Parties For The Boy.
Xander walked into the meeting room at the publishing house, putting down his bag and sitting down across from the smiling people. "Did you even read the books?" he asked. They all quit smiling.
"Xander!" Paula chided.
"What?" He stared at them. "In DCIS they *arrest* the *bad* demons and work with the *non-bad* ones. In the hunting series, some of them go after all demons, even if they're peaceful, but most do not and they often end up dealing with the hunters who do because that causes problems and attacks. Take it from me, I have experience in that area."
"There's peaceful demons?" the producer asked.
"Yeah, tons more than the harmful ones. LA has one of the biggest demon communities in this country. A quarter of the population in LA is demons."
"Oh," he said flatly, looking at the writer.
Xander pulled out something. "As a reference as well, these are the people the characters were based on and then I changed so they wouldn't get pissed off at me." He handed it to the writer. He looked it over and winced. "Which is why I changed them. Yes. That might help some?"
"Some," he agreed. "That could help casting. Were there minorities?"
"Anymore I don't really bother about what race anyone is. Most of the people I know aren't human. So being black or Asian or whatever... I don't tend to always notice. Half the time I can't name a nationality by looking at someone. I can name demon species, I can tell you if they're harmful or not and if they play kitten poker, but not what nationality anyone is."
"He can't," Paula admitted. "He thought I had some Spanish or Mexican descent."
Xander shrugged. "It's the hair?"
"Not quite, dear." She looked at them. "Putting in more minorities would be fine. Most of the characters their races weren't really mentioned. Especially with some of the slayers." They smiled at that. "But... he does have some worries about the source material faithfulness issues."
"Since the whole demon community praised me for being so even-handed with it and bringing awareness to the non-harmful communities, yeah," Xander agreed.
"Do you know what they look like?" the producer asked.
"I've played kitten poker with over sixty different species in LA and here. In Sunnydale there were more of them trying to hide."
"Oh. What about the training team?"
"Those were loosely based on Dean and Sam Winchester."
"The hunters?" the director asked. Xander smiled and nodded. "Friends?"
"Now. When I started to write it I hadn't met them yet."
"How did you know them then?" the producer asked.
"Willow Rosenburg." They all groaned. "She had a magic addiction." That got a slump from the director. "She sent me there but I did get permission from each and every person in the books to write them. That's how they started and most of them are based on past cases, some embellished, but the three that've gone top twenty are all off the top of my head and something I ran into while I was hunting."
"So there, they're...." The other author pointed at the list. Xander smiled and nodded. "Wow."
"The arms master?"
"Remember the movie _Lost Boys_?" He nodded. "Remember the hotty vampire?" He grinned. "Looked just like him only older."
"I think I know who we can cast there," he said, looking over at the others.
"He might actually do it," he agreed. "Even though he shows up later."
"And in a few earlier things when he's helping an agent deal with some demon causing an apocalypse sort of thing, yeah," Xander admitted. "But you still need to stay closer to the source material. I can't let something that ripping of the demon community go out with my name attached or they'll kill my ass."
"They've just recently unshunned him for that hunter who started off an apocalypse try by making him out demons," Paula said. "The ones locally and the ones in LA both had contracts out on his life because of it." Xander nodded.
"Okay," the author said. "I can get that."
"Paula thinks if you combine parts of book one and two together, it'd be a good movie," Xander said, looking at him. "I have no idea how you do that. I write what the muses tell me, not screenplays. Or even play plays. I can't write action and direction very well, it's one of my many shortcomings as an author. My first few, people would talk for pages and never move. It drove my editor nuts."
He smiled. "I noticed some of that. I have read the books." Xander beamed. "If we start with the assassination and then..." He considered it. "That group?"
"Riley. Fucking. Finn," Xander said bluntly. "But they know it's in there. I warned them it was in there so they'd leave me alone. That's the only time they show up."
"Hmm." He made notes. "That one meeting, and the back story in it sets up why the agency was started so quietly."
"It moved to a back office in Homeland for hunters and then when their Sunnydale fell in after the First Evil battle, they stepped it up. All that was verbatim on how it started. Up through people waking up from the coma."
"That coma... are they really like that?"
"Yeah. Buffy is LA's slayer. The blonde girl at the invasion? That's Buffy. Giles is the calmer older British guy."
"I saw that film," the director said with a wince. "Who was the brunette?"
Xander grinned. "Faith. She's our slayer here in New York. She's the one that went to Cleveland."
"Huh. So... If we take that and the banding together, maybe shift it so we're hiring some subtle agents along the time until the major apocalypse battle, and then the banding together afterward to fight to keep things normal and be the barrier," the author said, making notes.
Xander nodded. "They all considered themselves the condom between the worlds. If it was demon on demon or human on demon or demon on human, they handled it."
"Which isn't a bad idea," he agreed. "We could use that now."
"Homeland is trying really hard," Xander said with a grimace. "And sucking at it. Graham Miller, who was in that same group with Mr. Finn, called to whine at me about them making his unit do that instead of hunting the bad ones down in Central and South America."
"What group was it?"
"It's presently classified because the government done screwed up," Xander told him bluntly. "They were pulling people in to test them to see what they were." The author and director both shuddered. "Oh, yes, and the team I was part of ended that. But Buffy dated Finn."
The author snorted. "I see girls like her all the time, Mr. Harris."
"Call me Xander as long as I like you," he offered with a grin. "I'm not formal at all." The guy grinned back. "I was working construction when my first full novel sold. I'm not the uptight sort unless you're screwing with me."
"I can understand that fully," he agreed with a smile. "How do you feel about having a movie done of one of your books?"
"I'm so freaked out, and if it wins awards they might have to sedate me to get me on a carpet of any color or hue." The director snickered. "I don't even like to throw parties. I only know about ten people in this city. Really. Well, except the ones in jail that I dated. I do tend to date bad boys and girls." Paula nodded quickly then shook her head. "Rick said he could get a whole series out of trying to figure out which date had killed me," he quipped to Paula.
"As long as it's not prophetic, Xander." He beamed at her.
The director smiled. "I can see why they like you, Mr. Harris." Xander grinned at him too. "So, if we work out the script thing, you'll give permission?"
"Yup, even if I do have to go on psych drugs in case there's a red or pink or blue carpet sometime in the future."
"I can totally see that." He looked at the notes. "That's actually.... I've met a few of these. They're fairly pretty."
"The slayers said that Tony hired for eye candy," Xander quipped with a grin.
"I can see why. And you put how it was changed too. That'll be helpful. But we can add minorities?"
"Yup. If you make him," he said with a point. "That would be the easiest switch ever. There was that running problem about getting women in until that dragon thing in book seven. Then suddenly more agents got hired." He bit his lip. "I usually write him and him as ambiguous and that one's actually Cuban." He sat back down with a grin. "Would that help?"
"That'd actually help a lot and most of these I can look up online to see the basics of age and things."
"Most of them are detectives, late officers. So thirties; Mac's somewhere in his young forties. I think Horatio was too. Daniel was late thirties maybe. He's actually on a classified military project. That would not want outed in the least beyond what I did."
"We can understand that fully. We were wondering if you were watching Wormhole Extreme," he author joked. Xander gave him a pointed look, getting a moan. "It was real there?" Xander nodded. "Damn, but that does give me more ideas." He got back to his list making. "Let me work on this and I'll see if I can at least get you a chapter in a few weeks."
"I'd love to see it. And that guy that was acting in that clip? Was a lot like the hunter in book eight that went nuts. Almost exactly how I pictured him only darker."
"If we do a hunters novel movie, I'll keep that in mind," the director quipped. Xander grinned. "Are those based...." Xander shook his head quickly. "Good to know. Thank you for your help and permission, Mr. Harris."
"Just please don't get me eaten?"
"We'll try very hard not to," the producer assured him, shaking his hand as well. They left.
Xander looked at Paula. "I was a good boy, want ice cream?"
"Fine, I can have some frozen yogurt." He grinned and even paid. He had been good enough that she wouldn't make him shop for interview clothes for a while. She'd talk Alexis into doing it.
Rick looked up from his shuffling cards when Alexis let Xander in. "Tell me you didn't bring a cat with you."
He looked at himself then in his jacket pockets. "I don't think I did. Maybe cat fur, though I did try to lint roll." He came over and sat down. "Your daughter's turning into a mean *girl*, Rick. She tried to make me *shop*."
"Girls do that," Alexis quipped. "Paula suggested I should help you get some new t-shirts." She went up the stairs.
"So, how did it go?" Stephen asked with a grin.
"We agreed they'd stick closer to the source material because the casting video I saw had a supposed agent banishing a demon by exorcism." They all winced. "So I laid that low on that count and they agreed they'll try not to get me eaten for it. So we'll see what they come up with. I gave tentative approval pending a script."
Rick nodded. "Always wise. So, are they talking casting?"
"They were talking about casting more minorities because a lot of them I didn't write a race because it's something I honestly don't see most days. When most of the people you know look like fantasy creatures and some look like acid dreams.... You don't really remember to look at what color someone is."
"That's true. Most of the demons you know don't look human," Rick said, considering it. "Huh." He shrugged. "So, who else are we thinking about casting?"
"I have no idea. I gave them the list I gave Donnie for the character look switches. That way they had some ideas but otherwise...." He shrugged. "I just had a thought. Buffy's going to freak out."
"Probably, yes," Rick said with a grin. "Has Faith said anything about who'd play her?"
"Nope. Not yet."
"Huh." He dealt a hand. "Guys, got any ideas on who should be cast? This is a favorite game in LA."
"A lot of unknowns, and roles for minorities among the females," Stephen said, looking at his cards. "Rick, what did you wipe these on first?" he joked.
"Alexis goes to college soon," he quipped with a grin.
"That's why I don't have kids," Xander said dryly, looking at his. The others laughed. "That and they scare me. Kittens are enough for me."
"I'm sure they are," Rick agreed. "Though you did okay when that baby got dropped on your doorstep." Everyone stared at them. "The mother wanted him to protect her."
"She learned to play fetch like the kittens do," Xander said with a grin. "Momma was kinda confused why we sent her home with fuzzy mice." Rick burst out laughing.
"I guess they'd be safe kid toys," Stephen said with a head shake.
"She liked them." Xander shrugged. "Alexis and Tara got to coo a lot and Willow was just barely pregnant so we knew what to do with kids afterwards."
"Good timing then," Rick joked. "C'mon, what hot, young actress can you see as Faith?"
"I don't get to watch too many movies," Xander complained. "Though the nice lady I rescued wanted one."
"If you had more female roles up front, she'd be good," Rick agreed. "But it's later that all the older slayers get activated." Xander nodded. "Or she could play the pouty, curly haired goddess you wrote."
"Yeah, she could. But she won't show up until after the dragons either."
"Did that happen there?" Stephen asked. Xander nodded. "Can it happen here?" Xander nodded even more quickly. "Is the keystone in the same place?"
"No, I'm told it's in a field in Ireland."
"Oh, good!" Rick shuddered. "On that side?" Xander grinned and nodded. "Even better."
"Do they know?" one of the other authors asked.
"The Council has a guy who lives next to it. Just in case." They all grinned at that. "It's only appeared twice in the last three thousand years or so I've been told when I put that one out. They said if it did happen, they wouldn't blame me too hard."
"As long as you don't activate it," Rick said. "I'd hate to see all those dragons in New York."
"The zoo could use some new exhibits. And they kept the two unicorns on base."
"They sounded cute," Stephen said dryly. Xander nodded. "Soft?"
"I'm not a virgin and Binky kept staring at me like I was strange." They all grinned at him for that. "I'm wondering who they'll get to play Daniel."
"I like the guy who played Sherlock recently," Rick offered.
"Did I see that one?"
"He played Ironman too."
"Oh, him. Yeah, he'd probably have fun with all the insanity."
