Notes: it was requested by Jaderose that they see Greg dancing.  So enjoy.


Greg looked up from his morning workout with Xander, seeing the two guys staring and Eric shaking his head as he walked around them.  "Um, Xander."  Xander paused in his movement and looked at them, waving.  "Hi, guys," Greg called.  "I can take a break."  He wiped off the sweat and flopped down on one of the loungers out there.  "Guys?" he prompted.

Warrick nudged Nick.  "You thought the video Hodges got of the one was bad?"

"Pet the Greggy," Nick mumbled.

"No, petting him is wrong.  He's not yours," Warrick said firmly, nudging him harder.  Nick shook his head.  "They're stopping so we can talk."

"Good.  Stopping is good."  Stopping would save his sanity because he knew he wasn't gay, even if he did feel the sudden urge to go onto his knees for Greg.  He walked up there, smiling at Greg.  "You look tanned and happy."

"I am tanned and happy.  I'm also doing great work with the GHS council.  We've got some strange allergies and I've found a few more.  Xander, Eric's inside."

"I saw."  He finished stretching then walked inside.  "Water, guys?"

"Water's fine, thank you," Warrick agreed.  Even though what he wanted was an ice pack to cool himself down.  Or a very long, slow pet to cool himself down after he got them both more sweaty.  He sat on Greg's other side.  "So, you live here?"

"Xander needs me now and then," he agreed happily. "Spots!  Hubert!"  The dogs and the dragon came bouncing out.  The dogs sniffed the new people and the dragon crawled into his lap since he was in the sun.  "I know, you're not liking the air conditioning at the moment."  He stroked his back and put him down by his feet, earning a happy purr.  "He's grown since the last time he was in Vegas and these two are very good boys," he praised, petting them.  "Go play."  They ran to play on the lawn.

Xander came back with glasses of water.   "Here you go, guys.  I won't release the ferrets to climb on you."  He smiled at Greg.  "I'm going to the office."

"Sure."  Xander smiled and went that way.  He sipped his water. "He's very protective of me."

"It's a good thing," Nick agreed, weighing the difference between the old Greg and this one.  "So, lab work?  Straight lab work?"

"Comparing samples against allergy models.  The group as a whole has funny reaction to some herbs.  I've found two new ones and had to note that some of them were in mixes already out on the market.  I've got my own lab downtown and an assistant even."  That got some smiles.  "Plus I fill in whenever Horatio needs me to so I'm staying involved."

"That's great," Warrick agreed.  "I'm hoping they're finishing what we couldn't."  Greg nodded.  "What were you doing when we came in?"

"That's a self defense and physical fitness regime Xander found on one of his travels.  It's got self defense and swordwork built into it.  Since Xander plays with swords we all do.  I'm getting pretty good.  I beat Ryan Wolfe most of the time now."  They smiled at that and he took another drink, petting the dog that came back. "What's up?"  The dog barked and wagged his tail.  "Go get the ball.  I'll play ball."  He ran inside to find the old tennis ball, bringing it back out.  He smiled and tossed it, watching as the dogs went nuts.  "They're actually guard trained."  He looked at Nick. "I'm very safe here."

"I'd hope so.  I've heard Xander gets problems now and then but he seems to have managed most of it."  He petted the dogs when they came back, throwing it for them.  They barked and ran after it.  "They're good."

"They're trained to sniff drugs too.  Xander has this nasty habit of playing poker with the underworld down here and now and then someone leaves him a sample.  They're very good at finding it."  They looked impressed at that.  He nudged Hubert with a toe.  "You still ache?"  He got a head shake and the dragon switched sides to lay on.  "He got stabbed during a break in a few months back."

"Poor little guy," Warrick said, taking the ball and throwing it, then wiping off the slobber.  He petted the dragon, earning some purrs.  "So you're really happier down here?"

"I am.  They like me.  Xander loves me.  We play all the time.  I'm needed.  They like me down here."

"We liked you too," Nick admitted.

"Yeah, you guys showed it in some odd ways too," Greg reminded him dryly.  "Down here I get 'good jobs' and cuddles when I do great things.  It's much better than Grissom's confused look when I did something good or had an idea."

"True," Warrick agreed.  "Caine gives cuddles?"

"No, but Danny cuddles me.  Ryan will if I ask.  Eric would if I asked.  We're kind of a family around Xander.  Danny and Don are Xander's keepers.  Ryan, Eric, and Frank Tripp are his protectors.  Horatio, Speed, Ray Kowalski, and his boyfriend are all advisers to the family.  Plus Mac and Stella ended up down here from New York when they shut their lab.  It's fun working with Stella."  They smiled at that.  "Down here's like a big, happy family most of the time."

"Until Ryan and I fight over something," Eric agreed when he came out.  "No new presents?"

"No, I think they're all wary of pissing off Vesvold, the guy who really loves Xander.  No new presents. No new poker games."

"I played last week," Xander called. "I only play once a week, Greggy."

"Okay, I stand corrected," Greg said happily.  "He is playing poker with the underworld again but not like he used to.  Did we win?" he called.


"Like gas money slightly?"

"For the SUV."

"I guess even Xander's got to lose now and then," Eric said dryly.  "We have the worst time with him.  He's evil at poker and baccarat."  Warrick smiled at that.  "What was your game?"

"Blackjack."  He looked at Greg.  "We think he'll be okay?"

"We know he'll be fine.  Most of the stupid people he played with got weeded out.  Though I think one still owes him some money."

Xander came out.  "Thank you for reminding me.  Want lunch from Fu's today?"

"Sure.  Get me some barbeque spareribs too please."  Xander nodded and looked at Eric, who shook his head.  "You guys staying for lunch?"

"Nope, we're waiting to hear if the lab or anyone can find our guy," Nick said, smiling at him.  He looked at Eric.  "So you play bodyguard to Greggo too?"

"Only when we have to.  Usually he and Xander are okay together.  Just now and then there's problems."  He sipped his water and went to check on the dogs, finding them sniffing a burnt spot on the lawn.  "Xander, what happened to the lawn?"

"I fried the demon who popped in," he called.

"Is it dangerous?"

"No."  He came out of the house.  "Leave that alone, Spots."  They came running back with the ball so he settled in at the foot of Greg's lounger to play with them.  "The ferrets are all napping and Wyatt's bringing the payment he did send.  Still not all of it."

"Horatio said he's been busy," Greg reminded him.

"Too busy," Eric said grimly.  "The General still owes you money?"

"Yeah, and I'm going to start charging interest soon.  That's why he made a small down payment on the five mil he owes me."  Eric gaped in horror. "He challenged me to another game.  Not my fault."  He smiled. "Did we all take this weekend off?"

"We did, but we're not sure why."

"I'm taking the boat out.  It's fully renovated and you guys could use the weekend off."

"It's a pretty thing," Greg agreed. "Since I've been out with him on it, I'll work fill in for you and Ryan.  Have the day cruise, Eric."  That got a smile from him.  "He'll even have someone cook since it's got a huge kitchen."

"I look forward to seeing what you won off the gambling ship that you broke."

"You broke?" Warrick asked.  That was worse than his gambling problem!

"Long story short, Vice asked me to.  They were running drugs and refugees.  That way they could have a reason to bust them with proof.  I have a habit of knowing when slots are going to hit in addition to my evil nature at certain card games so I won the ship instead of their drug shipment."  He smiled.  "I actually won us free recently.  Some of the bigger guys were playing a game to see who was going to kidnap and keep us in the family.  I casually came in and sat down and played against them, freaking them out majorly since I had heard.  I managed to break them and get us all free of them.  Then turned them in for being stupid people."  Eric smirked at that. "Are they still in jail?"

"Yup.  Conspiracy to kidnap, rape, and murder.  Two took deals, the other one didn't."

"Cool.  Now all I need to do is to find the one guy who owes me a few grand and beat his head in."

"Which one now?" Greg demanded.

"Oh, one of the Noches.  Their third in command or something."  He shrugged.  "He can't bluff any better than Sassone can but I did point out that his plans to send people after Danny would be breaking his word and therefore I'd get to destroy his life and soul.  He laughed but someone apparently had a word with him about how I could do that."  He smiled sweetly at Warrick.  "Yes, Horatio already knows."

"I'm sure Eric will make sure of it," he agreed, getting the point.

"I still can't believe you're still playing poker," Eric complained.

"I'm bored!  It gets me out of the house, Eric."  He kicked at him with a bare foot.  "Unless you want to give me Ryan full time to amuse me, or build a stable and bring my horse here, I'm bored now and then."

"True," he agreed dryly.  He shuddered. "When was the last time you went riding?"

"I tried last night but he turned an ankle in the field last week so he's still babying it.  I did ride Princess with Ryan.  We took the three foals out on lines to let them go with us.  They had a lot of fun and the big fluffy one is getting very big now."  That got a smile from Nick.  "I adopted a foal from the ASPCA because his former owners had been mean.  He's mostly Fresian."

"He'll be a big horse," Nick agreed.  "I'm more used to quarter horses."

"Ryan's got warmares," Xander said proudly. "And two foals from them."  That got an amused look.  "Plus I've got a really big Arabian stallion."

"It's a herd," Greg agreed, bending down to pet Xander on the head.  "Go putter."  Xander sighed but went inside and the dogs stayed.  He leaned back again.  "Sorry, he's very protective."

"But we like that," Eric agreed. "Especially since it was you and Horatio they were playing cards to see who got."

"Point," he agreed happily.  "I helped bust a major drug ring."  That got smiles from his former coworkers.  "So, who are you guys down here to catch?"  Warrick handed over the picture from his pocket.  "Hey, Xander?"  He came back out took the picture.  "Do you play with him?"

"No but the General does."  He handed it back.  "They usually play at the country club today but he's not welcome there since he kept pawing the waitresses.  Um, might try the marina too.  He said he likes boats.  He was babbling when the General challenged the last time."

"Is this General guy a former military person or otherwise?"

"No, he's a foreign ambassador and a drug dealer," Xander said simply, going back into the house.  "Send Wyatt in when he gets here."

"Sure," Eric called.  "Don't tell him."

"I won't."

"Thank you."  He shook his head.  "Anyway," he sighed.  "At least you know more."

"It's a good lead," Nick agreed. "All you guys know he plays poker with that sort?"

"Yeah, we do.  We watch it to make sure they're not going to kill him, but we get busts when they piss Xander off, try to pay him with drugs, or try to kill him for winning so often."  That got a head shake from Warrick.

"When he first started playing with them he made about triple the cost of the house a week," Greg told them.  Warrick blanched at that.  "He plays high stakes."

"Very high stakes.  Doesn't he worry about them shooting him at the table or stuff?"

"No, because they know Xander would kill them," Eric said simply. "If not, they would piss off the *entire* lab, Mac's *entire* lab, and both units of Homicide detectives."

"Since pissing off Horatio is a good way to never be able to sleep with both eyes closed again they don't like to piss off Xander," Greg agreed, finishing his water.  The dogs looked at him.  "What?  Go ask the daddy for some."  They ran into the house to go check their bowls.  "They're incredibly well trained."  He waved at the car pulling in, pointing inside.  The blond guy getting out nodded and carried the large bag into the kitchen through the front door.  They all heard Xander babbling happily and then a 'damn it' but it was okay because Wyatt came out counting his tip and the fees for the food.  "The General not pay up as planned?"

"Not as much as he had planned," Wyatt admitted.  He looked at him then at Eric.  "Xander's about to go on a rip against him."

"Horatio would kiss him if he did," Eric reminded him.

"True, and a lot of people would like to see that. They think they'd be cuter together than anyone but him and Wolfe.  Even knowing the relationships."  He smirked.  "By the way, heard from Brazil recently?  There's some strife down that way. He might want to email again from what I've heard floating around."

"I'll let him know, Wyatt, thanks."

"Eeh, we miss the happy bouncy Xander that went shopping with Caine's nephew.  That kid was the best destroyer of boredom Xander's ever had.  It also gave others time to make enough money to pay him."

"The General makes too much as is," Eric said dryly, smirking at him.

"Point, but he does have a business to run."

"Not if he doesn't pay me he doesn't," Xander said dryly.  "And you can tell him interest started being charged last night.  One percent a day, every day."

"Accruing like general interest or special interest?"

"He doesn't speak that strange financial language," Greg reminded him.

"Like the interest from the day before earns new interest," Xander told him. "Like my special checking account does."

"Okay, I can do that," Wyatt agreed. "Fu can tell him."  He smiled.  "Anything else, Xander?"  Hubert lifted his head to look at him. "You got chicken today, Hubert."  He petted him.  "Good boy.  It's good that you're healed."

"Thanks," Xander said happily.  Wyatt nodded and left.  Xander handed Greg his food, the dragon his plate of chicken teriyaki, making him a happy lizard, then he sat down with his own.  "You guys sure?  There's extra."  They shook their heads.  "Greg, why don't you show them your lab?"

"I can do that.  Let me get dressed, guys."  He got up and headed inside to get dressed.  Nick was still staring at him.  It was almost unnerving.


Eric waited until they were in the car to look at Nick.  "Yes, they can both do that.  It's very erotic.  That was some of the least erotic of all of it.  Trust me, Xander has brought people off with it without realizing it.  Greg can do that now too.  So just relax about it.  I'll call Horatio while you guys go see his lab."  That got a nod and they headed after Greg.  Once they were inside he did call Horatio, warning him about the staring Nick had going too.  Just in case someone tried to smuggle him back to Las Vegas in his bag.

Nick looked around the lab.  "This is nice."

"Thank you.  Halley?"  She came out of the office. "These are Nick and Warrick. I used to work with them in Vegas.  Guys, this is Halley, my assistant."  She smiled and waved.  "She's a master's candidate in Chemistry locally."  He grinned at her.  "Anything new come in today?"

"A few new emails about a new herbal weight loss medicine.  I put it on your desk, Greg."

"Thanks.  So this is the main lab.  As you can see we're pretty informal around here."  He let them look at his piles and the piles of reports he had already done, making Nick smile.  "That's my office.  The messy desk is hers," he joked.

"Na-uh!"  She punched him on the arm.  "Meany.  Make me tell Xander you're a mean guy to me again."

"He only pounced me last time and made me go shirt shopping with him."

"True.  Maybe next time he'll spank."

Greg snorted.  "Sure he will," he said dryly.  They continued on the short tour, showing them the break room they shared with the chemist in the other half of the building.  She waved from behind her pharmaceutical magazine.  Then they went back down to head back to the lab.  "He need me in?"

"No, but he wants you to gently persuade Xander to act faster on the General."

"He said tomorrow, Eric."

"We know."  He grinned.  "He hates him, you know that."

"I do.  We'll get him soon."  That got a smirk.  "We will.  Xander's highly pissed at the guy.  Could they trace the money?"

"Nope.  Not yet.  We think he's got a supplier down there that's not amused with his poker habits either."

"As long as they don't try Xander."

"Horatio thinks he might go through the Mala Noches to get him if he does."

"I'll warn him.  Then again, half the Noches like Xander for some odd reason.  Or it could be that Xander staked something in front of them, I'm not real sure.  Remind the guys about the weekend cruise."  He waved and they pulled off, letting him go back to work.  Halley handed him a tums, making him a happy chemist again.  "Thanks."

"Welcome, Greg.  I'm wondering what she's doing now.  The stink is getting worse in our store room."

Greg went to sniff then groaned and shook his head. "That is the smell of drugs, dear Halley."  He called Horatio.  "Can you please come visit me at the lab, Horatio?  Because our storeroom smells like someone's making drugs.  Thank you."  He hung up and got back to work.  He got a few more slides and samples prepared, including ordering some of the diet drug online to get a sample for testing and putting out a notice that he could use some new blood samples within a few months.  Horatio and one of the K-9 officers with his dog showed up.  He let them into the room and the dog sneezed before sitting down. "I'm working on herbal stuff and allergies for a private group," Greg told him.  "I was LVPD in their lab.  Halley's a new chemistry major."

"We'll find it.  Do you know your neighbors?"

"The lab downstairs was empty the last time I knew.  The one next door is a drug maker of the legal sort the last time I heard her talking about what she was doing.  Something about Lupus drugs."  Horatio nodded at that.  "That's the only three labs in the building except for the very private and very secure lab on the top floor.  I've never seen anyone going into there."

"I have.  He's German. He was singing parts to a Wagner opera," Halley told him.  "In German.  His accent sounded natural.  My former neighbor's mother was and he sounded like her.  She was from wine country.  We've also smelled a lot of sulphur smells, Lieutenant.  I don't want to be blown up."

"I don't blame you," he agreed, smiling at her.  "We'll check the others, Halley.  Relax and let us work."  That got a nod.  "Are the labs centrally vented?"

"Yeah, into the basement," Greg told him. "I checked on that in case we had a fume reaction.  There's some strange shit in some of these compounds, including one that has trace amounts of opium."

"Wonderful. Have you reported it?"

"I've got one of the guys at the FDA on my email list.  He heard I was doing this and dealing with all these compounds to see what's in them so he wanted a list of what we found."  That got a nod and a smile.  "So it'll be okay," he promised.  "They know."

"Good.  Let's check that out.  Greg, please ask him to move faster on the General."

"He told Wyatt when he delivered lunch.  Wyatt joked about getting Fu to tell him.  He said he was going to start charging interest and he had had enough of that man and his business.  We'll have to see, Horatio.  You know Xander's a stubborn bastard at times."

"Yes we will.  Thank you, children."  He went with the officer.  That way they couldn't do anything with any chemicals that might hurt someone.  They started next door, checking with her.  "Ma'am, I'm Horatio Caine with the crime lab and this is Officer Fuentes with Kojack.  We've been called about smells that appear to be illegal drugs.  May we check your lab?"

"Please!  I hate that stink and I don't know who it's from!" she said angrily.  She got out of their way. "I know it's not me. I know it's not Sanders and his cute little helper over there.  So it's either the idiots downstairs or the ones upstairs.  My storage room *reeks*."

"Let's start there," the dog handler offered, letting her lead him around.  Horatio shook his head at one hit.  "Is this legal, ma'am?"

"I've got a license to buy limited quantities for my research," she promised, handing it over from her desk.  "It was smart to bring someone familiar with it."

"Thank you, ma'am."  They checked the lab downstairs but it was mostly empty.  Only a few tables and microscopes, plus some astronomy data on the walls.  The dog didn't hit anywhere in there but the storage room either so they went up to the top floor.  He tapped and showed his ID when someone came out. "Sir, we got called about illegal drugs being smelled in this building.  We need to check your lab."

"Do you have a warrant?"

"No, but we do have proof that the dog did hit on something being made here," Horatio told him. "I'm Lieutenant Caine with the Crime Lab.  I'm here to make sure he can't do anything to your research, sir."

"Who called?"

"CSI Sanders downstairs."


"The blond guy with the spiky hair," the officer said.  "He's a former officer out of Las Vegas, sir.  All we want to do is let the dog sniff around.  We've found the stink so far in the ventilation system."

"Hmm.  He won't get near the experiments?"

"He won't," Horatio agreed.  "Unless I see something he should sniff.  That's why I'm here, sir."

"Doctor.  Doctor Herzburg."

"Doctor Herzburg then.  Thank you for your cooperation."  That got a nod and they both watched the officer lead the dog to the storage area, getting a nod.  "Would you happen to remember when the smells started?"

"I can't smell anything.  Too many years over chemicals."

Horatio nodded. "I've seen that happen to others," he agreed.

"You're a chemist?"

"I am but I use it in the crime lab."  That got a snort.  "As do most of my people.  Greg his a Masters in Chemistry."

"That explains why he's doing allergy studies," he said dryly.  "Where as I'm doing genetics."

"In what field?  Medicine, disease, immunology, or historical?"

"Historical.   You understand genetics?"

"I do.  We do a lot with it," Horatio agreed patiently.  The dog hit on something else.  "What's in that cabinet?"

"Ahhh."  He walked over to look, letting the officer have the bottles to let the dog sniff individual things.  The dog hit on two of them so he found the permits he had.  "There is what you need."

He looked it over and handed it back.  "Thank you, Doctor.  That one is nearly expired by the way.  We'll head downstairs.  Do you know who's working in that bottom lab?"

"Some person who's relating astronomy to the human body again.  He's trying to set us back centuries."

"Thank you, Doctor.  We'll check the rest of the building," Horatio agreed. "I hope your research pans out."

"I do as well.  We must undo some of the genetic damage we have done before too many traits are lost to interbreeding.  Don't you agree?"

"I find that the new ones show a lot of promise," Horatio told him.  "Though more chance of defects."

"Exactly!  If we can undo some of the mixing that has been done we can undo some of the defects in the modern genetic packages.  They were nearly free of it ten centuries ago!  Or even ten thousand centuries ago!  Imagine all the diseases we could eliminate from the human genetic banks if we could go back there!"

"I hope you find a way to do that, Doctor.  Thank you for your indulgence."  He walked out with the officer.  "Basement?"

"Let's, just in case."  Once they were alone he looked at him.  "At least he's not a racist."

"No, he wants to bring us back to the stone age DNA," he agreed.  They found the building's manager looking at something down there.  He cleared his throat, making him jump.  "Good morning."

"Officers," he said.  "What's wrong?  Greg called and said you'd need in here?"

"There's the smell of illegal drug making somewhere in the ventilation system," Horatio said.  "We've checked all the labs but this one and the open space with the open windows.  I figured we wouldn't have to do there since there's no doors out of that room but the main one."

"That's fine.  Was the person in the other bottom floor lab around?"

"No but the door was open."

"Sir, where does the storage room ventilation lead to?" the K-9 officer asked.

"Oh, um, down here.  The rest is specially filtered."  He let them into the basement, opening any doors they wanted.  But even he could smell the stink coming from one room. "What is that?"

"Meth," the K-9 officer said, watching his dog.  He sat down in front of the door.  "Lieutenant, I'd like backup."

"As would I."  He made the call.  "This is Caine. I'm at...  Yes, we are.  We need Narco to back us up.  Basement."  He hung up.  "Make sure they get down here," he told the manager, who hurried off.  "Check the other areas, just in case."  He nodded, going to do that and coming back with a head shake when more dog handlers and Narcotics officers came in.  Horatio let the manager unlock the door and they went in, finding a lot of drug making going on.  "Well," he said blandly.  "This is not good."  They all nodded but got to work bagging things up.  "We'll need to process for the occupants."   He went to get his scene kit and come back to do his part of the job.  He also stuck one of the tiny cameras where it would do the most good to catch who came in.  One of the officers gave him an odd look so he smirked.  "Mr. Harris took CSI Sanders to the spy shop one day to get him some kit refills."  That got a few smirks and a nod or two.  "They're very handy and I have the receiver in the hummer."

"An easier stakeout," one said. "I like that idea.  Do we know who else is here?"

"We visited the other labs," Horatio agreed. "All but the people working in the bottom floor lab were present."

"Even better."

"Watch out for the guy on the top floor. He wants to unmix the DNA back to the stone age," the original K-9 officer told them, earning a few odd looks.  "He did!"

"He did," Horatio agreed.  "He wanted to cure some trait losses and common defects."  That got some head shakes.  "There's also CSI Sanders and his assistant Halley, who's a master's candidate in Chemistry.  One pharmaceutical researcher, and whoever is in that ground floor lab."

"We can deal with that," the head officer agreed.  "Okay, let's start carrying it up if we've got it all together."  They nodded and carried everything drug related up, letting Horatio and the original officer process the rest of things for fingerprints and dropped hairs or fibers.


Xander looked up as Horatio came into the house, waving weakly.  "I have a headache."

"Why do you have a headache?"

"My sinuses are swollen.  There was some of that stuff I was given by that one herbalist on a blanket I unpacked earlier."

"You'll heal and it'll be fine, Xander."  He sat down next to his feet.  "I do wish I could convince you to give me the General sooner."

"I've got to go by the guidelines of warning, Horatio."

"I know you do, Xander.  How much longer does he have?"

"Midnight.  With the rest of all my money or else."

"Do you have what you'll want to give me then?"

"I do. It's in the study."  He smiled sweetly.  "You can come raid the study at midnight if I haven't gotten it yet."

"How about if Speed and I stay over in case he does something stupid."  Xander smiled at that.  An older woman walked in with the vacuum.  "Need us to move?"

"No, you're fine," she said happily with a Swedish accent, waving at him.  "Xander needs to rest and I've already thrown that blanket in the washer, Xander."

"Thank you.  This is Horatio.  The room upstairs, first on the left, is his and Speed's when they stay over."

"That's good.  Are we expecting more guests tonight?"

"Probably Speed, maybe Eric and Ryan," Xander said with a small shrug.  "I'll do dinner in a while."

"I can.  You're sick."

"I was only going to put meat in the oven, Tabby."  She smiled at that. "Really.  Or maybe one of the frozen casseroles I've got already done."  She nodded at that, going to the dusting first so she could vacuum anything that fell later on.  He looked at Horatio.  "Who was making the drugs at Greg's lab?"

"Someone in the basement by the heating system."  He patted his foot.  "You're not feeling better yet?"

"I couldn't get it out of my system the last time either," Xander reminded him.  He yawned and shifted onto his side.  "Midnight, Horatio."

"Yes, Xander.  Midnight is fine."  He got up and covered him with the throw off the back of the couch, nodding at Tabby.  "I'll stay with him until the others get home."

"That's fine," she agreed happily.  "You might have them check the mail."

"I will."  He went to look at the mail then text message Don so he could call Steve about the water shut off notice.  He looked in the freezer, then texted Danny and Speed to see if they wanted ham or beef tonight.  The answer came back mixed but Ryan said ham and Don said ham.  So Danny was out of luck.  The answer of 'casserole' was decided on the same way.  He found the one he wanted and set it out to defrost some so it could be baked.  After all, he had put it in a glass baking dish.  It had to get to room temperature at least or it would crack in the oven.  He smiled when the dogs ran out the back door because the vacuum came on.  "It's all right, boys.  She's cleaning."  He went to the study to look at the packet of information in there.  It had his name on it and it was in a manilla envelope.  It felt like papers and a tape.  Eric called an hour before quitting time to tell him Wyatt had the hell beaten out of him and was in the ER.  He was even naming names.  Including his boss.  Which was very interesting.  He found the information files on the others in Xander's office, smiling at them as well.  Maybe they could get Xander to quit playing poker with the thugs now.  He did browse Fu's file, nodding at some of the information in it.  He hadn't known the old man had been part of the Japanese army in Korea during World War II.  Very interesting.  As was the note that he had a warrant out for his arrest.


Ryan came in the next morning, looking at Horatio.  "I did the tape last night," he said with a yawn.  "He's definitely cheating at cards."


"There's a really subtle, nearly subliminal screeching on the tape.  It's the last game they played, the one where Xander nearly didn't win anything."

"I see.  Have you told Xander?"

"Not yet.  I was going to let you since he was challenged to another game today."

"Which means we should send someone with him."

"But it can't be us.  They know we're cops.  The same as they know Greg used to be.  Xander bragged."

"What about Frank?"

"He's been on the news before too, Horatio."  He closed the door.  "What are we going to do about the Mala Noche involvement?"

"So far he hasn't gotten anything on them.  I took the time to browse his other files."

"One does owe him money.  If there's a hit called, they might take it for that reason."

"Or they might not," Xander said as he walked in.  "What's going on?  Did we find out how he was cheating?"

"High pitched squealy noises just out of hearing range," Ryan told him.

"So, earplugs?"

"Or discman," Ryan agreed. "i-Pod if you want.  Whatever floats your boat to weed it out."

Xander hugged him. "Thank you.  Anything on Wyatt's case?"

"He named names and we found proof of it," Horatio assured him. "Is he out of the business?"

"Yeah.  He said he's going to finish college.  Fu said he was taking on too much work that wasn't compatible to his service with him.   He was breaking the neutrality stuff."  He shrugged.  "Wyatt knew pissing me off was a bad thing."  He smiled sweetly.  "Which is why I've thought about cursing Fu to rats at the moment.  By the way, I'm bringing Adam with me," he said, kissing Ryan on the cheek.  "Thank you for worrying though."

"Welcome, Xander."  He smiled at him as he bounced out, picking up what he had dropped.  "Huh, the address."  He handed it to Horatio.  "The file had proof, picture proof, of a drug handover, Horatio."

"Who gathered it?"

"Greg signed the back of the photos."


"I'm not sure.  Greg's not up yet.  Apparently he took Nick and Warrick out on the town last night."  He smiled.  "So we're cool on that end.  So far."

"We'll see what we can do," Horatio agreed, reaching for the phone.


Xander sat down across from the General, Adam behind him.  "Sorry, had to have someone else drive today.  I had to get ear drops put in."

"Ear drops?" the General sneered.  "Too many fingers in it?"

"No, ingrown hair.  I've got a pimple in there and I scratched it open."  He shrugged.  "I get them now and then.  So, what are we playing for today?"

"Your SUV," he sneered.

"Against the five and a half you owe me?  Because yeah, you're being charged interest now.  It's been much too long and I shouldn't play with you until you pay up.  But if you win today I'll give you another month to pay me before I add more interest on again."  The General laughed.  "Really."  He put his cash on the table.  "You owe me more than the national debt of some island nations.  That's bad business, General."

"How would you, a toy, know about business?"

Xander smirked. "You'd be surprised what I know."  He stared him down.  "Are we playing or not?"  The cards were dealt and he anted in.  The drops Adam put in were doing wonderfully, even if he was slightly nauseous from them.  He lost the first hand, making him laugh, but then destroyed him on the next three.  Xander looked at the General's pile of cash then shrugged.  "You going on?  You're looking a bit poor."  The next hand he lost but it wasn't a good one for either side so neither had bet very large.  The last hand the General had to throw in his watch and ring when Xander bet large.  Xander shook off the exchange of cards, just staring at him.  "Well?"  He could see the man was sweating.  "I'm waiting.  I've got shit to do today, like going to fuck my boys senseless again.  You're cutting into my nookie time."  The general sneered at him.  "Want some of my eardrops so you don't hear your own high pitched squealy noises?"  Everyone in the room stared at him in horror.  "Yeah, I know."  He smiled sweetly.  "Cheating is bad, General.  Very, very bad for business.  Now, fold, take a card, or let's go.  Like I said, I've got shit I've got to do today.  Other people who owe me money and things."

"Fine," he said, tossing down his cards.  "I fold."

"Thank you.  Adam, would you mind?"  He came over to get everything, pushing it into a bag, making sure he didn't touch the watch or ring.  He stared at him.  "I heard what you and Fu did to Wyatt.  Didn't please me either.  Have we noticed yet that I could be just as  powerful as you but I don't want it?"  The man sneered and stood up, stomping off.  "Up to you, man."  He stood up and grabbed one bill from the bag, tipping the dealer.  "Here, so you can escape tonight."  That got a nod and he snuck off.  He looked at two of the guys playing guard.  "Boys, where's Jorge?  He owes me a few bucks too."

"He's at the hideout," one sniffed.  "I'll let him know."

"That's fine, I can swing by there."  They all gaped in horror.  "Yeah, I know where it is.  Of course I do.  People like me enough to gift me with an eight foot chocolate vagina, do you think they don't talk to me too?"  They stared in awe.  He pulled out the picture and showed him. "See?  The thing under the tarp's a six foot white chocolate dildo."  He smiled.  "So I hear things.  The same as trying me means my family hears the things I do.  That would include my mentors Horatio, Speed, and Adam here.  Are we clear?"  That got a nod.  "Very?"  That got another nod.  "Then who put the hit out on me?"  One pointed in the other room.  "That's what I thought.  He still owes me five and a half million dollars and if he doesn't pay, Horatio's getting the things I've heard at dinner time," he said more than loudly enough to be heard.  "Thank you, guys.  Have a better day."  He walked out with Adam, shaking his head to one side to clear the drops.  "These don't feel good."

"They'll absorb soon enough," he said patiently, getting in to drive the special SUV Xander had bought.  He backed it out of the driveway, heading back into the city.  "You know the Mala Noche's hide out?"

"Yeah. I have known it."  He shrugged and tapped an address into the navigation system.  "There."  Adam nodded and went that way.  He pulled up in front of the bodega near their hideout.  "This is usually as far as I go," he admitted.  "Their outer gate.  Kinda like their drawbridge."  He rolled down the window and looked out.  "Boys, where's Jorge?"

"Asleep, man, with his bitch," one guy lounging outside the store answered.  "What's a white guy like you want with him?"

Xander smiled. "I'm Xander."  That got a bit more respect.  "I wanted to know when he was going to pay me my poker winnings.  After all, the General was cheating and he only has until dinner, or else I tell my mentor, Horatio.  Or my lovers, Detective Flack and CSI Messer.  I don't want to turn in others but I'm having a cranky day."   The guy who asked stepped off to make a call, then came back.  "He up?"

"He is.  He said by dinner, Xander.  He said you've been very understanding."

"I don't mind what he owes me but with the action against Wyatt?  Yeah, I'm being cranky and bitchy today.  By dinner's fine.  I'll be at home.  I look forward to playing against him again," he said with a mild grin.  "Warn him the General's been using subsonics."  He rolled up the window and they rolled off, heading home.  He smiled at him.  "He didn't owe me that much."

"How much?"

"Ten grand."

"That is a lot of money."

"Not for him. He makes a hell of a lot more a year."

"Yes, but to come up with it suddenly."

"He's got it in his wallet," Xander assured him.  They pulled into the driveway and he got out to play with the dogs while Adam took the car to the station to hand that and the information file he hadn't seen to Horatio and them.  It was five, it was dinner time.  He walked into the house and didn't find the money so oh well.   He did find a bomb and had to call Jorge to see how to disarm it, but that was fine with him and he agreed he could pay him the next day when he went out to bring lunch to others.  He was usually a nice guy.  Adam came back and Horatio followed.  He smiled at him.  "Jorge's going to pay me tomorrow.  I became nicer when he helped me undo the bomb in the living room by the ferret cages."  Horatio hurried inside and he shrugged at Adam.  "It's safe now."

"Good.  What's for dinner?"

"You know, I haven't decided yet," he admitted, going to look in the freezer.  "Horatio, want beef or pork for dinner?  I'll start a roast."

"Beef," he called.  "Danny wanted it last night."

"Sure."  He pulled one out to defrost in the microwave.  More officers came in and Spots sniffed them, growling at one.  "Don't growl at him," he called.  "He probably had to fire his gun."

"No he hasn't," Horatio said as he came in, "but they're wondering why the dog is growling at him."  He hugged Xander.  "You will never be allowed to play poker until all the people you used to play with are gone," he said quietly but firmly.


"No, Xander.  No more poker," Horatio said more firmly, looking down at him once he was free.  "No more poker.  Unless you're playing for charity or we need you to play to bust someone, or when you go back to Vegas for a convention or something.  No more poker in Miami."

"In the Keys?" he asked hopefully.  "I've been invited to a legal people's ring out there."

"No, Xander.  No more poker in Florida."  Xander pouted.  "Please?  It's for your own safety.  It's this or Don will have to start yelling again."

"Fine," he pouted.  He found his cellphone and called Jorge back.  "Horatio said I can't play anymore.  Can you maybe do what Wyatt did and gather the rest of my winnings?  Including from the General?  Thanks, Jorge.  Sure, I'll even discount yours by ten percent," he promised with a small smile.  "No, he's worried about some of the others.  He said I can only play at conventions and things."  He pouted.  "He said you're mean, Horatio."  He smiled.  "Yeah, he's here.  He's my mentor.  Also my relationship counselor.  Why?"  He nodded at that.  "That would royally piss me off, Jorge.  I'd have to react if that should come to pass.  I know but it's not going to make me happy.  Sure, bring that to me.  Maybe we can work something out.  Because you don't want me to. Friends are one thing and I understand business is different but that would really, seriously piss me off to no end and I'd have to react.  Then he'd get mad at me.  I understand.  Still bring that to me?  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Horatio, there's a new bounty on your head."

"Since when?" Adam demanded.

"You often hear about those?" Horatio asked blandly.

"Now and then."  He stared at Xander.  "Well?"

"Since Jorge's guys hate you so much they want to fire a grenade launcher up your ass at a dinner party," Xander admitted.  He gave Horatio a hug.  "I told him I'd have to get mean and evil.  He said friendship and business are two different things. But he's going to be bringing me the rest of my emergency kits and things tonight or early tomorrow for me forgiving ten percent of his poker debt to me.  Then we'll have to make plans with Mac again, right?"

Horatio kissed him on the forehead.  "Where is Jorge stationed, Xander?"

"We went to see his boys at a bodega," Adam told him.  Horatio stared at him.  "He's the Mala Noche that owes Xander money.  Only about ten thousand."

"I see."  He looked at Xander.  "Are they holding a meeting?"

"Not that I've heard.  I heard they had a dinner party last week with a lot of coke but that's about it."  He shrugged.  "That's when I heard the General was trying to convince them to eliminate me so he wouldn't have to pay me."  He smiled. "I let him go lean on him for me.  It's easier this way and more fun for him because he likes blood.  Said it smells nice."

Horatio took a deep breath though his nose and let it out.  "Do we know Jorge's last name?"

"Meurte.  I asked him if that was like being George of the Jungle, being George of Death.  He said he likes me."  He grinned.  Horatio took another deep breath.  "I had to use the SUV's nav system to show him the bodega and you can use my computer, Horatio.  Log in under Danny's name if you need to."  He went to do that.  Xander looked at the meat in the oven then at Adam.  "Think I should bring something homemade tomorrow for lunch or something from the deli?"

"Some days I wonder about your mind, Xander."

"I did this back in Sunnydale, Adam.  We fought, we had chinese food while researching the next bad thing that wanted to rip people apart and feed on the innards, then we went and partied.  It's how I was trained."

Adam hugged him.  "In time we'll turn you back into a normal GHS, Xander, I promise."   He patted him down and took the keys off him, walking into the study to open a filing cabinet in there and look up the information packets Xander had hidden from everyone.  He handed it over to Horatio.  "Let him collect his poker debts first.  Perhaps he'll take out the General for us."

"I'd rather see him in jail."

"He still has diplomatic immunity," Adam said wisely.  Horatio grumbled.  "Xander asked him if being Jorge Meurte was like being George of the Jungle."

Horatio cracked a bit of a smile. "I've often wondered how Sunnydale had warped the boy."

"We ate chinese food talking about the newest bad thing that wanted to eat innards in the middle of the street, Horatio.  What do you think?"  He took the keys back and opened a hidden cabinet and then walked off.  "Let me get my poker debts first please.  Casserole or deli tomorrow, Horatio?"

"Casserole, Xander. We could use some comfort food at the station to celebrate with."

"Hopefully," Adam agreed.  He called the others to come home while Horatio got up to look at this new sources of information.  "He did use the navigation system to get to their outpost," he said quietly.

"I can let Eric do that later," he agreed.  "He's better with those."  That got a wicked smirk and Horatio smirked back.  He went to check on the bomb guys.  "Did we find another one?"

"No, we're having trouble getting this last screw up."

"You cut my floor up you replace it," Xander called from the kitchen.  "Horatio, beans or potatoes?"

"Potatoes, the cheesy ones you make would go nicely, Xander.  Everyone's coming over."

"Okay."  He got to work on that, smiling when Don came in.  "Horatio's either looking at the bomb or in the study."


"Yeah, I caught the General cheating and told him to pay me by dinner or I was handing information to Horatio."  He went back to peeling after stealing a kiss.  "Go help."  Don nodded and went to help them, mostly by moving the dogs into the study so they'd quit growling at the one guy or trying to sniff tails with the bomb sniffing dog.  "Sorry, Xander won't let me fix 'em," Don offered.

"They're good dogs.  I'd like to see if they breed true," the K-9 handler offered.  "Is he taking them to advanced training yet?"

"Starts next month," Xander called.  "Anyone need anything?"

"No thank you, Xander," he called politely. They finally got the screw free of the floor and hadn't scratched it too badly.  The bomb got put into the lead case and carried out to the truck.  He looked at Don. "We've searched down here. What's with that pool?"

"It's an alternate way for Xander to wear out being a high level GHS member.  Works pretty well too."

"Any idea why he got the bomb treatment this time?" one of the bomb squad guys asked.

"He said he caught the General cheating at poker.  Told him to pay up his winnings by dinner or else he was going to turn information over to Horatio."

"Huh.  So he's got balls of steel?"

"No, he knows he could've been worse.  You know that place down on West Accordia?"  They all nodded but grimaced.  "Xander used to hunt those things."  That got a few shudders.  "Back in high school.  So he's playing poker with the underground elite."

"No longer," Horatio assured him.  "He can play during conventions and when he goes to visit Jace.  No longer in Florida unless we need him to."  He looked at them.  "No others on the grounds?"

"We'll go see," they agreed, going to do that, gossiping a bit.  By the time they were done, and most had seen the statue in the woods, they were sure Caine's mentoring project needed a firmer leash and he was about to do that to him.  Most of them knew him from when he had been part of them.  They all knew the leash would be snapping taut tonight.

Horatio and Don shared a look.  "Come see what he showed us."

"Anything good?"

"Yes, there is."  He walked him into the study, letting him see the hidden areas. After that one had been exposed he and Adam had looked for others.  Xander probably wouldn't approve but they now had a lot of information they hadn't.  Ryan and Eric came in so he sent Eric to download the navigation system from the SUV.  By the time dinner was done, everyone was there in the study going over things.  Mac had already made some calls back to New York about a few cases, and things were going along swimmingly.  Xander just smiled when Horatio looked up at him.  "You know we'll have to use this."

"I wouldn't have shown you if I didn't know that, Horatio.  I'm not that naive."  He kissed him on the head. "Pissing me off puts me in a bad and vindictive mood and I learned from the best bitches: Cordy and Willow."  He got his own plate and came in to sit down, pointing at the tv cabinet.  "No one checked among the VHS tapes?"  Ryan got down to do that, finding a few that got handed over with the other files.  "They didn't stack as neatly if I filed them together.  Sorry."

"Well, kid, you've done us proud," Frank offered.  Greg looked over and nodded. "How much of this was your work, Sanders?"

"Barely any of it.  Anything I did I signed somehow."  He stuffed his mouth when Danny glared at him.  "Some mild surveillance of some of his poker buddies who were pissing him off.  Nothing else."

"We should spank," Frank told him.

"Why did you hand over today's poker winnings?" Danny asked his boyfriend.

"Because his watch and ring were in there.  I didn't know if you needed a DNA match from the skin stuff Greg said we all wear off on our jewelry and watches."

"That's a very good idea, Xander," Horatio agreed, smiling at him.  "Thank you, and you as well, Greg."

"Just get the dealers out of my lab, Horatio."

"Narcotics got most of them and we gave them another three leads, Greg."

"Thanks, man.  Needed that."  He got up.  "Any seconds, Xander?"

"There's another one in the oven, you might check."  Greg smiled and went to check on that.  "I'm bringing real food tomorrow.  Horatio said so."

"That's fine," Ryan agreed.  Someone rang the doorbell and Xander got up to get it, taking the few bags from the minor gang member, who bowed and said something quietly in Spanish before leaving.  "Who was that?"

"Jorge had my permission to collect the rest of my poker winnings.  All my other emergency bags will be brought in tomorrow, including the gear kits."  He looked in that one, letting the dogs sniff.  No drugs.  So he threw it into the practice room.  He walked back into the study and took his plate and glass again, smiling at Don.  "Thanks."  He stole a kiss and went back to eating.  "Any particular thing I should bring tomorrow?"

"Bring something fancy that keeps you in the kitchen all morning," Danny told him.  "That way it's special and celebration worthy."

"Okay.  Beef okay with everyone?"  They all nodded and Greg came back in with the new roast.  "It's a bit pink, Greg."

"Sorry.  It's done by the thermometer."  He let them take the slices he had carved then handed Xander another one before putting it back and bringing his plate back so he could settle back into his corner and eat. "Am I helping you cook tomorrow?"

"I don't need a guard, Greg."

"Yes you do," Don assured him.  "Boss?"

"We might need you for some of the busts," Mac said.  "We'll have him watched."  He looked at Xander.  "That one military file got handed to me.  How long have they been after you this time?"

"I can't be sure if the car crash was them or not.  It was either them or the Watchers Council."  He ate another bite.  "No one wants to take it.  You got information back about why we had to stop them very well."

"Thank you."  He stuffed his mouth before he said something else.  "You'll let us handle this?"  Xander stared at him. "Xander?  Let us handle this," Mac ordered more firmly.

"He's worried that there's a new hit out by the Noches," Ryan told him.  Horatio looked at him.  "I got that emailed to me today by Wyatt.  So we're going to be guarding you very heavily, Horatio."

"There's a what?" Speed asked.

"The Mala Noches think he's too big a bump in the road," Ryan told him.  "That's how Wyatt put it."

"It's a four million bounty," Xander agreed.  "Jorge told me.  He was trying to make sure I knew that that was business and not personal."  He ate another bite and looked at Horatio.  "So, helping me cook tomorrow, Horatio?"

"Yes, he can," Mac agreed.  "He can even drive the SUV in tomorrow."

"He can sleep in it too," Speed agreed.

"One of the seats does pull out," Xander admitted.  They all moaned and shook their heads at that factoid.

Don looked at Danny. "How many times did you complain making out in the corvette was awkward?"

"Only the once," he said.  "You?"

"Twice I think."  He looked at Ryan, who shook his head.  Then Eric who shook his head.

"If I ever decide to tailgate, I'm taking that thing," Frank said dryly, shaking his head.

"Take the wife camping, Frank," Xander teased.  "You can camp inside."

"Don't tempt me, Xander."  He ate a bite of the potato casserole.  "Any more of the veggies?"

"Barely," Greg admitted.  So Frank got up to get some and came back with the rest of it and some more milk.  "So what's the plan, Horatio, and do you need me?"

"I do, Greg. I'll need someone to coordinate with me."  Greg nodded. He looked at Mac.  "I'll let you lead since you have more experience in that area."  Mac smirked at that and nodded.  "Good.  Eric?  The bodega?"

"Already found.  Coordinated with SWAT."  That got a nod.  "When?"

"Tonight, Eric."  They all finished up and went to do that.  They wouldn't get Xander's poker buddy but they would get plenty of other members, including the boss since he was asleep when the raid started.   They'd catch Jorge later, after he got done getting Xander's poker winnings from the General.   That had been a messy scene and he had said it was an honor to deal with him for the people he was screwing over.  He didn't even mention Xander but the money had already been sent with a minor courier long before officers responded to the screams coming from the house. Horatio walked in and looked at him.  Jorge nodded back.  "Did you have to kill him?"

"He was disrespectful and he cheated the rest of us.  I did."

"I see.  I know he was cheating others in the poker circles."

"He cheated me too if he cheated that one."  He smirked.  "Besides, he was fun.  Smelled very good at the end."

"You do know Xander won't be saving you?"

"I know.  I didn't kill him for Xander.  There's others who wanted him dead.  There was a hefty bounty on his head.  Even more than yours, Red."

"Yes, but mine's been stopped."

"There's no stopping the Mala Noches.  We all have little brothers."

Horatio nodded.  "Thank you for that warning.  Then again, this is Business, isn't it?"

"Very true," he agreed with a smirk.  "Business is business.  Though it'd be a pleasure for many if you kissed that boy.  They think you'd be cute together."

"I have someone but I'll tell him you said that."

"That's what he said.  Who cares today though.  Not like it's a marriage in the church."

"True.  So, how did you kill him?"

"Easily.  He's a pig.  He squealed like one when I gutted him then played in 'em."  Horatio just took notes while he told him how he had killed him, and a few others.  Because bragging rights was what made a Noche's name for posterity.


Xander came in the next day and smiled at the guys standing guard.  "Hi, guys.  Can I get just a tiny bit of help carrying today?"  One of them nodded, getting Ryan down to help him.  "Thanks."  They carried in the two boxes of food, then Xander came back to lock up the SUV and headed back upstairs.  He smiled at the people gathered.  "Hi."

"Hi," Don said, giving him a hug.  "Your emergency kits all reappear?"

"They did and I like Jorge's little brother.  He's a very nice guy.  He didn't even blame me for business getting in the way of a friendship."  He sat down.  Horatio looked at him.  "What?  You think Spike was better than Jorge?  Spike used to...."  Danny covered his mouth with a hand.  "Sorry."

"Jorge would have made a very good vampire," Frank agreed. "Thankfully most of the Mala Noches are now gone."

"All but about twenty or so," Xander agreed.

"We arrested nearly sixty of them," Frank complained.

"Frank, they were started from hardship and a civil war.  Do you really think that's stopped making new members?"  That got a sigh and a head shake. "I can almost guarantee they won't be stupid."  He smiled at Horatio.  "But your contract was canceled."


"You don't want to know."

"Yes I do."

"No you don't."  He stared at him.  Horatio quirked up a brow.  "Angel and I had a talk.  Angel knows others.  Let's leave it there."

"Did you have to pay for it?" Don asked patiently.

"No. This one wanted to do it."  He smiled.  "Remember who else those sort of things hurt, guys.  I did take a former Vengeance demon to the prom."  That got a horrified look from Stella.  "Anyanka, over Women Scorned."

"I'm so sorry, but at least now you like guys," Stella pointed out. "It's better now, right?"

"Very.  None of them tell me how they punished others then expect me to get it up."  Don covered his mouth this time. "I wasn't going to share!"

"Tough.  Quit.  It's ended?"

"Yup.  Sending them that way meant they could take others out who were hurting innocents.  It was a favor for a favor situation."  He shrugged.  "By the way, I donated to an orphanage down that way, Horatio."

"That's fine, Xander.  I'm sure they could use the support."  He looked at him.  They'd be talking later.

"Anya said they needed it badly."

"Even better," Horatio agreed, smiling at him.  Xander was a lot more crafty than they gave him credit for.  "Everyone eat."  They dug in, going over the other information they had and what they had gotten from the earlier and late night raids.

Xander smiled.  Because no matter how decimated the underground was, they now got the point that pissing him off was a bad idea.  Danny patted him on the back so he smiled at him.  "I'm being good."

"No more evil thoughts or we won't go to the spa with you and Don tonight.  We'll leave you at home and just treat Don," he said quietly.  Xander nodded and let the crisis/hunting Xander persona drop, becoming the goofy, cuddly, bouncy GHS Xander again.  They had it now so he could do that.  After all, Xander only reacted when things threatened his family.  But now most of Miami's underworld knew what he meant by sacred when he said they were.  He ate another bite of lunch and soaked up the happy mood.  They had brought in a lot of bad guys.  It was going to be a good year for the PD as well.


Greg looked up from his work when the lab's door opened, looking at the guy standing there.  "Nick.  I thought you guys left yesterday."

"No, I came back.  Grissom wants to see you.  When can you come in for a vacation?"

"Well, this year's convention is back in New York so I'm going to that.  I can probably stop in after that.  That's in another two months.  Would that be okay?"

"Nothing sooner?"

"Not really.  I've got to finish this to present to the board by then.  I wish but I'll be there soon."

"We could use you back, Greg.  The new guy's sour and bringing us down.  You kept our spirits up so many times."

"Yeah, well, you guys treated me like crap," he reminded him.  "Of course I left."  Nick looked a bit embarrassed.  "What else is going on?"

"Not a lot.  Hodges' video of Xander dancing has made the rounds.  A lot of people are interested.  So the next convention out of Vegas will probably be really well watched."

Greg nodded. "Not too many of us can do them.  Wish they could.  It's a great workout."

"I know."  Nick smiled and moved closer, using a trick that had been used on him to get the needle into Greg's arm.  He caught Greg.  "Aww, poor baby.  Let's get you home."  He carried him out to the rental car.  Greg would become sacred to him once he had him home.

Halley looked out from the office, shaking her head.  "Another guy stuck on a GHS member."  She called the number taped to the wall in the office. "May I speak to Lieutenant Caine please?  No, it's vitally important.  Tell him one of the GHS members was taken."  She was put right through.  "Lieutenant, someone Greg was calling Nick just took him from the lab after drugging him.  I don't know, he was talking about his dancing and things.  Just now. Yes, sir.  Thank you, sir.  I thought you could stop him subtly since he said he used to work with them.  Thank you, Horatio.  Have a better afternoon."  She hung up and left it in his hands.  He would stop Nick before they got onto a plane.


Horatio found Nick's rental car with the tracker the rental company had put in.  He was still sitting in front of Greg's lab.  He went to wake him up.  "Where's Greg?"

"Warrick," he moaned, holding his head.  "He's not playing fair."

"Nick, you tried to kidnap Greg," he said patiently.  "Where is Warrick?"

"I don't know.  Heading back to Vegas?"

"I'll have him stopped," he said patiently.  "Go home, Nick.  I won't tell Grissom you tried to take Gregory."  He walked back to his hummer, calling the transit dispatch.  "It's Caine.  CSI Sanders may be with CSI Brown from Las Vegas.  CSI Sanders is not to get on a plane," he ordered.  "Because he was seriously drugged earlier and I doubt he's sentient enough to deal with reality at this moment.  Thank you.  Hold him there until I get there."  He hung up his radio and headed for the airport.  They had Warrick and Greg in a room by themselves.  "Warrick," he sighed.  Warrick gave him a sheepish look.  "He belongs to Miami now."

"He's our tech, Horatio.  Grissom wants him back too."

"Warrick," Greg said, sounding sleepy.  "I'm with Xander.  Even if you don't like it.  Sorry but he feels that I'm sacred to him."

"He's with four other guys, and sometimes a girl, Greg, you can't be that sacred!" he complained.

Greg blinked at him.  "Technically he's only with Eric and Ryan on occasion, when the rest of us are exhausted."  He stood up and looked at him.  "Your OCD..."

"Quit calling it that!"

"It is," Horatio said patiently.  "You're over-prepared for any situation, Warrick.  Your meticulous nature is very good and beneficial in the lab.  However it did drive Gregory to look for other positions and into Xander's arms.  Go back to Las Vegas and Greg can come visit in a few months, after he presents his findings to the research panel.  By then you'll have calmed down and the 'mine' and 'pet the Greg' feelings will have left already."  Warrick glared at him.  "If you take him now, you're going to be sleeping with him tonight, Warrick, are you prepared to let him have you?"

"No," he said, looking sheepish.  "I'm sorry, Greg.  I thought it was in your best interests."

"Keep it up, I'm letting Xander kick your ass.  And yes, he can do that."  He looked at Horatio.  "My head's spinning.  Can I go nap on Xander again?"

"Very shortly," Horatio agreed, giving him a hug.  Warrick growled and Horatio glared.  "Get on the plane, Warrick, or I will tell Grissom and Catherine."

"And Hodges," Greg mumbled into Horatio's shoulder.

"And Hodges," he agreed.  Warrick sighed.  "Warrick, go home, think on the thoughts you're suddenly having.  For such a lady's man, you're suddenly changing sides."  Warrick nodded.  "If you'd work on that and on the OCD you seem to have, it might help you.  Especially when Nick gets you back for knocking him out."

"It was wrong of me to try to kidnap Greg back to Las Vegas.  And to knock out Nick."  Horatio nodded.  "Please don't tell Grissom."

"We all have moments of lapses of judgement, Warrick.  Get on the plane and go back to Las Vegas.  I'll send Nick later tonight."  He nodded and left.  Horatio looked at Greg, who was nearly asleep.  "Think you can walk outside?"  Greg shook his head.  "It's either walk or a trip to the ER, Greg."  Greg groaned and nodded, stumbling that way.  Horatio walked him out, shaking his head at the odd looks he got.  "He got drugged by someone," he told one of the transit cops.

"The guy he was with?"

"Was his former coworker and he was worried about his safety," Horatio told him.  "There's another one that may come running.  Let them both go."



"Already ran that way, Lieutenant Caine.  Should he have an ambulance?"

"He can sleep on the way home."  That got a nod and they let him walk Greg off.  He signed the order letting them go and finished walking Greg out to the hummer, letting him curl up in the back seat.  "You sleep.  I'll hand you to Xander."

"Yes, Horatio," he said through a yawn.  "He's probably at the brothel learning more dances."

"Not when he hears you need him.  You know how he is about his family."  He called Xander's phone.  "It's Horatio.  I have Greg.  I had to rescue him.  I'm taking him home."  He hung up.  Two minutes later his phone rang.   "Caine."  He smiled.  "Of course I'm bringing him to your house, Xander.  The ferrets would make him play at mine.  I'll meet you there, Xander.  Of course."  He hung up and smirked.  Xander was fairly easy to predict as long as he wasn't in crisis mode.  Then there was no telling what he'd do.  But normally he was a nice, overprotective, cuddly young man who found his family sacred.  He was more than happy to make sure he only had to deal with the GHS Xander instead of  the other one.

The End.

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