Two days later Xander walked into his advisor's office, closing the door after looking down the hall. "I can't call her directly but I have to miss my classes until the idiots on campus are gone."
"Why? The ones after you?"
"A friend apologizing for getting me in their sights found me a few days ago. It was accidental but they're searching and they're in Professor Prima's office."
She nodded. "Give me a chance to look at something, Xavier. Is Chicago going to be safe for you?"
"I don't know. I thought it might be." She nodded. He heard boots and frowned, looking around before freezing her and flashing off to where John was waiting. "They were in my advisor's office. I froze her to flash off."
"Good job. Call her."
Xander did that, getting her. "It's me, I'm sorry I did that." He nodded, making mental notes. "I can do that. Can you call me later with a suggestion?" He smiled. "I knew one was nearby. Thank you and I've enjoyed learning from you. I'm doing that now." He hung up. "We need to hide a bit better so I'm pulling out my backup hiding plans. We need to get some things then hit a hotel."
"Hit a hotel, tell them your luggage was lost and you've got to shop," John ordered. "Can we afford that?" Xander gave him an odd look. "I don't know what you have, kid. We can talk about that later."
Xander pulled out his backup ID kit, holding up the prepaid credit card. "It's got a ten grand limit, John." John moaned. "I used my mad cursebreaker skills." He got them outside and into a taxi, taking it to an upscale hotel in town that had security.
John walked in. "My nephew and I were coming in on a few hour layover and our things got jacked at the airport," he said quietly. "They want us close by for a few days. Do you have a double room available?"
"I think we do, sir. Let me check." She got into her system, nodding. "We have a small double room or we have a small suite." She looked at the nervous young man behind him, smiling some. "The suite is about the same price. Let me see if we can give it to you for the same rate."
"Don't worry about the cost," Xander told her, handing over his card with a smile. "I planned on doing some shopping." She ran it and moaned at the balance. "A week please." She nodded, signing them in. "Thank you. We'll be shopping later, after a nap. It's been a bit of a long day."
"I can understand that. Should I put a note in that the police might be coming to you for a statement about the theft?"
Xander shook his head. "No thank you. Just warn security in case they come back since I had most of the loose cash on me. I'm not sure if they'd come back for more or not."
"We can do that, sir. We have very good security. I hope you get things back." She handed them room keys. "The elevators are over there and there's a room service menu on the table up there if you need us, gentlemen. Our restaurant delivers or there's a few nice places within a safe walking distance."
"Thank you," John said, smiling at her. "I'm hoping we can move on shortly and put this behind us." She nodded so he walked the boy off, taking him up to their suite. "You need a nap, kid. You look more pale than usual." He gave him a nudge toward the room. "Go nap in there."
"Yes, John. You must've been a pretty good dad." He went to lay down for a nap. John just smiled and checked over what they had available. Including in-room free internet service. Xander's backpack had his laptop so he sent an email to Sam about what happened then settled in to wait on the boy. Having a ten grand prepaid credit card on him meant that he was probably wealthy enough at the moment to pull an emergency move. When his phone rang, John let the voicemail get it. It came up as one of his teachers so he let them talk to the voicemail for now.
Sam opened his email on his phone with a scowl. "Willow's popping around to check on him brought the watchers. They're hiding." Dean shook his head with a moan. "Can't we go beat her?"
"Maybe. We're headed in the right direction. About an hour from there." Sam gave him a mean smirk. "We can definitely have a good yell at the very least. I'm surprised she can already sit. If we had done something like that, we wouldn't be sitting for well over a year."
"If then," Sam agreed. "They'd still be picking bits and pieces of silver and rock salt out of our asses." Dean hummed that he agreed, changing songs. "Dad's email said that Xander has a backup ID and they're at a major hotel after being mugged."
"That's a good plan. We heard Xander can plan." He switched lanes to take an exit so they could get gas. "Pit stop." That got a nod and they got out to pump gas and get sodas, plus have a bathroom break. Sam hated to pee off the side of the road. Dean didn't much like it either, but sometimes you had to.
Two weeks later Xander faced off with his new advisor and knew he's have a problem. "Miss Hargrove."
She stared up at him. "I'm not telling my father you're here. I think they're wrong."
"You're doing *this* for your new life?"
He nodded. "That way I can still help others. I seemed to like it."
"Ah." She nodded. "A few were?"
"Three, four, something like that."
"With a t-shirt habit that made people shake their heads in confusion," he quipped with a grin. "I have a monitor."
"I've heard they called someone back." She looked at him. "No wonder you tested out of some of the classes." He nodded. "Fine. We did accept you and our director does know of your little problem with being hunted. He thinks it's a serial killer."
"Only some of them."
"You won't hear much disagreement from me on that," she told him. "We will have a few problems. You have to wear out that magical tingling even I can feel.... Javier."
Xander nodded. "I know. I'm trying."
"John's having me dump it again later."
"Good. Anything I should know?"
"In the ones where I ... did this, I had a small clubbing problem and it seemed to have followed me. They like me enough to tip me even when I complain."
"That's absolutely a charming talent."
"Not my fault."
"No, it's probably something you can't help. Except for not going out."
"I try very hard not to and all the others wanted me to be gay too."
