Eric held out the boxes when Speed opened the door. "Momma's fussing over Poppi's tie." Speed grinned and let them inside. He handed him a box, watching as Speed popped one in immediately and went to the kitchen. "Can I help?" he asked, handing Horatio the other box, making him quit brooding. "It'll be fine," he said quietly. "I explained it to them."
"I talked with Yelina earlier," he said grimly. "She suggested I drink very heavily."
Eric's mother came in and looked at him. "What's wrong, poppet?" she asked, sitting beside him. "Eric, go cook." He nodded, heading that way. "What's wrong?"
He looked at her. "My sister-in-law is not the most supportive person."
"Some women cannot accept when things happen." She smiled. "Now, call me Momma."
"I take it you want visitation?" She nodded and he grinned. "I can accept that. I know Eric's got a very loud, strong family." She laughed and smiled again. "That would be fine with me. We can work it out between us when she's born."
She reached over to stroke his stomach then smiled at him. "I'm incredibly confused but she's a strong girl, Horatio. Much like you are." He smiled at that. "Now, we made you some new treats. Eric said Speed stole all of yours."
"He did, he's been craving sweets. I'm craving salt so we're having roast tonight."
"That's fine." She gave him a gentle hug. "Now, you and Speed should be with Eric right now. That way he can bond with his children." He opened his mouth and she held up a finger. "I will not allow my grandchild to not know her father. I would prefer if you two took up with him and got him straightened out." She stood up and handed him the box of candy. "Have one, dear. Eric tipped in a bit too much honey so it should soothe your temper." She went to the kitchen, finding her husband in there grilling and pressuring Speed. "Dear," she chastised. "This is a very delicate stage. If it were legal, Eric would have already married them both." He nodded at that, sighing a bit. "Until then, they can see if they suit each other. We can only hope they get together."
"But...." Speed started. Both parents glared at him and he wilted. "We'll think about it," he offered. She smiled and kissed him on the cheek, then patted him on the stomach. "He's okay today. Horatio got kicked earlier." She smiled and went to check on him again, dragging her husband with her. He looked at Eric. Who could only shrug. "You told her how, right?" He nodded quickly. "Then we'll work on it, Eric." He got back to work cooking vegetables. "Horatio, want corn or potatoes?" he called.
"Either's good, Speed. Thank you." Speed nodded and opened the corn since that's what he was craving. Eric took over and Speed smirked. "Suck up," he hissed.
Eric looked at him. "My mother hopes."
Speed bent down laughing, leaning on the edge of the stove.
"Come sit, dear," Eric's mother ordered, leading the giggling boy out there to sit beside Horatio. "Now, we're how far along?"
"Middle of the fifth month," Horatio offered calmly. "Alexx did the amnios today and they came out very well. Both of them are healthy. Not always happy...." Speed snickered. "I know, it's my own fault for being a grouch to Frank. She likes Frank. I'm hoping it holds over for when I deliver."
"Frank?" Eric's father asked.
"Detective Tripp. He's been watching over us with Eric," Speed told him. "Right now he's keeping Horatio and his sister-in-law apart." Horatio nodded at that. "What did she say this time?"
"That I should drink a lot and suggested some very nice drugs that could help me with this problem, as she called it."
"Uh-huh," Speed said dryly. "Can't I hit her, just once?" he demanded. Horatio gave him a look. "Have you talked to your nephew?"
"He's announced that he's coming over tomorrow morning instead of going to his first few classes. I'll be in late tomorrow. I'm hoping he won't deny my existence."
"He won't. Ray Junior's a good boy," he reminded him. "Much more reasonable than your brother, who would've freaked."
"Ray would've spent a lot of long nights in bars," he agreed. "Then he would've thrown a fit to Yelina and probably half the bar. So we'd be in danger."
Eric came out with plates for the table. "You already are, H. Or should I point out the fact that you piss off drug dealers?"
"It means we're doing our job, Eric." Speed shot him a look. "Did you really mean to mention that in front of your parents?"
"They know." He finished setting the table and went back. "Speed, I think the roast's done." Speed came back in and he fed him another piece of candy, earning a smile. "Stetler's coming back from his trip tomorrow," he reminded him quietly. Speed gave him a look. "All I want is a good view. I know he won't be able to help himself."
"True. Hey, H, Stetler's coming back tomorrow," he called.
Horatio looked back at him. "That's evil."
Speed grinned. "Thank you. Can I wear my blue shirt so I look fat tomorrow?"
"Too many mood swings will raise your blood pressure," Eric's mother said patiently. "That's not good for either of you."
Eric's father looked back. "I used you to get back at those who annoyed me the way that man has you, son. Babies are a wonderful revenge."
Horatio looked at him. "There is always a bad diaper," he agreed dryly. Eric's father smirked and nodded. "For right now, I'd almost rather have a mood swing on him and make him walk off muttering."
"It is a fun sport," Speed agreed. He pulled out the roast and checked on the corn, turning up the heat just a bit so they'd be warm at the same time the meat was rested. "Eric, get water or tea? I made a new batch of iced tea." He nodded, going to do that. He knew what his parents liked best. Speed got to work fussing over everything but Horatio came in and he smiled. "Sorry I took over the kitchen."
"You cook much better than I do," he reassured him. "I can only do the basics and you can do some amazing things with a pot." That got a smile. "I'll cook tomorrow night?"
"Sounds good. Or even ordering if you can't." That got a grin. "Okay, carry the roast." Eric grabbed it and carried it out with the corn going afterward. "Thanks, pookie."
Eric looked at him. "Remember, I learned how to give two pregnant sisters backrubs for when they ache from the extra weight," he teased back.
Horatio looked at him. "That might help you on your raise review as well," he noted dryly. Eric beamed and finished fussing with the table. "We're about ready if you two want to come in," he called. Eric's family came in and sat down where Eric pointed. He walked Speed out once they had the last few things they'd need. "Here we go." He sat down and let Eric's father say grace. They let Eric carve the roast and hand out slices, then dug in, making gentle small talk while his parents got to know them. It was important that they get to know and like the ...mothers of their grandchildren and the ones their son would be with.
Horatio looked over as his nephew walked into his house. "Does your mother know you're here?"
"Nope. She'd scream. I don't know why she'd scream but she'd scream." He closed the door and came over. "So, why would she scream?"
He frowned. "During a disaster drill some Federal Agents doing an experiment decided to up their experiment's perimeters."
"Okay," he agreed. "Is that why you're eating spinach on your eggs?"
"It is." He ate another bite. "There's a plate of bacon in the microwave, Ray." That got a grin and his nephew brought it out, giving him half. "The problem is that I was one of the people the experiment hit."
"Okay." He nibbled on a piece of bacon. "What was the experiment for?"
"So I'm going to be a cousin?" Horatio nodded and his nephew beamed at him. "Cool! So why is Mom ranting? She doesn't like the mother?"
Horatio stared at him for a minute. "This goes no further by any means." Ray shrugged. "I'm the mother. That was the experiment."
Ray choked and gulped his uncle's milk, then wheezed, looking at him. "Excuse me?" Horatio nodded, eating his own piece of bacon. "No wonder Mom's screaming!" Horatio nodded slowly. "So, how are we doing this?"
"It's a girl. You'll have a female cousin to adore and fuss over," he said quietly.
"Okay, still cool. I'll beat up on the boys who try to grope." His uncle let out a small smile. "I'm shocked, but it figures some asshole would try. Is it a clone? Well, no it can't be since you're not female."
"They used another person's sample from within the lab," he said quietly. Ray stared at him. "Eric Delko's."
"Then the baby's going to be one fine chick when she's older." Horatio smiled for real at that and blushed a little bit. "So, Mom's screaming because you told her."
"And she's screaming because you didn't sign up for this? That you were basically assaulted?"
"And now she's trying to keep me from seeing you because you're doing this."
"My mother needs drugs. Can I pat the tummy?"
Horatio let him pat his stomach for a minute. Then he winced. "Sorry, she's awake."
"It proves it beyond any doubt I had," Ray promised. He grinned at him and gave him a hug. "I'm there for you, Uncle H. I'll even babysit now and then when I can." That got him hugged back. "My mother will chill eventually but Dad would be throwing the louder fit."
"In a bar," he agreed dryly.
"True." He pulled back. "Or to his crack hos." Horatio nodded at that. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Ray. We're both fine. Alexx is handling the medical needs."
"She deals with dead people."
"The agents in charge have promised that any information getting out would mean they would kill us all and shut down the department and the lab."
"Ah." He nodded at that. "Preemptive strike? It works for the US," he said at the amused look.
"One committed suicide. One's in custody. He was tried very quietly and he's in prison. Someone let the other prisoners know that he's a Fed and he was doing human research experiments."
"Pity about his ass being stretched that way," he said with a shrug. "Should've known better than being a selfish, sadistic, evil bastard." Horatio gave him a look. "You can't tell me he wasn't wanking off to the thought of you guys suffering."
"He could have been," he admitted. "It's still not polite to say in public."
"You're not public, you're family." He grinned sweetly. "So, how long do I have to pick out a baby blanket or something?"
"I'm early six months as of ten this morning."
"Cool with me." He took two more pieces of bacon. "I should skip back to school. I printed off a note saying I had an important meeting this morning." Horatio signed it and he winked at him. "Thanks, Uncle H. Be safe. Wear your vest. Let someone nag about your diet and all that. Can't wait to see her," he said happily, heading out to go to school.
Horatio finished his breakfast and the rest of the bacon on Ray's plate, then headed to go into work.
Horatio looked up as Stetler walked up to where he was in the halls. "Yes, Rick?" he asked quietly. "How was your vacation?"
He looked at him. "Are you off your PT and diet?" he asked. "You're looking a bit..fat."
"I'm not fat," he said firmly. "Unlike your incipient beer gut, mine's a medical condition, Rick," he said patiently, letting it build. "So, how was your vacation?"
"Just fine until Yelina called up crying last night." Horatio gave him a look. "Would you know why she called up crying about you?" Horatio nodded. "Would you like to share why since she couldn't?"
"No." He turned and started to walk off. The IAB officer grabbed his arm. "Let. Go," he ordered coldly, glaring at him. The hand was removed and Rick moved back. "I am not yours to grab, Rick. Now, is there anything else?"
"I can order you to go through a fitness exam," he noted with a small, evil smirk.
"And I can get a medical waiver, which I already have," he said dryly, still glaring. "As I said, I'm not fat, it's medically caused." He stepped closer. "Now, is there anything else?" he demanded.
"What is wrong with you?"
"You," he said bluntly. "I was perfectly happy until you decided to come brag about your vacation." His new CSI, Ryan Wolfe, walked past and walked Stetler off by force.
"He's a bit stressed, it's not a good day to bother him," he said bluntly. "Just leave him alone for a few days." He let him go. "Shoo, now. Upsetting him upsets the rest of the lab and things go wrong." He turned and walked back, looking at his boss. "Give him an hour. I told him upsetting you upset the lab," he said gently. He glanced around then pulled something out of his pocket and handed it over. "Yours. I slid the other one into the other guy's locker." He walked off again.
Horatio looked at the thing in his hand then after him. "Mr. Wolfe." He followed him to where he and Eric were working together. "You know."
"I did recognize it and I know one of the other guys afflicted," he admitted, looking at him. "That's so you can do whatever you need." Horatio smiled at that. "I thought it'd be better than guessing and flubbing by giving you something too cute."
"Thank you, Mr. Wolfe." He patted him on the back. "Also thank you for diffusing the fit."
"He'll come back and this time we'll get to watch," Eric told him. "He always does." He looked at Horatio. "I'm sorry my mother got onto her kick."
"It's all right. It's natural." Two officers came to the doorway and he put the card into his pocket. "Yes, Officers? Can we help you?"
"Sir, the Chief wanted to see you and you're not answering the phone," one of them said calmly.
Horatio nodded. "I'll call him."
"He wanted us to bring you to him, sir."
Horatio looked at them. "I'll call him. Don't worry about it." That got a look from them. "I'm more than capable of driving myself."
"Sir, he said to drive you."
Eric looked at them. "Unfortunately the Chief's going to have to wait. He's got to go question a murderer in a moment with Detective Tripp. He'll call the Chief and then head down there if he has to. But thanks for the offer to save wear and tear on the hummers." They stared at him. "Out, boys. We're trying to work and you're upsetting the new kid." They continued to stand there.
Horatio pulled out his phone and called the Chief. "You sent me an escort?" he asked blandly. He put it on speaker. "Repeat that please?"
"I didn't send for you, Lieutenant Caine. I have no idea what you're talking about."
"There's two officers here who said you sent them to drive me to your office, sir."
"No. Not me, Horatio. Officers, I would like to know who gave the order from me," he said blandly.
"The Chief did, sir," one said.
Ryan shook his head. "No, that's the Chief, guys." He paged someone with his phone. Frank walked up behind them. "Frank, is that suspect ready for you two to question?"
"He is," he said, catching the clue. He grabbed the two officers and moved them. "Thanks, boys. Blocking the doorway. Horatio?" He nodded, hanging up and following him. Once they were in the elevator he looked at him. "What was that?"
"They said the Chief wanted them to drive me downtown." He called him back. "It's me. They were Hornet and Crampers. Yes, that's the name on their tags, sir. Detective Tripp. Thank you. I'm staying in all day. Of course. I have no idea. Thank you." He hung up. "I'm to stay in all day and be watched. Just in case." That got a nod and Frank led him to his own desk to go over a file with him. It needed to be done anyway. The officers came to lurk in plain sight. "Boys." He got back to work. Speed walked past, giving him a look. He got a look then glanced back toward the officers. Speed handed over a file. "The DNA profile?"
"The DNA profile and it's who you thought. So we can go pick them up." Frank smiled and nodded. "You go ahead, I'll wait back in the lab. I've got those new samples to go over." That got a nod and he headed back. He saw one of them staring at him and grabbed one of the officers walking around. "C'mon, we've got to go over the Penrose Drive arrest tapes." That got a confused look. "The runner guy." The officer just nodded and walked him out. They got into the elevator. "Those two officers watching Tripp and H tried to remove H from the building," he said quietly. "They said the Chief told them to drive H downtown." The officer nodded and headed back down once Speed was off on the lab's floor. He found Eric pacing. "They're together. I told the officer who I yanked to walk me out of there. They're still watching them."
"That's fine, we can easily guard you," Eric assured him, walking him back to Trace. "One of us is staying here, Speed. Let me go tell Calleigh." He looked around. "Cooper, come watch Speed!" He walked off, going to find Ryan and Calleigh together and him telling her about the officers. "They're still watching H. Speed told one of the other guys down there. He's in Trace. We're watching him and H if he comes back." That got a nod and Ryan went to watch over Speed for now. "I've got Cooper in there," he called.
"That's fine." Ryan walked in and looked at Cooper. "It's all right. Someone tried to take Horatio out of the building."
"We know who?"
"We do. They're handling it downstairs."
"He doesn't have his vest on!" Cooper complained, going to remind Eric of that fact. "Eric, his vest is where?"
"If H needs his vest, Frank's going to kill. Frank has him, Cooper. It's all right." That got a nod. "Let us handle it, just run the tapes so we can get a picture of them. We've got Speed but keep an eye out for him." That got a nod and he went to do that. "Calleigh?"
"He'll get annoyed but oh well. What can I do?"
"I'll take next case with Wolfe. You watch Speed if we go." She nodded, letting him go back. He saw Wolfe smiling and chatting happily and Speed giving him this incredulous look. "What's wrong?" he asked, leaning in.
"He slid a gift card into my locker."
"Baby showers, Speed. They happen," he said with a smirk. "Momma already said something about baby furniture."
"Way beyond where I'm at mentally, guys."
"Then save it until you are. You're going to need some stuff," Ryan offered with a grin.
"How do you know?" Eric asked.
Ryan smirked. "I'm not telling you shit, Eric. You'll use it against me. So said most of the guys on patrol." He ducked out. "I'll take next case with whoever."
"Yeah, you will," Eric agreed, watching his back. "Isn't that your rep?" he asked Speed.
"Yeah, it is. I use your slutty tendencies against you a lot," he agreed, looking confused. "Huh. Background check?"
"Background check," Eric agreed, going to do that. He did not like mysteries and this was coming at the wrong time. Horatio walked into his office while Eric was doing it. "Doing a background check."
"Wolfe." He looked at him. "He told Speed to save the card until he knew what he needed because he'd need stuff. Then he told me he wasn't going to tell me how he knew that because I'd use it against him."
"You did pick up that bad habit from Speed," he admitted, turning off the monitor. "Leave it alone, Eric. Ask him. That's something that comes with trust." Eric sighed but got up and headed out. "Besides, it's not in there," he said quietly, getting down to erase the files. His desk phone rang. "Horatio," he answered, then hung up on the maniacal laughing. Whoever it was, he wasn't playing their game. Speed was walked in by Frank and the door was closed. "Frank?" He came back in. "What's going on?"
"The guys pulled out a gun." He grinned. "Anything going on up here?"
"Someone just called me laughing," Speed told them.
"Me as well," Horatio agreed. "Go pull the phone records?"
"Already got Cooper working on it," Speed assured him, calling down there. "Same thing happened to H's desk phone." He hung up and looked at Frank. "We're fine."
"I'm sure you are," Frank agreed. "You're still staying in here." He backed out and shut the door, turning to find Calleigh standing there. "They both just got phone calls...." She handed over a sheet of paper. "Both of them?" She nodded. "From?"
"Unlisted number, cellphone prefix." He took it with a groan. "He called it back, it's dead. No voicemail, registers as no known number. They're good."
"Maybe but you guys are usually better."
She smiled. "You say some of the sweetest things. Cooper's pissed and working on it." He nodded, walking off. "Those two?"
"Captured. Stetler's in there with them." She gave him a horrified look. "Even if they let it be known, he's going to put them in for mental exams." She sighed and walked off again. "It'll be fine." He saw Wolfe watching. "What?" he demanded.
"Hornet and Cramper."
"Out of Bike Patrol." Frank smirked. "Cramper's got violence issues. I heard he had an issue with a gay officer." Frank walked off smirking to go note that to Stetler. He shrugged and got back to work. Someone had to do it and now he knew why he had been hired. Because those two's mood swings were going to scare someone soon. Eric walked into the lab he was in and shut the door. "Yes, Eric?"
"So, do you have kids?"
"Not gonna cut it."
Ryan looked at him. "Eric, I don't know you that well. I've nearly married someone and I never talk about some things with them. I definitely do not know you that well. It'll probably not happen for quite a while."
"Why? You've got a secret wife stashed somewhere?"
Ryan stared at him. "No comment. Ever. Now, think we can get to work? I've got stuff I need to learn and you're training me. Can we please work on my training? Before one of them has to be on a scene they shouldn't?"
"I'm going to find out."
"I'm sure you'll annoy me until you do," he agreed. "It'll be a few years from now though. Now, case? Hit and run? Female vic who was smashed into the pavement? Sounding familiar? Because I just found glass that wasn't natural to the scene."
"It was a road. It could've come from anywhere."
"Inside her chest cavity?"
"Good point." He came over to look. "You think it came off the tires?" Ryan nodded. "Any idea where it came from?"
"I can't get into the database. It won't take the password."
"Why is it asking for a password?" he asked, looking confused. He typed in the one for the lab admin, Horatio's ID. That one worked. He shrugged and let Ryan search now. "We'll figure it out and I'll cancel that when you're done." He watched him run it. "Too many search parameters." He showed him how to narrow it down the best way, getting a nod. "Better." He went to tell Horatio. "For some reason the substance database wasn't accepting the usual password," he noted as he walked in. He saw the person in there. "Hey." He looked at Horatio. "Wolfe found out what the glass shards in her chest were."
"Good. Does it lead to a suspect?"
"It does within a few steps." He handed over the sheet. "That's what he found."
"Good work, Eric." He handed it back. "Let me know when you bring someone in."
"Sure." He glanced at the other person then back at him. "Everything all right?" Horatio nodded. "Can I steal a piece of candy?"
"Sure," he agreed with a small smile, pulling out the drawer to let him into the box. Eric stole a piece with a grin and walked off. Horatio looked in the box. "Since I'm in here, Speed?" Speed took a piece of the candy as well. "You, Chief?"
"No, Horatio. Thank you anyway." He watched Speed suck on one. "Honey?"
"And other stuff. Eric's mom makes it," Speed admitted. He finished sucking off the coating and chewed slowly, moaning a bit.
The Chief gave them a tolerant look. "Well, at least it's good for you probably. We found out what they were against. That rumor's started again."
"Of course it has," Speed said dryly.
Horatio leaned back. "It doesn't surprise me," he assured him.
The Chief looked at them. Then he shook his head. "Do we need more help?"
"No comment," they said together.
"I see. Fine. I suppose you could both be getting fat."
"He carries a gun," Speed reminded him.
"Point. Speedle?" Speed looked at him. "Is there more than one in the lab?"
"No comment." He gave him an interested look. "Why?"
"Wanting to know if you need more help."
"Could," Speed agreed. "Might make it easier to do the job."
"We'll see what we can do."
"It would probably cut some of the overtime we work," Horatio offered.
"That's a fiscally sound reason." He looked at him. "You'll want full leave time to recover?" Horatio just stared at him. "Caine, it's fairly obvious and Stetler already called me about the weight gain." He stood up. "You can tell me."
"It's a girl," Horatio said quietly.
"Congratulations. I hope she's healthy." He looked at Speed, who didn't say anything. "Fine. If you need time off you can ask. We'll work it out." They both nodded. "Thank you. So, which one of you was hiding?" Horatio raised his hand. "That's reasonable with how you hid. If I can ask who the other father is? I got Alexx's report about them going after partners."
Horatio nodded. "He's in the lab." A pointed look was given to Speedle but he shook his head. "No, not him," he said quietly.
"Wolfe?" he asked hopefully.
"Eric wishes," Speed said dryly.
"Oooh, that's going to get messy. His parents?"
"Swore they wouldn't even tell it in confession," Speed told him. That got a smile. "They do want them to get together."
"I don't care if Caine has a harem, Speedle. It's been thought he did in the past. A lot of people think he's sleeping with Yelina Salas and Calleigh both, plus rewarding you guys for good work with sex. I don't care. As long as there's no problem I'm not going to move anyone. The night shift supervisor was very clear that she's not taking any of you." That got a grin. "Better?" He nodded. "Good. Can we not make Stetler cry?"
Horatio shrugged. "He grabbed me. Does he know?"
"No. He wanted to know if I had been briefed about the medical condition that was making you go off your training. I told him you had some sort of intestinal problem. That's all I needed to know." That got a smirk. "Try, please. I don't want more people crying."
"I only made two cry," Speed complained. "I'm not even trying."
The Chief looked at him. "You two usually make at least four cry a month. Just try to keep it down." He walked out, closing the office door behind him. He saw a few glaring people and shrugged. "What? Telling them what happened to the officers earlier, people. Go back to work!" He walked off. Caine's people were hypr-protective of him and someone would attack him if he was seen to be threatening Horatio.
Horatio smirked at Speed, then looked out his windows. He got up and closed the curtains, watching as Speed unbuttoned his pants. "Thankfully you like loose jeans." Speed smirked and pulled him down for a kiss. "It's up to you about telling him the truth," he promised. He took another kiss. "We shouldn't."
"We shouldn't," Speed agreed. "Lunchtime quickie?"
"With the hovering fussy people?"
"Point." He grinned and glanced toward the window, nodding. Then he smiled and leaned back, making sure his t-shirt covered the bulge and the unbuttoned pants. "What!" he called, sounding cranky. Someone knocked and Valera walked in. "What's wrong?"
"We have a problem with a case," she said quietly. She whispered in Horatio's ear, getting him heading down there. "Sorry, Speed."
"It has to take precedence." He got up and buttoned back up his pants. "A bit tight." She smiled and followed him. He tidied up his bottle of water mess and headed back to work with Ryan. He logged out of the search engine and rebooted it, then put in the password they all used. "That happens about once a month. It means there's an update waiting and we haven't went looking for one for too long." Ryan nodded and let him have the report. "Interesting uses of that type of glass. Any suspects?"
"We only had type of car before. Two letters of the license plate on a traffic camera. It can only help."
"It can. Every little clue helps." He glanced around then at him. "You have kids?"
"No." He grinned. "Not per se." He took the results and went to call around to see who used that particular type of crystal.
"Not per se," he said dryly. "Uh-huh." He looked out in the hall and did a newspaper search, frowning with what he came up with. "What?" he demanded. He paged Ryan back and motioned him inside and closer when he stopped a bit away. He pulled him closer. "Explain that please?"
Ryan looked then at him. "She said it's not mine. Repeatedly. Won't let a test happen. So no, I don't have kids according to her but I have had a few pregnant friends. I have one who claims she gets pregnant every time she accidentally hit the baby section of a catalog." That got a small smirk. "She's got four. She quit looking at catalogs." That got a single nod. "So, yeah, I don't, but I do know. I can get her nursery list if you want it."
"No, I'm good. Alexx gave me one." Ryan grinned at that. "How many pregnant friends have you had?"
"I'm the godfather to seventeen kids." Speed gaped in horror. "Apparently OCD is good for godparents. What do I know, I love the little brats. They come over for Trick or Treating every year, I see them at holidays. I buy tons of presents. I feel like Santa every year." That got a small smile. "So yeah, I don't have any but I do know. I'm good all the way through potty training for advice."
"At least that's reasonable." He canceled the search. "Are you yanking Eric's chain?"
"No. If he found out about my godkids I'd never hear the end of it. Especially since one of them has a massive crush on his oldest nephew." Speed snickered and Ryan had to help him sit down. "I'm saving myself from smacking him one day soon." He walked off, leaving him in there while he went back to his search.
Speed got up and headed for the bathroom. He had to pee. He hated this part of being pregnant. He always had to pee these days. That or he needed sex. His cock was tired by all the action it was getting.
Eric knocked on Horatio's door that night, giving him a look. He held up the GPS tracking bracelet. "Dad."
Horatio let him inside. "They put it on you?"
"It's locked and I can't pick it off. Can one of you so I can go out?"
Speed looked at it then at him. "They put an ankle bracelet for home arrest on your wrist?"
"The home version," he agreed. "They wanted to make sure I'm spending a lot of time with you guys so the kids know me and we can get together."
Speed snickered. "Your mom's a pisser, man."
"I know. She's a great mother. She wanted to pick up a rifle and become a revolutionary like she was when she was a young girl." Horatio smiled at that. "So, can one of you pick this off? Momma's threatened to toss all my stuff out if I'm not here tonight and tomorrow night."
Horatio looked at the bracelet, then made a call. "One of my guys has a GPS tracker on him. How do I get it off?" He looked at it again. "No, it's got a diary sized key." He smiled. "That's fine. Thank you." He hung up and got to work on the band. He popped the pin holding the band in and then removed it and put it back in. "There."
"Thanks, H." He gave him a grin. "So, should I hang around, make small talk, or can I go clubbing?"
"With your luck there'll be a girl there who'll get pregnant," Speed noted. "Alexx said it's like potato chips. She had to fight really hard not to have a baby number three."
Eric shuddered and shook his head. "You two are more than I ever wanted. No more. Please no more. God, please no more." Horatio snickered at that. "Really! I can't see myself being a poppi to anyone! I'm a bad influence!" Speed nodded. "Gee, thanks."
"You said it." He looked at the GPS bracelet then called Eric's mom. "Sorry, the band popped off when I grabbed him. It's fixed." He hung up and got back to his game of solitaire. "So, backrubs?"
"If you want." Horatio let out a small moan, rubbing his stomach. He walked over and knelt in front of him, using both hands to stroke over the small lump. "Expansion pains come from these muscles even though they move," he said gently. "Kicking is from behind the belly button usually." Horatio smiled at that. "Better?"
"Much. Can I have some attention on my shoulders?"
"If you want," he promised. "But you've got to take off the shirt unless you want a fabric burn." Horatio blushed but did that. "Lotion or something?" Speed found some and tossed it over. "Thanks." He moved behind the couch and got Horatio's shoulders for him, making him relax and tip his head forward. "If you need to nap, do so," he whispered. Horatio nodded, making him smile. "Speed?"
"You're amazing." Eric grinned and got back to work, digging into the sore spots. When someone knocked on the door he got up to answer it. "Yelina." He let her inside. "What's up?"
"Are you two together?"
"We're a support group. Eric's had a lot of experience thanks to his sisters so he's playing fussy spouse for us."
She frowned. "This is not right."
"Not like I asked to have this happen," he shot back. "The same as I could have done away with it but yay. I wanted to have my son." She glared at him. "I don't care, Yelina. It's not your decision. It's mine. It was Horatio's. Feel lucky we told you." She looked shocked. "Up until one of the people in the lab noticed, we were going to let you come to us and ask."
"For the same reason you suggested Horatio take drugs last night with liquor," he said coldly. "Do you want me to be with Horatio? I can gladly walk over there and kiss him until he moans if you want." He saw the disgust. "Welcome to Miami, Yelina. There's gay people here and sometimes bad things happen to good people. That's why we all have jobs."
"Speed," Horatio said quietly. He patted Eric's hands. "Thank you, Eric."
"Anytime, Horatio, you know that." He stood up and walked Speed back to the couch. "Your blood pressure going up isn't going to help anything. If she wants to be a prejudice woman about her family then we'll help Horatio find a better one who understands and loves him no matter what. Calleigh would love to be the stepmommy and aunt. So would Valera." Speed grinned at that. "Wolfe might not mind being the mommy either."
"He's had a few pregnant friends."
"They happen, just look at my sisters." He grinned at him then glared at Yelina. "Did you have to upset them!" he snapped. "Out! Now, woman!" She huffed off. He went back to work on Horatio's shoulders. "It'll be fine. We love you anyway, boss. Calleigh would love to be the mommy instead." Horatio laughed. "She would. Think about all she could teach the little ones. All about the guns, bayous, and being pretty while being mean and nasty to someone." Horatio nodded at that. He gave him a squeeze. "There. Now you're relaxed again. Speed?"
"I could use some attention," he admitted.
"Lay down, lazy," he teased back with a grin. Speed stripped off his shirt and laid down. He wasn't fully on his stomach, his weight canted off to his left. Eric came around to work on his back for him, making him moan and go limp. He backed off when he heard a snore, grinning at Horatio. "All yours, I'm heading home for the night." Horatio nodded so he left them alone.
Horatio leaned over to kiss Speed's back. Then he covered him and went up to shower and go to bed. It did feel better. Even if the baby was rolling around and pressing against his kidneys. He relieved himself and went back to the warm water, smiling when Speed came in to join him for some more rubbing against each other. He wasn't ready for more. No matter how much Speed might want to go farther. He stopped him from moving down his chest. "Not yet."
"You sure? I won't expect more than touching."
Horatio smiled and turned off the water since it was getting chilly. "Soon."
"Let me do what I want and you can figure that out." He moved back down his chest, moving slowly, just teasing and nipping a few soft spots. Horatio held his head down at one spot, wincing a bit but it felt incredibly good. Speed licked it and moved further down until he was kneeling. Then he played and teased and reminded himself why he liked boys. At least until Horatio came and then he had to hold him up since he looked like he was going to fall. "Come on." He walked them both out of the shower, getting a towel to sketchily dry them off, then out to bed so he could tuck Horatio in. He heard the car engine and looked outside. "Eric's back." He stole a bathrobe to put on, going down to let him in. "What?"
"My mother had my locks changed on me."
"Your mother is one sneaky woman," he complained.
"Can I have the couch?"
"I'm not using it." He got him a pillow and blanket then locked up the house and headed up to snuggle in for the night. Horatio rolled over, gently touching him, learning his body. "You don't have to."
"I do. I may not be able to do the same thing but I do need to reciprocate." He moved to touch him lower and it was good. Speed came in his hand and he smiled. "Not bad."
"Very not bad." He took a kiss and snuggled in while Horatio wiped his hand off. "We'll move however fast you want, even if I do get pushy to let me touch you."
"Sure." He took another kiss before wrapping him in his arms, bump to bump, and settling in for the night. "His mother had his locks changed?"
"We'll have to point out we're taking things very slowly. That way she quits forcing him."
Speed grinned. "You want the tight little ass," he teased.
Horatio looked at him. "I have one of those already." He gave Speed's a squeeze. That got a grin from his very emotional lover and a small sniffle. "I know." He kissed and held him, keeping him calm. "We'll work it out." Speed nodded, setting in to sleep. Horatio thought for a few minutes but his body was tired so he slept fairly quickly too.
Downstairs, Eric smiled at the easy nap those two had fallen into. It was good for them and it made him happy that they were happy. Even if Speed did tease Horatio with him and his very tight butt.
Ryan looked up a few days later, nudging Calleigh when he saw who was walking up to Horatio in the halls. She looked and groaned, heading out there, him right behind her.
"Yes, Rick?" Horatio asked patiently, signing something Cooper brought him. "Thank you, Cooper."
"I've got that tape nearly looped again, H. You can come watch it in about ten more minutes." Horatio nodded and he went back to his lab. He really needed more like fifteen but at least Horatio had an excuse now.
Horatio saw his lurking techs and turned to look at him. "Did you enjoy staring at my back?" he asked.
"I'm trying to gather my thoughts since Yelina and I had a long talk last night."
Horatio shrugged. "That is her prerogative. About?"
"About a federal experiment." Horatio stayed calm, quirking up an eyebrow. "Then I went to the Chief this morning. He warned me to stay out of it. Why?"
"Because, if such things exist, they usually come with the expectation of a death threat," Horatio said quietly. "Plus the promise to ruin the department for finding out what they had done."
Stetler sucked in a breath then nodded. "Okay, that's reasonable." He stared at him, looking him over. Then he blinked at him. "I should protest."
"Why? Were you included in the experiment?"
"No," he said calmly. "Thankfully not. I do believe it's unnatural that some people have decided to keep it going."
"That's enough," Ryan said, coming out of the shadows. "The same as any other person who's been assaulted, it is the *victim's* decision in that case, Stetler. Some people have higher desires and made that decision for various reasons. I'm not going to let you hurt the officers I know got hit." He looked stunned. "I have godchildren, of course I know. Hell, man, I know better than you do. Now, leave Horatio alone." He stepped back.
"I'm fine, Mr. Wolfe."
"Do I care?" he demanded. He looked at him again. "Shoo. This does not concern you. Those who were afflicted are very well taken care of and their duties have been modified." He backed up again. "Further. Before *I* have a mood swing. By the way, I will be warning the others that you do know. Just in case your mouth gets them killed." He swallowed and hurried off. He took a calming breath and looked at Horatio. "I'm sorry but I'm not going to let him get the feds in here to shoot you. The world needs you more, boss." He walked off, going to call his friends who knew. "Peter, Ryan Wolfe. Just a quick one. I know. Stetler got told," he said quietly. "Yup. Thanks." He hung up and went back to work.
Calleigh frowned at Ryan's back then walked over. "Are we sure he wasn't hit?"
"I don't know," Horatio admitted. "If he was, he was hit later than we were." He frowned then cleared it up. "That did stop that situation very well."
"Hopefully. Are you okay?"
"As long as this doesn't get us killed."
"You're more than welcome to hide out, Horatio. You and Speed both." He smiled and nodded. "You can probably even take the fussy one with you. All right?" Horatio nodded, going to call the Chief and let him know what had happened and that they were making emergency plans on how to hide them. She went to find Ryan and talk to him. "Okay, that's more than godkids."
He looked at her then closed the door behind her. "It may be. I still hate bullies." She smiled at that. "I don't think we need the department shut down because one woman is disgusted and one person's a bully. Nor do I think we need any of them shot."
She stared at him. "Are any of the new ones yours?"
He snickered and shook his head. "I'm not fertile, Calleigh." She stared, looking a bit confused. "I'm not. Don't worry about it. They're not mine but I'm a fierce protector against bullies and stupid people. I had to deal with them for far too long."
"So, high school trauma?"
"All schools trauma," he admitted blandly, looking at her. "It comes under the heading of 'that happens to geeks'. Bullies annoy the hell out of me. Now, do we have a plan for the upcoming federal review day, when we all have to be here?" She gave him a horrified look. "Exactly. That'll mean more feds in the lab."
"I'll ask." She went to do that. "Horatio, review day?"
He moaned. "I don't know yet, Calleigh. Maybe we'll take the field call that day." She relaxed. "It'll be okay."
"Did you know Ryan was infertile?"
He shook his head. "I never asked such questions."
"Oh." She shrugged. "He's claiming it's bully trauma."
"I'm sure it was," he said patiently. "I'm fine. I've got to see Cooper."
"Sure." She helped him up, smiling at him. "Pillow on the chair, Horatio. It'll help." He nodded, walking out with her. Eric stomped in. "You missed it, Ryan went protector on Stetler."
"Said he can't stand bullies."
"Uh-huh," he said blandly. "I'm letting Speed deal with that line of questioning." He looked at Horatio. "You should be resting."
"I'm going to AV. I'm fine, Eric."
"That was a quote from my mother. She had my sister Mari text it to me." He held up his phone.
"Well, with what Stetler was just trying to pull we may need to put them into protective custody," she said quietly. He nodded once and glared toward the agent's office. "It'll be fine."
"Right after I rearrange some of his molecules." He started to stomp off.
"Ryan, stop him," she called, finishing her escort job. He looked at her. "He'd hit me."
"He'll hit him."
"Then Ryan can hit him back. It'll be prepayment for future rookie hazing." She delivered him to Cooper, who had a chair ready. "Thank you, dear." She walked off, going back to ballistics.
Speed knocked on Ryan's door, smirking when he answered. "We need to talk."
"Sure. I'm babysitting a godchild." Speed nodded, walking inside. "This is Tabitha. Her mommy's in Mounted Patrol, horse patrol." He shut the door behind him and watched him sit down. "Want some water?"
"No, I want to know why you're so adamantly against Stetler and how you knew what was going on."
Ryan looked at him. "Speed, I'm beginning to really like you but I don't know you that well. I didn't tell the person I nearly married back in college."
"You know very well we can't trust you with this sort of thing hanging around. Not with the clues you've left hanging," he retorted, giving him a look before finishing the snapping on the baby's outfit. "There, now you're not chilly."
"She's always chilly. She's got a slightly lower body temperature for some reason." He came over to look at her. "Happy now?" The baby cooed and smiled at him. He looked at Speed again. "I hate bullies because I was a geek all the way through school."
"There's more to it than that." He pulled out a file and put it onto the desk. "Horatio pulled a favor to get your full file." Ryan groaned. "So, fertility experiment?"
"Yup, and it backfired after three months of super fertility. I was so fertile for a bit I nearly caused someone to get pregnant by looking at her. One of my friends swears that's how she got knocked up with Timmy." He flopped down, picking up the baby to hold. "Hi, Tabby."
She shrieked and patted him, beaming the whole time. "Momma!"
"Yup, that's me." He kissed her on the nose and let her settle into his lap, weathering the smile. "Not the first time I've been called that. One of them called me poo-poo for a few weeks too." Speed burst out laughing. "Anyway, it was extra money in college. Some guy's dissertation. After the three months, it wore off and I was okay until I went to check on some pains I was having a few months later and found that the serum had destroyed both testicles. We pointed that out to him and he refused to include it so those of us who were still alive at that point went to talk to his advisor and then the guy who does the oversight for ethical experiments at the school."
"I don't know." Speed handed over something and he nodded. "Same family." He handed it back. "He was a Philip."
"So maybe he changed his name." He made a note on that. "So you're totally infertile?"
"It's burned out the tissue. Has been since I was twenty-four."
"It's okay. That's why I'm such a fierce defender of my godkids." Someone knocked. "What?" he called. A faint scratching noise was heard. "Open." Someone came in and paused. "This is Speed, I work with him."
"I know, I've seen him on the job." She kissed him on the cheek then handed Ryan a basket. "Food, dear. Hi, Tabby." The baby squealed and waved at her. "Such a good girl!" She tickled her belly then kissed Ryan on the head. "Can you watch the terrors too?"
"Sure. I'm not on call tonight." She beamed and went to get her unholy terror three-year- olds out of the car. He pointed at the one running in. "This is Sam and his clone there is Daniel." Speed smiled at that. "Big Stargate fan." He kissed Sam on the head. "Can you two drag the basket into the kitchen and not dig into it this time?" They did that for him then came back out to stare at Speed. "That's Speed, I work with him in the lab." He looked at the mother, who winked and left. "Sorry, she's apparently pulling a double and her husband works nights."
"It happens in patrol."
"She's a dispatcher." Daniel came over to look at Tabby, staring at her. "You know Tabitha."
"Baby," he said, scowling at him.
"There's room for you too, Danny." He wiggled up into his lap and they held the baby together. Speed grinned at that. "I'm a good godfather to my horde."
"I can see that. So this is just anger that you can't be here?"
"If they had taken volunteers I would've seriously thought about it," he admitted. That got a nod and Speed stood up. "Thank you for being reasonable but please don't let Eric know?"
"I won't. Though I'm the bully in the lab usually."
"Yeah, but he's a pushy, smartass bastard who's cheerful about it."
"Good point. Then again his mother's trying to get us to take him in."
"That'd be one hot bed," he offered with a grin. "I know people who'd beg to tape it and pay you three."
"You know someone in that life?"
"Yup. I'm godfather to her kids too." That got a smirk and Speed left, making sure the kids couldn't follow him out the door. "Okay!" He stood up and put the kids on the couch, letting both boys hold Tabby. "Let me put those up and see what your momma left us." He went to do that, leaving out the snack packs. Then he came back out, finding the boys trying to undress her. "What are you doing?"
"She girl and not like boys, not have boy parts," Daniel told him.
"Find out why," Sam finished.
"She so named you two right," he joked. "No, she doesn't have boy parts. That doesn't mean you have to look at them to figure that out." They pouted. "Tough. Find the remote, Sam, we'll watch some Law and Order. There's got to be one on tonight." Sam dug around in the couch, finding all his change and the remote. "Hmm. Lunch money for tomorrow. Thanks, dear." He cuddled him and flipped the station until he came to one. "SVU. Not a good choice." He headed up the dial until he hit the cable stations, finding Spike TV had one on. "There, that's better." They settled in to watch, clapping at the foot chase scene. "Some day you two can do that too." They beamed at him and settled in to watch and clap for the guys. One of the boys liked Logan and the other Briscoe, but that was fine. They could argue about who was better later. Like usual.
Speed sat down next to Horatio, giving him a hug. "Ryan was part of a fertility experiment in college." Horatio hummed, still reading. "It burnt him after three months of super fertility." Horatio looked at him. He nodded. "He's fully not working in that area," he said quietly.
"No wonder he's such a fierce defender," he agreed, putting his book aside. He cuddled him. "Did you two have a good talk?"
"We did and I met three of his many godchildren. He's babysitting a set of three-year-old twins named Sam and Daniel. Their mom's in Dispatch and a Stargate fan." Horatio smiled at that. "And a very cute little girl named Tabitha who called him momma."
"Ray Junior did that to his father for about a week until Ray made Ray Junior learn how to say daddy. His masculine nature couldn't take that insult." Speed smiled. "He would've nagged me for weeks about this."
"At least he would've gotten over it sooner than Yelina has."
"She's human. She's allowed her prejudices."
"So wait until she hears they're both Eric's?" he teased.
"Hmm. That will be one loud fight. That's how Stetler found out."
"I heard. Ryan will have a big problem with bullies."
"We see them now and then. Hopefully it won't be that hard and we can help him." His phone rang. "Horatio," he answered. "Calleigh, he's babysitting. Speed went to talk to him." He smiled. "Three of them, all under preschool age." He laughed at her shudder of horror. "What did you need? Sure, I can do that." He hung up. "There's a new case and she wanted me on it for some reason." He took a kiss. "Be safe tonight and don't wait up."
"I won't." He watched him go, calling Eric. "It's me. He's out on a scene. I met some of Wolfe's godkids. They're adorable." He smiled. "Sure. I'm bored. Calleigh called him to come work with her. Because you're overworked?" he suggested dryly. "Sure. Come on over." He hung up and snuggled down into the couch, watching some tv. It was a good night for it. At least until someone pounded on the door. He looked over. Eric now had a key, Horatio had given him one. Speed snuck that way, finding Yelina standing there. He also saw Eric pulling up behind her car so he opened the door. "What's up, Yelina? He's on a scene." She gave him a look. "We're setting up to spoil each other later." She glared at him. "I don't read minds." Eric walked up behind her. "You can try to call Calleigh. It's her scene if you needed to speak to Horatio."
"You got Rick suspended."
"No, his mouth got him suspended," Eric told her firmly. "He came up to talk to Horatio in the middle of the labs. Anyone could've heard and the information could've gotten back to anyone, Yelina."
"He's in jail! What else is going to happen!"
"His bosses aren't and he's only one who guy was on the team," Speed told her. She went pale. "Tell me you didn't tell someone else," he demanded.
"Eric, take her in to Frank." Eric nodded, walking her off to his car so they could quarantine her. Speed went to pack two bags, then called Horatio. "We're going to camp tonight. Because your sister-in-law told her mother and possibly others. Exactly. She's also pissed that Stetler got suspended." He hung up and carried them down to his bike, hitching them across the back. Then he headed for his house. He had moved and not put his new address in the files. Only the people in the lab that he was close with knew where he lived now. He saw a car following him so he detoured and went into his old neighborhood, parking in the parking lot. The car passed by and he waited until it was out of sight before heading off again, taking the smaller alleys this time. He came out at his place and found the car circling that block. He waited until they headed off before finding a nearby parking garage and parking. He nodded at the person who owned the small garage, getting a smile. "Someone was following my bike."
"That's fine, Tim. The wife won't mind. She'll use it as another excuse to pet the metallic baby and beg for one for our anniversary."
That got a smile and Tim hurried up to his place, finding it untouched so far. Eric called on his cellphone. "It's me." He listened. "I am. Bring a detector? I lost my tail." He smiled. "That's fine." He hung up and went to see what he'd need if they were going into hiding. Some of his books and other clothes definitely. Those got put into another bag and then he found his new pack of sweats and t-shirts, adding them in case they had to hide for a while and he got larger. That bag got a few more books too. Then he went to the kitchen to plan what he'd need to bring from there. Since he was the better cook. Eric tapped then walked in. "Hey."
"Hey." He ran the detector around the house, coming up with one bug, holding it up. Speed poured a glass of water and it was put into it then into the freezer. "Cooper would pout at that."
"Cooper can pout at the bug's treatment tomorrow," he assured him. "Where was it?"
"By the screen door."
Speed came over to look. "That's a motion detector. We didn't have that before." He grabbed the two bags of groceries then nodded at the other two bags, plus his newer one. "Please?" Eric nodded, hauling them down to his car. "My bike's safe."
"That's fine." He closed his trunk and they went to get another bag of kitchen stuff just in case. Then they left, heading back to Calleigh's place. She gave them a look but Eric came in to see if she had any bugs, finding a few. She glared at that. "I don't know," Eric told her.
"I know you don't. Where's Horatio?"
"You called him," Speed reminded her.
Eric started to call and so did Calleigh. Speed went to pack her a bag as well. She dropped a few of her guns into it then carried it out to the car. "Horatio, we're heading with Speed," she said into his voicemail. "Call us!" She hung up, Eric had gotten through and was whispering at him. She smiled and helped Speed into the back seat. "Where?" she asked when Eric got in to drive.
"Frank was there. He called Dispatch to see where you two were working. Then he rushed out." He backed out, heading toward Frank's. Frank escorted Horatio out and into the car, nodding at them to go. That got a nod and Eric headed off. "Do we have any ideas on places to stay tonight? Unless we want to stay with Wolfe for a bit?"
"I know somewhere safe," Horatio said quietly. Speed looked at him. "I'm fine. I got there and she wasn't so I left when I didn't see an active crime scene. Frank intercepted me when I left." That got a nod and his hand was squeezed. "Thanks."
"Welcome. I'm just glad you're okay. Eric found bugs at my new place and at Calleigh's. Mine's in the freezer."
"We'll get it to Cooper tonight," Eric promised. "Calleigh, can you guard them?"
"Of course." She smiled back at them. "I might even be tempted to not pat the bellies for a bit." Horatio smiled at the silliness in this situation. "Do we know who told?"
"Yelina told Stetler and at least her mother," Speed told her. She whimpered. "I sent her to Frank with Eric."
"Oh, he was not happy," Eric assured him. "Let his wife yell at her."
"Does she know?" Horatio asked.
"Not a clue but remember, this is the woman who won't even tell us when Frank's birthday is."
"Good point," Horatio sighed. "So either Yelina told the wrong person or Stetler did."
Speed gave his hand a squeeze. "She came over to complain that Stetler got suspended for his shit today."
Horatio nodded. "I'd heard he had." He looked at him. "We can stay in town or not."
"Can we get the time off for not?"
"Yes." He called the boss. "It's me. Speed and Calleigh both found surveillance equipment in their house. We are. I want far away right now, Chief. Thank you. Both of us." He hung up. "Airport, Eric. Then set Calleigh up in an efficiency tonight."
"I packed groceries," Speed offered. Horatio smiled at that. "I didn't figure we'd get to run out immediately."
"She can use them." He took a kiss. "We'll be fine."
"I hope so." He gave his hand a squeeze, getting a smile. "Where?" Horatio traced letters on his arm, getting a nod. "That works." They were dropped off and he carted their bags inside. "I packed you three suits and some more action oriented clothes too."
"Thank you." He got them checked in and through security fairly quickly with their badges. There was a flight leaving in forty minutes and they just made it. On the way out of the airport he called a well known number. "Catch me," he said. "On the flight now." He hung up. Then he turned off his phone. He looked at him. "It'll be okay."
"I hope so." He squeezed his hand. "I don't like having to run to protect myself."
"Me either." The stewardess gave him an odd look. "We're moving him into protective custody," he said quietly. "Bad case." She nodded, she'd keep quiet from that point on. He smiled at Speed then patted his knee. "Why was your bag so lumpy?"
"Books. Some clothes. The research report." That got a smile. "I packed your black one, your navy stripe one, and your tan one. Plus some jeans and things."
"Thank you." The plane took off and he relaxed. No feds were on the flight. There wasn't even an air marshal.
Mac hung up and looked at his phone then stood up. "We've got to cut this meeting short. I just got a plea for help. Stella, I won't be in tomorrow," he ordered. "Handle things." She nodded, going to deal with that. He walked out, heading for his office. He needed to pick up some things. He did check to see which flights were taking off from Miami at that point in time, smiling at where it was coming in. He could do that. He'd get there just about as it landed too. He hurried out, taking his personal car. By the time they got there he had time to grab a sandwich because he hadn't had dinner yet. It also calmed him down. He nodded when Horatio and Speed came off the plane, watching as they went to baggage claim and Speed stopped at a store to get something to eat. He frowned, watching how they walked. He caught up with them once they came out of the secure section. "What's going on, guys?" He didn't want to mention the extra weight Horatio was carrying. Something was seriously off about both of them and he was feeling very strange, but protective. Highly protective.
"Wherever we're going, Mac," Horatio said quietly. "It's a bad case." That got a nod, he understood that, and walked them out to his car, even taking one of the bags.
"Thanks for putting up with us," Speed said quietly.
"Not an issue. You guys are good and should be protected." Once they were in the car he looked at them. "Are you two okay? Healthy and things?" Speed dug out the research report and handed it over. He read it then gaped in horror. They both nodded. "No."
"Unfortunately we can't deny it. We've even done the paternity," Horatio told him. "They used partner samples."
"So we're both knocked up by Eric," Speed finished. "Then again, we're also under death threat because someone's got a big mouth."
Mac handed it back. "I'm...." Horatio picked up Mac's hand and put it on his stomach, making him blink and press. Then his eyes went wide when he got kicked. "Holy shit," he said in awe. "Sorry, shouldn't swear in front of the kids."
"Basically," Horatio agreed, smirking slightly. "But they're going to shoot us because someone found out."
"Okay, we can guard you guys. I don't have a problem with this, even if I'm going to get stuck in a thought loop soon." He backed the car out of the parking spot and headed off, not even using his badge to pay the toll for the parking spot. That would draw attention to them. "How far?"
"Late sixth," Speed told him. "There was a disaster drill. Two and a half months later, one patrol guy got the flu and had emergency surgery for the stomach cancer he supposedly had." Mac groaned.
"The agents in charge said they'd destroy the lab, the department, and kill anyone who found out," Horatio finished quietly. "We found out when we got this very pernicious case of the flu."
"Alexx," they said in unison.
Speed grinned. "She was not amused when she tested us. She'd heard the rumors of what had really happened. Gave us the tests and an ultrasound that first day. Horatio passed out when she found the extra heartbeat on me."
"I don't blame him, I would've too," Mac assured him. Horatio smiled at that. "Not to be nosy, but how are they getting out?"
"Alexx and a lot of drugs," Speed said firmly. "Oh, H, the guy who got Ryan during that fertility experiment when he was in college was at the very least family to the guy who got us. Same last name," he reported.
"It was probably the same person, he changed his first name to avoid lawsuits," Horatio said grimly. "I know this'll stress you out, Mac."
"Not a problem, Horatio. Even though I might want to drink later about the thought of it being mine, in some nightmares, but it'll be fine. Is there anyone besides Alexx I should call?"
"I can do that," Speed promised, pulling out his cellphone and dialing dispatch. "Hey, is the twin's mother on tonight? No, I got a message for her from Wolfe." She grabbed the phone. "It's Speedle. Tell Wolfe we're safe. We're okay. Act normally and ignore the idiot feds coming. Exactly. Just like that. Do it soon. Thank you. Oh, the boys loved Tabitha. I heard him complaining that they were trying to figure out girl parts as I was leaving." He smiled and hung up. "Two of his godchildren have a mother in dispatch. The baby has one in horse patrol. He also has one that would love to film the honeymoon bed." Horatio snickered at that. "He said she would." He shrugged and turned off his phone, putting it back into his bag. He zipped it back up. "That's my personal copy of the research, Mac."
"I'll make sure I copy it and give it back to you. Can I tell Stella? I don't usually keep things this big from her anymore. She hits me when I do."
"As long as the idiot feds don't find out, I don't care if you tell them about me by shouting it from the Empire State Building," Speed said dryly. Horatio looked at him. "Up to the big guy there about his daughter."
"Daughter?" Mac asked, cracking a smile.
"I'm having a girl, he's having a boy," Horatio agreed. "I'd like to keep this discreet, Mac."
"Of course." He turned a corner and headed down an off-ramp, heading toward a not so great neighborhood. He parked in front of a building and got out, looking around. He found Don Flack waiting on him. "How did you know I'd come here?"
"Stella said so and I came to get briefed. You can't sit guard by yourself, Mac." He shrugged and smiled at the Miami guys. "Hey, guys. Let me help." He grabbed a bag, the others got the others, following Mac up the stairs. "Stella ordered me to come help Mac guard whoever. So what's going on?" Mac handed over the research, making him frown as he read slowly and carefully. "Am I messing this up totally?" Speed walked over and took his hand, putting it onto his stomach. He gaped in horror when he got kicked. "Holy Mother of God," he whispered, feeling a bit more firmly. He got kicked again, twice this time. "Damn."
"Exactly, and now the people who did it are mad that others found out how evil they are," Speed told him.
"Oh, damn." He gave him a hug. "It'll be okay. We'll protect you guys. I won't tell anyone, I swear!" He let him go and hugged Horatio, because he was clearly showing too. "It'll be okay. Mac, should I get Doc over here by blindfold or not?"
"Tomorrow. Let them settle in and rest tonight," Mac said calmly. Don nodded and handed over the research notes. "First thing in the morning, my office," Mac ordered. "Tell Stella the same thing and that it's a very large secret. Of the assassination sort." That got a nod and he left, closing the door firmly behind him. Mac looked at him. "Sorry."
"He's a good detective. Telling him means he won't sneak around and possibly expose us," Speed offered. "Stella's a very good mommy though."
Mac smiled and nodded. "Very. Should I get Sheldon up here to look at you two?" Horatio shrugged. "Then I'll have him do a discreet call to Alexx tomorrow in case we need anything. She can brief him about what's going on but not who. That way if something happens he's warned."
"Thank you, Mac," Horatio said quietly.
"Go sleep, Horatio. This is a secure area. Let me turn on the security system." He turned it on and smiled at him. "I've got the other set of keys. There's limited supplies in the cabinet and I can bring over something more than rations and pasta later. For now, go rest and relax. There's a great tub in the bathroom." That got a smile. "Go. I've got it, guys." That got a nod and Speed hefted the bags that way, coming out with a book. He left them alone, heading back to the station. He found Don and Stella locked in his office but Stella let him in. "Go get Sheldon. We're only letting it be known generally in his case." Don hurried off. He looked at her. "The feds have promised to kill everyone with knowledge if this gets out."
"How did it get out down there?"
"I'm guessing but I would think someone who wasn't fully unshocked at first when they were told. I can ask."
"You got an email from Eric," she admitted. "I don't know why."
"He's the daddy." She blinked at that and whimpered. He let her have the research notes. "We need to give them back that copy." She nodded, going to copy it for them and read it as she copied. He heard her shriek in anger but smiled. No one was in the labs at the moment. Well, apparently except Danny. He waved him inside when he went to see what was wrong with Stella. "We are protecting a pair of people who are under assassination threat. You're not going to be told anything unless it's fully necessary. Am I clear?"
"I get that. If you need me, let me know," he agreed. "Stella?"
"She jumped in."
"She's good at that," he agreed with a grin. He saw Don and Sheldon coming up the hall. "Doc and Flack?"
"She sent Flack and we need Sheldon slightly informed but on-call."
"Okay, let me know if I need ta help, Mac." He wrote out a list and handed it over with his wallet. "Groceries? Sure." He went to do that. "Hey, guys. Stella's in the copy room."
Don let Sheldon into the office and went to get Stella, who was kicking a wall. "They're at the kicking stage too," he offered quietly. She smiled at him. "Come on, I've got Doc and Danny headed off with a list for Mac."
"Sure." She finished making the copies and followed him, making sure she had all the sheets in order. She handed Mac the originals and then Sheldon the other ones. "You'll want to sit, Sheldon."
He read it, sitting down scowling. He looked at Mac. "Someone did this to people! On purpose! To men?"
"Someone did this to cops without their consent," Mac said quietly. Don closed the door. "Two cops that I know of." Sheldon gaped in horror. "We're protecting them. The wrong person found out and they're under death threat. Unless we need you, we only need you briefed and able to do something if and when it becomes necessary."
"Late sixth," Mac told him.
"Kicking and smooshing around in there," Don told him. "I felt one." That got a smile for him.
"We'll need you to call Doctor Woods down in Miami," Mac instructed. "She's handling it quietly down there." That got a nod. "She's allowed to give you generalities but not specifics unless it's necessary."
"Okay. I can do that. I'll do that now." He handed them back to Stella and headed out to call her from a sealed lab.
Mac looked at Stella. "They're on Regal."
"I saw. That's why I sent Don. Who?"
"Speed said we can tell you about him, but the other wanted some anonymity," Mac told her quietly. She nodded at that. "I can also tell you that they used a partner's DNA for the second, paternal, sample. They're both pregnant by Delko." She whimpered. "They're fine."
"So the other's Horatio?" she asked quietly. He nodded quickly. "Oh, damn."
"That was my reaction," Don agreed, patting her on the back. "You sit guard tonight and I'll get tomorrow since I'm off?" Don asked. Mac nodded. "Okay. Danny?"
"I sent him out to get groceries since he was still here for some reason. I told him we're guarding someone but I'm excluding him unless it's fully necessary." He heard something break and winced. "Sheldon's not happy."
Don stuck his head out the door, then looked at Mac again. "That was a door. Cracked the wall. Doc?" He came out of the lab. "You good?"
"No!" He scowled. He came back. "Mac, the others are hiding. The agents in charge are already hunting."
"That's fine. I'm sure Horatio covered his tracks as well as he could." That got a nod and he left again. He looked at his lieutenants. "We good?" They nodded so he left, going to get the groceries from Danny and his wallet, getting a smile and a nod. "Go home. I'll see you the day after tomorrow."
"Sure, remember to call if you need me, Mac." He walked off, going for the subway so he could go home.
Mac went back to the apartment, going to stock things for them. Speed let him in, getting a smile for the chips and gardetos snack mix Danny had picked up besides the other food. "Alexx told Sheldon that the feds are looking. He said she told him the others are hiding."
"Good. Thank you." That got a nod and Mac handed him the groceries. "We'll stay out of sight, Mac."
"Thanks, guys. Be safe and rest. That's the best advice I can give you." He left, making sure the door was closed behind him. Then he went to sit guard on the building that night.
Ryan walked in the next morning, smiling at Alexx and kissing her on the cheek. "Have I told you yet that my godchildren are all happily playing today at some day camp?" She smiled and shook her head. He handed her a picture and she smiled at the picture of the people she knew and was treating among his many godchildren. "Yeah, they like me," he said with a grin. "Every year I feel like Santa." He took the picture back and winked. "So if you get a call out that way, let me know?"
"Of course I will, Ryan. Are you okay?"
"I didn't get much sleep. The unholy Stargate terrors were over last night with Tabby." She giggled at that. "Tabby's mother had a date so I got to babysit. The unholy terrors settled in to nap on the couch after a Law and Order marathon. They root for different cops but they love the chase scenes." She laughed at that, swatting him on the arm. "Can't start them too early," he said dryly, winking at her. "Anyway, I'm here. Calleigh's here. Eric looks like warmed up crap. Let us know if you need us. I heard Speed and H are off today." He walked off, going to find Eric and hand him the picture. "Some of my godkids are out playing together today. Pretty soon I'm going to have a whole small people cult to me." Eric smiled and handed it back. "One's daddy was not amused by the plans but he understood that it got them at least a free day."
"My sisters like that idea too. They drop the kids off on our mother." That got a grin. "H and Speed?"
Ryan grinned. "I heard they had the day off. Oh, I need to find a new copy of the last season of Law and Order. Know a good DVD place?"
"I do," he agreed, writing it out. "You watch that?"
"No, the unholy Stargate twins do. One roots for one cop, one roots for the other. The one who was rooting for Logan pouted for weeks when he got taken off the show. The other is a big fan of the old guy; when he died and didn't come back he pouted for months on end. Doesn't like the guy that took over."
"They're how old?"
"Three. Sam and Daniel. Can't stand Stargate but their mommy loves it."
Eric smiled. "How many godchildren do you have?"
"Seventeen and one possibly on the way since one had an anniversary of her divorce last night." Eric whimpered so he smirked. "See, I told you I'd have a small people cult to me some day soon."
"I can't handle five nieces and nephews," he said in awe.
"I only see them all on the same day during holidays, Eric. Otherwise I think the record is babysitting six on the same day." He shuddered. "It's cool. They colored. Everywhere but they colored. My OCD loves baby messes. It's like it giggles at each small mess because it gets to straighten things up so I don't have to clean already clean things again." He patted him on the back and walked off looking less upset but more scared. He grinned at Calleigh and the Chief, winking at her. "My godchildren are mostly having a day off together today."
"I heard." She gave him a hug. "Good job," she whispered. She looked at the Chief. "You remember Ryan Wolfe, right?"
"I do." He shook his hand. "I know Horatio and Speedle have today off. Will you need to pull people?"
"Depends on how long they're gone for," Ryan said with a small shrug. "Otherwise we might be able to handle it for a while. If not, can we have Duerdson from swing?"
Calleigh smiled. "She's more fussy than you."
"Exactly, so Eric can pick on her," Ryan agreed happily. She giggled and nodded.
"I'll have her reassigned temporarily while they're out on medical leave," the Chief agreed. "Thank you, Mr. Wolfe."
He showed him the picture. "These are only *some* of my godchildren, sir."
He gaped in horror then at him. "You poor boy."
Ryan grinned. "It's fun. My OCD loves to see them come over. Gives us new messes to clean up when everything's spotless." He walked off shaking his head. Ryan tucked the picture into his wallet and looked at her. "It does."
"I'm sure it does. I met the Stargate twins this morning."
"They're big Law and Order fans." She giggled and swatted at him, going back to work. "They are," he defended, following her. She gave him a look. "I'm clear and Eric's somewhere. He walked off scared because I babysat six on the same day. I'm good to help you."
"Sure." They got to work together.
Stella knocked on the apartment's door later that next night, smiling at the boys. "Hi, guys. I brought take out."
"I love you," Horatio sighed, pulling her inside and taking the bag. "Shrimp?"
"Spicy since Mac said one of you snuck out for hot peppers and ice cream." She smiled and hugged Speed. "Hi, dear."
"Hi, Stella. Long time no phone call."
"Cases, you know."
"Oh, I do," he assured her, smiling at her. She looked him over so he sighed and rolled his eyes but lifted his t-shirt. "Ooooh." She stroked his stomach, smiling when she got kicked. "Alexx said she's healthy."
"You'll insult his masculinity," he teased.
"Ah, she didn't give names. Just patient one and patient two." She kissed him on the cheek and went to dish them out some food. "Okay, so let's go over what's been going on so far, guys." They settled in to chat and talk, smiling when Mac came over later. "How are things?"
"Good. Someone found a body that did relate back to us so Delko and I could talk legitimately." He settled into a chair, snatching a bit of extra broccoli off Horatio's plate. "Eric said his mother's about ready to scream at him for not following."
"She's decided we're marrying him," Speed said, giving him a look. Stella giggled. "He gives good backrubs."
"Which is an important skill," Mac agreed, smiling at them. He looked at Horatio. "Calleigh ended up borrowing a person from swing shift that Ryan Wolfe recommended. Said she was more fussy than he was so Delko would leave him alone. They're handling it and it's all going well so far. The feds who invaded the lab today are not happy that you weren't there to meet and threaten them like usual. You're both on injury leave at the moment." They nodded at that. "Calleigh said to stay hidden. She also suggested I send you guys some jerky, garlic sauce, and sweets."
"I'm craving sweets," Speed admitted. "I forgot to pack the candy."
"We can have it mailed up to Mac," Horatio soothed.
"Eric said he did. He shipped it up to the lab." That got smiles. "Also, he said he shipped some other clothes because he didn't think Speed packed enough suits."
"Any idea who spilled it?"
"Stetler," Mac said simply.
"Who Yelina told," Horatio sighed.
"Oh, she's suspended at the moment as well," Mac assured them. "Eric said she threw a fit in the hallway with the Chief but he shoved her into an interrogation room to get her calmed down and told her if she spoke another word he was taking her badge. She quit complaining at that." Horatio just nodded. "Your nephew called." He passed over the message. "He did say he'd go water plants and things."
"He's a good boy," Horatio agreed, reading the simple message of 'be safe and I'll make my mother sorry for you'. He handed it to Speed. "He thought it was creepy but cool in it's own way and he'd be more than happy to beat his cousin's suitors off her."
Stella beamed. "It's good that he's got such a flexible mind. He'll make a good CSI."
"He will," Horatio agreed. Speed sniffled and he patted his hand. "It'll be okay. Ray even promised to babysit."
Speed looked at him. "Good. That'll help. He'll probably have to fight grandma but that's good. The other guys?"
"They're safe. The word you got back to Wolfe got through to the others; they're in hiding as well," Mac assured them. "He sent them off with some of his many godchildren for the day and they hid from there."
"Sure," Speed agreed, smiling a bit. "Now what?"
"Someone did come hunting for you," Stella told them.
"We're not sure if they're an assassination squad or a protection squad," Mac finished. "Either way, you're more than welcome to be protected up here." That got some smiles. "Are you keeping them?" They both nodded. "Then I'm happy and you'll be good, if tired, fathers in a few months."
"Very tired," Horatio agreed, yawning a bit. "Sorry."
"Most women nap like kittens at this stage," Stella told him. "They keep going until they suddenly fall down and nap." He smiled at that. "You can nap. We won't mind. I'll get to help you guys pick out reasonable names."
"No Shaniqua?" Speed teased.
"Eww, no! Especially not for Eric's kids." He laughed, swatting her on the arm. "Please?"
"His mother would get pissed," he assured her. "I'm thinking something more classical."
"Classical names are always good," Horatio agreed. "Eric wanted something completely bland. His mother emailed me a list of names she liked. You probably have one of those as well." He got up. "Excuse me but I hear the siren's call of the bed."
"Go," Mac agreed, smiling at his back as he walked off. He looked at Speed, who stole the rest of Horatio's dinner. "Eat, Speed. You both need it."
"I keep thanking God it's not twins," he told him.
"I'm just happy it's not mine," Mac assured him.
"Calleigh asked if she was the daddy," he offered with a grin.
"That's a bit too strange even for you guys," Stella teased.
"We thought it'd fit this whacked out version of insanity we're in," he told her, eating another bite afterward. He frowned and got up to get something from the fridge, putting some honey over it. "Better." He dug in again. "Stupid candy Eric gave us. I didn't like honey before he gave us that treat." He ate another bite.
"Babies can be fussy that way," Stella soothed. He nodded and finished up, belching a bit. "Go nap." Speed grinned and left. Stella looked at Mac once the bedroom door was closed. "So."
"So," he agreed, smirking at her.
"That's gotta be on hot bed with the three of them." Mac got up shaking his head and walked out, closing the door behind him. She set everything where it should go and headed down to take her watch tonight. Don was nice enough to have left her food in her car and it was good too. She settled in to watch, making sure no one snuck up on the cute duo. No one was touching her niece and nephew. Even if she did live in another state she could dote on them. The boys wouldn't mind and if they did, she'd fuss and whine and pout until they gave up under threat of her teaching it to their kids.
Eric looked at his parents a few days later, watching his mother fret. "They're fine, Momma," he assured her. "They're safe from the idiots in the government. They went to someone who can protect them both." They knew where Horatio had gone. It's not like he could've went to visit his friends in Las Vegas. They couldn't protect either of them. So they had to be in New York, where Horatio had started on the force. He had a lot of friends up there to this day. Especially one hyper-protective Marine. He stopped her and made her sit down, making her look at him. "They're fine."
"Someone else is protecting your children. This doesn't bother you?" his father asked.
"No. They're protected better than I can."
"Still," his mother complained.
"Momma, it's not like they came to be the natural way," he complained. "If they had, I'd have remembered it hopefully!" She frowned at him and he glared back. "Momma, I'm not going to demand more than visitation and helping when they need it. For all of us. Someone used me like a sex toy and milked me. They put it into them without any of us consenting. What makes you think they want me around?" She gave him a horrified look. "For all purposes, the agents raped them, Momma. They used me to do it. I'm lucky we're still friends and they don't hold it against me." He stared her down. "So yes, if they feel more protected with someone else, I'm not going to complain. Those may be my children but it's their lives at stake. The agents will shoot them. Probably after taking the children and hurting them more. The same way they did when you were a girl." His mother stomped off. "I'm sorry, but unless they invite me I'm not part of what they have," he called after her. He sat down, looking at his father. "Can you not nag me too?"
His father looked at him. "You're in a difficult spot, son. It's good that you're taking responsibility even though you had no hand in them coming to be. We would like for them to be closer to the family and your mother would like some sort of commitment so they can't up and move away with the grandchildren," he offered.
"I'm sure that's what the visitation agreement will be for, Poppi. I love them like they're family but they're not with me and even if she wanted it, it's not legal to be a trio."
"Point. That's about the only other thing that's working in your favor. If she could, she'd be telling your sisters to have them nag and coo over the future niece and nephew." Someone dropped something and they both looked over. "Marisol."
"You cannot tell," Eric warned. "It was done by some evil bastard in a lab and they hurt the mothers." She went pale and nodded. "I mean it. If you say a word, they'll be killed." She sat down, looking at him. "They both know, Mari."
"Who?" she asked weakly.
"I can't tell you until they're born. Momma and Poppi both know." She nodded more quickly at that and stood up, giving him a hug. "Not one word, Marisol. Promise me. There's already people trying to kill them."
"I won't," she whispered. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I was drugged out of my mind when they got me and them." She nodded, sitting next to him. He squeezed her hand. "It's all right. We're still friends and it'll be okay." She smiled at that. "You'll have a niece and a nephew in three months or so if they stay safe." That got a brighter smile. "But you still can't warn the others, you can't tell a soul. Not even the family priest."
She nodded. "I won't. Are they okay?"
"They're fine, they had to run from the federal agents," their father assured him. "Marisol's here," he called. Their mother came out to fuss over her. "She overheard but she's promised not to say anything."
"Good! We want the new grandchildren to be safe and well when they come out." She got to work making dinner. "Eric, are you sure?"
"Momma, if you push they're going to send me away totally," he warned. "They're not the sort I usually like and they know that." She nodded, pressing her lips together. "Besides, it's not like I can legally have them both. You'd have to choose."
"Marisol could have the other one," his father joked.
"They would throw fits if they heard you say that," Eric said with a smirk. "But I'll tell them you suggested it."
"Then one could be in the church," his father teased back.
"Yup, and only one's Catholic," he taunted back with an even more evil smirk. "Sorry, won't happen, Poppi."
"Are they pretty girls?" she asked.
Eric looked at her. "When they're born you'll get to meet both mothers. They promised we could have visitation and all that."
She beamed. "Good! Even though they were hurt it shows that your friends still love you, even though you are the reason they're eating strange things."
"I made them a lot of the honey candy," he said with a grin. His mother gave him a hug. "I know you're disappointed, Momma. I'm sorry."
"No, you're right. It's not fair to force them that way," she agreed, putting plates down in front of all of them. "We do need to do a welcoming party and arrange for their baptism."
"Talk to their mothers. One's not Catholic."
"I'll do that the next time we talk." She kissed him on the head and went back to her bedroom. She had Eric's baby book in there and she was remembering what a holy terror he was. She came back out. "Eric, would you please talk to your nephew Joseph?"
"Sure, Momma. Why?"
"He's found a girl he's interested in and I'm afraid he'll take up like you did, dear." She went back to his baby book, leaving him giggling and snickering into his dinner.
"Sure, I'll talk to him later tonight," he called after her. Mari swatted him but ate another bite of dinner.
Eric walked up to where Wolfe was the next morning, staring at him. "My nephew's girlfriend has a picture of you."
"I know that." He didn't even look up from his microscope.
"Why?" He gave him a slight shove when he didn't answer. "Wolfe. Why?"
Ryan grinned. "One of my older godchildren is dating him." He beamed. "She's a sweet young lady. Already introduced us." Eric stared and slowly started to shake his head, so Ryan took off at a brisk walk, going to hide behind Calleigh. "He found out my godchild is dating his nephew."
"Go into the firing pen," she said with a smirk. He went to duck into there. She watched the clock, then went to find Eric, who was still staring at the same spot and shaking his head. "It's his godchild, Eric. Not like it's his daughter." Eric gave her an evil look and stomped off to find him. "I sent him out to do something." He growled and headed for the parking lot. She went to have Ryan sneak out another doorway so they wouldn't have to clean up any blood. It was always so messy and the special cleaners made her skin dry. When Eric hadn't come back in an hour she paged Frank to let him know. He sent back a groan but Eric didn't reappear so she went to hunt him down. "Eric, if you need to go out and, well, you know, find someone at lunch so you come back in a better mood, I don't mind. Just don't be too late, don't use a hummer, don't get caught if you pay for it, and don't bring her back here," she said, patting him on the arm.
He gave her a confused look. "What?"
"That's what Speed said he sends you out to do when you're having a bad day like you are today so I'm trying to be understanding." Eric looked up then at the nearby planters, then at her. "What are you doing?"
"Looking for a camera." He looked at her necklace again then at her. "That's a pretty new piece."
"I've had it for four years, Eric, you're unobservant about your coworkers. Horatio likes it."
"Uh-huh." He walked off shaking his head. "That's a running joke between me and Speed but I'll tell him you suggested it."
"At least then you'd quit being so cranky and leaving me all the work," she shot back. He wandered back toward the lab, looking a bit pouty. She looked up. "Soon, please?" she requested. "Without giving them problems?" She went back inside, finding Ryan logging in evidence. "Where did you go?"
"You told me to go find a crime scene, I found three!"
Eric walked in and looked at the various piles then at him. "Don't feel bad, she just suggested I go find a hooker."
"I'd have to steam clean any of the ones I hired," Ryan muttered. "Not an option."
She walked off muttering and sent a text message to Stella in New York. She was sure, even though no one had told them anything, that the boys were hiding somewhere up there, which meant that Mac *had* to know, because Horatio was polite enough to let him know he was hiding on his turf. Besides, Mac was protective and would protect her future godchildren like she would. He'd shoot someone in the nuts for touching either mother.
Stella looked at her phone then snorted and called the house phone where Horatio and Speed were. "Calleigh said, and I quote, the boys are playing. Eric's mad that Ryan's gc is dating his nephew. She suggested what Speed tells Eric all the time, he went looking for a camera, and sending Ryan out to find a scene to get him away from Eric means he comes back with three." She hung up and looked at Sheldon, who was giving her an odd look. "Passing on a message."
"I heard." He glanced at Lindsey then back at her. "I should probably do a check soon," he said quietly.
"I'll see if they feel that comfortable tonight."
He smiled. "Thanks. Are they okay?"
"Just fine. We fed them last night." Sheldon grinned and went back to work.
Horatio hung up and looked at Speed. "Eric's annoyed Calleigh enough she suggested he go find a hooker."
Speed snickered. "Good girl," he said happily. He finished typing in the information to the paypal account. Then he hit send. It set up with the amount of money he wanted. He set it to pay an slightly more anonymous account that Mac had set up so they could have some ready cash handy. Then he let Horatio do the same. "There we go, Mac."
"Thanks, guys." He grinned. "What else was passed up?"
"Eric's pissed that Ryan's godchild is dating Eric's nephew," Horatio offered with a smile. "She said Eric went looking for a camera when she suggested that. She sent Ryan out of harm's way and he came back with three new scenes. Little things that would be driving me nuts down there."
"It is the little things that make sure you need a nap but do make life more interesting and full," Mac said with a grin for them. "How's your new guy?"
"Good," Horatio offered. "We never told him but he figured it out."
"He has seventeen godchildren," Speed said with a grin. "He snuck gift cards on us. He knew one of the other guys that got hit so we're feeding him information."
"It was more than just you two?"
"They originally hit fifteen," Horatio said quietly. "There's six others who're still pregnant. Two're having twins."
"Alexx is wobbling on having fun as the ME. She still wants to beat the crap out of someone and do it to them, but she did say it was fun watching us go through with this. Especially the food cravings." Mac smiled at that. "It's like they're all going to be her grandbabies. She made me promise to let her babysit during the last mod swing I had."
"Then she's handling this better than I am. I'm still bothered by them doing this."
"There's evidence that either this person or someone in his family did another fertility experiment a few years back but it robbed them of all ability to produce sperm after three months time," Speed offered quietly. Mac shuddered. "Besides, if we were in your lab, we'd have to put up with a righteous female crusade. Monroe seems like the sort."
"Very much so," Mac agreed, smirking at them. "She's already put out that she's out of the loop. She's staying out of the loop." He patted Speed on the hand then checked his paypal account. He transferred the money to his personal bank account and got up. "Give me a day to cash that out for you, guys. Need anything?"
"No, we're good. Thank you, Mac," Speed said with a grin.
"Thank you, Mac," Horatio agreed, smiling slightly. "Feel free to consult us if you need to. Speed only brought ten books, he'll be bored soon."
"I'll do that." He left, heading for his office. Stella was back and smiling because he was. "They're fine."
"Good! Sheldon wanted to know about doing check-ups. He thinks they're probably about due."
Mac sat down to write them an email, smiling at the nearly instant response. "Horatio said they're fine. He'd rather wait to see if this clears up in a few more weeks."
"I'll let him know." She smirked. "Food cravings?"
"The other did have pixie sticks and peanut butter for lunch." She walked out giggling. He smiled and checked his email account, then got back to work. Setting them up with 'john smith' email accounts hadn't been that hard and that way they could chat with the people down in their own lab. Horatio missed his insanity. He was just glad it stayed down there most of the time. If that experiment had been started in New York they'd have to stop a hunt for the lives of every Fed in the city and out. Then again, they didn't have someone like Alexx to mother them and let them cry on her either. Sheldon leaned in. "Problem?"
"Can I bat someone?"
"Foam. Otherwise you'd look bad in prison attire." He looked at him. "Who?"
Sheldon took a step inside. "For bugging Stella about the text she received and then how she made a cryptic phone call from the scene." He gave him a look. "I don't want her near them," he said quietly. "She'd never quit talking. She'd endanger them. Her shriek alone when she figured it out would bring them from Miami." Mac nodded. "Can I just tell her we're guarding someone who's under death threat?"
"I will." Sheldon smiled and left. He paged Lindsey. She leaned in with a smile a few minutes later. "Come here." She walked in and stood in front of him. He looked up. "Lindsey, you're asking questions that is bordering on a protection detail some of us are on," he said quietly. She looked horrified. "You are not part of it, we are not telling you anything about it, and I'm sorry but you'd upset the people we're guarding."
"I'm the nice one."
"It does not matter. Their lives are in danger from assassination threat. Drop it."
"Yes, Mac. If you need me to I can help."
"No, you can't. In this case only very highly trained officers can."
"Was an ME and we need the medical support for one of them. That is all the information you're getting. Please respect the silence before it gets them killed."
"Sure, Mac. I'll do that. You might want to make Stella less obvious."
"She's not obvious. She was passing on a family message to someone. It had nothing to do with that. It was a friend from another lab."
"Oh." She nodded and stood straighter. "Okay, but if you need me you can call on me."
"I will." She nodded and headed out. He shook his head. "I'd get their girl up here first," he assured himself. "I'd let the idiots Don works with help before then." He checked his email and smiled at the lack of incoming problems. Just a bit of spam from the head office.
He could ignore those memos. He often did unless they were addressed to him or the lab personally.
It was nearly a month before anything new happened. The guys were bored, very bored, but they kept in contact with the few people who were keeping them sane: Calleigh, Ray Junior, Eric so his mother would quit nagging him. They had both sent the woman emails about how they liked her son as a *friend* and they were still very wary of moving beyond that to get him off the hook. Speed was typing something to Ryan when he grabbed his stomach and bent down. "Crap!"
"Speed?" Horatio came over to look, helping him to a softer chair. He felt his stomach, frowning. "Kicked?" Speed shook his head. "What is it?"
"I'm not sure that's not a labor pain," he ground out.
"Okay. Let me call Mac. He'll get Sheldon here." He found the phone and did that. "Mac, me. Speed just had a labor pain. Please. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll have Don drive him over," he promised, coming back to help him through this. "It'll be okay. We'll deal with this too," he promised, getting up to let them in when someone knocked. "Sheldon."
"You're not the ones I expected," Sheldon admitted. "But okay." He came over to check Speed. "Was it a tearing pain or a pushing pain? A pressure and squeezing pain?"
"Pressure and squeezing," Speed said, coming down off it. "I don't want those."
"Some mothers have practice labor for months," he offered, giving him a small smile. "Let's see what I can figure out." He slowly and gently pressed in the various muscle groups. The baby kicked him a few times. "He's not happy." He moved on and nodded. "That felt like a practice contraction but we can make sure when the next one happens."
"I have to have more?"
"She's just barely into her eighth month, Speed," Horatio said quietly. "She'd be in an incubator if she delivered now."
"I know." He shifted and groaned, holding onto his stomach. Sheldon found where the pain was and worked on getting it out. "Are these real ones?"
"Braxton-Hicks." Speed glared at him. "Practice labor." He kissed him on the forehead. "Alexx said to do that the next time I saw you," he offered with a grin. "She did say she had delivered one already and they were doing all right. The baby had to be shocked into a normal sinus rhythm again." They both stared. "Birth was not fun and the mother had just gotten into a fight with his partner." That got dual nods. "I do want to find an ultrasound I can borrow, just in case. If they get heavier, more regular, or if he feels like he's bleeding, I need to know immediately. Come here, Horatio." He checked his baby over too. "We feel all right."
"She's been quiet today," he said quietly.
"Good! That's a good indicator of sleeping regularly later." Horatio smiled at that. "Some kids just don't." He shrugged. "Let me call around, see if I can find an ultrasound or kick everyone out of the morgue tonight to use ours." That got dual nods. "Speed, go take a warm bath, that could help some." He nodded and let Don help him up and into the bathroom. He looked at Horatio. "Good instincts. At the first real one or the second real one I need to hear. After all, not like you guys came with an opening." That got a simple nod. "Good. I've also got some local anesthesia already plus prescription privileges for after the birth." Horatio really smiled at that. "I'll make it as painless as I can, Horatio."
"Thank you, Sheldon."
"Not a problem. If this was me, I'd be screaming and ranting at God."
"I got over that a few months back."
"Good." Don came out. "He settled in?"
"Water's running nice and warm, he put in some bubbles. We're good?"
"I need to find an ultrasound or clear the morgue tonight to use ours." He called Mac from the apartment phone. "Mac, me. Looks like practice labor. I still need the ultrasound." He smiled. "Doing some routine maintenance is a good thing," he agreed. "We can do that. Sure." He hung up. "Mac said we can do routine maintenance," he said, using finger quotes, "and pull it out tonight." That got a smile. "Now, go spoil him. Then yourself." Horatio nodded, going to do that. "Come on, Don. We're needed back."
"Of course. Guys, if you need anything, call us," he reminded Horatio. "Please." He walked Sheldon out, making sure the door was shut and locked behind him. "You okay?"
"I swore at God on their behalf when I found out," he admitted quietly. "Right now I'm in awe. They're both going to be strong and hopefully healthy." He slid into the passenger's seat. "What's up back at the office?"
"Danny and Monroe got into it. She decided to mention Sonny and I need to calm him down. Mac shoved him into the locker room and locked him in there while he went to talk to her." Sheldon moaned so Don smiled and started the car, then he looked around. "Tell me, does that look like a parabolic dish to you?" he asked, nodding at something.
"It does. Very interesting. Cuffs?"
"Of course. You?" Sheldon shook his head so Don opened his glove box. "Here, borrow a set." He got out and headed that way, hand on his gun. "You start that car and I'm shooting you," he said when he saw the guy with the dish move. "Get out of the car! Now!" The man looked stunned. "Right the hell now!" The man started to move. "Open it from the outside, put the dish down, buddy." Sheldon moved up on the other side, gun drawn. "If I have to repeat myself you're going to be a sorry bastard in booking! Now!" The dish got put down and the guy walked out, hands in clear sight. "Who're you?"
"NYPD. Answer mine or else."
"I'm Agent...." He looked around at the sound of a gunshot.
Don checked then nodded. "Call that in, Sheldon. It sounded like a diversion in the alley." Sheldon pulled out his phone to do that. Don moved closer and grabbed the guy, spinning him around against the car so he could cuff him. "You can talk to the boss." He checked the car and then gave the guy a shove toward his own. Sheldon gathered the surveillance gear, putting it into the trunk for now. They locked the other car and drove the guy back to the station. "Mac!" He looked over and groaned. "Found this putz using a parabolic dish on an apartment."
"I'm DEA," he complained.
"I don't give a shit! Doc put his gear in my trunk."
"Put him in my office. We'll talk to him in a few. Sheldon, get that...." Sheldon went to get the gear for him. "Thank you, Don. Danny's calmed down since then."
"Usually he burns hot then seethes. Should be an interesting night."
"Are you with this person?" the agent sneered.
Don looked at him. "Don't make me shoot you. I'm already having a bad day." The agent looked stunned. "What? Think Mac would tell on me? Probably not." He shoved him into the office and closed the door. "Sit down!" He looked at Mac. "It looked like it was pointing at the building but lower," he said quietly.
"We'll see." He accepted the box of stuff from Sheldon, frowning at it. "Let's hope it's self-taping." He walked into his office and shut the door, locking it so he could put things down onto his desk and look them over further. Then he patted the guy down to find his wallet and ID case. He put them down in front of him. "I have two witnesses in protection in that building," he said quietly. "You are endangering them. They are under assassination threat." The man shrugged as best he could. "Who's your target?" The man gave him a look. "You can cooperate or I can arrest you. Nowhere in here is a valid warrant for spying. You also verbally assaulted one of the detectives I work with. The choice is yours."
"I'm not saying a thing until my boss gets here."
"That's your right." He dialed the local DEA office. "It's Taylor, let me speak to the boss," he ordered. "Yes, him or her if she's in. Thank you." It was an incredibly short hold before a charming female voice came on. "Don't be so happy to hear from me, Belinda. I have one of your boys here in my office in cuffs. No valid warrant on him to spy, spying on a building where I've got two witnesses under death threat. Mouthed off to me and Flack." He smirked. "Exactly. Yup, him. I would, yes. Thank you." He hung up. "She'll be right down." He went pale. He sat down to log in the equipment and check for tapes. "Where does it feed back to?"
"Fine." He finished that sheet and started on the report so he wouldn't have to do it later. Someone knocked so he looked over and smiled at Danny, getting one back. "Excuse me for a moment." He got up to unlock it. "You better?"
"Much. Don just called her a know-it-all bitch." He grinned. "Can I help?"
"Not yet. Make sure the DEA agents get in here and only here."
"Sure thing, Mac. Your witnesses good? Don's looking awfully down."
"He's fine," he promised, giving him a gentle smile. "Go play door guard for a while then get back to work."
"Actually, I was about to log out for the day," he admitted, "but I can do that." He strolled off, it was always a good day when Mac got to threaten feds.
Ryan smiled at the email he printed off, taking it over to Calleigh's desk to show her. She smiled at the all caps at the end and handed it back. "Where is Delko?"
"Off helping his sister today." She gave him a look. "How are the godkids?"
"Doing just fine. Same as usual. The one who wanted to be a junior thug got talked out of it within minutes thanks to me and some reality. They decided BET and rap music was lame after that. Eric needs to talk to his nephew about dating two girls at once. Her mother caught the trio in bed." She shuddered. "I got to hear allllll about it last night."
"Call him, let him know now. Does his sister know?"
"I don't know. Her mother wasn't coherent enough to do more than scream and spit for over an hour. She called me doing that but I'm on speed dial. All I got was the screaming and spitting. When I got there she was still screaming and hissing at the kids, who were locked in the bedroom together and all shirtless." He called Eric, putting it on speaker on his cellphone, laying it on the table in front of him.
"Delko," a tired male voice answered. "Wolfe, if this is you I'm shooting you."
"You can try," he said dryly. "Calleigh's still better. Does your sister know that your nephew was in bed with two girls last night?"
"Excuse me?" Eric demanded. "My nephew was *what*?"
"Yeah, the godchild who's dating your nephew was found in her bed with him and one of her friends. All shirtless. Her mother was only able to scream and spit at the kids. By the time I got there they all looked pretty scared but also pretty tired. I dropped your nephew and the girl off at home and I've already talked to her mother. I'm not getting near your scary sisters however so I'm letting you have the chance to show your nephew why having two girls is wrong. I figured you'd know," he finished with an evil little smirk.
"Not for many years, not since I dated twins," Eric admitted. "That was back when I was a young kid too. I'll talk to him today."
"Thanks. By the way, remind him she's grounded. She's looking at military school in Kansas for her at the moment."
"Sure, I can do that," Eric agreed. "Thank you for not telling my sister. I'd have to have that talk with him anyway, but he'd be bruised and whimpering in his closet by the time she got done with him. Later, kids." He hung up and groaned, going to take a shower and get ready for the day. He grabbed a protein shake on his way out the door, drinking it on his way to where his nephew should be hiding. Because he was sure he wasn't in school today. He pulled up and looked over, then grimaced, rolling down his window. "Raymond Caine Junior, get yours and my nephew's ass in this car right the hell now!" he demanded. Ray flinched and looked. "Right the fuck now! Both of you. You run, nephew, and I will tell your mother where you were last night!" They both slunk over, getting into the back. "Thank you. Ray, why are you skipping school?" he asked, heading off again.
"Boredom. Stupid teachers. The usual."
"Your uncle's going to be pissed."
"How is he?"
"Good. I can let you call him while I beat the crap out of my nephew for having two girls in the same bed last night."
Ray looked at his buddy. "You are *so* the man," he joked.
"Thanks. She wanted to see if she liked girls or guys." He shrugged then slumped down when his uncle glared back at him. "Are you going to tell Momma?"
"You're going to be lucky if I don't tell your mother and my mother, nephew."
"Yes, Uncle Eric. Can we talk about girls?"
"Yes, we will be. Both of you. For a very long time." They both sighed and nodded. "You both could've come to me before this, guys. Really."
"Uncle H does pretty good telling me about stuff," Ray offered. "It's just he hasn't been here and my girlfriend's a ho."
"Sometimes that happens at your age," he admitted.
"She's eighteen, Eric."
Eric stopped the car and looked back at him. "You're fourteen, your girlfriend is eighteen?" He grinned and nodded. "How?" He ignored the honking people.
"I'm a Caine. It runs in the family?" he offered with a cute grin. Eric gave him a look then groaned and turned back around to drive again, taking them both back to his house so they could call Horatio to let his nephew brag while he had a *long* talk with his own nephew.
Horatio hung up and hung his head, shaking it slightly. "I'm going to kill Ray," he muttered.
"Which one?" Speed asked, looking over at him.
"Both." He looked at him. "Ray Junior's dating a college freshman. He said it comes with being a Caine." He sat down while Speed giggled. "Eric's nephew was in bed with two girls at once last night. They were apparently skipping school together today."
"Did Eric tell his nephew that he'd end up single, pathetic, and lonely like he was if he kept it up?"
"Yup. Or diseased, dead, and maimed." He looked at his own lover. "I'm not letting Eric give her any sex talks."
"Hmmm," Speed said, snickering through his latest mouthful of potato chips. He finally swallowed. "You know he's overprotective of his sisters. No matter how many women he has they have to stay pure."
"Still." He shook his head then leaned against Speed's side. "I ache."
"I do too. It's a good day to ache." He reached over to stroke over Horatio's lump, getting a moan. "My poor man."
"Thank you." He did the same for Speed, watching him get hard. "Why did your horny phase stretch longer?"
"Just lucky I guess," he teased. "Or extra testosterone from the son maybe." He snuck a kiss, earning a smile. "Want to go play?"
"You're supposed to be taking it easy."
"I know. So are you." Someone knocked so he got up with a groan of strain, holding his back all the way to the door. He looked then blinked. "No habla Englais," he said. He looked at Horatio, who got up and came to look. Horatio stared while he called Mac. "You should come see us," he said quietly. "No, but we've got ghosts." He hung up and looked at Horatio, who shrugged. Horatio opened the door then punched the guy standing there before slamming the door again and going back to the couch. "Sure. Want a bat? I found one in the closet."
"Do not tempt me," he warned. Someone knocked again. "That had better be Mac."
Speed looked. "No, that's Don." He opened the door and looked at him. "He's dead."
"So I heard from Mac. It's my day to watch you two cute ones," he offered with a grin.
"You missed it, Eric's nephew had two girls in bed last night."
"Just like his uncle," Don teased back. "So, who's our future torture victim?"
"Horatio's brother. He died while high and undercover."
"Interesting. We'll be back," he said with a grin, dragging Ray off. "C'mon, scuzzfart." He got him into the back of his car and looked around before heading off again.
"I need to protect them."
"I sincerely doubt they need you," Don said coolly. He headed back to the station and drug him to Mac's office, shoving him into the desk chair. Mac stared then at him. "He's dead, died in Miami while getting high undercover."
"Interesting. An officer?"
"Horatio's my brother!" Ray said, hopping up. Don shoved him back down. "Damn it, there's people looking for him!"
"We know, why do you think we're watching out for them," Mac said simply. Ray glared at him. "I don't think Horatio needs this sort of shock at the moment." He saw Sheldon go jogging past. "Go help him, Don." He nodded, hurrying after him. "Horatio's in a very delicate position right now."
"I noticed!" He glared at him. "There's Feds after both of them."
"What makes you think you can protect them?"
"What makes you think they need a junkie to do it?" Mac countered. "At least I'm clean, I'm a Marine, and I've got plans set up to help them when necessary." Ray gaped. "That's why your brother came to me, Raymond. Now, sit down!" He sat and Mac went to close the door. "What are you doing in the open?"
"I have to protect him. He's my brother."
"You do realize you could've led those same hunters to his door?"
"I know I wasn't followed. I've been watching your team guard the apartment for the last few days. How did this happen?"
"Those same hunters."
"Charming," he growled. "The father of the child?"
"One of the lab people who was also attacked." Ray just nodded. "They all know and he keeps in contact with them. It's being worked on, Raymond." He sat down again, looking at him. "I don't think Horatio's best interests have you being around right now. You represent a stress he doesn't really need." He handed over a tissue. "Your nose is seeping again."
"Thank you. He hit me."
"I'd have shot you," Mac promised. His phone rang. "Detective Mac Taylor." He listened. "Are they okay, Sheldon?" He smiled. "That's fine. Good work. No, stay there with them to make sure it was stopped. Thank you. Keep Don, he's on guard detail today." He hung up. "You started off preterm labor in your brother."
"They're how far along?"
"Barely into the eighth month."
"Damn. Well, not too early and it sounded like they got it stopped?" Mac nodded once. "Good. Can I talk to him?"
"No. Sheldon said no stress. He'll let Horatio know that you want to talk to him and let him make that decision."
Ray nodded. "I guess that's reasonable but I'm helping sit guard. I slipped my masters."
"As long as they don't see you and you stay clean," he ordered.
"I'm clean." He stood up. "Can I?"
"Go. Stay outside the building." That got a nod and he left, still dabbing at his nose. He called Don. "It's me. He's coming back but he'll stand guard for now. I told him to stay outside the building. Tell Horatio he slipped his masters to come protect him. Let him know it's up to him if he talks to Ray again. Do you guys want another guard? Well, Danny's off." He smiled. "I can do that." He hung up and paged Danny, getting a sleepy phone call. "I need you to stand guard on those witnesses. Come in so I can brief you." He hung up and sent a quick, quiet email to Calleigh about this. He was sure Horatio would be writing the rest of his family so he wouldn't have to inform them. Danny came in and he pulled out the research folder. "Close the door?" Danny did that and Mac let him have the file. Danny read then gaped in horror at him. "It happened down in Miami," he said quietly. Which he was still very thankful for. It was good that all the strange stuff went to Miami instead of hitting his lab. He was still having nightmares of him being pregnant. "The feds attacked them during an emergency drill. We're protecting two from federal hunters. Unfortunately they need Sheldon and Don inside. There's also a new complication. Horatio's brother Raymond supposedly died and was instead undercover in a drug ring. He's helping you."
"Sure," he agreed, handing it back. "They good?" He shuddered and forced that thought back into his head. He did not want to deal with the thought of pregnant men and labor.
"Sheldon said both babies are doing very well. They're both in the early eighth month. Ray showing up sent Horatio into labor."
"Understandable. Seeing ghosts can do that to a guy." He shook his head quickly. "Address?" Mac handed it over. "Who's relieving me?"
"You got it, Mac." He headed to do that, still shaking his head. He saw Lindsey and got an odd look. "Running errands for Mac." He headed out, taking the subway up there. Flack drove, he could commandeer his car. He found the guy standing against it and nodded at him. "So you're his brother?" That got a nod. "Danny Messer. Mac's CSI." He shook his hand. He called Flack. "It's me. I'm taking your spot until Mac gets here tonight. I need keys so we're not blatantly leaning on your car, Flack." A window opened and a set of keys got tossed out. "Thanks. Yeah, both of us." He hung up and grabbed the keys, then came back and opened the doors for them. It was a bit nippy today. He settled in, staring around the obvious parts of the block. "Anyone on the other sides?"
"No. I did a walking tour when I got back," Ray said quietly. "How did this happen?"
"The research notes said some sick fuck in the Feds," he said with a small shrug. "I'd hate to be them if they show up."
Ray nodded. "I'm hoping they're not going to. My brother's vicious when his family's in danger. Where's the father?"
"I only knew Mac was guarding witnesses. You need to ask them that."
"I'm not allowed near them."
Danny looked at him. "With how I heard you died? Yeah, probably not a good idea." He went back to watching the block, staring at one car that was slowly cruising. "I don't like the looks of that." He got out and pulled his badge, walking over to talk to the person pausing outside the building and looking up. "Yo, NYPD, open up." The window came down and the man inside gave him an odd look. "Why're you cruising here, sir?"
"My girlfriend lives up there. We're going out." Danny handed over his cellphone so he called her. "Dear, I'm outside. There's an officer here asking me why I'm loitering. Are you nearly ready?" He smiled. "That's fine." He hung up. "Thank you, officer."
"Not an issue. We're watching a nearby building and don't want people in the way." That got a nod and he parked, at least until a middle aged woman came out and got into the car, then he left. He went back to their car and slid in. "Hanging out waiting on his woman."
"Good. You tell them anything?"
"We're watching another building on the block."
"That'll work." He looked up at the lit window. "I wonder if he told my wife."
"Depends, is your wife gonna shriek?"
"Probably. She did at me plenty of times."
"Then he may have. I figure someone blew their cover down there."
"Maybe." He settled in for a long wait. "I've taken an apartment lower in the building."
"Good ta know, tell Mac."
"Sure. Who is he anyway?"
"Taylor? He's head of the felony crime lab. He and your brother are friends. They've worked together before."
"Oh. That explains why he ran up here." He nodded at that. He guessed it could be worse, it could be Stetler's baby instead of someone from the lab. He saw the guy from earlier come out and look around before coming over. "Your buddy."
Danny rolled down the window. "What's up, Don?"
"Horatio's stopped cramping. Doc and I are both staying and Doc's fixing dinner. You need something, Messer?"
"Nah, I'm good. Mac got me up from a nap." That got a grin. "They okay?"
"They're fine. The little sprouts are fine. Doc's got it and Mac's got plans."
"Mac's always got plans," Danny said with a grin. That got a nod. "Okay, well, we're here and this one has an apartment lower in the building."
"Sure." He headed back inside, going back to where Horatio and Speed were resting on the couch. "He's a persistent bastard."
Horatio looked over and nodded. "He always was. He still out there?"
"Yup and he's got a place in the building. Told Mac he slipped his minders."
"If it wouldn't endanger us I'd call them to pick him back up," Speed said, turning the page on his book. "Try Ray's cell again."
"I should." He called his nephew from his cellphone. "Sit, nephew. No, I'm fine, but I just had a bad shock. No, not twins," he said with a smile. "Nothing that big. No, more like seeing a ghost, Ray." He smirked. "I heard. That's who I'm talking about, yes." He nodded. "I've wondered myself," he admitted quietly. "Outside." He smiled. "I did already hit him once and I would like to do it again. How's your mother?" He smirked. "Good. We're safe. You can reassure her and Frank both of that. Yes, we are. Has Eric's mother let up on him yet?" He chuckled. "That's fine, Ray. No, I'd tell her if I was still speaking to her. Thank you. You're growing into a fine man, even if you did skip school to go see your girlfriend. No, you have plenty of time after school, Ray. No, that was more your father's thing. I went for personality, he went for trophies. Of course you can switch. I do miss and love you too, Ray. Be careful and be happy until I get back." He hung up and looked at him. "He's at the station waiting on her to get done."
"That's going to be a loud fight."
"Probably," Horatio agreed.
Ray Junior walked over to Frank's desk. "Got a call from someone."
Frank looked up. "Everything good?"
"More or less but I've got a bad message for mom. Can you corral her crankiness for me?"
"Sure." He got up and went to get Yelina into a better place to talk, the boy following a few minutes later. "What's going on?"
"Got a call from Uncle H. He's well, she's well. Speed's well. He had a bad shock earlier."
"Twins?" Frank joked.
"I asked the same thing," Ray admitted with a grin.
"You know?" his mother demanded.
"Yes, like a man I went to Uncle Horatio and he told me I was going to have a cousin to adore and spoil, Mom. He also just said he saw a ghost, punched him in the nose for dying and giving me a half-sister." She sat down suddenly, making squeaky noises. Frank patted her on the shoulder. "He's apparently up there and set off a few cramps but Uncle H did say he got to hit him already." He grinned at her. "I'm assuming we'll get our chance when he shows up."
"Learn a bit more tact, Ray," Frank ordered.
"Hey, I'm fourteen, I'm doing good right now," he said dryly. "I could've announced it out there."
"True." He nodded. "Thanks for the warning, kid."
"Welcome. Just think, one more month or so and I get a loveable little cousin." He grinned. "Oh, he wanted to know if mom was okay and if Eric's mom had let up on him yet. I told him she was fine and Eric's mother was pouting but more understanding that she couldn't force them together for the sake of the kids." He sat down across from his mother. "So, we have to figure out what we're doing about dad."
"I'm going to kill him," she told him.
"Let me get in a few hits first please."
She looked at him. "How long have you known?"
"Since about a week after you spazzed. I called Uncle H to see what was going on in your pointy head this time." He stared her down. "I didn't know you were a prejudice bitch, mom, but I'm not liking it and I'm happy that I'm turning more into Uncle H than either of my parents at the moment. By the way, I'm babysitting often," he said, standing up. "I don't care if you don't like it." He walked out, heading to the break room over by the labs. He found Ryan staring at the soda machine. "Water out?"
"Yeah and the juices suck."
"Then get a soda. Just one won't give you a gut." Ryan smiled and got what he wanted, then looked at him. "Is Eric here? Just heard from someone."
"I'll get him." He went to find Eric, nodding toward the break room. "Ray Junior's here."
"I dropped him off earlier. Why is he over here?"
"He said he just heard from someone." Eric hurried out. Ryan grinned. "He'll be a good daddy," he decided. "He's more fussy than I am."
Eric walked into the break room and closed the door. "What happened?"
"Apparently my father's not dead but he said they got the cramps stopped. Or at least I figured they did since he didn't sound like he was in pain. He got to hit him too."
"Good!" He smiled at that. "Anything else happen?"
"He wanted to make sure your mother had left you alone, how my mom was."
"She's being less pushy at the moment. Trying to work around the problem, though she did offer the other one to Marisol so I wouldn't have to have them both." Ray snickered and dialed *69 on his phone, handing it over. "Hey. How are you two?" He smiled. "No, Momma's better. She did suggest Marisol could have my spare one of you." Speed snickered and told Horatio who said 'no' very firmly. "That's what I told her. It's okay. How's your mom taking it?"
"Not good. I left her with Uncle Frank. I also told her she was being a prejudice bitch and I'd happily turn out more like Uncle H than either of my biological parents. Plus that I'm up for babysitting duties."
Eric repeated that and heard them both laugh. "So we're good down here. Yeah, we're not backed up. We're handling it. You two okay? Ray thought you might be cramping after earlier." The 'Sheldon got it stopped' made him happier. "If you can, give me some time so I can come up, guys. Please. Sure." He snickered. "I will. You two behave." He hung up. "Your uncle said you'd have to quit skipping school and have better taste in women than your present one to turn into him."
"I can do that." He took his phone back and walked off again, going back to his mother's area. He found her crying. He was even nice enough to hand her a tissue. "I'm going for the heavy bag in the gym. Want to join me?" She looked up at him. "As you told me, you're an adult you can change your mind if you want," he said blandly, heading for the gym to work out some of the anger he was holding in. Before he called some friends who were thugs to see if they had any contacts up in New York.
The day came as it always does when the baby decides it's had enough. Horatio woke up gasping and moaning in pain, doubling over holding his stomach. He kicked Speed until he woke up and called Sheldon, panting his way through it. Speed's voice came closer and he was trying to soothe him, holding his hand, stroking his hair. "Just make it stop," he ground out.
"I'm trying. Breathe through it. We don't want you to hyperventilate." Someone pounded then walked in. "Out!" he snapped.
"No! You need me. Sheldon's halfway across town." Ray knelt beside the bed. "Here, grab my hand. I've been here before, Horatio." Horatio slapped him a few times until he moved. "Yup, this is real labor." He took his hand, letting him squeeze it. "Don't try to push. Just let the pain happen. Like you got shot again." Horatio slowly came back down. "There. Better." He checked the clock. "You've got about thirty minutes before Sheldon can get here. Let's time this one and the next one, okay?" Horatio nodded limply. "It'll be okay. She'll be out soon and then I'll let my wife and son kill me since my son called someone to have my ass kicked by some thug brats."
"I thought he quit hanging with them," Speed said.
Horatio looked at him. "Not always." He patted Speed's stomach. "Anything?"
"Not yet. Some extra kicking." He stroked over Horatio's stomach for him, making him relax. "Just a bit longer, H. Then we'll be out of the woods and we can go back to work in a few weeks."
Horatio nodded. "At home."
"At home," he agreed with a smile. "Maybe I'll let Ryan clean my place for me. That way it's really clean." That got a small smile and someone else knocked. Speed got up with some help from Ray. "Thanks." He waddled that way, finding Stella and Mac. "Only him so far. Plus Ray."
"Yay," she said, walking him back into the bedroom. "Sheldon's on his way." She stroked over Horatio's stomach. "I can do some good metamorphics to help with the pain until he can get here, Horatio." He nodded weakly. "Good boy. Mac, set up the blood pressure machine?" He did that and she got to work soothing the residual pain. "That's my boy," she soothed. She saw Speed hiss and hold his stomach, reaching over to test the muscles. "That's a contraction too, Speed." He whimpered. "How long have you had those?"
"A day or so. I thought they were more fake ones." Don came in and shut the door. "Hey, the gang's all here."
"Of course we are. We want to hold the babies first," Don joked. "How else are we gonna snatch 'em so we can be godparents?"
"They're going to have a lot of them," Horatio said dryly. "You guys, Ryan Wolfe. Calleigh."
"Alexx said she'd be a grandmother," Speed offered, resting his head on Horatio's shoulder. "At least we nearly made it to the due date."
"We nearly did," he agreed. He yawned. "This is not making me happy." He winced as another one started and Stella went back to massaging his stomach. "I'm never doing this again."
"We'd better not be able to," Speed agreed. "Someone call Eric?" Mac nodded, moving to do that. He winced and hissed, letting Don take his hand. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Means I don't have to go do paperwork tomorrow if you break my hand," he joked, grinning at him. Speed snorted but held on, riding out the pain.
Sheldon finally got there and checked them both over before opening his bag and pulling on some gloves. He pulled out the local anesthesia and injected them both liberally. "I need a sterile field, people." Mac moved to help him with that while Sheldon scrubbed up. He came back and let Stella hold his gloves for him, then came over to drape over the areas Mac was preparing. "Horatio first since he's in more pain." That got a nod. He pulled out the sterile packs he had made, putting it beside him once it was open. "Okay, Horatio, focus on someone other than your stomach. It won't be pretty and I don't have a shield." He pulled out the scalpel and got to work, letting his brother hold a hand over his mouth. "He does need to breath."
"That's why I gave them a local," Sheldon said firmly. He finally got down to where he needed to be, finding the baby by feel. "There we are." He pulled her out feet first and then caught her head, looking at her. "Hi, snookums." Stella put on gloves so she could hold the baby while he got her breathing on her own and clipped the cord. "There we go. Weigh, measure, and mark the time, Stella." She nodded, going to do that while he made sure he cleaned up all the excess tissue and fluids. He didn't want any chance of infection. When he was done he stitched Horatio's stomach back up and moved to do Speed's. Mac had on gloves this time so he opened the second pack and got to work on him, making Speed sigh when the baby came out. "There we are, one healthy little boy. Already trying to scream." Mac took him to hold, letting him clean him up and cut the cord. "Do the same thing she is." He nodded, going to do that, taking the blue squeezy bulb with him to suck out any extra stuff Sheldon had missed. He cleaned up that side and stitched Speed up, then moved back and pulled off his gloves. He removed the drapings, wiped off their stomachs and put bandages on carefully over the stitches.
"I'm sure you know what you're doing with those?" They both nodded. "Good boys." He smiled. "Let me go check on the tots." He walked over to look, taking her to look over. "Hi." She continued to cry. "I know, you're cold." He finished checking her over. "Perfectly healthy." He handed her off. "Go ahead and put on a diaper and clothes after a quickie bath, Stella." She nodded, doing that. He took him, finishing the sucking job Mac had started. "Do you have post nasal drip?" he teased with a smile, getting a weak fuss. "I know. It's loud, bright, and cold," he soothed. He finished the weighing and measuring. "There we go. Now Uncle Mac can put on a diaper and all that good stuff. Yes he can." He handed him back and made notes on the birth certificates. Then he came back to administer some post birth pain killers, making both fathers sleep. "All right it's Miller time," Sheldon decided. "They're both healthy and happy babies. Did we get any bottles?" Stella nodded at the kitchen. Don came over to make one. "Thanks, Don." Both godparents settled down to feed the babies, making him smile. "Good. We should rest. We'll need to sit with them for a few days."
That got mass nods. "We can do that, Doc," Don promised. "Why don't you crash in a corner?" He nodded, taking the comfortable chair and end table for his feet. The others settled in to hand off the babies now and then. "They've both got dark hair. Must take after dad."
"I dare you to call Horatio mommy," Mac taunted but he was smiling.
"You know, we have the formula, you can do the same thing," Don teased back.
"I'd prefer doing it the natural way," Mac assured him. "I don't think I could take being pregnant. The mood swings would kill someone. Probably Danny," he admitted.
"No, you'd get Lindsey," Stella assured him. "Danny's smart enough to run and hide. She'd try to calm you down." She shifted and the baby girl cooed at her. "Hi. Did your daddy pick out a name for you yet?"
"Not that I know of," Mac admitted. "I know Eric's mother kept sending him lists of names to his work email."
"We can figure that out tomorrow. I agree with Doc, let's rest before they drive us insane," Don ordered. He yawned. "I was having good dreams about supermodels. The phone rang and they all turned into Monroe on a mothering kick until I woke up screaming." Mac snickered at that. Stella just whimpered and reached over to pat him on the shoulder in sympathy. He found the birth certificates and texted the information to Eric's phone, making him a happy guy in the clubs. At least until his mother heard.
Horatio walked into work his first day back, nodding at his boss. "I'm cleared for duty, sir." He handed over the forms from Sheldon. His and Speed's. "He's behind me."
"I heard." He looked at him then at the infant in her carrier. "She's coming in today?" She was wearing an outfit that matched Horatio's suit and had on baby sunglasses that looked like daddy's - only they were mirrored. Even the pacifier complimented the outfit.
"I'm assuming I have enough paperwork to keep me busy and she'll be cooed over all day," he said with a small smile, taking off his sunglasses. He heard a squeal and looked around, smirking at Frank. "Nearly scared me, Francis."
"I know. I can't help it, they're cute!" He came over to take the carrier and put her onto a table so he could look at her. "Hi, snookums."
"Rachel Andrea Caine."
"Rachel then." He beamed and played with her stomach, getting a few kicks for it. "Such a strong girl to put up with your daddy. Yes you are." Speed came in with his on his stomach in a carrier. "Did you ride with him on the bike!" he demanded.
"He was perfectly safe. He was under my new jacket." He nodded at the boss. "We're back, it won't be boring anymore."
"Good. Let's go to Horatio's office." That got a nod and Horatio took his daughter but Frank stole her, making them all smile. They walked into the labs and Cooper let out the girliest squeal yet, running out to see the babies. "Calm yourself," the Chief ordered.
"They're adorable!" He took the baby from Frank to cuddle once he had her free. "Such a little princess of forensics. Yes you are."
"My office, Cooper," Horatio ordered. He walked that way cooing at her. "Where's everyone else?"
"On their way in. I saw you pull in and I called Calleigh. They're almost done with a scene." He opened the door and then a window because it was musty in there. "There, that's much better. It's obvious Ryan hasn't struck in here yet. You'll like Uncle Ryan. He won't be able to stand diapers so he'll change you all the time. No chance for an icky diaper rash, Rachel." He settled down on the couch with her, Frank next to him. "Hi, Detective."
"Hand over my godchild or I'm telling the coffee lady you've got the hots for her."
"Ewww." He handed her over and took Speed's. "There's our future Lord of Forensics. Yes you are," he said, smiling at the confused looking baby. "Your daddy has that look when we wake him up after he falls asleep on the break room couch."
Ryan leaned in and smiled. "Hi, guys. Welcome back. Horatio, I cleaned your office last week, so it should be free of everything but a bit of dust. I can get that later." He looked at the babies, coming over to look at them. "Hey, kids." They both cooed at him. "Yes, it'll be just fine and we'll love on you two all day," he assured them, patting both their hairs down. "I see you look like the daddy, but that's okay, we won't pick on you for being like him. Even if you do turn into a slut like daddy is." He smiled and beamed at his boss. "Hi, welcome back. Your sister-in-law wanted a call. She was on the scene with us and I'm thinking she wants to apologize. Also, your nephew wanted a call. He's been helping me babysit now and then to learn how to do it properly. Let me know if you need someone to watch them today." He walked out, going down to the lab.
"Hand over my godchildren!" Calleigh demanded as she walked in. Cooper handed her the one he had and got up so she could have his spot. "Thank you, Cooper. Good boy. Now go play." He winked at the boss and headed out. "There you are, Steven. Yes, such a good boy." He snuggled into her shoulder with a yawn. "I know, it's been a big day already." He patted him on the back, smiling at the other one. "Hi, Rachel." She cooed at her, but looked a bit tired. "Why don't you nap on Uncle Frank? He's very comfy. He's got some padding and everything."
"Gee thanks," Frank complained, but he was smiling when he let the baby rest against his shoulder. She snuggled in and grabbed his hair with one hand, spitting onto his neck.
"With that said, I should find Eric," Speed offered.
"He's behind us somewhere with Alexx," Calleigh assured him. "We'll have the baby shower later tonight, guys." That got smiles and nods. "Good!" Eric leaned in but Alexx shoved him inside. "They're sleepy."
"At that age they should be." She looked at them, doing a quick check to make sure they were all healthy. "My grandbabies are so cute," she said, handing them back but making Eric sit down since Frank's phone was going off. Frank handed him Rachel and got up to take the phone call with a smile for the new fathers. Calleigh moved closer so he could see his son too. "Awww." She took a picture and then of the fathers. "You two look fit." She kissed them each. "We'll do the shower tonight, boys." She headed out to go brag to the others about how cute they were.
"They're going to be some spoiled kids," Speed told Horatio, who nodded.
"We'll love them anyway, they're still ours," Horatio agreed.
Epilogue: 2 months later:
Eric sighed as Speed opened the door at Horatio's house. "My mother's being pushy again."
"She told my landlord I was moving and had my stuff packed and put into storage." Speed snickered and let him in, pointing at the couch. "Thanks. I'll even help with the midnight feedings. Not the first time."
"Sure." He kissed him. "Be a good boy, Eric." He went back to bed so he could molest Horatio some more. "I know you heard." Horatio moaned. "Good." He went back to torturing him orally, making Horatio snap and pounce him again. That had been where they were when Eric had knocked. Rachel fussed and Eric came up the stairs to get her, making her quit fussing and settle down. He was good at that. Both the kids loved him and Ryan. Speed was moments from coming when he heard another knock, this time a quiet one. They both groaned when Eric went down there but Speed put Horatio's hand on his cock. Horatio gently stroked him and it was enough. He came and Horatio followed, groaning out loud. That woke up Steven. Eric came back up the stairs to get him and take him back down too.
"What's going on?" Horatio called quietly.
"Wolfe went over the research notes again." Eric finished his trek, finding Ryan cuddling the daughter of the family. "She okay?"
"Fine. Wanted to cuddle like the daddies were." He grinned. "Babies do that." That got a nod and Steven settled down in his arms to cuddle too. Horatio and Speed both came down the stairs so Ryan handed them a folded over piece of paper. "One of the other guys asked me to look over the full notes when more were found."
Speed sat down and read. "Well at least we don't have the parts for that."
Ryan looked at him. "If the solution isn't needed to be given this time...."
"It doesn't?" Horatio demanded, taking the paper. He leaned against the back of the couch. "Last time didn't they have to pad the solution around the embryo?"
"Yup. This time they only need to provide an embryo. His system's still filled with the solution. I had Alexx check my findings." He looked at them. "I'm not sure how unprotected sex would take but I'm doubting it. I did feel you needed to be warned tonight."
"Works for me," Speed agreed. "No eggs though."
"Thankfully," Horatio agreed. "I didn't want to go through that again." He frowned a bit, looking at Eric. "What about the paternal donors?"
"Some of them were given it, half weren't. It was a sub-test of the experiment. The guy who had twins was one who got given it." That got a shudder. "Also, when the new stuff was uncovered by your brother, he found out that they did try me, Horatio. Both ways. The first apparently didn't take for some reason and the second we all know why they couldn't get a semen sample."
Horatio nodded. "Is it in your system?" Ryan nodded. "You're sure?"
"At a lighter dose but yes."
"Crap," Eric said, staring at him. "You can't be thinking...."
"Some day I might," he admitted. "When I want them to be mine and not everyone else's kids." He smiled and handed Rachel off. "I did think you should be aware of that so you could work through any implications since Eric's another one who got the serum." He stood up. "I've got it all locked in Calleigh's desk at work whenever you're ready to look it over."
"Is anyone else pregnant?" Speed asked.
"The guy who asked is. We don't know how." He shrugged. "The Feds could be back."
"Thank you for the warning, Ryan," Horatio said quietly.
"I don't want to have you guys hide again. Eric annoyed Calleigh for weeks while you were gone." He grinned and left once Eric had snorted in displeasure.
"Well, that's bad news," Speed agreed. "You were wearing a condom, right?" Horatio nodded at that.
"I feel really sorry for that one guy who was carrying number eleven while his wife was carrying number ten," Eric offered. Horatio shuddered at that. Eric grinned at him. "Don't you want a big family, H?"
"Not quite that large. Those two are more than enough for me." He took his son to hold. "Hi, Steve. Ready to go back to bed?" The baby cooed and leaned forward to suck on his nose. "Hungry? We can do that." Eric got up to fix a bottle. "Thank you, Eric. How long before you can find your own place?"
"I don't know, Momma threatened to burn it on me."
"I'll talk to her in the morning," Speed muttered. "Again." Horatio smiled at that, nodding. "Then again, Ryan did say he knew someone who'd love to tape it if we did get together."
Eric leaned out of the kitchen. "I still like the ladies, guys." He disappeared again, bringing the bottles out once they were warm. "Here we go. Two nummies for the little tummies." He handed one to each parent. "Let me put them back in bed. You two go cuddle."
Speed carried their daughter up. "You might as well come up so we can talk, Eric. We'll put on more clothes."
"Just throw on a sheet, guys. Not like I'm looking," Eric said from the nursery. He took Rachel and put her down as well. "There we go. All snuggly." He grinned and they both grinned back, letting him turn on the mobiles. He shut off the lights and backed out, running into Horatio's chest. "Sorry, H."
"Not a problem, Eric. Come on. Take off your shoes." He did that and laid down on the free side since Speed cuddled against his chest. "Now, she did what?"
"She said it's not right that I'm not with my children, even if they weren't created with my consent. If I had donated to lesbians she'd want me there with them too, even being the nanny. So she told my landlord I was moving, had my stuff packed and sent to storage, and left me a letter saying that. I have no idea where she put my stuff." He pulled out the letter to hand over. "That's what she left with my landlord. She said one of you will have to beg to get me my stuff back. Fortunately she can't get into my bank accounts or I'd be really miserable right now."
Speed patted him on the back. "It'll be fine, Eric." Someone else knocked. "It's like Grand Central Station tonight," he complained, getting up to answer the door. He didn't care if he was naked. "Calleigh?" She sniffled and hugged him. "What's wrong?" He checked, no one they knew had driven her, a cab was pulling around the corner. He let her inside and sat her down before going for something like pants or boxers, something. She followed him up the stairs and got other hugs.
"What happened, Calleigh?" Horatio soothed, stroking her back.
"I... Dad." She sniffled and looked at him. "He said I'm not...."
"Shh," Horatio soothed, letting her snuggle into his side. "Whatever he said he was wrong and a drunk asshole. Again." She shook her head. "No? He wasn't drunk?" She shook her head again. "What did he say?" She whispered something and he stiffened. "He is very wrong, Calleigh. Extremely wrong. Am I clear?" She nodded, looking at him. "It's all right."
"Hi, Eric," she said, catching sight of him. "Why're you here?"
"My mother told my landlord I'm moving, had my stuff packed up, and said either I'm here with them or I'm not getting anything back."
She let out a small smile at that. "That's worse than Alexx's plans." He nodded at that.
"Alexx was planning on ambushing us too?" Speed asked.
"Yeah, she thinks we'd do good together as a trio," Eric told him.
"Guys, I'm worn out by one guy, much less two!" Speed complained. Horatio smirked at him. "Not helping."
"You talk to his mother tomorrow and I'll talk to her father." He kissed her on the top of the head, seeing the sleepy, mumbly, exhausted young woman on his chest. "Shh, you rest, Calleigh." She snuggled in and used his chest hair to hold onto. Eric grinned but went back to the couch. Speed gave him a look. He gave a pointed look at the hand in his chest hair then at him. Speed helped him into a pair of boxers under the sheet and it was good enough for now. At least until one of the kids woke them all up.
Ryan looked up the next morning, seeing all the tired people. "Huh." He walked out. "Did I miss a meeting?" he asked.
"You started one off," Eric assured him. "Is my mother here?"
"Your father is. He's waiting in the atrium." Eric headed that way. "Calleigh, your father called and the receptionist handed it to me for some reason. I don't know why." He handed over her message. "If you need an alibi, I'm your man. H, the Chief was thundering around earlier blustering about Feds and stupid assholes who screw with formulas so they're everlasting. He wants a call from you and Speed. I told him I told you both, he said he didn't care." He handed over that message. "Oh, and Stetler's already made a joke about me going for it. He's damn lucky I walked away that time. Really." He walked away, going back to work.
Horatio plucked Calleigh's message from her hand, smiling at her. "Let me. You go sign in and all that stuff." She nodded, going to do that. "Speed?"
"I'll get with the Chief." He went to do that while Horatio went to have a talk with Calleigh's father about how he was ruining her career. They all avoided the atrium, even the people standing there listening avoided the atrium. They could all hear Eric screaming at his father and no one was going to interrupt the probable homicide in progress. Speed listened then walked in and patted Eric on the back. "What makes you think we're going to become a trio?" His father gaped at him. "I'm worn out with one. Why do I need a second? Besides, Eric doesn't like men," he said slowly and clearly. "Trust me, if they had used someone else's we probably wouldn't be with them either. I have what I want from Eric, he's a good friend. He's the guy I can go cry on when I need to. I'm not going to ruin that or ruin his relationship with the kids. Now, quit forcing it! Before you don't get to see the kids. We're too damn tired for this!" He walked off, going to find the Chief, who was still stomping around Frank's desk. He growled at him and he stopped, looking at him. "Ryan told us. We heard. Thankfully there's no eggs in our relationship. You might say we're allergic to them at the moment. Now, anything else?"
"One other one did, Speedle."
"I'm sorry for the guy. Is he all right?" He nodded. "Did someone work to do that to him?" He swallowed and nodded. "Can we have them?"
"If you can find them." He handed over a disc. "That's got all the information the other one found."
"Sure. We can do that. I'm sure all of us in the lab want to make sure there's no repeat of the mood swings." Frank nodded quickly. "See?" He smiled sweetly. "Now, we've got other problems as well. Anything else?" He shook his head. "Thanks." He walked off, watching some of the guys stare at him. "What?" he demanded finally.
"You got caught?" one of the guys asked, looking hesitant. Speed nodded. "Really?"
"Really. You didn't notice the honey on *everything* I ate or the mood swings?"
"You're always moody," another officer, this time female, noted. "Can't much tell the difference between male PMS and your usual problems." She looked at him. "How's the family?" she asked with an evil smirk.
"Fine and for that you get to help us investigate. Go to Horatio's office, now." She walked off still happy. He looked around. "Anyone else since they're trying to come back and do it again?" The men all shuddered and shook their heads. "You sure? They think they can make the formula permanent this time."
"I'll shoot them for you. I swear I will shoot them for you, Speedle, just please don't have any more mood swings around us," one officer begged. He still remembered the day he had made Calleigh, nice, sweet, even tempered Calleigh, walk off crying with one.
"Sure. We'll let you know who." He walked off, finding her having reported and giving her reasons for smarting off to get the assignment. It did look good on her. He handed over the disc. "Chief said it's ours. One guy promised to shoot them so he never had to see another mood swing. Frank was in total agreement to that idea." He grinned. "She smarted off so she gets to help."
"More than reasonable," he agreed, turning to insert it into his computer and run it. "Who gathered it?"
"Ah." He nodded and got to work on the files, printing out the pertinent parts. He handed over pictures. "Go over those. Their ID's are in there as well. Find them." They nodded, her going with Speedle to do that while he read over the rest of the file.
Speed woke up in the lab, moaning and holding his head. "What the fuck?" he muttered. He tried to sit up and couldn't quite grab the table. He grabbed a file and the beaker on top of it crashed down, making him fall back when his handhold fell.
Someone came into the lab. "Speed!" She helped him up, looking him over while she dialed Alexx with one hand. "Alexx, it's Valera, I just found Speed passed out on the floor in the trace lab. Please." She hung up and got him seated, looking him over. "Speed, can you hear me?" He nodded, one hand drifting up to hold his head. "Crap. What happened?" Ryan came in with Alexx. "Ryan, he was passed out."
"He was just fine at lunch, then he got a call. When did he get back?" Ryan asked. Alexx's eyes went wide and she moved Speed's shirt, not finding a mark on his stomach. She moved his pantsline out of the way and still nothing. Speed looked at her. "Speed, did you come back from the Peterson homicide on your own?"
Speed frowned. "What homicide?"
"I'm calling Horatio," Valera said, doing that. She got his voicemail. She tried Eric. She got him. "Get back to the lab. Speed was collapsed in Trace. Ryan asked him that, he said what homicide. Now! Right now!" She hung up and helped Alexx move him to the break room.
"I'm going to get Cooper to check the cameras," Ryan said, jogging to do that. "Cooper?" He got a long blink. "You okay?"
"No, I feel light headed," he admitted. "You guys were all gone. Gas." He pointed at something. "Backup." Then he passed out again. Ryan hit the emergency switch to send them into lockdown and reran the backup Cooper hid from everyone. He found the guys in black outfits and the cloud of gas. He saw them carrying in Speed. He saw them carrying in another body. "Someone check H's office!" he yelled. An officer went to do that. He went back to work saving it down and copying it onto a few discs so they had backups. He went to check on Alexx. "Cooper's sedated too. There was a group of guys carrying Speed in while a sedative gas floated around."
"Okay, that explains why someone hit the switch," she agreed.
"Yeah, me. He's still passed out but he's snoring so I didn't think there was that much of a problem."
She smiled. "That'll work. I'll go check on him. You sit with Speed, baby." She went to do that. She saw Horatio rushing in. "Where were you? Valera got your voicemail!"
"I was talking with Calleigh. Why? What happened?"
"Sedative gas and some guys carrying Speed back in. There's no marks on his stomach."
"Okay." He went to check on him then followed to her to the AV lab, letting her hit the switch to run the paused tape Ryan had left up. He watched it, frowning greatly. "Who is where?"
"Valera got Eric. Ryan hit the switch when he found Cooper passed out."
"That's good. I like that." He put his hands on his hips. "No marks on Speed?"
"Not unless they didn't go in from the front," she offered. "I checked for needle marks; I can do a smaller search if I need to."
"Please. Just in case. We were warned and we're hunting them this time." She nodded, going to do that since Cooper was starting to come around. "Cooper, who else was here at that time?" he asked gently.
"Me, Natalia. Calleigh but she left with Eric." He nodded, patting him on the head. "Ow."
"Sorry. Come on, let's get you into the break room too." He nodded, letting them help him up and out there. "Mr. Wolfe!" he called.
"I've saved down the film five times, Horatio. One's on your desk."
"Thank you." He sent a copy to the Chief then went up to check on the other labs. Eric came rushing in. "Are you all right?"
"So far, why?"
"Were you on a scene?" Eric nodded slowly. "They used a sedative gas."
"Charming. Who got hit?"
"Speed and Cooper. Boa Vista is presently missing."
"Uh-huh. Needle marks?"
"Alexx is doing a closer check."
"Good!" He went to help Ryan do the trace lab's doors and other flat surfaces for prints. "Do we think they left any?"
"I don't know, I don't care. I'm doing it anyway. I'll clean it up later."
"Okay." He put on some gloves and got down to help. "Someone turn off the alarm, it's annoying!" he yelled. It was cut out. "Thank you!"
"So far. Where were you?"
"Um, lunch." He looked at him. "Why?"
"Last I knew, you were supposed to hit my scene. I ended up having Calleigh but she left after a few minutes."
"I...." He frowned. "No, I went to lunch, I came back and found Speed on the floor." He checked his watch then scowled. "It's four."
"I know that," Eric agreed. "You went to lunch at eleven-thirty because you got a call out at eight this morning." Ryan blinked at him. "Alexx, come check him!" he yelled. She came in to gather Ryan. "He's missing time."
"Okay." She walked him into the bathroom to check him over, finding one good sized needle mark. "Oh, sugar." He looked then went pale and she had to help him sit down. "Well, crap!" She went to call Horatio. "Ryan's got a needle mark and he was missing time." He hurried after her, going to run the bloodwork immediately.
Two months later, Ryan trudged into the morgue. "I need the ultrasound," he said grimly.
"I thought you'd be okay."
"I would if I had kept down lunch today and yesterday." She gaped at him. "Apparently the pills you gave me didn't work. We need to use the ultrasound."
"I've got it set up." She pulled him into that room, getting him down to look. She pressed gently, he had good muscles so nothing was blocking the sound waves. She stared at something, enlarging it. Then she moved the wand and her eyes went wide. She did it again. "Oh, damn."
"Oh damn what?" he asked coolly.
"Baby, you're *real* pregnant."
"Uh-huh. Like I'm having a litter?"
"FOUR!" he shrieked. Horatio came rushing in. "Four!" he demanded.
"Lay back down!" she ordered. She got a marking pen and started on his left side, moving over. She circled each one when she came to it. "That last one's in a bad spot," she admitted.
"I'm going to kill someone," he noted patiently. "Any idea who?"
Horatio nodded. "The same person who did your experiment back in college." Ryan tensed, glaring at him. "His suicide note said he was paying you back for it since he had ruined your life but you so clearly loved children." He stroked his hair. "We'll handle it, Ryan."
"I'm so getting patted by all my friends." He flipped open his phone and dialed a number. "Diana, it's Ryan. I need a hand holder. Can you come to the morgue and take my gun? Thank you." He hung up and looked at Alexx. "Are any unhealthy?"
"Nope. One's in a bad spot, a bit too far over, but nothing else."
"Normal women have problems carrying four, Alexx."
"I'm not saying you won't be in trouble, sugar, but beyond that they look okay. I can call the guy who did the others for you."
Ryan whimpered. "Damn it." He got up and wiped the gel off his stomach, looking down at the little ovals. His friend walked in looking concerned. He pointed at the frozen screen. She looked, squealed, then hugged him. "Four," he told her.
"Oooohhh! Now we'll get to fuss like you did over us!" She gave him a tight squeeze. "You poor thing. Lieutenant, can we borrow him? Some time with his godchildren will calm him down."
"Go ahead," he agreed. "I want Ryan back in here in the morning so we can go over duties." That got a nod and she led him off. "Ryan, gun?" Ryan handed it over and let her lead him out. "Four?" he asked quietly.
"Yup, four." She looked at him. "I'm hoping they had other samples or samples stored."
"If not, Eric's mother is going to fuss over someone else," he sighed, heading to tell Speed. Since he had passed out it was a good chance at least one was his. "Ryan is," he said from the doorway. Speed moaned. "Times four."
"Four!" he demanded.
"That was his reaction," Horatio said blandly.
Speed looked at him. "Please tell me I'm not a candidate?" Horatio nodded. "I'll beg, H."
"We'll do what we can. For right now we'll have to start limiting his duties sooner."
"One of his friends drug him home to play with his godchildren."
"I can handle that." He went to see what Ryan was working on, finding Eric happy and cheerful in there. He paused. "You looked the same way when I started to puke."
"I don't know why I'm happy," he admitted, grinning at him. "But Momma's off my back."
"And Ryan's pregnant with four kids."
"Yup. Just heard from H."
"Oh, shit." He called his mother. "Tell me you didn't ask them to do it again," he demanded in Spanish. His mother hung up on him. He growled. "I think she did." They both saw Calleigh going to get sick and Speed moaned. He understood the nature of throwing up better than Eric did. He put his head down, mentally screaming at God that he had parents at the moment. Horatio came in to pat his back. "Calleigh's getting sick."
"Probably. Alexx can do the test to make sure." Eric looked at him. "We'll deal, Eric."
"H, I'm not so sure she didn't ask!"
"We'll deal with it, Eric," he repeated. Eric nodded, giving him a hug before going back to work. Horatio went to call his boss. "We weren't quite in time. That day, the pills didn't work on Wolfe. Calleigh's also suspiciously ill." He nodded at the instructions. "I can do that. If that's true we should form a commune." He smiled at the encouragement for that idea and the thought that Eric would do good driving a luxury minivan instead of a sedan. "Thank you for the blessing, sir." He hung up and called his brother. "I want them begging in front of me, Raymond. They made Mr. Wolfe too pregnant for his own good." He hung up and sat down, considering how to handle this. He could barely handle Speed most nights, but to have the other three too? Because he was not letting his family get away from him. "Damn it, I'll have to tell Yelina," he sighed. He did text Frank to warn him he'd be fussing over Ryan soon. Then he turned off his phone, his desk phone's ringer, and settled in to brood in his office until the daycare brought the kids over. Then he could play and be happier.