Xander looked back at his roomie, finding others with him waiting for the graduation ceremony to start. Sam, Dean, and Bobby were all there. He smiled and waved then turned back around as the school's president moved up to speak. Inside he was bouncing with joy. He hadn't expected the guys to show up too. The person next to him glared but the one behind him patted him so he quit wiggling and calmed himself down. The speeches went on and on and on until it was finally time to go up to get their diplomas. Their program had theirs later that afternoon for individual attention. John had promised they could go to that one too. He walked up to get his diploma, shaking the person's hand with a grin. She smiled back and he moved on. He grinned at John, waving it a little bit, getting a nod of 'good job' from him. He spotted a few people who shouldn't be in the crowd but that was fine. He'd put up with Buffy. He sat down again and got comfortable. He also pulled out his phone to text John to spot her too. Just in case it was a harbinger of trouble. He put his phone back and paid more attention as the rest of them were called.
Xander nearly pounced Sam. "I did it!"
"I know you did. Good job, Xander." Xander beamed and bounced into Dean to hug him too. Then Bobby then John. Sam grinned. "Buffy's here?"
Dean nodded. "I talked to her for a second. She said she only wanted to see and she was supposedly in Miami." That got a nod from them. "Dinner, guys?"
"There's a program celebration and stuff at one," John told them. "Xander's getting individual congratulations then." They nodded they could go. He smiled at the boy. "With a good GPA and I got the letter from the NYPD academy," he said quietly, holding it up. Xander beamed and took it to look at, letting him see it when he squealed. "Good job." He patted him on the back so he'd let him go and hug someone else.
Xander turned, finding Buffy watching them. "I got into the academy."
"Good." She kissed him on the cheek. "We miss you but we know it's better for you and safer. Plus you'll be doing great things for humanity." She stroked his cheek. "Mom and Dawn said good job too." He smiled. "Now, I have to get to Miami so I can fly home on my scheduled flight."
"Want to go to lunch with us?" he offered.
"Nah. I saw one of us in the crowd. I'll lead him off." Xander nodded, letting her fade into the crowd.
John nodded. "Let's hit lunch. We have a real dinner out planned, guys." They nodded at that, following him out. "We'll have something quick somewhere safer then head out tonight?" he asked Xander quietly.
"Yes, John. Do we have somewhere set up?"
"I will by then." Xander nodded at that. He let him get in to drive, looking at his boys. "Burger King now and then real food later?"
"Works for us," Dean agreed. Sam nodded. Bobby too. "Where is it?"
"Three blocks that way," he said with a point. They nodded and got into their cars to drive that way while he and Xander talked about the danger. He hadn't spotted any known watchers but Buffy would have a more up-to-date list of them.
Xander walked into his individual program ceremony, pulling his advisor aside. "Which one showed up?" he asked quietly.
"Harrison's daughter was graduating with her English Lit masters." He grimaced. "He didn't see you. I had him outside when you were on stage, Javier." The boy relaxed. "Besides, you're probably moving soon."
"Tonight. I got accepted into the academy." He showed her the letter, earning a smile and a hug. "Thank you."
"Welcome. We'll do it soon. Not too many speeches." She smiled at the ones piling in to guard him. "Family?"
"John's family. They've been watching over me to make sure I only go evil when I have too much chocolate."
She laughed, giving him a swat so he could go find his seat. "He's been a good boy for us and most of the teachers love him," she assured them. "His new lab will have a good set of recommendations for him from us and his internship." They smiled and nodded, going to find their seats. She went to her own, nodding at a few others who she had mentored. She loved her students and she'd miss them all but it was time for them to move on and fledge into the real world.
Buffy ran into the watcher at the airport. "What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"Giles wanted me to stop in and say hi to someone he knew on my layover." She smiled. "Then I'm going to Miami for a graduation down there. Why? What're you doing here?"
"My daughter was getting her Masters."
"Congrats. I hear those are really hard. With what I had to do when I was taking my undergrad, way back when, I'm sure it drove her nuts so tell her I said congrats."
"Is Harris here?"
"Is he in Miami?"
"Don't know. I'd imagine he'd be moving next year since we heard he started college then had to change majors because you guys still suck and blow." A security guard gave her a dirty look. "Some of his friends are hunting a friend of mine for supposedly being evil. He's only evil on too much sugar, but they're mostly idiots." She walked off. "Toodles. I'll tell Tara's cousin you said hi when I see her for her graduation next weekend."
He pulled out his ID. He had a good fake one for the US. "She's friends with someone on a watch list."
"Are you here to pick her up, Agent Harrison, or just to watch her?"
"No, I was in for my daughter's graduation," he admitted, glaring at her back. "Let me call my boss." He moved out of the traffic to do that. "Travers, Harrison. I ran into Summers here in Louisiana. Said Rupert told her to say hi to someone he knew on her way to Miami for the graduation next weekend of a friend's cousin. Claims she didn't know. What do you want me to do?" He nodded. "That's fine. I'll have her stopped." The guard was listening and called it in. "Security at the airport is helping." He hung up and followed him to where they were stopping her in the line.
She looked at the guards. "I'm not the dangerous one. He is."
"He's a federal agent, ma'am," the guard told her.
"No he's not. He's a British citizen." They stared. "Really. Their group keeps trying to kill me and my friends. They also got busted by the Brit government for having major weapons stores. It's one of the reasons they're trying to hunt down a friend of mine to kill him."
"We're taking you to our office until we can sort this out," one guard decided.
"Sure. My plane doesn't go for another two hours," she said with a small grin. "If it takes longer can I rearrange my flight?"
"If at all possible, ma'am." He led her off by her arm, going to call in the local PD to talk to them. The hunt team got there about the same time. They tried to bust in to take the young woman by force. The local PD was not happy with them.
Neither was the redhead who showed up. "I thought you didn't have these sort of problems, Buff," Willow said grimly, freezing the watchers. "There, you can have the psycho Brits who want to hurt us." She checked Buffy over. "You have a good rest in Miami. And call Dawn. She wants pictures of hotty boys." She disappeared again.
"Another one that they want to kill," Buffy told the guards, who were shaking their heads. She smiled at the officers. "They're from a group called the Watchers Council out of England. Up by Stonehenge. Their people got them a few years back for being scary vampire hunters with artillery in Leeds."
"Interesting. Why were they trying to take you hostage, ma'am?"
"Because they decided me and my two best friends are evil after the redhead earlier goofed majorly and nearly drove our male friend insane. Him they want to dissect then kill. Us they just want to kill. He's in hiding."
One stiffened, looking at her. "I think I heard about that."
She smiled. "Really?"
"They were in Chicago a few years back?"
"Yeah, they took some of his teachers hostage then."
"I heard from one of them. I'll let them know they're back in the US so they can take precautions."
"Oh, I'm sure they know. They knew earlier." She checked the clock. "Can I go get lunch before my flight, guys, or do you need a statement? You guys are so much more together than the dirty ones where I live. They tried to say I murdered a robot once."
The senior officer coughed. "That's pathetic." He took her off to get her statement. She got put onto her plane to Miami and they walked the idiots off to deal with them while that one officer called is contact at the school to warn them. He heard the boy was already gone and it was good.
"Elton, you need a haircut," the academy instructor said on the first day.
"Yes, sir, I've been too busy to do that. I only graduated last week and had to move, sir."
"We have a barber shop. Hit it tonight."
He looked him over. "I know your program had to do self-defense. How much do you have?"
"Three years of martial arts off campus; my senior self-defense class I helped with the females in the class. I still suck at climbing ropes but my running time is better."
"Interesting. Most of you do PT. You stay." He nodded, staying there. When they moved off he moved closer. "I heard you have an on-going issue, boy?"
"I have people who want to hunt me down and kill me, sir. That's why I switched schools in the middle of my training. It's why my records are under two different names."
"Nope. Home schooled myself in it." He stared at him. "I also did neat things like turn in their weapons stores in Leeds to their government. One tried to take my friend the day I graduated. They tried to take my teachers in my first school."
"You sure you want to do this?"
"Being in a lab I can still help others. Plus I can do good work for the world, sir," he said more quietly. "I picked the NYPD because their labs are top notch, like I am, and because I'd be safer here in such a large, diverse department. Even if they found out I was in the city there's nearly a shot in hell of them actually finding me here. The lab boss I want to work for is supposed to be very protective and I'll be warning him of this as well. If my teachers haven't."
"Good. You're realistic. If they show up here?"
"I'll warn and hide until further action is called for then I'll tell those in command what they need to know to keep others safe."
"Who are these others?"
"Watchers Council," he said very quietly. "They hunt vampires and demons."
He stared at him. "You believe in that stuff?" Xander moved his shirt out of the way to show a very large scar that could have only come from a sharp claw. "How did you get that?"
"Claw," he said, tucking his shirt back in. "To be honest, sir, my friend goofed majorly and somehow they decided I'm evil because of that. I know there's a local community but they have no problem from me. I'm hiding in semi-plain but protected sight."
"Another hunter who watches over me."
"Because if I wanted to go evil, I have the brains to do it to them and I don't like that about myself," he said quietly, staring him down. "Which is why I have him to bounce ideas off of and things. He's good about reminding me to eat and sleep when I forget too," he finished with a grin. "He's a good dad to me."
"Fine. Go warm up with them. Does the commandant know?"
"I'd assume so; I put it on my application. With letters from my teachers and the officers down there who had to arrest some at the airport the same day I graduated." He walked off, going to warm up. "Come on, guys. We can do better than this. Or else they'll wake us up at three in the morning to run." They groaned and did it better. One gave him a sideways inquisitive look. "I have a death threat against me," he told him. "He wanted to know why."
"Sometimes, yeah." He nodded. "But the NYPD is a huge department. They have a shot in hell of finding me up here."
"Good. Probably better for you," he agreed. "Help me stretch my back?" He moved to do that. "So, you're...."
"Charles Picknel." He shook his hand and they went back to stretching. The instructor came over to run them through their new daily PT routine, letting them do that then go for their now-daily runs.
"Elton," a female instruction called, making him jump and turn to face her after checking around. "Good instincts. You have an interview in a few hours. I suggest you clean up."
"Uniform, ma'am, or real clothes?"
"Real clothes." She handed him the slip. "Go there."
"Yes, ma'am." He jogged off to shower and change in the dorms, going to his appointment. He caught a cab, which was nice enough. Didn't smell too badly. The lab was in a huge high rise, which was odd to him but that was fine too. He found the receptionist, showing her the slip. "I was told I have an interview in a few minutes?" he asked quietly.
"Let me call to check." She called up there then signed him in. "He'll be right down."
"Thank you." He sat down to wait, making sure his hands weren't too wet with sweaty palms. When the man he remembered came off the elevator he wiped them off again then walked over. "Detective Taylor, Javier Elton, sir." He shook his hand. "You wanted to speak to me early?"
"I did. Come up to my office." The boy walked beside him to the elevator, letting him glance at him. "Tired after today's exercise?"
"No, sir. Mostly because I forgot to sleep last night."
"You *forgot*?" he asked.
Xander nodded. "Now and then I forget to do that and eat, sir. I get stuck in my thoughts."
"Longer than average story."
"Does this have to do with the section on your application that's basically a warning about British people?"
"Yes, sir." They came off and he followed him to make sure he didn't seem to know where he was going. They walked into his office and he closed the door, going to parade rest in front of the desk.
"Sit." Xander sat down, looking at him. "You didn't check out the room?"
"It's glassed in. I saw that no one was hiding in here when we walked up to it."
"You're combat trained?"
"I can't talk about my past before they wanted to kill me, Detective."
"You're not officially in Witness Protection."
"No, I'm not. I'm simply hiding for my life." He shifted. "Even if I told you, I'd have to show you so you believed, Detective Taylor. I'm from a place like that one street, Penguin Street." Mac shuddered. "I was helping out there when something happened and they decided I had the ability to go evil. Which I will if they ever catch me and try to kill me but so far I haven't. I've been very good at staying on the light side and any urges I have to destroy them are kept down with the help of the guy who's helping me hide myself."
"Another hunter of the less than peaceful down things down there."
Mac stared at him. "Let's just say I know a bit about those things."
"The Watchers Council wants to dissect me after one of my friends made a magical mistake that nearly drove me insane for a few weeks." He shifted again, glancing at the door then at him. "She made it so I had to view some other versions of me across the realms," he said very quietly. "Which is actually why I picked this field. I enjoyed it in a few of them."
"I see." He considered it. "Why would they consider that evil?"
"I keep memories and skills from possessions."
"Not fully. Others have. The only other person that's been documented doing this spell went insane. We're not sure why the ones she dragged into it when she did it, or her, aren't insane this time. Hence the wanting to dissect me."
"Anything else I should know about?"
Xander manifested a very small ball of light. Mac glared so he made it go away. "It's not that hard but I don't do it at work or bring out the wings I gained thanks to one. To everyone but the guy who watches over me I'm a normal guy with normal skills and a sincere love of guns. Which I am. I love guns." He grinned. "I was a weapons person even before this. This way I get to do what I love and help people while still hiding in fairly protected sight."
"Would they come here?"
"I don't think so. I know they haven't tried my teachers since the ones that took my ones in Chicago hostage." He moaned. "I know there's a hunt and capture order on me. I know there's a few in the city. I also know that this city is big enough to lose me in it and if I note that they're getting close you'll allow me to hide myself better as long as it doesn't endanger anyone else."
"Did that other one of you work with me?"
"There were a few of me who were CSI. One worked with you after an internship in Las Vegas and then Chicago for a few years. One of me worked with Horatio Caine after a Federal internship. One of me worked with the Miami lab then up here until they got mor budget down there."
"I would've tried for Las Vegas because I found a guy out there who I seriously loved in that life out there, but I don't think Grissom would understand a bit of this. I'd have to do a lot more proving what I was hiding from, which would expose me a lot more."
"It would," he agreed. "What happens if they show up here?"
"I tell you. I hide, see if they're actually close or just interfering in something else. If they don't have wind of me, I'll stay protected and work from home on reports if I have to go that far. Or whatever you think I can do safely at that time. If they're here for me and I have to do something, I'll disappear. Change my name, have my credentials changed over, and possibly go to Miami," he finished with a small smile. "In that life I worked well with Speed and Eric."
"I have a smart-ass t-shirt habit that made Speed cackle."
"Very interesting." Xander pulled out a picture to hand over, making him smirk. "That is a bit smart-ass, yes. Outside dress code for this lab, Javier." He handed it back. "Are you sure you want to work here?"
"I may be young. I may be in danger. But I do love weapons and I'd die if I had to stay away from helping people." He put his wallet back. "I know I have to prove myself. I have no expectations of favoritism or anyone babying me because of this, sir. Hell, in that life I had a missing eye and I had to force things so I could do my work without people staring at me. I'll do the same this time if I have to."
"Are they going to be a danger to other officers? You mentioned they kidnaped your former teachers."
"And one tried to pretend to be a Fed in an airport where I graduated. They got him arrested when the whole bag and tag team came for my former friend that he caught after my graduation. They're more likely to kidnap than to shoot others. Steal me from a scene or something if they catch me. Another reason I want to be a *lab* tech. I'm only field rated to go out on calls because it's a good backup minor and its helpful in any department."
"That's a good plan. It's protective but lets you handle things that you want to handle. What would you have done if you didn't go this way?"
He shrugged. "I don't know." He frowned. "I didn't give it much thought really. Maybe nursing school? I've got some field medic training from necessity in my former life."
"That's a good skill to have sometimes. Bandaging?"
"Stitching down to the muscle layers actually. I had to a few times." Mac gaped. He nodded. "It's a bit dangerous sometimes."
"What other skills aren't listed on your forms?"
"Vampire hunting, we had to use some artillery here and there. Well, once and a bomb once. We helped bring down a military unit trying to turn demons into military grunts. I can read Latin and a few other dead languages. The glowy ball stuff. The wings." He shrugged. "I was mostly planning, backup, and grunt support to them."
"You sound like you did more."
"They were having special girl syndrome. I'm aware I do have some low self esteem thanks to that. John's tried to cure some of it."
"Oh, and I can do alchemy but I only used it to get a teacher who was making drugs to leave the school by giving him how I did it."
Mac raised an eyebrow. "You can?" Xander nodded. "Pure gold?"
"Twenty-two carat. I haven't done it in a while."
"Funding your education?"
"Yup, sure did," he agreed dryly, smirking some. "I know I constitute a small risk, Detective Taylor. I know that I'm a bit strange thanks to my past. Be thankful I'm not like that one since he was seriously more warped by the girls in my former life and called things like football gay sex in teams." Mac burst out laughing. "Basically. By the time I start I can get you the address of the standard watchers in the city so you can make sure I don't have anything to do with them on a case. I know they have a bookstore, a weapons store, and another place in town. There's one pre-slayer in training locally. I plan on staying *far* away from them. So far Queens is doing it for me."
"Good. How is the academy going?"
"I think I freaked out a teacher asking if we ran into a bomb on a crime scene and bomb squad was busy could we call it in while we were working on it."
"For smaller things. I know I'm not all knowing. Yet."
"Good." He leaned forward. "I like that you're honest but I do not want to have you endanger the people in this lab, Xander."
"One of them knows me. He got drunk and complained about you in my hearing in the past."
Xander nodded. "I figured many of them did since they called someone back from the dead to kill me."
"Is he trying too?"
"No, the compulsion will only work if I go evil," he said calmly. "Which I don't plan on doing, but he does say I'm evil when I get too much chocolate."
"Good to know." He stared at him. "If it happens...."
"You're my second call, right after him."
"Good." He shook his hand. "If you can pass the academy I'll see you here in a few months. I'll arrange an official interview with the local head of ballistics at that point."
"I don't think I'm going to have a problem passing unless they won't pass me because I can't climb a rope. Ladders, walls, fences, but not a rope." He stood up. "Thank you, sir."
"Not a problem. With that warning on your file I had to make sure."
"Of course you did." He grinned. "If I do stay here, should I try to move my small collection of guns locally?"
"How gun nutjob are you?"
"I licensed everything that I could, but with my past.... I'm overly-cautious."
"Are we talking apocalypse vault?"
"In my sanctuary. Not here. Here I have a few guns."
"I don't want to know, do I?"
"No, not in graphic detail, no, sir."
"Leave it there. Legal weapons only, Elton."
"Yes, sir." He saluted with a smile then left, going back to the academy with a stop for a milkshake and calling John. "The detective over the labs wanted to see what sort of threat I'd bring down on his people so he pulled me out for the day. Yes, I'm having a milkshake now since I missed lunch again. No, I'll sleep tonight, John. I promise. Thank you for nagging." He took a sip. "I'm good with him. I'll have an official interview in a few weeks." He took another drink, paying the cabbie then getting out. "I'm back here so I've got to go. We get a free weekend next weekend so I'll come home then. Thanks, John." He hung up and turned off his phone before heading inside. He presented himself at his instructor's door. "Sir."
"Enter. I heard Taylor had you pulled out." He looked up, watching him drink his milkshake. "Forget lunch?"
"Yup, and to sleep last night," he admitted. He sat down. "He wanted to know what sort of threat they might pose against his people. I was honest about it and he agreed it wasn't too horrible to risk as long as I gave him advanced warning. John's looking up any people they might have locally for him. I'll have a normal interview when I get out of here."
"That's the way it usually goes after your rookie ride-along time." He looked him over. "So far you're doing all right. Your PT skills are a bit weak, especially after you haven't slept. Your defensive driving is a bit weak as well since you don't want to be that aggressive."
