Nippy and Night.
Greg leaned into Hodges' lab, looking a bit naughty and a bit confused. "Emilia needs me to find her a really special birthday present and I need someone who can deal with snarky and mean people. Isn't it your day off?"
David Hodges looked at him. "What did she want? A particular piece of jewelry?"
"No, a house elf."
"Remember at the school, those things that brought food and stuff?" He nodded, then shuddered. "They're house elves. They're servants and kinda slaves, but they want to be that way. They wail and scream whenever they're not indebted to a family. Emilia noted that since she's not exactly a stay at home mom sort and I'm here that someone's got to cook dinner, clean the house, and sometimes babysit, and they like doing that stuff."
David moved closer. "So, they're like Mistress Heather slaves?"
"Nothing that kinky for normal people, but kinda. They do it because they like it. House elves could take over the world if they wanted to, they just don't want to. They're happier being servants and being ordered around."
"Wow. That's..... Why do you need me?"
"Because the only three places I know to get house elves are off Alex, out of the agency, and from the poor ones in the homeless house elf shelter. So I need someone who can deal with mean people at the agency, snark with Alex possibly, and talk back to the people at the shelter so I don't bring home every house elf there."
"So this is like escorting you to the pound. A friend to make sure you only come home with one or two instead of all of them?" he asked with a slight smirk. Greg nodded. "Fine. You're right, it's my day off. I was only doing my filing cabinet again. When is her birthday?"
"Tomorrow." He nodded. "C'mon, I'll do the portkey."
David hung up his lab coat and followed him out to the back part of the station, in the shadows. He watched as the guy glanced around before pulling his wand and a piece of cardboard out of his pocket. "Why do you use things like that?"
"In case it gets noticed, someone normal will think it's trash." He gave him another grin and cast the charm, still glancing around. Then he swore and hid the wand up his sleeve. "Detective Vargas," he said, smiling at the man walking their way. "Pretty day, isn't it?"
"Out for lunch?"
"Preparing for some birthday shopping for my wife. Emilia wanted something specific and I need David to keep me from going insane and buying her all of them."
"Ah, a pound visit?" he asked, smirking a bit. "Cardboard?"
"I was going to fold it later on and do something with it."
"Oh. Okay." He nodded, walking on.
Greg nudged David once he was around the corner, letting him grab one side of it and sending them off. They didn't see the detective come back and look really confused. Or him go to Brass, who told him that it was strange, and then make a very important phone call up the strip. They landed in Diagon, and David stared in awe, making Greg grin. "It's Diagon, our shopping mall in Britain. This way." He led the way to the agency first. They usually had much better placements.
"Let's go to the shelter first," David offered, putting a hand on his arm. "She'd like it more if you saved one instead of buying a new one. Like a visit to the pound for that cat that's lurking around Cassandra's room."
"Point," he agreed, leading him that way. Out through the Leaky and up the street, then into an older building. They walked up to the front register, smiling slightly at her. "I'm Greg Sanders. This is David Hodges. We're looking for a house elf for my wife."
"Sure. We've got a few. This time of year, lots of house elves find new homes." She got up and led him back into the common area, finding a bunch of house elves doing knitting and things. "We let them knit things for the premature babies at St. Mungoes. It makes them feel so much better about being freed," she told him with a small smile. "What sort of elf did you need?"
"I'm a Potions Master and my wife's the assistant of Vegas's overlord. I'm also part of the Las Vegas Crime Scene unit. Needless to say, it's housework and the occasional babysitting for our three kids. 'San's about three, the twins are two."
"Excellent. We have three very good choices. Did you want some with some personality? Or one that's fairly blank and quiet?"
"Let's look them over and pick from what we see, like a job interview," David offered patiently. She smiled at him and nodded, walking them over to a small group. He looked at all the little creatures giving him pitiful looks. "This is worse than the dog pound," he whispered.
Greg gave him an understanding look and a nod. "I know." He smiled at the three house elves in front of them, all of them putting down their knitting to talk to him. "Hi, I'm Greg, this is David. He's gonna help me pick a new house elf." They all beamed at him. "I've got a wife, three kids, a fourteen bedroom house with a pool, and we're in America. You'd be doing housework and some minor babysitting now and then."
One of them raised her hand. "Not in Britain, Greg?"
"No, not in Britain. I live in Las Vegas, near the West Coast of the US." He pulled his wand and created a map of the world, pointing out where Vegas was. "I live here. We're here," he said, pointing at the approximate area of London.
"A little higher I think," David told him, pointing at it. "There. With the river." He looked at them. "His three kids are wonderful but they like to be read to. They'll bug you for hours to read to them. They're also horrible little beasts who keep trying to break into their father's lab."
They all flinched and shook their heads. "Most house elves don't read," the keeper noted quietly. "You can easily teach one but most haven't taken the time to."
"Then how do they do recipes?" Greg asked.
"Mostly they're taught that before they're released to find a family. They're passed down through the family's memories."
"Oh. I didn't know that." He blinked a few times and looked around. "Do you have any that might fit really well?"
"Two," she offered, moving them away, making one cry. "I'll be right back." That stopped the tears. "She really does want to go to a family. Her last one died and she's still very young."
"I noticed." Greg looked at the two speaking Italian and French at each other. "Wow. The kids could be tri-lingual before they could read." She laughed and nodded. "Can they read?"
"A bit." She coughed and the two elves stared at her, then bowed politely. "This is Greg, he's looking for a good house elf to take care of his manor house and family. He wanted someone who can entertain his children, who like stories."
"All children like stories," one older female elf called. "Nippy has watched many children and all children like stories."
"Nippy's an experienced nanny elf," she told them with a smile. "She's been here for over a year since no pureblood families have really had enough kids to need a new nanny for one."
"That's surprising, usually there's a baby boom after any war."
She winced. "Yes, but a great many of the families were on the wrong side," she said gently.
Greg nodded. "I understand that. I was behind and off to the right of Alex Dumass and Ron Weasley." She smiled at him. "As was my wife." David nodded at that. He looked at the elves again. "I'm a Potions Master. My wife wants a house elf since she works with our overlord in Las Vegas."
Both of them cowered and shook their heads. "No leave Britain ever again," one whispered. "Bad peoples hurt Para when leaves Britain."
"Sure," Greg agreed, walking over to Nippy. "I've got three kids. One's three, two're two. I'm a Potions Master." She smiled at him and nodded. "Their mother isn't always home because she's working with our overlord."
"Where you live?"
"Las Vegas, in the United States."
She looked at him like he was insane. "Nippy knows there's no Ministry there."
"True," he offered with a grin. "That's why we've got an overlord. Plus, Mexico's only a few hours away."
Nippy looked at him, then at David, then back at him. "Nippy must deal with muggles?"
"I work with muggles but the ones who know what I am are nice."
Nippy looked at David again, then back at him. "Nippy will babysit, but Nippy cannot cook or clean. Nippy is getting aches in toes."
"Sure," he agreed with a grin. "Know any good housekeeping elves? We've got a fourteen bedroom house."
Nippy snorted. "Nippy worked with Malfoys when Nippy was young, nursing Mr. Lucius. That house is small." She looked around and then spotted the elf, the one who had cried earlier. "She cooks good. Or him," she said, pointing at one elf in the corner. "Him is Night, he is dark elf."
"He's a bit odd," the keeper offered.
"I work with muggles," Greg said with a small shrug. "I'm also a Bane." She blinked and pulled those two elves over, letting him look at them. "Hello, Night, and...."
"Pretty." She blinked at him. "Greg needs three elves?"
"No, he only needed one but Nippy can't cook or clean so he'll let her raise his brilliant kids," David told her. "So we still need someone to do the cooking and cleaning."
Night stared at him, then at Nippy, who nodded. He moved closer, sniffing him then David, then Greg again. He stared him in the eyes. "You remind me of an immortal wizard I know," Greg noted dryly. "Doesn't he remind you of that guy we picked up, David?"
David nodded slowly. "Kind of." The door slammed in and Greg pulled his wand but Night threw a dagger at the person coming in. "Wow," he said, looking impressed at the stabbed person.
"Night!" the keeper yelled.
He shrugged. "Not good to interrupt wizards." He looked at Greg again. "Greg is the Wizard of Blood?" Greg nodded. He looked at the house elf beside him. "He is alchemist." She shivered and clutched the keeper's leg. He looked at Greg again. "Someone needs elf there?"
"I don't know." Greg pulled out his phone and dialed home. David looked at him like he was insane. "I know, I'm roaming," he admitted. He grinned at the voice on the other end. "I was thinking you'd still be on stage." He snickered at the complaints of the ceiling caving in. "Did you need us back? Oh, good. At least Griss has a clue about how to clean that stuff up. Know anyone who needs a house elf? I'm at the shelter and there's a very young one here named Pretty. No, her old owner died. Sure." He grinned and handed the phone to the keeper. "One of the overlords." He looked at Night. "You'd protect my family and not attack my friends, even those who're muggle?" He nodded silently. "You'd be patient with the kids?"
"Night likes children. Children should be protected. Night also cooks good Italian and Chinese foods. Night was hoping a curse breaker needed Night."
"Alex Dumass has too many at the moment," he admitted. "Otherwise, he might know someone. Let me talk to him." He touched his tattoo, talking to him. He got a nod and grinned at him. "He said none of the ones he knows are home often enough to need one and his house has six so they can't really use any more right now. But I'm still a Potions Master and my mate is a consort veela." Night shivered and smiled, nodding happily. "That's suitable for you?"
"Night would enjoy protecting Wizard of Blood's family." He bowed to David. "And his muggle friends." He looked at Greg again. "We go now?"
"We'll go in a few minutes. Let her finish talking to Teller to see if we're taking Pretty to her new home too." He squatted down to get on eye level with the smaller being. "I notice you have clothes on. Should we find clothes for you to borrow?"
Night sniffled and hugged him. "Night likes Greg. Greg is nice wizard. Night is fine. Pretty needs clothes."
"That's fine. We'll make sure Pretty has an outfit too," Greg promised with a grin. The keeper hung up and handed him back his phone. "Is she coming?"
"She is. We'll free them to come to your house and he'll pick up Pretty from there." She waved a hand at the door. "Shall we do the paperwork?"
"Sure." He stood up and walked the house elves out, taking them out front. Nippy had to get some more stuff she had done and hand it over, and Night had a few things that he needed to get too, including his knife back. Then they portkeyed home, landing in the main entryway. "'Mil?" No answer. "Kids?" Still no answer. "Cool. Night, this way. Pretty, go wait on the couch or go dig in Cassandra's closet to borrow something." She went searching, coming down with a scarlet velvet dress with a gold bow. He grinned. "That'll be very pretty on you, Pretty. As long as Emilia doesn't mind, you can have that." She beamed and nodded, putting it down carefully and going to choose a backup dress in case the mistress didn't like her having that one. He led Night into the kitchen, looking at the mess. "I see the twins were in a hurry today." He touched his tattoo, getting his wife, who was panting and running after their twins. She gave him a grateful sigh and a blown kiss, gathering everyone to bring home. "Night, this is the only kitchen. You can explore the house. Pick a room down here to sleep in." The house elf nodded, rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on the dishes. "Nippy?" She came into the kitchen. "This is the only kitchen. The twins were helping earlier. Emilia's bringing them home soon."
Nippy smiled. "Nippy likes it here, is good for aching toes." She went to wait on the new kids she'd raise.
Greg grinned at David as he came in, then they both watched Night do dishes. "They're very handy to have around."
"I can see that." He shook his head. "Is it legal for me to have one?"
"Probably not, but I might let you borrow Nippy now and then," he offered with a grin. He pulled something out of the freezer and Night smacked his hand, putting it back and washing off his hands so he could start a proper meal. "It's only a snack."
"Greg needs to eat more. Is too skinny for wife."
David snickered. "I think you'll be very happy together," he offered with a mean grin.
Greg beamed back. "I think so too. Come upstairs. See the lab, I changed stuff around." He drug him up to show off his pride and joy, letting him see everything. "And see, I've finally got both stones cleaned."
"I can see that. You're one lucky man, Sanders." He punched him on the arm. "Very lucky." He smiled when he heard the squealing starting. "I think your brats are home."
"Yeah, me too." He jogged down the stairs, bouncing over to hug his wife. "Happy birthday!" he said happily, bouncing with her. "Pretty is going to Teller. Night and Nippy are here to help you and me. Nippy raised Lucius. Night's in the kitchen fussing already. He wouldn't let me pull out garlic bread." He stole a kiss and grinned. "Happy Birthday!"
"I love you!" she squealed, hugging him as hard as he could, then winked at David over his shoulder. "Having fun?"
"Yeah, it's worse than the pound there."
Emilia laughed, letting her husband go with a wink for him. "You'll be getting rewarded later. Where did you go?"
"Oooooh. No wonder you needed David. At least you only came home with two." She peeked into the kitchen and squealed. "You're so cute! And you remind me so much of Jett!"
"He knifed someone while we were there," David said, sitting down next to the wiggling Pretty. "That's Emilia. You'll see her a lot since she works with Penn and Teller." The house elf gave him a scared look. "What?"
"Pretty not want to interrupt."
"Honey, Pretty's going to Teller or someone. I told her to borrow from 'San's closet so she needs an opinion on what she can borrow," Greg noted. Emilia came out and looked at the dresses, handing over the red velvet one. "I wasn't sure if that was this year's dress or not."
"Nope, the green one is," she offered happily. Someone pounded on the door. "Nippy, please take Run and Away there upstairs to the playroom with Cassandra? They all need a nap. They wore me out."
"Nippy take boys and girl child upstairs," she agreed, leading them up there to play with them.
"Nippy raised Lucius. She said this house was tiny compared to the manor," he offered with a grin. He walked over to get the door before someone pounded again, smirking at their overlord. "You needed a house elf?"
"I did. Marrisette is heading home, finally!" he said, looking up. "Thank you!" He grinned at him. "So, where is she?"
"Borrowing clothes," David said with a nod. "She's changing."
Pretty came out of the bathroom and let him tie the bow, then squeaked when she saw the new man standing there. "Pretty is saying you is being very big," she said in awe.
Penn laughed, nodding. "Sometimes. So, you're Pretty?" She beamed and bounced over, shaking his hand. "Good girl. We don't have any kids."
"Pretty not mind. Pretty not understand babies yet. Pretty not that old. Pretty only had one owner before and she was very old. Mistress let Pretty eat her dinner and everything."
Penn smiled. "That's fine. We'll figure out everything together, Pretty. Thanks, Greg."
"Welcome, Penn. Behave, Pretty." She beamed and nodded, following her new Lord and Master out. Greg shut the door, leaning on it with a grin for his buddy. "See, days off are more fun than going back to redo your hard drive."
"Yes, it was, and very educational." Night brought out a tray of food and put it on the table so he got up to snoop. "Wow. You cook a lot."
"Greg and Emilia are both too tiny to handle children," Night assured him. "You too." He poked him on the stomach. "You eat too. Food! Night is making dinner!" He went back to his cleaning up. He hated messy kitchens. You couldn't find the good knives when the kitchen was a mess. He came out and tugged on Greg's sleeve a few minutes later. "Night needs to go grocery shopping and order better sushi knives."
"We don't do much sushi," Emilia offered as she came down with Nippy. "I had to free her from the boys' clutches. They decided she was a teddy bear." She smiled at Night. "That's very nice, Night. Thank you." She looked him over. "Do you need a whet stone?" He nodded, looking solemn. "We can get you one of those and a few more daggers instead of sushi knives if you want."
"Night likes," he offered with a smirk of a grin. "Night likes knives."
"I'll teach you how to handle the gun in the house later," Greg ordered. Night nodded, heading back to the kitchen. "Go look at the rest of the house too."
"Night will, let Night finish dishes."
"They're not too big on pronouns," David noted calmly.
"No, they're not, and names are very important to them, but they can be renamed," Greg told him. "They've also got very strong magic." Someone rang the bell so he got up to answer it, finding his boss and Detective Brass on the other side. "Come on in," he offered, letting them inside. "Come see Emilia's birthday presents."
Brass looked at the little creature beside her, then grimaced a bit. "Well, it doesn't look like a kid. One of your neighbors is a spy and thought you were selling funny looking kids."
"Nippy is no child," she assured him. "Nippy and Night are house elves. Pretty went with Mr. Big Man."
"Penn," Emilia supplied with a small grin. "Nippy is a nanny and Night's the new housekeeper. Night?" He came out, looking at the two muggles, sniffing them. "He really does remind me of Jett."
"He did a very impressive knife toss at the shelter," Greg told her. "I said the same thing." David nodded since his mouth was full. "Where's Nick?"
"It's a treatment day. He's not due back for another hour." She smiled at Night, patting him on the head. "I like you, Night. These are two friends of the family. Detective Brass is the shorter guy and the other is Gil Grissom, who's Greg's boss at work with the police."
Night bowed, cautiously not letting his eyes leave them. "Night welcomes you."
"We do work night shift," Brass offered dryly, making David snicker. "Is that his name?" David nodded, smirking at him.
"They're not very big on pronouns," Grissom noted.
"No, not very," Greg agreed. "David wanted to know if they were like Mistress Heather slaves," he told Emilia.
She snickered and swatted him on the arm. "Only for those very kinky and wrong sorts, David." He blushed a bit so she kissed him on the cheek. "Be a good boy. You try so hard sometimes, but now and then you're nearly as bad as Alex is. He only sent a stripping house elf to Angel." David choked at that so Night pounded him on the back.
"Thank you," he gasped.
"That was about Angel's reaction too," Greg noted dryly. He smirked at his boss. "Which neighbor?" Grissom pointed to the left. "Huh. I didn't know we had a real neighbor over there."
"Now and then," Emilia told him. "He's out of town a lot. I personally think he's running some sort of drugs or something." She looked at Night. "Watch him for us. If he comes over, just tie him up so we can talk to him." Night nodded and went to get more plates. Then he forced Grissom and Brass into seats and put food in front of them before stalking back into the kitchen. "I've got to tell Jett we have the house elf version of him," she said with a grin. "Isn't he so sweet!" she cooed, pinching Greg on the butt cheek. "He got me just what I wanted and only brought home two."
"He did," Brass agreed, smirking a bit at Greg. "Does this mean no more babysitting at the station?"
"Now and then I'd like to bring her in so she's used to modern lab equipment too," Greg offered. "But Nippy and we should be able to handle it." He noticed his daughter sneaking down the stairs and coughed. "Certain people should presently be taking a nap."
"I'm a big girl, I don't nap!" she yelled before pouncing David. "Gotcha!" she said with a happy girl grin. "Did you come to play with us?"
"It's my day off, but I could read to you," he offered, pulling her around to sit her in his lap. "Were you a good girl?" he asked patiently. "I only read to good kids."
Emilia snorted. "Define good. She got the boys playing tag all around the park then sat down to watch the clouds while I chased them. Without telling me first." Greg looked at his daughter, who only pouted. "You know to stay right beside the mommy, Cassandra."
"Mommy was chasing bratty brothers," she defended. "I not want worn out."
Nippy coughed. "Nippy help with boy children."
"Michael and Patrick will appreciate that a lot," Emilia assured her.
"Hmm, Michael Alexander and Patrick Severus will definitely appreciate having someone new to chase around." Nippy snorted and went to check on the boys. "If they're up, bring them down. They like these guys."
"Nippy says boys nap," she called back. "Time for boys to nap. Boys run later."
"I'm sure they will," Grissom agreed happily. "So, what are they?"
"House elves," Greg told him. "Like the ones at the school who brought us dinner?"
"Oh, them. None of them spoke."
Greg smirked a bit. "They were probably scared of all the babies." Night came out with a pie and put it in front of them then handed Greg the knife to cut it properly before heading back into the kitchen. A few minutes later he went to prowl around the house.
"I take it we won't have to worry about anyone ever breaking in again?" Brass asked as he ate a bite of dinner.
"No, probably not," Emilia agreed happily. "There'll be no more panicked calls about the house being ransacked, someone going missing, or anyone breaking into the lab either." That got some smiles. "Can we beat the next door neighbor?"
"No," Greg told her. "I'd get in trouble for that, 'Mil." Someone new pounded on the door and shouted 'Las Vegas Police'. Greg groaned and got up, going to get his badge on the way there. He opened it and held his up, getting a shocked person. "Detective Brass and CSI Grissom are inside. What's going on?"
"There was a report that this was a child farming operation."
"Well, we have three kids, but they don't even garden yet," Greg said dryly. The cops looked unamused. He walked over to his neighbor's house, kicking in the door and walking in there. "Hola," he said dryly. "I'm your neighbor, CSI Sanders." He went pale. "What is your damage?" The man started to babble so he looked down. "Not now, Night. Let me. I want to torture his ass. Go help Emilia." He shook his head so Greg glared. "Now."
"Greg no have wand," he said quietly, handing it to him. "Night needed to protect Greg."
"Night's needed more to protect the kids. Emilia and I can protect ourselves. So you protect her and the kids or the kids." Night nodded, going back to do that, kicking one cop who was poking at Nippy's ears and walking over his back once he fell. Greg looked at his accuser again. "I'm doing what?" he demanded.
"That wasn't a child!"
"No shit!" He pointed his wand at him. "Obliviate." The man went slack jawed and he walked out, slamming the door behind him. He saw his neighbor on the other side, nodding politely at her. "Someone didn't like that we got a midget nanny and housekeeper," he told her.
"I saw the one earlier, she was adorable in Cassandra's dress," the older woman said with a smile.
"They're all family," he said with a grin. "The one in all black is Night, the female is Nippy and that one was Pretty."
"Their poor mother." She kissed him on the cheek. "Night knocked down one and walked over him."
"I told him to protect 'Mil and the kids." He grinned and walked inside. "I'll keep the kids out of your garden," he called before shutting the door. He walked over the cop instead of on him like his elf had, going back to his lunch. He looked at his wife. "He's not going to be a problem anymore."
"Is he ...gone?"
"Obliviated," he mouthed. She nodded and Grissom coughed, looking over at him from the couch. "Sorry, boss."
"Not a problem," Brass assured him, coming over to get his plate and take it back over there. He had missed lunch.
"Maybe we should move further out into the desert," Emilia said dryly.
Greg gave her a dirty look. "I don't want to move further out. We live far enough out."
"We could have a bigger pool."
"Just because you want to own Lake Tahoe..." She grinned at him. "We can't expand a pool that way, Emilia."
"Yes we can. With that tent spell." She blew a kiss. "Plus, no more nosy people."
"And I'd be too far out to respond in a timely fashion," he reminded her. "I'm about on the boundaries now."
"He has been late on a few after-hours calls," Grissom noted as he came over. "One of the guys is really impressed with Nippy. Who's Lucius?"
"Draco's former father," Greg said dryly, staring him down. "Blame her, not me, boss."
"Fine. Emilia, if he's on call, he has to leave then, not be kissed for the next twenty minutes and then leave," he said patiently. She frowned at him. "Really."
"I don't like him going into the field. It's dangerous! I heard what Blair went through with Jim and Simon. He was always in trouble. Serial killers and sociopaths and stalkers. I don't want that for my pookie."
"I don't blame you but he doesn't usually pull Sandburg's level of attraction either," David reminded her. "Even when they were here, the guys ignored him to go for Sandburg." She nodded, still looking unhappy.
"Emilia, I was feeling unloved in the lab," Greg said quietly. "No one wanted to play with me and I was feeling like I wasn't contributing. I am now."
She glared at him. "You were doing a lot more than you know, Greg."
"Including getting blown up," he told her, staring back. She glared at him and he raised an eyebrow. "This is where I want to be, Emilia. I want to be in the field."
"Where just anyone could *kill* you!" she said hotly. "Then what'll I do! I'll go insane!"
"You won't," he said firmly. "Because no one's going to shoot me."
"You got shot before!" she accused.
"I got grazed by a crazy person in the park. I wasn't on a case."
He sighed and sipped his water. "Not now, Emilia. We'll talk about it later, but I wasn't happy. I was being stifled. They wanted me to become a machine. Which I can't be."
"But you'd be safer!"
"Someone can still come into the station," he reminded her. "Those back exits aren't guarded and they're usually open. Sometimes propped open for ventilation. They could easily come in the morgue entrance and I'm just down the hall from there. It's no safer being in the lab than it is in the street. I'd rather make a difference and be helpful than be safe, bored, and under appreciated. I hated it when I got forced back by Ecklie."
He frowned. "Later, Emilia."
"Fine." She got up and went to check on the kids, knocking the guy hugging her daughter down. "Do not touch my children that way!" she growled, glaring at him. "No one touches my kids that way."
"She gave me the hug," he defended.
Nippy came over and removed the baby while Night came over to walk Emilia over to a couch and sit her down. He stared at her for a moment then went to guard the children.
"Emilia, we try very hard to make him safe," Brass said quietly.
She glared at him. "Then you're with him every moment of every scene?" He shook his head. "Are they protected? Hasn't Greg had to go to scenes by himself, where the scene was a few days old and he went back to review and regroup?" He nodded. "Then isn't he in danger then?"
"No more so than he is on his commute in," he offered quietly.
She snorted. "He doesn't have to commute either."
"He does sometimes if he doesn't know the house," he reminded her dryly. She slumped some, shooting a glare at him. "If he's happier, then we can't really stop him unless something happens to him. If he were to get too hurt, we'd pull him immediately, but your husband was the one who came back while he still had burns from the lab explosion. We wanted him to take a few more days off and he didn't. Like Nick can't stand to sit around."
She glared again. "That doesn't make me any happier."
"Fine," he said, knowing it was a futile argument. He'd had this argument before his divorce and he'd helped others after they'd had it with their spouses.
She glanced at Greg, then back at her. "He's not the same guy, Jim," she said quietly. "He's not as happy, not as fun."
"That happened before he went into the field," he reminded her. "That happened when he had to go back and fight." She sighed and slumped down. "You're right, he tried really hard, but there's still some government agents who want him. One came up to him the other day."
"Excuse me? Gregory?" He looked at her. "What agent, dear?"
He blanched. "Oops, didn't I tell you I drove off another one?" She shook her head, looking very grim. "Sorry." He winced at her glare. "I drove him off!"
She glared harder. "We'll be talking."
"Fine." He looked at the cops, who were snickering. "Stop it." He gave them disgusted looks, then realized what his wife was seeing. He looked at Grissom. "You know she's going to make me quit soon."
Grissom looked at him, then at Emilia. Then back at his tech. "She might," he agreed. "We'd miss you, but if that'll make you happy...."
"No, it won't."
"Then don't let her," Grissom said simply. All the married guys in the room rolled their eyes. "What?"
"Gil, wives worry when their kids, er husbands, start to change personalities. Think about the Greg in front of you and the Greg before the reunion. There's a bit of a difference in there."
"Yeah, a battle," Greg said bitterly.
"Having to dress to deal with the public," Brass reminded him. "You'd never wear so square a shirt in the lab."
Greg looked down then at his wife. "Blame Warrick! He's the one who got onto me about my clothes."
"Which were really horrible for dealing with the public, Greg," Grissom reminded him. "They want us to be calm, cool, collected, and clean looking."
Greg glared at him and Grissom realized how much Greg had given up to get into the field. Including the bigger paycheck. Not that it mattered to him. "If you become world known in the field, you can dress however you want."
"Yeah, if that happens, I'm going to shoot you my own damn self," Emilia assured him. She stared him down. "I want *my* Greg back, Grissom, not CSI Sanders. My Greg was nice and fun and safe. CSI Sanders is safe fun. Bit of a difference there, you big, grumpy polar bear."
Grissom blushed. "I'm sorry, Emilia. We can't let him into the field wearing a Ramones t- shirt. It looks wrong to the people we're helping."
"Greg, honey, go back to school, become an ME so you can wear whatever you want," she ordered.
"They don't get to either. Besides, that's another two years in Britain at one of the colleges." Brass raised an eyebrow. "Or four here and then four torturous years of internship. Over there, I've got more credentials."
"Why are you working here then?" one of the cops asked.
"Because over there, there were people hunting me for what I can do in the lab. They wanted me to work for them. They found me just after I graduated school over there. That's why I did college over here." The cop looked confused. "Trust me. There were."
"But you get that over here now."
"Only because I stuck my head up. If we moved, I could easily go back into hiding again." The cop looked like he understood. "After all, I've got an open invitation to join Chicago's PD and there's a school there I can temp in at all the time."
"The Canadian Ministry wanted you too," Emilia reminded him.
"True, they did. A thought hit me earlier while we were traveling to pick up Night and Nippy. Think what would have happened if Alex had gotten to raise Harry from the start."
"That would be one smug smartass," Brass noted dryly. "From the start."
Greg grinned. "He'd be very confident and very well versed in all the proper areas but the lab."
"He would be," Gil agreed, looking at Emilia. "He demanded," he offered quietly. "Greg was a lot of fun in the lab, always dancing around to his discman and always prompt, but that's what he wanted to do."
"Yes, but I still want my Greg back," she told him.
"Emilia, even if I was forced back to the lab, I wouldn't be the same guy." Emilia looked at him. "I wouldn't be. I've grown up a bit since then. I'm not the happy go lucky twenty- eight-year-old guy I used to be. Now I've got kids and I'm older. The same as you're not the badass you used to be, I'm not. Now we find new ways of proving how bad we are." He grinned at her. "Okay?"
"Fine, but I still don't like it," she told him. She looked over as the other cops left, then looked at Brass, giving a pointed glass at Night. He shook his head. "Good. Anything else?"
"Not really. Can we stay for lunch?" Brass asked with a grin.
"Fine," she said, relaxing again. She smiled at Gil. "You can stay too."
"Thank you. I'd like to talk to Night and Nippy if I may? See what they're like."
"Sure, go ahead. Guys, feel free to talk to Gil. He likes learning about things." She got up and pulled Greg up, kissing him hard and fast. "I'm still the baddest woman in the Banes."
He grinned. "That's why I love you." He stole a quick kiss. "Feed me, Oh Great Badass One, so that I may give my humble worshiping another try later."
"You'd better." She led him back to the table. "David, come eat."
"Coming. I'm trying to get away from the octopus twins."
"Yeah, some day they'll date," Greg sighed when his buddy sat down. Hodges gave him an odd look. "Some day I'll be a grandfather. A cool grandfather like mine, but still a grandfather."
David patted him on the back. "It's okay, Greg. It'll be decades in the future. No kid of yours will be someone easy to date and love."
Emilia giggled. "I'm sure it'll be easy enough if they've got their daddy's skills." He blushed a bit at that. "By then, there'll be at least a third generation of Banes," she said smugly. "Our kids will be one and they'll have the fourth generation."
"And the world trembles," David finished. "Mostly in fear of the pranks."
Brass looked at him. "They aren't *so* bad," he offered. "Lindsey brought me singing chili the other day." He dug in again, he was still hungry and the house elves cooked very well.
The End. For Now.