Sneaking Around The Plans
Ryan walked around his apartment, fretting. "I have no idea what I'm doing for my next life," he admitted finally. He looked at his buddy, Danny, who was over to help him with this. "I do okay with the business stuff but it bores me to tears."
"Then open a dojo or something," Danny offered patiently. Ryan smirked a bit at that. "If the crazier Macleod can do it, so can you."
"Good point. That takes money though. I don't want to hit Xander up for a loan."
Danny snorted. "What makes you think he hasn't already thought of that and put plans in place with Steve?"
"No clue," Danny admitted. "It's possible though."
"Good point. I guess I could go with the business stuff and keep up with the horses." Danny nodded at that. "I love my horses."
"I know you do. You spend as much time as Xander does with them," he said dryly. He was still irked. Xander had spent last night at the barn because he had worn himself out breaking in the foal he had adopted a few years back from the ASPCA. He had no idea how Xander had learned how to saddle train a horse, but it was Xander and he knew he had some strange contacts. "Steve'll need someone to do stuff for him probably."
"Good point." He sat down, looking at him. "I'm still bored to death by the numbers."
"That can happen. No one says you have to stay in it forever and ever, Wolfe. It's a good skill to have later on anyway. That way you can handle the financial stuff since you're probably going to be one of the older of us."
"Good point." He leaned back, frowning some. "I guess I could. Steve's been yanking his hair out for some reason."
"That reason is usually Xander," Danny said dryly. "The same reason you do but probably for a different cause." He stood up. "Why was he looking downtown?"
"Not a clue," Ryan admitted.
"Fine. I'll ask the guy myself." He smirked at him. "Just think, if you do go for the money stuff, the life after this one Don wants to open a club."
"So I can do the books cheaply for him too?" he teased back.
"Sure can," Danny agreed happily. "Saves me from doing it." Ryan laughed at that. "Feel better?"
"Yup. Thanks, Danny."
"Welcome, Ryan." He headed back home, going to find his boy. "Hey, Xander?" he called as he walked into the kitchen. "Why have you been looking at downtown buildings?" he called. "And why is Steve pulling his hair out again?"
"No clue," Don called back. "He's napping." Danny joined them in the living room once he had a drink, sitting down on Xander's other side. He was curled up with his head in Don's lap. "He caught the flu off that one guy at the station so he's felt miserable for the last few hours. He's napping off the last of it."
"Naps are good," Danny said, getting comfortable to watch the news. "Tell me the DEA isn't trying some stunt nearby?"
"Across town. They're being mean this month according to rumors. They're tired of the drug pipelines and think they have a clue."
"Not always," Danny admitted. He sipped his juice, watching them bust into a house and arrest people on live tv. "While that's pretty and all, they don't all look like druggies." He took another sip.
"They have the theory that if one person in a house does drugs they all do it," Don reminded him. "Hence the seizure laws."
"Good point." He finished his juice, putting down the glass before taking Xander to cuddle him. "He been okay today?"
"He's been fine. Think he's making evil plans or just plans?"
"Not real sure. With Steve pulling out his hair I'm guessing he's adding to the money again somehow."
"Maybe," Don admitted. "He's not playing poker for money."
"No, we know he's not," Danny agreed. He looked down, seeing the brown eyes looking at him. "Why is Steve pulling out his hair?"
"I'm helping with Ryan's next planned life. He thinks I'm being too obvious since it's an emergency hiding spot for us."
"That's why you've been looking at buildings downtown?" Xander nodded. "Any other plots and plans we should know about?"
"Not really." He took a kiss. "Cuddly today?"
"You looked like you could use one." He smiled. "When will we see it?"
"When Ryan moves."
"Ah." He stroked over his back. "That's fine. He was arguing with himself about not really liking the investment stuff."
"I know." He grinned. "Steve'll go help Jace his next life and Ryan will take his place for at least a few years, until he's driven nuts by Las Vegas and Ryan's driven nuts by the numbers. Then they'll switch and Ryan will go to a different thing."
"Even better." Danny stroked over his back. "Have any plans for tonight?"
"Dinner?" He shifted up to sit in his lap, taking a kiss. "We could use a good dinner out."
"We could," Don agreed. "Let's get dressed and go." Xander hopped up to do that. They smiled and went to dress up. Their boy needed a night out and so did they. It was good for them. It kept Xander from pouting too. Even when his phone rang. "Flack. Didn't know I was on-call, Mac, but okay. What's up?" He kissed Xander. "You and Danny go. I'll join you later at the club." Xander nodded, going back to getting pretty for them while Danny finished his showering and changing rituals. Don pulled on a decent shirt and grabbed what he needed. "Where?" He nodded. "Give me twenty, Mac." He hung up and took another kiss before heading out.
Danny and Xander finished feeding the animals before going out then went to have some fun. It was Miami, it was a city built for naughty fun for the pretty people.
Don looked at the body then at Mac. "You wondering if it's coincidence?" he asked finally.
"No. I know it's not." He handed over something he had bagged earlier. Don read it then nodded slowly. "Whoever that guy was that Xander ended up getting for hurting Hubert is out and he wants Danny."
"Interesting." They looked at the corpse that had been Sonny Sassone and then sighed. "I'll tell him."
"We need to figure out who that guy was."
"We have the security footage in the case file."
"Good." He smirked. "Where is he?"
"Out with Xander. I'll tell them in the morning. If something happens tonight, Xander's got it." That got a nod. "By the way, warn Ryan he's making plans for him now too."
"I can do that." He finished the scene and followed the body back to the temporary lab. This was not a good omen for a happier month than last month but they could hopefully stop the stupid person before Xander had to get...creative. They all hated it when he turned from GHS cuddly one to warrior Xander with a 'tude. It really did ruin his and Horatio's day.
Don sat his lovers down over breakfast, looking at them. "Remember the guy who stabbed Hubert?" They both nodded, Xander nibbling on some toast. It was early for him to be up. He usually slept in another hour. "He's out and he stabbed Sonny. Gutted him." Xander dropped his toast. "Told you you didn't wanna eat," he reminded him.
"I should probably go to the funeral for form's sake," he said, frowning some.
"Oh, no," Danny said.
"He was a poker buddy. He did bring some amusement into my life. I robbed him blind many games for gas money." Don snickered at that. "He used to swear at me a lot for doing it too. I usually ended up letting him keep enough to pay his dinner tab." He frowned. "Is he coming here?"
"He left a message on him for Danny that he'd be seeing him soon."
"He never did say why he wanted to talk to him," Xander pointed out.
"Nope," Don agreed.
"Okay. Do we have his picture and things?"
"Mac's got it coming from that case." That got a nod. "Xander, be careful."
"I'll be at the farm all morning then helping Ryan's next life this afternoon."
"What are you helping him with?" Danny asked.
"Just this and that."
"Have you told him this yet?" Danny asked patiently.
"No. It's our emergency spot until he needs it. After all, he does stupid stuff."
"Good point," Don agreed. He looked at Danny. "You good?"
"Good. Then let's head in. I've got my bike today. Danny?"
"I'll drive in my car. They say mean things when I catch a ride on the back," he teased.
"Good point." He grinned and they both kissed Xander on the head before leaving him there with the pets and his day's plans. At least it was giving him something to do. He loved the animals. Maybe some year they'd get his hormones down enough and he'd be a vet or something. He did good with them.
Xander walked into the loft apartment he had decided on, smiling at the contractor that had worked on his garage. He liked the guy a lot. He was still having problems breaking into the local business because he didn't have many proof jobs and he ran a small crew, but he was honest. He did good work. He humored him when he wanted to work beside them. "Hey."
"Mr. Harris. A hidey-hole?"
"Yup. Just in case. Then it'll go to a friend when he decides to dump his current guy and move on." That got a smile and a nod. "How's business been?"
"I'm hoping this is a longer job than your garage," he admitted.
Xander nodded. "I can see that." He looked around. "You're going to have some work. I want it a lot more open. Wood floors, real wood not cheap wood. A good kitchen because he can cook but he's kinda lazy when it's just him. Think about it being like my practice space in the house but bigger." That got a smile. The guy had admired the construction on the practice room when he had asked him to borrow the ladder to change a light bulb but the guy had done it for him. He patted a stone column wall. "I'm not sure if they're structural or decorative but they remind me of a church and they're kinda ugly."
"If they're structural there's many things we can replace them with." He sat down with his laptop so he could pull up pictures of other choices. They decided on the wood fairly quickly. The kitchen too. This one was going to be a bit more modern. Very open. Very comfortable and warm instead of glass and metal but still fairly modern. It'd take them a good month of work to get it perfectly correct for him but it was a job he needed. Plus Xander agreed he could use it as a proof job. Which his people needed to get more work. They signed the papers and Xander handed him money. Not a check, cash. He gave him a look. "Bank run?"
"Yeah. Bored." That got a smile. "Had to buy some animal food anyway." He grinned. "This your only one?"
"For the moment. There's hope there's more coming." Xander nodded, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "I know, it picks up after the hurricanes but this year was pretty tame so there wasn't a lot of damage."
"That's a good and a bad thing for Miami," he admitted. "Then again, the guys who did the house's renovations protested when we had the guy who tagged the house arrested. I like you guys more." That got a smile and a nod. "So, start whenever you can?"
"Of course. Electric?"
"It's on. Water's on but I had to turn off the bathroom. It's cracked in the extreme." That got a nod. "It'll be a good few weeks' work to get it straightened out correctly."
"I hope we can do it up to expectations."
"You did with my work area." He stood up. "Now, go tell your boys the good news." He smiled and went to do that. His guys had been day laboring for his old boss until he found them a new job. It'd be good for them to come back to work. Xander looked around the loft. It was a beautiful space and with some extras it'd be even better. Ryan would love this and the built-in bookshelves would make a wonderful altar area. That's why he had designed the lower area with the free wall behind it. He stood up and went to get the animal food to take out to the farm then headed back home to spoil his ferrets and dogs rotten. Hubert was napping and grumpy again. He really was going to have to get ready to send him back to his home realm for a bit. He'd be happier back there with the real dragons instead of him pretending to be a dragon.
Danny smirked at the guy who walked up to him in the park. "That was easy," he said dryly.
"Not hardly. We have ta talk," he said in a New York accent.
"This is much too open and I'm sure you're recording or something." Danny shook his head. "You sure?"
"Very. I'm on lunch. I expected a lot more hunting to find you."
"Your parents want a word."
"I don't care."
"My real parents died a while back." The man gave him a horrified look. "I don't care." The man took a step back. "What did they want to talk about?"
"You disgracing the family with that little boy of yours," he sneered.
"You mean the one who stabbed you?" he asked dryly. "Xander's not some little party boy. If he was, I wouldn't put up with him. Not that I care since they went thug."
"We'll see who cares about what, Daniel." He backed up. He also ran into a few patrol officers. "Out for lunch?" he sneered.
Danny held up his phone. "Never said I wouldn't call the boss to tell 'im I'd be late." The man tried to run but the officers grabbed him. "He's wanted for homicide charges, guys." They nodded, taking the struggling man to the cruiser. He waved after him. "Tell them I said hi." He went back to his trek for lunch. Don and he met here to talk about personal stuff on lunch. He flopped down. "Guy just came up to me saying my parents wanted to talk."
"Then why gut Sonny?"
"Apparently retirement wasn't in my father's plans," he said dryly. "I don't care. You talk to Steve?"
"Yeah. He said Xander bought a nice, decently sized loft space and is having it renovated for our emergency use and then Ryan's use. He hired the same guys that did the garage. Steve said it's a really nice space." That got a nod as Danny opened his sandwich. They both got down to eating. With their jobs, they never got a full lunch before someone called. "He said Xander's been stocking out at the farm again too. That's why he was pulling his hair out."
"No. Horse food and hay. He had no idea hay was so expensive. He said horses are more expensive than dragons." That got a small smirk. "Even running the race track hadn't been that expensive according to him. Xander spoils the horses too." That got a nod and a smirk. "We should go riding this weekend."
"We can do that," he agreed. He ate another bite and chewed quickly. "Picnic?"
"Sounds good. If we can manage it." That got a nod and another bite eaten. "Any word yet on the station?"
"Late next month. Clean up's nearly done."
"Thank God." He finished his sandwich and grabbed his water to drink. "Anything else going on?"
"Think Ryan knows?"
"No. Steve said he didn't."
"Think we should tell him?"
"Probably." He smirked. "Xander thinks the boys are coming soon. So he'll have Sam to teach for a while. Less boredom."
"Wonder if he'll bring them out to the farm too."
"Probably could. They might like horses. They're midwest boys. Montana does."
"Yeah, she's been begging Ryan to let her go for a ride on Princess. She's scared of Xander's horse."
"Xander's horse is a big sucker but pretty sweet. Even if he does like to stick his nose down Stella and Horatio's shirts." Danny snickered and broke open his water to sip. "Think we'll have to worry about the students?"
"Nah. They're in the same business our boy was. They'll be fine." He finished up and balled up the bag his sandwich had been in. "I miss Xander bringing lunches."
"Me too," Don admitted. "Think we could talk him into it?"
"Probably." That got a grin and they headed back to work. Danny looked at Horatio. "He say anything other than my family wanted a discussion?"
"Not yet," he admitted. "What is your spouse doing?"
"Emergency plans and somewhere for Ryan when he gets tired of his present place." Ryan looked over from his desk, leaning back to look at him fully. He smirked. "Steve said it's nice but it's under some renovations."
"Uh-huh." He just nodded. "That's nice of your boy. He bored again?"
"He's been stocking up on horse food and stuff at the farm too. That's what's been driving Steve nuts."
Ryan smirked a bit. "I'll go look out there and ask about this place." He sat up straight again to get back to his paperwork. Xander was a good friend to have but he spoiled *way* too much.
Horatio pulled Danny aside. "Emergency plans?"
"Like the house out in the woods at the farm," he agreed.
"Hmm. Same contractors as did your house?"
"The garage. He likes them a lot. They needed proof jobs too."
"Even better." He smiled a bit, shaking his head. "Your boy does spoil the family horribly."
"He does. But it's good for him to not be bored. Not like he'll be broke from it this century."
"No, not any century soon," he agreed dryly. "Do you think it'd be possible for me and Speed to borrow the horses this weekend?"
"We were planning on a picnic ourselves but go for it. You want Saturday or Sunday?"
"Sunday. We have it off."
"Sure. Go for it. He's got the new one to accept the saddle and is working on breaking him to ride now."
"Even better. Mr. Wolfe?" He leaned back again. "May we borrow Princess this weekend on Sunday?"
"Sure, go for it, H." He sat up again to get back to work.
Horatio smiled. "Thank you." He looked at Danny. "Going for a late, sunset one?"
"Probably since we're both on." He walked off. "Gotta get back to the Demeritt homicide, boss."
"Please let me know how that turns out." He went back to his own case. That thug was going to bother him until he was back in prison. He hoped no stupid judge gave him bail but one never knew.
Xander looked around his kitchen. He had been doing stocking shopping again and now he had a house full of food and was bored stupid. So he pulled out the new recipes he had found and got to work making some for the freezers. That was easier after a heavy day of work and play. He put together ten different dishes within an hour and put them into the freezer once they were sealed in the vacuum bags. That way nothing would get freezer burn. Then he got to work cleaning up his mess. He could make some other stuff too. His favorite recipe site had a new snack mix recipe so he had to run out and get the stuff for that. He got back and got to work on that one, making himself not eat it all when it came out.
It was good. Chocolatey but salty at the same time was excellent. He made more of it, putting it in cute gift jars for Calleigh and Tim. They both liked to nibble. He checked the clock and frowned. Don and Danny wouldn't be home for three hours. Night shift still had to work tonight too. Danny might even be late since he had caught a homicide earlier in the day. So he decided to make the station dinner. He pulled out his bigger pans, getting to work on something that would feed everyone and most everyone would like. He loved making rolls by hand, he had discovered that a few months back, and today was no exception so he started a batch of those and then got to work on the main dish portion. It'd be good for the officers. Ten pans and one huge pot of pasta and sauce later he loaded up his SUV and headed to the temporary station. There he ran into a small snag. They knew him but it was someone from Mac's precinct. "Hi," he said, signing in. "I'm bringing dinner."
"Sir, your boys are on dayshift," she said patiently.
Xander looked at her then snickered. "I know that. I spoil them by making lunch all the time. It keeps me from being so bored." He smiled at a familiar face. "Jessop, I brought dinner. There's like ten pans and a huge pot of spaghetti and sauce." That got a grin and he got a few of the officers to come help him. Most of them from the other precinct but that was fine. He carried in the pot since it was heaviest. They put things in the make-shift break room then he went to get the box of paper plates and bowls, plus spoons and forks, he had stopped to buy on the way in. "Here we go." The patrol shift supervisor and Stella both walked in. "Dinner."
"I love you," she said, giving him a hug. "Thanks, Xander." She opened the foil and sniffed then moaned. "Oh, I love you."
"Now if only I still swung your way," he teased with a bright grin.
She laughed. "Pretty stiff competition on both sides, Xander." She leaned out of the break room. "Xander brought dinner!" The patrol guys and detectives started to line up for food, letting him escape. She smiled at the confused looking officers. "He does it for the lab his boys work in all the time. The gift certificates came from his accountant." She looked at the meat dishes. "Hey, Wolfe, we need a knife to cut meat," she called.
He walked in his favorite hunting knife. "That should do and it's clean. I sterilized it earlier for my kit." He unwrapped the boxes of plates and bowls, letting the guys grab some while Stella delicately sliced the roasts and dished out pasta for them. He walked off much happier. Afternoon patrol was in and getting fed, so were the guys getting ready to go home for the night. Don smirked. "Xander's been cooking and it'll be hours before I get home." He ate another bite as he walked. "Xander brought food!" he shouted into the lab section. They all went running to get their own before it was gone. Speed gave him an amused look. "He did."
"I'm cooking tonight," he said dryly. "Horatio doesn't need it." He watched him walk past eating a bowl of pasta and sauce. "Aren't I cooking?"
"The mayor just called a budget meeting in thirty minutes," he complained, giving him a look. "I'll be back late."
Speed nodded at that. "That's fine. I'll make sure you've got something soothing then. Chicken, turkey, or beef?"
"Beef?" He smiled and went to gather the things he needed so he could do the dreaded meeting.
Speed went back to planning dinner. It was wonderful of Xander to feed them that way. A few of the officers who had been on their routes had to pout but everyone in the office got some dinner. By the time he was done he was tired. He found a small box on his bike's seat and looked at it. Then at the door guard. "Someone gave me presents?"
"The goofball with the hair," he said.
"Xander. Flack's protectee and boy."
"Oh, that's him?" Speed smirked and nodded. "No wonder he needs protecting with that hair. But I guess he gets spoiled with real food all the time."
"We all do," Eric said as he came out. "Xander brings or gives us lunch at least once a month." The guard muttered about that. He was in the wrong precinct. "Maybe he'll start tossing the other lab a few meals too." He walked over to look at the box. "What's that?"
Speed looked before pulling out the jar. "Snack mix." He looked at the recipe. "Looks good." He opened it and ate a bit, then nodded. "Very good. I need this recipe." He resealed it, put the jar into his saddle bag, then got onto his bike and headed for home to cook. Horatio would like that snack mix too. Just enough sweet with the salty.
Eric grinned. "Xander must be really bored again." He went to his car so he could go out on his date with Aiden tonight. No presents in his but he wasn't bothered by it. All he had to do was ask and he knew that.
Don came in to grab all the empty dishes and take them home since Danny had checked out a hummer for the next few hours. Talking him into it was pretty easy. All it took was a kiss. Then he zipped off on his own bike for home and the dinner that was probably waiting on him. Sure enough, he had a full plate of warm food waiting on the stove and a semi-naked boy lounging on the couch petting his dogs while he watched a cooking show. Don sat down under his head and let Xander cuddle him while he ate. "This is good. New recipe?" Xander smiled and nodded. "Very good job, Xander." He ate another bite. "The guys loved it. You might have to start making Mac's lab some lunches now and then," he teased.
"I can do that."
"I think they'd appreciate it and the guys need to feel appreciated now and then." He leaned down to give him a kiss, meeting his boy half-way. Danny came in with the dishes and put them in the sink then headed back out. "He'll be home later."
"His is in the fridge. That's why someone smarter than anyone but Sheldon invented the microwave."
Don snickered. "Probably true." He finished up and settled in to lounge with his boy and dogs. "Why are we stocking stuff?"
"I don't know. All I know is I felt like it."
"That's fine. I was hoping it wasn't an invasion or a bad thing."
"No, probably not. Think I'll end up feeding the boys when they get here? They say Dean's got an appetite."
"Probably. Are they staying here?"
"Up to them. I'll let them have the other house if they want."
"That's fine." He stroked his stomach, making him a very happy Xander. The dogs got up when they smelled the rutting scent on the daddy but that was very smart of them. They knew what the daddies did when that scent came out. Xander pounced and it was great. As always. It was never bad with Xander.
Xander went to check on the work, finding his contractor hard at work chewing someone a new one. He grinned as he walked in. "Base coat?" he asked, making him jump.
"Wrong base coat," he admitted. "Easily covered and I'm not going to make you cover for his stupidity, Mr. Harris."
"Xander," he reminded him. He looked at the guy then at the construction foreman. "Want me to come back in ten?"
"Not necessary." He looked at his guy. "You're on probation, remember that." He nodded, heading back to correct his mistake. He smiled at his benefactor. "Coming to check up on us?"
"Seeing if the supports are going to have to be wood poles or not."
"One will but I think we've found a good alternative to something fairly simple and plain." He walked him to the laptop to show him what he had found. "That is construction grade, it's pretty, and it's not all that popular so it's not very expensive but it'll go well with the wood for the floor and shelves."
Xander frowned. "No way around it? Say, moving the bedroom wall this way by a foot?"
"We could but that'll take a lot more work," he warned.
Xander looked at him. "I have money and you said you've been bored. Make the bedroom doorway an arch?"
He considered it then nodded. "That's easy enough to do. You can find some nice doors for that shape these days." He hooked into his satellite hookup and looked up the specs he'd need. "That's actually a lot easier than I thought," he admitted, grinning at him. "And moving that wall will take about an extra week."
"It's the emergency plans. Hopefully it won't be needed and I have another one if they are." That got a nod. "How much will it add?"
"About a week's work and a few thousand for the door and wall materials." Xander wrote him out a check, earning a smile. "I can get the guys to start on that today. We haven't even started working on that wall yet."
"That's fine. Jobs go as they go, Peter. Trust me, been there, done that." That got a nod and a smirk. He knew he had been a construction crew foreman for a while before his hormones got out of hand. He looked at the guy painting. "Isn't that a bit dark for a base coat?"
He looked then groaned. "Yup. Let me stop him."
"Sure." He left, going back to the house to make some more plans. Plans were important and now that he had a clearer mind he could go back to planning. His phone was ringing when he walked in. "Xander." He listened then smiled. "You're welcome, Mac. Don suggested I should start spoiling you guys about as often as I spoil the other lab anyway. Besides, I was bored and bored is a bad thing." That got a laugh. "We're good, Mac. Did I make too much or too little?" He made a mental note about how many more people there were. "I can do that. Sure. Next Saturday? It's the first and I know it'll be a busy weekend for patrol guys. Sure, what did you want me to make?" He made notes on the notepad next to him. "I can do that very easily and it'll be good for them. Sure, not an issue. How many?" He wrote down a relative number of staffing. "Lunch is good?" He nodded, making a note of that too. "Okay." He listened. "How did he get bail?"
He snorted. "Idiot judge. I know, but snipers cure them too. I know it's mean. I'm having a mean day. Sorry. No, I went to look it over and they're doing okay, all but one guy. I decided to make a last minute correction since it had some structural issues but moving a wall about three feet forward fixed that and no need for a column in the way of things. Sure, when it's done. Taunt Ryan and tell him I'll let him do the real estate stuff if he wants instead," he said with a smirk. "Steve would like that. Love you too, Mac. Kiss Stella for me. No, I'm being good. I promise I am." He rolled his eyes. "Why do I need to do that? Yearly .... huh?" He frowned. "Can't Ray Junior?" He grinned. "I like that idea and it'll be a good learning experience for him. I'll have taught him something beyond how to shop for deals. Speaking of, do you want anything specific for the holidays?" He nodded. "That'll work. Thanks, Mac." He hung up and got to work planning on when he'd be doing some of the stuff he needed to do. The poor displaced patrol guys needed some fussing over and he was great at it. Look at how he fussed over the family!
Xander pulled up to the temporary station the next week, smiling at the Chief of Police. "Lunch for the busy guys," he said happily. The chief gave him a dirty look. "Tough shit, Chief," he said with a grin. "I'm fussing and you wanted me back in fussy husband mode, or that's what you told my boys." He blushed but nodded. "So therefore I'm fussing. They're being horrible this weekend!" He walked inside and looked around at the empty areas. "Wow. Hey, Don, come help me carry!" he yelled when he spotted him. Don smirked and came out to help him carry up the trays of food. "These are portable and they can run in and grab one between reports. There's nineteen dozen so there should be more than enough for two each and some for swing." He kissed him then smirked. "Even if the Chief doesn't like it it's good for them." He walked out, carrying in the last set of boxes. He put them on the counter and looked. "Diet and regular, plus some orange because Mac said Stella's been craving."
"You're welcome." He winked. "I'm going to check on that update and then we'll have some for dinner too if you want. If not, you can pull something out of the freezer." He strolled out, heading down to his SUV. He checked the back then the front and the trunk, carrying in another set of trays. "Missed some," he quipped at the amazed looks. "It kept me busy for a *whole* day," he said happily, handing them to Don, who staggered. "Sorry, baby." He walked out, heading back down to his SUV. The Chief was still staring at it. "They made me paint it a different color than my Range Rover was," he quipped.
"Thankfully. What did you bring?"
"Stuff they can run in and grab then go back out with." He smirked. "There's about nineteen dozen so it should be enough for at least two each and leave some for swing or evening." That got a smile and a nod. "And hey, it kept me busy for a while." He climbed in and tooted his horn as he started the engine and backed out. He went to check on the work going on, finding his construction crew toiling hard. He smiled at the boss. "Better?"
"Much. Thank you, Xander. They needed this."
"Not an issue." He gave him a punch to the arm. "Got one lined up after this or should I ask you guys to help fix the cruise ship?"
"That takes specialized certification," he admitted. "Just interior stuff?"
"No. One of the windows got hit with something and it broke. That whole apartment needs fixed."
"They have special people for that."
"I was thinking about selling it anyway. I never use it. It's too big."
"I guess it would be," he agreed, smiling a bit. "There's people who do those things."
"I know. I have their number. They asked about it before. I think I'll call and see if they still want it. There's three tenants but they won't mind too much. One's in college and wanted to move on campus so she had more time to study. The other two are moving in the next few months anyway." He shrugged. "So, how's it going?"
"It's going very well. The new wall is up," he said, letting him look it over. Xander smiled at the craftsmanship on it. "Need anything else around the house fixed?"
"Not yet." He grinned. "Still nothing?"
"Not yet. We have a hint of one late next month but they have to get financing. The guys don't like having to work day work somewhere else because I run a union shop."
Xander considered it. "Let me see if I can drum up any business." He smiled and shook his hand. "Good work so far, Peter." He left, going to talk to Steve at his place. His condo was a wreck at the moment. He was trying to figure out how to decorate it. "Hey," he said when Steve let him in. "Peter and the guys are looking for a short term job once they finish mine."
Steve snickered. "I only need a decorator, Xander."
"Good point but I was thinking maybe a few things? Maybe better windows?"
"These are highly energy efficient."
"Damn. The farm doesn't need any work either."
Steve patted him on the back. "I'll ask around."
Xander sat down, staring at him. "They really need to have a bigger spread, that way they could get more notice. Eric's dad had to go bigger before he got work too when I talked to Eric about it."
"I can understand why. People trust a major company more than a little contractor. Especially with some of the stories of fraud over the last few years." Xander nodded at that. "Tell me you aren't considering investing?" he begged.
"Would it be a good one?" he countered. "Because I still know nothing about investing but as a construction foreman I would've wanted to work for Peter."
Steve sat down to consider it. "It's not a *bad* idea," he admitted. "I know there's one that's nearly bankrupt that's having issues because this year's storms were so mild."
"That's his problem too." He leaned forward. "Did they leave anything hanging?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "I can check." Xander grinned. "You think Ryan could do real estate?"
"I think he's got a good handle on what a landlord should do. He's always complaining about his. The financial stuff you've taught him would go with that. He could still do your books on the side or even do that after hours."
"It'd give him some extra income too," Steve admitted. "What about the stupid ship, Xander?"
"I'm going to talk to the people who wanted to buy it before. She wants to move on campus, the other two are moving for work reasons." He smiled at that. "Either that or I'll give it to the city as a floating spousal abuse shelter. Because no one could get into it if they didn't know where it was."
"That's an odd idea," Steve complained lightly.
"Miami's all about the ocean and the prettiness. If I can't, I'll ask Horatio if he can ask someone. See if they think it's a reasonable idea."
"Sure." Because he'd listen to Horatio about stupid ideas. "Why do the stocking up?"
"I have no idea. It felt right." That got a sigh and a nod. "It'll be fine, Steve. I'll even let you lecture Sam about his finances for the future when he's ready to hear it." That got a smirk and a nod. "I'll take them to Vegas for the weekend. Introduce them to Jace's, get them some working money. They're on the road all the time."
"Tell me they have an RV?"
"That might be a workable solution, even if it is high on gas, but no, they have an Impala. Dean loves his car. If I did it that way I'd have an RV. That way you can store the weapons easier." Steve snickered at that. "Honestly! Plus it's cheaper to camp than to go to motels."
"I love your mind, Xander."
"Thanks," he said with a sweet, naughty grin. "I made croissant pocket thingies for the station. Don was in awe of all the baking I've done."
"House too warm to sit in?"
"Yup." He checked his watch. "I've got to meet with my poker buddy Jesse." Steve gave him a disapproving look. "He's the guy who does the techno stuff."
"I do like his stuff that I've seen."
"He's got a muse problem. His muse has an idea and no idea what it's doing. So I'm going to be muse and demon bait." He stood up. "Let me know if you know someone Peter could talk to?"
"Of course." He let him out, going to flop down on his couch for a bit. Xander sucked the energy out of him sometimes. He called Don. "Are they good?" He heard the mumble through the food. "Good. He's going to see the techno poker buddy for a bit. No, he said he was going to help his muses with a problem. Sure, I'm here. Looking at decorators." He hung up and got back to his browsing various decorator's sites. He really needed someone who wasn't about the Deco atmosphere down here.
Xander slid into bed beside Danny that night, nudging him awake. He nodded and Danny got up to follow him into the office. "I talked to Jesse earlier."
"The kid who does the techno stuff?" he asked, looking confused. He shut the office door and sat down, letting Xander sit in his lap. "About what?"
"About his ideas. He's seen Warren's robot and thinks he can improve on it in a lot of ways." Danny nodded at that slowly. "And he thinks he can make them and the cyborgs from the island into something that's sellable."
"I don't know. He said he had a lot of ideas. He had a whole notebook of ideas." Danny grinned, that sounded like most idea geeks he knew. "But he can't quite do it with what he has now." He looked at him. "Would you or Horatio look at his stuff to see if it's feasible?"
"I can do that," he agreed. "Send him to see me tomorrow since we don't have it off after all?" Xander grinned and nodded. "I'll talk to Horatio too, see if he thinks he can. Probably Monday after his ride." He gave him a cuddle. "Did you want to invest?"
"I think he's got some great ideas and I think he'd be great if he can get his ideas across. I'm not sure if he's got the way to get it from idea to someone who could market it."
"I can see that." He took a kiss. "Why not bring this up earlier?"
"Don fusses about him."
"Ah. I hadn't heard that."
"He gives me odd looks when I go geeky with Jesse."
"I have seen those. Don's not used to being around geeks all the time." He took another kiss then stood Xander up. "We should sleep. It's nearly one." Xander nodded, going back to bed with him. Danny got the helping mouth treatment to help him back to sleep and Xander cuddled up between him and Don to sleep as well. It was a good idea if he could market it.
Horatio looked at the plans then at the young man. "They're interesting. How would you market them?"
Jesse frowned. "That's why I'm still stuck. That and the stuff I'd need to build it. I know that there are people who could." Horatio nodded at that. "That's why I went to Xander. He seems to know a lot of people."
"He does, and he has contacts who know others." He considered it. "Personally I don't think it'd be a bad idea, Jesse. I'm more worried that you'd get to the point where you had something to show and no way to do that. The US isn't very big on the security robots. If it was something smaller... maybe a toy?" he suggested. That got a beaming grin and Jesse pulled out some other plans, letting him look them over. "These I do like more. They're very intelligent and a good plan." He smiled at him. "Start with this one and make the other as a hobby on the side? By then you'll have some contacts and it might make it easier."
"I can see how that would go," he agreed. "It'd also be totally legit and I could step back from the guys who're getting pushy."
He grimaced. "A few left in the circle want me to make them something I'm not comfortable with and I've told them no repeatedly."
"You could tell us about that."
"Then I'd better move," he said blandly.
"Hmm. And yet the better area for electronics is really the west coast," Horatio admitted, leaning back to look at him. "What do they want, generally speaking?"
"A new microcomputer I'm working on. It's about the size of a PDA but it has hacking capabilities. They want it to do locks, which it can do but that's an elementary function of the system. Beyond that I don't trust the people who're asking and demanding." He shrugged a bit. "We'll deal with them. I always do. Even if I do use Xander to threaten one now and then when he gets pushy."
Horatio frowned, calling Xander. "Come see me please." He hung up and looked at him, leaning forward. "I would rather have the prototype in more secure hands, Jesse. That sounds dangerous."
"Probably," he agreed.
"Xander knows a very good hacker back in Sunnydale." Jesse moaned. "Oz is a very good hacker and he's very honest. We've consulted with him about a few hacker issues in the past. He's been a friend of Xander's since high school." Xander walked in and shut the door. "Have you seen this prototype computer?"
"I have. They're still on your ass?" Jesse grimaced and nodded. "Man, they're stupid." He sat down. "So, anything decided?"
"I believe I'd like that prototype in better hands," Horatio said. "But I do like this idea and plan of business better," he said, handing that to him.
"Danny liked that one too," Xander agreed, handing it back to Jesse with a grin. "I like toys too." That got a nod and a grin back. "Think you'd sell me the prototype? That way they get off your ass?"
"They know I can build another one."
Xander frowned, considering it. "Horatio, Don?"
"Epps. His brother's big in math and stuff. His brother's girlfriend turns math stuff into computer stuff."
"That would be a safe place to test it," he agreed, considering what Xander was thinking. "Moving him to LA would be safer as well. Plus get him out from under the stigma he wants to leave behind," he told the young man, getting a happy, beaming smile and a nod from that. Jesse was so young, still almost innocent in his enthusiasm. He wanted the boy to do great things. "You'd have to stay out of trouble."
"I can easily do that."
"We can pretty easily have Don's brother help you find somewhere to set up since you're dealing in theoretical ideas," Horatio pointed out. "I know he got that one person's robot recently."
"Plus one of the cyborgs," Xander agreed. "I asked for him so they could go over it with his physicist buddy Larry. They spent a weekend geeking out over the new technology."
"I only got a peek at the plans but I'm stunned and amused by them," Jesse admitted.
"I've got one stuffed in the other house at the moment," Xander admitted. Horatio gave him a look. "He showed up!" He looked at Jesse. "Think we could handle that?" He nearly bounced he was nodding so hard. "Then let's get you packed up. I'll head back with you to introduce you around and make sure you've got good contacts. Including introducing you to Angel in case something demonic comes for you." He stood up. "C'mon." He hugged them both then bounced out. "We'll head out tomorrow, Jesse. Pack it all." He hugged Horatio himself. "Thank you."
"I think it'd be of benefit to everyone if he did get his plans to work," he assured him. "He's a very bright young man and his mind should be sheltered and nourished. Cal Sci can do that very well." He smiled and nodded, heading out to help his buddy. He found Don Epps's card to call out there and warn him. "Agent Epps, Horatio Caine. No, not stolen. A head's up. Xander is helping one of our resident electronics geniuses set up out in LA. He'll be introducing him to your brother because they've seen one of those cyborgs and the young man in question is one who could probably make them better and more reasonable." He leaned back. "He's the one we got that prototype camera Agent Edgerton found out about from," he said quietly. "He wants to leave it behind and go do something better for humanity. Xander is. He has some very good ideas for some very nice toys at the moment. Tomorrow night. Of course." He hung up and sent him the information file he had on the young man so he wouldn't worry too much.
Don looked at his little brother the next day, handing over the folder. "He's moving out here with Mr. Harris' help. He's a poker buddy in the robotics field."
He looked at it then at him. "He did what?"
"He did what," he agreed with a smirk. "Now he wants to work on electronics, toys, and robots. He's getting out of his old business."
"He's good," he admitted. Someone sat beside him and handed him something. "What's this?" He opened the zip case, looking at the PDA. "Nice. What's new about it?"
"The system holds enough information to hack the server your brother's email is off of," Xander said. They both gaped. "That's why he's moving. They were pressuring him. Plus he's got one of the cyborgs so he can go over it and use the ideas for his new toys." He grinned at Don. "Hi again."
"Hi. I heard you'd be here tomorrow night."
"We got an earlier flight because someone stupid burst in and tried to shoot him because he wouldn't sell that baby and I made him go to Horatio and Danny about his ideas to see if they were feasible."
"Damn," Charlie said, turning it on. "Not the best interface," he admitted, playing with it. "Wow." He kept going and laughed, tapping into the local server. It came up quickly and he managed to hack it. "Wow. Don, look." He let him see. "I hacked Larry's email. It's built so someone without a lot of knowledge can use it for that function."
Don looked it over, then nodded. "I know a few in covert ops who could use this."
Xander slid over a black nylon briefcase. "His other toys he's no longer making." Don shut down the PDA and handed it back before getting into it. He moaned at a few things, holding them up. "Oh, that's so neat. We in the family love that." He opened the laptop and showed him how to make a new ID with it. Then he grinned. "Fully in the system."
"Oh, my," Charlie breathed. He took it to look at, using the PDA to search it. He found it and then erased the new ID from the system before they got into trouble. He looked at Xander. "Think he'd be willing to take classes?"
"I think he was self taught and he's got an over-active muse now and then. I also think he's in the bookstore and he thought the campus was pretty." Charlie got up and headed out. "He's about my height and has slightly blonder hair," he called after him. He looked at Don. "We're setting him up here," he said, handing over a form. "It's a rental space in case something comes for him. Can you let him look at Warren's robot too?"
"I'll see if I can do that." He smirked. "Friend?"
"Very cool friend. We met over many hands of poker." He smiled as Jesse came over with Charlie. "Caught him walking over?"
"Yup, he was lost," Charlie admitted, sitting down again. "Jesse, this is my brother, Special Agent Don Epps."
"Hi. Horatio said I'd probably be introduced to you when he came to get the stupid people who shot at me."
He shook his hand with a grin. "Charlie's hot on the recruitment path but you think you can handle it?"
"I've been on my own for a while now," he assured him. "I don't want to be shot at any more. They're pushy and it's hampering my muses. Then they make mean things." He handed something over. "The only one I ever made."
Don looked at it. "Is that a concussion grenade?"
"It's a thermite one," Xander said happily. Don whimpered. "The stupid people interrupted him trying to fix something." He put the PDA case into the briefcase and handed it to Jesse. "I think you could fit in very well out here. Cal Sci has a great engineering program and a robotics program." That got a grin and a nod. "Charlie's a math god with ties into many areas from what I'm told. Don's special because he knows about us and helps guard us. You sure?"
"I'm sure. I'll email all the time, Xander."
"I know. Still sucks and I should go destroy the stupid fuckers who did it to you," he complained. He gave him a hug. "So, Don, Charlie? Do you think you could keep an ear out for him? Maybe help him get started or look at his toys when they're done?"
"I'd love that," Charlie admitted with a grin. Jesse beamed back. "What're you working on?" He let him see the idea he had been sketching earlier. "What's the power source?"
"I was going to use the same one that the cyborgs did. Xander let me have the one he captured trying to break in to steal him back one night."
"I'd like a better look at them anyway," Don admitted.
"Me too," Charlie agreed. They looked at Xander, who had disappeared. They both grinned.
"He thinks he's Batman but sometimes he's the Lone Ranger," Jesse admitted with a sigh. "He let me pay off my poker debts with minor things like what's in the briefcase. Horatio said they came in handy now and then. So did Steve."
"Steve?" Don asked.
"Xander's accountant guy."
Don shook his head quickly. "Is he in the mafia or something?"
"There's some other strangeness about Xander and he's part of that."
"Oh, Steve. Yeah, met him at the New York convention," he admitted, understanding now. Yeah, he could see immortals using the new identity software to make it easier when they had to change lives. "Let's go see your workshop, Santa Jesse." Jesse grinned and bounced out to show them his car and let them follow him over. It was a great workshop and was already set up so he could get to work on his first toy. Charlie talked to someone in robotics on the way over and they were nearly bouncing in their seats too. So maybe the boy would be okay out here.
Xander flopped down once he got back, looking at his lovers, who looked curious. "I got Jesse set up in LA and introduced him to that nice Don Epps and his brother Charlie. He was nearly coming from the bounciness at meeting Charlie." They both smiled. "I let him have the cyborg we had too." They looked confused. "I caught one sneaking in so I stuffed it in a closet in the other house." That got another nod. "So he's all set up and the stupid people who shot at him are hopefully still in custody?" They both shrugged. "Are we mute?"
"Your hair stunned us," Don said, picking up the braid to look at the thing braided through it. "Where did that come from?"
"The safety deposit box earlier," he said with a grin. They both relaxed and he got cuddles. Because cuddles were important to the mental health of Xanders. "Can we call Horatio to make sure they're still in jail?"
Danny called. "Xander wanted to make sure the guys who shot at Jesse are still in jail?" He grinned. "He's back. Thanks, H." He hung up. "They are. Denied bail." Xander beamed and hugged him. Don pouted until he got one too. His boys were so good to him sometimes. "Why're you starting holiday presents already?"
"So if I have to crochet I can," he said with a grin. "I know Stella and Mac want to go to Boston for some heavy forensics conference in November so I thought I'd make sweaters but he said he didn't need any."
"Our winter clothes are pretty well mothballed," Don admitted. Xander nodded, snugging in better next to him. "Are you that bored?" he asked.
"I've been doing a lot but it's all starting to slow down. I got Furry to finally let Ray Junior on his back earlier. I got to check on Peter and the construction crew. I talked with Steve on the way back. Oh, I'm selling the cruise ship."
"It was too big to use anyway," Danny agreed. "Any other big news?"
"Think Ryan would do real estate instead of investments next time?"
Don smirked. "Possibly. What's his place gonna look like?"
"It's a loft. It'll have pretty wood floors and some nice, simple walls. A good kitchen for when he doesn't feel too lazy to cook." Ares appeared. "Hey, boss. Am I in trouble or being a pain?"
"Not in the least," he said with a smirk. "Your two students just hit town. They're asking about you." Xander nodded at that. "Are you writing any more of that one story with the warriors?"
Xander shrugged. "Muses are on vacation," he admitted.
Ares nodded. "So are ours." Don snickered at that. "They're in Bermuda." He shrugged. "You should try that more."
"I have been trying. It's not working," Xander admitted. "I can't get it from battle to sex smoothly without transitioning the scene."
"I'm sure you'll figure it out," he said, smirking at the boys. "There's another demigod in town. Do be careful of him. He's a bit stupid." He disappeared.
"Herc's here?" he called. Laughter came back with a 'no'. "Huh." He looked at Don. "Be careful?"
"I will if you do," he promised. Xander kissed him again. "Now, let's pull down your hair? I haven't gotten to brush it in a while." Xander let him pull out his hair strand of jewels and found a brush for him, letting Don get ideas on his current cases while Danny went back to the news. This was his muse generation machine.
Horatio walked in the next morning, smiling at the plate of cookies on his desk. He went to find Danny. "Xander made cookies?"
"No, Don made cookies while he thought last night. The hair brushing wasn't a good enough idea generator but the rum, raisin, oatmeal cookies finished it." He gave him a look. "Got a head's up. We were warned to watch out for pesky halflings by Ares," he said quietly.
"Hmm. Any idea who?"
"I'll keep that in mind." He turned and found a patrol officer there. "Problems?"
"I didn't know Messer was pagan."
Ryan walked behind him. "It's a purer faith. Keeps me in shape too," he quipped.
"We knew you were strange, Wolfe. You have OCD and a sword," he shot back. Horatio gave him a look and he wilted a bit. "I don't have a problem with it. Really, just didn't know."
"Started out catholic as well," Danny called, waving a hand. "Why're you in the lab, kid?"
"Sir, we had a death threat sent to you from the jail. I'm assigned to guard you," he admitted.
"I hadn't heard about that yet," Horatio said, shifting slightly to look at the boy from his ususal sideways pose. "Who sent my CSI a death threat?"
"The guy they got in the park, sir. That's what my boss said to tell you and to call him if you needed more information."
"I see. When was this threat sent?"
"Late last night through inter-office mail. He bribed someone to send it like it was a memo."
Danny came to the door. "Kid, I'll be fine. He's in jail and the others won't be getting that close to me. Honestly, I won't need it. Thank your commander for me but I'm good." Horatio gave him a look. "He came from my family, Horatio. Not like I don't know them."
"I still want to see the threat first." Danny gave him a look. "Even with that, there's still the chance that something could happen. Which would upset your friends very much," he pointed out grimly. "Especially that *one*."
"Nah, he and Don'll go on a rampage. I'm still good, guys." He went back to work. "Thanks anyway."
"We'll talk first," Horatio told the patrol officer. "As for right now, you can't simply stand outside the door and guard him."
"I figured you'd tell me where to stand, sir."
"Go help at reception." He nodded, going to do that. Horatio went to find the commander in question. "You assigned my CSI a guard?"
"I did. If something happens to your boy then his little long haired, gay friend will explode and destroy the city with the weapons we've heard he's got. Plus my boys would have to fuss if their source of free lunch was cut off," he finished blandly, looking at him. "You guys are very spoiled."
"Xander does love us like a family," Horatio said dryly. "Daniel thinks it'll be fine."
"I don't care," he snorted. "He's following your boy around even if he has to stalk him." He handed over the bagged note. "That's what came so you don't have to demand it." Horatio read it over then handed it back. "The Chief agreed with me. Harris is dangerous if you get him that upset and one of his boys being taken out would make him that angry. Considering he's taken a graze for another dayshift commander, helped a few officers who were shot, and then he spoils the department rotten, the Chief said so, Horatio, and I'm a slave to the guy who writes my paycheck. I don't care if you fuss."
"Fine. I think that would be acceptable for his work hours. I have him at reception for the moment."
"Wherever. I know he can't stand in the middle of the lab to watch him and no way is someone even getting a sniper shot except into your office." That got a nod. "By the way, if you haven't been in there yet, they did miss and only hit your desk instead of the night shift supervisors." Horatio glared at him. "We got the guy." He stared back. "Now, anything else?" He shook his head and walked off to talk to Danny. "Good, I like it when he doesn't fuss at me. It's much nicer," he muttered, making notes because Caine not fussing about his people's protection was a gift from God, it came really rarely. "Sikes," he shouted. He came to the door. "You're stuck to Caine today. There's evidence the shot last night was a warm up and the Chief thinks there's a contract out on him again. Stalk him if you have to."
"Yes, sir." He went to find Horatio and tell him. "Lieutenant, I'm your shadow today." Horatio gave him an amused look. "We think the shot into the office last night was a warmup for one on you, sir, and there may be a new contract out on you." Speed stopped in the hall to give him an odd look. "I'm ordered to stalk you if I have to outside the lab, sir."
"That's fine, Officer Sikes," Speed agreed. "What shot?"
"Someone shot into the office last night and got the desk instead of the night supervisors," Sikes reported.
"I just heard about that myself," Horatio admitted. "Who did it?"
"I have no clue, sir. I wasn't there yet. I was going to look it up while you checked on your people." That got a nod so he went to do that, bringing back a copy of the arrest report. Yeah, there was a contract out on the guy. It was a well-known mafia hitman with a few out of state warrants as well.
Danny looked at the report. "Might actually be the same case, boss."
"You both are staying in today," Speed ordered calmly, giving his husband a look. Horatio nodded he would. "Sikes, go report that to Tripp and Flack?" He nodded, going to do that. "Danny?"
"Family sent the one blond guy."
"Who sent him a death threat last night," Horatio agreed. "Inter-office mail even."
"Goodie," Speed snarled. "Any other new news?"
"Not yet," Danny quipped with a grin. "But if they try I'm gonna let Xander go deal with 'em for me."
Speed snickered. "I can see him doing that." He walked off shaking his head.
"I don't think he was joking," Eric admitted quietly from just up the hallway. This temporary lab echoed in spots so he had heard.
"Xander would let us know if it was that serious," he pointed out.
"We hope," Eric corrected.
"We hope," Eric assured him. "We might get them like we did the Mala Noche at the strip club."
"Good point. Danny, call and make sure Xander knows to stick to well-known spots today," he called back. "We don't want another strip club incident." Danny called with a groan. He looked at Eric. "Ray Junior said he finally got to walk Furry around the enclosure."
"Congrats. He's doing good with the horse. Now comes the hard part, training gaits and things."
"It'll go," Speed promised, heading back to work. He knew they had it well in hand. This wasn't the first death threat situation the lab had been through. That's what happened when criminals got mad that you caught them.
Xander hung up and rolled his eyes. "I hate the stupid ones." Ares snickered from the fence next to him. "The guy from New York issued a death threat. They just told me to be careful too." He looked at his former foal. "So, how do I train him how to do the neat stuff? I got him to the point where Ray Junior can walk him around the ring."
"Good job." He patted him on the back. "I haven't had to train in a while."
"I figured your people trained Princess so you might know."
"It's been a while since I did it in person." He walked out and looked at the horse, who only snuffled his chest. The horse loved him. It was a beautiful horse. Very muscular and very handsome. He would've ridden a horse like this into battle. He got him saddled again, ignoring the sigh of displeasure the horse let out. "Like Princess does, you have to be ridden too, Furry." The horse let him mount and stood there for him. He was well trained so far. He nudged him with a knee, making him turn and walk to the right with the reins. He did it for him. He nudged him a bit more with the knee. "Faster. Come on, you can do it." Xander whistled and the horse trotted. "Lunge line commands?" Xander nodded. He whistled the same way and the horse sped to a faster trot. It was a smooth mover too. "Can he canter?"
"Nope, not yet."
"We can train that into him." He slowed him and dismounted, patting him gently, creating some sugar for him to nibble on. "Good boy, Furry." The horse soaked it up and he took off the saddle, letting him off to graze once he had the bridle off too. He watched him move then looked at Xander. "How did you train him to trot?"
"Don't know," he admitted. "He did it."
"Hmm. Have you found a local trainer?"
"For race horses. The only one I've seen in the state who does jumping stuff only wants to train him if he's going to compete. He said pleasure riders didn't need to be fully gaited."
"Yet you do some jumping in the woods," he agreed. "I'll ask Athena, see if she knows someone. He's a good horse." He smirked at him then at the boy. "If this was the old days," he sighed over dramatically.
Xander grinned. "I'd offer him as a tithe but I promised him to Ray Junior. Want one of the girls? They're stubborn little shits who hate the line and don't want to break to a saddle. We're still working on the bridle on one and the other one won't quit trying to get the saddle off."
He laughed. "She was just as stubborn. I'll see what I can do, Xander." He nodded, so Ares flashed off. He had a good hand with the animals. He found Athena and nodded, showing her the horses. "He's at the training stage and he's a bit stuck. The two mares off the warmares are harder to break and the black one is learning gaits and control."
She considered it. "I don't know many who can break them that way," she admitted. She watched Xander work with one of the mares. "She is stubborn," she said with a smirk.
"He named one Duchess and one Countess," he said dryly. "They act like it too." She laughed. "Can you look?"
"I can." That got a nod. "Will he tithe one?"
"He offered me one of the mares. The stallion he's promised to Ray Junior."
"That's fine. The bloodlines will tell in their cases if we can get them trained." That got a nod and he disappeared. She watched for a bit longer. That one was going to drive him nuts. She went to find someone, finding a decent breaker out in the midwest. "I have a quandary," she said as she appeared.
"Lady Athena," he said respectfully. "What can I do to solve it for you?"
"One of our anchors has some pleasure horses that he rides around the woods and the like." That got a nod. "He's got the stubborn offspring of two warmares and one who's gotten to the point of being able to be ridden but is missing gaits and how to jump."
"Florida. Outside Miami to be exact."
"Hmm. I only know one down that way." He wrote out a name for her. "She's good." She took it with a smile. "How far are they?"
"One's still trying to fight the saddle and the other's very uncomfortable with the idea of weight on her back so far. They're a bit younger though so he's starting earlier than he did with his male one."
"That can help but they might not be ready."
"They're both two."
"That's a good age," he agreed. "Call her, see if she'd help him."
"Thank you." She took the number to Xander, handing it over. He hugged her and went to call from the house. She smirked, walking over to lead the horse away from the fence. She hobbled it in the center of the ring. "You quit doing that. You can't rub it off. It'll only hurt you more." She adjusted the saddle's position back to where it should be, getting an angry snort. She stared at the horse and it shied but she tightened the girth again.
"We haven't gotten it fully tight yet," Xander called as he came back. "Thank you." She nodded, leaving her there. He walked over to pet her. "I told you to quit trying to rub it off. Like the halter, it's going to stay there." He patted her, unhobbling her to walk her around by her halter. She was not a happy mare either. Her mother called from the fence. "She's just being fussy, Princess. It'll be okay." He walked her over, letting them sniff noses. "See, she's fine." He went back to walking her around, even if she did try to pull away from his hand. He looked at her. "Don't start. Really." She pulled her head back again and he sighed, getting a rope. "Lazy, come on." He clipped on the lead line and made her run circles for a bit until she was tired. It's all he knew to do when she was in a fussy mood like this. He saw a truck pull up and smiled at the woman getting out. "I didn't know you were that local."
"I am." She came over, letting him lead her over. She pulled and tried to go back to rubbing it off. "Take it off for now." He took off the saddle and let her play in the field. "How long have you been trying?"
"Three weeks," he admitted, giving her a pitiful look. He opened the other fence and whistled, bringing his male foal. He came over happily to get love from him. "This one is very good and lets someone walk him around from his back but he doesn't quite get cantering yet. He does trotting," he offered. "But I have no idea how I managed that one."
She smiled. "Sometimes they already know it." The other female came over. "She's pretty."
"She's even more stubborn than her cousin." He patted the nose. "Want the saddle back, Furry?" He trotted off, making them both laugh. He closed the fence before the mare could leave and got her into the saddle. She reared back and he got out of the way. "You don't usually mind it that much! Calm down!" She shook and tried to shift it. "You did better yesterday, Countess."
The woman climbed the fence and joined him, coming over to soothe her and get her walking around in it. Xander handed over the line and sat on the fence to watch an expert. Maybe she'd know how to fix it. He had no clue. She got the poor sweetie calmed down and walking around but she clearly hated the saddle. "Is this just to train them?"
"Yup. They're the same size their mothers are so we have their mother's saddles for when they're fully broken. He's got one too. They're heavier so I started with the english one."
She nodded. "Not a bad idea. What's the full one look like?" He went to get one and bring it back. She gave it an odd look. "That's not Western."
"No, it's a campaign saddle. Their mothers are both trained warmares."
"Okay. The Ren Fair sorts?"
"Their daddy is. The whole family uses swords now and then," he agreed with a grin. She just nodded. "This is her mom's saddle." He let came in to hold her head while the trainer changed the saddle out. That freaked her out from the new weight. They had to let her go with it. "Now you know why I'm stuck. It's not like they've got bad experiences with saddles. They did the same thing when I put reins on for the first month. We're coming up on three weeks of getting them used to a saddle. He's finally able to be walked around and ridden that way."
She nodded. They were good foals. "Are you having him gelded soon?"
"I'm deciding with his future daddy. He's a friend's graduation present." That got a smile and a nod. The mare came back and nudged him hard, snuffling his pockets. He handed her a sugar lump and she walked off again, standing at the fence for the paddock. He looked at her. "Like I said, stubborn."
She laughed, letting her out there. "I think we can work with them easily enough. Stubborn can be a good thing sometimes." Xander waved at one of the mares and she trotted over. "She comes when you wave?"
"Yup. Trained that way in case stealth is needed." He put her saddle on her and let the other one have the lunge line. "You can check the momma's gaits." He got out of the way while she did that. Princess hadn't been truly exercised in a while but she remembered how it went. "Good girl, Princess 2." She slowed her down after a few minutes. "She's been lounging recently and been on some shorter rides." His horse, Pride, who was an Arabian, walked in and over to him. He petted him. "I know, you're a good boy, Pride." He climbed onto his back, letting him trot around for a bit. "Were you bored with the foals?" She laughed at that. "Now and then Furry gets pushy and he has to shove him into the stream."
"Gelding will cure that. Plus any other temper issues." She watched him ride. "You have a good command and seat."
"Thank you." He slid down once his horse stopped. "He's not the daddy of the two mares but he loves the little stubborn brats. Furry treats them like his personal herd." She nodded at that, that was normal. He let them both go back to their grazing. "Yes, he's fixed," he offered. "Three foals were enough."
"Where did you get Furry?"
"ASPCA seizure. They needed the barn and he stayed." He pulled out a picture. "That was him his first month here. I had to get him halter broken." She smiled as she handed back the picture. "I did what I figured out how to do. I have no idea why they won't take a saddle."
"I do. They're stubborn and don't want to start working for their food. We can handle it, Mr. Harris. Now, I do charge two hundred a week to work with each of them."
He shrugged. "I have money." She nodded, smiling at that. "I have more than enough to buy part of Miami. The whole family goes on rides for picnics and stuff."
"Sure. I get that. How much jumping do you do?"
"In the woods. Both Princesses can and do. Pride does. I have no idea how he does but he does." She laughed and nodded. "He's good at it too. The dogs like to follow us when we're out in the woods. They yip whenever we jump some of the fallen trees."
"Sounds like you have a good time." She went to pull one of the mares back into the paddock to work with her. She was a stubborn little brat, tried to fight the whole way. The other people were watching her methods but she managed to get her in there and saddled with the training saddle. It was about half the weight and would work better for right now. Then she put her through her paces. This one could use some gaiting work as well so she'd work on that too. Should only take about a month to finish their training, even with stubborn ones.
Xander parked in front of the station and walked around to get someone out of the front seat, walking the moaning person inside. He walked him all the way to Don's desk, earning a few amused looks. "This idiot tried to pull a gun and shoot my cute ass." He shook him.
"I'm very sorry," he moaned, giving him a 'help me' look. "Please?"
"I'll take 'im," Ray promised, moving to take the guy. "Why did you try to shoot Xander?"
"Wanted his wallet and jewelry," he whimpered. "Please don't let him hurt me again?"
"We won't if you confess," he promised. Xander strolled off after getting a kiss. He shook his head. "Drama queen," he muttered. The wannabe mugger nodded at that. "Not asking your opinion." He slunk down and gave him whatever he wanted to know. He made sure to get pictures of all the pretty bruises too. Just in case someone tried to say he got it while in custody. The patrol commander came over to look at the guy then at him. "Tried ta mug Xander."
"I'm very sorry I'm so stupid," the crook told him.
He nodded. "I'm sure you are. He need medical, Kowalski?"
"Some ice packs, maybe some tylenol. Bruises but nothing punctured from what I can tell."
"I'll get the block doc or an ME to look at him." He went to make that call, letting ME Woods look at him for them.
She frowned. "I want to watch his ribs and kidneys," she decided. "Put him in solitary for the next few just in case. Make sure he's not peeing blood. Who did this to you?"
"I'm very stupid because I tried to mug the guy with the hair."
"Oh, Xander." She patted him on the head. "Yes you were. I'm sure you'll be better when you get out, young man." Don snickered from his desk, nodding a bit. "Xander all right?"
"He's fine," Don promised. "A bit huffy. He's going to go leather shopping to blow off the stress."
"Um-huh," she said, giving him a look. He just smirked back. "Lucky boy." She looked at the shift commander. "Put him in solitary until the bruises fade. Make sure he's not peeing blood and his ribs don't get cheap shots to them." He nodded, taking the guy and the arrest report off. "The baby was mean to that one."
"Xander was working with the mares again this morning," Don said with a grin. "He had to call in an outside trainer for the three foals. Furry's doing great. He's to the point where they can ride him but he's not fully learned what he needs to about how to do some of the gaits and stuff or how to jump in the woods. The two mares are stubborn little bitches who make Wolfe seem pleasant when he's being stubborn." She laughed at that. "He called and said even she called them stubborn little bitches."
"I'm sure they are. Their mothers are." She walked off again, going back to her office to make notes on that decision.
Ryan looked at his herd, frowning later that night. "Why will you two young ones not listen to the nice people?" The night groom laughed. He looked over. "They won't."
"I'm stubborn, they're being asses." He laughed and walked off, leaving him to stare at them. "You two will be ridden like your mothers. You two will learn the art of being a warmare. I don't care if you don't like it." They both tried to nuzzle him. "Being cute and cuddly won't save you," he said dryly, petting their noses. He pulled one out to work with her, making her huff but he was more stubborn than even his horses. They would learn and he would be able to ride them by next year. She got the point when he didn't relent and she had to deal with it. When she was tired, she let him put a ten-pound bag of sand across the saddle. She shook until it fell but he put it right back. She tried to walk away.
"That's what being ridden is like," he agreed, walking her around like that. She kept trying to shove it off but he kept her away from the paddock walls. He kept it up until she finally gave up. He let her go back into her stall and gave her a good brushing and love for doing so good, talking to her quietly about how good she had done. The other one came out to do it too. She really hated the saddle but he didn't care. She was wearing it and there would be the sand bag up there. She didn't mind it as much once the sand was on her back but she was still going to learn. He found the trainer watching him. "I'm more stubborn than both my mares," he assured her, making her walk until she was tired. Then he put her back and brushed her down, talking to her and praising her for that good work. He looked at Furry. "I heard you did good today too." He gave him some carrots from the box of them on the wall. He petted the soft nose and got whuffled by it but that was fine. He looked at the trainer. "So?"
"They'll learn," she promised. "You go a bit boot camp on them."
"I figure their mothers were probably trained the same way. Though that huffing thing they learned off Xander." She cackled and nodded. "How long do you think?"
"Probably by the end of the month we'll have the basics and you'll have to work with them until they're firm. I can teach him or you to teach them how to jump in the woods. It's not that hard."
"Cool with me," he agreed, shaking her hand. "Let me know if you need me to come for any of the lessons. I learned to ride on their moms." She nodded at that and he gave them one last pet before taking Princess out for some exercise. She did huff and he snorted back. "You learned that off Xander because his mane is prettier than yours. Keep it up and we'll go do training in the woods tonight since I have tomorrow off." He walked her off for a long ride, then came back to brush her down and take out the other one. His herd was full of stubborn bitches, headed by the head stubborn bitch, Xander. Because even Pride knew that Xander was the head of the herd.
Ray Junior came in from his last riding lesson. "The teacher thinks that Furry may be ready to come to class with me."
"Furry's still doing good with the saddle but he's not ready to learn to jump yet," he said, continuing to chop things. He looked at him. "The trainer said she'd get him started in about a month. Your teacher does know he's untrained?"
"Yup. How is he on the cantering thing?"
"He learned and he ran around the paddock doing it, making Pride snort at him and push him into the stream again but he was a happy boy today." Ray grinned. "If you want, we can have him transferred there for you, Ray."
"I'll put the teacher in with the trainer. He was heading out to look at him today anyway."
"That's fine. She's working with the stubborn twins."
Ray snickered at that name. "They are."
"Ryan got them both used to the saddle one night by out-stubborning them but it's still slow going."
"They'll make it. They're still young brats."
"I know." He finished his salad and handed Ray a bowl. "Here you go. She's breaking him to both saddles."
"That's fine. I don't mind." He sat down to eat once he had dressing, looking at his buddy. "What's going on in the pointy dome of hair? You're thinking too hard."
"I'm feeling kinda sorry for my construction crew. They're not going to have a job after this one is done for at least another few weeks."
"So change your mind and have them paint it a different color."
"Peter gave me a dirty look when I suggested it."
"He said it'd upset his boys." He ate a bite. "We'll have to see."
"You're going to give them a loan?"
"I don't know. Most people only want to hire bigger companies."
"So maybe they'll be bought out and it'll be okay."
"I doubt Peter would go to work for anyone else." He ate another bite then got up to go to the office and call Steve about his present idea. Not like he didn't have the money.
Ray Junior decided Xander would let his boys know about his current evil plans on his own this time so he didn't have to do anything but turn it to HBO and relax until Xander came out to do stuff.
to part 62
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