"Then again, I'd be a lab tech," he pointed out.
"True, not the usual rookie cop. You're well within passing most everything. Your PT scores are a bit low."
"I can kick ass on the tests next week, sir."
"Do so." That got a nod. "Defensive driving as well."
"Good." Xander threw out the empty cup. "Right now you should be taking a test."
"I'll report to the teacher after I'm done to arrange for a makeup time. Then it's dinner instead of late PT?"
"It is. Do you have plans for next weekend?"
"I'm going to go home and pet my actual bed and all my books." He smirked at that. "I am." He stood up. "Thank you, sir."
"I figured it'd come sometime, kid. Go away." He nodded, heading to talk to the teacher since their classtime was nearly over with. He shook his head, making a note about that talk in his file. Taylor would want him to be stronger in case it was necessary for his survival. Though he did want to see the kid on the range. Maybe he'd be able to figure out their little problem with that one cubicle.
Two weeks later Xander walked up to his class's advisor. "Sir, can I have ten minutes of your time?"
"Are they back?"
"No, but one of the cadets is off without leave and I have an idea why." The instructor looked at him. He moved closer to whisper in his ear, getting a nod. "I don't want to say anything about him, sir, but I am a CSI trained officer. I've smelled more than my fair share of blood and his locker reeks of it. I was helping his roomie last night with his upcoming test and even he was complaining but he called it nasty socks smell. When I walked him back to his room I could tell it wasn't socks."
"I can do a dorm inspection tonight."
"Sir, I know he has someone on the staff who would tell him. That's why they haven't busted him for missing PT runs. Or so I'd assume," he said at the unhappy look. "We've been running as a group and he's not there. It's fairly obvious. Like the day I had to walk the one pregnant woman up to the infirmary for her cramping. You got it reported to you that we were missing and had to check up on us. You haven't been told about him until today I'm guessing."
"Good point. Let me look into that, Elton. Good instincts to bring it to me."
"Thank you, sir." He left, going back to his assigned spot for lunch.
The instructor considered it then went to talk to the dorm supervisor. "Have you had any complaints about Picknel's room?"
"Bad laundry smells. Nothing too unusual. I was going to call an inspection later on."
"Another cadet thinks it's blood, not laundry."
"That Elton boy is strange."
"He's a CSI."
"No wonder." He grabbed his keys and they went to do an informal search. It wasn't admissible but he had agreed that the academy could search his things with proper cause. He opened the boy's footlocker and gasped, stepping back turning green. "That's not regulation."
"Or in good taste." He squatted down to look at it, sighing in displeasure. "Definitely not in good taste. Call someone, put the cadets in their rooms. Picknel is somewhere, put his roommate with Elton's and get him here since he seemed to have figured it out." He nodded, hurrying to do that and tell the commandant.
Xander walked in with the case he kept in his room, handing over some gloves. "I thought he was torturing women, not men." Two more officers came in. "Guys, I'm a CSI trainee. Want gloves?" They took some and some menthol for their noses. "It smelled worse last night." The instructor opened up his other things, finding more in his roommate's locker. "That's really not good."
"No, it's not," he agreed. "Stay here, help them seal the scene. I'm sure your brethren will want to ask you nosy questions. I'll talk to his roommate."
"Yes, sir." He closed his case and kicked it behind him. A detective walked in, as noted by wearing a suit instead of a uniform. "Sir, Cadet Elton. CSI trainee. I told the instructor that it was blood, not laundry stink, so he had me wait on you and my future coworkers."
"That's nice of him," he agreed. "Why do you think it was blood?"
"Because it smelled like old blood, sir. I was helping his roomie with a test prep last night and I went to him today before lunch. Picknel is off campus somewhere."
"You a cadet team leader?"
"No, sir. We don't have one picked at this point. I'm the team cheerleader though," he offered with a small grin.
"Only a CSI can look at that and grin," he said, shaking his head. "Field CSI?"
"Ballistics but I did take enough classes to qualify as a minor in trace and field work, Detective."
"Good. Which lab?"
"I talked with Detective Taylor recently. I'm hoping his."
"Even better." Two CSI stomped in. "This one Mac likes as your future ballistics person. He said he told the instructor about the old blood stink being that instead of dirty laundry."
"You're the guy who trained in Louisiana," the female said.
"Yes, Detective Burns."
"You know me?"
"I've seen you working, heard the juvenile pouting in the dorms over your hind end, and heard you're very competent. I'm looking forward to working with you and CSI Messer there as your gun geek."
She smirked. "Smartass, I like that."
"In many ways and on many t-shirts, Detective. The instructor found some in his roommie's closet as well." He got out of their way. "I grabbed my kit for gloves so I would not touch a thing when he ordered me to help."
"The instructor, ma'am."
"Good," Messer said, nodding a bit. "You took which classes?"
"Twelve hours of field classes, fifteen of trace, and the full ballistics plus some gun petting time with their local department when someone went on maternity leave, CSI Messer."
"Not bad." He looked then grimaced. Xander handed over his menthol cream. "Not a bad idea either. So we heard you've got a special note in your file?"
"Some people have decided I'm evil. Of course they hunt vampires and stuff and had serious artillery that I turned over after they decided I was evil." He grinned sweetly. "I'm hiding from them but I'll be damned if they get near me. Detective Taylor already asked me questions to make sure they wouldn't try to put any of you in danger trying to get me."
"They hunt vampires?" Danny asked. Xander nodded. "Why?"
"I don't know. They're Brits and they're pushy about it." Aiden gave him the oddest look so he grinned. "I'm hiding fairly well from them, Detective."
She moved closer. "I heard about them."
"Did you hear one was pretending to be a federal agent to get a friend in an airport and had a bag team break into their security area with officers present?"
"Nope. Didn't hear that. You?"
"Nah. A former friend. They want her too. They think she's too old."
"Ah." She lead him to the hall, looking at him. "Harris?" she muttered. He nodded. "Here? Do you know how many are in the city?"
"I gave him a list."
"He knows too. He knows one."
"Ah. So you're...."
"A gun geek, yes. I love my guns." He grinned sweetly again. "That's why I turned them in for their apocalypse vault when they put out a contract on me."
"Even better. Keep your nose clean."
"I am. I'm doing good."
"Good." She let him back inside. Both guys gave them funny looks. "I know why he's being hunted. Mac does too." Xander nodded. "And yes, he is a gun geek in a very big way."
"And swords and crossbows...." Xander muttered, trailing off to make her laugh.