"That might be better." She pulled out his transcripts. "So far you're not looking too bad. Decent and good grades. Heavy classload. You'll be done in a few years." Xander nodded. "Then what?"
"I'd like New York. A major lab would be easier to hide myself in."
"True. And that's a huge department that's highly overprotective and closed-mouthed about it's people."
"Plus, if their head of their labs is anything like the ones I saw, it'll be easier," he said quietly. "Proving it and then letting him shield me." She nodded. "If not, east coast but not Fed?"
"There's a few good departments that way. I can see you doing that. I heard rumors you were a gun nut."
"Yes, but if I remark on my personal collection I'll get beaten by John. His son told him and he nearly spanked me for it," he offered with a grin.
"I wouldn't admit to that then. Legal?"
"What can be put in for licensing has been."
"Don't tell anyone else that."
"How would you like ATF?"
"They're kinda scary and would hate me for that fact. And hate that I'm being hunted even more."
"Good point. Okay. You managed to pass all your tests via email last semester so you're good with us. It was nice that they tried to take two of your professors hostage to get you. Did you get them back?"
"No, I told the local department and let them handle it. Including that I was the one they were hunting for and that's why I was in hiding and that they wanted to dissect and then kill me. They weren't pleased."
"Did you turn them in for weapons?"
"Hell yes. If they'd leave me alone I'd kiss them for it but without tongue. Because I think most of them like to eat shit too much to not have nasty tongues." She giggled but nodded. "Thank you for helping me."
"I hate to see talent going to waste and my father has no idea what he's doing. We knew you weren't normal when you jumped in and some of the ones you hunted were more scared of you on chocolate than they were of our girl." He smirked at that. "Don't do that here."
"Only during finals."
"Good. As for next semester, you've already taken two classes we recommend but you missed one on our list for last semester." She let him see the schedule of classes they had for their program. "These are only offered in the spring, Javier. Next fall you're going to have to make up that one class."
"It's not offered any other time?"
"Damn. Is it just a self-defense class? Because I can take that in town if I have to."
"I can ask about that. Are you going to conform to our standards?"
"Can I test out of A&P biology?"
"Can I have a tutor?"
"Definitely. Anything else you'll need a tutor in?"
"Possibly if I have to take econ or history again."
"I can see that." She pointed. "You tested out of one of your humanities spots so you're good there. The other you can take psychology or sociology for it. Either would be more helpful for you." He nodded at that. "Ballistics?"
"Yes, ma'am. Maybe with some trace and field classes added in?"
"We can do that. You'll be here an extra semester though."
"You're sure you want to do that?" He nodded. "Are you working?"
"I have emergency funds."
"Good. I won't ask how."
He leaned closer. "In one I had a hormone condition that drew every demon and human alive to want me," he said quietly. "I'm trying to keep that one gone." She moaned, shifting in her chair. He sat back up. "It's why now and then I get confused minded and drift off on my thoughts."
"I'll warn them about that. The whole department knows you switched because someone took some of your old professors hostage trying to get you, Javier." He nodded at that. "Good boy." He barked. She laughed. "You'll have fun at least. Let me fill out your scheduling slip. Where are you staying?"
"Off campus with Uncle John. That way I don't do frat parties and things."
"Good idea." He took the slip she filled out. "Go to the registrar. You're already admitted into the program. I wish you luck, Javier. I think you have what it takes if you can pay enough attention."
"I can; just now and then I get lost in my thoughts and forget to eat." He shook her hand. "See you in a few weeks, ma'am." She nodded and he left, going to the administration building to register for classes. Then to the bookstore for his new books. He carried home the bags, groaning when he dropped them on the table. "John, I need to take a self-defense class since I missed it last semester. I've got advanced self-defense my senior year and by then I need to be able to do hand-to-hand stuff."
"I can teach you some of that."
"They'd need the paperwork but you're more than welcome to take it with me so you're not bored."
"I'm doing some research for the group."
"That's cool. I have the library that Bobby and Sam can get into." He sat down to pull out his books, earning an odd look. "Five hundred dollars for eighteen credit hours."
"Very but necessary. Oh, interesting note, my advisor is the daughter of one of them. She knows but she told me she's not sticking up for them. The whole department knows I had to change over because they took some of my professors hostage to get me, and she said everyone knows they're still hunting me but says they understand about serial killers. And this time I don't have to take Econ and have a gang member tutor me," he finished more happily.
"Probably a good idea, kid." He looked at the titles. "Anatomy and Physiology?"
"Biology class. Also for nursing and pre-med students." John shuddered. "A chemistry, a physics this summer, an english, two forensic classes. My art elective for the forensic classes is a sketching class to help me learn how to do room and scene sketches better. It also covers photography."
"Good I guess. It's a lot of work to work with guns."
"Yeah but I need to have the full degree," he admitted. "Plus it gives me a good career where I'm doing what I like to do and I can still help people."
"I understand why, kid, but it's still a lot of work. Like Sammy going pre-law."
"Sam had a good GPA too. Mine's only in the three-point-eight range." That got a nod. "So is there a dojo or other class type thing around here?"
"Two of them." He handed over the paper. "You told her about me?"
"I told her I was living off campus with my Uncle John to make sure I didn't do stupid things, like frat parties, when she asked. I told her I had a good exemplar going and she told me not to tell others that." He laughed, nodding. "I did tell her what had been able to be filed for licensing has been. She suggested the ATF for a future job."
"No thanks. Where are we thinking?"
"Major lab so I'll be easier hid, NYPD if possible because I remember working well with their lab people. They even put up with odd t-shirts."
"I noticed a few had appeared in your closet." He gave him his best dad looked. It worked better on him than it did on Dean when he brought home trashy women or Sam the first time he caught him drinking. It was nice that the boy listened to him as a father figure more than his boys ever seemed to.
"I like my smart-ass t-shirts," he offered with a grin. "Any idea if they're any good for teaching?"
"Nope. We can go check them out. Or the Y usually has some classes like that and they're in the next town. You'll need to be in good shape for when they make you do the academy portion of your training. Running, climbing, that stuff."
"I saw that in the Police Academy movies."
"Probably not the same," John said tolerantly, going back to his research. "Did you eat?"
"Good. Go put those up and get things ready for your first day." Xander nodded, going to his bedroom to do that. John shook his head. Going from Chicago to Louisiana was just a strange transition. The boy didn't seem to mind but he could tell that hormone thingy was coming back. "Wear those out, kid. Now. Before you draw problems."
"Yes, sir. Going to. Want to find the bar tonight?"
"Hell no. I don't feel like going on a rescue tonight. Do it yourself and then go find a gay bar."
"Fine." John shook his head but the kid did close his door and he could hear him getting a bit loud with the quiet movie he was playing in there. He paused to listen. There was gunfire so it wasn't a porno. He decided he didn't want to know. He really didn't. Though he did write Sam an email saying textbooks were more expensive and thicker than he remembered.
Two years later Xander faced off with the senior self-defense instructor. "I did take outside classes, one a semester," he said at his complained grunting. "Plus my uncle is a retired Marine, sir." The teacher lunged at him. Xander tossed him down and got him into cuffing position. He backed off, letting him up. The teacher stared up at him. "Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Or did you want me to wipe the floor with you, sir?"
"Maybe. I try very hard to keep any violent impulses to myself most of the time. Especially since I know I can't while arresting a suspect."
"True." He got up. "Okay, fight me for real, Elton." Xander lunged and fought him, using what he had learned and remembered. He had to duck one blow at his head but the teacher was back against a wall before he realized it and giving him an awed look. "I know why you had to learn it."
Xander nodded. "Which is why I did, but I keep it to myself," he agreed.
"Good. Work with the women."
"Yes, sir." He went to work with the female members of his class, helping them with their protections and how to get people down when they were being assholes and trying to kill you instead. The teacher went to take a tylenol and write the boy's advisor an email saying he had the skills to pass his class so he was using him as a demonstration model and helper instead.
Xander raised his hand when the local police academy's instructor was giving them a talk. "Sir, what if we want to work in another area of the country? Should we go through the academy here and transfer or go through it there?"
"There," he said. "They always appreciate people going through their own academy. I was briefed about your desire to go north, Elton. Go there instead of here." Xander nodded. "I can get you those forms."
"Please. If it's not any problem, sir. Should I worry about the pre-testing here or there?"
"Here. I can pass that on for you as part of your app." Xander nodded. He went back to his speech for the new cadets. They had to pass the academy to work in the local departments, or even in the state. That one boy had promising records so maybe he'd do good up there. It was a hard department to live in but he had skills. When it came time to work on the pre-testing he found the boy had a few weak spots. He couldn't climb a rope worth a damn but he could hop the wall or a fence. He was a bit slow on the running portion but he was also limping from the fall he took while trying to climb the rope. At the end of the pre-testing he pulled him aside. "Do you want to go into the field?"
"Now and then, not as a career. I want to play with the pretty guns and make sure they're where they belong."
"Then you're not bad but you need to work on your running times and your climbing skills, Elton. They'll insist. Also that you be able to swim."
"I can. I did the swim team for a bit in high school."
"Who is after you?"
"Homicidal Brits who think I'm evil and going to destroy their world. Which I will if they find me again."
"I turned them into the Feds for their weapons collection once." He grinned sweetly. "I have a 'fuck with me and die' thing going with them whenever they try me."
"I can understand that. The department you want is hard."
"They can shield you though."
"I'm hoping so, sir."
"Good. Work on your running and climbing. Maybe some endurance work too."
"I'm good on endurance. I've been up for three days." The officer groaned, shaking his head. "Finals are in a week. I've got to set things up for next semester. I take these moods."
"It's probably the paranoia, which in your case is good. I'll pass your scores up to them and let them have the app you filled out earlier after finishing your run." Xander nodded, shaking his hand. "Take a nap and eat, kid. You skipped lunch to fill that out."
"Yes, sir." He drove back to the apartment, coming in and flopping down. "I still can't climb a rope worth a damn and my running times were slow," he said with a pout.
"Is that going to keep you out of the academy?"
"No. I was beyond mandatory beginner times. Just slow. And I fell while climbing the rope."
"We can work on that. It's mostly arm strength. That and some jogging." He looked at the boy. "Any other good news?"
"He can pass back my scores today to the academy in New York with the app I filled out. He said I should go through theirs after I graduate next semester."
John smiled. "That's a good plan. It's about time to move on anyway." Xander nodded. "Any other bad news or things you need to work on? Beyond sleeping and eating since you haven't? Again."
"He got onto me for that too but it's finals next week."
"Eat, shower, then nap, Xander." He nodded, going to fix himself something. "Bottom of the fridge on the plate. I figured you'd be later."
"That's for those going locally." He pulled out his plate to warm up. "Thanks, John. You're a good daddy to me." He took his food to his room, going to nap now and shower later. He was a bit tired now that they had mentioned it.
John shook his head but he was smiling. The kid grew on you. After three years he was almost a Winchester. He certainly appreciated his training more than Sammy had when he was younger.
John looked up from his shirt mending, finding Xander chewing on his bottom lip while staring at his closet in his room. "Need to do laundry? I'm done with the machines."
"No. I think I have other problems." He came out and sat on the other end of the couch, staring at him. "I can buy you a new t-shirt, John."
"It's good to make them last so you don't waste resources," he reminded him.
"My teacher said I need to have a few wardrobe lessons."
"For?" he asked patiently.
"Testifying, interviews, dates maybe. Doctor Sullivan wants me to date her niece. She thinks I'll figure out what's wrong with her and cure her or make her go fully evil so she can be handled appropriately."
John shook his head quickly at that thought. "No, she'd go fully evil. We don't want the psych major to go serial killer. It'd make it harder for the FBI to catch her." He went back to his mending. "So you need a suit?"
"Or two or three. She also said I need better clothes for working in the lab. She said dockers at the least in that lab, dress pants and a button at the best." John grimaced at that. "I know, kinda fussy to me too. Especially with all the chemicals and gunshot residue I'll be dealing with daily. But she did say I needed more than good jeans and a decent shirt most of the time. That the lab I want is really fussy about that."
John considered it. "There's a small suit shop in the next town."
"Which you looked at the last time we were at Foot Locker and said it was crappy," Xander reminded him.
"I did, didn't I." He considered it. "Where did the women of the department suggest?"
"Heading out for a weekend to Dallas."
John stopped his sewing to look at him. "Why Dallas? There's a closer city. Or New Orleans."
"New Orleans is barely getting department stores open again after the hurricane. She said I might be able to find one but they'd look like funeral wear, which would make me look like a Fed."
"That's a disgusting thought," he decided, putting his shirt aside. "Other than that, why Dallas and not some other major city?"
"She said Dallas is the South-West version of New York and Atlanta. Plus it's in easy driving distance. Kinda. Two tanks of gas probably in my car."
He considered it. "How much shopping do you really need to do?"
"At least two suits and all the stuff to go with it for testifying and interviews. At least dockers for decent pants. She said if I go this weekend she'll let me take something to the cousin she has in their lab so I can ask them nosy questions in case I want to come back south again. She wants me to head to Texas and become one of the Rangers, only in the lab."
"They do good work," he agreed. "We'll talk about that if it has to happen." He considered it. Dallas wasn't *that* far. About a day's drive at the most. "Houston's closer."
"Dallas has three *major* higher end stores and the concubine me's voice said that attorneys would respect me more if I was in designer instead of cheap knock-off suits. That it says 'respect me' more than a ten dollar one from the thrift store." He shifted closer. "The other ballistics mes are saying about the same thing. Two of them are cooing over Armani."
"There's no reason to spend that much on anything, much less a single suit," he said patiently. "Some of their suits are more expensive than both our vehicles."
"Well, yeah, but if we go next weekend, they're doing season end clearance, which means it'd be closer to normal people prices," he offered. "And I'd look really good. So maybe I'll find a girl that's not that evil." He rubbed his forehead. "Or they want me to date the guy who wants to do chem work in Vegas."
"No. He's a bit freaky, kid." He patted him on the head. Now and then he liked the other voices he carried for having him date boys but they still had bad taste in who to hit on. "We can go to Dallas." Xander hugged him, bouncing some. "You will not bankrupt yourself buying clothes."
"No more than a trunk full," he promised with a grin. "I'll even try to get some for colder weather since we're going north and they have snow there." He got up. "I'm going to look up a shopping directory."
"No Armani." The kid pouted at him. "Look at the less exclusive, cranky designers. If you show up in an Armani suit on your first day, everyone's going to wonder how you afforded it."
"Good point." He bounced off to look up a shopping directory online. "What do you think about hitting someplace like a higher end department store that carries a few designers first?"
"I think it'd be smarter so you could price shop," he said patiently, shaking his head. He wrote his younger son about the suit issue. Did Xander really need that many? Sam's answer that he had been told to start stockpiling so he had at least two week's worth of suits on hand - the higher end the better - when he graduated was going to make his head hurt. Who could stand a suit every day?
John looked up from his reading in the parking lot of the Dallas PD lab as a SWAT van pulled in. He winced. "Damn it, kid, why do you have this luck?" he muttered. "I'm going to find a wish demon and remove it from you one way or another." He got out, walking over there. "Guys, my nephew is in there. He's a ballistics tech student out of Louisiana. His teacher was having him drop a birthday present off to her cousin. Should I try his phone for you?"
"No, sir. Where are you parked?" He pointed. "Can you pull back some? Just in case?"
"Sure, no problem. The young, smartass with the slightly sloppy post-basic-training military style haircut is my nephew Javier."
"Good to know, sir." He watched him go move the car and wait in it. "Do we have the cameras yet?"
"Not yet, sir. Nearly," someone called from inside the van. "Huh, I don't know that officer."
The head guy went in to look over his shoulder. "I have the feeling that's the nephew of the guy who just offered to call him. If so he's a ballistics tech student." They watched another guy with a gun rush in and the kid grab him and drop him, then kick him in the back of the head to keep him down. Then he called for a set of handcuffs. "Just the four they reported?"
"Yes, sir," one of them said.
"Then let's go look at this boy, make sure he's not one of them." They walked inside, checking carefully as they went.
Xander popped out, putting the gun down in front of them. "They're mean to their guns. Two are kinda dirty and nasty. And two swear more than I do." He pulled out his ID carefully, holding it up. "I did what my teacher ordered."
"All but the kick to the head," the head guy said patiently. "Is that regulation wherever you did your internship?"
"No, sir, that's practical so they don't get up while I don't have handcuffs. It's that or make them assume a full yoga position that they can't get out of easily or quickly. I figure that way was more humane. I'm sorry if I stepped on toes, sir."
"You didn't, son, but are you mental?"
Xander grinned. "My teachers ask me that now and then when I coo at the new guns." He bounced on his feet. "That's my teacher's cousin."
"She did send him with my birthday present, a delightful new afghan," she offered. "Yes, she says he is slightly insane and wanted me to try to recruit."
"Maybe if I have to leave up north."
"Why would you?" one SWAT guy asked.
"Because some homicidal British people have decided I'm the root of all evil in their lives. They kinda took a few of my teachers back in Chicago hostage to get me. I let the local department handle it because I was only in my first and a half semester up there," he babbled.
"Your uncle is waiting for you in the car. Go tell him you're all right and come right back here to give us a statement," the team leader ordered. Xander jogged out to do that and was back in under a minute at parade rest beside him. "Sit him down, make him write it out," he told the impatiently waiting tech. She nodded, walking him off to yell at him in private. He shook his head. "He's a bit stranger than I'm used to."
"I want to work in New York," he called back.
"You'll fit in well with all the nuts up there," he decided. "Go help him with the statement," he told one of his guys, making him groan but go do that. "Haul those guys down to booking." The rest did that while he made sure things were cleaned up properly. There were days he hated rookies. Especially when he found his team member laughing with the kid. He coughed and the guy handed over his statement, making him frown. "We need more detail than that." Xander handed over the one he had written out for him. "Decent handwriting, thank you. Why else are you in town?"
"Shopping. My teachers said I need suits for testifying and things. Plus one wants me to date her niece so she finishes going psycho so they can deal with her." He grinned sweetly. "I only date bad girls apparently."
The team leader looked at him. "You're just a bit too strange for Dallas, kid."
"I'm only here to shop," he said with a mild pout. "It's not my fault I'm having one of these days again."
"Go do that and head home tomorrow." The kid got up and hugged the tech then left, being a lot less bouncy. He shook his head as he walked the reports off to have them filed. He saw they had the film of what happened, pausing to look at it. "Did he just say 'why me'?" he asked. The AV tech nodded. "So he's a trouble magnet?"
"Apparently. Did his uncle in the car seem worried?"
"No. I should've realized." He handed over the reports to his supervisor and went to take his team out for a beer. They needed it after that encounter. Four people wanting evidence and a bouncy gun nut to rival any scary gun nut in Montana. Wonderful!
John looked up as Xander slid into the car. "Done?" he asked dryly.
"Yup. I gave them a detailed report and a less detailed version and it's still not my fault."
"Yes it is."
"No it's not. They chose the time to correspond with lunch time. So did we." He gave him a grin. "I have directions to the store."
"Good. Anything we need to stop and get on the way?
"We'll see. You don't need to be more bouncy and hyper. If they have to fit it to you, they'll need you to stand still." Xander nodded, relaxing in his seat. He gave quiet directions once they were back on the street and it was nicer. Good classic rock on the radio. Xander was calmer again. Hopefully this would be the only incident this trip. "Make sure things like this don't get back to New York, kid. They might not want you if they hear you're a trouble magnet."
"Thank you." Xander barked. He swatted him. "Behave or no treats the rest of the weekend."
"Yes, sir." He pointed at the 'world famous milkshakes' sign, making a small whimpering noise. John sighed and got him one then they went to the bigger department store. Xander took a look at the map and took him to the second floor, the men's department. "Want to get necessary things first since it's by the escalators?" he suggested.
"On the way out that way I know what to match my socks to."
"You match them to your shoes," he told him. "Not the suit."
"Okay." He came off the escalator and handed John the last few sips of his milkshake. "They're really good. You have the rest, Uncle John." John gave him that special 'quit being a smartass' look he had perfected on Dean. And just like Dean, Xander ignored it to bounce off and talk to a woman. He finished the milkshake and tossed it out, grabbing a basket to start filling in socks and underwear for both of them. He looked over at the saleswoman helping him and mentally groaned. "Three, no more than three," he reminded him. "Meet me in shoes?"
"You mean I don't get matching help?" he asked, looking awed.
"I think she has some taste at the very least." He looked at her. "Now and then he likes Hawaiian shirts too."
"I'll keep that in mind. You're his boyfriend?"
"Uncle. I keep him out of trouble."
"Aw, that's sweet of you," she said with a smile. She led him to see what she had in her section. None of it would look upper class, like he wanted, but he could look hip. He tried on one and she nearly pouted. He didn't do hip very well. So she took him to another sub-store area to introduce them. "Natalie, this is Javier. He's a ballistics tech student out of one of the schools in Louisiana. He needs date and court suits."
"We do carry a fine line of suits," she agreed happily.
"I tried him in ours, but they didn't look right. He looked like a boy trying to dress up as a rap star."
"Pity. But we'll see what we can find. Thank you, Tricia."
"Welcome." She gave Xander's arm a teasing touch and grinned. "If I can help more, maybe with shirts? Come back and see me." She strolled off.
Xander made sure he had his wallet then looked at her. "My uncle thinks I need about three for things like testifying. I plan on being in New York so I'll need something for their humid summers and their winters."
"We can probably accommodate you, Javier." She led him to her favorite line but he had bulky muscles underneath that loose t-shirt. "You are nicely built."
"I have to keep in shape. When I graduate I have to hit a police academy. I'm going to be their Tackleberry or Mahoney. Maybe like a kid between them," he offered with a good boy grin.
She smiled back. "I can see why." She led him to another line. "Any particular colors?"
"I used to be a pack mule for girls so as long as I look good and I'm comfy sitting in it."
"I can see that." She ran a hand over his arm muscles again. He flexed, making her give it a squeeze. "Hmm." She let him try on one of their softer, silk suits. It made him look too tough. "You look...."
"Like a mafia enforcer," he agreed, making her giggle. "Sorry."
"Sometimes it does matter." She let him change back, making sure her suit was all right. "I don't think we have anything that would work."
"I so wanted to hit the clearance rack at Armani's store for the end-of-the-season stuff. John said no."
"They'd fit you like we do probably. But there is an idea. What's your budget, Javier?"
"I have twenty grand on me."
She blinked a few times. "We can definitely find you something even if we have to build it from scratch them. Let me take you to another sub-store. They'd have more that you might like. They're more upper class but like doctors and lawyers instead." He nodded at that, taking her arm to walk with her. "You have very good manners."
"Only around people. At home I still belch," he offered.
She giggled, giving his arm a swat. "Paul!" she called, spotting him. He looked and waved with a smile. She walked him over. "This is Javier. He's a ballistics student at one of the schools in Louisiana. He needs suits for testifying and things. Mine made him look mafia. Tricia's made him look like a rap star wanna-be. I'm hoping your collection is better for him."
"Oh, you precious thing," he lisped. "Come along." He took his arm. "Thank you, dear. Love the new shoes." He grinned at him. "You are built nicely."
"After I graduate I have to hit the academy before I can start working in a lab. I was also told I needed comfy, well fitting, but not really *dress* pants to work in. At least dockers and some button-up shirts for daily wear. They've got to be washable because I'm *sure* I'll have gunshot residue on them now and then."
"Are you *family*, love?" he asked with a grin.
"Kinda bi. I like breasts so if I ever find one that's decided to stay mid-transition I'll have it made." Paul giggled at that, leaning on his arm. "I've got a good budget with me. My uncle thinks I need about three."
"I'd say more like five, just in case your testimony runs long. Are you going be working locally?"
"New York with all luck. I'll hear back soon."
He gave him a hug around the arm. "I'm sure you'll make it and that is one of motherlands of Queens."
"Mm-hm. Then again I can't do queen or drag queen very well, but I can do drama queen when the mood strikes me." Paul gave him an awed look. "My best friends growing up were all girls but one and he died years ago."
"Oooh. Yeah, you can do drama queen."
"One's now Wicca with a girlfriend. The other's a former cheerleader. And I draw evil women."
Paul shuddered. "Maybe you should fully switch?"
"I like breasts and oral sex too much to every fully switch but maybe." Paul shivered and nodded, taking him to the suit he would choose for him. "That's a nice fabric. Easily cleaned if I get stuff on it in the field?"
"It should be. Dry cleaners can get nearly anything out." He led him to the dressing rooms, letting him try them on. He walked in after a few minutes, finding him doing up his shirt. The few scars he carried didn't bother him. It only added to the dangerous boy mystery surrounding him. He looked him over. "You do have a fantastic body. That one's a bit tight. Take it off." Xander dropped the pants and handed them over then the shirt, making him drool. If the boy tipped like he was visually tipping him, he'd have a great night. He went to get him a few more, coming back with them. The boy looked fantastic in their suits. The more casual clothes they could do some of too. Only a few tweaks of tailoring needed to be done and they could be rushed today since he had money and he was only in town for this. The rest, well it went well and his uncle showed up with shoes. "You know his shoe size?"
"I watched him try on seven pairs of sneakers to see if he liked them the last time he shopped," he said patiently. "Are we nearly done?"
