Greg looked at Xander. It had been a month of being with Xander every day. They had done things that no one had told him was possible. And some things that people had told him was impossible. They had visited a few realms, they had snuck into Las Vegas without any of his former coworkers knowing so he could visit a few that he still liked. He had met a few other immortals and watched Xander take someone's head. Now, he and Ryan were gearing up to go with Xander on a *planned* excursion. Not like the ones where something came and took them. He was getting nearly as many frequent flyer miles as Ryan had on Astral Transport Systems. The demonic police officers all knew him by sight now thanks to his unannounced and unplanned excursions with Xander. Hell, he had even gotten to meet a few Gods he had considered myths. It had been a great month. He knew Xander was still hiding stuff from Danny and Don though and that worried him. He had been fully briefed by Horatio about the brain tumor and how it grew each time Xander had to do any major healing. He wasn't quite up to the level of playing poker with drug dealers again but he had this maniacal look in his eyes that said it might be pretty close.
Then again, Horatio had said it came with his hormones being backed up. Which they weren't. There was no way Xander was in backlog. He had helped wear them out that morning with Don and he had to say, he was still sore. Xander was a fun ride, a very fun ride. He'd roll around, bat at you, tease you, nip you, and make you plead for mercy before he got down to the main event. When he did, you begged for whole other reasons and to another set of Gods all together. He had learned a lot about being a GHS from Xander and a lot more about how to be a great lover. He had to so he could keep up. Because he knew Xander had worn out Cupid just the other day when he came down to play with the bouncy boy. Greg finished his pack and shook his head. He couldn't believe he was going to go on a planned trip to a realm where there were bigger dragons. Hubert was pouting but Xander pointed out they might attack him since he didn't have a mommy dragon to protect him. Hubert was still pouting at him from across the room.
"I'd take you if we thought it was safe," he complained. The dragon huffed off. Greg shook his head and finished checking his pack. Everything on Ryan's list was in there, including one of the empty neverending bags that was folded up near the bottom. They had figured out they could smuggle Xander out that way. It made for easier and quieter rescues. Then again, being in the bag with Xander was a lot of fun too.... No, if he had those thoughts he'd go pounce Xander and Ryan had him well in...mouth at the moment by the sounds Xander was making. He grinned as he tied down the pack's ties and got changed. Then he wrote out a letter for Don and Danny, that way they would know where to look to find out what Xander and he had been up to while they were at work all day. He wanted to be far, *far* away when Danny read about the two new suitors who ended up killing each other in a duel over him, leaving him their estates and harems, though Xander had let them all go free and helped find the ones who wanted new keepers - better ones.
He considered it and wrote out a letter to Horatio as well, sending it to him at the station. He would drop it in the outgoing mail on the way out with Ryan and Xander. He finished up and sealed it, then grabbed his bag and went downstairs. One went into the mail pile, one went onto the fridge. Ryan gave him an odd look. "Reminding him where we're going, who's with us, what we brought, and not to worry." Xander cooed and kissed him, making him see stars. He came back and saw Xander going over the mail. "Ah!" Xander put it back down, pouting at him. "That's stuff Horatio might need if the idiot DA acts too fast."
"Oh." He put the letters back and picked up his bag and his katana, taking Greg by the hand and walking him out, Ryan following shaking his head. That way Xander didn't see him drop his own two letters into the basket or how he put a note on the fridge saying to check for letters. Don and Danny would be home late tonight so they might not look if not told. Xander beamed at them both. "Are we ready?"
"We're ready, Xander," Ryan agreed, taking his other hand to hold loosely while Xander opened the portal. Then they grabbed the three horses and rode through. Because Xander was not going to hike for however long they were going to be there and they had agreed bringing home three new horses might be a bad thing. Danny might do a bit of complaining at that. They looked around the new landscape, noticing all the char marks. "Hey, Xander, this realm has how many dragons?" Ryan asked dryly.
"It depends on what part you're in," he admitted, grinning at him. "Strife said it was a great place to go exploring."
