Prelude to Problems.

Xander had someone set up a meeting with a man who wanted to meet him.  He wasn't sure why but something felt off about the whole thing so he was being very careful.  They were at a hotel, in the pool area, and he was in a cabana out of the sun.  He looked old and tired, worn out maybe.  Xander sat on the free lounger, looking at him.  "Why did you want to see me?"

"Young man, I have heard you have a method of inciting pleasure."

"I have a few of them," Xander admitted.  "Which were you talking about?"

"Something about a touch?"

"Yes, I can, but it can ruin you for life for anything lesser."

The old man let out a bitter sounding laugh.  "As you can see I'm very old and very ready to pass on anyway."  He smiled slightly.  "They've given me about six months to live thanks to the prostate cancer we didn't catch early enough.  In fact, I no longer work properly and I was hoping that your whatever-you-do can give me one last good one before I go."

Xander nodded.  "I'm not against it but I'm not totally sure it'd work in that case."

"Would it really hurt to try?"

"You could die of it."

"I could die of breathing right about now," he said dryly.  "I'd rather die of pleasure than of wasting away into a pile of bones and skin."

Xander considered it, texting that to Don and Horatio.  Both of whom said they didn't see anything wrong with it.  Xander looked up.  "My boyfriend has no objections but I do want someone to be on hand in case something does happen."

"If I'm to die this way then so be it."

"Yes but that would be on my conscience," Xander said simply.

"True, and I feel bad for asking that of you."

"At least a nurse?"

"That would be a reasonable thing and I do travel with one."  He smiled at her since she was in the sun tanning.  "Tonight?"

"I have to make dinner for the family but I can show up after that," he offered.  "Say around nine?"

"That would be excellent, young man."  He shook his hand.  "I have a room here.  I'm in the Presidential Suite.  Might as well treat myself to the good things before I go," he offered with a smile.  "I'm hoping it's as good as what my wife used to give me when she was alive."

"I'll do my best," Xander promised.  The man smiled.  "I'll see you then, sir."  He stood up and walked off, considering this very sweet yet slightly awkward request.  He went to the station to talk to Don.  Don sympathized and agreed it'd be fine to go after dinner.  He could wait in the car for him or whatever.  Danny was still grumpy and not at all easy with himself after that whole ghoul issue.  Xander tried to talk to him and got brushed off.  So they decided to talk to him on his next day off.  Don had already arranged for them to have it off together.  That way they could talk even if they did have to tie one of them down for it.


Xander walked in that night, smiling at the nurse.  "Is he ready?"

"He's on the bed, sir."

Xander smiled.  "Comfy?"

"I hope so."

Xander nodded, walking in there.  He shut her out and looked at the frail older man in the striped pajamas.  "Want to wear that?"

"I'm not modest if you're not."

"Nah, I've never been modest a day in my life," he said dryly.  "My last girlfriend talked about sex constantly.  Including judging how well or bad I did the last time in public."  He helped undress him until he was comfortably in his underwear.  Xander covered him with a light sheet, earning a smile.  "We don't want you to get chilly."  He sat down and pulled up his magic.  It didn't want to come.  He concentrated, creating a sympathetic bond to this man.  That helped and he touched him a light zing.  Nothing.  He let it flow harder and faster until the man gasped as he rose once again.  Xander stared at it for a minute then let him have it hard and fast, just the single surge though.  The man mumbled as he suddenly came and went limp.  Xander checked his pulse and patted his hand.  "How was that?"

"That was amazing," he said honestly, smiling at him.  "Nearly as good as on my wedding night."

"If you need to talk, I can listen."

"Your boyfriend must be waiting."

"Yeah but he's an officer.   He knows that sometimes people need to talk."

"I have many friends left, young man, but it's a kind offer, thank you."

"You're welcome."  He patted him on the hand then left.  The nurse came in to fuss over him and help him clean himself up but he was happy now.  He hadn't thought anyone could do it but the young one had.  Now, he could be happy when he died.

Xander slid into the passenger seat of Don's car, looking at him.  "I had to work myself up to it."

"That's because you use it offensively most of the time."  He took a kiss.  "He okay?"

"So far."  He shrugged.  "I offered him the chance to talk but he said he had people he could talk to."

"I love how empathic you are with people, Xander."  He took another kiss and drove them off.  When they got home, Dean was making milkshakes and handed Xander one, earning a smile and a kiss on the cheek.  Don followed to the tub of bubbles.  Don walked back out.  "Danny back?"

"Nope," Dean said.  "Sam thought he might be upset."

"Little bit.  Not much.  Thanks, guys."  He went back to cuddling his boy.  Xander needed it more than most when he was back in gentle Xander mode.

Dean finished his second shake and took his and Sammy's upstairs to him.  He'd do the dishes in a bit for Xander.

Danny finally got home about midnight, tossing the dirty things into the sink before heading to bed.  Which was empty.  He saw the bathroom light on and peeked in.  Xander and Don were cuddled up in the tub.  Danny smiled, going to bed.  They'd join him when the water got too cold.


Don looked at Danny when he finally got up the next day.  Danny was nicely tied to the bed.  It was a comfortable set of straps because now and then they used them on Xander when he had that wiggle disease all night.  "You know, there's probably a world where you married Montana," he said dryly.  "Had a kid, maybe a little girl, named her something cutesy."

"Don, don't make me gag," Danny complained, shuddering.  "Oh, god, that's a horrible vision."

"You sure?" he asked, staring at him.  "Because we'd understand if you wanted to go back that way."

"Can't have kids anyway, Don."

"Beyond that?"

"Hell no!  Why would I want that?"  Don stared at him.  "It's the stress.  All the overtime, all that.  It's not you or Xander."

"You sure?  Because we might be able to understand and let you go for a while and then come back when you've unstraightened your ass out."

"I'm perfectly happy with what I have."  He looked around.  "He hiding?"

"Our goofy bitch is getting us special stuff for breakfast."  He stared at him.  "I saw you flirting with that DA."

"She was tryin' really hard, but I wasn't."

"You sure?  Because we can give you a furlough for a bit.  Xander said he expected us to drift a bit for the next life and then come back together."

Danny grimaced.  "It's not in my plans," he admitted.

"He said it might be necessary due to the death stuff for a bit.  Or that one of us would tag out to Ryan for a bit."

"That might happen," Danny admitted.  "But I'm not planning on it."

"You sure?"

Danny nodded.  "I'm perfectly happy with what I have, but the hours are creeping again."

"Yeah, I complained about the same thing but it's the budget and we're in a hiring freeze.  So even if Xander offered the lab a grant to hire on someone new, they couldn't."  He shifted to cross his feet.  "I've also thought about taking a massive vacation since Xander wanted to travel some.  Taking some unpaid leave?"

"Frank and Horatio would kill us."

"True, but I'm sure they know the problems going on.  Even Speed's complained about not getting any time at home."

Xander walked in with a box from the pastry shop they all loved, leaning down to kiss them.  "I can pull out a devious plan to help with that."

"What sort?" Danny asked.  "Can I go free?"

"No."  Xander sat on his other side, feeding him little bites of pastry between his own bites.  Danny and he had kissed after sucking each other's cocks, a bit of drool wasn't nearly as messy as that.  "There is no way they can make the lab structurally sound without closing it down for a bit."  Danny moaned, shaking his head.  "The head of FEMA was on the news this morning and stopped just short of that."

"We did that a few years back," Don reminded him.  "We took over a station."

"There's no free stations right now," Xander said with a grin.  "They tore down that one and sold the land.  They underbuilt Mac's lab for extra people because it's seen as an accessory lab."  Danny nodded he was right about that, they had all complained how cramped that building was.  "Which got them citing for building code violations when the insurance people went over it.  Mac had to bargain with them to get insurance for the lab."

Don whimpered.  "Shit, they're going to have to build?"

"Add on definitely," Xander said.  "Which will probably take about a year to get all the bids in, get the plans done, all that.  The lab is in bad shape.  There's no way that one wall can be shored up and the way they're having you work is presently dangerous according to the FEMA guy.  They edited that report on request of the mayor."  He grinned.

"Xander, we don't have the money to rebuild the lab," Danny said.

"Yes I do.  I can take it out of the poker bags," he said dryly.  "Fu wants me to weed them down again anyway."  He looked at his other spouse, who was more money oriented.

"We can't just drop forty mil on the lab," Don said.

"I can have Horatio write a grant," he said.  "I need more charitable donations for tax time anyway.  I used to claim all the weapons you guys confiscated after they paid me in them but the local guy said that they're excluding that as of this year."  He took another bite and fed Danny one too.  Then Don one.  "I asked Steve, he said it'd be great for my taxes and it could come in very handy so they actually built it right this time.  Since last time they apparently skimped on hurricane standards."

Danny and Don shared a look.  "We want to talk to Steve about it.  Plus you still have to get all the stuff from Fu's so we can check it," Don decided.  "If so, we'll drop that on them.  Horatio would probably smile and squeal with Speed."

"The remodel's going to take more than that," Danny sighed.

"Insurance will cover some," Xander said.  "Steve said it should since it was the building contractor's fault he didn't build up to hurricane specs."

"There was probably a natural disaster clause," Don agreed.  "We can check with Horatio."  Danny nodded that was sensible.  "Today, we're going to drag your bags out of Fu's."

"All but two," Danny ordered.  "That way you still have your 'I lost' and emergency stash there."  Xander nodded at that.  "Then we'll count and see how much there is.  Though someone might say it can't be grant if you don't take applications from other places."

"I think Steve has a charitable thing set up, I'm not sure."

"We'll see what we can do."

"Guys?" Wade called from the kitchen.

"We're just talking," Don called.  He let Danny go, letting him get his own ankles.  Then he kissed Xander and took a whole pastry for himself.

Wade leaned in.  "Xander, can we bum that spare house at the farm for a few days until they fix the issue from the fire?"

"Of course you can."  He smiled.  "It's not a problem but there's no road."

"That's fine.  She said she wouldn't mind for a few days."  He smirked.  "Problems?"

"We're talking about how to get the lab some time off," Don said.

"Rebuild that wall that fell in?"

Xander nodded.  "Definitely, it needs it."

"So we're raiding the poker stash?" Wade guessed.

"I can get it," Xander said.  "Go help Anya get new slutty clothes for you."

Wade smirked.  "Too late on that.  Little bitch stole my credit card and went."  He shook his head.  "She enjoyed the spanking though.  We can go."

"People might get worried if you and him took out the money," Don pointed out.  "Me doing it seems like I'm making him put it into the bank."

"Good point."  He waved.  "Let me take my bitch out there for a few days of squealing in the woods.  It shouldn't take more than a week."

"Sure," Xander agreed.  He looked at Don.  "You sure?"

"Yup."  They got up and Xander grabbed the keys.   Danny followed to be his pack mule self.  They got halfway there when Don's phone rang.  "It's my day off," he answered.  He listened.  "No, I can't, Frank.  Because we're making Xander take money from Fu's to the bank."  He looked up, shaking his head.  "It's still my only day off this week, Frank, and I do need days off now and then.  I may be immortal but not that way."

Xander took the phone.  "Unless it's a god fucking emergency, I'm going to come to the station, sit in his lap, get us both really happy right there at his desk, and then stroll off like the well fucked husband I am," he said dryly.  "Yes, I will, Frank."  He handed the phone back.

Don listened.  "Because we haven't been home in days, Frank.  The same as you haven't.  Is it an emergency?"  He listened.  "I'm not on for that drill.  I had it last week.  You know what, that'll stop too."  He hung up and looked at Xander.  "Make it a condition?"

"Of course I am.  I was going to anyway."  He gave him a smug look before looking back at the traffic.  Fu's had a nice parking spot in the back, which was nearer to the storage area anyway.  They walked in and Xander found his shelf, looking at the bags.  "Weren't these filled?" he muttered, going to find Fu.  "Did someone get into my bags?"

"Not that I'm aware of."  He got Wyatt and they joined him back there.  He stared.  "Those were full.  That's why I was complaining."

"Yeah, they were," Xander said.  "Unless they got moved?  Isn't this my shelf, Wyatt?"

"Yeah, it's your shelf, Xander."  He looked.  "Here's your auxiliary shelf."

"We're fixing that today," Don promised.  They hefted those bags out to the SUV and came back to look in those bags.  A few had left IOU's.  Wyatt whimpered, shaking his head.  "Would that account for the loss?"

"Maybe," he admitted.

Xander looked at them.  "I'm going to go back to only keeping a bag and a gear bag here, Fu."

"That seems reasonable.  I have no idea how they did that."  He went to look at the others.  "They did it to someone else too unless they lost quite a lot."

Xander looked over.  "That's Marco's bags, right?"  Fu nodded.  "He'll rip their damn heads off."  He looked at Wyatt, who was looking in the books.  "Did they lose that big?"

"Yes, yesterday.  Let me call them and tell them to pay you directly, that your boys are pissed."

"I'm glad we came instead of Wade," Don said.

Wyatt gave him a look then nodded quickly.  "Us too.  Blood is so hard to get out of the pavement."  He and Fu walked off.  "I'll call the other places, Xander, so you can pick up most of those.  Tax time?"

"Making a demand while helping Horatio."  He smiled.

Wyatt snickered.  "They could use it with the way the mayor is an idiot."

"Yup."  They took most of those bags, leaving the gear bag and a single bag of cash.  Then they went to the other money storage areas.  Only one of the bags had been gotten into, they found the IOU later during the counting time, Xander texted that to Wyatt as well.  Then Don and Xander went to City Hall with a quick stop at the bank.  The nice ladies there were more than happy to set up a grant account for them.

Don knocked then walked into the Commissioner's office.  "Sir."

"Detective Flack.  Mr. Harris.  Did we have an appointment?"

"No but I can make your week," Xander said dryly.  He stared at him.  "I have in my possession a grant fund."  The man moaned, shaking his head.  "For the labs."

The commissioner stared at him.  "We have insurance...."

"Which will take about four months to pay off," Don said.  "Horatio got asked.  He's on his way down.  Want to get the Mayor?"

"How much is it?  It's going to take more than a few hundred thousand."  Xander held up the paperwork, letting him read it over.  He went pale.  "That's more than a few hundred thousand," he said weakly.

"It's from my poker winnings."  He smiled.   Horatio knocked and walked in.  "Hi."

"Good morning.  Don, Frank's sorry.  He didn't realize you had done that drill."

"I'm about to throw fits about the drills," Xander said dryly.  He looked at the commissioner, who called the mayor in.  The head of the City Council came in as well.  "Gentlemen."

"Mr. Harris," the mayor said, staring at him.  "Problems?"

"Solving a few."  He smiled.  "Can we please cut back on the drills?  I would like to have some days off with my boyfriends."

"Is that why we came in?" the head of the City Council asked.

"No, you're here because I have in my possession a grant fund worth about fifty mil for the labs."

The mayor moaned.  "They do need some work.  I heard about the insurance battle."

Horatio cleared his throat.  "Ours will take approximately four months to come through with all the paperwork and the inspections.  It did last time, sir."

"I still say the contractor should be partially at fault since he didn't build up to hurricane specs and he should have had to by building codes.  You do for houses," Xander told him.

"We thought he had," the commissioner said.

"Then you wouldn't have a wall that's crumbling," Xander said.  "We can check, it's not that hard for an inspector to check for reinforced concrete.  The rods should be evident."

"They should be," the head of the City Council agreed.  "By their contract they should have built up to that."

"By the plans as well," Horatio admitted.  "We can look into that easily enough.  If they did cut corners, they can pay some of it back.  Xander, this grant?"

"We made him clean out the poker stash," Don told him dryly.  "By the way, some people dipped in to bum some.  Wyatt knows and is telling everyone I'm pissed."

"Good to know.  I'll want to know if they don't pay up."

"Of course I'll make him tell you," Don agreed.  He handed Horatio the forms.  "How much is it going to cost to fix yours and Mac's lab problems?"

"About ten million for both including the addition he needs to add onto his lab."  He looked it over.  "That is a very nice grant fund, Xander."  Xander beamed.  "Steve will be very proud of that."  He looked at his boss, handing it to the Mayor.  "Am I eligible to apply since they are part of the department?"

"To me you are," Xander said.

The Mayor looked at the head of City Council.  "As far as I know that wouldn't be unethical to apply, Horatio.  We all know you need it and the insurance will probably only pay for half of it.  I can check on that."  He looked at Xander.  "What about the rest?"

Xander shrugged.  "I don't know.  I figured if they needed less, Horatio would know some people who needed the help."

"I do," Horatio agreed.  "I can't think of a single department that couldn't use it actually."  He smiled and hugged Xander.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome."  He gave him a squeeze.  "Give that part to him."

"I will."

Xander smiled at the commissioner.  "My only string is that you quit being so pushy about all the drills to quit pushing the gay couples apart."  The man spluttered.  "It's kinda evident since even the agents don't know why they're doing so many drills and it's only been in departments with known gay officers.  Higher profile ones."

"You know, I hadn't realized that," the mayor said, looking at Horatio.  "You and yours.  Flack and Messer are with him so that gets your homicide department.  Taylor's?"

"Mac has only run half the drills we have, which has meant he's had to cover some of our crime scenes."

"Damn.  The one in Vice that's done so many.  Huh," he said, looking at him.

"It wasn't on purpose.  They seem to do the majority of the work."

"The top hundred officers in the city do have about twenty who are known to be gay," Horatio agreed.  "I'm not sure why that is."

"We don't have to run home to kids most of the time," Don said.  "Most of us don't have things that make us not work overtime if necessary.  Even if we're in a relationship, most of us are within the department so they understand about that when we do feel like we have to be there no matter what for a case."

Horatio nodded.  "That's true, though mine does complain."

"So does mine," Don agreed with a grin for Xander, who smirked back.  "Then he goes and does stupid shit like belly dancing in front of the poker buddies."

"They asked."  He shrugged.  "I was bored."

"Clearly something we need to work on again," Don reminded him.  "Your yearly contribution for the toy drive?"

"Done.  All the ornaments too."

"Good."  He looked at his bosses.  "So, can we work this out?"

"We can definitely work this out, and the drills can go to the other units so they're just as prepared, though at a lesser rate than the lab and homicide have had."

Horatio nodded.  "Please.  We've had seven in the last four days, sir."

"That's unfair.  We'll fix that, Horatio."  Xander smiled.  "You could have just had him file for some unpaid leave time."

"That would hang the lab and homicide," Don told him.  "We're with Messer, who's in the lab.  We're already understaffed by about two people."

"I could use at least one more trainee," Horatio agreed.

Xander looked at him.  "Interns?"

"We haven't had any in a few years because the funding for that project got cut.  I can add that back in and it would help for a year.  Though they will drive Mr. Wolfe insane again."

"Warn them he's OCD and they'll be more careful," Don said.  "The new guy that transferred in from Vice was when he heard."

"True."  Horatio looked at them.  "I can write the grant proposal tonight."

"I don't see any problem with it," the head of the City Council assured him.  "The close relationship just let you know there was one.  I can check with our lawyer to make sure."

"Please.  I don't want it to bite us later."

"I can gladly do that," he promised, calling him.  "Doug, Blair.  Horatio has a friend and the spouse of one of his people who is offering the lab a grant.  We wanted to make sure that wouldn't cause any ethical issues."  He rolled his eyes.  "Yes, the same one that cooks for them all the time.  The source may?"

Xander shrugged.  "For all anyone knows it could've come from kidnaping reparations," he muttered.

"That is a good point, some of his income is from the people who want to snatch him.  Yes, he is."  He listened.  "Then that would be fine?  Though I think it's poetic justice that the lab is being fixed by those who will likely get caught."  He smirked.  "Thank you."  He hung up.  "He'll check with the State Ethics Board, who would handle anything like that since it wouldn't be a criminal charge if there was a complaint made.  He'll let us know by tonight."

"If not, a donation?" Xander asked.

"Would be without taint," he assured him.  "Many people have donated to the lab in the past hoping not to get caught."  He smiled.  "Thank you, Mr. Harris."

"I like most of the lab like a family.  Even Mac's lab."

"I know.  You two have a good day off."

"Trying to," Don said with a grin.  "It's my first in two weeks."

Xander nodded.  "I told Frank if he had to come in today, I was getting some Don snuggles even if I had to take them in his desk chair.  Frank agreed he could have the day off."  He smiled sweetly.

"That would get you spanked by me," Horatio said dryly.  "Go behave, boys."  They left together.  Horatio waited until he was sure they were gone to smile.  "At least he didn't encourage crime to go down again."  He put on his sunglasses.  "Let me know.  I'm going to solve some of the frustrations in the lab."  He left them alone.

"He's a pushy little asshole," the mayor said.

"Horatio or Xander?" the head of the City Council asked.


"Well, Xander does look up to Horatio like a favored uncle or father figure," he said dryly.  "He learned from the best."

The mayor nodded.  "It'll look good on the city.  Maybe we can do a matching funds thing for the rest of the department with a federal agency."

"Perhaps."  He nodded at the commissioner.  "I'm sure it was unconscious on your part."  They left, talking about what absolutely needed to be done.  If they could get matching funds, there were a few other stations which could use a facelift and some repairs.


Danny looked up as the boys came back.  "Steve said a grant means that you have a board of approval."

"Uh-huh.  Does it have to be non-family?" Don asked.

"No.  He said we could get together and give one.  He wanted the paperwork faxed to him, Xander, so he can add it to things."  Xander went to the office to do that.  "Otherwise he likes the idea and it goes well with the other one he's got set up."

"Xander thought he did."

"Yup.  Gives grants to animal shelters and kids and things."  Xander came back and they cuddled together, Don on Xander's other side.  "What happened?  Wade called and said if he heard they didn't pay he'd be glad to go break some heads open again."

"Some people bummed out of Xander's poker bags."

"Ah," Danny said with a nod.  "Interesting."

Xander's laptop binged to show he had a new email.  He leaned over to grab his laptop from the ottomans and leaned back again once he had it in his lap.  "Steve said I did a good job setting that up and with him on it, he can add it to the other gift giving stuff that saves my taxes from being astronomical."

"Good," Don agreed.  He nuzzled his throat.  "Horatio said he found you somewhere odd last week?"

"The older two were having trouble with footwork and letting their bodies go so I took them to salsa dancing lessons.  It worked pretty well.  They were better the next day."

"Did you take any?" Danny asked.

Xander grinned.  "Yup, with Anya.  Then I danced with Bec.  She's in the circle and a very naughty girl."

"Uh-huh.  We might have to try that out some night soon," Don decided.   He kissed him.

Dean walked in and paused.  "Let us hide," he said.

"Sit down," Xander ordered, shaking his head.  "You two good?  You seemed to disappear again."

"We left a note," Sam quipped with a grin.

"Cool.  Fortunately I'm not writing right now."  They both smirked at him for that.  "What's going on?"

"Nothing much," Dean said.  "We got the ghoul down in Homestead.  There's probably a migration back north so we had to warn some people, send them info on them, and they said it'd be caught."  Xander nodded.  "Anything good happening in town?"

"Not right now," Xander said.  Someone pounded on the front door.  "Clearly not someone we know."  He got up to answer it, staring at the obvious agent on the other side.  "Yes?"

"Mr. Harris?"

"Yes.  Why?"

"Sir, we have a warrant for your arrest."  Xander snickered.  "It's not funny, sir."

"Yeah it is.  What did I supposedly do?"

"Weapons trafficking."

"I never sell any of my weapons."

"Sir, that includes buying," he said with a smug look.

"Agent whoever, the FBI DD is on the phone," Don called.  He walked it over.  "Deputy Director Fornell."

He took the phone.  "Sir, this is Agent Fielders, ATF."  He listened then gaped at the young guy, who shrugged.  "You're serious?  He is?"

"I have PD oversight and the local office looks over my shoulder too," Xander told him, leaning in the doorway.  "We can go talk to him if you want."

"I would," he decided.  He hung up and handed the phone back.  "This isn't right, sir."

Xander nodded.  "Neither were the people who kidnaped me because Horatio took some of them, thereby making them think I was weaker.  Which meant I had to kill a lot of people to get free."  He stared at him.  "Beyond that, the local office has my full inventory file.  Even the stuff I keep for apocalypses in LA."

"I'm from the DC office," he said smugly.

"Sure, we can go argue about it.  Don?"

"Coming.  Danny?"

"Yup.  Boys, make lunch?"  He followed them out, getting in to drive the SUV.  The agent sneered at it.  Danny glared back.  "It's bulletproof and for his protection.  The local department has use whenever they ask politely."  They drove off and went to the local ATF office.  The receptionist gaped in horror.  "We heard.  The head guy in?"

"Yes, Detective."  She called.  "You have a problem meeting."  She hung up and got them signed in, letting them walk that way with the agent following.  This was so bad.

The local Assistant Director looked up when his door was knocked on.  "Come in."  They opened it and Xander walked in first, sitting down.  "I was hoping it was about you."

"You sent someone from DC?"

"No, I did not."  He turned the monitor around.  "Messer, go ahead and close the door."  He looked at the agent.  "You're...."

"Special Agent Fielders, sir.  You knew about this?"

"Yes, we get to borrow as well when we need it.  Miami didn't have an apocalypse vault and we needed one against the terrorists."  He turned the monitor further, showing the person on the video conference.  He turned the camera as well, then tipped it up so the head of the ATF could see.  He had the head of the DEA in his office as well.  "We lucked into a meeting," he told Xander.

"That's cool.  He hasn't wanted to kidnap and own me yet."  He shrugged.  "We called Fornell to have him explain it."

"I think that's reasonable," the head of the ATF agreed.  "I've heard all about this situation.  I think it's a bit odd."

"Even after the slave market situation in LA," the head of the DEA agreed.  "Though I know why.  Mr. Harris, many of my agents have run into you in the past."

Xander nodded.  "I know most of the ones undercover down here in the underground but I never bust them."

"We like that about you.  Your file with the Department of Homeland Security was recently locked?"

"Yeah, after we had to complain to the Joint Chiefs about something."  He shrugged.  "We told them about Sunnydale and a few freaked out."

"Ah!"  He nodded.  "You were active there?"

"I had shorter hair then."

"Then you're the other male in the group.  The redhead, does anyone know?"

"He's back from Tibet but I think he's in England at the moment," Xander told him.  "I haven't talked to Oz in a few weeks.  He wasn't there during the last thing."

"Interesting.  We heard something happened."  Xander nodded.  "Was it solved?"

"I wouldn't be home if it wasn't."

"Good to know."  He smiled.  "How much do you have hidden from the Lieutenant?"

"Not that much.  Things for the annual apocalypse in LA.  Things I know I can handle but Horatio would scowl at me for.  Anything too large and they conveniently get found in time for an inventory.  We do one monthly."

"We're worried that we heard you were gathering sonic weapons?" the head of the ATF asked.

"To get them the hell out of bad hands, yes.  Those got turned over to a military group *I* trust to be good and protect people."

"Who's authority is that under?" the head of the ATF asked.

"Our contact is Major Paul Davis at the Pentagon.  They're out of Colorado Springs.  Not the academy though."

"I've heard rumors about a special operations group that had scientists," the head of the DEA admitted.

"Yeah, them," Xander agreed with a smile.  "One of their mega brains came down to disarm them.  I was gathering the last few before I handed them over.  About a week before the normal inventory.  Then someone in the special projects group in the Pentagon made a Dalek."

"Off that sci-fi show?" Agent Fielders asked.  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"If you were the Taliban, wouldn't you run screaming at a flying trash can with weapons?" Don asked.

"Yeah but clearly someone needs drug tested."

"We blew it up for them," Xander told him.  "It wanted to kill anyone non military.  Which got Major Davis down about the energy weapon, one of theirs, I had found and used.  Which is only handgun strength so not above my turn-over limit.  Which got Horatio to wonder about other things and I admitted we were hiding some of the stuff until an inventory to get it out of hand, then the nice Mr. Hills showed up in Miami earlier than we expected."

"He's a well known arms trafficker," Fielders said.

Xander looked at him.  "He's dead.  My assistant killed him when he reached for a weapon.  Which was when we explained to Horatio about the sonic bombs and got the nice Doctor McKay to disarm them through Major Davis.  They were all off, but we all agreed they could be field stripped and given to them instead of Horatio since I was worried about giving them to him to destroy.  I was going to call Gibbs after I met with Mr. Hill and got his but Horatio was already there nagging.  For future reference, the entire list is with him and Agent Epps in LA because most of the time he might need to borrow it for the situations that LA gets into."

"I can agree that LA needs its own version," the head of the ATF agreed.  "I know we hold back disposal runs every spring."  Xander grinned at that.  "You let him borrow?"

"I like Don.  I trust him.  I know if I hand him something and he doesn't use it he'll give it over for destruction but he knows I know what to do with them.  I'm not selling, I'm not using them to make a point, religious or otherwise, and me having them keeps my ass unstolen."

"I agree with the reasoning," the head of the ATF said.  "Are you going back to LA?"

"No.  I handle it in Miami if it happens."

"So you're down to hunting mostly, but that's for your safety and reasonable battle uses," the head of the DEA said.  Xander nodded.  "Why did you leave home?"

"Because my former friends are bitches," Xander said bluntly.  "Who not only told me not to come home once but also tried to kill us, tried to hack my bank accounts, tried to take film in my bedroom so they could sell it online....."

"Tried to blow up my car and did get his," Danny added.  "They're been told if they don't stay in Sunnydale, all those charges in Miami are going to come down on them.  I believe one of us mentioned using them as a blood sacrifice."

"Tainted too much," Xander told him.  "Pity though."  He looked at Agent Fielders.  "With the way you reacted, you knew something was up?"

"I knew something was strange since your file stated higher ups knew, so that meant you had them blackmailed or they were dirty other ways most likely."

The local head shook his head.  "No, I'm practical.  We can borrow when we need to.  He's been reasonable when he sets limits.  If he has them I'm pretty certain no one's going to use them."

"We had to change the security system recently because Don Cheva's son and wife put out a contract on us," Don said.  "They got one of the guards at the warehouses dirty and got the codes so we changed out the whole system.  Horatio has the new information if you needed it."

"I got it from him and heard that from him.  I'm just glad you two were there talking when they showed up."

Xander nodded.  "I did an inventory right afterward too.  Nothing got taken.  Most everyone in Miami knows if they touch my stuff I'm going to lose my temper and blow them up, one way or another.  Not anyone else, but the whole underground knows I have a temper and I'm very possessive."

"Which we like about you, Xander," the local ATF guy said with a smile.   "Do you have a stash in LA?"

"Angel's team has some.  I gathered some for Cordelia when she was alive and working with them.  When I figured out I could trust Don I told him about it and he went to check on it.  He had it moved somewhere safer for emergencies after the invasion."

"I totally agree with that sentiment," the head of the DEA agreed.

"I haven't talked to Epps about that but I will," the head of the ATF said, making himself a note.  "Just to see if we need to up it any."  He looked at them.  "Who gets any current military issue weapons you get given?"


"How do you know him?" the head of the DEA asked.  "Everyone wondered because we didn't think he'd put up with someone as underground as you are."

"Greg," Danny said with a smile.  "He was down here working.  He and Xan are fast friends so when Gibbs hired him, Xander spoiled him and DiNozzo.  They've kept ties tight."

"Huh.  That's actually good to know.  Fornell?"

"He got read into conventions," Xander said dryly.  Both higher ups looked confused.  The local one read a case number they looked up and blanched about.  Xander nodded.  "He knew because of the ones that came after Tony for stuff and got read in for convention help.  He's actually the one that decided who else got told, which is how I met Epps."

"Interesting," the head of the ATF agreed.  "We are a bit worried that someone will take you stash.  Some of our undercover people in other cities say that their people are starting to wonder your way."

"I can hide them better," Xander said dryly.  "But half of them won't because I helped take out a major terrorist.  I'm seen as a very cautious problem yet helpful.  The people in the Bazaar love me.  They respect me a lot.  The problem is that Angel's team in LA has spread rumors about my stuff and Buffy's helped.  Willow actually tried to call down here and tell them I had weapons."

"Miss Summers talked to one in the LA office," the head of the ATF admitted.

"Like I said, my former friends are bitches," Xander said dryly.  "If it wasn't important for them to be around....  I might fix that."

"She said she was worried because you had minions?"

"I have an assistant who is commando trained.  The Miami retrieval team also came out for the battle and showed her she wasn't all that."

"So she's worried for no reason?"

"No, in her warped mind, I'm sure she thinks I'm now evil because I'm gay and have money and have an assistant who helps me.  Willow's the same way.  That's why she tried to hack into my bank account.  They thought I had made a deal with some higher being to get all that I have and therefore I had switched sides.  Because they couldn't see me doing it any other way.  See, they think I'm very *normal*."  The higher ups all snickered at that.  "Exactly.  While I was more normal in high school, I'm not now.

"They don't want to accept that.  Which is why I'm on the enemy list and she probably sweettalked Angel into going along with her.  Angel I can have handled, though it might leave LA uncovered.  Frankly, if I was in LA it'd be a lot more peaceful because all those people who come through the port would be in trouble with me.  I've been gathering things that shouldn't be in other hands since high school.  We didn't want them in the hands of the sort in Sunnydale."

"I agree," the head of the DEA said.  "I know what goes on out there and I fully agree someone needed to."  Xander smiled.  "Do you still have those?"

"Some.  Horatio confiscated a bunch of them but I kept the ones that were special to me."

"Including some that got taken out of the dispo run," the local AD said.  "All the logs were doctored, they couldn't find any mention of them and Horatio didn't want the headache so he let him keep them.   Which was when he started to demand monthly inventories and oversight.  Which he then passes onto us."

"I still think it's dangerous.  How much security does this storage area have?"

"It can't be blown up," Xander said.  "It has security guards, has an independent security system plus the passcard system from the storage system.  Quite a lot of it's hidden magically so they can't find it even if they're standing in there unless they're stronger than I am."

"That's a mostly reasonable set of precautions.  Though we'd rather you didn't have them," the head of the ATF said.

"Sure, are you going to come save my ass the next time?" he asked.

"The retrieval team...."

"That time, no one could get into the building," Don said.  "Unless we got ourselves caught.  Xander still had to drop into the berserker mindset to take them out so we could all get free."

"Oh," he said weakly, staring at him.  "What weapon did you use?"


"Damn.  I saw pictures of that mess."  Xander shrugged.  "That doesn't bother you?"

"Someone else who took me kidnaped my ass to a battle ring," he said dryly.  "Beyond that, I did patrol from the age of sixteen.  I've seen more than my fair share of messy parts and bits and pieces."

"That's good to know.  What about normal people?"

"Why would I need to?" Xander asked.

"There's been stories of you fighting with others," Fielders said.

"They challenged me.  And that's a totally different topic."  He looked at him.  "That has nothing at all to do with my weapons."  He looked at the monitor again.  "I understand you guys are nervous but I'm not the sort that's going to sell them or use them for no reason."

"Others can still take them," Fielders said.

Xander looked at him.  "How many weapons do you think I'm wearing right now?"

He looked him over.  "Beyond the tiny hair pins?  Maybe a dagger?"  Xander stood up and turned around.  "I can't see any, sir."

"Me either," the head of the ATF said.  Xander unhid them and they all groaned.  "Damn.  How did you do that?"

"Magic."  He smiled.  "It's really handy."

"I can tell."  He stared at him.  "Can you hide everything in your warehouses?"

"I hide a good bit right now.  Anything above the lesser weapons classes."

"Hide anything above say a military rifle," Don said.

Xander nodded.  "I can do that but that'll hinder the monthly inventory if someone other than me does it."

"We can make something so they can find it," Danny said.  Xander nodded slowly.  "Then let's do that."

"That would be a reasonable precaution we'd like," the head of the ATF decided.  "I know you've taken all reasonable precautions.  We don't worry about you, Mr. Harris.  We worry about others."

"Anytime I hear about someone like that coming after my things I tend to stop them.  That's one reason why I stopped Max, he was trying to come for me.  That's also why I ruined a spook who came down to seduce my mate so she could blackmail us into letting her have access."

"I heard about that," the head of the DEA said smugly.   "How did you do that?"

"I have legitimate access codes?"  He shrugged.  "I'm actually in their system."  He smiled.  "Even though I don't work for them.  Someone who wanted me did it and the higher ups all know as far as I've heard."

"They're all put into that agency for loose morals and being odd in the head anyway," the local AD said dryly.  "The local office down here is full of retirees who have some morals left."

Xander nodded.  "I play poker with a few."

The head of the ATF shook his head.  "What if an agent needed access?"

"Go through Horatio unless it's an emergency and then I'll go get something and come help.  If either this AD or Horatio come to me and say they need something, or the head of Rapid Response because Horatio introduced us and he told me that one wouldn't be borrowing without a good reason, especially since he hates gay men, then I'd let them borrow and make note of who took it."

"I think that's a reasonable set of people who would need to borrow," they agreed.

Fielders coughed.  "We've heard a few things have been snuck out on you."

"No, they got taken from the dispo run," Don told him.  "Not from the warehouse."

"One person did manage to get a handgun but I found out and went after him.  He learned better," Xander told him.  "He had been a guard.  Also, the security system logs in who takes the weapons out.  If it's not me, Horatio, or someone in the family, Calleigh, Mac, Stella, or his ballistics person then I'll be told immediately by the system.  The sensor reader has a code in it for those people.  It injects a tiny drop of fluid that it recognizes in people when they log in for the first time.  It's permanent, not something that can hurt them or be used to track them, but the sensor will read it and set itself off if they're taking things out without having it."

"I didn't feel that," Danny said.

"You don't.  It's absorbed through your skin during the fingerprint reading."

"So it's actually a biometric system," the head of the ATF said.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Interesting.  We could use that for our vaults."

"Can it be removed from them?" Fielders asked.

"No but I can code their fingerprints to not allow access.  The touchpad for the access code reads fingerprints.  If they're not on the allowed list they can't enter.  That's part that was carried over from the last system, which got upgraded after that guard managed to take out that handgun.  The upgraded system Mac had me put in was military standard but not good enough.  So I upgraded to that one.  It grabbed the information from the last system and protects it.  It's also not something that can be hacked, even if you've got into the box.  It only reads certain things and you can't add in what it needs without having the code to add people and even then the system alerts me."

"Did Jensen check that?" Danny asked.

"Yeah, I had him check last month.  I had McGee do the initial test when he was down but he couldn't."

"So it's fairly safe," the head of the ATF agreed.  "Who did you go through for that?"

"Wilderson Wilmers.  It's specially designed and he gave me the plans."

"Even better.  Is he well known to do alarm systems?"

"Yes.  He does very high end ones for things like museums."

"So he's bonded and probably honest," Fielders decided.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "At least you're nicely paranoid."

"I am because people want my cute ass to own.  I'm really tired of having to defeat them and get myself back from overseas."

"I heard about the last one," the head of the DEA said with a shudder.

"I told him to let me go and I wasn't going to sex up his daughter."

"The one I heard about was in Saudi."

"Oh, that was about four ago," he said.  "But yeah, I made a mess.  You take me or my stuff and I make a hell of a mess.  I try very hard not to let anyone take me.  That's why I made the mess in St. Louis when I lost my temper there."

"I saw that teleplay," Fielders said with a shudder.  "That was sickening."

Xander looked at him.  "I was about halfway down to the point I was in LA during the battle against the zombies."

"Understood."  He looked at his boss.  "Sir, what do you want me to do?"

"I've heard rumors of these miraculous bags," he said bluntly.

Xander nodded.  "Yes there are but if they're ripped everything inside is gone.  Plus some won't fit."

"Can we get one that would fit?"


"If you can, I'd appreciate it a lot."

"That's how we moved it for the last hurricane," Don admitted.  "The guys in Atlanta that bothered us had apparently heard because they kept trying to stab anything that it might be."

"That's why most of your type don't go to Atlanta from what I heard, Detective."

"We wouldn't have if it hadn't been for the hurricane," Xander said.  "I can see finding something like that but I might have to have it specially made."

"Which I find totally reasonable and something you can work on?"  Xander nodded.  "Thank you for being so reasonable and calm during this, Mr. Harris."

"You know I respect all the agents as long as they're not assholes and trying something for someone else.  I was even nice when someone tried to use the IRS to ruin me so they could claim me."

"It must have freaked them out to be treated like humans since they're usually not," the head of the DEA joked.

"Yeah, kinda.  Confused them a whole lot too."  He smiled.  "I'm usually reasonable and nice if you talk to me about things, guys."

"We can tell.  Go do those things for us and we'll be very happy.  Agent Fielders can check on the security at the warehouse for us," the head of the ATF ordered, getting a nod from him.  "And we'll talk to that person who did your security for some of ours around here."  He hung up.

The local AD smiled.  "Thank you for being so calm, Xander.  I know you could have gotten huffy."

Xander waved a hand.  "You know I'm usually nice about things."  He stood up.  "Now?" he asked.

"Please."  They left together, the agent following them to the warehouses.  Xander let them in and he gasped in horror at what he saw.  Xander unhid the other things then hid everything over an assault rifle.  Fielders moaned, shaking his head.  Xander grinned.  "You're hoarding."

"Sometimes it's necessary.  This spring's supposed to be bad again."

"Damn."  He checked, he couldn't feel or find the weapons he had just seen.  "How many people might be able to break however you did that?"

"Someone stronger.  I'm in the bottom third for power levels and skill.  Most of them aren't interested in weapons and the only ones I know that are, I'd be told if they came to Miami."  Someone opened the door and walked in.  "Hey, Roque.  Problems?"

"Yeah, about three."  He held up the notes.  "They couldn't find Wade to tell you."

"He's at the hidden house out at the farm since they're fixing where the idiots set Anya's closet on fire."  He took the notes to look over.  "Hmm.  One is in town," he told Fielders handing that over.  "She might not be working but she's an assassin."  He looked the other two.  "Yeah, we caught the bumming for a loan," he said dryly, looking at him.  "If I ask can you go fuck all the evil out of Buffy?  Since she turned in my weapons to this nice ATF agent out of DC?"

"I think I might be able to at least make her remember what a woman should be," he said dryly.  "I'm not sure if I'm good enough to take the evil out of her or not.  She seems to get it from Willow."

"If you want to fuck it out of that one, we won't mind," Danny offered.  "She tried to turn them into local detectives."

"They still believe I made some sort of dark deal to become me," Xander told him, getting a nod then a head shake.  "That's why they've hacked bank accounts, all sorts of stuff.  Or you could have her on the way to hand her to Horatio for arrest.  Either one."  He smiled sweetly at the big man.

Roque laughed.  "We'll see what I can do, kid."  He looked at Fielders, who was giving him an odd look.  "It helped some after the battles."

"She called about a week after you left," Danny said.

"Just don't let them free in Miami please," Xander said.  "Mac might even be very pleased to talk to them."

"I'll try to screw it out of her first."  He looked at Fielders again.  "New helper?"

"The ATF agent Buffy turned them into," Xander said.  He saw the look around.  "They asked me to hide more."

"Fine.  I'll tell Clay he needs to get something to unhide them for inventories?"

"If you two are talking again, the coven can," Don offered.

"Not really but I need to kick his ass over something."  He shrugged and left.  His errand was run and Xander was in vindictive mode.  He didn't want messed up with that.

Fielders looked at them.  "You're insane."

"No, usually I'm just really bored," Xander admitted with a grin.  "Aren't you glad they're finally giving my boys a day off?"

"Definitely."  He left, going to make his report.  Including that he doubted the boy's sanity levels.  The local AD laughed at that but said he understood why.  It was too much overtime from his boyfriends.  They couldn't screw the evil out of him either.


Steve walked up to Horatio a few days later.  He handed him the envelope.  "Here."  He smiled.  "We had to quickly form a board for the others, and of course I'm doing most of it, but the rest of the fund is looking like it may go to law enforcement."

"How much did you put into his charitable donations fund?" Horatio asked.

"About a hundred mil."  He shrugged.  "That's the only thing I like about him playing poker."

"Apparently they have managed to stop a lot of plans against the lab and the family with it."

"Interesting."  Jensen jogged up to where they were looking at the station.  "Emergency?"

"The weapons warehouse is empty," he said.

"Most of it was hidden," Horatio said.

"It was what?"

"Hidden, like the stuff he doesn't want you to find," Steve said with a smile.  "The ATF people asked him to hide anything bigger than an assault rifle."

"All we found were ten small suitcase sized bags."

"That's probably where everything is then," Horatio decided.

"I can't pick the locks to do the inventory, Horatio."


"Why didn't Xander tell us?"

"Probably slipped his mind," Steve said dryly.  "Like the fact that the electric bill needs to be paid did for years on end."

Jensen shook his head at that.  "Okay."  He looked at Horatio.

"He was supposed to be making something so you could find them when they were hidden."  He texted Wade, who sent back he had it and the inventory wasn't done yet.  He'd hand it to Jensen in a bit.  He was busy with a dilemma.  "Wade said he'd give you that helpful thing in a few moments."

"Cool.  Thank you."  He relaxed.  "That's a really bad crack."

"Thankfully we now have the money to fix it," Horatio said with a smile at Steve, who smirked back.

"Did he stop those drills?"

"Oh, yes.  He also retired because his son came out to him and he was horrified."  He looked over as Clay joined them.  "More problems?"

"Those suitcases?"

"Xander," Jensen said.  "The rest might still be hidden."

"Jensen, go get the kid so he can unhide them."

"He's at the spa today," Steve told him.

"Why?" Clay asked.

"Because they're newly opened and he needed help with his hair.  Somehow he has a few knots he can't get out."

Clay grimaced.  "He could cut it."

"He's had it so long it's odd to see him with short hair," Horatio said.  Jensen nodded it was.  He texted Xander, who said he'd be there in an hour.  "He will be there for the inventory in an hour."

"Sure.  Means I can grab a burger first," Clay decided, looking at Jensen.  "Don't you usually go with him?"

"To the Japanese spa.  I think he went to the one with all the candles."

"For his hair he only goes to this young woman in Chinatown," Steve said.  "She's young but she's very good and has some sort of herbal thing that moisturizes it very well."

Don walked up to them and pulled Jensen aside.  "We'll be back."  He looked at him.  "Whatever happens, wherever you three end up," he said quietly.  "Make sure Xander comes home sane and as healthy as possible."

"Why is this an issue suddenly?" Jensen asked.

"Something Ares said last night."  Jensen nodded once at that.  "Something about not being able to get to you guys when needed.  Something about jungles and Xander's temper and Xander's past skills in combat and emergencies but it's going to take a damn long time to get back and it won't hold him down."

Jensen shuddered.  "Okay.  Here?"

"No clue.  Pack an emergency bag today.  He can actually do it best and might have one, but we have one with Ryan that has tents and things too."

Jensen nodded.  "Okay.  Do we have any idea off-realm or on?"

"No.  Bring both to be safe."  He stared at him.  "You and Cougar do whatever you have to do to keep him safe.  Even if it's your whole team."

"Sure, Don.  Are you...."

"Yeah, I'm certain.  I know you won't get too clingy and he'll accept it from you where he wouldn't from someone else."  Jensen nodded quickly.  "Good boy.  Do it today.  I'm not sure when it'll happen but by the way he told me and Danny last night it's going to be soonish."

"I'd start doing it now but I can't pick the locks on the suitcases hiding stuff."

"Xander should have the key on him.  Go the house, raid the gem stash, the money stash, and the weapons.  Pack them into the bag.  The inventory can wait."  Jensen nodded, jogging to his jeep to go do that.  Don walked back over.  "Clay, I have no idea if you're going with them or not.  You or Pooch."

"Where would we be going?"

"According to Ares, some alternate jungle place possibly.  Jungle definitely, alternate not real sure."

Clay considered that.  "With Xander?"

"Yeah and Ares won't be able to help.  You guys will have warrior Xander back.  As much as I trust you...."

Clay held up a hand.  "We'll keep him safe."

"I know.  I'm relying on Jensen to keep him sane."

"That's probably the better plan.  Is that where Jensen went?"

"To pack an emergency kit in one of the bags."

"Good thinking.  Cash?"

"Don't know.  Told him to raid that and the gem stash."  He called Xander.  Got his voicemail.  He 911'd him and got called back.  "Ares said you're going to be taken on another bad trip, he won't be able to help much, and you're going to have to go back to warrior Xander."  He listened.  "Jensen is.  Thank you.  Figured you did."  He hung up.  "He has one mostly started; he needs to add to it."

"Are we taking Wade?" Clay asked dryly.

"Not that we got told."

"So.... huh.  Well, he does know weapons, he can shoot, and we know he can handle really bad shit," Clay decided.  "We can treat him like a new soldier since he's got some training but not full training."

"Remember the odd reactions," Horatio said quietly.   "Sometimes Xander sees thing in a totally different light than anyone else.  Him dancing to get some Mala Noche members a few years back proved that because he didn't see a thing wrong with it."

"Got it," Clay agreed.  "I'm guessing the inventory is off."

Don nodded.  "Probably.  Yeah."

"Let me make sure Jensen thought about adding clothes."  He walked off calling the others.  "Pooch, not sure if you're going too but Ares gave a head's up.  No, he won't be able to touch the kid for a bit either.  Yeah, that's what we're talking about.  We're not really sure if you're going or even if I am."  He listened.  "Exactly.  Thanks."  He hung up and called Jensen to tell him to be sensible, pack extra money and ammo, and remember the explosives.  This was probably going to be pretty bad.  Ares didn't just show up with fluffy kittenish news.

Horatio and Don shared a look.  "Good choice, calm down."

"I am, Xander's not happy."

"Me either," Horatio promised.  "If they're on this plane, we'll see if Wade can rescue them.  If not, we'll do it ourselves if we have to."  Don nodded, walking off again to make bad plans in advance.  Horatio sighed, looking at Steve.

"It was a bad time to go relieve his poker bags," he decided.  "But maybe he has more stashed."

"Probably knowing him," Horatio agreed.  "He does some of the damndest things sometimes.  Makes me want to pull out my hair."  Steve snickered and nodded, running a hand through his own to check for new shedding.

This was not going to be pretty.


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