"Nearly," Paul said with a smile. "Now, you come back up here in three hours and those small adjustments will be done with. I promise." The boy grinned and nodded. "Did you need anything else? Did you need those rung up, sir?"
"Please." He handed over the basket. It was a lot more than he expected but the kid brought more than he claimed too. So the hundred dollars over was taken care of. He took the bags for him and Xander took the rest with a grin, walking out with him. "Did you have to flirt?" he hissed.
"Well, yeah. He was nice that way. And I tipped nicely too." He grinned. "Can we get lunch and come back for those?"
"I guess. How much did you really bring?"
"A whole lot." He blinked his big brown eyes at him. "Enough in the safe under your seat to make sure we could get home too."
"Good idea I guess. Any other stops we have to make?"
"He wanted me to try Ralph Lauren's stuff." John rolled his eyes. "He said it's very comfy, higher class, but with good, casual fabrics, and I could finish getting button-up shirts for work there."
"Fine. If we must." They exited the department store, heading for the car. Xander showed him the safe once the bags were safely in the trunk, making him groan. They got in to drive, letting Xander drive since he had the directions. John pointed at one problem he had remembered from the last time a job had brought him to Dallas, making Xander go around it. They still ended up there. He watched the boy walk into the store, shaking his head. Why was Xander such a girl at times? Sammy hadn't been.
"Hi. I'm a future lab tech with a crime lab in ballistics. I graduate soon. I need work stuff. The guy at the sub-store in Bergstrom's said to come here."
"Okay. Do you know your dress code?"
"Not exactly but I was told dockers or better probably. Probably button-up or polo shirts. I'll be in New York if it helps. I'm hoping for Manhattan instead of one of the other labs."
She smiled. "I think we can arrange that." She smiled at the attentive person following him. "Your boyfriend?"
"Uncle John. He's making sure I don't go *too* wild. No frat parties, no dating, that sort of stuff. I draw bad girls apparently."
She shivered. "I think that might help you at work."
He grinned. "I might try to flirt with someone in interrogation to see if they break to impress me," he teased back. She let out a warm, low chuckle and helped him fit his shirts so they were comfortable and soft, easily washed at home. His pants as well. That way she got in a lot of groping. And when someone came in with a gun he casually knocked them out for her. "I think these are a bit tight in the seat."
"Perhaps but it did give me a fantastic view of your muscles, Javier." She stepped over the moaning man on the floor, going to get him the next size up. That fit him better and the nice officers were quickly there for him.
The first officer stared at him. "Weren't you just at the lab?"
"Dropping off a present for one of my teachers," he agreed. "Then I went suit shopping." The nice sales lady handed him a few of those too, making him go try them on. "He was really rude, waving that gun around," he said as he walked off. "Thankfully he had the safety on or else I might've dented him for threatening the nice woman for real."
The officer shook his head, looking at John. "Is he always like that?"
"He'll drive his department nuts."
"He' a lab tech. He wants NYPD."
"They're used to strange," he decided, hauling the guy up. "Are you going to apologize to the nice saleslady? She doesn't make enough to put up with these sort of things."
Xander came out in the first suit. "No she doesn't. She clearly deserves more since she could tell my size by looking, even with a baggy t-shirt and jeans. That's a skill I never will have." She smiled and shooed him off to try on the others. He went willingly because that's the sort of guy he was and it was keeping him out of trouble.
"Not that one," John ordered. "You look like a male escort."
Xander looked at himself in the mirror. "So I can't have it for dates, Uncle John?"
The saleslady smiled. "Some day he'll want to give you great-nephews."
John shook his head. "No he can't. They'll be evil little smartasses just like him." Xander smirked at him and walked off to change, leaving that one in his buy pile. John finally got him out of there and back to the department store, finding about the same thing. "Don't make them come get this guy," he complained quietly.
Xander looked at him. "You'd yell if I used it offensively."
"Not this time I won't. Go for it. Consider it a pop quiz."
Xander concentrated, letting that little hormone problem out to play for a bit. He walked up behind the guy with the gun, sniffing him. "Nice aftershave. I love a man that smells like gun powder." He walked off, making the man moan and follow him. He winked, leading him into a changing room. The guy was growling. Once in there he was easily knocked out and tied up using his belt. He came out and found the same fitter, giving him a wink. "He was a bad boy. He needs spanked." He let his hormones come back down. "How do my suits look, Paul?"
"I'm sure they look very good. You just...." Xander let him see then kicked the door shut and led him upstairs, waving at the security guard watching. Paul said something to him, making him go check on the poor guy. "Are you undercover?"
"No. There's a mild death threat to me from some cranks in another country. I have to be a bit dangerous thanks to that." Paul moaned and nearly went to his knees there. "Not in the middle of the store. My uncle would be really pissed if he thought I was flirting again. He nearly had to pepper spray the last one I really flirted with." He walked him off, taking his arm to escort him properly. "So they look good?"
"You will look *fine*," he promised him. He went to personally get them and help him try them on. He saw his uncle shaking his head as he walked off again. "Pity but he'll learn to love this side of you too," he said with a wink.
"You're not taken, right? I can't flirt with taken."
"No, not taken in the least. He left last week with some little boy who was only nineteen and prettier."
