Xander snuggled up to Horatio after dinner. "Gordon said I need a different suit for my next interview."
"He said I should be a bit more conservative."
Horatio looked at him and smiled. "So I take it you have another job interview?" Xander smiled and nodded. "Well, I can give you where I go and who to ask for, but Speed's got tomorrow off."
"Daddy would break out in hives."
"Then do the other shopping you need afterward, Xander. You said you needed more underwear."
"I do. I have moths," he said, looking totally serious. Horatio poked him on the side so he slid on top of him to look down at him. "I arranged for my interview in a few days' time and I paid the four hundred dollar phone bill." That got a hiss. "It's okay. It had to happen but I won't be getting kidnaped again this year." Horatio smiled and nodded. "I called Greggy again and he was sulking that he can't get time off until next month, then he plans on coming down here."
"I could like that," Horatio agreed, grabbing his boy's hips to shift them. "No feeling in my feet."
"That's all right. I don't mind you on top," he teased, stroking his hands up Xander's sides. "When is he coming down?"
"He sent you an email with the details."
"I'll get it tomorrow and make sure I schedule my rare days off with them." Xander smiled before taking a kiss. He pulled back. "Any other news?"
"I've got a late client coming in two nights from now."
"How long should it last?"
"Probably until nine or so. You can be here, but I would ask that you maintain confidentiality or hide."
"I can do both," he promised, smiling at him. "Did you warn him?"
"I did and he understood. He didn't think you'd say anything but he's still pretty jumpy." He took another kiss. "My new client is okay. She broke pretty fast and she needed the stress relief. So we got her set up and she was pretty decent at it. She had been in a sub relationship but her master got married and his new wife hated the lifestyle so made him quit under threat of filing false rape charges on her behalf." That got a grimace. "So she moved and came down here. She's looking for a new one but I'm the stress relief so I'll see her once a week in the afternoons. I'll arrange it around my future schedule." That got a nod. "Most of the guys I can arrange around my future schedule." That got a smile. "I don't mind them coming here. None of them hit on me. Mike screens everyone he sends my way and I know they're not going to steal stuff. Not like my massage clients."
"You could work part time as a massage therapist and the same as a dom, which is what you're doing right now."
"I can't expect them to pay the house taxes and insurance or my car insurance, Horatio. I don't want to keep dipping into my savings either. I'd like to live off my salary and I can do that if I work about three-quarter's time at a spa and keep my present level of clients."
"Would you get to save any?"
"A little. Not that much." He took another kiss. "Which is what I'm hoping for. About thirty hours a week as a masseuse and then my private clients. Maybe taking a few new classes on the side since the local school offers techniques I've never heard of." Horatio smiled at that. "I like that sort of education."
"You're good at it too," he promised, shifting Xander's hips again so they were rubbing against each other. "You're great at massages, Xander."
"Do you need one?" he teased.
"I wouldn't mind." Xander stood up so he flipped over and let Xander sit on his rear to do his back, making him moan when his favorite oil came out of the drawer. The massage made him hard and needy but it was good.
"Stetler again," he agreed.
"Can't I just kick him or something?"
"Fine." He got back to work on his back, making Horatio moan in a higher key, then almost growl a few minutes later. Horatio was limp under his fingers when he leaned down to nibble on his earlobe, getting a weak growl. "My poor mate. Are you tired?" Horatio shook his head. "Really?" He got up and walked around to where Horatio could see him without moving. He took off his pants and bent over to pick them up. That's when Horatio pounced, dragging him back onto the bed. The plug got tossed and Horatio possessed what was his, making him clutch and hold onto his shoulders.
"Not tired in the least, Xander," he promised as he thrust in harder and faster. Xander's noises were getting him there faster than the sex was. He loved the noises that he made. He panted in his ear. "Louder, Xander." Xander let it out, giving him all the noises he wanted. He finally came and relaxed on his shoulder. "Thank you. I'm much less tense now." Xander pinched him on the butt. Shaking his head when he looked at him. "I am."
"I can tell. You also kicked the sheets." Horatio moaned but got them to cover them up, going back to his comfortable spot on Xander's shoulder. Xander cuddled him, adoring this. "I need to replace some of my tactile therapy stuff."
"Expensive?" Horatio asked quietly.
"Depends on which one I do. The furry tube was a bit but not with how much I used it. I also need to have someone look at the washer. It's making burning smells."
"You got a maintenance contract."
"I know. I'll call them tomorrow. Reminding myself. Plus to replace it with washable stuff."
"Soft stretch velvet," Horatio offered quietly. "On a washable, stiffer backing." Xander looked at him. "To replace the furry tube." He looked up. "It's washable."
"It would be. I'll look." He kissed him. "That's a very good idea." Horatio smiled. "Should I bring you and dad lunch tomorrow?"
"We both have court tomorrow so we'll be gone all day. Otherwise I would say yes." Xander smiled. "You could hang out with Speed. He's only got a short testimony in the morning. Then he can help you shop for a new suit."
"Sure." Xander squeezed him. "Love you."
"Love you too, Xander. Nap now. Time for a nap." Xander snuggled in better to hold him, making him smile. He loved his goofy little python. "I'm not a lemon." Xander eased up on his grip, making him more comfortable. Still very cuddled but not as tightly. He fell asleep after Xander, feeling him sucking on his neck. He did it most nights anymore so he was never going to get rid of the bruise. Which wasn't a bad thought. It was better than a ring in his book. Even if Eric did pick on him about it.
Xander found Speed coming out of the courthouse and beeped to bring him over. "Gordon said I needed a better suit to interview in. Something more conservative." Speed shuddered. "I know but I also have to find something hot for clubbing too, daddy. Wanna help?"
"Sure, I'll help. Even if I do have to go into a suit shop."
"Horatio gave me his."
"That's fine. Want to ride on my bike?"
"So? We'll drop them off after we've got a few." That got a smile and Xander found a garage for his precious car for the day, getting out and turning on his alarm. Speed pulled up on his bike. "We can drop it back here just as easily," he agreed. Xander took the spare helmet out of his trunk and got onto the back. They headed off for a short ride, just enjoying the time together for now. Xander pointed so he went into the suit shop's parking lot. He looked at him. "Conservative?"
"Gordon said it'd be a good idea."
"That's fine." He got off and they went inside. "My boy needs something for interviews."
"That's fine, sir."
"Horatio said I should ask for Paul."
"He's in the back," he said with a smile. "With the lab or interviewing with the lab?"
"I'm with the lab," Speed admitted. That got an understanding smile and Horatio's fitter came out. "Hey. Horatio sent my boy Xander to you."
"He was in here the other day picking up a new one and said one of them would look good on you," he admitted, leading him that way. "What purpose is the suit going for?"
"Interviews," Xander admitted. "We were thinking black since I've got a dark green and a dark red one. If it matters I'm going for massage positions."
"So probably not a tie but you should probably get one just in case," he offered. "For other things like dinners." He stopped at one. "This is the one Horatio was saying would look good on you and it would." He held up the tan one and Xander looked at himself in the mirror.
"He does have good taste," Speed offered. "But for interviews?"
"That might not be such a bad idea. Most spas are looking for relaxing people who can blend into the background." He took that one and led them to a few dark suits, finding one in Xander's approximate size. "There's this option. It's a bit hipper and stylish. Definitely not a cut Horatio would wear but it might suit him." He let him hold it up and Speed shook his head. "Hmm. Let's look a bit more classically then," he offered, putting that one back. He went back to the same rack and pulled off another one, handing it over. "More toward high powered rich person than boardroom or Horatio's usual style."
Speed wobbled on that one. "The tan one looked like it'd look better. Also, he's got some good arm muscles on him when he flexes."
Xander looked at him. "I'm also a dom."
That got a smile and a nod, getting a different cut of the same suit. This time the jacket did seem to suit his build better. "That one's the one you should try on." He had to get a bigger size for the tan one but he did try them on. "They would both look splendid on you."
"Does he really need four suits?" Speed asked.
Xander called his grandfather. "Tan or black for my new interview suit? They both look okay. Because then I'd have four suits and I'd never get around to wearing them all, Granddad." He looked at himself in the mirror then at his father. "He wants me to get both."
"A black suit is useful for other things," Speed admitted. "Whatever you want, Xander. It's your money." Xander looked hesitant then he hung up the phone, nodding. "How did he talk you into it?" he asked, seeing the look in his eyes.
"That's mean. He and I need to have a long talk about him guilt-tripping you again."
"I know but it's not right, Xander." He gave him a hug, looking at him. "I like this one better," he offered.
"I look like a Watcher."
Speed looked at him. "Which isn't always a bad thing for a job interview and we can dress it up with a better shirt. Your black one or the lighter green one would dress this up nicely." Xander nodded, accepting that. "Get them both." Xander sighed and nodded, letting the guy ring him up so they could get them fitted. It'd take a day before he could pick them up but that was fine. They headed out to go underwear shopping, which was more fun and less stuffy. Xander kept taunting him with a thong. He nearly chased him around the store with it. They ended up getting some funny looks so they checked out with their stuff and dropped it back at the car before heading to find Horatio for lunch. The small outdoor cafe was near the courthouse and had good sandwiches. It wasn't a big hardship for lunch. "Patrick made him get two suits. Including the one you thought would look good on him."
"The other can be for special dinners," Horatio said, smiling at his boy. "Will it be ready in time for your interview?"
"Barely." That got a smile. "If she doesn't reschedule again. She's done it twice now. Apparently management is scheduling frivolous meetings or something. So we'll see how it goes. If not, I'm going to go take a six-week class on a new style." That got a smile from his father. "The school down here offers a few things I've never heard of."
"That's fine. I like you in school, Xander. Even if it is only massage school. It's good for you and makes you happy." He smiled at that. "Besides, you'd be bored."
"True." He dug into his sandwich when it came, looking at his lover. "I've got that client tonight."
"I remember. Did you need to pick up anything for that?"
"Someone to look at the washer. They can't get out until tomorrow. I also need to hit a fabric shop." That got a smile. "I figured out how to recreate the furry tube. I can use something washable on a stiffer leather backing but have the washable part be removable by snaps or something."
"That could work," Speed agreed. "Can you get that made?"
"There's a few seamstresses in town. It's not that hard to do," he admitted. "It'd look like a quilt with buckles on the leather side." That got some smiles. "I should get a real table to put in there but I haven't yet. My new massage table's been doing special duties."
"Sometimes that's what you need," Speed agreed. "What about other stuff?"
Xander glanced around then at him. "I need to pick up some new oils and latex gloves, plus some new lube." That got a nod from Speed. "Other than that I should be okay." They watched as a hummer went screaming past with lights and sirens on. "Was that Eric or Ryan?"
"Eric," Speed said. "He's more loose in pursuit. Wolfe's tighter in his moves." He dug in, eating heartily. "Anything else we need?"
"Only if you're going to take me out to the Bondage Emporium, dad."
"Interesting image," he admitted. "Why?" His phone rang. "What's up, Calleigh?" He listened and smiled. "Actually I've been taking the son shopping on the bike." He looked at Xander. "Someone told her I was stepping out on her with someone small and tiny."
"I am not."
"From a distance you can't tell," Horatio admitted. "Ask her what Eric was doing."
"H wants to know what Eric's doing since he just rolled past us in pursuit." He listened then nodded once. "Okay. I don't think that's an issue. No, I've got to take him a few more places. Because we're having fun now that we're not in H's suit shop. Yes, dear, it had unicorns blessing each suit and elves weaving it. It was that mythical," he taunted. He smirked at Horatio, shaking his head. "She wanted to know if it was like a mythical realm."
"He said so too." He grinned. "That's fine. I'll see you for supper. Xan's got someone coming in tonight so I'll be home and I promise I won't pick up anything that would embarrass you." He smiled and hung up on her 'you'd better not' before she got to the couch threat. "Okay, where to next?"
"The oil shop I usually come out with a box of stuff," Xander admitted. "We could take the car for that so you don't get in trouble."
"I'm not in trouble. She wanted to know who I was out for a ride with. She thought it was Willow." Xander shook his head. "I know, she'd never ride with me. She's scared of bikes being dangerous." He looked at Ryan as he walked over. "Court?"
"Sucks," he agreed. "Horatio, I got called in suddenly to the plea bargain for Ohama."
"That's fine, Ryan. Go back when you can." That got a nod and he strolled off again. "What happened?"
"Eric's sister collapsed. He went to be with her."
"I can excuse the lights in this traffic for that," he agreed quietly. "She all right?"
"We're not sure what's wrong with her. Eric won't tell me," Speed admitted.
"I'll talk to him tonight," Horatio promised.
Xander coughed and looked at them. "They found a lump," he said quietly. "She's been in treatment." He ate another bite.
"He told you?"
"I made him tell me after he snapped at Willow."
"Thanks, kiddo. Now we know how to help him at least."
"Don't baby him, dad. He's trying to keep things normal."
"Of course he is," Horatio agreed. "But I can twitch his schedule now and then if he needs it. Give him longer lunches when he needs to be with her or pick her up. Let him make up more hours after shift and things." That got a gentle smile. "My team is like my family. Eric will have the support he needs, even if he's too stubborn to ask."
Speed looked at him. "Pot, kettle," he said dryly. Horatio glared back. Speed stared him down. "You and my boy both have that issue, Horatio Caine. I'd like that streak fixed as well. Before I tell him about someone shooting at the hummer and why."
"Ryan told me he was fine but not why. I figured someone had taken a shot during a capture," Xander offered. "Then I found the graze and made him tell me." He grinned at his father. "I'm fine though. Thanks, daddy."
Speed looked at him. "No you're not. You don't know the concept of backup, son. I'd like that to be fixed when things start to go wrong the next time, okay?"
"I ordered a cheeseburger with my onion rings. Chill."
"Not that one. That one was understandable. You did try to get help and the stew took the phone from your hands before you were resedated. Did she get fired?" He nodded. "Good. When it's normal things, you can ask. Like how your former boss stole stuff out of your locker to hock so he could stay in business."
"It's his own fault."
"It is," Speed agreed. "But we did find the three things he sold and your new watch came to the station today from the guard, along with a single stud earring." He grinned.
"That's fine. I told them it was going to be evidence."
"It is and we've found another one who sent you stuff. I think Ryan went to talk to them about it since a similar motive was used in the kidnaping attempt." Horatio shuddered. "Heard anything yet?"
"No, not yet, but there's a process server staring at us." He looked back, quirking up an eyebrow. "Us?" he mouthed. That got a nod. He nodded him over. He came over with a folded wad of papers. "Summons to appear in court?"
"Not exactly." He looked at Xander. "Mr. Alexander Harris?" He nodded. "You've been served, sir." He handed over the papers and made him sign his clipboard. "Thank you for being reasonable, sir." He headed off, going back to his lunch. He did bring back one for Speed, who sighed and took it then signed. "You as well, sir."
Speed looked at his. "Hmm. Ohama is suing the department for mental stress. Wolfe will have one soon. What's yours, kiddo?"
Xander looked at him. "Someone suing me for not dying in the fire." He handed it over with a look. "I need a lawyer."
"Probably should," he agreed. "That's so comical it's hysterical." He looked around then nodded at someone. "Him. Craig Todds. Todds," he called, making him look. "Can we have a few?" That got a nod and he came over. "This is my son, Xander."
"Pleasure to meet you. I've had to depose your father a few times. New case you're passing on?" Speed handed over the summons and he looked at it then at him. "You're joking?" Xander shook his head. "You got served with this?" That got a nod. He looked at him. "You look familiar."
"You probably saw me when my grandfather pulled me out for a charity event," Xander said quietly. "They beat and drugged me before putting me back in the fire. Can they do that?"
"No. They can't sue you for surviving the assault they did." He handed it back and one of his cards. "Bring that to me tomorrow morning, young man."
"I have a job interview at noon."
"I'm pretty free tomorrow." That got a smile and a nod. "Good boy." He went back to his table to tell the lawyers with him about that. They all looked horrified. A few of them were personal injury lawyers, but they still had more ethics than that!
"C'mon, kiddo, we'll go finish your shopping," Speed promised, getting a smile from his son. "We'll figure this out." Both summons were handed to Horatio and they left. They headed for the Bondage Emporium first. He knew they'd deliver if his son fell in love with something really huge, like the furry tubes they had out there. Unfortunately one didn't come undone and the one that did wasn't washable so he decided against those and decided on some new straps instead and some new leather cleaner and softener. He found a few scents of oil he liked and some new lube and condoms, then he checked out. "I didn't think straps were that expensive."
"They are if you're talking about working materials. Those will give me about every configuration I need and they'll probably last a good five to ten years with how I use mine and take care of them. I clean them more often than I probably should but I do that for my client's benefit," he said with a small shrug. The cashier gave him a funny look. "I'm Master Tim."
"Ooooh. I've heard about you," he said, smiling at him. "Replacing some of the stuff from the fire?" Xander nodded, taking his receipt. "We've just got in a new catalog."
Xander took a copy with a smile and a nod. Speed got one bag, he got the other and they went to drop them off in the car before going to the oil shop in it. The bike could sit in his parking spot for now. Xander was paying parking fees and it was a good garage. Speed watched as Xander tested the oil scents, coming up with his usual five and a few others he hadn't used yet. Plus an oil-based lube. "Condoms?" Speed asked quietly.
Xander looked at him. "Yell at my boys." He moaned. "I pointed that out but now and then Horatio gets picky." He shrugged and picked up the gloves he used and a few other things, then brought the basket up to the counter. "These this time."
"Working again?" she asked.
"I've got an interview but I can do it for the family until then. Plus I'm thinking about taking another class I haven't had yet." She smiled and handed over a catalog from the local school. "Thanks."
"Welcome, Tim." She handed him the small box. "There you go. Have a good interview."
"Thanks. Can you maybe kinda warn people off my last place? He canceled my appointments without consulting me." She nodded at that. "Thank you, Holly." He walked it out to the car and put it carefully in the back seat. "Okay. Home?"
"Home's good. Let me go get my bike." That got a nod and they went to do that, so he followed him home to help him put things up. Then he headed back to his house before his client could get there, finding Calleigh cooking. He washed his hands and jumped in to help. "We're done."
"Good. Did you get anything?"
"Some new underwear." He smiled. "Which I managed to leave at Xander's. He'll send H in with them tomorrow probably." She grinned at that. "I was a good boy. I didn't pick up anything at Bondage Emporium or the massage shop." She gave him an odd look. "He was replacing the straps he lost and needed more oils and gloves."
"Oh." She blinked. "I'll never understand that."
"Some people need it and some don't," he soothed, kissing the back of her neck. "He has good taste. He bypassed the lesser leather and went for the good stuff that'll work for whatever he needs. Expensive too."
"I bet. The whip we all pitched in on was nearly two hundred."
Speed nodded. "The straps were about three. The good working equipment is always more," he said. "The same as any old maglight will do but ours are a lot more expensive."
"True. I hadn't put it in that perspective." She smiled at him. "You missed it."
"What did I miss?"
"Poor Ryan, Willow stole all his boxers." He smirked at that. "He's too polite to take them back and she sleeps in them according to him so he doesn't want to take them back."
"They need to move in together for good," Speed pointed out.
"I'm thinking your stepdaughter's evil plan is going that way. She's moving into a two bedroom place tonight. It's a nice place too. She's subletting. The original guy is deployed. He was a banker. So she's got a really nice place near the school and he was talking about it all day."
He smiled at her. "Then she'll invite him to use her new spare room and pounce him, finally!"
"Oh, I think they've had a pouncing relationship already," she promised, smiling at him. "I caught her muttering about days."
"If she is pregnant I'm going to spank her and then let Xander do it," he vowed. "She's smarter than that and so is he."
"I'm pretty sure she's not," she promised. "She's not showing any of the other signs but Ryan has apartment envy." Speed grinned at that. "Then again he still has dish envy over the son's dish."
"I have dish envy over his dish," he admitted. She smiled at that. "I do! Where else can I get a show on rare books out of England?" She chuckled and swatted at him but let him flip the meat for her while she drained the vegetables. "He has an interview tomorrow at noon and two suits to choose from before then. Patrick talked him into getting both of the ones he liked. Then we went to do the more fun shopping and have lunch with Horatio." He paused. "He was wearing underwear when he came over at lunch to tell us Ohama had taken a deal."
"I made him go buy some and called Willow to point out she had to give some of it back. He and Eric had a very awkward talk about how to get things back from the women who steal your clothes because I made them."
"Eric just buys new t-shirts and underwear," Speed said with a shrug. "Unless it was a favorite so did I." She gave him a look. "I did." He smiled at the door when someone knocked, going to get it. "Horatio." The bag got handed over. "I expected it tomorrow."
"His client showed up at the same time I did so Xander asked me to deliver it and pick up some soda for later." He shook his head. "What was the problem with Ryan? I was talking with Eric and he mentioned it."
"Willow is a boxer thief."
"Ah. Well, he's not the first to go commando in the lab. I believe that was you, Speed," he said dryly.
"Not my fault she kept them and kicked me out of bed at five in the morning. Then you called for a scene, H. What did you expect?" That got an amused look. "Calleigh made him get more and talked with Willow. So he'll have a brand new bag of them on his bed by tonight."
"That's fine." He walked off shaking his head. His boys were amusing to watch at times. He still didn't want to know why Speed had thongs in the bag. It was bad enough when Xander wore one. He dutifully picked up soda on the way back to Xander's and settled in to read on the couch, the door mostly closed so no one would have to worry about him seeing them. Even if some of the sounds from the dining room did make him wince and hiss in sympathy. Damn the officer wasn't going to be able to sit tomorrow. He hoped he called off.
Ryan flopped down on his bed and the cat jumped up to nuzzle him. "Did we forget to move you?" She licked his fingers so he cleaned her ears for her. "Thank you, Miss Kitty." She got down and went to rub against a bag. "What is that? Did the mommy send a present and you?" He looked and then blushed. She had bought him new boxers. Some with cartoons on them. Some plain ones. There was a note saying she was sorry she had stolen his other ones and it wasn't fair to make him wash them after she had worn them so she bought him new ones. He laid down again, petting the cat while he called. "I wouldn't have minded if you simply washed them, Willow. Who called?" He smiled. He'd have to spank Calleigh tomorrow. "No, I don't mind that you borrowed some. I'll let you switch out some of these for some of my old ones even," he promised.
The cat meowed. "Yup, we forgot about her." He went back to petting her. "She's laying on my stomach being delightful at the moment. How are you settling in?" He smiled. "That sounds nice. Sure, I'll come over for dinner tomorrow after you're off class and I'm off work. That's fine, Willow. Yup, she misses you already." The cat nudged him so he looked at her. "Sneaking up to talk too?" He put the phone near her ear, letting her mommy tell her to take care of him for tonight and he could bring her home in the morning on his way to work. The cat meowed and went back to loving him. "I like you too, Miss Kitty." He listened to her. "She's being comforting. Sure, I'm here." He smiled. "I'll see you on the way in tomorrow morning, Willow. Sure. Be safe and sleep well tonight. No nightmares." He hung up and went back to petting his comforter. She was nearly as comforting as having Willow in bed with him was.
Speed looked over Ryan the next morning. "Well at least you managed to steal some back."
"She bought me new ones to make up for the old ones, but I told her she could wash some of them and bring them back so she could have the Smurf ones."
"Yeah, little, happy, blue people that were like animated prozac?" Speed snickered. "At least it wasn't the Strawberry Shortcake ones. She kept those."
Speed snickered. "That's so like her." He looked at him and saw the indecision. "Have a sudden need to have your apartment sprayed," he offered quietly. "Go sleep on her couch."
"I feel like I'm drowning," he admitted.
"Welcome to love," Calleigh said, giving him a hug before walking around him. "You can escort Xander to Vegas next time." She grinned. "But we get to throw the party."
Ryan grinned at that. "I'm not sure she ...."
"Yeah, she does," Calleigh assured him. "Willow's not an easy girl. She's not a first date girl. If you've gotten to see her in her jammies, you're as high as you're going."
"She bought him Smurf boxers."
"I remember buying you My Little Pony," she said happily, smiling at him. "Then you got scared."
"I did. The thought of you buying me underwear scared me," he agreed.
"Oh, I don't know why. Not with the thongs the son made you get," she teased.
"He swears up and down they're comfortable. So far they're not too bad except when I'm riding." She blushed and walked off. "Go be more like Horatio and Xander," he said quietly. "Take her to Vegas tonight. You've got tomorrow off. Take a sick day." Ryan blushed at that. "Really. Before she turns into Calleigh."
"I won't tell her you said that," he said with a small grin. "But I'll consider it."
"Do that. It'll give us a reason to throw a party." That got a nod and he walked off. Speed checked his watch. "Horatio's still late." He saw the hummer pull in and Horatio get out in a suit he knew wasn't his before. He leaned out. "Did you break into storage or something?" he called.
"Something like that. Raphael was over last night after his session left."
"He brought over the presents that had been sent to Patrick for them to gain permission to woo Xander. Including bribes to me to let him go."
"Interesting." He checked the tag. "Couture. Cute." He smirked at him. "Ryan managed to find boxers. Willow even bought him Smurf ones."
"Are we going to see the same amount of angst and freaking out that you did when Calleigh bought you My Little Pony ones?" he teased.
"Probably not. He's got that drowning in love feeling," he said with a small smirk.
"Good." He looked at him. "Should we have another talk about going commando?"
"I'm trying out the new thong. The son was right, they don't feel that bad after the first hour, except when I'm bent over on the bike." He walked off happier.
Horatio shook his head. "I did not need that much information, Speed," he called. He went to find Ryan, finding him thinking and not working. "Focus, Mr. Wolfe." He jumped. "The victims deserve your total focus. Or else you'll have to find a way to focus yourself and then come back to them."
"Um, I'm nearly done with this case."
Horatio looked at the sand sample. "That's not native."
"It's volcanic sand from Hawaii."
"Hmm. On the victim's body?" He nodded. "Was there any indication of some locally?"
"No and only one of them had been to Hawaii recently," he admitted. "But it's not enough to convict."
"Then talk to them," he said bluntly. "Once you can focus." Ryan opened his mouth. "Remember, you do have a date tonight and tomorrow off." Ryan swallowed and nodded. "And sick time if you need it." He smirked at him. "Solve this one first."
"Sure. Thanks, Horatio."
"Welcome, Ryan. She's a very special girl."
"She is." He blushed. "She's just so...great and special and she loves me and...."
Horatio held up a hand. "You're bordering on where Speed, Eric, and I would have to go 'ahh, that's adorable', Ryan," he said dryly. "Quit before I'm forced to coo." That got a snicker and a nod, and Ryan got back to work. Then he suddenly called Xander to borrow something of his while Horatio left to go to his office. He found Stetler in there. "Yes?" he asked dryly. "What need did you have to be in my office today?"
"I'm investigating a report that you're in an illegal relationship with a boy who's not legal, Horatio."
"Xander is legal and he's the only boy I'm in a relationship with."
"What about Sanders?" he asked with a sneer.
"Greg is not a boy and that relationship is none of your business either," he said bluntly. "Now, get out of my office unless you have a search warrant?" He smirked as he walked out. Horatio waited until he was gone to check his desk. He found something in the second drawer on the left side and it nearly turned his stomach. He paged Speed and Eric. "Get in here." They came in. "Get gloves, process my desk." He showed them why and Speed went to get a kit, looking grim.
"I know it's not yours, H, but who was in here?" Eric asked.
"If we can, we'll nail him," he promised. Speed came back with evidence collection gear and came in to get the pictures out of the desk, plus to dust for fingerprints. "Did he touch anything else?"
"I don't know. He claims he was in here searching for evidence of me being in an illegal relationship with a boy who wasn't legal."
"Yet, the pictures are of females," Speed said grimly. "Photo paper. It was printed off the internet." He bagged them and they went over the whole office. Even if it did look odd. "Was he wearing gloves?"
"No, and the door was closed when I came in," Horatio admitted.
"That's fine. It wouldn't have totally wiped his," Eric promised. "Go talk to the Chief now, Horatio." That got a nod and he headed that way. "That's low."
"Very," Speed agreed. Calleigh leaned in. "Out. Someone planted evidence in H's desk."
"Child porn," Eric said grimly.
She glared. "Who?"
"Still working on that," Speed pointed out. "Keep it quiet."
"Of course." She went to listen to the gossip going on. It wouldn't do any good to plant it if there weren't rumors so someone went looking.
Speed walked into the Chief's office, tapping on his main office door. "Got ten?"
"Of course, Speedle. Do you have something?"
"Yeah, the six pictures were all logged as evidence in another case," he admitted. He put that log down. "They used Horatio's login from a different office. They didn't know about the ID tags on the system." That got a smile. "I can prove who downloaded them and where they came from. I can't prove who put them in there because that's not who he found in his office."
"Where does the ID code come from?"
"The same officer who was charged. His computer was confiscated when it was found on his work system. I can't find out where it is. The ID tag would be with the computer unfortunately."
"But that does release Horatio of it."
"It's not in our control," he admitted. "It'll clear him but there'll be doubts until we find out who planted it and expose them publically within the station."
"I can see the point of that. That would tarnish our reputation but it would hurt your boss more if it was less public." Speed nodded. "Do what you have to do."
"He did tell you IAB was in his office?"
"He did and that he's made other hints about your son."
"He has," he agreed. "I'm not sure if he's approached my son or not."
"We should find out."
"We should but Xander's not one to ask for help." That got a nod. "So I'm not sure what the hell to do about that question."
"Send Delko or Wolfe. He's got a good relationship with them."
"Point. I was going to hint about watching out for future ones."
"Good. Keep me informed." He took that sheet. "The only copy?"
"Nope. Not by any means. Delko has a copy, Horatio has a copy, and so does Calleigh."
"Even better. Thank you, Speedle."
"Not a problem, Chief. I figured an update was due before you had to pull damage control." He left. "Taking a few off," he called back as he walked. He walked outside and nodded at Horatio. "I'm going to talk to my son."
"Agreed." He watched Speed walk down to the hummer that was his for the day and head out. This was pissing him off. He looked over as his boss came out. "Can I bring the whip back?" he asked bluntly.
"Let you boy do it, Horatio. He can let you sub in when his arms are tired." He smiled at him. "I know it wasn't yours. You have very good tastes in what's yours." He walked off, heading to talk to someone about this situation. It was going to be very messy for someone and that someone was probably not Caine.
Xander opened up the door at the knock. "Too many unpaid parking tickets?" he asked when he saw his father's official look and the hummer behind him. "Or did something happen?"
"Someone planted kiddie porn in Horatio's desk." He walked inside. "We think that same someone has at least approached you once."
"Depends on the identity of that someone. I've been approached a few times recently. Mostly by women. Once by IAB assholes with delusions of me charging for it."
"Really?" Xander nodded. "You didn't tell Horatio?"
"He asked how much I charged and I told him he didn't have that big of a need for therapy yet and he'd hate being whipped and caned until he broke so it didn't matter. Then I stared him down and pointed out I didn't charge for any other sort of time."
"Was that the only one?"
"No. He accused me of sleeping with you and Horatio both." He looked at him. "Are we sure?"
Xander sighed and nodded, leading him into the office. "I have automatic taping on the house, Dad. No one else knows that and I flush the system every morning unless I have to save down something. There's a video system in the dining room as well. That way I have it on tape if something happens." He got into his computer and pulled something up. Then he saved down the three encounters onto a CD. "That should play in the hummer," he offered, handing it over. "I'll make myself more accessible if you need me to."
"No, I don't want him anywhere near you."
"To prove that he's doing this, you'll need me to," he reminded him quietly. Speed nodded. He leaned back and opened a cabinet, pulling out a small box and then another drawer and a small sticker looking thing. He opened the box and pulled out a platinum watch. "This was given to me by someone who wanted more than my time. Patrick turned her down but she said to keep it, just in case I changed my mind. It's a gift for my boyfriend." He put the sticker onto the back and made sure it made good contact, then he held it up. "That is a listening device," he said quietly.
"Thank you, son." He took it and the box. "I'll make sure your boyfriend has the new bling."
Xander grinned. "Good. I'll make sure to wear one if I have to." That got a nod and he left. Xander purged the conversation they had just had then he went back to tidying up. He had to sweep the house and cut the grass. Of course, he needed a mower too. He went online to look at what type he could get, then decided a riding mower wouldn't be flexible enough around his bushes so he had to use a dreaded push mower and weedeater. He went to do that and get the new washer since his had quit working. Home Depot was great for that. He even managed a new grill. And they delivered!
Speed walked up to Horatio and held up the box. "From you boy."
"What's the occasion?" Ryan teased.
Speed looked around, they were outside. He smiled at him. "Because someone wanted him and he didn't want the watch." He took it out and held it up so Horatio could see it. "He said you could use some bling."
Ryan whistled and took it to look over, finding the bug, then he looked at Speed, who quirked an eyebrow up. "This is nice." He handed it to Horatio so he could see the bug, getting a smile and a nod. "Your boy spoils you worse than Willow spoils me."
"But Xander would never buy him Smurf boxers," Speed agreed happily. "He has different tastes."
"That's all right, I was going to bring over my lawnmower later."
"He was mowing when I went past there on a case," Eric said as he came out to join them. "That is a nice watch." He took it to look over, finding the bug. "That'll go well with the suit too, H." Horatio put it on and made sure it was fitting right. "That's very nice. Where did the boy buy it?"
"Someone gave it to him and refused to take it back. Told Patrick to let him see it so he'd reconsider having her."
"Ah. One of those," Eric said dryly. "You got another one at the desk. That's why I'm looking for you." Speed went to get it, bringing back out the box. "That's big."
Speed opened the end and looked then slid out the shoebox. He gaped in horror. "Oh, hell." He looked around. "Someone page Alexx please?" Ryan looked then did that. He put the box down on the stairs while Eric handed over his camera before getting bags. Alexx came jogging out. "Long dead," he offered, taking one last picture of the open box. He moved so she could see, watching her turn green. "Someone loves Xander."
"In the wrong way!" she said, taking the box carefully. "Someone needs to protect that boy!" She walked off the former penis and balls, plus heart.
"I hate to say it, but has anyone heard from Greg today?" Ryan asked quietly. Horatio pulled out his phone to call him. He smiled when it connected and Ryan relaxed. "Good."
"Warn him Willow's going to be out there soon," Speed offered, going over the wrapping paper. Plain brown paper. Looked like they had taken apart a paper bag. "We'll figure it out."
"I hope soon." He walked off talking to Greg, letting him know what was going on and touching base with him. He hadn't talked to him in a day or so.
Speed looked at Ryan. "Scoot." He nodded toward the parking lot.
"I'm still deciding."
"Wolfe, your woman could die in a freak accident tomorrow," he pointed out. Ryan went pale. "Still decision time?"
He nodded, walking off looking numb. He found Willow and drug her into his arms for a kiss, making her moan and clutch his neck. He walked her off and headed to borrow Xander and Patrick's jet to take her off for some serious time alone.
Horatio came back and looked around. "Ryan?"
"Left after I reminded him she could die tomorrow," he said, looking at Horatio.
"Were it legal I would, Speed."
"Good." He looked at the wrapping paper then back at him. "You do realize that there's a change coming, right? That I'm not the only way someone can suddenly reappear from the dead?"
Horatio stiffened and looked at him. "Another vision?"
"Something I saw before I came back. Preparing you now for the bad shocks later."
"Thank you. I'll keep that in mind."
"Please. We don't need you to spaz at that time, Horatio. And yes, before you ask, he cleaned my gun for me last night."
"Thank you." He went back inside.
"That is a nice watch," Calleigh said in awe. She looked it over and found the bug. "Ooh, present?" she asked with a smile.
"Someone sent it to Xander to make him consider them and their affections. He's lending it to me today to go with the new suits I got sent as a bribe to let him go."
"You are adorable in couture," she teased. She looked at the back. "Small engraving, but I think we can consider it cute." She handed it back with a wink and a grin. Then she went to find a monitor that would pick up the bug. They didn't have one but Xander had one that got delivered from the local spy shop when she called. It even had a tape player already enclosed.
Greg stormed into the office, going right to the office. "When is my time down there?"
"Two weeks, why?" Grissom asked.
"Because someone decided to plant child porn in Horatio's desk to discredit him."
"Then maybe you should consider moving it back, Greg." He looked stunned. "They can use your relationship for the same thing," he said quietly. "It's been done out here before."
"No. He said it's not about that. They're after Xander." He sighed and nodded. "Can I move it up?"
"Not really. We arranged it so you'd have that weekend off and then take an extra three days. You'd have to cancel the old leave and then reschedule the time this week." Greg sighed. "Have you called Xander?"
"Yeah. He gave Horatio a bug that was on a watch he got sent. They think they know who and they're taking every precaution but I want to be down there."
"I know, Greg. I understand that," he agreed. He smiled at him. "Go tell Lady Heather so she doesn't hear about it some other way." He nodded. "Also, I got a head's up. Ryan Wolfe is coming out tonight?"
Greg smiled. "He's dragging his girlfriend. He wanted to know the best place to go for the wedding. He's marrying Xander's friend Willow." He relaxed some. "I'll go tell Lady Heather if you'll give me a few hours."
"Of course. Go." He nodded and left. Grissom smiled. They'd have to make sure Ryan and his girlfriend Willow didn't get into the same sort of trouble that Xander did.
Greg walked into Lady Heather's a half hour later, looking at her secretary. "Is she busy? I've got news from Miami she needs to hear. Not a tragedy but a warning."
"She is with a client," the secretary admitted. She wrote out a message and let him sign it. Then she sent it off with a page. "Sit, Gregory."
"I didn't expect anything else." He sat down properly, no matter how much he wanted to pace. Her last client left and he stood up when she came back. "Grissom agreed I should warn you as well."
"Was someone injured?"
He stepped closer so he could whisper in her ear. "Someone planted kiddie porn in Horatio's desk to discredit him. They're thinking it's the IAB guy who keeps bothering him." Then he stepped back to a respectful distance, looking at her. "We thought you should hear that before it got back to you in rumors."
She nodded. "I appreciate knowing that. I know he's not like that."
"But if it is to discredit him, they think he's aiming for Master Tim," he said quietly.
"Oh, dear. What's happened now?"
He smiled. "He said he sent you an email about the stuff Raphael and Patrick got given for him?"
"I did get one, yes," she admitted. She pursed her lips then nodded. "That would set that individual off and his other problems would make him uncautious," she agreed finally. "They're handling it effectively?"
"He sent Horatio a watch he had been given, only slightly modified," he offered with a small grin. She smiled back. "His team has the investigation. Also, did you hear that someone is trying to sue him for surviving the fire and assault?"
"I hadn't. Who is trying?"
"One of the suspects but the DA down there still won't charge him with it."
"She hates Horatio."
"Ah. Personal reasons." She nodded. "Where did we get this information from?"
"The father had to tell you?"
"I asked, Xander said he laughed it off and has a lawyer for it. He said there's no way they can win so he didn't want to worry either of us."
"Excellent. Anything else I should hear?"
"I'm still going down in two weeks if you wanted me to carry a letter for you, Lady Heather."
She smiled and nodded. "I can write one by then," she promised, stroking his cheek. "Finish calming down, Gregory, then head back to work."
"Yes, Lady Heather." He kissed her on the cheek. "Have a good night." He left, going to get some better coffee and some chocolate. He was on the Xander diet for calming down at the moment. It made him feel closer to him since he had been taken from him.
"It sounds like I need to call my student," she mused as she walked into her office. "Do I have anyone else?"
"Newbie coming in at ten, Lady Heather."
"That's fine. Page me when they get here." She sat down to call down there. "Xander, dear, what is going on?" He rambled on about everything that had went on while he said he was getting dressed to go out with Speed and Eric since Horatio had went home by himself that night. She 'tsk'd a few times at the whole story. "You are being safe and careful?" She smiled at that. "Then I wish you much happiness. Gregory told me, dear. I know you didn't want to worry me. I'm not worried. I'm worried about the presents that've been given over but nothing else. Hmm, I haven't heard anything on that family," she admitted. "I'll see if anyone knows anything. Of course, dear. You be safe tonight and be happy. That's my boy." She smiled and hung up, cheered up by him immensely. He always made her smile. If she were more evil she would probably be stalking him as well. But she wasn't evil so she only wanted to mother her poor student. She called her other one.
"Emil Santiago, have you talked to your fellow student?" she asked quietly. "Actually, yes, there is a reason he could use your contacts. He was stolen from here the last time he came out. Some Middle Eastern man who was also trying to take a semen sample," she admitted, making him laugh. "Exactly. We haven't heard anything more since they got him back. I was wondering if any of your contacts had." She smiled and made notes. "Thank you, dear. Actually, I'm more worried about where the sample he took ended up." She smiled and chuckled. "Please, if you find anything. Myself or him. He's still taking private clients and is making plans for future ones," she admitted. "He's not sure he wants to restart it or not. He had personal problems with some of his massage clients. Of course he would." She smiled. "Thank you, dear. No, he's going out tonight with his father and another of his coworkers. That's why," she agreed, making notes. "Thank you, Emil. You have a good night and be safe." She hung up and relaxed before getting up to write Xander an email. That way he had information and he knew that others were looking for more for him.
Speed watched his son from where he was dancing then caught Eric's eye with his partner's twin. They got drug further into the crowd and he looked at her. "He's my son."
"I didn't think you were that old."
"Then you're a great guy but he can handle it. Or else you would've went somewhere softer and fluffier." She saw his look. "He'll be fine!" she said acidly.
He glared and she stomped off. "Whatever, not worth the stress," he called after her. He checked where his son was, he was dancing so it was clear. He made eye contact and got a smile so he joined him. "Hey, kid."
"Hey, Dad." The people around them look. "He's my daddy." He leaned against his chest in a hug and they all smiled and moved closer. He winked at his father. "I'm being good."
"I'm sure you are." He moved in rhythm. His son was definitely good. Eric got free of his slut and came over to join them. Eric was drug away a few minutes later and Speed got separated from Xander again too. He saw Xander undoing his button-up shirt to get down to his tank-top and they all apparently liked that. His shirt got stolen but he pouted so he got it back. They all appreciated his abs when he put the shirt into his beltline and went back to it. He got turned around by his current partner and lost track of Xander but he saw Eric looking over in worry. Then his boy was there tugging on his arm and nodding. They headed out, him having to dodge his partner. Eric got hit on all the way out. Xander's shy boy grin got him a few numbers too. Speed played chaperone outside and then into the Jag. "You good?"
"I'm fine," he agreed, taking off his wire and putting it into the glovebox since Eric had wanted to drive.
"I didn't see him," Eric said.
"You were trying to get into the twin's pants. He left when Speed got free."
"Anything bad?" Speed asked.
"Nope, not that bad. I'll give it to Horatio in the morning." That got smiles. "By the way, I tanked my interview. She got a phone call in the center of it and forgot who I was. By the end I got a 'whatever' and a look of 'why are you bothering me' so I left three-quarters of the way through."
"They're being bought at the moment," Eric offered.
"It was still rude."
"Point. It was." They pulled into the driveway and headed inside, Eric going to his favorite channel to see what was on, and when it ended up being regular hockey he hit the TIVO to see what was saved down for him and copy some of it. "Hey, Miss Nude World." He settled in with the bag of popcorn Xander made him while father and son went upstairs to talk.
Xander sat down on his loveseat, curling up with his father once he had opened the doors so they could see the view. "I'm not liking this guy."
"Neither do I, kiddo. I think it's repressed lust personally." He heard the loud beep and looked around. "Your phone?"
Xander got up to search for it, coming out with the bomb he was pulling wires off of. "Nope. We should probably call someone and check the rest of the house." He went to do that, finding another one in his office and his computer being compromised. So he slid in something that Willow had done for him and countered it, fixing his system until someone more competent could get to it. Officers came rushing in. "They're both disarmed and in here," he called. They came rushing in. "Someone was trying to destroy my computer too." He handed over both bombs. "I don't think they've got a backup."
"We'll make sure, sir." They headed outside with them and brought in the dogs to do another search, just in case.
Someone else came in to look over his shoulder. "What are you doing?" Cooper asked.
"Using something Willow created to undo the damage and retrieve the files they were trying to erase. Dad, go check the dining room?" he called.
"Already did," Speed admitted, walking in. "They got the computer too?" He nodded. "Huh. There's blood in there. Eric's test from his kit said it's not human. It's probably easily cleaned."
"Good. Go ahead and do whatever."
"I need the keyboard."
"No you don't. They dialed in." He looked at them. "It stopped the countdown when I removed the ethernet plug."
"Good," Cooper agreed. "Can I get in there?" Xander got out of the way and let him play with it. "Wow."
"Yeah, well, I had Willow's help creating it." He looked at his father. "Let's go see if anything's missing." They went that way and he looked around. "Yup. I had two whips and the new straps out to soften." He looked around. "There's the straps but I don't see the two new whips I got in Monaco."
"I do," Speed said, pointing at one. "That one?" He looked at the chandelier and nodded. "What's the other?"
"A new cat-o-nine tails."
Speed walked in carefully and found it hiding beside the cabinet Xander used to store things, getting a nod. He opened it and winced. "They all need cleaned."
"I was going to do it anyway." Speed held up one, letting it drip. "I put papers in there, the stuff Grandsire gave me." Speed looked and shook his head. "It was who had given me things." He went back to the office and found it in the filing cabinet but it had bloody fingerprints. "Someone wen through my filing cabinet!" he called. Eric came in and moved him. "That file was in the dining room in the cabinet."
"Sure. Out. Where do you keep your files on your clients?" Xander shook his head. "You don't keep files?"
"Not paper files." He walked over to the safe, taking the gloves Eric handed him so he could open it. He showed him the DVD holder. "That's my files on my clients. All sessions are taped and then downloaded off the system afterward. I dump everything non-pertinent daily after breakfast."
"Is that what the audio file blinking at me is?" Cooper asked.
"Depends, when was it?"
"Um, yesterday. When you gave Horatio the watch."
"No, that's where I put a bug on his watch. Check the backups. It automatically backs it up whenever I hit the alarm and I did that on the way out. I have audio recording sensors everywhere but the dining room, which has video sensors to record sessions." Cooper looked at him. "I have to in case someone else who gives me presents comes in, DC."
"Good point. You dump it daily?"
"Yeah, everything I don't want to keep I dump after breakfast."
"Cool." He let Xander come over and log him into that system. "Sweet," he said in awe.
"Yes, I am. That's why so many people want me," he teased. Cooper snickered at that, and that's when the bomb squad guys came back in. "Anything else?"
"Any idea who did this yet?"
"I'm wondering if it's the same guys who burned his first house," Cooper admitted.
"I've heard a couple of other doms have had threats and fires," Xander admitted. Eric looked at him. "We thought you guys knew. Arson squad has at least three that I've heard of."
"Then why the bombs?" the bomb squad guy asked.
"Because I survived and moved on to reopen for my private clients," Xander offered. "I'm Master Tim if it matters." That got a gape and one guy nodded that he knew that. "I'm also Speed's adopted son."
"So they're really screwing with the wrong person," Cooper said happily. "We have video, Eric. Good quality, high resolution video with excellent audio pickups."
"Of course. Why not spring for the best to keep my ass safe and to go over any scenes?" Xander said dryly. "Thank you guys for the help. Want some sodas or something? I've got bottles of water if you want."
"That's okay, sir. How did you know how to disarm the bombs?" one guy asked.
"Back in Sunnydale...."
"'Nuff said, heard about it," the guy who nodded noted. "Giles taught you?" he sighed. Xander nodded. "You're the reason we got the destruction load of explosives from a secure storage site?"
"I was. Horatio was a bit horrified that I was keeping it away from him. Was that from here?" They all looked confused. "I'm still keeping stuff from Giles' hand." He went down to the basement, those two following him. He dug into his supply bunker down there, then came out. "Not from my stash at least." He closed and locked it again. "I can't see anything else missing either." That got smiles and the one guy walked off shaking his head. "You know Giles?" he asked.
"My wife's a second daughter and ran away after spitting at her father," he admitted. "I've heard."
Xander nodded. "Willow's marrying Ryan Wolfe tonight we think." That got a smile and he went to tell his wife that.
"Please have Lieutenant Caine keep an eye on your collection?" the head guy said quietly.
"I do. I have it all indexed. I know every single piece in there, Captain. I clean them all weekly." He saw the glance at Speed's back and smiled. "His and Horatio's too. I go through my collection every single week." That got a nod and he left. He went to peek into the dining room. "Should I call Horatio?"
"I'll tell him later," he promised. "Go help Cooper putter on the computer." He nodded, going to do that. Eric walked in. "Anything else missing?"
"It was in the filing cabinet with a bloody fingerprint. I've pulled some others out of the office. Cooper is in lust over his surveillance system."
"He needs it, Eric, and he does dump it every single morning if it's not important." He held up a disc with his name on it. "That's when you were drunk and hitting on Calleigh and then him. He said we could show it during your thirtieth birthday party."
"Gee, thanks." He went to make sure that's what it was and Xander gave him a hug for finding it. "My thirtieth?"
"Of course. You've got to celebrate the slide into the second third of your life." He went back to the kitchen. "Anyone need water or anything? I promise not to cook but we have cookies because Willow was worried."
"Let us get done first," Speed called. He shook his head.
"You have an email from Lady Heather, Xander," Cooper called. He squealed and bounced back. "You know, you don't usually seem that gay," he teased with a bright grin.
"I can still kick all three of your asses, Cooper, plus be gay." He moved him and sat down to read it, grinning. "Hey, Daddy, the sperm sample the guy who kidnaped me took has disappeared into the ether. Someone's still trying to make you a grandfather." He heard the moan and googled his name. "Hmm. Blog entry!" he called. "They're naming my supposed clients." He clicked on a link to send a new comment and typed in very carefully in proper English that those were people who had sent his grandfather presents for him, not the people he acted as doms for. Then he thanked them for making it easier for the MDPD to catch them for the fires they had set. Cooper shook his head took off the part about the fires, leaving it at 'catch them'. Then he sent it. "How many do you need for a good trace?"
"Keep going," he ordered, calling in. "Reload it, see if they've answered. Hey, it's DC. I'm here at Speed's son's house. Someone planted bombs and trashed his work area again. They've found a list of names of people who sent him presents and put it up as a list of his clients." He read off the livejournal address and nodded. "Reload it again, Xander."
"New message. They don't believe me," he sighed, typing in a new comment. He looked and Cooper nodded. "Sending it."
"He sent his, they responded within minutes. You there?" He nodded. "Reload it they just answered back and she needs another one." Xander read it and laughed then typed in a slightly ruder comment about their intelligence being less than the average monkey's and did he care if they exposed the people who sent him presents to woo him? If they wanted everyone to know who sent him a platinum rolex, that was their business. They could deal with the person who sent it when they sued them. He sent that one. "He sent it." He smirked. "Gotcha. Trap it, keep it, flag it for me please. Thank you. Bombs, broke in, ripped shit up," he said grimly. "Tried to take out his computer. Didn't count on the surveillance system he's got installed," he said happily. "Thanks." He hung up. "Download all the retrieved surveillance files." Xander gave him a look. "Please."
"I can't give you session information, Cooper. I work under a confession vow."
"Okay, how about everything but that." Xander shrugged and downloaded the audio only files and today's video files. "That's the rest of the house?"
"For the last two months, since we installed it."
"Great, Xander. Thank you." He patted him on the back and gathered the other files he needed, then bagged them and headed out to the hummer. Eric was putting in bags and envelopes of things. "Got what I needed and I think Mirna has a clue," he admitted. "She sounded a bit shocked at the contents of that page." He looked at him. "But she did trap and flag the site and I'm headed back to make sure. I've got the audio only files for the rest of the house. That way I didn't compromise any sessions."
"That's fine. Let me know, okay?"
"Of course, Eric." Speed came out with his few things. "That's all you have?"
"It's all the same animal blood. We can hose it out easier." He handed over his camera. "Here you go. I'll tell H in the morning." That got a nod and they headed back together. He went inside. "We'll have to wait until tomorrow to clean up the mess."
"If I must."
"Yeah, you must, but that's okay. I can help." That got a small smile. "Anything good?"
"Yeah, they answered back that they wished I had blown up." That got a smirk. "So I asked if there were bombs planted since nothing went off. They answered that there had been three."
"Bomb squad found one on the back porch," he admitted. He called Eric. "Tell Cooper to save down the site as soon as he gets in. They just admitted to planting bombs as well." He hung up and pulled Xander up, letting him settle into his lap to cuddle. "I've never dug into your system."
"Willow upgraded me and did the surveillance stuff."
He looked through the system. "It's a good job." He went back to giving him a cuddle, reading the email from Lady Heather when he brought it up. "Huh." He forwarded it to the agent over his kidnaping and then went back to his cuddle. His son needed a better day. He hadn't even had the good hitting on in the club.
Speed walked into Horatio's office. "The last time I knew this was your day off."
"It still is," he admitted. He laid the reports and pictures on his desk. "That was Xander's last night. He's fine. I woke up curled up with him again."
Horatio looked through it and then back at him. "Everyone's fine?"
"He's just fine." Xander strolled in. "But I brought him in with the tape of last night at the club." Xander handed it over with an evil smirk then stepped back. "Plus, the idiots stole the present list off him thinking it was his client list. They put it on live journal. We got them to implicate themselves in it and the attempted bombing. Cooper had it traced."
"I wondered why he looked so happy."
"He probably listened to Ryan being drunk and babbling about Willow the other night," Xander offered. "Either that or they decided to listen to the audio-only recording from the living room the night before when I got mushy."
"Probably that one knowing Cooper," he decided. He called down there. "Do you have a user for me?" The clip was played. "No he's listening to Eric babble about Miss Nude World contestants. Do we have who did it, Cooper?" He smiled. "Thank you." He hung up. "There's a small morality group on campus who is claiming credit apparently."
"Pity for them." Speed looked at Xander. "You might want to listen to the tape, H. He won't let me."
Horatio pulled out some headphones and listened to it then looked at his very young lover. "Not bad."
"Thank you. Probably not good enough."
"You might be surprised," Horatio admitted. He looked at the other information when Cooper brought that in. He looked at him. "Good work."
"Dump any of the audio files that aren't pertinent and do not save down any of the personal ones or else I will get the one of you watching the last hockey match," he said firmly, staring him down.
"Yes, Horatio." He shifted. "Anything else? Because he was cooing at something yesterday."
"They brought the dog over," Xander pouted. "Holly's very cute. She's Grandfather's guard dog."
Cooper looked at him. "Have I mentioned recently how odd you are, Xander?"
Xander beamed. "Yeah, and? Do I care what others think? I went through that wringer with Cordy, Buffy, and Willow. I gave up."
He laughed, walking out. "At least Willow doesn't sound so bad."
"She's not, now," Speed admitted. "So?"
"Fingerprints match the name on the ISP registration," Horatio offered. "Who had the scene?"
"Me and Eric."
"I'll send Eric to get them. See if they're related to the suit about the fire or the fire itself." They nodded. "Xander, keep doing that, all right?" He nodded. "Good job everyone." They all went off, Xander and Speed to enjoy an afternoon doing father and son things.
Eric walked in. "They going for a ride?"
"They said father and son things the other day, nothing else," Horatio admitted, handing over the evidence. "You have their blessing to have fun and find out if they were part of the original fire or the suit."
"What about the tape from the club?" Horatio rewound it and let it listen to it, getting an evil smirk. "Have fun with that."
"Oh, I plan on it." He got up and went to have a copy made, which made Cooper wince and look sickened. "Exactly, Mr. Cooper."
"Have fun, Horatio, man." He handed it over once he had a copy and watched him walk out. Then he shuddered. "Only fools go up against that man about his family," he reminded himself, getting back to work on his next case. Then he called Ryan. "Where are you?" he demanded. He got hung up on. "Hmm. Fiery new wife. Have to get an appropriate gift for the wedding party."
Horatio walked into a small office about an hour later, then put the tape down in front of Rick. "So, you went up to my boyfriend last night?" he asked. He looked stunned. "Xander, due to the fire and the present giving situation, is always wired on my orders, Rick. He doesn't know where it is either. He doesn't know that he is wired. Strangely enough I decided to check the feed this morning," he said with an evil smirk that made the other man shudder. "I believe you know what I heard." He started the cleaned up copy of him hitting on him and telling him that Horatio was only in it for the ass. That he'd have to make some decisions to keep Horatio out of his sights. "You're wrong, Rick. Xander is mine. Fully mine. He will be staying mine. Forever if I have my way. Now, you were bothering my boyfriend in a bar after, suspiciously enough, photos were planted in my desk. This does not look good, Rick. Would you like to offer an explanation about any of this before I go to the Chief or your boss?"
"That's fine. Leonard?" The head of Internal Affair's came in. "I believe you have the original of this tape?"
"I do and it's very interesting with the planting of those photos. By the way, what did you find, Horatio?"
"Fingerprints from the officer they were confiscated from. We're still trying to figure out where your department put his computer."
"The Feds took it," he admitted. "If I had it I'd do that." He looked at his guy. "Would you like to give *me* an explanation?"
"No. I didn't do anything but hit on his boyfriend."
"You were in my office right before those pictures were found," he pointed out.
"True," Horatio agreed. "And while it could have been that officer, I think someone would've noticed him going into my office with all the glass walls we have in the labs," Horatio said blandly. "I asked and looked at our surveillance tapes. It was either you or magic for ten hours before then, Rick. The janitor was the only other one in there." That got a shrug. "So, we should talk."
"I'm not talking to you. I may answer to my boss, but not to you, Horatio."
"You will, Rick." He looked at the head of Internal Affairs again. "This will be handled?"
"If I can find proof. I will make sure he doesn't go near your boyfriends again."
"Not denying it?" Rick sneered.
Horatio looked at him. "Technically, Greg is Xander's. We share." That got a horrified look. "Anything else?" He slowly shook his head. "Good." He walked out smirking.
"You know, they have a saying in Patrol about when Horatio Caine walks into your office," he said, slamming the door shut. "I'm finding it's true, Stetler. Now, you *will* answer my questions or I will have your badge."
"Fine. I still didn't plant the pictures. It's not a bad idea but I didn't do it. I answered a tip saying that they had found them there."
"Anonymous to the tip line."
"I've checked. There wasn't one."
"My personal tip line." He dialed into his voicemail and let him listen to the message. "It's clouded by an audio scrambler," he admitted. "I went to check on it."
"The proper procedure..."
"I don't care!" he snapped back. Rick settled down again. "I'm very aware of your problems, Rick. I want you to stay away from the lab. Anything with that lab goes through Ian or Phil."
"Fine." He handed over his files and copied the ones off his computer, handing them over. "Take them and deal with his boyfriend."
"His boyfriend is nineteen."
"He's selling his time."
"Being a dom doesn't mean he's selling his time, Stetler. It means he enjoys beating people so they cry." He looked stunned. "Look it up online. Not all of it is sexual in nature. The boy's said often enough he takes in officers and agents who need therapy after things like shootings. He gives them the absolution they need. Get off your high horse."
"Then what is he doing with Speedle?"
"That's his adoptive father. He saved the kid's life."
"He's always curled up with him."
"He's a tactile person," he said with a scathing look at him. "I'm sure Caine spends a lot of time holding him too. Probably to keep him from bouncing. The fact that they're so cute it's nauseating doesn't make it illegal, just a reason for a lot of ginger ale and soda crackers." He walked off to go over the evidence again. It wasn't enough to fire him but more than enough to put him on a watch list and probation.
Rick glared at the door, planning his next move. His secretary came in with his lunch bag. "I didn't bring lunch."
"It was delivered for you, sir. I've already ran the drug and poison test. It's clear." She walked off, heading back to her desk.
He checked the sandwich and bag of chips. They looked fine, even if it was a BLT. He dug in, eating while he thought. He was still planning when he started to feel a bit sick and he knew. He just *knew* who had made the sandwich. The rumors said that the kid could ruin anything he cooked. He went to make himself get sick before he spent another night in the ER with food poisoning. He could only hope it was in time. Then he went to call his boss about this to let him get Horatio or Speedle. His secretary brought in a note later saying what he had been given. He ended up driving himself to the hospital while the crime lab took care of the wrapper and the rest of the poisoned food. Someone was after him for going after the kid! How dare they!
Xander flipped open his phone to answer the text cheep he got. He nudged his father and handed over the phone then went back to watching the movie. If someone had decided to poison Stetler on his behalf, okay. Horatio might be in a cuddly mood later. His father typed back a message and sent it, then got into the menu to mute the screen's lights since they were in a movie. Eric wrote back a new one and he nudged Xander, showing it to him. Xander looked at him and he nodded. He rolled his eyes but went back to cuddling on his father's shoulder while they watched the sappy movie that no one else in the lab would believe they were at. The next text message got handed over immediately and he shrugged at his odd look.
Speed looked at the one that said Greg loved him and he was ready for him when he came down. Then he sent one back saying he and Xander were in the movies but he'd let Xander pick him up in that case instead of someone from the lab and they'd leave him alone for dinner that night. He was sure Greg was bright red but oh well. He handed it back after flipping back to the last message. Xander frowned at him but wrote one saying he was more than happy with that and he had the whole house cleaned and spiffy so they didn't have to do anything but cuddle. Then he sent it with a grin.
Greg read the response to the message Warrick sent, then hit him on the arm. "It went to his father, idiot." The second one came in and he grinned, then held it up so he could read it. "That's my man." He tucked it away and went to shower and change.
Warrick shook his head. "You have it so bad, Greg."
"Yeah, but I've got a reason. Have you seen my boys?"
"I have seen them both now and they're cute. Not my type but cute." Nick walked in. "I sent a text message to his boy and got one back from his father."
"Got the wrong ID?" Nick teased. "You're usually so much more careful, Warrick."
"No, Xander and Speed are out doing dad and kid things today," Greg called from the showers. "They're at the movies. Since someone was trying to bomb his house last night he probably thought it was about the case and handed it over."
"Excuse me, bombed?" Nick asked, walking into the showers. "What are you doing?"
"Getting some privacy. I got a text from Lady Heather earlier about something." He went back to reading it then looked at him. "Xander's not going to be happy. The guy who kidnaped him left his estate to him and his future child so he would have to take care of her mother, his wife." He forwarded that to Horatio and Patrick. Then his phone rang. "Sanders." He smiled. "Hi, Patrick. Yeah, that's what Lady Heather sent. He is?" He perked up. "That's kinda cool. I can do that. How's Tara?" He beamed. "Great news!" He wiggled some. "Cool. I'll see him there in a few, man. No, I'm just getting off. No, I pulled a triple," he sighed. "I'm going home. I'm exhausted. I'm coffee'd out. I'm going home after a quick stop out there if he wants to see me. Thanks. I sent it to you and Horatio. Xander's in the movies with Speed today." He grinned. "Sure." He hung up. "Patrick's fuming," he said. "But Raphael is out here." He got up and came out to get cleaned up, then he grabbed his jacket and walked out. Grissom gave him an odd look. "I'm just now getting back with Warrick and Nick," he protested. "No way in hell, Grissom. I just pulled a triple."
"Greg," he said patiently.
"You're the one who sent us out to search for the body in the middle of the dessert. I have a sunburn. I can't take any more coffee, and I'm cabbing home so I can crash. With a possible stop at Lady Heather's since Xander's Grandsire is out here."
"I still need you here."
"Then you'd better invent a machine to wake my ass up, Grissom. I haven't slept in nearly thirty-six hours." That got a grimace. "So I'm going home now. Night." He walked off, shaking his head. "I'm not a robot who runs on coffee," he said when Catherine gave him a dirty look. "I just got back for the desert looking for the body. I've been in my vest for the last twenty-six hours. Tough!"
"Sure, Greg." She watched him go. Then she ran into Grissom watching him. "He did sleep in your office, Grissom."
"Point," he said, frowning some. "He still smarted off too."
"Well, if you can't get more coffee into him, he's going to." He gave her a look. "Don't try."
"Fine." He walked back, finding Warrick crashed in the breakroom. "You too?"
"I'll have Lady Heather beat your ass for Greg and I if you wake me before I've had at least two hours, Gris. I'm just as exhausted as Greg is and I'm hoping he's not driving," he said blandly, keeping his eyes closed. "Go nag Nick. He came in late last night because he slept in."
"Fine. Nick, I need a report."
He looked at him. "You've got to be joking." Grissom frowned. He sighed and followed. "We found bodies but not the one they said. We went over it a few times, Grissom. Not a body dog or the ground sensing radar worked. I'm sorry, man, but it was a bad tip and I'm just as toasted as Greg is from the sun, even with sunscreen." Someone put something cold on his neck, making him yelp. "Sara!"
"Aloe gel. Helps me. Greg's car is still in the lot?" She handed him the tube from the fridge.
He went back to putting it on his neck, face, and arms. "Greg slept here the last time he slept," Nick reminded her. "He hasn't seen his home in two days and he only got a few minutes sleep then. Let Warrick sleep too."
"Sure. So is it my turn?" Grissom nodded. "That's fine. Have we tried switching the map numbers around?"
"That puts it in the Florida Keys," Grissom told her.
"Well, Greg's going down there," she offered. "Send him early. It'll give him a few extra days and let him sleep and be less grumpy."
He smiled. "That's a generous thought."
"I'm tired of seeing him do his coffee dance while he waits for it to brew," she said with a small grin. "Please?"
Nick handed her back the aloe gel. "You'd rather see him without it? He turns more hyper and goes into 'destruction is cool' mode."
"No, I'd rather Grissom quit forcing coffee on him every three minutes so he'd find a balance. Or that whatever Lady Heather does to him is done nightly so he's happy and less bouncy."
"Mostly they talk about Xander," Grissom told her.
"And I so believe that. Not like I care. Really." She walked off shaking her head. "Warrick, any chance they're down in the Keys?"
"If so, Greg can go early. Let me sleep or else," he ordered.
"Sure." She put back the aloe gel then got her bottle of water before leaving him alone. She knew that sort of tired and Warrick could get mean when he first woke up.
Grissom sat down to call Horatio. "I have an interesting case. We have a murderer who gave us coordinates on a map. It's one of those maps where each side is numbered the same. The FBI decided it was in our backyard with the way he gave it. We can't find it anywhere. But if we don't, then it's down in the Florida Keys." He smiled. "I can fax down what we have, let you talk the people down there who'd know. Thank you, Horatio. If so it was suggested we abuse Greg by making him come down to work and withhold his play time." He smiled. "Sara actually. He's been hyper recently. Thank you. I'll fax it down immediately." He hung up and turned to fax that down there. Then he looked at Nick. "We'll see."
"Good because I'm not going back out there without a tent. We were so far out in the dessert even the snakes weren't there." He got up and stretched. "Speaking of abuse and home. Heading there myself." He headed out, choosing to drive. He was still mostly lucid so it was fine. He wasn't quite as tired as Greg. No one could sleep on Grissom's couch and get any real rest. It had been days since Greg got real sleep.
Horatio looked up with a smile when Greg came off the plane, hopping on his crutches. "Did you drive yourself?"
"No, the cab got hit," he admitted. He gave him a hug. "Did our body end up down here?"
"Three years ago and they convicted someone. Threw the Feds for a loop." He helped him gather his bag and then took him out to the hummer. "How bad is your leg?"
"Twisted my knee. I'm not allowed to stand or work for a week," he admitted, looking at him. "Happens against my planned vacation time and the Sheriff was very happy he didn't have to allow me a vacation as well. Just injury time. So I'm on injury leave and under orders from Grissom to let your Alexx look at it before I come back to see if I'm ready to work yet."
"I see." He smiled and kissed him. "We'll figure it out, Greg." He drove him out to Xander's, letting him appreciate the views before they went inside. "We're here."
"With someone," Xander called, sounding like he was panting. Then the crack of a whip. Someone yelled.
Horatio looked at him. "I usually wait in the living room." He let him into there, letting him lay down and babying him for a few minutes. Xander came in dripping sweat. "Are you all right?"
"I'm in hour three," he admitted, taking a kiss. "He won't break."
Greg looked at him. "Hold him," he said quietly. Xander smiled and kissed him again then went to do that.
"Hey, none of that gay shit!"
"Shut up! It's not. My boyfriend's hiding in the living room." A few minutes later they heard the guy start to bawl and Xander coo at him, letting him soothe all the hurts and make him feel better. The guy finally wandered out feeling better after a long talk and Xander went into the office to do something then came out to get a cuddle.
"Shower, sweaty," Greg teased. "I want to see you clean and pure for me." Xander gave him a look. "Please? Since I'm injured?" He nodded, cuddling up to Horatio and making him sweaty too. Then they went to change and shower, leaving Greg to smile and wait on his turn. After all, Horatio had to go to work. Xander came back in alone once Horatio was gone and babied his knee, then him, then cuddled and kissed and cooed over him. It made him feel a lot better about being in a cab accident.
A few hours later Eric peeked in. "Can we copy off the TIVO?" Xander nodded. "Thanks." He came in and slipped in a new DVD. "Hey, Greg."
"Hey, Eric. How's Miami?"
"Decent since we got the supposed morality group out of the area and in jail. That also stopped the suit since the judge laughed it out of court when he found out what had happened." Xander smiled at that. "He wondered where you were by the way."
"I told my lawyer that I had a sudden appointment and he agreed it was fine. That it wasn't that unusual with the preliminary things. I heard it got dismissed. He suggested I should sue the guy back. The judge made him pay court costs too." He grinned and hugged Greg tighter, getting a smile. "What are you copying off?"
"Miss Nude World." He grinned. "It takes two spots. They played the second half a few hours later." He finally got everything copied off and walked off. "Thanks, man. I'll remind Cooper and everyone to leave you alone. Ryan and Willow finally reappeared. He had a doctor's excuse for his back injury." He slammed the door.
"Is that the same Willow who thought being noisy during sex was bad?" Xander nodded. "Uh-huh. Okay." He shrugged and snuggled in better. Xander petted him gently, making him moan and get hard. "I'm under orders not to strain my knee more, Xander," he complained.
"How is you coming from my hands straining your knee?" he teased. His other hand went down to tease Greg's cock in the same rhythm. Greg came from that and went limp, a sated smile on his face. "Good boy. Now, you nap and I'll be in the office downloading that session." Greg nodded, yawning a bit. He covered him up and went into the office to deal with that and put it into the safe. Just in case something bad happened. Then he went to clean his stuff while Greg finished napping. He was really exhausted. Horatio snuck home and he smiled, kissing him, but he didn't look happy. "What?"
"Bad day," he admitted. He kissed him harder. "We need to talk without Greg."
"He's napping on the couch. We can go out back or upstairs, no audio taping in either one." Horatio led him outside and out toward the edge of the property, which had a small cliff. "You're not going to throw me over, right?"
"No, I'm not." He gave him a chiding look.
"Just checking. You looked funny when you came in."
"That's because the man who kidnaped you left you his estate with the instruction to watch out for his wife and your child together." Xander stared at him. "That's where the sample was intended for."
"I heard that part. Was it?"
"As far as the courts can tell, no." Xander relaxed. "But we still don't know where it is."
"Okay. And? What do we do about his will since that's not valid?"
"It is valid, Xander. The judges over there ruled it valid," he said gently. Xander shook his head. "Yes, even though there's no child it's valid. Your Grandsire sent over an attorney to handle it and protest, plus make sure she wasn't pregnant. He tried but they decided it was an evil obsession and gave the wife what he had said and gave you everything else." Xander sat down, staring at him. Horatio pulled him up. "That's muddy." He kissed him. "This changes nothing, Xander. They're coming over tonight to talk about that. They wanted you warned beforehand so you could throw fits."
He pulled back. "Why?"
"I don't know. No one's sure since he's dead."
"It wasn't my decision to kill him."
"It wasn't but it was considered safer since he did have a stewardess hostage." He stroked his cheek with a smile. "It changes nothing between us, Xander. She'll be tested again in two months to make sure." Xander slumped and nodded. "Even if there is, it changes nothing and Raphael's attorney said that they could take the child from her. He suggested that more of the inheritance would do that since she was being used as well." Xander looked at him. "What?"
"They kept it from me," he said quietly.
"We only found out the day of the bomb scare," he said quietly. "Lady Heather found out somehow and told us. We've only known since then. We didn't want you to stress and throw fits."
"If I had known I could've went over to protest myself."
"Doing that would've meant his family could've taken you hostage instead. We were trying to protect you and keep you from being too stressed. You have enough issues to deal with here with your clients, the problems with the present givers, and those things." Xander shook his head, walking off. "It wasn't that we didn't trust you."
"Yes it was. I'm not fucking helpless, Horatio," he yelled, heading to go work with his whips for a while. He needed more target work and a spot on the wall was as good of one as any.
Horatio leaned in the doorway. "Want me to stand there instead?"
"Yes." He hit the spot again. "I'm still not helpless. Keeping me in the dark means that more people can do the same damn thing. How am I supposed to protect myself without knowing that there's a threat?" He hit the spot again. "I'm not retarded. I may not be that smart but I'm not too stupid to deal with my own money and other situations. I'm actually very good at handling stress. No matter what you and my grandparents think." He hit the spot again with a small grunt of effort. "I'd rather know."
"I know you would." He walked in and caught the whip, using it to pull Xander closer so he could look at him. "We only found out a few days ago. We've been trying to handle it and see what was really going on before telling you. You plan better when you have all the information, not from the first alert," he said gently. Xander glared at him. "I'm sorry. We should have told you." Xander nodded, continuing to stare at him. He sighed and nodded. "You have a right to be angry with us. We will all sit down and talk about this later, but for right now we need you to get rid of the stress. Patrick's been so upset he's been slipping again." Xander slumped and kicked him in the shin. "Ow!"
"Don't try to guilt trip me with him, Horatio." He grabbed something else and went back to work on the spot.
Horatio grimaced. "I'm not." He grabbed that one, getting a small welt on his shoulder. "Quit!" He made him look at him. "It's the truth, not a guilt trip. He has been so upset about this that Gordon called me to warn me he didn't look that good today." He made Xander look at him. "It was wrong of us to keep you out of the loop."
"Sarcasm isn't helping." Xander growled. "No. Calm down." Xander tried to kick him again but he got him against a wall and held him there by his arms. He rested his hips against Xander's to keep him there. "Quit." Xander glared. "You're not being reasonable, Xander. We didn't intend to keep you out of the loop for good. We thought we had months until yesterday when the judge made a ruling at the preliminary hearing. It should have taken months, not days. We were going to tell you today anyway, after the preliminary hearing. He was trying to get it thrown out and see if there was a child on the way before he came to you with facts, not suppositions. We are trying to protect you." Xander went limp but he didn't let him go. "I know you're more than capable to handle your own affairs. I have known that. The same as your grandfather is going to be pissed at himself for not telling you sooner. From what Gordon said, your grandsire growled at him all night for not telling you. Now, I know Lady Heather said that there was a hint of something in his will but nothing like this. We were trying to find facts for you and then come to you." Xander shook his head. "Yes, we were. If we were only trying to keep it from you we wouldn't have ever told you but we knew we were going to talk to you after the preliminary and once we found out if there's a child."
"You could have warned me. She did."
"She did. If I had known it was going to happen this fast, I would have told you days ago. I thought, we all thought, we had at least a month to figure out what to do about this. I'm sorry we didn't come to you sooner. I wish we had but we thought we had time to figure out some more details."
"Let me go."
"No. Not until you're calm."
"Let me go now, Horatio."
Horatio let his wrists go but stayed just as close to him. "I'm sorry," he said, staring into the brown eyes. He could see the anger. "It wasn't because we thought you couldn't handle it." His bitter snort let him know what he thought about that. He kissed him and ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't usually keep things from you."
"You and Grandfather have been doing a lot of stuff with my bank accounts. Peeking in on them and things."
"We were worried when the odd fees started and you suddenly went broke, Xander. It turns out we were right."
"You could have come to me. You didn't."
"No, you said you were calling someone and did. You didn't ask if I was monitoring it, if I had talked to anyone. You assumed. Both of you assumed."
"I did. Was I wrong in assuming?"
"Yeah. You were. He already had the case because I had called him before Christmas to see if something was a correct and allowable fee." He sighed and nodded. "You and both of them underestimate me horrible. I'm not that stupid!" He gave him a shove but Horatio pinned him to the wall again. "Let me go."
"Not until we can talk like adults, Xander. You have every right to be mad but to attack me is wrong."
"You're the one pinning me to the wall! I want to walk off because I don't like to fight. You're not letting me." Horatio got out of the way. "Thank you!" He stomped off again, going down to the basement and slamming the door.
Greg leaned in. "You just did the same thing that Buffy and Willow did when they decided they were too special for him to help them," he said quietly. Horatio nodded. "You just ripped his soul apart, Horatio. Being up here won't help."
"What will?" He looked at him.
"I don't know. I know it had better never happen again or else he can move to Vegas permanently with me. Now, you have some serious groveling to do. I would do it sooner instead of later and I would be ready to be screamed at. I'll call the two old farts and tell them how badly they just fucked up too."
"No, he has the right to yell at them."
"If he does and something happens, he'll never forgive himself."
"I know." He went to knock on the basement door. No answer so he walked down there and sat on the bottom stair, watching Xander clean the rifle. "I...am an asshole." Xander made an assenting noise. "I didn't mean to upset you this way, Xander. I truly did not think this would upset you this much. I certainly did not mean to follow a path that was tromped down by your friends before." The cleaning rod was slammed down and his boy glared at him. "I did not," he said quietly, staring at him. "I only wanted you to have enough facts so we could make a decision about that. Together."
"I can't do that if I don't know what's going on."
"That's why we were coming over tonight. We asked you to keep tonight clear for this a few days ago."
"I remember wondering why. You said family stuff."
"I did and it is," he reminded him. He stood up and came over but Xander backed away from him. "I don't want to hurt you, Xander. I didn't upstairs and I didn't mean to," he said, looking miserable. "That was not my intention, just to keep myself unbruised. That was what I was doing." Xander still didn't come any closer. He backed up. "I'm sorry."
Xander looked at him. "Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, Horatio," he said quietly. "This isn't the first time you've tried to protect me that way."
He thought back. "I warned you about Rick. I warned you about things that were going on. When the presents started coming I warned you about that. We've always warned you."
"Really?" He moved closer. "Then why was it *Dad* who told me?"
"Because he thought it'd be better coming from him. We didn't want you to panic. Eric and I did." Xander snorted at that. "Really. We were very worried that what happened would happen." He moved closer. Xander had that wary look. "I did not mean to hurt you, nor did I intend to make you scared of me."
"I'm not scared of you."
"Then why are you backing away from me?" he asked quietly.
"Because I'm scared of what I want to do to you."
Horatio sighed. "You're right. You should take me up there and use me as the target for some practice. I broke the trust we had built." Xander nodded. "I did not mean to though. You have to believe me."
"No, I don't."
"Xander," he said, looking at him.
"You *knew* I can handle things."
"I did. I also thought that Lady Heather had given you more of a warning than she did."
"You got into my email?" he demanded.
"No, we called her to update her before we came out to tell you that it had spiraled out of control," he admitted. "She demanded we update her."
"I'm pretty sure she meant *after* me."
"Actually she knew more than we did. She's the one who told us and assumed you knew." He moved closer again. "Forgive me sometime this year?"
"We'll see." He got back to work, shrugging off the hands trying to hold him. "Not now."
"Why do I want to make anyone else feel better!"
"Because you feel better when you're fussing over someone," Greg said from the stairs. "There's two sorry looking people who just walked in and since they're older, white guys I had to let them. Want help?"
"I'm cleaning my guns. Come make Horatio wait with them."
"Sure. Horatio?" Horatio nodded, giving Xander a pat on the back before leaving. He limped down the stairs but Xander came up and glared before slamming the door. "Want to talk?" he asked when he finally sat down on the bottom stair.
"They didn't do it because they thought you couldn't handle it."
"You knew too?"
"Just what Lady Heather wrote you," he admitted. "She sent me the same email." Xander slumped. "It'll be okay. They didn't want to hurt you, Xander. They really didn't." He stood up and limped over, giving him a hug. "I promise they didn't do it to hurt you. Remember, two of them like to protect you and the other one loves you enough to want to join them when they protect you."
"I've handled hell, I can handle this."
"You can," he agreed. "I didn't say I agreed with them." He made Xander look at him. "They were stupid." He nodded, cuddling him. "Shh, I'm here. We can spank Horatio later." Xander shook his head. "No?"
"I kicked him. I wanted to hit him."
"I wanted to hit him," Greg said patiently, stroking his back. "I would've hit him if he had pinned me to the wall that way." Xander looked at him. "I peeked to see if I should break it up after he said ow." Xander nodded and went back to cuddling him. "I know that you've seen violence so often that you're scared you'll turn that way," he offered quietly. "It's not in you to abuse your lover, Xander. It never has been."
"It hasn't. I know it hasn't. Even with all the violence you've seen and done, it isn't." Xander looked at him. "It's not. I know it's not." He stroked his cheek. "Trust me here, it's not. Or else you'd have done in the Mala Noches yourself," he offered quietly.
Xander slumped. "How did you know?"
"Because, like you, I read people for a living. You were trying to protect your family from harm. The same as they're trying to do now. Protection of those who don't need it leads to people having hurt feelings at the very least." He stroked his back. "Now, let's go talk to them. They all feel miserable. Your grandfather looked like a black and white charcoal drawing." Xander looked at him. "Really." He led him back up the stairs, following behind him.
"Xander," Raphael said, looking at him. "We were..."
Xander held up a hand. "Stop right there. As I told Horatio, I'm not that stupid or that helpless." He looked stunned. "You obviously thought it was one of the two. Whichever it is, I'm not. I'm more than capable of making a rational decision about what's coming at me if I'm aware of it. If I'm not aware I can't do that. You kept it from me either because you thought I was too stupid or too weak to deal with it. I don't care which one it is, but I'm not and I will not accept this again." He sat down, staring at him. "I don't care what you really think of me, Raphael. I could care less most of the time what anyone thinks of me. You were my family and then you turned on me. The same pit Horatio's in, so are you two and you've got one hell of a climb making it up to me. Considering you're down there with Willow, have fun finding a ladder. I am not weak," he spat. "I'm also not that stupid!" He stomped off, heading up to his room then out and to the garage, heading out.
Greg sat down and put his foot up on the extra seat next to him. "You three have done the exact same thing those girls did to him. You're damn lucky Speed isn't here yet."
"We were trying to find facts...." Raphael said.
Patrick held up a hand. "If you had done this to me I would've walked away, Sire. You and I both know that. The boy would react like I would," he said quietly, looking at Greg. "You're not going after him?"
"He doesn't want me to. If I'm right he's headed for someone to wear out the stress. He could be heading to a bar to get really drunk, because this is one of the few times he'd actually drink, when his whole life just got taken out from under him, or he's heading to Speed." Horatio pulled out his phone. "Don't you dare," he warned. "Give him an hour and then show up to talk to him. Do not call. Because if he doesn't go there, Speed will panic and then he'll have to calm him down too then you'll have him mad about that." He shifted and looked at Patrick. "You knew better when you kept looking over his shoulder to make sure he was paying his phone bill." He slumped at that.
"That's us trying to take care of him," Raphael complained.
"Xander is one independent person," Horatio agreed, looking at him. "He hates to be babied. That's why he set the no spoiling rule." That got a horrified look. "We've all been guilty of that in the last few months. Xander is a planner and a worrier. He's independent and we made him think that he's so weak and helpless that we're humoring him. Like telling a child we're going to the park when you're taking him for shots."
"Which he's had plenty of because those girls treated him like he was useless and weak too," Patrick said. Greg nodded. "You heard?"
"From him. I asked. Something only Horatio's done. See, we've talked about you guys. Every now and then it's a nice thing. The house was great, he loves it, it was meant to give him safety and comfort. Checking to make sure he paid his phone and car insurance bills? Trying to keep the fact that people were coming after him until it got a level that pissed even Eric off?" Horatio looked at him. "Speed said so when he told me." He looked at Patrick again. "Do you trust your grandson to have some sense or not? Because he feels you don't. That maybe you're trying to make up for past mistakes with his father or trying to use him to rebuild an empire, not sure where that came from but that's what he said. Xander's not you. He's not cultured, he's not suave, he's not book smart. Xander can plan a battle but not understand chess and how it relates. He's a lot more like Don without the civilizing influences Don had. Remember, Xander was raised by Willow and Jesse. The one he had to kill and the one who later turned her back on him. You're trying to remold him and he doesn't fit. He never will. He'll never fit into the social scene you run in."
"Why can't he tell me this?" Patrick asked.
"He's scared to death of losing his only living relative," Greg said firmly. "Not what you have, not the money, you. He's said it all along, he wants you, not the things you can give him." He nodded, slumping some. "The same as he wanted it from your sire when he showed an interest. You guys treating him like this makes him feel like he's weak, has to run to mommy to be protected. Now, at this moment he feels betrayed and like he's just ruined everything good in his life by standing up for himself. The only saving grace is that Speed didn't know. Otherwise he'd be floating and tetherless at the moment. You'd better pray he went to Speed." Raphael pulled out his phone and walked off to make a call, coming back with a nod. "Good. Then I would go in prepared to mend a lot of fences. It's going to take some time."
"Some of us don't have that sort of time," Patrick reminded him.
"You have at least six months left, Patrick, yes you do," Horatio assured him. "The same as I've got to find the same ladder. Xander may joke and play around with Willow but even she realizes now she doesn't understand him anymore. She hasn't in years. Ryan understands him better and he's helping her rebuild their relationship." He stood up. "I'm going to Speed's."
"Expect an angry father," Greg warned.
"I know. Are you two coming?" he asked Patrick. Who stood up and nodded. "Thank you. And thank you as well, Greg." He kissed him. "We'll be back late. Go up to bed when you're ready and we'll climb in around you." He nodded and smiled. They headed off together. Horatio drove himself but thought the entire way over. Maybe he had always seen the vulnerable side of Xander and projected it? No, he saw it but he wasn't paying attention to it. Xander was a very fierce protector for himself and those around him. It was like a castle around him at times. There were a few vulnerabilities but he may have blocked off one for good. If not, maybe, just maybe, he could find his way back inside. Because he was fairly depressed himself at the moment. He parked at Speed's and got out, heading upstairs. He tapped and Speed answered the door, already glaring. "Is he here?" he asked quietly.
"Not that you're going to see him, but yes he is." He closed the door with them on the outside. "What the hell happened?"
"We were going to come over tonight to tell him about the will."
"What will? I barely got that while he was crying on me." Horatio looked devastated. "Give. All of it. Or else you will never see my son again. I'll help him move to Las Vegas to be with Greg."
"The person who kidnaped him left him everything in his will, him and his future child."
"We heard a hint that it might be that way," he admitted. "Lady Heather said that."
"Raphael sent someone over to find out the facts and to deal with it, trying to get it to be thrown out because he had kidnaped Xander. The judge decided to let it stand at a preliminary hearing and upheld it. We thought we had months to deal with this and help him make plans. He did it suddenly. I came to tell Xander today."
"Making him feel weak, helpless, and like you think he's too mentally deficient to handle anything." He punched him. "You ever hurt my son that way again and I will show you what my son taught me about weapons. Am I clear, Horatio?"
"Very." He got up and dabbed at his lip. "Can I apologize?"
"I'd grovel and keep groveling well past when you can't feel your feet anymore." He glared at the two vampires. "I'm not that happy with you either. Unfortunately I don't hit people who're that sick." Patrick flinched. "You've nearly destroyed all that Xander thought he had built. I hope like hell you're happy."
"We're here to apologize," Raphael said quietly. "May we?"
"I'm not sure yet." He walked inside and slammed the door. "Calleigh, is he okay?"
"No." She came out of the bedroom. "They here?" He nodded, grimacing and flexing his hand. "Feel good?"
"Very. Knocked Horatio down." He glared at the door then at her. "I don't know if we should let them try," he said, not trying to hide it. Xander came to the bedroom door. "The three idiots are here. Do you want to talk to them?" Xander shook his head. "Will you at least let them apologize so they don't do stupid shit tonight? Then they can go, you can think and stay here, they can head home."
"Greg's down," Xander said quietly.
"I forgot about that. Well, I can put up with Greg for the night. Calleigh?" She shrugged. "Son?" Xander sat down, shrugging. "Fine. I'll let them apologize then shoo them off. Then we'll get Greg over here." He went to let them in. "Make it fast and make it good then go home. You're giving him time to think tonight."
"Greg's at home waiting on him," Horatio offered as he came in. He knelt in front of him. "I'm sorry." Xander looked at him and he could tell by the look in his eyes he was on seriously shaky ground. "You know I would never intentionally hurt you, Xander. I've never seen you as weak and helpless. A bit vulnerable emotionally but not weak or helpless." He took his hands to hold. "You know that." Xander shrugged but nodded. "Then you have to believe this wasn't intentional."
"I'm not sure if it matters."
"I understand. That's something we'll have to repair. If you'll give me the chance?" Xander shrugged again. "I want one, Xander."
"I know. I'm not sure it matters."
"If it didn't you wouldn't even let us apologize," Raphael said quietly, sitting on one of his sides. "You're stubborn and independent like Patrick and we made a fatal error trying to find facts before giving it to you. We're too used to dealing with people who work for us, who see the smaller picture instead of the centuries that we've both had to plan for." Xander looked at him. "Your boy didn't want to worry you. I made him see you'd worry. If anyone's at fault it's not Horatio or Patrick, it's me, Xander." Xander just stared at him. "It is."
"They knew that the more facts we had the better we could watch you plan things with our input. Both of them worry about your soul, I worried more about you doing something stupid that would lead to future problems. Like them capturing you and making the child come to be if it wasn't already. That's why I sent someone over to handle it for you. That was my decision and I made Patrick accept it."
"I saw the sense in the idea of finding facts and coming to him," Patrick corrected, looking at him. "He's an idiot, Xander, but we all had a part in it." Xander looked at him. "Now, you should not blame Horatio. We kept him in the dark mostly too. We were going to tell you everything all at once so we could untangle this mess that's going on. The same as I had this sort of mess once and I realized that taking on one or two of them and not planning for the whole only made it worse." Horatio looked at him. "For about four years after I found Sire everyone in existence seemed to be attracted to me. I got stupid presents from a lot of folks I had no clue existed." Xander nodded at that. "He got even more for me. Offers to take me in, baby me, mother me, marry me. I got obscene gifts that made even a widower like me blush. That seems to happen to the good members of the family when they've found love. It's like we glow and others desire it from us. That and we seem to be the hottest thing ever once we're taken." Xander shifted some. "The fact it took two of them didn't change things any." He sat down on his free side. "It was our idiocy to not tell you what was going on, Xander. I was leaning on experience and not letting you show that you could handle it. The thing with the phone bill and your insurance I was trying to find a way I could slip in a bit of spoiling, not looking over your shoulder."
"I wasn't too sure you were keeping track of it. The only time you mentioned it was to say you were suddenly broke."
"By then I'd already checked and filed a complaint about the bank."
"Good! Makes me sure you're more than able to handle it when someone tries to do you wrong." He smoothed down his hair. "I was stupid. Sometimes when people are book smart they aren't too people smart. Fortunately Greg kicked us all good." He gave him a gentle, soft smile. "Please don't be mad at us?"
"I don't know yet," he admitted. "I can't just say it's all good suddenly."
"I understand. You need time to process and think," Horatio agreed. "That's why I came over before they did, to give you that time, not to make you hate us."
"Who hit you?" Xander asked him.
"Oh." He just nodded. "Can I think now?" They nodded and the two vampires gave him a hug while Horatio tried for a kiss but ended up kissing his forehead instead. "Night."
"Call me when you're ready to talk, Xander," Horatio said quietly. He closed the door behind them and headed back to curl up with Greg. He had screwed up and he needed comfort. Even if Greg would kick him all night for not being Xander.
Speed sat down beside Xander, cuddling him. "It'll work out okay. They were serious about being assholes." Xander nodded, resting against his side. "Want to hit the guest room?"
"I should go to a hotel."
"No. I don't want you alone tonight," Speed ordered. Xander gave him a hurt look. "You'll want to talk in the middle of the night or you'll have nightmares that'll need a cuddle. I want you here, where you can talk to me and cuddle me." Xander nodded, sinking back into his side. "Now, do you want to stay out here or go to bed and think in there?"
"I'll think out here. It's softer."
"Sure." Calleigh went to get him a blanket and pillow. "There you go, Xander. You crawl in next to Speed if you need him tonight. I won't hog him tonight," she promised, stroking through his hair. Then she went back to their room. "Night, baby."
"I'll be in soon." He got Xander settled and his shoes off, then tucked in. "If you need me, come get me. I'm going to be grumpy tomorrow anyway." Xander let out a small smile at that. "Yes, I hit him. It felt good. I should tell Eric and Ryan so they both hit him too." He messed up the dark hair. "Try to rest and think, Xander. You need the sleep." Xander nodded so he went to get into bed.
"Me and Alexx, then Eric and Ryan."
"Sure, we can form the line to spank him that way," he promised. "I'll call Aiden and she'll come make it a party. Maybe we'll invite Don down."
"Don's going to be hurt for him too."
"Yeah, I guess," he sighed. "Maybe. I don't know Don well enough to know how he'll react." He gave her a cuddle. He had thought someone was dying with the way Xander was acting earlier. "If worst comes to worst, we'll let him move to Las Vegas or entice Greg to move down here," he said quietly. She smiled at that and stroked his cheek. "I like Greg. He makes Xander have fun." He snuggled in better, hearing his son moving around toward the bathroom. Then he went back to the couch, then they listened to him get up and pace. Then he left and Speed sighed but she kept him from moving. "I should follow him."
"If he wanted you to follow him he would've said something. He'll be fine. He's survived worse than Miami in the middle of the evening." He nodded and relaxed again, at least until she fell asleep. Then he got up and went to find his son. The hotel he expected. He wouldn't feel like his house was home and his safety anymore. He'd feel like it was a bribe. Finding him in the bar was less expected. He sat down next to him, then looked at him. "It won't make it hurt any less in the morning."
"But I'll be able to sleep tonight."
"Bring Greg here." Xander looked at him. "Bring Greg here." Xander nodded, texting him. "Now, let's go talk if you want to talk."
"I don't. I want to quit thinking for a while. I want it to feel safe again."
"I know." He patted him on the back. "I know how that feels very well. Remember what I told you about New York?" He nodded, looking at him. "I felt the same way then for many months. Only my parents are crappier than anyone but yours." Xander nodded at that, putting the drink back down.
The bartender came back. "One of the women down the bar wanted to know if she could buy you one," he said quietly.
Xander looked at him. "No thanks," Speed said. "He's had one of those catastrophic relationship issues tonight."
"Nope, my son," Speed offered. He paid for the drink and pulled Xander up, going to pay for Greg's cab and take him upstairs. "Make him not feel it, Greg."
"I can do that." He looked at Xander, getting a hesitant hug. "Shh. I'm here. We'll figure this out tomorrow." He walked Xander past the desk, getting a few reproving looks. "What?" he demanded at one. She looked away. "There, there, baby. Come on." Xander nodded, letting him handle it. He got them up into his room and inside, getting him stripped down and into bed. He laid beside him and just cuddled. Xander needed held the same way he did sometimes. This was definitely a night for it.
Speed headed home, crawling back in with Calleigh, who rolled over to cuddle him. He decided to text Horatio to let him know where Greg was. It was as far as he was going for him. Horatio had to climb his own way out of that pit. He had warned him not to hurt his boy. The only thing saving him from being run over multiple times until he died was his poor bike would suffer and Xander still wanted him for some reason. Well, he needed new shocks anyway he supposed. So as soon as Xander gave up on him he was a goner.
Horatio walked into the hotel the next morning, looking at the desk clerk. "Has Mr. Harris checked out yet?" he asked calmly.
"No, sir, he and his boyfriend have decided to stay for an extra day."
"Thank you." He headed up that way.
"Sir, they asked not to be disturbed."
"They're expecting me." He headed up in the elevator, getting off on the right floor. He followed the signs to the right room and knocked, looking down until it was opened by Greg. "You should be sitting."
"Not like he's going to answer the door at the moment." He stared at him. "Xander, it's Horatio." Xander let out a moan. He frowned but let him inside. Then he went to sit down and put his leg up like a good boy.
Horatio sat down on Xander's free side, reaching out but pulling away before he made contact. He wanted to lay down to cuddle him but he knew he wasn't welcome at the moment. "Can we talk?" he asked finally. Xander moved the sheet off his head and looked at him. "Please?" Xander nodded. He stared for a few minutes longer then he took his hand to hold. It was physical contact but not enough to make him mad again. "I, um, I did not mean to do this to us, Xander. I had no intention of hurting you."
"You said that already," he said hoarsely.
Horatio looked at him, seeing how miserable he looked. It looked like he had been crying again. He kissed him gently. "This is not what I intended. I intended to give you some warning so you could rant about the stupidity of the legal system and then we could make plans," he said gently. "I had no intention or even a thought that it'd make you feel helpless or weak. I don't want that. I like you being strong, slightly sarcastic, and loving. I like you how you usually are. I'm honored when you feel you can let me know when you're feeling vulnerable but I never meant to make you feel that way. I love you the way you are. The only thing I want to change is how badly you do laundry and some eating habits." Xander looked at him. "Things like cookies for lunch." Xander shrugged at that. "I did not mean to hurt you."
"I know. You still did."
"But it was not what I wanted." Xander nodded at that. "I knew about the road to hell and the cobblestones it's paved with, but I didn't want to add another brick to it."
"Then will you talk to me?"
"We're not. I'm groveling and you're still looking miserable." He tipped his face back up. "I'll let you kick me again if it'll make you feel better but it'll be the last time you ever land one on me."
"You wouldn't let go."
"I wasn't so sure you weren't going to hurt someone, Xander. I wanted you to listen to me and calm down, not get madder." Xander stared into his eyes. "Come home?"
"I'm not sure it is home."
"It is home. If it was their home it'd be decorated differently and the dining room would have a table instead of chains and straps." That got a small, weak smile. "We both went a bit off the deep end," he offered. "Now, can we talk?"
"Want me to leave?" Greg asked. "I can hop out to find breakfast."
"No, stay," Horatio ordered. "We were going to go over it with all of us together." He looked at Xander. "If you want him here."
"He's part of us."
"True, he is." He took another gentle kiss, getting a small smile but a gentle push off him. "Sorry."
"No, it was good but cuddling isn't for now."
"True." He cuddled his boy and felt him relax against him like he usually did. "Thank you."
"We've still got to fix this because it will never happen again."
"It won't. I'll come to you immediately."
"Welcome. It was a mistake not to last time." Xander looked at him. "It was. We should have come to you to tell you that someone was being sent to gather information and test for the possible child." Xander relaxed and nodded at that. He kissed him on the top of the head. "Next time we will. All of us." He looked down at him. "We still have to talk to your grandparents."
"Because you'll be miserable if you don't and blame yourself for not making it right if one of them dies," Greg said gently. Xander slumped at that and nodded. "So, they know what the problem is. They've had all night to think about it. We'll go talk to them today."
"They won't let me in."
"They won't. I called Gordon. He told me not to try today."
"That will not be allowed. We need to make this right, not let it fester." Horatio stood up and pulled Xander up. "Shower and change, baby. We'll go talk to them and make sure they realize that they won't do it again." Xander nodded and went that way, dragging Greg with him, making him smile. They came out and dug into the bag Greg had packed, finding he had packed Xander leathers for today. A pair that made him look very hot and he always looked very confident in. Xander smiled at that subtle boost, sitting down to do his hair as well.
Gordon got in their way. "I will not allow you to upset them, Xander."
"They upset me! Hello! I'm the one they decided was too stupid to deal with the shit in my own life," he said coldly. "Get the fuck out of my way, Gordon. Now!" He moved closer. "Right now." He shuddered and moved. "Thank you. Study, or where?" he asked.
"They're in bed."
"Even better. It's not a formal setting like usual." He headed up the stairs, his boys behind him. One of the guards tried to stop him so he nicely punched him out. "This is not my fault. We'll be talking and then I'll leave. Not like I'm going to stake them." He pounded on the door then walked in, finding his grandsire reaching for a crossbow. "Shoot me, I dare you," he warned. He looked stunned. He sat on the foot of the bed. "I am not weak, helpless, or that stupid. Have we finally gotten that clue?"
"I do," he said. "You also have a lot of balls to wake us up."
"Shut up. I'm not letting this fester. It was your fucking decision." He went limp. He looked at his grandfather, waking him more gently. "Need a perk? Greg, can he take a nibble off you, baby?"
"Sure. Never been fed off of." He let Xander tenderly slice into his forearm and then he made Patrick drink it, getting a small smile of thanks. "Not too bad. Xander bites." He shrugged.
"It's only fair. Horatio bites me now and then," he offered. He looked at his grandparents. "Have we figured out what we did wrong?"
"I have," Patrick agreed quietly. "You don't need the same sort of guidance you normally would at your age. Your life has made you a bit harder and even more stubborn." Xander nodded. "I will still be spoiling you."
"Spoiling is for toys, Grandfather. I'm not your toy. I'm your grandson. Treat me like you would have your kids." He sat up and Xander helped him. "You didn't spoil my sperm donor. At all. Did you?" He shook his head. "Then why spoil me? Because I'm the last in the family?" That got a nod. "Then it's even more important that you don't spoil me and you spend time with me. Spoiling me makes me like the brats Horatio has to get for running someone over or DUI. I don't want to be some spoiled rich brat of a society ho. It's not who I am. I'm an action guy, not a rich kid. I was never a rich kid. We lived in enough poverty that even the other free lunch kids felt sorry for us." He nodded at that. "So spend *time* with me. Spending money on me gives me things I can break when I get mad. Spending time is something I can tell to the kids if I ever have any. I'm probably not ever going to point at something and say 'my grandfather bought me that and some day it'll be yours' but I may say 'yeah, my grandfather taught me how to do this and now I'm showing you'. That's the sort of man I am."
"I can see that," he said, giving him a small smile. "Does this mean we're forgiven?"
"On probation," he said firmly. "You fucked up majorly. You nearly made me go drink for the second time ever in my life. Intentionally going to drink." That got a hurt look and a nod. "Do you understand why?"
"I do. I'm sorry. We did not mean to hurt you."
"No the real hurt was you guys told my lover to keep it from me and created a situation where I had almost no support. You guys had better be *damn* lucky I found Dad at home last night." They both nodded at that. "Good. Now we can start rebuilding back to where we were before last night and I found out you were keeping things from me for my own good." He looked at his grandsire. "You as well."
"I don't think that's fair."
"At the moment, I don't care," Xander told him honestly. He looked hurt. "You've always tried to find a way into my affections with things. I could care less about things! I'm not Cordelia, Grandsire. I never want to be like her. If I ever turn that greedy I want shot! Really. If you want to baby someone, baby Tara. She's going to be your niece soon. She could use the positive affection. She could use all the love she can soak up. I want attention, not things. I could care less if you could buy me a new car every single day for three years. What would I do with them?" He nodded at that. "I know it's easier and less emotional for you if you just spoil me, but I don't want that. If you want to be in my life I want your time. I want you attention. I want your affection and your love. I sure as hell don't need your money. I'm comfortable, that's all I need. That's all anyone needs. Now, those are my rules. I'm going to stick to them. The same as Horatio can't spoil me, Greg can't spoil me. Mom and Dad can't spoil me. Lady Heather can't spoil me. You two can't spoil me either."
Patrick nodded. "I can live by those rules, Xander, but some day what is mine will be yours."
"Then I'll deal with it," he admitted. "I'm still not going to suddenly become some society brat with an anti-depressant habit. Because I'd need one to go to a lot of society events. I'll do all the good works you want. That's not an issue with me. I already volunteer at the pound at least one day a month."
"They're animals," his grandsire noted patiently. "He works with people."
Xander looked at him. "I find animals easier to get along with. They go on instinct and training. There's no messy issues of violence in their past, no wondering if they're going to be the next one to try to kill you. If they were trained to be violent we can fix that. I can't do that with a human. I can also tell a vicious animal before I can a vicious human. Animals are easier for me to get along with because I was never trained to be around people. The only people I've been around constantly either wanted to hurt me or ended up hurting me." He looked down at that. "That doesn't mean I don't donate to a lot of people oriented charities. I do. I have been since I got money. It's just that animals are easier for me."
"I understand. Some day some of this will be yours."
"Then I'll handle it and Horatio and Greg will help me," he said firmly. "Horatio likes people and they both understand people more than I do. The only people I understand are hurt ones. People like my cult. I had no idea that normal people were like Timmy. I thought he was abnormal until Aiden told me that the ones in my life were abnormal." He stared at him. "Have you ever worked with someone as hurt as I was?" They both shook their heads. "Wonderful. Well, for most of us, we expect to be bitten by life. Rainbows themselves are mythical, much less the pot of gold at the end." They both stared at him. He stared back. "We all know the violence that I've seen has tainted me. The same as we all know that I'm capable of some extreme acts of violence to protect those I deem worthy of protection."
"They may not know," Horatio said quietly. He looked at them. "He kept the soul eaters from eating everyone at the Mala Noche hideout." They both looked horrified. "Because he heard they were after the lab and his father."
"And you," Greg reminded him.
"And me," he agreed, smiling at him. Then he looked at them again. "We've made sure it won't happen but like a dog that was beaten once too often, he's very wary of people. What we did nearly broke him of all trust."
"I didn't hear a thing about that," Raphael said, looking at his childe.
"I heard he was there," he admitted. "Not why."
Xander shrugged. "They were going to kill Daddy and Horatio. All the friends who seemed to want to stick up for me. Since then Horatio's made me see how wrong that was and helped me."
Patrick sighed. "Will it happen again?"
"Is there going to be another streetgang that's threatening my whole family?" he retorted. He shook his head. "Then no. Should someone come up to us on the street and threaten one of us will I react? Yes. I will. Quickly and decisively as I was taught while hunting. That is my training. To hunt, protect, and protect myself last. Now, I'm still healing. Horatio is incredibly gentle with me when I get violent urges. Lady Heather realized that the violence that had been done to me before was so dissimilar to what I do as a dom that there's no interference and I can't get lost in it. She saw what my soul looked like even back then and loves me in spite of it."
"She calls you her little dark angel when you're not around," Greg said quietly. "Sometimes protecting others takes violence."
"Sometimes but not always and it took me a while to make that distinction," Xander agreed.
"What was the only time you've went to the bottle?" Gordon asked from the doorway.
Xander looked at him. "The night I realized I was hunting out of frustration and liked it," he said honestly. That got a nod. "You notice I don't do that anymore either? Horatio and Timmy have helped me tons to heal. I still don't want things from them. While they're around, I want their time. I want their affection if they want to stay in my life. If not, then that's their decision. I can't make that decision for them but I'm still not going to let them treat me like I'm weak, helpless, or stupid." He looked at the two vampires. "That is the only thing I want while you two are alive. For all I give a damn the entire estate can go to Don and Tara. They'll do just as much good work as I will." He stood up. "Now, if you want to be my grandparents I'm going home. If you don't then I guess I understand that." He walked out with Greg, Horatio guarding him. He nodded at the guard. "Sorry."
"No, you had to straighten that mess out," he admitted, rubbing his jaw.
"Gordon thinks I'm going to hurt people too," he shared. "I'm over that phase of my life." He walked on, helping Greg out to the hummer. Then back to the house since they had packed up the hotel room. Xander went to walk in the woods, looking around. Horatio got Greg settled in for a nap with his pain killers, because he was being stubborn again, then went to find him. "If they don't want me to be their grandchild I should probably move," he admitted quietly. "Give them back the house."
"I doubt it'll come to that, Xander," he promised, giving him a hug. Xander turned to hold him, burying his face in his shoulder. "Shh, I have you," he soothed, watching the water, letting him calm himself back down while he comforted him. "It had to be said. They'll understand that and now they'll understand you a bit better."
"I made myself sound like a rabid dog."
"You're not and I know you're not." He soothed him, feeling his body react. "Not out in the open. You don't know who could be watching."
"I don't care."
"Shh. We'll go help Greg nap," he promised, walking him back inside. "If you have to, you can move in with me and rent somewhere in town to hold your sessions."
"I think I've got enough money left to buy somewhere more modest," he admitted. He heard the doorbell and went to answer it. "What's up, Eric?"
"Are you all right? Speed's in a pissy mood and he said it was related to you."
"Yeah, I just found out everyone's keeping shit from me that I needed to know."
"No, I meant my grandparents and Horatio. We had a major fight last night."
"It happens. Everything okay? Horatio called off suddenly today."
"He's babying Greg's twisted and sprained knee in the other room. We're rebuilding things," he admitted. Eric nodded at that. "Long and involved story, Eric," he sighed. "Don't worry about it. Don't tell Willow, she'll storm over there and try to stake them." That got a small smile. "Need Horatio?"
"No, I think you need him more. We'll check in with him tonight before we go home to give him updates. Go take a nap, you look exhausted."
"I went to face them down a few minutes ago. But thanks." He smiled and shut the door, heading back inside. "Eric said they'd check in later for updates."
"That's reasonable. Come sit with Greg." Xander cuddled up with Greg, letting himself be held while Horatio guarded them and stroked over his head and shoulders. They all waited and neither of his grandparents came over that night or called. The next morning Horatio called Gordon on his way to work. "Xander wanted to know if they wanted him to move. He can move in with me and rent somewhere to deal with his clients." He heard the shocked silence. "What?" He listened to the stuttering. "Gordon, make sense. You're a former prosecutor and I'm not being scary today." He hung up on more stuttering and headed in. Xander had Greg for the day and he had vacation time he was taking starting the next day so he had to show up today as well. It'd look bad. His boss met him in his office. "Yes, sir?"
"We were keeping information from Xander about something that impacted him and nearly drove him off the edge of reason due to it. It took most of yesterday to mend the hole I dug myself."
"So you called off because your boyfriend was upset?" he asked dryly.
Horatio looked at him. "This is not common knowledge but Xander's parents were extremely abusive. The incident in New York was the fourth time they tried to sell him. Speed and Aiden saved him the third time they tried." He looked horrified. "I was mending the hole in the well of trust. Before it all leaked out. His grandparents have their own to mend."
"So it was pretty necessary then," he decided. Horatio nodded. "Are you still needing the vacation time?"
"I do. Our other boy is down on vacation." That got a stunned look. "You didn't hear Rick ranting about Gregory?" He nodded. "That's our boy. He's down on injury leave and a planned vacation from Las Vegas' lab."
"Oh," he said weakly. "So he's taking care of Xander today?"
"Letting Xander fuss over him. Xander fusses very well. I've already been warned I had better never get truly sick." That got a smile. "Anything else?"
"No, not that I can complain about. Not like you don't have the time saved you need to use." He walked off smiling. He ran into Speed in the hallway. "Horatio's back."
"I saw. I'm still trying to decide if I want to hit him again or not." That got a nod and he walked off before he got in the way of his temper. Speed walked up to his office to hand over some evidence. "The stupid machine needs calibrated again. Do I need to go buy new shocks?"
"No," he said, smiling at him. "We've worked it out."
"Good. What about the two stubborn old men?"
"They didn't come over last night after Xander went to talk to them. I'm not sure what's going on there but I did ask Gordon if they wanted him to move."
"I hope not. Your yard won't hold the dish very well." Horatio smiled at that. "Or you two could buy a nice place together." He shrugged. "It's an idea. Anything I should know about?"
"Greg's knee is both twisted and sprained. Grissom wanted Alexx to look at it before he came back. He'll trust her judgement on Greg going back to work."
"I'll let her know. We are never going to make my son run crying to me again, right? Because I wasn't sure if someone was dead or not when he saw me and couldn't speak, then suddenly teared up."
"It will never happen again, Speed. I realize what I did wrong and I know I'm still on probation with him."
"Good. Then I'll hold off getting new shocks on the bike." He walked off, heading back down to work on the machine that had slipped calibration again. The third time this month. They really needed to figure out why and fix it.
Horatio looked at the results and groaned, calling the person for machine contracts. "This is Horatio Caine in the Miami Felony Lab. We have a machine that keeps slipping calibration and now it's giving us ridiculous results. Thank you, that would be fine." He hung up and went to tell Speed to leave it alone for now. It'd be worked on by the professionals tonight after their shift.
Xander flipped through the online real estate listings, looking at Greg. "Think I qualify for a mortgage?"
"Probably not since you're not working."
"Point." He sighed and went back to looking. "Real estate is damn expensive down here."
"It is," Greg agreed, wincing at some of it. "That's higher than we have in Seven Hills."
"Yeah. My first place took most of that huge check." He slumped. "I wonder if I can liquidate this new stuff and use it to buy a new house."
"Probably. From what little I know all you had to do was take care of your daughter, and therefore the wife he had bearing her."
"If I have a child on the way that way, the mother won't be keeping it," Xander promised. "Think I'll make a good dad?"
"I think you'll make an excellent father. One who drives the other parents nuts because you're so hands-on. You'll be the Martha of fatherhood." That got a happy smile. "You don't have to worry about your past coming out, Xander."
"You don't. You said it yourself. You don't need the violence and it's not as much a part of you now as it was because he's helped you heal."
"You helped too."
"I did but he did the hard part." He gave him a kiss. "Now, let's find something nearly as nice as you have now. Just in case, okay?" Xander nodded and upped his upper limit. "Oooh, what's that one?"
"An estate," he said dryly, looking at it. "I could put one hell of a dungeon out there," he said happily. He called Horatio while he got the address off the site. "Hey, it's us. How far from daddy is Runfield?" He smiled. "Because there's a very nice house out that way with a huge amount of lawn. We could put the dungeon in the auxiliary garage. Yeah, there." He smiled at Greg. "It was drug seizure land and the last person got tired of the view." He listened to him. "Just outside of it but if I'm truly getting that stuff from the will I can use some of that to get the loan I'd need and pay it off with that." He listened to his idea. "Are you sure? I mean, you have your house, Horatio. No it's comfy but I'd still need somewhere to practice." He nodded. "True. I'd still rather have somewhere closer to home. That way I didn't have to drive after a bad scene with someone. Because a few of them have made me want to cry for some of my clients," he admitted. "Yeah, there. Three hundred thou. I've got two hundred thousand in the bank," he admitted. "Especially if I'm getting that. I can liquidate some of it and give them that for the last bit. I don't know. Say put down one and a half, get a loan for the rest? That way we had living, decorating, and gas money?" He smiled. "If you want. I wouldn't care." He beamed. "Is it a modern house? Shoot. No, I don't like modern as much as you do. No, yours is warmer than I usually find most modern places but you also decorate with other colors. I'm more comfortable with elements."
Greg took the phone. "Some people feel more at home with wood and bronze than they metal and glass, Horatio. Actually, I feel at home in junky college apartments," he admitted. "I'm a lived-in sorta guy. Yup, both your houses are a bit too decorated for me," he teased. "But I managed to survive because the inhabitants are so special to me." He grinned at Xander's 'aww'. "He's being mushy too. No, we haven't heard anything. On your computer. Yup. Thanks, Horatio. See you tonight." He hung up. "He said he'd do some searching of his own during lunch and that we'd compare tonight. So mark this one so we can come back to it." He nodded, doing that so they could move on. "Isn't that your house?"
Xander looked. "No, up the street from my house. I'm 518. That's 533." He shrugged. "Around that big corner."
"Oh." They went back to looking. It was a nice house but it was on what passed for a hill around Miami.
Gordon stomped into Horatio's office. "He's not moving."
"I'll let him know that." He looked at him. "Why are you mad?"
"That boy of yours *assumed* they did it on purpose."
"We did," Horatio agreed. "We were going to collect facts and then bring it to him so he wouldn't get as upset." Gordon slumped at that. "Xander expected them to come talk to him last night."
"Patrick stayed in bed all day with a headache. He's presently beating himself up in guilt. I'm sure you understand what that feels like."
"I do," he agreed quietly. "We all shared some in that matter."
Gordon frowned at him. "You two looked fine."
"I groveled for hours, Gordon, and I'm still on probation with him. Xander trusts very hard and I broke that. I acknowledged that and what I had been trying to do. Though he did find that one estate that almost became his on the real estate listings. They called to mention it earlier."
He sighed and shook his head. "Patrick said he's not moving. He's still his grandson even if he was a remorseless killer, which he doesn't believe he is. Tell him he was too ill to come last night."
Horatio dialed his desk phone. "Xander, it's me. I have Gordon here. No, he said Patrick guilted himself into a headache last night. That's why he didn't come over. He said you're not moving." He smiled. "We'll talk about building a small dungeon for you off to the side of the driveway, yes. Are you two being good?" The answer of 'we're playing on the beach' made him smile. "Did my neighbors mind?" He heard the answer and nodded. "We'll straighten them out later. No, I've never been ashamed," he promised. "Good. You two play and have Greg make dinner tonight. I'm tired of takeout." He smiled and hung up. "Thank you. It made him very happy."
"He seriously doesn't want to inherit?"
"He said he didn't care what happened after his grandfather died. He wants a grandfather, not a pile of money."
"Oh. Well, tough."
"Whatever," Horatio agreed. "That was his other usual answer." He smiled. "He's fairly sentimental. Gets along better with dogs and children."
"I've been noticing that." He sat down. "We're down to two options for when Patrick dies, Horatio. A foundation, which would take some energy and cooperation to run, or a dual trust to make sure that certain obligations are being met. Patrick always did plan ahead," he noted dryly at his former colleague's odd look. "Scholarships mostly."
"Have you talked to Don?"
"He's said about the same thing, that and with his life it'd be one hell of a burden now and then."
"It could be. I don't know what Xander would want and I'm not going to depress him again today by asking. You might ask Ryan, he might know."
"I'll consider that. We've asked Tara and she burst into tears and hugged Sire."
Horatio smiled. "She is a very gentle young woman."
"She definitely is and Patrick's trying to talk her into a lavish wedding but she feels embarrassed."
"Then the best option is a dual wedding," Ryan offered from the doorway. "Do one in private, one in public. Saw it on a sitcom somewhere," he said when Horatio looked amused. "Speed said he needed you in the lab but he wasn't about to come up here so he wouldn't pop someone in the face."
"What happened now?"
"Same issue. It just misidentified sand as salt. Which means we're going to have to quality control all of night shift's again."
"I've talked to them, they've been using alternate methods."
"He said we'd have to."
"Fine, I'll be right there. Thank you, Ryan."
"Patrick would probably be happy as long as he got to relive his dream wedding with Tara playing the part of his wife. Still, it's her wedding day and Don's a decorated officer. She's terminally shy and doesn't want to be the center of attention. Don's got friends, colleagues, and his father's friends and colleagues."
"He wanted to hold it in St. Patrick's Cathedral," Gordon offered.
"Tara would die of embarrassment."
"Probably true," he sighed, standing up. "I'll remind him of that, see if Sire can calm him down."
"Let us talk to Tara first. Maybe she's got a dream wedding."
"Maybe," he agreed, smiling at him. "I know Don took her magic herb shopping recently."
"That's a whole other ceremony," he agreed. Gordon smiled at that. "Ask Willow after we talk to her."
"Sure. I'll give you a few days before he nags her to help him."
"I'll be right there." They both heard something glass break. "Wall?"
"Door. Eric," he said blandly. "Out of DNA." They went to check on it while Gordon went to call Willow about the issue going on with Tara.
Sheldon sat down at the table Tara was at, smiling at her. "Hi, Tara. What's up?"
"I, um, needed to talk to someone."
"Problems with Don?" She shook her head quickly, but grinned a bit. "Okay. Um, can I have a salad," he ordered. "I'll splurge and go with Ranch today." The waitress nodded and took Tara's salad order too. "Not a problem but a question?"
She blushed bright red. "Sheldon, I don't know how to... Well.... anything....." She trailed off and glanced around then back at him. "I won't make him happy."
"You already make him very happy," he assured her. "And I am in no way prepared to give this talk to girls. Given it to a few of my boys." She giggled at that. "I know, they're all cute little guys. I always pick the cute and smart little guys to mentor because that's what I was." She swatted at his hand but grinned. "Hmm." Their salads came and he smiled at the waitress, letting her walk off. "Well, there's a few good answers I can give you. You could try it out. I'm sure that's what you did with your first girlfriend."
"But I felt so dirty," she said quietly, rearranging her salad until she took a bite. She was really hungry. She looked at him once she had swallowed. "I want to know what to expect before, you know?"
"I do. It's a reasonable fear too," he assured her, patting her on the hand. "I've just never given it from this side before. I'm assuming here but you ruled out asking Stella?"
"She'd tell him."
"All right, then let's start with books. Or with what Willow told you?"
"She said it wasn't much different, only more like icky toys."
"It can be." He ate a bite and thought. "Okay, first thing, the first few days will hurt a bit. You know about the barrier and all that?" She nodded. "Well, if it's still intact, it'll hurt a bit then, there'll be a bit of blood, which is why some marriage traditions call for showing off the wedding night sheet," he offered. She blushed at that. "They do." He ate another bite. "The next point is that Don's smart enough to know to be gentle with you. Even then you'll probably be a bit sore in the hips for the first couple of times. Unless you do a lot of horseback riding?"
"Not in years," she admitted.
"Well, it'll feel about the same as it did then for your hips and you'll be about as sore as your first time on a bicycle from what I understand." She nodded at that. "Speaking as a doctor, I would have a checkup first and maybe go on something to make sure there's no children for a while."
She nodded but looked a bit upset. "I'm not sure how that would affect my magic."
"You know, I'm not sure what to tell you about that subject, I've never studied it," he admitted. "Mac either that I know of. We could have someone ask Patrick or someone."
"I can't ask Xander," she begged.
"Okay, I can do that." He called down there. "Xander, simple question that you may not have the answer to but you'd know who to ask. Witches and birth control?" he asked quietly. He nodded. "Thanks." He hung up. "He'll ask someone who'd know and call you back tonight with notes." She smiled at that. "The best thing that first time is to let Don know you're still a bit embarrassed but let him lead you. Don's had a few other girlfriends so he knows what he's doing. He should know how to make it very gentle that first time as well." She nodded, staring at him. "He'll help you through it, make you giggle a few times. Let you learn all about him at first. I'm very sure he won't do anything that you're uncomfortable with or anything like that. Okay?" She nodded and smiled so he patted her hand. "Good girl, Tara. You could also read some books."
"I have but I never got good, descriptive things that would help me."
"Yeah, I didn't think you'd go into the erotica section to go find something. Romance novels generally don't have too much of a good description either." He gave her hand a squeeze. "Now, if you have questions on mechanics, you can ask Stella and tell her not to tell Don. She will. I can't tell you exactly what it'll feel like since I've never been a girl."
"You would've made a good girl."
"Thanks." He grinned and dug in. "Come on, let's eat."
"Sure. I'm hungry." He smiled at her. "I'm still taking two of my classes and I had a test to do last night so I could send it back."
"I always nibbled when I did those or wrote papers. Drove the library staff nuts because I always had green peppers." She giggled and dug back in, smiling and happy.
Xander hung up and looked at Greg, then dialed Ethan. "It's me. Put it down. I need technical information for someone else." He grumbled but did put whatever he was doing down. "A mostly pure young witch wants to know about birth control and her powers. No, you cannot tell them that Tara's thinking about it. She's so scared right now she had Sheldon ask for her. Not like she can go to Don's mom or Monroe," he said dryly. "Or Willow probably. Yeah, that's what she's worried about. Ethan, she's so pure she only uses pads." He nodded. "Please. I said I'd call her back sometime tonight and leave it on her voicemail." He smiled. "Thank you. Please don't tell them? She'll be too embarrassed to do anything with the information. Thank you." He hung up and went back to cuddling. "Tara and Don are *very* serious." That got a smile and Horatio came out onto his back porch. "Someone either left early or is taking a long lunch." They both smiled at him and he came down to cuddle both his boys, letting them curl up on his stomach. It shocked the neighbors horribly but oh well. "Sheldon just called for Tara so she could get good information on birth control and her powers."
"Excellent news. Patrick's trying to get her to have a huge wedding."
"Don will still have to vow in front of the Goddess."
"Which I'm sure he will. As I, or we, will for you some day soon," he agreed, smiling at him. "Your father is no longer mad at me but now he's mad at a machine."
"Should I go buy him cookies?"
"We can get tube cookies and make those," Greg offered. "All that needs is a spoon to cut and plop onto a sheet and some don't even need that."
Xander grinned. "I could like that." He looked up. "Can we borrow your oven and cookie sheet?"
"You may," he agreed, smiling at them. They smiled back and he kissed them both. "I'm only home for lunch."
"Then you'd better eat. We don't want you passing out from hunger at a scene," Greg said, teasing his stomach. Horatio smiled at him but let it go. "So, did you want me or Xander for lunch?" he tried again. Xander had teased him all morning by being pouty and macho about things.
"Hmm. That is a decision that will take a long time to make." They got up and drug him inside the house, dusting off the sand on the porch so he wouldn't have to clean it up. Then they stripped inside the door so they could get each other's backs better. Horatio took random swipes and got random kisses, and it was wonderful when he had Greg for lunch and Xander had him orally. After a short nap, he left them curled together on the bed and got dressed, heading back to work. He found Speed outside glaring at the building. "Did Eric shove you out and tell them to keep you out?"
"He told me to either go for a ride or go pick up Xander and take a drive," he said dryly. "Then he said Calleigh was out on a scene but should be coming back in a few minutes."
"No sex in the office, Speed. If I can't you can't."
Speed smirked at him. "How was my boy?"
"He's very good and so was Greg."
"You're a stronger man than I am. I'd have been tempted to stay home."
"I was but if I did I couldn't go on vacation tomorrow."
"I hate you."
Horatio smiled as he walked inside. "Go for a drive, Speed."
"Fine. Pick you up anything?"
"No, I've got everything I need at the moment."
"I should spike his tires for being that giddy," he muttered as he headed for his bike. Calleigh pulled him and he gave her a look. "Eric said you should cheer me up since I was swearing at the machine again."
"I'll swat him in a few. Go for a ride, Speed. Bring me back a sandwich?" He nodded and smirked just a bit. "A real one?"
"Sure." He started his bike and headed off, heading to drive around for a few minutes. It did calm him down. On it he decided Eric needed a real woman in his life because sex with Calleigh was a different sort of calm than going for a drive. If Eric didn't know that then he was obviously doing something wrong. Then he decided it was probably because he had so much sex in his car he automatically associated it. He remembered her lunch right before heading back and turned off to do that then came back to give her lunch and to go back to work.
Sheldon leaned into where Stella and Monroe were working. "Can I borrow you for a minute, Stella?"
"Sure." She came out and smiled at Don since he was lurking. "You, shoo, go away. We'll page you."
"Fine," he pouted. "I wanted to know how lunch went since Sheldon went with Tara."
"It went very well, we talked about a few things, including your pushy uncle who wants a huge wedding in the middle of St. Patrick's cathedral."
"I don't know that many people. When it's time it'll be something small, nice, intimate. I'm not inviting three quarters of the station because she doesn't have that many people to go for her side. It'll look bad and make her unhappy."
"True. But for now, shoo."
"Fine," he pouted. "You guys talked about me, didn't you?"
"Yes and she said you have wonderful hands. That's one of the first things she noticed about you." Don looked at his hands, then shrugged and grinned, heading off. He looked at her. "She also had some delicate, female questions," he said quietly. "But she was afraid you'd tell the lurking one."
"Well, I can if she wants me to."
"She might need the talk, yeah. I had to call Xander to see if there was a birth control that wouldn't screw with what she can do."
"I forgot all about that. Huh. Okay, well, I'm sure he knows who to ask." She shrugged. "Where is she?"
"Studying at home. I told her to take it easy, let Don lead that time, explore as much as she wanted and he could stand, that he was good enough to her to let her." She smiled at that. "Told her that it'd make her a bit sore. She used to ride horses a lot so I reminded her of the hip pain and that stuff."
"What about the first pain?"
"I told her it was like the first time she rode a bicycle."
"Not really. Mine was more like the first time I sprained something. There is a really good book and I can point it out for you." He smiled. "I think it's cute she asked you to give her that talk."
"I've had to give it to a few of my mentorees in the past, but they've all been boys," he admitted. "Can I have the name of the book?"
"I've got a copy at home for a friend's kids. I'll let her borrow it."
He relaxed and smiled. "You know, where she dotes on Mac like an elderly uncle, I can almost see her going to him for that talk."
"He would've blushed so brightly he would've been a lightbulb for hours," she said happily. She looked around. "Do we know if Don is going to be that careful?"
"I'm headed to talk to him next. Even though she didn't come to you because she thought you'd tell him, I think it's probably more practical and kind."
"Good!" She smiled and patted him on the shoulder. "You'll have it down pat for when you finally have kids, Sheldon."
"No, that's the threatening speech," he reminded her. He went to find Don, finding him trying to eavesdrop. "Quit."
"What did you two talk about?"
He coughed and pulled him away from everyone. "Hip pains and back pains and embarrassment over not knowing what to do after the first kiss."
Don blinked. "Really?" He nodded. "Wow. Why didn't she come to Stella?"
"She'd tell you. Which means you can't let on that I did tell you."
"My poor little bird. Um, we're getting her what she wants, right?" He nodded. "Good. 'Cause can't say I'm ready for her to be ready for that step for some reason."
"I doubt it'll be tonight, Don."
"Point. I've got to bone up on technique."
"Just relax, let her experiment, go as slow as she wants."
"Good point. I still don't like hurting her."
"Then don't. Make it good for a while then do it. Or ask Danny how he does. He's been complaining for weeks that his last three were virgins."
"Good point." He went to ask him under strictest guy secrecy. The last time he'd had a virgin in bed with him he'd been one himself. That was a long time ago. Fortunately Danny dated younger women who acted like cheerleaders. He found him in the locker room and looked at him. "I need a guy talk."
"Why?" he asked with a small smirk. "Tara do something confusing?"
"Well, about half the time yeah, but that's just because of the magic stuff. She was saying thanks for her cornflakes one ingredient at a time the other day." He shrugged and looked around to make sure they were still alone then sat down next to him. "Tara's only had girls." Danny moaned. "Two girls from what she said. The last time I had anyone that pure, I was one myself."
"Go slow, make it good before then, then build it back up once they're okay."
"Yup. Unless she wants to suffer up front or do it totally unprepared. Also, hot bath afterward, pamper her silly." Don beamed at that. "So, any particular time?" He shook his head. "Not planned, huh?"
"No. She needed ta talk to Doc." Danny gave him a funny look. "Stella would tease and tell me."
"Just let her do whatever she wants so you don't scare her. Build up to it slowly, Don. Let her make the first move."
"She was kinda taking my hand out of her hair and down onto her back the other night."
"Then use that. That's what she wants. She'll definitely let you know." That got a grin. "Better?"
"Much. Thanks. Any idea what a Wiccan wedding is like?"
"Not a clue," he admitted. "But there's a semi-decent bookstore down off Broadway that might have a reference book." That got a beam and he went to look up the address. He shook his head, but he was smiling. "How in the hell did he not have any virgins since then?" he muttered. "I've gotta master that trick soon." He still wasn't happy that Mac had told him and Stella that he could not date them while they worked with him. Stella came in. "Hey."
"Kidnaping?" He looked at her. "Huh?" She looked at him then gave a pointed look at a certain locker then back at him. "Oh! Not a bad idea." She smiled. "When?"
"Sunday? Least busy day."
"True. Get him going home Saturday night?"
"Could work," she agreed. "Then we pounce the boy until he begs?"
"Works for me," he agreed happily. She grinned and headed off to make plans while not telling Lindsey anything. He'd follow he lead because she was more evil and devious than he was. It was only right after all.
Xander leaned out of the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. "Who is it?" Someone pounded so he went to open it, finding Patrick there. "Get in here before you roast." He pulled him inside and glared at his guard. Who slunk back to the car. Patrick took off his cloak. "You could've waited."
"I didn't want to or else I would have sent Sire away again." He followed Xander back to the kitchen, staying out of the light. "Should you be in here?"
"No mixing required," Greg promised with a smile. "All we have to do is open, plop, and cook." He plopped the rest of that tray and Xander stuck them in the oven, checking the first sheet. "Hmm. Not quite, Xander." He closed the oven door and turned Xander around, holding him, which got them a smile. "I know, I'm adorable," he teased.
"You two are adorable together," he agreed, smiling at him. "If you try to move I'll be quite upset."
"Okay. Are you okay? Gordon told Horatio you had worked yourself into a headache."
"It was part guilt and part keeping myself from hitting my sire. The same as my early trip today is." He shifted and yelped when the sun hit him. "No shades?"
"I think the only place with them is the office." They went to check rooms. "The office had lots of shady spots." They headed that way, Greg bringing the timer with him. "Sorry."
"That's all right. Horatio needs the sun to remind him that not everything is in shadows in life." He stroked his cheek. "I will work to mend this break." Xander smiled and hugged him. "Thank you, Grandson. You as well, Gregory, since you helped so much last night." Greg smiled and shrugged but he got a hug as well. "There, now that we're done with the mush. Is Horatio out on a scene?"
"Meeting I think," Xander offered, sending him a text message. He got back a simple yes. "Yup, he's in a meeting." He looked at him. "Is there a kid?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Sire's legal helper had her checked and her identity checked so she couldn't switch. We'll test her again in two months to make sure."
"That makes sense," Xander agreed. The phone rang so he answered it. "Caine's house. Hi, Ray. Greg and I are here making cookies with my grandfather. Of course you can come over! Tell your mom you're coming over to have dinner with us. We don't mind. Right, Greg?"
"Not a problem with me," he promised. "He can help us time cookies."
"They're just about perfect," Patrick said. "At least the first sheet is." Greg smiled and went to take them out.
"We're taking tube cookies out for dad so that's not a problem, Ray. Sure, we're at his house. Come on over. We can handle giving you access to him later and hide to talk. I'm sure. Ray, quit. Come here now." He smiled. "Good boy. See you soon." He hung up and looked at his grandfather. "I don't care if he knows or not either. His mom knows about us." That got a smile. "He told her specially."
"That's always good when you have women with fiery tempers that way. Anyway, he has the exact estate in his briefcase but he's being grumpy. I do know that there's some cash and some other assets. As well as a pair of gold castration clippers and a few other things." Xander handed over the phone so he called home. "Gordon, it's me. Can you get the list of the estate off the grumpier vampire and fax it to Horatio's house? Thank you. I'm here with Xander and Greg. Horatio's nephew is on his way over as well." He smiled at that. "Thank you, Gordon." He hung up. "He'll have to trick it away from him but we'll have it soon."
"That's cool." Someone knocked and Greg got it. "I can help."
"Talk to your grandfather. I've got the cookies." He grinned at the kid standing there. "You must be Ray. I'm Greg." He waved at Yelina. "I'm Greg," he called. She pursed her lips and left. He shrugged as he shut the door. "He's talking to his grandfather about someone who wanted him badly enough to kidnap him."
"I heard he was. Is he okay? Or is this a new one?"
"No, the last one left him things in his will."
"That's trashy," he said dryly, following him into the kitchen. "Ah, tube cookies. They are the bane of every teenager's diet," he sighed.
"Mine too," Greg agreed, grinning at him. "But we got them for Speed. He's got a machine that won't work and he's been swearing at it." That got a giggle. "Okay, check the last two pans while I pry these off and onto a cooling sheet." He slid them off and onto the chilled wax paper he had pulled out of the freezer, forming neat rows so they could be boxed up later. He loaded up the next set of trays from the next tube and container of the ones with squares you didn't have to cut. Those got put into the oven by Ray. Xander snuck in and stole two, heading back to the office with a grin for them. He even shared one with his grandfather. Greg and Ray shared a smile. It was kinda cute. Xander let out a low, deep moan. "Good backrub?" he called.
"He left me emerald handcuffs and gold castration clampy things, Greg."
"I don't know but I have a house in the Middle East. One of those places where they have princes and women can't drive."
"Wonderful. Can you give it to the wife?"
"She refused to take it," Patrick admitted, coming in to steal two more for himself, then two for the boy. "We'll have enough for Speed, right?" he asked with a smile.
"We do," he agreed. Patrick went back to the office. Cookies solved everything. The will came off the fax as well so his sire must be up to dealing with people again. He went over the legalese with Xander, going over each thing so he could cross it off. It still left an alarmingly long list. But they bundled it into a plain envelope and sent it to Horatio tucked in among the cookies. Then they sat down to talk and get to know each other better. Greg nudged Ray and nodded out back so they went back there. "He's dying," he said quietly. "They just had their first fight about spoiling Xander."
"It happens. It's kinda cute to see those two plotting world dominance."
Greg smiled. "The scary thing is Xander could do that." That got a giggle. "Really." He grinned at him. "Let me guess, you want to know about me?"
"Could help, yeah."
"Okay. I'm a former DNA tech and now level one CSI out of Las Vegas."
"So you work in the same field. Interesting. Do you two babble at Xander in science?"
"No, he doesn't get science very well," he admitted. "Xander gets people and sometimes languages, not science." That got a smile. "But he is a killer massage tech. The last time I got a quickie on my shoulders, I about napped there in the kitchen of the first house."
"What happened to his first house?"
"Someone attacked him and then put him into it before setting it on fire. They found him before it got out of hand fortunately."
"Wow." Greg nodded. "But he's okay, right?"
"He's fine. He came out to see me for some recuperation time and see if we were going to be together or if it was him and Horatio, and that's when he ended up marrying the assassin. I married her apprentice. Then we took all those trips." Ray grinned at that. "That's when we worked things out between us and I ended up their fluffy cuddle toy."
Ray snickered. "If you were just a toy Uncle Horatio wouldn't let you get his kitchen dirty."
"Maybe, but he's cute and nice." Ray smirked at that. "I know, I've got it bad. I deserve it for being such a genius bastard on my shift now and then." Ray nodded at that. "Before you ask, we haven't even started working on the Las Vegas/Miami issue yet."
"Pity. I know he smiles about Xander a lot and you whenever he talks about you. Mom had the *big* bowl of ice cream after he told us."
"Xander's age and me being there?"
Ray nodded. "Yeah, mom's a bit traditional about that stuff. She wasn't too sure about the gay stuff either. Especially with what Xander does in his other job."
Greg looked at him. "That's actually how I met Xander."
"You seem way too normal to like being whipped."
Greg considered him. "Fuck it. You'll probably find out anyway. I have tactility issues."
"You don't like being touched?"
"No, I'm too deprived. Xander gives great pets." Ray stared. Greg nodded. "Really. Being a dom isn't all about the pain. He does a lot of comfort and a lot of therapy with his clients. In my case I needed something I wasn't getting and Lady Heather used me to teach him the various tactile methods. It works well with the massage classes sometimes." Ray let out a softer grin at that. "So I spend a long time getting petted."
"That's actually kinda cool," he admitted. "All I heard was my mother complaining that Xander gave Uncle Horatio a whip and he had used it on Stetler."
"Xander's a technician with his whips. I've seen him pop open types of buttons and snaps with one." That got an awed look. "It's not that hard, just takes practice, but if we taught you your mother would probably scream."
"Probably," he agreed. Xander came out and Patrick hovered in the doorway. "You can come out too."
"No he can't. He goes whoosh in the sun," Xander admitted. He looked up. "Yup, no canopy or anything, Grandfather. So you guys come join us in the living room when you get done pumping him for information, Ray."
"He let a vampire into the house?" Ray asked, looking a bit worried.
"It's his grandfather and he doesn't hunt," Greg said firmly. "They've even had dinner together before, Ray. Calm down." He nodded, calming down at that. "It's important that they spend time together. Patrick's going to be lucky to last another two years," he said quietly. Ray relaxed at that. "It's all right." He smiled. "His grandsire is a bit more picky but that's fine." That got a curious look. "His sire. Or as Xander jokes, his grandfather's husband." That got a small smirk. "That is Father Patrick Benis."
"The guy who does all the gay rights stuff?" Greg nodded. "Wow. Wonder if I can use him to interview for Civics class."
"You can ask," Xander called.
"Sure. Better one than Frank will be." He looked at Greg, who smiled and made shooing motions. So he went in to talk to him about the assignment and see if he could interview him. It would be different than everyone else in class's for sure. Greg stayed to soak up a bit more sun then went inside to cuddle Xander and tease him by nipping his ear or neck. At least until Horatio got home and then they went to tease him while he changed and he helped him cook dinner.
Xander got up to answer the door. "Hi, Grandsire." He nodded. "Wanna come in?"
"That is why I came out," he noted patiently. He stepped inside at the grin. "Have you went over the will?"
"Grandfather and I did and then we sent it to Horatio because we both had a headache at the thought of the gold clamps." He looked outside. "That's Ray's mommy. Horatio, Yelina's here." He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "Yelina, this is my Grandsire, Grandpa's husband, Raphael."
"Charmed, ma'am." He shook her hand with a smile.
Xander drug her into the kitchen. "This is my grandfather, Patrick Benis, and my other third, Greggy."
Greg gave him a look. "You're the only one who gets away with calling me that." He stole a kiss then Horatio got his own. "Greedy," he teased.
"Of course I am. You still live in Las Vegas." He smiled at Yelina. "We can add some for you if you want to stay."
"That's all right," she said with a smile for the cuteness that was Xander being bouncy and in love. "I wanted to know if Raymond was done?"
"Nope, Uncle Horatio just got home. I've been talking with Xander and his grandfather all afternoon. I even did the Civics assignment."
"Good! I'll tell Frank he's off the hook this year." She stroked his cheek with a smile. "You want to stay for dinner?"
"I do and you can too," he reminded her.
"I'm going to go soak in the tub since you'll be here."
"Sure, mom. I'm sure I can get a ride home from someone." She nodded and kissed him on the cheek. "Mom!"
"Tough, son. Suck it up."
"Some day you'll miss that," Raphael agreed.
"Not at fifteen."
"Point." He smiled at Yelina. "Are you sure you don't want to stay?"
"I'm sure. It'll be nice having the house to myself tonight."
"I could start to date, mom."
"No way in hell, son." He rolled his eyes but she patted him on the shoulder. "I'm not ready for that step yet." She kissed Horatio on the cheek. "I'll let him ask you whatever he wanted to. Send him home when he's done." He nodded, smiling at her. "Have a good dinner, Horatio." She walked out, the 'husband' escorting her just in case. Maybe their manners would rub off on Ray and Xander. It was charming to see such old world manners again. She waved before backing down the driveway and heading home to a long bath.
Raphael walked back in. "She is a charming young woman."
Xander looked at him. "I thought you wanted Eric to be your next childe," he teased.
"I still do but he's being stubborn." He shrugged. "She would make a good daughter."
Patrick looked at him. Then he shook his head without saying anything and went back to helping Xander set the table. He looked at his grandson. "If you ever wonder what your grandmother was like, she was just like him. That's what attracted me to him."
Xander giggled. "I'll keep that in mind." He gave him a hug and went back to get glasses. Patrick fussed things into perfect alignment. Then he went to snatch a bite of dinner to preview. Greg and Horatio both swatted him. "I'm starved."
"We'll be done in about ten minutes." They all filed out, leaving uncle and nephew. "What's going on, Ray?"
"I need advice on women."
"No man will ever understand a woman," he offered, looking at him. "Even the ones who change into women don't understand real women." That got a grin. "At least you don't have Xander's luck with women. He only drew evil women."
"I've heard." He glanced out there then at him. "Can we have the talk soon?"
"Of course. We can do that tonight, Ray, and then you can come back with later questions."
"Thank you. She's being a bit touchy about my age again."
"She's a mother and you're growing up. She'll cry tonight and then she'll be more open to it." Ray nodded, carrying out the salad. Raphael came in. "I don't have any blood in the fridge."
"That's fine, Horatio. I nibbled before I got here. Patrick will feed when I get home or I'll make him eat off Xander again." That got a smile from Greg when he came in. "We are babying Patrick."
"He hates it but he understands and tolerates it," Greg assured him. "As Xander proved, he will run and hide from fussing." That got a small chuckle. "I wouldn't care if you guys needed another nibble."
"I'm fine. I nibbled on one of the guards before I came over." Greg nodded and went to talk to Patrick, nagging him until he did.
"That is wickedly cool," Ray decided.
Xander gave him a wicked smirk. "Hey, Horatio, can I feed Ray some of my jerky?"
"No," he moaned. "Please don't."
Xander shrugged and grinned at his grandfather. "Need more?"
"Before I leave, Xander."
"I haven't had any in days."
"We'll see before I leave." He stroked his cheek. "I had some last night to cure my headache." The rest of dinner was brought out and he let Greg help him up. They settled in and Raphael said grace tonight, then they dug in, Ray putting food on his plate. "I don't need that much, Ray. Really."
"Yes you do. It'll help you feel better." That got a smile but he did nod and dig in to eat. "So, Uncle Horatio, can I vet the new girlfriend through you before I introduce her to mom?"
"Of course, Ray. That might be a wiser course anyway," he noted dryly, sipping some of his water. Someone knocked on the door so he got up to get it, looking at the man on the other side. "Yes?" The gun got pulled out. "You do realize I'm an officer?"
Xander snuck over and grabbed the whip off the couch then got the guy in the throat with it. He gurgled and backed up. "Do not *touch* my man! I'd fucking well beg! Now!" The man fell to his knees crying. "Drop the fucking gun!" It fell out of his hands and the man stared at him. "Mine," he growled.
"He has a good growl for not being turned," Patrick told his sire.
"He does, but he is just as possessive as you ever were," Raphael admitted. "Should someone call someone?"
"I'm dialing Eric," Greg promised. "Eric, Greg Sanders. We're at Horatio's and Xander's got some guy on his knees begging for mercy after he pointed a gun at Horatio. Yeah, thanks. No, don't bother Yelina. She's soaking in the bath and her son's here. Thanks." He hung up. "Eric's coming, guys." He ate another bite and looked at Ray. Then at Xander. "What did he want?"
"Xander," Horatio said blandly. Xander frowned at him. "He did."
"He did not!"
Horatio looked at the man on the ground. "Why did you come to threaten me tonight?" He pointed at Xander. "Did you want him or want me to break up with him?"
"Him," he said weakly. He looked at Xander. "Do you spank hard?" Xander nodded. "Oh," he said weakly. "Very, very hard?"
"I'm a dom of the breaking and therapy school. I'd have you crying and begging to confess within a few minutes."
"Oh. That's good. I don't want you then. Can I have the blond or the young guy instead?"
"The young one is my nephew, and the other is mine as well," Horatio said firmly, staring down at him, hands on his hips. "No, you may not have them."
"Oh. Sorry." Eric pulled in with a cruiser behind him. He knee-walked over to him. "I don't want him after all. He'd spank too hard."
"Sure, I can understand that. It takes one hell of a man to be with Xander. Let the nice officers help you up so you can tell us why you thought you wanted him in the first place." He nodded, knee-walking over to them. They helped him up and into the back of the cruiser. "Gun?" Horatio pointed at it. "Thanks, Horatio. Lets me break a questionable date tonight." He bagged the gun and looked at the whip. "Interesting."
"The mark on his throat," Horatio admitted.
"Guys, Master Tim got him on the throat, that's what that mark is."
One of the officers looked over. "Of course he did. He's also babbling that he spanks too hard for his tastes." He nodded at Horatio. "With your leave, Lieutenant?"
"Go," he agreed. "He's interrupting dinner."
"Sure, sir." They took him off while Eric took a fast statement for his plea hearing. Because he would be taking a plea if he was smart.
"Did daddy like the cookies?"
"He did. He tested one first to make sure it was okay but then he hogged them and wouldn't even let Willow have any when she came in." He grinned. "Speaking of, the wedding party is this weekend?" That got a happy squeal from Xander and a hug. "Thanks. Get off before I quit liking girls."
"It's not contagious," he taunted, but he went back to dinner.
"No but wanting him seems to be," he said dryly. "Had one of these at the station after you left. Interrupted Speed's cookie spree. Which allowed Willow to steal one. He spanked her then handed her back to her husband after we had the other guy in custody. Stetler was chuckling a lot at him."
"An officer?" Eric nodded. "I see. Let him have fun with that since he propositioned him as well." He smiled. "Anything else?"
"Then I am off for the next four days, Eric. Have fun and keep me informed." That got a nod and he took the gun and statement off. He walked back inside. "Speed did like the cookies and Willow stole one. He spanked her and handed her back to her new husband."
Raphael smiled. "I'm sure he can soothe her and help her make more cookies." He sipped his water, smiling at Ray. "It's not contagious."
"I'd hope not. I like girls. I'd hate to steal Xander from Uncle Horatio." His uncle patted him on the head before sitting down. "I could. We could play video games."
"Ah, but I am the Master of the x-box among my peers," Greg promised with an evil smirk. "We should test you to see if you're worthy to play games with me. Especially since Xander doesn't play very well."
Ray grinned. "Sure, Greg."
"You should see his turban," Raphael told him. "It's very cute."
"It is the Turban of Greatness," Greg teased him.
"I'm sure it is," Horatio agreed, smiling at his playful mate. He took Xander's hand to hold, making him smile at him. "We will handle all of this, Xander."
"For the first four years after I claimed my boy every single person in existence seemed to want him more than their lives," Raphael sighed, shaking his head. "We don't know why but when members of his family find their true mate it happens. According to the older wives tales it only happens when they find a true mate and it's to make sure the relationship is strong enough to face anything. His started right after I turned him."
"We're not married yet," Xander admitted. "He did claim me." Horatio coughed and blushed just a bit. "Sorry. Forget I said that, Ray."
"Not like I care. It's good you're that serious about him, Xander. Or else I'd have to kill you." That got a smile and a nod. "As long as we're clear. He's had enough pain."
"We all have," Xander said, looking at him. "I understand the pain he's had and he understands mine, Ray. It's not a playing relationship. Even if Greg does call himself a toy now and then. I spank him for that." Greg slunk down some. "Sit up." Greg sat up. He looked at him. "If any of us is a toy it's me."
"You are not a toy," Horatio said plainly.
"Does that mean you're our toy?" Greg teased.
Horatio looked at him. "I can spank you too, Greg." Greg just beamed. "We don't have toys in this relationship." Xander gave him a curious look. "Your mind is in the wrong state, Xander. Less smut, more dinner."
"Smut later," Ray agreed with a grin for him. "After I'm gone and so your grandparents don't have to listen to it."
"He gets it from him," Patrick said, nodding at his sire. Ray cackled at that.
"He does," he agreed happily. He looked at his grandson. "I'm glad I could pass on that trait, dear."
Xander blew a kiss. "All I needed was worthy people to bring it out. Horatio is more than worthy of every great smutty thought and Greg helps me make new ones." Both vampires laughed at that. "They do." He kissed Greg, making him quit blushing with what he whispered in his ear. Then he kissed Horatio, making him smile. "Now, let's eat. I need strength for being the toy tonight." Everyone dug in. "Do I have to do anything about the will? Or can I just sit here and look pretty?"
"You can sit there and look pretty but there'll be a few forms to sign eventually," Raphael admitted. "Especially if you sell the house." He looked at him. "In two months we'll go check the wife supposedly implanted again, just in case. As well as most of her female relatives just in case someone switched it." That got a nod. "She said she didn't want the house but this would've made sure she was settled and taken care of until she could remarry."
"I have no problem giving her some of it so she can take care of herself," Xander assured him. "But if she's having my kid, it's mine."
"Agreed," Horatio assured him. "We can fight for custody in that case." Xander grinned at him. "You'll be a great father, Xander. I do hope not yet, but someday you'll be a great father." He sipped his water when Xander gave him a smile that made him choke up. "Eat. You'll need your strength to help me do dishes."
"We ran the cookie sheets through the dishwasher," Greg promised. That got a smile. "We can do the same with the rest of the dishes." That got a nod and they got down to eating again. At the end, Xander and Greg went to do the dishes while Horatio and his nephew had The Talk. The vampires soaked up the happiness and went back over the will when the two boys came out.
Horatio looked at the letter in front of him and sighed, opening it. He hated formal missives from Gordon. Especially on his first day back at work. The last one had been about the presents and so was this one. "Speed?" he called. He walked in and he handed it over. "Another one."
"Can we stop them?"
"Please, try to." That got a nod and Speed went to pull up fatherly authority. Horatio and Speed both realized that Xander was incredibly flattered by the attention but it was bothering them. He was sure it was bothering Xander on some level but right now he was feeling flattered. Speed came back with a note and left again, not looking happy. He looked at it. "They wanted to give it to *me* so I'd give up Xander," he said blandly. He called Gordon. "No one can have him. I am very possessive." He smiled. "That's fine. If they can scare people off I'm more than happy to let them. Thank you, Gordon." He hung up and got back to work, at least until he heard the scream. Then he rushed out and found one of the women screaming at the giant spider in the middle of the floor. He called Greg and took a picture to send it over. He looked at the answer. "It's poisonous. Get a cage for it." Eric went running and Speed nudged it with a foot to head into the cage. Eric slammed it closed and held it at arm's length. "Put it somewhere safe. Greg's sending the picture to Grissom to see if he knows where it came from." They all looked at him. "Grissom is an entomologist, people. He'd know." They nodded and the spider carefully went into a lab and got closed in there. Then he relaxed. "Search for more. Just in case."
"Sure, we'll go get the patrol guys on the shit list this week," Speed agreed. Ryan frowned at him. "Ended up there a lot, Wolfe?"
"No, but that's mean. One of the permanent members has a spider phobia."
"Then he'll get some good desensitization therapy in today. You and Eric go look at the hole in the foundation."
"No way in hell I'm getting in there with the snakes," Eric complained. "I'll get bit!"
"Then put on some waders and go look," Horatio ordered. He went to call the Chief. "That hole is getting annoying. It's getting fixed when?" He nodded. "No, not another alligator, a poisonous spider this time. They're going to check on the snakes." He smiled. "Thank you, sir." He hung up and they went to check for more infestations. Ryan ran away from one of them, which it turned out was a baby alligator.
Speed caught it by the tail and held it out so it couldn't bite him. "Let me guess, you wanted Delko but he's not in his diving suit?" he taunted as he walked it off to put it somewhere safer, in that same lab. If it ate the spider, oh well in his book.
Horatio shook his head, heading to the next lab over. He found the spider webs but no spiders he could see. He checked the ventilation ducts and there were a few disturbed webs in there. He moaned and went to get someone to check the shafts for snakes. Animal control ended up coming in but Greg said any and all bugs would be going with him to Vegas to a world-renowned entomologist. They decided that was fine.
Greg came off the plane with the three multi-compartment cages, smiling at the stewardess who had helped him. "Thank you."
"Welcome, CSI Sanders. I hope the bug guy likes the new samples." She waved then shuddered.
Greg headed for baggage claim. His bag went over his shoulder. The cages were carefully carried out. He stopped to call Grissom from a courtesy phone. "Am I cabbing back with your new samples from Miami or are you going to come pick me and them up?" He smiled. "Yeah, they had an infestation in the lab down there thanks to a hole in the foundation and someone malicious." He smiled. "That's fine but you're paying for any extra for the cab fare to the office." He hung up and switched hands, then headed out to the cab stand. The cabbies all gave him horrified stares. "They're samples for the crime lab," he said. "I'm one of the CSI under the Bugman." One of them nodded and let him into the back. He counted and checked them all. "Try for a smooth ride if you can? They're still traumatized by the flight from Miami."
"Sure, sir." He let Greg get in the other side and took off, hoping for a smooth ride. He didn't want any of them to come open in his cab. He accepted the fee and tip from him, giving him a receipt gladly. Then he watched him go inside with another shudder.
"Do not back into me," Greg snapped at Sara, who turned and shuddered. "The Miami crime lab has a hole in the foundation and some nice mother decided to get rid of her son's pets in their foundation. Fortunately the snakes ate the rest of the poisonous spiders. Grab my bag for me?" She took his bag carefully and put it behind the reception desk. "Gris in his office?"
"Sure." He walked them that way and coughed when Hodges came out. "Poisonous." They all got out of his way after that. "Grissom?" he called. He came out of the fridge. "Courtesy of the Miami-Dade crime lab and the mother who got rid of her son's collection in their foundation. The snakes that got in through the same hole and the baby alligator that got dumped ate the other fifty. But you have seven new spiders." He put them down on the table. "They're a bit traumatized from the flight but I put a warm pack around their cages to keep them from dying in the air conditioning."
"Did you feed them yet?"
"I couldn't find any crickets so they're probably starved." That got a nod and he helped him carry the three cases into the office. "That's as close as we could come for a carrying case. I'm hoping the one on the end isn't dead."
"I don't know yet," he admitted. He got down some empty cages and started with that one. It attacked the cricket he slid in so he smiled. "Playing possum." They transferred them over and one had died but that was okay with him. He had a good collection of dead bugs too. "Was the mother charged?"
"It was discussed but they decided it was malicious but not illegal. Now, her dumping the baby alligator... that she got charged with." That got a smile. "They have snakes in their ventilation system so they're off for a few days while they search them all out and make the building so cold it's making them lethargic."
"We need to check our foundation again," he agreed, smiling at him. "Great job, Greg. Ready for work?"
"Alexx said only slow work and if my knee starts to ache to put it back up for the next week but yeah."
"That's fine." He smiled, going back to his new friends. He got them more crickets and a few meal worms. It was much appreciated by them. "Anything else happen?"
"Oh, yeah," he sighed. He sat down and glanced outside then at him. "The guy who kidnaped Xander left him almost everything in his will with a demand to take care of the wife he had planned on inseminating with his seed. So I spent a few days calming him down. He's torn between flattered and creeped out. He's doing fine and Horatio's doing mean things to him today since he's got the day off. He's making him go buy more clothes." That got a small smile. "I met Horatio's family and they're pretty nice. Still feeling a bit weird about the trio thing but that's okay and his nephew's really cool. I spent a whole day and the night before helping him play playstation games, much to his mother's displeasure since he skipped that day. She was amused that I explained some of the physics in the game to him. It got him a higher score," he said at the amused look. "Xander's back at home. The night I got down there he ended up with a bad fight with his grandparents and Horatio over that inheritance. They hadn't told him." That got a small shudder. "Yeah, basically. But it got solved the next two days and it was nicer after that. His grandsire is still coming back to LA for a while so he'll probably stop through and take me to dinner my next night off. Or my next lunch hour if I finally get one." That got a nod. "So we're good, they're good, and Patrick insists that he had the same thing happen, it's a family curse. It'll last about four years."
"It'll be something they'll have to get over together," Grissom assured him.
"Yeah, we will but it'll be okay. Xander's instituted a rating scale of stupid people wanting him. By the way, he wanted to make sure Braun didn't want him to be Catherine's stepfather anymore."
"Not that I've heard," he admitted. "I hope not. Then again he'd probably beat him into better manners." He went back to playing with his new friends. "Anything else happen?"
"We found out Xander is not poisonous if we make tube cookies. He can add water and stir, but nothing more complicated. We went over a lot of foods to make sure he could make something that wasn't takeout, then we went shopping."
"We don't know how but while he was in New York, Xander put a chicken in the oven with bottled sauce over it. Overcooked it so far it was nearly crunchy. Someone still got sick off it." That got an amazed look. Greg nodded. "He's got a jerky that he can make but it's very spicy. It'll wreck your stomach for a week and make you so horny you'd go hump a cactus to get relief. Literally. He fed a piece to a guy down there and he went to hump one of the decorative cactuses in one of the malls later that night because his girlfriend sent him away. He said it's what makes him so strong and able to eat his own cooking. I have a bag if you want some." He smiled sweetly. "If not he suggested I feed some to Warrick for trying to pick on me with that text message that night."
"That's mean, Greg."
"No, that was his breath spray." He pulled some out of his pocket and handed it over. Grissom tested some then gulped his water. "New York's lab was told to quit using it in interrogations to make people confess. We haven't and neither has Miami yet. That's for Catherine or Brass," he said with a sweet smile.
"This is a breath spray?"
"Yup. The humidity and heat makes it a bit weaker sooner. That's the weak version." He pulled out the other one. "You want the real one?"
"I can't feel my tongue as is, Greg. He uses this?"
"Multiple times a day," he agreed with a small smirk. "All thanks to his jerky."
Grissom put the bottle carefully aside. "I'll give that to Brass." He scraped his tongue on his teeth. "I still can't feel it." Greg handed over the other one and he shook his head. "It might cause permanent damage."
"You'll be able to taste all those little hidden flavors in wine, Gris." He stood up. "Other than that, I was a good boy. We did some mild book shopping with Speed yesterday and Speed confiscated the magic books he got for translating stuff into demon for a bar owner. I got to look over his weapon's collection and so did Horatio. Though he did moan. A lot." Someone behind him laughed so he looked back. "Xander's weapons collection."
"I'm sure it's pretty," Catherine agreed.
Greg smiled. "Xander sent you his breath spray to use when you absolutely need to break someone and make them beg."
"It's fairly strong," Gil offered, still trying to scrape his tongue. "I don't have any more coating on my tongue." She gave him an odd look. "Really." He held out one.
"That's the stronger one," Greg warned. He handed her the weaker one. "Go ahead. I use it." He used the pure one and Grissom whimpered. "I ate Xander's jerky," he said happily. Catherine sprayed her mouth and gagged, going to get a drink from the water fountain. He waved and followed, leaning on the wall. "New York got told it was cruel and unusual punishment both. We don't have that yet."
She looked at him. "That's very strong."
He smiled and nodded. "And just think about a suspect who wants water." She stood up to stare at him. "That's how they were using it, instead of giving them water."
"That is mean. I don't have any feeling in my tongue."
"That's the weaker one." He held up the new bottle. "That's a new batch and I have some of his jerky in my bag if you wanted some."
"Is it dangerous?"
"Your stomach might protest for a week about some of the spices. It's fairly strong. It's the reason Xander can eat his own cooking." She shuddered at that. "Makes for a great night of sex though."
"I'll keep that in mind," she promised. "Who gets these?"
"You and Brass." He grinned. "I'm under orders to make Warrick eat some of the jerky for the text message thing. Even Horatio agreed that was only fair."
She patted him on the cheek. "He's on a scene. Get him when he comes back." She went to give them to Brass. "Spray some on your finger and taste this." He did that and gagged at the original formula. "That's the stronger one. Xander, Master Tim, sent it for interrogations. New York got told it was cruel and unusual punishment, both, and were made to stop using it in place of giving someone water. I still can't feel my tongue after using the weaker stuff. Grissom's still scraping his and playing with the bugs Greg brought him back."
"Did the rest of us get presents?"
"He brought some of Xander's jerky back," she offered. "It's a bit strong though. Apparently it's got some foreign and fairly rare spices."
"That might not be so bad." He sipped his coffee and looked at it. "I can taste the staleness."
She nodded. "He told Grissom he could taste wine."
"I'm sure he can." He looked at her. "I know a few people I'd like to use that on."
She patted one. "This one's weaker."
"Good to know." He put a pen mark on the cap then put them into his drawer. "Thank him for me."
"Already did, Jim. Grissom got six new spiders."
"A mother dumped her son's collection in the hole in the Miami lab's foundation," Greg said from the doorway. "Want some jerky, Brass?"
"Not until I can't taste the staleness of the coffee."
"Sure." He grinned and headed out, his kit in hand. "Heading to help Warrick and Nick," he told Sara. He winked at the receptionist. "I'll be back for that later. Just hold it for now please."
"Sure." She smiled. "Is there anything in there that should worry me?"
"Only the jerky. Let me have that bag." She smiled and handed it over. "Thanks, dear." He walked out, tucking it into his inner vest pocket. He headed out to their scene, signing in and walking on. "I'm back. I brought homemade jerky."
"Any good?" Nick asked absently.
"Yeah, but a bit strong. He uses Indian spices." Nick looked back at him. "He does."
"Regular beef jerky but yeah. Xander makes it. It's the one thing he makes very well. Said it's what makes him stronger."
"Got any on you? I missed dinner," Warrick complained.
"Yup. In my vest. He said I could share." He put the bag on top of Warrick's case lid. "Where do you need me, boys?"
"Have you had coffee?" Nick asked.
"I had great sex three times earlier today. I won't need coffee until tomorrow, Nick." That got a smile and Nick let him have his spot of carpet to search for anything odd. They went to take a twenty minute break for dinner since he was there. Greg smiled at the wince as Nick bit into some but Warrick ate it.
"Tastes like some Thai food I had one night on a date," he offered. He finished that piece and a bottle of water. Then he came back. Nick saved half his piece for later. It was good but a bit strong, as advertised. Thirty minutes later Warrick was ready to go find a bathroom for multiple reasons. He looked at Nick. "Finish our dinner break?"
"I've found some metal shavings," Greg offered. "Is that what we're looking for or is it the blood drops I trimmed out?"
"Both," Nick decided. "You keep going, Greg, we'll take those back to the station."
"Watch out, they sent some new specimens for Grissom."
"Sure," Warrick agreed, putting the jerky back into Greg's kit and hurrying off with what they had gathered. Nick went into the first bathroom he saw. Warrick went to the locker room once he had evidence logged in. Then he went to clean himself up. Because that stuff was mean. His poor body didn't know if it wanted to screw something or have the runs. Having them together was a bad thing and he knew that. Even if he didn't have much of a choice in having both.
When Nick got finished he took his remaining piece to Hodges and frowned at him. "Find out what's in this and if it's drugged or anything please?"
"Sure." He separated out a sample and ran it though the system. Then he smiled. "I've seen this recipe online. It says whole armies marched to Ares and Aphrodite on it." Nick moaned at that, stomping off to complain Greg was being mean. "Who had this?"
"Greg! Master Tim gave it to him."
"No wonder he's so tough," he said, liking that. "I'll have to try some." He printed off the report for Nick, watching him stomp off trying to ignore the hard-on he had. He read up on some of the spices. The side effects were manageable since he didn't go into the field. He was near the bathroom so it'd be okay. When Greg came back, he leaned out of his lab. "Can I have some of Master Tim's jerky?"
"Nick had me analyze it and I've seen the recipe online, Sanders." Greg handed over the bag. "Thanks." He nibbled a piece and sipped some water. It wasn't too bad. When he came back he got another piece for later with a smile. "Tell him good job and thank him for me."
"Sure." He smiled and walked off nibbling his own piece. Xander had done a good thing.
Xander snuggled into Horatio's arms, looking up at him. "Greg's safely back and he fed Warrrick some of my jerky for sending that text message." Horatio gave him a look. "It's all right."
"I'm sure it is." He kissed him. "I should take all the mean and dirty thoughts out of your mind, Xander."
"You can try but you do give me some dirty, nasty thoughts," he purred, kissing him and playing with his chest hair. Horatio pinned him under him and went to work driving him insane with desire so he'd have to beg. It was a great night!
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