A New Start on Life.
Xander smiled and petted his grandfather's guard dog, Holly, and the new dog that had wandered up and decided it lived in the house. Holly was a fairly large crossbred great dane/labrador/sheppard mix and the new dog was a lot smaller than she was. Still, the small dog was trying to hump Holly's head, much to the amusement of Horatio and Speed.
"Blow jobs for dogs? I didn't know they went that way," Speed said. Horatio moaned and shook his head.
"Well, they do always lick themselves there," Xander offered. That got another small moan from his lover. "Sorry, dear, had to be said." He separated the dogs, giving the little male a look. "Keep it up and someone will fix you, puppy dog."
His grandsire came out. "What did the little sausage do?" he asked patiently.
Xander grinned at him. "Humped her head looking for a different tongue to lick him tonight."
His grandsire looked horrified then walked off shaking his head. "Horatio, you're supposed to be keeping him *sane*. Holly, go see Patrick." She ran inside, the puppy following. "Patrick, fix the lap sausage!" he demanded before going into the study to laugh his ass off.
Xander looked at Horatio. "I'm not sane?"
"There are days I wonder," he said patiently, patting him on the back. "Usually it's a temporary mood. Fortunately. Otherwise Willow and Ryan would never quit blushing."
Speed leaned back, smirking at his boy. "I'm so proud."
"Thanks, Daddy." He gave his thigh a hug. "I'm proud that I made Ryan and Eric blush earlier."
"Getting Eric isn't always that hard, but I enjoyed the show. So did Calleigh." He looked at Horatio. "That's right, you missed it."
"Thankfully." He looked at his boy. "No more talking about oral sex fixations in front of the people in the lab, Xander. Cooper thought you were going to give a physical demonstration."
"I like him, but no. Sorry. Maybe if Greg was there...." He got swatted for that. "What? He'd offer."
"You and Greg both need to behave," Patrick called, coming out to join them on the front steps. "I'll be having my new dog fixed," he announced.
"Why? He find the right end this time?" Speed asked dryly. Patrick gave him a look so he smirked. "He humped her head."
"I'm sure she didn't enjoy it, the same as your girlfriend complains about doing that for you, Timothy."
"She does?" Xander asked, looking at Speed. "Should I get you one of those realistic sucking pumps for your birthday, Dad?" Horatio swatted him again.
Speed looked at his son then at his son's mate. "I believe you should probably go make Xander sane again, Horatio. Before his smutty mind spreads."
"Too late," Raphael complained. "Those pumps aren't that realistic."
"How would you know?" Patrick called. "You haven't had any recently."
His sire came out, glaring at him. "You'd be impressed," he said dryly. He smiled at Xander. "Remember, you get your smutty mind from me, Grandson."
"I'm going to go home and impose on Calleigh," Speed decided. "Kiddo, want a ride home?"
"I can take him home," Horatio said firmly. That got a shrug and Speed walked off.
"Next day off, Daddy. We'll go for a ride then." Speed grinned at him before getting on his bike and heading home. He looked at Horatio. "Does that mean you can stay over tonight?"
"I wouldn't mind," he promised, giving him a gentle kiss. That's all he ever gave him public. "Gentlemen, excuse me but I believe I should work on Xander's smutty mind."
"Can we call Greg while we make love?" he pleaded.
Horatio checked his watch. "He's not on shift yet unless he got called in early. We'll try." He hauled Xander up. "Have fun with the puppy, Patrick. Raphael, go easy on him tonight."
"Of course. He was never one for the kinkier sex games," he said with a small shrug. Patrick moaned and swatted him for that. He smiled at him. "You weren't." He pulled Patrick up. "Come along, my childe. Have a nice and safe night, boys." They smiled when Horatio got Xander into the hummer and headed off to do naughty things to each other. Then he drug his childe inside to impose on his gentle nature some more. It had been a while....
Horatio glared at Xander when he shifted over. "Not in the hummer, not while I'm driving."
"Shoot." He took his right hand off the steering wheel, letting him drive while he held that one and teased his fingers. He glanced around then bent down to nip it, making Horatio shift in his seat. "I'm being good," he promised with a wicked grin, going back to teasing his hand.
"Xander, I don't want to wreck," he complained.
"I will. You're taking my attention from traffic." Xander smiled at him and he sighed, heading home faster. "My place is closer."
"Maybe," he agreed, leaning over to nibble on his ear. "Or there's always a deserted park."
"No. I'd get into a lot of trouble."
"Good point." Horatio pulled into his driveway and his lover got out before the engine was off, sashaying inside. Horatio said a silent prayer for stamina, patience, and to not break him tonight, then headed inside once the engine was off. Xander was chatting with his nephew, making him groan. "Horatio's here, Ray. Need him?" He smiled. "Sure, that'd be fine. I don't have anything and I think I can convince him to come home before seven tomorrow night so he can meet your new girlfriend. Love you too and be careful. Or else I'll have to have The Talk with you and mine's a lot more comprehensive than his was." He grinned. "Good boy. No, I'm going to have my wicked way with his back while I'm practicing massage techniques and then I'm going to let him return the favor. Sure." He grinned. "Have a good night. Love you too, Ray." He hung up and pounced, making Horatio lean against the entry wall. "Ray is bringing his new girlfriend over tomorrow at seven-thirty for you to vet her." He stole a long, deep kiss. "We are meeting her then since he asked both of us."
"If you want," he promised, pulling Xander tightly against his body. "Massages?"
"If you want."
"I could enjoy that and it would give you a better way to pounce."
"Pouncing is fun," he agreed with a smirk. He led Horatio into the bedroom and got him stripped down then onto the bed. "I'm learning a new pressure point technique," he said, stripping down so he could straddle Horatio's back and get to work. It only took him five minutes to make Horatio moan in pleasure and spread his thighs. "Nope, sorry, not until you give me one. My training partner has very delicate, small hands and can't get any pressure going." Horatio looked back at him. "He can't."
"I can do that. Lay down, Xander." Xander wiggled off his hips and laid down on his stomach, letting him spoil his boy. "You wanted to call Greg?"
He pulled out his cellphone and called him, smiling when the cheerful voice answered. "Busy?" he groaned. Greg moaned back and agreed he was free all night. "Good boy." He put the phone down next to his head, letting him hear everything that was going on. Every groan, every moan, ever panting, begging request until Horatio finally used the oil to prepare and stretch him. "Greggy," he whimpered. Horatio kissed him on the ear as he slid in, making him give one long, drawn out moan. Horatio chuckled in his ear but kept going. "More, please more?" he begged. He went onto his knees and pushed back more. "Come on," he begged. "Please, Horatio? More?"
"You asked for it," he reminded him, getting to work making him insane. "Less smutty thoughts," he ordered as he thrust and pushed into him, making Xander babble at him. It was great for them and he tuned the phone to speaker setting so they could both hear Greg panting and whimpering. "More, Greg?"
"Oh, please more, Horatio," he begged. "Make him beg some more? I like to hear him beg."
Horatio leaned down to nip Xander. It got the loudest groan yet and Xander went rigid then let out a groan as he came. "Not as vocal as usual," he teased, finishing himself off. "Come for us, Greg." Greg came with a moan of their names. "Good boy, Greg. Think of us later tonight." He smiled at the panted confession. "Love you too, Greg. Get some rest. He's already out and snoring into the pillow." He smiled. "Good boy. You nap and we'll be back together soon." He hung up and went back to cuddling Xander.
Greg answered his phone, hearing the moan and Horatio's instructions. "Oooh, phone sex," he said happily, spreading out on his couch. He loved these calls. "I'm free all night," he said, undoing his shirt and belt buckle so he could touch himself while they played with each other. The panting and breathless begging was going to get to him soon. He gave up on teasing himself and went straight for his cock. "Oh, baby, is he in yet?" he asked, shifting his legs further apart so he could brace himself on the rest of the couch more comfortably. "Is it tight, Xander?" he asked, closing his eyes and listening while his hands got to work on his cock. He was nearly there when Xander came, making him whimper in need. Horatio took over and his order was very good timing indeed. He came and went limp. "Love you, Horatio." He smiled at the care and affection of his confession of love and to get some rest. "I will. You two be good too. I'm going to shower and find a toy." He grinned and hung up. Then he went to plan his next time in Miami before going to shower with his newest toy. It was almost perfectly Horatio's size and girth, even if it was a lurid green. It was also waterproof and it felt so *good* when he slid it in.
"Still can't compare to his," he complained but it was good enough. For now.
Speed sat down across from Willow the next afternoon. "So, when are you moving yourself in with Ryan?" he asked bluntly.
"He doesn't like my apartment." She pouted a bit but dug into her sandwich. "He said the ones I liked were crappy and he thinks this one is too." She ate a bite, looking at him. "My new one's nice, right?"
"Somewhat. Actually, his has better security. Yours has more room. Which can be nice."
"Xander suggested I should move into one of the peaceful, safe blocks."
"Where would that be?" Frank asked as he walked in with his lunch.
"One of the non-human places, Frank," Speed told him. "They've got safe blocks."
"Oh. Well, if you can stand it." He shrugged. "You two are married and still living in separate places?"
"No, I'm staying with him but he doesn't want to move in," Willow told him. "I've got the bigger place so it's only reasonable."
"Sometimes logical doesn't really come into that," Frank offered. "Find somewhere and move together."
"He said he can't move at the moment. Not until he gets a raise." She pouted at Tim. "When'll that be?"
"Next performance reviews are in three months if he's up for one," he admitted. "For that you'd have to ask Horatio." She nodded, perking up a bit at that. "Any other problems?"
"He rearranged my cabinets on me."
"He's got OCD, Willow. Of course he did."
"Good point." She dug in for a larger bite of her sandwich. "When are we seeing something official from you two?"
"Not anytime soon and that's her decision."
"Oh. Should we maybe let Xander and I talk her into it?"
"No, we're good," Speed assured her. "We're good where we are at the moment so I'll wait on that forced talk." She smiled. He looked outside. "That is probably not a good thing." She looked out there and froze. He waved the blonde girl inside. The officer escorting her walked off when he saw they did want to talk to her. "Buffy. You didn't tell anyone you were coming down? We would've picked you up from the airport."
"Oooh," Willow said, getting up to hug her. "I've missed you," she said happily.
"I can tell. That was nearly a my strength hug." She smiled at Speed. "Hi, Timmy."
"Hi, Buffy." He kicked out a chair. "They told you to come back here?"
"The person who came out to see what I wanted told me to come back here." She sat down, looking at them. "Where's Xander? I called him and got a grunt."
"That means he's either in a class or he's still in bed," Speed offered.
"His last class ended last week," Willow told him.
"I thought it was this weekend."
"No, he was taking this week off and then he's going to make Horatio go out to party with him for a week, then he's got a next one." Speed nodded. "So it's entirely possible he's still in bed." She smiled at Buffy. "Did you get my last letter?"
"I did and I'm very confused. Xander's gay? Since when? That's not our Xander."
"Since he was probably bi before but the only person in town who hit on him was Larry," Speed said dryly. He stuffed a bite of lunch into his mouth, glancing at Frank. "This is Frank Tripp, he's one of our pet detectives."
Buffy waved. "Hi. I'm not quite mythical."
He grinned and waved back. "That's okay. Everyone should be a bit mythical to someone." She smiled at that. "Wasn't Xander taking Horatio out to lunch today?"
"Um, yup," he admitted. Tim texted his son, getting back no answer. "Hmm. Could be having fun instead," he offered, staring at his phone. After two minutes without an answer he called and it went to voicemail. "His phone's off?"
"Xander never turns his phone off," Willow agreed.
They looked at each other and she texted Ryan while he texted Horatio and Calleigh.
"So, I take it Xander's dating again?" Buffy quipped.
"Yes and he's very nice," Willow assured her. Buffy gave her an odd look. "Horatio is." He was also coming up the hall. "Not a good sign, Timmy."
"H, wasn't my son supposed to be in for lunch today?"
"Yes, but I couldn't wake him up."
"Did you do strange things to him?" Speed asked patiently. Horatio gave him a look. He called the house phone. It was loud, shrill, and got Xander up faster than his alarm. That one went to the answering machine. So he called the other house. "Gordon, it's Speed. Is Xander there? He's not answering his phones." He listened then nodded once. "Bring him here unless he needs medical attention, Gordon. Thank you." He hung up and looked at Horatio. "Someone tried to run him off the road. His minders broke off to get him but got the car's information. His car's not totaled but it's got a good few dents and he's apparently in the back of their car heading there. They'll swing this way."
"Any idea if it was malicious?" Horatio asked calmly.
"Not a clue," Speed offered.
"Then I'll wait on him and bring him in here." Speed nodded, and he walked that way. He had seen the blonde girl but he wasn't ready to deal with Buffy at this moment in time.
"That was Xander's boyfriend," Willow offered to Buffy.
Buffy gave her a 'huh?' look. "Excuse me? Boyfriend? Older boyfriend? That is definitely not Xander. He might experiment once or twice but to really *date* a guy?"
"He's happy," Speed assured her. "Or else I would've killed him for toying with my boy by now."
"They are happy enough that it's cute," Frank agreed. "Like Willow and Wolfe are."
"No, Ryan's a cutie, we're not that cute together," she countered with a smile.
"Yeah, you are," Speed assured her, giving her a look. "No one else would've cut the crust off his sandwiches." She blushed a bit at that. "Or made him walk in one day without underwear because you stole them all. Or made him take a very long lunch the other day and then walk in looking like he owned the world."
"All newlyweds are cute," Frank assured her.
She pouted. "He's cute, not me."
"You're....married?" Buffy asked. "Did I miss a letter?"
Willow looked at her. "I emailed that one to you from Las Vegas."
She blinked and then frowned. "Miami is bad. You guys need to come home. You and Xander are both going wrong."
Speed popped her one on the shoulder. "I like having my son down here and he's happy, Buffy. I don't care if you can't appreciate gay things or not." She frowned at him. He scowled back. She slunk down some. "My boy stays, Buffy. He's happy. Horatio makes him very happy. He also protects him. Besides, this way he can still be around his grandparents."
"Who are a lot nicer than most vampires," Willow admitted. "Raphael does have a very dirty mind but he's a sweetie to Tara." She finished her sandwich. "Any word from New York? I haven't heard from her in two days since she just started school."
"Patrick was cooing that Don took her out to a very nice night out. Dinner at a great place. A night on the town at a show. Then some cuddling while they watched the early fireworks. On the fourth, the lab is having a picnic so she's going to that with them tomorrow night." She smiled at that. "She's still blushing and shy but he's good for her."
"Tara's with a boy?" Buffy asked. Willow smiled and nodded. "I thought she was more gay than you are."
"She was but Don's just special," she told her. "She said Don's all a guy's sort of guy but he's sweet and gentle like a woman and it was instant fluttery feelings when Xander introduced them. Don's an almost relative of Xander's through his grandfather. Don's related to his grandfather's second wife and Xander's from his third marriage." Buffy just nodded once at that. "He's a great guy. I've snuck calls up to him a few times to make sure she's happy, or else Tara can have a new pet." That got a small smirk from Speed. "It's only right! Tara's gentle and sweet!"
"She is," Speed agreed happily. "Both of Xander's grandparents dote on her too for being so delicate and sweet. She tried to protest the spoiling too. The clothes still appeared in her closet while she was out one night and so did some of Xander's grandmother's jewelry and Don's aunt's jewelry. He said it was only fitting that she should wear it."
"I know Xander sent one of the more pernicious female presents to her recently," Willow told him. That got a grin from Frank. "You should meet Tara. She's very sweet and gentle."
"So I've heard. Then again, we've got a crossover case at the moment." Speed nodded at that and Willow beamed. "No idea who's handling it."
"Horatio and Mac are using it to talk about bad guys and stalkers," Speed told him. "If Don's got to come down, he'll bring Tara. If not he'll be taking a vacation down here in late September with her." That got a grin from Frank.
"But, Tara's with the witchly lovin' and only likes girls," Buffy complained.
Speed popped her on the head this time. "Things have changed a bit, Buffy. Don is more than gentle enough with her."
Willow nodded. "He's letting her go as fast as she wants with the sex. Right now she's enjoying all the hand holding and cuddling under his arm and around his chest. He took her to see a comedy show the other night and she said she blissed out holding his hand. She said she's planning a special night to give him permission to start going farther. He's even gotten her to go to church with him but he's went to the coven parties she found up there. She's found a nice one through one of the shops she's found up there. She said they all approved of him and he's trying to set Danny up with one of the single witches in the circle." Xander was walked in holding one side of his head. "Oooooh. Did someone go bang and crash?" she cooed, getting up to look him over. She checked the spot then his eyes. "Not even concussed."
"I lost consciousness for a few minutes," Xander admitted.
"You're fine. Let Horatio get you an ice pack." He grinned at that and was sat down next to his father, getting a hug while Willow and Horatio got an improvised ice pack with a plastic baggie and ice cubes. That and a few paper towels around it and he was set. "So, who ran into you?"
"I don't know," he admitted, waving at Buffy. "Hi."
"Hi. You're gay?"
He looked at her then nodded, looking patient. "Yeah." He took Horatio's hand, smiling at him. "This is my boy Horatio and I've got a Greggy out in Las Vegas." She gaped. "What?" he asked, waving his free hand. "Get it out so you can think. You always think better after you've blurted."
"You're hanging out with vampires and you're gay! You've been warped, Xander!"
"I'm happy, Buffy, and those vampires are my grandparents. Hell yes I'm hanging out with them. Not like they're hunting."
"They have to be!" she said shrilly.
"No, they nibble on someone but they don't take more than a pint," Willow told her. Everyone stared at her. "I asked. I didn't want Xander to have to deal with a hunter in the family." She sipped her milk, looking at him. "I did threaten them if they ever started to hunt." He popped her one on the head, a lot harder than Speed's swat. "Ow!"
"I'm going to paddle you," he said impatiently. "My grandparents aren't like that."
"I was only making sure!" she defended.
"Now is not the time nor the place for this, children," Horatio said firmly. He sat down between them, looking at his boyfriend. "No spanking in the station."
"Yes, Horatio," he sighed. Timmy gave him a gentle pat on the cheek. "I'm okay, Daddy. Just been a long morning."
"How bad's the car?"
"Not too bad. Some driver's side damage and front end damage where I went off the road into the culvert by the house."
"Was it a neighbor?" Horatio asked. Xander looked at him then handed over his cellphone. "I'll call Patrick in a few minutes." Xander nodded and put his head onto his shoulder, getting the cuddle he wanted. "You'll be okay. We'll make sure this isn't about the presents." Xander nodded, letting himself be comforted for a few minutes.
Buffy stared at them then at Timmy. "You're letting him do that in public? You broke up him and Cordelia!"
"No I didn't. I did do a lot of talking to him about healthy relationships," he offered. "Because that one wasn't." Willow nodded at that. "The same as I had a few with Willow and Oz about healthy relationships. I did tell him he could come to me about anything in that relationship and he did when things started to go wrong. Especially after his bout with Amy." Xander shuddered. "We learned our lesson then."
"I did," Xander agreed. "I'll never do that again." He shuddered again and Horatio gave him a squeeze. "So, Tara called this morning to see if I thought her dinner was nice enough for a date."
Willow smiled. "I got that one too. Is the backyard pretty?"
"Very. It's got a nice garden out there with flowers and a great old wooden table." She smiled at that. "I tweaked one thing, suggesting something lighter than the steaks she wanted to feed him. She was about to go shopping and I suggested a lighter, more tender cut so he wouldn't have to work as hard to eat and would have more time to hold her hand." Willow and Speed both smiled at that. "Grandsire apparently left all sorts of cooking stuff up there so she's learning how to use it and it's gone okay. She's made a small cake for tonight too. I'm thinking she's going to let him progress to smoochies for real and maybe some light groping."
"I'm so proud," Willow said happily. Horatio smiled at her. "It's a big step since Tara's only liked girls before."
"It's a big step for anyone," he assured her. "It should be treated like the big step it is." He pushed some of her hair off her face. "From you and Ryan I need some amended paperwork, Willow."
"I've got it in the car," she promised with a smile. "I downloaded it and filled it out for him but he's got to sign it. He still won't move in."
"We'll work on him later," Speed promised. She beamed and nodded. They both looked at Xander when he snored. "Sounds like someone had a late night."
"He had a client who came over suddenly last night after a bad event," Horatio said quietly. That got a nod. "He spent most of the night with him giving comfort."
"Shooting. It's an agent he works with now and then."
"Poor guy. I hope he's okay."
"He should be." He smiled at his mate then at Buffy. "So, how long are you in for?"
"I came down to check on them because obviously I've been missing information for some reason."
"We didn't want more information to get back to Riley," Willow complained. "One of their guys went up to Tara when she first got to New York to try to talk to her about what happened. Xander was stuck up there then so it was okay because he's very protective of her."
"As he is of you," Speed agreed, looking at Frank, then outside at Eric and Ryan. He nodded them inside. "Eric, Ryan, this is Buffy."
"What happened to Xander?" Ryan asked, moving the ice pack to check the lump. "Should he be in the ER?"
"He's fine. It's a lump, not a concussion," Willow assured him.
He looked at her. "How about we get a second opinion?" he suggested. "Just in case. We don't want him to be hurt and hiding it and you said he could from you. Maybe just Alexx?"
"I wouldn't mind," she agreed. "I'm not insulted. I know book education is different from experience." Horatio smiled and paged Alexx. She smiled at her boy. "Ryan, this is Buffy. Buffy, that's my man," she said proudly, pointing at Ryan. "He's a bit fussy."
"I can tell. He didn't even hug you."
"I try very hard not to grope her at the station because Eric taunts me when I do," Ryan said, grinning and shaking her hand. "Welcome to Miami, Buffy. Are you staying with us tonight?"
"Wouldn't that mean you had fixed which house you're living in?" Speed asked dryly.
Ryan frowned at him. "Butt out."
"Yes, now! We're getting somewhere closer to work, Speed, okay?" He nodded and smirked.
"That means I've got to move *again*," Willow complained. "Plus we both have leases."
"Yours can be broken easily enough. I've already written to your apartment's guy. He said he wasn't comfortable with us being married and living there. He said it might jinx the apartment and then he'd have to marry his girl when he got back from Afghanistan. So I told him we'd be moving by the end of next month." She nodded, accepting that. "Which is when my lease runs out."
"Okay. When are we starting to look?"
"Tonight. Now, what're the papers in the car?"
"The updated stuff Horatio needs."
"Oh." He nodded and took them out of his back pocket, handing them over. "All signed, Horatio. We might have to redo the insurance form, that's the old one." Alexx walked in. "He's got a head bump."
"What happened this time? Another person trying to take what they don't deserve?" He gentle prodding woke Xander back up.
"Someone ran the Jag off the road," Xander said with a pout at her. "Willow said I'm fine."
"Until Willow gets that important piece of paper with an end-run medical degree, I'm not going to trust her diagnosis, sugar. I'm sorry but book learning and experience are different."
"Which is what I said," Willow agreed. "I don't want him to be really hurt. His eyes are dilating normally and he's got a headache by the look in them. The bump's not too bad or funny feeling though."
"Good!" She settled in to check his head, giving him a smile. She finished checking him over and patted him on the cheek. "She's right. It's just a bump this time. Any idea who it was?" He shook his head, then held the spot and put it back down on Horatio's shoulder. "Then we'll make sure you'll be fine. I'm sure someone can check on you tonight."
"Have a client tonight," he mumbled. "So naked soccer will have to wait." She nodded and patted him on the shoulder. "Sorry but he needs me."
"Of course he does, Xander. That's more important than the boys around here getting some cheap thrills from naked women playing sports." She smiled and looked at Horatio. "Be gentle on his head tonight." He nodded. "Good. He'll be just fine. Some tylenol would go well." She gave him another pet then smiled at Buffy. "Yes, I mother the boy horribly," she told her.
"This is Buffy," Speed introduced. "Buffy, this is Alexx Woods, our ME and she adopted me years ago. I learned how to be a good father to Xander from her." That got him a hug and a kiss on the temple. "Thanks, Alexx."
"Welcome, baby." She fussed with some of his hair. "You need a trim." She smiled at Ryan and pinched his cheek. "So do you." She walked out, going to make a note on her timesheet for the day.
"She's a great lady," Willow agreed.
Ryan looked at her. "If you wanted to do med school I wouldn't mind," he offered. She blinked at him. "I wouldn't. I might complain at some of the hours you'll be spending at work for the first few years, but I wouldn't mind." She gave him a gentle smile and he grinned back. "Up to you, you know that." She nodded.
"She could deliver babies so I don't get a niece or nephew soon," Xander offered. Ryan flipped him on the ear. "They're doing the tests this weekend," he announced. That got some shudders from Eric. "Including all the female relatives. Just in case."
"Good idea," Eric agreed. "I'd hate to see what that kid would be like."
"Spoiled when I took her from her mother," Xander said firmly. "Then she'll be raised to follow Lady Heather." They all smiled at that, all but the very confused looking Buffy. "She did some of my training and she's like a stepmom to me. Speaking of stepmothers, where is mine?" he asked Speed.
"The spa having a day off. She's getting a manicure and facial."
"Good! She deserves it." He looked at Horatio. "Can I just be a dom?" He nodded. "Thank you." He hugged him for real. "The school is fussy. They're being mean about where I learned before and told me I'm not any good at it."
