Greg looked up as his computer beeped, looking at the message. "The sacred egg hatched. It's a huh?"
"Huh, is that an official classification of animal?" Kate taunted with an evil smirk.
"No, but it looks like a winged snake." She and McGee came over to look. "I didn't think quetzecotols were real. Then again, looking where it came from...." He trailed off as Fornell and Gibbs stomped down the stairs. "Xander's sacred egg hatched, boss." Gibbs looked then frowned. "Looks like an ancient Mayan god, huh?"
"I guess. Looks like a winged snake."
Tony jogged over, handing over something to Gibbs. "The second ransom note just got sent." He looked at the picture. "Hopefully it won't try to eat the two new dogs."
"Yeah, hopefully," Greg agreed. He looked at the ransom note. "Abby's had it?"
"Yup. All yours."
Greg scanned it in then handed it to McGee. "I've got the drop site."
"I'll check it against other notes in the system," McGee said. "Why only ten thousand dollars?"
"They're either practical and don't think they can get more than that or they only need that much," Tony offered.
Kate shook her head. "Practical people don't stoop to kidnaping, Tony." She took the new note to add to her profile in progress.
Fornell shook his head. "Harris has new dogs?"
"After a bad guy broke in and poisoned his dalmations, yeah," Greg said. He looked up at him. "Flack found a matched set of chocolate labs at the pound. Hershey and Kiss are already starting early obedience training with the Xander daddy so they can take the same sort of classes both Spots had." He got back to work. "Tony's got their picture on his computer."
Tony pulled it up for him. "That's Xander, Hershey, and Kiss. They're both females," he said with a grin. "He even lets them talk on the phone. They barked at the boss the other day." Gibbs shook his head but he was smiling a bit. He paused then looked up. "We do remember that the next convention is local?" he asked.
"We're meeting beforehand to put new security protocols into place for the hotel," Fornell assured him. "Have they figured out which hotel?"
"They tell us six weeks beforehand so we don't die of anticipation, Fornell. We know it'll be upscale but smaller. We know it'll have room service, a spa at least attached to it, and it had better have good showers and tubs."
"We'll have to arrange a way to go sightseeing and shopping," Greg pointed out. "I know some are coming in early to sightsee. That plan was made on the bulletin board last night. Adam would know and Ray Kowalski might if you can get him at his desk in Miami."
Fornell nodded. "I'll get with him. Thank you for reminding me. How many are looking at the sightseeing trips?"
"At least ten to thirty," Tony told him. "There's a core group that go in each new spot we hit the day before the convention starts but I'm guessing they're doing Smithsonian earlier since it's so massive." That got a nod and Fornell wrote himself a note to look that up. Plus to look up reputable, bonded tour groups. Tony held something up. "Who is Hillary Abrahams?"
"She's the sister-in-law," Kate said. "Why?"
"The bank manager got back with me. She was checking on their safety deposit box last week. He thought it was odd in hindsight since she said our vic was on crutches and couldn't hop in to check herself."
Kate took the email and looked at her for the probable bad guy.
Horatio looked at the little winged snake, feeling something coming from it. "I don't know what it is, Xander. Is it demonic?"
"No." He scratched an itchy spot. "I don't know why but you seem to be drawn to it. Everyone does."
Horatio nodded. "I'm feeling the same thing. Are Sam and Dean still local?"
"Sam's at the university doing some research today. Dean's off playing on one of the off- shore gambling ships." He called Sam. "The sacred egg hatched. It's a winged snake thingy. Very drawing. It likes us when we pet it, we can tell." He hung up because his new pet told him to. It hissed at the dogs and Xander smacked it on the nose. "Leave the other pets alone. Have as good of manners as Hubert had."
The snake stared at him then went back to being adored as it was due. The humans would learn their place.
Sam looked at his phone then called Dean. "It's me. The sacred egg hatched a queztlecotol." He nodded. "Do you have anything? Xander said it was drawing and then it made him hang up." He looked up that creature in the online database, then nodded. "We can do that. Bring some. I'll meet you there." He hung up and gathered up his research, paying for his copies before heading out to catch a cab.
Dean showed up at the house a few minutes after he did, letting Sam get the sacred oil out of the back. Dean grimaced as they walked over to the picnic table, then doused the creature with the sacred oil, lighting it on fire while Sam added the herbs and started the banishing chant they usually used. Horatio and Xander fled, Xander taking the dogs with him. One of the ferrets came to investigate and got a bit singed but Xander soaked her down before he checked her over. Dean watched as the body turned to ash and the ash faded. "There, better. No more mind controlling, mythical creatures from ancient history." He shot Xander a look, getting a shrug back. "You good?"
"I'm fine and so's Beauty." He let Sam take her to pet. "I kept it away from the other pets."
"Good. It was going to start demanding sacrifices soon," Sam said dryly, giving him a look too.
"They gave it to Greg and Charlie because they thought they were Valkyries," Xander defended.
"Uh-huh," Dean said. "Any other mythical creatures we should know about?"
"No, the unicorn went home over a year ago," Xander said with a grin.
Horatio rubbed his forehead. "Don't remind me, Xander. Please. That was a bit much." He looked at the boys. "Thank you for the timely save."
"It's what we do," Sam quipped with a grin, bending to pet the dogs, who loved him. "Such good girls." He put Beauty onto Kiss's back, letting the puppy be a ride for now. They had learned that game already. He grinned at the other two GHS members. "Isn't it your day off, Horatio?" He nodded. "Then go do something less productive for humanity. Spoil yourselves rotten." They walked off together. "I got the information we need," he said as he and Dean got into the Impala.
"Good. Easy or not?"
"Not." He rolled down a window. "Horatio, we'll be salting and burning tonight by Freedom Cemetery." They backed out, going to scout the grave.
Horatio shook his head. "I'll warn someone so they don't stop them," he muttered, texting that to Speed. He could make up a good excuse for the night shift patrol commander. Xander pouted. "It wasn't your fault, Xander."
"I know." He shrugged. "We should go spoil ourselves. The boys will be expecting us to be happy, calm, sated people when they make it home."
"We could," Xander agreed. "Want to drive or should I drive the SUV?"
"I'll drive," Horatio told him. Xander had this alarming habit of weaving with the music he was singing to while he was driving if he was backed up. Since Xander was usually backed up.... If anyone else was with him they got to drive. Xander understood this so he didn't get pouted to death for it. Which was nice of him.
Don looked up as Frank got a phone call. "Case?" He said he'd switch off and take his next one since he owed Frank and his desk only had cold cases on it.
Frank listened then shook his head slowly. "You're sure?" he asked. He nodded. "Any idea why?" He nodded once. "Does he need rescued or not?" He smirked. "That's the old Caine luck, Margaret. Sure. Let me know if it comes down to that. Thank you for the warning." He hung up. "Is Xander restocking anything?"
Don considered it. "No, but it's all toys to Xander," he said carefully. "Caught by the local ATF office again? The last ones were amused until their boss got down on them for going near Xander; he still thinks Xander's dangerous to agents, drives them insane on purpose."
"No. Vice. Horatio let him play at the Venice House tournament today." Don shuddered. That was a well known weapons dealer hangout. "He's with him so he's not alone but yes, he's playing baccarat today."
"Well, maybe he'll get us dinner," Don said thoughtfully. He texted his boy, who answered back with an 'I'm being good, horatio said I was' and he showed it to Frank, who laughed. "We'll see how bad he was later on."
"Let me know if we have to disappoint someone in ATF with paperwork tomorrow."
"Sure, we can do that." He got back to his own paperwork. It never ended in their office. Danny strolled past him with a folder, heading for Ray's desk. "Horatio let Xander play baccarat at the Venice House."
Danny dropped the folder, looking at him. "Excuse me?"
"Caine let Xander play with the weapons dealers," Frank told him.
"Will we need to bail them out?"
"This is Xander," Don pointed out.
"Good point." He picked up the folder, shaking his head quickly. "We'll have to wait and see. I'll warn Speed." He handed the folder to Ray. "Excluded a boyfriend who couldn't get it up with the DNA. Didn't match and the chem tech did a chem analysis on the fluid, found Viagra. The original, not a knock off." He walked off, leaving it to him to deal with that. "Hey, Speed?" he called as he got nearer to trace. "Our boys are out together." He heard the groan os he leaned in, grinning at Ryan. Then at Speed. "Your boy let my boy play baccarat at the Venice House today."
"Uh-huh," Speed said, considering that. "Someone's getting spanked later," he decided.
"Was Xander bored?" Ryan asked.
"Weapons dealers gather there for card tournaments," Speed told him.
Ryan nodded. "Then Xander's stocking?"
"Possibly," Danny admitted. "They're toys to him. Who knows." He looked at Speed again. "Got a text from Dean a while ago. They killed the thing that hatched from the sacred egg before it started a new cult and tried to eat the pets."
"What was it?" Ryan asked.
Speed shook his head clearer. "I'll keep that in mind the next time we're given a sacred egg. Any other bad news I should hear?"
"Not yet but if our boys are out together there might be a suit shop that's empty later on."
"Possibly, if Xander wins a lot," Ryan agreed dryly, smirking just a bit. "Xander hasn't had the chance to spoil people recently."
"He spoiled plenty while we were in DC, even if Tony and Greg did the major spoiling." He looked at Speed again. "Did anyone do a chem analysis on the stones? See if they're normal and human?"
"I hadn't. I'll email Tony to suggest he do that if any more come his way." He moved to do that and complain about Xander playing with weapons dealers under Horatio's tutelage today, just in case the worst case scenario happens and they ended up being kidnaped. Or worse. Because there was always a worse.
Tony looked at his email, nodding. "Xander and Horatio are playing cards with the weapons dealers today."
"Why?" Gibbs demanded.
"Not really sure." He shrugged and sent a text to Xander's phone, getting one back saying that it was for charity and he was sucking today. "He said he's sucking at baccarat today and it's for charity."
"As long as he doesn't lose all his money," Gibbs said, shaking his head. "His boys would hate that."
Tony nodded. "Probably impossible since Horatio's there with him." He looked up and said a silent prayer to Strife about that then got back to work. He got back into the email. "Hey, Greg." Greg looked over from Kate's desk. "Speed suggested we do a chem analysis if we get any more, just in case they read as not being totally normal."
"I can do that," he agreed, getting back to work with Kate's computer. His was down for some reason and Kate was in the field at the moment with McGee questioning people. He sent a text to Xander's phone too, getting back an unhappy pout. "Wow, he's losing big today." He sent back a 'then quit' message. He got back an 'I can't' so he called Speed. "Xander said he can't stop playing cards at the baccarat tournament. Close to a hundred thousand." Tony winced and hissed. "I suggested he stopped and he sent back an 'I can't', Speed." He nodded. "Thanks." He hung up. "He'll go retrieve the boys."
"Probably a good idea since the email said they were playing with gun dealers."
"I'm sure it was only a head's up in case they get stolen again," Gibbs said impatiently. "Anything on our case?"
"Intersects," Greg said happily. "I knew I knew that name." He printed something off and handed it over with a flourish and a smirk.
"One of us?" Tony asked hesitantly.
"Used to work out of the Vegas lab. Chemist. Got fired by Ecklie. If I remember right it was because he used to drink. Was in AA and Ecklie decided it wasn't good enough."
Gibbs read it over, nodding slowly. "Good job, Sanders." He got into another site to search there. "He's being paid by a contractor to make chemical weapons."
"So's our vic," Tony said, walking that information over to look at this new stuff. "They're on the same project, boss."
Greg held up a hand. "Let's do something wise." He called the number they had for the guy's phone, getting him. "Hey, it's Sanders, NCIS and formerly Vegas. We need to talk to you in the office, now. About your project." He listened, making a note and holding it up. "We've got ransom notes." He nodded, making another note and holding it up. "Any idea who?" He nodded again. "Okay. You two come here. Now. Shipyard. Yeah, that's us. I'm on Gibbs' team. Just show up and say you need to speak to Gibbs about this case. You're coworkers." He nodded. "That'll work. Half an hour at the most," he said as he hung up. "They are together, and hiding, from another person on the project who tried to break into the triple code safe." Gibbs moaned, they had found that broken into earlier. "He's not sending the ransom notes for him or her, and she's with him."
"Where are they?" Gibbs asked.
"On their way in. They're not that far away but they were hiding."
"On the gate," he agreed, going to do that.
"Sanders," he started.
"Going to get the coworker once I call Kate," he agreed, calling her. "It's me. Small twist. Ransom notes are bogus, him and the missing one are together hiding from the third one. Where are you?" He nodded. "If you're there, need backup?" He smirked. "That'll work. I'll be there soon. They're coming here. You get her here. I'll search the lab." He hung up and grabbed his jacket, heading off. "Call Xander to check on him," he yelled as he walked.
"Fine," Gibbs muttered, using his computer to send a text message to Xander's phone to check in with him, Greg was worried.
Ryan walked into the Venice House club and looked around then up. He smiled and put a hand on a wall, blessing the area to Ares' name. And lo and behold the magic floating around stopped. He walked in, looking at the horrified host. "You know, it's amusing when you don't block off everyone from knowing. Praise Ares' name." The man backed off. "Xander?" he called, walking that way. Xander smiled and won his next hand, wiping out his debt. "Good job. Let's go. They were magicing the area so you'd lose, guys." He smiled at Horatio. "It was me or SWAT and Don and Frank wanted SWAT, Horatio."
"I know they did." He helped Xander up, letting him walk them out. He nodded at a few players, who looked much happier now that they weren't losing as well. He led him out to the hummer. "I think that's a bad way to raise money for charity." He looked at Xander.
"It was a good charity."
"It was," he agreed. "You can send in a donation, Xander. Even if you are feeling like a princess in a tower again." He looked at Ryan. "Are we being escorted back to the station?"
"Not yet. Only if SWAT had shown up," he teased with a grin, making Horatio moan. "Call your boys so I can go back to work." They texted them and it was better. He watched them drive off in Horatio's hummer before heading back in his own. Really, that was too stupid, using demonic magic to make everyone lose. It raised a lot more money for the charity but it made people resentful. So maybe he'd check into the charity itself, make sure it was a good place to donate to. Fraud should know. He'd stop by there on the way back.
Later that night, Tony looked at the jeweler who had bought the rubies from him. "I was wondering something."
"I took down their origin. We did have them tested." Tony grinned and relaxed. "Who pointed that out to you?"
"A friend down in Miami's lab."
"Ah. That was wise of him."
"Does it read as human?"
"It reads as two unknown chemicals in it and two that show up in NASA's database as being from a few asteroids."
Tony blinked. "They're alien? I thought we were on another realm."
He shrugged. "I don't know, Mr. DiNozzo. I do know that we will accept them but they will be marked as having contaminants from asteroids."
He nodded. "That's fair. Any idea where the asteroids came from?"
"No. We can send that friend an analysis."
"My... Greg Sanders is a former DNA god. He and Abby might be able to figure it out and we know a few scientist types out in California."
"That'll be fine. I'll send them to Mr. Sanders at work." He smiled. "Did you get more already?"
"No, just that question. We weren't sure if something like that had happened."
"It does now and then. You're not the first to bring us jewels that aren't totally normal. Mr. Harris and others have given us jewels from off-realm and places." He nodded and shook his hand, leaving him alone to smile at the poor young guy's back. "Such a waste of a good mind, to be GHS and a higher level as well. Pity. He could've been a congressman or something instead."
Tony went back to work, finding everyone still there doing the rest of the paperwork on today's case. Which he should have been doing. He walked in and wrote something, handing it to Greg and nodding at Gibbs.
Greg read it then handed it to Gibbs, who choked on his current drink of coffee. "You're sure?"
"The jeweler said so. He said we're not the first. So if we get any more I want Greg, Abby, maybe Speed, and possibly some of Charlie Epps people to look at them if we can."
"We might be able to do that." He handed it back. "Destroy that." Tony did that. "Have any left?"
"Two but they're larger and we don't know about cutting them. I wasn't sure if that was an option."
"It could be. Talk with Speedle tonight. He knows about those things. It's one of his specialities from what he's said in the past." They both nodded. "Paperwork, DiNozzo?"
"Done, boss." He pointed at the inbox. "You already put it in there. I came back for Greg. Just in case the old director is still around DC."
"The FBI found her trail earlier in Alexandria," McGee said quietly, looking at him. "They're not sure if she tried it again or not, Tony."
"If so, I'd like to be a bit more careful."
"Security system?" Gibbs asked.
"Fully alert and through a monitoring company who knows we're Feds," Greg assured him. "They've got it on a very sensitive monitor that'll tell them if it's bypassed."
"Good." He got Sanders' report and read it over, nodding and putting it into the inbox so those two could go. He'd start random calling later, once they had been home for a half- hour. Just in case. Because he wouldn't put it past Sheppard. She had tried to sell Greg in the past. Tony had thwarted that and so had Xander. He sent a notice down to the Miami office and to Fornell, just in case he hadn't remembered Xander was involved in that.
Kate looked over. "Are we going to have to worry about surveillance too?"
"I hope not. I'm doing random call checks. I reminded Fornell about her last tricks and that those two weren't the only ones involved." That got a grimace. "Xander was too, Kate. While you were on sick leave."
"The same day they got their overcompensating SUV," McGee agreed dryly. Gibbs shot him a dirty look. "It can be seen that way, boss."
"It's not." He looked at Kate again. "It'll be fine, Kate. We'll make sure of it."
"Good. I don't want to have to track Tony to some other country again. Last time was bad enough."
"It was." He sent an email to the guys who did rescues for the GHS society, making sure they were aware she was out and had tried this in the past. He got back a 'we were told, thank you for warning us'. That was good and it covered all the bases. Unless Sanders got a sudden ice cream urging and snuck out at two in the morning again. Like he had last night.
Xander looked up from his snack while waiting on Don to get done with work, finally, blinking at the demon standing there. "What?" He ate another chip. Still nothing. "I'm not that pretty," he said quietly. "Also, if you're invisible, appear fully." The cops at the station wouldn't mind much.
It finished appearing and looked at him. "You are one of the special ones." Xander shrugged and ate another chip. "It is heard you are no longer protected."
"I had a friend who helped protect me before. He was assassinated. I got them back. I'm not looking for a new one."
The demon stared him down. "They can claim you without your consent."
"Only if they want me to destroy them too. Like I have many others through the years. Only I get to say who I go to. Sorry."
"You have no say. You're human."
Xander held up something and he flinched then stated to scream as the sight of it ate through his brain. He tucked it back into his pocket. "Really?" he asked it, eating another chip. A few officers came running. "He thinks he has the right to claim me even if I don't want him to. Pity he's so stupid." He looked down at the demon on the ground. "Are you done with your misconception about how much I care about your thoughts or desires?"
"You will be claimed!" he snarled, getting up and reaching for him. Xander pulled out a hair pin and stabbed it, making it scream in pain as the blessed object killed the muscles it stabbed through. "How!" he demanded, holding the injured arm.
Xander grinned. "You don't know who I am? I'm Harris, from Sunnydale." He backed up another few steps so Xander stood up and moved closer, putting the hairpin back. "I have no idea how you got turned onto me but I don't care. I don't know you, don't want you, and if you try to claim I'm yours you're going to be a sorry bastard when I get done with you. Because, yes, I can do that." The demon snarled and lunged. Xander fought it. "Get me Wolfe's sword," he shouted. One of the officers went for it. Xander got the demon trapped against the picnic table and took the sword when Ryan brought it out. "Anything else you want to confess?" he asked. "Last chance, demon."
"You will not win."
Xander leaned down. "I'm a high priest of Strife using a blade blessed by a Chosen of Ares. Last few seconds." The demon spluttered so Xander killed it. "Pity." He handed the blade back and looked around. "Holy water?" he asked Ryan.
"Not on me. I don't think we have any in the lab either."
Xander grimaced then pulled out his hairpin again, stabbing it in critical areas until the dying tissues took over and killed the rest of the body, making it dissolve. He wiped it off on the same rag Ryan cleaned his sword with then put it back into his hair. "So, how much longer is Don going to be?" he asked the guys with a grin. "Before another unsavory thing comes up to try to claim me again?"
"We're not sure," one said. "Let me check, Mr. Harris."
Xander grinned. "Remember to tell Don what you guys want me to cook for lunch next time too." They nodded and Xander sat down at the other table to wait patiently, humming a bit now and then while he waited and watched the parking lot. Speed came out. "Hi."
"Hi. Where's H?"
"Home with Ray Junior. He's having trifling girlfriend problems again."
"Oh. The demon?" Xander pointed at the mess. "How do we get rid of it?"
"Dig it up?"
"We can do that." He went to find someone on the shit list to do that and called Sam's phone just in case they needed something bigger than a shovel to cure it. He called Horatio too, just in case no one else had.
Don came strolling out, giving Xander a hug. "You good?"
"I'm fine. He was under the wrong idea that he could claim me without my consent. Pity." He nuzzled his lover's throat, making himself a happy boy.
Don smiled. "You're so backed up again."
"I know," he whined. "But you keep working too many hours." He pouted at him. "Meany."
"Not my fault crime's been hell. Before you think about it, don't ask for favors either."
"I won't," he complained, still pouting. Danny came strolling out too. "I only brought the vette."
"I know. I rode my bike," Don said with a wink.
Xander wiggled. "Can we go for a ride, Don? Please?"
"Sure, Xander. We can go for a ride. Give Danny your keys." Xander tossed them at Danny as they headed for the bike. "Heading home with the boy."
"Sure." He smiled, watching them go. "We're getting pounced later," he said once Don had driven them out of hearing range. The officer watching gave him an odd look. "Long story."
"We've heard. He managed to beat the ...thing earlier."
"He can do it when he's threatened but then he'll go back to humming and trip over it because he's forgotten it's there," Danny said dryly. He had done that recently. Dean had laughed his tail off while chastising Sammy about not getting that backed up. "Heading home if anyone asks." He got into the corvette and headed off. He had ridden in behind Don this morning so it was fine.
Ryan came out looking around the lot. "Xander gone?"
"Detective Flack drove him home on his motorcycle."
Ryan smiled. "That's Xander's idea of spoiling Don rotten one day a few years back." The cop whimpered. "Xander's very unique. And he still can't balance his checkbook. Then again, neither can anyone but Steve at the moment," he said thoughtfully.
"If you *ever* become GHS we're so going to laugh, Wolfe," Speed said as he walked out behind him. Ryan smirked at him. "You'd be worse than Xander and twice as bouncy. Plus still carry around a sword."
"I need to sharpen it later." He watched the kid digging up the remains of the demon into a barrel. "Glad I'm not there anymore." He headed for his car. "See you tomorrow, Speed."
"Thanks for the warning," he quipped back, heading for his bike.
The patrol officer looked at his boss when he came out. "If Harris can beat the ...thing that tried to attack him and kill it, why can't he balance a checkbook?"
The senior officer shrugged. "All GHS members are strange. It's their hormones. When the hormones are high they're dangerous, kidnaped, and like chocolate a lot more than anyone else on any planet ever found. When they're not backed up, they're more normal. That particular one is worse than any other one ever created. They say he's so far up the ladder of level ten he's no longer having normal days when he's not backed up. Just now and then he can handle emergencies. He's done it on scenes before when his neighbor went after him for her tree dying." The officer shook his head quickly. "This is Miami, you get some petty reasons for major crimes around here," he said dryly. "He's saved a few of us that way. That and he makes really good meals for us now and then." Delko came out. "What's Harris making for the next lunch?"
"He said he's taking ideas. Give them to Flack."
"Sure. Thanks, Delko." Eric pointed at the guy digging. "One of the scaley, slimy fan club. He had to borrow Wolfe's sword."
"Ask his proteges if we need more than digging it up and burning that table, guys." He walked over to his car, getting in and driving off.
"That's not a bad idea." He went to call Flack's house to get their number.
The patrol guy looked up. "If I *ever* want to be a CSI, strike me down?" he prayed. "Please? I'd hate to be that strange. It's sad that the slut's the normal one." He went to check out and head home himself. He'd had enough for the day. If he stayed he'd only see worse things.
Don looked up later that night, finger combing Xander's hair while they watched tv. "I can feel you," he called quietly. The rock-shaped demonic detective appeared, making Sam jump for a weapon since Dean was in their room. "Chill, he's a DPP detective, guys. What's up? About the demon he had to handle earlier?"
"No, wondering about a few things. Do you think he'll be able to make complex decisions tomorrow, Detective?"
Don shrugged. "We're trying but crime's been hell recently. What's going on? Another stolen member or someone who wants to steal him?"
"Neither. More about what he's got stored at the moment."
"Oh, the weapons thing. I thought he cleared it all back to the warehouse down here."
"Mostly but a few larger things have been given to that clan for him. He'll also need to make sure that he's protected in case the other higher demons try for him again. You know your harem is vastly wanted by many clans and higher demons."
"I remember," Don said grimly. "Thanks for the warning. We'll try to finish wearing him out tonight." The detective nodded and left.
Sam frowned at him. "DPP?"
"Demonic police. That realm with the map that'll help you find any lost GHS members?" he said at the clueless look.
"Oh, them. Okay. They came to Xander? And what harem?"
"Harem is a technically polite term for the family you gather around you that you're sleeping with, letting help you, that stuff. Since Xander gathered the family, we're his harem, even guys like Ray and Methos who only advise." Sam nodded slowly. "A lot of the demons who want Xander give the harem stuff as well to show how good they'll be to the rest of us and how they can spoil all of us or how they're able to care of us in the right ways. Right now you're counted as students of the harem. At one point in time they decided Aiden and Stella were part of the harem because Xander was giving them the presents he didn't want. Pissed them off to no end that weekend." Sam grinned, understanding that. He had met both women and they both had strong tempers.
Xander blinked up at him. "Huh?"
"Explaining to Sam about why the DPP officer came to see you." Xander yawned and nodded, going back to sleep on his thigh. "Thank you, Xander." He went back to playing with his hair for now. It was a good thinking device for him. Better than any worry stone. "Right now, you and Dean have your own harem, plus probably any hunters you guys spend a lot of time with or that help you a lot. Even Steve's counted as part of the harem by most of them because he helps us so much."
"So if Dean ever gets a real girlfriend, she'd be counted?" Don nodded. "Interesting. I'll let him know tomorrow." He grinned at Xander then at Don again. "So why would they come to him?"
"Xander had a very good friend who was on the High Demonic Council before he was assassinated. All of us agreed Vesvold could protect him for a while since Vessie wanted him so badly."
"No, Vesvold was truly in love with Xander. He didn't try any of the courting things that had been pissing us all off. He protected Xander, asked his opinion on things, let him help him find a good gift for his mother. They would've gotten really tight if it wasn't for the Ancient demons that had him killed. Which Xander took out."
"Heard about that part," Sam admitted. He stared at Xander. "If you didn't know him, you wouldn't think he was that complex. You'd think he was a socialite, like the ones who carry their dogs around."
"That's a trick he learned off Buffy. Plus it keeps him out of more trouble. We don't mind him playing dumb as long as he doesn't do it at home."
Sam nodded. "What'll happen when you guys have to leave Miami?"
"We're going to the farm first, then we'll see," he admitted. "It'll hopefully be a while before that happens. Xander's got at least a decade left before he ages out of his current life. Maybe a bit more from some mysterious spa treatment. Dying so young can suck. One of his friends died in his late teens. Now and then he ends up redoing high school."
Sam winced. "Poor guy."
"Yup. You and Dean can both look like you're in your twenties, maybe early thirties, for a good long while. Girls have that worse since they show wrinkles earlier."
"There are female immies, right? I mean I know Jace is but I heard she was a special case somehow."
"Yeah, there's plenty. One's a world class jewel thief named Amanda. Adam knows her. He knows a lot of us. You can ask him that stuff since we all do."
"He's a bit off-putting."
Don grinned. "Yeah, he's a surly and grumpy bastard some days but now and then it's gotta happen. Oh, he's got a menace that used ta follow him around but doesn't now. You need to ask him about the Macloud clan. One Xander's decided needs to die and the other went after us because we knew Xander's friend Oz, who one of that clan thinks is evil."
Sam just nodded. "I'll ask him tomorrow since I'm going over the herbal and ancient language stuff with him." That got a nod. "How old is he?" Don shrugged. "Pre-AD times?" Don nodded. "Wow."
"Very but he tries to hide it," Don admitted. "He's had a long, twisted history, Sam. He's what Angel hopes to be in another few centuries."
Sam smiled. "Angel needs to work harder. He had someone call today to get Xander into a situation."
"Yeah, Fred called Danny at work. One of the slayers in training managed to escape her watcher. They wanted to warn him in case he ran into her."
"Are they that evil?"
Don considered it. "Their methods suck," he said after a few minutes thought. "They like to take the girls from their families by any means necessary to train them as soon as they find them. Xander said the only council raised one he knew had no other friends, no family that she knew of, had no idea about girl things. Had one outfit. Had no idea what a boyfriend was for. None of it. She ran into Buffy after Buffy had technically died but Xander brought her back to life."
"He told us a bit about her."
"So I'm thinking this girl needed to get away from the watcher guy or something worse was going on and she needed to be free for other reasons."
"Then we'll watch out for her too if you've got any ID on her."
Don nodded. "Danny's got it. She was local, that's why they called. They've got girls stashed all over the world. Now they've got watchers from all over the world coming here to try to help get her back. We had Adam call them earlier to warn them off coming to Miami. If she was here, we'd get her out of trouble and send her to Wes or Buffy if there was a bad issue. If the watcher was the issue, we'd arrest him and put her into foster care and they could fight the system. Apparently he knew a few things that made the watchers council sit up and beg to leave us alone."
Sam smirked. "That's probably a good thing with what we've heard about Giles."
"That's a bit of viewpoint bias, Sam," he cautioned.
"I know. He told us things hadn't always been so bad. What happened anyway?"
"Giles came over as an immie and went to Connor for training. Xander had just gotten back from his first long kidnaping and found out he was a berserker. Connor kept trying to push him into that state to break him going there and it was hurting him a lot since he'd only been over for maybe six months at that time if I remember right. We came over on the same day." Sam nodded slowly. "Giles came to Connor for training when Oz sent him. Giles found out that Xander's a high level GHS and decided that all the higher levels need protected so he kinda....sold him to a higher level demon for his own protection. Connor didn't really fight him on that when he found out. When Xander found out he went to take Giles' head at Connor's and Connor ended up shooting them both to get Xander off Giles. Xander was healing slower because he had some debris from earlier incidences. Connor chewed Giles a new one in private but when Xander woke up Connor basically said 'it's a good thing I'm honorable or you'd be dead' and set Xander off again. Then when the monsoon demon started his crap and Xander came back dressed like a girl that time, they laughed. So no more of either of them. Xander's vowed they'll be dying some year."
Sam nodded. "Good to know. Just in case." He frowned. "Giles is back in Sunnydale still, right?" Don nodded. "Where's Connor?"
"Connor and his insane clansman are in DC somewhere. Tony's run into him a few times. That came out at the New York convention from a few of the agents he's run into after challenges."
"I guess it's harder to hide those somewhere like DC with all the security."
"It's hard enough to hide them down here," Don assured him. "The last one any of us took a rookie cop called IAB when they found us post quickening after having argued about who was taking his head for Xander."
Sam snickered. "He can take his own."
"Yeah but it's dangerous if he falls down into his head that way. Only Ryan can get him out and he's not fully able to if he's too far gone. We don't want to make him fall that far. Besides, they all go after his hair and Adam gets pissed at that. He's taken double what I have as a new immie. He's taken about as many challenges as Danny has and he's over two hundred."
"They want to test themselves against this new style of fighting," Sam said. Don nodded and smirked. "Well, at least he's teaching some of us. I'm hoping my first challenge isn't anytime soon. I'm not ready yet."
"Neither was I but they sure tried to get me at work. So did the Watchers there for a bit. They decided we were some strange sort of demon and they were trying to take all us out. A few traps, having Xander's car run into. He had to have the corvette's nose redone because of the crash. Fortunately the guys on the scene knew to call Horatio or one of us if something happened to Xander. They called him to tell him they found Xander dead after an anonymous tip called in the crash." Sam shuddered. "Horatio got there as he was waking up. That was right after Ryan got the nail to the tear duct."
"Very. Plus debris and glue bits that kept him healing for days. Adam ended up taking out the old one so he could heal fully. Here on the old couch." Sam shuddered. "That's when they went to Vegas and Xander went to learn the dance stuff, plus they got Hubert."
"He still misses him."
"He will for years, Sam. The same as we both do Spots."
"I do miss Spots. Hershey and Kiss are great but it's odd that they don't pounce Dean for his breakfast."
Don grinned. "I'm sure it'll be fine. They'll get their own mannerisms even if they are napping lumps of fur this week because they're growing again."
"All babies do that," Xander mumbled. He blinked up at Don. "You stopped? Did you figure the case out?"
"Not yet. We were talking about stuff." He went back to petting his boy. Sam smiled, heading up to his room. Don grinned down at Xander. "Bed?"
Xander yawned but nodded. "I could like to do this in bed." He got up and the dogs woke up to stare at him. "Going to the bed, girls." They followed, hopping up to sleep against Danny's back to keep him warm while Xander and Don snuggled and teased each other for a bit longer. It was good for him. Don could leave him limp faster than anyone but a great massage.
Danny looked up as the detective appeared next to him in the break room. "Xander still being too flighty?"
"He's fast asleep. Dean said to give him an hour or he could take a message."
"They're our students. They pretty well know everything we do anyway."
"Thankfully Xander hasn't been bringing them up when he plays with some of the concubines he rescued a few years back." Danny turned to look at him more fully. "Board games recently. Nothing sexual."
"He'd have told us if it was. Checking on them?"
"They've been bored. Their keepers have been bored. Xander's considered suitable to play with since they know he won't try to steal them and he'll protect them if some other wanna-be owner comes up for their pets." That got a slow nod. "The problem isn't that they've been playing board games, poker, or Xander's been teaching a few solitaire. The problem is that the higher ups are trying to woo him again. Well, that and his winnings." He frowned. "By the way, where is the tall, brunette male you were traveling with recently? Someone wanted to talk to him."
"Tony works at NCIS with Gibbs and Greg Sanders."
"Ah!" He nodded at that. "We still have the marker on Gregory, just in case." He smirked. "It came in very handy."
"I'm sure and Gibbs might find it to be handy too. What presents are we talking about?"
"Some weapons were given to the clan that had been holding some of his collection. A few others things have been sent. We've got a small box of things that the demons asked us to pass along since apparently we're so unbusy."
Danny snorted. "You guys got your hands full like we do I'm sure."
That got a nod. "You have no idea. There was another battle ring recently and we had to bust it since it wasn't conforming with all the rules. It was quite a mess getting those who were technically free back to their people then letting the rest of them pick where they wanted to go. What would you have us do with the weapons and things?"
"Dean and Sam can help him sort weapons later. Presents and that stuff too. You can tell any yahoo that tries it he's not interested. Don's more then demon enough for his needs."
That got a nod. "I can make that note. What about his winnings from the games?"
Danny stared. "He's won big stuff from board games?"
"Last month he won the realm the board game was played about. He walked into that one honestly and read the rules, which disqualified both players. So they had to start over. They taught him. He used the strategy knowledge he had to make them both lose." Danny moaned. "It's small, uninhabited."
"That's good!" he said more happily.
"The other three aren't." Danny gripped the counter before he passed out. "Ah, never told you." He helped him sit down. "Should I get someone else?"
"Yeah, get Don and H for me please? Speed or Ryan if they wanna come?" He nodded, going to get them for him. Danny called home. "Smack our boy on the ass for us, Dean. Because he's been off playing games on the demon realms and won a few. Some with people." Sam asked if that was where the cult of Xander was. "Cult?" he squeaked. "No! No no noooooo, spank him. We'll do it when we get home if you can't catch 'im today. Then go over the new presents and weapons with him." He hung up, putting his head down. Frank came in and gave him a pat on the back. "It's worse than his poker games because he was bored," he moaned at the pat.
"Did he lose this time?"
Danny looked up at him. "Worse. He won a few demon realms."
Frank spluttered. "Are we having a family meeting?"
"Just a short one," he said dryly, smirking at him. "One of the DPP people is here to let us know about this." Frank handed him a cup of coffee before leaving. Danny put his head back down.
Speed and Horatio walked in with Ryan. "Don's in the field," he told Danny.
Danny lifted his head to look at him. "Xander's been playing multiple types of games with the demon concubines."
Horatio sat down, nearly gripping the table. "Should we be worried?"
"Since Sam just asked if the new cult of Xander was on one of the ones he had won, yeah," he said dryly. Horatio whimpered. "Where's the detective?"
"He went to get the list," Speed said, giving him a shoulder rub. "It'll be okay, Danny."
"I told Dean ta spank him. 'Cause if he don't I will."
Ryan walked in. "Xander said he did not know he was playing for riches, realms, or people. He's very sorry and he's to disclaim any knowledge of it or ownership. Though he was surprised some demons were playing Clue for a demon realm when he heard." He got some coffee and walked off drinking to go back to his current report.
"Was I insane when I let you two talk me into being his keeper? High fever or something?"
"Being with Xander is worth all the stress," Horatio said gently.
"And hey, new wrinkles so you don't have to leave as soon," Speed said smartly with an evil smirk. Horatio swatted him. "It's true."
"It's making the ones I already had deeper," Danny shot back dryly, giving him a look. Mac walked in with a folder. "New case?"
"The DPP detective dropped this off with me so I could come give it to you guys while he gave the full list to Xander so he could check the new weapons and things. Plus one for Tony?"
"During the going away event there was a major taking and road trip event," Speed said. "Tony ended up married against his will to some cloaked demon who dug up jewels. Didn't know what a GHS was but he wanted Tony more than Xander."
Mac looked at him oddly. "Should we maybe retest Tony's levels? That makes two, right?" Horatio nodded with a small hum, taking the folder to look at. "Should I get Don?"
"Sure," Speed agreed. "He's on Stella's scene."
"I'll let her know so she can break the news gently." He went to do that. The DPP officer had been scared of being beaten for being the messenger, now he knew why. He wondered what sort of suitor Xander had this time.
Horatio opened the folder, looking at the top page. "It's a listing of when and where he won it, who he won it from, what sort of game he was playing, and where it is." He had to get a magnifying glass. It was in tiny type to fit that all the columns on one page. He slowly read it over, then handed it to Speed, who stared then handed it on and got up to make some decent coffee for them. Horatio handed the next sheet to Danny, who was still staring with his mouth slightly open.
"Remember, the IRS can't get him for demon realms," Speed said with a hug for Danny around the head.
Danny looked up at him. "Half of them are demons."
"Well, yeah, but they can't tax him on it."
Danny snorted, going back to the next page Horatio was handing him. "Does this say that the concubine bet his master's realm and lost?"
"It does," Horatio agreed. "I'm wondering if the higher demons knew and approved."
"Hopefully not, so they'll want to take it back," Danny said firmly.
Speed patted him gently. "There's always hope. If not, maybe he can hold some sort of lottery to give them back." He went back to his fussing when Horatio gave him an odd look.
Stella hung up and walked over to where Don was, making him lean against a car, smiling at the woman who was giving him information. "Thank you for your help."
"Problem?" Don asked.
"The DPP officer just dropped a folder off with Mac."
"Uh-huh," he said slowly. "And?"
"Did you know there was a cult of Xander somewhere?"
He blinked, staring at her. "Excuse me?" he asked.
She nodded. "The folder wasn't that thick but Mac said it was a chart."
Don nodded slowly. "Give me the rest of the bad news, Stella."
"He won somewhere by playing Clue from what Ryan said."
Don shuddered then slumped, nodding at the ground now. "Okay. So we need to spank Xander."
"He's been bored again, Don."
"He's got the two students."
"Who are doing excellent jobs at keeping him from being too bored but now and then they're out too and they can only shop so much. So can he."
Don looked at her. "Are we talking super boredom?"
"I don't know. Mac only glanced at the chart."
"How long was it?"
"He didn't count pages."
"Page*s*?" he asked. She nodded, grinning some. "I'm going to make sure that boy is never bored again," he muttered, getting back to work. He called Danny. "Will I throw a fit?" he asked. He listened to a few of the items being read off. "What sort of game is that? Oh, breath holding. Yeah." He hung up and shook his head quickly.
Let Steve deal with it. He did the financial stuff so Don could be a GHS detective instead of worrying too often. This would make him worry more so Steve could deal with it.
Detective Mystyck appeared in front of Xander, who held up a short form saying that anything he had won on the demon realms between two dates went to Sam and Dean Winchester for their future profits. "Nice try but not legal." He smirked at him.
"If that's a deed, it's legal by our standards," Sam said as he walked in with Dean behind him. Dean's hand was on his sword but that was just Dean being Dean. "He asked me how to word it."
"In our courts it's not legal to deed some of these things away."
"But he could win them?" Dean asked.
"Of course. Sometimes we're just as bored as he is." He smirked at Xander again, handing over the same chart his boys had gotten. He handed Dean a large, closed box. "That works like his bags, boys. Since you guys like them so much." He looked at Xander. "You are quite a hit on the game realms." He disappeared, still smirking.
Xander looked at the list then closed it. "Let's go look for that missing slayer," he decided, standing up.
Dean gave him an odd look. "Let's look in the box first."
"I don't care what's in the box. It's yours." He walked past him. "I'm going to shower."
"Sure, we'll wait so we can hunt her with you," Sam agreed. He and Dean looked in the box together and Dean nearly swooned. "Is that ... Is that a mini cannon?"
Dean pulled it out and nodded. "It is." Xander came back to look at it. "You sure?"
"I'm sure. Keep to Horatio's rules for weapons in Miami." He went back to his shower. His hair could use it and the nasty thoughts could be rinsed off with the shampoo.
Dean sat down to pull things out of the box while Sam looked over the list. "Maybe it's a good thing they wouldn't accept the handover," Sam said finally. Dean let out an inquisitive grunt while petting a new weapon. Sam looked over and took a picture with Danny's scene camera since it was on the table. "Is it the new Winchester family puppy?"
"Could be," he said, letting him see it but not take it. "Why is it a good thing they wouldn't take it?"
"We would've ended up with five demon realms, three of which are inhabited. Plus a few demonic mansions. Some slaves."
Dean shook his head. "Uh-huh."
Dean nodded. "I'd rather have the box. It's a good deal we got from Monty Xander in there."
Sam snickered, going back to his reading. At least until Dean gasped. He looked over. "Are those diamonds, dude?" he asked, shifting closer to look. They looked like diamonds. "Xander?" He came out naked and looked. "Are those carved wolves on a string diamonds?"
Xander tested them with his ring. Only a diamond would scratch a diamond. His didn't scratch that one. "Nope, harder. Not a clue what they are." He went back to get dressed. They were pretty whatever they were. "Call Speed, he knows about that stuff."
"We'll stop by on the way out," Dean called. "I don't need something that powerful." He let it slide back into the bag they had been in before, tying it carefully and handing it to Sam. "Hold that, Sammy." He looked in there, pulling out a few more things. He really didn't think they needed artillery of the 'building destruction into particulate matter' class. Calleigh could use it for her weekly squeal time though. Xander came out dressed reasonably well, doing his hair. "Can we give those to Calleigh?"
"Sure," he agreed happily. "It's yours. Do whatever you want with it." That got a nod and a grin from Sam. "Let's go find the missing girl, guys. Before someone slimy does. There's too many of those in Miami." That got a nod and they headed out to the SUV. "You know, when the practice room was on the ground floor, we used to sort all the poker winnings in there. I got to hide them from the boys with 'ignore me' spells. They found them and nagged. We had money counting parties."
Sam smiled since he was sitting up front with him. "I'm sure we'll have more of those later on."
"Probably not. I'm not allowed to play poker with the bad guys any more so they don't have enough money for nefarious plans. Horatio complained." He backed out of the driveway. "Dean, did you bring those? We can drop them off."
"Okay." He ran inside, bringing out the weapons and the box of stuff to keep looking through while they drove. He found a few things that had 'classified' stamped on their cases. He looked and whimpered. "Oooooh, Sammy!" he moaned.
Sam looked back through the 'chauffeur window'. "Don't moan my name like we're in a porno, Dean. Especially not while coming over the weapons." Xander giggled. Dean let him see inside the case and he moaned too. "Can we keep that?"
"No room in the trunk or I'd say yes."
"Damn." Xander was still snickering. "That's a perfect weapon."
"I'm sure Calleigh will need to change clothes then. Maybe even some of the guys at the ATF if she shares."
Sam shook his head. "I wouldn't." He noticed Xander had changed lanes nearer to one of the fast food places he got lunch for the office from. "We're bringing lunch too?"
"It'll mean a longer wait to escape," Dean pointed out.
"We can let Calleigh and the patrol guys she's going to bully carry them up. They'll keep Danny from spanking."
"No, they won't," Sam promised. Xander pouted at him. "They might try," he admitted to ease the pout. He hated it when Xander pouted at him. His chest hurt at the sight of that pout. Xander pulled through to get lunch for everyone and they let Dean hold it for now. When they pulled onto the station's road, Sam called Calleigh. "Xander said we could have the box with the weapons. Dean's sorting out the stuff we'll never need to use unless there's an apocalypse coming that Xander can't stop by pouting. Oh, and Xander got lunch so the patrol guys would guard his ass from spanking."
"And tell her I want Speed to see what those wolves are," Dean called.
"And we have something for Speed to figure out for us too, please. Some gems harder than diamonds. Xander's ring didn't scratch it at all. It actually scratched his ring. Yeah, that one. The corner of it that was already scratched. Please? No, we just want to know what sort of gem it is." He grinned. "Nearly there. You'll need a cart." He laughed. "We can do that. Xander, Mac's station instead. She's there." He nodded, turning around to go that way. "Think they'll like to be fed?" He laughed at her 'of course and Danny's not here to spank him either' answer. "That might be better. Thanks, Calleigh." He hung up. "She's over there with their ballistics tech working on a gun that someone created using a hollow tube and a plunger." Dean leaned through the window. "Mac's seen one done with a steering wheel clamp. They're looking over this one together."
"I'd like to see," Dean admitted. Sam shrugged. "Maybe I'll volunteer to help since I know so much." He went back to sorting while they drove and chatted. A few more things went into her pile. But not the mini cannon or the thing that looked like a laser pistol. He wanted to try that one out first. They finally got there and Dean got out, handing the first guy in uniform the food box. "For the patrol guys."
"Thanks. You are?"
"Harris's student Dean Winchester. We're dropping off for the ballistics department."
"I'll let them know you're here, sir." He walked inside with the box, pouting a little bit. "Harris is dropping stuff off for ballistics." He handed over the box. "I guess that's the lab's too."
Calleigh came out. "No, that's for you guys, Officer. Xander played some poker with someone and they gave him weapons. That's so you guys protect him from the spanking he'll get if his boys were here." The officer let out a boyish grin and carried the box off to take what he wanted of the sandwiches before handing them on. She found Dean waiting on her. "What did you get from Xander to keep him unspanked?" He pointed at the pile of weapons, making her moan in that special tone of voice. "Oooh."
"Yeah, I nearly came too," he sighed. She bopped him on the arm so he grinned back. "Can I see the new one?"
"Let me get a cart, you can help me move them." He nodded, letting her go get a rolling cart for the weapons. She came back and Dean helped her stack and then roll them inside. Sam handed her the bag. "What's this?"
"We have no idea what they're made out of," Sam admitted.
She looked. "They're pretty; not diamonds?" Dean shook his head. "Then we'll look." She waved as they backed out. "Going to leave you here?"
"A slayer in training ran away from her watcher and they wanted Xander to see if he could find her." That got a nod and she signed him into the lab, letting him help her roll the weapons in there.
Mac looked and moaned in that special key too. "Dean teased me when I made that sound."
"We'd tease him but he won't let me see the new weapon," Dean told her. She bopped him again but he helped her move things to tables for easier checking over. Mac petted the cased weapons. "I know, but we'll never use them, God willing that we don't have that sort of emergency. Xander said we could have the whole special box of stuff they had dropped off for him. Horatio's rules, ya know? Besides, she's doing that database."
"I'll let you help," she promised happily. She let him see the new weapon.
He frowned. "Not enough concussive force unless you're using a spring too?"
"We couldn't figure out how since it wasn't hand-held," she admitted.
"Not that hard. Mouse trap, the game." He found the stuff he wanted and set it up, letting it dry fire for her. "Probably still needs more force and the trip wire could be attached to anything there."
She nodded. "That's why we found that wire, Mac."
He came to look. "That looks more reasonable to me too." They looked at the pictures, finding the pieces they needed. "It was set to fall apart once it was fired."
"No one would think it was more than a pile of junk," Dean agreed. "Smart enough crooks, like the coyote on cartoons."
Mac grinned. "We've had a few of those."
"Oh, don't remind me," Calleigh sighed. They finished their analysis and then went back to petting the weapons with him. She took the bag of things to run through the trace lab to see what they were made of. It came up unknown mineral, hardness exceeding ten on the hardness scale. "Huh." She brought the reports back, letting Mac see them. "This is odd, Mac."
He looked, then at the stones. "They're pretty."
"Very but they scratched Xander's diamond ring," Dean agreed.
Mac frowned, looking at them. He found a broken one and managed to crack it for a chip then went to run that through some more tests, including the NASA database and a special one the FBI had set up for unusual substances and the Watchers's database.
Dean and Calleigh got to work invoicing the weapons while fondling them. It was a good thing to do in their minds.
Sam walked into the house that night, handing Don the SUV keys. "He's hiding. He said you don't have to worry, he's being a good boy but he's going to be beating some of them since no one told him they were playing for real things."
"Fat chance, Sammy," Don said dryly. "Where's our little bundle of fur?"
"The dogs? Not in here?"
"They're on the bed. The walking, talking, eating one that's not your brother."
"He's at the spa and then he's going to the demon realms to beat the snot out of some of them."
"That's a whole family's fun," Danny said, walking in pulling Xander. "Got 'im at the spa. Wearing some of it out so he could go beat things up." He handed him to Don. "Box?"
"Gave it to Dean so Calleigh's had some of it already."
Danny nodded. "Have fun with that." He stared at Xander. "Do you need more hobbies?"
"No," he said with a pout. "The concubines were bored and they said I'd be a good chaperone while they played together non-sexually. That way no one would steal them. But I let them talk me into playing."
"Uh-huh," Don said.
"I didn't mean to win anything!"
"Uh-huh," Danny echoed.
Xander sulked, going out to cuddle his puppies and pull the ferrets out to cuddle them too. "I'm not playing poker with thugs. This gets my naughty urges out of the way." Sam next to him, taking the ferrets to pet so they wouldn't be squished in their cuddle. He wanted to see a master of the pout and sulk work his way out of this one. Xander pouted at him. "My furry babies."
"You'll smoosh them under the puppies. We'll switch in a minute," he promised with a small grin.
"Don't even try ta help him," Danny ordered. "He knew better."
"I thought it was for fun," Xander whimpered, giving them a pitiful look. Which the dogs mimicked. Labs were excellent at the pitiful look as Don had found out when he let their water bowls go empty and no one had left a toilet seat up for them just in case of emergency.
Don moaned, walking off shaking his head. "We still have to deal with it, Xander, even if you didn't mean to."
Danny gave his back a dirty look. "I'm sure no one told him."
"The DPP officer said no one did," Sam offered. "If they're bored too, this is probably a lot of fun for them."
Danny growled at him. The ferret in Sam's lap hissed back. He glared at the little lump of wiggling fur. "Traitor."
Sam petted it. "She knows you're upset and the daddy's upset." Xander took the ferrets back and Sam took the puppies. Xander was cheek nuzzling his littler babies while looking up at Danny with the pitiful look. "Just think, he could keep going and win them all."
"Should he I'll be spanking instead of the others," Horatio said as he walked in with Calleigh and Dean. "Xander, that's cruel. Stop it." Xander pouted but quit with the pitiful looks. The dogs gave him one instead. "Go play out in the back yard, dogs." They ran out to go play. "Sam."
"Watching a master at work in case I ever run into this and have to talk Dean out of beating my ass."
Xander looked at him. "Pouts work best with him," he told him.
Danny pulled Xander up and stared at him. "Did you know?" Xander shook his head. "At all?"
"I thought they were playing around. Concubines like them don't own things." Danny sighed. "I'm sorry." He cuddled him with the ferrets. They even decided to go down Danny's shirt and one climbed up on top of his head to cuddle him up there. Dean snatched that one and sat down to pet it. Xander got the others out and handed them back to Sam. "I swear I didn't mean to, Danny. I know the rules. No poker in Miami with the thugs. I was playing board games with concubines on a demon realm. See, not breaking the rules."
"Still not good." He stared at him. "We'll handle it and you can give some back, right? Or away like you did the box of stuff to the boys?" Xander shrugged. " You don't know?"
"This is the first I've heard of it. How would I know?"
"We'll check it out then," Danny said calmly. "Until then, grounded for trying to pout your way out of it. Two days in the house."
"We still haven't found the missing slayer in training yet," Sam told him. "She's only fourteen, Danny."
"Then you two can be grounded to the house after you find her," Horatio said firmly, staring down Sam. Sam nodded he had been helping Xander try to avoid proper yelling for that.
"Dad used to assign KP chores or extra PT," Dean offered.
"Mine would've used a belt," Danny shot back. "Unless you wanna spank him?"
"No, he might like that." He looked at Sam, who shook his head. "You sure?"
"Very. Thanks anyway, Dean."
Dean smirked. "Good. They think the wolves on a string was alien."
"Huh. Interesting. Can we prove it?"
"Not without a definitive sample," Calleigh told him. "Something to compare it to."
"Tony's stones?" Xander suggested.
"They came up in the same category but not quite exact the same composition. So nearby but not the same mine," she said. She pinched him on the cheek. "Where's the rest of the box so we can go through it? Mac's coming over too if you'd cook."
Xander grinned and went to do that. "The only problem is that the practice area's on the third floor now. Not as easy to heft and tote presents up there."
"Yeah, I was wondering what the bag in the closet was," Sam called. Xander squeaked and took off running before anyone could grab him. Fortunately Don and Danny kept in good shape for catching fleeing criminals. A fleeing boyfriend wasn't nearly as fast. He grinned at Dean. "Did you peek?"
"Yeah. Money." He looked at Horatio. "I know there hasn't been any poker games locally. I have no idea when he goes to play with the concubines."
"Probably while you two are being research nerds," Calleigh teased with a happy grin.
"Take that back!" Dean demanded. "Sammy's the nerd, not me."
"You don't do too badly in the research department," Sam teased. Dean growled and Horatio wisely took the pets to put up before they got smooshed when Dean pounced. The one that had been on the couch ran over to nip at Dean for taking his secondary human slave.
"Hey!" Dean complained, glaring at the ferret. "He's from my litter, I can pounce and beat him if I want to." Calleigh took the ferret to calm down and pet while Dean went back to playing with Sam. He would pay for that remark.
Don walked Xander in and sat down, taking the ferret from her to give to him. "Money came from where? Tell Horatio, Xander."
"One of the weapons dealers thinks I'm a goddess of fun toys. I tried to tell him I'm not female and my toys are only my toys but he seems to think I'll relent and let him be my partner in Miami's main weapons pipeline. Which I'm not part of so I don't know where he got his ideas from," he babbled.
Horatio hummed. "Do we have anything on this gentleman?" Xander nodded. "Where in the office is it?"
"Blue filing cabinet. Under dumbass."
Horatio smiled but went to find it.
Calleigh looked at the boys. "You know, since you're not really related...." she started. Both brothers glared at her for that, making her giggle. "You two are so cute." She patted them both on the head. "Like human puppies." She bounced into the kitchen.
Don gave Xander a nudge. "Go cook then come back here." Xander nodded, going to do that for him. He looked at the offended boys. "You two need more fur to be puppies in this house." They groaned and broke it up, Dean taking one of the ends of the sectional while Sam got back into his place nearer to Don in the center. "Sam, that's a table."
Sam looked. "Huh. Never noticed that wasn't part of the couch." He slid over and sat on the cushion. "No wonder I thought it was a bit firm."
"That's how I know I'm not a research nerd. I don't make those sort of mistakes," Dean shot back.
Sam stuck his tongue out. "Some day you'll be dressing up in glasses as a nerd and then what'll you do?"
"Cry later," Dean shot back.
"Boys, don't make me spank. My hand still itches to," Don assured them. "Dean, go get the box out of the SUV." He went to do that. "We can sort in here." Sam nodded. "Anything you saw?"
"We went to talk to some of his contacts about her. We think she's somewhere by the race track with some sort of male protecting her."
"Possibly," Sam admitted. "We're not sure so we'll be checking there tomorrow. They closed early today because of the storm coming tonight."
"That's fine. Let us know if we need to intervene in a legal way."
"Sure. I can do that." He looked at Don. "You know he didn't mean to."
"Yeah but he didn't mean to win over ten mil from the thugs either," Don said dryly. "He considered it gas money. That's why he never kept track of how much he was winning."
"With his SUV, it could've been," he offered with a slight grin.
Don smirked back. "True and it is. Still not good to do."
"I'm sure he'll be more careful."
"He kept going back to poker with the thugs after we said no more," Don complained, getting more comfortable by putting his feet up. The puppies came bounding in and leapt up to cuddle in his lap, still wiggling and now muddy. "You two are all dirty," he complained but he petted them anyway.
"No mud on the sofa," Xander called. "They like baths. They're water dogs."
"Fine," he called, taking them in to take a shower with him. They did like to play in the water and chase the bubbles. Kiss barked as she tried to pounce them. He took the time to dry them off as best he could before letting them go leap at Sam, Dean, or Mac since he could hear him. Since Mac yelped at the cold fur, it was probably his turn to smell like a wet dog. Don got into sweats and came out to a wonderful dinner with his family and looking at all the pretty things Xander had given away.
"You sure?" Sam asked while they were still shaking the stuff out of the box. "This is a lot of stuff, Xander."
"I have plenty of stuff, Sam," he pointed out dryly, waving his fork around the room. "We don't have room for more stuff."
"Sure." He looked at one statue that came out, wincing when it pinched his nose. "This one is either charmed or possessed." He put it in Dean's lap for safekeeping and watched his brother yelp when it pinched him on the cock. "Oops."
Dean hit him on the head with the statue. Since he didn't have to worry about really killing him he could get him back now. "Brat. Should've drowned you when you were little."
"Adam said there was a child immie," Xander said patiently. "But he said he was evil."
"He used to talk the older immies into taking him in and then killed them because most of them couldn't fight back against a nine-year-old," Mac agreed. They all stared but he nodded. "Duncan finally dealt with him when the kid came for him."
"Doesn't surprise me for some reason," Xander said dryly. He stuffed his mouth when Danny looked at him. "He was a bad guy."
"He was for a bit," he agreed. "He went psycho a few times."
"It wasn't his usual thing," Mac assured everyone, making them relax again. "He's still in DC, Xander. So you don't have to worry about him attacking you for knowing Oz again." Xander nodded, eating another bite of his dinner. Mac looked at the bundle of cash that had fallen out. "Where's the cash counter?"
"I gave it to Steve," Don admitted. "We've still got the finger stuff and gloves." Dean gave him an odd look. "Money often has stuff on the bills, guys. Not only the ink but a lot of the dollar bills have drug residue from snorters. All sorts of germs too."
"Did Ryan tell you that?" Sam asked.
"No, it's the reason all bank personnel who deal with money use hand sanitizer and we wear gloves," Horatio told him. Both brothers shook their heads at that. "We do have to be careful. We had some a few years back, when I was new to the lab, that had been dusted with PCP. The CSI with a hole in his glove ended up having quite a trip." Dean shuddered. "Exactly." He went to get gloves and the other things they used while dealing with Xander's presents. There was a whole plastic box of supplies. He put them down before sitting down again. Speed smiled at him for that. "So we don't have to get back up." He and Mac took gloves to count the money then checked each other's figures. Speed took the stones to help Xander figure out what they were. Calleigh and Dean got the rest of the weapons. Sam kept track. Don kept the puppies from helping and dealt with keeping everyone fed and with drinks. By midnight Calleigh had a lot more stuff for her database project. The Impala's trunk space was full of weapons. They had split the money equally and everything else was put back into the box. But that statue. That was decided on as a special present for someone special in their lives. In the morning they shipped it off to a friend who needed pinching now and then. He'd enjoy it. Or possibly curse their names. One of the two.
Don sat down across from Steve the next morning for their breakfast meeting. "We have found out that not only is Xander dangerous at poker and baccarat but he's also evil at some board games." He slid over the amended folder.
"Do I want to know?"
"He had been asked to chaperone some concubines who were bored and playing board games together," Don said quietly. "He stepped in when they suggested it. He swears up and down he had no idea they were playing for anything."
"Will I need tums or rolaids?"
"I nearly went for a paddle," Don said. He smiled a bit. "Fortunately we calmed down."
"Good!" He opened the folder and read the first line while sipping his coffee. He didn't choke until the third line. "Excuse me?"
Don nodded "Yeah. We thought about offering Wolfe a place to set up a new temple. Xander too."
"You could do that."
Don pointed a bit further down the list. "They have a cult to Xander there for rescuing him and defeating the old owner/God."
Steve sighed, looking at it. "At least the IRS won't tax it."
"We hope," Don agreed. "Some of them are demonic," he teased.
"Don't tell me that. I'll have to bathe in holy water the next time I pay his quarterly taxes." He went back to reading the list. He definitely needed pain killers, antacids, and some liquor by the second page and it only got worse. "Does he have a new admirer perhaps?"
"Perhaps but he gave that box to the boys. Calleigh got part of it," Don told him.
Steve looked at him. "Do they need help?"
"Not yet. They put it where you put the Vegas stuff."
"Good to know." He went back to reading. The urge to drink was getting stronger and stronger. "Is any of this from Vesvold's will?"
"Not that we're aware of. The how he got it column doesn't say anything is."
He looked at that column, groaning when it said he owned a jewel mine because he had beaten the other guy at hopscotch. "Were they maybe doing this to hide their interest in Xander and decided this way he wouldn't protest their presents?"
"We considered that but the DPP officer said no." He shrugged. "Not a clue."
Steve closed the folder. "Just a head's up?" he asked hopefully.
"As far as we know."
"Good!" He smiled, that made him happier and not want to drink. "Did you look at his last statement?"
"I did and I think it's time he weeds out the three new boxes." Steve's fork paused on the way to his mouth. "You didn't know he had three other safety deposit boxes with jewelry stuff in them?"
"No," he said calmly. "I knew about the vault box. I knew about the main one and the other one with the stuff that wasn't loose."
"He's got four more than those. Three in the last few years from things he didn't want plus the present storage place, Steve. He drops them off there by courier or they drop things off there because he tells everyone he doesn't want it and if they want it back they can take it from there at any time." Steve whimpered. "We got a letter from the bank saying one was too heavy for their building's insurance plan so we had to move it or something."
"I'll arrange for someone to evaluate them," he agreed.
"We can get the boys to cart them home and they can come to the house," Don offered. "That way they don't starve."
Steve smiled. "Thank him for the basket of chicken recently."
"Wasn't him," Don said smugly. Steve moaned. "But I'm sure whoever would say you're welcome."
"When will this stop?"
"When they all die or after all the funeral presents have been received," Don said dryly. That got a nod and Steve took one of the antacids in his pocket. He had brought some just in case. Then he went back to eating with a sigh. "The boys are taking their final test with us in about two weeks. We can let them help him. It'll keep him from being so bored. At least once they find the missing girl they're on the lookout for."
"Sure," he agreed. "Ryan could use the training. Want the money counter?"
"I'm hoping we don't need it," Don admitted.
Steve snorted. "I'm sure we all are, Don." He ate another bite. "Eat, please." Don dug in and ate with him. "We'll figure it out." That got a nod and they both decided having the boys deal with the people who dealt with those things would be easier on their stomachs. Steve even arranged it for them so they had to deal with it for him. He'd take the paperwork. He had never imagined finance would be so nerve wracking when he went for his degree.
Or maybe it was just Xander and the boys.
Xander walked up to the railing at the dog track, looking at the extremely skinny young girl a few people up from him. He sighed because she had clearly already found Miami's bad side. He walked over there, tapping her on the arm.
"Not for sale," she sneered at him.
"That's a good thing considering I got told to find you."
"I'm not going back there," she said, backing away from him.
"I'm not a Watcher, Marissa. I'm formerly part of the Sunnydale crew. I'm not handing you back to them; I'm here to protect you."
"She don't need it," a male voice sneered.
Xander looked at him. "Butt out."
"She's mine. I protect her."
Xander smirked and held out a hand. "Xander Harris. Her new guardian." The man went pale and backed off, waving him off before turning around and running. He looked at her, weathering the horrified look. "I used to play poker with the top of the bad guy hierarchy around here. I'm known far and wide as one not to piss off. Or else I get even." He took her arm and walked her off. "C'mon. The only thing I'm doing to you is putting you in a shower, feeding you, and letting you talk to Buffy."
"But she's one," she said, struggling to get away.
He looked at her. "She hates the council, Marissa. She told them numerous times to blow themselves." She quit fighting to stare at him. "I live with two detectives. I've got two hunters for students. You're going to be perfectly safe and the Council will not screw with me. I have every plan of giving you to Buffy's mom. She could use someone to love again since her daughter's such a brat now and then. She doesn't like the Council either. None of us in Sunnydale like the council. Got it?" She nodded slowly. "Now, let's get you cleaned up and fed. I swear I have plants in the garden that're thicker than you are around the waist." He walked her off again. He opened the back of the SUV. "That's Sam, he's a hunter. He hunts demons and things too. He's one of my students since I'm teaching him a fighting style." She nodded, getting in there with him. He closed the door and walked around to get in and drive. He even remembered to call Danny. "Found her." He hung up and called the house. "Pull out something for her, Dean. She's too skinny." He hung up and backed out of their parking spot, taking her home. The thug would tell the others that he had put the girl under his protection in case someone else came for her. Because they all knew not to screw with him. He lowered the window between the front and back. "Marissa, in case you didn't understand I'm the guy that used to back Buffy up back in Sunnydale."
"That's okay," she said weakly. She watched the town go by. "You sure this is going to be okay with everyone?"
"Yeah. If the Council doesn't like it they can be tortured," he said dryly. "I can hire someone or something to do it for me." She shuddered. "We don't like them. Don't worry about it." He pulled out toward the house, taking her there. She didn't like the neighborhood and tried to run once she was let out of the back but the puppies pounced her and barked until Sam came out to get her. Xander pulled her up. "I'm not going to hurt you. At all. Really." He walked her inside and opened up the special door in the hallway. "If you want, you can lock yourself in here for a while until you're ready to deal with people." She ran into the other house and closed the door. He opened it when he heard the shriek. "Leave her alone!"
"You dare bring one of them here?" the demon complained.
Xander walked in and glared at it. "Unlike her still being in training I have and will kill demons," he snarled. It disappeared. "Sorry. This sub realm was gifted to me by a demon who wanted to court me. That's why I have four ferrets instead of two." She gave him an odd look and backed away. "Don't worry about it. If he comes back, send him to me. Go down the hallway and you'll find the old master suite. This is how the house used to look before the renovations. When you're done showering, I'll find you something to wear then get you fed." He walked back over there, leaving the door open. She closed it again but that was fine. "She's tiny."
"Those drawstring pants you have that shrunk in the wash might fit her," Sam suggested from the kitchen.
"Thanks, Sam." He went to find them. He had a few pairs. The first he found he put back. "That'll look bad on her. Those'll work but probably be a bit short." He pulled those and another pair out but they had a hole so he tossed them out. He found a pair of boxer briefs for her since he didn't have panties or girl underwear. Then a long t-shirt. "She shouldn't need a bra, right?" he asked Dean when he walked in.
"Not today." He took the clothes and headed over there. "Hey, Marissa, I'm putting clean clothes on the bed for you," he called. "You can put your other stuff in the washer if you want." She peeked out of the bathroom. He grinned. "I'm Dean, Sam's older brother. We hunt together."
"Because one tried to destroy our family," he said honestly. "They made us into a weapon they hate to face." She slumped and nodded. He turned to look at the reappearing demon. "Leave her alone. She's still in training. Xander's sending her to Buffy."
"Because she left her watcher's care," Dean said honestly. "Apparently he's an asshole like others we've heard about." The demon sneered. Dean pulled his blessed dagger. The demon squeaked and disappeared. He looked back at her. "He gave you boxer briefs. I know girls who wear them and say they're not that uncomfortable. Dinner's in about a half-hour so hurry up." He left, leaving the house's door open. He cornered Xander in the kitchen. "I'm not so sure it was his fault. I thinks she's scared," he said quietly.
Xander nodded. "It's probably pretty common. That's why I want to send her to Joyce. Buffy's mom," he said at Dean's confused look. "Buffy was never claimed by the Council and Joyce was a great mother until Buffy went off the deep end. She could use someone to care for now that she's figured out what was wrong."
Dean nodded. "That could help. How?"
"Got that covered," he promised with a grin. He nodded. "Set the breakfast bar." He did that. Xander went back to his steaming vegetables. Marissa came over a few minutes later. "Washer's behind the sliding doors, Marissa. Go ahead and drop yours into there. It's handled demon goo, it can handle dirt." She nodded, doing that for him. He pointed "Sit. Want milk, soda, water?"
"Milk?" she suggested quietly. He nodded and got her some, checking everything else. She watched him work. "Why are you trying to help me?"
"Because it's the right thing to do," he said honestly. "I don't want to see any of you girls damaged or injured. I don't like the way the council does things and I don't like how they turned some of you girls into robots without emotions. Some girls should be taken, that's just statistics and real life. Not all parents are great. Not all of you needed to be taken. Buffy's the longest living to date and she wasn't. That proves their methods suck." He pulled out the dish and put it on top of the stove. "You're not allergic to anything, right?"
"No," she said. Sam walked in with damp hands.
"Damp. I'll help you sort laundry later," he promised, taking his seat on Dean's other side. "Hey, Marissa. Do you have stuff we need to pick up for you? Clothes or things?"
"My watcher wasn't mean."
Xander put a plate with chicken in front of her. "He obviously couldn't help you if you had to run away," he said firmly.
"I don't want to die."
"So don't die," Dean said with a shrug.
"Slayers die when we're young. Like sixteen or so."
Sam coughed. "That's only if you're called, which you're not," he pointed out. "And only if you're not good." She slumped.
Xander tipped her face up. "As long as Buffy and Faith live, you're not going to be called, Marissa. You could still die of a car accident or something but you won't die from hunting unless you go out like the boys or I do." She looked so confused. "See, the way it works is one slayer's called, fights, and dies." She nodded that she knew that. "But the last slayer called is Faith. Faith's still living. She's in jail but she's still living. You can't be called until Faith dies. Faith's supposed to spend a very long time in jail so you've got years before you can be called unless something unusual happens and she's shived or something. She's in a very safe place. As for Buffy, her death won't call another girl. Her death called Kendra and Kendra's death called Faith, who's still safely sitting in a jail cell for staking a human. Buffy was dead for a while, or at least semi-dead and off this plane of existence, and it didn't get another girl called so you're safe."
She frowned. "But..."
"No buts," Dean said. "Eat. You're smaller than most crack hos I've ever seen. Eat now."
"I'm in the middle of a growth spurt," she defended.
"Then you definitely need to eat," Sam agreed with a grin. "You need food to fuel the growth. You don't want to be a runt, right?"
She shook her head, digging in again. "This is good, Xander."
"Thank you. It's one of the few hobbies I have that doesn't get me in trouble," he said proudly.
"It's not your fault they didn't tell you that the games were being played for things," Dean pointed out. "Any more chicken?" Xander gave him another piece before sitting down with his plate. "We have steamed veggies, a rice dish, and a potato casserole too, Marissa. Eat more." He loaded her plate for her before digging in.
Sam winked at her. "He did it to me many times. He's a good big brother."
She shrugged. "I've never had one." She dug in again. She kept glancing at Xander. These two guys read as nice, but strong and able to handle themselves to her. Xander didn't. "You can fight?" she asked finally. He nodded since his mouth was full. "You hunted and all that?"
"Yeah, then I mostly gave it up to only hunt the annoying things that come for me," he said, snatching Dean's belt dagger and throwing it at the demon coming from the other house. Direct hit. It screamed and faded out. The dagger landed on the floor so he got it and handed it back. "Thanks, Dean."
"Welcome, Xander." Marissa gave them both looks like they were insane. "That one wanted him so much it trapped the whole family over there for a while. Even made copies of the pets."
"He couldn't copy Hubert so he brought him," Xander said.
She frowned, looking at him. "Why did they want to trap you?"
"He wanted me to marry him," Xander said with a small grimace. "Instead of asking and respecting my present relationship he got pushy. That's my usual reason for hunting these days. When they get pushy." She still looked so confused and young. "I have a hormone condition that draws demons and others to me. It makes them want to own me. I don't want to be owned."
"Oh," she said weakly, digging in again. "Why are you sending me to Buffy?"
"I'm sending you to Buffy's mom," he corrected. "Because I think she could help you finish growing up in a way that won't crimp your training but will be very secure and loving for you. She did a good job with Buffy once she knew what was going on. Buffy's my age." She looked stunned. He smirked. "I'm only twenty-four but she was called at fifteen. Her mom can help you and if something really drastic happens, there's a former watcher in LA that *I* trust not to be a pussbag. He was too young and untrained when they sent him to take over Faith but he's learned since then and he's been hunting with a Champion in LA for a while now. "
"My watcher said guys like that were posers."
"I'd like to see them on a hunt," Dean said dryly. "Or even at that invasion last year."
Xander nodded. "I'd have laughed my ass off. No, Marissa, they're not. They go out there with normal people skills, training, and most of the time some knowledge and do the same job slayers do." She shuddered. "Yeah. They do it and usually live longer than slayers because of the way their support network works and helps them. Those two have been learning how to hunt and hunting since Sam was six months old. Sam's my age."
She looked at them. "Why?"
"One killed our mother over my crib and tried to kill the rest of us," Sam said honestly but quietly.
"It's not one of the sort that you'd go after anyway," Dean told her. "This is a higher hierarchy demon like we'd go after. You guys go after those born funny and on other planes. We go after the evil bastards."
She stared. "I don't understand."
"We can explain it tonight," he promised. "Eat. Xander's boyfriends spank hard." Sam nodded at that.
"How am I getting to Sunnydale?" she asked.
"Plane," Xander said with a grin. "I'm going to check you in like I'm returning you to your family. That way someone's watching your back on the way there. Wes or someone will get you off in LA and it'll be a few hours drive from there to Sunnydale."
She considered it. "I like my watcher, Mr. Harris."
"It's still Xander, Marissa, and he's no longer in Miami. The Council evacuated him to see how and why you escaped." She slumped again. "If he's not guilty of doing anything to you or anything like that they'll leave him alone. If he was touching you or something he's in deep shit. Okay?" She looked at him, nodding a bit. "Good. If he did do something like that both my boys have promised to set charges here as well, that way he can't do it to another girl. So I'm going to be blunt. Was he hurting you or touching you, anything like that?"
"He wasn't always nice but no," she said quietly. "He wasn't scuzzy like that."
"Good," Sam said. "Then we don't have to kick his ass and hand him to Xander's lovers." She gave him an odd look. "Dean and I hate people who prey on kids, Marissa. It's a definite need to get them gone and away from anyone they could hurt."
She nodded. "I can understand that. He warned me about people like that."
"Good!" Dean agreed. "Eat more." He put more rice on her plate. "Xander, what're we doing about her clothes?"
"It's not a problem," Xander assured him.
"I ... I can't pay you back," she pointed out. She was looking nervous.
Xander pointed at the wall nearest them. "Marissa this is *my* house. I bought this house. No loans, nothing like that. I made more than the cost of this house playing poker some weeks." She gaped. "Buying you a few outfits is nothing to me. I've done it to the boys often enough." They nodded at that.
"He power shops," Sam warned her, stuffing his mouth.
"We've seen him hit ten stores in an hour," Dean agreed. "The girls out there taught him bad things about shopping."
She laughed. "I'm sure." She looked at Xander. "You're sure?"
"I'm certain," he promised. "It'll take me a few hours and the boys can clean up and do some more sparring while we're gone. We can even take the dogs since they haven't been out today."
Sam shook his head. "We'll need them to guard whatever the bank is sending over," he pointed out at Xander's scowl.
"Why is the bank sending anything?"
"Something about boxes," Dean said, shrugging a bit. "Don said he'd explain it. Steve arranged it." Xander whimpered and slumped, putting his head on the counter. Dean smirked at her. "Pat him on the head for me please then eat some more?"
"I'm not that hungry."
"If he has to nag, he'll tickle you into submission and we're saving you from his deathly pout," Dean told her.
Sam nodded. "He can even out pout me and make me feel miserable for not doing what he wants. He can even do it to the dogs, Marissa. So eat before he wades in." He grinned at Xander's new dirty look. "You did. You pouted the dogs into playing with you earlier."
"I was bored and it's not like you two play fetch or roll around on the rug with me."
Dean looked at him. "You might turn me gay, Xander," he said, looking totally serious. "Then what would the ladies of the world do?"
"There's too many het guys anyway," Xander shot back with an evil smirk. "Who says they need you? My side needs you more, Dean. You have taste, I've taught you how to shop, how to appreciate good food and wine. You'll make an excellent boyfriend for someone. A bit new to the field but all the times I've taken you riding will ease the butt pain the first time or so."
"You can have Sammy be gay. I'm not. I like women way too much Xander. Nice try though. I'm sure the women will be very impressed with how you dressed me."
"Cordelia was never impressed with my taste," he shot back.
"She was a shrew. Yay her," Dean shot back.
Sam nodded at Marissa. "Dessert?"
"Sure." She finished up her plate and let him dish her up some pie and ice cream. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Dean, I can't be gay. If I'm gay, then you'd have to listen to me squeal in pleasure all the time and you said you never wanted to hear that again after I brought that one girl back to the motel when I was sixteen."
"Dude, you were loud! Louder than Xander loud. She wasn't but you sounded like you were in pain. Besides, if you're going to stay gay, you can't pick up on Xander's habit of drawing evil women, like Cordelia was."
Sam snorted. "Not happening. Only women with taste want my ass, whereas you go after anything with tits." He sat down with his own dessert. He used his spoon to point at Xander. "Marissa, that's a mild Xander pout. Watch out for those."
She looked then pouted back. "What's wrong?"
"Sam didn't dish me up any."
"You made it, you can dish some up," Sam countered. "Or else I'll take her shopping and you can deal with your stuff from the bank and wherever. They're your presents," he said at the new shudder of horror.
"Which I left there so they could take them back," he shot back. "I have no idea what's in the warehouse. I don't want to know what's in the warehouse. For all I care, they can take it back. That's why I leave it there."
"Steve said he wants an index and pictures for insurance and tax reasons," Sam told him.
Dean stared at him. "Excuse me?"
"Before we leave." Sam stuffed his mouth. "Good pie, Xander. I like this new crust recipe."
"Premade, Sam. I didn't have the energy to roll out pie crust."
Dean snorted. "Get it right, Xander. You had plenty of energy. You had so much energy you couldn't quit bouncing so you could measure. Do something so they work fewer hours, dude."
"They said I couldn't," he whined. "I'm backed up and they're always working. They said I couldn't help with that."
Sam gave him a look. "What do you already have that could help?"
"Well?" he said, considering it. "I could make a call. Complain about all the work the lab's getting. Someone might take pity on my poor, unstretched ass." Marissa choked. "Sorry." He looked at Sam again. "I don't think I have enough to keep them from doing that stuff though. I'll have to look at my blackmail file."
"We'll take her to get jeans and things," Dean promised. "You go pay someone a visit and get them to lay off for two weeks so Don and Danny can have a few days off with you. I know you can talk someone into it," he said when Xander frowned at that idea.
"Well, yeah," he admitted. He looked at Marissa. "That good with you? They'll get you jeans, sneakers, that stuff, but they'll make you wander around the bra shop alone. Buffy made me go so I could go in with you."
She shook her head and swallowed quickly. "I'm good without having guys helping me there. Jeans are fine."
"You sure? I can make sure you look cute," Xander offered.
"Jeans are better and shirts are cuter," she assured him. That got a nod and Xander handed Dean one of his unlimited cards then headed out to his corvette. "Are all gay men that strange?"
"No, just him," Sam assured her. "Gap, Dean?"
"I guess we could. Finish up," he ordered. She finished her dessert and they put up the few leftovers for a mid afternoon snack. Then they took her shopping. Steve could wait on the stuff from the bank for them since he wanted to deal with it. Dean honked when they passed him at the gate. He'd get revenge later on.
Don looked up as someone came up to his desk, frowning some. "You okay? Need help?"
"I think we need protection from your boyfriend," he said bluntly. "He came to ask my boss to step in and stop the current crime wave so you could get home since he was so backed up." Don groaned, squeezing his eyes shut. "Then he let his hormones loose when my boss asked how bad it was. My boss is presently rutting with a statue of a garden gnome." He handed over a thick folder. "The last three weeks, those crimes were done by those people as far as we know. Now be a good boy and go cure your boy's little problem? Before he does it to someone else? My boss is already planning on keeping it down for you." He left, going to take another long shower before he found his girlfriend and her girlfriend of the moment. He needed them and the boss would give him a bonus if he brought them home. Even if he did have to shake the K-9 off his leg twice in the elevator.
Don picked up the folder and texted Frank and Horatio to meet him in Horatio's office on the way there. He grabbed Speed, Ryan, and Danny as well. Once they were all there, he put the folder down on the desk. "Someone's bodyguard just came up and said that Xander came to talk to them about our recent crime wave." Ryan moaned, sitting down to hold his head. "Was it you who suggested it, Wolfe?"
"No, he said Dean suggested it," he muttered into his hands.
"I'll spank him later," Danny said. "And? Are we pulling a sudden move?"
"No, his boss, who was dinking a garden gnome when our boy left, asked how bad it really was on him. So Xander let it rip." Horatio whimpered at that, shaking his head. "That is a folder of who did what crime for the last few weeks as far as they know."
"Which crime boss?" Frank asked.
"Chuck. Our geriatric crime lord who's pissed that people keep bringing him out of retirement to beat or kill them for bothering his city. I have *no* idea how I document this. Anyone got a clue?"
"Doing Xander until he's so worn out he dies again?" Eric suggested.
"Might help, yeah," Speed agreed dryly, taking the folder to look at. "My homicide's in here." He pulled that sheet out. Then his other open case and handed it to Danny. "Looks like we can take a weekend off too, H." He walked off to correlate what he already knew with this semi-confession. Chuck knew everything that went on in Miami. If he said someone did it, it was a pretty sure bet.
"Anyone got any ideas on how to fix my boy?" Danny asked. "We've been trying, guys. Every night. He's tired and falls asleep from it and so do we."
"A day of wearing it out could help more," Horatio admitted. "I know Speed gave him something a few weeks back to wear out some of the backlog." He looked at the folder since it was his turn. "We think you've been clearing that day's but not the backlog."
"So a whole day of spoiling our boy, wearing him out until he needs a nap?" Don said. Horatio nodded. "Just the one?"
"It might take all weekend," he admitted. "I don't know how badly he's backed up. How long has he been stockpiling?"
"The last time we wore him out fully enough to act like the old Xander was months ago," Don admitted. "No, during the trip after we sent Hubert home."
"That was more danger," Ryan told him. "But that one day in the antigrav pool you could've gotten him back down to the basics of his hormones." He stood up, taking the sheets Danny had sorted out for him. The folder was still pretty thick. "Should we deliver it?"
"I will," Frank promised, taking it to find his cases to clear. "Our stats will be good this month." He walked off shaking his head. He would *never* date a GHS, even one of the lower level ones like Don Flack was. They were higher maintenance than society girls. He drove over to robbery/major crimes. They had most of the rest of the cases probably. He walked into the captain's office over there. "We got information from one of our local overlords thanks to Flack's protectee."
"Why? More poker games?" he asked dryly, leaning back.
"No, his protectee is a GHS guy," he said quietly. "With the crime wave, no one's gotten home to help him deal with it. He went to hormone him. His bodyguard came up to give us information so his boys could have some time off."
The captain laughed. "Really?"
Frank held up the folder. "Caine's shift and ours have taken it but Kowalski. He's out at court right now. I think I got all his."
"Damn. That kid's got balls."
"We heard the bodyguard say something about garden gnomes," Frank said dryly. The captain laughed himself into a red face and stomach cramps at that. "So I think he's doing a public service this time because Harris might enslave part of the city if he doesn't get it taken care of."
He nodded. "Could be. That poor guy." He took the folder then pushed buttons on his phone. "Get in here." Most of his team came in. "We have gotten tips from a local overlord doing his yearly good deed."
"On those papers is what one of them knows about certain crimes that have happened recently," Frank agreed. "Think of it as an encouragement to get a few days off, because homicide hasn't had any recently either, guys."
"Why is he doing a yearly good deed?" one of the officers asked.
"The boyfriend of one of our people went to ask for that favor since he hadn't gotten laid in weeks," Frank said. "Made him feel sorry for not getting any." He handed them over. "As far as we know that is correct in who did it. Chuck's hardly ever wrong."
They took the forms, passing them out to whoever they belonged to. One smirked and walked out. "Knew it but couldn't prove it," he called. "Thanks, Detective."
"Welcome. Don't let on the source."
"Sure," the others agreed, going to collate. A few came back to check other cases against what they had. The captain got into the system to match the detectives it should go it and sent patrol guys to deliver while Frank went to arrest and do his own paperwork. His wife would appreciate him getting home too.
Xander bounced back into the house. "The guys not back with Marissa yet?"
"Marissa? You're bringing in a woman too?" Steve asked dryly.
"The missing slayer in training, Steve." He gave him a hug. "What's up?"
"Yearly inventory, Xander. All the safety deposit boxes we don't have an insurance estimate on and all that. If they haven't taken it back yet they're not going to. Might as well deal with it. The stuff's coming in about a half-hour for you to sort and deal with. Whatever you don't sell off or give away, get an insurance estimate from the jewelry store guy you usually use and file it with me and the bank when they got back into the boxes. Then do the warehouse. The boys can help, it'll teach them good skills they might have to use some day in case they start being gifted." He walked out more smug. He had gotten him back for all the recent headaches. Yes!
Xander pouted after him. "Meany!"
"Yay me," Steve called back. "Still has to be done. I've got to check on my idiot brother since he's in the hospital again after another car chase." He closed the back door and let the dogs walk him to his car. He smirked when the Impala pulled in. "Just in time, boys, and you, miss. It's time for Xander to do the annual inspection, selling off, and insurance estimate of what's left in his safety deposit boxes and his present warehouse. Help him do that. You never know when it'll come in handy because you've got your own stalker." He got into his car and made sure the puppies were out of the way. Don Flack would have his head if he hurt his dogs. He backed out carefully and headed back to his apartment. It was such a nice day he turned his phone off, grabbed some food, and went to admire the pretty girls tanning and playing in the park.
Sam walked the dogs inside, putting them down so they could pounce the pouting daddy. "We'll help."
"I have no idea what's in most of them. Mostly I tell them to take them back or store them there because I don't want them."
"Well, now we've got to get rid of some of it," Dean said as he walked Marissa in. "Cable works at the other place or you can help us sort, Marissa. Whichever you want. Change your clothes to the dryer." She nodded, doing that while Sam and Xander started the next load of wash. He sat next to Xander. "It can't be that bad."
"It probably is. The bank had to add more boxes."
Dean shook his head. "So we'll sell most of it and give the IRS their cut then be done with it."
Xander looked at him. "If I sell it that's a sign that I need more stuff because I'm having money issues."
"Not this time. Or hey, give it away. Find some nice church and give it to them."
"Maybe." He looked outside when the armored car pulled up, wincing. "That doesn't look good."
"They're all that size, Xander." Dean walked out with him, the puppies following to sniff everyone and growl at the half demon driver. "Down, Hershey." He grinned. "Sorry. Must be your aftershave."
"We know why they bark," he assured him. "Mr. Harris." Xander nodded and signed the form, letting them carry in the three locked boxes to the living room. The puppies followed to sniff them. "Thank you for your business, sir. Let us know if you need to take them back and we'll arrange for a pickup." He handed over his card and they got back in and drove off again.
Xander trudged back inside, staring at the three large boxes. "Does anyone have the keys to my doom?"
"The other guy handed them to me," Dean said, holding them up. Xander glared at him. "Sammy, come help and take notes." He put the first one on the floor while Sam brought out the 'dealing with the presents' box of stuff. He opened the first one and stared. "Um, Xander?"
Xander came over to look. "Why did I get a dead, jeweled lizard?"
"I don't know," Dean said, pulling it out to look at. "Interesting presents they give you." Marissa got him a box from the trash to put it in. The rest of the stuff they pulled out to look at and see if Xander thought it could be sold. Though Xander did think about driving down to Little Havana and dropping it off on a church's doorstep down there. He was sure they could do something with it.
By the time the jeweler got there, Xander had decided to do that and took the majority of things off in the corvette. The box was heavy but oh well. He walked up to the priest and handed him the box. "Someone who does not respect my relationship gave me those to entice me to be theirs. I have no need of them, no use of them, and do not want them. Sell them or give them to someone who could use them." He turned and walked out, going back to sulk over the other stuff.
The priest sat them on a pew and opened the top of the box, looking at them. The jeweled former lizard on top was truly tasteless, but the thing underneath made him gasp. It was a diamond necklace probably worth more than the souls he protected. Beneath it were more jewels. Some diamonds, some not. He looked at the lizard then up at the crucifix. "Thank you, God," he whispered. "We will use it to help the parish." He took it to the safe in his office and called someone who worked in a jewelry store in his parish. It was a minor place that sold cheap things but they would know who to call at least. When he got there, he found two things had gone missing. The lizard had taken a large, ostentatious ruby necklace with him wherever it had went. That was fine, they had plenty left that would benefit the parish. He came out after talking to him and the one he suggested they call, finding another box on the altar. The lizard was back and it had brought another few things but not that ruby necklace. Maybe the lizard was blessed and had told the man to bring it here? He had heard of stranger miracles than god working through a dead, jeweled lizard. He would have to have someone verify this miracle for him. He carefully carried it into the back room and set it into the safe, noticing it was now sitting on an envelope. Inside was a series of money orders that would more than cover the repairs they needed to do. Yes, God worked in mysterious ways.
Horatio got the call he didn't want to the present warehouse. He walked in and took off his sunglasses. "At least it's not at the weapons on this time," he said in greeting.
Dean looked at him. "True, though we do need to move some things over there since someone gave him a case of grenades." Horatio let out a small moan. "Along with more pinching statues and a dead body or two." He pointed. "At least I'm hoping they were dead when they were delivered."
Horatio came over to look, nodding. "It appears they've been dead a long time. Looks like starvation."
"Don't tell him that," Dean said quietly. "He'll think they died because they didn't know they could leave."
"I know, Dean." He looked around at the boxes then at him. "Inventory?"
"Steve said so."
"Hmm." He called Alexx. "I am at Xander's present warehouse. Where he sends the things sending him things so he doesn't have to look at them and they can take them back when they realize he's not interested. We have two skeletons. Emaciated. One with pretty decorations. I do not know if they were like this when they were delivered," he admitted. "Xander never comes here." He nodded. "That's where I am. Please." He hung up. "Anything else?"
"Hand holding an orb?" Sam asked, standing up from behind a stack of crates. He held that one up carefully. "Looks older than most mummies."
Dean shook his head. "Any more surprises?"
"Buffy's diary?" he asked, holding it up. Horatio coughed and tried not to smile at that. "By the way, Xander took the dead, jeweled lizard and a bunch of the stuff from the safety deposit boxes of stuff that he didn't want to a church he knew was having money problems and dropped it off."
"Good to know. Dead, jeweled lizard?" Both boys nodded. "Interesting presents. Sam, put the hand back into the box please."
"It's on top of magic books, Horatio."
He winced. "We'll keep them safe." He carried that out there to him. Then they went back to looking over the rest of the crates, boxes, and all the other things stuffed in there.
"Why did Xander need a hat with a vulture on it?" Dean called a minute later.
"Like the one Neville's grandmother wears in the Harry Potter movie?" Sam called over.
"Could be," he admitted. Horatio looked then nodded. "Okay, still doesn't make sense." He put it back carefully and they moved on. "Shit!" he yelped, getting up and away from a box. "I have no idea what that is but it's moving!" Sam and Horatio came over to look at the box. "Let's hope it was recently delivered."
"Or awakened," Sam offered. He got carefully closer, splashing it with holy water. Nothing but a tiny mewl of need. He opened the case and looked at the cub in there. "Awww."
"Sam, that's a tiger," Horatio said, taking it from him. "Why were you in the box?"
Sam looked inside. "To guard something." He held up the pendant. Dean took it to look at. "What is that? I know I've seen it somewhere."
"That is a Vatican treasure Pastor Jim was complaining had gone missing," he said grimly. He looked at the tiger, who batted at the necklace. Then at the rest of the box. "Hmm. Portal, Sammy." He got closer to look at it then pulled the other part of the box over to empty it. More things that should not be in demonic hands. "Think the demonic nuns took them?"
"Could be," Sam admitted. He looked at Horatio. "There's a cloister of Coptic nuns who're all demons." Horatio just nodded, walking off with the tiger to let him use the bushes outside while he called someone. Alexx walked in. "We have a hand with an orb attached on top of magic books too, Alexx." He went back to sorting, finding something he knew was demonic. "Cronos."
Dean looked at it, handing back the pendant. "Send that to a local priest?"
"I can do that. Or Jim."
"They'd never take it from him."
"He knows other ministers and priests who fight the dark. He can pass it on."
"Good point." He went to help Alexx. "Steve demanded that Xander do an inventory of the present stuff."
"Charming presents they give him." Sam hiked that box out of the warehouse and to the car. A small cub ran in and she aww'd. "Aren't you adorable!"
"He was just guarding the holy relics," Dean told her, picking it up so she could pet it. "You're nearly as furry as the puppies are," he teased. It batted at his hair on him. "I know, I need more gel." She laughed, giving it a good ear scratch before putting on gloves and looking at her new morgue residents. "No idea why they're here but the pictures on the other one don't look magical in any way so far. If so, we'll figure it out." He walked off, finding Horatio out there looking for the cub under the hummer. "Him?" he asked.
"Him," Horatio agreed, standing up with a smile. "He was scared by the van's noise." He took him back carefully, letting the cub lick his cheek. "I know, Timmy made a good lamb dish for lunch today," he soothed. The handler from the zoo walked over cautiously. "Someone meanly sent him with a few holy relics that were given to the person who rents this space. He doesn't look starved or maltreated but we found him a few minutes ago."
"Would this be like the elephants we got a while back?" he asked Horatio.
"The same person got given him," he admitted. He handed the cub over, watching as it sniffed this new person and growled. "Calm down. He won't hurt you."
"No, we love you guys," the handler promised, petting him, making him a happy tiger cub. "He's been hand-raised, I can already tell you that."
"So releasing him isn't possible?" Dean asked.
"Probably not. We'll see what we can do. We'll need the owner to sign paperwork."
"He had no idea what was in there," Dean told him. "He never comes here. He told people bothering him with stuff to send it here." That got a wince. "We just found him a few minutes ago."
"That's fine. Maybe that'll fly. If not...."
"Mr. Harris is living with two of my people," Horatio promised. That got a nod and he left with the cub. "Should we call you if we find more?"
"Please." He looked at the bodies Alexx and her helper were carrying out. "They gave him mummies?"
Dean nodded. "Apparently. Holy relics, all sorts of stuff in there."
"If you find more, let us know." He got in and let the cub curl up in his lap for a while, driving one handed back to the zoo. He got out at the vet's office and walked inside. "Remember the guy who gave us the elephants he had gotten as a present?" The vet slowly nodded. "This one was given to him with some holy relics. They just found him. I'm not sure if he's hungry or not."
"We can easily feed him," he assured him, taking the cub to look over. "You're a good size but not mean. You must've been bottle fed." He put him onto a table to give the exam to him. "Any others?"
"They're doing a yearly inventory before getting rid of most of it. He found two mummies in there."
"Ooh. Poor guy. Someone has some very strange taste."
"Yeah. Even though that's a pretty present."
The vet looked. "Her." That got a smile, they needed another female around the zoo. The cub fell asleep while being looked over but woke up again when food came near, devouring it. They got her more and she was a happy cub to nibble all the wet dog food she wanted for now. They'd get her better stuff once they had bloodwork back.
Xander walked Marissa up to the security gate, smiling at the guard. "Hi."
"In line, sir."
"They said to talk to you guys since she's a special circumstance." The guard grimaced. "I'm returning my friend's runaway cousin back to her."
"Ah. How old?"
"Fourteen. She's going directly to LA. We have a friend of the family meeting her on the other side since her cousin doesn't drive and lives a few hours away. This is his picture and his ID; he faxed it to us. As far as I know she doesn't have one."
"That's happened in the past," he admitted. He led them to the security office to fill out the necessary forms. "There's a small loophole for these circumstances. Do we have certified letters?"
"We do. I have three here from different local officers about who she is and her age." He handed them over. "I know it's unusual."
"Runaways hardly ever take their ID's with them. That's why we set up the protocol." He looked at her. "You'll have to sit with a guard anytime you're on the ground."
"Of course," she agreed. "You need to make sure others aren't going to be hurt."
He nodded. "Good girl. Thank you for not wailing and trying to run."
"No, he's right, my cousin can help me more than where I was." That got a nod.
Xander smiled. "I booked you on a direct flight so you don't have to worry about getting off and on, Marissa. That way you can nap." He handed her a backpack. "Your stuff, a CD player and copies of some of mine, mostly classic rock since Dean helped me burn them. Extra batteries. A hand-held poker game in case you get that bored. Two romance novels that were sitting on my shelf for some reason. A sci-fi book I usually like but I've got four copies floating around somewhere." She smiled. He handed the guard a folded bill. "Make her eat please? She's still too skinny."
"I'm fine, Xander," she whined. "He's been stuffing food in my mouth since yesterday."
The guard looked her over then nodded. "If you were mine I'd tie you down and feed you, miss."
She rolled her eyes. "It's a growth spurt, really."
"You're still a good twenty pounds underweight," Xander said with a grin. "Get whatever you want and make Wes stop on the way to Buffy's too. That way you get dinner."
"Fine." She sat down, earning a smile from the guard. "He is *so* fussy. His boyfriends are just as bad and so are the two guys studying in his library."
The guard laughed. "Someone's got to fuss."
"I'm very good. My boyfriends complain all the time." He gave her a hug. "You be good on the flight. Wes knows when you get there. I'll see you soon, Marissa." She nodded. "Now let me go feed other people." He walked out, leaving her to make her way. She was a big girl and a future slayer, she'd do fine.
The guard looked at the money then handed it to her. "We'll get you something in a few minutes. Let me file and fax this to your destination point so they know to let him into the security office." She nodded, letting him do that while she waited. Then he took her to pick out what she wanted of the really expensive airport food. The guy had been right about her starving since she got a lot of food and finished off with a milkshake.
Xander pulled up in front of the CSI station and got out of his SUV, walking around to the back. He looked around. "If you want to eat, come help carry," he called at the two officers smoking. They dropped their butts and hurried over. "Here we go. You guys wanted stew so I made a lot with garlic biscuit crust topping. And some other stuff too," he said when one moaned. They carried the disposable pans up to the break room for him and he got the rest of the things, winking at the captain. "Since I'm creating so much work with the new inventory I figured you guys could use a good meal." He put down his last few things and smiled at the boys. "Thank you. Dig in." He left, going back home to help the boys deal with things. It was unfair to make them deal with his presents by themselves. Fortunately the jeweler had liked some things to sell them off. Especially all the girl jewelry he had been given for some reason.
Dean was still probably teasing Sammy about getting some of his own some year soon.
He'd miss them when they left in a few weeks. He'd have to pout to make sure they came back for a lot of visits whenever they were close enough and made it to all the conventions. They liked to play and shop with him, unlike his own boys.
to part 66
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