The Complications of Women In Your Life.

Xander looked at the reporter.  She was fairly pretty but kinda dumb.  "So, I hear that you're using a penname," she said, looking at him.  "Why?"

"Because of my parents.  I started out writing that way."

"Most writers change their names so they don't have problems."

Xander shrugged.  "I don't have problems with the dual identity.   My publisher knows which name to pay me in.  I answer to either."

"It's said that someone talked to your parents recently, Mr. Harris."

He snickered.  "No, they didn't.  My mother is presently in prison."  She gaped.  "For sending me a bomb that also had cocaine residue on it.  So I'm thinking that they talked to someone else.  Like the last show that did that, I'm sure my publisher and I will have a fine time suing them."  He got comfortable.  "As a matter of fact, since I've seen that one, they decided Alexian was my first name and found one's mother to talk to.  She was horribly confused looking during it.  She didn't know her son was writing."

She cleared her throat.  "Has anyone told her?"

"Oh, yes, I had my publisher call her when it was heard about to reassure her.  She thanked them for letting her know and started to write nasty letters."

"I see.  So that doesn't bother you?"

"It does bother me.  It bothers me a lot.  That's why I sue."  She nodded at that.  He gave her a reassuring smile.  This was on tape so he didn't want to seem scary.  Paula would kick his ass.  "It's all right.  Some reporters don't take the time to research their interviews.  You did a great job, you even had soda for me instead of coffee."  She smiled and relaxed again.

"You're a fairly prolific writer."

"Yes I am.  There's two types of writers.  One has 'muses', which I am, who give them ideas and what's going on.  Like a little person reading the story into your ear.  The other is more 'what would happen if I' sort.  They take something, add a bit of a twist, some spice, and do that.  Unfortunately my muses are very nice to me.  They sometimes let me sleep and eat or play with the cats."

"You have cats?"

"I have four cats.  Well, technically, Tara has three cats and I have one cat but I have four cats since I'm home all day to give in to their begging and things."

"Is that against the local laws where you are?"

"I don't know.  I don't think so.  I think it would kill us to give up one.  I don't think the human society could say much.  They're horribly spoiled."

"That's good to know."  She cleared her throat.  "Are you on the west or east coast?"

"East.  I'm in New York.  I used to live in LA."

"That's good to know.  What do you say to the people who are thinking that one of your books would make a good movie?"

He stared at her.  "I had not heard that rumor."  He paused to consider it, his face scrunching then relaxing again.  "You know, I'm not sure how I feel.  I'm kinda giddy but scared stupid over it too."

She smiled.  "That's probably normal.  Were you an avid reader as a child?  I know most writers are."

"No, actually I struggled with reading a lot when I was younger.  Willow, a friend in school, read to me a lot.  She loved to babble things at me or read assignments so I actually did them."

"A learning disability?"

He shrugged.  "My school wasn't equipped to recognize it if it was one or deal with one."

"So your school system was poor?"

"In more ways than one with our test scores, yes."  He shifted again to cross his feet.  "I really started writing to get things out of my head that I was thinking about.  Later on it became an escape and some stress relief."

"That's interesting.  What do you think about those who think you'll burn out early."

"From what?"

"You put out too much, too many books a year."

Xander shrugged.  "If they dry up, I'll deal and go back to construction work I guess.  The muses are a blessing, even the days I don't get any sleep from all the typing.  I'm not going to be one of those that die early of drugs or alcohol since I don't partake."

"You don't drink at all?"

"Hardly ever."


"For the same reason my family are in jail."

"Oh."  She winced.  "I heard about your uncle."

"And his situation was why my father came out to blackmail me, which got him put in jail, and then my mother sent me a bomb because he went to jail."

"Did your parents drink as well?"

"Yup.  They were well known for it."

"I suppose the writing was a good escape from that."

"I never really wrote to escape them.  I used a pen name so they wouldn't hear and try to take any money I made but by then I was pretty well just invisible unless they wanted money or me to go to the store or fix something for them."  He shrugged casually.  "I had other reasons to need a mental escape."

"I guess that's normal.  I heard you were nearly married?"

"Yes.  We broke up after she cheated on me.  Which I know sounds like a bad country song," he offered with a grin.  "Right afterwards she joined a convent.  She's fully at peace with herself now and happy, which is what I wished for her."

She nodded.  "That's good.  Carmelite or some other order?"

"No, I think they're a different order.  I don't understand all the different orders."

"Not Catholic?"


"What religion are you?"

He stared at her.  "I don't see how that matters."

"A lot of young writers are Jewish these days."

"I've met a few but no I'm not."

"An atheist perhaps?"

"Not really.  I believe in a higher power.  I have friends in multiple religions, including two Wiccas.  Most often if I have to call out to God about something, half the time it's the Goddess and half the time it's not.  It's not a matter I usually think on."

