Xander and Rick walked into a bar in DC. "It's not my fault your
friend at the CIA has bad taste in boyfriends," Xander complained to his
friend and mentor. "I asked for slightly naughty, not truly
"He's been married for over ten years, his radar's broken," Rick quipped. "Why are we here?"
"Because your stalker and my new ex wouldn't dream of coming into a pub
like this?" Xander guessed. "It's too normal for them."
"Good point." He shook his head, smiling at the guy behind the bar. "Beer?"
"We have a few on tap and some bottles."
"Bud," Rick requested, putting down a few dollars. "Bottle if possible."
"Sure." He got it and looked at the other guy.
"Sure, I can have one my one beer a decade," Xander quipped with a
grin. "If only to forget my last set-up. Molson?" He
put down a five and got change and a bottle. "Thank you." He
grinned. "This is a really nice place."
"It is," Rick agreed, looking around.
"Where are you boys from?" the bartender asked.
"New York presently," Xander quipped. "My publisher wanted me closer."
Rick nodded, taking a sip of his beer. "So she could do damage control for your dates, Xander."
The guy stared at him. "You're Alexian Harris." Xander beamed and nodded.
"And I'm Rick Castle." He shook his hand with a smile. "We
got talked into a book signing at a local book buying event today.
Our publisher was in looking for new authors."
The bartender grinned. "I know someone who's writing stuff. I should tell him to go."
"Is he any good?" Rick asked. "She's being very picky." The
bartender nodded. "Then she'll be there tomorrow at eleven for a
panel." He took a sip and looked at Xander. "Why are you
"One of my other ex's just walked in," he muttered. "Fuck me
sideways," he sighed. He took a larger gulp of the beer. "I
may break my own rules and have a second one this decade and I'm
*really* sorry if they cause a scene. I know this isn't a gay
bar," he mumbled.
The bartender grinned. "The boss'll kick his butt if he
does. He can handle drama like no one else." He went to fill
the drink order the new guy was wanting then came back. "Eleven?"
"She doesn't do mornings any more than Xander does," Rick quipped with a grin.
"I spent years working nightshift on patrol," Xander said dryly.
"Though, construction all day so it was more I never got any
sleep." He took another sip. He felt the danger buzz start
and looked around. He stared at the younger guy that had just come
in. "Are you actually old enough, kid?" he asked dryly.
The kid pulled a gun. "Give me all the money in the register!" he
shouted. Someone came in behind him and stared at his back but
before he could do anything, Xander had his hand cannon out and pointing
at him. "What the fuck!" the kid complained.
"I'm from near LA. You're not as mean or as bad as any of the
demons I've hunted and killed," he said dryly. "Grow the fuck up
and do something useful for humanity before I knock you out and sell you
to a demon brothel in Siberia." The kid fled. Xander put
his gun back up. He saw his ex staring in awe. "You, shoo!"
"But, Xander!" he complained, moving closer. "I miss you."
"Yeah, but you went off to torture people and I'm not into that," he
said dryly. He took a kiss. "I might sleep with you sometime
in the future, no promises, but it's not going to be until you decide
to be a little bit less evil unless you're torturing to protect
"Fine," he muttered, huffing. He paid the bartender a tip and
left. He spotted the confused looking guy in the doorway and
snorted. "Xander, he's your type and retired." He stomped
Xander shook his head. "Sorry," he told the guy. "He's a bit
too evil for my usual naughty tastes." He turned back to look at
the bartender, handing him a tip too with a grin. "Didn't mean to
Rick swatted him. "Lay lower, Xander."
"Thank you. Paula would have a heart attack if she heard."
"She wanted me to date so I could get my muses back from their crackhead
giggling state." He finished his beer. "Water?" The
guy got him a bottle and he paid for it. "Thanks." The
confused guy walked over to the bar and got his usual shot.
"Shank, these guys are authors. Their publisher's at an event
tomorrow looking for new authors," the bartender told him quietly.
"I will have to go," he said in a very pleasing Russian accent.
"She'll be there at eleven," Rick said with a smile. "Hi, Rick Castle."
"Peter Yurchenko." He shook his hand.
"Xander Harris, or Alexian Harris on the books," Xander said, shaking
his hand with a grin. "You're writing in what genre? Rick
does true crime and I do fantasy."
"Wonderful. Paula's looking for new action books since they sell
so well," Rick said. "I'll introduce you tomorrow if you're there
for the panel."
"That would be appreciated. Thank you." He looked at Xander. "How do you know of demon brothels in Siberia?"
"I ran into one of their species in New York. She wants me to work
for her really a whole lot but I keep turning her down. She
doesn't get that I want something fantastic but human, not
supernatural. I think after my last true ex being a former
vengeance demon, I want to go back to human. They're less
complicated and cranky."
Rick snickered. "From what I heard, everyone is less cranky than Anya was when she wasn't satisfied, Xander."
"Well, yeah, but I quit being embarrassed by nearly anything thanks to
her complaining in public about not getting more than six orgasms a
Peter shook his blond head quickly. "She sounds...loud."
"She's a nun now," Xander admitted.
"Ah." He nodded. "Why?"
"Long story," Xander sighed. "Let's say it started with her
cheating on me and one of her former coworkers granting a wish."
He looked at him. "She's happy now though. She said she
is. She forgave me for it too because she said she's really
Peter nodded. "That is strange."
"She slept with over a thousand people in six months," Rick told him.
"Ah! So being a nun.... yes, that was quite the punishment."
He drank his shot and put down a dollar. "Do you golf?"
"No, I've never tried. Every time I think about sports or picking
up a bat for batting practice, people panic for some strange
reason." Rick choked, shaking his head. "And I'm a nice guy,
I don't want to panic anyone. So I swim in my pool most of the
time and go to the gym. Or chase my niece around. She's two
and a half."
"You babysit often?"
"Actually, her mom's off-realm right now so I have custody until she's back."
"Ah." He nodded. "That must be hard."
"She gets on well with me and my cats. We've already taught her to
swim." He beamed and pulled out a picture. "That's my niece
"Then you are that Xander," Peter said, staring at him. He got a
nod back and Xander put the picture back. "Only signing in town?"
"One of Rick's contacts at the CIA set me up with someone but they were
fully evil instead of mildly naughty. I can't date anyone evil
anymore." He shrugged. "It's not good for the muses or my
niece. Or even the cats."
Rick patted him on the back. "You'll find someone nice sometime
soon, kid. With as many prayers as everyone who knows you sends up
each time you go out on a blind date, God will have to send you someone
nice sometime soon." The bartender was giggling.
"Seriously! Last month he took out the twin, nineteen-year-old
female Irish assassins that he accidentally met in a club. After
the first one they come back to see him every few months. Half the
people he picks up are on someone's watch list. We'd like him to
date someone *nice*. We all pray for someone nice, even those that
aren't that religious."
Xander looked over when the door opened, spotting the demon. "Be
peaceful," he called in his language. He hurried over and gave him
a note then left. "Thanks." Xander read it and
winced. "Faith just threw a hissy in New York because one of the
slaver demons tried to take her hostage. Thankfully John shot them
and grazed her." He put it into his pocket. "I'll call her
in a bit when she's more calm." He finished his bottle of
water. "Sorry, Peter, some days my life is like a soap."
"All busy lives are," he admitted. "Mine was for many years."
Xander grinned. "You're clearly not a local boy," he teased.
"No, I am not."
"Got any good restaurant recommendations? Rick and I were told to go away for the night."
"Is a good one up the street." He smiled. "I can join you?"
"I'd like that." They walked out together.
The bartender looked back at his boss, who was staring after them. "At least he's retired."
"I've heard of the kid's taste. I emailed Max to warn her just in
case." He shook his head quickly. "Shank won't break him,
The bartender snickered. "Probably not," he agreed. He
cleaned the bar and got another patron something to drink. "I
wonder who he got set up with?"
"Truly evil and CIA is a very long list," Lorne Cash said dryly.
Xander saw someone being chased through their signing event and
sighed. "People, let me...." He got them moved with a
hand-gesture. They all knew that one. He kicked the table in
front of the guy running. The guy tripped over it. Xander
got the book and his pen, finishing his dedicating with a grin and a
wink. Then he looked at the guy, staring at him.
"Why are you endangering all these nice people's lives?" he asked.
The man growled and got up, opening his shirt. Xander looked at
the bomb then nodded and pulled out his hunting knife to stab him.
The guy tried to back up but someone pushed him into it. Xander
stabbed it and it shut down with a hiss, which shocked the guy.
Then Xander backhanded him back to the floor. "Stupid
idiot." He stared at him, hands on his hips.
"You'd better be thankful my niece isn't here. Because if you had
pulled that near Olivia I would've killed your dumb ass. There's
nothing *any* God could say to get me to stop either! Not even the
ones I've helped defeat." The guy was inching away from
him. "Do I need to see if someone here has a sword?" The guy
shook his head. "You sure? Because you're still awfully
wiggly to be giving yourself up to get away from all these nice reading
"I'll give up," he begged. "Please don't treat me like a demon." He was going to cry soon.
Xander looked at the female that had been chasing him. "Need
help? I can make him stand up so you can cuff him easier."
"No, I have it," she said, smiling at him. "Thank you for disarming that."
"I'd never want my fans or anyone else innocent hurt." He glared at the man. "Would I?"
"No, sir. Thank you, Harris. I'll quit selling arms or give
you a discount the next time you need something for an apocalypse."
Xander shrugged. "Isn't that why I play poker, for weapons?"
The guy groaned but nodded. "Sure, give the guys I win from a
discount." He smiled. "The next apocalypse would thank you
for it." He nodded, letting himself be led off. "You have a
nice day, ma'am. I'm sure he'll be real cooperative now." He
moved the table back and sat down with a smile for the next in
line. She was staring at him. He shrugged. "I've dated
and been kidnaped by better arms dealers than that one. He sells
shitty things." She burst out giggling and let him have the
book. "Beyond that, kitten poker, very handy sometimes." She
took their picture together and he finished signing her book so she
could move on.
Max London walked her begging, sobbing arms dealer into ECHO's headquarters. "Okay, who was that guy?" she demanded.
"Xander Harris," the idiot arms dealer sobbed. "I miss him! I
was going to kidnap him next. He'd be a good husband for someone
like me! I'd even love Olivia like my own."
Lorne Cash looked over. "You ran into who?"
The arms dealer swallowed, looking at him. "You know Xander?
Did you date him too? You might be dangerous enough for him but I
have more money."
"Not when we get through with you," Max said with a smile for him. "Who was he?"
"Very complicated but he's officially semi-retired and an author now," Lorne told her.
"What agency was he with?" she demanded.
"None." He showed the background he was running. "He and his buddy Castle showed up at my bar last night."
She read it, then stared at him, mouth slightly open. He
nodded. "Okay. That's probably why he stabbed the bomb to
make it quit running." She walked the guy to interrogation.
She came back once he was locked in there. "Should we watch out
for him, in any manner of speaking?" she asked.
"No. He's here doing author things. He'll only step into something
if it's necessary. I take it he was running?" She nodded
with a grimace. "He's known as a White Knight, capitalized."
"Yeah, clearly. He's worse than you are." She walked off with a sigh. Now there were two of them in her city.
"I'm not like him. I have sanity," he called. "And a house
without a pool," he muttered, going back to his background check.
"Huh, he dated Arianna. I wonder if he'd date her tonight so we
could pick her up for deportation." He sent that note to a friend
in the FBI. He got back a lot of swearing. "That's really
uncalled for," he replied, sending that to him. The guy demanded
to know where Harris was. He told him. He said they'd put a
detail on him to make sure no one hurt him. "Okay. Sure, if
you think he needs it."
He kept going, running into a few files locked by Homeland
Security. That was strange for an author and demon hunter.
What he saw made his insides tense. "Yes, he needs guarded."
He considered it then called his buddy. "Shank, me. Harris
has 'Sepia' sort of issues and the FBI is going to try to guard
him. No, I thought I should warn you in case the blood hunters
show up. Thanks." He hung up. "Maybe he's too
dangerous for Shank," he decided.
Shank hung up the phone and looked at the man next to him at the panel. "You have guards coming," he hissed.
Xander grimaced. "Homeland or FBI?"
"Damn it, I haven't really dated. Who do they want me to catch this time?"
Shank looked at him then shook his head. "Not due to that. They heard you were local and worried?"
"Homeland made someone paranoid probably." He shrugged and
shifted, pulling out something to hand to another author. "Here,
my editor," he said when she stared at him. "I'm reading over your
shoulder. He does do some freelance work and if he can't, he can
probably refer you to someone. He's real reasonable and he's used
to me skipping words and using tense shifts all the time."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris." She tucked it into her folder. "Is
your publisher here?" He pointed at her. "Does she do
"She just set up her own house so I'm not real sure."
"I'll ask her then." She beamed and turned back around.
Shank smiled at him. "Editors?"
"I started with one after my first magazine piece. He makes me
sound amazing. It's like autotune for singers." Shank
snorted, shaking his head. Xander noticed the agent slipping in
and nodded at him, getting a nod back. Then a really dirty
look. Xander stared at him but he rolled his eyes. So yeah,
he knew what Shank had done when he was younger. Yay him. He
was retired now. He looked at the person asking a question that
confused everyone. "Did you want to know how much most up-front
payments are or if they're standard?"
"Are they standard?"
"Only if you've got the book done, it's in editing, and even then it's
hardly more than ten percent unless they think they can make a movie
from it. If it's more than that, ask why." She nodded and
The people on the panel looked at him. "Who're you?" one asked with a smile.
He grinned back. "Alexian Harris."
"Oh!" She blinked, looking down at his publisher.
"He was signing earlier." She smiled at him. "He had better behave."
"I'm about to sneak off for lunch after this," he quipped.
"Good boy." Xander barked. "Keep it up and I'm feeding you
dog biscuits instead of your sales paycheck." Xander beamed at
her. She shook her head. "Next question?"
"Do authors have to go on promo tours?" the next in line asked.
"Yes," Rick agreed. "In some manner or another. When you're
newer, and in the romance or fantasy genre, it's more important than
something like my own. Where Alexian had to go to geek
conventions, and begged to go a few times, I had to do magazine spreads
and things. Romance writers have all sorts of signing tours and
events to go to."
She beamed. "Thank you, Mr. Castle."
"Not a problem. Like Alexian, we like to see young authors get off
to a good start. Or just new ones," he said with a nod at a woman
near him who was older than his mother.
"What does sell right now?" another asked. "I can write sci-fi and fantasy or romance."
"Romance always sells," Paula told her. "It's like bread and
butter for some houses. Even if it's just the Harlequin level
instead of the more steamy ones." A few giggled. "Fantasy in
established series almost always sells but usually doesn't reach top
level sales. Most romances don't either. The more action
oriented, true crime, or horror sells very well. Paranormal things
sell very well at the moment. Definitely keep all three genres
going, it can only help your sales levels." The author smiled and
nodded, going back to her seat.
"How do really young authors break in fastest?" the next guy wanted to know.
"There's a difference between the really young authors and older
authors," Xander told him. "I know this for a fact because I sold
my first one at eighteen. Very young authors almost never get a
full manuscript sold without an agent and it being *excellent*. If
I put out a crap story now, it's looked at differently than a first
time one, and younger ones get shot down faster than other new
authors. If you want an *easy*, less stress route for things like
fantasy and horror pieces, look for magazine work. Look for
established series like Star Trek and things for science fiction."
The guy nodded.
"Don't expect it to be the first one. It hardly ever is. And
if it is you won't sell again for at least a year so keep a normal
life, write while you're working and all that. It's usually at
least three or four years after your first sale that you can start to
think about going to writing as a full time job. Even me, who puts
out eight novels a year or so. I wrote Tral while working
construction all day. I wrote the second hunter one while working
at a hotel's check-in desk."
"Are usually less hard to get something into," Paula agreed with a smile
for him. "For an author it's much better odds and if it's not
that month it may fit in at a later time. I would make sure it's
as polished as it could be. They don't have as much time for
editing like you would with a novel. So have it all edited,
polished up, all that before you submit it. Also, magazine work
doesn't pay an excellent pay but it does get your name out there and
that's what any first time author really wants, is to be noted.
Because no one will buy an original, not-established story if they don't
know who you are or liked some of your other stuff."
"How do you find magazines that accept submissions?"
"There's a book that lists all them," Xander said. "Most libraries
have an older copy if they don't have this year's. Or you can
find one you like and submit to them. There's a few that do it in
each genre. Romance writers have a lot more than anyone. Or
there's some online as well."
"Thank you." He sat down to think about that.
The next one stepped up. Xander looked at Shank, grinning at
him. "Clancy sorts can't really do that," he said quietly.
"There's not many short story places for them." He nodded at that.
The panel ended and the kids all left. Xander looked at Paula. "Paula, this is Peter Yurchenko."
"Pleasure to meet you," she said. "Are you an author?"
"I am." He smiled. "Or trying to be one." He handed her the chapters he had selected.
She glanced through them. It was making her tingly. She
smiled at him. "I'll read these tonight while my dogs go play."
Rick snorted, shaking his head as he walked off. "Agent
Philips?" He looked over. "Problems?"
"Heard Harris was in town. Since we know there's others who might like him, I'm a bit paranoid." He glared at Shank.
Xander looked at him then at Shank. "You're retired?" Shank
nodded. He looked at his Homeland agent again. "Is he
the sort that I'd have to worry about kidnaping me overseas?" He
shook his head. Shank was shaking his more quickly. "Then
you won't throw a hissy if we have dinner?"
"With the caveat that he protect you while you're out. I have to go capture one of your other ex's."
"Which one? I ran into Arianna last night in my hotel room and wore her out then turned her in."
He sighed but nodded. "Her little brother, Artris' youngest son, and Miss Pelegrew are all in town."
"Eww." He grimaced. "My blood's admiration society.
Have fun with that." He looked at Shank. "You can clap when I
have to hurt one?"
"I can do that as well." He smirked. "You knew...."
"The way you stand and one of my one-night dancing with studs in New
York was Petrie Marsh." Shank shuddered. "He kept saying
that I needed to look at other agents when I wouldn't let him suck
me." He shrugged. "And I like your accent," he finished with
"Is a nice one," he agreed. "I will help him protect himself."
"Thank you," Agent Philips muttered, walking off shaking his head.
Shank smiled at Rick. "Coming to lunch with us?"
"No, I'm going to go upstairs and finish the last novel of who might've killed him. Paula wants it soon."
Xander looked at him then at Shank. "I've read through book six
and I still don't know who killed me." Shank snorted, walking him
off to a nice, quiet, safe place for lunch. They talked about
books and weapons, which was about all of Xander's life anymore.
That and Olivia.
Lorne walked up to the duo later that night. "Mr. Harris?"
Xander smiled at him. "That arms dealer ... He created a
tiny problem we might need you to look at."
"Why? Sit. You look awkward." He sat down. "What sort of problem?"
"Apparently his step-son hacks and got into your Homeland file."
Xander sipped his water. "The blood work, the 'I helped end the
initiative' files, or the sealed one that I was told says I'm mean,
evil, and liable to fuck the evil out of someone?"
"That last one definitely. It's why he wanted you. That and
he heard that Sophra had taken you but hadn't been able to keep
you. Apparently they're in competition and if he wins you, he'll
prove himself better."
Xander snorted. "She didn't like it when I freed everyone she
had," he said dryly. "Beyond that, the other two are fairly well
known about slightly. That they exist, the Initiative stuff was
found out about after the invasion. I only worry if the medical
records got unsealed."
Lorne smiled. "No, that's sealed so tightly not even other
governmental hackers can get into. I asked one earlier to make
sure. With their knowledge." He stared at him. "Also,
as a friend, I should point out I'm more dangerous than you and if you
hurt my friend I'll kill you."
Xander beamed. "That's cool. Thank you. I'm not that sort but it's nice to hear the shovel talk."
"I have many more weapons at my disposal than a shovel." He smirked and got up, walking off.
Xander grinned at his date. "It's nice when you have
friends. Most of mine wouldn't give the shovel talk to
anyone." He ate another bite.
Shank looked at him. "You have three?"
"Actually I have six. There's a few ones that're sealed after
incidents. Things like the reason Sunnydale got shut down. A
battle in New York. One of my dates." He shrugged.
"She was kinda...pathetic. Bad in bed. Little temper
problem. The last I heard, she was happy with her pet adoption
"Yeah, we had an argument near Willow Rosenburg and Willow turned her
into a basset hound. Said she had big ears anyway." He
shrugged a tiny bit and grinned. "Willow hated who I dated."
"Olivia's her daughter," he said quietly.
"Ah! From the LA team." He smiled. "Then I will not worry about suddenly having floppy ears and a tail."
"She might make you a lap puppy," he teased. "Think you could bark
with the accent?" Shank choked but it was because he was
laughing. Xander grinned. "So, do you like cats?"
"I have not had any."
"I have four. Well, I have one and three are Tara's but when her
last girlfriend showed up as allergic I got hers. She's got the
Shank smiled. "You live a very strange life."
"No, actually I'm living kind of a boring life. All I do all day
is write, take care of Olivia, and swim in the pool. Some days I
go to the gym or interviews. Then she goes to daycare to terrorize
their books." He ate a bite of dinner. "This is really
good. I'll have to remember this place." Shank smiled and
tipped his head slightly. "And the company." That got a
bigger smile. They went back to more mundane talks. Shank
explained golf to him. He even made it sound calming and fun.
They were walking back to the hotel, it was only three blocks and a
pretty night. "I'm not one to fall into bed after the first date
usually. I'm much too cute for that and the anticipation makes the
evil ones want me more after the second one." He grinned at his
date, who was blushing. "But I think that you're not that sort of
"No, not evil."
"That's a nice and great change in my life." He smiled as he
leaned closer. "I'm going to duck to the left to get around the
bum up ahead and let the reporter trying to follow us trip over him," he
hissed, getting a nod. They did that and she did trip over him,
which woke him up and he tried to tell her about his view that God was
coming, like the sign he was sleeping on said. They walked around
the corner and Xander paused, looking around. "Not tonight," he
complained. He stared in one direction. "Major magic going
on. Clearly not happy magic either." He grimaced. "And
me without an energy weapon. Fuck." He started to walk off.
Shank stopped him. "This city is full of agents. Some of
which do understand magic." He stared at him. "They would be
most upset and you would spoil dinner by being interrogated. They
would turn stomachs."
Xander relaxed and smiled. "You're sure someone can handle it? It feels like a summoning."
"Fairly so. Call your friend in Homeland."
"I don't have his number. He just shows up to scowl and arrest some of my dates on me."
"That is because you need better taste in who drools on you," Shank teased.
Xander blushed, grinning at him. "No drooling. I might slip on the puddle of bad girl drool."
Shank laughed. "I have never been a bad girl." He called
someone. "I am at Hyatt. Someone near here is doing a lot of
bad magic according to my dinner companion."
"East by about six blocks," Xander said with a point.
"Toward that small dog park. Thank you." He hung up.
"There, they will handle it for us. So we can talk about drool."
Xander grinned. "I usually try really hard to swallow all my drool
when I give head," he said shyly. That got a shiver. They
hurried back to his room and it was nice. Very nice. Not
very loud but very nice.
Lorne hung up. "Why would I know what to do about bad magic?" he
complained as he called someone else. "Someone with Yurchenko said
that bad magic is going on in the dog park near the Hyatt." He
hung up. He got an idea and called someone. "Rick Castle's
room please?" He waited. "Mr. Castle, Lorne Cash,
ECHO.... Bad magic.... Energy weapon? Sure.
Thanks." He hung up. "Now I know." He emailed that to
who he had called. That would help them. He hoped. He
didn't want to see a magical thing taking over DC. The politicians
might be less scum sucking than normal. Or do good for the
world. It might even be an apocalypse. Which would ruin
Agent Philips showed up at breakfast the next morning, staring at
Harris. "How did it escape your notice that there was a fifteen
foot zombie dog?"
Xander blinked a few times. "There was?" The agent nodded. "Sorry, I was busy."
"Busy?" he snorted.
Xander smiled. "Busy."
"Oh." He nodded once. "He was KGB."
"Okay? And?" He shrugged. "Is he wanted for anything?"
"Is he presently evil?"
"Then he's beyond the best person I've dated since high school." He beamed. "Thank you for telling me that."
"You're welcome." He walked off shaking his head.
Xander sipped some of his soda, shaking his head. "He complains
because I finally show taste in who I flirt with. That's insane."
Shank sat down with his breakfast from the buffet. "Sometimes agents can be that way."
Xander kissed him. "I don't care what you used to do. I'm
sure we're both mostly retired except for emergencies." Shank
nodded. "Then you still have a really cute accent." He
grinned and dug in again.
Shank smiled. The boy was very sweet. And good in bed.
One of the hotel staff walked over. "Mr. Harris?"
He looked at her. "If someone complained because I kissed him, I'm
getting on my knees to give him a blowjob right here and now."
She winced. "Please don't. I'll calm her down, sir."
"Thank you." He smiled and waved. "He's fantastic and he's
better than anyone I've ever dated." The mother huffed and turned
around. "Nosy." He looked at the staff member, smiling at
her. "Thank you for warning me that there's uptight people who
need Anya's cure." She giggled as she walked off.
"Anya's cure?" Shank asked.
"She was a big fan of things that ran on batteries to vibrate."
"Ah!" He nodded. "Please do not do that threatened thing," he said quietly. "Would embarrass me."
Xander grinned. "Me too but it's a good way to get her off our back."
"True." He buttered a croissant and nibbled. "You should
eat." Xander blushed but did eat. "Your publisher wanted to
talk to me at ten."
Xander looked at his watch. "She's up now." He looked around
then texted her. She came off the elevator a few minutes
later. "Morning, Paula."
"Good morning, Xander, Mr. Yurchenko." She sat down and got some
coffee. She smiled at him. "Your chapters were a very good
read. I'd be interested in reading the rest of it."
He smiled. "I can email it to you later?"
"Yes you can." She shook his hand. "If so, can you come to New York next week?"
"I can, yes."
"He can have a guest room," Xander quipped. "The Winchesters are
all back on the road so it's just me and Olivia with the cats."
Paula stared at him then at her newest author. "His cats treat him
like he's their slave and Olivia is usually adorable but a good
child." She smiled. "She comes in to pet one of my people's
He smiled. "She sounds like it."
"Good." She shook his hand and took her coffee up to the
buffet. By the time she turned around they were both gone.
"Boys," she huffed. Rick came down and they settled in to
eat. "Your newest book?"
"I've narrowed down the killer to two."
"How many more pages?" She nibbled on some eggs.
"Probably about sixty. Including the funeral."
"When will you know?"
"Within ten more." He smiled, digging into his own breakfast. "Where's Xander?"
"He and my probable new author are off....doing dangerous boy things probably."
Rick stared at her. "Good." He smiled and dug in. "He needs someone nice."
"He deserves it after all those disasters."
Xander looked around the golf course. "So I'm guessing you've traveled a lot?"
Shank looked at him. "Yes, extensively."
"I've been to a few events here in the US, twice in Canada, and two
signing trips around here and there. I love to travel
though." He grinned. "I never get enough time to see things
but I do like to travel."
Shank smiled. "Been to Moscow?"
"No. I was in Europe but the closest we got was Berlin. Then Italy."
Shank smiled. "Italy is very pretty." He took his shot and
Xander walked over. "Do as I showed you," he said, hovering behind
"It seems wrong not to hit it as hard as you can," Xander teased.
He did what Shank had taught him and it went pretty far.
"Whoo-hoo! Even mostly straight."
"Yes, but into the sand, which is tricky."
Xander grinned at him. "Sand's fun to play in sometimes. I
didn't do more than lounge on the beach in Rio when I went for a book
convention. Well, and picked up an explosives expert and then a
dominatrix who was a samba dancer. She worked on my rhythm
Shank looked at him. "Explosives expert?"
Xander huffed. "First her brother hit on me back when I was living
in LA. He got so mopey after I found out he sold drugs so I
dumped him that his sister swatted me for making him mope for *six
"After two dates? What did you do to him?" Shank teased, letting Xander grab the bag so they could walk off together.
"Not a thing. He wasn't really my type but I was *really* bored
and needed out of the house, and away from my muses, so I let him take
me to dinner. Until the second one when he talked about his
business." Shank shook his head. "Then I paid for the dinner
and told him I didn't date drug dealers. I went home and sulked
to the laptop. He got written into a story as a bad guy.
Then when I go to Rio, I end up picking up his sister."
"No, the agent in Homeland that likes me so much asked her. She
didn't know and I didn't realize it until I saw his picture in her
wallet the day she got arrested. She tried to swat me when I
mentioned her brother. So, and this is really weird but just *so*
my luck sometimes, she gets out of jail somehow. He has her put a
bomb on his car, remakes his will, has her remake her will, and then
they blow themselves up in his car. Leaving me their stuff!"
Shank had to stop to laugh.
"Seriously!" Xander said, looking at him. "Olivia and I had to go
to the Brazilian embassy in New York. He didn't really understand
why anyone would want me, because I'm one of those artistic types that
doesn't do *classical* art. We get everything of his handed over,
and then the lawyer shows up a few weeks later with a huge ass
check. Seventeen mil. I took it to the Brazilian section of
the city and handed it to a shelter for their drug treatment programs."
Shank quit laughing and hugged him. "You are insane."
"The muses did it to me," he quipped with a grin. "It's where they
don't let me sleep sometimes." They went back to walking to their
balls. "It's still nicer now that the curse on my ex's is over
He groaned. "Willow while pregnant. It made a bunch of my
ex's commit suicide and leave me their stuff." Shank gave him an
odd look. "Didn't see that in the background check?"
"I did not do one."
"Huh. One of my contacts told me that someone did. Maybe it was your shovel-carrying friend?"
"Could be Cash. He has a very good danger mental siren." He smiled. "So you can pay for your own clubs?"
Xander grinned. "I can probably do that if you can teach me how to
get the ball out of the kiddy sandbox without explosives."
"Explosives are cheating," Shank teased with a smile. "Though I
have been tempted." He taught him how to sand wedge and it was
nicer. He got his own and they moved to the next hole once Xander
had sank his last putt. They kept talking about the places Shank
had visited. Which was quite a lot but Xander did indeed inhale
the stories. "Where was the weirdest place you visited?" he asked
"The alternate me that Willow sent me to during a magical crackhead
fit." Shank paused his swing to look at him. He shrugged
slightly and shifted. "She's been struggling with her magic
addiction for years now. She kidnaped Tara to get her back and I
went to rescue Tara. So she sent me to the DCIS world.
Thankfully they thought it was neat if I wrote it. The me there
was a bit more burnt out on battles and things."
Shank hadn't read those books. Maybe he'd have to pick one
up. Even though fantasy wasn't his usual thing. "Do you do
"No." Xander grinned. "Take your shot. There's grumpy people behind us."
He looked then at him. "They are also retired."
Xander smiled and waved. "I'll quit distracting him for a few
minutes." They smiled and waved back. They took their shots
and moved on. "I did get to go there after I had met General
O'Neill." Shank gave him a sideways look. "I moved into a
cabin next door to him. I was... pissed at Buffy and Willow.
I was so pissed off I was chopping wood with a broken rib. Which
he stopped me from doing and got me treated." He shrugged.
"The leftover weenies from the Initiative mess had me move to Upper
Michigan instead. Apparently it panicked some people. Though, Thor
was kinda nice."
"The alien one?" he asked, looking confused. Xander grinned and nodded. "Why did you meet him?"
"He made me talk about why I was so pissed at Buffy and Willow."
He took his shot and handed Shank the club so he could use it.
Someone came rushing at them. Xander shot them in the thigh.
"Did you need something?" he asked.
"You're mean!" the man shouted.
Xander stared at him. "Really?" He smirked. "I know
some very nice demons who'd make you a tentacle toy. I'm sure
they'll be nicer than I am."
"No," he whimpered, moving back.
Shank looked at him. "You are distracting my shot."
Xander stepped on his chest, which made him hiss but stay quiet.
"Thank you." He took his shot then walked over, club still in
hand. "Why did you rush us?"
"He's going to make the demons not take over. I'll never get my
deal," he panted, staring at Shank. "Save me?" he begged.
"I am not the one you want to ask that to," he said dryly. "I
would hate to see demons win the world and then become tentacle toy
"I'd protect you," Xander said with a smirk for him. "Because half
of them don't want to screw with me." He glared at him.
"Old chap," an older British guy said. "You're not suppose to bring guns."
"Oops, didn't know that," Xander admitted. "Next time I'll use the crossbow." He smiled.
He stared at him. "Who are you, lad?"
"Oh, dear." He shook his hand. "I've heard many swearing about you."
"Yeah but I told Travers to blow me again recently." He
shrugged. "So anyway," he said, glaring at the person. "Call
your master. Maybe he'll save you." The demon appeared and
bowed to Xander before disappearing with his toy, who was screaming as
they disappeared. "Huh. He's not even really high up in the
ranks. He made a sucktastic deal with a lower demon." He
walked off. "Shank, do I have to do something special if my ball
went really near the water? Because if so, we need to go save it
before the wind gets it."
"You can wedge it from there but if it goes in you can reset it and count a stroke."
"So, blow it in," he mused.
"That, again, is cheating," he said with a smile. They walked off
to get save the ball from the water feature. The other spies
looked at each other. Shank smirked back at him. "He is
"All the evil guys think I'm a fantasy," Xander teased him with an evil smirk. "I thought you were a good boy."
Shank smirked back. "I am. You are cute but fantasy men are
overly slippery and hard to catch. That is why they keep at the
fantasy level." He took his own shot and ducked a wild shot
someone shot at them. "I need that hair," he called.
"Sorry, fore!" a male voice yelled.
"They're jealous that yours is prettier," Xander said. Someone
rushed at them but it was yelling in Russian. "Want my crossbow?"
"No." He knocked him out then into the lake. "He can play
with fishes." He walked Xander off. "I have no idea who that
Xander snapped a picture of his face and sent it to someone. "Hmm. Yurgi McIntosh?"
"Who are you asking?"
"The kitten poker circuit." He grinned. "They're very good
friends to have." He asked a question and handed it over.
"Ah. It's that time of year." He handed the phone back with a head shake. "Is trainee time," he called.
"Thanks for the warning. Take one back," a voice called. "Fore."
Shank looked at who was shooting and moved them both to the right. "He cuts to the left badly."
"So do I."
"You can learn better. He's pathetic," Shank assured him.
They finished that hole, went to the bar to get some water, and then
kept going once the other retired spies golfing buddies moved on.
He told Xander about the pretty parts of Russia. Xander looked
entranced and happy. It was nice.
A few days after Xander and Rick had went back to New York, Shank went
back to Lorne's bar, the Alibi. The bartender handed him an
envelope. "What is this?"
"From New York." He grinned.
He looked at the address then opened it. It was a single thick sheet of paper. He smiled at the news.
//You warped me so I want to go golfing. I joined a club, though
there's a third hole here that's impossible to get anywhere *near* the
par. I think it'll take me learning geometry. Olivia said
hi, she just learned that word today. She's walking around telling
all the cats she can catch hi. She thinks golf balls are cool
toys too. I bought her a baby set and she's enjoying waving the
clubs at the cats too.
Paula said to call her this week to set up an appointment. You
gave her wet panties but I'm not jealous or anything. <G> I
gave her a new book in a series I hadn't written in before. She
moaned in public and nearly got us kicked out of the hotel's
restaurant. She had been moaning over yours before I got
there. So apparently you're a slippery fantasy boy for her.
Rick said hi and to be safe. Also to watch the demons on the
Potomac. There's recently been some mean little cannibal ones
moving in and they seem to like tougher people to eat. By the way,
silver works on them or I can ask someone to come that way.
Let me know if you need a room when you come up. I have four of
them and mine. Have a good day and make par all this week.
Lorne, who was reading over his shoulder, smiled. "Olivia sounds adorable."
"She's two and a half."
"Awww." He smiled. He walked off. "There's a hunter in town. I saw one of the Winchesters."
"That's good to know." He tucked the envelope into his pocket. "Why send it here?"
Lorne looked at him. "He didn't want to pry and ask your address?" he guessed.
"He didn't ask," he realized.
"He's trying to let you be mysterious and a bit paranoid," the bartender
said. "It's the sort he is." He went back to washing
glasses. "The IRS auditor earlier cracked that glass when he slung
it at his ex-wife."
"I'll send him a bill or if he comes in tonight, charge him for it," Lorne called from his table.
Shank shook his head. He looked at Lorne. "He said someone
had done a background check on him." Lorne tossed him the disk
carrier. "Thank you." He left to run it at home. It
gave many things that were...interesting. Including the time he
had been on his roadtrip. He had much better rhythm now.
Two girls stomped up to Detective Beckett's minions. She was in
court so they were doing paperwork. "You have to stop them," one
Detective Kevin Ryan looked at her. "Who's doing what that we have to stop?"
"You have to stop Xander! He's dating someone....KGB!" the other
whined as she flailed a hand in the air. "He's retired and he
*golfs* and he's got an *accent*," she sneered. "He can't have our
Xander! We'll take him out if you don't stop him!"
"So, you're complaining that Xander's found someone who's dangerous
enough for him but decent," Detective Esposito asked. They pouted
but nodded. "Why would we stop that? Do you know how many
times we've prayed that he finds someone like that?"
"But he's ours!" the first whined.
"Apparently not," Ryan said with a smile. "If he's happy I'm not going to say a *word* unless he's evil."
"Then we'll just have to take him out," the second decided.
"Pity." They started to walk off but the detectives cuffed them
and walked them to interrogation to hear more about this guy. That
way they could warn him that Xander's other fanclub had heard.
Agent Philips walked into the Alibi, staring at the bartender. "Your boss here?"
"His other job." He grinned at the guy who was obviously an agent by his bad suit. "Problems?"
"Just a head's up. A few of Xander's more ardent...wanting society has decided that your boss's friend is in their way."
"Sure. I'll let him know. Are they going to try to kidnap him or kill him?"
"NYPD has arrested three so far. Two came up to get the detectives
the boy works with on his drool society when they need arrested.
They got another one when they went to talk to her. She agreed it
was a good idea and was looking for active prices on his head.
They didn't arrest her until she broke into Xander's house and he hung
her off the railing around his patio. Apparently she made Olivia
flinch." He put his hands in his pockets. "We keep track of
about thirty people because of his drool society. While I can't tell him
directly due to his past life, I can tell your boss if he wants the
"I'll have him or one of the people he works with a lot ask. You're...."
"Philips, Homeland." He smirked. "Thank you for warning him." He left, going back to his office.
The bartender looked around. They were open but dead. He
called his boss. "Lorne, I just had a really weird visit.
Agent Philips from Homeland wanted to know if you wanted the list of the
drool society that wanted Harris because apparently they've decided
Shank has to go. They've arrested three of them up there. He
said that they track about thirty overall. Yeah, not a
"He said he can't warn him due to his past life, but if you asked, you
could have it. No clue if the kid knows. He didn't say
that. Though he did say that they had arrested one after they
broke into Harris' house. He apparently hung her off the railing
around his patio because she had scared his niece. I told him I'd
tell you and someone you worked with would get it if you couldn't.
Yeah, have a safe case, boss." He hung up. Then he went to
take some tylenol. He didn't know anyone as bad as Harris
was. He hoped he never turned that way.
Xander looked up from his nibbling before going grocery shopping ritual,
spotting an ex. "Oh, not now," he muttered. That one
stomped over. "I have to pick up Olivia in two hours," he said
firmly. "I have to grocery shop before then."
"I can help you grocery shop," he offered, sitting across from him.
Xander stared at him. "I'm kinda seeing someone." He smirked at the scowl. "He's nice."
"You can do better," he snorted.
"He's sane, unlike some of mine." He ate a bite.
"True, but you can still do better."
"Than someone who made me moan in multiple keys?"
"You never let me try."
"That's because you kept trying to kidnap my tired butt." He
stared him down. "Aren't you not supposed to be in the US?"
"Well, yes," he admitted. "But I made the special trip to come see
you, Xander." He smiled. Until someone grabbed him by the
back of the neck. "Hey! Not yours! Unhand me!"
The woman smirked. "FBI, bright boy. Mr. Harris, who is
this?" Xander stuffed his mouth. She patted him down,
finding his ID case. She looked then smirked at him. "You'll
get me a promotion if I bring you in dead or alive." She walked
him off. She didn't realize that Xander was texting Beckett's
phone about her. He knew her. She wasn't *really* an FBI
agent anymore. She had gotten fired for stealing things - like
blonde, teenage girls for their trips to Hong Kong for slave sales.
He heard sirens and looked. "Go NYPD," he said happily. He
went back to his lunch, wondering why some scary people wanted in his
panties. He hadn't even flirted with her. So how did she
hear about him?
"You're a widely talked about possible mate in the underworld," a male voice with a familiar accent said.
Xander looked at him. "You're not Peter."
"No, I'm not." He smirked. "Is he in town?"
"Ask him yourself."
"Now, now, Xander. Don't be so testy. There's many who would gladly take you in as their true mate."
"And I'm seeing someone. So no. Thank you anyway."
"Hmm, but I think I have a better offer than all of them. I'll
even let you bring Olivia. She can be waiting on us by the time we
get to the airport." He flinched when the gun appeared in his
throat. "Xander, dearest," he said patiently.
"Someone get me an officer. He just said he kidnaped my niece from
daycare," he announced. Multiple people called. One of the
waitresses went to get one of the ones from the car stopping. He
came in and stared. "Where is she?" he asked.
"I'll tell you if you come home with me and make me deliriously happy," the man said with a smile.
"Um...." The officer looked at him. "Mr. Harris?"
Xander smirked and nodded. "Did he kidnap Tara or Faith?"
"Oh, shit," the officer said, backing up a step. He called for backup. "We'll find her. I promise we will."
"Of course you will," the man said with a laugh. "She'll be meeting us at the airport."
Xander stared at him then put up the gun and pulled out a knife.
That made the guy flinch and try to get away. Xander with a gun
was bad, Xander with a knife was dangerous. That was not the
emotion he wanted to stir in Xander's soul. "Oh, no, we're going
to talk. Let's go to the bathroom. It's easily
cleaned." He got up and hauled him in there. A minute later
the patrons heard a cackle then a scream. Five minutes later the
man came out crawling and crying. "Where is my niece?" he asked
"She's waiting for us at the International private terminal at La Guardia," he sobbed on the officer. "I'm very sorry."
Xander sneered at him. "You'd better hope they decide to arrest and deport you. Today."
"I'll fly out immediately. I have diplomatic immunity," he told the officer.
"I don't give a fuck what you have," another officer said as he walked in. "You're not going home ever."
Xander looked at him. "The last time I knew you were CIA, not NYPD. Get out of the fucking uniform."
"If you want," he said with a smirk. Xander cleaned the blade off
on his pantsleg. "Oh, dear. You're pissed off, honey."
"I never dated your ass. You're evil and stupid." He stared him
down. "I'm tired of this and if I have to go find the rest of you,
so be it."
"No, we'll be good," that one said happily. He started to back
out. He paused when he heard metal cuffs open. "Oh, come
"Shut up," Beckett ordered. "Or I'm calling your boss's mistress to let her tell him."
"She's a succuba," Xander offered. He pointed. "Can I finish having him?"
"We have Olivia," she assured him. "Someone there recognized her
from your interviews. They got her before we knew and had called
it in. Can you calm down?"
"Hell. No!" he said firmly. "Clearly I needed better taste
before." He glared at them. They all slumped. "And if
there's another one I'm going to kill *everyone* involved."
"Yes, dear," they said.
"Then ask for that curse to come the fuck back."
"Um...." Beckett said. "Why did they decide to mass?"
"Apparently they want to capture me for their wife before I get happy."
"Sure," she agreed. "Can you calm down?"
"No!" he said, shaking his head. "I'm going to have a fit."
"Sure," she decided, walking them out. She made a call. Ten
minutes later she had Olivia. She walked in and handed her
over. "They gave her some benadryl to help her nap. She's
been very good for the officer."
Xander looked at her. "You didn't have that outfit before."
She cooed and petted him. He cuddled her. "You're a good
girl, Olivia. If people like this come for you I'll kill them all
too." He sat down and let her help him finish his lunch.
Once things were cleaned up Beckett sat across from him. "I called
Philips. He warned your new friend." Xander stared at
her. "He's warned and he can handle it."
"I hope so. I don't want people attacked because of me," he said quietly.
"He won't be, Xander. Remember, DC has a lot of agents who'd be
more than happy to pounce the sort that want you for their fun and
games." He nodded, leaning back to cuddle the sleepy baby.
"Just relax and let the anger go," she said calmly. He
nodded. "We've arrested another two today for buying weapons since
their ID's stated they were foreign. All the smart ones are
watching for their chance, not doing things like this. Worry about
them, okay?" He nodded. "Good boy. Let's go back to
"I have to grocery shop."
"I'm sure we can do that." She walked him out. Olivia went
into the carseat the officer had found with her. "Is that hers?"
"No. It's too small for her. Hers is in my car." She
went to get it. He buckled her in and got into the car. "I'm
sorry if they're scared of me now," he said quietly.
"Any one of the people in there would've killed over their kids," she
assured him. "How much of a mess did you make of him?"
"Two small, tiny cuts." He smiled. "It's psychological."
"Good." She drove them back to the station. Xander carried Olivia up to the squad room.
She looked at all the bad boys and girls and scowled. "Bad yous!" she shouted. "Sit in corner!" She pointed.
Detective Esposito smiled and nodded. "That's right, they're bad
and they need to sit in the corner," he agreed, taking her to hug.
"You're all right and that's all that matters."
"Anyone who hurts her, I'm going to kill," Xander snarled. He
stared at all of them. "Am I clear?" They nodded quickly and
backed away. "The one that I cut... I'll do more than cause
"Sure," one squeaked. They all backed against a wall. "We'd
never hurt Olivia, Xander. We'd love to be her stepparent with
Xander growled. His eyes flashed a bit. The group screamed
and tried to run. "I'll be damned," he snarled. "My
niece. My pack. You're not worthy of my pack." They
nodded, shrinking down when they couldn't escape.
Beckett handed Olivia back and walked him into the break
room. She shut them in and let Xander calm down by cuddling
Olivia came out twenty minutes later scowling. "Nasty like diaper," she told one. "Mean bitch."
"No swearing," Xander called. "Come back, Olivia."
"Yup, bad them," Ryan said, giving her a cuddle. "But you're a
good girl, Olivia." She beamed at him and kissed him on the
cheek. "Go cuddle Uncle Xander." She ran back in
there. "Half of New York will kill you over that little girl," he
reminded them. "And then clap when Xander mutilates your corpse."
"Any others that want to do something similar here or DC, I'd warn
them," Beckett said. "Xander's reached his point of wanting
artillery for people. Since we can't stop him from protecting his
"Sure, we'll warn them," one said, grabbing a desk phone to call
someone. "Xander found out. Pieter tried to capture
Olivia. Xander went hyena," she hissed. "She scolded us and
he's not even attempting to calm down. He's going to kill us!"
Beckett took the phone. "This is Detective Beckett. If
there's any others who like this sort of plan, I'd stop them before
Xander does. We've had all sorts of agents having panic attacks if
he gets given some artillery today. Am I clear?" She
smirked. "Yes, here or DC. I'm well aware of that. I
don't rightly give a damn. If they try something, expect to have a
D'Hoffryn showed up in all his horned, demonic glory. "Harris,
please don't wish that curse back into being. We'll take them out
for you to save Olivia if you just calm down." He glared at them.
"You're only demonic, Xander's scary," one of the females complained.
"I'm the head vengeance demon," he sneered. "I'm trying very hard
to keep my people from him right now. Every single demon who is on
this plane wants Olivia to be all right. Because we're certain
that Rosenburg's magic addiction will happen and she'll destroy the
planet for real this time." A few nodded. "And if not,
"I'd need something bigger than artillery for that," Xander
called. "Of course, it's in the warehouse in the office.
It's even something that came from O'Neill's project."
"We'll never touch Xander or Olivia again," the biggest name in the
group said firmly. "We're not worthy of him. We're clearly
not worthy of him or Olivia being our stepdaughter."
Beckett smirked and hung up. "You're right, you're not." She
went back to her desk. "Let's get you all booked. That way
Xander can finish calming down." They hurried to free detectives
so they could make it to safety.
"Sit in corner!" Olivia called again.
"They're going to cells, dear. That's harder than sitting in the corner," Beckett called. "We'll show you later."
One of the officers came in to get Olivia, taking her to holding.
She pointed. "That's where adults sit in the corner," she told
her, smiling at the baby. "That's where they go when they're
"Ooh," Olivia said, staring at her. "Bad?"
"Yes, that's for bad big people. Little kids get to sit in corners. Big people sit in there."
She smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "Good you."
"I try very hard," she said, taking her back to Xander. Xander
cuddled her. "She knows the bad big people sit in the corner in
their cells." He grinned at her. "She's very smart. We want
to make sure she never goes evil." She winked and walked away.
Beckett looked at her. "Who're you?" she asked. "I don't recognize you as one of our officers."
"I just transferred in."
"We can check," Esposito said, calling downstairs to do that. "No, she's not."
"Sure," Beckett said. "Xander, do you know her?"
"She's one of the girls that Gunn used to date," he called. "She's not evil."
"No, we just watch over Olivia. I really did just transfer out
here." The commander came up and stared at her. "Sir."
"Lafayette. She did just transfer in from LA," he noted.
Beckett smiled. "We had to be cautious."
"I agree. Olivia will cause him to lose his temper."
"Too late," Xander called. Someone moaned. Beckett nodded.
The commander nodded once. "Should we expect more arrests?"
"Only if they don't realize he's going to kill them," Ryan quipped.
"Good." He walked her off, asking what had happened. She told him and he shuddered.
Xander walked Olivia into the apartment, finding people in there. "Did you get into the warehouse too?"
"No, we climbed up the fire escape," Lorne said. "She looks tired."
"She got taken. I've just destroyed a whole lot of hopes." He put her down. "Guys, this is Olivia."
She smiled and waved. "Hi!" She walked over to Peter, holding onto his pants. "Puppy?"
"Peter," he said, pointing at himself. "I'm Peter."
"Puppy?" she asked with a grin.
"Grandpa?" she asked.
Xander looked confused. "Who's Grandpa?" He got a picture
and held it out. "Where's Grandpa, Olivia?" She patted one
with a happy grin. "Aww, it's nice that John adopted you like
that. Can you say Peter?"
"Puppy!" she said happily, beaming at him.
"Would that make him a kitty?" he asked with a point.
She cackled and patted him on the leg. "Sit?"
He sat down, letting her climb into his lap. "What are you
doing?" She stared at him. Then she pouted. Xander
handed him a book. "Ah! You like to be read to. That
makes sense with your uncle's job." He read the book to her,
getting cuddled. "I am not used to children."
Xander smiled. "She's an easy care child." He went to check
on things. "Kitchen might have something but I doubt it. I
was going to go grocery shopping before I had to deal with some people
who wanted to adopt both of us."
Lorne snorted. "I heard."
"Did you talk to Beckett? She just arrested thirteen of
them." He went upstairs. "Damn it!" he called. He
slammed open a door and tossed the cat in there. She climbed up
onto the bed looking smug. "Just because I closed Dean's room's
door doesn't mean you have to pee on the bed." He came down the
stairs. "Let me order a new mattress." He walked into the
office to order one. Then he came out. "We have about three
hours and need to grocery shop," he said quietly. "Do you want to
help with either of those?" he offered.
"We can shop," Peter decided. She poked him so he looked at her. "Yes?"
She pointed at the book. "Book!"
"Olivia, I'll get you dressed in a minute. We can swing by the
library." He gathered up her books. Lorne gave him an odd
look. "I can let Tara hellion sit tonight." Peter beamed at
that idea. "Unfortunately that won't work with the cats." He
walked around one and got her something else to wear. He
came down with her packed bag. "Let's go see Auntie Tara!" he said
happily. She squealed and slid off Peter's lap to run over and
pounce him. "C'mon. Elevator." She pushed the button
and got in, pouting when he didn't immediately follow. Peter got
up, shaking his head but he was smiling. He got them into
the car and took them to the library. Tara looked up from reading
at the desk. He handed her over and her bag. "Her books are
here. Tara, this is Peter. Peter, this is Tara, who is like
"Good evening," he said with a nod.
She smiled at him. "It's good that he knows nicer people I won't
have to turn into goldfish." She hugged the baby. "I can
"Please. Beckett had to arrest a whole bunch of people who wanted
to take Olivia and me in. Oh, Dean's cat now has a bad
habit. She peed on my bed because I closed his door." He
walked off. "Grocery store?"
"We can find something good for dinner." He waved at the baby,
getting a smile and a wave back. "She is adorable, even if I am
not furry." He waited until they were in the car. "It is
early to introduce me."
Xander looked at him. "Tara's like my sister. Beyond that, I
needed her to know who you were in case one of the psychos came at me
again and you ended up needing help."
"I had not thought of that. I saw some of that earlier. What did you do to him?"
"I made two very tiny cuts on his pubic area. I made sure he knew
the knife was going to slip next time." Shank shuddered. "It
was psychological but effective and I didn't leave anything for someone
to clean up. Then again, he had kidnaped Olivia from daycare and
had her at the airport. He offered to have her meet us
there." He dialed one handed. "Miss Thibi, it's
Xander. I do have Olivia and she is safe. No, I
didn't. He was going to kidnap both of us but he came to
proposition me. No, she's good. Tara tonight. Thanks,
Miss Thibi. Yup, probably tomorrow. Have a good
night." He hung up and looked at him since they were at another
red light. "He had a letter."
"I would have expected her to be somewhere more paranoid."
"Olivia has her mother's gifts." Peter winced. "There's a
member of Tara's coven at the daycare. She's helped her a lot to
know not to use it all the time. Oh, if you find any books that
suddenly start to read to you in an Irish voice, Olivia did do it but
it's her daddy's voice. So we're leaving them."
"That is kind. Some day she'll want to know."
Xander grinned. "Thanks for not being weirded out."
"It is practical and kind of you. There is nothing weird about
that." Xander grinned. They pulled into the grocery
store. "What do children eat beyond bottles and cheerios?"
"She'll eat anything I cook. She's not on a bottle either.
We're at the potty training stage actually." He grinned. "So
I get what I want to cook and make sure she has vegetables and a
slightly balanced diet." Peter grinned, helping him pick things
out. By the time they got home, the delivery guy was
calling. "We'll be there in ten minutes. Two blocks and one
stoplight. Thanks." He hung up again. "The new
mattress. I'll put the old one in that nook beside the stairs
until I toss it out tomorrow with the trash." Peter
They got the mattress into the elevator and Xander came back for the
groceries. Then they went up to put it up there. Xander put
the sheets in the wash and moved the old mattress down there. He
and Peter made the bed. Lorne was working on dinner. That
was sweet of him. Xander came down. "Any room but the one
that cat's huffing in is open," he said. "By the way, you'll
usually find the cats in the closets so don't totally close those
doors. Their mother passed on the love of the shoe organizer to
"They sleep in shoe organizers?" Lorne asked.
"Yup, head down, tail up, and snoring." Lorne shook his head
quickly but he'd have to accept it. "The pool is upstairs on the
roof. The patio has a good place for yoga." He smiled.
"The pool is clothing mandatory whenever the baby's up here. The
wifi from the office extends to the couch. There's a good cable
package." He yawned. "Sorry, I'm a horrible host."
"It's cool," Lorne said quietly. "Show him your library."
Xander nodded, taking him back upstairs to do that. Lorne shook
his head. The more he knew about Xander the more he was like some
goofy kid who had spy memories downloaded into his brain. Or maybe
he was trying to stay out of the hunting life for his niece. They
came back down and Shank was pounced by a cat, but he only
stiffened. Xander removed the cat and chastised it all the way to
the couch. He sat down to check his email. "Any others?"
"Six. All of them in DC."
"We warned our friends," Lorne assured him. Xander grinned.
"Why don't you go swim or something? This'll be ready in about a
Xander yawned. "I'll fall asleep in the pool."
"Nap until dinner," Peter offered. Xander beamed and laid down
there. The cats gathered around him. He smiled when one
snored at him. "That is very cute," he said, going into the
kitchen. "Is a very nice house."
Lorne nodded. "It is. Though the warehouse is said to be pretty strange."
"Is known to be the storage area for mystical bad things." Peter looked over then back at him. "Is safe down there."
"It got some of the contracts on his life cut."
"Even better." He looked over then at him. "If he's the one, I'm happy for you," he said quietly.
Peter smiled. "We are barely dating. Do not plan fluffy wedding yet."
Lorne snorted. "I can't imagine either one of you in one of those. Shotguns...."
Peter snorted. "Assault rifles are hotter." He went to look
at the things Xander had collected in the office. He understood
why he didn't put his books in there. It would add pressure to see
what he had already done. Instead, he gave himself things to be
inspired by. Not many pictures of himself but many pictures of
places he went. A few pictures of the people who had went with
him. Pictures of his former friends. Olivia with her
parents, probably just out of the hospital. The girls in his
former life. He came out when the phone rang, answering it.
"Harris residence." He listened. "He is napping. That
is pity, he is still napping. Shank." He hung up.
"Someone sobbing that I am me."
"Probably one of the drool patrol," Xander muttered.
Peter patted him on the head. "Sleep." Xander nodded,
yawning and falling back asleep. He went to help with
dinner. It was homey but nice. It didn't make him think
settling down thoughts but it was comfortable. He could deal with
comfortable things for now. "I introduced him to golf."
Lorne smirked. "I heard. A lot." He cut up some vegetables. "So what was Tara like?"
"Blonde, pretty, quiet. Librarian. Olivia was more than happy to help her check in her books."
"She's probably spent some time there."
"She was squealing at the scanner and trying to scan her aunt."
"That's being a kid." He handed over the vegetables and nodded at
the pot, letting him toss them in. His phone vibrated so he pulled
it out and went outside to answer it. "Yeah, Max?" He
listened. "They got some up here. I think he said Beckett is
the one he works with." Shank nodded. "Yeah, Beckett."
"She's with homicide," Xander called, sitting up with a yawn. "How long did I sleep?"
"Mere minutes." Peter looked at him. "You have time."
Xander shifted. "I'm good."
Peter smiled. "You need rest in case you don't want to sleep later."
Xander grinned. "Good point." He laid back down facing the
back of the couch this time. The cats adjusted themselves around
Peter smiled when the snoring from the cats started again.
Lorne watched them from out there. They were adorable
together. Though Shank was in for a rude awakening when Xander had
to break bad in front of him someday soon. But they'd handle
Lorne walked into the police station the next morning with a file he had
been sent. "Detective Beckett?" She looked over
"Lorne Cash, ECHO," he said quietly, handing her the file. "The
ones we found in DC bothering normal people."
"Thank you." She looked it over and sighed. "One got bail here and went there?"
"It's possible. Though I'd consider it unlikely." She handed
over the booking sheets. "Okay, so not that unlikely."
"Is he here or there?" she asked quietly.
"Snoring on a cat, which is pretty disturbing since I didn't know he liked animals."
She smiled. "Xander can do that to you." She went back over
them. "I've arrested two of them." She got into her computer
to pull up those files. He read them and shook his head.
"Beyond that, is Xander calmer?"
"I hope so. Olivia went to her aunt last night."
"We know, we sat a watch on her place," she assured him with a
smirk. "Most of them know that he thinks of Tara like a sister."
"That's fine. Is there anything I can do today?"
"Our Homeland liaison is watching three people he's never associated
with Xander before," she admitted. "We have no idea why they want
He coughed. "Someone hacked into his Homeland file, but not the
medical results." She relaxed. "So it could be because of
that or thanks to the idea that he'd make the perfect underworld mate
and husband because he knows weapons, is protective, and is good with
the semi-evil ones."
"What is he?" she asked quietly.
"Former KGB. He's a friend even though he tried to kill me on and
off for years." She just nodded and sipped her coffee. He
smiled. "He even taught Xander golf."
"Good exercise." She closed the folder and handed it back.
"Help Philips if you want. If not, make sure Xander doesn't have
to kill anyone today?"
"Shank would do it for him if he had to." He smiled. "He's actually very good at it."
"Good! Xander could use someone that was just as protective as he is."
"Oh, yeah, he would be. Let me talk to Philips. If you need me, call." He walked off.
She smiled and sipped her coffee. "We need more agents like
him." Her minions came in. "DC arrested a few more of his
"Yay," Esposito said. "Happy paperwork to them."
She laughed. "His new boyfriend's nickname is Shank."
Ryan stiffened, looking at her. "As in former KGB agent?" he
hissed. She smirked and nodded. "Huh. Well....
"An author," Rick said as he walked in. "Peter's a very nice
guy. He has good taste in restaurants. He taught Xander
golf. He chided him gently when he shot someone on the golf course
but agreed he could use his crossbow the next time." He
smiled. "Paula has *major* wet panties over his book." He
sat down with a grin for them. "He seems to be the sort of man I'd
let my daughter Alexis date even though I know what he used to
do. They all say he's retired, which is nice. He's
protective. He got Xander to let someone else handle
something." They all looked awed at that. "Olivia apparently
called him a puppy."
She snickered. "I love Olivia. Some decade I want kids like her."
Rick grinned. "She's a good girl. Even if she does call John Winchester 'Grandpa'."
They all smiled and got happy for the day. It was probably going
to be a threat-free day with the ones that had gotten arrested
yesterday. Xander would have a happy day. The demons were
probably scared to piss Xander off today. So yeah, it might be an
easy day. Maybe even one without a dead body.
Peter walked up to where Xander was having an iced coffee. "That is an abomination of coffee."
Xander smiled. "I got warm waiting on you." Peter smirked at him. "How did it go?"
"She offered me much money and half of your muses." He sat
down. "Is a nice offer and I agreed." Xander beamed at
him. "She did say that the golf course you chose is very
"Yes it is." He smirked. "Want to go with me?"
"We'll share your clubs this time." Xander got up and took him
back to get the clubs, and so Peter could change, then they went to play
some golf. Peter looked at the clubs then at him. "Very
nice but expensive."
"He said it'd help me compensate for my alarming leaning to the left."
"Could, yes." He grinned at the boy. They got a cart signed
out and went out onto the course. It was nearly empty this time of
day, just a few retirees. They teed off, Xander letting him go
first. It was a nice ride. Apparently they didn't walk
here. "Why the ride?"
"They don't allow people to walk the course anymore. Not after a few trysts got found."
"Ah. That makes sense with those woods." Xander grinned at
him, a tiny bit of smirk added. "You are much more wild than I
"Anya liked it." He shrugged. "I just gave in like the girls who raised me had taught me to."
"I am much less wild." They got out to take their second shots,
Xander having to hike back to his. Peter snickered but it was
fine. They got to that troublesome third hole that Xander had
warned him about. It was on a dog-leg. It was filled with
water on one side, rough on the outer edge of the curve, and had a sand
trap right in the center. "This is not pretty," he admitted.
"And there's a bar right there," he said with a point and a grin.
"So we can't shoot over the trees. Someone in the shop was
bragging that someone made it in under seven shots."
"Seven?" he asked, considering it. "If you could go over the trees, you could probably make it in four."
"You'd hit the bar."
"Probably, yes." He went to look at it then shook his head.
"Aim for the rough." He handed him the proper driver. Xander
hit one off-center, like usual, but generally in the right
direction. He hit one to the rough, just on the edge of the sand
trap. They drove down there and he got a look at the other side of
the hole's course. "Whoever did this was sadistic."
"I figure they wanted to see people think in terms of geometry."
"Perhaps." He hit his next shot. Xander's swing was making
him wince. "Stop." Xander froze. He came over to help
him. Xander grinned at him and hit it. They followed.
It was in the rough before the green. Then up onto the green and
into the hole on the second putt since it was sloped so very nicely with
the hole on the top of the hill. "Truly sadistic. Must be
"Or Scotland and they're offended that some of us wear ugly things on
the course," Xander quipped. He made it in three putts. They
marked their cards and moved on.
"Are others this hard?"
"Sixteen because of the way the hill slants. It's a bit...steep if you go the easy way."
They finished the other holes before that other troublesome one.
Peter scanned it and formulated a plan but was muttering about sadistic
course managers. He chipped it up the hill to the top and watched
it roll partially back down. Xander hit his harder and went over
the hill to the other side and the woods. Then he chipped it
back. Peter looked at him. "Are other golf courses here this
"Don't know, they're members only and members have to be
approved." He stared at him. "Technically I do have an
inherited membership at one of them but they're all snobs and I'd rather
gut most of them."
"That makes sense." They finished up and got lunch then went
home. Xander got some writing time in. Peter went to write
by the pool. He liked it up there. There was some music and
it was nice. Even if the cats did try to help. He petted the one
trying to invade his lap. "You are not my pet. Go steal the
master's lap." She wiggled in anyway and gave him a smug look
until he petted her the wrong way. Then she moved. He let
her sleep on the back of the chair, which she apparently liked
anyway. "Xander, one is trying to visit the next building,"
Xander came up and used his super soaker gun on the cat, making it
shriek and run off. "No visiting!" He looked at the other
ones. He hit the one by his...friend's foot, making her scream and
jump. "No eating the chair either." Peter laughed.
The cat huffed but went inside. "I closed my bedroom door," he
said dryly. "So I don't need another mattress." He stripped
off and dove into the pool.
Peter looked at him. "I need to edit."
"I'll do yours if you do mine."
"That sounds faintly dirty but a good idea." He closed his laptop
and stripped off to dive in as well. "Baby comes back when?"
"Auntie Tara demanded the right to have her until Sunday." He
beamed. "She's missing cuddly time." Shank smirked back and
let Xander tease him. He was good at it.
"Sorry," Beckett said, getting back on the elevator. "Didn't mean
to intrude. Xander, your father's out. He tried to get into
your old place again."
"Did he beat them this time?"
"No, he got demanding when the officer told him you had moved and made a
threat that he'd kill you." She went back down to the car
blushing. Rick stared at her. "They're in the pool."
"Aww. Is he cute?"
"They're naked. He's very cute." Rick rolled his eyes.
"I had no idea Xander was built like that." He stared at
her. "Really." She started the car and drove off
again. Maybe they could talk Xander's father into going back to
California for good. Preferably today. They walked back into
the squad room. "He's busy."
"Busy?" Esposito said with a grin.
"They're in the pool."
"Ah! Busy!" He nodded. Xander's father growled.
"Your son does that better." He went back to the paperwork.
Beckett answered her phone. "Beckett." She listened, taking
down the address. "Yes, her husband is out. That's what we
want to do, yes. Let me conference you in." She put him on
hold and hit the button to do that then the parole office in New
York. Then she brought him back.
"Thank you, gentlemen. We do have a Tony Harris, released today,
here. He is not officially in custody but he did make a threat
against his son for daring to have moved over a year ago." She
listened. "That's what we need to figure out, yes. Can he
live with her since they were both in jail?" She made a
note. "I'd assume that they had proof of the marriage.
Probably within the social services files. Please." She waited
while they talked.
"I can talk his son into giving him a ticket back there. I know he
won't take him in. He's very adamant that he won't take either
parent in. Yes, the same person." She listened.
"That'd work. Thank you. We can transfer him out
there? Even better. I'll have him out there by
tonight. Thank you, gentlemen." She hung up. "Good
news, Harris, you can join your wife where she is." She texted
Xander's phone. No answer after a few minutes. She
called. Answering machine. She sighed and called
"His father's out. Parole has granted his request to go live with
his wife if Xander will front him a ticket." She nodded.
"Not answering. They were in the pool a bit ago though so maybe
they're not up there." She smirked. "Very. I can do
that. Thank you, Paula." She hung up. "She can get
Xander to give you a ticket home. We have your ID that was in your
things so you're not going to have a problem there. We'll even
make sure you get there."
She got a text and sent one to her about where he needed to go.
She got one back with a ticket number and information for the
flight. "Good, let's go. We have to get you there in two
hours." She walked him down to the car and took him to the
airport, making sure he got onto the plane. Then she went to get a
new coffee in reward for not slapping him. Or shooting him.
Or even stabbing him. So maybe she needed some chocolate as well.
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