Alex looked up as the yelling started in the kitchen, sighing and heading that way. "What!" he shouted. They all flinched and gave him hurt looks. "You're screaming, why?"
"Me is not liking that Favor wants to dust and not do bedrooms," Favor said. "It is not Favor's day to do bedrooms, it is Favor's day to dust. Me is not on schedule."
Alex took the schedule and checked the calendar, then looked at Me. "Are we off schedule?"
"Terry and Tipsy disappear last night," Me said, looking down.
"Goblins or did they wander off to die?" he asked.
"Terry was very much old," Favor said unhappily. "Tipsy is a sick house elf."
"Why didn't you guys tell me?" he demanded.
"We saw house elf healer. Called Auntie Cordy Me did," Me assured him, giving him an earnest look. "Me must borrow house elves from other houses."
"They're needed there and half the staff at the manor is working with the herds of animals." He looked down at her and sighed. "House elf shelter?" She brightened up. "Must I?" She nodded at that. "Can't I write you a letter and let you go?"
"They not listen to Me," Favor reminded him. They had done that to get her and Alex had ended up showing up anyway. He groaned. "Master Alex is sick?"
"No, not yet. I will be after we get back." He considered it then sighed. He put out a general call. It was a well-known fact, one did not go to the house elf shelter alone. Ever. The Banes were all busy. Including his students who were in the catacombs doing an inventory. Alex may be able to make theories in other's books work but he was not strong enough to go to the house elf shelter alone. He called Don on his cell. "Any of you guys bored and willing to go with me to the house elf shelter?" He brightened at that. Gibbs was out on injury leave with Tony. "Think they'd go with me? Please. Have them call. No, we had two wander off to die last night. The other house is understaffed because of the spring births." He looked at Me. "Find out how many my aunts really need."
"Two, Master Alex. Me could use a few more too."
Alex nodded. "Please?" He hung up and handed Me a key from his pocket. "Go rob the vault of this month's shopping budget plus six thousand galleons."
"Me empty vault into vault room?"
"Fine," he agreed. Me disappeared. He went to his office to take some aspirin and wait.
Tony listened to Don's question and moaned. "Absolutely not," he muttered. Gibbs and McGee looked at him. "Alex needs to go to the shelter."
McGee shuddered. "It's a stupid person who goes there alone," he noted dryly. Tony nodded at that. "Do we have one here?"
"New York has one. It's pretty small." He looked at Gibbs. "He needs someone to tell him no."
"Like animal shelter or pound?"
"Like little creatures like Favor and Terry," Tony told him. "Oh, and Terry may have wandered off to die. Me said she disappeared."
Gibbs sighed at that. "All right. How bad is it?"
"No one goes by themselves," McGee told him. "Greg went with Hodges from what I heard and came home with two when he needed one and another one for his overlord."
"So it's like going to the pound," he said dryly.
"Yup, only more pitiful," Tony agreed.
"We can go. We're not doing anything else today," Gibbs decided. Anything was better than sitting around the office. Tony gave him hurt look and shook his head. "Yes, you can."
"My place is much too small for the one I'd be bringing home."
"Share them among the group. Let's go, DiNozzo."
"Fine," he complained, standing up and grabbing what he needed from his drawer. He limped over and took Gibbs with him to the elevator. They portkeyed to the castle and had to walk around the house elf struggling under the enormous bag. He floated it up and Me squeaked. "Looked bigger than you could handle."
She smiled. "Me thanks you." She took over the floating spell and floated it into the vault room, making Draco moan at the sight. "Master Alex say so."
"Wonderful. Who else just came?"
"Master Tony and Master Gibbs, Master Draco."
"He's in the study," he called. He came out at the laugh, finding Harry and Ron were both plaid. "Got into that trunk again?" he asked dryly.
"I don't mind that Alex likes being here to do the research stuff but I hate the booby traps. Why can't Don be plaid?"
"Don was chasing someone down earlier who had shot his daughter," Tony told him. Ron slumped and nodded, going to find the cleaning solution, because nothing was going to remove it otherwise. It was spellfast. He and Gibbs walked into the study. "Having fun?"
"Hell no," he said with a pout. "I hate going to the house elf shelter." He looked at Gibbs. "I need four. Maybe five if we can find a lady's maid one. No more than that. I'm not allowed to come home with more than that."
"Fine," he agreed, smirking slightly. How bad could it be? "Do we need to bring anything, like a list of skills?"
"No, we need two cleaning elves and two for the farm stuff at the other house." He got up. "Are you two okay enough?"
"Graze on my knee," Tony told him. "He's got a wrenched elbow. Tough bust."
"I heard, but man." He walked out with them, taking them to the portkey area. The thing was created from a stone and they were off. "Remember, four, five if there's a lady's maid." Gibbs nodded. Alex took a deep breath before walking inside. The human keeper perked up at the sight of them. "Four, maybe five."
"Of course. We've got over three thousand house elves at the moment." Alex gaped. "The shelter on the mainland got flooded in the last rain." He whimpered. "Any particular type? We've sorted them that way."
"Two farm, two cleaning, and one for my aunts who can do lady's maid duties."
She nodded. "Okay. We have those." She walked them to the cleaning ones. "Any particular cleaning needs?"
"It's an old family castle and I'm a cursebreaker. They're going to have a library, kitchen duties for various amounts of people now and then, and won't be allowed near the artifacts. We have a lead house elf. We had two wander off last night." She nodded, patting him on the back. He took another deep breath when she paused at the door, Tony doing the same.
Gibbs looked at them. Surely it couldn't be that bad. The door opened and all the hopeful, pleading, big eyes and some depressed and lowered ears stared their way. Okay, so maybe it was but he was a Marine. "Strength, Alex."
She looked at him. "You're Dumass?" He nodded quickly. "For the manor or the castle?"
"Cleaning staff for the castle. Farm staff for the manor and the farm beasts. They do the unicorns themselves."
"Wonderful." She led the way inside. "This is Cursebreaker Dumass." Some of them looked away. "He needs two cleaning elves for his family's castle."
"You'll be dusting, doing the rooms, dealing with the library, not handling any artifacts, and cooking when my students and friends come in," Alex offered in the silent, pitiful room. It was radiating pitiful. He was feeling the pitiful seep into his bones. "Why can't we just send our senior elves in?" he pleaded.
"Because they usually don't get what you need," she admitted. She looked around. "Does anyone want to work for him?"
"Babies?" one elf asked.
"Not at this time," Alex assured him. "Not in my plans either. Two future weddings however." A few elves moved closer. He stroked over one's head, his ears were so low it was like they had lost all form and shape. "How long have you been here?"
"Six years. Missus not like how I bake." She gave him the most pitiful look. "If you not need baking, Doggy do it."
"Baking might be part of it," he admitted. She wailed and went to beat her head. "Maybe you can learn from the keepers or the other elves. Make your skills greater," he offered. "Then you'd get adopted for sure." That cheered her up again and she went to talk to some of the ones who liked to do the cooking. He looked at the keeper, letting out a small whimper.
"He'll need ones to clean up after couples and things, plus do library stuff."
"Plus handle the horses," Alex admitted. "I think Ron did it this morning with the way he smelled." A few more backed off, going back to their knitting and sewing.
"What are they sewing?" Tony asked.
"We let them make clothes for the newborns and premies at the hospitals. It gives them a sense of purpose and a reason to keep going," she offered quietly. "This year we're going to be sending some to charitable organizations as well."
Tony nodded at that. "I hope they all find homes."
"So do we, but most modern wizards don't live in houses that need more than one." She gave Alex a look. "Do you have a calendar of tasks?"
"No, Me sets that unless they're understaffed." He looked at the twelve hopeful faces.
"Two," Gibbs said firmly. "Only two." Alex nodded, giving them pitiful looks in returns. "As a cursebreaker, he does have dangerous stuff laying around the house but you'll not be touching it." They all nodded and a few more backed off. They were down to eight. "Go by longest," he said quietly. Alex looked at him. "All things being equal, give the ones who've been here longest the chance. Or call Me and have her decide." Tony was petting one's head. "Your apartment is too small."
"We could share it among the group." He gave him the puppy eyes. "Boss?"
Gibbs called Horatio. "Any of you free? We're at the house elf shelter." He smirked. "That'd do." He hung up. "We're getting some support." Tony went back to petting the two of them, another one had snuck over for some attention. That one looked smaller. "Is she younger?"
"Yes, she is. She's a teenager. Her family died." She looked at Alex. "Are you sure you can't use three?" Alex whimpered and looked at them.
Speed and Horatio walked in. "Line up, quit cuddling," Horatio ordered. They did that. "It's not fair to the humans if you cuddle." He looked at them. "You'll be dealing with quidditch players and cursebreakers." Another one left.
"Apparently she doesn't like quidditch," Tony said, still petting one of his house elves. The new one had snuck into the line.
Speed removed the hand and looked at the house elf, then patted him on the head. "You're a very good house elf but he's only got an apartment. Most of us do."
"Taps cleans apartments," he assured him. "Cleans very well. Even be *shared*." A few of them covered their ears and shook their heads. "Please!"
Horatio looked at him. "We'll see. We have muggles around us. A lot." He nodded eagerly. "We'll see. Go wait on us while we talk about it." Taps walked off to wait patiently by the door. He looked at the two old friends, then grimaced. "It'd be unfair to make him go from New York to DC to Florida every day."
"DiNozzo has a part-time housekeeper too," Gibbs offered.
"I go through a house elf agency." He patted Alex on the back. "Alex is a researching cursebreaker so he and his students are there most of the time." The one he had been petting walked off. "Plus there's two baby dragons that visit now and then. Plus some kids of his friends who are holy terrors." That narrowed it down to four.
Gibbs looked at the keeper. "Do any have any special skills?"
"Tiptoe very sneaky," one offered. "Sneak into nursery all the time to deal with babies."
"These are toddlers and Weasleys," Tony told her. She looked awed. "Think Tipsy could use one?"
"She said we were not to send one to her when I asked to see if any of them could go with me," Alex said. "She's got enough." He looked at them, then sighed. "Fine." They cheered and he walked out with them. "Which one next?"
"The farming elves are a lot fewer," she asked, jogging to keep up with him. "The lady's maid one you wanted, if you're willing to let her do laundry I have a great one. How many ladies?"
"They don't dress up every day but there's eighteen aunts and a sister at the house, but one's thinking about stealing a mate soon."
"Ducky would enjoy that," Gibbs offered. The lady's maids all stared at him, mostly female elves. He swallowed. They were all like Alex's aunts.
She walked in. "Hidden." She scampered up and looked attentive. "This is Alex Dumass. His aunts need someone to take care of them and his sister for special events and to help with their clothes and the clothes making." She nodded eagerly.
"One of the aunts does make most of the clothes," Alex warned. "Plus we do have animals and unicorns."
"Hidden not allowed near unicorns," she said, her face falling. "Hidden was nearly killed by last one. Hidden touched her Mistress's unicorn horn."
"Okay. Who would you suggest?" Alex asked. She gave him a wide-eyed look. "Most of the time they don't dress up, but they do sometimes and you'll be expected to help with the clothes, both laundry and making. Plus, one may be getting married soon if she's right."
She blinked and looked around, then pointed at one. "Jet. Jet is pretty and strong. Jet is good sewer. Jet is good at laundry and hair. Or Emerald." She pointed at another one. "Emerald is French maid. Emerald worked in suit shop."
"This one would be working for the Dumass family," Horatio told her. She squealed and went to get Emerald. "Do you know English?"
"Most of my aunts speak French and she can learn if she doesn't," Alex said quietly. "Emerald?" She looked up at him, giving him a steady look. "My aunts and sister need a lady's maid to help them when they want to be pretty and to help make clothes and do laundry." She said something in French and he shrugged. "Sixteen, eighteen. Depending on who's traveling and what's going on at the family home." She bowed out and pointed at Jet. "Are you sure?" She nodded. "If I may ask why?" He smirked. "No, no babies. Unicorns, no babies." She shook her head and said something else. "All right, if I find one, I'll keep you in mind." He looked at Jet. "Jet?" She ran over. "You know of my family?"
"Jet worked for Justinius' daughter Melly."
"He has a daughter Melly? I thought that was my spoiled bitch of a sister." She giggled at that and blushed. "You'll do. You can sew in the popular styles?" She went to get her sewing to show him, making him smile. "She'll love you. We'll take you." She nodded. He looked at Emerald. "I may know someone. We'll see. One of my aunts is working with someone up the street who could use a caretaker." He walked out, looking at her. "Farm help?"
"What sort of animals?"
"Cows, pigs, sheep, chickens. Self-sustaining farm with magical equipment."
She nodded. "We can do that." She let them into another room. There were only sixty in here. She pointed at one corner. "Those ones are fertilizer patrol elves. The ones on this side are mostly planting. We need animal caretakers," she called. "Farm animals and maybe a few horses now and then." A few rushed forward. "The Dumass family farm." One stepped back.
"You won't be dealing with the unicorns. You'd be dealing with the food beasts and milk beasts," he assured them. "Plus probably some of the things that come out of them." Two proudly stepped forward. "You've done this before?" he asked. One stunk like fertilizer.
"Dooey does in past. Dooey needed more as fertilizer crew when Dooey's master switched farm to grains."
"Milky is good with cows and pigs," the other said proudly, smiling at him. "Master has many cows and pigs for Milky to help with?" she asked.
"About two hundred cows and about ten pigs, plus chickens and some sheep."
"Wool knows sheep," one called, hurrying over. "Wool works on sheep farm," he said proudly. "Even helps shear."
Alex considered it, then nodded. "That might be a help. They were talking about expanding the herds. Do any of you know anything about unicorns?" Dooey raised a hand. "You do?" He nodded. "We'll make sure you get a good scrub." He nodded. "Okay." They followed him out to join the other ones. Tony and Speed were hissing and staring at each other, while Horatio and Gibbs walked over there to talk some sense into them. "Going to the manor," he called. "Coming?"
"In a minute. Let's settle this one," Speed called back. "We don't need...."
Alex tuned them out and looked at his elves. "Okay, we're going to the manor house first, that way you can get scrubbed and cleaned up, plus outfits to wear but not own." They nodded. He signed the various papers, made his mandatory donation, and left with them. The aunts all stared at him. "Four are cleaning elves," he promised. "Jet?" She stepped forward. "A lady's maid who sews very well." That got a squeal and one of them picked her up to help. "Plus three farm hand elves."
"Good," one of them agreed. "The castle needed how many new cleaners?"
"Two, maybe three."
"Go back there and get another one," Aunt Cordy ordered, separating them out. She looked at one. "Go scrub until you don't smell." He nodded, finding a washtub and taking it into the garden to do that. "Thank you." She looked at her nephew. "Shoo."
He sulked but went back there, looking at her. "She sent me back for another cleaning elf." One got pointed at and he looked at the very young one. "You'll do. It'll get you off to a good start." He took her back after signing her paperwork and handed her to his aunts, who smiled and let Me pick out who she wanted of the new staff. He accepted the pile of packages for the castle and took them home with the camp moving spell, knowing they'd handle the house elves and send back the ones coming back.
Danny walked into his house and paused. "I take it Speed couldn't talk him out of adopting?" he asked patiently. He looked horrified and started to snap his fingers. "No, I live here. I'm Danny." He stopped and nodded, coming over to show him what he was doing. He looked at the carpets. "You could just vacuum. That's more than acceptable."
"Dirty and nasty carpets."
"Well, yeah," he agreed. "Whatever. Just remember, we've got three others coming here tonight." He nodded, going back to work on the dirty spots. He walked into the kitchen then came out. "Just got here?"
"Yes, Danny sir. Taps just got done in DC with cleaning up sawdust for Gibbs sir." He got back into the scrubbing.
Don walked in and slammed the door. "Speed said to watch out for wet spots?"
"Taps is scrubbing the carpet," he said, pointing at the elf.
Don looked down then reached down to pet him. "When did we get a house elf?"
"You not one of those wrong people? Taps will defend self from wrong people."
"Eww, no. I'm not. I'm not used to having house elves."
"That's fine then. As long as not wrong person who likes to touch house elves funny and badly." He got back to work. He could ignore some petting.
"Work out a schedule so you hit each house once a week," Danny ordered, going back into the kitchen. Don followed, helping with dinner. They shared a look. "Most of us don't pet the house elves like our familiars."
"I've never had a house elf," he defended. "Besides, Alex pets Me."
"Me gets petted for good work. She likes ear scratches. She's odd," Danny assured him, smiling slightly.
"Do people actually molest their house elves?" Danny nodded. "Why?"
"I have no idea. It's wrong and it's bad, otherwise I don't know." He looked in the fridge. "Cow or pig with noodles?"
"Cow. Pig and noodles is odd." He went to change. "Danny, all our clothes are being washed," he called.
"Are not clean, smell like chemicals," Taps called.
"Some of those are dry clean only," Danny noted patiently.
"Taps cleaned those appropriately. Taps knows what Taps is being doing." He went to answer the door at the knock, but Danny stopped him. "Taps hide?"
"We have muggles in the building," he said quietly. That got a nod and Taps went to hide while Danny got the door. He saw Horatio. "You could've popped in."
"I thought I should knock in case someone was throwing a fit at Tony for picking up a house elf." He walked in. "I want to talk about joining the bond."
Danny beamed. "Sure." He walked him inside. "Taps, enough with the carpet. You can do that when we won't be in your way. Go wash your hands and make beef and noodles for dinner for five." He nodded, drying that spot once he finished then went to wash his hands and cook. Don came out in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. "Everything else being washed?" He nodded. "That's fine. It's family." Taps came out and took his clothes, going to clean them and put them up too. Mac and Stella came in and got undressed by him and handed stuff to sit around in. Danny found a pair of sweats in his school trunk and put them on over his boxers. Just for modesty's sake.
"I don't usually wear boxers and a tank top around the house," Stella complained.
"Rest needing to be cleaned, Taps cleans and then give back. Shoo."
She walked out, pointing. "When did we get a house elf?"
"Tony," Horatio told her. She just nodded at that.
"The house elf shelter is a pitiful place," Danny told her. "Very, very pitiful. You've got a lot of freed elves who want nothing more than to go back to good service."
Tony appeared. "Taps, Gibbs said you did a very good job on his house and the basement, but next time leave the tools where they were please. That's how he knows where he stopped."
He nodded at that. "Taps do better next time."
"He said you did a great job otherwise and that's something that's training." Taps nodded and went back to the kitchen to start on dinner again. "Guys, I'm sorry, I just couldn't," he said, pleading with them to understand.
"I know, Tony. I was there. Even Speed eventually gave in." He looked at the quad.
"The main European one flooded. They had over three thousand house elves there." That got some moans. "Yeah. I just couldn't leave him there. I'm sorry."
"All our places could use a good scrub now and then," Horatio said dryly. "I'll leave a list of instructions for the day he does my place." He looked at them. "We need to talk about me joining the bond. Alex pointed out some things at the same time he told me he can read and understand what other people write theoretically." Stella flopped down and he looked away. "Stella, boxers gape," he noted. She shifted and smiled at her men. "Thanks. Don't want to have those thoughts since you're theirs."
"Taps have babies to take care of?" the house elf asked from the kitchen.
"No, no kids," Stella promised him. "Never kids." Don flopped down against her free side and snuggled in, arms around her waist. "Long day?"
"Yeah, three chases." He looked at Mac on her other side. "Hi."
"Hi." He reached behind Stella to pet his hair. Don smiled and relaxed.
Danny flopped down in his chair, the only semi-dressed one. "We'd have to get us all together," he noted. "We'd have to do the spell together and get you marked somehow."
"Can we do that tonight?"
"Sure, where do you want the tattoo?" Stella asked. He blinked at that. "It links through it."
"Is implanted, like Stan's charm. That's why I don't have the good control."
"We can fix that," Stella assured him. He swallowed and shook his head. "Oh, yeah, we are. That way it's a part of you and not something that can come out. That way the exercises help you." She patted his shoulder over it. "Yes, we will. Where would you like your tattoo?"
"Ass cheek?" Don asked, smiling at him. "Good choice, Mac!" Mac glared at him. "You're the one who can't get control and you can't get it because it's implanted and not part of you. That's why Wiccans have so much problem with control from what I got told." He grinned. "So, if not there, then where?"
"Somewhere inconspicuous that no one will know I have one," he said grimly.
"Back of the thigh," Danny told him. "Shouldn't be anyone but us that sees you there." Mac groaned and nodded, giving in. "Horatio?"
"Do we have a set pattern?" Danny nodded, letting him see his. "That's pretty."
"We designed it when we were starting this," Tony said proudly. "Now, where?"
"Lower stomach, off to the side. No one sees that area on me."
"Okay," Danny agreed. "We can do that. I know where the wizarding tattoo place is." He got up. "Someone call Speed to come up once we've got them marked. Taps, we'll be back in a few hours."
"Taps will have dinner waiting and carpet unnasty, plus laundry all clean."
"Thanks, make sure we have something to wear to work tomorrow." He pulled Mac up and looked at him. "Go put on clothes, all of you." They all went to do that and Horatio smirked. "I came home to him doing the carpets." He checked himself, then shrugged. It had the house name on them but who would notice it in New York and understand it? The others came out and he walked them out. "Who has one of our cars?"
"I do," Mac admitted. "I was going to see if we could do a bit of adding clothes to here."
"Only if you guys put in closets," Danny told him. "There's no room in mine." He got in to drive and the others piled in. He took them to Time's Square and a small street off the main path, parking in front of a small shop with a candle in the window. He walked them inside and gave Mac a shove. He nodded at the girl in the front. "Pete in?"
"In the back, Mr. Messer. Need another one?"
"No, they do." He walked them back there, making Mac go. He made Mac look at him. "You will because I got bleed-through from you today and the exercises won't help with them being that far from your head. Understand?" Mac nodded at that. "Good. Because you nearly got Don shot earlier today by bleeding over into our heads when you got frustrated. We don't allow that."
"Yes, Danny." He went to get in line with Horatio.
Danny had the bigger one so he showed it off. "They want these, wherever they want them."
"Magical or not?"
"Magical. We're linking a charm to it," Don told him.
"All right." The guy led them back to a room, putting Horatio down first. "Where did you want one?" He lifted up his shirt so he could get to the area. "That may sting a bit."
"I've had pain."
"All right." He looked at him. "First?"
That got a smile. "That's fine." He pulled over a razor to shave the area, then the prep pads. He took a tracing of Danny's while the area dried. "How big?"
"Smaller than that. Maybe half size?" Horatio asked.
"I can do that." He went to transfer it into the magical sheets, imbuing it with the magic they'd need. Danny checked, then called Speed, who came up with one already done. "Ah, one of those. I understand." He brought it over and laid it on Horatio's side, transferring it over. "There?" Horatio nodded. "Excellent." He pulled out the special gold tip and special inks. Speed whispered in his ear, getting the powder and oil as well. He looked up. "This sounds like a Banes marking."
"Our version," Danny agreed.
"Understood." He spread the oil over it, letting it soak in for a moment, then wiped it off and started on the outline with the special ink. It wasn't a challenging design by any means. "What color is the wand? I noticed some difference between the two I've seen."
"Mine's strawberry blond," Horatio admitted. That got a nod and the wand part was colored in the same color as his wand. The gun was made silver. The broom he paused over. "Mine's black." It was made black. The powder was sprinkled on after the last of the blood was wiped off. Speed chanted the charm quietly and Horatio stiffened, closing his eyes. The tattoo was healed and he rubbed in the oil again, linking him in firmly to them.
"You good?" Danny asked.
Horatio nodded. "I can hear all you and Mac is still boomingly loud." He looked at him. "I agree. You need it." He sat up. "What are we doing after this?"
Speed smiled. "The rest of the bonding." He kissed him on the forehead. "Let Mac have the chair while I make this spellfast." Horatio nodded, letting him do that. It locked the spells in, it would come back even if the tattoo were damaged by someone and no further charms could be added to it.
Mac got onto his stomach and let the man put the tattoo there. "Same size is fine," he offered quietly.
"Agreed." He prepared the area and laid down the transfer Speed handed over. "What colors are your wand and broom?"
"I don't fly and oak."
"Hmm. Light tan then and I'll make the broom match." He got to work on his, going through the same steps. Speed set his and did the bonding charm, making Mac grab his head. Tony came over to take out the imbedded one, putting it into a small case Danny created. "Anything else tonight? I can do some wonderful rings if someone wants some."
Stella shook her head. "None of us are that kinky really. Well... Speed?"
"Have one. Thanks anyway though," he offered with a grin. He paid the guy from Danny's wallet, then drove them back to Danny's place. They ate dinner then were drug into the bedroom to do the rest of the bonding charm, that charm that let them share their memories. Horatio balked for a moment but Speed soothed him, whispering through his mind that he already knew anyway. He had seen his other tattoo. It wasn't one to be ashamed of. Horatio let go and let them in, learning and being learned from.
Stella woke up first and glared at Tony and Speed. "Don't you two *ever* think about something other than sex?"
"The spell makes you horny," Tony groaned, blinking at her. "We know where you belong. Even if what you did when you and Catherine got back was pretty." She blushed at that and so did Mac. "Aww. So cute."
Speed smacked him on the head. "Then you interrupted our eavesdropping by nearly getting kidnaped again. Did you get to at least have fun first?"
"Not really." He flipped over and cuddled Speed, with Horatio still sleeping against his back. He shifted his hips and Speed smirked and spanked him. "Oooh. Playing that way tonight?" He did it again and Speed let him work himself off on him for now. He'd get him later.
Horatio lifted his head up and looked at them. "That's much more quiet than what the quad did. Thank you." He put his head back down and Tony wiggled over to pull him between him and Speed. "I do like girls, Tony, and from what I saw, you can't be a girl ever again."
"Well, I can, but I'd be stuck that way permanently if we changed me without using the removable one." He yawned and continued to rub against him. "You're so hot," he whispered. Horatio moaned and shifted back. "It'll help with the nap." Speed nodded, taking what he needed, making sure Horatio got off. The quad were cuddled around Mac, who was blushing at what he had seen.
Danny looked at Don. "Where was I when Speed molested you in the library?"
"Sleeping, again. That was the week you got the cold and I was leaking. Sorry."
"No, necessary," Stella assured him. "Very necessary. There's no telling how you would've warped the spells on the library." She looked at him, noticing something. "Alex marked you."
"Huh?" He felt where she was looking, finding traces of magic. He got up to look in the mirror. "Huh.... Hold on. His mentor made the communication charms."
"Which means he can probably link into them," Danny said slowly.
"Well, Alex is an information hog," Horatio noted quietly from his spot. Everyone nodded at that. His libraries showed that much. The good thing was that they knew that Alex would never use what he knew about them if he had been listening in. Alex would never use stuff like that against a friend or coworker. "Now what?"
"Now, we nap," Danny said with a yawn. "We'll molest each other later, after Mac starts on those exercises." Everyone nodded at that.
Mac laid awake while the others fell asleep around him. He had never been that intimate with anyone. Parts of him reveled in the closer touch to his lovers. That part that touched him sang that they were fine and how they were doing, what they were doing. There were other parts that shied away from the intimacy.....
Don lifted his head. "She'd kick your ass for being a miserable prick. Now, quit thinking so loud and go over the first exercise again. Okay?" Mac nodded, grimacing. "Good. 'Cause remember, one of them could probably call her back to chew you a new one for sulking this way. She'd feel happy it took three of us to replace her." Mac smiled slightly at that.
Speed lifted his head. "Mac, she can hear you. She's probably watching you, and she can start screwing with things in your life if she doesn't like it. Really. Next time you get four flats on the way to a scene, remember that." Mac smiled for real at that. That had been when he had been trying to ignore his attraction to the trio. Maybe it had been a sign. He let himself drift off and Don looked at Speed. "You sleep too. Or else Danny can't molest you before work." Don smirked and put his head back down on Mac's shoulder. He shook his head and put his own head back down on Horatio's shoulder, getting head pets from his boss. "Thanks."
"Welcome. You knew?"
"Kinda obvious with the way you react sometimes, H," he said quietly. "Plus, showering at the station? Saw it at least once. Eric has too but he's thinking it was just pretty." He patted him on the stomach. "Sleep, before Tony wakes up and wants more. I'm not in the mood to be walking funny tomorrow."
"Eric would tease you," he said fondly.
"Again." He snuggled in. "What're we going to do about Ryan since he can hook into these?"
"I don't know. Does he usually?"
"Not like I know unless he's inputting an opinion."
"That's bad manners and we'll remind him of that the next time." Speed nodded, letting him handle it. Horatio basked in the glow of the minds touching his. It was warm and comfortable, like he wasn't alone anymore. He'd never be alone again unless he died last. He was comforted by that fact and settled in to sleep between the two young men. Though he did hope he wouldn't have to spank Tony for trying to have his ass in the morning.
Alex smiled as the bond sealed, nodding at Draco. "Finally." He kissed him, getting a moan. He pulled his mate on top of him and let him have him this time. It wasn't often that he bottomed but sometimes it was very comforting to know that you weren't alone. Draco reminded him of that very well.
Ryan looked up as Speed and Horatio came in the next morning, raising an eyebrow. "Have a good night?"
"Nice dinner," Speed agreed happily. "Good friends. That stuff."
Ryan smirked. "Is that why you're walking funny?"
"You wanna be a bunny rabbit?" he countered.
"Not today. She might try to pet me." He smiled as he went back to his work. "Horatio seems more centered as well. Good practice?"
"No. No flying last night." He went to get his things from his locker, finding a note in it. He frowned at the note, then walked it out and handed it to Horatio before going back to finish changing.
Horatio looked at it, then snorted. "Really?" he asked dryly. He was going to have to do something about Rick Stetler some day very soon. Threatening to expose his officer as a gay cop was not what a good IAB officer did. He noticed Ryan watching him. "Mr. Wolfe?" He walked over. "What is going on?"
"Well, one, I was thinking you looked happier and more centered. So obviously *dinner* last night was good for you. Secondly, I was wondering if you'd like to meet Willow's new angelfish, Rick." Horatio smirked at that. "Not even me. Eric slipped," he said quietly. "That's why I put him in his lab and told him to concentrate on that and let me change him back. Sometime." He grinned. "Besides, she needs new fish." He walked off, going back to work. "By the way, thank you for sealing those. Now I have to be in contact with it for it to affect me. One of those guys was really loud and distracting at just the wrong moment."
Horatio smirked at that bit of information. "Good to know." He went to talk to Eric, debrief him about what had happened. Though he already knew, Rick had been taunting him about his sister or something equally personal. He found the fish on his desk and smiled at it. "Hi, Rick. Having fun?" He put in some fish food and turned on the aerator to give him more oxygen. Didn't want him to die from this.
Ryan walked in. "I just realized I left Willow handcuffed for going hunting again. Can I run home and make sure she managed to get free?"
"She called to wake us up, complaining about that. It took her three hours to do so. Also, the drawer didn't close very well. The magical..." he cleared his throat. "Accessories were left on and managed to home in on her." Ryan blushed at that. "I didn't know they made magical versions of those things."
"She charmed hers," he offered, walking off. As long as she had gotten loose, it'd be fine. He'd call her at lunch to make sure she was still all right. Of course, he'd be protecting himself from retaliation but she needed reminded she wasn't immortal.
to the next part