Xander walked into the pet store, his baby inside his shirt and looking around, then disappearing and wiggling around his waist before coming back to peek out again. The saleswoman smiled and scratched him under his chin. "He needs somewhere to sleep beside my protector's bed."
"This way, sir." She led him to the 'exotic pets' section of the store, showing him the cages. "You can get one of these and some of these tubes for them to play in. Though I do know that they will play in anything that resembles a tube, like dryer exhaust tubing or pants legs. Anything like that." He smiled and nodded. "How big is their space and have you got a safe area so they can get out and run around?"
"I'm working on that right now," he admitted, stiffening up and looking around. He smiled and waved at Richard, making him relax. "Can I create a wall of ferret cages so he's not bored?"
"You can," she agreed, walking him over to a diagram on one of the other boxes. "You can use some of the tubes to connect the cages. I'd also put in some toys and some soft hammocks for him to sleep in. He's going to be very spoiled." She caught the poor thing when he decided to escape, holding him and putting him in the display model. "You'll also want to get some litter boxes and some litter."
"Okay." He went to get a cart and came back, letting her load him up with whatever he needed. Three of the cages, some of the tunnels, some hammocks, toys, water bottles, litter and litter boxes, and finally one exhausted ferret baby. He smiled and went to check out, smiling when Richard joined him. "Oooh, food. We need food." The saleslady went back to get him some. "So, what do you have, Richard?"
"I have a girlfriend who has fish," he admitted, holding up the special fish food. "She's picky."
"I'm sorry. I've got this one." He held up his baby, getting a smile and a pet for him. "I named him George. Aiden thought it was dumb." He smiled and took the bag of food to add to his stack in the cart. She took his card to run, frowning at it. Xander sighed and pulled out the ones he never used, letting her run that one. "I have got to straighten that out. The bank wants to forget I exist," he complained. He let Richard hold his pet while he signed the slip. Then he took the bags of smaller stuff and his ferret back. "Thank you." He smiled at Richard. "You know where I live, right?"
"I do. Am I invited out?"
"Sure. You're a nice guy. Eric said so." He shrugged and walked off, heading to his SUV. His ferret got put into the cat carrier and the stuff got put into the back. Then he closed the door and looked around. There was a hobby shop up the street. He considered his baby, then picked up the carrier and locked his car, heading that way. He smiled at the horrified looking woman. "I couldn't leave him in the car. It won't be that long."
"You can put him here, sir." He put the ferret down carefully and went back to look at the woodworking kits and the other stuff. He came back with a few things then went to the paint section, coming back with an armful of bottles. That same credit card was given over and he carried the bags out then came back to get his pet. He smiled and walked out. She shook her head. "I hate the idle rich. They bring their pets everywhere," she complained.
Xander headed home with a stop for lunch, going to put together the cages. He let George down and smiled as he ran into the plastic bags, then ran back out when they crinkled. Danny came back from dropping off some paperwork for the DA about a case and gave the bags an odd look. "For George."
"Uh-huh." He came over to help him put together the cages. Then he looked at the tubes and started to insert them in interesting configurations, including one looped section, so the ferret would have somewhere fun to run and play other than Don's room. Xander filled up the litter boxes and attached them in one cage, then one last one in the furthest cage. The bottom panels were inserted so nothing would drop out of the cages. The ramps were adjusted. The water bottles were put in. Food was laid down. Then they had to hunt for George. Danny looked around the living room and all the bags, jingling a little ball. No sign of fur. "Put down your hair." Xander took down his hair, he had it attached to his head with a clip. The ferret came out to attack it so he grabbed it and put it into the first cage and shut the door. The others got checked. The ferret gave him a dirty look. "It's your new home, George. Look, toys, food, water, litter, everything. Even soft sleeping spots like Don's bed."
George ran around, through, and then dove into the pan of uncooked, dried beans, wiggling around in them before going back to running around. Apparently it passed muster. Xander pulled Danny down. "I did good getting him a new home."
"You did. I'm proud." He kissed him. "Now, I'm going to do what Adam said I should. Go to our room." Xander got up and did that. Danny found the small cuff and chain he had been given, going to attach Xander to the bed. Xander gave him an odd look. "It's mine, Xander. The same as you are. You belong here with us." Xander relaxed and laid out. "Adam said sometimes you guys had this need to have proof that you belong to us. So therefore I'm letting you know that you do." He got him onto his stomach, grabbing the oil to do his shoulders. The shirt got tossed aside and Xander shivered, relaxing under his hands. "How's that?"
"Good. Is this like a make-believe game of harem slave Xander?"
"Something like that but I'd never force anything on you. I'm supposed to be spoiling you with attention when I do this." Xander nodded and finished relaxing. "It's supposed to be comforting."
"It is." He wiggled to get more comfortable and yawned. "I'm very comfy." He put his head on his arms, smiling as he drifted off.
Danny smiled and finished up, wiping the extra oil off before going out to check on the quiet pet. He was napping inside the tub of beams. "Does that mean you like that?" He tightened one ramp's hooks and watched the furry thing run up to see what he was doing. "You're very curious. I'm guessing that's good." The ferret squeaked at him so he petted him through the bars. "Go play. That's what that's for, so you can play." He used his free hand to nudge a jingling ball down the ramp, watching the ferret run after it to attack the noisy toy. He grinned, sitting down to watch it. He'd make Xander a snack later. He looked the setup over again. One of the tubes wasn't fully taking up the whole opening but it'd be okay. It was too small for the ferret to get out of. Don came home and looked, then shuddered. "It's his new home, Don. He'll only get out to play."
"He's got plenty to play with." The ferret ran through the one diagonal tube to nibble some food. Danny got another dish of food and put it in there, near the distant litter box. The ferret went to check that out, running through the looping tube and sliding out the other side. It nibbled some of that food and watched as Danny set up another water bottle, coming over to investigate it when he played with the ball, which made noise, and water dripped. He lapped at the ball, liking that. He ran back to the other one to try that. Then he went to dive into the dish of water the humans had put down. Don laughed at the sight of the wet ferret but he was having fun so he didn't care about the human's sounds of mirth. He went back to his pan of beans and dove back in, wiggling and playing in there. "He's not going to be lonely, right?" Don asked finally.
"Probably not," Danny offered. "You can look them up online. I've got to make Xander a snack, I've got him chained to the bed by an ankle." Don gaped at that. "Adam suggested it. He said it makes them feel pampered, loved, and like they belong."
"Are we sure it's a good idea since Xander's been kidnaped?"
"Adam said it would help him and make him feel more secure."
"If you say so." He watched the ferret scurry back and dive into one of the hammocks that had a pocket in it. "Are you part kangaroo? You're curled up in a pocket, George."
"Who knows what they are," Danny said dryly. "Go look it up and tell me." He got up to head into the kitchen, finding what he wanted for Xander's mid-afternoon snack. The berries and small dish of chocolate dipping sauce were easily prepared. He was even nice enough to answer the phone when it rang. "Messser." He smiled. "Sure, I'll have someone come pick it up. Thanks." He hung up. "Don, our dry cleaning's backing up," he called. He came out of the office and grabbed Xander's wallet. "Watch out for his blue card, mine's been having trouble too." Don nodded, taking the other one and going to pick up the masses of dry cleaning they all went through. Danny carried the plate filled with small bowls back to the bedroom, smiling at Xander since he was reading on his stomach. "George is still playing and loving it," he offered, settling in beside him with the tray on his lap. He picked up a blueberry. "Open." Xander opened his mouth, letting him pop it in. "Chew." Xander smiled but he did eat. "Good. See, spoiling on a major degree."
"I still feel like your harem slave."
"Well, I'm your keeper so you do kinda belong to me in that special boyfriend way," he offered. He dunked the next blueberry and fed it to him, making him curl up against his side. Xander decided to feed himself, letting Danny hold the plate for him. "Is the chain comfy?"
"It's good." He looked up. "Adam actually suggested this?" Danny nodded. "Why?"
"Because it's supposed to make you feel like you belong here and to comfort you that you're ours and not theirs." He shrugged. "If you don't like it, we don't have to keep it on."
"No, it's okay. It's not like when they had me." He looked down then back at him. "They didn't cuff me like this. They had hand and full ankle cuff sets." Danny stroked over his hair. "Why do I keep that mess?"
"Because we like to pet you and Don really likes it."
"Good point I guess, but I feel like a girl."
Danny grinned. "You could attempt to be a drag queen if you wanted." Xander glared at him. "Just an offer. We wouldn't laugh too much."
"Yes you would." He nibbled on another berry then dipped his finger in the chocolate sauce, sucking it off. "This is nice."
"It is nice. It's comforting." He grinned. "I do feel like some ancient pasha."
"So I'm the favorite concubine? The one you're currently civilizing?" he teased.
"No, just the favorite one. You're already very civilized, even if you do belch."
"At least you're not trying to castrate me so I can't visit the rest of the harem," he offered, snuggling in.
"I'll never do that to you, Xander."
"Thanks." He yawned. "I could use a nap."
"You probably could. Go back to sleep. This'll keep for later spoiling." Xander smiled and let him put it aside before laying on him like he did at night - head pillowed on his chest, one leg thrown over his, his arm across Danny's waist. It was soothing. He continued to stroke over the long hair, smiling until Don's 'damnit' drifted back from the living room. "What?"
Don walked in pouting. "Ferrets do get lonely. One ferret is often mischievous because they don't have anyone but the parents to play with."
"So we'll get him a second ferret and they can stay in the cage together," Danny offered. "It's a huge cage. Even if they fight they can each have a side."
"They need a box with styrofoam peanuts," he said dryly. "George went nuts over that and the vent ducting."
"That's for when we let him loose to play, Don," Danny said patiently. "But you can go pick up one if you want." Don shrugged and continued to pout. "What?" he asked finally.
"I wanted a pet I can play with."
"So get a dog too. Xander will love having a dog. Or get a playpen setup and we'll play with George out of his cage all the time."
"George bites. He bit Eric."
"Eric was between him and the fun things," Danny noted dryly. "Besides, they only nip."
"Yeah but it's still strange when he curled up with my balls. They're not another ferret."
"They're about as furry as he is," Danny teased.
"I can spank you too."
"I bet you can. Go visit the pet store. Figure out what you want." He nodded, going to do that. Danny shook his head. "I don't know why he pouts." He looked down, seeing the open eyes. "Did you mind a dog too?" Xander shook his head. "Didn't think you would." Xander grinned and gave him a squeeze. Then he closed his eyes. It was comfortable until someone rang the doorbell. "If that a Mormon, I'm going to kill." He got up and went to check, finding their boss on the other side. "Did I get my days off mixed up?"
"No. I came to check on Xander and George." He walked in. "I thought it'd give you time to corral him." Danny waved a hand at the massive cage setup, getting a smile. "That's nice."
"It is. He's lovin' the pan of dried beans." The ferret ran over to check out the new person when Horatio moved closer, sticking his nose out. "You have to stay in there until tonight," he warned. Horatio did pet the poor thing and watched as he ran through the tunnels and came out in another section to use his litter box, then he ran back another way to get more attention. "Good boy!" Danny praised. He grinned at Horatio. "Don's thinking about a dog too."
"I'm not surprised. He can't bounce and play with the ferret." He smirked at him. "Where is the ferret's daddy?"
"Chained by one ankle to the bed."
"Is he enjoying it?"
"Seems to be." He walked him back that way. "Xander, Horatio's here." Xander waved and let Danny sit back down, cuddling up to him. "He's a bit sleepy too."
"That's fine. Speed did that to me a few times in our first year when I was feeling insecure or to remind me that I could go to him after the bad cases." He came in and sat on the foot of the bed, smiling at the happy grin the boy gave him, but noticed his eyes. "There's a small city-wide meeting in a week. Would you like to go with us since Danny will be on-call that night?"
"Sure," he agreed quietly, squeezing him. "Do you think George really likes it?"
"I do. He seemed like a very happy ferret." Xander grinned and relaxed at that. "He seemed to like the tunnels a lot." Don slammed the door and came back in, whispering in Xander's ear across Danny's waist. Xander pulled him down and kissed him, getting a fond pat in return. Then Don left. "Good news?"
"Yup. He saw my mother here and he told her that I was in Texas. Giles had given her pictures of who was watching out for me."
"Was Giles up there when they had you the last time?" Danny asked. Xander sighed and nodded, giving him another squeeze. "Was he another captive?"
"Nope. He and Connor were both up there. Connor said he was looking for me but he didn't try to get me free. They ejected him but kept Giles for some reason. Giles came to see us and tell us it was probably for my own good but that he could get Ryan free. Ryan cussed him out in finest thug fashion." They both smirked at that. "Then he took my sword and went after Giles on me. He wouldn't let me take his head. Said he's suffering because he might be stuck up there at the moment since I kinda sorta took apart the demon who was being the key holding it open."
"No, I had to find which limb I had to cut off so I cut off his head and all the other limbs, including the one he told me to suck on if I wanted perks. Ryan shuddered but he ended up laughing when it turned out to be his right thigh." He snuggled in better. "Sorry. I don't want to talk about it."
"It could help you heal," Horatio offered gently.
Xander shrugged. "It was just another demon who wanted me, Horatio. I think I'm pretty wantable and they proved it by paying me a hell of a lot for six weeks. This is just a carryover from that probably. That and Giles decided I needed a keeper that way to protect me better because all lower GHS know that the level nines and tens have to have that or else they're a danger to themselves and they can't be happy without a forced keeper."
"I think you're happy most of the time," Danny offered.
"Then we're good," he said firmly. "They can all kiss my ass, you're mine." Xander looked up at him. "And occasionally Don's," he amended at the amused look.
"True." He gave him a squeeze. "I'm perfectly happy this way, Danny."
"Then why the chain?" Horatio asked.
"Adam suggested it, we're giving it a try," Danny told him, then shrugged a little bit. He heard someone come in and the cage open, then be shut. "Don?"
"No, me, I wanted a furry hug," Aiden called, coming in to hang out with them. "That's a nice cage. I could live in there if I was smaller." The ferret got down and went to investigate the chain, liking it a lot. "That's a cute ownership sign. Danny?"
"Adam suggested it to make sure I realized I was home and comforted or safe," Xander assured her. "We're trying it out. I do feel a bit spoiled at the moment." He petted his baby. The door slammed again. "Hey, Don! He's in here, Aiden brought him in."
Don came in and brought the ferret back to the cage, putting him inside with the pure white ferret. They sniffed each other then pounced and chased each other. "That good?" he asked. George ran back to get some pets, then he went to dive into his pan of beans again. The other one found a napping spot and curled in to look at everything. "Are you lazy?" he teased. It ran off when he moved a jingle ball, making it go through one of the tubes. The white ferret went nuts, going around and through and back and then pounced a hammock to sleep for a bit. "Good job!" he praised. He went out to get the other stuff he had found and set it up, then his dalmation puppy. It barked and watched the ferrets, sniffing the white one when it came closer to look at him. He even tried to lick him, but the ferret ran away from the drool. "Good idea. C'mere, boy." It bounced back and let him pet him, getting lovies and attention. "Go find the other masters. They're on the bed." It ran off to explore the house, making Xander and Aiden squeal when it pounced them. He got up to go look at them. "I didn't think you'd mind, Xander." Even Horatio leaned over to pet the puppy.
"I don't mind, he's cute." He stroked over the spotted head. "Wanna cuddle?" It ran off. "I guess that's a no."
"Puppies will go and run and play until they suddenly drop and nap. He'll cuddle after he's done exploring. He had better not mark his spot in the house."
"He's already outside trained," he defended, going to let him out on his new leash to explore the yard. Aiden came out to help. "Is Danny upset?"
"Nope. He didn't want to pick up his favorite outfit and find it peed on or his shoes chewed on." She hugged him. "It's all good. Remember, Xander can pout him into anything."
"He can," Don agreed dryly. "Me too." He cuddled her, letting the dog head back inside. "Think Xander would take up gardening to put up some cute flowers? My mother would really like that."
"Is she coming down?"
"For a visit. Next month." She smiled. "I'll tell 'em later." He kissed her on the forehead. "How was your interview?"
"They hated me. I don't care but they hated me." She shrugged and led him back inside, going to make them all a snack. Horatio smiled at her for his plate of pudding. "Instant but it's still good."
"Thank you, Aiden." He dug in, watching Xander cuddle. It was very relaxing and it did give him ideas on his open cases. So when he got done he went back to work to check and see if he could be correct. Xander was an excellent source of inspiration.
Don got out of Xander's car a few days later, holding up a hand. "Don't even think about saying anything. Mine's broken down and Danny doesn't have one. I had to borrow the gaymobile." Frank and Yelina both snickered at that, Frank shaking his head. "It is. You can't tell me any normal, straight guy would drive a lavender range rover."
"You insist you're straight but you wear a lavender suit, and a mauve one," she reminded him with a smile and a pat on the cheek.
"Have you tried to get him to repaint it?" Frank asked.
"Yup, he pouted for *six hours*," he complained, heading inside, sighing at the air conditioning. "Ah, nice." Eric smirked at him. "It's hot outside and Xander's A/C needs recharged."
"Why are you driving his car?" Calleigh asked.
"Mine wouldn't start," he said with a small pout. He headed up to his desk and got to work on the open files he had. They went outside to talk with Frank and Yelina.
Frank looked at the car, then at Yelina. "Think we should tell him he had a passenger?"
"Are they supposed to stand that hunched up in the middle?" Calleigh asked. Ryan came out and frowned, patting himself down. "Ryan, is it normal for him to stand that way?"
Ryan looked and nodded. "They do that."
"Is that because it's demonic?" Eric asked.
"No, the former owner was demonic, that's just how ferrets are," he said dryly.
"You like Xander," Frank teased.
"I do, he treats me like I have some sense," he retorted with a smirk. "Unlike others who think I'm an infant and can't read yet."
"I'll call Xander to come get his pet." She went to do that, bringing Danny running to send him home. "Isn't Xander allowed out today?" she teased.
"Nope. He's havin' a high hormone day. There's no way I want him outside today. We might have a love-in or something worse." He went to check on Don. "You brought a furry thing." Don put his head down. "I sent him home."
"Thank you." He looked at him. "My car wouldn't start."
"We'll let you take it to the garage tonight," he promised, patting him on the back. "Then you can rent a car."
"Might be a good idea since Ma and Dad are coming down for a week. They're going to stay at a hotel," he assured him at his opening mouth. "They wanted to check on me and see the sights. Plus probably threaten Horatio so he knows I'm a good boy."
"You try so hard," Eric agreed. "Anything else or can we go chase down the suspect now?" Don grinned at him. They all looked toward the door when they felt the buzz of another immortal, finding it being Ray, Adam's boyfriend. "Ray?" he called, waving him over. "What happened?"
"Stupid fucker who wanted Adam," he muttered, glaring at him. "Now Adam's pouting and stomping around. I came ta get Xander ta help me."
"He's having a high hormone day but go ahead," Danny agreed. "Bring him back before the next city-wide in three days if possible."
"Or better yet, go curl up with him and call Adam," Don suggested. "Make him come down to get his boys." Ray gave him an evil smirk and went to do that, then headed over there. "A jealous man will come for his lover," he noted dryly. "If he doesn't come, well, at least we'll have help with Xander."
"And another student," Eric complained.
"We do okay with each other."
"Point." He sighed and looked at Don. "Well?"
"As long as we can take the hummer."
"No way am I riding in Xander's car," he assured him, heading off with him. He walked past Speed, who was carefully not looking at Xander's lavender car. "Try to get him to repaint it? It's a great car but it's a bad color."
"At least it doesn't get too overheated in the sun," Speed offered dryly. Don gave him a look. "I saw Ray. What's wrong?"
"Someone tried him ta get Adam. He's pouting since Adam's pouting."
"Ah. So you did what, sent him to Xander so Adam would have to come reclaim his boy?" Don nodded. "Might not work that well. Adam considers them both his boys at times."
"Then he can come and feed his other pouting one chocolates," Danny called. "Don, it's your turn to call for lunch." That got a nod and they headed off in one of the crime lab's hummers. He looked at Speed. "He pouts when we suggest he do something like repaint."
"Of course he does. It's decadent, unusual, showy, and stared at, just like he is," he noted dryly. "Why do you think the crime lab has hummers, Danny?" He walked off, heading to get to work. He was already late thanks to his bike not wanting to start. He didn't see the little white furball running past his foot on the cream tiles.
Calleigh looked out as a shadow moved past the doorway, then squealed and pointed. "A white rat! Who's doing experiments!" she yelled, storming out to find the inconsiderate person who had let a rat loose in the building. "All right, who had the white rat!" she demanded in the middle of the hallway.
Danny came running out, heading for the breakroom first. It had more hiding spots.
Valera came out of DNA. "I've been trying to find the reason for the peanut butter cracker crumbs for the last hour," she told her. "You think it was the same rat? It was in my desk drawer. I'm just glad it didn't get near any samples."
"Ladies?" Horatio asked. "What happened?"
"I told you about the peanut butter cracker crumbs," Valera reminded him.
"You did. You showed me as well, including how it was in your desk and your cracker pack." She grimaced and nodded. "Have they appeared somewhere else?"
"No, I saw a huge white rat go running past ballistics," Calleigh told him. "I figure it's him."
"Her," Danny shouted. "Someone yell at Xander!" He hurried off, having a treat for the creature that haunted his nightmares. It was the only really good way to trap them that he had found. A few minutes later, he followed more shrieks back to the detective's area. "Here, Beauty," Danny called, looking up at the open ductwork that was being worked on. "Come on down, Beauty."
"What are you doing?" Frank asked, looking back from his seat. He was having lunch at his desk today.
"The other one got loose," he said grimly. "Since the original owner of the first ferret named him Beast before Xander changed it to George, Xander decided the white one was Beauty. And now she's somewhere in this building."
Frank picked up his phone and called Horatio. "We've got a furry monstrosity loose in the building. Named Beauty. It's small, white, and Xander's." He snorted. "Yeah, that thing." He hung up. "Horatio's not amused."
"I'm not amused. How in the hell did she get here?"
"With the other one?"
"Beauty was still in the cage when I left. Then again, so was George," he admitted patiently. "Beauty." He jingled the little bell in his hand. A white nose popped over the edge of a ceiling tile. "Come on, Beauty. Let's come down so we can take you home. That way you can play with the ferret toys." The nose disappeared. "Crap. Come on, ferret!"
Speed walked out and looked up, then at him. "Hallucinations?"
"No, they both somehow got into Xander's gaymobile and one got sent home but the second one got in here somehow. She's up in the ceiling."
Ryan walked over and looked, then whistled sharply and held up a piece of cracker, getting an inquisitive nose. He jumped and caught her by the neck, pulling her down and putting her into his arms so he could pet and soothe her, letting her have the cracker to nibble on. "Such a good girl, Beauty. Yes you are. You're a very good girl. Come on, we'll take you home and figure out how you got loose this time." He walked off with her. "Speed, can you tell H I'm on a mission of mercy?"
"Sure," he agreed dryly. "H, Ryan's taking the ferret home!" he yelled.
"Again?" he asked, coming out to look. "They both escaped how?"
"I was going to figure that out." He let Horatio have the ferret for a moment so he could find his keys. "I'll be right back after I drop her off, boss."
"That's fine, Mr. Wolfe. Go ahead." He handed back the poor creature and watched as he walked off. At least until the ferret dived down the shirt of the ADA that did vex him, making her shriek and beat at it. "Get her stopped," he ordered. Two of the patrol guys grabbed her and Ryan stopped the ferret when it moved down to her stomach. "Let her untuck her shirt so we don't have to." She yanked a hand free and undid the bottom few buttons, letting Ryan pull the beast out. "Keep a better hold of him, Mr. Wolfe."
"Sorry," he said, blushing some. "She's a friend's pet and somehow got into her daddy's car, which is being borrowed by a detective. She got loose in here. We're heading home now." He walked off, muttering to the little creature about how that wasn't nice or polite.
Horatio shook his head. "How long was it in the ceiling?"
"Probably a good hour," Danny said, looking at him. "I only knew because Calleigh saw her running past ballistics with a peanut butter cracker."
"Which Valera keeps in her desk," he agreed. "Miss West, we are sorry about that." He walked off, going to see where else the thing had been.
Danny shrugged. "We just got 'er down outta the ceiling. She's in high inquisitive mode again. They're ferrets, they're like that." He walked off, slightly shaking his head. The ferret had really bad taste in shirts to dive down. He'd have tried for Calleigh's or Natalia's.
"I want that thing put down!" she yelled after him.
"It's not my pet, it's not a dangerous animal, it just wondered how girl humans were different than she was," Danny called back, waving a hand over his shoulder. "It's not like ferrets are as smart as dolphins."
She stormed off to talk to the Shift Commander. He only gave her an odd look. She stormed off, going to talk to her boss and get him on her side. He laughed. So she thought about suing the owner and the officers who had touched her but she realized it would tank her career and make her a laughing stock of the city. She quietly seethed instead; she was going to get them all for that humiliation!
Ryan walked into Xander's living room, catching the other ferret. "We're in such trouble," he told Xander and Aiden, who pouted. "Beauty got loose in the station and dived down the blouse of an ADA." He handed them both over. "She was screaming about putting her down when I left with her."
"She can't do that!" Aiden protested.
"True," Ryan agreed, "but she's going to get nasty. We need to make sure they can't follow anyone in again and how they got out this time."
"We're not sure," Xander said quietly, putting them back in their cage. They ran and played, then Ryan watched as George wiggled out between a tube and the cage. "Ooooh." He got up to capture his escapee, putting him back and going to find a way to block those areas.
"Thank you. Horatio was trying really hard not to laugh and Speed was laughing into a wall," he offered with a small grin. Aiden giggled. "I was carrying her off and she wiggled free of my hands and jumped over to dive down her blouse. She was slapping and dancing until Horatio had two guys catch her and I caught the moving lump on her stomach."
"So not a happy girl?" Aiden teased. "It's probably the most action she's seen in years." She got up to kiss him on the cheek. "Thank you, Ryan. I needed the giggle. Go be a good boy for the rest of the day and come over tonight." He nodded, going back to work.
Xander peeked out of the craft room. "You're probably right, it was the only action she's seen in the last five years." He ducked back in and came out with some fabric. It got pushed into the cracks and the ferrets came over to examine it, then went back to playing. "That should hold until I can find another way. Spots!" he called. The dog came in from the backyard, bouncing around him. "Good boy. Time to stay inside. It's too hot outside." The dog bounced over to play with Aiden, who tossed a tennis ball for him to chase up the hallway and into the kitchen.
"Are we sure ferrets aren't demonic creatures?"
"Not that I've seen," he offered." He snuggled back into her side. "Did you find anything?"
"Not yet and I haven't heard anything yet either," she sighed, stroking over his hair while her other hand played with the dog. "I'll find something soon or I'll head back to school this fall," she promised. He nodded, giving her a squeeze.
Xander came out of the candy shop, looking around. He knew he wasn't supposed to be out alone at the moment but he had been out of macadamia nut brittle. He slid into his car and closed the door quickly, then stuck the key in. Then he hissed and shook as the electricity hit him. He slumped, panting hard. It hadn't been enough to kill him but it hurt like hell! He heard someone coming closer and leaned on the horn, all he could do with how his muscles weren't cooperating. Fortunately his head was solid enough to push the button. The window was knocked on. He moaned and moved his head, looking to the side. The officer tapped again. He moved his lips and flailed, then shook his head when he saw him reaching for the door. "Electric," he mumbled. The cop froze and nodded, looking around the car as he called it in. Xander let himself pass out. It was a good thing. No one else would get hurt.
Don heard the call and groaned, getting up and heading out past Yelina. "He's not supposed to be out today either," he complained. He climbed into Speed's hummer. "That's Xander."
"Of course it is. He was probably going out for sweets." He backed out and headed for where the call came from. He pulled up behind the electric company guy, getting out and slamming the door. He looked in the window. "Test the door?" It was tested and got a head shake. "Then it's probably the keys. They're in the ignition." That got a nod and they got Xander out carefully, letting Don carry him back to the hummer. The electric guy touched a rod to the keys, watching them arc. "Pretty."
"Very. That's not an electrical malfunction either," he complained. "I'm going to pop the hood. If that's all right? I don't know why I got dispatched but all I got was 'a powerful electrical surge coming from a car'."
"Make it safe, wear gloves. Or better yet, test it, let me dust and take pictures," he decided. "Just in case they smudge any fingerprints." The guy nodded and tested it so he dusted the whole latch and took a few pictures of some smudges before lifting them. Then he got out of the way and nodded. The guy opened it and whistled at the wire running from the battery to the ignition. "That's not nice," Speed agreed. He snapped a few pictures for evidence, then called Horatio. "H, me. Someone rigged Xander's car to electrocute him. Don, he good?" Don nodded. "He's fine, H. Don's got him. He rode over with me. Wire from the battery to the ignition. Can we tell how many volts or whatever?" he asked the guy?"
"Probably about taser strength," he offered, testing it with a meter. "Yeah, just under taser strength. He should be fine if the doctors think so." Speed nodded. "Do you want this?"
"Please. Disconnect the wire so we can have it towed?" That got an understanding nod and Speed went back to his phone. "Send me a wrecker at the nut and candy shop we sent Xander to, H. Yeah, we can wait." He hung up and watched. "Thanks, man."
"Welcome, Detective. That was an extremely mean trick." He wrote out a report and let Speed sign it, giving him a copy before he left.
Speed looked at the officer. "You okay?"
"I'm fine, sir. I heard the horn and came to check. I was at lunch."
"We'll let you go a bit later, after you write it out," he promised. "Or get it to go and do the report in our breakroom."
"Yes, Detective." He went to get his lunch to go and got a look at Xander, who was wrapped around Don. "You're Flack, right?" Don looked up and nodded. "Then that's your protectee?" Don nodded again, his lips pressed together. "I heard he had a lot of hair but I didn't realize it was that long. He's cute, sir. Good luck keeping him safe." He headed back to the station.
Don looked down at Xander. "Think you want a trim?"
"No," he said weakly. "I want a tylenol. I've got a splitting headache." He looked up. "Thank you."
"Welcome, kiddo." Xander got free and settled into the back seat on his side, curled up some. "You want to hit the hospital?"
"I'll be fine in a few minutes," he reminded him. He yawned. "That hurt. Don't ever get electrocuted if you can help it."
"I'll try really hard." He got out and closed the boy in, looking at Speed. "What was it?"
"Wire from the battery to the ignition." He grimaced. "We're getting it towed back to dust it for prints. Good thing the battery was old."
"That's fine. Can I help?"
"You can talk to Xander and take his statement."
"He snuck out for candy. He admitted he wanted some macadamia nut brittle. All he did was start the engine. It shocked the hell out of him. His head hit the horn to summon help because his limbs weren't wanting to move. He warned the officer, who was a bit odd. He told me good luck keeping him safe and he thought he had less hair." Speed smirked at that. "He's a bit odd."
"I know him. I worry about his interactions with people because I think he's got a slight sociopathic streak, but otherwise he's a nice guy."
"They said the same thing about Dahmer," he said dryly.
"True. Which is why we worry a bit about him." He shrugged and waved Eric over when he parked and got out. "He's fine."
"What happened?" Speed pointed at the engine and he looked, then glared. "I'm doing the prints."
"That's fine," Speed agreed. "Xander's in the back of my hummer. I gave Don a ride in. We're getting it towed." Xander's head peeked up and he smirked at him. "Down," he mouthed. Xander put his head back down. "The guy from the electric company said it was just under taser strength. Since he had one on him I'm pretty sure he knows."
"Wonderful," Eric said blandly. He closed the hood and looked at Don. "Right home."
"Statement," Don reminded him.
Eric looked at him. "This has one of three causes: our thing, his thing, or the ferret jumping down ADA West's shirt," he said quietly.
Don nodded. "We've still gotta take a formal statement. He didn't see anyone tampering with it. Work the witnesses." Eric nodded, going to do that to wear out some frustration. "He's really worried about that."
"Of course. He doesn't want to end up on an exam table," Speed said quietly. "We'll figure out why as soon as we find proof," he promised, stroking down Xander's foot once he got back there. The wrecker came over and he waved, getting a nod. "Watch that wire," he ordered.
"We can insulate it," the driver promised, getting some stryofoam from the back of his truck and sticking it on the end of the wire, then closing the hood. "We've had ones that've had wires sticking out before." That got a nod and he checked everything before pulling down the ramp. "Who's car so I know who to bill?"
"Bill the PD. The owner was nearly electrocuted. It's a crime scene." That got a nod and he made notes on his form. "Everyone at the station knows the owner. He's the only one who drives a lavender range rover."
"Sure." He finished making his notes and hooked the front tires, letting the winch pull it up onto the bed. "See you there, Speed."
"Thanks." He looked around all the buildings, going to see if any of them had cameras that pointed at the streets. "Take him back, Don. I can hitch a ride with Eric."
That got a nod and Don got in to drive, taking Xander back to the station. Don woke Xander and got out with him, walking him inside. "Someone tried to electrocute him," he said at Horatio and Yelina's looks. "Speed's had his car towed. He and Eric are there."
"That's fine," Horatio agreed. "Go ahead and question him in the break room since he's not a suspect."
"Would it be another jealous member?" Yelina asked.
Horatio looked at her. "It's not like it's a perk or an elected position, Yelina. It's about your body chemistry and there's ways of artificially enhancing your hormones to be a higher level GHS if you feel that's what you want in life." She shrugged at that. "The ones I know stare at guys like Xander in awe. They have the best stories at conventions." He walked off, leaving her gaping behind him. He found Don getting Xander's movements out of him, hugging him. "It's all right."
"No one hates me that much," he pouted. "I don't know why anyone would do that." He looked up at him. "I don't flaunt stuff, right? I'm not that bad? Even if the officer did think I had less hair?"
"You don't intentionally flaunt yourself or your status, Xander, but it's hard not to notice," he said gently. "This probably wasn't about you being a GHS or gay. We'll find out why." Xander nodded, leaning against him. "Good boy. Now go over your day with Don."
"I swear, I only ran out for a few minutes. Aiden's got to be freaking."
"I'll call her," Horatio promised, going to do that. "Aiden, Horatio. He's with us. Someone tried to electrocute him." He smiled. "No, not another kidnaping attempt. No one was near him when it happened. Of course. We'll send him home as soon as we can. Don has him. Speed and Eric are working on the case. Fine, I'll be over for dinner," he promised with a smile. "Good. We'll listen for the frustrated rantings, Aiden." She giggled. "Have a good time." He hung up and walked back there. "Don, Aiden said she enrolled this morning in the local college. She invited me out for dinner."
"Not like I mind," he assured him. "Bring Speed too if you want."
Ryan leaned in. "Can I come? Eric's sulking at me for some odd reason." They all nodded. "Thanks, guys." He grinned and left.
"There's no gravitational draw of one GHS to another, right?" Don asked quietly. Horatio shook his head. "Then what's that?"
"Ryan would probably make an excellent keeper," Xander said, looking at his protector. "Maybe not of anyone eight or above but he would make a good keeper."
"He would," Horatio agreed. "He's caring, but he's got that firm limit mindset. When you're done, take him home to Aiden." Don nodded and got back to work with Xander's statement. Horatio went to check on Ryan since he was helping Calleigh on a case.
"I have good news and bad news," Speed announced as he walked in. Eric walked in behind him and Ryan gave Speed a look, so he shoved Eric at him and let Ryan kiss him stupider since he was being an asshole. "There was a fingerprint inside the hood, it did go to someone who wanted to talk. Unfortunately they decided he was evil for being gay and this was their way of solving it."
"So it was a hate crime?" Horatio asked. Speed nodded. "Did we taunt him?"
"Yup," he said with an evil grin. "I had fun telling him how the gay man had brought him down, and even patted him down. Jessup arrested him and agreed to play along. The guy demanded a shower." He hugged Xander. "Maybe you should repaint the gaymobile, Xander."
"It's the most noticeable thing about you," Danny assured him. "The hair screams it now and then but the car has a megaphone about you being with guys."
Xander sulked and Aiden hugged him. "Get it repainted a pretty light blue," she suggested. "It'll still be pretty." He pouted at her. "Guys," she moaned.
"Xander, unarm that pout," Horatio warned. "Before you start affecting others."
Ryan looked over and then swatted at Xander. "I don't need to ride him into unconsciousness tonight. He'll lose too many brain cells. He can't afford to lose any more." Xander cracked a grin at that. "Thank you."
"Hey!" Eric complained.
"If the shoe fits," Speed offered dryly, heading for the kitchen. "Who cooked tonight?"
"I did," Aiden called. She cuddled Xander, getting a happier boy back. "We'll look over a paint wheel tomorrow. See if there's a color you like more," she promised.
"Not all colors can be car paint colors," Danny warned.
"You can have it custom mixed," Horatio assured him. He sat down. "How do you think he got a *lavender* one. That's not really a standard car color, Danny." He smiled at Aiden. "What are you going back for?"
"Teaching it. I'll teach in a forensic's program so the kids know it's possible and how frustrating it really is. That way they've got some reality. Unlike me when I got out."
"Me too," Danny agreed. "My teachers all said 'it's lab work with the occasional foray out into the field'. Not that I'd be slogging through trash barges. Not that I'd be covered in blood from a few of them. Not that most bodies stunk ta high hell most of the time, especially during the summer. They lied." She giggled and nodded. "Thankfully Flack only had ta prove he could shoot, run, jump, play, and memorize laws."
"Hey, I did okay in chemistry in college," he defended.
"Good, then you can be a CSI in a few decades," Ryan teased. Don shuddered. "It'll be fun!"
"No it won't. I got to watch them do the work all too often." He slunk down in his seat, looking at Xander. "Want a cuddle?" He shook his head, making Aiden squeak when he squeezed her. "Okay. Whenever you wanna change over." Xander looked at Aiden then let her go and padded over to snuggle into his lap, getting a backrub too.
"You spoil him horribly," Danny teased.
"He's spoilable. I like that about him," he shot back with a grin. "Even better he doesn't demand the big presents like my last girlfriend did."
"Hmm. Mine wanted me to quit working so many hours," Danny agreed. He shrugged. "Told her it was the nature of the job." Every immortal in the house stiffened, then relaxed. "That felt like Richie." He got up and frowned at the guy in the doorway. "What? Do we know you?"
"I want the young and pretty one."
Xander lifted his head and glared at him. "Then you'd better beg."
"I didn't mean you. Your quickening would taint mine. I want the newbie."
"Then you take me on. He's my student," Xander said simply, standing up.
"Xander," Eric moaned.
"Technically I have been working with him a lot," Ryan admitted. Eric glared at him. "There's got to be a precedent of teachers taking on hunters for their new students."
"There is," he sighed. "Xander?"
Xander raised a hand. "Ryan is my student, if you want him that much you take me."
The older immortal gaped. Then he slowly backed up. "That's not how we do this."
"I'm his teacher, I can take any challenge for him I want to take. Ry, please get me my sword?"
"Sure, Xander." He went to do that, coming back with it. "It's still got the polish from earlier."
"I was letting the metal be conditioned this time." He wiped it off with the towel Ryan brought him. "Let's go." He walked out and the man followed him to the side yard. The man lunged and Xander side-stepped, getting him in the side, then punching him with his free hand when the guy spun around. The guy lunged again and he let himself slip lower. It was time to hunt.
"See that look, that means he's down," Danny instructed quietly. "Oz does the same thing." Ryan nodded.
"I never see him doing this well," Eric complained. "Plus he moves funny."
"His former life had staking and battle axe duties," Don reminded him, watching from the other window. "Ow." Xander had gotten a slice to his hair and back. But the guy's head had come off the next moment. It proved what they all knew, no one touched the hair unless it was to play with it. "Who's going out this time?"
"I will," Ryan offered, going to get Xander off the lawn. Someone else could call the Watchers. Xander looked up at him and growled. "Hi, Xander. It's Ryan." Xander tipped his head and sniffed. "Come on. It's time to go inside and clean off. You're all sweaty and you'd hate that. Plus we've got to trim your hair." That got a growl so he picked up some of it. "He sliced into it. We'll even it out." Xander followed him, letting himself be put into the shower. Danny came in with a pair of scissors to trim the mass of hair once it was clean and combed out. Xander went limp for him, being a good boy. "He's cute when he's in that mood," Ryan offered.
Don looked at him. "I'm setting you up with one," he promised.
"Okay, just remind them I clean a lot."
"Yeah, like at four this morning," Eric said blandly, glaring at him. "Woke me up too."
"Sorry. I was thinking."
Horatio looked at his boys. "Did you sleep, Ryan?" He shrugged. "Take a nap on the couch now. If we have to, we'll let Xander take one with you."
"Would you please quit trying to drive up my blood pressure?" Danny complained loudly. Then the sound of a smack and Xander howling in pleasure. "Yeah, I know, it makes you hornier, not that I think there's a level eleven to GHS, but you probably are." Another smack and Xander screamed in pleasure. "You're noisy."
Speed smirked at Horatio, kissing him gently. "I'll make you scream like that later."
"Thank you. I could use it." Speed smirked and swatted him, going to help Aiden in the kitchen.
Xander came out plucking flakes of gold off him and grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, guys. Didn't mean to be that noisy. Danny will wake up soon." No one said anything about him being naked. It was nice that they understood him.
"Help Ryan take a nap," Don ordered. Xander shrugged and got down to cuddle him, making him smile and drift off while being held. He looked at Eric. "Do that the next time he gets you up at four."
"Sure," he agreed dryly. "I'm not sure I can be that cuddly but I'll try." He looked at Horatio. "There's things you can take to raise your hormones that way?" Horatio nodded. "What, drugs?"
"Legal if prescribed but yes. A few decades ago a few kidnaped GHS members were fed some hormone concentrates to make them less manly. Female members were given estrogen by the people who had them. It made them more GHS. Our scientists heard once they were rescued and worked on it. There's a hormone cocktail and it's worked out to how many steps you want to raise them."
"Could it turn a non-GHS member into one?" Speed asked.
"It can if they've got any tendencies toward it. Ryan doesn't so for him it'd be like taking hormone injections. For someone like Xander, they might not come down. I played with them one weekend."
"I nearly died," Speed admitted. "We ended up in the ER and from a suspected heart attack due to stress. Alexx found out about us that weekend and she screamed and ranted for two days because I didn't tell her sooner." He looked at Horatio. "What did we learn from that?"
"If my level gets raised somehow, you'll need help?" he suggested with a small grin. Speed growled and came out to grab him and kiss him stupid. Horatio let him, playing along. Speed finally broke the kiss for air and drug him off. "We'll be right back."
"Not on my bed," Aiden called. "Unless I'm watching."
"No watching, I'm possessive," Speed assured her, taking his boy back to the guest room to straighten him out again. "Have I been ignoring you?" he asked.
Horatio gave him one of those grins that made Speed's stomach tighten and his blood start to pound. "A bit."
"No more." He stripped him and got him down to do very naughty things to him. His boy obviously needed worn out again. Don walked in and handed over the small chest. "Toys?"
"Yeah. The ones that got given to Xander that he doesn't use. Also, more lube. You'll probably need it." He walked out, closing the door behind him.
"That's a great friend," Horatio agreed, diving into the chest. His eyes widened at some of them but Speed took the size queen models away from him. They decided Speed could torture him without the help but they did need the extra lube.
Ryan opened his locker and found his jacket had gold flakes on it. He frowned and went to get a strip to capture some, then went to run it. Eric gave him an odd look. "It was on my jacket and wasn't there when I came in." He looked at it under the microscope, then plucked a piece off to run through the mass spec, coming out with gold. "Gold flakes." He looked at Eric. He opened his mouth, then shook his head and walked off, taking the sheet with him. He ran into Horatio first and held up the strip. "In my locker on my jacket."
"Has it been in there for a few days?"
"I wore it in yesterday and I know I wasn't carrying around flaked gold."
"Point. Check your locker, clean the flakes out however you want. You can probably sell it or something."
"I know this is the same thing that keeps giving Xander stuff."
"Unfortunately we can't get to him to make him stop."
"Yes we can." Horatio gave him an odd look. "There's got to be people around here who can get to him."
"Miami is a peaceful community, Ryan. Unlike New York, we get to ignore them," he cautioned. "I'm sure Xander's tried to stop him."
"A few times. It makes them want him more. This is dangerous."
"It is, but it also might be someone new. After all, that other one was showering him with rubies and emeralds."
"So we should be able to find out who it is."
"I'm sure he'll announce himself after a suitable showering time." He moved closer. "Talk with Xander. I know it distresses him but it could be much worse. He could've been taken outright. At this point in time, we're what's keeping him here."
"I heard about the harem theory," he noted dryly. "When they had us both they told me I was." Horatio gave him a small smirk for that. "Not that I mind. Oh, what's was he squealing about?"
"This year's convention is in Miami."
"Really?" he asked, smirking some. "Don promised to introduce me. Oh, and Xander would want to go shopping, huh?"
"You can be his extra guard that weekend," he promised, patting him on the shoulder. "That reminds me, I've got to announce that." He walked off to do that. "Just let it lie for now, Ryan. Clean the gold flakes out of your locker and we'll deal with it."
"Yes, Horatio. So weak tape?"
"Might be best," he agreed, waving a hand. "Then go play with Xander. He's bored since Aiden's off with her first class today." He nodded and went to find some tape. Horatio sat behind his desk and dialed his boss. "Sir, Horatio Caine."
"Is it a problem that's going to get my city destroyed?" he demanded.
"I heard last night from Mr. Harris that this year's convention is in Miami."
"GHS convention, boss."
"Oh, yeah, all those little fairy boys who love to shop and give us hell because they have sex all over the hotel." He groaned. "Fine, when?"
"Six weeks. They've had everything set up but they never announce it before then."
"That's fine. Get whatever you can and send it over so I can plan manpower. Will it be a problem? I know you've got one that moved in up the street and your whole unit is protecting them."
"Some of us will be going anyway," he pointed out. "Speed and I were invited to go with Xander, as well as Danny and Don since they're his keeper and protector. Eric, Calleigh, and Ryan might be asking for some time as his extra protector. That should be our weekend off anyway."
"That's fine. Thank you." He hung up.
Horatio smirked at the phone once he had hung up on his end. "Little fairy boys, boss?" he asked dryly. "We'll see." He called Frank. "Frank, Horatio. The GHS convention is coming to Miami this year." He smiled. "Was that Xander?" He grinned. "Send him to help Ryan clean the gold flakes out of his locker. Tell him he can go. We're going with him." He leaned back. "Yes, I'm sure it's a good idea. I told the Chief we're going to support Xander." He winked at Eric as he came in. "Of course we'll be good, Frank." He hung up. "Xander's down treating Danny and Don to lunch since he's bored without Aiden today. The GHS convention is coming to Miami."
"I might be gone by then."
"Eric, you're not too old," he said quietly. "Get over it." He stood up. "You won't find other bosses who are that lenient and know about this stuff."
"I know that but it's still being asked about."
"So go have laser resurfacing." He shrugged. "It's totally acceptable. Say you're going to take off some freckles." He smiled. "Did you want to be Xander's guard if he leaves the hotel?"
"No. They might take me too." He walked off shaking his head. He ran into Calleigh and Adam in one of the labs, with Cooper walking in to give her something. "The GHS convention is coming here this year."
"Oooh," she said, wincing some. "Well, maybe we won't have to go on patrol at it. Last time I ended up working patrol at the convention hotel to guard them. It was fun, a lot of fun, but very odd."
"Horatio said Xander might need extra guards if he decides to go shopping."
"Ya think?" Cooper asked. He rolled his eyes. "How many people have tried to take the kid?"
"Too many and now someone keeps throwing gold flakes at him," Ryan said from the doorway. "Eric, do you still have that bag?" Eric nodded and tossed over the keys to his locker. "Thanks. I just lifted about a pound of gold flakes from my jacket and the bottom of my locker. I didn't even realize I had it in there." He walked off shaking his head. Then he came back. "What happened to Xander?"
"The GHS convention is coming here this year," Calleigh said.
"I'm so going as his guard then." He grinned and walked off, much happier now. He took the bag of stuff that Eric had been holding for him of presents he had been given as Xander's harem and headed out with a quick stop to steal a cookie and give Xander a hug. "You need an extra guard, you call," he ordered. Xander smiled and nodded. "Good boy. Did you get gold flakes?"
"Yup. The day someone wired my car I started getting it."
"I got about a pound of it. I'm off if you wanted a ride."
"No, I'm good. I cabbed. I can cab home." That got a smile and a nod. "I'll be safe, I promise." Ryan nodded and left after stealing a second cookie. He teased Frank with one when he came in. "Want a cookie, Frank?"
"Do I have to perform tricks?"
"No. I'm being good."
"You are. I'm impressed, no one's tried to take you yet."
"Lay off it," Danny said at Xander's hurt look. "Not everyone wants to take him. Otherwise you'd be in trouble too."
"Point. Sorry, Xander."
"That's okay. It's not your fault. It's a common misconception about us," he said firmly, staring at him. Then he looked at Don again. "I can go, right?"
"Sure, you can go. Make reservations tonight." Xander beamed and nodded, bouncing out to go home and do that. Don shook his head. "We're going to be tired after that weekend."
"We are, but it means Adam's coming back down," Danny pointed out. "He'll get to play with Ray."
"True. Then again, those two can get into some bad trouble."
"Yeah," Danny sighed. "But we'll be there to pull their tails back again. As always." He grinned and got another cookie, then headed back to work.
Don sighed. "Neither of us went to the last one," he admitted. "Xander went with the National Head, Adam, and his boy Ray."
"I remember Ray when he came down. He's a cop, right?"
"Yeah. Ray's one of the few higher levels that can work. Most of them are curled up on the couch with a set list of tasks for the day." He looked at Frank. "They're easily distracted. I think that's why they don't announce where the convention is until six weeks before it happens."
"Not all of them."
"The higher guys are. Eights and above? Yeah. Even Horatio noted it. At the lower levels, keepers are boyfriends with extra patience and stamina. At the higher levels, they become truer keepers. Most level sevens have a lot of problems working if they're doing anything demanding."
Speed walked over to get a few cookies of his own. "There's one who works in Philly, he's a cop." He nibbled a bite. "He's also a level seven. At that level the GHS nature starts to wear on your attention. It makes you odd and jumpy if you can't wear it out. You start to lose focus and any little bit of pleasure gets magnified. I know he's having problems again. He's been on the chat room a few times." He shrugged. "But you're right, anticipation gets painful if they go over six weeks." He ate another bite, noticing Yelina looking at him. "What? I've dated one of them. I'm a very good keeper." He looked at Don again. "Horatio announced it to the Chief, who called them all little fairy boys."
"I should sic Xander on him just the once," he said dryly.
Speed smirked. "He'll try to show up. Let him play. Maybe Horatio and the rest of us will get a raise." He walked off smirking. Mission accomplished. Don and he thought a lot alike about how to use Xander's powers to make their lives easier at the station.
Frank shook his head. "If you do, can you tape it?"
"Sure, if possible. He might do it if we present it right." He smirked a bit evilly - as close to evil as he could get. "Xander's not very fond of him. He said he insulted Horatio."
"Hmm. Any of them in the department will have to be careful if they go this year."
"I heard a few others talking about a convention," Yelina offered quietly. "What happens at these things?"
"Ask Horatio," Frank offered. "I've never been. I got external guarding the last time."
"I know Xander said they had one room that was just a big cuddle pile. He said another room turned into a big orgy, he came home with more clothes so I'd guess they had a shopping area. They probably get together and talk about their problems, their keepers being assholes now and then, and share stories about the people who wanted them this year." He shrugged and started to casually look around when he felt the quickening buzz. Richie was led in by an officer. "He under arrest or visiting?"
"Visiting, sir." He handed him over. "For you or Detective Messer."
"Danny's in the labs. Thanks." The officer nodded and left. "Richie, what's up?"
"I came to check on Xander since Connor said Xander was going to take his head if he saw him anytime soon."
"Putting it mildly. Apparently he managed to show up when they had Xander last time."
"Yeah but he got kicked out before he could rescue him and the guy with him."
"Oh. How are you guys doing?"
"Okay." He checked his watch then looked at him. "Why don't you head and get a hotel room for the week and I'll meet you for dinner in an hour or so?"
"Sure," he agreed with a grin. "This is the only place I knew you'd be." He looked around, spotting Eric. "Hi, Ritchie Ryan."
"Eric Delko." He shook his hand. "Friend of Xander's?"
"Yup, and of Connor, his last boyfriend. Connor sent me to make sure he's still okay since Xander's going to hurt him for not being able to save him the last time."
"Sure. One of our CSI was there with him." They shared a look. "I can steal Don another time."
"We're on for dinner tomorrow night," Don reminded him, standing up. "Come on, I'll walk you back down to your bike." Richie grinned and nodded, heading down there with him. "He's a nice guy," he offered in the elevator. "Trying to work with Danny on our training."
"Plenty of us have formed family groups around a main teacher. Duncan had one of those before he went insane." He shrugged and they got off the elevator. "Got a good recommendation for somewhere cheapish but not dangerous?"
"The Ramada's nice. Or there's one about two blocks past it that's a rent-a-pro place but it's clean. Cheaper too. Plus it's around a lot more bars and restaurants." Richie smiled at that. "I'll see you in about an hour, cases willing."
"Sure. See you then." He walked off, going to his bike and heading off.
Don smiled and went back to his desk. "Let's hope he isn't the announcement of a new problem," he muttered as he got into the elevator.
To part 15: