Summertime Foolishness.

Castle looked at his mentoree, staring at him.  "I'm going to be gone all summer.  Are you sure you can handle things?"

"I'll be overprotective of her if something happens so you don't have to worry.  I have the pseudo sister's phone and address, plus she has mine in case it's a problem she can't handle.  I have three bad girls who want to take my mind off the current bouts of smut it's going through instead of a story.  We'll be okay.  You take the time to recharge, relax, recuperate."  Castle frowned.  "Not like I didn't notice," he said dryly.  "I've had that look."  That got a rolled eye look.  "Anyway, go.  Shoo.  I'll watch over her for you."

"Thanks, kid."  He patted him on the arm and walked off with his ex-wife/publisher.

"Xander, email me copies," she ordered as they got into the car.

"Yes, mistress," he called sarcastically, waving and smirking.  "Free at last!" he cackled.  They pulled off and he grabbed something, locking his apartment and heading out.  He found the detectives in the office and sat down next to Beckett.  He handed over something.  "My upcoming dates."  He grinned.

She stared at him.  "Must you?"

"Be an overprotective sort?  Yes, apparently it's genetic."  He gave her a pointed look.  "They'll tell me anyway since we guarded you that once."

"Fine, whatever.  I'll see if I can slip in background checks."

Xander grinned.  "I already did two.  They're agents."  He shrugged and stood up.  "Call if you need me?"

"Of course," she sighed.  He grinned and walked off.  "Not that I need that sort of help usually."  The others were staring at her.  "What?" she demanded.

"Nothing.  You could hang out with Tara since Alexis is off all summer too."

"I might.  If I have to rescue Xander from his dates."  She handed them over.  "He said two are agents."

"That doesn't mean they're good," Ryan agreed.  He settled in to do the background checks for the kid.  It was always a wise move with any woman that was attracted to him.


It was nearly fall when Xander got the phone call he was dreading.  He answered it.  "Hey, Alexis.  What's up?"  He listened then sighed.  "I can be right there.  Give me thirty?  Well, I'm not in New York," he admitted.  "No, I'm at that thing.  Don't worry about it.  You can take Tara's spot this weekend since she's off with the coven."  He hung up and grabbed his keys, driving to her dorm.  He nodded at the guards.  "Hey, I'm visiting the pseudo sister."

"You have to sign in, sir."  Xander did that and walked up the stairs.  He read the scrawl.  "That's Alexian Harris?" he muttered.  "Huh, he's younger than my daughter thinks."

Xander found the right room and knocked.  She opened it.  "So, I'm in town for the weekend to sign things.  Want to play social secretary and snark at the bad girls?"

"I don't know why I called," she sighed.

He stared at her, tipping her chin up.  She got free and he smirked.  "I think you know why."

"I'm fine."

"Uh-huh."  He walked in and sat her down.  He sat down across from her in the desk chair.  "When I graduated, I went on a roadtrip," he said.  She shrugged, looking confused.  "I planned on seeing each state, all the big attractions, all that.  Unfortunately the car my parents made me buy off my uncle blew up, literally, three hours later in a small town named Oxnard."

"I think I've seen it on a map," she said.  "This has a point, right?"

"Yeah."  He smirked.  "See, there weren't many jobs there.  I ended up working in a strip club.  Supposedly doing dishes most of the time."  She gaped.  "I've seen all sorts of things and won't nark.  Unless it's a dangerous thing that could get you dead, I'm not going to call him."

"I just...."

"Beer or otherwise?"

"Beer," she sighed.  He grinned.  "Don't be smug."

"I'm not.  That slightly bitter aftertaste covers up many sins."

"I know my dad was wild in his youth.  I've drank before."  She got up to pace.  "I don't know what's wrong with me though, Xander.  It's weird."

"It's called being high," he said patiently.  "With the way you're moving, I'd say E."  She stared at him.  "Strip clubs let you learn a lot about humanity, the darker and the lighter sides.  You also see people who have to drink, who have to take drugs to get up on the stage.  You get invited to the cool kids' parties if they like you.  The night I stripped the first time, they all took me to party with me.

"I have no idea what I did for the next three days but I was so sore when I woke up I felt like I'd been hit by a steamroller, and it wasn't sexual."  She flinched.  "Drugs can do very odd things to you," he said quietly.  He stood up.  "Like I said, I'm not going to nark.  Every kid needs some wildness to figure out where their line is drawn."

"I don't think I want to do this again."

"I can understand that.  I had that same reaction to coke."  He heard the pounding and winced.  "That was not me.  Hi, Martha."  He let her in.  "She got some extra stuff in her beer," he said quietly.

"I've had that happen myself."  She came in to look her granddaughter over.  "I was coming to see if you needed to do a bit of shopping, dear.  Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Grandma.  I just... fuzzy headed and feel like I'm coming out of my skin."

"Yes, I had an attempted paramour who did the same thing one night to my champagne at a party," she said dryly.  "Only he gave me LSD and I was quite unaware of anything but the pretty colors."

Xander snickered.  "I remember that.  I actually painted mine out on someone's body.  They took pictures of them because I painted for sixteen hours straight."  Martha gave him an odd look.  "Post grad roadtrip ended up with me working in a strip club because the car turned into a fireball in Oxnard."

She shuddered.  "You poor thing.  How long?"

"Three months and a bit."  He shrugged.  "I told her she could come with me this weekend.  I'm off signing things locally and I can drop her off Sunday night or Monday morning."

Alexis looked at her then at him.  "No nagging?"

"Nope.  But we'll hit a Denny's so you can eat."  She smiled and nodded quickly.  "Pack a backpack."  He smiled at Martha.  "You know she'll be safe with me."

"No dates?" she asked dryly.

"No, two of them canceled because they found out what I used to date.  The other hated being arrested for the attempted satanic rite."  Martha groaned, shaking her head.  "How's Rick?"

"He's doing good.  Writing a lot.  Relaxing some.  Though he's about miserable and trying hard not to be."

"I remember being there.  Right after I sent Anya away."  He helped her pack her shoes since they weren't fitting."  He put her under his arm.  "C'mon, some greasy eggs will be good for that."  He looked at Martha.  "Want to come back to the signing hotel?  It's a really small regional convention."

"I might tomorrow."  She smiled.  "I have a room locally already."

"Cool."  He walked off with Alexis, letting her sign them out.  "I'm taking her for a weekend away."

"Her boyfriend?"

"No, her best friend is my roommate.  I'm her pack mule when the girls shop."  The guard snorted, shaking his head.  "Sorry, I only like evil things and she's much too smart and good for my tastes."

"Satan is much too nice for your tastes and much too sane, Xander," Martha said as she joined them.  She walked them out to the car and watched them drive off before she got into hers and went to her room.  She wouldn't tell her son.  Since it was accidental, Alexis had apparently made a good choice to get backup and help out of the situation.  Though she would have to mention to Xander about not telling her granddaughter about such trips.  She didn't need to know.


Xander woke up at two to the pounding, walking over to let the cops in.  "Shh!"  He pointed.  "Someone drugged her at a party," he said quietly.  "I'm her father's mentoree.

"That's very good of you, sir.  The manager was worried you were doing illegal things."

Xander snorted.  "I only like the evil and psychotic things, guys.  Sorry."  Alexis moaned and sat up.  "Someone was worried I'd turn you into an evil chick."

"I've never been that bad in my life, even online roleplaying," she said dryly.

The officer nodded.  "Do you want to press charges?"

"I have no idea which one it was."

"That's fine, miss.  Do you need medical attention?"

"I stuffed her full and watched her pace for a bit," Xander assured him.  They looked at him.  "I had my own post-grad trip."  That got a knowing look.  "That included strip clubs."

"Never mind, you can probably handle it then, sir.  Are you attending the convention?"

"Yes.  But if I tell you more than that, some nosy gossip reporter will tell everyone and her father's going to hear."

"That's fine, sir.  As long as nothing funny's going on."

"No, that's why I'm on the floor and she's not.  She's like a sister."

"Thank you."  He left, going to reassure the people behind the desk.

He closed and locked the door.  "It's good they worry that way."

"Probably worried someone will bring in their underage girlfriend to the convention," she said.  He nodded.  "Do I have to get up?"

He looked.  "It's only two.  Go back to sleep, Alexis."  She nodded, letting him tuck her back in.  He laid back down and stared at the ceiling, trying to figure out if he should share some wisdom of the wild life.  She probably didn't need to hear it he finally decided around five.  He got up and dressed in the bathroom, sneaking down to the in-house restaurant for breakfast for them.  He ran into his editor and winced.  "Donnie, I need a vow of silence," he said quietly, moving next to him.

"Why?  Paula said she heard something had happened."

"Not to me."

"Is someone going to beat you for sleeping with their daughter?"

"No, I'm saving her."

"Oh."  He nodded.  "I won't tell Paula or anyone, Xander."  He grinned.  "What do you have done?"

"Not a damn thing because they've been wanting smut and I can't put that much smut into Tral."  Donnie, his editor, groaned.  "I sent you that part to see if you could split it and put it somewhere.  I seriously need to date."  He walked off with his tray of food and cups of coffee.  "I'll be down in a few hours."

"Okay."  He waved and shook his head, calling her to not tell her anything.  She was used to Xander pulling white knight stuff at the conventions so this wasn't anything new.  Even if the rumor about the police being called was true.  When he saw who was with him he mentally winced.  She gave him a dirty look.  "You good?"

"I'm fine.  Thank you, Donnie."

"Good."  He stared at her.  "I won't say a thing, kiddo.  I remember my years around your age, kinda."  She smiled.  "You sure?"  She nodded.  "Okay.  Then I won't nag you or him."

"He was a nice guy.  He made me sleep on the bed while he slept on the floor."

"Good!"  He walked off with her.  He was trying to get her to become an editor or a publisher.

Xander smirked, shaking his head.  She was in good hands with him.  He went to his assigned table and sat down with a new soda, smiling at the person waiting and bouncing.  "Hi."  She squealed and hugged him then babbled at him while he signed her books.  She kissed him on the forehead and bounced off.  He sipped his soda and got happy with the general air of happy convention going.  It was sorely missed around New York.


Xander dropped Alexis off and looked at her.  "You can tell me anything.  Remember that."

"I know.  You're not really a big brother."

He smirked.  "I'm a fantastic big brother sort, Alexis.  I don't even nag and I help you buy leather pants."

"Good point."  She gave him a hug.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He grinned, watching her walk inside.  He got serious once he was back in the car.  He had heard bad rumors and wanted to deal with it quickly.  Before things got out of hand.  Speeding back to New York wasn't that odd at this time of night after a weekend for half the city's residents.  So he wasn't stopped for speeding or even bothered by a NJ state cop.  He parked in front of the poker hall and got out, walking inside.  "We dead tonight?" he asked the bartender.

"Yeah, there's some freaky stuff.  Everyone's worried."

"I heard on both accounts."  The bartender handed over an envelope.  "Tara?"

"We thought she retired."

"We both supposedly are.  I'll handle it."  He nodded and Xander walked off reading.  "Shit," he muttered.  He got into his car and went to lurk by someone else.  That was totally craptastic and if he stopped one it wouldn't give him the leeway he needed to handle the other.  The other was taking out demons.  She had protectors in her minions.  This was a moral dilemma he hated.  So he decided to go visiting.  He knew where the minions lived.  It wasn't that hard to find them.  He found one out at dinner on a date and winced.  He waited, following him back to his place since he was alone.  Xander grabbed him by the arm and pushed him into the alley they were walking past.  "Hi."

"Harris!  What the hell do you think you're doing!  I could've shot you!"

"I think I'm warning you that she's got a serial killer who's trying to prove he's better by taking her out."  He stared at him.  "On the same timeframe I have a satanic ritual killer going after demon kids and teens I have to handle.  I thought you might want to know but I wasn't going to interrupt your date.  Happiness is too short."

"Who?" he asked.  "And it wasn't a date."

"Yeah," he snorted.  "That's why you were staring at her?"  He pulled out the envelope to hand it over.  "I don't want to have to make a choice but he'll keep getting kids."

"We can stop him."

"The NYPD is not going to arrest a demon," he said bluntly.  "I'm realistic.  There's no way."

Esposito sighed but nodded.  "You're probably right.  We can help."

"If I need it, I'll come calling.  For right now, you need to guard her better."

"Yeah, apparently we do.  Can I have a copy?"

"I'll photocopy it and mail it?"

"Drop it off.  It's faster."  He handed it back.  "Good luck."

"You too."  He walked off, going back home to find what he needed to know on that sort of higher demon.  It wasn't usual.  Tara gave him a funny look when he walked in and the kittens abandoned her lap for him.  "Hi, kids."  He petted them.  "Did the Tara mommy spoil you rotten for me?"

"Of course.  What happened?"  He let her see it on his way to their minor library.  She huffed.  "You can't."

"I can and will.  He's taking out kids."

"But..."  He stared at her.  "Fine."

"I told one of the minions about the other one."

"Thankfully."  She handed it back.

Xander made copies for them and put the original in an envelope for the morning's going out.  Then he sat down to pet the kittens.  They all adored him.  "How was your coven thing?"

"Not bad.  We got in good touch with the Mother and she's healthy where we were.  They're all very peaceful witches.  Some are bordering on Hindu thoughts and things."

He smiled.  "Good.  Peace is always great to attain."  She stared at him.  "I'm still stuck in the smut."

"You needed to get that out this weekend so I didn't have to see."

"No prospects."


"Not your fault."  He shrugged.  "Not even any groupies."  He got comfortable to think while watching tv.  He could handle this on his own.  He hoped.


Xander walked up behind the idiot and Demming, grabbing the idiot and throwing him then snapping his neck without breaking it.  "Leave the detective alone," he said slowly and clearly.  "Before I have to get really mean and evil.  Understood?"  He whimpered.  "Good!"  He straightened up and looked at Demming.  "What?" he demanded.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Batman."  He walked off.


"I have to go stop a fucking serial killer, Detective Demming.  Arrest the one who was stalking your ex."  He sighed as he faded into the dark.  He was back in stalking mode.  He did not have the patience for morons.

Demming called it in then called Beckett.  "Do you know a guy with dark hair, youngish twenties, really mean?"  He listened.  "No, he just walked up and incapacitated the suspect I was talking to because he said he was stalking a detective ex of mine."  He heard her yell at the other two, who confessed.  "Well, I have him but he needs the ER.  No, he faded into the dark.  Told me he was Batman and he had to stop a serial killer?  Is he one of us?"  She hung up after promising she'd meet him at the ER.

He hung up.  "This is worse than when she was working with Castle," he complained to the whimpering man.  "Did you rob that jewelry store?"  He whimpered but almost nodded.  "I'll arrest you later on that so you're protected from whoever that lunatic was.  After I get answers."  The paramedics and a uniform showed up.  "No clue," he told them.  "He came out of nowhere behind me, grabbed him, did his neck, then walked off saying he was Batman and had a serial killer to find."

One of the guys stared at him.  "Harris?" he guessed, looking at his partner.  "There was a rumor Beckett was being stalked and he looks out for her."

"Maybe," his partner agreed.

"Who?" Demming asked.

"Alexian Harris," the first patrol officer said.  "He's an author, Castle mentors him sometimes.  His roomie is a librarian and he's a white knight."

"That explains why he said he was Batman," Demming said sarcastically.  "Why is he protecting her?"

"Because he's had to in the past.  Plus she helps whenever he dates someone really evil," the other said with a shrug.  "The guy's got a sealed federal file from the rumors going around.  When his roomie was snatched by her parents, the FBI begged to let them handle it before he made it messy as they put it."

Demming gaped.  "Who the hell is he?"

"Maybe he is Batman for all we know.  We know he writes some really good sci-fi/fantasy stuff," the paramedic offered.  "I've seen a few people he tangled with in the clubs or who was trying to date him."  He helped them pick up the guy to put him into the ambulance.  "Detective?"

"I'm coming," he promised, getting in there with him.  This was getting weird.


Xander found the lair he wanted.  He already had a dead body and he winced.  He was too late for the night but he had captives.  He checked before sneaking in and down to his lair.  The guy pounced him with a spell and a sword.  Xander kindly shot him and went to free the hostages.  "Hey."

"You're late," one said, giving him a pathetic look.  "He took my twin."

"I'm sorry.  If I could've been here sooner I would have."

"Traffic?" she asked dryly.

"Stopping another serial killer before he took out a few cops.  I ran into that by accident.  I had told the locals to handle him."  He got them all free.  Officers came rushing down.  "He killed that one and attacked me.  I'm freeing hostages," he said, getting the other two free.  "They could use a doc, people."

"Sir, who are you?" one demanded.  "Please disarm yourself."

Xander nodded.  "Sure, you call an ambulance for his victims and I will."  One called that in and he walked over to the stairs, pulling out his guns and pocket knives.  Someone came jogging and he nodded.  "Victims," he said with a point.  "Three of them.  He's had them since yesterday and I didn't get here in time to get one's twin.  You can reach her parents at the Blue Moon Emporium.  Her father works there as a janitor."  The paramedic nodded, moving over to help them.  He looked at the other two.  "If you can't get them directly, have Tara tell them."  They nodded, huddling around the one.  "Guys, I'm sorry I wasn't fast enough."

"It was over an hour ago," the other twin said.

Xander nodded.  "It only took me a minute.  If I had known but the rite he was using said eight."

"He's set on London time," another said quietly.  Xander slumped.  "He was further ahead than you thought?"

"I heard he was on the third step, not the fifth.  Damn it!"  They sighed and nodded, letting the paramedics take them.  Xander looked at the officers.  "Your office or mine?" he quipped.

"Ours.  We need a statement, sir," the lead officer said.

"Sure.  Not the first time."  He handed over his things.   "Keep 'em warm for me.  I'll have to take the subway home."  He let them walk him out to the car and cuff him then put him into the backseat.  The ride wasn't that long.  Xander nodded at someone as he got walked inside.  She ran off to tell the Elders.  The officer gave him a dirty look.  "She knows one of the relatives of the victims.  That way they hear sooner."  They put him into a room and he picked the locks, handing back the handcuffs with a grin.

"First, name?"

"Alexander Harris."

The officer stared at him.  "Harris?  I heard that name sometimes."

"Same one.  Alexian's a pen name."

"Why were you there?"

"To stop him.   You guys wouldn't because of who the victims were."  He stared at him, getting a nod back.  The officer hit him.  Xander licked the split lip.  "Really?  Feel better?"

"We don't discriminate, Harris."

"Really?  Then you actually handled the six bodies that got dumped in the park by doing more than burning them?  Because I saw the last two and I brought an ME with me."  The officer growled and hit him again.  Xander kicked the table at him, knocking him into the wall.  "Gee, thanks."  He stared at him when other officers rushed in.  "He hit me.  I only got him off me."

"Stand up and turn around," one ordered.

"Belay that," Detective Ryan said as he walked.  "Harris, corner."  He pointed and the kid went there.  He looked at the officer.  "I was watching and I saw you hit him twice and more than just an ME saw you burning bodies you didn't want to deal with."

"They're not human!" he shouted.

"Harris is.  It's just his job to handle the bad things that happen to them."  He stared him down.  "I'd beg for my badge."

"I don't know who you think you are," the commander said.

"I think I'm the guy with the open connection to Internal Affairs," Ryan said, holding up his phone.  "We taped the last one for them."  A few of the guys ran.  He stared at that one.  "I'd so run so someone has to hunt.  Beckett's in a bad mood anyway."  He fled.  He looked at Xander.  "You couldn't let us handle it?"

"No.  Because you weren't.  The moron was going to let him go."

"We didn't know it was him."

"I sent in that information four days ago to Demming since he was watching him.  I saw him watching him."

"Shit," Ryan muttered.  "You good?"

"I've had worse from a date."

"Good.  Car."  He pointed.  Xander nodded, going to find his weapons and walk off.  He caught the kid looking around.  "What's missing?"

"My Sig Sauer nine."  He summoned it and put it back into his holster, looking at the detective.  "It's not warm.  He didn't get a chance to use it."

"That's fine.  Beckett wants an explanation."

"I told your fellow minion."

"I heard."  He gave him a nudge.  "Car."  Xander nodded, walking that way.  He followed shaking his head.  "I've got to set you up with someone who wants a lot of attention so you can't do that again," he said once he was in the car too.

"They had better like to proofread and I've still got to hunt and help out.  It's my duty since I know."

"Tara isn't."

"No, she's sweet and delicate.  Hunting isn't for the good souls, Detective Ryan.  I handle those things that stalk, kill, and hunt.  She's much too nice.  She might be a backup source but otherwise no, it's not for her.  That's one reason why I'm such an overprotective boob over her."

"That's one way of putting it."  He drove them back to the other precinct, letting him get out and hike inside.

"Boy, no guns in this precinct," the desk sergeant said.

Xander stared at him.  "I'm answering questions about something I saw going on, Sergeant.  I do have a permit if you'd like to see it."

"Conference room," Ryan ordered when he walked up to them.

"He can't be wearing a gun in here.  That's against protocol and it's dangerous."

Xander stared at him.  "I can leave and make them come see me at home if you'd prefer."

"Hell no.  She's already pissed off."  Ryan walked him up there.  He walked him into the conference room and started coffee.  "Ice pack?"

"I'm still fine.  Thanks anyway."  He stared at Demming.  "Was the note I sent you with his name that he was stalking Beckett too confusing for you?"  Demming gaped.  "Because it wasn't for Esposito when I gave him the preliminary.  I saw you following that one so I told you about it since I figured they might've told you since you've been around and might've been a possible target to get out of his way."

"Why didn't you tell me?" she demanded.

"I went to Esposito because I had another serial asshole to deal with," Xander complained.  "As is, I managed to not save one tonight."  She huffed.  "I'm sorry as hell but I thought he would've told you too."

"He didn't," she said.

"Then bitch at him!"  He shrugged.  "I told one of you that you were being stalked, that way they could handle it like the NYPD is supposed to.  Don't yell at me because I did what I'm supposed to fucking do!"  She backed up at that.

"Calm down," Ryan ordered patiently.

"No!  I'm not being blamed because you guys went into the same sort overprotective boob overdrive I go into."   He glared at her.  "Don't yell at me for doing what I'm supposed to do, Detective.  I'm not your minion.  I even gave him the note with his name on it.   What more did you want me to do?"

"How about let us handle him tonight?" Esposito suggested.  "Need an ice pack?"  Xander glared at him.  "Sorry.  Rescuing those others?"

"No, the officers who burned their bodies," Ryan told him, sipping his coffee.  "The guy got in two blows then Xander kicked him across the room using the table.  It was a good move.  The rest of the department fled."

"Good!" Becikett agreed.  "Why stop him tonight?"

"Because if anyone had done something like look in his car for the stolen money and jewelry they would've found it and the poison, the knockout gas, and the handcuffs and ropes."  She shuddered.  "You weren't going to make it through tonight probably.  The idiot there apparently somehow missed the message.  So therefore I had to act."  Someone walked in.  "I got the last three free.  He was further ahead than we thought," he said quietly.

"Thank you for saving who you could."

"It bothers me that I didn't get that one, Elder."

"I know, Xander.  It is the goodness that Sunnydale didn't force out of your soul.  They will be fine and those who attacked us are leaving the city."  He smiled at him.  "Rest easier, you did stop him."  Xander nodded so he left.

Beckett shut the door and looked at him.  "The other was going after demons?"

"Teenager and kids.  Ritual sacrificing that's so screwed up it's never been right."

"Did you write it?" Ryan asked.

"No."  He glared at him.  "I don't write all the fucked up things in the universe, thank.  Mr. King actually wrote that one."  He looked at her again.  "What else did you want me to do?"

"You could've called," she said.  "Made sure he got the note."

"I had the demon put it in his locker.  I didn't want to make anyone panic because then you'd kill us all for protecting you."

"Fine."  She calmed herself down.  "Why did he want me?"

"Because if he could beat you, then he was better than you.  The same as he did to other detectives."  She shuddered.  "He got one of the ones I knew in LA too.  She's maimed for life and won't be walking ever again probably since he sliced her spinal cord on her.  You he was apparently going to poison.  He based it on a case you were well known for."

She nodded once.  "Fine.  Thank you, Xander."

He shrugged and walked around them.  "I'm going to the gym.  Have a better night, people."

"He harmed that man," Demming said hotly, pointing at his back.  "We're letting that violent psycho free?"

She stared at him.  "He's not psychotic."

"He told me he was Batman when I asked," he shot back.

"Yes, that's called Sarcasm," Ryan said dryly.  "He's a master of it when he's pissed off."  He looked at her.  "You good?"

"I'm going to kill you both for not telling me."

"Yay," Esposito said with a shrug.  "I only care that he didn't get you."  He stared at her.  "That is our job to protect our coworkers."

"I could've handled it better if I had known!"

"No, then you would've wanted to bait him," Ryan said.  "The kid didn't need to split his attention this time.  That's why he told us at all.  Or else you might've woken up with him tied up on your doormat."

She groaned, walking off rubbing her head.

"Who is he?" Demming demanded.

"Xander's a nice guy but he's been protecting people since he was sixteen," Ryan said bluntly.  "The last time she got threatened, we put her with him and his roommate because they could protect her better than even we could.  Since then, if she's got a threat, the people underground he knows tell him.  He usually handles it quietly and we hear about it afterward."

Esposito nodded.  "Definitely weird waking up to someone handcuffed on the doorstep."

Beckett came back looking pissed off.  "Another one already?" Ryan teased with a smirk.

"Alexis is in trouble.  They raided a party and found her underage there."

"Call Tara or Xander," Esposito said.  "They won't nark like you would."

"She's young and just now free, of course she's doing some odd things," Ryan agreed.

She called Xander.  "Alexis just called me.  No, she's been arrested for being at a party underage.  Princeton is...  You know where it is why?"  She listened.  "Oh, a convention and you popped in.  Fine.  Yes, there.  Thank you."  She hung up.  "He'll go bail her out."  She looked at them.  "I'm still going to beat your asses."

"Yup," Esposito agreed dryly.  "I'm sure we'll have the majority of the paperwork too."

She grimaced.  "Don't remind me."  She huffed and looked at them.  "Think he's fine?"

"I think the kid was way too calm when the cop hit him," Ryan admitted.  "I think he's in a battle rage and we're going to be lucky if he doesn't wreck on the way to New Jersey.  I think he'll calm down by the time he's there."  He finished his coffee and got more.  "By the way, I did have IAB on the line when I walked in there to yell at them.  I called after the first hit."

"Good!"  She looked at Esposito, who got the full file for her.  She growled at what she read.  Demming stomped off.  She rolled her eyes.

Ryan smirked.  "He's cute and manly but a woose," he said quietly.

"He's probably going to find that note."

"Hopefully."  The guys went back to their desks.  The captain came storming off the elevator.  "Situations are both solved," Ryan told him.

"What happened?  I got told you escorted Harris up while he was wearing guns?"

"He had been out hunting a serial killer after the other community.  The cops there decided to hit him for it."  Their captain glared.  "On the way there he stopped the serial killer after Beckett."

"He knew too?" she demanded, coming out.

He stared at her.  "That is protocol.  How else can we protect our people?"

"If it was them...."

"I'd have let Tara dress them the same way I about to let her dress you again," the captain assured her.  She groaned, sitting down.  "Good!  It's solved?"

"Harris is in a rage," Ryan said quietly.  "But Alexis just got into trouble so he's going to help her."

"Fine.  Here?"


"Damn.  Long drive when he's pissed off."  He looked at the notes.  "He did what?"

"Apparently he told Demming who it was and he ignored it or didn't find the note," she told him.  "So he popped his neck on him."

"Charming.  Well at least it wasn't lethal."

"Demming is in a snit," Ryan warned.  "He wanted to know more about him.  Xander quipped he was Batman when he walked around him fussing."

"I can find a scary resemblance," she said dryly.

"More like the Punisher," Esposito said with a shrug.  "He likes weapons and only takes out the bad guys."

She walked off shaking her head to go to the bathroom to rant at the walls.

Ryan looked at his partner.  "I'll be damn glad when Castle's back," he said quietly.

"You think he is?"

"I know he is sometime.  When is the problem."  That got a nod and a look toward the bathroom.  They had to watch out for her.  No one else would run them as ragged as she did.  It's what friends and partners did for each other.


Xander walked up to the holding cell, staring at her.  "When I told you how wild I ran, I didn't mean for you to follow in my footsteps."

"Bar fight?" she guessed.  She was clearly lit.

"No.  Dirty cop."  She gave him a funny look.  "It's been a long night, Alexis.  C'mon."  The officer let her out.  "Thank you for being so understanding."

"It's easy for guys to talk girls into the wrong place at the wrong time," the officer said, staring her down.  "I hope she learns from this."

"I think everyone will," Xander agreed.  He walked her off.  "You have to be at court at ten tomorrow."

"Fine," she sighed.

He stared at her.  "Need the ER?"

"I'm fine, Xander!"  She got free.

He grabbed her by the hair and stared her down.  "Go to the car because this is my third rescue tonight.  Thankfully the serial people I saved others from were nicer."  She nodded, getting free and going to the car.  He caught his breath and followed.  To call her father or not?  Rick would be really disappointed that the dorm-wide party had moved to a frat house and gotten worse.  So maybe he wouldn't tell him.  He slid in to drive.

"You're going to tell him?"

"No.  You might want to tell him before he sees it in the papers."  He started the car and backed out, taking her to the hotel he had rented a room in.  "There's a room just for you."  He set the alarm clock.  "That's set for eight so you can puke, wake up, eat, and make it on time.  Sleep it off."  She nodded, trudging that way.  He laid down on the couch.  That way she couldn't sneak past him.  Tomorrow was going to suck.  He really needed to beat her boyfriend.


Rick showed up at Xander's door two days later.  "You bailed my daughter out of jail and didn't tell me?"

Xander stared at him.  "And how are you today?" he asked dryly.  "It's a pretty day here in the city, don't you think?"

"Cut the shit."  He walked inside and slammed the door.  Xander checked the cats but they were all napping on top of his daughter's chest.  "Ah, you're out."

"Martha's not home today.  She's grounded," Xander said.

"You punished her?"

"No, your mother did.  She grounded her for life."  He stared at him.  "Yes, I did.  She's more than grown up enough to call you herself, which I suggested.  Though I can tell you it wasn't totally her fault."

"Who was he?" Rick asked his daughter.

She blinked at him.  "That friend from school," she said quietly.  "I'm firmly on the side of never dating an asshole like him again."

"Why aren't you sitting up?"

"Because I made her work out with me and she threw her back," Xander said, going toward the bedroom.  "C'mon, kids.  Let's let them talk."  All but one ran after him.  He came out to get that cat and brought her with him.  They could hide in the bedroom.  He did not need to witness that parental moment.

"I'm yelling at you in a minute, Xander," Rick noted.

"I'll be down the damn fire escape then," he said before he shut the door.  He sat down to pet them and then decided it was a good idea to escape.  He didn't think he could take any more screaming people today.  He closed the window and snuck down the ladders, jumping from the last rung to the alleyway.  He saw the dirty look from Martha.  "He's yelling at her and I can't take yelling right now," he said bluntly.

"You should have called or left her there."

"And let her be one of those heiress sorts from tv?  Did you talk about what's-his-name?"

"Yes."  She sighed, coming closer.  "Rick is going to kill him."

"I already kicked his ass.  It was in the courtroom and the judge agreed it was a good idea since he had talked her into going and got her drunk."   He walked around her.  "I'll be back later, when he's calmer and she's quit crying or I'm calmer."

"What happened now?  You're not usually a drama queen," she called.

"Butt out, Grandma.  It's nothing you could handle if I felt like talking about it.  Please."  He walked around the corner.

"Well," she huffed.  She went to talk her son into calming down too.  They were having a talk about stupid behavior.  "What is going on with him?  He was just more dramatic than a drag queen."

Alexis shrugged.  "I don't know.  He won't tell me.  He won't tell Tara either.  I know he was pissed off that night he came to get me because I drunkenly decided to argue and he grabbed my head by the hair and told me to get in the car.  Said it wasn't his first rescue that night I think."

"I'll help him handle his issue later.  You're my daughter and you have to come first."

She shrugged.  "I'm sorry I screwed up so much, Dad."

"We all do it sometime," he sighed.  "I had many girls that led me into trouble.  Though I never got arrested."  She nodded.  "Are you done for the summer?"  She nodded.  "Did you finish everything?"

"Yup.  That was the leaving party actually."

"Uh-huh."  He stared at her.  "I agree with Mother.  You're grounded for life."  She nodded with a sigh at the end.   He tipped her face up.  "Did he help you?"

"A lot."  She looked at her grandmother.

"I haven't told him."

"I'm sensing the boy got you in more trouble?"

"I have no idea which one gave me the laced drink at a dorm mixer.  It was only one beer, Dad."

He took a calming breath.  "What did you get given?"

"Xander thought E.  He brought me to the convention he was at and let me have the bed while he slept on the floor.  The hotel called the cops but he made sure they knew I was sleeping it off and he wasn't molesting me or anything."

"Good!  Why didn't I hear about that one!"

"Because I know your temper, dear."  Martha smiled.  He glared at her.  "She was fine.  She and I talked as well.  It was a laced drink.  She wasn't aware of it and when she started to feel odd, she left.   She called Xander to help her since we were both out of town."

"He would've protected me and kept me from doing stupid things," she said weakly.

"I wanted to hear this from you," he said bluntly.  "I'm disappointed in that.  Usually you're more level headed than I am."

"A boy will turn any sensible woman's mind to mush," Martha sighed.  "God knows I had that problem a few times."  She sat down.  She heard a pitiful scratching.  "Let them out before they destroy things."  Alexis got up with a groan, going to do that.  "What happened now?"

"Xander made me work out and spar with him.  I threw my back out."  She let the cats out, sitting down again.  They climbed up on her father and her, letting them pet them.  "He'll be back in a minute, I promise," she soothed.

"Anything else I might hear from a reporter?" he asked quietly.


"No wild sex parties?"

"Hell no."

He smirked at her.  "That adds another week to your lifetime grounding."

"I actually called Beckett, Dad.  He came instead."

He shook his head.  "No, we're ... strange," he admitted.  He stood up.  "Come on, you're coming with me."

"School starts in a week."

"I know."  She nodded, getting up and getting her bag so they could leave together.  She made sure the cats were all inside before closing the door and locking it.  "Where was Tara?"

"I don't know.  I know I saw her this morning.  She's got that mom look again," she sighed.  "I truly messed up."

"Everyone does it now and then," he reminded her.  "I could horrify you with stories of some of mine."

"Xander shared some of his so I'd see how mild mine was."

"How bad was his?"

"No comment?"

"I'll let him tell me."  He walked her out to the car and called Ryan's desk.  "It's me.  I have Alexis.  If you see Xander, thank him for me?  No, he escaped the yelling and hid from me yelling at him for not telling me."  He listened.  "That's been over a week."  He huffed.  "I don't know.  I'll talk to him when I can.  Probably later tonight.  Thanks."  He hung up and got in to drive.  They dropped Martha off at home and then drove to the Hamptons.  They needed to have some bonding time over past stupid mistakes.  Then he'd call Xander to see what had happened.


Paula came back to the city to meet with Tara.  "What is wrong with him?" she asked as she walked up to the desk where Tara was working.

"Nothing.  Why?"

"He hasn't sent anyone anything in a month, Tara.  Something must be wrong again."

She shook her head.  "Nothing's being cooperative.  The latest in the Tral universe turned adult on him and he can't get refocused but he needs that part to go on and it keeps going on without going on with the story, even when he writes it for them."

"Oh."  She grimaced.  "Why can't we move around this one?"

"Because apparently the muses aren't telling him what happens later."  She pulled out her computer and let her see that.  Then she went to check out the waiting person's books with a smile for him.  That was always a polite kid.  She came back.  "He can't get past that one point and all he's getting is that."

Paula grimaced.  "Is this a block?"

"I think he needs to find a new love interest and write them in but it won't fit in that section.  Either that or he needs to date and he hasn't recently."

Paula looked at her.  "Why not?"

"He started to do background checks first and pissed some off."

"Oh."  She closed it before handing it back.  "What else is going on?  Rick said he's very upset."

"I don't know.  He won't talk with me."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm having my own moral dilemmas right now," she admitted quietly.  "I'm called to peaceful things.  Not the duty he's called to."

Paula sighed and nodded.  "Could that be egging his on?"

"No, I don't think so.  I know he got a problem referred to him but not what it was."

"Fine.  Where is he?"

"The cabin this weekend."

"I'll call."

"His phone won't work right now.  I'm not sure why but even I can't get a call to go through."  She went to check out the new person's books, smiling at them.  "I think we have one waiting on you," she said, grabbing that book for her with a smile.  The girl gave a quiet squeal and hugged it.  Tara finished the check out and for the next person.  She walked back to Paula.  "I don't know.  I wish he could quit but he can't and we're about the only help for the really bad things locally."

"Aren't there others?"

"Not who would respect the community."

"Do we think this is from the stress?"

"No, I think if he got with someone in a meaningful way it would help," she admitted.  "Unfortunately he's not dating and not with anyone in a meaningful way."

Paula stared at her.  "Guys don't think in terms of meaningful, Tara.  Have him hit a brothel or something?"  She blushed, shaking her head.  "Fine.  Maybe this weekend at the cabin will fix that for him.  He'll find someone evil to have relations with."  She walked off shaking her head.  If she knew where the cabin was....  But she didn't.  She called Rick.  "Where is Xander's cabin?"  He told her he had talked to him.  "What is wrong with his muses now?"

He agreed with her, the kid needed some stress relief.  "Any hope of him finding someone?  No, Tara wouldn't suggest anything less than meaningful."  She yawned.  "That might help.  Is he at the cabin?"  She smirked, going to the weapons warehouse once she hung up.  The thing creeped out everyone because it was so large but oh well.  Xander was hiding from his muses in there somewhere.  She walked in and flipped on the overhead lights.

"Office," Xander called.  "To the left!"

She followed the echo, finding the office easy enough.  "Why can't you date?"

"Because we have too many things attacking the innocent right now and it's my job," he quipped, looking up from cleaning the shotgun.  "If Tara wasn't off in prude land again it might help."

"She said she couldn't suggest you get it in the clubs or a brothel."

"I have hit it in the clubs.  I nearly lost too."  He looked at her.  "I need to restart self defense lessons.  I'm getting slow."

"That happens to those who age."

Xander nodded.  "Yeah but if I could get someone here to work on this shit, I would."

"There's no other hunters you can call for a break?"

"Not ones who would care that the lesser demons were being attacked.  To most of them, all demons are evil even if they aren't."  He shrugged, leaning back.  "I know it's been a month of smut."

"Go pay for it."

"I'm not that desperate.  Masturbating helped some."  She nodded once at that.  "Maybe I'll hit a gay club, I don't know."

"Be discreet.  That can drive down sales."

"Everyone knows I'm bi and they went up when they thought I was dating John."

"True.  Still, be discreet.  What did Alexis do?"

"Bad choice in boyfriend."

"Oh."  She nodded at that.  "Partying?"

"Her dad knows."

"Good.  Did you tell him?"

"Nope.  I'm like a big brother figure, that's not my job.  That's her job."

"Good point."  She shifted to look at him.  "Is that one that nearly killed you stalking you perhaps?"

"I have no clue.  I haven't heard."

She nodded.  "Fine.  You finish up and try to write something."

"If I was Anne Rice, you'd have something smutty today.  Unless you think you can sell the assorted sexcapades of Tral's hunting team?"

"No.  Maybe if it was in the hunting novels."  He shook his head.  "Fine.  Let me know if it's not broken in a week.  If not, I'm sending you to a brothel."

"I have fantastic stamina, Paula.  I might hurt someone."

"I don't care."  She left, going to talk to the annoying detectives the kid watched over.  She found her at her desk and sat down.

"Did you pick up that move from Castle?" Beckett asked, looking at her.

"Probably.  I never used to sit down and sigh."  She stared at her.  "I believe the young author we mentor is having a stalker of his own.  Apparently she nearly killed him during sex and he's not seeing it but all his recent writings have been sexual.  He's presently handling another thing going after his poker buddies."

Beckett nodded slowly.  "Why didn't he tell us this?"

"Because boys like Xander never tell you when they're having problems.  It'll come out in subtle ways.  For him, his writing for the last month has been nothing but sex and weapons.  I found him cleaning weapons in his warehouse.  He claims he has no idea if she's stalking him but I think subconsciously he's a bit worried."

"We thought it was stress from the fighting when he snapped back the last time we saw him."


"He pinged some dirty cops after handling the last thing taking out the poker circuit.  He let the cop hit him twice then shoved him.  Detective Ryan stepped in and they fled from the rage of Internal Affairs."

"Huh.  Interesting.  No, I think that may have been some stress relief.  I know the boy does crappy on his own and Tara's not even willing to hear about anything less than a meaningful relationship again."

"He said she's one of those sweet people who would eventually leave the life to live a real life," Esposito said from his desk.  "And yeah, he's got two stalkers actually.  One the fun sort that only wants to sleep with him.  The other wants to kill him because of what he writes.  It's another hunter."  He looked at them.  "I can't find her though."

"Can we ask Tara to talk to some of the other hunters?" Paula suggested.

"She called one and he said he had no idea and they had no one who could stop her probably."

"Ah."  Paula nodded.  "So he's going to end up defending himself from her?"

"I'd be surprised if he hadn't.  The other one I know he hit it in a club with and she nearly killed him."

"Shit," Paula muttered.  "He mentioned that one."

"Did he mention that Tara's checking his mail?  She's moved back to motherly status for him."

"No, he hadn't," Paula said.  "I can't talk to Tara.  I don't understand girls like her."

"Her aunt and she parted ways when her aunt got pushy to make her remodel her personality to fit with her friends," Beckett said.  "So, is he using us as a stress break?"

"Probably.  It definitely gives him something to take his mind off his own problems.  The same as it probably did Rick.  He used Alexis that way many times when he was blocked."

"I can have him come gofer," Esposito said.

"I doubt he'd like it," Paula said.  "Though he did admit to me that he missed working all day long on a construction site."

"I know someone who does Habitat work."  He called Xander's cellphone.  "Did Tara forget to pay the bill?"

"No.  She said it's out for some reason.  She also thinks he's at the cabin and he's at the warehouse."  He nodded, getting up to talk to him.  Sometimes you had to have a guy talk.  She smiled at Beckett.  "The newest book is coming along very well.   The last one finished up pretty well."

"That's good to know.  Is Alexis coming back to start school?"

"Oh, yes.  He's still upset with her but he understands.  They had one of those 'beer and ice cream at midnight' talks he said."

"Figures."  She shrugged.  "Tell her to call me when she's back and I'll make sure she's okay if Xander and Tara can't."

"I can do that."  She stood up.  "Thank you, Detective."

"Not a problem.  I'd rather not have any psychotic people anywhere in this city."

Paula nodded.  "Me either.  They always seem to come after authors."  She walked off.

Beckett shook her head, starting a preliminary report on what they knew.  Esposito could finish it later.  When they hopefully realized who they were.


Esposito walked in and looked around.  "Xander?" he called.


He walked that way, finding him sharpening swords.  He looked at him.  "The hunter that's after you or the insane thing at the club?"  Xander shrugged, not looking up.  "You knew?"

"I've already shown one that she's an idiot and the books aren't about her.  I also took her to a demon playground to let her see that they're kids."  He looked up.  "She was horrified that they were in the open.  The whole community knows to watch out for her."

"Good.  Want to give us that information?"

"I doubt she'll come after me."

"Unlike the other one?"

"That's a different matter.  I don't know what she wants."  He frowned then went back to sharpening.  "I have to hunt down another thing tonight."

"Why aren't you bringing Tara?"

"She wanted a real life."

He stared at him.  "So this is 'soon I'm going to be alone' along with 'too much combat and there's another one'?"

Xander looked at him.  "What?"

"Paula told Beckett Tara's gone motherly for you."

"Now and then."

"She said that Tara won't even suggest anything less than a real relationship and she's checking your mail?"

Xander shook his head slowly.  "She shouldn't be."

"Want me to talk to her?"

"No.  Then I'll get bitched at."

He nodded.  "That happens.  But you know, even if she moves out, she's still going to be like your sister.  A lot of women do the same thing to their friends when they first start dating."

"She wants a normal life.  It'd be better for her.  But I'm keeping the cats."

"Good.  You could use someone to fuss over you."  He stared at him.  "You know you're not totally alone here."

"Yeah.  Why?"

"He'll be back, you can bounce some ideas off us.  And let us know when there's more problems."

"It's New York, there's always problems."

"True."  He smirked.  "I heard Castle will be back in a few weeks probably."

"Alexis will be back sooner but she's back to not talking to me."

"What happened to her?"

"Bad choice of boyfriend."

"Ah.  Got her into a party?"  Xander nodded.  "I saw that she was found at an underage drinking party."

"I went to bail her out and we talked.  I made sure she made it to court the next morning.  I kicked the guy's ass for it in front of the judge and he confessed he had drugged her once.  So I don't know."

"Girls are confusing."

"I've been surrounded by girls for years," Xander admitted.  "I haven't had guy friends in so long it's not funny."

"Maybe you should find some?  Other authors?"

"None of the other authors in town like me.  They all think I'm young and dumb and bouncy."  He shrugged a bit.  "Rick tried."

"What about writers in your genre?"

"Same thing.  All older.  A few female ones but none of them live locally and they're all older with families."

"Damn.  We have got to set you up with someone decent."

Xander snorted.  "They'd never like me.  I'm doomed to a life of cheap sex because all the evil girls need to be taken out."

"Maybe," he admitted.  "Find a slightly less-than-evil guy?"

"A few, but they've been about as bad.  By the way, you have an email waiting about a present I got given by one."


"Because it's probably stolen."


"Nuclear warhead."  He grinned.  "With military warnings on it."


"Downstairs."  He smirked.  "Not like I'm going to put it somewhere less controlled."

"Good!  Hold on, I was in my email this morning.  I didn't see it."

"I think I sent it to you."  He got into his laptop to look.  "Yeah, I sent it to you."  He showed it to him.

"You spelled my last name wrong, that's why," he said.  He added his to the kid's contacts folder and saved it.  "But I can take that if you want."

"Please.  That makes me nervous."

"Good!"  Xander smirked at him.  "You still need to get laid it sounds like."

"I will.  After I get this other idiot hunter."  He got up and walked him down there, showing him the pretty box.  Xander opened it and grimaced.  "I don't think someone was in here but it's missing a tube," he said with a point.

"Okay."  He looked it over.  "Let me call Taylor."  He called him.  "Detective Taylor, Esposito from Beckett's office.  Someone nice gave Xander a present.  Nuclear warhead.  He sent me the email on it but when he opened it just now we found a missing canister of something.  Yes, that's what I said.  The warehouse, in the basement.  Is it armed, Xander?"

"No.  I made sure of that before I emailed you last night."

"No, he made sure it's not.  Please."  He hung up. "He'll come have it picked up."  Xander grinned.  "What does the canister look like?"  Xander looked then dug another one out.  "Huh.  Yeah we'll see if we can find that.  Any idea who he was?"

"He said Sebastian Morales."

"I've never heard of him but I'll look into it."  He heard pounding and walked back to the stairway.  "We're downstairs!" he yelled.  Footsteps came down and he held up his badge.  "Sebastian Morales?" he asked Flack.

"Never heard of him.  Got any sort of picture?" he asked Xander.

"I don't think I took one.  He might have one of me.  I'm not real sure."  He pulled out his phone to look.  "Ah!  I did get a picture of him when I took a picture of the other bitch."  He held it up.  "That guy in the red shirt is him."

Don took it to look at.  "I'm going to confiscate it."

"It's not working right now anyway," Esposito said.

"Yeah, I have radio signals blocked in here thanks to that thing.  I woke up after a mediocre night with him and found myself here.  I checked, this was the only new thing.  I opened it, had to go look up what it was.  That took me a few hours and I tried to email him."  He head nodded.  "He said I spelled his last name wrong so there's probably another panicking person in the department somewhere."

"He's in Traffic.  I get his sometimes too."  He shrugged.  "So you did open it?"

"Yeah.  I needed to see what it was.  It had a canister peeking out of that hole in the hay stuff."  Esposito held up the canister.  "It looked like that."

"Okay, we'll be on the lookout for it," Flack decided, smiling at him.  "You look less than pleased."

"I've got another hunter taking out the poker circuit."

"Get help for that," he ordered.

"What help?"



"Report her."

"They won't arrest her for taking them out."

"Yeah we would.  The NYPD won't arrest one of them but they'd arrest a human taking them out."  Xander jogged upstairs and came back down with his laptop, letting him see it.  "I've seen her around the station.  Can I?"

"Please.  That's my non-work one."

"Cool.  Flack, need help?"

"No, I brought strong people and CSI."  He called them down.  SWAT gave him an odd look.  He pointed.  "A former paramour gave it to him."

"Oh, you guys wanted oversight of my guns and the stupid, curse given will problem left me a few more."

"Big?" Flack asked.  "What curse?"

"The one that made his former dates all commit suicide," Esposito said.

"I saw that in the news," one of the SWAT guys quipped.  "Anything missing?"  Flack held up a canister.  "We can put out a BOLO for that.  Who opened it?"

"I did to see what it was," Xander said.  "I didn't even think about using gloves," he told Mac.  "Sorry."

"We have yours on file, Xander.  We can weed you out if we find yours."  Xander nodded.  "I want that in my lab safely stored in our vault, guys.  Within minutes."  They nodded, carrying it off.  He looked at Xander.  "How big?"

"One looks like a volvo with a howitzer?"

"That I gotta see," Flack said.  Xander led him to that section of the warehouse.  They all stared.  "I think that is a howitzer on a volvo."

Xander nodded.  "Which might come in handy for apocalypses.  Good fuel economy so it'd last for a long time."

"If we have something that needs that sort of armament, we have the military we can call on," Mac reminded him.  "Can we get that off there?"

"I know *nothing* about cars," Xander said.

"Speaking of," Esposito said, writing out an address and a name.  "Habitat?  Paula thinks you're missing construction days."  Xander squealed and hugged him.  "You need more guy friends," he said with a grin.

"Yeah, it sucks."  He grinned.  "That's the nicer one."

"Anything else huge that could get stolen?" Mac sighed.  Xander pointed.  He walked into that room and paused.  "We'll be back Sunday, Xander.  That way we can go over those."  He closed the door and walked off shaking his head.  The others followed.

"I'll bring back the laptop and phone once they're downloaded," Esposito said.  "Take a nap, kid.  You look tired.  You probably have enough swords sharpened for now."  Xander nodded, going back to the office to curl up on the cot in there.   They closed and locked the door, heading back to the lab together.  Esposito handed Mac the laptop.  "That is the person who is hunting the demons who he's hunting," he said quietly.

"I heard about the last one."  He looked it over.  "We can arrest her for going after illegal immigrants.  It's not a lie, just a stretch."  He got into the other profiles.  "Some of these are characters I think."

"I'll have the kids sort those out later," Flack promised.  He handed over the phone after finding the picture again.  "The guy in the red shirt gave a contact we have a nuclear warhead as a thanks for the night present."

"Must've been good," Adam said as he pulled the file down and started the photo enhancements.

"Considering his last full time was a nympho who slept with half the town plus toys as well as the six to ten he was giving her a day?" Esposito said.  "Yeah, he's probably got stamina."

Adam smirked.  "I had one of those back in college.  She was very bad for me."

"His became a nun to pay society back for all the bad shit she did."  He smirked.

"So it went to Harris?" Adam asked.  Mac nodded, rolling his eyes as he walked off.  "Do we know anything about him?"

"He said his name was Sebastian Morales."

He started that search on another screen.  "Tell him I want a copy of the next DCIS?"

"Stella has one on her desk," Flack told him.

"I've read it.  I meant the next one."

"His publisher probably has the next ten already," Esposito said.  "Call me when you know?" he asked, handing over his card.  "I've got to tell the others in my unit since the kid likes to turn in his ex's to us."

"Sure, give me a few hours."  Adam smiled at him.  "He seems nice," he told Flack once he had left.


"What's Harris really like?"

"A bit goofy but tough underneath.  He hasn't had guy friends in forever.   He squealed and hugged earlier."

"So, like the him in DCIS?"

"Yeah, basically."  He checked the search screen.  "We have a 'locked due to national security interests."  Adam groaned, calling Mac so he could nag someone higher up.  He sent him that file, what little they had.  It did match the picture.  Adam searched the other pictures.  There wasn't one of him anywhere else.  But the videos....  The guy had started it and taped it.  "Huh," Flack said.  He got Mac down to see.

"That is the same person and he's CIA," Mac said quietly.  "Turn that off."  Adam downloaded it but turned it off.

"Do we have any contacts there?" Don asked.


"See if that other guy might?" Adam suggested.  "Or the kid himself."

"He might," Don admitted, calling the warehouse's number.  No answer so he left a short message for the kid to call him back, they had found the guy.


Esposito walked into the right precinct, seeing the tension.  "Yeah, it was meant to come to me.  I handled it, the lab has it, it's all good."  They sighed.  "One canister in it is still missing."  He put up a picture of it.  "So if we see one....."

"How do you know this person?" the commanding officer asked.

"We had a civilian ride-along."

"Rick Castle," most of them said.

Esposito smirked.  "Harris is actually Alexian Harris and Castle was mentoring him.  Plus we like to arrest his dates."  He smirked.  "One of them gave him this."  His phone beeped with a message.  "Who was CIA.  Interesting."  He smiled.  "So relax.  I put in mine so it won't happen again."

"Thank you.  It scared the crap out of me."

"It would've me too until I remembered Harris was just like that."  He walked off calling someone.  "Castle, Esposito.  I need a small favor.  No, Xander had a spook that he slept with who gave him a nuclear warhead and now we're missing a canister on it.  The lab said that the file's locked.  Can you nudge your contact to come talk to one of us?  Me, Taylor, Flack.  Thanks.  Morales, Sebastian.  CIA.  Thank you."  He hung up and went back to brief the others and about that canister.  Ryan owed him lunch and dinner about how bad this newest date was!  It was so sweet.


Castle hung up and called his 'guy'.  "It's Rick Castle.  Is he in?"  He waited, leaning back.  "Small favor needed for Beckett actually.  Yeah, about the guy that Xander got the nuclear warhead from," he said dryly.  "Sebastian Morales, CIA?  Taylor has it at the lab and they think he took back a canister.  I don't know what sort.  Please.  Thank you.  You too.  Hamptons writing under Paula's tough eye.  No, not like that," he sighed.  "The thought occurred to me but no.  Thank you.  Yes, Xander slept with him," he said dryly.  "I don't know.  I'll ask him if the CIA gets into it with DCIS or not.  I haven't heard any mentions beyond some hackers trying the labs.  Alexis, has the CIA gotten into the DCIS world?"

"No, though that show with the guy who used to be the hotty vampire is."

"Okay."  He smirked at the phone.  "CTU is but not the CIA.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Did he change that far enough to not infringe?"

"Yup.  We made sure of it."  She smirked.  "I have to go school shopping."

"We can do that."  He saved things and followed her out to the car.  "Have you heard from Xander?"

"No.  I got a text a few weeks back but I was out on the boat so I didn't text back until later and I was tired.  I have no idea what I texted back."

"I'll email him later then.  His phone's off."  He drove her off, taking her to the mall.  It was every girl's right to go to the mall.  Plus she could pay for her own clothes thanks to Xander paying her to help him.


Detective Ryan joined the others on Sunday, finding the kid napping again.  He nudged the cot, making him jump up.  "Coffee?" he offered, holding out his cup.

"Soda?"  Flack tossed him a can with a smile.  "Thank you."  He walked them down there.

"Did you get any others?" Flack asked casually.  "The spook that came to talk to us said something about another present."

Xander shrugged and went to look, coming back with a case.  "Yeah, that wasn't mine."  He went to look at other things.  "Shit," he said in awe.  "Someone gave me a huge ass dead snake wrapped around an altar."  He stared at it then walked to another room shaking his head.  He finished the soda and tossed the can out.  The can crunched it up so they all stared for a minute.  "It ate it.  Huh.  Cool."  He checked and burst out laughing.  "Was that other present a huge ass tank?"

"Maybe."   Mac went to look and groaned.  "Yes.  Check the other rooms, Xander."  He went to do that with Flack's helpful input.  They could put anything too huge together so it could easily be taken out.  Xander jogged out to stop Ryan from touching something and got him an ambulance since it was poison coated.  That got bagged up and put into a box with a written warning on it.  That could go to the lab too.  They were finding all sorts of neat things Xander couldn't have anymore.  It was an excellent day for the lab.

The End.

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