Notes: Death included in here of minor original characters. So do beware of the angst but it's mostly in the center and all together.
Xander looked around Mayper's house. It was nice. It was comfortable. "This was all I wanted," he said quietly, looking at him. "A home that's comfy and warm."
"You have one, kid. You've made a good home out of that house of yours." Xander nodded that was true. "Okay, this is the newest batch of stuff I can't find anyone attached to. You notice it's smaller? That's because they went practical." He pointed at the box of letters. "At least fifty each. I sent back one to someone who was ten. His mommy had made him send it."
"Charming. Did you call CPS?"
"I did. They said it was probably not something they could arrest them for but they'd keep an eye on the family." He handed over the box. "You know I'm going on vacation next month?" Xander nodded. "Who's doing it then?"
"Me, Gordon, Dad. Whoever it gets sent to. We'll even pop around to pick up your mail. Gordon said so." That got a smile. "Do I owe you for this month?"
"You overpaid last month, Xander."
"Oh." He nodded. "Thank you."
"I'm having a bit of fun threatening them," he admitted with a small smile. "Have fun at the bank, kid."
"Oh, yay," he said flatly, getting a smile and the detective walked him out to his car. "See you in a few weeks. Call if something really atrocious shows up or something really bad."
"I will. Right after I call Horatio or Speed." That got a nod. Xander tossed the box in then got in to drive off. He walked back inside shaking his head, then came back out to stare at the guy taking pictures of his house. He walked over there, looking at the IAB bastard. "Xander hired me to send stuff back for him. That's what we couldn't find anyone to. We even keep a list of it." He walked back inside his house, going to cuddle his wife. He heard the sports car again and went to look but Xander was putting something in his mailbox and then sped off again. He went to look, smiling at the check. "So I guess last month was an auction month," he decided, heading back inside. "We can definitely see your sister, Martha." She hugged him. "Infernal Affairs is being nosy but they've got it covered at the lab." She nodded and sat down to help him do the deposit slip. She didn't mind him doing this at all. He heard another engine pull in but it was clearly a delivery truck. "Sounds like UPS."
She went to answer the door. "Hi. Delivery for us or for Xander?"
He looked at the tag then her. "Xander Harris?"
"My husband is his front for stupid stalkers." That got a nod of understanding and she signed for him. "Thank you." She took the envelope back to the office. "For the boy."
He opened it and looked then grabbed his chest. "Dear God." He called Horatio. "Come see me pronto, Caine." He hung up and looked at the pictures, then frowned at the letter. "UPS?" She nodded. "It's bad that I know the individual trucks now. Speaking of, someone's getting one from the yellow truck people." She went to check, letting Horatio in when she saw him pulling in. DHS pulled into their driveway and she signed for that box as well. She brought it back, held out. It was damp and cold. He took it and Horatio groaned, taking it outside to open it in the back of the hummer. Then the ME's van showed up twenty minutes later. He walked out to join them. "Do we think Xander knows this person?"
"I don't know," Horatio admitted. "I know some people I can ask." He grimaced. "We'll have to see, Chuck. Thank you."
"Welcome. What's that? Or don't I want to know?"
"Bunny. Dead, cold, eviscerated bunny," Alexx said, looking at him. "So you're doing the sending back for Xander?"
"Yup, and the really serious stuff I let the attorney he's got on retainer handle it. Should I give him a call?"
"I'll call Mac and Gordon first. See if they know who it is in the pictures." He looked at Alexx. "It got mailed."
"DHL. The yellow truck people," Chuck Mayper offered. "I can recognize them by sound now. The threat came by UPS. Martha signed for them both."
"Hmm," Horatio hummed, looking at the rabbit. "Tell me, Alexx." She nodded, taking it back to the morgue. "Thank you, Chuck. Have a good vacation next month." That got a smile and a nod. He got into the hummer but waited while Fed Ex pulled in. Mayper signed for it and took the three small boxes. They were handed over. "We don't know?"
"This is the sixth thing from that address, Horatio. Not a clue. Not even through Taylor's lab." That got a nod and Horatio backed out, heading to the lab. The Fed Ex driver came back with another box, shocking him. "For us? Really? It's been a while since we got our own deliveries." He signed it and went back inside. "Martha, did you order something?"
"Yes, dear. A new cookbook. Did it come?"
"It did. We actually got a delivery of our own this time." She smiled at that. "That unknown address sent three more boxes. I gave them directly to Horatio." He sat down to look through her cookbook. It had some great recipes. She swatted him with her dish towel when she took it from him, going to look through it herself. "Do the brownie cake for your sister?"
"I can do that," she agreed happily, looking over the recipe. "We'd have to go shopping."
"I need to deposit the check anyway," he pointed out. She smiled at that and nodded.
Horatio looked at Mac and Gibbs on the video conferencing system. "Xander got this threat this morning," he said, holding up the pictures to the cameras. "Do we know her and is it related to the dead, eviscerated bunny he got sent?"
"That's my director," Gibbs said, disappearing.
"Well, that answered that part," Mac offered. "Like bunny test bunny?"
"I don't know," he admitted. Tony leaned over into view. "Is Abby pregnant?" He shrugged. "Xander got sent a dead, eviscerated bunny by a different courier company but on the same day we got threats that Gibbs said lead back to your director." He let him see the pictures.
"That's not good," Tony admitted. "Anything with it?" Horatio nodded. "Fax it all to us?"
"I've scanned them in and emailed them to Abby," Speed said as he walked in. "Anything new yet?"
"Not yet," Tony admitted. "I'll ask Abby if she'd do a test for you guys." That got a few nods. "Sure." He disappeared and they signed off.
Mac looked at the pictures again. "Those are fairly nice compared to some I've seen. Why send them to Xander?"
"Bragging?" Speed said with a shrug. "It didn't have a ransom demand."
"Check with his cult," Horatio ordered and Speed went. He looked at Mac and shrugged. "How would I know, Mac? He's just as lost as I am."
"Good luck with it. Let me know if we need to buy baby presents for more than Ryan." He signed off.
Horatio signed off the system and hung his head, shaking it. The lab they were borrowing's head walked in and patted him on the back. "Someone sent Xander a dead bunny and pictures showing someone being held hostage," he said quietly, looking at her.
"I heard from Speed. The bunny was not pregnant but it was fairly healthy. It also came from a different part of the country. The pictures came from DC. The bunny came from LA."
"Anya," he growled, going to call Gordon. "Someone from LA sent Xander a dead rabbit?" He heard the snickering and why. "Stop her before Oz has a child without a mother." He hung up and went to take something for his headache. His phone rang and he answered it. "Horatio." He listened to Oz say it was perfectly fine if he killed Anya and should he tie her up for him and ship her out there? "Do not tempt me, Oz. Someone from out there sent Xander an eviscerated, dead rabbit." He frowned. "Can that happen to rabbits?" He just nodded. "How long did he slip his soul for? Thanks. I'll let Speed know." He hung up and called him. "Angel sent the rabbit. Oz said for the same reason he strung Willow's fish up and put them in an envelope but it only mattered for two hours." He hung up and went back to work on the mundane things. He saw their IAB person walk in. "What's wrong, Ian?"
"Mayper called me. Stetler was taking pictures of him handing over the new shipment to Xander."
"Can I kill him? Or maybe just stick him in a room with Anya? Put in food stores, working water, then brick them in?"
Ian patted him on the back. "It'll get better in another three years, Horatio. Now, I came to get the list?" Horatio gave him look. "Who's doing it this time?"
"I'll get with him then." He gave him another pat. "It'll be okay. I promise it'll be okay." He left him alone. The head of the lab gave him another look when she walked in.
Horatio looked at her. "People are sending Xander things in bad taste to try to woo him away from me."
"Charming. He's keeping them?"
"No, he's sending what he can back. Not all of it can be sent back. There are a good few who send things anonymously. Or they send things like clothes and the stores won't take them back. Ian is keeping track of what he's being sent so no one can say anything about it coming to me or Speed."
"That's reasonable. It's good you can work with him. So what was Stetler doing?"
"Trying to discredit me again because of my brother," he said bluntly. "The same thing that got him sent away from my lab."
"I'd heard," she admitted. "Okay, that's fine, Horatio. Just relax and it'll be okay." She patted him gently on the arm. "Your lab is in a wreck. Have you been over there?"
"Yesterday. What happened?"
"You should go see. Bring some antacids." He groaned and rebagged the sample he had been working on but she took it and he walked off, taking off his gloves on the way.
"H, you don't want to go over there," Eric called, jogging out to stop him. "Just don't, H. You don't. You really don't."
"Worse than Hurricane Andrew?"
Eric looked at him. "One of the dump trucks hauling away the mess backed into the building." Horatio moaned. "So yes."
Horatio just nodded and sighed, texting Frank to please lend him the antacids in his desk and he'd buy him a new roll. Then he got into his hummer and headed over there. He parked and got out, staring in horror. "What the fuck," he said in horror, staring at the half-demolished building.
"Horatio, sit down," Frank said calmly, pulling him away from the hummer and closing the door. He made him sit on someone's hood. "Here, have something for your stomach. It was an accident. You know all that glass is vulnerable. The frame got bent and well, you can see the rest." Horatio whimpered. He popped an antacid in for him. "Chew, it'll be okay." Horatio looked at him but he did chew the rolaids. "It'll be okay. The Chief cried and said you were going to kill him." Horatio nodded. "He's hiding at home."
"It won't save him, Frank." He used his phone to take a picture then sent it to Mac with the message of 'can we come work for you?' A minute later he got back a 'sure, Horatio, I'll have liquor waiting. LMK when you get in.' Horatio smiled at that and put his phone back into his pocket. "Speed's going to freak."
"We've been keeping both of you away from here all day. Where is Speed?"
"Headed to talk to Xander's cult."
"That's where Xander was the last time I knew." He looked over as another hummer drove in and parked.
"Damn!" Willow said in awe. She got out and walked over. "Earthquake?"
"Dump truck backed up the small hill and took out a wall," Frank told her.
"Hey, no shrines this time," Ryan joked. Horatio and Frank both glared at him. "She's here to uncurse that hummer since it spread to a cruiser. But there's no shrines, right?"
"No, not that anyone's seen and you can pretty well see everything," Frank admitted. "Where's Speed?"
"About three minutes behind us," Ryan said, calling him. "There was a construction accident, you don't want to see it, Speed." He hung up and hugged Willow. "Come on, we'll go fix the cursed things." He walked her off.
Frank watched as Speed parked and stared, then fell out of the hummer and to his knees, whimpering in horror. "It was an accident, Speed. A dump truck went up the little hill instead of forward. They said it won't take much longer to be fixed." Speed let out another whimper. He called Xander. "I've got your father and Horatio, neither one are verbal and they're in shock, kid. Construction accident at the lab. Please. That's fine." He hung up. "What happened to the Ferrari this time?" Speed let out another whimper. He called Eric. "They're both in shock and non-verbal. Yeah, Speed's here too. I called Xander. Let them know they're going to go drink." He hung up. Xander's cab pulled in and he got out, walking over giving the building a pitiful look. "Accident."
"Was the responsible person fired?" Frank nodded. "Good!" He got Speed up and into the back of the hummer, then came to get Horatio and walk him to the passenger's seat. "I'm taking them home. They might be back later, Frank. Who got the kidnaping stuff this morning? Tell them my cult is sending Willow some information so she'll have to farm it out." He got in to drive, backing the hummer up and turning it around, taking Horatio's other baby home. "It'll be okay, guys." Speed pointed and whimpered. "I know. They'll fix it. I promise they will." He sped up a bit, he could do that and not get busted this time. Of course, a cruiser pulled him over. He did as he was supposed to do. The officer came over to give him a look. "They're in shock." Speed whimpered.
"Saw the lab?" Horatio glared at him. "I was at lunch, Lieutenant. Take them right home, sir." Xander nodded. "You're Speed's son?" That got a grin and a nod. "That's fine. Next time use your car instead of an official one. You can get into a lot of trouble for that."
"Yes, sir, but mine's broken. Again." He started the engine and waved, heading home with Horatio and Speed. He got them onto the couch and turned on PBS. It would shock them out fastest.
Twenty minutes later, Speed frowned, he realized he was humming along with the song on the tv. "That's mean!" he called. Xander brought out water and got between them to cuddle him. "It's definitely taking the vision of the lab out of my head." He looked at Horatio, who was staring. "Are you enjoying this? If not, I'm changing it."
"It's much different than what we had when I was a child," he said quietly. He got a hug. "Frank said the Chief is hiding." He sipped his water then looked at Xander. "Were we pulled over?"
"He wanted to see why I was driving your hummer."
"Oh." He nodded and rested his head against Xander's shoulder. His phone rang a few minutes later so he looked at it. Then he answered it. "Horatio," he said quietly. "Watching French Sesame Street, Stella. Yes, that was our lab. Frank said something about a dump truck." He looked at Xander. "What happened to your car?" He got a shrug. "Did it quit again?" Xander nodded. "Where is it?"
"With my cult. One of them knows engines and he wanted to see it."
"Oh." He went back to listening to her. "Headache actually. We're all using the non- felony second lab. No, Adam's going to throw a fit." Speed called him from the house phone.
"Adam, sit down," Speed ordered. "There was an accident at the lab. Dump truck." He winced at the screaming. "Horatio and I went into shock. We're back at Xander's because he had to drive us home in Horatio's hummer. Yeah, that bad. Take a few rolaids. Take a pillow to sit on." He hung up and hugged his son.
"We're about to take a road trip as a lab, Stella. Come visit you then Las Vegas. If we can," he agreed. "Thank you. Tell Mac I will warn him if we come up." He hung up and went back to his comfortable position against Xander's shoulder. "No clients?"
"Not this whole week."
The officer from earlier looked up when his boss called his name. "Yeah, Sarge?"
"What's this notation on your log? Hummer pulled over, released with warning to not drive personnel vehicles?"
"Speedle's son was driving his father and Lieutenant Caine home in Caine's hummer after they saw the lab." That got a shudder. "They were both in shock. Speedle whimpered once. Caine glared when I asked if they had been at the lab's demolition site. I figured he was doing a public service by taking them home. It'll definitely keep us from filling out missing person reports for the construction crew." That got a nod and he left, going to note that down. "By the way, his sports car is somewhere broken," he called after him. He shuddered. He didn't blame the lab staff for whimpering and being in shock. He would be too if that was his precinct. He saw the new transfer officer and nodded him over. "Hey, I'm Bryan Scott."
"Prestons," he said, shaking his hand. "What happened to the lab?"
"Dump truck. One of the guy's kids drove two of them home because they were in full shock." That just got a snort. "Let's get you to the Sarge, see where he's sticking you, then I'll show you the locker room."
"Thanks." He followed him to the office. "Prestons, reporting for duty, sir."
"Don't sir me, Prestons. Sarge is good enough from here on out until the day I have to chew you a new one." He looked at the big, bald, muscled man. "Do you want a patrol route tonight or guard duty for your first night?"
"I'd rather be on patrol."
"We can do that." He pulled out a map and a few other things. "Your log, your route map. Plus a good map of the area if you're called and aren't familiar. Pay careful attention in this area," he said, circling one street. "Speedle's son lives there and Master Tim draws a lot of strange and bad people."
"No, but he had someone break into his house to commit suicide," Scott offered.
Prestons stared at him. "You're joking."
"Nope. He's also got a lot of people who send him tacky jewelry to get him away from Caine." That got a shudder.
"He's also a gun and sword collector," the sergeant offered. "He's almost twenty. In a few more days from what I heard. Usually there's at least one CSI there with him watching naked sports on his dish. If we get a call, we answer his address immediately."
"The gun collection?"
"He translates popular fiction into an obscure language and the guy pays him in artillery or explosives. He's a bit more than combat trained. If he calls, it's well on it's way to being handled, whatever is going on. Also, watch out for his dog. He needs to fix it."
"It is fixed," Johnson called from his desk. "Takes him longer now, no other changes. Heard it liked Caine's hair one morning, Sarge."
Scott snickered. "I've seen it go after Speedle's bike and nearly get shot by him." He looked at Prestons. "Master Tim, or his real name's Xander, is a great guy. He's sweet, he's nice, but if you screw with him, you'd better pray. He had one go running to the FBI to get away from him for breaking into his house. The kid had a rough upbringing until Speedle took him in. He's got scars that make vets flinch. He's got skills that make vets flinch. And he's got a dog that'll hump anything but he seems to like rose bushes for some reason." He shrugged. "Plus about eighty, ninety guns, a few dozen swords, and some subs who're agents."
"Charming. How bad is it?"
"A few months after he moved to town our campus morality group found out he was a dom," the sergeant said, leaning back in his desk chair. "They beat him severely, drugged him to the point of a near overdose, then put him into his house and set it on fire. Now, the next day the boy was walking and moving but staying inside at his father's house. I heard he walked out of the ER, refusing some treatments." Scott nodded. "Then he set about to destroying those people. When they popped up again, he not only destroyed them, he made them beg. When one of them tried to sue him for surviving the first assault, the guy ended up dying in jail from chewing into his arm. His letter said he was not going to get near that boy ever again because even God wasn't that strong." That got a single nod. "But most of the time he's a goofy, sweet, twenty-year-old guy with two boyfriends and a dog. A crisis is a different matter and if you're working with him on one, he can and will pull his own weight."
"He came from the town where that college caved in after the underground foundations exploded due to methane gas. They had a forty percent homicide rate some years. He helped slow that down according to some stuff I heard from that way."
"Wonderful," Prestons agreed. "He's dating Caine?" They both smiled and nodded. "At least he can keep track of the weapons. Anything else I should know?"
"Yeah, he's got guards and a cult, but the house next up from his, up the small hill, we're not sure what they're doing but we think they're watching the kid too." That got a nod and Prestons followed Scott out to find his desk, locker, and the break room before he got onto his patrol route.
"He'll learn," the sergeant decided. "Or he'll run into the boy and he'll end up in shock and driven back to the station." He noted that he got there and then went to handle the evening briefing. He walked into the room and most of them followed. The last few he excused. Prestons was still new. Scott was showing him around. Johnson had been typing something up for someone. The last one, his new female officer walked in. "Welcome."
"It won't happen again, Sergeant. The Chief called and I don't drive while talking on my phone." She handed over the note. "From the hiding one. He said we won't see him for a few days, he's hiding from Caine."
"That's probably a bright idea," Johnson joked. "C'mere, you can be my rookie tonight and I'll show you the patrol routes." She nodded and sat next to him at the tables.
The sergeant looked at the note then at them. "I know you've all seen the remains of our top lab in the country." That got a few shudders. "We need three guards, there was a threat sent by fax to sneak in through the damage and blow the rest of us up." Four guys raised their hands. "Bails, I'll let you do lunch or late rotation." He marked that down. "The Chief also said that the house someone noted was watching Speedle's son was set on fire earlier. So far it's cleared up and there's no reason that they can find. As of this moment, we're assuming it's arson by someone who likes the boy and didn't like them. It's entirely possible. Then again, they were FBI agents. Your guess and all that. Johnson, I want you and Prestons to take that route tonight, just in case. If it was his cult, I want to know ASAP so I can call the boss and get Caine onto them."
Prestons raised his hand. "They think he's God, Sarge?"
"No, they're watching him to see how to stay pure and not become homicidal," he admitted, leaning on his lectern. "They're mostly nice guys. A few women. All of them would've snapped from abuse issues. I sat on the surveillance. They stole some weapons that had been stolen off Harris and keep them in a shrine. They only dust them and hide a few when Duquesne comes by." That got a few amused looks. Prestons licked his lips and raised his hand again. "It was while he was in New York, before he moved here, and someone tried to sell him to someone else. The thugs who helped him get away took them in payment for getting him from Queens to Manhattan. That's a quote by the way." That got a single nod. "You two watch out for the dog. Caine lets him wander outside all night instead of listening to him whine when he can't get into the bedroom. He's come out to jump a patrol car a few times. Rory, I want you to take Danny's route. Prestons, if you're uncomfortable doing that I've got the fast food and grocery store patrol route. It should be safe. It's not a good day for shopping in that area." That got a nod.
"I'll do that. Do one turn with Johnson then head it. It's the second sheet on your map." That got a look then a nod.
"Thank you." His phone rang and he looked at it. "Excuse me, the boss, guys." He put it against his ear. "Yes, sir," he said, sounding respectful even if he was grimacing. "You're sure, sir?" He groaned and his free hand grabbed the edge of the lectern. "As you decided, sir. Thank you." He hung up. "Prestons, you're taking that route anyway. The FBI agents who nearly got fried tonight said they were watching a threat to Speedle's son. He said his cult went to do battle with the threat to Speedle's son. It's going to be a hell of a mess. That was a quote as well." He sighed and looked at them. "As of this moment the person who took credit for the fire and the attempted assassination is loose and running around. His cult is protecting their pure thing. His grandfather is out of town so most of the guards are there. I have no doubt that this is linked to his hour-and-a-half marriage somehow. Third thing, the Feds are on their way in. When they get there we can go back to normal routes."
Johnson's cellphone rang and he looked at it. "Not a good sign, that's Xander." He flipped it open. "What's wrong, Mr. Harris?" He smiled. "That's true. No, they're running around. We would like the information if you have it? I can find Wolfe's wife and ask her what she's gotten. That would be more than acceptable." He smiled. "That's almost reasonable. No, we want you inside, Mr. Harris. If it happens, you call us. First. Thank you." He hung up and leaned back, looking at his boss, smiling brightly. "One of his cult told him. No one told Caine or Speedle or Duquesne or Delko. He said someone's sending Wolfe's wife information. He also just said he feels like a true cult leader because he's delegating instead of going hunting. Then I heard handcuffs close and the phone was hung up."
"That might be a good thing," the sergeant admitted. "Anyone know where Wolfe lives?" A few guys raised their hands. "Bailey, get that information for me pronto then hit your route. Johnson, I want a sit rep when you get there. I can only imagine his house looks like an armed encampment." That got a nod and they headed out together, the female rookie heading with her ride. "The rest of you, be on alert. I'll call if it's going to get messy. Before you can ask, Prestons, someone gassed Mr. Harris's grandfather's house. They gassed every person on the staff but the guard dog. Then they woke Mr. Harris up, forced Mr. Harris to beat his ass, drag him down the stairs, and then Mr. Harris helped us find all the downed people and handled the situation at the hospital to get everyone identified. Including notifying who was HIV positive. The dog stayed with him until she went into labor. If you see the young man, it's a bad thing. Call me immediately." He wrote down his cell number. "That's my personal number. Use it if you see him tonight."
"Yes, sir." He headed out to follow Johnson. The maps were very clear where he should be going. He paused to look at the fire-damaged house, then looked down the small hill to the nice looking house with the great lawn and pool. No obvious guards. A hummer in front. A ferrari out front. He looked closer. He could see one moving shadow. He drove down the hill, glancing at the gate. One visible set of guards in a car outside the gate. He nodded at them and got a nod back. He reported what he saw and got back a 'good, they're former cops, agents, and military. They're going for subtle' as an answer. It was good enough for him. His boss had ordered him to stay on this route while Johnson went to the other one with his rookie since one of the agents was her brother and they didn't want her near there if something happened. His second pass the fire trucks were heading out. The house was ashes. There were a few boards still standing but everything else had either fallen or burnt. He glanced down the hill and watched more shadows moving. He headed down more slowly. The guards nodded at him again and he nodded back. So apparently not something bad. His third pass the car outside the gate was gone and there was a young man out there soaking up the air. He got flagged down. "Yes, sir?"
"Get the bucket of puss off my lawn before I have to kill him," he said simply. "Please."
"You didn't call dispatch?"
"Officer, it would've been over by the time you got back here. Right now, I'm keeping myself from drowning him in my pool. Mostly because I hate the bill when I have to drain and refill it. Please come arrest the nice arsonist." He smiled sweetly. "Before I throw him into the ocean in his cuffs." He opened the gate for him and walked around the house. Prestons followed and parked, finding him kicking the guy in the ribs. "Sorry, stress relief. Horatio locked me out of the guns and the whips." He hauled him up and handed him over, giving him a little shake. "Tell him what you did," he ordered coldly, "or I will get something to show you what I do for a living."
The man in the cuffs looked at him. "Save me?" Prestons looked at him. Xander gave him a shake. "I set the fire," he babbled. "Master Tim should be mine! He's beautiful and deadly, I will possess him! The guys at the other house shouldn't have been watching him! They're evil and he's mine!" he said, working himself back into a tither. Horatio walked out. "You can't have him, he's mine! He even corrects me!" he said, trying to lunge at him.
Xander kissed Horatio then handed over the guy. "Please remove this bucket of puss?"
"Is he the only one, sir?"
"As far as we could tell. The cult took off after one of the members who wanted to kill someone. They went to calm him down. My grandfather's security staff went to help them do that. I found him trying to drown my dog."
"Only I should be able to hump you," he said, giving him a look. "That is an unnatural beast and only my dick should be near your skin."
"Why? I've seen bigger ones on people in diapers," Xander shot back. "My dog's built better than you, dude. Besides, I've got two men already. Why do I need a third?"
"I can give you presents."
"I don't like presents," he sneered. "Those who *know* me know I'd rather have affection than diamonds. That's why Horatio got me, he cuddles when I need it." The man started to cry. "Good, you do that and tell the nice officers what you sent me so I can give it back." The man struggled. "Get him out of here? I'm tired of taunting. It's been a long day, Officer."
"Sure." He drug him back to his car and called the boss again. "Met Mr. Harris, Sarge." He heard the spluttering. "Have someone in cuffs. He was taunting him. No, the guy tried to drown his dog for getting near his skin and humping him. No, sir, the dog tried to hump his master and the idiot in cuffs didn't think it was his right." He nodded. "Be right there, Sarge." He hung up and drove the suspect back to the station, handing him over outside. "Now, you tell him and he'll see if we can keep Mr. Harris out of harm's way. Good for you?"
"Master Tim should be mine!" he spat. "Only I should be able to get my dick near his skin! Only I should be touching him! Only I should be giving him presents! His dog shouldn't get near him! Neither should you filthy beings! They're not worthy of him, only I am! He'll be mine!"
"Go ahead and lead him to an interrogation room," the sergeant ordered. "That's the second floor, to the left, to the glass rooms. See which detective is in. Try for Tripp or Salas." That got a nod and he drug him in there. The sergeant lit a cigarette and took a long pull on it.
"No smoking!" the door guard yelled.
"Master Tim just had a psycho stalker brought in," he called back.
"Never mind. Can we feed him some of the same cookies that got Stetler?"
The sergeant looked back at him. "That's cruel and unusual punishment unless he hurts the boy. Then Caine can administer it." That got a nod and he went back to his post. The poor guy went back to his cigarette, watching as Detective Tripp came in. "Got summoned?"
"Salas was going to kill him," he admitted. "That bad?"
"The dog's evil because he got near his skin and humped him. Caine's dirty and shouldn't be able to touch him. Only he can have the boy," he said flatly. Then he took another drag. "I have no idea where his cult or the guards are. The kid handed him over personally for trying to drown his dog."
"Charming. Thanks, Sarge." He headed inside, nodding at Prestons. "Hi, welcome to the precinct." He looked at the guy then at him. "What condition was he in when you got there?"
"On the ground being kicked in the side. Already cuffed, Detective."
"Xander's a Master. I'm not shocked at that. Are they regulation?"
"I didn't think to check," he admitted. "I can."
"No, I will. So, how did you like Xander?"
"He seemed a bit scary."
"Next time he'll be even scarier. He'll be bouncy, happy, and singing to the CD player most likely. That's him in a crisis. You don't see him like that unless you see him professionally or something happens. " He looked at him. "Word of advice, Officer. Mr. Harris is poisonous in the kitchen and it's a common hazing for the new guy. He can make a really mean jerky that'll make you horny and have the runs or a week for eating a single piece. It'll make you stronger if you can weather the storm and eat more. Still mean to your body that first week though. He can make a breath spray that'll peel paint and rust. It's good, it works, it'll eat the plaque off your teeth, but it's ten times stronger than an altoid. If you get offered anything else by the boy, refuse and walk away slowly, possibly backing away if he's insistent. Otherwise you too can end up in the ER like Stetler did."
"I heard about the cookies," he admitted, grimacing some.
"As long as it takes less than one step or only requires adding milk he's good. Tube cookies, stuff in a box that you add milk to. That's all fine. Anything else, run." He walked into the room. "So, you tried to kill some FBI agents watching over the boy, huh?" He sat down, looking at him. "How stupid are you?"
The man glared at him. "They should not have been watching him. They're not worthy of him."
"I'm going to give you a piece of advice. Xander's already got a cult to him. He don't need another." The man glared at him. "He does. They're odd, but nice. I like them. His grandfather likes them. They're going to kill you." The man snorted. "They will. They have in the past." He got some paper. "Write it out for me," he ordered. He looked at the cuffs and called the house. "Horatio, tell your boy I need the key for his cuffs. The universal I have won't fit. It's a very tiny lock. Yeah, that sounds right." He looked at the name on them. "Yup. That brand. Thanks." He hung up and went to break into Ryan Wolfe's locker, getting the spare set of keys from in there. He relocked it and headed back to the interrogation room to let him go free. Ryan leaned in so he tossed the keys back. "What's his cult doing?"
"One member nearly killed someone for abusing their child. They all went to calm him down and get the kid out of there." He shook his head. "The guards went after the cult to help. CPS and three officers responded to the mess in the making. Is this the one who burned the feds?"
"Pity. Can I let Willow have him? She's having a mood swing."
Frank smiled. "That's nearly as mean as feeding him Xander's cooking."
Ryan tossed a small bar over. "Wish granted." He walked off humming and happy.
"Hungry?" Frank asked, opening the bar to let him have it. The guy nibbled, then turned pale. "Write, idiot. Now." He started to write, then had to cross his legs. Then he heaved. Frank got him to the bathroom, waiting outside. Anything else would give him a chance to claim they humiliated him on purpose.
Greg stomped into work that night. "Grissom!" he yelled, dragging the guy behind him. Brass and Warrick both gave him scared looks. "Where in the hell is he?"
"Back in the morgue. Is he okay?" Brass asked, looking at the guy being drug. "Can I take him for you?"
"No," he growled, dragging him up the hall. He stormed into the morgue. "This *dear* person just broke into my house to take pictures of me in the shower so he could sell them on the internet to people who wanted Xander. That way we could be taken together this time." He dropped the arms he was dragging him by. "I'm going to kill him."
"Xander?" Grissom asked. Greg's growl picked up so he stepped back. "Calm down, Greg. Talk to me. Let's see what's going on and what we can charge him with." He moved closer. "Can we put him into interrogation? Get someone to look at him to see how injured he is?"
"He doesn't deserve it."
The ME looked over. "Well, as a doctor, I've seen less bruised corpses, Grissom. Can we uncuff him, Greg? Or will you bite someone?" Greg turned and kicked the guy in the stomach, making him whimper. Then he uncuffed him and stomped off again. "Is he all right?"
"He's fine." The ME helped him stand him up and checked him over while Brass came in. "He apparently broke into Greg's house. Greg is picking up some bad mannerisms."
Warrick leaned in. "Did Greg pull a Xander? I've heard his boy has to pull his own rescues now and then."
"Apparently," Grissom admitted. He went to find Greg, finding him growling in the showers but on the phone. "Miami?"
"Why don't you go see her?"
"I'm perfectly fine, Grissom!" he said hotly, glaring at him. "That man broke into my home to take my picture so they knew who would pay the most to kidnap me the next time!"
"Okay. Calm down. Tell Lady Heather to come in and we'll let her help you while we take an official statement on camera, then you can call Miami. Okay?" Greg handed over the phone and walked off again. He sighed and put it up to his ear. "Lady Heather, he could definitely use you at the moment." He smiled. "That might be a good idea. Warrick said he pulled a Xander." He chuckled. "Thank you, Lady Heather. He stomped off." He hung up and went to find Greg. Brass had the victim/suspect in an interrogation room with some water, an ice pack, and in different cuffs. He found Greg out back talking to someone on Nick's phone and Nick watching him. "Miami?"
"Horatio," he agreed. Nick looked at him. "He really drug the guy in here by his cuffs?"
"Wrist. In front of the cuffs." Greg glared at him. "I wasn't there, Greg."
"I know that. I called and no one came," Greg retorted. "If there's a reason for that I'm suing the damn department and trust me, Xander has some very scary lawyers who love him." Horatio must've said something, he calmed down again and smiled. "Thanks, baby. See you soon. No, I'll probably be suspended for a few days," he admitted. "Love and miss you too." He frowned. "Is Xander okay? That's fine then." He grinned. "Give him a cuddle and nuzzle for me, Horatio. Love you." He hung up and handed Nick back his phone. "Thanks." Grissom held out Greg's phone. "I called dispatch from there after I got him down and cuffed."
"I'll make note of that." He walked Greg back inside, handing him to Brass and Lady Heather. "Give me a few minutes. I need to download his call log." He walked off to do that. He came back three minutes later. "Nick's downloading the call you made to dispatch." Greg nodded and leaned on Lady Heather's shoulder. "Are you calmer?"
"Since I talked to Horatio."
"Good." He smiled at them and Brass set up the video camera. "Let's do this before Internal Affairs gets here."
"Sure," he agreed, looking at Lady Heather. "Thank you."
"You need me, Gregory." He smiled and leaned over to whisper in her ear, making her glare. "He was drugged, m'lady. They're not mad at anyone except the nurses." She nodded once. "But there is the chance Patrick will get his wish."
"Xander will make a stunning father if that's true," she said, smiling at him. "He's even promised that any daughters will follow my lead." He grinned and went back to leaning on her shoulder. "Shh, Gregory." She stroked his cheek. "It'll be all right. In this case the system failed, not you." Nick came in and handed Grissom something. "The call?"
"Was over an hour ago?" Nick asked. Greg nodded. "You called twice?" Greg nodded again. "Did anyone show up?"
"I was watching out the window. No one even drove past the front of my building. I don't know about the alley."
"Sure," he agreed, nodding. "I've got the dispatch log as well, Gris. We're seeing if we can find who got sent. If anyone got sent."
"Thank you. Keep me informed." Nick nodded and looked outside so he looked. "They're fast tonight."
"Let 'em come in," Greg said dryly. Lady Heather smiled at him. "I can kick their asses too."
"Of course you can. Xander has taught you how to protect yourself very well." He smiled at that.
Grissom let the IAB officers in. "CSI Sanders ended up having to drag in a suspect himself when no one answered his call to Dispatch."
The officers looked at him then at Greg and Lady Heather. "Your ...companion?"
"Is keeping me from destroying the department and suing you all."
"Because I called twice and in an hour no one came," Greg said, sounding reasonable. "The next call I make is to my lover so I can borrow his legal team."
"Is he connected?"
"No, he's got a few stalkers who send him pretty crap." He nodded at Lady Heather. "He's also her student and I doubt she'd have taken in one who was less than a good guy."
"A good guy?" one of them sneered.
"My student was part of a protection patrol in his town as a teenager," she said calmly. "Since the town has a very high death rate it was necessary and welcome by their officers."
They stared at her, then looked at Grissom. "He's also the one Lady Death drugged and married," Grissom told them.
"I'm thinking this is discrimination," Greg said. She stroked his hair and he calmed down. "Sorry, I didn't mean to speak out of turn."
"Let's start with the statement," the sneering agent said firmly. "If Captain Brass will start the tape?"
"I already did," Brass assured him.
"Then rewind it and restart it."
"No." He looked at Grissom. "I can't do that, right?"
"No, it's against protocol and the rules." He waved at someone, who stomped in. "Sheriff, they wanted Brass to restart the tape to remove their sneering comments from the deposition."
"Fat chance," he said hotly. "Sanders? Your side of this please?"
"I called Dispatch twice. No one showed up and I was watching. No one even pulled around in front of the building. I waited an hour and then I brought him in."
"You drug a suspect?"
"I didn't read him his rights. All I did was immobilize him," Greg shot back. "I'm not allowed to arrest people by myself yet." He leaned on the table. "I called *twice*. I'm a member of this department and in an hour's time no one showed up. Did anyone show up after that?" Nick shook his head. "Checked with the security system?"
"Landlord and the kids huffing the pot above your neighbor's house. Catherine asked and called." Both IAB officers glared at him. "This is my case, it was my follow-up. She was closer so offered." He crossed his arms over his chest and Warrick brought in something with a nod for Lady Heather. "The log?"
"Yup. One call to dispatch officers. One team. That was after the second call. It was written in the log as 'hysterical man mistaking them for 911." He looked at Greg. "I listened to the call, you were pretty calm. Your boy's taught you well." Greg smiled at that. "Even if you did drag him in by his wrist."
"No one came to pick him up and he didn't want to walk. He's damn lucky I didn't take the switch Xander left to him."
She looked at him. "Which one did he leave?"
"The blue handled one, m'lady. He forgot to take it with him and said to bring it the next time I come down." She smiled at that. "It gives me incentive to go sooner."
"I do like you being with him, Gregory." She stroked his arm. "Answer the officer's questions."
"How did he break in?" Brass asked.
Greg shrugged. "I was in the shower when he came in with his camera and told me to hold still so he could get a good shot. I know I had the bedroom window open but there's no fire escape attached to that one. It's on the other side, in the kitchen."
"You habitually keep a window open?" one of the IAB officers asked.
"I live on the second floor. Yes, I do. Otherwise I have no air circulation." He stared at him. "Don't you on safe windows?"
"We're not talking about my house," he said firmly.
"It was a polite question," Lady Heather told him. "Even at the dominion I keep safe windows open to get some air circulation in some areas."
"So do I," Brass agreed. Grissom nodded he did as well. "So, he moved the curtain and told you to hold still?" Greg nodded. "Then what?"
"I punched him in the jaw. I got out of the shower and we struggled in the bathroom. I eventually knocked him out then cuffed him with the cuffs Xander got me. I called Dispatch." That got a nod from Grissom. "Then I rinsed off the soap. I dried off after a thirty second rinse off; I pulled on the clothes I'm wearing. I drug him out to the living room and asked him why he was doing that. He said it was taking pictures so the bidders on his site would know who wanted to kidnap me and Xander together next time, because that way they'd have leverage. Though he did say I'd be fun on my own and whoever took us might sell me later if I was a good boy. I did slip and I did hit him again. At no time did I read him his rights, tell him he was under arrest or anything related to the job. I was acting as a victim, not a CSI."
Brass coughed. "I asked, he didn't know Sanders was a CSI or a cop. He thought he was a kept boy as he put it. He thought his lover was keeping him as a mistress or whatever you call it. He did act very shocked at that news. Then he told me it was a pity I was so old. If it wasn't for my face he could get some good bids on me. I left Sidle finishing his statement."
"That's fine," the Sheriff agreed after glancing at Grissom. "Is he bothering her?"
"Probably not. He hadn't offered for her in my hearing," he admitted. "He seems to only deal with males." Brass looked at him. "He waited in your living room?"
"On my couch," he agreed. "Not even on top of the clothes I had thrown there earlier. I waited forty-five minutes to call Dispatch again. Still nothing so I drug him out to the car complaining. I shoved him into the back of the car and drove here, then he refused to walk inside so I kicked his feet out from under him and drug him inside by his wrist since he refused to move. The officers outside and in the precinct saw and simply stared. A few laughed," he added, looking at the Sheriff. "Including your assistant's assistant."
"I'll ask him later. Gil, do we have the surveillance tape?"
"I had it pulled," Nick assured him. "It shows the officers watching and then laughing when Greg was past them."
"I'm going to have a talk with some people," the Sheriff decided.
Greg looked at him. "Good. Because the last time this happened an officer died." That got a few winces. "As the assholes who're still sneering are very well aware of. They cited the officers for being slow to a distress call."
"That was completely different!" one of them shouted.
"Why? Because she was a lesbian and I'm a bisexual man?" he shot back.
The Sheriff looked at him. "Are you saying this is wide-spread?"
"Yup," Greg said. "Ask the union."
"We have a gay officer's union?" the Sheriff asked.
"You having to ask that question means you're part of the problem, Sheriff." Greg stood up. "Are we done?"
"Nearly," Brass agreed. "Sit, Greg." He sat down again. "When you got here I offered to take the guy."
"I wanted this handled by my supervisor since it was apparent there was a break-down in the command structure. I trust you, Brass. I depend on you on scenes. I think you're a great guy, but Grissom is my supervisor and I should go to him when I have problems with other officers. Also, that keeps you neutral."
"Okay. I understand that. You could have left him with us in the lobby."
"No, I wanted to give him to Grissom. Just because I knew you and Warrick weren't going to stick up for the bastards who left me hanging doesn't mean that you'd get help either."
"That's not protocol," one of the IAB officers noted coldly.
Greg looked at him. "I'm not an officer," he said slowly and clearly. "I'm a CSI. I came from the lab. In case you didn't realize it I'm the same one that got blown out of the DNA lab when it exploded." The man gave him a heated look. "Just because I had to take some classes at the academy doesn't make me an officer. That's why I can't arrest on my own at this point in time. I have to pass three more classes to fully carry a badge. Feel damn lucky they're not answering my homicide." He helped Lady Heather up. "I'm done. I'm sorry but I'm going to lose my temper and I'm going to start saying things that are hurtful and not appropriate in this station. If you want another statement, Brass, call. If *they* want one, they can have Xander's number so they can be put in touch with my attorneys. May I escort you back to your car, Lady Heather?"
"You may," she agreed. She looked at Brass, then at the Sheriff. "I'm sure this will not be happening again."
"I'll be figuring out what happened, who did it, and fixing it," the Sheriff assured her.
"Good. I look forward to an acceptable resolution." She took Greg's arms. "He'll be with me, Detective Brass. That way no one else can harm him." That got a nod. "Gregory?" He walked out with her, doing so politely. "Very well done, even if you did lose your temper," she said quietly as they walked out. A few officers gave them odd looks. "It's a pity that you officers weren't there when he called for help. It's a very good thing my student is teaching him self defense." A few looked sick at that. Greg helped her into her car. "In, Gregory." He climbed in and closed the door, kneeling beside her. "It is perfectly reasonable, Gregory. You did as you should, even if you did act out of rage when you drug him in by his wrist. I cannot fault you for that. We'll call Xander in a while."
"It's late out there," he said quietly. "Horatio needs his rest, m'lady." She smiled at the shared pet name. Xander had called her it during their first interview and Greg had picked it up from him. She stroked through his hair and he looked up. "I know I was wrong to lose my temper that way. I know I was wrong to knock him down when he refused to move. I was going to shoot him if I didn't. It was the lesser evil."
"It was," she agreed. They pulled onto the street and she looked at her driver. "We're going home." He nodded and put up the window. She looked at him again, smiling gently. "Do you feel you should be punished for losing your temper?" He shrugged. "The truth?" she asked.
"On one hand yes. On the other I find it reasonable and I'm proud that I kept my temper in check as much as I did. How dare they not back me up!" She nodded, going back to petting him. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't shout around you."
"This is a reason to scream and rant, Gregory. I would do the same." He leaned forward to put his head on her knee, letting her pat him. "It will be fine. What did Horatio say when you called?"
"To keep my temper and to seem as reasonable as I could when they talked to me. To not make any rash statements. That he agreed I had done the right thing." He swallowed. "Someone said I had pulled a Xander." She giggled and nodded. "I'm sorry. I was out of line to knock him down and drag him that way."
"You were but it was reasonable. If you had shot him it wouldn't have been." He nodded. "Should I send someone to pack you a bag?"
"They'll want to take fingerprints and things," he said, looking up at her. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. It is what I do for my people, Gregory. If you're being unreasonable coming to me for crises I'll let you know." He nodded, putting his head back down. "Do you feel you need punished?"
He let out a bitter laugh. "I think I'll be plenty punished by the other cops, Lady Heather. I'll never get backup again. They're going to start rumors. It'll be bad enough to make me want to quit. They'll try to make me quit. I'm not but they'll try."
"What will be will be, Gregory. You acted to protect yourself and did the right thing. Even if you did snap and drag him into the building. The fact that no one stopped you said that something was seriously wrong and quite a few people have much to answer for." He nodded, relaxing again. The car pulled into the house's parking lot and she let him get out and help her out. "Good boy. Very good manners." She walked inside with him following properly. "Sonya, if Grissom or someone from the lab calls, put them through immediately. The same with Master Tim or Horatio. Anyone else take a message or put them on hold and ask." That got a nod. She took the messages from her assistant, then looked at her. "Tara called?"
"Yes, ma'am. She wanted to know where you got the glasses from; one of them broke and she wanted to make them replace it since they shipped it."
"Stupid Fed Ex," Greg muttered. Lady Heather gave him a look. "Sorry, m'lady."
"True but not appropriate. Did you tell her?"
"I did, Lady Heather, and she sent hers and Don's love. She said Patrick was feeling a bit ill but was probably going to recover. She said he ate someone who had the flu. She also passed on the news that problem Master Tim had earlier had been solved, the lab can still be rebuilt after the dump truck backed into it, and the situation in Yemen was fixed but that Master Tim would not be happy with the outcome since they had upheld the judge's decision." Greg moaned. "She said she'd email you in a few days, ma'am."
"Of course. I adore that girl. She's very sweet and delicate." She took him up to her office and sat down, letting him kneel beside her again. "Pour me some tea, Gregory." He did that and handed it to her so she let him have a sugar cube, getting a smile. "I know you've got a headache."
"It's a tension one but I'll calm down and it'll go away. Thank you for the treat."
"You deserve it. You survived." He nodded and put his head back on her thigh so she could pat him.
Horatio hung up the phone and looked at Speed. "Greg's fine." Xander looked at him. "Someone broke in and he had to deal with it since no one came."
"I'm going to help him sue them," Xander vowed. He went to the office to dig out the number, then handed it to Horatio. "If they need it." He sat down again, seething. "I'm still feeling like the Godfather. I don't even have minions and I feel like one."
Horatio kissed him. "You'd never go that bad and they said Greg pulled a 'you' because he had to drag him into the station by his wrist." Xander cracked a small smile at that. "He had Lady Heather help him with the statement." That got a better smile. "It'll be fine, Xander. He's got it covered and his lab is backing him up."
"Can I go spank them?"
"No, dear. Not unless Greg asks," Speed ordered. Xander grinned at that. "Then you can bring out your whip collection."
"Coool," Xander breathed. "I'll like that." They both smiled at him until something went off outside. He looked that way. "Huh. A gunshot." Speed tackled him while Horatio went to handle it.
Prestons came back and found Horatio with one foot on the guy's chest and a gun pointed at his head. "Nice to see it being done in a practical method this time, Lieutenant."
Horatio looked at him. "Xander has more fun." He let him have the guy. "I have no idea what he wanted but he shot a gun off out here."
"Is the dog all right?" Because he had heard stories about that beast, even being in another precinct.
"He's inside napping on the couch. Thank you for asking." He walked off. "Have fun with him. If there's a third, I'm letting Xander deal with the issue."
"Of course, sir." He walked him back to the car. "What did you do?"
"That boy is sullying him! He's making him go bad and dirty!" The guy started to struggle. "I have to save the poor CSI from that evil, young slut."
"Uh-huh." He shoved him into the car and drove him back, handing him to his boss. "Tell him how you're saving CSIs from Mr. Harris by firing off a gun." He left him there and headed off again. This was definitely not a boring assignment by any means.
Xander snatched the phone. "Yeah?" He smiled and put Greg on speaker since Eric was with him. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. They found the dispatcher who didn't send anyone, she did it because I know Lady Heather and am therefore morally bankrupt, and the officers who didn't respond, because I know you and am therefore dirtying the department and the lab so I should be killed for that sin, and they're fired. A few others are disgraced and the Sheriff is learning how bad this problem really is out here."
"Are you okay?" Xander asked again.
"I got suspended for two weeks because I'm still a CSI. Even though he didn't know I was a CSI, the cuffs weren't regulation cuffs or even PD-style cuffs, he still could've inferred it from me cuffing him. So I've got two weeks off without pay."
"You can come down," Xander offered gently.
"Gris wants me up here in case we get something very bad going on. That way he can call me back to work in the lab and not pay me. His hands were tied. The Sheriff said he had to, it was SOP. Grissom said he can't overrule him, and I'm still thinking about suing the department."
"I'm not so sure that's a good idea, Greg," Eric noted. "They can get pretty vindictive about that stuff."
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't be the first. They let a very nice young woman die after a home break in because she was seeing a young lady. Her family's suing them too. I've been offered a chance to join in. I'm still thinking about it."
"When did that happen?"
"Six months ago," Greg told them. "Anyone else there?"
"Just us, I'm guarding Xander today," Eric said with a smirk for the boy. "Because someone had to call the cops twice last night."
"If it had been a third time I would've nailed the body to the gate and left him there as a sign," Xander said blandly.
"Me too," Greg admitted. "Anyway," he sighed. "Lady Heather sends her love, Xander. I had her with me when I was questioned." You could hear someone knocking. "That's some nosy person." He went to answer the door. "Who're you?" They heard a gunshot.
Xander grabbed his cellphone and called the number Horatio had given him for Grissom. "It's Xander. There was a shot at Greg's place. Because I'm in Miami and we were talking, Grissom! Someone shot him! Get someone there now!" He hung up. "Greg, answer me," he ordered. "Right now." They heard a moan. "Come on, Greg. Answer me. Please? Come on, baby, please answer me." They heard a door slam on that end. "Are you alone?" Greg groaned again. "Come on, Greg, answer me. Stay with me. If you die I have to ask Willow to bring you back and she's scary because she's pregnant. You might come back as a kitty cat and then the dog'll hump you." He looked at Eric, who called the numbers he had out there. Plus Horatio. "Come on, baby, answer me." Someone pounded. "Yell something, Greg."
"Help!" he called weakly. They heard the sound of the door splintering. "Brass. White guy, hoodie, green and blue, jeans, blonde guy," Greg said weakly.
"I'm getting an ambulance. Xander, he was shot in the upper shoulder. It's painful but not life threatening."
"It will be for the person who shot him," he vowed. "Greg, I love you. I'll be there tonight, baby." He hung up and looked at Eric, then called his grandfather's house. "Thomas, it's me. I need the fastest way to get to Greg. He was shot. Yeah, if I could do the demon teleporty thing I'd already be there. I'm not that strong. I can barely float the remote." He perked up. "Can he? Please. I'm at home." He hung up and went to get what he needed to bring. Ethan showed up and gave him a look. "Greg got shot."
"Brass said an upper shoulder wound. Daddy died from one on his lower shoulder."
"All right. We'll bend the rules this time. Wallet and things?" Xander nodded. "Paperwork to treat him?"
"They've got it out there."
"Good. Let's set up. It'll take about a half hour." He took him out back and set things up so he could send him there. It was a hard spell but not painful for him. Xander would have a hell of a headache...
Xander landed in Grissom's office and looked around, then walked out, running into Ecklie, who looked really confused. "I came to help Greg, he got shot just now."
"How did you get in there?"
"Ask Grissom. Which hospital is he at? Nick!" He jogged to catch up to him. "Where did they take Greg?"
"Why would they take him anywhere?"
"He got shot a few minutes ago."
"Desert Palms. Come on." He walked him out to the SUV and got him inside. "How did you get here so fast?"
"Never mind." Xander gave him a look. "I can't so I don't need to know the details."
"I don't know the details, I owe someone majorly for helping me." He buckled up as Nick backed out of his parking spot and headed for the hospital. He called Brass back. "Okay, I'm here. Nick said Desert Palms?" He nodded. "I'll be right there. They can brief me." He hung up and called Horatio. "I'm in Vegas. Greg got shot. Ethan. As soon as I can, honey. I'll let you know." He hung up. "Go faster?"
"No lights on the car, Xander. They've still got him in the ER?"
"Surgery already." He laid a hand on the dash then chanted a few lines, then looked at him. "You're invisible." Nick sped up and the cop cars didn't chase him. He got out and headed inside, finding Brass waiting for him. "How bad and where?"
"It's in the dip of the collar bone, he'll be fine. There wasn't much blood loss. I got there fairly quickly. What did you hear?" He walked him to where the others were waiting, making Nick follow.
"We were talking about his suspension and how he could come down if he wanted, that we'd like that. He told me about the other suit against the department and how he had been offered a chance to join. There was a knock. He asked who the person was and they shot him. Did we not pull the camera out of his living room?" Brass slowly shook his head. "Willow sent him one. He said he's got it pointed at the couch but that should cover at least half the doorway. We're working on linking it to a video conferencing system. We use it to check on him and see him when he's gone for too long."
"I'll send someone to get it," Grissom promised, making that call from the courtesy phone. "It's Gil. There's a hidden camera according to Greg's boyfriend. It's pointed at the couch but may have something. What's it in, Xander?"
"The little brass monkey statue. It's holding the lense."
"It's in a small, brass monkey statue. He said it's holding the lense. Yes, he's here," he agreed. "Thank you." He hung up and looked at him. "That could help us find who did it."
Xander stared at him. "You'd better hope so." That got a nod of understanding. "Why did they take him in immediately?"
"They think he's got a bone shard that's able to move, which could be fatal if it hit the wrong spot," Grissom told him. That got a nod. "Since you're here, I'll parrot whatever you say, Xander."
"Thank you." He gave him a short hug then called Lady Heather. "I'm in town, it's an emergency. Greg got shot. They're in fixing it right now. Shoulder. They think so. We'll know soon. Ethan. I know but flying takes too long in emergencies, Lady Heather. Of course I will." He smiled. "I'll keep you updated, I promise." He hung up and looked around. "How long before we know something?"
"Probably about a half-hour," Nick offered. "They're pretty speedy here." He made Xander sit down. "He came out of your office, Grissom."
"It was a safe landing spot that I'd seen the inside of," Xander agreed. Grissom looked at him. "Ethan got me here."
"I'll thank him later," he said, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "He'll be fine, Xander. This hospital has taken care of him before and he'll be just fine." A nurse came out then went back that way. "That's unusual."
Xander looked. "Greg's got a fairly normal blood type, right?" They all nodded. "Good." He waited impatiently, pouncing the nurse when she came over. "How is my Greg?"
"Are you his family?"
"I'm his lover."
"I'm sorry, sir, I can only talk to his family or his medical power of attorney."
"You're telling all of us and I am his PoA," Grissom told her firmly. "The only reason he's not on it is because he lives in another state." That got a grim nod. "Now, how is Greg?"
"He's fine. He pulled through well. He should heal perfectly. He'll need some time. It did break the collarbone. He's looking at a few months of rehab to get the bone strong enough to lift things again."
"No nerve damage?" Xander asked. "No muscular damage? Just broken bones?" She nodded, looking at him. "We're sure?"
"We are but we'll be making sure tomorrow." He nodded, getting that. "We'll have to keep him for a few days. Are you staying?"
"If at all humanly possible." She nodded and went to make that note on his chart. He looked at Grissom. "Thanks."
"I know they're written for a reason but sometimes they do get in the way." He patted him on the back. "I'll even let you go into recovery instead of me." Xander nodded at that, sitting down again, looking much calmer. "Update Horatio."
"Once I've seen him." That got a mass nod. Xander was a law unto himself most of the time. They would respect that.
Horatio hung up his phone an hour later. "Greg's out of surgery and he'll be fine," he announced. His boss gave him an odd look. "Xander was talking to him when someone knocked on the door and shot him in his shoulder. This would be two days after officers didn't respond when he asked for assistance to get the person who broke into his home."
"Your boy's all right, that's the important thing. Where's your younger one?"
"With him. That was him."
"Good. Where he should be." He looked at the city council then back at Horatio. "I don't know what to do, Horatio. They're claiming they don't have to pay to fix it anymore since their problems were fixed when the wall got bent and the rest nearly fell in. You doing it legally with your boy's lawyers would take forever. The city's running on a shoestring again this year. I know we need a lab but I don't know how to do it."
"They're going to fix it," he assured him. "We have some contacts who're higher up in the chain. Since it was one of their workers who ran into the building and there was a suspiciously large deposit in his bank account afterward, they're already in trouble. We turned them into their Internal Affairs division through Ian. I've also called our state senators to talk to them. They all agreed to put pressure on the agency to pay their debts. One was playing golf when I found him at the country club down here." That got an evil smirk from his boss. "I've handled a case for him in the past," he admitted. "His assistant agreed I could speak to him. The others listened in while they took a break at the 14th hole bar. The one from Utah was highly upset, especially when I provided the proof that one of the people in charge of lab oversight paid the driver to back into the building. Ours hissed at the pictures since he had donated to it a few times and it had found who had killed his stepdaughter."
"Hopefully they can fix it faster," the mayor offered. "What about your in-laws?"
"Xander doesn't like to do things like that, sir. They'll complain that he didn't come to whine at them about it, their usual phrase, but they'll back him up." His phone rang. "Excuse me, I'm expecting a legal update. Horatio," he answered. He nodded twice. "That works. He's with Greg because he was shot. He may, I don't know. Knowing him he's either with Greg or at Lady Heather's. Thank you. Of course." He hung up. "Three people were just arrested by the federal Internal Affairs people. I was just assured that they were going to fix the damage, or at least pay for enough to fix the old damage."
"If this were the old lab that would've been enough to do a complete rebuild," the mayor noted. "With the new design....."
Horatio shook his head. "I want the old design back, sir. You can have them put in the glass if they want. Even if it was compared to dental work or a canyon now and then." A few of the council members snickered and he nodded. "Even Patrick did and he's got more tact than the whole lab combined. Raphael looked at Miss Boa Vista and asked if she had an oral fetish if I remember right." That got a louder set of snickers and the mayor shook his head even though he was smiling. "The old layout and a competent construction crew would fix all the old problems. You'd need to use better glass but that would cut down on the problems."
"So, we can keep the outer walls and how they arched up. We can keep all the little nooks and crannies plus all the extra light, just give you the old floor plan?" the Chief of Police asked. Horatio nodded. "They'll have to redo the plans."
"Not really. Though we did need a bigger break room." He looked at them. "I'll pay for the plan redo myself if I have to, boss. It shouldn't be that hard."
"It shouldn't," he agreed. "Why a bigger break room?"
"We've never had a meeting area."
"That makes sense. Especially with how many hours you guys work some nights."
"I've spent many nights sleeping on a couch at the office for hard or immediate need cases," he agreed. "Plus we tend to have whole team dinners now and then. It's the only place that sits us all."
"Good point. Who did we go through for the first lab? Since the second guy was one of the problems."
"I can get one I know here within hours," Horatio offered. "If you can get us both sets of plans."
"I can do that and film," he agreed. "Meet in here in three hours?"
"Agreed." Horatio nodded. "Thank you." He walked off. He knew just the architect and he could use a good boost of notoriety. Creating such a public and lauded building as the crime lab would do his reputation good. It was only a short drive then he walked into the guy's office. "Is Mr. Mendoza in?" His secretary nodded. "Thank you." He tapped then walked into the office. "Carl Mendoza." The father of a murdered child he had helped looked up at him then smiled. "The lab's being rebuilt. We need someone to merge plans. The last one had flaws but architectural elements others liked. Even if it did look like a glass canyon."
"I saw the pictures. How bad was it?"
"One set of bathrooms nearly outside the lab." The man gave him a look. "Non ADA compliant at that."
"Ouch. No wonder you were making them fix it."
"No, that was the electrical problems that caused fires and nearly killed a tech." That got a moan. "We'll need two sets of plans merged. One floor plan and the newer, lighter design. I'm covering the cost of the merging. We're meeting at two if you're free?"
"I am. You remembered what I do for a living?"
Horatio smiled. "It is part of the job."
"Good point." He smiled and shook his hands. "I can do that and do it quickly, Lieutenant. Where are we meeting?"
"The City Council chambers. It's got a good table so you can spread out whatever you need."
"That works for me." He smiled. "I'll see you then, Lieutenant. Thank you for thinking of me."
"I liked your other work," he said, nodding at the walls showing his other projects. "I remembered the housing tower and the library." He slid back on his sunglasses and walked out happier. His phone rang and he looked at it. "Horatio," he answered. "Hi, Patrick." He climbed back into his hummer. "Working on it right now. You can make sure they pay what they're supposed to. Xander's attorneys... Well, you did suggest he put one on retaining for these things. He hired one very scary law firm." He smiled as he turned on the engine. "I'll be right out but I've got the meeting with the architect in two and half hours." He nodded. "I'll be right out." He hung up and headed that way, going to visit his in-laws. Not that it was a chore, even if they did pout that they weren't letting them help. He parked and smiled at Holly, stopping to pet her. "You're a good girl." She barked and gave his hand a lick. He looked at her handler. "Were the puppies Thumper's?" He nodded. "At least he's protective."
"They're showing good promise and none of daddy's problems," he agreed. "They're in the study."
"Thank you." He headed that way, smiling at both vampires. "Greg's fine."
"We heard. Xander updated us right after he did you, Horatio," Patrick said, giving him a look. "You didn't even let us help?"
"You were busy."
"Not that busy!" he complained. He saw the smile. "Did I just sound like my grandson?"
"Looked a lot like him when he can't have chocolate too," Horatio assured him with a smile, getting one back. "I asked Xander's attorneys to handle it when he asked them to help me. We found evidence the granting institution was trying to cover up their issues by paying that driver to hit the building." He sat down and stretched out. "I was told three were arrested this morning and it will be fixed."
"Good! What can we do to help?"
"You went to senators instead of the family first?" Raphael asked.
"You two were busy with the wedding. Is Abby pregnant?"
"She is but she admitted she had sex with someone else two days later so we'll have to see," Patrick sighed.
Horatio looked at him. "We'd rather keep you than have a baby, Patrick." That got a faint smile. He looked at Raphael. "I went to the senators hoping that they'd kick them for us, make it a bit better known to fix the smug bastards on the oversight board, and to make them keep their obligations since this wouldn't have been a problem if the revamp hadn't created problems in the electrical system. Since Calleigh had two fires and Cooper nearly got electrocuted for unplugging something...." That got two nods. "Besides, I wanted to see what they could do before I came to my family. I know it's going to go over estimates. They'll have to up the quality of glass." That got two smiles again. "Then I would've come begging to you two to see if you could tweak contacts to get us a donation from some of the rich people who want us to not catch them dealing drugs."
"I know a few who would do it for that reason, they think it'd give them some immunity," Raphael admitted.
"They're wrong but I'd gladly take the donation," Horatio agreed with a small smirk. That got him patted on the back by the older vampire. "I'm very mercenary when it comes to the lab. You can donate all you want to it but if I catch you doing something wrong you'll still be arrested. I have senators in the past. The ones this morning know I did a few years back." That got a smile from Patrick. "We are doing a meeting with the architect in a few hours. That way he'll have an estimate. The grant was for eight million. To fix it was going to run nearly six. Xander's lawyers are assuring me they're going to be covering their debt to pay for as much as it cost to fix it before. They did doubt they could get the extra out of them, even if it was just."
"Which is reasonable to consider," Patrick agreed. "I do have a few contacts who would love to donate to the lab, Horatio. Do I send them to the mayor or the Chief?"
"Either's fine, just make sure it's stated it's for the lab rebuild. They can put any extra into the general PD fund afterward but they'll do it beforehand if you don't."
"Of course. So we're looking at how much as an estimate?"
Horatio shrugged. "They were saying five just to gut the lab and fix the problems, then redo the insides again. I honestly don't know until the architect tells us."
"Who did you ask?" Raphael asked.
"Carl Mendoza. We solved his child's homicide a few year's back and he's the one who did that housing tower downtown that won awards. He also did that library that Speed loves to take Xander to." That got some smiles. "I'm covering the cost of the plans personally. He said it shouldn't take him that long. They can use that time to clean up the mess that's still sitting there."
"We can do that," Patrick sighed.
"No, let me do the plans. You get onto some of your contacts. Please?" That got a nod. He smiled at them. "See, I did come begging."
"You did. Even if you are too stubborn and I wanted to hear about it when it happened, Horatio."
"Patrick, Xander had to drive Speed and I home in my hummer that night. We were in such shock he had us watching Sesame Street in French." That got a snicker from Raphael. "It's much different than it was when I was a child." He shifted and crossed his legs. "Xander said Greg will be fine. They removed all the bone chips. The bullet only broke his collarbone. They're saying he won't have any nerve damage. Since he was suspended for two weeks anyway...." They both gave him glares. "For dragging the person into the station. They said even though the person never knew he was a CSI and the cuffs weren't police issue, it was still possible to be assumed. That way his lawyer couldn't complain about police brutality."
"Charming. Can we eat the Sheriff?" Patrick asked Raphael.
"He's a glory hog, he'd taste like pork," his sire retorted. "He and Ecklie are both political people."
"Greg said he accepted it. It didn't get put into his file. Grissom was going to leave him as on-call for bigger emergencies. They all thought it was cute he did what Xander would."
Both vampires snickered at that. "It was from what I heard," Raphael agreed. Patrick looked at him. "The idiot wouldn't walk into the station so Greg knocked him down and drug him in by his wrist. Above the cuffs so he didn't hurt him. Drug him all the way back to the morgue to get to Grissom. No one did more than laugh." Horatio nodded, pressing his lips together. "The Sheriff get onto the people out there?"
"I can only hope so," he agreed. "I'm also hoping this doesn't affect Greg on the job. Some officers are petty enough to not back him up due to this."
"It seems they already had that problem," Patrick pointed out. "Let's hope the firings that happened improve that situation." Horatio nodded. "Now, what can we do *personally* to help?"
"I wouldn't mind if you donated or helped out in other ways, Patrick. You know that. Fortunately it ran into the less expensive side of the building. It ran into the storerooms instead of the labs. They got all the furniture and lab equipment out for the redo so we don't have to worry about the machines or evidence. It did get a few cells and they're going to be suing someone too."
"Send them after the same feds," Patrick pointed out.
"Which is my opinion on the matter as well," he agreed. "Unless you know a good construction company to put in a bid?" Patrick nodded. "Then have them put in one, please. The faster the better. They would have to pass the background checks."
"Would ones that had been in jail matter?" Patrick asked.
"Depends on what for. Drugs or violent crimes no. That just means they can't work on that part the project. It doesn't keep them from working on the outside or any non- sensitive areas, like the holding cells." That got a smile. "There's ways around that."
"Good, then I'll call them first and have them put in a bid. Where would the extra money go?"
"Mounted Patrol needs a few new bikes. Patrol needs some new cruisers. Probably there. When I got the one someone sent Xander I got four new hummers and gave the rest to Mounted Patrol for some new bikes." That got a smile. "It was suggested horse patrol could use some but I have no idea where to find good horses."
"Oddly enough, he has friends in the polo crowd," Raphael admitted. "We can ask that they baby the PD this year as a special project."
"I was hoping they'd baby that new Christian foundation that helps support gay families," Patrick told him.
"Some won't and this would give them an acceptable alternative to get their altruism fix for the year and help on their taxes."
"Please don't remind me of taxes," Horatio moaned. "Did we know Xander has three accounts?" They both nodded. "He's living with a safe retirement fund, a checking account, and a savings account. I can't even balance his checkbook."
"They've got computer programs for that," Patrick reminded him. That got a nod. "You can show him how to use it."
"I have, he doesn't. He does it on a calculator. He said it's too complicated to do it on the computer. Too much to put in. So he's keeping a checkbook and it's got very tiny numbers in some spots. I have no idea what he's doing with it most of the time. I try and he swats me."
"Have him do a quarterly balance off the bank's statements online," Patrick offered. "His bank can download into a few formats."
"I pointed that out, he gave me an odd look." He shrugged. "He's not broke, he's handling it. Most of the time it looks like he only deals with the money he makes from his clients. Speaking of, is he on hiatus?"
"Yes," Raphael sighed. "With all the attention he's basically doing his clients somewhere else so they can't be exposed or hurt. The only one you'll probably be seeing is the one that's getting a very messy divorce."
"I think Xander said he'd send a normal vampire after his ex if he wanted," Horatio offered.
"That woman would taste bad."
"That's why I'd send a normal one," Xander said as he walked in. He kissed Horatio on the head. "Greg told me I had to come home. He's flying down early tomorrow morning. The Sheriff tried to protest until I pointed out that I was more than happy to let my attorneys continue this conversation and that I was going to protect my boyfriend, even if I did have to flay some people alive for hurting him. Dayshift crime lab never answered when Grissom called them to the scene. Greg's getting out tonight, staying on Grissom's couch for the night then coming in tomorrow morning. No open flights tonight." That got a smile and a nod. "Grissom did say it was about to get very messy and that I was going to start talking to all those nice people who donate to the PD out there and tell them why they shouldn't. The sheriff nearly cried and begged that he was trying to fix it. I pointed at Greg and pointed out it was a crap job so far. Can I take Holly for a jog?" They all stared at him. "Not like Thumper can keep up with me when I go for a run."
"Ask her handler, grandson," Raphael said quietly. Xander hugged him, hugged his grandfather, mugged Horatio's mouth again, then headed out to pick up the dog and head home to change so he could wear out the aggression he was feeling. "Well."
"Indeed," Patrick sighed. "That is going to get messy, Horatio."
"It already is, Patrick. Grissom has my full support to do whatever he has to so it gets fixed. Including helping Greg with that lawsuit." He looked at his watch. "I should call him and Greg, then hit the meeting." The house phone was handed over. "Thank you." He dialed Grissom's number. "It's me. Is Greg awake? No, I tried earlier the nurses wouldn't put me through." He smiled. "Exactly. Thank you, Grissom. Whatever you need, including support for that suit. Of course we can." He smiled. "Greg." He sighed in pleasure at the 'I'm fine, please calm Xander down'. "I'll try, dear. Are you really all right?" He smiled. "I did try to call earlier, the nurses wouldn't put me through. They said you were resting and I wasn't going to disturb that. Of course I did. I panicked when Xander told me. I have. I've been taking all my frustration and worry on the lab situation. You didn't hear? Someone backed into the front of the building." He smiled at the gasp of horror.
"Exactly. The whole front wall is caved in. Most of the evidence lockers as well." He chuckled. "At least it wasn't Calleigh's or Speed's lab this time," he agreed. "They would've thrown worse fits. Very soon. We're meeting with the architect today. Yes, I want you down here. I'll keep Xander from fussing so I can fuss myself." He laughed. "I'll try, dear. You rest and come down soon. If you wanted to join that suit we will support you, Greg. I promise we will." He let out a gentle smile. "I know and understand why, Greg. Whatever you want. Love you. Get some rest and I'll baby you tomorrow when I pick you up. No, I'm off right now. Good boy," he said at the yawn. "Of course I will. Be good, love." He hung up and handed it back. "He'll be fine. He doesn't want to have to sue the department. He will if he must but he doesn't want to."
"It would make things harder on him," Patrick admitted. "It did when we helped with one down here."
"I dare anyone to do that to me," Horatio said as he stood up. "They will get it back and I am going to be vindictive if that happens in my lab. I was the last time." That got an evil smirk from Patrick. "I'll even help Xander flay someone. I've got to get back to the meeting. We'll see you two in a few days since I doubt we'll be home on time for dinner." He headed out, driving back to City Hall. His boss gave him an odd look. "What?"
"You didn't go back to the lab?"
"I took today and tomorrow off to deal with these meetings. Plus to pick up Greg because I knew that Xander was going to have him brought down as soon as humanly possible."
"How is he?" the mayor asked.
"Good. It broke his collarbone on one side. He said he can still feel his hand so it's a good sign. Xander's back and jogging at the moment." The mayor gave him an odd look. He shrugged. "I don't know." He sat down. "Patrick's going to talk to the local community about donating to cover any shortages we might have." He smiled at Carl when he came in. "This is Carl Mendoza."
"I remember his work in the past," one Council-member said, shaking his hand. "Can't go to a better designer, Mr. Mendoza." He pointed at the plans. "The first, the new, and tapes of the interior that the idiot feds made."
"Okay," he said. He unrolled the plans and looked at Horatio. "Wasn't this a bit cramped?"
He looked at the plans then at the Council member. "These are the unfixed ones."
"They're underneath. They had them together."
That got a nod and he looked at the second set. "That's still cramped." Horatio nodded. He unrolled the other set to look at them. "This is nice. A bit Eastern Bloc Industrial." He compared them. "So we want basically what was in the old lab for space, features, and floor plan? It could be improved for flow of work."
Horatio stood up to point at a few. "We need these together. That's a common route of travel. So is this pathway," he said, marking it with a finger. "We definitely need a bit bigger of a break room. It's our meeting area and nap center for the overnight or tough cases. We need another machine in there to give more choices as well." That got a nod. "Also, Calleigh said they skimped on ballistics this time. They made her firing tank shorter. It was hampering her movement and work." That got another nod. "You can tuck these labs," he said, tapping a few, "out of the way if you wanted or needed to. They're in use all the time but it's a case-by-case visit instead of every case. Cooper might like to be out of direct sunlight as well. They gave him a sunny lab and it was interfering with his work in AV."
"That's more than reasonable." He made some quick notes on a pad he pulled out. "Anything you absolutely have to keep where it is?"
"The locker room and bathrooms there. We need the other set back. We have two disabled techs, one pregnant, and another pregnant woman on nightshift." That got a nod and he made those notes. "We do need the decontamination shower back as well. Just in case." That got found on the new ones and he frowned. "It was never put in. It was a closet."
"Oh. Pity." He made a note of that. "Okay. Where can I get lab standards and codes?" The Chief handed over a book. "Really?"
"I had to use them with the last construction crew. I got it back from him during our break."
"Thank you. How long before you start accepting bids?"
"Can you have it done in a week?"
"I can have it done in two days if I need to, sir."
"If you can," he agreed. "The faster the better for lowering crime and making Horatio calm down."
"I've got a new target I can take out any aggression on, Chief." He looked at him. "No one responded to the call to Greg's apartment after he was taken away. It may be a lawsuit situation out there now. This is the second time." That got a nod from his boss and a shudder from the council members and the mayor. "Exactly. He wasn't backed up when he called for help the other day. He drug someone into the station. Literally." He smirked. "He also got suspended for it because it would look bad if they didn't punish him as well as the officers who didn't respond to arrest the person who broke into his place. Xander is livid. He's jogging to get rid of some of the anger and stress. I'll help Grissom with the lawsuit if Greg wants."
"I can have a quiet word with people out there," his boss assured him. "I remember ours, Horatio. Very well."
"I handled it the one time my people weren't backed up," he noted.
"I remember. It was very good of you to do too," he agreed quickly. "I can point out how destructive this is going to be for their department." Horatio nodded.
"Have they had anyone hurt?" the mayor asked.
"One officer was killed because help didn't get to her in time after an invasion at her home."
That got a solemn nod. "We'll talk to them. I know the NYPD has a problem."
"If someone doesn't back up Mac's people, they'll get Mac in their face," Horatio said with a cruel, cold smirk of pleasure. "Mac won't let that happen. He might even be really mean and sic Stella on them." That got a laugh from his boss. "I see you've met Detective Bonasera, sir?"
"Once. She does tend to stick in one's mind. She was like an enraged goddess then." Horatio nodded. "Good. Then we'll let you subtly help with that however you can. We'll meet in three days?"
"I've got an appointment to look at someone's house at three that day," Carl Mendoza said, looking at his schedule. "I can meet you that morning."
"We have one planned that morning anyway," the Mayor agreed. "Horatio?"
He shrugged. "Half the time we're in the way in the lab, sir. I've also noticed that homicides and other felonies have went down again. Apparently they're waiting until we can catch them again." He put on his sunglasses. "With your leave?" That got a nod so he left to go check on his people.
Mendoza looked around. "He doesn't know about the rumors of what happens when you touch one of the hummers or his team?"
"He thinks a detective started it to scare the rookies," the Police Chief admitted. "It is nice of them to cower in fear at the moment." That got a chuckle from his boss. "It is." He stood up and shook his hand. "Come see us that morning at ten, Mr. Mendoza. I look forward to what you come up with. I know Horatio does."
"The Lieutenant can probably help the construction crew with the finishing touches if he wanted," he offered.
"I'll let them know," the chief agreed happily. "They might like that." That got a smile and he walked out with the plans and the videos. "Should we warn Las Vegas that Caine's going to destroy them for touching his other boyfriend?"
"He worked with them on the Lady Death issue," the Mayor reminded him. "I'm sure he's already promised his help and his other boyfriend's whip collection."
One of the Council members looked confused. "He's dating *two* men?"
"One of the CSIs out there and Speedle's son," the Chief agreed. "Though I'm not sure if the CSI out there isn't Master Tim's sub really. Then again, it takes both of them and Speedle to calm his son down sometimes. I've seen him come in bouncy, happy, and unable to stand still more than once. He's a good master though. I've heard nothing but good things about how he treats his clients. That one is clearly his personal client and friend. They get into trouble together." That got a smile from that member. "It's odd but it keeps Caine out of my hair with pesky demands for overtime for himself and half the lab. Especially since Mr. Harris somehow found that Europe plays naked ice hockey and soccer. That alone has cut about thirty overtime hours a month from his techs." The mayor snickered at that. "They go over to his house to watch it. The AV tech copies it for those who can't get there." He stood up. "I'm going to talk to the head of the lab where they're temping in. If they're hovering around maybe we can do something about that." That got a nod and he left.
"You have to humor brilliance," the mayor pointed out. "As long as it's not illegal I don't care who Caine's dating. His stats get us grants and praise from the State and DC. As long as that continues I'll humor him and ignore the Chief when he complains about the overtime the lab pulls." That got nods. "Anything else?" They shook their heads. "Then go do whatever you've got planned this afternoon, people. Dismissed." They filed out and he leaned back for a minute then got up to deal with his secretary and whatever was waiting on him. Which turned out to be Caine's local boyfriend. "Mr. Harris." He shook his hand. "What can I do for you?"
He handed over something. "From myself personally," he said quietly. "Do not tell Horatio. The last time I said that the Chief told him I donated to the gun and vest fund that day."
"Of course." He looked at the check then at him. "That is very generous."
"Use that for personnel things to give people time off if necessary. I got given an evil look for bringing Dad lunch at the other office. I asked why, they said it was because he was working." That got a knowing look. "They're crowded with the felony lab in there. Plus one's an expectant father in a few months. That way you can't force them to use their vacation days."
"It's a reasonable request. We'll see how it plays out, Xander."
"Thank you. If not, put it toward ballistics? I'm a gun collector and she should have a good lab to do brilliant things in."
"Of course I will." He shook his hand again. "Have a good run?"
"I did. I nearly beat my record for five miles. Holly's really tired but that's okay. She's able to sit down and nap during part of her shift today." That got a smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He watched the boy leave and looked at the check again. If he had that much money to throw around, no wonder the boy drove a Ferrari.
Horatio walked into the house that night, finding Xander in the kitchen making tube cookies. He kissed the back of his neck. "Did you have a good run?"
"I did. I wore Holly out and nearly broke my five mile personal best." He turned to kiss him properly. "How was work?"
"Boring. A lot of paperwork. We had one case this morning and Speed's got an open one but otherwise we're clear except cold ones. Since they're in storage we can't get to them at the moment." That got a nod. "How's Greg?"
"On Grissom's couch. The Sheriff has already come to apologize to him. So has Ecklie. I called Mac to let them know what had happened in case one of the idiot people tried to get on with the their department. He said he'd let their people know quietly. He also said he'd never allow that in his lab. I pointed out that it happened sometimes, you simply had to kill someone when it did. They got the point and it quit happening. He laughed." Horatio nodded at that so he grinned. "Ooh, cookies." He checked the pan in the oven, putting them onto the stove and putting another pan in once he finished dropping them onto the sheet. "Want to help?
"I can do that. Are they all going to Greg and I?"
"Daddy needed some and so did Eric. His mother tried to ground him." Horatio snickered and took off his jacket, rolling up his sleeves so he could help him cut off spoonfuls of cookies from the log of dough. By the time they were done with three logs, Xander was starting to pack cookies into tins for various people. Someone walked in and slammed the door. "Hi, Eric."
Eric leaned on the breakfast bar. "You can make those, right?" He grinned and nodded. "Thanks. Can I have one?" Xander handed over one of the boxes with a grin. "Thanks, Xander. I take it Marisol called to tease me about being grounded?"
"She did. That's why I was making you cookies."
"Thanks, man. Momma got really grumpy about me not dating for real."
"She's got plenty of grandchildren."
"But none to carry on the family name," Eric reminded him.
"So go find a surrogate and bring her to meet her." Eric gave him a horrified look, one cookie halfway to his mouth. Xander grinned sweetly. "That way she can have the grandchild and you don't have to be married. Or tell her you donated at a sperm bank."
"I did in college." He ate that cookie. "My mother would kill me if I did that," he admitted with a grin.
"Promise you'll knock up one of the girls at the clubs, Eric."
Eric snickered. "She thinks I already have. I told her I didn't think I had. She's insistent that I find whoever it is and marry them if they're not already married. If they are I can settle for visitation."
Xander looked at him. "Who's sick?" Eric looked stunned. "This isn't normal pushiness, Eric. Something's going on and she's worried about the family continuing." He took his cookies with him. He looked at Horatio. "I hope I'm wrong."
"It sounded like it to me too," he said quietly, giving him a gentle kiss. He knew about Marisol but he wasn't sure if Xander did or not. Then again, that did sound like someone was either sicker or there was another ill family member.
"What was that for?"
"For being so good to my team."
Xander looked at him. "Who told you?"
Horatio smiled. "I have spies everywhere, Xander. Including their guards. Besides, Speed used to see his secretary. She told him." Xander rolled his eyes. "You don't have to be sneaky. You can do that openly. I won't mind."
"I don't want to cause you problems."
"They were joking earlier that they'll put up with me having you two as long as I keep the lab performing the same way. If I let it slip I'll have to choose but until then...." Xander kissed him, pushing him back into the counter, making him moan. "We're nearly done, right?"
"One last tube," he whispered, kissing him again. The oven timer went off so he pulled those out and got to work on the last sheets of cookies, putting them in together and resetting the oven timer. Then he went back to molesting his boyfriend in the kitchen. "Move in?"
"That's one of my Christmas presents to you," he promised. Xander beamed. "We are going up for Don and Tara's wedding?" Xander nodded. "Are you buying a new suit?"
"I've got four."
"I know you do." He kissed him again. "Wear the green one. She'll appreciate that." Xander smiled and went back to robbing his lips for kisses. At least until they had to pull out the cookies. They got left on the counter and stove while he led him out to the couch. He needed a soft surface. "Dog?"
"Locked outside. He found the neighbor's pet skunk."
"Thank you." He got back to nuzzling him. "Did he get into anything?"
"I found him hiding in your closet. He couldn't even lick his balls he was so disgusted with his smell. He was whimpering in horror at his stench. So you've got something clean to wear tomorrow hanging in mine." Horatio smiled and kissed him again. "It's a spoiling thing but I don't care."
"It's fine, Xander. The dry cleaner can do the others tomorrow." He stroked his stomach, moving one hand down. Then he got them both out of their pants, getting to work on his cock, just gently thrusting down against it while they kissed. It was enough for tonight. When they were done and cuddling Xander gave him this wicked look that made his cock twitch. "What?"
"We've got to deliver the others."
Xander smiled and got them up and cleaned up, mostly by licking Horatio's stomach clean. Then he got a washcloth for himself. They boxed up the rest of the cookies and went to deliver them by putting them in front of the door, then ringing the doorbell and hurrying away. It was childish but oh well.
Speed walked out nearly naked, looking at the box on his porch. He picked it up and sniffed. "Tolhouse." He carried it back inside, seeing the note that promised they were 'tube cookies' and smiled, taking two in to tease Calleigh with them while he made her squeal in delight. "Tube cookies from the son."
"He's in high spoiling mode."
Speed nodded, crumbling one onto her stomach to lick it off. She wiggled and squealed under him, making him a happy guy. The other he'd eat once he his tongue was done in other areas. He'd need the energy by then.
Greg came off the plane, smiling at the stewardess who was helping him. "Thanks."
"You're welcome, Mr. Sanders." She looked around. "Should we get you a wheelchair?"
"I'll be fine, I've got someone picking me up." She smiled and nodded, letting him go. He walked off, finding Horatio waiting just outside the secure area. He let him hug him, sinking into his body. "I hate politicians."
"Don't we all?" He walked him off. "Bags?"
"Two. Grissom told me to stay down here until I could get cleared for work. That way no one would have any temptation to do something mean." Horatio looked at him. "It was the pot granny's dealer. He decided she was selling again and not cutting her in." Horatio hummed at that. "She turned him in and went with her backup instead since it's her grandson." That got a head shake but a smile. "How's Xander?"
"Fussing. Probably cleaning the house at the moment." He led him out to the hummer, nodding at the transit cops looking in the back. "Mobile lab equipment does help on some scenes."
"What would I need to do to transfer into the lab?" one of them asked.
"A degree in one of the specialty areas if you're going to be a tech. To be a field tech, classes in a speciality and a masters in chemistry or physics. We prefer chemistry with a minor in physics."
"Some schools have programs in forensics. UNLV has one," Greg offered. "You can look at their catalog and find the local equivalents." That got a smile and a nod. "We will warn you it's a tough job. I moved from DNA into the field. It's a hard job with long hours and a lot of frustration now and then. There's a reason the labs don't get the double overtime you guys do if you go over forty of overtime in a pay period. I've had hundred hour weeks out in Vegas as a level one." That got a nod. "But it's a rewarding job."
"I'll look into that. Thank you, sir. You're with the lab out there?" Greg nodded. "Vacation?" he asked, nodding at his shoulder.
"That too," he agreed with a grin. "They'd pout if I didn't come down and look cute for their lab down here. After all, Eric's too old and Ryan's going to be a daddy soon. They can't do cute anymore." The transit cops laughed and let Horatio and Greg go. He grinned at him. "They can't."
"Eric does try. Speed usually snarks at him for it, but he does try." He started the engine and headed off with his boy. "You could have told them."
"I don't want to cause you problems, Horatio."
Horatio stroked his thigh then took his boy's hand. "The city council was joking that they'd put up with me having both of you as long as the lab performed the same way, Greg. So unless our stats slip it's not a real problem for most of the department."
