The Ears Have It.
Don Flack knocked on Danny's door, getting the CSI he hadn't seen in a few days. "You been sick?"
"Somethin' like that," he agreed, letting him inside. "What's up?"
"No one knows if you're alive or not. It was me or Stella." He looked at his friend. "You cut your hair."
"It happens," he agreed dryly, giving him a look. "I told Mac I was taking a few days of vacation time."
"He didn't feel like sharing that with the others."
"Yeah, well," he said dryly, going over to his couch and casually flipping closed what he had been reading.
"Catalog. Froufy fashions for Renfaire types."
"You Renfaire?" he asked, looking amused. He burst out giggling. "I'm sorry but I can't imagine you going out in tights with a sword. I just can't." Danny pointed behind him at the sword that was hidden by the door. Don looked then stared at him. "You're joking, right?"
"No. Had it for a few years now."
"You never told me that." He sat down, looking at his buddy. "Since when?"
"I don't know, just a few years." He shrugged. "It's a hobby that gets me out of the house and the lab."
"Which can be good," he admitted. "So what's with the sudden vacation need?"
"I take some every year around this time, Flack."
"No you don't."
"Yeah, I do. Last time Mac arranged for me to have the weekend off for a change so I took a Friday and Monday with it." Don thought back then shook his head. "Yes I did."
"No, you didn't." He stared at him. "So what's really going on? Bad breakup with the current flavor of the minute? Hiding lustful thoughts about Mac and you're down because he's bangin' someone else? Give, not like I'm gonna tell."
"Don, even if I felt like sharing things about my personal life you'd never listen, you'd never understand, and you'd laugh your ass off."
"Try me," he demanded.
Danny looked at him. Well, he did trust Flack and he was tired of hiding his secret. Better to let someone know in case something else happened. The last run-in with Sonny had been too close. "Okay. I'm an elf."
"Elf?" he asked, looking at him. "Like in the movie or are we talkin' Keebler? I mean, with your sweet tooth - could be."
"Funny. Really," he said blandly, staring at him. "Do I look like I bake cookies and live in
"No, but last time I knew you didn't seem real fond of woods either."
"Yeah, well, we're not all Legolas."
Don stared at him. "You're joking, right?" he asked. "Ha ha, very funny, Don, only joking about me being an elf?" Danny shook his head. Don hopped up. "No way. Nah- uh. You don't have the ears or the hair or the other stuff that made girls swoon over elves."
He looked at him. "First, elves have magic, secondly it wasn't just *girls* who swooned over the guy who played Legolas, but he did like him, thought it was fitting, and third, who said we're all like that?" Don gaped and he took off the necklace he habitually wore. "See, ears."
"Have you had a fever recently?" he asked, staring at his very round ears. "I know it's been a long time since you've been sick but have you?" Danny shook his head. "But..... Um... Those aren't pointy." Danny rubbed them and put the necklace on the table in front of him, canceling the last of his protections. Don whimpered. "Oh, damn. Um..."
"Before you say anything, you won't be able to tell Mac. Not that he probably doesn't know. Don't know how, but he probably had ta shoot one of us in the military or somethin' so someone higher up told him about it."
"I'm not thinkin' about telling Mac, Danny, I'm thinking about telling Doc, getting him over here."
"Doc would love this," he agreed, smirking at him. "He may've seen a few of us before. Not sure." He crossed his legs and leaned forward some. "Quit freaking, Don."
"You're an elf and you want me to quit freaking out!"
"I'm a fucking moron!" he assured him.
Don glared at him. "Not funny, Messer." His mind clicked. "Okay, then what about your dad and Sassone?"
"Easy. It's the same thing. My father does run a bunch of shit I didn't like. I rebelled. Cutting my hair was the first rebellion before you ask. Current fashion has guys having a curtain of hair down to their ass and women down to their toes. Really annoying and heavy so I cut it before my manhood ceremony. The parental donor didn't like it so he had me banished for being an asshole and not liking his business."
"He hunts us. He's basically a bounty hunter."
"But the drugs and the gang...."
"Do you think humans are the only ones who get involved in drugs?" he asked patiently. "It mostly does the same crap to us, Don. For the same reasons. My father got involved in that making money for the village and they all loved him. I thought it was dirty and nasty so I said no when he demanded I be his heir. Hence the removal of me from the village and me being here."
Don finished calming down. "How do you hide that?"
"The necklace has a bit of a charm on it to hide my ears. I was never one for the forests. Preferred the university. Dad was a warrior asshole, didn't like it. Yay me."
"So you're in exile?"
"No, I'm banished. If I go back I can be killed."
"Some of the traditionalists still do. Not all of us." He grinned. "Anything else?"
"Why are you telling me this now?"
"First, you asked. Second, I'm not going to be here much longer."
"Because I don't age like you humans do, Don. Think. I'm not gonna get much older than I look now, except my hair'll change to silver. I don't have the gifts to add wrinkles more than the sun damage I take in does. That's going to start looking suspicious. Actually it already does. There's another exile that I've been in contact with and he's agreed he can cover for me."
"But you can't. I mean, the magic that hides the ears can add wrinkles, right?"
"Might but I'm not that good at it. My father's got better magic than I do."
Don thought. "Well, what about other sorts of magic?"
Danny leaned back and looked at him, then pointed. "Last time I heard Hogwarts was way the fuck over on the other side of the Atlantic and mythical."
"You sure? What about house elves?" he teased.
"The author chick used ta live somewhere that a few of us gathered to party and debauch human women. Seems to have pissed her off since Dobby's on the High Council." He smirked at him. "As for the other stuff, the nature stuff? Works for some, not on us."
"Oh." He pouted. "So you're really going to leave soon?"
"In the next few years. People are already asking me how old I am."
"How old are you?"
"A hundred and twenty-five or so. I quit counting after my manhood celebration. I almost figured I'd die in the banishment hunt my father called. Maybe I'll die on the job, make it easier on Sonny to claim my body and drag it back. Who knows. Life's like that, ya know?"
"Yeah, well, that's life too, Don."
"So, do you take it off to go renew yourself in the woods?"
"The minute I step foot into real woods there'll be an elf there waiting ta kill me, Don. I don't go into the woods. We're all over and once banished always banished. Even when I appealed to the High Council they didn't like what my father was doing but they upheld my banishment. So yay. No woods. I like water better anyway."
"So this is just a hiding sorta vacation?"
"Basically." He grinned. "Again, you asked."
"Can I unask?"
"Not that I can do. You might ask someone else. Maybe a good bonk on the head or something." He smirked. "Any other questions?"
"Are all elves as gay as the ones in the movies?"
"Most of the European ones," he admitted. "Legolas himself swooned at the guy who played him."
"So you're mostly all bi?"
"Yeah, we are." Don smirked at that. "I still don't do humans that way, Don. Dating, flirting, some minor groping, sex with women, but nothing further. It's too risky to get involved and attached."
"Why, can you get pregnant?"
"That's a family curse in only a few families, fortunately not mine. Sonny's," he offered with an evil smirk. "But not mine." Don just nodded once at that and he smirked. "Need some water?"
"I want to see more proof."
"What? You wanna do an autopsy while I'm alive? It'll take a good damn long time for me ta heal, Flack."
"Idiot." He swatted at him. "There's gotta be more proof that you're immortal."
"We only live to about five hundred or so. To most humans that seems the same."
"Well, at least you're not gonna be around for eternity to bug Mac's kids. He could have some with someone and then ask you to watch over them."
"That would take an honor oath. No one who knew would take one from an exiled or banished elf, Don. I don't have to worry about that."
"If you say so. I never known you to go back on your word."
"I try very hard not to. Any other questions?"
"Any other differences?"
"I've got bunions," he offered.
"You and me both. Besides that." He stared him down.
Danny sighed and stood up, undoing his pants. "Elves are all born with clan birthmarks," he offered, moving his waistband. "That's my clan's markings. If you see it in New York, run like hell the other way, Don. No matter what else is with it. Even if it's the universal symbol for peace, run like hell."
"Sure." He looked more closely at it, then at him. "Anything else? I mean, some kids are born with pointy ears and funny birthmarks." He stood up. "Are elves any more different."
"Want me to speak to you in Elvish?"
Don grinned. "If you want. As long as you don't go off and slam your head into a wall or something for it."
He punched him on the arm. "I'm not the coucilman." He cleared his throat and looked up then said something very softly, staring into his eyes. Don shivered. "Better?"
"Yeah," he said quietly. "What did that mean?"
Danny smirked. "Not allowed to tell you humans. You could hunt us down."
"Can we still get Sonny?"
"Catch him doin' shit, Don. Watch him have to make sure he doesn't get pregnant every single day for the rest of his miserable life." Don smirked at that. "Exactly." He patted him on the cheek. "Want a beer?"
"Yeah, I could use a beer."
"Then go to a bar. I'm on vacation."
Don snickered at that and Danny turned him around and gave him a shove toward the door. "Fine, I'll go home and watch the movies again."
Danny rolled his eyes. "If you feel like it, Don."
"So, do you sleep on a water bed?"
"I used to. It made me nauseous a few times so I traded to a craftmatic." Don grinned and left, making him shake his head. "He'll learn. Probably right before I leave but he'll learn." He locked everything up tight then put back on his necklace. Just in case he died in his sleep. That way no one would ask uncomfortable questions. Because if he exposed the community they would destroy his whole village. They had vowed it on the Council. He laid down and adjusted his bed so his head was tilted slightly more up tonight since he was getting a cold. Yes, Don would learn. Sometime. Eventually.
Don knocked on Mac's door. "Gotta ask a question." Mac let him in. "You busy?"
"No. I was cleaning my sidearm. What's wrong?"
"I.. Do you think there's some people who're naturally elves?"
He looked at him then smirked, snorting a bit. "Danny finally told you?"
"Yeah, have for a while now. Figured it out on my own before you ask if I ran into one in the Marines. I used to read a lot of science fiction and fantasy."
Don grinned. "He thought you might've had to shoot one."
"Wanted to shoot a few," he admitted. "Including Danny and Sonny. What is Sonny?"
"Oh. Interesting. His father?"
"Banished him for not wanting to be a thug. No more cases in the woods, Mac." He sat down, looking at him. "He said he's gotta leave soon."
"We'll see about that."
"He said the age thing is going to get noticeable."
"That's the beauty of plastic surgery, Don."
"Point." He considered it. "He said he takes vacation around this time every year?"
Mac thought back then nodded. "He did last year. Why?"
"I never noticed it."
"Last year you weren't wanting to sleep with him, Don." Don looked stunned. "Really." Don whimpered. "I've seen how you look at him now and then, Flack. You give him looks like he's a twinkie. Enjoy it while you can," he offered when Don moaned.
"He said he doesn't do that so he can't get attached."
"It's got to be painful to lose them," he said quietly. Don looked at him. "Imagine what we go through but going through that every forty or sixty years, Don."
"He said he's somewhere around a hundred and twenty-five, doesn't keep track no more."
"That can be one of those things that happens. I'll talk with Danny about how to handle it." Don grinned at that. "You figure out if you want the drama queen. It's genetic for them as far as I can tell."
"He said Legolas liked the guy who played him."
"Many people around the world did," he agreed dryly. "He got it pretty close to perfect from what I could tell. That ice cold perfection with the knowledge that they're better than humans."
"So you *met* one?" Don asked, staring at him.
"When he tried to debauch my little sister. I beat him pretty good but then we got trapped in a thunderstorm. So I asked his haughtiness about things I'd read. Nothing else to do when you're trapped in an old rail yard during a very nasty thunderstorm and you've just destroyed the other guy's ribs and most of his face." He looked at him. "Does he have anything on Sonny I can use? I'll gladly stop that threat."
"Yeah, I asked him if he could get pregnant and he said no, that only happened to some families, like Sassone's. Then we smirked evilly at each other over the thought of his future years in prison."
"That poor kid," he muttered. He looked at Don. "Were you originally going to come here?"
"Doc. He wasn't home. He said I wouldn't be able to tell you."
Mac smirked. "That only works if I didn't know. The first time Danny threw a drama queen moment I knew. Only an elf can be that big of a drama queen and male without being a flaming queen the rest of the time, Don."
"I used ta wonder if Danny was a queen on the side."
Mac shook his head quickly. "I did not need the mental picture of Danny in drag. Thank you though. Maybe you should go home and think."
"Sure. Thanks, Mac."
"Welcome, Don." He let him out and locked his door behind him, shaking his head to clear the image of Danny in a sequined dress and elevator platforms belting out showtunes. Before it stuck and he had nightmares. Dennis Rodman had been bad enough for those!
Danny walked back into work and wouldn't you know it, Mac was in his office. "Danny?" he called, waving him in. Danny walked in, looking calm. "Close the door and the windows."
"Why?" he asked cautiously.
"Because we need to discuss some things."
"I knew it. Shot one of us? Hopefully a member of the council?"
"One tried to debauch my sister so I broke his nose, two ribs, and a wrist, then we got trapped by a thunderstorm. Do it anyway." Danny sighed and did that while Mac set up the white noise generators so no one could listen. "Okay, let's see the clan marking, just so I can figure out if they're hunting you." Danny looked at him. "Don't even try to throw a fit. You're all drama queens and Don gave me the mental image of you in drag. Not like I'm hitting on you."
"Thankfully. He gave me a bad one about watching over your kids, Mac."
Mac smiled. "I wouldn't mind but I doubt it'll happen. I don't have plans for kids." Danny let him see his clan marking. "I saw that in Harlem."
"Sonny. He hunted down an older, banished member and drug him back. That was to announce the kill. Monroe let me see the pictures to see if I knew what sort of graffiti it was."
"Good. She isn't, right?" He snorted and shook his head. "She can have the same drama queen tendencies."
"Yeah but hers is because she wants to be your special girl, Mac."
"I don't date my employees. You know that."
"I do but then you should someday explain Stella to her." He scratched the back of his neck. "I've only got a few years left."
"Plastic surgery, Danny."
"Isn't that good, Mac. Plus it takes more time to get your face lifted than I take off."
"Chemical peels can help that," he pointed out.
"I've talked to them about undoing some of the sun damage. On my salary there's no way I can use that excuse. Almost wish I could." Mac stared at him. "Not like it's friendly and sweet up here anymore, Mac. Aiden knew and supported me."
Mac stared at him for a minute later. "Do you have plans?"
"There's one in exile who wasn't banished. He said he'd help me hide and move on this next time."
"At least it's better planned than coming to New York. Your father has people here."
"I had three whole days ta plan, Mac. Give me a break, I was a little kid. The original plan was that I'd ask to go to University and mom would agree. She said she would. Then dad came up with his 'you're with me or I'm cutting your ears off and hunting you down like a beast' idea. So not a whole lot of time since I found out what he was doing."
"I called 'em when he got hurt. They came. They're gone again muttering about weak sons. My mother said if he was a better and stronger elf he'd have better sons but he growled and she went to visit my grandmother for a few months." He gave him a bored look. "Anything else? Will I have ta go through this with Doc?"
"No," he said quietly. "I do want you to consider staying though."
"I can't, Mac. It'll get pretty noticeable that I'm not aging."
"We can arrange it so it looks like you died on the job in a few years, Danny. Give it a try."
"Whatever. Anything else?"
"Not at the moment. I do want to be kept informed if another hunt is called."
Danny snorted. "I was banished, Mac. The hunt was never called off. That's why I can't work cases in true woods." He walked out, leaving him to clean up the office.
"Belt's undone," Lindsey said when she walked past him.
"Thank you for checking that part of me out, Monroe. I was tucking in my shirt," he said dryly, doing that. "Why did I come back from vacation?" he muttered as he headed to get his stuff out of his locker. "Should've just left and headed for Chicago. Just like I have planned." He heard a door shut near him and leaned back to see who it was. "What, Flack?"
"Making sure you didn't run away from me." He came in and looked at him, then smirked. "How you doin'?"
"I'm fine. Thank you for narcing to Mac. Anything good on any of my cases?"
"Not really. Monroe took over for most of 'em." He looked at him. "Want beers after work?"
"I wouldn't care," he decided. He looked at him. "Why?"
"Just wanted to have beers and ask questions." He grinned and then headed back out.
Danny just nodded his head, then shook his head because it was going to get complicated. He looked up. "Being banished wasn't enough?" he muttered. Then he grabbed his stuff and went to work. Stella gave him a look. "What?"
"Not a good vacation?"
"I had a fine vacation but Monroe just told me my belt was undone while I was tucking in my shirt."
"I'm sure she wasn't looking, Danny." He gave her a look. "She isn't."
"Good!" He got down to work. "Anything on any of my cases?"
"Lindsey solved one and another's having a suspect hunted down."
"Cool. Less work for me." He got back to work, seeing her playing with her hair. "What?"
"Um, nothing." She looked then came over to look at his ear. "I never noticed that." He moaned. "Birthmark?"
"Bite mark. Had a spider last night."
"Oh. Okay." She noticed him adjusting his necklace and it quit looking odd to her. "What is that?"
"Trick of the light," he said, looking at her. She gave him a look. "Really."
"I guess." She went back to the test she was running. He was in a good mood, she wasn't going to ruin that for him.
Danny looked at Flack that night, then at his beer, then back at him. "What?"
"I wanted to know some other stuff. Do you guys normally drink beer?"
"I was underage when I got banished."
"Okay," he said, nodding. "Any cute little things back at home?"
"Not really. One who was a friend, but no." He shrugged. "If it wasn't for her, I'd have sung it from Broadway years ago. Just so the Council would've destroyed him." He took a drink and looked at his buddy again. "Keep goin'. I can see the wheels turning slowly."
"Are you like the others?"
"We take a different view on life than you guys do. We have longer to pack a lifetime into and less need for the physical nature of the person we're dating. It's more important that we're compatible."
"Because so long with the same person can get really tiring," Don agreed, understanding that.
"Especially since there's no divorce and cheating is prohibited by death." He took another drink. "Not like I wanted kids anyway."
"Can you? I mean normally and all."
Danny looked at him then he smirked. "I told you that curse didn't hit my family. I can almost wish.... That'd make my mom freak though. I'd never hear the end of that."
"I meant with someone like us."
"Oh." He shrugged. "Yeah. We're compatible that way," he assured him, looking around the quiet bar Don had picked out. It was nearly empty and it was a nice, quiet, soothing spot. "Where did you find this one?"
"Back in college." He grinned. "Lots and lots of stuff happens here. Used ta think this was the basis for the Callahan books now and then." He gulped a drink and looked at him. "So, if you and Monroe...." Danny shuddered in horror at that. "Or someone more suitable. You and Miss Penthouse July...."
"She was pretty cute," he admitted. "Would work. Fifty-fifty chance of having one with ears."
"That's kinda cool." He looked over when the door opened. "Should've known Doc knew this place."
"Nah. Is Hammerback one of you guys?" Danny nodded. "Exiled?"
"Traveling. Got bored according to him."
"Oh. That's kinda neat," he decided, smiling when Sheldon Hawkes came over to sit with them. "Hey, Doc."
"Hey, Flack, Danny. What's going on?"
"We're going over elves in movies."
Sheldon looked at him then he snickered. "Yes, I know about Sid. Have known about Sid. Will continue to know about Sid." Danny shrugged. "How did you know about Sid? Beyond the fact that he sighs every time he sees you looking upset and mutters something about your father?" Danny gave him a look. "I asked, he taught me to speak it."
"Tell him what you told me so he can tell me what you said," Don ordered with a smirk.
"Fat chance, Flack." He looked at Sheldon. "I'm about at tenure."
"I don't care about that stuff, Danny. This is New York. Who's going to say anything about a birth defect like pointy ears?"
"True. Still getting too old."
"Maybe, but there are ways around that."
"Not on my salary."
"That is a good point," he admitted. "So take out a short-term loan?" Danny looked at him. "Make emergency plans and things?"
"Already working on that, Doc." He took another drink. "How long have you known?"
"Sid got really drunk in here one night and told me."
"This isn't one of ours. Please tell me it's not," he begged.
"No, it's a neutral place," Sheldon assured him.
"Does Sid have the funky birthmark thingy?" Don asked.
"Birthmark thingy?" Sheldon asked back, looking a bit confused. "Oh, that one on his hip? Seen it once or twice but otherwise never paid any attention to it. Why?"
"It's a clan marking," Danny said dryly.
"Interesting. Any other good things you can share?"
"Yeah, there's a birth curse on some families," Don said happily, smirking at him. "By the way, Mac thinks that the kid would be better off not being born, but he liked your idea of making that happen." Danny smirked at him.
"What birth curse?"
"Male pregnancies in some lines," Danny said with a fond smile.
Sheldon just blinked at that. "Okay, now we're going stranger places than I ever wanted to be." Danny handed him his beer, letting him finish it. "Thanks. Anything good going on tonight?"
"Don's bein' nosy."
"I did that same thing. Took me a month to get all the answers I wanted."
"I'm still trying to figure out what to ask," Don admitted, pulling a list out of his pocket. "Any sisters, Danny?"
"One, she's dead now, and no, you can't date her daughter."
"Wasn't asking for that reason," he said dryly. "Any other siblings?"
"One maid, but otherwise no. A niece."
"Are we going to be seeing her some year soon?" Sheldon asked.
"Hell no," he snorted. "Girls who get banished get adopted by other clans for breeding and marriage purposes. Boys who get banished get hunted down. If she makes it out here, we're all in deep shit."
"She live in the same village?" Don asked. Danny shook his head. "She safe?"
"Well away from her grandparents. She's rejected both of them. Because our women are more powerful than our men." Don gaped in horror. He nodded. "Exactly. She's the only heir left. She's real smart and her daddy loves her so she's safe. My folks can blow and if it weren't for the threat to destroy the whole village I would've announced it in Times Square."
Sheldon looked at him. "What did you do?"
"I refused to be a thug."
"Oh." He nodded once. Then he sighed. "Your father."
"Bounty hunter. Why?"
"He's outside looking in."
Danny glared back at him then stood up. "I've gotta go, Sheldon. You keep Flack here even if you have ta handcuff him to you." He headed out the well marked back door and disappeared into the night. He was still that good. He hadn't told them that Sonny was only a half-breed. He had ways of hiding from him. Sonny glared at where he was hiding and still didn't see him.
"I'll get you yet."
"Sure you will," he taunted. "What's wrong? Mad because I wouldn't be a thug and join our parents in their little clique?"
"I hate you."
"Good. Then scram."
"I'll drag you home by your ears yet."
"Uh-huh." He faded more and headed off, avoiding any lights. He made it home and found Mac waiting on him. "What? Is this the night for questions?" he demanded. Mac just stared at him. "First Flack and Hawkes, now you?"
"Yes." He nodded at his apartment door. "Mostly because someone came to the station to talk to you and I had to escort the older lady here."
"Not that I'm aware of," he admitted. Danny shrugged and walked in and he followed him.
"You have retainers?" the older woman demanded.
"No, he's my boss. He beat someone bloody once for hitting on his sister."
"Oh. I've heard of such things. Humans do foul our bloodlines so," she said snidely.
Danny glared at her. "What did you want?"
"You don't pay proper respect?"
"You're in my house. I'm already havin' a real bad day since I just ran into a bounty hunter." She gasped. "I'm still banished, Elder."
"I can have that lifted."
"You didn't before."
"I can now," she said, standing up. "For the right price." He waved a hand. "I want your niece to join my family and she's refusing."
"I've seen my niece twice. She don't listen to me," he assured her. "She might listen to her Grandmother but she doesn't even remember me. She sent back my last letter unopened with a note saying she didn't remember me." She sighed and sat down again. "Talk to the girl. She's smart and getting wise last I heard."
"She believes she's in love," she sneered.
"Some of us do," he admitted. "Not all of us make marriages based on other factors. I wish I could help you but I can't."
"Not even to have your hunt called off and be moved to exile status?"
He sneered at her. "You're letting my father poison untold members of our world with his filthy drugs and his filthier morals. For all I care, you can all become the same junkies the humans turn into if you stick up for him. You chose your path and you chose not to stop him. So did the High Council even though they knew he was peddling drugs. Oh well." She got up and stomped off. "Have a better trip back," he called. Then he looked at Mac. "Don't know why she came to me."
"You have a niece?"
"Yeah, I had a sister once too."
"I'm not. She was older and we never quite got along. Too much of an age gap." Mac nodded at that. "You do know that house elves are certain Council members?"
Mac smirked. "Couldn't happen to a nicer lot," he assured him. "At least you don't debauch innocents."
"No, the ones who do think that they're dirtier afterward. It's like sleeping with your servants in the old days, Mac." He flopped down and looked at him. "Any other issues?"
"You don't throw as many fits and do as much grandstanding as the others I've seen."
"I never did but you apparently met European elves." He gave him a look. "Don't judge us on one or two, Mac. You're not that prejudice." Mac nodded at that. "Hell, all I wanted was to go to college and be a scholar." He shrugged. "But I can have a 'you puny human' complex if it'd make you feel better."
"No, please don't. You'd have to explain it to Monroe."
"No I wouldn't."
"She hasn't yet."
"Whatever." He shook his head. "You're coming in tomorrow or are you in hiding?"
"Sonny could easily get me with a dart and a sniper rifle, Mac. Not like it matters if I'm here or there."
"Thank you. Anything you can do to help me capture him?"
"Yeah, he can't fade. Never learned or just can't. He's only a halfie." Mac smirked and nodded his thanks before walking out. That did give him some ammunition against the irritating gang leader. He looked around. "I can feel you. Might as well come out." Sid Hammerback came out of the shadows in the kitchen. "You taught Sheldon Elvish?"
"He's as inquisitive as one of us," he admitted, coming over to look at him. "It wasn't wise to piss her off."
"I told her the truth. Not like she would've followed through. She supported my banishment even knowing what he was doing. I'd like to curse her staff to become junkie whores."
"Probably too late since they're already in business together," he admitted. "There are villages where you'd still be welcome, Daniel."
"I know. I'm enjoying the wandering for the most part." That got a smile. "The same as you do since I know you're not in exile or banished, Sid."
"I'm not. My wife got annoying so I left for a few years."
"How many decades ago was that?" he taunted.
"Four." He smiled. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine. A bit of a sniffle still but fine." He got a look. "I caught a cold during my few days off."
"I didn't see you at the Sovan celebration."
"Nor will you," he admitted. "I celebrated alone. I have since I understood what it was for."
"We grew apart as Father's interests got stronger. He wanted the power and the money and he got it." He shrugged. "I was going to be a scholar."
"You could still go study at the satellite college. It's here in the mundane world."
"The minute I step foot in any Elvish community I'm a dead man, Sid. We both know this. Friendly, neutral or not. If I was exiled, maybe. Since I'm not, I can't."
"Fine. If you're sure."
"I'm sure. I asked." He gave him a look. "They said they couldn't accept me anywhere on the campus even though it was for a good reason. So yeah, I'm cursing a lot of them to be junkie whores within a few years."
"Too many are," he sighed.
Danny shrugged. "I pointed out what he was doing, they liked the idea that he was bringing in new money. Don't worry though, there'll be a push from the Classicists and we'll go back to living in house trees."
"Probably," he agreed, patting him on the knee. "I do still need to do your yearly physical, Danny. There's been a few new cross-diseases going around."
"Yay me. I'm healthy, Sid. If I'm not, I'll come see you." That got a nod and a smile. "Now, aren't you gonna get in trouble?"
"No. We've had a long history of working with some limited humans among my village," he said with a small smile. "I'm taking Sheldon back in a few months. Would you like to travel with me? I can do an illusion. I know there's things you miss."
Danny considered it then shook his head. "No thanks. Won't make missing it any better."
"If you wish." He stroked his cheek. "Go easier on Mac. All he knew were the stupid young." He stood up. "Sonny's from a clan that has a birth curse?"
"Yup," he said with a smirk. "Wonder if he knows that."
"Probably not." He smiled. "But I'm sure Mac can show him."
"Hm. Might need to teach him about how to time it."
"The blue signs," he agreed, walking out with a smile. He went to find Mac and tell him about that, finding him in his office. "There is much you should know about that family curse." Mac dropped his pen, staring at him. He smiled. "Did you think I didn't know?"
"How do you know?"
"That is a question for a different time," he offered. He closed the door and walked over to sit across from him. "A quarter of all halflings are born sterile," he told him. "In all manners. That's why the family curses were started by someone after a long ago war. Now, a quarter of them are more than eligible to be with their father's clan or family. Since Sonny's still working for his I'm assuming he is one of that quarter. The other half is iffy if it'd work on them. If, as I believe, Sonny takes after his elf parent, then it was probably his mother. Or his mother wanted and seduced a very young elf. That's the only way that quarter comes about it seems."
"Can you tell how?"
"Only if you look very closely. The more in touch with that side they are the more they'll have faint blue pinpricks of color under their skin when they're in heat. It can be induced, as any estrus can be," he offered. "The most definitive way is to look at the anal sphincter. If it's blue he's close. If it's fully blue and the surrounding connective tissue is as well, then he's in estrus and can easily be gotten knocked up." He smiled gently. "I would suggest Sonny never take a female hormone by accident."
"Hmm." He leaned back, considering that. "It'd be harder to use but I did see the blue dots under his skin. I was wondering if he was sick or something. You never pinged as one to me, Sid."
"Only foolish young throw fits and tantrums, Mac. You love one who is a halfling."
"I almost thought Stella was. She's got that same temper."
"She does," he agreed happily. "She's in that half. I would suspect her mother was one debauched actually." He stood up and smiled. "Do try not to stress Daniel out, Mac. He will leave."
"I know. I was almost shocked when he stuck around before."
"That's because he had support then. Who supports him now?" he offered quietly. He left him to his thoughts and plots. He went to see his current paramour. His wife didn't mind, much, and it did keep him away from the shrew. He loved his wife but she was enough to make wolves howl in misery at times.
Danny came in off his first scene the next morning, shaking his head at Sheldon. "Nasty one, hope Sid's ready to not smell anything," he complained.
"Two day old chainsaw victim."
"Eww. That can be gross."
"Filleted. Attempted but somehow managed."
"Interesting. That takes skill."
"Still gross," Danny agreed. "Anything interesting happen?"
"Monroe's on some kick," he warned quietly. Danny rolled his eyes and walked off to log in his evidence. "Hope he's ready."
Danny walked into trace, smiling at the other tech in there. "Hey, Adam."
"Hey, Danny. What'd you bring me?"
"Chainsaw oil I think. Also shavings that flew off."
"Just sharpened?" he asked as he took that envelope from him. He looked at it under the microscope then at him. "Chainsaw?"
"With the gouging on the body? Yeah, pretty sure it was."
"Just a straight cut?"
"Filleted his chest cavity." Adam just shook his head and got back to work. "Hoping you can take those and give me a make and model maybe?"
"Of the chain probably. Not sure if it'd help any." He smiled. "Give me a few hours."
"Sure. Also, here, swabs of what looks like oil." He handed it over and headed down to the morgue. "Hey, Docs, got my fillet of human yet?" he called.
"I do," Sid called back. "Very well done for a chainsaw."
"Yeah, that's what I thought," he admitted, coming over to examine the body again for more trace. "I collected some of the oil and the metal shavings I found."
"I collected more oil from underneath a rib, but nothing else definitive," he admitted. "It was clear it was a slim chainsaw. I might be able to help someone figure out the model by the cut patterns."
"Adam's got it in Trace."
"That's fine." He took some good pictures and handed over the camera. "Strangely enough, cause of death wasn't the cutting. He was bleeding out when the person was cutting. Died shortly afterward when his stomach was opened." He grabbed a pair of tweezers to examine the hole, coming out with a piece of paper. "Looks like he ate a note," he said, handing it over in a small dish.
Danny grinned. "Yummy."
Sid smiled as he dug in further. "Hmm. A hard mass." He wiggled it out and held it up. "A sapphire." That got put into a separate dish. "Very interesting."
"Any signs of if it was forced down his throat or if he swallowed it?" Danny asked.
Sid looked in his mouth then shook his head. "No obvious abrasions but I'll take a closer look. He could have been a smuggler."
"Good point. Let me know if you find any lower down then." That got a nod and a small grin. "Off to see if we can salvage his breakfast." He walked off with the trays once he had them covered. "Watch out," he said when Monroe nearly backed into him. He walked around her and headed into questionable documents, grinning at Stella. "Stomach had a note and a sapphire."
"Nice breakfast if you can afford it." She took the note to look over since she was running her own at the moment. They got the acid neutralized and then put it on the static discharger to see if they could find any impressions. Then the light treatment since they couldn't. Multiple lights with multiple filters brought out any traces of ink left. "Looks like it's a gel writer."
"Which would leave almost no impression as long as you didn't press hard," Danny agreed. He looked at it. "What language is that?"
Mac came in and looked at the enlarged view. "Hindu?"
"Maybe. We thought it might be a code," Stella admitted. "It looks like it almost." She took pictures of the projection then moved on to see if they could get a better image of the residual ink. She got one and snapped pictures of it too. "That's almost better."
"And that is definitely Hindu," Mac agreed. Danny looked at him. "It is."
"Do we have a translation manual around here?" Danny asked.
"No. We do have an officer about three stations away who speaks it. I can see if he reads it as well." Danny grinned and nodded. "Chainsaw filleting?"
"Yeah. Hammerback said he was alive while it was done too."
"Blood's going to tox then," he agreed. "Let me know what you find."
"Will." That got a smile and Mac left. He looked at Stella. "So."
"So," she agreed, handing him the pictures she printed out then the carefully preserved note. "Any laser numbering on the sapphire?" He pulled it out once he had on new gloves, taking it to look at under a microscope. He flipped it over so she could see it, making her stare. "That's an ad."
"It is. It's a hot new thing. They're going to start laser inscribing egg shells with ads too."
"There's already too many ads in the world," Stella complained. "Can't get away from 'em now."
Danny looked around then at her. "What did Monroe and Doc get into that he said she was upset?" he asked quietly.
She shrugged. "Not a clue," she admitted just as quietly. "She woke up funny or something." She shrugged. "Have fun with the sapphire."
"Sure, wanna go? I know how much you like jewelry stores," he teased.
"Nah. I'll let you do that. I like my jewelry without ads."
He nodded and took the sapphire's pictures, then went to put them into the evidence locker. He ran into Monroe in there. "New case?"
"Yeah, fishing wire," she admitted, looking at him. "Yours?"
"You can't do that."
"The evidence says otherwise," he told her, giving her a look. "Adam's picking out chainsaw models if you wanted to help and knew something." She grimaced and shook her head. "Okay. Can't be too many places around here that sell 'em." He finished his log-in and headed out with the pictures. He ran into Mac and showed the picture. "Ads. Stella didn't even wanna go visit the jewelry store with me."
"She's probably muttering about the corruption of purity and beauty again," he admitted. "Which detective did you get?"
"No one's seen Flack today."
Danny sent him a text message then showed him the response of 'my only day off this week and you call to see if I'm working?' "I'm guessing he's lounging in some sun somewhere."
"Maybe. Thanks." Danny nodded and headed out to talk to the jewelry store. Mac went to check on Lindsey. "How's your new case?"
"Stifling. Why did I get the fishing wire case?"
"Because you were open."
"It wasn't because you guys think I fish?"
"No. If it was that I'd have sent Sheldon and Danny."
"Oh." She grimaced. "He thinks a chainsaw can fillet a body."
"From what Sid said, it can." He looked at her. "Having a bad day?"
"Yes." She closed the file and looked at him. "I feel like new shoes again."
"It'll be okay, Lindsey."
"But everyone's so different."
"It's all in your mind."
"It is," he assured her. "We haven't changed. Maybe your perceptions have widened some. Maybe you're seeing your coworkers a bit deeper?"
"Maybe," she complained. "But probably not. Danny's still pushy and mercurial. Stella's still learning to be wise from you. Sheldon's still way too smart for most human beings."
"He's got a keen interest in learning," he chided. "The same as most of us do or we'd be working in a different field." He stared her down. "What brought on this revelation?"
"Last night when I was out. I was thinking while drunk."
"That can be a deadly combination," Don agreed as he walked in. "Mac, there's a grumpy person who needed me?"
"I was trying to figure out where you were, Don," he admitted with a small smile. "No one had seen you today and it's so unusual that it sparked a small worry."
"Awww. I feel all mushy and shit." He smirked at him. "Who got Messer today?"
"Angel. Chainsaw filleting."
"Charming. Better her'n me," he decided. "Want a beer? You nearly done?"
Mac checked his watch. "I've just wrapped up a case but I'm on until six, Don."
"Works for me. Sullivans or somewhere quieter?"
"Somewhere quieter." That got a nod and Don strolled off.
"What's his issue?"
"It's his first day off in the last two weeks," he told her.
"Oh. Maybe that's my problem."
He looked at her. "You just had one three days ago, Lindsey."
She shrugged. "I don't know, Mac. I'm just feeling odd."
"Maybe you should see someone," he offered. "That can be telling you that you're about to get sick."
"No, I did that this morning," she admitted. He walked off shaking his head. "Sorry." She went back to work, sighing in displeasure. She did not like this case.
Danny had just gotten home when someone knocked. "What?" he complained, getting up to let Don and Mac inside. "Yes?" he asked impatiently. "Just got home, guys."
"Two things, when did you cut your hair?" Mac asked.
"Before the manhood celebration. Why?"
"Someone has some of it and they're selling it in Times Square."
"Wasn't from me, guys. You saw how long it was. So unless someone's went back in time and space to find my old hair...."
"All right, even though the strands are consistent with yours," Mac offered, moving further into the apartment so Danny could close the door.
"They're all like that, Mac," he said patiently, heading back to his comfy sitting spot. He flopped down again. "You can't tell the difference except in color and DNA." That got a nod. "The other thing?"
"Sonny's put word out on the street that he's hunting you," Don told him quietly.
"Big news there."
"He's formally hunting you," Don told him. "He's put a bounty on your head, Danny."
Danny looked at them. "Really? My first one yet," he said proudly. "Huh." He grinned. "That's kinda cool. Not changing anything but it's kinda cool. What lie did he use this time?"
"You foiled his plans."
"Yeah, well, he was trying to grab me the other night and I made fun of his stupid ass," Danny offered.
"I'd like to get you into protective custody until we can get him, Danny," Mac said, looking serious. Danny stared at him. "If I let you continue to work scenes, it could endanger other lives."
"Which sucks but most of the time it's not like I've got people at my scenes, Mac. Maybe a uniform."
Don looked at him. "*Maybe* a uniform? I thought you guys all had to have at least one of them, one of us, or another of you with you at all times."
"Well, I'm still not on the hit parade around the office," Danny said dryly. He gave him a look and Don groaned, shaking his head. "Do we want me to leave sooner?"
"No," Mac told him. "Not in the least. You won't know who the other hunters are wherever you're going."
"We know most of them," he admitted.
"Stay anyway," Don ordered. "Just stay safer."
"I'll do whatever I need ta do, Don. Not like I'm gonna walk out with a sign on. A t-shirt maybe to taunt someone but not a sign."
Mac scowled and shook his head. "Not a chance."
"Fine. Whatever. We wanna use me as bait to catch him?"
"Please," Mac agreed. "Can you handle that?"
"Of course." He shifted and crossed his feet. "Whaddya need from me?"
"No more going out alone," he ordered simply. "Every single move from here on out is scheduled and approved, Danny."
"Should I ask ta take a shower too?" he asked dryly.
"Yes," Don agreed, smirking at him. "Because I'll be here with you."
"You know, those rumors that you're doin' Monroe won't settle down any faster if you do that."
"Half the station knows about the hit," Mac assured him, staring him down. "I could have you moved somewhere safer but I'd rather save that for a later move, Danny. That does mean that you'll be working with Don and I all the time. That way you can't endanger anyone else." Danny shrugged. "That's going to mean a schedule change. I work the earlier shifts."
"Mac, you never go home from the lab," Danny said patiently. "I'm fine, guys, really. I'll take the reasonable precautions but doing that won't let them be drawn out."
"They'll still come," Don assured him.
"Yeah, but not the easier guys ta catch. That'll be the harder guys, the guys who think they can take on Mac. The trained ones. Not some punks who need a rep. It'd be easier to capture one of the young punks needin' a rep and turn them than it would someone more professional."
"That is true but it's still a danger," Mac pointed out. "You can still work solo, Danny. You'll simply pull Don every case. If it's another detective, it'll be you and me."
"Sure. Whatever," Danny assured him. "As long as I don't feel caged."
"It shouldn't take too long," Don offered. "Want me ta stay with you?"
"You really like my couch?"
"No," he admitted. "It's lumpy as hell."
"Not sleepin' with you in the same bed, Don."
"Aww, are you scared I'll molest you?" he taunted. Danny gave him a look that made him shiver. "Never mind. We'll sit a uniform on the building." Mac nodded at that. "That would seem reasonable since we all know by now."
"It would," Mac agreed. "Or, if it gets too much, we'll move you both to a safe house." Danny nodded at that. "Good. Thank you for being reasonable."
"Not all of us are drama queens, Mac. I don't have the energy to pull drama like some of the High Court. They don't do shit all day but pull drama."
"Good point." He stood up. "You'll be careful tonight?" Danny nodded. "Good. Be in at nine in the morning." Danny gave a pointed look at the clock behind him and he looked, then frowned a bit. "That's still seven hours from now."
"You really want me ta snap at Monroe? Remember what happened the last time I didn't get sleep, while Aiden was still there?"
Don shuddered. He and Aiden had gotten into a fight in the halls during a really hard case that had both of them not sleeping. She had ended up stomping off crying after he had laid into her because she had snapped at him once too often. Mac had put them both in his office and given them both allergy medicine to make them both sleep. "I don't think that'll be wise. She's already in a funky mood."
"She thinks everyone's changed," Mac told him.
"Uh-huh," Don said flatly. "Why?"
"Thinking while drunk."
"Ah. Been there, done that. Tequila is bad," Don agreed. "Especially mixed with a navel to drink it out of and then scotch later." Danny smirked at him. "You, no comment. I was in college."
"Uh-huh," Danny said dryly. "So I shouldn't mention what I saw...."
Don covered his mouth. "He's going to forget that night or I'm going to make him sorry, Mac."
"You two already play like lovers, you know that, right?" he asked patiently, giving them a fond look. "Come in at noon, Danny." That got a nod so he walked out, leaving them to their...whatever for the night.
Danny licked the hand over his mouth, making Don pull it away to wipe it off. "Eww," Don complained.
"I'm not the one who did body shots off the seventeen-year-old virgin who was getting drunk for courage. Or her buddy who had the cop fetish."
"Good thing I didn't have a uniform on," Don said, sitting down in the chair. "You sure you're good with this knowledge?" Danny nodded. "Can he get in here?"
"Maybe," he admitted. "He won't though. If he does, I'll do something and he'll find himself on his knees for life in a brothel I know of that won't care if he consents or not." Don gaped in horror. "I'm not nice to the hunters, Don. When it's my life or his?" He snorted. "Yeah, right."
"Good. I like that." He grinned at him. "Can I see your ears again?" Danny sighed but took off his necklace to let him see it and touch one. "Are they really sensitive? Someone online said that elf ears are like clits."
"Not any more so than the normal ear," he offered. "You looked online?"
"Yeah, did. There's a lot of girls who write Legolas and Arragon. Or one of the hobbits."
Danny pulled away from his fingers. "You're just sick, Flack. Out." He got a naughty grin but did leave. Danny locked everything up and closed the curtains for the night, going to take a shower. It had felt okay to have someone playing and teasing his ears. Even the normal parts. It was a good night to have some fun with himself in the shower and then go to bed. If only so the memory could wipe out the thought of an elf and a hobbit doing it.
Danny walked in the next morning, shaking his head. Stella gave him a look. "I'm fine. Idiots outside joking about me getting a target shirt."
"Uh-huh," she said, frowning some. "Which idiots?"
"The usual." He shrugged. "Nothing unusual. Don't stress it, Stella." He grinned at her. "Mac told me last night. Where is our great overlord?"
"On a scene."
He shook his head. "He said to be in at noon. Going to clock in."
"Sure. Did you get anything on the sapphire?"
"Yeah, he worked there. He stole it and the note was to help him find his buyer." He kept going, finding someone waiting in the locker room. "Monroe, it gonna offend you if I change shirts?"
"No, go ahead," she offered, going back to her locker. "Aren't you in early?"
"Mac said so."
"What did you do this time?"
He glared at her for a minute. "Nothing. Thank you anyway," he said dryly. He kept in what he wanted to say. Because he wanted to swear at her. A lot. She walked out with a slam of her locker door and he burst out in elvish swears while changing his shirt. Because otherwise he'd hurt her.
"I heard that," Sheldon called from the doorway.
"Yay. Mac back yet?"
"Just now. Looking for you."
"Got spit on on my way in." He grabbed everything he'd need and closed his locker, heading out. "Just what I needed to start the day," he said dryly. He headed to Mac's office. "So, I'm here."
"Good. We can't trace it back directly to Sonny, just the rumors." Danny nodded, sitting down. "Comfy?" he asked dryly once he was sprawled out.
"Yeah, it's keeping me from ripping someone's head off." Mac gave him an odd look. "She asked me what I had done wrong this time."
"You did nothing wrong, Danny. We know you didn't." He glared at Monroe when he saw her watching. "Lindsey, I'll see you in a few." She shrugged and walked off with her folder. He looked at him. "Should I tell her?"
"Do I care?" he countered.
"Good point." He considered him. "I'll let her know subtly. That way she's not caught unaware." He looked at him. "What happened outside?"
"The usual. Nothing new."
"Are you all right?"
"Nothing new," he repeated.
Mac stared at him. "How often have they harassed you?"
"I don't keep track, Mac. It happens when it does. They haven't liked me since Minhaus and won't ever change their minds. Nothing new, Mac."
"If you want help...."
Danny snorted. "And you'll do what?" he asked sarcastically. "Spank 'em?"
"We can try to change their minds."
"Two years, Mac. Hasn't worked yet and probably won't."
"Let me know if it gets to you, Danny. That's demoralizing and you don't need that," he said more gently. Danny shrugged again. "Okay. For today, how's your case?"
"Solved. I've got a few open and a few cold. You want me in today?" Mac nodded. "Okay, unless you want me to go out. I'll be a good boy taday, Mac." That got a smirk. "Anything else?"
"Not yet. We'll see if we can finish tracking it quickly. That way we don't have to worry." Danny nodded and stood up. "Leave Lindsey to me."
"You can have her, Mac. I don't want her." He walked out, taking his case with him to the lab. He saw Stella walking in and looked at her. "Don't make it worse."
"I'm not. I went to put money in a meter for Sheldon." She looked him over. "Paperwork day?"
"I've got a few open I can work on," he defended. "But then yeah." He grabbed his files off his desk then came back to the labs. He slid into gloves and his lab coat, settling in on a stool to look things over. He found something he had been considering before and ran it down, frowning at it.
Mac walked into Lindsey's lab, closing the door. "Adam? Can you?" He nodded and the tech nodded and left them alone. "Lindsey, do you have a problem with Danny coming in early today?"
"No, I just asked if there was a problem. Why? Did he say something?"
"No, but the person who did said that you asked what he had done wrong this time." She gave him a clueless look. "What did you mean by that?"
"Well, I know he's had some troubles....."
He held up a hand. "His troubles are in the past. Fully in the past. Half of that was based on lies by a hood. Sonny was trying to discredit Danny." She just stared at him. "What incident were you talking about?"
"I... just heard rumors, Mac."
"Rumors that started based on that and a tragic event that didn't happen how everyone thinks. Danny is a very good CSI, Lindsey, and he doesn't need your stress."
"Are you sure he didn't complain?"
"No, he didn't complain. Someone else was watching over him because there's a personal issue that's presently endangering his life. They told me."
"Personal issue... Is he sick?"
"No. Nothing like that," he said patiently. "He's perfectly healthy."
"The thing with his brother?" Mac just stared at her. "Fine, I won't pry and I'll apologize."
"Just leave him alone." She nodded. "Thank you." He walked off, heading to glance in on Stella and Danny. They looked fine and Danny was doing a database search so it was even better. He did have some paperwork he needed to do soon and this would give him the time to do that.
Lindsey looked at Danny when she ended up at her desk and he was at his, feet up on an open drawer, keyboard in his lap while he typed up something. "How's your brother doing?"
"Nothing's changed," he said absently. "Why?"
"Just wondering." She typed a few more words then looked at him. "Mac said something about something personal putting you in danger."
"Yup." He saved whatever he was working on then went to spell and grammar check it. "Nothing that should bother you, Monroe."
"Oh." She went back to work, her short nails clicking on the keys. Then she turned to look at him fully. "Are you okay? I mean it's nothing medical or anything? Nothing that we have to watch you over?" He gave her a scathing look. "Really, I want to know if I can help."
"You can't," he said impatiently. "No, I'm fine and healthy. No it's not my brother. Just drop it, Montana, and do your paperwork. Nothing about it will impact your cases or anything."
"Are you sure? You can talk to me if you want." He gave her another look and she wilted. "Okay, but I'm here if you need me."
"Sure. Thanks." He finished his spell check and read it over, then printed it and added it to the small stack beside him. He got to work on his next half-finished report. Thankfully he put in enough details so he could write it quickly. Then he finished it and got up, going to hand the stack to Mac for the day. "There, paperwork. Can I avoid the nag now?" he asked.
"Sure. Thank you for getting these done."
"Welcome. Just tell her something more than I'm sick, okay?" He walked out, going to his locker to put up his gun for the night.
Don stomped in. "Ah! Take it home," he ordered.
Danny gave him a look. "No." He put the gun inside his locker then closed it, shouldering on his jacket. "I don't need it, Don. They're not coming to the house."
"When was the last time you cleaned it?" he asked, coming over.
"I haven't used it since the last time I did." Don moaned and opened his locker by popping the lock and taking it out to look at it. "What?"
"It needs cleaned, Danny. A lot." He handed it back. "Take it home and clean it."
"Gotta take the subway."
"I'll drive you home," he ordered, handing it to him. "Now, let's go." They walked out and ran into Mac in the entry. "Takin' him home, Mac."
"Thanks, Don. Saves him some subway fare." He looked at the gun then at him. "Getting a bit nervous?"
Don snatched it off Danny's hip and handed it to him. "Check that."
"I haven't used it!" Danny complained.
"It can still gather dust," Don said impatiently.
Mac looked in the breach then at him. "We're cleaning it tonight, Danny. Am I clear?" He nodded, rolling his eyes, taking it back and heading off. "Let Don drive you home, Danny."
"No thanks, Mom. Had enough for the day. Go hover over Stella!" He jogged down the stairs and headed for the subway entrance, running into Stella as she was coming in. "Night."
"Night, Danny." She smiled at him. "Taking it home tonight?"
"I got ordered to clean it."
"Ah. Yeah, you should do that at least once a month," she agreed. "How long has it been?" He flipped her off and kept going. "Danny!"
"No. No no nonono!" She stopped him and made him look at her. "You will clean that tonight because *I* have to depend on it being clean and working, Danny. I don't give a damn if you think someone's going to kill you or not. You'll clean it or I'm going to kick your ass and then sell you to Sonny. Am I clear?" He glared at her. "Am I?"
"Whatever." He walked off once he got free. "Thanks, Stepmom. You go well with Mac and Don. In a good 'ship with 'em?" he asked as he walked. "I know people who would pay money for that." He jogged down the stairs into the subway tunnel, far away from the nosy people in his life. Though he could still hear her ranting.
Don and Mac came out, looking at her, watching her rant. "You okay?" Mac asked once it was safe.
"Am I mothering him?" Mac and Don both nodded. "I am not!"
"We're all guilty of it today," Don soothed, patting her on the back. "You can kick his ass tomorrow."
"Tomorrow's his day off," Mac reminded them both. "I'll check his gun his first day back, guys." They nodded and left it in the supervisor's hand. Don gave her a ride home instead. Mac smiled as he watched them go, then went to edit Danny's reports for him. Mostly they were okay this time but two got put back onto his desk with notes on them. Then he decided to go home for the night.
Danny walked in his first day and found Stella and Mac waiting on him. "What? No one even spit on the subway today."
"Gun?" Mac asked. Danny groaned and handed it over then walked off shaking his head. He checked it then glared at Danny's back. "My office!" he demanded, heading that way. He pulled Danny out of the locker room and that way, pushing him into the office. "You didn't clean it?"
"I did clean it. Then I had ta use it," he said dryly. "Before the big ass rat ate me last night after it climbed in my window." He walked off shaking his head again. "Ask the guys who came at the gunshot, Mac. They thought it was funny until they saw the size of the rat." He went back to grabbing things out of his locker then headed to his desk, glaring at the reports. One started to smoke so he calmed himself and wrote a nice note including printing off the dictionary entry for that word. Then he walked it back into Mac's office and dropped it in the center of his desk and walked out again. "Got a case yet?" He ran into Don while he was sterilizing his kit. "Yes?"
"Rat?" he asked.
"Twenty pound rat. Not like Raid would've worked. So good idea for me to bring home my gun last night, Flack. Thanks."
"Didn't get any sleep?" he asked dryly. Danny glared at him. "Ya know, I didn't understand what Mac meant when he said drama queen tendencies. Now I'm starting to." Danny turned and glared better, making him back off. "Okay. Sorry. Of course you didn't sleep with that rat getting in," he said, holding his hands up. "See you later on a scene, Danny." He walked off before he got turned into a rat. Because if Danny had magic.... Well, he wouldn't finish that thought because his mother would be really disappointed if he turned into a snail or something. Danny in a vindictive mood was not a pretty sight any time but today it was probably going to get worse. He handed Mac the report on the rat, making him groan. "Someone thoughtfully left that on my desk this morning." Then he walked off again.
Mac read the report and looked at the enclosed picture. "I'm surprised it only took one bullet." He went to hand Danny back his gun. "Clean it again. Before you go out." Danny looked at him. "Today, Danny. You need it in good working order." He walked off again. He heard the muttering in Elvish behind him and turned to scowl at him, even though he was smirking internally. "Language."
"Bite me. I can speak in any language I want in this office. Now, would you like your next report in Gaelic or Sumarian?"
"English and only English, Danny." He walked off shaking his head. When he got back to his office, all the reports were in Olde English. Not even the modern one that most literature was written in, the really old English that was what King Arthur would've read. He glared toward where Danny should be. "I guess he's rewriting that," he said dryly. He dropped it on Danny's desk with that note. A few hours later, after he and Danny had both been called to separate scenes, he found them on his desk again, this time in text message/teenager language. He paged Danny in, weathering his smirk. "In normal, human English." Danny shook his head. "No what?"
"No. I handed that in before and you got fussy about a word that I spelled right. You want it any better, take the first one." He walked off again.
"You changed that one." Danny waved and it was fixed. He groaned and glared at his back until he felt the cloud gathering above him. He looked up at the first raindrop. Then he growled and went to complain to someone about the humidity in his office. Because elves didn't affect weather as far as he knew. He came back and watched Sheldon watch his personal cloud.
"Interesting formation," he said in greeting. "I thought Sid making it snow that time in the morgue when the air conditioning went out was cute." He walked off.
"I never did get a good explanation of that," he called after him. He propped open both doors and turned on a fan to move the cloud out of his office. It moved to the other side of his desk, in the empty spot between his desk and his couch, but no other luck. He called Danny. "You can't get the files wet," he said in greeting. Danny just cackled. "Danny. Please," he requested more calmly. The 'put salt out' didn't make any sense but he did it and some of the moisture was absorbed for a bit. He still had a cloud but it wasn't a leaking one. He sat down with a sigh of complaint, putting his head down. The cloud hovered above him and seemed to caress his neck, making him mutter in Arabic about elves and their stupid pride and their annoying drama queen habits. Though he supposed he could accept that first report after all.
Danny looked over when someone pounded on his door. "No thanks, I already have some," he called.
"Danny, let me in," Don called, sounding a bit frantic. Danny got up to let him in, looking down the hall then at him. Don closed the door and pushed him against it. "What is that cloud?"
"The one in Mac's office."
"You were panicking?"
Don smirked at him. "No, not really. Fastest way to get you to open up the door." He moved closer. "You feel better?"
"Much. You here ta shoot the next rat?"
"I'm trying hard not to be the next rat."
Danny looked at him then he shrugged and snickered. "I can't do that, Don. Not that powerful." He headed back to his couch. "What's up since you're not panicked?"
"I got asked to come calm you down."
"I am calm."
"You're not calm. You're bitchy. Big difference." He followed, sitting across from him again. "You seen any threats?"
"Only from Mac."
"He's not a threat."
"You sure about that?"
"Yeah," he admitted patiently, staring at him. "You good?" Danny shrugged and pointed at the broken window that had been cardboarded over. "That won't stop a rat."
"Neither did the window." He heard a scratching and went to look, grimacing at the thing on the fire escape. "Who fucked up your change?" he complained. "I can't help with that!" He called someone. "It's Danny. I've got a half-turned thing on my fire escape. Yeah, could be. Why?" He quirked an eyebrow up. "Really? Since when?" He nodded once then glared at it. It crawled off at the first hint of fire, not yelping but backing away. "Okay, you're right, man. Thanks." He hung up and went to get something from his closet. "Going to a hotel tonight."
"Why? Another rat?" He came out to look, finding some *thing* staring at him from the other side of the glass and cardboard. "What is that?"
"A very dangerous thing if it touches you. It's not how a hunt is supposed to go." He concentrated then lit its tail on fire again. The thing crawled off howling into the night. Don shivered so he looked at him. "Let me finish packing and then escort me to a hotel, officer?"
"Sure. I can do that. The shiny gold badge means I'm a cabdriver too," he said drolly, giving his friend a look. "Will it come back?"
"Nope. If it gets sent back it'll be in a lot more pain. I believe in fair warnings." He finished packing what he needed for a few days and carried out his bag. "Okay. Let's go."
"Coffee, anything else?"
"Tea and nope, got some at work and there's a Starbucks near where I'm thinking." He followed Don out, locking the door behind them. Don drove him to his motel of choice, which was a slummy, sleazy place but it would do for the night. He got out and checked in then headed into his room with his bag, waving at Don from the doorway before closing it.
Don called Mac. "Should we sit outside Danny's motel room for the night?" he asked quietly. "Yeah, a something crawled up the fire escape to hurt him. Extra crispy tail. He said he believes in fair warnings and that it was sent, not an accidental crawling up ta eat him." He listened then he nodded, settling in for the night to watch over is buddy. "I get time and a half for this, right?" he joked. He smiled as he hung up on the promise of tomorrow off. He focused on the hotel, watching the traveling shadows move with the car and street lights. Though one was moving a bit more than others. He got out of the car and followed it up to the door, tapping it on the shoulder before it could knock on Danny's door. "Who're you?" he asked bluntly. Danny opened the door in boxers and nothing else, making him point at the shadow. "Him."
"Her. My niece." He let them both in. "Yeah, he knows."
"Why?" she demanded, taking off the cloaking.
"Because I felt like it," he said smartly. "What're you doin' here?"
"Seeing you?" she asked smartly. She looked around then grimaced. "Grandfather sent a wraith after you."
"I saw. I toasted its tail earlier." She gaped at him and he shrugged. "Not like he didn't make me learn. It was his own stupidity."
"The whole village is going to pot."
"Pity but I warned the High Council. They decided it was a dirty business but they didn't stick up for me."
"If they took off the hunt? Made you an exile?"
Danny snorted. "Yeah, like that'll happen."
"I'm dating one of the Highest of High's nephews." Danny shrugged at that. "It's changed since you've been home, Daniel."
"I know, Elisa. I've seen very well what drugs can do to a body. Yay them. They stuck up for him and his shit. They want it fixed? Torch him."
"Your friend Alona is hooked," she said bluntly. He looked sad and sighed, then nodded once and looked at her again. "You can help us get into the house."
"Go capture Sonny Sassone. He works with him. He'd have more current information. He brought back an elder recently."
"I saw. It disgusted many." She stared at him. "Would you help me capture him?" He stared at her. "I'm an accomplished warrior, Daniel."
He stared for a minute longer. "Margaret wanted you to join their family."
She snorted. "She's in on it. As you very well knew." He nodded. "Will you?"
"Call Mac, Don."
"Who is he?"
"He is a former Marine who's been hunting Sonny. He's got a watch on him."
"He's that halfling your father uses?" she sneered. He nodded. "What's so special about him?"
"He's his hunter," Danny said simply. "Plus he's got the family curse on him." She smirked evilly at that. "Reward him, okay? Especially since he tried to dirty my name too."
"Gladly." Don dialed the number and they watched while he talked quietly. "This one knows?"
"One of us went to debauch his sister and he beat his ass."
"Good! It is wrong to do so."
"I didn't figure you to be a Classicist, Elisa. Your parents were more progressive than that."
"They still are and I agree with some things." Don hung up. "Would he agree?"
"Yup. He'll be right over." She nodded and relaxed slightly. "You need some water or something?"
"Your water is fouled by chemicals and processes to supposedly purify what the Mother did already. I will not foul myself with that crap."
"Okay. Just tryin' ta be nice," he offered. Then he looked at his buddy. "I'll go wait on Mac and calm down the manager or whoever."
"I told him I'm a cop and I might have a guard." That got a nod and Don went anyway. He slipped into Elvish. "Why are you really here?"
"His ways are tiring and stale," she replied in the same language. "That would leave you village heir."
"I don't want it."
She stared at him. "You'd rather live among these beings?" she asked finally, switching back to English. He nodded. "Why? You had a bright future, Daniel."
"Now I'm making a difference. When I have to switch lives so they don't know I'll come to the university." She hung her head. "It ruined too?" he asked dryly.
"No. My mother felt shame for not standing up for you since you are family," she said, looking at him. "My stepmother is of the same school of thought."
"Pity. I doubt it's going to undo years of pain."
"We were wrong."
"Very." Someone tapped so he opened the door, letting Mac and Don inside. "Elisa, this is my boss, Mac Taylor. You already met Detective Flack."
"It is a pleasure to meet one who bloodied a stupid being's nose," she said firmly, holding out a hand. He shook it and nodded his thanks. "I wish to take custody of one hunter to break into the hold of a person who poisons us."
"Are we talking an assassination?"
"Probably not. We have plans to arrest him and charge him. Because of him there is a high drug rate among my kind."
"I'm sorry that had to go that far before your people took a firm stand," he offered gently. He handed over an address. "This is his home, he'll be there within hours."
"As far as I know he can't cloak or tell cloaks," Danny offered quietly. She nodded at that information. "You're stronger than I ever was, Elisa. Would you like some help?"
"No. I have contacted another of us within the city and I brought my own hunting squad." She stood up. "Would you come home?" she asked in Elvish. She totally ignored how Don reacted to it. He shook his head. "Are you sure?"
"I don't belong. University yes, that no."
"As you wish. I will have the status removed as soon as possible." She nodded at the other men. "Do take care of my cousin. He'll soon be my last living relative." She walked out, heading out cloaked again, going to rejoin her hunting squad. That one could not be allowed to go on this way. So had spoken most of the Elvish community that was sane and left.
Danny flopped down, looking at Mac. "Thank you."
"It has to be done sometimes."
"It does," he agreed quietly. "I wish all the elves luck in rehab as well." That got a smile. "By the way, I had a wraith on my fire escape."
"Don said a thing. You okay?"
"Not really. That's not how the hunt should go." Mac nodded and left, heading back to his place. He looked at Don. "You staying in here for a few?"
"If you want," he offered, grinning at him. "Can you teach me how to speak like that?"
Danny stared at him. "Most humans have a strong reaction to hearing one of the Mother tongues, Don. You're supposed to get hard and fall at our feet."
"I wasn't gonna fall at hers, Danny."
Danny stared at him. "It'll hurt like hell when I lose you, Don. Much less than it would if I gave in and gave you what you want." Don sat down, staring at him. "I'm going to lose all of you some day, Don. Being a lover with you would make it more painful."
Don looked at him for a minute longer. "It's damn lonely existing for so long without someone to turn and share it with. It's lonely living my lifespan without that much less yours. Being that lonely won't make it hurt any less, Danny."
"I've already watched some people die." He stared at him. "It gets harder when you're attached."
"But it won't ever get easier, Danny." He shifted closer, touching his knee. "Do you really wanna only have temporary things that make you mad? Every time you dump one of those girls you get pissed and fight yourself. You hate it." Danny pulled back. "I know it hurts. It'll always hurt. But if you *stay*, you can still die tomorrow. Then what? We all have ta grieve sometimes. If you let it happen, it won't make it any easier or any harder."
"It does make it harder. I've already been there a few times, Don."
Don leaned forward and touched his cheek. "Is it all that much easier to be mad and lonely?" he asked quietly. Danny nodded. "You sure? I mean, not a whole lot of strings here, Danny."
"For what, the three years I'm here?"
"Maybe I'll go with you," he offered. "Now and then I could use a change." Danny gave him a frown. "I could. Gets me away from Dad's legacy, ya know?"
"I do," Danny admitted. Don grinned. "So, um, been a while since I did this stuff."
"I'm feeling that too. Been about ten years for me." He took off his jacket and shoes, then crawled in next to Danny, just holding him for a few minutes. Then he stole a kiss. "Take a nap, I'll be here. We can work out the details and stuff tomorrow."
Danny nodded and snuggled into the bed. "I still don't cuddle."
Don snorted. "If you say so. You seem like the sort to curl up on a shoulder without being a tourniquet." Danny nodded at that, getting comfortable next to him. "Relax. I'm here. I've got you." He stroked his stomach, getting a small smile. "Can you maybe say something else?"
"You like being babbled at?" Danny asked quietly.
"Wouldn't mind. Do you really know that a lot of guys get hard at that?" Danny looked at him and nodded. "Why?"
"Because we've been here longer and we soothed your kind when they were still young. It's built into some races of man. You have two of them in your blood." He stroked his cheek then shifted closer and whispered dirty things to him in Elvish, watching him react and shiver. He watched him get harder and harder, then switched back to English. "Show me," he ordered. Don gave one shiver and came. "S'nice," he whispered, stroking his stomach. "Thank you."
"Welcome." He snuggled in, then got up to take off his pants and boxers, plus his shirt and undershirt, then he climbed back in. "Better, less uncomfortable." Danny smiled and let him curl up with him under the blankets so he wouldn't get too cold. Don did snuggle in more than he was used to but it was almost nice, having a warm spot next to him again.
Mac looked up as Don strolled in the next morning, then smirked at his jaunty attitude. "Something go well last night?" he teased lightly.
Don just grinned. "No comment, Mom. You seen Danny yet? He left hours ago."
"He's out on a scene with Stella," he sighed. "He claims the danger's gone."
"Maybe. We got who with them?"
"Scagnetti," he said with a small smile. "He's more than experienced to handle anything."
"Good. Got anything for me?"
"Not the way you mean," Lindsey teased as she joined them. "But I do have a lead on the case."
"That's all I'm looking for, Monroe, no matter how many gossips in the station think you're cute."
She pouted. "But I am cute."
"I don't care. I've got something better for me on the side. Now, you gonna give or am I gonna have ta make Mac get it for me?"
"No more teasing," Mac ordered. Lindsey handed over the folder she was carrying. "Thank you." His phone rang and he looked at it. "Mac Taylor," he answered. "What's wrong, Stella?" He smiled and nodded at her complaint. "Anything wrong?" He listened to the new complaint. "It's fine, Stella. We think it's all right now." He nodded. "Sure, thanks, Stella." He hung up. "We might have overestimated the lack of danger. Someone came up to them and taunted Danny about being hunted." Don's face tightened up. "They're fine. Stella put him into cuffs and he's on his way here. We'll look over anything we get to see if there's still a danger."
"What?" Lindsey asked.
Don looked at Mac. "You didn't tell her?"
"I didn't think she needed to know." He looked at her. "Someone put a contract out on Danny's life," he said quietly, glancing around. "That's why he's not been allowed to work with anyone but Don and I."
"Oh." She pursed her lips and looked at him. "That's the problem...." Mac nodded once. "Oh. Gee, I really screwed that up. He doesn't seem concerned."
"He's not," Don agreed. "That's just Danny." He shrugged. "Don't talk to him about it, Monroe. Your foot and mouth keep meeting around him." She sighed and nodded, stomping off. "You really didn't tell her?"
"Not with the hostility they have with each other. Then again, she's not due to work with him for quite a while. I did tell Sheldon."
"Hell, I told Sheldon," Don admitted. He shrugged and looked in the folder. "Does this mean she just crossed out a suspect?" He let Mac see the folder and got a nod. "I crossed out the other one for not having a clue." He walked off muttering.
Mac shook his head, looking around, then went to wait on the guy Stella had sent him. It was time to get mad at someone. Even if Sonny was somewhere on his knees and begging for mercy. Hopefully. He had no idea how Elven justice was run but it seemed fairly brutal.
Mac looked up as Danny strolled into his office. "Problems on your scene?"
"Stella needs laid." Mac looked shocked. "She's more of a grouch than normal, Mac. Do something about that? Even set the poor woman up!"
Mac shook his head. "That's not my job, Danny. Where is Sonny?"
"Not a clue. Probably already been handed to someone to keep him for good. With his luck, he's in heat." He smirked. "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy." He looked at him. "So, am I clear ta go home tonight?"
"If you want. Will you feel comfortable going home?"
"I'll feel fine."
"Up ta him."
"Okay. I don't care if you do or don't, Danny. I want you to be happier."
"So you told Monroe?"
"I had to, Danny. She hadn't even heard the gossip."
"Oh, she's heard plenty," he assured him. "Anyway, I'm done. I'm heading home. Anything else I need ta know today?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Good job earlier."
"Thanks." He headed out, going to get his things from his locker and head home. He found Don lounging against his car drinking a coffee. "Plan on staying up all night?"
Don grinned and shrugged. "Maybe."
"We've both got work tomorrow."
"That happens too." He let Danny into the passenger's side. "We still don't want you riding the subway," he said loudly enough to be overheard. Then he got in to drive. It was enough cover for now.
Monroe looked over and shook her head, then she looked at the guys. "Did you guys hear about the contract on Messer's life? Mac only told me today. I had no idea Sonny Sassone put one out because he was too good and threatening his gang. Or that he had lied last year."
A few of the guys stared at her. "Excuse me?" one asked. She nodded. "When did this happen?"
"A few days ago apparently. Danny came in early unexpectedly. All I heard was that he was having a problem again. Then suddenly today I hear about a contract and Sonny putting him on a hunt list of some sort? I asked Mac later and he said it was because Sonny lied about him earlier and when that didn't work he had to get him out of the way because he knew how he operated since they grew up together or something. Have you guys heard anything?"
The one who had spoken shook his head. "No. I hadn't." He leaned in the door. "Hey, Sarge?" The desk sergeant looked over. "We had a CSI on a hit list?"
"Yeah, Messer. Sassone got tired of trying to frame him for shit."
"We didn't hear about that at any briefing. How are we supposed to take care of him?"
"Not like you guys work his scenes," Stella said acidly from the bottom of the precinct stairs. "You haven't worked a scene in months. The last one you worked with Danny there you left and left us alone. You're damn lucky we don't turn you guys in for that." The guy went paler. "Yes, there was a contract out on him. It was fairly serious. Sonny was captured by a different form of law enforcement and taken off last night. We were hoping it was over with until today." That got a solemn nod from the guys. "And we still don't trust you guys to guard Danny, that's why we didn't tell you. Because you guys wouldn't."
"He's one of us," one guy said.
"Yeah, and you didn't walk off a scene last week," she told him. He looked down, looking shamed. "So fix the crap floating in your heads or don't. We don't give a damn anymore." That got a mass nod. "Good. Lindsey, did you finish her DNA swabs?"
"I did," she admitted. "They're all non-conclusive but I left the reports on your desk, Stella."
"Thank you." She went back inside to see them and tell Mac she had chewed the guys outside a new one, again, for being assholes. It was becoming a regular occurrence it seemed.
Don looked up from nibbling on Danny's throat, finding someone watching them. "You mind? I'm kinda busy making your cousin happy here, Elisa."
"If that makes him happy it's settling for less than a bond." She sat on the foot of the bed, staring at him. "It worked."
"Good." Danny kissed Don then sat up. "They in front of the Council?"
"They are. They're not pleased either." She shifted and curled her feet up. "You'll be happy to know they're not going to destroy those who are hooked."
"Rehab," Don said slowly and clearly. "Works wonders."
"Being us it works a bit differently. We can detox it over the next few years and it'll be clear of our systems. It'll hurt but it must happen."
"Hey, if it works then I'm all for cheering 'em on," Don agreed. "Now, what about his exile thingy?"
She produced an envelope. "He's to appear before the Council. Without you. No human, even the pet human one keeps, is allowed near the Council chamber. You're to appear tomorrow."
"I can't get there that fast," Danny complained impatiently, taking the envelope to look at. "Hmm, free pass in and out. Nice of them."
"Just in case," she said, looking unamused.
"I've still gotta work tomorrow."
"No you don't."
"Yeah, I do," Danny assured her. "People are counting on me to solve who did bad things to 'em. That's what I do for a living, Elisa. So I've gotta be there."
Don stroked a hand over Danny's arm. "You're not due in until six," he offered quietly. "Mac would let you play a hookey for a few hours if you had to."
"They're in Europe, Don."
"Oh, well, that could take longer," he agreed. "How would he get there by in the morning?"
She looked at him then at Danny. "That pass would allow you to travel our ways and paths."
"Which means I could be in a bit late tomorrow," he agreed. "Fine. When am I due in?"
"Sunrise. It's traditional for the major offenses." He sighed and took a kiss, then got up. "Can you do something about your hair?"
He stared at her. "No." He got dressed in something from the back of his closet, making Don stare. "Yeah, I know, it's a robe."
"They look more like a dress than the ones in the Harry Potter movies do," Don teased with a bright grin. "C'mere." Danny trudged over so he stole a good kiss. "Come back safely. I'll be waiting to hear." Danny nodded and took his cousin's hand, going with her. Don flopped backward, sighing in displeasure. He had ideas for tonight. Well, he guessed he'd have to do it the next night and hopefully celebrate the good news.
Danny looked at Mac when he walked into his office the next morning. "You're actually sleeping in?" he teased.
"I got a flat on the way in. Why are you here so early?" He put down his briefcase and took off his jacket, looking at him. "You look normal."
"I had ta go to the High Council this morning." Mac stiffened and looked at him. "Not great news. My parents are goners. Sonny was gifted to someone who would use his specific skills for good and not mind his impure status." He looked at him and shifted. "They wanted me to come back and take over the village."
"What did you say?"
"I laughed and then I explained what it was like to be banished and how none of them had stood up for me. So therefore they could screw themselves. They weren't happy."
"Are you still banished?"
"Exiled. No more hunt but I still can't go back. Even to the university."
"I'm sorry, Danny."
"Yeah, well, three of the voting members had the shakes," he said dryly. "They don't know how to tell the addicts from the casual users. The classicists are going to be in an uproar as well. I pointed out before I left that I had warned them about this shit, they shrugged. Then I wished them good luck detoxing and told them I had a better life here anyway. Less stupid rules. Then I came here."
"At least you're safer," he offered.
"Not really. They'll come looking for me for revenge now. We're a proud people. Hence the ego." He stood up. "The only good thing was that I got to stop and get goodies in the village around the Council's nauseatingly purple chambers. So the next time Stella reams the uniforms about not liking me I'm feeding her something that'll cure that and has been known to make people beg to get more." He walked out, heading to check in for the day. Don nearly pounced him in the locker room, but there were others around. "I'm fine."
"Fine as in it's all good and I can visit again, or fine as in I'm not being hunted?"
"The second," he admitted quietly. One of the other guys looked over at him. "The people who captured Sonny are keeping him." That got some smiles so he looked at Don again. "All that's left now are people who're gonna be mad that they got Sonny and them."
"We can handle them though, right?" Danny nodded so he sighed and grinned. "Good! They really kept you where you are?"
Danny glanced around then back at him. "Not exactly." Don's expression hurt him. He felt bad for him and it made him ache. "I could send a letter to the one higher guy up there, see if he'd be willing to intervene but it's never gonna happen, Don. But hey, I'm not bein' hunted anymore. It's mostly good news."
Don nodded and gave him a gentle shoulder squeeze. Danny gave him a smirk. "Learned that from the movie," he said with a bright grin then he disappeared.
"Goofball," Danny said, shaking his head and pulling out things he'd need.
"Did he just give you a special shoulder squeeze?" one guy taunted.
"Yeah, he was watching the elves recently and learned it," Danny admitted with a small grin. "Better'n a hug around here." That got a laugh and the other guys went to report for morning briefings. He went to get stuck in on his newest case. Because it was gonna drive him nuts. Sid came to check on him and he told him everything but all he got there was sympathy. It wasn't like he had expected it to work out for the best anyway. But hey, he had Don and he could at least write his niece now. So it wasn't all bad. Even if he did end up hearing Sid joke about his hair in elven with Sheldon later that day.