"I'm sure it is but apparently we're in dragon country. Let's ride a bit faster," Greg suggested, kneeing his borrowed mare into a faster walk. Ryan caught up and nodded at that, and Xander let his follow, singing happily as they rode on. Greg and Ryan shared a look. "We should bring home scales for Horatio and Speed."
"We can do that," Ryan agreed, pointing at some nearby. "There's some shed stuff."
"That's a space marking," Xander told them. "That's so they know and the others know who lives here." He fingered it. "It's older, dried out." He shrugged and they rode on, going down to the nearest village to start from there.
Ryan trimmed a small piece of the scales off and put it into his saddlebag, heading off behind the impetuous one. Before he got kidnaped again.
Greg followed, watching the big brother act Ryan had perfected over many rescues and trips with Xander. Some day he'd have the same attitude.
Don came home and looked at the letter bin, then at the note on the fridge. He pulled it down and went searching for the letters. He found one to him and Danny in Greg's handwriting. One to them in Ryan's, one specifically to Don in Ryan's handwriting. One to Horatio from each of them and one to Horatio from Xander. Interesting. "Tell Speed H has letters here," Don called. Danny came out of the bedroom only in his boxers, taking his. "Ryan left a note saying look for the notes."
Danny called Horatio's cell. "Just us. Xander, Ryan, and Greg all left you letters before they left. No, we've got ours and it looks like confessions." He hung up and took his back to the bedroom to read over while his shower warmed up. He put it aside while he hosed off the day then he got out and went back to reading. "Huh, Don, you should read yours. It's about your new friend."
"What new friend?" he called. He opened his letter and sat down with a moan of complaint. "Not another one." Speed and Horatio came in so Don handed them Horatio's letters. "I've got a new friend." Speed took it to look over while Don got a beer.
Horatio read over his mate's shoulder, then laughed. "Wonderful," he said sarcastically. "At least we can protect you, Don." He sat down to open his, nodding at Danny when he came out. "Anything good in yours?"
"Yeah, Greg's is a confession of the stupidity the boys do when we're working." Don snatched it to look over while he opened Ryan's. "Ah, what happened the last time he had to go save Xander. The bags can hold a Xander and it helps a lot when you're sneaking him out of somewhere," he said happily. "Have to remember that."
"I don't want to know how they know that," Don said firmly. The letter got held out and he shook his head, heading to the study to deal with the checkbook issues Xander never did. Including needing more checks so they could pay bills. There was a note on the desk asking how he was supposed to pay bills without any checks. It was dated last month. "Danny, we're out of checks," he called.
"Do the balancing first," Danny called. "Then pay online. His cards should be in there. Not like they take Visa wherever they went." Speed laughed at that mental image. "Hey, he took some of the jewels with him as cash," he said happily. "That gets them out of the house and he usually brings back nice presents." He got into the fridge. "Beer, boys?"
"Please," Horatio moaned. He took his and headed to get the vault's keys. Both of them. Greg's had been a list of what new things he'd find. Ryan's had some of that as well as what and who had given them to him, the ones Greg didn't list. Xander's had been to ignore the both of them's complaints because he said they were whining. Also to ask him about the advisability of buying a boat. Well, the letter had said ship specifically. So probably a yacht with sleeping spaces. Or he hoped anyway. He found the cataloging books in the first vault, all together and nicely done in Greg's handwriting. Plus a pile of things with his name on top. He looked and whimpered. They were beautiful. Obviously meant to be presents by the note. He carried them upstairs with the books, putting them on the breakfast bar so they could sit and look at them. Together.
Don came out with the account statements. "Has Xander been playing poker again? Somehow, outside of interest, he's made a good three mil in the last two months."
"No," Danny said quietly. "But with new *friends*...."
"No. This isn't that. This is entirely different. Wrong account for that stuff." He looked at the books, then at Horatio. "Didn't those used to be one inch binders?"
"They were," Speed agreed, staring at the five inch, full binders. "But apparently Greg's done cataloging." He took one of the ones for a closet and sat down to flip through it, including some pictures when he didn't know what something was. "Some of it's very pretty kitsch."
Danny held up one. "Why does he have a statue with a penis like that?"