"Yeah but there's a few. There always are." He shifted to look at him. "While I'm here can we go over what I'll need for my firearms qualification?"
"We can and I can do it for you," he promised. "Xander has to renew his license too." Greg smiled at that. "Good boy, Greg. We'll do that in a few days." Greg nodded, giving his hand a squeeze. "He has been fussing since he got back from his run yesterday."
"Xander's good at worrying and fussing, Horatio. I'll be fine and I'll hide behind you if he gets too fussy." That got a smile and a nod. "He ran for five miles?"
"He was frustrated and angry when he got back. He wanted to kill someone. So he took Holly out for a run in the park."
"Poor dog." Horatio chuckled. "When I'm starting to get better I'll go with him."
"He and I jog now and then," Horatio promised. He pulled onto the right street, looking behind him. "Hmm, our newest patrol officer is following us." He pulled in front of their gate and parked for a moment, rolling down the window when the officer paused beside the hummer. "Problems?"
"Your plate's hanging off one screw, Lieutenant. Should we worry about more moves against your boyfriend?" he asked bluntly.
"I'd hope not," he admitted. "Why?"
"There were Feds bothering the detectives today about you guys. I was told to warn you if I saw you."
"I'll call Frank in a moment," he promised. "Thank you."
"Not a problem, sir. Fix your license plate before it falls off." He headed off again.
Horatio used the opener on the gate and drove in, closing it behind him. "I'll have to do that in a few minutes." Greg smiled at him. Xander didn't bounce out to find them so he had a few moments to look - the screw had fallen out, nothing too hard to fix. He walked Greg and his bags inside, finding Xander laying on the floor in the entry. "Xander?" Greg knelt down beside him, checking his pulse. Xander moaned. "Xander?"
"Ran into a wall," he whimpered, holding his head. Greg helped him sit up and he turned to hug him. "You're okay."
"Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?" Xander smiled at that. "Now, let me drop my crap." Xander nodded, getting up with his help, letting them help each other up the stairs. He found a box on the bed with his name on it. "My birthday's not for a week, Xander."
"So?" He turned to kiss Horatio. "The dry cleaner said your suits are going to take an extra few runs through the machine."
"That's fine. I'm off tomorrow by orders of the Chief. He wanted me to keep you out of trouble for some reason?" Xander just grinned. "What are you doing?"
"Facing down one of the people who gives me shit."
"We can do that together."
"We probably should, yeah. Oooh, I talked to the guy you went to for the lab about adding on a real dungeon and an office for you, baby." He gave him a kiss. "He said we can do that."
"Good," Horatio agreed happily. "Did you tell your grandparents?"
"They thought it was a darling idea so I could have the dining room back." Horatio chuckled at that. "He gave me good plans for the addition and a good contractor to call. I'll need to move my herb garden but otherwise it'll be good and it'll look normal and natural to the house."
"Wonderful, Xander." He kissed him again. "Go help Greg open his present." Xander bounced over to do that while he smiled. "Are we adding anything else at the same time?"
"The new gun safe will be down under it. Webber knew someone who builds bunkers so he's putting one in for me. He'll work with the contractor." Horatio gave him a look. "That way we can have the basement back too." He grinned and got to work holding Greg while he opened the present, teasing his neck with kisses and nibbles to make him laugh. Greg saw the clothes and looked at him. "Grandfather said I had to do this luncheon thing and Horatio's refusing to go according to him so you're going with me. That way I don't get into trouble." He gave him a look. "It's a gay function he won't be able to go to but should. I told him I'd go if he helped me pick out the wood cases for the implements in the new dungeon." Greg grinned at that. "I want it to look a bit like the study." He shrugged. "If I have to sell the house at sometime it'll look like a secondary home office that way. Besides, I like heavy woods." He kissed him again. "He also said I had to get you a swimsuit so I got you a tiny, shiny blue one so I can leer at you in it."
Greg gave him a hug. "I'd be happy to go with you, Xander. Why won't Horatio?"
"I've been told I'm testifying that day," Horatio admitted. "Otherwise I would go." Even if he did think that Patrick was being a bit pushy about those things. "You'll have to keep him from being shy and hiding, Greg."
"I can do that," he agreed. He gave Xander a squeeze. "I can't swim with the cast."
"I know. I'll watch and soak up the sun. I am here until I'm cleared for duty."
"Coool," Xander breathed, smirking evilly at him. "That means you can go to the wedding."
"I had plans to go to Tara and Don's wedding."
"Good! Think we can get Calleigh over her fear of tying Daddy down and make them marry?"
"Probably not," Horatio said, shaking his head. He grabbed the ringing phone. "Horatio." He smiled. "Hi, Willow. Yes, Greg's here. No, those came from a package. They're safe to eat. I helped him, Willow. I'm sure. Ask Speed, I'm sure he did have some of his."
"Daddy does have a sweet tooth," Xander agreed, making Greg laugh. "We dropped them and ran after ringing the doorbell." Greg turned to get a cuddle instead. "Until the cast comes off?"
"Until I'm cleared for duty. That might be later."
"It usually means you're in physical therapy for the injury," Horatio told him. He smiled at Willow's babble that they were good. "Good, Willow. Have a good day." He hung up and came to get his own cuddles. He had missed Greg just as much as Xander had. He seemed to talk more to Greg than he did to Xander, especially about work things.
Everyone piled into the meeting for the new lab. That way they could complain up front. Carl looked at them and smiled. "I've brought in the program I designed it on so we can do any switching that needs to be done." That got some smiles. "Can someone get me a bigger monitor so we're not all forced to stare at my laptop's?" Cooper went to find one and hook it up for him. The mayor smiled. "Whenever you're ready for us."
"We can do you first and then deal with regular business. What do you have for us, Mr. Mendoza?"
"I have the new plans for the lab." He put them up onto the screen so they could see.
"My tank's usually built in, metal and water," Calleigh admitted. "Plus I need a separate firing range." He moved to that section. "Hey, I get a corner." He smiled at that. "That works for me," she agreed. "How long?" He put up the measurements. "That's fine. The exemplar cabinet is hung up." The Chief gave her a look. "I had two fires. They've already gutted mine, Chief."
"Fine," he agreed. He saw Speed staring at his. "Problems, CSI Speedle?"
"Trace is a bit tiny." That lab got highlighted. "That's why. The machines stick out more than they need to. You can build them in a bit. Like you would a fridge." That got a nod and it was changed with a few mouse clicks and a few key taps. "That works."
"Switch Trace and the free lab," Horatio ordered quietly. "I do most of my work in Trace. That way I can see my office." That got and the rooms were switched.
"Bathrooms?" Adam asked. They were highlighted. He smiled. "Plus the Decontam shower next to it. Smart design. Even nearer to where those three would need them. Fully ADA compliant?" That got a nod. "Thank you."
"The back ones are only two stalls, one handicap accessible. One sink that's compliant. Since the other has urinals I decided not to put any in this one."
"We can use a stall too," Eric assured him. "Plenty of us do anyway." That got a nod.
"Can we have whoever designed Xander's surveillance system put in ours?" Cooper asked. "His is top notch and work where they're needed." Horatio nodded that he'd get the name. "Thanks, bossman."
"Welcome, Cooper. I agree, we could use it." He stared. "I can accept a slightly smaller office if we need it to be that way." That got a smile and a nod. "Storage?" That was highlighted. Most of the lab was in a good flow pattern. "Evidence one will need a work table." That got adjusted but it made Cooper's lab shrink. "What's above that area?"
"Heating ducts before," Cooper offered. "We could move them upstairs, Horatio. The elevator goes there."
"You need to clean out the old files anyway," the Chief reminded him. "It's your bi-yearly purge year." That got a nod.
"How about we designate one of those closets as an evidence locker for things that are presently in trial?" the mayor asked. "Things you might have to reopen but shouldn't have to get to in a moment's notice to check evidence? It would help with the bi-yearly purges."
"We can do that," Horatio agreed. "We have two too many closets on the lab floor anyway." That got a nod and they were changed. "Expand that one by a few feet please?" It was done and the other one was taken out. "That does work."
"Works for me," Speed agreed.
"Me too," Adam agreed. His second-in-command nodded as well. "Pad the area between the two offices with a closet for supplies like pens and things." It was added. The spare room on the other side was highlighted. "We really don't need a third office," he admitted.
"Not unless we get a swing shift," Horatio agreed.
"She can work in my office, Horatio. Not like I'm in mine as much as you are. You do three times the paperwork I do." That got a nod. He was the lab's head, it was his job. "Any word on Ecklie out in Las Vegas?"
"Ready to throw fits at the Sheriff about what he's doing," he admitted. "He wanted to fire some of the techs for not answering the call to get to Greg's place. Ecklie wanted to retrain them. I told Grissom he should have Mac come out to do the reeducation." That got a few snickers from Eric and Calleigh. "He should," he said with a grin for them. "We won't need that third office, Carl." It got taken out and their offices were nice and large. "You can shrink those. I don't need to be able to hold a boxing match in mine." That got a small grin and he shrunk it back down a bit, adding some extra to Adam's office. "Okay, look it over, people."
"I like mine," Cooper promised. "It's out of the sunlight, which the last one wasn't. You did mark I'd need heavy draw for the computers and stuff?" That got a nod. "There's a working A/C system?" That got a smirk and a nod. "Hallelujah." Eric patted him on the back. "Anytime it goes out I've got to run fans into my computers, Eric."
"With you and QD being there, we shouldn't have to worry about it," Ryan offered. "Having the EDAX machine back there means it can quit messing up everything in the surrounding labs when it runs too."
"And it's not next to mine," Cooper agreed happily.
"Does this suit you?" Mr. Mendoza asked. Everyone nodded and Calleigh gave him a pat to the arm. "Good. Now for the architectural elements. Did anyone not like the last lab design's ones?" Half the people raised their hands. "All the glass?"
"Thin glass," Speed told him. "Most labs are glassed in but that was thin glass. It would've shattered at the first hurricane that shook the building. I'd also like some structure with the glass. Maybe a few real walls here and there."
"That's what I thought since most everyone seemed to like some of the elements of the last lab." He got into that file. "That's how I envisioned it." It was only the main foyer and the first hallway, enough to give them an idea.
"I didn't mind the green hues," Calleigh offered. The others nodded so the colors were changed.
"Walls or other structural things," Speed said, coming over to point. "Here, here, maybe break it up some?"
"That was my second idea." He opened that one and everyone smiled at that once he had changed the colors. "Do we like this one better?" Everyone nodded. It felt airy and open but not too bright in the wrong spots and there were some half walls and a few more real walls. Plus the stairwells looked nicer. He printed out those pictures and saved the floorplans, printing them out. "Here you go. Also a cost estimate." He got into that file for the second design details and handed that over. "Including fixing that horrible accident on the front wall. Horatio said they were going to pay about five million to repair the original problems. That'll come in at eight, which was their original estimate. With overtime to do it faster it'll come in about nine and a half and could be done in as little as a month's time." That got brighter smiles. He handed Horatio something. "Since you said you'd cover the plans."
"Of course." He looked at it and nodded. "More than reasonable. I'll make out the check tonight. It's at home." That got a nod and he closed everything and unhooked his laptop. "Thank you for the speedy and wonderful service."
"I like the lab. You helped me when I needed it." He shook hands and left them alone.
"More than reasonable," the Mayor agreed. "I've already got news of the grant coming through. It'll be transferred down in two day's time. This includes the clean-up effort." Horatio smiled at that. "That leaves us with a month of work to do. Can you stand working in the other lab for that long?"
"As long as half of them are gone we're fine," that supervisor agreed. "We're overcrowded with all of them there for regular shifts."
"We do have money donated to cover any additional vacation time this would need," the Mayor agreed. The Chief looked at him. "It was donated for that purpose directly."
"Oh." He nodded. "That's fine. That'll mean they won't have to take the built-up leave time."
"Some of us need to save up anyway, sir," Ryan pointed out. He got given an odd look. "My wife's six months pregnant. I'm going on leave for the first few weeks after the delivery."
"Good! I like that. It shows a good commitment to your family, Officer Wolfe."
"It'll mean Xander can't fuss his wife into a coma," Speed said dryly. Everyone else nodded and giggled. "We'll work that out back at the lab, sir. That way you guys can go onto other problems. A month?"
"We'll need to take bids," one council member offered.
"I've heard three have been submitted. We'll announce it formally, give them a week. Then we'll decide within 2 days. That'll give them time to place orders before the cleanup is finished." That got a mass of nods. "So that means just over a month. Is that acceptable?"
"More than, sir. Thank you for doing this in such an efficient manner." He stood up and shook hands. "We'll let you get back to the other matters." He left and the others followed him. Now he knew why Xander felt like the Godfather now and then. Speed clapped him on the back and he smiled at him. "It's a good design."
"It is," Natalia agreed happily. "I'm sorry they screwed it up so badly. They weren't supposed to."
"We know, they were idiot feds," Speed agreed. "Fortunately we don't have to work with their sort that often. Agent Elliot," he said, having spotted him. "Problems?"
"A few. You're right, they're idiot feds. We hire to a higher standard at the Treasury." Speed smirked and nodded at that. "We've just flagged six extremely large payments to your son, Speedle. He's not at home."
"He's out with Greg in the park, looking at the statues and fountains. He's trying to figure if he wants to put one outside the addition we're putting on." That got a smile. "From Yemen?"
"Two were. The rest weren't and I'm frankly worried. I've got Deputy Director Fornell and Mr. Young from the State Department in my office."
"Coming," Horatio agreed. "Speed?"
"I'll get the boys and meet you there." That got a nod and they headed off to their respective hummers.
"Looks like manpower was solved for today," Calleigh quipped. The head of that lab nodded. "I noticed your trace one didn't like working with him."
"She called him a grumpy vampire a few times. She's a bit sunny and bright."
"She wears t-shirts with Carebears and believes in the slogans," Eric told her.
"Even Willow's not that perky," Ryan agreed. "Though I did hear she pounced someone and growled."
"We were proud of her for it too," that boss said dryly. "Fine. One of you be on call for cases for us today?" That got a nod and Eric raised his hand. "Thanks, guys. Let's get back to work and we'll figure out who's working what hours later. Frankly, I'm keeping Cooper if I can. You guys can have Tony."
"Fat chance," Eric and Ryan said together.
"I'd still copy the matches for you guys," Cooper teased.
Ryan looked at him. "I'm going to beat Tony the next time he decides it's cute Willow has a mood swing. Then I'm going to lock them in a room together." That got a smirk and a hug from Cooper. "We like you enough to keep you," he agreed. "Let's go. Can we get lunch on the way? Willow packed me bean sprouts and tofu if anyone wants it."
"I do," one of the night shift people said. Ryan nodded she could have it. They filed out to head back, Ryan doing the lunch run for everyone since he was going out anyway.
Speed walked the boys into the Treasury department. "We're the last ones for the conference in Agent Elliot's office."
"He's expecting you, CSI Speedle." She let them sign in and gave them visitor's passes then watched them walk back that way. "I wonder what they're getting into," she mused. "Can't be terrorists. Fornell's not from that section of the FBI." She'd have to ask the secretary back there if she knew anything later on.
Speed tapped then let them go in first. "We're here. I had to make Greg quit playing in the piano fountain." That got a smile from Horatio. "It's fun."
"It is," Xander agreed. "Is it the Yemen people?"
"Two of them are," Fornell said. Xander shifted until he could see the screen. "Do you know any of these people?"
Xander nodded and highlighted a name. "That was Lady Death's other student. I looked through her black book and I remember her putting little hearts around his name and her file on him was pretty thick."
"Okay. I've got someone going through those records so we should find them," Fornell agreed. "Anyone else?"
Xander considered it, frowning some. "That name above it sounds familiar but I don't know why. Or from where. Greg?" He came over to look then shrugged. "Maybe Don would remember?"
"Maybe," he agreed.
Xander called Don. "It's me. Where do I know the name Angela Ducrats-Fairbank from? It sounded familiar but Greg doesn't know." Don typed something in. "Sorry to interrupt your lunch, Uncle Don. Greg's fine by the way." He grinned at Greg. "He said you'd better stay that way or else he'd let Tara spank you."
"Not my fault the pot granny's dealer came after me. It was his for being too stoned to realize my apartment didn't have the pot cloud from under the door." Horatio snickered quietly at that. "Really, worse than before, Horatio. Even the teenagers who sit on the porch upstairs to get high off her excess cloud say it's too much now." Fornell gave him an odd look. "She's seventy, she smokes about a pound and a half a day at the moment. We've got two teenagers who sit above us on the walkway to get high off the cloud that comes out from under her doorway. Horatio got a buzz from ringing my doorbell. Before you ask, we've told them and Horatio complained to make them actually bust her." Xander suddenly giggled. "What?"
"That was the lady in Russia who thought you should be an underwear model according to Mac," Xander told him. Greg snickered at that memory. "Is she a bad guy, Mac?" He grinned. "Thanks." He hung up. "Yes, she's connected to the Russian Mafia. She hates them but she's connected. She thought Greg should become an underwear model after seeing him in a swimsuit and offered him ten grand for a few hours of his time." Horatio leaned on Speed's shoulder, apparently remembering that fit. He shrugged and looked sheepish. "Not your fault, baby. You do look good in a speedo." He kissed him. "As for the last name, not a clue. Honey?" He looked then shook his head.
"Call Lady Heather," Greg said. "I know that name." He took Xander's phone to call. "Sonya, Gregory. No, an odd situation. Is she awake? Is Lyle or Santiago?" He smiled. "Please. Master Santiago, Gregory Sanders. Yes, sir. We're with the Treasury and a deputy director of the FBI... Fornell, sir. Definitely. Looking at huge checks sent to Xander. Like my lab's budget and higher, sir. One name is clicking with me and I think Lady Heather might be able to tell us what field she's in. Lydia Ambrose." He stiffened. "Really? Can I hand you to him, sir? Thank you, sir. Here you go, Deputy Director Fornell."
"Who am I speaking to?" he asked into the phone. The answer made him stiffen. "I see. She is?" He nodded once. "Why would she be gifting Mr. Harris?" He raised an eyebrow. "Really? That's fine then. No, a Angela Ducrats-Fairbank. The boys met her in Russian according to a source who remembered in New York." He nodded once, making mental notes. "For the same reason or otherwise?" He smirked. "Thank you, sir. No, the other was Lady Death's other student. Yes, sir, that one. That's fine. Thank you and I would appreciate that help, sir." He hung up and handed the phone back. "That was a hidden account of Lady Death's."
"Which means Greg gets ten percent," Xander said happily, grinning at Greg. "So you can move away from the pot granny and somewhere safer." Greg grinned at that idea. "Did you put your rent on autodraft?"
"I keep it there," he reminded him, giving him a kiss. "Calm down." Xander nodded, giving him a hug. "Good boy. What're we doing about these?"
"I'll mark them as releasable," Agent Elliot offered, doing that. Then he did another search. "And there's this one still sitting somewhere. Mr. Harris, perhaps we should pick it up?"
"If I did that I'd have to hand it back. It's from a mafia guy. I'm not touching it."
"Fine." He made a note on that. "You should probably send back a nice 'you're too kind but I really can't accept this' letter."
"Already have. He said I needed it anyway. I don't know why." He shrugged. "So I left it there. I'll donate it to a charity or something. If it's cursed I'll donate it to a charity I don't like." That got a look from his father and Horatio. "What? I can do that to the Focus on the Family assholes who send my grandfather threatening letters."
"Has he reported them?" Fornell asked patiently.
Xander looked at him. "They're major campaign contributors. Do you really think anyone's going to bust them? I'm the naive one, Fornell, and even I know they're not going to get busted."
"Probably true," he sighed. He looked at the computer again. "Is that another one backed up?"
"It is and I'm still doing research on it," Agent Elliot admitted. He looked at Xander. "The same route as those two checks that came in around the same time as the one from Vancouver."
"They can send it to the lab for the rebuild." He shrugged. "Any others? Greg should eat."
"Is that like saying the teddy bear has a booboo when a kid has one?" Greg asked. "Because I *know* you didn't have breakfast." Xander gave him a sheepish look. "Come on, we'll go eat, Xander." He walked him out shaking his head. "Thank you."
Horatio looked at the agents. "Anything else we should know about?" Elliot printed it out and handed over the list. "Interesting." He let Speed have it. "Thank you. We're going to have lunch."
"That's fine," Fornell agreed. "Thank him for helping our agents for me, please."
"Why were they watching him?" Speed asked.
"He seems to draw assassins and serial killers. They're hoping he's not starting another cult."
"He didn't start the other one," Horatio offered. "We found out about them afterward."
"Any idea why he draws them?"
"When he was younger and dating women, he dated a vengeance demon," Speed told him. That got a single nod. "He just does. It could be where he's from. We're not sure." He walked out with Horatio. "Meet you at the usual spot?"
"I'm going to get Frank, so wait on us." That got a nod and Speed headed out while Horatio went to pick up Frank and possibly Yelina for lunch. "Frank."
"Horatio." He smiled and motioned him over. "I've got something for you. This was sent to you."
"Continue, please," he said, looking at the envelope. He opened it and stared at it then at the enclosed gift certificate. "I see."
"All I know is that it came with a letter wrapped around it like the donations to the labs did. I had your QD person compare them, same handwriting."
Horatio looked at him. "Either they support us very well or they want us to hand over Xander."
Frank looked at the gift certificate then at him. "Well, you dressed sharp before," he teased.
"Did anyone get the main envelope?"
"I sealed it for your boys. Gave it to Wolfe." Horatio pulled out his phone. "He said it had nothing, Horatio. But.. since Mayper couldn't find anyone last night before he left he dropped stuff off for you guys with me. It's in the office." He led him that way, letting him see the boxes. "All yours."
"Help me carry it down so I can scream?"
"Sure." He handed him half the stack and got the rest, but Yelina leaned in. "Get the manilla envelopes out of the filing cabinet and anything we drop please?"
"Sure." She did that, carrying them down to the back of the hummer. "What's all this?"
"Stuff Mayper's had in the closet for a while," Frank admitted. "He said a few he had forgotten to hand over to Xander." He shrugged. "I don't know why. He couldn't find anyone so he sent it to me last night before I could leave."
Horatio sat down to open one of the manila envelopes, frowning at it. The front had his name on them. "These are to me?"
"Yup. He said bribes to get you to dump Xander."
Horatio looked at him. "Why is it they weren't interested before?"
"I don't know, Horatio, but apparently you're one hot ass in the city," Frank teased.
Horatio shook his head with a sigh. "I was before, but then I got older." He put everything back. "I'll let the boys help me later."
"You might call his grandparents first, see if they've got more."
"They're busy with Don and Tara's wedding. I'm going to lunch with Speed. Want to join us, you two?"
"Sure," Yelina agreed happily.
"I could eat. You're in a good mood so the lab's getting done when?"
"The plans were accepted today by everyone. Bids are only open for a week. Then we'll have about a month's wait." That got a smile. "Get in you two. I'll drive." He got off the back and closed the door, stopping to pick up the gift certificate that had fallen. "I'm wondering how she knew about the skunk Thumper ran into."
"Skunks in Miami?"
"A neighbor's pet, Frank." That got a shudder. He got in to drive, Yelina got into the backseat, and Frank got into the passenger's seat. "We're heading to the usual spot."
"You can even buy," Frank teased.
"I can." He backed out and headed that way, glaring at a box that was on the ground. "What is that one?" She got out to get it, then went to give it to someone inside. "Interesting." She got back in and he continued on. "Did it come with a catalog?"
"Yup, but Ian has it. He walked off muttering and frowning. Don't know why," he admitted.
"I'm about to swear," Horatio admitted.
"Why did they send you things?" Yelina asked. "I know about the family curse on Xander from Ray Junior."
"They're sending him things so he leaves Xander," Frank told her. "Some want him, some want him out of the way. They're bribes."
"But that's dumb," she pointed out. "No one would do that."
"If it wasn't love they might," Horatio corrected. "They think it's an infatuation. They're wrong, but they think it is." He turned a corner and parked since there was a spot on the end of the row. "Better. Should we tell Speed about those?"
"I'd hope we can see the hummer," Frank said, getting out. He locked his door. Horatio took the keys and locked his, letting Yelina get out. She smiled at him for that bit of help. He locked the other doors then made sure the gate was locked before heading inside. "We're with Speedle. Scruffy, dark hair?" That got a nod and the host led them to a table overlooking the street and both hummers. "Mayper brought over stuff."
"Charming. I got you water, guys." They nodded and looked at the menus. "Hey, Horatio, look, a punk with a spray can." Horatio got up and went to drive the little punk off. "So, we were right and Mayper was holding some back?" he asked quietly.
"He said his wife was. She was jealous. At least until he got another dead animal the other day. Alexx has it and it came from the same spot as the bunny?"
"I'm going to be calling LA later then," he assured him. A cruiser pulled up and Horatio put the sobbing young man into the back with a shove then came back across the street. "Wonder if he actually tagged them." Horatio sat down a moment later. "He get to use the paint?"
"No. He's still in trouble. I found him relieving himself on your hummer's tire." He smiled at the waiter. "I'd like the chicken caesar salad, extra dressing." That got a nod and he wrote it down.
"That sounds good," Yelina agreed. "I'll have the same and some tea?"
He nodded. "Sweet, brewed, or unsweetened?"
"Sweet is fine," she said with a smile. He nodded and took their menus, looking at Frank.
"I should be a good boy."
"You're not a boy, Frank."
"I thought you said we'd never grow up," Speed teased back.
"You won't. He has. When are you two going to become official?"
"I asked. She refused. She said if I asked again she was going to move out. So I'm leaving it alone. Otherwise I'll have to sleep in the new dungeon going in at Xander's until he gets her back for me and makes her beg to take me back and marry me."
Frank gave him an odd look then looked at the waiter. "Give me the steak and mushroom salad." That got a nod. "Unsweetened tea please."
"Give me that and a side of onion petals," Speed said, handing his over. "And a refill." The waiter took his glass and walked off. "You didn't know Xander was adding onto the house?"
"I heard he was thinking about it."
"He's putting on a two story addition next to the office. That'll give Horatio an office and it'll be a dungeon downstairs."
"Plus the bunker for the sword and other collections," Horatio agreed. Someone came over and looked at him. "Gordon. A light day?"
"Horatio. Did Mayper's wife finally give over stuff she was hiding?" Frank nodded. "Good. We'll bring over the rest of the stuff we've gotten and give Ian a copy of the log- ins." He walked off after patting him on the shoulder. "You've got a few very pretty suits."
"So they're really pressing hard," Speed teased. Horatio showed him the gift certificate. "Huh. Well, you'll have something new and pretty to wear to Don's wedding then."
"I'm thinking about bringing him down to see if he needs a new one," Horatio admitted. "Him and his father both." He texted that to Don, who squealed back. "He's happy today." He put it back into his pocket. "How long was the log?"
"Fairly. You'd have to ask Ian, Horatio. I know both those envelopes are filled. I sorted them myself last night." He sipped his water. "If you guys decide to let Mayper go, my wife might not mind doing it for the boy. She likes to threaten folk."
Horatio looked at him. "I'm thinking about letting the lawyers handle it."
"Three more years," Speed reminded him. That got a silent nod. Yelina looked at him. "The family curse only lasts for four years, Yelina." She shook her head. "Really. Then it'll fade off. Probably without too many problems since he's getting all the 'why don't you want mes' now."
"I can only hope so," Horatio agreed. "Plus that the IRS is very understanding." Speed nodded at that. "Did you hear that Xander drug Ian in with him the last time he went?" Frank snickered. "It helped. He's paying taxes out of the auction proceeds." He sipped his water, smiling when his salad was brought. "Thank you." He put down the others then disappeared again. Horatio tasted his then added some cheese from the bowl he had put down. "I do miss having a standard lunch now and then."
"You and me both," Speed agreed. "But it's nice that we've got a light load at the moment."
"Fear of the Wrath of Caine," Frank teased.
"That is a rumor you started, Frank."
"Not really, Horatio. I got it off one of the rookie patrol guys."
Horatio snorted and looked out at the hummer, then back at Speed. "We have to go through things."
"You need the log for the IRS," Speed reminded him.
"I know. We'll get it from Ian and we'll notate it like you would evidence. Did she even check these for the possibility of sending them back?"
"I don't know," Frank admitted. They watched as Gordon got out of a truck and someone opened the back of the hummer so they could load in some other boxes and a few large bags. "They have hummer keys?"
"No." He texted Gordon, getting back an answer. The guards finished loading the back of the hummer, then shut it. It wouldn't close, making Horatio wince. They shoved something back inside and shut it again, this time it stuck. Horatio sighed and ate another bite of his salad. "I do not like this family curse."
"Maybe if Abby is pregnant it'll be a girl," Speed offered. "That way she'll follow Lady Heather."
Yelina shook her head quickly. "I just saw a toddler in a leather collar and diaper cover." Speed and Frank both snickered.
"Not until they're potty trained, Yelina. Leather's hard to get clean and diapers would ruin it," Horatio assured her. She gave him an odd look. "Xander said so."
She checked his forehead. "If you have today off, you should be taking a nap, Horatio."
"After lunch." He went back to eating, watching his tailgate pop open.
Speed took his keys and went to fix it by loading some of the stuff into the back seat to relieve the pressure. Especially the suits since one was in the way of the latch. Speed found the envelope with his name and looked then snickered. He slammed the tailgate, getting a wince from Horatio for the rough treatment of his beloved hummer. Speed turned and found one of the nightshift lab's people. "Present giving people. Someone gave H Armani and Ralph Lauren to get him to dump Xander."
"Wonderful. Can he send them back?" Speed shrugged. "I wish you luck with that stalker issue. Where are you guys eating lunch?" He pointed. "You know you're both off, right?" He nodded. "Can we have your hummer? I know we won't get Horatio's." He dug out the keys and handed them over. "Thanks, Speed. Have a good afternoon off." She went to repossess the hummer, making sure no presents were in it. She found a soda and tossed it to him then headed back to work. Someone else had went to get Eric's hummer. It wasn't fair. Since the felony lab was working with them they should have access to the hummers. The boss could complain all she wanted - she was not stupid enough to ask Horatio Caine for his back so they could use it, but the rest should be fair game. Right?
Speed walked back in. "Sister Melody needed the hummers back."
"At least she didn't take mine."
"We're going to have to take yours back," Speed admitted. "We can move the stuff out of the way for a few minutes then head to Xander's?" Horatio nodded, taking a bite of his dessert. "Feel better?"
"I don't have the urge to scream," he admitted. "It's wonderful." Speed grinned and got his own dessert, letting the other two shake their heads. "You're off?"
"Both of us and Eric probably. I know he had one checked out yesterday and probably didn't leave it there."
"You guys know nightshift at your lab complains about never having enough hummers, right?" Frank teased.
"We know. We hear them complain every few weeks," Speed agreed. "They can file for a grant to buy a few more. We did."
Yelina smiled at him. "It'll work itself out. Maybe one of them will buy Horatio his own so he doesn't have to share."
"Don't even suggest that out loud, Yellna," Horatio warned.
"Yeah, with his luck he'll wake up to three of them in his driveway some morning," Frank agreed.
Horatio moaned and ate another bite of the chocolate cake. "Frank," he complained when he had swallowed.
"Sorry, H," Speed agreed, smirking at him. "You'd rather have a new bike?"
Horatio looked at him. "No thank you. I feel safer in the hummer."
Yelina patted him on the hand even though she was giggling. "It'll be all right, Horatio."
"Three more years before they give up," Horatio agreed. He finished his cake and got the bill. They walked back out to the hummer, going to restack the back seat so it could be used for a few minutes. Frank and Yelina got into the back. Speed got up front and Horatio got in to drive. He dropped the detectives off and headed back to Xander's. He found Greg staring at the door. "What?" he asked, getting out of the hummer. "Letter from someone?"
"Yeah. They've got Thumper," he said, handing it over. "Not a clue who they are since the dog's inside in the study." He looked at the back of the hummer. "Why does it look like the hummer's filled with boxes and bags? Are you moving in today?" he asked, sounding happy about the prospect.
"For the holidays, Greg. This is stuff Mayper and the two grandparents had stored."
"There's a whole row of suits," Speed admitted with a grin. "Help us carry then we can mark things off the log list."
"Sure, that way we have something to do today," he agreed. They got to work hefting, making Xander whimper. "Most of them are for him, Xander. Calm down."
"Why?" he asked bitterly, heading for the kitchen. There was a tube of cookie dough with his name on it. He had put the post-it onto the tube himself that morning since he knew he was going to pick up stuff from Gordon and the family out there. He came back with a large chunk and Greg opened his mouth so he shared for the price of a kiss. "Do I need to help?"
"You could," Horatio agreed. "We'll let you look people up for us." Xander gave a weak smile at that. "Some of this Mayper's wife hid in the closets and he only found it last night while they were packing."
"Not like I care if she stole it or not, Horatio." He went to turn on his computer, which woke his dog. "Daddy Horatio has boxes, Thumper," he offered. The dog licked his hand then went to investigate the new play areas. He sat down to read his email, sending one to Lady Heather about the new pile of presents. Then he went to check the hummer, coming back with the box that had fallen out after he closed the tailgate. "Here, you dropped it," he complained. He tossed it to Speed. Thumper growled at the box. "Huh. He only reacts that way to blood." Horatio took the box outside to deal with it, and they all watched as he hurried away and let it explode. "Huh. Someone else I get to main and destroy." He went to look up the name on the return label. It might not be the right person but it gave him something to do. Horatio came in, giving him a hug. "I'm fine. Just pouting."
"I went into shock," he admitted. He gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Keep Thumper inside today. Greg found a note on the door saying someone had kidnaped him."
"Yeah, I sent them off begging and whining earlier," he admitted. "The Shift Supervisor was more than happy to come get the officer who had done that." He gave him a look. "Once he was down I even let Thumper have him for a few until his boss got there. The boss was not happy." Horatio walked off shaking his head to tell the others.
"Where was I?" Greg called from the living room.
"Getting groceries, baby."
"Oh, okay." He nodded at that. Speed shook his head quickly, going back to sorting into who they were meant for. Greg even got his very own stack this time. "Now I know why Xander has a love/hate thing going about this. It's nice that they like me, but man!" He looked at the first thing. No name, no return address, nothing on it but the address to the house by Star Island and his name below the Fed Ex tracking bar. He went to get his laptop and log onto the Fed Ex tracking site so he could trace it back. Then he sat down with a notebook to deal with tracing it back. The address came up 'no such address' by the state's databases. But it did list a name on the account. So he noted that down and what it was, then bagged the wrapping in a regular kitchen storage bag. No sense wasting the more expensive evidence bags on these. Horatio smiled at him and Speed nodded at his style, moving to do their own tracking searches. Greg's phone rang so he awkwardly pulled it out. "I keep putting into the wrong pocket," he complained, answer it. "It's me." He smiled. "Hi, Nick. Dealing with the presents someone sent me to make me dump Xander. Yeah, those sort. Why?" He blinked. "Really? How much of my stuff was damaged?" He smirked. "I was going to move anyway. Thanks, man. Sure, storage is fine. Thank you, Nick." He hung up. "The pot granny set herself on fire by sleeping while smoking. One of my walls went up too. Most everything's fine, just my tv and a few plants that aren't."
"You did need to move somewhere with better security," Speed agreed. "You can hunt online while you're down here and move the day before you go back on shift." That got a grin and a nod, and Greg moved onto the next present of his. He only had a few so he moved to help Horatio with his, whistling at the pretty suits. "He can't send those back. He tried the last few, they wouldn't take them," Speed assured him.
"Someone will be pretty for a very long time," Greg said, teasing Horatio's calf, earning a small smirk for it. "What? I know I'm shameless and I revel in it." Horatio and Speed both laughed at that. "I do. So, can I help you try them on?"
"You can," he agreed. "Later." Greg nodded and got to work notating what they were and which store they had come from. One thing got an interested look. "Why did you get a lab-created, ruby-studded dog dish?"
"I'm hoping it's to treat Thumper," he said dryly, looking it over. "No, it has your name on it." He handed it over with a smile. "Apparently they think you need a leash, Greg."
"Not hardly. Even though I do look pretty in a collar." He put it aside after noting it down. He felt Speed staring. "Raves. I keep my key in it." That just got a nod and Speed went back to work while he grinned at Horatio. "Can we go out tonight?"
"Are you able to dance with the broken arm?" Horatio teased.
"I won't be doing too much getting low but I can try."
"Then we can go." He stole a kiss. "After we do this and have dinner." They nodded and got back to work. "Speed?"
"You guys need guards, Horatio. One of us has to go. Otherwise they might take one of you guys instead of the dog tonight." He leaned over to look toward the office. "Did Ian show up, Xander?"
"Phil did. It's Ian's day off. He thought I shouldn't come in for lunch for a while."
"We'll see," Horatio noted. He looked at the next suit. "Apparently I'm shorter and fatter." He put it aside. At the very least the store might let him exchange it for the right size. If not, he could donate it to charity.
Greg held up a sapphire dildo. "Someone went to a lot of trouble."
Speed looked then shrugged. "Probably really expensive, but hey, we're helping wipe out people with bad taste," he said happily. "Maybe we can send that to Aiden with the guy's name? That way she can have a talk with them about their bad taste?"
Horatio looked at him then reached over to feel his forehead. "Are you feeling all right, Speed? You're not usually that mean."
"It's a sapphire dildo, Horatio. They deserve it."
"True, but you're still usually not mean enough to sic Aiden on someone. Calleigh. Eric's sisters. Not usually Aiden."
"I could sic Stella on 'em," he offered with a sweet smile. "Or Mac."
"I'd like to see Mac go talk to someone about the sapphire dildo," Greg snickered. "Have someone film his face and stuff."
"He's went to talk to a few others," Horatio admitted. "I think Xander's paying him for it."
Xander leaned in. "Of course I am. Is that what I think it is?" Greg held it up. "I know a club we could use that as an accessory at." He headed for the kitchen. "Anyone want a drink?"
"Please," Speed called. Xander brought a soda out for him and juices for the other too then took his cookie dough chunk back into the office with his soda. "Do you need more?"
"Do you want me to start screaming in rage?" Xander countered.
"Why would you?" Horatio said.
"Because someone direct deposited money into my bank account again!"
Horatio went to look, letting Xander show him. "Any idea where it came from?"
"I called the bank to ask, they said it was locked. I think it's the mafia person because I wouldn't take his gift." He leaned against Horatio's stomach. "Can I hide and never come out again?"
"We'll do what we can," he soothed, stroking through his hair. He looked at the balance then at him. "I thought you had more."
"I put more into the retirement account."
"Oh. That's reasonable." He gave him a kiss and went back to work. Then he leaned back in. "Greg wants to go clubbing tonight." Xander grinned at that. "We'll go after dinner." He went back to work again.
Xander got back to work on his accounts. Speed came in to fax stuff to the office. "Phil's on today."
"I heard." He gave him a hug. "You okay?"
"I'm not really sure."
"Okay." He gave him a kiss on the head and took the pages back, putting them into the log book. "Want to come in with the deposit slip for the cash and stuff?"
"Yup." Xander groaned but came in to do that. They watched the totals be noted and calculated with the laptop's calculator. This time Horatio got more. It was a nice change.
Xander looked over with a smile a few weeks later when he saw Horatio come in. "The addition's done."
"Good." He snuck a kiss. "Can we see?"
"Sure. Is Greg still here? He got called earlier by Grissom."
"He's to report tomorrow night. He should be around here somewhere." Xander nodded and led him past the office doorway to the new addition. It was a beautiful entry to it with an external door as well. There was a double set of doors and a staircase in front of them. "Sound control?" he asked.
"Fully soundproofed so you don't have to see what I'm doing." That got a small smile and they went up to check out Horatio's office. It was subtly decorated in creams, blues, and greens. It had lighter wood than he had used downstairs for the bookshelves and desk, plus some very nice throw rugs. Horatio sat down in his new chair and moaned. Xander grinned. "Like it?"
"I do. I could sleep in it."
"Your couch pulls out if you need it to," he promised with a smile. "But you'd have to be really mean for me to kick you out of bed." That got a smile and they went down to look at the new dungeon. The equipment was put into built-in armoire looking cabinets. The straps were already up and in the configuration he used most often. The new equipment he hadn't had room for before was spread around as well. A new spanking bench. The new furry tube. A good chair for Xander to sit in and watch when he needed to. A sturdy looking massage table. The whole floor was done in a wipeable vinyl padding. It didn't echo your footsteps at all. It matched all the equipment and it was easily cleaned and sanitized if necessary. The first aid kit was in prominent display with a small cabinet below it for heating creams, bruise creams, and the numbing gels that they used now and then. "The surveillance equipment is already up and been tested." He grinned as Greg came in, giving him a kiss. "Do you like?"
"I adore this," Greg admitted, looking around. "I like this a lot. Lady Heather needs a room like this at the Dominion." He gave them both hugs. "Grissom needs me back, guys. Even though I'm not fully cleared yet."
"We'll miss you," Horatio promised, giving him a kiss. Greg smiled. "Should we celebrate your last night down for a while?" He nodded and let Xander have him while Horatio went to change into more casual clothes. He came back and found Greg in the furry tube. "Can you teach me?" he requested.
"I can," Xander agreed happily. "First go get a phone extension? My cell's in the office and I haven't put in the cordless I want yet." Horatio nodded, going to get that. "Gregory?"
"I'm good with that. I was naughty today," he admitted. He wiggled and Xander gave him a look. "I'm being impertinent," he said with a smirk.
"And you're gonna pay for it too," he promised sweetly. Horatio came back with the phone and plugged it in, then put Xander's cell in the equipment cabinet beside his. "He's being a bossy little sub, Horatio. He truly wants spanked tonight."
"I've never spanked for more than fun and my nephew stealing candy."
"Not much different than your nephew, but you can hit harder." He led Greg over to the spanking bench and got him strapped down, then pulled Horatio over to teach him how to do it properly. Spanking Greg, the fun family activity. Even Thumper came in to watch from the massage table. He checked the straps, letting Horatio see how they should be. Then he stroked a hand down his back. "We'll start medium today instead of warming you up with my hand." Greg whimpered. "You were what?"
He went to find the smaller paddle, bringing it back with two other thicker, heavier paddles and a cane. He held the smallest one down. "Kiss it," he ordered. Greg kissed the paddle then closed his eyes and put his head down, facing so he could watch Xander's backside. "Count." He spanked him then ran a hand over the flesh.
Xander smiled. "Good boy." He spanked him a few more times, heating up the firm flesh. Greg kept count and he pulled Horatio over, letting him have the paddle. "Firm grip. Like playing ping pong with his butt." Horatio nodded so he stepped back, looking at the next paddle. Horatio swung. "Harder, Horatio. He'll be taking more than love taps in a few minutes time." Horatio looked at him. "Gregory!"
"Six, sir." He shifted. "Purple light!" Xander nodded Horatio back and he looked at him. "The padding sucks, Master." Xander got him adjusted with a pillow under his hips, making him smile when he was strapped back in. "Thank you, Master. I'm green again."
"I take it that means I can turn him cherry red?" Horatio asked, swatting him again.
Xander came back over and moved Horatio, picking up the next size of paddle. Greg kissed it and he spanked him.
Greg almost yelped. "One, Master. Thank you, sir."
"Good boy, Gregory. Fall for me." He nodded at Horatio to go stroke through his hair while he administered six more precise swats. By the time he was done, Greg was back in his mind. Horatio was watching. Greg was still doing as he was told. Horatio came up to take the next size paddle. "That one you need to use an upward swing or you could damage him," he said quietly. Horatio nodded. "He kisses it." Horatio held it down and Greg kissed it. Then he swung it at him. Greg moaned and tried to spread his legs, giving the count. "Good boy." He nodded at Horatio to move on. Six swats later Horatio had him kiss it again and Greg was whimpering and harder than he probably should be. "Gregory, what was your sin?"
"Impudence. I was a pushy boy. I asked to be spanked," he moaned. Xander put the cane in front of him and he looked at him. Greg looked at him. "Here?"
"No, not here. I'd hurt you." He got him unstrapped, checking all the areas the softened leather had touched. "Standing or in the swing?"
"Swing?" Greg begged. "Please, Master? I've been good for the most part." He fell to his knees and nuzzled his crotch. "Please?"
Xander looked at him. "Are you sure? If I put you into the swing, you're going to go through that whole process."
Greg gave him an adoring look. "Please?"
Xander nodded, getting Greg up and standing. "Thank Horatio properly."
"Thank you, sir." He knelt and kissed his cock, then crawled after his master. "Master, on my stomach?"
"Is that a request?"
"No, sir," he said, looking down. Xander fixed the straps the way he wanted. He got Greg into them and hitched his hands, wrists crossed, above his head. His ankles were strapped to the floor straps. He moved the two hip straps further out, lowering his hips down. "Comfortable?" Greg shook his head. "If I put them back up we'll have to go from your shoulders down."
"Fine." Xander put the hip straps back up, making him barely able to stand on the floor. He walked around. "You've been good so you get three total requests. Being spanked, and?"
"The suede whip?" he begged. "Please, Master? I want the soft one." Horatio got it for him and he moaned. "A cat'o'nine tail," he whimpered. Horatio looked at him. "I like that. Please?"
"That's two requests. What's the third?"
"More," he agreed, knowing what that meant. He put the cane back and the paddles aside so he could clean them later. He brought back a soft, long whip, letting Greg see it and then kiss it. "Move, Horatio."
"Yes, Tim." He got out of the way, watching as Xander laid ten precise welts down the center of Greg's back. He took the whip when Greg started to snuffle. Then Xander brought him over. "Over that?"
"That won't mark him and he wants it," Xander said quietly. "Kiss." Horatio let Greg see it, letting him inhale the scent before kissing it. "Good boy, Greg. Last one." Greg whimpered, looking at him. "Last one," he ordered. He got out of Horatio's way. "Do what you need to."
Horatio let it stroke down Greg's back. Once down, once up. Then he laid a gentle stinging swat on him. He spread it around, trying not to hit the other welts. He slowly built up, watching as the skin redended but didn't welt up like before. Xander stilled his hand and he ran a hand over the reddened, warm skin, earning a shiver from Greg. Xander kissed him then Greg, who tried to shift again. Horatio went to check his rear. He found the cream Xander used and spread it over the bruises and welts. The shiny lotion soaked in, leaving him soft and not as sore. It also made him hiss and flex his cheeks when he worked it into his ass. Horatio teased the globes, then between them. He found a small pimple and popped it for him.
Greg wiggled a bit and he watched Xander talk to Greg, getting a lot of loving looks, but what he wanted was back here. He leaned down to sniff at the skin. It smelled like light roses in spring. Greg tensed his butt again and he spread more lotion out onto his fingers. He used it to tease the flexing hole. Greg whimpered and tried to spread his legs again. But this was good for him. He got him partially stretched. Enough to give him some burn later but not enough to hurt him. He slicked himself up, hissing when the numbing cream soaked into his cock. Then he shoved himself in. Greg moaned and tried to shift his hips. Horatio grabbed the wiggling hips, holding them still. He moved his feet to make sure Greg's legs couldn't spread with the small give the straps gave him. He worked himself faster and harder, making Greg beg and plead, making him beg and plead him instead of Xander. It was a beautiful sound and he came when Greg cried his name out in pleasure. He looked at the sweaty, hard body underneath him. He hadn't gotten off.
Xander came back with a plug, sliding it in while he kissed Horatio. "Good?" he teased.
"Very good," he moaned. "You don't do this for everyone?" Xander shook his head. "Thank you."
"I have you. I don't need to have my clients that way. Greg is special." He walked back to Greg's head. "Help me free him." Horatio got him free, helping Greg get onto his back once Xander finished adjusting a few of the straps. Greg's legs went into the air and were hitched onto the straps that held up his hips. His arms were still above his head, still had the wrists crossed, but they weren't hitched down. Xander came over to stroke a hand over Greg's stomach. Greg shivered, staring at them. Xander pulled on a glove, going back to stroking the sweaty skin. "Greg?" Greg whimpered. "Tell me what your word is?"
"Ecklie," he moaned, trying to shift his hips up.
"Ah!" Xander chastised. "Stillness." He removed his hand. Greg stilled himself. "Better." He went back to teasing him with the soft, slightly furry feeling glove. Greg arched up again. "One more and it's ten spanks," he said coolly. "Do we have to strap your hips down like we did at first?"
"No, Master Tim," he said weakly. "I'll do my best. May I please have some more?" he begged. Xander looked at him. "I'll be a good boy. I promise I will." Horatio took the glove to stroke him. He sobbed as the pressure in his balls got overwhelming. "Master!"
"Shh," he ordered. "Not until I order, Gregory." Greg swallowed and nodded. He shared a look with Horatio. "Tell me when he's at his limit," he said quietly, staring at his mate.
Horatio smiled and went back to teasing him. "We should shave him one of these days."
"He was when I first got him. All his body hair was gone and his hole was clean."
Horatio smiled at that but got back to his torturing Greg with the soft touches. Greg was still sobbing with need but he heard the hitch in his breath, saw the twitch, and stopped. Xander smiled his approval. "Can we clean him up?"
"We can." He unstrapped Greg's body, earning a begging look. He hauled him up and swatted him. "Horatio's going to clean you up."
"Yes, Master, thank you for humoring me, Master." He looked at Horatio, taking the hand he held out. He walked behind him, kneeling in the 'cleaning room' while Horatio got things ready. He saw the razor and shivered. "Thank you, sir."
"You're welcome, Greg. I want to see you naked in front of me and cleaned out." He got everything ready and snapped his fingers, something Xander did when Greg was on his knees around the house. He stood up and looked around. Horatio pulled a bench over and pointed. "There. Hands and knees." Greg got onto his hands and knees, head down. Horatio ran a hand over the red back and butt. "Tell me if it hurts." Greg nodded, putting his head down. Horatio removed the plug and ran another hand over his rear before sliding in the tube with the plug on the tip. He inflated it so it couldn't fall out then got to work with the shaving cream on Greg's back and legs. "How do you usually shave?"
"A few, sir."
"You could ask."
"I live in another state," he said, looking back at him. "Sir, the water's not running?" Horatio smiled and started it, getting a small smile. "Thank you, sir. I look forward to helping train you, sir." He put his head back down when Horatio spanked him by hand. He moaned, spreading his legs some. Four swats later and Horatio went back to shaving him. He felt the water stop and stayed still, mentally counting while he flexed his stomach muscles to help the enema along. Horatio finished up and wiped his legs and back off, then moved to stroke his back and hips. "Thank you, sir," he whispered.
"You're welcome, Gregory." He kissed him just above his left hip. He reached around to stroke Greg's cock and tease his stomach. "Good boy." He kneaded his stomach gently, watching him for adverse reactions. "How often did you do this for Lady Heather and Master Tim?"
"Before I went, sir. That way I wouldn't disgrace them with my dirtiness."
"Good." He led him over to the toilet, pulling the plug and letting him release it while he refilled the bag. He watched Greg's progress then got him up and cleaned him up before flushing it. He looked. "Xander, water in here?" he called. Xander came in and turned the control valve for the toilet. It ran and he smiled, sneaking a kiss. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He smiled at Greg, stroking his cheek, getting his hand leaned against. "When you're done, you're coming out and I'll finish your spanking by hand." Greg nodded, swallowing at that. "Horatio, I want him nearly as desperate when he comes back out."
"Yes, dear." He took another kiss and got Greg back onto his hands and knees. He plugged the poor guy again and let the water run. Xander came over to help Greg onto his side so he could shave his front, getting a smile. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He looked at Greg's cock. "I always thought you looked naughty shaved, Gregory. You looked a lot younger and more innocent. I almost felt dirty." He walked out, going to prepare what he'd need.
Horatio smiled at him. "We'll see, won't we?" He went back to shaving Greg's front as best he could. By the time he was done with his legs, the water had stopped so he took the opportunity to play and tease him some more. He let Greg up finally and watched him relieve the pressure again. Then he came over to clean his pubic area, chest, and armpits.
"I almost feel feminine, sir," Greg said quietly.
"I can find you a bra if you wanted to go that way," he offered. Greg shook his head quickly. "Are you sure?"
"If you want." He finished shaving him and ran the water tube directly into him this time. Then he moved to play with the fresh, newly bared, sensitive skin. Greg was whimpering and trying hard not to shift. "Spread them for me, Gregory." Greg slowly shifted his legs out some to give him more access. Horatio got down to search for stray hairs. The few he found he got cleaned up then he oiled him down. Greg whimpered so he teased his stomach. "Too much?" Greg nodded. "Ten more seconds." He moved to turn off the water, making Greg moan. "Good boy." He came back to play with him, earning a look. "Yes, I'm playing." He spanked him five times in quick succession. Greg tensed up and he could see his cock twitch. He stroked a finger up the underside. "Come." Greg sighed and came with a groan. "Good boy." He went back to his playing. Greg was good at recovering and it was fairly soon that he got to let him clean up and relieve the pressure. Then he wiped him down with a washcloth. Greg was starting to get hard again. "On me, Greg." Greg looked at him. "Mouth." Greg went to his knees and Horatio saw how naughty being naked made him. He definitely looked younger and more innocent as he knelt there and got to work on his cock. He ran a hand through the dark blond hair, teasing and guiding him. "Go down." Greg did it for him and he moaned. Xander came back to watch and he smiled. "He's very good."
"He is." He came in and pulled Greg to his feet, making him bend over so he could check him. "Maybe we should do another rinse?"
"No need," Horatio assured him. He pulled out of the welcoming mouth and smiled. "I promise I'll get him back up there."
"Do so. I can watch." He walked them back out, pointing at the sling. "Use it." Greg went eagerly into it, wondering what Horatio was going to do to him. He found out Horatio had an oral streak that was good enough to make him scream, pant, and beg the Goddess in pleasure. Horatio finished rimming him and pulled back, taking one last kiss of his hole. "Very pretty," Xander soothed. He pulled Greg out. "Bend. Let him see." Greg leaned against a wall, feet spread. He got to work with his hand, making Greg count the swats. His butt was going to be burning on the flight tomorrow but oh well. He heard a stutter in the count and hit him harder. "What was that?"
"Twenty, Master," he moaned.
"Let him come," Horatio whispered in Xander's ear. "I'll have your ass while he recovers, after his cuddles." Xander smiled and nodded. "Come when you can't hold it anymore," Horatio ordered. Xander kept spanking until he came and then he had to catch Greg when his knees gave. They walked him up to their bedroom, putting him between them. Greg was cuddled on both sides, not minding at all when his pants or Xander's pants hit the sore spots. Xander let him spread the cream over his butt and back again, making him a happy boy. They finished babying him until he was grinning his goofy grin again then he pulled Xander over Greg's body to kiss and fondle him. "Some day I want to clean and shave you the same way, Xander. Without the spanking," he said at the look he got. Xander grinned and dove back in for another kiss. "Greg, can I have the lube?" The numbing cream was handed over with a wicked smirk. Horatio winked back and got to work on Xander's ass. He got him as stretched as he had Greg then flipped them around until Xander was on all fours under him and he was ready to pounce.
He shoved his way in and Xander whimpered under him, letting him ride him as hard as he wanted. The numbing cream was going to prolong it but not that much. He leaned down to nip Xander's shoulder and neck, marking him. It was important that others knew he was his. He sped up, his hips nearly snapping with how hard he was pushing into his boyfriend's body. Xander whimpered and made pleading noises. Very pretty noises. He reached around and got his cock for him and it was all good when Xander came in his hand with a growl. "So hot," he whispered in his ear. "So very hot. You shared it with me and I loved it. So very hot." Xander went limp and tipped his head off to the side. "My mate." He bit him again then came at the taste of his blood. He collapsed and cuddled Xander, letting Greg get his other side so he could lick him clean. They cuddled and got Xander calmed down and sleepy. He looked at Greg, getting a smile back. "Rare?" he whispered.
"I keep it very rare," he promised. Horatio gave him a kiss over Xander's shoulder. "Thank you."
"Welcome, Greg. We're in this together. Remember that." He stole a second kiss and they went back to cuddling their boy. He was a great master and lover. He'd be wearing them out in the morning. Like usual.
Horatio walked into the borrowed lab the next morning flexing his hand. "Kitchen accident?" Speed asked.
"Spanking Greg. He got called home."
"Hmm. Hope he doesn't have to crawl on a scene tonight. My son spanks hard and I'm sure you do. Did Gordon call you?"
"I expected one after we sent over the information log and I haven't heard back yet."
"Me either. I'll go out at lunch." That got a nod and he took the folder to look over, still working the sore hand so it wouldn't cramp up again. Speed gave him a knowing look. Horatio gave him one back and went back to work. They worked most of the morning, getting called out for a new robbery since they were subbing in for that lab's people so they could have some time off as well. The robbery was easily solved, he found the guy hiding in the basement behind some boxes. The patrol officer who hadn't cleared the scene wasn't happy when he drug him into his boss's office and left him there with the file, but oh well. It wasn't going to be a good day for anyone. He tried to call Gordon but got brushed off for a little while with the claim of 'problems at the house' and left it there. They'd be getting with the rest of the family shortly anyway. They were due out for dinner this upcoming weekend. Xander had cleared it specially to spend all weekend with them, even staying over if they wanted.
On the third day that Horatio couldn't get an answer he started to get a bit worried and decided to do a physical check. That morning he hadn't even gotten the voicemail systems. Horatio filed his reports and got into the hummer, heading out to the manor house. He found the gate closed and locked. He punched in the code. Nothing. He tried the code Thomas used and it opened. He pulled in and parked, looking at the totally silent house. "Holly?" he called. Not even a bark. He looked around then slowly moved closer to the door, hand on his holster. He tapped before walking in. "Family?" he called. He looked around. Totally silent. He walked back to the kitchen. No one. He moved to the study. No one. He checked the garden, Holly's usual route. Her handler was out there napping in the sun it looked like. Holly wasn't with him. He walked out to check on him. Dead. Not a good sign.
He called for Speed and Eric to come out with Frank Tripp, just in case. "Holly!" he called louder. She yelped. He followed the noise to find her in the garden shed with the puppies. "Why are you in here, girl?" He let her out. "Find a person?" She went running to sniff her master, then howled. "Inside," he ordered. "Find a person!" The dog trotted inside, going to sniff things. They checked Gordon's office. They checked the other study, the sitting rooms. The usual places to find Patrick if he was up and wandering. Nothing. He took her upstairs. Still nothing. Speed and Eric came in. "I've found one person, Holly's handler, in the back garden dead. He's resting against the fountain. She and her puppies were locked in the shed." That got a nod and they split up. He and Speed shared a look, letting Frank go check the guest houses. Still nothing. So he got to call Xander. "Is anyone from the family out there?" he asked quietly. "No, they're not, Xander. I can't see dust either," he assured him. "Holly and her puppies. We need to check them for evidence first then you can. Call Don and Tara?" He hung up and called Oz. "It's me. Is anyone out there?" He nodded. "Thank you. No one." He hung up and went back to his search. He saved the basement for last, walking into a scene that he did not like. "SPEED!!"
He came jogging down and stopped to stare. "Oh, God." He went to be sick. Horatio called it in. Frank came jogging down the stairs. "Don't touch anything yet, Frank. Did you find any dust?"
"No. Not a pile or even a noticeable spot, Horatio. Are they members of the family?"
"Guards. I don't see Thomas or Gordon." He handed his phone. "Their addresses are in my phone book. Go there, take Speed. He's getting sick somewhere." That got a nod and Frank headed back up. Horatio looked up when he heard footsteps. "Down here." The officers came down and stopped, as well as Calleigh. "Go process the puppies with Eric, Calleigh. They and Holly were in the shed. Holly's in the kitchen I think." She nodded, going to do that. He looked at the officers. "I want a full search of the grounds, the houses, and everything. Anything that looks like a pile of dust I want noted. All of it." That got a nod and they organized to do that while he waited on Alexx. She came down and sighed in unhappiness. "I need to know, Alexx. I don't see Thomas, Gordon, or any of his top guys," he said quietly.
"I'll check, Horatio." She moved down the stairs. "They weren't stabbed or shot that I can see on the top few," she said a minute later. She took a liver temperature. "This one's reading about two this morning probably." He nodded at that, staying where he was. "Horatio, you can give it over."
"I can't. They're family. They deserve the best."
She looked at him. "And if they did it to themselves?" she asked quietly. He shrugged. "Okay." She got back to work. "Any sign of the vampires?"
"Not at the moment," he admitted. He went to call the numbers from the study. Eric was working on dusting it so he called Xander. "Xander, it's Horatio. Did you find anyone up there?" He sighed and nodded, hanging his head. "Thank you, Xander. No, you can't. Because it's a crime scene and it's very unpretty, Xander. Tell him I want to talk to him. Please." He hung up and counted to ten then called Mac's cellphone. "It's Horatio. Patrick apparently died last night." He listened. "Raphael is supposed to be up there letting Tara comfort him. Please. I want to know, Mac. Because the basement has stacked bodies and I don't know how." Speed walked in shaking his head. "Thomas and Gordon?"
"Found Gordon's body with paperwork in an envelope with yours and Xander's name in front of him. Thomas wasn't home. Is that Don?"
"Mac." He listened to him. "I need to know, Mac. Thank you." He hung up, letting Eric and Speed look at him. "It's possible it's a suicide."
"Gordon's was," Speed agreed. "There was a bottle of pain killers beside him, Horatio. He had lung cancer and there was a new bottle of oxycottin that was empty." That got a nod. "Alexx?"
"Downstairs. The envelope?"
"In an evidence bag." That got a nod and Horatio walked out. "Anyone?"
"Raphael possibly. I want to know who moved the bodies."
Frank leaned in. "Someone found Thomas's car. He's alive. They're bringing him back here, guys." That got a nod and Horatio and Speed went to talk to him when he showed up. He sighed and looked at Eric. "I don't know."
"They loved Patrick with everything in them," Eric said quietly. "Patrick took them in, babied them, gave them love and validation. He helped them get careers. A lot of them were sick according to Xander." That got a nod. "It makes sense, Frank." Frank walked off nodding. He went back to dusting for extra fingerprints, just in case. His cell rang and he got it. "Delko. Not now, Mari. I'm at a scene. Xander's grandfather's house. I'll see you tonight, Mari. I promise." He hung up and got back to work, saying a silent prayer for the dead.
Horatio looked at Thomas as he was walked in. "Thomas."
"Patrick succumbed early last night," he said quietly, rubbing his wrists. Horatio nodded to have his cuffs removed. "I knew a few were going to follow him to guard him in the afterlife."
"Try most," Horatio said quietly. Thomas hung his head, nodding. "Who stacked the bodies?"
He looked at him then shrugged. "When Patrick dusted I walked out, Horatio. I...I just couldn't."
"I understand," Speed agreed quietly. "You never called?"
"I couldn't. I thought Ethan was going to."
"Ethan's still here?" Horatio asked. Thomas nodded. "Who else?"
"Pills," Speed told him. That got a sigh and a nod. "With paperwork left for them in front of him."
"Crap. Probably the wills. Sire?"
"Xander heard he was with Tara."
"That's good at least." He sniffled then looked at him. "I can't walk in there, Horatio."
"The problem becomes someone still stacked the bodies and someone put the dogs in the shed, Thomas," Horatio said quietly. "We need to know who."
He nodded then looked around. "Who was on top of the bodies?"
"DiRosa. Mortran. Mortimer."
"Mortran wasn't going to succumb," he said quietly. "DiRosa was saying he'd follow the Father's will and make sure Sire got to safety if something happened. He was Sire's guard. Mortimer was an end stage AIDS patient." That got a single nod from Speed, who made notes. "Was Cook? I think she was going to stay. Our courier was going to stay. He just found the nicest boy and a family that loves him through his new friend."
"I'll check. Anyone else?"
"No. I'm not sure I can."
"You can," Horatio told him.
"I couldn't call Xander, Horatio. I just couldn't," he begged. "I expected Ethan or Gordon to. Maybe DiRosa."
Horatio nodded. "We'll handle the family as gently as we can." He nodded, going to sit on the hood of the cruiser and wait for information. He called Tara from his returned cellphone. "Tara, Horatio. Is Sire there?" He listened to her sob. "Tara?" He sighed. "Tara, sweetie, I know it's tragic. Please. We need to know what happened."
"I drove Sire to the airport," Thomas called.
"He was heading for Tara?" He nodded. "Thank you." He turned. "Tara," he said more gently. "Please, sweetheart, talk to me?" She sobbed something and his stomach clenched. "I'll call Don, sweetheart. You grieve." He hung up and called Don's phone. "It's Horatio. We walked into a mass suicide at the house," he said quietly. "It looks like it for the preliminary. Also, Sire was with Tara. She's sobbing that she's alone. I think so, Don. I'm handling it personally. Thank you. I'll let you know." He hung up and looked at Thomas. "Where are we burying them?"
"Sire has a family cemetery," Thomas said, swallowing. "I'm sorry, Horatio. I'm so sorry," he begged.
"It's not your fault, Thomas. We knew he was ill and his people were very loyal and loved him." He gave him a pat on the arm then went back inside. He walked upstairs to the master bedroom, finding the evidence he needed. He found Frank looking at it and then looked at him. "That was Patrick," he admitted. That got a nod. "I don't know what's going on yet."
"We'll crack the papers in evidence." He went to get Calleigh to do that since she was nearly done with the dogs and Speed had them in the hummer he had. He found Speed holding Xander outside the gate. "No, kid. You can't." Xander glared at him. "He passed last night."
"Then why wasn't I told!" he demanded.
Thomas looked at him. "I thought Ethan would," he admitted quietly.
"Ethan can't! He's probably drunk off his ass at the moment!" he snapped. Thomas flinched. "Damn it!" He stomped off then came back. "Daddy, Holly comes home."
"Of course." That got a nod and he walked off again. Speed sighed and went back inside to tell Horatio, who nodded that he was right, she and the puppies were to head home. "Do we know anything about funerals?"
"I'm hoping it's in those papers."
"I had Calleigh go look," Frank admitted. He watched Horatio finish dusting the sheets into a large envelope. "You okay?"
"No," he admitted quietly. "I'm not." He sealed the envelope then wrote on it, handing it to Speed, who nodded, going to take it outside. Then he headed off to see Ethan personally. He found him sobbing on his couch, drunk out of his mind. "Ethan," he said coolly. Ethan looked up at him. "We just found them. No one called us."
"DiRosa was supposed to take care of that." He sniffled and stood up. "Who?"
"You, Thomas, the courier we think and Cook maybe." Ethan nodded. "Who else knew the burial plans and things?"
"Where would they be?"
"In his office at the manor house. They're in a black banded folder." That got a nod and Horatio walked him outside to the hummer, getting him into the back. "Why? I can't go back there, Horatio."
"You can sit outside with Thomas and get sober." He took him back to the house, stopping to check on the courier. He found him on the porch sobbing so he only paused, getting a nod from his boyfriend. He went to Cook's house, finding her house was now a charred mess. He sighed and took Ethan back there, letting him and Thomas sit together for now. He found Xander inside. "You shouldn't be here."
"If it's a suicide, then I can be," he said firmly, looking at him. "I need into Gordon's office for burial stuff."
"Ethan said DiRosa was supposed to call you, Xander."
"Hmm. Nice of him to die instead. Grandsire?"
"I'm not sure if he's still with Tara or not," he admitted quietly, giving him a squeeze around the waist. "We'll deal with it." Xander glared at him. "We will deal with it, Xander." Xander slumped and nodded. "Eric?" He came out. "The wills and burial wishes are in Gordon's office. That's the last door down that subhallway to the left of the main study." That got a nod. "Please get them for Xander?" That got a nod and he led Xander that way to find them for him. He went to check on Calleigh, finding her reading things. "Well?"
"Wills. All wills. Including Raphael's." She looked at him. "They wanted Xander to have Holly and the puppies?"
"I agree. Are they done?" She nodded. "Did Xander bring something practical or the sportscar?"
"The sportscar." She nodded. "I've already loaded her into the front, them into the well behind the seats." Xander came out and she moved to give him a hug, getting one back. "You have Holly and her pups in the car. Go home, let us handle this for now." Xander nodded, letting her go and giving Speed a quick hug too. Then he headed off with the dogs. She looked at Horatio. "Go."
"They're family. Go. Take Speed and go. Now. This is a severe conflict of interest." He nodded, heading off with Speed following him. She went back inside once the wills were resealed. "Alexx, anyone not die of something suicidal?"
"No, Sugar. Not in the least." They shared a look. "Horatio?"
"I sent him off with Speed. We've got burial information that Xander just picked up. I've got wills that Speed picked up from Gordon's house." That got a nod. "We'll handle it. Are you nearly ready?"
"Yeah, I am. I'm waiting on transport."
That got a nod and Calleigh went to check on it while Eric packed up and the officers finished searching the grounds. They left, Eric went to get formal statements from Ethan and Thomas. She handled everything else and locked the gate after herself as the last one out. She even locked it with a MDPD padlock and crime scene tape. Then she headed back to help the family deal with this. Xander was already down in the morgue going over things with Alexx over who went where and how. "Anything?"
"Tox is coming back soon," Alexx admitted. "We'll see." She gave Xander a hug. "It's a testament to their love for him, Xander, baby. They wanted to be with him." He nodded at that. "How are Don and Tara?"
"On their way down," he admitted. "Grandsire's gone too." She gave him a real, strong hug. "Thanks. I have to call Greg and them."
"I'm sure Horatio called Greg," Calleigh soothed, stroking his back. Speed walked in and walked Xander out to sit with him and make the hard calls. The ladies shared a look and Alexx went back to making notes on charts about who went where how. Calleigh went to nudge Tox to see if they had anything yet.
Xander and Don faced the backup attorney for the family. They were lightly holding hands for strength. Their mates were in the waiting area for now. The lawyer had wanted to see them first. "What's going on?" Xander asked.
"Patrick set up an unbreakable trust for each of you with a good works clause," he said, handing over the paperwork.
"Tara and Horatio can hear this," Don decided. That got a nod and the lawyer went to call them in. He looked at him. "You good?" Xander looked at him and shook his head. "You gonna be okay?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Patrick shouldn't have died like that. He was supposed to be around until he had seen his first great-grandchild out of me." That got a look from Don. "Cordy got a head's up from the Powers."
"So you've got a baby out there somewhere?" Tara asked. He looked at her and shrugged. "Anya delivered."
"Anya's having Oz's," Xander reminded her. He looked up then at the lawyer. "I'll call someone in a few minutes." Halfrek appeared, giving him a look. "Did Uncle Patrick succumb?"
"No. There was an attack on the house. The knife had a wooden hilt. They snuck in while he was resting and stabbed him deep enough." Xander sighed at that. "Anya's baby is Oz's. Abby's baby may not be yours. I don't know," she admitted. Xander nodded once, giving her a hug. "Thank you, Xander. We do miss you at home." She faded out.
"Now we know," Horatio sighed. The lawyer looked at him. "It was a worry."
"I know Patrick dabbled in the strange things." Xander dug out Patrick's birth certificate, handing it over silently. The man looked then at him. "He'd have been nearly one- hundred-forty-years-old. This can't be correct."
"I thought he was older," Don admitted, frowning some. Xander shook his head. "Uncle Raph?"
"Over six hundred," he admitted quietly. "We need to finish mourning our families. Good works clauses?"
The lawyer cleared his throat and got back to the point at hand. "Your trusts will each pay you a hundred thousand a year for the rest of your lives. At least a quarter of that is to go to charitable agencies," he said. "Otherwise the executor of the wills can withhold future payments until that clause is met."
"Who's the executor?" Horatio asked.
"Mac Taylor. I don't know who he is at the moment but the papers stated he could handle things and he trusted him to watch over you two."
"I know him," Don agreed. "I work with Mac. Does he know anything?" The lawyer nodded. "Should we be calling him?"
"I'm going up to meet with him later tonight," he assured him. "All he knows at this point is that he was named in their wills. I'll tell him what was left to him and everything at that point."
"Call first. He's a CSI and he's got strange hours."
"I shall." He got back to it. "Other than the monetary assets that were left in the trust, he did ask that the house out there go for a male abuse shelter. He left several smaller bequeaths. Most of them to people who are no longer living. Do we know why they committed suicide, Lieutenant?"
"They loved Patrick for how he took care of them," Horatio said, hands on Xander's shoulders. Tara was curled up against Don's side for comfort. He gave Xander a light squeeze. "Patrick took them in, nurtured them, helped them find good careers. He was very much a father figure to them all. Quite a few were also ill themselves." That got a nod.
"Does it matter?" Don asked. The lawyer shook his head. "Okay, so we give the house to Miami after we clean the stuff out of it." Xander nodded at that, giving his hand a squeeze. "What about the other stuff?"
"It's written that Xander have control of his guard dog and any puppies she might have. He can find good homes for them. The other properties were suggested to be sold off." He looked at them. "The other wills state that everything is to go to the inheritors of Patrick's estate." He handed over a folder to Xander. "He wanted you two to do that together, young man."
"Of course. We're family." He stared at him. "Grandsire Raphael's?"
"That," he sighed. "We have a small mess there. He left everything to his remaining children.... Patrick?" Xander nodded. "There was a recent codicil to the will naming Tara and you, Xander. It named a few specific things for Don and Horatio as well." He handed over a copy of that one. "We can turn everything over to you once I get Mr. Taylor's signature on a few things."
Xander looked at him. "They were family. These are just things." He stood up and walked out, heading out for a drive.
Horatio watched him go then looked at the lawyer. "They were his last relatives outside of this room and the parents who took him in," he said quietly. "Any other shocks?"
"There is one. Raphael's will is quite extensive. More so than Patrick's was," he said, letting him see that will. Tara started to cry again. Don soothed her, ending up with her in his lap. "I know this is a hard time. We will need some papers signed soon."
"We can do that," Horatio agreed, looking at him. Then at Don. "The house up there is yours, Don." That got a nod. "Or he had a condo. Your choice."
"I like the house," Don said quietly, giving her a squeeze. "We'll figure it out, honey." She nodded, hiding her face in his shoulder. "Shh, I've got you. It'll be okay, baby. I'm still here and we've got each other." He looked at Horatio. "Shouldn't you be with Xander?"
"He wants time to think. He's probably with Speed or calling Lady Heather."
"As in Lady Heather's Dominion?" the lawyer asked.
Horatio looked at him and nodded. "Xander trained as a Master under her. She's like a stepmother to him." That got a swallow. "Are we done? Tara should go home and I need to find Xander soon."
"I'll have paperwork for you in a few days." That got a nod and they got up, Don walking Tara out under his arm. He said a prayer for that family. It was very messed up. He did check his clock. He had time to get a drink before he went up to see Mr. Taylor.
Mac finally got rid of the attorney and gave Stella a weak smile when she walked into his office. "Not tonight."
"I can see the headache. Want a shoulder rub?"
"No," he said, dialing Xander's house. "Hey, Don. It's me. He just left." He sighed. "I did. I have the option of handing over everything at once or doing it yearly. Frankly, I don't care, Don. You're both big boys." He smiled. "I know. A bit more paperwork but I get a small salary for dealing with it," he admitted. "I'll let you two tell me what you decide in a few days." He listened to what was going on. "Is Xander okay?" He nodded once. "Probably not a good thing to leave him alone, no. I did. I've also got all the lists of everything and I know who you work with up here. I talked with your dad earlier. He knew I was named as executor somehow. I don't know how. I don't know, Don. We'll talk in a few days. Of course. We'll come down or those two can come up. Either way." He winced when someone slammed a door in the background. "Aiden?" He smiled at that reassurance. "Good. She'll help him too. I'll see you in a few days. Tell Xander that. Thank you." He hung up and put his head back so she walked around to work on his neck and shoulders. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Mac," she said gently. Danny walked in and looked at them. "He was named executor of Patrick and Raphael's wills, plus the others that committed suicide."
"That sucks," Danny admitted. "How're the boys?" Mac shook his head. "I figured Xander and Tara were all-but destroyed. They've both got that streak of gentleness going on. Want me to make you some soup or somethin'?" Mac shook his head. "You should eat."
"No tonight, Danny. I can't handle you two tonight."
"Mac, not like we're playin'," Danny pointed out. Mac gave him a look. "I'm not. You're mine. Suck it up before I go buy you a pretty collar." That got a small smile. "I can. Really. If that's what it takes I'll do that." He moved closer. "Stella?"
"I look sucky in collars." That got a brighter smile from Mac. "You guys come over to my place tonight. Danny, pick up something soothing, okay?" That got a nod. She handed over her keys. "There, go now and pick something up." He nodded, heading out. She looked down at Mac. "Come on, I'll even pay for the cab or we'll take your car."
"I really can't, Stella."
"Mac, I know you'll have nightmares tonight," she pointed out. "We want to be there for those too. That's what love is, Mac." She got him up and into his jacket, then walked him out and to his car. He handed over the keys so she could drive, and it showed a lot of trust. Finally he was getting the point.
Ryan let Xander into the break room at the borrowed station, taking the bags from him. "Everyone else is coming in a few minutes, Xander," he said gently. "You okay?" Xander looked at him and shook his head. "I can understand that." Xander quirked up an eyebrow. "I lost my father when I was younger."
Xander leaned on the table. "He's one of the few people who gave a damn about me. Him and Grandsire. His people. I'm still stuck on the thought that it wasn't just me who loved him that way. They loved him enough to follow him."
"If you did his ghost would kick your ass," Ryan assured him. Xander let out a weak smile at that. "Has Mac called back yet? Speed told me." Xander nodded. "Got everything settled?"
"No," he admitted. "There's going to have to be another auction coming up." He let out a bitter laugh. "Now I'm getting sympathy cards from my psycho posse. Most of them I don't have addresses so I can't write them thank you notes for their fake sympathy. The cult grieved with me and sent some very nice sympathy cards. A few even decided to follow his people's examples. But not these others. They're pissing me off. And then, then I get called by the head of the Watchers this morning to see what I was going to do with his occult collection. I hung up on him." Speed came in and gave him a hug. "I'm no good at this stuff. Why couldn't DiRosa or Gordon waited a few days?" he asked miserably.
"Because they wanted to be his guards in the afterlife, Xander," Speed said gently. "They were feeling the same sort of grief you and Tara are; they decided they wanted to be with him." Xander gave him a look. "They did. They were also being a bit selfish but they probably knew that Horatio and I are there for you. Not to mention the rest of us and Aiden, plus most of the New York and Vegas labs."
"Then why do I have to deal with the fake sympathy?" he asked miserably. "I don't know the protocol shit for that. How do you write thank you letters for someone saying that at least he's not suffering and he was a good man. I know that! I knew that before he died! Half of them I don't even have an address on, dad!"
"You need a secretary," Ryan offered. "Hire a temp for a few weeks. Let her handle those."
"Or ask Aiden. Since she got fired for coming down she could probably help," Speed reminded him. Horatio walked in and he relinquished his boy. Aiden was walked in by Calleigh. "Can you handle the form thank you notes?"
"I can, and did most of them," she agreed. She stole her boy. "My poor baby," she soothed, letting him rest on her shoulder. "You let us help, Xander. You're being too stubborn. We're family, we're supposed to be there when bad shit happens." He nodded, not moving his head. "Good boy. Now, let's eat. You didn't get breakfast."
"You still have to eat," Horatio ordered, sitting him down. He took one side, Speed took the other since Aiden was fussing the food into place. "I can help with the thank you notes. I've had to do it before, Xander." Xander looked at him. "I did. After Ray's funeral. After my mother's as well." Xander nodded, resting his head on his shoulder again. "I'll help if you let me. You haven't been letting me."
"I'm sorry," he said weakly.
"I know. We did get the person who snuck in to stab him." Xander looked at him again. "I did the charge sheet myself," he promised. Xander nodded and put his head back down. He gave him a few minutes then gave his thigh a squeeze. "Sit up and eat. Please?" Xander nodded, sitting up to eat listlessly.
"How're the dogs?" Ryan asked gently.
"Good. The puppies are all weaned and they're good dogs," he admitted.
Ryan smiled. "Can our future kid have a puppy?" Xander gave him a weak smile and a nod. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Eight dogs is more than enough for anyone. I'm wondering if Tara and Don want one." Ryan grinned at that. "I know, it'll get easier. It has in the past."
"Willow said you spent nearly a month not talking to her after Jesse died," Ryan offered. Xander nodded. "We don't expect you to get over it overnight, Xander. Grieving is a long- term project." Xander relaxed and ate a bigger bite. "Did you want to see her tonight? I've been trying to keep her from intruding for the last few days."
"I'm not ready for perkiness yet," Xander told him.
"I'll tell her," he promised. He looked at Horatio. "This weekend?" He nodded they were still on. Xander frowned at him so he pointed at Horatio.
Horatio gave him a gentle kiss. "I'm moving in this weekend."
"Really. All my suits and everything." That got a small smile. "Then I'm letting Ryan and Willow rent the house until I'm ready to sell it." That got a bigger smile. "Ryan and Eric both agreed to help me move in this weekend." He smoothed down some hair. "So you can help me straighten up the closet I already have." Xander nodded, giving him a gentle hug. "Good boy. Now, eat. You didn't eat breakfast." Xander went back to his nibbling. "Aiden?" She looked over. "How long are you in for?"
She smirked. "Worried I'll tease about the noise?"
"Worried you'll kick Thumper again," Xander said dryly.
"He was trying...." Everyone stared at her. "You guys get that too?" They all nodded so she snorted. "That dog needs help."
"He's fixed," Eric said with a small grin. "Wolfe, you get a truck, I'll help him pack." That got a nod. "Xander can clean out the storage areas."
"The basement's free," Xander reminded them all.
"I did want to get into the new gun locker," Calleigh admitted. He just looked at her. "C'mon. Please?"
"We'll see. Every time you go in there I go missing stuff."
"Well, yeah, because you're keeping things you shouldn't."
"It's a secure vault now, stepmom. It'll be fine," Xander said dryly. "It's even waterproofed." Speed smirked at that. "It is. With a work area. So I've got to figure out what to do with the sub-basement work areas and heft the lights back up."
"We'll seal the cracks down there then the door," Horatio offered. Xander nodded. "Any other worries?"
"Thumper didn't try to have my ankle or the rose bush this morning."
"We'll send him to the vet's tomorrow if it continues," Horatio soothed. Xander nodded, eating his last bite. Horatio slid over half of his lunch and Xander frowned at him. "All I'm doing is following up on some leads in the lab, Xander. You need to eat more."
"I'm fine. I'm still eating some."
"You are, but you're also wearing yourself out," Aiden reminded him.
"Quit fussing," Speed ordered. He looked at Xander. "If you make yourself sick, we will complain." Xander nodded, resting his head on his shoulder. "It'll be okay, Xander. We'll heal and some year you'll have a baby Patrick." He gave him a squeeze around the shoulders. "For now, humor the fussy ones before they get Alexx into it." Xander finished his sandwich. "Thank you." He ruffled his hair and got a look, earning a smirk. "What? It was messy anyway."
"Pot kettle," Eric pointed out.
"He definitely has his daddy's hair when it's short," Aiden agreed. Xander scowled at her. "You do. You have his taste in leather pants too." Calleigh gave her an odd look. "He has a pair. He hasn't shown you? They're dark blue and really tight."
"Oh, I've seen them," she assured her. "When did you?"
"She helped me buy them," Speed told her. She shook her head and dug in. He looked at his son. "How big are the dogs going to be?"
"The vet said about as big as Holly is."
"Too big for an apartment," Speed said, frowning some.
Calleigh looked at him. "We're not home often enough for a puppy, Speed."
"You can come play all you want," Xander promised.
"He can have Thumper," Eric offered. Xander glared at him. "Or not," he said sheepishly. He tucked into his lunch. "Thanks for picking this up, Xander."
"Welcome." The head of the lab they were borrowing came in. "There might be some left."
"That's okay. I only eat healthy things. Keeps me fast enough to chase after muggers and thieves." She got a bottle of water and some yogurt. "Family lunch?"
Horatio nodded. "We try to do it at least once every two weeks. It's good for us."
"I'll have to think about making my guys do that. Your lab's a lot closer than mine." She winced when someone started to scream. "I hate her."
Xander looked then coughed and pointed. "Daddy, that's the evil bitch who came up to me at the funerals and accused me of having something to do with the deaths and wanted a statement. She stuck a camera in my face."
Aiden got up and stomped out there to face down the evil bitch reporter. Ryan smirked and waved at his former girlfriend. "She deserves it. You go, Aiden!" he called. Aiden shot him a look then went back into her, and he could clearly hear Willow's name too. "Huh."
Speed and Xander both shuddered. "I'll send over brownies," Speed promised quietly. Xander nodded and gave him a hug then got up and left. Speed watched as Xander ducked the reporter trying to get him into that talk with a hissed, glared phrase. She backed off, going pale and Aiden patted him on the back with a smile before heading back to the table. "What's going on?"
"She asked him if he was a suspect. He said no, he was here to see his family. For some reason that made her pale and shaky." She sat down and dug back into her lunch. "Can't we arrest the bimbo? I know I go for collagen but she's more Barbie than I am."
"It's dyed hair too," Ryan agreed. Eric gave him a dirty look. "She's my ex. It was a while ago, Eric. That's why you should never leave us alone."
Horatio nodded. "Hopefully such slips won't happen again," he agreed.
"I'd like that too," Ryan assured him. "Please."
"If we can," Speed agreed. "I've had exes I couldn't shut up around too, Wolfe." He dug into his lunch then frowned at the burger. He opened it then frowned and pulled out the note. He read it then handed it to Horatio. "He's going to see Greg for a few days."
"It's understandable and I'm sure Grissom will watch over him for us," Horatio agreed calmly. He read the note. "That explains why my burger had pickles." Speed smirked and nodded. "It's fine. I agree it could be good for him."
"Lady Heather will let him wear it out," Calleigh pointed out. "However she wants to."
Horatio nodded. "She will at that. I wonder if she's being offered a puppy too."
They all smiled at that. It would be just like the boy.
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