Xander kissed him on the cheek. "Pretty is skin deep. Skills, brains, and love should go deeper than that." He winked and tried on his last suit, getting drooled at. "I do look fine. Even John would have to agree." He got out of it and let Paul pounce him a bit. It was all in fun and stress-relief. Then he added another tip to his jar for the phenomenal advice, writing that on the slip with it. Paul smiled back so Xander left with his bag of suits. Paul counted and saw the remark, making him smile. It wasn't for the *service*, it was for helping him. That was so sweet!
John saw Xander walking his way. "You done?"
"Yup. Let's hit somewhere that doesn't have guys with guns in the jewelry section." John groaned and walked him off, letting him call that in. One of the women with the guns stopped him. He handed off the suit bag as ordered and kept his hands in plain sight until she turned around to snap an order. Then he hauled he closer and put her into a choke hold as a shield, moving her gun to bring down the others. "I only came in to shop. How rude can you be?" he demanded. "You should not be able to be stopped by normal people if you're doing this job. Lupin certainly can't. Nor should you haul cute young men in to make them an accomplis." He walked off, taking his suit bag back as they walked past the incoming officers. "All down from what I heard," he called.
The SWAT commander from earlier stepped into his path. "What did you do?"
"I was walking past. She wanted me. I stopped her and grazed them so they're down and whining. Then I told them normal guys shouldn't be able to stop them because someone like Lupin can't be stopped by normal guys like me." He grinned. "I was only here to pick up suits."
"We're going to get dinner and go home, Officer," John assured him, pulling on Xander's arm. "He's incredibly sorry these things happened today." He nearly grabbed the boy by the ear but he'd whine at him. "No more, Xander."
"Downside of using it offensively," he complained quietly.
"Uh-huh." He shoved him a bit. "Car. Now. We'll get dinner on the drive back."
"Yes, Uncle John." He grinned and went to put the new bags in the car. "Can we make one stop at the pawn shop? There's one I heard is great."
"Hell no. One of your fanclub might be there."
"It's a demon place," he teased with a grin. "With guns."
John considered it. "We'll drive past it." Xander got in to drive, making John get in with a sigh. He was tired all of a sudden. He didn't know why. The pawn shop was a demon store. It had two demon toughs outside it smoking in the sunlight. No cigarettes, just smoking from the sunlight. "Are we sure they're harmful?" Xander pointed at the ones inside. He stared then moaned. "Fine." They got out of the car. The two demon toughs screamed like girls and ran inside. "I think they've heard of us."
"I have got to get rid of the rest of that Sunnydale taint," he said dryly. John nodded. They walked in. "Hi. I came to look at the pretty weapons. Just guns today?"
The demon behind the counter whimpered. "Harris?" he moaned.
"Say my name again, watch watchers show up," he warned. The demon shuddered. "So, got anything I should see?" The demon pointed and let him into the back room. "Oh, baby," he moaned, petting something.
John looked. "Not unless it's an apocalypse. You have plenty." The demons all started to pray. He looked at them. "He only takes out the harmful things."
"Yeah but they tried to dust me right before grad," Xander called, walking out with something. He test fired it at one of the toughs, making him melt. "Hey, they got it to work. I need this one, John. It's a prototype and handy for hunters."
"Take, please, and no hard feelings?" the demon behind the counter offered. "Anything you want, Knight."
"I'm retired to helping people by being a cop, guys." They swore and backed off farther. "If you have any humans working here and they're illegal in some way, I'd have them beg the local boys. And I'd say you guys should probably head off too." He pointed the gun at one of them, making him go to his knees praying. "They tried to send a poisoned assassin after me, John. One who could kill me with a touch. Fortunately she liked oral sex too."
John swatted him like he should have earlier. "I didn't need to hear that."
"Sorry." He grinned. The demons ran when he turned it on them. "Hey, that's no fair. I haven't even talked to you about who made this one." He shrugged and handed it to John and restocked their bullets, carrying them out to the car. He saw an officer watching and grinned and waved. "They tried to kill me a few years ago. So he's running in case I find him again and turning himself in, Officer. You're welcome. He said we could have them if I gave him a head start." The officer nodded slowly, giving him a look like he was insane while reaching for his radio. John came out with one of the begging ones, putting him next to the cruiser before getting in to drive. "Dinner?" Xander asked. "For some reason I'm really hungry."
John glared at him. "Not even Dean could pull off that remark, kid. Not cute."
"Yes I am. Paul and the salesladies said I was."
"I don't care if they did want sex as a tip. Not cute." He hit the interstate and headed back toward home. He could stop them for dinner across the state line. He turned up the radio at the news announcement of Vice busting that gun dealer, wincing at the reports.
"I don't think they liked the artillery closet," Xander told him.
"Take a nap."
"Take. A. Nap."
"Yes, Dad." He tipped his seat back so he could take a nap. John rolled down the windows a little bit to give him some air. Xander liked the air on when he slept. It'd make him more likely to sleep most of the way back to Louisiana. Though, Dean would probably giggle himself into peeing on the car seat when he heard about this one. Not even Sammy could get into that much trouble.
"It was all on sale," Xander said quietly.
John reached over to nerve pinch him, making sure he took a long nap. Before his mind finished warping and he was like the kid.
to part 4
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