Reconstructing Home.

Xander found the contractor he wanted.  Now he had to make himself clear.  He walked him around the house, watching his face.  "I do like the outside layout of the house."

"It's got good structure and that arch around your bedroom is nice architecturally speaking.  What were we going to do, Mr. Harris?"  He looked around the kitchen.  It had a lot of cabinet space.  So he probably wouldn't have that complaint from this home owner.

"Well, in here, under the windows that look out on the new patio we put in, I want counter space."  That got a nod and a note made.  "Matching the others if you can.  Don't worry about storage, just work areas.  All we have right now is the island and we love it, but we've got six great cooks in the family.  Plus it'll give us somewhere to eat in the mornings."


Xander pointed at the wall that separated the dining room.  "We're going to be doing some wall moving here."  He led him into the dining room.  "We *never* use this room."  That got a nod.  "So can  you take a half or just under and turn it into a theater?  I never get to go to the movies.  Make it look like a great theater?  Like they'd have in New York, but not the Met.  Like would bring back kids' memories of good theaters."  That got a nod and he measured the area, making notes on that.  "That means we can cover the old sliding door and put in a door on the new wall from the office, which is getting the rest of the space."  He led him in there to look.  "We need a bit more.  We have two officers in the family and sometimes they have to bring home work.  They should be able to work comfortably, maybe even give us two work areas?  I'm still figuring out the desk thing."  He nodded. He walked him off.

"Where does that closet end?" he asked, pointing at a door off the hall.

"That's down to the small basement we have."

"How is it not flooding?"

Xander grinned.  "Magic."  He laughed.  "We have a shallow pool down there.  We waterproofed it really well too.  Plus a few storage closets."  He walked him on, back into the kitchen and into the practice area.  "This I want upstairs.  You can add a new third floor that'll kinda mirror the other arch, maybe halfway across?  It's not really large enough for sword practice and I need it to be."

"I can see that."  He made more notes after measuring.  "What're we doing with this area?"

Xander smiled and led him to his room.  "See that wall?" he said, pointing at the wall between the bedroom and practice room.  "I want it gone.  I want the closets up there so that Danny and Don can use them.  Move the bathroom to that back corner of the arch.  That way we can expand it so I don't have to hear complaining that I'm taking too long in the shower thanks to my hair."  He let him see the present bathroom.  It wasn't exactly cramped but in the mornings it was a madhouse.  "I don't need a Roman bath but I need a shower to do my hair, we need a tub too.  I like to soak."  That got a nod.  "If we can combine them, great.  If not, great."  He laughed and nodded.  He led him back out.  "Move the smaller closet up between the windows, then the larger one up against the patio wall?  That gives us an extra closet, which they'll adore.  Then we can move the bed back and put a seating area or table or something in front of the glass doors."  He nodded.  Xander led him back to the foyer and staircase.  "I know you can't move that without a lot of problems."  He grinned.  "I worked construction for a bit.  I want the two rooms joined.  They're not big enough for the family to all sit together.  I'm going to be putting up the ferret kingdom instead of the three cages.  We're going to have a huge seating area because we have, like, eleven friends or so.  Right now we can seat seven or eight if we cuddle.  Plus we never use the one on the right."  He grinned.  "Not too grand of a dream."

"No, not hard to do at all," he agreed.  "What about camouflage for the stairs?"

"Can you?  I was thinking about training ivy and adding some iron scrollwork for the expanded handles."

"Hmm."  He went to look at the stairs as they were now.  "It's a very gentle twist.  We can probably do a seashell easiest.  One wall open, one not."  He looked at Xander.  "Are you going to be decorating in woods or metals?"

"A bit of both but we all like woods more.  Me more than them."

"Then we can use some light wood to create that wall.  It'll be a small break in the room. You're still going to be reclaiming a lot more space than you think but you can put something decorative between the two.  Like a screen or something for the door.  That way you have some privacy when you have it open."  He petted the dog that came over to sniff.  "We could actually move the front door so it's on that side or closer to it so it wouldn't take up as much room.   You could set it up as a computer area, or the music area.  Or even a small eating area for a new dining room if you wanted.  Add another window and it's got a great view of the orchard."  Xander considered that.  "Still open except for the stairs and that would be an architectural element without having to decorate."  He looked up then went up to check where it went.  He came back down.  "There's no reason for it to be that far forward either.  So technically we could move it back closer to the door, almost against the wall.  That would give you more room in the hallway."

Xander went to look then shrugged as he came down.  "If you think it's doable."

"I think it wouldn't be too hard.  How often do you use the second floor?"

"Family's spare rooms."

"Ah."  He smiled and nodded.  He stood in a spot and looked up then moved a few feet forward.  "We can put it here then use part of the wall as a screen for the doorway.  That way you still have an entry."

"That I wanted in metal.  I was thinking some great Italian metalwork, like the neighbor's doorway and gate?"

"I saw that," he admitted.  "We can use that in panels?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Carry the wood as the frame to let it ease off."

"That also means it won't be blocked off so if we get nasty people who're trying to break in again we won't be surprised. They're the only ones who use the front door except for the dogs."  He let them out and walked him around the second floor.  "I'd love carpet up here but I love the look of wood floors too.  I do need wood floors in the practice area upstairs."  That got a nod and a note made.  "Plus closets.  As you saw downstairs, they hold a lot of sharp and pointy crap."

"We can do cabinets for those or true closets, Mr. Harris.  It's about the same during construction.  It's when you add them afterwards you end up running into money."  Xander nodded at that.  "Carpeting up here wouldn't be too hard to do.  Or did you want to decorate that and use throw rugs?  Maybe orientals since I can tell some of the designs up here lean that way?"

"I could," Xander admitted.  "I haven't even started to look at rugs yet."  He shrugged a bit.  "I need to find a good place to look."

"I can understand that."  He patted him on the back.  "How did you want to get up to the third floor?"

"Can we hide a small elevator?  Now and then we are sore or injured.  Officers you know."

"I can see hiding it if there's a space for that same staircase."  He looked around.  "We'd have to trim one of the rooms it looks like.  We could carry the staircase up further."  Xander nodded at that.  "How far over did you want it to go?"

"Say just over half...."  He measured it visually then moved.  "Put the apex of the curve about here?" he suggested.  That got a nod and he looked.  "With light.  Not direct light or can we find the windows with the shades built in?"

"We can.  That way you don't get tangled?"  Xander nodded.  "They're coming out with adjustable tint ones as well.  You'd have a, I think, a gas pane in between the windows and you can darken it with a dimmer switch.  So you can have some or a lot of light or total darkness."

"That sounds neat.  Can we look at those?"  He nodded, making another note.  "Do you see anything that needs fixed beyond Ryan's toilet that I have to replace the ball in?"  He went to fix that and came back out.  "Sorry."

"That happens to the best of houses, Mr. Harris," he assured him with a smile.  "How much were you thinking about for costs?"

Xander shrugged.  "I won fourteen million this year at poker.  Go me."

He laughed.  "It won't be that much."  He walked him back down to the living room.  "Will we be putting up part of their kingdom?"

"No, I'm getting bigger cages and a playset for them.  It's going to take up most of a wall."

He nodded.  "I'm sure they'll be happy."  He looked at the lizard that was staring at him.  "That's an exotic I've never seen before."

"He's a baby dragon."

The contractor smiled.  "Those have got to be rare."

"How long and how much do you think?"

"Some of it will depend on the woods for the staircase and what sort of counter you want.  Plus how we're going to do the new wall and the theater area.  Have you been to any of the ones in town?"  Xander shook his head.  "Why not?"

"I'm, um, well I have a slight hormonal condition that makes people want to take me."

He patted him on the arm.  "I worked for Mitch last year, Mr. Harris."  He sighed in relief.  "How far up?"

"Ten.  That's why I'd better set up my own kingdom."

"I can see that.  What about that door in the hallway?"

"You can't move it, can't break it, can't damage it."  He got a confused look so he led him to show him.  He gasped.  "Yeah.  So we have to leave this one here.  Absolutely untouched."

"I can leave that one there.  Leaving the hallway intact would give you more privacy anyway."  Now he understood the basement being magic.  He walked him back to the living room to go over some basic costs for this sort of job while he did plans on his computer.  Then he pointed out they'd be driving them out of the house for about three weeks.  Xander said they could stay at a hotel if they had to.  They went over some of the wood choices.  Xander had a taste for maple and it was a wood you'd be likely to see in New York.  It also went well if he used a black iron or a bronze iron for the panels for the doorway.  Xander decided to make it closed in on one side, that way they could put a table there for things, just in case.  Then he listened to his ideas about decorating.  That would depend on things like painting plus narrow down his choices some when he present materials for his approval.  Which they could do for him and do a better job than he probably could.  Plus faster.

He took Xander down to a store he liked to show him the windows he wanted to show him and a few other things, to help him pick out the bathroom he wanted.  They did find a tub/shower combo that were linked.  A sunken tub with a shower sharing a wall that you could open and walk down into the tub.  A bit big but it'd suit him and his needs.  The shower had two heads, which would mean no more fussing lovers in the morning when they were running late.  He also picked out a two-sink vanity he liked so he found the options for countertop.  Xander decided to go with a light tan/rose/gold marble looking one.  Not marble but a good countertop that wouldn't mind even if he had to sit on it to bandage injuries. He finalized the estimate once Xander had picked paint colors, without the theater's accessories.  Xander had said he might be able to find them.  They went to the bank and the kid got him a cashier's check.  Then Xander went to bring his boys dinner and tell them it'd be starting in about a week.  He loved the people who knew what they wanted.


Xander walked the food into the breakroom, looking at Horatio, who smiled.  "Am I interrupting?"

"Not at the moment.  We'll eat after the meeting."  He smiled when Xander sat in Danny's lap to cuddle him.  "Any other cases we have to deal with?"

Xander raised a hand.  "Tony called.  Gibbs is going to come down to raid Sonny soon.  He caught him selling a few pills to someone in the military.  Not the formula."

"That's fine.  We'll help him when he gets down here.  Mac deals with that issue," Horatio said, making a note.  "Any other concerns, Xander?"

"Where did my emergency bags go?"

"My office," Horatio told him.  Xander rolled his eyes.  "Tough, Xander."


"We can hit the bank on the way home," Don said happily.

"I doubt it.  They close in an hour."  Xander gave him a look. "Besides, we'll need some of it for the three weeks we'll be displaced for the house updates.  That way we can stay at a nice hotel."  He grinned.  "It starts next week."

"How massive?" Danny asked with a gentle poke.

"Joining the two living rooms, fixing the practice area so it's more useable.  Doing something with the office to expand it a bit."  He grinned.  "He said three weeks, including painting.  So I've got to do some furniture shopping.  Another good reason to keep them out of the bank.  Plus the rest of the holiday shopping."

"Fine," Don agreed.  "Will we be comfy?"

"Yup.  And the ferrets are going to get their own kingdom."

"We need to expand our cage," Speed admitted.

"I'll be getting all new ones so you guys can have our old ones," Xander promised.

"Sure, Xander.  Thanks."  Speed opened the box and took out his dinner.  It was clearly his dinner since it had gooey cheese and pasta.  He settled back to eat and moan.  "Any other problems you see?"

"Yeah, Andrea got a new contract to hit Ryan.  She said she'd give me the details if I cut her poker debt by half.  Otherwise she'd have to do it when she could hit my hair too.  She'll fax it later."

"That's fine," Horatio agreed, marking that down as well.  "What are you doing with the furniture?"

"I was going to donate it somewhere.  To a place that does families that were burned out or for hurricane sufferers."

"I know a few good places," Horatio said with a smile.  "Anything else?"

"You guys still haven't gotten the last four people in the terrorist plot."  He took his tacos to eat, handing Danny his. "Technically Speed's eating Don's but there's a good one in the next box, Don."  They dug in.  "Anything I can help with?"

"You'll be busy refurnishing the house," Frank said patiently.

"Well, yeah."  He looked at Don, then at Danny.  "Do we want to add a second desk or work area to the office?"

"We spread out now and then but I don't think we need a *huge* desk area," Don said.  "Maybe a small table?"

Xander nodded.  "Okay.  Do we want to paint in there?"

"Please," Danny said.  "Go lighter?"  Xander nodded, making notes on that.  "What about the living rooms?"

"They're going to be a pretty, light blue/gray color.  We're adding a counter area to the kitchen under the windows.   We're going to be fixing our bathroom so there's no more bumping into each other.  I'm debating carpeting upstairs or throw rugs."

"Go to the place we got my mother's, Xander," Eric told him.  Xander nodded, making note of that.  "They've got some nice stuff and it won't get much wear up there."

"Good point.  Oh, we're moving the stairs a bit back.  They said it wasn't going to be that hard."  That got another nod.   "That's about all we're doing really."

"How much is this going to cost your gas fund from the poker games?" Don asked.

"Um, about sixty grand.  Plus furniture and fixtures."

Don winced.  "How much did we pay up front?"

"Enough."  He gave him a kiss then smiled.  "Eat, silly.  Pick a hotel that's pet friendly."

"We can rent a place for a few weeks," Danny said.

"Technically the other house is on the market but you still own it," Frank pointed out.  "You could move back there for a few weeks, boys."

"We'd have to finish repainting it," Xander said.  "I could do that though."  He called their realtor.  "Is there *any* movement on the other house?  Yup, that's me.  Yeah, that one.  No, we're doing some renovations at the manor."  He smiled.  "That's why I'm asking.  Any showing, anything?"  He nodded.  "Okay.  Then we'll be back there for a few weeks.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "She'll call if she wants to show it."  They all nodded at that.  "Any suggestions I'm missing?"

"Are you going to be putting a grill on the porch since the last one got blown away during the last hurricane?"

"Um, probably.  That's what I forgot, the hottub deck and the garage."

Don snorted.  "We can build a new one, Xander."  Xander grinned at him for it.  "Are you fixing our closets?"

"Yes."  Danny laughed.  "Yours is smallest."

"I don't need that many clothes, munckin."  He patted him on the back.  "We done, boss?  I have to finish that report so I can home and pack my closet."  Horatio nodded so they grabbed food and left.

Xander followed Horatio up to his office to look at the bags.  "There should be more.  I had more when I left."

"We consolidated, Xander."  He gave him a look when he closed the door.  "What?"

"It's a surprise."  Horatio nodded at that.  "I'm putting in a theater and I wanted to put in one that would make them have happy kid and young adult memories," he said quietly.

"Hmm.  I know the place you'll want to decorate like.  I'll have a friend up there take pictures."  Xander squealed and hugged him.  "How many of the bags went to the house?"

"None.  Don got fussy.  That's how I know I should have about sixteen."

"You have about eight more in one of the evidence rooms."  Xander gave him a confused look. "Doing trace analysis from the people who brought it in."

"Uh-huh.  That's still three too few."

"We consolidated seven down into four, Xander."  He nodded at that.  "Did you drive?"

"Yup and I have the corvette."

"I'll bring them over tonight."

"Okay."  He beamed.  "Thank you.  Maple's a good wood, right?"

"I like it.  It is a wood you'd see up there."  He smiled as the boy bounced out.  It would give him things to fuss over for the next few months.  Once the real furniture was in there'd be new ornaments to do.  Plus the Christmas tree coming up.   He'd be fussing well into the new year.  It was a good, if expensive, hobby for him.