"He has a good box office draw," Rick said. "You have a lot of roles for young, bouncy females in their late teens and early twenties. And a few younger ones. A lot for guys your age and just older." Xander nodded. "Up to about my age. And then there's the training team."
"I'm not sure if the movie will go that far."
"It could help. That commando team and the switch-over was a good idea." They all nodded. "So yeah, some very good parts could come up." Xander grinned. "I know, you want to see them make Tral."
"He's so much fun."
"He is," Rick sighed. "I hate that you addicted me to that story." Stephen cackled. "Did you ever get to see the taken out part of why they declared peace thanks to that tree?"
"No, but I can imagine," Stephen said, shaking his head. "Xander's other big hit series was Tral, a half-elf who kept asking dwarves for blow jobs because they were at the right height. Classic D&D world mythology with jokes and very low humor."
"He was one of my favorites and first when the muses went into overdrive," Xander told the others. "I kinda miss writing him. Paula said you could do that series on who killed me as long as it's not prophetic or anything."
"I might do that, yeah," Rick said dryly, shaking his head. "I could get ten, twenty books out of it, kid." Xander grinned at him. "Think they'll include Dean and Sam?"
"Don't know. I'm not sure if Dean's really read any of them. I know he's read one of the hunter novels and Sam's read more of them. Including the newest in the witches of light and dark trilogy." He tossed down two cards. "Please." Rick passed him two new ones and Xander folded, getting up to get some water.
"Start some coffee please, Xander," Rick ordered. Xander nodded, doing that for him and coming back with a glass of ice water. "Has Paula mentioned your first book party?"
"No, I'm hoping she doesn't ever want me to."
"She probably will. So you'll have to think about the bar."
Xander grimaced but nodded. "They can go up to the roof via the elevator and not come down. We can block off the stairs. Maybe put the DJ down there so the music isn't too loud and he's not annoyed."
"That might work, yes," Stephen said. "Keep it at mixed drinks, lighter beers, and a few bottles of wine or champagne. Nothing that'll let anyone get too drunk and tell the bartender they can get happy but not blitzed. They'll listen to that." Xander beamed at him. "When do you have to hold it?"
"I'm still hoping for never."
"Fat chance," Rick said dryly. "Critical success means parties for publicity." He looked at him. "I throw a halloween party every year."
"I tend to go on a prayer vigil to make sure no chaos sorcerers show up again," he said, taking another drink.
"Huh?" one of the others asked. So Xander told him about Ethan and his costume shop. They all laughed at the very thought of that sort of chaos. Some day hopefully they wouldn't have to understand.
Xander leaned into Paula's office. "I'm on a run-through. Do you have my check?"
"I shouldn't have a check."
"Did I really not sell anything?"
"I thought I sent it to direct deposit."
"Huh. I didn't know you could do that. I'll check with the bank. Thanks." He disappeared again.
"Xander?" she called. He came back to actually come into the office. "Call now to check for me. He nodded, calling the bank's automated line. Then he shook his head. "You're sure?"
"The pending deposits are only for the cost of the house and one minor thing that I deposited yesterday. I won eighty on a scratch off ticket and put it into the bank."
"Crap." She called down to that office to talk to them. "This is Paula. I thought we were direct depositing one of my author's checks and it's not in his account. Xander. Yes, him." They looked it up. "To what account?"
Xander looked at what she was writing, shaking his head. "That's not my bank. I never went through them, Paula." She said that and they stopped the payment and the other two they found. He sat down with a huff. "Thank them for me."
"Xander said thank you for straightening that out for him, Majorie. Yes, I'll do that. Thank you." She hung up. "I have no idea."
"Me either. That stuff is a mystery to me."
"Can you live without it?"
"Yeah. The last place's closing is waiting to drop today."
"Good. Give me a few days." Xander nodded, blowing a kiss as he stood up and trotted off. She shook her head. He came back. "What?"
"If we have to throw a party, who pays for it?"
"Then I'd rather not if we can get away with it."
"We'll see, Xander." He nodded and left again. She huffed but made notes on what was going on then went to visit them in person. "Whose account was that to?" They all shrugged. "Can we find out?"
"I don't know, but we've been paying two authors to it," the head person said.
Paula looked at her. "Why would we? Xander's not with anyone, especially not another writer." They all gave her a horrified look. She went up to talk to the VP about this. This was a problem in the making. "Sir, do you have two minutes?" she asked from his doorway. "I think I'm foreseeing a problem."
"With one of your authors?"
"No, sir, somehow two author's checks were being sent to an account, the same account, and one said it's not his. And payments doesn't seem to think that's a problem."
"Hmm." He waved her in and got into their files using his executive privileges. What he saw amused him completely. "Yes, that is a problem, Paula." He let her see it.
"That's not either of the ones I noted." He loaded more of the transactions. "Xander Harris, Alexian Harris, asked about his and it went there." She pointed. "That was his. Who is this?"
"I don't know."
"Sir, Rick Castle works with some detectives. Should I ask him for one to visit?"
"I'd like to do this in-house."
"So would I but that one has two kids to support, I met her years ago, and that one's elderly." He grimaced. "And that's one of Castle's checks. So he'd probably call himself."
"Crap," he muttered, going back a few months. "All right, tell him to come see me with a detective. Please."
"I can do so." She called him. "Rick, Paula. We have some suspicions of someone moving royalty checks to the wrong account. That would be fine. Please do with them? The VP right now. Thank you." She hung up. "He's worked with one in Robbery and he'll get him to join him here within an hour if possible."
"Thank you for that discretion, Paula. How did we find out?"
"Xander asked about his and checked with the bank."
"I heard he just built onto a warehouse he owns?"
"He inherited a storage warehouse that has some neat...trinkets in it. He built a wonderful house on top of it, sir. Very nice rooftop area for book and publicity events as long as they're not terribly huge. Maybe fifty people tops."
"That's reasonable. The boy's never in the press."
"He doesn't really understand too much about social situations at times. He's a bit shy."
"That's reasonable." Rick walked in. "Is he with you?"
"Yes, he is. I caught him out getting coffee actually. How bad is it? I know I've been wondering when my last one was coming."
"It's there too," she told him. He grimaced. "Detective Demming," she said, smiling at Beckett's former boyfriend. "Thank you for your timely help." She let him see what they had found so far.
"That's clearly embezzlement," Demming agreed, frowning some. "I can get with the bank to stop that account immediately." He called their number and talked to a branch manager about it. They put a hold on the account and he promised he'd be down there within an hour with evidence for them. They printed out those records and he left to do that. That was very odd and probably a very bad sign.
Rick looked at her. "So probably within weeks?" he guessed.
"You have another one coming up in about two weeks. That's scheduled and I'll make sure I have them cut you one for it. Xander and my others too." She went to make that order official and he followed to help charm them into doing it without suspicion or complaint by complaining lightly about Alexis' shopping habits so she was making her take Xander for upcoming events.
Xander looked into the morgue. "Lanie, if I tell you that your guard out here is passed out will you not kill me?"
"Is he dead?" she called, walking out of her office.
"Smells like diabetic breath." She called someone and came out to check him. She gave him a pointed look. "Paula ordered me to have a publicity event next month and I have no idea how to plan things. I asked Beckett and she said she always went to you for advice so I was hoping you maybe had a list of people I had to ask? And who I'd have to pay?"
"I can help you sort one out, Xander, yes." He beamed. The paramedics got there. "Got a glucometer on you?" They nodded and stuck his finger for him. "Yeah, he's high. That's in the six hundreds." They picked him up and took him off calling the ER to warn them. She went in to wash her hands and helped him go over what made a decent, calm party.
Not like the boy was going to host one of those wild, fun parties.
Xander smiled at the reporter who had just interviewed him, pulling the envelope out of his back pocket. "Paula wanted me to throw something more social than for Rick's poker circle," he said, handing it over. He grinned. "I knew I'd be here so I hand-brought it."
"That's darling, Xander. I know you're not the social butterfly some are," the book reporter said with a smile.
"I usually have no idea how to do any of these things," he admitted. "Beyond inviting people over to admire the new house a few weeks back, I don't really know how to. No one I know threw parties."
"Aww. DJ?" He nodded. "Bar?"
"Light drinks only. I really can't *stand* heavy drinkers."
"With your parents, that's reasonable and I'll make sure no one says a *thing* about that, dear. Why the party?"
"I think Paula's going to have good news that she wants me to announce and it's my fifth anniversary of being a published author the night before." He smiled. "Which is the official reason she selected."
"It's good she's helping you."
"Alexis Castle has helped me a *lot* about social manners and things. My parents didn't want me to use small talk or anything so I asked her and she's been a huge help."
"That's sweet." She smiled. "How many are invited?"
"Thirty-seven. Fifteen authors, Castle's family. The detectives he works with who arrest my dates for me. Five reporters."
"Oh, dear. Who did you snub?" He gave her a confused look. "Give me your invite list, Xander." He found it on his phone because he was going to ask Rick later if he had forgotten anyone important. She looked it over, then stared at him. "You left out the three really important local book critics and one other." She wrote out their names and addresses. "Add them. How big is your new garden area?"
"Fifty comfortably Paula said."
"That'll work." She added two more names. "Both up and coming that need the publicity but will not be too wild or annoying," she said with a smile. "And they've been wanting to meet you about the rumors of the DCIS movie." He beamed. "Really?"
"We're...tossing ideas around."
"Hmm. Interesting." She smiled. "Add them today."
"Tara and I did them on the computer," he said with a grin. "I thought it was nicer looking and we got some pretty stationery for it."
She looked and smiled. "That is very pretty, dear. Good idea." She winked and he beamed. "Add those today." He nodded and hugged her, taking the list with her. She called Paula. "I checked Xander's invite list and added three he snubbed and two up-and-comings that will not cause him problems but who could use the publicity and *really* want into DCIS." She listened.
"Since he had to see me today, he hand delivered mine and it's very nice looking. Yes, I'm sure you are. No, he forgot the one at the Times and the other two larger ones. Yes, he'll do that today. I'll make sure no one complains about the light bar as well. Paula, he'd never let drunks be around him after his parents," she reminded her. Paula agreed with that. "Good. I'll see you then." She hung up and wrote a charming article about Xander's new trilogy in the hunter's series. Which was a dark, nasty, dirty, sexy read.
Paula walked up to where Xander was hiding at his party, handing him something. Xander read it with a frown, then smiled at her. "That is the weakest scene he got. So your muses traveled." She beamed at him. He beamed back. "We'll be signing it?"
"Definitely. Just please get me someone who can tell me what I have to wear for red carpet things."
"Of course." She patted him on the arm. "The music is wonderful. The bar is weak but we all knew to expect that from you. Everyone's having a nice night with the dessert buffet in tasting size portions." He beamed and bounced on the balls of his feet. "So.... Should we do the toast now?"
He nodded, looking down at the DJ, waving a bit. "Toast," he said. He nodded, cutting the music after that song. Xander got a glass of wine from the waiter because he needed the liquid courage. "We are here to celebrate two reasons tonight," he said, earning a lot of looks. He took a sip and grinned. "Not only have I been a published author now for five years. I'm sorry I've ruined your nerves so much, Paula." He grinned at her and she swatted him on the arm.
"I run her and my editor ragged so thank you both for making me sound like a great author when I know I'm mediocre at best." The group all smiled at him. "And." He took another sip and raised his glass. "I believe I need to sign something for Paula." She handed over the contract, letting him have Rick's signing pen. He signed it where it had a highlighted mark. "And with this, there will be a DCIS movie." The crowd clapped. He handed the items back. "To continuing on with the things that drive us all nuts."
"Congratulations," the crowd cheered, clapped, and drank to that. The music restarted and it gave them new things to talk about.
Rick walked over. "Good job," he said quietly.
"Thank you. I'm nervous as hell."
"I know." He patted him on the shoulder. "Smile." Xander grinned and the reporter took a picture. "Nice party too. Very quiet and tasteful. You and Lanie did a great job."
"She talked me through a lot of things." He looked around, smiling at the two actresses. "Ladies."
"Who is going to be doing casting, Mr. Harris?"
Xander looked at Rick. "The producer and director usually do. Who's doing it?" Xander handed over the contract. Rick read it over, nodding. "Pauline is the head producer with Jackob behind her." They beamed at him. "I'm not sure when they'll be doing it. They're working on the script right now."
"Who's directing?" one asked.
"Teller." He smirked. They both smiled and went to talk to the reporters. They'd both *love* to play slayers. They had both done some action work.
One bounced back. "Is there someone we can talk to about being a slayer?"
"There's two, one's in LA and one's here," Xander said. "I'll see if they will. Buffy's a bit... of a princess at times."
"Cool. Thank you." She bounced off.
Xander looked over at Faith, who was giving him strange looks. He smiled. She strolled over. "That is freaky news," she said quietly.
"The lovely actresses wanted to know what being a slayer is like."
"Ask Papa John to teach them hunting?" she quipped with a grin. "Because B would whine."
"You know, she read the series and thought it was really nice." Xander finished his wine and put the glass onto a waiter's tray, getting a smile for that. "Thank you, guys. Great job so far," he praised. The waiter moved on. "I don't know, Faith."
"Let Dean do it. We can do a joint hunt or something." She drank her beer. "Thanks for this, X."
"You're welcome. And hey, this means Paula is going to punish me by making me shop again." Rick nodded with a grin. "Damn."
"It'll be fine. She'll send the little one with you again," Faith quipped.
"Quite possibly," Rick agreed with a smile. "Or Mother." He sipped his own drink. "I like how you did the music. It's not overpowering and it's nice. He's playing good stuff." He walked off to talk to Beckett.
Xander looked at Faith. "I'm so screwed when Giles hears," he whispered. "He's so going to freak out."
"Call G out there. Gunn's got multiple ways of delivering news and running."
"I can tell Spike, let him tell them."
Faith considered that. "He'd torment them with it. Gunn would be nicer."
"True." He called, pulling her onto the planter next to him. "Gunn, us," he said, putting him on speaker.
"Xander. We heard you were having a party tonight. It was on the spoiled starlette station."
Xander laughed. "We are having a party to celebrate my fifth year as a published author and to announce that I signed a contract earlier with a producer."
Gunn winced, you could almost hear it. "Hunting?" he asked, sounding like he was ready to shudder.
"DCIS," Faith said.
"Oh," he said flatly. "Well....." He paused. "Huh."
"Think you can announce it and run?" Faith asked. "If not, he's going to let Spike do it."
"Yeah, I can announce that. How much is that payday?"
"I didn't look but they're staying close to the source material," Xander offered.
"That'll be good for the harmless population," he decided. "Huh." He hung up. Xander and Faith went back to mingling with the party people. Gunn walked into the 'living room' they used. "People," he said, smiling at Joyce. That would keep down the swearing because she'd swat. "Xander and Faith just called."
"It looks like it's big news," Cordelia said with a smile.
"He's getting more than published." He tossed down the first in the DCIS series. Cordelia had gotten it.
"Oh my god, they're making it a movie!" Cordelia squealed, beaming at him. "That's great for Xander's career!"
"It's horrible for the demon community," Buffy complained.
"He said they're staying close to the source material." She gave him a long stare.
"He wouldn't let them do it if they didn't," Angel said. "It'd get him killed." He looked at Gunn. "So it's a done deal?"
"He signed the contract earlier. He's having a party to celebrate his fifth year as an author and they did it then."
"I wonder how far they're going with the movie," Cordelia said. She called. "How far are they going in the series?" He said something and she grinned. "That will be killer. Thanks, Xander." She hung up. "Through the really bad first case and the pulling together of the agency. So the end of book two."
"A lot of good female roles," Wesley said. "Positive role models in demons and bad ones both. Very even handed if they do it right." He and Angel shared a look.
"He suggested if I couldn't break the news, he'd let Spike," Gunn said. Willow whimpered and leaned her head on Daniel's shoulder. The baby cooed at him. "Hey, sprout." Gunn patted her on the head. "So it's great news for Xander and something we need to spread around." Angel nodded, going to tell the others in the local community. They had loved the series. Hopefully they'd like the movies too.
Tara walked up to Xander before she left. The party had been nice and calm, which she appreciated. "Are they freaking out?"
"We called Gunn and let him tell them."
"Buffy will pout if they don't get her right."
Xander shrugged. "They're staying true to the books."
"Good." She patted him on the arm. "Nice job. No matter how much that one reporter complained the bar wasn't fully stocked."
"I had a nice chat with her about how I had to be talked into having a bar with my parents." She smiled and nodded. "You look very nice tonight. Are you going to evilly tease Beth?"
"Yes. She's looking forward to it." She smiled and walked off.
"I'll be hiding tomorrow," he said. She smiled back at him then went down in the elevator on Beth's arm. Xander looked around the area being cleaned up. "Guys, you so rocked," he announced. He put down their checks and the manager took it to go over any extras. The bartender's bill wasn't too steep. The DJ was paid up front. They faded and Xander went to fall face first onto his bed, with the kittens coming over to knead the daddy's back for him.
It wasn't bad for his first and only party.
But he never wanted to do it again.
Paula smiled when Xander walked into the meeting room. "Is traffic that bad?"
"No, I got pounced by a reporter. Twice." He sat down with a sigh. "Sorry, guys. She wouldn't let me go. I started to think she was evil enough for me to date."
The other author smiled. "Here." Xander took the script to read through, nodding. He made one correction. The author looked. "That was changed because it was so stereotypical."
Xander grinned. "The Council hates me."
"I figured they did. Anyone who exposes those things probably would be."
"Oh, yes. Almost all of them are Brits. Making him Spanish... That would make the 'oh dear lord' glasses cleaning strange." The director laughed. "He so does. Wes too." He considered it. Then he leaned over to whisper. He got a nod and a grin back. "That's cool." He crossed that out and they kept going. "I like a lot. That's really close to the books, a lot of good plans. The only thing I saw was that the First Evil could change shape into anyone who had died to torment you but you guys barely pressed on her story." He handed it back. "Nice job and I like that. Even if Paula does make me shop."
The director smiled. "You announced it?"
"I signed the contract. Paula made me have a party."
"And I had him do that theatrically," Paula admitted. "I'm used to Rick Castle's theatrics."
"That's actually wonderful and the reporters this morning were all happy," the director assured them with a smile. "Though your party was called quiet and slightly boring."
"I have no idea how to do party things," Xander admitted. "I was a geek in high school and on patrol. I never went to parties."
"From what I heard, it wasn't bad. Quiet, no drunks, sounded good to most of us," the producer assured him with a smile. Xander beamed at him. He could learn to like this guy as long as he didn't get too pushy. "You invited actresses?"
"One of the book reporters told me to."
"They were very nice," Paula assured him with a smile. "They wanted to suck up to Rick as well."
"Both of them wanted to stalk Faith to see what being a slayer was like," Xander told her. "She suggested they talk to Dean."
"Dean would flirt horribly," Paula said. "But his father might be forced into it."
"John doesn't like attention being put on hunters," Xander told them.
"I can see why," the director agreed. "What sort of training do the girls get?"
"When they're called, the Slayer spirit, basically an imprint from all the prior slayers, gets given to them. With it comes knowledge of weapons, fighting styles, faster healing, stamina, and strength." They nodded. "Buffy had gymnastics in her past. Faith had street kid in her past. Kendra, the only other one I knew, was raised by the Council. They're basically taken in from as early as possible and raised by their future watcher."
"So it's a lot of physical fight training." Xander nodded. "Swords?"
"Yup, and stakes. Crossbows." He grinned. "Buffy loathes guns. But she loves artillery."
"Huh. Okay." He made those notes. "So very physically fit, fight training in some scenes." He nodded. "We can see those. Clothes?"
"Buffy wore skirts on patrol, thick heeled gogo boots at times, sometimes backless shirts." He pulled out his wallet to show them off. "That's Buffy. She wore that on patrol a few times."
The director looked at him. "The others were more practical?"
"If they were Council raised, Kendra had an outfit."
He nodded. "Okay. So the council raised ones were more uptight and the others who got missed are more relaxed."
"Some raised by hunters, some had no idea. They escaped."
"We can handle that," the director said with a smile.
"Cool." Xander beamed. "I'm looking forward to it."
Paula smiled. "Sounds like we have a plan." They all smiled and they talked finer details. Including casting suggestions.
"Rick said the guy who played Sherlock should play the head guy," Xander said. "Somehow casting suggestions came up during the poker game a few weeks back," he said when they stared at him.
"Actually, not a bad fit," the producer admitted. "I wish there were more older female roles up front."
"So did they. But .... Hendricks, who plays a more important part in book four and five, and then disappeared, could've been though he wasn't."
The author nodded. "That's a good point, and he got there right after the invasion. So if there's a sequel... That's a good casting spot there," he told the director.
Who nodded. "If there's a sequel, that'd be a good point to slip someone in."
"That ending scene, if we're going to think sequel that's the setup shot." They all agreed at that.
"Just please, not the girls on the Disney shows?" Xander begged. "I can't see them doing anything like being a slayer."
"No, I can't see Hannah Montana being a slayer," the director assured him with a smile.
"Thank you. I know there's not many in that age group...."
"Not that few. There's a lot of unknowns that could be used," the director assured him. Xander beamed at him for that. "What does the lead slayer look like?" Xander pointed at the picture. "That's... hmm. She's pretty."
"She's very pretty. She's also very strong. And she'll kick my butt."
They smiled. "What about one of the popular, hot girls right now?" the author suggested.
"Someone like Megan Fox?" the producer asked.
"More plain and more delicate," Xander said. "There's a lot of 'looking delicate as bait'. She's hot," Xander said. "But they do a lot of club hunting. Both of them."
"So... Oh," the director said, pulling out his phone to look up someone. "What about her?"
Xander stared. "She's beautiful, delicate looking but probably isn't."
"She's up and coming," the director said, showing her to the producer.
"I liked working with her on that one minor thing. She had a good work ethic, she was sober, she's a good actress."
"If Natalie Portman was younger," Xander said, considering it.
They smiled. "There's a lot who have that same delicate yet strong build," the producer said with a smile. That was a good suggestion. The script got approval and it was great. They had a green light.
Xander walked into the Demon City Council's chambers. "I come bearing news." They stared at him. "But I can wait if you're busy."
"We were just arguing about stupid things," the head of the Council said. "What has happened now? New vision?"
"DCIS is going to be a movie."
They all stared at him. "I saw something about a casting video." Xander shook his head. "You fixed that?"
"They're staying very close to the first two books." They all smiled at him. "In about a year and a half."
"That's possibly good news for us and the community," the head of the Council said. "Though the ones in LA may be driven insane being asked what some species look like. Do your cohorts know?"
"We told Gunn to tell them."
"Wonderful." She smiled. "Thank you for that warning."
"You're welcome. I did insist that they stay close to the books."
"I know you would, Xander." He beamed and bounced out. She rubbed her forehead, looking at the others. "If it's good and close to the books...."
"It may actually be a good thing for the community now that it's out," another agreed. They all nodded. "So we'll wait and see?" They all sighed but nodded. "No wonder the LA council is mute today." They all nodded and went to tell others.
Xander ducked into an alley, staring around. "Shit, I'm lost, that's always helpful," he muttered. He quietly went toward the other end of the alley, coming out on a slightly more familiar street. He was near to where they first lived. He headed left and toward more people. The ones chasing him hopefully were lost. Nope, there was someone shooting at him again. He crossed a street and to a cop. "Someone's shooting at me," he said, hiding behind him. Xander did not want to hear the fit if he took them on himself and he wasn't sure he could get all of them by himself. He was exhausted trying to dodge some of them.
"Freeze!" the cop said, pointing his gun at the guy running with one. That guy took off and the officer took off after him.
Xander relaxed, panting and catching his breath. "I'm out of shape," he muttered.
"Yes you are, boy," a male voice said. Xander came up and kicked him in the stomach, then punched him. The guy dropped his gun and fought back. Another cruiser pulled up and stopped. "He's attacking me."
"That gun's his and I ran behind the officer in this cruiser because his buddy was shooting at me," Xander countered. He backed off and the guy pulled a knife. Xander kicked at it, getting cut on the ankle but the knife got kicked onto the sidewalk. Xander spun and got the guy coming up behind him with another knife and got sightly stabbed but that guy screamed when Xander broke his arm and threw him at the first guy. The other one had a gun. Xander stared at him. "Really? With an officer here?" He pointed. The guy shot at him and the officer shot back. Xander took a deep breath, looking at him. "Thank you."
"Welcome, sir. What is going on?"
"They have a contract out on my life. They just upped it. The officer for this car ran off after one who was chasing me." He caught his breath again, nodding. "Him."
"This one is a psychotic idiot," that officer said, handing him over. "More of them, sir?"
"Yup, same people. They apparently really want me dead," Xander said, staring at them. He took a deep breath. "Okay, do I have to fill out reports?"
"Sir, you need medical attention," the first officer ordered.
Xander looked then at him. "I can stitch those myself. I've had worse."
"What do you do?" the second officer demanded.
"Now, I'm a fantasy author. Before, a demon hunter." They both gave him odd looks. "Hi, Alexian Harris."
The officers nodded. "We heard about you," the second one said.
"They have a contract on my life. Thank you, guys." He took a deep breath. "I...."
"Let us get some paramedics, they're going to the ER anyway," the second officer said. "Sit on his hood." Xander did that. Paramedics showed up within minutes. One checked Xander, one checked the others. They weren't in good shape. Xander suddenly dove at the paramedic, knocking him down, and the officer talking to them, when someone shot at him again.
"Sir," the officer warned.
"Sorry." His hand eased off his gun. They let the officers handle it. More officers showed up, including Esposito. "Not my fault," he said when he spotted him.
"Council contract?" Xander nodded, swallowing. "You good?"
"I'm a bit pissed off and I'm mentally counting explosives."
"No, you let us deal with it," Esposito said firmly, staring at him. "Because they fired on us this time. We really want them now." Xander forced himself to calm down. "Just stay calm. Do you need more than stitches?"
"No, he only needs about six," the paramedic said, taking care of the new graze on the officer. "He said he can do them himself?"
"Yes he can," Esposito said. "Unfortunately he's a bit tough that way." He looked at him. "What happened?"
"I was at the bakery that I got her the baklava from. I was going to get her a cupcake for her birthday." Esposito smiled and nodded. "And then one of them came in so I left. I recognized him, he's on a bag and tag team for the Council. He had come after Buffy once. So I tried to disappear."
"Good idea," Epsosito agreed.
"He took a shot at me. I ducked into an alley, hit this street, and came toward the officer. I was trying to be good and do it the normal guy way."
"We like that," he assured him. "He fired again?"
"He did when I tried to cross the street so the officer was looking around. I slid behind him and told him, he took off after the guy. I was resting and that one showed up," he said with a point. "We fought then the other officers showed up. Then the other guys who attacked."
"Okay," Esposito said. "Guys, any evidence of ID's or anything?" he asked.
"One has a passport. Brit citizen." The officer held it up.
Esposito looked and nodded. "We have him on the list of people that the Council hires to handle things." He handed it back. "They go to homicide. They have a contract out on this one's life for being himself."
"How much is it now?" Xander asked the one that was glaring at him. "The last I knew it was three-point-two."
"Five," he said smugly. "More than worth the effort for the general public. We'll get you yet, Harris."
"Yay." He shrugged. "I'll just date them." He smirked.
"Please don't date another assassin," Esposito said dryly. "The last one tried to poison you."
"The one last night did too. But she was really good in bed."
Esposito nodded. "Have we arrested her?"
"She's on her way to Geneva today."
"Huh." He texted that. "Beckett said you're doing the stitches at the station."
"My med kit's at home."
"Yay. We can stop by and pick it up. Beckett orders and you know what that means."
"Can we get lunch? I'm starved."
"Yup." He looked at the staring officers. "Yes, demon hunting made him that tough." They just nodded. "Homicide."
"They're on their way now, detective." They filled out forms and let them go.
Esposito drove Xander to his house so he could pick up his medical kit, and something to eat, and then to the station. Captain Montgomery stared at them. "Long run," Esposito said.
"I get hungry too," Montgomery said. "Bathroom, kid?"
"I just need a mirror and somewhere I can sit next to it. Thank you."
"We'd rather have you here than being chased down the street," Montgomery said. He walked off. "Maybe you'll switch to murder mystery writing," he said dryly.
"Paula wants me to switch series anyway," Xander quipped back, cracking the captain up.
"Bathroom," Esposito said with a point. Xander took his tackle box kit in there. The lunch went onto Ryan's desk for now. Ryan stared at him. "Shooting him while chasing him down the street."
"How much is it now?" Beckett asked.
"Wonderful," she said dryly. "Go help him."
Esposito walked into the bathroom. Xander was perched on the sink counter, shirtless, with a pair of latex gloves on and a stitching pack open. "Need help?"
"No, I'm good." He took a deep breath then took the first stitch. He winced a bit but it was easy to do after so many times. He got it closed and snipped the last stitch then used an alcohol pad he had open to clean up around it. He taped a pad of gauze over it then took off the gloves. All the mess got bundled into the second glove and got tossed in the biohazard bag in there. Xander checked and then put on his shirt. "There, done." He smiled slightly.
"You've got nicer stitching than Lanie does," he said. "You better? Calmer?"
"Still counting explosives and poker debts."
"Don't tell us that. Okay? We might have to arrest you next." He smirked. Xander nodded, following him out there. "He's done."
Beckett looked up, staring the kid down. "They fired on the NYPD. You don't have to worry that they'll be dealt with."
Xander smirked and kissed her on the head. "I was buying you a cupcake for your birthday when he showed up." She swatted at him. He grinned. "I don't think I'm that predictable. Can I go taunt?"
"Damn." He sat down in the chair she pointed at, opening his sandwich to eat.
"How can you eat?" Ryan asked.
Xander looked at him. "Because I had a ten block run under fire and this is breakfast. I'm starved. If they get free and come after me, I need to be ready to run again." He ate another bite, shaking his head. "Not my best effort."
Esposito shook his head. "Up all night writing?"
"Worrying." He ate another bite. "Movie." They all nodded. They had seen Castle doing that angst dance over the script and things. Xander pointed when someone stomped in. "Consulate staff," he said quietly.
Beckett stood up and walked over to him. "I'm Detective Beckett and your people were firing on a young man while chasing him down the street. They endangered countless lives."
"They have diplomatic immunity."
"I have not seen any paperwork on that and if so, I'll call the State Department." She stared at him. "We don't just take your word for it since they also shot at officers trying to get the young man in question."
"I'm sure they had a reason," he sneered, looking back there.
"Tell your daddy to lick my balls. I'm not rolling over and dying for the Council's fun," Xander said dryly from his seat. "They're damn lucky I didn't fire back." He finished his sandwich. The guy from the consulate stared at him. Xander chewed and stared back. "I have poker debts I can blow." The guy glared harder and turned away again. Xander looked at himself then stood up and disarmed. "Just in case, guys." The consulate guy gave him a horrified look. Xander sat back down again.
Detective Ryan looked at the pile then at him. "Were you expecting trouble?"
"I was going to help guard a bride later today before her marriage. I got asked and it's a great honor."
"Sure," Esposito said with a nod. "You needed that much?"
"Yes. If she's killed it's a clan incident and they'll start shit."
"Okay," he decided. "We can go together if you want."
"I don't know if they'll let me since I have recent wounds. I can check." He got his phone off the desk and texted them. "Yeah, I can do that and the groom's mother is trying to deny her the right to marry her son. So I have to go." He stood up, looking at them. Beckett waved. "Thanks." He rearmed and walked off.
Esposito looked at Beckett. "Follow?"
"No. Not right now. Faith might be there." The guys both nodded. "Call State," she mouthed. Ryan looked up their number and called them to handle this situation before Beckett had to stick her four inch spike heels up someone's ass. She was a bit pissed off. That was always a bad place to be in life.
Rick walked in and Ryan got up and walked him off. "The Council guys were trying to kill Xander in a running shoot-out. You can't be here because they don't know you're friends."
"Got it. Want coffee?" Ryan smiled and took the tray, letting Rick walk off. Rick went to the library and texted Beckett to let her know that in case she needed him.
Xander walked up to the bride, seeing the black eye. "I can help you cover that."
"Where were you?" she demanded.
"Someone Council was trying to kill me on the open street." She gaped. "They're all fucking nuts." She sighed and sat down. "Guys, get me her foundation and some concealer. The things you learn by being surrounded by girls," he quipped when they stared at him. He got the black eye covered and she smiled. "There, let's go." She got up and he leant her his arm. They walked out of the back room into the groom's mother and a few guards. Xander pulled a gun and pointed it at the mother, staring at her. "Really? We're going to do this now?"
"She is not worthy," the mother sneered.
"You're just jealous because your son loves someone more," he shot back. "Which makes you more pathetic than my mother because you're a controlling bitch. Like a stage mother."
She gasped. "You compare me to a human!" she demanded.
"Hmm, yup. I did." She walked off wailing. That was a horrible insult. Xander stared at the guards. "Silver tipped," he said dryly. They ran from the gun. Xander walked her out, handing her to the priest. Who had watched it all. Xander smiled at her. "Many happy returns, much happiness on your union and womb, and may the love stay solid for years to come," he said in their native language, earning a hug around the neck from her. The priest walked her in and Xander stayed in the doorway, as was proper. The husband stared at her and came to kneel at her feet, like he was supposed to. The priest married them and the party started. Xander faded off happier with his day. That was a good way to end the day.
Back at the squad room, Beckett looked at Esposito. "Did we clear the weapons out of his warehouse?"
"We can't get all of them," he complained. "The thing's freakishly huge and there's no telling what the former owners put in there."
"Good point. But we did get the artillery, right?"
He nodded. "We've been good about helping him weed that down again."
"He runs the warehouse?" the consulate member demanded. "THE warehouse?"
"Yeah, he inherited it from one of his evil girls."
He went in there to talk to them and call Travers. "We cannot touch Harris. He controls the warehouse." They all stared at him. "He inherited it."
"Yeah, during that curse incident," Detective Ryan said as he joined them with someone. "The thing's strange but pretty neat. We've all helped with some of the inventory." He smirked. "The State Department wanted to talk to you about this stupidity." He got out of the way, going to watch.
"What is going on?" the official asked in a snotty tone of voice.
"It's a moot point now," the consulate official sneered back.
Beckett walked in and slammed the door. "Let's talk about your people's contract on an author, shall we?" The guys all stared at her. "And how some of yours shot at officers today. Plus endangered everyone on those streets by shooting as they ran." The State Department guy gave her a dirty look. She stared back. "Welcome to the NYPD. We take things like that personally."
"Yes you do," he agreed. "The whole department would." He was a diplomat, he knew how to handle huffy, irritated people. And make the others get deported. Then he'd handle this...contract on an author and US citizen. Though it was nice that someone from Homeland, the NSA, and the Pentagon called to see why they were bothering him. So clearly that one was not someone to be looked at too closely. Which was odd for a fantasy author. He'd have to do some careful checking in case he needed to introduce himself over other matters. Authors traveled a lot, right? Who knows what trouble he'd get into.
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