Xander took a deep breath of the air as he got off the plane, shaking his head.  "Yet again," he said, shaking Mac's hand.  "Why are we getting escorted?"

"I drove Don up.  It's cheaper than a cab if you guys pay me gas for all these trips."  He shook Horatio's hand when he joined them, then smiled at Don.  "You okay?"

"Fuck no."  He pointed at the walkway.  "We'll tell you everything in the car.  Needless to say, my father will not be pleased when I pop in on him tonight and pop him one upside the head for telling me I never had an uncle."  Mac stopped to stare at him. "On his second wife's side."

"He became a priest after the third," Xander said, taking Mac's arm to walk with him.  "So, has it been calm since the last time I was here?"

"Very."  He looked at him.  "Please don't do anything to change that, Xander."

"I try very hard not to.  Horatio might mind if I went that naughty or went clubbing."

"You can go clubbing as long as we have at least one other person with us as backup," Horatio reminded him.  He looked at Mac, then at Don.  "Did Di give you some of the spreadable clothes?"

"I got a can in my bag," Don said proudly.

"Spreadable like you can eat it afterward?" Mac asked hopefully.  Horatio pulled out a picture of Xander and Eric that Eric had taken before they went out.  He moaned and handed it to Don.

"I saw."  He handed it back. "Cute hair, nephew."

"Gee, thanks, Unc'a Don."

Mac shook his head.  "Let's play in the car, guys.  I'll even let Don drive so I don't crash us."

"I'll drive," Horatio offered. "I'm still missing his porsche."

"I thought you liked your modest car," Mac taunted, smirking at him.

"I still do but my fanclub grew by a slightly living member and he sent me a porsche."  Mac moaned.  "It appeared one night while we were on the porch."  He shrugged and headed into the baggage claim area.  "Don!"  He followed to help get their stuff, getting a cart.  "I only packed one," he protested.

Don snorted.  "Yeah, right, kid. I saw all three bags being loaded in."

"Two of those are Horatio's.  Blame him for his suit stuff."

"Our," Horatio said patiently.  He shook his head.  "They've been like this since the funeral to blow off the extra energy and stress."

"Stella told me about the foundation."  He looked at Don as he and Xander came back.  "So, can we apply to have the lab updated through the foundation?"

"Sure, if all you guys bend over and take it," Don said happily.  "Though my uncle did suggest I start dating Danny for some reason."

"He's hot and he'd look good with you, plus you can put up with his more bitter days," Xander said happily, beaming at him as he walked between Mac and Horatio again.  "It's to help young gay men realize their full potential, Mac.  Scholarships and the like.  So if you want to go back to school or have an all gay shift....."

"The sad thing is, Stella and Sheldon might go along with it," Mac sighed, shaking his head.  At least Danny would back him up on that issue.  Maybe.  He hoped.  If not, well, he could lie. The Marines had told him that a lie was appropriate if it got what was necessary in the field done.  He led them out to his car, letting Horatio drive so he wouldn't crash them on the way in when he got too shocked, but it was a long, strange tale as advertised.  They pulled up in front of Don's place to let him out, it was first on the trip in.

"We should probably keep Gordon's house," Don said before getting out.  "Sanibel's supposed to be pretty."

"It is," Xander agreed.  "I agreed with that one already.  I sent Cheline a list of what we wanted to keep and she said she'd talk it over with us in the next few days."  Don smiled and nodded, heading inside once he got his bags from the trunk.  Xander stretched out across the seat.  "This has totally messed up my entire life," he told Mac.  "Since I won't have the time or energy to attend school this year, I can't be on the team.  Eric's still pouting at me because of that, even though he realizes why and that it's a good thing. My degree is on permanent hold. Speed's giving me wary looks because Don and I were wearing out our stress by having a squirt gun fight the other day and got him."

"You were in the lab, Xander. Of course Speed gave you funny looks."  Horatio drove on, taking them to the hotel he had booked them in.  "Your trust fund manager quit?"

"More like got fired.  He refused to help me do stuff. He also didn't explain things to me.  I want someone ethical but not that uptight."  He looked at Mac.  "Someone like you, who can tell me pretty lies when I need it but yell at Horatio when he needs to spank me."

"If I knew a thing about it, I'd offer but I don't," Mac promised.  "Besides, that's more Stella."

"No, she'd try to spank me herself.  Horatio would get jealous."

"Good point."  He nodded, she would do that, in front of Horatio if he asked.  He looked at Horatio, smirking a bit.  "The Plaza?"

"You've got to live now and then, Mac."  He pulled into the parking garage and found a spot, then handed him back his keys.  "Come on, let's go find our suite since we'll be in for a few days and he'll have more paperwork than I will about the labs."  The wills had been specific that Mac's lab was getting just as upgraded at the other MDPD ones.  He'd have to tell him that later.  He walked them inside, weathering the sneers.

Xander walked up to the desk.  "Reservation under Harris and spouse?"  She nodded, looking that up. Then she smiled at him and Horatio.  "I'm assuming it's all been taken care of?"

"It has, sir."  She printed out their card keys and handed them over. "Here you go.  You've got a credit for the minibar or for room service for the next few days.  You also have three messages."  She got them for him and handed them over.  "Dial '0' if you need anything, sir, and welcome to the Plaza."

"Thank you."  He walked Horatio over to the elevator, Mac following behind them.  He glanced through the messages. "Cheline thinks I'm insane for not wanting to sell the Sanibel house.  Cheline wants to know if Eric is coming up.  Ooh, and her secretary wants to know if Don's coming in."  He handed that to Mac.  "Make sure he gets that please."  Mac gave him a smirk and tucked it into his jacket pocket. "You'll probably be seeing him tonight.  I won't be seeing him until tomorrow."  The elevator came and they rode up to the correct floor, then got off and walked down the short hall to their room.  He let them in and Mac moaned, looking around the suite.  "This way I don't miss playing in the warm surf."  He walked his bag inside and dropped it in the closet, letting Horatio get the others.  Then he sat down to set up his laptop and email his auctioneer.  She sent back one nearly immediately that they had a very high bid for it.  He told her why it was so special and she sent back a sigh and she'd tell the offerer, but that no one wanted some of the other stuff that had went at a more minor auction.  He wrote back that it should have been put in a 'strange oddities' one and she sent back they didn't do that.  So he called Giles.  "Christies has the estate of one Father Patrick Benis, vampire priest."  He pulled the phone away from his ear.  "Christie's, Giles.  New York.  Ask for Cheline."  He hung up and wiggled a finger in his ear.  "He's a bit upset with that."

"Gee, I wonder why," Horatio said smartly, staring at him.  He kissed him on the back of the neck.  "Why can't I get into your bag?"

"I locked it because it's got special stuff in there?"  He grinned at him. "You'll find out soon enough."  Horatio rolled his eyes.  "I'm celebrating our anniversary up here, honey."  Horatio stiffened at that, in more ways than one.  "By the way, I repacked your suit bag."  He typed in another message that he had told someone about the auction and the stuff that hadn't went up.  He got back a swearing one about British yelling guys. He laughed as he signed off and turned to find Horatio looking at him and Mac staring out the window.  "What?" he asked innocently.

"You get that same look when you and Speed do things that make me lose more hair."  Xander just grinned at him for that. "You do."

"I might, but I always make sure it comes back in."  He got up and stalked over, then pounced the last few feet, knocking Horatio back into a wall to kiss him stupid. Not senseless, he didn't want Horatio to know his own name by the time he let him go free.  Then he'd make him go play with Mac for a while. Mac coughed and Xander pulled back, smiling at him.  "What's your name?"

"Yours," he moaned.

"Good boy.  Now go play with Mac for two hours and then call before you head back."  He gave him a lighter kiss and a smile. "You deserve the treat, Horatio."  Horatio smiled at that and took Mac off to have a beer with him, and probably lunch too because he knew that look.  It said he was going to need food later.

Xander got to work around the room, including the candles from the bathroom.  He unlocked his bag and got everything ready, deciding to go all out. He went into the bathroom to clean up, including cleaning himself out.


Horatio knocked before walking into the suite, looking around.  The lights were off and he could see candles flickering in the other room.  He took off his jacket and left it over a chair, toeing off his shoes as well on the way in there.  He stopped to look at the view on the bed.  Xander, his Xander, was strapped to the bed.  His wrists were tied down by shorter cuffs, soft leather ones, and his legs were bound with longer corded cuffs that were hitched to the footboard.  He undid his shirt, moving closer.  He saw the drops on Xander's chest.  Silver body paint dropped on to look like he had already been splattered by him.  His shirt dropped behind him and then his pants dropped, leaving him naked beside his mate.  "Xander."  Xander moaned and arched up, stretching against the cuffs.  Horatio leaned down to kiss his poor mate, making him moan again.  "What's going on?"

"Happy anniversary. I turned up the egg too high," he moaned.

Horatio smirked and reached down to pluck out the little vibrating egg he loved to torment his mate with.  It got put on the sidetable.  He checked the candles, all in dishes.  All safe.  He kissed him again.  "Are you sure?"

"My safeword is wrath."

"I'll remember that."  He kissed down his throat, starting slowly.  His boy had tied himself down for him.  He was going to let him do anything he wanted.  Nothing held back.  It almost made him feel giddy.  He touched the body paint, finding it still liquid.  "Edible?"  Xander nodded.  "Taste good?"

"No.  I've got a washcloth in the warmer."  Horatio came back with it to clean up the evidence of the 'prior spills' and then tossed it aside.  He got back to work on him.  "Baby!" he moaned.

"Hush, Xander.  You being in those means I get to do whatever I want to you.  Including teasing you until you beg."  He got back to what he had been doing, taking the time to remap every spot on Xander's body.  He hadn't done this since the first time they'd gotten together. He didn't spend enough time properly worshiping Xander and he was going to make up for that now.

"C...couldn't figure out how t..to do this at home," Xander stuttered, biting on his top lip. "Onlyonehookbehindthebed," he let run together as Horatio nipped his new nipple ring.  He and Ray had made Speed go with them yesterday to do their nipples and Ray had wanted a PA.  Don and he had both held his hands for that one.

"You'd only need the one hook," he assured him, teasing the other side. "Didn't I say no more holes, Xander?"

"Went with Ray," he panted, arching up. "Please?"

"No, Xander.  I'm going to do to you what I should've done sooner, drive every shred of naughtiness out of you."  He went back to teasing him, making Xander hiss and arch up, or try to wiggle so he could get away.  He chuckled and found a spot he had missed last time.  Xander squealed as he sucked on it, scraping it lightly with his teeth.  "Do I need to find a gag?" he taunted.

"Told them having sex, not to come running," Xander panted. "Anniversary."  Horatio chuckled into Xander's nipple and that was all it took, he came and went limp.

"That was very pretty, Xander.  Maybe I'll let you go after a few more," Horatio assured him in his ear.  Xander let out a small whimper, looking at him.  He smirked and got down to really play, doing everything he had ever wanted.  Xander hadn't let him do more than gently tease his piercing.  Now he could. Both of them.  He knew the nipple ring had to be new so he was just gently playing with it, but the delicate silver ring with the small blue stone between Xander's cock and balls was his territory, his marking. That he laved and sucked on until Xander got harder than hard again and was making incoherent begging noises.  Which he liked, he wanted more of those.  He moved back further and Xander tensed up.  "Shh," he ordered, licking him there.  He slowly teased open the small pucker, tasting the edible lube, his mate knew he'd wanted to do this and would probably do it since he was so helpless now.  Which was a very wicked thing for him to be.

He stabbed his tongue inside the small hole, realizing Xander hadn't done more than spread lube up there for him.  Not even very far so he had just squirted it up there.  He used his finger to spread it further up, using his tongue to tease his perineum, making his boy shiver and clutch at the straps holding him down. When he saw the first involuntary hip thrust he moved down to see if he had any special, heat making spots on his lower body, starting with his ankles.  Xander hated to have his feet played with but his ankles were usually strokeable.  He found a spot that made Xander's moan stutter and paid some attention to it, then slowly moved up, finding the spot just above the back of his knee.  A tremor inducing spot on the inside of Xander's thigh.

"Please!" Xander whimpered.

"Soon," Horatio offered gently, then he went down to find those same spots on the other side since Xander couldn't stop him and make him take care of his need sooner.  He could get to like this now and then.  Xander whined and stretched but the spot on his right ankle got an even better response.   He cataloged that with the spot on Xander's shoulder that made him pounce.  He moved on and it was nice, Xander was incoherent, he was down to vocal pleas of whimpers and begging noises while he twisted in the cuffs.  He checked under them to make sure Xander wasn't abrading his skin but he was all right for now.  He finally reached his goal again but moved up to kiss him instead, looming over him.  "Xander," he ordered quietly.  Xander looked up at him.  "After your next one you can get free.  For now, I want you to come.  Can you do that?"  He shook his head frantically.  He leaned down next to his ear, knowing Xander could get off from being talked to.  "Come for me, Xander.  Paint me with it.  I want to see it, that way I can have you and you last as long as I will."  He nipped the earlobe and Xander arched up but he still wasn't coming. Horatio went down to look at it.  It even looked painful.  He found why a minute later, taking off the clear, thin cock ring that was now way too tight.  Xander let out a loud swear and shot off, hitting them both.

"Good boy."  He used the washcloth to clean himself up but got Xander's body with his tongue.  Xander whimpered again and he smiled at him.  "Shh, you're still mine."  He found the bottle of lube Xander had left in the bowl of warm water, looking at it.  "You wanted to try that again?"

"Just little bit," he whimpered.

"Hmm.  All right."  He only got a finger of the lube out and spread it inside his mate's body.  Xander pushed back as much as he could, rocking up and down so he was doing the majority of the work.  He had spoiled his boy horribly today so he slid in as soon as he felt comfortable, making him howl, a true animal howl.  Horatio smirked and let out a quiet purr, calming him down again.  He ever-so-slowly rocked in and out of his mate's body, using that inching, claiming pace that made sure this was the time that Xander would think about when he thought about them having sex.  Xander started to get louder and more vocal, letting it all go like he did when he was alone.  Horatio had watched him masturbate once and he was so loud it was scary, but good.  He wanted him that loud now.  "I want you loud, Xander," he encouraged.  Xander tightened around him, making him growl and push in harder.  "I'm in control, Xander."  Xander growled.  Horatio leaned up to look into his eyes.  "Give me the boy back."  The hyena faded and Xander blinked at him.

"You back?"  Xander nodded slowly.  "Then give me what I want.  Get loud, let it all go, Xander.  Let me handle it all."  Xander arched up against him.  Horatio moved a bit, watching him hiss and tense up.  "No, no retreating."  He slapped him gently on the cheek and the whimpering noises came back.  "Good boy.  Stay."  Xander shook his head.  "Yes, Xander.  Stay. Stay with me."  Xander swallowed and Horatio kissed him.  He nuzzled his throat, getting a small purring noise. He felt his own coming up, more of a 'chuff'ing noise than a purr but it was still calming.  He saw Xander wasn't going to be able to hold her back so he let him go, going back to what he had been doing.  His own animal side was trying to come up.   He wasn't fighting it very well so he let it go.  His tiger wouldn't hurt Xander.  He loved Xander just as much as Xander's hyena loved him.  Xander let out a small, tense giggle and he growled in her ear, slamming his hips in.  She arched her head up but he slowed down.  His human side was still telling him to keep it in control, that their mate wanted it this way, wanted to be driven to true submission by him.

Xander writhed and made begging noises underneath him but he was still there.  They noticed it when the hyena gave in to their dominance and retreated, leaving the boy alone, shivering, pleading and whimpering at their control.  Horatio made more soothing noises in his ear, but the boy still whimpered.  He lapped him gently and their boy made more pleading noises.  Horatio went back to his thrusting, making the mate happy again.  They watched as he begged and pleaded using sub-vocal moans and whimpers, arching and twisting to get what they needed.  The tiger was pleased with his mate's response and his human was claiming this one so he drew back to watch and aid his body-giver.  Horatio smirked at his mate's total submission and stroked his cock gently, timing it to counter his thrusts, just like how Xander liked.  He let him come and followed him this time, panting as the body underneath him twitched and finished off.  He felt Xander go limp and stole a gentle, slow, loving kiss.  Then he unhitched him, putting the cuffs on the floor.  He rolled Xander into his arms, just hold him.  "I've got you," he whispered hoarsely.

Xander nodded and nuzzled his chest, kissing over his heart. When both their heart rates were closer to normal he looked up at him, giving him a weak version of his normally cocky smile.  "Love you," he said tiredly.

"I love you," he assured him, kissing him again and giving him a squeeze, which got a moan out of both of them.  They were both sore and tired.  He nuzzled Xander's cheek.  "We're still equal in everything, Xander, but thank you."

"You're the only one I'd ever trust to do that."  He stole a real kiss, making Horatio moan.  "We need a shower."

"I can't move.  How are you able to move?"

"You did all the work?"  He smiled and kissed him again, taking control of the kiss.  Then he wrapped him in his arms.  "Rest, Horatio.  I've got you."  Horatio smiled and let himself drift off to take a much-needed nap while Xander managed to sleep wrapped around him.  He whispered something and the candles went out, making him happy that he hadn't knocked any of them over.  He groaned as he got up to check on the two next to the living room, but they were out too.  He hobbled back to bed and wrapped himself around Horatio again.   It was time for a nap and then dinner could be called for whenever they were done and had bathed.  He was sure Horatio would appreciate the beer and chicken wings he had been craving.  Especially since his team was playing an important match tonight.


Don looked up as Xander answered the door later that night, smiling at him.  "You called us to come watch the game?" he asked letting Danny go in first.  "You okay?"

"Just fine and we're celebrating our anniversary a bit late so I'm spoiling him rotten tonight."  He pulled him inside.  "No Stella?"

"As soon as she's done.  Mac's bringing her over."  He followed him to the living room, finding a very content looking Horatio chatting with Danny and the game on the type of big screen that usually only bars had.   He got his own beer and sat down, getting comfortable.  He smirked at Horatio, he knew some of what Xander had planned for his anniversary.  "He said that new ring was a temporary one."

"I got to pick out the permanent ring in the other one," he agreed smugly.  "My boy spoils me horribly."

"He does," Danny agreed, looking at the food.  "Wow, Xander.  Special occasion?"

"Late celebration of the anniversary of when we met."

"Oooh," Danny said with a smirk.  "So you went with a guy's anniversary present?  Wings, a good game.  Smart man."

"Holy trinity, hot sex earlier," Xander assured him with a grin.  He looked at Don, who waved a hand.  "You know his uncle wanted him to take you in, right?"

"He told me," Danny said with a smirk.  "Not gonna happen.  Flack likes being able to walk and I'd only top."

Horatio almost said something, Xander could see it.  He shrugged.  "Well, at least keep it as an option, Danny.  We want you guys to be happy people."

"It happens."   He grabbed a wing to eat, letting Xander get up to let the others in, and take the other food tray apparently.  "More?"

Xander let Horatio see that tray and got a smile. "I ordered extra since we're having fun."

"That's fine, Xander."  He took one.  "Did this one go on one of the credit cards or not?"

"Nope.  I put some extra down for room service."  He sat down and got comfortable.  At least until his phone rang.  Then he answered it.  "Hello?"  He smiled.  "Hi.  No, we're up for the auction and I'm spoiling Horatio for our anniversary."  He listened to him.  "I know that, but it got in the way of stuff, like life when that guy happened."  He sighed and got up, taking it into the bedroom for some privacy.  "How screwed up will it make it?"  He snorted.  "I thought you said it was a problem?  I paid that much last year.  Yeah I did.  They said so.  Sure, when I get back, just don't try what he did.  Of course I trust you but not about that.  Not after he tried to have me killed.  Yeah, well, I do know, and I know very well.  You mean like his suicide note?  Horatio got called about it.  They seem to do that for some reason," he admitted blandly.  He smirked.  "Thank you.  Anything need to be done on the other paperwork?  Don's here and I'm in the Plaza.  Yes, I figured you knew that.  No, you may not. No, you may not.  Nor did I sign papers saying you could.  That's why I fired him.  I'm being responsible enough.  I'm allowed to have a once-in-a- lifetime trip."

Horatio came in and took the phone.  "Is there a problem?" he asked calmly.  He listened to the complaints, looking at his mate, then shook his head.  "I don't see a problem with that.  He doesn't do it usually.   No, he didn't buy the porsche."  Xander gave him an odd look and shook his head.  Horatio rolled his eyes.  "No, another person out in LA who has been stopped."  He stiffened.  "Thank you for telling me that, but that's not the point.  He is usually very fiscally responsible.  Right now he's spoiling me with an anniversary present.  He got all that back since he had to withdraw.  I'm quite sure, I looked over his accounts yesterday before we came."

Xander took the phone back. "I love you and you helped me a lot, but I've got that.  That is my money and I'm still living off the interest.  Even with this trip.  So butt out of it.  Did he? I didn't hear that clause.  I'm not exactly the normal twenty-year-old now am I?"

Don came in licking his fingers and took the phone, then snorted.  "No, it's Don.  Stop it.  Now.  You're stressing Xander out.  Horatio doesn't need that and neither does Xander.  Yeah, well, you are.  So leave that stuff alone.  No, you're not.  I read over the paperwork, I do have a bit of knowledge about the law."  He listened.  Then he looked up.  "Ethan!" he hissed.  The tone on the phone changed and the man apologized. "Thank you.  Is Ethan there?"  He listened as he walked in and took the phone.  "Who?"  He shook his head.  "Can't you banish that one?  No, Xander's spoiling Horatio this weekend. He's still living off the interest. Yeah, that guy.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "Ethan's fixing all the paperwork, it was the former financial manager guy. He offed himself?"

"Yeah, said it was because he knew Horatio would always hate him for helping those that were trying to ruin me so they could get him back."

"Ah."   He handed the phone back.  "Wonderful.  He's sending him forcefully to his afterlife."

"Good."  They walked out again. "Paperwork snafu."  He sat down and Horatio cuddled him, making him relax and smile at him.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He kissed him gently, earning a brilliant smile.  "You're doing good with that stuff, Xander. I have no complaints except that you spoil me too often."  That got a nod and Xander snuggled into his side until his phone rang, then he took it.  "Caine."  He listened.  "Why?"  He frowned.  "No it wasn't. I looked through all the papers the day after you presented them.  Is mine?  No, Ethan.  No, he has full control of his own funds."  He heard Xander mutter something longer and then Ethan seemed to relax.  "Are you all right?"  Ethan swore and said something so he looked at his mate, who gave him a very knowing look back.  "Thank you for fixing that for us, Ethan, but he is staying in control of his funds.  We can do that together."

Xander got up and went to get something, then came back and handed it to Horatio.  "Yours.  It was the other anniversary's present."  He sat down again, getting comfortable.  He looked at Don. "Have you talked to the wannabe board members?"

"Not yet."  He looked around.  "You guys, Eric, and Speed are the board when we get to pick one.  Sorry, Stella, no women.   It's for gay guys."  She nodded, shrugging at that. "You guys got issues?"

"Only if they say I am," Mac admitted.

"They shouldn't.  People can sit on boards of places they don't believe in.  Quarterly meetings in Miami," Xander offered.

"I'll put on a fake one," Stella offered with a bright grin.

"They can bring dates."

She smiled at Mac. "Can I be your date?"


"As long as you bring that little blue bikini you wore the last time, I'll let you come as mine if he can't," Danny promised. She beamed at that.  He smirked back.  "What can I say? You made some little stick figure girls whimper and complain."

"Plus you looked hot in it," Don offered.  She smiled at him.  He looked at the phone, then at Horatio, who was listening intently.  "He threatening?"  Horatio shook his head. "You sure?"

"Very," Xander said firmly, staring at him.  He patted him down, finding his phone, and called Willow.  "Me.  Ethan.  Possessed."  He hung up and handed it back.  "There, very cheap."  He grinned.

Ethan's yelp a minute later was loud enough that most of them heard it.

Horatio looked at him. "That was mean, even he said so.  He's pouting."

"Have Ethan bring the paperwork up here tomorrow.  We meet with Cheline in the afternoon.  By the way, Don, her assistant wanted to flirt with you again."  He beamed at that.  "Have him bring it up."

"It's due to be presented tomorrow."

"Then have them both come up, Horatio.  They can fly back.  We can get up early."  Horatio smiled at that.  "Once it's certified by the courts, it's all good, and if that stupid ass guy comes back again I'm so going to rip his soul apart.  I know things that can do that.  Ethan knows that I know things that can do it."  Horatio nodded, listening to Ethan's 'not a bad idea', then chuckling when he made another call.  "Oh, tell him Giles got to call Christies about the stuff that wasn't selling, mostly the paranormal stuff."

"He's letting out some very British language."  He sighed and shook his head. "That's fine, Ethan.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "There's another copy of the paperwork so we're going to dump the others and sign everything new."  Xander and Don both sighed and nodded. "That way we can make sure nothing and no one has control of Xander's assets but himself."

"Knew I was right to fire that idiot."  Xander snuggled in again.

"Possession?" Stella asked.

"Idiot dead guy who wanted Horatio is hanging around."

"Ah," she said, looking at Don, who had given the explanation.  "You believe in that stuff?"  Xander flicked a hand, muttered something and she was suddenly in a very fetching dress that nearly bared her breasts.  "Un-huh."  She looked down at herself, then at Xander. "I knew this was in my closet, but it's a bit small."  Xander took off his shirt and handed it over with a smile.  "Okay, I can believe that stuff exists then."  She got comfortable once she had pulled up the top a bit more. Mac gave her his shirt as well.  "Thanks, guys."

"Not often we get to see you in a dress," Danny offered sweetly, smiling at her.

"Not often we get to see you in one either, Messer.  Think you wanna?"

"I'd hate ta have ta shave," he teased.  She threw her last wing's bones at him, making him laugh.  "Sorry, Stella, but most of you looks good.  Just a bit lower cut than I expected."

"They grew since I bought it."

"Gravity does that whenever you don't wear a bra.  So says Willow," Xander said dryly, smirking at her.  "Di made her a long dress that made Ryan pounce her in the station."

"It highlighted her body perfectly and was just see-through enough that you could see the color of her bra," Horatio agreed.  "He pounced her next to the elevator and Yelina said one of his hands was not on the steering wheel when he drove her home for that two-hour lunch."

"Fortunately you're a nice boss and he made up the hours later," Xander teased, stroking his stomach.

"I am.  Now if only I could get Eric settled down with someone."  He looked at the New York guys, who were all laughing.  "Xander, show them the picture."  Xander bounced up to get the picture of them in the spray-on clothes. "They went clubbing in that.  Eric had his own harem.  I had to save Xander from the all-female orgy he ended up in the middle of."

"Body paint?" Stella asked, handing it to Danny since Mac shook his head.

"New type of spreadable clothes," Don said proudly.

"It's softer than latex to the touch and not shiny," Xander agreed.  "Plus it can go on over underwear.  I had the worst time with my piercing though."  Don let out a small whimper.  "Sorry.  He had to listen to the guy ask me about it."  He grinned at him.  "We haven't gotten any screaming calls from Yelina about Ray's yet."

"I'm impressed. The last new one I saw they played with it all the time."  He rubbed his nipple.  "Speed still fiddling with his?"

"Yup.  Calleigh caught him and screamed in the station," Horatio agreed.  "I wondered why."

Xander just smiled sweetly.  "No comment."

Horatio smirked at him. "I'll find out later."

"No you won't. Not unless you ask him to strip."

"I will be finding out later, Xander, all the naughtiness you've gotten my nephew and Speed into, but Don can hide his secrets for now."  He kissed him and Xander smiled a bit more sweetly.

"You're more than welcome to try."

"Oh, I will be."  He turned his attention back to the game and his dinner. It had been very sweet of his mate to have provided his favorite junk food for tonight. "He usually bats so much better," he complained.

"He does," Danny agreed bitterly.  "You suck!" he yelled at the tv. The next ball was a line drive, which made them slightly happier.

Xander smirked at Don, getting one back, then he snuggled back in to watch his mate relax and play.  "Danny, we're going clubbing some night while we're up here.  Horatio's and Speed's laws say we've got to have at least a third person there to watch over us in case something happens. You want in?"

"Sure," he agreed with a smirk for him. "You can send all the pretty girls my way."

"Yours and mine," Don said firmly.  "The day with that picture, they had to call Frank out to watch over them."

"Frank's wife was very happy when he got home," Horatio said blandly.  "Yelina and Speed sent Eric home with three of his harem, who stuck around for a few days to spoil him rotten."

"One's still hanging around and upsetting his girl at the station."

Horatio hummed noncommittally.  He knew how many women Eric had spread around the city.  He was sure there was more than one at the station.


Xander and Don shook hands with Cheline as she walked out to meet them.  "I'm sorry we're such a pain in the ass."

"I love you anyway, Xander.  No Eric?"

"No, the little Eric is with his mommy and occasionally Grandpa Speed.  The big Eric you were flirting with is at work today."  She giggled at that and let them into the office, pulling out their file.  "So, who's pouting over the house in Sanibel?"

"Someone local who wanted to move to somewhere bigger."

Don held up a hand and pulled out his ringing phone, checking the number first.  "Yeah, Ethan? You back to normal now?"  He smirked.  "Thanks.  Any problems with us keeping the house on Sanibel?"  He looked at her. "If it's someone named Marcia and her husband we'd feel comfortable selling it.  Ethan's found some of personal papers that said he loved them."

She checked the papers and shook her head.  "Harrison."

"Nope," Xander said dryly.  "Gordon had a restraining order against him.  I don't want to further that obsession."

"Okay."  She made a note of that on the forms.  "What's Marcia's last name?"

"Todd."  She nodded and made a note about that as well.  Don listened to Ethan then nodded, looking at Xander. "The judge thought we pulled a fast one since they were dated this morning.  Ethan had to tell him that one was a clause by someone who wanted to ruin you to get your husband.  Apparently he was the only judge in Miami that didn't know about you and Horatio, but he decided it was a good enough reason since no one was going to come forward and the taxes had been paid.  He's accepted them, accepted the Foundation's paperwork, and we're all set once we get the auction stuff done."  He listened again.  "And Ethan said you're mean for making him deal with the cranky, pregnant Willow."

"Have him complain to Ryan, he calms her down," Xander shot back.

Don smirked and repeated that then hung up on the stunned silence.  He grinned at Cheline again, who was snickering.  "His former financial manager and a few others were trying to separate him and Horatio by ruining Xander's finances. That idiot left it in his suicide note."

"His will left all his assets to his friends for their hunting needs," Xander added blandly, smirking at him.  "So now I've got a list."  Don snickered and patted him on the back, shaking his head.  "Think we can get Stella a new bikini for the next time she's in town?"

"Didn't Horatio nearly kill you in bed the night you got her the blue one?" he teased.

"Well yeah," he offered with a small grin, "but Horatio still has an eye for pretty women.  I doubt he'd ever cheat, but if he did it'd be with a girl."  He shrugged.  "At that time I'll be insanely jealous and Horatio will learn what I can do with a bullwhip to his tender, tied- down backside."

"I'll make sure to tell him that," Don agreed patiently.  "It'll never happen."

"I said if."

"Point.  Keep it there, Xander."  Xander nodded.  He smiled at their auctioneer.  "Sorry, he didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night.  They were belatedly celebrating their second anniversary of meeting each other."

"Awww.  I can understand some crankiness in that case."  She smiled at him.  "I'd never cheat on you."

"I doubt he would either, but he'd better not."  He smiled sweetly.  "How did Giles lighten the load?"

"Oh, immensely.  About the house in Miami?  The old one out on the island?"

"Shelter for abused men by the will," Don offered.

"Shoot, they were offering double fair market value for it."

"Tell them to talk to the Mayor," Xander said with a small shrug.  "But make sure they know the agreement says it MUST go for the same purpose as the house was going toward."  She nodded, making notes on that.  "The other stuff?"

"All gone."  She smiled and pushed over two checks.  "They gave their own estimate, it seems some of those books were priceless to certain types of people.  That was their bid and since it was reasonable and you said to accept anything reasonable I did that for you."  They smiled and tucked that away.  "Now, that's not part of the Foundation's sale, boys."  They both blinked.  "Ah, no one told you.  The Foundation's auction is the real estate."  Her phone rang.  "Excuse me."  She picked it up.  "Thank you for calling Christies, this is Cheline, how may I help you?" she asked smoothly.  She smiled.  "They are here at the moment, your information was correct.  Were you interested in part of the estate?"  She frowned and looked at the boys.  "Your name please?"  She blinked at them. "It's Marcia Todd."

Xander took the phone.  "Marcia, Xander Harris.  Yes, him."  He smiled.  "I'm sorry about that, dear.  No, Gordon said very many nice things about you and you're the only one I would trust to own his house.  By his papers the same.  If you don't want it, we'll be keeping it and you'll have enough time to get some mementoes if you want."  He smiled at Don.  "Fair market good?"  Don nodded and the couple on the other end talked about it.  "It's up to you, dear.  Like I said, it's either you or we're keeping it.  Who called?  Oh, Ethan.  Yeah, he's handling stuff since Gordon's death.  No, he was handling things for Patrick."  He smirked a bit.  "Exactly."  He pulled the phone away then put it back.  "I know, but he was already ill, dear. Cancer.  Lung cancer from what he told me.  Maybe a year, a year and a half, so he chose now."  He nodded. "Let me know.  Or my mate.  He's usually easier to get hold of.  He's Lieutenant Horatio Caine at the Miami-Dade Crime Lab.  Yup, that's him.  You can leave a voicemail if he's not in.  I've already told him about this stuff.  I'm sorry for your loss, Marcia.  He said a lot of very happy things about you.  He smiled whenever he mentioned yours or Kurt's name."  He smiled at that.  "I know.  Thank you."  He hung up and leaned back again.  "They're talking about it."

"Who was Kurt?"

"The guy who broke his heart and drove him into Patrick's arms.  He adored Marcia's husband but he would've married her, even though he was gay."

"Wow."  Don nodded at that.  "Okay.  I didn't deal much with Gordon so I couldn't make that decision but fair value's good.  It'll go into the Foundation."  Xander nodded at that.  They watched as Cheline's assistant brought in more papers with a quiet whisper. She nodded.  "More issues?"

"No, the contents of the other wills weren't slated one way or another."

"The Foundation.  They did it for Patrick, they can help his legacy," Xander told her.  She nodded, making a note on a post it and putting it on top of the folder.  Xander's phone rang and he sighed, pulling it out.  "Harris."  He listened.  "Why?  No, it's not part of that.  That's mine and has been mine. Try it, watch me sue you," he warned.  The voice on the other side got very quiet.  "You guys already complied with a very false warrant *rumor* to try to ruin me so someone could have my husband.  Do you want me to withdraw everything from your bank?"  He listened to the spluttering.  "Then it has nothing at all to do with that. It was given to me *before* he died.  Understood?  Then put him on, dear.  Judge, hello.  Yes, this is.  No, it was given to me long before Patrick died.  The last thing I received from him was about six months ago.  Why? Are you part of the group of people trying to ruin me to get my mate?"   He smirked, getting up to head for a more private spot, sneering at the man's voice on the other end.

"By what legal precedent?  Yes, I am. I'm married to a cop.  You think I didn't learn a bit?  I also worked on that trust with the original attorney.  No, we didn't.  That was slipped in on Gordon.  No, he was fired before then.  For doing what you're doing now actually."  He heard the amused chuckle.  "Judge Perts, think about this.  You once gave me a jade broach.  You're still married and you've got two very cute seventeen-year-olds on your dick now and then, plus a very pretty little boy by the name of Peter."  He smirked. "Why, yes, Your Honor, I am.  I'm also the husband of Horatio Caine, and I will protect him with every drop of my being. You're interrupting that," he said fondly.  "You think I can't?  Really?  You mean like the check in my pocket that's more than enough to put my husband in your job the next election?  Yes, I'm quite serious.  After all, the moron at the station who keeps trying to attack me to get Horatio is a slight blemish on the face of the PD and the Chief would *love* to have that erased, and he knows Horatio would make an *excellent* judge.  Very fair and all that.  After all, look at how he soothes the victims he works with every day."

He heard the spluttering.  "Now, by what legal precedent are you going to do that?  Yes, it's an agreement but it was signed under duress of me being nearly asleep.  No one realized it was in the stack.  The person who wrote it is dead, thereby nullifying any agreement, and the person he put in charge doesn't want it.  Was there anything else?"  He smirked at him.  "I'm sure you'll look but there's no cause, probable or otherwise, and I only get mean and evil when forced.  Remember that. Usually I'm a very content spouse who loves to spoil my husband rotten and help him in his work.  Those who force me to fight for him are usually very sorry.  Don't believe me, ask Delko about the last person who came after my mate."  He hung up and calmed himself down then went back. "The judge this morning is apparently infected by the desire to have Horatio as well," he said coolly.  "Horatio would make an excellent judge, don't you think?"

"I do," Don agreed, blinking at him.  He didn't often see Xander this way but it was scary.  "Calm down.  Please?  You're scarier than Danny on a rip."  Xander calmed himself down further and Don took his phone when it rang.  "Harris' phone."  He listened to the quiet voice.  "No, I won't be putting Xander on.  He's presently pissed enough to make it to Miami without a plane to kill someone, Chief.  Yeah, this is Flack.  Thank you, sir.  No, that judge.  Apparently he wants to freeze Xander's assets for some reason?"  Xander nodded.  "We think he's part of the group that wants Horatio at the moment."  Xander nodded at that, flicking a hand.  "He does.  He also threatened to have him removed and support Horatio for his spot."  He smirked at him.  "He said please help him be removed, his cousin's better."

"Done.  Mention his two seventeen-year-old mistresses and his nineteen-year-old boyfriend Peter, who is about my body double."

Don repeated that and smirked at the spluttering.  "Speaker phone, Chief?"  Cheline moaned and he shrugged.  "Sorry, Cheline."

"Not an issue. Better to get this all done now."

"Either he's part of it or he's possessed by the guy who was and killed himself," Xander offered, taking the phone back.  "Did anyone else on that will die, Chief?  No, I'm not calm.  They're forcing me to defend my mate.  You might ask Delko about the last guy I had to deal with that way.  I think he's still in the mental hospital begging for mercy actually."  He smiled sweetly.  "But why?  It's so much more fun that way," he said tightly, his jaw tense.  "Thank you.  I'll gladly back someone who's just as good as my spouse would be at the job if he doesn't want it.  As long as they'd at least be as good as Horatio.  That's my standard.  I will back a push to get him out without naming another candidate.  Thank you, sir.  About a week.  We've got the auction stuff to deal with.  Thank you."  He hung up and looked at her.  "Solved within an hour.  So if the bank calls it'll be fixed within an hour.  He's going to be retiring before the Chief gets onto him.  His phone rang and he checked it, handing it to Don.  "Mac and Horatio."

Don answered it.  "Hey, Horatio."  He smirked as he looked at Xander.  "Either another possession or the judge was one of those too.  Sure!"  He looked at Xander.  "He doesn't want to be a judge. The Chief was letting him listen in, that's why he had us on speaker phone."

"Yay.  Then have him give me an opinion and I'll back them instead."

"Heard that?  He said give him an opinion and he'll back them instead but you're his standard for excellence in the job."  He looked over.  "Mac joked about Ryan since he wants to go higher."

"You know, I can see Ryan doing that.  He'd be power hungry for the first few weeks but Willow would wear that out of him.  Plus, if he got onto the criminal side it'd be a lot easier to get warrants."  He considered it then nodded. "I'd back him."

Don listened to Horatio splutter.  "He said that'd be fine, just don't let him get too power hungry for the first few weeks."  Cheline snickered at that, shaking her head.  "He could."

"I talked with him once when I was trying to get Horatio.  He seemed very nice."

"He is, but he's got this steel underwear problem now and then," Xander said a grin.  Don spluttered at that.  "Sorry, Uncle Don."

"Quit, kid."  He gave him a smack on the head.  "I smacked him for you, Horatio.  Yeah.  Well, make sure it stays fixed or else he's going to go Willow on someone."  Xander nodded at that. "He's nodding and looking feral.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "He said you may not go Willow on someone but he'll mention it to Ryan before he tells the Chief."

Xander called Ryan.  "There's a judge I want desperately off the bench for wanting to bend Horatio over and have him.  You want it?  Perts.  Yeah, him.  Or her, I don't really care.  Either's good but you've got to lose the steel underwear you get now and then.  I just want them off the bench, Ryan.  Yes, but think about warrants and things."  He smiled.  "Plus, perks.  Willow would love the perks."  He smirked at him. "Expect Horatio to call.  I doubt Eric would take it and there'd be a groundswell of women voting for him, but it might cause a scandal.  You can tell him if he wants considered to talk to Horatio.  Thanks, man."  He hung up and smiled sweetly, then cackled his most evilly.  "Let's see how far this one goes."

"Behave," Don moaned.


"I'm telling Horatio to spank you, Xander."

Xander leaned back.  "Delilah, Don's threatening to have me spanked, can you please bring him some coffee and something sweet?"  She walked in a cup of coffee and kissed him on the cheek, blushing a bit before leaving.  Xander just grinned at him, then at Cheline.  "So, what's left?"

"A few things," she admitted, getting back to work, blushing a bit herself.  Now she remembered why dealing with Xander was so fun.  He fussed over every little detail.


Ryan hung up and slowly put his phone up then looked at Eric and Calleigh, who he was working with.  "Xander."

"What happened now?" Calleigh asked, bagging a small thread.

"A judge just pissed him off for trying to block his funds again.  He said he wants Judge Perts off and somehow my name got suggested."  He looked at Eric, who was gaping.  "He said he'd suggest you but the unanimous female vote city-wide for you might draw a controversy."

Eric punched him on the arm.  "He did not!"

"Yeah, he did.  He said if you wanted it to talk to Horatio.  That Horatio would be advising him but he wanted Judge Perts and HER off the bench."

"Well, warrants would get easier, but you'd be hell for the first few months, Ryan," Calleigh said, smiling at him.

"He said I'd have to leave the steel underwear at home for the first few weeks."  She giggled at that, nodding.

Eric just moaned.  "If you do, I'll vote for you just to make sure we get easier warrants."

"Sure.  As long as it looks reasonable to me."  He smiled and got back to work.  Everyone knew he had a bit of ambition to go higher and you couldn't get much higher in the city than a judge.  Horatio called, so he answered it. "Hey, boss."

"I don't want it," Eric called.

"Me either!" Calleigh called.

Ryan grinned at them.  "Thanks, guys.  Frank?"

"Would be a rip on the bench," Calleigh agreed.

Ryan listened to Horatio's quiet words.  "No, your husband's already called.  Well, he's the only one I could suggest, Horatio.  Hey, if people think I could, I wouldn't mind.  Are you kidding?  Willow would flip."  He grinned.  "We'll see."  He hung up on him protesting and got back to work, considering the idea.  It'd mean a lot less privacy but oh well.  They'd have to talk about it later, when he let her free of his tongue.

Eric and Calleigh shared a look.  If he went for it, they could tease him forever about that.


Xander finally stepped off the plane in Miami, rolling his neck.  "Oh, good to be home."  He smiled at Horatio, who gave him a kiss.  "Think Ryan's still floating?"

"The Chief liked him as one.  He liked Frank as a replacement for the other one."  He stroked his back.  "Let's gather the bags."  Xander nodded and they headed that way.  "Everything for the foundation is set up, correct?"

"Yup, the lawyer up there that Ethan got to advise us when that question came up double checked.  All the paperwork's in order.  My check was set up in a different account under both our names.  My trust's issues were fixed with his help.  No one's going to try to run us over anytime soon."  He smiled at him and took his hand as they walked to the baggage claim area.  "Now all we have left is one cranky vampire who wants my ass."

"According to Speed, he sent another car."

"That was very nice of him but I like my car."

"Speed said that's been at his place, along with the Hummer, for safety reasons."

"That's fine. I can agree with that.  Was the alarm put on both of them?"  He nodded. "Good."  Their plane's stuff started to come down and he grabbed their five bags, they had done a bit of shopping with Don and Danny.  "Think the club's still going?"

"Probably," he agreed.  "It's not like it got destroyed in that fight."

"Good point. It was still neat how they decided to fight over who got to take Danny home."

"It was.  It was a nice change for it to not be over you."  He pinched him and got the last bag, the smaller one, putting it on the top of the cart.  Xander pushed it off.  "I can do that."

"Your wrists are sore," he reminded him with a wink.

"Point."  He had way too much fun teasing Xander and had stressed his wrists last night.  "How much more did we owe when we left?"

"Hundred and sixty."  He shrugged.  "Not a lot."  They made it outside, smiling at the transit cop.  "Hi."

"Lieutenant, sir!" he said, straightening up when he saw Horatio.  "Sir, someone brought your hummer for you and left again, they had another scene so he couldn't wait.  The Chief would like a call, that message was left on your front seat, and they said your office is clear for you."

"They left you with messages?" he asked, looking amused.

"Yes, sir, because your temporary replacement was hell in the lab, sir.  Speedle has been running them ragged on the last few cases since they've been asked to investigate a few recent suicides as well.  She left it with me."  He handed over the note he had memorized.  "She knew you were coming in sometime soon, sir."

Horatio nodded. "Thank you.  Have a good shift."  He followed Xander off, reading it.  It was clearly Yelina's handwriting. With a note on the back in Frank's.  "Frank said he didn't want a funny robe, Xander.  Said it'd cover up his best assets and he'd be bored all day."

"Pity, he'd be good at it."

"He would be."  He helped get their bags into the rear of the hummer, then got in, letting Xander put the cart aside and get himself in.  "Are you done being mean?"

"As long as no one else touches you," Xander assured him, buckling up.  Horatio gave him a look.  "They were threatening you!  Fuck 'em they can die!"

"Fine, Xander.  Thank you."  He started the engine and backed out, heading for the house.  "Want to come in with me?"

"No, I'll go shopping for a cookout tonight."  Horatio nodded at that.  "Steaks and pork chops or just steaks?"

"Get stuff for kebobs and pork chops," he ordered. "Potatoes too."  Xander nodded.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Someone apparently forgot I was the scary part of this relationship.  Now they remember and it'll be fine."  He smiled at him.  Horatio stopped at a light and kissed him. "Thank you."

"Welcome. It wasn't necessary."  He moved on when the light changed and someone beeped.  "I can take care of myself.  That was politics, Xander."

"No it wasn't. It was malicious intent. I do know the difference and I let you play politics while I deal with malicious intent.  The same as you do in my life."   Horatio smiled at that.  "Deal?"

"Deal," he agreed, stroking over his knee.  "It shouldn't take me too long at the office."

"That's fine.  More time for the meat to marinade and me to find the skewers."

"Buy the wooden ones.  I don't like using the metal ones.  I ended up ramming one into my finger last time."

"Yes, dear.  Teriyaki marinade like usual?"  He nodded at that.  Xander smiled at him.  "Should I get a cake too?"

"Please.  I could use some."  He gave him a slight smirk.  "Behave."

"I am.  I'll even be good and try to steal the son tonight."  He nodded, happy with that.  "What about Ray?"

"He can help you once he's out of school."  He took an off-ramp and headed for the house.  "What about the house locally?"

"Don can use it when he's in town."

"Thank you."

"I'm not leaving you, Horatio.  Learn that."  He gave him a brutal pinch to his inner thigh, making him tense.  "Never ever leaving you and if you keep trying to make me leave, I'm going to paddle your ass."  Horatio parked in their driveway so he got out to get their bags, then opened the door to get a kiss.  "Be a good boy at work and make dad sorry for terrorizing everyone, and I'll reward you later for only having the bad thought."  Horatio gave him a look.  Xander climbed back up, sitting in his lap.  "I'm not leaving.  Even if you send me away I'm going to handcuff you and take care of you until you're sane, dear.  I'm not leaving.  No matter what."  Horatio nodded, kissing him.  "Good boy."  He smiled and kissed him again.  "Now, go be a good boy and I'll kiss that new bruise I just put on you later, then I'll kiss other stuff to make it all better too."  Horatio moaned.  "Hand in your notes about the lab upgrades too."  He slid down and hefted their bags inside while Horatio calmed himself down then drove off, waving with a smile for his husband.

Horatio drove off shaking his head.  His husband was very special but he took those stubborn moments now and then....


Xander smiled as the receptionist came back to Horatio's office a few weeks later.  "He's faxing stuff.  Message?"  She handed over the small package.  "For him?"

"For him, sir, not you this time," she offered with a smile.  "We've already scanned it.  It's a DVD of some sort."  He nodded, signing for it and tossing it onto the desk.  "You might want to hide, Lieutenant Tripp is coming this way."

"Oooh, he got a promotion," he said happily.  "Not my doing."  She giggled and walked out.  He got comfortable, going back to his textbook until Frank walked in.  "Congrats."


"Didn't do it, Frank."  He looked at him and grinned. "If you must know, Ray Jr. was with me at that event since you guys had Horatio here and I wasn't about to be bored to death alone.  He mentioned you hadn't had a raise or a promotion in quite a while and you were very good, the sort of cop he'd want to be if he didn't become a lab tech."  That got a smile.  "So he got you the promotion, Lieutenant.  Congratulations."

"Thanks, kid. Any word on the judge stuff?"

"The Chief is weighing about three people to stand behind. One's his cousin, one's Ryan, and I'm not sure who the other one is."  He shrugged.  "We're all waiting to see.  He filed his paperwork but hasn't done anything with it yet as far as I know."  He grinned. "I'll support him."

"Good."  He walked off, smiling and happy again.

"Frank," Horatio said with a smirk.  "You carry the new weight well," he teased.

"Your nephew needs spanked."

"My nephew?"

"Your husband said it was his fault."

"Ah.  I wondered why Ray had been hiding at our place recently.  Xander?"

"Reading in your office.  You had a new package on your desk."

"Thank you, Frank, and congratulations."

"Just don't make me watch your boy in a naughty mood again.  Especially not with his trouble twin or Flack."  He nodded at Eric as he joined them.  "I'm not going out to watch you two club again."

"Sure, Frank," he agreed, grinning at him.  "Have you told your wife yet?"

"Nah, I planned to walk in like it was a totally shitty day and complain until she saw it."  He shrugged and walked off grinning.

Horatio looked at Eric, who handed over his test results.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  Can I take Xander out after the show?"

"No, Eric. Both boys are staying in safely for the next few nights so they're not snatched."  Eric pouted. "No.  The New York show was bad enough.  We had to hide with Don all night to protect Xander.  We'll let them stay inside safely down here."

"Yes, H.  At least I'm helping so I get some pretty new clothes."  He beamed and walked off.

Horatio shook his head.  It was good Di had picked someone other than Don this time.  Even though his nephew could make Eric blush like an innocent little good boy at times during practices.  He headed back to his office, finding the package still sealed.  "You didn't open it?"

"Not my job to open it, dear."  He smirked at him. "It's for you.  It's probably evidence or that stupid award you didn't want."

"Possibly."  He opened it and read the enclosed letter.  "From Marcia."  He handed it to Xander.  Then he looked at the pictures, smiling and putting it on his desk.  He had spent some time talking with them while they made the decision to buy Gordon's house.  Xander handed it back, letting him tuck it into the frame so he'd remember to answer it later that week.

Xander smiled at him. "Danny's jealous of the New York condo but took Flack's old place over because it was bigger and he was offering a cheaper rent."

"That was nice of him.  It's probably also closer to the station."  Xander nodded at that.  "Any other good news?"

"Don's got a new car.  Mac and Stella are getting closer and tighter.  Danny's pouting a lot.  Don was teasing him about making it a trio and Danny got hellishly upset and stomped off in a jealous snit.  He and Delilah are still dating."  He looked at his phone. Then shook his head.  "No new developments since this morning."  That got a smile.  "They're all coming down next week for the meeting.  I promised to find Stella a bikini that would make her man drool and pounce in public."  Horatio laughed at that.  "I sent Di her measurements and pictures of her in her blue one.  It inspired a few new pieces on the female's side.  What're we doing for dinner after the show tonight?"

"Eating in, Xander.  Ray's going home to be protected by his mother.  I'm going to protect you and if someone's smart they'll take Eric home and keep him safe."  That got a smile.  "Danny's coming in when?"

"An hour."  He stood up and stretched.  "Which means I should leave."  He stole a quick kiss.  "You get to tell Mac that his lab's being renovated while they're down here since we told everyone else up there they couldn't tell him when it started."  He strolled out, heading off to his car.  He had decided on the sportscar today, and he'd even let Danny drive it on the way down.  Neither alarm went off when he tried them so he got in and headed for the airport.


Danny walked into Di's changing area, beaming at everyone. "I'm here!" he yelled.   Eric, Xander's son, not the larger one, squealed and ran over to hug him.  "Hi, pumpkin!" he said, picking him up to cuddle him.  "Have you been being good?"  He shook his head and beamed.  "Didn't think so.  Too much naughtiness from your daddy."  He smirked at Xander, who kissed his son on the head then went to find his mother.  "So, what're you doing back here?"

"Cwothes!" he said proudly, holding up his fabric scraps.  Danny beamed at him.  "Go MaMa!"  Danny nodded, carrying him that way so Di could take him back and kiss him on the cheek.  "Cwothes!" he said proudly.

"Yes, you've been very helpful with the clothes today," she praised, smiling at him.  "Even when you put jelly on a few pieces and the dry cleaner had to do a very rush job."  Xander chuckled and took him to hold.  "He needs to go see someone safer."

"Nanny?" Eric asked, pouting.  "No cwothes?"

"You can help us play with the clothes later, but now it's time for lunch, Eric," Xander ordered, whispering in his ear.  Eric giggled and nodded, beaming at him.  "Then you can help Mommy count clothes and money tonight."  He nodded, letting Xander carry him off to his nanny.  Xander bounced back and beamed at her.  "We're here."

"I heard."  She patted him on the cheek.  "Remember, you're supposed to be scary tonight, not slutty, dear."  He nodded, giving her a look.  "Did Horatio fuck all the nastiness out of you again?"  He beamed and nodded.  "Crap!"  She called Horatio. "You were supposed to make sure he could be mean and nasty tonight, Horatio!  I need him to be mean and nasty!"  She handed the phone to Xander, who walked off at the quiet growling going on, which was going to be very mean since it was going to leave him hard and begging, but without any relief.  She smiled at Danny, then found a small squishy package, which she handed over.  "A whole week's worth of clothes for Stella, Danny."

He looked at the package that fit very comfortable in his two hands.  Then at her and beamed.  "Thanks.  Why?"

"Xander said you needed her in a bathing suit that would make both her guys pounce.  Since you and Mac are with her," she offered, smirking at him. He gaped.  She strolled off to make sure Xander was in the proper mindset.  He was still in goofy, happy, slutty mode.  She sighed.  "Xander."  He looked at her.  "Imagine someone had taken Eric and Horatio hostage, okay?  Please get into the right mindset?"  He growled at that and nodded.  "Thank you."  She took the phone back and sighed, going to check on his clothes with him. Danny got tested as well and everything still fit perfectly.  She went back to check on Xander, finding him in brooding, evil thought mode.  That was a bit further past evil that she wanted.  "Xander, baby, evil thoughts, not brooding, evil thoughts.  Just evil thoughts."  He glared at her.  "Please?"  He nodded, calming himself down off the scenario she had made him imagine.  She thought about the bullwhip for his last outfit but it would be fine.  She hoped.  She changed clothes and went to greet her guests who were important.

The music started and Ray Jr. came out first, strutting it hard.  She beamed at him and he gave her that heated look that made a few people in the crowd smile.  He turned and found Danny there behind him, slapping him on the ass as he walked past him.  Danny glared back at him but smirked at the crowd, making them get into the playful nature.  Xander prowled out and Di nearly moaned.  He was fully into evil mode now.  He had never looked so hot.  Xander scanned the crowd for a minute then walked back there.  Too long but it gave the others a chance to get into place.  She had led with her three most experienced models.  Next came a trio of the women.  Very touchy, smirkingly cute girls.  Then the other males came out, Eric, Ray Jr., and Xander.  Eric was playing shy boy between the other two and the crowd was eating it up.  Xander yanked on his ear, making Eric moan but let him go and walked back there, pulling Danny out to make him walk down the catwalk.  Then he disappeared.  She moaned.

Xander was improvising but it was hotter than hell.  He was in full dominant mode.  The five women came out and did their cute little smirky looks and teasing arm touches on each other.  Then the guys came back out together, as a posse, as she planned.  Eric in the lead.  Eric turned and left.  Ray and Danny looked at the guys, then left.  Leaving Xander.  He stared around again, ordering their submission silently, then he stalked off, nearly strutting in the leather flat-soled boots she had put him in.  The girls came out and were in a beach- wear set and they were much more touchy.  One was nearly groping a breast and she glared at her, so she eased off.  They went back and the next set came out, her 'male classics'.  Leather, silk, tight, hot, drool making.  And some were.  Especially over Ray, who was in the tightest pair of leathers anyone had ever seen.  He even ran a hand down it. Xander spanked him during a lull in the song, making some people flinch at the honesty of that sound, but Ray only sneered and shook his head, taking Eric's arm and walking him back.

Danny pulled Xander closer, looking into his eyes, then gave him a nudge toward the back, following like the pissed lover he probably could be.  The next female set came out and they were back in good contact so she was happy.  They disappeared and the last male set came out.  Xander with a bullwhip.  He was the last down the catwalk.  He uncoiled it, stroking down the thicker part of it, then snapped it out to catch her and pull her closer, making her give him a scared look.  Danny and Ray helped her up onto the stage and she bowed, letting him unwind her.  She patted Xander on the cheek and smiled.  Then she smiled and waved the women out for their last set.  The photos got taken of the last set and they all disappeared to a lot of applause and some whistles and howls of pleasure.  She came back out and bowed.  "The servants at the dinner are showing off my newest version in the liquid latex wars," she announced. "They did ask that you not grope too much."  That got some laughs and they broke up to have snacks.

She got back there to Xander, kissing him on the cheek.  "I love you in evil mode but you know they're fine, right?"  He turned to show his son clinging to his back. "Did you sneak out?"  Danny nodded and Eric beamed.  "Fine, you can come with us as long as you're a good boy."  Xander walked over to his special cabinet and changed into something else, then put on his most geeky shirt in there.  He came out looking like a hot college geek, making Danny giggle and put on his more normal attire.  Ray kept on the leather since he couldn't peel them off.  Eric came out in a pair of very fitted jeans and a long shirt.  "We good?  Ladies?"  They joined them and walked out to more applause from the gathered crowd.

Someone sidled up to Xander and smiled.  "Darkness."

"Of course.  This is how I get my teasing fix now," he said with a wink.  He turned.  "This is my son, Eric.  Di had him for me."

"Ooooh, aren't you adorable?" she cooed.  Eric shook his head.  "No? You're not?"

"Tell her what you are, Eric?" he prompted with a bright grin.


She laughed and kissed him on the head. "I'm sure you come by it naturally, Eric. Very nicely done, Darkness.  Any chance of a private showing?"

He stroked her chin with his thumb. "My husband would throw fits," he reminded her gently.  She moaned.  "Gotta talk to Horatio, dear.  But you could ask his nephew, Ray.  He's *barely* legal this week."  She moaned and went to talk to him and Eric, who was hovering protectively on Yelina's orders.  He looked back at his son.  "You want held instead of clinging?"  He felt him shake his head. "Okay."  He walked over to get a drink.  "Coke, no ice, no additives, no liquor."  The bartender gave him an odd look. "I don't drink."  That got a nod and a bottle was handed over. "Thank you," he said, looking him over.  "You've got some flaking.  Push it over and it'll be fine," he ordered, walking off with his son, who waved and giggled at everyone.  By silent cue, all the guys faded into the background, heading for the back area so Danny could get the tiny package of clothes and head out to the car they had rented to take them to the station, where they would check in and then head home safely.  That way no one could follow them.  Xander made sure he had the baby seat for the hired car, but that was the only hold up to their escape.  "Nice job," he praised.

Eric smirked.  "Being that naughty is fun.  Now I understand what you got out of stripping."

"Besides a really good workout?" Danny teased.  "When they came up for the auction, Don managed to slip Xander some scotch and got him into a go-go cage to dance.  Horatio was not a happy camper."  Eric and Ray both laughed at that, so did little Eric, who beamed at them all.  "Hey, sugar.  We going home?"  Eric beamed and nodded.  "That's good with me.  I'll hang with you and your daddy until I head to the condo tonight," he said with a wink.  They pulled up outside the station and Ray tipped the driver, then they walked inside, Xander riding herd on the group with Eric in his seat.

The receptionist saw Eric and Ray Jr. and burst out crying, running off complaining Xander had corrupted them.

Calleigh stopped them in the hallway, walking around them. "Talk about Xander-tight, Ray and Eric.  Are you trying to get stolen!"  She hit Eric on the arm.  "Ray, your mother said you four and the baby were to wait in your uncle's office since he's off on a scene right now with her."  She looked at Ray's pants, then Eric's.  "I'll escort you."

"We need sodas and cookies," Xander said with a grin.

"You can get them once we safely get these two into the office and have the blinds closed."  Of course they had to walk past most of the lab to do that.  Someone came to the door of DNA and stared, unblinking, at Eric and Ray.  "It was the day of the fashion show," she announced. "That's why he looks like a slut!"  She giggled at that and winked at him, getting a smirk back.  "Eric, who's staying with you tonight to make sure you don't get stolen?"

"I will," the woman from DNA offered.  That got a few moans.  "Who's staying with Ray?"

"My mother.  She doesn't want me to go out and pick up a new girlfriend."  He shrugged and gave her his own version of the wicked smirk he had learned off Xander.  She shivered.  "Don't you think I should be allowed out tonight?"

"Hell no!" Frank yelled from the office. "Get in here!"  They walked up the stairs and into the office.  He took the baby to hold.  "You should come sit with me, that way you're not warped by those four and their clothes."

"Cwothes," Eric agreed happily, playing with his tie.  He pouted at him.  "No cwothes?"

"No, you can help your daddy clean out Uncle Horatio's closet later."  He walked him off to protect him from the teasing, playing guys.

Danny flopped down behind the desk and called home.  "Hey, Stella, it's me.  We're done and safely back at the station, being guarded since Horatio and Yelina are out with a body.  No, we're good.  Just fine, I promise.  No, Eric's with Frank at the moment.  Oh, Di made you something so don't pack as much as you would've."  He hung up and looked at Xander.  "Why are she, Mac, and I a trio?"

"You might wanna make sure that hung up sine it beeped," Eric offered.  Danny checked, then hung it up further. "You're not?"  He looked at Xander.  "Didn't Horatio say it looked that way?"

"Yeah, did to us, Danny.  You mean you're not?"  He glared and shook his head.  "Damn.  You seemed so jealous when I danced with Stella.  And then when Horatio made Mac go onto the floor with him to guard us."  He scratched the back of his arm.  "Sorry."

"No problem. Mac would never go for something that odd."  He grimaced.  "So what's in the package?"

"I asked Di to make her a bikini that would make you guys pounce in public."  He gave him a sheepish grin.  "Sorry."

"S'not a problem, Xander.  I'll still get ta enjoy it."  Ray giggled and nodded.  "You, behave.  You're too young for such smutty thoughts."

"No I'm not.  I'm legal, as Xander told some woman."  He pinched him. "Mom would kill you if she had heard her."

"I know, but oh well."  He shrugged and got comfortable.  "I should go steal the son back."  Someone tapped on the door.  "It's hopefully not locked."  Ryan walked in.  "Hey, Ryan.  You remember Danny right?"

"Hey," he said, grinning at him, then at Eric and Ray.  "Alexx said she wanted you two to change before she got up here."

"I haven't figured out how to get out of these yet," Ray admitted pitifully.

"Easy, you peel them down," Eric advised. "Slowly, once you're not sweaty."  Ray nodded, getting that part. "No wonder she left that for last."

"I thought it was because of the baby powder mess I usually make."

"Probably was," Xander admitted.  "She said she'd prove to you leather was as comfortable as going naked."

"Not quite."  He shifted some.  "Getting too hard in these will be painful soon."  He smiled as Alexx came in, waving a hand.  "Sorry, I'm too sweaty to peel them off yet.  Eric said it's easier when I'm not."

She stared at them.  "Stand up, baby."  They all stood up.  She looked at Xander. "Nice try at changing the image, Xander.  Didn't work, but nice try."  She looked at Danny, shaking her head.  "You either."  She moved closer to Eric, then sighed and looked at Ray.  "We should take you home so you can soak those off."

"Leather in the shower?" Eric asked her. "It won't work."

She patted him on the cheek. "Can you breathe in those?"

"Yeah, she fitted them to each muscle group," he said proudly.  He smiled at her.  "I'll be well guarded tonight."

"Uh-huh.  All four of you need to eat more so you can't wear the slutty clothes ever again."  She shook her head, walking out, closing the door behind her.

Ryan beamed at them.  "Is the tape for sale yet?  Willow wanted to see what she came up with for the ladies."

Xander nodded. "It will be tomorrow.  Clips will be online at her site tomorrow."  Ryan beamed and headed out, but he had to unlock the door first.  Xander snickered, looking at Eric.  "Now you know why I like my jeans she fit to me.  Aren't they *comfortable*?"

"Very!  I can even bend in them."

"Yeah, she uses a stretch denim," Ray agreed.  "I have a few pairs of those but mom made sure they wouldn't be that tight until I moved out and got married."  Someone tapped on the door so he turned that way. "What?"  It opened and the Chief came in, blinking at them.  "The fashion show was today so they made sure Xander and I made it to our respective guardians tonight."

"I can see why," he admitted, staring at Ray's ass.  He blinked and looked at Xander, who just smiled and waved.  "You look less ...intense than usual."

"I went for geeky and hot today," he agreed happily.  "I'd have put on a suit but that seems to scare people for some reason."  The Chief smirked back so he shrugged. They both knew the Xander Caine rumors Yelina had started about that being his Wrath of Caine side.  "What can I do for you today, Chief?"

"The renovations?"

"Starting next week, all at the same time," he promised. "Half of each lab then switching over.  Mostly it's just tech updates so it shouldn't interfere too much with the running of the labs.  The one in New York is getting a lot more work so they're being done while their top three CSI are down here since they had to switch off some cases to another borough anyway."

"Thank you.  The shelter?"

"Tomorrow?"  He nodded.  "I'll be there.  If I'm not there a half-hour early, have someone make sure I'm on my way."  That got another nod.  "Horatio and Yelina are out on a scene so we're guarding Ray for her."

"I can see why," he agreed, licking his lips, then smiling and nodding at Danny.  "I'll see you soon I'm sure."  He left, heading back to tell them the board meeting would be soon and the upgrades were going next week.

"He has something in front of us?" Xander asked.

"He sent Don a proposal for the gay officer's union about convention attendance," Danny offered.

"Okay.  We'll look it over and talk to them about it."  Danny smirked and nodded at that.  "You've got to have fellowship or the job gets wearing and tiring.  Speaking of, next convention?"

"We're hosting," Danny said dryly, shaking his head.  "Please don't strip this time."

"I won't," he promised.   They all looked over as the door opened again.  "Hi," Xander said cautiously.

"You *ruined* them!" she shouted.  "You made the nice, sweet boys into sluts!"  She pulled up the gun.

"Whoa!  It was the fashion show!  The same person who does his wardrobe hired us to model!" Eric complained, moving closer.  "Ray couldn't get out of his and these were made for me," he said more calmly, trying to get her calmed down.  "I promise I'm not going to go after Horatio or start to strip.  They're just naughty teasing."  He gave her his best attempt at a goofy grin.  "I promise.  It didn't corrupt me any."  She burst out crying and stomped off.  He looked out the door.  "Calleigh!"  He pointed at her.  She looked then went running after her to pounce her and get the gun.  He closed the door and locked it this time.  "Wow.  I didn't even know she liked me."

"Us," Ray reminded him dryly. He looked down at himself.  "You really can see the piercing in this, can't you?"  Everyone in the room nodded.  "She's going to scream."

"She still hasn't realized you've got two earrings?" Xander asked, sounding amused.  "Man, your mom's usually so much more on the ball."

"She's dating," Ray said smugly, grinning at him.  "She met a very nice guy on the dating site and he's local so they've been going out.  They went dancing last night and she came home flushed and giggling."  Xander beamed at him, clapping him on the back.  "Someone should go steal the baby before Frank gets into trouble for having him."

Danny got up and headed out, checking the halls as he snuck that way.  He smiled at Eric when he ran into him, picking him up.  "Frank, I've got him," he called.

"Oh no you don't!  I heard about the receptionist!"  Danny took him back anyway, letting Frank chase them. Frank looked at them, shaking his head. "Give the baby back so he'll be sane and safely out of harm's way in case Eric gets another fan."

"She liked me too," Ray said with a pout.  "She said he ruined both of us."

Frank looked him over, pausing at the bulge that could only be a piercing, then shook his head. "I think you've been corrupted a bit longer, Ray.  You may be Horatio during the day but you're all slutboy there at night."

"He gives me the nicest compliments," Xander teased, smirking at him and taking his son.  "Hi, Eric."  His son giggled and kissed him. "I love you too, baby boy.  Would you like to sit with us in here or with Uncle Frank?"  Eric pointed at the window. "Sure, you can watch outside."  He put Eric down and smiled at Frank.  "You can stay if you promise not to hit on Eric or Ray."

"My wife would get very upset if I brought someone home for her to play with."  He closed the door and locked it, walking over to see what Eric was staring at.  "Wonderful.  Guys, gunmen."  He reached for the phone but Danny had it.  Xander stood up and grabbed something from under the couch, heading out behind Eric and Danny, locking them in there.  "Hey!"

"That was a subtle 'protect what's mine, Frank' from Xander," Ray offered.  He called his mother.  "Frank just spotted guys in masks with shotguns coming into the station.  Frank, the baby, and I are in Uncle Horatio's office.  Danny called."  He hung up. "Move him away from the window?"  Frank handed him the baby and rushed out, closing the door behind him.  Ray smiled at Eric. "We're going to play a hiding game, Eric.  Okay?"  He took him over to the desk, putting him under it while he found the spare gun his uncle kept hidden.  "You stay down there.  Bad guys are coming to take the pretty clothes."  Eric stayed hidden, his mommy had told him about bad guys.  He heard a few shots fired but nowhere near them.  He heard feet go running and someone knocked.  "I'm in here," Ray called.  The knocking stopped and whoever it was left.  He stayed behind the desk until someone tapped and announced that it was Calleigh. "You alone?"

"No!  Open the door!"  Ray got up and opened the door, looking at her. "The baby?"

"Under the desk."

"Good.  Good instincts, Ray."  She kissed him on the cheek.  "Stay in here, I'm sending Xander back up.  Horatio pulled up and someone tried to fire at him.  Xander shot their feet out from under them.  He's not a happy person."  They shared a look and Ray put the gun back, then got Eric out and she smiled.  "You're a good boy, Eric.  Make the bigger Eric a good boy too."  She hurried off to get Xander. "Eric's still in the office with Ray," she told him.  Xander hurried that way.  He was nothing if not protective of his family.  She looked at Horatio.  "They're fine."

"Good," he said, looking at the stupid people.  "Who are they, Frank?"

"So far they're moaning and claiming the don't know English in a British accent."  He looked at Horatio.  "Do you know anyone British?  I don't.  I don't remember a case either."

"Not for over a year," Calleigh offered.  She called the office.  "Xander, do you remember any British cases?"  He came out a minute later, stomping.  He glared at one and hissed something to him, making him cry.  "Okay, apparently you know him?"

"No, but Rupert and Willow would."  He looked at his mate. "They think they're taking me home to protect me," he said sarcastically, giving him a look, then he kicked one.  "Spill, now!" he ordered in his most scary voice.  "I am the protector of Miami.  The Watchers sending you violates my city's sanctity and I can easily call insult on them."  They all backed away.  "Now!" he yelled.

"You're needed by the Council to help Miss Summers fight something. You and Miss Rosenburg," one said weakly.

"That's gonna be kinda hard since she's pregnant."  He saw Horatio calling her house.  He moved closer, staring at there. "Where's that strike team?  You guys would only go for a single target."  They all flinched. "Where?" he asked, his voice deathly calm.  "I will know, even if I have to turn into the very evil I've fought in the past," he warned quietly.  "You can tell me or you can tell the hormonal pregnant woman."  One tried to move a hand and he stepped on it, breaking the vial he had been holding.  "Poison?"  He whimpered and nodded.  "Frank, he had poison in that vial."

"I've already got EMS rolling.  What is going on?"

"They're Watchers, Frank.  They watch over girls like Buffy.  This is my old life trying to kidnap me."  He stared one down.  "And you're a team leader," he said, hauling him up to look at him.  "You can tell me or my husband, or her husband.  Your choice," he said coldly.  "Remember, she can do that neat 'out of time' thing now."  He swallowed. "Don't try for the cyanide tooth either.  I know better."  He opened his mouth.  "I mean it.  I will keep you alive."  He moved him closer, staring into his eyes, letting every instinct screaming at him out.  "Now,  you'll tell me or you'll tell my mate," he hissed in his face.

"Sh...she...she needs you," he stuttered.  "The other team is at the deli.  He's not cooperating but her spouse is there.  We're only here to gather you."  Xander let him go.  "They need you, you're special."

"No, she needs backup, not necessarily me," Xander assured him.  He kicked him under the jaw, breaking it.  "I told you not to go for that tooth."

"Xander!" Frank warned.

"Usually it's the first tooth after the fang tooth on the bottom right, Frank.  You might warn someone that it's cyanide."  He blinked at him.  "This is an extraction team from the Watchers.  They're just as trained as any paramilitary group can be.  Some were military as well."  He continued to stare at the one guy.  Then he suddenly looked at another, hissing something at him. He froze. "Don't try that, stupid.  There's not a Sunnydale resident who's not filled with enough magic to blast your whole organization open.  By the way, why not Chase?"

"She's helping the Champion."

"He's closer.  He can do that."

"He's a vampire!"

"No shit!  Really?  Couldn't have told you that when he attacked me or anything."  He pulled out his phone to call LA.  "Cordy, Xander.  Not now.  Willow and I are facing extraction teams from the Watchers.  Apparently they want us back in town.  Cordy, I'm in Miami. Willow's pregnant.  Get over it, it's your job!"  He hung up and glared at him.  "All you had to do was ask and I'd have called."  He glared at another guy.  "I can break yours too."  He stopped moving his jaw.  "Thank you."  The paramedics rushed up.  "That one," he said, pointing at one.  "Had a vial of poison in his hand when I broke it.  Probably homoeopathic if it matters.  They've all got cyanide teeth, traditionally the next one past the fang on the bottom right.  I broke one's jaw when he moved to snap it."  That got a nod and they got to work on them while Frank made sure they were handcuffed and officers went with them.  He walked over to Horatio.  "Ryan?"

"I can't get him to answer."

"Thank you.  Willow?"

"On her way here.  I sent an officer after her.  He's picked her up."

"Good.  To the deli, dear?"


"They're using magic, Horatio.  Not even SWAT can handle that."

"I can," Danny noted as he joined them.  "You and Don warded me or whatever."

"Go," Horatio agreed, looking at his mate.

"You had better come back in perfect condition, Horatio. One hair out of place and I'm killing the Council," he said quietly, crossing his arms over his chest.  "Understood?"  He nodded, heading off to help with the assault on the other area.  He glared at the last one being loaded in.  "We'll see who wins this time."  He called Rupert.  "Why was an extraction team sent after Willow and myself?" he asked coldly.  "Why yes, Rupert, this is.  No shit, really?  No, the one at the police station was defeated.  We're looking for the other one.  Gee, Giles, I don't know.  Willow's pregnant."  He let out a small hyena laugh and hung up, smirking at Frank.  "He's going to warn them that they should probably leave Ryan alone.  They still can't disappear that fast."  He walked past him, going to check on his son.  The gun he had pulled out from under the couch was in his back waistband.  One of the officers looked at him and tensed.  "I'm licensed," he said before he could do more than that.  He looked back at him. "I'm probably a better shot than you are."  The elevator came and he got on, heading upstairs.  His phone rang and he looked at it.

"What?" he demanded coldly.  "Yes, Angel, I recognized the office number. It's in my phone listed as 'bitch queen'."  He listened.  "I have no idea.  They said it was something we needed to handle.  Willow's pregnant.  Due in a few months."  He smirked at his groan of complaint.  "Well, we're in Miami and she can't help," he noted dryly.  The door opened and he got off, heading for the office.  "You're closer and the Champion.  They didn't come to you due to your little unliving problem.  They said so after I broke one's jaw, Angel.  Why do you think?"  He sneered at the amused laugh.  "Think I can't?  Check my rep, Angel.  Then we'll talk.  For now, you're closer and she's your ex.  You're the Champion of the Powers.  Have fun with Sunnydale syndrome this time."  He hung up and walked into the office, smiling at his son and nephew.

"They've got Ryan," he told Calleigh, who hissed.  "The Watchers."  She moaned and shook her head.  "Someone over there is going to die by Willow's hand."  He felt a touch to his waistband, grabbing the wrist and flipping them.  "Hi," he told the officer.  "I'm actually licensed to carry that. You could try asking."  He gaped.  "Yes, I'm Xander.  Welcome to my husband's office, idiot."  He got up and backed out the door with the others.  He turned and glared.  "Anyone else?"  They all shook their heads and Eric toddled over to hug his leg, getting a smile.  "Thank you, Eric."  He picked him up to kiss him on the forehead. "You're a very good boy."  Eric beamed so he grinned back.  "You make daddy calm down very well."  Eric hugged him and waved at the officers.  "Yes, they're police officers, just like Daddy Horatio.  Say Hi."

"Hi!"  He waved again, beaming at them. "Cwothes?"

"No, they wear uniforms, they can't wear mommy's clothes on duty.  They probably wish but they can't."  Eric pouted at him. "They can wear them after work."  Eric beamed at that again.  He looked at them.  "You needed something else?"

"Your license, sir?"  Xander found his copy for the office handing it over.  "Thank you."  It was looked over then handed back.  "We really don't encourage people to walk into the station armed."

"That strike team just came for me.  Fuck y'all, even if my son wasn't here."  That got some nods and they all backed off. "Sorry, people who kidnap me tend to get into serious trouble.  I do defend myself."  They backed off and left.  He glared at Calleigh, who shrugged. She had been making 'go away' motions behind his back and he knew it.  She smiled sweetly.  "Call Di?  Tell her the Watchers are in town?"  She nodded, going to do that.  Then she called Speed off his crime scene to make sure he knew everyone was fine.  He heard running and looked out there.  "Up here, Wills."  She came up the stairs, coming to hug him.  "They went to get Ryan.  Horatio and Danny went."  She nodded, taking Eric to hold for her comfort.  "Giles doesn't know why."

"I heard that from him and Angel when he called."  She looked at him.  "Are you okay?"

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"Point."  She smiled at Ray, then handed him the baby.  "We'll be back."

"No we, Wills.  You're pregnant."

"I'm...."  He held up a finger.  "I'm fine to question the reason for them being in town."

"No you're not. Your husband would kill my ass if I took you into Tentacles like this."

"Yay!"  She stood up, facing him down.  "I can go, Xander.  I've got the better skills to protect both of us."

"You're staying with my son, Willow.  Guard him and Ray."  He turned and left, heading down to his car.  She landed beside it. "I'm telling him you're doing that."

"He'll understand."

"He'll expect you to be there when he's brought to the hospital for the SOP exam."

"I'll be there.  It won't take that long to make someone beg for mercy."  He shrugged and he got in to drive while she slid in, making sure her skirt was safely in.  "They're going to yell."

"Whine.  I'm not leaving us in the open this way."  He started the engine and backed off, then spun the car and headed off at a higher rate of speed.  She gave him a look.  "Driving lessons with Tim."  He shifted up as they hit the main street, heading for the bar where someone would know what was going on.


Ryan walked into the club with Horatio, looking at their lovers, who were quietly sipping a soda with some assorted bodies begging and moaning on the floor.  He cleared his throat.  "Willow?"  She smiled at him.  "What the hell are you doing?" he asked, trying to stay calm.  He had been warned she could be scary when the situation called for it, Xander had warned him.  Now he realized that truth.

"Figuring out why someone wanted to kidnap me, Xander, and possibly his son while hurting you and Horatio.  By the way, they're very sorry."  She slid off her stool and walked over, looking him over.  "Are you okay?"

"Are you?" he countered.

She snorted.  "Honey, I used to do this every night.  Just because I can't kick as high doesn't mean I can't kick ass."

"Not like I'd let her," Xander offered, waving at him.  "By the way, the Watchers believe there's a new major evil in Sunnydale and they needed us to take them down but Angel's going to fix it with her.  The details have already been sent to Cordy via fax, and the ones here are being disavowed.  That means no one will try to magic them out of the jail."  He walked over a few bodies, making one plead.  He glared at it.  "You brought violence near my son," he said in the most common demon language.  "I do not forgive such things.  Nor do I tolerate them."  The demon nodded and laid back down.  He nodded at the bartender.  "Sorry about the mess."

"Not a problem, Harris.  Or you, Miss Rosenburg.  Messes like this need to be cleaned up.  Thank you for keeping the Watchers out of here."

"Not fun enough if they're happy when you torture them," Xander pointed out dryly.  He looked his mate over, seeing the graze on his arm. "What the hell!"  He moved closer to open his sleeve, looking at it.  "Who in the hell hurt you!"  He stared at his mate then pushed him into a seat, going behind the bar to get a clean cloth and wet it down.  He stomped back and gently cleaned it off, glaring at him.  "Someone shot you?"

"Someone tried, I'm fine," he assured him.

"No you're not!  You're bleeding!" he said loudly and shrilly.

"Xander," he said, trying to calm him down.

"I find knocking him out works best," Willow offered as Ryan led her outside to the car.  "I'm fine, dear.  Are you okay?"

"I'm fine.  They tried to hit me a few times."  His wife got that scary look.  "I'm fine. I had worse in school."  The scary look got worse.  "Willow!" he snapped and she burst out crying.  "Shhh, I'm fine," he promised more quietly, stroking her back while he held her.  "I promise, I'm fine.  You don't have to fuss.  Some aspirin and an ice pack and I'm a good and happy boy."  She shook her head.  "No?"

"No."  She pulled back, staring at him.  "You're in for it.  You're going to make me fuss!"  She caught his wrist and drug him to the car.  "Station or can we go home?"

"We can go home."  She forced him into the back and climbed in after him. "Please calm down?"

"No!"  The officer chuckled.  "You, shut it unless you want to be a salamander."  He smiled and nodded, driving them home.  "How many times were you hit?"  She ran a hand over his cheek.  "It's not up yet so I can't do more than feed you and give you something for the pain."  He kissed her, stopping her babbling.  She scowled at him. "You're hurt!"

"I'm fine. It's just a bruise, but I'm seeing scary mothering for our future child."  She glared at that so he smiled sweetly.  "I'll be okay.  You can fuss when we get home and cuddle me all you want."  She nodded, going back to stroking his cheek gently.  "It'll come up soon enough, dear."  He caught her hand and kissed the back of it. "Did anyone touch you?"  She shook her head.  "Not at all?"

"No, Xander wouldn't let anyone near me. The one guy who tried to grab me was a pile of ash."  She shrugged. "He didn't want to tell Xander why someone wanted to kidnap us and hurt his son and mate.  Pity about them but oh well."

Ryan kissed her so she couldn't say any more in the back of the police car.  She gave him a look then wiped the driver's memory of the day when they got out.  He gave her a look. "Willow."

"Yay."  She opened the door and pointed.  "On the couch, Mister, before I show you truly scary fussing out here."  He walked in there like a whipped puppy, which was what she had intended.

Back at the bar, one of the demons stuck Xander with his talon, knocking him out. "You're welcome. It'll wear off in an hour.  I'd be cleaned up and showing no signs of that by the time he wakes up."  Horatio nodded his thanks and carried his mate out and to the hummer.  Danny shook his head.  The demon looked at the mess.  He looked at the bartender.  "Can we eat 'em?"  He shrugged so the rest of them got a good snack that night.


Xander woke up, finding Horatio reading beside him.  He suddenly flipped over, landing straddling his lap so he could look at his arm.  "Someone hurt you."

"They paid for it, Xander."  Xander looked at him. "They were injured much worse," he said quietly.  He stroked his cheek. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine and why are you talking to me like I'm stupid?"

"Because I'm controlling my temper.  You went to Tentacles with Willow."

"I couldn't get rid of her and she did the teleporty thing.  I made sure nothing and no one touched her.  She wouldn't let me go alone," he defended at Horatio's searching look.

"I didn't want you to go at all, Xander."

"So!  We needed the information!"

Horatio kissed him.  "You could have been seriously hurt."

"Pot, kettle," Xander said, pointing at the graze.  "All I've got are bruised knuckles."  He stared into his mate's eyes.  "You should've known I'd be there. That's how you tracked me there, right?"

"Actually, I called Dispatch and had them find the car."  He tipped Xander's chin up when it fell.  "I don't like you hunting or fighting."

"They were going to kill you and Eric!"


"NO!"  He stood up beside the bed, staring at him.  "Their plan was to take me back there, then kill you and Eric.  To bring Willow back there after making her miscarry and kill Ryan.  Plus if they could to kill Tim.  No way in hell I'm apologizing for going to get that information and sending it to the people who'll deal with that situation out there so I don't have to!"  He stomped off, heading out to the beach to sulk.

Horatio calmed himself then went out there to sit with him.  "Xander, risk is part of my job."

"And it's part of my life, Horatio," he snapped without looking.  "Someone tried to kill you.  That makes them fair game for finding out why."

"Why were they going to do that?"

"They claimed they needed someone with battle planning experience.  But I also heard that the backup, the power behind the evil, would take a male sacrificial victim to solve, that would be the only way they could do it."  He glanced at him. "They wanted me for that."

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah, but I do need to put Tim on a plane this weekend.  His time to hit Sunnydale is this weekend and he hasn't planned on going."  He glanced at him again then at the water.  "There is no way in hell they're doing this to my family," he said quietly.  "They knew better before they tried it but Travers thinks force solves everything. If I was less ethical I'd be borrowing some of Ethan's books with Willow's help."  He calmed himself down when Horatio shifted closer.  "I'm sorry, but they hurt you.  They were going to kill you and Eric.  I went into over-protective mode and I'm sorry if I scared you but nothing touches what's mine."  He stood up and headed around the house but Horatio stopped him and pulled him back inside, taking him to strip him down and get them both into a shower.  "I'm fine."

"You're not fine.  I'm still here."  He set the water temperature to what Xander liked and got them both inside.  "Feel me, Xander.  See that I'm still here and all right."

"Your arm...."

"Is nothing more than a scratch.  Not even any stitches."  Xander nodded, moving closer to run his hands over him.  He saw a bruise and kissed it.  "I got that from your chin last night," he soothed.  "Not a vest hit."  Xander nodded, moving to look over his back.  He moved back to his front, looking at him and letting Horatio look him over.  Horatio relaxed, not finding any evidence of the fight except for the bruised knuckles and the small talon puncture.  He pulled him closer to kiss and hold, letting Xander rub against him. "Is that making you feel better?"

"Yes," he said quietly.

"Then get us off, Xander.  I still love you, even when you did go pack alpha on me."  He kissed him again and reached down to stroke him off, letting Xander get him.  He came with a sigh of relief and Xander did the same, leaning forward with his head tipped to the side.  Horatio nipped him on the neck, sealing his stance as the protector of the family again.  Xander nodded, understanding that.  "Thank you for protecting us," he said quietly.  "You worried me sick though."  Xander wrapped his arms around him, just holding him.  "Shh, we're all right."

"Where's the baby?"

"With Speed and Calleigh.  They'll bring him over when I call.  Danny went to the condo.  Yelina took Ray home.  Was that a PA on him?"  Xander nodded, nipping him on the shoulder. "You're not distracting me, Xander."  The water started to get a bit chilly so he turned it off, then got them towels so he could dry them both off.  He walked Xander out and put him back on the bed, staring down at him.  "From now on, we do that stuff together.  Nothing said you had to do it then.  You could have waited for me.  Willow would have accepted that."  He shook his head.  "Yes she would have."

"No she wouldn't.  By now Ryan's locked down with his handcuffs and he won't be in for the next few days.  She fusses worse than me. Are you sure that bruise is a chin mark?"

"I'm sure, Xander.  My vest is in the front closet if you wanted to check."  Xander shook his head but lifted up a hand.  "You trust me?"


"Then trust me on this.  Next time, we will go together.  I'll stop Willow.  You can have me as backup and I'll finally get to see how good you can be in that area."  Xander shook his head.  "Why not?"

"Because I'll get nervous and do stupid stuff because you're there."

"You'd never show off."

"No, but my nerves would make me trip."  He sat up and pulled Horatio down next to him.  "I'm like that, Horatio.  Having you watch me hunt would make me nervous and trip again."

"I promise to be impressed, even if you do trip," he promised quietly, stroking his stomach.  "You're stronger than even I give you credit for."  He grabbed the phone and called Speed. "Bring Eric over.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Di tried to claim him but Calleigh said he'd be safer with us tonight since we weren't sure they weren't going to go after her as well."

"Not as far as I know.  Did the guy at the deli end up involved?"

"No. They had him tied up and he was protesting when they were hitting Ryan to get him to give up where Willow was."  Xander's face tightened.  "They'll get justice, Xander.  You know that."  Xander sighed and nodded, relaxing again.  "We should put on clothes."

"We should."   He snuggled against his chest. "Can I be cuddled tonight?"

"Every night, you know that."  He stole a kiss, then patted him on the butt.  "Put on shorts at least, something that the baby can't see up."  They got up to put on casual clothes and he tweaked Xander's nipple ring.  "I don't like that as much as I do the other one."

"It's still new, Horatio.  Give it time."  He stole a kiss and they headed out since someone was knocking.  He opened the door, finding Danny and Eric there.  "Hey.  Hi, baby."  He took his son, nuzzling him.  "Did you have fun with Grandpa and Grandma?"

 "Cwothes!" he squealed happily.

"Calleigh got a lot of help with the laundry," Danny agreed as he came in and shut the door.  "You good?"  Xander nodded.  Danny waited until Horatio had the baby so he could push Xander against the wall to get into his face.  "What part of 'you are not a cop' did you not get the first couple of times you worried us, Xander?" he growled.  "It was not your job to make the stand at the station.  It was not your job to go beat people up for information.  That's our job.  We carry the badge.  Until you get one of your own, you are support staff and your only job is to patch us up and make sure no one had Ray Jr. or your son!"  Xander gave him a long stare.  "I don't care about your background. It's not your job," he said slowly and clearly.  "This comes from all of us in New York.  Mac, Stella, me, and Don all agree.  You're not a cop, not yet, and you're not to do that shit."

"Ease off, Danny," Horatio warned.

"As long as he's got that through his thick head."  He let Xander go, staring him down.  Xander nodded, relaxing some.  "Thank you!  You don't leave the kids alone!"

"Calleigh and the others...."

"Eric is your son. It's your job to make sure he's safe."

"Which I did when I went to the club and to make sure no one got past me!"

"You think that's the only entrance they could've gotten in?"  Xander stiffened again.  "Yeah, so, emotionally sound but not tactically.  You've got the brains for tactical thought, Xander. You've proved that time and again while hunting.  Today you let the hyena out.  You should've backed up to be an end-game fighter, against the door.  Not let Ray do it."

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you!"  He smacked him upside the head.  "That's from Mac for not thinking tactically."  He glared at him.  "Never again, right?"

"No.  I'll play backstop."

"Good boy.   After all, we're paid to get our asses shot, you're not.  We need you around to take care of us when we do.  Sorta like how Willow tried to call in and say Ryan was quitting while he was taking a nap.  Not that we believed he wanted it, but she tried really hard."  Xander swallowed and nodded.

"You left my nephew with the baby?" Horatio asked.

"Locked in your office.  With a lot of cops between him and danger."

"Then I agree with Danny, Xander.  Next time I want you with Ray and Eric.  Not out front.  I handle the front stuff and you're the wall I smash things against.  Got it?"  Xander nodded, looking at him.  He could see the trust in his eyes. "I've got more experience than you. You're going to be the wall I smash things against."  He pulled him closer to hold him, giving him a gentle kiss.  "From now on, that's how these things play out unless you absolutely have to hunt on your own," he ordered quietly.  "I'm not Buffy, I pull my weight, and we're not alone as hunters.  You've got others around to back you up.  Therefore I want you in a field command capable position."  He gave him another kiss.  "Even the SWAT commander looked over your battle plans for graduation and he said they were good."  Xander looked at him, frowning a bit.  "He wanted to know your qualifications.   I gave him that."  He smirked.  "If you ever get to finish your degree, you'll make one hell of an impression on the department."  He stole another kiss and handed him the baby.  "Put him down and let him play."  Xander went to do that, making his son a happy boy.  "You told Mac?"

"No, I called Don to assure him everyone was still all right and he told Mac, who yelled and ranted about it.  Said he'd be sending Don down early if it was going to be like that this week."

"It shouldn't be.  They were the Watchers."  Danny grimaced at that.  "They wanted him and Willow back in Sunnydale to handle something.  They were going to do it by killing Eric, Ryan, and myself to make sure they stayed."

"No wonder he went off in the club," he muttered, shaking his head as he went over to play with them.  "You did good even for being emotional, Xander.  I was passing on a message."

"I know, but it was still stupid of me.  I lost my head."  He looked at him.  "I realize that, you were right."  Danny smirked at him. "About that.  We'll see about other stuff."  He flinched as someone pounded on the door.

"It's normal," Danny said quietly.  "I did after the last time I had ta shoot someone."  He sat down to play with the baby since it was Yelina and she was dragging her son behind her.

"Why does my son have a nipple ring!" she shouted.

"He wanted one?" Xander called.  "He asked."  Eric giggled so he beamed at that. "That's right, Ray asked for one and we took him to someone nice and held his hand.  Just like we'll do for you when you want one."

She stomped over, glaring at him.  "I know you have one...." she started.  He looked up at her and she stopped, frowning at him.  "Fine.  He's old enough to make that decision on his own.  Why a nipple ring?"

"It's good for sex," Ray offered, shrugging a bit.  "My ex liked hers."  She glared at him and he backed down.  "Sorry, mom!"

She looked him over, stopping on one suspicious bulge.  She let out a shriek and he took off running.  "Get your ass back here!" she shouted, taking off after him.  "You did what!"

"Looks like she saw the outline of the PA," Danny said dryly.  "You and Don really held his hands?"

"Yup, he was nervous and sweaty.  He asked."  He shrugged. "I nearly had to be handcuffed for my buried treasure one."

Danny shook his head. "You're way braver than I am," he offered.  Xander grinned at that.  "At least about that sorta pain.  Other stuff....  Not even close."

Xander leaned over and gave him a hug.  "I try not to think about the other stuff and I push it out of my mind when it happens."  He looked at his son.  "Some day, when you're bigger, you can have the same sort of leather pants your cousin Ray can't get out of."

Horatio chuckled at that.  "I was beginning to wonder if we'd have to cut them off him."

"No, he's too sweaty and they're still sticking," Xander offered. "He'll peel them off later with some patience if his mother doesn't rip them to beat his ass.  Not that it's not strong leather.  I've got a pair of those in Di's workroom for our inspiration moments."  Eric beamed at that.  "Yes, you helped me into them the other day.  They are baby blue and they match Daddy Horatio's eyes wonderfully."  Eric beamed at Horatio then went back playing with the blocks that had been under the coffee table for him.

"There are days when I'd kill to be that age again," Danny sighed, shaking his head.

"Don't tell Willow that.  She'll do it," Xander advised, looking totally serious.  Danny gave him an odd look. "Really.  She will."  Danny shifted away from him.

"She'll try," Horatio agreed, heading for the kitchen.  "She might not succeed.  She seems to have a lot of accidents with her magic."

"Ya think?" Xander asked dryly.  "So, how long do we give her with Ryan before we go save him?"  He looked at Danny.  "She fusses worse."

"I bet.  Girls usually do."  He patted Xander on the back, looking over as Ray ran in, pointing at the back areas of the condo.  He ran into the office and shut the door, hiding somewhere in there.  He grinned as Yelina stomped back in. "He still can't get out of those pants?"

"Not yet."  She glared at Xander.  "Did you have to let him do that?"

"He wanted it, Yelina.  He paid for it even.  The nipple ring was my gift since he helped me buy Horatio's anniversary presents."

"What did you get him?"

"Four new suits, a big plate of wings in front of a game of his choice, which we helped him devour and watch, and apparently some very hot sex," Danny said with a bright grin.  He looked at Xander.  "We noticed you weren't sitting right." Xander shook his head.  "How good was it?"

"I decided to make it special and let him do something I'd been thinking about for a while now," he told him quietly.  He stacked a block for Eric, but got pouted at and that block got shoved off, replaced by his own. "Sorry, trying to help."

"Mine!" Eric said firmly, scowling at Yelina.  "Girl!"

"Yes, I am."  She came over to sit near him.  "That's very good, Eric."


"No, I have plenty."  He scowled at her. "I'm sure your mother could make me something for a date though."  He beamed at that and went back to working on his tower.

"He's very good at drumming up business for his mother," Horatio noted as he came out with drinks.  "Raymond, you wanted that, you can face it like a man," he called.  "That is the Caine way."  His nephew came out of his office, looking sheepish.  "Go change.  You'll cut off all the circulation and your mother will never have grandchildren."

"That's one way to ensure I use enough birth control," he said as he went toward the bedroom.  "I'm borrowing sweats, Xander."

"Or shorts, either's fine," he agreed.

Yelina sipped her drink, smiling at her brother-in-law for the shot that was in her iced tea.  "Thank you."

"I figured you could use it," he offered.  He sat down with his regular tea, kissing Xander on the forehead, getting a smile.  "Speed said he didn't want to go back, Xander."

"Do I care?" he countered, looking at his mate.  "I'm not losing him until I'm at least a grandfather.  Then he can quit going."  He got up to make plans to have Speed drugged, kidnaped, and put onto the plane if he had to.

"Once you got it, you don't let it go," Danny agreed happily, saluting them with his drink.  Eric made a whimpering noise so he tested his then let him have a drink from his glass.  "Better?"  He got a baby beam and then he destroyed his hard work and started again.  "Good job!  Nice destruction.  You're definitely your daddy's boy, Eric."  That got another beaming smile and then an evil chuckle.

"I wonder where he learned that from," Yelina said dryly.  Horatio smirked at her.  "You don't let out evil little chuckles."

"That you've heard," he offered smartly, smirking at her.  Xander came out of the office.  "Come drink with us."  He came out and curled up next to his leg, letting Eric have some of his tea when he made begging noises.  "Ask, Eric."

"Dwink?  Pwease, Daddy 'Oro?"

"Of course, Eric.  Let me get you your cup."  He got up with a pat to Xander's head and got the childproof cup for him.  Less spills that way.   Ray finally came out of the bedroom in a pair of cutoff shorts that left nothing to the imagination.  "Where were those?"

"Your drawer, Uncle Horatio."  He sat down and grinned at him. "Xander's got a smaller waist in his shorts."  He smiled at the baby, who beamed at him and let out another evil chuckle.  "Oh, my!  Are you going to take over the world?"  Eric just smiled and got back to work on his tower.  "I'll take that as a yes."

"What did you do, son?" his mother asked patiently.

"I got a nipple ring and a PA, mother.  I'm a big boy and they feel incredible when I'm masturbating."  She held up a hand. "Sorry, only a stopgap until I find a new girlfriend."

"Thank you."  She finished her drink and looked at him.  "Ring, bar, or u-bar?"

"Right now, a u-bar.  I'm wearing something very thin in it."  She nodded, accepting that. "I've taken very good care of it.  We got it before they went up for the auction."

"As I thought when I saw the nipple ring that night," Horatio noted, looking at his mate.

"Him too?" she asked.

"Him, Speed, and Ray," Horatio agreed.

"The reason Calleigh was screaming at him?"

Xander grinned and nodded.  "Yup, plus Don.  It was a bonding thing."

"Hurt like hell," Ray agreed, rubbing over it.  "I'm sorry if I disappointed you, mother."

"I expected you to talk to me about these things, son.  Not to find them out afterward."

"Okay.  Well, um, Uncle Horatio, if I asked, would you show me why alcohol was evil this weekend?"

"I can," he agreed. "Xander can hang out at the condo or at Speed's for the night it'll take."  That got a smile.  "Then we'll talk the next morning, after you quit throwing up."

"I find that more than acceptable," his mother agreed. "It shows maturity that you're asking instead of going out to try it in a club some night."  She looked at Xander.

"Don't give me that look. I had drunken parents.  I don't drink because of them.  That's why I'll be far away when he does that."  Horatio and Ray both nodded that they accepted that.

"If you do it Saturday night, Don and them'll be in so we can take him in for the night."  Ray and Horatio both nodded at that.  "You two are really alike sometimes."

Yelina smiled at him.  "Xander bought him a suit to shock his father's little mind.  He came in wearing it and posed *exactly* like Horatio does.  Ray accused me later that I had slept with his brother to become pregnant because they were so alike."

"Can I slap him?" Xander asked hopefully.

"No, Xander.  He's getting clean again."

"Once he is, we'll think about letting him come back here when Eric's around," he said, looking at her.  "The first time he slips he's missing out on every little bit of Eric's life."

"I agree.  Eric should be a reward to the rest of the family and a deep obligation you do out of love.  He shouldn't be around your son while he's still using."  Horatio nodded that he agreed.

"If he tries to move back, I'm moving here," Ray reminded her.

"I know, son."  She smiled at him.  "I'm not planning on that at this time."  Ray smiled at that.  Someone else knocked on the door.  "Who could that be?"  She got up, letting the bigger Eric in.  "Aren't you supposed to be home?"

"I was but she got called out to help someone.  I decided to come here to be guarded."  He smiled at the baby.  "Hi, Eric."  He beamed and got up, coming over to stroke a hand down his jeans.  "Yes, your mommy made these for me."  Eric beamed at him and pinched him then went back to his building.  "Some day he'll take over his mother's business."

"We can only hope he doesn't follow me into my screwed up college career," Xander noted, giving him a fond smirk. "You know, there's city competitions."

"I had noticed that."  He sat across from him, smirking a bit.  "Are you going?"

"I'm thinking."

"Good! You should stay in training.  Just like you still do your workouts from when you were a stripper."  Horatio nodded at that.  "Awww, does he do them for you?" he teased. "Poor H, all alone with a sex maniac."

"Not hardly and who says I mind, Eric," he taunted back, smirking at him.

"Some of us have seen more than enough gay sex even before Xander handed over his porn collection," Ray complained.  His mother choked, looking at him.  "I walked in one night and headed immediately for the kitchen since they were in the middle of something."  He got up to get a drink.  "Eric, tea?"


Horatio handed him his cup with a smile. "You've still got some left."  Eric beamed and finished the cup then handed it back. "Good boy."  Ray brought out the refilled pitcher and glasses, letting him refill his cup and hand it back. "When are we going to start working on potty training?"

"Di said she'd do it when things slowed down again. She said he goes a lot right now."

"He's been tested for blood sugar stuff, right?" bigger Eric asked.  Xander nodded.  "Then it's normal?"

"Small bladder.  He'll be fine."  He sipped his drink, making his son smile. "Yes, you're a good boy.  Build another empire for us to destroy, baby."  He got to work building again.

Danny shook his head with a smirk.  "At least he'll be a kind and just evil overlord."  Xander smiled and nodded.  "You think he'll like boys?"

"Not with the way he likes Calleigh's breasts," Yelina noted.  Everyone laughed at that, they were little Eric's favorite pillows.


Stella walked into the condo and Danny tossed her the squishy package.  "What's this?"

"Xander had Di make you a new swimsuit," he offered with a grin.  She smiled.  "There might be other stuff in there too."

"It's too small for very much."

"This is Di we're talking about," Don reminded her as he walked in and shut the door behind Mac's packmule body.  "Thanks, Mac."

"How long before your wrist is better?"

"Doc said three days," he defended, smiling at him. "Go try it on, Stella."  She went into the bedroom to try on the new bathing suit while Don went the fridge to check things out.  "The Heineken beer fairy apparently dropped by," he announced.  "Danny, better beer?"

"Under the sink.  I didn't put any in to chill today."  He gaped as Stella came out, his glasses being taken off and cleaned because they were steaming up.  "Wow," he breathed finally.

"Are we sure this wasn't from a leftover scrap?" she asked, adjusting the tiny breast cups.  They clearly weren't meant to hide anything.  Then she adjusted the thong again.  "I don't think I'm meant to wear this outdoors on the beach."

"Nearly no tan lines," Don said, blinking at her.

Mac sat down, staring at her.  "Stella...."  He licked his lips, his mouth was suddenly dry.  "What else was in there?" he asked weakly.  She went back into the bedroom, coming out with a wrap that matched the bikini's dark green color.  "That's nice.  Anything else?"

"Yeah a few really thin dresses."  She went to change back into her own underwear, blushing at their very admiring looks, but she came back out in the most conspicuous dress of the group.  Don dropped his beer.  Danny drooled.  Mac whimpered. "I look like a slut, don't I?"  She went to look in the bathroom mirror.  It was a thin, but soft and non-see- through material, so it clung to every curve of her breasts, then draped softly down to catch the bottom curve of her waist and hips, flowing around her thighs.  She decided she looked nice.  It wasn't too low cut, but it clearly wasn't hiding anything either.  "Maybe I can put a jacket over it for court dates," she decided.   She walked out and Danny pulled her in, kissing her hard.  She pulled back.  "Danny!"

"You should be worshiped in that," he assured her, heading out.

"Danny!"  She ran after him, catching him at the elevator and making him go back inside.  "Stay."  She locked the door, including the chain.  None of the guys had higher brain functions so they wouldn't be able to deal with it quickly.  "What was that?"

Danny shrugged and backed up.

Mac stood up and pulled Danny closer, making him look at him.  "Xander was right," he told him.  Danny frowned.  "What he said over the phone when you told her Diana made her stuff, he was right."  He walked over and kissed Stella himself, making her bend backwards

"Damn, I need my girlfriend," Don complained, going to his room to call her while those three worked it out among themselves.

Mac let her go, watching her chest heave as she panted, then he carefully sat her down and pulled Danny closer.  "We should talk."

"Talk?" Danny squeaked.

Stella got up to change back.  "I think I need to be in more substantial clothes for this."

Mac looked at Danny, then kissed him.  "He was right, Danny.  All of us."

"All...  Huh?" he asked, looking confused.

Mac made it simpler. "You.  Me.  Her."  Danny's eyes went wide.  "Yes?"  Danny slowly shook his head.  "Why not?"

Danny pinched him. "You're not Mac."

Don came to the doorway.  "Danny, that is Mac.  He nagged me the whole way down here about hurting my wrists playing with Delilah.  That's truly Mac and he's got a hard-on for both you.  Threesome.  Like in that movie she made us watch."  Danny looked at him and swallowed, then tried to run again.  Mac caught him this time.  "Have fun with that."  He closed his bedroom door and went to amuse himself until his girlfriend got off work.

Stella came out of her bedroom, finding Mac had Danny pinned against the wall to kiss him stupid.  She came over and got one of her own, then smiled at them.  "We'll have a lot of talking to do before I say yes, boys.  I will not have this interfering at work.  Understood?"  Both men nodded, staring at her. "What?"

"Put back on the bikini?" Danny asked.  She pinched him, making him yelp. "Sorry!"

"I'll put on one of the other dresses if you hand over the DVD of the show and put on the skimpiest outfit she gave you," she countered.  Danny blushed and went to his room to do that, coming out in his own version of the stretchcord pants and the DVD.  "Those are cute."  She ran a hand over them, realizing that they stretched.  "Oooh."  She snapped one, making him flinch.  "Nice.  Not showy but it can be."  She put on the DVD.  "We're watching the show, Don!"

"I saw the one in New York."

"Okay."  She pulled Danny down next to her so she could play with the cords on his thigh while Mac got her other side to watch.  She drooled at some of the outfits, pausing it to point at one.  "I want one of those."  Danny smiled at her.  "I'll look fantastic in it. It's meant for bigger breasts."

"I'll see how much she wants to make you one," he promised.

She smiled and restarted it, letting Mac play with her leg.  She paused on Ray's last shot.  "How long did it take him to get out of those?"

"Most of the night. He got sweaty later on."

"That can be a problem when your pants are that tight."  He smiled at that. "You do, don't you?"  He nodded. "Leather?"

"Plus two cans of the spread-on clothes."  She smiled at that.  "It's fun to put on."

"Need help?" Mac offered.  Danny blushed and shrugged.  "Then we'll have to see."  He smirked at him, then at Stella, kissing her again.  "We will definitely have to see."

"I'm not sure I could pull it off, Mac."

"You can," Danny assured her. He pulled one of Eric's, little Eric's, favorite tricks and nestled down on her chest, getting comfortable.  "No wonder Eric likes these."

"I'm hoping you're talking about the baby."  He nodded, grinning at her. "Good."  Mac mirrored his position and let out a content groan.  "Fine, I'll be a pillow for now."

"Good pillows get rewarded," Danny promised, yawning a bit.

She watched as they fell asleep, for now.  Later on, she'd make sure they were serious and not playing around, plus that they understood exactly what she meant with 'it wasn't going to interfere with work'.


Xander looked up as someone tapped on the door.  "Open!"  Don stuck his head in.  "They don't know where I live, Don."

"Yeah, still unsafe."  He walked in, letting the others in.  "Okay, what's up?"

"Going over all the facts and figures.  That way we know where we stand.  Also, the Chief wanted to appropriate that grant.  They said it'd be nice but not necessary at the moment."  He waved them outside to the table out there.  "Eric and Speed already went over this last night since they're both on today.  So hope you don't mind, but boring shit."  That got a small smirk from Mac, that's what he had called it.  "It got you a few days in the sun, guys."  He sat down and looked at the forms, then at Don.  "You want?"

"No thanks.  I'd rather be an in-name-only sorta leader of this stuff."

"Gee, thanks."  He opened the folder and looked at it.  Then at the rest of their board members, plus Stella.  "All right, the way the Foundation was set up was to help gay men become all that they could be.  Basically.  Scholarships, grants for research, that stuff."  That got a mass nod. "To do this, most of Patrick Benis' assets were auctioned off.  The greater majority have gone but for a few things.  The condo in New York, which was deeded to Don.  The one down here that was deeded to me that you guys are free to use.  The house out on the island was given to the city for a man's abuse shelter.  That one was sold by the city by special arrangement and the money given over to that purpose.  If they don't use it for that purpose, and only that purpose, we get to sue the hell out of the city.  The City Council knows this and I made it quite clear that the abuse shelter was for straight and gay abuse sufferers, no questions asked.  They agreed and said it was only going to that, they did agree it was needed when the facts and figures that had been drawn up earlier were handed over.  Beyond that and some private bequeathals, like to the Children's hospital in Madison's name and a large fund set aside for his former workers, who are now working in other areas since we agreed to keep them for a year, the foundation was started with approximately six hundred million dollars.  Patrick and his sire had *really* good taste in real estate that would grow in value."  That got some smiles.

"Also, since it went into the foundation, we didn't have ta pay taxes on it," Don said fondly.  Xander grinned and nodded at that. "Yours all worked out?"

"Perfectly so.  The IRS said there wasn't a reason I couldn't do what I wanted and keep my old tax bracket.  I got it in writing as well."  He patted the folder. "There's another six properties that are still to be auctioned off.  Two Cheline, our auctioneer at Christies, said are doubtful, so if you know someone who wants a ranch in Montana or a small, way far out of the way estate in the middle of the Arizona desert, we've got 'em.  Also, we've got sixteen requests so far.  The scholarships are going to be looked over by us all.  At least three of us will have to agree, unless we get under the amount of ten a year.  They're for ten grand each.  Also, we've gotten two research grants, one that I'm going to send back a 'no thank you, we don't like your ways' note with it and one serious one. The other was from a group 'curing' gay men."  That got a moan from Stella.  "I don't mind if you sit in on meetings and help with the scholarship stuff, but you don't get a vote."

"I don't mind being the token female.  Does it extend to lesbians?"

"They've got their own according to Patrick.  I have no idea who, but he said they've got their own."  He shrugged.  "That question hasn't been asked of us yet, as of this point I'm going to say no since he only worked with young gay men."  That got a mass nod.  "Also, we've taken the liberty of hiring a *good* financial manager to oversee our fund.   Don found him for me through a lot of interviewing and asking.  He knows he's not to do anything risky, only to basically get us modest interest so we don't run out of money.  We're earing about three percent a year, which covers the cost of the scholarships."  That got another nod.  "We need to set up a meeting for March, for right now, we've got sixteen scholarship applications that *need* to be looked over."

"Why only ten?" Danny asked.

"That's what he set it up as, unless one of them really spoke to us later in the year.  I'm not ruling out that some years we may go over.  But he thought ten would be a reasonable number to start with."  That got a nod from him and a small smirk.

"What about that gay high school in New York?" Stella asked.

"I like the idea of having somewhere safe, but I'm not sure if I like their curriculum.  Yeah, it's great to have a safe spot, but they have things like interior design.  I'd rather not hype the stereotype.  I want guys who follow you guys into the field, and those who go into the military, not just those who go into the so-called traditional artistic fields.  Not that I'm going to discriminate against them, but that's not what I want out of this."  She smiled at that. "I would love to support somewhere that gave the kids a safe place to run to when their families kick them out.  Patrick saw a lot of runaways in his life.  You guys see the end
result of that all too often, and we know gay kids have a higher rate of suicide thanks to not having a safe spot to talk to anyone.  I have no idea how we'd do one, if one of our two cities would go in with us, anything like that."

"I can ask quiet questions," Mac offered.

"Please.  I can see us doing that easily."  He nodded at that. "I don't want to bankrupt us and I know that could so doing it in participation with someone wouldn't bother me, or if there is one and you hear about it, I wouldn't mind as long as they're not taking them in to fix them."

"Not an issue.  I don't like that mentality either."  Mac shifted.  "So, that's what we have to know?"

"That and we've got a week to do the scholarships because some of the kids have to make decisions and they can't get the money to go without us.  So, do we want to go need-based first and then essay, or equal the playing field?  Eric and Speed were divided."

"Need based kids should be able to get financial aid," Danny pointed out.

"Some can't at the schools they've chosen.  Or they can't get enough."  He nodded, accepting that.  "Sometimes it's the decision between a good school or a so-so state school and the good schools always help you get the better jobs by name recognition.  Sad but true fact."  That got a lot of nods from Mac.  "So, this weekend, we've got to look these over.  We'll probably get a few more in the later months, and if they seriously speak to us we can bend the 'ten' rule."  Danny nodded at that.  He put them in the middle of the table, then weighted them down with a rock since there was a breeze.  "I don't want to have to call Eric and have him dive for someone's essay."  That got a small chuckle from Don.  "He's bored.  He hasn't got to go diving recently."  Horatio joined them.  "Going over the board stuff."

"That's fine.  Did we decide to elevate the need-based students higher or equalize it?"  He sat down on Xander's other side, kissing him on the temple.  "Ray's over."

"Which one?"

"The older one."  Xander looked at him.  "He wanted to talk to us."

"After this.  This has got to come first.  Gordon was right, I couldn't do this and school."  Horatio nodded.  "But next semester I'm going to take a class or two and I'm going to start training at the gym with Eric."  That got a smile.  "There's city competitions. I have no problem with that, Horatio."

"Me either. I told you that was your choice to make.  I would take some financial classes however."

"Oh, yeah, that's my new minor. Accounting, some business classes.  My PT stuff because I like it.  Some of the profiling stuff because I'm good at it."  He shrugged.  "By the time I'm done I'll probably have more than one degree."  Stella smiled at that.  "Sometimes you gotta and I do have the money in my personal funds."  He looked at his husband.  "Why do you have that 'someone gave your spouse diamonds' look in your eyes?"

"We'll go over that after the board meeting and before we talk to Ray."

"Okay."  He shook his head and got back to it.  "Basically, this weekend I need you guys to look over the essays.  Are we leveling it?"

"I think we should," Stella offered.  "Yeah, it'd be nice and I know Danny and I would both be canted more toward the kids who needed it, but in truth any of these kids could get kicked out of the house and end up needing it for being gay."

"Point," Don agreed.  "Let's level the playing field."  He looked at his nephew.  "Which one was which?"

"Eric said to level it and Speed wanted us to assign points and need based would give them a five-point head start on a scale of a hundred."  He shrugged. "I said that was complicated.  I say we pick the ones we like best and argue about it."  That got smiles from them, they were good at arguing.  "Anyone in favor of the points system?"

"It'd be hard to judge how sincere someone is," Danny pointed out.  "Besides, way too much work to grade essays."  Stella pinched him. "It would be!  Remember, some of us work very long hours most of the time."

"Now you have reasons to go home at night, you and Mac both," she reminded him patiently.  He grinned, ducking his head some.  "Good boy."  She looked at Xander.  "Want me to read them over too?"

"Please.  If you want you can help."  Someone pounded on the door.  "Dear?"  Horatio got up to get that.  "He's the other non-voting member of the board since it looks funny if we appointed our spouses."  Don chuckled at that.  "When you marry, yours can become an advisor as well."

"Thanks.  If that day comes, it'll be okay."  He looked at the folder.  "That's still pretty thick."

"Well, we've been asked if we're taking donations."  He handed over the letter.  "I'm going to say no, that we don't really need them at this point since we're just getting started, but to thank them greatly, all but the one to the Focus on the Family idiot.  Him I'm going to write a very nice letter about how we *help* gay men become good members of society, not fix them and make them hate themselves.  I'll even try for subtle."  That got some snickers from Mac.  "I will!  Speed said he'd look over my draft for me."  He shrugged. "There was also the point of where we're having the essays sent.  Here or up with you guys and make Don collect 'em?"

"I can do that since you're doing the daily running stuff," Don offered.  "Not that hard.  Rent a PO box and clean it every afternoon."

"Thank you."  Xander hugged him.  "Okay, that leaves one thing."  He looked at Don.  "We've got an effin damn black tie event next month."  Don laughed at that.  "Both of us, we were invited personally."  He handed over Don's invitation.  "With Senators."

"Oh, fuck me," he sighed, reading it over.  "Must we?"

"Yes," he said patiently.  "I checked with someone locally, it's a high honor," he said in a whiny voice, imitating them.  "You have to go to these things or else you don't get support when you need it to do something greater."  He cleared his throat.  "Sorry, the financial manager if you ever run into him."  Stella cracked a smile at that.  "He's tops in the field.  I called the guys down here who did the same thing, saying I was taking applications and wanted recommendations of the top five in the field, his name came up tops in all but two conversations.  He said he was flattered."

"He was," Don agreed dryly.  "I got a call from him too, wanting to know if I wanted him to handle my personal funds as well as the foundation things, but that if I did, it'd be a small yearly fee that I couldn't charge back to us."

"Yeah, he made that very clear.  We're getting a salary from it, but nothing else."

"Are we getting a salary?" Danny asked hopefully.

"Very tiny but yes.  It's basically a scholarship for each of you a year."  That got mass smiles.  "Sorry, Stella."

"Not a problem.  They can take me out to dinner with it."  She smirked at her men, who nodded quickly.  Don burst out laughing.  "See, he agrees too."  Horatio came back out with the baby.  "What happened?"

"Mommy worked herself to sleeping on the sewing machine again."  He sat down and handed over the baby, catching the paper that nearly flew off.  He looked at the invitation and moaned.  "I have to go to that too, don't I?"

"I'm not sure," Xander admitted.  "Is it politically correct to bring my husband to a gay pride dinner and ball when there's senators and do you want that much attention?"  Horatio gave him a look.  "Up to you, dear.  You know how the press can be.  You'd be getting some."

"Erica Sykes was at the station earlier about this anyway.  Do you want me to go?"

"Hell yes."  Horatio smiled at him.  "You've never taught me how to do the formal dancing stuff but I'm willing to learn and of course I want to show your hot ass off, Horatio, but I'm worried that it'll get you in trouble with the department."

"Fat chance of that. The Chief took me out to lunch today to talk about the Foundation and what it could do for the city."

"Is the whole department gay?"  Horatio smirked at him.  "Did you ask that?"

"In more polite terms."  He stroked their son's hair back down. "That was Jane.  She wanted him out of the way for a few more hours."  Xander gave him a look.  "I know, that's not the proper attitude but still."  He shrugged. "We'll talk to Di about it, Xander."

"Okay."  He looked at Don.  "Feel free to bring any sort of date you want.  Stella, Mac, Danny, Delilah.  Hubert the financial guy.  Just be in a tux and if you conveniently forget and make me go answer inane questions by myself I will come to New York and torture your cute ass.  Got it?"  Don nodded, smirking a bit at that. "Like bringing every single male stripper I know to come party at your place."  Don shuddered at that image.  "Good.  Then don't leave me hanging with those things.  Bad enough I end up taking Ray Jr. to those things down here sometimes."  Horatio nodded at that.  "Okay."  He checked the folder.  "Ah, one last thing. Hubert says he needs you guys to fill these out," he said, handing over information packets.  "That gives him information when someone asks and also gives us something to put on the scholarship's website.  I have no idea when we're doing that, but he said it'd be easier than Don picking up the mail."  Everyone looked it over.

"It asks if we're gay," Danny noted.

"He explained that as some kids may not be as comfortable with people who aren't deciding their fate.  I pointed out I am, clearly, and Patrick was, and you guys are some of the most tolerant people in the world with good educations and high expectations of everyone.  Plus Mac can look over anything where people brag about military stuff they want to do or have done for college scholarships or research grants."  Mac nodded he could do that.  "You don't have to fill in every single line but he might nag.  He did me when I didn't want to list the son for his own security.  You can refuse to answer that on the grounds that your department would try to kick your ass."  That got some smiles from everyone.  "Stella, you got one because we'll note you as a non-voting member, along with Horatio and whoever Don ends up with."  She smiled at that.  "So fill out what you can, write out a quick bio for the stuff, leave it there."  He put the stuff that needed to go in there back into the folder and shut it, leaning on it. "How did we want to do the essays?"

"I'd say we look them over tonight and tomorrow, we list our favorites, hand Speed and Eric the file, they list theirs, and if we have to we can conference call the vote," Mac offered.  "In the future, we can courier them from one department to the other."  Horatio nodded that he liked that idea.  "We have a standard meeting in March, any other time?"

"That depends on if we're doing spring semester grants, which I'm not sure about," Xander admitted.

"No," Don said.  "Once a year was how I took the paperwork."

"Okay.  Can you point that out to me later?"  Don nodded.  "Thank you.  I'm still wading through the auction stuff."

Eric tugged on his collar so he looked down, smiling at him.  "Shit!"

"Bad word," Xander said firmly. "You can't say that until you're Daddy Horatio's age."  He pouted.  "I know I say it and mommy says it, but you're old enough to say it yet."  He kissed him.  "I love you."  Eric beamed again and snuggled in.  "Good boy.  Just don't say that word, okay?"  Eric played with his hair for him.  "Thank you, little guy."  He looked at them.  "Anything else you guys can think of?"  They all shook their heads.  "Stella, how was the bikini?"

"I've seen scraps of cloth bigger than that," she admitted.  "But I apparently looked very hot in it."  All three men nodded.  "Don had to have phone sex with his girlfriend but that's okay, he was only a little bit noisy.  The other two got worn out by their fantasies and needed naps."  Eric got up and wiggled across the table then down into her lap, giving her the biggest shit-eating grin before he snuggled into her chest with a sigh of delight.  "Oh, no.  You're not doing that too, Eric."

"Eric, Calleigh will get jealous."  Eric pouted at him.  "You know she will."  His son pouted worse.  "Please?"

"Hey, Eric, I need a cuddle, little guy.  C'mere," Don ordered, holding up a hand.

"Boobies!" he said, patting the one he wasn't laying on.  Stella handed him over so he pouted.  "Love you."

"I love you too, Eric, but no.  Those aren't for you."


"I know I am."  He pouted worse.  "Don't do that."

"Mine, pumpkin," Danny told him.  "Only I get to lay on those." Mac gave him a look.  "It'd confuse him."

"Then I'll cede that point."  He picked up the essays and put them into his bag.  "We're going to wander around and hit the beach before dinner."  Eric held up an arm so he gave him a hug.  "Don, coming?"

"Yeah, I could use some good bikini watching."  He kissed the baby's head, gave him a hug, then handed him back to Xander, earning his own pout.  "I'm gonna go watch pretty girls in skimpy clothes.  You can help me next time."  Eric beamed at that.  "If I didn't know the big one was still alive, I'd think you were him."  He walked out shaking his head, heading back to the hotel to make Stella put back on the new bikini.

"Ray?" Horatio called, getting up and putting the folder back into the office where it belonged.  "Raymond?"  His brother came in from out front.  "We're done. You can come back.  The baby's sleepy anyway."  He got them bottles of water, handing Xander an opened one.  "You needed to talk?"

Xander put his feet up on Don's former chair, letting his son get comfortable.  "What's up, Ray?"

"He's adorable."

"He just pouted at Stella for not getting to hug her chest."  He looked at his mate.  "We'll have to tell Calleigh about that."

"Don't remind me."
"Think we could just let him do it?"

"No, Xander.  That's mean.  Especially at the station."  He patted Eric's hair down again.  "What's going on, Ray?"

"My counselor wanted me to talk to you two."  He cleared his throat and shifted.  "He thinks you're not being very supportive."  Xander gave him a cold look.  "I know I'm not the most friendly of people to you, kid, but he's still my brother."

"Are you high?" Xander asked.  Ray glared back.  "I ask because you're not shaking but you look incredibly sweaty."

"I haven't had a hit since that day."

"Good.  Congratulations.  I'm proud of you," he said honestly.  "It's a hard thing to beat an addiction."

"You've had one?"

"No, but Willow had a minor one to her abilities.  I've seen others struggle with theirs as well."  He nodded at that. "Let's face it, I was in the top job for addictions."  He shrugged and Eric patted him.  "Sorry, baby."  He stroked his back.  "How are we not being supportive?  By shielding your son from you and sticking up for him?"  Ray nodded. "Your son is seventeen.  He's more than old enough to make that decision for himself, Ray.  Yes, some day he might want to mend that fence, right now however, you've pissed him off to the point where he's come to me crying a few times.  I'm going to shield the kids from you.  Madison, Ray, and Eric."  He nodded at that.  "Now, if you want Horatio to go with you, that's up to him.  I won't stop him. Again, I've seen how hard this is to beat."

"Thank you, kid."

"You could try using my name," Xander noted dryly.

"Sorry, Xander."

"Thank you.  I'll let you two talk since this doesn't really involve me."  He got up and took Eric upstairs, going to call Di's nanny.  "Hey, what happened to her?" he asked, listening to her spout her shit about how Eric was an imposition.  "Jane, my son is not an imposition.  He is very well loved by both his parents.  He may not have been planned but he is very well loved."  She hung up and he growled, doing what he didn't want to do.  He called Di's special line that only she answered.  He got a very tired sounding mother of his son.  "We need ta talk when you're awake.  Call me.  I've got Eric."  She made an inquisitive noise.  "Jane's calling him an imposition and in the way.  When you wake up, Di.  I've got him. He's fine."  She made an assenting noise and hung up.  He went to check on his son, picking up the monitor to bring back to the office with him.  He had to balance his checkbook anyway.  He found that stack and noticed he was further down than he thought, and then went for his wallet to make sure he hadn't stuffed one in there for some reason.  No check, no cash, no cards.  "Horatio, was I mugged?" he called.

Horatio came in. "Not that I'm aware of.  Why?"  Xander tossed him his wallet, making him sigh.  "I don't know, Xander."

"Neither do I, Horatio.  I'm also missing a check at the moment. Where's yours?"  Horatio pulled out his wallet and looked at it, shaking his head.  "Do you have money in your wallet?"

"No and all my cards are gone as well.  Call the bank?"

"On it."   He went to do that, especially the ones with their credit cards and the joint account, which was what the check was for.  He came out a few minutes later, leaning down to say something in his mate's ear, getting a nod.  "I have no idea how."

"Maybe the same person who took your license?" Ray offered dryly.  Xander shrugged.  "I know I didn't."

"I didn't think you did.  I'm not so sure about your son's girlfriend, but I know you didn't.  Horatio would've already kicked your ass and you know more than enough not to try to cash a twelve hundred dollar check at the bank it's drawn on or use the credit cards at an ATM."  Horatio moaned.  "My last call was to Yelina so she could have them pull the tapes for you, dear."  He stole a kiss.  "The bank said female.  Brunette.  Slim.  Young.  Shoulder-length hair."

"Which is Ray Jr's. girlfriend except the hair, hers was longer," Horatio agreed.  "Thank you, Xander.  You investigate very well."  He gave him a pat and a smile.  "Everything's been called?"

"All but your Discover and Am Ex, I'm not on those accounts."  He nodded, he'd handle that himself in a few minutes.  Xander went back into the kitchen.  "I'm making sandwiches.  Anyone want some?"

"Please," Horatio called.  "Bring Ray food as well."  Xander came out a few minutes later with sandwiches, but the mustard bottle with it. "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He blew a kiss and headed onto the beach with the baby monitor. His whole day was now done.

Horatio added mustard to his, handing Ray the squeeze bottle after he was done.  "From the good deli."  He ate a bite.

Ray fixed his, getting up to get some pickles, then sitting back down to nibble.  "Horatio, I need support."

"I'm there for you as long as you're getting clean, Ray.  If not, I'm going to kick your ass if your son doesn't."

"Can you talk to my son?"

"I've tried.  He's still very angry and upset over this.  He's feeling abandoned and tossed aside.  He's got issues with Suzie he's just now starting to work out.  He adores Madison and would never do anything to harm her, that's why he's working them out."  Xander walked past them, a thoughtful look on his face.  "What?"

"Going to check out whatever is in the driveway."

"It's still at the station, Xander."  Xander gave him a look.  "Sit down with your Chem book and go back over it again.  I'd like you to get a higher grade in there.  Please?"  Xander grumbled but went to the office to find his textbook and sit down with it again.  "Thank you," he called.  He looked at Ray again.  "He got a D, it would've put him on academic probation if he could've attended this semester."  Ray smirked a bit at that.  "This is really taking energy in bursts.  Today was a calm day.  Next week can be hellish, and then he's got the Mayor's reception on Friday.  Which your son will be attending in my place since I'll be at work."  He ate another bite.  "Ray hates those by the way."

"I figured he did."  He ate another bite himself.  "Has anyone insinuated...."

"Yes, once.  Xander laughed and told them why his nephew was escorting him and made the Chief blush hotly when he looked at him because I had been called in on my day off.  Xander assured the old bat it was a perk of the job and that Ray was a nice young man and they could talk about his upcoming classes and how he could help him now and then with the foundation details.  She cooed over your son being so grown up."

"He is.  He's got a nipple ring."

"That as well," Horatio agreed dryly.

"Did you get the textbooks?" Xander called.

"Yes, dear.  Take a nap!"

"Thank you!"  He went to lay down with the baby monitor.  Just in case Eric woke up.

Horatio shook his head.  "He'll be at the gym later tonight."

"It's good he's keeping busy and not being one of the whiny rich kids that we saw so much of."  Horatio nodded at that.  "You and he are okay?"

"We've never been better, Ray.  He's a bit stressed but nothing critical."  Someone slammed the door.  "Out here," he called.  Ray Jr walked out and he gave him a look.  "We have to talk about someone, Ray."

"Why is he here?"

"He came over to talk about what his counselor considers good for him."

"He'd like for you to come to a few of the family sessions with your mom and me," he said quietly.  "He said it could help you wear out the anger."

"Not happening."


"You lost that right," Ray said firmly. "You supposedly died and you lost that right. The man who was my father died.  He became a tweeker and as far as I'm concerned, even if you get clean, you're still not going to be him.  So deal with it and move on."  He looked at his uncle.  "What's up?"

"Some of the cash around the house and a few of the credit cards, plus one of the checks from the office is missing. When Xander called to notify everyone, it was said a young brunette female had cashed the check."

"Which means you're suspecting Tiffy. That's reasonable."  He leaned against the wall.  "I have no idea if she was or not.  She was only over here the once, Uncle Horatio.  If it was, we're through and you can gladly arrest her ass."

"Thank you, Ray.  You'll help us identify the pictures?  Your mother's supposed to be getting them."   Ray nodded, moving further out of the house.  "Thank you."

"Not an issue. How much so far?"

"At least twelve hundred, that's what the check was written for."  Ray hissed.  "What?"  He finished off his sandwich, watching him think.  "Ray?" he asked calmly once he had swallowed.

"When was it taken?"

"I'm not sure.  Xander noticed it today."

"Tiffy got a new leather coat last weekend, she said it was from her grandmother, an early birthday present."  Horatio nodded at that.  "So depending on when it was done...."  He gave him a grimace.  "Do you want me to get her for you?"

"Let's look at the pictures first, Ray. Proof before interrogation.  That way you have a leg to stand on when you arrest them," he offered with a small smile.

"Sure."  He heard someone moving upstairs.  "Eric's here?"  Horatio nodded.  "When are we getting him a bigger bed?"

"Probably the next day I have off.  Which could be tomorrow depending on how this turns out."  Ray beamed at that.  "You can come as long as it doesn't look like the Death Metal Reborn outfit you were wearing last night."  Ray snickered at the look on his son's face.  "Leather and studs.  Very goth," Horatio said dryly.

"I was going to a rave, it was a costume one," he defended.  "Besides, Xander said I looked okay."

"You did, but it was very goth," Horatio assured him with a small smirk. "I'm almost surprised you didn't have on anything from the show."

"Mom said if I wore any of that out of the house she was yanking the PA out with pliers.  Rusty, nasty pliers that had been pulled out of the harbor."  His father just stared. "What!"

"You have a what?"

"Yes, father, it magically appeared the same night the nipple ring fairly came to visit me while I slumbered."  He looked at his uncle.  "Can we do that this weekend?"  Horatio shook his head.  "Damn."

"Next weekend if we don't have Eric, Ray."  He considered it. "Why?"

"Stupid morons at school are claiming I'm a baby again."  He gave him a bored look.  "I pointed out I'm not, you don't really shield me, my mother's the sort to come down harder on me, and hey, I'm more worldly than they are because all they've had is the good champagne at family events."  Horatio gave him a look.  "What?  Di served terrible crap at the first show we did in New York."   He shifted some.  "They said I can't possibly know what liquor tastes like so I promised to bring them in the next bottle I drained.  With proof showing I had drained it."

"So you need pictures of you gulping one down and an empty bottle.  We can arrange that," Ray offered.

"No, Uncle Horatio said when I was ready to think about drinking, I would be mature enough to come to him and we'd talk, he'd let me try some stuff, then we'd talk about it the next morning.  Which is what I'm doing.  Otherwise I would've lied and said I really wanted to drink."

"The kid can't do it with you?" Ray asked his son.

"Xander had very badly drunken parents," Ray Jr. said quietly.  "He doesn't drink.  Ever.  Not even in the clubs, not a beer with wings, nothing.  Ever."  His father nodded at that.  He looked at Horatio.  "I'm sorry if I'm being a pain."

"You're not," he assured him. Someone knocked. "Go get that, Ray."  He went to do that.  He looked at his brother.  "Xander also asks that no one drink around him," he offered quietly.  The gunshot split the house and he came up, his already being drawn, his brother's the same.  "Ray!"  He headed for the front door, finding him slumped against the wall, just a small graze.  He also found Xander already chasing the person down.  "Xander!" Xander pounced and knocked her down, slamming her head into the ground a few times "Xander!"

"Call it in, I've got her gun," Ray Sr. said quietly, kicking it out of the way.  Xander brought the woman back.  "Nice tackle. You sure you don't want to play football?"

"It's the refuge of stupid people with anger and control issues."  He sat her down on her knees on the stoop.  "Ambulance or Yelina?"

"I'll call dispatch, then call Yelina," Horatio promised, looking at her.  "Jessica."  He went for the phone.  He came back to find Xander looking at the graze.  "Serious?"

"No but his arm will ache tonight."  He got a hand towel from the laundry room and came out with it dampened so he could put pressure on the wound.  "Ray, come on, wake up."

"Xander?" he moaned, looking at him. Then at the woman his father had handcuffed to the doorknob. "You fucking bitch."

"Ray," Horatio said calmly.  "The sentiment is worthy but not the output.  Please."  He looked at her. "Jessica, would you like to explain this problem of yours?"

"He has everything and he dumped me!  For nothing!"

"You exposed him to drugs, made him get high without his consent, and put him in the middle of an orgy. You could've gotten him killed," Xander said hotly, glaring at her.  She backed away, or tried to.  Sirens came up the road.  "You better pray like hell that's a patrol officer because if you're still here when he's in the ambulance, one of the members of this family is going to kill your stupid ass."  The ambulance pulled up.  "Not me, guys!"

"Thankfully," the paramedic joked. He brought his case in. "What's up?  Graze?"  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"The cunt there that drugged him and sent him into an orgy.  He dumped her and now she's jealous."

"Ah.  I heard his mother ranting about that."  He moved the towel.  "Nice technique, Xander.  Good job yet again."  He got to work bandaging it. "He could use some stitches, Lieutenant."


"Please, please God, let them have painkillers?" he begged.  Xander grinned at him. "How did you not need them!"

"Slaying, hunting, and stripping, Ray.  How do you think?"  They shared a look.  "That's his father, he can go if he wants, or Horatio can go," he offered, getting fully out of the way.  He walked out since Frank and Yelina were pulling in.  "Nice job, Frank.  You driving was a good idea."  He stopped Yelina.  "She's also, we're pretty sure, the one who stole a check that was made out for twelve hundred, some cash, and the credit cards."

"I'm going to murder the bitch," she growled, stomping that way.  Jessica screamed and tried to get away.

"Yelina!" Horatio ordered.  She glared at him. "Ray is fine, he needs stitches.  Go with him so we can arrest her properly."

"Fat chance, Horatio. You can go."

Xander looked at Frank.  "I almost want popcorn to watch this asskicking.  You?"  Frank nodded so Xander led him in through the side door and into the kitchen, coming out with a bag for each of them, letting Frank pick his spot to watch from.

"Not funny," Horatio said, staring Frank down.  Frank pointed at Xander with a bright smile.  "Xander.  Bad influence.  Stop it."

"Awww, but I wanna watch Yelina kick her ass for me too, dear!" he whined.  "Please, baby?  I'll be a good boy and do laundry tonight since I know you're so uptight about it."

"You have no idea," Ray said, shaking his head.  "He used to iron his socks."  He took some of Xander's popcorn.  "I can go with him if you want her, Yelina."  He smiled. "You were always better at controlled violence than I was."

"Guys, torture is wrong, the Geneva Convention people said so," Ray Jr. said firmly, letting the paramedic help him up. "Mom, I want fucking drugs. I just got shot.  Get in the damn ambulance and cuddle my pitiful ass."  She glared at him. "I just got shot! I'm allowed to swear!"

"You are," she agreed, walking him that way, holding him as tightly as she could.  "We'll get her later.  I'm sure I know a few people in the prison she's going to. I'm sure I can write the ones I arrested, son."  The paramedic gave her a long look.  "She gave my son drugs and stuck him in an orgy.  Xander had to rescue him.  I want the cunt dead," she growled.

"Sure.  Should I make sure patrol is on the way?" he called.

"I've got it," Frank assured him with a smile and a wave.  He looked at her. "I'm your best hope of making it out of here alive, little lady, and you're inches away from Xander killing you."   Horatio grabbed Xander, realizing he was tensing to pounce and hurt her some more.  "Keys?"

"Those are mine, Frank," Horatio noted.  Frank nodded and got out his universal key, letting her go from the door but getting her other wrist instead.  He walked her out to the car, reciting the oh-so important Miranda warnings as he drug her.

Horatio looked at Xander.  "Are you calm?"  He shook his head.  "Go outside.  I'll check on the baby."  Xander shook his head, going to do that.

"He's one hell of a spouse, Horatio."  Ray handed over the bag of popcorn he had taken off Xander.  Then handed Frank his when he came back for it.  "Need help?"

"Nah, Yelina let me handle the bank stuff since she's backed up at the moment.  Chief won't be happy but oh well."  He smirked at Horatio.  "Your boy?"

"We've got Eric at the moment."

"Awww."  He went to check on him, finding Xander cuddling him tightly.  "He's all right, right?  No ricochet or anything?"  Xander shook his head quickly.  "Then let the poor little guy sleep, Xander.   Go hug Horatio until he's got dents."  He took the baby back and put him into his crib, getting sleepy complaint noises.  But as soon as he had his teddybear it was all good again.  By the time he got back downstairs Xander was indeed squeezing a dent into Horatio's chest.  "Baby's back down."  He went out to drive her back to the station and eat his popcorn while he drove. When she started to complain, he decided to take the long way back, which routed him along the highway and the other side of the city, plus turn on some ungodly howling country music he listened to now and then, making her try to complain over it.  But that's why windows rolled down and the music could always get louder.


Calleigh looked up as Horatio, Xander, and Eric came off the elevator. "It's Sunday, why are you guys here?" she asked, smiling at the baby.  Xander handed him over.

"Boobies!" Eric said happily, snuggling into his favorite napping spot.

"Excuse me?" she asked, glaring at Xander.

"Not a clue, he did it to Stella yesterday. I can't get him to stop," Xander admitted, looking pitiful.

"That is not what you call those, Eric."


"Yes, they are, but if you talk about them, you lose them," bigger Eric said as he came over.  "She'll make you quit snuggling if you talk about them.  So don't say that word."  She hit him on the arm. "Ow!"

"Torry, Auntie.  You pretty.  Love you."  He closed his eyes and let out a sigh of contentment.

She shook her head.  "Why me?"

"Because you're very pretty," Xander said, kissing her on the cheek.  "Horatio had to check on the slutty ho for Ray."

"Junior or senior?" Eric asked dryly.

"Junior.  It's keeping his mother from killing her for shooting her son."  Horatio walked off to check on her status.  Xander shook his head. "Xander, grab the baby, go to the office."

"I'm being good!  We were going to hang with Stella on the beach anyway!"  He held out his arms and the baby was handed back. "Eric, practice for the next city meet, the gym?  Pick a day, any day?"

"I've got Tuesday off this week."

"Fine with me.  Call me whenever you're ready to go."  He walked off with the baby, going to sit on the beach and let his son build in the sand.  The guard gave him an odd look. "This is the mini-Xander."

"I can see that.  You get that same look when you're trying to look innocent and cute."  He smirked at him.  "Here to pick up the newest round of presents?"

"No," he said weakly.  "Horatio said it wasn't anything to worry about."  The guard laughed.  "Where is it this time?"  He was led over to a car, looking in the darkened window.  "Why does it look like there's a package in there in pink?"

"Because there is," he admitted.

"Not that one," Horatio yelled from the doorway.  "The green one, Paul!"  That got a nod and he led him that way instead. He joined them. "Xander, please don't throw a fit."  Eric was handed to him and Xander walked over to the small park next to the station, going to do it in private. He winced at the screamed curses coming out of his husband's mouth.  "Who owns the other one?" he asked quietly.

"I thought it was for your spouse, Lieutenant.  Are you sure it's not?" Horatio nodded.  "Huh.  I'll check the logs."  He went to do that, coming back with it.  "Nope, the silvery blue one is his and the green one is one of the ADA's."  He looked at him. "I can page him if you want."

"Please.  I thought for sure they said it was green."

"No, but it's listing another one," he admitted, glancing back a page.  "Lime green Hummer, H3, the more compact one.  Um, said it was taken downtown by the IAB guy here, sorry, Lieutenant."

"I can easily call him.  When did this one show up?"

"Oh, about an hour ago."  He smiled at him.  "Let me call the ADA to make sure, sir."  He went to find him and make sure of which one was his, citing a confused person looking for their car.  He came out.  "I was right.  The blue one is your spouse's.  The green one is the ADA's.  He's quit yelling, is he all right?"

"Let me check."  He walked that way with the officer, finding Xander on the ground.  "Damn it."  He handed off the baby and moved to check him.  "Xander?  Xander!  Wake up!"

The officer hit his radio's button.  "We need an ambulance at the small park beside the CSI station.  Collapsed young male, twenty-one, non-responsive. Thank you."  He hung up.  "One just dropped a body off for the ME, Lieutenant, they're sending them."  That got a silent nod while Horatio continued to try to wake him.  He looked at the boy, then at him.  "I'll make sure someone in your unit gets your son, sir."  The paramedics rushed over.  "He was ranting and screaming and we noticed it got quiet."

"He won't wake up," Horatio said, getting moved out of the way.

"Let us check, Lieutenant. What brought this on?"

"Someone sent him a new car," the patrol officer offered.  He looked at the boss.  "Sir, let me get your son inside.  He doesn't need to see this."  Horatio looked at him and nodded.  "Should I call your family, sir?"

"They can."  He got up, following when they loaded Xander onto a gurney and wheeled him out.  He climbed in and sat there stroking through his hair.

"He'll be fine it was just stress," the paramedic soothed.  "His heart rhythm is normal."

"Then why won't he wake up?"

"We'll figure that out as soon as we get there."  He called in vitals once the ambulance got under way, starting the IV drip.  That's when he noticed the hint of blood on the white sheet.

The officer walked inside, nodding the other guard to cover his spot while he went to the CSI floor.  He ran into the ME, who gave him a very odd look.  "His father just collapsed outside.  I said I'd bring him up here and that someone up here could call his family."

"What happened to Horatio?" she demanded, bringing Eric out.

"Wrong father, ma'am."

"Xander?" she asked.  He nodded.  "What happened to my boy?"  She started to tap a foot.

"He was screaming and ranting over the new car and I noticed it got quiet so we went to check on him. He was on the ground and wouldn't wake up.  They just took him."

"Give me the baby," Eric ordered.  "Alexx, call Yelina.  Then call Horatio to see which hospital he's at."  She nodded, going to do that.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem, Detective.  Should I tell the IAB guy about the new car?"

"I thought he already had it," he said, looking confused.

"No, we've got another one down there that's noted as being for him."

Eric groaned and shook his head.  "No, it'll be fine.  I'm sure he'll hear very soon."  That got a nod and he went off. "Thank you!"  He went to ballistics, interrupting her and Ryan.  "Guys, Xander just collapsed."  They both glared at him. "Outside in the park."

"I've got Don's cellphone number, I'll call him," Calleigh offered.  "Is he all right?"  Eric shrugged.  "Which hospital?"

"Alexx is finding that out right now.  We'll know right after she does.  She's telling Yelina."

"Good!"  She patted the baby on the head.  "He'll be fine, little guy.  Oh, hell, Speed is out of town."  Eric winced.  "Xander had him stolen and taken back to Sunnydale for his mandatory three days back there.  Oh, hell."  She bit her lip, looking at him.  "My apartment can't handle him. Di?"

"Exhausted, she babbled at me earlier," Eric offered.

"I'd offer but Willow's in the scary, crying phase.  I don't want to traumatize him any more than I have to."

"I can bring him home with me if someone will go get the diapers and stuff," Eric promised.  "I've taken care of the nieces and nephews before."  That got some smiles.  "He had him kidnaped?"

"Carried out of the house while under chloroform, put onto a jet, and sent out there.  With a note saying he was going because he was not allowed to die until Xander was at least a grandfather."  That got some smirks.  "The guy's deathly afraid of losing anyone else.  I don't blame him.  Not with what he used to do in that town.  Ryan, can you go pack some clothes?"  He nodded, going to do that.  "Thank you, Eric."

"Not a problem.  I'm sure Horatio will pick him up tonight."  He took the baby upstairs to the office.  He was doing paperwork, that could be done at Horatio's desk.


Xander woke up, one hand drifting up to hold his head.  "Ow.  What hit me?"

"The very small caliber bullet we found in the back of your thigh," Horatio said quietly from beside him.  "Small enough you weren't bleeding until we moved you."  He removed the hand.  "Look at me?"

"Too bright."  He squinted at him.  "Hi."

"Good afternoon."  He stroked over his forehead. "Headache?"  Xander nodded.  "Let me get the nurse."  He pushed the button because there was no way anyone was moving him.

"Baby?" Xander asked, blinking hard.  "Too many lights."  The nurse came in.  "Darker?"  She closed the curtains, giving him a look.  "More darker?"  She smiled and turned off half the lights.  "Thank you.  Horatio, baby?" he asked, letting her come over to check him.

"Eric called and said he had him, Xander."  He stroked over his forehead again.  "He said he's got a headache as well."

"The medicine we've given him can do that.  The best thing for him is rest."

"Hate hospitals," he said with a pout.

"Everyone does, even those of us who work here, Mr. Harris.  Now, let your husband help you nap again and the next time you wake up, it'll be nicer.  All right?"  Xander nodded.  "You can have some water if you want."

"Pwease?"  Horatio smiled and took the filled cup, letting him sip from it.  "Thank you."  He put his head back down. "I got shot?"

"It was a very tiny bullet," the nurse said, smiling at him. "You weren't even bleeding until you got into the ambulance.  What were you doing before then?"

"Throwing a fit. Someone sent me a car."

"You can always sell it and put it into the foundation as well," Horatio soothed.  Xander nodded, closing his eyes.  "You rest.  I'll check on the baby later."  That got another slight nod and Xander soon started to snore.  "He's fine?"

"He'll be perfectly fine, sir.  I promise he will.  Did your team find anything?"

"The gun.  It's being analyzed right now."  She smiled at that.  "Someone will be finding them so I don't have to."  The door opened to admit Frank.  "Any new news?"

"A bit but it's not totally pertinent.  Eric's nanny is a bitch.  She's going off on how the baby should've never been born.  Calleigh's lucky she's not pressing charges against her."  Horatio nodded at that.  "Di's still three-sheets to the wind with exhaustion, and Delko said to tell you he brought the baby home with him, but Ryan ransacked his wardrobe at your house for stuff.  His mother was making him come over for dinner so the baby'll be fine.  Though he did end up curled up against Valera's chest and sighing in comfort and pleasure. Alexx got onto him about it again."

"He called Stella's boobies," he said with a faint smile.

"He's got good taste in women then.  They're all very pretty and comfortable."  He looked at Xander. "He good?"

"So far.  Just sleepy."  Frank nodded.  "Any word on the shooter, Frank?"  The nurse left.

"Not yet. Fingerprints is searching.  Mac's in the lab to help them search, as is Danny.  He found one inside the barrel.  Apparently they've customed it a bit to accept such a small bullet.  You sure he's all right?"

"He's fine, Frank.  What about the car?"

"Same as last time.  Hybrid engine added after it was bought.  Custom paint job since it doesn't come in that color.  Why he needed a lime green mini-hummer I'm not real sure.  Why it needed a sapphire studded rearview mirror I'm not sure about either.  At least it doesn't clash on the car."  Horatio moaned.  "Tiny ones.  We think lab created.  Only a few carats total in them.  Looks like Dame Edna's glasses ta me."  He shrugged and Don walked in.  "Horatio said he's fine."

"Yay.  Need to see that for myself, thanks anyway, Frank."  He leaned down to look at Xander's face, then at Horatio.  "He woken up yet?"

"Asked what happened and about the baby."

"Good.  Eric's mother loves the baby.  He called to warn me she might not let you have him back."

"Fat chance," Xander said tiredly, patting Don's face.  "I know New Yorkers are loud, but why is Frank just as loud as you?"

Frank smiled.  "Good detectives are always loud, Xander.  You good?"

"Head hurts."  He pouted at them.  "Have Willow call Angel, see if it's the same as the porsche guy.  That way Horatio can't break bad over the phone on him."  He blinked hard, looking at Don.  "Sorry about this."

"Not your fault.  Besides, Mac was getting lab withdrawal anyway."  He smoothed down his hair.  "You sleep.  They'll give you nice drugs later."  The door opened and he and Frank tensed, reaching for their guns.

"I'm the doctor.  Really.  Don't shoot, I'd hate to have to operate on myself."  He looked at them and they slowly relaxed.  He looked at Horatio and decided he would have been doing the same if his husband hadn't been holding his gun hand.  "Good.  Now, Mr. Harris, how are you feeling?"

"Crappy.  My head hurts.  How soon can I swim and jog again?"

"In a few months."

"Months?" he snorted.  "I got shot in the shoulder and I was back in the pool the next night with metal stitches.  Unless you hurt my thigh a lot while pulling it out?"

"No, but it was in the center of that muscle group.  I did a few stitches to help keep the hole closed."  He moved closer.  "It's going to be at least a month before it heals and you're going to have to work your way back up to your training schedule, young man."  He stared him down.  "You can't just hope to pop back from this sort of injury."

Xander moved the sheet, pulled up his hospital gown and showed the marks on his side, especially the deep one.  "I saw my intestines.  I was out hunting three days later once it was closing.  Fat chance.  Now, on my time table, how long will it be before I can get back in the pool?"

"A week after we've pulled them.  I put in traditional stitches.  Sorry."  Xander shrugged a bit at that.  "So maybe three weeks?"  Xander nodded.  "Also, you're going to have to be fairly gentle until then about sexual conduct.  That's going to pull for a while."  Xander nodded at that.  "How's your pain levels?"

Don snorted.  "When the ricochet hit him in New York, went in two, three inches, he didn't take anything for it."

"I'm in a bit of pinching sort of pain but nothing too great," Xander agreed.

The doctor looked at him, then at Horatio.  "Is he a torture survivor?"

"He's had a life that makes most people beg for mercy, but not officially."

"Only once or twice," Xander told him.  The doctor blinked at him.  "Have you ever been down to West Ridge St.?"   The doctor moaned and nodded.  "I used ta hunt those things.  Four years worth of hunting those things.  Just give me something mild that won't fully cloud my judgement in case someone comes to visit so I don't make an ass outta myself from the giggling."

"All right, I can do that."  He made a note on the chart.  Then he looked at Horatio.

"I made him stop," he promised.

"Good.  I knew you were the reasonable sort, Lieutenant Caine.  Now, anything else we should be worrying about?"

"Fussing people," Frank told him.  "Calleigh, Alexx, Speed when he gets home."

"Can I be home by then?"

"Tomorrow, Mr. Harris," the doctor said patiently. "That way we make sure you don't infect."  Xander nodded at that. "Have you in the past?"

"The one on my side turned a bit green and ooey there for a few days but some leftover antibiotics helped."

"A physician didn't do that?" he asked calmly.

Xander shook his head.  "No, but my best friend played nurse out of the textbooks."  The doctor scowled and he grinned.  "Not like I could go to the local hospital.  My parents wouldn't have appreciated it at all."

"I'm surprised Willow didn't take you away permanently back then," Don said, glaring at him. "How deep was that?"

"I saw my intestines."

"Eww."  He shuddered and stepped away.  "That's bad."

"What caused that?" the doctor asked.

Xander thought back.  "I always thought it was the curved knife but it could've been a claw of some sort," he offered, shrugging a bit.  "Not a clue, I was kinda out of it. I remember giggling at the sight of the tissue if that helps."

"No, it doesn't.  That person was arrested?"

"No but they were taken care of.  I wasn't the first."

"Ah.  You were how old?"

Xander counted back.  "Eleven?  Twelve?  Somewhere around there.  The secondary scar in the center was done when I was seventeen."  He looked at Horatio.  "Do not bug her about that.  She'll rant and scream and she's supposed to be resting."

"I'll ask her after she delivers."

"Have Ryan ask her," Frank noted patiently.  "That way he can calm her back down again."

"Your friend is where?"

"Pregnant and at home," Xander admitted.  "We're good, we no longer live there."

"That was well-closed.  Is she thinking about medical school?"

"She thinks about a lot of things so I'm not sure.  Her husband said he'd support her going, and he's thinking about running for a judge's spot since two of them pissed me off and I want them gone, but you'd have to ask Willow."  He yawned.  "S'nice, Horatio.  Thank you."  He flipped onto his side.  "Can I get the IV taken out?"

"As long as you don't infect, we'll let it come out tonight."  He watched him fall asleep clutching his husband's hand.  He looked at Horatio.  "You have that stuff well in hand?"  He nodded.  "Good.  I'll prescribe a mild painkiller that shouldn't knock him out.  Good luck with him."  He made notes as he walked out, including one that said to knock before entering.

Don looked at Frank, who didn't look happy.  "Think about what would've happened if she hadn't been herself."

"Point.  I probably owe that girl a hug because he brings some fun insanity into my life now and then."  He looked at Horatio.  "Want me to check on the baby later?"

"I'll call if I'm forced to go home, Frank, but thank you."

"Welcome."  He smirked at him.  "You sure you don't want a guard outside the room?  You can't pull cross-handed."

"I can if I move the gun."  He undid his belt and pulled it off, threading the gun through on the other side.  Don came over to get the one he missed, earning a nod. "Thank you."

"Welcome.  I'll go check on our friends.  See if they've got anything new, that way Danny can come fuss while Stella brings dinner. For both of you."  He walked out, taking Frank with him.  "He'll tense up and go silent if you ask and she's done the same thing to Horatio once or twice," he said quietly.  "I saw it after the club thing and heard Horatio complain about it."

"Oh, I've seen it now and then. Can I kick his parent's asses?"

"They're already dead, Frank," he said as he hit the button for the elevator.  "And yeah, they sold him to the guy who did that."  They shared a look.  "Willow said they made her  give him back."

"Pity.  Too bad they're dead too."

"One of his fanclub."

"Good to know."  He shook his head.  "Better them than me.  They get caught?"

"Not a clue.  I didn't even want to check on it," Don admitted as he hit the button for the lobby.  "Need a ride back?"

"Nah, I drove. What're you using?"

"Rental car.  If that blue one's Xander's I might beg him to put it at the condo for our use but otherwise I'm not sure it'd go for much at auction with the hybrid engine.  Or the H3 since it's lime green."

"It's a very Miami color," Frank offered, smiling a bit as they came out and headed outside.

"Yeah, but it's an ugly one."

"True.  It was hideous.  Maybe he'll have it repainted and give it to the crime lab.  We could use a smaller one now and then."
"Frank," Don sighed, smirking at him.  "Greedy."

"Yeah, well, you know me.  Or hey, maybe it'll be a baby warming present for Wolfe and his new kid.  That way they can feel as alpha as Horatio now and then."

"It's not the car that does that, Frank," he taunted, hitting him on the arm. "That's the base animal calling out inside you.  Just look at Mac.  He doesn't have to drive a hummer."

"No, but Mac's not the scary sort Horatio can be."

Don snickered, looking at him. "Let Mac do the suspect when we find them.  Then tell me that."  Frank looked amused. "Oh, come on, if we're here, we wanna let them do that.  Danny's all smooth menace and some taunting.  I'm more the yelling sort, but Mac, well.... he's just in a different category of menace at times."

"Sure.  If we find a suspect while you guys are still here, I can do that."   He headed for his own car, letting Don get theirs.  "That's a nice rental."

"Only the best for Mac and Stella," he taunted.  "Oh, Danny's got a picture of her in the new bikini.  There was a second one underneath the dresses, skin tone.  Very, very hot."   Frank moaned.  "Di's good at that."

"Yeah, and my wife loves it when we have ta deal with that stuff."  He got into his car and started the engine, backing out and heading back to the station.  Not like he cared it was his day off.

Don slid into his car and headed back as well, with a stop to pick up lunch because he was starved and if he was hungry, Danny was certainly ready to raid the snack machine.


Horatio walked into the station later that night, looking at the person in the interrogation room, then at Mac, who had met him.  "Who is it?"

"The stupid person of the hour.  They said they had a migraine and shot him to shut him up."  Horatio growled.  "We're waiting to take her downstairs at the moment."

"What's her name, Mac?"  The folder was handed over and Horatio sneered.  "That's the mother of the person who shot Ray Jr."  They shared a look.

"She wouldn't admit to it."

"She will."  He walked in there, taking off his jacket and rolling up his sleeves.  Usually he kept it on but this time was special.  He wanted to be ready to stop her if she leapt since he was going to ruin every single fantasy she'd ever held.  "Bethany."  She looked at him and flinched.  He stared her down.  "I'm Lieutenant Caine, head of this crime lab."  She tried to scoot away from him.  "I do believe that the story you told us earlier when you confessed was a lie."

"It was not!" she said, sounding huffy, but the undertones of panic were there.

"Really?  Because I seem to remember your daughter shooting my nephew at my home yesterday."  She swallowed and shook her head quickly.  "Oh, yes, she did.  I was there when she did it, Bethany.  Jessica did shoot him for her exposing him to drugs, among other things."

"He's a teenager, he probably wanted it," she sneered.

"See, Bethany, my nephew is a good boy.  He has been a good boy.  He will be a good boy.  He's a lot like my husband in that regard."  She went tense and he looked into her eyes.  "Your daughter could've gotten him exposed to any number of diseases, him being molested, or being killed.  Your daughter was also the impetus behind my nephew doing an open pole night, which got him his first serial killer stalking him."  She swallowed.  "Your daughter then compounded the issue at school with her helpful rumors of why Ray had to leave suddenly.  Yes, we did hear those."  She flinched again, trying to back away.  He moved a step closer.  "Yet you say this had nothing to do with your daughter shooting my nephew yesterday?  I'd be highly surprised if that wasn't a lie," he said calmly.

She flinched and stood up, her handcuff pulling at her wrist but she didn't seem to care.  "Your nephew could've given my daughter everything in the world and he dumped her because she got him high!"

"Against his will," he said with that deadly, icy voice. "Very muchly against his will.  Besides, everything Ray has, is my spouse's."  She flopped down, staring at him.  "That porsche he had been driving was given to Xander by someone.  Xander's been paying him an allowance for helping him out.  Everything you and your daughter coveted is actually Xander's."

"He's probably molesting him and paying him off," she sneered.

"No, he's not, Bethany."  He moved an inch closer, in her personal space now.  She started to fidget again.  "Ray is my nephew.  To Xander that means he's family.  Besides, Xander has me, he doesn't need to go after anyone else."  She whimpered.  "Why did you really shoot him?"

"He's the reason my Jessica got dumped by your lying nephew!"

"Ray never said that was his.  He said he was borrowing it."

"He took her out to dinner at a fancy place!"

"Yes, and he worked to earn that money."  It was the only time he'd ever seen a babysitter earn three hundred bucks for four hours worth of work, but he had earned it, and he had helped Xander with some filing and his homework as well.  She glared at him.  "Even if they had stayed together, if his mother and I had let him be that shallow, she still wouldn't have gotten anything.  Xander has a trust.  Plus a foundation."  She whimpered.  "Everything you thought your daughter had so she could support both your bad habits is locked away in the hands of another."  She shrieked again and went for him, the free hand clawed up to hit him.  He caught it and squeezed, gently, sneering at her.  "Your daughter is in jail because she's just...like...you."  He let her go and picked up his jacket, sliding back into it with a sneer for her.  "Do have fun.  Maybe they'll let you on the same cellblock, Bethany."  He walked out, looking at Mac.  "Don't tell his mother."

"Oh, she saw.  Danny drug her off to scream and rant in the breakroom.  Again."  That got a small smile.  "That makes three times today, Horatio.  Are you all right?"

"He'll be fine. If not, I'd be in there next to her steaming body."

"Good."  He waved at a couple of officers.  "You can have her now.  Keep her away from Yelina and away from her daughter."  One looked confused.  "That's the mother of the person who shot Yelina's son yesterday."

"Why?" the officer demanded.

"She thought Ray had what is actually Xander's," Horatio offered calmly.

"Stupid bitch," the other one muttered.  "No offense, sir, your nephew's cute and all, but he doesn't have the dangerous, stalking thing that your mate does, and I'm guessing that's why people like him with the way he scares so many others into begging for him to spank them."  He walked in there and got the cuffs around her wrists, freeing her from the chair so they could drag her away.

"Xander has people begging to spank them?" Mac asked, looking confused.

"Only that one pervert that I know of," he admitted, looking at the officer's back.  "Who asked, officer?"

"Um, you hadn't heard about the, um, underground?" he asked.  Horatio shook his head. "Then forget I said anything, Lieutenant, before I get beaten, please."  He hurried her off.

"Frank!" Horatio growled, making him suddenly appear, looking scared as his head came up over a cubicle separator.  "Underground?"

"Um, yeah, that's who bought him the last blue car, so don't sell it."  He disappeared again then went to hide at home.  Horatio would never hurt him in front of his wife.  He hoped.

"Frank, that won't save you!" Horatio yelled after him.  Yelina came up and gave him a hug.  "I'm calm."

"I'm not."  He looked at her.  "What happened now?"

"An underground?"

She nodded.  "There's a rabid underground for those who want Xander to be theirs.  They bought him the blue car.  No idea on who sent the hummer."  He growled at that.  "I called Ryan to ask his wife to call that Angel person.  She made that same sound."  She patted him on the stomach.  "We should rescue little Eric from big Eric's house."

"His mother has them both."  She smiled at that.  "His mother demanded he bring the baby over for dinner."  He walked out with her, going to drop her off at home and then find Eric's mother's house.  He'd only been there a few times.  He did finally find it and they were still up with the way the music was going.  He parked and got out, heading to the door, where Eric's sister Marisol answered.  "I heard my son is here?" he asked stepping inside.

"He's been spoiled all night by momma."  She led him back to the kitchen. "He wants his son back."

"He should be at home and safely tucked in by now," he agreed.  "We don't want him to party that young."  Eric's mother laughed at that and kissed him on the cheek, making him sit down.  "Thank you for watching him."

"It's not a problem.  How is your Xander?"  She got him some tea and handed it over. "Is he all right?"

"Small gunshot wound to his thigh, a small blood pressure spike.  They've already pulled the IV."  She smiled at that and hugged him.  "The person confessed and then confessed her real reason to me since she tried to lie to Mac."

Eric came in, smiling at him.  "Xander let you go?"

"No, he made me go.  He pointed out I have to work tomorrow and I couldn't take it off or else he'd pout."  Eric beamed at that.  "The doctor said it's going to be a week after they pull the stitches before he's back in the pool.  He used normal ones."

Eric snorted. "So, we'll figure a week and then he'll be running on them, two weeks and he'll be back in the pool the day after they yank them," he agreed, sitting down across from him.  His mother put a biscuit and tea in front of him. "I'm still stuffed from dinner."

"Eat!  Now!"

"Yes, mom."  He nibbled on the biscuit.  "Eric was very good all night.  He charmed all the women and my father got him to quit remarking on their chests and swearing."

"Thank you.  How?"

"Bribery.  Your boy likes grapes."

"I'll have to remember that."  He sipped his tea. "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  Ryan said Willow's being scary and Calleigh pointed out her apartment had stairs and things that could hurt him.  With Speed out of town for the next four days....."

"He is?"

"Yeah, he is," he agreed then took another bite.  "Your son had him kidnaped back to Sunnydale."  Horatio groaned. "She said chloroform and put him on a jet."  He grinned at that.  "Something about he wasn't allowed to die until he was a grandfather?"

"Speed or Xander?"

"Xander.  We figured he'd seen enough of that with his past life."  Horatio nodded.  "Frank said he scared the doctor."

"Pissed him off.  He told him how he got the mark on his side."

"Ah.  That one I don't wonder about. I wonder about the really faint ones on his back that come out when he blushes."  He finished off his biscuit.  "How's Ray?"

"Junior's fine.  His mother spoiled him all day.  His father's doing okay.  He took the opportunity to handcuff his son to the couch and talk to him.  Didn't help very much but at least Ray got all the swearing out of his system for the week.  How are you doing?"

"I'm fine.  It's not my family that got shot twice."  They shared a look.  "I'm fine, H.  Really."  He nodded, smiling a bit at that.  "What happened to Jane?"

"She started going off about how Eric was an imposition and shouldn't have been born.  We're going to talk to Di when she's finally awake."

"She woke up earlier and called to see if she had dreamed Xander calling her. I said no and told her you guys had the baby, but I was babysitting for a few hours.  She said that was fine and drifted off again."  Horatio nodded once at that, slowly. "I'd tape that stuff."

"Already done.  I know she likes Jane."

"A lot," Eric agreed dryly.  "I thought Di had better taste than that, but apparently not."  He shrugged.  "It happens to the best of us."


"Call me Horatio, Mrs. Delko, please."

She smiled and patted him on the cheek. "Horatio then.  Did you know where my son got those outfits that made him look like a slut?"

"The mother of our son designs them.  He was in her runway show."

She moaned and swatted her son, going off in Spanish about how bad he was and how he needed to date, not dabble, as she put it.

"I'm trying, Ma!" he complained.  "You have to date to find someone you like."

"And the time I ran the three women out of your place?" she demanded.  Marisol giggled.  "I did!"

"Diana had made some clothes that were very...enticing and Eric went with my husband to make sure he got home all right," Horatio offered.  "They drug him home from there."  She crossed herself when she started to swear again.  "I try to keep Xander's teasing down but every now and then he's got to let it out.  Or else bad things happen."

"Like the lime green mini-hummer," Eric agreed.  "Which is really ugly.  I gotta agree with Don on that, Horatio."

"As do I, Eric.  As do I."  He finished his tea. "Let's get the son so I can put him to bed."

"Will you need someone to watch him tomorrow?" Eric's mother asked, sounding hopeful.  "He's a delightful boy."

"His mother should be fine tomorrow.  She's got full custody, we only get visitation with him, but if you wanted, Xander's coming home tomorrow and will probably want to steal him again.  You could come over and help him."  She smiled at that.  "Just don't let Xander cook anything.  Ever."

"We'll do a cookout," Eric promised, smirking at him.  "Do you let him cook for you?"

"Eric, I like not having food poisoning.  Really, I do."  The others laughed.  "Xander has many skills, cooking is not one of them."  He stood up.  "Have Eric bring you over tomorrow, Mrs. Delko.  That's never a problem."  She patted his cheek and walked him back to pick up his son.  Somehow Eric had managed to get out of his shirt and had his pants on only one leg, but that was what babies did and it was quickly fixed.  "Thank you," he said quietly, walking out to the hummer with him and his bag.  He got put into the backseat and the baby stretched but stayed asleep.


Mac walked into the lab his first day back, sniffing the air.  "Why does it smell like sawdust?" he asked the receptionist.  Who only pointed at the plastic sheeting.  "Did we have a problem while I was gone?  Sheldon!" he bellowed, knowing he'd be lurking in wait for him if it had been a problem.  Sheldon came out of the sheeting.  "What happened?"

"The lab revamp, Mac.  Didn't anyone tell you?" he asked, grinning a bit.  "You don't look very tanned."

"I tan hard."  He walked through the sheeting, looking around.  "Who paid for this?" he called.

"That trust," he offered, backing away.  Mac turned to glare at him.  "The same one that updated Miami's?"

Mac squealed and hugged him. "Xander does grant wishes!"  He headed up to his office to complain to Horatio that he hadn't known, putting him on speaker since the plans were sitting on his desk.


"You made me squeal like a girl."

"It was part of the will, Mac."

"Uh-huh.  How long before it's done?"

"Two weeks.  It was started about ten minutes after you left and you've got three untouched labs.  Sorry."

"Not an issue.  I love you guys.  Thank Xander for granting wishes.  How high tech are we going?"

"I was ordered by Patrick's will to update yours and the other Miami labs to the same standard as mine."  Mac let out another squeal.  "Since you had to hand off jurisdiction over the weekend anyway, we thought it'd be the better time to start."

"I had wondered why the mayor smirked at me when I talked about some of our older equipment."

"Some of your equipment belonged in a museum, which you'll be able to use the display cases in the lobby for.  Calm down, it's still going to be two weeks and then a few days of training."

"I still love you guys.  Even if you were ordered to do it."  Danny came strolling in.  "Danny!"  He came over.  "It'll be about two weeks, we've got three open labs."

"I saw.  This'll be very nice, without the full walls of glass stuff.  Frosted?"

"Yes," Horatio agreed. "Lightly frosted. Not totally clear but can still be seen through."

"Decent.  Thanks, man.   By the way, I dropped the essays off with the receptionist on the way to the airport."

"I have them.  Thank you."

"No, thank you.  This'll make Stella squeal worse'n Mac did," Danny said happily, smirking at him.  "You pounced Sheldon."

"You guys never told me about this."

"I only told those people who were staying, Mac, that way they couldn't ruin the surprise."  Horatio hung up.  Mac switched off the phone.

"We're going to have happy people later."

"We are," he agreed. "Don didn't tell us either."

"Even Flack's gotta be sneaky now and then, Mac."  He smirked and went to look around again.  His usual lab was one of the ones being updated but he loved the ones in Miami.  He'd have camped out in them if they had let him.   He looked out the door when Stella squealed like a cheerleader that had just been goosed. "Two weeks!"

"For this I'd give Eric a little brother!" she called, hugging him, then Sheldon since he was nearby.  Then Mac.  "You didn't know?"

"No, Horatio kept it from us."

"We knew," Sheldon offered.  "Horatio briefed us a few weeks back."  She hit him on the arm.  "Ow! I need that!"

"Tough, suck it up.  You could've hinted."  She walked off to look around.  "We're getting Miami's stuff?"

"Same standard," Mac agreed.  She smiled and went to peek into the labs.  He looked at Sheldon.  "Was that the dinner you took Lindsey out on?"  He nodded.  "I thought that hadn't been romantically motivated.  Good to know I was right."

"She's cute but my mother would pout."  He shrugged, smiling at Danny.  "How was Miami? You look well rested."

"Good until Xander got shot."

"Why?" Sheldon asked.  "He's the nicest guy most of the time."  The rest of the time Xander scared him.  He had never been attracted to a guy until he had caught him doing something teasing to Danny and Horatio one day, which had made Horatio growl and pounce him.  Then there were the times when Xander was just *scary*, like when you threatened his family.  He'd never seen a Mala Noche gang member run like that before. He almost wondered if anyone had told Horatio but Frank had been there so they probably had.

"Ray Junior, Horatio's nephew, got shot by an ex girlfriend who wanted what Xander had.   His mother shot Xander for having her daughter arrested and helping Ray break up with her daughter.  Back of the thigh."

"A very small custom bullet," Mac agreed.  "They're sharing a cell block since they took pleas."

"Good!  Another win for the good guys."  Sheldon smiled. "We're on limited casework since we've got this going on.  There were three that got sent to another team.  Night shift is still complaining about this.  And the Mayor said you're welcome, he paid for half of the construction costs."  He smiled again, making Mac laugh.

"I'll thank him in person later.  Maybe bring him lunch or something."  He clapped them on the back.  "Are they doing everything at once?"

"A few of the labs only needed new computers.  They'll be done first.  The worst ones we had to put up special taping, it had some asbestos.  So they're cleaning that out as well.  Those'll be done last and may be the reason we go over budget."

"I think we've got room if that happens," Mac agreed.  "We had budgeted for a computer upgrade this year anyway."

"That's what the Mayor said when he heard about it.  Since this was all a grant, it'll go for that."  He smirked a bit evilly.  "Do we get the hummers too?"

"We've got some SUV's," Mac reminded him.


"We'll see about next year."  That got a grin and Sheldon strolled off.  "I need a case update today."

"Of course you do."  He smiled back at him. "It's under the plans on your desk and you need to tell the workmen if you want your windows changed out too."  He kept going.  "I'm free for the next one."

"Sure," he agreed, smiling at Danny.  "Yours?"

"I closed my last one before we left, that's why I slept on the plane. I gave Vicaro everything so they could be picked up."

"Check on that and make sure.  Make sure I've got the paperwork somewhere."  Danny nodded, heading to do that.  Mac went back to his office, still smiling and happy.  Not even a new child molesting case would remove that smile from him for a few hours.  Of course, when they got one, he did switch into evil Mac mode, but the smile came back later as he watched the people work.


Xander walked into the house, seeing the people he vaguely knew wandering around.  "Ooh, a welcome home party?  For me?" he teased, taking his son from the older woman. "Did the other Eric's mommy cuddle you?"  His son gave him his most evil smirk.  "You've been tormenting others again, haven't you?"  He kissed him on the forehead and looked at her.  "Hi.  Thank you."

"It was nothing. You should be sitting down."

"I can't, the stitches pull and it's not comfortable. I will lay down because they gave me a dose of pain killers and I'm fairly high at the moment."  He wandered out to the couch and laid on his side, his son sitting on his top edge.  "Hi."  Eric beamed at him.  "Were you a good boy?"  He shook his head.  "Why not?"  He felt a wet nose and looked over. "Horatio is going to shit," he said fondly, patting the dog, making his son squeal and help.  "Yes, Eric, that's a doggy.  Can you say doggy?"

"Doggy!"  He hugged him but the dog got free.  Xander pulled out his cellphone and dialed Horatio's, getting him. He handed it over and pointed at the dog.  "Doggy!" he repeated happily.  "Pretty doggy!  Love you!"  He handed it back.

"I have no idea."  He hung up and giggled.  "Daddy Horatio will come home on time tonight, huh?"  Eric smirked at him. "Good boy.  Why don't you play with the doggy for now."  Eric slid down and sat on the floor to pet and play with the dog.  "Gently," he ordered, showing him how to do it.  Eric beamed at him and did what his father had made his hand do, making the dog groan and flop over to get more ear scratches.  "You're a good boy," he promised.

"It's my brother's dog, don't get too attached," Eric called.  He came in off the porch.  "He's too spoiled to leave at home."

"That's fine."  He grinned at him.  "They shot me full of pain killers."

"I'll save you lunch. You nap.  We've got the baby.  My mother wants to adopt him."  Xander yawned and nodded, slowly drifting off.  He shook his head and smiled at the dog.  "Bring the boy outside."  The dog got up and Eric got up to follow him.  He went back to the grill and lunch.  He looked out when the door opened and then closed. "Out here, Horatio." He looked at Eric, who was inching toward the stairs. "I said no."  He sat down and pouted but went back to playing with the dog. "Thank you."

Horatio looked at the dog, then at him. "Eric?" he asked.

"My brother's dog.  It's too spoiled to stay home alone. It eats things."  He handed him a plate. "Food?"

"Thank you."  He grabbed the baby and made him wash his hands, then sat down to eat with him.  "Xander asleep?"

"Yup, said he was high from the pain killers."

"I'm not surprised considering he left without calling me."  Eric and his mother both laughed at that. "It's a very Xander thing to do."  He fed him a bite of steak, watching him chew it and smile.  "Mouth closed, Eric."  He closed his mouth most of the time.  "Thank you, good boy."  He kissed him on the temple. "You can play with the dog after lunch."  Eric took the food out of his mouth and tossed it to the dog, who was more than happy to clean it up.  "The dog has his own food."

"Go use the bushes," Eric's mother ordered, pointing.  The dog ran for the bushes to use them, getting claps from the baby for his performance.  "You should be doing the same thing."

"You yelled at me when I did that," bigger Eric pouted.  She swatted him so he grinned and handed her a plate.  "Here.  Eat."

"Thank you, Eric."  She patted him on the face and sat down.  "When is his mother planning on potty training?"

"In a few weeks, when the orders from the last show calm down."  He fed Eric a piece of vegetable, getting a scowl.  "You'll eat it," he said firmly.  Eric pouted but he did nibble on it. "Thank you.  You like those."  Eric held it up with a hopeful look.  "You eat that one.  I've got the rest of them."  He ate the rest of it and Horatio shook his head.  "Eric, Don said if he wasn't sure you were still alive he'd think the baby was you."

"No, I'm not a fussy eater.  Never was.  Food!"  He brought his own plate over, letting his sisters come to get their own plates and then go back to cooing and helping in the nursery.  "Xander had a bed delivered for him, they're working on that."  Horatio nodded once.  "It said he ordered it online."

"That's fine.  He said he was thinking about it."  He let Eric steal off his plate, making him a happy baby.  "Good boy."  He ate another bite himself. "Nicely done, Eric."

"Thanks, H.  I try every now and then."  He grinned as he ate a bite of dinner.  He peeked inside when the dog went in there, but it was going to nap with Xander so that was fine.  "He's going to nap on the couch with your boy."

"Xander likes dogs."

"Doggy!" Eric said happily beaming at him.

"Yes, it is.  You can visit the doggy now and then, Eric."  He smiled at that and stole another bite, smirking at him.  "Good boy."  He finished up what he wanted and let the baby have the rest.

"You should eat more," Eric's mother ordered.

"I'll have a larger dinner with Xander.  Usually I end up skipping lunch."

"That's not good for you."

"Ma, sometimes cases get in the way of regularly scheduled meals," Eric reminded her.  Ryan walked in and came out.  "There's food."

"Willow made me eat bread pudding with chocolate sauce for lunch."  He looked at Horatio.  "Angel called her back, which got an extra long squeeze of the chocolate bottle onto her pudding.  The problem out there did send the lime green hummer and he's very sorry, that's all Angel said beyond he sent Spike to deal with it."  He shrugged.  "She said to tell you that."

"Thank you, Mr. Wolfe."  The baby held his arms up so he got held for a minute before going to play with the dog.  "Play nicely."  He looked at Ryan again. "I take it this will be stopped?"

"As far as Angel said he's sorry.  I have no idea if that means that or not."  He swallowed at the long stare.  "Willow said she thinks she remembers the guy and that he liked Xander.  A lot.  Even for being a smartass like he was back then.  Like he'd end up like Angel and Spike are if he had his way.  I'm not sure who Spike is exactly but she smirked when she said Angel had sent him after the guy to talk to him."

"Thank you, Mr. Wolfe.  Can you stop the baby from trying to stab the dog?"  Ryan went in there to do that, having a quiet word about 'no knives' then brought him back out. "Thank you.  Are you ready for yours?"

"Hell no," he said, looking pained.  "What do I need to stock up on?  The book said diapers and changing supplies, plus clothes since Willow's breast feeding."

The entire clan of Delkos laughed at that.  Eric patted him on the back.  "As an uncle who babysits, I can tell you small babies, like newborns, go through at least ten diapers a day.  They'll sleep a lot for the first few months, but never when you want, and they'll need clothing changes with about half the diaper changes.  Also, stock up on foods you can eat one-handed.  You won't have two for a while.  That's when the baby will cry."   His mother nodded at that.  He smiled at his mother.  "Willow is Xander's best friend from school and she's about eight months?"  Ryan nodded.  "Yeah, about ready to pop.  They're just now picking out furniture."

"We had to move somewhere bigger," he defended.  He smiled at Horatio.  "By the way, your husband's plan has worked.  I'm one of the two he chose."  He beamed.  "So I'm up for election as a judge.  If I win, I'll give my two weeks notice the next day, with my hangover."

"That's fine, Mr. Wolfe.  We'd be sorry to see you go, but I do understand."  Ryan smiled and nodded, going to talk to the sisters upstairs and beg for a list.   He shook his head.  "Remind me to call Ethan later, Eric."

"Of course.  You think she'd magic the baby to sleep?"

"New mothers can be very stressed out. I doubt it'd be intentional but it could happen."  He ate a bite of vegetable the baby had left him.  "Besides, it can't be good for the baby."

"I've already talked to Ethan, he's sending over something to block it until the baby's a year old, she's putting it on before she gives birth so I don't have to be that scared of her," Ryan called from inside the house.

"Who is this girl?" Eric's mother asked.

"Rosenburg, Ma."

She moaned and held her head.  "Poor thing.  She'll be fine. Xander will help her."

"Yeah, Harris is a pretty good daddy," Eric agreed.  His mother looked at him.  "That's *that* Xander, Ma."

"That explains so much," she sighed, shaking her head.  "At least he's calmed down for you, Horatio."

"You've heard of him?"

"Yes.  Some people have spread around his rumors.  They say you made him quit hunting."

"It wasn't safe for him to go alone," he agreed.

"Good man, Horatio."  She smiled at him.  "Now, about that potty training.  With children that young, bribery works wonderfully.  Candy or cookies, fruit doesn't usually cut it with that one."  He nodded.  "Then wean them back to praise for it."  He nodded again.  "Expect it to take longer at night."

"He's got a small bladder according to his doctor."

"At least his eye is getting better."

"It is," Horatio agreed happily, smiling at that.  "They said it could clear up."  He looked inside at the boy, who was laying down on top of the dog.  "He'll throw a fit when the beast leaves."  Eric and his mother both nodded at that.  Horatio just sighed and called Diana.  "We're home, Xander's out of the hospital, and we should talk.  No, Eric Delko's family and their dog is here."  He smiled.  "Exactly, he won't throw as big of a fit if you're taking him home as he would if the dog left."  He smirked.  "Because Jane started to call him an imposition and neither of us feel that way, Diana."  He nodded.  "Agreeable.  No, she handed him off to Xander on Saturday.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "Di'll be over to pick him up soon.  Then we can discuss the potty training stuff."  Eric grinned at that.  "He'll throw less of a fit.  He likes to help her make clothes."

"The day of the show, he scowled at anyone who wasn't wearing his mother's clothes and didn't want to buy any.  He was very good at guilting the other people into it."  His mother sighed and shook her head. "You know those jeans you swatted me over?  She made those. She makes a lot of Xander's wardrobe too."

"Yes, she does," Horatio agreed dryly.  "Thankfully he can't wear most of them with the bandage around his thigh."

"If I know your husband that'll be gone soon."

"A few days after the stitches come out," Horatio agreed.  "Sweats and shorts until then."  Eric chuckled and Ryan came back out.  "Get a long list?"

"Oh, yeah.  Including what bottles to get for when she's too tired or sore to nurse. Thank you, guys."  He smiled.  "I'm off to get back to work.  Hopefully I won't have a sudden nap later on from the chocolate sauce, Horatio."

"If you do, warn me first, Ryan."  He nodded and headed out, walking over the baby and dog pile.  He shook his head.  "Hopefully this is the only one."

"They said if it was a girl, they'd be taking her magic," Eric reminded him quietly.  "Pray for it being a girl."

"Oh, I am," he agreed, getting comfortable.  "I definitely am."  He looked out at the beach, then at the house. "Eric?" he called.  The baby peeked out from behind the bigger Eric's chair.  "No going onto the beach without a big person with you," he said firmly.  "You know that."  He pouted.  "Your mother's on her way over."  He squealed and hugged Eric's mother. "No, your mother."  He went inside to tell the doggy that, babbling the whole way.

"He's going to have the Xander-babble down fluently by the time he's a teenager," Eric said happily.

"Indeed he will, Eric."  He sighed and shook his head. "I still have to make him repeat himself sometimes."  The mother with them laughed.  "Xanders are very complex beings and it takes a great deal of strength to deal with them some days, but I wouldn't change it for the world."  He ate another bite of meat, he'd be needing the energy later to make sure his spouse was all right.

The End. 

To Crossover Index: