Putting The Bad In Badass.

Pooch looked at the short-a-team-member meeting they were holding.   "We have got to figure out Roque and Wade's things," he said quietly.  Jolene was asleep cuddling the baby in the living room of Jensen's place.  Pooch was making coffee for the rest of them.

Jensen grimaced.  "Remember how hard it was for some of us to not be military anymore?" he asked.  Pooch and Cougar both nodded slowly.  So did Aisha from her end of the breakfast bar.  "I think that's Wade's issue.  He's been a minion so long that being on his own is throwing him.  He's been adapting more and more to Xander's moods and styles.   He's actually a pretty good minion for him."

"Nobody petting him?" Aisha snorted.

"That too.  That and the last person who wanted to shoot him instead of paying him didn't," Jensen said.  She gaped.  He nodded.  "Xander said he felt bad for scowling at him for it."  He shifted on his seat.  "Roque, I'm not certain."

"El luchar de los depredadores (Predators fighting)," Cougar said.

"True, he has been studying the situation a lot," Pooch said.  "You think he'd challenge Xander?"

"No," Jensen said.  "I think he realizes that Xander can make him drool, beg, and crawl after him if he even thinks about."

"So he's seeing the kid like he used to see you," Pooch sighed.  Jensen nodded with a small smirk.  "How will we cure that 'fixing him' mentality?"

"We can't until Xander kicks his ass," Aisha said.  "Which I'm sure he can do."

"In multiple styles probably," Jensen agreed.  Cougar snickered and nodded.  Pooch sighed, shaking his head.  "Yeah, he can."

"He'd never step into a knife fight," Pooch pointed out.

"No, but I think Xander is going to spar against him," Jensen said with an eviler smirk.  "I suggested it to get him off his back."

"That may work," Aisha said, frowning.  "But won't Roque win?"

"Hell no," Jensen said.  "Clay can't take him in hand-to-hand.  Someone once sold Xander to a battle ring sort of situation.  He lasted four months before he could get free."  She gaped.  "So, no, that was before he was trained.  Back when all he knew was patrol in Sunnydale."

"Shit," she said.  "So he'll..."

"Yeah, he'll win," Jensen assured her with a grin.  "Though I think Clay asked him to take it easy on Roque.  The more denting he does of him, the worse it'll get.  Then he'll really be on his ass to fix the hormone stuff."

"Probably," Pooch agreed.  "I'd like to see him when he wasn't backed up."

"We have," Jensen said.  He grinned.  "Last Tuesday?  He wasn't backed up at all.  He was still a goofy, bouncy geek sort.  He's like a cross between me and Dean without them.  Though his sense of duty is stronger."

"Good to know," Pooch decided.  "Do we think Wade's going to be a problem?"

"He might solve some," Aisha said.  "And if he needs time to get his head around not being a minion, Xander's a good rehab for it.  He won't take shit, he won't put up with shit, he won't let Wade do bad things to anyone he knows.  Wade might turn into Dexter, but he'll be nicer."

"It was odd seeing him grinning at the kid the other day," Jensen agreed.  "He was watching sparring practice."

"Does he realize?" Pooch asked Jensen and Cougar, staring at them.  Cougar nodded.  "Does anyone else?"

"Roque doesn't," Jensen assured him.  "It went right over his stupid asshole head."

"Good!"  He smirked.  "When are you two getting your official weapons?"

"Next week."

"We all want to see them," Aisha said.  "What is with the sword thing anyway?"

Jensen smirked.  "I'm actually learning some of the stuff that only GHS members can usually do.  I'm not as graceful but I'm managing it."  Pooch gaped in awe.  Jensen grinned. "I'm not the best.  I can only do about half of them."  Clay stumbled in.  "She good?" he quipped with a grin.

"No, she was miserable at it and bit me."  He shrugged.  "Where is the kid today?"

"Grounded due to the ongoing street war," Aisha said.  "Why?"

"I saw his corvette and Wade was driving."

"He's not allowed to drive when he's backed up," Jensen said, looking at Cougar, who shuddered.  He texted Xander's phone, getting one back from him.  "He's going to stop some of the shit."  He showed it to Clay.  "I have no idea how."

"Call his keepers," Aisha ordered.  "They have his leash."

"Xander said he looks sucky in collars," Pooch told her.  "They only make suggestions most of the time."  He called the lab anyway.  Then he called Wade's new number to make sure he knew they'd find a way to kill him if Xander got hurt.


Xander walked into the warehouse.  "You know, I find it amusing that you guys decided to piss me the fuck off," he said.

"What're you doing here?" one demanded.

Xander stared at him.  "Officially I'm grounded to the house today because *someone* fucking stupid decided to start a gang war in Miami.  Which means my boyfriends are both working overtime, which means I don't get laid, which means I back up and get grounded, which pisses me the fuck off.  Since two of you are pissing me the fuck off and another of you is egging it on, I'm here to make my displeasure well known."  One pulled a gun and Xander summoned it, ejecting the clip with a push of his thumb.  He stared at that one.  "Fucking morons.  By the way, the two of you who started it and owe me, owe me by today."

"We don't fight with swords anymore," one quipped with an evil smirk.

"Good."  Xander hit him, knocking him down.  "What makes you think I can only use the swords?  Remember, I am a Gun God in some places.  There's whole realms that consider me the God of Weapons."  He hit the other one.  That started the brawl and it was a good one.  The ones who he was pissed at landed on the ground a lot more than he would.  He finally kicked one into a wall, disarmed the second, and then shot the other in the leg.  "That's for egging it on."  He looked at the other two.  "Do we think maybe we can stop this shit so I can get laid again?  Before I hormone all of Miami this time?"  He stared at each one.  "I can start with you three."

"Sure, we'll call a truce," one moaned, sitting up.  "When did you get so tough?"

Xander leaned down to look at him. "One of my first kidnapings after my hormones came out was to a demonic Gladiator stadium where it was fight or die.  I survived *wonderfully* uneven odds for four months before I managed to get free."  The man gaped.  "I may be nice, fluffy, sweet to those I like, all that, but I did grow up to drunks in Sunnydale, home of the forty percent death rate.  I patrolled there for *years* staking vampires who used to people I went to school and grew up with.  You guys, you're jack shit based on my history.  Do we have an understanding?"

The guy nodded quickly.  "You know there's a few new vampires in town, right?"

"Yeah.  I'm going to handle them tonight."  He stared at him.  "We will have a truce so I can quit being so backed up, right?"

"Sure," he agreed quickly.  "Can I have two days to pay you?"

"I'll be out of town in two days so you'll have to pay Horatio or my keepers."  He smirked, making him shudder.  "Sorry, I need to make a speciality ammo run."  He straightened up, looking at the other two.  "Any other questions?"

"No, Harris, you're not the fluffy gay husband we expected."

Xander smirked.  "I am most of the time, until I get pissed off.  Then... well some of the priests of Ares that trained me off-realm decided I'm a berserker."  That got a shudder from the one he shot.  "Exactly.  Aren't you so glad they helped me get a slight handle on that and I didn't bring the swords?"  He walked off.  "I'm leaving tomorrow night."

"Yes, Xander," they all called.  They stared at each other and shrugged.

"I think we need some peace and quiet for his boyfriends to make it home," the one with the new hole in his leg said.

The other two nodded quickly.  "Good idea."  They called Don together to talk to him about going home to fix Xander.


Xander got out of the corvette once they were home, looking at Wade.  "Okay, truth.  Why do I need a minion?"

"To make things easier.  I can order those bullets from a contact so you don't have to travel."

"I like to travel.  The people at the Bazaar respect me because I saved it a few years back from a demon."

"That was you?"

"Yeah, and then that night I danced."  He smirked.  "I also rescued some GHS and geniuses that had been kidnaped."

"I heard about that part."  He stared at him.  Xander would demand the whole truth or he'd make him suffer.  He and Max shared that little trait in common.  They differed in what their definition of 'suffer' was but they both had their ways.  "Have you ever done something so long it's ingrained?"

"Yes.  Patrol."

"Exactly.  I wasn't really happy when the spooks gave me to Max to help him but oh well on my part."

Xander stared at him.  "That fucking sucked!  Did you kill them?"

"Yeah, I told Max.  He said I wasn't really concubine material for him and had them killed on a mission."

"Good!  It sucks just as much as when someone does it to us."  He sighed.  "I don't really need minions though."  Wade frowned, which made him look like a kicked puppy.  Xander huffed.  "Fine, but I'm not going to use you as a minion.  You can be a separate retrieval for the family."

"Okay.  I can do that and be partially retired.  It's really boring."

"Think how I feel," Xander said dryly.

"Make Jensen take you to a hobby shop?"

"We have."  He smirked.  "That's why there's enough comics in the living room to make Dean pissed off."

"He can whine.  You need more things to do."  The gate opened and his hand went to his gun.  "It's Wolfe."

"They probably narked to Danny," Xander agreed.  He walked over to the hummer, taking a quick kiss.  "Hi."

"Hi.  Horatio said to come to the lab so he can paddle you like he should have when you hormoned Chuck."

"Fuck him and the bitch he rode in on in this case."  Ryan gaped in horror.  Xander stared.  "I didn't want that street war to keep going on and dragging more people into it.  Especially since the one they're trying to drag in is kinda watching over Madison.  You can tell him I said that too.  If he wants to whine at the poker buddies, go whine at them for being such assholes."

"Sure," Ryan said slowly and carefully.  "Did you lose your temper again?"

"Slightly.  Not fully."

"Even better.  Calm down?"

"I'll go do something to calm down soon."

"Thanks."  He started the Hummer and backed down the drive to tell Horatio that they had a bigger problem.  Xander's temper was going to get out of hand.  Wade might be egging it on.

Xander looked at Wade.  "I need more shit to do."

"We can go find a hobby shop."

"I need more yarn."


"Yeah, I crochet."  He smirked.  "Drives Adam batshit crazy whenever I do.  He walks off muttering in a lot of ancient swearing."

"Do you do it on purpose?"

"Sometimes," Xander agreed happily.  "He's bored too."  He walked back.  "Keys."

"I can drive.  She's a sweet car."

"I'm better now.  I can drive."

"We can take the SUV so you can play a video game," Wade suggested.  It was kind of his job as the kid's bodyguard.

"If we do then I'll have to go pot and pan shopping, plus grocery shopping, plus house stuff to replace some lamps."  Wade let out a small whimper.  "I was going to make Jolene go with me so she could decorate."  He smiled sweetly.

"She'd get her husband to shoot you."

Xander's phone rang.  "Yes?" he asked, putting it on speaker so he could put it into his shirt pocket.

"Xander, how many times have you died and come back recently?" Don asked casually.

"None, dear."  He hung up.   "Worrywart.  It's not always the tumor."  Wade gave him an odd look.  He stared back.  "I'm sure you've noticed some different things this last week," he said dryly.

"You mean that self-healing stuff?  Yeah.  I kinda worked with one for a while but he disappeared, though I don't think he's dead."


"Connor Macleod?"

"No, but I'm going to kill his stupid ass if I ever see him again.  That battle ring?  The second time, he came to get Ryan out and decided I should stay because they were keeping my hormones down."

"That sucks," Wade agreed.  "The taking head thing...."  Xander nodded.  "Got it.  I can make sure it doesn't happen."

"Challenges are honorable combat," he said dryly.

"Of course they are most of the time."  Xander smirked at him.  "Can I ask stupid questions?"

"Sure, go ahead."

"Patrol?  Sunnydale?  Vampires?"

"The last is the easiest to tell you," he admitted.  He went into the office and came out with his pack.  "Let's go.  We're going to Lenora."  He got into the corvette to drive, Wade sliding into the passenger's seat.  Xander took him to the present hideout of the vampires, handing him a few stakes and a UV flashlight.  "Anymore I'd let Dean and Sam handle it but they've been busy."

He got out and locked the car once Wade got out.  "In the heart.  Only one in there isn't that way and we'll have to behead him."  He walked in and Wade followed, scowling some.  He staked the first one and heard the deep intake of breath.  Xander looked at him.  "Vampires."  He walked on, fixing this tragedy in the making.  He was wearing a little digital camera so Horatio could match any ID's to missing persons cases.

"My baby!" one shouted, putting the kid behind her.

Xander stared at her.  "If you don't eat people, you can go free.  I don't want to make your kid see that."  She lunged at him, fangs out so he kicked her back.  He stunned the kid so she wouldn't have to see and staked the mother then sighed.  "Wade, take her outside, call Horatio."  He nodded, doing that smoothly.  Xander walked into the inner sanctum the rest of them were trying to guard.  "Sweet of you to get up for this," he said dryly.  He pulled his gun with the wooden bullets he had in the pack.  That left two who had dove out of the way and the head vampire.  Xander stared at him.  "Miami's my city.  Get out of it."

"No," he said with a sneer.  "Why should I?  You're nothing."

Xander hormoned them, which made the two minions moan.  He shot them then lunged with his sword to take out the head one.  That one tried to run.  He ran into Frank, who had to duck when Xander took his head.  The body dusted.

"What the hell!" Frank shouted.

Xander pointed at the dust. "Vampires.  Dean and Sam have been too busy to handle it."  He walked back inside to check the other areas.  He found one whimpering in a corner.  "If you'll give up feeding on humans, I'll let you run to LA to help Angel."  She lunged so he staked her, which didn't work.  "Huh, he made a childe."  He beheaded her then spit the dust out and dusted himself off as he walked off.  He pulled off the camera, handing it to Horatio.  "I stunned her.  I gave her mom the option," he said quietly.

"I've heard that from Wade."  He stared at him.  "We would've helped."

Xander shrugged.  "Why get a suit dusty, Horatio.  I'm trained to fight vampires."  He gave him a look.  Then he grinned.  "They should all be gone."  He handed over Wade's flashlight.  "UV."

"Thank you, Xander."  He walked him get into the corvette and drive off.  He sighed.  "His temper is still too high."  Frank came out.  "We need to search for others."


"So they don't make more from the innocent, drunken children on the beaches."

"Point."  He took the flashlight so they could search the whole building.  They found the sleeping area with coffins and Horatio had to call Xander back.  He came in and got them all with small fire-causing charges.  That lit the coffins but they were in a concrete room so it didn't go any farther.  One managed to get off a scream but nothing else.  Within minutes there was only ash.  "Can I never see that again?" Frank asked him.

Xander nodded.  "We don't get too many down here, Frank.  It's too bright and sunny."

"Thank God," he said.  He even said a prayer.

Xander smiled.  "Just think, I did that for four years before my hormones came out."  He stared at him.  "That was my original training in a town the size of Calla Ocho."

Horatio shuddered.  "Xander, can you maybe calm down?" he asked gently.

"I'm fine."  He scowled.  "Don asked if the brain tumor was back."  He looked at Frank again.  "I'm retired."

"Thank you."

"Dean and Sam usually do spirit manifestations."

"Even better."

"Not really," Horatio admitted.  "That's salting and burning the corpse, Frank."


"The only pretty things in hunting are me, Dean, and Sam," Xander quipped, throwing a stake.  Wade got it from behind at the same time.  "Nice shot, Wade.  Thank you for the assist."  He looked at Frank again.  "I usually try to hide it harder but the mom wouldn't leave with the kid," he said quietly.  "Or you'd have come to a cleaned out building."

"We appreciate not knowing about this," Frank assured him.  "But why are you pissed off?"

Xander shrugged.  "It's been a bad week, Frank.  You guys are back on overtime so I made my displeasure about that known earlier."

"Which means your temper slipped," Frank said, staring him down.

"Tiny bit," he admitted then shrugged.  "I'm in full control.  Just bored shitless."

"That needs to be cured," Horatio agreed.  "Again."

"I read all the comics I got."

"Xander, sort out the things that still need to be sold or given away for an auction," Horatio ordered.  "You keep meaning to do one.  Wade can probably organize something."  Wade nodded.  "He probably even knows someone who might like some of those jewels that keep being given to you."

Xander nodded.  "Good point."

"You have a lot of loose ones or jewelry?" Wade asked.  "How illegal can they be?"

"As legal as possible," Horatio ordered.  "And they will have to pay him in cash, not weapons."

"I'm going to the Bazaar tomorrow night," Xander said with a grin.  "To get some new speciality ammo."

"I heard.  I'm not pleased with that idea.  Mr. Wolfe has a trial the next day so he can't go."

"I'll go," Wade promised.  "Even if I have to work with Clay's group."

Horatio looked at him over the top of his sunglasses.  "If I should find you hoarding weapons the way Xander does, I will arrest you the way I should him."

"Nah, I don't usually need artillery, Horatio."  He smiled.  "It's usually overkill."

"Good."  He looked at Frank.  "Boys, search the building."  They nodded, going to do that while Horatio and Frank went outside.  They'd get Xander to let the girl wake up when he came out.  Then they could forget they had been called here.  The reports would be suitably cleansed for the child's protection.


Three days later Wade made it back to the states, and he wasn't happy.  He went right to where Clay was supposedly drinking.  But at least Xander was somewhere back in the states.  He walked up to him and hauled him up, walking him off.  "He'll be right back, ladies."  He walked him into the bathroom.  "I lost him."

Clay snorted.  "Were you that shittily trained, Wade?  You lost your single, only target?  Somewhere he's actually liked?"

"General Demers was there," he said quietly, glancing around.

"What?  Did he scare you?" Clay sneered.  Wade glared.  "Did he hand you to Max or something?  This isn't like you."

"Well, yeah, he did," he admitted.  "With the knowledge of the Canadian higher ups so they could get in on the asskissing."

Clay gaped.  "He did?"  Wade nodded.  "That fucking sucks worse than Max."

"Yeah, but he was higher up in the spooks then.  Anyway, he has Xander somewhere in the US.  He's probably really disappointed that a born soldier like Xander was ruined by this so he's going to try to make him break the hormones or something."

Clay nodded once.  "I'll tell the guys.  You get what you know and tell me in two hours.  Any idea where his usual base is?"

"Somewhere midwest last I heard.  He had retired by St. Louis."

"I'll ask Dean and Sam too then.  Let me disappoint the women."  He walked out, going to make his excuses.  Work called and all that.

Wade started to call on his way out.  He had the special bag that gave him headaches to think about.  He dropped it with Dean and Sam.  "We're going to find Xander from the former spook master.  That's the ammo he wanted and Jensen's new sword."  He walked off, getting back into his car to drive home.  He needed his phone book.  He didn't have the odder contacts in his new phone yet.

Dean looked in the bag and nodded.  "The thermal ammo we needed, Sammy."

"Cool.  Spook master?"

"CIA probably," Dean said dryly.  "We've seen one of them in town."  He called Jensen to warn him about that.  He sent him the picture they had of that one as well.  Xander had said to snap it the next time they saw him so they could look him up.


Xander looked up from his place chained to a wall.  He was bruised, a bit bloody, but his wounds had healed.  They had wisely removed him from that chair while drugged because he wasn't a happy camper and had fought back very hard.  Their wounds wouldn't heal.  The new ones were getting more wounds and they weren't coming as frequently either.

Well, now he was pissed off.  Really, truly pissed off.  The blood thumping in his ears drowned out the blowhard in front of him telling him how he'd make a real soldier out of him.  He was back in gladiator mode and there wasn't anyone like Ryan here who'd be horrified when he took them out.  So yeah, he could be the badass berserker immie he was and they were all going to die.

Xander kicked him into the other wall, magically opening the locks at his wrists.  The guy stared in awe.  Until Xander summoned a weapon and killed him with it.  It was really hard taking out someone's throat with a gun when you didn't shoot them with it.  Xander looked at it then nodded and magicked the door open.

He shot the others running his way.  There was no way this was going to happen any longer.  When the gun no longer fired he batted one with it and took another gun.  That was nicer, it had more bullets.  More people fell.  He heard an alarm and went to get others out of their cages.

He didn't care if he was glowing and looked like one of Ares' chosen at the moment or not.  None of them needed to be there.


Jensen looked up as Clay stomped in.  "I got a message from Dean and Sam about a spook being in town again."

"Is it Demers?"

"No, Voilet."  He let him see it.

"Pussbag," Pooch sneered.  "What's wrong?"

"Wade fucking lost Xander in the Bazaar to Demers."

"Looking," Jensen said.  It took a few minutes but he had the retired list 'bookmarked' so he could find it quickly.  "He's just outside St. Louis."  He found their computer systems and got into it.  "Shitty protocols, General.  You were CIA, you should have better.  We have an alarm from the cells.  Someone's escaping and there's a shitload of firing going on."  He stopped that alarm and remotely opened the other cells.  He logged into the camera.  "I think Xander slipped fully.  Which means only time or Ryan can get him out."  He looked up.  "Your call."

"Call the local PD to warn them," Pooch said.  "That way they don't respond."

Jensen made that call, speaking as the GHS rep to the one locally there.  Once he said it was about a GHS member they transferred him immediately to the guy's home phone.  He said he'd call others and tell them not to approach, but to get there quickly.  Jensen hung up, grabbing his gear bag from Cougar.  "They'll watch the compound but not go into it."

"Fine.  Someone route Ryan?"

"He's already heading for the airport," Pooch assured him, walking out once he had his keys.  Xander had 'leant' them a nice SUV.  A normal one, not like his expanded one.  They got into the car and found Roque waiting in the back.  "Oh hell no!"

"Someone will need to tranq dart the kid."

"They won't work on him," Jensen said.  "Pity but they won't."

Cougar shoved him out of the SUV and got in instead, slamming and locking the door.

Clay walked around him and got in, letting Pooch drive them off.  "Aisha?"

"Not," Jensen said.  "He doesn't react well to women.  Hypothetically all we need is Ryan.  When they tightened his threshold, they linked the coming out to Ryan."

"How many other captives?" Clay asked.

Jensen looked.  "I opened seventeen cells.  I have no idea.  There's a lot of bodies."

"Good."  They sped up and hurried to the airport.  The trip wasn't that long, just two hours.  Ryan muttered prayers to Ares the whole time in the back so he'd have the strength to beat the crap out of Xander if he had to.  They got out and found the liaison officer waiting on them.  "It's that bad?" Clay asked.

"Yes.  He wasn't the only captive as far as we know."

Jensen shook his head.  "I accessed his cameras.  There's sixteen cells.  Possibly a seventeenth."

"Can you guys get them out of there?  They're all hiding from yours."

"We can," Ryan said firmly.  "Xander's kind of a berserker.  He lost his temper like he did when he was taken in LA."

The officer shuddered.  "I heard at a convention."  He got them to the compound as quickly as he could.  He pointed.  "SWAT and medical are waiting out here."

"Good," Clay agreed.  "There's no telling what he'd do.  Jensen, take Ryan and point."  He nodded, walking in.  Cougar found his position.  Clay and Pooch followed.  Xander could kill them, he couldn't kill Jensen.  Or Ryan.

Ryan opened the door.  "Xander?" he called.  "It's Ryan and the retrieval team.  We're coming in."  He heard a shot and went that way.  "Fake wall," he muttered.  Jensen got the switch activated and they went down the stairs.  They found Xander staring at a dead person.  "Did he argue?" Ryan asked.

"Zombie mother fucker," he muttered.

Ryan made Xander look at him.  "Come home to us please?"  Xander growled.  "Her too."  He kissed him on the forehead, staring at him.  Xander relaxed, handing him the gun.  "Good job.  We'll find a way for you to destress in a bit.  Just calm down.  Walk out with me.  Any and all other captives who can walk, medical is waiting outside."  One peeked out of a closed door.  "I'm Officer Ryan Wolfe, Miami-Dade PD.  This is a member of the Miami retrieval team."  She came out.  "How many others?"

"At least one.  We can hear her banging around but he couldn't find her.  Then these two started to move," she said with a point.

"We can handle that," Jensen assured her.  He walked in there.  "Guys, Miami Retrieval team."  He grinned at one he knew.  "Xander's out, let's go."  They got the others out.  "Clay, find the other one," he called when he spotted him.

"She's upstairs somewhere by the noise," the woman told Ryan.

"If I have to rip it apart, I will," Ryan assured her.

"We saw the hidden room but I'm not sure how he got up there," Jensen admitted.  He pulled out his laptop, pointing. "I'm betting she's here.  It's a totally closed system so I can't hack it from out here."

The local SWAT commander came over to look.  "We have a window that isn't on the outside."

"It's probably covered in a projection, we've seen it before," Jensen said.  He turned that off and the projection quit.  A few other places became more visible.  "Kennels?"

Xander sniffed.  "Not dogs."  They all stared at him.  "I had K-9 trained Dalmations."  That got a nod.  He started to walk that way but Ryan walked him off.  "I'm okay.  I protected them and dented the fucker when he decided I'd make an excellent soldier."  He sneered at the house.  "I guess he underestimated how much training I needed."

He spit and the blood in his spit mixed with his outpouring of uncontrolled magic created a problem.  The ground split.  "I don't usually do that," he muttered, staring at it.  He concentrated and the earth around the house shifted away from the foundation.  "Huh."

He checked, the kennels had remains.  "Those aren't dogs either."  He pointed.  "See that blue wall?"  The local SWAT commander nodded.  "Blow it.  Gently.  On the other side are some future soldiers he's holding for training."  He looked at him.  "He's apparently more evil than I thought."

"We can do that," Jensen said.  "We brought enough for a gentle love tap."  He handed it over to Pooch, who went to run that for them.  "Very lightly, Pooch."

"I am.  Be damned if I want to hurt scared kids."  He laid the small, delicate charge and it want off.  Part of the wall caved and he waved the dust out of the way.   "C'mon, guys.  Let's get you out of here before more bad things happen."  One tried to attack him but the SWAT team put in knock out gas and carried them out.  They could be deprogrammed in the hospital.

One of the paramedics looked at Xander.  "You don't have a scratch on you, sir, but you're covered in a lot of blood."

"When I lose it sometimes I heal faster, like how the ground opened," Xander said quietly, getting a nod.  "All I need are my boyfriends and my ferrets right now.  This was nicer than a few of mine actually."  He watched.  Clay managed to get the window open and got the girl out of there.  Xander jogged over to help.  "Shit, Sarah!"

"Xander!" she sobbed, clinging to him.  "Who was that psycho?"

"Well, I'm not perfectly sure who it was that captured us but this is Clay.  He's on Miami's retrieval team."

She looked at him.  "Thank you.  I thought I was going to starve to death up there chained to the bed."

"It's what we do."  He helped Xander get her to the paramedics.  "She's been tied down at least a week," he told one quietly.  "The wounds are starting to heal."

He nodded, getting her into an ambulance going.

Xander frowned, patting himself down.  "We need to call Pieter so he can call her husband in New York."

Pooch did that for him, walking him back to Ryan.  "Pieter, Pooch.  We found a young woman Xander identified as Sarah from New York?"  He listened.  "St. Louis and that mess that Xander made getting himself and others free of the spook.  Yes, that one.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "He'll call her husband, Xander."  Xander nodded, looking lost.  "It's all right.  Lean on Ryan for right now."  Ryan took him back and held him.  Pooch went to tell Clay that.  They were searching the compound for any other bodies.

Xander looked over at the yelp.  "I thought I got the zombies."  Everyone stared at him.  "Two of them moved," he said.

"If you're sure," the head of the SWAT team muttered, going back to his work.

Then an obviously dead body walked out.  Cougar shot it in the head.  "You need to blow them off," Jensen called.  "Or behead it.  Ryan, keep Xander with you."

"I can help," he called.

"Shut up, Wolfe."  He jogged over to get the bigger guns.  The SWAT team was just staring.  He saw an older guy in a pickup.  He stared for a second.  "Hunter?"

"Yeah.  Why?"


"Okay then."  He got out with a sawed off shotgun and they went to handle it with the rest of the team.  After the first few, the SWAT team stepped up out of their shock.

"I thought the dead guy who wasn't actually dead or a human was bad," one complained.

The hunter looked at him.  "The one he stole the identity from would like it back."

"I'm sure he would.  We'd like to talk to someone about that."

"Call Horatio in Miami's lab," Ryan called.  He pulled his special blade off his back and got the few that got near them.  "Stay, Xander.  We don't need you to fall again."

Xander snorted.  He summoned his Ares-given katana and jumped in.  He was a thing of beauty in battle.  Zombies were bad but he was badass.

Clay stared, blinking a few times.  "Jensen needs to finish learning from him."

Pooch panted, looking over.  "He needs a damn shotgun instead of the fucking sword."

"He's back down so he'd probably beat them with it instead," Ryan called.

"He did one body," Clay agreed.  "Which was really disgusting since he beat him to behead him."  They all nodded at that since he was up and walking too.

Xander sneered and finished taking off his head, then the other two.  He saw two walking humans who were bleeding.  "They need treated."  He got the paramedics over and babbled at them how to treat the wound as he helped move them.  Then he jumped back in.

Ryan panted, looking over at him.  "I need his stamina."

"Definitivamente (Definitely)," Cougar agreed.  He crossed himself and shot another one.

"I've seen some pretty ridiculous shit since joining this team, but zombies take the cake," Pooch complained.

Jensen nodded.  "Not even I'm used to this strange and I've seen stranger than most of you."

"Fuck," Clay growled, moving away from Xander.  He wasn't swinging wildly, he was getting the one sneaking up on him.  "Retreat back to hold a firmer line," he ordered.  They did that and Ryan had to pull Xander back.  Of course, Xander didn't want to retreat so he leapt back in and it was nasty.  Messy.  Gooey in some spots because rotten brains weren't pretty.  Neither were rotten body parts.  When the zombie dogs came, they shot them before they could get to Xander.

Xander got one and looked around, then hissed at something apparently only he could see.  He slicked into it and it became clear.  "Fucking asshole."  He chopped into it again, but Ryan shot it at the same time with his blessed bullets.  Having Ares on his side was very handy at times.  The demon died with a shriek.  Any remaining zombies turned to ash.  Xander panted, looking around.  "Shit."

"Xander?" Ryan called.  Xander looked at him, growling.  He walked closer carefully.  "Xander?"


"Me, yes.  Sword.  Now.  It's nasty and needs cleaned."  He handed it over, giving him the puppy eyes.  "Here, Cougar, clean that for him please?"  He handed his blade off too.  Then he walked Xander back to the cars, talking quietly to him.  Xander slowly relaxed and calmed down.  He growled at Wade.  "How did that psycho get him?"

"We were sleeping at the inn and he gassed us."  Wade shrugged.  "I figured out who it was and came back to get reinforcements.  Xander, you okay?"  Xander looked at him like he was confused.  "Does he need blood to drop into that state like in the stories?"

"No," Ryan said.  "He just has to really lose his temper.  Getting free is often involved though."  He sat Xander on a hood, looking at him.  "C'mon, come back fully."  Xander leaned forward to rest his forehead on Ryan's shoulder.  "I know," he soothed, patting him on the hair.  "We'll fix it."  Xander shook his head.  "Yes we will.  We'll fix it."

"I lost it again," he said quietly.

"In that sort of situation, I want you to lose it."  Xander looked at him.  "Really.  If that's the only way you get out of there, then you get out by any means necessary, Xander.  Even if it means your temper is too high.  Got it?  Those are orders from Ares and them.  Remember?"  Xander nodded, leaning forward again.  Ryan went back to soothing him.  "We need a shower."


Clay walked over, making sure Ryan spotted him before he got too close.  "He good?"

"This is normal.  He hates it when he loses it that way," he said quietly.  "He knows he's to get out any way he has to though."

Clay nodded.  "I agree with that."  He touched Xander's shoulder, earning a flinch.  "Just me, Xander."  Xander blinked at him.  "You did good getting them free and handling the zombies."  Xander nodded, staring at him.  "For now, we're going to overnight at a hotel so you can clean up then rest, and then we'll fly home tomorrow."

"Yes, Clay," he said quietly.

"Good boy.  Wade, since you're the minion, arrange it."

"Already done.   There's a suite at the Ambassador level hotel in town."  Clay nodded.  "C'mon, guys.  I'll drive you two.  Let Clay and them handle the clean up."  Ryan nodded, walking Xander off with Wade following.  Ryan was exhausted too.  They might barely get into the shower before they fell asleep together.

Clay looked at the SWAT guy then at the liaison officer.  "Xander's pretty rare among them from what we're told."

"How did he heal that way?" the liaison asked.

"There's only about twenty in GHS that can."

"Thank God!" he complained.

"The same stuff that opened the ground," Jensen said, walking up behind him.   "It's basically magical in nature."  The SWAT commander whined.  "Sorry."

"No, don't be.  We're not really set up for a zombie invasion either.  How did he learn to fight like that?"

Jensen grinned.  "He and Officer Wolfe did a bit of traveling.  It's something very few outside of GHS can do.  I can barely do half of it and I've been training with him for over a month now."

"Huh," the liaison officer said with a nod.  "I heard rumors about a dance style that was self defense."

"That was it," Jensen agreed with a smile.  "Most people run for cold showers when he does it."

"I need one and it fucking creeped me out to get hard during the battle," Clay admitted.  The others smirked at him.  "His minion arranged a room in a hotel in town for overnight. Do you need statements or anything?"

"We have plenty from most of them," the liaison officer assured him.  "I'm assuming he got free, freed others....."

"A few I got the cells open remotely," Jensen admitted quietly.  "That's when we realized Xander had lost it and we called you to warn you."

"Decent of you guys.  Let me give you a ride back.  That way you don't mess up a cab or anything."  He walked the team off, letting them load their weapons into the back for now.  Jensen got the hotel name and suite number, and it was a nice one that they couldn't usually even question people at.

He let them off, watching them carry things inside like they weren't concerned to be carrying swords and guns.  The manager grimaced but let it go when the officer told him they had been retrieving a captured GHS member.  The hotel had hosted a convention, they remembered them fondly.  The liaison officer went to tell his boss what had happened.  Thankfully a news crew had followed discreetly and had film of it already on the news so he only had to point and identify which one was GHS.  Because otherwise, his boss didn't want to know.


Wade stood up when Clay walked in, followed by the others.  "They're asleep in the shower," he said quietly.

Clay stared at him.  "Why did you come?  I could've sworn we left you in Miami."

"I figured I could help."

"Uh-huh," Clay said.  "We're gonna have a talk, Wade."

"The hotel has a gym," he sighed.

"Good.  Tomorrow."

"I already called Horatio and told him that they're fine, asleep in the shower, and that there was a news crew so they could try to shut it down."

"I've already yanked their footage," Jensen assured him, staring at him.  "So, he is nicer than Max, right?"

"Yeah, a shitload nicer than Max.  A lot more sane too.  A lot fewer bas jokes."  He sat down.  "If you guys want to save them from the chilly water, go for it.  I'm not taking any naked people out and putting them to bed."

Clay and Pooch went to do that together.  Ryan was cuddling Xander under the spray but they were both asleep.  He woke Ryan with a gentle nudge, getting a glare.  "Finish up before it goes cold," he said quietly.  Ryan nodded and finished scrubbing them both down.  Xander's hair was a wreck.  It was short again so easily cleaned but still a wreck.  He got Xander dried off once they were out and in bed, tucking them both in.  Ryan snuggled in, letting Xander cling to him.

Pooch walked out.  "Seeing him with short hair is very odd...."  He trailed off when the white guy in black leather, a beard, and slightly curly hair *appeared* in the center of the room.  The others stared, they were soldiers so they knew the God of War instinctively.  Wade went to his knees.  The others but Clay followed.

Clay held out as long as he could.  "Let me guess, Ryan woke you up?" he asked.

Ares smirked at him.  "I like you.  That's why I let you live through the last thing," he said bluntly, staring at him.  Clay moaned and finally fell.  "Good boy."  He patted him on the head like a dog.  "You really do look like Sam and Dean's father."  He walked into the bedroom to check on them.  Xander's hair got an evil glare sent the compound's way.  It got fixed, flowing gently past the hand he held over it.

Xander shifted in his sleep and smiled, snuggling in better.  "Good boy and you reacted just like I taught you.  Very good boy, Xander."  He petted him and walked out there, staring at them.  "Yes, Ryan did get me up," he quipped when Clay glared at him.  He smirked at the mortal.  "That's what he's supposed to do though.  That's why he's one of my chosen."  He disappeared.

"I'm guessing that's why he's got that tattoo on his shoulder," Pooch said quietly.

"Xander has a whole girdle of them around his hips," Wade admitted.  "Not all the same though."

Strife appeared, smirking at him.  "We like Xander having someone to handle some minor things for him.  It lets him do other things that we like more than starting brawls with street gangs."  He looked at the others and smirked.  "I should mark you guys."  He patted Jensen on the head.  "Let me check on my boy."

"Literally?" Pooch asked.

"No," Strife said.  "Might as well be though."  He went to check, finding the hair looking wrong so he grew the parts Ares hadn't.  Now it was a full curtain of hair.  "There you go, Xan.  Pretty hair again."  He petted him, making Xander purr and shift against Ryan's side.  "None'a that tonight," he ordered quietly.  He let Ryan go deeper and sent Xander into a deep sleep.  He needed it.

Strife got up and went back out there, smirking at Clay's glaring at Jensen.  "You raise just as much hell in my area," he reminded him smugly.  "Maybe some of your ex's and Xan's ex's should form a support group."  He looked at Jensen, smirking.  "Go see Jace sometime soon.  She'll love you too."  He slapped Jensen on the ass then left.

"Which one was that?" Wade asked.

"Strife," Jensen said.  "Level ten GHS are all Strife and Cupid's."

"Which would explain the dating comment," Wade decided.  "Are we setting up a guard?"  Clay glared at him.  "If not, I got a secondary room.  You guys can have the couches."  He left to calm himself down.  He wasn't used to Gods popping in to pet his employer.  He'd hate to have seen which ones showed up to play with Max.

Clay shook his head quickly, spotting wings in the mirror.  He glanced in the bedroom then closed the door.  "Semi-naked winged guy with a chest harness and a kilt plus sandals."

"Cupid," Jensen said.

"How can we identify them with that?" Pooch asked.

"Xander's an anchor.  That's what the tattoos mean.  That's all I got out of that, well and that the off-realm place where the temple to Ares was had them there on permanent vacation."

"What's the odds of us having to go?" Clay asked a bit too calmly.

"We're not redheads.  They wouldn't snatch us.  So unless Xander goes back, slim."

"Good!"  He smirked and went to find a beer.  He really needed a beer.  First zombies and then Gods, yeah, it was Miller Time.

Pooch set out the times for watch then let the other two settle in on the couches.  He called his wife to tell her they were all okay.  Apparently the video had made it out before Jensen had hacked it.  She was freaking out about the zombies.  It was a long time calming her down.  But at least she didn't want to claim Xander too.  She said she heard people were going to try to.  He put a message out for Clay about that once he hung up.

The last thing they needed was to make it home to hostage takers.


Horatio got given tape of the film by Frank, who was not happy.  "It's been like a week of being back home for the boy," he complained, sitting down while Horatio watched it.

"I'm sure he'll be calmer once he gets home," Horatio sighed, staring at the battle.  "He's not practicing as hard."

"I think he's learning a new style," Frank admitted.  "Don said he's been down to one of the dojos in town."

"It can only help them," Horatio agreed.  He turned it off, looking at him.  "How widespread?"



"At least they won't recognize Xander, he had short hair."

Horatio got into his email.  "No, some of the poker circuit did."  He answered them and assured them Xander was fine, he was probably asleep with Ryan.  Then he sent one with the video file to Sam's email.   "We will handle whatever comes."

"Gang unit sent out a memo about a peace conference.  Apparently they picked a pancake restaurant as their version of Switzerland.  They needed more help."

Horatio called.  "Detective Horace.  Horatio Caine, with the lab.  Of course you have my help."  He smirked.  "Because half of them know me already."  He hung up and stood up, grabbing his gun and sunglasses.  Frank smirked and followed.  They could go keep the peace.  Don and Danny got gathered too.  The gangs all knew to respect them if they knew anything about the poker circuit.  No one would dare hurt any of them or they knew they'd face Xander.  The guards on the doors nodded when the hummers got there.  "Miguel."

"Lieutenant.  We're having a peace summit."

"Good."  He smirked.  "Do we have to referee?"

"No, sir.  Was that Xander on that tape with the zombies?"

"Yes," Don muttered, shaking his head.  "And Ryan Wolfe."

"Figured since he had a sword," he said dryly.  "The rest of you are more sane and carry guns more than swords."  He smirked.  "We're totally cool."

"We will be waiting," Horatio noted.  The gang members both nodded.  "Let us know if you need help."  He walked off with the group to the store up the street to get something to drink.  It looked casually threatening but effective.

Miguel opened the door.  "Tell them they sent Xander's boys plus the Lieutenant and his special guard."  He closed it again.  They all knew where the cops were watching from.

The head of the gang unit glared at Horatio.  "How did you know that one?"

"His older brother plays in the same circuit Xander does," Don said.  "They know all of us thanks to Xander's escaping to play."

"That's your boy Xander?" one asked.  "With the hair and the really huge ass SUV?"  Don smirked and nodded.  "We've been trying to identify him."

"Yeah, that's Xander."  He shrugged.  "They're really protective of Xander and think of him like some odd sort of contact.  He's invited a few very helpful people into the circuit too.  They like Xander for his contacts and the fact that he kinda helps protect Miami in certain situations."

"Thankfully the retired mafia bosses all have their own circuit now," Horatio said dryly.  "Only minor thugs in the circuit right now."

"We saw him at a game with Don Cheva in attendance," one told him, pulling up that file.  "That's who was there."

Don called Fu's.  "Wyatt, my man.  Don Flack.  Why was Xander playing with gangsters?"  He listened.  "That's cool.  No, that was him.  They cut his hair but I'm sure by now he's magiced it back.  Thanks, man.  They owe?"  He smirked.  "He actually lost?  Nice of him."  He smirked at Horatio.  "That's cool.  Thanks.  No, that was Ryan.  Thanks, Wyatt.  Let me know how many others owe him."

He hung up.  "Yeah, he was invited.  He actually lost most of the games.  He paid them out of his stash at Fu's.  They invited him back next week."  Horatio smirked at that.  "Wyatt also said that Wade has been very well liked in the circle and he's considered a very good minion for Xander.  Much better than Ray Junior used to be or Greg because he could stop him if something happened."

"I can agree with that even though I don't like his past," Horatio decided.

Danny shook his head.  "He's got adjustment shock to being free," he said quietly.  "Xander does the same after he's been taken for a while."

Horatio considered it then nodded.  "Xander can definitely help then.  Though he might end up slightly crazy from following him around.  Ray certainly did a few times."  They all snickered.  Frank shook his head too.  "So...."  He looked over at the gunshot, walking over there.

"Sir, it wasn't us and it was solved already," Miguel said quickly.  "Please?"

Horatio stared at him.  "Out of the way, Miguel.  I'm not going to do more than confiscate weapons."  He smirked.  "Peace talks shouldn't include weapons."

"Sir, they already did, they're with a monitor but one was wearing a wire so we shot it."

"Ah."  He walked in anyway.  "Gentlemen, is there a problem?" he asked, hands going to his hips.

One of the higher ones in town looked at him.  "No, Red, not a single problem now that we found the Fed in our ranks."  He handed him over and the wire.  "Here, you can hand him back.  He was shitty at following orders."  He smirked.  "Now we know why."

"Very well."  He stared at him.  "I am watching."

"No guns, Red.  We know that it'll cause problems."

"Thank you.  Remember to tip the waitresses for scaring them as well, boys."  He walked the Fed and the wire out, taking him to the waiting area.  "FBI?"

"ATF," he sighed, looking at him.  "I don't know how they made me, Lieutenant."

"The other four in there," Horatio said dryly.  He handed over the wire.  "We'll call your boss once this is done with."

"Yes, sir."  One of the patrol officers jogged over to warn a family who had parked and was getting out.  They got back in and went somewhere else for pancakes.  "Who is that Xander they're scared of?"

"Mr. Harris," Horatio said.

"Oh, him.  I heard rumors."  He shrugged and walked off to call his boss and let him know he was all right.   That he was with cops right now.  They could get him later.


Later that night, when it was still going on, Speed showed up with bags and coffees.  "Food, people."  He handed his team some and then looked at the others.  "We pretended to be Xander, guys.  From his freezer."  They dug into the lasagna casserole.  They had heard Xander spoiled people.  Speed looked at Horatio.  "How long?" he asked quietly.

"It may go all night."  He smiled.  "Thank you, Speed."

"Welcome, H."  He smirked.  "Dean and Sam are worried but handling it all right at the moment."


"About Xander."

"He'll be fine.  I'm sure Mr. Wolfe has him in hand."

"Cool."  He left, going back to Xander's house.  They had a scanner so he could hear when the gang meeting broke up.

Horatio sipped his coffee.  He did love his husband for spoiling him and making sure he ate.  He saw Miguel lean inside and walked over there.  "Problems?"

"The cook's exhausted so they're debating sending him and the wait people off," he said.

"That would be appreciated," Horatio agreed.  "They might have families and things."

"Then we'd have to cook.  Everyone's too paranoid for that."

"I'd offer Xander but he's still in St. Louis."  He smirked.   "You might get Danny.  I know he makes fairly decent pancakes but he's Italian."

Miguel said that to someone, who shrugged and said it was fine if they switched to dinner.

Sam came down to help.  "I've been taking lessons with Xander," he quipped happily.

"Sure, Sam."  He let them in.  "Guys, let them cook?"  They all shrugged and let them gather the dirty dishes to have them run through the dishwasher.  Sam made more coffee first and then went to help cook.  Pretty soon a really nice dinner was out and most everyone appreciated it.  One didn't want to eat it but that got him glared at.  They ignored him the rest of the night.

The head of the gang unit looked at Horatio once the switch had taken place.  "They're letting them cook?  Usually they'd be more paranoid."

"Sam, the tall one who wasn't an officer, is one of Xander's proteges and is in the poker circle.  They know Danny very well, the same as they know myself and Don very well thanks to us handling things when people piss Xander off."  He smirked.  "Sam is a trained hunter.  If something goes bad, he can handle it and so can Danny."

Mac walked in.  "Guys, the Commissioner wanted us to switch out shifts."  The head of the gang unit got his secondary team in while Mac took over for Horatio and Don.  Frank smirked at him.  "It's fine.  Stella's coming anyway.  They all like her.  They think she's more scary than I am."

"So do most of us, Mac," Don quipped.

"Gee, thanks."

"Welcome."  He leaned closer.  "Did we see the news?" he asked in his ear.

"Oh, yes.  I'm wondering if he's fixed the hair issue yet."  Horatio nodded.  "Good.  He'd be miserable having it that short."  They switched out but Horatio and Don stayed.  "You guys can go home."

"Speed brought us dinner," Don said with a grin.

"The commissioner heard, that's why he switched out shifts."  They went back to staring at the pancake house.  It was very quiet in there.  So either they were talking peacefully, they were eating, or all hell was going to break loose.  He was hoping for one and betting on the second option but the third...  It was very possible.


Miguel looked over.  "Hey, Detective Don?" he called.  It was two am but they were still there.  He was sure they were.  Don strolled over.  "If we agree to quit fighting in public would you maybe like to keep your boyfriend's temper better?"

"If I had any idea he was going to make his displeasure known that way, I would've cured it," he assured him.  "I don't like it when Xander fights.  He gets hurt and then pouty."

"Dude, he gets pouty and he bankrupts people," the other guard complained.

Don smirked.  "He thinks it's gas money and helping me when he does it to the bigger guys."

"It probably does," Miguel agreed.  "But you'll keep him better in hand?"

"Yeah.  We've got tomorrow off to make sure he's all right and calmed down."

"Thank you!"  He patted him on the arm.  "The higher ups wanted to see you and Red."

"Hey, H," he called.  Horatio came over and they walked inside.  "Guys, did we need help?" Don asked with a grin.

"Just keep your boy's hormones down," one complained.  "It's bad enough they still stink up this place and he hasn't been here in a month."

"I'm not backed up," Sam complained.  "Nor am I broadcasting.  It's probably on Danny's clothes."

Everyone stared.  "You are?" one demanded.  Sam grinned and nodded.  "You don't do it during poker games, right, kid?"

Sam stared at him.  "Have I left you drooling and begging?"

"Begging a few times but that was for my cash back so I could get home," one quipped.  "He's only half as strong as Xander is, guys.  He can't do it that way unless he's fully backed up.  And yeah, it's Messer that smells like candy tonight.  Xander must've gotten his closet again."

"Xander was hiding in it the other day to pounce us after work," Don said with a grin.  "He was even wearing ...."

The head of the biggest gang held up his hand.  "We don't need details, Detective.  Please.  Most of us aren't gay and our girls aren't here to hear the tips."

"Sure," Don agreed smugly.  "We'll try, guys.  I know right now he's fully down.  Ryan reported that from St. Louis."  A few shuddered and a few more crossed themselves.  "By the way, the hair's fixed."

"We all agreed.  You should not have to work any more overtime for a while, boys," the head gang member said.  "That way we don't piss Xander off and he doesn't hormone Miami."

"If he had, I would've paddled him," Horatio assured them.

"Please," one agreed.  "Because I know he was backed up one day last week.  They had to kick him out of a game when everyone sweated because he walked in."

Horatio sighed.  "We are trying."

"Try harder," another one quipped.  "My wife got really pissed that night because I called his name.  You nearly got my dead body."

Don smirked at him.  "You have no idea how many straight guys want Xander for *some* reason."  They mostly snickered.  "Anyway, the promise is nice, thank you, guys.  We'll try to help Xander.  Even the new retrieval team is trying to help Xander be less bored."

"That scruffy blonde one is a lot like him," one said dryly.  "Only without the hormones."  He shook his head quickly.  "Thank you."

"Welcome.  You guys going to hang out all night?" Don asked.

"Eeeh, we're stuffed.  Your other boy cooks like an Italian mother.  He can't fry chicken worth a damn though."  They smirked and put down money, which Sam put in the register and locked it.  Danny and Sam had the kitchen cleaner than it was when they came in.  So once everyone was gone they all got to go home.


Clay looked at his team the next morning.  Wade had invited himself along too.  They were gathered for breakfast while Ryan 'woke Xander up' to wear him down for the trip home.  "We need some more anti-boredom things for Xander."  He sipped his coffee.

"He goes to the range twice a week," Wade said.  "It used to be once but I upped it on him since he's such a weapons petter.  He likes construction stuff but isn't clear-headed enough to do that.  He hasn't been going to the spa since the one he likes is closed and his closed last month for reno's.  He doesn't trust the others not to make him worse or didn't like them the last time he went.   The hobby shop was a nice idea.  He got giggly and happy on the comics."  Jensen smirked at that.  "Think you can teach him how to cast little miniature things?  I know he knows some about metal work because I caught him fixing one of the swords' grip and asked him."

"He's still training me and Cougar," Jensen said.  "Plus some with Dean and Sam."

"Sam's been teaching you demonology," Pooch reminded him.

"Yup, in case we need it."  He sipped his juice then ate another bite of his pancake stack.  "I don't know what else we can interest him in."

"He said he was crocheting again to drive Adam nuts because he needed the tension break," Wade said with a smirk.  "Plus he made me a kick ass looking afghan."  They all shook their heads at that.  "It was sweet of him."

"It was," Pooch agreed.

"He's going to take your wife furniture shopping," Wade warned him.

"Uh-huh.  She'll keep him in line.  She does with Jensen."

Jensen smirked.  "She likes me being bouncy and happy."

"Sometimes."  He looked at Cougar.  "Want to start going to the range with him?"

"We all need range time," Clay reminded them.  Wade found the card for the range and handed it over.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  We also need to get someone else into the poker circuit beyond Roque that they'd trust to hand Xander to.  A lot of them have called Horatio from work to pick him up if he's too backed up from what I got told.  They asked that one of you guys learn since Sam was found to be one too.  They figure if he is, Dean probably is, and they're both sharks who earn a lot of the money."

"I can play," Pooch said.

"Me too but I'm not as good," Jensen said.

"Roque's playing?" Clay asked.  Wade nodded.  "Why?"

"Contacts I think.  He's in the games with the other retired spooks and commandos most usually.  Though it was nice the retired mafia heads in Miami invited Xander to their game.  He even lost some to be nice."  Clay whimpered, shaking his head.  "They like him, consider him a nice and sweet good boy who'd never get between them but can settle arguments without picking a side."

"That's nice of him," Clay agreed.  "But they tend to get pissed off and try to kill people."

"From the rumors I heard, the General tried that once by putting a bomb in the house.  That was the night Xander went to tell Jorge, the Mala Noche he used to hang with, that he was cheating."  Wade smirked.  "I think we all heard about that mess."

"Definitely but I'm eating," Pooch complained.  He stuffed his mouth again.  Jensen was chewing too.  Pooch swallowed.  "His SUV needs a tuneup."

"It's got bulletproof shielding around the engine," Wade told him.  "I started to until I found that.  Supposedly there's a key somewhere in the office."

They all nodded at that.  "I'm glad ours is lighter," Pooch decided.  He ate another bite.  "I'll get into that this week.  And the Corevette's ping."  He ate another bite.

"Dean said he fixed that last night.  He's kept the family's impala mint since it used to his dad's," Wade told him.

"That's fine.  I don't mind others who can tinker.  Speaking of, Dean tinkers with weapons."  They all smirked at that.

"Sam's a research god," Jensen said.  "He found sites even I didn't when I tested him on that."  He sipped more of his juice and ate another large bite of pancakes.

Clay nodded.  "That with their hunting background makes them able to handle themselves, which I like.  We have to introduce ourselves to the rest of the ones in Miami, people."  They nodded that was a good idea.  They needed to know who to run to beyond Horatio and Xander.

"Some of them think Xander is very flamboyant and drawing more attention to them," Wade warned.

"I figured some would," Clay admitted.  He was starting to like Wade having ideas that didn't involve causing bodily harm of the team.  That was strange, much too strange for nine in the morning.  Xander must have him on a choke chain and very short leash still.  "What else is on his schedule?"

"I have him scheduled to actually look at the stuff he got from that online college.  It's all hands-on building computer stuff.  His is down again and it made him growl.  I had a repair tech come in to fix it instead of him buying another one."

"Was he always doing that?" Jensen asked.

"Mostly for upgrades but there's a few spare computers around the house that Sam's hooked into the household wireless system."  He rolled his eyes.  "At least he's not like some women who have their car run out of gas and think it's broken so they need a new one."  Everyone stared at him.  "One of Max's former girlfriends.  I put her out of our misery behind his back and he gave me chocolates for it."  He smirked.

"Hopefully she didn't breed, right?" Pooch asked.

"No.  Fixed.  He always wanted them to not be able to make little Max's."

"That's a good idea," Clay agreed.  "Jensen, we had you snipped right?"

"Moot point," he said dryly.  Clay stared at him.  He stared back.  "It is."  He dug in again.  "What else is on his schedule this week?"

"Four poker games, one Horatio's already sent an email complaining about.  Oh, they held a gang summit last night.  Figured out they could quit making Don work overtime so Xander didn't go stop the next one."

"He did what?" Clay demanded in a growl.

Wade smirked at him.  "Walked into a place where I had gotten the three problems and beat the crap out of them for starting that minor street war going on in Miami."

Pooch blinked.  "Xander?"

"Yeah.  Xander.  He was grounded that day and pissed off because of it.  That was right before we left for the Bazaar."

They all sighed and shook their heads, eating more.

"Did he lose his temper then?" Clay asked.  Wade nodded.  "Fully?"

"Slightly.  Like you look first thing in the morning."

"Watching him now too?" Jensen quipped.

"Hell no.  I have a new girlfriend.  Xander spoiled her rotten by providing recipes since she can cook."  He smirked at him.  "Sam's taking lessons.  He and Danny got them to let the chef and waitresses go at the pancake house and took over."

"I should so I can cook like that some year," Jensen admitted.

"Also," Wade said.  "Greg and Adam are conspiring on the issue of is there or isn't there another version of GHS.  A more mental one instead of the physical one."

"Some geeks do get lost," Pooch said, glaring at Jensen.

"It's been years thank you."

"Eeps' brother, the super math geek," Clay said.  Wade nodded.  "It's an interesting point.  Are we going to have Greg back in Miami?  If so, is he bringing his boy and Gibbs?"

"We're not sure yet."

"Okay," Clay agreed.  "We can handle that."  He finished his coffee.  "Anything else we have to watch out for?"

"I got the specialty ammo he wanted," Wade told him, looking at Jensen.  "Plus something of yours was in the bag as well."  Jensen grinned.  "Dean sent a message saying he has another suitor.  They sent Harry Winston this time.  Sam's already sent it back with a note that Xander wasn't a girl.  They're hoping that stopped it since it was a senator."

"Better than him being taken to the UAE again," Pooch quipped.

"I heard.  I got a rundown from Soshar."  He smirked.  "It's worse than you think.  Ninety percent of the time, Xander saves himself."  They all groaned.  "Basically, yeah.  Anyway, what are you guys going to do about Roque?  I think he's stalking the kid."

"We think he's going to try the same sort of thing to teach him," Jensen said.  "He tried with me once."

"Ah."  He nodded.  "Okay then I'll thump him around some and hand him back."

"Let Xander kick his ass once," Clay ordered.  "Then do that."  That got a nod.  "Anything else?"  Wade shook his head.  "Then we're leaving in two hours."

"They're probably up and have at least started breakfast after whatever Wolfe had planned to wake him up."  He left, going to talk to the boss and his protector.

Clay waited until he was gone to shake his head quickly.  "It's nice he's not wanting to hurt anyone."

"Xander would make him miserable," Jensen pointed out.

"I know.  It's still strange.  Bordering on fucking weird."  They finished up and left a nice tip for the waitress who had left them alone.  They went to gather things, steal Xander back from the person who had taken him from the hotel, and then leave St. Louis.  Clay stared at Xander on the plane.  "A fundamentalist preacher?" he asked dryly.

"Don't ask me, he drugged breakfast," Ryan admitted.

"I'll cook once we get home," Xander promised with a smile.

"Good.  Then we can put your hair back up.  Did you guys find his hair stuff?"

"In the Bazaar.  The general left them there," Wade admitted from his seat.  "I put it into the bag."

"Cool.  Am I making everyone dinner?" Xander asked.  They shrugged.  "Well, give me a final count.  That way I can make an online grocery order and have it delivered."

"Wyatt wanted a call," Wade said.  "The gang peace summit you caused last night meant a few paid Horatio.  He had to work with him to put your book up to date."

"Cool."  He got onto the plane's specialty wi-fi system and emailed Wyatt and then Horatio.  Plus the grocery store.


Horatio looked up when he heard a car in the driveway.  "Xander's nearly back," he called.  "The groceries are here."  They walked out to sign the slip, take the multiple hundreds of bags, and then back inside.  The delivery guy smiled because they were so nice about things.  Horatio even tipped him.

Don looked through what they were putting up.  "Looks like... pork chops tonight, guys."  They all smirked and Danny left those in the fridge for Xander.  Plus the chicken in case he changed his mind again.  The steaks went into the freezer for them.  Everyone else had a good time going through things.  Xander got home about an hour after all the things got put up.  Don grabbed him to cuddle.  "You okay?"

"I'm okay."

Danny stole him to get his own hug.  "You'd better be.  Wolfe, he have any issues?"

"A fundie preacher wanted him this morning," Jensen said.  "Bag?"

"Dean, Jensen needs his sword," Don called.  Dean brought it down.  Jensen drew it and looked it over.  "That's the new carbon mixed blade, right?"

"We're trying it out," Jensen said with a grin.  Dean brought down the other one and held it up.  Cougar took it to look over.  "What's that?"

"Another mix of the carbon steel blade.  It's an older one that was floating around.  I was going to make it a practice blade but if he likes it that's fine.  I have not tested either one for strength, guys."  They nodded, going to spar out back against each other.  Xander grinned at Dean.  "Hi."

"Hi."  He smirked back.  "Fundie preacher?"

"Yeah.  He drugged breakfast.  Let me make food."  They let him go.

"Dean, one of the officers in St. Louis said they wanted to talk to you because that demon wasn't human and clearly wasn't fully dead when they did the autopsy," Ryan reported.

"Uh-huh.  Why?"

"Don't know," Ryan said.  "One mentioned it and the hunter there told them you'd like your identity back.  They said they wanted to talk to you."

"I'll call out there," Horatio promised, patting him on the arm.  "Want help, Xander?"

"No, I'm good."  They got out of his way.  The other members of the team went to talk to the other GHS in Miami.  They'd come back for food.  Xander was pouting but it'd only take an hour.

"Losers, let's talk to the others in town and then come back for lunch," Clay called to stop the pout.

"Sure," Jensen called.  He walked off looking over the blades.  "Yours is clearly weaker metal.  Mine's not fully as strong as some of the ones in the practice room."  They nodded at that.  "But it's good enough to sneak through customs.  I'll see if we can to toughen it any."

Xander pouted at Horatio, who smiled.  "They're going to talk to the others in town."

"That could take all week since Marian will use hours to complain about me being so open and flashy."

"So do some of the others," Horatio admitted.  "It's not like you can stop yourself when you're out doing things.  Most of the time you're never seen, it's just some things that get you attention.  I've pointed that out."

Xander gave him a hug.  "Thanks."  He looked in the fridge.  "Thank you whoever left down the pork chops."  He pulled them out to clean them up and start the marinade for them.

Horatio smiled, going to the office to look over Speed's shoulder.  "Are they complaining again?" he asked quietly.

"Yes.  I pointed out they took Xander because of what he used to do before his hormones got out of whack.  Marian still said it's because of what he does in town.  Then I pointed out that he doesn't get attention in town.  It's only when he's stolen that he gets attention, which he should.  She's pouty.  I texted Jensen's phone to warn him so they can do her tomorrow."

"That might be a good idea.  Is she still on her kick to get her spouse to move?"

"Yup.  She wants him to move to the LA office of their law firm.  I told her the one in LA was under FBI investigation for the invasion last year.  She snorted."  He shrugged.  "So we'll see."  He answered the current one.  "Yeah, that was Ryan.  He was out to calm Xander down since he had lost his temper to get free again.  That the SWAT team knew there were more hostages so they were waiting and the news crew had followed them.  He also pointed out that no one knew that was Xander.  His hair had been cut on him.  Fortunately his patrons regrew it for him.  Xander yelped.  "You good?" Speed called.

"Danny got me with a hairpin."

"Payback for the last time one poked me all night," Danny quipped.

"Meany."  He took a kiss.  Then he got back to cooking.

Horatio and Speed shared a look then shook their heads.  That was couple stuff they didn't need to get involved in.  Speed typed in that the local retrieval team was going to introduce themselves this week.  He described them.  That got a few 'thank yous' and Marian complaining.  "No, we have them because of the rest of us," Speed muttered as he typed that in.

Horatio took the keyboard to type in his own.  "I asked them for one for the rest of us, that way none of us have any problems.  Since Ray Junior got taken last month by one and another two attempted it during the rescue, plus the other three that had been taken out of Miami recently, they needed their own as much as New York did."  Then he signed his name and hit the button to send it.  Marian shut up about that.  She had been one.

Fortunately Horatio had heard and gotten her at the airport.  He gave them credentials of all the team as far as he was allowed to and they decided it was a good team.  One quipped that whenever Xander got stolen, he had poker buddies to rescue him.  "Yes he does," Horatio muttered.  "Plus us."  He typed in something else and told them Speed had to help Xander cook.  Once Speed had signed out they watched the rest of the window.  Marian was back to complaining.

Xander leaned in then signed in, telling Marian that the Wolfram and Hart LA office had a contract out on her to hold over her husband's head.  Then he sent her that file.  "Shut up, bitch.  You're married to an evil fucker who likes to try to take over the world.  No one wants to hear your gaping lips.  You suck more cocks than I do a month."   He smirked at Horatio and Speed.  "Her husband is not a nice guy."  He walked off again.

"Who told you that?" Speed called.


"Thank you."  Speed logged back in and pointed out that the LA office was full of evil things who liked to hold people hostage and try to kill others.  They were facing a lot of federal charges soon.  She had signed off.  The others said that was clearly spread from her to her husband, getting a lot of laughs for that.  One said that Clay was at his door so he signed off.

He came back a while later, while they were putting finishing touches on dinner to tell the others about them.  They seemed pretty nice to most of the people, but fairly stern and very commando as they put it.  And he now had a crush on Cougar.  Speed put in that Clay looked almost exactly like Dean and Sam's father, earning a few laughs.  He said they'd get with everyone else over the next few days.  Then he said it was dinner time so he logged off again.


Jensen bounced in first, smiling at Xander.  "Philip was pretty cool."

"He usually is but he barely comes out of the house."  Xander smiled.  "The chops are on the grill and I'm working on the side stuff.  Help them set the table."

"It's starting to sprinkle," Clay said from the doorway.

"We can eat in the living room then.  Please save the plates, guys."  They came back with them while Xander checked the pork chops.  Cougar took his off the grill with a smile.  Xander left one without marinade for him.  Xander grinned back.  "Philip said you're cute."

"Soy (I am)," he agreed smugly.  He let Xander finish laying out the other things and got what he wanted.  Everyone was avoiding something.

Xander pointed.  "It's slightly sweet, it's a fruit relish basically."  Clay got some to taste and took more.  Jensen took a lot.  Cougar took a little bit.  Jolene and the baby came in.  Xander handed her a dish of mushed up fruit relish stuff and one of the fried veggies that he had pureed.  She smiled and sat down in the living room to feed the baby.  Xander brought her out a plate then went back to fix his own.  They had left him two pork chops.  Xander put on more and closed the grill lid then brought his plate to the living room to curl up against an arm of the chair and eat.  "Don, we need puppies again.  Nothing's begging me for my dinner and the footstools are empty."

"I'm looking," he promised.  Xander grinned at him.  "This fruit stuff's really nice."

"Thank you."  He dug in.  Everyone looked at his plate.  "It has the berries that help weed out most GHS's backlog, but I'm allergic and I'll surge."  They nodded and ate it.

Horatio smiled as he dug in.  He thought he had tasted them.  "It's a wonderful version of that native dish, Xander."

"Thank you, Horatio."  He smiled.  "I put the rest of the chops on the grill."  Dean and Clay both went to get more.  Jensen followed.  "Cougar, there's two without marinade."  The silent one smiled and went to get his seconds.

Jensen came back.  "Is Greg coming down?"

"Yup.  He's also got the 'new team member' packet that Soshar made up with Paul, who used to run the retrievals.  That way you learn about all the various drugs and allergies."

 "That's fine," Clay agreed.  "We've learned some."

"The raising side of the allergies just got expanded again," Horatio told him. "Did you plant any of these?"

"Yup, in Adam's precious rose garden."  He smirked evilly.  "He fed one the other day to Ray to make him calm and content instead of bouncing before he had to talk to his ex-wife. The head fo the French group has a huge green thumb so I sent him some too.  He's experimented with them and found that cooking doesn't weaken it any so it's become a regional favorite since you don't have to hold off on it for overdosing."

"Wonderful," Clay agreed.  "You surge on it?"

"Yeah.  One time someone maliciously spread some on some silverware so I'd surge and a local lord could take me to get a handhold on Ryan, who would go to Ares to get him favors."  He smirked.  "This was while we were training over there.  I had a surge so strong, I raised the birth rate locally for all the women, the animals, and the surrounding countryside."  They all gaped.  Horatio moaned but nodded.  "So far me, Ray Junior, and one guy out of Oregon are the only ones that we know surge on them.  It'll lower you by about ten percent, so usually enough to get you out of full backlog."

"They lowered me from a six to about a one or a two most of the time," Horatio said quietly.

"Xander got so bad even Cupid couldn't cure it," Ryan told them.  Cougar moaned at that.  "We ended up dropping him into berserker mode to wear it out of him."

"That lord was stopped?" Jensen asked.

"Oh, yeah.  He got dragged in front of Ares and was horsewhipped until he died," Xander said bluntly.  "I had to sit there and watch.  It didn't take too long but he didn't encourage anyone to do it again."

"Good," Clay decided.  "Has it happened here?"

"Until we brought some back, no one had any here," Horatio said.  "It was native to that plane."

"Interesting.  Any other good additions?"

"They're among the trees," Don said dryly.  He rolled his eyes, making Xander pout.  "By the way, we never use half of it.  You guys are all welcome to pick things."

"Leave me a lot of the nuts, the cherries, and half the lemons," Xander said.  "I make a fantastic lemon puddingish thing with nuts."  He grinned.  "It's for dessert."  Dean and Sam hopped up to get some, Jensen following his sweet tooth.   The others finished up and got more food or dessert, depending on how hungry they were.  "Dean, don't hog it," he called.

"I'm not.  You made two bowls so I'm scraping the first one."

"We ate the big bowl in the fridge already?"

"I defrosted the one in the freezer," Dean said, opening the fridge.  "Yup, it's still here."  He pulled it out to dish some out.  That meant he got extra and Xander could make more for whoever.

"Is it baby safe?" Jolene asked.

"I think so as long as you pick out the nuts, but it's kinda sweet yet tart."

She nodded, taking some of Jensen's with her fork to taste.  She moaned.  "I need this recipe."

"I can get it for you," Xander promised.  "Plus the one off the food network site for refrigerator pie.  It's basically quiche but you put whatever you want into a frozen pie crust shell."  He found his laptop and got into them, printing them in the office.  He went to get them and himself some dessert, bringing both back for her.  "There you go."

She read them over.  "Both really easy and fast.  What do you usually use?"

"I like ham and cheese ones," Don said.  "It's so simple even Dean and I can make it."  Dean nodded since his mouth was full.  "Xander, can you make some fudge for the office."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Thanks.  Rumors have gotten back that the stuff's addictive."

"A contact we have said that it made him miss his bitchy ex-wife," Clay said between bites.  "This is really good, kid."

"Thank you, Clay."

Jensen grinned at him.  "How easy is it to make?"  Jolene passed him the recipe, making him happy.  "We can pick you a few before we head home tonight," he teased.

"I tried it with cherries but it doesn't work the same.  Though it makes a kickass base for ice cream," Xander told them.  Cougar moaned, shaking his head.  He stuffed his mouth.  This stuff was going to be addictive.  They were all getting hooked on it.


Xander walked into the station, going up to Frank's desk.  "It's not my best fudge," he admitted.  "It was humid so it's a bit grainy but it's still really good fudge."

Frank took a small square and bit into it, moaning in pleasure.  "That little imperfection makes it even better, kid."

Don snatched a piece as he walked around Xander.  "Bit grainy.  No nuts?"

"That's the other box."  He grinned and handed them over.

"You spoil us horribly," Don teased, taking a kiss.  "Thank you, Xander."

"You're welcome.  Remember to eat lunch."  He winked at Frank, who was blissed out.  "I'm off go spoil others and we're having a citywide today."  Don nodded so he left.  He had boxes in the corvette for the guys.  He stopped to get the stuff he had promised, getting out of the car.  "Cougar, come help me carry and you can hold the fudge from Jensen."  Cougar jogged over to get it before Jensen could.  Xander got the waters and juice bottles.  "Hey, guys."

"You bought fudge too?" one of the female GHS in town asked.

"No, I made some.  It's a tiny bit grainy because it was so humid last night.  Don asked me to make some for the station."  He smiled.  "Some have nuts, some don't have nuts.  One's white chocolate."

She took a piece of the stuff with nuts and moaned.  "Oh, God."  She shivered.  "Which do you make this with?"

"The special stuff from the shop in Las Vegas."  He put the juice in the cooler and half the water too.  He tossed Clay his keys.  "Ice in the trunk."  He went to get it for them.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He shook his head, it was nice they were all calm.

Xander smiled at Marian, who was scowling.  "Did your husband settle them down in LA?"

"Yes.  Thank you for that."

"Welcome.  I know some people who've dealt with the Wolfram and Hart office out there for years."

"You know that guy Angel?"

"Yeah.  I used to work with Buffy."  She blanched.  He grinned.  "Actually, I used to date Cordelia too."  He sat down.  Jensen was trying to get the fudge from Cougar.  "Give him a tiny piece, Cougar.  I made extra so you guys can take some home too."  He smiled.  "Have you guys seen that non-native berry?"

"We heard about it," Marian said.  "How did you find it?"

"That time Horatio, Ryan, and I got taken by the people who thought redheads were next to the gods.  That was native there."

"When you guys rescued Tumie?" another asked.

"Yup.  There."  He grinned.  "It helps.  Horatio said it lowered him a lot.  Greg said it takes about ten percent and it's not something we can overdose on like the herbs."  That got a few nods.   "I make it into a wonderful relish.   I have to be careful, I'm allergic to them, but otherwise it's good."

"Hives?" Marian asked.

"Surging."  She shuddered.  "Yeah.  Basically."  He handed over that recipe.  "That's what I use it for.  These guys tasted it last night so they can tell you how it tastes."  He smiled.

"Wonderful," one of the guys said, looking it over.  "Pretty simple.  Adam still have them?"

"Yup, in his rose garden."  They all smiled at that.  "Oh, he's swearing today because I gave him something crocheted again."  Most of them cackled.

"I haven't heard swearing like that in years," Clay agreed.  "Especially not in Mandarin."   He took the fudge from Cougar, handing Jensen a tiny piece.  "There.  Quit fighting.   You're making a bad impression."  He put the box down on the table.

Jolene took one and moaned.  "Oh, that's so nice."

"The chocolate shop he buys the chocolate from does a lot of other moan-inducing things," one of them told her.

She smiled.  "That's wonderful."

Xander looked and nodded.  "It is.  Adam, the head of the group in the US, warns that shop whenever we have a convention out there."   He smiled.  "How many of you guys haven't met our local retrieval team?"  A few raised their hands.  "These are Clay, who is in charge.  Cougar."  He tipped his hat with a smile.  "Jensen."  He smiled and waved.  "Pooch and this is his wife and child.  She's Jolene and she won't let me hold the baby."

"You bounce too much, Xander."  She smiled.  "Even if they're working I'm local and I usually have a way to get in touch with them."  They all smiled and nodded.  She handed over a card.  "We're living in this building so we're pretty near most of you."

"Or Xander's weapons if we need more to rescue someone," Pooch agreed with a smile.  They all grinned at that.

Marian smirked at Xander.  "Don't you get in trouble for that?"

"No.  Because I'm holding an apocalypse closet for Miami.  In case things like in LA happen here.  Because the last time they took all the weapons we got stolen by slavers and I had to make a mess in LA."  She shuddered.  "Horatio knows and makes me weed it down every now and then."  He drew a map on the back of the recipe sheet.

"There is an old house at the farm I own, out in the woods.  I'm having it rebuilt because right now it's not totally safe.  That should be within four months."  Everyone nodded.  "If we need to run and hide, and you're out there, you guys can hide in there."  He let them see it.  "It's about a half-mile from that creek and about two from the farm itself.  It will have a landline so you can call for help."

"Thanks," one said quietly.  "I remember hiding in that one once.  It is falling in."

"The roof had a massive leak during one of those ark-needing storms," Xander said.  "I'm having something prefab done.  That way it's safe and won't blow over during a hurricane.  Including a metal roof this time."

"How did your house do last time?" Marian asked.

"I think we lost a tree but the rest were okay and the house was fine.  The new construction toughened up a place I was worried might be weak."  That got a nod.  "Thankfully we don't have any more cranky neighbors."  Clay gave him an odd look.

"He never told you about the lady who decided him cutting a limb on her tree was evil so therefore it was his fault it fell in and she was going to burn them?" one of the guys asked.   Clay shook his head slowly so he told it.

"Is that judge still on the bench?" Jolene asked.

Xander smirked as he shook his head.  "Nope.  He lost because I told his opponent, who Speed liked, all about it."  The group laughed.  "Her insurance had to pay for the new garage too.  Plus the fire department's cost.  Her ex-husband paid off the officer she injured.  Speaking of, Don warned me that the PD is going to be auctioning things soon to raise money for some new cruisers.  That way I couldn't buy more than my fair share of the tickets."  They all nodded at that.  "I added in a complete kitchen set, including some recipes, and a few gift certificates to a spa."

"The commissioner complain again?" Clay asked.

"Yes, because that's all he usually does.  He also growled that there's more than two stations in the city.  That other officers were getting pissed off.  So I offered to cook for one of them next weekend.  He sighed and called me stupid.  Again.  So I kindly called his wife in front of him and told her how he owed me ten grand in poker debts and had joked about offering her to someone else."  He smirked.  "So next weekend I'm cooking for the one down by Fu's."

"Don approve?" Jolene asked.

"He thought it was a really nice idea.  He knew sometimes the wives got together to do things for their husband's stations and they could use the spoiling.  That one doesn't have too many anti-gay officers so it'll be fine.  I've already talked to the captain."

"Will they protest, really?" Marian asked.

"As they're eating," Xander agreed.  "They did at Don's station until I pointed out, and he pointed out, and Horatio pointed out, that they didn't have to eat if they objected to me having boyfriends."

Jensen looked down.  "Xander, what about the christmas present drive?" he asked.  "Doesn't the PD usually have one?"  Xander nodded.  "What about you making some stuff for it?"

"I am.  Last year I gave a bunch of twin sized afghans and things.  Including some new doll clothes for some donated dolls that didn't have any."

"I think that's a wonderful idea," Clay agreed.  "When do you start on that?"

"Just after Halloween.  We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood and some of the parents like to use the trees by the gates to set up a scary place.  Plus I help by setting out cookies and things."

"So that's early October for planning," Pooch said.

Xander nodded.  "And it's June."  They all smiled at him.  "Until then I can play poker because Don's working overtime."  He smiled sweetly.

"I'm sure Don's still complaining," Marian said.

Xander shook his head.  "It gets me out of the house.  I'm fairly safe among them.  They don't want to piss off Horatio by hurting me.  Because then I can tell Horatio anything I know about them.  None of them want me for the hormones or any other reason.  Most of them agree I can be scary when I want to be, but I'm usually nice and pleasant.  They'd like me to lose more," he said dryly.  Clay snickered and nodded.  He saw Wade trotting his way.  "Emergency?"

"Yeah.  Someone took the lab hostage.  Frank said to make sure you were here, kid."

"I am here.  Do they need help?"  He started to move.

"Sit," Clay ordered.  "Miami has one of the best SWAT systems in the country."

"Horatio gave them borrowing rights," he said quietly.

"That's fine."  Clay walked off calling them.  "Wade, he's fine."


Xander smiled.  "Want to go pick up Hubert some goat and some stuff from Fu's?  He likes to spoil Hubert."

"I can do that," he agreed with a grin.  "You sure you can stay here?"

"Yeah.  I won't react unless I have to.  Then I'll turn back into the old Xander."  Wade nodded and left.  "Wade, wallet," he complained.

"I'll hit Fu's first and take it out of your poker bag there, kid."

Clay hung up and walked back.  "Cougar, go let them bum from the main warehouse."  He nodded, walking off eating a piece of fudge.  Clay got his own; that contact had been right, it was additive.  "They said thank you for letting them handle it, Xander."

"They're still pissed off because I handled the guy who robbed the house?"

"Yup."  He smirked at the kid.  "We'll make sure you're a good boy today."

"I am.  I'm going to go home, buff Hubert's scales.  Play with the ferrets, figure out what I'm making for dinner, then go play in the tub so I'm clearheaded enough to fuss over Danny and Don later."

"Good plan."  He patted him on the head.  "We've been taking a comprehensive history on who where wants you guys and might still be alive.  Anyone we haven't gotten to have any of those?"

"I have one," one of the girls admitted, nibbling on the fudge.  She got herself some juice and came back.  "He's my ex-husband and there's a restraining order."

"Okay.  We can get a copy of it in case we're retrieving you and he shows up."  She smiled.  "We were hired to make things easier."

"This is actually much nicer than our old job," Jensen assured them with a grin.  "Before we were a roving commando team."  They all patted him and offered him another piece of the white chocolate fudge.  It was a bit too rich for most of them.  Jensen smiled and nibbled on it.  He got some water.  "Anyone else?"  A few got tossed bottles of water and another got the juice.  Jensen sat down.  "Xander, the white fudge is really good."

Xander grinned.  "I know, it's very strong white chocolate.  I use half as much as I do in the regular recipe."

"Still a bit too strong," Marian admitted.  "But very good if you'd chunk it up and put it into cookies probably."

"Or ice cream," Jolene said.  Xander grinned at and wrote it down.  "Where is your ice cream shop?"  Everyone pointed behind them.  She looked and smiled.  "Pooch got a craving for some of their peach ice cream at two this morning."

Xander looked at Pooch.  "Are you pregnant?"

"Not likely."

"Are you sure?"


He grinned.  "Peach is seasonal but I think they're in season right now."  He got up and went to get himself some.  One of the others went with him.  "Tell him I won't be in for a week," Xander called.  "Thank you."  He looked at Jolene.  "I need to go kitchen shopping soon.  Wanna?"

"I can help you with that but if you bounce too much I'm going to spank."

He stared at her.  "Are you mean like my former friends?"

"No, dear.  I'd never be that bitchy."  He grinned at her for that.  "Want my car or yours?"

"We can take my SUV."

"We can take the corvette."

"It probably won't fit in the trunk.  It's a tiny trunk."

"The SUV is much too big for around town.  Maybe we'll have Dean take us.  Or Sam?"

"Sam might.  If Dean lets him drive the Impala.  It's Dean's baby."

"Dean's baby is very pretty," one of the guys sighed.  "If Dean wasn't so straight, I'd have pounced him already."

"Dean's been picking up the bad girls in the college clubs," Xander said.  "He might be ready for something better."  He grinned but shook his head.  "I have no idea if he dabbles on the other side or not."

"Nah, he said he's straight.  He has a breast fixation.  Which is such a pity.  He'd be so pretty under me."

Xander grinned.  "He is when we spar.  I knock him down a lot."  That got a few laughs.

"Me too," Jensen sighed.  "I'm learning sword stuff from him too."  That got him smiled at.  Clay got a text message.  "Cougar saying it's clear?"

"Yup.  Everyone's fine.  Don's pissed off at the idiots.  Horatio is trying to calm him down before he kills them.  Or someone else.  The weapon they borrowed he put back and relocked the storage area."  He put his phone up.  "So we're all good."  They smiled and nodded.  "How often we do hold these meetings?"

"About every six months," Marian said.  "Xander, is that regional convention going to be held again?"

"Next month.  Down in the 'Glades at one of the resort hotels."  He smiled.  "Horatio and Speed need the break."

"You sponsored a regional convention?" the guy mooning over Dean asked.

"Yeah.  I did last year."

"Wow.  That was a pretty good convention.  Small shopping area and that spa was fantastic."

"It's in New York.  I invested a little bit with them.  I got them to give Horatio one of the ones where they gently cuff you and put a blindfold on you so you have to concentrate on the treatments more than what's going on.  He said it was fantastic."

"I'll have to look them up."  He made that note into his phone.  "I have to be in New York on my stock portfolio's business next month."  Xander wrote out the address for him.  He grinned.  "I know where that is.  I remember the foot massage I got was so good it made me get off."

Marian smiled and nodded.  "I let them do a chemical peel and wrap.  It did good things for my skin."

"I've gotten one of the GHS spas from Dallas to come in for the convention down here.  They're huge and have a hotel attached."

"I heard about them," Marian said.  "I heard they've got people specially trained for GHS members."  Xander nodded with a grin.  "That'll be nice.  I'll have to go."

"We'll still have the cuddle pile room and Room 318 too if we need it.  Ray's officially doing the leading stuff this time for me."

"That's wonderful.  He's helped Adam run ours for years."  She took another piece of fudge with nuts.  "This is wonderful, Xander.  Thank you."

"You're welcome.  I took some that was still soft and warm last night, putting it over ice cream.  Don nearly begged at my feet for it."

Jensen moaned, looking at him.  "Don't give me that idea.  I'll never make it out of the kitchen I'll get so fat."

Xander patted him on the arm.  "Sparring will work it off you, Jensen."  He grinned at that.  "Do you think Peter will come fix my laptop for me?"

"He owes you how much?" Jensen joked.

"Only a few grand."

"Then probably.  I can look at them you know."

Xander stared at him.  "Mostly it's just cheap computers."

"If I can't fix it, I'll call Peter."

"You're probably going to be busy since Horatio ordered me to handle that auction of stuff."

"Why would we be busy?" Clay asked.

"Because that means about thirty mil in jewelry going to Las Vegas in a few weeks."

Clay nodded.  "Wade and Roque can do that."

"Okay."  He smiled.  "I know he was going to tell you guys later and work out who."  He looked at the others.  "Long dead present givers."  They all nodded they knew about them.  "So, how are you guys doing recently?"

"No really big traumas," Marian said.  The others shared personal family news and it was nicer.  They relaxed again.


Wade walked up to Clay.  "I can't take Roque with me," he said quietly.  "I don't trust him.  I trust him more to watch Xander because Xander can kick his ass if he tries something."

Clay nodded.  "That's a worry but not much of one for this."

"Yeah it is.  He's been talking to Leggert out in LA.  Who is now working for the big criminal enterprise in Europe."

"That's a bad thing," he decided.  "So we need to get some reliable guards out to Las Vegas for the auction.  Thirty mil?"  Wade handed over the list.  Clay whistled.  "That's a good bit."

"I'm hiring a flight out but I clearly need someone protective.  I've talked to the guys Xander went to in New York and their local counterparts.  That's after what they wanted and bought out of his collection."

"Shit," he muttered.  "How much more was there?"

"He pretty well took out what he wanted to keep and his emergency fund then let them poke through the rest."

Clay nodded.  "That's a lot of shiny things."

"Definitely.  Unfortunately the retired tycoon in Alabama who keeps gifting him is still trying, even after being discouraged."

"We have anything on him?"  Wade handed that over.  "Huh.  We've sent it all back?"

"Yes, even unopened with the last few.  They've decided I'm his present keeper so most have come to me instead."

"Usually he sends it to the warehouse and let's them take it back when they realize he doesn't want it."

"These last ones you couldn't.  He sent him two very nice eighteen-year-old virgin prostitutes."


"I let Horatio know so he could try to discourage him or have him arrested.  I let them go free, and they ran off to start college.  Apparently he paid them seventy thou each to come sex Xander up for a month.  A last one for the road sort of month."

"That's a hell of a college fund," he agreed.  Clay shook his head to clear that thought.  No one sent him women.  "Does he realize Xander's gay and a guy?"

"Yeah.  He still thinks he'd make a good wife."

"Not hardly.  Xander would destroy him."

"I've pointed that out.  He called him a sexy playtoy."  Wade smirked.  "Which I really don't want to leave him alone with."

"He can handle most of them."

"Most of them give up after a few months.  This guy's been trying on and off for years.  Xander let that slip so I dove into his past admirers file.  It's horrifying how many people we know on it."

"Yeah, it might be."  He sighed.  "Aisha's father?"

"Nah.  Aisha tried once though.  He sent it back unopened with a nice note saying he was gay."

"Figures."  He looked over the inventory again.  "There's all sorts of retired spooks in town.  Including that one Fiona."

"I don't trust her farther than I could throw her while fucking her," Wade said dryly.

"She's got contacts who're legal and better.  Hire some of them?"

"I can do that.  Oh, court case next week he doesn't have to show up for so don't worry about that."  Clay stared at him.  "Some local accountant got hired by Steve and his trial is finally being called.  He embezzled over a hundred-thirty mil."


"They got most of it back.  Steve will have to testify."

"Sure.  We can make sure he doesn't want to go.  Have you checked the poker circuit?"

"Yup.  I'm not sure some of them won't want to go to Las Vegas for work reasons."

"Greg used to be a CSI out there.  Have him warn some of his people.  That'll help with theft risk too."

"I didn't know that.  I can do that.  By the way, Greg got in an hour ago.  He's at Xander's with Tony.  Mostly because Gibbs is off beating the hell out of someone from Dubai and Qatar who want Tony as their toy again."  He walked off.  "Thanks."  He went to talk to a few contacts.

Clay sipped his beer.  It was still too strange working *with* Wade.  It was starting to creep him out.  Wade was turning into Super Assistant Man or something.


Clay stopped Xander, pushing him back into the house.  "No."


"No," he said more firmly.  "No way in hell are you going to thump their ass.  I don't care if they did try to blackmail Don into their beds.  No."

Xander frowned.  "He's mine to defend."

"The woman who did it is a spook and a friend of Fiona's.  Let her do it."

"Please!  That woman is nothing without a gun."

"Yay.  Still, they're spooks and that's dangerous."

Xander scowled.  "Do you honestly think I can't handle myself?"

"No, I think it'll make them more interested in taking you again," he said.  "Ruin them in other ways, Xander."

"Then she'll be under the impression that I'm fluffy and weak."

"Everyone in town knows you're not.  Don wants to beat her ass too."

Xander slumped.  "I should.  He's my man."

"You're sounding like an episode of Springer, Xander.  Find a way to make her miserable.  It lasts longer than a beating would."

"Fine."  He stomped off to the office to call some poker friends.  Including one who he knew used to be a spook.  "Brian, Xander.  I'm fucking pissed off and I want you to be the instrument of justice since Clay won't let me beat the fucking bitch myself."  He waited while the guy choked and put him on speaker.  "Hi, guys.  Clay won't let me out right now.  I might go kill the bitch who tried to blackmail Don into bed with her skanky ass.

"Yes, that one," he said, scowling at the wall that connected the office with the movie theater room.  "No, he won't let me.  He said to make them miserable.  Well, Brian, you know who she used to be," he said dryly.  He smirked.  "Exactly!  And then I'm going to make her fucking miserable forever and ever for touching my boyfriend.  Thanks."  He hung up and sat down to turn on his computer.

"How much can you hack?" Clay asked from the doorway.

"I can't."

"Uh-huh.  So what are you doing?"

"Background file."

"It's locked by the higher ups, Xander.  Even Jensen has to go looking for them."  Xander found something and held it up.  "How did you get top notch access to the CIA?"

"I won it."  He smiled sweetly.  "And yes, the higher ups probably realize it."  He got back to work, finding what he needed.  "Fucking bitch tried it before with a senator.  Huh."  He found everything in her file.  Someone was trying to stop him but he had Peter, one of the poker circle guys, help him do something nice.  He called it the hormone bomb.  He released it and went back to the files.  The rest of the system he wasn't in now had hearts and flowers showing up, with the occasional cuddly kitten, and had some heat-illusion like distortion on the screens.  They could still work through it but it was like the computers were hormone bombed.

"Shit," Clay muttered, calling Jensen.  "He did something stupid."  He hung up.  "Let Jensen help, Xander.  C'mon, let's take the background and be mean."

Xander looked at him.  "Bite me.  I am being mean.  They sent her down here to sex up Don."  He copied off that mission profile and handed it over.  "Be damned.  I'll go visit them and hormone more than the computers."  He got back to work making her really miserable.

He lowered her security clearance.  He took out her 'eyes only' rating.  All her psych profiles were taken out.  All her test scores.  She'd be redoing things for days.  Then he saved it to the backup copy as well.  Finally, he cut her paycheck by thirty thou a year.  He was so proud of himself.

An IM box popped up asking him what he thought he was doing.  So he told them.  He knew who it was.  He had been recalled to the building.  He let loose on him with the whole problem and told him if she wasn't out of Miami by that night he got to hunt her down, sell her off - because he did know plenty that would buy her skanky ass - after hormoning all over her, and then he'd give away her house to an orphanage.  He finished up and saved the backup again.  Then sent a 'toodles' and logged out and shut down his computer.

"Horatio said you're to report to his office to be paddled, Xander.  He hates it when spooks show up."

"No."  He restarted his computer so he could get into something else and fixed their rating of her in there too.  She went from 'sniper qualifications, excellent' to 'below standard' and the rest outside of sexpionage got the same treatment.  That he put in 'slutty' since it was an accurate statement.  He saved that to the backup as well and then shut down again.  He walked off whistling.

Clay called Horatio.  "Is him whistling a bad sign?" he asked.  "Yes, he is.  No, I'm not real sure but Jensen is cackling in awe over what he did to her profile.  He made sure it'll stick too.  Yeah, that one, send at Wade.  He knows most of them."  He hung up and went to follow Xander out to the farm.  Apparently he was going to calm down in the woods on Pride.  Dean was out there so he gave him the pointed order by glare.

"Dude, are you sure you and our Dad aren't twins?" he muttered as he rode past him.  "I haven't seen that look since it used to mean 'go distract your brother'."  He rode off after Xander.

Clay sighed, turning off the ringer on his phone.  It could vibrate.  The horses hated his ringtone.  They kept trying to eat the phone.  He got handed Princess already saddled and rode off after them awkwardly.  Before Xander gave Dean the slip and went to ruin her physically as well.


Thirty-five minutes later Wade walked into Horatio's office, shaking his head.  "Your security breach of a back door is still only taking a paperclip and a piece of gum wrapper, Horatio."  He looked at the spook, who was giving him an odd look.  "I got sent to help Xander."  He smirked.  "What did you think he was going to do when you sent someone down to sex up his boyfriend?"

"They can't be that close."

"Xander has killed people over Don and Danny.  None of them want to move to a marriage situation but they've been together for years.  Don and Danny are both very overprotective of Xander and Xander likes to ruin people who piss off his family."

"I saw that since he sent a virus at us."

Wade snickered.  "One of your own forced to retire helped him write it.  You can still work through it."

"It's like an acid trip."

"He calls it a hormone bomb."

"Eww."  He stared at him.  "We'll recall her."

"Good luck finding her bits and pieces.  Because last I heard, Don was about ready to sell her for it."

"That would not be a good thing," Horatio pointed out dryly.

Wade shrugged.  "I'm sure Xander could if you'd rather."

"No, I would rather she just go home and never come to Miami again."

Wade smirked.  "She'll have to retake every single entry test.  He removed them all."

"That's going to suck for her," the spook said dryly.  "Most of them don't seem to form good attachments."

"Bullshit," Wade said.  "You think they don't because your view of gay sex is only for blackmail and it's for when you're overly drunk after a mission.  Plenty of them do form very lasting relationships.  Xander has adopted quite a few people as his family."

"Fine.  Whatever.  Where is she?"

"I don't know yet."  He called someone.  "Where is she, Don?  Her boss wants to recall her stupid ass."  He nodded.  "Thanks."  He hung up.  "She's being arrested at the Hilton for credit card fraud."

The spook shook his head.  "I'll try not to hurt the officers when we take her back."

"I'm sure if you settle the bill for her they'll drop the charges," Horatio said.  "Hurting officers would make Xander mean enough to go tease the senators that want to own him again and possibly even dance in Washington."

The spook shuddered.  "I saw a tape of that.  I nearly broke my playmate that night.  Pity since I needed her three days later on a mission.  Fine, I'll handle it quietly."  He stared at Wade.  "Do you actually like working for him?"

"Yeah.  He's a nice kid.  Very tough too.  A lot more sane than Max was."  He smirked.  "He makes fudge that's addictive and makes my girlfriend beg me to let her sleep."  Horatio snickered at that.  "Plus it's a lot easier being on the side of good again."  He stared him down.  "Max had nothing on Xander when he's in a mood.  And hey I haven't had to kill anyone in weeks."

"Fine."  He walked off shaking his head.  He came back.  "Does he talk to Fiona's little friend?"

"He knows Fiona.  We all know Fiona in the underground down here.  I know he knows him because he warned him about Max."  Wade looked smug.  "Why?"

"Don't let him butt into that, Wade."

"He can't actually hack."

"Uh-huh."  He walked off shaking his head.

"That's interesting to note though," Wade decided.  He smiled at Horatio.  "I'd disinfect the couch.  There's no telling what sort of grave bugs he carries."  He left again, going to find Fiona and warn her he was in town, that he had tried to warn off Xander from helping them, and the system was presently bugged.  They could all use that info.

Jensen walked past him, handing him something.  "What he did to her profile.  Yours is now cleared up.  Ours is cleared up.  Tell Fiona I could only get hers but I found the other two.  They're hiding on the Black server."  He smirked, heading into the lab.  He smiled at the AV tech.  "I have an inoculation against the single virus Xander has his hands on."

"Gimme," DC said, holding up a hand.  He handed over the stick drive.  "What virus is it?"

"It's a hormone bomb in virus form for computers."

"That sounds really bad."  He ran the virus updater and then put in that definition and cure.  "Thank you."  He handed it back with a grin.  "I'll make sure it makes it through the whole system."

"Welcome.  I've got to teach Xander how to hack properly."  He went back to the car, going out to the farm since that's where Clay said they were.  On the way he got one of Xander's laptops so he could teach him to do it properly.  It was a good repayment for the sword lessons.

DC shook his head.  "Xander's going insane since that bimbo tried to pop his boy.  Hopefully the poker circuit doesn't get involved."

"I had forgotten to warn them not to touch her," Horatio said as he walked past the door. "Jensen did what?"

"Gave us a cure for the single virus Xander has."

"I'll thank him later."

"Maybe he'll really teach Xander how to hack," he muttered.  He looked over the effects of what the virus did, smirking at it.  "So is being hormoned really like an acid trip?" he asked Danny when he walked in.

"Sometimes.  The wavery sight can be if you're on too bad of a surge.  The other stuff is cute he said."

"Jensen made a cure."

"Hopefully that's what's wrong with his laptop usually.  My traffic cam tape?"

"Got it done, running it for an ID," he said, rolling over to that system to show him.  "Nineteen possibles."  Danny nodded, printing them and going to compare them.  "You're welcome."

"Thanks, DC."


Don found Xander in the barn and noticed everyone else cleared out.  He grabbed Xander by the arm and walked him off into the woods.  "Do we think maybe we overreacted?"

"No.  I think she touched my man and I think she's going to be a sorry bitch for trying to blackmail you."  Don sighed.  "You'd do the same thing."

"I wouldn't get spooks down on Miami.  We all hate them."

"We know six or seven, Don."

"I realize that, Xander.  You could've asked them."

"I did ask Brian.  That's why she no longer has credit cards, a credit history that makes her look like she does credit card fraud, and she's in misery back at home."

"Uh-huh.  And your little computer attack on her file?"

"Necessary.  That way she won't come back again."

"Calm down," Don sighed.  Xander scowled at him.  "That was *way* overreacting."

"By the mission profile, no it wasn't.  She was supposed to use you to get what I have for a spook operation that would've meant an unstable situation overseas got worse."

"Oh.  I did not know that."  He texted that to Danny and Horatio, who asked Wade.  Wade apparently agreed.  "I guess that's good you stopped it."  Xander nodded, smiling slightly.  "They might try to arrest you."

"Why?  I have legitimate access."

"How do you have legitimate access?"

Xander smiled.  "I won it but I'm in the system."

"Uh-huh.  You still sent a virus, that's not legal."

"By their standards it was like a test.  One spook team to another that got in their way.  Wade said so.  He called someone afterward to make sure they weren't going to come back to Miami."

"Uh-huh."  Don stared at him.  Xander fidgeted.  "I should yell."

Xander shrugged.  "You probably will," he sighed.

"Yeah, I should."

Ares appeared, shaking his head.  "He just stopped the next twenty stupid ass plans to take him out because someone thinks he does more than play cards."  He looked at Xander.  "Learn how to do it properly, Xander."

"Yes, Ares."

"Thank you."  He smiled at Don.  "Someone got the wrong idea in payment for a debt."  Don moaned, shaking his head.  "There's all sorts of interest in Xander thanks to his poker connections."

"I think it's time you quit playing cards again," Don told him.

"No," Ares said.  "Because it's probably going to keep protecting you and the lab from revenge tactics in the underground."  He stared at him.  Don whimpered.  "He's stopped something like ten attacks on you guys."  Xander disappeared.

"That won't save you!" Don yelled.  He looked at Ares again.  "We have to make sure he doesn't do it again."

"He won't.  He never does the same thing twice unless the situation is identical."   He smirked.  "He is very creative.  Speaking of, have him finish that damn horse master piece.  I want to see what's going to happen and it's driving Strife more nuts."  He disappeared.

Don huffed and hiked back, going home.  No Xander.  He called.  "Clay, do you have Xander?"  He smirked.  "That's fine.  Thank you.  No, we need to talk.  I'll be right there."  He hung up and went to the car, calling Wade on the way.  They got there about the same time.  "You knew they were going to try to use him?"

"Yeah.  He's got money, power if he wants it but he never uses it, he's got some loyalty.  If he wanted to he could try to claim the top spot for Miami."  He shrugged.  "I figured it would've happened before."

"Did it?"

"I don't know.  His file's really thin because Oz keeps hacking it."

"I'll ask Oz then."  He walked them inside, going to Clay's place.  The door was slightly open.  "Clay?"

"I saw you two pull in.  What happened?"

"They wanted to use him to get Sellers and Pieter's old boss back at war," Wade said.  "Xander proved he was not a target and made people miserable."

"Ares said that he's stopped a lot of attacks on the lab and us by all he wins in the poker circuit," Don said.

Wade snorted.  "I didn't even think about that.  Yeah, it would.  I heard rumors he stopped someone who wanted to cap Horatio last week so he couldn't testify."  Clay stared at him.  "Yeah."

"In the past Xander invited himself to a poker game that some guys were using to decide who got to keep which one of the GHS in the family that they were going to kidnap.  Xander ruined them, then had them arrested," Don said.

"Fuck," Clay said.  "Does he realize this?"

"Level ten GHS are concubines," Wade said.  "They usually have to play some minor politics.  I'm guessing he learned at one of the temples.  I've asked him about the sort of position he has.  He said they're only poker buddies and occasionally he'll ask for favors.  He said the top guys like him to play with because he can stop arguments without being biased."

"So he's back to mascot status?" Don asked.

"Friendly outsider," Clay said.  "Like a distant cousin would be.  Which means he should really lessen how long he lets people have to pay their debts."

"That actually gives him a way to ask for favors."

"Yeah but if they're even then they'll want to come to him."

"Which means they'd be tempted to try to get Don and Danny to do things too," Wade countered.

"Xander would never allow it," Don reminded them.  "He's rabid about keeping us sane and safe.  I'd rather have him cancel out debts.  That's the stronger side."

Clay nodded.  "That's a good way of looking at it since you two aren't in the life.  After this, where are you three going?"

"The farm," he said with a grin.  "After that I think Xander was looking midwest."

"He's been doing a lot of searching about Denver," Wade agreed.

"There's almost none of you in Denver," Clay said.

"Exactly," Don agreed with a smirk.  "Of either type."

"Which would mean a safer and more quiet transition," Clay decided.  "That's not a bad idea.  Does he have a fallback spot beyond the farm in case someone hates that they lost to him?"

"There's only three in the circuit who might," Wade said.  "All three former spooks that got forcibly retired.  They don't respect things and might go after the horses but I think the others in town have been applying subtle pressure because Xander's a nice guy most of the time and he'll fuck you up if you piss him off.  Today is going to prove that to some but one that might be like waving a flag of 'come try me'.  I talked to a few of the other guys, including Roque since he invited himself along to the meeting, about that.   They were real impressed Xander didn't start by breaking her into pieces."

"That would be my fault," Clay said with a small shrug.

"That I like," Don assured him.  He looked at Wade.  "Are they going to make the point?"

"Yup.  That one's a known hater of GHS.  Apparently one who had been military had been handed over as a reward.  Then the rest of the military found out about GHS so he had to give her up.  Pieter helped her hide in Indianapolis the last I heard of that piece of gossip."

"Would he be trying to take Xander?" Don asked.

"Nope.  He's heard Xander is very high maintenance.  Plus he's straight."  Don nodded at that. "I did drop that warning that he was in Miami onto the website and Pieter directly.  He said he'd send out a warning with his picture.  I know you saw him on a crime scene.  He's been panting after Calleigh."

"Shit," Don muttered. " Horatio know?"

"He should."

"Does Calleigh know?" Clay asked.

"The department might not tell her if they don't think it's a credible threat," Don said.  "If Horatio hasn't told her, I'll need to.  Wade, I need that file."  He nodded he had it.  "Tonight?"

"It's in the car."

"Thank you.  Is he presently in Miami?"

"He's visiting one of the Holocaust camps to honor his grandparents who died there," Wade said quietly.  He was really starting to see how command devolved and flowed in the family.

"Okay.  I can handle that.  That gives us a few days?"

"Three or four probably.  He takes it every year," Clay said.  "I can't believe they retired him."

"They had to.  He went after her twice to get her back from Pieter.  Speaking of, the spook boss from earlier took that one home.  We had to point out you guys do form a lasting relationship.  His view on gay sex was too drunk and it was convenient.  Or sometimes useful."

"Is he going to stop?" Don asked.  "I know Ares said that it stopped a lot of plans coming Xander's way."

"Yeah, it did," Wade agreed.  "By the way, I'm pretty sure Jensen found his CIA file and who input it."  He smirked at Clay.   "He has Assistant Director access."  Clay moaned.  "Poker debt."  He smirked brighter.

"I want that."

"Hell, I want that," Wade said dryly.  He looked at Don.  "That file's on my front seat's floormat."  He went to get it.  "You okay?  Xander proved he wasn't a fluffy, sweet gay man again today."

"Hell yes.  Each time he does I feel less like an uncle to the kid.  I like that he can handle some things."

"Unless he's fully backed up and then he has to drop into apocalypse mode," Wade warned.   He heard a car alarm and looked out.  "Hmm, Prince is in town.  Must be here to meet with the little bitch."

"Probably.  He bothering Don?"

"Don just snickered at something he said and pulled his badge."  He walked down there, Clay behind him.  "Problems, Don?"

"Wade?" Prince demanded.

"Yeah.  Someone gave me to Xander to help him."  He grinned.  "He's the nicest, most sane boss I've had in decades.  All I have to do is coordinate the poker debts and watch his back.  Maybe take him to find pretty new weapons."

Prince shook his head, moving his afro.  "No.  That's so wrong!" he complained.

"He's turned into a super assistant minion," Don said with a grin for Wade.

"Hell, Max had me hiring hit teams and shooting them when he changed his mind, all that.  Xander's much nicer and saner.  I like the kid.  Even if I did have to hire three pros to wear me out after he hormoned me that time."

Prince stared at him.  "He's who?"

"Harris," Clay said.  "Don's boyfriend."

Prince looked at Don then at him.  "I heard you died."

"Yeah, Max tried *real* hard.  Pity," Clay said smugly.  "Xander got him too for bothering him."

"I heard how he died.  Huh."  He looked at Wade, who looked smug.  "Okay, I don't need to know.  Piers?"

"Germany this week."

"I doubt he'll come back.  Someone captured him and threw him to a shark," Prince said.

Wade checked that with someone, shaking his head.  "No, he's alive.  He's in Paris right now looking at jewelry for some reason."  He called a contact.  "It's Wade.  I know that.  No, he's still dead.  Piers is in Paris looking at jewelry.  Tell him if it's for the blonde in Miami he'd better not try.  She'll kill him.  She won't accept him.  There's no way she'll ever accept him, she likes guys like Cougar.  Gun gods, yeah.   Thanks."  He hung up.  "Dolores said hi."  He put his phone back.

Prince smirked, nodding a bit.  "You're really efficient as a male secretary, Wade."

"Hell, I respect Xander.  Did you see that fight in St. Louis?"  He nodded slowly.  "That was Xander and one of the local crime lab."


"So yeah, I respect Xander even if he couldn't kill me.  Though I am going to go gut the bitch that brought me back."

"Huh.  Did you raid his off-shore accounts?"

"Of course.  All that I knew about and I'm keeping an eye open for the others."  He smirked.  "Xander told me to so I could buy a house and semi-retire."

"It's Miami, a lot do that here," Don quipped.

"Yeah, I can see why.  Okay, I'm going to butt out of Miami.  I only came down to talk to what's-his-name."

"Gables," Don said with a point in that direction.  The man gave him an odd look.  "Half the spooks in town live that way."

Wade nodded.  "They do.  It's like they're creating their own village of former spooks.  Some have started bars and everything."

"That's just weird," he decided, walking off shaking his head.  "I'll let them know you're guarding the kid's back, Wade.  Nice to see the reports were wrong, Clay."

"We're the local retrieval team," he said smugly.

Prince looked back at him.  "I wish you much pepto then since there's a major conference of world leaders coming up soon in the US."  He smirked and got into his car to drive off.

"I heard about that on the news," Clay said.  "We have to make sure Pieter knows and who we have to guard."

"Tony," Don said.  "His director tried to sell him to some.  Greg too."  That got a nod.  "Gibbs is very plain, gun-in-the-face, give me my agent back about it whenever it happens."

"We can work on that.  I can cover Xander if I need to," Wade said.  Clay nodded, going to make that call.  "You going to see the squealing one?  Tomorrow Xander wanted to do an inventory."

"Fine.  Make him go home?"

"I have no idea where he is, Don."  He pointed behind him, getting a grin.  "Night."  He walked off.  He did text Xander that Don wasn't mad and wanted him at home to snuggle.  That whole family was slightly insane but in the good way.


Don knocked on Calleigh's door, getting Eric and her.  "Hey.  Small issue," he told her, walking in.  He opened the folder to show her.  "Spook who wants you."

She looked at it.  "I've seen him a few times and was starting to get creeped out."  She read the folder.  "Why me?"

"He's still pouting about his ex but she looked kinda like you," Don said, showing her that portion.  She grimaced.  "Wade knows someone who knows him.  He's in Paris right now looking at jewelry.  Wade told him you only like gun gods like Cougar."

"He is very sweet," she agreed with a smile.  "I so want to test myself against him someday soon."  She put the file on the counter, looking at him.  "Does Horatio know?"

"Pieter, the current head guy of the retrieval teams, was supposed to tell everyone down here because he kept trying to get his old one back.  That's why they retired him."

"Hmm.  Why did he have one?" Eric asked.

"She was a reward from the military," Don said.  "When they found out about GHS, they made him give her back."

"Good!" Calleigh agreed.  "I'll keep an eye out for him and talk to Horatio tomorrow to see where the breakdown in communication was.  Paris?"

"Yeah.  He was in Germany remember his former grandparents at a camp."

"That's sweet of him but I take more wooing than Xander does," she said dryly.

Don grinned.  "Wade said Xander's doing an inventory tomorrow."

"Cool.  Maybe I'll have more reasons to get happy.  Any other bad news?"

"There's a major summit coming up?" Don offered.

"Hell.  Clay's going to have no nerves left by the time they leave."

"I'm sure they're arranging it for the more high profile targets.  Most of them won't want Xander but Tony's screwed on that."

"Poor Gibbs," she sighed, shaking her head.  "Okay, let me pout about being stalked by a former CIA operative who probably has few morals."

"Maybe, not real sure," Don admitted.  He shrugged.  "I've got to calm Xander down after earlier."

"Why?" Eric asked.

"That one that tried to blackmail Don," Calleigh said with a grin.  "He hacked her records in the CIA and took out all her test scores, all her proficiencies, all that from what I heard."

"That too," Don agreed.  He shook his head quickly.  "He had 'my man' syndrome like on a Springer show."

Eric snickered.  "He is highly overprotective of you two," he agreed.

"Yeah but it's a good life," Don said with a grin.  "Later you two.  Have a good dinner."  He left, going home to snuggle with Xander and finish calming him down.  They'd be lucky if Danny didn't rant and help the crusade to get her burned at the stake.

Eric looked at her.  "How bad is he?"

"Probably medium on their scale."  She let him see.  "I take phenomenal wooing before I even think about groping on the eighteenth date," she said dryly.

"We like that about you, Calleigh."  He found the bug scanner she had and ran it over the apartment, handing those over.  She stomped on them so someone somewhere probably just grabbed their ears at the feedback.  He checked her bedroom too.  Only one in there.  "Headboard."

"Creepy.  He probably fell asleep to me snoring."  She stomped that one too.  "I'll see if Clay has one better than my finder and see if I can borrow it tomorrow."  He nodded, helping her cut up things for dinner.


Tony walked back into work his first day back and found someone waiting on him.  "Jesus and the Goddess," he muttered.  "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to talk to you," the man said with a smile.

"No."  Greg came off the elevator.  "Greg, this is my uncle."

Greg kissed Tony then smirked at him.  "Mine now.  You lost him a long time ago."  The man gaped.  "And I learned how to ruin people from the best.  Now, anything else or can we get back to work?  Because if you're not civil, I'll call Xander to cut you into bait chunks."

"I only wanted to talk to my nephew about someone who was looking for him."

Tony blinked at Gibbs, who shook his head quickly.  "We can talk here, Uncle Paul.  They all know."  He sat down in his desk chair, looking at him.  "What did we need to talk about?"

"A man named Richard DeSelline, who said you went to school with his nephew, wanted to get in touch with you."

"I remember a classmate by that name," Tony admitted.  "I talked to him at the last reunion.  Why couldn't he find me?"

"I do not know."  He handed over the number.  "Are you always this paranoid?"

"Yes, because there's a diplomat in town that wants to buy my cute ass," Tony said dryly.  His uncle gaped.  "I'd look really sucky in Hong Kong so I'm paranoid these days."

"Oh.  I see.  Well....  Um, that's all I needed."

Tony smiled.  "Thanks, Uncle."  He nodded and shook his hand before leaving.  Tony walked the number over to Gibbs' desk, dialing his phone and putting it on speaker.  It would embarrass the guy but better safe than sorry.  Or Xander deciding he had harmed the family and coming after him for it.

The End.

to next story

back to index: