Interesting Meetings.

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 evil."

"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 tense?"

"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 someone."

"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 off.

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 out-macho anyone."

Rick swatted him.  "Lay lower, Xander."

"Yes, mom."

"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."

"Spy thrillers."

"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 night."

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 happy."

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 Olivia."

"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, probably."

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 people."

"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 romances?"

"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 sat down.

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."

"So, magazines?"

"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 a grin.

"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 family."


"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."

"Is she...."

"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 puppy though."

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 guy."

"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 Shank's date.


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 fish screensavers."

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 him.

"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 issues."

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 years*."

"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."

"Her choice?"

"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 with."


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 finally.

"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 that often?"

"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 myself."

"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?"

"Xander Harris."

"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 fantasy author."

"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?" he asked.

"No."  He knocked him out then into the lake.  "He can play with fishes."  He walked Xander off.  "I have no idea who that was."

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.  "Trainee."

"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 demanded.

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 list."

"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 joke. 

"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?"

"Worse.  Olivia."

"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 coldly.

"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 on!"

"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 the office."

"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 psychological damage."

"Sure," one squeaked.  They all backed against a wall.  "We'd never hurt Olivia, Xander.  We'd love to be her stepparent with you."

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 her.

Olivia came out twenty minutes later scowling.  "Nasty like diaper," she told one.  "Mean bitch."

"No swearing," Xander called.  "Come back, Olivia."

"Bad them."

"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 niece....."

"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 funeral."

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, Harris will."

"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 grounded too."

"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.

"No, Peter."

"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 my sister."

"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 babysit."

"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 nodded. 

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 them."

"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 half hour."

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 him again.

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 that.


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 him."

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 admiration society."

"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.... dangerous, deadly."

"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 difficult."

"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 am."

"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 from here."

"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 hard?"

"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," he called.

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 Paula. 

"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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