She snorted and bopped him on the arm. "Whatever." She got down to look at the parts in the trunk. "What's in your kit, kid?" He moved it over with a foot, letting her see. "Gather the parts for the ME. Bag and notate. Consider it a pop quiz."
"Yes, ma'am." He got down to do that, doing it by the textbook but a bit quickly. "Should I gather the stuff that's just blood soaked?"
"Yup. We'll be confiscating everything in the trunk so give me an inventory too." He nodded, moving to do that while she and Danny got the closet. "Any other hiding areas or areas he likes to visit?"
"That grove out back. I've seen him thinking out there a few times or maybe praying. The one with the memorial obelisk." That got a nod and a note taken. "I know he's AWOL now. He wasn't in formation for PT or our run. Which is when I went to the instructor." Another teacher came in. "Ma'am, our cadet advisor ordered me to help them. I'm sorry I'm missing the test. May I take it tonight?"
"I can do that." She nodded, looking over his shoulder and turning a bit green. He smiled. "Trainee CSI," he reminded her.
She patted him on the head. "Get another haircut soon, Elton." She left them alone.
Danny smirked at him. "I got that too."
"I think mine grows too fast. This is my second once since classes started." The detective shook his head. "Hey, I could have waist-length hair," he offered.
"Not in the labs you can't. Not unless you pull it back," Aiden assured him.
He grinned. "Of course. With hairnet if necessary." He got back to work. "His issued firearm isn't here. Only a twenty-two. We were issued forty-fives." He held it up once it was bagged. "It has blood on the sight I think but I don't have my tools to break it down here."
"We'll do that at the lab," she said, taking it to look at. "Nice bagging job. Even got some of the air out."
"I didn't want the blood to spoil." He went back to looking. "Eww. Girl parts. I thought he was torturing women since he smelled like perfume a few times." He held it up once he had it bagged, making them all grimace. He put that aside and found the false bottom, gagging at it. "Oh, that stinks even over the menthol." He backed away, waving a hand near his face.
Danny looked and grimaced. "That is gross." He helped the kid bag it.
"Welcome to the wonderful world of stinky field work, cadet," Aiden said dryly. "You get the shit jobs until the next one comes in."
"Of course I do, but I will torment anyone who tries rookie hazing until they piss themselves in the hall." He grinned. She laughed. Danny cackled, nodding a bit. The ME's people got there. "I've been putting the bags into the collapsible plastic bucket, guys, but we've got one more." He finished bagging that one once Danny had everything he needed from it. He let them pick them up. Then he gout out of the way. "Inventory's on the log sheet, Detectives. Anything else I can help with before I go puke?"
"Go puke," Danny ordered. Xander took his case with him to do that. "He good?" he asked Aiden quietly.
"Very. He's a very good gun geek." She grinned. "But he will torment someone until they do piss themselves. I have no doubt he can."
"He'll be in danger?"
"Not a lot. It's no worse than one with a former spouse that had an ass-kicking coming to them."
"Even better," Flack agreed from his note making. "Let's go talk to our darling roomie and see if the psycho is back." They finished up and left, sealing the room with tape. He found the kid in there with the instructors. "Not in your room?"
"No, sir. He asked me to be here to hold his hand." He shrugged. "I won't interrupt."
"Thank you." He sat down across from him. "You thought it was what?"
"Stinky socks, Detective."
"Were you aware it was in your laundry?" Messer asked.
"I'll kill him," he snarled, looking at Xander. "It was?"
He glanced at Aiden, who nodded. "There was some evidence found in your laundry bag."
The guy hopped up. "My uniforms?" he demanded coldly.
"Sweats, a t-shirt, socks, underwear. Workout clothes," Danny told him. He sat down at that. "Have you seen him doing anything abnormal?"
"Sir, I thought I'd be arresting guys like Elton here," he said bluntly. "He's strange and likes guns."
"Gun geeks like that go into ballistics labs," he said patiently. "They love our guns for us too."
Xander looked at his. "Yours looks okay." He grinned. "Hers looks uncomfortable, like it's pinching her." She shifted it with a nod. He looked at his fellow cadet. "You've been here long enough to have a bad shit radar. Any pinging?"
"Now and then he sneaks out but I thought he had a girl or something," he said, frowning at his feet. "Maybe a boy but I don't care about that stuff." He looked at him. "It's clear John is yours."
"No, I am bi. I draw evil women." He shrugged. "Not something that comes up often."
"Whatever." He looked at the detectives. "Are you sure he's supposed to be *here* instead of a hospital?"
"Yeah, all CSI area bit strange," Flack assured him. "You get used to it because working with them is good for your solve rate."
"I'll remember that when I become a detective some year." He looked at them. "I didn't think he was doing anything too *strange*. I mean, I like girls, I figured he did too. The stinky laundry I figured was a hygiene issue and he'd get yelled at for it by someone soon." He shrugged a bit. "What sort of clues would I have had?"
"How many times has he snuck out?" Danny asked.
"You didn't tell anyone?" Aiden asked.
"We stick up for our fellow officers, ma'am. No matter what."
She smiled. "Your daddy or momma a cop too?"
"My mother is. She'd be appalled that anyone told on him for sneaking out."
"If it hadn't been for that blood stink I wouldn't have," Xander told him. "The two just don't go together in a good way."
"Good point. Though he could've been injured."
"We would've noticed that," Xander told him.
"I guess." He shrugged. "Are you watching him to hit on him?"
"He's not my brand of psycho, sorry. Not unless he's actually a girl."
"Oh." He looked at them, shifting away some. "I don't know, guys. I only thought he had a girl or something."
"That's fine," Flack assured him.
"Any strange reading habits or stuff he talked about?" Danny asked.
"His mother owns rabbits. Does that count? He told me about her bunny farm a few times."
Flack made note of that too. "He ever talk about girls or guy?"
"Nope. I caught him sniffing a Playboy once. Mom said porn was bad for you, made you wrong." He looked at Xander. "Is that what happened to you?"
"No, I was surrounded by girls who didn't let me have any male influence," he said dryly. "Focus."
"Yes, Elton." He grimaced. "I don't know. I seriously don't know, guys. I wish I had. I would've said something sooner. Next time someone starts talking to be about rabbits, I'll know to check on them for being psycho."
"Sure," Danny agreed. "They'll probably assign you a new room and all that stuff later on. Go check with your cadet supervisor." He nodded, walking off. He smirked at Xander. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. Guys like that won't understand me anyway. They're way too literal and linear thinkers." He stood up. "Though I would wonder if his mother lets him have a girlfriend." He shrugged. "I can hear Rosa in the halls. She's pregnant so probably a bathroom break. If you guys need me, yell." He left them to talk.
Aiden looked at Flack. "Rabbits?"
"Some people do raise rabbits."
"And some have them for a bunny test," Danny said, looking down the hall. "Should you be out?" he asked the cadet.
"The baby says I have to pee or else I'm wetting the bed," she shot back, going to the bathroom. "She overrules the instructors."
He shook his head. "Things are more insane than when I went."
"My year too," Flack agreed, standing up. "Think they were all his?"
"With two different sexes?" Aiden asked. "Only a few reasons why he'd switch." She saw someone go running past. "That's a bad sign." They followed, finding Elton holding their suspect down and a woman sobbing off to the side in the grass. "Cuff him, Elton. He's in custody."
"I am." He flipped him over and cuffed him no matter how much he struggled. Then he got up, coming to look at her. "Do you need paramedics?" he asked, trying to stay soothing. "Did he hurt you?" She shook her head. "It's all right, Professor." He helped her up. "Guys, let me put her in her office?" They nodded so he walked her that way. "Shh, have some tea and take a nap. They'll get a statement soon." He put her in there, turning to find the commandant. "He had her at knife-point, sir." He walked around him, heading back outside. "His sidearm wasn't on him." Aiden gave him an amused look. "I full-body tackled him. I would've felt it sometime during that. He has a knife in his sock but no gun."
"Which means he's got a hidden area somewhere," she said. "Any idea where?"
"I'd ask the professor since he didn't hurt her," he said, looking at her. "The commandant was up there and a few of the other professors were going to check on her." She went to do that. Xander squatted down, tipping his head up to stare into his eyes. "You'll tell them or they'll ask me," he said quietly, making the guy shudder. "I am the alpha your momma warned you about. Answer to them or me and then them." He let him go and stood up, staring down at him. "Where's your gun and the other places you've got stuff hidden?"
"You're a CSI, figure it out," he sneered.
Xander smirked. "I thought I'd give you a chance before I dug. That way you could hide things. Like the desire to change sexes. What's wrong? Can't be a good enough evil girl in drag?" He struggled then wailed and kicked at him. Xander just stared at him. "That's one." The guy gaped and tried to scoot back. "Where are they? Beyond whatever nest we'll find by the obelisk? Off campus and on."
"You can't know that!"
"I can know that. You've got the leaves from the memorial tree all over you. The same as she had them on the back of her jacket." He moaned, shaking his head. "You also smell like pine tar. The only pine trees we have in our artificial forest are that way. Or was that from an off-campus area?"
"I'm not saying anything without a lawyer."
Xander leaned down. "That's your right, but it won't save you. They have enough to put you in tonight and then amend charges." He shuddered and tried to back away again. "But since you asked for a lawyer, all we can do is stare at you until they get here." He stared, counting to twenty mentally then the guy broke.
"All right! I have one out there by the stupid memorial and I have two off-campus where I bring my people to fix them so they're right!" he sneered. " You're next."
"Uh-huh. There's already a line. You have to get behind my last psycho girlfriend first." He slumped. "Even then, I'd make you beg and take it, Picknel. I'm no one's butt bitch." The guy shuddered. "Or is that what you wanted?"
"Enough," Flack ordered. "Is that what they wouldn't do for you?"
"No!" He started to sob. "I want my mother!"
"You'll be seeing her soon I'm sure when she brings your lawyer," Messer said, hauling him up. "Thank you, Cadet Elton." He walked him off, taking him to the car. "Back to interrogation at the lab." They nodded, driving him off.
"I think that kid'll drive Mac nuts," Flack said quietly.
"Yeah but he's good. His ratings are excellent. He knows something about artillery too and some construction stuff." That got an amused look. "The death threat stuff is probably going to be all right and if not, he'll suddenly leave and go into hiding for a bit." He shrugged. Aiden came out with the teacher. "We done?"
"We're done for now. We'll probably be back later to clean up his messy areas." She handed her over. "Unless you want me to do that now?"
"Sure, go for it," Flack offered with a grin.
"See if the cadets can track so we don't look like we're playing favorites," Danny offered.
"He's the only CSI Trainee this class," she complained. She went back inside. "We know he has a hidden area by the obelisk. Can I have the cadets to search for it, Commandant?"
"That's fine. Elton is getting some coffee and talking to his uncle, whose first words were 'did you draw another one'. Is that the threat after him?"
"No, some cranks in another country think he's evil." She grimaced. "They're stupid though. One pretended to be a Fed in an airport and called in a bag team with cops already on scene." He cackled. "Exactly. He can handle it. Get the brats for me?"
"If the pregnant one needs to she can sit out."
"I'll see if she's up to the hike." He went to gather them. "Rosa, are you fit for duty?"
"No, sir. The nurse told me to sit down today and tomorrow."
"Fine. Elton, lead the cadets searching the area around the obelisk."
"Sir, not my best skill," he lied. "Peterson is a better cadet leader than I am. I'm a good cheerleader, not a good platoon leader."
"Good to know," he said, nodding his approval of that honesty. "Peterson, do that. Help CSI Burns find that spot. I want it off my campus now."
"Yes, sir. Just that area?"
"Do a general search later with the scent dogs," Rosa ordered quietly. "We have ones that'll smell blood and track it." That got a nod and the commandant went to call one over while the others went to find the hidden spot. She smirked at Xander, who smirked back and grabbed his kit to go with them. That had been a sneaky move to keep himself out of noted status.
John looked over as Xander walked in and flopped down. "Did you have to draw so many psychos, kid?"
"Not my fault he was killing people because he wanted to be trannie and his momma wouldn't let him." John shuddered. "Exactly." He got up to get a drink and came back. "Dinner?"
"Stove." Xander beamed, gave him a hug, and went to scarf dinner. "Did you forget?"
"Yesterday too?" he asked dryly, watching him inhale the food. It had been at least two days by the way he wasn't stopping to chew.
"Had a horny fit," he admitted, coming back with the food. "We can order more later."
"I'm sure we can."
Xander came back to sit next to him at the table. "How's everyone?"
"Decent enough. Dean's worried about how many of them are in town."
"So are ten million other people plus visitors." He ate another bite. "We should be fine. One of the CSI realized who I was and so did Taylor." He shoveled in another bite. "Ten more weeks, then six weeks of rookie ride-along time." John grimaced. "I know but it's mandatory." He ate his last bite and went to get more. "We start range classes next week. The teacher told me I get to figure out what's going on with one cubicle since he heard I can shoot."
"What's going on with it?"
"There's an automatic thing that shoots at your bullets as you fire for some reason." He shrugged. "I don't know." He sat down with more food again. "Anything else going on in the rest of the world?"
"A few local hunts I've handled." Xander grinned at that. "One in New Jersey next week so I'll be heading on that for a few days while you're gone."
"You don't have to tie yourself to me, John."
"The compulsion means I can't get that far from you," he reminded him patiently. He gave him a dirty look. "Why can't we remove it?"
"Because they wove it into you as part of bringing you back."
"Oh." He grimaced. "No hope of removing it?"
Xander shrugged. "I've started to look but all the books are there." He looked at the doorway he had set up back to his sanctuary area, getting up to go through it. John moaned when he saw that. Xander grinned before shutting the door. He came back with a few books, handing him some. Then he sat down to read and research.
"How big is your library? All Dean and Sammy said was it was huge."
"We can go check if you want."
"Sure. We should probably check the rest of the house anyway." He followed him over there, looking at the library they came out across from. He whimpered. "Not even Sammy's this big of a book nerd, Xander."
"I know but I might need them and Ethan helped me find them." He grinned. "I can go find more."
"Please don't." He walked off to check out the armory. He paused, staring at the gear. "I'd run," he called.
"Some of it I had moved from Sunnydale," Xander called from the kitchen, walking in and handing him a cup of good coffee. "Dean moved stuff on me again. The little shit." He looked in the newly christened and marked vault in there. That's where most of the artillery was. He checked, they had only left the empty cases out. "We need to break those apart." He walked off after petting his battle axe. He heard a knock and checked then went back to the apartment, closing the door before answering it. "Detective Taylor, come in please." He glanced at the door. "Let me tell my Uncle to give us time to talk." He opened the door. "Uncle John, Detective Taylor's here."
"I can stay here for a bit," he agreed. He heard the door shut and lock, shaking his head. The kid was going to drive him nuts. He knew gun geeks - Dean was one. He knew gun nutjobs - Caleb was one. Xander was gun insane.
Xander sat down with a grin. "Want some coffee or water, Detective?"
"No thanks." He sat down, glancing at the books. "Magical theory?"
"I'm researching a compulsion spell that got laid on someone."
"Interesting." He looked at him. "That guy you turned in. You knew he was doing what when?"
"I started to put it together when I smelled the old blood. Unfortunately I couldn't find a teacher when I casually looked and if I had went on a panicked run to them it would've outed me. Plus I figured he had a teacher on his side since he never got in trouble for missing PT." He sipped his coffee. "You sure?"
"I'm fine, Javier." He looked at him. "Why didn't you tell anyone sooner that day? Like at breakfast?"
"Because if I had them shut us down when he was there, he could've snuck out using the tunnels. No one would've thought to seal those. As soon as I noticed him gone I went to the instructor."
"If he had another victim?"
"He's been going out in a pretty set pattern. Two casual, short ones then a few longer, intense ones that he comes back smelling like perfume from. He was going out for a casual one so I was guessing he was picking a new target or moving along one he had been working on."
"He was. You show good thoughts for serial killer work." Xander grinned, taking another sip. "Something else you saw?"
"Learned it hunting actually. I draw a lot of psychos so I did some reading up on why people were like that."
"That's reasonable." He smiled. "We did get him and his last few chosen victims were talked to and made sure they were all right." Xander beamed. "Aiden and Danny said you were helpful and courteous, but a bit scary when you stared him down." Xander nodded at that. "No comment?"
"Way back in tenth grade I had a primal spirit that had a long...intense talk with me," he said, nodding at the doorway.
"Hyena. The matriarch."
"That's very interesting. That's why you come off as a bit predatory and why you're also a bit dangerous. That and your past skills?" Xander nodded. "That's very good to know." He got up to figure out who was listening, letting Don Flack in. "Problems?"
"I needed a statement from your future gun geek." He looked at him. "What did you do used to do?"
"A lot of things, including construction work."
"The mob's after you?"
"No, some insane assholes out of England are after me for being good and being myself after a friend goofed and drew me into it. Her and our other friend they want to kill. Me they want to dissect and then kill."
"Huh." He stared at him. Then at Mac, then back at him. "Is this going to be a problem if say... a defense attorney asks you?"
"I can keep it at that level and not tell anything about my past. Because then I'd be in danger and have to move cities and probably identities as well."
"Good point." He sat down, looking around. "What's the extra door?"
"I was wondering that myself," Mac admitted, looking at it.
"It goes back to my sanctuary, guys. Including my self-defense area."
"So, your collection's there?" Mac asked.
"And some empty boxes, yeah."
"Boxes like artillery cases?" Mac asked. "Because your old rep...." He let it trail off with a look.
Xander unlocked the door. "John?" He came over. Mac followed him. He shut it and looked at the detective. "I'm not fully normal."
"You're a mutant?" he joked with a grin.
"Well, her goof did give me wings." Don gaped so he let them come out for a minute before he banished them again. He sat down. "Want some coffee, Detective Flack?"
"Can I unsee that?"
"I'm told I do a mean obliviate spell," he offered with a grin. A demon showed up, bowing to him. "Oh, no! Not again. You know very well you have to ask John! Shoo! This is a future coworker if I'm lucky and you're screwing it up for me."
"The hunter does not listen to reason," the demon said mildly. "We know you would do so much better with someone to watch over you who could protect you better."
"Go. Ask. John," Xander said firmly.
"He does not speak with us."
"JOHN!" Xander yelled.
Flack got up to open that door. "Hey, Mac, John? There's a...thing here that wants to talk to you guys about the kid." He got out of the way, noticing the shotgun with the thing on the end. "Do you have to do that in front of us?"
"It's a demon." He shot it, making it yelp and port off. "Take it with you," he called quietly. "He's not accepting presents from your kind."
The demon reappeared behind his guards. "You are a pitiful human. If we want that one, we will have him."
"No, you won't," Xander told him. "Take it back. Now."
The demon patted him. "You're confused." He and his guard disappeared, leaving the box there.
Xander looked at John, who glared. "I didn't encourage that! I told him to go away before he freaked out Don too!"
"Too late," Don offered. "What the hell?"
"I used to hunt those sort of things. Others who hunt those sort of things think I'm going evil because my friend goofed. Those others also compelled John to watch over me and take me out if I started to go as evil as they think I am. Since I'm not, he only reminds me to eat and sleep when I forget."
Mac looked at Don. "I'd heard about this problem, Don. That's why I pulled him out to ask him. Aiden told me she knows too."
"So...." He looked at John. "You had ta shoot him why?"
"He's a demon. He's endangering us and others. Plus his future career because that's probably not a pet or food, Detective." He put the shotgun against the couch and came over to look at it, letting Xander look over his arm. "Pretty."
Xander shrugged. "I have more in the safe in the library." He grinned at them. "We really should...." John pinched him, making him yelp. "But if they don't want to know...."
"Then they'll ask, Xander. Doing it without their permission is wrong."
"Yes, John." He looked at them. "He's a very good dad to me. My original one wouldn't have cared if I destroyed the world as long as he got to see the GLOW wrestling women in the skimpy outfits. John takes very good care of me."
"Good," Don agreed. He looked at Mac. "There's no way a defense attorney won't note this."
"Being a ballistics tech he won't be called to the stand very often," Mac told him.
"It's this or medical school," Xander offered. "Or I have to become a demonic concubine because that's all I had that were *good* jobs. I don't think I can hack like that one or build robots like the other." John pinched him again. "Ow," he complained, rubbing the spot. "What?"
"In one he was the son of an assassin who took out bad people," John told them. Xander nodded. "He has a few memories of him being a regular assassin and thief too. Most of the lives were good." He looked at him. "You saw one where you were a doctor?"
"No, but I hear there's a major snarky doctor nearby in a few states that I could be the protégée of."
John shook his head. "No."
"Fine." He looked at them. "Sorry, Detective. I know most people don't want to think about these sort of things."
"It happens," he said calmly. "Mac, his gun geek nature is going to cause problems or not?"
"Probably not but his exemplar is varied and too much to have in the city."
"That's why I linked the doorway to there?" Xander offered sheepishly.
"Good idea," Don agreed. He looked at Mac. "Are we talking sniper rifles?"
"Some small bits of artillery."
"Uh-huh. And you're not throwing a fit?" Xander found his laptop and got onto a server to pull up a video, letting him see it. Don Flack just blinked. "Necessary?" he asked finally. Xander nodded and got into another one, letting him see that one. He shuddered. "Never mind." He backed up. "No more like that?"
"I'm hiding from that life," Xander pointed out. "I can use the same skills to hunt bad guys. I wanted the lab so I could be more protected and I love guns more than I do hunting things. It's also safer."
Mac nodded. "We had this talk already, Don. Relax." Don nodded and sat down to replay that video. He watched it. "Graduation?" Xander nodded. "Battle plans?" Xander slowly raised a hand. "Good job it looks like." Xander relaxed. "Do not bring the artillery into my city unless there's a very good reason and I had better know first," he ordered.
"What's your real name?" Flack asked.
"Xander Harris. Then Xavier Elmore, then Javier Elton."
"That's fine. I'll keep an ear out for those sort to come after you." John handed over his copy of the list. "Them?"
"Any of them might," he agreed.
"Good ta know." He pushed the laptop away. "What're we gonna do about this sicko's lawyer calling you?"
"It's well known that I have a threat that's making me hide my true identity," Xander told him. "Everyone who's trained me knows and my academy app lists a death threat that's keeping me from being myself and putting myself in protection. If he asks, I can dance around the issue based on my own safety. I'm not sure if any judge would complain about that when I point out I had to change it to a secondary identity after these idiots took some of my teachers hostage to get me in Chicago." Don shuddered. "Would they?" he asked Mac.
"No. You did all your training after that so it'd be in the clear as well. That's noted in your personnel file and the DA would be warned about that as well, Javier."
"Thank you." He looked at Don. "I'm not going to let it get in the way of stopping some bad guy. I won't. If I have to be more honest, I can still do that without outing my past hunting skills." That got a nod. "I can BS with the best of them if I have to and I was raised by girls so I know how to answer questions without saying a thing. I actually understand what a woman says when she says 'nothing'." Don cracked a smile and nodded. "Please don't hold this against me?"
"I can't do that since you didn't do it to yourself. Was she beaten?"
"Turning her in got them onto him," John told him. "But yes, she was punished. She's tied herself to the area out there in a permanent manner as it's guardian." He handed over the only picture in the house. "His former friends have found him a few times. The redhead goofed and led them to us in Chicago. The blonde was the one they tried to capture the day he graduated in the airport."
Mac memorized the faces, letting Don have it. "We'll keep you in the lab. Getting you into the field means that you have more opportunity to be seen and to be called to testify." Xander nodded at that wisdom. "For now, how's the academy going?"
"Pretty good. My instructor wanted me to bring up my PT and defensive driving score so I kicked ass on that test yesterday." They smiled. "We start on range work next week and he warned me that he's sticking me in the area that keeps knocking shots off-line."
"We have no idea what's doing it," Don admitted. "It started back before my time."
"If I find it I can break it," Xander promised.
"The wing stuff?" Don asked. "Does it come with other skills?"
"Wings?" Mac asked. Xander manifested them. John moaned, shaking his head, so he put them back. "Pretty."
"My feathers itch and make me twitchy so I keep them gone all the time," Xander assured him. "Now and then they come out when Sam yells at me but otherwise they stay gone. Especially in the lab."
"What else can you do?" Don asked.
"She goofed by making me see other versions of myself across the realms, Detective. The demon from earlier is because somehow I managed to inherit the skills of the me that had a hormone condition that drew demons and humans to kidnap me as a concubine. The wings come from another one. In one I was a cursebreaker." Don beamed and nodded. "Which is how I afforded things. He was a book nerd; that's why I have the library."
"Good ta know." He stood up. "Okay. We'll try to get him to take a deal."
"Go for it," Mac agreed. "If you can please do. If not, let me know." Don nodded, going to do that. "I saw the closet, kid. It stays there."
"My exemplar otherwise?" he asked hopefully.
"Unless you need it, it stays there too."
"Good boy." Xander barked, making him shake his head but grin in spite of it. "Fine. I'll be calling you for your official interview during your rookie ride-along times."
"Uniform or real clothes?"
"Whatever's useful at the time," he ordered. Xander nodded. "Do not let that scene happen in my lab."
"Good." He left, going to get a beer and think. The kid might drive him nuts but he had the skills and the mix of abilities to make a hell of a CSI. If they kept him away from the watchers.
Xander looked at John, shrugging a bit. "The vault?"
"We'll cash them out. Get somewhere bigger and nearer to the center of the city so it'll make money if we have to move."
"Sure. If you want to move stuff." John swatted him. "I'll be back at the academy." He got up to get more coffee, helping him go clean guns in the armory. He missed his guns. John gave him a fond look but ordered pizza for them and brought it over when it got there. "Can I have a pet?"
"Maybe some other time, kid. It's hard to go running for safety with a dog or a cat."
"Sure. I get that." He pouted a bit but it was okay.
John shook his head. Sometimes Xander just drove him nuts.
to part 5
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