Rides to the Rescue.
Sam stared around the new store. It was all set up. All the licenses, all the inventory, even the forms they'd need was arranged for ease of filling out for new gun ownership. The hunting supplies were carefully hidden in a back room. If some investigative person looked they might find it odd that they had rock salt shells but they could explain those as speciality home defense items. The holy water was in simple jugs so that would pass inspection. The protections were hidden under the carpet and in silver paint around the doors that was hard to see unless you squinted. He stared at Dean, who was running a hand over a display case. "Ready?"
"Give me a minute." He calmed himself. He had never had a *real* job before. One that paid him and all that stuff. He wasn't sure he could handle it. But Sammy was here with him. They were going to be here for a long while. This would give them some legitimate reasons to follow Xander around too. Xander liked gun shows, they could go with him. He looked up at Sam, seeing him watching him. "I'm good."
"Yeah, I'm sure. Let's get this show on the road." Sam unlocked the doors, putting up the security gate then turning off the security system. They were open for business. No one was waiting to come in but that gave them more time to get used to the idea. They were respectable and out of the shadows. It'd take some getting used to. "What would Xander have done if I said I didn't want to do this?" he asked.
"I asked him what would've happened if you felt you weren't ready to give up hunting." Sam patted him on the shoulder. "He said his collection would've had a few new guns and he would've supported our decision." He grinned. "I think he sees us like his little brothers or something."
"Could be, Sammy," he agreed. "Or his kids." Sam beamed and nodded. It made Dean relax. Xander wouldn't have pouted at him if he hadn't accepted. That was good. "As a dad figure, Horatio's probably one of the cooler parents there is," he realized. "Don or Danny too. Adam teaches us to swear in long dead languages. He's like the insane uncle every family has somewhere."
"Family is everything to a lot of people. Even the ones you make instead of the ones you inherit."
Dean nodded. "Xander did a good job." Sam nodded at that, leaning beside him on the counter, waiting for someone to come in.
Xander walked into the station, smiling at the receptionist. "If you'll let me pimp my protege's new shop I've got lunch in the car," he offered.
She smiled. "Which proteges opened a shop, Xander?"
"Dean and Sam opened a gun shop since they settled down here." He beamed. "Dean helps me handle my stuff so he's very good."
"I've seen him and Calleigh talking about your collection a few times." She leaned on the counter. "Do they offer PD discounts?"
"You know, I forgot to ask him." He unfolded the flier Sam had given him to give to his boys for the bulletin boards. "They do." He handed it to her, getting a smile. "I set them up with their beginning inventory. I did a good job picking out normal stuff."
"I'll pass it around. Plenty of guys could use a new shop to get bullets and things."
He leaned closer. "If he needs to I can slip Dean a reference to get things like vests," he said quietly. She beamed and nodded at that. He straightened up again. "Anyone here?"
"Everyone but Delko."
"Eric can get leftovers later. I left some at home for lunch. Can you get Ryan to help me carry? It's a really heavy pan."
"Just the lab?"
"You guys have pizza coming." She beamed, paging Ryan for him. Ryan walked out and beamed when he spotted him. "Lunch?"
"Definitely. How heavy is it?"
"Very." He took him down to the SUV, letting him get one of the two pans he had used this time. Real pans that he'd have to hand wash later on since they wouldn't fit in the dish washer, but it was worth it. "The boys opened their shop today."
"I'll stop by later." He carried his pan into the break room, putting it down on a counter so he could peek under the foil. He moaned. "I adore your cooking, Xander." Xander kissed him on the cheek then bounced off. He paged the rest of the guys with the word lunch.
The receptionist peeked in. "He said we're getting pizza. Any idea when?"
"Let me call the place he orders from." He did that. "It's Wolfe. Did Mr. Harris place an order for the station that houses the crime lab?" He frowned, then nodded. "Thanks." He called Xander. "Steve did it to you again?" Xander groaned and called the pizza place back to fix that problem. "Soon. Steve's still holding the new cards and Xander forgot." Xander called him back. "Wolfe," he answered. Then he smirked. "That's fine, Xander. Thank you." He hung up. "Forty-five minutes. Seventy-two pizzas, share with any patrol guys who conveniently stop in." She nodded, going to pass that around. Xander had paid cash and went to find Steve to see what was wrong with his card this time. Ryan dished himself up some of the casserole and walked off eating. "Food!" he yelled. "Patrol's getting pizza." The others headed down to get their own. They loved Xander lunches too.
Dean finished up his first day of his first real job, counting the money in the register. Not that it had changed but it had to be done he supposed. "Today was kind of boring."
"It was," Sam agreed. "Maybe we need a grand opening? Balloons, some advertising?"
"Xander said he'd spread word to the PD and others he knew," Dean reminded him. "Besides, those seem cheesy, Sammy."
"They can," he agreed. "I can see you doing a tv ad. You'd come off like a used car salesman with a bikini clad woman with a gun on your lap." Dean smirked at that mental image. Someone knocked on the door so he opened it. "We're still here," he said cheerfully.
"Good," Horatio said. He came in to look around. He needed some new bullets. So did Speed, and a gun cleaning kit. "How was today, boys?"
"You're the first person all day," Dean said dryly.
"Remember to frame the first dollar," Horatio said with a smile. "It's supposed to bring good luck." He paid for his stuff and looked at Dean. "Xander did hand over the fliers."
"Good. Maybe we'll have more people tomorrow."
"We get paid on Thursday," Horatio told him. "Probably then since this is the middle of the month payday." Dean grinned and nodded at that knowledge. "The PD discount is very nice though, boys." He smiled at them. "You'll do fine. There's not many truly legitimate gun shops in the area that we can go to." He took his bag off the counter. "Have a good celebration tonight."
"Was Xander cooking?" Dean asked.
"He made us lunch. Then he went to pout at Steve because his credit card glitched again. He's finding out why and going to destroy the reason."
"Could be the bank," Sam said. "We heard one got raided by the Feds earlier."
"Could be," Horatio agreed. "I hadn't heard that." He smiled, looking them over. "Don't forget to call your hunting friends. They'll probably be a lot more constant of buyers." He left them alone.
"I forgot to call Bobby," Dean admitted, using the store phone to do that. "It's us. We're open for business. Whole back room full of hunter's supplies." He grinned. "Nah, we're good. Only had one customer just now. Sammy, someone's coming." He listened to him. "Sure, we're here. Miami's a vacation capital if you want to visit, Bobby. We've even got our own place now. That way Xander couldn't spoil us more. Yup, that's us. We have a list of stuff we can and can't ship from our licenses. So if it's on it, sure. If not, we'll figure it out, Bobby. Thanks, man." He hung up, nodding at the guy who walked in after checking his wallet. "Patrol?"
"We saw the flier. Harris gave it to us with lunch." He smiled. "Bullets?" Sam pointed. "Husband?" he asked with a teasing grin.
"I'd never sleep with Sammy, he snores," Dean said dryly. "He's my little brother. That's the only thing that's kept me from strangling him some nights." The officer giggled on his way to the bullets. He looked at Sammy. "Allergies acting up?"
"The flowers on that tree outside our windows is bothering me," he admitted. "I took something last night. It doesn't last long."
"You can get an air purifier to fix that," the officer said as he brought a box back. "That's what we have to do for my son. He's got asthma and a dog."
"We need to pick up something to help with the air conditioner too," Sam said. "We'll look into that though. Thank you." The guy smiled, paying for it, taking his change and his box off. Sam leaned on the counter beside his brother. "Frame for the first dollar?" Dean pulled it out and stuck it in the one Xander had left for them. It went onto the wall under their licenses. Then they waited. They could stay open a few extra hours tonight. It'd be good for business.
Xander walked into the Treasury office the next morning. He was dressed nicely. He had his hair braided. He wasn't openly carrying weapons. Yet when someone saw him they still went running like he was chasing after them with a sword. "I take it you know what I'm here to ask?" he called after him. Another agent came back with the first one. "Hi. You guys busted one of my banks yesterday. Which locked my accounts. I need to know who I talk to about getting them freed so I can move them."
"You are, sir?"
"It was noted you did have some higher investments with the bank," he admitted, leading him back to his office.
"Mostly we had the credit card accounts there. My shopping account. Which caused me no end of problems yesterday. So how soon is it going to be fixed or should I worry about moving it?"
"I'd move it personally. We found a member of their Board had blackmailed one of the tellers into embezzling."
Xander nodded once. "I had a problem with one that sent me presents so I'd send them back. It let him cash them out to get money back."
The agent gave him an odd look. "Why would he do that?"
Xander grinned. "Some people think I need stuff."
"Good to know. Let me check on something." He pulled up the case file on his computer, looking it over. "I'd say we could release accounts within the week." He looked at the young man. "That way you could make arrangements with a better bank."
"I'm sure my financial manager will be. He'd be here but he had a migraine from yesterday. I'll be getting it all back?"
"You should be, yes."
"Good." He shook his hand. "Please call any of the numbers on the account when I can move them? Or you can call Detective Flack in Homicide if you want."
"You're related to him, sir?"
"I'm his houseboy." He smirked. "I spoil him horribly to protect me from present givers." He stood up. "Thank you for that information. You might tell the other guy there's no reason to be paranoid about me most of the time." He left, heading to tell Steve that. His migraine over this headache was nearly cleared up so they could make plans. This was seriously going to crimp his shopping habit. He'd have to go play more poker for gas money. Or convince Steve to open a bank.
The agent called up that name to look over what they had. His boss stomped in. "Who is that guy? He has some major investments, but he's no heir I've ever heard of. He seems too low class to be an heir. He didn't sneer at all. He said he's the houseboy of some detective in homicide?"
The guy got onto another file, letting him see it. The first agent moaned. "That's Mr. Harris. Which is why Perkins went running. A few years back he had to deal with the young man over a problem they had." He stared at him. "What did he want?"
"He wanted to know when he could move his account with the bank we busted yesterday. His shopping and credit card feeder accounts were there."
"Interesting. His kind usually have a manager."
"He's got a migraine." He looked up. "He said we busted someone for giving him presents that he embezzled?"
"I remember that case. Talk about a nightmare. The guy was embezzling, sending him presents to launder the money, then cashing them out when he got them back. Fortunately he kept some track of what the guy sent him."
"Interesting. Should we have a problem with him?"
"Only if his poker buddies complain," he said grimly. "He has this bad habit of helping his boyfriends' jobs by playing poker with the local underground. He claims it's gas money or that he's making sure they can't use it for evil plans."
"Very interesting. Is he under investigation?"
"No, things like that happen to guys like Harris," he said grimly. "You go insane but deal with him as fast as you can."
"If we can clear his accounts of any embezzlement, we can release them tomorrow."
"Do so. I hate to deal with any of his family. Caine considers him a protégé. He hung out with Caine's nephew all the time before he went off to college." He walked off to take some tylenol. He would've had the bust handled differently if he had known someone like Harris banked there. It'd only cause problems. The agent went back to his background check. The forensic accountants would have that information to him by tomorrow. There was something odd about this guy. When he found it, he brought that printed sheet to his boss, who stared up at him. "We know."
"It can't be real."
"He's the guy we got the powder off of to take care of the creature causing the last brownout." He handed it back. "It is real in some areas. They seem to want him more than any putz around here. My friend at the IRS said he gets dragged in quarterly for confession about them." He shrugged. "Like I said, deal with him as fast as you can for your own sanity."
"I'll make sure his can be released tomorrow."
"Good." He took something for his headache once the agent was gone then sent Caine's lab an email to say that they were hurrying the release of funds from that bank due to Mr. Harris' involvement. To make him be patient, it should be done within a week.
Danny had the honor of the general email account this week, opening it when it beeped. "Huh," he said dryly. "Hey, Wolfe, did you have a problem with anything yesterday?"
"No. I only used the gas card he gave me though. Why?"
"The Treasury busted a bank?"
"Yeah, he said the one he has his shopping accounts in." He grimaced back at Danny's desk. "Xander said it screwed up his day yesterday. He was going to see when it could be released today."
"Sometime this week. They sent an email."
"So they looked him up and blushed or got horrified?" Ryan quipped.
"Probably." He sent back one saying that was fine. Xander had plenty he could live on until then. The he got back to his paperwork. He hated paperwork.
Xander walked into the boys' store, smiling at Dean. "Bored?"
"Not really. We've had two people browsing. One who needed bullets. Bodyguard."
"They happen," he agreed. He looked around then leaned on the counter. "Bobby called me."
"Your phone's dead."
Dean looked then plugged it in again. "Thanks."
Xander grinned. "Welcome. The boys are going to pick out their own guns from you later this week."
"We can handle that. You sure you don't want them to get it out of your stores?"
"No, because I want them to start with something fresh that they won't have to worry about changing out on. They'll learn the ins and outs of each others' weapons, but I want them to start with something fresh."
"That can be helpful when learning. Dad taught me on a shotgun that became mine once I learned how to clean and use it." He looked around. "You set us up with a few good beginner options." He looked at Xander again. "We're not doing bad."
"Good." He handed over something. "Gun show here. You can meet distributors there." Dean grinned at that. "Plus one of my illegal contacts is going too." He straightened up. "Sword polish?"
"Yup, back shelf by the special door." Xander went to get some, coming back to pay for it. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome." He grinned. "You guys are some of my favorites to spoil." He patted him on the cheek then left him alone to go over what he had. They had gotten them catalogs from the various companies as well. That could only help them.
Dean looked at his phone. It was back on so he could call in a few minutes. Once it was charged enough to pull from the cord, he called his favorite uncle. "You called Xander?" He snickered. "No, not a problem. He stopped by to tell me that and to hand over the flier for a gun show that's coming up. Not bad. Of course you can. We even have a pullout in the spare bedroom, Bobby. No, Sammy's up looking at the college again. He wants to finish his bachelors. He's only got four classes left so it'll be fine to go after hours or something.
"No, we're in the same apartment, thankfully in separate rooms. Xander helped us find a good roadtrip fund. Plus some reparations," he admitted. "Mostly baccarat though." He listened to him. "Sure, you can come have a vacation. You know that. See you then. If I'm not at the house, call. The store's only six blocks away. See you in a few days then." He hung up and went back over the stuff he'd want to carry once he could make his first order. Being a shop owner was a lot different than he had thought. Thankfully Steve was looking over their shoulders.
Xander looked at the younger trio later that afternoon. "Okay, today we are going to the range. We are going to the farm afterward. It's not supposed to rain until tonight so we can get a short ride in. Then we'll be coming back here. I want you three to figure out what sort of gun you want to have for your own protection." Draco opened his mouth. "No, it is for your protection, Draco. Some day you may need to use it to protect yourself or Ron or Harry. That's why I'm teaching you that and sword work. One of the two will get any demon that gets you or anyone else that tries to take you guys."
"Which is a good point but it's not exactly something I'm comfortable with," Draco admitted.
"No one said you have to carry it everywhere," Ron told him. "Keep in practice, keep it clean, and make sure it's close enough in case you need it." Xander nodded at that. "Are we picking from your stuff?"
"No. I'm taking you guys to Dean's shop so you can pick out something new. That way you learn any quirks that the guns have. Some have triggers that're very particular or a harder pull. There's weight differences. Caliber differences. I will tell you that I'll expect you guys to practice with each other's guns. That way you can use whatever you have on hand." They all nodded at that. "Good. We'll go on Friday to do that. For now, we'll hit the gun range with the case that I brought back with me last time we went." They went to find shoes and head out to his gun range with him. They got there and found it was apparently agent qualification day. "Room for us?" he asked the supervising agent.
"Sure, boys. Go down there." He pointed. "You have your licenses?"
"They're my guns, I'm teaching my students," Xander told him, pulling out his. The agent nodded. "Thank you." He walked them down there, opening the case to get the eye protectors and ear muffs out. "Okay, guys. Pick one. Doesn't matter if it's the same as your last one." They all picked up what they needed. Ron and Harry were looking theirs over. "Draco...." He had moved closer to the firing shelf. "Check it over first." Draco looked his gun over, making sure it was clean and ready to use. He had to put the clip in, giving him a sheepish grin. "Good. You can go first. Remember, you want to hit the critical spots. A wounding spot is nice but that's usually from someone who's a better shot."
Draco nodded, moving closer and taking aim. He fired off his first one and flinched. "I don't really like doing this."
"It could save your life some day. The same as the sword work that makes you sweaty can," Ron reminded him once he had moved an ear protector. He moved closer. "Relax more, Draco. No one's asking you to go as gun nut as Dean is. Or even Xander is. Do good enough to hit someone if they're breaking in to steal your blond arse."
Draco nodded, putting the covering back over his ear. He took aim again and fired, hitting closer to the center of the target this time. Xander patted him on the back so he finished up that clip. He stepped out of the way once it had been reeled back so they could look at it closer. "Not as bad as last time."
"It's not," Xander agreed. "Some of that tension will ease as you get more comfortable. Like you did with your wand after the first month."
"Good point." He let Ron move up. He pointed at the cleaning supplies, getting a head shake from Xander. So he had an other round to do. Ron did good. Most of his hit the center circle or the head. Harry did better but of course he had taken a lot of aiming lessons over the last few years.
They moved out of the way, letting Xander hit his. Xander had the one he liked best from the house with him. He put on a new target and sent it out there. He took aim, head tilted slightly. Then he fired off a quick burst of bullets. All hitting the center of the target. He changed clips quickly and did the head, then changed again and did all the limbs. He put down his gun and reeled his target back in. It was nearly falling apart. Only one shot had hit a line of an arm. The rest were inside the arm or the leg. The head ones were about where the nose would be. The heart ones were dead center. The boys all clapped. Xander grinned at them.
The supervising agent came over. "Good job, kid," he said once Xander took his ear muffs off. "You an officer maybe?"
"Boyfriend to two," he admitted with a grin.
"Huh. So you stay in practice in case their job comes back to haunt them?"
"No, because people want to steal my cute ass. Hi, Xander Harris," he offered with a grin, getting a horrified look. "These are Harry, Ron, and Draco. I'm teaching them how to shoot for their protection."
"Nice to meet you, boys. Not too bad. I've got agents who did about the same." He looked at Xander again. "I've heard you're pretty decent."
"Nearly so. I haven't done anything like a walk-through course in a while though. I haven't done any of the sniper shooting skills in the last few weeks either."
"You routinely do that?" he asked.
"Just in case I need it, yeah. It's come in handy in the past. I fully do everything every six months. I hit the practice range about once a week when I'm in Miami."
"Interesting. Can I get you to shoot against some of my guys?"
"If you want, but I only brought theirs with me today."
"That's fine. We're finishing up tomorrow. How about we do sniper, walk-through, and target?"
"Speed or accuracy with a clip?"
"Can you do both?"
Xander nodded. "I'm not the fastest anymore but yeah, I can do speed shooting. Stan Kowalski made sure the last time he came with me. He's very good too once he's got his glasses on."
"I'll remember that, kid. Tomorrow, say about noon?"
Xander smiled. "Sure, I can do that. See you then." He grinned at the boys. "Do another round, clean them." They moved to do that. "Their second time doing this."
"They're not bad." He walked off, still watching how their targets turned out. The blond was clearly new. The redhead wasn't bad. He'd make qualifications. The dark haired one was very good. Interesting. He had heard about the problems Harris had now and then. All the local agents knew that things came for the boy now and then. Plus about his poker habit. They cleaned their guns then headed off somewhere in the one's obscenely oversized SUV. He went to select his agents for the next day. He wanted to see how good the boy truly was. Maybe if he was that good, he could use him as a measuring stick for new agents. Plus it might mean one less thing for Caine's lab to worry about.
Xander walked onto the range the next day with two hard side cases and one soft bag. "Reporting as ordered," he quipped.
"All yours?" the supervising agent asked.
"My two favorite rifles. My three favorite handguns. That way I'm not using something too high powered for what the agents are. Plus bullets, cleaning supplies, that stuff."
"Good." He led him to where they were shooting. "Guys, this is Mr. Harris. We're evaluating his skills today. Some of you are going to be shooting against him later on." They all nodded at that. "Let's start with the accuracy ones." His best guys moved up. Xander checked his weapons over, loading two and moving to let him check them over. "That's a nice selection."
Xander grinned. "I'm a bit paranoid about my own safety."
"I've heard." He gave him a look. Xander just grinned back. "Use the lower caliber of the two." Xander did that and came over to take his own spot. He put on his protectors then nodded he was ready after checking his clip. "Clip out, Harris." He ejected it and put it down. "Ready." The guys shook out their hands. Harris was staring at the target. "Load and fire." They slapped the clips in and fired ten accurate shots. His boys were good. Marksman good. Harris was just as good. "Huh." He reeled it in to look over. There wasn't much space between the shots, only a few flimsy slivers of paper. "Good job, Harris." He smiled and checked his gun over, ejecting the clip to refill it. "Let's do a two clip speed round, guys."
"All chest and head, or chest, head, then limbs?" Xander asked.
"First clip chest and head. Second wounding." They all nodded. It was an intelligent question. The guys got ready and he sounded the go. The boy was keeping up. It was impressive. Damn if he didn't have those problems he'd suggest the academy.
The supervising agent walked into Horatio's office later that afternoon. "Got ten?"
"Anything to get away from the budget projections. A problem, Agent Patricks?"
"No. We ran into Harris at the gun range yesterday with his students. I had him come back today so I could test my boys against him." He sat down, opening his bag to pull out the marked targets. Horatio calmly looked at each one, nodding some. "He's very good."
"If he didn't have his problems, I'd gladly mentor him through college and the academy," he assured him, looking at him. "I knew he was happy about going somewhere today. Said it was a nice invitation. I was hoping it wasn't another poker game."
"No, he showed up a few of my better shooters to be honest." He stood up. "Let his boys see that. He should celebrate. I have a former SWAT guy who tied him." He walked out happier.
Horatio smiled, paging Danny and Don to his office with Mac. They came in, Mac last since he had to come from the other lab. He laid out the targets. "Agent Patricks from the FBI had his people requalifying today. He ran into Xander yesterday with the boys and invited him back today to shoot against some of his best."
Mac looked. "He's very good."
"Patricks said he tied one of his guys who was former Rapid Response, Mac," Horatio said proudly.
"I need more practice," Don said with a grin. "Sniper rifle was good. It looks like he hit the same spot, just off millimeters."
Danny nodded. "I'm not that good."
"I don't ask for perfect scores, Danny, but reasonably good ones," Horatio reminded him. "I thought you'd like to praise your boy later tonight? Then see if we can rearrange some of his security protocols based on this new information?"
"Definitely," Don agreed happily. He looked at the printed sheet from the walk-through course. "Definitely better than my last one. I shot a civie."
Danny nodded. "Me too."
Mac shrugged. "I can't claim that fault but he tied my score in it." He looked at Horatio. "Have we talked to him yet?"
"No, I thought I'd let those two praise him tonight." Mac smiled and nodded. "Plus this means we have an objective idea of his skills in case they're needed to help him protect himself or the boys."
"Our boy deserves treats," Don decided. Danny nodded. "We'll pick some up on the way home." He took them off to show off to Frank and Stan. They'd be happy too. Sam was in his desk chair. "Problems?"
"Small one. Stanford's being too nice and it's got me worried."
"Not your fault you had to leave, Sam."
"I know. The new school's very happy though." He looked at the pile of target sheets. "Yours?"
"Xander's." He put them out on the desk, letting him, Frank, and Stan look them over.
"He's damn good," Stan said with a grin.
"He's very good," Frank agreed. "Slightly better than mine." He looked at him. "Why was he at the range?"
"He's teaching the three younger ones how to shoot," Sam told him. "He was telling Dean last night that he ran into an agent who invited him back to shoot today."
"Patricks said he was proud," Don agreed with a grin.
"Good on the boy. Have fun finding him a new treat," Frank said, going back to his desk. "I've got to requalify soon too."
Sam grinned. "We get in a lot of practice." He stood up. "Should I worry about Stanford being so nice?"
"Probably not, Sam. That high up they want the good students to complete their studies so they can go onto better things."
"I guess. Thanks, Don. Oh, schedule for when I'm there." He handed it over. "Otherwise I'm probably at the store."
"Sure. You've got the bus routes memorized?" Don asked.
"No, I'm still considering how to deal with that since it's across town."
"You can get a moped," Frank teased from his desk. "Your brother might freak out and pick on you about it, but you could. They're cheap, good on gas. You can take them anywhere but on the highway. Plenty of foreign students have one."
"Dean would *so* ride my butt about that," Sam complained. "He'd say I couldn't park it next to the Impala, that it'd turn his poor girl nerdy."
"You can find a semi-decent used car for however long you're down here," Don offered.
"I might. I need to talk to Dean about that. Classes start in about a week." He looked around then at Don. "Should we show up to see Xander's cute present for doing so good?"
"Let him bring it in to show it off tomorrow," Don said with a grin.
"Sure, I can do that. Thanks, guys." He went back to the store, posting the copy of his schedule on the wall behind the register in there. Dean glanced over it then at him. "I dropped a copy off with Don too."
"That's a good security precaution. Anything going on tonight?"
"Xander did really well shooting against some FBI agents. They're going to reward him somehow later on. Don said to let him show up to brag."
Dean grinned. "I can do that. Nothing else going on tonight?"
"Don wanted me to look at ways to get to class."
Dean stared at him. "You're not taking my car, Sammy."
"I didn't figure I could. Frank suggested a moped."
"I'd slash your tires as soon as you got one because I taught you to be cooler than that," Dean assured him. "I wouldn't stand my wonderful teachings being warped that far toward geek."
"Not my favorite idea anyway," Sam said, looking around the store. "No one right now?"
"We had someone earlier." He sat down on the stool he had bought after his first day of standing all day. "Any good ideas?"
"Some semi-decent, college student-looking car? Something I can sell to another student if and when we end up leaving Miami?"
"That's an idea," Dean admitted. "We do have two parking spots." He stared at him. "Going to trick it out as a hunter's ride?"
"Maybe some, but not totally. I'm more likely to be taken than you are so I'd need something in it but not totally. The Impala should be our ride for hunting." Dean nodded, looking happier at that. "I don't know. I know the website has a classified section on it so I can look there for something local."
"That could help," he agreed. "Xander said that's how he got his former Range Rover."
"I remember that story. I'll try not to get something that's lilac."
"Thank you. I'd have to help you repaint it. Possibly with paintballs in the middle of the night if it's that ugly, but definitely have to help you repaint it." Sam grinned, pulling his laptop out from under the register so he could log onto the GHS site to check the classifieds. "A lavender Hummer," Dean said, looking over his shoulder. "Horatio would freak."
"He probably would," he agreed. "Too attention getting anyway." He looked at the other things, finding a few that looked nice. "Hey, a hybrid." He let Dean see it. It was medium green, had some chrome. Was a bit sporty as a four door coupe. "Not too yuppie but a bit sporty and fun looking."
"How would you plug it in?"
"Good point. We don't have one down by the parking lot." He went back to looking. "One that runs on natural gas."
"There's only two stations around here," Dean said. "Both on the other side of the city."
"Another good point." He found the less uptight cars, finding a, "Paisley VW bug," he offered, letting Dean see the pictures that member had uploaded. "It's in Atlanta."
Dean blinked at it then at him. "Hippie?"
Sam looked at the name then at him. "That blonde that you nearly drooled on last time. Her son's car."
Dean grimaced. "Paint job, Sammy. Paint job." He shifted on his stool. "They're not *bad* cars. They're cutesy but you're geeky so you could get away with it by going on the environmental thing I guess. Don't expect me to ride in it."
Sam nodded. "I wouldn't until it got painted anyway, Dean." He went back to looking. "By the prices, I can narrow it down to a used Cadillac STS-V, a Ford Shelby, or a Lincoln Town Car." He looked at his big brother. "All three look like they could use a little work but nothing too heavy. One mentions a few scratches from a jealous ex. One says it had some minor repair work after a slight accident. The Shelby is covered in primer from a recent accident."
Dean leaned closer to look. "Lincolns and Caddies are old guy cars, but those are nicer yuppie mobiles."
"Cadillac is into making SUV's too," he offered.
"If we need an SUV we can borrow one." He looked at the pictures of the three of them. "The Shelby's sporty but it could use a lot of work. Painting it will take days."
Sam looked at him. "We can teach Ron and Harry how to work on the cars. All three could use paint."
"Nothing that needs less work?"
"Some things but they're more expensive. I'm not spending myself broke."
"Good idea." He considered it, taking the laptop to go through the other offerings. "Nothing's really great outside the higher, roomier class of cars."
"Which we don't need. But I do need something that'll get me back to class plus that we can teach the boys how to drive in."
"True, I don't want to teach them in the Impala. You nearly ruined it learning how from Dad." He considered it. "Anything from outside the group?"
"I'm not sure I'd trust them, Dean."
"It's still going to be a used car, Sammy." Sam sighed but opened a new window to look at some of the other used car sites. He grimaced at most of the little, efficient cars Sam was looking at. "That one doesn't even have a radio."
"I know." He bypassed it and went on. "I'm wondering if we undervalue our stuff that much. I found a same year of the CTS and it's ten grand more on here."
Dean looked. "Ugly, yuppie-mobile, Sammy."
"Technically it's a prelaw degree, Dean. Plenty of us have yuppie cars. It looks good on us."
"Disgusting. It might turn my poor girl bland."
"I'd never let it get that close to the Impala, Dean." He went back to the other ones. "We have a Honda S2000, which is a two-seater but the last one I saw I couldn't sit comfortably in. The seat had to be all the way back. That was an older model though so I'd have to try this one out." He looked up at his brother. "I like the Shelby. It's got a decent sounding engine. Good features already included. No dents that you can see in the picture. All it needs is paint and we can have someone do that if we need to."
"Write them about it. Where is it?"
"Upstate." He sent them an email about it. Then he got onto the other shopping areas. "There's a spoiling yourself stupid car place that caters to us. They've got an ad for it in the shopping area."
Dean looked then at him. "You don't need a stretch range rover, Sammy."
"I know that. Besides, Xander got his at another place. He went with a custom place." He smirked. "The one by the volleyball games? There." He went back to looking it over. "Hmm, new clothing store that opened up that wants to cater to us but it's up in Orlando." He kept going. "A new jeweler is advertising."
"We have plenty of bling."
"I know that. I was thinking in case we need to handle it the next time we're given some, Dean." He straightened up as someone walked in the door. "You made good time," he said with a grin.
"I flew. I could only get a few days off. My helper at the salvage yard is going back to school soon."
"Me too," Sam agreed. "It's on the other side of the city." He let him see the picture of the Shelby. "What do you think?"
"Middle of the road engine. Needs painted. Recently wrecked?"
"Yup," Sam said.
Dean nodded. "We'll use it to teach Harry and Ron how to work on cars. What's up, Bobby?"
"A few of the more stubborn hunters still think that you're evil. We can't convince 'em otherwise, boys."
Dean nodded at that. "That's their thing and we know the local cops."
"How?" Bobby asked.
"Xander's dating two," Sam said with a grin. Bobby smirked. "Who're just like us. In all manners. Well, only one's GHS but otherwise."
Bobby shook his head. "You two are going to go insane." He looked around. "This is nicely laid out, Dean."
"Thanks. Xander got us the starting inventory." He walked him around to let him look at stuff then showed him what they had in the back, getting a nod for that preparation. "We're doing okay so far. We give a nice discount to the local officers. Xander put our flier up at the gun range we go to."
"Good of him. Sounds like he's still fussing."
"He is but he's good at it," Dean promised, taking him back out front. "Hey, Speed. Horatio was in here the other night."
"He didn't pick me up new bullets," he admitted, waving the box. "Hey, Tim Speedle," he introduced himself since Dean and Sam clearly knew this guy really well. Dean was never this relaxed around anyone he didn't trust completely.
"Bobby Singer, I helped their daddy raise these two heathens."
Sam laughed. "Plenty of times," he agreed. "Tim's married to Horatio. They're one of the family's mentors. Horatio and Xander get to go suit shopping too often."
Speed nodded. "Horatio needs to weed out his closet again too." He paid for his bullets, looking at Bobby again. "We'll be having a family cookout tomorrow night if you wanted to come. I know the boys will be. Otherwise Xander will pout."
"We'll make sure with Xander tomorrow," Dean promised. Speed nodded. "Have a good night."
"You guys too." He looked at the picture Sam had up, grimacing. "The wreck was a horrible one but she did good with the bodywork. Unfortunately her boyfriend left her so she can't get the rest done without paying for it. She said it's a bad reminder of the asshole who left her."
"I think we could paint it and use it to teach Harry and Ron something practical about cars. Plus to teach them how to drive."
"That might work," he agreed. "She'll be online later tonight. She's got a midshift sort of job at a store." They nodded so he left. He was surprised Sam wasn't taunting Dean about the lilac hummer but you never knew with those two.
"I would've gotten the hummer but Dean would've freaked out," Sam offered with a grin.
"Hummers are tough cars," Bobby said. Sam pulled up the picture. "It's girly purple."
"With very soft leather interiors, custom mats, and a sound system that can blow rappers off the street."
Dean looked at Bobby. "Yes, he's been warped by Xander's stretch Range Rover." Bobby shook his head quickly. "Seriously. Has a limo back." He grinned. "Sammy, close up?"
"Sure, take him back to the place. I'll be there once I close it down." Dean nodded, taking him back to the apartment so they could talk and get Bobby settled. Sam settled in for the last hour of watching the store. It wasn't bad. A few officers came in to look. A few asked nosy questions about using Xander's contacts. Which he denied being able to do. It would be bad for business. When he closed up, he took his laptop and the money drop for the bank with him. It was only six blocks. And Lord help any mugger that tried him really.
Xander looked up as the boys parked and got out, bouncing over to hug them both. "My boys *so* spoiled me rotten for being so good on the range." He dragged them inside to look at the presents his boys had gotten him. Dean ran an appreciative hand over the leather carrying case for his guns and Sam smiled at the new video game with gun accessory. They headed back out with him to carry food. "Hi," he said, noticing the new guy. "Boys?"
"This is Bobby. He helped Dad raise us and taught Dad a lot about hunting," Sam said. "Bobby, this is Xander. He trained us in how to use a sword so well."
"Pleasure," he said, shaking his hand. "I remember talking to you a few times."
Xander smiled. "It's good that the boys still have friends among the hunters. It'll make them safer for the most part."
"Some still think we're evil," Sam warned.
Xander snorted. "So? Willow thinks I am too." He shrugged. "Unlike most of the other hunters, she can do it from a distance."
"She a demon?" Bobby asked.
"Witch," Xander said dryly. "I used to hunt in Sunnydale." Bobby gave him the oddest look so he grinned back. "Yes, it's been a while. I'm happier now though." He bounced off to the kitchen to get other stuff to eat. "The others will be here within the next half an hour."
"Need help?" Sam called, heading that way. He gave him a hug. "He's a nice guy."
"I noticed the subtle looking at my hair thing," he said with a teasing grin.
"Bobby's from the Midwest. Not too many guys have hair like yours," he teased back. "Besides, you know you're an original." Xander nodded, handing Sam a few dishes. "Oooh, the mushroom one." He carried it out. Dean looked then at Xander when he came out with the deli chicken. "Ryan and I like it, Dean."
"I remember. You farted all night the last time you had it."
Xander kissed him on the cheek. "You sleep in a separate room now, Dean."
"Good point. His windows open so I don't have to be smothered with his stink." He smirked at Xander. "Feeling mushy?"
"I didn't have anything to do today."
"You didn't take the boys riding?"
"We did. Pride's got a sore hoof. He stepped on a rock wrong. It's being babied so I had to take out Countess today. She was not a happy warmare in training."
"Still spoiled?" Sam asked.
"Yup. Unfortunately." He looked around. "I'm forgetting something."
"Drinks, other meat stuff?" Dean suggested. "Dogs?"
"Couch. Girls," he called. They came bounding out, nearly knocking Dean over to get some attention. "That's Hershey and Kiss," he said with a grin for Bobby. "They've just completed obedience training at the lesser level so we can start sniffing training." He went back inside to see if they were going to have anything else he might've forgotten outside of something to drink.
Horatio pulled in, seeing the new guy watching Dean play with a fond smile. "Xander, Speed put our contribution in the back seat," he called.
"That's why I didn't cook more," Xander called, coming out to get it. If it needed to be warmed up he could do that. "That's Bobby, he helped raise and train the boys."
He smiled, holding out a hand. "Horatio Caine. Tim said he met you last night."
"He did," he agreed, shaking it. One of the dogs bounced over to sniff him, giving him a stare until he petted her. "You're a good girl. Dean needs knocked on his butt more often."
"She knows Don and I brush her better than even Xander does. He tried to use a curry comb on her the last time." He got up off the ground, dusting himself off. "Kiss," he said at the sulky puppy look he got. "Get the ball!" She ran inside with her littermate to get the ball, coming back with it. He tossed it away from the food and the garage so they wouldn't get hurt. They fetched and came back. "So, Bobby, how's things out there?"
"Not bad. Business is good. Ellen sends her greetings. Jo too." Dean gave a small shrug at that. "Otherwise, things are about the same as usual."
"That's cool I guess." He threw the ball again, watching as they took off. "Horatio, new back neighbor?"
"The guards told me someone had moved in but they were fairly nice."
Xander came back out of the house with Speed's dish unwrapped with a spoon in it. "I don't have a problem with them. They're a nice family. Two younger kids. He's a higher end lawyer that moved down from Chicago due to his wife's health. I took over a basket of stuff from the trees." He sat down. "I did end up having words with the other new resident who lives up the street." Horatio gave him a look so he smirked. "The new telepreacher at the mega church moved in."
Sam shuddered. "They go off on the gay thing?"
"They decided I was because of my hair, without knowing who I was. I pointed out if they could live here, clearly all those donations to their church weren't going to the programs they begged people to fund. The preacher sneered. I sneered back. He stomped off muttering about gay people and then had a very nice sermon about how we should all be shown the error of our ways forcefully on his next broadcast. One of the online gay groups started to lambaste him for it so I pointed out he decided I was because I had long hair, without hearing whether or not I was. Also that he moved into a multi-million dollar home that he had just renovated for over a month. So someone's decrying that too."
"He could've been a rich boy," Dean offered. "Robertson or one of them was the son of a diplomat."
"I was wondering why the IRS sent me a letter saying that they were going to be near you but not bothering you about something," Horatio admitted. Bobby gaped at him. "Xander's had some issues with the IRS in the past."
"Willow did a spell to take my social security number out of the system," Xander said with an evil smirk.
"Why didn't someone deal with her then?" Dean asked. He gave him a pointed look. "Bad witches get hunted all the time, Xander."
"She claimed she was atoning for trying to hack my bank accounts to steal all my money, putting cameras up around my house to record the living porn so she could make a tape, and escorting Buffy down here when she blew up my car and tried to blow up Danny's car. She thought I had done something evil to be me," he said with a fond smirk at his student.
Dean snorted. "No, I doubt you asked for your hormones to spike. If you had, I doubt you would've asked for them to spike as high as you go." Xander shook his head. "Still, that's not atoning."
"No. Which is why it's better if we don't see anyone in Sunnydale except for Oz."
"I had wondered why we ignored the whole slayer crew after the invasion in LA," Sam admitted. "You were kinda chilly to them from what we saw."
Xander shrugged. "I can't forgive that one more than I have. I won't forgive it more than I have. I'm certainly not going to forget about it." Draco stuck his head out. "We're doing the family dinner tonight, boys."
"Ron's stomach was wondering why there wasn't any food," he said blandly. He came out, the dogs bouncing over to pounce him. "Yes, hello, beasts. You're still drooling today I see." He petted them both but wiped the drool off on his pants. The older boys all grinned at him for that. "They do drool a lot."
"So do toddlers," Sam told him.
"I don't have any of those either," Draco reminded him. "Probably won't, so that's a very good thing." He sat down, nodding politely at the one he didn't know. "A new student?"
Dean burst out cackling. "I can't see Bobby dealing with the GHS stuff," he snickered. "No, he's a hunter like Sammy and me, he helped Dad raise us," he admitted once he had calmed down.
"I can't see me doing that sword stuff you boys do either," Bobby said. "Bobby Singer."
"Draco Malfoy," he said with a small wave. Bobby gave him an odd look.
Xander looked at him. "The demons wanted Harry really badly. One canceled a kitten poker debt to tell me about him."
"Things like that happen around him," Sam and Draco said in unison, then Sam stuck his tongue out.
"Not mine," Draco sighed. "I'm stuck with the uptight twins." He looked in the house then at them. "Do you think Steve would let me have his couch for a bit? Before I smite them again?"
"You haven't managed it yet," Ron called from the house. He yelped as Draco's spell hit him. "Still not smiting, even if it did hurt."
"Draco," Xander sighed.
"They are my enemies," he pointed out.
"They're your father's enemies. You made them yours by being a little shit in school," Xander corrected, staring him down. "Though yeah, we all have our annoying moments. Dean told me I had plenty until they got used to who I am."
Dean nodded. "His bouncy nature can get very annoying when you haven't had any sleep. Especially during kidnapings."
"I realized earlier we haven't been kidnaped in weeks," Sam told his big brother.
"We haven't," he agreed, looking concerned. "Should we celebrate?"
"I only celebrate when it's been a month," Xander told them. Draco gave him the oddest look. So did Bobby. "What? I've only reached that goal twice now."
Draco looked at Dean. "Should I ever turn into a level ten, shoot me to put me out of my future misery? I know you'd make it quick and painless."
"Sure, I can do that for you, Draco." He patted him on the shoulder. "Until then, take it like a gay man."
"No, they're still undecided about that," he said grimly.
Xander shook his head. "You three need to get it together or figure out if you're together."
"You could send them off for a weekend," Sam suggested.
"I can't. They're not ready yet. They can't do a lot of the normal people things so they'd get odd looks. Ron still nearly yells into the phone. Draco wants house elves to suddenly appear. The only place I could send them is Jace's and I'm not sure they could handle Vegas."
"Vegas?" Draco asked.
"Las Vegas, out in the desert, gambling and showgirl mecca of the US?" Dean told him. Draco still looked confused. "I'll show you on the travel channel later." He looked at Xander. "Jace might be able to watch over them for a weekend away at a spa. Not like she's not used to strange stuff. Harry was out there for the convention too."
"True. I'll call and ask her. Would you like that, Draco?"
"We wouldn't mind," he admitted. "I could get Weasley used to the idea that pampering us is a good thing." He grinned. Steve pulled in so he went to talk to him. "Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome." He looked up. "Do we like that idea?"
Strife appeared, staring at him. "It's not a bad one. They should be fine with that." He looked at his priest, then smirked. "If they start to bother you, act like their book says before you end up in a war of words with the narrow minded twit, Xander." Xander grimaced. "It'll get down to you blackmailing him to leave Don's family alone. That's after restraining orders, people trying to sneak onto your grounds, all that good stuff. You don't need the stress. The vision gave Ares a migraine."
"I'm sorry I'm giving him headaches again, Strife."
"I know. So does he. I'm fairly certain they're going to be leaving you alone anyway."
"He did try to start shit."
"He's gonna be sorry because he's sleeping with his trannie sister," he said dryly. Dean shuddered. "Exactly. So just try to stay out of it. They won't come near the family."
"He had his wife follow Danny to work today."
"I heard. Try to stay out of it."
"As long as they do too. I won't let them hurt or expose the family."
Strife leaned down. "It'll expose 'em more if you don't," he said firmly.
"I'll send someone ta deal with the schmucks. Just stay out of it as much as you can. Shoot back if they start things like the anti-gay thing. Ignore it if the poker buddies say stuff. He's a bigot."
"They say the anti-christ is supposed to be a fake preacher," Xander said dryly.
"He may fit," he agreed. "Let us handle it without you blackmailing anyone."
"Yes, Strife. So I can play poker again?"
"Go ahead. Remember to bring Sam so Andrea can hit on him next time." Sam nodded at that. "Leave the little gun dealers who annoy you alone too."
"Oops?" he said with a wince and a sheepish look.
Strife read his mind then burst out cackling. "That's not bad, Xan. Don't do it to the pseudo-preacher." He disappeared.
"Sorry, Strife wanted me to behave," he said with a grin.
"That's unusual for his usual wants," Dean told him.
"Horatio made him quit wanting me to go downtown and dance." He grinned sweetly. "Tomorrow, Sam, or the game after next? I think that's the day you start school."
"I can hit the game with you tomorrow. Dean and Bobby can hang those hours." He looked at Bobby, who nodded, still drinking some of his water so he couldn't say anything. "Xander is one of Strife's high priests. All guys like him are vowed to Cupid and Strife. Fortunately Ryan Wolfe is one of Ares' chosen warriors so it's helpful."
"I did take lessons at the same temple," Xander said dryly.
Strife reappeared. "Never mind, he upped it. Try to be nice. Try to be good since he's got kids. Try not to get the media on your front lawn."
Xander gave him a smug look. "Okay." He pulled him down to whisper in his ear, getting a moan. "Good, bad?"
"Ooooh, so decent." He disappeared to tell Ares.
"Let me go check on what he did this time." He got up to find his laptop, bringing it outside. "Thankfully we extended the wireless router out here." He logged onto the site and laughed. "Aww, I supposedly hurt and corrupted his daughter when she wrecked her bike outside my gate and I called an ambulance. With the guards standing there." He wrote back a message saying what had happened, that the guards for the community had been there with him while he had put a bandage over the broken leg she had gotten from wrecking her bike, and that he'd never touch kids. He didn't do things like that. Then he sent it to him and the local gay group that was protesting him. He got back one fairly quickly.
Horatio looked over at him. "Be nicer, Xander."
Xander stared at him. "He accused me of touching his kid when I was offering help before the ambulance got here, Horatio. Hell no!" He found the pictures he had snuck around to take earlier, sending them to the same gay group. "Besides, if he didn't want people to know he was sleeping with his trannie sister in his back yard he should probably put up a privacy fence." He smiled sweetly. "Because I didn't need to see that when I was taking my dogs for a walk."
"That would warp the dogs," Dean agreed. "Try to be nice, Xander."
"I am. Be damned if I want him to look over the shoulder of charities that help kids though. Someone good, even someone who was as fundamentalist as him, whatever. Just not him." He looked over as Steve and Draco came back. "I'm making a charitable donation tomorrow."
"That's fine. How much should I expect?"
"About three mil? You think that'd be enough?"
"Probably with the present scandal once it got started," Sam offered.
"It depends on the charity and how much they usually bring in," Steve corrected. He sat down. "Why?"
"Fundie preacher up the street tried to start shit. Said I hurt his kid when I was holding her leg closed earlier before the ambulance got here. Not like the guards could find her parents to come do it for her."
"That won't be allowed to go on," Steve agreed. "So we're doing what? Going to the charity, making a donation as long as they remove him from the board?" Xander nodded. "Not a bad idea. Do we have any hardcore evidence against him?" Xander showed him the pictures. "She's not even pretty." He copied them into a zip file and sent them to someone he knew in Cascade. "I know a trust fund manager that works with a few of the more fundamentalist churches in the Northwest. I advised him that this one was doing things the wrong way and trying to make accusations that weren't true but they should hear about this little picture problem he has before it hits the press."
Xander nodded. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He smiled. "Any other good news?"
"Not yet. Horatio, are they late?"
"Traffic was horrible," Horatio admitted. He called Alexx's phone. "Where is everyone? That's fine." He hung up. "There's a protest outside the gates against that preacher for him trying to declare that gay people should be forcefully corrected. They're getting them out of the way of cars but it's still blocking traffic."
Steve nodded. "They were starting to gather when I got here." One of the guards' cars drove in and parked behind his. "Gentlemen, I know you've seen what he said this time."
"Our boss got the full report and the tape from us, Mr. Ellison. He's released it to the press and said that the guy was smoking something funny. Mr. Harris, the gay people need to go."
"I did not call them down on him. His sermon did that." He looked at him. "I can go pout at them if you want but I'm not part of the group."
"Please. They're trying to say we discriminate against gay people. You're the most openly gay person in the community so maybe they'll listen to you?"
Xander nodded, going out with him. He walked out of the gate, staring at the protesters. "Guys, you're blocking my boyfriends from showing up for a family dinner," he called. They stared at him. "There's a few gay families here. Unfortunately he saw my hair and decided I was gay without knowing whether or not I was. I shot back about him clearly not donating all that money he got from his church to his charities." They all grumbled. "But I also know that the local Lambda Defense group just got some pictures. Because the guy *really* needs a privacy fence.
"Now, you're blocking people from getting home. We're a nice, quiet community usually, people. So can you maybe get out of the way of the cars so I can have my boys back?" They got out of the way, a few smiling. "Thank you, guys. Protest them all you want but we've got a bunch of older, uptight people as neighbors. They will throw fits and call the cops. Picket his church instead. Or his office. Or even the motel he commonly takes Ms. Perkins to." He smiled sweetly and headed back to his picnic with his family. Most of them had already gotten there.
The head guard came out. "Unless you stay on the sidewalk and out of the way of traffic, the judge who lives here has already told the local station to arrest you," he announced. "We guards have no say who lives here. Neither do the other residents. So please quit annoying them. Do the one, not the whole community please." They made sure they stayed on the sidewalk. "Thank you." He saw a cop car coming and frowned, standing in the way. "They've agreed to be peaceful and stay out of traffic."
"I'm not here for them. We had a call saying someone got pushed down a flight of stairs," he said quietly.
"Go ahead. They've got an elderly woman living with them, Officer." He got out of his way. "Thank you for your cooperation."
"What was he doing that whoever that was saw?" someone yelled.
"No clue. He was walking his dogs from what he told me. I have no idea. All I know is he shuddered a lot." The people who worked at Lambda called in to see if they could tell what had been sent.
One of them walked over. "Who was that?"
"Mr. Harris. He's dating two officers so he doesn't want to cause them any problems at work."
"That's reasonable. We know the PD can be a bit repressive." She went back to her post. "That was Mr. Harris. He's out but his boyfriends may not be." They all nodded at that. "They're officers."
"Now we know who to go to if we have problems," one quipped. She listened to the person on the other end of her cellphone. "Tell me you're kidding?" She smirked evilly. "Please do. Can we identify them from the picture?" She cackled. "YES!" she shouted. Everyone stared at her. "Thank you, Stevie." She hung up. "He's doing a trannie on his back porch. Stevie said that he knows her from somewhere. They're trying to figure out who."
A few laughed. Yeah, he was going to have some problems now. An ambulance came screaming their way so they made sure they were out of the way. That didn't look good.
The guard stepped into his gate shack, calling the pair he had patrolling. "Greensons?"
"No, sir. The idiot."
"No clue, sir." He hung up.
Another one came more slowly, with the ME's van. The guards winced but that was fine. He stepped out. "Someone fell down some stairs from what I was told, people. Relax." They all nodded at that. "If her family wants you to know, they'll tell you."
"So, is Mr. Harris nice?" one asked him.
"Very. He's very nice to us. He spoils his boys' station with lunch frequently. He has a lot of the lab over for dinners or video game nights. He's got a few students he's working on self defense skills with. He's a very nice young man. A bit hyper and bouncy like his dogs but fairly nice. He doesn't mind when we pick lunch off his trees." They all smiled at that. "Mr. Harris was the same one that had the problem with the judge and the neighbor's tree."
Most of them laughed. They had seen those ads during the election. The ambulance left with lights and sirens. The ME's van left a few minutes later. The protest slowly calmed down. They'd get better exposure and more help doing his office.
Horatio came back the next day, looking at Xander over the top of his sunglasses. "Xander," he said, making him look up from his reading in the sun. "That was mean."
"It's not my fault he's doing that."
"Not that. Telling them to protest at the motel he takes her to. They didn't like that."
"Not my fault they're sleazy."
"True." He settled in beside him. "They still had to have them removed. The local news stations are decrying him and are going to make his life miserable."
He patted him on the back. "It'll be all right, Xander."
Xander grinned at him. "Of course it will be. Because if he pisses me off again I get to be meaner, right?"
"If you must. Try to be subtle."
"I donated five mil to charity today. It's a good charity that I'd support anyway. I have in the past. I did say I'd continue as long as they removed that disgusting man from their board. They readily agreed." He smiled. "So we got it from Steve earlier today."
"Very good of you." He patted him on the head. "Weren't you going to play poker today? You're missing your usual game at Fu's."
"I'm not due in for another hour." He looked at Horatio's watch. "Oops. Mine's dead." He got up, heading inside to wipe off the oil and get dressed. "Thanks, Horatio."
"Welcome, Xander." He went back to the lab, finding his boss waiting on him. "I went to remind Xander to be more subtle, sir."
"Figured the guy saw him and got up in arms. The anti-gay union of officers wants him to quit bringing lunch too."
"Sir, if they're that opposed to him spoiling the officers with lunches now and then, they don't have to eat."
"I pointed that out. They're pouting."
"They seem to do that a lot when they don't get their way."
"I had noticed that. Anything else going on?"
"Why would there be?"
"He's playing poker again, Caine."
"Yes he is, but it's good for him to get out of the house. He's introducing some of his students around today actually." His boss moaned, shaking his head. "They haven't had any overtime recently but it's still boring doing nothing all day, sir."
"I know that. I've been on sick leave myself. Drove myself nuts. He needs more hobbies, Horatio."
"Sir, we don't need more hummer cozies."
He blinked a few times. "What?" Horatio found the picture and let him see it. "He..."
"Crocheted it, yes, sir. Presented me with one. Speed and Don both have ones for their motorcycles."
He walked off shaking his head, going to the homicide desks. "Flack, find your boy some more manly hobbies."
Don looked at him, grinning slightly. "You don't like the crocheting, sir?"
"No. It gave me a picture I didn't need." He gave him a dirty look.
Don smirked. "He does do some leather work now and then. Gave Speed a silk-lined leather thong that matched his bike."
"That's another mental image I didn't need, Flack. Try woodworking maybe?"
"He does when he's down off his hormones."
"Good!" He walked off rubbing his head. That boy clearly drove his boyfriends nuts.
Don shrugged at the odd looks his buddies gave him. "No clue what started that one."
"He probably saw the hummer cozy," Frank said dryly.
"Could be," Stan agreed. "I know my boy gets a headache when he sees it too." They all smirked at that. It was fun watching Methos walk off swearing in ancient, dead languages whenever he heard or caught Xander crocheting.
Xander strolled in with Sam. "My watch is broken," he said at Fu's look. "This is Sam. One of my students. Andrea wanted introduced."
"She's back there, but the game's nearly done."
Xander gave him an odd look. "There's always other games, Fu." He walked Sam back there. "Andrea, this is Sam. Yes, my watch stopped or I'd have been here earlier. Horatio had to remind me." He sat down with a grin. Sam sat beside him.
Andrea smiled at Sam. "You're adorable."
He grinned. "Thank you. I will tell you that I don't do more than flirt for the first few times I meet you. Xander warned me you were dangerous to men's hearts."
"Only the ones I stop, Sam. I can live with that rule though."
Xander looked at her. "He's lost a girlfriend in the last few years, Andrea. Be nice to my buddy."
"I will, Xander. You know that."
"Good." He smiled. "So, how late am I?"
"Last hand was called thirty ago," the dealer admitted. "The guys who do the next game aren't in yet."
"I can go to the one by the docks."
"No, you probably shouldn't," Andrea said. "The two crappy gun dealers are down there, Xander. We hate it when you have to restrain yourself from destroying them for trying to bully you." She looked at him. "That preacher?"
"Decided I was gay because of my hair. I was even wearing clothes."
They all snorted. "The thing with his kid?" one asked. "I saw the tape."
"She wrecked her bike outside my gate. The guards know I'm a pretty decent field medic so they called while we waited on the ambulance or her parents." He shrugged. "I was being a good boy. He's the pervert."
"We saw," Andrea assured him. "Oh did we see."
"So did I unfortunately." She grimaced. "I was walking the dogs."
"Poor dogs," she agreed. Sam laughed lightly at that. "I like Hershey and Kiss. Kiss thinks I'm a great lap. Hershey likes the taste of my foundation apparently. They're nice dogs." She put down her cards, folding her hand. The others finished up and left once they cashed out. "So, Sam, need him as a chaperone or can we go for coffee maybe?"
"I can do coffee, but you've got to let me buy."
"I can do that. Did you drive down with him?"
"We're looking at getting me a car. I've been traveling with my brother for the last year and a bit so I don't have my own."
"There's a few very nice car lots in the city. I'll show you some I like." She stood up and he took her arm, walking her off. "I'll be nice to him, Xander. I promise."
"Good because I taught him how to kick ass better than he was before." He looked at the dealer. "Anything other than the docks? She's right, I'd have to restrain myself from making them miserable today."
"Horet's down there."
Xander gave him an evil smirk, getting up to get into his local stash so he could head that way. It wasn't that long of a drive. He walked into the right store, getting waved back to the back room. "Thanks, dude." He walked in and they all groaned. "I let my buddy Sam go with Andrea. I'm bored and there's no one new to destroy today." He sat down and handed the dealer some of the bills, getting chips for it. "My watch broke so I didn't make it to Fu's for my usual gas money game."
"They were probably thankful that they walked away with some money," one of the guys said grimly. "I was hoping to, Xander."
Xander grinned. "I'll try to be nice to you today, dear." He blew a kiss. "Okay?"
"Good enough. My wife's birthday's tonight."
"Maybe you should go present shop now then," he suggested with a smile.
"Can't. Need another grand to get the present I want to get her. She deserves something special."
Xander looked at the dealer. "He owes you three hundred, Harris."
Xander nodded. "Fine, he can pay me back for that." The guy beamed so he handed over the cash. "There, go. That way she doesn't pout at me." He rushed off. "See, I can be nice and sweet," he said at the smirks the other guys were giving him.
"I still say you're too gay to use artillery," one told him.
Xander pulled out his wallet, handing over two pictures he had found online. "There's me at the invasion in LA. See, artillery. I helped bring down the building." He put down the other one. "From home." He smirked at him. "When we had to defeat the thing attacking my graduating class. I led the battle."
The guy stared at him. "Who in the hell were you?" he demanded quietly.
"Xander Harris." He smirked. "The hair throws people." He folded and backed away from him. "Now I'm happy to only hunt when things come after me. I have this nasty habit of destroying people who want to own me. Otherwise I'm a nice, fluffy, spoiling, boyfriend sort. Just ask mine."
"Yours are cops."
"Yeah, they are. They get to hear it when people piss me off too." He smiled sweetly, leaning on the table. "I don't tell them anything that I overhear unless it's really critical, like the guy who gave me the dirty bombs he was constructing, or it's someone that annoyed me to no end. Unless it's like the last time they were working too much overtime and I didn't get sex for weeks. Then I have to identify people sometimes." He stared him down for a moment. "You're perfectly safe. You have nothing I could want even if Horatio did bust the guys I buy weapons from. You're pretty well beneath most notice really. Though, send Don a nice card because the last time you pissed me off he kept me from bringing artillery to your house."
"Yeah, I'll do that," he agreed quickly. "I won't pick on you anymore, Harris. I've heard of you."
"Awww, that gives me the warm fuzzies. Now, can we play? I'm too tired to cook dinner tonight so I need money to order on."
They groaned but nodded, letting the dealer do his job.
Don got a nice card at his desk about two hours later. He opened it, looking at the note inside, bursting out laughing. "One of the bullies that's been picking on Xander thanked me for calming him down when he wanted to destroy him. He understands better now. He won't pick on him anymore."
"That's probably wise," Stan agreed from his desk. "Is he one of the guys the ATF found for not selling to him?"
"Possibly," Don said. He put it on his desk, then got back to work. It was odd but the guy had been scared by Xander so it was all better now he guessed. This would be one of the stories the others would giggle over for weeks.
Xander pulled the three younger guys into the kitchen, kicking the door shut to the other house. "Yes, you all have to learn how to cook," he ordered. "You won't always be living with me so you'll starve unless Draco finds a house elf or three."
"I'll see if I can import two or three later this week," Draco said smugly.
"With your luck they'll want his hair and stare at him or clean the ferret cage for him," Harry joked back. "I already know how to cook some, Xander. You added to what I already knew during my training time."
"I know I did."
"Ron probably learned from his mum," Harry offered.
"My mother wouldn't let us in the kitchen," Ron said sadly. "I have no idea how to do this stuff. Especially without my wand."
"Wands are a tool and a weapon," Xander said patiently. "If you're relying on it for everything then you're going to end up too weak to do anything." He put them in front of the counter. "Vegetables. Peel them using the scrapers. Then we'll work on cutting them up for soup."
"Are we making the station lunch?" Harry asked, looking at how big the piles were.
"Yup, sure are," he agreed cheerfully. They all groaned but got to work doing what he had ordered. He taught them how to make the very nice vegetable soup they all liked to eat.
"Did Dean and Sam get this lesson too?" Draco asked.
"They can both kind of cook. Sam's taking further lessons from me," Xander said, working on the meat for the stew he was making as well. He called Horatio's cellphone. "It's me. Is anyone going to complain if I bring stew and soup later on?" He beamed. "That leaves more for the guys who aren't prejudice, Horatio. Thanks." He hung up. "A few guys won't want to eat it because they don't like me being gay. Pity but more for everyone else." He got back to work, adding water to the huge pots.
"Tell me this is all we'll have to do?" Ron begged after his fifth onion to be chopped.
"Potatoes," Xander admitted. "Herbs but that's a lot less. You guys can work on the potatoes out back if you want. It'll take more than a few minutes." Harry nodded at that. "Let this stuff cook first."
They all nodded, finishing up as quickly as they could. They took the bag, their rinsed off peelers, and a bowl each for scraps outside to peel them out there. The finished ones went into the bowl of ice water Xander brought out. They knew they'd get to help carry later on too. Maybe even dishes. Ron leaned closer to his cohorts. "Did we piss him off?" he hissed.
"I think he's giving us more practical lessons," Draco said grimly. "I'll see about house elves the next time I can get to the bank." Harry nodded once, going back to it. "You're not doing too badly, Potter."
"I've done this stuff before," he reminded him. "Not in this quantity, but I've done it before." He finished up his current one and got another one to peel. One of the community's guards pulled in and parked. "He's making soups."
"That's fine." He smiled. "You guys bored and helping? Good job." He walked inside. "Mr. Harris?" Xander looked over from measuring salt and pepper. He put a package down. "I have no idea what it was. It was delivered at the gate house in care of your protector."
"That's Don." He moved over to look at it, frowning at the writing. "I know that writing." He looked it over, testing it magically, then opened a flap to look inside. He sighed in disgust. "I'll bring it to Don later. Thank you."
"Welcome, Mr. Harris. Thank you for helping defeat the ungodly one." He left, giving the boys a smile for being so helpful. It was good to see young guys able to do things beyond pout, sulk, and cause problems. Xander was doing good with them so they wouldn't catch Spoiled Miami Brat syndrome.
They got back to the potatoes. There were a lot of them in a ten pound bag.
Xander got out of the SUV at the station, finding a few frowning people. "I don't care if some people don't like that I'm gay and I can cook. They don't have to eat. It doesn't mean I won't spoil the lab anyway, guys."
"None of us?" one of the patrol guys asked.
Xander grinned. "Help me carry and you can have it first." They smiled, coming over to get the huge pots with the younger boys' help. Xander carried up the package, handing it to Don. "From Connor. I didn't want to deal with it. He sent it to the gatehouse in care of my protector." He walked into the break room, stirring things. "Should still be very warm. I had them at the boiling hot stage before I drove it over. Are we out of bowls?"
"No, sir," one said. He brought them down. "Usually the lab gets first pick."
He smiled. "No, today the lab is getting chinese if they want it." He patted one of his favorites on the shoulder. "You guys get real, good, healthy food that'll keep you from going hungry on patrol. Plus give you energy if you have to chase someone." He walked off with the boys in tow. The lab's receptionist was very happy to see him. He handed over the gift certificate bundle. "For them. I made the patrol guys soup and stew so they'd have energy to chase people down."
"That was nice of you, Xander. I'll give it to Horatio as soon as I see him."
"I thought he was in the office."
"He might be but I think he went outside a minute ago."
"Sure." He called Ryan. "I left the gift certificate with the receptionist for whenever Horatio comes back. Have fun and don't let anyone steal the patrol guys' soup this time." He hung up. "Ryan was the one begging for chinese. This way he can find something new he wants me to learn how to cook." He beamed. "I'm off to learn to cook more from Fu if anyone asks." He walked off with the boys, dropping them at the coven's store then heading to Fu's. He walked into the kitchen and sat down on a stool in the corner, watching the cook. Fu and Wyatt both gave him a strange look. "I have no idea how to cook chinese food but we all like it. I should learn how from someone who we know can cook good."
"You're strange, Harris," Fu complained, walking off. "Poker game in an hour."
"Remind me and I'll go play then. If anyone asks, the younger three are at the coven's shop."
Wyatt walked off shaking his head. Xander was a bit odd now and then.
The cook motioned him closer. "I know you can cook."
"I can cook pretty well," he said proudly. "I have no idea how to use a wok though."
"We can teach you, Xander." He showed him how to make the various dishes, making him a happy boy. Who would go bankrupt more criminals later.
Xander walked in and found Dean in his usual spot. "Store not open today?"
"Sammy's there." He shifted over to let Xander sit down. "Where were you?"
"Kitchen. I wanted to learn how to cook chinese food."
Dean nodded. "We'd appreciate the hell out of you teaching Sammy how to do that too." The dealer moaned, shaking his head. "We would. He's teaching Sammy how to cook. That's why we had grape and blueberry cupcakes for breakfast."
Xander grinned. "It was supposed to be for dinner last night."
"We did cleaning and inventory last night. We made it home in time to collapse." He put down money, getting it counted and chips handed to him. "Thank you. Regular Vegas poker?" The dealer nodded. "No funny rules or wild cards?"
"Not unless it's called before the hand," he told him.
"Good. Sammy said they used to play all sorts of wildcards at the games he got into at school." He grimaced at Xander. "He's going out with Andrea again tonight."
"She's a nice lady if you can look past her job, Dean."
"If you say so but the first time she hurts my baby brother, I get to make her miserable before I hand her to your boy." He put in for the first pot. Xander put in too. Then he promptly folded. "Bad?" He checked his cards and grimaced. "Very bad." He folded too. No way even Hermes himself could make that hand of his win with Luck sitting on his lap. The second one wasn't much better.
Xander stared at the dealer. "Did you owe me too much money?"
"The other guys wanted some of theirs back, Harris," he quipped back with a smile. "You know very well I don't stack the deck."
"Yeah, I know you're not supposed to." He grimaced, noticing everyone else was watching his next deal. And he caught the same sign that Dean and one other guy did. "Cute, really," he said dryly, making the man stop his deal to stare at him. "Very cute."
"What... what are you talking about, Harris?"
"You stacked it when you shuffled it then you just skipped a card," Dean told him. The other guy nodded. He looked at Xander. "You said they were more honest."
"He usually is." He grinned sweetly. "Maybe you should have a day off? You seem stressed."
"I..." He put down the cards as he swallowed. He knew lying would get him dead right about now. And no one would flinch at it happening right where he sat. "I have to. They have my son. They're blackmailing me, Harris."
"Who?" Dean asked.
The other guy leaned closer. "It's those stupid Russians, isn't it?"
"No," Xander said, shaking his head. "They don't tend to congregate in Miami. A few in Orlando from what I've heard but not Miami." He looked at him again. "Who?"
"Paulie's boys. They want to bring you and others down so they can take over easier."
"It hasn't occurred to them that I'm not in the underworld?" Xander asked.
"No. Or maybe they don't care. All I know is that right now my boy's all right. If I don't do this then he's not."
"How much were you supposed to bring them?" Dean asked.
"A tape and at least twenty percent of whatever you guys carried in. I was going to take the first few hands and then the last few."
Xander grimaced. "Tape is where?"
"Not started yet." Fu walked in, looking disappointed. "It's my son, Fu. My only son."
Xander looked at Dean, who shook his head. "I know." He looked at Fu. "I'm doing strange shit in the back room." He got up and went in there, Dean following him. "I can scry. I taught Harry."
"Sure, but you still need guarded or else you'll portal through and kill their asses. That should be joint fun, Xander." Xander grinned because he had read him so well. They filled a sink and he let Xander cast the spell, grimacing at what they could see. "Is he alive?"
"Barely. Go get his dad."
He went to find him, taking him from Fu's grip. "C'mon, Xander's scrying." He led him back there so he could see, watching him turn away. "Yours, not yours? Some other guy they've got the son of?"
"Mine," he said weakly.
Xander canceled it. "I know where they are."
"You're not one of us," Fu reminded him.
Xander stared at him. "Did it escape you that I was at the invasion in LA too? Firing and in the group defending? I'm known as a white knight for a reason, Fu." He looked at Dean, handing him the keys to his locker in the back. "Get my gear bag, take six bundles of cash out of one of the others." He nodded, going to do that. "Get him to one of mine. Adam's probably a good choice this time since he does play now and then. Plus he's not directly an officer."
Fu nodded. "Are you sure? It could get the kid hurt."
"He's already injured, Fu. Waiting is not going to help him any." He walked out, taking the stuff from Dean as they walked out together. "Did you drive?"
"Of course." He saw the corvette. "No way in hell."
"Fine. I'll pick it up later," he called into the restaurant. "Leave my baby alone please, Fu." He got into the Impala, taking the stuff out of the bag to start loading weapons. "Head to Little Havana. I'm burning a favor in Caya Ocho." Dean nodded, heading that way. He pointed at the turns for him, then got out to walk into the bodega. "Where's Marty?"
"Who are you?" the older woman behind the counter asked.
"Xander." He stared her down. "He owes me, I'm calling it in."
"He's in jail."
"Not arraigned yet."
Xander swore, calling Horatio. "I need Marty Ortese. I'm told he's in jail. I need him to help me rescue someone, Horatio. No, I can't. No, not one of the boys. Though, check on them. They're at the coven's shop." She snorted at that. He stared at her. "I'm from Sunnydale," he said in Spanish. She went pale and backed away from him. "Born, bred, and hunted there." Horatio found him in the system. "Bail?" He nodded. "Have Don or Danny do it, no questions asked this time. If they try, tell them what I'm doing and tell them to wait and call someone else in the family who's more subtle. Thank you. The bodega where he hangs out." He hung up and looked at her. She flinched, looking away. "The Muertes?"
"Up the street. You can't go against them."
"Two of them owe me the same sort of debt. I'm calling it in to rescue some little kids who're being hurt." She nodded, looking down. "Send Marty to me." He walked out, pointing up the street. He saw one gang member who was sneering so he shoved him into traffic as he walked past him. "I don't have time for you today and you still owe me six hundred bucks. I'm going to charge interest next week." He walked into the diner, nodding at the lieutenants trying to get in his way. "I'm saving some kids so I'm calling in the poker debt." He walked around one. One tried to get in his way so he threw him down and walked over him, still very calm. "Horace, my man."
"Harris?" he asked, looking confused. "How did you do that?"
He leaned down. Then he put his old ID down in front of him. "Look at the town's name and the date of birth so you probably heard about me helping defend at my graduation," he said quietly. "That's why you don't fuck with me." The man looked then gave him a horrified look. "The dealer at Fu's had his kid snatched. He's in bad shape."
"We heard someone tried."
"No, not tried. He's in bad shape." They nodded at that. "I need recon on his place and I'm getting Marty out of jail so he can help me break and enter. Can I get some help? They've got more than one kid."
"For that, we can help. People who hurt kids get us up their asses the hard way," he agreed.
"Thank you." He put his ID back into his wallet. "They're in the Forever building." That got a wince. Xander smirked. "Which is why I'm getting Marty out."
"Good idea. How would you get in there?"
"Well, there's the Sunnydale way - sewers. There's the practical way, a SWAT team. Then there's the Harris and slayer way. Fuck with me and die." He grinned sweetly. "Which way do you want?"
"The last if it won't hurt the kids."
"They won't see it coming." He walked off. "One hour."
"Agreed." He waved weakly at his back. "Why didn't anyone tell us he was from Boca del Inferno?" he shouted.
"He is?" one guy asked. Their leader nodded. "That explains a lot." He did a search on him. The demon underground and theirs crossed over in many places so they knew where to look for reps and back stories. "Ooh, yeah, he hunted with *her* and then they had a fight so he split." He let his boss see the journal of information on the town out there. Harris wasn't as bad ass as some, but he was pretty high up the insane white boy chart.
Xander looked up at the building. Then at his breaking and entering person. "I need you to go in and protect the kids. Take Dean with you. He can climb better than I can if you have to. We know they have at least four. At least one is looking really rough and one was passed out that we saw. They'll try the kids if they see us coming." Marty nodded at that. Dean grabbed some stuff to go with him. He looked at the gang members. "You six, be a diversion. Luis, guard my exit." He walked up to his way into the building, letting Luis hold that door against anyone who was coming down out of it. He snuck in.
By now Marty and Dean were halfway in. The diversion was going well. It looked like a gang brawl. Which it kinda was. Over a woman, which was pathetic but he knew they happened sometimes. He made his way into the stairway he needed, heading up them silently. Magicing the cameras wasn't that hard. He had learned well from the ones who wanted to take him and having to take himself back. He found the right entrance to the area they were using, hearing the guys sneering at the gang kids for their fights. Pity. Xander set off the flash bang he had gotten out of his bag, sending it into the room before it went off.
Then the shouting started.
Xander slipped in during the chaos, taking them down with very nice wounding shots. He heard someone coming up behind him and spun to get them, frowning at the badge he saw. Clearly not on duty since his pants were unzipped. Yeah, this was going to be a sucky day. "Dean? Clear?"
"Clear," he called. "We need an ambulance and CSI."
"Yup, we do but we can't." He called Luis. "They're down and injured. Have the boys search the rest of the building before cops show up." He called that out, breaking up the fight. Xander hung up, heading in to check on the kids. He squatted down in front of one. "Your father told me today." The boy nodded, smiling at him. "In a minute we're going to disappear and the ambulances are going to show up. We'll be dragging the bad guys off before then or tying them up."
His phone rang. "Harris." He listened then nodded. "I'll call Horatio personally. You guys scatter. Thank you for your help. Debt canceled until you lose to me again." He hung up, looking at the boy. "You're not the only ones here. Dean, grab that Fed. Marty, Horatio knows you were with me. You will not be in trouble for this. I'll talk to the head DA and dance for him if I have to." That got a grin that the guy tried to hide. "I can." He stood up. "Dean, grab the Fed." He went to do that. Xander called Horatio.
"I am standing here in this building with Marty, who I am leaving here with the kids these assholes had hostage. They need medical support badly. At the very least they're bruised. A few look dehydrated. There's also a lot of stuff and other people in the building that are trapped here. Dean and I are going to disappear. Marty is going to be doing his civic duty to help these kids. I said I'd help even if you couldn't, Horatio. Thank you. Six here, Luis said there were a lot downstairs plus some guns and drugs. We're heading now. Yes, there. Give us five. Get here first." He hung up. "Let's go. Thank you, Marty. Debt canceled. Do not skip on the bail."
"I won't. Go."
Xander nodded, walking out to help Dean gather the idiots. They zip tied the others together after frisking them for weapons. Then they walked out with the guy they wanted. His badge was still in place. His pants were still unzipped. Dean shoved him into the trunk. Impalas had nice, roomy trunks. It was one reason he loved his baby. "To the Feds, Dean."
"Yeah. He's one of them. There's no way they're going to cover this up and having him there would mean more agents getting involved. Let Horatio hand out the party favors once he's cleaned up the weapons and drugs." Dean nodded, driving them off to the Federal building. "Stay. I can get away with it and you can't. They'll think I had to shoot him because I hormoned him." He got out and got the guy out of the trunk, walking him into the building. The guards gave him a horrified look. "Which floor should he be on?"
"Sixth," one said weakly. "Does he need support, sir?"
"I'm taking him to his supervisor, guys. It's complicated and there's some people who got hurt because of him." They stepped out of the way. He walked him to the elevator, pushing the right button. Of course, the guards called so he was met at the doors by four agents with guns. "Good." He pulled the one he knew into the elevator and pushed the button for the ground floor. "Dean and I went to rescue a poker buddy's child who had been kidnaped and held for blackmail," he explained quickly. "This one came out of some other room with his pants unzipped and his badge on. The kids were in damn bad shape. Horatio is clearing up the scene and getting people help. You guys stepping in would take longer since there's some other hostages. Yes, I shot him when he tried to stop me from getting to the kids." He handed him over. "Have fun with him." He got off the elevator, heading back outside.
The agent glared. "Harris!" he yelled. Xander stopped to look at him. "Where?"
"Call Horatio. He's there by now. I even blew a few poker favors to get there."
Xander smiled. "Poker buddies of course." He walked out, letting the door close behind him so he could get into the Impala. "I need a hot bath and a beer to get that image out of my mind," he said.
"Agreed," Dean said, pulling out and heading for the house. If they wanted to come question them, they'd find them anyway. This way Horatio could come ask as well.
Horatio watched the last ambulance pull away, looking at the officers waiting. "Good work. Gather up the rest, wait for Rapid Response to come get it. It's too much for the lab to store." They nodded. He looked at the building then at the watching gang member. "Luis, thank you for helping him."
"We hate sickos as much as you do, Caine." He strolled over. "He's bold and sassy today. We had no idea why you didn't fuck with Xander beyond the hair pins."
Horatio smirked a bit. "Unfortunately his hormones keep him from being this way all the time now."
"We all retire sometime. Some of us go to death. Some of us go to create the next generation of greatness. Some of us apparently retired to spoiled bliss. He wasn't bad. He pinpointed who he wanted and what he needed very quickly."
"He can plan," Horatio agreed. "If you hear more about these people, I'd like to know."
"We can deliver and make sure people get to where they need to go. You are taking the weapons?"
"Yes. They'll be destroyed later today with the drugs." That got a nod. "I'm surprised your people didn't try to take any."
"Nah. Not worth it. It was cheap stuff. Besides, it might make us like them. Many boys are superstitious. Especially about that crazy white boy now."
Horatio smiled. "It's a bit of genius thrown into that mix, but now and then I feel the same way."
"I can see why. Happy paperwork, cop."
"Happier night, Luis. And thank you." He walked off. The DA had already been told why the guy had been bailed out that way. She had made him a very nice deal that would only get him probation when she had heard why. That was a good use of his breaking and entering skills. Plus it gave him the chance to go straight if he wanted to. If not, his next arrest would be his own fault. He went back to the office. He'd give Xander a hug later. He ran into Danny and Don waiting on him. "One of the dealers had his son kidnaped," he said quietly. "Xander and Dean pulled a rescue. For a very good reason."
"Heard that," Don agreed. "Our boy okay?"
"He had already disappeared by the time I got there."
"With a Fed in tow," Danny said grimly. "His boss is ranting and raving at Frank in your office about our boy's drama queen nature."
"Yes, he does now and then," he agreed.
"That guy he had me bail out?" Don asked.
"Broke into the building to help."
"That's a good reason," Don decided, heading back to his desk. With a quick stop to bang his head against a wall before he said something to Xander that would upset him.
Danny walked up behind him, patting him on the back. "Horatio said he blew some poker debts to the Muertes."
"That's a positive. Everyone got rescued, that's another positive. We got a major haul of weak coke and crank off the streets with some weapons. Our boy still rode in like some superhero with Dean helping him." They shared a look. "Taking tomorrow off too?"
"I've got court. Wish I could." He walked off. "I'll take the next day off."
Don grinned at his back, going back to his stack of paperwork. He found the Chief of Detectives waiting on him impatiently. "Sir."
"You bailed someone out for your spouse?"
"Ask Horatio why, sir. He was just helping him clean up a mess."
"Your spouse or the one you bailed out?"
He stared at him. "Is Horatio going to growl at me?"
"Maybe at the agent who came in to complain that my boy's a drama queen."
"Maybe I'll wait. Good reason?" Frank turned up the radio he had going on his desk. Someone had gotten word of the bust. "Oh."
"With hostages," Don told him.
"Aw, shit," he muttered, going to talk to Horatio. "Fallout?" he asked as he walked in.
"None. It was done privately and quietly. The one who he had bailed out got a very nice deal for probation in thanks for his help. Sixteen people went to the emergency room. We netted over a ton of drugs and about the same in handguns." His boss shuddered. "Xander had one agent who tried to stop him so he kindly handed him over."
"Walked him into the building, handed him over in the elevator and told my why on the way back to the lobby," the agent complained.
"The boy's a princess," the Chief of Detectives told him. "You should see him pout when we don't eat all the food he brought us."
"He did pout the last time since the bigots decided not to eat but his boyfriends made him feel better. Next time he'll feed Mac's lab."
"I'm sure they appreciate it," his boss said dryly. "How bad is this going to look on us?"
"Why would it? As far as I know, we had no hint of anything going on. They may have had a dirty agent but he's going to be removed I'm sure. We stepped in to confiscate everything we could once the situation was reported. Unless someone did report it to us, it should be fine, sir."
"Good. Any idea if this is related to the officer involved shooting last week?"
"No, sir, wrong part of town."
"Damn. Okay, let me know the final tally and all that, Caine. Tell the boy to calm down and be less of a princess."
"If I do that, he'll come in wearing a crown next time, sir."
"I forgot he could be like that." He walked off shaking his head.
The agent looked at him. "He feeds you guys?"
"He cooks lunch for the station at least once a month. Sometimes he orders some for us. Most of the time he cooks and brings enough in for the lab and patrol."
"I wish we had wives that did that." He shook his head to clear it. "How involved was he?"
"We did not find any files."
"I'll get it out of him then."
"Threaten him with Xander if you need to."
"Oh, I plan on it. Or maybe Fornell. He scared the guy when he came down for Heartstone." He walked off making plans on how to get the guy to confess.
Horatio wrote out his report on what had happened and where everything was now. Supplemental reports from Rapid Response would fill out the rest of it.
Danny walked into the house that night, finding Xander curled up on the couch with ice cream. He kissed him on the head. "Good job," he said quietly. "Next time, call so we can back you up? That way you take less risks?" Xander looked up at him. "Seriously." Xander nodded. "Good. That's all we worried about." He took another kiss. "The agent you handed him over to walked out pouting that no one cooks for them."
Xander grinned. "I ordered Don's team lunch the other day. Charlie sent me a thank you note."
"That was nice of you," he said, sitting beside him. "Dean?"
"He's good. We had a beer, a long, hot shower, and then he went to clean guns at the store."
"Good." He gave his boy the cuddle he clearly wanted. "Good, quiet job. Efficient use of the people you had. The kids didn't get any more hurt by anything. Rapid Response found the failsafe they had that didn't get to be set off. It was a tight rescue." Xander relaxed. "Even the asshole over SWAT said it was a good job and wondered how we had gotten you down that far."
"I figured it was." Don came in. "He agreed. Next time we can quietly go in and then call for backup once we've got it settled down."
"I can agree with that. Horatio said the same thing. Mostly so he didn't have to see a princess pout. The Chief of Detectives thinks you are but Horatio said if he called you one again you'd wear your crown into his office." Xander grinned at that thought. He took his own kiss. "Good job. I stopped in to give Dean a hug too. He waved it off but Sam stared at his brother in horrified awe. Their friend Bobby too." He sat down on Xander's other side, stroking over his hair. "Fu fire that dealer?"
"I don't know."
"It was an extreme circumstance," Danny said. "Maybe he'll be picked up at one of the other areas. Take his kid somewhere safer." Xander nodded, yawning some. "You rest. You deserve it." Xander smiled, snuggling between them to drift off to the food network. Don changed the channel once he heard the first snore. Danny grinned. "Dean okay?"
"Fine. Not even shaky. You gotta figure he's done something similar with the hunting stuff."
"I don't even think about what that stuff could entail." He shifted, letting Xander have his chest as a pillow. Speed walked in. "Hey."
"I heard Horatio's usual methods of dealing with bad problems got passed on." He stared at Xander. Then at his boys. "He okay?"
"He's fine," Don promised with a smile. "He did do a lot of the hunting stuff before."
"I remember, but that's....Horatio level of handling it dramatically." He shook his head. "At least everyone's all right. Dean handling calming down okay too?" Don nodded. "Good. Tell him to be a bit less dramatic. If he had waited until Horatio got there, it would've been all right. They could've dragged the agent back together."
Danny snickered. "I know he came to complain about that part."
"Horatio said the whole thing was high drama. It was like watching spies at work." Don smirked at that. "But it worked this time. Remember, you're supposed to be training good habits into him, guys. That way he knows to wait for backup and things."
"They might've hurt the hostages."
"True. They did find a failsafe too," Speed admitted. "Still a bit too spy-like for our tastes. We would've let them slip away before calling anyone. Fortunately someone told Horatio so he was only about a mile away."
"That could've been part of the plan too," Danny told him.
"Could have been," Speed said, shaking his head. "Less drama, please?" They both nodded. "Then he did a good job and deserves a treat."
"I'm taking the day after tomorrow off," Danny said. "Court tomorrow."
"I'm taking tomorrow off," Don said with a grin. "He'll get a good reward, Speed."
"Excellent idea." He walked off, heading home to spoil his own man. He knew scenes like that one made his boy ache. So he'd be there to cuddle and keep him calm.
Don got up and went into the kitchen to make dinner. Xander wasn't allowed to have ice cream for dinner anymore. Danny shifted to hold their boy better. He did deserve it.
to part 69
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