"And yet you nearly died a few years back during a slight terrorist attack you were near when their bomb accidentally went off."

"I didn't nearly die, Ms. Simmons, I had broken ribs.  I spent a few days in the hospital with a concussion .  I was nowhere near death.  I've been nearer to death than that before," he said dryly.  "But no, I'm not going to suddenly start thinking heavier thoughts just because I'm injured.  That's not who I became with my life.  For that matter, if there's a higher power, I'm sure they'd mostly be happy with what I've done over my life.  I haven't broken any major commandments in any religion."

"Some would contradict that with that invasion," she said.

He nodded.  "They're the same sort that want to make friends with that sort, even though that particular race wanted to eat anyone it came in contact with.  More power to them if they want to walk up to one to pet them.  It'll only make the traffic in New York, LA, Portland, and San Francisco easier to get through."  She gaped.  He stared at her.

"I was there because it was necessary.  Those things were going to kill everyone.  That was the purpose of bringing *them* here.  If it had peaceful intentions, there's hundreds of races of demons that're peaceful.  They could've brought any of them.  The people who planned that action decided to bring ones that would help them take over the world for their own gain."  He shrugged.  "I can't let that go."

"How did you know about it?" she asked.

"Underground rumors."

She blinked.  "What sort of underground do you know, Mr. Harris?"

He smiled.  "A few different ones actually.  Why?  Need an introduction?"  She shook her head quickly.  He grinned.  "You sure?"  She nodded.  "Then let's move on?  I doubt most people want to think about the invasion.  It makes them feel odd and weird."

"I suppose it can," she admitted.  "It definitely adjusted some ways of thinking."  She stared at him.  "You wrote about demons before the invasion."

"Yes I did."


"Because Sunnydale had a high concentration of the peaceful demons.  I played poker with some."

"Oh, I see."  She stared at him, trying to look tough.  "Why was there such a high death rate?"

"Not all of them were peaceful.  Over eighty percent are, but Sunnydale had an unfortunate draw that called to the ones that weren't.  If the old Mayor hadn't been involved with that twenty percent it would've been easier to protect the people in Sunnydale instead of ignoring it."

"Can you prove that?"

"Yes.  I have full tape of when he turned into a bad guy."  He smirked.  "Someone tried to sue me for libel over that until I handed them a copy of the tape.  Then it got dropped very quickly."

"So... you have evidence?"

"So does the FBI after the shutdown."

"Oh.  That's good.  Do you think the FBI is watching over demons?"

"Probably not.  Only if they do something to bring notice to themselves.  Most demon communities live so far undercover that being exposed is a death sentence if the humans don't do it to them.  Thanks to that one expose where they got exposed, I'm now shunned because someone noted them."

"That's interesting."

He smirked.  "It's the laws they live by and I respect that."

"So some of that underground?"

"Some of them heard, yes, and I heard through a few different sources, not just them.   Frankly, they were fleeing the area to make sure they weren't taken out too."

"That's good of them.  Making sure no one would mistake them is probably a good thing," she decided.  She cleared her throat again and he gave her his interested look.  She smiled.  "What next book is coming out?"

"I believe the next is a Hunter novel but I'm not sure.  I'd have to check on that.  I'm not sure how my publisher arranged them for the next six months."

"Why do you put out so many?"

"Actually, the ones coming out now I wrote a few years ago."

"It takes that long?"

"I had a few backlogged when she got me from my last agent.  I'm adding to the backlog now."

"So if sales drop...."

"Then maybe I'll take any that she hasn't put out and do a website or something, I don't know."

"Are you on any of the social media?"

"No.  I have an email address but otherwise I don't really get the point of social media.  If I want to meet people, I go to a club, not sit in front of my computer."

"You don't like the idea of it?"

"I don't like the idea of having millions of people I don't know, who probably don't want to talk to me anyway, reading whatever I'm talking about at that time.  If it was my fans maybe, then I wouldn't care, but that's just really not my thing."

"There's all sorts of games."

"I heard.  I like things like on"

"So you're not web-phobic?"

"No, not in the least.  I love the internet for research and goofing off.  I have no problems with most things online, but that's just not the guy I am.  I'd rather talk face-to-face with people than type at them.  Even the ones overseas; that's why I do book signings over there, so I get to meet them.  And I like to travel."  He grinned and shrugged a bit.  "It's the best of both worlds."

"Are you going to any of the major comic conventions this year?"

"I think I'm going to Comic Con in San Diego but I'm going as a fan.  As far as I know I'm not going for any other reason than to squee at some of my favorite things."  He grinned.  "I'll always be a geek at heart."

"What about writers conventions?"

"I have plans to be at three, including the big one in LA.  That one I try to go to every year.  I even still sit in on the newbie's panel to hear new ideas, ask questions that I hadn't run into before, all that.  It's helped me a lot to become a more confident writer.  I'm not sure if I'm sitting on the young writer's panel again or not this year.  I have for the last few years."

"So you can inspire them?"

"I started at seventeen.  It's different than those guys who start to write the great amercian novel at thirty or forty.  We have different challenges as a teenager and young adult.  We see the world a different way.  We're unused to people wanting to get close to us because of our fame and that can cause us problems, as most of young hollywood points out in your career field.  We get to ask all sorts of questions and get ideas, talk about the stresses of being a teenager and doing something our friends consider oddly weird yet a bit cool if we get something published."

"Did your friends?"

"No.  They didn't really know for the first few.  I kept that to myself."


"Because at that time, they wouldn't have been all that interested in hearing about it."

"Oh.  And now?"

"They joke a lot about fame going to my head sometimes.  At which point I joke back and tell them they wish they were me so they could meet more hot people."  He shrugged.  "It's like that among us."

"Some friends are that way.  Are you liaisoning with the NYPD?  You've been spotted at a precinct quite often."

"No, they've usually just arrested the date of the moment since I draw bad girls.  I think my last one was a jewel thief or something."  He shrugged and grinned.  "She's probably one of the nicer ones.  I heard a few of mine from when I was living in LA have formed a support group."

She gaped.  "Excuse me?"

"While I was living in LA for a year and a half, I dated three, no, five, people who got charged and convicted of felonies and two others that ended up in a lesser sentence due to plea bargain."  She dropped her notes.  He helped her pick them up with a grin.  "Bad girls love me."

She swallowed.  "I can tell.  How do you feel about gays in the field?"

He shrugged.  "I don't care who you screw as long as it's consensual, they're legal, and I don't have to step in to save anyone from something they didn't want; unless I'm invited it's none of my business.  Why would I care who is sleeping with who if they're not friends?  If they are friends then I'd probably hear complaints about their boyfriends or girlfriends.  I seem to be the guy that all of my friends talk to about problems they're having."

She blinked a few times.  "Are you gay?"

"Bi.  Before you can ask, yes there's been some very bad boys as well as bad girls," he said dryly.  "I'm not shy about who I am.  I'm very much a take me as I am person.  You either like me or don't.  I'm all good with that."

"Some people might not buy your books because of that."

He nodded.  "I know that.  Some people aren't buying because of what I write about.  Some people don't buy it because they don't read fantasy.  Everyone picks a book to read on their own criteria.  If they don't like me because I'm bi, that's their issue, not mine.  I don't think it's ever hampered my sales very much."

"What about churches like that one in Kansas getting hold of that information?"

He quirked an eyebrow up.  "You mean those assholes who picket funerals?  They can find a nice sheep since apparently that's all they like, and they've already burned me in effigy after the invasion.  I don't care what that sort think with their minuscule brain cell committee.  Because most of them don't think.  I lump them the same place I lump other wannabe terrorists.   Because that's what they're trying to do but they won't use bombs.

"Hate is hate and it's all wrong.  If that's their God's version of holiness, have fun in whatever section of whatever afterlife you believe in because I'll probably be having more fun in mine.  I'll definitely be having more fun while I'm alive if only because I'm not bitter, hating, or screwed up that way.  Though I do think that CPS should confiscate any of the children that they've been known to bring to their protests.  It can't be good for their moral or mental upbringing."

"You've seen children?"

"Their last one in New York had, I think, ten kids from little ones to teenagers.  Including having the little preschool and about that age kids holding up really vulgar signs.  No kid should have to hear that.  As bad as my parents were, they weren't bigots that way."

She nodded.  "They burned you in effigy?"

"Isn't that what you call it when they make a huge, life-size doll of you, paint it prettily, and burn it at the stake with some of your books?  Though it was nice that they bought so many copies."  He smiled.

She laughed nervously.  "So they don't bother you?"

"No.  Not obviously.  They may send hate mail to the publisher but she weeds that out before I see it.  Anything with threats we automatically turn over to the NYPD.  I answer what I can of the rest and sometimes I take some of the hate mail home to laugh over the bad spellings and grammar in it."

She smiled.  "You enjoy that?"

"Yeah.  A lot of the time it cheers me right up."  He grinned.  "Someone wrote a nice one, which actually used good grammar and spelling, about how one of my hunters had a cheap one-night stand.  I wrote back to her that people did that when they needed to feel someone *there* but couldn't settle down for fear of endangering someone else.  Plenty of people did that in real life."

"Do you?"

"If I'm not seriously dating, and it doesn't look hopeful, then I'm not against it.  I have played in the past."

"How many lovers do you think you've had?"

He shrugged.  "Not like I keep a diary.  Or notch my bedpost.  I at least vaguely remember all of them.  I'd rather have a real relationship but sometimes you can't have that.  Nothing's there and no one wants to date you sometimes.  I'm realistic about that."

"How do you feel about that politician that says masturbation shouldn't be taught?"

Xander snorted.  "I think her reality and mine is vastly different.  Is she going to be able to stop the fully automatic function of dirty dreams?  If not then she's already lost her point.  As a matter of stress relief, I'd rather do that than risk getting someone pregnant.  It is the only totally safe sex you can ever have, and really who knows what you like better?"

"What happens if one of your flings comes up with that problem?" she asked smugly.

He smirked.  "I'm infertile, dear.  That would be a very strange thing since I don't put out useable sperm."  She gaped.  He shrugged.  "It's a fact of life.  I've accepted it.  If someday someone I'm with wants kids and we're stable that way, we'd discuss the various ways we could do that.  Until then it's not a worry I have.  I'm too young to start a family.  I ignore the cats to write; I'd horribly ignore any kid."

"I suppose that makes good sense."  She cleared her throat again.  "Well, thank you for your time," she said with a bright smile.

He leaned forward to shake her hand.  "It's never a problem to give interviews to smart reporters who don't ask dumb things.  The ones that shout at me when I go out for coffee are so much less able to form good questions than you were."  He winked and she blushed and giggled.

"And cut," the director shouted.

Xander looked over.  "We are sending my publisher a copy so she can yell about those two words you'll have to bleep and I'm sorry about that."

"Yes, Mr. Harris.  That's what she requested since we've had so many problems with them getting facts wrong."

"Thank you."  He shook her hand again and took off the microphone.  "Very nice job, thank you for making me relaxed."  He handed over the microphone and got up, going to refill his travel mug with soda before leaving the studio.

The reporter looked at her producer.  "Can we edit it since he threw me so badly?"

"Of course."  He smiled.  "We can make you both look almost brilliant."  She smiled and relaxed.  "He was hard to interview, kid.  Don't worry about it.  Next time we'll get you someone easier."  He took the tape to editing to cut the awkward pauses and other problems.  Though the comments that had the bleeped word, those stayed.  It made him look more militant but that was fine he supposed.

He submitted the final copy for the publisher's approval since it was a favor situation on their behalf to get the new reporter some practice interviewing important people.  Paula sent back that she wanted him to unedit some things and take out one of the questions.  He did that so it was nicer to her author but the reporter still looked better than she was.  She'd learn.  She even offered Rick Castle to help her improve.  He was much easier to interview than Harris.


Xander sat down next to Beckett, handing over the bag he carried.  "Because you are so brilliant."

She smirked.  "Laying it on too thick, who gave you what this time for dating them?"  She looked in the bag and moaned, then looked at him.  "Baklava?"

"Yup."  He grinned.  "And yeah, it was date related but I'm not sure if it's stolen."

"Why would it be?"  He held up the plastic baggie he was carrying it in, making her gasp and look at it.  "That may be.  Is it real?"

"As far as I can tell.  How would I know?"

"Who gave it to you?" she asked, looking at him.

He sighed.  "That very nice young lady from the Hamptons Martha introduced me to."  Rick choked, walking off again.  "Sorry."  He looked at her again.  "You can share the treat with your three minions or not.  There's almost a full pound there."

"You know how to spoil a woman."

He grinned.  "Anya taught me."  She snickered, flipping it to look over.  "Anyway, that's one of three things she left on my dresser.  I can't get an answer from her phone so I can't tell her she left them and if they weren't meant to be left she should've been looking, right?"

"I would be if I had lost something this huge.  What're the other two?"  He pulled out the other baggies to hand over.  "Why baggies?"

"I picked them up with the baggies so I couldn't disturb any prints or DNA on it if you needed them."

"Thank you for that."  The captain came out so she held them up.  "His last date left them."

He stared then at Harris.  "Is she alive?"

"I don't know.  I can't get her phone to work."

He nodded.  "So you're checking to see if she's alive?"

"Or if they're stolen."  He shrugged.  "The diamond ring was on her first finger, not her third."

"I can check," she decided.  "Good call to bring this to me but I didn't need the treat for it."

"Yes you do.  They towed your car a few minutes ago."  He got up and left.

She got up to look out the window then went down to chew someone a new one for that.  She came back to find the guys looking in the bag.  "Mine."  They backed off with smiles.  "Find her," she said, handing over the bags.

"I'll have Lanie's people run prints," Detective Ryan said, heading out.  Only the kid got into that sort of trouble.

"I should start a new mystery series on Xander.  It'd take dozens of volumes to decide who killed him."  Rick sipped his coffee.  "Are you going to share your treat?"

She ate a piece and put the bag carefully into her bag to go home.  Then she called someone in auto pool to cuss them out for towing her car.


Xander walked into the station later that night, looking at the minions since they were waiting.  "She's dead?"

"Yeah," Esposito said.  "It's worse, she was married."

Xander shook his head, pulling out a picture.  "There were two starlettes that night.  Paps caught us coming out."

He looked.  "The ring was on her first finger.  Huh."  He walked him up there.

"Is that him," a male voice shouted.  He lunged for Xander, who stared at him.  "You killed her!"

"No I didn't."  He took the picture and held it up.  "I didn't know she was taken or I never would've left with her, dude.  Notice the ring?"  The husband snatched it and tried to rip it up but Beckett saved it.  "There were paps there that night."

She looked at it, nodding.  "Which one?"  He pointed so she looked at the back.  "That's handy.  Thank you, Xander."  She pointed.  "Interrogation please so we can figure out what she did after she left your place?"

"She complained about cat fur being on her expensive cashmere jacket," he offered with a small shrug.  "Said she had to get back to that city in Connecticut that half the yuppies live in."

"Interrogation so we can timeline it."  He nodded, going that way.  She looked at the husband.  "I've worked with him before because one of his girlfriends was a homicidal person hitting pedestrians," she said quietly and calmly.  "He would not have touched her if he knew she was taken."  She pointed at the picture.  "She was wearing it like an old fashioned engagement ring."  He stomped off.  "I'm sorry."  She went to help them.  Xander was joking.  "She is dead, let's be a bit serious."

"Are you sure she didn't just leave him?"

"They found the body six hours later.  That wasn't released."

"Okay then I'm sorry."  He shrugged.  "What do you want to know?"

"When did she leave your place?"

"Um... my alarm clock said two-twelve because I had to set the alarm for a ten am meeting.  Then again, my alarm clock is wrong and it's not keeping the right time.  Tara's woke me and I felt like I had about three hours of sleep.  She gets up at six."

"So sometime between two and three," she said.  He nodded.  "Why is it losing time?"

"I don't know.  I've had another one do that.  Probably because it's cheap."

"I've had one do that too," she admitted.  "What did she say?"

"She complained about white cat fur on her gray cashmere sweater and was brushing it off as I walked her to the door.  I kissed her on the cheek, wished her a safe trip, and she left."

"When did you guys leave?"

"The picture's time stamped," Xander said with a point.  She looked and found it.  "We took a cab home.  I had cabbed over.  I don't know if she did or not.  I know she didn't ask to use the phone to call one."

"Which club?"


She made that note.  "So you two left about midnight, just after."  Xander nodded.  "You went right home, had sex?"

"I had the cab pull through a drive thru pharmacy for condoms because I'm out.  I got some lube in case she liked it a bit kinkier.  I got a soda because I was dry and her a water because she wanted one."  She nodded, making that note.  "That's the drive-thru place on sixtieth."

She smiled.  "I've used that myself."  She made that note and looked at him.  "Good, bad?  Took a lot of breathers?  I ask because they can't be sure how long before death her broken rib happened."

"No problem with her ribs.  She was wiggling and squealing the few hours I had her.  I mostly did oral sex and finished her off the other way.  That's my thing usually.  That's what Anya and Cordelia trained me women like."

"Many do," Detective Ryan agreed.  "Mine do."  Xander grinned at him.  "Two hours?"

"About an hour and a half after we got there."

She nodded, considering it.  "Did you notice if she had a phone on her?"

"No, I didn't see any.  I didn't snoop either.  I figured she had one since most everyone has one and she didn't ask to call a cab."

"Your building doesn't have a doorman, right?"

"No.  Elevator cameras but no doorman.  I told them you might need that night's tape because she had a problem later on.  The manager said it figured with the bad girls I usually date."

"Thanks."  She went to call them to get that tape sent over.  She found the husband glaring at him.  "He didn't know she was married."

"He's a stupid, shallow thing."

"No, he's not actually."  He glared at her.  "Like I said, I've seen him in here before because one of his ex's was hitting pedestrians.  He's a very nice young man.  He doesn't go for those who're already taken.  With the way her ring was, he probably assumed it was just a ring, not an engagement or wedding ring."

"Could he have broken her rib?  It sounded like she was trying to get away.  She never did that with me."

She shook her head.  "No, he's not violent unless he's being attacked."  He slumped.  "We'll find out who did it.  I did have a question.  He mentioned her gray cashmere sweater jacket?  That wasn't what she was dressed in."

He shook his head.  "I don't think she owns one, Detective."  She looked at the picture then held it up.  "I've never seen that outfit before," he sighed.  "And he said something about Connecticut?"

"We'll look into that."  He nodded and left.  She hated it when an affair came out after death.  She walked in there.  "Guys, we have two anomalies.  The husband did not recognize this outfit."

"It wasn't new.  The cashmere had pulls in it," Xander said.  "The skirt was worn, it wasn't new.  Not even dry cleaning can make something you wear a lot look new."

"Okay," she said.  "Anything else you noticed?"

He thought back.  "One of the buttons had a different color thread I think.  It was dark instead of white."

She nodded, making note of that.  "You're sure she said Connecticut?"

"Yeah, that commuter town where all the yuppies live."

"Greenwich?" she guessed.

"She said it was called Fairfield and it was right near Greenwich.  She was babbling about that during brushing some cat fur off."

"All right," she said.  "They live in NJ."  Xander shrugged.  "I know you don't know, Xander."  She went to get crime scene photos to look at.  She brought them back.  "Did she have any of these things with her when she was at your place."

Xander looked and pointed at the purse.  "I think that's the same one.  Same Chanel bag."  He looked.  "Her shoes aren't.  They were blue I think."  She nodded, comparing it to the paparazzi photo.  She pushed over another one.  "No, different outfit.  Same pantyhose color."  He considered it.  "Her hair was down when she left too.  Though that only takes a few minutes if you have a mirror."

"Most women can do it blindfolded and by feel," Esposito told him.

Xander shook his head, pushing it over.  "Too perfect, no stray hairs.  That takes a mirror.  I've watched the girls do it plenty of times."  That got a nod of understanding.  He looked at the other ones and pointed.  "That's the same water I bought her probably."  She made a  note of that.  "I wish I could help more."

"It's a start," she promised.  "Which cab companies hang out in your neighborhood?"

"None because we're near that one idiot gang of stupid kids.  The closest they usually are is about two blocks and around the corner.  That's usually the red and white striped, like how the cruisers are done for the state police in some areas.   Red, white, red."

She nodded.  "We can look them up.  It might help us see who picked her up."  She smiled.  "For obvious reasons the jewelry will go back to the husband."

"That's why I turned it in."  He stared at her.  "He said the ring, not the necklace.  Or the earrings."


"The wedding ring is something most husbands worry about," Ryan said.

Xander shook his head.  "Ring was cheaper than the earrings by at least five grand and the necklace is probably insured."

"Lanie's estimate put it at over a hundred thousand for the necklace," Beckett agreed.  "That's a good point.  I never mentioned it."  She looked at the other two.

"In his description he never mentioned it in anything I've seen," Ryan agreed.  "Good tip, kid.  Happy writing."

"You too."  He looked at Beckett.  "Did you get your car back today yet?"  She went to look and swear at someone in person this time.  Xander looked t Esposito, who was moaning and shaking his head.  "I'm betting, since it's a young guy, he wants to ask her out and is scared so he'll blurt it out when she confronts him."

"How do you know?" he asked.

"He was muttering over and over 'will you go out with me' when I walked past him to come in today."  He got up and left.

Esposito texted that to her.  He wasn't getting near her when she was in this mood.  Even Castle had let her go alone.  "Which companies do high end jewelry insurance?" he asked Castle.

"There's about ten.  How big?  Like crown jewels?" Rick asked.

"Like the stuff Xander found," Ryan asked.

"That narrows it down to probably six or a specialty rider on the policy.  Aren't they marked?  The really expensive pieces would have records for a few years in case the husband or whoever wanted to add to the set."

Ryan looked at the notes.  "Harry Winston."

"A girl's favorite destination," Castle quipped.  Xander came jogging back inside.  "Are we being invaded?" he asked when Xander gulped air.

"No, I ran into someone with a knife and a sign saying God hated me."

"You specifically?"

"Yeah.  Heading for the bakery for some reason.  The desk guy gave me a funny look too."

"We can go check," Ryan decided, grabbing cuffs.  "The city is full of fruitcakes."  Xander showed them who it was.  Sure enough she had a sign saying God hated Alexian Harris and he had to die.  She was using a huge knife to cut into her sandwich at the deli next to the bakery.  They walked in and arrested her for brandishing a weapon.  Xander had wisely disappeared.

Rick looked at her.  "What's your problem with him?"

"He's evil!" she shouted.  "He's evil and he has to die before more demons come!  They're coming for him!"

Rick stared at her.  "He lived peacefully in a town full of them for years.  Why would it matter now?  The ones here in New York don't seem to care."

She struggled.  "They came to get him!  He's evil and drawing them!"

"Calm down before you hurt yourself," Esposito ordered.  "Fruitcake."  They walked her back into the station.

"Did the kid try to date this one?" the desk sergeant joked.

"No, apparently he's evil and all the demons are going to be drawn here to kill him," Rick said dryly.  The older officer cackled at that.  It was hilarious.  Only Xander.


Xander came in the next day, looking at the disgusted husband.  "I still didn't know she was married."

"Why are you here, Xander?" Beckett asked.  He held up a baggie.  "Fell behind the dresser?"

"I don't know.  I found one of the kittens playing with it this morning."  He handed over the chain and pendant necklace.  "That she was not wearing that I remember."

She nodded, looking it over.  It was fairly simple.  "We're sure it's not Tara's that they dragged?"

"No, I know all of Tara's things.  I had to have them cleaned after the fire and filled out the forms for her."  He shrugged.  "No clue."

The husband looked at it.  "That's her friend Macy's necklace," he said quietly.  "Did you sleep with her too?" he sneered at Xander.

Xander stared at him.  "I don't know.  Usually I only attract bad girls.  I have a gift of dating future felons."  The man flinched back.  He looked at Beckett again.  "Want to come search the house for more?"

"We shouldn't need to.  Why?"

"I can't move the dresser to see.  One of the cats keeps darting under there and is playing with something but I'm not sure what and I can't tell."

"Can't Tara move it for you?"

"No.  I don't know why either.  The thing isn't that heavy."

"Have we looked inside for weights?" she suggested dryly.

"I don't have weights in the house, Beckett."

"Castle."  He came over.  "Help him check for more things from her?"

"Sure.  Let's go, kid."  They walked out together.  "I saw the whole interview.  You did good.  The editing made you seem a bit edgier."

"I saw.  It wasn't bad."

"No.  Have you heard from that church?"

"About every week they write letters like Amnesty does."

He snorted.  "They'd never like that comparison."

"Of course not.  Bigots hate everything."  He drove them home and went into the bedroom.  "Kittens out," Xander ordered.  Three ran.  He pointed.  "The other's still under there."

"What's wrong with the dresser?"  He pushed it and it didn't even budge.  "Is it screwed down?"

"Not that I'm aware of.  I got it to move an inch earlier."  They took out all the drawers and found the reason.  There were a few things under the bottom drawer.  "Huh.  I wonder who did that."

"I don't know but it's why it's so damn heavy," Rick said.  He called Beckett.  "We found something from a former ex but not that one."  He hung up.  "Gloves?"  Xander got some from the first aid kit so they could undo them and take them out.  There were about two hundred pounds of them.  They still couldn't shift it so Rick looked inside.  "Did that top drawer stick by any chance?"

"Yeah, sometimes.  Why?"

"Because I found more.  I need to buy that brand of tape."  He pulled them out and put them on the bed too.  Then they moved the dresser.  The kitten there ran so they had to chase her to get the necklace she was dragging.  He held it up.  "It looks like a kitten toy."  It had an orb with a feather underneath it.

"I got that for Tara a few years back," he said.  He looked it over.  "It's still good."  He went to put it into her jewelry box.  He found her coming in, they met in the hallway.  "The kittens took your feather and orb necklace."

She rolled her eyes.  "The kittens probably thought it was a toy.  Anything new on that girlfriend?"

"No but another left us a shiny present."  She looked in there and gasped.  He nodded.  "Yeah.  That's why I couldn't move the dresser."  She went to her room, gathering the kittens to come with her so they couldn't escape when the detectives got there.

Esposito walked in and paused.  "Holy fuck," he muttered.  "Are those platinum?"  Xander nodded.  "Huh.  Any idea which girlfriend?"

"The last one was a jewel thief.  You guys arrested her for it," he said with a small shrug.  "I don't know."

"Okay."  He hummed.  "I have no idea how to subtly get those back to the station."  He called her.  "I need about four really strong guys with padded cases for bricks of platinum.  Yeah, that's why he couldn't move the dresser.  Sixteen."  He hung up.  "Damn."

Xander nodded.  "Very.  I have no idea which one put them there, but the tape was fantastic because it never came off.  Even a bit.  I had no idea there was tape up there and it was above my underwear drawer so I'm in there almost every day."  Both guys gave him an odd look.  "Sometimes I don't leave the house, guys.  I sit around in sweats."

"Yeah, so do I," Esposito admitted.  He went to answer the door for Beckett and Ryan, plus three strong looking uniformed officers.  "On the bed."

She went to look.  "Those are platinum.  I'll be damned."  She carefully lifted one once she had on gloves.  "About the right weight too."  They packed them away.  "Guys, let's search the rest of the apartment in case whoever left him more surprises?"

Xander shrugged.  "Please."

"Nothing we shouldn't see?" Rick teased with a smirk.

"If you guys feel like going through the porn, go for it.  We all know I don't take drugs.  Tara doesn't take drugs.  If it's here, it's not ours."  He sat on the bed.  "I have no idea which girlfriend that could've been if it wasn't the last one."

Beckett looked at him.  "The jewel thief?"


"Not her style.  She never would've left it with you.  She would've cashed it out and went shopping."

"Good point."  Xander handed over a key from his ring.  "Gun cabinet."

She went to do that one personally.  Ryan looked over her shoulder, whistling.  "Why do you have the assault rifle out again?" she called.

"I'm writing weapons dealing demons so I was petting it for inspiration," Xander called.  The uniformed officers all stared at him.  "I write that DCIS series."

"Sure," one agreed.  "Is it loaded?"

"It shouldn't be.  It wasn't earlier."  They nodded and got back to searching.

"Bingo," Esposito said from the closet.

"Porn stash?" Rick joked.

Xander looked.  "Not hardly.  That's under the bed so Tara doesn't get embarrassed."

"I do the same thing so Mother doesn't find it," he muttered.  "I think all teenage boys learn that."  He looked over Esposito's shoulder and hissed.  "Oooh.  Beckett," he called.

"Don't moan my name that way please," she ordered as she walked in.  She moaned too.  "That's beautiful."  Xander looked.  Then shook his head with a sigh.  "We'll see if they're stolen or yours, kid."

"Thanks, Detective."

"Ma'am, the other room is occupied," one of them said.

"That's his housemate Tara," she said.  "The kittens are probably in there.  Be polite."  He nodded and knocked, getting let in while she was picking up things.  She looked at Xander, who shrugged.  "Freaky things are happening near you again."

"I know, and if I knew why I'd stop it.  I mean, unless it's from another realm's version of me?  I have no idea."

A small demon appeared to stare at him.  "You are not the one with the hair," he admitted.  "I will tell my Lord so he will refocus himself.  Keep those for not smiting us."  He disappeared.

Xander shook his head quickly.  "Damn."

"What one with the hair?" Esposito asked.

"In the place where Rosenburg sent me, there had been an apocalypse where they wished multiple me's there to help, without realizing that the wish was prompted because they were about to have Satan's ball licker show up like that one country song."  Beckett shuddered.  "Exactly.  Seven of me showed up, not me me but other mes.  One of them had a very high pheromone output problem that got him wooed by people who wanted to own him like the concubine he was, or so the me there told me.  I'm guessing that came from one of them."  The tiny demon came back.  "Am I right?"

"You are.  The Lord agreed and said he loves that series but you are very mean to the demons that get hunted down."

Xander nodded.  "There's others they work with."

"They are not as well described."

"Sometimes I didn't know which one it was.  I will work on that because I don't want to upset the community."

The tiny demon smiled.  "We like that series.  Many of the bad ones are righteously ended."  He patted him.  "He put more in the White One's room as kitten toys.  Also there is some in the kitchen as he liked to cook."  He disappeared.

Beckett went to look.  "Someone sent you chocolate covered gems, kid."

"I love chocolate," Xander said.  "But I'd worry I'd swallow one."

She walked backward to look up the hall at him.  "That's what you're worried about?"

"Yeah."  He looked at Rick.  "Should I worry about something else?"

"Probably not."  He went to look, taking one to taste and moaned.  "This came from that shop in Las Vegas I never told Mother about because she'd spend herself poor in it."  He let her run her finger through the other end before going back to cleaning it off.  She moaned too.  "I love this place.  I proposed to my first wife with a box of these."  He went back to cleaning it up.  "Hmm, ruby."

"I wonder if this happens to other versions of you," Esposito asked.

"Don't know.  Want me to find a way to scry and ask them?"

"No.  Because here that would mean an apocalypse and all your artillery is back with the military."  He saw the grimace and grinned.  "Who paid you more?"

"No one."

"Uh-huh.  Should we check?"

"I haven't been playing poker.  They won't let me."

Rick walked back there, handing him the ruby he had wiped clean of his drool.  "It's pretty."

"It is.  Very pretty."  He sighed, looking at it in the light.  "No obvious big flaws."  He put it onto the bed.  "So what do I do with them?"

"We'll still check, just in case," she ordered.  Tara's room got a few more taken out.  They were mostly spheres and other things that the cat could play with.  She looked at a jar.  "Tara, do you have decorative marbles?"  She slowly shook her head.  Beckett pointed.

"I feel sorry for that Xander."  Beckett smiled and took them with her.  Tara looked at the kittens.  "Thank you for being so good.  It's good kitties."  Xander came in to flop down next to her and help pet them.  "That poor you."

Xander nodded.  "Must be a bit freak worthy but I'd probably adapt fairly quickly."

"True.  You do adapt well."

"Let us take this back and make sure nothing's stolen," Beckett said from the doorway.  "If not, we'll give it back in a few weeks."

"It's going in a safety deposit box," Xander ordered.

"That's even better," she assured him.  "Castle, I want the address of that candy company."

"They even have a website," he promised with a smile.  "I got Alexis some for her sixteenth birthday.  She squealed for days."  They left together, him closing the door.  "I guess it's back to our regularly scheduled insanity and dead bodies?"

"Probably, yeah.  We still have to figure out where that one was."  Fortunately her car was still there this time, about to be picked up.  She had a good, long rant at the tow truck people, and the person who had encouraged it to disgrace her.  That one she had invited to a sparring match and they had decided to transfer.  Thankfully.  Jealous bitch.

The End.

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