A Bit of Strange Normality.

Blair walked out of the apartment he was using at the ranch in Denver for his second morning of avoiding Jim's gayness issues.  He found something odd standing there staring at him.  "Hi, horsie.  I know Xander likes horses but I didn't think he had brought any of you up here yet."  He walked down the stairs and the horse met him, sniffing the hand Blair held out.  "You're very friendly," he said with a grin when the horse nuzzled his chest.  He noticed it was a dark horse, had yellowish eyes, and for some reason seemed 'intelligent' to him.  "I'm not sure if we have any oats or anything here to feed you if you're not supposed to be here.  Can you graze while I ask?"

"Do you own here?" the horse asked.

Blair blinked a few times, staring at it.  "You spoke English.  You're Irish accent... you're a pooka," he said bluntly.

The horse seemed to grin.  "Half, stranger."

"No, this is not my lands.  I'm doing a favor for the owner, who is moving this way in a few years.  My name is Blair."

The pooka smiled.  "You can call me Shells."

Blair grinned.  "That's cool.  Do you need help?  I can ask Xander.  He's used to strange things.  He's hunted bad demons in the past but he was raised in Sunnydale; I know that holds special significance."

"The protections he's laid are very nice.  Do you think he'd mind if I rested here?  It's very pretty high ground and very soft grass."

"I don't think he'd mind at all.  Can I call and ask?"  The pooka nodded, nuzzling his neck.  Blair pulled out his phone to call.  "Xander, Blair.  We have a visitor here who wants grazing rights.  A pooka named Shells."  He winced at the squeal.  "So you don't mind?  Cool, thanks."  He hung up.  "He said that would be fine.  Do you want to graze or should I open a stall for you?  I'd have to clean it for you because the horses are in Miami."

"I can graze.  It's good, fertile land."

"He'll be planting a farm before he comes."  The pooka smirked and trotted off.  "Let me know if you need anything.  I'm looking over the property to make sure no native remains are buried here so we can protect them."

"You are quite an interesting sort," Shells said with a smirk.  He jumped a low stone wall and went to graze by the trees.  It was nice and cool there in the shade.  It had tasty grass.  He could learn to like this area.

Blair texted Xander that it approved of the grass and that he'd graze for now.  Xander said he'd send him some treats for him.  Blair went to breakfast to tell the housekeeper and guards.  They were all in the kitchen.  Everyone ate together.  "We have a Xander-type visitor.  His name is Shells."

The housekeeper looked out there.  "Do we have to hire a groom?"

"It's a half-Pooka."  They all stared at him but one of the guards was crossing himself.  "Xander's farm down in Miami has some fairy rings and he said that Shells could rest wherever he wanted; he'd be sending him some treats."

"With a boy like Xander, that doesn't surprise me," the guard said then sipped some of his coffee.  "Don't take any nighttime rides, Professor."

Blair grinned.  "I spent my sixth grade year in Ireland, man.  It was so wonderful."  They all grinned at him and the housekeeper passed down the bowl of scrambled eggs.  "Thanks, Bethany."

"You're welcome, Blair.  Are you going to be going over one of the fields today or at the local Tribe's heritage center?"

"One of the fields.  The records keeper there thinks there may be two burial chambers toward the east wall.  So I'll be out that way."

"That's fine.  I'll make you a lunch then."  She dished up her sausage and handed it on.  They ate and broke up for the day to their various tasks.  Really, Bethany only had to dust and cook for the three men and herself.  The guards were bored on the gateway all day.  The professor had the most work to do and he was happily doing it like he had missed it.  Whoever he had been in the bad relationship with should have been beaten for trying to push down his intellect and curiosity.


Blair looked up from marking off a spot that held one of the burial chambers when he heard an engine.  "Out here?" he muttered.  He wasn't that far from the house so he jogged back that way.  "Hi," he said with a smile.  "Bethany?"

"Are you the owner, sir?"

"No, I'm doing some research for Xander.  He's in Miami and they're expecting to move this way within a few years.  Can I help you?  I worked with a major crimes department in Cascade for a few years, guys."  He pushed his hair back up under his hat.

"What sort of research?"

"Finding any native remains so we can fence them off properly so they're not touched and talking with the local tribe to see if they wanted us to put up markers or anything."  He smiled.  "I'm an anthropologist.  Doctor Blair Sandburg."

The lead agent shook his hand.  "Special Agent Chris Larabee and this is my team.  We've heard rumors about weapons."

"Well....  Xander does have some."  He texted someone.  "Hmm.  Xander said, and I quote, 'my weapons are allowed by law.  They are overseen by the AD of the ATF office in Miami and the crime lab'."  He looked up.  Another text came in.  "The full inventory of what is in Miami is with both Lieutenant Horatio Caine and ..."  He had to wait for the new text.  "With the AD down there, but you were going to be briefed when he came out in a few years.  That way you didn't have to worry."  Another text came in.  "If you have any questions or concerns, please contact one of them."  He put his phone up.

Chris stared at him.  "Why is he allowed to have weapons?"

"I'm not allowed to divulge that because it'll mean someone else will try to steal Xander.  Or someone in his family."

"So he's beyond rich," one of the agents behind him said.

Blair nodded.  "Yup.  He also has some questionable habits of having poker friends in low places."  He smiled.  "Xander's not a criminal, in that life, or anything."

"Married?" Chris asked.

"Two boyfriends.  Both detectives."

"So he's gay and he bought a huge place....." Chris asked.

"For the family to come up in a few years when they retired from Miami.  They have a farm down there but this consolidated all the houses into this compound and the farm for the future horses."  He saw the look at Shells and smiled.  "Shells just showed up the other day and he's nicely grazing.  He said he didn't want the barn."

"He *said*?" Chris asked.

"He's one of the Little People," the youngest agent said.

"He's half Pooka," Blair said with a grin.  "I can suggest Xander come up and talk to you guys in person if you want.  Or his assistant.  I know that they'd probably be telling the local officers that Xander would interact with most before he got up here.  He spoils the crime lab down there horribly with lunches and things."

"They let him?" an older man asked.

"His boyfriend is one?" Chris guessed.  Blair smiled and nodded.  "Figures.  All right, the weapons?"

"Lieutenant Caine is in charge of the crime lab and he said Blessins is the present AD in the Miami office of your agency.  Either one could probably tell you what's going on since I can't divulge personal information about the family."

"Is it really that big of a threat?" one youngish guy with long hair snorted.

"Since we've had to rescue various family members from parts of the Middle East a few times in the last year, yes," Blair said bluntly.  "Which is why there's a no discussion rule.  Sorry.  I'm sure they'd brief you if you asked."

"He's a society member," one said, looking at him.  Blair smirked and nodded.  "How bad?"

"Top.  With others in the family.  This is his safety escape."

The other agents looked at that one.  "Remember hearing about that unfortunate young woman in Colorado Springs?"  They all groaned and nodded.  "Similar situation but I believe a worse case.  There's none of them here."

"I believe that was the point of buying here," Blair admitted.

"That makes more sense.  It explains the expansiveness of his new plantation as well.  He employs guards?"

"They'll be adding more when the family starts to retire.  Right now we've got the housekeeper and two guards, plus me, who can only get into the armory when the emergency alarm is going off.  Which would probably bring Wade, who is a scary guy even by my standards."

"Commando?" that one asked.

"Yes, and former minion.  Canadian actually.  Though Xander does have friends in Miami's retrieval team.  They were Army Special Forces."

"Ranger?" the one with the mustache asked.

"Delta I believe," Blair said.  "I have one's number somewhere if you wanted to ask them.  Xander would never do anything to compromise his boyfriends' careers or anything, guys.  But there's things I can't tell you if you don't already know."

Xander appeared.  "Problems?"

They stared at him.  "I didn't hear an engine," Chris Larabee said.

Xander smiled.  "I didn't drive."  He moved closer to Blair.  "You need to talk to AD Blessins.  He's already told your AD Travis about us because one of your other teams was looking at my assistant due to his former minion days.  Plus he has the full monthly inventory I do for him and Horatio."

"Why do you need weapons, sir?" Chris asked.

Xander stared at him.  "Because if I don't have them, then people try to snatch my pretty ass to own.  I hate that and end up destroying them, their houses, sometimes a lot more than that.  It's considered diplomatic of me to be strong enough to avoid that by making them think I'm the biggest threat to their lives if they try me.  That way I don't have to destroy another palace in Saudi Arabia this year."

Chris gave him a confused look.  "Why would...."  Xander held up a hand.

"Please don't," the agent that knew said quietly.

"I'm on a downward kick today.  I'm fairly not backed up for a change and it'd clear off within minutes.  I sprayed myself with stuff to keep it down."  He smiled.  "I'm not into taking love slaves."  Chris growled.  He smiled at him.  "My ferrets make the same noise sometimes."  The youngest one burst out cackling.  "They do."  He smiled.  "Relax, dude.  Really."

"I'm not a dude."

"I'm from near LA.  Everyone's a dude."  He stared at him.  "It's okay.  Just breathe and calm down.  There's things I can't tell you that're ATF-centered.  I can call him if you want to talk to him."  He pulled out his phone and dialed.  "Hi, Phil.  It's Xander.  No, I'm in Denver, it's not a huge problem.  Someone slipped them some information out here.  Would I know anyone out here already?"  He looked at him.  "He wants to know which one you are."

"Chris Larabee."

"Cool!  He said he'd be telling your team when we came out."  He handed over his phone.  "That's AD Blessin's assistant.  He's being chewed on by the higher ups I guess."  He looked at Blair.  "Are there whole lots we have to block off?"

"Two, maybe two hidden."

"Cool."  He grinned.  "I was going to put the farm against the back line and move it about three acres this way and about two to four wide.  That'll let us put up farm hand housing if we wanted to by the back gate?"

"That's a good plan," Blair agreed.  "It's flat, it's sunny.  It should do okay."  He looked over.  "Hi, Shells."

Xander turned and tilted his head to the side.  "Hi," he said gently, letting it sniff him.  "We honor and respect all peaceful creatures and spirits.  I'd never hurt something that was peaceful."  The horse lipped his hair.  "I know, I was off riding this morning."  He grinned.  "We have five horses right now in the family.  Six if you count one that's with his human at school but might be back sometime soon."  He petted the soft nose.  "Is your other half draft horse?"  The pooka nodded with a grin.  "Super cool."  He kissed it on the nose.  "You let me know if you need anything.  I have some clover coming out so they can spread some for you."

"That's appreciated, Knight."  Xander stared at him.  "Even our kind have heard rumors about you."  Xander blushed, ducking his head.  "You do look like a maiden when you do that."

"Yes, but if I play maiden for my boys, they can't make it to work tomorrow."  Blair burst out laughing, walking off shaking his head.  Xander winked at the horse, getting a smirk back.  "The clover should be here tomorrow or the next day according to the shipping company.  Or so they say."

"It is nice to nibble but you have good grass."

"I'll try very hard to protect it and not ruin the grounds."

"Good."  He walked off, going back to grazing.

Xander looked at the staring agents and grinned.  "My farm in Miami has some fairy rings.  I picnic near them a lot whenever I'm thinking or avoiding my boyfriends being assholes."

Chris hung up and handed the phone back.  "How long before you move out here?"

"The official timetable is about five or six years.  If necessary because one of my boys gets shot on the job or something it could be sooner.  Then the office down there or someone would come warn you, give you plans we've made for any remaining weapons we have at that time, and all that."

"We've heard nasty artillery rumors," the well-dressed, knowledgeable agent said.

"Yes, I play poker with the underground in Miami and some do pay me in weapons.  They know that anything too big I've got to hand over to Horatio.  Horatio made sure they all knew that, but now and then I take some very nasty things off the streets."  He smiled.  "I also get petting rights for Miami's apocalypse closet.  My assistant, the retrieval guys, and me all do a monthly inventory for them.  Depending on who's free and who's bored enough to come with me."

"But you're not a criminal?" Chris snorted.

"No, I'm bored.  I do win a lot of the money in the underground circuit but most of it goes back into spoiling my boyfriends' units.  Everyone knows not to pay me in drugs after I took down a pipeline for doing so.  Harshly.  Even Horatio said I was mean to them."  He smiled.  They all gaped in horror back.  "I'm like a weird cousin to them.  I mediate disputes, I'm safe to know, they know I like weapons and keep a lot of them on hand in case of emergencies or if I get stolen again.

"I have contacts from some of those occasions in other areas.  They realized trying to shoot me the one time didn't really work all that well and I got pissed about my hair having to be chopped off by six inches because of it.  I understand what gang kids are going through because my upbringing was about the same and demon hunting is too."  He shrugged.  "I'm a nice guy and they mostly like me."  He smiled.  "I'm also one of the protectors in Miami if something weird happens."

"Him being there means that weird things don't happen as often," Blair said from where he was petting his buddy.

"That too," Xander agreed.  He felt a demon and looked around.  "What the fuck?" he called.  Two demons appeared.  "Bad news?" he guessed, looking at the two DPP detectives.

"Marking this site as one of your escape places, Xander."  The rock pile detective smiled at him.  "Few years, right?"

"Yup, probably.  Unless they get shot on the job."

"That's fine.  This way we know where they are in case someone can't find you and asks again.  So we know you're not kidnaped to here," the other said.

"That's cool."  He grinned.  "You should come visit the ferrets.  He misses you and he's been bored recently.  I added a whole new cage to the ferretopia.  It has a lot of new habitrail parts and things too."

"I'll do that later."  He smiled.  "Are you going home soon?"

"Is Wade worried?  I can pop in on him."  He disappeared.  "Wade?  Were you worried that I had went to Denver?" he called from Wade's kitchen.

"No, not really," he called back.  "I'm in the middle of making Anya squeal.  Why?"

"The DPP guys asked why I was there.  I was talking to ATF agents."

"Why?" Anya complained.

"They heard weapons things."  He walked back there and kissed her.  "Can I borrow him later?"

"Sure," Wade said dryly.


"No, if I was having killer orgasms, I'd be napping," Anya complained.  Xander touched her and zinged a bit of energy up her arm, making her squeal and get off.  "That's no fair, Xander Harris!"

Xander smirked.  "Yes it is.  You got happies.  He can take a nap and wear you out more later."

"I about needed one.  I'm losing stamina again," Wade admitted, getting off her and getting dressed.  "Why aren't you backed up like usual?"

"I went to help a horse breeder we know down here.  She wanted to know if me broadcasting would help her horses and she's too low to do it herself.  So I went to be the viagra for her stallion.  He's so sweet and soft.  Like Furry is."

"Furry?" Wade asked, looking confused.

"Ray Junior's horse.  We rescued him from the ASPCA people but he took him to college with him."

"Oh!"  He nodded and buttoned up his shirt, stepping into his shoes so they could go.  Xander brought him back there, letting him look around.  "Did we get a new one?"

"That's Pooka Shells.  He likes Blair."  He grinned.  "Shells, this is Wade, my assistant.  He's Canadian."

The pooka sniffed and nodded.  "I'm just grazing."

"I'm used to weird stuff thanks to Xander, Shells.  It's fine if you're happy doing it.  Do I need to hire him a stable hand?"

"No.  Not right now.  The grass is beautiful here."  He took another nibble.

"Okay."  He looked at the agents.  "Agents Larabee, Standish, Tanner," he said with a nod.  The rest he didn't remember the names of.

Xander looked at him.  "Ran into them before?"

"Max wanted to take out their team for hindering a plan.  Then he forgot about them in favor of trying to destroy Clay."

"Oh.  Well, I'm glad I had the hellhounds rip him apart then."  Xander grinned.

Wade patted him on the back.  "That was a good job, Xander."  Xander smirked at him.  "So, guys, problems?"

Chris Larabee stared at him.  "You were messed up in that psycho Max's things?" he demanded too calmly.

"Xander had him killed when he tried for him and now I'm Xander's head minion and assistant.  It let me retire and do more sane yet strange things.  And shop."  Xander punched him on the arm.  "She'll make you shop for that zinging earlier."

"I'm sure but I'm bored."  He shrugged.  "We can shop.  Jensen's off rescuing Adam again."

"Thankfully Ray has the baby."

Xander called home.  "Did I have the baby?" he asked.  "I don't think I did but I'm making sure just in case."  He grinned.  "Thanks, Ray."  He hung up.  "Ray Junior said I don't have the baby today but I was going to steal him later."

"Then you can take Anya shopping tomorrow."  He looked at the agents.  "Yes, the family is huge, strange, and active."  Larabee nodded once.  "What have you been told so far?"

"I had him talk to Phil, in the Miami office," Xander said.

"That's a good start.  That'll get them briefed and we can work on the safety features with them since they'll know.  That way they can get an updated inventory as well."

"We're not letting you keep artillery," Tanner said with a smug grin.

Xander looked at him.  "If I don't have it, you can come rescue my ass the next time I have to kill people in a slave market in LA or anywhere else I'm trying to get free of."  Tanner gaped.

Standish moaned.  "That was you?"

"That was me losing my temper because they had me and my family because Horatio decided I shouldn't have weapons either.  After that, I'm allowed to have weapons.  The ATF, NCIS, and the VP all said so."

Wade nodded.  "It's always safer and he'd just win more at poker."

"Do I already have any poker buddies up here?" Xander asked him.

"I don't know.  I can check."

"Please.  That way I don't have to ask some people down there to call and warn ahead of time."

"That'll work.  They can give you the low down on where you can safely play too."  He patted him on the shoulder.  "Did you get younger?"

"I forgot my illusion band."

"Oh.  Okay."  He looked at the stunned agents again.  "Let's talk, guys."  He walked them off, away from Xander, telling them what they needed to know about GHS.  Which Standish backed up.  He looked at him then at Xander then back at him.  "Does Xander already know you?"

"No.  Not that I'm aware of."

"Huh.  Well, maybe Xander can teach you that dance style that's self defense and sword work then.  That way you guys get to integrate easier into the family group and the cops in the family will work with you easier when things will happen.  Because they always do."

"What's that building?" Tanner asked with a point.

Wade looked.  "Xander, isn't that the salle?" he asked with a point.

Xander looked and nodded.  "Yup."

"Salle, like for fencing and things of that nature?" Ezra asked, looking at Xander.  Who smirked and nodded, fiddling with a necklace.  That let him feel the quickening buzz.  "Oh, dear," he muttered.

Xander beamed.  "I teach anyone who wants to know the unique dance and fighting style I learned but society members are about the only ones who master it.  I've taught most of the family."

Ezra nodded.  "That's wonderful and very protective in case you need it."  Xander grinned and nodded.  He looked at Wade.

"We like it.  And watching it is really fun too.  Makes everyone horny."  He shrugged.  "My girlfriend likes it a lot."  Xander hugged him.  "Get off," he complained, scowling at him.  "Why did you have to hug me?"

"You called Anya your girlfriend."  He grinned.

Wade considered that.  "I did, didn't I.  Huh."  He shrugged.  "No hugging, Xander.  You know she'd expect me to bring you home and put you between us if you hug me."

"I know.  Pass that on too."  He bounced off to look at a few trees, bringing back two apples for them, handing one to Wade.  Wade checked it, shined it on his shirt, then ate a bite, nodding.  "I like this crossbreed.  It's tasty," Xander agreed, taking a bite.  "So, guys....  Did you need to be briefed further right now?  I'd go steal Horatio but he's in court.  I can steal Don, he's only doing paperwork since he screwed his ankle on a chase a bit ago."

Wade ate another bite, shaking his head.  "Dispatch's frequency had him out in a car chase just a few minutes before you got me.  Danny's in the Everglades on a case with Ray and Frank."

"More than one body?" Xander guessed.

"Two warring families are claiming the bodies.  Ray's using his Chicago charm on them and Frank's backing him up."  He ate another bite.  "Everyone else is on sites around the county.  One's in Homestead but I think that's Calleigh because it's a shooting."  He ate another bite.

Xander nodded.  "Okay, so we can bring them later if you wanted us to," Xander said with a grin for the agents.  "The local office down there approved of the security system on the armory here and my storage area in Miami both.  They said it more than meets their expectations for safety ratings and strength."  He ate another bite and pulled a knife out of his hair to cut some off, going to offer it to Shells.  "Want some apple?  My horses like it and I'm not sure if you do or not."

"Apples are tasty."  He ate a piece, then nuzzled Xander.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome.  We spoil people in this family."  He grinned.  "It gives me something to do."  He gave him a few more pieces then walked off eating the rest.  Wade was shaking his head.  "I do."

"I know you do.  You gave us a great present to make up for torturing us when you brought us to Disney."

Xander beamed.  "If I get that evil next time I'll drag someone else so you don't have to fight down the urge to kill the screaming kids or the princesses."

"Thanks, kid.  That'd be really great of you."  He ate another bite, shaking his head at the strange looks he was getting.  "That's in the briefing too probably."  He stuffed his mouth again with the rest of the apple.  Xander burned the cores with a touch of magic.  "That'll work."  He licked off his fingers.  "So, anything else you guys need today?"

"Retrieval team?" Ezra asked quietly.  "There's none local."

"We work really well with the ones in Miami and if something happens outside there that's my job," Wade assured him.  "I've already looked at the team in Colorado Springs and they're not bad.  They know it's not a problem at the moment and when it does become one, we'll have more people available from the family."

"An avenging society family?" Ezra asked, starting to smile.

"Yes, I am," Xander said with a smirk back.  "I like to destroy people like that.  Making them cry is pretty."  The agents all stifled smiles.  Wade just shook his head but he was smiling.  "So, anyway...."  His phone beeped.  "Don came home for lunch."  He looked at Wade.  "Lunch?"

"I could eat."  Xander and he disappeared.

Larabee stared.  "Ezra, how did he do that?" he asked calmly.

"Magic I believe.  He's slightly gifted from what few rumors I've heard about him.  I'll start asking around."  He walked off.  "Doctor Sandburg, do let us know if something should happen."

"Of course I will.  If the security company doesn't tell you first."  He smiled.  "And if you see Jim Ellison, who I was working with, you haven't seen me.  He's being a dick this year."  He went back to petting the horse/pooka.

"Sure, we can do that," Tanner agreed.  He was really confused.  Ezra at least seemed to know something about what was going on so he'd tell them once they were alone.  Ezra scanned the car to make sure there were no listening devices, tossing it onto the highway when he found one, and then told them everything he knew about the GHS society.  Which explained very little but Josiah seemed to understand more than Vin was.  So he'd ask questions to both of them outside the office.  Where no one could listen.

Though he wasn't the only one wondering if Ezra knew from personal experience.


Xander reappeared and pounced Don for a kiss.  "Denver's ATF office heard something about weapons.  They asked Blair."

"Steve's brother called looking for him."

"Mr. I-can't-have-you-being-gay-around-me, it's-bad-for-my-special-shit can blow me," Xander said bluntly.  "It's up to Blair if he wants to talk to Jim."

"Lover's spat?" Don asked dryly.

"No.  Jim said Blair can't have anyone but him because of his special needs but doesn't want Blair.  It doesn't quite work that way if you're not ready to give up hope on finding someone."

"Fuckhead," Don muttered.  Xander nodded with a grin.  "So he's in Denver doing anthropology stuff?"

"Yup."  Xander beamed.  "He loves the house too."

"Cool."  He took another kiss.  "Apples?"

"Wade and I went to talk to that team.  I got some off the trees."  He looked around.  "Did I take Wade home?"

"Probably not since he's staring at the expanded kingdom of ferret," Don said with a point.

"Oops," Xander said, snatching Wade to take him home then coming back to pounce Don again.  Don made a very good lunch.

Wade looked at Anya, who shrugged.  Wade shook his head back.  "There's a pooka there now."

"Pooka are mean.  They hurt people for fun."

"This one just wants to hang out with Blair and graze."

"Is Blair like Xander?"

"Not as highly rated but probably."

"That's good to know.  Does he like to shop?"

"No, he's an anthropologist.  He likes to go visit native tribes and learn their ways."

"Eww.  Gross.  Dirty, nasty places.  No flush toilets.  Eww!"

"Sometimes your work brings you places without flush toilets, Anya.  I've been many of them."

"It's better now though, right?  Xander always keeps us places where there's good plumbing and nice things to do when he's bored."

"Yes he does."

She beamed and kissed him.  "Apples?"

"From Xander's trees out there."

"Oh.  Wonderful."  She kissed him again.   "We need to get you viagra so you can keep up longer."  He spanked her, making her yelp.  "You said yourself that your stamina is going down."

He stared down at her, smirking hard.  "Maybe you're being a bit too needy?"

"No," she said with a pout.

"Only Xander gets away with pouting around me, Anya, and I ignore his most of the time."  She let it clear up and leaned in to suck on his throat.  Which he kinda liked.  Then she bit him and he hissed, getting happy enough for her needs for now.  She really was mostly perfect for him.  He just had to lessen her neediness sometimes.  Maybe he'd get Xander's help on that since he had managed to keep her worn out most of the time.  He sat down in a chair and let Anya do whatever she wanted, this time.  His fun would be later.


Xander looked up from his tanning in the back yard when a car pulled into his driveway.  "Hi, Linda," he called with a smile and a wave.  She was one of the ASPCA people.  "What's up?  Need some barn space?"

"No, I need to talk to you on behalf of someone, Mr. Harris."  She walked over and sat on the grass in front of him.  "We've been approached by a horse owner, he does jumpers for events and things?  He's got a horse that is not able to be trained the way he would like her to be.  He calls her scatterbrained most of the time actually.  He's at his wits end and wanted to know if I knew anyone who wouldn't mind her quirkiness or else he's going to sell her to a meat place in France."


"Sorry."  She smiled.  "I'm trying to save the poor thing's life and she's trained to jump, she just forgets what she's doing halfway through.  She likes to prance around looking very pretty.  She's a very nice thoroughbred crossbreed.  Very intelligent when she focuses."

"That sounds familiar," Xander quipped with a grin.  "We ride through the woods and jump that way sometimes."

"I remembered that, that's why I came to you.  That and with the two younger mares being so *royal* I figured you could deal with the socialite mentality this one has."

"I can look her over," he offered with a grin.

"Please.  He's not asking a lot for her.  He's kind of disgusted by her actually.  He only wants *serious* horses for competitions."

"Yeah, I know people like that.  That's why I had so much trouble finding the royal brats a trainer when I needed one."  She beamed.  "Let me get dressed.  I doubt he wants to see me in a thong."  He got up and took his book and bottle of ice water inside, putting them in the kitchen so he could wipe off the oil and get dressed.  She drove him over, letting him watch from the driveway.  There was a light gray/almost white horse out there trotting around so her mane and tail flowed out behind her, just happily flitting about.  "She is like me when I'm backed up," he said.  He got out and whistled.  She stared at him then trotted over to sniffle his hand.  He petted her nose, making her happy.  "Hi, Precious.  You're very pretty."  She nuzzled him.  Linda handed him a piece of carrot from the bag he had grabbed on his way back through the kitchen.  She neighed and trotted off looking pretty again.

"That's her," Linda said.  She leaned on the fence next to him.  "She does well under saddle from what he's said.  She can jump, she's trained to jump."

Xander nodded.  "I'd like to see how she rides.  Since all the horses at the farm are ridden."

"I can get him to agree to that."  She went to talk to him.  He tried to call her in.  Xander whistled again and she came over, letting him grab her halter and walk her off so they could get her saddled.  "Let him ride you, dear.  Let's see how well you do with him."  Xander mounted and nodded, walking her out to the ring.  He rode her around a few times then looked down at one hoof.  "That's a need for new shoes."

"I figured it was.  It feels like she's off center."  He got down and looked.  "Yeah, her hoof needs trimmed."  He looked at her.  "You've almost got a sharp and pointy there, dear.  What's her name?"

"Harvest Gold's Celebration," the owner said.

"Her use name?" Xander asked.  Show names were horrible and no one used them for anything but paperwork.

"We call her brainless most of the time.  Celebration for formal things."

Xander nodded, looking at her.  "Well, Celebration," he said, petting her gently.  "Everyone but Furry might get along with you but he's at the college so you don't have to worry about him pushing you into the stream too often right now."  She nuzzled him and he handed over another piece of carrot.  "Like those?"  He grinned.  She nuzzled him.  He looked at the guy.  "How much were you wanting for her?"

"Hell, transport her off," he offered.

Xander smiled and called the farm's guys, then Steve.  "My farm's people can be here in a few."  He petted her, handing over the saddle and bridle.  The owner could use them for another horse later on.  The farm's truck showed up and Xander walked her over.  "She needs a manicure," he joked with a grin.

"I've seen her looking pretty but not real useful," the ranch leader said dryly.

"She's a lot like me when I'm backed up."

"If horses get hormones like yours, Xander, we're all screwed," he muttered.  Xander laughed and hugged him then helped her into the truck.  "She trailers well."

"She's very smart, she just gets too distracted."

"We can handle that probably.  She's going to get along well with the two royal brats."  He helped Xander close the gate and drove her off.  He had a stall being prepared for her already.  She was nibbling on the hay he had put in there for her.  She was a content, happy, healthy looking horse.  Just....scatterbrained.

Xander shook Linda's hand and accepted a ride back into town to get his own car from the garage.  Then he went to the farm to work on letting the herd accept her.  She was already happily sunning herself in the paddock.  The other mares were staring at her.  "Ladies, she's trained but she's not a warmare like you four are," he told them.  "She's a jumper."  He led the original Princess over so they could meet.  Princess liked her so it was good.

Pride came over and nosed her tail.  She let out an outraged noise so he did it again and she huffed, trotting off.  Xander snickered.  "She's a lot like the younger mares, Pride."  He petted him, whistling to bring her back.  He caught her halter, letting Pride sniff her.  He nibbled on her neck and walked off to drink from the stream.  "See, it's all good."  He let her go with a pet.  "We'll ride some more later."  She trotted off again.

The head groom looked at him.  "She's flighty."

"She's a lot like me."

"Yes she is," he agreed dryly.  "We've got the shoe guy coming in tomorrow anyway."  Xander grinned.  "She's pretty.  I'm glad Pride's fixed though."

"Furry is too.  Ray Junior's not sure if he's moving him back here or into the other place when he comes back to Miami."

"Furry was a little snot," he snorted.  "They'll clash a few times but Furry will prove he's a herd second."  He opened the gate for Xander.  "Think she'll give Duchess and Countess bad ideas of looking pretty?"

Xander grinned.  "Probably not.  Her former owner did jumpers."

"I saw her there once.  Totally forgot what she was doing in the middle of a competition, then acted horrified that they expected her to work."

"We can change her use name.  She has an official show title."

"Call her Debutante?" he joked.

"That'll work.  They were calling her Celebration."

"No, I think her mama did too much of that and it soaked in while she was pregnant," the groom joked.

"She likes carrots."

"Wonderful."  He got a few from the garden and came back to wave them.  She came trotting over and took one on her way past him, going back to looking pretty.  "Yup, she's a Debutante all right."  Xander grinned.  "I'll have someone call Ray to see when he's bringing Furry back."  He held up the other carrot but Princess 2 took it to nibble on as she walked off.  The new mare let her get close and snuggle in to brush flies off each other.  "She could use a tail and mane trim too."

"Manicure, haircut," Xander said dryly.  "Will the spare saddle fit her?"

"We can check."  Xander nodded and took Pride to exercise him.  "We already ran them through their paces, Xander."

"I'm going to put up an obstacle course for them so they're not bored," he called.

"Okay.  We can watch that."  He watched what the boy did.  It was weaving and ground rails plus a few larger ropes to herd for a path marking.   Debutante trotted over to look and daintily jumped the ground rails before trotting down the path.  Xander grinned and switched to her, riding her around it.  She seemed to like it and Pride followed.  He liked it too.  So that'd work.  Plus the warmares could probably use the practice.  Ryan Wolfe showed up an hour later, staring at the new horse.  "We're going to call her Debutante."

"So she's a brainless party girl?" he joked.

"Likes to be pretty.  Bit scatterbrained."

"Ah, she's like Xander.  We should've named her Level Ten or something," Ryan joked.

"I heard that," Xander called.  "I'm not giving you a blow job later, Ryan."

"That's fine."  He whistled a particular cadence and Princess trotted over, letting him saddle her.  They went onto the obstacle course too and she liked that.  She loved him and adored Xander as her bedroll mate.  The new mare stared at him so he petted her behind the ear when he got close enough.  "Hi, Debutante.  You're very pretty."  She seemed to preen as she trotted off.  He stared at Xander, who just grinned.  "She's so much like you."  Xander hit him on the arm.  "Just saying."

"Uh-huh.  She's trained to jump."

"Good!"  He got back to working with his ladies.  They were good for him.  Better than dating had been.  Xander got Debutante back into the barn for grooming and she was happy to be brushed and spoiled.  Ryan shook his head.  They had named her right.  The only more correct name would've been Greg.


Danny looked at Ryan over lunch, which had nicely been bought for him and Don.  "When did we adopt a new horse?"

"They were going to sell her for meat because she's like Greg and Xander's love child," Ryan told him.  "She's good, she's sure footed, she did good on the mini obstacle course Xander set up.  She just wants to be pretty in the sunlight most of the time."

Danny stared at him.  "You're joking."

"They're going to call her Debutante."

"Oh, damn," he muttered, shaking his head.

"She's a good horse.  Even Furry got along with her.  Ray brought Furry back earlier because he's graduating in a few weeks.  Furry tried to nudge her into the stream and she flipped her tail at him, giving him a dirty look.  Then she went trotting off again to look really pretty."  He grinned.  "Furry gave her that 'confused' look he gives us sometimes."

Danny moaned, shaking his head.  "Is she rideable for outings?"

"Yeah.  She's a good, strong horse.  Needs some maintenance done on her hooves and a haircut."  Danny put his head down, thumping it on the table.

Don strolled in with a grin.  "Told him about Debutante?" he teased.

"Yup."  Ryan grinned back.  "She's a good horse."

"Good.  Xander could use something new to fuss over."

"He said it's up to you to replace the dogs."

Don sighed.  "I haven't found a set I like yet."

"When you do, you'll let him spoil them and train them too," Ryan assured him with a grin.

"Of course I will."  He sat down.  "She's really pretty."

"Did we need another horse?" Danny asked.

"Yup."  Don grinned.  "For group rides we do need about four more.  You, me, Xander, Ryan, Dean, Sam, Horatio, Speed, Ray Junior, Wade, Jensen, Cougar, and any of the others that come along."

"We don't usually ride that way."

"I think Xander wanted us to do some group rides."

"Maybe," Danny sighed.  He looked at them.  "No more pets beyond whenever you decide to replace the dogs."


"I'll tell him," Ryan agreed.  "I joked we should call her Level Ten and he said I'm not getting blown today."

Don shook his head, showing Danny the picture text Xander had sent him.  "That's her."

"She's very pretty next to Furry," Danny agreed.  "She's not a fluffy one like him either."

"Nope, smooth coated and she'll probably have a great gait once they trim her hooves.  The owner was about to sell her for meat and Xander said one of the ASPCA people showed up to talk to him about her."

"Fine, I guess.  The farm is you and Xander's thing mostly," Danny reminded him.  "Does Wade know how to ride?"

"Not real sure," Don admitted.  He texted that question and got a huff back.  "I don't think so."

"There's something for Xander to do then," Danny decided with a grin.   He texted Xander that.  Xander sent back he could do that.

"Both Princesses are very good at teaching new riders," Ryan said with a grin.  "My ladies are great friends."

"Now if only they were human so you could date," Danny teased with an evil smirk.

Ryan snorted.  "Please!  No way can I date all the shallow hos we have in Miami."  Both guys laughed at that.  It was too true but funny.

Don's phone rang.  "That's Linda at the pound.  Xander must be off signing forms," he said, walking off talking to her.


Wade sighed as he got out of his car, walking to where Xander was working with Furry.  "Why do I have to take lessons?"

"What happens if I'm snatched while I'm riding?"

Wade grimaced.  "It's not real useful and I've ridden camels."

"It's a lot different," Jensen called from where he was working with Princess 2.  "He'll still need security while riding."

"Fine."  Xander got down and showed Wade how to mount Furry.  He went over what to do to walk him around the paddock, walking beside him for now.  Wade knew he had to be delicate because otherwise Xander would shoot him then revive him.  Possibly more than once.  So it went.  He was super sore by the time Xander let him down.  Jensen was even standing a bit oddly but that was probably just post-sex soreness for him.  Wade felt like he had taken a horse up the ass.  He wobbled back to his car.

"Want me to get you something to help with the muscle stiffness?" Xander called.  "I have some muscle rub."

"Anya has some and if you applied it she'd expect more, Xander."  He slid in and winced, but shifted and drove back home so he could be babied.  Anya looked up from her cooking when he wobbled in.  "First riding lesson."

"Aww.  You look like they put you in a sling and rode you hard, Wade."  She took a kiss.  "Go take a warm bath with my purple bubbles.  It's got a muscle relaxer herb in it.  I'll bring you dinner."  He nodded, going to grab that bottle from her bathroom so he could take a bubble bath.  He hadn't had one since he was six but he could manage it this time.  It wasn't going to erode his manliness.  "Does that mean I can find the strap on and ride you hard too?" she called after him.

"Ask me when I'm not sore, Anya."

"Okay."  She went back to cooking.  She finally brought him in some.  "Here, nothing that'll hurt to poop out in a few days."  She took a kiss and handed him a book too.  She lit a few lavender candles to help him relax and then left him alone.

Wade looked at them.  They were too far away to blow out and he was too sore to get out of the tub.  So he guessed he had to deal with it for now.  He put the book aside and finished dinner, then laid down in the tub to nap.   At least he wouldn't have to make Anya squeal later.  Unless she climbed on him in the tub.  He had run it a bit cold to discourage her though.


Don leaned into the kitchen that night.  "Xander, did you talk to Linda?"

"No, not yet.  Why?"  He looked over from making gravy for the steaks for dinner.   "Did she find something else I needed to look at?"

"Two barely sucking lab puppies?" Don asked.  He looked so hopeful.

Xander kissed him.  "They're your dogs."


"Labs are good dogs that like to play," Xander said with a grin.  "We can go to all sorts of tracking classes."

Sam pushed past Don.  "Need some help.  Someone dropped a dog they cut up into the Impala."  Xander nodded, getting the first aid kit while Don helped Dean move the dog.  "I know it's a hound of some sort."

Xander looked.  "It's a Pharaoh Hound I think.  They're sight and scent dogs.  I've been looking at breeds."  He petted it gently.  "Stay still, baby.  We're helping.  Don, call Linda?"  He nodded, calling her.  "And yes, if you want the baby labradors, we're good."  He cleaned the first of many cuts and put a bandage over it.  "The skin's too thin to stitch."  Dean nodded, moving to help clean up the blood that was dripping from some of the cuts.  A heavier truck showed up and Xander looked at Don, letting him handle it.

Don walked over to them.  "Linda, some sick ass person dropped a puppy they cut up in Sam and Dean's car.  They're working on it.  Xander said it's a Pharaoh Hound."

"They're good dogs."  She came in to help look, the other ASPCA worker following.  "Jesus," she breathed.

"Nothing's really deep," Xander told her.  "A few are still bleeding.  We've already done the other side.  There's a huge tear under his tail.  And it looked like they were trying to circumcise the poor dog too."  He looked up.  "The vet?" he asked hopefully.

"I am," she said, kneeling next to them.  "That's very nicely done."

"I have to know how to field treat injuries.  Linda, I know they need to be cleaned," he said dryly.  "It's on my to-do list for tonight."

"That's fine, Xander.  You spoil your ferrets horribly."

"Don told me about the lab puppies."

"Chocolate lab puppies."

"Aww," Sam said with a grin.

"Xander said it's good," Don told her.

"Wonderful."  She smiled.  "You guys are a great family and they'll have plenty to run around and play with here.  Plus I'm sure Xander will train them like he did the dalmations you had."  Xander nodded.  They got the hound cleaned up and put into a carry sling.  It was still very young but they didn't want to hurt it.

Xander looked at her.  "If it comes down to a last day," he said quietly.  She smiled and nodded, patting him on the arm before leaving.  Xander helped Dean up and they went to clean up while Sam cleaned up the bandage mess.

Don sighed as he sat down.  "Where were you two when that happened?"

Sam shrugged.  "At the farmer's market picking up grapes for Xander.  He wanted some for dessert.  We came out and found him on our backseat but the car was locked."

"Okay.  We can make sure that report goes in."  Sam smiled.   Don got up and got the closest laptop to look up that breed.  "Huh, sight and smell hounds."  He nodded.  "Smart, playful, loyal, can herd the kids when they're older."  Sam snickered.  "Okay."  He sat down again.  Xander came out and went back to save dinner while Dean sat down on the couch.  "We'll have begging puppies underfoot soon."

"I miss being begged," Dean said with a grin.  Don smirked at him for it.  "The furry footstool livers were cool with us."

"Xander, can I help?" Sam called.  He went to wash his hands and learn how to do that from Xander.  Xander had really taught him a lot about kitchen stuff since they had started to train with him.

Dean and Don shared a look, Dean smirking.  "He's a girl anyway," Dean assured him, getting swatted by Don for it.  The news got turned on and it was good.


Wade looked at Anya, who was being pouty.  "Anya, you're reaching the level of addicted again.  We've got to work this out before you kill me in bed.  What's behind the sudden upswing in your libido?"

She stared at him.  "It's the same as it was."

"No it's not.  Even Xander said you're more hyper now than when you were with him."  She pouted again, shaking her head.  "What?"

"I'm mortal."

"Yeah, most beings are and even the immortal ones can usually be killed if you try hard enough."  She stared at him in that special 'dumbass' look.  "I will be once the person who brought me back dies."

"What if I go before she does?"

Wade sighed.  "I don't know."  She sulked and slumped further back into the couch.  Clearly something had to be done.  "You know you can't replace all that time with a lot of sex."

"I can already measure my life in centuries.  You can barely do decades.  It's not fair."  He stared at her.  "It's not."

"It may not be but life isn't fair.  Or else Xander would have someone glued to his side who can wear his ass out."  She nodded that was true.  He stared at her.  "From now on, you can have four a day.  No more than that unless it's a special event and I agree.  No more than one with toys."

"You're rationing me?" she demanded.

"Yes.  Sex should be more special than eating a meal," he said bluntly.  "Which is where you've put it.  So therefore you're not getting more than four a day.  And if this works, we'll remind you how it's supposed to be more than a biological itch to scratch."

"But...." she started.  Wade shook his head.  "Maybe we should put you on viagra after all."

"Most women only get two or three a week, Anya.  I can do that instead."  She slumped down, shaking her head.  She'd hate that.  "Also, let me make myself clear.  If you cheat, I'll make sure you both die by my hand and it will be *fun* for me," he assured her.  He had heard she went out on Xander that once with Spike.  That was not going to be put up with.  "Unless I agree and she's real pretty and good in bed, and that would still count against your four a day limit."  She gaped, staring at him.  He stared back.

"You'd torture me?"

"Hell yes.  I'd have so much fun torturing you it'd be epic as Xander says."

She sniffled and hugged him.  "I nearly came from that."

"That would count too," he said dryly, letting her cuddle.  "It has to mean more than dinner, Anya.  Treating it like you do eating means it's less worthy to your life."  She nodded, snuggling against his side.  "If it's a special occasion I might relent."

"Thank you, Wade."

"Don't make me doubt you or make you put on a chastity belt, Anya.  You won't like the one I'd pick."  She shivered.  He smirked.  "Ones without the electronic egg, yes."  She let out a light moan.  "Maybe even with sharp spikes."  She came.  He patted her on the stomach.  "That's your one with toys."

"Can't we start tomorrow?" she asked, sounding hopeful.

"No, because you'd kill me in bed, woman.  You're mercenary like that."  He smirked.  "I still haven't changed my will either.  Right now everything goes to Xander."  She pouted but nodded, snuggling in again.  Maybe this rationing would help her calm down.  He sure hoped so.  He hated having chest pains from sex.  There was no way he'd survive if she kept up at her old pace.  He might even get her down to two a day, two good, long, hot ones.  That might be nice.  It would also leave him enough energy to follow Xander around with all the insane stuff he did.


Xander walked into the pound, finding Linda looking pissed off.  "My quarterly donation help that bad mood any?" he quipped as he took off his sunglasses.

"Probably, yes."  He wrote out a check and texted Steve.  She smiled and went to hand it to her boss.  "Xander, were you serious?"


"That hound?  The boss thinks he's too sick."

"Shit, woman, I've seen worse injuries after a date night."  She cackled.   "That's why I'm here checking on him and Don's new puppies."

"They're still being bottle fed."

He shrugged.  "Do they need diapers?"  She shook her head slowly.  "Then I've babysat a few times.  How often do they get fed?"

"Every four hours."  She gave him a hopeful look.

"Ask Adam about cats," he said quietly.  "With the new one I'm not sure but Ray might like something bigger than a turtle."  He followed her back, smiling at the trio of lab puppies.  "Three?"

"One's spoken for by another worker."  Xander beamed.  "Those two are Don's puppies and your hound buddy is in the infirmary still."  She led Xander that way.  Xander petted him through the bars then opened them and took him out to do a bandage change.  One was grimy and another had scratch marks.  She smiled at the vets when they came in.

Xander picked him up to rub noses with him, smiling some.  "You're adorable and a lot less work than Don's puppies will be, dear."  The dog barked.  Xander grinned.  "Good boy dog."  He finished the changes and tucked him into his shirt.  The dog snuffled and wiggled then settled in.  "Okay," he told Linda.  "I know I have paperwork.  Do I need to take Don's puppies home today too?"

"Please," she said.  "The new manager is saying they're a lot of work and we're overly full."

"You make sure that quarter of a mil I just gave you goes to them," he said, staring at her.  She beamed.  He smiled at the vets.  "I'll be doing the bandage stuff so don't worry about this one, guys."  They smiled.  "Got any other things I can share with Horatio and the poker buddies?"

"She's a political appointment," the head vet muttered.

Xander smirked.  "That's fine, dear."  He kissed him on the cheek.  "Thank you for taking such good care of him.  C'mon, Ramses."  He walked off petting the dog down his shirt.

Linda handed him the paperwork.  Xander signed it and paid the fee.  "We still have to do a home study," the manager sneered.

Xander stared at her.  "I'm going to set your ass on fire and cackle pleasingly if you don't get out of my face, woman.  Since I'm one of the major supporters of the pound, and I give you guys about two mil a year....."  She gasped and ran back into her office.  "I know PETA members who would be better," he complained.  Linda snickered, shaking her head.  "Really."  He got the other two as well and they all went with him to visit City Hall.   He walked up to one of the local council members' offices with the dogs.  His was still down his shirt so he couldn't wiggle too much and Don's were in the carry bag.  He knocked and walked in with a smile.  "Is he busy?"

"Not really.  Do you have an appointment?"

"No, I need to make a point known."  He put down the bag, hearing the whines.  "We'll get you guys some milk in a few minutes."  He petted them both then grinned at her.  "The head of the local pound is a bitch."  He walked into the office after a knock.  "Hi, Bob."

"Xander!" he yelped, staring at him.  "What's wrong with your chest?"

Xander pulled Ramses out.  "Someone tossed him into the Winchester's Impala.  The manager you guys just hired thought it was too much work to change bandages, feed newborn puppies without a mom, or do an adoption fair."

"Crap," he muttered.

"I gave them my quarterly donation and she sneered when I was doing the paperwork for Ramses here."  He put him back into his shirt, letting him get comfy.  "I know PETA people who'd be *so* much better at the job.  I know they said she was a political appointment but do they all hate animals that much?"

"No, they don't.  She's someone's sister-in-law."

"Well, do an audit.  I just gave my contribution today."

"I'll definitely do that.  How much do you give?"

"Two mil a year."

He gaped, dropping his pen.  "We give them half that and they're always claiming they're broke."

"I started that last year.  The year before it was closer to half or three-quarters."

"Oh, that's so going to stop!"  He called someone.  "Mayor, it's Bob.  Xander Harris gave the pound two million last year."  He listened.  "Yes, and she's apparently already causing problems, including not running adoption fairs."

"Which are really cheap.  You go to an event with a few dogs, the forms, pictures of the others, materials on the pound's services like fixing dogs," Xander said dryly.  "You maybe have to spend two hundred at most for spots and ribbons to make them pretty."

"I'd bet they can talk their way out of spot fees," Bob told him.  He repeated that comment.  "Exactly.  He just gave them a quarter?" he asked Xander, who nodded.  "A quarter of a mil today when he went to adopt an injured dog.  They decided bandage changes were too much work.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "He'll bring it up with that person and she'll be removed."

Xander smiled.  "Thank you.  I told them even PETA members would be better.  Even the sort that insist dogs and cats don't need meat."  Bob snorted, shaking his head.  "Thanks, Bob."

"No, thank you.  That's going to save us a lot of bad publicity as well."  Xander smiled.  "Are you training him?"

"And Don's two chocolate labs."  He went to get them and bring them in.  "They're still nursing."

"Aww.  They're adorable.  My wife would love to snatch them until they got bigger."

"They had a few nice lap dogs.  They had a whole lot of full cages."

"My wife knows some of the biggest animal rights people in the area.  Not for long they won't."  Xander grinned and left him to plot.  He called his wife and his sister-in-law at the same time to let them know.  His sister-in-law was a fierce animal rights person who had even broken into labs.  She'd help that problem a lot.  Thankfully Miami had a no-kill shelter that could take over for a few days.  The mayor was already throwing a fit up the hall on someone about animals.  That'd help too.


Xander walked the puppies into the station with a bag.  "Clara, I have two boxes of food in the car.  Can I bum someone?" he asked with a grin.

"For the detectives and the lab?"

"No, that's officer food."  He grinned.  "I'm just showing off puppies."  She cooed at them.  Ramses woke up to stare at her, then hid his head again.  "Someone mauled him and tossed him into Dean and Sam's car."

"That stupid idiot," she said bluntly.  Xander nodded.  "You're so good to the pound, Xander."

He grinned.  "They've got a whole lot of pets right now and a manager who doesn't want to adopt them out."

"I'm looking for a new cat."  He grinned as he walked off.  He stopped off to make bottles and put them into the carrier for the puppies.  They happily slurped and got sleepy.  Ramses barked so Xander fed him a treat, getting a wagging tail to tickle him.  Clara, the receptionist, sent one of the officers she knew liked Xander to get the food from his car for them.  That made their week and it was good how he spoiled them.

Xander walked up to where Don was holding his head while on the phone, handing him one of the puppies to feed and a bottle.  Don looked down at his bundle of fur and big, brown eyes, smiling at it.  "Hey, Ma, gotta go.  Xander just picked up the new puppies.  Love you."  He hung up.  "Hi, snookums," he cooed, petting her while feeding her.

Xander let the other into his lap and Ramses lifted his head out.  "This is Don, he's family," he told him.  The dog sniffed them all once Xander let him down.  Then he got Xander again.  "You'll figure out family pretty quickly, Ramses."

"Ramses?" Frank asked, smiling because you had to.  The kid was goofy with the puppies.

"He's a Pharaoh Hound," Xander quipped with a grin.

"That makes sense then, yeah," Ray agreed.  He came over to look.  "Aww, tiny fluffballs that need bottles.  Thankfully no diapers or colic."

"Thankfully," Xander agreed with a grin.  "It'd be bad if they had messy butts like the godson."

"Toby's had nothing but messy butts for days."  He took Ramses to pet.  The dog stared at him.  "I'm an in-law, Ramses.  You'll get to play with my son Toby and his buddy Mellie very soon."  He petted him, sitting down again so the dog could sit in his lap.  "Is this the one that got dumped?"  Xander nodded.  "Wow."

"They didn't want to take care of him.  The new manager is a bitch.  I already talked to someone."

Don grinned.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome."  He winked.  "We're going to the vet's in about an hour, when they come in from lunch.  I did a bandage change earlier on him."

"That's cool."  He took a quick kiss.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He grinned.  "So, these are the new family furry babies.  Frank, did you see the new horse?"

"Don showed me Debutante," he said with a grin.  "My wife and I went out to coo at them in the paddock the other day because she wanted to walk in the woods."

"That's cool."  He grinned at the puppy he was feeding.  "Let's get you guys outside so we can go to the vet vets.  Then we'll go home to pounce Dean and Sam to play."  He got them all into the carrier.  Ramses was sleepy and still more than small enough to fit.  Xander waved and took them back down to the car.  The guard nodded, looking at the dogs.  "Don's new puppies."

"Aww."  Xander grinned.  "Have a good day going dog shopping, Harris."

"Already did that on the way here."  He got into the corvette and strapped the bag in, then drove them off.  The vet's nurse was back and Xander let her check the bandages.  She heard about the pound's problems and that the vets had done what they could under those orders.  A few of the cuts were stitched but the rest needed to be recreamed and rewrapped.  Xander let her have the two new princesses in the family, making her coo.  "Everyone does that," he said with a grin.  "Don picked them out to replace the dalmations."

"They're adorable.  How old?"

"Still slurping up bottles," he said.  "She didn't want to take the trouble of feeding them either so I brought them home today."  She said something in Spanish and he nodded.  "I've already talked to someone."

"Good!"  She heard the vet come in whistling and went to tell him about the new patients.  He came in happy and smiling, petting them all.   They got their first shots and Xander went home with them.  After they watered the small bit of grass the vet's office had so they wouldn't pee in the corvette.  Xander opened the door and his senses went off.  He moved himself and the dogs back inside, barely in time to avoid being exploded.  The nurse gave him an awed look.  "I think my phone was in the car.  Can you maybe call Don at work for me please?" he asked, sounding tired.

"Of course," she agreed.  The receptionist was calling the fire department.

Xander sat down to pet the dogs.  "I guess we need to get you more formula and dog food since it was in the trunk."  He heard the sirens and looked out there, waving at one of them.  He got a nod back from the captain of that engine and settled in to wait on someone.


Across town, Jensen's police band radio was going nuts.  "Clay, someone blew up Xander's car!" he shouted as he grabbed what he needed.  "He's at the vet's."

"Shit!" Jolene yelled.  "Did he have the babies?"

"No."  He called Wade.  "Xander's at the vet's.  Someone blew up his car."  He hung up and hurried out to see if they could help.


Frank answered Don's phone.  "Flack's desk.....  Excuse me?" he demanded.  The nurse repeated that.  "You keep him inside.  Someone will be there to pick him up in under five minutes."  He hung up and called the house.  "Dean, someone blew up Xander's car at the vet's.  Yeah, he has the dogs.  Here."  He hung up and called Horatio, who went to see what was had happened.  He hoped it was just something artillery wise being broken and not an attack but he wouldn't bet on it.  Not with it being Xander.


Xander looked up as people showed up.  "Jensen, they blew up the new dog's formula and food.  Can we stop by Petsmart to get some more?"

"Of course."  He hugged him.  "What the hell happened?"

"I opened the door and it clicked that danger sense."

"Shit."  He cuddled him.  Wade stomped in.  "He needs to hit Petsmart for the new furry babies."

"We can do that."  He took off his sunglasses, looking at Xander.  "Nice job staying calm."

"I'm going to rip whoever did that to shreds and atomic bits and pieces," Xander assured him.  Wade smirked.  "Can we?"

"Let me make sure who wants you."  He called Horatio, who was on his way.  He hung up and shook his head.  "Horatio said the office and only the office."  He called Dean.  "Hit Petsmart or somewhere, pick up...."

"Formula for the two puppies and food for Ramses, who is still a puppy but not nursing," Xander said a bit too calmly.  "Bottles and puppy pads too, just in case please."  Wade repeated that and hung up, helping Xander put the dogs back into the carrier so they could go together.  Clay was talking with the fire chief about where the explosive had been placed.  Wade got him into his car and Jensen made sure they'd be fine.  They passed Horatio, letting Xander wave weakly.  "Do we think it was a poker thing or something else?" Xander asked.

"No clue," Wade admitted.  He pulled into the station and got out, letting Xander let the dogs have a bit of grass space for peeing then they went inside.  "Clara, where do they want him?"

"Tripp's desk, Wade.  What happened?"

"Someone blew up the corvette," Xander said dryly.  "Apparently I need to take the sword to someone in a very mean way."  She shivered.  He nodded.  "Dean's bringing puppy supplies since it was in the trunk."  He looked at Wade.  "So was my wallet."

"That's fine."  He walked him up there, handing him to Frank.  "What do you have on you?"  Xander sat down to empty his pockets.  Wade knew what he usually carried and Don had his backup wallet in his desk so Xander at least had his ID and things.  His phone had been in the car.  A practice blade but not his special one.  That was in his hair like usual.  Xander made himself calm down by playing with the dogs between the desks.  They were more than happy to play and Ramses was learning the new puppies' scent and batting at them.  They were all happy with that.  Dean got there with the supplies, letting Xander set out things for them.

Frank watched then looked at Wade.  "Get his range rover?" he asked quietly.

"I drove it down," Dean told him.  "There's no way they can blow that up."

"Short of something very high yield," Xander agreed.  "It's like taking out a tank."

Wade nodded.  "We're all very happy about that too."  He let Dean help with the puppy stuff.  Ramses was sniffling them all again.  Dean put down a puppy pad and put him onto it, making him pee with a grin.  Wade shook his head.  "Good timing."

"Puppies pee with their tails.  It's like it pumps it up to max force when they wag," Xander joked.  He checked his hair.  "Wade, call Fu?  I was supposed to be there later."   He walked off calling around to the various people to see who had heard what.  He looked at Dean.  "Sam at home?"

"Yup and I warned the community guards.  Just in case."  Xander nodded, swallowing.  "I know you loved the corvette.  We'll figure it out, Xander."

"Yes we will because I'm going to make them so small of chunks not even the dogs will be able to sniff out parts."

"Sure, we can help with that," Dean promised.

"Let's get a statement of where you went today," Frank ordered calmly.  Xander nodded, letting Dean play with the two lab puppies for now.  Ramses was clinging to Xander and loving on him.  Which was keeping Xander calm and away from his weapons.  Clay might even have to change the access code on Xander to keep him out of them.

Wade came back, looking down at him.  "Someone hates that you're keeping Hubert."

"Why?" Frank asked.

"They say he's an exotic animal and that's bad.  That he should be back in his native environment."

"So it was an animal kook?" Dean demanded.

"From what the spooks in South Beach said, yes.  Though there's a doubt about them also hating him for being gay."

"Like the almost neighbor when we were waiting on the house to be fixed?" Xander asked.

"She was mentioned actually," Wade told him.

"Good to know," Frank said, calling that in to Horatio.  He'd join him there to question her.  Horatio might lose his temper and kill her without his help.

"I'm a good boy, right?" Xander asked Wade.  "Usually?  I don't cause anyone but you guys and the family problems?  I don't do socially horrible things?"  Wade and Dean shook their heads.  "I'm not turning into a dictator, an evil genius, nothing like that?"  They shook their heads again.  "Then why in the hell would someone like that care about my baby dragon?"

"They're the same sort that break into labs to free the rats," Dean soothed.

Xander looked at him.  Then at Wade.  "I don't know," Wade admitted.  "I consider you a lot more sane and reasonable than Max ever was and most of my former military commanders too, Xander."  Xander smiled at that compliment.  "You're not going to be the evil overlord type unless you have to so things are safer for you."  He patted him on the head.  "Anya can't have a dog."

"They're my dogs," he complained.

"Good."  He smirked.  "By the way, I rationed her."

Xander smirked.  "Cool.  I hope it works."

"Me too.  I was starting to have chest pains."  He shook his head quickly, letting Ramses sniff him again.  "You'll get to know me, kiddo.  I'm the main minion."

Xander kissed him on the cheek.  "You're an assistant.  You make more than minion wages and I don't make you wear a uniform."  Wade smirked at him.  He nuzzled the dog back, getting a bark but Ramses was calming them all down.

The Police Chief stomped in.  "Why are we having puppies up to play with the detectives?" he demanded.

"Because someone tried to blow me and them up," Xander quipped back.  "Someone had better hope they don't get bail."  The Chief gaped.

Wade looked at him.  "They blew up the corvette when he was at the vet's."

"Oh, god," he muttered, crossing himself.

"Animal radicals," Wade told him.  "From what we've heard.  We're waiting on the all clear to bring him home."

"Fine.  Why puppies?"

Xander held up the two puppies.  "These are Don's new puppies and Ramses is mine."  He smirked.  "They're all going to classes."

"Fine, I suppose."  He walked off shaking his head.  If they made a mess, Harris or someone would clean it up for them he was sure.  He hoped this didn't start a war on his streets but that would probably be calmed down fairly quickly, after a few deaths.  There couldn't be that many animal radicals in Miami.  They were off fighting about owls in Washington state or something.

Wade smirked at him.  "Dinner?"

"No, I'm not cooking," Xander said calmly.  "I'll be playing."

"Good."  He stood up and let Dean guard Xander while he called someone to bring them dinner later.  Danny and Ryan stomped in.  "We clear on the house?"

"Clay's checking it."  Ryan hugged Xander, letting the dog lap him.  "Hi, Ramses."  He petted him gently.  "Be careful?"

"I am.  I hope like hell I get to kill them for this."

"Only if you can challenge 'em," Danny ordered.  Xander grimaced.  "We've already made sure Fu knows that the poker buddies can't help with that either."

"Fine.  Spoil my fun.  I'll wait until they get bail."

"Sure."  He nodded a few times and do did Wade.  Danny sat down to let the mutts sniff him.  "Hey, kids."

"This is Ramses, and that's....  Don hasn't decided yet I don't think."  Danny texted him.  He got one back from Horatio.  Xander looked.  "Okay, we have Hershey and Kiss."  They all smiled at those names.  Adam stomped in with Toby.  "Did someone try to blow you up too?"

"He has colic," Adam growled.  Xander took the baby.  The dogs all sniffed him and Ramses barked but the baby stared at him.  Xander petted him and he calmed down.  The puppies licked the baby's toes and cheeks, making Adam take him back.  Kiss barked at him until the baby got handed back with a groan.  Xander grinned.  "You're still only babysitting.  Are we showing off the new dogs?"

"Someone tried to make me go boom," Xander said.  "I'm controlling my temper beautifully I think."

Adam nodded, taking his son back.  "I'm sure you are."  Xander smirked at him.  Ramses stared at him so he sat down and let the dogs come sniff him and the baby some more.  Hershey and Kiss were barely able to waddle but they were enthusiastic balls of fluffy fur.  Ramses was sleek, short haired, tan, and very wiggly.   Dean put him on the puppy pad and pushed his backside down.  Ramses peed again, getting a coo and a pet from the daddy.  The two other ones got put on there.  They scent marked it too.  That worked and it was nicer.  They all loved that they got that point.  "They're very smart dogs," Adam told him.

"Have you seen the new horse in the family?" Dean asked with a smirk.  "Debutante lives up to her name."

"Should've named her Hilton or something," Danny muttered.  Xander swatted him.  "Fine."

Adam shook his head.  "I suggested Level Ten," Ryan told him.  He got swatted too.

"She's a good horse and she's not that scattered.  You can keep her attention, she's just bored and has ADD," Dean told them.

"Maybe," Xander admitted.  "I did."  He grinned.

Adam looked at him then at Danny, who showed him the picture from Ryan's phone.  "I saw her at a jumping event.  She forgot why she was there and suddenly decided she didn't like it."  He handed it back.

"She's doing good over the mini obstacle course I set up," Xander told him with a grin.

"Wonderful."  They watched the puppies be corralled by everyone so they couldn't wander too far.  No one wanted them stepped on.  Don and Horatio walked in with Frank behind them, walking two suspects to interrogation.  Adam caught Don's eye.  Clay came off the elevator with another one, handing him to Horatio.  Hubert came off with Jensen, coming over to cuddle the human.  The puppies all stared at Hubert, who stared back.  He snorted and nuzzled them then crawled into Daddy's lap.  The baby got stared at and Hubert's tail started to twitch.  "No," Adam told him.  "I'm keeping the son myself this time, dragon."

Ramses barked and moved to sniff Hubert, who patted him.  "Gently, Hubert, he's got booboos," Xander said quietly, petting Ramses.  "You'll learn to like ferrets too, little one."  The other two wobbled and piled into each other in Xander's lap.  Hubert snuffled then curled around them.  Ramses pounced them.  Hubert shifted to include him and it was puppy nap time on the daddy.

Clay stared then shook his head.  "The house is clear, Xander.  We caught that one idiot at the gate trying to get in."

"Couldn't climb at all," Jensen quipped.

"I drove his SUV," Dean told them.

"Excellent.  It's a lot safer."  He looked at Toby, who was cooing.  Adam was giving his son a dirty look.  "Jolene and Pooch's kids both had colic."

"So does he until he saw his uncle.  I'm sure he's just spoiled."

Xander beamed.  "Good!"  Adam shook his head.  "The carrier's there, Clay."  It got handed over.  "C'mon, guys.  Let's go home."  The puppies got put into the carrier, even if they didn't like it.  Hubert followed.  Dean tossed out the puppy pad before following.  Clay and Jensen escorted and Wade drove his car.  Adam followed to make sure his son was safe.  It was going to be insane for a while.


Xander pouted at Anya when he got out of the back of the Range Rover.  He lifted the puppies out so they could run in the grass.  "I need a new fast thing."

"I know someone who has a white gold Beamer," she offered.  "They're a prince in the Middle East."

"Tacky," Dean sneered.

"It's shiny silver looking," she countered.  "Very fast too."

"Still tacky," Dean assured her.  He got a bowl of water to bring out and let the puppies roam.  They were having a lot of fun in the grass.  There were crickets that drove everyone nuts and Sammy to pounce and play with when he came out.  And Toby when Adam sat down in a lounge chair.  Ramses jumped up to sniff the baby again.  Adam petted him gently then set him back down on the grass.  "C'mon, Ramses."  He whistled and waved a toy he had bought.  The puppy ran back to look at that new thing.  Dean rolled the ball.  Ramses chased it.  Kiss batted it when it came near her.  Hershey tried to gnaw on it but couldn't get it into her mouth.  Dean laughed and grabbed it to roll again.  That was a game the puppies appreciated.  "You need to learn to bring it back," he told them, doing it again.

Adam shook his head.  "You're a very good puppy parent, Dean."

"Thanks, old guy."

"Puppies are slobbery yet cute and that's nearly as bad as kitty cats and bunnies," Anya complained.  "They're evil."

Xander glared at her.  "I can spank you."

She hid behind Wade.  "No thank you, Xander."  Adam was trying hard not to snicker, hiding it in Toby's head.

"I can agree with you on cats," Jensen said.  "But bunny rabbits?"

"They're all twitchy and cute and evil with their fluffy tails," she told him firmly.

"Okay," Jensen agreed with a grin and a nod.  "Sure, I can see it for that reason."  She relaxed.  "Why don't you go get one of the computers for me, Anya?  That way you can avoid the puppy slobber and cuteness virus they have?  You can even make some tea."  She nodded, hurrying off to do that before the puppies picked her to be their minion.  Jensen sat down to play with the dogs.  "Bunnies?" he mouthed at Xander.  Who nodded.  "Okay then."

Clay was shaking his head.  "It's got to nearly be miller time," he muttered.  Anya brought out a laptop then went running back inside to make some iced tea.

Jensen logged on and went looking for any groups that those wannabe radicals had in common.  "Found their group of mentally deficient yahoos."  Clay looked, calling that address in to Horatio.  He could look that up and use it.

Wade looked then snorted.  "They're as evil as cupcakes," he said dryly.

"I should let Hubert bite them but he might like human blood," Xander complained.

"Let's not encourage his bad moods," Wade ordered.  "He's already bitten me once this week."  Xander nodded he had been too.  "What's a pooka?"  Jensen did a search and handed him the laptop so he could read it for himself.  "So why does it like Sandburg?"

"It's very friendly," Xander said with a grin.  "So is Blair."

"Oh, okay."  He handed the laptop back, shaking his head.

"We have a pooka?" Jensen asked.

"It's in Denver.  It likes Blair.  His name is Shells."

"Like the necklace?" Clay asked.

"That's what he said to call him," Xander said with a grin.


"And we had to talk to ATF agents the other day," Xander quipped.

"Team Seven out there," Wade quipped.  "Max wanted them dead so hard but you distracted him, Clay."

"Glad I could save them," he said, still looking confused.  Jensen let him have the laptop too.  Clay read and then nodded once.  "All right then.  It's definitely Miller time."  He handed it back and went inside to get a beer.

"Grab me one as well please," Adam called.  Xander stole Toby and let Hubert cuddle him.  The puppies came back to check out the baby again and Ramses barked, wagging his tail.  "He can play with you when he's older, mutt."

"His name is Ramses," Xander told him.  "That's Hershey and Kiss.  We need name collars."

"On order," Jensen said with a grin.  "Tan leather with bronze tags for all three of them."  Xander grinned at him.  "I also told Steve so he can tell your insurance guy."

"Thank you."  He gave him a hug around Hershey.  He hugged Hershey and let her go play too.  She ran off tripping over her paws on the way to Hubert and the baby.

Adam took his beer with a head shake.  "Hubert, not too much weight on the baby's stomach.  You could harm him."  The dragon snorted in his direction and put his head back down.

Xander petted him.  "He's fine, Adam.  He's not pressing any."  Adam nodded, taking a sip of his beer.  Anya brought out the iced tea pitcher and then went back to grab glasses.  Then she went to hide from the puppies.  Wade looked pleased at that running away so it was a good thing he supposed.  Xander cooed and Toby cooed back, waving a fist at him happily.  Hubert nuzzled the hand and licked it.  The puppies licked it too.  Xander looked over.  "Sam, can you get one of the ferrets?"

"We can introduce the puppies to them later.  It's safer if they're in the cage," Sam countered.

"Fine."  Sam grinned at him and handed him some iced tea.  The puppies had all flopped around their warm, scaley new friend and the wiggly, loud thing they were learning about.  "Bottles in an hour."

"We can make some and put them in the fridge," Dean said.  "Mark them as puppy bottles, not baby bottles."

"I didn't think I had any in there," Xander said, considering it.

"You don't right now," Wade said.  "Or didn't last night."  Xander nodded and settled in to look at the toys Dean had gotten, taking all the tags off them.  He had even got stuff for puppies to chew on, which the couch and desks would appreciate.  They all looked toward the gate when it opened and an immortal's quickening was felt.  Wade shook his head.  That was just a weird early warning system to him.  The one that got out of the car wasn't one of the family.  "Jenris," he said dryly.

"Wade.  I see you're being domesticated."

Xander cleared his throat.  "Wade's a very good assistant but no, he's not that into the family thing.  Do I know you?"

"I'm here to challenge one of you," he sneered.

Xander hopped up.  "I need to work out some stress."  He pulled his sword out of his hair and attacked.  The man had to scramble for his sword in the car.

"I was going to let you pick a spot!" he complained.

"Why?  The whole family knows and the baby's too young to give a damn if I take your head."   Xander waited until he was armed then attacked again.  It was good frustration relief.  "Adam, is he a bad guy?"

"He's more an annoying head hunter, Xander."

"Shit, you're Harris!" Jenris demanded, backing up looking scared.

"Yes, I am."  He smirked.  "And that's my godson, three of my students, one of the ones that taught me some, and my assistant you sneered at.  Considering the day I've had, you're a pathetic stress break but you'll do."  He attacked again.

"I didn't want you," he said, backing away again.  "I wanted the hacker.  He's new."

"He's my student," Xander sneered.  "Teacher's right," he quipped.  The man dove into his car and drove out quickly.  Xander checked, the dogs were still asleep.  Toby was having fun napping on the grass, shaded by Hubert's bigger body, and the puppies were all curled around the baby to make sure they knew when he so much as wiggled.  "Damn, another one that thinks I'm not that scary."  He put his sword back in its shrunken form and into his hair before flopping down beside Dean again.  Dean hugged him.  "The next car will be like my first one."

"Gay?" Dean joked with a grin.  "It was lavender, Xander.  It was pretty gay."

"Bite me," he muttered, giving him a shove on the shoulder.  The gate opened again and he looked.  "Hi, Billy," he called with a wave.  "What's wrong?"  The guard brought him a slip for a delivery.  Xander stared at it.  "Do I know them?"  Wade came over to look, shaking his head.  "Tell them it goes to Don or someone in the family at work."  He wrote that and handed it back.  "Because of earlier I'm paranoid."

"Okay, I can do that."  He stared.  "Aww, puppies."  Xander grinned.  "They're cute, Xander."  He left to tell the delivery driver that and explained why and who it went to.  He decided that was fine and they were on the slip too.  He also made note that Xander had new puppies in case they had to open his gate for someone.  It'd take a while before they were as trained as the dalmations had been.

Xander relaxed against Dean's arm, falling asleep on his shoulder.

Dean looked.  "At least you don't shed and drool like a dog," he said quietly, petting him.  Xander snuffled and barked, then slid down to nap on his thigh.  "Fine."  He petted over his hair.  The hairpins were really sharp and he didn't need poked today.  So he'd be extra careful of the hair.


The judge assigned to the preliminary hearing sighed.  This was giving him a headache.  "First, why did she try to blow up a citizen of Miami?" he asked impatiently.  The prosecutor was pissed off and it was showing.  He wasn't inclined to let a mad bomber loose, it was an election year, but he needed a good reason to do something beyond set an extremely high cash-only bail.

"From what we can tell, they're animal rights activists with a jumped up agenda, though I don't see why they wanted to blow up the new dogs the man in question had just adopted from the pound.  There's a lot of inconsistencies, Your Honor."

"He was treating them like society pets," one of the women in the defendant's box shouted.  "They deserve better than him and his gay family!"

"First, two of the three are still not weaned," the prosecutor said dryly.  "Secondly, since you so object to him being gay, I'll add hate crime charges when I amend.  Thank you for clarifying that."

Horatio stood up and held out a folder to him.  "From the first time she was arrested."

The judge looked at him.  "Lieutenant, is that pertinent at this moment?"

The prosecutor glanced and nodded, letting the bailiff hand it over.  "She's been stalking him too, Your Honor.  Apparently she was going to paint his SUV with dirty slogans for being an extremely large SUV with gas saving technology and for being gay.  His assistant and guards had her arrested with her mother."  He smirked at the other lawyer.  "So, not only did she look up how to build a bomb, build one with intent to use it, indeed did use it and nearly killed that very nice citizen of Miami, but she's also stalking him around the city to learn what his other car looks like and his routine."

The judge looked at the names and mentally winced.  That was going to get messy.  "I do know of that victim.  Is he injured?"

"No, he sensed something was wrong and headed back into the veterinarian's office," Horatio told him.

"That was just a warning," she sneered.  "He should let that gentle creature go back to his native habitat instead of keeping him penned up in that house of sin of his.  He's warping it and probably slowly killing it."

"Hubert is perfectly fine, though a bit grumpy because he's having growth spurts again," Horatio assured her, looking smug.  "As for sending him home, we can't do that right now.  It would take us years and he's got a specialized diet that his chosen animal specialists have decided upon, with the addition of the occasional peking or stir fried duck from a local Chinese restaurant.  He's perfectly healthy.  The local ASPCA people don't think there's a problem and only one PETA person protested, mostly because he was eating meat.  She was also arrested for stalking."

The judge looked at him.  "What is Hubert?"  Horatio handed over a picture he had taken earlier and printed off at the office.  He stared.  "What is it?"

"Xander calls it a baby dragon, Your Honor.  He received the egg while on a trip in a foreign market."

"Huh."  He put it into the file.  He took a deep breath.  "It's clear that the defendants aren't going to be feeling remorse," he said.

"Your Honor, I'd like to apply for a psychiatric review," the other lawyer said.

"Denied," the judge said bluntly.  "She seems plenty sane to me, just stupid."  He stared at him.  Then at Horatio.  "Lieutenant, I recognize that man as one who has...contacts."

"No, Your Honor, he's vowed that they won't touch her.  He'll be killing any of them himself if they come near any of the family.  We've had to stop some great plans of his for it if they should come near the family, even without forethought of hiring someone."

"Then I'm going to be merciful and let the guilt and stupidity level be decided by a jury.  They're remanded into custody of the Miami-Dade police department until their trial."

"But, Your Honor," the other lawyer said.

The judge stared at him.  "Do you know who they tried to bomb, Counselor?"  He slowly shook his head.  "Lieutenant, does he have security?"

"Yes.  His assistant makes sure of it.  We're sure the PD will be helping his boyfriend protect himself but Xander has not only his assistant but a fairly good gun and weapon collection.  We've changed the code on him today so he can't get into the artillery."

"That's very wise, thank whoever."  The other lawyer gaped in horror at Horatio, who nodded.  The judge handed over that file.  The other lawyer shuddered.  "I believe, since he's had to destroy people to protect himself before, he'll do so again if forced to.  Therefore your clients will make it to their trials by staying in jail.  Beyond that, I wasn't much inclined not to set an extreme bail amount anyway due to what they're being charged with."

"Oh, dear," he said, looking at Horatio.  "He has two boyfriends in the PD."

"Yes, but one is highly protected already by being part of my lab."  He put on his sunglasses.  "Many believe going against me is a fate worse than suicide."  He walked off.

The judge nodded.  "Your client should probably think about deals."  He banged his gavel.  "Next case please."  They got led out screaming and ranting about baby dragons.  The judge shook his head, taking the glass of headache powder and water that the bailiff handed him.  "Thank you.   Make sure that Horatio has ensured that no one else is going to help his defense effort, Mr. Mitchell," he ordered to the prosecutor.

"I've already talked to someone who would know and Mr. Harris said if she got out and came after the family, she was his.  They're waiting for the entertainment value."

"Excellent.  Then they'll be safer in a cell."  He finished his headache powder and took the file for the next case.  "Arson, charming!"

"Sir, my client was setting her boyfriend's things on fire when she found out he had cheated on her and had given her an STD, plus had a baby on the way with a third woman," the defense attorney said.  "We all consider it reasonable in my office."

He looked at her.  "My wife would too, Counselor.  Unfortunately the law was written by men who had mistresses."  She glared.  He smirked.  "But I have a headache.  Priors, Mr. Mitchell?"

He looked.  "Not that we can find, Your Honor.  We'd be happy with a restraining order and a mediocre bail if you would."

The judge looked at the defense attorney.  "Sir, she's poor.  She was living off him and she's got major medical bills now."

He considered it then nodded.  "Two thousand, cash or bond, and she can go be treated.  Until then, I will make it an order that the jail doctor start her treatment.  That way it's compassionate."  He wrote that order and let her be taken off.


Horatio parked at the house and got out, being attacked by puppies.  "Good afternoon, dogs.  Where's the human?"  They ran off when Xander whistled.  Horatio followed more sedately.  He could not run like a puppy any longer.  Xander was dropping bits of lunch meat for them.  "Need to got the pet store?" he joked.

"Yup.  The ferrets are out of food but the SUV is in the shop and Don hates me taking a cab.  Wade's busy with something cranky-Anya related and the guys are out of town.  So I have to wait on the boys to get home."  He stared at him.  "I won't let any of the poker buddies get her when someone gives her bail."

"Thank you.  The judge was worried."

"No, I'll be ripping her to shreds myself, Horatio.  You know I will."

"I know."  He gave him a hug.  Ramses barked at him.  He reached down to pet him.  "I can hug the boy, he's like my puppy."  Xander grinned.  "No children?  Mellie seems to be absent from her nanny's care."

"That's Stella.  She's got both of them.  It's Ray and Adam's anniversary tonight.  Toby only likes her right now if he can play with her hair and have Mellie to coo at."

"Wonderful."  He took another hug.  "It will be fine.  What are you thinking about?"

"Replacing my first one?" he offered with a grin.

"Xander, that old Range Rover did draw a lot of attention," he complained.

"I know but it was a good SUV."

"Get something more practical.  You don't need another SUV.  You need something faster, even if is lilac."

"A new demon admirer offered me a dark purple lambo," he said with a grin.

"No, that would be leading them on and you would end up being car jacked."

"Maybe I'll ask some of the poker buddies.  They'd have good ideas.  Pooch has strange ones and wants me to get an Audi."

"They're good cars with decent gas mileage, and there are roadster models," Horatio said. "That's just a bit too practical for you however."

"Pooch said I need to buy a truck for the Denver house because of the snow.  I pointed out we'll be moving the SUV.  He said to get something a bit more easy to handle."

"That might be a good second car there, though there are some sedans with four-wheel drive."  He petted Xander, earning a grin.  "We'll talk to other car people.  You can ask Tony's opinion."

"He gave me a few ideas for the new sports car."  Xander showed him the list.  "All but two are under fifty grand suggested price."

Horatio looked.  "Two very high end but a Lotus is under fifty thousand?"

"And it's a convertible."  Xander grinned.

"That, another corvette, two Mercedes - one reasonable, and an Aston Martin."  He looked at Xander.  "An interesting list."

"Tony went through a car finder's site and browsed."

"We can do a compare the same way."  They got onto the computer, letting the puppies follow and be lifted up onto the couch because they were all too tiny to do it on their own without clawing up the front.  They compared them and Horatio had it narrowed down.

"I'll miss my corvette but that SLK300 Roadster is looking very nice," Xander admitted.  "And the same price as the new corvette 1LT."

"It seems to be a bit safer as well," Horatio said.  Xander nodded.  "It doesn't come in any wild colors."

"I can have it painted, Horatio."

"Then let's look at the site and see what features it comes with."  He got them onto that site and looked over the 'build one' options.  "Don't pay extra.  White costs nothing and it's a good color to paint from."

"Interior leather, black or gray.  I don't like beige....  Gray."  He selected that and looked at the interior trim.  "Wood trim."  He went to the options to look things over.  He ended up adding about six thousand more to the car, putting it up at just under fifty-four thousand.  Which was good because the new corvette would be about the same cost.   He leaned against Horatio's side.  "Can we go to the pet store and the Benz dealership?" he asked.

"I believe Dean and Sam are coming back in about an hour."  Xander beamed.  Hershey barked.  "Yes, your playmate Sam," he told her, petting her gently.  "She's growing."

"They're all growing and they're all very smart puppies who have figured out that hairpins hurt when you lay on the daddy's hair."  Horatio snickered, nodding that was true.  They heard a car and looked.  "That's Steve."

"That could also be a solution," Horatio teased.  Steve walked in.  "You don't look happy."

"I'm not totally happy but it's Jim's fault."  Xander smirked at him, showing him the picture on the laptop.  "Nice upper class car, but not totally fast."

"It'll go when I need it to and I can get it souped up if it's that slow."

"Good point."  He sat down and had a lapful of puppy.  "Hi, Ramses."  The dog barked, wagging his tail, so Steve petted him.  "It's good you like me more than my brother."

Xander looked at him.  "Jim brought it on himself."

"I know."  He looked over the car.  "We can do that.  Where's the SUV?"

"Shop," Xander said dryly.  "Whatever one I'm getting of this one I need to have it painted a pretty color."

Steve looked at him.  "Don will complain if it ends up in a GHS color, Xander.  Doesn't it come in nice colors?"

"It comes in a softer blue I liked," Horatio said.  Steve was joining the anti-gaymobile side apparently.  "He needs to go to the pet store as well."

"We can do that.  Then stop by the insurance company to pick up the meager check and take it car shopping."  Xander got up, letting Horatio have the girls, grabbing something from the office on his way to change clothes.  "If that's poker money, I'm going to paddle you."

"Someone paid me off earlier."

Horatio went to get the money to check it over.  "We've had a run of counterfeit.  Fu called about it."  He held them up to the light.  "Six are."  He handed back the rest and got a baggie for the others.  Xander told him who had paid him so they could trace it back easier.  Fu hadn't known who had paid in it.  Horatio called the Treasury to let them know he had a starting place and would drop that at the lab later.  Xander came out looking like a normal guy in jeans and a loose t-shirt.  "Weapons?"

"Three," Xander said proudly.  He got more money from the safe and Horatio checked but it was all good.  That let them close the puppies in the house and leave to get them food.  The dogs would nap.  They did a lot of that since their humans played with them all the time.


The Mercedes-Benz dealership was in a good part of town, as expected.  The salesmen were all in higher end suits.  They all stared at Xander like he was trash.  Xander smirked.  "I'm worth more than your company," he told one, walking past him to one who had forced himself to smile at him.  "I'm buying an SLK 300 today in cash."  The man nodded, taking him to show him what they had on the lot.  "I don't care about the color.  I'm repainting it into a color I like.  I must have the keyless remote thing for safety reasons.  I need a very good radio and that mp3 player hook in was very nice."

"We have one that's the showroom model," he offered, letting him see it.  "It has everything but the heating package and the sport package."

Xander fingered the steering wheel.  "I wanted the wood trim.  Steve?"  He came over to look, nodding.  "Engine?"

"It's the standard."

"If it's not good enough for me I'll have that souped up.  Done."  Steve handled the paperwork and paid the man.  They got to drive it off the lot and to the paint shop Xander liked.  Where they had a long talk about paint colors and Miami needs.  Xander wanted light, which they liked, but he liked softer colors and they didn't.  It ended up being very light blue, an ice blue shade, and that was good.  It'd take a few days.  Until then, Steve took Xander to get pet food for all the animals, he had to order some for the farm too, and then they went home.  The paint shop would deliver it.  Steve got online to amend their car file with the DMV and pay the new car taxes.  Everything got filed electronically these days.  And they were done.  The puppies woke up when the food was poured out for them. The ferrets got fed and cleaned up after.  It was good.  Finally.

Now if only Jim would pull his head out of his ass, Steve would be content too.

The End.

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