Sure, we'll be in the breakroom."  She hung up.  "He's fuming," she shared, smiling at him.

"Yeah, well, the last time I saw him he was bringing the robotic me back down so we could ship him off," Xander said dryly, shrugging and handing her the camera.  "That way I can't bang it against anything."

"Sure.  You're learning from Horatio?"

"No, Tim wants me to be a profiler."  He grinned at her.  "I've got very good hunting and stalking instincts and various psychos like me."

"Wonderful.  Why?"

"Do you remember a case where he had to retrieve one from Montreal?"  She nodded quickly.  "That was me too."

"Wow.  So they really know you?"

"You have no idea, ma'am," Ray said dryly, shaking his head and patting Xander on the back. "Two within six months.  One committed suicide when he quit stripping because he couldn't kidnap him."

"And left me stuff," Xander admitted dryly, smirking at her.  "But since his mom and Horatio are out of town, along with Tim and the others, I'm kinda his step-guardian at the moment."  The elevator quit moving and he let her go first, following her with Ray beside him.  He nodded at Mac when he hurried in.  "She's got the pictures.  Him, his car, his license plate.  Everyone but Frank's in protective custody about that FBI thing."  He glanced at Ray, who blushed.  "Little man here tried it one night for shits and giggles."

"Well, you would know about these people," Mac Taylor admitted, looking at the pictures.  "That does look just like him," he admitted. "The bunny paper part, the one who went after the innocents.  I know his counterpart is still in a Florida prison, I can check on this one, Xander."  He looked at Ray.  "Are you okay?"

"Yeah.  The guards at the school can't keep him from coming on the grounds and they can't do more than kick him off. They say he hasn't done anything yet.  He's been watching me and two other girls. We tried to tell the detective still on duty down there but he's new and he laughed.  We called Frank Tripp and he agreed with Xander's instincts to evacuate the cub."

Mac nodded.  "It's usually a good thing to listen to his instincts, Ray.  Come on, we can use my office.  Don's on his way back.  Danny's still on a scene, Xander."

"I'm really sorry Willow sent you the robo-Xander.  She thought it'd make Danny feel better.  It went to my ex-girlfriend Anya."  Mac shuddered.  "She's very happy and promised to keep him out of both cities."

"Good!  I don't ever want to see that thing again."  Stella peeled off to do something and came back with the file for him.  "Thank you, Stella."

"So, Aiden adopted you in Sunnydale?" she asked, closing the door.

Xander grinned and nodded.  "She and Tim also drove my parents out of town before he killed them.  She's in Seattle."

"Do you have her number?  I'd like to chew her a new one for not writing."  He handed over his phone and she paged down through it.  "Speed?"  She looked at him and he nodded.  "How?"

"Ask Aiden.  Sunnydale is like someplace Danny called Penguin Street locally?"  She shuddered and nodded.  "Well, she needed help and they sent Tim back.  He's about my dad.  She's my mom."

"Except when you used to call Uncle Horatio mom," Ray reminded him.

"Yeah, but that's just creepy now," Xander said dryly, nudging him.  "You're going to get me yelled at for you picking up my smutty pervert vibes."

"Sorry," he said with an unrepentant grin.  "I'm sixteen.  I'm like that."

Mac snorted, shaking his head.  "Don't let your uncle hear you say that.  He will yell at Xander."

"He's more likely to spank me," Xander noted dryly, giving him a look when Mac stared at him.  He grinned at the opening mouth.  "Unless you want details?"  Mac shook his head and got back to it, comparing the photo to the camera's image.  He looked back at the amused-looking Stella.  "I consider Don to be like a big brother.  Him and Eric.  And hey, I've got a step-mom in Calleigh since she and Speed are dating."

She burst out laughing.  "Oh, that's gotta be a fun marriage.  Is he letting her in his kitchen?"

"I wouldn't know.  I got banished from even making cold sandwiches the day I woke them up with the smoke alarm while making scrambled eggs and toast."  She laughed some more, getting out of the way when Don stormed in.

"Kid," he stared.  Mac handed him the camera and he looked, then groaned.  "He's supposedly still in custody," he admitted, looking at them.

"He's got a stalker twin?" Xander asked dryly, smirking at him. "Frank agreed with my instincts to beat a hasty, strategic retreat to safer ground since everyone's in protective custody before testifying in a federal thing against an assassin.  The school's guards couldn't do anything.  The other detective down there wouldn't and Frank's about the only one working it seems like."

"Okay, good instincts," he decided. "Let me make someone do a physical check on the guy.  Where are you two staying?"

"Hotel," Xander told him, smirking a bit.  "I'll be extra specially safe."

"Good!"  He looked him over, then shook his head. "What're you carrying?  I can't see it."

Xander coughed and took something off his neck, then handed over his weapon, his license, and his few knives. Mac looked amused so he shrugged. "I thought it necessary.  It's also plastic.  The knives are specially Willow charmed.  I'll mail them back."

"Good," Mac agreed, staring him down.  "Magic covered it that well?"

"Yeah, anything under a pound.  That's why the gun is one of those nice plastic ones."  Don rolled his eyes and walked out so Xander put everything back, putting back on the necklace.  "The cabbie said the Raddison.  You got any complaints about that?"

"No, we like them.  We've put witnesses in there before," Mac admitted. "No bags?"

"I can easily find a place to buy jeans and t-shirts, Mac," Xander said dryly.  "My debit card is good even up here.  I warned my bank."

"Good.  Just be very careful.  You can still be pickpocketed."

"Only if they want to go missing a hand," Xander noted as he stood up. "Let me get him there and we'll head shopping-ward after dinner, and I figure by then someone will know something?"  Mac nodded. "Good.  Then we're going to do that.  I've got my cell on me."  He walked Ray out, an arm around his shoulders.  "Let them work, and we'll be fine.  I've got your back," he reminded him quietly.  The kid was tense.  "Your uncle trusts Mac and his team with his life."  Ray nodded at that.  "Plus you know I'll protect you."  His phone rang so he pulled it out, looking at the number.  "Hi, Tim.  We're in New York.  Bunny paper guy came after Ray Jr.  No, we told the detective, he laughed.  We told Frank, he agreed with me.  We've just gotten done telling Don, Stella, and Mac.  Yup, Raddison.  Thanks."  He hung up and winked.  "It'll be okay pretty soon.  Just relax and let me deal."  Ray nodded again, letting him get the elevator for them.  Xander stopped them at the desk.  "It looks like we're going to be here for a few days.  Which way is the Raddison?" he asked politely.

"Up the block to the left," he said, pointing.  "About four blocks, kids."

"Thank you."  He walked Ray off, making sure they weren't being followed or guarded.  Or even watched except by those cops who were giving him an amused look.  He got them there and inside, checking them into a double room with a work area.  Once up there he called Willow.  "It's me. You know that bag I sent you? I need it magic-grammed to where I am.  Yeah, like now, Willow.  No, like one of my psychos is hunting Horatio's nephew.  Yeah.  Please.  I'm here, he's here, and I've got the necklace you sent me on."  He hung up with a grin.  "Give her ten minutes to pull it out from under her bed."  He sat down and surfed the tv channels, watching the kid settle in.  "Calm down, Ray.  I've lived through ones that took me hostage, that tried to kill me, and this one's partner tried to get me in the shower while I was cleaning off ooze from a kraken.  This is nothing to worry about."  Ray gave him a cold look. "I'm serious.  It's not.  You haven't gotten presents, he's still in the investigation phase.  Frank knows so he can ask the guards about the two girls.  Don and them will protect you along with me.  You're as safe as if your mom were home.  Once the bag gets here, you can write her an email, okay?"

"It's not the same."

"I know."  He got up to give him a hug, catching the bag as it fell.  "Thank you, Willow," he called quietly.  "Anything else?"  Two plain brown packages and something else fell onto his bed and he grinned.  "Cookies."  He gave the kid a hug and let him unwrap them for him.

"Um, not cookies," he said, holding up something. "Gay boy porn.  Do you need that with the way Uncle Horatio jumps you?"

Xander looked at it, then snorted.  "Someone cut one of my dance scenes into it," he said dryly.  "I'm going to fry my old boss Audry."  He opened the other one, finding a new kit.  He grinned and tucked the money into his pocket, then handed Ray the bag.  "Go ahead and hook in the computer, Ray.  It's got wi-fi."  Ray nodded, digging out the computer and other stuff, plugging in the antennas and logging onto his mother's email account to write her a message at her personal one.  He didn't tell her more than the hotel chain he was in, getting a nod from Xander for that caution.  "Good job."  He sat down to nibble on a cookie, looking at the rest of the bag.  "This was stuff I set up when I ran away.  After the second psycho, the old Sunnydale instincts kicked in and I started to prepare stuff.  Some days I miss my old paychecks."

Ray gave him a long stare, then went back to typing.  "How much were you making?"

"My last one was nearly a quarter of a mil," he said dryly.  Ray quit to stare at him in awe.  He nodded.  "That final performance?  Yeah.  Including tips and stuff.  When I was in Montreal, the first club was a full monty club.  Plus, my psychos focused on me so they couldn't go after anyone else.  They paid heavily to hunt me.  I was making base six hundred a week in Montreal plus tips and special modeling commissions.  My buddy that made all my clothes was an up and coming designer so I got to be her model a lot."

"The lady who made those stretch cord pants?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Wow.  Is she still designing?"

Xander grinned and nodded.  "Very muchly so.  I checked while we were waiting on the flight and she's in town.  I trust her so we can pop in on her and get a good spot to shop at."  Ray smiled at that.  "What can I say?  She liked my tongue and my ass."  He shrugged.  "It was stress relief and hugging after nightmares. Her girlfriend was being a twat at the time."  Ray gaped so he smirked.  "You meet a lot of interesting people stripping and it's a good way to learn about people, but it's one of the most wearing jobs on the planet.  You're always tired, sore, and cranky.  You have to make nice with drunks and people who believe you sell it as well.  There's a reason why a lot of us end up alcoholics and drug abusers, Ray.  Now, why did you really try it that night?"

"My girlfriend has a friend who's mother was moping over your picture and she recognized you.  She thought it was hot so she made me one night.  It was stupid and I was bad at it."

"So was I my first few weeks, then I had someone teach me better.  There were days I wish I had been a sewer worker instead of a stripper.  Even with the looks that Tim gave me."

"I understand why.  Just that short spin on the stage that one time and I felt dirty and nasty.  I had to shower for hours because of it.  Mom thought someone had attacked me so I told her I had a fight with my girlfriend."

"Fat chance she won't hear now," he noted dryly.

"I put that in my message to Uncle Horatio," he admitted.  "I figure he can hold her down and tell her. Then you and I can hide when they finally let her go."

"Yeah, I'm thinking a sudden trip to see Aiden would be in order," he agreed dryly.  Someone knocked so he got up and looked out the spyhole, letting Danny in. "Hi."

"Hi."  He looked at him, then at the kid, then back at him.  "Is anyone going to complain about kidnaping?"

"We told Frank, he's written his mother.  His father's dead," he said quietly.

"Okay.  So I'm guessing no.  She did call and screamed at Mac.  He gave her the specifics you gave him and that the pictures were identical.  Then he told her where you two were."

"I wrote her a discreet email," Ray admitted.  "Then one to Uncle Horatio that was a bit more graphic.  I can't discuss this stuff with my mom."

"I can understand that," Danny said as he walked in further, letting Xander close the door.  "So, we're checking.  It's gonna take us a few more hours."  Ray nodded at that.  "You two be okay tonight?"

"My designer buddy is in town so I was going to take Ray there to see where we can go to get something for him to wear tomorrow," Xander admitted.  "I got my former psycho escape kit back from Willow.  We'll be fine, Danny.  Just find this guy and see if it's the same guy."

"Okay."  He looked at Xander.  "You good watching him?"  Xander nodded.  "New York's a big city.  Things happen here."

"Things happen in Miami too," he noted dryly. "The same as they did in Montreal and LA.  I'm good with hanging with him and protecting him, Danny.  We're good on most things.  I'll get dinner when we go to see her and pick up a few things. Then we'll come right back here.  That way we know if anyone tracked us here due to the email."

"Okay," he agreed, nodding.  "Give us a few hours, kids.  Go do that now, Xander.  You need a ride?"

"We can take cabs," he admitted.  Danny snorted and gave him a long look.  He pulled out his necklace and waved it a bit.  "Willow created it, Danny.  It works here too."

"If you say so.  Be very careful."

"I am."  He grinned at him.  "I can easily go back into stripper persona."

"Good point."  He hugged him.  "Be back here in two hours.  I can drop you off."

"I'm not taking you away from catching the bad guys.  The victims here need you more."  Danny smiled at that and nodded, leaving.  "Go ahead and lock down the computer so we can head."  Ray nodded and did that, following him out. The doorman got them a cab and he gave them the address he had found earlier.  It was even in the same borough.  He paid the cabbie and got out, leading Ray inside while checking around.  The secretary frowned at him, then stared a picture on the wall.  Xander looked then grinned.  "Yeah, it's me.  Diana in?  I need a recommendation since we're in town for a few days."

"I'll call her, Xander."  She called her boss.  "Boss, it's Xander!"  She hung up on the squeal, rubbing her ear. "She'll be running right down."

Xander smiled, turning to catch the woman running up behind them, spinning her around. "Hi, Diana."  He smirked at her.  "You missed it.  I've got my own stud now.  And this is his nephew.  We're in town on a situation for a few days."

"Not another one," she complained, swatting him.  "Come to my office, sweetie."  She led them off by taking their arms and making them walk with her.  "Which psycho?"

"Bunny paper guy," he said grimly.

"He's in jail."

"Then he's got a twin," Ray noted bitterly.  "Now he likes me."

She cooed and gave him a hug, saying something quietly in french in his ear.  "It's all right, sweetness.  Xander can defeat any deranged person."  She let them into the office, closing and locking the doors.  "So, what's going on that you need something from me?"

Xander grinned.  "We left in a hurry.  Need somewhere to get him clothes."

"Ah."  She nodded and wrote down a few addresses, handing it to Ray.  She looked at Xander.  "You're still in excellent shape."

"I'm dating a Lieutenant," he said dryly.  "Horatio says so.  That way I can pounce him."  He heard a baby cry and stiffened, looking at her.  "Please tell me that's not mine."

"Nope.  That's my present girlfriend's baby.  Relax.  I was on the pill, dear."  She patted him on the cheek.  "I wish I could use you in my show next week."

He grinned. "I can't promise we'll be here.  Oh, hey, remember the Middle Eastern guy who wanted to castrate me?"  She shuddered but nodded.  "When I retired from the business, he committed suicide and left me those cuffs he wanted to put on me.  Plus the clippers he was going to use since they're solid gold."  She made a face and shuddered.  "Yeah.  My final act, I walked out with Horatio.  I took his hand and walked off stage, letting the music fade behind us.  Very artistic.  I made my former boss cry."

"Is that the same boss who let someone cut your dancing into their porn tape?" Ray asked.

"No, she was my second boss in Montreal."

"Audry?" she asked.  He nodded.  "Damn.  Which tapes?"  He handed her one he had snuck out of the stack.  "Huh."  She put it on her desk.  "I'll call her and warn her you're upset.  So, how many psychos was it in the end?"

"Eight, six, something like that," he said with a small shrug, glancing at Ray.

She either missed it or wanted the kid to relax.  "Not just the serious ones, Xander.  I meant all of them."

He rolled his eyes.  "Including minor stalkers who wanted me way too much?  Maybe fifty."  He shrugged.  "Most of them were over with after a few days of me not playing along.  I worked in a feeder club to the anything-goes circuit in Miami."

"Oooh," she moaned, shivering and clamping her thighs together.  "Were you a *good* boy?"

"I only watched," he said dryly, smirking at Ray.  "Yes, he knows."

"I figured he or Speed had you followed," Ray agreed with a smirk for him.  "But I'm so gonna tell him."

"You want leather pants?  You don't nark about the guys who still wanna sink into my body one way or another, kid."  He looked at her again.  "Gee, thanks."

"I heard a detective at a party mention you the other day, Xander.  If you'll model for me and let me pay you again, I won't tell him."  He moaned.  "Come on! I could use you," she whined, stomping a foot delicately. "Please?"

"Don's like my big brother, Diana.  I don't want him to be disappointed in me.  That's really dirty of you."  She pouted. "If we're here.  I can't guarantee it and we're both in school."

"Fine," she said with only a mild pout, which turned into a grin.  "Can I fit you tonight?"

"Can I keep 'em?" he countered.  She beamed and nodded.  "Fine, as long as we make it fast.  The kid still needs clothes."

She snorted and waved a hand.  "I can take care of that, Xander."  She led them through another door and into her workroom, pointing at a pedestal.  "Stand there, Ray, we'll do you first, dear."  He climbed on it and she measured every inch of his body.  "You're not too badly built," she offered.  "I could probably use you too.  I pay six grand for the show."

"I'm only sixteen," he told her.


"My mother's a detective.  I'm Horatio Caine's nephew."  She shivered at that and moaned again. "Xander's his toy."  She let out a deeper moan and looked at Xander, who smirked and winked at her.  "Would they be upset with it?"

"Oh, yeah," she moaned, looking pitifully at him. "If I can get his big brother to agree?"

"Hey, call Don Flack or Mac Taylor," Xander said dryly.  "If they're here and they agree once they talk to Frank Tripp, then I'll let us do it."  She hurried to make the call.  He rolled his eyes.  "I'm hoping it's solved sooner.  Horatio is going to paddle my ass in unfun ways."  Ray beamed and nodded.  "Get me in more trouble, Ray," he taunted.  "Watch me turn it around.  Remember, I know where you were while your mother was on a call the other night."

"You think she didn't?"

"I doubt she knew about the four other girls there."  Ray blushed at that and ducked his head just like his uncle did.  "Got me here?"  Ray nodded quickly, glancing at him.  "Good. You look just like your uncle when you do that."  He hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.  "If you were older and better built, I'd be tempted but you're not."  Ray burst out in giggles.  Xander's phone beeped so he looked at it, handing it to Ray.  "Ask permission from him too.  Star-69."

Ray hit the buttons and grinned.  "Hi, Uncle Horatio."  He winced and pulled the phone away.  "No, I'm safe.  No, he's here talking with his friend who used to make his clothes.  Well, she's doing a show next week and she wants us to model," he offered with a grin.  "No, we went there first and they're looking into it.  No, they agreed with Xander.  He looks just like the guy.  Don Flack's having them do a physical check on the guy.  Sure."  He handed over the phone. "He's so pissed."

Xander sighed and took it, listening to the quiet yelling.  "It was not my idea. No, I didn't give him an opportunity to pack and I wanted to make sure no one could track us back to our room so I came to ask Diana, the lady who made my clothes in Montreal, where we could go to get some for him.  I'm being a responsible semi-uncle, Horatio."  He rolled his eyes.  "No, she's trying to bribe us to do her show next week. Paid and the clothes.  I told her Don and Frank had to agree," he said patiently.  "Honey, Ray's girlfriend thought it was hot that I used to dance and talked him into doing a turn on the stage.  That's why the guy likes him.  We've already talked about it and he felt slimy that night so it's all good on that end.  Six grand."  He smirked at the kid. "I know that's a lot, but imagine how much the real models get an hour.  That's for the whole day of the show.  I already told her we might not be here," he sighed.  "Plus she had to ask Don and Frank for permission."  His phone beeped and he looked at it.  "Hold on, that's Don."  He clicked over.  "What?  I'm trying to calm down Horatio."  He clicked back.  "Sorry.  He's laughing his ass off at the moment.  That's why I made her ask.  No, Ray's presently blushing, dear.  Oh, I don't know.  She heard your name and got off."  He smirked at the kid, who was now bright red.

"You know, he's got that blush and head duck down just like you do.  Nope.  We're good and safe and I'm carrying.  We're going to be fine.  You guys stay safe and let the big brother handle this stuff.  Okay?  Yeah, well, I had Willow send the emergency escape from the psychos kit I made in Montreal."  He looked up and sighed.  "I'll show you all my paystubs when you get back. Just don't get blown up or anything or else I'm going to have to end the FBI and their little world and friends for letting you guys get hurt.  You can tell dad I said that.  Love you."  He hung up on the protests, clicking back to Don.  "Sorry, he's now spluttering. I told her we may not be here and she had to get yours and Frank Tripp's approval.  Yeah, well, she heard one of you guys talking about me too, big brother Don.  Did you know that Tim decided he's going to send me to you if I become a discipline problem?"  He grinned and hung up on that spluttering.  "Okay, he's going to call Miami to complain to Frank.  Then we'll see if we can do this for her.  She makes my Xander-tight clothes."  Ray shivered and let out a small moan. "If you started to work out, you too can wear pants that are tight enough to show if you're cut or not, dear.  Until then?  Nope.  You're still sixteen and I'm not going to encourage anything that'll cause an orgy I'd have to rescue you from.  By the way, I didn't do a condom check but if you didn't use one, I'm so going to paddle your ass."

"I did," he promised, holding up a hand.  "I may not have changed between women but I changed it whenever I got off and I used one even during oral sex."

"Good.  At least you're smart about it.  I don't wanna tell your mom you caught something while being a club whore."  Ray shook his head fiercely at that.  "Good.  Do I need to give you the special Xander sex talk for new strippers?"  Ray moaned and shook his head.  "I'd better not and no funny shit while we're here, Ray."

"Yes, Xander.  I promise I'll behave."  He came off the stool and walked into the office, smiling at the baby.  "Hi, are you wandering?" he cooed, making Diana give him a panicked look.  He looked at the baby, then at her.  "You're so fucked," he mouthed.  "Xander likes kids and he'd die for his."  She nodded, picking up the baby and going back to her conversation with Frank.   She said his name.  He went to distract Xander.  He'd tell his uncle the next time he got him alone but not Xander, not yet.  Not while his life was in danger.  He jumped when a door slammed and Xander gave him a calm look. "How do you stand that?"

"All New Yorkers are loud and noisy.  It's a trait that marks you as native."  He looked out as Don came strolling in.  "See?"

"I do."  He waved at him.  "Hi."  He saw the look from the baby to Xander's back and back.  He shook his head quickly.

"I heard that," Xander said dryly, looking at the baby.  "Tell Frank I'm going to commit homicide if that's my son."

"Sorry," she called.  "I can't let you do that."

He walked out there, leaning on the desk.  "Diana."  She winced.  "Is he?"  She shrugged. "I'm going to insist on at least visitation.  My life's finally getting on track."

"Xander, please," she moaned.

"If he's my son I'm seeing him.  I refuse to be a father like mine!"

She swallowed and nodded.  "If he's yours, we'll figure that out when you're not in danger and when you quit drawing psychos."  His face went stony and she sighed.  "Hold on."  She put the detective on hold.  "Xander, what if they come for him?" she said quietly.  "What if one of them catches you while you're playing with him on the beach?"

"I haven't had one in months! I gave up stripping for Horatio."

"I know that, babe, but still."  She cuddled the baby.  "I'm not sure he's yours.  To be honest there was another guy who I picked up a lot because he reminded me of you but he did kinkier stuff. I think the baby's his," she told him.  "If not, then I'll arrange with your boyfriend about visitation and that stuff, once your life calms down and there's no more psychotic people after your tush."  He sighed and walked back into the other room, slamming the door.  She kissed the baby's head, then went back to her conversation.  "Sorry you had to hear that."  Frank gave her some very good advice.  "There's another candidate," she admitted.  "He has the same eyes too.  That's why I picked him up."  She patted her son on the back.  "No he stalked into the other room.  Thank you."  She hung up and went in there, making Don look at the baby again.  "I don't know. I'm willing to have him tested, but Xander still draws bad people to him like honey draws ants.  If he's his, I have nothing against him coming up here to visit him.  I won't even demand sex."  Xander gave her a cold stare.  "I'm sorry!  The other guy looked almost exactly like you only he liked it kinkier, like I do.  I'm almost certain Eric's his."

"If not, I am staying in contact," Xander said firmly, stalking back over there.  He took the baby to look at, smiling at him.  "Hi, Eric. I'm your uncle Xander."  The baby cooed and kicked at him, making him a happy guy.  "Test tonight?"

"Test tonight," she sighed. "I'll have my doc run it."  She went to make that call, praying the whole way that the baby wasn't his.  Her former whore boyfriend wouldn't care if she kept the kid.  Xander would fight her.

"If he is, I'll keep an ear out for him, Xander," Don assured him, coming over to look at the baby. "Hi, Eric."  The baby smiled at him and sucked on his first finger.  "I did that same thing.  I'm betting you taste just as good as I used ta."  He smoothed down some of the short, dark hair.  "We saw some Feeb go into your room and stopped him.  He was mad that you broke contact rules for them.  We *explained* why and he's horrified but we told him we'd keep them informed through email and stuff."

"My laptop has a video system on it," Xander admitted quietly.  "We can set that up."  Don and Ray both nodded.  "Any news?"

"He's not here.  He was sent to Canada for a trial up there and he disappeared on his way back."

"The FBI was keeping it from me why?" Xander demanded.

"No one knew you were involved.  They thought it was only the team they had ta worry about and they're in protective custody.  They didn't think about family and those things.  Though one guy is disgusted that Horatio and you are together.  He's now sporting a black eye thanks ta Danny.  He grinned.  "They jokingly suggested witness protection and Mac screamed."  He patted Xander on the back, giving him a gentle hug.  "Relax. It'll all work out.  Even if he's not, you can try some day."

"Not unless I get Willow involved," he noted dryly, looking at the baby, who was staring at him.  "I know, I'm odd.  If you're mine maybe you'll be a normal boy."  He looked back at Ray, who was giggling against the wall.  "It's possible.  His mother's normal."  He looked at Don again, grinning slightly.  "So, are we showing what we have on the catwalk?"

"Up ta you two, kid. You'll still be here. Frank wants you out of the city until they capture this guy.  If he comes up here, you're still staying since most of the department down there is understaffed."

"We both still have school stuff," Ray complained.

"You can do yours by mail and he's probably going to end up dropping out this semester, kid.  We'll work on the apartment stuff if it's going to run that long."  He looked at Xander again.  "You ready to let him wander?  He's got that wandering look."  Xander kissed the baby and let him down, watching as he cooed and headed back to mom.  "You okay?"

"Scared shitless I'll turn into my old man," he admitted quietly, looking at him.  "Equally scared that I've got this sudden *ache* for a kid, Don."

"I understand.  I had this scare once."  He gave him a clap on the back.  "So, how tight this time?"

"Not a clue.  But I'm sure Horatio will still be pissed."

"Hey, blame the chief down there," he noted dryly. "How's the finances looking?"

"That depends on me liquidating some things that I've got in my safety deposit box or having Frank do it," he admitted dryly. "If so, I'll be fine for a few months and won't have to touch anything I've got invested."

"Good.  We'll work on getting you a place in Danny, Stella's, or my building.  That way we can keep an eye on you guys."  Ray nodded at that.  "How long is that trial expected to last?"

"Another month," Ray said bitterly.  "Xander has custody of me."

"Well, if we have to do the apartment thing, at least I'll have to learn how to cook," Xander said dryly.

"You're not allowed near the kitchen," Ray said firmly.  "I cook better than you and I failed Home Ec, Xander.  No way I'm being poisoned by your cooking."

Xander stuck his tongue out, then looked at Diana as she came in.  "Test when?"

"A few hours.  She'll stop by on the way home."  She smiled at them.  "They said it'd be fine since this looked like it was going to run long. So, can you?"

"It'll save money for an apartment," Xander decided.  "As long as Ray wants it."

"Sure, I could use some clothes that make me look hot," Ray agreed dryly.  "I need to call my girlfriend."

"You can write her an email," Xander said firmly.  "If you're lucky, I'll let you call."

"Yes, Xander.  Can I have any fun?"

"As long as it's chaperoned fun," Don told him.  "New York is full of fun but it's all dangerous fun and you're a tasty target, kid. I wouldn't even trust Xander out alone.  Understood?"  Ray sighed and nodded.  "Good.  Consider me your extra uncle."

"Does that mean you're sharing Xander with Horatio?"

Diana let out a deep moan and went back to her office for a few minute. When she came back she was flushed but smiling.  "Okay, let's get to fitting.  Detective, would you like to model for me as well?  You do have a very nice body and you would look wonderful in my clothes.  I'd give them to you afterward."

"I'm not sure I'm allowed or I could stand being stared at that way."

Xander looked at him.  "If I can get naked on a stage and watch guys jack off while watching me wiggle and shake it, you can walk down a walkway clothed.  Because otherwise I'll be the prettiest there and someone will want to rip the clothes off me."

Don snorted and shook his head.  "I'd have to ask my bosses."  He walked into the other room, going to call Mac and get his opinion.  He came back a minute later, grimacing.  "Mac said it'd draw the asshole to us and I'd have to be there to protect them.  Possibly Danny too.  He's on his way over."  She beamed at him and kissed him on the cheek, putting Ray back onto the stool to measure him some more.  "Ya know, kid, every time we hang out with you, I end up doing stuff I never have before.  First it was male strippers, and then serial killers and watching you declare your lust for your man while stripping, and now modeling."  He leaned against the wall, listening for the telltale slam of a door.

"Hey, we could ask Aiden," Xander teased with a smirk.  "Diana, are you putting him in leather?"

"Of course, baby.  He'll look so hot in my pants."  She pinched Ray's cheek.  "Not even your mother will be able to complain.  She'll cry at how hot you are."

"You've never met my mother," he said dryly.  "She'll yell.   She likes to yell."  She giggled and went back to measuring him.  "Hey!" he said, moving away from her.

"I've got to take in room for you getting hard," she reminded him.  "Just think smutty thoughts for me so I can measure it.  I promise it I won't play with it and embarrass you."  She smiled at the man coming in and the other two.  "You three think thoughts to get ready for me too."  She winked at Danny.  "Hi, Danny."  He grinned.  "Do you know Xander?"

"Yeah, he's like a kid brother to us."  He looked at Xander.  "You know her?"

"She made my costumes and all those clothes that Horatio doesn't want me to wear in public.  Oh, Di, he loved the stretch cord outfit.  Calleigh's still talking about it and a few people have borrowed them on me."

"I have a pair of those," Danny said happily.

"I designed them for a routine of his, but he couldn't get out of them sexily," she said lightly, grinning at him.  She got back to work on Ray's measurements.  Then she hauled Xander over, making sure his were still the same.  He had more muscles so it made her purr.  She liked his body a lot.  Don blushed but let her measure him.  "You really should have these suits fitted better to show you off, Detective."

"Then I can't bend or run in 'em," he complained. "I don't know how Xander breaths in some of his pants."

"Don't worry, I'll show you later," she promised lightly.  She got done with him and did a cursory one on Danny, finding the same measurements.  "Good.  Now, shoo.  Come back in two days.  Xander, take the blue bag on the couch."  He nodded, going to do that and leading everyone off.  She went to get herself off so she could have good ideas for those pretty men. Maybe she could even get them to model for her kink show.


Xander hung up his cellphone and walked back into the room, locking the door behind him.  "Okay, we're gonna be set up and it's a done deal so far.  The small liquidation went through and no one's the wiser that we're up here in those circles.  Did you email your girl?"

Ray grimaced and nodded.  "Yeah, and got one back.  She called me a coward for running from the stalking bastard.  I so very thoughtfully pointed out that he was responsible for about fifteen deaths of innocent young men who'd never had another guy but were hot and cute.  I'm bordering on hoping she's crying right now."

"Breaking up is never fun but let's hope she doesn't call my ex to punish you. Was the orgy your idea or hers?"

"To be honest, I don't remember much of that night," he sighed, pulling a pillow around to hug.  "It's like it's a big blur.  I took her out for a decent dinner at that place Uncle Horatio told me to take her.  We went to one of the teen clubs.  We left there because it was fairly lame that night.  We ended up in a rave and that's about the last thing I remember until you slapped my face to wake me up."  He looked at him.  "I'm honestly not so sure she didn't slip me something or that I didn't have an accidental exposure."

"Did you drink anything there?"

"A bottle of juice, which made her laugh at how 'kiddie' I was. I pointed out my mother was a cop and she'd kill my ass if I drank.  She just snorted and did a shot. They were playing something ancient by Megadeath that got remixed by a local DJ, then I kinda fuzzed out.  I remember the condom stuff and bits and pieces.  I know I used one because not using one leaves me itchy in the morning."  Xander glared at him.  "She was a virgin!"

"And?  It doesn't mean they didn't transfer it with their fingers, their mouth, or that she hadn't taken it up the ass and they slipped."  He shuddered at that.  "We apparently need to have the long new stripper sex talk, Ray.  Things like 'you don't drink in the club if it looks like it's been opened or you don't see them open it and test the cap before they do' are included."  Ray looked horrified.  Xander nodded.  "Common rave trick, baby boy, and it's usually E or Rophy."  He sat down in front of him, looking at his kinda-nephew.  "Who else gave you the 'be careful' lectures?"


"Your mom hasn't been in a club since before she was married.  Anyone else?"

"Eric kinda hinted and suggested I never have a drink at a club unless I watch it be opened.  I didn't understand why."

Xander sighed, the kid looked so young.  "Okay, there's some hard and fast rules about clubbing and I'm going to share them with you honestly and fully because otherwise you're going to do something else that's stupid.  Also, you're going to the local free clinic tomorrow and getting your very first AIDS test, young man."  He swallowed and nodded at that so Xander gave him a hug, pulling him closer to sit with an arm around his shoulder while he played mentor and guide. By the end, the kid had no questions and he was bright red, but he would never have another problem like that again and the kid's girlfriend was considered dumped.  Xander gave him a long look and Ray swallowed, nodding a bit.

"Thank you.  Should I ask you if I have any more questions?"

"Yeah, might be a good idea and I'll have a talk with Eric about subtle being too broad and vague.  If your mom yells, I'll mention the fact that your girl got you exposed to drugs in the club and I gave you the extended, nothing held back, talk for the club whores I used to work with.  And what your test results are."  Ray swallowed and nodded.  "Now, it's up to you to tell her or your uncle the whole story.  I would suggest you tell one of them just in case something about this situation comes back to haunt you some day, like she suddenly ends up pregnant.  Your uncle's Catholic, consider it confession."

Ray nodded quickly at that.  "It sounds reasonable but he's going to yell."

"Yeah, well, you won't be seeing him for the next month, it'll give him time to calm down."  Ray snorted and shook his head.  "Yeah, it will.  Or, hey, write to my dad.  We might as well be related some days and Tim is nothing if not understanding of the club life, plus he can hit Eric for being so vague."  Ray brightened at that.  "And he can sit on Horatio while he tells him that I had to have this talk with you and save you that time."  Ray nodded at that, smiling a bit.  "Get to writing, little man, then let's nap.  I'll find out where the clinic is tomorrow and take you."  Ray nodded, pulling over the laptop to write Speed.  Xander typed in an email address for him with a wink.  "His online one for when he was surfing for porn.  I'm sure he's bored by now and Calleigh should be about in that bad part of her cycle."  Ray laughed and got to work writing while Xander got up to check the doors and the windows one last time, then he laid down.  "Tell him I said hi."

"Sure."  He typed that in as well, going back to reread it.  He did feel better letting someone know and Speed was nothing if not cool.  After all he had accepted Xander stripping like it was nothing unusual and he had a wild youth from some of the things he still did.


Calleigh came out of Speed's room, clearing her throat to get attention.  "Tim, you got an email message you should probably read," she said quietly.  "I was hunting for the new porn passwords."

He raised an eyebrow.  "Xander?"

"Ray," she mouthed.  "It's important.  Xander had to have a...discussion with him about club stuff."  He groaned and went to read it.  She hit Eric on the arm, making him yelp and drawing attention.  "Next time, be less subtle when warning newbies not to drink anything at clubs, Eric."

"I didn't wanna come out and *order* him not to drink water and stuff," he complained, getting away from her.  "I didn't know how much the kid knew."

"Yeah, well, his girlfriend exposed him to a rave and he had a really fuzzy night."

Yelina coughed.  "My son?' she asked sweetly.

Tim came to the door.  "Xander finished the club and sex talk, Yelina.  Um, Horatio?  Part of this was for you."  He got up and went in there to read it so Tim closed the door and stood in front of it.  "Apparently the night of the rave, Xander got warned that Ray was in a...compromising position with a few extra girls."  He cleared his throat at Eric's moan.  "She had gotten him a juice by the note.  Xander found him with a few extra girls around him."  Yelina scowled and he held up a hand.  "Xander yelled that night and got him home.  Xander just got done having the *long* clubbing and sex talk with the kid.  He also said he's dragging the kid to have a blood test tomorrow."

"He let him go out?" she demanded.

"Yelina, this was while you were there.  This was over a month ago, and yeah, it's the same girl who talked and pleaded to get him to do an open pole night and got him his first stalker."  She leaned forward, cradling her face in her hands.  "Remember that night when he had the really nice date and didn't come home until five or six and you yelled?"  She looked at him and nodded.  "That night.  Someone called Xander instead of you since they figured you'd arrest everyone there."

"The little whore is getting it when I get back," she said grimly.

"Xander said Ray's pretty sure he played safely, Yelina," he offered. "This is just in case and he's taken on a fierce big brother role."

"The message was all of Ray's confessions about the stupid stuff he's done," Calleigh admitted.  She got up and went in there to read it, slamming the door behind her. "At least Xander's helping him and got him to tell her."

"Yeah, and I'm impressed. I've heard him give that talk. There will be no more issues coming from Ray for a very long time."  He looked at Eric.  "At least you tried, man.  You did try and if he had any idea what you were talking about it probably would've made more sense."  Eric nodded, accepting that.  "Unfortunately the ho got there first."

"Where is your cellphone!" Yelina yelled.

"Mine's in the bedside table!" Speed called. "They're probably in bed!"  He winced and nodded at the hall.  "We should sneak out for a drink."

"We should," Calleigh agreed, pulling on Eric's arm until he followed, Ryan silently ghosting after them from his corner. No one wanted to get near the pissed off mother. Yelina could make a guy really sorry really quickly.

Horatio called Don at home, getting a tired detective, and warned him that Ray had done stupid stuff, but now he was being reasonable and Xander was taking him to get tested tomorrow now that he understood how bad his ex was for him.  He had to explain how bad the ex was for his nephew, but Don understood.  He'd dated women like that himself.


Xander walked into the design office, grinning at the receptionist, who nodded at him to go up.  He pulled Ray with him, skipping up the stairs.  "Hi."

Diana smiled at him and shook her head. "I was right, it was my kinky ho's."

"Damn."  He let the sadness wash over him for a few minutes but then let it go for now.  He'd talk to Horatio about it when he got back.  He sighed and nodded.   "I still wouldn't mind being an uncle."  She smiled and nodded.  "Good.  Now, what can we do for you, dear?"

"It depends, are you wearing *real* underwear?"  Ray blushed at that and nodded but Xander shook his head.  "Thong?" she offered, holding one up.  Ray blushed brighter.  "Dear, you have nothing to be ashamed off.  If you're built anything like your uncle, Xander must have problems sitting now and then."  Xander nodded at that and Ray burst out laughing.  "What?"

"My first time I let someone talk me into buying lube with a natural stimulant," he offered dryly, smirking at her.  "Horatio needed seven naps by the time I got it out of my system."  She moaned and stared, mouth slightly open.  "My first time, my second time, all the way through my sixth time.  So no, Xander didn't sit the next few days.  I had literal bruises on the inside of my asscheeks."  Ray was now bright red.  "And then Tim, my dad, gave it to his girlfriend when they figured it out.  She cleaned the house with his toothbrush.  Don got those when he brought back the robo-Xander sex robot."  Ray gaped at him so he grinned.  "Honey, if it was on the open market, I could make a hell of a lot in royalties."

"Some of the super-stalkers would pay *billions*," she moaned.  "Especially if you could make some of other people too.  People pay thousands for dolls like their favorite porn stars."

"This one had realistic skin and took vocal commands, plus interacted in real time," Ray told her.  "Uncle Speed stills groans about him."

"Ask Don and Danny, they saw him, he horribly traumatized their boss," Xander said with a smug look.  "See, to get away from my former friend Buffy again, Danny played the boyfriend."  She whimpered, licking her lips.  "So my buddy Willow had one made when they made the Buffy robot to soothe his anguish when I supposedly wouldn't come to New York to be with him."

"Can she have one made for me?" she pleaded, giving him the best begging look she could.  "I love you, Xander.  I'll *pay* for it, a lot."  He walked over and put down Willow's phone number.  She dialed it immediately.  "Dear, this is Diana.  You don't know me but I did a lot of Xander's stripper clothes and was his confidant when he was in Montreal."

"Hi, Wills," he called.  "She wants a Xander bot of her own!"

She suddenly giggled at something Willow said.  "Dear, think about how much his stalkers would pay for a willing, breathing, sex starved Xander," she offered.  "Hell, I'd pay a few thousand for one, especially if you could program in the bondage stuff."

"But you cannot let Mac Taylor or Danny or Don see it," Xander ordered.  "Like I said, Mac got traumatized."

"He won't be leaving my bedroom anyway," she pointed out dryly, waving him toward the fitting room.  "Go try stuff on and let me see while I negotiate."  Xander drug Ray that way.  "Seriously, dear, I've got ten grand sitting in my bank account and I can get another ten if necessary," she said quietly.  "I know people and sex clubs where you'd get triple that since you can do anything to them and they won't break or complain. Just consider the offer.  Do you have caller id to get my number?"  She smiled and rattled it off.  "That's me, ask for Diana. Hell, I'll send it via cashier's check and overnight it," she promised.  "Thank you!"  She hung up and went to relieve an ache, then went to help the boys into her clothes and check the fit.


Don tapped on Xander's apartment door, giving him a long look but not coming in when the guy opened the door.  "Where were you last night?"

"Here.  Why?"  He waved him inside.  "So you're not in the hall down from Stella's apartment?" he offered when he didn't move.  "Ray can tell you I was here all night."

He walked in and looked at Ray.  "Was he here all last night?  Not even went out for a burger?"

"No, he was here all night.  He was helping me in my science homework."  He looked at him.  "Why?  Did something happen?"

"Yeah, he was rumored to be at a S&M club last night."  Xander winced and he saw it.  "What?  You know, so give.  You got a twin or something?"

"No, but Diana and Willow have been talking."

"It's that robot!" he demanded.

"No, I doubt Anya would give him up," Ray said dryly.  "She was kinda needy."

"There's two of them!" Don yelled.  "How could you do this to us!  We like you more'n this!"

"Diana wanted to help the maker market them and Buffy bots," he said weakly, sitting down to give him a pitiful look.  "We mentioned them to her and I gave her Willow's number but she said it'd never leave her apartment."

"Well, she took him out on the town and let a hell of a lot of guys have his ass," he said bitterly.  Ray moaned and hid his face in a pillow. "Sorry, kid."

"No, not you," he said weakly, looking at Xander.  "Results."

Xander checked the date on his watch and nodded.  "You're right."  He stood up. "Get dressed."  Don looked stunned.  "His girlfriend took him to a rave and drugged him, Don.  I got called to rescue him from the orgy and I needed my bi-monthly one too.  It's result day if you wanted to come."

He calmed himself.  "Sure.  The same Diana?"  He nodded.  "Then we're gonna talk with her."

"I told her she had to keep it away from you guys."

"Yeah, well, the Vice cop there recognized you."   He went into the kitchen to call Mac and the Vice cop together.  "It's me.  It wasn't the kid.  It's another of those stupid robots."  The Vice cop spluttered. "Ask Mac about 'em.  That same designer owns him.  She promised not ta let him out of her bedroom but apparently she wanted to show him off.  By the way, they might be making more Buffy ones too."

Xander came in and smiled at him.  "I talked to Willow. The others won't be Xander bots.  There's only one more out there and he's been special ordered by one of my stalkers."

Don snorted.  "Yeah, I guess it'll help keep 'em off someone else," he said dryly.  "They here?"  Xander whispered the name in his ear.  "You got a big guy in business like him on your ass?"

"Often," Xander said dryly, shrugging a bit. "He wanted to be my first blow and hated that I said no and I walked away from him."  He went to find his jacket and check on Ray, who was sitting on his bed.  "I'm going to be there holding your hand," he said quietly.  "No matter what."  Ray looked at him and nodded. "So come on."  Ray got up and followed him out. They gathered the groaning Don from the kitchen.  "You okay?"

"Mac had a flashback to being hit on by the last one."  He looked at the kid.  "You good?"

"I don't know," he admitted. "I broke up with her.  She's the same one who talked me into doing the open pole thing."

Don nodded. "I've had a few of those and your uncle called me when he heard.  Your mother is still swearing at your ex.  She's not mad that Xander had ta talk to you, but she's mad you showed such poor judgement."  He ruffled the kid's hair.  "So therefore I got sicced on your ass too.  Consider yourself grounded."

"Better than screamed at and beaten," he said dryly.

"Expect that when they get here."   He waved at the door. "C'mon, I'll drive."  Xander gave him a small grin. "You're still doing one every other month?"

"Yeah, for the next three years, just in case," Xander agreed.  "I sure as hell don't want to give Horatio anything serious like a disease."  He grabbed his keys and wallet, locking the doors behind them.  Stella peeked out.  "Test result day, Stella."

"Sure.  Need another chaperone, Don?"

"Nah.  We gotta talk about the plans to draw the idiot during the show."  He grinned at her.  "Besides, I figure the kid'll need an adult to lean on for a bit."

"It's a good idea," she agreed.  "Who's got the pizza or ribs tonight, guys?"

"I do," Xander said with a grin for her.  "We've gotta head."  He put an arm around Ray's shoulders and walked him down to the car. "Are they paying you to babysit, Don?" he asked once they were inside and out into traffic.

"Yup, sure are. The school reported that he tried ta talk to one'a the girls and they were not happy.  Your mayor's cousin's kid goes there and news got back to him.  Tripp told 'im what went on and where you two were hiding so he called up here, mayor ta mayor."  He grinned at Ray, who chuckled.  "Mac told ours that we've got a plan ta draw the guy using the fashion stuff and me and Danny were going in with you and one of his other targets.  He seemed relieved and ordered the Chief to order my Lieutenant to put me on paid leave ta help any way I could.  Me and Danny both.  So, ribs tonight, guys?"

"Ribs are good," Ray agreed with a shy grin.  "Thank you, Detective Flack."

"Eh, it's Don, kid, unless you fuck up majorly."

"Yes, Don.  Thank you."  He hugged him around the arm.

"Are we sure he's in town, Don?" Xander asked calmly.

"Yeah, the Vice cop saw him at the show of the new sextoy last night," he said dryly.  "He left before she could arrest him.  Ya know they're gonna pick on Danny horribly for this, right?"  Xander moaned and nodded. "Good.  So, word on other tests?"

"Not mine," Xander sighed.  "I built up this whole fantasy," he admitted quietly.

"Yeah, that's normal," he admitted with a grin back at him at a light.  Someone behind him honked and he flipped him off through the back windshield, then timed it so he went through the last seconds of the yellow light, stranding him.  He grinned at the wicked chuckle from the boy beside him.  "I hate impatient asshole drivers.  I used ta pull 'em all over and give 'em tickets when I did traffic."  He looked back at Xander.  "Which clinic?"  The card was handed over.  "Not too far out of the way. There's one closer."

"I called the health department, they said that one," Xander said with a small shrug.  Don turned the car around and headed back a few blocks to take a right turn and go that way for a bit.  "You sure you wanna come in?"

"Yeah, hand holding is pretty good in these things," Don pointed out dryly. "I'm sure Horatio does yours."

"No.  Not really.  My first one I went alone and I usually sneak off for mine now.  I give him the results when I get 'em back, but I usually go alone."  Ray gave him an odd look. "He's a busy guy."

"So?  He'd still go with you," he complained.  "He whined at Mom about that too."  He got out once they parked and Don helped Xander out, locking the doors.  He looked up, then at Xander.  "Do I have to?"

"Why take the test if you don't wanna know?" Don asked dryly, coming over to escort the kid inside.  A few of the people in there averted their eyes.  "He's a friend's nephew, I'm only here as an escort," he announced.  "I don't care what you're doin' as long as I don't have ta see it."  The receptionist gave him a smile.  "These two need results."  Xander handed over their numbered slips and she took note, then handed them numbers for their spot in line.

"Together," Xander told her.  "I'm his uncle, kinda.  I'm going to be holding his hand."

"If you want, he can go in right after you and you can wait," she told him.

He nodded and they sat down together, Xander taking his hand to hold.  Ray gave him a weak smile.  "It's not that bad, Ray.  I promise.  I went through ten of them before anyone even knew I was taking them.  I only got driven once.  You're a strong guy and you can do this."

"What if one of the other ones comes up positive?" he said quietly.  "How do I tell my mother?"

"She already knows you fucked up with this girl," Don reminded him patiently, staring him down.  "She also knows you were probably drugged.  She won't be yellin' at you for this.  It might come back ta haunt you during a few arguments, but they can treat most everything these days.  You can write 'er tonight to tell her the good news that everything's fine and dandy.  So just calm down and think positive thoughts, okay?"  He nodded, still sitting stiffly between them.  He looked at Xander.  "Three years?"

"Two is usually suggested but I'm not taking that chance," he said quietly.  "Not with what could've hit me in the club."

"Point, but still."

"I'm being extra specially careful.  I give too much of a damn about my guy to even let the hint of this stuff touch him, Don."

"That's good ta know."  He patted him on the back of the head. "When I have kids, I'll let you and this guy here have the good talks with him so he don't end up with some bitchy girlfriend who does that to him."  Xander looked up as his number was called. "I'll be here."  Xander nodded and got up, going into the other room.  He made Ray look at him.  "I'm doubting you caught anything and even if you did, it can mostly be treated since it hasn't been that long.  Even the stuff without a cure's got a treatment these days, kiddo.  Got it?"  Ray nodded, swallowing.  "Good.  You want me in there too?"

"No, I'm good with just him.  He almost handcuffed me when he brought me in. The doctor thought it was funny until she was told what happened and why I was here. Then she told Xander to use padded ones."  He shrugged weakly.  "Will I need all this testing?"

"Ask them.  They'd know more'n me."

Ray nodded and looked over as the door opened, getting up when his number was called.  He handed over his slip and sat down, clutching Xander's hand with a death-grip.  He took a calming breath.  "Okay, I'm ready."

"Well, first, I wanted to see if you had any questions.  I find most patients aren't able to speak afterward."

"How long will I have to take tests?"

"I'd suggest at least a year, if not two for safety," she said gently.  "Every four months. Xander is incredibly cautious due to his past and his new love.  You don't have to be quite that diligent."  Ray nodded, getting paler.  "Do you know where the clinic in Miami is?"

"I can take him," Xander assured her quietly.  "They know me on sight now."  She nodded at that, giving him a gentle smile.  "I have authorization to treat from his mother if he needs anything.  If there is something, do we go through you for that or do I need to make an appointment for him somewhere?"

"For anything simple we can write out a prescription and you can have it filled wherever.  For something more complex, like HIV, we'd definitely make you go to a specialist for that.  We have a list of places you can go."  She flipped open the folder.  "Well, I see here the HIV screen was negative."  Ray sighed and slumped.  "But..."  She looked at him. "You did pick up something bacterial.  The swab came up positive."  He winced.  "Therefore you will have some antibiotics and another medicine."  She shut the folder.  "It's not uncommon and it's really the best thing that could've happened to you, Ray.  It's curable.  It's easily curable.  It's a lot like a really bad yeast infection.  Trichomonas isn't that bad and it's really easy to cure."  He shivered.  "I've got some pamphlets for you and I need you to take some precautions for a while.  I need you to take all of your antibiotics and the other stuff.  Got it?"  He nodded quickly.  She smiled.  "Good boy.  Now, are you allergic to any drugs?"

"Penicillin," he said quietly.

"That's fine," she agreed, writing out what she needed and handing them to Xander.  "That's a three-times-a-day with food.  Milk might make you queasy.  You can get it at any pharmacy, all right?"  He nodded.  "For privacy reasons, those only have my name and number on them.  Do we have a contact number for you locally?  I saw the Florida number in Xander's file."

"You can use my email," Xander assured her quietly, squeezing Ray's hand.  "We probably won't be up here for more than the rest of this month.  His mother's in protective custody since she's testifying in a federal case."

"That's fine," she agreed happily.  "Now, for at least the next year, Ray, you're to go to the local clinic down there.  I'll go ahead and send these to your regular doctor if you want."  Ray nodded and leaned forward, writing down the name for her.  "Any other questions?"

"No, ma'am, thank you," he said quietly, getting up and shaking her hand.  He looked at Xander.

"It could've been much worse with what she got you into, Ray, and it's still not your fault. You didn't have a clue that you shouldn't drink stuff at a rave."  He nodded politely at the doctor and tucked the prescriptions into his pocket, walking the kid out.  He nodded at Don, heading for the door with him following them.

Once they were in the car, he looked at Ray.  "You okay? You look shell shocked, kid."

"Trick," Xander said quietly.  "One of the girls."

Don nodded.  "That's not a bad one ta have considering.  Pharmacy?"  Ray swallowed and nodded.  "You puke, you do it out the window," he ordered.  Ray nodded and got out to get sick, Xander following him.  He let the kid handle his nephew, they were tight.  Xander seemed to know a lot about this stuff.  When they got back in, he looked at him.  "Been here before?"

"Prom," he said dryly.  "Anya was a slut.  She didn't charge, she enjoyed it for the sake of pleasure."  He leaned forward, putting a hand on Ray's shoulder.  "If you want, you can tell your mom and uncle it all went good and I'll back you up, Ray," he said gently.  Ray gave him a grateful look.  "I think Horatio would understand and your mom knows it wasn't your idea, but if you want to tell them it's all good, I'll back you up on it and won't tell Horatio anything."

"Thank you."  He looked at Don.  "I need to get those filled."

"I know a good pharmacy.  They don't say nothin' ta nobody there.  Really kinda unfriendly when you think about it."  He grinned at him and nudged him.  "The rest are probably just a formality, kid."

"I know, but it's still giving me a headache."

"We'll make sure you can take tylenol with them," Xander assured him, leaning back.  Ray gave him a weak smile.  "You get to pick dinner tonight, Ray.  I'll pay."  Ray nodded and bit his lip as they pulled into the pharmacy's parking lot.  Xander got out and walked inside, going to get them filled for him.  The pharmacist raised an eyebrow so Xander casually said the 'kid's underaged and his girl was a ho, first timer' and that was the end of the funny looks but it did get Ray a lollipop from the pharmacist's assistant.


Xander did the first trial walk down the runway, smiling at Diana since she was at the end.  "Slutty, come get me vibes or smiles and winks, Di?"  The baby squealed.

"Slutty vibes and winks, baby."  He turned and gave her a wicked smirk and a wink, making her nod.  "Just like that."  Ray came down, looking like a blushing virgin.  "Ray, dear, try for 'I want you' instead of 'I'm not sure if I can lick you or not'."  He changed his expression and she smiled. "Better, much better."  She looked at his outfit, then nodded.  "That needs to be fitted better.  Have them stick a red sticker on it."  He nodded and went back there to change and do that.  Don came out looking very shy.  "Don, I do slutty, fuck me now clothes.  Try to look like you want ta be fucked into an early grave?" she asked patiently.  He blushed at that and tried.  She rolled her eyes.  "Xander?"  He prowled out and kissed Don, making him splutter, but smile. "That look!  Yes!  The 'you know you want it' look, Don.  Keep that look."  She looked him over.  "I still say that's not fitted right but I don't know why."

"The butt hangs down too far," Xander called as he stalked backstage to finish changing.

"Turn around, Don."  He did so and she came over to pin them a bit tighter, looking at the front.  "Yeah, I like that a bit better."  He nodded and went to change, blushing heavily now.  He heard the baby giggle and gave it an odd look so she snickered.  "Danny?" she called dryly.  He peeked out.  "You can wear your glasses," she promised.  He came out in his outfit, looking very hot.  She wiped some drool off.  "You get to walk behind Ray, dear.  Turn, I want you slutty and wanton."  He gave her his most steamy look and made her blush, then Xander came out and leaned on his shoulder, making her drool and shift in her clothes.  The baby clapped and she looked at him.  "You, hush."  She smiled at them.  "I like that.  Prowling out in groups is good!  Don!  You and Ray come out together when you're both dressed!"  They came out, one from each side of the catwalk, leaning against each other's backs when Xander arranged them.  "Nice," she purred, smiling at them.  "Very nice.  Change!"

They all went back there and she redesigned the order of the clothes so they came out together that way.  She had them switch pairs now and then for different groups of outfits, noticing how hot some of the various combinations looked together.  Her show was going to produce drool by the quart and maybe she'd let a few of the more discreet working girls and boys she knew in the audience to make some money. As long as she didn't tell the officers that.  Then Danny would pout and Don would get stiff just as she was getting him to loosen up.  But it was going to be scorching in here by the time the show was done.  "All right, break for lunch," she called.  "You can't wear any of those outside yet.  Come back in an hour and we'll do the formal setup and rehearsal for the show.  That way everyone's got the right partner for each set."  She got up and took the baby to her rented office, handing him to his nanny and grabbing her girlfriend for a lunch of her own.


Xander walked into the bar Danny had said he was at, smiling at the bartender.  "Beer me?"

"Sure, kid.  You meeting someone here?" he asked.

"Danny Messer.  He's an old buddy of mine."  He paid for his beer and got Danny pointed out so he gave him a tip.  "Thank you."  He walked that way, noticing someone was in Danny's face.  He put his beer aside after a few sips and casually stepped between them.  "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he asked with a fond smile.  "Do you mind not trying to menace people in public?  It really does set such a bad example."

"Who're you?" he sneered, looking him over.  "You his bitch?"

"No, I'm his friend."  He grabbed the guy by the balls and twisted, making him let out a shrill scream and his knees collapse.  Xander didn't let him fall, instead getting closer into his face.  "Nobody, and I do mean nobody," he said quietly and calmly, "touches Danny without his consent.  No one bothers Danny, no one harasses Danny.  Otherwise I, as his friend, get angry.  And I'd so hate to take these," he said, giving them a squeeze, "and be forced to cut them off and use them as someone's lawn ornament, like they did in Ancient Greece. Not that I can't stuff your set so they look like they belong to a *real* man, like Danny, or Don Flack, or any of the people he works with, including Stella Bonasera, but that would take too much time out of my hectic schedule to fill what you haven't been able to."  He let him go.  "Now, I suggest you go home and sleep it off, sir.  Before some of us have to call the psychos I deal with daily and ask for a favor."  The man limped out, whimpering the whole way.  Xander picked up his beer and wiped his hand off on his pantsleg.  "Sorry about that.  Didn't mean to intrude if you wanted it but I needed to talk to someone and Don's a bit testy today since he's on a date."

" just...." he started, pointing after the guy.

"Yeah?  And?"  He finished his beer and put the glass down, shaking his head at the curious look.  "My limit, I don't often drink," he offered with a shy grin. Then he looked at Danny again.  "I think Stella could better fill his set than he did and threatening you just made me crankier.  But anyway," he said, leading Danny away from the bar.  "There's a guy watching us.  He's not the normal psycho.  My 'dar isn't pinging on him wanting mine or Ray's ass.  My psycho radar and paranormal radar aren't pinging.  So I don't know who the hell this guy is but it's starting to make me nervous."

"You just grabbed the balls of a gangster in a cop bar, Xander."

"And?  Now maybe he'll take advantage of having them and *use* them *properly*," he said dryly, staring at him.  "Focus, Danny.  Trust me, could be worse."  Danny moaned and finished his drink.  "I didn't pull out a knife and skin it for him to show him it wasn't even good enough for a condom, let's feel lucky I'm not feeling homicidal since that guy's following me."

"Sure," he agreed, nodding, meaning he was going to be talking to Horatio as soon as he showed up and Speed if he could find him too.  And possibly Don and Mac too so maybe *someone* could control the kid and make him calm down.  Because he was just in awe.  There were local thugs who wouldn't pull that move.  "What guy?"

"I don't know.  He looks familiar, but not like someone I know.  I don't think he was a client but I know him from somewhere and he's just staring all the time."

"Okay.  Well, the next time point him out to us."

"I did and Don's cranky because he's got a date tonight."

"Yeah, it's been a while for him," he said dryly, going to get a new drink and coming back with it half drained.  "Okay.  What does the guy look like?"

Xander pointed outside.  "Him."  Danny looked and Xander headed that way, clearing his throat since the guy was starting to walk away.  "Listen, you want something with me or Ray, you come to me.  Do it now, do it openly.  I've got too much on my mind without you."  The guy turned and looked at him.  "Who the hell are you?  You look familiar but I know I don't know you."

Danny came out, looking at him, flashing his badge.  "The kid's in protective custody.  I'd like answers as well."  He moved them away from the doorway and to a nearby alley.  "Now, name?"

"I ...."

Xander casually pushed him against the wall and got into his face.  "You keep staring at my nephew, buddy.  You can stare at me all you fucking well want but you leave the kid the fuck alone."

"Hard to leave my son alone," he said bitterly.

Xander frowned.  "Unless someone pretended to be Yelina's husband, he's dead.  Wanna try again?"

He pulled out his old ID badge, showing to him.  "I'm Ray Senior."

Xander looked at it, then at him.  "What the fuck?"

"Undercover," he said quietly.

Xander patted himself down then took Danny's phone, dialing a number.  "I need to speak to room 2265 please.  I know the rules, lady, it's fucking well important or I wouldn't be doing this, okay?  I need one of the Caines."  He listened.  "Tim, Horatio, phone, now," he ordered.  "No!" he snarled.  "Gee, I don't know, someone else who fucking well came back to life?" he asked sarcastically.  "Horatio, now."  Horatio was handed the phone.  "Someone here needs to discuss something with you about his son.  Horatio, why would I do this without it being life or death?"  He handed the phone over and stepped back.  "Talk to the man.  Unless he or Yelina tell me you're legit and it's okay, you don't come near Ray."

"Horatio," Ray Sr. said quietly.  He listened to the silence.  "Bro?"  He relaxed and smiled.  "Would you mind telling me why this predatory young guy has my son?"  He listened to the quiet words as Horatio went into a bathroom and locked the door.  He glared at the kid, who glared back.  "So he's protecting my son?"  Xander nodded.  "What's his relation to...."  He looked stunned, then at the kid.  "You're sleeping with my brother? He's old enough to be your father!"

"And?  He understands me and he's very good and patient in bed. You have no right to dictate to him who he sleeps with."  Ray backed away another step and Xander snatched the phone.  "Do I let him see Ray?"  He held his head, relaxing and nodded. "I agree, not until you and her are back and away from the Feds."  Ray's face hardened so he glared at him.  "He doesn't need it right now.  He's being chased by some serial killer asshole and he's got other shit in his life that adding you would only create greater hell."  He looked at him, putting the phone against his chest.  "I agree.  When Horatio and Yelina get out, come back.  Until then, be a bit more discreet.  The kid nearly saw you."

"What serial killer?"

"Ask Danny."  He walked a few steps off.  "He's talking to Danny.  No, Don had a date and he was cranky.  No, Danny said it'd been a while."  He grinned at Danny, who was snickering.  "What?"  He considered his promise.  "Ray didn't want me in there with him, Horatio," he said quietly, lying totally and he knew his lover could tell he was lying.  "So you'll have to ask him."  He swallowed.  "Don't you think if the main test came out positive you'd have heard and had a crying boy there somehow?" he asked quietly.  "I'd have done it somehow, Horatio. You know that."  He smiled a sweet, gentle smile. "No, he's okay and he's enjoying the show a lot so far.  Diana's been pretty neat about this stuff."  He grinned brighter.  "Of course, if I can.  Plus we'll be getting the clothes as well. Love you too.  Tell her he's okay and would've told her if it was something like the main test being positive so she can quit worrying.  Love you too," he sighed.  "Hurry them up?"  He grinned.  "Thank you.  No, Danny's.  I broke mine. I knocked it off the night stand and stepped on it this morning.  Love you too."  He hung up and walked back, handing Danny back his phone.  "When they're done with this trial, you can come back.  You can talk to Yelina and Ray Jr. all you want.  Until then, I need you to back off.  Ray doesn't need it right now."

"What serial killer?"

"One after strippers.  Your son's girlfriend talked him into doing an open pole night and the guy fixated.  He showed up at his school and since it was originally a New York case and they're all in protective custody, we came up here to help the cops who were over this case catch him again.  They came down to Miami to catch him the first time when he was coming after me and I'm guarding your son's back until the others are free."

"What makes you think you're qualified!  He should be in police custody, not the custody of some little gay boy!"

Xander hit him a few times, leaning down once he was on the ground and groaning. "That's why I'm guarding him.  I consider Ray my family as well since I'm with your brother.  I have enough experience having to stay away from these guys and with protecting myself and others nightly that, yes, I feel more than qualified, especially with Danny watching our back.  If you don't, then take it up with Horatio when he gets back."  He saw Danny put the phone up to his ear and smirked.  "Didn't I hang it up?"  Danny shook his head.  "Sorry.  Tell him I'm sorry.  Almost."  He sneered down at Ray.  "I don't know why you give a damn.  You left your wife and son in a dangerous spot and they've grieved horribly for you.  I blame Ray Jr. taking up with a ho on you not being there and Horatio doing the best he could considering Ray doesn't live with him."

"You took my son to a meth clinic!" he accused, getting up and wiping off his mouth.

"No I didn't."

"That's what that clinic is for!"

"Really? I thought it was for things like HIV tests since his girlfriend was a ho and drugged him," he sneered.  "Thankfully, Horatio and the rest of the guys in his life have started to show him what *nice* girls are like. That way he finds someone like his mother."  Ray looked horrified and backed away.  "Now, get off your fucking high horse since you abandoned them.  No one said you *had* to go on that assignment and I'm sure there were others who could've went.  No one said you had to sleep around on your wife while on it.  No one said you had to fucking well destroy your brother and wife with your shit or make them believe you were a dirty, drug using cop, or have IAD and Stetler on their ass for the rest of their days."  He backed up another step.  "That's right, Stetler's been so far up Horatio's ass, we had to have him arrested for it."

"Calm down," Danny quietly.  He moved closer. "Horatio said to calm down."  He handed the phone back and looked at Ray.  "Your boy was helped a lot by Xander.  He's stopped all the stupid teenager stuff. Ray's a much better guy for having Xander and Horatio around him.  So lay the fuck off."

Xander hung up.  "Stetler's in town," he said quietly.  Danny looked at him, frowning a bit.  "The IA guy who threatened to rape and torture me so he wouldn't frame Horatio and Tim."

"Ah, him.  Horatio called to say he had been fired and arrested, but made a deal."

"Yeah, well, they had the Feebs check for him. He's working for someone in town as a ..." he coughed, "private investigator.  Not fully legal from what they can tell.  So there's now three of them after us."  He turned and hit the wall, calming himself down. Then he looked at Ray again.  "Go the fuck away until they come back from being hidden."

"I might not get the chance," he complained.

"And your son was fucking destroyed emotionally.  Yelina told me he couldn't cry for nearly three years. He was so emotionally stunted, Yelina was dating Stetler to try and feel something again and it wasn't good for either of them.  Your decisions destroyed the family you built and Horatio had to fill in for you.  Thankfully, he's a good father."

"I was!"

"Really?  You sure about that?  Did it change when you started using?" Xander asked bitterly.

"Hey!" Danny warned.  "None'a that."  He looked at Ray again.  "You, back off. This isn't the time for this shit.  So just back down."

"I'm not backing down from some little fruit who's turning my son gay!"

Xander punched him again.  "Actually, your son's very straight.  He's been flirting with two models recently."  He looked at Danny.  "With this happy fucking news, I'm going to go back to the hotel.  If I see him and Ray sees him and gets that upset, I'm shooting him."  He walked off, going home.  He noticed someone tracking him and looked at him, baring his teeth in a happy smirk.  "Missed me?" he mouthed.  "I hear Yelina found a happy boyfriend who likes oral sex."  The other man's face turned red and he blew a kiss.  "Rapist and molester," he mouthed, then walked off.  It was a hike but he needed the calm before he lost his temper.  Because he was going to do that very shortly.  He noticed a few people turning and staring but didn't really care at the moment.  He was back in alpha bitch mode and it wasn't going to bother him if he got into another fight tonight.

Back in the alley, Danny was shaking his head. "That kid is the reason yours wasn't hurt by this guy," he said calmly.  "I don't care if he's doin' Speed, Eric, and Horatio.  He loves his family, which includes yours.  I'd accept it.  Ray sees him like a big brother and Yelina encouraged it and helps him with little surprises."  He moved closer. "Horatio said that they're nearly done.  They'll be done by the end of the month.  By then we'll have the idiot.  Your boy'll be safe.  Xander can go back to being your brother's boy instead of the alpha he has ta pull out sometimes."

"Who is he?"

"Xander?  Kinda complicated really.  He's a profiling candidate.  He's in college.  He has a history of combat in a non-military environment.  He's a really good shot.  He's very protective of what's his and his family, and that does include your former wife and son.  Plus your brother.  Your brother went ta him, not the other way around.  Xander made sure of that.  Xander's stood up against at least eight sickos who wanted ta capture or kill him.  When he found out your son was dating a girl who made him do an open pole night and then took him to a rave a few weeks later, where he got drugged by her, he worked ta get him in for the blood tests and stuff he'd need.  He worked to get him ta see how bad she was.  It says something when your wife trusts Xander to watch your son while she's gone for over a month.  You used ta trust her judgement, do it now.  Just leave 'em alone until  Horatio gets back with her.  That way they can cushion your kid.  Because otherwise he could die from the strain at the moment."  He turned and walked off.  At the end of the alley, a guy in a trench coat was waiting.  "Oh, wonderful.  Fed?"  He got a look and a nod.  "Fine.  And?"

"You broke protocol?"

"The kid's father showed up."

"He's dead."

"Apparently not and he's been with you guys.  Xander did the right thing to let Horatio know.  He wasn't about to make the decision ta let the guy near the kid without confirmation of who he was and if it was okay.  That's smart and loving."

"It is," he agreed dryly, pushing off the wall.  "I hoped like hell this would've been over before now."

Danny looked over his shoulder. "You mean ya wish it?"

"Yeah, I do wish it," he admitted quietly, turning to look at her.

"Wish granted.  That man ruins lives worse than most.  He's touched too many that couldn't be helped faster. That makes him my domain.  Just copping a plea?"

He swallowed, these things had been rumored around the office.  He had prayed for this to go quicker and this was his answer.  "Would work fine.  We need him to give us further up the chain."

The blonde woman nodded.  "Wish granted and very well done.  Even almost unselfish."  She looked at Danny. "The boy will be fine.  He's got Horatio's strength.  Besides, we like Xander with Horatio."  She smirked.  "Tell him Anya loves her Xander bot.  That it had to be taken away as punishment a few times when she forgot to get up and do her job.  She nearly died getting him back."  She smirked and faded out. "Make it so Horatio can come back and guard his nephew.  The guy'll be there."

"Wow.  I heard about wish demons but that's amazing," Danny said, looking at the Fed.  "Go wait on him ta break."

"Yeah.  Okay."  He nodded and walked off looking very confused.  He came back and pointed.  "Who's that?"

Ray came out and looked. "Rick Stetler, former IAD in Miami who jumped on my brother because of my case."  He looked at him.  "You know something about this situation?"

"You're slipping your handlers?" he countered.

Ray nodded.  "My boy needs me."

"He's got all he needs," Danny told him.  "Remember, you're supposed ta be dead."  He went back into the bar, turning off his phone to make sure it hung up this time. He'd have to have someone look at it in the morning.

Ray walked across the street, catching Stetler before he could run very far.  "We're going to talk, Stetler."

"You're dead," he said, staring at him.  "You were buried and you're dead."

"No, the government did that."  He shoved him back over to the alley.  "Now, what do you know about this boy who's guarding my son and when did my brother take up with him?"

"You mean you didn't know?" he sneered.  "Hasn't Horatio always...."  Ray hit him, getting to release some of that anger now.  He wiped the blood off his lip and looked at the Fed watching them.  "You're going to let him do this?"

"As far as I know you're being beaten by a dead man.  How would I stop you being haunted?"  He shrugged but stayed to watch and listen. Everyone in the agency hated working with Horatio Caine and if he could blackmail his cooperation, it'd look very good on him for getting him to work with them.

"Now, give me what I want to know and you'll walk away.  Otherwise, my handlers are searching for me.  You'd be an annoyance and a fly in the ointment of my op."

Stetler swallowed and nodded.  "All I know is that Speedle claims the little bitch as his son. Apparently wherever he was and however he came back to life, the kid used to live there. Speedle and a cop from here who worked out there with him claimed him as their son after running his parents out of town.  It's said that it was a good decision and that they were hurting the kid.  Speedle sent the kid to Horatio without warning either of them.  That's how they found out he was alive."

"So, Horatio was supposed to mentor him?"

Stetler nodded.  "Yeah, but something happened back in that town and most of Caine's team took off to help Speedle.  The kid took off after the fight or whatever.  He ended up stripping in Montreal.  Apparently he made a lot of good money somehow, even though Speedle insists he wasn't selling it, using drugs, or drinking.  He had a clean drug test from him after they got back, I saw the form from the ER."   Ray nodded more slowly.  "Apparently the kid draws psychotic people."  He swallowed again. "Which was how the CSI from earlier got involved.  The same guy that's now after your son was their case and he was after Xander."


"The kid's name.  Alexander Harris."

"Okay.  I can search that later."  He stared into his eyes.  "Anything else?"

"As Darkness, stripping in Miami before he went to college, he made tons of money.  He helped Caine catch a few more serial guys and some bastards out of the club.  He did it while making tremendous money.  His last night, when he came off the stage and walked out with your brother holding his hand, boldly proclaiming his intentions, made him about a quarter of a mil.  It's said he's got some stuff in hiding that Horatio doesn't know about.  I know that he's got a gun stash in Miami thanks to one of his former friends in California.  Your brother and one of the guys from up here went with him to look at it and found some stuff the kid said wasn't supposed to be there, including some explosives.  They handed it over to a bomb squad contact of Caine's.  I know the boy wears indecently tight things to the station now and then.  The women all titter over it," he sneered.  "Xander-tight is now a word around there."

"And why were you fired?" the agent asked, moving closer.  "He said something about raping and torturing?"

Stetler sneered at him.  "He's so obviously being shared between Speedle, who he calls 'daddy', and Caine.  I was attempting to get him to confess that it was illegal so I could clean the snake out of the department.  After all, blood tells."

"Actually, what you said was that you were going to rape him repeatedly, carve your initials into his ass cheek, and then show him off to all your buddies so they could have him too, that way you would supposedly protect us from you planting evidence in our lab," Horatio said calmly, coming out of the shadows.  Stetler looked horrified.  He smirked.  "Yes they had us in the city the whole time.  Xander thinks we're somewhere in Virginia."  He looked at Ray.  "Do you want him?"

"Not really, he's making me feel slimy."

"Hmm."  He pulled Stetler away and beat the shit out of him, leaving him there, then walking over him.  "If your handlers want him, they can have him."  He looked at the agent.  "This changes nothing.  Everyone knows about Xander. The Chief thought he was a fitting reward for all my service to the city since Xander was his favorite stripper as well."  The agent moaned and backed off.  "They're where?"  The address was written down and handed over.  "Thank you, now disappear.  I'll go back tonight."  He nodded and left.  He looked at his brother.  "For Xander to actually call me that way, you had to make him hurt pretty badly, Ray.  I know my boy, he's very strong."

"Since when are you gay?" he demanded.

"Unless you want more bruises to match the ones he gave you, I'd quit now," he warned coldly.  "I've found traces of this operation and your wife was told when it became unavoidable, but that doesn't mean she's happy about this.  She doesn't know I'm here now nor will she."  He stepped closer.  "Leave my boy alone.  Xander is every bit as protective as I am," he said quietly, staring into his eyes.  "It's also interesting to note that your son is a lot more like me, Ray.  Thankfully.  Also thankfully Xander has his back when he got into trouble with his girlfriend.  We didn't even know he had been drugged or found at an orgy.  He did talk to Xander and your son did get drug to get the necessary tests when he found out.  He sees your son as his little brother and he will protect him.  So for now you will back off.  At least until we're back at home."  Ray nodded, stepping away. Horatio stared him down.  "Are there any other comments you wish to make?"

"You never dated a guy before."

"Xander understands me in ways no one else has," he pointed out smoothly.  He smirked.  "He gave up his bad habits for me.  He's in college and trying because of Speed and I.  He loves me enough to spoil me and to tell me when people hit on him, plus to shelter in my arms when things go wrong.  If you watch us together for a few days, you'll see that.  It is love on both sides.

Danny coughed from the end of the alley.  "I heard someone made a bet about him having to sleep in the hummer or not."

"Apparently that community has decided he's at least as precious to me as my hummer," he agreed dryly, smirking at him.  "We'll be there as backup."

"Good.  We may have ta drug Don that day."  He looked at Ray.  "Go home for now."

"I want to see my son."

"We're wearing very tight stripper clothes ta draw the guy out.  You sure you wanna see your boy that way?" he countered.  Ray groaned and held his head.  "Yeah, exactly."  He looked at Horatio, shrugging a bit.  "He looks fantastic in most of it.  Two outfits I can't watch him in, I start to hyperventilate."  He nodded at the Fed.  "Nice night, huh?"

"Very.  Thank you, CSI Messer."

"Not an issue.  We consider Xander like a little brother around here.  Stella's gonna pout horribly when he goes back ta Miami.  Ray's as close as she's ever gotten ta havin' a kid of her own."  He looked at Horatio.  "Has he said anything about Diana's son?"

"Yes."  Ray gaped at him and he shrugged at him.  "Xander doesn't hide secrets from me. I even know about his stash, but he doesn't know I know.  He left stuff out and I found it."  He looked at Danny again.  "Did she lie to him?"

"Don thinks so.  The kid looks just like 'im, Horatio.  He had that ache goin' too."  Horatio nodded at that, smirking a bit.  "Alexx won't mind if you two adopt someday soon."

"True."  He smirked at him.  "We'll see."  Danny grinned and nodded. "I'm about to head in as well.  Ray?"  His brother shivered at how he said his name.  "Head back to Miami.  You can wait and watch the boys there.  Give us a few days to get him settled again.  That way he has time to process this being done with."  He walked over to Danny.  "You know what his tests came up?"

"Don said Xander promised Ray that he wouldn't tell you anything and if he told you everything was good, he'd back him up," he said quietly.

"He's taking what?"

"An antibiotic and somethin'.  Don wasn't pissed so it wasn't something *bad*," he offered.  Horatio nodded at that.  "You'd have ta ask your nephew, Xander promised, Horatio."

"I understand why.   I'll write him tonight about it."  He gave him a gentle smile. "Come down on vacation.  He's not using his room and Speed's got the same apartment."  That got a grin.  "Someone at the club thought I collared him."

"If he were mine, he'd spend ninety percent of the day tied ta the bed," Danny admitted with a grin.  "I'd never let anyone else see 'im so they couldn't want him. You're a stronger man than I am, Horatio.  Unless seeing others pant over what you've got turns you on?"

"Now and then," he admitted smugly.  "I'm heading back to our spot.  When's the show?"

"Two days."  He handed over the program he had gotten out of his car.  "There."  That got a nod and Horatio walked off, heading back to his hidden spot.  He looked at Ray.  "Take the advice.  The kid'll be protected with us and if he sees you, he's gonna freak and break."  He headed back to his car, going home.  It had been a long night and the message he left on Don's voicemail had been full of swearing, but he'd get the gist.


Xander prowled down the runway his second time and caught sight of a familiar face in the crowd.  He smirked directly at him, getting one back.  He glanced around and his dad nodded to his right, allowing him to find Horatio, who he winked at then turned and stroked Don's cheek as he walked past him.  It was all an act but Don needed help keeping in the right mindset. Diana had told him to tease him now and then, and Danny too in case he got shy.  He came off the stage and found Ray, whispering in his ear.  That got a nod and a blush.  "They approve.  They know."  Ray relaxed.  "They're here for this thing.  Go show that you're not a little boy anymore.  I didn't see your mom at least."  Ray nodded and walked out there, going to show off.  Xander changed quickly and got ready to go back out, grinning at Danny as he came off.  "Did you see 'em?"

"I did," he agreed with a grin.  "Horatio looked stunned."  He let himself be helped out of that outfit, watching as Xander went out, seeing him pausing at the end with Ray.  They made a cute couple, both dark and stormy.  Then they came back and he and Don went out together.  He spotted their target and winked at him, seeing him swallow, then glanced at the other side, catching Speed's eyes. He walked back to the back and changed again.

"I don't think I can ever do this again," Don complained.  "My feet already hurt."

"Be thankful it's not heels," Xander called before walking out.  He was going solo in this outfit and the crowd was whistling happily at it.  He turned and spanked himself, winking at someone, then back at Horatio.  He walked back there, shaking it like he used to on stage.  He loved being the center of attention at times.  Ray came out and he winked at him, getting a wicked smirk.  So the boy was still okay.  Xander got changed and went out with Danny this time, letting Don and Ray have the spot after them.  He licked him on the cheek and smirked at him, then strolled back, leaving him to follow like the bitch he was if someone was a smart man and put him on his back.  He gave Don a blown kiss on the way past and Don snorted, pulling Ray away from him like he was being possessive.  So they could play with this.  They got changed and he took another solo walk, getting a moan this time for the new version of the stretch cord outfit, snapping one on his thigh for show, then slowly turning so they could see how it molded exactly to his ass with the stretch.

He walked back, teasing Ray on his way past.  The boy shivered and snapped one of the cords on his waist, making him proud of him.  He had the time to change this time so he got a sip of soda after he was done.  This time he and Ray were going out.  Danny went out after Don, leaning on him at the end of the runway.  He and Ray prowled out there, this was the end of the set and they leaned against the other two, Ray leaning against Danny's chest like he was sheltering in it, looking a bit vulnerable as he looked out shyly from the chest.  Xander leaned fully against Don's body, making him give him this wicked, evil smirk of pleasure and spank him.  "We did say you're getting me if I need punishment," he teased.  The crowd went wild and the guy tried to make a grab for Ray but found himself surrounded by Mac, Speed, and Horatio.  Xander blew a kiss at him, stroking Ray's cheek.  "You don't get to touch my family either," he said sweetly.  "Pity but I'll make sure he finds someone good who'll treat him nice and gently, like I get."

"Not tonight you're not," Danny teased, pinching him on the arm.  The others in the crowd cheered and flocked to Diana and the food to congratulate her and nibble like the party it was.  The four of them went back there and changed into the outfit they felt most comfortable in, coming out to mingle.  One of them was always with Ray, at least until Stella forced her way over to him and hugged him.  She was going all 'mom' on him so they let her for now.

Xander felt a hand go around his waist and looked back, smiling at his father.  "Hi, dad."

"Son.  I'm still drooling."  He patted him on the back.  "Nice show and good job."  He gave him a hug. "Needed a teasing fix?"

"We went to see Diana about where I should take Ray and to make sure she had my back if I needed it, dad.  She bribed us."

"Uh-huh.  You needed your teasing fix."  He pinched him on the arm, then ran a hand over the shirt.  "That won't tear easily.  Pity.  Introduce me?"

"Sure."  He walked his father over there by the hand.  "Di, dear, this is my dad, Tim."

"He bragged about you a lot and moped even more," she said, smiling and shaking his hand.  "Xander is one of my best advertisements, he always has been."  She stroked Xander's cheek.  "I liked that you guys played and teased each other.  Thank you, Xander."

"He hasn't gotten to tease anyone since he quit stripping," he noted dryly, smiling at her.  He nodded someone over and Horatio came closer.  "Diana, this is Horatio Caine."

She moaned and shook his hand.  "I remember the picture someone sent of you."  Xander leaned against his side and they were as pretty as she had imagined.  She looked at him.  "Do take care of the Xander for me, Horatio," she said quietly.  "I'd hate to have to steal the real thing and treat him right for you.  Also, bring him back whenever he needs a special outfit. He gives great inspiration just by standing there looking hot."  She walked off, leaving them together.  She knew that possessive look in the cold blue eyes.  She wasn't getting near Xander ever again unless she was dressing him.

Xander looked up, grinning at him.  "Hi."

"Hi."  He stroked his cheek and stole a kiss.  "How long do you have to stay?"

"Let me go pack.  We can escape."


"I'll tell Stella," Speed said, pinching Xander again on his way past.  "Don't be too noisy."

"Of course not."  He looked at Horatio again.  "I didn't think you'd mind since it was sure to draw the guy."

"I don't mind.  No one saw you naked, except in that one pair of nearly see-through pants."  He stroked his cheek again.  "Go pack, Xander."  He nodded and slipped away to do that.  Horatio stalked their hostess, whispering in her ear.  "If he's Xander's son, we will have visitation at least, Diana.  He will make a fantastic father."  She went limp and nodded.  "Good.  I'm glad we have this understanding."  He walked off to wait on Xander, making a quiet exit.  He had recognized a few of Xander's former clients in the room and it made him quite jealous and possessive.  The boy was his and only his.  No one else got the privilege of seeing him dressed like that anymore.  "Did you have fun?" he asked once they were in the cab.

"I did."  He smiled shyly at him.  "It was all teasing, Horatio.  I promise."

"I know, Xander."  He kissed him gently.  "You're still going to be spanked for those clear pants and the red condom."  Xander blushed at that.  The cab pulled up and Xander paid, then got out and held the door for him.  He followed him up to the apartment, noticing the bed was only a double.  He sat down, undoing his button-up shirt.  "Strip for me, Xander.  Get it out of your system."  Xander moaned and started to move, getting into the groove of the music he was humming.  His boy was a flirt and a bad tease, but he only did this for him now.  He even got to touch now and then.  A stroke up the flat stomach and Xander shivered, stopping his dancing to straddle his lap for kisses.  "Is it out of your system?"

"I'll strip for you later," he moaned, stealing another kiss.  "Please, Horatio?  It's been so long," he pleaded.

"Finish undressing," he ordered.  Xander stepped back and took off the clothes, leaving him naked and hard.  Horatio stood up and Xander undid his pants for him, going down to help him out of his shoes and socks, then his pants and boxers, taking the time to suckle gently on him.  He let him have it for a few minutes, then pulled him up.  "Next time you can do that."  He laid him down and looked over his property, then smirked at him.  "You lied to me?"

"I promised Ray I wouldn't tell you anything since it was his test results."

"I can agree with that one."  Xander opened his mouth.  "You sold something from that group of hidden things?"

He swallowed.  "I left out the invoice because I didn't know how to tell you."

"I realized that when I found it on my desk, Xander.  You still sold some of it?"

"The gold castrating clamper thingy."

"Which is probably better off melted anyway," he agreed, laying down next to him.  "Where did you sell it? You never told me you had connections into Little Havana."

Xander blushed.  "Jack, my former boss, told us to go there if we ever needed to pawn gold stuff."  He flipped onto his side, teasing the chest hair with a finger while he stared into his eyes.  "I didn't think you'd want to know my list for that stuff."

"As long as they're legal, I don't care.  Frank said one of them wasn't."

"He wasn't?"

Horatio kissed him.  "We'll go over that list when we get back, Xander.  I know you didn't do it on purpose and you were taking care of what's precious to me, you and Ray."  He stroked his cheek with the back of his hand.  "You will be spanked for teasing Don that way."

"Danny wants Don so badly he aches, Horatio, I gave him an opening plus it helped him for the show.  He was scared stiff earlier."

"Hmm."  He took a kiss, pushing Xander onto his back. "I still don't want you teasing other men, Xander."

"It's not like he'll turn stalker."

"No, I doubt Don would," he agreed dryly.  "But you never know."  Xander giggled at that image so Horatio started to tease his stomach.  "Did you forget some situps?"

"My stomach aches."


"I ate my own cooking."

"Always a bad idea," he agreed, kissing it then up to his lips again.  "Did you work yourself off while I was gone?"

"Only long after Ray went to bed and I was very quiet," he moaned, arching up into the teasing fingers.  "Horatio!"

"Shhh, they could be back any minute now."  He took another kiss and got down to the serious work of making sure Xander only teased him.  He noticed Xander didn't ask if he had done the same so he volunteered the information.  "Speed teased me horribly about being noisy," he whispered in his ear, earing a shiver and an arch up against his body.  "He's not expecting to see us for the first two days back."  Xander swallowed and panted, trying to rub against him.  He figured out it was his voice.  The last month and a week had made Xander want to hear it so he went back to whispering in his ear while he teased his body.  Xander got off without a single touch to his cock or his piercing.  Horatio smiled and went back to teasing him orally, cleaning him up and making him one happy boy.  "Lube, Xander?" he asked when he couldn't take it any more and his boy was sobbing in need.  Xander whimpered so he had to search himself.  Nothing.  He wasn't sure if it was a happy thought or not.  He found some oil in the bathroom for baths and brought it back.  It would work well enough this time and could be soaked out later.  He made sure his boy was fully open and ready for him before sliding in.

Xander clutched his arms, digging his nails in. "Horatio, condom," he pleaded.

"I know you don't have anything, Xander, and neither do I."  He kissed him gently.  "All your tests have been clean.  They're staying clean."  He kissed him again and moved deeper in, making him whimper and clutch at his shoulders.  "Let it go, Xander.  I've got you," he whispered.  "Just let it go for me, baby."  Xander nodded and squeezed his eyes tightly shut, letting him do whatever he wanted.  "Look at me."  Xander blinked up at him.  "It's me.  Only and always me."  Xander nodded, his breath catching as he touched him. "I'm here now.  You can fall."  Xander pulled him down to kiss him, letting him have whatever he wanted. He bared his neck so Horatio licked it, sucking gently on a spot he knew drove him insane, until Xander finally arched up and came.  Horatio smiled at him.  "Good boy."

"Are you home?"

Horatio nodded.  "We are.  You can relax again."  He went back to working himself in and out of the body, making his boy happy and sated.  Xander was wrung out already but he knew he needed this.  Needed to have his control shattered so he could finally relax his guard.  He heard someone come in and sped up a bit, making Xander let out a whimper and try to claw up his shoulders and arms looking for a handhold.  "I'm going to handcuff you if you keep that up," he growled, speed up some. He went back to his mark to make it darker, breaking through the skin to taste his mate's blood.  He and Xander were both alphas but in their bed, he was the alpha.  Xander submitted to him and with a whimper the last of his shields came down, opening to him totally when the bloody kiss came. Xander whimpered like the bitch he was for him, wiggling free until he got onto his hands and knees.

"Good boy."  He slid back in and rode him as hard and fast as he could. He needed this, this act of dominance.  He had wanted it to be comforting and in a way it was comforting his inner self, but the real comfort would be the cuddling afterward, when he could hold and cherish. For now, his tiger was screaming at him to take his mate and show him he was back.  Xander let out a small yelp when he nipped his back but that's all.  He was panting and holding onto the sheets, eyes closed and head down.  "Xander."  Xander looked back at him and grinned.  He came at that grin, grabbing Xander's cock to finish him off.  Xander came with a howl of his own, mostly a dry one but he still got off.  Horatio went limp across Xander's back, just stroking and touching.  "I missed you."

"I was so lonely," he admitted, laying down and letting Horatio cuddle him.  "It was horrible.  Frank kept checking on me to make sure I was okay and hadn't tied myself to the bed one night in a fantasy of you."  Horatio snorted at that.  "His wife sent him over with food to make sure we weren't living on pizza and burgers. The new guy's an asshole who wants my ass but he's so deeply in denial he was telling gay bashing jokes until I jumped on him about it in front of the new IA guy."  Horatio made an inquisitive noise, stroking his back and shoulders, placing little kisses on him. "Ray needed someone to sign his report card and they made him tell a better adult than me. They understood why I had him but they considered me too young to know what I was doing and being gay was just a damn bonus on top of that.  By the way, one of his teachers recognized me that day I went to pick him up while you and Yelina were on a scene. He spread it around."  He wiggled a bit and felt the smile pop into being.  "He got very good grades."

"I saw that email to Tim's porn account."  He licked up the back of Xander's neck.

"If you're done, can we eat?  I didn't realize being a tease would make me that hungry!" Ray yelled.

"Ten more minutes, kid," Xander yelled back.  "I'm getting cuddles."

Ray opened the door and leaned in.  "Where's mine?"

"You can have some when we're dressed, Ray," Horatio said, giving him a fond smile.

"Okay.  I didn't want to see Xander naked anyway.  I saw it close enough on a midnight raid for leftovers and he was in a pair of your boxers."  He closed the door, cutting off the laughter. His mother pulled him back down beside her for a hug.  "I missed you, mom, but if I ever turn into a moping person like Xander did, I want to be on drugs."   He snuggled into her side.  "Frank was doing daily checks to make sure he got out of bed for the first two weeks."  She nodded, stroking his hair.  "Someone at the school knew who he was so everyone at the school knows I know a stripper."  His watch alarm beeped and he sighed, getting up to head into the kitchen.  "I'm making a snack, anyone want anything?"

She got up and followed him, giving him a hug.  "What did she give you?"  He handed over one of the pamphlets he had stashed in there to read while he was making them dinner.  She sighed and put it back.  "It could have been much worse.  I'm going to beat the little bitch when I see her, son."

"You and me both," he said dryly, taking his medicine and then making a sandwich.  "I'm supposed to take it with food."

"That's fine, I have in the past," she agreed, giving him another hug.  "You could've told us."

"Xander promised he'd back me up on whatever I told you," he said, looking at her.  "He thought it was my right to have that little bit of privacy since it wasn't terrible or without a cure."  She nodded, stroking down his hair.  "Mom, I need a shower."

"If that's what you want.  Doing that on stage isn't for everyone, thankfully.  I'd hate to be as big of a tease as Xander is."  He nodded and went that way.  She went to break in on her brother-in-law and his mate.  "Xander," she said, closing the door.

"We went to Diana so I could figure out where I was taking him shopping and to make sure I could run to her if something went wrong while Don and them were on another call," he said quietly, looking back at her.

"I heard, that's fine.  I don't mind him being on the stage.  He's tried it and found he didn't like it."  She walked in and kissed him on the forehead.  "You make a wonderful stand-in parent.  You did a very good job helping him through a difficult situation."

"I'm sensing a but."

"No, no but.  I wish I had been told but I know why my son didn't.  At his age, a mother isn't a confidant like she used to be.  You and Horatio had his back, that's what's important to me."

"No but?"

"Only Horatio's."  He blushed at that.  "Whenever you're ready, Ray is taking a shower."

"Tell him to save me some hot water.  I can't go out to dinner smelling like sex this time.  Someone might try to take me from Horatio."

"Only if they're very stupid."  She smiled at them.  "You did look very hot against both Don and Danny, Xander, and my son looked cute trying to be seductive.  He needed a focus in the audience."

Xander blushed and pulled her down next to them.  "Yelina, I need some advice."  She nodded, kissing him on the top of the head.  "I think Diana lied to me. I think the baby's mine."

"If so, you can have another test done."  She smoothed down some of his hair.  "What did she say about shared visitation?"

"That she didn't want him accidentally taken by a psycho who was after me," he said grimly.

"It is a worry, but not that much of one.  Why do you think he's yours?"

"She said she found a boy-pro who looked like me, but the baby has my eyes.  The same shade, the same nose, everything.  He even giggles like I used to."  She smiled and nodded. "I'm not ready to be a daddy but I don't want to not be there.  I was going to bring that up with Horatio later."

"I told her if he was yours, we're at least getting visitation," he assured him gently, giving him a hug.  "No son of yours is ever going to be that far from you."  Xander relaxed.  "However, I am going to be far, far away when you tell Alexx and Speed."  He kissed the back of his neck and looked at Yelina.  "Tell us when Ray's out of the shower so we can clean up and head to dinner with everyone else."

"No romantic dinner tonight?" she teased.

"Tomorrow night, when we're back in Miami."  She smiled and nodded, kissing both of them on the cheek before leaving.  He nuzzled the back of Xander's neck, giving him a squeeze.  "Is that all right with you?"

"Do we have to go back tomorrow or can we just have fun and do tourist stuff tomorrow and go back the next day?"

"If you want," he agreed, smiling down at him.  "Flip over, Xander. I've gotten my alpha fix for now."  Xander wiggled around, careful not to knee him.  "Good boy."  He kissed him, earning a moan and a hand moving up his side, then a poke at a tender spot.  He flinched away, smirking down at him.  "You want to play do you?"  He got to work making Xander howl and shriek in pleasure this time.  Xander finally gave up and went limp, wrapping his legs around his waist.  Horatio took the invitation for what it was and slid back home.  Xander whimpered and went with whatever he wanted.  "You can play tonight."

"We'll keep Ray up."

"He can sleep tomorrow."  He kissed him, stopping all plans to be nice to the others.  Right now, his only focus was on his lover and his pleasure was most important.  He licked over his mark, getting a shiver, and Xander went off for him, drawing him over as well.  "You make me feel like a teenager," he whispered.

"Then we're switching places because my back's sore," he teased back.  Horatio laughed and pinched him but gave him a kiss.

"If you're done being noisy, come take a shower so we can eat!" Eric yelled.

"We need to find him someone to take the place of his stomach," Xander joked.

"I've tried that but he seems to keep collecting fast food instead of full meals."  Horatio got up with a groan.  "Never mind, I got the backache back."

"I'll work on it later for you."  Xander climbed out of the bed and got a robe, handing Horatio his from his bag.  "There, now no one will blush when we go out there."  He smiled as he walked out, sneaking into the bathroom and past Calleigh, who was washing her hands.

"He said he left you two some hot water, but not much."  She blushed when Horatio came in.  "Let me go."  She ran out and closed the door behind her, hearing the lock engage.  She looked at Speed, who chuckled. "At least at your place they have their own."

"Each bathroom raises the rent by six hundred a month," Ray said dryly.  He looked at Stella when she walked in.  "We're going out to dinner, would you like to come with us?"

"No, I got invited out by one of the people at the show.  Are you okay?  You looked kinda wobbly up there."

"I'm fine, Stella."  He hugged her.  "I'm not used to being a sex object yet.  When I get a decent woman I'm sure she'll treat me that way and I'll be more used to it."  She chuckled and gave him a squeeze.  "Did you ever meet my mother?  Mom, this is Stella Bonasera, she works with Mac and Danny and them."

"Nice to meet you.  I made sure the boys ate real food most of the time and Xander was fierce in Ray doing his homework and sleeping regular hours."

"Good.  Thank you for watching over the boys."  She shook her hand.  "How naughty was my son?"

"Besides the snuck in porn that once, they were good as gold."

"Not snuck in.  Someone named Audry gave some porn company some of Xander's dance tapes and they got cut into a few tapes so he was given copies by Willow when she found them.  He was watching to see how much he had to sue someone."

"I'm not telling the son-in-law about that," Speed decided.  "Xander can do that."

Stella smirked at him. "Not that brave?"

"Nope. I don't think Aiden is that brave either.  She'd blurt it out and run."  He looked at Eric, who was blushing.  "Some of the Montreal stuff, guys.  The harder-core Miami stuff wouldn't need the porn with it."

"You got that right," Eric mumbled.  He smiled at Stella.  "Would you like to come out with us after your date?"

Horatio came out of the bathroom, Xander's bathrobe on and drying his hair.  "We're leaving the day after tomorrow.  She can come out to dinner with us tomorrow night if she's busy."

"I'll call to make reservations," Yelina told them, smiling at Xander when he came out.  "You look good in his clothes, Xander."

He grinned at her.  "That's why he keeps putting me in a suit, so no one can stare at my butt."  He winked at Stella.  "We're doing touristy stuff tomorrow."

"Good, then Ray can use that for his paper."  She walked over to hug him.  "If I had a real boyfriend, I'd buy him some of the stuff you were showing off.  It was so cute how flustered Don got after you guys were done.  If Aiden were here, she'd be teasing him mercilessly."

"Don't do that," he complained.  "I had to get him into the right mindset by teasing him.  No one's ever treated him as a sex object before and it scared him."

She let out a wicked chuckle and winked.  "I'll be sure he knows what it feels like, Xander. Lindsay is still probably drooling on him."  He whispered in her ear.  "I know.  Most of us know."

"I figured you'd seen it since you're so smart and good at your job."  He kissed her on the cheek. "Have fun at dinner with Mac."  She blushed and fled the room.  He went in to change, looking at the clothes on the bed.  "You want me to wear something that tight?  Are you going armed?"

"Calleigh is."  He smirked at him. "It's a treat for me, Xander."  That got a nod and his boy slid into the pants he had laid out, then one of his button-down shirts that he liked the boy to borrow.  It looked better on him.  He slid into his own suit and checked his hair, letting Xander fuss with it a bit before doing his own.  Xander sat down to put on his shoes and he smirked at the ripping noise.  "Too tight?"

"Yeah, these aren't meant to sit in."  He got up and pulled something out of his bag, then wiggled out of the old pair, tossing them toward the trash. He put on the new pair.  "She didn't want it on the runway so we wouldn't have a riot."  He buckled the three buckles that took the place of the zipper. Then he smoothed his hands down the legs of his new pants.  "There."  He untucked the shirt, leaving it loose.  Horatio smirked at that. "That way they only get a hint.  These are stretchy too."  He walked over to kiss him, getting held and his back stroked.  "I love you."

"And I you," he promised quietly.  "Now, let's go eat so you can tell Speed about your son."  Xander nodded, taking his hand to lead him out.

"Aw, man, not those pants," Ray complained.

"You, hush," Horatio said with a smirk.  "He's dressed decently enough."

"Diana said we'd have problems if he wore those on stage."

"Not really," Xander said.  "Without the tight t-shirt with it, it's just a pair of black pants that conform very well and stretch a bit."  He grinned at him.  "Relax, Calleigh is armed."

"Yeah, I am," she agreed happily, grinning at him. "Alexx is checking us out of the old hotel and meeting us at the restaurant.  We're going to the place up the street so we're closer."

"Okay," Ray agreed, nodding.  "Mom?"

"You can move with me or not, son.  If you do, then Speed and Calleigh will be coming here so we don't have to hear them either."  Calleigh blushed and Speed shrugged.

"I tried to make her stay quiet, they were thin walls."  She smacked him on the arm and stomped off.  "Sorry," he called, smirking at her back.  He shrugged at Horatio's amused look.  "I tried!"

"Sometimes a woman's just gotta scream," Yelina agreed dryly, standing up.  "Are we ready?"  Everyone nodded. "Good.  Let's eat.  My boy is starved."  Ray smiled at her.  "You are.  You usually are."  She walked out with an arm around his shoulders, taking him down to get them a cab.

"I need a new phone when I get back to Miami," Xander complained.  "I stepped on mine," he said when Eric looked at him.  "I knocked it off the bedside table."  Horatio whispered in his ear and he looked at him.  "Sure, we can sneak away and do that."  He smiled at him.  "Both?"

"No more condoms," he said quietly.  "We don't need them."  Xander nodded and snuggled into his side.  "Should we invite Danny and Don?"

"Nah, let Danny soothe his straight boy panic," Calleigh said with a grin.  "If Lindsay didn't.  She was drooling heavily about that ending outfit."

"She's not the sort I'd pick," Xander told her.  "She's nice and sweet, but this is Don we're talking about.  She's too nice and sweet.  He needs someone who can hold their own on his worst days."

She nodded.  "True, she did seem very sweet and kinda gentle to have been doing this for very long.  I'm sure it's just a crush anyway. I wouldn't expect Don to date another cop."  Xander grinned at her.  "What?"

"I know who has a crush on him and they're another cop, but they can hold their own against him."  The cab pulled up and he opened the door.  "Mothers and girlfriends first."

"Go ahead, Horatio," Yelina teased.

"No, dear, that's me.  He goes very possessive on my wanton ass."  She blushed and got in there so he grinned at Horatio.  "Sorry," he said, not meaning it this time.

"She walked in on it, she should've realized," he admitted, getting in after Eric, letting Xander sit in his lap since they were so crowded.  Ray was sitting on his mother's lap.  "Where are we having dinner?"

"I made us reservations at a steak place," Calleigh promised.  The cab took off once the door was closed and Xander patted himself down then, muttered something, making his wallet fall into his hand.

Speed pinched him on the arm since he couldn't spank him.  "No Willow magic!"

"Sorry, it fell out.  The pockets are really shallow."  Horatio took the wallet and put it into his inner jacket pocket for him.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He stroked his back.  "I agree, no magic," he said quietly.  "Before we have an accident."

Xander leaned closer to his ear.  "Willow wrote me that she found a spell to turn one of us just girl enough to carry a baby.  I sicced Buffy's mother on her for it."  Horatio smiled at that.  "I'd look horrible like that and she'd need something personal so it'd end up being me."

Horatio stroked his back.  "Thank you for the preemptive strike on that idea."  He looked at Speed.  "You two need to talk over dinner."


"Over dinner.  That way you can't yell and scream in public," Xander said bitterly.  Everyone stared at him so he sighed.  "When I went to Diana's shop to check on her and all that stuff to make sure she had my back, we ran into her son.  She claims the father is a pro who looked a lot like me."

"I saw that baby there at the show," Calleigh admitted.  "He was being held by another woman."

"That's her girlfriend."  He grimaced.  "I'm not so sure she didn't lie about the test's outcome."

"So I'm a grandfather?" Speed demanded.  Xander nodded slowly.  "Fuck, kid!"

"Not my idea and wasn't planned.  I don't remember having her that way to be honest, but the kid looks *just like* me, dad.  So unless the kinky boy-pro she found was a secret twin...."  He shrugged.  "I thought I only played and teased."

Speed sighed. "If it is, what're you gonna do?"

"At the very least have visitation," he admitted.  He gave him a hug.  "I'm sorry."

"Not your fault.  I take it she's insistent?"  He nodded.  "Then we'll talk to her tomorrow."

"Don said to tell you she got the second Xander bot and one of his other stalkers got the last one," Calleigh offered.

"Yeah, and the first night she had him, she took him to an S&M club to let a lot of people have him," Xander said dryly.  "Don heard and came over to ask.  I'm assured the rest won't look like me."

"Good!" Eric agreed. "Hopefully no one will be so disappointed that they come after the real thing when they find out he's metal."  He looked at him.  "How old is the baby?"

"Just barely in the right age range. He's barely walking and babbling.  He's so cute," he sighed, shaking his head.  "She said she didn't want me to know because of the psycho issue."

"I can see that," Speed admitted.  "It's still unfair to you.  If I had a kid, I'd wanna know.  I'm sure Eric was told if he has any."

"Funny.  Not," Eric shot back.  "I'm very careful."

"Hell, I didn't think I touched her that way," Xander said dryly.  "Unless some transferred off my tongue or my fingers."

"Good point," Speed admitted, giving him a hug.  "It'll be okay, Xander."  The cab stopped and they piled out, Yelina paying the cabbie with the money they all handed over.  "You're telling Alexx."

"You and Horatio can hide in the bathroom," he promised.  He walked in there, smiling at the hostess.  "Calleigh, which name?"

"Yours, dear, it's your celebration."  She looked around and grabbed Horatio's arm, pulling him down to hiss in his ear, nodding at a back table.

He looked and nodded, then pulled Yelina aside and spoke to her.  She looked and he saw her clamp down on her emotions. "I told him once we were at home," he murmured.  She nodded, he had warned her he had thought he had seen Ray.  She had dealt with the idea that he might be alive.  She looked up at him.  "Home, Yelina."

"Home," she agreed.  "I need to make flight reservations."  He smiled at that. "Are we going to see you two for the first two days?"  He shook his head.  "I thought not.  You were cute earlier.  Did you do that to his neck?"  He smirked and nodded.  "Good job."  When they were led to their table she made sure Ray was sitting with his back to the other table.  Her son didn't need this stress until she had screamed at her former husband.  She saw her son look around and nudged him.  "So, how did you manage to do that on stage?"

He looked at her and smiled. "Xander said to flirt with someone in the crowd so I picked one of the older ladies until I saw Speed."

"Yeah, I've never been flirted with by a guy your age before," Speed joked.

"It was you or the old guy next to you," Ray taunted, looking around again.  He saw the reason for the stress on his mother's face, then looked at her.  Then he looked at his uncle and Xander, seeing the guilty look on his buddy's face.  "You knew when?"

"Few days ago," Xander admitted quietly.  "We made him wait until we got over this and got you home.  That way your mother and uncle could hide the body easier."

Ray nodded, then got up and walked over there, looking at his father.  "Did they send you back like they did Speed?" he asked quietly.  He shook his head, finishing his beer.  "Where in the hell were you?"


Ray hauled off and hit him.  "That's for making mom cry, bastard.  No one makes my mother cry and gets away with it.  Not you, not Stetler, no one.  So I'd run home and be prepared for the screaming we're going to do.  Because you're ruining a happy day at the moment."  He walked back to the table, letting his mother fuss over his knuckles. "I'm fine."

"Good.  That's why we wanted to make him wait until we were home.  That way Eric would have someone to dive after again."

"Huh?" Eric asked, looking at the table.  "Isn't that...."  Horatio nodded. "Wow.  How?"  He looked at Speed.  "Your friends?"

"Nope."  He took a sip of his water, looking at Horatio.  "I've got your back on this one if you need a shovel or one of Xander's knives."

"Why give the alligator's indigestion?" Ray quipped.  "They're endangered, that's mean."

His mother gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  "We'll get into this at home.  For now just think, son.  I taught you how to hit very well."  He smiled at her. "I'm proud you didn't go for the Xander option and take his knife."

"Over too quickly and then you couldn't yell at him and demand answers, mom."  He kissed her on the cheek.  "I'm good with waiting until we get home."  He stood up when Alexx walked in, prompting the other guys to as well.  She smiled and sat down after doling out hugs.  "Did you come?"

"I did, sugar, and you looked nearly as indecent as Xander does in some of his."  Xander giggled at that.  "Was that really necessary?"

"It drew the guy so we could catch him," Xander said with a small shrug. "She was the designer who did my former clothes too."  He gulped his water.  "By the way, grandma, there's a small matter of a boy-pro in Montreal who apparently looked just like me."  He stared her down.  "We're still debating on if she told the truth with that story or not."

"Excuse me?  I have great-grandbabies?" she demanded.  He held up a finger.  "One?"  He nodded.  "Are you sure?"  He shook his head and finished his water.  "We'll go see him tomorrow, baby.   You, me, your daddy, and Horatio."  He smiled at that. "We are taking responsibility?"

"I at least want visitation.  She's got a good job and a girlfriend who loves him."


"Him.  He looks just like me, Alexx."  He looked over as the others in their group came in.  "I thought they'd be doing beers and pizzas tonight," he joked, nodding at Don, who came over to hug him. "You can join in if you want, or go have dinner with Danny."

"No, we came to sit with you guys," he admitted, seeing the look on Danny's face.  He smirked at him. "That way we're all protected in case someone wants ta take Danny away from me."  He looked at Xander's outfit.  "Those pants weren't to be worn in public, kid."

"Horatio ordered," he offered.

"Uh-huh.  At least we're armed."  The hostess added another table into theirs and they joined in. He looked around.  "We order yet? I couldn't eat breakfast."

"No, not yet," Alexx admitted.  "They were waiting on me."  She smiled at Danny. "That one time you leaned on him got a lot of reaction from my part of the crowd."

"It got some where I was lookin' too," Don admitted dryly.  He caught Danny's eye again and smirked at him.  "What about you?"

"I was paying attention to my feet so I didn't trip."

"That's all right, the rest of us were looking for threats in case someone jumped up on the stage and tried to take you four," Yelina promised smiling down at him.  "If they knew what you did for a living, many more of the clients would support the department."

"The program had us as bodyguards," Don said dryly.  "The department would throw a fit if they saw what we were wearin'."

"Oh, I don't know, those black jeans are going into my locker as my backup clothes," Danny said, sipping his water.  The waitress came back and he grinned.  "I'm getting his," he told her, pointing at Don.  "And mine."

"Baby, I've got it," Xander told him, grinning at her.  "All one check, mine."  He looked at everyone then at her.  "Steak, medium, potatoes?"

"Which cut, sir?"  She opened his menu and the others did the same, making her smile.  He pointed at one and she nodded.  "Very good choice, sir."  She wrote that down and looked at the man next to him.  "For you, sir?"

"The same, well done," he offered, handing it back.  "Plus coffee, just bring the pot."  She nodded, taking that down.  The rest ordered and he leaned closer to Xander's ear.  "Quit showing off."

"Not like I need the fee I got today," he whispered back.

"How much did you make for that show?" Calleigh asked once the waitress was gone.

"Six grand each," Ray said proudly.  "Plus the clothes."

"Which probably won't be seen outside the house, son," his mother said firmly.  "Or else that bitch may come after you again."  He gave her a hug and she smiled.  "You did dump her?"

"Yeah, I wrote her an email and dumped her after she called me a coward for running up here.  That was before I went in for the tests."

"I realized right after that he hadn't," Xander told her.  "I drug him the next day."

"Good.  I appreciate that, Xander.  He needs someone he could look up to when he can't talk to me."

"I figured you would've thrown a fit, mom."

She smiled at him.  "If I had found out that night, you wouldn't have had the chance to explain," she assured him.  "You would've been in a military school in another state by the next morning. As far in the middle of nowhere as I could find."  He grinned at that.

"I hear Arkansas's nice," Calleigh offered with a sweet smile for him.  "What happened with your girlfriend?"

"She's the one who made him do the open pole night that got him his first stalker," Yelina said.

"She also took me to a rave a few weeks later when we were out on a nicer date," Ray admitted.  "And I ended up with very cloudy memories of that night after drinking a juice there.  She laughed because I wasn't doing shots with her.  Xander found me the next morning with four women."  She gaped and he nodded.  "Someone called him."

"I thought he'd have done the tests the next day but apparently not," Xander said grimly.  "So we did that recently. And I gave him the extended Xander sex talk for new strippers."  Speed smirked at that and Eric moaned. "You tried, man, just a bit too vague."

"I wasn't sure if he had a clue or not," Eric admitted.  "Sorry, kid.  Had I known, I'd have been much more explicit when I told you not to drink anything you don't personally open or see poured at the clubs."

"Oh, I've learned," he admitted.  "It was a fairly harmless lesson.  I didn't get anything too nasty from it. I'm okay now. And she called me a coward for running from the guy."

"I think it shows brains," Horatio assured him. "You retreated from a situation you couldn't handle on your own and went to someone who could.  That's the wise thing to do I'm glad Don and his team were there for you when we couldn't be.  And that you had Xander, who has very good instincts."

Ray looked at him.  "We gotta talk about that new detective.  If Frank hasn't ripped him a new one, he didn't want to listen."

"Oh, he'll be listening to me," Yelina assured her son.  "I'm sure Frank has had a few discussions with him but he'll be listening to me."  He smiled at her.  "You did the right thing, son, and Xander.  You told the proper people and when that didn't help, you moved to where you had a more stable position and help."  They both nodded at that.  "Xander, how much do I owe you for airfare?"

He snorted. "I don't charge family for favors, Yelina.  Deal with it and move on.  The fee for the show more than covered it."  He smiled as his food was brought. "Thank you."  She nodded and he dug in, smiling at the taste of the meat.  "Oh, this is great," he complimented, changing the subject.

Ray nodded.  "It is.  I wonder if we have a place like this in Miami.  Not to insult your cooking, Uncle Horatio, but you can't get steaks like these in the store."  He cut and ate another bite.

Horatio looked at Yelina and smiled, shrugging a bit.  "You are my family," he noted dryly.  "That makes you his."

She nodded.  "That's fine.  I'll teach him how to cook so he doesn't have to order special meals for you."  He smirked at that and dug into his own dinner. Xander grinned at her.  "Your anniversary is coming up shortly."

"It is.  I was going to take him to this nice spot on the beach and have dinner out with him."  He cut and ate another bite and winked at her, making her smile back.  "I'm sure we can have it for the lunch that day, even if I do have to put out the picnic in his office."

"Frank will pick on him forever if you do, Xander," Calleigh warned. But she was grinning.  Not many people got to tease Horatio. "If you do, we'll watch out for food poisoning too."

"Gee, thanks, just give the boy confidence in his abilities," Speed said dryly, poking her on the side.  Eric chuckled at that.  "No one's ever sat down and properly tried to teach him to cook.  I gave it one try and gave up when he dusted my whole kitchen with flour so the dough wouldn't stick to anything."

"Hey!" Xander whined. "That was an accident. You startled me."

"Uh-huh. Stick to that story too," he encouraged. He dug into his food, eating slowly, savoring this one.  He had learned to savor stuff when he came back to life.  Calleigh smiled at him so he stole a kiss, savoring that as well.  He looked at Ray.  "Are you going to the hotel with your mom or staying with the noisy duo there?"

"No, you two can have my room so mom and Eric can finally get some sleep," he offered with a bright grin.

"Baby, the smart ones of us packed earplugs," Alexx said with a grin for him.  Then at Danny and Don, who were teasing each other. "Do you two have to go back to work tomorrow?"

"We're not sure yet," Danny admitted.  "We were told to see when you guys were going home first.  Mac's taking tomorrow off."  He grinned down at Horatio.  "He said you owed him a game of pool after the last time."

"I do," he agreed. "He'll be trying to win his five dollars back."

Yelina excused herself and went into the bathroom to call the airline they used at the department.  She had looked up the number on the way to the boys' apartment.  When she came out, she smirked at them all.  "There's not enough room for all of us to go together for three days. Which means we'll have to go in Tuesday."  She sat down again, putting her napkin back in her lap and digging in again.

Horatio called Frank from right there.  "Frank, Horatio," he said in greeting, smirking a bit at the happy noises his friend was making.  "Yes, we're done and the idiot after Ray has been recaptured.  Oh, yes.  No, Yelina said we can't appear until Tuesday.  That there's not enough room for all of us at once."  He smirked. "Well, you do get to give him good news, that we're coming back."  He laughed.  "Good.  See you then."  He hung up and put his phone back.  "He swore about giving the bad news that it would be Tuesday."

"I didn't think it was fair to make some of us go back sooner," she complained. She frowned.  "Who's watering my plants?"

"Frank," the boys said in unison.

"Eric's mom has his and Speed's herb garden," Ray added with a grin for Eric.  "She was pouting so hard the last time I saw her."

"I mailed her a letter," he complained.

"If you were my son, I'd worry too," Alexx assured him dryly.  "If only to make sure you weren't bringing home some other woman to add to your population of them."

"I'm not that bad!"

"Yeah, you are," Calleigh assured him, patting him on the wrist.  "You really are, Eric."  He smirked at her.  She looked around, then at Horatio.  "When did we lose Ryan?"

"Two days ago when he got released after testifying," he reminded her.

"Oh, yeah.  He's been so quiet this trip.  It was almost like he was invisible."  She pouted at Speed.  "We've got to draw that boy out more."

"We need to get him to dump that reporter," Eric noted dryly, eating another bite.

Speed nodded.  "We do.  I'm sure he likes her but it's not good for him or his career and she's using him horribly.  H?"

"I can't dictate who he dates."

"No, but we can make her go away," Xander noted dryly, staring at his honey.  "Even I don't like the woman and it's not because she leers at me.  She made snide remarks about you and Speed sharing me too."

"The bitch," Calleigh muttered.

Xander nodded.  "Oh, Stetler's working in New York as a PI."

"Wonderful," she said happily. "Did you run into him?"

"And taunted him."

"That's okay because I hit him," Horatio noted dryly, sipping his coffee.  Everyone at the table looked at him. "He bothered what's mine."

"Was he living?" Speed asked. "If so, I want him next."

"He was when he tried to file assault charges," Don admitted.  "But some agent came down and took the charge sheet and him away.  Pity about that but apparently he heard why he lost his job in Miami."

"They've got to think something's going on in Miami with the way we don't cooperate very well," Calleigh noted, smirking at Horatio.  "You hit him?"

"A few times," he admitted.  "He's no longer an officer.  He proved he was no better than a rapist when he tried to go for Xander.  He proved he was a dirty cop himself by threatening to plant evidence.  Then he came after Xander again."  He looked over as Ray got up, watching as he came over.  He let out a small moan.  Xander looked then took his hand to kiss the back of it.  "Thank you, Xander. You do keep me calm."

"If he upsets Ray or Yelina, I get to hit him again," he said dryly.  Ray looked at him.  "I did."

"Good."  He glared at his father, who stopped a polite distance away.  "This isn't Miami."

"It's not.  I'm heading back tonight," he said quietly.  "I want to arrange a time to talk."

"We're flying in Sunday," Yelina told him "We'll be back at work Tuesday."  He nodded and walked off.  She sighed.  "We'll be doing this one in public," she decided.

"We'll be doing this in our backyard while we have a cookout for the team and Frank," Horatio corrected. She smiled and nodded and everyone else smiled.  "There will be no food so find something and bring it."  He ate another bite of his dinner, smiling at Xander when his hand was released so his boy could eat.  It was a very good idea for him to store up some energy for later.


Frank Tripp looked up as the group came off the plane. "The Chief said you could have tomorrow off to readjust but he didn't wanna see another day off from any of you for at least a month."  They all smiled and hugged him.  "I missed you guys.  They stuck me with the rookie detective.  The man almost let a murderer go for being *nice*."  He smiled at Xander.  "Did you pick up more naughty clothes?"  He nodded, beaming happily.  "Do we need to assign you an escort detail?"

"No.  He doesn't usually wear them in public anymore, Frank," Horatio said patiently.

"Or else you spank him?" he teased back with a smirk.

"Only if he's a good boy."

"Yeah, they decided if I need punishment they're sending me to Don," Xander said, grinning at him.  Frank spluttered and choked at that.  "Awww, poor baby.  We even got a tape of the show so you can see it."  He patted him on the back and walked out. "Come on, Ray, let's go get the baggage since Calleigh and your mom packed a lot."

"I did not!" Calleigh complained.  "I only had the one bag and the bag of weapons."  She put on her badge at one gate guard's odd look.  He just nodded and smiled at them.  "We're going."  She linked arms with Frank, smiling at him.  "So was it quiet while we were gone?"

"Hell no.  Not until word got around that you were coming back."

"So the Wrath of Caine rumors are still going?" Speed joked.

"Apparently. We got to play poker on shift yesterday.  It was the first easy day we've had since about two days after you guys left."  He looked at Xander when they found them hauling luggage off the conveyor.  "Why were they solid gold?"

"Even distribution of heat," he said blandly, checking another one and taking it off.

"That's not ours," Eric complained.

"The tag says it's Ray's," he noted dryly, handing it to him.

"That would be the smutty clothes I can't wear in public," Ray admitted, grinning at him.

"Maybe if she did some of your clothes, Eric, you could keep the same girl for over a week," Speed taunted, catching his bag and carrying it by hand.

"Funny, not," he complained.  "I don't need a stalker that her clothes inspire."

"Oh, I don't know," Frank said, smirking at him.  "Xander's last two were nice guys, just lonely."

"Xander?" Horatio drawled.  Xander gave him an 'oh shit' look.  "If you take off running I will let someone handcuff you."

"Does that mean he's going to be spanked?" Frank asked. "Your boy moped the whole damn time you were gone, Horatio.  He ended up bringing me lunch half the time because he got so bored and depressed.  Plus his grades were going south before he had to drop out for this last idiot."  He looked at Yelina.  "Next time, bring the kids with you.  Your boy made my wife feel pitiful and want one."  She smiled at that.  "Not yours, a new, young one."  He shook his head and helped by grabbing one of the baggage carts.  "Horatio, your hummer is outside.  I drove it over for you so you wouldn't have to be without your other baby any longer."

"Thank you, Frank," he said, looking at Xander.  "Stalkers?" he mouthed.

"Lonely guys on campus who decided I needed a friend," he offered.  "Two teachers."

"Hmm.  Will you be having them?"

"Only if I become an English major.  One of them wrote me poetry about flowers.  The other tried to get him expelled for hitting on a student. That's how I found out about them."

"His advisor called to talk to you, Horatio, but since you were gone I said he was in my control. It seems his abnormal psych professor wanted him to draw some more so she could study them.  The rookie was amused but I wasn't and I told her why.  She cried and said that was fine and told me about the two on campus, who I went to warn that you had the boy.  I suggested they try dating."  Speed laughed at that.  "Seriously, it was pretty poetry if he was a girl."  He shrugged.  "Flowers and teddy bears and candy sorta poetry."  He led them out to the hummer and let them pick who was going to have to take a cab, with him.  "My car's back at the station," he announced.  "I can give you guys a ride from there."

"I'm wondering why three cops are staring at us now," Xander said, nodding at them. "Hi, guys."  Horatio looked and nodded politely.

One of them came over.  "Are you guys back?  We've seen Wolfe and he's pouting.  The night shift team is really not working out well on days either."

"We are.  We'll be back Tuesday to readjust our own schedules," Horatio admitted.

"Thank you."  He hugged him.  "Sir, can we give any of you a ride anywhere?  Just to make CSI Wolfe quit pouting?"

"Why was Ryan pouting?" Calleigh asked, looking at the other two.  "You guys can come over too."

"We don't wanna get too close to Lieutenant Caine's favorite things, ma'am, there's rumors that he destroys people who touch them.  Like he did that club for touching his boyfriend."

"I didn't touch the Raven's Cage," Horatio assured him.  "That was Vice, not even a favor."

"Oh, no, sir, the one your boy there used to dance at got raided two days after you left."  Xander looked confused.  "They never told you?" he asked, moving closer.  Xander shook his head.  "Yeah.  Two women walked in there and demanded your release to their custody and it ended up in a hostage situation.  When they went in they found some drugs and some porn.  One of the dancers complained to one of the SWAT guys that they and you hadn't agreed to have your dancing featured so Vice shut 'em down totally and arrested nearly everyone.  They said it was the Wrath of Caine for doing that to his boy."

"See, I told you they called it that," Speed joked. He smirked at the patrol guys.  "He doesn't believe in those rumors."

"We heard about it," the third guy complained.  "Anytime he's on vacation crime picks up.  The Chief sent around a memo telling us to endure while you guys were taken hostage by the Feds.  We were ordered to escort the hummer back to the office, sir.  The Chief is there and wanted to see you to get a report on what happened with the serial killer and the case.  So can we give some of you a ride back?"  Everyone nodded and split up among the three patrol cars and the hummer, Xander getting shotgun of course.

Speed looked at the officer driving him and Eric.  "When I went to pick up Xander's final check, they had a bet going on whether or not he had to sleep in the hummer."

The officer laughed.  "So did we.  We decided he'd have his hummer inside his house if he could but he'd never let his boy that far out of his sight.  We figure that's why some of you had to be taken away in handcuffs."

"He wasn't one," Eric said dryly. "Alexx was one.  They took her away from her kids."  The patrol guy hissed. "Yeah. Not a happy mother at all."  He smirked at Speed. "Didn't they cuff you too?"

"Hell yes!   I'm not leaving my son alone in the city.  He'd get into trouble."

"Oh, no, Speedle, he just moped a lot and Detective Tripp had him under suicide watch for a bit.  Or at least that's why we thought he had him coming in every other day to bring him lunch and talk with the boy."  He changed lanes. "By the way, there's been a few deliveries for you and Lieutenant Caine at the office and we figured it was more of his stuff related to the serial killers he got in the club. They were stored by the cold case DNA tech in one of the back evidence locker rooms."

"Thank you."  He pulled out his phone and called Horatio.  "Boavista stored some stuff that got sent to you in a back evidence locker. No, they said he just moped and they thought Frank had him on suicide watch there for a bit.  Sure."  He hung up.  "They're going to talk later."

"Good."  Eric called his girlfriend.  "Hey, it's me.  We're back and headed in.  You stored stuff for H?"  He grinned.  "Yeah, we're heading there, then home.  Why?"  He listened and frowned.  "Seriously?  He okay?"  He nodded.  "Sure.  Call him and have him meet us if possible."  He hung up.  "The reporter chick got him shot at."

"Wolfe?  Yeah," the patrol guy admitted.  "Last weekend, when he got back.  He was here for about a day when he got shot at by someone.  We had an experienced guy at the scene because you guys draw trouble, so they got the guy.  Wolfe wasn't hurt but he has been really quiet and mopey recently."

"I told her to call him and have him meet us there," Eric offered.

"He should be on shift today.  He hasn't taken any time off.  He walked off the plane, caught a cab back, and jumped back into the work," the officer offered, taking the offramp.  "I figured we'd take the back way in.  A line of patrols and a hummer from the airport would draw attention."

"Yeah, we don't need more media attention," Speed agreed. "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Should I check with Dispatch to see if Wolfe's on a scene?"

"Nah.  We'll summon him back to the lab if he's out on one," he assured him.  He and Eric shared a look.  Wolfe wasn't the most verbose guy most of the time but he wasn't the quiet, moping sort. "Maybe someone destroyed you guys' research?"

"No.  That was locked in my safety deposit box," Eric assured him.  "I didn't want anyone else getting their hands on the tapes."  He shrugged.  "Not a clue.  We'll find out."  Speed nodded at that, relaxing again.  "We putting the tape of the fashion show the boys did on at the station to show how we captured the killer?"

"I think that's a bit dangerous," Speed noted, smirking at him.  "Who knows who else might get fixated.  Including the new rookie detective."

"Too late," the officer admitted as he pulled in.  "He likes Ray Jr.  He said he'd make a play if Xander wouldn't slap him senseless."

"He's not the only one," Eric assured him.  "The kid's sixteen."

"So?  Some people like 'em barely legal," the officer said with a shrug. "From the rumors, he's not picky about boys or girls but he likes 'em barely legal."  He parked and grinned at them.  "Here you are, guys.  Let me let you out."  He got out and opened the doors for them, letting them get their bags from the trunk.  "What sort of fashion show?"

"The designer who did all of Xander's Xander-tight clothes was one of the people he went to see to make sure she could help protect the boys," Eric said dryly.  "She talked them into doing her runway show and they trapped the killer in the audience.  It was them and two of the cops from New York guarding them with us in the crowd."

"So there's new Xander-tight clothes?"  Speed moaned and nodded.  "Wow.  Does she do women's stuff?  My wife wanted to know."  Speed took the guy's pen and notepad, writing down the phone number he had memorized so he could talk to her about visitation times.  "Thank you, CSI Speedle."

"Not an issue. Tell her Xander shows off her stuff down here.  She didn't believe us."  He walked inside with a small grin.

"Maybe she'll open an office down here and we'll get to see the baby more often," Eric offered as he followed.

"Baby?" the officer called.

"Yeah, we're not sure who the daddy is but Xander loves the little guy," Eric said, grinning back at him and shrugging, then turning back around to jog inside.  His girlfriend was having Ryan help her with the boxes from the evidence locker so he grinned at her and stole a quick kiss before grabbing a few. "What are these?"

"Not a clue," she admitted.  "We scanned them for explosives, but the messenger said it had to do with 'Caine's boyfriend Darkness' so we put 'em back here for you guys to come back."  She smiled at him.  "How was New York?"

"Loud."  He followed her to their usual meeting area, letting Horatio take the boxes he had.  He put his bag down and looked at Wolfe, then drug him aside. "What's wrong?" he asked quietly.


"Bullshit.  You look like someone ate your puppy in front of you."  He stared at him.  "Now, what's wrong?"  Ryan drug him out and to the bathroom, then took off his shirt, making him gape in horror.  "How long have you had that!"

"Six damn days, Eric, and he's been watching me.  I can't get anyone near enough but I figured you're safer because somehow he knew about the research.  He wants an answer and the hormone compound so he can use it."

"Uh-huh."  He looked at the small explosive device. "Is it implanted?"  Ryan nodded. "How?"

"I woke up like this my first morning back and a tape beside me on the bed."  He put back down his shirt when the door started to move, looking at Calleigh. "This isn't your side."

"Shut up, Ryan."  She looked under his shirt and winced.  "The rookie thought you were being blackmailed about your research."

"Well, partially right," Ryan said bitterly.  "I've got three days to come up with a hormone compound he can use."

She held up a finger and went to tell Horatio, who made a few quiet calls and got them some help.  Xander came back with her and held out a small vial of blood.  "Will that help?"

"Yeah, it'll help. It's my blood.  If he wants hormones, he can dilute it and find 'em."  Ryan relaxed and nodded.  "Call him or whatever.  Tell him you can't use the lab's processors for it any more, not with Caine back, and that you've got blood and sweat samples he can use.  That's the best you can do with Horatio here."  Ryan nodded and walked away from them to do that, smiling and nodding.  Xander came over to listen, then smirked and walked off, going to smirk at his lover.  "Can we say emerald handcuff's first husband?"  Horatio looked at him, that piercing stare.  He smirked and nodded.  "He's got sweat and blood he can hand over."

"Good."  He told that to the guy on the other end of his phone.  Then he hung up and walked in there to look at it. "I've never seen one of these," he said when Ryan hung up.  "Where and when?"

"Tonight, park, he'll give me the way to disarm it so I can have it removed."  He hugged him. "He wouldn't let me talk to anyone.  He was watching me.  He's somewhere in the building but not today.  Today he was on the water.  He said he didn't want to be here when you got back."

"So, he knew we were coming back today?" Eric offered.  Ryan nodded. "When did he find out?"

"Two days ago."

"The same day Frank told the Chief," Horatio noted.  "Keep the meeting, Mr. Wolfe.  You'll be backed up.  Next time, send an email."

"He locked me out of my email, Horatio.  Computer services doesn't know how and I can't figure out who the guy is."

"So we ask the Chief if he's had any recent hires," Xander offered with an evil smirk.  "After all, the Chief likes me."  He strolled out, going to find the Chief, who smiled at him.  "Got a minute?"

"Of course. Are you finally taking him on a honeymoon?"

"Not until after I graduate.  He said so."  He led him into an office and closed the door, looking at him.  "Ryan Wolfe presently has an explosive embedded in his chest.  The guy wanted my hormones to spread on himself."  He held up a hand. "He's been watching him.  Had him locked out of the computer system.  He was the first husband of the guy who killed himself because he couldn't steal me.  He heard we were coming back today two days ago."

"Which was when I got told," he noted.  He nodded.  "There's only been three new hires in my staff but I think I know who.  Did you ever see him?"

"Once and only briefly but I heard his voice."

"Can we disarm it?"

"We don't think so. It's embedded and he said he'd give him the procedure tonight."

The Chief considered it then nodded.  "All right.  We'll go with that plan.  He couldn't let us know?"

"The guy was watching him, like he was in the office."

"Ah.  That narrows it down to two.  Anything else?"

"Ryan said he's on the water today.  He didn't wanna get anywhere near Horatio today."

"I know exactly who it is," he said smugly.  "We'll go talk to him."  He patted him on the arm.  "Did you want to join?"

"I'm not one for rules, but Tim thinks I'm going to make a good profiler some day soon."

"I'd say you would, Darkness."


"Xander then," he agreed with a smile.  "Tell me when you're ready for that honeymoon.  He's got about a year of leave saved up and he's got to use some of it or else he'll lose it next month.  Order him to talk to HR and then convince him if he won't go."  He walked out, going to catch Horatio and tell him who it probably was. Because someone was going to be sorry for touching Caine's team.  It was the third thing he cherished, his team and family.  It might actually be above the hummer in his eyes, no one was sure because no one was going to ask the guy.


Xander looked up from his reading, smiling at Horatio as he came in.  "Ryan okay?"

"Just fine.  They removed it and he'll be under observation for two days."  He laid down on top of him, taking a kiss. The book was put onto the floor.  "Very nicely planned, Xander."

"Thank you."  He grinned and stole a second kiss, wrapping his arms around the tense neck.  "Someone needs to relax.  I got ordered to order and *convince* you to go to HR to talk about your accumulated leave."  Horatio laughed at that.  "I told him you said we can't go on a honeymoon until I've graduated."

"I did say that," he agreed, smiling at him.  "May I have a backrub?"

"Of course."  Horatio got up and helped him up, taking him back to their bedroom.  He got into the supply drawer, finding the oil and no condoms.  "Horatio...."

"Xander, you're overly cautious.  Nothing's wrong with you and nothing will show up.  Now, I could use your hands."  Xander nodded, helping him out of his clothes and onto the bed, then straddled his hips and got to work on his neck.  He purred, his boy was very good at this stuff.  Up and down.  Small circles.  Pressure but not too much.  Slowly moving down his back to the base of his spine.  All the tension from that case and the separation slowly melted under the fingers searching it out.  Once he was relaxed, the fingers came back to inflame him, making him hard and needy.  He moaned for whole different reasons now, letting his body go and experience.  It wasn't often he could get Xander to do these things for him.  He would ask more often but that would make them less special and Xander liked to spoil him with special things.  He felt the fingers move backward and didn't tense up.  He felt the oily fingers explore him back there, smiling at the delicate, hesitant touches.  "Do what you want, Xander," he said quietly.

Xander leaned down to get closer, teasing him with a small puff of air across his hole.  It tickled so he flexed it and a small finger was added, more oily than necessary but that was fine.  The other oily hand stroked down, playing with the balls in his way for a bit before finding what it wanted.  The finger found his prostate and it was good.  He was growling now.  He went up onto his knees, letting him have more access.  The finger wasn't quite hitting it so two came in now, giving it more pressure.  He closed his eyes and held on, expecting the good orgasm coming.  He felt a tentative lick across his head and smiled.  "Whatever you want," he repeated. The fingers went back to their dance and he was flying now.  Then suddenly they popped out and he growled deeply, shifting back to get them back.  He wanted them!  Instead he got something harder and bigger.  It made him stiffen up but the delicate stroking came back.

He hadn't considered doing it this way but Xander was waiting for permission.  He nodded and the head moved closer again, slowly pushing in.  He hadn't done this very often but he was willing to this time.  Xander popped in with a groan from both of them.  Then he slowly slid in.  There was nothing animal or claiming about this.  This was careful exploration into this new territory.  Xander was giving him every chance to protest or complain, and he wasn't going to.  He pushed back and it was finally all the way, then Xander paused and slowly withdrew, just as slowly and teasingly.  He was going to go insane from this.  He growled a bit and Xander kissed his back, speeding up slightly but making him enjoy and be tortured by this slow, easy, gentle claiming.  Because he realized that Xander was claiming him in his own way, making his body remember this sensation by not being hard and fast, over with in a few minutes.  This was going to last for quite a while.  He shifted position and Xander got him onto his side, taking him that way instead.

He stroked his stomach and chest now, teasing and playing with everything he could reach.  He was going insane.  This was better than the time Xander had learned his body.  He was almost whimpering, almost pleading, and Xander soothed him with gentle touches to his cock, giving him hope that it wasn't going to end but be changed to the ultimate pleasure.  Xander shifted his hips, finding a different angle, hitting his prostate fully now.  He moaned and arched back, demanding, but the gentle, soft lovemaking was still going on.  That's when he realized this wasn't sex to Xander. It wasn't usually to him either but it wasn't usually this tender and loving.  Yes, this was claiming his heart and making his body remember.  The hand came back to tease his cock but he clamped a hand around it.  "Please," he whispered.  He felt Xander nod and the strokes got a bit harder.  Not hard like they usually went but hard for virgin lovemaking.  He felt like he was one again with how much care Xander was taking with him.  The hand stroking him slowly squeezed and stroked harder, slowly building into something more like their usual.  He came and he felt Xander come, feeling it flood into him.  He went limp, stroking the arm around him.  It moved up and he found himself cuddled but not released. "I love you too," he whispered.

Xander bit him on the shoulder.  "My mate."

"Yours.  Fully yours."  Xander nodded and licked the bite mark.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem," he promised, stroking his stomach.  "The first time I make honor roll I'm doing it again and then on our wedding night. Only the really special times."

Horatio nodded, relaxing and accepting that Xander felt more comfortable on the bottom, like he did on the top.  "Anytime you make honor roll and on our wedding night, Xander."  He felt the smile.  "Hug?"  He got squeeze and smiled.  Xander wasn't moving for a bit.  He heard the bedroom door open and reached for his gun, but it was Speed.  "Don't you knock?"

"I did and I didn't hear any outrageous sex noises so I got worried."  He looked at where Xander was and grinned.  "Good.  About time.  The guy killed himself in custody, Xander, and we've finished with the boxes whenever you're ready. It's just Calleigh and I."  He grinned at them.  "It's good that you let him hold you sometimes, Horatio.  Even you can't be strong all the time and it's about time you two completed the circle so there's less unevenness in your 'ship."  He closed the door and went back to the living room.  "I caught 'em mid cuddle."  She smiled at that so he pulled her into his lap to cuddle.

"I didn't feel any unevenness," Xander whispered.  "I love being the cherished and protected one."  Horatio got free and flipped over to hold him.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome. It was an important first step.  You did wonderfully, Xander.  It was good."  Xander beamed and hid his face in the crook of Horatio's neck.  He stroked his back.  "We should go out there."

"Can you sit?"

"Of course I can.  You weren't rough by any means," he assured him. Xander gave him a kiss before getting up to get their pajama bottoms.  His were slid up him.  "That wasn't my first time."

"It was mine that way.  Therefore accept the spoilage."  He dressed himself and helped Horatio up and out to the living room, then went to get him something to drink.  He was thirsty so he knew Horatio was. He brought them back and snuggled into his side, looking at the boxes.  "Do I want to know?"

"Probably not," Calleigh admitted.  "We feel you should though."  Horatio quirked up an eyebrow, putting down his water.  "Um, first, super psycho stalker from the Middle East heard about Speed and Aiden running your parents out of town through the Sunnydale grapevine when he checked up on your history."

Speed tossed over an envelope.  "Their wills.  Not much left after debts."

Xander shrugged and looked at it, then at him.  "When?"

"Last year, while you were in Montreal.  He sent it to Jack and Jack kept it from you so you wouldn't get upset and ruin your performance.  He claims he forgot he had it when Vice asked him why they found it in there.  They found most of the rest of this in a storage place but went through it and decided it wasn't evidence.  They decided to keep with the same system so no one would know where and when it came from.  They thought he was still getting some stuff so they decided it'd be okay.  Salazar wondered how you did it but when she went to Wolfe, he showed her a tape and she just gaped and went home crying that you're gay."

Calleigh nodded.  "Yeah, she had no idea."  She pointed at two boxes. "The rest of the porn and the name of the distributor, who is now shut down, and the production company, who is being sued by you and a few other guys.  The lawyer included you to make his case stronger since you had more tapes."

"Frank heard about that and called him earlier to let him know what a delicate situation it was.  He's having the court sealed during it.  He's in Boca and we've got his address for you," Speed assured him.  "The real problem is the other envelope and the last three boxes.  The envelope is from the guy who died in custody tonight.  It's the will he left in the cell.  If his family contests you might end up in a screaming match about how sick he was and how you didn't want it.  The boxes are from local admirers.  I don't know who bought two of them.  The company wouldn't tell Eric."  Xander looked at them, then sighed and handed them to Horatio, getting up and going into the office, but coming out with a binder.  "What's that?"

"The special collection safety deposit box," he said dryly, handing it to Horatio.  "Pictures and who sent stuff.  That one's already in there.  I've got a matched set."  He looked at the other couple.  "Any other bad news?"

"Yeah, there was a missing check in the stuff.  I'm not sure from where," he admitted, handing it over. "Did Diana pay you?"  Xander nodded, looking at the name on the check.  "What?"

"My leftover tips from Audry."  He waved it.  "The credit cards and stuff she didn't put on that final check because they hadn't come in. I'm thinking she's tapdancing for safety and security at the moment."

"Possibly," Horatio admitted, looking at it.  "That will add nicely to your college fund."  Xander nodded and put it down.  "You're giving the new ones back?"

"Yup.  By courier so I don't have to look at them and sneer.  That way they have fond memories."

"How are you going to find out who bought them?" Calleigh asked.

"Charm and skill.  Like I did the last time."  He looked at the book, pointing at one. "Isn't that identical?"  Horatio nodded, moving on.  The other unidentified piece was looked at it and he tapped another one.  "Same style."

"You kept those?" Calleigh asked.  "Why?"

"Because I sent them back with a note saying I was retired and in love with someone, someone who wasn't comfortable with things like this.  They sent them back again with a 'congratulations, consider it a wedding gift' message.  Therefore I wrote thank you notes and left it there.  I figured I'd wait three years and auction them off, probably to the same people who bought them."

"Which will pay for your Masters and Ph. D."  Calleigh smiled at him.  "That's very smart.  Horatio obviously picked you for brains and beauty," she teased.

"That too," he noted dryly.  He looked at his mate.  "You're going to talk to someone first thing tomorrow so you can send them back."

"Of course I am."  He frowned at him.  "Not like I want 'em."

"I wasn't saying you did," he noted calmly, staring him down.  Xander looked back and they came to a silent agreement, earning him a kiss for being so understanding.  "Thank you. Anything else we should be briefed on before tomorrow's cookout?"

"The Chief thought it was hilarious," Speed said with a smirk.  "What time is the cookout?"

"Mid-afternoon.  I'm not expecting anyone until at least one."

"Sure," she agreed, smiling at him.  "We'll bring some chicken."  She got up and hauled Speed up.  "Did we forget anything?"

"Yeah, but it's a car and it's outside.  It got delivered here earlier by the bow on it.  I'm not sure who sent it, it doesn't have a card."  He walked off, taking her back home on his bike.

Xander padded out there to look and gasped, running back and pulling Horatio with him to point at the sports car.  "Someone decided you needed a fast thing."

"I have all the fast things I need," he said, shutting the door and locking it again, taking Xander back to bed.  Their pajamas were stripped off and he laid down on his back, pulling Xander on top of him.  "I'm feeling possessive," he noted.  Xander purred for him and got the oil to prepare himself, then slid down him without needing to be asked.  "That's good, Xander, just like that," he moaned, holding onto the evil hips for dear life as his mate rode him back into sleep.  He should be listed as a dangerous substance.


Xander came out onto the back porch, looking at his mate.  "The jewelry shop only knows who bought one.  The other was cash, it was done by a courier and sent to the station. He had no idea who the courier was.  The other one I sent back with the nice note you helped me write.  With who sent it, I'm expecting it back.  The other one, since this is his third gift, I went to visit at his office.  He drooled and said it was only an infatuation but he didn't have anyone else to spend it on and he hadn't found a more worthy guy.  So I gave him the name of the most upscale escort service who used to want me and suggested he take one of them out of the business and spoil them rotten or find a college student and spoil them.  He's finding both since he's got so much money and energy."  Horatio smirked at that.  "But he refused to take it back and I got a fourth one that he shoved in my pocket and told the guard he was not to accept them back and to shoot me if I didn't leave with them.  Considering he's a former contract assassin, I didn't think he was joking and neither did the guard, who pulled his gun to force me to leave."  The others on the porch gaped.

"The car is back at the dealership, and they don't know who bought it either.  It was the same courier by description but he didn't identify which company he worked for and didn't have a company car.  They take orders for mistresses all the time so they're used to those things."  He looked at him.  "So, we're getting me a new car apparently, just not that one.  The difference will be put toward the insurance."  Horatio opened his mouth.  "He said he couldn't do anything else by state law.  I figured you could argue that with him on Saturday and warned him we'd be back then to deal with this situation after I consulted someone to see if there was anything I could to make them send it to someone else because I was taken and uninterested in their advances.  He asked why a Maserati was an advance and I told him they liked my stripping.  He suggested that I get a hummer, just like that guy Darkness's boyfriend had because apparently it said power and skill more.  He decided it probably suited me.  I told him my boyfriend already drove one and yes it did say skill, power, and lust, but that at least I got to sleep inside instead of in it.  He got the point and told me he had gotten another offer but he hadn't been able to find me so he had to send that one back."  He smiled at him.  "So, what sort of car am I getting?"

"We'll figure that out Saturday after I find out if there's anything I can do about them," he said dryly, hugging him and kissing him gently.  "Any other bad news?"

"Yeah, someone's ready to worship at your feet for taking me off the market because you must be The Man to have me and keep me satisfied.  He thought I'd be fussy, whiny, and needy, so therefore you're either the best lover in the city, if not the state, or you've secretly been training me as your submissive and I'm a good bitch for you.  His words.  He sent you cufflinks and refused to take them back.  I told the jewelry store to not accept anything for either of us unless we came in specifically for each other.  They said they can't do that, it's bad for business.  The guy there the second time suggested a very loud, noisy, open wedding to stop it.  Then he suggested they could do some fantastic rings."  He stole a kiss then went to get a soda, coming back out to sit down.

"You look really odd in a suit," Eric told him, looking amused.  Xander shrugged and sipped his soda. "Is that one yours or his?"

"Mine, I got it for my first grades dinner."  He smirked at him.  "He liked me in it."

"So do I, but you still look funny in a suit," Speed told him. "If you aren't careful he'll quit making you wear slutty clothes around the house and you'll be in a suit all the time."

"I don't usually wear clothes around the house," he noted dryly, making Eric and Calleigh both blush and Alexx splutter on her iced tea.  He smirked at his dad.  "As I think you were made aware a few times."

"Yeah, you flashing Don that one time was amusing as hell, Xander, and made him blush too."

"At least he didn't catch me in the middle of sex, or just after sex," Xander shot back.  Speed blushed at that.  "Do I win?"

"Yes," Horatio said.  "You win.  What dealership?"  Xander tossed over the cards he had in his pocket.  "Thank you.  Go change before you get it dirty."  Xander nodded and went inside, coming out in his new stretch cord pants, which made even Alexx moan.  "Xander," he warned.

"They're more decent than the other pair."

"Not by much," he complained.  "Please."  Xander sighed and went to put on something slightly less slutty than that.  "Thank you," he said, approving of that outfit.  Even if you could see a clear outline and veining pattern on his cock in it.

"Baby, can you please put on a longer shirt?" Alexx asked.  "Pretty please?" she asked at the amused looks Calleigh was giving her.  "I'm easily embarrassed, baby."

"Fine." He came out in lounging jammies, which made everyone else happy.  "Better?"  They all nodded. "Good.  When are we going to pounce Ryan and bring him real food?"

"Tonight," Calleigh said with a grin. "Which means no slutty clothes in the hospital either."

"Yay me," Xander said dryly.  "It'll make him get better faster and I was going to make him a copy of the fashion show for his entertainment."

"I'm still wondering how she got Don into those velvet pants," Eric admitted, sipping his tea.

"They laced up the back," Xander said happily.

"Not what I meant," he assured him.

"Danny probably liked the furry pants," Calliegh said, smiling at him.  "Those two are so cute."

"They are and they're so very protective of each other," Xander assured her.  "Don got mad that I took on someone who was threatening Danny in a bar."

"You did?" Horatio asked, coming over to take a kiss.  "What did you do?"

"I grabbed him by the balls, twisted 'em, growled at him how Stella was more of a real man than he was, then told him to get lost."

"Considering Danny told me what you said," Speed offered, "you growled more than that at him."

"Yeah, well, no one fucks with my friends and family like that.  He was trying to be all drunk and menacing.  Isn't that as illegal as drunk and disorderly?"

"Not quite," Calleigh assured him. "Close though.  I heard you threatened to cut it off and use it like a lawn ornament."

"Yeah, in Ancient Greece they had lawn ornaments like that to one of the Gods of fertility.  Every good home had a set on the lawn in stone."  He got up to get the book and brought it back to show her.  "See?"

She blushed at that and handed it to Eric, who giggled and passed it on.  "I've seen one of these on a recent crime scene," Alexx noted, closing the book and handing it back.  "I'm guessing they were into the old ways.  Either that or advertising that the viagra worked."

Xander giggled at that.  "The sad thing was if you were pissed at them, you went and pranked their house by chipping off parts and stuff. They've found some with ancient graffiti."

"I can't even imagine the psychological pain of that," Calleigh offered. "You guys wince when you see another guy kicked.  Carving initials into a stone one should creep you guys out."

"Back in Montreal I worked with a guy who had tattoos on his."

She blinked and all the guys winced and hissed at that.

Alexx nodded. "I've seen a few in autopsy.  How many did he have?  The most I've seen is three small ones."

"He had wandering vines up and around then around his hips and into his bellybutton.  Like it was growing from there.   He was planning on adding another line of vines from there around his chest and back and down one arm."

"Ow," Calleigh whispered, getting a hug from her boyfriend.  "Very ow."

"Honey, I had one guy who had embedded studs in his," Alexx assured her, patting her hand.  "It made a pretty picture."

"Please change the subject?" Eric pleaded, holding his.  "That's torture where I come from.  Piercing them is bad enough."

"Xander's got a buried treasure piercing," Calleigh said.

"How would you know?" Xander asked, looking amused.

"One of those times *I* walked in on you two.  Try locking the door next time?"

"Try knocking next time," Horatio countered.

"You two were on the couch at Speed's."

Horatio thought back then nodded. "That was his fault.  He pounced."

"Hey, I aced my math test," he complained.  "I deserved a good pounce."

"Which one are those?" Alexx asked.

"The one in that little space between the cock and balls," Calleigh assured her.

She nodded. "I've only seen a few of those," she admitted.  "I've never seen one ripped out like I have the others."

"No, it's hard to grab the little rings with anything but teeth," Xander assured her.  He leaned closer to her. "You think I can get him to do his nipple for me?" he hissed.

"Make honor roll," Eric said, giving him an odd look.  "Did you end up dropping out this semester?"  Xander nodded.  "Guess you've got to wait then, huh?"

"I've already got a treat for honor roll," Xander assured him with a grin.  "So, this place down on the beach that does high end, special order cars, wants to know what I want and need."

Horatio kissed him on the head, taking his soda away from him.  "No more caffeine, Xander."

"What're you driving now?" Eric asked.

"A Lexus.  Two years old.  Ryan said he wants to buy it off me if I sell it."

"Did you stop in to see him?"

"He was on the way to the dealership," Xander admitted.  "I still can't believe someone bought me a Maserati."

"You can get H another hummer," Speed offered. "One for off duty."

"I have one, that's all anyone needs," Horatio noted, turning the steaks he had put on.  "Rare or medium, Xander?"

"Rare today please."  His was handed over and he snuck a kiss and his soda back.  Then he grinned and settled in to eat.  "Are we bringing Ryan one of these later?"

"I was going to make him one and then cut it into strips for him," Horatio admitted. He brought over the rest a few minutes later, then sat down with his once the grill was made safe.  Ryan's was under cover of tinfoil so it could cool off naturally.


"No getting him excited," the nurse yelled after Xander.

He walked in and grinned at him, handing over the tupperwear container.  "You missed the cookout."  He sat on the foot of his bed, shifting to look at it.  "It's cold with potatoes.  Gravy may be coming if Horatio can get the hummer parked."

Ryan smiled and opened his food, grinning at the steak.  "Thank you.  I had mush for lunch."

"I know you did.  They seem to enjoy torturing people by making them eat baby food made to look like playdough food."  Ryan laughed and ate the first bite.  The nurse came in and looked at him so Xander stared back.  "He deserves it.  He lived with a bomb on his chest for six days!"

"He doesn't need steak."

"Then how are his ribs and chest cavity supposed to heal?  You need protein to heal and that's protein."  She backed down and sighed, checking him over and getting him a plastic fork, then leaving rolling her eyes at Horatio.

Horatio walked in and handed over the other container. "A side of gravy, Alexx's pasta salad, and Speed's macaroni salad."

"I love you guys," he said happily, digging in.  The door opened and his favorite reporter walked in.  "Out.  Now."  He ate another bite when she didn't move.  "I mean it."

She pouted.  "But you're a story."

Xander walked over to her and whispered in her ear, making her whimper and cry, then flee.  "Thank you."  He shut the door and went back to his perch on the bed.  Ryan gave him a 'go on, tell us' look while he chewed.  "Her station is owned by the PAX network system.  Which means it's related to the Christian Right, which would not be happy that half of her income goes to support her cocaine or stripper habit.  She called Philip over for private parties all the time and I got called once."

"Oh, okay," he agreed, smiling at Horatio.  "I love your boy, boss. If you ever slip up and lose him, expect me there to try to take him from you."  Horatio gave him a look so he grinned. "Joking."

"He'd have to stand in line behind the stalkers and psychos who want me more," Xander reminded him, patting him on the side.  "Plus he'd have to win Speed's approval."  Horatio nodded at that, it wasn't likely to happen.   Xander knew that his father had already told Horatio that, if they broke up, he'd be tying Xander in his old room until Horatio came to his senses and begged for forgiveness.  Xander thought that was kinda sweet of him, thinking he wouldn't leave Horatio.  He grinned at Ryan.  "So, how long are you on bed and tape duty?"

"Until they pull my stitches," he sighed, eating another piece of steak.  Then he dug into the other stuff, eating like he was starved. Xander produced a jewel case and he snatched it, looking at the title.  "Fashion show?"

"That's how we lured him. The maker of the Xander wardrobe of sluts everywhere is a buddy of mine from my time in Montreal.  She set up shop in New York and I went to get clothing store recommendations since I didn't give Ray Jr. time to pack anything.  She bribed us into doing her fashion show together with Danny and Don to protect us and lure the psycho of the moment. These guys got out in time to be in the crowd. So that's me, Ray, Danny, and Don on stage."

Ryan moaned.  "You give some of the best presents, Xander."

"I know," he offered sweetly, grinning back.  "I figure it can compare and contrast for your research."  Ryan nodded and went back to eating, dumping the gravy over the rest of the steak and potatoes.  He was still starved.  "Should I bring you real food again tomorrow?"

"I get out tomorrow and I'm stopping at a deli on the way home," he assured him before eating another bite.  He looked at Horatio.  "Sorry."

"I've been in that same state after a week in the hospital," he assured him.  Xander looked at him. "Gunshot wound. That scar you wondered about."  Xander grabbed him and pulled him down to kiss him, making Ryan moan and forget eating for another moment. Horatio looked at him so he blushed and went back to eating.  "How much was the gift certificate that got you the car?"

"Way too much.  It also paid for my insurance for most of my life if I wanted it.  Why?"

"You could donate the rest."

"I could," Xander agreed happily.

"I want to buy the Lexus," Ryan noted, putting the empty and wiped clean containers aside.  Xander nodded, grinning at him.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He looked at Horatio again.  "Did you find anything when you talked to your lawyer buddy?"

"No, unfortunately he couldn't find a way either.  He suggested you donate some of it so you don't have to pay taxes on it."  Xander winced.  "Exactly."

"I talked to the IRS about this directly, figuring this way they'd know all the pertinent details.  I brought down the catalog and a list of the other stuff.  She said the gift tax would've been paid at the time of sale and it raised my assets, but not this year since they're gifts.  So next year they'll be tax liabilities.  She suggested I sell them this year or move them to somewhere tax deferred, like a trust situation.  She gave me the name of someone she's seen in the office about this stuff before and who's honest.  That way I don't have to worry about nasty surprises later."

"How much stuff did you get this time?" Ryan asked. "I know you got sent a car and a few bracelets."

"Diamond bracelets and a Maserati," Xander told him.  "With enough extra to pay the insurance for my entire life and then some."  Ryan blinked at that and Xander grinned.  "He doesn't know who.  Someone's using a courier service."

"Well, I can tell you it's someone with way too much money and time on their hands," he noted dryly, shaking his head. "So, can I have easy payment options on the Lexus?"

"Sure, Ryan.  Let me decide what to do with the gift certificate thing.  They only do higher end cars and he wanted me to get another hummer, like that nice dancer Darkness' boyfriend drives."  Ryan burst out in giggles, bringing the nurse back.  He swatted at her, continuing to laugh.

"What did you say!" she demanded.

"Someone suggested I should get a car like my boyfriend's without him knowing I was myself," he admitted dryly.  He grinned at her.  "I used to strip before college and someone sent me a gift certificate for a car."


"Because he desperately wanted my ass and can't have it.  This way he's trying to cover it in leather."

She rolled her eyes.  "I heard that one stripper, Darkness, got things like that.  I didn't know it was all of them."  Ryan burst out laughing again and tugged on her hand, pointing at Xander.  "What does he mean?"

"I'm Darkness."

"Oh.  No wonder!"  She nodded and sighed, walking away shaking her head.  She came back.  "What sort of car this time?"

"Maserati plus insurance."

She sighed again and trudged out. Maybe she should get back into shape.


Xander walked into the station with a smile for the guards, letting them check him and the envelope he carried.  The guard's eyes went wide and he looked at him in awe.  "I got sent a Maserati, what do I need one for?" he complained.  "I got a nice car with the best sound system and DVD system available.  The guy there didn't know me and thought I should get a hummer, like that nice dancer Darkness' boyfriend."  The guard burst out laughing and handed back the envelope.  "That was Wolfe's feeling too.  Cheered him up greatly."  He walked on, going to wait in Horatio's office.  He wasn't sure if he was in or not but they were used to seeing him in CSIville, as he called the canyon that made up the lab.  He found his boyfriend in there and gave him a quick kiss and the envelope. "It's an anonymous donation since no one knows who gave it to me.  I have something nice and modest, with a kicking sound and DVD system, plus GPS and all the bells and whistles I could ever want.  The seats recline fully in case I ever need to sleep in the car as well."  He grinned at him and stole a second kiss, then left him smiling at the empty spot he had left.

Horatio opened the envelope, looking at the invoice.  Six new police cruisers, with air conditioning.  Fully equipped police cruisers.  He blinked and pushed a button on his phone, getting Frank's desk.  "Come here please."  He hung up and put the form back in the envelope, smiling as he came in.  He handed it to him and stood up.  "Deliver that for the anonymous donor who had it sent to Xander."

"What is it?"  He opened it and blinked.  "Holy mother of god," he said with awe "With A/C even.  The guys are gonna go nuts over that."  He looked inside, then at Horatio, handing over the other notice.  "I think that's yours since it's got your name on it."  He watched his face when he saw the other invoice, taking it from the limp fingers. "Hey, maybe night shift can use one."  He went to deliver them.  It'd get him a longer lunch.  The Chief was just coming out of a press conference so he stopped him and gave him a small smirk.  "Someone gave a certain guy a car," he said quietly, facing away from the press and any mirrors.  "Since it was an expensive sports car he didn't feel he could take it.  It was done anonymously so he couldn't give it back.  Instead he's making a charitable donation to be delivered on the second of January so he can reduce his taxes next year."  He handed over the invoices, making the man smile at him.  "I thought you might like that.  He delivered them to his boyfriend at the station and said they're anonymous since he didn't know who gave it to him."

The Chief of Police turned around and smiled at the members of the press who were wondering what the detective needed.  "I've just been handed a donation invoice," he announced.  The press moved closer, turning back on the cameras.  "A local citizen has kindly donated, anonymously, six new fully equipped police cruisers and one new Hummer for the crime lab."  That got a polite clap.  "I'd like to thank our benefactor for this is greatly appreciated and allows us to replace some of the older cars in the system.  Thank you from both mine and the mayor's office."  He smiled and walked inside, dragging Frank with him.  "Horatio couldn't bring it?" he muttered.

"He didn't wanna be connected I guess.  I joked and said now maybe the night shift can have a hummer."

The Chief looked at him.  "They would appreciate that.  They do complain about them hogging them.  Especially that Horatio takes his home."  He walked into his office and shut the door, locking it.  "Even with air conditioning, I'm very impressed with him."

"Hey, he knows how hot it gets down here," he noted dryly.  "The boy's from near the desert in California."

"Good point."  He sat down to read them over, smiling at this.  "It is a great gift."  He looked at Frank.  "He doesn't know who sent him the original car?"

"No, and the dealership wouldn't let him cash it out either. Said it was against the law or something.  So Xander got a new, modest car, out of it and gave the rest of that to us. He said he didn't need a Maserati."

The Chief blinked and did the mental math.  "That's a high restocking fee," he noted dryly, "but I'm sure someone will buy the car just because he returned it."  He shook his head and looked at them again.  "Is he working with someone on his taxes?"

"Yeah, Horatio said he went to the IRS personally.  Took everything he had with him.  They talked and suggested he go to a lawyer they'd seen in the past who's honest.  The boy's good about keeping Horatio out of trouble when things like this happen."

"He is.  I'm so very glad of that as well."  He smiled at him.  "What else did he get?"

"Some jewelry.  The shop refuses to stop taking orders.  They suggested the only way to stop it was a loud and noisy wedding."

"That would be most charming," he agreed happily. "They both seem to appreciate the beach and that would be the best spot for it.  That way no one can be excluded."

"We'd still have to hold a line against the bigots."

"True, and isn't he Catholic?"  Frank thought then nodded.  "Hmm, that would be another problem.  Very well, I'll talk to him about it.  Internal Affairs wasn't really concerned when I mentioned he was still getting things about the boy, but they were amused and trying to figure out how to help him stop it since they know he's helpless in this situation."

"You'd think that everyone would've given up by now, but no, they had ta get worse."

"Oh, no, Detective Tripp, this isn't as bad as it was.  I know what he's got in storage."  Frank raised an eyebrow.  "Really.  Internal Affairs went to him so they could have notes, that way they could weed out what Xander gave him and what was given to Xander in case a question ever came up about Horatio taking bribes or something like that.  I'm not sure if Horatio knows that or not but he did work with them and his binder of things.  They made full photocopies and it's down in the main office.  Plus the full record of his sword and gun collection."

"Wow. Well, I guess the boy's good.  At least he's being honest and helping to make sure Horatio's protected."  He shrugged.  "I can't complain about that.  I'm going to lunch now."

"Of course you are," he agreed, smiling at him.  "Did Horatio volunteer you?"  He nodded.  "Tell him I said to thank his mate when you finally get back."

"Sure will, boss.  Have fun with that.  Go rub it in the mayor's face since he's trying to cut our budget again."   He left, going to find a good lunch and call Xander.  "What binder of stuff?  No, the Chief told me."  He listened to Xander read out of it, mentally trying to count the bucks.  "What're you doing with that?"  He snickered.  "Good idea.  I wouldn't do it here, but good idea.  Sure.  Thanks, kid.  No, he was so enthused he almost danced in front of everyone.  Thanks especially for the A/C."  He hung up and got back to eating, happy with the world for the moment.


Xander walked behind his lawyer back into his office, sprawling in a chair that was pointed at.  "So, what do I do?"

"Well, first, can't you stop them?"  Xander shook his head.  "Have you tried?"

"I tried to send back every single thing I got.  Half of them come anonymously so I can't figure out who.  Half of the stuff I send back comes back anyway."  He shrugged.  "All I know is that it upsets me and my boyfriend and he's about to slam somebody into a wall soon for the sports car stunt."

"At least we got that figured out for you," he decided, sitting to look at him.  "All that was gifted this year?"

"All but four or five pieces.  The binder has the dates."  It was pulled out of the briefcase and looked through, post-it notes being put on the older things.  "Even if I wanted to sell it, how would I do that without pissing people off and drawing more attention?"

"To be truthful, they probably expected you to sell it, Mr. Harris.  Most strippers don't have a yen for diamonds, they have a yen for money."  He looked at him. "The stuff you got from the gentleman who wanted to kidnap you?  I checked, the inheritance taxes were paid and no one there countered the will.  His former wives thought you'd be selling it as well.  They knew you had protested it greatly and felt great shame at what he had done to the others he had taken.  They thought it only fair that one of you won against him and they had their own assets stored away."  He nodded.  "The man's first husband or whatever they're called, didn't have any other family to contest except his father.  I contacted him and he said he had disowned his son years ago for being gay."  Xander nodded, understanding that.  "Other than that, I wouldn't do it here.  That would cause problems. I can start it around in the correct social circles that your boyfriend is very upset about this and is making you sell them.  That it's making him think one of them wants to try to take you again."  Xander nodded, reaching over to dial his phone for him. "Lieutenant Caine?"


"This is Mr. Horowitz, Xander's attorney for the tax matters he's got coming up?"

"Yes, what's going on?"

"We're formulating a strategy and he wanted you involved, Lieutenant.  Are you busy?"

"I'm on a crime scene but I can take a moment.  Unless you want to do this later?"

"That's fully up to you, Lieutenant.  I'm here at the convenience of my clients."

"Then how about I meet him at your office at five?"

He checked.  "Five thirty would be better. I have a client in at four and I'm not sure how long it'll take."

"That would be acceptable.  Thank you."  He hung up.

Xander shrugged. "I never know when he's busy and when he's not."

The lawyer smiled at him. "In his job it's a matter of a moment's notice I suppose."  He went back to it.  "What I'd like to suggest is this....."


Horatio sat down with a nod.  "I've heard you were involved in some trust defenses."

"I have been.  I do inheritance and tax law."  He smiled at him.  "What we've been discussing is this.  We put around in the proper social circles that these continued gifts are worrying you.  Basically, with Xander's past of attracting the wrong sort, you're worried that some of these gifts are from those sort of sources.  You put around that Xander has already bent over backwards to protect you with your bosses, but with the taxes and that threat, it's been talked about him liquidating the assets he's been sent. That you're not quite demanding but Xander himself is worried about it."

"Which we are," Horatio agreed.

"True, I would be as well.  Especially after how expensive some of these have been."  He clasped his hands on the desk over the folder.  "With that getting around, he goes to New York since you have ties in the area and it's a better auction area, plus saying that he doesn't want to feel like he's insulting any of the gift givers who weren't out to steal him.  We call up an auction house and eliminate as much of the hard assets as we can.  Since this is the year they were gifted, he can do that and pay capitol gains taxes at a decreased rate since it's a gift.  It's a fairly small loophole for mistresses to be truthful.  We can put the rest into something tax deferred that earns interest and pays him a small salary from it.  Just like a normal trust would.  That means it can be rolled over upon his death to whoever is the beneficiary and they can arrange it so they don't have to pay full taxes either.  This is how people like the governor do it."  Horatio nodded at that, slowly but he nodded. "Now, doing this will draw some attention to him.  I know he has cooperated with your office's Internal Affairs division when someone wondered about these matters and they have a list so they can determine what's his and what could be considered given in bad faith if something should be accused."
"I was told he did that after the fact."  He glanced at the silent young man, noticing he was asleep.  "How long has he been like that?"

"Ten minutes now.  He went and did some stress shopping during the break.  Someone heard I'm his attorney and had another something sent to me."  He handed over the folder.  "The will of that one man and his assets.  There's no one there to contest it and the courts over there have decided it's done in bad taste but there's no other option since he wrote it out."

"The man's family?"

"His father disowned him for being gay."

"Ah."  He looked over the considerable list.  "He's selling this."

"I figured he would be.  I talked with the legal representative over there who handled his affairs and he said he expected him to since it was done in such bad taste.  He said to let him know where the auction would be so he could pass that around since his house could be wanted."

"Very well.  New York?"

"Would be the better choice.  He said he'd feel safe there. It's away from Miami society so no one would feel awkward or obligated to buy back their own things. There's also a number of good auction houses in the city that can handle things like his jewelry collection.  Which did grow by a substantial bit today as well."  He handed over the invoice.  "I called, they said it was that same courier.  They did ask which company and he said he was privately hired.  He passed back yours and Mr. Harris' message to please leave him alone, in more polite terms, and citing that you were getting upset.  The courier made a call and said that his boss understood that but he was only tipping the charming man that made the last few months of his life worthwhile.  He said they'd stop upon his death.  I have no idea if this means another situation like that will.  I'm hoping not.  The IRS is rather amused by these situations but when it happens for years in a row they get suspicious."

"So would I."  He handed it back.  "Do you have a suggestion for which auction house?"

"Go with the standard names.  Christie's comes to mind first and they do have a jewelry department that does very well."  Horatio nodded at that, a bit more firmly.  "That would probably mean you having to take time to go with him since it'll look like he's doing it in shame and in fear of rejection, which could make someone try to step up and take him.  I realize that people are still watching you to make sure you treat him well.  Even my wife said so and she hates this situation. She's very clearly refused to help in it.  So I'm passing it back through my own mistress, who has very strong social connections in the right places."

"Thank you.  Would you be getting a commission on the auction as well?"

"No.  No, I work by the hour.  Mr. Harris has already paid me for my advice on this matter.  Once I set up the trust that the auction will feed, my part in this is done unless he needs another opinion should that will name him."

"I see.  Thank you for being honest."

"It's what I do.  He asked the IRS representative for an honest lawyer, citing your job and the expectations you had."

Horatio smiled.  "He does like to protect me."  He gently woke Xander, getting a sleepy smile.  "Do you like this plan?"  Xander nodded and yawned, stretching a bit before sitting up.  "What did you do to get so sleepy, Xander?"

"About fifty thousand laps in the college's pool," he admitted.  "I was burning off some energy before I went to talk to the jewelry store again.  He told you?"

"Yes, he did.  I like this plan if you do."  Xander nodded quickly.  "Do you like it because you like it?"

"Yeah, and it's safer and better too.  It's not like I wanna look at it and saying I don't wanna look at it seems ungracious and bitchy, saying you don't like it is true and it makes me sound less bitchy."  Horatio smirked at that.  "It does."

"It does," he agreed.  "Fine, then we'll do it this way, Xander."

"Thank you."  He hugged him.  Then he looked at the lawyer.  "How do I get it up there?  Do they have a local office?"

"I would say travel with a guard," he admitted dryly. "Hire a bodyguard for the day or hire one and have your boyfriend with you.  Set up your appointment beforehand also, that way you don't have to wait."  He handed over a card.  "I took the liberty of looking up Christie's number since they're about the only one I've dealt with for jewelry.  You call them, tell them the truth, and they'll set up an appointment."

"Do I tell them I was a stripper?"

"I would personally.  It could market it toward a different set of clients.  You'll also need this," he said, handing him the folder. "They can call the legal representative over there to tell them when the property auction is."  Xander nodded, accepting that.  "Now, for tax purposes, you need this auction before the end of the year, Xander."

"I understand," he agreed.  "So I call when I get home?"

"First thing tomorrow. It's probably too late tonight."  Xander nodded at that.  "Any other questions?"  Xander shook his head.  "Then, when it's set up, call me back and I'll set up that trust account and that paperwork so they can pay directly into that. That way you don't have to worry about changing money around."  Both of them nodded at that.  "Then go home and enjoy and see if there's anything anywhere in that stuff that you want.  By the way, nice job with the extra hummer, Xander."

Xander grinned.  "I've heard the night shift guys complain that they don't get to use them all."  He looked at Horatio, who was frowning.  "You didn't open the second invoice?"

"Frank showed it to me.  That wasn't part of...."  Xander shook his head. "Then what was it part of?"

"Mostly that insurance that he left. Since my new car is less expensive and less fast, it doesn't cost as much."

"Ah.  Good to know."  He stole a kiss.  "Home?  Or dinner?"

"Home and I'm dinner?"  Horatio blushed at that so he grinned. "I've been a good boy all day."

"You have."  He stood up and shook the lawyer's hand, followed by Xander.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He watched as they left, smiling at their backs.  Then he called his mistress and gave her the proper story so she could tell her mother and the others.  They'd have to see how much more stuff showed up right before the auction.  It was always possible.


Xander sat down in the living room, putting Don on speaker.  "Surprise."

"What now?  Another one of ours come down after you?" he asked dryly.  "Shit.  Sorry, burned myself."

"Curling iron?" Horatio joked.

"No, cooking. My hair doesn't take anything that fancy.  What's going on, guys?"

"I'm auctioning off the eight miles of jewelry I've been given."

"Interesting.  And the call is for...."

"I'm doing it in New York.  Which means I'll be in the area, inviting you to dinner if you don't have a date...hopefully not causing any trouble."

"We'd like that last part.  When you coming in?"

"I managed to set up an appointment next week for them to look at it.  So I'm flying in with a boatload of jewelry in a secure box.  I checked with the airport and they have ways of sending special things like that in specially secure containers.  I come up for the appointment, they appraise and we work out what's going out to auction.  Oh, and the husband guy left me his *full* estate, including a house in Dubai."  Don groaned.  "Yeah.  Plus even more jewelry, but this time man's jewelry."  He sighed.  "Then I'd have to come back for the auction since they said it'd probably not be the same week."

"So, fly in for a few days with tons of shit that can get stolen, fly out without it, then come back to watch it make you cold, hard cash?"

"Yeah, basically," Xander agreed.  "And Horatio can't be there for the first part.  They just broke a major drug and gun dealing case with the Mala Noche again.  I'm really starting to hate those guys and they like to shoot at the hummer and his hair."  He sipped his soda.  "Which means I get to go shoot them if they hurt him this time."  He glared at his lover, who was shaking his head.  He smirked and nodded. "Oh, yes I will. Because someone like that shoots you, I'm going to so lose it and go off on the world.  The rumors of your wrath will have *nothing* on my vengeance.  So don't get dead."

"Yes, dear," he said, sighing a bit.  "So there's another good reason to send him to you, Don."

"Yeah, and the guns," he noted dryly.  "Okay, have we made travel arrangements for the first trip?"

"I have and I'll be there almost a full day before the appointment.  They've arranged a local bank to hold it for me for that day.  So that only leaves the small opening from JFK to downtown Manhattan."

"Decent enough to manage with an escort," he agreed.

"The lawyer I've been working with suggested I hire a bodyguard."

"Might not be a bad idea," he agreed. "But you can hire us to do the same thing, Xander.  What day?"


"Which is a Thursday," he noted.  "Not too bad or heavy of a day usually."

"That's what the auction house thought too.  They said it'd be harder to do this on a Monday or a Friday.  So it's the escort there and then from the bank to Christie's.  They've got their own security set up once it's there."

"Okay.  When's the appointment?"

"Ten.  They don't open until ten.  And I told them *everything*, down to the stalkers, the stripping, everything."

"Good idea.  How much stuff is there?"  It sounded like he ate a bite of something.

"Estimated about 9 mil by appraisal earlier today."  Don choked.  "Sorry."

"How in the hell!"

"The stuff from the will.  The house in Dubai is probably worth about half that."

"Oh.  Wonderful."  Another bite and chewing.  "Okay," he said after the sound of swallowing.  "Sorry, at my desk."

"Not an issue. I've had many moments of calling Horatio during lunch.  It's the only time I'm sure to get him that he's not working on something."  Don chuckled at that.  "Most of it's small.  It fits in a large safety deposit box.  It's all in cases. Oh, you missed the car.  Someone sent me a Maserati and insurance."

"Damn," he said in awe.  "Did you get to at least drive it?"

"I did," he said proudly.  "That's how I got it back to the dealership."

"What'd you get instead?  Another hummer?"

"Something nice and decent for me, with a great sound and DVD system, and then six new cruisers and an extra hummer for the crimelab."

"Can you adopt me, Xander?"

"Sure, Don.  If Horatio lets me."

"Horatio, can he adopt me?"

"Tell him I said hi," a faint voice called.

"Mac says hi," Don told him.  Then the phone was moved away from his mouth.  "Xander's doing the tax auction of his jewelry and stuff up here at Christies."

"Wonderful," Mac's voice said.  "How much stuff?"

"Large safety deposit box, about nine mil including the new will he got named in."  Mac's groan came across very well.  "A house in Dubai."

"Just what he needs.  When is he coming?"

"Twenty-second.  I'm working on what to give the Chief to assign a guard he'll be hiring."

"Have fun with that.  It'd make me nervous.  Tell him to drop in for lunch one day when he's up here."

Don came back more clearly. "He said you're taking us all to lunch one day."

"Sure, not an issue," he agreed happily.  "So, can you arrange that for me?"

"I can and have the Chief call you.  He's working out ways of you not paying taxes, right?"

"Yup.  He's setting up a trust for me that'll be tax deferred until I die and then roll over into something that'll only have to have minimal taxes paid on.  Like the real money people do."

"Good.  So I'm guessing you got the will and everything worked out?"

"Yup.  Did that first."

"Good.  Extra good in your case.  Any new psychos?"  He ate another bite.

"Not yet, thankfully," Horatio admitted, smiling at the phone.  "We'll let you have dinner, Don.  Just let us know how much and any other details.  Do you have my fax number?"  He made an assenting noise.  "Then don't get indigestion over this."  He hung up and looked at his mate.  "This is very responsible of you, Xander.  I'm proud."  He took a kiss and Xander curled up against him, snuggling in.  "That'll give you time to get back into school as well."  Xander sighed and nodded.  "You're not liking school are you?"  Xander shook his head.  "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault.  I hate lectures.  I don't learn a damn thing from them."

"I know."  He stroked his back.  "We'll talk to Speed later this semester.  Depending on the auction's results, I might not make you go back for a while."


"We'll see.  What would you do instead?  Since you'd be bored otherwise."

"The coach of the swim team wants me," he said quietly, taking his hand to hold.  "I like swimming."

"You want to train to compete?"

"I don't know."  He looked up at him.  "I really don't know."  Horatio nodded at that and went back to his petting.  "I'm confused."

"I can't make this decision for you, Xander."

"I know.  I wish you could."

"Yes, but that gives too much control over your life to me and I don't want a slave or a robot Xander.  I want an adult Xander who knows what he wants most of the time."  Xander nodded.  "Which you usually do."  That got a faint grin.  "This is one of those big decisions that you should think about, Xander.  If you stay in school, you can try out for the team and have the benefit of the training plus an honest evaluation of your skills."

"Maybe," he sighed.  "I talked with him about that stuff earlier and he understood why I was having so many problems in the classes.  He said about the same thing and said to give a semester of training a try, that way he could see how far I could go."

"That sounds reasonable."

"It's a lot of work.  It's an extra two or three hours a day of training on top of classes."

"If you don't you'd just be sitting around waiting on me to get home."

"Point, but then there's homework on top of it."

"So take your gym elective and three other easy classes without homework.  I'm sure the coach can guide you in that direction."  Xander nodded, relaxing against him. "If you do or don't, I'll still be proud and so will Tim."

"Thank you."

"Not an issue.  I'll probably always be proud of you unless you turn into some evil genius or you turn into my brother."  Xander hugged him around the middle. "He hasn't shown up yet."

"Yes he has, he was lurking at Ray's school when I went to pick him up.  Ray snubbed him and walked past him."

"Good to know.  Did he seem any way moved by you?"

"He gave me a disgusted look.  I'm kinda used to those though."

"That's fine then."  He held him, listening to his stomach complain for a few minutes before reaching for the phone.  "What did you want to order for dinner?"

"Fettuccine alfredo.  It's in the boxes in the freezer.  Even Tim likes it."

"That sounds good."  He got free and went to warm it up and bring it out, giving him a happy spouse.  "We may have to hold that wedding to throw people off," he said when he came back.

"We may.  Beach at night?"

"That would be fine," he agreed, smiling at him.  "Cruise for a honeymoon?"

"I could sand that."  He looked up at him.  "The Chief will be happy since you're about to lose a year of leave time."

"I've arranged to roll most of it into other areas so I keep it.  I only have to sign the paperwork, Xander."

"Good.  Do that tomorrow so he quits nagging me."  Horatio smiled at that.  "Did he do the happy dance of joy?"

"I sent it with Frank so he could have a long lunch.  He had a bad case this morning."  Someone pounded on the door so he got up to get it.  His gun was right there by the door so it was fine.  He looked out then opened it, letting in the rest of his family.  "Yelina, Ray, Ray.  Ray, we're having the fettuccine in the green box in the freezer. Go ahead and make some."  He nodded, heading that way.  "Living room."  He closed and locked the door, going back to his seat. Xander curled up against him again, comfortable if he was.  He ate another bite. "What's going on?"

"You beat him?" she asked Xander, who nodded, licking his fork.  She smiled.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He ate another bite.  "We're auctioning off the ill-gotten gains.  Ray, bring me a soda?" he called.

"Sure, Xander."

"Thank you.  Remember to stir it or you get burned spots."  He looked at her again.  "We were just talking about my next semester.  The swim coach wants to see if I can make it on the team."  She beamed at him.  "The problem is that I suck at school."

"You got good grades last semester."

"Yeah, and I wore my ass out," Xander assured her. "Two tutors, Tim, and Horatio to get those grades. And I still don't understand most of it."  Ray Jr. came out with his dinner and a soda.  "Thanks, kiddo."  He moved his feet.  "I've got to go back to New York."

"Another fashion show?"

"No, auction off the pretty sparklies the fans gave me."  He ate another bite and looked at Ray Sr.  "Yes, I'm curled against your brother. You can quit staring.  After all, your wife walked in on us doing much more than this once or twice."

"I still don't like the fact that you're corrupting my brother.  What do the other cops say?"

"That it's cute he fell in love with me and I make him less grumpy.  Internal Affairs made sure they had a clear idea what was mine and what was his in case someone tried to accuse him of taking bribes or something.  I used to be the Chief's viagra so he thinks I'm adorable and sweet to the department since I do things like bring lunches and use some of the stuff I got to help them."  He scraped the cheese sauce off the inside of the box, then used his finger to get the corners.  "Even Tim likes this one's sauce," he told the amused mother watching him eat.  "They're the best but they're nearly the cheapest."  He opened his soda and took a drink, then put it on the coaster, looking at Jr.  "How was school?"

"Crappy.  Science test. I did okay but I stressed all night so now I'm sleepy."

"I did about three thousand laps in the pool between talking with the attorney and going back to the jewelry store about another delivery. Apparently the courier thing is some nice old guy that I cheered up who's dying. I don't mind him, he's not trying to steal me.  But his courier buddy did say that it'd slow down soon and that he'd buy me more reasonable stuff.  I ran into his courier on the way back to the lawyer and he agreed the Maserati was too much but he did appreciate what I had done with the extra.  He expected something like that anyway."

"What did you do?" Yelina asked.

"Six new cruisers and a new hummer for the lab," Horatio told her.

"Which means he can probably trade in his for the new one," Xander said with a grin.

"I've finally got the seat perfect.  They're prying my hummer from my cold, dead fingers," Horatio joked back, smirking at him.

"If you die, I get to go bitch on the world.  Remember that," he reminded him sweetly.  "The world will know the Vengeance of Xander if the Wrath of Caine is killed."

"Can you not swear in front of my son?" Ray Sr. demanded.

"Father, shut up," Jr. said dryly.  "I knew those words a long time ago, I can use them in a full and grammatically correct sentence, and I'm not as innocent as you think."  His father glared at him.  "Yes, it was my ex's fault that I ended up in an orgy, but yay.  It didn't mean I was a virgin when I got there.  No, I'll never do drugs thanks to you and I've only snuck two beers and a wine cooler in the past, but I'm not that innocent.  I'm sixteen.  I'm old enough to swear and get a tattoo."

"No tattoos," his mother ordered patiently.  "Nipple ring, belly button ring, dick piercing if you must, but no tattoos.  You can only get a piercing like Xander's if you end up gay," she added for good measure.

"Yes, mom."  He grinned at her.  "You sure?"

"Quite. No girl will ever blow you enough to let you enjoy the pain of getting one."  She looked at Horatio.  "How much did his hurt?"

"I don't know.  I found it four days after he got it."

"Think childbirth in a single moment of time," Xander said dryly. "All at once."  She nodded, understanding that.  "That's right over a very severe nerve bundle.  It hurt.  A lot.  He said it'd hurt way more than a PA and I was very brave."

"I can agree with that.  Especially since you went alone."  Xander nodded at that so she smiled. "You could've asked.  I would've held your hand."

"I love you like a sister, but you don't need to see that much of me."

"True."  She nodded.  She looked at Horatio. "You got with him the first time right after that?"

"That hyper day?  That was five days post-piercing."

"Ah."  She nodded.  "Understood.  I remember that day.  How many naps did you need?" she asked with a smile.

"Seven by the time it was out of his system.  Thank you for never suggesting that again."

"Can we please quit talking about gay sex in front of me?"

"No," Ray told him, smirking a bit.  "I happen to like Uncle Horatio's boyfriend.  He's a great guy who helps me when I need practical answers."  He finished off his dinner and looked at Horatio's, who handed his over with a smirk.  "Thanks, Uncle Horatio."

"You're welcome.  I was a bottomless pit myself at your age.  So was your father."  He looked at his sister-in-law.  "Why the conference?"

"He believes Xander's a whore."

"Really?" he asked dryly, glaring at Ray.  "I've never had anyone pay me for my ass, thank you.  Stripping yes, having girlfriends who were sluts, yeah, twice, selling my ass?  No.  The only thing I sold was the sight of my ass.  If you don't like it, get out."  Horatio went back to petting him.  "You knew I was going to react strongly," he pointed out.  "Let's face it, I told a Vice cop off for thinking all strippers are pros.  In public.  Being accused of it in my home was going to set me off."  Yelina gave him a 'sorry' look.  "Was he this judgmental before he became a junkie and started to sleep around for his fix?"

"No," she admitted, smiling back at him.

"I never slept...."

"Really?" Horatio asked dryly.  "Xander, go get my wallet?"  He nodded and got up to get it from the bedroom, bringing back just the picture he wanted.  He smiled and him and leaned over, letting Ray see it.  "She's not mine," he noted calmly.  Ray snatched it to look at it, then at him.  "We found her, Ray.  We found little Madison as well.  She was ill.  Your son ended up giving bone marrow to her."  He slumped and handed it back.  "How is Madison, Ray?" he asked his nephew.

"She's good.  Doing okay.  Her mom's still clean and she's really happy about that."  He smiled at his mom.  "She sent Madison a birthday card."

"She deserved it, it's not her fault my husband cheated on me. Or that my brother-in-law pretended to be her father for my mental stability."  She looked at her husband, arms crossed over her chest.  "You have a lot of explaining to do."

"I was ...."

"I don't care what your assignment was.  You never told me you were on assignment in the first place. The first I knew about it, I was being told my husband was a junkie cop who got shot getting high."  He sighed and nodded.  "By Internal Affairs and Stetler."

"Who you dated!" he complained.

"He was nice to me, you were supposedly dead.  Did you want me to not move on, ever?"


"Life doesn't work that way.  The living have to go on living after the dead fade," Xander told him.

"Have you ever lost anyone?"

"Yes.  I have.  Including one by my own hand."  Ray looked horrified so he looked at the kid.  "Go to the study for a minute."

"I'm not that young."

"In my last few months in Sunnydale, I saw thirty kids die."  He nodded and went that way, locking himself in there. He looked at his future brother-in-law again.  "In my former town there were things that ate people.  Things like down at Tentacles and Chasm.  I'm sure you made the rounds down there while undercover."  Ray swallowed and nodded.  "I hunted them from the time I was sixteen until two months after I came back here.  That's about four years.  My first kill was my best friend, who'd been turned.  The kid who protected me when my father tried to kill me once.  The one who bandaged me, let me play with his toys, and was about the only one who actually loved me.  And he was my first kill.  So no, I'm not that young either and yes, the living go on after the dead fade.  That's the way life is or else it would've stopped long ago.  Your wife grieved for you and moved on with her life.  Why is it that almost every other cop can get some sort of word back and you couldn't, not even while you were alive.  You knew your wife could keep a secret.  She's part of the same police force."

"I was trying to spare her, kid."

"Yeah, well, ya didn't.  You made hers and your son's heart break, not to mention your brother's.  Not to mention what IAD kept doing to both of them thanks to that assignment.  If they had known, it wouldn't have been so bad.  But they didn't know.  All they heard was that you got high and got killed during it.  So get off your fucking high horse and rejoin reality before one of us bitch slaps you for stupidity and arrogance."

"Xander," Horatio said calmly.

"No!  He hurt you!  You were hurt by his stupidity!  He could've told you and he didn't.  You had to grieve and sit there and listen to Stetler go back over and over it and taunt you.  If he wants to come back now, he's got a lot of fucking shit to make up for."  He stood up and walked off, heading to the bedroom and slamming the door.

"I think it's cute your boy protects you like you're his son at times," Yelina told him, smiling at him.  "You should chase him."

He shook his head. "It won't help yet.  In ten minutes or so, when he's calmer."  He leaned forward.  "What do you want out of this, Ray?  Do you want to come back?  If so, you have a lot of apologizing to do to your family first and then me. And if you *ever* insult Xander again, I will kick your ass and have Speed help me bury your living body in the Everglades.  Are we clear?"


"Yes, I will.  Xander is my choice, the same as Yelina was yours. I'm sorry if you don't like my choice, but he makes me happy and, as you saw, protects me.  Now, I would start with your wife.  I would also duck when she goes for your eyes this time."  He stood up and went to tell Ray he could come back, then went to talk to Xander.  Xander was curled up on the bed so he laid behind him, holding him against his chest.  "Are you all right?"

"No, I snapped."

"It happens.  He deserved it."  He kissed the back of his head.  "You should take a shower.  You smell like the pool."  Xander let out a small chuckle.  "I've got most of tomorrow off.  Would you swim and let me watch?"  Xander nodded. "Then go bathe for now and rejoin us.  I left them talking and she's going to beat him soon.  I should stop her before Ray Jr. helps or gets traumatized."  Xander snorted but got up and headed for the bathroom. He watched him go.  "I don't mind you protecting me when I need it, Xander," he said quietly.  His mate looked at him.  "I do the same for you.  You don't have to kill though, just yell."

"Unless someone seriously hurts you, then they deserve it."

Horatio smirked.  "I'll be sure to tell Speed to handcuff you in a comfortable position if I ever get that injured.  Or Calliegh if he does."  He got up and headed back into the living room.  "He's bathing off the pool from earlier." He sat down.  "He's leaving the twenty- second for New York to arrange things for the auction."

"I'll be sure to warn everyone you'll be cranky while he's gone," she assured him with a small smile.  "He wants to try out for a team?"

"Swimming.  He's supposed to be pretty good.  The coach wants him to give him a semester to see how good he can be."

"Good!  How is he going to get through the semester?"

"With a lot of work," Xander called before shutting the door.

Yelina snickered at that, shaking he head.  "I hope he can do it.  He's got natural grace."  She looked at her son.  "There are things about Xander's past you do not need to know and I do not want you to ask him."

"Is this the hunting stuff Speed let on about?"  She nodded and so did his uncle.  "Then I don't need to know unless something attacks me. At which time, I'll call really fast."

"Good."  Horatio looked at his brother.  "I would suggest you and your wife talk first.  Ray Jr. will need both of you when he's dealing with this."

"No I won't."

Horatio looked at him.  "There may be things he can explain."

"I don't care."

Horatio nodded.  "That's also an option, and a good reason for your mother and he to talk first.  Then, if you want to know, you can go to her first."

"I can agree with that," he agreed.  "There's stuff that doesn't totally involve me, like Madison.  It involves me somewhat but not fully.  It wasn't his vows to me he broke."  He stared at his father.  Then at his uncle.  "Can I play games on Xander's laptop?"

"Or you can use my computer."

"No offense, Uncle H, but he's got Halo."

"Go, call into the bathroom to make sure it's okay."  He nodded and headed that way.  He looked at his sister-in-law.  "Do you need my help?"  She shrugged. "Then I'm going to make some coffee."  He got up, heading into the kitchen.  He heard Ray muttering and went in there, giving him a hug.  "No matter what, I am your uncle.  Even if something world-ending were to happen, I'm still here for you and even if Xander leaves me some year, he's still probably going to be there for you too."

"I don't leave, I get left," Xander said from the doorway, working on his hair.  He and Horatio shared a look. "No matter where we are, we've got a couch for you, Ray," he said quietly.  Ray smirked at him.  "Don't use my saved game."

"Yes, Xander."  He grinned and pulled the laptop out, then blushed and looked at him.  "Nice wallpaper."

Xander smirked. "I took it while he slept."

"I can tell. He's relaxed."  He opened the game, starting his last game under his own name.

Horatio looked at Xander.  "What wallpaper?"

"I'll show you when he's done."  He grinned at him.  "Go nibble."  Horatio nodded and finished his trek to the kitchen.  Xander put on pajama bottoms and curled up beside Ray.  "I usually reload here, just in case."  Ray's character grabbed some stored bullets and reloaded, then went on.  "Good job.  Now hit it in the chest.  The weak spot is under the left nipple."

Ray grinned at him and went back to it, finally beating that level.  "Thank you, Xander."

"Welcome.  When are we doing the range this time?"

"This weekend?"

"Okay."  He got up and went to bug Horatio.  "When are we taking Tim and Ray Jr. to the range? He suggested this weekend."

"I can do it Sunday afternoon," he offered, smiling at him.  "Calleigh too?"

"She'll pout if we don't."  He pulled the phone down off the wall and called.  "Cal, Xander.  Shooting range Sunday afternoon?  You two, us two, and Ray Jr.?"  He grinned.  "Sure.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "They can't.  Her father's coming over."

"So they'll be late?"

"Probably."  He stole a kiss and smiled. "He's going to be bouncy and hyper that day."  He stole another kiss and went back to helping Ray win his new level. "Sunday afternoon."

"Sure.  I don't think the priest would approve, but oh well."  He paused the game, looking at his father.  "Yes?"

"You're doing what Sunday?"

"Shooting range with Uncle Horatio and Xander."

"I can take you."

"No thanks.  They do it very well."  He looked at Xander.  "Speed and Calleigh?"

"Meeting her dad."

"Oooh," Ray moaned, shuddering.  "I need a new girlfriend."

"Well, let me vet any first.  Any that like me too much, they'll go evil."  Ray laughed and hit him on the arm.  "They would be!  And hey, I can easily spot super psycho stalker girls and never date a snarky cheerleader.  Otherwise you too shall have Cordelia-like stories."

Horatio leaned in.  "He'd better not.  No cheerleaders, nephew."

"Yes, Uncle H."  He grinned at him.  "I love you."

"Love you too, Ray.  You two behave in here."  They nodded and got back to the game.  He looked at his brother. "Xander's very good at making sure he's aiming properly and doing the gun safety lectures."  He headed back to the living room, handing her a mug.  "He's staring at them playing Halo.  We're going to the range Sunday afternoon."

"My mother wanted us over for lunch."

"We can go afterward."

"That would be fine.  No one there will interest him."  She shrugged and sat down so she could see her husband.  "Do I trust him?" she asked quietly.

"Only you can say so, Yelina.  I can't make that decision for you.  Only you can say if you can forgive it."

"I know I won't forget it," she said dryly, watching her husband. "Let the boys play, Raymond."  He turned and looked at her so she sipped her coffee. "Let them play."

"You're not worried about...."  He stopped when something very hard hit his head.

"No, father, Xander's not going to force himself on me and make my ass gay!" Ray called.  "Now go the fuck away before I hit you with something harder than the lamp!"

Raymond retreated, rubbing the new sore spot on his head.  Xander came out to pick up the lamp and put it back.  "He's mean!"

"He's sixteen," Yelina agreed.  "Be thankful he didn't use his fists for that insult."  She took another sip of her coffee and looked at Horatio.  "My son is such a thug at times," she sighed, shaking her head. "I've got to keep him away from the bad girls."

"He's a good boy, Yelina, he's just pushed past his limit at the moment," Horatio reminded her.  "He protested when someone tried to make him hurt a homeless man.  He does a lot of good work in the church and he comes to gopher around the lab.  He's good in school and he's got a bright future.  If he wants to follow me instead of you, I'll gladly sponsor him into the program and let him do his internships in the lab."  She smiled at that.  "If he wants to follow you, I'll nag until he changes his mind."  She burst out laughing at that.

"If I become a cop, I'm going to be a CSI, but I'm not sure I wanna be a cop!" Ray Jr. called.  "You guys get shot at and I'd hate to be scarred while I'm still pretty."  Xander's cackle came out of the bedroom, then Ray's giggle.

Horatio smiled at Yelina.  "See?"  He sipped his own coffee.  "You know where the cups are, Ray."  He nodded, going to get some.  He picked up his cellphone and called Speed.  "Me.  Tomorrow we're going on a short trip."  He hung up and looked at her again.  "I wonder if he'd do long distance or short."

"Long.  He's got the breath control and the body for long distances, Horatio.  Plus the strength and stubbornness."

"You have no idea," he muttered.  She gave him an 'oh really' look.  "He practices now and then."  She giggled, having to put down her cup to roll around on the couch.

"What did I miss?"

"We were talking about Xander's future swimming if he wants to train."  Xander came to the door, smirking at him.  "She thinks you've got good breath control."

"Oh, I do."

"Please, no talking about sex in front of the guy who isn't getting any," Ray Jr. complained.  "At least not until I can find a good girl to date."

Xander looked back at him.  "A good girl won't give you any either."  Ray blushed and shrugged, getting back to the game.


To Part 2