With Or Without Xander, Miami Still Has Its Moments.

Xander had been gone for a week when the first odd thing showed up in Miami.  Of course, since Jensen and Cougar had power of attorney over his things until he got back, they got to meet with the ambassador.

The older man smiled.  "Good day, gentlemen.  I know that the benefactor of my present is out of the country but we are gifting him for opening up new markets for us."  He shook their hands, bowing slightly.

Jensen stared for a minute.  "You're like where we went to get that bottle off world," he decided.

The man beamed and nodded.  "I am.  Due to the crossing over points being noted, it has opened up new markets for some of our goods, which is always good for families and businesses.  We wished to gift the one that pointed out the hidden links with something."

"Xander's had people who've wanted him so badly in the past that they gave him things he didn't want, so he's wary of presents - even for good reasons.  I'm sure he'd appreciate the thanks though," Jensen said with a grin.  "Some things have stooped to kidnaping him, sending him jewelry, things like that and it upsets him," he added at the pouty, hurt look he got.

"I can understand why.  Men such as him would be wanted and showered with presents.  The ones like him among our kinds are."  He changed a screen on his blackberry looking device and smiled.  "The other importers have agreed to change it to something useful.  He likes animals?"

"He adores all animals," Jensen agreed with a grin, sitting across from him.  "He has pets and horses to ride on.  He has a whole farm for them."

"Hmm.  The riding beasts we use wouldn't do very good down here," he admitted.  "But, there's ones that will."  He smiled.  "I will have a breeding set sent to him?"

"That's great," Jensen agreed, shaking his hand.  "Call me and I'll show the shippers the way to the farm."

"That is most kind.  Thank you."  He bowed slightly again and Jensen did it back, earning a smile.  He left, going to talk to their new ambassador.  He liked that idea better and it was a good present.


The next day, Jensen watched them offload two goats that were about six foot tall at the shoulder.  He blinked a few times.  "I know those things," he said with a manic grin.  "They taste good."

"They're of appropriate breeding age," one of the handlers said.  "Are there separate pens?  It would be safer."

"Sure," the head of the farm said.  "Are they safe around other animals?"

"Nope," Jensen said.  "One of them bit Pooch.  Xander said they'd eat anything that would let them."

"Okay, we have a good pasture that we never use," he decided, calling for some temporary fencing to be brought so they could be separated.  The handlers put the goats one on each side and released the restrictive muzzle once they were out of harm's way.  One of the goats tried to snap at him anyway but then it settled to chew on the metal tubing that made the fence gate.  The other one was looking pissed off but was checking out the grass.  "Are they good at adapting?"

The handlers smiled and nodded.  "They eat anything."  The head of the farm smiled and shook their hands.  Jensen signed the receipt for delivery and they left.  He and Jensen tossed in some hay for fodder.  The goats like that a lot.  The rest of the farm's hands came down to stare at the new goats.  One tried to pet the female and then promptly had to go to the ER for stitches and a tetanus shot.

"Yeah, they'll eat anything," the head of the farm decided.  "Can we do an electric fence, Jensen?"

"I think so. I wrote an email to someone I know had a breeding set gifted to them.  They got the electric fence set up and the goats liked that niceness.  It kept them from eating the fencing materials too.  The male sniffed and walked to the separating bar, reaching over to bite his female counterpart.  She kicked at him but he got her through the fence, mating with her.  When they were done, Jensen got a hose and knocked them apart with a blast of water.  She enjoyed it and he sulked.  Then she shook herself and went back to eating.  Jensen turned off the hose and looked at the head of the farm.  "They're very tasty."

"I'm sure they are," he agreed.

"Xander said that some places use them as a test of manhood.  You walk in with only a knife to defeat one and live."

The farm hands all nodded they understood why and went back to check on the horses.  It was safer.  The horses hardly ever bit anyone.

Clay pulled up and parked, getting out with DiNozzo.  "Is that them?" he called, walking that way.

"Yup.  Goats that'll eat people."

Tony stared from a safe distance.  "I know people less tough than they are.  I've seen them used in fighting like a gladiator event.  They won and ate the people fighting them."

Clay shook his head quickly.  "Only Xander," he muttered.  Jensen grinned at him for that.  They saw a squirrel run into the female's enclosure and she pounced, eating it too.  She even hummed.  "I think I know Marines less tough than those things.  Probably some Rangers too."

Jensen snickered.  "Probably, yeah."   He looked at Clay.  "We should tell the poker circle to make sure they know they can't use them for annoyance disposal."

"Go for it," Clay quipped.  Jensen called.  The female was closer so she came over to investigate this new noisy thing.  They all backed away when she tried to bite Jensen.

"Wade's going to enjoy them," Tony DiNozzo quipped.  "They're mean like him and Anya."

"They'd probably eat any succuba they were done torturing too," Jensen quipped.

"That's a bad and disgusting thought," Clay complained.  He walked off.  "Pooch wanted to look at the treehouse Xander's working on."

"Go left," Jensen called.  "It's around the corner on the east trail."  Clay nodded, going that way.  Jensen texted Adam and Speed too.  They were off today.  They brought the kids out to check things out too.  "Not near the goats," he complained.  "They'll eat anything they can."

Adam herded the children away from the goats.  "Good to know."  They found the treehouse and Clay checking the tent that covered the run from the treehouse to the tent area.  "This is nice looking," Adam said.

Clay looked over.  "It's a bit bigger than it seems but I can't find the way into the tent."

"Big enough for parents?" Speed asked.  Clay nodded.  They climbed up.  The tree was strong and the ladder was nice.  They climbed up with the kids, who squealed and crawled off.  Speed looked.  "Bookshelf," he said with a smile.  There were a few kid books in there.  There was also a small, low-hanging hammock.  Mellie liked that and curled up sucking her thumb.  Toby crawled past her and went to the long incline ramp to the tent.  The adults followed when Mellie squealed and hurried after her friend. 

At the end of the ramp was a easy-push gate that the kids could open.  They crawled into a village.  It had all sorts of miniature buildings.  A old style diner, a jail, an old time general store, a few tent areas off to one side that looked more like desert nomad tents.  To the other end was a stable that had mechanical fake horses, a garage where they could tinker with play cars, a movie theater that had a huge tv in there and seats that the kids were too small for yet but there were a ton of kid movies waiting, another store area that had toys instead of food stuff, and a large arena play area that had matts on the floor for safe tumbling on the miniature balance beam and climb/play area. 

To the east was a park area that had miniature trees, benches, and potted bonsai trees.  On the other side was a larger library building that had multiple rows of shelves full of childrens books.  A few were older books, clearly for the parents, but most were the starter reading levels.  There was also a small fridge in there that had juice boxes. Behind the row of buildings was a clear area for later growth and importing more things as they grew.

"This is way too much," Speed complained.

"The general store has fruits and veggies," Clay said.  He was barely having to bend down.  The top of the tent was about six feet high and had little lights up there.  It was a on the 'daytime' setting because it was bright in there.  The parents looked around.

"This is a bit much," Adam agreed.  "Though it appears they'll grow with them.  Some things are meant for older toddlers.  Some for younger sets.  The play buildings have toys that relate to them and the food ones have decent choices with a few sweeter things."  He looked around again.  "If it wasn't so spoiling of our heathens, it's a great choice."

"I'd love to play here too," Speed said dryly.  "He still spoiled them rotten when we said no."

"Found the emergency exits," Clay announced.  He pointed at one behind him and one behind the jail.  "There's also an escape hatch that's kid sized but no adult could fit down."  Adam and Speed stared at him so he showed them.  "There's probably other entrances for safety reasons.  I know he spelled it to withstand any hurricane or storm."

Speed walked out shaking his head calling Horatio.  "He spoiled them beyond belief, H. The tent city."  He hung up and checked the buildings he had only glanced in.  The kids were at the stable with carrots from the restaurant/diner building for the mechanical horses.  "Generator?"

"Started by the gate opening, and it runs on solar according to Jensen," Clay said.  He put his phone up.  "He's barely too tall to get in here without bending over.  Cougar fits well though."  They saw Jensen walk in bent over.  "Is this the end of the shocks?"

"Yup.  The treehouse is good for them when they want to be outside but covered.  There's also motion sensor cameras that're set up with Xander's security company."  He grinned.  "That way if someone comes in that shouldn't be here they can send officers.  There's plans filed with SWAT if they need them.  They've been out to look at the jail, which does allow the kids to lock someone in if necessary."  He grinned at Speed. 

"There's all sorts of safety features built in for them plus there's subtle teaching built in.  With the diner building they learn about vegetables over sweet stuff.  They can play with the fake stove and microwave is real if they need it when they're older.  The stuff in the movie theater is all older toddler approved and tested.  There's a drink machine that gives them a juice or koolaid choice with miniature cups."

"That's good and subtle for Xander," Adam said dryly.  "Though we did say no spoiling."

"This is as much a place for the parents as the kids.  It gives you places to hide and play with the kids without everyone in the universe looking for you."  Jensen beamed.  "This way if you want to bring the kids to somewhere to play, you have somewhere to play safely and without any worry of suspects, other kids, or other harmful things.  He was going to put in a ball pit and a bouncy house but the inflation system wouldn't hook into the generator."

Adam and Speed nodded, letting their mates come give their opinion.  Toby saw Horatio walk in and squealed, waving from the park bench he was on.  "Good day, Toby," Horatio said with a smile.  He took off his sunglasses, looking around.  "This is bigger than he told us."

"With hidden safety features, food for when they want some, and a library," Speed told him.

Horatio looked in the buildings, pausing to hug both kids.  Ray stomped in and paused then moaned.  Horatio smiled at him.  "It is a play village that almost any child would want."

"It's way too much," Ray complained.

Horatio nodded.  "But safe for us.  Unlike at the restaurant, no one can come up on the children to harm them."

Ray sighed but nodded.  "I get that, but it's still too much."

"It's safe," Horatio reminded him.  "Even if it is spoiling them and us when we want to play with them."  He smiled at the kids going back to the stables.  "That's very good to treat the horses with a carrot."  He walked over to help them.  The babies loved the mechanical horses.  "What were those things in the field?"

"Goats that'll eat people," Clay told him.

"I'll keep the children away from them then," Horatio decided.  "We should look in the library at the books."  Toby beamed and crawled that way because he knew the word 'books' meant he was getting read to.  Mellie pouted but her daddy picked her up to take her to the library.  They found a book and settled in the park area to read.  They both liked that.  Ray huffed but came over to do his own reading time.  Adam and Speed shared a look.  Speed went to look in the diner and made the kids some snacks. 
It was snack time and they'd appreciate it.  Adam brought a bag of banana chips from the general store.  The kids noshed and let the adults spoil them with a lot of reading time.  By the time it was starting to get dark, the kids were tired.  Toby was yawning.  Mellie was snuggled into Horatio's lap, sucking her thumb again.  They left and Jensen made sure the generator shut off.  Horatio looked at him.  "Shut down?"

"Yup."  He grinned and patted the kids on the head.  "Have a good night, kids.   Xander did say their daycare could come out some day if they wanted to as long as one of us was with them."

"They would probably appreciate that," Speed admitted.  "I'll talk to them tomorrow."  They went home to put the baby down.  He and Horatio would be talking about how to curb Xander's spoiling tendencies.  Speed had a horrible vision of Mellie's prom at the moment.


Paul Riet, Xander's escort for the trip, looked at his ...well he wasn't sure what to call Xander at the moment.  Friend with extra cuddly benefits might work.  "Are we going to the luxury shows?" he asked.

Xander looked at him.  "What luxury shows?"

"They show off the new fantasy items like seven thousand dollar razors made of platinum with laser-sharpened sapphire blades."

"I haven't heard about any of them," Xander admitted.

"We're going near two.  One in Singapore and one in Italy."

"I wouldn't mind if they fit into our schedule and no one will say anything."  Paul grinned.  "We're going to check into the hotel tonight and eat, right?"

"Sleep, order room service," he corrected.  "That way you get over the jet lag.  Tomorrow we have two tours and a time through the local shops."  Xander nodded, leaning over to rest his head on his shoulder.  "Try to nap.  It'll make the ride go faster."  Xander yawned and nodded, falling asleep on his arm.  He looked at the security people.  "Cars to the hotel?" he asked quietly.

"Set up.  Quit worrying, Riet," Wade said from his seat.  "It's a private company.  They'd never think about pissing me off."

"All right," he agreed.  "Tomorrow's tours?"

"Rented out the whole tour bus," Sheena, their female guard unit member said.  "For both of them.  The market trip we've scheduled three hours for and we've each got a few assigned to us.  That way they can go out in small groups and not get a lot of attention."  She smiled at him.  "The psycho bastard's right.  Just concentrate on Xander.  Anyone who Wade hasn't scared off you can do."

Paul nodded.  "Okay, I can do that.  Let me know if I need to help."  They both nodded.  "Room service tonight?"  Wade nodded.  "Are they good?"

"A three star restaurant in the hotel," Wade said, looking at him.  "Xander appreciates good food.  I'm sure you'll be in the food part of the market for a long time."

"The speciality and luxury shows?"

"You have tickets to that and the arms show in Hong Kong," Wade said dryly.  "He wanted to go to that one."

"Sure," Paul decided.  "I like guns."  He shifted and Xander woke up slightly but he fell back asleep.  This first area wasn't going to be too bad.  New Orleans was a quick, easy starting place.  Then they'd go overseas.  That would be when the challenges started.

Wade's phone beeped and he answered the text back.  Anya was pouty but she hadn't wanted to come.  It wasn't his fault.  Actually it was kind of nice, he still wasn't used to living with anyone full time.  Even after a year.  Though he would miss all the sex.


Don and Danny were eating in their apartment, talking about how Miami seemed so different without Xander.  It seemed more bland, that it had less life.  They had been told the itinerary for the trip and Don was thinking about showing up to beg during it but Danny pointed out that Xander needed this time to get his head on right and learn more about himself.  He was still young and needed to explore all that he could be.  Then they'd talk to him when he came home.  He'd want to work things out once he got home.  He'd be ready to settle down then.

"What do you think about getting a new dog?" Don asked finally.

"I think we're never here," Danny pointed out.  "Before Xander was home with them all day when they needed walked and played with.  Here....  Maybe something like a cat?"

"I'm still allergic," Don complained.

"Sure.  Something in a cage?"

"I don't really want a little kid's pet," Don said, rolling his eyes.

"We'll see then," Danny offered.  Don nodded they could talk about it later.


Xander got an invitation to the masquerade ball and took it to Wade's room.  He held it up.  Wade stared at him.  "Do you need to go see vampires?"

"It's not the vampire ball."

"We'll see."  He took it to ask someone at the hotel.  They had a concierge.  He held up the invitation.  "Which ball is that?"

"That's the Midnight Ball, sir."

"Is it the vampire ball or the rich people ball?"

"It's the local society's ball."

Wade nodded.  He looked at the envelope.  "Any idea?"  He shook his head.  "Would it extend to a boyfriend or security?"

"It's for a single person.  They might be insulted if he brought a," he cleared his throat, "boyfriend."

"Security?"  The concierge shook his head.  "Then he might have to decline.  He doesn't go anywhere without security.  Thank you."  He walked off.  He got admitted into Xander's room by Paul.  "It's the local movers and shakers, not the vampire ball."  Xander beamed at that.  "But they won't let you bring security or a date."

Xander grimaced, looking at Paul.  "If I knew who sent it I could turn them down."

"Let's see if there's someone who we trust going," Paul said, taking the invitation.  "Did you bring a dark suit?"  Xander nodded, pulling it out of his bag.  The ferrets were napping in their traveling cage.  The dogs were napping on their fluffy bed.  Paul called the local FBI office.  "David, Paul Riet.  No, small thing.  Yeah, I am actually.  You heard right.  One got invited.  Harris."  He grimaced and rolled his eyes.  "That's what I'm wondering.  Any idea who sent it?"  He made notes.  "No, that's not a good idea.  Wade, Tolums?"

"That bastard that sent him the two nubile, nineteen-year-olds?" he asked, starting to scowl.

"Can we send a nice 'no thank you' letter?" Xander asked.  "Anya said I need more manners with those sort."

"That one needs a flying monkey sent to him," Wade assured him.

Paul stared at him.  "They're real?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Where?"

"They're demonic and they're cannibals," Wade told him.  "Speedle released some on some gang kids giving his husband a headache.  Within six hours, multiple cities had banned them."

"Huh," Paul said, repeating that.  He nodded.  "That'll work.  Thanks.  No, he doesn't want to associate with those sort.  We can send a nice note declining it.  Oooh," he hissed.  "Others wanted you to come too, Xander."

"I'm not interested in taking on someone right now," Xander said, flopping down.  Ramses got up with a yawn and hopped into his lap, getting petted.  "Hi, baby."

Paul repeated that.  "His dog.  He left his niece and nephew at home in Miami.  Yeah, that same Harris.  No, he can't go to the Bayou Ball with all the gun runners," he said dryly.

"The last time I was near here, we were taking down a gambling ship that was transporting illegal immigrants and a sex trafficking ring."

Wade shook his head quickly.  "I heard about a gambling trip," he admitted.  "That came out during the background I did for Max."

"No, Max is dead.  Harris had him killed when he tried for him," Paul assured his contact.  "Hellhounds from what I was told."  Xander nodded.  "He got eaten."  Xander nodded again with a grin.  "Wade volunteered to be his assistant after that.  Sure.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Wade, you're allowed to go to the Bayou Ball."

"Have fun," Xander said.  "If you find me new pretties let me know."

Wade smirked.  "Sure, kid.  His?"

"There's a lot who want him to go.  He's taking Sheena."  He paged her.   She knocked and got let in by Wade.  "He got invited to the Midnight Ball."

She grimaced.  "I didn't bring anything formal.  I didn't think I needed it."

Xander used a calling necklace, bringing his demon housekeeper for his 'harem' and house.  "Mela, this is Sheena.  She's a guard on our trip."  The demon smiled at her and shook her hand.  "I got invited to the Midnight Ball.  She'll be pretending to be my date."

"We can get her outfitted, Xander."  She smiled and took the guard with her.  They had plenty of shopping areas.

Xander got up with a moan, pulling his suit out of the plastic bag so they could steam it for wrinkles.  He went to take a shower and pick out his subtle jewelry for later.  Including fancy, sharp hair pins.  When she came back, she was fully dressed, made up, and jeweled.  He grinned.  "I knew it'd be worn by a woman some day."

Sheena looked at him, touching the ruby necklace.  "You got sent this?"

Wade nodded.  "Yup.  We didn't think it'd look as nice on him."  He left to get ready for his own night out.  Xander could handle things.

Paul handed over some of Xander's throwing knives.  She tucked a few in pertinent places for later needs.  Xander showed her the hair pins.  She knew how to use them as weapons.  Plus he had a few magically hidden guns on him as well.  They left, going to dinner and then to the ball.

Wade called for one of their hired cars to take him to his own event.  He was almost dapper.  There were people there who hadn't seen him since he had died and come back.  A few gave him horrified looks as he walked in.  He smirked.  "I got brought back to guard Harris in Miami."

"Max's wanted consort?" one hissed.

"He wanted what he could do, not to bend the boy over every night.  Though, Xander would've destroyed him harder if he had managed it."  He smirked.  "Yeah, he got him too."  They pulled him to his friends to talk to them.  He could brag that he now had the most light, most sane boss of anyone in the room who still drove him nuts.


Sheena escorted Xander back to his room about three that morning.  She handed him to Paul and the waiting dogs.  "I have never had so many rich guys groping me in my life," she said quietly.  "And they were worse to him."  Xander nodded with a yawn.  "I'm so glad I don't have your gift, kid.  I'd be insane."

Xander grinned.  "Most of the women in the society get it worn out at home."

"I'm happy for them.  I really am."  She patted him.  "Get naked and go to sleep.  Dawn's pretty soon."  Xander nodded and went to do that in the bathroom.  She looked at Paul.  "He was good.  He avoided all the grabby hands.  He avoided all the ones who wanted to become owners, male and female.  So did I."  Paul smirked at her.  "Two vampires tried to woo him but Xander said a quiet, single sentence and they fled like he was going to fuck them with the dragon's tail."

Xander came out in his boxers, kissing her on the cheek.  "I used to hunt vampires."  He grinned.  "I stated who I really am and they decided I'm dangerous."  He climbed into the bed, letting the dogs curl up with him.  "Where is Hubert?"

"He went to hang out with Wade earlier," Paul reminded him.  He tucked him in, taking the kiss Xander offered.  "Rest."  Xander nodded, curling up around his puppies.  He looked at her. "Future problems?"

"Not a one since we're leaving soon.  The vampires might have him stalked to make sure he won't cause problems but otherwise it should be threat free.  They're going to be too busy partying to have sins to give up for a month."  He smirked.  "It should be fine.  They probably won't want the rest of the group."  She took off the jewels and handed them over.  "Here.  Let me get less pretty."  She went to her room to shower off the makeup, the drool, and to ease the new bruises from all the pinching old women.

Paul got his spot on the other side of the dogs.  Hershey gave him a quiet bark so he petted her.  "Good pooch."  She settled down and let him cuddle her human.


Wade came in with his bowtie undone and smiling.  He was slightly tipsy and he had reconnected with a lot of people, who were now all scared of Xander like they had been respectful of Max.  So it was a good night.  He got the single message from the front desk saying that Xander was safely back and in bed.  He went up, unbuttoning his shirt in the elevator.  By the time he got into his room he was halfway to stripped off.  Hubert lifted his head to stare at him.  He stared back.  "What?" he asked the dragon.  "I've been here, I don't need to go on the tour with your human feeding slave, Hubert."  He finished stripping down and climbed into bed.  Hubert laid on his head, getting patted hard until he moved.  Instead he settled on the next pillow and huffed in Wade's ear.  It was like Anya's snoring so that was nice.

And the dragon wouldn't want sex, so even better than Anya in many ways.


The next afternoon, Wade joined the tour group, glancing at someone that the guys had seen trailing them during the morning tour.   He had no idea who it was.  Xander was grimacing after spotting him and texted someone to deal with it.  His honor guard for his seat on the High Demonic Council showed up to scare the crap out of the minions.  They decided they were going to leave everyone in the group alone.  Xander put up his phone, grinning at Paul and Wade since they were staring at him.  "My seat," he said quietly. 

Wade just nodded and turned his attention to the woman trying to grab one of the other boys from the tour.  His growl made her flee in a hurry.  So that was nice. Paul could help Xander be less noticeable.  He hoped.  He waited until they were done to look at the guards with them then at the people.  "Group up for the shopping now," he announced.  They nodded and did that.  Though a few wanted Sheena.

"Guys, take Paul," Xander offered.  "He has nice taste and I can take Wade to the Farmer's Market and places."  They smiled and Paul got handed over.  He and Wade took a horse cab.  That was nice and Xander was happy.  "This is a great idea," he told Wade.

"It's a good idea," Wade agreed, smiling at him.  "You needed the break."  Xander nodded, shifting some.  "Bad?"

"No, not bad."  He grinned.

"Long night?" he asked patiently.

"No.  I came home, went right to bed with the dogs."

Wade winced.  "Paul...."

"Super snuggle in the shower?" Xander said.

"That's a good thing. Do more?" he suggested.

Xander nodded.  "After dinner."  He grinned.  "We have that trip to the native restaurant."

"It's a good, spicy food culture."  They paid the cab driver and got out at the farmer's market.  Xander had a few reusable bags and Wade had his wallet. Xander found a whole bunch of stuff he wanted.  Including local source honeys, spices, and sauces.   Xander could put them in the bottomless bags and they'd last a lot longer, until they got home. They moved to some of the local, small shops that sold novelty goods and he found some stuff there too.  Wade grimaced at one thing.  "That's not as good as some of the stuff out of California."

"I want to start collecting interesting vintages and different tastes," Xander said, looking at him.  "I read it's a good vintage and taste."

"Where's the wine cellar?" Wade asked.

"The new cabinet in the kitchen."

"Oh.  Okay.  Sure.  Get a few bottles.  You'll never drink a whole lot."  Xander nodded, scaling back his order.  They went back to the hotel to store things then went to the other shops.  Xander found an occult shop and Wade hung out outside.  The old man in the store gave him an odd look.  Xander grinned and introduced himself.  They talked herbs for a bit, letting Xander pick out what he wanted.  They walked down the street.  Wade showed Xander the best place to get fluffy pastries.  Xander ordered the native fluffy ones and blissed out on it.  Wade sipped his chicory coffee and checked his email until Xander was back from the land of gluttony.  Then they went back to the hotel and got ready for the native dinner and all the heat and spices they'd be inhaling.


Xander smiled at the people getting on the plane to head to the Indian portion of the trip, staring at one.  "How soon?" he asked quietly.

She smiled and rubbed her stomach.  "Four months.  It's twins."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Mom said you guys wouldn't mind."

"Not in the least.  We all have families," Xander assured her.  "I'm only worried if you go into labor."

"No, it's much too early."  He beamed and helped her up the stairs since they were a bit narrow.  She grinned once she was in her seat next to her mother.

Xander grinned at the others on this leg of the trip.  "She said it's not soon."  Sheena said a quick prayer of thanks.  He got all his things and settled into his seat.  He pulled out one of the Beauty ferrets to play with.

Paul smiled at the expecting one.  "Lower level?"

"Daughter of."  She pointed.

"Families are important to all of us," another of the women in the group said.  She patted her on the wrist.  "My son is over there working in a computer company."  The girl beamed at her.

Wade looked at her.  "Did we arrange transportation for you?"

"He'll take a few days and come join us to hang out," she promised with a smile.  "He can have the couch in my room."

"That's fine," Wade assured her.  "Let us know if we need to make any additional plans."  She nodded and they settled in.  Wade's lap got invaded by a wiggling thing he handed back.  "Hi, Beauty."

"Is that a rat?" someone asked.

"Ferret," Xander said, holding her up with a grin.  "I've had her for a few years.  Her name is Beauty."  He looked back at them.  "When someone wanted me a whole lot they took us and gave us identical pets to what we had.  So there's two Beauties and two George ferrets."  He stroked her and let her wiggle in his lap.

"He has a few dogs too," Wade told them.  That got a smirk from a few.  The rest joined them.  "Settle in, people."  They did and Wade looked at Paul, who was checking his email.  "Anything bad?"

"Two agents saying that they're checking on the families who didn't want to join in case something happens while we're gone.  Fornell is not happy at the moment but that's because DiNozzo got taken to Japan this time."  Wade snorted, shaking his head.  "Some technology person."

"Figures," Wade muttered.  "Gibbs?"

"Snarling.  Greg's telling him about the guy since he got taken by him a few years back."

Xander frowned slightly.  "The guy with the koi garden?"  Paul nodded, asking that question.  He got a nod back.  "There's a hidden chamber behind the fountain wall."  He went back to petting his ferret.  The stewardess gave him an odd look.  He grinned.  "They're my naughty side."  She just nodded and let it go.  The head of the guard team checked people off.  They were missing one.  He got their phone number off the reservations and called them.  They were getting through security so they wouldn't fall behind.  That one got loaded and the plane readied for take-off.  Xander put Beauty back in the bag.  The stewardess looked then at him.  He pointed and she moaned.  He grinned.  "Bottomless and stasis inside."

"Who makes that?"

"I found them in a market when I was taken one time."  She nodded, going to her seat to think about that. Xander checked the dogs, they were napping like they were supposed to.  The pregnant one moaned as they taxied, rubbing her stomach.  Xander pulled out some honey candy and handed it to Wade with a nod for her.  He handed her a piece and it was nice.  Paul put his phone up and settled in to let Xander nap on his side.  Wade pulled out a journal to flip through.  It was a long flight to Asia but it was pretty decent.  The others were talking, reading, or napping by the time they got over Colorado. 

The whole group wasn't as tense as they could be and the ones that had been in New Orleans with them were fully relaxed.  The team was looking over city maps to make sure that they got the best routes for everything planned out.  Wade had never been in this city so he couldn't offer any advice.  Paul shifted Xander onto his shoulder and went to help them.  So apparently he knew about the town.  Wade looked at Xander.  He wasn't drooling like Anya did.  Then he winced and shook his head.  Hubert.  Did Xander pick up the dragon?  He looked at Paul.  "The dragon?" he asked quietly.  Paul pointed at his bag.  Wade grinned.  "Thanks," he mouthed.  He went back to his journal.

Xander would do a credible Max impersonation if he left one of his pets behind.  He checked the pet bag and found all three napping puppies and the ferrets so that was fine.  As long as someone had the dragon.

Hopefully this was his only screw up during this trip.


Adam opened the door, using a foot to block his son from crawling outside, when he heard a delivery truck.  "Who sent me something?" he asked when the driver got out.

"It's for Mr. Toby Kowalski?"

Adam picked up the baby to hold.  "That's him."  The driver smiled and waved at him, letting Adam sign for it.  The driver pulled out two larger boxes and rolled them over, letting Adam tell him where to put them.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  It looks like someone had fun at Mardi Gras since it said it's from New Orleans."  He left.  The baby was adorable.

Adam put the baby back down and went to look.  He opened one and found a letter saying it was Xander's for his closets, but that Ray would fuss if he sent it in his name.  Plus, if Toby wanted to play with the dried peppers, he was allowed.  Adam rolled his eyes, flipping the page on the note.  It had an inventory list and listed three boxes so apparently they were getting the other one soon.  He saw a few odd choices.  "Wine?" he muttered.  He shrugged it off and called Ryan to tell him they had it.  Toby was pulling himself up on the edge of the box so he could see and pet things. 

Adam found a note that one was a present for Toby's room and pulled it out.  It was a soft, textural art hanging made of fabric scraps and woven ribbons.  Toby petted it, grinning at his father.  "That's for you, yes.  Let's go hang it up."  The baby wobbled and sat down then crawled after him and the dog.  Adam found a good spot and hung it low enough for Toby to pet.  The dog sniffed it and sneezed then hopped up to lay on Toby's bed, which got him swatted again.  The dog ran for his own bed in the corner.  Toby scowled at him but oh well.  Someone knocked then walked in.

"Adam?" Ryan called.

"Toby's room."  He came back to join them.  Ryan grinned at the hanging.  "It's a good present for a young thing."

"You can use it to teach him colors and texture words," Ryan agreed.  "The boxes?"

"It lists another one but yes.  And they're heavy."

"Of course they are.  Anything I should worry about?"

"Wine bottles."

"Xander?"  Adam nodded, letting him have the inventory.  "Huh.  Maybe for making sauces or something."  He shrugged and they pulled the boxes out to his hummer.  He brought them to Xander's house and Adam went to watch the baby again while Ryan went back to work.  He'd put them up later.


Speed smiled at Ryan's confused look at the contents of the boxes.  "I suggested that some wine with dinner wasn't really drinking and it was a good habit to start, that it would make him appear more polished at some more important events, like that fundraising thing that he got chided for bad table manners at."

"Oh!"  He nodded.  "Okay, that makes more sense."  He looked around the kitchen, opening the new cabinet.  "I guess that's why he bought that."

"Probably," Speed agreed dryly.  He was rearranging the pantry the way Xander would want while Ryan put up the few other things.  Including some new cast iron pans.   "Under the sink.  They're so heavy they'd warp a shelf."

"They are massive," he complained.  "Does he use them?"

"Sometimes," Speed admitted.  He finished up in there and Ryan moved to put the new shirts in the closet for Xander.  Speed put the few decorative things in the living room, finding Dean passed out on the couch.  Speed checked, he had a pulse, so he was just unconscious.  "Is it spring break?" he asked when Dean finally groaned.

"Sammy?" Dean asked, one hand drifting up to hold his head.

"Haven't seen Sammy," Speed admitted.  "DPP?"

Dean blinked at him.  "No, local stupid people."  He sat up with some help, still holding his head.  He found his phone and called his little brother.  "Where.  The.  Fuck.  Are.  You?"  He listened to the babbling, wincing some.  "Did you catch that babbling disease from Xander?" he demanded.

Speed took the phone.  "Where are you, Sam?"  He nodded, making a note.  "Sure, we can do that.  Be right there."  He hung up and found another number, calling her.  "Andrea, Speedle.  Someone at Jovara Bar has Sam.  Can you...."  He beamed.  "Thanks.  Putting up some stuff Xander shipped back.  Yup, knocked out Dean too.  Thanks, Andrea."  He hung up and tossed the phone back to Dean.  "Sam needs a nice girlfriend who likes a lot of sex."  He walked off.

"Our dad would probably like her, she's got spunk," Dean admitted.

John Winchester's ghost faded in shaking his head.  "I don't like her job.  If she'd give it up for Sammy....  Then I might accept it and want grandkids."

"Immortals are infertile," Ryan called from the bedroom.

"Like Xander, some day we'll adopt," Dean quipped.  "After we're done hunting."

"Keep an eye on their plane please," Speed called from the kitchen.  "Because if someone does like that show to the plane, someone's going to die by many hands."  He came out with a cup of coffee for Dean and a snack for himself.  "Xander sent back some stuff."

Dean sipped, looking at him.  "Already with the presents?"

"Yeah, Mellie's is apparently in the missing box."  He nibbled, looking at the ghost.  "They still good?"

"Yup, as far as I can tell.  They're still in the air."  He grimaced.  "Where are they going?"

"India," Dean and Speed said together.

"Why?" John demanded.

"Other Xanders just like him said it was a good trip when he went," Dean quipped.  He stole a bite of Speed's snack.  "You should go see that one, Dad.  He's younger and hangs around with the family all the time too."  Speed gave him an odd look but Dean grinned.  "He's probably bored sometimes and things going on there meant we had to cut back on the hunting duties."

Ryan walked out to stare at Dean.  "You are so warped," he said.  "Was it Xander's doing or Sam's?"

"Sammy's probably," Dean quipped back with a grin.

"Done," a voice said from thin air and the ghost faded out.  "He will be back in two weeks."

"Thanks," Dean called.  "Tell him to have fun with the us there."  He waved a bit.

Ryan knocked Dean out, walking off shaking his head.  "Clearly he needs another nap."

Speed finished his snack, nodding a bit.  "I hope Sam doesn't warp me or Mellie that way.  Horatio would get pissed at him and then Andrea would have to hide him.  Then he'd never be backed up again."  He texted his husband that information on Sam to make sure Andrea had saved him.


Andrea looked at Sam's phone, glaring since it had taken her from her pursuit of spilled caramel sauce on Sam's naked chest.  "Yes, he's fine."  She texted that back one handed then went back to it.  Sam was whimpering already, which was so nice of him.  Clearly he needed stronger women in his life than Xander.  Well, she'd make sure he made a good bit of noise later on.  It'd be fun for both of them.

No nasty Asian mob member would ever steal Sam again!


Wade looked around the resort hotel, then at Xander.  It wasn't the best place, the most exclusive place, but it did have local culture just outside the doors.  Unlike some of them that had insulated themselves among the expatriate sections of the city.  The group was resting during the afternoon heat to sleep off the jet lag and then they'd have a traditional dinner at a place just up the street.  More spicy food but they were all enjoying it.  Then the day trips tomorrow to a few different areas and then through the local markets the next day and a half.

Xander came down the stairs braiding his hair.  "No, I'm sure I'm a male," he told the man huffing behind him.  "I just like having the hair, dude.  It lets me hide weapons easier.  After all, no one expects to die by hair pin."  He put the clip on the bottom of the braid and paused to look at Wade.  "This nice gentleman decided to break into my room to protest that I was with Paul.  He's fine but he'll have a sore jaw.  Let me get an ice pack for him?"  He walked around Wade.

"That's why you're supposed to nap off the jet lag," Wade reminded him.

"I would be but someone kicked in our door."  The desk girl gave him a horrified look.  "He decided I have the hair so therefore I'm female and shouldn't have my friend in there."  She nodded, getting him an ice pack.  "Thank you."  He smiled.  "The door's fine.  I've already fixed it."  He walked off.  The idiot was arguing with Wade, which was a stupid thing to do.  "Want me to torture him for you?" Xander asked as he walked past them.  "Anya would be proud of me."

Wade snickered.  "No. That's my fun, Xander."

"Fine."  He walked up the grand staircase and out of sight.  Then someone came rolling down the stairs.  "I'm guessing the Wanna-Be Bond there is sorry too.  He's no longer trying to talk Sarah into going with him."

Wade looked at him.  "Good morning.  Were you bothering my new boss?"  That one gave him a horrified look and slowly got up, back against the wall.  "Xander's much more sane than Max ever was."  That one fled.  He growled at the other one.  "Leave my employer alone," he snarled.  "The local police would hate it when they found your body after I got done with it."  He blanched and ran.  "Huh, still have it," Wade quipped with a grin for the desk girl.  "Can we get woken up in about two hours?"

"The whole group?"

"Please."  She made notes of that in the system.  "Thanks."  He went back upstairs.

She got someone to cover her spot and went to tell her manager.  That way they could alert security in case either of those two came back.  They came out when they heard wailing and sobbing.  Someone was on his knees in the middle of the entryway wailing and beating at his chest.

"She's still not taking visitors if she said no," a male voice called from the upper stairway.  "Quit trying to take someone against their will or I'll kill your dumb ass for not getting a clue."  Then the sound of a kiss.  "Thank you, Xander."

"You're very good, Paul," Xander cooed.  "Cuddle?"

"Cuddling is nice.  Sheena, check on Sarah?" he called.  She came out of her room to check on her in that girlish way while he went to wear out Xander's hormones for a bit.

The manager called the local officers to come get that disturbance cleared out.  They had other wealthy people in the hotel and they wouldn't appreciate being bothered by the wailing going on.


Wade broke into the house that night, hauling Xander up to walk him out.  He could barely move and was clearly drugged.  The others had called the local PD for him so he met them at the door.  "I'm his assistant.  They drugged him.  The guy earlier couldn't figure out that sometimes guys have long hair to hide weapons in and that doesn't mean they're girls."

"He looks fetching but flat chested," one of the officers said.

"He prefers leather," Wade said dryly.  "Xander, let's get that jewelry off you."

Xander blinked at him, his eyes heavy lidded.  "I haven't been this covered since the monsoon demon tried to castrate me.  I used a sword on his swirly ass for it," he slurred.

"You can kill this guy later."

"Let him clean up in his own hotel room.  We will come get a statement," one of the officers said.

"It'd give others a bad idea," Wade complained.   "I'd hate to kill them for it."  The officers took a step back.  He got Xander stripped down to the very pretty sari and grimaced.  "Yeah, not going to work.  Kid, you got underwear on?"  Xander looked down himself then shifted and nodded with a grin.  "Then let's do that."  He got him out of the sari and underskirt, handing that over as well.  Someone tossed him a robe.  "Thank you."  He got the kid into it and walked him off.  "Let's go back to the room."

"The puppies will be mad."

"They'll only be mad that they didn't get to eat someone."

"We need to draw blood," one noted.

"Do it now.  He's a very quick healer," Wade ordered.  They all groaned.  Wade got into his kit and took out the needle, drawing some for them.  "Here."  He capped it and tossed it over.  "We're going back to the hotel now."  He got Xander into the rental car and headed out.  "Kid," he sighed once they were in traffic.

"Not my fault," Xander whined.  He was still half asleep.  "He was an idiot."

"He was," Wade agreed, starting to smile. "Think you can trim that mass for a few months?"

"No," he said, sounding pouty.  "Then I can't hide weapons in it."

"Good point.  We've got to get you more of them."  Xander patted his hair down.  "Paul said your special sword was still on the dresser."

"Cool.  Didn't want to lose it or have to magic it back."  He yawned and fell asleep on the backseat.  When they got to the hotel, Wade got him out and handed him to the waiting guard.  Xander mumbled something but let him walk him upstairs.  "Mean ass shits who think the long hair means I want them," he complained.  "Should let Wade torture them."

"Yes you should," he agreed patiently.  "What did they give you?"

"No clue.  I'm just really tired."  He yawned and let Paul take him to put him to bed.  Wade came in to sit in his sitting room to guard him, which he appreciated.  "Wade, you can torture him if he comes back."

"I'll do that," he agreed.  Xander beamed and then snored on Ramses.  Wade shook his head at Paul, who went in to be cuddled on.  It'd help Xander stay asleep.

When the police showed up, Wade told him what they knew, and that the security guys were holding the film from the security cameras for them.  One asked a delicate question about Xander being gay but Wade told him that someone had made him grow the hair, Xander had adapted to it so kept it to hide weapons in.  They handed over the hairsticks that had been in there, which weren't Xander's originally, then left them alone after glancing at Xander, who was snoring on the dog with Paul sitting up to guard him while cleaning his guns.


Horatio saw the news the next day and winced.  "Xander," he sighed.  Speed looked across the breakfast table at him.  Horatio showed him the paper, taking Mellie's spoon to feed her while his husband read.

"It's good Wade got him back."  He kissed their daughter on the head, earning a babble and a grin.  "We're going to daycare," he said.  She fussed.  They both stared at her so she finished breakfast and let them clean her up.  They finished their pre-work rituals and took her to put her into daycare for the day.  She liked it there.  There were other kids to terrorize and beat with books.


Wade hung up, looking at his boss.  "That was Don."  Xander looked at him.  "He said if I let you get hurt again he was going to fire me and then kill me."

Xander considered it then sighed.  "No he's not."  Wade smirked, moving closer.  "I don't know what's wrong with them.  Anyone else would've appreciated me."

"I do. You drive me nuts in a better way than Max ever did," Wade quipped.  "And I'm starting to like your dragon more than my girlfriend."

"Just don't forget him this time," Xander ordered, shooting him a look, getting a nod back.  They kept going through the fabric stalls.  Someone shouted and came at Wade with a knife but Xander had already killed him before he got within stabbing distance.

"You could save me some," Wade complained.

Xander looked at him.  "I expected you to have fun with the guy who kidnaped me."

"The police have him."  Xander pointed.  Wade smirked.  "Never mind then."

"Besides, I need a scary rep.  It'll mean less people will want to snatch my pretty ass."  The shopkeeper was giving him horrified looks.  Xander shrugged.  "Someone kidnaped me and grew out my hair.  Now I use it for weapons storage."  He pulled the hairpin he had used on the idiot attacker out of the guy's eye and wiped it off on his shirt before putting it back in his hair.  "I hate it when people try to own me."  The shopkeeper nodded, giving them a very good deal on the fabrics Xander was liking.  The police showed up and stared at them.  He grinned.  "He was going to attack my assistant.  I did not like that.  And how did the guy who drugged and kidnaped me get out already?"

"Probably someone taking bribes," Wade said.  He stared at the guy, then took off his sunglasses and carefully folded them to put them in his pocket.  The man flinched and ran.  Wade went after him.  Xander was safe enough for a few minutes.

Xander smiled.  "I have Wade because he's very scary and stops people like that before I have to."  They just nodded.  One said something in the native dialect.  Xander looked confused.  "What?" he asked in the more widely known Hindi.  The man repeated it in that language, getting a nod and a grin.  "Yeah, I took out Max for wanting my hair too.  Wade decided I'm a better boss because I let him date, protect me all he wants, and I like weapons to pet instead of use."  He beamed.  "I'm much more sane but he gets to deal with people who want to kidnap and own me."

One of the others said something in Xander's ear, getting a nod.  The officer stared at him.  "That explains the hair."

"One of them did it and I decided it was a good way to hide weapons."

"It is," he agreed.  "Very nice.  What did you use?"  Xander pulled out the sharp hair pin.  "Ah!"  He smiled and nodded.  "Very handy and well hidden.  No one would much expect that weapon."  They took the body off.  Everyone had said that the body had tried to attack the duo.  He was clearly insane.

Xander grinned at the shopkeeper.  "I need wall hangings and decorative items.  Are there any good sellers around here?"

He pointed.  "My cousins sells some.  If not, the ones around him have many nice things."

Xander beamed.  "Thank you."  He bowed properly and walked off.  The shopkeeper sat down and started to send up prayers of thanks.  When Wade walked past his stall he pointed. 

Wade nodded and smiled at him, putting back on his sunglasses.  "You need to put on more sunscreen if we're going to be out here for much longer, Xander."

"Yup, I'll do that after some tea and stuff for lunch?"  He pointed with a grin.

Wade looked then nodded.  "Sure, that looks like a good place to get out of the sun."  He looked at what he had bought then around.  "We'll go to the other area that has decorative things after we eat."  Xander grinned and nodded, following him to get them something to eat.  A few of the other tour members were there getting out of the intense sunlight as well.  Wade nodded at Paul.  "The guy who took him last night is now sorry."

"Thanks," Paul said with a smile.  "I had no idea you could be such a good assistant."

Xander snickered.  "We have to deny the rumor that I'm more scary than him too."

Wade rolled his eyes.  "We all know who the scariest is, Xander.  Even if the gang kids thinks creativity is scarier than raw power."

Xander patted him on the forearm.  "I know."  Wade smirked at him.  "Though a few think Anya's worse because they wrote emails asking me to please make her quit pouting and trying to find a suitable temporary torture partner."

"No, I don't think she'd like what I'd do to her for that," Wade said dryly.

"She and another vengeance demon that retired are getting together.  Melisime is very mean sometimes.  She took over part of Hallie's old job."

"She's allowed to hang out with girls," Wade told him.  "They can torture as long as Anya doesn't cheat."

"I know," Xander said dryly.

Paul and the other guards stared at Wade.  "So you're actually *with* her?" Paul asked.

Wade smirked and nodded.  "It was originally a debt thing but I renewed our contract through next year.  As long as she doesn't cheat.  Then I'll let Xander kill me after I remind her that it's wrong."

Xander put down the cup of tea he had just been drinking from.  "Did you remember to unlock the drawer?"

"No.  She did take my credit card to rectify that though."  He sipped his own tea.  He put down the cup.  "Anya's a former vengeance demons."  He smiled.  "Xander trained her in how to be normal."

Xander snorted, shaking his head.  "I tried but Buffy and Willow got there with Cosmo way too often."  Paul whimpered.  Xander grinned.  "She was nearly a nympho when we dated.  I used to do construction, go on patrol, and then come home to her."  Paul shook his head with a moan.

"I saw Anya," Sheena admitted as she and her charges came in.  "She was a bit.... strong willed."

"Very," Xander and Wade agreed.

"I didn't even know he had taken up with her until someone decided Jensen needed to be taken because they thought he was me."  He nibbled his little meat filled pastry thing.  "I need to learn how to make this sort of bread."

"You need to learn to use the native spices too," Wade reminded him.  "There's a spa that has a cooking school lesson time.  You're booked the day before we go."  Xander beamed at him for that.  Wade smirked.  "It'll only contribute to my waistline expanding.  Which Anya claimed is her job to deal with."  He grinned.

"Are you missing the pouncing?" Xander asked.  "I know it's been over a week."

"So far I'm good.  The dragon snores in my ear like she does.  And he's better to sleep with at night.  He doesn't wiggle, cling, or claw me with her happy past-job dreams."  He finished his tea and poured some more.  He gave Xander some more too.  "Eat, kid."

Xander ate and finished his meal, putting down money.  Wade corrected it.  "Tip," he said.

"You tip like an American."

"I am an American.  I'm originally a SoCal boy.  I only know how to tip one way."

"Here and in Asia in general you can tip less than twenty percent."

"Don't these guys make crap wages like our waiters do?" Xander asked.  Wade nodded.  "And half of their wages are expected to be tips, right?" Paul nodded, grinning at him.  "Then I'll give him extra so he and his family can have a really nice dinner or buy something they need."  He put the money back.  "Keep it up and I'm paying you in Yen instead of dollars."

Wade snorted, shaking his head.  It was a playful threat since Xander didn't pay him.  "I know a lot of people who'd be happy if you did.  I could change it among the poker circuit for more than true worth."

"Fine, I'll take your wallet and Anya shoe shopping."

Wade groaned, shaking his head.  "Please don't.  Even when she goes to Payless it's hundreds of dollars.  I'd hate to see her go real shoe shopping at the expensive, couture shoe places."

"You make her go to Payless?" one of the women on the trip asked.

"She got taught how to be a girl from Cosmo and an LA princess," Xander told her.  She shuddered.  "Yeah. She literally spent six hundred in Payless the last time she went."

"Twenty-five per pair of shoes," that woman mused.  Then shook her head.  "I'm glad my daughter has sense."

"I'm helping Horatio's daughter learn how to be a reasonable girl, even when she shops," Xander said proudly.

"Aww, Horatio adopted?" one of the others asked.

Xander pulled out his phone to show off the pictures.  "That's Amelia, Horatio's daughter with Speed.  The next one is Toby, who Adam adopted."  They got a mass 'aww'.  "I just created a play area at my farm for them."

"Speed sent an email saying it was way too big, too much spoiling, and he would spank you when he got home," Wade quipped, sipping his tea.  Xander smirked at him.  "Also, the traders decided to give you two of those goats.  Jensen said that he had to warn everyone not to use them as poker buddy elimination."

"That would be bad," Xander agreed.  "Though they'd probably like to have another way."

"I had to head off one that wanted to use your new forge."  Wade smirked before sipping his tea and putting the cup down.  He stole a piece of Xander's snack.  "Finish up and we'll go to the spice section."  Xander finished and added a bit more to the tip then they left together.

The others shared a look and stared at Paul.  He smirked and shook his head.  "Not that way," he said quietly.  A few sighed.  "He just broke up and wanted someone to talk to."

"Which is reasonable with as happy as he is," Sheena teased with a grin.

Paul smirked back.  "He's a good boy and I like how he's babbling at me about what he's seen.  It's like it's all new again to me."

"Good point.  I'm seeing things that I haven't before.  It's good to see more than the area I had to chase a guy through before."  They stared at her.  She grinned.  "Like them, I'm still very well trained."  That got a few grins.  "And single if you're willing to introduce me."

"I'd introduce you to my son but you'd have to move over here," one offered.

"Nah, too hot most of the year and I'd always have heartburn."  Paul handed over a roll of tums.  "Thanks.  I had masala coated duck during our trek."  She took two and handed it back.  "It was a bit stronger than I had expected, but tasty."

He grinned.  "The last time I was here I had something that was like Thai food in heat only it was all vegetables and sauce.  I thought my throat was on fire for *days*."

The group giggled and broke up to go back to their shopping and soaking up local flavor.

Sheena stopped one.  "It's illegal to pay a beggar cash," she said quietly.  "The same as it's illegal for them to beg."  The woman nodded and handed him a small bag of food she had bought.  That was practical for the young man and borderline with the law.


Wade got a message from a contact.  "Hmm."  Xander looked over his arm at the phone's screen.  Wade pushed him off.  "No."

"Fun," Xander offered quietly.  Wade stared at him.  Xander shrugged.

"Not enough time," he admitted.  He put his phone up.

"If you do, I wanna help."

"You're not trained," Wade reminded him quietly.

"Bull."  He held out a hand.  "Phone?"  Wade handed it over.  Xander got into a program and into a database, typing in a name.  "Halloween."  He handed it back.  "Plus nest raids."

Wade stared at the name and short dossier then at him.  "Halloween?" he asked quietly.

"Ethan.  Costumes....."

"I heard about that."  He removed that search and put his phone back.  He considered that information.  "That's how you knew how to handle those toys."  Xander beamed and nodded.  Well, fuck.  Though that probably explained why Xander got on so well with commandos.  So... he'd think about that raid.  He saw Paul staring at him and smirked, saluting him with his cup.  Then he went back to dinner.  He'd need the food no matter what.  Though it would be fun to bust such a nice lair.  Plenty of toys too.


Wade snuck into the house and looked around.  The bad guys were already begging for mercy for some reason.  Tied up and begging for mercy.  He checked to make sure there weren't any police or other agents.  No, there was a Xander petting a gold plated assault rifle.  "Kid," he sighed.

Xander held it up with a grin.  "It's nearly as good as a puppy."

"It is," he agreed, taking it to look over.  "It'll look nice in my vault."  He smirked.  "What are you doing?"

"I was at the hotel until someone decided I needed to be here."  He pointed at the sobbing, begging man at his feet.  "And he tried to hurt Hershey.  So once I got free I kindly kicked his ass and all his people's asses.  I may've missed a guard," he offered at Wade's stare.

"Yeah, I killed him already."  He shook his head.  "Okay, got a bag?"  Xander shook his head, pointing at the begging being again while petting a new golden gun.  "Good thing I brought one."  Xander beamed.  "Stash of cash?"  Xander kicked one.  "Cash?" he demanded.

"Who're you?" he complained.

"Wade.  I used to work for Max."  He smirked.  "Xander's my new boss."  The guys looked at Xander, who smiled and wiggled his fingers.  "I get to kill *all* his suitors now."  He hauled one up and walked him around to find all the stealing-worthy things.

"Leave any artwork so the officials can have them," Xander called.  "Horatio might get mad if they have to come for cultural treasures."

"Only a few I'd take anyway and they're all Central American.  For some reason he was mixing Mayan and Aztec artwork with early Hindu."  He stepped back into view.  "Some masks?"

"It'll give them a way to start talking and make friends.  Plus get us in more trouble because it can be tracked.  You weren't around when I had to give back ancient Chinese artwork thanks to someone.  Talk about shit piling up."

Wade shook his head.  "That wasn't your fault."

"They don't like anyone who would receive it, much less *why* it was given to me."

"Good point."  He went back to his looting.  "Aren't you helping?"

"I was going to steal the gun collections."

"No, they're mine.  You can have the money and find someone to use it."

"I already know people I donated to," Xander said dryly, getting off the table to go help Wade loot.  "We split it and I get some of the pretty guns?"

Wade nodded.  "Fine."  He smirked.  The kid helped him shove bundles of money into the bag as they worked their way around the house.  They found the basement full of drugs.  And plastic tubs full of money.  Xander sighed and looked at Wade.  Wade grimaced.  "My back's already hurting."  They nodded and left it there, going upstairs.  "Gloves?"

"Yeah," Xander said, showing him.  "I'm using one of theirs."  Wade smirked and nodded.  They finished up with the upstairs, including some new bling for Wade.  They were too 'rapper' for Xander.  As they walked out, Xander called the local emergency number they had all been made to memorize.  He sounded perfectly hysterical while they walked, telling them that he had just gotten free when someone had broken in to take that group down.  He was going into hiding but they had left some things in the house, including the drugs.  He hung up and put his phone into Wade's pocket.  "How much do you think will make it into the system instead of in bribes?"

"They'd have to put in at least a bit unless the whole team was dirty."  He put the bag into his jacket when they heard sirens.  He pulled Xander out of the way, palming his gun.  One car stopped beside them.  "I just helped my employer be rescued."

"Did you call?" one demanded.

"Yes," Xander said calmly.  "I did.  There was some guy in a mask and a jacket that broke in to take them out and I escaped during that.  I called Wade to come help me."

The officer nodded.  "Was he Indian?"

Xander shrugged.  "I'm here with a tour group, Officer."

"All right.  Can you get back to your hotel?  Do you need medical attention?"

Wade smirked.  "I'm former Canadian Special Forces."  The officer nodded.  "I checked the house.  The drugs are in the basement. All the idiots are tied up or dead.  I found some pretty artwork but my boss doesn't really like that theory."

"Thank you for your help, sir."  He sped off to join the others.  Someone had knocked them out somehow.  He made his report to the senior officer on the scene, including that they were with a tour group and the former hostage had *very* long hair for a guy.  That got a nod and they sneered at the bodies for wanting a gay man.  They found the drugs and promised artwork, which was nice.  When the first one woke up he started to blubber about being taken down by the gay man.  Which none of them believed.  No man like that could ever take down men like these.


Speed got the newspaper first a few days later, reading the International headlines.  He called Xander's phone.  "Lay lower, Xander.  Before someone catches a clue."  He hung up and put the paper down, getting up to get some milk to calm his stomach down.  Mellie set up a fit, so he fed her some too.  "Is your tummy upset from Uncle Xander doing stupid things too?" he asked with a grin.  She smiled and patted his hands, stealing his cup for her own use.  He helped hold it but she was drinking fairly well out of it.

Horatio walked in doing up his shirt.  "That's very advanced, Mellie.  Nice job."  He kissed her on the head, making her beam and squeal at him, plus wave.  He smiled and waved back.  "Have more milk."  She finished it for him and Speed got more for himself.  Horatio tipped his head to read the paper and sighed.  "Did we scold?"

"I told him to lay lower before someone caught a clue."

"Well, at least we know Wade won't let him get into deadly trouble and won't let him do something too stupid."

"True.  Though, they mentioned that they had only found a few million in cash.  You think?"

"I think Xander is the only person I know of who could travel to another country and make money while doing nothing," Horatio said dryly.  "But we'll see."  He petted his little girl on the head again.  "Eat for us, Mellie.  Please?  You have to go to daycare soon."  She pouted at him and his stomach clenched.  "I cannot stay home with you today.  I have to work."  She added a pitiful sniffle.  "Well, I have court today and a lot of paperwork to do," he sighed.  Speed snickered, finishing breakfast so they could eat.

They went to the lab and Mellie waved at the daycare as they drove past, smiling happily.  When they got to the lab, Horatio walked her inside, carrying her.  The desk sergeant gave him an odd look when he signed them in. "We're making sure she's not too sick to go later."

She nodded.  "I did that once, Lieutenant."  She smiled and waved at the baby.  "Hi, Mellie."  Mellie beamed and waved back.  "I think Detective Kowalski's son is having the same sort of feeling bad." 

He smiled and walked her off to let her see her uncles.  She lunged down to pounce her Uncle Frank, who smiled and hugged her then handed her on.  They all got cuddles and she patted Toby when she ran into him in his daddy's arms.  "T!" she shouted, beaming at Ray.

"That's right, that's Toby," Ray said, giving her a cuddle.  "You're so smart, Mellie."  She swatted him.  "No, let the Toby cuddle.  Toby has a belly ache and his Daddy Adam is out of town today."

"He can come up to my office," Horatio offered.  He took Toby to check over.  "Hmm, you have a slight fever, young man.  We should let you sleep that and the medicine off."  He picked up Mellie and took them off.  "Check on him often, Ray."

"Sure, thanks, Horatio."  He got back to work.

"I'm glad nothing too bad came in," Don said quietly, looking at Ray.  "I can just see Xander flying back to beat the crap outta someone if he had gotten hurt."

"Yeah, and I'd save him a tiny bit," Ray said smugly.

Speed walked past their row.  "When did you give him tylenol or motrin?"

"Two hours ago," Ray said.

"Cool.  We can deal with that."  He went up to tell Horatio that, finding Mellie cuddling her friend.  He found Horatio staring at his phone so he read over his shoulder.  "I'm a good boy, they stole me anyway."  He sighed.  "Poor Wade."  Horatio snorted, shaking his head.  "Toby got tylenol or whatever two hours ago."

"That's fine.  I can handle that."  Speed nodded, going to work while Horatio got to work on his paperwork.  Even Toby looked over when he started to write.  "If you want, I can read the forms to you."  They wiggled their way over and pounced him to cuddle.  He set them in his lap and read the forms he was working on, explaining what they were.  The kids adored it and it made the boring, bland, headache inducing paperwork a bit easier to deal with today.  When his boss called he put him on speaker.  "Yes, sir?"

"Horatio?" he asked.  Toby spit at the phone.  "Was that you?"

"No, that was Toby."

"Bad!" Mellie scolded.

"Yes, it's not nice to spit," the Commissioner said.

"I believe she was telling the phone that, not him," Horatio said dryly.  He gave her a squeeze.  "Let's be more like Daddy Speed, not your original mother, Mellie."

"Shithead!" Toby crowed.

Horatio and Mellie both stared at him.  "That's a new word."

The Commissioner growled.  "Are you suddenly running a daycare, Caine?"

"Toby's a bit ill and couldn't go.  Adam's out of town today.  Mellie's making him feel better.  And they're helping me do paperwork for you, sir.  It's causing less headaches than usual."

"Uh-huh," he said dryly.  "Can't his father take a day?"

"With Homicide understaffed?"  Horatio smirked at the phone.  "For that matter, neither of Mellie's parents could either."  The Commissioner growled.

"Doggy!" Mellie crowed, clapping her hands and beaming at her daddy.  "Doggy!  Hershey!  Ramses!  Kiss!"

Horatio gave her a squeeze.  "You're very smart but they're with Uncle Xander in India. You'll see them in a few months when he comes back for your birthday."

"Ooooooh," she said, staring at him.

"Fuck!" Toby shouted.

"No," Horatio said firmly.  "Don't say that word, Toby."


"Excuse me, sir, I believe I need to talk to his father.  Apparently his potty mouth is increased by his fever.  Was it important?"

"Wanting to know where your paperwork was, Caine," he said dryly.

"Poopy head!"

Mellie giggled.  "Diaper!" she said in a sing-song voice.  "Diaper!  Diaper!"  Toby clapped along.

"Right now, I'm working on it.  They find it fascinating."  He hung up and called Ray's phone.  "Tell your daddy those new words, Toby."  He poked him when he stared.  "Ray, say something?"

"Hey, Tobes," he said.

"Fucking hell!"

"Ooooh!" Ray said with a wince.  Horatio poked the baby.

"Shithead!" Mellie said.

"No, daughter.  You may not learn that word off him."

"Aw, crap," Ray muttered.  "Let me ask Alexx how to cure that, Horatio.  Is that it?"

"So far.  Though he did call the commissioner a poopy head."

"Damn it, I wanted a raise this year," Ray muttered.

"Diaper!" Mellie squealed.

"I'll change you in a second, Mellie," Horatio said patiently.  "Find out and implement it, Ray."  He hung up and got both kids changed then put them on the couch with a snack.  They liked that and his forensic journals.  It had a lot of pictures so they were kid approved.

Alexx walked in.  "Fuck!" Toby said, beaming at her and waving.

"That is not polite language, young man," she said.

"He has a few other choice words as well," Horatio said.  "That she's learning."  Mellie said something that sounded Chinese and they all stared at her.  "Perhaps she's possessed?"

"Or she learned it at a poker game," Alexx said dryly.  "Repeat that, Mellie?"  She dialed her phone.  They all had Fu's number.  "What is she saying?"  Horatio repeated it and she babbled it at him.  Alexx listened.  "Huh.  Where did she learn that, Fu?"  She smirked and nodded.  "Which one brought her there?  That's even better.  Thank you."  She hung up.  "Your occasional babysitter from up the street is apparently dating one of the boys that rides those rice burner racing bikes and he's Chinese.  Fu said she's saying the equivalent of 'fuck me'."  She grimaced.  "Treats to tempt them to use the good words or teach them more today so they forget those."  She walked off shaking her head.

Horatio stared at his little princess.  "It's very good that you're multi-lingual, Mellie, but do not say that again."  She pouted.  He got treats and came over to teach them better words so they'd hopefully forget those ones.  They were still easily distracted so that might work.


Speed looked down at lunchtime, spotting his helper, that was being watched by Calleigh from the doorway.  "Did you crawl out and sneak?"  Toby gummed his pants leg and smiled.  "I know, I'm hungry too.  Let me finish if Auntie Calleigh will pick you up for a few."

"He was walking," she said.

"No way.  He's too young."

She nodded.  "I followed him.  He scooted on the stairs then slinked through the hallway shadows."

"Huh.  You should go show Daddy or Uncle Horatio that trick, Toby.  They probably have treats."  Toby scowled.  "Give me five minutes to finish this."  Calleigh scooped him up.  "Why do you smell like banana peppers?"

"Eric," she said dryly.  "He dropped some on me."

Speed nodded and finished up then uncoated and took the baby back.  He put him on his feet, steadying him by holding his hand.  Toby got free and ran off with a massive squeal of 'fuck!' all the way to AV.  "Okay then," he said, jogging after the baby.  "We have got to stop that verbal diarrhea, nephew."  He scooped him up and took him up to the office.  Mellie was pouting at the windows.  "Who wants to go play in the grass?"  She wobbled over.  "That's very good, Mellie.  I thought it was just Toby."

Horatio was staring.  "Did she just walk?"

"Toby ran like a mugger."  He picked her up and carried them outside.  "Meet us with lunch, H."

"Yes, Timmy."  He got them lunch and took it outside to sit and eat with them.  The kids were playing in the grass.  Ray came out and Mellie wobbled over to him.

"That's a great job!" Ray praised, giving her a cuddle.  "Very good job, Mellie."  Speed poked Toby then pointed.

"Shithead!" he squealed and ran for Uncle Don to pounce him.

"Whoa!  You've got an excellent tackle there, Toby.  You'll be the best officer ever, even if you do sound like an NYPD guy!"  He gave him a hug then handed him to Ray, taking her to hug.  "Hi, Mellie."

"Poopy head!" she said happily.

He kissed her on the temple. "I get enough of that from the poker circuit, dear."  He handed her back and walked off shaking his head.  "People, Mellie and Toby are apparently now walking," he announced as he walked in.

"I'll lock up my twinkies since Harris taught them to like them," one detective quipped.  "When he gets back is he going to introduce them to spices?"

"Probably," Don agreed.  "Who knows what sort of funny cooking ideas he's getting in India."

"Xander has a good hand with everything but garlic," Frank reminded him.

"True."  Danny walked past reading a file.  "Toby and Mellie are both walking and swearing," Don said.

Danny paused to stare at him.  "We saw Toby take off like his uncle was chasing him."  He shook his head.  "Yelling 'fuck' all the way up the hallway."  He walked off reading.  The other detectives laughed at that.

Ryan went outside and handed over wrapped packages.  They were wrapped in plain paper but the kids squealed and pounced him to get them.  Inside were bags of chips from the machines and they adored those.  Daddy Speed got them open and they even shared.  Ryan grinned.  "This way they have happy things to celebrate walking with."

"Help us whenever you hear one swearing too," Speed ordered.  "Between our babysitter's boyfriend teaching her to swear in Chinese and some unkind person teaching him to swear for real it's not real nice."

"Poopy head," Toby said with a grin at Ryan.

He stared at the baby.  "Where did you learn that, Toby?  Xander said that Willow used that phrase more than once."  Horatio stiffened.  "Has she seen him?"

"As far as I know she's still in jail in Colorado," Speed said, looking at his mate.  "But her doing ghostly visiting wouldn't be too hard."

"I'll talk to Dean," Horatio said quietly.  He got up and walked off to do that.  Toby followed, smiling and holding up the bag of chips.  "Thank you, Toby.  That's a good boy to share."  He smiled and patted him on the head.  "Dean, Horatio.  How hard would it be to keep Willow from astrally visiting the children, or however she's doing it?"  He walked Toby back there.  "No, she's alive."  He nodded once.  "If you could please.  Because no one else any of us know would've taught Toby to say poopy head." 

He smiled at the kids.  "Sam's coming over tonight, kids."  They squealed and Mellie hugged him, which tipped over her mostly empty bag of chips.  Speed removed the spilled ones and gave the bag back when she pouted.  "Thank you, Dean.  We should be home by then, yes.  Both of them actually.  No, he's here today as well.  Thank you."  He hung up and his phone beeped.  "Caine."  He listened.  "I'll be there shortly."  He hung up. "I'm up to testify."

"I'll take 'em," Ryan promised, getting up and taking the kids up to the office.  He had reports he had to do anyway.  Speed grinned at him for it.  "I'm kind of used to them after how often Xander has them."  Speed nodded, going back to his lab.  Ryan closed the door and made some paper balls from blank printer sheets.  The kids chased them, which kicked them farther.  When they got stuck against the window he got up to toss them again.  Toby ran off and Mellie kept watching outside.  "Daddy Horatio will be back soon and he'll be just fine.  He's going to the courthouse to send a bad guy away."  She sniffled and pointed.  He picked her up to cuddle her.  "Daddy will be right back.  Think of it like being babysat."

"Usually we have to leave while she's not looking," Speed said from the doorway.  He came in and gave her a hug.  "Go fetch Toby."

"Toby?" Ryan called.  "Come read with me."  He ran back in, being chased by Valera, their DNA tech.  "Thanks."

"He's adorable."  She grinned as she shut the door.

Speed kissed Mellie on the head.  "Come see something."  He walked her outside, pointing.  "Daddy is right there."  She looked then at him.  "Like when you play at Uncle Xander's and I'm in another room, that's all it is.  All right?"  She cuddled.  He kissed her on the forehead.  "Now you're running a fever.  Great."  He put her back inside and shut the door.  "I'll be right back. Let me go to the other room."  She pouted but let Ryan pull her up into his lap to be read the report as he typed it around them.  Speed grinned, going back to work.

Sam strolled in with a stroller over his shoulder.  "C'mon, guys," he called.  They came down the stairs with a loud squeal.  Sam set up the stroller and put them into it.  "We'll go play at Uncle Xander's while Dean paints pretty things in your rooms."

"Hershey?" Mellie asked, staring at him.

"No, the dogs are still with Uncle Xander."  He hugged her.  "It'll be just fine, dear."  He walked them off once they were strapped into the stroller.  It was a pretty day for a walk.  The stroller had a cover.  It was only about three miles if they took all the shortcuts and Sam could use the exercise.  So they walked back and it was nice.  He pointed at one house.  "Uncle Xander used to live there, guys.  Then he moved into the big place.  We need to set up a resting nook like the house in Denver has." 

They paused to get lemonades off a street vendor, in pop-top cups for the kids and one with a straw for Sam.  Sam paid and then they went on again.  He was telling them about all the buildings.  Though he avoided the library branch that was on the way.  They'd want to go in and he'd lose track of them.  They finally made it home and the gate guys smiled at them, waving at the kids, who smiled and waved back.  "We had a good walk."

"That's good.  Have a nice rest, guys."  Sam got the mail and they went inside, going right into the air conditioning.  He let them free and they ran around, coming back pouting.  He called Xander for them, letting them babble at the speaker while Xander babbled back.  Though the first 'fuck' from Toby got his mouth gently tapped.  "No saying that word, Toby."

"Grapes for good words," Xander said.  "He learned shithead somewhere."

"I can do that.  Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome.  I'll see you guys in a few weeks for birthdays."

"Be warned, they're walking," Sam said with a grin.

"Oh!  That's such a good job, guys!"  They squealed back and Sam hung up after they blew kisses and Xander blew one back.  Then they went up to play in *their* room.  Sam came up to open the main door but lock the screen door.  That made them happier kids.  They had all sorts of castley fun and toys up here to go with the theme of their room.


Adam walked into his house with a sigh and paused, heading for the strange noise.  "Are you suddenly our dog?" he demanded dryly.

"No, I'm putting up wards so Rosenburg can't visit and teach your son how to call people a poopy head again," Dean said, giving him a look. "Then I'm heading to Horatio and Speed's house."

"Ah.  Is he at daycare?"

"Sammy's daycare at Xander's house."  He went back to carefully painting over the stencil he had made.  "Sam said they both have a tiny fever.  Plus Toby's swearing up a storm."

"Oh, dear."  He walked off, going to find his heathen spawn there.  He walked in and heard the screaming, hurrying up there.  Mellie was yelling her head off.  "What is wrong?" he demanded.

Sam leaned in a minute later.  "She decided to throw a hissy that the dogs weren't here.  We walked off to let her whine at herself until she's done."  He handed him Toby with a grin.  "Xander suggested something like a large grape for the good words."

"That could help," he admitted.  He glared at Mellie, who settled down to sulk.  "I can get his dog if you really must play with the shedding beasts," he said dryly.  "Until then, let us behave, Amelia."  He handed Toby back.  "Let me get him."  He went home for that quick trip and to get the baby thermometer.  When he came back with the dog, the kids went nuts.  He checked her temp and it was still pretty low.  Toby's as well.  They settled in to play with the dog for now while Sam made him and Dean's dinner.  Horatio and Speed showed up after work.  "She threw a fit," Adam said quietly.

"Whenever they come here, they get tongue-attacked," Speed said.  "That's why I haven't brought her over to play in the trees or with Sam."  He sat down.  Horatio sat down too.  The kids ran over to hug them, then Adam and then the dog.  Toby giggled at his dog when he got lapped but the dog was more than happy to play with them.  "I'm wondering if she'll get the suddenly appearing pet as well."

"We have ferrets," Horatio reminded him.  "If she needs one, one of them can do it."

"I've never seen a pet ferret familiar," Sam admitted.  "Usually I see the dogs and cats.  A parrot once."  He shrugged and pulled out dinner for everyone instead of just him and Dean.  Those lessons with Xander were very helpful.

"All you need is more hair," Speed teased with an evil smirk.

Sam smirked back.  "I'd look sucky with hair that long and Dean would cut it on me."  He went back to get more plates and brought them out.  The kids got pizza bites from the freezer, because he wasn't sure he could tame down dinner to their size.  And they liked them so that was always nice.

"Sit," Adam warned the begging dog.  It sat and stared at his boy until Toby leaned over to hug him and almost tipped his plate down too.  Adam caught it and put it beside him.  Mellie tried to share so he put her plate there too.  The kids ate and tossed Homer a few bites they were chewing on.

Horatio shook his head.  His daughter was brilliantly insane some days.


Xander stretched like a big cat under the powerful hands on his back, letting out a pleasing purr.  The masseuse smiled and worked that area some more.  After this, Xander had a cooking lesson.  And then the flight where he'd try to work out what to do about Danny and Don yet again.  Maybe he'd listen to Jensen and just ignore them for a bit longer.  Or maybe he'd listen to Jensen's sister and sniper shoot their tires a few times.  He wasn't sure yet.

Paul leaned over from his seat watching over Xander.  "Quit thinking about the douches you were dating."

"I'm trying to figure out what we're doing when we get back to Miami."

"You have eleven months, Xander."

"True."  He smiled.  "I took custody of the furry kids in the split.  Hershey and Kiss were his dogs."

"I'm sure he'll whine but that's the least he deserved for treating you that way.  Even Wade treats Anya better, which is freaking me out to admit."  Xander smirked at him.  "By the way, she wrote me an email demanding that I handle you for a few weeks without Wade so he could come get nookie."

Xander nodded.  "That's very important to Anya.  She's used to vikings."

Paul shook his head quickly.  "Well, if I find Thor, I'll send him her way."

Xander grinned.  "Thanks.  Are you coming to the cooking lesson with me?"

"If you want."  Xander shrugged.  The masseuse stopped.  Xander pouted at her so she started again.  "Fine, I'll wait and read in the garden then."  Xander grinned at him and put his head back down.  When they got done and Xander got a salt scrub to get his skin really clean, they went to the restaurant for the cooking lesson, then Paul went to lurk outside in the shade.  It was hot, very muggy too, but the spices would kill him soon.

Xander smiled at the chef.  "Hi, Xander Harris."

"Ah!  You have the cooking lesson."  He beamed and walked him off.  "How much can you cook?"

"I'm actually a pretty decent cook.  I cooked for my friend's police station all the time."  He smiled.  "I wanted to learn more native cooking styles on my trip."

"We can teach you about Indian spices.  Where are you going after this?" he asked.

"Thailand."  He grinned.  The chef beamed back and they settled in to teach Xander the local spices, how to make his own masala mix, and then how to use one.  It wasn't that different but the spices and the way they interacted were different.  When the chef was satisfied, which was about ten minutes before Xander's lesson was done, Xander bounced out to get Paul as an independent taste tester. 

He moaned over some of it so Xander was a bouncy, happy boy all the way back to the hotel.  The chef smiled, shaking his head.  The boy was so strange but nice and sweet.  Plus he had a good hand with most foods.  He had even gutted the fish for him.  Most students wanted everything done so all they had to do was toss things into a pan.  His wife, the sous chef, walked past and kissed him on the cheek with a blush, earning a smile back.  That was so nice of her.


Horatio got his first call out at the goats, which made him sigh in displeasure.  The farm hands were traumatized.  "Do we have any idea who he was?"

"He still smells like beer.  Apparently the goats though it made him tastier.  I did pull him away from the goat though, Horatio.  None of us wanted to see the thing finish eating him."

Horatio nodded.  "Probably a good idea.  Alexx is going to have a fit."  He looked at the goat.  "We might have to pump his stomach."

The head of the farm looked at him.  "If we have to put it down...."

Horatio looked at him.  "It's technically a pet so we'd most likely have to let it do its business.  Which Alexx loathes."

"So, pumping his stomach would be nicer," he decided.  The coroner's van pulled up and she got out.  Horatio waved her over.  He smiled.  "Good morning, Miss Alexx."

"Good morning, Franklin."  She stared at the mutilated body.  "What did he do?"

"It's possible he drunkenly decided to pet them," Horatio admitted.  She stared at him.  "They did move the body before the goat could finish eating him."

They both stared at the goat.  It was happily chewing on a stick someone had thrown in to distract it.  She sighed.  "Stomach pumping?"

"I'll call our usual vet to come handle that."

"We have one that does the horses," Frank offered.  He called them and they came out to help.  "Bit of an unusual breed, Doctor Withers.  They were gifts to Xander."

The vet looked at the goats then at Horatio.  Then at the body.  "That's disgusting."

"It'll eat anything near its mouth," one of the farmhands said, holding up his still stitched hand.  "I was only letting it sniff me."  He tossed in another stick and it happily ate that too.  "I say we send them to my brother's unit in Afghanistan and see if they like mountains and people who live in caves."  He walked off.

Horatio smiled slightly.  "I'd pity the unit that had to transport them."  The doctor moaned, shaking his head.  "We can sedative dart him, Doctor Withers."

"Please.  Is there another one?"  They pointed at her.  She had been moved to a more sturdy paddock, one with all iron and steel railings that were electrified.  "Breeding set?"

"Yup.  Present to Xander," Frank the farm head agreed.  "For opening some new markets.  Jensen said they taste pretty good.  Though I'd probably want to stew them.  They're a bit tough."

Horatio texted Cougar, who came out with a higher powered tranq gun than they carried.  He shot the goat and the vet went in to pump his stomach for Alexx.

"At least it's not poop," Alexx sighed.  "And I'm thankful I never had to do this with my kids."  She went to gather the missing pieces.  That got most of it and the rest they could get when it crapped.  They brought it back to the lab and set up a room with a large tarp and some hay for it.  By the time it woke up, it was a bit grumpy and tried to kick at the walls.  It broke a window but it ate the glass.  Alexx shook her head. 

Frank, their detective Frank, tossed in a hershey bar.  "It works on his master's mood," he said dryly.  The goat ate it, wrapper and all, and started to sway and hum.  "Hey, it works!" he said dryly.


Speed walked the carefully muzzled goat into a poker game later that night with gang kids.  "Guys, need a huge favor.  We've got a call on the other side of the county and this is Xander's new goat.  Anyone got a truck they can drive it back there with?"

"Sure," one said with a wave.  Speed handed over the stiff lead line and headed off.  He petted it.  The goat still managed to bite him.  "Ow!  Fucking bitch!" he shouted, waving his hand.

"I wonder if it's related to the flying monkeys," one said, backing away carefully.  They all cashed out and left.  One guy with a pickup showed up and got the goat into the back, by pushing on its tail.  They drove it out to the farm and let the guys there handle it.  It ran off to try to mount his female counterpart, and tried to eat her too.  The gang kid just shuddered and walked off shaking his head. He went to complain to Don Cheva that Speedle was mean to them again.  And they had been being good too.


Wade answered Xander's phone on the flight.  "Wade."  He listened.  "Don Cheva, I don't know why the gang kids think Speedle's mean."  He listened, then winced.  "We heard he got given a breeding set of those goats from off-plane.  No, not demonic.  Yes, like that.  No, actually they're supposedly very tasty.  Why?" 

He listened and started to laugh, shaking his head.  "Speedle does get mean whenever things pick up.  It means he can't go home, read to Mellie, and cuddle Horatio.  Yup.  I don't think it was intentional if things are quiet but I'll have Xander tell him to quit using his pets.  Thanks, Don Cheva, and I'm sure Xander would apologize."  He hung up and looked at Xander, who was now awake.  "Speedle let one of the gang kids play with your goats."

Xander winced.  "Why were they at the farm?"

"It ate some drunk guy that wandered out to pet the horses and goats."

"Oh, well, yeah.  The things are tougher than some SEALs according to Clay.  I totally understand why there's a test of manhood that requires you to go into a pen with one with just a knife and come out alive."  He took his phone back and texted Greg, who'd like his goats probably.  He liked mean things sometimes.


Greg answered his phone's summons, glaring at it.  "Xander said hi," he mumbled.  Tony smiled from the bed next to him.  "Why would I want to play with goats?"  He wrote Speed since Xander had said that Speed was mean with them.  Speed wrote back why and an audio file of Mellie cackling evilly.

"We will never have kids who can cackle that way," Tony said dryly.  He flipped over to read over Greg's shoulder.  "Goats?  Someone gave Xander some of those off-world goats.  Those suckers are vicious, they'll eat anything."

"Maybe we can get Gibbs one so he can train it for SWAT things?" Greg teased with a grin.  He suggested that back and got a groan from Horatio a minute later.  Tony kissed him and Greg pushed Miami right out of his mind.   Tony was that good.


"Hey, H.  Greg said we should use the goats to help SWAT."

Horatio took the phone to answer that suggestion.  "That would be considered cruel and unusual punishment both probably."  He walked off.

Speed wrote his favorite FBI agent in LA so he could tell his brother about the off-world goat.  His brother was a math geek but probably knew biologists who'd want to examine them.  And their diets.


Horatio looked up as Don Epps walked Speed in and handed him over.  "Please correct your husband's mental deficiencies that made him suggest giving my brother's fellow professors geek orgasms."  He walked off shaking his head with a sigh.  He met Gibbs and Ian Edgerton on the farm.  "What're you two doing here?"

"Larabee called us since someone told him," Ian said with a grin.  "Apparently the gang kids warned everyone about these suckers.  We wanted to find out if there's a use."

"They're tougher than I am," Gibbs said dryly.  The biologists were all over the goats.  Including one of that Air Force Major's people.  He had called them.  "He said that a breeding trio got given to their program," he said quietly with a nod at the Major.

Don looked then at him.  "He's McKay's people?"  Gibbs nodded with a small smirk.  "More power to 'em.  That's some hefty geek brain power.  They probably need homicidal goats."

"The farm hands said that they'll eat anything," Ian told him.  "They're not picky.  They reported that chocolate made them happy, high, and hum."  The biologists looked at him then shrugged and tried that.  He had a chocolate granola bar for a later snack.  The goats did become happier with it.  They even let themselves be brushed and prodded.  When it started to wear out the farm hands brought down the electroshock muzzles for them.  That helped and they couldn't be eaten that way.

"I still say I should send one to my brother in Afghanistan," one muttered.

Gibbs looked at him.  "They might eat military personnel first, kid."

He smiled.  "I think we should release one in the mountains.  In the cave district."  Ian and Don snickered, nodding they liked that idea.  "It'd save lives.  Plus we heard they're tasty after they've cleaned out all the people up there."  He walked off.

"These really should be in a more controlled environment," one of the biologists complained.  "Where we can monitor their food and health needs."

"We feed them twice a day and whenever we have to be out near here we toss in some hay," one of the farm hands told him.  "It keeps us from being eaten like they did that drunk guy."

"Or the poker buddy Speed handed them to," Don quipped.

"He and his husband clearly need to join Xander on his vacation," Gibbs said dryly.  "The flying monkeys were bad enough."

One of the biologist's head popped up.  "There's really flying monkeys?"

"They're a demonic species and cannibals too," Don said.  "There's a procurer in town."

"Anya got one as a pet for when she was missing Wade," Ian said dryly.  "She even named it after him."

Don shook his head.  That was too weird for him.  Gibbs called her.  "Someone wanted to see your flying pet.  No, not that one.  The monkey.  Farm."  He hung up.  "She'll be out within an hour."  They nodded and got back to the goats.

"Any idea how they breed?" one asked.

"He jumps her and tries to bite her.  She struggles back, and when they're done we hose them down to get him off.  He doesn't like water but she enjoys it," the farm hand resting on the fence said.

"So is she pregnant?" one of them asked.  He shrugged.  "We'll check."  He smiled and got back to it.

Anya finally got there with her caged, leashed flying monkey.  "That's his traveling cage."

Gibbs looked at it.  The light pink fur was nicely trimmed and groomed.  The orange wings looked healthy.  The spike on his tail was a pretty, deep blue.  "Are you sure he's a male?" he asked her.  "I thought only the females got the red baboon butt thing."

One of the biologists came over.  "How do they reproduce?"

"They lay eggs," Anya said happily.  "They have about ten a year.  Generally two layings."  She checked his butt.  "They said it was a male but if not."  She shrugged.  Then beamed.  "It'll pay Wade back for being gone for a year and keeping my vibrators locked up.  He even canceled his card, Gibbs."

"You could've joined them," he reminded her.

"I hate traveling."  She pouted.  "I've been all over this planet gifting wishes.  I'd like to settle down now.  He did the same for Canada and Max so I don't know why he wanted to go this time."

Don looked at her.  "Because Xander needed him.  He's already been taken twice from what's-his-name that's escorting him."

She pouted.  "He didn't even save me anything when he raided the drug dealing clan over there.  It's mean of him."

"Xander wouldn't let him loot anything artwork," Ian told her.  "He had a lot of problems when someone gave him some.  And guys like that don't keep jewelry.  They keep cash."

"I like money," she complained.

"Then help someone bust some of the drug cartels here," Gibbs said, glaring at her.  "Then you could afford your own, like most modern, strong women, Anya."

She looked like she was considering it.  "It would give you something to do for the next year," Ian offered.  "You'd have to leave them alive for arrests but otherwise you can get all sorts of information guys like Gibbs can't."  Gibbs gave him an odd look.  "Xander said she and Wade like to torture succuba."

"Wade won't let me torture incubi.  He's afraid I'll find a bigger dick."  She walked off.

"I'll bring the monkey back later," Gibbs said, taking her cage.  The biologists were happy with it.  Even when they released it by accident, it only made friends with the goats and sat on the female's back.  Ian tranq darted all three before the unholy trio could escape to cause Miami hell.

He didn't want to know what the underground would say if the monkey and the goats teamed up.


Xander got a text and frowned, answering it back.  "Gibbs said Anya's new flying monkey she named after you is a female and the group talked her into dealing with Mi Familia people for Horatio."  He put his phone up.

Wade was considering something.  "She got a pet?"

"Maybe she was lonely without you.  Like how you keep stealing Hubert and forgetting about him."

"I didn't forget him in the hotel this time."

"That's because he came in to be packed," Paul said dryly.  "Flying monkeys are real?"

"They're a demonic species," Wade said.  "Mean little biting shits but colorful."

Xander found their page on the demonic directory, letting Paul see them.  "They'd eat my other pets or else I'd let Hubert have a mean playmate."

"Sanders swore up and down that he could turn one vegan during that whole 'anti-Max' thing," Wade joked with a smirk.

"He and Abby probably could, yeah."

Paul handed back the phone with a head shake.  "Okay then.  Tour?"

Xander beamed and took his arm.  "Tours are nice."  They walked out together.  "Later, Wade.  Don't get into any trouble I'd scowl at."

"Yup," he said with an evil smirk at their backs.  "I can attempt that.  I have a few contacts I want to watch swear at God for me coming back."  He put on his sunglasses and went visiting.  A few had heard he was back, the rest mostly got really scared.  It was so pretty and made him one really happy guy.

Even if he did have a female flying monkey named after him.


A few weeks later, Horatio heard one person confessing because Wade was mean to him.  He walked in there.  "I know for a fact that Wade is presently in Singapore with a friend of mine," he said dryly.

"Na-uh!" he said, shaking his head.  "That little bitch said he'd eat me!"

"That is her flying monkey," the detective said with a grin.  "It's a mean little thing."

The guy stared at him.  "Like from the movie?"

"More colorful and cannibals," Horatio said smugly.  The guy whimpered.  He got into the database and showed him.  "That?"

"Yeah, I saw that thing.  It tried to eat my bodyguard.  Bullets didn't stop that thing, man!"

"No, it's demonic," Horatio agreed.  "Though, if you give Anya any hell, she'll call back her boyfriend, who is actually Wade, to help her."

He slunk down in his seat.  "No, I'll confess.  Trapped between Captain Psycho and a human-eating flying monkey, I'll pick prison.  I'll even do time in a super max without complaint, man.  Please?"

The detective smiled.  "Sure, kid.  We'll be happy to save you from Anya and her monkey."

He swallowed.  "That's one psychotic chick.  She's dating Wade?"

"Hmm.  Yes," Horatio said with a smirk.  "They do suit each other *very* well."

He nodded.  "Yeah, I'm sure he gets off over the monkey too.  Um...  Which one do I confess to?"

"Him," Horatio said with a smile.  "I'm only here in case I need to take evidence."

He pulled off his shirt.  "Here, I shot the moneky but it didn't die.  So I've got blood on me.  I don't need demon blood on me, okay?"  Horatio nodded, getting a bag to put that in.  The other detective turned on the camera in there and they nicely got a very good confession.  Most drug dealers were superstitious or outright overly religious.  Demonic flying monkeys were going to drive them over the edge.


The head of Miami's SWAT team knocked politely on the door of the house he was visiting.  Anya opened it, staring at him.  "Ma'am, I'm Captain Richards."


"I'm with SWAT."

"Okay.  Again, so?"

"I'd like to know if we could borrow your pet for a problematic take-down later?  It's against some of the Mala Noche and they're going to fight back.  I think your monkey could be very helpful."

She stared at him for a minute.  "I can't promise she won't attack you or the others."

He smiled.  "I'll feed her some treats or something and we'll send her in to flush people out?"

She considered it.  "She got shot the last time and I was not happy.  I had to get blood out of my nails for hours because I got them back for it."

He nodded.  "I can understand that.  We'll improvise a bullet-proof vest for her."

She nodded, getting the monkey.  "If it works, she gets paid for any others."

"That's great, I can arrange that."  He carefully took the cage.  "Does she have a name?"

She beamed.  "I named her after my boyfriend Wade."

He nodded.  "I'm sure she's just as scary as Wade is, miss.  Thank you for the lending.   I'll have Lieutenant Caine bring her back?"

"That's fine."  She smiled.  "The kids would probably coo over her."

"Thank you, miss.  It'll be a few hours."  He walked her cage off, taking her back to the office.  "She'll bite," he warned.  He found Horatio waiting.  "We're to improvise a bullet-proof vest."

"Kevlar vest for babies," he said, holding up Mellie's.

"How would you put it on her?" one of the other guys asked.  "Is she as mean as we heard his goats are?"

"Yes," Horatio said dryly.  "Which is why they got banned within hours of Speed giving one to some gang kids at a poker game while Xander was on that forced trek back from Central America."  He handed it to the monkey.  "Put that on.  It'll keep them from killing you, Wade."  The monkey put it on.  Horatio arranged the wings while the captain held the monkey's head for him.  "There."  They backed off.  The monkey wasn't happy but it was safe.  Horatio fed it a shish kabob he had bought for it.  That made it a happy flying menace to society.  He smiled at the captain.  "Anything else come of it?"

"She said after this we have to pay for it," he said dryly.  "That your kid could use some cooing time over the mean pets."

"Thankfully they'd think it was neat but Wade is afraid of children."

"Him or the human one?" one of the other guys quipped.

"Both," Horatio said dryly.  "The human one will hide in the office.  This one will fly up near the ceiling and perch out of reach.  Toby tried very hard to pet it the other day."  The captain shuddered.  "His fathers were not amused, no."   The captain went over the plan, letting Horatio handle the cage on the way to the raid.

"Come out or we're releasing Wade," one of them yelled in the doorway.

"He's in Singapore with the goofy bitch," one of the Mala Noche yelled back.  "He won't save you!"

"No, Anya's other one," Horatio called.  He let the monkey fly in there.

"Shit!  I thought his husband was the evil bitch of that relationship!" someone shouted and they came running out being chased by the monkey.

Horatio smirked.  "You've made it so I can't get home in time to help feed our daughter dinner or read to her at bedtime," he said smugly.  One of the gang kids shuddered.  "Besides, Speed needs to branch out into new evil thoughts.  He was getting ...predictable.  We'll have to see what Xander brings him back."

One of the younger kids started to cry.  "Damn it!  Xander's going to destroy us!  I owe him fifty large and I can't pay him!"

"He'll understand and you can pay him when you get out," Horatio said dryly.  "Or before you try to skip bail."  He looked around.  "Any others?  The monkey is going to go back in if there is."  They shuddered and let themselves be led off.  He let Wade go back in.  A few more got found.  The team found two hiding in closets but they gave up when offered a chance of playing with Anya's pet.  The one hiding in the safe room in the basement tried to blow himself up instead of dealing with the monkey but Horatio had put up jammers in case of remote explosive devices. 

They got him disarmed and taken off as well.  Horatio petted Wade gently, taking her to get her a treat on the way back to her mistress.  Anya beamed when she opened the door.  "That is Mellie's special vest," he said quietly.  "It is kevlar and should cut down on injuries.  The Mala Noche have decided I'm just as mean as Speed is."  He handed her over then the cage.  "I fed her a shish kabob."  He walked off happier.

She smiled and cuddled her pet.  "I'm so proud of you.  You'll make mommy a lot of money for all that scary stuff and then they'll never want to screw with me again."

Horatio paused and looked back.  "Anya, is there someone trying?  If so, I'd love to arrest them for it."

She beamed.  "No, not yet.  But not everyone's going to be happy with me being bored."  She shut the door, still coing over her little monkey.  She had to get her some good clothes since she looked so cute in her kevlar.

Horatio shook his head.  He'd ask but Anya might make his head hurt again.  Hopefully she'd still be *mostly* normal when Wade and Xander got back from their trip.

The End.

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