"Oh yes you are," Ryan assured him. "You got my cramps out very easily. The last massage therapist I went to couldn't."
"Did they find out about the dom stuff?" Eric asked. Xander sighed and nodded. "Then they're part of our fundamentalist groups. Ignore them."
"They said it doesn't promote a healing atmosphere. I pointed out I do therapy with my clients and they said it doesn't matter." He pouted some. "So I'm not taking my next class and I can't find a job because I got told they spread it around."
"Then we can figure out how you're going to take on some more dom clients, Xander," Horatio soothed. He nodded and snuggled in again. "When is the final paperwork coming?"
"After the tests come out. Because if there is a baby I've got to start talking to Immigration now so I can take custody. Grandsire said it'd be easy-ish with their judicial system the way it is." That got nods from Willow. "So I'll have to wait and so will everyone else." He looked at Horatio. "I need to head home."
"Thomas is still outside," Eric assured him. That got a small smile and Xander switched cuddling targets, getting one from his father instead. "Aawww."
"That is too cute for anything but gagging," Buffy said, staring at him. "What's a dom? Is that like being a professional cheerleader?"
"No, that's like I'm one of those people who spank others so they can let go," he told her.
She frowned. "You're selling sex?" she said, looking sickened.
"No. Nothing I do is sexual, Buffy. I have clients who need me to help them let go of past traumas. I take guys like me and help them get over things that've happened." She still looked grossed out. "It'll be a longer explanation but what I do is like therapy. No sex involved. Horatio and Daddy wouldn't like it if there was."
She still stared at him. "I still say that's wrong." Speed popped her on the head. "Ow! What was that for?"
"For being a judgmental ass," he said plainly. "Nothing Xander does is sexual, Buffy. Unless you like to be whipped for pleasure?" She grimaced and shook her head. "Then extend that to others. He helps them let go of past traumas. They're guys like him." She shuddered. "Why doesn't Willow take you to your hotel and then you and she can talk because she had to do a lot of looking up about that stuff too."
"We can do that," Willow agreed happily. She cleaned up her mess and threw it out, getting a smile from her mate for it. She stole a kiss, making him grin at her, then hauled Buffy up and down to her car. "Come on. Where are you staying?"
"Mom was hoping I could stay with you."
"Well, I have a second room and a couch, but I'm kinda hoping Ryan will be coming over tonight instead of me going to his place since his is so small," she said as she pulled her out. "Oooh, you should see the shopping, Buffy. It's even better than LA's."
"Mom said I can't shop," she pouted. She looked at her friend once they were in Willow's nice economy, fuel efficient car. "Vampires?"
"His grandfather was turned, Buffy, but he's sick and dying," she said. "He's not hunting and neither is his sire. They like to pick on Eric about making him their next childe and putting him between them, because his sire has a really kinky mind now and then, but otherwise they're really nice people. They've been babying Tara since she got to New York and Xander introduced her to his Grandsire." She backed out, heading for her place. "You'd like Raphael, the sire. He's a pretty nice guy and Oz is working for him in LA now."
"Is he the guy who taunts Angel?"
"Yup. He said it's a fun hobby and Angel needed to quit taking himself so seriously." Buffy shook her head at that. "He's a nice guy, Buffy. They even made Xander accept spoiling type presents, like the Jag that got crashed today."
"He drives a Jaguar?" she demanded.
"Yeah, he does," she agreed happily. "His grandsire bought it for him after someone beat the poopie out of him and then put him into his house before setting it on fire." Buffy gasped. "Yeah, well, it was kinda one of the morality monitor groups who didn't like that he could do anything on his own at his age. During his recovery time in Las Vegas with some friends there, they arranged for his new house and got him the car." She turned a corner and looked behind her, then frowned and pulled over suddenly, letting the car following her keep going. "I hate that woman."
"Who is she? She looks pretty."
"She's Ryan's ex, the skanky ho bitch. She's always trying to get him in trouble for saying something." She looked at her buddy. "Xander's still Xander even though he wears leather and uses a whip on people. It took Ryan making me see instead of pouting because he had changed some to make me realize it, but he's still the same goofball, loving Xander. And hey, Horatio agreed he was never going to date another woman again after he married the assassin for a whole hour and thirty-three minutes while he was on vacation."
"Married?" she asked, looking horrified. "To a woman?"
"Yeah, she doped him pretty good then married him while he was drunk. They were out in Las Vegas having a vacation with Greggy. Who is a really nice geeky guy. He does DNA and he's field CSI now like Timmy is. Only he works out there."
"How does he fit into this alternate universe Xander?" Buffy asked weakly.
"Well, there for a while I thought he was Xander's personal submissive, but now I'm not so sure. I know he's in the trio with Horatio and Xander but since he lives out there they don't get to see him that often. I've caught Xander having phone sex with him once. Always knock before walking into Xander's house. It's a rule I now live by. Did not need to see Xander in really tight leather pants, no t-shirt, and having phone sex with the Greggy. But then again I guess he needed it. Greg's a really cuddlesome guy. He's always curled up with them. He even taught Xander how to make tube cookies and they weren't poisonous. He even figured out how to make the jerky correctly. Xander crowed for a week that he got the recipes just right," she finished proudly. "Greggy's really like a smarter version of Xander most of the time, only he's got spiky hair and all that. He and Xander were out together when he got hit on by the assassin so Greggy married her apprentice. They got to go raid her houses when she committed suicide to end the marriage. I got some of the cutest stuff from Russia."
"Russia?" Buffy asked, her voice getting tinier and weaker.
"Yup. She had a house there too. Xander went to coo over the guns and things but he brought back some nice presents. Didn't you get any for the holidays?"
"I did," she admitted, shifting to look at Willow better. "I thought he found it in a shop somewhere."
"He did, over there." She beamed at her. "Anyway, they're probably on their way over to take Xander to his grandfather's and let him play with the guard dog and the blowjob dog." Buffy squeaked at that. "The new dog has a bad habit of humping the wrong end of the guard dog. Timmy named him."
"Oh." She nodded at that. "Am I going to be warped too?" she asked finally.
"You knew Xander for how long?"
"Good point. Okay, home?"
"Home's good but I've got to warn you. Ryan has OCD and he's a neat freak because of it. So no leaving glasses or anything out if he's over."
"Okay. I can handle that."
"Good." She pulled back out into traffic and headed home. Buffy stared at the apartment in awe. "I sublet. The owner's deployed."
"Wow." She looked at her. "You're moving from this?"
"Well, yeah, kinda because Ryan lives halfway across town. Miss Kitty, Buffy's here," she called, heading for the bedroom. The cat hopped down off the top of the fridge and came over to love on the mommy. "Aww. I love you too. Let's check your bowls." She fed her again and changed out her water, getting a happy cat. Then she settled in to talk to Buffy and make her see that Xander hadn't really changed all that much. Because he hadn't. He'd just gotten a job he loved. And a boyfriend. And leather pants. And grandparents. And a whatever Greggy was to him.
Horatio looked up when Xander's client came into the living room. "What's wrong?"
"Master Tim just passed out for a moment. Is he all right?"
"He was run off the road earlier," he admitted, getting up to go check on Xander. He found him sitting down with his head lowered closer to between his knees. "Xander?"
"I'll be okay. Just got a bit dizzy."
Horatio knelt in front of him. "Let me see, Xander." Xander looked at him, making him frown. "Did you hurt yourself again?"
"No, I've been dizzy the whole time but the nap helped some."
"You haven't eaten either." Xander turned a bit gray. "How about some soda? It could be your blood sugar."
"Maybe," he agreed weakly. "I'm sorry, Todd."
"No, this is too important and I can handle it for a few more days," he promised.
Horatio looked at him. Then he looked at Xander, then back at him. He saw the blush and shrugged. "I'm not trained but if I can help I will."
"That's all right, sir. I can wait. Thank you anyway," he said politely. Horatio nodded and gave him a small smile. "Let me get him some soda." He went to do that.
Horatio nuzzled Xander's cheek. "You're a bit warm," he said gently.
"I'll be fine in the morning."
"I'm calling my doctor."
"I'm still fine." He took the can of soda his boy was holding out. "Thank you, Todd. I'm sorry."
"Don't be, this isn't something that can be planned for. Do we know why they ran you off the road?"
"We're still working on that," Horatio admitted. "They were in a stolen car." That got a nod. "Let me put him into bed and I'll go over his scheduling book for you."
"Thank you, sir."
"You can use my name or title," he offered. He helped Xander up and up to bed, stripping him down and putting him under the sheets, the soda beside him on the table. "You rest," he whispered, kissing his forehead. Then he went back downstairs and found Xander's scheduling book in the office. He nodded at the guy to follow him. "It looks like his next nighttime one is either nine on Friday or sometime Sunday since I'm on." He looked at him. "Or he's got next Wednesday free."
The agent in front of him consulted his schedule. "Barring a new case I can be here Sunday if you don't mind."
"I don't. I'll be the senior CSI on that day." The guy looked stunned and he smiled. "Didn't realize I was also Lieutenant Caine?" he teased lightly, looking at the code Xander had for him during this spot then put it there. "Two, three? Five?"
"Three's good." He looked at him a minute longer. "Is this like the house fire?"
Horatio closed the book. "Today's accident may have been. It could've been related to his grandfathers or one of my cases. Or it could be someone who sent him things recently and felt ignored. Or even possibly about his aborted marriage when Lady Death got him so drunk he couldn't see straight."
"Xander doesn't drink," he said.
"I know. The stuff she used knocked him out for a while too." That got a quick nod. "We've found the stolen car so we're waiting for reports from fingerprints and DNA."
"I hope you catch them, sir. Master Tim's too special to risk that way."
"I know. As his father says, he's a special gift rewarded to someone for doing a lot of good in the world." That got a smile. "Anything else I can do for you tonight?"
"No, sir. Is he taking on more clients? He was saying he was thinking about it."
"The massage school spread around that he was a dom to keep him from working with that art," he offered quietly. "They said it didn't create a restful atmosphere. He is thinking about doing the dom work full time now."
"That'd be a great thing, sir, and none of us would steal from him like some of his former massage clients did. Oh, one recently got handed to me by someone who found it at a scene." He opened his bag and pulled it out to hand to him. "We figured they stole it during a time they were waiting for a massage or it could have been related back to his fire."
Horatio looked at the geeky boy in the speedo then at him, smiling. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Lieutenant."
"What sort of scene?"
"You're with who? Agency is good enough."
"DEA, Lieutenant." That got a nod. "It was found during a raid of a local dealer."
"Please pass back that I'd like to have their name and file so we could see if they were involved in that incident if you could."
"I can and will, sir. Thank you."
"No, thank you, Todd. I will keep your name out of this." That got a smile. "Have a better night and remember, you can call me if you need him."
"Yes, sir. I'll keep that in mind." He walked out, heading home. His agency hated working with the lab but maybe he and the Lieutenant could get along now. They had found a commonality in protecting Master Tim from the rest of the world.
Horatio sat down behind the desk to send an email to Speed. He got back one about where the picture had come from. He mentioned being on the swim team but he hadn't known he had been that good. He sent back a reply to that effect and asked him who his usual doctor was. Speed's reply of 'not picked one yet' didn't make him happy. The further note of Speed having called his own after the fire didn't make him any happier either. He knew abuse victims often drifted from doctor to doctor so no one would be keeping track of the bruises and things. Xander's parents had probably used the health department for shots and then the ER for anything major so they didn't have to deal with a nosy pediatrician. He sent the name of his doctor and asked Speed if he liked him. It turned out they used the same guy so Horatio called and set up an appointment with his night duty nurse. Speed would get all his medical history from Willow tonight and then from the hospital out there.
Xander looked around the office, then at the nurse. "My boyfriend made me an appointment?" he asked quietly.
"Harris. Alexander or Xander Harris." She typed that in and nodded, handing him a clipboard. He handed over what Willow had given him. "Um, the person who used to keep track of that sort of thing for my parents and others said to give you this, including the letter inside." She nodded, taking it to include in his new folder. He sat down to fill out the form, frowning at the insurance question. He hated going to the doctor, it was always too expensive. So was insurance for self-employed people. Especially with all the other stuff he needed to do with his hard-earned money, like groceries and taxes, insurance for his car. He'd have to dip into his savings for this visit and he hated doing that. He got finished, leaving the back page blank because it was in the stuff Willow had given him, handing it back to her. "That's in the folder," he said when she looked at the back page.
"Okay. It'll be a few minutes. He had to visit one of his younger patients in the ER for lunch and he just got back." Xander nodded, going to sit down and wait. She checked the waiting room. Two spouses and one other patient. She smiled reassuringly at him and put that form into his folder as well. The nurse came in for it. "He said the person who handled his medical issues before gave us that folder for today. She included a letter about some scars he's got and things. Plus a disease history."
"That's fine," she agreed, settling in to read it. She frowned and reread it, looking out into the waiting area. "The dark haired guy?" The receptionist nodded. "Is he healthy?"
"Car crash according to the notes made by the night duty nurse. Someone ran him off the road yesterday. His adoptive father and boyfriend both go here. His boyfriend made the appointment."
"Okay." She went back to reading then blinked at it. "Mr. Harris?" He jumped then stood up, smoothing down the legs of his jeans. She smiled and let him in, taking him to weigh and measure him, then into an examination room. "I've been going over this folder. Who wrote it?"
"My best friend. She stitched me up a few times."
"I see. She said extensive scarring?" He took off his shirt and she gasped. "Oh, dear."
"They're both dead now," he assured her. "My boyfriend doesn't hurt me at all."
"Good. That's excellent, sir." She took his blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, then smiled and made notes in his chart. "Okay, I'm going to get the doctor in here. What was hurt in the crash?"
"My wrist was a bit twisted; I had it on the gear shift to shift up when the lady rammed me into the culvert. I passed out last night while I was working with a client."
"Are you a trainer?"
"No, I'm a dom."
"Oh, okay," she said, making note of that. "Was it a 'got dizzy and passed out?" He nodded, then held the lump on his head. She looked at it. "That is nasty. Did you go to the ER?"
"My friend who stitched me looked at it and said it wasn't a concussion then the crime lab's ME looked at it and agreed." She looked confused. "Timmy Speedle adopted me in Sunnydale. Drove my parents out of town."
"Good for him, sir." She smiled and made a note of that. "So, x-rays?" He shook his head, then moaned a bit. "Still dizzy?"
"Yeah, and I've been nauseous since then. I know it's not a concussion, I've had a few of those in the last five years. All I know is that my dad and boyfriend are worried so they sent me in here today."
"It's probably a good thing and having a personal physician can make other times easier," she promised with a gentle smile. "I have to ask this since you're technically in the sex trade, even though I know being a Master isn't a sexual activity per se. You are being tested regularly?"
"Every two months," he agreed. "Down at the health department."
"Good." She smiled and wrote that down as well. "Any other reasons for the visit today?"
"My boyfriend agreed that I needed a personal physician. Willow played nurse out of the textbooks and she was always the better and cheaper alternative. She's the one who wrote the note."
"That's fine." She patted him on the shoulder. "You wait in here and I'll bring the doctor right in." He nodded slightly and she went to brief the doctor while he got a new cup of coffee. "You have a new patient." He smiled at that. "He's survived torture." That didn't make him look happy. "His former medical care system was the health department and a young woman who played nurse out of the medical texts. She apparently stitched him repeatedly," she said quietly. "His scarring patterns say extensive abuse as a child. He said the reasons are dead now. He's the adopted son of Timothy Speedle." That got an odd look. "What?"
"Horatio made the appointment."
"He said his boyfriend did."
"Really? I didn't know Horatio swung that way. I'll have to talk to him about a few extra topics next time. Make that note in his chart?" She nodded that she would. He took the folder to look over, looking at Willow's notes first. "The scarring's that bad?"
"The last one you saw like that you called Horatio personally."
"Wonderful. Why is he in today?"
"Someone ran him off the road yesterday. Wrenched his wrist and gave him a lump on the head. He said he's had a few concussions over the last few years so he's sure he doesn't have one but he's been dizzy and nauseous. Apparently that same friend and Alexx Woods looked him over and agreed with the lack of formal concussion."
"He still have a lump?"
"Few centimeters tall. Looks like he rocked into the window instead of the steering wheel by the position."
"Okay. He's where?"
"Two, Doctor. He seems like a nice man. Said he's a Master. He gets tested bi-monthly."
"Good. Then he's a smart Master as well." He walked that way with his coffee, smiling at him. "Sorry, I took a break to get a new cup of coffee."
"I live on soda," he admitted, smiling and shaking his hand. "I'm Xander."
"I'd hope so." He pulled over a rolling stool and sat down looking at him. "Okay, since you're a new patient I'm going to do a general physical. I remember Timothy calling after an assault and fire about you?" Xander nodded slowly. "Head ringing?"
"Just dizzy. My boyfriend's a worrywart."
"I see him too, Xander. It's a special thing to be the one Horatio worries about." He blushed at that. "It'll be fine. Now, due to the abuse your friend and the nurse noted, tell me if I make you uncomfortable."
"Does this mean you've got to do the prostate test?" he asked, making a face.
"No. You're not old enough for that. I'm sure if you feel anything odd going on back there you'd call me." That got a single nod. "Good man." He stood up after taking another sip of coffee, coming over to listen to his chest and lungs. Then his stomach. "When was the last time you ate?"
"Breakfast yesterday. That was about ten. Then I went in to have lunch with Horatio and she rammed me on the way in."
"Do they know why?"
"Not yet. They found the car she used last night."
"Horatio's a wonderful investigator. I'm sure he'll figure it out." He listened to his lower back and nodded, then put his stethoscope up. He noted the reflexes were a bit faster than normal. He looked at him. "Were the prior concussions from the same abuse?"
Xander cleared his throat then stared at him. "I grew up in Sunnydale, which is full of things like down at the bar Tentacles."
"I've driven past there," he admitted. "Seen some pretty strange things I ignored after a few minutes of wondering."
Xander smiled a bit shyly. "My friends and I used to hunt them. All but one of the concussions came from that. That one came when I was eleven and tried to fly off the house."
"I was a bit slow developmentally and educationally."
He stared at him. "I don't believe that it was developmentally based, Xander. Was it perhaps a suicide attempt?"
"Not that I'm aware of. If it was it was an unconscious one."
"I've seen that before," he admitted. "Any others?"
"I used to sleep outside every Christmas because it was necessary, even though the town had a forty percent homicide rate."
"After you knew why?"
"One year. Timmy was there the next and my parents were run out of town right before those holidays."
"I'll count that," he decided. "Those are unconscious actions, the mind saying it's had enough when it can't break in other ways."
"I understand how people break, Doc."
"Good. I figured you would. Which school of thought do you use in your work?"
"My true clients I do therapy. I break them emotionally so they can purge and release it." That got a smile and a nod. "Since I don't make much off them, I charge them a lower rate, I do take in some clients who do it for shits and giggles. They pay hefty prices for my skills with weapons. I'm known as a whip and cane technician."
"That's safer than those who do it for sexual gratification on both sides."
"I don't get off by seeing people in pain. Horatio has to work harder than that." The doctor chuckled and smiled at that small joke. "I've been hurt enough to know that I twisted my wrist when it was jerked off the gear shift and my head hit the window and then the headrest. I had a Jag. My insurance guy saw it and moaned."
"Let's look at this head of yours." He prodded and noticed he didn't hiss. "How high is your pain tolerance, Xander?"
"Fairly. I don't take pain killers very often. I haven't been exposed to them very often. Willow could only get advil most of the time." That got a solemn nod. "I can do my own stitches and not need them. I did four on my stomach last summer," he admitted, pointing at the small scar. "I didn't even pucker it like I did the one on my leg. I also don't drink. That's what my parents did and how the kinda wife drugged me and married me for a whole hour and a half."
"Did you have intercourse?"
"She used wine dregs and something. By the time the wedding was over I was so drunk I wasn't able to stand. She had to carry me to bed. She jumped off the hotel when the FBI showed up because she was an assassin."
That got a solemn nod as well. "Okay. Could the wreck be from that?"
"Oh, they know. Most of the lab got to go with me to ransack her houses for Interpol." He grinned sweetly. "She had a tank and an F-18 in storage."
"Then I'm highly impressed. Handed them over?"
"Yeah, but we figured the US resold them pretty quickly." That got a small smile. "How's my head?"
"Well, there's another spot on the back. I'm thinking that they're throbbing in different pulse beats."
"Like dropping a stone into a moving river?"
"Exactly," he agreed, smiling at him. Xander moaned. "Been here before?"
"With my left calf. I sprained it after the stitches I had to put in. I thought I had damaged a nerve because I couldn't get any feeling down there for a few days."
"It's probably the same thing if the feeling came back," he admitted. "One's on one beat, the other's on the other and they're clashing waves. Which would lead to the nauseous feeling you've got."
"My head's a boat on the high seas during a bad storm, huh?"
"Indeed. I should send you for x-rays."
"It's not cracked, Doc. I'd know. Anything I can do to fight this? I've got clients scheduled tomorrow night. I called off today because I'm so sick feeling and I nearly passed out during a session last night so he had to reschedule."
"Let's try some mild pain killers. Have you tried tylenol?" Xander nodded. "Did it help?"
"Puked it back up," he admitted.
"All right, then let's put you on a chewable motion sickness medicine, Xander. They have it over the counter. Chewable so you can't throw it back up and it gets into your system. Then some tylenol a half-hour later, all right?" Xander nodded. "Are you keeping down fluids?"
"I try really hard to. It's harder to puke back up liquids."
"It is. Try some bullion tonight. Try for some juice as well so your blood sugar doesn't tank on you. Timothy mentioned you had a few signs of plummeting blood sugar now and then when he called about the assault."
"Usually after an all-nighter with a lot of candy."
"That happens," he promised, smiling at him. "Now, I will be doing some bloodwork. It's standard for all new patients. That way I can make sure you're not hiding something like bad cholesterol or anything." Xander nodded lightly at that. "Good." He pulled on some gloves and pulled out a syringe and a few color-coded vials, labeling them. Then he found Xander's arm already out and his head turned. "Don't like needles?"
"If I did I would've turned to drugs a long time ago," he admitted, not wincing when he was stuck. The doctor filled all three vials and then took out the needle and put a pad over the hole, taping it down. "Thanks." He put back on his shirt and looked at him. "I should warn you I eat some pretty rare Indian spices. They've been known to screw up a few things in the past. The recipe's in the back of the folder she sent you in case you need it." That got a smile and a nod. "That's all I need?"
"This time but I do want to see you in a week to make sure you're fine and go over any results from the blood work." He opened his mouth and the doctor held up a hand. "No fee for the follow-up, Xander." That made him relax and grin a bit. "Good boy. Also, here," he said, handing over a pamphlet. "That's on insurance for those who are self- employed or out of work. It's not a great plan but it's something for emergencies and office visits. It's also not too costly." That got a smile and a small nod. "Good boy. Now, we'll see you in a week and I hope your head quits hurting soon. The same as I know Horatio will find out who did it and why." He pulled out a lollipop and handed it over. "There you go." That got a shy smile and the boy walked out to make his follow-up appointment, unwrapping the present. He could see why Horatio had taken to the young man and why Timothy guarded him fiercely. He was easy to like. He wrote out the orders for the bloodwork and went to put it with the vials in the gathering area. The nurse in there gave him a look. "He'll be fine."
"Good. Discordant throbbing?"
"I'm thinking yes for the dizziness," he admitted. "Run the standard new patient tests. I also included an order for a drug test since I know he was drugged during an assault a few months back. Timothy Speedle called about him after that."
"I remember that case. That was a hell of a lot of drugs."
"So I want to make sure it's out of his system and did no harm." He handed over the orders. "He'll be back in a week."
"Sure, Doctor." She gathered them to take over to the hospital lab personally.
Xander was flopped down on his couch when someone pounded on the door. "If that's you, Grandfather, it's open!" he bellowed. His Grandsire came in. He waved a hand. "I'm too tired to move. Sorry."
"The tylenol I finally kept down cut out one throbbing and left the other." He closed his eyes again and a small weight was put onto his chest. He looked at the dog then at his Grandsire. "Granddad got tired of him humping Holly's head?"
"He tried it on my ear last night." He patted him on the hand. "How are you feeling?"
"A bit less dizzy. The doctor's a nice guy and he told me to take some chewable motion sickness medicine so I could keep down the tylenol. It's mostly worked." He petted the dog gently, getting snuggled into. The dog adored him. "I'll be okay in a few days. I should be able to see clients tomorrow since I don't have anyone really demanding coming in."
"Good." He stroked over his hair. "Has anyone else checked on you?"
"Eric called to get a better description than I gave yesterday. They found multiple hairs with different colors apparently. He said he'd bring over pictures later to let me see if I can identify her." That got a nod. "You could've waited. It's painful to go out in the sun."
"Your grandfather's being a nagging woman again," he admitted. "Can I hide in the basement?"
"Sure." That got a smile and he went to do that. Xander looked at the dog. "What did he name you? I know Daddy named you Humper." The dog barked and wagged his tail.
"The name stuck," Raphael called from the kitchen. "Patrick's been calling him Thumper."
"Thumper it is," Xander decided, petting his new dog. "Did you bring over his food?"
"I did. It's in the car."
"I'll get it later," he decided, relaxing and letting the dog be his napping buddy for a while. He could use a nap. His head was still aching and he had a few more hours before he could take any more tylenol.
Eric let himself into Xander's house when no one came to let him in, finding Xander fast asleep on the couch with the dog on his chest. The dog growled and barked at him. "Shh, let the boy sleep," he chided, letting it sniff his shirt. It was Speed's shirt since his had been ruined at a scene. The dog settled down and let him pet him. "How did you get in?"
"I brought him," Raphael admitted from behind him, making him jump. "That's Thumper. He's got a bit of an impulse problem where his libido is concerned."
"I'm surprised Speed missed an opportunity to tease me by naming him after me," he joked.
"He humped our guard dog's head, Eric. You're not quite that bad." Eric chuckled at that. "Did you find something?"
"We found a few DNA profiles on some of the hairs and the rest through fingerprints. I wanted to see if Xander could identify which one it was."
The vampire snuck over to check on him then smiled. He shook his head. "It'll be a few minutes before he wakes up fully."
"I can wait. This is my last stop of the night unless he ID's someone and then I'll check their house and try for the arrest."
"That's good." He nodded behind him and Eric took the dog with him to the kitchen. The dog wiggled down and let Eric fill a small bowl with water and chicken from the refrigerator. The vampire came in. "He has dog food in the car, you'll spoil him."
"It'll make him more comfortable in the house, Raphael. My brother's got a little yappy terrier." He went to get the dog food and other supplies from the back of his car, waking his driver. He smiled at him but took it back inside. Some of the dry food got put down as well and the dog chowed down on it too. Xander wandered in looking sleepy. "Hey. You up?"
"Hurts," he whined.
Eric shook out three tylenol and handed them over. "Take that." Xander nodded, taking them with some juice. He looked at the last two then at him. "All three, Xander. Trust me. I take six when I have one of those." Xander nodded and took the other two, then the chewable motion sickness medicine again. His grandsire got him sitting down at the table outside and the dog came out to join them, sitting on the porch railing to watch the trees move. He eventually went to sniff and mark his new bushes then came back to cuddle his daddy some more. Eric put the folder in front of him. All it had were blocks of pictures. "Is the woman who ran you off the road in there?"
Xander looked and hesitated over a few. Then he looked at him. "There's a few it could be."
"That gives me a lead, Xander. That's fine."
Xander nodded and took his pen to note which ones on the paper between the pictures. Then he circled one. "I could almost say this one definitively but my head's still sore."
"Then I'll start there and move on," Eric promised, taking them back to look over. "All four?" He nodded. "Well they do look similar." He smiled at him. "Good work, Xander."
"Thanks, Eric." He yawned. "I still hurt."
"It takes a good half-hour for it to work, Xander," Eric soothed. "You can go lay down and I'll call this in to Speed and Horatio." Xander nodded, hugging each of them before going inside and back to his couch with the dog. Eric looked at him. "Watching over him?"
"I am. I almost expect Horatio to come over later. Or possibly his father."
"Try Calleigh and Speed," he offered. "They were making plans to bring him dinner."
"He's been nauseous," he offered.
"That happens with head thumps," Eric said with a small smile. He got up and stretched. "Thanks for watching out for him, Raphael."
"He's my grandson. Of course I am." That got a nod and Eric went to update Horatio from the hummer, heading to talk to that first suspect. The vampire snuck in to check on him, finding him cuddling the dog. "Awww," he whispered, taking a picture of them together for later pleasure. He took another one when he shifted and it got even cuter, going to download the pictures off the camera and send them to Patrick. Because only their grandson could be that cute....until he finally had a child.
Calleigh smiled when Raphael opened the door. "Sorry we're a bit late. Had to stop at home for food." They saw Xander go running past. "Still nauseous?" He nodded, letting them inside. "It happens to the best of us."
"I remember my last one. I felt sick for days," Speed agreed, going to put the pot of soup in the kitchen then find his poor boy. He found him having dry heaves. "Hey." He got down to help support him, smoothing his hair back off his face. "I'm here, it's all right," he promised.
"This isn't mine," he whispered.
Xander looked at him once he was done. "This isn't me being sick, Daddy."
"Want me to call Ethan?"
"Sure. Hey, Raphael, call Ethan? Xander doesn't think this is a normal sickness."
"I can feel it coming from outside me."
"I'll call him and see what we can do. I know tonight's his usual night of scrying Ripper." He went to do that, finding one unhappy chaos sorcerer, but he did come right over to check on Xander. He also finished the protections on him that Ripper had started. It did ease the pain and nausea. "Who?" he asked him quietly.
"Whoever she was, she's just as sick now," he assured him. "It wasn't unintentional." That got a cruel smirk. "Let me get back to my night of Ripper watching. He's probably wondering where I am. Are you better now, Xander?"
"A bit. Thank you, Ethan."
"You're welcome." He patted him on the unbruised side of the head and left, heading back to his bottle of red wine and his pool with Ripper focused in it. He couldn't track the cause of the illness this way unfortunately. Ripper looked up and shook his head, muttering about him being late. So he took the opportunity to call him. "I was guarding your boy from whoever made him sick, Ripper. He's a precious young lad. Much beloved by Father Patrick." He watched him spluttering. "Well, he is his grandson, Ripper. You know how Father Patrick dotes on his boys. He doted on you for two years before you decided to let yourself be brainwashed. By the way, that girl of yours is a twit. Can't accept the boy for who he is. Miss Rosenburg and she got into a very loud fight last night and she got kicked out." He nearly purred at the furious voice. "She's fine. She's at a nearby motel and her husband went to talk to her today. Patrick does appreciate her husband quite a lot and her for supporting his boy. That one twit may get sent back in a box to Oz however."
He smiled. "No, no reason it'd go to Oz really. He's in LA at the moment and I know Sire knows where he is. No, Patrick's Sire, Ripper. Surely you remember Raphael? He's presently doting on Tara because she's such a gentle and sweet young woman to Patrick's only nephew. Hmm," he agreed, sipping his wine. "Very special to her. No, he's still a police officer, Ripper. A very good one. Decorated and a decorated family. Third generation officer. Are you feeling all right? You knew all this before." He watched him rub his head. "Please get that checked, Ripper. I'd hate to lose you as I shall be Father Patrick in a few years," he said quietly. "If you wish. Someone should come get your twit and I don't suggest you bring Anya down. You do know it could be her doing it?" Ripper suddenly stiffened in his scrying pool and went to look something up, leaving the phone there. He watched him cast it and come up bright blue. "Hmm, interesting. How are you pregnant, Ripper?"
He smiled at the hiss of Anya's name. "That could be why the boy is ill as well. Well, it was brought onto her by her love of men," he said dryly. "Of course I'll be here. I'm near Father Patrick helping him. By the way, your boy's jerky has been immeasurably helpful in keeping him around a bit longer, Ripper. Xander is one special young lad and is loved by his grandfather simply for existing. He keeps trying to find ways to keep him around for a longer time." He smiled. "You could if you came down. I dare say we'd all gut you if you upset him again but he could do with a visit and an apology for the last time. You could even have my couch." Ripper hung up on him so he took another drink of wine and watched him start the process of finding the chit. That was going to be fun to watch. He called Timothy's phone. "It's Ethan. Tell Xander Anya's pregnant." He smiled and hung up on the displeased grunt. Someone would be doing something about her shortly.
Willow woke up to the phone, something she hated. She hummed sleepily into it. "Calleigh?" she asked, sitting up. That voice had woken her up because it had to be a problem this time of night. "What?" Ryan looked over from his book, looking curious. "Um, take him into his work room. I know he had Ethan help him shield it from anything. I'll get what I need and be right over." She hung up and looked at Ryan. "Anya's pregnant."
"Xander's ex?" She nodded. "Is it his?"
"No but she's a witch too and she's punishing him."
"That's gotta be not fun."
"Exactly. I've got to help ward the boy. Maybe I can bounce whatever it is back at her." She got up and went to search something in her spell books, then dug into her special cabinet. "Don't wait up," she said, giving him a kiss.
"Fat chance you're leaving me here alone," he said dryly, following her out to the car. He even got in to drive. "You know, I've been thinking."
"About?" she asked in a teasing voice.
"Not like that, Willow. Not that I don't think about that, because I do a lot of thinking about you that way, but I was thinking more we should publish the wedding announcement. It might make Erica leave you alone."
"But it could. I mean, it'd show you were taken."
"Ryan, sweetie, I don't even wear a ring."
"You said you didn't want one," he reminded her.
"I don't. If you did that, you'd have to tell your mother too."
He winced and hissed at that, then nodded. "I probably should." He backed out of their parking spot and headed to Xander's. "I told my uncle. He was disappointed that I tied myself down to one woman. Even a great one limited my options according to him."
"Your uncle is freaky anyway."
"I know, but you can't really pick your relatives."
She put a hand on his knee. "I know. If you could, you'd be part of Eric's family because they're all very nice from what I understand."
"His mother's a nag," he said with a grin. "But yeah, I wouldn't mind having a family like that."
"Well, we have one fussy person in the made family. Because if we *ever* get sick Xander's going to fuss for weeks over us."
"I thought that warning only extended to Horatio, Speed, and Calleigh."
"It kinda does but if I tell him I feel miserable he'll come fuss over me. So he'll fuss over you guys too."
"As long as he doesn't cook." He changed lanes then turned a corner, looking at the car behind him. Then he chuckled. "Gee, honey. Look behind us and see if you can catch a picture." He called Eric. "It's me. I'm heading toward Xander's house and I've got one mad looking brunette woman behind me. Yeah, I think it could be her. Same type of car too, Eric. Going onto Hurst." He turned that corner too. Eric told him where he was. "Be there in about six blocks. Thanks, Eric." He hung up and watched as Willow did something and muttered something, making the car pop a tire right in front of Eric's car. "Neat trick."
"Very," she said proudly. She smiled and they waved at Eric, pointing at the car. He just smirked and came over to talk to her while they went back to going to Xander's so Willow could help him. Willow walked inside and went to check on Xander. "You poor thing. I don't know why Anya's punishing you for being pregnant and being a ho. You told her repeatedly what birth control was."
"I think she's locked onto me because she wishes it were mine," he groaned, holding his stomach. "Can we maybe stop the magical sympathy pains?"
"Sure." She got to work unraveling the spells she had put on Xander. He was finally free and feeling thousands of times better than he had before. Then she called Tara. "Sweetie, it's me." She smiled. "No, not a big problem, but we've got to yell at Anya and I was wondering if you wanted to help?" She grinned. "No, Anya had an oops with her birth control and she was punishing Xander by letting him feel it." She grinned. "Exactly. Morning sickness on Xander is not fun, especially when he's just had a car accident. Nothing too serious, someone ran him off the road. Is that Don?" She grinned. "Tell him I said hi and you can help me yell at her tomorrow, okay?" She beamed. "Good girl and have fun tonight. Yes that sort of fun too if you want, Tara. It's nice. We'll sit down and trade stories." She hung up and hugged Xander. "From Tara."
"Thanks," he said tiredly, yawning a bit. "Does this mean I can go to bed now?"
"Sure," she agreed, helping him up and up to his room with Ryan's help. Speed came up to get his boy undressed and under the covers while Calleigh brought up dinner and they sat down to eat with him before Willow and Ryan left.
Speed let Xander cuddle while he ate, letting Calleigh have his other side. "You eat, baby. I'm here."
"Daddy, you sound like Mom."
He grinned. "Good! I can't quite get the accent, even after all these years. Or fit into her favorite jeans." Xander shook his head quickly. "Sorry. Eat. Before I tell Lady Heather."
Xander looked at him. "Why be that mean to the baby?"
"Good point. Eat." Xander dug in and finished his soup and crackers, then gave him another cuddle and nodded at the door. Speed moved the tray and helped Calleigh up, taking her over to the loveseat to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful view and she sighed in pleasure once the doors were open. The tv came on behind them but it was quiet so it was good.
"No sex over there. Yours is the blue bedroom," Xander reminded him at the first moan.
"Doing her feet, Xander. I'm not one of those kinky parents who has sex in my kid's room. Especially not with him in the bed a few feet away."
"You know, Willow said in other countries the whole family sleeps in one bed. Even when the parents are making siblings."
Calleigh looked over at him. "No siblings this year, Xander." He pouted. "Sorry but no. Can't take babies this year. Maybe in a few more."
"By then I might make you a grandmother."
"You could and I'd be a happy Grandma," she promised, making him grin. "Don't worry about that stuff, Xander. If it happens it does. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Just relax and rest. Watch Monty Python later." He turned off the DVD player, leaving the tv on quiet noise so she went back to enjoying the foot massage. Her boy spoiled her so much. She smiled at him and he grinned back, digging into a spot that made her moan. "Speed, behave."
"We'll go to our room in a while," he promised. He heard the door slam and got up, heading down to see who it was. "Hi, Buffy. What's up?" He noticed the dog went back into hiding.
"I came to talk to Xander."
"He's in bed. His head's been making him sick all day."
"He's always been better faster before," she said, scowling at him.
"Well, this time Anya was broadcasting her own headache at him so he's not. We've just gotten him to bed." She pouted at him. "Sorry. You can see him in the morning." She nodded. "Though, I would apologize," he said firmly, staring her down. "Because Aiden's not down here to save you from being paddled this time."
"Because you're being a bitch." Calleigh came down the stairs. "Give me a few, Cal."
"Sure. Hi, I'm Calleigh, I'm Timmy's girlfriend and I work with him."
"They let girls do that?" she asked.
She nodded. "Yeah, we can be CSI. I'm actually in ballistics." Horatio walked in. "He's napping in bed."
"Good. Thank you, guys. Staying over?" Speed nodded. "I don't mind. Be as noisy as you want. You won't wake him up."
"Xander never sleeps that deeply," Buffy told him.
"He does with me," Horatio assured her plainly. "He trusts me to protect him."
"Oh." She pouted. "I need to talk to the Xander."
"You can talk to him in the morning," Speed ordered. "Now, you can stay here or your hotel."
"I had to check out. Mom got mad."
"Fine. There's a few guest rooms. Stay out of his things. He hates people being in his office or his work area." He led her to a guest room, then came down to get them something to nibble in their room while he drug Calleigh up to bed. "I'll be damned if I modify our plans tonight because of her," he said when she looked concerned. "The world does not revolve around her and she needs to know this." Calleigh gave him a kiss and he let her do whatever she wanted. He heard Horatio moan and smiled. "Sounds like someone's making Xander feel better." He picked her up and tossed her onto the bed, taking off his t-shirt and then his jeans, letting her do the same. "Now, where were we?"
"Being great big perverts?"
"I can do that." He came over to make her squeal and shriek. Because they weren't going to be heard over Horatio and Xander anyway. He pulled back to look at her, nodding toward his boy's room. "That's why Aiden teased him for days about being noisy." She giggled and hugged him, letting him tease her some more.
Buffy pouted at their rooms. They got to be noisy and she didn't have anyone to do that with. It sucked! How dare Xander have two men! He had to share sometime! Not that she wanted his Horatio toy. He was older and that was like thinking about Giles having sex. She pulled out her phone and called him. "I'm at Xander's. Mom got mad when Willow sent me to a motel." She frowned at his noise. "What are you doing?" She shuddered. "Eww!" She hung up n his answer of 'having fun'. Something was seriously wrong! It must be a lust demon! She went to patrol the house and then the outside just in case it was trying to sneak in. Because that was just wrong! Very, very wrong!
Tara hung up and turned to hug Don. "Anya's pregnant and being a butt. She's broadcasting at Xander so he feels sick too."
"I'm sorry ta hear that. Can we yell at her?"
"Willow is going to." She smiled and stroked his cheek. "I made dinner. Go clean up."
"I cleaned up and showered at the station," he promised, grinning back. "Washed my hands too and came right here." She grinned at him and stole a gentle kiss. Then she gave him a little nudge toward the back door. "Eating outside tonight?"
"It's a beautiful night and I put up the tent in case it rains," she admitted shyly. He nodded and carried the pitcher of water out there for her. She went back to fussing over her final preparations. Then she put it all on the small cart and floated it out there. Don looked really impressed so she blushed as she loaded up the table. "I got a bit nervous."
"Nah, it's great, Tara. I love this." He took another gentle kiss then helped her into her seat. "Are we starting with salad or is that for you?"
"I can eat meat with you." He grinned and took her hand, dishing up food for both of them. The taste of the beef and mushroom dish made him moan, which made her blush. "Good?"
"Great. I love this." He gave her hand a squeeze and fed her a bite. A light breeze started and he moved to roll up the sides so they could watch the gentle rain start to fall. He came back and fed her a bite of it, making her blush harder. So he took a chance and kissed her a bit more firmly than he usually did. She responded and he pulled back to look at her. "Ready?"
"Whatever you want, you know that." They continued to feed each other then he settled her in the pillows she had carried out earlier, noticing the ground was staying dry. He got them the dessert and brought it over to share a single piece with her. It was a big piece but it was a great cake. "I love that you bake when you get nervous," he teased. "I'll have ta make sure I don't get too fat."
"I'm sure you'll work it off," then she 'eeped' and blushed bright red.
He kissed her. "I get plenty of exercise and that's only one way," he assured her. She stared at him. "Really. Even the most fantastic sex only burns off under two hundred calories an hour." She kissed him again. He finished the last of the cake and put the plate aside, then pulled down her hair. "Like it loose, Tara. Looks pretty since you got it trimmed." He kissed her again, carding his fingers through his hair. His other hand was trapped under his side but that's okay. He slowly moved them so she was on top of him, giving him access to stroke her back and sides. She was still nervous, he could tell. He kept it at that level until she pulled back and looked down at him. "Whatever you want," he reminded her.
"I..I think I'd like some more."
"Sure." He moved down to nibble on her neck, making her giggle when he hit a ticklish spot. The laughter turned into a small groan when he found a better spot, and it was so good! She liked this feeling. Willow had made her feel this way. Don's hands were on her waist and she wiggled until he let her go, then she flipped onto her back, rattling the plate. She moved it and he got her situated back on the pillows again. Then he went back to teasing her neck, his hands on her stomach. One slowly drifted up and it was nice. Even when the other went under her shirt it was still nice. She squeaked when she felt the hand on her bra but he looked at her and she nodded for him to go on. He kissed her then moved down to taste her breast once he had moved her shirt out of the way. She still had her bra on and it seemed rather naughty to her.
"Don?" He looked up and hummed, letting go of the nipple with a small slurp. "I'm half naked."
"Would you rather I put your shirt back on you?" She shook her head, blushing hard again. "Want the bra off?"
"It seems less naughty if I'm not wearing it."
"It's natural to wanna be naked, Tara." He undid it and put it into the chair with her shirt. Then he looked at her. "Anything else you want me to do right this moment? Even if you wanted to finish undressing you can still stop me."
"That's not fair to you."
He stroked over her lip with his thumb. "Baby, I'll be in the bathroom later anyway. You being naked will only give me more fantasies to use until you're ready." She blushed further down her chest this time. "Maybe that came out wrong." She giggled and pulled him down to kiss her, moving his hands to her skirt. He grinned and undid it, putting that and her panties into her chair too. He paused to look, noticing how pink her stomach was becoming. "Beautiful," he whispered, leaning down to kiss her navel. "Absolutely stunning." He looked at her. "Now I understand why you love the Goddess so much." He moved back to teasing her breasts, then growled and took off his tie and undid his shirt. "No farther until you're ready," he promised. She stroked her hands under his shirt and over his shoulders, making him shiver. "Tara," he moaned.
"I like that sound."
"I seem to make a lot of it recently," he teased, taking off his shirt. She got to play over his chest and arms but he still had an undershirt on. She tugged that up out of his waistband. "You sure?" She nodded so he took that off too, letting her look while he played with a nipple. She ran a finger through his chest hair. "Kinda different."
"A bit but it's natural and it suits you. Danny's all fur."
"When did you see Danny naked?" he asked. "Not that I'm jealous but I'll pound him later if he was mean about it."
She shook her head and didn't blush. "I was at Sheldon's and he was looking at the cut on his back."
"I saw that one." He kissed her again and she whimpered when his hairy chest brushed against her nipples. "However far you wanna go, Tara. I'm great with right here for the night if you are."
"Seems kinda silly, Don. I'm naked, you're half there." He blushed a bit at that and got his pants off, leaving on his boxers. She snapped the waistband, getting a look. "Please? That way I can see?"
"If you want." He slid them off and lounged on his side, letting her look him over. He wasn't a model but he was well-built and firmly muscled in most places. His hips had a bit of extra padding at the moment thanks to his hotdog fetish. She ran her hand through his chest hair then down over his stomach, staring into his eyes. He mentally begged for it to go lower but he knew she needed more time. Then she touched it and he nearly came from that. It had been way too long since anyone but him had touched him and her hesitant little touches and the light scraping of her fingernails was going to drive him insane. She leaned into his body to kiss him and he extricated himself from her hand, showing her what he could do for her. Back to her nipples. She seemed to like it and he let himself get a bit suck happy for a few minutes. She had great boobs. Then he moved down her stomach to map the spots that made her giggle and moan. This was like what she had before and it wasn't making her nervous. It did when he went lower. She tugged on his arm. He looked up at her. "I want this, Tara."
"I love how girls taste. It's not dirty. I know you're a very clean girl." She gave him a sheepish look. "Willow didn't?"
"She tried but I was told that was what bad girls did."
"No, bad girls go to Xander for fun." She giggled at that and pulled him back up for a kiss but he went back down there to play and tease her. He loved the sounds she was making under him. He was licking her like he was licking icing off a cupcake and she was adoring it. He slurped on her clit for a few minutes then went back to it, making her shiver and go tense under him. He prevented the thigh clamping that meant she was going over and brought her fully across. Then he came up to kiss her. "Good girls do things like that too, Tara. We're together and anything you want to do I'm there for. There is no part of you I won't try if you ask."
She plucked a hair off his lip and put it onto the ground. "I liked that."
He reached down to stroked a finger in and out of her, checking for a barrier. It wasn't intact and he sighed in pleasure that he wouldn't have that obstacle. He wasn't going to ask, he knew girls who had broken theirs riding bikes and she used to ride horses now and then. Or maybe it had been some toy play. "How does that feel?"
"Good." She pushed him back onto his back and moved to examine him and kiss small spots that she thought he might like. One spot that her hand stroked got a loud moan so she stayed with that for a few minutes, making him howl in pleasure. She was really enjoying the noises he was making. Enough that she moved further down to look at his boy parts. She was a bit scared of them. They were very big to her. She ran a finger up the underside since it was resting on his stomach and nearly dripping. He grabbed her finger so she gave him a hurt look.
"I'm going to embarrass myself, Tara. You're driving me insane and it'll be hours before I can get back up there. So decide before you touch that again if you wanna do that now or later." She smiled and took her hand back, then gave it a small kiss on the tip while looking at him. He moaned and came from that, making her giggle. "Told you so," he said, smiling at her. "It was a beautiful picture." He pulled her up to kiss her and tease her some more but she wiggled down to taste him and explore some more. She looked at everything, teasingly touching everything as well. His balls, the space behind them, the space between that and his cock, his inner thighs. She nipped him over the pulse point she found then looked up at him. "Higher and to the right." She nipped there and he tensed up and his cock twitched. "There. Suck on it?" She sucked on that spot, then teased it with her tongue. He was definitely starting to get hard again and she went back to help him along and look at it. It was definitely bigger than she had expected. She looked up and he smiled, so she took a small lick of it. Salty, but not too bad. It tasted like his neck did near his collar. She took another lick and he tensed up and moaned. "Please?" he begged.
"What do you want, Don?" she asked gently. "It's not a bad girl thing, right?"
"Gods, no, Tara. That's not a bad girl thing. That is heavenly but I wanna go all the way tonight and if you keep doing that you're going to have ta help me clean up the mess." She giggled and gave him a small stroke with the palm of her hand. "Condoms?"
She shook her head. "I'm on the pill."
"I thought you decided not to."
"The other ladies in the coven said it wouldn't really matter. I can go off it in a few weeks if it bothers me." He smiled and settled her back underneath him. He slowly used his fingers to get her used to the sensation. "Don, stop. That's setting off my gag reflex." He stopped at the three fingers stage and just kissed her. They could rest there for now until she got used to it. "Sorry."
"Sometimes the body isn't ready when the mind is," he promised. He wiggled his fingers and she tensed around them. "Better?"
"Much. Do that again?" He wiggled them and gently thrust them in and out of her. She moaned and spread out more wantonly.
"My precious angel," he whispered. "Nothing is every going to debauch you." He moved his fingers and she made needy noises so he slid inside her. Then he paused when she realized it. Her eyes went wide and she stared at him. He grinned down at her. "It's me this time."
"It was you before, but a different part."
"Want me to go back to my fingers?"
"No," she squeaked, clamping down to keep him from moving. "Bigger than your fingers." He kissed her for that compliment, murmuring mushy, sweet things about how beautiful she was underneath him and how her skin was glowing. That the sight of her panting and sweaty was an aphrodisiac. She was blushing harder at what he was whispering than she was about the sex. He shifted his weight and she squeaked. He stilled again but she shifted and it felt nice. He pulled back out and she whimpered but he came back and it was just as nice. He was making her make little breathy noises that would embarrass her if she ever heard herself making them. Right then she wanted to be a bad girl and take control but he wouldn't like that. He pulled her hips closer. "Don?" she murmured.
"However you want this time, Tara. I'll get pushy and make you get on top in a few months. When you're ready to take charge and make me beg." She stared at him. "A lot of women like that. That way you'd have control of the rhythm and all that." He pushed in a bit harder this time, watching her eyes bulge. "Want me to back off?"
"Need more, Don. Quit being silly." She pulled his head back down to kiss him again, enjoying what he was doing a lot. His thumb came down to touch her special place again and his hips were making her a bit sore but it was a good sore. She fell over again and went limp, feeling him finish up. He cuddled her for a few minutes, letting her pant against his shoulder, clutching his chest and back. "That was nicer than I thought. Toys were always icky to me."
He kissed her on the forehead. "There's a bit of difference between a piece of latex and a thinking body behind it, Tara. Remember, I'm much more than just that one part."
She looked at him. "Does that mean we can't do it again later?"
He smiled. "I knew there was a reason I was off tomorrow," he agreed. "Whenever I can recover and you can say you're not as sore." She nodded and snuggled down again, feeling him slipping out. She pouted. "It does that when he's not hard any more. He'll come back later." She nodded, snuggling in. "Let me get us some ice water first, Tara. You've been sweating a lot tonight." He got them a glass of water to share, making her drink most of it, then he went back to cuddling her until she tentatively kissed him on the shoulder an hour later. "I'll be real gentle this time," he promised, heading down to lick her some more.
Xander woke up at the poke to his arm, glaring at the woman next to the bed. She backed off. He glanced at the clock, then moaned. He called Eric. "It's me. Horatio forgot to set the alarm and so did Dad and Calleigh unless they're there. Sorry. I'm getting him up now. Sorry, Eric. Quit laughing." He hung and rolled onto his side facing Horatio, stroking his cheek. "It's eight," he said when the blue eyes opened to look at him. "I told Eric we forgot to set the alarm." Horatio hummed and nodded, kissing him, making him smile. "Good morning to you too, Horatio."
"Go start coffee?"
"Of course I will." He took another kiss, getting a smile back. "You go shower and I'll wake up Dad and Stepmom." He used his foot to kick up his bathrobe and put it on, nodding at the silent specter near the bed. That got a nod and Horatio waited until Xander had drug her out of the room before coming out from under the covers. Xander stuck her next to the stair railing. "Wait there." He walked into the next room down, tapping first because it was polite. He found Calleigh waking up. "Eric was laughing that no one can set alarms. Ryan and Willow either." She moaned. "Horatio's in the shower and I'm starting coffee." He waved her out of the way and she gave him room to pounce Speed, making him grunt and pat the head now in his chest. "Daddy, you're late for work."
"Don't care," he mumbled. "Comfy."
"I know you are. You're always very comfy to lay on." He stared at him from his chest like a cat would until Speed frowned and blinked at him. "We forgot the alarms and Eric's giggling since he's there alone."
"Mother fucker can wait," he complained.
Xander gave him a hug, getting a pat and a smile. "Horatio's in the shower." He got up and went back to the hallway, taking her down the stairs. "Thanks for waking them up."
"Not a problem," she assured him. "I figured Mom's got to be at work at nine so they probably did too."
He looked at her. "Eight but it's all right today. Eric's going to be a butt." He got the coffee maker started and looked at her. "You don't look like you slept well."
"I didn't. It was like a lust demon was around here. You did have a plant demon on the property but it saw me and ran." He nodded at that, pulling down cups to fix the way they'd want. "You know how they take their coffee?"
"Not how Stepmom does. I think she takes milk. But yeah, I know how Dad and Horatio take theirs." Horatio came down in his tan suit and got a smile and a better kiss. "Morning."
"Morning. Good morning, Buffy. Thank you for waking us up." He took his coffee with a smile and a gentle stroke to Xander's cheek. "Be a good boy today and play nicely with your clients."
"Yes, dear. You be safe. Don't make me go bitch on the city if you get hurt."
"I won't. I promise." He took another kiss and put on his sunglasses, walking out with his coffee and a smile.
Calleigh came down and checked the cups, putting milk into hers. She kissed him on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow, Xander. Or aren't we going shopping?"
"We so are. Daddy needs a great birthday present." She beamed and nodded, heading out to her car.
Speed came down a few minutes later in Xander's jeans and a different shirt today. "Borrowing again."
"Not an issue," he promised, giving him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I added extra sugar to yours by accident."
"That works. It'll take the place of breakfast." He poured coffee and patted Buffy on the head. "Behave today and don't make Xander pout or else he'll get to show you how good he is with a whip." He gave his boy a hug. "I'll be safe. You do the same."
"Of course." Speed smiled and headed out to his bike.
Buffy went to watch him leave, frowning at the sight of him finishing his coffee before taking off. "He left his cup out there?"
"He usually does. It's hard to drive a motorcycle and drink coffee at the same time." He went to retrieve it and Horatio's. Calleigh would clean hers and bring it back tomorrow. He put them into the dish washer and poured himself some coffee. "I've got to dump the computer records and then record down off the TIVO."
"Sure." She followed him into the office. "You know how to use the computer?" She saw the dog trotting around through the window.
"Yeah. Willow updated it for me with audio recording stuff in certain rooms." He saved it down for later listening to and started the new day's recordings. Then he did a security check on the cameras. "Hmm, I've got a new guy today." He called his grandfather. "Do you have a new guy on me today? Because there's a guy with a beard and scary sunglasses, Gordon." He nodded. "Yeah, that describes him pretty well. Who is he?" He frowned. "A rogue member?" He nodded once. "That's fine, Grandfather. Thank you. No, I'm at home. I've got clients coming later and Buffy's here. Really?" He hummed. "Huh. That'd be better." He flipped open his book. "I've got one coming at noon, a new person I'm interviewing. Then I've got a session at two then again at five." He closed his book.
"Thanks, Granddad. Love you too. Thumper's outside sniffing the roses you and Calleigh put in a few weeks back," he admitted, smiling and snapping his fingers when the dog looked up. "Buffy, go let the dog in?" She sighed but did that. He listened to his warning. "I'll be careful. Not like I can leave the house really, not with the car in the shop." He smiled. "Or the police garage," he admitted. "Thanks, Granddad." He hung up and went to record off the TIVO then got his dog some food. "We've got people coming today, Thumper. I'm sure you'll be a good boy and maybe Auntie Buffy can take you out for a walk while I handle things." She gave him an odd look. "I've got an interview at noon, then clients at two and five, Buffy. I deal with absolute confidentiality. You can't see my clients."
"Why not? Are they scared of what'll happen if I tell?"
"A few. There's enough backward people down here that they burned my former house because they didn't like me being a dom." He sat down and put his feet up, watching what was being recorded, then he flipped the button to watch the regular tv, finding a talk show. He called his grandfather back. "Are you watching ABC? You should. That fucking pedophile is claiming he's gay now. Well, he is a conservative bastard who's tried to discredit the gay community in the past," he pointed out. He nodded. "That might be a good idea. I don't know, point out that there's a difference in the press and then call for his *adult* lover to come forward. Because if they're not old enough then he's just a pedophile." He grinned. "Glad I could help. No, I'm being a good boy. Copying off the TIVO for Eric again." He changed DVD's. "Because the same girls who played hockey are now playing soccer." He snickered. "Exactly. Later, Granddad. Let me know if I've got to cab over to pick him up." He hung up and looked at her. "Giles is on his way down."
"Why?" she asked cautiously. "I didn't get into real trouble."
"He wanted to meet Willow's husband and talk to my grandfather. Before you say he's a vampire I know that. He's the guy in the Chronicles that stayed in the Church after being turned. Giles used to read us that one."
"I fuzzed out when Giles did that until he said something about wood, steel, silver, or how to kill something." He rolled his eyes. "You didn't listen either!" she complained.
"I did when it was interesting and I read the things too, Buffy. I ran across his a few years back when Giles read it to us and then I did more reading."
"Oh," she said flatly. She looked at him. "Maybe I should go think with Giles."
"He'll probably come pick you up. Grandfather was sending someone to pick him up from the airport in a few hours. He took the red eye. So that's one thing you can do today."
She nodded. "That might be good. Does he have miniony people around too?"
"No. All his people are guys he took in and helped. My grandfather helps in gay rights groups and he's mentored a lot of gay men in the past." She looked nauseated. "Buffy, I'm gay. Get over it."
"Why can't you?" she demanded.
"Because I'm happy." He stood up to change DVD's and then looked down at her. "I don't care if you don't like it. I don't care if you don't like my chosen profession. I'm happy in a way I never was before. I'm satisfied and I do good work helping others release their traumas and stresses. I love both my boys. If you don't, then I'm sorry. Maybe you should go back to Willow's if your mom won't let you stay in a hotel alone on this trip. I'm not hiding who I am to soothe your nerves." Someone rang the bell so he went to get it, looking at the driver on the other side. He was a private driver, the limo was behind him. "That's not my grandfather's."
"My mistress sent me with a present for you, sir," he said, holding out the box.
Xander looked at it then at him. "I've got a boyfriend. I'm not trading or going back to women. Thank her politely for me but I'm not going that way." The driver nodded and walked off, taking the limo home. He closed the door after writing down the license plate and then texting that to Speed. He pulled up the message once it was sent and sent it to Gordon as well. Both of them were keeping track of this stuff so he didn't have a headache from it. He went back into the living room, looking at the DVD that had been ejected. He sighed and replaced it with a better one, checking the bottom. "Scratched. I need more DVD's." He went to the office to order some and a few other things, like groceries he needed. He also wrote his dry cleaner to see if they could deliver for him. They had his credit card on file and charged it once a month for anything he sent in. He got back a 'we can do that tomorrow morning' and sent back a 'thank you' to them. He found one from Ryan, who was asking about the present. He replied he hadn't seen it but described the box for him. He also gave him the license plate number to the limo and a description of the driver.
He also sent a suggestion that since he had clients today Buffy might be more comfortable with Giles or Willow for the day. He got back a 'we can do that' and then Ryan went back to work. "Buffy, someone'll come pick you up in a while," he called. "The hot water should be recharged by now if you wanted a shower." He leaned back to listen to the day before's tapes, saving down a few sections for later listening then he purged the file. He found where Horatio had made the new appointment and smiled, erasing the guy's real name from it. He had gotten the code correct. He marked that partial session on the CD and put it into the safe, then found her looking over his shoulder. "Session tapes." He closed the safe. "That way I've got records I can go over if something happens or if I need hints on how to help with new traumas. It's a standard practice."
"To tape yourself kicking someone's ass?"
He rolled his eyes and led her into the dining room, seeing that someone had cleaned everything and put them back up again. He'd have to kiss his father and Horatio. He pushed her against a wall and selected a light whip, nothing that would damage her. Then he smacked her five times in quick succession, making her gasp and scream. He walked closer. "Now, this is what I do with my clients, Buffy. I teach them how to let go of the traumas and stresses. I hear confessions." He hit her a few more times, going in the other direction from the last few. She whimpered. He looked at her back then at her. "I've had brand new, first time subs who've lasted longer than that." He moved closer, stroking her hair back. "Go into your mind, Buffy. It'll make you stronger and help you let go," he whispered, making her shiver. "Let it go for me." He smoothed down her hair again then moved to change to a less noticeable marking suede whip. He trailed it over her shoulder, making her shiver. "It'll sting but it won't leave a mark," he offered. He lashed her with it once. Then again, then she broke and cried. He sat her down on the couch, holding her while she cried. She finally looked up at him. "This is what I do for a living, Buffy. Usually I make my clients talk to me once they've reached this stage. It helps them get over whatever drove them to me."
"You hit me."
"I did. You needed it." He smoothed her hair back again then got a rubber band out of a jar nearby and put it back into a ponytail for her. "This is why people come to me. Now you understand. There's nothing sexual in what I do. I coddle and I make them let it go." He tipped her chin back up so he could look into her eyes. "Would you like to talk?" he asked quietly. She shook her head. "Are you sure? I can listen non-judgmentally. Talking to me is like talking to a priest." He stroked her cheek. "Let it go, Buffy."
"I'm all alone," she said quietly.
He gave her a small nod. "You are in some ways but not in others, Buffy. What you have right now is what the other girls have had. The Powers made Timmy send me away. Otherwise I would've died in a few years after we took on two gods or something like that." She shivered and he held her closer, letting her rest her head against his shoulder. "It's all right, Buffy. You'll handle it and they won't be coming. Not with what the Powers told Timmy," he said gently. "It's time to think about making plans for when you pass on your powers."
"I won't be."
"Timmy and Grandfather both said that you'd be doing that within a few years," he offered, looking down at her. "At which time you're free." She looked up at him and he nodded. "You can ask Giles. You're getting too old, Buffy. They may be snatched from you by the stuffy asses in England but they'll be going when you hit twenty-two." She sniffled. "Then you'll be a normal girl again with normal girl problems and normal girl urges." He stroked over her back. "I've got a good cream to put on those so they don't hurt."
"You still hit me."
"I did. You needed it. If you didn't, you wouldn't feel better now."
"I'm more sore," she complained. He got up with a sigh and got the lidocaine cream to put on her back, making her hiss then 'ah' in comfort. "I need that after patrols."
"It's widely available," he offered, letting her see the label. "Better?"
"Actually, I am. Even though you hit me. I didn't want you to hit me, Xander."
"I could've spanked and probably should have after you the way you glared at my boy this morning," he warned. "I put up with a lot of shit in life but in my house I don't tolerate disrespect, Buffy. I did this so you could heal a bit more. Now, someone'll be here soon to pick you up and you can think all day then we'll talk tonight. I'm also going to purge this entire conversation from the computer." He tipped her face up again. "Grandsire suggested I do this last night as well," he said plainly. "He's worried that you'll hurt my grandfather and if you do I won't be doing this sort of thing to *help* you. Am I clear?" She swallowed and nodded, she could see it in his eyes. "Good. Today was therapy. Now's the time to think and evaluate. That's all part of the therapy process. Then we'll talk tonight if you come back." She nodded. He helped her up and to the living room, nodding at the guard. "Buffy, this is Thomas. He's one of my grandfather's guards. He watches me a lot. Is the guy still out there?"
"No. He left when I pulled up to the gate." That got a small smile. "Buffy, I'm going to pick up Rupert. Would you like to come with me?" She nodded and took his hand, letting him lead her out. She was a lot more quiet than he had expected. He saw Xander go into the office and then glanced at her back, smiling a bit. He wouldn't worry about this little one around Patrick after all. Not that they'd be left alone together but he wouldn't worry. Xander had broken her of her attitude problem for a while longer. He helped her into the car and then got in to drive, taking her to the airport. Rupert was getting out of the baggage claim when they got there. "Rupert?" He looked then smiled. "Long time no see, Ripper."
"It has been quite a while," he agreed, giving him a hug. "You're still with him?"
"I am. I'm one of his head guards and I watch over Xander a lot." That got a gentle smile. He let him see Buffy. "She and Xander had a small talk before I picked her up."
"He beat me, Giles. With a soft, fuzzy thing even." She let him see her back. "Am I bruised?"
"No, dear. You're not bruised. He only left a few marks and they'll fade within an hour," he soothed, giving her a hug. "He beat you?"
"Xander is a dom," Thomas said firmly. "A very good one. Sire said he's got a good hand at knowing who needs what sort of attention to help them. He said Father would've went to him for absolution in the old days." Giles nodded at that. "She's fine and he spread that very nice lidocaine cream on her back. Besides, I've seen new people walk out after their first session with him with a lot more work done." He walked them back to the car and got in to go back to the house. "Before we get there, Ripper, you should know that Father has been really ill. Xander's had to trick him into even drinking a mug of blood a few times. He and Horatio make a very good team at taking care of Father."
"Horatio's way older, Giles. Like your age."
"Yes, but he loves Xander and Xander adores him," Thomas chided. "Age isn't an issue unless someone's underage, Buffy."
"Xander's nearly twenty," she complained. "He's ancient!"
"Horatio is not ancient, Sire is ancient," he retorted, giving her a scowl. She slumped down and looked sheepish. "Horatio loves Xander enough to make it work with him. He coddles Xander and Xander's even let him fuss mildly now and then. He lets Horatio help him with the weapons Toby gives him for translating popular fiction into demon. Horatio and Greg will both give up their lives for Xander. The same as he would for them." He pulled off an exit and headed down toward Star Island. "Now, you're going to Father Patrick's house, Buffy, and we would appreciate some pleasant attitude."
"She'll behave," Giles assured him. "Is Sire here?"
"He's headed back to New York to baby Tara some more. He thinks she's an adorable one and he's missed having a daughter. He said he'd never turn her but he can baby her like he did Janelle and Loesta." He pulled into a gated driveway and punched in a code, watching as the gates opened. He parked and got them out, walking them inside. "Study?" he asked Gordon.
"Sitting room by the garden." That got a nod and Gordon smiled and shook Giles' hand. "Welcome to Miami, Rupert. He has missed you."
"Him or Ethan?" he asked dryly.
Giles sighed but headed that way, one hand on Buffy's back. He nearly gasped when he saw his former mentor. Father Benis had always been a lively man. The energy that Xander expended daily had come directly from him. Now he was grayish and nearly propped up in his chair. "Father?" he asked quietly.
"I heard you come in," he said, smiling at him. "Sorry, it's been a long night. Sire was raving with praise for Tara and kept me up." He smiled at Buffy. "Welcome to Miami, Miss Summers. Please, have a seat. We'll have tea sent in for you two." Gordon came to the door with a mug. "Must I?"
"You must and it's not bagged." He handed it over. "Horatio donated that last week, Patrick. Drink." He sipped it and some color returned to his skin. "Thank you."
"I'm not ready to die yet," he chided gently.
"Good! Because I can't hold the boy together if you did." He took the mug to get him a refill, bringing it back with the tea tray. "Here we go, Giles. I'm sure you can fix it for the both of you?" That got a nod. "Good enough then. Salacia just sent Xander a present so I've got to remind her he's gay and staying gay." He left them alone but there was a guard right outside and one in the shadows waiting to burst out of the hidden panel he was hiding behind.
Giles poured he and Buffy tea, then sipped his and smiled. "You still have Cook?"
"Yes, and I will until I die," he agreed happily. "She adores Xander. Says he's too skinny because she can see all his muscles, but she adores that Horatio loves the skinny little boy." He sipped his blood and looked at Buffy. "Did you not have a good night with him?"
"No, I had to go run off the lust demon that was effecting the house."
Giles looked at her. "Who else was there?"
"Timmy and his girlfriend Cally or something like that," she said.
"Calleigh is a wonderful young woman. Purebred southern bell from the old lines and is a ballistics expert," Patrick told him. "Loves Xander like he's her stepson." Giles smiled at that and took another sip. "He was a bit ill after a car crash so she and the others have been babying him a bit."
"Was he badly injured?" Giles asked, looking a bit worried.
"A bit of ringing in his head. Horatio made him see someone about it."
Giles relaxed at that. "Then he must love the little loon. He never went in Sunnydale, even when we suggested it."
"There's a cute little dog wandering around too," Buffy told him.
"It decided it lived here but our guard dog and he didn't quite get along," Patrick told her with a smile. "Sire gave it to him. He also took pictures of my boy napping with him. Gordon, where's the recent book of Xander pictures?" he called.
Gordon walked it in and handed it to Giles with a wink. "He's a delight to have around, Ripper. Even makes the stubborn one there behave. Makes Sire quit spoiling him and everything." He walked out again. Then he came back with a thermos and put it down beside his employer with a pointed look at the mug. "Finish that and have another or else I'm going to give you more of that jerky your grandson made." Buffy shuddered so hard her cup jiggled. He smiled at her. "It is useful. It keeps Patrick eating when he doesn't want to. Even if it does leave a bad taste in your mouth and give you some issues." He left again, much happier because he had slipped the herb mixture into the blood already.
Patrick sighed but poured himself a new cup. "They do fuss so," he said dryly.
"As they should, Father. You do a lot of good in this world. I'm sure they think it's better you stay than to let Xander take over for you."
"Xander is more than capable of following in my footsteps," he said with a gentle smile. "No matter how you discounted the boy, Ripper." Giles flinched at that. "It was relatively clear that Timothy took over your position in the boy's life. He does love Xander quite a lot. They are perpetually adorable." Thomas leaned in. "Yes, Thom?"
"Willow and her spouse are here."
"Really? Was I expecting them?"
He smiled. "I think they were expecting Ripper, Father."
"They can come in. I find young Ryan very nice to chat with."
"As you wish." He turned around and nodded, letting them into the room. "Should I get more tea and cups?"
"Just water for me please," Ryan requested with a small smile. "Hi, Buffy."
"Hi, Ryan," she sighed, looking at him. "How did you know he was here?"
Willow beamed. "Where else would he be if he wasn't nagging Timmy or Horatio or us?"
"That is a reasonable thought, young lady," Patrick said with a smile.
She looked at him. "Do not make me pull out the jerky on you, Father Patrick," she said firmly, scowling at him, hands on her hips, one foot tapping. "I will be mean and teleport it into your stomach or something." He chuckled and gave her a pat on the arm then drank his blood. He looked at it in askance and she giggled. "Ha! Got you already, huh?"
"Indeed," he sighed, drinking more. "They do fuss so. Do sit, Ryan."
"I was waiting on her. I was taught not to sit before the ladies, Father Patrick," Ryan told him, helping his wife into her seat then sitting down. He smiled at the cook, taking his glass. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Here you go, Miss Willow."
"Thank you, Helga. Did Xander eat breakfast, Buffy?"
"Coffee. He got noisy last night with his Horatio buddy."
"More than most of us need to know," Ryan said dryly. He sipped his water, smiling when the cook walked out giggling.
"I thought it was cute that Timmy was wearing Xander's clothes again," Willow told him. "They obviously cuddled up last night."
"Then I doubt he was noisy with Horatio," Ryan said dryly.
"No, he was curled up with his honey," Buffy told him. "They were just as noisy." Willow blushed and giggled and Ryan shook his head with a small moan. "Sorry. So, you work with Timmy?"
"I do. I, um, took his place when he died."
"Oh." She nodded. "Things like that happen in Sunnydale."
"All too often," Giles sighed. "How is Aiden, Willow? Have we talked to her recently?"
"She's in Seattle but she swears up and down she's moving," Ryan told him. "She called and nagged Speed over his cellphone the other day while he was running tests." That got a smile from Giles. "She came down for the holidays."
"She did and she and Calleigh shared naughty Timmy stories," Willow assured him with a smile. "Made Aiden giggle for days every time she saw him. But it was so *cute*, Buffy! Xander's wife left him a lot of pretty things and he used some of it to buy her something sparkly and gave Calleigh some of the leftover sparklies that weren't set."
Buffy pouted. "I got pictures of semi-naked foreign hotties."
"Calleigh got to go with him and help clean up the guns. She's well known for bullet and gun identification," Ryan told her. "She got to squeal for days over all the guns the assassin had."
"A..assassin?" Giles asked, looking a bit horrified.
"Yes, someone let him go out to the club and dance with women," Willow sighed, shaking her head. "She got him royally drunk before he realized it. Married him the next morning then killed herself an hour and a half later by jumping off the top of a hotel."
"To get away from Sire when he heard," Patrick finished with a smug little grin. He sipped more of his blood and crossed his legs. "Sire was quite peeved that he hadn't paid enough attention to the boy or his Gregory."
"Who is Gregory?" Giles asked.
"His other boy," Buffy said, grimacing some. Giles looked horrified. "He's got two, Giles. That's not fair, he's taking more than his fair share and he's gay."
He looked at her then smacked her on the shoulder. "It is perfectly all right with me if he is gay, Buffy. I wouldn't care as long as it wasn't a vampire or a child."
"But..." He glared and she slumped down. "Sorry if I offended," she said weakly, sipping her tea.
"Things are different down here, Buffy," Ryan said more gently. "Down in Miami we can take things a bit slower because our demon community is fairly small and peaceful. We don't have to exist on the survival principle. We also have a very thriving gay community and a thriving community that Xander participates in as a Master." He sipped his water. "He's got a very good reputation."
"He beat me with a soft, fuzzy thing."
Patrick looked at her. "Did he let you talk afterwards or help you let go?" She nodded, looking down again. "That's what he does for his clients, Buffy. He was trying to help you."
"He still beat me."
"Don't feel bad, he was picking on one of the SWAT guys the other day," Ryan offered. She scowled at him. "He was. The guy challenged him to a fist fight for being gay. Xander belittled him during it and still got him down and in enough pain that he gave up and slunk off in shame."
Patrick looked at him. "When was this?"
"The day before his car crash."
"Ah. That was checked for a reason?" Ryan nodded. "Have we found a reason?"
"Oh, yeah. She was following us the other night and Willow popped her tires right in front of Eric," he said smugly. Patrick smiled at her for that, getting back a small blush. "So, what's this I hear that his ex is pregnant?"
"She is and broadcasting," Ripper sighed, shaking his head. "I had a very bad bout of the flu and Ethan figured it out."
"Speed said that Xander had that after the crash," Ryan told him. Giles shuddered. "It made the ringing in his head a lot worse from what he said."
"That poor boy," he sighed, shaking his head and pouring himself some more tea. "Well, I've restricted Anya from doing it again. I've also had a talk with her about the fate of the baby and where it might have come from." Willow sat up straighter. "I don't know," he admitted. "She hasn't mentioned any new boys in her life."
"And we would hear," Buffy said dryly. "A lot. Very loudly. Every day." Giles gave her a look and she piped down. "Sorry."
Patrick smiled at her. "I've seen others who have come back from being demons, Buffy. She's an extraordinary one because she spent so long as a demon and it has made her blunt."
"She was that blunt in her last life," Willow told him. "She told us about it when she was morose one night. Her boy Olaf was a pain who liked bunnies."
Patrick gave out a gentle smile. "Bunnies?"
"Xander said she's got a bunny phobia," Ryan offered.
"She was quite pleased when she heard a rabbit died due to her pregnancy test," Giles assured them, getting giggles from Willow and Buffy. He sipped more of his tea. "Father, what is going on?"
"The same lump that you saw before, Ripper," he said gently. "Ethan has been helping lessen it for me."
"Ah. No wonder Xander passed on his Happy Christmas." He took another sip and put down his cup. "What can I do to help, Father?"
"I'm told I'll live to see my first great-grandchild out of Xander but not much longer. His road trip was a good time for us to meet him and he does liven our lives," he said with a gentle smile. "I know he's got clients all day today or else he'd probably be here." Ryan's phone went off and he excused himself to go outside to take it. "He is a darling young man, Willow. Very polite. But why are you not wearing a ring?"
"I want my grandmother's," she said simply. "My mother's being a bitch again. I'm working on it." He nodded once. "You, no sending your Sire or Xander after her."
"Dear, if I sent Xander after her, he'd hurt her," he promised. "Quite a lot." She sighed and nodded. "He knows about the control subject?"
"I read him all the books. They used to help him sleep on sleepovers."
"They were rather dry and boring," he agreed. She snickered at that. "They are. Your mother has no great flair for writing." Ryan walked back inside. "A scene?"
"Horatio wanting to know if we were here. He's on his way out, Father Patrick." That got a smile. "You should probably drink more before he gets here. He'll tell Xander on you."
"I'm sure he would," he agreed, adding more blood to his mug and drinking more of it. He was getting used to the jerky spices finally. The blood lust wasn't that great and he wasn't quite as horny. "Dear, have you heard from Tara?"
Willow blushed. "They were having a special dinner last night in the back yard. She was going to let him get better smoochies." He grinned at that. "Are they cute?" He got up and found a picture of her and Don his sire had taken, letting her see. "Ooh, Don's a hottie." She handed it to Ryan, who smiled and nodded.
"We saw him at the holidays."
"Oh, that Don. Okay." She nodded. "I must've forgotten him."
"Are you feeling all right?" Giles asked, taking the picture from Ryan. "Well, this is a much nicer picture than the one online we found. He looks like he adores her." He handed it to Buffy.
"Wow. Major hottie," she agreed. "Maybe I should move to New York." Giles shook his head. "But...." He shook his head again. "Fine, I won't move." She handed it back carefully. "He is cute. She's smiling at him the same way she used to smile at Willow."
Willow sighed. "She's happier now. He even goes to coven events with her," she said more firmly. Ryan stroked her back and she looked up at him. "We have to talk to my mother."
"Because I want my grandmother's ring. That's why I wouldn't let you buy me one." He gave her a hug and a smile. "Please?"
"Sure. We can meet your mother. Where is she?"
"I have no damn clue. She hasn't updated her webpage recently."
"She's at home this week," Rupert admitted.
"Gordon?" Patrick called. He leaned in. "Please help Willow talk to her mother? Or better yet, help Ryan talk to his mother-in-law? She wants a family heirloom ring for her wedding set."
"It's already being sent, Patrick. She called Timothy and he called me to get advice. I told him to have her send everything of Willow's down, including that since she was married now and would appreciate the gesture. Her mother pouted but did send it. She was quite peeved her daughter did it in Las Vegas but he bluntly told her that everyone important in her life had known and celebrated with them afterwards, plus she was extremely happy."
"And a bit on the ill side herself," Ryan admitted, looking at her. She went pale and shook her head. "What did you call this morning?"
"And the last two days?"
"Gordon, get her checked please?" Patrick asked. He nodded, coming in to get Willow. "With Anya broadcasting that way we should make sure, young lady."
"Yeah, let's make sure it's only Anya and it's all done with," she agreed more happy with that idea.
"I hope," Ryan said quietly. Giles frowned at him. "We haven't been together that long. It's not time for that yet, Mr. Giles. Give us time to actually settle into being married before we bring a child into it."
"That is reasonable," Giles agreed.
"Quite, but a bit too late," Patrick said, looking at Ryan. "But she may not be that healthy. You should have her see someone. I'm smelling some older blood on her."
Ryan raised an eyebrow then nodded. "Some day I'd like to know how much more sensitive your nose is."
"Quite," he said with a small smile. "Sire's is better though. He smelled it last week from your car."
"Wonderful. I'll drag her to the ER today." Willow shrieked upstairs. "Maybe I'll do that now. Excuse us for a while. Mr. Giles, would you like to borrow Willow for dinner? Or both of us?"
"I wouldn't mind," he agreed happily. "Buffy?"
"Sure, I can do that. Xander's got clients all day and I don't want to watch him copy naked soccer off the TIVO or the computer."
Ryan smiled at her. "He dumps the computer files every day. Everything but client sessions and things he can embarrass us with during birthday parties." She blushed at that. "Naked soccer?"
"He said the ones playing hockey switched sports."
"Huh." He smiled. "Cooper will be over the moon. He sleeps with his DVDs of naked hockey games." He walked out. "Thank you for the nice meeting, Father Patrick." He ran into Horatio and Willow crying on him. "Willow, we're going to see someone about this," he said firmly, taking her arm. "Sorry, H."
"What is going on?"
"Anya's going to be happy that another bunny died," she sniffled.
He took a deep breath then looked at Ryan. "I'll give you medical leave for the day," Horatio promised. "Bring me a report about any leave time you'll need to take."
"Patrick thinks that there might be a problem. He's smelling old blood," Ryan said quietly. "So we're going to the doctor's somehow." That got a nod and Horatio opened the door. "I'll let you know."
"Please." He watched them leave then went where Gordon pointed. He stared at Patrick then smiled. "Good, you look better than Thomas said."
"They dosed my blood with jerky spices," he said blandly, giving him a look. Horatio smiled. "I know, Xander would be proud of it." He sipped more. "Sit, Horatio. Ripper, this is Horatio Caine, Xander's boyfriend."
Horatio looked and shook his hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Giles, he's said some nice things about you."
Giles looked almost stunned. "Well, I can't say the same. I haven't talked to him recently. I have heard some very nice things about you this morning however." He smiled and Horatio sat down. "You've met Buffy?"
"Xander hit me with something soft and fuzzy."
"Xander is very protective and didn't like how you frowned at us this morning," Horatio assured her. "Are you injured?"
"No, he made me cry," she pouted.
"It is part of his chosen career," Giles agreed. He sipped his tea then looked at him. "Should we get you some tea?"
"No thank you. I'm here on an early lunch." He looked at Patrick. "Xander wanted to know where you had his car sent so he could check on it."
"I've called and they said they don't have it."
Patrick sighed and shook his head. "Thomas?"
He strolled in. "Horatio, good to see you again. Did you get the notes we sent you?"
"I did. They're on my desk waiting on me. Thank you for giving that to us."
"Not an issue. They're not gay if their boyfriends are that young." That got a smile and a nod. "What's wrong?"
"They said not."
"Really?" He made a face. "I'll call and check. They might have put it under my name. Tell you in a few. Father, need more blood?"
"No, Thomas, you and Gordon can both quit fussing," he ordered patiently.
His guard snorted. "I'm sure we will, Father. I'm sure we will ...some year." He headed to the office to look up the number and call. "This is Thomas McCain. I brought in Mr. Harris's dark green Jaguar after an accident last week. I was wondering how the work was going?" He listened. "Really?" He nodded once. "I didn't know that the crime lab was reopening it since they've got someone in custody. Hold on for a moment please. Let me get some paper." He found some. "Okay, who took custody of it?" An eyebrow went up and he wrote down the name. "When was this?" He wrote that down. "And was there a warrant or not?" He smiled and wrote that down as well. "Was his insurance notified? Thank you. You have a good day." He hung up and walked the note into the garden sitting room and handed it to Horatio. "They have his car."
Horatio looked then called Frank. "Do me a favor. Go get my new whip out of my second desk drawer. Go find the Chief. Take him down to the auto garage at gunpoint if you have to, and ask Rick Stetler what he is doing with Xander's car." He smiled. "Exactly. He took it from the dealership with a warrant, Frank. I want to know why. Because if you don't beat him, I will." He chuckled. "I thought you might like that. Thank you." He hung up. "Patrick," he said dryly.
"He is a thorn," he agreed. "Quite enough of one that Sire growled, Horatio." He looked at Buffy and Giles. "The officer in question has a problem with Horatio," he said blandly. "He wants to get rid of him for being promoted above him." Buffy grimaced. "He has done some very foul and questionable things."
"We can't prove he put the pictures in my desk," Horatio reminded him. Giles opened his mouth. "Someone planted evidence in my desk from an investigation he was running on another officer. Child pornography. My lab team handled it and found out where it came from before I had to get harsh with him."
"I'm glad it wasn't yours," he said firmly.
"I wouldn't have my badge or be sitting here if it was," Horatio assured him. Giles smiled at that. "People like that make me physically ill."
"Excellent. Then I think you'll do very good for Xander. I would watch out because his uncle has been asking Anya where he's been."
Horatio nodded. "Should he come I'd expect Xander to let me know so we could meet him together." That got a smirk. Horatio stood up. "I should get back with this new information." He gave Patrick a careful hug around the shoulders. "You feel better. I heard you fed from one of the guards that had the flu. What would Raphael say?" he asked quietly. He gave him a look then smiled at Buffy. "If you two wanted to see Speed, he'll be taking lunch probably about two today, new cases willing." That got a nod. "I'll see you later. Have a good day, Patrick." He walked out, heading back to the office.
"He does fuss nearly as well as my grandson," Patrick sighed, but he looked pleased and finished his thermos of blood.
"You don't kill when you feed?" Buffy asked.
He looked at her for a moment then shook his head. "Most of us don't, Miss Summers. Those that do are desperate, newly fledged, or monsters. Most vampires are like they were in life. The master's brood was known and chosen for their monstrous tendencies. That is why my sire loves so much to taunt Angel and make him face up to why he was chosen to be a vampire. It keeps him from brooding so much and making the city so gloomy around him." She cracked a smile at that. "I would ask that if you complain to Timothy about the light spanking you got this morning with the suede whip that you do not do it at the station. With that one man after Horatio for the luck of being promoted, it would give him more ammunition."
"Sure, I can do that," she agreed. She smiled at Giles then at him. "I'll trust you to talk with Giles since you apparently knew him back in his bad, mean, gang boy days. I'll be in the garden?"
"Please enjoy them," he said happily. "They're meant to be enjoyed." She nodded and walked out a door but didn't let in too much sunlight near him. He looked at his former mentoree. "I did like that you took Xander under your wing, even if you did ignore him greatly, Ripper. The boy needed it." Giles slumped but nodded. "What was done was. Now it's time to move on. We have all made mistakes in this life."
"We have and I'm very sorry, Father," he said quietly.
He smiled and nodded. "Then I accept, my boy. I knew even then that you had forces outside yourself pushing and shoving you away from your happiness. Even Ethan did." Giles gave him a small nod and finished his tea.
Horatio walked into the office and Eric ran over to give him a walk out. "What?"
"The FBI are here," he hissed. "They're the ones with the warrant."
"I don't know."
"Then I will, Eric." He walked back inside and spotted an agent he knew. "Why are you here this time?" he asked pleasantly, but was glaring with his eyes.
"Because something wasn't handed over," he said. He looked at him. "There was a file on her targets..."
"We handed all that we found over. If it was on her computer, then you should ask Agent McGee out of NCIS. He decoded them for us."
He looked stunned. "Why?"
"Because doing it expediently encrypted and downloaded it to a spot online. I have copies of what he sent us if you'd like to look it over. Though I would want to know why you got a warrant to look over Mr. Harris' car."
"It was thought to be related to another apprentice of hers."
Horatio looked at him. "Come with me." He led him upstairs and to his office, kicking someone off his computer. "Thank you." He pulled out the DVD's, finding one already running. "Agent McGee decoded them for us. NCIS came to get the tank and F-18 she had stored in Cyprus." He whimpered and gave him a horrified look. "Not like we were going to leave them there." He got into the files for him since it had been password protected, handing over the DVD's and a picture that Thomas had sent for his records on the cult. "That person was outside Mr. Harris' gate this morning. We had thought he was part of the cult that looks up to him for staying pure."
He looked and shook his head. "Not hardly. Not with his kill count, Lieutenant. May I?"
Horatio let him sit down behind his desk and let him pull up the file. "We have a bit of information on him but Xander's grandfather's people have just started on him."
"Is his grandfather in intelligence?" the lesser agent snorted.
Horatio gave him a dry look. "No, he's Father Patrick Benis." The man blushed. "He does do a lot of background checks and has handed us some information in the past. It is almost always trustworthy and some of his guards have decided that working with him is more worthwhile for humanity than doing your job."
"I know one of our agents was mentored by him," the senior agent offered, looking over the information. "If he's made contact with that group it could cause a lot of problems. What do you have on that group?"
Horatio walked to the door. "Speed?" He leaned out of Fingerprints, giving him a look. "Two things: you're having lunch with Mr. Giles at around two and I need the cult's files. The person outside the gate isn't one of them, it's one of his former wife's students."
"Wonderful," he said dryly, going to get it for him. He brought it upstairs. "Xander all right so far?"
"He's got clients all day."
"Charming. His car?"
"We have it in the auto garage looking for any information," the lesser agent sneered.
Speed glared at him. "Don't think I won't hit you." The agent moved away from him. "Horatio, can I borrow your whip?" Horatio got it and handed it over with a smile. "Thanks. Been practicing." He snapped it at the guy, making him yelp. "Still a bit off target. Xander's got stronger wrists than I do." He handed it back.
"You need more follow-through," Horatio offered, snapping it at him sideways. He yelped louder this time. "Like that. You abort the movement halfway through the snap."
"I'll have to practice on your couch the next time I'm frustrated. Have they told his insurance yet?"
"No but if they don't or his insurance doesn't make good on fixing his car, then they will be or else I will be making myself clear higher up the food chain," Horatio said plainly.
"I'm sure we won't be hurting his precious car," the senior agent said patiently. "We do try not to do such things in this day and age. Budgets are always scrutinized to the last nickel. Also, don't hit my agent."
Horatio looked at him. "Don't think I'm kidding."
"Oh, I know your reputation, Lieutenant. I'm surprised I'm not creased." Speed took the whip. "Do it and I'll send you off for a day of unpaid leave, Detective."
"Yay me. I can go nap," he said. The agent glared at him. "Xander is like my son. He's as close as I'm coming."
"I'll keep you informed but you're both hovering."
Horatio snorted. "This is still my office. Planted evidence and all. Speed, I noticed someone did it again."
"Yeah, we noticed it earlier. I called Phil. He took pictures and most of them. He said one was glued in and Stetler wasn't anywhere near your office this time."
"Very." They shared a look. "Can't I have it back?"
"No. My toy. Anything on your case?"
"Not yet. Waiting on fingerprints. Where's Wolfe?"
He cleared his throat. "Willow said Anya would be happy that another bunny died."
"She probably would. I wish her the best of luck and Wolfe many more drugs for his nerves if she is."
"Patrick thinks there's a problem."
"That might be kinder at this stage in their marriage," he admitted. "It's crass but it's only been a few months." Horatio nodded. "Should I tell Calleigh?"
"No. Let's wait until he tells us something."
"Sure." He headed off again. He looked at the lurking AV tech. "What?"
"Xander just sent an email. His present client had to shoot an intruder?"
"Really?" He looked up. "Horatio? Xander's client just had to shoot an intruder," he called. Horatio walked off, looking quite calm. After all, the situation was solved. He called Patrick. "Forward Horatio any notes you have about what just happened, Gordon. Yeah, just heard. Thanks." He hung up and the FBI agents came rushing out as well. "Guess he was working with an agent of some sort."
Cooper gaped. "He does...that to agents?"
"Some of them need it after bad cases too," he said patiently. "Oh, he said something about soccer?"
Cooper shrugged. "Maybe he's cheering on an international team." He went back to his lab.
"Oh ye of little faith," he sighed. "Hockey can't be played year round." He went back to work on his case. If Xander had emailed he was fine.
Horatio got out of his hummer and Xander's client met him at the door. "You are?"
"Agent Phipps. ATF."
"I know. You're keeping track of his weapon's collection, right?" he asked quietly. Horatio nodded. "Good. We just had someone try to break into the house while I was getting ready. He unwisely passed by Xander and came for me, Lieutenant. I still had my sidearm on me. He did demand to know where your boy was. I said out. He lunged. Pity."
"Thank you for protecting him," he said, shaking his hand. "There may be a few FBI agents behind me somewhere."
"I'm sorry," he said, shuddering. "Should I shoot them for you too?"
Horatio smiled. "Don't tempt me. I took my whip to one of them." He went to look at the body then at Xander. "Are you all right?"
"Hellishly pissed," he said stiffly, almost sounding British in his anger. "Right now I'm blowing up blocks to control it. Otherwise I'd be doing targets with a whip again." He heard someone else knock. "Your boys?"
"FBI. They think you didn't hand over something."
"Fuckers," he muttered. Then he looked at him. "Let me copy off the video."
"Let me, Xander. You still have to teach me how to use this." Xander nodded and motioned him over to teach him how to use the system. He took the DVD he had made, sliding it into a paper sleeve, then giving him a gentle kiss. "Calm down." He walked out to find more agents coming in. "Gentlemen."
"Lieutenant," the FBI agent in charge said, looking at the DVD. "What's this?"
"He bothered me in Master Tim's practice area," the agent/sub noted. "It's got video surveillance in there to tape any sessions he does."
The FBI agent gave him a stunned look. "Therapy?"
"He's a Dom," Horatio said quietly.
"OH!" He nodded. "Good thing for some. This is the tape?" Horatio nodded. "The owner?"
"In the office keeping himself from killing someone. He let me tape it from his system."
"Thank him for me. I do need a statement."
"Master Tim was getting some ice water for later," the ATF agent told him. "I was here to talk to him. He's a semi well-known weapon's collector specializing in swords and some lighter handguns and rifles." The FBI agent looked at him. "No comment otherwise."
"That's fine with me, son. I don't care and I'm sure your boss already knows."
"He introduced us," he said blandly. Xander coughed and glared at him. "At a party, sir."
"Again, I don't care. Just what happened, son."
"He broke in looking for Master Tim. Speaking of, Master Tim, someone's headed for the basement I think."
"I will flay the skin from you if you go downstairs," Xander said firmly, going to chase them down. The two agents down there were chased off. "I'm a known collector."
"I'm from Sunnydale," he said, glaring at him, making him back up. "I handled the shit out that way. Of course I do. Especially since a well known assassin got me so damn drunk she married me and then committed suicide. Now, anything else? Considering I'm dating an officer and they do know? They come down to help me clean things now and then." That got a nod. "Trust me, I'll only use it in case of something really fucking horrible, little boy, and no one's getting it from me. Not even if they steal from me again. Am I clear?"
"My full name is Alexander Lavelle Harris." The man blanched and nodded, running up the stairs to report that. He closed the cabinet door on his rifles and turned to find Eric standing there. "I get pissy when people touch my weapons."
"ATF likes weapons just as much as you do," he said, staring him down.
"Yay. They're still mine." He shrugged. "Anything on the guy up there yet? He's not the one that was at the gate earlier."
"No, he's part of your cult."
"Can I go talk to them?"
Eric snorted. "Speed's going to lock you in a closet."
"I doubt it." He walked past him and ran into Speed. "Hi, Daddy."
Speed gave him a smile and a pat on the cheek, then shoved him into a closet and locked the door. "Yes, I will." He walked off again. "Horatio, he's in the linen closet. It's locked on him." He heard the door rattle. "And he's staying in there until he quits wanting to go talk to his cult and growling at the ATF agent for wanting to look at his collection." He went to help process the scene.
Horatio looked at the closet. "I don't think it'd be safe for him to do that either." He turned and found Calleigh behind him. She sprayed him with knock out gas.
"Like I'm letting you go," she said with a sweet smile. "Eric, be a dear and put him in with Xander please? Either that or go lock them in the master bathroom?"
"It has a large window they could get out of," Speed called. The dog came to the door and he glared. "Out, Humper." The dog growled and Calleigh cooed, making him run. "Thanks."
"Is that Thumper?" she said, helping Eric pick up Horatio and take him up to the bathroom she and Speed had used. Then they came back and she gassed Xander so they could repeat it. The dog got tossed into the bedroom with them and she closed the door, heading down to help. "Okay, all the native family is in the blue bedroom upstairs." Speed smiled at that. "Including the dog. Is that really him?"
"That's really the BJ dog," he agreed happily. "His Grandsire said it tried to get his ear so he gave it to Xander."
Eric smothered a smile. "That's what he told me too. I'm almost surprised you didn't decide to call him after me."
Speed looked at him. "If you ever get that bad, I'll put you down mercifully, Eric. I promise I will. Especially if you try for someone's ear."
"Oh, I don't know, I've heard of some strange things going on," the sub/agent offered from the doorway. "Need my sidearm?"
"Please," Calleigh agreed with a small smile. "Just for comparison and you can get it back while we do your statement." That got a smile and he nodded at where he had dropped it. She smiled and picked it up, bagging the other clothes very carefully. "These may take a bit longer."
"Thank you, ma'am."
"You're welcome, but don't call me ma'am. I'm not that old."
He grinned. "CSI Duquesne?"
"That'll work. Or Calleigh. Xander's like my stepson. We all like Xander most of the time." Ryan walked in with his case. "How's Willow?"
"Halfway to an ultrasound. The Chief called me back. I pointed out we had to make sure she wasn't miscarrying, he said tough," he said blandly, giving her a look. "She'll call. Then she'll go kick his ass for me." Speed snickered. "I had tea with Mr. Giles and Buffy."
"I'm so sorry," Speed said, giving him a look. "She bouncy?"
"Then she's accepted it's not time yet," he said, getting back to work. "Did we download off the surveillance system yet?"
"Your boss had it, Speedle," the agent offered.
"I've got it," the head FBI agent noted.
They all looked up at a loud thump. Then a slide, then a thump outside and Xander came in off the back porch rubbing his shoulder and muttering under his breath while he went up to let Horatio out.
"You can't help, stay up there with the dog," Speed called.
"I'm your father, Xander, and I said so."
"Fine, we'll be in my room then!" Then a door slam and a pitiful bark. They let the dog in and slammed the door again. Harder this time.
"Drama queen," Eric said with a grin. "Awww, you raised a good drama queen."
Speed and Calleigh looked at him then at each other. "I say he gets the next fast food body case by himself," she said.
"I concur." He got back to work doing the scene sketch.
"That's mean," Eric complained. Those always ended up digging through the smelliest trash for some clue or another.
"Yup," Speed agreed. "Go watch the tape."
"Fine." He went to do that, letting it run on the DVD player. Then he had to stop it when it started to record down off the TIVO. He put it into the other system and gave the agent an embarrassed look. "Time to move some of the stuff off the hard drive." He put a DVD into that recorder and then went to watch the other one, flipping the switch on the A-B box so it had control of the tv. It hadn't ruined the copy and if they had to, he could probably pull another one off the system.
Speed finally got done and handed over the evidence to Eric to take back to the lab, then headed upstairs to look at his boss. "So, how are you liking the having a dog thing?"
"So far it's been nice. He hasn't slept on the bed yet, or chewed shoes," Horatio admitted. "Though I do believe I want to fix him."
"Might be an idea since Raphael told Eric he tried to hump his ear." He grinned at his son when he got glared at. "What?"
"I could've helped some."
"No you can't and neither of you can go talk to the cult either, son. It's too dangerous this time. I don't care if they do like you. The other assassin got in touch with them and they're going to want to try something. So sorry, but not taking control of the lab while Horatio heals, because if he dies I'm letting Willow pull him back for us, or burying your butt. Any other questions?"
"Can I have a drink of water?" Xander asked. "Also, my next client?"
"Already down there. He's talking to the last one about the shooting and just agreed it was a good idea the last I heard. They were both talking about calling Lady Heather and waking her up." Xander moaned. "So I'd behave and let us put a guard on the house." He smiled and walked downstairs. "Okay, who's going to see the cult?" he demanded. "Horatio and Xander are now forbidden because it's too dangerous."
"They like you," Eric offered.
"Most of the time I think they're okay too," he agreed. "I'm going in with backup." That got nods from Eric. "Calleigh? Eric? Any feeb you want?"
"No," they agreed.
Ryan looked at him. "I'll go if you want."
"Um, no. Willow would skin my ass if you got hurt." He looked at Calleigh then at Eric. "Tag, you're it, slutty." Eric groaned but followed him out to go with him. They got there and found a patrol car waiting on them and Alexx, their ME. "Why are you here?" he asked.
"They called me personally to come pick up the sacrifice who wanted to make Xander impure, Speed." She let him see the thing hanging from the ceiling. "As you can see, it's pretty. They decorated him like a party favor for me."
"Very. Who did it?" One of the few female members raised a hand. "Okay. Was he threatening you?"
"He wanted to hurt the clean one," she said quietly, looking at him. "I'm sorry."
He looked at her. "We'll straighten it out at the office. That way we can see if we can keep you out of jail." She nodded and let him lead her out so the officers could take her away. "You shouldn't have to cuff her, just watch her very carefully."
"It's protocol, sir."
"She wanted to stay away from killing."
"I heard, sir, and I commend them for doing it this way and being so successful but it is protocol," one officer said firmly. "Even if she were my own sister I'd still have to cuff her."
"I understand," she agreed, holding out her hands. "My shoulders will not quite bend comfortably that way."
"That's fine, ma'am, we can do it this way," he promised, cuffing her in front and then carefully helping her into the car. "We'll bring her right to Detective Tripp and have her waiting on you."
"Thanks." He nodded at her when they drove off then went to do that scene, which Eric had already started on. "Where am I?"
"Decent." He got down to do that. Then take the long-range pictures. They got done with those and nodded that Alexx could move the body, helping her bring it down from the ropes that had been suspending it. "What got him?"
"About thirty stab wounds," she said, looking at some. "Someone cleaned up the blood at least."
"We laid a tarp," another member said. "We did not want such unclean things here to tempt us."
Speed looked at him then at the weapon's cabinet. "Any time we've got officers coming in here, you're going to have to hide the illegal weapons." That got him a few sheepish looks. "Get Calleigh here to help you sort through it." That got a nod and Eric called her, making him shake his head. "Hopefully it'll be okay. As long as we don't get West," he muttered.
Alexx smiled at him. "You're more lucky than that usually, sugar."
"I hope so. My swing with the whip still needs work." She snickered and shook her head. "It does, I keep hurting my wrist. Horatio said I'm aborting the swing too early."
"I don't see how you two can play with those."
"Easy, hitting his couch repeatedly makes us feel a lot better," Eric told her. He grinned. "Even I've done it a few times. By the way, Xander may need a new car when the feds get done with his."
"Then they're going to explain it to his insurance company and/or buy him a new one," Speed said simply. "Or else I'm turning Xander loose on him." That got another few snickers from Alexx and Eric but the cult members looked awed. "I know, it's mean, but yay. I don't like Feds." He got back to work and they all bowed to him and went to meditate on that idea. The clean one could be mean and still stay pure. He could even border on evil and stay pure. It was a radical idea to them. His phone rang and he answered it. "Speedle. What do you mean the dog's humping my bike and do I know a good vet, Calleigh?" He growled. "Get the little humping mutt off my damn bike." He hung up and looked at Eric. "If you get that bad I'm fixing you too."
"I'd never hump your bike, Speed. It's really hard to have sex on it."
"You'd be surprised."
"Nah, tried it when I was younger. Low riders or touring bikes are easier to have sex on."
Speed just stared at him in horror. Then he shuddered and went outside for some air.
"Hey, horses are even easier and girls like them," Eric called. One of the cult members giggled and he shrugged, giving them a boyish grin. "They are and girls do like horses."
"I'm having you fixed!" Speed yelled.
"You tell my mother first."
Speed pulled out his phone and called Eric's mother. "Mrs. Delko, Tim Speedle. You *really* don't want grandkids from Eric, right? Because he's annoying me and I'm about to fix him before I have to hear more about sex on horses or any other animal's backs." He smiled and walked the phone inside. "Your mother."
"Hi, Ma," he said, listening to her rant at him about how that didn't give her grandchildren. "Actually, the one slip I nearly had was because of a horse, Mom." He shuddered and nodded. "I can't, Momma. I'm helping watch Xander tonight. No, I don't think he wants pounced by the whole family. He just got a new dog and they had to shoot an intruder today. Sure, maybe tomorrow. No, I won't let him rob you of grandchildren," he said, smirking at Speed. Her next sentence made him moan. "No, Momma. I don't want to meet the nice girl you found at Church. Because nice girls give me hives, Ma. No, mother. Mom, keep it up and I'll stay at home." He held his forehead, then shook his head. "Fine, whatever. I'll bring allergy medicine for when we meet." He hung up and tossed the phone back. "She still said you can't fix me until she's got at least one grandchild out of me."
"You know...Willow could probably do that," Speed offered with a nice, sweet smile. "Then we could fix you and give her grandchildren."
Eric whimpered. "Please don't. I'll beg."
"Next two fast food jobs are yours, buddy. Thanks for taking on that duty." He changed gloves and got back to work.
Eric changed gloves and moved to gather any farther evidence. "What did she use to hurt him?" The dagger on the altar was pointed to. It still had blood on it so it was easily found and bagged for later analysis. Because he did not want to think about him being a pregnant person. Ever! He'd need so many drugs a Grateful Dead concert would seem straight next to him.
Patrick walked into the station later that evening and found Horatio still at his desk but Xander curled up on his office couch. "Another problem?"
"No, this one was fixed. He took his clients somewhere else for the day and held their sessions there instead. He came over for dinner and fell asleep while I was on the phone," he admitted with a small smile. "The dog okay? I told the officers to make sure it was inside when they left."
"Just fine. As far as I know he didn't pee on the couch or anything." He handed over a fairly thick envelope. "His car insurance is not pleased and I had to make his payment because he forgot with it in the garage."
"Sit, Patrick," Horatio ordered gently, taking the envelope to open. The vampire didn't but that was his decision. "Hmm." He looked at the photos of someone walking into his office, then out of his office a few minutes later by the time stamp in the bottom right corner. "Where do I know him from?"
"He's a janitor. If you show Xander, he'll know him even more as a former classmate. He's been following Buffy around all day and he's the one who put the pornography in your desk. This time." Horatio looked up. "You'll find one of them wasn't. After all, he doesn't have access to anyone's log-in information."
"So the ones from evidence weren't him." That got a nod. "Sit, Patrick." The vampire sat and looked at him. "Thank you." He put things back into the envelope and then looked at the last, folded up thing in there. Then at him. "Is it his?"
"Her cousin was supposed to be the backup plan, in case the wife couldn't carry or it had to be done immediately and her body wasn't ready. Sire found the doctor, finally, and his records indicate he didn't get to use the sample. It got sent back to Mac for testing." Horatio smiled at that. "So unless he had more than one vial of seed, probably not. We can't know that until the amnio but the judge is saying that he won't release the estate until we know for sure."
"That is more than reasonable," he agreed quietly, watching Xander fidget. "Xander?" He hummed but didn't fully wake up. "Xander?" he called a bit more firmly.
"Let the boy sleep, Horatio, you can tell him later tonight." Horatio nodded and tucked that information into his briefcase. "Now, about earlier today?"
"The agent is clear on the shooting, it was ruled a good shoot. The one that the cult got was necessary to them. They're still debating if they're going to charge her or not since he was an assassin. It would've been less likely if she hadn't stabbed him multiple times. Someone in the ATF wanted to make sure that the guns and cult didn't go together. His client wasn't impressed with the cult at all until someone told him why they like Xander. Then he decided it was a good enough thing as long as they didn't get his guns. Calleigh pointed out that they kept the guns they'd gotten off someone who had stolen them from Xander very openly and didn't really plan on using them. That Xander would be stopping them if they tried anything. That got a lot more relaxed people but the FBI is now watching them for us. So far they think they're mostly harmless as well. They did see the respectful dusting of the weapons cabinet and it was fine with them since no one stroked or fondled the guns so far. They went back in the surveillance tapes as well." That got a smile. "Again, they think they're odd but it's keeping them off their other duties and out of other people's nightmares so it's all good for them." Someone came to the door. "Phil. Come in here for a minute please?"
"Sure. What's wrong, Horatio?" Horatio handed over the information file. He looked at the pictures then around. "Where's the camera?"
"One of my boys planted it in the rafters to help Horatio," Patrick said with a gentle smile.
"Okay. And you are?"
"Phil, this is Father Benis, Xander's grandfather."
"Good to meet you, sir." He shook his hand. "You've done a lot of good in this community."
"As I plan on doing until I finally turn to ash," he agreed simply. He looked back when Xander grunted in displeasure and flipped over. "Grandson?" he called quietly. "Are you awake?"
"Headache again," he complained into the back of the couch. He grunted as he flipped over to look at Horatio. "I blew dinner, didn't I?"
"They let me reschedule for Sunday, Xander. They thought it was cute you fell asleep that way," Horatio assured him with a small smile. Xander smiled back and blushed a bit. "We can pick something up for tonight."
"Cook sent over a full meal, Horatio." Patrick stood up and looked at Phil. "That should at least help you start an investigation."
"Actually, it's almost all of what we'd need to arrest him," he admitted. "Was it him all the times?"
"He's a janitor, he wouldn't have access to evidence," Horatio said bluntly. "Xander?" He came over to look at the folder Phil had. "Do you recognize him?"
"Yeah, he was...he was in school a few years in front of me." He looked at him. "That's who planted the evidence?" Horatio nodded. "Damn it!" Phil took the photo back. "Can I ask him why?"
"I'll let you know why," Phil offered with a small smile. "I can't let you question him, Xander. It's not done and it could rock the case."
"Fine." He gave his grandfather a hug. "How's Grandsire?"
"Doing well. He went over for the medical checks then went to spoil Tara and Don. I just gave Horatio the information so he could tell you tonight." Xander looked at him. "I only got it this afternoon, Xander. I figured you would want to cuddle him and talk about it tonight."
"So there's a baby?" he sighed.
"One of her cousins," Horatio offered gently. "We don't think it's yours but we'll have to wait for the amnio to prove it. That'll be around five months?"
"It should be, it was back in my bearing days," Patrick admitted.
Xander forced himself to relax. "Any other news?"
"He found the doctor and a sealed specimen tube that had your name on it. He sent it back to Mac Taylor for analysis since his lab was over the kidnaping. The doctor said it wasn't yours but we want to make sure." Xander nodded at that. "He paid the cousin quite handsomely to be the backup plan from what Sire said, Xander. So we'll know in a few more months."
"How could he have gotten two samples?"
"I'm not sure," he admitted.
"He had how long after he was taken before they left the airport?" Horatio asked.
"About an hour."
"It might be possible if they took one right when they got him and then right before they left," he offered. "I've seen it done in the past. We'll see and support your decisions, Xander."
"No, if that's my kid, she's coming over, Horatio. She can follow in Lady Heather's footsteps and Mommy will cry about being a grandmother."
He smiled and nodded. "I can accept that." Xander smiled at him. "I should also ask, did you hear from Willow?"
"I did and they said that the miscarriage was slight since she was only a few weeks along. Her body's already working on reabsorbing it." That got a nod from Patrick. "Where's Giles?"
"He's at my house, Xander. He needed a neutral place to talk to Ethan for a bit and work on their former issues." Xander smiled at that and hugged him, whispering in his ear. "I know, Grandson. Ethan always came in quite happy when he managed to vex him to the point of losing his control again." He stroked over his face. "Now, we should talk tomorrow about the mess they made of your car."
"They're going to replace it if the insurance company won't or else I'm suing them. They had no damn reason to get my car out of the shop."
"They didn't," Horatio agreed. "That would still require their bosses to agree. I told Gibbs that they had questions about some of the data recovered and he yelled at a contact he had over there about them taking your car as well. He said they should replace it but they might not. They can claim it was potential evidence." Xander growled. "I know. We'll work it out."
Patrick smiled at the young man. "Until then, I've gotten you a lease car, Xander." That got a sigh. "It's only a lease." Xander looked at him. "I think you'll like it and quit frowning at me. I don't care if you don't like me spoiling you, Xander. I'm going to anyway." He kissed him on the cheek. "You be a good boy and don't get too many speeding tickets this time. Or else we'll have to help you find a good driver." He smiled at Horatio. "Would you like to come out to dinner Saturday, boys?"
"Sure," Xander agreed. "As far as I remember I don't have anyone coming in." Horatio handed over the scheduling book from his desk drawer. "You took it out of the house?"
"I wasn't going to leave it in there with nosy officers, Xander. Your clients deserve better." That got a brilliant smile and Xander sat down to look it over. "He has one at seven on Saturday but nothing that afternoon. How about a latish lunch or an early dinner?"
"I can do that," he agreed, stroking through Xander's soft hair. His grandson smiled at him. "Would that suit you?"
"It would," Xander agreed happily, getting up to hug him. "Love you."
"I adore you as well, Grandson. Now, make your boy feed you once you get home. Cook sent over a full dinner for you both tonight and the dog." He patted him on the cheek. "No complaining about the car either."
"Is it here?" Horatio asked. That got a smile and a nod. "Hmm. Should I worry?" Patrick leaned over to hiss in his ear, getting a startled look. "That is too much. Even I'd have to protest, Patrick."
"It is only a lease," he assured him. He nodded politely at Phil. "Come to me if something needs to happen."
"Of course, sir. Thank you." He shook his hand then followed him out to find this guy's personal information.
Xander looked at Horatio. "What did he lease me?"
Horatio finished cleaning up his desk and walked Xander out, taking him down to the parking lot. Eric, Speed, and Ryan were all staring at the car in the far corner of the lot, next to Horatio's hummer. "I believe they can tell you that."
Xander strolled over, resting his chin on Speed's shoulder to look at the car in front of them. "Why does that look like a little Italian sports car?" he asked quietly.
Speed looked at him with a grin. "Because it is a little Italian sports car, Xander. Calleigh was considering posing on the hood."
"He said it's a lease."
"Good! We should see how it handles."
"You are so see-through," Eric said, shaking his head.
"Hell, I want to drive the thing and I'm not a thrill junkie for speed," Ryan said in awe.
"Grandfather said it was a lease," Xander protested.
"Good! That means he didn't spend half a mil on a car," Eric agreed, patting him on the back. "Keys are inside. Door's not locked."
"Horatio, I'll bring him right back," Speed offered, dragging his son that way so they could go try it out.
Horatio watched as the dark blue sports car pulled out, shaking his head. "He'll get so many tickets," he complained. "Gentlemen, Patrick has figured out who put most of the disgusting things in my desk." They both beamed at him. "All but the one from evidence." That got a joint nod. "If you're clear tomorrow, work on that."
"Sure, H," Eric agreed. "Are you going to let him keep it?"
"It's totally inappropriate for a young man his age. All he'll do is get speeding tickets." Both young guys smirked at him for that. "But his grandfather rented it for him so I can't complain too much. Did we make sure the dog was inside when we left, Ryan?"
"I put down more kibble and he was nibbling happily when I closed the door, Horatio."
"Thank you, Mr. Wolfe." Calleigh came out pouting. "Father and son went to try to get their first ticket together," he told her.
"I swear that boy needs a leash," she complained.
"Xander would complain."
"Not yours, mine!" Eric and Ryan both snickered at that. "He does! He didn't even tell me he was heading off."
"They only went for a test drive, they'll be back in a few minutes," Eric assured her.
"They had better be. We've got dinner with my father tonight."
"Hmm, family news?" Ryan teased.
"Not like yours almost was." He shrugged at that, looking a bit sheepish. "Got too happy on the honeymoon?"
"Well, I did throw my back out," he admitted, scratching the back of his neck. The boys pulled back in with an escorting patrol car, making them all laugh. "Hi, guys."
"My fault," Speed offered. "Handles better at higher speeds, H."
"I'm sure Xander won't be breaking the speed limit anytime soon," Horatio said dryly.
The officer gave them a look then shook his head. "Boys, and you too, CSI Duquesne, we have a speedway in this town for when you want to go fast on asphalt. Use it, before I have to ticket it and put the car on a watch list." Xander pouted. "What?"
"His grandfather leased it for him because the feds seized his for no reason," Eric offered. "Since it got pulled in for evidence after a slight crash...." That got a moan. "Besides, his grandfather is dying, man. Give the poor kid a break. Ticket Speed instead."
"If we ticketed Speedle like he deserved he wouldn't have his license anymore," he said bluntly. Speed shrugged at that. "Lieutenant, maybe we should run a refresher on the driving course at the academy? Include Speedle's son as well?"
"Does that mean I get to learn how to ride the patrol horses?" Xander asked.
The officer looked at him and shook his head. "We didn't. Only if you join that unit, young man." Xander shrugged. "Ask the nice Lieutenant to take you, Mr. Harris. We all think he could use the relaxation anyway and I heard you were a masseuse as well." He walked back to his car, taking it around the building to go park and head in for his lunch break, plus to spread around what the boy had been given for a temporary lease car.
"That is an idea," Speed agreed, smirking at Horatio.
"I don't like to ride, Speed. I get sore." Xander blushed at that. "For the same reasons, yes, Xander. We'll talk about it." Xander smiled at him and held out his hand. "I'll follow you home." Xander nodded, taking the keys from his father's hand, giving him a hug before getting back in and heading home. "I'll see you four tomorrow." He got into his hummer and headed home before Xander could get into trouble again.
Speed grinned. "It really does handle better at higher speeds and the road out here isn't that busy right now." Calleigh moaned and swatted him on the arm. "Hey!"
"Dinner. Go change."
"Oops. Have to head home."
"Fine, we can do that. I'll follow you there and no tickets on the bike." He nodded and put on his sunglasses, heading over to grab his helmet and head for the house. "I'll see you boys tomorrow. Play nicely." She slid into her car and left as well.
Ryan looked at Eric. "I've got a wife to spoil. Later."
"Sure, rub it in," he said dryly.
Ryan looked at him. "I doubt you'd want Willow, Eric."
"No, your wife is strange. I don't like strange women like your wife." That got a smile and Ryan shrugged before getting into his car and heading home. Eric shook his head, going to his mother's for the ill-fated dinner meeting. He really was allergic to nice girls. That's why they avoided him and he avoided them in the clubs.
Xander finished with his balancing his checkbook and frowned. "Damn it."
"Forgot to take out fees again?" Horatio asked, coming into the office, the dog following him since he was carrying a plate in his hand. He looked down at him. "You do not beg."
"He does so and he proves it every single time anyone nibbles," Xander said dryly. "No, not under, over this time." He let him see his calculations. "That's got to be another deposit."
"Your bank has online records," he pointed out, kissing him on the temple. Xander logged on and looked then blinked and his hand reached for the phone. "Click on it first, maybe it's got a copy of the check." Xander did that before he called out to his grandfather. Sure enough, it came from there. So Horatio called Gordon, he was calmer. Xander had a bad habit of sounding hysterical about the money stuff. "Gordon, Horatio. Who put ten grand in Xander's bank account? The check came from the main one. It's got an impression. That's where we are, yes." He nibbled on a bite of vegetable and the dog made a pathetic noise. "You don't like carrots, Thumper."
Xander took the phone, listening to him. "Did someone steal it from you and give it to me?" He listened then sighed. "Why?" He moaned and put his head down. "Why do I need more clothes, Gordon? I've got plenty. I know that but I've still got plenty. I'm doing fine with the business. I was even thinking about dipping into the savings and building a small dungeon off to the side of the house." He pouted at his assertion he'd never make it back. "Fine. Grumpy. Why did Grandsire want me to get new clothes? Uh-huh. So someone gave it to him for me.... Who?" He thumped his head on the desk this time. "Sure. Thanks." He hung up and called his grandsire by feel. "Who gave you the money so I could go shopping?" He handed over the phone, letting Horatio take it while he shook his head.
"Who gave him money to go shopping?" he asked politely. "No, I'm ignoring the begging beast at my ankle. No, not your grandson, the furry one. He's in the desk chair." He rolled his eyes. "I don't ignore his begging and you're off the topic, Raphael. Who gave it to you?" He nodded once. "So you are working on that issue, correct?" He smiled. "Thank you." He hung up and looked up a number out of Xander's personal rolodex, dialing it. "Oz please. Horatio Caine." He waited and then smirked. "Oz, yes, this is. No, not a pleasure call, though I'm sure he wouldn't mind a visit soon. Someone handed Raphael ten thousand dollars for Xander and he seemed a bit...cagey about it. That's what he said. Who would that be?" He listened then smirked a bit evilly. "Thank you, Oz. Of course. Xander's got a beautiful home and I'm sure you could have one of the guest rooms if you don't stay at the main house." He smiled, looking at his mate. "He's very happy. You don't have to threaten to eat me, I promise. Have a good day, Oz." He hung up and looked at him. "Speed and I need to talk."
"Am I not allowed to know?"
"I need to know who to yell at," he admitted. "It seems your former girlfriend is there saying you're to be a sacrifice to the Gods so she's treating you specially now. Her and a few others of her clique and someone named Druscilla?" Xander went pale at that name. "I don't remember hearing about her."
"Oh." He nodded once. That made a bit more sense. "Why would they have teamed up?"
"Not a fucking clue." He blinked then called out there. "Angel, Xander. What the fuck is Cordy doing to me?" he demanded in a high-pitched voice. "Deadboy, do not make me come out to LA," he warned. "Now, she's doing *what*?" He listened to him bluster. "Angel, I'm going to have someone stake your ass. Yeah and I can tell Buffy that you're coming to me for my dom skills," he said dryly. Angel spluttered. "Am I clear? She's doing what?" He listened to how Dru had convinced them all he was about to be needed as a sacrifice so they had to soften him up. "I'm out of that life, Deadboy, I doubt I'm going to be in that sort of trouble. I also doubt I'm going to be a decent sacrifice. No, I'm not that pure. Well, gee, I don't know, Angel. Would you like to talk to my boyfriend?" He snickered. "Little known fact, Angel, but I have had to kill things to protect myself. Willow and I both. Having parents like mine was like that." He went silent. "Am I clear? Good. Then back your loony bitch off my lawn. I want her away from my family, and that does include Grandsire Raphael. If she does not I will make your life a living hell and stake her on top of you some night." He hung up and looked at him. "So, apparently Angel was going to sacrifice me soon," he said conversationally.
Horatio gave him a kiss. "I would stop him, Xander." Xander smiled and relaxed, giving him a better kiss. "Any clients tonight?"
"Nope, or tomorrow unless I pop up an emergency." Horatio smiled at that. "Are we having an announcement?"
"Soon," he promised, finishing his snack. The dog hopped into his lap to lick his face, getting handed off. "Dog!"
"Thumper, just because he was eating doesn't mean he needs the doggy napkin," he said patiently, petting him.
"Obedience school, Xander."
Xander grinned. "I've got him trained, Horatio." That got a look. "He just loves you. He'll even fetch my canes for me." Horatio moaned and shook his head. Someone knocked on the door. "Who is it?" he yelled, getting up and heading that way. He found Cooper and Eric on the other side. "Need more DVD's," he said blandly.
"That's fine. I was going to go out tonight and wanted to know if you and/or H wanted to go out to the club with me," Eric offered. "We're taking DC to try to get him a girl."
"Hey, Horatio, want to go out dancing with Eric and Cooper?" he called, heading back to the office.
"I'd feel out of place," he complained.
Xander smiled at him. "I'd help you learn again," he offered, stroking the dog. He winked. Horatio moaned and nodded. "Please?"
"Fine. The dog stays here."
"Of course he does. Here, Cooper, hold the dog while I go change," Xander ordered, handing him off. "Which club, Eric? Am I playing your bodyguard again tonight?"
"No, we need draw tonight," he said, watching him head up the stairs. "H?"
"I'll change as well," he promised, shaking his head all the way up there. Xander had clothes on the bed so he got into his closet but Xander turned him around and pointed at the clothes on the bed. "Those aren't mine, Xander."
"No, they're mine and I want to see you in them."
"I know that." He grinned wickedly at him. "If we're getting DC laid tonight, we've got to look hot enough to draw them to us, Horatio. Besides, this way we'll match." He found what he wanted and headed into the bathroom, coming out a few minutes later in his favorite leather pants and a button-up shirt. Horatio moaned at him. "Please?"
"Can't I wear your black jeans instead?" he begged.
"Sure. You can do that," he promised, stealing a kiss. He sat down to fuss with his hair, scrunching and spiking it like Greg had taught him. Horatio came out of the bathroom dressed. Xander gave him a critical look and pulled out a different shirt, handing over Horatio's purple one. "Do that one instead." Horatio nodded, changing shirts. He sniffed him. "New deodorant and cologne," he said in appreciation, taking a nibble of his throat.
"Keep that up and I'll never get dressed," he teased.
"Oh, I'll be fixing that later," he said with a wink, handing over his shoes. Xander put on his sneakers. Horatio gave him a look. "My feet hurt. I had one of my longer-lasting clients in today and I was on them for five hours earlier." He headed down the stairs after forcing his wallet into Horatio's back pocket. "My treat for our stuff since Cordy gave me cash." He bounced down the stairs and Cooper moaned and nearly dropped his dog. "Are we calling Dad?"
"We could. He's sulking," Eric admitted. He dialed him. "We're taking DC out to get laid. You wanna come? We've got Horatio and Xander coming." He smiled and nodded. "Sure, Speed." He hung up. "He'll ask Calleigh but she's in the tub so it might just be him."
"She'll let him flirt as long as he doesn't touch," Xander assured him, nuzzling his dog's face. "Good boy, Thumper. You be a good boy while we're gone. Let's go outside for now." He took his dog outside, letting him run out to water his favorite tree, then he ran back inside and to his bowl. "Good boy!" He closed and locked the back door, letting Horatio get the one in his office. His keys got handed to Horatio too, earning a smile. "I don't have pockets and you'd have to dig them out of the thong later," he said dryly. Cooper gave him a look. "What?"
"You look like a stripper."
"Thank you," he said happily. He locked the door and set the alarm and headed out with them. He looked at his mate. "You driving or me?"
"You can drive. I got a speeding ticket the last time I did," he admitted, making Eric snicker. "So did you, Eric."
"I remember. The officer just shook his head as he wrote it out." He got into his car and Cooper got in with him. Xander's car prowled after his more modest ride and he found a club he had always had good luck in. It was a mixed club so Xander and Horatio wouldn't get it for dancing together and DC could pick up someone nice. Hopefully! The poor guy hadn't had a date in ages. Nearly a month. They got a call from Speed, so he told him where they were. Then they paid cover and went inside. Xander took Horatio out onto the floor, making him sweat with how the boy was teasing his lover.
"Damn," Cooper said in awe. "Xander doesn't just look like a stripper."
"Well, he did win those open poles," Eric joked. "Horatio's going to be sleepy tomorrow for the meeting." He gave him a nudge and pointed. "Head that way. I'll take this side of the floor." That got an enthusiastic nod and he went to find him some women. Eric shook his head and went to get a beer and wait on Speed.
Who didn't look so bad himself. He nodded at Xander and got a wicked smirk and a nod, plus a mouthed 'that's my boy' from his buddy. Eric went to have fun and Speed went to steal his boy for a while. Horatio rolled his eyes but went to get a drink and watch over them. "Hi."
"Hi, daddy." He gave him a hug and got back into the groove.
Speed felt himself sweat. "Damn," he said in awe. Xander just grinned and turned around, teasing the one who had been trying to get into his pants. The man there pouted when Speed pulled him back against his chest.
Xander teased him all the more because he was safe and knew no one was going to get him. At least until Horatio came back, then he teased him enough to hear the growling over the thumping bass beat. He felt Speed get pulled away and looked at him, getting a nod that it was fine. He went back to teasing his boyfriend, making him shiver at one point when he rubbed against his front while dancing. Horatio's hands were on his hips and they were both hard by the time Eric came over dragging Speed back. "He okay?"
"Woman who wanted to make Calleigh shoot her," Eric told him. "Keep him here." He went off again.
Xander shrugged and turned to dance with him, letting Horatio have his back. Speed smirked and shook his head, winking at them before moving off slightly. He felt hands go around his waist and looked up over his shoulder, smiling at Horatio. "He'll be fine," he mouthed. Horatio nodded, taking him off the floor to get something to drink. "Hi, can I have a virgin cranberry ice?" The bartender nodded and got it for him and two boys paid his tab for him, getting a wink in return. Then he kissed Horatio before leading him off to drink on the floor. It was going to be a good night.
When he got home he went to send a quick email to his grandfather complaining about how modern cars were so pitiful for having sex in, then went to jump his mate and make him beg for mercy. The dog decided to sleep on the couch that night. They had a bad habit of flailing and kicking when he licked their toes or tried to join in.
Horatio smothered a yawn the next morning, waiting for everyone to come in. "Who's missing?" he asked.
"Markham," Calleigh said with disgust.
"That too shall be fixed," he promised. The last two people walked in together, including the Chief. "You called for us to meet, sir?"
"I did, Horatio. Go ahead and sit."
Horatio sat a bit slowly. "Sorry, Xander wanted to go out to the clubs."
"Threw your back?" Speed teased.
"Didn't you?" he taunted back.
"Well, yeah," he admitted. He looked at the boss. "So, what's up? Another budget gripe about overtime?"
"No, not this quarter." He smiled at them. "We've just gotten a grant to put on a cold case DNA tech," he announced. They all nodded at that. "She comes with a grant to redo some of the lab."
"Why?" Eric asked. "It works now."
"They wanted to redo the lab," the Chief told him. "So you will all have six weeks of leave. Even if you don't have the leave it'll take that long to do the renovations."
"Are we being loaned out to another lab?" Speed asked.
The Chief looked at him. "No, Speedle, I want you to sit at home and play video games," he said seriously. "Go take your son for picnics if you want. The whole lab is being renovated. If something critical comes up for the state boys, they'll call and ask for one of you to be borrowed for a few days but otherwise you're on vacation." Everyone stared. "Salaried vacation, people. This was my decision."
"At least we're getting paid," Ryan complained. "Six whole weeks?"
"Yes, Officer Wolfe. Wouldn't you rather have that time with your wife?"
"She's in college. I'll be with her cat all day, sir."
"Whatever. Maybe you'll take Speedle's son out for a picnic then."
"I doubt his boyfriend would like that," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Is the six weeks an estimate or a definite?"
"Estimate at this point. We will be putting the state boys on for any crimes here in the city. They said that was fine and the non-felony lab will be done faster so they'll come back first and take over until your lab is done." He looked at Horatio. "I'm sure you can find something to do for six weeks, Lieutenant."
"I'm sure I could too," he admitted. He looked at his team. "We'll leave one of you on call for a week at a time," he decided. "That way if something comes up you don't all have to stay in the city the entire time."
"I could go visit mom for a weekend but I'd never go that long," Calleigh complained.
The fingerprint tech raised her hand. "What about us, Chief? Are we on the same six week leave?" That got a nod. "Do I get to look over the plans for my new lab so I can throw fits now or should I just start a cassette of it when I first see it?"
"I have the plans in my office," he assured her. "Any of you with any doubts can come look at them."
"Oh, I will be," Horatio assured him. He looked at her. "We'll all look it over to agree on what each lab looks like." They all nodded at that assertion. He looked at his boss, who was scowling at him. "We don't know who designed it and I'm sorry, Chief, but sometimes people with ideas don't see the reality. The only problem we've got now is the lack of lighting in two labs. The overheads are too dim. We need brighter bulbs."
"This new lab will be light and airy," he promised. "With lots of sunlight and ways for it to reach everywhere."
"If it hits AV I can't do my job," Cooper told him. "How long do we have to submit complaints so whoever can make changes?"
"Today," he decided. That got a nod and they all headed to do that. He looked at Horatio. "You're going to complain about six weeks of paid leave?"
"Some of us will be a bit bored," he admitted.
"You'll figure it out, Horatio."
"I probably won't be one of them," he admitted.
"Good. Let me know if you need any radical changes."
"I'm heading there now," he sighed, heading that way. He found Speed already grumbling. "What?"
"It looks like an Escher with glass." He let him see the proposed drawings. He also handed over the notepad someone had started. "Let's let them do a tour, Chief. Please? The labs are too small and unusable in this. Also, fairly dangerous." That got a nod from Horatio - who was making copious notes on the notepad. Then he handed them on with a head shake. "Can you please include a second set of bathrooms?" Speed asked. "She's only got one by the break room and then the locker room." That got added as a separate point at the top of the page. Speed looked at the boss. "Are we going to have to fight with idiot feds over this?" That got a nod. "Figures."
Horatio patted him on the shoulder. "We'll get through this, Speed. You and Xander need to talk about Cordelia and Druscilla anyway."
"What did the loony bitch do this time?" he demanded, glaring at him.
Horatio smirked. "We found out they've decided Xander is going to be a sacrifice soon so they're treating him like a god before they kill him." Speed growled at that. "Sent him a rather nice check to go shopping through his Grandsire." The growl got deeper and everyone but Eric stepped away.
Eric patted him on the back. "You can yell at them. We have the vacation time now," he reminded him.
Speed looked at him. "Why would I want to go to LA? If I did that, someone would die." He looked at Horatio again. "Was it fixed?"
"Xander pointed out how flawed he would be as a sacrifice," he said gently. "He called Angel and apparently shocked him."
Speed just nodded. "Good! I'll help." He walked off shaking his head. He knew his boy was either in bed or the pool at this time of the morning but Gordon was usually up so he called him to make sure they knew about this situation and to see if they had more information, giving him what he could on Druscilla and Cordelia both.
"When does leave start?" Horatio asked.
"This will push back the renovations," Horatio pointed out. His boss stared at him. "You're serious?"
"I am. Wrap up what you can today, Horatio. You're nearly clear so unless you get a bad case today it should be fine. Finish all those nasty reports you've all got backlogged as well." That got a mass groan but they went to do that. He took the seventeen pages of notes and looked them over, moaning at them. He called the new tech and her designer to go over them with her. The sheets of problems got faxed to the design office and new plans were drawn up that day to fix things. Because it was just bad. Very bad. No one could work in a 4x8 lab.
Xander looked up as someone came around the house. "Hi, Thomas. What's up?" He climbed out of the pool and put a towel around his waist since he was naked. He saw the look on his face. "Granddad?"
"Sire's grumpy," he admitted. "Called me at two this morning to chew me a new one for you complaining about Cordelia."
"I don't want to be a sacrifice," he complained. "Does he want me to be one?"
"No," he said patiently, sitting down at the table out by the pool. Xander had recently put in a small patio set with an umbrella out there. "He didn't think you scaring Angel was a good thing however."
"Why is he more scared of me now than he was then? I mean besides the fact that we broke some of his willful blindness."
"Basically that. Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I'm debating sending it back," he admitted as he sat down. "I don't think I should spend it."
"You probably should. You also might want to put a lawyer on retainer." Xander gave him an intense look. "To handle things for you since Gordon's getting sicker, Xander," he said more gently.
"Usually I don't do anything that needs a legal person. I mean, I don't need one, right? I'm not going to get busted soon for being a dom?" He shook his head. "You're sure?"
"I am. We keep a very close eye on you in the various federal level systems." He gave him a pat on the hand. "Someone will have to help you with the will after the Father dies, Xander. Also a prenuptial?" he suggested. Xander gaped. "Perhaps as a front for the newest things you've gotten sent so they can auction them off and help you discourage someone?"
"Is Gordon that sick? Because if he is I'll gladly hire someone that Horatio recommends to handle that for me if he's too sick to do it," he promised. "I don't want to make him get worse faster."
"He's not. It's merely been noted that you haven't made many long-term plans."
"I'm not one who does that," he agreed. "Every time I did that before they got shattered." That got a knowing look. "They did. The last time I made a long-term plan Timmy told me I couldn't go back to Sunnydale."
"I understand how that goes but you do need to work on a few things. Things like a will. That can change over the course of your lifetime," he said gently at the sad look. "We don't expect you to need it but you never know. You nearly crashed last night on the way home."
"The cop car cut me off and tried to shove us off the road. I wasn't even going fast!"
"I know, Xander. The security detail last night was following you and got it on film. We tape you going everywhere for your grandfather," he shared. That got a smile. "Now, we do think you should think about some longer term things. Your will. A prenuptial. It can stay in the safe if you want. That'll be good until it's signed or unless you need to make changes."
"I know I consider Horatio my mate," he said quietly, looking at the table. He looked up. "I know he's not going to steal from me. He's not with me for the money."
"No he's not. We adore you with Horatio," he assured him, patting him on the hand. "We just thought it should be spelled out more firmly in case something does happen that does separate you. Like him being asked to choose between you and his career. I know someone's already tried to blackmail him about you." Xander's face hardened and he glared at him. "I have no idea." He stared at him. "Both of those and having someone to send the stupid presents to would help you."
"Is this what grandfather wants?" he asked quietly.
"No. He likes to ignore such things until he can't anymore. We're still working on his will, protesting mostly that we don't want his stuff and some of us won't live that long past him because some of us are sick too." Xander nodded, looking sad. "I'm fine, Xander."
"I know. I know the other new guy isn't." He shook his head. "Has anyone told Horatio and them that? Just in case it comes up on a scene or something?"
"Not yet." He considered it. "It might be a good idea if you let them know, as you said just in case something happens." Xander nodded. "Now I do agree that Horatio could probably lead you in the right direction toward someone to handle some things for you. Like the taxes you'll have to pay next month."
"I did that last month," Xander said, looking a bit confused. "They said to come in every six months." That got a smile and a nod. "Taxes are really high."
"They are, but the sad fact is that you'd pay less if you had more people working for you." He shrugged and grinned. "At least make out a preliminary will, Xander. Just in case something like last night happens again."
"Sure. Can I bring in that tape?"
"No, I'll go hand it to Horatio myself," he promised, patting him on the hand again. "I didn't mean to depress you."
"You didn't." He grinned a bit. "Tell Grandfather I still don't want the money."
Thomas laughed. "I'm sure he'll sigh in displeasure once again, Xander. Any word yet from Grandsire about the amnio?"
"Not yet. I haven't heard directly from him in a few days. Last I heard he was up in New York babying Tara and Don some more."
"He probably still is. He does adore Tara." He smiled. "He even updated his will to include the two of them." He stroked his cheek. "Now, you go shower off the chemicals and water. Then take your boy lunch. That way you two can talk." Xander nodded and headed inside. Thomas got up and headed back to his car, driving down to the station. He found Calleigh outside. "Is everyone else gone?"
"Cursing in the morgue," she said with a small smile. "What's going on?"
"Just something someone needed to see," he promised, handing over the tape. "If you guys aren't busy Xander was going to drop in for lunch."
"No, we're having an easy day before we go on enforced vacation during renovations," she admitted. He smiled at that. "Six weeks. Speed's going to be insane."
"Maybe he'll help with some of Xander's boredom." He winked and headed off, going back to the house.
Calleigh walked the tape inside to AV. "Busy?"
"Not really. Watching tv." He took the tape and ran it for her. He blinked. "Isn't that... Xander's car?"
"It is," she agreed. "Fast forward would you please?" He did and they both stared in horror as the cruiser cut the sports car off. "Volume?" He turned it up and they listened to the guys doing the taping pointing out he wasn't going too fast, there wasn't a chase, and no one had any lights on. The cruiser tried to bump him again then they sped off when the chase car hit a spotlight on their rear window. "Uh-huh. No wonder Thomas handed that in." He rolled it back and got a good picture of the car. "Thank you, Cooper." He printed it off so she took it and the tape with her, putting it into an evidence bag. She looked around. "Oh, dear, I think I broke a nail," she called loudly. Eric gave her a look from his lab. "Someone tried to run Horatio and Xander off the road last night?"
"They did?" She nodded, handing him the tape and the still. "Uh-huh. Ian!" he yelled. He came out of his office. "Does the breaking a nail thing usually work?"
"He usually offers me a file," she said with a small grin as their IAB consort came down the stairs. "Someone tried to run Horatio and Xander off the road last night?"
"I heard something about a cruiser taking body damage." The picture was held up. "That would be the one." The tape was held up. "Where did we get this?"
"From the head of security for Xander's grandfather," Calleigh said. "By the way, Xander's coming with lunch, Eric."
"I'll see if he'll pick something up for me too."
"Ask him if he can get mine too," Ryan called from somewhere. "I'll pay him back when he gets here."
"Sure, Wolfe." He shook his head and dialed Xander. "If we beg would you pick up stuff for Wolfe, Calleigh, and I too? We'll pay you back," he promised with a smile. "Thanks. So, cruiser who tried to run you off the road?" He raised an eyebrow. "Really? What was Horatio doing?" He just nodded. "Interesting. Thank you. Yeah, we're probably going to be here, another shooting willing. Thanks." He hung up. "He'll get your usual from Burger King, Wolfe."
Eric shook his head again and looked at the IAB officer, who was snickering quietly behind the picture. "Xander was driving and Horatio was nearly asleep."
"Very interesting. Thank you, guys." He walked off, going to find Horatio. He found him in his office. "You nearly got hit last night by a cruiser?"
"Yes but I thought it was out of control."
"Apparently not. They never reported it."
"I didn't think to get the number." The picture was held up. "His grandfather's people?" That got a nod. "Good. Anything else I should know?"
"Your boy's coming in for lunch."
"It'll keep me from some paperwork." That got a smile and he went back to his office. Horatio considered calling out there but they were probably doing it on Patrick's orders in case another mad woman tried to run him off the road.
Xander walked into the station with a small box of bags. "Hi, I'm in for lunch," he told the new person, taking the sign-in sheet to fill it out. He smiled at him. "I'm Speedle's son."
"I see. Does he know you're coming?" Xander nodded. "They're not here."
"Really? I just called and he said he was in Trace." The man glared. "I called to see if he wanted mayo or not on his burger. Can you page him? Or Horatio? Or someone?" He grinned. "Please?"
"Fine." He did that but didn't get an answer. "Sorry, no answer up there."
Xander called a number. "Cooper, can you tell Ryan if he's that starved to come get me? At reception. Thanks." He hung up. "They're in the break room now." Ryan came down and grabbed the box, towing him off with it. "Thank you." He waved and walked on. "I had to get you kinky fries."
"That's great, I don't mind. Got me ranch dressing?"
"Of course." He grinned and nudged him. "How's my Willow buddy?"
"Cranky. Physics test today." Xander snickered at that. "Really." He walked him into the break room. "Did you plan for Frank?"
"No but I got extra in case." He handed out bags and gave Frank his extra burger then sat down next to his father. "Hi."
"Hi." He gave him a hug. "What's going on down there?"
"He said he called and no one answered."
"My cell worked the last time I knew," he offered, shrugging a bit. "We'll figure it out, Xander." He dug into his lunch, smiling and taking the rest of Ryan's ranch dressing for his chicken sandwich. "Thanks, Wolfe."
"Always happy to share," he said dryly. "So, Xander, what's going on? I heard you nearly got hit by a cruiser?"
"Yeah, I thought they lost control." He shrugged and ate a bite then looked at Horatio when he walked in. "I left yours in the box." That got a smile and he grabbed it, sitting down to start eating. "Thomas came to see me today and he wanted me to point something out in case it ever came up. We all know some of Grandfather's people are also sick, right? I mean beyond Gordon and his lung cancer?" They all stared at him. He nodded. "At least one of the security guys and one other guy in the office staff. He didn't think you guys knew but with the way these things happen he wanted to make sure you guys would be okay if something happened."
"We usually take precautions," Speed admitted. "That's good to know however." He gave him a nudge. "Cruiser?" Xander shrugged. "Okay. Is that the only reason for lunch? Because if not we've got time to make some plans," he said with a wicked smirk.
Xander beamed back. "Grandfather said something about renovations and you guys getting a few weeks off."
"Six," Eric snorted. "At least." Xander gaped. "With pay since it's a federal grant. It'll come out of that probably." Horatio nodded. "Are they going to fix the problems?"
"I do hope so, Eric." He looked at his boy. "What else did he say?"
He cleared his throat then looked at him. "Thomas suggested I get someone to help with things as a front since Gordon's only getting sicker," he said quietly. Horatio tipped his head a bit at that and ate another bite. "He also mentioned wills and prenuptials." That got a choke from Speed. "I didn't think it was time for that yet and I don't think I need one but he said that someone was going to try to blackmail my boyfriends some day soon about their careers or me."
"One has tried," Horatio admitted. "It was handled." Xander nodded at that. "Do you like that idea?"
"He suggested they could be the person to scare the present giving idiots."
"That might be helpful," he agreed. He ate another bite, thinking while he chewed. "I think it might be a good idea to make out a preliminary will anyway, Xander. You do own the house and a few other things. If you were to die it'd all be taken by the state, including the stuff in the safe."
"Then I should definitely do that and leave those to Lady Heather," he agreed. "That way they can be kept safely or destroyed by her." That got a smile from his boy. "Do you like that idea?"
"I could like it. I can't see you paying retainer price for it."
Speed coughed. "We still have to hand over the things we couldn't send back, H."
"I thought you did," Xander said, staring at him.
"We did, the last shipment," Eric agreed. "Now we've got more and we should clear them before they do the renovations." Speed nodded at that. "Maybe the lawyer can scare them for Horatio and Gordon."
"That's what he was thinking but also some longer-term planning," Xander admitted. That got a smile from Eric and Horatio both and a grimace from Speed. "I know, I'm not a long-term guy really. The last time I made long-term plans you told me I couldn't go back to Sunnydale."
"Which was a better plan anyway," Speed agreed, looking at him. "You want this? That's kinda expensive."
"I figure I can pay him out of the auction of the stuff I can't send back."
Ryan coughed then drank some of his tea. "Willow walked up to one's house and knocked on her door, handing it back to the woman with a nice word about how this had come from your house to her very taken friend. Then she walked away humming after embarrassing her in front of her family."
Horatio moaned. "That wasn't a very good idea, Ryan."
"It wasn't mine. She told me about it later."
"The woman had sent six things, Horatio, and she's not that wealthy. I'm sure someone there is going to rein her in soon," Speed assured him. He looked at his boy. "If that's what you want to do."
"Well, it's either that or hire an officer who's on injury leave or newly retired to do that for me," Xander told him. "Then do the will thing."
"I know a few officers who'd love that," Frank said with a bright grin. "Mayper just retired." Eric and Speed both shuddered. "Can't get a bigger, badder, more attituded former cop than him. He could probably even scare some of them from coming near you again, kid."
Xander grinned at that. "I kinda like that idea. Horatio?"
"I could like that idea, though he lacks tact, Frank. Most of these people are fairly wealthy if they can throw money away on expensive presents without doing more than hoping for a return."
"It's a tax writeoff," Calleigh reminded him. "A capitol loss." Everyone stared at her. "I asked someone over at the IRS about that. They did say it was a plausible writeoff but not one they wanted to see too many of."
Xander looked at her. "Grandfather said his only lasted for about four years."
"Good!" she agreed happily. "Would Mayper do that, Frank?"
"He might. Give him a small fee every month. Retirement pay sucks after all."
"It does," Speed agreed. He shrugged. "That's an idea to talk about later." He nudged his son with a grin. "We're all free for six weeks."
"I have a whole week free in a month," he said happily. "I was planning on sneaking out to visit Greggy. Horatio?"
"I could get behind that plan," he agreed, smiling at him. "We'll each be doing a week on- call during this hiatus. That way everyone gets some actual vacation time in." That got nods.
"We saw Greg when we were out getting married. Our hotel had a suicide and they sent Greg and Nick to handle it," Ryan offered. "Willow gushed over him until Nick had to make me drag her off. Embarrassed him totally."
"He told me," Horatio assured him. Xander gave him a look. "It was work related, Xander."
"I'm not jealous," he assured him. "Lady Heather said she looked her up and called." Everyone burst out laughing. They couldn't see someone like Lady Heather putting up with Willow babbling at her for very long. Horatio smiled at him. "She would like a visit when we come out."
"Of course. When were you going to tell me about this trip?"
"Two weeks before so you could come out for a weekend if you wanted to."
"That does seem reasonable," he agreed with a smile. "Now, let's finish up and clean up our desks this afternoon." They nodded and finished up, leaving him and Xander. "I don't mind if you did go with an officer or a lawyer, but I think it's too early to be thinking prenup, Xander," he said quietly.
"I pointed that out and I also said I didn't think we needed one," he admitted. He finished his soda and balled everything up inside the cup, then tossed it out and sat down, staring at him again. "I know you're not in it for the money or prestige, Horatio. The same as you know I'm not." That got a smile. "He did say I could leave it in the safe if I wanted. I also am leaving Daddy the house since you have one."
"I can agree to that," he promised, smiling at him. "I don't want the house since I have one." Xander relaxed at that. "I will take the dog." That got a smile and a nod. "Are we bringing the beast with us?"
"We are. Greg wanted to meet him."
"That's fine. They make carriers for flying and he's more than small enough to fit in the seat."
"Grandfather suggested I use the plane I sold him."
"We'd have to pay for gas."
"No we wouldn't. He said he wanted me to go up there like a knight in shining armor and save Greggy from the heathen bitches who keep hitting on him."
Horatio grinned. "He's mentioned them. New intern in the lab." That got a nod. "I would go with whatever you decided on that." Xander smiled. "Good. Now, you should expect Speed to throw fits."
"I don't care."
"Good. Then we'll deal with it as it comes along." Xander smiled and nodded. "We should turn those things and files over to you."
"If you want. I've got a DVD for Cooper in the car."
"Go get it and we'll let him carry stuff down with Eric, Speed, and I." Xander whimpered. "Including the files." That got a nod and Xander got up, giving him a hug before heading down there to dig out the DVD. Horatio went to find the boys pulling stuff out. "Get Cooper to help, boys." Eric paged him to help carry and he came in to help by grabbing the stack of files they had on the evidence. They brought it down, layering the trunk with two of the boxes and the other in the front seat. The files went on the floormat. Xander slipped the DVD into Cooper's labcoat pocket with a grin and then got hugs from everyone before heading home to deal with this crap again. If they couldn't discourage them then he'd have to try.
Cooper walked back into AV, putting in the DVD. The hockey season was over so he wondered what Xander had found him. He nearly fell out of his seat when the picture came up, his mouth falling open. "Soccer," he said in awe. "Oh, man!" He whimpered and couldn't quite bring himself to blink. Jogging naked women instead of skating naked women. He didn't even hear Speed and Calleigh walk in to look over his shoulder. He only protested when they put it on the smaller screen so he had to sit up to watch it so no one could see it from the hall.
"The chief just saw," Calleigh told him. "Speed said it was evidence."
"Of why God made women bouncy," he agreed, smiling at them. "I love your son, Speed. Have another one?"
"Any I had now would be normal kids, Cooper. Keep it to yourself."
"But Eric... Ryan?"
"Page them later," Calleigh said. "No watching it in the lab." He nodded and muted the screen. "Thank you. Remember, no copying in the lab either."
"I've got a brand new DVD copier at home ready for this baby," he vowed. She walked out shaking her head.
Speed looked at him. "That's the second game of the season. He recorded them down backward. There's been eight so far." Cooper whimpered. "We caught the season at the start this time."
"I love your son," he said, giving him a hug. "Thank you!"
"Thank him yourself," he said, walking off shaking his head. Horatio passed by him with a curious look. "Soccer season, H."
Horatio detoured and turned off the by-play. "Not in the lab, Cooper."
"Thank you." He walked off again. He would have to talk to Xander about giving those to the horny boys in his lab after shift from now on. He really would.
Eric leaned in. "What did Xander slip you?"
"Naked soccer," he said, waving him inside and checking the hall before turning it on. Eric gaped in awe. "Same women I think."
"Maybe. Turn that off before we get into trouble." Cooper turned it off and grinned at him. "Get the rest from him and make me copies." He headed out, going to tell Ryan.
Don Flack opened up the package that had been dropped on his desk by the mail clerk, looking at the DVD holder sheet. It had 8 DVD's on it and they were all marked soccer and a number. He slid in the first one and then had to turn it off when he saw what it was. "Hey, soccer season's started in Europe," he said happily, sliding it back into the sleeve. The guy at the desk across from his gave him a look. "On the same circuit as the hockey games."
That got a snicker. "Your nephew is a great guy, Flack. Make copies?"
"I don't know how ta do that. We can ask Danny or Stella."
"Won't she scream?"
"Not really." He knew she was down there so he called her. "How do I copy the new DVD's from Xander?" He grinned. "Soccer. Maybe the same girls, not sure." He nodded, writing down instructions. "Thanks, Stella. Think we could slip the AV guy twenty to do it for us if I brought in DVD's?" He snickered at her 'only if you distract Mac for a few weeks'. "Sure. Thanks." He hung up and looked at him. "I can make copies but I've got to use the computer at home she said. Then she said at the end to ask Danny. My copier's broke."
That got a grin. "That's fine, man. Whenever."
Don nodded and got back to work on work things, the DVD's safely in his drawer so they couldn't get ruined. He did write an email to his father offering him a copy as well. His poker buddies had loved the naked hockey games...
Greg looked up when someone called his name a few hours into his shift that night, waving a hand before going back to his microscope. "What?" he asked when Warrick walked in.
"Mail, Greggy." He put it in a clear spot and Greg looked at it and smiled. "From your boy?"
"Xander said he was sending me something." He moved away from the evidence on the table and took off his gloves to open it, smiling at the DVD holder and the small white box. He opened that and beamed at the protection amulet. That went around his neck and the DVD's were looked at. "Hey, the hockey season turned into soccer. Cool." Warrick took them to run in AV, making Archie choke, splutter, and wheeze until he found his personal stash of DVDs to burn down to. "I want those back," Greg called after him. He fingered his amulet, then gloved up again and got back to work.
"Greg," Grissom said an hour later. "Are those your DVDs Archie's copying off his personal laptop?"
"Xander sent 'em," he said absently. "Soccer."
"I saw. I had to run Nick out of there." Greg gave him a look. "Keep them at home."
"He sent them to me here since I'm never at home." He pointed at the envelope off to the side. "He also sent me a protection amulet."
"Good. You could use it." He looked at it. "That's very pretty."
"Thank you." He grinned and got back to work. "I told them I wanted them back, Gris. Go steal them back and I'll take them home with me when I head there in a few hours."
"Thank you, Greg. Is there anything else I need to know?"
"Xander's coming out in about a month but Horatio may be coming with him since they're doing a lab revamp at the moment," he said, going back to his microscope. "They got given six weeks off for the renovations."
"They're both coming?" Greg nodded. "Thank you." He went to warn the others. "Master Tim's coming in a month," he announced into the AV lab. "With Horatio Caine this time." They all let out a breath of relief. "Greg is to get that back immediately, Archie. Do that on your own time."
"Yes, Gris. Sorry. I didn't have anything else to do yet."
"I don't care. Naked soccer is not for shift time." He walked off shaking his head. He ran into Sarah and turned her around. "You don't want to go deal with that."
"What? More hockey post-season?" she teased.
"Soccer." She went pale. He nodded. "Xander sent up the first batch. He'll be here in a month as well with the head of the dayshift felony lab."
"Wow. So we might not have him kidnaped this time?" Greg walked behind her and popped her on the head. "Hey!"
"It is not his fault," he said with a glare. "Do not pick on Xander for things he can't control. That's not nice." He went to get a soda then came back to look at Grissom. "Why are there deep sea spores in my guy's mouth?"
"Anything that could have come from sushi?" Grissom suggested.
"No. Not unless he enjoys eating Spongebob raw." He popped open the soda and took a drink, looking at him. "I found it online in the database after emailing Eric Delko. He's a diver too and he knows more about those things. There was also bits of coral. He said that's normal to find them together but there's no ocean here and we're outside the range for coral or deep sea sponges."
"Neither one is something you'd find in contact with food either," Grissom admitted. "Did it have to do with his murder?"
"Not unless it strangled him with the phone cord."
"I'll take that as a no." He nodded. "I don't know, Greg. Is there anywhere in the city that has some in a tank?"
"The only place I know with coral in a tank is letting it die and the last time I knew it didn't have sponges. I've got a call in to the local exclusive pet shop for tomorrow but I'm stuck with that at the moment. Unless you know, Sarah?"
"I don't get out that much," she admitted.
He frowned. "Would Catherine know?"
"She might. Catherine?" She came out of AV. "He has stopped, right?"
"Yeah. It's even the same girls, Grissom. They apparently are multi-talented." Sarah snorted at that. "What's up?"
"Deep sea sponges and traces of coral inside my guy's mouth," he told her. "I checked it with a diver out of Miami's labs and he told me that they're often found together. It was coral bits in his teeth. The sponge was on the roof of his mouth according to Doc Robbins."
She frowned and thought. "I only know one place that has coral in a tank and it didn't have sponges the last time I was there."
"Me too. We were there together probably," he reminded her.
"We were," she agreed, shrugging a bit. "Okay. Should we call around?"
"The exclusive place where you get fancy imported fish for pets is closed for the night. I've got a call in to call me back in the morning," he admitted. "I thought you might know somewhere else since we hang out at vastly different places."
"True. Did you enjoy the goth club?" she teased.
"I so did," he agreed happily. "When he comes back in a month we're even planning on taking Lady Heather out for the night again too."
"She had fun last time," Grissom assured him. "Even if she did say you were impudent."
"Well, yeah," he admitted with a grin. He bounced off, going back to finish documenting the stuff he was seeing.
Catherine smiled and shook her head. "Those boys are going to drive someone insane."
"Horatio," he told her.
She gave him an odd look. "Caine?" He nodded. "Really?" He smirked and nodded. "Is he coming too?" He smiled brighter and nodded. "I look forward to seeing him again." She walked off, heading to get her copies of the DVD's. She had seniority, she got hers first.
Tara looked at Don the next night, sliding into his lap. "What are you watching?"
"Um, naked soccer while I make copies for Dad's buddies and Danny and them." He blushed a bit. "Sorry."
"Do you want me to play soccer like that?"
"No, I don't think you'd like that." He gave her a kiss. "I like you just fine how you are, Tara. Bump on your nose and all." She blushed and ducked her head. He kissed her on the forehead. "If you want me to give 'em up, I'll have Xander start sendin' 'em to Danny instead."
"No. Every guy has to have an outlet when his girl can't do things and things like that make you giggle."
He made her look. "You'd look really funny running like that, baby."
She giggled and nodded. "I would. I don't bounce like that."
"Love you because you don't," he promised.
"Mushy," she teased.
"Well, yeah, but only over you," he teased back. She smiled. "We on for anything tonight?"
"No. Raphael is headed back to Yemen." He nodded and gave her a cuddle. "Do you really think Xander's going to be a daddy?"
"I think someone wanted to try. I don't know if someone managed it or not. I do know he'll explode and take that kid if it is his." She nodded, snuggling into his arms. "Did you and Willow have a good talk?" She nodded, playing with his shirt buttons. She got one undone and slid her hand in to stroke over his undershirt. "Feeling a bit frisky?" he suggested.
"Just wanted a cuddle. I'll be frisky later."
"Whenever you want," he vowed. Because he would drop a suspect and walk over him to get Tara in bed. It almost scared him how devoted he was but it was a nice sort of scary. "I realized earlier that you're the one thing that made me understand Xander's cult better." She gave him an odd look. "I'm that sort of scary over you."
"Oh." She considered it then smiled. "As long as you don't become a bad guy, Don."
"I try very hard not to," he assured her. He nuzzled her cheek and pouted. "Can't kick in those shoes," he complained.
"I doubt anyone's really watching the *score*, Don," she teased. She pinched one of his nipples. "It's like that show on Comedy Central with the girls on trampolines."
"Yeah, only without the shirts," he agreed happily, giving her a squeeze. "Did he nag you about getting married again?"
"No but your sister did. I went into the ephemeris and found the only good date would be her wedding day and I don't want to spoil it. She pouted at me when I told her that. She suggested the spring and I said she could have all the grandchildren, your mom said so." Don snickered at that. "I did tell her we wouldn't be taking her wedding day from her."
"Good. I like how her boy leashes her mouth." He kissed her and smiled at her. "Still just wanna cuddle?" She blushed and giggled. "If you do that's fine."
"Then I'm for that." He picked her up and carried her off to bed. Naked women playing soccer had nothing on his girl.
Xander finished with the last package and sent it off. Then he settled in to look at the others. They had no idea who had sent it to them. He had talked to the officer Frank had suggested with Horatio's help and he had agreed to the plan of scaring them off for him. He said it was a bit of fun in his mundane and drab retirement. He had all the files they had gathered and he had put up the address they had created for presents to be sent to instead of his on everything he sent back with a nice note about how he couldn't possibly take such an expensive gift since he was taken. He felt a bit girlish doing it but oh well. Better that than to be gifted by everyone and their brother. He leaned back, looking at his scheduling book. "I had a client coming an hour ago."
He scanned the house, no one else was around. He called him, didn't get an answer. He got up to check the house in person, just in case they were being silent. Nothing. He went back to his book to look at it. His last night hadn't shown up either. Different fed. The one today was his ATF agent sub. He frowned and made a note. Then he looked at the last few days. He had a few others miss out with him. He called the local bar in town, getting the bartender. "It's Master Tim. Is something going on? I've had clients that haven't shown up and I know I'm still practicing. I've never said anything to the contrary." He frowned. "When was that?" He nodded. "No, that was weeks ago. Yeah, they got her. My client had to shoot someone a few days later when they came in looking for me as well. The car wreck was before that by a few days." He considered the rumors he was being told. "No, I'm perfectly fine. I haven't called off any sessions in weeks, not since that shooting. I've seen everyone but one person since then. They're on vacation."
He frowned and nodded. "Thanks. Yeah, let them know I'm still practicing if they come in. I have no idea what's going on. Thanks." He hung up and called his father. "Dad? Someone's spreading rumors around that I'm sick. I don't know who," he told his voicemail. "I'm working on who right now. Love you." He hung up and called his grandfather's house. "Granddad, who's saying I'm sick?" He listened, making notes. "Really? Thank you, Grandfather. No, a bunch of people who haven't shown up." He made notes on that as well, shaking his head. "Thanks. I'll let him know. Yeah, I want to know that stuff. Plus about the amnio tests. Thanks. Love you." He hung up and called Eric. "It's me. Come over?" He smiled. "Thanks, man. Pick up some new DVD's. The TIVO's full." He hung up and went to make some plans. Someone was going to get his foot up their asses. Internal Affairs or not.
Horatio walked into the house later that night, finding Eric on the couch with an ice pack on his head. "Hurt yourself?"
"No, the guy who came to attack Xander hit me on the head with a stick," he admitted tiredly. "Xander's babying me for saving him." He moved the ice pack. "Go to the office, look at the notes Xander showed me, H. You'll need to handle something soon."
Horatio went that way, finding Xander in there in the safe. "Something missing?"
"Yup. One of the session DVDs is missing." He locked it and came over to make a note on the notes he was making then handed them over. "You need that. Is Eric asleep?"
"No. What happened?"
"We were copying things off the TIVO while I told him about how it was strange that some of my clients hadn't been showing up in the last few days. Someone came in from the back yard with a kendo stick and tried to bash his head in. Eric was closer so he got the first hit then I knocked the bastard out and Eric sent him off with a patrol unit, who glared at him for being here."
Horatio looked at him. "You had problems the last day in the lab as well."
"I did. They claimed you guys weren't there and no one was answering."
"Hmm." He looked over the notes. "Have you told that client?"
"I've gotten in touch with all my clients. One earlier had his phone off during a raid but he was told by his bosses that the local PD was watching me for doing illegal things and he didn't want him caught in the snare."
"You're not under investigation that I'm aware of," Horatio admitted, calling his boss. He let Xander sit in his lap so he could keep him calm. "Sir, it's Horatio Caine. Yes, I'm just now finding out about that assault. Does it have anything to do with some of my boyfriend's federal clients being told that he's under investigation or how some officers have decided to treat him like he is a criminal?" He listened to him, making another note on the paper. Xander growled. "No, that's not what is going on. That was the person who kidnaped him the last time he went to Las Vegas to visit some friends out there. Yes, that will, sir. Part of what he did however was to take some sperm samples so he could have a second generation when Xander got too old for him. He was going to implant his own wife with it."
He smirked. "They're doing the test now. One of her female cousins is pregnant and his Grandsire wanted to make absolutely certain nothing like that happened. Also it'll clear up the last of the will. Exactly, sir. Yet, he's been snubbed at the station with officers refusing to call us to come down and get him when we invited him in to eat lunch with us. Earlier today, Delko got sneered at for being here with him. His clients were told he was under investigation by us." He listened then made another note, nodding some. "That's what I was thinking, sir. Thank you, sir. Of course. No, I'm going to be here, sir. Thank you." He hung up and looked at Xander then at the notes. "Eric?" He came wobbling in. "Do you need the ER?"
"No, I'm fine. A small lump. My mother will baby it." He sat down and looked at them. "What's going on?"
"There is a person within the department who has been spreading rumors."
"Really?" Eric said dryly. "Why?"
"I do not know," he admitted. "I will be finding out. The same as I will be finding out who told his clients that he was under investigation."
"Is it malicious or someone who overheard the wrong things?" Xander asked him.
"It has to be malicious at this level, Xander." That got a nod and he got cuddled. "I'll handle it. Now, did the person with the missing session know anything about this?"
"It was the one you sent home after the crash," Xander said quietly. That got a nod and a small smile. "He was furious. I pointed out it had been in my safe."
"We need to fingerprint the safe," Horatio said. "When was the last time you were in there?"
"Three days ago. I've went back through the files. Nothing's on them. No intrusions on the alarm system. No strange noises in here. Nothing."
"Even during sessions?" Eric asked.
Xander nodded. "I haven't had one since the last one I put in there." That got a nod. "Are they part of the same group as the fire guys?"
"No," Horatio assured him. "No, this is an officer, Xander." He gave him a squeeze and put him back onto his feet. "Let me handle that. Get dinner out of the Hummer." Xander nodded, going to do that. "Save me some."
"Yes, sir." He watched Horatio pull out and headed back inside, going to baby Eric's head. He even called his mother when he decided to cab home. He could pick up his car in the morning. Xander puttered around, doing the minimal cleaning around the bottom area, then heard Horatio pull back in. He opened the door, then had to duck when someone shot at him. "Fuck." He found the gun he had hidden and blew a tire, then shot at the person running away while he hit the emergency button on the alarm system. The person yelped at the second shot and fell down holding his leg. "Mother fucking hell," he muttered as he walked out. Two cars roared in with lights on. He pointed at the guy.
They pointed their guns at him. "This is my house and this person just shot at me! Don't believe me, that's Delko's car," he said, nodding at the dark Lexus. He walked off shaking his head. One of them pounced him and he got him down, glaring at him. "That was a mistake, son. You don't jump a combat veteran. You get hurt. Did no one teach you this in the academy!" he yelled. The officer moved away from him. "Let's try this then. Someone call Ian Fischer. He's the IAB guy for the lab. He knows me very well. He's helped me do some stuff. Okay?" That got a nod and the officer called it in over the radio. Ian pulled in a few minutes later. "Get that mother fucking bastard off my damn lawn!" he ordered, pointing at the guy he had hit. "He shot at me and they're blaming me for him shooting at me and me getting him in the calf! This one pounced me!"
"He had a gun and was trying to escape, sir," the officer reported.
"Not like you told me to stop," Xander said dryly, glaring at him. "All you did was point your gun at me. Hell no I'm not going to stand around for that shit!" The officer went pale at that. "Ian, I want this fixed. Someone's said a lot of shit about me recently. They've also conveniently told others that I'm under investigation."
"I heard that one. I'm still tracing it down."
"Horatio knows who it is."
"Charming." He called him. "Get back to Xander's house, Caine. Someone tried to shoot at your boy and he had to get him in the ankle." He hung up and looked at him. "Okay. Xander, go put your gun on the front hood of the hummer."
"It's not Horatio's."
"Doesn't matter at this point." Xander nodded, flicking on the safety and doing that, ejecting the clip and the one in the chamber for them. "Thank you for making it safe, Xander. Now, sit on the step." Xander sat on the step. He walked over to the guy on the ground. "Someone get him a medic and me some cuffs." A pair was handed over. "Thank you." He cuffed the guy then took his mask off, looking at him. "I know you. I took your badge last month." The officers moaned. "He shot someone during a foot chase on purpose." He stood up and looked at them. "Did we order Mr. Harris to drop his weapon or any other commands?" They shook their heads. "Is that no longer protocol?"
"It is, sir, but he screamed and we were a bit taken aback by the swearing," the officer who had pounced admitted. "He turned and walked away. I tried to stop him and he put me onto the ground then screamed about combat veterans?"
"He is one. Street warfare. Not a gang before you ask. His town had an extremely high death rate and he was on the protection patrol." That got nods from them. He looked at them. "Why didn't you two cuff this guy?"
"We were trying to get him calmed down, sir, and there's no way he's moving with that injury." Horatio pulled in and parked. "Lieutenant," he said respectfully. Horatio glared at him. "Um, the homeowner or whoever he is is fine, sir."
"My boyfriend is fine?" he asked blandly. That got a set of pale officers nodding at him. "Good. This one, Ian?"
"I took his badge last month, Horatio. Check the hummer would you please? That's Xander's gun on the hood."
"Thank you." He went to check it, finding the number and calling it in to see who had used it last. He came back shaking his head. "Mocked up?"
"Tester model. New one coming out of the dealership next week." He looked at Xander, who looked miserable. "Are you all right?"
"He shot at me!" Xander told him, defending himself. "It's not like I'm going to stand there and let him!"
"I know, Xander. Calm down." Xander slumped again and he went to see the damage. He found the slug and pulled it out, looking at it. He slid it into an envelope he had pulled from the hummer, coming back out. "His pistol, Ian?"
"He dropped it when he started to run," Xander said, pointing at where the dog was. "He's being good and guarding it." That got a smile and the officers went over there. The dog growled.
"Thumper, good boy, stand down," Horatio ordered. "Good boy, Thumper." He trotted back for some attention and affection then went to stare at the guy who had tried to hurt his human. Horatio walked back to look at the gun. "That would be consistent with the bullet I found," he admitted, holding up the envelope. He looked at the officers. "Not everyone stands there and screams when they're shot at," he noted. "Xander has never been like that." He looked at Ian. "Is he in trouble?"
"Not as far as I'm concerned." An ambulance came in. "He's a suspect, boys; the homeowner got him in the calf." That got a nod and they bent to deal with him. "How many shots in his gun?"
"You fired how many times, Xander?"
"Once to disable a tire. Twice at him," Xander called. "Second shot hit him. First went wide. It should be about where the pouncing guy is." He looked around and found it, holding it up. "Probably. Not like we get much gun play here, guys. If we did, I'd be fixing that shit pretty damn quick."
"Xander," Horatio said, looking at him. Xander slumped again. "Thank you." He looked at the officers. Then at Ian. "He had them call you?"
"I'm a neutral person, Horatio. With a crime lab hummer here he didn't want to bother any of you."
"I see. Have you heard about these rumors?"
"I have and he said you've got more information than I do."
"I do. I know who started them." He handed over the sheet of notes. "Is Eric still here?" They all shrugged. "Xander, where's Eric?" The dog barked at a paramedic. "No, let them have the chew toy, Thumper. He's going to prison after he gets stitches. Other people will chew on him there."
"He cabbed home so his mommy could baby him." He came back over. "I promise I won't scream at you again," he said bitterly. He looked at Ian. "Am I in trouble for defending myself?"
"No. Nor for putting the officer on his back, Xander," he assured him. "That gun is registered?" Xander handed over his firearms license. "Even to carry concealed. Nice. Thank you." He handed it back. "All right. Now, apologize?"
"I'm sorry I put you onto the ground when you pounced me but it is a very bad idea to pounce a combat veteran. There's no telling how violently we'll react or how we've been trained to react."
"True. I didn't even think about that, sir. I'm sorry I misjudged the situation."
Xander shrugged. "It happens." He looked at Horatio. "The rumor mongering person?"
"Will be getting theirs tonight," he promised, taking a gentle kiss. "Take Thumper inside and I'll be back in an hour, Xander. Ian and I are going to handle that then I'll be back for dinner."
"It's in the fridge," he promised, smiling just a bit. "Anya called but I let the machine get it. She wanted to talk."
"Then you can talk to her while I'm gone," he suggested. Xander nodded, going inside with the dog and closing the door. "Do I need to process the scene?"
"No, we've pretty well gotten everything we need. We'll have a wrecker tow the hummer tomorrow," Ian assured him. "Park yours in the garage if you can."
"Xander's sports car is in there."
"Sir, did he come from money?" the quiet officer asked.
Horatio shrugged a bit. "Not that he ever knew it. He only found out last year. Why?"
"Because there's been a lot of rumors about you handing over bribes to him and bribes being sent to your lab team for him."
"No, those are people who want him and send him presents," Horatio corrected. The man whimpered. "Exactly. It's an ongoing problem. We have a former officer dealing with that for him." That got a stronger nod. "But thank you for letting me know. They had been sending them to Speedle because that's his son. We've been letting someone investigate where they came from to get rid of them for him."
"Wow," the pouncing officer said. "How many does he get?"
"Too many," Horatio admitted. "It's a family curse. That is Father Patrick Benis' grandson." They both gaped at him. He nodded. "Which is why there should be a guard around here somewhere."
"I saw a car on the road when I pulled in," Ian admitted. "Go check, boys. You're not in trouble as long as it never happens again." They nodded, getting into their car to head off. "Horatio?" he asked quietly. "Are you sure?"
"That's what the information we have is. We know the originator of the rumors now. We can get her to break."
"Thank you. He was using her, you know that, right?"
"I do," he promised. The gate opened and the cruiser came back. "Is he all right?"
"No, sir. He's been shot." The officer driving got out and leaned on his door. "I've already called it in over the radio. We're going to escort that bastard to the ER if that's all right?"
"Go," Horatio agreed. "My whole lab's on downtime due to the renovations they promised would only take six weeks." That got a shudder and the officers escorted the ambulance off. He looked at Ian. "You or me."
"Both of us. I want this shit stopped, Horatio," he said plainly. They went to look at that scene, finding the state police pulling up. "I forgot they made you guys do the job while they're on downtime," he admitted.
"That's fine, sir. Any idea who this guy is?"
"His name is Max and he's one of the homeowner's usual guards from his grandfather," Horatio said quietly. "He works for Patrick Benis."
"So, that's Speedle's son's place?" one guy asked. Horatio nodded. "What was going on earlier?"
"We have a suspect in custody. He tried to shoot Xander just a moment ago and Xander brought him down with a shot to the calf, gentlemen." That got some smiles all around. "He was using the brand new hummer that was still supposedly at the dealership to get access. It's got a blown tire."
"We can have that towed too, Lieutenant," one of them promised. "Wanted to get a better look at them anyway." He peered over the gate. "The second one yours?" Horatio nodded. "Decent. Were you here when the shooting happened?"
"No, I was tracing the source of some rumors that have been spread about Xander," he admitted. "Xander had them call Ian since he's IAB and neutral because of the hummer."
"Sure. Sounds reasonable to us," they agreed, getting down to work.
"Go inside, Horatio. We'll bring her in tomorrow morning," Ian said. Horatio nodded, heading inside with the notes. He watched them work. "Need anything from the hummers?"
"No, sir. We'll get someone here to tow it in a few. Any neighbors who'll complain?"
"Not that I'm aware of. You guys have heard about Speedle's son?"
"Yeah. Heard he's a damn good dom, works with officers and feds," one said, smiling at him. "Also heard his sugar daddy is a bit sweeter than some. Got him a fancy sports car. Heard the Lieutenant got a ticket in it too." Ian smiled at that. "Sugar daddy?"
"Eh. Better than sugar daddy," he said happily. "Always nicer to have real family than someone who's only there for a cheap piece." He got down to work. "Should we notify?"
"If I know Horatio he's already called the Benis household and someone should be here relatively soon to ID the body and give you his information log, boys." He went to get the tow truck to the right hummer because he knew Horatio would throw a fit if his got towed. His was his baby. He did have to smile at the very attentive dog who was guarding daddy's gun on the hood. He took it with him and the dog went around the house. It was a little lap dog but it was fiercer than most creatures.
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