Horatio smiled when Xander was let into his office Monday morning by Speed.  "Did I forget something?"

"Keys."  He held a hand out.  "I want to go look around and I can't get back in without keys."

Horatio chuckled and handed over his keys.  "There you go.  Anything else?"  Xander kissed him.  "Mm.  Nice.  Need money?"

"I still have my road trip fund and I'm sure I can find a tour bus."  He put down a bag.  "You missed breakfast and I would not allow that with Mac so you don't get that right either."  He smiled and walked out, happier now.  He waved at the new people he had met, running into someone else at the elevator.  "Hi," he said quietly, reaching around him to push the button.  "Going down?"

"I am."  He looked at the boy.  "Do I know you?"

"Hagen, leave him alone," Calleigh called from somewhere.  "Ask Horatio."

"A suspect maybe?" he amended with a mean smirk.

Xander snickered. "Only if you're a stupid Fed who thinks that airlines should strand us for hours on end because someone was having a seizure."  He got onto the elevator when the doors opened.  "Coming?  I'm not going to bite you.  You're not mine."

The detective laughed and got onto the elevator too, looking the boy over once he had hit the button for the lobby.  "Those are Horatio's keys."

"Yup, they are.  I'm going on a tour of the city."  He grinned at him.  "First time in town."  He got off at the lobby, handing over his visitor's pass.  "Thank you."

"You're welcome, Xander."  He beamed and walked off, bouncing the keys in his hands a few times before he stuck them in his pocket.  She smiled at the detective.  "He's a nice boy.  It's nice Horatio's watching out for him."

"He's a relative of Horatio's?"  She shrugged.  "Who said that?"

"Speed.  He said Horatio was taking care of him.  He's a very polite boy."  She watched two obvious Feds stroll in.  "Sign in or don't be let on the elevator," she demanded when they tried to pass her, pushing the button to freeze the elevators.  "I am not playing."  They came back to sign in and she let them on and up to the lab floor.  "Probably a bad case," she sighed, shaking her head.  "Anything good or interesting your area?"

"Not really.  Domestic, scam artist from the victim.  The same old same old from Miami."  He went back to his desk to talk to the other detectives.  "Hey, Yelina, who's that boy that Horatio's taking care of to him?"

She gave him a confused look.  "What boy?"


"Xander?" she asked, looking very confused.  "I've never heard of him.  Where did you hear this?"

"From the receptionist, who got it from Speedle and the boy who was just here to get Horatio's keys.  He said he's going on a tour of the city.  His first time in Miami."

She shook her head, getting up.  "I'll find out.  It's better than the current report I'm working on."  She headed up to the lab, finding the Feds in Horatio's office.  She stepped in and smiled.  "Horatio, when you have a minute, can we speak?"

"In a few, Yelina."  He looked at the Feds.  "No, you may not harass Mr. Harris for information you do not have a high enough clearance to access.  If you want to know, go ask your bosses."

"They told us not to ask but to watch the boy for weapons."

Horatio growled, standing up.  "Then ask them why.  You will not bother Mr. Harris.  By the way, he does not usually carry around weapons.  He only uses them when he has to defend himself or others.  The incident in question, he was helping defend others."  They both looked grim at that.  "If your bosses know, and I know that they do, and all they can see is that Xander can be dangerous when provoked, then you should listen to that.  Muscling him will only provoke him.  I don't want to see him have to kill either of you for your stupidity.  Now get out of my lab and you'd better be out within seconds or I'm charging you with something."

They fled.  He sat back down and called Mac.  "It's me.  They're not giving up.  They were told to give up and came to see him about why they had a warning to watch out for him and weapons."  He smiled at the calm words.  "Taking a tour.  I know.  Do you have his new number?  I deleted it."  He wrote it down.  "Thank you, Mac."  He hung up and called it.  "Xander, it's Horatio.  They came back.  Their bosses told them to leave you alone and to watch out in case you pulled out something else.  They're confused and trying to understand why.  No, I don't think you should show them.  You might get hurt.  Try to protect yourself and if they bother you, come to me immediately or to the lab.  If we're not here I'll have someone briefed to handle it for you.  You behave.  Yes, they're a good tour group.  Have a fun day, dear."  He hung up and looked at her.  "Has something happened to Ray Junior?"

"Dear?" she asked.  He looked clueless.  She walked in and shut the door.  "You just called whoever dear, Horatio.  Are you dating perhaps?" she asked with a smile.

"I am," he admitted.  "Though I'm not really ready to talk to you about it yet.  I'd rather not have this talk here."

She stared at him.  "Is that because Xander is a boy?"  He nodded.  "Does anyone else know?"

"Alexx invited the whole team over to meet Xander and see Mac when he was down on Sunday.  I'm not sure why she didn't invite you, John, or Frank."

"Mac Taylor was down?"  He nodded and smiled.   She paused and thought for a second.  "Is Mac going by a different name for you?"  He shook his head slowly.  "I ask because you're using that same 'I have a girlfriend' grin that my son used recently when he finally found one."

"I am dating," he reminded her.

"Just Mac?"


She sighed.  "Horatio, you're dating who?" she demanded.

"Mac and Xander."

She blinked.  "Mac Taylor?" she clarified.  He nodded.  "Why?"

"Because they understand me.  It's a rare and precious thing, Yelina," he said gently, still smiling.  "I do love them."

"I have never met this Xander."

"I'm still wondering why Alexx didn't invite you over yesterday.  He's been with Mac in New York until yesterday."

"I will be meeting this man tonight?"

"If you want.  We had plans for a quiet dinner in because Monday is a busy day usually."

She just nodded.  "I'll be over at seven."  She turned and walked out.   She had to think.

Horatio walked out and found Speed in a lab.  "As you saw, there were Feds trying to figure Xander out again."

"Uh-huh.  I more saw Yelina stomping off in a snit."  He looked at him.  "Need backup?"

"I might," he admitted.  "I'll warn Xander later."  He clapped him on the back.  "The Feds are going to try to corner Xander.  I told him to come back here."

"I'm next to be called out.  Go tell Frank and John.  John met him at the elevator."

"I can do that," he said with a smile.  "Why didn't you invite them?"

"The yelling, Horatio.  The yelling and screaming fit Yelina would put out.  And Frank was busy."  Horatio smiled and walked off, stopping to grab his sunglasses on the way.  Speed shook his head.  There was going to be some yelling later.  Maybe he'd slip word to someone in dispatch not to answer any loud noise called in unless directly called from the house.

"Frank, John?" Horatio said, walking past their desks.  "Let's talk for a minute please?"  He knew they shared a look then followed him out to a private area beside the far end of the parking lot.  He turned to face them, his back to the sun.  "Yelina is now officially having a bad day."

"Why?" John asked.  "Is the kid you're watching over not nice?  A gang kid maybe?"

"I'm not watching over him, John, I'm dating him."  Both men gaped.  He nodded.  "And Mac Taylor."  The gapes got worse and he smiled.  "I know Alexx tried to get you over yesterday, Frank, but you were busy."

"The wife said so," he agreed.  He rubbed his bald head.  "I have images I don't want, Horatio."

"I have the feeling she does too."

"Horatio, how old is that boy?" John asked.

"Eighteen."  They both stared.  He smirked a bit.  "He's older mentally than his years, boys.  Really, he is.  Now, Yelina is coming over for dinner tonight but there is a problem."

"The Feds that came in while I was pumping the receptionist for information on your boy," John said dryly.

Horatio nodded.  "Exactly.  There is a sealed file with Xander's name on it.  They're curious why and their superiors have told them to stop it.  They haven't yet.  I've told Xander to come back here if they try to corner him.  Speed's next to go out, I'll probably be at scenes all day since it's Monday.  I need someone here who can watch out for the boy if I'm not here."

"Eighteen?" Frank asked.  "With a sealed file?"

"I can't tell you, Frank.  I wish I could but I cannot.  It's sealed for a very good reason."  Frank groaned.  "It'll never go public."  That got a nod.  "Let me add this.  Xander was one of the protectors in that situation and the reason it was sealed was the thing he and his friends were protecting against."  He saw Calleigh come out looking around.  He waved her over.  "Those two stupid ones this morning were told to watch out for weapons because Xander had to use some in the past to protect against this group."  That got a dual nod.  "He is not usually violent unless you piss him off."

"I take it the airline did it yesterday?" John asked.  He smiled at Calleigh.  "Did you get to meet Xander?"

"Alexx wasn't sure you weren't gonna throw a fit about him being with them."  She smiled.  "What happened?"

"The same Feds won't leave well enough alone," Frank told her grimly.  "They want to know about the sealed file with Xander's name."

"Sealed file?" she asked Horatio.

"He was helping protect against someone with a few friends.  The Feds stepped in after they did so."

"I noticed Xander had a pretty good handle on some handguns, mostly military issue."

He nodded.  "He does.  I can't discuss that reason either."  He smiled at them.  "So if my boy comes running back, I'll expect someone to help him by yelling at the Feds for him.  Because Xander can be worse than Speed if you piss him off.  Save him for when you run out of ways to say the same thing differently until one gets through."

She nodded.  "Oh, yeah.  He and Speed got into a snark fest.  The kid won, made Speed break and laugh totally; talking about ex-girlfriends."  She looked at Horatio.  "Where is he?"

"He came to get house keys then went on a tour."

She smiled, pinching him.  "You should take some time off."

"I need it to get back and forth to New York, Calleigh.  He'll be here on my next few days off."  He smiled at her then at the detectives.  "Yelina does know there's two of them.  She was not happy.  She does not know how old Xander is."

"I'm not telling her," John said, backing up a step.  "I don't want to be anywhere near her when she finds out."

"Does that mean you don't want to come to dinner tonight to meet him yourself?" Horatio asked dryly.

"Love to," Frank said.  "We'll build a bunker together."  He walked off shaking his head.  This was not the announcement he had been expecting from Horatio Caine.  Speedle maybe, Delko definitely, but not Horatio.

Horatio looked at Calleigh.  "Do you have a problem with it?"

"He's so cute!" she squealed, smiling at him.  "But he had bad taste in women and if I liked him it'd mean I was evil, Horatio.  I'm not like that.  I'm a good girl."  She pinched John on the arm before walking off.

John watched her butt then looked at Horatio.  "Is it good?"

"It's wonderful, satisfying, and fulfilling, John, and he's learning to cook.   He tries to spoil Mac rotten and he's promised to do the same to me.  He brought me breakfast because I hadn't gotten to eat.  Said if Mac couldn't forget to eat, I couldn't.  He's cuddly, warm, and he lets me talk out problems with him.  He's insightful, he's special, and he's very talented in his areas.  I do love my boy and Mac both.  They're actually a lot alike.  Xander's somewhere between myself and Mac in personality with a bit of Speed thrown in."

John smirked.  "I want to meet the boy sometime for real.  Just not when Yelina's there.  She's going to fuss, Horatio."

"I know, John.  We'll let her and then I'll steal Ray Junior away for a long talk to make sure he's fine with it.  He's never been biased before on such matters."  He walked off smiling.  "Let me know if you have to save him."

"I will."  He shook his head, taking a short walk to clear it.  Like Frank, he had some mental images he didn't really need about the boy he had met at the elevator and Horatio together.  He didn't get to meet Taylor when he was down either time but he had seen his picture in the paper after the case had been closed.  That was a strong bed.  He ran into Yelina on his walk and patted her on the shoulder.  "He's happy."

"He told you?"  John nodded.  "Are you all right with it?"

"I'm fine with it.  Horatio deserves happiness and to be loved.  He said Xander's threatened to spoil him rotten.  The boy's clearly exceptional if he's gathered that sort of attention."

"Boy?" she asked.

"He's not as old as Horatio," he told her.  She gave him a heated look.  "He's kinda young," he admitted, walking off again.

"How young?" she called after him.

"No comment."

"John!" she growled.  He sped up.  He knew that sound and it got him into trouble every time.  He decided hiding in the men's room was a good idea for a while.  She wouldn't normally walk in there.

She stomped inside and went to do a name search on the boy.  She had clues from the Feds and Horatio himself.  The name she had was unusual enough to only get a few hits in google.  She gasped.  It was his graduation article.  She read it over, wincing at the story of the explosion and him helping get the bodies out of the way.  She stomped back to Horatio's office but he was gone.  So she found Eric instead.  "He's how old?"

"Who?" he asked, looking at her.

"This Xander child."

"Eighteen.  Nineteen in a few months."  He got back to work, ignoring her tapping foot.  "He's a lot older mentally, Yelina.  He made Speed giggle yesterday and he takes very good care of Horatio and Mac both.  He's a nice guy if you let yourself get past his age."

"He's nearly as young as my son!" she complained.

He shut the door behind her and glared at her.  "Would you rather see Horatio unhappy forever or him finding love and happiness with a young guy and Mac?"  She glared at him, starting to tap a foot again.  "If you gave a damn about Horatio you'd be happy for him.  Also, this doesn't belong in the lab.  We don't need the problems if one of the techs objects.  There's a reason Alexx didn't invite that many people over yesterday.  It was the fussing and not knowing who was prejudice on the lab staff.  Get to know him," he said more calmly and quietly.  "He's a nice guy, Yelina."

"Who has Federal agents looking for him!"

Eric shuddered.  "Yeah, something happened at his graduation."

"I saw the article with the explosion.  How he was there."

Eric looked at her.  "Yelina, Sunnydale isn't in an area where you'd have gas lines for heat.  It's next to the desert.  There might be some gas lines but I'm doubting there's that many."  She gaped.  "Speed and I both think that there was no gas explosion.  It didn't spread, the gas company wasn't in any of the pictures we saw.  There was no lasting flame, just an explosion.  There was enough time to evacuate over three-quarters of those at the event before the explosion.  It was something else and we know that Xander and his friends were defending a lot of people that day.  Horatio himself let that slip."  She slumped.  "The Feds earlier were told to butt out and they won't.  All right?"  She nodded at that, looking down.  "The boy is a lot older than his physical age.  He's got the same responses Taylor does, which means he's a combat veteran somehow.  So get to know the kid and relax.  Horatio's happy.  We all want him to be happy.  He's even spoiled the boy with clothes because Xander apparently wears horrible clothes.  Doesn't match, wears gaudy shirts, all that. The boy complained about it with Calleigh yesterday and Horatio threatened to buy him more."  She snorted.  "He's not a gold digger.   He protested spoiling by trying to get Mac to make him stop.  He's a good kid.  Get to know the guy first and then complain.  I talked with some of Mac's team and they all love Xander."

"Fine," she muttered.  "We're going to have dinner tonight."

"I'm sure you will.  Just don't yell.  We don't want to answer a call because someone called dispatch."

She nodded.  "I'll try."  She walked off, going to talk to the two chuckleheads she worked with.  She saw John back at his desk and blocked him from getting out of his cubicle.  "What did he look like?"  He gave her a look.  "You met him earlier.  What did he look like?"

"Dark hair.  Brown eyes.  Horatio clearly dressed the boy since he's in a silk shirt and dress pants but sneakers."  He shrugged.  "He looked like he was a nice kid.  Polite.  The receptionist liked him.  Said he was polite."

She huffed off to her desk to get into the security footage and pull up a picture of the boy.  He was cute.  Too young for her brother-in-law but cute.


Xander looked up from his modest lunch of cheetos and a pepsi, looking at the two men trying to loom over him.  "I'm eighteen, I can eat like this for at least another six years without getting in trouble with the Vegan Authority Council."  He ate another cheeto, still watching them watch him.  "Can't follow orders, guys?"

"We know you somehow snowed the uppers into thinking you're harmless," one sneered, moving closer.  "We also know you're not.  You're probably some little weapons dealing psycho...."  Xander burst out cackling, shaking his head.  He also got up and walked off with his lunch.   They followed him.  "We are talking to you, Mr. Harris.  Where do you think you're going?"  He wasn't under arrest so they couldn't cuff him; they weren't going to walk away so they had to follow him.

"You want info on me.  I'm taking you to someone who can give you all sorts of background," he said cheerfully, taking them to a bar he had found online.  He walked in and the bartender started to flee.  "They want to know about graduation," he called after him.  "I'm only here for lunch."  He sat down at the bar, smiling.  "Go ahead, tell 'em.  They can go find the skull too."  He ate his last cheeto and grabbed the bowl of shelled peanuts from behind the bar.  "Ask," he told the non-talking Fed.  "He'll answer.  He might make you scared but he'll answer."

The bartender stared at him.  "Why should I?"

"Because they're Feds.  Their people have invaded Sunnydale.  Their bosses told them to ignore it, what happened, and me; they refuse to listen.  They want the information that much, give it to 'em and let them decide how stupid they are," Xander said dryly, cracking a peanut husk and eating the nuts inside.  "Feel free to pull out the whole dog and pony show.  All of it.  Make 'em run for Giles."

The bartender smirked at him for being evil.  "Is that wise?"

"If they want to come after me after that, their boss will deal with them," Xander said dryly.  "Or they'll piss me off and I'll send 'em to Buffy for Willow's next bout of PMS."  The bartender cackled much more evilly than Xander could.  "So show 'em.  Please."  He grinned and cracked another peanut.

"Come on, boys.  What you want to know is in the back room at the moment since it's still daylight."  He shook his head and he was smiling but these two were idiots.  They pissed off a slayer's friend enough to make him drag them to a demon bar.  He tapped on the door and heard a grunt, sticking his head through.  "There's a slayer's friend here.  Harris.  These nice Feds want to know about graduation and why it was covered up."  The extra-large demon worm came to the door and raised itself up to its full height, staring down at them.  "The thing attacking the graduating class was about six hundred times his size," the bartender told them.

"Eighty-eight-point-three feet," Xander called helpfully.  "The Feds in charge measured.  Oh, without the head.  By the way, they had a backup brain."  He ate another peanut and waved at the worm.  "Somehow they decided I'm dangerous."  The worm burst out in high pitched giggles, shaking like jell-o.  "Yeah."  He cracked another shell and ate another nut.  "Go ahead and ask question.  Feel him.  He won't mind.  He won't even consider it foreplay."  He looked over as a being rushed in and knocked out the fires.  "Hey, need a beer?  It's obviously been a sucky day for you."

"You look like that guy that wears the horrible clothes," the vampire said, shaking his head.

"Eeeh, my lover dressed me this morning.  It makes him happy and he wears Armani."  He grinned.  "The Feds wanted to know why some people consider me dangerous."  He got up and got him a beer anyway, then sat down again to go back to his extended lunch.  One of the agents was gently poking the demon worm.  He shook his head.  "They're killed with fire.  A finger won't hurt it."   The vampire giggled.  "Aren't they?"

"Fire seems to kill most things.  Technically I think it's platinum that kills them."  He took a drink.

"Yeah but they explode when you pop them with a sword or something.  Then Buffy gets upset at the ruin of her wardrobe."  He ate another nut.  "Though the screaming does let everyone know she's in a bad mood.  Tell me, did you guys run when you smelled her having her period?"  The vampire nodded.  "I thought we had lulls for that but Willow said I was being a guy and stupid."  He shrugged.  "I'll have to write her and tell her I asked and I'm right, she owes me that ten bucks back."  He watched the agents.  They were so cute!  Not scared yet either.  "Is that all that's here?"

"For now," the bartender called.

The vampire wandered over with his mug of beer, going to game face so he could sniff them.  "Not even scared, Lenny.  Losing your touch."  The demon worm's penis extended and they both backed up.  "Yeah, they're Feds.  Scared of every dick but the one in charge."  He took another drink then put his beer mug down and bit one of them.

"No turning others in front of me," Xander said in a sing-song voice.  "I don't want to have to talk to an upper level Fed about that.  Thank you anyway."  He ate another peanut and got up to get himself some ice water.  "Just water, dude."

"That's fine, Harris.  Water's cheap.  Ice too."  He watched the most amusing show.  "Leave him living.  You don't want the kid to stake you."

"He's not smart enough to be a minion," the vampire complained, letting him go.  He looked down at him. "Still don't believe in us?"  The agents both whimpered.  "Can I take them to the Cove?"

Xander shrugged.  "As long as they come back healthy.  Then they can apologize to my lovers, both of them, and me."

"That'll work.  Thanks.  Oh, much nicer taste.  We used to try to attack you because your shirts blinded us."

Xander shrugged. "Like I care?  I like my shirts."

"A few glow in the dark."

"According to a bruja in New York, so do I apparently."  The vampire gave him an odd look.  "Magical radiation she called it," he said blandly.  The vampire nodded.  "Oh, well.  I'm trying to weed it down."  He ate another nut and finished his water, putting down a few dollars on the bar.  "Thanks, guys.  Remember, healthy or else they'll be stationed in Sunnydale and be annoying Buffy, who'll take it out on everyone else."  He walked off, going back to his tour, making sure he still had the keys Horatio had given him.  He was still trying to decide if he should make himself a set or not.  It showed lack of trust but it was practical.  He ended up calling him.  "Did you want me to make a set of keys for myself or not?  Because I think it shows lack of trust on my part if I did that without you knowing."  He grinned.  "Sure, I can do that.  Eat lunch."  He listened to him tell him they were having guests for dinner.  "Then I'll make sure there's something edible."  He blew a kiss and hung up, going to have keys made, then to the Farmer's Market.  Something light since Miami was so hot all day long.  How did people wear silk in this heat?  Much less a suit.


Xander looked up from his layering veggies into the pan, taking a kiss with a smile.  "Give me twenty minutes.  No milk allergies, right?"

"Not that I'm aware of."  Xander grinned and got back to work on the layered vegetable dish.  It did look good.  He took another kiss then went to change into something more casual.  That looked like something that would drip onto his suit and grease stains never came out.  He came out to answer the door, smiling at Frank.  "Evening."

"To you too.  Just getting home?"  Horatio nodded, going back to his changing.  Frank looked at the boy in the kitchen, chuckling softly because his tongue was out while he was layering something.  He walked that way.  "Hey.  Frank Tripp.  One of Horatio's pet detectives."

Xander looked at him.  "Should I make the bad Jim Carrey joke?"

Frank laughed.  "Please don't.  Homicide doesn't usually get that wacky."  Xander grinned and went back to it.  "What's that?"

"My part-time vegetarian friend Willow taught me this one."  He finished up with a last layer of cheese, added a bit of sauce from a jar, then stuck it into the oven.  He grinned at him.  "There."

"Just that?"

"Salad.  Cookies?" he offered with a grin.

"We all like sweets."  He patted the boy on the arm.  "I don't bite.  Yelina might snap a bit but she doesn't bite either."

"Mac says I do and if I don't quit he's going to start biting back," Xander told him with a bright, happy grin.  Frank gaped then burst out laughing, walking out to he living room.  "Make yourself comfy.  Horatio can set the table since he knows how many are coming.  I planned for up to six."  Horatio came out of the bedroom, giving him a look.  "You said your nephew might be here tonight but you weren't sure.  Anything left is lunch."

"Good point."  He smiled at his boy, taking another kiss before getting down plates.  "Wine or not, Xander?"

"Not."  Horatio nodded and set out what was needed, checking for ice cubes.  He frowned at the one tray, pulling it out to look at the suspicious cubes.  "For lemonade or iced tea," he said, putting them back.  "That way they're not watered down with the water."

"I hadn't considered doing that."  He smiled.  "You get to wash it when they're gone."  Xander nodded, pushing him against a counter to kiss him.  He moaned, stroking through his hair.  "Later, Xander," he said quietly.

"One last one for tonight since there's someone else that just parked."  He went to answer the door, looking at the woman walking up the path from the driveway.  "I'm guessing you're Yelina?  Horatio said you'd be coming tonight."  She stared at him.  "Get in here before all the cold air goes to freeze the gators.  Horatio said they're endangered so that would be mean and I'd get lectured at the very least."  She walked in and he took her jacket, then let her have the living room.  He went to fuss over things.  "Just them, Horatio?"  He got a nod.  "Okay.  There's a salad in the fridge.  The veggies will be done in about twenty more minutes.  There's cookies for dessert.  Anyone want some tea, lemonade, water?"

"I'll take some lemonade," Frank offered.

"I made lemonade ice cubes too," Xander said happily.  "Yelina?"  She shook her head.  "Okay."  He went to get the lemonade for Frank, placing a few of the special cubes in there before walking them out to him.  "You sure, Yelina?  I brewed tea.  The filtration pitcher's full."

"No, I'm fine," she said quietly, watching him fuss over Horatio.  He was a hyper boy.  Still very young.  Xander peeked in the oven then checked in the fridge, nibbling on something before bringing out something in a bowl.  He grabbed a whisk and rinsed it off then beat the contents.  "Was that used before?"

"On the same salad dressing."  He finished it off and handed it to Horatio, who put it onto the table once it was in a better vessel.  Then the salads came out.  "Come eat, guys."  They came to the table.  Horatio got Xander and himself tea, adding some of the ice cubes to each of their drinks.  Xander grinned at him then they settled in to start on the salad.  He had included sunflower seeds, croutons, and crunchy vegetables as well as lettuce and cucumbers.  It was a good mix.  The dressing got appreciative noises from Frank and Horatio.  Yelina was eating delicately and didn't say anything.  Xander got up to check the vegetables, using a knife on one.  He frowned and checked the temperature then came back.  "So, how was work today?" he asked Horatio.

"Busy.  Not our most busy but three new cases."

"No funny ones?" Xander asked.  Frank gave him an odd look.  "Danny, one of the guys on Mac's team, had one suspect that decided she was Betty Boop.  Hit on him too."  He grinned.  "Freaked him out a bit since she was goth pale and all that.  Had plastic surgery to get the perfect face and figure.  Got it nearly exactly the same as the cartoon."  Frank laughed, trying not to spit since his mouth was full.  "Don's had aliens recently.  He asked me if they were real too.  I told him I didn't know but I'd ask for him."

Horatio looked at him.  "If they are, I don't want to know unless they're attacking and you have to help save us all."

Xander grinned. "I'm not sure that's my job, Horatio, but thanks for the vote of confidence.  That's one of those situations I want the military for."

"I think that would be their job," Frank agreed, thinking about it.  "Or at least the pilots and them."

"Unless they only came down for shopping and then I'll send one of my exes with them so they don't spread that we're all bad dressers throughout the universe."

"Only you," Horatio said dryly, giving him a look.

"You know, I ran into one of the people that used to be in Sunnydale and attack my friends and me.  He said he knew of people who attacked me because of my shirts."

"With a few of them that doesn't surprise me."  Horatio gave him a look.  "Shopping later?"

Xander snorted.  "Hell no.  I can do wash; you are not going to spoil me like I'm a new toy.  I'm not a toy and I expect you there for the long haul, not just the spoiling."  He got up to check the vegetables with the same knife, pulling them out carefully and setting it on top of the stove.  "Let it cool for a few minutes so the cheese can go from gooey mess to cuttable and we can have that too."  He sat down again, smiling at Yelina.  "Have a bad day?"

"One full of surprises.  What are your future plans, Xander?"

He shrugged.  "Mac wants me to think about cooking school for a few classes.  He was saying I could get a job with it and not have the high-stress jobs like chefs do.  Other than that, I was going to make that decision after this summer.  Make sure all this stuff works."  She nodded at that, still staring at him.  "For right now I'm not going to a traditional college.  Lectures suck and I didn't learn much in high school that I couldn't have learned from any street gang.  So I'm going to say ixnay on the school-ay."  Horatio shook his head at that, eating another bite of salad.  "Until then, we'll see.  I'm helping Mac and I'm doing a bit of private research.  Mac wants me to finish learning the languages I can kinda read.  Stella was thinking cooking school might be a good idea too.  Give me multiple ways to spoil them and take care of all of us since they both work too hard to be able to cook when they get home.  Then we'll see I guess."

"Have you thought about military service? From what I've heard today you do seem to have the proper skills and mind set."

Xander stared at her.  "Beyond the fact that would make it really difficult to date your former brother-in-law I doubt they'd take me with a sealed federal file or once they heard about my personal history.  It's dangerous enough in my last town that we had to have a security patrol in addition to the local cops.  Who really weren't that great."  Horatio nodded at that, eating another bite.  "Then again, if I did I could get shiny medals and things but why get things that'll attract attention?  I try very hard to stay under the radar most of the time."

"That scene was under the radar?" Horatio asked.

"No but it saved their lives.  Stella was about to reach for the body and we don't want her eaten.  Maybe Aiden since she keeps checking Mac's butt out, but not Stella or the others.  But I'm not  jealous no matter what Danny says."

"She's doing it because she never considered that an option for Mac and she's wondering about things," Horatio said more quietly.

"No, she asked for video for that purpose.  She said she's making sure he's able to work in the field in all the funny positions you guys have to get into."  Horatio blushed.  "I told her it wasn't that bad of a problem for him so she didn't have to worry.  If Mac was that sore, he could deal with his paperwork monster for the day."

"As I have when I've been injured in the field," Horatio agreed.  He gave him a look and Xander just grinned sweetly before stealing a kiss and going to cut up the vegetable dish.  Horatio looked at Yelina.  "It would be much more difficult to see him if he was in the military."

"With his language skills he could be assigned to DC," Frank teased.

"I only read, I don't speak them, Frank, and they're mostly ancient."  He came out with the plates, handing the guests theirs first then going back to get his and Horatio's.  "Frank, I gave you stuff from the tomato side and Yelina got squash."  They switched and he looked at Horatio.  "Tomatoes or squash?"

"Tomatoes."  Xander handed him that plate and sat down to nibble the rest of his salad.  Horatio ate a bite and smiled.  "Very nice, Xander."

"Thank you."  He smiled at them.  "We have cookies for dessert too.  I picked some up so I'm not sweets deprived."

"I'm sure you probably had some for lunch," Horatio told him.

"No I didn't.  I had cheetos, a pepsi, and then some nuts and ice water at the bar I led the Feds to so they could figure out the clue they were missing."

"I thought you'd leave them alone and come back to the lab," Horatio said, staring at him.

Xander grinned.  "They weren't that much trouble.  They followed, they asked people questions.  I stopped the one that almost got eaten and then the guy in there that dissed my shirts said he's taking them to the Cove tonight."  Horatio moaned and so did Frank.  "Sorry.  It's a good place for them to learn what they wanted to know though.  Oh, Head Agent Paranoid thought I was some psycho weapons dealer.  Accused me of it where they found me eating lunch in the park."  Horatio gave him a look.  "I walked off cackling at that suggestion and they followed.  Not my fault, totally," he amended at Frank's horrified look.  "If they were real problems I would've come back.  You guys are too busy to deal with that level of BS and I can handle some things myself.  Really.  I'm not that little."  Yelina gave him a dirty look so he grinned back.  "What?  I'm not.  I've handled things for many years, Yelina."


"Drunk parents."  She blinked.  "Willow, Jesse, and I pretty well ran the town before our friend Buffy moved in and Jesse was killed.  All hours of the night and day.  Willow and I did a damn good job raising me."

"You did," Horatio agreed, squeezing his hand.  He gave him a silent 'calm down' order and Xander grinned.  "We should still round out your wardrobe down here."

Xander leaned over to get next to his ear.  "Most of the time I'm not going to be wearing that many clothes, dear.  We both know that."

Horatio swallowed and nodded, reaching for his drink to gulp some of the cold liquid.   He looked at it.  "The lemonade ice cubes do go very well in here.  A bit too much lemon for my tastes but not bad."  He took another drink and smiled at Xander.  "We can go anyway.  I need a few new shirts."

"If you want to go shopping for you, go right ahead," Xander said happily.  "I'll follow along with a drool bucket and mop for all the girls that want to drool on you in your suit."  Frank laughed at that.  "They do.  I saw it earlier."

"Some do," Frank agreed happily.  "You're a very unique guy, Xander."

Xander smirked.  "Aren't you glad I am?"

"Definitely.  More of you would drive us nuts," Horatio told him.  "I'll have to tell Mac that suggestion."

"That's no fair.  No one's there to help him if he chokes."

Horatio burst out laughing.  "True.  I'll have to get him while he's at the office tomorrow."  Xander gave him a slight pout.  "I'll text him.  He has that taskforce meeting tomorrow."

"Then he'll choke and they'll think strange thoughts about him."

"It'll give him a reason to leave early when all the idiots start proposing the stupid ideas," Frank told him.  "Ours sure do."  Horatio and Yelina both nodded.  "There's gangs out where you are, right?"

"Depends on who you ask, but some.  Why?  Are we having a problem with the gangs?"

"Some Central vs. South American rivalries.  How does LA deal with them?"

"Gas grenades and riot gear," he said bluntly.  "No one's going to believe anyone going in undercover unless they're from the same neighborhood, the same background, and grew up with them.  Then again, if it was, they'd know that they were a cop anyway because of parental bragging or whining by his friends."  Frank gaped.  "Like hunting pedophiles online, you've got to be able to talk the talk for them to believe you're a thirteen-year-old girl and most people don't.  They're smart enough to know the right lingo or at least have studied a bit of it.  Willow never got hit on by those sort because she uses correct punctuation and capitalizes.  Even in chat sessions.  They all thought she's some old white granny from the Mideast."  He took a sip of his tea and shrugged.  "The best anyone's ever figured out about that sort of underground is turn one of the guys on the edges.  Let him work off his damnation.  Blackmail or whatever.  Like the weapons dealers.  You find one of the street guys and bust him, he'll only get you so far up the chain.  You bust one of the couriers and get them to flip and they've got names."

"You think there's people like that in gangs?" Yelina asked, sounding like she was scoffing just a tiny bit.

Xander looked at her.  "Even gangs need suppliers, Yelina.  Not like they can make their own guns, knives, bombs, all that stuff.  Or their own drugs.  The underground isn't a river, it's a spiderweb.  Hell, I have enough connections to get me into nearly any sort of underground bar if I really had to for a bad situation with one of my friends back at home."  They all gaped.  He grinned at Horatio.  "Someone had to deal with the stuff back there.  Not like I trusted Buffy with the weapons and Giles likes crossbows a bit too much."

"How did you meet them?"

"There's some of the sort we used to handle."

"Can they be used down here?" Frank asked.  "Because we'd love to wipe out some of them before they start going for a casualty count."

Xander stared at him.  "It'd probably get real uncomfortable for you, Frank.  I can give it to Horatio and let him see if it's a workable plan.  By now half the underground knows I'm dating him.  They're huge ass gossips.  It's nearly as big a trade as guns and weapons."

"That's how they bust the undercover people," Frank agreed.

Xander grinned. "That's how they know who's going to be assigned before even the officers being sent know, Frank.  Half the time they know long before the officers do."  Frank gaped.  "Look at the unnoticed ones.  Like I am.  If I'm not doing something important in an office, who pays attention to someone like me?  Or a janitor.  Or a secretary?"

Frank nodded.  "Good point.  We do try to security check those sort."

"Uh-huh.  It's how hard to get a new ID and background if you need one?"

"Apparently not very hard," Frank said, frowning now.  "Can you do that?"

"Depends on what contacts I can get Willow to find for me.  She's online a lot and knows a lot of hackers from that.  Especially in the techno-pagan fields.  She got offered a job with Microsoft or something once."

"Wow."  He grinned.  "So you'd find your contacts how?"

"Depends on what I needed.  Sunnydale had a few people from the underground here and there.  You'd find them by an introduction from someone like a snitch or someone we know.  Or in LA from one of the people we had to deal with and bribed with being let free.  Then we meet.  If they don't have it, they broker it.  I know about three arms dealers in LA."

"You're not moving any to New York, right?" Horatio asked.

"Mac made me promise to tell him before I had to pull off that sort of thing, Horatio.  Then he'd bring me something.  If I couldn't call or get hold of him, then I had permission to get whatever I needed however I needed and confess later.  After all, two of his bosses are very aware of that sort of underground."  Horatio gaped so he stroked his neck.  "Marked."  He smirked.  "I was going to remind Mac the next time he was fussing about them trying to play politics around him."

"I think you should," Horatio agreed.  "How did you know?"

"Horatio, think about my prom date.  Now, think about all my other exes.  Why do you think out of alllll of Sunnydale, they chose me?"  Horatio gave him a horrified look.  He shrugged.  "I'm working on containing it.  Want to help me with the exercises later?" he asked with a shiteating grin.

"Mac said they're like meditation so I could," he agreed.  "It'll be a good exercise for all of us to do together."  Xander gave him a gentle kiss then dug in again.  He shook his head.  "You'll tell me who you know down here?"

"Go where I took the Paranoid ones earlier, Horatio.  Talk to the same bartender I did."  He looked at him.  "He'll know if there's anyone in there that can help with a special present for me.  They *all* know I love the *special* presents and I'm good about picking my own when I need cheered up."

Horatio smirked. "I'll have to do that sometime soon."  He stroked over his hair.  "You need a trim."

"I'll get one.  Mac wanted me to grow it out though."  He ate another bite then got up to get the cookies since Yelina was staring at him again.  "Here we go.  Anyone need drink refills?"  He grinned and got Frank some more lemonade.  Then Horatio some more tea.  Then he sat down and ate again, sneaking over a cookie.  Horatio gave him two more and moved them out of his reach.  Frank laughed.  "I have a slight sugar addiction."

"He was explaining Sunnydale to us using twinkies, Frank."

"Twinkie theater is a good way to explain things.  Especially when they went splat or got eaten.  Twinkies can go where no other snack cake has, impersonating a human."

"For Sunnydale, yes.  Other things, maybe not such a good idea, Xander."

Xander grinned. "You'd be surprised.  I gave a history oral report using twinkie theater.  The only 'A' I got in high school," he said proudly. "The teacher laughed the whole presentation and even Willow grinned at me.  Every *Cordy* laughed at it."

"Then I'm sure it was good."

"They're body shaped kinda and when you need something to go splat they do splat very well, they even squirt right."  Horatio gave him a look.  "Don agreed with me.  Especially after a smooshing case."

Horatio smiled and stroked his cheek.  His boy was very unique.  "Finish dinner so I can do the dishes, Xander."  Xander ate his last few bites of his veggies and then nibbled on his first cookie.  He smiled at Frank and Yelina.  "Want seconds anyone?"  They shook their heads.  "Then let me clear the table while you guys talk."

"Did you talk to Alexx in the last few hours?" Xander asked.  "She left a message on the machine."

"I didn't."  He went to listen to her worried voice about the dinner tonight so he called to assure her it was going fine while he finished clearing the table.  Then he came out to sit with them, smiling when Xander took his hand to hold.  He smiled at Yelina.  "How's Ray doing?"

"Well enough.  His grades are a bit lower this semester but he's been preoccupied with his first girlfriend. I'm sure you remember that problem, Xander."

Xander nodded, sighing a bit.  "Yeah, she was nice until she tried to kill me."  Horatio gave his hand a squeeze so he smiled at him. "You're more dangerous than all of them and better for me.  Even Buffy thought you were more dangerous than Mac."

"I am more dangerous than Mac.  Mac likes to go by the Marine code and I've had to make up some of my own rules now and then," he admitted.  "Speaking of, Mac mentioned something to me.  What's on your keychain?"  Xander pulled it out to show him the miniaturized grenade launcher.  He took it to frown at.  "It's very detailed for a miniature."  Xander just grinned.  "The maker clearly had a model that he got to touch frequently when he did this."  He handed it back.  "Keys?"

"In the bedroom on the dresser."  Horatio smirked.  "I'll put them on later.  I didn't get home much before you."  He snuck another kiss then leaned on his shoulder.  Frank was grinning at the cuteness.  Yelina was giving him that parental 'you're not good enough for my son' scowl.  "Did you have anything you needed me to do tomorrow, Horatio?"

"Not at the moment.  Are you thinking about staying in?"

"I got a little bit of a sunburn today.  Nothing too bad."  He grinned.  "So I was thinking about filing things in your office?"

"I'd lose things."

"Not when I file them.  I'm not Cordy, I can follow the alphabet and however you've got it set up already."

"I don't think I have a system set up."  He looked at him.  "You can stack and organize.  Then we can talk about it."  Xander smiled and nodded, cuddling his arm.  He smiled at Yelina.  "We're going to finish rounding out his wardrobe soon.  Would you like to come with us?  He could probably use a female opinion."

"I don't need more clothes," Xander complained.  "I have plenty, Horatio."  He looked up at him, grinning slightly.  "Unless you're going to go kinky clothes shopping and then try to talk me into wearing cabana boy shorts or something?"  Frank and Yelina both burst out laughing at that while Horatio blushed.  He kissed him with a bright grin.  "No more clothes, Horatio.  I have more than I ever have.  All of it better than my stuff back in Sunnydale.  The girls wouldn't recognize me and it's *way* hot down here so silk clings to you when you sweat.  Which makes evil women look at me and then I have to run and hide and worry."

"Evil women were staring at you today?" Frank teased.

"Three of them," Xander agreed.  "A reporter, a mother who had just beaten the crap out of her daughter until another woman stepped in and kicked her ass, and then one later that smelled like old, spilled blood.  Like it was soaked into her skin.  She just stared, then started to drool, so I knew she was evil.  That's why I went on the lunch in the park.  It was safer to be in the open in case she tried anything.  It was nice that the Feds showing up scared her off."

"Describe her," Yelina said.

"Mid-eighties by the wrinkles and white hair.  Blue eyes, kinda darker blue earlier today.  Had on bright red lipstick and it was about the only color on her face.  Pale woman.  Dressed in a flowered dress and Donna Reed heels.  Pearls, single strand.  Not pantyhose, they were baggy and didn't look like normal pantyhose."

"Edith Fletcher?" Frank said, looking at Horatio.

"Where did you see her, Xander?"

"Um, the Galleria?" he said, thinking back.  "In front of the flower shop.  I was paused there wondering if I should pick you up some."  He grinned.  "Do you like flowers?"

Horatio kissed him.  "Not really.  Lunch is a better alternative for me."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "McKensie's flowers?"  Xander nodded again.  "We'll pull up her picture.  It sounds like an open case we have."

"Told you evil women like me," he said dryly.  "You get to tell Mac so I don't have to hear Danny laugh."

"I can do that," he promised, kissing him gently, smiling at him.  "It won't get you out of shopping, Xander."  Xander pouted but relaxed against his side again.  He looked at the two detectives.  "Yelina, would you like to come with us?"

"We'll see."  She smirked at him.  "Xander, I know you know that I have  son."  Xander nodded.  "I'm going to be taking some time to introduce this subject to him."

"Yelina, the boy's flirted with other guys in the past," Frank told her.  She gasped, giving him a horrified look.  He stared back.  "He said he was trying it out and it didn't feel perfect in that case.  He's bi, dear."  He patted her on the knee.  "Horatio?"

"Ray is her son but we'll make sure he's comfortable with the idea before they meet," he said, looking down at Xander.  Who shrugged.  "That's good for you?"

"I'd hate to have to spank him if he started to say mean things to you, Horatio, but I'm not going to let anyone do that.  I spanked one of the cops who started in on Mac.  Told him next time I'd find a paddle and he'd better transfer.  He's in the Bronx."  He grinned sweetly.

Horatio smiled back.  "You don't have to protect us, Xander.  We outrank them and can make them suffer until they transfer if they bother us."

"He was telling another guy that Mac was sleeping with a kid.  I'm not a kid."

"No, you're not.  Does Mac know?"

"Don caught me."

"I'll talk with Don," he said, kissing him again.  "Let us protect ourselves, all right?"  Xander shook his head.  "Xander."  He stared him down.  Xander shook his head again.  "If it's something that bad, talk to us first."

"Waiting on that sort of thing means that more people can get involved."

"True, but it won't happen," Horatio promised, still staring him down.  "Promise me, Xander."  Xander shook his head.  "Xander, promise that you'll talk to me before you do anything rash like beat one of the officers.  Please?  They're necessary even if they are assholes."

"Fine," he muttered, looking away.

"Thank you."  He kissed him on the head, giving him the cuddle he deserved.  "We don't mind if you do minor things but something on that level we need to know so we can handle it.  It's better if we handle it in-house."

"In that case I stepped out and pointed out I'm not a child.  The guy sneered so I pushed him down and spanked him until he screamed.  Then I let him up and glared at him to remind him I'm not a kid and that if he came near Mac again I was going to find a paddle.  He started to sneer back so I suggested he transfer because I wasn't going anywhere and I was more than happy to go find a paddle for him.  After all, New York has more sex shops than anywhere else apparently."  He grinned.  "He saw Don coming and ran off with his buddy, who was snickering the whole time."

"Did Don say anything?" Frank asked.

"Asked me if I was having an issue with the officers.  I told him I didn't have one anymore."  He smirked.  "That's when he asked me if that was because I had spanked him or not.  He saw the whole thing.  He was going to correct the idiot about my age too."

"Do you think he told Mac?" Yelina asked.

"No, I think he told Stella because Don told me later the guy had requested going to the Bronx and cited being unable to deal with her being in charge of things as a reason."

"She is a very strong woman," Horatio agreed.  He kissed Xander on the top of the head.  "Should that happen down here, I want an immediate call with what's going on, their names, and then we'll face them down together, in private, Xander.  That same day even."  Xander sighed but nodded.  "I'm sure Mac would say the same thing."

"Don thought it was neat I spanked him like he was a kid."

"So do I but I think we'll talk about how to handle those situations.  I won't tell him if he doesn't know."  Xander smiled at him.  "So let us know?"  Xander nodded.  "Thank you.  We do love you for your evil thoughts too.  Remember that."

"I don't have enough energy or education to take over the world, Horatio."

"Good to know," he said dryly, smirking at him.  "Do you want spanked?"

"Should you I'll retaliate and then everyone will be asking what happened."

Horatio burst out laughing.  "I'm sure you will."  He kissed him on the head.  "My good boy," he said in his ear.  Xander wiggled some but got another cuddle.  He smiled at the detectives.  "He's very protective."

"I can tell.  If there's going to be an officer spanked down here, we want to watch," he told the kid.  Xander smirked at him.  "Public ones are always better."

Yelina gave him a look.  "Don't encourage that!  They'll turn on him."

"One ticketed me on the way home from the airport," Horatio told her.  "Him I might spank.  Publically even," he said, teasing Frank.

"Let me get popcorn and John first.  That way he and Speed can snark at the guy."  Horatio found the ticket he had forgotten that morning, handing it over with a smile.  "Awww.  I know him!"  He tucked it into his jacket pocket.  "We'll handle it, Horatio."  He smiled at the very comfortable boy.  "We should probably head.  Let you guys have time to do couplish things."  He stood up.  "It was a good dinner, Xander.  If you have problems, you come see us.  All right?"  Xander grinned and nodded.  "See you soon."  He shook their hands and left.

Yelina sighed but stood up.  "I should go too before Ray Junior gets any odd ideas."  She kissed Horatio on the cheek then stared at Xander for a minute before shaking his hand.  "I'll learn to like you more as time goes on."

He grinned at that.  "Everyone does.  They mostly think I'm a big goofball and harmless."

"I doubt you're either," she said dryly, leaving them alone.  She had some things to think about and to talk to her son about.  She found him having ice cream.  "Is that your dinner?"

"No.   Mindy and I had chinese at the mall."  He ate another bite.  "How's Uncle H's boyfriend?"  She gaped at him.  "I heard it from one of the gossips at the station today.  He said it in front of his daughter and she came to ask me.  So, is he nice?"

"He is fairly nice.  Very protective of your uncle.  He's eighteen, which I have a problem with."

"Go, Uncle H," he said proudly.  She scowled.  "What!  He's entitled if other guys his age can date cheerleaders."  He ate another bite.  "How's his other boy?"


He nodded.  "Yeah, Mom, she heard it all.  I'm happy for Uncle H as long as they're nice guys."

"Xander's a bit... strange but I suppose he's nice enough.  You can ask your uncle to introduce you if you want.  He won't let you get into trouble."  Ray gave her a look.  "He won't.  He'll also be able to keep the evil women off you, son.  He said they're attracted to him."  She went to get her own ice cream.  "You didn't leave me any," she complained.

"New box in the chest freezer, Mom."  He went back to his ice cream, calling his uncle's cellphone.  "It's me.  I'm meeting him when?"  He smirked.  "No, one of the office gossips said it in front of his daughter, who told me, Uncle H.  Hey, if Hugh Heffner can date seven girls all around the age of twenty and all the other guys down here can date cheerleaders, you can have an eighteen-year-old hot guy if you want.  Even if I don't want the details about you and Mac Taylor sharing him."  His uncle moaned.  He grinned.  "So we get to meet each other when?"  He nodded.  "That'll work.  Sure.  We'll make sure some of it's hip and not all spoily dress clothes stuff."  He ate another bite of his ice cream.  "You two have fun tonight, behave and all that.  Tell him about me first."  He hung up and finished his ice cream, going to get another bowl from the new carton she had just opened.  Then he went back to watching tv.  Commercials were over and his movie was back on.

She shook her head.  Her son was very odd.


Horatio put Mac on speaker the next day.  "How are we?"

"Bored and feeling less than spoiled," he complained.  "You?"

"Very spoiled but like we have to do some sanding on some rough corners of Xander's attitude."  Mac snickered quietly.  "He threatened the agents who kept coming after him.  He brought them to a demon bar so they could find out what they wanted to know.  One of them came wobbling in here just after I got here and apologized for being an asshole.  Said he was going to become a monk after last night.  I asked if he was all right and he let out a hysterical little laugh.  I asked if he wanted an ambulance and said only God could make him better now.  I don't know what happened to the other one yet.  He wouldn't tell me."

"Sounds like Xander dealt with the issue."

"I'd rather have him come to us," Horatio pointed out.

"I like him able to handle things, Horatio," Mac countered.

"Then you've talked to Don?"


Horatio laughed.  "I said I wouldn't tell you."  That would make sure Mac would ask him about it.  He shifted, crossing his feet as he leaned back.  "We've met most of the rest of the team.  He and Yelina have a truce at the very least.  Frank thought he was very nice.  John and he met at the elevators when he came in to get my keys from me.  He said he was cute."  He smiled at the spluttering going on.  "Ray thinks he sounds nice but they'll be meeting soon.  He's decided he's cleaning my office on me today since he got a sunburn yesterday."

"He did it to mine too.  I have things filed correctly.  I can see my desk.  First time in a long time.  I was going to bring him here to my office and let him do it here."  He was smiling, you could hear it.  "What other things need sanded down?"

"He's a bit opinionated.  He and Frank talked about the best way to take down gangs.  Did you know Xander has some less than stellar contacts?"

"No," Mac said slowly.  "He does?"

"Apparently enough to get him an introduction and invitation to an underground bar if he ever needs anything."  He waved at Calleigh when she leaned in.  "Other than that, it went well, Mac.  Are Danny, Don, and Stella pouting about missing him?"

"No, but Stella did give me a burger yesterday to make sure I ate since he wasn't here."

"I can come back," Calleigh said, heading off again.

Horatio smiled.  "She's very thoughtful.  Oh, Xander's still attracting evil people.  One of our local serial killers got interested in him yesterday.  He has good instincts, he walked away from her and headed for a park.  Where the Feds found him and his cheetos for lunch."

Mac groaned.  "I've seen him do that before," he admitted.  "Are the two Feds all right?  He sent me an email about them."

"One's wobbly and I'm sure I'll hear about the other one later."  Frank leaned in and he held up a hand.  "He's fussing over me taking him shopping, Mac."

"I know.  He did the same thing to me, Horatio.  Oh, tell him his figurine collection is in?  He has all these pewter figurines."

"Like the nice sculpture of a rocket launcher on his keyring?" Horatio asked.  Frank waved and walked off.

"Horatio, someone shrunk that, it's a real one only tiny at the moment," Mac admitted.

"I see."  He considered it for a moment then sighed.  "He did say he wouldn't move any weapons up near you."

"That's very nice of him," Mac decided.  "He has other weapons?"

"I didn't see any in his storage area, but who said that was the only one," Horatio admitted.  "We had a very nice dinner with Frank and Yelina last night.  I ended up having to tell Frank and John in case Xander came running due to the Feds."

"I have the feeling Xander likes to handle things," Mac said.  "What should I ask Don about?"

"Apparently some words were exchanged with a patrol officer who figured it out."

"I see.  I'll ask Don about that.  On your end?"

"Not yet.  I set down the rule that he'll call me, let me know what was said, who said it, and we'd handle it together later that same day or as soon as possible.  That'll keep him from reacting too strongly and making a bad situation worse."  His cellphone went off so he looked at the number.  "That's Eric, hold on."  He opened it.  "Horatio."  He listened, then nodded slowly.  "Bring her in, Speed.  Is Xander all right?"  He sighed and nodded.  "I knew he said he was going to.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "Xander was out for a jog and some woman decided to try to pin him to a tree with a dagger.  Xander put her down and made her cry so she went to find an officer and complain.  The officer arrested her but Speed was out for his weekly run with Eric and ran into it.  So we'll see."

"Is he fine?"

"He's fine.  Not even bruised according to Speed."  He smiled at Calleigh when she came back, nodding her inside.  She shook her head and walked off again.  "Anyway, I'll handle that.  How are you really?"

"Lonely.  We've got to solve this city issue, Horatio."

"I know," he said more quietly, smiling a bit.  "Xander wiggled all night.  I nearly handcuffed him so he'd have to quit."  Mac laughed.  "Does he do that to you?"

"No, I wear him out at night and he cuddles.  He's very cuddly when I do that."

"I didn't have the energy last night.  I'll have to try that tonight."  He smiled at Eric when he walked past.  "I'd better go. You have a good day and be safe.  I'll have him call soon."

"Thanks, Horatio.  You too."  He hung up and went to find Don, finding him at his desk.  "What officer do I have to beat?"

Don looked at him.  "Huh?"

"Something about Xander and an officer that was giving him grief?"

Don gave him a look then shook his head and grinned. "It's handled.  He won't bother Xander ever again."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because Xander spanked him and made him transfer to the Bronx."

Mac blinked.  "Excuse me?"

Don leaned back, smirking a bit.  "The guy was going on about Xander being a kid.  Xander kindly told him his actual age.  The guy snorted and started back on the 'you're dating someone underage' rant he was trying to incite with.  Xander paddled his ass."  Mac gaped.  "He warned him first.  Didn't work.  Afterward he suggested he transfer. I saw it and I came ta talk to him.  Told him I knew.  He groaned and begged me not to tell you."

"Horatio too."

"Uh-huh.  He thinks a lot of your opinion, Mac.  Anyway, told Stella.  Stella went to have a talk with him.  She's the reason he transferred officially - couldn't stand a woman in charge."  He smirked evilly at him.  "Xander offered to get a paddle the next time.  Said there's plenty of sex shops in the city so he'd have no trouble finding one."

Mac walked off shaking his head and sighing a bit.  He ran into Stella.  "The next time my boys have to defend themselves, let me know?"

She smiled and shook her head.  "Nope.  You'll complain to him."

"If someone like Gerrard hears about that...." he started.

She held up a hand.  "He told the guy if an eighteen-year-old guy could spank him that way he didn't want him at his station anyway and he damn well better transfer or go become a sub."

Mac whimpered softly.  "I'm never going to hear the end of it."

"No, Gerrard said it's clear you learned it in the military."  He glared at that.  "And he said that if Xander does it for you at least you wouldn't be bothering him anymore."

"I should sic Horatio on him," he muttered.

She patted him on the arm. "It'll be okay, Mac."  She saw Aiden watching Mac's ass again.  "Xander's in Miami with the other one," she called.  "And he said if he caught you doing it again he'd use you as a yo-yo."  She blushed and walked off.  She looked at Mac again, grinning a bit.  "He's very jealous of her watching you, Mac.  He's very protective of what's his."

"Which can be a good thing considering the two Feds who were bothering him about the graduation explosion were exposed to what he used to do," he said grimly.  "He apparently brought them to a demon bar and let them be educated.  Horatio said one wobbled in and apologized, said only God could save him now.  The other hasn't appeared yet."

"Pity.  But hey, they weren't great Feds since they couldn't follow orders to leave him alone."  She beamed and walked off.  "Less to bother Horatio, Mac.  Repeat it until it makes you happy."

"That's not what's going to make me happy today."  She giggled and kept going.  He went back to his office to sulk.  Gerrard was going to use that against him.  He'd have to let Xander help him when he got him back.

Danny leaned in with a bright, happy, evil smirk.  "Gerrard just found me on my scene."  Mac moaned.  "Unfortunately he can't walk and he said he hates you.  That you gave his wife bad ideas about getting a boy of her own.  That she's citing you in their divorce and Xander's why she hit him with a frying pan until she kicked him out last night."  He walked off.

Mac put his head down, shaking it.  That was only going to make it worse.


Horatio gave the Fed that walked up to where he was on a scene a look.  "Something happen?" he asked quietly.

"You can tell the boy they won't be bothering him again," he said, giving him a long stare.  "I don't  know what he did...."

Horatio walked him off so no one could overhear them.  "They were pressuring Xander about the weapons thing you told them to watch out for."  He groaned.  "So he took them to a demon bar.  He decided they could get all the information and proof they wanted."

"Which is why one of mine is busy finding a monastery and the other one is giving my office looks like he's going to be redecorating soon," he said.  Horatio nodded.  "I think the brat's going to Sunnydale then."  He smirked.  "Anyway, they're very sorry and they will not be doing it again.  They both said they would not be doing it again and if they saw him doing something they'd come see you instead because you're reasonable."

Horatio sighed, shaking his head.  "Xander is very reasonable when you're not upsetting him."

The agent held up a hand.  "I don't care, Caine.  The boy's your problem.  Have fun spanking him and all that when necessary.  I'm only here to tender the official apology."

Horatio nodded.  "I'll let him know.  Thank you."

"Welcome.  By the way, one of them suggested you guys go hear about his rep.  It's apparently fairly odd."

Horatio gave him a look.  "We've talked to Xander already.  He gave us a lot of background information."

"Good.  Think he knows who else made dirty deals to gain power?"

"I think he can sense them," Horatio admitted blandly.  "Somehow."  That got an evil smirk.  "Are there  others who might try the same tactic?"

"One.  He got warned off by those two.  He'll listen to them where he won't me."  He walked off, going back to his office.  He sent in immediate transfer paperwork for the guy going to Sunnydale.  He didn't care if the guy wanted power but he wasn't going to use him as a stepping stone.  The confirmation got faxed back so he walked out and dropped it onto his desk, walking off again.  "Anyone else who goes there and gets the same knowledge goes too."  He went back to his paperwork.  It'd be better to have those who knew go out there to handle things.  There and the LA and Cleveland office according to Mr. Giles.  So much better of a punishment than Iowa.


Horatio came home a bit late, finding Xander stretching out on his back on the floor.  "Tired and missed the couch?" he teased.

"Rolled off it while I was napping.  Figured the carpet was comfy," he quipped back.  He looked at him then sniffed.  "You went to check on my rep?"

"The two agents you sent there got their boss to apologize for them."  He sat down on the couch, staring at his boy.  "One's becoming a monk."

"It's a common reaction when you realize we're not alone.  God can make things like demons make sense."

Horatio nodded at that.  "We think the other one made some sort of deal for power."

"Possibly.  Didn't see him today since I spent all day cleaning."  He heaved himself up with a groan, crawling over to kiss him.  "Did they threaten you?"

"No.  I wanted to know what they told them."  He stared at Xander.  "You and Willow?"

"Smooches only," he said dryly.  "I'm not going to cheat, Horatio."

"I know that, Xander.  I'm not worried about that.   I'm worried about you jumping in sometimes and getting hurt because of it.  So I went to get a list of what skills they know you have.  Dressing badly was at the top of the list."  Xander snickered. "But there were some interesting additions behind that one."  He took another kiss.  "We should talk about that.  You won't have to fight with us there, Xander."

"Horatio, if a demon shows up, I'm probably going to jump in anyway and you can back me up.  Most of them are only annoyed by bullets."  He stood up and stared down at him.  "What am I making for dinner?"  Horatio pulled him down onto his lap to kiss him.  "Good but not very nutritious," he teased.

"We still need to talk about you jumping in, Xander.  It's not necessary.  There's not that many demons in New York or Miami.  If there is, we'll call you.  You don't have to sneak around behind our backs to handle things."  Xander gave him a confused look.  "I heard about the vampire you staked for Stella.  Also the one that was trying to eat Danny."  Xander grimaced.  "They said they know not to bother either lab now.  Only the stupid and those looking to call out a slayer would do it.  You made your point."  He took another kiss, keeping Xander focused on him.  "For now, we want  you to be *with* us, not *protect* us.  We can protect you and you can protect us if it's *necessary*, but it's generally not necessary."

"Then there isn't a contract out on your life?"

"That's something else that came up," Horatio said, staring at him. "How did you get those contacts?  No one there could tell me."

Xander teased his shirt then looked at him.  "One of my after school jobs was as a bartender in one of the demon bars in town.  Not Willie's, where we went for info, but one of the less hostile and less scummy places.  Well, not really a bar.  More a social club with  rooms for rent upstairs.  But anyway I learned a lot there and met a lot of people.  Most of the vampires wouldn't come in and the  other demons weren't usually harmful.  A lot of them were in the underground because they couldn't get normal jobs.  So even if they  were peaceful they couldn't fully live that way," he babbled.  Horatio kissed him again so he looked at him.  "I bartended there for about five months.  Made good tips.  The guys loved me when I was there because I joked with them after a long day and the girls liked me because anyone being too rough with them got their heads bashed in.  So I made a lot of friends and acquaintances there."  He played with Horatio's shirt buttons, glancing up at him while he did it.  "I heard some things and saw some things.  I could go back there and talk to people if I need to or ask my old boss to introduce me to someone in either New York or Miami.  That last night in Sunnydale I went there to tell them I was moving and why.  The old boss said he'd put it around that there were slayers' friends involved with the labs now and they'd know."  Horatio tipped his face up again.  "It'll stop all of them but the vampires."

"I see."  He took another kiss, cuddling Xander gently.  "It wasn't necessary."

"Horatio, New York's the mob fatherland in some ways," he said dryly.  "This is their vacation and retirement land.  Yes it was.  If something happened down here that could be traced back to them I'd hear about it.  I'd have to step in because it could lead back to me working in the bar at one time and then it could get you two in trouble."

"So you were protecting us," he said, smiling a bit.  "How deep do your contacts go?"

He kissed him and smiled.  "I'm considered a goofy sidekick by them too, Horatio.  Just yours instead of Buffy's now."  He took another kiss and slid off his lap.  "Dinner?"

"I'd like to finish hearing about this, Xander."  He pulled him back down, letting the boy straddle his lap this time.  "If  you hear about something like that you, you'll tell us?"  Xander nodded.  "What contract?"

"One of the mostly demon mafia groups thinks it'll be dangerous to have me here.  I sent back a message that I'm going to ignore them unless you two need help.  The first time  you step into a demon case they're going to try," he said quietly.  "I've already pointed out that you guys want me to stop hunting.  That Mac doesn't want me to have weapons.  They said that's nice and to keep you guys out of their business."

"If they're doing bad things...."  Xander nodded.  "Just within the demon community?"

"No, there's a lot of crossover," Xander said dryly.  "They're suppliers basically.  The guys you go to for drivers, trucks, those things.  Not the higher end things but the base necessities.  Someone in their gang is in real estate.  Someone is in a car dealership, those sort of things."

"All right."  He took another kiss.  "Would you write out a list for me?  Maybe a diagram of how they're connected if you know?"

"If I do that you're a target," Xander said bluntly.  "Which means I have to step in and then the annoying Fed people come back to ask more nosy questions.  Which then irritates me and makes me go off on them, which pisses you and Mac off, which gets me spanked."

Horatio  thought about it.  "Is there a way that wouldn't endanger us or your contacts?  I know they can be useful if something happens."

"If something happens then I told them they're fair game.  We're in stalemate."

Horatio nodded.  "Which is a good place to be," he agreed.  He kissed his boy gently, earning a bright, happy smile.  "Mac and I both want you *out* of that life, Xander."

"If something happens...."

"Then you can go back.  For right now, we want you out."

"I've put around that I'm in a seriously relationship, not going back to Sunnydale unless something happens, and I'm content to stay out of everything unless something happens in either city  or that needs to come to my attention."

Horatio gave him a deeper kiss, earning a moan.  "Which is a very good thing.  So you can drop the vigilance?"


"Yes, Xander.  Let us watch for you.  You don't have to drop it totally but you know nothing's going to happen around us because of this."

"Horatio, I'm not that connected," he said dryly.  "I was a bartender that people talked to.  Not a Godfather."

"Good point.  Still, if they know that it's going to go on around you they'll hide it better."  Xander nodded.  "Has anyone?"

"I think Mac has an open case with one of them."  He shrugged.  "I'm staying out of the work stuff so unless it's *real* blatant around me I'm not going to hear about it."

"Good.  I like that.  Mac will as well.  Did you tell him about this?"  Xander shook his head.  "Why not?"

"He didn't want to know."

"Good point."  He took another long, deep, tongue dancing kiss.  "Thank you.  Anything else I should know?"

"The guys who have the contract out on you have connections into the gang scene.  Like I said, they supply the trucks and things."  Horatio nodded at that.  "So I don't want to do anything...."

"I'd rather that you turn into a happy houseboy and lover," Horatio told him.  "A content little cuddly one who went to cooking classes and maybe some self-defense classes to help with that tripping problem they said you had."

"Are you going to tell Mac?"  Horatio nodded.  "Do you have to?  He'll freak out."

"He won't, Xander.  He knows you had some contacts if you knew what the heavier weapons looked like and how to use them.  PFC's don't learn how to use the artillery usually.  Even Infantry guys."  Xander grinned at that.  "Thank you for admitting it to me."   He gave him a gentle spank.  "For now, can you turn back  into our lover instead of Buffy's friend Xander?"

"I'm trying.  You won't let me talk about dinner."

Horatio laughed.  "Want to go out to dinner?"

"No, I want to cook and snuggle."

Horatio looked at him.  "If we go out nothing will happen."

"Except your bosses will find out and more officers will know and then you'll have problems at work..."  He started to babble again but Horatio cut if off with a moan- inducing kiss. "Plus can't do that in a restaurant."

Horatio nodded.  "It's a sound reason, Xander, but they probably already know with the way gossip flows around a police department.  They probably knew from the transit cop at the airport."  Xander blushed.  "Definitely since Sunday's dinner."  Xander whimpered.  "He hasn't said anything to me and neither have any officers.  Remember, I'm not well- loved but I am liked and I am a Lieutenant.  They can't get away with it."

"Did you want to go out to dinner?"

"I'd love to show you off," Horatio teased.

"I said dinner, not a sex club, Horatio.  I'm not that kinky."

Horatio laughed.  "Neither am I, Xander.  Neither am I."  He took another kiss, stroking over Xander's back this time. "Up to you.  Dinner here or out?"

"Here?  That way we can continue this?"

"I can do that.  Take-out or did you want to cook?"

"I made jell-o."

"That's a dessert, not dinner."  He gave his butt a squeeze.  "We have to talk about proper nutrition with you.  Before you make us fat."

"You're not anywhere near fat and I'm sure you skipped lunch."

"I didn't.  Speed made me eat half of his while he pumped me for information on what happened to the two nosy Feds."

Xander shrugged.  "I didn't ask for a report."  Horatio chuckled.  "So we're good?"

"We're excellent.  Did you want take-out?"

"Whatever you feel like eating.  I'm not picky." He leaned down to sniff then tease and lick Horatio's throat, making him tip his head back to give him access.  "Did you want to do anything tonight?"

"I was thinking about wearing you out so you sleep tonight."  Xander nibbled harder.  "You can bite gently.  I'm not as delicate as Mac is."  Xander bit him for that and went back to teasing him.  "You wiggled all night on me.  I almost tied you down."

Xander looked at him.  "The last time you tied me down it was in punishment."

Horatio went back into his memories of his other life then nodded.  "I did.  You were being a pain in the ass and fluttering around on us.  I had to so you'd quit moving."  He kissed him again, then suddenly flipped them so Xander was on his back under him, letting him  stare down at him.  "Should you bounce around like that now and annoy us I'll tie you down again."  Xander grinned at that.  "Thank you."  He kissed him, going down to do the same things to his boy's throat, working him up until  Xander was making needy noises and trying to get his clothes off him.  Horatio stripped and they retreated to the wider bed - neither one wanted to fall off the couch.  Xander crawled onto the bed, kneeling so he could get his own shirt off.  Horatio smiled and helped, then took his jeans from him as well.  He looked over his boy's body, finding him very tanned today.  "No pain from the burns?"

"I used aloe gel all day.  I was a good boy and your office is neatly clean," he said proudly.  "I deserve a reward."

"You do deserve a reward."  He flipped his boy over, grabbing the lube and getting to work stretching him.  Xander whimpered.  "After I get mine."  He finally slid in, starting a hard, rocking, jabbing rhythm.  Xander was keening and rocking back against him now.  "That's my good boy, Xander," he promised, stroking his back, one hand going around to tease his cock.  "That's good.   You can come when you need to."  Xander shouted and came a few strokes later, letting Horatio come too.   They both flopped down to cuddle in the same position, Horatio kissing the back of his neck.  "Want to pick dinner?"

"I don't care," Xander mumbled, yawning a bit.  "Whatever you feel like is good."  Horatio kissed the back of his neck.  "Keep it up and you're going to be too tired to eat."

"I'm sure I will be but Miami has all-night delivery places," he teased.  Xander looked back at him.  He smirked.  "We do.  So does New York."

"Mac would kill me if I ordered dinner at two in the morning after pouncing him.  He sleeps all night when I pounce him."

"It's still early yet."  He yawned and gave him a squeeze.  "Now what are we doing?  Just cuddling?  Or did you want to figure out dinner and then feed it to me?"  Xander let out a small shiver.  "You can if you want."

"You'd let me?"

"Of course we'll let you, Xander.  We know there's some resonance."  He kissed the back of his neck again.  "Whatever you want."

Xander moaned.  "Chinese?"

"Is good for me," Horatio agreed.  Xander gave him a look.  "Go order.  The menu's in the kitchen."  Xander nodded, sliding out of bed to do that, coming back once he was done.  They cuddled until the delivery boy got there.  Xander put on a robe and took Horatio's wallet to pay him, then they adjourned to the couch again.  Horatio was sprawled out comfortably.  Xander was beside him pulling out food and a fork.  "Can't use chopsticks?" he teased.

"Not without a hairband to fix it right."  He fed him a bite, then ate one.  He fed him another bite, cleaning up the dripping with his tongue.  It used to be his favorite mealtime game in their last life.   They got down most of the dinner before Xander noticed Horatio was hard again.  Then he went down to tease him.  He was getting better at blow jobs.  Horatio was moaning and arching into his mouth.

Horatio wobbled on letting himself come from that or not, but he knew Xander could use another one to wear him out tonight.  "On me, Xander," he ordered quietly.  The boy stared at him.  "On me," he repeated.  Xander whimpered but  nodded and climbed on top, shifting and doing himself on him, making it good for both of them.  Horatio got to kiss him and lazily stroke his cock to prolong this one.  Xander was nearly  insane with need by the time he was ready to let him come.  He was making begging noises and slamming himself down onto Horatio's hips to get him as deep as he could go.  Horatio decided to change the game a bit.  "Off."  Xander made whimpering noises and kissed him desperately.  "I'll let you come, but I'm going to change positions so I don't bruise."  Xander climbed off and Horatio got him on all fours, bracing on the other armrest.  He looked at the tense body, teasing the warm butt cheeks with both hands.  "So pretty, even from this angle."  Xander wiggled.  He spanked one of the firm cheeks, earning a moan.  "Like that?"  Xander shook his head.  "Then let me play, Xander."  He went back to teasing him, stroking a finger around the outside of his hole, watching as the boy tried to get it inside him.  Then down to tease his cock.  "I could use a cock ring."

"Please, master?"

"Not your master here, Xander," he said in his ear.  "Just your boyfriend here."  Xander arched back against him.  "Say it again."

"Please, Horatio!"

"Good boy."  He slid back in deep enough so the head popped through the stretched muscles but kept it there to tease him.  "You know, I could go get the cock ring and a few other things.  It would make tonight very fun."  Xander let out a soul-deep moan that vibrated through him.  Horatio pulled out and went to get one.  It was mean but he was in the mood to play now.  The cock ring was carefully applied, earning a begging look.  "You know I'll let you come, Xander.  I won't last as long as you will this time."

"I could come now," he offered. "Please?"

"Let me play," he ordered, staring at him.  "I want to play.  You need to play anyway.  It'll make it all better."  He kissed him.  "If you let me play like a good boy I'll reward you and let you come so hard you'll pass out," he teased.

"Play how?"

"Play, Xander."  He went back to behind him, teasing the hole again with the head of his cock.  Xander tried to tighten around him but he only laughed and slammed in once to break the tightening then went back to teasing.  Xander tightened and he did it again.  Then he pulled out and found the toys he had gotten.  He turned on one, a small, silver, vibrating egg, and slid it inside the open hole.  Xander nearly jumped off the couch when it came on.  Horatio laughed and used the other toy to push it deeper, watching as Xander shook and gripped the couch's arm to hold on.  Then he finally tensed up to the point where he was solid.  He nudged it just a bit further on, knowing he was near his prostate.  A bit too far because the boy relaxed.  So he used the cord to pull it back an inch.  He slowly turned it from one up to two.  Xander's body was shaking  yet still tense.  "Relax, Xander.  It's got ten settings and it's only on two."

"Killing me," he whimpered.

"I'm not killing you."  He turned it all the way up suddenly then back down to two after a second.  "Good boys get me after that."  Xander shifted his hips back, stretching out on his stomach, one leg hanging off the couch so he had total access.  "That's my good boy.  If I had something like a sling I could play with both sides at once," he teased.  "Unfortunately I'm not that kinky."

Xander started to shake again so Horatio used the slim toy to stroke in and out while the vibrating egg got turned up to four.  Xander was making breathless, whimpering noises in the back of his throat.  They were very sexy and making him want to pounce but he had other things he wanted to try.  He turned it up suddenly again and the boy yelped, trying hard to come before he could turn it back down to four a few seconds later.  The cockring made sure he couldn't but  you could tell he was having dry orgasms.  "You thought only girls had those," he teased.  He leaned down next to his ear.  "The beauty of a cock ring, Xander.  You can come and not have it be over with.  I'll have to do this and tape it for Mac," he said.  Xander made begging noises.  "Would you like that?"  Xander nodded.  "Think he would?"  He nodded again faster.  "You'd agree to anything right now, wouldn't you?"  Xander nodded again so he smiled and kissed him on the ear.  "Not much longer."

"Play," he said hoarsely.

"I am playing."  He went back to it, turning it to five.  Xander was making such pretty needy sounds.  Of course, the phone rang.  He turned off the ringer and went back to his playing.  Xander needed to be driven to the point of verbal begging some other night to let him play.  He took out the toy and slid himself in with the cord, making Xander arch his butt up to give him better depth.  It was very nice.  Shallow strokes but close enough that he could feel the vibrator on the head of his cock.  It felt *so* good.  He could keep doing this for a very long time.  Xander had another dry orgasm, he could feel the muscles twitching around him.  "One more of those and we'll both come," he promised.  He turned it up to eight, making him hiss and nearly come from the vibrations he could feel.  Xander was stiff again and vibrating in need.  "Xander?"

Xander reached back for his hand, gripping it, holding on.  "Please, Horatio!" he begged.  "Please?"

Horatio started to thrust again, keeping himself in control since he only felt the vibration at the end of his shallow thrusts.  He wasn't going to last too long though.  He kept hold of the hand, squeezing it in time with  his thrusts.  He felt Xander give him that last dry orgasm and slammed in, undoing the cock ring with his free hand.  Before he could do anything else, he switched the egg on ten and they both came from it, making Horatio howl in pleasure.  Xander went limp underneath him, Horatio managed not to fall on top of him but cuddle on his back, still buried inside.  He turned off the vibrating egg but couldn't pull it out around him and he wasn't about to withdraw.  The aftershocks felt good to him.  Twitching against and around his sensitive cock, making him wish he could get it up again.  He heard Xander breath deeply and shifted but the boy pulled his hand until he moved back.  "I'm not moving that far.  Letting you breathe," he soothed.

"Can," he said weakly.  He drifted in the haze until Horatio softened and fell out.  Then he whimpered.  "Can we play more sometime?" he asked finally.

Horatio laughed.  "Someday soon, Xander.  I need to pick up some more treats for you."  He pulled the egg out slowly, making Xander whimper.  "Don't tell me you can get it up again."  Xander shook his head.  "Then why whimper?"

"Want something in there," he said, sounding like he was pouting.

"I only have the one plug and it's a bigger one," he offered.  Xander looked at him.  "It would keep you open for me in the morning."  Xander nodded at that.  Horatio got up with a small moan of complaint, going to get it for him.  He licked it before sliding it inside, then laid down on Xander's back again, cuddling him.  "Bed?"

"Can't move," Xander said weakly.

"I can," Horatio said.

"My legs are still trembly, Horatio.  They won't hold me."  Horatio got up and helped him to his feet, letting the boy brace on him so they could go to bed.  He collapsed, wiggling into the center.  Horatio climbed in and he clung to his chest, wrapping himself around his lover.  "Gods, you're very kinky but I love it," he said once the lights were out.

"Mac might mind.  Think I'm corrupting you," he teased.

"Mac has his things and you have yours.  He knows that and so do I.  I wouldn't expect Mac to do the same things you do.  Can I watch if you do that to him?"

Horatio kissed him on the forehead.  "If he wants me to, I will."  Xander hummed and nodded, giving him a gentle squeeze.  "Sleep, Xander.  Or no morning sex."  Xander nodded, falling asleep around him.  Horatio smiled.  "Mac said you cuddled very well."  He let himself drift off too.  He was tired.  He hadn't been that kinky in years.


Xander looked up, blushing when Horatio came  home the next night, waving at him.  "Hi."

"What are you looking up?"


"Sex toys?"  He came over to pull him out of his desk chair, then sit down and pull Xander into his lap.  He looked at what he was looking at.  "That won't hold up to serious use," he said, getting them onto another site, letting Xander look at it.  Xander whimpered in pleasure.  Horatio smiled at his back.  "You should have some of those down here and up there.  For those times you want to make dirty calls to Mac while he's at work."

"He told me I wasn't allowed.  Stella would giggle."

"Pity."  Horatio found what he was thinking about from last night.  "If we had that last night I could've teased both sides," he said in his ear.  Xander groaned and went  limp in his lap.  He smiled, watching his boy tease him.  Xander clicked on a link and showed him something else.  Horatio smiled.  "Would you like the feeling of suede on your back, Xander?"

"I don't know.  I know I don't like pain but would that be pain?"

"No, that wouldn't be painful in the least," he promised.  He  clicked on something else.  His boy gave him an adoring look.  "We need a few more.  I only have the two."  Xander shifted so he could kiss him.  "Did you want bigger, smaller, or normal sized?  Firm or gel?"  Xander shrugged.  "We'll have to see."

"Mac said you had to return me next week."

"I know I do but we'll send you home with some too."  He stroked up his back, finding the few he was thinking about.  "Those are supposed to feel lifelike."

Xander shook his head.  "Buffy has one and complained that it's hard to clean."

"Okay."  He clicked on something else.  "Those can be used warm, cold, or normally.  They're also cleanable in the dishwasher."  Xander shivered at the thought of the glass cock in him.  "They make metal ones too."  He let him see those.  Xander went back, leaning over slightly.  It let Horatio shift so his cock was against the crack of his boy's ass.  "Is that a plug?"  Xander blushed and nodded.  "Mine?"

"No. I went to buy one and see what else there was.  He told me to go to the other site.  We were out of lube too."  He blushed brighter and turned back around to go back to it.  "Would cold feel good?"

"We'll have to try it and see how you like it.  Along with many other things, Xander."  He stroked up his back, then groaned when someone knocked.  "I'm not home!" he yelled.  Something came through the mail slot and whoever it was left.  Xander gave him a look.  "We'll see what it was later.  It wasn't a package so it can't be a bomb."  Xander nodded, shifted some so he could rub against Horatio's trapped cock.  He hit another link, letting him see the vibrators, making the boy whimper.  "We need another one," he decided.  "That way you can have one in your mouth too."  Xander slid to his knees and turned around, opening his pants without prompting so he could suck on him.  "Ooh, so good, Xander.  Thank you, baby."  He stroked through his hair.  "More suction, Xander.  Deeper too if you can."  Xander tried for him and Horatio gently showed him what he needed to do.  Xander moaned around his cock and went back to it, letting his tongue play with the intruder.  Horatio let him do whatever his wicked mind wanted, he was going to enjoy it.  He finally came and smiled because Xander swallowed it and cleaned him up.  "Thank you."

"For what?" he asked, rubbing his jaw, looking up at him.

"For swallowing.  Many women won't."

"It seems kinda pointless not to.  I mean, I've already had the precum in there and down my throat."  Horatio pulled him up to kiss him. "I, um, I put on the ring again," he said quietly, nestling against his shoulder.  Horatio moaned, he smiled at the sound it made through his shoulder.  "And I'm  plugged with a four-inch realistic looking plug.  The guy asked me if I wanted a chastity belt to go around it but I told him no."

"Some day I might use one, that way you can't get out of it without my approval," he said quietly, hissing in his ear.  "Some day when I'm on a possessive kick."  Xander shivered.  "But not for every day."  He stroked over his hips.  "Underwear?"

"Pointless after I slid into them.  I knew you'd be home sometime."

Horatio  hummed.  "Very naughty, Xander.  I approve."  He kissed him.  "Not for every night."

"No, not for every night but I'm still having aftershocks from last night.  My thighs are still weak and I'm more than ready for more, Horatio.  Then before you put me on the plane?"

"I think we could manage that.  So you can sleep the whole flight up," he teased.  "No being bothered by the stewardess."  He stroked over his rear again.  "Are you sure about tonight?"  Xander nodded.  "What else did you get?"

"Just those things."  He grinned at him.  "I wasn't going to be presumptive."

"Did you figure out what sort of toys you wanted?"

"I stared at them for a few minutes then decided I'd let you choose."

"Hmm.  You know, there's some shops you can try samples out in the shop."

"I'm not into public displays of sex."

"Fine."  He smiled.  "We can see what I want."  He stood up.  "Come on."  He tucked himself back into his pants and made sure he was presentable before walking Xander out to the hummer.  The letter turned out to be a 'you have a package' slip.  He  signed it and put it in the hummer to pick it up tomorrow.  He took him to his favorite sex shop, letting Xander walk  in holding his hand.  He waved at the guy behind the counter, taking Xander to where what they had been looking at was.  Xander felt a few of the toys for firmness but otherwise let him look and decide.  Horatio looked at him, then pointed at something.  "That's fairly large, Xander.  Do you want something like that?"  Xander shivered but shrugged, hugging his arm.  "Up to you.  Did you want to try it?"

"I don't know."

He kissed him.  "We'll try something then."  He picked up a long box and a few other things.  They looked at the pyrex glass dildos, picking out one that was a bit thinner than he was but about as long.  Xander got a basket for him and held up a bottle of lube.  "You got how many?"

"Just one."

"That'll do for tonight."  He added another two bottles and another plug.  He wanted Xander in a slimmer one than four inches.  It was keeping him stretched for him but sometimes he wanted him tight.  He looked at the locking chastity belts, seeing the red hot blush.  He smirked.  "If you misbehave...."

"I know."  He smiled and kissed him.  "For the planeride?"

"It has metal.  Airport security would mind."  He did pick up a sling.  A good, strong, leather one.  Xander whimpered.  "I think it'll be good for the day you go back."

"Are you coming up?"  Horatio nodded.  "Good.  All weekend?"  Horatio nodded again, smirking a bit.  Xander kissed him again then beamed.  "Anything else?"

"We should look at things, see if you wanted to try them."  He walked him around the store, talking about nipple clamps, the suede flogger Xander had found online.  He swatted him gently on the forearm to let him feel how much it would hurt.  Xander put that into the basket.  The nipple clamps were staying on their hook.  A few other things got some interest so he brought them to Horatio, who explained the uses.  They all went back.  Horatio whispered something in his ear, getting a shiver in reaction.  "We'll try that later," he promised, kissing him.  He walked him up to the counter, paying with his credit card.  Xander took the bags and walked out with him.  Once they got home Horatio closed the door.  "Eat now, Xander.  We'll set up other things."  Xander nodded, handing him the bags before going to make them dinner.  Horatio went into his spare room to look at it.  Then he decided he wanted those memories in his bed.  A quick stop in the closet on his way back to their room and he was set to put things up.  By the time Xander came in with a plate for him the sling was up and so was the video camera.  They went out to the couch to eat, letting Xander stare at what he could see through the door.  "Like last night," he soothed.

"Mac will growl and pounce," he said with a smile.

"Hmm.  Probably both of us," he teased.  "Just as soon as we make it home."  He took a kiss and fed him a bite of dinner.  "Did you eat?"  Xander nodded so he finished up and put his plate and fork into the kitchen.  Xander stripped down there for him, letting him admire the view.  The plug was bright teal.  He smiled at the slim, silver cock ring the boy had chosen.  "How does that open?"  Xander showed him, letting him rehitch it.  He walked Xander into the bedroom, putting him up into the sling.  He adjusted things for his best height and looked at him.  "Do I need to tie you down?"

"If you want.  I trust you."

Horatio smiled.  "We'll try it without but if you get too disobedient I'll do your hands."  He put his feet up into the built-in loops, stroking back down his leg on the way back to his crotch.  He stripped off, looking at all that area for him.  He looked at the camera, making sure it was in view of the sling.  "Mac, Xander said he wanted to try something and decided after I teased him last night that he wanted you to see too," he said in his most seductive voice.  "He was very naughty and I had to  pull out a vibrator last night.  Let me show you what I did."  He found the egg and the slim toy from last night, pulling out the plug to look at his hole.  "Very pretty, Xander.  Lubed and all?"  Xander nodded quickly, arching his hips up.  "Let me," he reminded him.  He turned it on and slid it in, pushing it up farther.  He put the controller on Xander's stomach, then turned it on.  He smirked at him. "We'll see how much you can take tonight."

Xander yelped and arched up.  "Still on ten!" he said frantically.  Horatio turned it down until he found the right spot to hit.  By then Xander was tense and needy.  His cock was hard and ready for use.  It was a very pretty sight.  Horatio slid into him, thrusting shallowly.   "Going to have a fast one and then a slower one?" he teased.

"Since you didn't give me a blowjob with dinner, yes."  He twitched the control up and down while he thrusted, making Xander whine and arch up for more and him to get deeper.  "Keep it up, Xander, I'll pull out the one I hadn't planned on you using down here."  He went back to it, finally coming.  He moaned, turning down the vibrator a bit, but Xander was still vibrating.  He licked across the head of his cock.  "Good boy, Xander.  Want some more?"  Xander nodded, making begging and pleading noises.  "Very good boy."  He got another toy to play with him.  It was a very pretty sight and the camera was at the perfect angle to catch it being shoved in and out.  The egg was still up there but it was up too far at the moment and on low.  He'd pull it back down in a bit.  "Look at that, Mac.  See how pretty his hole is, how greedy it is to be taken?  He wants our cock badly and this is the best I can do with you up there and us down here."  He switched to a bigger one, making Xander groan and shift his knees further apart.  "Too big?" he teased.

"Full," Xander said, moaning on the out stroke.  "Very full.  Spoiling me."

"I'm not spoiling you, Xander. Not yet."  He teased the head of his cock with his mouth, then got one of the new vibrators and plugged it in.  That got handed to him and Xander sucked on it obediently.  That and a mouth on his cock was enough to send Xander into a dry orgasm, making him smirk.  "Three last night, wasn't it?"  Xander nodded frantically.  "Then let's see what we can do about that."  He went back to mouthing the cock, making him beg for more around the one in his mouth.  "Practice on that, Xander.  I want you able to deep throat me during our break later."  Xander nodded, doing that.  Horatio took the vibrator and gave him a normal one instead since it was about his size.  Xander sucked and slurped and made it go deeper.  Horatio came up to help with some gentle encouragement, stroking over his throat so he had to swallow with it.  Xander got it all the way to the fake balls and Horatio pulled it back, giving it another nudge.  Xander swallowed it all the way down again.  "Good boy.  I like that.  Mac will too."

Xander pulled it out and slurped up his spit, tonguing around the head.  "Mac's wider, Horatio."

"I know he is, Xander.  We have one his width if you want to practice on that one."  He let him have it and watched him go down on it, shivering.  "That's so pretty," he assured him, making him do it again.  "Very good, Xander."  He went back to  take that one and do Xander with it instead.  Mac was going to be panting by now.  He pulled out the one in the box, holding it up.  "I'm sending this one up with him, Mac.  I want him in the corner some night impaled on it when we get home.  That way we can both watch him while we tease each other."  He put it down and went back to hamming it up with Xander.  He was fully recovered but Xander was having fun with that dildo.  He licked over his cock again.  "Want that one in you, Xander?"

"No, want you in me," he moaned, arching and wiggling his hips.  "Please, Horatio?"

"Soon."  He pulled back the egg, turning it up suddenly.  Xander choked but he handled it well.  "Remember, no biting, Xander.  I'm training you so you won't bite during blowjobs."  Xander nodded, holding it in his mouth.  "I didn't think you wanted a gag," he teased.

"I'm going to get noisy," he promised.  "Horatio, can I beg for more?"  The egg got slammed into the top setting and Xander's jaw clenched and you could tell he was having another dry orgasm.  He came back panting and desperate so Horatio tied his hands down.  He slid the cock back into his mouth.  He moaned.

"If you don't bite it, I'll reward you after this one, Xander.  You know I reward good behavior."  Xander nodded frantically so he turned down the egg and went back to teasing him.  Xander was whimpering and doing what he could with the cock in his mouth.  Horatio lowered the hips on the sling, making Xander beg for mercy behind it.  He reached up to remove it.  "I don't mind noisy."

"The new neighbors have their kids in on visitation," he said weakly.  "Please, master?"

"Xander," he ordered firmly.

"Sorry, Octavian.  Please!" he whined.  "I've been a good boy all day.  I did what you wanted and everything."

"You have been a very good boy," Horatio soothed, making Xander arch his hips up.  "When I say, Xander.  No sooner."  He nodded and Horatio let him have the cock back, sliding into his body.  He moaned.  "This is so nice, Xander. Tight, warm, soft."  He tossed out the egg, using himself to drive Xander further into insanity.  He saw him have another dry orgasm but it was all good for him.  He could see the boy had kept from biting the toy.  "Good boy," he praised.  "You didn't bite."  He slammed in, setting a hard, pleasuring rhythm.  The boy couldn't even make begging noises, he could only breathe.  Horatio moved the cock but Xander's mouth opened and he tried to get it back.  "I don't want you to strangle yourself, Xander."

"Not!  Please!  Mac!"

"Shh.  You can have him back," he soothed, handing that one back.  Xander went back to sucking it while Horatio gave the camera a smile and went back to Xander's lower half.  He slammed in and made it good for both of them until he had to come again.  Then Xander let him have the dildo and he did him with it, until he could see Xander was getting close again.  He undid the cock ring and Xander came with a yelp and a hip-arch that  looked painful.  Horatio gently slowed the stroking down, then pulled it out, coming up to kiss him.  He let the tape finish with him putting Xander to bed, cleaning him up, and laying down to cuddle and kiss him until they both fell asleep.


Mac got the overnight package from Miami the day after, looking at it.  "I wonder what this is?"  He knew it was a video.  He opened the end and found a picture and a post-it telling him to watch it at home, not at work.  He put it into his bag and made it home on time that night, settling in to watch  it.  The picture came on with Xander in a sling and Horatio putting up his feet.  He moaned.  He knew Horatio was the kinky one.  Someone pounded on the door so he stopped the tape, going to glare at whoever it was.  "I'm busy, Danny."

"We were gonna go out tonight," he offered, pointing.

"Horatio made a tape of him and Xander cuddling."

"Ah."  He grinned.  "Never mind.  Have a good time and remember, they're coming back Friday together."  He left, calling Stella on the way.  "Horatio sent up a tape of," he coughed, "cuddling between Horatio and Xander.  No, he was growling at me for interrupting his happy time, Stella.  He's not coming tonight, at least not with us."  He hung up on her laugh and got onto the subway.

Mac sat down on the couch again, undoing his pants.  He clearly needed access to his cock for this one.  He watched as Horatio debauched his angel, growling some.  Though it was nice that he was being added in once Xander was out of his mind.  It was still mean to him.  He came when Xander finally did, watching as they went to bed to cuddle, smiling and laying down on the couch to watch them.  They did look very good together.  Xander was very cuddly to Horatio too.  He was clearly exhausted and would sleep well into the next morning.  He considered it then went to clean up and change, going to the sex shop on the next block from his, finding it still open.  It was only ten at night.  He smiled as he walked in.  "Hi."  He grabbed a basket and went to find what he wanted his boy to use.  He found the same box  Horatio had held up, moaning at the thought of it attached in the corner and Xander on it, riding it, while he and Horatio watched and played with each other.  He got something else because Xander was noisy sometimes.  He wouldn't mind the cock gag as much probably since he had done it to himself.  A few bottles of lube and he checked out, taking  his new toys home to find a good place for them.  When Xander and Horatio got back, he was going to be playing for a very long time.  Horatio could wear a cock ring as easily as Xander could and he'd look just as pretty in it.


Mac looked up as his boys came out of the secured section, watching Horatio head toward the baggage claim while Xander came over to give him a hug and a discreet lick to the throat.  "Did you have fun in Miami?"

"I had a great time convincing Horatio I didn't need spoiled."  He grinned at him, walking him over to the baggage claim too.  "Tell him I was a good boy, Horatio?"

"Most of the time," Horatio said, smirking at Mac, getting a smile back.  Hugs between men weren't going to get them any looks so they hugged and let Xander get the bag.  "Did you like his present?"

"I did but if you ruin him for normal things I'm going to have to beat you," Mac warned, but he was smiling.

"As he put it, I have my things, you have your things, and mine are for special occasions."  Mac laughed at that.  "How has it been?"

"Different.  Gerrard knows."  Xander looked over at him.  "That officer you spanked admitted what was going on.  Then his wife decided to get a young man of her own and kicked him out of the house."  He sat down to wait with Horatio.  "Was he very good or just mildly good?"

"He was fairly good.  We did some talking about his contacts."  Xander gave him a look then went back to searching.  "It's just coming out now, Xander," he called.  He looked at Mac again.  "It seems they've all agreed Xander's staying out of the way unless something comes nearly one of us.  If that should happen we'll be seeing a reappearance of the Xander we first met."

"That's reasonable," Mac agreed.  "If something like that comes up in a non-dangerous way I'll let him know so I can get some help."  He took the bag when Xander came back over.  "Anything I should know?"

"They have a stalemated contract out on you guys for knowing me and me possibly being able to expose them.  That's why the agreement I'd leave them alone if they left you guys alone came into being.   I was good, I didn't bring anything they'd be allergic to or anything."  He hauled Mac up then Horatio.  "Come on, it's late and I want to go home."  Horatio smiled and nodded, walking out with Xander between them.  He smiled at Mac.  "Did Stella remember to feed you for me?"

"She did.  She came up to me about every-other-day to hand me food.  I didn't forget to eat, Xander."

"No, but you were probably eating good for you food or single person food.  You needed to eat some fun food so you wouldn't stiffen up again like the Tin Man when he's been out in the rain.  Someone online at a site I was reading said you can use WD-40 or motor oil for that but it sounds nasty and hard to clean out later."  Mac stopped to stare at him.  He gave his lover an impish grin. "They did.  They said they had.  Gun oil too."

Mac shook his head quickly.  "That's got to be hard to clean out later."

"I was reading over his shoulder and it probably was," Horatio agreed, smiling at him.  "He was good, he slept most of the flight.  I got a good nap as well.  You?"

"I took a nap when I got home at seven.  After I vacuumed and changed the sheets."  He led them out to his SUV and got them inside, smiling at Xander when he got into the back.  He saw Xander shift to twitch his t-shirt.  "Xander, official vehicle, there's cameras," he said quietly.

"Which is why I never jumped someone when they were being so macho and hiding in the hummer so I wouldn't know he had gotten a graze," Xander said dryly.  Horatio moaned at that.  Mac snickered.  "He did.  He hid and tried to hide the stupid thing from me.  So I fussed worse than Alexx does and got it cleaned for him, then bandaged, then he had to stop me from going to find the person who shot at him."

"Is that why you were good *most* of the time?" Mac asked patiently.

"He went out in a pair of cut-off shorts he had found that were basically the male version of daisy duke's and went out without underwear," Horatio told him.  "Went to a beach, stripped down to a speedo, and then got a lot of admirers.  Including Eric, until he realized who Xander was and called, taking a picture with his cellphone to show me.  Xander nearly got spanked since two of the other people on the beach were wanted felons that my lab was searching for."  Mac leaned forward on the steering wheel, shaking his head against it.  "Then Xander comes bouncing over in his two-sizes-too-small speedo in bright blue, so one's eyes were naturally drawn to it, and asked if we needed help with the psychos.  His words, not Eric's since he was still on the phone.  Then he so very nicely pointed out another guy who was creeping him out and Eric sent a picture of him.  So we found a serial rapist as well."

"Xander," Mac moaned.

"The swimsuit was from my time on the swim team," Xander defended.

"Uh-huh," Horatio said dryly.  "Eric said now he knew why I was keeping you."  He gave him a look.  "I'm buying you a better bathing suit as well."

"It's nearly fall.  We won't be able to swim for a while."

"Miami's waters don't get cold, Xander.  That's why we get snowbirds.  I'll get you a better bathing suit the next time you come down."  He reached back to stroke down his cheek, getting his fingers nibbled on.  "Let's go home, Mac.  Parking garages are nice but I wanted to see more than this one small parking spot this weekend."

Mac started the SUV and backed out of his spot, taking them to his place.  When they got there, Mac pushed Xander against the wall as soon as they were inside.  "Behave."

"I tried really hard.  I only wanted to body surf, Mac."

"I'm going to agree, you need a bigger bathing suit."  He kissed him again, then let him go, earning a pout.  "Go put on the ring I left on the bed for you."  Xander blushed but went to do that.  He turned and pressed Horatio against the other wall to kiss him stupid too.  "You too."

"Yes, Mac," he said with a grin, sashaying that way.

Mac watched them, tossing the bag onto the couch on his way through the living room.  He saw the answering machine flashing and hit the button to listen to Stella ask if he was going to be busy all weekend or not.  Then Danny suggesting he stay home since Stella was in a naughty mood and was going to one of those sex toy tupperware-esque parties and wanted to bring Xander with her.   "No, I don't think he needs to go to those," Mac said, heading into the bedroom.  He found Xander stretched out on the bed, naked except for the small leather cock ring.  Horatio was presently getting undressed.  Mac got him into his ring and pushed him down onto the bed to play with both his boys.  They were both going to pay for making him sleep alone for two weeks since they had such fun.


Mac looked at Horatio then at Xander.  "We should do something tonight."

"Will we be okay if someone higher in the department hears?" Xander asked.

Mac nodded.  "There's an official non-discrimination policy.  If they try anything I'll let you find me something that'll eat them."

"Don't tempt me," Horatio teased.

"You too?" Xander asked.  "Because I do know where there's one in Miami."

"No, Xander.  No eating my supervisor.  He'd get mad and quit approving my vacation time."

Xander nodded.  "Okay.  But if he says mean things can I at least make his life a living hell again?"

"Sure," Mac agreed.  "The same as you can for Gerrard or my supervisors."  Xander beamed.  "I was thinking we'd go to 1462."  Xander looked confused.  "It's a discreet gay club.  It has shows all weekend long and Saturday's is usually somewhat racy, but usually entertaining.  Not sex in public entertaining but fun nonetheless."

Horatio considered it then shrugged. "I brought clothes.  I can get dressed for that."

Mac looked at him.  "I wondered why you bought a real bag for only a weekend."

"So I could hide the presents we brought up for you," he teased with a smile.

"After that tape I got a few of my own."  Horatio leaned over to whisper in his ear, getting a moan and a nod.  "We can do that tomorrow."  He smiled at Xander, who shrugged.  "Would you like to go with us?"

"Sure," he agreed.  "Do we get to dance too?"

"No, this is more of an adult club than a club-club, Xander," Horatio told him.  "Like the one I took you to dinner at."  Xander nodded, getting up to check his closet.  "Wear the one Mac sent the picture of."

"I can do that," Xander called.  He came back out and looked at Mac.  "Do we have to make reservations?"

"I can do that in a few minutes," he promised, reaching over to stroke over Xander's cheek.  "You'd have to behave but I was thinking about wearing out that excess energy today.  Maybe with a trip to Coney Island?"  Xander squealed and hugged him.  Horatio laughed.  "Like that idea?"

"He does."  Horatio kissed them both.  "Finish breakfast, boys."  They ate and then Xander went to put on clothes since he was only in his boxers.  He saw the look Horatio gave to his favorite baggy jeans and a more subtle t-shirt and overshirt.  "One shirt today, Xander.  It's supposed to be in the eighties."  Xander nodded, taking off the overshirt.  "Thank you."  He finished getting dressed in casual clothes and they left together, letting Mac take them wherever he wanted to go.  It was nice to spend some time together outside the bedroom.  Horatio was a bit sore.  Xander was a bit sore by the way he was sitting.  Mac was sore because Horatio had pounced him before breakfast as payback for the extra- long pouncing he had gotten in last night.  So some fun outside the bedroom would be a good thing for today.  Even if Xander did try to drag them both onto the roller coaster and every other ride, but wouldn't let them pay for any of the games.  Horatio finally challenged Xander, which meant they all did the duck shooting one and he tied with the boy, impressing Mac.  Mac paid for the tie breaking round and Xander won by one, he got one right before it could disappear around the edge of the moving tray.  So he got the stuffed animals and they walked on.  They ran into Don, who only smiled and promised to drop the stuffed animals back at Mac's car for them.  On the way there he called Stella to tell her the good gossip.  She'd squeal in happiness.


Xander looked around the club Mac was leading him into.  It was a nice place.  Curved tables with higher backs for discretion and privacy.  Lots of plants around them too.  A few regular tables closer to the stage.  A few waitresses in black outfits wandering around with trays.  Everything looked nice and clean.  He squeezed Mac's hand, getting a smile for it.  Then he grinned at Horatio, who ruffled his hair.  "Hey!  Leave off the hair," he teasingly complained.

Mac looked at Horatio.  "We do have to talk about his mop."

Horatio nodded.  "We do."  He let their hostess lead them to a table and sat Xander between them.  He smiled at Xander.  "What do you want to do with your hair?"  He shrugged.  "Any idea?"

"Not have it be sticky and sweaty on me?"

"There's that option as well," Mac agreed. "How about a bit longer?" he asked, playing with some of it.  "We'll get it shaped so it's not a mop and so it's easier to grab onto?"

Xander blushed.  "I don't like pain."

"No but it gives us something to play with when you give us those nice 'you came home for me' blows," Horatio said in his ear, making the boy give him a look.  "You do."

"I know I do.  You enjoy them."

"I do enjoy them," he agreed happily.  "But it'd give us something to do with our hands.  That way we wouldn't pull your hair."

He looked at Mac, who ran his fingers through it again.  "I could like a bit more length.  Not romance novel hero hair but a bit longer."  Xander nodded at that.  "It'll still need a trim though.  It's a mop."

"Fine," Xander agreed.  "I'll get my hair cut."

Mac gave him a look.  "Yes, we'll get your hair cut."  Xander gave him a look.  "I want to see when it's done."

"Are you going to take me to the S&M barber or something?"

"If we do, I'm going to have him shave you too," Horatio assured him.

Mac shivered.  "He'll be very sensitive then, Horatio.  We'd have to be careful."

"We would," Horatio agreed smoothly, smirking at Xander, who was blushing.  "Just think about all the fun we could have with it too."

Xander looked at him.  "You're being kinky again."

"I know I am."  He kissed him.  "Remember, nothing overtly sexual.  Cuddling is fine though."

Xander gave him a cuddle.  "I'll miss you while you're gone."

"I'll miss you too, Xander."  He smiled at Mac, who took Xander back.  "Now, let's talk about something else."  He looked at Xander, leaning closer.  "We want you to drop the tough guy act, Xander.  Please?"  Xander pouted.  "I know it's necessary now and then but tonight's not one of those times.  No one here would dare hurt us."  Xander looked at him.

"I noticed on the tape you went back to Alexandrus," Mac said quietly, making Xander look up at him and shake his head.  He nodded.  "You even called him Octavian, Xander.  You did.  We don't want it all the time but can we have it tonight?"

"You want me to be the wife, don't you?" he sighed.

Mac and Horatio both nodded.  "We do," Horatio agreed.  "Would that bother you?  You could take any classes you want, still work if you wanted.  We'd never stop that stuff, Xander.  We do want you to be a bit more protected than protective however.  Now and then you break into thug and it ... it can scare us."

Xander nodded, sighing a bit.  "Fine, but I'm not wearing heels."

"I'd never ask," Mac promised. "Unless it's a kink you have, Horatio?"

"No, men in heels has never been one of my kinks," he said, smiling at Xander.  "It would let you protect us if you had to, but it would protect you from people like those agents as well," he said quietly.  "So they couldn't come back.  We'd never make you stop doing normal things.  We don't want a submissive.  Though now and then you do tease and play at it," he said with a smile.

"I'm already doing half of it anyway," Xander pointed out.

"That's what we were thinking," Mac agreed, smiling at him.

"Fine, but no spoiling me with bling, guys.  I'm not going with that."

"Fine," Horatio agreed.  "We have many other ways of spoiling you rotten."

Mac looked at him.  "More rotten or simply rotten?"

"Guys," Xander whined.  "Not in public!"

Mac laughed and kissed him.  "You already make a good wife, Xander.  I promise you do."  Xander grinned at him.  "You got a letter from the cooking school by the park.  It's on my desk."  Xander grinned.  "Is that what you want to do?"  Xander nodded. "Then we'll eat all your kitchen experiments that don't explode or burn."

"Alexx would nag if I didn't," Horatio agreed.  "She nagged him too.  Said he was too thin."

"Hmm.  Not really," Mac said.  "I like him how he is."  He smiled at Xander.  "Those shorts stayed down there, right?"  Xander beamed and shook his head.  "Xander," he moaned.

"I'll wear them around the house.  I won't wear them if you need me to visit."

"Thank you.  I'd never hear the end of that from Stella."  He took another kiss then kissed Horatio, earning a smile. "Go get us a beer please?"  Xander nodded, wiggling his way over Horatio's lap to go to the bar.  He shifted closer.  "Does that work into your own plans?"

"I was recently nagged it was time I settled down," he said, smiling at him.  "Like you said, he does make a spectacular wife.  Even when his mouth gets in the way."

"Hmm."  He looked at the bar and went to help him.  "Wouldn't because of your age?" he asked.  Xander nodded.  "It's for me and our other husband."  He put down money and took the beers, taking them back to the table.  Xander got a pepsi from the waitress the next time she walked past their table.  "Thank you."

"I'm sure he's legal but everyone needs a designated driver."  She strolled on to get another table.

Mac sipped his beer, nodding. "Good beer.  Thank you, Xander."  Xander smiled and snuggled in, holding their hands as the lights came down around the room.  The stage's lights came on and four men in black capes came out.

"It's the penis puppet show," Xander said happily.

Horatio watched, shaking his head.  "Mine's not that flexible."

"Mine either," Mac said, watching them make another figurine with their penises and balls.

"I'm not that big," Xander sighed, sipping his soda.  Mac gave him a look.  "I'm not."

"You are too."  Xander smiled at him.  "Behave.  Nothing that anyone could see from the next table or anything."

"So no falling to my knees like I would've back then?" he teased quietly.  Mac moaned so he stroked over his thigh with the hand holding his, smiling at Horatio and doing the same thing to him.

"Not an exhibitionist, Xander," Horatio said quietly.

"No one can see."  He kept stroking their thighs, getting happy with it.  Their show was over with and he clapped loudly.  Mac took his hand back, making him tease him some more.  It was nice.  Horatio smiled and kissed him.  "Thanks, hubby."

"Welcome, wife," he teased back.  Xander giggled and kissed him for real, making him moan.

Mac smiled, letting Xander spoil Horatio with attention.  After all, Horatio was going back to Miami in a few days.  He'd have Xander all to himself for a while.  The next act came on and it was much more graphic.  The actors were simulating a lot more than groping up there.  Xander was back to teasing their thighs.  He saw Horatio shift and make Xander's hand touch somewhere else, earning a smirk and Xander leaning down to do something for Horatio.  He sat up quickly and did the same for him, letting him feel the condom Xander had put over him.  Well it'd save their clothes he supposed.  Xander was stroking them both now and it was very good.  Very soft.  Gentle.  Exciting because at any minute everyone in the place could turn and watch him.  The tables didn't have table cloths to keep out the more open sex at the tables.  Still a quick handjob in the dark wasn't really frowned upon.  He heard a few nearby tables getting a bit loud in their excitement and smiled, kissing Horatio gently in front of Xander, then they kissed him, making him a happy boy.

Horatio came first, just before the person on stage did.  Mac took a few more minutes then he came and Xander smiled and discreetly took off the condoms and put them into a bag in his pocket.  They could hear the rustle of plastic over the clapping.  The next act came on and Xander sipped his soda, letting Horatio hold him for now.  He knew Horatio was paying him back for it, but Xander was trying to be quiet.  He was naturally very loud. Which was why Mac had gotten him a gag.  Mac leaned over to whisper in his ear.  "Control the noise, Xander.  Unless you need something to gag you?"  Xander kissed him as he came, letting him absorb most of the noise.  He smiled at the boy, getting a grin back and him putting the used condom into the same bag.  Then he went back to cuddling Horatio and sipping his soda.  Mac shifted closer and Xander got comfy with him too.  It was very nice.  They could be themselves here.  He could reach behind Horatio to play with his hair but Horatio swatted at the hand, giving him a dirty look.  He grinned and did it anyway.  "I'm going to mess it up later," he promised quietly.

"Only if you want me to retaliate," Horatio hissed back.  Then he arched up as Xander nibbled on his wrist.  "Hungry?" he teased.

"Watching the play, Horatio.  You let me mess up your hair, you can let him mess it up.  He'll smooth it back out."  He smiled sweetly and went back to watching the play, making Mac snicker.

"You said he could bite you," Mac teased, stroking his fingers through the tempting, soft, red strands on the back of Horatio's head.  Horatio shook his head but accepted it.  He was stroking through Xander's hair.  Xander was teasing his thigh and making him a happy Horatio again.  Mac was watching the master of subtle foreplay apparently.  It was nearly as good as the play.  At the end of that play they clapped and the next act came on.  This one was much more graphic.  Before it had been some touching, simulated sex, one simulated blow job.  Now the actor was preparing his lover fully.  He had the tube of lube, you could the fingers going into his hole.  Then he slid in and the actor on stage moaned at it, reciting his lines in time with the thrusting.  It was a good play, even when another character came over from out of the darkness and offered to blow him.  The guy relented after some prodding by his lover behind him and it slowly turned into an orgy scene.  It was about the dangers of public sex - people wanted to share when you did it - so it got the point across splendidly.  Xander was whimpering quietly, sucking on one of Horatio's fingers to keep himself quiet.  He checked, no touching each other.  Just cuddling.  He leaned closer to Xander's ear.  "Do you like to watch, Xander?"  He whimpered and nodded, giving him a look.  "Then we'll see what we can do to fulfill that desire."

"I think that's why he brought up the big box," he said quietly.  He kissed him.  "Did you like the tape really?"

"I've watched it twice, Xander.  Wore myself out both times.  After the first one I went toy shopping," he said in his ear.  "I loved the tape.  Next time you're down there, you'll have to make me another one and send it up.  The same as we'll have to make one for Horatio."  Xander kissed him, seeming a bit desperate.  "Calm down.  Control it, Xander."  Xander nodded, going back to cuddling Horatio and sucking on his finger.  He smiled at Horatio, who winked.  "We'll be returning the favor of the tape.  Maybe just him this first time."

Horatio kissed him.  "I'd like that."  He smiled and watched as the 'police' in the scene came in to break up the orgy.  Two of the cops managed to start prying people apart but they were pulled down too and taken, even if they were protesting that they were straight between moans.  Finally someone came out with a water hose and got them all, and the first few tables, so it was good and the orgy broke up.  The original couple got arrested by the remaining cop with the water hose.  They got to have sex in a cell that was brought out for their amusement and the amusement of the guys in the cell.  "Overcrowded for a holding cell," he whispered.

"Very," Mac agreed.  "Not as big as ours either."

"Don't even think about it," Xander moaned.

"Never happen," they assured him together, patting him and getting him into a good mood.  The two in the cell ended up being shared around by the others in the cell, which might not have made them happy in real life.  The boyfriend broke up with his lover for being such a slut and enjoying it, leaving him there in the cell to be used and enjoyed and turn it into an orgy, which got him more time in another cell.  It was the start of a bad trend but funny in it's own way.  When the show was done Xander suggested they go to a dance club, even promised to pay cover for them, but Horatio took them home to set up the floor-mounted dildo and let Xander play with it while he and Mac got together on the bed.  After they were all limp, they crawled into bed together, snuggling in.  It had been a  great night.


Xander bounced into Mac's work a few weeks later, smiling and happy.  He signed in and took his pass, taking it with Mac's lunch to his office.  He smiled as he walked in.  "Lunch."

"It is?"  He smiled and took the bag, getting a kiss too.  "Thank you, Xander.  You spoil me greatly."  Xander sat down on the couch across from him, letting him check the bag.  He looked at the boy, who had the naughtiest grin.  "I don't even have shades on the office windows."

"We're going somewhere later.  I made reservations and everything.  Do not argue with me even though it will be cheesy."

"Fine.  Where are we going?"  He put the bag with lube and the two sex toys into the drawer.

"To Chez Marteen."

"Isn't that a rent-by-the-hour place?"

Xander grinned and nodded.  "Since I couldn't go help Horatio this week, he should have another tape."  Mac swallowed.  "This way we don't have to worry about cleaning the house."  He winked and Mac laughed.  "Good for you?"

"Fine with me, Xander.  Thank you.  Should I warn him?"

"Did he when he sent up the first tape?"

"Only to watch it in private."  He looked over as someone came up the halls.  "Crap," he muttered.  "Chief," he said, standing up.  "Is there an issue on a case?"

"No, I came to talk to you about something else."  He looked at the young man, staring for a second.  "Do I know you?"

"I'm Xander."


"My, um, wife, sir," Mac said quietly.  "I know it's known about."

"It is," he said, grimacing.  "He's cute."

"I bite too," Xander said dryly, giving him a look.  He looked at Mac.  "Want me to get you lunch since that's why I'm here?"

"Please."  He handed him a few dollars from his pocket.  "Thank you, Xander."

"Welcome."  He walked out, heading to the break area.  Stella was run into first so he gave her a hug.  "Thank you for the cookie recipe.  They loved it, Horatio said they travel very well too, and my class liked them too."

"You brought my cookies to cooking class?" she asked with a grin.

"The teacher said to bring in something we had cooked today.  So I brought in cookies for everyone and him."  He beamed.  "He said they were very good even if I did burn a few on one edge because of the uneven oven at Mac's place."  She laughed at that.  "But it went okay.  Most of us can cook somewhat and we're the beginner's class.  He asked why we were taking them and my answer was well liked.  Even though I kinda babbled."  He shrugged and spotted Aiden.  "Is she all right?  She looks tired."

"She's got a bad case right now," she admitted.  "No lunch for Mac?"  He waved the bills.  "Ah.  Visitor?"

"That CoD guy.  He gave Mac a funny look when he said I was his wife."  Stella walked off giggling.  Xander walked over to where Aiden was resting against a wall.  He gave her a hug.  "You know, I've been surrounded by girls for years," he said in her ear, making her laugh.  "You can talk to me.  They did.  I got to hear all about PMS, cramps, zits, boyfriends, all sorts of stuff.  I'm very talkable to.  You can even babble at me if you need to."

She gave him a gentle shove off.  "It's not a personal issue, Xander.  It's a case issue."

"Then why not talk to Mac?"

"Because I tried that and he gave me BS advice," she said.  "Stella too."

Xander stared at her.  "Maybe it's the way you're thinking about it, Aiden."

"Xander, you have no idea what we do here."

"And you have no idea what I used to do, Aiden."  She gaped.  He stepped closer.  "Do you think we had tea parties when things attacked us?" he asked quietly, staring her down.  "I've seen worse than any human on this planet can do.  Really.  Probably multiple times and at least twice as bad.  If you need to talk about a case, I can be a good sounding board.  I give Mac and Horatio ideas now and then.  I've even given Speed ideas when he was stuck.  You can talk to me.  Especially if you quit staring at Mac's ass."

She snorted but shook her head.  "I've got a serial case and we know who did it, but we don't have the evidence to convict him."

"Is this something that finding a new way to gather evidence could help?  Or maybe some new, revolutionary lab process could help?  Something in the journals maybe?"

She considered it then shook her head.  "Nah, not in this case.  He's gotten off once.  We need a rock-solid case."

He sighed and nodded, leaning beside her.  "Aiden, I know it sounds harsh, but why do we call them serial cases?"  She gave him a horrified look.  "If he has other cases out there, can you dip into them?"

She gave him a look then blinked.  "I might, but I've tried...."  She trailed off and her eyes got that glow.

He stopped her from moving.  "I'm not suggesting you do something that'll get you in trouble, Aiden.  Mac would hate that if I did.  He'd kill my ass if I did and yours too.  You know that."  She nodded, grimacing some.  "Sometimes the easiest path is that solution but if you start down it, it's damn impossible to backtrack."


"Aiden," he said, drawing her further away from people.  "When we're attacked in Sunnydale, we kill the things attacking," he said bluntly.  She gaped.  "Be they demons or vampires, whatever. We *hunted* vampires that were hunting others," he said slowly and clearly, staring her down.  She swallowed and nodded.  "If you take the step that just lit up your eyes, there's no going back.  We'd hate to miss you but once Mac found out, you'd be missed terribly."

She slumped and nodded.  "I know.  I don't wanna do something like that."

"And the sad fact is, in this case, it may come down to another victim before you can stop him.  No matter how much it sucks.  No matter how much it hurts and keeps you up at night and gives you nightmares.  We were lucky when we got fledges.  Most of the time we got them at least on their second day.  Sometimes decades after they had been turned.  It sucks, it hurts, and if you think about the victims it hurts more," he said quietly, making her look at him.  "But maybe, if you look around in the journals, talk to some other CSI like Horatio's people or someone, you might find some process or test you don't know about that could help you.  You don't know everything there is to know.  Other people know things too.  The internet has *billions* of people on it.  Find other CSI and chat with them.  See if they have a clue.  I'm sure there's a chatroom already made for CSI to go to talk about problematic cases."  He shifted closer.  "Remember, serial cases are serial cases after three victims, and you're lucky if you get them then.  Most of the time serial cases are solved after ten or more from what you see in then news.  It sucks and it hurts, but if you don't have enough information you have to get it somehow."

She nodded.  "It's a good idea, Xander.  I'll look into that internet chatroom.  See if there is one."

He grinned.  "And hey, if not, make one.  There's plenty of free chat services.  I know Horatio's got one for the Miami-Dade guys to work on after hours and with the other labs.  Speed's online.  I have his email address at home if you want it."  She nodded.  "Maybe stepping back for a day will help."

"It's a rape case," she said quietly, glancing around.

"Then what's to say there aren't more cases out there, Aiden?  The guys on tv always say that they time their attacks.  Is he?"  She nodded.  "Has that amount gone past?"


"Then maybe there's another case and you don't have it yet.  Check with the others it could've went to.  The other felony labs maybe.  Maybe he was there when he did it."

"Maybe."  She patted him on the cheek.  "Don't tell Mac?  Please?"

"If I say anything I'll tell him you could use a shoulder.  I won't tell him about that thought you had," he promised.  She nodded, trusting him on that.  He went to the break room to get Mac some lunch and a soda for both of them, walking back to the office.  They were still talking.  He put Mac's lunch down in front of him and the soda, smiling as he sat down.  "Did you need me to disappear for longer?"

"No," the Chief of Detectives said, looking at him.  "Are you wanting to be an officer, Xander?"

Xander shook his head.  "I'm taking cooking lessons.  I don't want to be a chef but I was thinking about bakery stuff.  I have a wicked sweet tooth," he said with a grin.  "It'd go good with that.  That way Mac wouldn't have to watch me play twinkie theater to explain things again."  His boss shook his head quickly.  He beamed.  "Then again, some Feds came up to me after class and asked if I wanted to come work for them.  So who knows at the moment."

Mac looked at him.  "Which Feds?"

"I don't know but I think there's some rogue Feds in Sunnydale."  The CoD's eyes went wide.  Xander grinned. "Yes, I'm from Sunnydale."

"There was an explosion there."

"My graduation," he agreed.  "Mac was there.  He was thanked for giving help with the evacuation."

"Good job, Taylor."  He looked at the boy, seeing him staring at his neck.  "Do I have spots?"

"Trying to see if that's Astrian or Astriead.  I can't see the last dot."  The man backed away, blanching.  His dark skin was going towards gray at the moment really.  Xander stood up.  "Let me reintroduce myself.  I'm Xander Harris, friend to the slayer.  The White Knight of Sunnydale."  The man blinked hard.  "If you haven't heard of me, the one that marked you has."  He nodded, backing away.  He grinned a sappy grin.  "Though some day I'll have to rebuild my rep when I change my name, once the marriage stuff is legal."   He looked at Mac.  "How are we doing last names when it's finally legal?"

"I don't know.  We'll have to talk about that," he said, opening his salad to add dressing.  "No sandwiches?"

"I saw one; it was green and fuzzy cheese and meat.  There's no way in hell I'm giving you intentional food poisoning.  You could use the time off but you'd make me miserable complaining from the bathroom."  The CoD laughed at that.  Xander grinned.  "He would.  It's another good reason to take cooking classes and Tai Kwan Do?" he asked, looking at Mac.

Mac considered it.  "If you wanted to.  You're already pretty good in self-defense, Xander.  It would add to your skills and help you with that tripping problem you have now and then when you're tired."  He ate a bite, nodding.  "Go ahead.  Morning or afternoon?  I know a good dojo I'd send you to."

"There's one up the street from the school and they offer it at three.  I'm taking lessons from eleven to two so that works out okay for me."  He kissed him.  "I went in to check it out and the guy asked me bluntly if I was your wife or just your girlfriend.  I grinned and told him wife.  He suggested a few other styles but I said I wanted to start simple since I was on-the-job trained.  He agreed that'd be a good place and work with my future class schedule too."

Mac nodded.  "We can afford for you to take martial arts class."

"That reminds me.  We need to go over the letters from the insurance people.  There's sixteen and my head's swimming.  Willow said a few she read over were going to be argued with."

"Sixteen?" the CoD asked.  "Were your parents wealthy?"

"No, my mother was one of those people who fill out every one of those cards that come in the mail for anything.  Figurines, insurance, miniature cars, all that stuff.  We found evidence of over thirty life insurance policies.  Mom didn't always keep up with the premiums.  She forgot to tell her payee to do it for her sometimes or she forgot she filled them out while drunk."  He shrugged.  "So we've got sixteen we have to read over, sign stuff, send it back, and a few we have to look over and see if we want to argue with them or not since they're term life insurance policies and she should be able to get back whatever she put in at the very least."

The CoD just nodded.  "Then what?"

"I figure I'll start a new checking account since I haven't yet and move on from there.  Mac can advise me on that."

He nodded.  "We do offer insurance for spouses and significant others."

Xander beamed.  "Thank you.  I'll look into that to see if it's cheaper than the one I have.  I've had my own health and life insurance since I was fourteen.  It was easier."  He just nodded and left them alone.  Xander shut the door and sat down.  "Sorry to run him off if he needed something important."

"More politicking than anything.  Thank you."  He ate a bite and drank some of the soda.  Xander grinned.  "What else happened?"

"The chef in charge liked the cookies I made.  Even though he said your oven sucks.  He said it's got uneven heat and we'll have to fix that before I bring in anything else for homework."  Mac moaned, shaking his head, eating another bite.  "So maybe some of the insurance money to buy a new stove since yours is 1970's olive drab?"

"We'll see," he said tolerantly.  "Sixteen?"

"Yeah, we're still waiting on the other ten."  Mac moaned, shaking his head.  He shrugged.  "My mother scribbled when she was drunk.  It won't be tons of money but it'll be a nice nestegg."  He shifted, curling up on the couch.  "Mac, can we... talk about work stuff?  Your work stuff?  I'm kinda worried."  Mac nodded.  "Stella and Aiden looked *really* tired just now.  Like dragging ass, should take a nap immediately, wouldn't want them on the streets right now tired.  I'm worried they'll get hurt."


"Stella, I think it's the new boyfriend, who creeps me out by the way.  That's saying something to me.  Aiden....  I think it's a case and when I talked to her about coming to see you for hints, she said you gave BS advice."

Mac sighed.  "She does have a tough case but I can't really help that, Xander."

"I'm not suggesting you take it from her, Mac, but maybe be a good boss who pops in on his people to make sure they're not slaves instead of employees?  Most good bosses spend some time each day at least looking at their employees as they work and you're never here if they have problems.  Like Danny's having personal problems and Don's about to kill someone over the personal problems Danny's having."

Mac ate another bite and thought about it.  "I'm partially to blame for Danny's," he admitted.

"I heard."  Mac gave him a horrified look.  He grinned slightly.  "Danny needed driven home.  Don was drunk too.  I took your keys because they were up the road a bit.  Sorry."

"No, that's all right, Xander.  What happened to that old convertible?"

"I sold it before I left.  Got eight hundred out of it."  Mac smiled at that.  He moved Mac's soda.  "Your arm's going to knock into it soon."  He took a kiss.  "Aiden asked me not to tell you, Mac, but she's *really* exhausted.  Like the hasn't slept in days exhausted.  Maybe some cheerleading from a boss who's had cases that made him lose more hair than Horatio did last month?"

"I can do that," he promised.  "You're right, it's time for me to step up and be a friend as well as a boss to my team."  He ate another bite and knocked over the soda can.  Xander got him some paper towels and came back to help clean it up.  "Don't worry about it, Xander.  You didn't move it in the way on purpose."  He kissed him again.  "Quit stressing."

"I moved it."

"And I would've tipped it anyway."  He got under the folders on his desk to get the soda from under there too.  He inserted a dry one so anything that had soaked in would come out and finished cleaning up the mess.  Xander handed over his with a slight grin.  "It's all right."  He took another kiss.  "I'll see you when at the sleazy motel?"


"Seven's good."  He kissed him again.  "Be a good boy.  Sign up for that lesson on the way home."  Xander nodded, leaving him to finish his lunch.  When he did, he went to find his team and actually talk to them instead of barking at them.  He had been a boss recently instead of a friend.  It was time to heal some wounds.  Starting with Stella since she was his second-in-command.  "Hey."

"Hey."  She smiled.  "You have soda on your shirt."

"I spilled mine with my elbow."  He wiped at it.  "I'll change it in a few minutes."  He walked in and looked at her.  "Xander's right.  You're tired."

"Boyfriend," she said in explanation, grimacing some.  "He decided to call at one this morning to talk about the new idea he had."  She shrugged.  "What I get for dating an artist, right?"

"Is everything else okay?"

She nodded, grinning again.  "I'm fine, Mac.  It's all good.  I promise it's okay.  You can tell your miniature yenta that I'm fine."  He laughed and nodded.  "He get onto you about anyone else?"

"Danny.  Aiden's looking tired too."

"Her case is going nowhere fast," she agreed.  He nodded at that.  "I don't know how to help her."

"I'm going to stop in there next."  He patted her on the arm.  "If he's that annoying, tell him that you have to get up early to help Xander with a cooking lesson."  She laughed.  "If he's jealous of Xander, dump him."  He looked around then at her again.  "He just scared off the Chief of Detectives for me by noting the marks on his neck."

"What marks?"

"Xander saw *marks* on his neck."  She shuddered.  "He gave him a clue.  It was pretty watching as he backed away from the guy.  So maybe we won't have so many problems."

"I can only hope so," Stella agreed, patting him on the arm.  "Find Danny, please?  You were unfair to him, Mac.  You knew he was from there and asked and then got mad because you didn't ask the right questions.  You're letting a thug tell you something about your people.  If it was me, you'd have laughed."

"I know.  He was from there though."

"And?  Did you ask if he had that tattoo?"  He shook his head.  "Then ask, Mac.  He's miserable.  He's being a prick.  The only reason you're happy is you have Xander.  I'm tired of the miserable people and if I have to go another day with miserable people around me I'm going to lock you both in a tiny broom closet and you can have a third wife."

Mac walked out laughing.  "Yes, Stella.  I'm going to talk Aiden into giving Xander her lasagna recipe."   He went to the lab Aiden was in, walking up behind her.  He saw the extra envelope and sighed, making her jump.  "I came to see if you'd give Xander your lasagna recipe and see if you needed a day off, Aiden."

"I'm not tampering, Mac, I swear," she said.  He gave her a piercing look, one that made her shudder and confess.  "I was staring at it like a drunk stares at a drink, Mac.  I know it's wrong, but I can't let him keep going."

He picked up the bag to look at it then put it down and walked her off to his office to sit with her.  He closed them in, even locking the door.  "Relax, Aiden."  He sat down on the couch with her, looking at her.  "I know it's hard.  About two years into my time here I had a serial murderer, children."  She shuddered at the very thought.  "We had a good idea who did it.  We had a very good idea.  We could all but prove it.  We *knew* but we didn't have enough evidence to even get a search warrant.  The judges wouldn't grant it based on him being in the area, knowing the victims, all that.  Mostly because he was a pediatrician."  She nodded, looking at her hands.  "I know how badly this hurts, Aiden.  I know you want him more than anything."

"It'd be so easy, Mac."

"And then everyone else's cases get harder, Aiden.  You compromise one case and you're a dirty cop.  That brings a bright spotlight onto anything else we do.  All your old cases can come up for appeal.  We'll never be trusted to do anything ever again."

"I didn't open the bag yet."

"I know.  If you had, we wouldn't be talking."  She looked at him.  He nodded.  "I can't have a tamperer in the lab.  You know that.  It'd make the lab's credibility collapse and then we'd never get anyone ever again.  It'd hang over all of us until we all retired and our grandchildren were running the lab."  She sighed and nodded, looking back down.  "I know my boy.  What did he say that he wouldn't tell me?"

"What did he tell you?"

"That you looked tired.  You and Stella both looked tired.  To get my head out of my ass about Danny."  She nodded at that.  "I'm going there next.  I really did come in to offer you a day off if you looked that bad and to see if you'd give him the lasagna recipe."  She smiled a brief smile at that.  "Actually, that's not a bad idea, Aiden."

"I can't, Mac.  I promised."

"I know.  And right now, you're at the point where cases go cold."

"He said I should look online to see if other CSIs had started a chat room to talk about difficult cases."

"There's two that I know of.  I've been in one about one of mine."  She looked stunned.  He got onto his computer and wrote down the address, handing it over when he came back to sit down again.  "I want you to take two weeks off.  At this point in that case it won't matter."  She shook her head.  He nodded. "I want you to get out of town.  Do not think about the case.  Don't worry about the case.  I'll put it on my desk while you're gone.  I'll go over it with Stella, see if either of us can come up with something.  While you're gone, you need the vacation.  You're worn out.  You're missing things.  You misbuttoned your shirt this morning and didn't fix it until Danny saw you and remarked."  She slumped.  "This case has been giving you nightmares.  It's been keeping you up, and it's been making you work overtime, Aiden.  It's very possible that you'll get that brilliant spark that sometimes hits when you're not thinking about something.  I've had that happen.  We all have."  She nodded.  "So take two weeks of your vacation time and go out of town.  Let me worry about Pratt and all his victims.  Maybe we'll be able to match it to another victim and have more evidence that way."

"Xander suggested that too."

"Xander knows a lot more than he lets on," he said dryly, giving her a look.  She smiled at that, nodding a bit.  "He's actually pretty smart and hiding it.  Like how he can read about five languages enough to only need a dictionary now and then even though he barely graduated high school.  Can we make that agreement?  Because it's not going to get any easier, Aiden.  Crime's only getting worse and the more people we squeeze into this city the worse it gets.  I need you guys sharp.  Even when you have a bad case.  I just told Stella to make her boyfriend jealous so she could dump him."  She laughed at that.  "Okay?  Can we make that agreement?"  She nodded.  "Good.  Get me everything.  Bring it here.  Go home on time."  She nodded.  "I'll put you on leave starting tomorrow and backdate the paperwork.  If we can't find anything then we'll start looking at other options, including surveillance."

"Thanks, Mac."

He patted her on the arm.  "If I had found you actually tampering, I'd have your badge within a breath, Aiden."  She nodded.  "Don't let me think you're getting to that point again.  Even if my last advice didn't help, come back to me.  Nag me.  Ask me to look over it too because you're stumped.  You can tell me that and I might growl a bit if I'm busy but I'll look it over for you.  I'm here for my people."  She nodded.  "Good girl.  Now shoo.  And please write down that recipe?"  She nodded, going to do that.  He sighed.  He knew Xander had known.  Her question about what he had told her said that much.  He was trying to cover her and him; but it had been helpful and tactful in that case.  He saw Danny walking and waved at him, pointing inside.  He got a glare.  "Now," he called.  Danny walked in.  "I've been handed a gentle rebuke from Stella and Xander about what I said to you."  Danny gaped.  "Shut the door?"

"No.  If you're gonna fire me, fire me, Mac.  Don't do the caring boss schtick."

"I'm not going to fire you, Danny, but I think I owe you an apology and I'm bad at them.  Plus I don't want it to get around to the others."

"Xander threaten no sex?" he joked.

"No, Stella threatened to lock us in a tiny broom closet until you were my third wife."

Danny gaped in horror then burst out laughing.  "Okay.  I'll spank her then."  Mac nodded.  "I'm sure you had your reasons."

"She pointed out if it had been her that Sonny had been talking about, I'd have went to her first and asked to see the tattoo."  He looked at him.  "Do you have one?"  He shook his head.  "Were you affiliated?"

"My brother was."

Mac sighed, nodding.  "So you thought about it?"

"I used ta idolize my big brother, Mac.  We all did."  He looked at him.  "Louie drove me off one too many times."  Mac nodded, staring at him.  "I'm not lyin'."

"I can tell."  Danny relaxed.  "I knew I should've been prepared to hear that you had some sort of higher knowledge of that gang with the answer you gave me."

"You were kinda dumb, Mac," he agreed.

"And for that I'll apologize.  Do I need to know about anything else that might come up on a case?"  Danny shrugged.  "Any other gangs your brother belonged to?"  He shook his head, snorting a bit.  "Okay."  He smiled.  "Xander told me I was being an idiot too."

"Yeah, well, now and then," he agreed dryly.

"I'm human, Messer.  Even I make mistakes.  Usually I get bitten for them by Xander."

"So this time he's gonna sleep on the couch?"

Mac shook his head.  "Not with his plans tonight," he muttered.  Danny burst out laughing.  "Horatio's got a horrible case at the moment.  Xander can't go down for at least another week.  Plus the insurance things are starting to come in."  Danny nodded at that, looking much happier.  "Do you think we can start to work on healing this wound again?"

"Depends, think you can still trust me?"

"I did even when I thought you had omitted information, Danny."  He straightened up.  "Though, we still have to talk about the shooting."  Danny groaned.  "You haven't requalified on the range this year."

"I'm not real comfy with them."

"That's fine.  I need that to be fixed.  Your gun is what's going to stop someone from hurting another officer some day."

"With my dad, I just...."

Mac held up a hand.  "I don't need details unless you want to give them to me.  At which time we can talk about it."  Danny shook his head.  "You sure?"  He nodded, looking at him.  "Good."  He put his hand back down.  "I've taught a lot of guys how to use their guns, Danny.  I can help if you want."

"No offense, Mac, but I don't want your wife to get jealous."

"He's not going to be.  He and I went to the range last week.  All those stuffed animals Don joked about?  He won those out-shooting Horatio on a carnival duck shooting game."  Danny gaped.  He nodded.  "He can help you if you want.  If you'd feel more comfortable I wouldn't care.  I know very well Xander hasn't told me about all he knows in regards to weapons.  I'm not asking you to pump him for information either.  He'll tell me if it becomes pertinent.  I do know I want him a bit more guarded since there were apparently agents who came up to him and asked him to join their special project in Sunnydale."  They shared a look.  "So if you want to ask him to go with you, you can do that.  I won't mind.  It'll give him something to do outside of cooking classes, martial arts class, and the insurance companies at the moment.  Or you could ask Don or Stella.  Both handle theirs very well."

"I might ask Don or Xander," he decided.

"Good.  You have two weeks and if you haven't qualified by then I've got to pull you out of the field.  That's regulations, Danny."  Danny nodded. "Good.  So we're good again?"

"We're fine again.  You can tell your guard bitch not to sleep on the couch."  He grinned and walked out, going to talk to Don.  He ran into him outside, nodding at him to follow him off to the side where no one would overhear them.  "Mac and I talked."

"Should I prepare an ice pack? Or should I duck Xander?"

"Neither.  He and Stella got onto Mac about bein' an ass.  He just apologized."  Don beamed at that, nodding a bit.  "He actually asked me.  Then we talked and he told me I have to qualify on the range."

"Yeah, you do.  If you don't, I'm gonna kick your ass," Don assured him.

"He said I could ask you if I don't think I can first time through.  I've got two weeks.  He said he could, you or Xander might, or even Stella."

"I will if you want me to," he offered casually.

Danny grinned and nodded.  "If you wouldn't mind."

"Sure.  Tell me when's a good time for you.  Not like I'm busy this week or next."  Danny nodded at that.  "Anything else happen?"

"I saw him and Aiden having a long talk."

"Door closed or open?"

"Closed," he sighed.  "She's not looking happy."  Aiden wandered their way, not looking too upset now.

Stella came out.  "Hey."  She looked at Danny.  "Do I have to lock you two in a tiny broom closet so he has a third wife?"

"Nah.  We talked.  We're good again."

"Good!" she said happily, giving him a short hug.

"Did he really tell you to dump your boyfriend?" Aiden asked, joining them.

Stella nodded.  "Yeah, told me to tell him I had to get up early to help Xander with a cooking lesson if he called at one again tonight.  If he got jealous to dump him."  Aiden smirked at that.  "You?"

"Came to ask me for my lasagna recipe and to suggest a vacation."

"Uh-huh," Don said, staring at her.  "You look tired."

"He told me I'm to get out of the city for two weeks.  Starting tomorrow.  So guess you're the brains of the outfit again, Stella.  Can't trust the guys ta do it."

Stella grinned.  "You okay?"

"I'm fine.  We're good.  Frustrated but good."

"You need to talk?" she asked.  Aiden shook her head.  "You sure?"

"I'm sure.  Didn't help much last time."

Stella sighed and nodded.  "It never seems to when you're in the middle of a serial case and you don't get sleep for weeks on end.  What did Xander tell you?"

"Find a CSI chatroom online and put the case in front of them to see if there's anything I might be missing that we can try.  Mac knew one.  Gave me the addy."

"Of course he did.  Mac knows nearly everything," Don said dryly.  "Except when Xander's birthday is because he forgot it yesterday."  They all gaped.  "Caught him coming out of the bakery with a cupcake and a candle for himself.  He said he never told Mac and Mac never asked."

"Mac'll figure out his own wife again," Stella assured him.  "So, anyone know what they're doing tonight? Xander was getting him lunch out of the machine even though he brought in a bag."

"Mac said somethin' about Xander not threatenin' ta sleep on the couch tonight because they had plans, and Horatio can't have him back for a week or so due to a bad case," Danny offered.  "They've got *plans*."

"Sounds like someone's getting a dirty phone call or a tape," Don teased.

Stella blushed.  "I think Horatio may have started that.  While Xander was in Miami last time Mac got a tape sent here with a picture of Xander in shorts at the ocean and the note to watch it in private."  They all gaped.  She nodded.  "Yeah.  So maybe a tape."

Don giggled.  "Xander's a bit fun now and then.  Even if he would spank someone.  Yo, don't make me tell Taylor's wife, guys.  They'd hate to beat you too."  The officers picking on another one of them quit and stomped off.  He looked at them, grinning a bit.  "He's now an urban legend.  They heard about the spanking thing and then the case with the body.  They now think he's some sort of strange witchy person."

Stella coughed and nodded.  "He caught on that the CoD has *markings* on him.  Named them.  Mac told me," she said at the gapes.  Don burst out laughing.

"Speaking of that stuff," Danny said, pulling them out of the way.  "We may have an issue.  When Xander first showed his ass on that case I looked up his town."  Don gave him a horrified look.  "I showed him.  Gave him nightmares.  Mac said some agents came up to recruit Xander for a special project back that way.  Said if I went to him for range time to watch out for him."

Don swallowed.  "We can do that," he decided.  The others nodded.  "He okay so far?"

"He was smiling and happy when he came in," Stella told them.

"He and I talked about what they did, because I was stressed over the Pratt case," Aiden admitted.  "He said they used to hunt bad things.  Like deer hunting hunt the bad things, guys."  They all stared but Danny eventually nodded.

"Makes sense with what we've heard.  So he's not the bouncy, goofy little guy we all think."

"At least not all the time," Don agreed.

"Well, Mac said those stuffed animals were because he out-shot Caine at a duck shoot thing."

Don gaped. "That's good ta know."

"Definitely," Stella agreed.  "Think he moved the weapons he used to have up here?"

"If he had weapons?  Maybe.  Depends on what Mac said," Don said, thinking about it.

"I made him keep them there," Mac said as he joined them.  "Who looked up Sunnydale?"  Danny raised his hand.  "The agents who wanted to know in Miami got told by Xander taking them to a demon bar," he said quietly.  "One found God and went to become a monk.  One made a deal for power and his boss sent him to Sunnydale.  After that incident we find out that Xander used to bartend in an underground club and he knows some people through that.  They have a contract out in case he spills information to either of us.  They're at a stalemate on it."  They all gaped.  He nodded, smirking just a bit.  "He promised me he wouldn't bring weapons to New York; if he had one of those sort of problems he'd call and let me bring something, or he'd find something at the last minute and then call if he couldn't find me first.  So if he calls...."

"We'll come running and shouting," Stella said blandly.

"So, they're in Miami?" Don asked.

"Horatio thinks so.  Speed found them for him.  Said it's not a huge collection.  Then again he's got a shrunken grenade launcher on his keychain.  I found it with him.  That's when he promised."  They all gaped.  He nodded.  "Yes, Xander does know something about weapons.  I have no idea what."

"That explosion," Danny said.

Mac looked at him.  "Classified."

"There's no gas company for Sunnydale, Mac."

"Still classified."

"Uh-huh.  Some of the places online had pictures too.  Including during the ceremony pictures."  Mac winced.  "He looks really hot with the battle axe."

"He does," Mac agreed with a smile.  "Horatio and I were both there.  He tired to make us go away until Sunday when we showed up."  Don spluttered.  "We went for graduation anyway.  Before you can ask that question out loud, yes.  He did.  He found it online.  It was necessary which is why it's classified," he told Danny.  "The thing's head is in my office in a box.  The head of the FBI didn't want it."

Stella coughed.  "Would that be the huge snake head with the acid burns and stuff?  I peeked."

Mac nodded.  "It would be.  Eighty-eight feet without the head, Stella."  She gave him  a horrified look.  He stepped closer.  "My boy is as much a veteran as I am, only I had formal training and Xander got on-the-job training.  He's starting a martial arts class soon," he said proudly.  "Oh, anyone who wants to, we've got to deal with insurance for his parents soon.  He's already got about sixteen letters he's got to read over, sign things on, and deal with.  Anyone know anything about insurance?"

"We have someone in HR who deals with that," Don said.

"Is our plan for S. O.'s any cheaper?"

Don nodded.  "Same as we pay."

"Then I'm getting him signed up on ours.  He pays about sixty a month and we only pay forty."  They all gaped.  "Since he was fourteen.  I don't know why since he started with Buffy in tenth grade, but he said fourteen."

"Wow," Stella said.  "So the goofy, young guy...."

"Is him when he's not threatened or in danger," Danny told her.  "The same as I can joke and play and laugh but when I'm threatened I turn into a hellbeast."

"Literally?" Stella teased.

"Depends on who ya ask," he shot back dryly.   Mac was nodding.  "See?"

"I meant about Xander, Danny."  That got a few laughs from Aiden and Don.  "So yes, we're trying to calm him down off that.  Fortunately there's not that many of them here.  Those who he saved that we didn't know about, you're welcome."  Those few blushed.  "Please tell me about those in the future?  He has a severe case of jump-in now and then and never tells me those things."

"I can do that," Aiden agreed.  "Sorry, Mac."

"Not a problem.  He admitted it to Horatio.  Horatio interrogates him so much easier.  Then he tells me.  That's how we found out about the contract and all that."

"Is his current case involved in that?" Stella asked.

"If it was, I have the feeling Horatio would wake up with a Xander blanket and a new vest for some reason."  They all laughed and nodded.  "He's very good at protecting us.  We love that about him but we want him to feel safe.  So let me know if he has to do something.  Tell me if he has to defend himself against someone he's going to spank."  He looked over at the picking officer.  "Don't make me call my wife."  He 'eeped' and fled this time.  He looked at them again, shrugging a bit.  "I want to watch the next one.  The one who was trying to pick on Horatio because his CSI called him an idiot got him too.  Xander followed him around all day and came in with the information Horatio needed to tell him exactly why he was an idiot, Eric was right to call him an idiot, and why he was going to surrender his badge before he went to Internal Affairs on the guy for having six lovers all around the age of fifteen and three of them pregnant."  Don shuddered.  "Plus a wife and three kids.  He was taking in runaways."

"Yeah, sounds like IAB's gonna have a field day with him," Danny said.

"Pity his poor paycheck when the state gets him for support," Stella said dryly, shrugging a bit.  "The guy deserved it."

"He pulled Horatio over in an official vehicle on the way back from picking us up to give him a traffic citation."  They all laughed.  "Exactly.  So let me know.  That way I can join in on the fun?"

"You take him when you go out to play bass?" Stella asked.

"Xander said that's my time and he wants me to go do whatever I want.  If I want him there all I have to do is ask.  He's trying hard not to smother us with affection."

"Good," Danny said happily. "He's got a good head on his shoulders.  Even with a 1.3 GPA."

Stella blinked.  "How in the hell?"

"He passed gym," Danny said dryly.  "Barely."

Mac shook his head.  "He got one A in high school.  It was a history oral report and he did it with twinkie theater.  The teacher was amused."  He walked off, leaving them laughing and giggling.  It was how Xander would want it.


Horatio smiled at the obvious tape he got in the mail the next morning, closing and locking his office while he watched the first few minutes.  The fact Xander had gotten Mac to a porn hotel made him shiver in dread.  Xander had planned something *dirty* for his amusement.  He turned it off and put it into his bag to go home tonight, then unlocked his door.  He smiled when Eric walked in.  "Sorry, had to check something."

"The mail?"

"Tape in the mail."

"From....."  Horatio gave him a look.  "On a case?"


"Never mind.  I don't need to know."  He walked off shaking his head but smiling.  He found Speed in Trace, as usual.  "I think Xander sent him a smutty tape."

"I doubt Mac would allow it but Xander's young enough to think it's a good idea," he said absently.  "Any other news from New York?"  He looked up and frowned when the office's door shut again.  "Again?"

"I saw someone on the stairs," Eric told him.  "Not one of us."

"Uh-huh."  They headed up there to make sure Horatio was all right, him tapping on the door to lean in.  "Horatio, need help?"

"Boys, this is Willow Rosenburg.  Xander gave her some information she doesn't like."

They walked in and shook her hand.  "I'm Tim Speedle and this is Eric Delko.  We like Xander.  So what's up?"

She blinked.  "It's kinda family news," she said slowly.

"The lab is a family.  Xander and Mac are in-laws."

She gave him a horrified look and looked at Horatio, who nodded.  "You two couldn't play rock-paper-scissors for him?" she demanded.

"Why?  He's our wife, Willow."

"I'm so going to get him for not telling me this sort of information."

"Then he can spank you like he did the officer that tried to say he was underage," Eric said dryly.  He grinned at her horrified look.  He nodded too.  She sat down, holding her head.

"What did he tell you?" Speed asked bluntly.

She looked at him.  "He said there's another project running out of Sunnydale.  They tried to recruit him."

"There is," Horatio agreed.  He got online and printed something handing it over through Eric.  "He sent me the link last night."

She read it over, frowning the further she read.  "We haven't seen them."

"It could be that's the project that the FBI stopped?" Speed suggested.  "Restarted under a new name?"

"Maybe."  She looked at them.  "Why recruit Xander?"

"He knows the area.  He's at least partially trained," Eric told her.  "He's got connections back to both groups and both labs now."

"A few federal agents are scared shitless of him," Speed added.  "One found God because of him."

She shook her head quickly.  "Why?"

"They wanted to know about graduation and were told to butt out unless Xander has to pull a weapon to save someone," Horatio told her.  "They wanted more information so Xander took them to a demon bar."  She groaned, covering her face again, shaking her head.  "Your town got one of them that made a deal."

"Yeah, he's a vamp now.  Got turned his second night in.  He thought his deal would protect him.  Hated to tell him that but nope.  It actually fit in with his deal for power."  She looked at the paper again.  "Okay, so now what do I do?  Giles hates the Feds."

"We don't much like them either," Speed told her.  "Call a conference.  Their idiots, their job."  She smiled at him.  "Did Xander always attract serial killers and things?"

She nodded, beaming at them.  "We knew Xander shouldn't be allowed to date after the first one.  We tried to encourage it.  Cordy trashed his rep so he couldn't get one in the high school."

"Are you considering the first one the science substitute or the mummy?" Horatio asked.

"I'm glad he told you but no.  Sixth grade the neighborhood pedophile took an interest in him.  Cordelia ran him off by telling her father *very* loudly in the mall.  The town went on a witch hunt.  Nearly stoned him to death."

"That fits in with the vampire who told Xander that some of them used to attack him because his shirts were ugly and that they did avoid you two when you had your female issues," Speed told her.  Willow gaped.  He nodded.  "One down here told him that."

"Crud," she muttered under her breath.  "Though I can see about the shirts.  Really ugly.  Horatio, have you made him quit that?"

"Yes, we have, Willow.  I buy him all sorts of clothes and he complains.  Then he buys things like cut-off jeans that're so short they're indecent so he can go to the beach in them. Mac made him wear those shirts over solid, one-color outfits so they don't clash."  She smiled at that.  "He looks very nice most of the time."  He handed over a picture.  "That was the last time he was down here, a few weeks ago."

She beamed.  "I need a picture of that for Cordy.  She'll be so proud that he's in designer clothes."  She handed it back.  "He went to the beach?"

"In his old swimsuit from the swim team," Horatio told her.  "Helped us capture three wanted felons."

She blinked.  "In that speedo, I'm surprised it was that few."  She stood up.  "I'll take that suggestion and this information back to Buffy and Giles.  Thank you for your help, Horatio."

"You're welcome."

"Do you have many demon problems?  I heard rumors that Xander showed up in demon bars in both cities to let them know he'd only hunt if it was an emergency, he was attacked, or his new family were attacked."

"We have a few demon bars but mostly peaceful inhabitants.  We also have a strong criminal underground and goth culture.  It hides them."

"Criminal underground?"

"Xander found out a few of them cross over.  Demons who can't find jobs and things because they're scary looking even if they're peaceful," Eric told her.  She just nodded at that, then shook her head quickly.  "He found a few that worked as thugs in a few different syndicates and gangs."

"They probably wanted Xander too," she said dryly.

"One of his after-school jobs," Speed told her.  She whimpered, rubbing her head before she disappeared.  He looked at Horatio.  "Smutty tape?"

"No comment.  Thank you, boys."

"Fine, don't share," Eric teased.

"Not like I would anyway, Eric.  My wife."

"Fine," he said, leaving.

Speed looked at him.  "Did Xander agree to being the wife?"  Horatio smirked and nodded.  "Heels?"

"He refused and neither of us are like that."

"A bit kinky, H," he teased.  "What's next?  Collars?"

"Only if he goes to another demon bar."  Speed walked off laughing.  "I'm not joking," he called after him.  He shook his head and emailed that talk to Mac so he could tell Xander.  Plus that he got the tape.  He got the order to watch it all the way through in the office.  He might want to look someone up.  So he shut the door and went back to watching his smutty tape.  That turned into an attack by two people and Xander handling a sword *very* well.  He saw the camera follow the surviving one out the door and looked up the license plate number since it was a Florida one, finding someone they had been paying attention to.  He smirked and laughed.  The tape went back to Xander and Mac cuddling and Mac taking the sword from Xander then pounding into him until he couldn't even babble while they waited for the ambulance.  By the time it got there Xander was asleep and it was excused as exhaustion due to the attack.  "Good job, Mac," he whispered.  He shut down the tape and took it down to AV to make a copy of the pertinent parts.  There was no way he was letting anyone else see the rest of it.  The copied section went to Speed.  "Someone from our great state attacked Mac and Xander last night."  He handed over the information he had looked up, getting a snicker.  "At the smutty motel they went to."

"Oh, that's too good.  What did Xander do?"

"He got one with a sword.  The other one fled.  That's who the car is registered too.  I'm sure Mac handled the one that got damaged by Xander."  He walked off happier but shaking his head.  His baby was so bad!


Mac looked up as Don strolled into his office looking very smug.  "The stabbing victim wake up?"

"And swore for nearly an hour," Don said proudly.  "All about your boy."  He stared at him.  "Someone wants your boy, Mac."

"They get him over my dead body, Don.  And?"

"I've already called Horatio to fax him what we got.  I had a court reporter there since he's in traction to make sure he can't tear the injuries."  He gave him a smug look.  "By the way, where did he get the sword?"

"He wore it on a necklace.  I thought it was just pretty.  Willow said she gave it to him before graduation as a happy graduation present."

"Oh.  Interesting."  He smirked again.  "Saw her too.  She's pumpin' Stella for information."  Mac got up and hurried off.  Don laughed and followed.  The little redheaded babbler was definitely something else.  Not even Danny could understand her happy babbling.  He nudged Mac and handed over a copy of the transcripts.  "Your copy."

"Thank you, Don."  He read it over, then paused, looking at Don.  "Did you tell Xander yet?"

"Hell no.  I'm not that brave.  He might spank me too."  Willow gaped at him.  He grinned.  "Some officer up here tried ta say he was underage and Mac was sick.  Xander paddled him."

She shook her head. "He's in high protective overdrive.  You've got to take him in hand."

Mac looked at her. "I have, Willow.  Numerous times."  She squeaked and blushed bright red.  "He's still in protective overdrive.  He thinks his past with you guys will get us hurt."


He held up a hand.  "He's right. There are people who don't want us to find out.  Pity but we know."  She slumped and nodded.  "What did you need to know?"

"He's not coming?"

"He had his first martial arts class today at three.  He'll be done by five," he told her.  "You can come for dinner."  She smiled and nodded.  "He's been taking cooking lessons."

"Wow.  I didn't know he could cook more than brownies."

"He's not too bad so far," Stella assured her.  Don nodded and so did Danny.  "He manages to make Mac and Horatio both eat all the time.  He cooked when Horatio's sister- in-law and another detective came over to meet him too.  He, Speed, and a few of us exchange recipes."

"Wow."  She looked at Mac.  "Is he drawing bad guys up here too?  Horatio told me about his butt on the beach."

"If he is, I haven't heard," Mac told her.  She snorted at that, looking at Danny, who nodded.  "We have?"

"Twice now.  Both times when he was happy and playing in the park."  He looked at her.  "I texted him in class.  He said to remind you that there's no nieces and nephews until they adopt and he stressed adopted."

She blushed.  "I'd never do that, Danny.  It's against the laws of nature and Oz would kick my butt without being furry."  He smirked at that.  She shrugged. "He would.  I won't do that, Mac."

"You'd better not.  Does he habitually carry around any other weapons?"

"What did he use?"

"The sword.  We were out and someone attacked us because of Horatio's current case and how it intersects back into your world."

She sighed and nodded.  "He's got an earring with a dagger and stake if he needs it and wears it.  He's got another sword to go on that necklace if he wants it.  Plus he said something about a grenade launcher and two bombs I found but aren't armed."

Mac blinked.  "Where are those?"

"In his jewelry box.  Where else would you put jewelry?"

Mac walked off shaking his head.  "Thank you, Willow.  It'll be a few hours.  Go sightsee or something.  They have to work."

"Yes, Mac."  She looked at them.  "He's kinda grumpy.  Xander makes him lighten up, right?"  They all nodded.  She smiled.  "Good."  She looked at Danny.  "Are you coming to dinner too?"

"Nah, not tonight.  Next weekend."  She nodded and hugged them all before leaving.  He looked at Don, then at Stella.  "Breathe.  Take some tylenol."

"Yeah, could use it," Don said, rubbing his forehead, taking the bottle when Stella pulled one out of her field kit.  "Thanks, Stella.  I thought Xander babbled fast."

"He does," Stella said before taking her pain killers.  She got back to work.  Willow was definitely energizing.  She felt so much more chipper now.  She went to tell Mac that and he called her to warn her she was leaking magic again.  She ignored it and went back to work.  She didn't need to know.


Mac walked into the house that night.  "Xander, did anyone tell you Willow was coming over?"

"Yeah, Danny texted me in class."  He came out to steal a kiss then went back to cooking.  "I picked up the dry cleaning."

"Thank you.  How much did it set you back this time?"

"Forty."  Mac repaid him and went to change into something more comfortable.  He came out in a pair of jeans and his favorite black t-shirt, which made Xander give him a heated look.  "Are you trying to get her to hit on you?"

"Jealous?" he teased, taking another kiss.

"Yes.  Insanely," he said dryly, staring at him.  Mac laughed.  "So, what did sword guy have to say?"

"We'll call and talk to Horatio later.  He has the guy who owns the car already.  That was a good idea to tape the license plate."  He took another kiss.  "We should check your jewelry box.  See if there's anything that needs to be cleaned when I send out my pin and dog chains."

Xander snorted. "Fat chance."

Mac looked at him.  "I heard you had some more weapons.  Including two bombs?"

Xander blinked at him.  "Willow told you?"  He smirked and nodded.  "They're not here."

"Where are they?"

"I have no idea.  I couldn't find my jewelry box before we left."  Mac winced.  Two drunk parents would sell things like that.  "At the moment I think Giles has it.  I told him to watch out for it.  He's been talking to the people I have to sell the house and their crap.  If it's there he'll find it.  If not, he'll find it when it gets pawned back to him.  He's the only guy in town who buys magical artifacts at a good price and even vamps can feel it."  He took another kiss before putting the dish he had been working on in the oven and coming over to cuddle.  "How was work before and after Willow?"

"Decent.  The usual."  He smiled at him.  "What are we having?"

"Chicken and potato stuff."

"Potato stuff?"  Xander nodded.  "Is that a technical term?" he teased.

"No, it's call I didn't go grocery shopping so I improvised."  Mac laughed at that, nodding a bit.  They curled up on the couch.  "When will she be here?"

"Any minute now."  He stroked over his distant arm, getting a cuddly spouse.  "Are you okay with this dinner?" he asked quietly.

"I'm fine.  Willow's one of my best friends.  Even if she did ask Horatio why you guys didn't play rock-paper-scissors to see who got me."

"She'd never understand, Xander.  Besides, I want you just as much as I do Horatio."  Xander looked up at him.  "Really, I do."  Xander smiled and nodded, wiggling closer.  Mac let him.  It was good Xander could find reassurance from him.  "Did we clean up the remains of morning sex so she can't snoop?"

"The lube was empty when I tossed it.  The toys were all cleaned and put back.  I'm surprised you made it to work this morning."

"I had to.  The Chief called about the incident last night.  Better there than here."  He smiled at Xander.  "Do you need special clothes for school?"

"A few coats.  A few gis."

"We can shop."

"I did."

"Shut up, Xander.  I'm taking you shopping."

"Mac, I have financial aid and it covered the jackets and hats."

"The gis?"

"I found a place for used ones.  Someone sold theirs.  I had to turn them into shorts because they were only calf-length but the teacher said that was fine.  If I was comfortable."  Mac nodded.  "So I'm going to my first lesson tomorrow."

"I thought it was today."

"No, it's tomorrow.  Teacher broke his ankle today when he came in and a kid from the toddler class made him fall over her."  Mac laughed at that.  "Anyway, did you want me to do anything special tomorrow?  I might be a bit sore."

"You might be but I can see fixing dinner and doling out leg, arm, and backrubs if you want."

"I want."  He grinned at him.  "And you still can't take me shopping."

"Shut up, Xander."  Xander laughed as he crawled into his lap to kiss him.  "I know, the only good way to stop you protesting."  He kissed him until someone knocked and the oven timer went off.  "She has good timing."  He went to let Willow in while Xander rescued dinner.  "Hi, Willow."

"Hi, Mac."  She walked in and looked around.  "Wow.  I thought New York apartments were tiny."

"Most of them are.  This is an older one."  He led her to the small dining area, letting her see Xander putting food on plates.  "Need help?"

"Get drinks?  Hi, Wills.  Don't hug yet.  Let me finish."  She nodded, bouncing until he brought out plates so they could hug.  He grinned.  "Rock-paper-scissors for my magnificence?  Please, woman."  She giggled and batted him on the arm.  "Even if they were inclined to fight over me, I'm worth more than that."  He went to get the bread and a few other things, bringing them out too.  "Here we go."  He let Mac put down silverware and glasses plus the pitcher of water.  "Thank you, dear."

"Welcome, Xander."  He sat down and said his usual grace, Xander and Willow not saying any.  "So, how was your sightseeing?"

"I went to talk to a few of the local witches and get books for Giles.  He's running the Magic Box now, Xander."  She dug in and moaned.  "Oh, that's *good*!"

"Thanks," he said with a grin.  "I got the recipe off Stella and Aiden."  He dug in, moaning a bit, nodding too.  "I did good.  My teacher would be proud."

"I know I am," Mac promised with a smile, buttering some bread to go with it.  "Need the bread, Willow?"

"I'll nibble the carbs in a few."  She dug in again, eating heartily.  She had missed real food in the dorms.  "How's things on the insurance front?  I know they're still bothering you."

"I've signed some of the forms and sent them back," he said.  "A few I contested the amount.  A few I left alone.  I don't know.  We'll figure it out."

"Don pointed out yesterday that there's someone in HR who deals with those things, Xander," Mac offered.

"That would spread the news farther, Mac."

"It will when I put you on my insurance anyway."  Xander gave him an odd look.  "If I do it, it'll only cost thirty.  If you do it through us it'll cost you forty.  You're paying sixty something now."

"Good point.  I guess I could."

"We can go down tomorrow so I can do my portion and you can have her look over the others," he promised.  "Stella knows not to expect me until nine."  Xander nodded and smiled a bit.  "Good."  He looked at Willow.  "How are you finding college?"

"It's fun, but a bit strange.  My roommate is horrible.  The on-campus wiccan group are posers and thought spells were so stereotypical.  They were there for the positive energy."  He nodded at that.  "But I did find another real witch in the group so we've been talking."  She sipped her water, looking at Xander.  "How's cooking school?"

"Not too bad.  I have one session a day, five days a week.  Then I have about an hour to walk down to the dojo to take my martial arts class.  Then I come home.  If I wanted to I can switch schedules next semester.  It's encouraged that you only take the one class the first term to make sure you like it.  Next term I can switch so I'm taking up to three classes a day and then arrange my martial arts classes around that."

"Why are you taking martial arts?"

"In case I need it.  New York's a bit dangerous.  I'm used to the staking stuff, not the brawling stuff so it'll help with that, plus it'll help when I have those off-balance days.  Mac agreed it'd be good for me and it's like PE only fun and less dodgeball."

She shrugged. "Then maybe I'll suggest it to Buffy.  She could use a good workout.  She and Giles are kinda being odd at the moment."

"I heard."  He looked at her, making her slink down a little bit.  "I heard about that too."  She blushed.  "You okay?"

"I'm not, but it'll be fine I guess."

"Uh-huh.  What about that special group?"

"Giles said he doesn't know anything about them and so did the head Fedman."  She shrugged.  "We don't know.  That guy Tim suggested it was the one they stopped under a new name.  Maybe, they're looking into it."

Xander looked at her.  "What's Buffy's new boyfriend like?"

"A bit of a hotty but a little bit older.  He's a psych TA.  He's kinda buff.  He's got dark hair.  He's white.  I don't think she'd do the interracial dating thing anyway but he's white.  Nice eyes.  Tough, strong.  Helped us put up a banner for the lesbian's group."

"Wear's dog tags?" Xander asked.  She looked confused.  "I got a call from Spike at two this morning."  Mac moaned.  "Which woke him up when I started to swear at him."

"Oooohkay.  Why?"

"Because he had just escaped from that special project and they put a behavior chip in his head.  He can't hurt humans.  He would've came for you but you were gone with Buffy."

"Oooh, crud," she muttered.  He nodded.  "So there is one?"  He nodded, looking smug.  "Her boyfriend?"  He beamed and nodded.  "How do you know?"

"Spike warned me he was going to come for me to test me and see if I was normal too.  I told him if he tried I was going to have my very scary Marine boyfriend hold me back before I kick his butt.  He laughed.  He said maybe the boyfriend should kick his butt but I couldn't.  So I told him how to get to LA using the underground highway we found.  I figure he can go annoy Angel so he keeps his soul for another few years."

"Probably will," Willow decided.  "Huh."  She pulled out her phone to call Buffy.  "It's me.  I'm with Xander and Mac.  Mac, the dark haired one that came to graduation?  Yeah, him, one of Xander's honeys.  Anyway, about that special project?"  Buffy put her on speaker since she was with Giles.  "It's me and Xander and Mac.  That dark-haired guy that came for Xander at graduation, Giles.  He said that he knows that there is a special project.  They did something to Spike, who called him at two this morning.  He gave him the directions to get to the special highway so he could go to Angel for help.  Oh, and he thinks you're dating them, Buffy.  Does he wear dogtags?  Like the nametags the military guys wear."

Mac took the phone.  "Buffy, they're on a silver bead chain.  There's two flat oblong pieces of metal inscribed with his name, branch, date of birth.  That stuff.  Yes, those.  That means he's military.  Possibly retired but possibly not, Buffy.  Is he still buff and keeping up with his PT?"  He nodded slowly.  "Is he drinking?"  He snickered.  "He's current military, Buffy.  What's his name and I'll look him up for you?"  He wrote it down once Xander got him some paper, making notes.  "I can do that.  Thank you.  Xander's feeding us an excellent eggplant and cheese dish with some mashed potatoes mixed with some stir fried vegetables.  It's very good.   If she wants it I'm sure Xander can give out the recipe.  Here, have Willow back."  He handed the phone back.  "He's current military."  Xander handed over Mac's cellphone from the charger behind him.  "Who should we ask?"

Willow looked at him.  "Buffy said she'd ask the head Fedman out there to see if he could find out."  She listened.  "No, he's with both of them, Buffy."  Giles spluttered at that and choked on something.  "I asked if they couldn't play rock-paper-scissors for him but Xander got upset.  So he's got both."

"I'm a very proud spouse as well," Xander said dryly.

"Plus he's taking a martial arts class at the moment.  Because he still has those off-balance days and he says it's like PE only without the dodgeball.  Yeah, Mac said he's doing very good and dinner is great.  I should let you go since we're eating.  Byes."  She hung up and put the phone back in her pocket.  "Do you think Buffy's going to turn into you with how bad she dates?"

"I don't know, suggest it to her, see what sort of pretty colors she turns when she chokes and then screams and rants," Xander said dryly.  "By the way, you owe me that ten bucks back."

"I heard," she muttered, paying him.  "I don't know why they'd run from us when we're having girl issues."

"Because the last time Buffy snapped a small tree and beat someone with it," he complained.  "Because he had chocolate and wouldn't share.  She even scared *Angel*."

"Oh, yeah."  She nodded, digging in again.  "Anyway.  How are other things?  How's Miami?"

"Miami is very pretty and I'm going back down there in a few weeks.  Once Horatio's lab isn't under a death threat situation."  Mac gave him a look.  "Did the guy I got with the sword have something to do with that?"

"And your former life," Mac agreed.  Xander gave him an odd look.  He got the transcripts for him, letting him see.  Xander read and sighed, handing it back with a head shake.  "You may not...."

Xander held up a hand.  "I can and I will.  You said I could help if something like this happened.  I'm pissed now and someone's going to know it."  He and Mac stared at each other. "Even if you handcuff me.  I don't care.  They're doing it on purpose to try to piss me off."

"It's a valid worry from their viewpoint."

"And in doing so they broke the stalemate and I've already had enough.  They came after you and me!  Hell yes I'm going to be pissed.  Someone's getting my foot up their asses.  As a matter of fact, Willow, wanna go see the cutest demon club?  It's done in baby's nursery colors and decorations."

"Really?  Why?"

"I'm not really sure but it's so cute," he said with a small coo.  "They have someone there who raises long-hair chihuahuas."

"No dogs, Xander," Mac said.  "I can't track hair into the lab."

"It'd give you something to cuddle when I'm in Miami."

"I appreciate that but I can't drag pet hairs onto scenes.  It could corrupt evidence."  Xander nodded.  "We can get anything that won't shed on me."

"Something in a cage that I can play with?"

"Something in a cage you can play with," he agreed happily enough.  "That doesn't stink."

"That's fine.  I won't get a pet skunk like that one guy in the park."  Mac shook his head quickly.  "Do you like ferrets or bunnies or hedgehogs?"

"We'll go to the pet store and see."  Xander beamed and nodded, digging in again.  He looked at the amused Willow.  "He needs something to love while I'm gone."

"Yet you won't let me help with the niece and nephew?"

"Hell no," Xander said dryly.  "With my luck it'd be Buffy, the next generation."

She shuddered. "No, that's a bad thought.  I'll have to use that one to make sure she doesn't have kids either."

"Or die," Xander said dryly.

"Or die so she can't come back as your kid."  She stuffed her mouth, mentally whimpering at that thought.  It was a very bad thought.


Horatio followed the page to the front desk at the station.  "Marjorie, you had me paged?" he asked calmly.  She pointed at the corner and two *big* men were huddled together. "Victims?" he asked quietly.  "Or family?"

"Turning themselves in, Lieutenant."  She smiled.  "Said something about a scary spouse who said they'd better or else they'd be dog meat.  I'm hoping whichever one she's married to is thankful for her."

"I'm sure they are," he said, walking over there.  "Gentlemen.  I am Lieutenant Caine.  You wanted to speak to me about some criminal activity you've committed?"

One of them glared at him.  "No, but if we don't want to be demon dog meat we'd better," he growled.

"I see."  He looked back at Marjorie.  "Can you please get...."

"Frank and John are on their way, Lieutenant.  They're downstairs."  He nodded, waiting until the two detectives came to take them to an interrogation room.  She sighed in pleasure.  It was another win for the good guys, all due to a strong woman.

Horatio looked at them once he had shut the door.  "My spouse said what?" he asked.  Frank gaped at him.  He held up a hand.  "You might as well tell me.  He'll be in Miami this Thursday."

The other one swallowed and nodded.  "Sir, we're the people who were hired to hit your lab and staff.  We understand how wrong it was to take that contract and we'd rather not have your ...whatever he is to you have us eaten.  I know he can.  We all know he can.  There's too much crossover between the two worlds.  I've seen too much as is and I know what sort of demon dog he was talking about.  One of the higher ups keeps some as pets.  I don't want to be eaten and have my soul be kibble."

The other guy nodded. "It's not a pretty prospect, sir, and we're very sorry."

John put down paper and pens.  "Write out everything you know about the contract, who hired you, and your places in it.  We'll tell the DA you cooperated and help you make a deal so you don't die.  Even thinking about killing cops in this state is a death penalty offense."

"Better the chair than having our souls ripped out and eaten in front of us and then the rest of us eaten by them or something else that's hungry!" the bigger one complained.  "That man of yours is evil, Lieutenant!"

"He's not.  He's simply protective of what's his," Horatio said calmly.  "He thought you'd leave him and us alone.  You didn't.  You've also kept him away from me for the last two weeks.  He's not been pleased.  Especially when one attacked him up there."

"You know he was with another guy, right?" the smaller one asked.

"Xander is ours, gentlemen.  Both myself and Mac Taylor love Xander quite a lot.  We even put up with him going to demon clubs so he can send messages like that one."  He saw Willow appear with something in her arms, waving her inside.  "Miss Rosenburg."  Both men flinched.  "Why are you back in Miami?"

"Mac was a meany and said Xander couldn't have a pet that would shed so we found one that won't."  She let him see the hairless cat.  "It's a happy family present and way better than Buffy being reborn as your future adopted daughter."  She handed the cat off and beamed at the guys.  "Hi, I'm Willow.  You are?"

"I'm Frank, he's John.  We work with Horatio in Homicide," Frank Tripp told her.  "You're Xander's friend, right?"  She beamed and nodded.

"That's a very thoughtful gift, Willow," John said with a smile.  "But we've got people here who wanted to shoot cops."

Willow looked at them then smirked and looked at a corner hard until something appeared.  The cat was trying to hide inside Horatio's jacket with him to get away from it.  "Awww.  I brought a puppy one."  She bent over to scratch its ears, then put the puppy on the table.  Both men started to write.  "There you go.  This is the Horatio, the Frank, and the John.  The Xander fuzzy loves the Horatio and the Mac in New York.  We need you to make sure no one hurts the Horatio or the Mac.  Can you do that for me, pup?"  The puppy barked and licked her then stared at the men, who wrote faster.  It sat down and panted, yipping at Horatio.

"Thank you for your help, Willow.  I'm sure the puppy will find a very good home here."  She beamed and disappeared.  He looked at the dog.  "Thank you, puppy."  He let it sniff him and got a lick on the hand.  "Go help Mac.  He's in New York, at the lab.  He smells like Xander, like I do."  The puppy yipped and his tail wagged before he left.

"Was that scaley thing a dog?" John asked.

"Hellhound," one of the guys said, shuddering.  "A young one but still.  His momma's probably about six feet tall and about as long."  He finished writing and slid it over, giving Horatio a pitiful look.  "I don't care what you do to me, Lieutenant.  Just keep me safe?"

"We'll bring in a priest," he assured him.  He looked at the purring beast in his arms.  "You need to go home," he said dryly.  "I have no idea what I'm going to do with you today."  He walked her up to his office, shutting her inside with a note on the door saying there was an animal in there.  He sent a patrol officer to pick up litter and a tin of wet food for the day, then called the DA to handle those two.  Perhaps it'd be safe to have Xander down on Thursday after all.


Don looked over at the yip, backing away from the creature.  "Shit!  Mac!"  He climbed up onto a table, waving off Stella when she came running.  "Get Mac!  Or Xander, always a good choice!"

She went jogging off to do that.  "Mac, there's a creature in Fingerprints.  Don's on the table to get away from it.  He wants Xander."

"I'll call."  He did that but a note floated down.  "Oh, it's a..."  He sighed.  It was going to be a long morning.  He walked out with her, going into that lab, looking at the puppy.  "Xander can't keep you either.  You might shed and then bad people would get away with murder and other bad things."  It yipped and lowered its front half, tail going wildly.  Mac let it sniff him and the puppy licked him before yapping a few times at Danny.

Danny looked at it.  "What are you?" he demanded.  Mac handed over the note.  "Hellhound, given by Willow.  Oh, and a hairless cat, Mac.  That way Xander can have a cuddly pet."  He looked at the dog.  "Shoo.  We catch the bad guys; you can't eat the ones we catch.  Before I find a priest."  The dog growled.  He growled back.  It growled deeper and seemed to grow.  Danny bopped it on the head with the folder he was carrying, making it shy away.  "I mean it!  The only one around here who can eat bad guys is Aiden.  Aiden!"  She came running.  "See, she's the only hell bitch around here.  Mac said so.  Go back to Miami or go help Willow."

The puppy came over to sniff Aiden, then looked at Mac.  "I don't know, dog.  All I know is you got sent here and you're scaring people."

The puppy whimpered at Aiden.  If the mean one had said she was a hellbeast he'd have to trust that.

"Aww, you're adorable," she cooed, picking it up to cuddle.  "Don, get off the table, you idiot!  There could be samples you're compromising!"  She walked off cuddling the puppy.  "Mac, takin' him home."

"Sure," he agreed, nodding at that. "I'll ask Xander what it eats."   Stella helped Don off the table and he relaxed.  "Willow gave it to Horatio."

"I saw that."  He grinned.  "Two guys walked up to Gerrard ten minutes ago and wanted to confess because they're scared shitless of your wife, Mac.  Congrats!  He said the puppy would eat 'em."  He walked off again, going to find a priest anyway.  Mac would need holy water to make sure his hand was all right.  Plus they'd have to bless the labs again apparently.  He texted what happened to Xander, who he knew was groaning in misery somewhere.

Don decided to go find a priest for lunch instead of eat.  For some reason the hellbeast had liked him so he had to go to confession.  He had no idea what was that bad but apparently he was sliding toward evil.  He'd have to try harder and quit sleeping around.


Mac came home that night, finding Xander surrounded by older books doing research.  "What are you studying now?" he asked, kissing him on the head.

"I talked to the witch that helped me.  She said I should look at shaman's magic stuff.  That they deal more with the possessions and that sort of thing.  Because I'm still able to be possessed and I don't want to be.  It can only help me stay a Xander instead of some random other person."  He tipped his head back and smiled, getting another kiss.  "How was work after the puppy?"

"Good enough."  He smiled at the odd looking creature that hopped onto the back of the couch.  "If it was bigger it'd look like the house elf from Harry Potter," Mac said dryly.

"I know.  It's kinda odd but it cuddles very nice."  He clicked his tongue and the cat hopped over to sit in his lap and cuddle. "See?"

"Do we have a litterbox and all the other stuff we'll need?"

"Yup.  We do.  We went kitty shopping earlier."  He beamed.  "Litterbox is under the sink."

"I'll leave that door open a bit then."  He went to change, coming out in shorts and a t- shirt.  "Are we doing anything tonight and didn't I promise you backrubs?"

Xander beamed.  "I'm not that sore.  I already knew how to fall very well and he moved me to the medium level class."  He gave him a hug and let the cat have the chair.  "I got takeout."

"I can smell the pizza," he teased.  He took Xander into the bedroom to do his back, arms, and legs for him, making him a happy wife who would spoil him later.  The cat came in during it and sat on the headboard, staring at him.  He stared back.  "We can share him," he told the cat finally.  It huffed and laid down.  Mac went back to what he was doing and slowly moved his way backward.  Xander was more than willing to have sex if he wanted but he wanted to cuddle tonight.  "Want dinner and then a soak?"

"I could like that sort of spoiling.  Much better than shopping."

Mac smiled.  He had figured out what Xander liked for spoiling.  He'd have to let Horatio know.  He got them dinner and started the bath water, bringing dinner in with them.  It was a good place to cuddle.  Xander even brought in the book he was reading for fun and read it to him.  It was a very nice night.


Xander walked into Horatio's office about a week after he'd gotten there, putting down two small vials.  "Your team is going after one of the crossover guys.  Those will take his pet hellhounds away from his side so none of you get eaten.  Uncap them away from him.  The dogs will come.  The blue one banishes them.  It won't hurt them even though they yip and yelp."  Horatio stared at him, nodding once.  "Whoever goes.  If there's more than three, pour it out instead of just uncorking it.  Last time I heard he had two pets."

"When are they going?"

"I don't know.  One of the guys heard from New York that I know about that stuff so he called me and told me that the PD is going after one of them.  He heard about the demon pets he keeps."

"Thank you.  Which officer?"  Xander shrugged. "Didn't take his name down?"

"He wasn't bothering me."  He stole a kiss and grinned.  "If you need me I'm going to be at the Surf Shop Cafe.  That's near his house so I can be there within fifteen if you need me."  He bent closer and put something around his neck.  "That's mine.  If you need it, you pull to the right and think about it growing.  It works for those without magic talent.  After all, I'm glowing with it but I don't have actual magic."  Horatio smiled at that.  "If you need me, call."  He took another kiss and left.

Horatio fingered the small sword while calling his boss.  "It's Horatio.  Someone called my wife and asked for some help due to an upcoming raid on an underground crime figure who is known to keep things like he used to deal with in Sunnydale."  His boss choked.  "Exactly.  I need to be there.  I have what we need so the officers aren't hurt by them and he'll be lurking close by if we need him.  Thank you, sir."  He hung up and grabbed his sunglasses, putting the vials into his pocket on the way out the door.  The staging area was found easily enough.  He walked in and everyone stared at him in horrified anger.  "Xander sent me."  One sighed in relief.  He walked over and tapped a picture of the dogs.  "I have something to handle them."  He stared at the leader.  "Unless you want a high casualty count?"

"Fine.  Vest?"

"In the hummer."  He went to get it and brought it back, putting it on under his jacket.  He checked the vials and made sure the necklace was in the open so he could get to it if he needed it.  They all stared at him.  "Xander's good luck charm."

The one who had sighed in relief moved closer.  "Someone called him?"

"He said someone heard he used to deal with these things and called to see what to do about the overprotective pets."

"Thanks, Caine.  We like your wife."

"He bakes excellent brownies too," he said with a smile.  "He's going to cooking school."  They all smiled at that and the rest of the raid was planned out.  They went and Horatio kept to his spot.  Not too many people got in their way.  He had to fire once and brought down the person by shooting him in the leg.  They made it to the throne room, for lack of a better word since the guy was sitting on one, and he found the vials.  He uncorked the blue one but poured out the other one, letting the dogs sniff before coming over.  Once they were closer he threw the banishing potion onto them and they yelped in pain but disappeared.  He nodded and they went after the guy who was backing away.  Horatio smirked at him, then looked down at the panting thing beside his feet.  "Hello."  He reached down to pet him.  "Go home.  Now."  It left, going back to New York and Aiden's place.  She had rats in the building and had given him permission to learn to hunt with them.  One of the other guys gave him an odd look.  "Xander's friend Willow gave the puppy to us.  He lives in New York with one of Taylor's CSIs."

The others just nodded.  Only a CSI apparently.

The crime lord stopped in front of Horatio.  "I hate your wife," he sneered.

"Pity.  You know, he didn't say a thing about you until it became pertinent."  He smirked behind his sunglasses.  "Then you pissed him off."

He growled something but got led off.  Horatio looked around the room before following the other guys, then came back and looked at one spot that didn't seem right.  It was glimmering.  He carefully reached out and touched it, making him hiss when it burned his fingers.  He pulled off the sword, his old memories coming back.  He had been trained to use a sword as a weapon of war and peace.  He had been a great swordsman as Octavian.  The thing hiding itself came out and attacked him.  Horatio was not amused and he had been a very good general in his last life.  There was no way this thing was winning.  He was wincing by the time he took the final backhanded swing with the sword but it died and he wasn't even scratched.  He looked at the rip in his jacket then at the thing, shaking his head.  "I'll be fussed to death," he muttered, taking the sword with him.  Xander could show him how to shrink it again later.  The head of the attack team was in the doorway, giving him a horrified look.  "It was hiding.  It tried to get me.  Need the sword?"

"No," he said.  He followed him out, glancing back at the body then at Horatio's back.  "Is that necessary for being a CSI?"

"No.  It's something I picked up along the way."  He climbed into his hummer, putting the sword on the seat beside him.  He winced a few times before starting the hummer; his shoulders and arms were killing him.  Fortunately his wife was nearby and could handle that for him.  He took off his vest as he got out of the hummer, wincing a bit at the strain, but Xander had lunch waiting on him when he got there.  He kissed him on the forehead.  "I could use an arm rub."

"I'll gladly do it for you," he promised, smiling at him.  "Everything go okay?"

"Just fine.  The one that Aiden adopted showed up after I had banished the others.  Something was hiding."

"Touch the necklace to the pommel and it'll shrink again," he promised.  He shifted around, helping Horatio out of his jacket so he could work on his nearer arm.  Horatio moaned and ate, relaxing and smiling at him.  He shifted and did the other one, making him a happy husband.  "I'll have a good bath drawn when you get home."  He grinned.  "Call before you leave and I'll have dinner too."

"Thank you, Xander.  I do love how you spoil me."  He kissed him.  One last kiss before he finished lunch and he had to go back to work and ignore Speed looking at the necklace for the rest of the day.  His CSI were very amused at the reports of him with a sword.  He sat in his office and texted Mac about his shoulders, getting some sympathy back.  He smiled, putting his phone away, standing up when his boss walked in.  "Sir."

"Horatio."  He closed the door.  "Where is your...spouse?"

"Home, I think.  Possibly grocery shopping.  He promised to make dinner tonight.  Why?"

"I wanted to ask about the incident with the sword."

"That was me."

"Where did you pull the sword from?"  Horatio pulled the necklace out of his shirt, showing it to him.  "Where did he get it?"

"I have no idea, sir.  He told Mac it was a graduation present from his friend Willow."

"Interesting presents they give each other."  He stared at him.  "Do you need the hospital?"

"I only have a tear in one sleeve, sir.  No damage."

"Good."  He looked at him.  "You do know that some of the higher ups do know about your ...family?"  Horatio shrugged.  "That doesn't bother you?"

"No, sir.  We all know I don't play politics."

"Good point."  He stared at him.  "How much does your husband know, Horatio?"

"He worked with a slayer as her backup, sir.  You'd have to ask him that."  That got a hum.  "Right now he's happy being our spouse and supporting us."


"I thought you said you knew, sir."

"About Mr. Harris.  Is there another one?"

Horatio smirked.  "Mac Taylor and I have decided Xander's our wife, sir."  His boss blanched at that.  "So, some of the people in New York also know?"

"I heard your wife outed someone in the higher ups up there.  One who had made a deal for power."

"I'm sure there's a few of them around, sir.  Probably quite a few in DC."  His boss shuddered.  "He said he's staying out of it unless it impacts us or he has to handle an emergency or a personal attack."

"Good to know."

"Unless you upset him horribly," Horatio finished.

His boss laughed.  "Overprotective is he?"

"Very and it pleases us to no end most of the time."

"Then I suggest you have a talk with him about going into known underground clubs, Horatio."  Horatio moaned, sitting down.  "How does he know?"

"He used to bartend at one.  He's the sort people like to talk to."

"I see.  So he's staying out of it?"  Horatio nodded.  "Excellent.  Will he give us hints?"

"He was on the west coast, sir.  In Sunnydale."  His boss shuddered.  "I doubt it has much impact here in Miami but I do know that some of them do know about him.  We found the person this morning because some of his people wanted to take out my family due to Xander's former job.  If he went, I'm sure he'll tell me later."

"Have fun spanking your boy, Horatio.  Speaking of, your leave time?"

"I spend time up there, Mac comes down, sir.  We do what we can."

"Good."  He looked at him then nodded.  "Make sure the mayor and your boy don't meet, Horatio.  He's very anti-gay and this is too strange even for Miami."  That got a nod and he left.

Horatio called his boy.  "Xander, what were you doing in an underground club earlier?"  He listened to him try to evade the answer.  "Xander."  His boy sighed and told him. "We'll be talking tonight, Xander.  Yes, someone saw you."  He winced at the information Xander gave him.  "Who?"  He wrote it down.  "Thank you."  He hung up and rubbed his forehead.  Spanking was looking like a good idea and the text he got back from Mac agreed with him.

They would have to stop Xander's overprotective streak sometime.  They were much happier being the one who protected their boy.  After all, Alexandrus had tried too but they had stopped him.  They could stop this version of him before he got into the same sort of trouble and got kidnaped.  He hoped.  Xander was a bit stubborn but nothing was more stubborn than him and Mac when they were going after someone.  They could turn all that attention to Xander very easily if need be.  Xander would like that sort of attention.  He was a lot like their cats, Octavian and Marcus.

The End.