The Fist of Karma.
Xander woke up the next morning to equipment noises, wandering out to the kitchen to blink at the men working. "Huh?" he asked the one watching.
"Good morning, Mr. Harris. We're starting work on the clean up and new garage plus workshop."
"Don did sign, sir. All we need to know is how much of your workshop you want to do. We also went to look up your supply order to add to it and get it here sooner. That way it's not wasted." Xander grinned at that. "It'll take us about two days to clean up the mess, then we'll tarp the area so it'll dry some over the weekend. Then we'll get to work on the new foundation and concrete." Xander nodded, humming some. "You leave it in our hands. It won't take us that long to do this job."
"Okay. Need my tools? I have some stuff in storage."
"We're putting on a small storage area for anything you're storing as well," he promised, showing him the plans. Xander smiled because it was his plans. "Detective Flack found yours on your computer."
"Good." He beamed. "My storage area is here," he said, writing down an address. "Ignore the one bookshelf. The shelf keeps breaking a screw for some reason. I'm about to replace them all with brass ones." That got a nod. "That's where my power tools are. You guys can use them if you need to."
"Thank you, sir. That'll speed things up some." He went to tell the boss, sending him over with a truck to get that and any extras laying around. "The detective did leave the windows for your workshop up to you."
"Standard, energy efficient with screens."
"That's about what we figured. Doors?"
"Bigger than standard?"
"We saw the desk, it's a great job," he said with a grin. Xander beamed back and showed him the other stuff he had built. "You have a good hand, sir."
"We'll let you do whatever finishing you want after we put in the soundproofing, how about that?"
"That'll work," he said happily. He walked out to see what was going on. "Hi, guys. I'm Xander."
"You were in pain and tired last night when I got here," the boss said, shaking his hand. "We should have it done by next week. It's not a hard job by any means."
Xander grinned. "Thanks. My babies need the shelter."
"We hope they'll be in by next weekend." Xander beamed at that and nodded. "Windows?"
"Standard. Did you want an automatic door or not, Xander?" the first guy asked him.
"Um, one I can hold open while I carry would be nice, but a button to open it when I'm carrying stuff?" That got a nod. "Maybe barn sized and sliding?"
"We can easily do that and it'll go well with the front's motif."
"It was like that when we bought it."
"The house is a bit quirky in spots anyway," he said with a smile. "He built a lot of the tables and bookshelves inside, boss."
"I heard he was working on some."
"I have one in the storage area that keeps breaking screws. Ignore that one?"
"I can do that too," he promised. He patted him on the back. "It'll be next week before you have anything to do so go about your normal day." He looked at the curious dogs. "They've been good about staring but staying out of the way."
"They're very good guard dogs." He petted them both and Hubert since he was out there. "Thank you." He went to check the other things. He'd have to get a new patio set and it looked like fix the deck to the hot tub again. He sighed and went to call in a small bit of order to do that. He needed to seal it anyway. The animals came in to get fed while he ate breakfast, then went back to watching. Xander went out to get the mail, smiling at the guards. "Hi, guys."
"Hi," one said, handing over something. "They're efficient."
"They are." He smiled at the card. "What's my package?"
"I don't know. Per orders we sent it to the guys at the lab," he said.
Xander nodded. "Okay. The dogs are loose and so's Hubert. I'm expecting another small delivery from Home Depot because I've got to fix the hot tub deck, again." That got a nod. "They're getting my tools and stuff from the storage area." He waved at the truck coming in. "See? I'm going to work on the hot tub deck once I've showered and changed." He looked down at his lounging pajama pants. No shoes, no shirt, but lounging jammies. "Don would yell if he saw me wandering around like this." They laughed. "Thanks, guys." He walked back up there, waving. "I'm getting stuff to fix the hot tub deck. Have them put it over there please." He went to shower and change, coming out with his old tool belt. The stuff had come while he was fussing over his hair so he got to work fixing it, again. It wasn't that hard of a fix. The boards were pried off, replaced, then he got to work painting the sealer coat over it all. He even used a hair dryer to make it dry faster so he could get the second coat on before it rained again. One of the guys smiled at that. "A trick I leaned. I don't have a regular heat gun to dry it." He shrugged and got back to work. The dogs came over to see what was going on but he petted them before getting them out of the painting supplies. "You'll be sticky, helmet headed dogs. Go play in the yard!" They went to play in the trees. They knew not to leave the daddy alone.
"Looks like you could use a support," one of the guys said quietly.
Xander looked then at him. "The mini-fridge goes there whenever we use it. It's in the office right now." That got a smile and a nod. "It even has wheels." That got a laugh and he walked off. "I have it braced behind there, just in case." He got a nod and a smile. Then he finished up and went to check on the pets. Hubert was cuddling a ferret. "Having a growing pain?" He nodded. "I'm sorry, baby." He sat down to cuddle him. "Are you going to be huge this time?" He shook his head. "Would a warm soak help? It does when I hurt." He went to run him a shallow bath in the tub, making him a happy dragon. Then he went to haul the dogs back inside so they'd quit trying to help the officer who came up to answer the noise complaint. "Can't I buy out both neighbors and make them move?" he asked the familiar officer.
"It's probably not ethical. Plus think of the house taxes."
"Eww. Don't remind me." That got a nod. He looked at the next lot then at him. "Unless she's got a parabolic dish or she's got bat hearing, this can't be bothering her."
"She said it was. The gate guards said she's cranky about any noise."
"Not like I'm going to do without a garage. Don's bike could never come home and my babies need the garage too."
"I know, sir. There's not going to be any write ups. You do have permits?"
"I got them this morning," the crew chief said. That got a nod. "They're in the truck if you need them."
"As long as you have them." He looked at Xander. "You were right, it helped." Xander smiled. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. You needed it. You can't be a tough, macho guy who's going to stop the lady with the gun coming through the hole in the fence if you're that tired." He looked then rushed over to stop her before she shot someone. Xander headed after him, helping him bring her down since she was struggling. He got an amused look. "Like I don't deal with them," he said dryly. The officer laughed and called it in. "Why did they get bail? They were doing arson."
"The judge thought they were misguided but not dangerous."
"Yeah," he said dryly. "Missed that one by a lot." He heard a shot and saw the officer wince, grabbing him after knocking the old lady out. He grabbed his radio. "This is Harris, officer down at my house. GSW in his lower abdomen on his left side! Suspect still here and armed! Another one down without her gun!" he said, then put it down and put pressure on it. Cop cars came screaming in a minute later and they pounced the lady trying to reload the ancient gun. Paramedics came rushing over. "It's in his side. It's tilted in because we were both holding the older one while she struggled." They nodded and took over for him. He backed up, sneering at her. "I'm going to see you in the chair for this. Even if I do have to bankrupt myself." They were led off. The commander looked at him. He held up a hand. "He answered the silence is golden neighbor's noise complaint about the construction. Guys, it's all right and handled," he called, realizing they weren't working. They got back to work but stayed out of the way. "The older one came through the fence with that old thing," he said, nodding at the gun. "Since she was struggling I came over to help him hold her down. Her daughter came out to shoot him while we were keeping her down. Before he could call for backup. It happened really fast."
"That's fine, Mr. Harris. Are you all right?"
Xander looked at himself then at him. "I'm fine. She was aiming at him for some reason." He looked at the daughter. "She's not the one that got arrested last night."
"She's still making bail." That got a slow nod. "We'll be sitting a car at the gate."
"Talk to them, not me. Delko's father recommended this crew and said they were trustworthy. As long as the other one doesn't show up," he said, watching the car coming up the driveway. "With a shotgun. Gun!" he shouted, pointing. Officers pulled and pointed at her and her shotgun. "Put it down!"
"Give me back my mother and sister!" she shouted.
"Put it down!" an officer shouted again. "Put it down and get on your knees on the ground!"
"I can have a gun at my own house!"
"Not when we just arrested them for shooting an officer you can't," Xander called. He glared at her. She glared at him and pointed it at him. He ducked and pulled the commander down with him then got up and went for her once she had fired and was trying to reload. He got her down while officers rushed to get their boss and her. "You stupid bitch," he told her. One of them tugged on his arm so he got off her. "Have her. Please!"
"Gladly." He looked him over. "You good? You have blood on your arm."
Xander waved him off. "I'm fine. How's your boss?" He got a look. "Guys, I hunted and I've been injured before. Even if it's a graze, it'll heal. I probably scratched it when I rolled. How's your boss?" He looked over. "He good?"
"He's fine, sir. You know, some of us were going to shoot her."
Xander grinned. "No you wouldn't. That would've been a lot of paperwork and time off for the review. It's always easier to pounce according to Don."
"He's Flack's wife," one of the other guys said helpfully. "That's Harris."
"OH!" they said, nodding.
"Next time, sir, let the officers handle it," one ordered.
He nodded, walking off. "I will. Tell the one guy I said to feel better soon and I'll send him candy since I always wanted candy in the hospital." They nodded, watching him go into the house. The construction crew looked at them.
"It's all right," one said. "Only two daughters in the family. It's handled, go ahead and get back to work." They nodded. "We're sitting an officer on the gate." That got a more enthusiastic nod. "And I'm not telling Flack his boy jumped that way," he told the commander.
"Let me." That got a nod. "Get the tapes from the cars?" That got a nod. "Thank you. Take her too. Whoever else is in the car as well. If they're kids, we'll give them to the other parent." That got a nod and they went to search the car, coming up with more gas, more shells, and another gun. They bagged it all and headed back to the office to call the hospital until they found out how their boy was doing and if he needed blood or something. They all smiled because when he came out he had candy he could suck on, a huge bouquet of lollipops and peppermint discs. All sugar free of course in case another person stole some.
Don walked into the patrol commander's office. "Problems, Sarge?"
"Six or seven. Your boy's not suicidal, right?"
"No but he has jump in and enraged citizen syndrome really bad sometimes."
"Yeah, he did this morning too." He showed him what they had taken off the cars. "This was after the guy got shot this morning. Your boy ran over to help with the struggling suspect." Don winced. "He didn't want us to fuss over the scratch or send him on to have it treated."
Don nodded. "Yeah, he's like that." He opened up his computer's browser and pulled up a file, showing it to him. "Xander before the hormones hit him too hard."
He read it then glared at him. "He did what?"
Don smirked and nodded. "Yeah. He'd make a hell of an officer if we could get them down. We've been trying something experimental to keep them down at the moment but he's still a level ten and prone to surges. The guy okay?"
"He's good actually. It was an ancient dueling pistol and had crap for range." That got a nod and a grin. "Your boy saved his life then sent him candy."
"Yeah, that's about Xander for ya," he agreed happily. "Everything okay now?"
"They were denied bail and booked on felony charges this time, plus the arson and attempted arson last night. She only has two daughters?"
"Yeah. That we know of. Xander's threatened to buy her house a few times and tear it down for more tree space. Plus the one on the other side who complains about every little noise."
"That's why he was there this morning. Noise complaint from the construction."
"Not like we're doing without a garage."
"I know." He leaned back. "Can you train your boy to respond correctly? A few of my guys were about to shoot her when he pounced. We could've gotten him."
"I can do that," Don agreed. "We can go over that and have Wolfe help us."
"Good! That one's got some sense too. Your boy told us we weren't going to shoot her because of the paperwork and the review. He said you told him pouncing was always better."
"Leads to less paperwork," Don said dryly. "Plus in New York you could pounce them into snow piles and stuff." That got a laugh. "So he's okay?"
"He's fine. Just teach him better responses. I want him to react by the book if something happens." That got a nod. "Good job so far though." Don beamed at that. "Go."
"Thanks. Tell the guy I said to get better too. I'll drop by on the way home. Dade?" That got a nod. "Thanks, Sarge." He left, going back to his desk. "Xander helped arrest the ladies who shot at the officer responding to the crank's noise complaint," he announced. "By pouncing."
Frank gave him a look. "You can train him better."
"I can and will. Has anyone heard from him?"
"Not in the last few hours," Ray said. "The guy they said got shot?"
"They said he's fine, Xander already sent candy." They smiled. That was a very Xander thing to do. "I need a list of situations so I can train him."
Danny walked over. "Talked to Xander. He said it was only a scratch from where he rolled. Then I caught him in the lie and he admitted it was a graze but it's already closed and healing." That got a nod. "The guy that got shot is fine. Not too deep, already closed. Xander sent candy." They nodded at that. "The work crew thinks he's strange but good." He shrugged. "He fixed the hot tub deck too." He handed Don a folder. "From H and Speed."
"On my case?"
"Yup. What else would I bring?"
"A list of situations we have to train him in the proper procedure for?"
"Could help," he agreed. "I'll start on the list and compare it to yours." He walked off shaking his head. "He did what?" he called back.
"Pounced when the shotgun went off. With officers there and guns drawn."
"Yeah, we'll train that reflex out too," Danny agreed, going to talk to Wolfe and Horatio since they were in. They could help him make the list and compare it to the others'.
Frank started to write. Ray too. He looked at his. "No mounties down here, Ray."
"Oh, yeah." He crossed that out. "Sometimes it's really strange not seeing people in serge." He shook his head quickly and kept working.
"I should get a copy of that tape," Don said, sitting down to call him. "Hey, Sarge, Flack. Can I have a copy of that tape? It'll help us figure out what to train him for. Thanks." He hung up and shook his head quickly. The normal delivery guy from Fu's came in with a bag, handing it to him. "What did I do to deserve it this time?"
"He said you'd be in high fuss mode so you needed protein to sustain it," Paul said dryly. "And his last poker bet finally paid. It's in the car. Want it here?"
"Please. Am I going to get mad?"
"No. Probably not. The weapons warehouse is overflowing. Might want to get the boss onto it." He walked out to get the other bag, pulling it back inside with a groan of pain. "I don't know what they paid him in but it's damn heavy, Flack." Don tipped him a twenty. "Thanks, man. Have a good lunch. We took it out of his last debt since he had a credit." He walked off rubbing his shoulder and wrist.
Ryan saw him outside. "Poker debt?"
"Last one," he agreed. "Plus Flack's lunch."
"Wonder if he'll share." He walked inside to look at the black bag, pulling on gloves. "Have we tried to pick the lock yet?"
"Not yet," Don admitted. He handed him the metal nailfile he usually used. Ray saw the keys and handed them over. "That'll work too."
Ryan unlocked it and blinked. "Oh, holy shit," he said in awe.
Don leaned over to look. "Tell me that's silver?"
"Can't," he said. He checked the bag. "Looks like sixty bars." He rezipped it and checked the outer pockets. He found a card. "New arms dealer."
"Tell Horatio he needs to take Xander to the warehouse too. Paul said it's overflowing."
"It wasn't," Ryan said dryly. He stood up and checked. "Wheels. Nice option this time." He wheeled it back to the lab. "Horatio, Xander needs to hit the warehouse, it's overflowing and it wasn't the other day," he called as he walked. He walked it into trace, where Speed was barely putting on his coat. "The last poker debt."
"Why can't you lift it?" he asked cautiously. Ryan opened it, putting the block in front of him. He picked up the twenty-five pound brick, looking at it, then around it. "Huh. Think we can split one to see if it's pure?"
"Probably. There's sixty."
"Good point." He called Xander. "It's me. Your last poker debt paid off in platinum bars. Like bricks, Xander. Those things, yes. Can we crack one to make sure it's pure? Thanks." He hung up. "Get me one from the center." Ryan stacked them on the table so they could do a count and mark serial numbers to check for stolen property. He handed him one from off-side of the center of the pack. Just in case someone tried to get sneaky and layer the fake ones in the center. Speed checked the serial number, it was good. He took a photo then he found a chisel and a hammer, cracking it down the center. "I'll be damned."
Ryan looked. "Pure platinum?"
"Pure." He did a flake test just in case, getting the answer they expected. "Yup, pure." He looked at Horatio and Eric, who were in the door. "Pure platinum."
Ryan finished stacking with Eric's help, going over the serial numbers to make sure they weren't stolen. Then they repacked them and took them to Danny so he could take them to the bank with Ryan riding shotgun.
Horatio walked out shaking his head. Frank gave him a look and a smirk. "Pure platinum bars. Sixty-two of them."
"How much is that?"
"I don't know. I'm sure Xander could buy out both cranky neighbors for orchard space." He slipped into his sunglasses. "Danny and Ryan went to the bank together."
"Probably a good idea." He watched Horatio head out, shaking his head. He'd almost miss the insanity of Xander playing poker. Almost.
Danny walked into the bank, right to Miss Gold's office. "Hey."
"His last, very last, poker debt. We don't know how you guys wanna handle it."
"His jewelry vault is full."
"Oh, this isn't jewels," he said, letting Ryan in. "We cracked one ta make sure it was pure." She nodded slowly at that until Ryan set the cracked block in front of her.
"We checked the serial numbers already, just in case some of his poker buddies tried to pass stolen goods again. They all list as being bought at First National," Ryan told her.
She let out a small, hysterical laugh. "I hate him playing poker."
"So do we, that's why we finally made 'im stop," Danny told her, sitting down. "No clue?"
"Not a one. Let me call someone in our special metals department. You know, I learn a lot about some of the other fields working with your family." She called up there. "It's Miss Gold down on the floor. I'm here dealing with the last of Mr. Harris' poker debts. Platinum. Bricks. One's cracked to make sure it was pure. His husband checked the serial numbers already. Yes, we're here." She hung up. "She heard about the sale of them."
Ryan grinned. "I'm not sure if they were being cute about it or if they though Xander might like them since they're shiny and most of his jewelry is platinum."
"Who knows with some of them. Who was it this time?"
"One of the assassins he played with," Danny told her. "He had to wait until he got paid to make good. Xander gave him a two week limit and it passed yesterday."
"Oh." She nodded at the person walking up to her door. "Sir," she said, standing up. "These are Detective Messer, Mr. Harris' husband, and Officer Wolfe, both out of the crime lab and both of whom help Mr. Harris with his unfortunate poker habit. This is his last poker debt that had to be paid."
"They paid him in what?" Ryan handed over the broken brick. "Just the one got broken?"
"We wanted to make sure no one was passing off counterfeit," Danny told him. "That's why we checked the serial numbers too."
"He has quit playing?"
"Oh, yeah," Danny agreed. "Though he did take the underworld for over thirty mil in his time playing. Stopped a lot of people's bad plans for the city."
"Not to mention the one terrorist plot he helped us stop because the guy decided to pay him in a prototype warhead."
The Vice President of the bank shuddered. "He turned them in?"
"He did it subtly but yeah," Danny agreed. "He's got good tact but he got introduced to the wrong sort for the high stakes games he was playing. Claims he was playing for gas money." That got a nod. "That's why we made him stop. Twice."
The VP nodded. "I can see that. He's not doing anything illegal?"
"He's a level ten GHS," Ryan said quietly. "He was bored."
"We have a few others who bank here based on his recommendation," he said, smiling some. "Some very ...interesting folks. Let me see what you have." Ryan let him have the bag. "How many?"
"Sixty-one and one cracked," Danny told him. "We checked from the middle, off-center of the stack. Just in case."
"We checked them all after the one guy who paid him in two-hundred-eight-nine kilos of cocaine," Ryan added.
The VP laughed. "Yes, very interesting. He was arrested?"
"Oh, Xander went on a rampage," Danny said with a fond smile. "Ruined him, ruined his connections, ruined his pipeline. Xander saw playing poker as a way to help us do our job by taking the money they were using to do bad things away." He crossed his legs. "He was fantastic at it."
"I can tell. Let me talk to someone. We do keep a store of precious metals for currency purposes. Give me a few minutes." He went to make a call, leaving the bag there. "It's Robert, at Miami Federal. I did find out where your sale went. It went to Mr. Harris, who banks with us. His husband and a friend in the police department brought it in. Yes, that would be Mr. Harris. They cracked one to make sure it was pure and no one was trying anything funny. All sixty-two including the cracked one. If you wanted to we could arrange that. He would be amenable I'm sure. No, apparently Mr. Harris was using his poker games as stress relief and as a way to help his husbands now and then with some of the worst elements. Mostly the former but when he got paid in drugs once he apparently ended a whole line of drug connections. Exactly. I heard who bought that one. Hmm. We're here. We can do that. Thank you." He hung up and walked down there. "Well, gentlemen, we do have an agreement. The original bank is interested in buying it back. So we can buy it from you, sell it back them, make a slight profit off the sale, everyone will be happy. Say, ninety percent of worth?"
Danny looked at him. "Ninety-five. Xander's going to be young and pretty for a very long time. Plus wanted."
"I see. I can't really go higher than ninety-three."
She coughed and showed him something. "The current worth per ounce of platinum. Each of those blocks is twenty-five pounds," she said quietly.
"Sixteen ounces per pound," Ryan said, doing the math in his head. "Danny, take ninety- three. It's enough to give me a headache from estimating."
"Fine, we'll take it," he said, holding out a hand. They shook and he got the forms for them. He looked at Ryan, who whispered in his ear, getting a nod. "That's a lot of gas money, even for his SUV." She laughed at that. "Our garage got caved in last night then the neighbor whose tree fell set it on fire."
"I saw the report of the fire on the news. Was everyone all right?"
"We were inside thanking God that the tree didn't hit the house. The insurance guy was out there after Xander talked to a pro and they said the tree would fall any day then."
She nodded. "He caught it as it fell?"
"On tape," Danny said with an evil smirk. "The cops were there when she came over to light it on fire with the gas. And when her daughter did light it on fire. Then the noise from the clearing of the debris got a noise complaint and they showed back up, when the neighbor shot one of the officers, not fatally or seriously. Basically went into the fat in his side. Xander pounced the ladies and was highly upset. He was thinking about buying both of them out."
"His land taxes are very high."
Danny nodded. "Yeah. The house is in desperate need of repair too. You know anyone who wants to buy and restore a grand old house, there's probably going to be one up for sale since both daughters went with the old bat to prison this morning."
She nodded. "I'll pass that around. You do live in a nice, safe community."
Ryan smirked. "A judge lives up the street. She stomped up to his house and made him hear the complaint. Xander had to follow when the judge called him. The judge sided with Xander and told her to grow up too."
She laughed. "Sounds like Spoiled by Miami syndrome."
"That's both our neighbors. The other one has the ears that can hear ants moving at five hundred miles." That got a nod. "So we might have two houses open in the neighborhood." The VP came back. "Filling her in on some late breaking gossip."
"That's more than reasonable." He let Danny look over the forms and sign for him. "He would agree?"
"Yeah. He can't wear 'em, spend it when he needs or wants ta shop, and can't decorate with 'em." He shrugged. Then he grinned. "I can call if you want to make sure." He nodded so Danny dialed the desk phone and put it on speaker.
"Hey, gorgeous," Xander answered. "What's wrong?"
"Sixty-two platinum bricks, Xander. You mind if the bank cashes 'em out at ninety-three percent of worth?"
"No, I'm good with that. He paid me in platinum bars?"
"He must've thought I needed new sparkly stuff." A sigh. "Sure, go ahead. Thanks, Danny. We did check the bag?"
"Yup, we did check the bag. We did check the bars. We even cracked one just in case."
"I love you."
"Good. We'll have leftovers tonight and talk about earlier. The cops said you did good but they wanted you go over what to do, just in case."
"Yes, dear." He hung up.
Danny grinned, finishing the forms. Ryan signed as a witness. A guard came in to load the bricks for them, doing another count and letting the VP make note of the serial numbers on the forms. Then the worth was put into his account and they headed off to go back to work.
Miss Gold looked at him. "I learn a lot about other areas dealing with the Harris account. We've had jewels, money, drugs that he took back and destroyed people for giving him. Platinum. A few gold and silver bars once. They're in his jewelry vault. Electronics."
He smiled. "He does bring us a lot of money. I checked his balances. He's not diversifying?"
"His financial manager has ten percent of his net worth with us, sir." He groaned. "The rest are tied up in safe, long term, careful investments. Safe over profits for him. He'll need it if he's going to be kidnaped in his eighties. Though he did think that two neighbors might be moving soon in his community. One house needs a lot of work but the other might be nice and your son was supposedly looking."
"I'll have him look there. It sounds safe now that the one neighbor is gone." He walked off to file the forms.
Horatio watched the corvette pull in and smiled at the bouncy young man getting out. "Are you all right?"
"I got scratched when I rolled."
"Danny said he caught that lie already, Xander."
"Okay," he sighed. "I got a graze from the second shot. Yay me. I took one for the commander so he wouldn't get shot too."
"We're getting the tape so we can go over what you're supposed to do."
"I know. That's what training is for, so you have the right reactions instead of the ones you used when it was a demon." Xander nodded, walking over to the door. "Calleigh changed them again." He handed him the slip of paper.
"I thought you were."
"I have once. She did this time." Xander groaned, tapping in the codes so they could get inside. He looked at the stacks of cases and the barely useable walkway. "Xander," he said patiently.
"I only brought home ten new cases," he complained. A note floated down about them being presents. "Ah." He handed it back and started in the back. "Fuck, I need an expansion charm," he muttered. He got to work sorting things out.
"You can afford a second section since this is your building."
"Steve said to rent the others out. It'd cover the cost of the building over the next year. We can put up a second floor."
"We can," he agreed, looking up. "Easily?"
"Yeah. Not that hard." He kept looking. "Hmm. Ooooh, baby!" Horatio stiffened, coming over to look. "She saved my baby?"
"No, she did not. She was there when it was destroyed." He saw the evidence tag. "Xander." Xander pouted, giving him a pitiful look. "Not if they're tagged."
"I can remove the tag."
"But..." He gave him his best begging look. "I had him since high school, Horatio. Breaking into the military base was one of the few good dates Cordy and I had."
"We'll see," he growled, going to call Calleigh from outside. "Pull the records of the last burn. Because I found things with evidence tags, Calleigh. Hmm. There." He hung up and went back inside, going to sort out what they had confiscated before. Xander hoarded three of the seventeen pieces but the others were taken again. She came in to note them. They weren't on the list. "Why not?"
She looked at the tags then at him. "Those are ours. They're out of sequence."
"Someone knew I needed my babies," Xander called.
She looked behind him. "This is a bit much."
"Yes, it is," Horatio agreed. "Presents."
"Huh." She looked at him. "Now what?" She called up the evidence tag from the back of the hummer on that computer. "It's coming up no such entry." She called the lab. "Speed, run an evidence tag for me?" She read off the number and he read it back as he typed it in. She shook her head. "He said it's not in the system either." She smiled. "That's where we are and it's not even on the paper copies I had." She nodded. "We need to." He hung up and went to look. "Do we think it was mundanely changed?"
Xander came out petting something. "Yes. The one who gave it back to me can't do things that way. They had to call in a favor to get it here from the warehouse." He went back to petting his other babies, dragging those back. Then he got to work shifting boxes around so they were somewhat sorted.
Horatio nodded politely at the security guard. "Presents."
"I know what's in there, sir. The same as we know the PD has direct oversight of the collection he holds. We do have a few empty spaces at the moment." Xander came out to look around Horatio's arm. "Sir."
"We have two empty spaces and you do own the building."
"I wouldn't put something delicate up there, sir. It's only metal. We do have hurricanes."
"Good point but you can't put a bunker in Miami."
"I know. Pity."
Xander grinned. "Don't worry, I've got a spot for some of them." He nodded and left them alone. Horatio and Calleigh both looked at him. "I do."
"Where?" Horatio asked.
"There's a nice bunker out at the farm."
"Under the barn. That's why there's a ramp up into it."
"I see." He gave him a look. "Fine, we can move some of it out there. As long as we check that out so it's a safe spot."
"It doesn't have anything in it right now. It's the hurricane shelter. It's big enough to lead the horses down too."
"Good. That means some of the bigger things can go." He gave him a look. "I'll check it out first."
"Okay. It's the door beside Princess 2's stall."
"I'll look tonight, Xander."
"Sure." He gave him a hug. "I need a day on the range to weed out the crappy guns. Half of those I found on sale and it was an impulse buy so I had something. Now that I have more than something I can weed out the bad ones."
"We can do that," Horatio agreed. "Once we move some of the higher things. That way we can get to them."
"Sure. My gun range is shut down so we have time."
"We can use the one I go to," Horatio promised. Xander beamed and hugged him again, bouncing inside to look at more things.
Calleigh looked at him. "What do we do about those?"
"We see if we can find any trace of them. Xander said a few came from his only nice date in high school."
"He bought weapons on a date?"
"No, apparently they needed things and went to a local reserve base," he said quietly, glancing around. She whimpered, mouth open. "It was with Cordelia."
"No wonder." She walked off rubbing her forehead. She made sure the computer in the back of the hummer was off then went to check the progress Speed had made. "Anything?"
"The tape of the log in was altered. The original log was altered. Your copies were altered. The destruction order was altered. The records we took before loading were altered. The records at the furnace were altered." He looked at her then at Stetler since he was in the doorway. "We don't know. We know that the ones that we have no records of but have tags for are back with the owner."
"He took them back?"
Stetler sighed, coming in. "What do we have?" She gave him the list. "Nothing on any of them?"
"I'm running the other tags now," she admitted. "The one I called in has nothing."
"The count was even altered and it wasn't Xander and it wasn't us," Speed told him. "The log book for the tape lists IAB, your office. Your signature."
"My assistant," he said calmly.
"Probably. Oh, and get this. Some of them were from Xander's only good date in high school with Cordelia."
Speed shook his head, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I have a headache."
"He was petting them and calling them his babies." She looked at him. Then at the computer. "One of the evidence tags links back to a necklace from a B&E?" She reran the number, finding it came up without even that. She pointed at the computer. "You tell me. Xander told me the ones who gave it to him as presents didn't have skills like that."
Speed's phone rang. "Speedle." He listened, then put him on speaker. "Repeat that please, McGee?"
"I said," he said, sounding amused. "Tony's fine. He nearly took a bullet for Gibbs today thanks to your Mala Noche hitter, who we have in custody. Also, he said something about Xander's weapons being back? He said he's welcome, it wasn't one of his poker buddies, it wasn't a favor or anything. It was someone who saw him pouting about losing them and did it for him not even knowing who he was or what he was. That's how he put it."
"Which hitter?" Stetler demanded.
"Jorge," Speed told him. "When the director issue up there got too hot we found out he stopped over to admire the renovations then went to DC to make some contacts happy."
"Yup. Xander heard about the hits so he sent Greg a list about a day before then. We thought we had it solved but then he tried to personally take out Gibbs this morning. Tony saw him. Greg recognized him. Tony pushed Gibbs down and got a graze. Gibbs got a concussion from the concrete floor in the parking garage and Greg's still puking up his guts from where he shot Jorge in the thigh. We're all good and he wanted them to know but I don't have Xander's cell number."
"He's with Horatio, I can tell him. Does he know who took them and altered stuff?"
"Nope. Not a clue." His head turned away from the speaker. "Guys, ask him again if he knows who did it. Tell him Speedle's asking." He apparently walked in there after the grumbling. "Listen, dickwad, Speedle wants to know."
"He already knew. Pretty clear who the dirty one was." He blew a kiss. "Tell the kid I'm sorry I won't get to see his next birthday and the fun they'll have out in LA for it. Heard it'd be a massive blowout."
"I can do that," he agreed. "Want to name names?"
"Hand him the phone, McGee, or put it on speaker," Calleigh ordered. He did that. "Jorge, it's Calleigh."
"Ooh, the pretty blonde with the gun fetish."
"Who can out shoot you. Who? I want to know. They fucked with *my* lab and they're going to get my foot up their hind end. So you tell me and I'll tell Horatio you're being good up there. Before he has to transfer files or demand Xander tell him things you probably won't like."
"Xander's a nice boy. If you ask right he probably knows stuff he doesn't realize. Let him know about missing his birthday."
"I will," she said, writing down what he had said. It was probably important. "Who?"
"Heard you guys had a party after you rushed into the twat's office to get him." Stetler growled. "Aww, did they give you a K-9 puppy to go with the hunting gun?"
"No, that's Stetler," Speedle said. "You know, if you confess, the BAU guys get to study you. Keeps you out of solitary."
"Eeh, what do I care? It's been a wild ride and my name's on the honors list." They heard a crunch then shouting and thumping noises.
"Please tell me he didn't just use a cyanide tooth?" Stetler begged.
"Can't," McGee said. A few beeps and they quit hearing the room. "Any ideas?"
"Yeah, a few," Speed said. "Give me your number, let me get with Horatio?"
"We'll be trashing his room up here tonight. We'll be down there tomorrow."
"Xander has guest rooms."
"That'll work. Thanks, man." He hung up.
Speed dialed Horatio from the desk phone. "Pull over if you're driving, get Xander to come see you in the next five minutes."
"We talked to McGee. Jorge tried to hit Gibbs, grazed Tony in the process. Greg shot him in the thigh and has been sick since then," Calleigh reported. "Stetler's assistant doctored the evidence without knowing who Xander was beyond the fact he was pouting. And there's a problem on Xander's next birthday in LA. Jorge said he'd hate to miss it because it'll be a massive blowout."
"All right," Horatio said. "He's where and who has custody so we can hand over information?"
"He just broke a suicide tooth," Stetler told him. "On the phone."
"Crap," Horatio muttered. "Xander!" He came that way. "Let me tell him, guys. Anything else?"
"There is no sign anywhere of the evidence tags," Speedle told him. "Not on the tape, the logs, the orders, nowhere."
"And that means what?" Horatio asked.
"For all the system knows they're fake," Stetler admitted.
"He has worse in here, Rick. Make a decision and let me know?"
"I'll talk to the chief." He hung up on him, looking at them. "What were they?" She handed over her list. He moaned. "Why?"
"Him having weapons scares the pissants who want to take him or challenge him," Speed said honestly. "We all got taken to LA because Horatio found Xander's weapons and confiscated them."
"Damn it. The Chief?"
"Knows. Horatio and Mac wrote a few emails afterward saying Xander is allowed to have weapons, he is allowed to have them because they'll have direct oversight, and the Chief and any agent could blow them," Speed told him.
"Charming. Let me get with him. We'll have to add charges to my assistant's sheet." He walked out, taking the list and information with him. He found him just giving a statement with the press about his new nephew - the mayor's new grandson. He caught his eye from the back of the crowd. He finished up being happy and they walked off while Stetler waited then walked up there, handing over a list. "My former assistant," he said grimly. "The now former Mala Noche who liked and respected Harris said he did it without a bribe or even knowing who he was, just to make him quit pouting. Which I can understand. It's a pitiful thing when he does pout."
"On but they don't lead anywhere. He was thorough. They checked every piece of documentation when they found them."
"Horatio said he has worse," he said quietly, glancing around then back at him. "Horatio wants orders and we'll be going over the Mala Noche files tomorrow since that one that's now former just suicided after trying to hit a Fed. We were on the phone with NCIS when he did it."
"Wonderful." He grimaced. "Horatio's supposed to be looking over his shoulder."
"Horatio said they were presents. He saw them when they got back from *the* bazaar. Then it suddenly grew."
"Hell. Now what?"
"That's what they're figuring out. He wants orders."
"Does he have to have them?"
"Speedle said that's why they were taken."
"Don't remind me." He folded it up. "No evidence anywhere?"
"One under a misdemeanor classification came up to a B&E. Under felony none of them come up. He even doctored the log-in tapes."
"No. Speedle was viewing the one that has 'backup' stamped in the corner." He glanced around again. "One does lead back to his best date in high school with the shrew who used to come to visit him from LA."
"Oooh," he said sarcastically, chuckling the syllable out. "Wonderful. What do we want to do?"
"Horatio's all for taking them from him I think." He called. "It's me and the Chief." He hung up. "He said to give him ten minutes. He's letting Xander rant about the Mala Noche."
"He knew him?"
"They were close poker friends. The same guy who did the General, sir." That got him a dirty look. "Him. Apparently he wanted the kid too but with the gang code he could never flip over that way. So he turned it into respect and watching over him. There also might be a problem coming up in LA soon."
"Can he hide them?"
"Horatio's looking over them now."
"Let's go to my office." They walked up there, calling Horatio back. "Is he better now?"
"He's down to mild complaining. Apparently Xander considered him closer to a friend. Wait in the hummer for me, Xander." He walked off and Horatio sighed. "If there's nothing but evidence tags, I don't know if we should confiscate them again or not." The sound of beeps then metal opening. "Xander!"
His voice came over. "Huh." He walked off humming, finding a card. From farther away his voice came back. "I have a whole shelf in my name at the demonic warehouse now. They're all there but a few things."
"Handguns since they heard me say I need to test them and weed out the crap pieces." His voice was next to the phone again. "The babies are up there. This is mostly what I got at the bazaar. The note says they'll hold it for me until I get somewhere better."
"What language is this in?"
"It's a common trade tongue. We learned it at Devi's."
"Oh." He handed it back. "Sir?"
"Where is this warehouse?"
"Not on this plane. The demons run it."
"I don't like that explanation much, Horatio."
Xander apparently took the phone. "You know Madam Qui's?"
"Unfortunately," Stetler admitted. "Vice hates that whorehouse. You were learning a different dance there if I remember the rumors correctly.?"
"I was. The green skinned thing that guards the door and takes the money? His kind run a warehouse for supplies from some of the biggest demons stores. They gave me my own shelf until I can get somewhere bigger and secure. How did I get my babies back?"
"My assistant saw the pout and decided to cure it without knowing who you were," Stetler told him. "So said Jorge."
"Huh." He leaned against Horatio's side. "I don't know, guys. I didn't ask. I didn't hint. I went home to pout after suggesting Calleigh could have the handguns and things she could save. Danny fed me ice cream and I snuggled in to pout at them and tell them where some of them had come from. Don got up and walked off halfway through because some of them came from the date where I took Cordy, Willow brought Oz, and we went to break into a reserve base to get Buffy something to deal with a world-ending issue in a mall. It was my best date ever in high school. Though I do like the ones Don takes me on better. Less snark and meanness as foreplay."
"Must you keep them in Miami?" the Chief asked.
"Do you really want the whole family to be taken and sold again?"
"Then yes, I must have weapons in Miami. Enough to blow up the fucking things if they show up and to handle anything that shows up to eat Miami."
"Jorge said something about missing your birthday in LA. He heard it'd be a massive blowout."
"Aw, fuck, not another apocalypse," Xander complained loudly.
"The fact you talk about them like it's a common thing worries us," Stetler said.
"That was Sunnydale stuff, guys. About every six, eight months or so we had one. Someone was always trying to get more power by doing stupid stuff or trying to end the world so they'd be on top when the prior inhabitants came back. Oh, Stetler. I have heard Buffy is back in Sunnydale with Willow. I have heard they're staying there. This way we have her power and skills so I don't have to go back to saving the world. Because we all know I get a bit scatterbrained some days." The sound of a gentle slap. "I do!" he defended.
"Quit putting yourself down, Xander."
"Thank you." He took his phone back. "I'll leave this open to discussion. This is beyond our protocol. They are special to him. I know he's not going to use them on the news station building downtown to make a point. If he has to pull one of those out in Miami there will be an emergency. Hopefully one that would need the National Guard."
"Yeah, definitely unless they come from me personally then I'd take the weapon to their realm and beat their asses up there. I should go blow up the head incubus to free Ryan."
"He's not Wolfe? The one we have?"
"A few succuba started to nibble on him," Xander told him. "We thought we had him free. Now we figured out he's been keeping me out of backlog by nibbling on the extra I'm putting out. I'm still figuring out how I'm going to get him free. Half of my books are packed in trunks."
"We'll do what we can to get him free," Horatio assured him, stroking over his shoulder. "Sirs?"
"Let me think, Horatio. I'd rather not have them here."
"Who says I won't get given worse?" Xander asked. "I didn't buy two-thirds of what was in here, sir."
"Why are they gifting you now?" Stetler asked, sounding put out.
"I kinda saved the bazaar from the demon trying to eat them and destroy things by killing it."
Stetler rubbed his forehead and hung up, looking at him. "He does that. That's his old life."
"I'm rather glad whatever's going on is going to go on over there."
"Me too. I'll leave you to figure out what to do about him this time, sir. I'm going to amend my former assistant's charge sheet with new charges." He walked off, heading to the prosecutor's office to do that. Talk about not amused.
The family came together that night for dinner. "They were right, the warehouse is packed. Well, was packed. Now it's up on the demonic warehouse plane and I have my own shelving unit apparently until I can clear a better space. Horatio is going to let me weed out some of the crappy handguns I have stored."
"Calleigh or my lab might want them," Mac said.
"Of course. I'd hand them to you, let you decide. She's already gotten presents this year." Xander gave him a look, getting a smile back.
"Further complication is NCIS is coming down tomorrow to go over the Mala Noche information we have," Speed said. "Xander, do you want them to stay here?"
"They can if they want to but Hubert will expect to see one of the two ladies since he's still pouting over them. Oh, and we're in a growth phase again."
"Good, means he'll be as big as the one in the picture Greg shows," Tony said as he walked in. "Early flight. His hotel room was a bust. Do we know where they hide down here?" He gave Xander a hug around the throat. "I'm still fine."
"You and me both," he said with a grin.
"What did you do?"
"Pounced the neighbor who shot a cop and her daughter who was going to be shooting at cops," Don said.
"We can train better responses into him," Horatio reminded them.
"We'll work on it this weekend while the boys are gone at the convention," Mac told Xander.
"Okay." He shrugged. "If you're that bored." He looked back at Tony. "Did you specifically need all of them, just his crib, any particular others?"
"All of them," Tony said. "They pissed us off. They shot at Gibbs. Gibbs said they all go or we get to blow them up."
"Hmm. Maybe that's the start of the new apocalypse." He shook his head and got up to call out there. "Hey, Wesley, the man I wanted to talk to. Well, two issues," he said, walking outside. "I got a tip that near my next birthday, you guys are having what the guy called a massive blowout. Yeah, I do think he was right. Well, he was a gang member, he knew a few demons, and he respected me for being the badass poker playing gay man I am," he said dryly. "I don't believe it. Don, they made bail again!" he called, walking in the other direction. "So we think you're having one and I was warned I'd be having fun too. Exactly. It sounds like a National Guard moment. Well, she is back in Sunnydale with Willow. I can work beside them and then leave again, Wesley." He walked around the side of the house. "No, the other problem? How do I detox someone who was starting to turn into an incubus?" He smiled. "Yeah, that way. We did that already. He's not reacting to holy water but he's still sucking off my vibe when I start to overload. It's nice, I'm back to doing some construction work again. Other than that, it's nice in other ways but he's a good friend and I don't want him hurt. Half of mine are still in trunks. Remember the kidnaping? Yes, that one. Do we know what Giles was doing?"
He smirked. "I have those books. Sure, I'm here. They're in trunks. Bring me the info?" He beamed. "That'll work. Please?" he said cutely. "And tell them yes I am coming for the convention with my whole protection detail." Wesley said that and Angel went on a rant. "Yay him. I'll be stopping by to ooze hormones all over him so he finally gets laid, without getting too happy of course." He beamed. "That'll work. Yup, same fax number. If I have an inventory list I'll send it. If not, I'll do one. It'll give me something to do tomorrow. You sure?" He nodded. "He did and he's devoted to Ares but ... yeah, him. Exactly, Wes. And we did that. He did that. Ares did that. Now we're stuck. You sure there's.... Okay. Thanks. Let me know what you need me to do." He hung up and turned around, looking at the woman with the shotgun. "Tell me they didn't let you buy more," he demanded, his finger pushing the button for a speed dial. It should go to Danny. "I mean, you try to shoot a cop and they let you buy *more* guns? That's just wrong. And how are you out on bail?"
"You're destroying my family!" she yelled. "It's your fault!"
"The tree limb was causing damage," he said, staring at her. "It was only one limb. The tree itself was rotten. The limb was rotten. Even the tree guys I had come prune mine said yours was rotten and going to fall over soon. You're still paying for the damage your tree caused my garage! Then you and your family caused my garage! Get a fucking life, lady!" He heard footsteps. "I mean, really! A limb does not create the need for you to start pulling arson tricks or shooting cops."
"If you hadn't cut it down, everything would've been just fine," she sneered, cocking the shotgun.
"No, it still would've fallen and you still would've been paying my ass back for damaging my garage. If you don't like it, fuck off."
"Down!" Mac shouted. Xander ducked and Mac shot her. Non fatally. In the shoulder. She still screamed. The shotgun still went off. Xander still ended up dead. Fortunately, he was still immortal. "Crap. Horatio! Don!" They came out, Don and Horatio grabbing Xander to take him into the bathroom so he could resurrect in peace while Mac called someone to come take her. He sneered at her. "You're creating a lot of trouble."
"He's still dead and they'll have to move."
Danny came out then sliced into his hand, letting her see it heal. "We gave him the same gift. It's all part of how we're married," he said with an evil smirk. She shrieked and tried for him but her shoulder meant she wasn't moving too much or too well. Pity. Danny slugged her and knocked her back down. "You destroyed your family over a limb on a dead tree. Do you feel proud of yourself?"
"He's still dead."
"Yeah, so was I about two hundred years ago." She stared. He smirked. Then he looked at the house. "Don?" He opened a window in the bathroom. "He good?"
"Bullet's out. He's healing. We're checking the tumor tomorrow." Xander gasped and sat up. "Easy. Easy, babe. Just calm down. Deep breaths." Xander panted until he calmed down. "That's my boy. Come on." He got him into the shower, which let her see him up and walking on his own, just holding onto Don's hand. She wailed and covered her head, babbling into the ground. Don looked out again. "You mind? I already had a headache." He shut the window.
Danny smiled at the cop rushing around the front of the house. "She tried ta shoot Xander. Grazed his shoulder. He's in the shower cleaning it off. Mac shot her."
"How did she get out?" Mac demanded.
"Same judge as before." The patrol officer shrugged. "We don't know, Detective. I'm not sure he knows."
Xander leaned out the window, looking at him, a bandage over his shoulder for show. "You can tell the judge I'm suing his ass for endangering my fucking life. I've had enough. She comes back and I collect weapons. I'm sure I can make her a very hard puzzle for my family of CSIs to figure out." He slammed the window again.
"He's pissed," Danny interpreted.
"I can tell. Good job on the bandaging."
Danny grinned. "He's quick to stop bleeding and Flack's got 'im at the moment."
"He heals!" she said, pointing at Danny. "The vain, dangerous one died and he heals! He said he's over two centuries old!"
"Listening to us while Xander works on something else ta write?" he taunted. He beamed at the officer. "He submitted his first one, which was porn, but he's working on real stuff now."
"I hope he gets published. It'll give him something else to do." He looked at the next house over. "Think we have more witnesses?"
"Don't know. Do we really need 'em?"
"No." He pulled her up and cuffed her. "The shotgun?"
"Hers," Mac said. "Want my weapon since I got her in the shoulder?"
"No, if we need it, IA can call, Detective." He walked her off, shotgun being walked out by Danny. "Thank you. What started this?"
He pointed at the gap in the stone wall between the houses. "They had a tree there. One of the limbs tore a hole in the roof of our garage. Xander, within the law, trimmed that limb. He found it was rotten. He got screamed at and she called someone. The patrol guy told her it was over the fence on our side, it was causing damage, he's within his rights to trim it." That got a nod. "The next day, Xander had tree people in to trim ours where they were over the fence in front. He had them look. They said it wasn't just the limb, it was the whole thing. By then it was leaning about forty, forty-two degrees toward the ground. Xander, hearing that, called the insurance guy. Who got out here in time to tape it falling. It crashed the garage. Her mother came over a few hours later, after calling the cops again, and started to pour gas on it." The officer moaned. "They stopped her before she lit it. Her daughter lit it instead. Then this morning, they were out on bail. They came ta shoot the officer who responded to the other side's neighbor who has bat hearing and complained about the guys clearing away the mess they had created." That got a small laugh. "He got shot by one. He and Xander pounced the old lady first. This daughter got him. They got her down, Xander called it in, then the other, the arsonist daughter comes out when all the other officers were here and tries ta shoot Xander. Xander pounces before the officers can shoot her. They're arrested and she's out on bail again!"
"I'm going to put it as attempted murder," the officer said.
"It was this morning, against ten cops on scene and one civie. And she still got bail!"
"I'll get her to a different judge. He's not on tonight."
"Our neighbor is one; he got an earful from the old lady the first day and he told her Xander was within his rights to cut the annoying tree branch."
"We'll see who's on then." Someone woman came stomping over through the back yard. "You are, ma'am?"
"I'm their other neighbor and I want you to make them shut up! I don't care what sort of immortal, self healer, new age person, whatever they are. They're annoying! They're loud! Their dragon complains all day. The dogs bark, the construction is *extremely* annoying."
"Then move," Mac told her. "People are allowed to have normal levels of noise in their houses. That includes fixing things when they fall in."
"Yeah, especially since Spots don't bark at all really. Unless there's an intruder or something. Someone new or they're playing ball with Xander. He hasn't had the energy recently."
"The dragon grumbles?"
"Hubert!" he called.
"See, noise!" she said, pointing at him.
"It wasn't that loud, ma'am." He looked at the lizard waddling out. "Uh-huh."
"That's our dragon. Hubert, grumble for him." The dragon gave him a look then made complaining noises.
"See!" she said.
"Ma'am, that's well within the tolerable level for personal noise," he said. "You can have up to a hundred decibels. That's barely ten. If that." She gaped at him. "I don't know why you can hear that from your place but perhaps you should see someone in case it's serious." She huffed off again. "Have many problems?"
"Every week," Danny said dryly. "The lawn boys, everyone else's lawn boys. She filed nineteen complaints this week alone. Six on us thanks to the construction and this stuff." He waved a hand at the debris. "Xander keeps saying he's going to buy them out so he has room for a bigger orchard."
The officer snickered, then glared at the woman trying to rock the car to get out. "Quit, now." He looked at him. "Good luck with her."
"Personally, I think it's drugs." They all flinched at the sound of a shot. "That was her house." They went running that way, finding her having shot her maid. "What did you do!" Danny shouted, his gun up and pointing at her.
"She was humming. Noise is evil!" she said, pointing the gun at them. The officer shot her before Danny could. "Finally," she sighed, sinking to the floor. She took her maid's hand. "Now it'll be quiet." She faded off.
Danny looked at him. "Want me ta call it in?"
"Please," he agreed.
"Backyard, officer," Mac ordered. "Not in here. The nightshift CSI will be pissed if you puke in here." He nodded, and Mac noticed Don and Xander had made it over so they were helping him calm down. He called it in. "This is CSI Taylor. We have a homicide/suicide by officer at 14 Grove Way. Next door to him. The one who makes the noise complaints, yes. She shot her maid, the officer responding to our shooting got her. He's out back. Send the ME and CSI. Thank you, Dispatch." He hung up and looked at Danny. "Bored?"
"Nah, never with Xander." He went to check on him. "You good?"
"First time," he admitted. Xander came back carrying a glass of water and some crackers. "Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"You're welcome. It's a hard thing to have to shoot someone." He sat down beside him, babying him for now. The officer gave him an odd look when he hugged him but oh well!
Mac went to let the officers and CSI in. "The one who shot is in the back. The one who shot at Xander is in his car in Xander's driveway. I'm the one who grazed her." That got an odd look from the CSI. "Want it from the top?" She nodded slowly so he started over from the tree incident yesterday.
It was going to be a long night for CSI, she could tell.
Stetler stomped in. "The patrol officer, Taylor?"
"Out back being babied by Xander since this is his first one."
"It's going to be a long night," he sighed. "The one in his car?"
"I shot her when she went tried to shoot Xander for the tree. Apparently cutting off a limb that was damaging the roof of the garage destroyed their family."
That just got a nod. "I heard about that part of it earlier. One came back?"
"The daughter that wasn't involved in the arson got bail after shooting people earlier."
"Hell!" He walked that way. "Someone get her checked in on attempted murder charges. Now!" An officer ran to get her out of the car and do that before he bit someone. He stomped into the back yard. "Get off the officer, Harris."
"I'm making him feel better."
"I don't care! I doubt he needs petted like your dog!" Xander huffed but let him go. "Flack, take him home, baby him. He's in the way."
"Need his statement from earlier? Or why she shot herself?"
"No. Taylor can give it." That got a nod and he led Xander off. He waited until they were gone to look at him. "You're welcome."
"It was nice. My mother was that fussy. She was also shorter and fatter, but he makes a good mother."
"Thankfully he's not fertile so he'll have pets. What happened as of when you got here?"
He cracked a smile. "You heard about the tree too?" Stetler growled. "She apparently made bail. Came over with a shotgun to get Mr. Harris. She grazed him, Taylor grazed her. I pulled in and followed the shrieking and wailing she was doing to find her. They had Harris inside cleaning his graze. Taylor and Messer helped me get her to the car. Is she still there?"
"I had someone take her in. Then?"
"This neighbor comes over to complain about the noise. The dogs bark now and then. The dragon grumbles, he squeals. I told her the acceptable level limit once it was verified how loud some of those noises were. Messer doesn't yell that loudly around the house. The dogs aren't that loud. The dragon grumbles very quietly. Is it really a dragon?"
"Who knows. Harris found it on a trip with Wolfe. And?"
"She came back here after I gave her the hundred decibel answer in the statute. She shot her maid. We responded to the gunfire. She pointed the gun at us. I fired first, getting her. She said something like 'finally', sank to the floor, took her maid's hand and said 'now it'd be quiet' then died." He turned green.
"Use a bush." He went to do that. He walked back inside. "Anything showing she was on drugs or there's something that amplifies sound in here?" The CSI shook their heads. "She was complaining about the dragon grumbling next door."
"Not that I've heard, Sergeant. Let us do our job and we'll know." He nodded. "The officer?"
"If his story checks out, he's clear." He went next door, finding Danny in the kitchen. "Who was in there with him?"
"Me an' Mac." He looked at him. "Here, tea for his stomach. I remember puking grandly after my first one," he said at the odd look. "Mac?" He walked it over. "We can go over there. Don and Horatio have Xander in the living room."
"Good." He walked him over there. "You didn't shoot?"
"The officer's elbow was sightly in my way. I had ta move first. I was shifting when he fired. Mac was behind him."
"Will you need my gun for the first one? I had Speed bag and seal it."
"Probably." He looked at them. "From the top." The officer sipped his tea, holding his head. "Including you."
Horatio watched Rick stomp back to his car, handing him the brownie. "Xander said you needed chocolate," he offered with a small smile.
"Your boy is strange."
"He's gentle. It's surprising with all he's seen. We like that about him." Rick took the brownie, shaking his head. "Mac's shooting?"
"Reasonable. So was the officer's. Any idea what was wrong with her?"
"She reported the noise from the end of the community, Rick. We were all wondering if it was a tumor, drugs, or she was like that one guy's dissertation." That got a groan and another bite eaten. "Did we make a decision about his weapons?"
"I left it in the Chief's hands. Nag him tomorrow. Anything else I should know?"
"The other two got given bail for some reason as well. Which judge was it?"
"The one you nearly arrested for homicide."
"I'm suing him for endangering my life," floated out of the house. "I've had enough."
"And he's still in a bad mood."
"That means they're calling off tomorrow?"
"They haven't decided yet." He gave his nephew a smile when he pulled in. "Let us know if you need more help."
"I will." He walked off finishing his brownie. The kid had a point, it had made him feel better. He wasn't feeling drugged, just better and calmer. It'd help when he had to finish doing the reports.
Ray Junior got out of his car and pointed. "He was being civil. Is there an apocalypse?"
"Next year on Xander's birthday but it's in LA,"
"Good to know. I'll watch for more signs of it getting nearer." He walked over. "It was all over the news. What happened?"
"The tree family then the noise woman," he said quietly.
"Damn." He walked off shaking his head. "Let's calm him down."
"He made some excellent brownies."
"Cool. I could use some chocolate." They walked in through the front door and got pounced, smiling at Don. "Hi."
"Hi. I was hoping you weren't intruders since it seems to come in threes." He got off him. "Brownie?"
"Could, yeah." He walked that way, giving Xander a hug. "It'll be all right."
"It's an election year, right?"
"Yeah. And he's up for it too. He has to be reelected every four years I think." He took his brownie. "Do you like any of the other candidates?"
"Horatio, pick a candidate for me to help," he called.
"For which office?"
"Anyone but that judge."
"Perkins sounds nice but Nichols was better on crime," Speed said. "She was by the book. She was tough as hell, but we're not sure Perkins will be better."
"Sure." Xander smiled at them. "Thank you." He gave them all kisses. "I'm going to soak with some of the brownies." He took most of the plate with him to the bathroom, finding Danny had run him a warm bubble bath. "Thank you!" He stripped and slid in with a small moan. It was nice. Very nice. And his boys had done it for him. That was good spoiling coming from them.
Danny came in and shut the door. "Want cuddled?"
"Could." Danny stripped down so he could climb in behind him, letting Xander rest against his chest. "Nice." He snuggled in, feeding him bits of brownies and just enjoying the night. "Did I steal your bubble bath?"
"You're my favorite soaking toy. I ran it for us." Xander beamed and kissed him, then fed him another piece of brownie before nibbling on the rest. Danny calmed him down, stroking his back and arms, until he was sleepy. Then he got them out, dried off, and into bed. "Night, Xander," he whispered.
"Hmm, night, love you."
"Love you too. No nightmares." Xander nodded, wrapping himself around him.
Xander walked into the candidate's office. "Hi. I'm royally pissed at one of your competitor's actions on the bench. Would you like to know why so you can use it to help him get off his seat?"
"What did one of them do?"
"Let the person who shot at me and about ten officers out on bail. After there had been incidences the day before including arson."
"That's bad," she said, smiling at him. "Tell me everything please. You are?"
"Xander Harris. I live by Judge Overton and he's a sweet guy." He sat down, pushing over the one candidate's picture him. "He's the one who repeatedly let out the insane person who called the cops because I trimmed a nuisance tree." She stared. "It tore a hole in my roof. She called the cops. The cops agreed it was within my rights. The next day, the tree fell. She came over with a can of gas." She moaned. "It had demolished my garage so, you know, insurance guy was even taping it. The officer pounced her, put her in the car, her daughter came over to light it on fire while he was dealing with her trying to escape. He arrested them both and the fire department had a short bout to deal with."
Her mouth opened slightly. He held up a hand. "He gave them bail for arson. Intentional arson. Then yesterday morning my neighbor shows up with a gun. The same officer's there because the neighbor on the other side hated noise and I had people in to clear the debris. She complained about lawnmowers six blocks away so they were used to it and I was about to offer him coffee, when he spotted the gun. He pounced, she was still struggling so I pounced. He got shot in the side by the daughter that hadn't been in on the arson . Thankfully she was using a weak, antique gun with very little range so he's fine. I called in that he was downed, officers came. Her other daughter came out with a gun to try to shot the new officers and me. They arrested her! He gave them all bail!" She moaned. "Exactly! Then the daughter who hadn't done the arson came back last night to shoot me again! And he tried to talk to the other judge so he'd give her bail again!"
"Do you know why?"
"Horatio Caine is like a father to me. He's helped me, mentored me, he loves me like his son. I spoil the lab and their homicide department rotten. Horatio caught him doing bad things and even though the verdict was a hung verdict, he was still doing bad things. He hates that Horatio caught him. He shouldn't be on the bench if he commits homicide."
"No, he shouldn't. We'll have to look into that, Mr. Harris."
He handed over something. "I filed a restraining order against them coming near me and that's the paperwork from that. You should be able to get the paperwork from there. Also my lawyer is filing a civil complaint against him for endangering my life. I believe in the theory of 'you fuck with me and I make your last few minutes miserable before you shoot yourself'."
She laughed. "We'll gladly help. Why come to us?"
"Speedle said you're fair and you're tough but you knew what you were doing. I'm not so sure the new people will. Because if someone had known what they were doing, they wouldn't have gotten out on bail."
"Good point. Thank you for this."
"Oh, please, spread it around! He liked Perkins too, Judge Nichols." He got up and shook her hand. "As long as he gets off the bench, I'm good with nearly anyone at the moment. Not the anti-gay people but anyone this side of a trained chimp. He said you were better than that though so I'll assume he'd know." He grinned and walked off.
She considered it. "That was actually high praise from Speedle. He called me a trained chimp once for following the book." She went to tell her campaign manager, taking the tape she had made with her. Plus the paperwork. Someone was seriously angry with that judge. Pity. Good for her but pity for him. "We have a good ad against him!" she yelled as she walked.
"Tell me it's going to push us back up there?"
"He let people who shot at cops out on bail because he was mad the crime lab caught him killing someone." Her campaign manager squealed and hugged her, so she let her listen to the tape. Yeah, that would work.
Xander looked at the gang members. "Oh, let's not do this!" he complained.
"Just because he liked you...." one started with a small sneer.
Xander looked at him. "Ignore the hair for a minute, guys. I helped take down a military unit that was using torture on my former town's people." They stared. "*That's* why Jorge liked me. Now, he left information on what was going to happen in LA?" Someone tossed over an envelope, making him catch it. "This it?" He nodded. "In his pad, all that?" That got another nod. "Good. Thank you. Oh, don't shoot the Feds. I'll get pissed and have to react." He looked at a nearby trash can and lit it on fire then back at them. "Understood?" They all stared then one nodded slowly. "Thanks," he said with a sweet smile. He got back into his corvette and headed back home to look the information over and send it to Wesley. Then he went to do the book inventory. He really needed to do one anyway.
"Did he just..." the one who had tossed the envelope asked.
"Yeah. Jorge said if you fucked with him he got you back triply. He was the rule of Karma." They all shuddered. "Yo, lights," he called, spotting them. The hummer pulled up first and Horatio got out. "Wow, you really brought your boys," he said dryly.
"I'll still shoot you this time," he said. "Against the wall." They tried to move but SWAT was there, a lot of other officers were there. They weren't going to be able to run. The Feds got out last and walked over.
"Why were they outside?" Tony asked quietly. "This isn't normal gang behavior."
Horatio pointed at the burning trash can. Then he looked at the one he had to threaten last time. "Xander come down to see what's happening on his birthday?" They all nodded. "Well, Jorge did shoot at some of his favorite people." They all moaned. Jorge had been right! Gibbs gave him an odd look. "Let them tell you."
One looked at him. "They said fucking with your little boy toy brought Karma down on you. Usually he enforced it to make it worse!"
"Then you'd better be happy Jorge didn't kill me and only grazed my senior agent." He pointed at Tony. "Then got shot by Sanders."
"His Greggy," Horatio said with a smirk.
"Mine now," Tony reminded him. "And Xander's the only one who gets away with that name." The rest of the guys moaned. "Yeah, we're extended family. One guy started to cry but the others beat him until he stopped. "Hmm. Interesting."
"Very," Horatio agreed. "Where is Jorge's crib?"
"Coming from a guy your age the lingo sounds wrong, dude," one person yelled.
Horatio glared at the cop until he shrank back and went back to cuffing and patting people down. "Don't make me get Xander down here to see if he knows." They all moaned and one pointed. "Thank you. Take them. Frank is waiting on them." The officers got them into the truck for transport and headed back with escorts while Horatio and the NCIS team took down the apartment to toss it for information.
"We do have a warrant?" Gibbs asked. Horatio held it up. "Good, it'll cover their places too."
"Got a warehouse, boss," Tony called.
Horatio looked. "Xander's." That got a groan and they kept going.
"Found the shrine," Gibbs called. They looked. It was a good shrine to Xander in a closet. Especially him playing cards or firing guns. "At least he liked him when he was tough." He pointed at one. "Horse picture?"
"He likes to ride." Horatio stared at them. "That one... That was at the PD gun range. The one in the right corner was in the lab."
"Your mole?" Tony asked.
"No. Couldn't be. They're leaking to the Feds." He frowned. "Let's see who the mole was this time." They went back to it, bagging up everything that was paper, drugs, or money. The guns got to go separately.
to part 57: