New, Non-Spoilable Pets
Xander road tested his new car. The engine wasn't good enough for a high speed chase. Which sucked but the newest corvette engines were just as weak. Which totally sucked. He still missed his corvette. So he was bitching at his poker buddies about it. They often had ideas.
"Why don't you go to a street racer shop?" the dealer sighed.
Xander looked at him. "Huh?"
"Like the kids that drag race do?" another one suggested. "Like in that movie?"
"Oh! There's actually shops like that?" They all nodded. "Where?" The dealer wrote down an address and Xander grinned, clearing out all their pockets for the rest of the game to afford his new engine. They didn't mind though, he was strange that way. Xander took his car over there, weathering the odd looks he got. He was not in the nicer parts of Miami so they weren't used to Mercedes showing up in their garage unless it was being driven by a drug dealer. He got out and looked at the two young guys giving the car funny looks. "I have to be able to get away when the next suitor comes after me, guys. Or the next weapons dealer who thinks I'm cute and all that." They blinked at him, one looking confused. "It's got a weak engine. I need to be able to get out of any sort of high speed chase, no matter who's doing it."
"You don't race," one of them said.
"No, I'm someone that people like to kidnap to own." He put his hands in his pockets. "I collect weapons. And jewelry at times."
Another, older guy, came out of the back. "You're that Harris guy." Xander nodded. "I heard your corvette got blown up."
"It did and I still mourn the baby. This is the replacement baby and it needs to be just as fast, if not faster, than my former baby was. I need to be able to get away from people who want to own me."
The old guy looked at him. "You're not going to drag it?"
"I don't often do drag. I look sucky in heels. Someone's tried a few times though." The old guy burst out laughing. "Not kidding," Xander said, pouting slightly.
"So you don't race but people want you?" one of the young guys said. Xander nodded. "Like the cops?"
"No, I spoil them horribly." He called Wade. "I'm having a translation problem." He handed over the phone with a grin. "Wade, my assistant."
They knew about Wade and what he had to say made the older guy shiver. Apparently Jensen was complaining at Anya because they got it explained in geek terms so that was easier to understand. "How much higher did you need it to go?" one of the young ones asked.
"I got my corvette up over one-twenty once but it had a bad shimmy in the back end. I know *nothing* about cars. Seriously nothing. I need it to get me out of a high speed chase in case I end up in one to get away from someone in an embassy somewhere." Wade and Jensen said something and they nodded.
"We can do that, kid." The old guy hung up and handed back the phone. "You have money?"
Xander put his poker winnings on the hood. "More than that? I can get it from a poker bag at Fu's."
The guy plucked out what he needed and handed the rest back. "Go home. It'll take us four days." Xander hugged him and bounced off to get a ride home from a local poker buddy. "Jeez, that kid's trouble," he muttered.
"What did he mean by spoiling the police?" one of the young guys asked.
The old guy shrugged. "Go ask one of the gang kids since one of them gave him a ride and let him hug him." They went to do that. They had a pretty decent engine on hand that they were rebuilding. That would do for his needs. It was good, strong, faster than the corporate, yuppie engine the kid had now. When a mid-thirties, bald, black guy showed up they were wary.
"Guys, I'm the transportation expert for the local retrieval team," he said with a grin. "What did Xander ask for? Jensen told me he had no idea what he needed beyond faster." They went over what they had and Pooch gave them good examples of what the kid needed. So they could soup up that one a bit more and still do it for the same cost. Pooch also got to go over the kid's car, finding two hidden portals, both of which seemed to belch weapons, and one under the passenger's seat that seemed to leak cash. The guys looked amused. "People like Xander and do strange shit like that," Pooch told them. "You should see his present warehouse." He left them to tinker in peace and quiet. Well, with the radio on. Xander had a good car this time. The body was strong and solid, he had just gotten a crappy engine.
One of the gang kids showed up an hour later with beers and take out. "Jensen sent this to you guys for helping Xander. He won large at poker today." He put it onto the counter.
"What is up with Xander?" the old guy demanded. The gang kid snorted and told them *all* about Xander. Including how many sickos the locals had taken out without telling him. Because Xander going paranoid meant the redheaded lieutenant would have a temper tantrum at him carrying artillery in his trunk again, and then the poker circle would get another raid through it. The car guys clearly didn't understand. The advice to smell his hair when he showed back up was an odd one but one did and nearly went to his knees. That told them all they needed to know. People *wanted* that kid in too many ways. They let him test his system and it was good. Even Pooch agreed it was fast enough. Xander paid them a tip and took Pooch home on his way to the grocery store.
Horatio had dressed down for this meeting. He was in jeans and one of Speed's t-shirts. Speed had tempted him to stay home because apparently he looked good, but he had to get this information before things got out of hand again. He walked into the poker hall that Xander never went to and sat down at a table, putting money down. They all stared at him. "I need to ask questions and it's a good day for a game." The dealer continued to stare at him. He smiled. "Xander taught me." They sighed but gave him chips for his money and dealt him into the next hand. Horatio anted in. "There's all sorts of rumors and I need some cleared up."
The dealer snorted. "Why not go where he goes?"
"Because I don't want this getting back to him." Horatio looked at him. "I'm told some of you have kept him from being paranoid."
The dealer coughed but one of the other players nodded. "There's been times we wanted Harris to calm down so if we heard of someone who wanted him in that special ownership, kitty cat way as he put it, we've run them out of Miami."
Horatio smiled. "Thank you for that. How many?" He put down three cards, getting them changed out. Not a great hand so he folded.
The dealer looked at him. "There's been about fifteen higher class dweebs and two military guys."
"Were the military guys *special* or just higher ups? Like the one that did capture him while he was at the Bazaar?"
"How did Harris get there?" one of the others at another table demanded, looking at him. "That's always bugged the shit outta me."
Horatio smiled. "He got invited when he found out a few of the other society members had been stolen. And some scientists. He rescued them and took on a demon that was menacing the Bazaar. So they accept him. I'm told he also belly danced or something."
That guy whimpered. "I remember that. I was there then. Who invited him?"
"One of the arms dealers. That was after I did that unwise confiscation of his artillery, which ended up with us all stolen by people who were going to sell us in LA. He was getting some replacement pieces." That guy and a few others gaped. "We did originally take them all. Then we all got taken from home and the station. Xander lost his temper three times."
"I heard about that mess," one said, holding up a hand. "The FBI CSI guys puked, people. Xander had his little sword and he went *off*."
Horatio nodded. "Xander's a berserker under the right circumstances. They got him calmed down or sedated a few times. The third time he got us all out." That one shuddered. "I felt the same walking over the chopped up pieces of being. Because not all of them were people. But it did save us. After that, we all agreed Xander could have *something* and instituted the checks and monthly inventory." He smiled at that one. "One of the ones he was buying from brought him there."
"Still *wrong*. Harris isn't that hardcore."
"Unless he has to be," Horatio agreed. "I'm perfectly happy when Xander doesn't have to be. Which is why I wanted to thank whoever had kept Xander from being paranoid and see if we could get a list since we found he has five new suitors. Three of the present giving variety."
"Seven," the dealer said then coughed. "Two of those generals are drooling wherever they're from about him." He looked at Horatio. "Ante into the current hand, Lieutenant." Horatio did and got dealt in. "As for who.... the spooks mostly have handled it. I'm surprised they haven't told Wade or Jensen. The few that haven't, the Mala Noche have run a few off."
"We have," one of the ones at another table said. He was a Crypt. "Because damned if we want one of the major people we get weapons from to be gay." He folded and looked over. "I know Xander well enough to know that he can turn anyone gay." Horatio gave him a slight smile. "I don't want to know how. Or why."
"You know, he's used that offensively before," Horatio said with a slight grin.
"Yeah, we heard about the evil meter maid lady that got half of us laid that day." They shared a look.
"He was not to do that," Horatio admitted. "He's not to do that unless it's a last resort to get himself free." They all nodded at that and one smirked at him for the delusion. "Has he?"
"One of the weapons dealers who wanted him last week," the dealer said dryly. "He pulled a gun on Xander so Xander let some of his hormones loose and made him give it a blow job to show him how good he could do." He looked at Horatio. "Which got him banned for two days for the release of the hormones. Even though none of us wanted to see Xander get shot."
"Every time Xander gets badly hurt, that tumor grows," Horatio said dryly. "We'd all like to keep that thing from coming back. Last time, he brought Wade and Anya to Disney with him."
The dealer shuddered so hard the table rocked. "Wade didn't kill anyone for that?" he demanded.
"Well, there was a suspicious killing of a few serial killers but none in the park. He wisely called Clay and had Jensen sent up. Though even Jensen said that the slutty, slinky, evil Xander was a bit scary."
"Jensen and your boy are goofy in the same way," the Crypt said. "But the slinky, backed up, tumored Xander is wholly evil, Caine. We *all* want to keep that version of Xander away. Far, far away."
"I know it got removed again the other day because someone decided to shoot him instead of pay him," Horatio said dryly. "That one was not pleased when Mr. Wolfe got him and made him beg for mercy and to be arrested." They all nodded they had heard and one shuddered.
"Is whatever causes the hormone problem in him what causes the tumor?" the dealer asked.
Horatio hesitantly shook his head.
"Better yet, is whatever that lets him survive being shot due to his hormones what causes the tumor?" another guy asked.
"Those are actually two separate topics I cannot speak on," Horatio told him. "Even among the society there are those that are...special for lack of a better word. Less than 3 percent." They stared at him. "I know admitting that could make someone want to shoot me more. I'd have to rely on Xander to get them back for me. Especially if they hurt my daughter." They all smiled. "She's been in again?" he sighed. They all nodded. "I'll spank Xander later."
"Ray Junior had her earlier when his interview went bad," the dealer said.
"Him I'll definitely spank." He grimaced but let it fade off. "She's much too young to play poker and not even Xander gives her an allowance yet." A few of the guys snickered at that.
"So, however he survives being shot, that's what causes the tumor?" that fellow player asked again.
"In Xander, the tumor starts because of those incidences and grows each time, but the reason behind him living is not the actual cause. No one's sure when it started. We think that may have started thanks to where he grew up being full of bad energy." That poker player put down his cards to stare at him. "Xander's former hometown of Sunnydale, out by LA, is also home to a spot that connects some realms very thinly. Which is why Xander used to have to hunt bad things out there. That's what led him to take in the Winchesters as students." They all nodded they knew that part, now. "That hole also radiates in a few ways, which is what draws them out there. Xander was born and lived fairly near to it for most of his life. In high school he spent three years overtop of it with his friends."
"So something about all that may have caused the tumor, and however he survives being shot that way is what makes it grow," the dealer said. Horatio nodded. "And it has nothing to do with his hormones?"
"It sits in the area responsible for pushing down on your pleasure center. He doesn't cook during it, doesn't read comics, doesn't play as much with the animals." They all moaned. "It basically makes him back up and pushes down on his brain in a way that makes those smaller pleasures less pleasurable for him. So he backs up further. That and it's right next to his self-control and regulation of doing stupid things area as Danny calls it."
"Is it true that anytime he has that tumor, we get raided?" the dealer asked. "Because that's seriously evil of Xander."
"No. That is a coincidence. The first time we found out about the tumor, we found out after Xander had been shot that time. He hadn't told anyone and when Don found out, he told me. That's also when you guys were trying to get him again, which led to his trip to Morocco. That and him letting Ray Junior play is what got you raided." He smirked. "If you hadn't shot at him, we never would've known he was playing poker at all. Possibly to this day."
"So it's trying to shoot Xander that gets us raided," the Crypt quipped. "Good to know. Are we having one this week?"
"No, I believe that one who didn't want to pay Xander was the only one we got this week," Horatio said dryly. "Though if you owe Xander, pay him please. He has to go liaison with the people by his next house."
"He's moving?" the dealer moaned.
"No. This is a safety precaution or for when they're all tired of Miami and retire. Unfortunately someone told them about weapons."
"Where?" the Crypt asked. "So I can warn the higher ups there?"
"Denver. Though he has a house in Mexico, one in Italy, and one in Canada for emergencies."
"He's moving near Team Seven? Is he insane!" the one at Horatio's table complained.
"That's who heard about his weapons," Horatio said dryly. "Which is why he's learning how to liaison with them the same way he does the lab." He smirked. "Including going over the inventory, how to get into the vaults, all that." That guy whimpered. "They've been told why by their higher ups but the local assistant director is going with Xander and Wade to finish briefing them. Possibly also Don Epps from LA's FBI office."
"There's nothing to do in Denver. No beaches, no fun," another guy in the back complained.
"I believe that was the reason they're moving that way. There's almost no one like Xander. Until he moves most of the family out there." They all stared at him. Horatio nodded. "Including us if and when we retire and if we want to leave Miami." That got a mass moan. "Us, Sam and Dean, perhaps some of the retrieval team's members. The whole family."
"We'll start warning people up there," the dealer quipped, making himself a note. "I know someone up there at the college."
"Xander has asked that it be spread so he knows where he can safely play," Horatio admitted. "We'd all still like him to give up his poker habit." They laughed. "I know. Though he'll have the horses on the property with him so he won't have to travel out to them."
"Be honest, his new house is a plantation," one of the other guys in the back snorted. "He bought so much land it made some people wonder and check, and that's who spread the weapons rumors." Horatio nodded. "He's got something like two hundred acres and a forensic sort of geek out there making sure they respect any native burial areas."
"Blair isn't in forensics. He's an anthropologist who's worked with a lot of smaller tribal cultures," Horatio said with a smile. "Xander also helped when he and his friend had a fight over Blair dating." That got a nod because they'd seen Xander do it before. Horatio got back into the card game. They told him who the others had been and it was nicer. They could protect Xander against most of them. Except maybe the two generals but Clay could warn them off. Or tell Xander to hormone them. Whichever worked.
"When is Xander going to get another guy like Greg?" the dealer asked.
"Greg is enjoying being a Federal agent," Horatio said with a smile. "He's in DC at NCIS."
"We heard," the crypt assured him. "You need to fire one of his boys so they're home with him more often or help him find another *helper*."
"He's been helping Jensen a lot," Horatio said. "But the team's been busy recently. I'll give Don some time off." They all smirked at him. "Was it that bad?" They all nodded. "I'll have them both wear him out before they go to Denver. Let me know if he's that bad. I'll let him bring in lunch and pounce someone in the locker room or something. We'd all like Xander to be less backed up. It's safer for him."
"It's safer for us too," the dealer quipped. "My girlfriend's pregnant because Xander was backed up a few months back." He smirked at Horatio. "I had the misfortune to sniff his hair. She was *real* happy then but not at the moment."
"How did you get Mellie?" the Crypt kid asked.
"The retrieval team had another member that was sent off. He's in LA and currently is involved with Miss Summers and Miss Rosenburg, both of Xander's former friends." He smirked a bit. "Miss Rosenburg, in all her high IQ ability, forgot the uses of birth control since she was with a very nice young woman. Apparently there was about two weeks of Willow forgetting birth control with the commando." They laughed. "Roque's her father but Xander was the adoption committee and Speed fell in love with her when Anya was delivering Toby. It's hard not to."
The guys at the table all nodded. "She's going to have a fatal level of beauty when she's older," the dealer sighed. "Xander's going to spoil her rotten for prom." Horatio smiled. "He's already taken her to the spa with him a few times."
"I heard. Speed wondered why she smelled like incense and oil." They snickered. "Apparently she got a very good baby massage that cured the colic." The dealer smirked at him. "Toby has as well. It's why he favors Xander at times. That and Xander lets the dogs play with him. Adam only has Ray's turtle so he's missing his furry playmates."
The dealer snorted. "Xander said Toby crawled the other day after Hubert." Horatio looked at him. "No clue if he's done it since then."
"He's a bit young but perhaps. I'll have to ask." He smiled. "We're having a family dinner later."
"Xander spoils you guys rotten," the Crypt said. Horatio smirked at him and nodded. "Is he a good cook?"
"He's an excellent cook. Though, if he's making garlic bread it tends to be a bit strong. Always put cheese on it." They stared. Horatio nodded. "He's even made the station homemade hot pockets for a Saturday patrol."
"Xander needs more hobbies," one of the guys in the back complained.
"He does," Horatio agreed. "He has some when he's not backed up but when he's that backed up all he can do is write pornography. Very good pornography but not something he can brag about."
"Yeah, that sounds like Harris," the dealer at that table complained, shaking his head.
Horatio smiled. "If we could find better ways to wear him out, we would." He got handed a few names for suggestions. That could always help.
Xander walked into the area where Team Seven had their office, smiling at the agents giving him odd looks. "I'm liaising. Like I do with the guys in Miami." He beamed and knocked on an office door before walking in. "Pastries? I made them earlier." JD grinned and took one to nibble, moaning. "The good chocolate from the place in Las Vegas. Wade's in the car texting at a pouty Anya and I have the assistant director up talking to yours." He grinned.
JD called someone. "Chris, they're here and Xander made us pastries." He hung up before Chris could do more than moan. "C'mon. I can show you our meeting room." He led Xander that way. The others joined in and Chris scowled at the tray of pastries.
Xander looked at him then handed over something. "Bran muffin?" he asked with a grin. "Danny scowls like that when an arms dealer hits on me or he needs more fiber."
Chris snorted, taking it to eat while he sat down. "Who came with you, Harris?"
"Our assistant director and Wade. He's texting at Anya, who's pouty because she's without sex for a few days. I'm hoping she won't get me in the middle again so I don't have to be pouty." The two higher ups walked in. "Pastries?" he offered with a grin.
The one from Miami took one. "Thanks, Harris. You're a pretty darn good cook with how the Miami-Dade boys brag whenever you feed them." He sat down. The local one took one and took a bite, moaning with a nod.
"The good chocolate from the shop in Las Vegas." He beamed and sat down. "So, we're in to fully brief you guys, go over plans, all that, right?" he asked his usual contact in the ATF, who nodded. Xander texted Wade, which brought him up. He took a pastry as he sat down too. Xander grinned at him. "Anya feeling better?"
"No. She was naughty so I put the chastity belt on her." He smirked. Xander gave him a pointed look. "She was flirting."
Xander patted him on the arm. "Don't make me kill you over Anya, Wade. I hate it when my pack members fight." Wade nodded and stuffed his mouth. "Though if she cheats on you like she did on me that once with Spike, I'll help you paddle her."
"I'll let you kill me if she cheats on me," he told Xander. "Because I don't share." Xander hugged him. "Get off," he complained but didn't mean it. Xander gave him a squeeze and another pastry. "You're goofy today."
"Jensen edited for me last night." He grinned.
The two higher ups coughed. "Let's get started," the local one said. The one from Miami pulled up the files he had brought. It was the order from the President allowing Xander to hoard some weapons, enough to keep him safe. "How many is really needed to keep him safe?"
"The more he has the less people, outside arms dealers, try him," Wade said. He called up his own copy of the inventory. "We did one right before we came up. This is including all the stuff that got turned over. All that's crossed out." He beamed the file to the system. They read through it and Chris gave Xander horrified looks.
"Thanks to the Miami guys and my former friend calling someone in the DC office, they're all presently kept in specially locked containers that keep everyone from finding them but are mostly bottomless," Xander said. "And we can give you a bottomless bag too, Agent Larabee. We find them really handy." He grinned and handed one over.
Chris looked inside with a scowl. He put his hand in, then his arm, and kept going. "How in the hell?" he demanded.
"Magic," Xander and Wade said together. Xander pinched him for it.
"We found them off-realm," Xander said with a grin. "We have ones that can fit people for rescues and emergency kits in them. My usual emergency kit has a jeep and all sorts of neat things."
"I like your jeep," Wade agreed. "It's very handy. It needs new license plates." Xander tapped out a message to Steve. "That thing shrinks down to a flat box. It runs on solar, ambient magic, or gas."
"It's very handy," Xander agreed with a grin. "No matter where I have to save myself from."
The higher up from Miami nodded. "Horatio likes it as well. I know your emergency kit also contains camping supplies, some limited cash and gems for money needs, and some lighter weapons." Xander nodded and tapped a message. "To Wolfe to restock it?" he guessed.
"Yeah. I think we ate the last of the ramen noodles and we were out of the other food the last time we got into it on the way back from Honduras."
"That was some wannabes using him to weed out the weaker ones," the ATF AD from Miami told his counterpart. "It took out seventeen of them, including the actual higher up we already had. They were not happy when Xander fought back."
Xander grinned a sweet, good boy grin. "Fucking with me is often a bad idea for those sort."
Larabee looked at him. "I saw that aftermath."
Xander grinned. "I planned that. They fucked with me and my family."
"He scared the crap out of us because most of us forget that he's been in real battles and has made battle plans in the past," Wade told him. "We all believe in the overly hormoned, bouncy, nice guy until something happens. And then hell breaks loose, everyone gives him worried looks, and his boys try to make him deal with more things." Xander nodded that was true. "So Xander goes and plays more poker with the underground." Xander grinned at him.
"So we've been in battles?" Chris Larabee asked to make sure. Xander handed him the pastry plate then uploaded the 'greatest hits of Sunnydale' cd Jensen had made for the meeting. They all watched and Ezra gave Xander a horrified look. Xander smiled and handed him the pastry plate. He took one to nibble on, mostly to soothe his stomach.
The AD of Miami looked at him. "You guys were insane out there."
"That was back in high school," Xander said with a small shrug. "That's not counting graduation, which was a real, true battle. Or the one I went out there for that Wade and Cougar followed me for and the rest of the retrieval team showed up to handle." He uploaded those two videos. After a few minutes of graduation Larabee turned it off with a shudder. Xander looked at him. "I can handle things. The hormones make me fuzzy minded and a bit more bouncy but danger will keep it down if it has to. I have Wade so it doesn't have to as often." Wade smirked and nodded. "And because I'm more sane than his last boss."
"Yes you are," Wade agreed. "You give me nice challenges, got me a girlfriend that drives me nuts, and let me do my own thing often enough that it's okay." They smirked at him. "Oh, we need to tell them about the tumor." Xander looked at him oddly. So did the two higher ups in the ATF.
"When I'm seriously injured," Xander said, looking at Larabee. "I have some sort of small brain tumor that grows while I'm healing." Ezra sat up. "We're not sure why. We know it pushes on my hormones and things. I become seriously backed up and can't clear it for anything. I can't cook, can't play with the pets, nothing pleasurable works, and Wade says I go slightly evil."
"You took me and Anya to Disney, Xander. Anya used to be a vengeance demon that enjoys torturing people as much as I do. You nearly made me break down and cry in the shower by taking us to Disney." Xander hugged him. "Get off!" he complained.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to torture you two, Wade."
"Uh-huh. Get off anyway?" Xander let him go. "By the way, Larabee, he hugs," he said with a look at him.
"I don't accept hugs," Chris said.
"Neither did I but he chased me over half of Miami to give me one once." He looked at Xander, giving his head a nudge with his hand. "Behave, kid."
"Thank you." He smirked at the higher ups. Then at the team. "Usually when he's got it, he's playing with the bigger dogs in the underground and then turns that money into treats for the department. This year's was to give them money to cover the budget shortage and avert the strike, but the underground had a meeting to call a truce so Xander could be fixed. That way his boys wouldn't work more overtime."
"So we don't have problems from gangs, anything like that?" Vin asked.
"No," Xander said with a grin. "I get along great with the gang kids, even though I'm gay. I get along well with our retired spooks, our assassins, our weapons dealers. Sometimes the drugs dealers and I don't get along but that's because they heard what happened when the General tried to cheat me. That and I destroyed a drug pipeline when people paid me in drugs once." He grinned. "They know I don't like drugs."
"In Miami, he's got friends in the Mala Noche still, some Crypts, some Bloods, some of the New York gangs that retired, and a few of the local ones," Wade told them. "All due to poker games. He's never had any problems with the gang kids that I've heard after that first time they tried to kill him and didn't manage it."
Xander shrugged. "They tried really hard and that's when people found out I was playing poker. It let Horatio clear out a few watch lists."
"They do watch the poker games to make sure nothing too horrible happens," Wade admitted.
The AD from Miami nodded. "We do. We don't often watch the ones where the retired agents play but the ones with assassins and those sort we do watch the sites to make sure nothing bad happens." Xander shifted and slunk down in his seat. "I saw, Harris. He's still in jail. He begged and pleaded not to get bail."
"Then he should've paid my ass," he muttered. Wade looked at him. "Brant."
Wade scratched his wrist. "Shot you?" Xander nodded. "You good?"
"They made sure the tumor's still not there."
"Ryan went with me because it was his day off. I owe him a massive massage for the paperwork he had to do."
"Sounds like Wolfe." He patted him on the head. "You look like a teenager. Sit up." Xander sat up again. "Horatio must know, right?" Xander nodded. "Your boys?" He nodded again. "Good."
Xander grinned. "Thanks for not nagging."
"I would've went."
"You had Anya in Payless."
"Never mind. I would've begged to get out of that."
"She said she'd spank me if I saved you."
"I'd have stopped her, kid." He patted him again. "What's your schedule after this?"
"Pooch said I need to buy trucks for the house. That way they have them beyond the SUV and my roadster." He looked at Chris. "We're arguing Dodge versus Ford."
"They're both good, I've had both," he admitted. "Fords are a bit cheaper." Xander shrugged.
"Larabee, he won over sixty mil on poker this year," Wade told him. "Plus another eighty or so from presents they wouldn't take back." Chris whimpered. "Yeah. Speaking of, Xander, inventory?"
"Cougar's injured and Jolene said she'd help him? And Ray Junior being pouty?"
"Steve told me someone had to and Cougar got volunteered by Jolene."
"We'll need a good storage area to set up a present warehouse," Wade told them. "We leave things there in hopes that they take them back and do a cursory look through every month to make sure nothing living was sent again. Then a real inventory for taxes."
"How many presents do you get?" Vin asked, looking confused.
"Too many, and some aren't really human." He pulled out a picture. "Someone gave me that. It's white chocolate." Vin looked at the picture, laughing. "Yeah. Dark chocolate girl parts and a white chocolate toy, plus Cartier girl jewelry."
Vin handed it to JD, who blushed and handed it on. "How did they take that back?"
"They didn't take back the chocolate. The family took axes to break it apart and spread it among the group. The Cartier they took back eventually after being reminded a few times I was taken and not a girl."
"There's been a shitload of those who send girl jewelry," Wade said, getting into his list. "This is since I started helping Xander last year." He put it up onto the screen so they could look at it. "It's slowed down a lot since others started to complain with him."
"I haven't had to destroy a realm in months," Xander agreed with a grin. "In my first year in Miami I had to destroy fourteen. Including one that tried to castrate me and showered a welcome to Miami dinner with rubies."
"So you've got demon and human suitors," Buck said. Xander nodded. "Are they worse?"
"Most of them tend to take 'no' more often. Mostly because I destroyed a bunch of them for it. It got to the point where I had enough realms owned that they had me hire someone to sit on my spot on the High Demonic Council. I won one by playing hopscotch." Larabee stifled a laugh.
"Things like that only Xander can do," Wade assured him.
Xander nodded. "It seems like it sometimes but Sam probably could."
Nathan gaped. "Who's Sam?"
"One of my students," Xander said.
"Demon hunter with his brother Dean. Part of the extended family," Wade told him. He put that list up on the monitor. "Cougar and Jensen may or may not show up. Steve may go to Las Vegas to work with someone he knows there instead. If they all show up, there's enough houses for them." Xander nodded. "And a salle."
"And a barn," Xander quipped with a grin. Wade nodded at that. "His is on the outer edge so the kids that Horatio and Adam adopted won't pounce him or Anya."
"That makes more sense," Larabee said. "They probably protect each other?" Xander nodded.
"Xander has great 'don't screw with my family' rumors spread about him," Wade assured him.
"Good. That should help. We heard that the permission to keep weapons came after some slavers in LA?" Wade called up that file. They looked it over and the pictures made everyone a bit green.
"I lost my temper," Xander sighed. "In the right circumstances, I do lose my temper beautifully. That was found when I took training time off-realm at a temple of Ares. Ryan did the same. We got stolen because redheads were really rare and we were with Horatio in my yard."
"I heard they came home with elephants," Wade quipped.
"Yup, we did," Xander said with a grin. "They were presents. That's where we found the first bags too."
"You're insane," Nathan told him.
Xander shrugged. "Usually I'm just happy." He leaned on the table. "I'm not inviting any of you to join the family but we're used to a close working relationship with the lab and Don's homicide department. We know you guys are good. Wade's former boss wanting to kill you proves that. So you'll be the ones we'll be giving inventories to, we'll hand idiots over to, all that stuff. You guys will tell us who to work with in the local department and all that too. That way no one has to worry and I don't have to deal with stupidity that'll make me protect the family with a sword again."
Chris nodded. "We'd like that and it's probably better if you don't work with some of the locals."
"Am I moving the family somewhere there's a lot of gaybashers?" Xander sighed, looking upset.
"No, not for that reason," Chris said and the kid relaxed. He figured it was probably important since so many of them were gay. "There's a lot that're...slower than we like. There's some we like to work with because they're the best, but one is a gaybasher and I'll make sure he knows not to come near you." Xander nodded, looking happier at that. "Are all your weapons going out to your new farm? Or are some going to stay in town?"
"I'd like them closer so we can keep better track," Wade said. "There's been some Xander's hidden magically in the past from Horatio. Which were useful during an apocalypse but Horatio's set limits on what Xander should have." The AD from Miami's ATF office stared at them.
"I needed them and some were confiscated poor babies," Xander told him. "Not like anyone can find them when they're invisible."
"Yay. We have a limit on what he can have legally," he told everyone. "It can't be bigger than single building destroying. It can't be bigger than vehicle mounted."
"I turned in the tank someone gave me," Xander reminded him.
"Thank you," the Denver one told him.
"Tank?" Vin demanded.
"Fully armed," Wade said with a smirk. "Someone gave Speedle a fully armed Raptor jet."
"Speed adored that. Gibbs even let him sit in it a few times." Xander grinned. "I turned in the Patriot system I got given, both times it showed up."
"We adored you for it," the AD from Miami agreed. "And all the other things you confiscated so they weren't on the streets." He looked at the local AD. "He heard about some sonic nuclear-level weapons and started to confiscate them before telling us." Xander nodded. "Things like that show up in the inventory and give Caine heartburn but it gives Dusquene happy moments to pet them."
"We worked with some military guys too," Xander said.
Wade nodded. "Major brains from the military."
Josiah looked at Xander. "What happens if you have to let the hormones go, son?"
"There's stuff we can give him very rarely that will weed out some of his backed up state," Wade said. "They're dangerous more than a few times a year." Josiah gaped. So did Nathan. "It's not him raising them. This is a fully blown hormone condition that he can't control. It's high unless he can weed it out. Pleasure wears it out but even he can only have sex so many times a day."
"The closer I get to being down, the more I'm able to do some things," Xander said. "Like woodwork and working with my swords that need some metal work or dents taken out."
"If he's fully backed up, he's a fluttering, fussing, airheaded fairy," Wade said. "A lot like the newest horse in the family."
"I think Debutante has ADD," Xander told him.
"Could be, yeah. She does look very pretty when she's trotting around like an airhead starlette."
Xander nodded. "She likes doing things though. I think we can work her up to doing the cross-country jumping stuff instead of ring jumping."
"She did good on the trails at the farm," Wade agreed.
"We ride too," Vin said with a grin. Xander pulled out pictures of the horses to show him. Vin showed off ones that they had of theirs.
"Xander's given me a few lessons in case I have to follow him," Wade said. "Wolfe rides very well. Speedle too. His boys do okay. So do the Winchesters and Cougar. Jensen's learning right now and he's looking very good."
"Ray Junior took official lessons with Furry," Xander said. "We had real trainers out for the royalty and Furry."
"They sound like good horses," Chris said. Xander grinned. "Is Ray Junior coming?"
"Not sure," Xander admitted. "He's just about to graduate college. We have no idea who's going to be there in five years. Until then we'll be moving some stuff here, making it a good emergency fall-back."
"Which makes a lot of sense for you," JD agreed with a grin. "Visiting now and then?" Xander nodded. "Is Blair staying?"
"That's up to Blair. I wouldn't mind," Xander said. "Blair's former work partner was an asshole to him recently."
"We heard," Chris said.
"He's here?" Xander asked. "I can go kick his ass for bothering Blair if he is."
"We took Sandburg for beers," Nathan said. Xander relaxed and nodded again. "He's a great lecturer."
"He does tell great stories and I learned more from him in a weekend than I did in all my education in Sunnydale."
"He does tell great stories," JD agreed.
"He's very amusing and quite erudite," Ezra agreed.
Xander looked at him. "I do a lot of shopping when I'm backed up. Can you tell me where the versions of my usual shops are out here?"
"I can and will," he assured him with a grin. Xander beamed. "I do prefer Armani in my own habiliments."
"I like them for presents," Xander said. "But for myself, for formal sort of clothes, I have a small designer I adore down there. I know I won't be able to find her out here but I can go back every year or so. Most of the time I'm either in jeans or in stuff to workout in." He stared at him. He remembered he was an immie. "I also give lessons in that dance style that has sword work built in if you wanted. I teach anyone who wants to learn but society members learn better."
Ezra smiled. "I'm not a member of the society by any means. I have many pleasures but they only do normal things for me."
"But I've heard you like swords."
"I do and I'd like to see that style." Xander beamed and pulled up a file off Wade's computer. He stared. "I feel...."
"Unbelievably dirty," Chris muttered. "That's self-defense?"
Ezra nodded. "That part where he drops his shoulder would work against a thrust or a strong parry." Xander grinned and nodded. "I'm betting," Ezra said, looking at Xander. "That part of the beauty of that style is part distraction?"
"It's definitely not what they're used to and it can lead to a more active, less straight forward style. Most people expect the person standing in front of them to attack with a thrust first, not to move to the side or around them and attack."
"That is a good point," Ezra agreed. "I look forward to testing myself against your style."
Xander grinned. "I look forward to learning some from you as well." Ezra smiled. "Do you like ferrets?"
"I'm not used to any sort of pet, but I'm told they're quite fun little creatures that like to wiggle a lot." Xander beamed and nodded.
"His Ferretopia now has seven cages of things for them to play with," Wade said. "Plus the three puppies and the two godchildren for pets." Xander elbowed him. "I don't like kids."
"I know." He showed off pictures of the kids too. "That's Mellie, Horatio and Speed's daughter. That's Toby, Adam and Ray's son." He grinned. "Toby's being pounced by Ramses, who's my dog. Mellie's being cooed and cuddled by Hershey and Kiss, Don's dogs. They're all going to obedience and K-9 classes."
"That's a good idea," Chris agreed. "Just in case someone sends you something bad."
"Horatio borrowed our dalmations in the past before some asshole killed them."
"Is he in jail?" the local AD asked.
"No. I turned him into bait when he showed up to challenge me." Ezra stiffened. "The pets are as close as I'll personally get to kids for quite a while. Usually I handle challenges in a more calm way. Sometimes with my iPod when I'm backed up but mostly not. Usually I meet anyone like that with backup from the family."
Ezra nodded. "That's always wise." He looked at Wade, who shook his head.
"I always want to shoot them when they pull out knives or swords," Wade said. He shifted in his seat and adjusted his jacket.
"Miami was more quiet when we moved," Xander said, looking at Ezra. "But a few more moved in and it drew problems. So when we move here, it'll be quiet for a long time hopefully."
"We'd all like that," Chris agreed. He knew he was missing something but he'd pressure Ezra for information later since he clearly knew. He wrote down an address and handed it to Wade. "A good truck dealership. The guys are honest."
"Thanks," Wade said, tucking it into his pocket. He looked at the higher ups. He got nodded to go with Xander so they left to buy the farm a few trucks.
The AD in Miami sighed. "We adore Xander. He solves a lot of problems when they pop up. The town's been very peaceful for years because they know he'll stop it. Half of the true underworld bosses like him as a neutral party to get opinions from. They all know if his boys are working too much overtime, he'll hormone the bad sorts causing the problems to stop it. He's done that before to one of the crime lords.
"We heard rumors that the crime lord was later found to be screwing a garden gnome statue but he handed Caine who had done every single felony level crime in Miami for a few weeks." Chris whimpered, shaking his head. "Xander's also heard about some people being kept by a drug lord. He and one other raided the building, got the slaves free, turned over the bad agent involved, and then went to have ice cream I'm told." Chris shuddered.
"Xander is very much someone to handle something and then tell you. Then he'll hide because his former friends in Sunnydale were girls who nagged that he was normal and shouldn't do those things. He's still healing from that. He tends to run from nagging. He tends to hide from nagging. He'll pout you into suicide attempts if you keep nagging." That got a group nod. "But the boy could use more people who legitimately liked him for more than his weapons and his hormones. We adore the kid for multiple reasons but I can't get that close to him. Caine sees him as a son."
"We can see that," Chris agreed. "So we'll be what he has with the crime lab down there?" That got a nod from both higher ups. "We can do that. We can guard him, watch over him, let him fuss over us, but he's not allowed to make us lunch and things."
The AD from Miami smirked. "Suck it up, Larabee. He spoils because that's how he knows how to show he likes them. That and it makes those that protect him feel liked. The departments he spoils down there get a lot fewer complaints and a lot more public cooperation. They feel appreciated and liked by the public. People transfer in because they're so well liked." Chris grimaced. "He'll spoil you and if you tell him not to, he'll pout you into going for your gun one way or another." He stared at him. "Xander's not fragile by any means but that's how he knows to show his appreciation."
"Once in a while, not all the time like they get."
"They get it about once a month. He's cooked for the full station and the lab, sometimes he'll order for one and cook for the other. Sometimes only the lab gets it."
"I know a lot of places he can spoil and cook for," Vin said.
"He does cook for some homeless shelters, but Miami's are under orders not to take home cooked food, only from commercial places," the AD from there said. "Health department regulations. Since if he sweats he puts out more hormone stink, he can't cook with them."
"I get that," Vin agreed. "There's still ways he can do that here." He grinned. "I know a few who'd love to help him." That got a nod and a smile. "Anything else he does routinely beyond shop?"
"Fusses at the pets, at his boyfriends, plays poker a few days a week." That got a nod. "Boredom is bad for him. Very bad."
"I'm sure he'll find new hobbies here," Ezra said.
"I can hope so." He smiled and handed over the files. "This is all we've gathered on the family group. For when they start showing up. The Winchesters may give you some problems but not as much since they started with Xander. They're Midwest boys but have been all over hunting demons." Chris nodded, looking at those first. "They've quit with the income generation method of their former years. Because of their former jobs, all those demon suitors want them more than the regular ones. It's more status.
"Xander's method for making them leave him alone is to destroy anything and everything he can. Here or on a demon realm. There's some palaces being rebuilt in the Middle East and some really nice houses in other countries." Chris looked up. "We heard of one in Asia somewhere. Two in Saudi. He nearly blew up an embassy in DC when they captured him and then they got mad that his 'no' came with a pissy mood. Anytime he's in DC he has a GPS chip to wear for Gibbs. Anymore in LA he has the same thing for Epps."
"Would they around Denver?" Buck asked.
"Xander's open to all logical precautions, but he doesn't want people to find it and use it against him." They all nodded that was reasonable. "Which is another thing that you and I have to talk about," he told the local AD.
"Travis...." He leaned over to hiss in his ear. He blinked a few times. "Some know who need to know."
"You can brief Larabee and myself on that."
"I know enough to know that he has some but not what."
"All right. We can do that. Who?"
"DiNozzo. Who is adjunct family really. He and Greg Sanders from Gibbs' team at NCIS used to hang out."
He texted him and got an answer he was on his way in. "DiNozzo is on his way in right now." He leaned on the table once his phone was up again. "What else can we brief you about?"
"Most of the things we would find out by talking to them have been covered," JD said.
"Oh, Xander won't eat sushi," the AD from Miami told them. "I don't think it's a food allergy but I don't know why he won't eat fish. Sometimes shellfish but definitely not fried fish, catfish, nothing like that."
"Sure, that may be something we can work on since it's healthy for you," Nathan said. Tony DiNozzo was let in. "Hi."
"Hi, guys. DiNozzo, NCIS. Which ones am I briefing?" he asked the AD from Miami.
"This is AD Travis, the local one, and that is Chris Larabee. He said to brief him. He's the team leader for the liaison team out here." He got up. "Have a good day, guys. I'll send you what I'm getting from Miami when you need to hear until they move up here and try to give you some warning for the actual move." He shook hands all around then left.
"Boys," Travis said. "The rest of this talk is highly classified. Even the President doesn't like to hear this stuff." They all left but Larabee, who shut the folders he had been looking through. "Fish?"
"That's one thing to talk about," he said, pulling out his phone. He pulled up the result pictures and enlarged it, handing it to the AD first. "Some people know that he had something contagious once." Travis shuddered and handed it to Chris. Tony sat down and ate a pastry, nodding. "Xander made these," he said with a smile, taking another bite.
Chris read it over, looking at him. "This is really bad."
"As of right now, my team, Epps himself, a sniper named Edgerton, Horatio, and the retrieval team in Miami know outside Wade and Xander. No one else knows more than he got exposed to something. Xander was playing it very close before then because he knew about two. Which incidentally came from ghosts when he fell into a burial chamber by accident."
"That explains why Sandburg is so carefully making sure all the native remains on his new farm are protected," Chris quipped, handing it back. "Fish?" Tony got into that file and let him see it. Chris nearly let out a hysterical laugh. "How?" he asked when he had that urge under control.
"High school coach." Tony smirked. "It never affects him but he won't eat fish."
"I can see why." He handed that to Travis, who did let out a hysterical laugh. "No one knows. We're certain?"
"Yes. Horatio ran the tests in his lab himself or Speedle did it."
"We trust Speedle?" Travis asked.
"Horatio's husband? Yes. Definitely." That got a nod of understanding. "And he's part of the family that may be retiring out here too."
"That's fine," Chris assured him. "There's very few out here who'll gay bash. And if they try, I'll help the kid destroy them." Tony grinned. "Are you considered family? I know enough about Gibbs to think he's my earlier prototype."
"Greg and I are kinda like cousins to the family. We may retire out here."
"Good to know," Chris said. He considered things. "How many of his...suitors would want to test his blood?"
"None. Society members are concubines, Larabee. They want his ass, not his blood. There's a few who if they knew would want it, but Xander likes to destroy them." He grinned. "We are very thankful that Wade started to do background checks on his weapons buddies. Xander has a few contacts in some terrorist organizations that drives Gibbs nuts. Especially since the whole Bazaar likes him. They consider him a nice guy."
"The Bazaar?" Travis demanded. "That place on that island where any weapon known to people can be bought?"
Tony smiled and nodded. "Yup. There. He saved it from a demon."
Travis moaned, shaking his head.
"Then he belly danced," Tony finished.
Chris nodded. "I'd like him for that too, even if I was a weapons dealing scumbag."
Tony smiled. "Not all of them. Oh, if no one told you, he's taken belly dancing lessons in the last few years. He sent tapes up to Greg." He shook his head. "Greg can do that other dance/sword style too."
"He offered to teach one of my guys."
"It's a great workout," Tony said with a grin. "Only society members seem to be able to do it but it's a wonderful workout." Chris stared at him. "No comment. The rules state that we do not talk about any member. Ever. It give someone a target for kidnaping and then our retrieval teams have to go be mad. We've had them break onto the server and all sorts of neat things to try to get members."
"I get that," Chris assured him. "I'll make sure my boys don't say a word, even though Ezra already told them that fact. How many?"
"Eight or so. Depending on who shows up. Up to fourteen total."
Chris squeezed his eyes shut and nodded. "Guards?"
"Ask Wade and Xander?" Tony suggested.
"Good point. I can do that." Tony grinned. "Thank you for giving me an ulcer."
"Xander's kept it quiet for years and he knows why he needs to. Oh," he said, snapping his fingers. "Wade's girlfriend Anya. She's over a thousand years old, used to be a vengeance demon, and has almost no brain/mouth filter about things. A lot of it about sex." Chris nodded once. "In public, loudly, whatever."
"Good to know," Chris decided. Tony smirked. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. He and Greg were talking and Anya came in to pout that Wade wasn't giving her oral sex because he said her period didn't turn him on in a lot more graphic language. Which we heard since Greg put her on speaker so he could wipe off his ear."
"I'll keep that in mind." Tony grinned. "Any other odd things? Any Addams family members?"
"Well, Xander's hair can look like Cousin Itt when it's down but not usually," Tony admitted. "He does know some goths too. Anya went goth when she was carrying Toby. They consider her and Xander to be demigods if they're in the know."
Chris nodded. "Not too many of them in Denver." Thank God. Ezra was usually as strange as he wanted to deal with.
Tony smirked. "You'll do fine. Xander's used to adopting friends into the family. After a few months at least one of you will be like family to them. Greg was within days of meeting him and they helped when his department ragged him to the point of him quitting."
"If you're sure."
"Oh, if he mentions moan-worthy chocolate, it's from a shop in Las Vegas that even normals moan about. He makes fudge with it and the white fudge is very strong. He can't cut it down enough." Chris nodded at that. "But we've had people tell him that they ended up realizing that they had no real pleasures in life after eating some. A few made up with their ex's it was so good." Travis winced. "Exactly. The chocolate it's made with is that good." That got a nod.
"Let me know, or our team know, if you guys need help. Greg lived with Xander and the family for almost two years. Xander and I are convention buddies. Gibbs and he get along well enough and our lab tech adores Xander." He shook hands. "Just relax. It'll be fine. Even when things are going bad, Xander's good at helping himself. You're mostly here to dad the family. Like Horatio does." Chris nodded at that information. "Just let it happen and give Xander firm limits. He'll accept fences but not leashes if it's for his safety."
"I get that," Chris told him.
"Good." Tony left, still smiling.
Chris looked at his boss. "I'm going to forget I saw that but I'm going to let Ezra know in case he hears something."
"Agreed. Are you sure you can handle things?"
"I think we'll manage it well enough and hammer out something workable. Caine's a hardass too and the kid seems to get along well with him." He took the folders with him to his office, locking them in his safe. He grabbed Ezra on his way out and walked him back inside. "What DiNozzo told me goes no further than you, me, and Travis." Ezra nodded. "Xander's been exposed to nine different fatal level diseases," he said quietly. "He's kept it very quiet and no one outside the family, DiNozzo's team, and two other Feds know."
"But if someone hears we'll have a whole new class of people after the family," Ezra said. Chris nodded. "I'll be aware when I'm listening."
"It's no problem. The boy is likeable and sweet. Much easier to get along with than some of our teammates." He went back to his desk.
Chris came out. "They at the truck dealership yet?" he asked Vin.
"I emailed him to be on alert for them. He said Xander bought three trucks for the farm. All practical. All used. Two Ram's and an F-150." Chris nodded at that. "Though he wasn't sure if Xander wasn't pulling both his legs about his SUV."
Ezra smirked but shook his head from his desk. "No, he wasn't. He has in his possession a security-minded stretch Range Rover. He also bought one for DiNozzo's team as Sanders' going away present from what I've been told. Theirs is more for work and Xander's is more for play but it is bulletproof, has shielding everywhere, and is nearly impossible to destroy. Unlike his former beloved corvette that unfortunately met its end at the hands of animal and anti-gay activists losing their minds." He looked over with a wicked smirk. "He has let the lab borrow his SUV for important cases. Also for moving his jewelry collection to banks."
"Do we have a bank that can handle it?" JD asked.
"Yes, three," Ezra said. "He's already checked into them from what I've heard."
"Will people want his weapons or his jewelry more?" Vin asked.
Ezra considered it. "I'm not certain."
"Another good thing to know," Chris decided. Nathan handed him the roll of antacids. He took one and passed it on. "DiNozzo said we'd be okay with all this within a month."
"We'll work things out so they're smoother as they visit," JD said. "Even if they're a bit worldly for Denver it'll be okay."
Chris nodded. "I hope so." He went back to go over those background files in more detail. Dean Winchester looked very familiar for some reason. That was listed in the file too. Which was good to know it wasn't him killing all those people.
Speed looked up from feeding their daughter as Horatio walked in. Speed tipped his head to the side. "Did I mention earlier that you're pouceable right now?"
Horatio smiled. "I like that idea." He kissed him then their daughter on the head. "Can she nap?"
"No but Ray's on the porch."
"Ray is not allowed to babysit because he took her to a poker game earlier."
"Ray!" Speed shouted. He jumped and came in. "Mellie isn't old enough to play poker. She doesn't get an allowance, some of those guys are really mean, and she doesn't need to pick up bad habits already." He glared.
"I was playing with the guys at the former agent bar."
"Yay!" Speed said. "No!"
"Yes, Uncle Speed."
"Thank you!" He stood up. "Sit." Ray sat. He handed over the baby. "You two don't get to leave the house tonight. Start dinner?"
Ray pouted. "Am I Cinderella?"
"Yes," Horatio said with a smug look. "Because you went to a poker game."
"Yes, Uncle H. Have fun, you two." They went into the bedroom together. He looked down at his cousin. "They're going to get noisy and have big boy and married people fun. You don't need to know about that yet either." Mellie batted at him with a fist. "I know. What do we want for dinner? I should make them oatmeal like you need." He got up and went into the kitchen to see what was in the freezer. They'd need meat after having such loud fun. Of course, something was still watching over him. As proven when he and Mellie disappeared.
Xander looked up and frowned. "What is that noise?" He called someone. Who told him it was something coming to gloat. "Wade," he said, getting his attention from across the small fountain park. He had walked off to be nagged by Anya in private for missing sex. "That stupid thing stole Ray Junior and Mellie."
"Horatio's going to be livid."
"They're coming here."
"Got it," Wade said, checking his weapons. He saw an officer stomping his way. "There's a demon coming."
"What?" he demanded.
"One stole my former assistant and his baby cousin," Xander said. The demon appeared, holding Mellie. "Give me the damn baby," he snarled, taking her from him. The demon pouted. "Wade?" He took the baby and sat down, guarding her. "Check her?"
"I am. Destroy him." Xander pulled a sword. The demon squealed and took him. Xander and Ray Junior showed up together a few minutes later and Xander was panting. Wade looked up. "Nasty diaper but otherwise just fine." He handed her back.
Xander checked and nuzzled her cheek. "You're okay, Mellie. We'll take you home and tell Daddies." He cooed. She squealed back. He looked behind him, smirking at the demon. "Yes?"
"Xander, did you need to destroy him?" the demon detective asked.
"He stole Ray Junior and Mellie from Miami! Yes!"
"Sure, I can agree with that. Let me tell Horatio. She needs changed."
"We're going to do that." Wade stood up and pulled out the car keys to their rental. "Officer, thank you for making sure that no one else got attacked," Xander said. "Let me get her changed." He walked off calling someone. "Adam, me. Make sure Toby's all right? Because I had to rescue Ray from one and he had Mellie." He listened, juggling her and the bag from lunch. Ray took the lunch and Wade got in to drive. "Good. Thanks." He hung up and got in there. "We need a carseat too, Wade."
"Yup, on it," he promised. He took them to the nearest mega store and let Xander go in to shop while he finished his lunch. No one in Walmart was bad enough to want Xander. He hoped. He called Larabee to update him. That's what he'd do in Miami with Horatio. "Xander defeated the demon that came for him to make a trifecta of two Caines and him. Baby shopping for Mellie. Yup, that one. No, we're good. Heading home. There was an officer there but he was stunned stupid by the demon and then the DPP detective.
"Oh, didn't know that? Yeah, DPP is their police. They have their own plane and own rules, all that. Sure. No, diaper change, clothes, car seat. Could be an hour actually. Yup, then home." He hung up. It was shocking but Ray was already coming out. Wade dug out Xander's wallet and handed it over after a check to make sure it had both cards and cash. Ray nodded and went back inside. Ray had done his job as a teenager but Wade had become a true assistant so it was easier. And safer for Xander. That way Xander didn't have to become scary again.
Speed looked up from his afterglow, staring at the demon that had just appeared. "What? Ray got stolen?" he asked sarcastically.
"With your daughter but Xander has them now." He disappeared.
Speed looked at Horatio. "I was being sarcastic, right?"
"You were." He called Xander's phone, getting Wade. The report took less than twenty seconds between bites of food and he got hung up on. "Our daughter has apparently charmed a few demons as well. Xander's presently buying her an extra car seat."
"Can't he destroy them all yet?" Speed asked. Horatio shook his head. "Damn it. Should we run to Denver?"
"They'll be home in two days." They considered it. Speed sent an order to bring his daughter back as soon as humanly, or Xanderly, possible. And that Ray was still grounded for bringing her to a poker match.
Wade sent back a 'two days, have sex' note and they groaned but cuddled. It was nice to cuddle without interruption again. Though they'd be calling out there every few hours to check on her.
Xander looked up from his shared breakfast on the back porch when Blair, Shells, and Chris Larabee showed up together. "Good morning, Shells."
"Good morning, Xander," the pooka said, staring at the baby. "Is she your foal?"
"She's Horatio and Speed's foal. Her name is Amelia but we call her Mellie." He let the half-horse look at her. "Some stupid ass demon kidnaped her."
"She is adorable." Shells nuzzled her stomach, getting a coo. He backed off. "I'm going to graze out by the apple trees."
"Knock down any you want, Shells," Xander said with a grin. "We're not harvesting this year beyond personal nibbling."
"I shall. They're very tasty." He trotted off.
Chris Larabee shook his head quickly. "I don't think I'm ever going to get used to a polite, Irish horse talking to me." He sat down, looking at the baby. "You're good with her."
"I'm one of her favorite babysitters," Xander said with a grin. "I've seen her since the day she got sent to me to be adopted." He looked down. "Mellie, this is Chris. Can you say hi?" She cooed at him, squeezing her fist a few times. "That's such a good girl, Mellie." He nuzzled her cheek. She grabbed his hair with a squeal. "I know, I keep that part without pins just for you and Toby." She sucked her thumb with it. "Want another berry?" He mashed one up with his spoon and let her suck on it. She liked that, grinning at him.
Blair smiled. "She's adorable. Horatio must be ready to lose his mind."
"We're going home tomorrow, Blair."
"Good. She needs her daddies." He sat down and made himself some tea. "Agent Larabee?"
"I already ate." He looked at Xander. "Stay here today?"
"I don't think we're doing anything other than scouting areas that we could put the present warehouse. You'd have to ask Wade but he's in the gym." He pointed. "On the treadmill."
Chris nodded, going to ask him since he was the schedule keeper.
Blair cooed at the baby, mashing up a strawberry for her. She liked that and squealed, waving the braid part she held at him. "You're so adorable." He took her to hold, letting her help him eat his berries for his fruit salad. Xander ate some toast and took her back when she started to make the poopy face. Blair's response face was almost hilarious with the panic on it. She got changed and they came back to finish breakfast.
Horatio looked up from his waiting in the private lounge when the plane's landing was announced. He sighed in relief when Xander walked off with a squealing, happy Mellie waving his hair. He took her from the carrier, hugging her. "Did you have a good vacation, sweetheart?" he whispered. Xander hugged them both. "Thank you for protecting her."
"You know she's one of my godchildren." He kissed Horatio on the cheek. "She has some diaper rash. We fed her some mashed up berries and they didn't like her too much."
"That's fine." He looked at Ray. "Are you all right?"
"Of course I'm fine," he snorted.
Xander hugged him, whispering in his ear, "No sibling jealousy." Ray nodded. "Good boy." He kissed him on the cheek too.
"You do that to me and I'm making Anya take you shopping," Wade warned.
Xander blew a kiss at him. "I'd take her anyway." He looked at Horatio. "If we had cut it short to come back that night, we'd never have found out that Denver has a mining colony of goblins." Horatio moaned. "They showed up to make sure we were peaceful. Blair's in people person geek love mode." He grinned. "They adored Mellie too."
"The plane was under contract to fly someone else that next day," Wade told him. "We couldn't get it back sooner and she doesn't have papers so we couldn't fly with her commercial, Horatio."
"I know. I got that email, Wade. As long as she was protected." Wade nodded. "Then I'm happy." He hugged Ray as well. "I'm glad you're all right as well, Ray." He walked them off. "Xander, I drove over your SUV."
"Thanks," he chirped, following. Mellie was cooing at the daddy, being very happy with him. They found Speed playing a video game while waiting on them. He hugged Ray Junior, kissed him on the temple, then took the baby to sniff and cuddle.
Ray Junior sat down and buckled in. Horatio sat on the other side and took the baby to put into the carseat. "Hi, Mellie," he said with a grin and a wave. She beamed at him. "You're getting more and more personality every day."
"As long as she doesn't think she's the goddess or suddenly start to like knives, we're good with whatever she turns out being," Speed said with a grin for him. "Like we were you." Ray grinned back. He looked around. "Did we hide Xander?" Someone was driving.
"I believe he's driving and Wade had his own car here," Horatio admitted.
"Yup," Xander called back. "Going to your place or mine, guys?"
"Ours," Speed called.
"Okay." Xander dropped them off and went home.
Speed flopped down on the couch, getting the pouty look. "What?"
"I believe she wants her hat and the porch," Horatio said, getting it for her so they could sit outside. She did like that more and it was a pretty, not too warm day for it. They were settled in when Adam and Ray showed up with Toby. The babies squealed at each other, making Ray giggle. "They're very friendly," Horatio agreed. "Usually across their uncle's braid." He accepted Toby into his lap so he could suck on Mellie's fingers for her. She didn't like that and kicked at him but he just cooed back. "Are we all taking the day off?"
Ray sighed, nodding. "I called off so we could continue our fight of the moment."
Speed looked at them. "If you don't want to move to Denver in a few years, don't. Xander will pout a bit but as long as you visit it'll be fine."
"That's the old argument," Ray assured him. "We worked that out. No, we're debating on who gets him if something happens to us both."
"Xander," Speed and Ray Junior said together. They both stared at him, so did Horatio.
"Even if someone else in the family gets him, he'll be Xander's," Speed pointed out.
"Plus, no one else can protect the baby from whoever came after you two, because it won't be the standard immie or bad guy," Ray added. "He'll be young enough to take Toby to his first rave and club night, shopping for the important stuff, and all that. Your friend Joe, he's going to be really old in a few years, right?" he asked Adam, who nodded. "Then it just makes sense."
"It does," Horatio admitted, looking at Speed.
"She's not going to my parents," Speed assured him. Horatio smiled. "I've already put in my will if you and I both go, she goes to Xander or Adam and Ray."
"I need to update mine. She's not in it yet," Horatio admitted. "I was putting it off until I had made that decision and talked to you."
Speed smirked. "I have great ideas."
"Yes you do." He blew a kiss. Mellie cooed and Toby squealed at him. "They agree."
"Of course they do. They're baby geniuses," Ray quipped. He and Adam shared a long look then Adam nodded. "Good with me," Ray agreed.
"I heard rumors that Toby could crawl," Horatio said. "Something about him chasing a puppy?"
"Huh. I hadn't heard that and he never wiggles on the floor at home when I put 'im down," Ray complained. He got Toby's favorite stuffed toy and put both babies on the deck out of reach. Amelia growled and wiggled her way to it. Toby flopped and cried but daddy saved him and gave him a cuddle. Ray smiled at Toby and Adam. "I thought you could crawl, little man." He patted him on the back.
"Maybe it takes a puppy," Ray Junior offered. They shrugged. It might. Xander did watch the kids often enough that the puppies were overly familiar with their children. They hadn't known that labradors drooled until one day of Mellie coming home covered because Kiss couldn't swallow when she was in fits of joy.
Something thumped against he front door and Ray went to look. He came back holding a wiggling bag. "Guys, someone did something mean to a kitten," he complained.
Horatio took the bag and carefully extracted the small thing. "I think it's just shaken. Ray Junior, call the vet?" He nodded, going inside to do that. "Shh," he soothed, petting the tiny thing. Toby looked over and reached. "Not yet, Toby. It has booboos." Mellie was staring from the porch. "Let us make sure it's healthy."
"We're going to the vet vets like the puppies," Ray soothed when Toby fussed. That got another happy noise. "I think you've been there."
"Probably," Ray Junior agreed. "With the way Ramses needed those bandages, probably a few times. They've got a free spot, Uncle H."
"All right. Let's take the little thing with us." They left together. Ray and Adam went home. The family vet had 'adopt me' pets and Ray always sniffled at them. They had a son and a turtle, that was enough for now. Though for some reason they got home and found a collie waiting.
Adam looked at the dog, then at his lover.
"Not me," Ray said.
"Did the son bring a dog home?"
"It's possible it decided the son was tasty and moved in?" he offered. He shrugged. "I didn't adopt without asking."
The dog came over and they found it had been sitting on top of a dead mouse. "It's a good dog," Adam said. He sighed. "Fine." Ray grinned and got them to the vet's too. Horatio and Speed gave them an odd look. "It killed a mouse while waiting on us at home."
"It adopted Toby," Ray said with a grin.
Speed petted it. "It's a good, big dog, guys."
The nurse came out to sign them in and then looked at the kids. "We had a bet going that they were Xander's."
"I'm sure, but they're not," Horatio sighed. "How many times is he in here with them?"
"Ramses is in about twice a week for bandage changes, Lieutenant." She smiled. "They're always so good to the animals in the waiting area. Even if Toby does like to crawl after Hershey." Ray shook his head. Toby got put onto the floor and crawled after their dog. Mellie cooed at their kitten. She smiled. "Give us a few minutes, guys." She went back to tell the vet that they had another new adoption. "Mellie and Toby are here with their actual parents," she announced. "And their newly adopted pets." Money changed hands with a few of the nurses and the vet. It was a good day in their office.
Xander looked up from helping Ramses chase his tail in the front yard when the gates opened and a familiar car pulled in. He grinned. "Hi, guys. Say hi, Ramses." Ramses barked and ran over to jump up and sniff the back window.
"Down, muttly," Ray ordered, getting out and letting the new dog out. They sniffed each other and Ramses barked, heading for his playmate. Toby squealed and patted him through the partially open door. Ray looked at Xander. "Did you drop off the dog?"
"No. Why would I drop off a dog at your house? Adam seems more like a cat person."
"I've had both," Adam sighed, getting out with Toby. Ramses barked and wagged his tail, letting Toby pet him. "He mysteriously showed up."
Xander got something from the office and came back out, putting it on the dog's back. "It's a familiar." He grinned. "Toby, did you summon the puppy?" The baby beamed at him then at Ramses, getting lapped for it.
Ray moaned, shaking his head. Adam shrugged. "I know enough to guide his studies. Or his and Mellie's."
"So do I," Xander promised. "Right now he probably just needed an extra guard so whoever sent him at the baby was being nice. He clearly needs shaved though. He'll die of heat stroke down here."
"We're doing it tonight," Adam assured him. "Ramses, keep your tongue to yourself please," he ordered with a growl. The dog growled back and guarded the baby. The other dog ran over to help, barking at Adam. Adam stared. Then at Xander. "Is he perhaps one as well?"
"Possibly," Xander quipped. "Maybe that's why the idiot was trying to sacrifice him." He shrugged and picked up his dog. "Adam would never hurt Toby and if he tried I'd kick his ass and we'd have a son, Ramses. Calm down." The dog licked him. He petted him to calm him down further.
"If I take a dark quickening you can protect my family," Adam agreed, hugging him. He petted their dog. "Into the car. Toby, you as well." He got him into his seat. The dog laid down across Toby's lap until Ray got him moved. "He needs the blood flow there. You could hurt him." They got in and drove home to take care of their new pet. And the son.
Xander looked at Ramses. Ramses licked him. "I know, it's lunch time." He took him inside to feed the three dogs and settle in for the afternoon nap they all needed. It was a nice day in Miami. Good to be home.
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