Xander got everything moved back well within the week and then went furniture shopping.  Starting with an office place. "Hi."  He smiled, walking around to look at what he needed.  He looked at the top of one work area.  He liked the design, kinda.  It was efficient and left you lots of work areas for a compact desk.  The salesman moved closer.  "Can these be fitted with wood tops and data jacks?"

"Datajacks are in the pullout," he said, showing him.  Xander frowned at that.  "Office?"

"Home office for my boyfriend."  That got a nod.  "He's an officer.  Sometimes he needs to be able to spread out.  This style would give us the best fit, but it's metal and we both have laptops."

"Have you thought about going wireless?"

"Yeah but my laptop hates it sometimes.  I could use a new one, I know that."  He looked again then sighed.  "Not in wood?"

"No, not really, sir.  We have a laminate we can put overtop."  He pointed at a piece they had done that to, getting a head shake.  "I can't think of anywhere that would carry it in that form."

"That's okay."  Xander looked around.  He did know some about construction....  Hmm.  He smiled.  "Thank you for your help."  He left, heading to look at the local Home Depot.  The salesman was more than happy to show him some plans and let him sketch out what he had seen.  "I have a desk I can put against that edge.  We have about six bookcases in there but some shelves underneath the two arms would go well.  Plus I need to wire it for data ports and electric.  I can't find what I want.  I did work construction for a while, nearly eight months."

"It's not that hard to build," he said, taking him to look at what they had for plans.  Xander picked up a few of those and they went to look at woods.  "Were you thinking metal, wood, or countertop sort of top?"

"I was thinking a smooth wood top.  Maybe a recessed hatch for the dataports but one that wouldn't crimp the cables."

"If you leave them slightly raised or able to be pulled up that could work," he suggested.  He showed him something with another kitchen product.  "Let them be pulled up this way."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "It's like putting in a kitchen drawer only standing up."  Xander nodded at that.  "Now, if you wanted wood, I'd suggest this sort of top," he said, patting a countertop.  "It's hardy, it's solid, and it's easy enough to work with.  What do you have right now?:

"We have  mix of cherry and oak.  I was going to fix that too."  The man laughed and nodded.  He pulled his camera out of his pocket, paging through the stored pictures until he got to the study's.  "This is what we have right now.  It's being painted a lighter color.  I was going to let the furniture decide that."  He ran a hand over the countertop.  "That's a bit lighter than I want.  My desk is tiger maple with cherry highlighting and brass pulls."  He walked him to another selection.  "How does that go on?"

"It's like parquet.  It's tongue and groove.  You'd have to put a sealer coat over it to keep it smooth.  This one you wouldn't," he said, pointing at one.  "We have a lot of that in stock since it's not popular around here.  That's why it's a bit cheaper but it's the same sort of material."

Xander ran a hand over it.  It had a satin smooth finish.  It was low gloss.  "Humidity?"

"Not bad with it.  The finish is sanded then two coats of finish applied.  It shouldn't even if you put a heat lamp on it."

"That might be a good idea.  One of mine is a CSI.  They do funny things in the microwave now and then."  That got a laugh.  "Easy to cut and match seams?"

"Pretty easy for what you want to do."  He showed him how they had matched the seam and he nodded.  "You don't have to caulk the crack.  That'll mean it'll be easier to move later on if you need to or they need a long, flat surface."  That got another nod.  "Are you planning on anything else?"

"Some recessed shelves holding up the arms.  I know I'll need a pole in the center to hold the weight of the computers.  What about putting my desk here," he said, pointing at an edge on the sketch.

"That could work and that would look good against your desk.  The shelves, if you have the room, just set them back so there's an overhang for feet."  Xander nodded, letting him take him over to the tools to find what he'd need then to get him the wood he'd need.  It went to a warehouse but with the construction going on that wasn't that unusual.  "Do you want to apply for a Home Depot card today?" he asked.

"No.  My boyfriend is picky about that," he pouted.

The guy smiled and nodded, letting him pay cash for his order.  His wallet was *seriously* fat so he doubted he'd need a credit card anytime in the near future.  "Okay.  Looks like we can deliver it tomorrow, Mr. Harris.  We'll have to have someone there of course."

"I'm not doing anything," he said dryly, getting a laugh.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome and remember us if you need to do more home improvement projects."  The other man smiled and left, going to change the plans to suit his needs.  He smiled.  He was a cute young kept boy.  He wished some of the other spoiled kept boys and mistresses in the city were that cute and nice.  Some were downright rude to the guys in the store when they needed things.


Xander walked into a furniture store, smiling at the man coming his way.  "I'm redoing my house."  That got a nod.  "I have about eleven to fifteen friends that come over.  Most of which work with the local PD.  We need some recliners, we need some seating, and we need a lot of seating that'll let you sit by yourself or cuddle."

"Sectionals or separate pieces?" he asked, leading him back to the living room furniture.

"I'm thinking one big sectional so we can talk, eat, that stuff, but some pieces that can be pulled over."  He showed him the paint swatch.  "It'll be that color.  We've got dogs, a baby dragon, and ferrets that run around.  I'm a good one about textures.  I need soft.  I was ordered no leather."

"I can see that."  He stopped at one.  "This set would seat about seven, maybe eight if they're not overweight," he offered, letting him see and run a hand over it.

Xander did that.  "I don't need a sleeper. We have four sleepy family bedrooms."  That got a nod and they moved onto another one.  "I like that one," he said, pointing.  "But we'd have to put two together."  They went to look at it.  "Can we do that without making a big square?"

"The pieces can be rearranged," he said, showing him how some of them moved.  "You can move them apart, together, whatever you needed."  Xander looked then looked around, going to look at another seating set.  The boy was certainly picky.  "How big is your living room going to be?"

"About as big as two-thirds of this floor.  Minus space for the ferret's kingdom."  That got a slow nod.  He smiled.  "We presently have it divided with a foyer in between.  I'm fixing that nastiness."  He patted the one he was on.  "Does this one move the same way?  I like this style better than the other one, even if I liked the fabric on that one."

"We can have this one ordered in a variety of fabrics."  He showed him on the diagram which parts they could put together.  "Now, if you do it this way you could create a three- sided square.  That's good for conversation.  Then a big ottoman or four in the center?"  He nodded slowly at that.  "Maybe breaking up the corners with tables?  You can angle your tv so it's easily seen?"

Xander considered the shape of his living room.  "We'd need to add another seat or two to the back.  And I need a new tv eventually.  Ours is small."  He looked around.  "What fabrics does it come in?"

He pulled up the swatches.  "If you don't like these,  you can special order the other fabric.  It'll be extra but it shouldn't take any longer than getting it with these."

He felt.  "I like the suede texture but I'm worried about it sticking and the ferrets tipping over food or muddy paws."

"Ah."  He walked him off to look at a chair he had.  "This is a microfiber.  The same texture, only softer and it's washable with water."  Xander ran a hand over it, looking pleased. "We can order this fabric in a few colors."  He let him look, watching him tap a silver, brown, and blue one.  "That's a very unique pattern."

"My walls are going to be a gray/blue color but lighter.  There's going to be maple wood and some ironwork around as well."  That got a nod.  "If not, what about this color?" he said, tapping one.

"That doesn't really go with the paint swatch."

"Hmm."  He looked.  "A solid color would probably be best so I can change things later, huh?"  He got a nod.  "Then let's go with this darker blue?"  He let him see it.  Then he looked around, finding a few extra chairs. "I need two of these in a color that would coordinate but not match.  There'll be some wood tables around as well.  Oh, those ottomans?"  He let him see what they had.  He ran a hand over one.  "I like this.  Four you think?  Would there be enough room?"

