A Long, Good Day.
Xander looked at his books of things he had then at the empty house. "I need to hold a yard sale," he complained. They had finally checked all the stones in the vaults and the bank to make sure they were all legal. Only one other hadn't been and he had handed that to Horatio personally. He looked at the piles of stuff he had. He liked some of it. Some of it was fond mementos of his travels. Things like the lyre in his lap that was solid silver and had penises decorating it. He strummed it casually. He really should learn how to play something musical. He had always wanted to and now he had time. He plucked out a melody he had taught himself. It wasn't great but it was something. He stared at the books of stuff again and sighed. Then he packed up his lyre and some of the cash from the office safe, locking everything else back up. He checked the furry babies and the baby dragon, they were all down for a nap and had food and water. So he went to get lunch and talk to their family's mentors. He was even nice enough to bring lunch. Even if it was burgers from the good burger place and two liters of soda from a drive-thru convenience store. He walked in with the large bags, the lyre under his arm. The receptionist nodded and smiled at him. "Having doubts."
"They're all having a meeting, Xander."
"Did I do something more wrong?"
"No, this year's convention schedule I think." She got him onto the elevator, nodding at one of the wandering CSI to go check his car. "Xander's in for lunch."
"Good, I'm starved," Eric complained, going to get the rest out of the car. He brought it up to where everyone else was, watching Xander lean against Danny's arm plucking that lyre of his. "I can't believe you brought that in public."
Frank looked then spluttered. "That's...."
"It's the only one I have," Xander protested. "It's comforting."
Danny looked at him. "You can learn ta play," he promised. "Any instrument you want as long as you don't get complaints from the neighbors or keep us up." Xander beamed and kissed him. "Now, eat." Xander dug into his burger, watching the others dig into their food. "Before you ask, we're just now getting done with the meeting so you had good timing." Horatio and Speed came in. "He brought lunch and the lyre."
"Which one?" Speed asked.
"I only have the one, Speed."
"I thought I saw two listed."
"One's a lap harp."
"Oh." He took the lyre to move his fingers over it then handed it back. "Sounds like your third string's out of tune." Xander plucked it and then tuned it with the strings around it. "Better." He dug into his lunch. "So, what's the cause of the confusion?"
"I have too much stuff."
"You do," Horatio agreed.
"We've known that forever, Xander," Don agreed.
"But some of it's special stuff from the trips and things."
"Which is great but use some of the bags ta bundle those things up," Don ordered. "One per trip or something." Xander brightened at that. "That's not an excuse to fill the rest of the space with crap."
"I won't." He looked at him. "What about more traveling?"
"I could stand that," Don agreed. "As long as you were protected."
"I'm out of leave time," Ryan reminded them all. "I'm working toward the convention this year."
"But I'd stay here on this planet and take Greg," Xander offered. That got some thoughtful looks. "We could go to Asia maybe? India?"
"I can see you going to India," Danny agreed, considering it. "As long as you didn't bring back a bazaar's worth of stuff this time." Xander hugged him again. "Eat." Xander dug in again. "Boss?"
"I can see that as well," Horatio agreed. "We'd have to get him a medic alert so they wouldn't get caught with the latex allergy." Xander nodded at that. "They would have to be very careful as well." Xander beamed at that. "Any other places?"
"I was thinking about taking a week in one city and doing all the sights there then coming home."
"That's reasonable," Don agreed. "Now, what about the stuff in the closet that's not fond memories of the trips?"
"Not in our neighborhood," Don said patiently. "They wouldn't like it."
Xander nodded. "Charity?"
"Depends on what it is, Xander."
"I know. I'm trying."
"Good. Try harder." He stroked over his hair. "Eat. You keep forgetting." Xander ate another bite and drank some soda. "Have you asked Greg yet?"
"Not yet. I figured if he couldn't maybe I could steal Adam, Ray?"
"He's been nagging me about boredom," he admitted. "As long as nothing went on between you two."
"Which means he'd have to take someone else in the family," Horatio pointed out.
"True. Sorry, Xander. But you can take him with you and whoever."
"Sure. Do you think he can help me with the yard sale or whatever?"
"Maybe. He's been bored."
"Cool." He dug in again, then flipped his braid back over his back again.
"Did you trim the end?" Horatio asked.
"I had some bad breakage this morning," he admitted. "I had to."
"I'll make sure it's the same length later," Horatio promised with a small smile. Xander beamed at that. "What were you thinking about getting rid of?"
"Some of the tapestries and things. Some of them were gifts and some weren't. That big stone monument to me in that one closet so I have the room. Unless I want to go put it in the woods or something. Maybe some of the stuff in the vaults?"
"I thought the money stuff was taken care of," Danny said.
"It is at the bank but I'm still not looking forward to next year's house taxes and the IRS stuff."
"You put it aside," Don reminded him.
"I did. Doesn't mean they won't become vindictive."
"True. They don't like making mistakes." Don ate another bite and nudged Xander, who took a drink of his soda, his fingers playing with the strings on the lyre under the table. "You can learn to play whenever you want, Xander. It's a skill that could lead to a career in a later life," he said quietly.
"But then I might get famous and I'd be in trouble."
"Maybe, maybe not," Don promised, kissing him. "Now, leave the lyre alone and eat. It's time to eat, not play." Xander went back to sipping his soda. "No, I meant the food." He took the lyre and handed it to Ryan, who shook his head and handed it on to Eric, who giggled and handed it to Calleigh, who blushed and Ray finally took it from her to put it on his lap. "Thank you, now eat." Xander dug into his burger. "Good boy." He went back to petting him, looking at Horatio. "What about this year's convention?"
"Danny has enough leave saved up to go with him and you," he promised. "We'll probably go as well. Greg should be able to go if he desires." Ray nodded at that. "He might even have something to present to the main and research councils by then." He reached over to steal one of Xander's fries, getting a grin. "Maybe Adam will know someone who might like the tapestries and things."
"Maybe I'll donate the stone monument to the brothel I go to teach the quarth how to dance at," he teased.
Don looked at him. "You're still doing that?"
"Yup, and they scared Greggy. One of my former clients is down here and he's a big guy. I was showing off with them in the background, switching lead back and forth, and he popped in to hire them for a few hours. Now, really nice guy and all but if anything of his touches you, you're kinda his until you die. You become addicted. So he's got these neat things he puts over his horns so it's safe and they have special things just in case. But he ended up watching us with Madam Qui and Greggy. He offered and Greg growled, and I growled and praised having Greggy. They shared stories while we danced and Greg kinda sorta saw the size of him. So Greg was asking questions about some of my former clients," he finished. He ate another bite and realized everyone was staring at him. "What?" he asked cautiously. "I thought you all knew about my six weeks in New York."
"No, we did," Calleigh agreed.
"Define big," Ryan requested.
"Well, he's about seven foot something and he's got really pretty horns. Ever seen the movie with the unicorns and Tom Cruise before he was an asshole? Like him only taller. About seven feet tall. About your wrist around *that* way and about normal Greggy size on his horns when he covers the sharp points." He ate another bite.
Eric shuddered. "I didn't need that image, Xander."
"Ryan asked," Danny said dryly. He looked at him. "So you knew bigger things?"
"Yup. I had four or five that were bigger." He gave him a look. "Why?"
"Wondering about certain things that have started to show up in the trunk under the bed," he admitted. "I didn't think I was like that." Xander blushed and ducked his head. "Hey, if you like it like that now and then I'm good with it," he assured him. He gave him a kiss. "Every now and then, right?"
Xander nodded. "Even with the retightening charm I get sore. Especially the night three of them came in together." He sipped his soda and ate a fry. "It was my highest night ever but I didn't walk right for four days even with my retightening charm."
"What's a retightening charm?" Frank asked.
"Just what it sounds like, Frank," Ryan told him. He shivered at that mental image. "They're handy things but you still end up sore."
Xander nodded. "You can." He looked at Don, then at Danny. "Greg was building up the size queen things. Did you want him to pick up anything for you guys?"
"We'll talk about that together later, in bed," Danny said, kissing him again, getting a grin. "Behave."
"Sorry. Forgot I'm in public."
"That's because you never get out anywhere but here," Frank pointed out.
"I go to the grocery store. Of course, I nearly get snatched while I'm considering ice cream flavors." He looked at Don. "Mint or caramel?"
"Get both. They can stay frozen."
"Okay." He bounced some and Danny nudged his burger so he ate. "Hubert's being a fussy dragon. He's still napping on the back of the couch in the sun but he's being cranky because his side itches. The guy at the dog trial, before everything went to hell, suggested I take the boys in for advanced training," he said proudly. "Get one to do bombs and one to do drugs."
"That's not a bad idea," Horatio agreed. "Do they offer that?"
"They do. They train guard dogs for professional people, like rock stars and them. So I can get that there." He beamed. "They were still very confused by the obstacle course. They tipped their heads to the side and stared like they weren't sure what their fellow furry things were doing."
"Dalmatians aren't the ones you'd usually expect in competition like that," Don offered, "but they might like it. Plus it'd give you something else to do with them. We could set up a small course on the front lawn, past the fountain."
Speed coughed. "I've never seen the stone monument."
"Really? Come over tonight and I'll do dinner and let you guys see if there's anything in there you want to poach?" They all shrugged and nodded. "Then I'll put the rest of the stuff in the bags like Don suggested." That got some smiles. "Anything in particular we want for dinner? Oooh, Danny, the outdoor kitchen idea? Do we think we like it? Or just a grill?"
"I don't mind trekking back and forth to the kitchen and the grill. We could use a grill though. I can pick out one soon."
"I was going to do it today."
"I'd rather do it. That way it's got everything I want in one," he said firmly.
"I was going to let the guys at the home depot place over by the car dealership we got the corvette at tell me."
"No, I'll do it. We'll look this weekend. We'll do the steaks in the oven tonight." Xander nodded and made a note on some paper from his pocket. "Get some veggies too."
"Yes, Danny." He stole another kiss and finished his burger and soda. He looked at the others. "Anyone want anything other than steak?" No one said anything. "I've got to hit the grocery store anyway for ice cream." That got some smiles. "Sodas too." He made another note and stole kisses, heading off.
"Xander, lyre," Eric called. He jogged back to pick it up and walk off with it again. He shook his head once Xander was gone. "Well, he's feeling more comfortable again. He's back to bouncy and happy."
Don grinned. "It's good that he can come to us for advice."
"Some of the tapestries are very pretty," Danny offered. "So's some of the other stuff." He looked at Horatio. "His new ID?"
"It's all set up and blessed by INS," he promised. "They were briefed by someone at Social Security and they agreed it was the only way around it." Danny grinned at that. "Is it still in the system?"
"Apparently. Then again he didn't have a happy meeting with the IRS either."
"That may not be a problem any longer," Horatio noted. "What about the land taxes?"
"It's the busy season so they're going to get to it when they have time," Don told him. "I called yesterday to nag. They have the file. The lady agreed something didn't look right. They had the deeds in there and with that amount of land the taxes were really high. So we'll see hopefully within a few weeks. How much do you pay on your house?"
"About twelve thousand a year," he admitted. "Land taxes are high."
"They are, but we paid two hundred grand," Danny complained.
"They'll put it toward the next few year's taxes," Don reminded him.
"Boys, it'll work out," Ryan reminded them. They groaned and nodded. It should work out. If the system worked it should work out. Otherwise Xander was going to go bankrupt in a few years. Danny even sent a prayer to Cupid to help them if this was being caused by the new suitor of Xander's.
Xander got done with his final deal with the IRS and walked off happier. The person at INS had to come help him since it had been declared that he had dual citizenship. That had taken a pretty bribe but everything was going well at the moment. He said a silent prayer to Strife to please keep Willow's plans away from him and his life since it was working at the moment. He had a sudden urge to go shopping and looked up. "I only have to get ferret food, Lord Strife. Besides, the boys want me at home for the moment. Can I go in the morning?" The urge got stronger so he sighed and went wherever the urges drug him. He ended up buying two new shirts that would look spectacular on Danny and then got kidnaped. Which wasn't that unusual. Him waking up in a harem setting was. He looked at the demon next to him. "Are you the guardian or otherwise?"
"Guardian, Lord Xander."
"Not Lord anything," he corrected. "I'm not a quarth."
"I know." He got up. "That is a proper title with your adoptive father." Xander moaned. "My master will be here soon and you will go back when and where you were if we can." He bowed and left.
Xander leaned back on the pillows, listening to the subtle music playing around the room he was in. It was nice. Maybe some day he could play a lyre like that. A well dressed human looking demon walked in and Xander sat up to look at him. "Who're you?"
"I'm Vesvold. I'm on the High Demonic Council."
"Are you also on Wolfram and Hart's?"
"No. I know of their desires for you however." He sat down across from Xander, looking at him. "I mean you no harm."
"The others didn't think they did either but they still wanted to castrate me and things."
"True. I would not. That takes away much of the joy in your life."
"Yes, but my joy is back at home."
"I can bring your animals and your harem."
Xander sighed. "I'm not looking to expand, Vesvold, really I'm not. I'm happy with what I've got."
"Yet they don't watch you very well."
"They do what they can. We're human."
"Not truly." Xander gave him a dirty look. "You are not considered as such."
"But I consider myself that way." He shifted, crossing his legs in front of him so he could lean on his knees. "Vesvold, are you behind the current house tax problem or the IRS?"
"No, that was Miss Rosenburg."
"Ah. Willow." He nodded. "That was my other idea on the subject." He looked at him. "I think you're a very handsome being, Vesvold, but I'm not looking to upgrade at this time."
"It is very prestigious to belong to a member of the High Council."
"So I've heard but I'm not sure you'd want me with what I used to do."
He laughed and reached over to stroke a finger down Xander's cheek. "I know what you used to do, Xander. All of it. I've watched over you since you were a young man. I have seen the younger twits who have upset you. I have seen you hunt our kind when necessary. Believe me, hunting vampires is next to nothing to us, young man. That is also why I haven't sent lavish presents. Though it seems you could use the money?"
"Now that the IRS is straightened out and as soon as the land taxes are, it'll be fine. The system's fixing itself right now. Though I did have to do a lot of tapdancing to get the dual citizenship."
"Thank you." He looked at him. He could see the desire in his eyes. "You would have to approach my keepers. That is the only fair way."
"I understand. Your family is sacred to you, as it should be. The same as I know your patrons and they are still wobbling on my offers as far as I know."
"Then you must give me a day to warn them and then come talk to them yourself. Make your own case. It's a family and it's only fair that they know exactly what this would mean for them."
"They would probably turn it down."
"True. Most of them are very wary of the demonic."
"As they should be. Among my people, we simply exist."
"What sort are you?"
He smiled gently. "You know that book of poetry you read to Gregory? Those are from my people originally. That book is translated to the lesser languages."
Xander blinked. "You're..." Vesvold smiled and nodded once. "Wow. I thought you guys were mythical."
"We are. There's not many of us left." He stroked over Xander's cheek again. "I have been here for untold centuries waiting for something to take my attention, Xander. You have given me great joy just watching you go through life so far. The pains and the triumphs." He smiled more gently. "I will talk to your boys, explain to them how I do not wish to own you, only cherish you, and them since they are yours. Perhaps it would help?"
Xander shrugged. "I don't know."
"True. They are yours but you cannot predict this one. Especially after the bad day you'll have tomorrow."
"What sort of bad day?"
"Someone will decide to attack you."
"At the house. Take what is yours."
Xander just nodded. "I can prevent that one. Anything else I should know?"
"I am not harmful or addictive to you, Xander. I never would be." He leaned over to kiss him. "Now, go home, young one." Xander blinked and found himself back in his car. Still in the harem clothes but his original ones were folded beside him. The demon smiled and went to tell his mother that he had made his proposition.
Xander walked into the house, looking at the people there. "Sorry, um, had to talk to someone since Strife wanted me to." He walked into the basement of their house, going to find something he needed. Then he brought the book out and out onto the lawn to work on the house's protections.
Greg frowned at Xander's body, waiting until he was outside to look at the others in the kitchen with him. "Did he go out in the harem costume?"
"No, he wouldn't have. He had to go to the IRS today," Don said, considering it.
"Uh-huh. So he came home redressed in skimpy clothes and headed for the magic books." Danny moaned. "So either we've got a problem coming or we're in the middle of a new one."
"One's coming tomorrow. I'm working on the house's protections and the new suitor finally called me for a talk," Xander said as he came in to get a drink. He took the soda out of the fridge. "He's a very old demon, harmless to us physically. He's been watching me since I was very young. Knows almost everything about me. Doesn't want to castrate me. His people are one of the founding races of intelligence among the demons. They created one of the harder languages." He opened it and took a sip. "His name's Vesvold, he's on the High Demonic Council. He said we're going to have an attack on the house tomorrow from someone. Also I told him he had to come talk to you three." He headed back outside. "I'm working on the house's protections."
"Uh-huh," Don said, then walked out to get Xander and drag him back inside. "So, Vesvold and you had a long talk?"
"Few minutes. Apparently I spent some of it unconscious. I woke up redressed, there was a guardian there to watch over me, and it felt magical. Probably from the kidnaping."
"Did he touch you in other ways?" Greg asked. Xander shook his head. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'd still be sore if he had. I haven't had any yet this morning."
"Good point," Danny agreed. "No plugs or nothin'?"
"To the IRS?"
"Never mind." That wasn't something he'd do either. Xander jogged outside to get his book and soda since it was starting to drizzle, coming back sipping his soda. "So, what do we do about this one?"
Xander sat at the breakfast bar. "He said he hasn't sent lavish presents because he knew it would upset me. He did say Willow was behind the land taxes and IRS stuff." That got a mass nod. "He's not on Wolfram and Hart's board but he did know that they're after me and why." He took another sip, leaning on the book. "I don't know."
"Do you like him?" Don asked.
Xander looked at him, frowning. Don wilted at the look he got. "I'm the insecure one, Don. Quit or I'm taking your bike." That got a smile so he looked at Danny again. "I don't know what to tell you guys."
"Can we ask Cordelia for information?" Greg asked.
"You could if you could wake her up. She got hit in the head and she's in the hospital."
"Damn it," Don sighed. "Think she'll be okay?"
Xander looked at him and shrugged. "I think if not she'd consider it a good death," he admitted calmly. They all stared at him. "Guys, do you know how many people I've seen die? At the end of my stake, or at the hands of vampires? Or even during graduation?" They all shook their heads. "Let's leave it at a lot then, okay?" He went to the study to get back to work on the house's protections. Even if he had to summon demons to eat them the house would be protected. And hey, he could do that without giving himself a headache. Or at least too bad of a headache.
Danny put his hands on the counter and leaned on them. "Okay. Xander's apparently in battle mode again," he said quietly. "Greg?"
"I haven't heard a thing about any of this," he admitted.
Don shook his head. "Me either. I liked Cordelia."
"Me too," Danny agreed. "We should call out there to see if there's anything we can do ta help." Don went to find the phone and do that. He looked at Greg again. "Anything on this combat history?"
"Not like he tells me those things. He likes to protect me, Danny."
"True. And apparently the rest of us." He pulled out his phone to call the one person Xander did talk to. "Ryan. Danny. A few questions but you can answer from your own couch." He listened to him say he wasn't on the couch but he did have his feet up. "Good. You rest. Xander just pointed out he's seen a lot of death when we gave him funny looks because he stated very blandly that Cordelia had been seriously injured. How many people has he seen die?" He listened to the evasive answer. "Ryan." He listened to the more firm answer and sighed. "No wonder. Thanks." He hung up and went to hug Xander, earning him a confused look. "You could talk to us about the Sunnydale stuff, Xander. You really could."
"I gave the tapes to Don."
"I know. I heard 'em late last year. Made me wanna puke." He stroked over his cheek, seeing him shiver. "He did touch you?"
"He did that a few times and I'm sensitive to it at the moment."
"Got anything on his type of demon?" Xander nodded and summoned another book, handing it over. "Thanks. Is it in English?"
"I learned it in church." He sat down to read over it slowly. It had been a while since he had worked with Latin. Xander went back to his research. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to summon something to scare the piss outta whoever's going to attack the house and possibly to eat them."
"No demons in the house."
"Won't be," he promised. "Just on the lawn." He turned the page and went on. He suddenly looked up. "You know, if something did happen to the house, the stuff over there would probably be trapped in that realm forever."
"Probably," Danny agreed, watching as Xander got up and went to find the bottomless bags to empty the closets and vaults into. Then he shook his head and kept reading. They sounded nice so far. Even the Watchers said so. He looked up. "A little guidance here?" he begged.
Ares appeared in Xander's former seat, his feet up on the desk. "I like this chair."
"Make Xander buy you one," he said dryly. Ares gave him a look. "Sorry."
"That's all right. I come to expect such things from this family. He's very nice. Very upstanding. Very intelligent."
"What does he want with Xander?"
"The same thing you do. A wife." Danny slumped some. "He doesn't want to harm him. Doesn't even want to castrate him. Said it'd take the joy out of his life." Danny nodded at that, staring at him. "Then again, being with him would be highly beneficial for Xander in popularity. At least until he died. He could protect Xander from everything but he'd wither and die up there without human contact with you guys. Vesvold is a very old being for all that he's only in his mid thirties technically speaking. He's one of the younger members on the High Council and he's from a dying breed. Being with Xander could very well get him killed and he knows this. All they need is an excuse on the High Council. He's very learned, very prosperous. He was elected to it, didn't kill to get his seat, because he was so good at what he does."
"Wolfram and Hart?"
"He's already drafted a resolution about punishing them for going after the boy."
"Did they adopt it?"
"Yeah, and two of them took great pleasure in taking out future problems and possible assassination attempts." Danny gaped. "That's the way politics is, Danny." Danny shut his mouth and nodded. "Now, I don't favor Vesvold for him. For the very simple reason that Xander would wither and die without the contact with his friends and family. Then again, if he takes Xander for real, he won't be lasting that long either. That would be an outrage for his people and they would kill him. Even if his mother did agree to it. She's seen as a bit batty."
"When your population's nearly gone you don't want gay people or people who love outside your race," Danny said.
"Exactly. Which could very well get Xander killed as well. Because most demons do know what you are. Him especially since so many of them have wanted him. So they do know how to kill Xander when they go for him." Vesvold appeared next to them, looking interested. "Have you considered what this will do to your life?"
"I have. My mother has. They also consider him an addiction."
"He is," Danny agreed. "Very addicting. I get really cranky when I go a day without Xander cuddles." Xander squeaked at that. "I do. C'mere." Xander came in and sat in his lap, getting cuddled. He looked at Xander. "Something Ares said makes a lot of sense and I want you to listen to him, Xander."
"Xander, there's a truth you may not realize. His people are nearly extinct. If he takes up with you the others will attack and kill him, and probably you, for not making him breed."
"I have three children," Vesvold complained.
"Yes, but if you go wrong by having me, would someone hurt them?" Xander asked quietly. "The others of your people would worry that it's a quirk that could be passed on."
Vesvold sighed at that. "We've already talked to the higher ones of my people, Xander. They know of my desires and my plans. They also made sure I had the three children before I came near you. That's why I've watched you since you were eight." Xander blushed at that. "Including those incidences, yes." He looked at Ares. "It is a good point but it won't happen."
"The Fates said it would end your life and probably his if you ended up with him." Vesvold looked devastated. "We don't want that."
"Nor do I. I would never harm Xander," he said firmly. "I would give my life for him."
"Yes but they'll see and use that, Vesvold. If it wasn't for that, they'd have some serious competition for Xander's affections once you started to woo him. Cupid even said that. Hell, you gave Aphrodite the sniffles the other day over your prayers to her." He blushed a bit at that. "The good kind." He nodded, blushing harder. "Right now you'd be about equal with Danny and Don for him. Of course, Xander would wilt without his fun, Ryan and Greg."
"True. I had not considered that." He stared at Xander. "I would still watch over you."
"I wouldn't mind a friendship with you, Vesvold. Since I don't know anything about you I really wouldn't mind a friendship."
"It would be painful to see you and not touch you, but I could see that happening."
Danny gave him a look. "Trust me, the reality is much different than watching him. Getting stuck with the hair pins in the middle of the night, pampering him when he's pouty, loving him the rest of the time. Much different."
"Then I'll stick with friendship," he promised, bowing. "Thank you, Lord Ares."
"It'll be hard, Vesvold, but sticking to that course would be for the best for everybody. Now shoo, Xander's got to work on the house's defenses."
"I could lend him my warriors," he offered.
Ares smirked. "We might have to take you up on that later on. For right now, some imps should cure the present problem." The demon nodded and left. He looked at Xander and Danny once he was gone. "You owe me," he told Danny telepathically, staring at Xander. "Imps."
"Only imps? I can't have them eaten?"
"No, Xander. That's calling in favors."
"Crap." Xander nodded and went to lay the traps.
Danny looked at him. "Thank you for having the cooler and more logical head."
"Yeah, well, I'm making Aphrodite cranky at the moment."
"She wouldn't want him to die for it."
"Um, we had a question," Danny said before he could disappear. Ares gave him an interested look. "Xander said if something happened to the house here that anything over there could be stuck over there permanently?"
"Okay, just making sure."
"Destroy the doorway, destroy the exit."
"Okay. So we need to get all the stuff over there out of there for good?"
"Might not be a bad idea, yeah."
"When can the unicorn foal go home?"
"Tomorrow but he can't do it if he's been doing things with demons. I'll have Strife come open the portal so he won't have to."
"Thank you, Ares."
"No, just thank you."
"Welcome." He disappeared.
Danny went back to the kitchen with the book. "We lucked out. Ares knew that the new guy would die if he took Xander in and talked him into staying friends for now."
"Probably until we all die," Greg said quietly.
"Probably," Don agreed. "So, this new guy was here?"
"He was. He looked human. About our age. Seemed very nice but desperate for Xander in the same way we are." That got a moan from Greg. "Ares said he gave Aphrodite a case of the sniffles in the good way with his prayers about Xander." Don slumped. "But for right now he knows his life's in danger if he takes Xander. That Xander's life may well be in danger if he has Xander. Apparently his species is dying out." That got nods. "But he seemed genuinely nice and like he loved Xander for a while now," he finished quietly. "Ares said we'd have some competition if he came wooing Xander."
"I like the wooing idea. I think it's something we should get back to with him ourselves," Greg offered.
"True. It's time to get our woo on," Don agreed, making Danny moan and swat him for that. "It is." He smiled as Xander came in, giving him a hug. "Should we take tomorrow off?"
"Ares said imps should be enough but I could use help stuffing things from the closets into the bags so we can bring them over here."
"Sure, let's do that," Don agreed.
"Ares did say that if the doorway was destroyed there's no other exits," Danny agreed. That got a nod so they went to handle the closets together, bringing their dinners with them. And Greg brought an extra plate to feed to Xander since apparently he had decided the soda was his. Danny came up with the idea of an extra bag of stuff Xander didn't want to keep. Not a lot went into it but it was handy that they were sorting things out and doing the inventory as it went. He had good taste in what they had brought back. Fabrics that were so soft they felt like baby's skin. Leathers so soft you wouldn't have to break them in. Tapestries that were of really good quality - some of which Don confiscated to hang up around the house. Trinkets that amused or were cute. Jewelry that looked good on him or Greg. A few of which got handed to Greg. Pictures, painted and otherwise, that also went up around the house. They brought those bags back to the house and came back to look at the statue behind the locked door.
"Xander as Priapus," Greg said, staring at the statue of Xander, a very well done Xander, with a huge dick sticking out and him stroking it. The marble hand had separate fingers and the creator had even managed a bit of space between the fingers and the cock. Not that a hand went all the way around it and it was a lot longer than Xander was as well, but it was a nice statue overall.
"I was thinking about donating it to Madam Qui's. She's got some statues," Xander said. "He's not that heavy. I can levitate him if you guys can guard his head, feet, and cock." That got a nod and they did that while Xander floated it up and out onto the other lawn. It looked very nice next to the fountain he had put in out there.
"Was that a present?" Don asked.
"Yup." He grinned. "Now and then it shoots stuff in the sunlight too. That's why I had it behind the door." He threw a tarp over it before anyone could say anything, going back inside to get a snack before they tackled the vault.
The others shared a look and smiled. Some of Xander's suitors had very strange tastes. They went to get their own snacks, then Danny grabbed the vault keys so they could empty that one and the new spare one out. Because apparently Xander had needed another one.
Madam Qui, who was a very nice Quarth demon, looked at the statue that was being delivered. "I had no idea I had ordered a statue." The delivery drivers handed her an envelope. "Thank you, dears." They nodded and accepted their tips while she read the note. "Oh, Xander," she sighed. She shook her head and got a hammer to open the shipping case. She blinked when she uncovered the front of the statue. "Oh." She touched it and sighed. "Oh, dear." She went to look up the number to the station where his boys would work. Fortunately she had a few clients who worked there so she had it on file. "Could you please connect me to either Detective Flack or CSI Messer?" she asked politely. She waited through the hold music. "Oh, Lieutenant, I didn't wish to bother you." She heard that both of them were out.
"No, it's about the statue Xander sent me. It's a bit..sympathetic with him. No, as in if I touch it, he'll feel it. I would assume that shooting problem would be his seed as well. Well it would be a bit dangerous to leave it here." One of her girls ran over to look at the new statue, teasing the balls on it. "He should be feeling that. Of course. I'll keep it safe for today and try to keep the ladies off it. It is *darling* work so if he knows who did it I would like the name. Of course I'll keep it safe. Thank you, Lieutenant. I didn't think he wanted that to get out." She hung up and shooed the women away from it. "Now, ladies, Xander might be sleeping." They giggled and ran off to check with the ones who would know if that was true size.
Xander shifted when he felt something touching his cock and balls. "Vesvold...."
"That's from the statue, Xander. It's sympathetic." He groaned and covered his face, making the senior demon smile. "Put it in the trees, Xander. That way it gets some sun now and then since it takes some of your built up seed to do that." He went back to his reading. "Are you sure you wouldn't want me to send some of my guards?"
"I'm hoping the imps work since Danny didn't want me to summon anything to eat them."
"Are you that strong?"
"Barely. I can open portals but it wipes me out for a day. So I should be able to pull something smaller and meaner up."
"Perhaps. By the way, they passed the first two imps." Xander moaned and got up to deal with the people. One of them was screaming and beating at the imp. The others were focusing on him. The other two were sneering at him. "Oh, well. You could've had the nice treatment." He picked up the machine gun and slapped in the clip, pointing it at them. "I brought down part of the military," he said in a sing-song voice. "You're just thugs." They backed off and turned to run.
Vesvold coughed and waved a hand. His guards picked up those three and the one in the back yard, walking off with them. They phased out and reappeared in the detective's squad, making a few scream and run off. One of the guards nodded at the detective sitting there. "Our boss is not impressed with how they tried to burn his friend's house. Only one was scared by the imps. He did not wish his friend to have to shoot them." They put the boys down, patting them hard on the head. "Good, humans. Some year you may even be trainable as pets." They nodded and faded out again, going back home.
Ray looked at them. "Hey, got that stupid, huh? Boys! Need some cuffs!" The patrol officers came over to arrest them. "They apparently tried to burn Mr. Harris' house." He was still smiling. "A friend of his had his guards drop them off. Hence the screaming."
"Got it, Detective Kowalski." They drug them off to talk to them.
Ray shook his head and went back to his report. "It's safe, you can come back," he called. "The scary guys are gone now."
Frank stomped in. "What is going on? It's not lunch," he called. His detectives went back to their desks. He looked at Frank. "What happened?"
"Oh, the bad guys got brought in so we didn't have to use gas to get the guys who were going to burn Xander's house," Ray said dryly. "By a new friend's guards or whatever." He flicked a hand. "Xander's probably fine."
Frank gaped at him. "Did he call them?"
Ray looked at him. "Ask Don."
Frank went to call Don. "Would Xander have asked for favors? Because they got brought here by some other things that made a few detectives run."
"And squeal. Don't forget squealing," Ray called.
"And Ray said squealing." He listened. "Oh. Okay." He just nodded and hung up, going to find Horatio. "Maybe you should clean out the boy's library?"
"Vesvold is there, I just called over. He's very enamored of Xander but not pushing his suit. It was his decision to lend his guards since he didn't want to make Xander shoot them."
"Oh. We should still probably take the magic books from him. Don said he was summoning imps."
Horatio looked up. "Danny said he couldn't summon anything to eat them." Frank shook his head. "They'll be talking to him later."
"Good. Thanks. Because that stuff scares me."
"It does me as well," Horatio admitted. "I was going to sic Ryan on him." Frank smirked and walked off happier. "Mr. Wolfe," he called.
"I heard," he called back. "He doesn't go there often. He's not strong enough to get anything really horrible. But I'll remind him most people think it's creepy. Plus take the books he got given later."
"Thank you, Mr. Wolfe." He shook his head and got back to work. It was in good hands.
Danny and Don got together over lunch to talk about Xander. "That statue?"
"I heard. Where are we stashing it?"
"You know that small spot you wanted to put a bush in the trees?" Danny smirked at that. "There," Don ordered. "Just out of sight but closer in case we need ta use it. Can we use it?"
"We can if what she told Horatio was right. We can try it later." He ate another bite of lunch. "There was a problem with the magic stuff earlier," Danny said between bites.
"We can confiscate it. He don't need to be summoning things. I don't like that either," Don told him.
Ryan walked in and sat down between them, looking at them. "Anything about his magic he's already told me he'd put all the *harmful* things back into a bag." They smiled at that. "That does leave the things with the potions, the healing stuff, and the wards and protections."
"Which works for me," Don agreed.
Danny nodded. "I can agree with that."
"Good. Now, before Vesvold or whoever intervened this morning he was going to shoot them."
"He goes into this crisis personality," Don said dryly.
"I've seen. He's very good at it, but you guys called me about his former hunting recently." They nodded, understanding that concern. "We need to get him firmly recentered into his GHS side. Somehow. I leave that to you guys but if you need me, yell." He got up and got his drink, heading off again.
"He's right," Danny agreed, licking off his fork. "We should. How?"
"The housekeeper issue?"
"Yeah, I'm still looking too," Danny agreed. "Can we get the one from New York down here and give her a room or somethin'?"
"Damn." He shrugged and put up his dishes. "Any of the agencies?"
"Nope. I'm looking at the ones who advertise in the paper. So far none of them want to take us on since the house is so large and Xander'll be home."
"It happens. We'll figure it out," Danny promised. "Also, lawncare service? The grass is getting high again." Don finished up. "I still hate that they quit because we arrested that one guy for trying ta steal."
"We can handle that too," Don agreed. They nodded and went to find today's paper to start calling around. Don found a lawn service and called them. Danny found a housekeeper service they hadn't heard of before to call. When they were done they met back at the table. "Okay, got a lawn service, they'll start today."
"Good. I'm going to meet with the housekeeping service after dinner."
"Even better. Will they do the litter boxes?"
"Xander said that they couldn't."
"True, but he forgot for over a day, especially the one out of the cages."
"True." He nodded. "It's nice they use plants though." They got a candy bar out of the machine and split it, going back to their various tasks.
Frank looked at Don when he came back. "We get it solved?"
"Yup. He put up the books with the harmful stuff already. We're getting a new lawn service and possibly a housekeeper. Then we've got to get Xander back to the point where he's centered in his GHS side instead of the crisis side." He sat down and looked at the messages that had landed on his desk. He smiled at one. "The lawn service is already there I see."
"Yeah. They do some of your neighbors so they were in the neighborhood," Ray called from his desk. "He was in high squeal mode too."
"Good. It's good we can do that and spoil him senseless." He found one from the tax department and called down there. "Hi, this is Detective Flack returning a call to the auditor?" He was connected over. "This is Detective Flack." He listened and smirked. "Thank you. We wanted it put to the next few year's taxes if you could. We knew it was wrong but with the problems we've had since one of his former friends was a hacker, we're not sure it wasn't her." He listened to the details of what she had found. "Oh, don't you worry, if I find her she's toast and then in a cell," he promised. "She tried to take his social security number out of the system too." He could hear the shudder. "Exactly. He's had to fall back on his dual citizenship. Would that matter? No, he and I are both native New Yorkers who came down here to work with the PD." He smiled at her joke about native aliens. "Basically," he agreed. "Does that change things?" He smiled.
"Thank you, ma'am. I'll tell him. Please, just so we have it on file in case she does it again. Thank you. Have a nice day." He hung up and called Xander. "You paid about five years worth of taxes on that place," he said dryly in greeting. Xander squealed and babbled about the people cutting the lawn. "I know. They'll continue to. I told 'em about the last place quitting because you found that one guy stealing. They said it was stupid of 'em and they'll be more than happy to cut the grass for us, Xander. Oh, is the statue back?" He nodded. "That's fine, we'll get a truck for a few hours and put it back later. Thanks, babe. Now, eat something." He grinned. "Good boy. Love you too. Be home in a few hours." He hung up. Then he looked up. "Thank you whoever helped with that!" he said loudly. A small card landed beside him taped to a candy bar with a very simple 'you're welcome'. He broke into the treat and got back to his other messages. A few tips, someone returning the call since he had left his card on their door and they had heard about the break-in. He went to find them since they had given a location.
Frank and Ray shared a smile and nodded. "At least someone fixed one of them," Frank said.
"The IRS is throwing fits. They had ta bring in the guy from INS to help. Fortunately he could claim dual citizenship since he had land in another place too." He shook his head. "So he's paying at a slightly reduced rate and their rates are lower'n here. It's better all around this way." That got another smile. "That was probably the land tax."
"Even better. I knew it was stressing the boy out."
Danny and Ryan came out. "Hey, Frank, your case is full of stupid people," Danny told him.
"I'd expect that since it was a drug dealer on drug dealer shooting."
"Yeah, well, we figured out who and why and it wasn't the drugs. He was sleeping with someone's sister. Ryan made her admit to it earlier. She got jealous he had picked the wrong sister. He was tryin' ta cover," Danny said dryly, handing over the forms. "So she's already here too thanks ta Ryan."
"Great work, Wolfe. Thanks."
"Welcome." He smiled. "Any word on the lawn and housekeeper stuff?"
"The lawn service is already there," Ray told them. "Xander was in high squeal mode."
Danny smiled and nodded. "Now all we gotta do is get that statue back from where he sent it and we'll be good."
Ryan looked at him. "Statue?"
"The one behind the door."
"All I ever saw of it was the hole at the tip and the head."
"Basically you don't wanna see it," Danny said, patting him on the back. "It's tied into him somehow." Ryan moaned at that, shaking his head. "So, with where he donated it to, we could come home to a happy and sated boy tonight." He gave him a look. "Then all we've got to do is fix the vault situation."
"I'd almost rather he kept money on hand," Horatio said as he joined them. "It's safer and means less traffic at the bank to piss Steve off."
"True," Danny agreed. "We all liked that idea." That got a smile. "How big is this statue anyway?"
"His size," Ryan said. "It's lifesize, all but the one part from what Xander said."
"How heavy is that?" Danny asked. "We saw it already."
"It's marble, Danny. It's heavy," Ryan assured him.
"That's fine. We'll rent a truck then." He looked at Frank. "Your other case with me? Dead end."
"DNA on those hairs don't match in the system according to Valera."
"Ah," Horatio said. "I had her check other systems," he said blandly. Danny looked at him. "Specifically PD and Federal systems. It does have a match." He handed that sheet over. "Which means you need to talk to Mac."
"I do, don't I," he said happily, going to call him to see where he was. "I'll let you know, Frank."
"Awww, can't I know now?" Frank called.
"Think hair, Frank," Horatio said smugly.
"Ahhhh. She wasn't near that scene when she was down here either." Horatio smiled at that. "Goodie. Others will be very impressed."
"It'll stop some of Mac's nightmares." He looked at Ryan, who shrugged. "How is your last one?"
"The drug dealer? The other one's sister shot him for sleeping with the wrong sister. She was jealous she wasn't chosen to be his bitch."
"Interesting. We have her?"
"Even better. Any others?"
"Not really, not yet anyway." He looked at his hand and smiled. "Very nice." He grinned at him. "The vault stuff, am I going to have to ride escort?"
"I can do that." He walked off.
Frank looked at the same spot then smiled. "About time, Horatio. Have a good anniversary?"
"Very good." He smiled and walked off, going to tell Speed that Ryan approved of his taste in jewelry. Speed would get him later. After all, he had a paintball case and needed to shoot them at a target for splatter patterns.
Xander bounced over to his boys where they were moving the statue, floating it off so he could pounce them, making them both smile when they landed on the ground. "I love you guys!"
"We're glad but can we move the statue where we want it?" Don asked, giving him a cuddle. "You can pounce inside, where it's softer."
"Okay." He got off them and moved it where they wanted it to go, letting them arrange it. They got it facing the way they wanted and then he got to pounce them inside for dinner. Which meant they'd need food but he was satisfied enough with it.
The family got together to go over the security arrangements for taking the stuff to the bank. A new safety deposit box had been rented and all they had to do was get it to the bank, which was halfway across the city. A few snuck off to see the statue, coming back blushing. Xander just shrugged.
Horatio looked at the routes that were possible. "How much is there?"
Xander looked at him. "That depends on us bringing the never ending bag or not."
"A good lot," he admitted, opening the closet in the study for him. Horatio blinked. "All that? Or should I keep some of the stones here for easier access?"
"Loose cash in reasonable amounts, and a small bag of stones for emergencies," Don ordered. "Nothing that'll get us stolen from." He looked. "That's not our vault too, right?" Xander slowly shook his head. "Then where in the fuck did the rest come from?"
"One of my clients died and left me his warren. He's the guy with the strange stone and the tips in stones."
Don sighed as he walked out to find something for his headache.
"Sorry, Don. I just found out a few days ago. I had to hire Angel to go clean it out for me."
"Any word on Cordy?" Danny asked.
"Still in the coma," he admitted. "We're not sure if she'll wake up now. Wes is throwing fits." He looked at the closet then at Horatio. "So, it depends on us using one of the special bags or not."
"Can those bigger boxes be broken down?"
"I'd rather not and the new box is big enough to hold it."
"Very. I brought her out here to let her see how much stuff. It'll hold it."
"Good." He looked again then shook his head. "He was a what?"
"An earth demon. They horde and trade gems."
"Ah. Polished ones as well I see."
"Some of the traded ones I'd suspect. I've looked for serial numbers but they don't have any."
"Pity. All right. Can we get rid of any of that beforehand?"
"I've asked my jewelry guy and the guy I went to in New York. The guys we dealt with in New York are coming in tomorrow morning. Then we'll do this move tomorrow afternoon once they're done since they can do the insurance estimate for the bank as well." Horatio smiled at that. "They like my stuff. They saw the original box the day Don made me put it in the bank up there."
"That's actually a good idea, Xander." He patted him on the back. "Do they know where they came from?"
"Good point." He went back to studying the map in front of him. "What time were we going?"
"The branch closes at three so we can get there about two, two-thirty it'd be best. They're coming over at ten tomorrow. I've already put them in their hotel rooms and everything. I'll give them access to both vaults and all this other stuff because there's one trunk that's being used as the coffee table in the living room." Horatio sighed. "So again, up to you about bags, boxes, whatever, Horatio."
He went to look at that trunk, making Don take another sip of his soda and another aspirin. "How long has this been here?"
"About since we moved in." He took another drink and went to hug Xander. "That's been that full the whole time?" Xander gave him a sheepish look but nodded. He shook his head and went to not look at it some more. He did send up a happy prayer to Cupid that he wasn't a higher level GHS and neither was Greg. Even though his bloodwork bounced from six to four to six now and then. He couldn't put up with two who were gifted like this. He finished his soda and went to get another one, handing one to Xander. He could only hope the New York guys could reduce some of that stuff.
"I could get a mausoleum in a cemetery and use one of those," Xander joked when he came back into the study.
"Not very safe but this new box is a vault, right?" Xander nodded. "Like the old society families vaults?"
"Yup. Small one. It'll fit that trunk and maybe a few things on top." Don nodded at that. "So we're hoping it'll all fit if we take the trunk. If not, that they'll take a good portion of the trunk and then we can put most of this in there."
"What about in the vault over here?" Don asked. Xander handed him the keys so he went to go look. It was more statues and other small precious things. A few stones but not enough that he'd have to throw fits. He locked it and came back upstairs, handing back the keys. "I can handle that. Horatio, how are we doing this?"
"For right now, I want us to take the back streets and maybe a cruiser," he offered. "One of the unmarked ones. That'll make it bulletproof."
"We could take the new SUV," Xander offered. They all stared at him. "Don said I could get one."
"I did," he agreed. "I thought we were going to decide together."
"You were tired."
"Sorry. Where is it?"
"Waiting to be picked up. I was going to do that tomorrow afternoon. It's bulletproof and it's got a decent sound system. Plus it's very heavy."
Horatio looked at him. "Hummer?"
"No. It's a stretch Range Rover the size of an Expedition." Horatio moaned at that. "The original guy didn't like how it looked so they had it on display. It's odd, one of the Discoveries so it doesn't look like a tank or a military vehicle really, but it's dark blue with black interior. It's bulletproof. I had them up that for me. It's got a great sound system, equal to what's in the corvette. It's got a back seat DVD system like the airlines do, so you could probably log online if you had wi-fi stuff." Horatio smirked at that. "I said I'd pick it up tomorrow after I hit the bank for gas money but I can probably get it today."
"We should do that," Horatio agreed. "Speed?" He came in from the kitchen, towel over his shoulder. "Go with Xander to pick up the new SUV." Speed nodded, taking Xander to call a cab. Xander got his wallet and shoes on. "That could help," he said dryly.
"It could. He said it had a surprise for us," Danny agreed from his seat in the corner. "Greg was helping him pick out options the last I knew, Don."
"Is it going to fit with his new, hipper image?"
Danny nodded. "Yeah, we think so. Greg would know."
"True." They shared a look then smiled. It was a Xander thing. They had to love it for that much alone. "How much did it cost him?"
"Steve said it was a lot less than he expected for a security vehicle."
"Huh." They heard the cab pull in and the boys leave, then looked at Horatio. "Should we check the vault?"
"I've talked with her, she said it was clear and big enough. I had no idea we needed that much room."
Don nodded. "Apparently. Anyone want a soda? I'm gonna go finish the dishes Speed left until my headache goes away."
"Nah I'll get one in a few," Danny promised. Don nodded, going that way. He looked at Horatio. "At least he's paying the department for this."
"He is and the money is greatly needed. The boss loved this idea," he agreed. "He thought there was just a small amount too."
"So did we, Horatio." That got a smile. They went over the possible routes and what trouble could crop up on the way. One was a major intersection for accidents. A while later they heard Don start to laugh hysterically so went to look at what he was seeing. They saw the car. "It's definitely unique."
"It is," Horatio agreed. "I've never seen a stretch Range Rover." He came out to look at it, finding the surprises in the back. He smiled at Xander. "Thought they needed the gear cabinets in the back?"
"I did," he said sheepishly. Xander hugged him. "Speed wants to drive it."
"It's got a good engine," Speed agreed. "Better than I'd expect."
"Me too," Don said, coming over to look. The under-floor compartments put into the back held things like an extra scene kit and supplies. A medical kit for emergencies. A few new handguns and spare clips. One held a box marked 'dangerous' that he didn't want to know about. It also had two empty ones that Xander went into the house and came out with money, his emergency wallet for the house, and a small bag of gems got put into. That got a smile from Horatio since it locked with a key. Don went to look at the inside. The front was like a normal SUV. Bucket seats. Stick shift. The back seat was now like a limo. Small bar. Comfy bench seats. He climbed in to sit and wiggled some. He could like the soft seat coverings. He saw the DVD player and small tv, smiling at it. He got out and looked at the dividing wall between the trunk. "Does that come down?"
"It lowers with a switch up front," Xander admitted.
"This is bigger than an Expedition, Xander," Danny said.
"Not the one I saw."
"Ah. You probably saw a stretch one." Xander shrugged. "S'nice." Xander smiled at that. "Do I wanna ask about that one box?"
"Okay." He left it there. Horatio gave him a sideways look. "What? If I don't wanna know, I don't wanna know. I'll trust him on that."
Greg drove in and parked, then came over to hug the back wall. "Baby."
Xander beamed at him. "They think we should use it to move the stuff to the bank."
"We should," Greg agreed. "The thing's a tank, Xander."
"It is bulletproof?" Horatio asked Speed.
"Yup. Rated to .50 caliber bullets. I got the specs for you in case we need them."
"Excellent." He closed the back hatches, then looked at the boys. "We can use this." Xander drug him up to the front, letting him see the under-car and rear-bumper cameras for safety during backing up. "Even better." He patted Xander on the head. "Very nice choice, Xander."
"Thank you." He beamed at Greg then pounced him. "You helped so you deserve some of the praise too."
"I do," he agreed, tickling him, making Xander shriek.
"Inside where it's soft, boys," Don ordered. They ran inside to go play in the living room with the dogs since they were awake again. Don looked at Horatio. "I wanna see someone call this one the gaymobile."
"I'm having visions of what Horatio wants for the next mobile lab," Speed said, patting him on the back when he headed for the kitchen.
"I finished the dishes, Speed."
"Thanks. How's the stuff in the oven?"
"Haven't checked," he admitted, going to help.
Danny and Horatio shared a look. "Can I drive it just once to work, boss?"
"Sure. If you can find a parking spot." He smiled as he walked back inside. It was definitely a secure vehicle. Something that Xander needed now and then. They had done good getting useful options onto it.
Xander offered the food to the men in the living room. "It's done with Kosher rules," he offered. That got some smiles. "I even got a Rabbi in to bless the kitchen." That got more smiles and they all nibbled while they worked. He left that with them and the tea pots since most of them had wanted tea. Then he got the other food trays for the guards, putting that in the study. "Here we go. Nibbles."
"Thank you, Xander," Horatio said.
Mac nodded at him. "Thanks, kid. So this new SUV cost you how much?"
"Like more than the hummers we use?" Mac asked.
"Nope." He grinned and dug out the paperwork, handing it to him. Mac whistled. "It was already partially customed though."
"Yeah but I know some others who could use a security vehicle like that and Range Rovers are good cars." One of the jewelers came in to check a stone's registry, making Mac get out of the way. "We're planning on leaving about one-thirty if you think you'll be done."
"We'll be done within a few hours," he assured him with a smile. "The others I heard you had?"
"In the other safety deposit box," Xander admitted, grimacing some. "They had a new appraisal done when I had it switched down here."
"It's always wise," he agreed, reading the registry information. "Hmm. This one's not listed."
"Which means it doesn't have an owner, right?" Horatio asked. The jeweler nodded. "Would that indicate a less than legal suitor gave it to Xander?"
"Possibly, or someone within the business."
"One of them was into hording gems," Xander admitted.
"This one is fairly old," he agreed, going back to tell the others. That did explain the lack of registry numbers and the amount of stones that had to come from India and South America by the colors. They finished eating and sorting things out within the hour, handing over the appraisals to Steve since he was in and they had been told he was handling the boy's financial matters. Then the others were packed into the trunk in whatever cases they had been in. They had kept the boy's original system. Xander thanked them and took the checks, minus their fees, before they left, wishing them good travels in Hebrew, making most of them smile for the courtesy. They were taken back to the hotel in cabs and their own cars, going to tell the others in their groups what they had bought. It would mean a lot of new business and some stunning new pieces.
Horatio and Don got the last trunk and the few smaller cases from Xander, taking it to the bank with him in the back with it. Steve and Mac went in his car to deposit the checks at the usual branch. The new vault was at a minor branch since that's where one had become available. It was even closer to the house. A small accident did make them do a small detour and the one person who thought about shooting them was stopped by the unmarked cruiser riding escort with Ryan and Eric. It went very well. They got the trunk and other things into the bank together and Xander signed the forms, kissing his financial manager on the cheek. She smiled and checked the invoices they had brought with them, nodding at the amount of stuff they were storing. It was best held in a bank. They came out and she got to look at Xander's new car, making her smile at it. It was very secure and she knew who to go to now if she needed another drop like this one. She saw Xander write out the money to Horatio and hand over the cash once he had gotten it cashed there.
Horatio handed it to Ryan and Eric, who took it back to the station.
Then they all went back to the house to have dinner. It was a long day but well done.
They lounged around the patio set out back, sipping sodas or beers, eating the fried chicken they had picked up on the way home, and nibbling the pastries Xander had ordered that morning. Eric and Ryan came back with the letter from the Chief for a receipt and handed that to Steve too, who went to make final copies for the office and the file he kept on Xander. Then he came out to eat as well.
"You guys are amazing," Steve told them. "Not even Jim could pull this one off without causing a car chase or something."
"Ellison?" Mac asked, smirking at him. "You're related to Jim?"
"He's my big brother," he said blandly.
"We had some joint unit operations back in the day. Tell him I said hi."
"I will. He's Cascade's main headache."
"The great ones always are," Mac agreed. Don snickered at that. "They are."
"Proves I won't be that great then. I don't cause too many headaches." He smiled at Xander. "But if you ever join the force...."
"Point." He took a kiss. "It'll be okay."
"Now what'll I do all day?"
"You know, we were talking about that last week," Ryan admitted. "You know those charity rummage sales?" Xander nodded. "Why don't you carve little ornaments or animals or something for them? You like to work in wood and your carving stuff so far has been pretty good." Xander smiled at that compliment. "So do that."
"Just no wood shavings in bed," Danny ordered. "You can make 'em and paint 'em and all that." Xander nodded at that. "It's small, delicate work but you're good at that stuff too. Plus more cooking classes, Xander."
"Cool." He hugged his family then sat down again. "I love you guys. Thank you for the help earlier."
"Not a problem, Xander, but I would hope you'd make sure the others don't do this again?"
"No, I only had the one earth demon as a client."
"Is that where most of this came from?" Mac asked. Xander nodded. "What sort of earth demon?"
"Kinda like a mole. They burrowed and horded gems, plus traded them. He said he hadn't found as great of pleasure with anyone else so he died and left me his warren. Oh, and that one vibrating stone. Does anyone have any idea what that is?"
Ryan nodded. "I did. It came up with a high level of calcium and carbon. When it didn't match a rock type in the computer I asked Ares and he said it was a keystone." Xander frowned at that. "For some types of portals. Like the types that can be tuned from Hellmouths."
"Wow. So Angel could use that in Sunnydale?"
"Huh. I'll have to send it to Wes and see if he knows about them."
"I did. He's begging. His email said he'd crawl across the country on his knees. Apparently there's some places that are like gateways to multiple realms and those traditionally go to those but can also be used that other way. He said if you had two he'd beg and plead."
"I sent one to Oz to see if it helped or anything out there," Xander admitted. "But I have that one that gives me headaches in a special box in the vault. I could send him that one."
"Sure." He smiled. "He'd probably hug you for it."
"He's kinda stiffly British. I doubt it'd get the cuddles from him." Ryan smirked at that. "Can I go give it to him?"
"No," everyone said together.
"Too dangerous," Frank noted. "Sorry, kiddo."
"Especially with that law firm," Eric agreed.
"They're having their own problems," Xander admitted. "Oooh, Angel called anyway. Something about needing me for an apocalypse. He needs another fighter."
"No," Ryan ordered. "Sorry but no. Ares just said no."
"Crap. They might really need me."
"Tell him to get Spike. We'll go drop that one off together," Ryan promised. "That way I can be a messenger anyway and we can pop in on Jace again for dinner. Unless you wanted to go, Danny?"
"No, I'm cool with seeing her next year sometime." That got a smile. "Xander, about the wrinkles and things. Think I could get one soon?"
"Yup. I've got you a set and Don a set whenever you're ready." That got smiles from them. "Eric's is at his place."
"Thank you, Xander," Eric said. "What about Ryan?"
"He'll be young and pretty for a while longer." That got some mass smirks. "He is."
"He is," Greg agreed. "What's this I heard about a crossover case?"
Horatio looked at him. "That is correct. Las Vegas gave us notification today that they're looking for a suspect down here. They're sending Nick and Warrick. You can hide, Greg."
"I probably shouldn't." He sipped his soda, looking down at Xander. "But he can be there." That got smiles. "Is Hodges coming down?"
"Not that I've heard of," Horatio offered.
"That's fine. I liked the other techs. I said I'd find a way to put them up for vacation. There's a few sleeping rooms at the lab and I'd let them use them for free if they wanted to come down."
"Nick and Warrick?" Speed asked.
"No, they can soak the department for a hotel room." That got some smiles. "I'm sorry but I'm still mad at Warrick for his stunt the last day I was there."
"While they're down here you could sneak back to Vegas and visit Hodges," Xander offered.
"No, Catherine probably told them to check on me. I'll call her or Hodges again tonight." That got another smile. "Thanks, guys."
"Welcome, Greg." Xander grinned at everyone. "I got a pie too. Plus we've got ice cream again." That got some laughs and they cleared things up so they could have dessert. It was a well done day.
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