The Sulky Boy

Horatio looked up as Speed walked in, noticing the look on his face.  "Have a bad dinner last night?" he asked dryly.

"No, why?"  He gave him a long stare, then watched Calleigh walk past with interest before heading back to change clothes.

Horatio watched him go.  Something was wrong.  His phone rang.  "Caine."  He listened to Gibbs' complaint.  "Speed just got here and he's more sulky than usual but not out of the range of a bad day.  I'll watch and make sure."  He hung up, going to track his tech down.  He found him and Eric comparing bar sex stories in the locker room.  "Boys.  Not at work."

Speed gave him a look. "Isn't that part of being a guy, Horatio?  Comparing conquests?"

"Not all of us have conquests," he reminded him.

Eric looked at him.  "Somehow I doubt that, H," he teased, grinning at him.  "Besides, he said he's in a good mood."

Horatio hummed, shaking his head. "Eric, next case is yours since you're open.  Speed, where are you in your last one?"

"Up to my nads in tape lifted samples."  Eric looked at him for that expression.  "I am!  You guys brought me a body with so much shit on them it's not funny."

"Okay, now I'm starting to see something odd," Eric admitted, closing his locker door.  "Did you have a bad night?"  Speed shook his head.  "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, Danny and Tony were great fun.  Don came over to spend the night with us and it was good.  Why?"  He stared at Yelina as she came in.

"Eric," Horatio said smoothly.  "Go."  He nodded and left, taking Yelina with him once she had dropped off her jacket.  "Speed."  He moved closer.  "What is the problem today?"

"Nothing. I'm the same guy I was before."

Horatio considered that then shook his head. "You're not.  You're definitely not."  He heard someone else come in, watching as he evaluated Frank then seemingly dismissed him.  "Speed, talk to me."

"What's up?" Frank asked, coming over to help if he could.

"Nothing.  He's in a bad mood and won't say why," Horatio told him.

"Really, guys, I'm in a great mood," he promised, smirking at them.  He grabbed his lab coat.  "Off to deal with the nad-high pile of trace stuff while you two old guys conspire."  He walked out shaking his head and laughing.

"Old guys?" Frank asked.  "What?  Is he twelve?"

Horatio looked at him, then stiffened and took a deep breath.  "Thank you, Frank."  He went to chase him down.  "Speedle!" he said from the doorway of the lab, making him jump since he had music on in there. "Too loud and annoying.  Turn it down."

"Sorry, dad!"  He turned it down and got back to work.  His remote had a plastic cover on it.

Horatio stepped back to observe and figure out if this was a problem or a game.  He went back to his office since he could see inside the lab, putting on his sunglasses.  He had 'telling' spells on them to show anything magical.  He saw a bright flash of magic and groaned.  "Ray!" he called.  His nephew waved but stopped in to talk to Speed, who looked perfectly normal to him.  He took off his sunglasses, watching those two joke.  That definitely wasn't normal.

His nephew came in a few minutes later, smiling and happy.  "When did Speed learn how to play video games?  We were trading levels on the newest hot one."  Horatio looked at him.  "What?"

"Something's wrong with him," he said quietly.

"Yeah, he's suddenly hip, cool, and brooding, which girls seem to like."  He shrugged. "Wish I was."  He looked at his uncle.  "I need lessons, badly.  I made the toaster bark this morning."

"We'll get your wand this weekend and start then."  Ray beamed at him.  "We'll have to take a quick trip to Diagon for it. The only wandmaker in the States got burned last year."  He cleared his throat when he saw Yelina coming.  "So, you think he's fine to work?"

"I think the brooding sexuality thing is very hot right now.  You see it a lot on all the male models, who barely get past pouting.  He's taking it farther and I'm glad my wannabe girlfriend isn't here or she'd take him over me."  He grinned at his mother.  "Speed's suddenly a lot hipper.  We're talking video games."

"I see."  She smiled at him.  "What happened to him?"

"I don't know.  He came in acting like today was one of his bad days, but he's claiming he's happy."  He looked down there, watching him dance to the music, opening the door to hear the noise.  "Speed!  Once more and it's gone!" he yelled.  He could see a few other techs glaring at his lab.  It got turned down and he went back inside.  "Sorry."

"Not a problem.  That's some seriously nice music," Ray admitted.  "I listen to it at home.  That Tony guy said his tech, Abby, listens to it and that Greg listens to it too."  He shrugged.  "Maybe Greg helped him be hip today."  He grinned at his mother. "What's up?"

"I was wondering why you came in."

"To beg Uncle Horatio to drop me off later so I could replace the toaster I ruined earlier."  She grimaced.  "It's my fault my eggo leaked and caused it to smoke and hiss.  Therefore I should replace it."  She nodded.  "I figured you'd be busy all day."  He shrugged.  "I'm being nice, mom."

"Fine, son.  Thank you for being so considerate."  She walked off, smiling that her son was showing some maturity.

Horatio looked at him.  "Why did it bark?" he asked quietly.

"I was wanting a dog," he hissed, moving closer.  "I was pouting about wanting a dog while making a toaster pastry."  He shrugged. "It barked and hopped around but she was leaving so I dropped it onto the floor and stomped it into submission.  So can I get dropped off later?"  He nodded. "Thank you.  Any day this weekend?"

"I'm off Friday and Saturday."

"Thank you, Uncle Horatio."  He gave him a hug and disappeared.  "I'm going to hand Tim my earphones and I-Pod!"  He went in there, handing it to him.  "Here, Speed, ten thousand songs, all in that genre."  He grinned. "That way Uncle Horatio can't throw a hissy."

"Thanks, dude.  I'll hand it back later."

"Not an issue.  We should trade music."

"I ripped off Greg's collection last night.  Copied most of it."  Ray grinned at that.  "We'll see what I can let you copy."

"Decent, thanks."   He headed to the break room to get a snack.  He was a teenager, he was always hungry.


Horatio looked at Speed as he took a break for lunch. He was sitting the wrong way in his chair and eating Cheetos.  He walked in there, taking the earbuds off him.  "We should talk."

"About?" he asked, his mouth still partially full.

Horatio sat across from him. "About this sudden return of adolescent behavior."

"I'm the same guy I was, H.  Must be a perception problem."  He ate another cheeto and licked his fingers off once he had swallowed. He grinned at Alexx when she came in.  "Hi."

"Speedy."  She gave him a gentle hug.  They were just starting to rebuild their relationship.  "Eat more than that, sugar."

"I'm fine.  It's just a snack until dinner tonight.  Tony's cooking."  She nodded, getting a new bottle of water and walking back out. He looked at Horatio.  "I'm perfectly happy and fine, H.  I have no idea why you're worried."

"First you take off for an unexpected vacation day to clean out some old storehouses, then you come in the next day staring at women, acting my nephew's age, and claiming you're normal.  You expect people to not pay attention to it, but even Natalia has noticed it, Speed.  Did something happen yesterday or last night?  Some hex I didn't find when I checked?"

"No."  He ate another cheeto and got up to get a Mountain Dew.  "Want one?"

"No, thank you.  It's Gibbs that has caffeine poisoning."

"Suit yourself."  He got him a bottle of water instead and sat back down to go back to his lunch.  He was having a lot of fun with this.  "You checked me out?"  Frank was outside the door watching them so he waved.  "Want one?" he asked, holding up the bag.

"I didn't know you ate that disgusting stuff."  He walked off shaking his head.


"I'm still me, Horatio.  This is who I am."

"No, this isn't you, Speedle."  He stood up.  "Go work in my office."  That way he could be contained if it was something wrong with him.  He shrugged and brought his chips that way with his soda.   Horatio watched him walk, bopping off to his nephew's I-Pod.  Something was definitely off with him.   He had never figured Speed for an Iron Maiden fan.  He had never seen one of their CD's in his collection when the team had gone over for dinner.  He hadn't had any idea Speed even liked metal music.  Something was definitely wrong.  He went to check his lab for anything that might be wrong, but he knew it had something to do with yesterday.  Fortunately he was very good at his job.  From the calls that had been passed back and forth from DC and New York, he wasn't the only one either.


Speed walked onto his scene an hour after lunch, looking around.  "This is so not cool," he noted dryly, putting down his case so he could put on booties and gloves.  He put on his sunglasses and pulled out his camera first.  "Do we have a path cleared?" he called.  Horatio nodded, pointing at it.  "Thank you."  He walked that way, going to look around.  "What happened?"

"Someone said they saw dogs attacking him," he said quietly, looking at him.  "Then someone grabbed their leashes, praised them, and pulled them away."

"Joy."  He took pictures, starting with the body and working his way around them. "Attack dog breed?"

"Dobermans."  He watched him work.  He was still working efficiently, none of his knowledge had faded.

"Quit staring at my ass, H."

"I'm not."

Speed smirked back at him.  "You sure about that?"  He got back to work, finding a leaf that wasn't native to anything around them. He put a ruler beside it for a photo, then bagged it.  "Cyprus leaf."

Horatio looked around.  "There's some across the street but the wind isn't blowing this way," he noted.  He carefully stepped back, going to question the people watching with Eric.  Eric gave him a look.  "He's finding trace."

"That's what he does best," he agreed.  "Speed, bike?"

"My old one.  It was in our old storage area and we freed it late last night."

"Looked good."

"It needs polished again.  I didn't have time last night."  He snapped another picture.  "Horatio, I just found a revolver.  Thirty-eight."  He bagged it.  Horatio frowned and came over to take it.  "Maybe they weren't attacking a living person?"

"No, one witness said they saw the dogs bring him down," Horatio admitted quietly.  The gun was locked in his hummer.  It had to be from another case so he wasn't going to take any chances on it being stolen.  He came back with the body haulers, pointing at the body.  "If he's done, go ahead.  The ME?"

"Is tied up with another three cases, sir.  She said she'd do it back at the lab in this case since the other two were children and the third had multiple bodies."  Speed looked up at that.  "She didn't say where, sir.  I know the blonde you work with is at one, Wolfe is at the other."

Eric pulled out his phone, calling one of them.  "Calleigh, need help?  We've got the three of us here."  He listened and nodded.  "Thanks."  He hung up.  "Speed, they need you with Wolfe.  Horatio, Calleigh's cleared the first and heading to the multiple bodies, she could use you."  He nodded and they left, going to do that.  Eric finished up what he was doing and went to take over what Speed had been doing.  He nodded for the haulers to get the body out of his way and they bagged it, moving it off.  "Thanks, guys.  Mark it as mine for her."  That got a nod and they headed off while he worked on the area under the former body.


Speed walked down the hall bopping to a new I-Pod.  Horatio looked at him.  "I took ten to get my own and had Yelina's handed back for Ray."

"Thank you.  What's on yours?"  Speed smirked.  "Speed?"

"The stuff I got off Greggy last night."  He headed back to his lab.  In truth he had gotten it earlier and sent it to Greg, who downloaded it off his home computer.  Greg was loving this experiment and he was thinking about trying it himself, but Grissom would've sent him home immediately if he went sulky and pouty.  "Oh, Greggy's got all but three identified and out of the morgue.  Those three, two are no results in any database, one's got one but the parents refused to identify or hand over dental records."  He shrugged.  "He's still working on who."

"Thank you for the update."  He watched him go off.  Something was very odd about Speed and he wasn't sure what or why. Something about this was still bothering him.  Unfortunately, Miami had been having a bad day so he didn't have the time to think about it while he processed his own evidence.  That one phrase kept running through his head though.  'I'm who I was before'.   Before what was still bothering him.


Horatio took a break late that afternoon, finding Speed drinking another soda.  When he wanted caffeine, he went for coffee, not sodas.  Sodas was his nephew and a few other very young techs.  That's when it hit him.  He walked into the trace lab, nodding Eric out, getting a nod in response.  "Before you graduated or before you attended?" he asked.

"You said you wanted me back to the guy I was before we three got together."

"I said again at the end of that phrase and it was only to make you quit playing so often."

Speed looked at him.  "Wish granted, Horatio."

Horatio flinched.  "So this is a teenage you?"  Speed nodded.  "First year?"  Speed smirked at that.  "I did not want you doing this."

"Proving the point."  He watched the tech walk past.  "I never appreciated the view the last time I was here."

"If you keep appreciating it, she's going to make a formal complaint."

"Damn.  I'll apologize."  He shrugged and got back to work.  "Anything else, Horatio?"

"Are you going to come back to normal?"

"Why? I'm having fun."  He smirked at him, his brown eyes locking into Horatio's blue ones.  "Did you get what you wanted?"

"No.  I want our Speed back.  The one from before you died.  Not the one from before you joined us."

"Yeah, well, I did die, H.  Did you really expect not to have some differences?"  Horatio shook his head, moving cautiously closer. "Besides, I am that guy."

"You're not.  You're not as grounded.  You're not as sarcastic.  Not that I mind that difference, but you're not. You're also not as focused as you were, Speed."  He took another step closer.  "You know you can talk to me as well, correct?"  He nodded.  "Maybe you should consider talking about this stuff.  It's not uncommon after going through a major trauma to need to talk to someone."

Speed snickered.  "You act like it was me shooting someone, H.  I'm happy with the guy I am.  If you're not, then I'm sorry.  I am."  Horatio inclined his head slightly at that.  "Sarcasm is now spread among more people, that's all."

"That's fine.  Just remember you can come to me as well, Speed.  The same as you can help me with Ray's training if you wanted," he offered quietly.  "That's up to you."

"I'll make sure you get the right set of books.  The ones Danny's using with them aren't bad, but there's a better one.  Philip recommended that one.  Or you could use the actual textbooks."

"I could," he agreed.  "Most of that was miscellaneous stuff you can look up.  I'd rather he have the firm foundation and spend his last few years of training finding out where his interests lie."

"Good idea.  I'll go with you two."

"We're going Friday.  You're working."

"I forgot.  Okay.  I'll hand you my set.  They're in my trunk that I brought down last night. It'll give him a firm enough foundation and then reference tomes should finish that off."  Horatio nodded.  "His wand?"


"Good idea.  He's leaking in case you hadn't realized.  He made a few samples float this morning because he was tense and uptight."

"He made the toaster bark."

"Interesting.  Yelina's outside."  He pulled over a piece of paper.  "One of the child ones.  Found drowned at home, no one supposedly at home.  Fingerprints on the knob were smudged but the ones on top were hers."  He handed it over.  "Alex did that, it's in DNA now."

Horatio looked and let out a small sigh.  "She came home to clean up and hide the evidence?"  Speed nodded.  "Are we sure?"

"Pretty much.  That makes it accidental but I want the person who hurt her."

"Agreed.  Tell me when you get them."  He handed it back.  "What about the earlier samples?"

"I got them about half done but I left them on your desk when you made me do paperwork.  I prioritized."

"Try to get back to them today, Speed."  He got a nod so he turned and opened the door.  "Yelina. It looks like his was an accident."

"Good.  Ryan is outside holding his head."

"These cases are always hard."

She nodded, walking him off to the break room since it was empty.  She shut the door and looked at him.  "I went home for lunch."  He nodded.  "My son was in there making things float, Horatio.  I know he's not doing a science project so don't try to give me the same excuse he used."

He stared at her.  "Ray is carrying on a family tradition, Yelina.  At least one child in each generation has certain skills."

"Magic?" she hissed.  He nodded.  "His father?"

"Me," he admitted quietly, moving closer.  "I was lucky enough to be found at the proper age.  He said you turned his chance down."  He undid his memory spell, making her gasp and hold her head.  "You got a bit hysterical last time."  She glared at him.  "I'm going to end up training him. The only local school is in the Keys and it's nice, but more toward the nature paths than not; they like to teach integration and Ray's not much of a wiccan."  She continued to glare.  "You were screaming about it in the station, Yelina.  You almost sent your son away.  What did you want me to do?"

"Shelter him and give me time to calm down!" she snapped.

"You have it now.  I'm starting his training this weekend."


"No," he said coldly.  "He'll either attend a school, which means boarding him out of state, or I'm training him, Yelina.  Those are our options.  If he ignores this, it could kill him at a later date."  She slumped.  "Now, I blocked it because you became hysterical.  I didn't want to, Yelina, but I had to.  You hurt him to the point where he lost his temper and nearly blew up the office.  Thankfully I have dampening crystals in there."  She hung her head, nodding.  "You can watch if you want.  When I was doing the spell I found out you had tried to practice a native path of magic in the past and couldn't make it work."

She glared at him.  "I don't want you to do it."

"Then the other option is sending him out of the state to board him, with the additional problem that the military is looking for young men and women like him," he said quietly, moving closer.  "They're trying to conscript those like us to work for them."  She gave him a heated look.  "Last year they tried to take on an academy in Chicago.  They were defeated and driven out of the school.  They're trying in New York, which was where I trained.  People are working on that one at the moment," he assured her.  "Right now, his choices are the one in the Keys, which will bore him, Texas, California, Canada, or England.  Or me."

"You," she ground out.  "I still don't like this."

"The first time you yell at him for being born this way, he'll become my son," he assured her.  "He's already stressed enough over this.  That's why your toaster broke this morning."

"I heard him stomping on it."

"He leaked magic and it barked."

She groaned, holding her head for a moment.  "Take him with you tonight.  I want time to think."

"That's fine.  He knew this day would come and he's already agreed, Yelina.  I'll call him and tell him he's coming over tonight and possibly tomorrow.  This Friday we're going to pick up some necessary equipment.  We'll have to do a bit of traveling for it but I can arrange that quietly as well.  It will be kept quiet."

She looked at him. "Speedle?"

"You asked about that before."

"I did, I want the truth."

"That was the truth.  Alexx brought him back using something in the nature path ways.  She used Eric to help her.  That's why he was so sick and missing that Sunday."  She nodded, accepting that. "Eric's still feeling guilty but that's normal.  Speed's still healing over it as well."

"Is he one of you?"  He shrugged. "You didn't ask?"

"It's not up to me to answer that question, nor about anyone else," he pointed out.  "We're a secretive community for a reason, Yelina."  She nodded.  "Thank you."


"Isn't. That's why he got so ill."

"Oh."  She slumped and nodded.  "Let me think, Horatio."

"That would be fine.  What I'll be doing is giving him the foundations, the basics everyone should know.  Then we'll get him some reference tomes so he can look up additional spells and things if needed."  She nodded at that.  "It'll still take him until he's eighteen."

"You're sure?"

"Yes.  They started us at twelve over here, and eleven in Europe."

"Those stupid books," she sneered.

"He hates those books," he said dryly.  He smirked at her surprise.  "He works with Xander."  She walked off swearing, slamming all the doors in her way.   He called Ray.  "She knows, Ray.  Come over tonight.  Gather what you need for a night off.  She's gone down to swearing now.  Be careful.  No, she didn't like your explanation.  It was reasonable to me," he promised at the hesitant question.  "Just be careful."  He hung up and went to talk to Speed. "I had to remove it."  Ryan looked at him.  "Speed?"

"I heard.  She okay?"

"Swearing.  He may well end up with me.  I gave her the other options and the truth about the military."

Speed looked at him.  "It's being worked on.  Mac thinks it'll be stopped within a year."

"Should I leave?" Ryan asked.

"No," Horatio told him.  "Thank you, Speed."  He walked off again.

Ryan looked at him.  "Does this have something to do with how you got brought back?"  He nodded.  "Okay.  Should I just avoid both of you so I don't accidentally hear something that can get me taken in the middle of the night?"

"Ryan, if I wanted you to totally disavow any knowledge, I'd have already taken it from you," he assured him dryly, staring him down.

Ryan smirked at him.  "First the case with Rosenburg, and when I checked on the case that had the Harris guy I ran into a locked file.  Not that it was hard to get around that, but the reason for it was fairly ...odd.  Then you come back."  He closed the door and looked at him again.  "Let me guess, you're one of the people who can make certain ...skills work?  There's some truth in either the Harry Potter or the Artemis Fowl books and you can do whatever grain of truth there is.  So either you were resurrected, or you were in hiding due to your skills saving you."

"They didn't save me."  He looked at the younger officer, suddenly realizing why Horatio had hired him.

"So you were brought back."  He looked at him.  "Alexx did it, with Eric's help since he was absent that day.  He looked like hell the next few days so he was somehow involved."

"Against his will," he agreed quietly, wondering how far he'd take this.  The kid had good instincts, but his personality sucked rocks at times.

"So Alexx used him.  Calleigh was off that day and she was a target of anger so I'm guessing she knew about it.  Maybe took you in while you were healing or whatever.  I'm also going to guess the friends that Eric looked surprised to hear about, Tony and Danny, weren't around a lot before.  Possibly older friends that came back, possibly new ones who're helping you through this.  Today was all an act since Horatio's been on your case," he said with a small smirk.  "You make a very good teenager.  Ray was very impressed with your hipness levels."  He moved closer.  "Also, you glow very lightly in very faint light.  That's why you don't go into the AV lab when he's processing film, whatever the glow is would probably be picked up and somehow show on the negatives."

Speed leaned his hip against the table, looking at him, this was getting stronger and stronger in evidence.  The kid had been watching him.  He started to mentally swear, telling Tony it was all right when he checked on him.  "Also, whatever this power is, I'm not the only one who doesn't know," Ryan continued.  "Calleigh doesn't know that about you.  Horatio knows.  Alexx doesn't know you use it, she just wanted you back.  Otherwise she wouldn't have used something off that stupid vampire show to bring you back.  Oh, and one last thing.  Horatio and you share whatever secret this is.  He glows stronger in the wrong light and he's got something on his sunglasses that let him see others with the skills.  That's probably why he's been watching Marisol so often."

"Actually, he likes her, Ryan," Speed offered dryly.  "Anything else you wanna toss out?"

"Yeah, Danny's got people around him who know. You've mentioned Stella and Don, who work with Danny.  Plus Mac a few times.  Which leads me to think back to the case in New York a few years back.  Everyone said Horatio found his match in that lab with Detective Mac Taylor and his second, Detective Stella Bonasera.  I saw a Danny mentioned in the case notes as well.  So he's in New York.  Tony was obviously DiNozzo, who came down from NCIS.  I've heard you mention his boss fondly, when no one else seems to like the man.  As well as you knowing that Harris guy by another name.  Horatio called him Xander.  You called him Alex.  Let's not forget the mentions of Scotland you and Horatio let out now and then when you think you're alone, which means I'm usually in the room and you've overlooked me again.  So, I'm guessing the Harry Potter books since the other was set in Ireland.  Though I could see you being one of the Little People for some reason."

"Distant past in my family."  He smirked at him.  "So, you think I'm a what?"

"I think you're a good friend of Mr. Potter's and that you've talked a few times about Harry and Ron.  Plus Dawn Summers was mentioned."  Speed arched an eyebrow up.  "You've also got new calluses on your hands from gripping something in your palms a lot.  I'm guessing you play quidditch?"  Speed gave a negligent shrug.  "Also, I know you're a wizard.  Your wand was on you earlier.  I saw it when your jacket opened."  Speed opened his mouth.  "That was my final clue."

"My magic was weak, that's why I died," he said quietly.  "No, Alexx hasn't realized yet I'm that sort of wizard.  I've kept it from her."  Ryan nodded at that.  "That doesn't mean I can let you keep this information."

"Small problem with that, Speed."  He snapped his fingers and the blinds fell.  "Moron."

"You're a nature path," he said, smirking at him.  He nodded.  "You knew about us?"

"Hell no!"  He sneered.  "We all used to sneer at the books."

"So does Harry."

"Uh-huh.  So, how is flying your way?"

"Fast, fun, blood pumping."


"Now, I usually played keeper in school, New York."

"Interesting."  He moved closer.  "Alexx is a what sort?" he asked quietly.  Someone tapped on the door.  "In a minute.  We're going over sensitive information on this case."

"Let me in," Eric demanded.

"In a minute!" he snapped, glaring at the door.  Eric walked off, you could see his shadow walking away.  He looked at Speed again.  "Alexx is a what?"

"Mine, she still doesn't know."  He didn't look away from that gaze.  "You're not a nature path.  You're a chaos person," he said wisely.  "You let it out around me, I'm going to smack you down so far you're going to wish I had made you a flobber worm."

"Unlike Rosenburg, I admit what I am and I'm more careful.  Also, unlike some of us, I tend to use it for good.  A bit of chaos tends to unravel things faster, especially gangs and drug rings."

"Good.  Then I don't have to worry about watching you like I do most of the others."  He sneered at him and moved closer.  "You will admit this to Horatio, Wolfe.  I'm sick and damn tired of being the only one around here who does the magic-related cases."

"Agreed.  Then again, he's sadly out of practice."

"Not anymore," Horatio said from the doorway.

Ryan looked at him. "No, around the same time he started to mention Alex, a different Alex than ours, you started to carry yours again."  He turned to look at him.  "I'm a neutral living chaos person," he said quietly.

"I had wondered why no one trusted you on sight."  He closed the door, looking at him.  "You use it to untangle knots that're keeping cases open?"  He nodded. "Not for your own gain?"

"Why do I need more than I've got, Horatio?  I'm working my way to where I want to be.  I'm in good standing.  I do use it as a shield now and then.  Sometimes there's a conflict about which I'm using at that time in some dangerous situations.  It's not like I use it usually.  Marisol is Wiccan.  She's been glowing a lot recently with healing spells."

"She's sick," he agreed, moving closer.  "How long have you known about me?"

"Since the first minute I walked into your office, boss.  The dampening crystal on your windowsill gave it away.  It was made by one of us."  Horatio nodded at that.  "I figured you were hiding the easiest of all ways, forgetting you had ever learned."

"I was.  Now it's not possible."

"That's fine.  If you need me, I'm there for that stuff."

"I'll remember that. You cannot say a word about any of this."

"Fine, but you've got to keep it better.  You guys keep overlooking me when I'm in the room, even when I'm not shielding myself. You've done it a few times with Eric as well."

"So you knew about Rosenburg?"

"Yes, slightly.  There's rumors that the show got some things right.  Does Ethan exist?"  They both nodded.  He had called Alex for his help with something the last Sunday they had been up there.  "Cool.  A bit more hardcore than I am.  More often than not, I'm doing minor stuff to wear it out so I don't leak.  Can't you guys do that?"

"I was building energy for the shields I've been weaving around Eric and Calleigh," Speed told him.

Ryan looked at him and shook his head. "That's not even your sort!  You doing it means it'll have holes because you don't feel the magic.  You guys use it, but it's part of your blood.  We weave it because we *feel* it in our hands and how it's spreading.  For that, I'll exchange favors.  I want to learn how to fly."

"I can see that happening," Speed agreed.

"Good.  Just against magic?"

"That and hopefully to keep them out of a bit of danger."

"Danger is our lives.  It'd take them out of the job," Ryan reminded him.  Speed sighed and slumped a bit, nodding.  "I'll see what I can do.  I've done one on Ray recently because he's got a hellishly bright leaking problem.  Does his mother know?"

"Now," Horatio admitted.

"That's fine.  If you need help there, I'm good at knocking people out as I walk past them."  He put back up the blinds, finding Eric leaning against the wall. "We're done."   He pointed at the table. "I'm sorry, this one is going to haunt me tonight."

"Then do a prayer for her afterlife to be easier, safer, and better," Horatio told him.

Ryan nodded.  "I have in the past, I can do it again."  Speed nodded.  "Do we have a DNA sample yet?"

"We do.  It was a match in the system.  Eric was getting the name," Speed said.  "Eric!"  He walked in with the report.  "Name?"

"Principal Enrique Toblas.  Suspected but never convicted.  Came down from Atlanta, where he was suspected in four different molesting cases."  He looked at Ryan.  "What did you do to me?"

"Made you walk off for four minutes so we could talk."  He looked at him, then grinned.  "Sorry."

"How?"  Ryan looked at Horatio.  "No, you look at me, Wolfe."  He closed the door.  "Someone seal that."  Horatio did that and Eric glared at him.  "You too?"

"Of course, Eric."

"Hell."  He looked at Ryan.  "Are you like Speed?"

"No, I'm a more neutral version of Ethan Rayne from that show.  I use it to unravel problematic groups now and then for cases, but mostly in other ways.  By the way, your sister needs to add more power to her healing spells.  They're getting weaker and it's giving her less time."

"That happens."

"It doesn't have to."  He wrote down a name and handed it over.  "One like me who heals."

"You guys heal?" he snorted.

"Yes, chaos is a natural power, Eric.  It's just as natural as what she's doing.  It's also growing with the discordance in the world.  Some day, they'll have to take refuge areas and preserve them.  Cities create ours."  Eric slumped and nodded.  "Ask her, she's helped others.  At the very least, it'll give her more time."

"Thank you.  Anything else you wanna admit to?"

"Yeah, I'm working on a spell for Speed to make sure no one but us can affect you ever again.  You're too damn easy to work on."  He shrugged. "You and Calleigh both."

"Thank you.  Anything further?"  Ryan shook his head.  "So we can put all this behind us, you're never going to do that to me again, or I'm going to kick your ass, and we can get back to work again, right?"

Ryan nodded. "Yeah, we can get back to work."

"Eric, he figured it all out.  He's got the skills.  He even figured out how you got used to bring me back.  He said at first he was torn between those books and the Artie Fowl books."

"Yeah, you'd make such a good LEPRecon elf," he taunted back with a smirk.

"Distant past, long distant past."  He shrugged. "It's why I'm so pretty."

"And so evil on a broom," Horatio muttered.  "Mr. Wolfe, you and Eric go get this principal and bring him back here.  We want to talk with him, now."  They nodded and left.  Horatio looked at Speed once they were gone.  "Everything?"

"And then some.  He wasn't sure which side Alexx was on.  He said she didn't know I was since she used that way instead of ours.  He knew about you.  He got the photo thing too."  Horatio sighed and nodded.  "If he's right, then we've got to figure out how strong he is.  I'm not doing those cases alone."

"I agree, you're not doing those cases," Horatio agreed.  "We've got someone else.  I've found a few more sources and they're doing them.  We're on as research helpers now and then."

"Agreed.  Thank you."

"No, thank you.  Everything?"

"Everything.  Down to who was there and that Calleigh was shielding me while I woke up," he said quietly.  "It's that touch of chaos in him that's driving Eric's nuts.  They're diametrically opposed.  He's good at what he does."

"That's fine.  I'll let you work with him more often, Speed.  Are you done playing?"

"I was done playing earlier."

"You're still listening to the I-Pod.  You're not Greg."

"No, but some music does make it go by faster," he pointed out.  "Especially on the bad days.  A day with two dead kids is a bad day."

"Agreed. Do what you can before you head home, Speed."  He walked out, going to talk with his nephew, who he could feel was coming in.  Then suddenly his magical signature muted.  He walked out to find him and Ryan talking.  Then Ray nodded and it was fully muted.  "Thank you," he said quietly.

"Saving my sanity.  You guys leaking gives me a headache," he muttered as he walked off.

Horatio led his nephew inside and up to his office.  "Put your bag at my place?"

"Yup, already."  He went to his mother's desk, taking his I-Pod back.  "I've got enough stuff at Uncle Horatio's to last me through the weekend, mom.  Let me know."  He walked off again, sticking the buds in his ears.  He gave his uncle a smile.  "Go work.  I heard it was a bad day."  He nodded and went to help Speed in the lab.  Ray went up to the office to lay down and read books.  He had found the Artemis Fowl series and was laughing at the little elf that was the female lead character.  She was spunky and his sort of girl!


They gathered back together for dinner....

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