"There should be.  If you add in an extra four seats instead of two definitely.  Or you could break up the back with a table.  As long as it's the same height it shouldn't bother anyone and if it's sturdy enough they could toss a pillow onto it."

Xander considered that. "Okay, let's do that."  That got a nod and they filled out the order form, letting Xander pay for it.  He had a plan book for tables too.  He could do that.  They weren't that hard either.  Plus the dogs would love the ottomans.  Hubert would love a perch in the sun.  He went to the pet store but they didn't have what he wanted.  So he decided to make a trip back to the store for him - just a different one.  He found a padded rest in leather.  That would warm nicely under him and as an accent would fit pretty well.  "Hi, can you help me?" he asked an associate, getting her attention.  She came over to help him. "Does this come in any other colors?"

"We have it black and brown only, sir.  Why?"

"I have a pet lizard that'll need a napping spot in the sun.  He's just bigger than lap sized plus tail."

She led him over to something else.  "This isn't leather but it's a nice fabric and it's dark so it'll trap heat for him.  It's padded a bit more lightly."

Xander felt the fabric.  "He's still clawed.  I'd need stairs too."

She smiled and led him to the bed stairs and then a small table.  "How about something like this?  Then you could add a pillow?

"I like that," he decided, buying it and having them deliver it to the old house.  He could cover the top easily enough he supposed.  He did work with leather.  He went to the fabric store to pick out what leather he wanted and to find stuff for drapes.  Their present ones irritated the hell out of him sometimes.  He found what he wanted and sighed.  They'd hate him if he did that.  But they were perfect.  The perfect color, the perfect texture.  He even found another one with most of the same colors that would look good as throw pillows.  He sighed and bought both bolts.  He dropped them off in the rental area, telling the guard he was going to be getting some wood the next day for something for the new house, getting a nod.  Then he headed home to cook dinner.  He'd do carpet tomorrow.


Don smiled at Xander, watching him look around the store.  It was their day off and Xander was shopping for the little nicknacks that went on shelves and things to make a house look less like a catalog shoot.  "What about these?" he suggested, pointing at one Danny would like.

Xander looked.  "Hmm.  Do we want steel or brass accents?"

"I like black steel personally.  Brass is a bit shiny for my tastes."


"Is nice.  Will it go?"

"Some maple accents."

Don shook his head.  "Nope."  He led him to another set, these were in a metallic dull silver.  "How about these?  A nice compromise?  It's a set that Danny could like."

"Do you like it?"

"They're neat.  Where are we putting them?"

"In the living room.  On tables and things."  He grinned.  "Every house has some."

"Mom has picture frames for that."

"We'll have a whole area of pictures."  That got a smile.  They put that into their cart and went to look at lamps.  "Okay.  We have a microfiber couch with a texture like suede.  We have ottomans in a good contrasting but coordinating fabric and a few chairs in the same color.  They're all in the blue family."

"Which we all look good in," Don said.

"We do."  He kissed him.  "We have heavy curtains because I'm tired of sun glare and Hubert has a perch coming with stairs."  That got a nod.  "It'll have a dark leather top.  We have one that'll be set up for reading over by the ferrets.  That'll also be by the windows so they can get up there if they want.  Do you want.... wood, iron, or ceramic lamps?" he asked, pointing at his ideal selections.

Don considered it then pointed at one.  "Those.  They're black so they'll go and they won't detract from any color.  What color are the drapes and are we getting throw pillows?"

"Yup and it's a tapestry."  Don rolled his eyes. "It'll go very well.  I promise."

"Okay.  As long as it's not like your former wardrobe of lounging jammies."

"No, it's not."  Don grinned and gave him a hug then they picked out a few fatter, round lamps and a few thinner, more angular lamps.  "Do you want more lights in the office?"

"Could yeah.  Especially if we're getting a work area.  We'll need some directional lights."  Xander pointed at a wood.  "That color?"

"The new desk is that color.  It'll go with mine and I'm fixing the bookshelf issue."  That got a nod and they picked out some bendable lamps, one with a magnifying head in case Danny had to work.   They moved on to look at other things.  They had the SUV today so they could put bookshelves in the back if they wanted.  Xander found a bigger statue for a table that he wanted and added it then another one to balance out the room.  Then a third one for by the door he said.  Don gave him an odd look but he smiled sweetly and Don let it go.  They decided on a few tabletop fountains.  Not the tiny ones that ran on batteries but closer to real size ones.  The pets would love them too.   Xander did get some extra rocks in a better hue for their room then they went to check out.  Xander dropped things off at the storage area then they went to look at carpet because he was stuck.  Still.  Don picked out something he liked and it'd go everywhere but Ryan's room.  "Ryan's room?"

"Wolfe can put down throw rugs if he wants," he reminded him.  Xander beamed at that and nodded, getting a salesman to give him what the contractor had told him to show them.  They got it ordered and then went to do the grocery shopping.  "Where are we getting the new desk from?"

"Small specialty place."  He took a kiss before starting the car.  "It's a nice desk.  Plenty of space to work even if we're all in there together."

"I could like that."  He stroked over Xander's thigh, getting a shiver.  "Want me to drive?"  He nodded and wiggled over while Don wiggled under him, changing places.  The cop outside the car gave them an odd look.  "It's my turn to drive," he said once the window was down.

"Is this a commercial vehicle, sir?"

Xander smiled sweetly.  "No, it's my bit of hipness and bling, Officer.  I needed it to be as stunning and attention getting as I am."

"Are you an artist, sir?"

"No, I'm a member of GHS.  That's why it's bulletproof."

"Oh!"  He nodded.  "Never mind, heard the rumors, sir.  Detective?"  Don smirked and nodded.  "You're never going to be able to back up out of here.  The red car is in your way."

"It's got power steering.  It's a Range Rover."  That got a look and he turned on the cameras then backed them up slowly and carefully, waving at the person who was waiting patiently for their parking spot.  He beeped at the cop then they went off.  "Does the whole department know?"

"Yeah, since the last time I nearly got taken.  Stetler spread it around that you're my passionate love slave and Danny likes to take it up the ass.  All to keep my magnificence worn out," he finished with a dramatic sigh.

"Don't make me drown you tonight," he teased back, rolling up the windows.  "Goofball."

"Well, *yeah*," he admitted with a grin.  "When does Gibbs get in?"

"Tonight.  Why?"

"Since it's just him and Tony I was going to let them have a room."

"That's good.  Let's drop this stuff off then we'll pick up dinner on the way to the airport?"

"Okay."  They dropped off the few throw rugs Xander had decided on and then went to the airport once the storage area was closed up again.  Don didn't even get out of the car.   Xander let Don park while he went inside to check on the flight, then went to the security gate, smiling and buying a sign.  Gibbs spotted him and nodded, getting a nod back.  They got their bags and came out of the secure area.  Xander handed someone else the sign as they walked out.  "We have the SUV with us because we were picking up ornaments.  Want to bum rooms with us?"

"It'll save the agency," Tony said.  "Plus I can use the tub."

"Nope.  We're doing home renovations," Xander said with a sheepish grin.  "Sorry.  We have a good selection of help though."

"That'll do."  He gave him a hug.  "Got your email."  Xander beamed.  "I can help."

"Tonight, tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow probably.  Tonight he'll want to bug Horatio and Mac."

"They're coming for dinner even if I do have to blackmail them," Xander said, making Gibbs laugh.  "They are."  He grinned and called.  "I have a Gibbs and a Tony with me, Don, and the SUV.  Of course you're coming for dinner, Speed."  He smiled at the 'I'm cooking'.  "Don't make me blackmail, Speed."  He laughed.  "How about Horatio in the pearl gray and light pink suit?  Looked fantastic on him in the store...." Speed moaned. "Please?  You guys and Mac, or him and Mac, either one.  Picking up table top ornaments and carpet for upstairs.  Thanks.  We'll be there."  He hung up. "They'll be over after dinner but he'll have Horatio blackmail Mac to come too."  Tony laughed at that.  Don drove up and they got into the back.  "Want me to drive?" he called.

"Hell no, Xander.  Cuddle Gibbs.  It's still my turn."  Don drove on, shaking his head at the silliness of his boy.

Tony handed over a bag.  "Forgot one."

He looked.  "That's okay.  It can come home with us."  He put it beside him.  "So, is it a tight case?"

"Very," Gibbs assured him.  "He won't be bothering Messer anymore."

Xander beamed.  "That might be good.  Even though I do have a mutual non-ass kicking agreement unless he bothers Danny."  Gibbs snickered at that.  "I made myself clear when he got here.  I heard what he had tried and how it had pissed Danny off.  He didn't need that down here."

"No, he didn't," Tony agreed.  He grinned at Xander.  "Greg sends his love and a spanking."

"Why?" Gibbs asked patiently.

"Because he sent me strawberry lube," Tony said with an evil smirk.  "That's why Greg warned you he wasn't going to be waking up on our last day off, boss."

"More than I need to know, DiNozzo."

"He was happy but payback was so sweet."  He grinned at Xander.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Did you get the other present?"

"I did and it helped the payback be so very sweet."  Don snickered up front.  "You saw?"

"Helped him find it," he admitted.  "Then he made his own version."

"Which was very nice," Tony assured him.  "You should try one."

"I have one, I used it on Danny.  Danny had to call off work and I got scowled at by Horatio for it."

"I got to baby Danny *all* day," Xander said proudly.  "Drove him insane."  Gibbs laughed at that, shaking his head.  "We picked up dinner.  We still like Italian?"  They both nodded.  "Good, because we've been shopping all day and my butt is too tired to cook."  They pulled through their gate and got out, letting him take the bag inside.  "We're back," he called.

"That's good," Danny called.  "Dinner?"

"We picked some up.  Did you cook?" Don asked.

"Not really.  Appetizers.  I figured you two would.  Hey, Gibbs, Tony."  He fed Tony a bite, earning a moan.  He smirked.  "Like Nana's?"

"Just like my grandmother's," he agreed happily, taking another one.  "Which room is which?"

"There's two joined ones or the one Speed and H usually borrow," Don showed him, taking him back there.

"We'll take the joined ones," Tony said with a grin.  Xander walked him into his room and kicked open the footlocker, getting a look of awe and a moan.  "Oh, I need that."

Xander hugged him.  "I'm expanding again soon."

"You haven't used all the ones in there.  You can't buy more until we've used all of those," Don called, walking past the bedroom door.

Xander shot his back a look then snorted.  "I have so.  Even if he was nearly unconscious from it."  He grinned.  "All clean.  We use rubbers on them.  Well, non latex rubbers."  He waved a hand.  "Borrow away and lube's in the closet on the shelf.  We buy it by the case around here."  He skipped out at the giggling Tony was doing, going to play with the dogs.

Tony came out, giving him a hug.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome.  How long are you guys in for?"

"Four days probably," Gibbs said.  "What did you need his help with?"

"Some special holiday stuff."

"Uh-huh.  Fine.  How long?"

"Few hours.  Maybe hitting a few stores."  Tony shrugged at that.  Xander had run the theater idea past him and Tony had found a good place to get seats and things.  "Please?"

"Sure, Xander.  Tomorrow night.  Let us get briefed tonight."

"Okay."  He bounced into the kitchen and got fed, moaning a bit.  "I love your grandmother's recipes."  He kissed him then checked on his ferrets, letting them loose so he could play with them.

Gibbs looked at the white ferret crawling up his leg.  "What's your name?"

"Both white ones are named Beauty and the others are named George.  Before you can ask, a demon gave me the second pair and I never realized.  That's why we have two Spots too."

"I guess that happens," Gibbs said, petting the squirmy thing in his lap.  She eventually wiggled her way up his stomach and down into his shirt.  He had to untuck it to get her out.  "I don't have that furry of a chest, Beauty."  He put her down.  She went to play with Tony, who was playing with both Georges.  He shook his head when he felt something crawling against his neck then down his shoulder, then down his shirt.  He pulled that one out too, putting her in his lap.  "Here, do it in reverse order," he teased.  "They remind me of Sanders when he hasn't had coffee."

Tony laughed.

"Greggy said the same thing," Xander assured him, getting a louder laugh from Tony and one from Danny.  "Did we bring in the food?"

"Dishing it up now, impatient."

"You know, I could do what I showed Greggy how to do."

Danny glared at him.  "I already had to call off once this month thanks to too much sex, Xander.  Not again this month."  Xander shrugged, making Tony snicker.

"How long before the house is done?" Gibbs asked.

"Two more weeks," Danny sighed.  "They got a bit behind when the old fridge went out one night and had to be replaced plus the damage fixed."

"We were running under budget anyway," Xander said.  "I'm fine with it.  The new fridge is bigger.  That way Don can stock midnight snacks."

Don gave him a look.  "That's what leftovers are for."

Xander looked at him.  "What was Ryan doing earlier?"

"Blessing the house to Strife and Ares."

"Speaking of them," Gibbs said.  "Aphrodite's shown up a few times recently."

"I love the lady in pink but she's not my Goddess; we're under Cupid," Xander said happily.  "Well, level tens are Cupid's and Strife's, but yeah, Tony and Greggy are under Cupid."

Gibbs shook his head.  "She's trying to fix me up."

"Well, she'd know," Don quipped.  Mac knocked then walked in.  "Hey, no blackmail needed."

"I wanted to know what he had on me."  Xander bounced over to tell him, getting a groan.  "That's a good one.  What was Ryan doing earlier?"

"Blessing the house to Ares and Strife," Don told him.  Danny came out with plates, handing them out.  He looked at Beauty.  "I know you're curious but I will put you back in your cage if you get into my plate tonight."  She wiggled down and went to help her master eat.  He petted her but didn't let her have any.  "Is there a regional convention coming up this year?" he asked Xander.

"I sponsored that for Horatio and Speed but there can be," Xander offered.  "A Southeast one?"  He shrugged.  "I'm fine with it."

"You should be saving some of that," Danny reminded him.

"As I told the contractor, I made fourteen mil off poker this year and I'm still living off the interest of the old stuff except for the renovations.  I'm fine on money."

Don finished chewing his current bite.  "You came back from the convention with that much, Xander.  You had national debt level of money in the bags."

"I did?"  Don nodded.  So did Mac.  "Huh.  I estimate.  That's all the IRS wants since it's an illegal poker game."  He ate another bite.

"They can't make you claim that," Tony said.

"If he admits to it then he has to," Gibbs said.  "Plenty of people wouldn't."

Xander shrugged.  "I mentioned it accidentally a few years back, after the first trip to Vegas.  Now they ask."

"Why are we being audited?" Danny asked.

"Because the guy who helped me put down my occupation as househusband/bedtoy."

"Ah, some tightass upstairs didn't like that answer," Don said wisely.

"Next time, put homemaker," Danny told him.

"He filled it out!  I thought it was an acceptable answer!"  He grinned. "That is closer to my duties than not.  I could've put pet sitter too."  He fed the ferrets and Hubert a bite, getting whimpers from both dogs.  He tossed them each a meatball and they were happy.  He finished his plate and Don pointed.  "Yes, Don."  He went to get seconds, coming back to eat some more.  "We now have carpet for the second floor."

"I thought you liked the wood floors," Danny said.

"I do but they're being put into the practice room once it's fixed to fix *that* floor.  Besides, this way it won't echo when Ryan's up there."

"Good point," Danny decided.  "Will it match?"

"Everything but Wolfe's room and he can use throw rugs."  Don ate another bite then swallowed and smirked.  "The wood floor's going in our room too from what I understand."

"Yup.  In the areas where people see it since it's pretty."

"Which means no more ugly carpet none of us liked," Danny said.  He nodded.  "I like that idea.  Good job, Xander."  Xander preened.  "What about the living room stuff?"

"All ordered.  They said it'll be done about three days before we can move in."

"Good.  Then take your SUV and go pick up the money you left in the practice room," Danny ordered.  Xander whimpered.  "Ryan's blessing today uncovered a lot of bags, Xander."  Xander moaned.  "Tonight.  The contractor found them and was very amused.  Ryan explained it as it was your poker gas fund."  Xander nodded, finishing up.

"Someone's going with you," Mac ordered.  "Even in the SUV, Xander."

"You have that patient, mom, 'take my hand before we cross the street' voice down pat, Mac," Tony joked.

"That's because Xander played poker with assassins and people like that," Mac said dryly.

"How long before Caine gets here?" Gibbs asked.

"Probably a good few minutes.  He was starting dinner when I called on the way over."

"I'll go," Gibbs told him.  Tony looked at him.  "You'll get to see it tomorrow."  He got up, putting his plate into the sink.  He finished his coffee and did the same then followed Xander out.  "Want me to drive?"

"I can."

"You sure?" he asked.

"I'm sure."  He paused, looking at the gate that was opening.  "Hmm."  A familiar face got out.  "What're you doing on this coast?"

"They send me wherever scumbags are hiding," Ian Edgerton said.  "The Orlando office has crappy weapons."

"They have crappy agents," Xander told him. "Doesn't surprise me.  What do you need?"

"Rifle with a scope.  I couldn't get mine on the plane even with my badge."

"We're going to get the money from the house but I can let you into the warehouse on the way back."

"We can head there first," Gibbs offered.  "That way he doesn't have to help carry."

"I did in New York," Ian said dryly.  "Xander thought I'd make a good shopping buddy."  Don opened the door to give him a confused look.  He waved.  "Agent Edgerton, Fugitive Squad."

"He's one of the guys from the convention and Orlando has crappy weapons."

"They have shitty agents, I'm surprised they're that good," Don said dryly.  "One came down to bug Xander the other day about a poker buddy and wouldn't leave him alone.  Even tried to pull his hair.  Frank Tripp ended up punching him for insulting the PD too."  He smirked a bit.  "Going to help him lessen the weapons cabinet?"

"Just borrowing.  The higher ups said as long as it's under PD control it's fine.  They think they'll use them to bust other weapons people."

"Cool.  Help him heft money back too?"

"I can do that," he agreed.  "Did in New York."  Don laughed, closing the door again.  "I'll ride with you guys."  Xander pulled out the keys.  "No.  You draw way too much attention," Ian said.

"I'm used to driving DiNozzo's," Gibbs said, taking the keys.  He put Xander into the back and let the other agent walk around to get into the front.  "Same place, right?"

"Yup."  Xander watched them back out, shaking his head.  "You guys know I do drive it all the time, right?"

"Yeah, but why strain yourself today?" Ian quipped.

"I'm not that bad.  The succuba that stole me on the way home drained me down pretty good."

Ian looked back at him.  "Tell me you're joking."  Xander grinned but shook his head. "How?"

"There was a not-Don waiting on me to get home."

"Oh."  He nodded. "Okay then."  They headed to the other house.  "This is a nice neighborhood," he said when they pulled through the community's gates.  "Lots of trees."

"They're useful trees too," Xander said happily.  They pulled up to the garage, letting him get out.

"What's the new thing on top?" Gibbs asked.

"The new practice area.  The old one was too small so we're using it to expand the bedroom."   He walked in through the backdoor, heading for the door off the kitchen.  It was still available.  He opened a closet and sighed in displeasure.  "I didn't think it was that full."  He started hefting bags out of there, letting the guys look in the other closets.

Ian whimpered.  "Xander."

"I know.  Some of it's been in there over a year.  I forgot."  He hefted out more bags, finally emptying the closet.  "Hey, Adam's spare sword."  He put it on top of the bags.  He floated them out to the SUV.

"So *that's* what he meant by Sunnydale stuff," Ian said quietly.

"Yup," Gibbs agreed.  "Sanders is fascinated and trying to make it work for normal people."  Xander came back to float the rest of it out.  They watched him head for the office.  "Where are you going?"

"Office safe, just in case."  He looked.  The cover was open but it was still sealed.  He sighed and opened it then the other one.  He pulled out the small chest and the briefcase, then handed those to Ian.  He handed another box to Gibbs.  "Electronics."  He closed that one and moved to the one in the hallway, pulling out the large box in there.  It was metal, it was locking, and it jingled.  "Not coins," he said at the odd look he got.  He pointed.  "That one's jewels that've been sent recently.  I shove them in here.  Want to get the one in the living room in the trunk?"  He walked out with it, putting it into the back with the stuff Gibbs was looking in.  "One of my poker buddies makes those.  He loses horribly now and then."  Ian came out with the trunk, letting him stack it on top.  Then he closed the trunk.  "There we go."  He went to lock the doors and wiggle his way into the back again. "Did we get all three closets?"

"Yeah," Ian agreed.  "Unless you had one hidden?"

"Um, not in this side."  He went to look, finding Gibbs behind him when he sighed.  "What?" he defended.

"I was wondering how you got past the bug."

"One of the demons that wanted us made this when they kidnaped the whole family during a picnic.  That's why we have dual pets."  He floated those few bags out then got the money out of the safe and the few jewels too.  Then he walked back and closed it once Gibbs was out, floating them out to the back too.  "There."  He smiled.  "All cleaned out.  No more temptation."  He wiggled his way into the back again, restacking them. Gibbs got out and shut the other door again, letting him lock it.  "Do you know where the weapons warehouse is, Gibbs?"

"Yup.  Caine gave me the address when I texted him.  Your map system works well."

"Thank you.  I still get lost."  They drove off and Xander had to move stuff so he could unroll the window.  "Hi, Bart," he called as they went past the gate.  The guard waved and signed them in.  They drove to the storage pod he had, letting him get out to get them through the security system.  Horatio called when one didn't want to work for him, giving him the code.  He punched it in and they went inside.  "Horatio changed the codes on me again," he complained at the tolerant looks.  He led them to the back.  "Let's see."  He looked.  "Assault rifles.  Machine guns.  Handguns."  He moved that box to another stack.  "Stuff I just got.  Ah, sniper rifles."  He opened six long cases.   "Borrow away."  He looked and opened another two.  "Another caliber."

Ian looked then at him.  "You do like us, right?"

"I love you, you're a good shopping buddy and you actually beat me at poker."  He gave him a brief hug and went to see what Gibbs was looking at.  "I like the older one better," he said when Gibbs gave him an odd look.  "The old one had more style and class.  This one's ewww."

Gibbs walked off shaking his head, going to see what Ian was playing with.  Then he glared at Xander, who trudged back there.  "Xander."

"What?  I can use them.  Honestly.  He need silver bullets?"  Gibbs shuddered.  He pulled up one.  "This is the one I liked for having to hunt long distance to get some harmful demons."  He checked it over.  "Horatio cleaned it after he used it.  It fires a bit off to the right when you're on your stomach," he offered, handing it off.  "The blue one I've tested.  The others I haven't had the chance yet.  My gun range got shut down."  Calleigh walked in.  "Hi, Calleigh."

"Hi, Xander."  She came back to look, pointing at one.  "I haven't seen that one, can I?"  He pulled it out for her.

"It's not a great gun," Ian told her.  "Accurate over longer but not shorter distances."

"What sort of distance?" Gibbs asked.  Ian gave him a look.  "I was a sniper in the Corps, kid."

Ian smiled.   "I should shoot against you some day."  He pulled out one to check it.  "Has chamber burrs."  Xander got him a newer one, letting him look.  "Nice."  He cocked it.  "Bit hard."  He went back to Xander's favorite.  It was clearly well loved and polished.  He nodded.  "I'll use yours."

"Can I test fire, Xander?" Calleigh begged.

"Sure.  Horatio does now and then," he said dryly.  He pointed at the box he had moved.  "That's one you haven't seen yet ether."  He walked out behind her, sealing back up the warehouse.  "There's been a few dealers who've sent me samples of their guns to see if I want to collect them for my exemplar too."  The guard walking the rounds gave him an odd look.  "Hi, Xander Harris."

"I know, sir.  The ones with you?"

"Borrowing," Ian told him.  He flashed his badge.  "The Orlando office didn't have anything decent and I couldn't fly mine even with my badge."

"Bet that sucks," he said, shaking his head and making sure it was sealed before walking on.  "Have a nice night, guys."

"You too," Xander called.  They got back into the SUV, though Calleigh gave the back an odd look when he had to wiggle.  He waved and they drove off once the door was shut.  "I need to fix the back door issue."

"The dealership should be able to," Gibbs pointed out.   They drove back to the house.  Ian got out and went to stow the gun in his rental car while Xander floated the bags inside, making a few people swear.

"I wondered why Calleigh suggested a counting machine," Tony said.  He looked at Ian.  "There's some dinner left."

"I should head."  Xander came out and handed him something.  "Silver?"

"Hey, it works on a lot of things, human and not."  He grinned.  "You never know what lives at Disney."

"Good point."  He gave him a shoulder squeeze then headed off much happier.  He even called Don to tell him about the dance of the bags and the warehouse.  It'd make him shudder but it'd be good for him.

Xander sat down, looking at the stuff.  "I hate when I forget I hid stuff."

"Uh-huh," Tony said, reaching over to smack him on the head.

"The ferrets are up before you ask," Horatio said.

"I knew that.  The same as I know I hit Hubert's tail, that's why he tried to bite me."  He petted his baby dragon and they stared at the bags together.

"Why didn't you like the modern version?" Gibbs asked.

"Too technological.  If you can get a two-year-old able to hit the target it's not a weapon, it's a toy."  He shrugged.  "I don't need auto targeting.  Anything I hit is going to be bigger than the side of a barn or my SUV."  Tony snickered at that.  "Speaking of, the silver box in the back is yours, Tony."  Don went to look.  His groan of pain brought Horatio and Danny, who came back to hug him.

"I love you even though you do have another one," he said calmly, going to heft them inside.

Xander looked at Tony, shrugging a bit.  "I'm all for techno toys but not in my weapons."

"That'll probably work in your favor.  The older stuff is cheaper and easier to find."

Xander nodded.  "I know.  Still can't."  He handed over a card.  "Is he wanted?

"By multiple governments," he agreed dryly.  "Do us all a favor, Xander."

"I'll see if he's a good guy or not," he agreed.  Tony smiled and nodded.  They looked at the bags and sighed again, Tony coming over to help sort and count. A few bags were empty or nearly empty so they got put aside.  The rest.... well there was a hell of a lot of money.  Horatio and the boys carried in the other stuff, putting it into a corner.  Then Gibbs got Xander on the head.  "Ow!"

"Next time don't leave that much stuff sitting in the house.  It's a security risk."

"The bank hates me."

"They do not.  They love you.  You give them money to make money from," Don told him.  He sat down to help count too.  Danny went to get the money counting machine for them, earning a smile.  "Love you."  He sorted instead while Tony ran the machine and Xander rubberbanded the stacks.

"Where's the stuff from the office, Xander?"  Gibbs gave him a horrified look.  "We had to make him quit playing poker again.  Don made himself very clear and they delivered the rest to the office."

"All but a few people, who still owe me," Xander admitted.  "Oh, that file is in the office on the desk, Horatio."  He went to find it.  Xander went back to sorting.  "Need luggage, Tony?"

"I could use some."  He picked out a few of the bags for himself.  They had wheels on one side, a few shallow zippered compartments on the outside and one large one inside.  "Boss?"

"I've got plenty in that size."  He was keeping track of the counted and sorted money, putting it into bags.  "How much more is coming later on?" he asked when they paused to rub sore hands.

"Over eighty thousand more."

"From how many sources?" Horatio asked.


"Hmm.  Only eighty thousand, Xander?" Horatio pressed.

Xander pouted.  "Somewhere around there.  I haven't looked at the debt book in the last week since I paid the one guy I owed a bar tab because of my peanut habit."

"Fu still keeping it?" Don asked dryly.

"Yup.  He hates you though."

"Yay him," Danny said.  "One of us can go look."


"No, Xander," Mac said patiently.  "That way they can't suck you in."  He got to work packing another bag, marking down a tally.  "The bank is going to hate us."

"Yeah," Gibbs agreed.  "A lot."  He checked the outer pockets of the bags he was using, tossing over a few rolls of cash and holding up one baggie.

"The person who owed him does that to him," Horatio told him.  "We keep arresting him for it and the judge keeps letting him out."

"It's enough to make you want to turn vigilante," Xander said.

"Should you, the first spanking you got from me will seem pleasant," Horatio assured him, staring him down.

"I know!  It's a bad thing even if it was kinda basically the same thing as hunting."

"Good.  Thank you, Xander."  Xander grinned a sweet grin so Horatio pulled him over to hug.  "Now and then you do act like my son so I treat you like it.  Quit giving Timmy gray hair," he said in his ear.  Xander pouted but nodded.  "Thank you.  Any ice cream?"  Xander went to get them some.  He finished his pile and let Danny add it to the end of his.  They finished it up and figured up the tallies.

"Horatio, you can have a few of the empty bags too."

"Thank you, Xander."  He gave him a kiss on the temple.  "You're very generous."

"Less stuff we have to move," he quipped.  Horatio laughed and nodded that was true.  "Calleigh wanted to try the new sniper rifle and the new handgun so I gave it to her."

"Thank you.  She'll be in a good mood all day tomorrow."  He ate a bite of his ice cream and moaned.  "Freezer burn."

"Sorry, the move," Xander admitted.

"It's fine.  It adds texture to this one.  Did we switch?"

"They were out."  He handed Don and Danny bowls then went to get Gibbs and Mac one, then sat down with his.  Tony got Gibbs' bowl, getting a grin.  Mac gave Horatio his.  Xander shrugged at that but Don kissed him and it was better.  "Now what?"

"Now, we brief them," Mac told him.  "While Danny and Don put you to bed."

"I'm not that young.  Go use the office, guys."  They went to do that.  Xander looked at the bags.  "At least I won't be smooshed in the back."

"Steve's going to have a heart attack when he hears," Don told him.

"I forgot!  I hid it and I forgot."

"How can you forget bags of cash?" Danny demanded.

"It's the same as me forgetting to put on clothes the other morning," Don reminded him.  Danny hung his head, shaking it slightly.  "Another really good reason to quit playing poker.  You're not personally keeping track of who owes you what."  Xander nodded, shifting closer.  Don let him cuddle.  "You're not in trouble," he whispered. "But we do have to watch this, Xander."

"If we put this into the bank, the IRS will know."

Danny gave him a look.  "They'll know anyway.  You're honest."

"Sometimes.  I estimate.  That's what they wanted me to do."

Don nodded.  "Well, now you can estimate again."  He got up to drag the filled bags into a closet, leaving one out for Xander and the ferrets to play in. The jewels.  Well....  There wasn't any way he'd be dealing with those this time.  "Sell. Them."

"Yes, Don."

"Thanks."  He patted him on the head.  "Want a backrub?"  Xander pouted.  "I'll give you sex later.  Right now my hands need more exercise."


"Backrub," he said, hauling him up and into the bedroom to give him one. Xander didn't mind but he clearly needed to be worn out physically tonight, where Don needed to wear out the hormones.  So he gave Xander a good backrub then got into a tickle fight with him.  It ended after twenty minutes of play fighting and he was on his back begging for mercy within a minute after that.  It served both their purposes.

Danny came in to help wear them out.  Sometimes he wondered how his lovers acted normal with how silly they were.


Tony looked around the movie theater supply place, smiling at the single salesman. "He's setting up one at home.  He wants to recreate a pretty nice out of New York City.  We have pictures.  Think you can help him find seats and stuff?"

He nodded, taking the picture to look at.  "We have the updated version of those seats but not that exact model in storage."  He looked at the other picture.  "It's a shame.  That's a beautiful theater.  Being torn down?"

"No, still going strong," Tony said with a smile.  "His lover's boyhood memories."

"Ah."  He handed them back, taking them to show what he had.  Xander paused by one set, stroking over the back.  "Those are from a demolished theater.  They're not in the best shape but they'll hold up to some more wear.  If you're feeling nostalgic they're a good choice.  Or we have the ones with the cup holders."

"Cup holders came after our time," Tony told him.  "They're my age."  That got a nod.  "Xander?"

"These are like the ones we had at home."

"They were a really popular model.  Over fifty percent of all theaters had them."  Xander smiled and nodded.  "How many did you need?"

"Hmm.  If everyone's over...."

"You need twelve.  If you put in ten it should work and someone can cuddle or bring in a comfy chair," Tony told him.  "Or put these in the front row and put a row in the back of the modern ones with foot rests."

Xander looked at him then called Danny.  "I want to go to the movies soon so I'm checking them out.  Would you rather go to an old theater, the one with the seats without cup holders, or would you rather go to one that had footrests and cupholders?"  He smiled.  "You sure?"  He nodded.  "Okay."  He hung up.  "We'll put a few with the footrests in back.  Just in case."  That got a nod from the salesman.  "Ten?"

"Should be more than enough," Tony promised.  They picked out what they wanted from in there.  Including a used screen for the projection system.  It got delivered to the new place with instructions on spacing.  The oldest theaters were a bit farther apart than the modern ones.  They hadn't expected or wanted groping after all.  Xander also picked up a seat table, one that would hold an empty seat down so they could have a flat surface for sodas and things.  Then they went to pick out movies.  Tony called in. "Hey, boss.  Checking in."  He smiled.  "Heading to pick out movies.  Yeah, now.  Why?"  He nodded, taking down an address.  "Thank him for me."  He hung up.  "One of the techs is an older movie buff and he said this place has nearly everything and half of it is on DVD."  Xander beamed and they headed that way, going to shop.  Xander let Tony walk in first and watched him sigh in pleasure.  "I miss having somewhere like this around me.  I can't find a good spot for film noire in DC."  The amused salesgirl pointed.  "Thank you!"  He went to browse for his own amusement while Xander mined monster movies, then sci fi.  "Remember, they like action stuff."  Xander picked up a basket since his arms were full and went back to it. "You do have money on you?"

"I have close to eight hundred left in the car."  He kept going, coming back with three full baskets.  Tony weeded them out and got a few others.  "Girl movies?"

"Now and then even the macho guys want to watch Yul Brennar woo a stubborn woman."  He added two more and patted him on the back.  "Okay, check out."

"That's going to be more than eight hundred, sir," she said.  "Seven bucks a movie."

Xander counted, pouting.  "Take cards?"  She shook her head.  "ATM nearby?"  She pointed across the street so he went to hit it, coming back with that and the stash in the car.  He grinned, paying for everything.  Tony got his and they went to drop them off at the house.  Tony looked up, then pointed. "Practice room."

"Probably a handy thing."  He smiled, walking inside to see the new theater.  The construction crew had done a marvelous job reconstructing things.  He heard Xander swearing and went to find him, finding him staring at the marks on the walls.  "What's that?"

"I don't know."  He found the card for the construction company and called.  "It's Xander Harris.  Yeah, I am.  What happened?"  He winced.  "Is it going to cost more to fix it?"  He nodded.  "You did file a police report?  Yeah, and my house houses two cops.  Yes you do.  You don't have to charge him with that there but we do have to file one for the insurance.  Yes I am."  He hung up and called Don.  "Call the construction guy tomorrow please?  Because one of his guys snapped and went an anti-ferret and gay people graffiti rant.  Yeah.  I am.  Thanks."  He hung up, looking at Tony.  "They were doing so well."

"It'll work out, Xander."

"I shouldn't have to pay for them breaking stuff."

"No, you shouldn't.  What happened to the fridge?"

"The compressor went out one night and it defrosted, ruining a wall."


Xander shrugged. "I might give him that one."

Tony patted him on the back.  "I'm telling Mac."

"No, I have boyfriends."

"There's special scowls that only Marines know, Xander."  He called Mac anyway. "It's DiNozzo.  No, another construction company incident.  No, not another appliance.  Graffiti binge they're claiming Xander will have to pay to fix.  Yeah, we are.  Anti-ferret too."

"He said he snapped.  I can handle it, Mac."

"Mac said to shut up, he's siccing Stella on them."   He laughed.  "No, I was thinking about a Marine scowl.  Yeah, those looks.  Well, the only ones I know who can do it are Marines."  Mac laughed and promised Stella would be there tomorrow since it was her day off.  "Thanks, Mac."  He hung up.  "She's got a day off tomorrow.  You can take her to the spa afterward."  He walked him out after hiding the new movies in the projection booth.  "So much easier than the old reel systems."  They closed up the house and turned on the security system then went back to the other one.  "It is looking good though."

"It is," Xander agreed, smiling at him.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  When you go to get new ones, bring more money."  Xander laughed and nodded.  They went back to the house, finding Mac there.  "Good news?"

"Stella went to take pictures and look at the damage from the refrigerator."  He patted Xander on the head.  "The insurance company won't be pleased."

"I might give them the fridge, Mac, but not the graffiti."

"You shouldn't give them either.  The fridge was working just fine a week ago," Danny reminded him.  "How long will this hold it up?"

"If they're being that bitchy, I'm hiring Eric's dad," Xander said, sitting down to pet to the dogs.  Stella called him.  "What's up?"   He smiled.  "Just tonight.  Yup.  That's why.  Seats are coming.  What else is there?"  He laughed.  "Sure.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "The head contractor is there to talk to her man-to-man."  Mac laughed.  That meant Stella was going to go shrew on him in a few minutes.  "She found the surprise and thought it was cute."

"I think it's a good idea too," Mac promised with a wink.  He took Tony back to tell him what they had found while he was helping Xander.  Tony found a link that was driving both of them nuts.  "Hey, Xander, who's Vito?"

"Sonny's bodyguard and cousin Vito?" Danny called.

"Yup," Xander called.  "Unless he's dating him too.  He swears up and down that he's not gay though."

"Thank you, we needed that connection," Mac said, going back to the office, making Tony laugh.  "He'd know."

"That's an amazing family."

"I'm proud to be part of it," Mac said.  Don came in and gave him a hug then left.  "Go hug Xander, mushy.  He needs it."  Xander pulled Don down into his lap to cuddle with the dogs.  Tony smiled and Mac shrugged. "It's good for them."  They got into the paperwork details.


to part 53: