"What would you do if you won the lottery?" Rick asked Xander during a poker game.
Xander gave him a horrified look. "Don't wish that on me! I get enough attention as is!"
Rick grinned. "It came up on a case recently."
"So?" He shuddered. "That's a horrible fate. A really, truly horrible thing. There'll be more press people and things. Lots of nosy reporters asking me stupid questions. People who want things. I'd never be able to get rid of any remaining relatives."
Rick patted him. "Calm down, Xander. It was a hypothetical."
"It was close enough to a wish that someone could use it," Xander said dryly. "It's bad enough I ended up in a high magic world thanks to someone wondering what I'd do when I was forced to deal with more magic." Rick and the others gave him an odd look. "Just don't ask," he said dryly. "You don't want to know." They all nodded and one made notes. "Please don't wish more publicity on me?" Xander begged Rick.
"Sorry, Xander. I know how you feel about wishes."
"Yeah, after dating a wish demon, I hate that word." He sipped his lone beer of the night. "That would really complicate things. Right now, H&R Block can do my taxes in under 2 minutes. That'd make them take forever and cost more."
"No investments?" Rick guessed. "It takes me about an hour."
"I have a retirement account. I pay someone to handle it and send me reports because I know *nothing* about it."
"Is it someone good? If not, you can lose it all really fast," Stephen told him.
Xander shrugged. "Paula suggested him."
"Then he's probably decent," Rick said. "Don't they give you things to give to the IRS?"
"Yes. I bring it all and the forms filled out to the best of my ability so they can correct things. Last year it took them a whole five minutes. But I got back a lot."
Rick nodded. "Are you putting in quarterly contributions?"
"Yup. The investment guy does that for me. I overpay a bit to get that nice big check all at once."
"Want my guy to look over yours' shoulder?" Rick offered.
"I hope it'll be fine. If not, I'll have him eaten."
The others snickered, shaking their heads. "So, how's the movie coming?"
"It's distressingly good," Xander said, starting to pout now. "So that means I'll have to go to an opening and maybe even other things."
Rick patted him on the back. "Alexis said she'd dress you."
"Paula said she shouldn't. She wanted me to go to someone official. Someone with a *name*."
"Eww," Rick said, shuddering. "We'll let Alexis go with you to that appointment then. Since she has taste and has done that sort of dressing before." Xander beamed and hugged him. "Thanks, Xander." Xander let go of him and went back to his cards. Rick made sure Xander didn't have any more beer that night. He was clearly the cheapest of cheap dates since half a beer was making him goofy. "Did you find a new series yet?"
"Yes," he sighed. "And I hate it already. It's boring. It's got soul swords and it's boring."
"So write something funny," Stephen suggested. "Like Tral was."
Xander shook his head. "Paula wanted me to write a normal fantasy. Though there's another ten things on my computer she doesn't want to see."
"Bad or dirty?" Rick asked.
"Yup." He finished his beer and went to get some water. "Anne Rice-y and worse than that one dark hunter novel." He sat down again. "Donnie, my editor, got it; he said he had to take a cold shower and it was too much porn for normal stories." He took a sip and put his glass down on his coaster.
Rick shook his head. "How descriptive were you?"
"Not really. But there's some blood play and some vampy vamps and some wannabe vampy vamps." He sighed. "Donnie said it'd never get published and warned her. She told me to leave it on my computer and put it up on the website if I ever get it done."
"It looked fairly plain but nice," Rick assured him.
"She thought it was too plain. I told her it was nicely subtle. She told me it was nice I had expanded my vocabulary to include that word. So I reminded her of the midol aisle in the pharmacy again." Rick choked but shook his head. The others laughed. "It might be a bit boring but it's not blinding, the colors are pretty but maybe a bit dark, and I'm happy with it."
"Which is all that should matter," Stephen assured him.
"She's being picky," Rick told them. "I'm not sure why."
"PMS," Xander said dryly. "It's pretty clear she's on her spacer pills. She's even wearing a lot of brown, red, and black. Believe me, I learned that color scheme *real* early thanks to Willow and Cordelia." He sipped his water while the guys laughed. "I'm just glad that Willow was wrong and I wouldn't get one, guys. She swore up and down that we'd all three have one soon enough. Even when her mother said that boys don't, they just get sympathetic ones. Willow did a whole presentation in health class on why guys did get PMS, how it was only hormonal, and how midol should work better on us instead of them." He took another drink. "The teacher agreed with her."
"Your former school system needed bombed sooner," Stephen assured him. Xander beamed at him. They all smiled back. "Are any of the teachers teaching elsewhere?"
"No idea. You'd have to ask Willow."
Rick sent a text message out to LA. He got one back. "Yes, she's found four of them in the Unified LA School District database and turned them in for being idiots." He put his phone up again. Of course, it chose to ring instead. "Castle," he answered, listening. "Yup, I can be there. Sorry, guys," he said as he hung up.
They all gathered their things and left with him following so he could lock the door.
"Xander, when are you going to host games?" Stephen asked.
"I forgot to buy food this week. If you guys want, tell me when and I'll get chips and stuff. Just remind me that day or the muses will suck that from my brain, even if it does end up in a story." The guys all patted him on the shoulder because they knew that already. Rick had complained when his ideas got infected by Xander's muses. Especially about that joint story that neither one would admit to having written.
Xander went home to write, again, and try to work on his distaste for the standard fantasy novel that wasn't going well for him. "Maybe if she grew some backbone and went to rescue him," he muttered as he settled in behind his desk to write. Nope, that wasn't working either but the guy with the herpes sores and the cloudy eyeball was apparently going to be the hero. Which would be a good message for people reading it. He could stand that. Hopefully.
Paula walked up to where Xander was weeding his tomato plants, staring down at him. "Why did you totally trash the hero and the heroine?"
"Because that's the only way it got done," he said, staring up at her. "Before I killed them off."
"I see." She stared at him. "You're being erratic again, aren't you?"
"No. I just hated that storyline."
"You need a good hero."
"Sometimes you need a bad hero, or one who limps, has a bad eye, and oral herpes sores," he shot back. "The next one has a paraplegic getting a horse and going into battle." She walked off shaking her head. He shrugged. "It's a good message," he called after her. "Have some chocolate, you'll feel better."
"I'm fine, Xander," she said before slamming the front door.
"Sure you are," he said dryly. "Maybe Rick knocked you up to cause the mood swings but of course you are," he muttered to his plants. The kittens came running down from the rooftop garden, one hissing at the others as she chased them damply through the house. "Did they push you in again?" he called. She'd come get comfort later, after she had made whichever one scream. And there was the kitty torture noise so yup, she had gotten him back. She ran out being chased by one of the others and climbed up in his shirt. He looked down the neckhole, petting her through it. "You're wet." She meowed. "I know, it's not your fault." He petted her again and got back to his plants. He was happy having some vegetable plants. Even if Tara had gotten pushy about them.
Then he went back inside to work on the new story.
It was a good, positive message. Which he was known for.
Even if Paula didn't like it.
Alexis walked Xander into the store she had selected with her grandmother's help. "Hi," she said with a smile. "This is Alexian Harris. I'm his approval committee."
"I see him down for an appointment," the receptionist said with a smile. "Special event? Wedding perhaps?"
"No," Alexis said with a grin. "My dad's Rick Castle."
"Oh!" She smiled. "So you're just helping him shop?"
"One of his books is being turned into a movie."
"Oh," she said less enthusiastically. "So he's got to be able to do things." Alexis smiled and nodded. "I'm sure we can help with that, dear. Go ahead and sit down for a few minutes. He's running late from his lunch screwing a new model."
"I remember getting girls that way," Xander sighed, shaking his head. "They hate my muses. Even the bad girl society I usually draw hates my muses." The receptionist giggled but called him to let them know he was there. A few suits wouldn't get him out of bed but it'd hurry him some to let the poor model get out of his clutches faster. The designer came down from his office smiling and shaking their hands, leading them off with Alexis telling him about the movie premiere and about when it'd be.
Xander just looked like he was having wallet shock syndrome, which they were used to. But they'd make him look fabulous so he'd remember them for more important clothes.
Xander walked into Paula's office and stared at her, then pulled something out of his front pocket and poured it on her. She shrieked. "Get out of her," he ordered, glaring at the demon. It fled in a cloud of smoke. "I was hoping it was just mood swings from being pregnant so I could fuss," he said dryly.
"No, she's only been in there for two days," she said with a small pout. Xander held up the letter he had gotten. She read it and ripped it up. "If so, I'd take you and Rick to form my own company." He grinned and handed her another vial. She put it into her tea and drank it quickly. "Thank you, Xander."
"Welcome, Paula. Not like I'm dating right now," he said dryly. "Make sure?"
"I will." He smiled and left. She called up to her boss, who she knew was possessed. "If you make Xander leave us, I'll take him and our other best selling authors to my new publishing house," she noted. "I know that, sir. Xander just fixed mine."
The demon wailed that he was in the building. All the other demon possessed people went to attack him but he was going to be nice. He had a nice super soaker in the car that he managed to grab and come back in with. The two uniformed officers who saw him just winced at the screaming before coming in.
"They're possessed," Xander chirped with a grin.
"Is that why they're smoking that way?" one of them asked.
"Yup." He kept going and they all ran. Xander chased them down to get them all. He tossed one of the officers his keys. "Can you please get the blue zippered lunch looking bag from my trunk? I need more holy water." He nodded, going to do that. He left the shotgun in the proper equipment bag out there. He came back and Xander went to anoint the newly freed ones and track down the last few. "Keep it up," he shouted. "Watch me stop writing and start dating again!" The rest fled at that notice. Even the higher ups' demon fled. That left two possessed people that weren't carrying demons. Xander stared at them. "Yes?"
"You're not supposed to be doing this," one of them said.
Xander nodded and threw something else on them, making them shriek and flee. "Yeah, I know that." He walked off once they were back to being human. "Go to church or wherever," he ordered as he walked off.
One of the officers stopped him. "How did you know they were possessed, sir?"
"My publisher tried to fire me when I make them obscene amounts of money," he said with a grin. "She's said often enough that she'd bring me with her if that happened."
"Ah." He nodded. "Who are you?"
"Related to that other guy?" the other officer asked.
"Alexian's my pen name, guys. My actual name's Alexander or Xander." He grinned more brightly. "I love most of the people in this building. Otherwise I would've left them possessed." The officers nodded. "Am I in trouble?"
"No. Why don't you go visit the detective so she knows?" the one questioning asked.
"I guess I can. Thanks, guys. You were really helpful." He grinned and took back his keys, grabbing his bag on the way out.
The officers shared a look and went to check on the people. A few were crying. One was stony faced and in denial. Paula was soothing her boss's ego. She noticed them. "We wanted him to do that. He had better not be in trouble."
"No, ma'am, we suggested he talk to that nice detective we heard he deals with about his dates," one of them said. "Should we call an ambulance for anyone?"
"I think we'll be fine," the Vice President of the publishing house said quietly. "Thank you, gentlemen." They nodded and left it at that. He looked at her. "He's brash, young, and overly reactive."
"He said he was sure I was either possessed or having pregnancy mood swings."
He snorted. "I'd hope not. Is he still putting out viable works?"
"Sir, I have a few years of backlog on him *still*. We love him for making us so much money. If you do anything to jeopardize Xander being such a good author, I'd have to take him and some of our more popular ones to a house I'll form."
He sighed. "I suppose that's a good thing. You'd steal Castle too?"
"Of course." She smirked.
"Fine." She put a vial on the desk. "What's that?"
"Holy water to drink later on to make sure it's not still in there, sir." She left him alone to brood.
He poured it into his bottle of water, shook it up, and drank it. He couldn't tell but the remaining taint of the demon could and fled. He felt better and he did still like that young man. Even if the demon did like him for different reasons.
Xander walked over to where Beckett was typing and scowling at her computer. "I was a good boy." She groaned so he went on before she could say anything. "I unpossessed all the people in the publishing house, including the two angelic ones. The officers who helped said I had to tell you so you could bang your head against someone." He grinned as he walked off.
She looked up from her typing, watching him walk off. Then she looked at the other two. "I didn't see him." She went back to her reports.
"Yup, me either," Esposito agreed.
"Me doubly. I clearly need my eyes checked," Ryan said. Ten minutes later, they had a pizza show up mysteriously but it was from Castle. It had a note that said Xander had said they needed lunch and he had the flu.
"He's a civilian helper so it's not above the bribe line," Esposito decided, getting himself two slices to go back to his own paperwork. Ryan got his own and Beckett got the last few. Captain Montgomery was gone for the day with meetings the higher ups had called. So it was good for them. They even got to go home on time.
Xander walked up to the guy that had requested, nicely, to talk to him in public. He stared at the guy. "Do I know you?"
"I'm with the State Department, Mr. Harris."
"Yeah, okay," he said, considering that. "Did I create an international incident? Insult a whole race of people? Get a jihad on my head for something? If not, I have no idea why you wanted to see me." This was clearly a sitting down speech so he sat on a park bench and got comfortable. "Sit, please. You look nervous. You're sweaty."
"Sir, who in the hell are you?" he asked calmly. "When that Council thing happened, there were a lot of people checking on you."
Xander sighed and pulled out his wallet, showing his oldest ID. "I'm the one that turned in those cults," he said quietly.
The guy looked that town up and saw some disastrous things. "Military...."
"Got moved to the UN and then Homeland. Agent Finn was part of that; he's the one that outed the SGC."
The guy kept going. "They have you down as an intelligence asset?"
"I do hear things from the underground demon community and I'm a seer," Xander said, glancing around then at him. "I only see the really horrible shit though."
The agent kept going and finally had to put it up. His head was throbbing from his brain's smoke taking up all the extra room and oxygen it was getting. "Why did the CIA check on you?"
"You know, I'm not real certain unless it was one of the people I dated," Xander offered with a small shrug. "There's that one guy that gave me the nuclear warhead. He was CIA." The agent was giving him the strangest look so he held out a hand. "May I?" He handed it over and Xander got into another file, letting him see it, grinning at him. "They're the only ones who want to date me."
He read that file and yup, he was going to have a stroke. "You dated more than one CIA agent."
"Yeah, I kinda figured Kim was."
"Not her, she was NSA."
"I hate those trolls. They were partially behind the Initiative mess."
The agent whimpered at one notice, staring at him. "That other you....."
"Home." He grinned. "His boyfriend showed up to help him get home."
"Good!" He shuddered. "That's a really horrible thought."
"Yes it is. I hate attention. Attention gets me in trouble. It was bad enough I had to talk to the people doing the movie from my book to tell them about my publisher being possessed and no, I hadn't removed my consent, but now you're freaking out and I don't mean to do those things."
"I realize that, sir." He stared at him. He thought quickly. "How often do you leave the US?"
"Hardly ever. I've been on one overseas signing trip and I want to go again next spring. Is that going to be a problem?"
"You'll need a bodyguard because that file did have a blood test result attached. Which horrifies me." Xander nodded he knew that. "Your last one?"
"One of the SGC guys I met when I accidentally bought a cabin next to them sent me one of his people."
"Ah!" He nodded. "We'll see if he can pick you a good one." Xander beamed. "Are you planning on dating more?"
"I haven't gotten a date in weeks. I haven't even gotten down and funky in a club in weeks. I'm about to pout about being celibate."
"I understand fully. Before I was married I had that same problem occasionally." He considered it. "Let me know, personally, when you travel outside the US? That way I can make sure that no one tries for that blood test?" Xander nodded, taking his card to put into his wallet. "I will say that those Council people have decided it's wrong to try to kill you."
"That's because I inherited a mystical artifact warehouse."
"Is that the one you live overtop of?" Xander grinned and nodded. "Wonderful." He smiled. "Just let me know so I can pay some attention on your proposed route. That way I don't have to step in and stop someone from kidnaping you for that sort of thing." He walked off, seeming calm until he got in his car, drove off, and was in the Holland Tunnel stuck in traffic. Then he screamed and ranted until he was calmer. By then, he had gotten free of the tunnel and it was time for dinner.
Xander went to meet with the producer, walking up to where she was giving a statement. "I did not withdraw any consent from the project," he told the reporters. They all stared at him. "I like the script. I like the casting. I'm freaked out about the whole 'movie' and 'attention' things but they're doing a really great job. That did not come from me." They babbled and he held up a hand. "Calm down. I know I babble but please? I just had to be reminded that any overseas trips I take need to have a bodyguard in case I date." The producer stared at him.
He shrugged. "My last one was a pretty decent assassin." He looked at them again. "I like the job they're doing. I haven't withdrawn anything. I have no idea who's causing this problem or who's saying this, but I want to find out and stomp them flat. All right?" They nodded and left. He looked at her, shrugging some. "I have no clue. I depossessed Paula and most of her office. I don't think I missed one."
"No, this came from someone else. A lawyer?" She let him see the letter.
"No, mine for stuff is Jacob Pertez. Down on Madison, Rick gave me his name," he said with a hand wave. "Who is this person?" He looked at her. "I say we visit together. Because I want this guy's ass in the ground."
"We can do that," she agreed, walking off with him. "You do like the casting?"
"From what I've heard and seen of it, I've liked it a lot. The kittens love to sit on the remote and watch food network or E!." She laughed. "Really. They take a bath and it hits the buttons. That's about when I'm reminded to eat dinner." They got a cab and went to that office, Xander calling his own lawyer to see if he knew him. He didn't. Xander walked into the small, scruffy office, smiling at the receptionist. "I need to see this idiot who's trying to pretend to work for me when he doesn't," he said, holding up the letter.
She stared. "Sir...."
"Now. Or else I'm calling the FBI for identity theft. My actual lawyer assures me I can. And then sue the hell out of you people." He smiled. "Or simply kill the demons fucking with me." She called back there frantically. He smiled at the higher level demon walking out, greeting him in his own language. "I'm going to kill all of your clan. Leave me and my shit alone," he said firmly.
"Another person involved asked me to stop that."
"I don't give a fuck, you signed my name to it." Xander stared at him. "If it was someone else complaining, they'd come after me, not the movie. So stop it," he growled, letting the hyena come forward. The demon gave him a horrified look, backing up with his hands up. "I'm not in the mood for this. I have to go spank Buffy anyway."
"I'm sure it will be epic, Knight," he said, swallowing hard. "The demon community...."
"Can blow me. They're staying true to the books," Xander said. "I've seen the script, approved of it even, and gave them casting help. Now, is there anything else you want to try before I sue your ass in multiple courts? Both human and not?" The demon shook his head. "We certain? Because I consider this screwing with me. And we know what happens then."
"The slayer is sick."
"Who said I need a slayer? I did do the job for *years* while they thought I was *normal*."
The demon nodded and swallowed. "We will withdraw the complaint and the chaos sorts who are trying to help."
"Tell them if they owe me, they'd better be paying quickly. Because I can always go find some of the neatest stuff in my warehouse. Or the weapons warehouse."
"You guard...." he hissed, staring at him. Xander quirked an eyebrow up. "Oh, dear," he squeaked. "We are most sorry, Guardian!" He bowed.
"Just stop it. Now."
"Yes, I will have all that ended before you end us." He rushed off. "My clients will be quite upset but that is their own problem."
"What client?" Xander called after him. The demon ran a file out and then hid again. Xander read it over. "Hey, one of the Wolfram and Hart idiots who didn't get caught after the invasion." He smiled at the producer. "I think it's going to stop."
"I never thought you were scary, Mr. Harris."
Xander gave her a goofy grin. "I'm not until you screw with me. I'm known for only dealing with those who're hunting or hurting others. I've always been a fair sort until someone tried with me." He beamed at her. "And then I react, growl a bit, find some weapons, and then go write dark smut." He walked her off. "Want a latte?"
"Are you sane?" she asked.
"Outside of my muses? Yeah. I'm just a hunter. We're mostly like this. We see the worst things that humanity and demon kind can do to itself and others," he said once they were in the cab. "We have loose ethics because hunting is still destroying bad things." She nodded. "Which is why DCIS is much different than the hunting novels. I put some of my personal experience into them but it's the roaming hunters' style of doing things instead of ours. DCIS uses the style my old team used back in Sunnydale more often than not."
"Interesting. Thank you for protecting me."
"They shouldn't be trying that and screwing with a hunter is always a bad idea. We're used to having to hunt, stalk, and handle things as necessary. Be that digging up graves to banish spirits or hunting down vampires to stake or behead them." She shuddered. He smiled. "I'm mostly retired unless it's an apocalypse."
"That's good to know. Is LA going to have another one?"
"Spring is generally apocalypse season, though now and then you'll get a smaller one in the fall, usually right before Halloween to Yule. Somewhere in there." She nodded she'd remember that for later projects. "Buffy's people deal with that in LA." He smiled. "I heard a few of Gunn's crew had gotten on-set jobs as extras and things to make sure no one touched you guys."
"That is very nice of them," she agreed, relaxing again. "Was he a harmful sort?"
"Well, he was a lawyer, so they're mostly scummy." She giggled. "That does carry over. In LA, Wolfram and Hart are the big bad guys. Like New York, the demon community is mostly balanced and peaceful, with a few hotheads and those looking for attention. You guys even had a self-help vampire starting his own group to make them more self-aware and better minions." She laughed, shaking her head. "Seriously. A vampire I went to high school with joined them." He shrugged. "Wolfram and Hart are the ultimate bad guy lawyers. This one... nowhere near their scale of evil shits. He was annoying and they were using him as a smoke screen because they knew someone was going to show up there soon if I caught them screwing with me, the hunters I still talk to, or the slayers."
"That's good to know." She smiled and paid for the cab fare as they got out at her hotel. He did buy her a coffee, heard about the upcoming previews. The trailer for the movie was coming out in six weeks. She'd be sending him a copy so he could show the others. And angst in private. She had scheduled the premiere showing in LA and New York so he had to have nice enough clothes for those events. He put them into his phone and texted that to someone else.
Then they went over the idea of a sequel if it did good. He pointed out where things could happen and some of the more dramatic parts leading up to the invasion. They could end on that. That would leave a nice room for a third installment if they wanted or nicely end it as the whole thing being set up and in the open. He also slipped her the newest series when she asked to see it. Both of them actually because he was proud of the 'not only the pretty ones are heros' message.
Xander let Paula in that night, staring at her because she was staring at him. "What?"
"You threatened that lawyer?"
"Yup. Promised to take out his whole clan for fucking with me. Sent the folder on who had ordered him to do that to my contact in the LA FBI office since it was Wolfram and Hart. Then the producer and I talked about when things were coming out."
"Good." She relaxed. "Will that get you in trouble?"
"He's a lawyer."
"I know, they're evil." He nodded. "It won't get you banned or anything?"
"No. Oh, and earlier today I spray painted over the invitation marks on your building and spiked the water coolers with holy water thanks to Tara. So there won't be any more demon problems. We did warn the three half-demons on staff though."
"That's very nice of you." She smiled. "Are you all right?"
"Yup, just a bit freaked out since the State Department guy wanted me to tell him when I left the country next time. Can I go on a signing trip next spring?"
"Yes." She smiled. "You showed her the newest series?"
"She asked." He shrugged. "I showed her the one you didn't like and the other one. She thought that the positive message was a great thing."
She rolled her eyes. "You were still a bit graphic with his herpes sores, Xander."
"Not everyone who does the job is muscular, has great hair, perfect teeth, tanned skin, and drives a hot car. I sure as hell don't look like that. The only one I know of who does is Dean, and slightly less in Sam - he got counted down in hair points."
She swatted him on the side of the head gently. "Quit putting yourself down."
"Yes, Paula." He grinned at the kitten sneaking their way. "She'll yell if you pounce her shoes again." She bent and petted the cat, letting it sniff her shoes for her. "She's been very inquisitive. I had to save the hot pepper bush from her the other day."
"Some cats are like that," she agreed. She relaxed. "You should always give me new stuff first."
"You said you hated them."
"I don't *hate* them. I don't think they're very saleable."
"So maybe they're movieable."
"Maybe, that darker one sounded like it." He led her to the office, letting her copy down the first of those books. She looked in his 'to be sent' folder and got those too. "You need a vacation, Xander."
"That's why I want to go signing." She smirked. He grinned and got something, handing it to her. "Why I spray painted over that invitation mark."
She read it and sighed. "No, I did not fire you." She looked at him. "I'll talk to him. If not, I have plans." He beamed. "That would release all your stuff with us back to you to redistribute. I'll help you with that." She patted him on the cheek. "Have a quiet night, Xander."
"I was going to go clubbing."
"No, don't get press attention."
"I need laid, Paula."
"Call Maribell or whatever her name was. She just got bail before her trial." She gave him a pointed look then left. She had to talk to her boss about being stupid, and then a few of her authors. That would make her more money though.
Xander looked her up in the papers and called her cellphone. She answered it cheerfully and agreed they could have dinner. He gave her the new address, cleaned up the living room and bedroom area, showered and changed, then went to wait on her to show up. She was a very interesting woman who loved weapons as much as he did. She even cooed over his axe.
Beckett walked into the station to start her day happy. It was probably going to be a body-free day. Her paperwork was done. She had a great breakfast on the way in. It was payday so she was in a great mood. She sat down, started her computer as she put her coffee cup in its rightful spot. Then she looked up and spotted the bruised looking young woman coming in. "Ma'am, did you need to file an assault report?"
"No, Xander kicked their asses for busting into our hotel room." She sat down with a wince and a hiss, shifting in a painful way. "I'm allergic to cats so our dinner got moved to a motel room. Unfortunately there were some gang kids or something. Maybe demon gang kids. Not real sure. He's *very* impressive." She shifted and moaned a tiny bit.
"Did those gang kids do that to you?"
"Yes, one managed to land a few blows but Xander about ripped his head off. And then I calmed him down, which was my mistake. Now I know why he used to date a nympho. She could stand him in bed." She deflated, looking at her. "Can you please revoke my bail? I can't lie worth a damn and if he calls to set up another date, I'll forget I'm *really* sore right now and say yes. I like the guy. He's a sweet, nice guy. He's great in bed, in the kitchen, and to his cats. Some day he'll make a great dad I think. But he wore me out, Detective. I know you like the boy so I'm sure you understand."
"I do, I've had a boyfriend like that in the past," she admitted. "You could say you're busy."
"That would be a lie and like I said I'm horrible at lying, which will make him pout and I'd give in to stop it. Which would mean more oral sex."
"He made you that sore with oral sex?" She nodded, blushing and ducking her head a bit, pushing her hair back behind her ears. "Let's get a statement about the assault. I'm sure the hotel would need one for their insurance. Plus to cover Xander's behind if someone tries to say something."
"They were trying to take him out to stop the new DCIS movie. He pointed out to the living ones that it wouldn't stop it at all, or possibly the newest ones he had written. That was when the officers got there to arrest them." Beckett went looking for that report, finding it and amending it with her statement. It could only help. "Can you please have my bail revoked and put me in solitary?"
She looked at her. "The papers said you wanted out to attend a funeral."
"That's next week."
"I'll talk to Xander for you." The girl hugged her. "Go soak or something." The younger woman handed over the CD from her purse and left. Beckett ran it, blushing when she realized the arms dealer had taped last night. She and her coffee took the cd to Xander's house to hand it to him. Xander was stretching on the balcony near his vegetables. She cleared her throat. Xander looked under his arm and wiggled his fingers with a grin, finishing his stretch. "You made her too sore."
"Oops. It was only oral sex."
"She couldn't sit, Xander."
He blushed, shrugging slightly and looking at his feet. "I tried to be nice but she wanted more."
"I'm sure the tape would say that." She held it up.
"That's going in the safe," he said, taking it from her. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Pick on a more needy bad girl who'll tell you when she's had enough."
"I haven't had any in weeks."
"I heard." She smiled. "Be a good boy, Xander. Were they demons or humans?"
"Mixed. The Hell Born."
"I've heard a bit about that gang. I'll look into it. You be safe."
"I'm trying. Paula and her boss are fighting over me right now. You might warn Rick to call her later and see if he'll proofread something for me since Donnie hated it?" he asked hopefully.
"I can do that. Go copy it for me." He jogged into the office, moving the cat off the laptop's cover so he could open it and save the file onto a thumbdrive. The CD got put into the safe while he was in there. She took it with a smile. "Rent one, Xander. We have a whole lot of classy rent girls in this city who have nothing." He grimaced. "I know but if you're that desperate...."
"I'd usually club."
"I'm sure some women and men have very fond thoughts of that." He blushed brighter. She smiled. "I have a few from my wild youth too. I do remember how it was, kiddo." She left, going back to the office. She tossed Rick the thumbdrive. "He said to please tell him how it is since Donnie hates it and to call Paula. She and her boss are fighting over him."
"I heard last night. She's going to start her own publishing house on the second of next month." He looked at the thumbdrive. "Which one is it?"
"I don't know. He didn't say. Just that Donnie hated it."
"Donnie is his paid editor." He texted Paula, getting one back. "Hmm, new fantasy series." He put it into his pocket for now. "Anything else going on?"
"His date last night got interrupted by a mixed demon/human street gang," Ryan said from his desk.
"She came in and asked if I would have her bail revoked because she couldn't lie worth a damn if he asked her for another date," Beckett said with a smug look. "She couldn't sit either."
"He was rough with her?" Castle asked, grimacing.
"No, it was all oral sex according to them. She didn't say whoa."
Ryan opened and closed his mouth a few times then shook his head. "I don't need to know how he did that. My girlfriend would complain." He got back to his last report. Esposito strolled in. "Xander's date last night went freaky and then went to oral sex good enough his date couldn't sit."
Esposito considered that. "I want to know how he did that so I can't."
"He's said in the past that the nympho he dated, Anya, he had to teach her what it was," Ryan said with a grin for his partner. "And she was a six, seven a day girl."
"Ah. So probably hours...."
"And they had gotten attacked earlier so he was calming down after the fight," Beckett assured him. "She didn't tell him to stop."
"Yeah, if I could stand doing that for hours, someone would be really happy with me too." He sat down. Rick tossed over the thumb drive. "You came with paperwork?"
"Xander's editor hated that and he's not sure why. He wanted an unbiased opinion and since you're not busy," Rick said with a grin.
"Sure. I like the kid's stuff most of the time and I hate fantasy novels." He got into it, reading along. By the end of the first chapter he was sweating. A lot. He was trying really hard not to get noisy too because they'd pick on him. He looked up, clearing his throat. "They'd have to make it really edited." Rick came over to read over his shoulder. Ryan rolled his desk chair over to do the same, staring at the screen.
"That's ...." Ryan said. "No wonder you were moaning."
Rick read it, nodding. "No wonder his editor hated it. He hated the hunter novels having sex too." Esposito copied the files onto his own backup drive and let him have the thumbdrive back.
Captain Montgomery came out of his office to read. "Is that a report?" he asked dryly.
"Xander wasn't sure why his editor hated it," Rick said. "He asked for an unbiased opinion."
Montgomery shook his head. "Anne Rice can't do that."
"I hate that kink and it's hot," Esposito said dryly, shutting it down. "I'll read that later." He went to shower and change clothes.
"At least we won't be running out of hot water," Beckett quipped.
"No, we won't," Montgomery assured her, going back to his office to call his wife. He loved his wife and her vanilla ideas about sex.
Ryan got his own copy and so did Beckett. They could read on their own time at home. Esposito came back looking calmer. "Thanks, buddy."
"Welcome." He sat down and shook his head. "They can't turn that into a movie."
"There's a huge goth population who'd love the thing," Beckett said, looking up. "Remember that vampire case?" He whimpered.
"Xander said that the producer for the DCIS movie had asked to see it." Rick shifted in his seat. "Maybe he'll have to bribe Alexis to help him get a few other outfits for carpet appearances." He considered it. "What sort of knife was that?"
"A K-Bar he doesn't have," Ryan said. "It's one of the utility ones I think." He looked it up. "The leather handled game hook knife, which is about 50 bucks." He got out of there before he got any ideas. "I did like how he talked her into it," he offered.
"That was good," Esposito agreed. "The whole 'you lick your finger when you get papercuts' start was good."
"No reading that on our time," Montgomery called from his office.
"We're not," Esposito called back.
Rick got onto Beckett's computer and beamed it to his reading program on his phone, letting her have the computer back. He settled in to read it, getting a bit sweaty and hot himself. His daughter thankfully saved him from making an ass of himself when she showed up with a huge lunch for him, and any leftovers could be passed out. He looked up at her. "You may not work on Xander's new series. You're much too young."
"I'm working on his 'anti-hero' message story, Dad, not that one." She kissed him on the cheek. "I took the hint when he shut down his computer completely because he spotted Tara coming in to check on him with me." She smiled. "He said she was too young for it so I really was." He nodded, giving her a hug. "Is it bad or is Donnie's boss being a prude again when he looks over his shoulder?"
"I didn't think his boss could do that," Rick admitted. She nodded. "Huh."
"He's trying to turn them toward more serious books. I was doing some community service hours helping him with a fundraiser when his boss stormed in and complained that fantasy novels weren't serious books. Donnie pointed out he had a contract with Xander for years now and it wasn't really the company's business since it hadn't been included in their takeover. Apparently the last takeover left them being independent contractors and the company's not really supposed to say anything. But he's a prude and a Scientologist. He was complaining that they were editing a medical textbook too."
"You'd figure since a sci-fi author started that religion they'd like them more," Ryan quipped.
"You would," Alexis agreed with a smile for him. "You should read the other one. It's got a very positive message not concealed very well about not all heros looking like action stars."
"Paula complained a lot about the herpes sores," Rick said dryly.
"He's blind in one eye and he limps too," Alexis said with a grin. "He has to save the semi-stupid typical hero and heroine sort because they're too dumb to continue to breathe air without instructions." She sat down. "He just gave me the next one. It's got a paraplegic who feels so strongly about the war going on that she hires herself a helper, gets strapped to her horse, and goes into battle that way. It's like Joan of Arc in a wheelchair. They're pretty good reads for the young adult section. He's just started on the last one. I think it's going to be a real 'geeks can do great things too' story."
Paula walked in. "Rick, it's official. My former boss is an idiot."
"You know I'll stay with you and so will Xander."
"Donnie's boss is driving him nuts by interfering with his contract work," Alexis offered with a grin.
"I've already talked to him, dear. He'll be the new editing department." She smiled. "He wanted all of Xander's new things back once that happened."
"He'll need an ice bucket," Esposito told her.
"I haven't even looked at it, I just took his word for it," she sighed. "Anyway." She smiled at Rick. "Your next book is due when?"
"It's being proofread," Alexis said with a smile.
"Thank you, dear. You make your father sound smarter." She patted her on the shoulder. "Shouldn't you be in school today?"
"No, it's a free day."
"That's fine then. Want a ride home?"
"Okay. I only brought them lunch." She hugged her father again then left with a wave for the others.
"I wonder what he'll come up with next," Beckett said. She ate a bite of her sandwich and nodded. "Egg salad is really fresh."
"Mother was teaching her how to make it the other night," Rick said with a smile. The guys all dug in and it was good. When Lanie came up because she didn't have anything to do, they gave her the extra sandwich.
Xander watched the trailer by himself the first time. He stared at it, trying hard not to whimper. Then he decided he needed a poker game. So he got things for it and called over to Rick's. "I need to distract myself because the trailer's here. I got chips coming. And pizza." He hung up. The guys all showed up and Rick brought the poker set since he knew Xander didn't have one. "Hey, guys. Thanks for taking my mind off things," Xander said with a slightly insane grin.
Stephen looked. "Review?"
"First trailer." Xander winced. "It's good."
Rick turned on the tv and dvd player, letting it play. They all watched it and they decided it was a good job. Then they got down to poker. They could all use some distraction. Even if the kittens did try to adopt someone for their daddy to cuddle later.
Stephen looked at his lap. "I know I wrote about you guys a few times, but you can't keep me."
Xander looked down there. "Homer!" She scampered off. "At least she's not damp because one of others pushed her in the pool again," he quipped. They all laughed. "It gives a whole new meaning to sleeping on the wet spot on the bed." That got a cackle from Rick and it being written down. He sighed, looking at Rick. "I have a nice, semi-casual blue suit now."
"Cufflinks," Xander admitted with a grimace. "Hair gel. Am I forgetting anything?"
"Tooth whitener. You want a pretty smile because even if you have to force it you need to smile."
"I can do that I guess." He made himself a note and got back into the game. "So, do we think it'll make me buy a tux too, guys?"
Stephen shrugged. "Maybe for special effects."
"Never bet on those things. The groups that give out awards like things that don't usually have mass appeal," another of the guys warned. Xander nodded, relaxing again. "If so, don't bring a date, Xander. They might need to kill someone in the room."
"I won't. Or maybe Tara."
"Tara would swat you very hard," Stephen said dryly. "Remember, she's still shy."
"Yup, I do." He petted the cat crawling up his leg and got back to his cards. He looked down. "You're not my cat. Where did you come from?" It faded out. "Huh." He plucked the note off his leg and read it. "The community is pretty happy with the trailer that they stole to watch." He put it under his chair for now. The others all shook their heads and money changed hands between two of them. Xander shrugged but grinned. "What else did you expect from me, guys? It's all bad girls, lots of sex, and muses in my house."
"I think I brought one of yours home after the last game," Stephen said, glaring mildly at him. Xander just grinned. "It helped where I was stuck with something but it's bored without cats to play with so I'm hoping it came with me."
"Mine do," Rick told him. "Every now and then my muse borrows his to play with."
"Someone wanted to know if there was a sequel to that mystery writer's novel," the other guy said.
"What mystery writer's novel?" Rick and Xander said in unison.
"We all know," Stephen assured them.
"Denial is my life," Xander quipped. "I deny myself some fun, I deny myself some of the meaner bad girls who could last long enough in bed, I deny that I had anything to do with that novel."
"Your last one apparently begged Beckett for mercy," Rick told him.
"Yeah, she told me that." He shrugged. "I didn't mean to make her sore but she didn't say she'd had enough oral sex."
"If I ever write things with sex scenes, I'm going to come to you for inspiration," Stephen quipped with a mean grin.
Xander nodded. "I can help with that if you need ideas. I'm trying really hard not to let the non-traditional heros get any."
"The other series got enough for them and the lack of snuggling in DCIS," Rick assured him. "I have *never* needed a shower after reading a book. Cold or otherwise." They all stared at them. He pointed at Xander. "A bit kinky even. Especially that scene in the park." Xander grinned. Rick patted him on the head. "I know you needed it, but really, Xander."
"I don't know where it came from. It woke me up," Xander admitted. "Like Tral did."
"It's about as addicting too," Rick complained. Xander just grinned. "They might want to turn it into a vampire movie."
"That would really suck for the park scene to turn into a snuff scene," Xander quipped.
"That was one of the hotter ones," Rick sighed. "Though the new vampire epidemic...I mean style...."
"I gave Buffy those books so she could cackle her butt off. Angel too." Xander shuddered. "Those things are a disease. The vampires in Sunnydale formed a support group to hunt her down and show her what real vampires were, without turning her because they didn't want her to be one of them." Rick snorted, shaking his head and ante-ing in. Xander did the same and then folded a minute later when he looked at his cards again. The other guys smirked. "Yes, I forgot my caffeine fix this morning," he said dryly. "I've been fluttering around all day considering some problems."
"Beckett had to give me a CD my last date made."
"Ooooh," Rick said with a wince and a hiss.
"With what you date, it's probably not the only one in existence," Stephen agreed.
"Which is what I was thinking but how would I get them back since most of them are in jail?" He shifted. "I thought about writing them to make sure and to see if they'd voluntarily hand them over."
"Most of yours might," Rick admitted. "Did you tell Paula that yet?"
"Yup, I babbled at her earlier about those thoughts. She didn't want me to write them. It might bring more attention to them. That if they came out, it was the bad girls' fault."
"Perhaps," Stephen said. "Though you're bi so that might cause a stink."
"I've said a few times I'm bi in the press."
"That may help then, yeah."
"Though you seem to get more sex than the guys who date porn stars," Rick complained. Xander grinned at him. "They're just as unhealthy for you, Xander."
"I know, but they're the only ones who like me. You've seen that effect in action."
"I have," he agreed. He answered his phone. "Castle." He listened. "No, Mother, I'm with Xander. Why?" He got up and turned on the tv, changing the channel. He watched the nice segment. "Huh. Thanks." He hung up and called Paula. "Oh, good, you do know."
"I never dated her," Xander complained. "That's one of Tara's dates before Beth."
Rick repeated that. "Thank you." He hung up. "Since you have to talk to Patty tomorrow at the Times, expect that question."
"I can do that." He shook his head, getting some more soda and putting on coffee for the guys. They smiled and came in to get drinks and go back to the game. The wench that went on tv saying that they were dating was delusional. So yeah, probably Xander's type of girl instead of Tara's.
Xander looked at the reporter. They were in the local office's interview room. Patty had set him up with one of the ET people to fix that tragic story in the making. "Thank you for asking me in person about that woman's fib."
She smiled. "It's good to talk to up and coming people like you, Alexian. It helps to get some things straight. You're usually very quiet on the press front."
"You guys scare me," he said with a grin. She smiled back. "Really. I'm kinda nervous around you guys."
"I get that. It's something you have to get used to." She smiled at the camera then at him. "So, a Miss Michele Ambrigula came forward and said you're dating."
Xander shook his head. "That's not her name. The only woman I know who looks like her was named Mara and she dated Tara. Who is like my sister. I don't think I'd ever date a lesbian and I'm not redneck enough to ever date her girlfriends anyway." She laughed. He pulled out a picture. "That's her, right?"
"That is her." She looked at the back, noting the name. "That's not the name she gave."
"Exactly. Though I'm pretty sure we're not dating anyway because if I was dating, I'd have more than the cats to cuddle at night right now." She cooed at that. He grinned. "I am looking for someone nice to date. As I draw the deadly, dangerous sort, maybe one who wants to give up most of his or her bad girl ways for me. Someone permanent would be great. I haven't had someone permanent since before I started publishing novels."
"So you are bisexual?"
"I've never hid that and others have asked." He crossed his feet. "I go on personality, I go on suitability. I don't go on which hole I'm using." She blushed. "Sorry to be blunt."
"No, I can agree with that." She smiled. "So you never dated her?"
"No. I barely talked to her a few times when she and Tara were dating. And yes, before anyone can say anything, I did talk to Tara about her before coming here because this was fully going to end up outing her."
"Are you and Tara that close because you shared that secret?"
"No, she was dating one of my best friends at one point in time. Then my fiancee and her girlfriend cheated with each other. So we moved in together to protect her from them being evil at the time. She's much better now that she's married and happily raising a family. Tara's got a wonderful young woman and she's happy with her new relationship. I was the biggest overprotective big brother for her when she needed me to be."
"I'm sure you were." She smiled. He grinned back. "You date bad girls?"
"I've dated a few assassins, some weapons dealers. A few who got arrested for selling people. Though the second one I walked away from when I found that out. I seem to draw those with less than happy thoughts for the world at times."
"Awww. So, there's no chance of you finding a good girl like Tara? Or even the male form?"
He shrugged. "If I find one that'd be great but I've been introduced to a number of nice, normal people like my mentor's mother's friends. She's an actress. They all think I'm just goofy and sweet but none of them want to date me."
"Well, maybe some former bad boy or girl will find you. One who's out of their wild phases."
He smirked. "If you know someone....."
"I'll suggest they look you up," she agreed happily. "Thank you for straightening that out."
"I'm just worried that she's photoshopped a sex tape or something." She cackled. "I'm a realistic guy, Annabeth. I'm sure at least one of my former dates has one hidden somewhere. I'd like them all instead of having them released online or something but I'm sure at least someone has made one."
"Maybe they'll send them back then." She let the camera cut off. "There are?" He nodded. "You're sure?"
"I got handed one from a recent date so I freaked out and considered it. There's probably at least five. I'd classify myself as fairly easy but fun." She blushed and laughed. "I'm honest about it. I'm twenty-three. My sort of bad girl and boy likes me like that."
"I'm sure they do." She shook his hand. "Thank you and I'll look into her."
"Please. I have no idea who that woman is if it's not her. I'd swear it was her though."
"The pictures do look identical." He nodded and left. She went to look that up. Starting with name change paperwork. She found it there and it was her. So she went to talk to her. This called for a better interview.
Xander walked up to Esposito's desk. "You summoned me from my trip for ice cream?" He handed over muffins. "Bran, honey, and pistachio."
"Thanks, kid." He handed over a CD case. "Two of your bad girls had them sent and the guy that gave you the nuclear warhead." Xander beamed at him. "How many more are there?"
"No idea," Xander admitted. "I never make them. After that one the other day got handed back I got a bit paranoid."
"I can tell why. That girl?"
"Tara dated her. I was doing an interview earlier about that."
"Huh." He held up the box. "Muffins?" They came over to look.
"Oooh, the new flavor from the bakery," Ryan said happily.
"Bran, honey, and pistachio," Xander told him.
"Wonderful." He nibbled a bite and nodded. "They even make healthy stuff taste good." He sat down to nibble. "So, sex tapes?"
"I didn't make them. I have a good memory." Esposito laughed, shaking his head. Xander shrugged. "What else did I expect from some of the bad girl society?"
"Quite possibly," Rick agreed as he walked in, handing over one. "Someone gave it to Mother for Kara."
"Aw, Batgirl made one."
"Literally?" Ryan asked, looking at him. "Like she's doing the job and all that?" Maybe that's why they had gotten muffins to settle their stomachs?
"She's training to."
Ryan stuffed his mouth before he said something.
Esposito looked at him. "There's a charity bachelor auction coming up. You should join."
"No, please no," Rick moaned, shaking his head. "Please don't. We'll have hostage takers or something equally bad girl happen."
"I wonder if Miss Kitty will be there," Xander said, considering it.
"The platinum blonde lady?" Rick demanded. Xander smiled and nodded. "You have better taste."
"She wanted to have lunch with me."
"She's a madam."
"I know. I thoughtfully and nicely wrote back that I didn't really need her work services. I like being the pursued one and I never pay for it in cash." He shrugged and walked off. "Have a happy nibble, guys."
"Thanks," Rick said, taking one of the muffins.
Esposito got his own. They'd probably see drama from those tapes sometime. But maybe it'd get Xander more interesting and better quality dates.
Paula walked up to Rick that night. "We have a problem."
"Eleanore's trial is coming up." Rick winced. He had hated that semi-long term date of Xander's. "The DA released the sex tapes she made."
"Yes, I am, which may impact your ride-along."
"The mayor's going to freak out and fire that guy."
"I'd hope so. The head DA is being totally unreasonable about that. Claims it was an accident."
"Uh-huh. He's got his head up his ass from what I've heard. He's also making a political bid."
"Good. So let me sue them. Just a warning."
"Have you told Xander yet?"
"He told me. One of the geeks he knew found it online."
"Shut down the site?"
"Already have. Thanks, Rick." She walked off calling him. "Xander, we're suing them." She hung up.
Xander was nicely dressed and comfortably in front of that same entertainment reporter. She was looking amused. He shrugged. "Not my doing."
"I know. Are you suing them?"
"I have a real good 'screw with me and I make you want to commit suicide' ideology about that sort of thing and I can only think he did it on purpose. There were nine of them and why was he releasing video information about a case online anyway? That's not how cases usually go."
"No, it's not. If they want to release information to the press, they leak it to a reporter that they know," she agreed. "So why do that to you?"
"Either he's evil and wants me himself, or he's jealous I'm better than him, or he's just a putz. Take your pick. I've never met the man. I'm going to meet him for the first time with a lawyer."
"All those were pulled?"
"Oh, you didn't hear the newest part of that saga. My publisher got notified by Vivid Entertainment that he had submitted one of those tapes to them." She whimpered. He smiled. "I'm so in destruction mode. I can't even write right now thanks to this. I was sharpening swords all morning."
"Oooh," she said with a wince. "You have swords?"
"I have a few swords," he admitted with a grin. "It came in handy before."
"I'm sure it did. I saw you with an axe at the invasion." Xander nodded, still smiling. "So you're able to fence as well?"
"I never learned fencing. I learned swords because it was kinda necessary sometimes. I was thinking about taking fencing lessons but with the way I have days I do nothing but write I might not make it to set classes so I'm not sure if I can reasonably do that. I don't even make it to the gym most days anymore."
"Is it possible he's doing something because of that issue? I've heard that the problem with the DCIS movie was some demon lawyers."
"Not as far as we can tell from pictures. There are human looking species but I'm well known for being a fair, honest, only going after the hunters sort of guy. If this is Wolfram and Hart or someone like them working through him, I feel sorry for him."
"Wolfram and Hart? The big law firm?"
"Yeah. They're behind a few of the problems LA has had," he said dryly. "Also, if you know someone who's signed on with them, read their contracts carefully. They put some really interesting things in them that obligates you later."
"I know someone who got them to do her divorce." Xander winced and shook his head. "I'll look that over with her later. Thank you for talking to me, Alexian."
"You're really nice and you put me at ease so I'm not nervous." He grinned. "And you don't flirt. Which is kinda nice too. Means you're not a bad girl."
"Not that way, no." She grinned back. They cut. "Interesting clauses?"
"They tend to include soul claiming clauses and other nasty surprises." He handed back his microphone.
"I'll read hers. If so...."
"There's one that doesn't do things the way Wolfram and Hart does, Brown and Tyr. They're a half-demon, half-human firm and from what I've heard they're not on Wolfram and Hart's side. You might see if she can get them to break it." He stood up. "Otherwise, I have no idea. Ask Angel out in LA, or Wes."
"I can do that. Thank you." She shook his hand and let him leave while she went to her office to tell her friend that. They had needed the divorce but not that badly.
Eight hours later in LA the early evening entertainment showing came on. Don Epps, a nice FBI agent the team out there had worked with in the past, caught the tail end of the interview as he was flipping stations. He paused and listened then called his boss to have him get the full tape and what had happened this time. He'd call the kid in the morning. Maybe there was something they could do to help. He found the baseball game and it was nicer. Less worrying too.
Xander smiled at the lawyer stomping into the room. "You do realize I do have information from another realm about who was behind Black Thorn and a few other great ideas of yours?" They paused and stared at him. He smirked. "Plus, I have copies of your files thanks to six hackers I know. It cost me a bit but yeah, I have the *full* files from your senior board. You try to sue me for slander and I'll release them."
"Those are illegally gotten."
"Once they're in the press, will the FBI mind?" he quipped back.
"Yeah, Buffy said that too. I ignore her the same way." He stood up. "We all know that I have fuck with me and die syndrome, guys. Since I'm the Sunnydale tactical person....." He smirked. "And I do happen to have a few very nice weapons in my warehouse. Including some I should turn back over to General Jack since it was theirs." The demon lawyer spluttered. "I'm not going to fight you in a court of law but I will make sure you guys quit pissing LA off. Especially since I *saw* your newest plan last night."
"You're not a seer."
"I am a seer."
"You are?" he demanded.
"Yeah." He smirked. "I have been since the whole Glory thing. I see apocalypses." The demon gaped and let out a small moan. "I'm also null magic most of the time before you can try things. And hurting anyone on the Sunnydale team or my cats will get your whole building destroyed instead of just your senior panel. You have a hope of rebuilding right now. Fuck with me and well... All those files are already heading to a very nice high profile demon reporter. One on national news networks." The lawyer gave him a horrified look. "Not the originals of course. Those are in the warehouse."
"THE warehouse?" he demanded. Xander smirked and nodded. "How do you know about that?"
"I inherited it."
The demon's eyes went wide and he backed up a few more steps before calling his bosses on the way out the door.
"Remember, fuck with me and die," Xander called. "I'm a gray knight, not a white one." The demon shuddered. Xander left to go home. He had a message on his voicemail from Don Epps and kindly told him who had the information he wanted. Including the tracking number of the package. Demons could do many things but messing with the US Postal Service was still a felony.
Don Epps walked into the office of the reporter. "Ma'am, Special Agent Epps, FBI. That package is information I'd like to share on a law firm that's causing LA issues."
"If it goes newsworthy I want an exclusive," she ordered.
"Of course." He smiled. "It's against Wolfram and Hart."
"Oh, dear. I heard bad things about them." She handed over the package once she had opened it.
Don smiled. "They're behind most of the apocalypse attempts in LA." She shuddered. "What I know I'll call you first about." He took her card and left. He went back to the office, narrowly avoiding a few accidents by virtue of having an escort car. His boss hadn't been sure why but he'd be horrified Don was sure. They got back there and spun the first disc. It had the instructions and the spell on it to protect their system from being destroyed by the law firm for hell. That was nice. Once it was set up they ran the other information. "Hey, they have majority stock in Apple and Microsoft," Don said dryly when he came to that. They kept going. It laid out some pretty hefty charges. With him getting it from a reporter it doesn't matter how the information was gotten for the warrants. She was protected as a reporter. Don had the envelope so the judge could see it if he wanted to. They were all covered and Xander needed to drop out of evil mode.
Someone knocked on the local director's door. "Agent Epps, I'm Agent Toby Sinclaire, from the DC office," he said, walking in. "I've been working on Wolfram and Hart now for two years." He handed over the files he had. "From confidential informants."
"That's very helpful," Don's boss said with a smile. "Is it just our agency?"
"No, sir. Someone in the Secret Service is sure that this law firm constitutes a threat to the government's well-oiled machines. They're not sure what they can do about it since they're Treasury but they've made sure I'll share."
"I'll gladly share," Don promised with a smile. "Are they coming?"
"Not yet." He pulled out his system. Don handed over the spell disc, getting a smile. "I needed that earlier. They broke two of my computers." The spell loaded itself on his system and killed the demonic virus he presently had. "Huh. Nice work, Rosenburg." They went over what they had and where to start building. Though Don Epps wanted that bio lab shut down very quickly and quietly. ATF got called up and a few others Don trusted. Including the local Treasury guys. They went over the information and he told them where it came from. The spell disc got passed around the building just in case they needed it.
Yeah, that could help LA be calmer by a lot.
Buffy watched the news, staring with her head tipped to the side. "Why is Wolfram and Hart being raided?" Angel stiffened from where he was reading and looked over at the tv. Fred turned it up for them.
Willow smiled. "They screwed with Xander." Buffy whimpered, shaking her head. "Oh, yeah. Though it had nothing to do with the sex tapes that DA put online. That was just him being a butthole." She went back to feeding the baby. "See, I told you you liked carrots. Even if you hate orange you like carrots," she cooed, smiling at her brilliant daughter. Who spit the carrots back out at her.
Her husband Daniel came over to take control of the spoon. Willow kissed him and went to the bathroom. Daniel looked at their little girl. "She'll fuss," he said quietly, his brogue softened quiet a lot. "You know she'll fuss if you don't eat it." He fed her a few bites and she ate it for him, smiling at him. He grinned back. "That's my good girl."
Fred grinned. "It's nice she's daddy's girl."
"She's totally daddy's girl," Daniel agreed happily. "Some day soon she'll be up and following us everywhere."
"Not into the armory," Buffy complained.
Daniel stared at her. "Unlike you, my baby girl won't need to learn swords until she's in college." Buffy beamed and went out to talk to the local demon bars about what was going on.
"Nicely done," Fred said happily. "You handle girl issues very well, like Xander used to."
Daniel snorted. "They ignored him too much for that to work." Willow came back. "Buffy went to talk to people."
"That's fine." She watched him feed their daughter, who was staring at her. "What? Am I messy like you are?" She got a cloth to clean her face and hands up. "There you go." Their daughter squealed and got down to crawl off. "Hey! I was going to read," she pouted. Her daughter came back for that. Willow beamed and settled in on a couch to read to her.
Daniel smiled at their heads. He loved his girls, though some days he could still throttle Willow.
Xander smiled at the reporter who found him out getting grapes. "No camera?" he teased.
"Did you have a comment about the trailer, Alexian?"
"I saw it. I actually got a preview copy then called a poker game so people could unfreak me out. It's kinda scary yet thrilling at the same time. Like a roller coaster." She smiled. "But I'm very proud and happy with the way they've stuck with the original sources. It looks like they've done a great job with my humble little story."
"Thanks. Which premiere are you going to?"
He shrugged. "Whichever one they ask me to go to? I've got some help from my mentor's daughter with clothes for it. Will they be asking me who I'm wearing? I'm not sure I can pronounce his name properly."
"That's usually for women, Alexian. Quit stressing. Just be happy, nervous, and smile a lot." He beamed at her and nodded. "I'll make sure you're said to be happy with the trailer and they did an amazing job sticking to your books." She walked off to call in the quote for later. That way she wouldn't forget anything. She had to pick up her lunch too and had run into him by accident.
Xander picked out his grapes and something else, paying for it and heading home to hide. Including turning off his phone. The kittens came running to get petted when he came in so that was nicer than any reporter.
Esposito looked up the next day. "The trailer's online for the DCIS movie." Rick grinned. "It looks nice."
"He got a preview copy and showed the poker circle so we could make him calm down. They look like they did a really good job." Beckett walked over to watch it. It was a good, makes you wonder preview if you hadn't read the books. If you had, you understood where they were going. "He's still panicking over the red carpet stuff."
"He didn't mention that it was Alexis helping him shop," Ryan said with a grin. "Just his mentor's daughter."
"I like that. She doesn't need the attention and a few people have asked if they're dating, which she's cackled long and hard about." Rick grinned. "I think they did a good job."
"It looks like they did," Beckett agreed, sitting down again. "How long?"
"It comes out in June. We're not expecting a huge turnout like _Ironman_ got or anything but probably a good one," Rick said with a smile. "Have you picked out what you're wearing to the premiere?" She glared at him. "I'm sure you'll be spectacular, no matter who it is." He wisely went to rewatch it before she swatted him. "They edited out the scene with the tower." Rick pulled out his phone to text message someone he knew was in Xander's fanclub. Which he was sure the boy had no idea existed. His fanclub was squeal heavy today. He also hinted that Alexian was talking about an international signing trip sometime in the next year as well. That got a happier squeal from the fanclub.
Paula walked Xander into a comic shop he liked to sign books at and a lot of people squealed in pleasure. Xander beamed and waved. "Xander, this is your fanclub."
"I have a fanclub?" he asked, looking awed. "Wow." They mobbed him to talk to him and get pictures with him, which he liked so he let them do it. It was kinda creepy but he liked it and them. He answered questions about the website, what he was doing now, which book was coming out next. He also read a preview chapter Paula had for the non-traditional heros series. They looked confused but he read a chapter of the other one too. That got a moan and they liked that better. The meeting ended and they ran off after a few last pictures and went to tell the ones who hadn't been able to make it. She smiled at him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." She patted him on the arm. "Rick didn't think you knew about them." She walked him off to take him to dinner so he could eat quietly and get used to the idea of being adored by geeks. He needed the quiet time away from his muses. By the end of dinner he was bouncy about it so that was a great thing. He made them official with him and put a link on the website to them.
He was officially an Author now. One of the ones that people wanted to read. Even if he had been before, it hadn't sunk in until he had met his fan club. Only real Authors had them. So yup, he was an Author.
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