Don looked over his shoulder. "Um, said it was given to him as an offering for being next to the Gods in making them fertile by playing with himself," he read, then shuddered and went to get a second beer. He took it back to the study to pay the bills, coming back a few minutes later. "Steve's been paying the bills."
"Thank the Gods," Speed muttered. He shook his head. "Can you get him to balance the checkbook?"
"He already did. I got an email from him when he saw me logged into the account." He sat down to look at his own book of stuff in a closet. "I didn't know Xander was musical." He held up the picture of an instrument that looked like a lyre. "Anyone got a clue?"
"Nope," Danny said. "Before my time, man. We could ask Oz or Jace. Or even Ares."
"He's busy helping Ryan protect them," Horatio said firmly.
They all sent up prayers apologizing for letting Xander give Ares a headache from Ryan this time.
Horatio looked at his letter from Xander. "He said it shouldn't matter, Don, but your birthday present was in the safe in the office?"
"We have a safe in the office?" He went to look and sure enough there was one. "He's got to go back to the bank," he complained. "We've got loose cash and jewels again, guys." He came out with a handful of stones that had landed in one of the desk drawers. "Can't we hire him a secretary?"
"Cordy said she was bored," Danny offered.
Speed looked at him. "Don't torture us that way!" he complained. "Xander will pout at us because she picks on his hair," he explained when his snuggly one gave him an amused look. "Plus she's more snarky than I am. I'm the only sarcastic bastard allowed in the department."
"Maybe we could hook her up with an officer, or another GHS member," Danny offered.
"That's one way to make her happy and purring," Don joked. "Isn't being a secretary part of Greg's job?" They all nodded and watched as a portal opened on the back lawn. "Already?" he called. "It's only been hours!" They rode out, dropped stuff, then the portal changed colors and they headed off again. "Never mind, I withdraw my objection," he sighed when they all stared at him. "Not my fault!"
"No elephants, we have to remember that," Speed said. "They didn't bring back elephants this time, it's all good."
Horatio looked at him. "We didn't last time, Tumie did."
"They still came home with Xander," he said firmly. "Speaking of, you need another trim, Horatio."
"It's not that long."
Speed looked at him then casually grabbed a handful and yanked. "Yes it is. You said I couldn't have a handhold ever again when you came home with princess hair." He let his husband's hair go and looked at the others, weathering the swat to his head. "Sorry, dear."
"Later, definitely later," Horatio assured him. He looked at the book from the vaults, sighing at some of them. "Does he carry insurance?"
"Would you want to steal from him?" Danny asked.
"No," he admitted. Xander and Ryan would probably stab someone. Or Xander would make another willing slave, like the last guy who had broken in here, who still insisted Xander was a Goddess and his new faith. He had used the walls of his cell to write out hymns to him. It had greatly amused the guards and the judge had said it proved he needed to be evaluated for mental damage. It was a very harsh punishment for the guy who tried to mug Xander when he was at the grocery store and then followed him home.
"That guy out of his mental eval?" Danny asked.
"He's staying in the hospital," Horatio said calmly. He looked at Don. "Do we think Xander needs a second secretary?"
"No but I think it'd be good for Cordy to come out and arrange this stuff. She's the fussy sort. It's either that or we've got to let Marisol do it."
"There's a mental image to make Eric drink. Cordy and Marisol getting together," Speed said, then he shook his head quickly.
Horatio looked at him, petting the back of his head. "Are you feeling all right? Withdrawal perhaps? Fever? Stomach aches?" Speed laughed and shook his head. Horatio wasn't taking any chances, he didn't need Speed to be sick. He called Alexx. "It's Horatio. Speed's having odd thoughts and he claims he's feeling all right. Remember Miss Chase? Her and Eric's sister Marisol getting together. No, he's out of town. I'm hoping it's not withdrawal or something he got exposed to at work. No, we're at Xander's. He left us letters and Greg left confessions." He smiled. "We'll wait, Alexx." He hung up and looked at Speed again. "It's all right, she'll make sure you're okay," he promised, patting his husband's hand.
"I'm fine, Horatio! They're very alike. Very fashionable, very smart. I can see Marisol hunting beside Cordelia." Danny got up and got him an ice pack, wrapping it in a dish towel before handing it over. "I'm fine!" he complained.
"Uh-huh. Let me know if this is contagious," Don told Horatio, going back to his books. "And another instrument, this one in the shape of multiple penises holding the strings." He showed it off. "It's a very Xander instrument."
Danny looked at it. "That's more the size of Ryan. Xander's a bit thicker."
"See, I knew it was contagious," Don said, handing Horatio the book and going to take two aspirin, just in case it was going to spread to him.
"Bring me a few too please, Don," Horatio called. Don brought out the bottle for him. It was a very interesting instrument.
"Maybe we should let Eric go with them sometime," Speed offered. "It'd give him a bit of a thrill and a chance to cut loose and screw all the pretty virgins."
"I'll make a nest on the couch," Danny said, going to do that.
"I'm not sick!"
"We'll let Alexx see, baby," Horatio soothed, walking Speed out there. "Why is there a fifth ferret that looks like ours?"
"She escaped yesterday," Don called. "Xander had to come rescue her from the station, remember?"
"I do. Thankfully she's fixed." He made sure his spouse was comfortable and tucked in so he couldn't hurt himself or others. At least until Alexx got there and told them what was wrong with him. Because if it wasn't an illness it meant he'd have to knock all those bad and horrible thoughts out of Speed's head with sex tonight and he was tired.
Greg looked at the man on the pole beside him. "How did you get us taken as *virgin* sacrifices!" he complained. "I haven't been one of those since I was fifteen, Xander!"
"They said we were!" He struggled to get the ropes free. "It's not my fault. Ryan was hitting on the barmaid and we weren't."
"She was nasty and she had lip sores!"
"Which was why Ryan was asking her if she had cooked any of the food." He got a wrist free but the priests grabbed him before he could finish getting free. "Ryan!"
"Broadcast!" he called from where he was. "Now! Make them yours! Before this priest decides to prepare my ass to take his God's cock."
Xander let everything off his control, making the whole town moan in pleasure. "Kneel!" he yelled. "Bow to me or no one's having sex ever again!" He pushed it up, making himself surge by imagining how he was going to make Greg do kinky things to him later. All but one young woman fell to an orgy. She walked through and around them, staring at him. "I'm not a virgin," he told her. "Haven't been in nearly five years. Please let us go free?"
She stared at him then snorted. "You clearly aren't of our kind," she said quietly. "Lady Athena would never put up with this skill."
"I'm devoted to Cupid and Strife," he panted. "With some of Ares' thrown in. Ryan's one of his chosen warriors and Greg is my companion. Please let us go and I'll let them all go? Please?"
"Very well." She let them go and let them grab their things and Ryan. Their horses and bags were stolen from the temple they had been given to and they headed out. She saw the one called Ryan sneak back to get their swords and then he left again. She looked at the priests then up. "We are sorry to have taken them, Lady Athena. Please bless those who wanted it with fertility but do not burden those who don't with children?" She smiled as the people started to come back down. Apparently the Great Lady had some mercy on the townswomen. She knelt when her Goddess appeared, bowing her head when she came up to where she was. "They're very sorry, Great Goddess Athena. They knew not who they proclaimed virgin sacrifices."
"Obviously." She cut it out for the priests, staring down at them since they were mid-sex. "Took one of Cupid's Burdens?" she taunted.
"That one claimed the one with the marking was one of Ares' chosen warriors," the young woman told her, looking up at her. "The other he called his companion."
"No, the blond with him was another, lower level, of Cupid's Burden," she said dryly. "The warrior was their protector. You were not affected?"
"Lust is not an emotion I enjoy, My Lady. I have prayed often that it not hit me."
"Hmm. Good. That is worthy of one of mine. Report to the temple later for instruction." She looked at her butt-screwing priests. "That is not an activity I have sanctioned," she noted impatiently. "Stop it or bear me heirs." They pulled apart with whimpers of loss and knelt at her feet. She shook her head and disappeared. "Leave Cupid's Burdens alone. None of them are pure!"
She got to her feet and headed down to the temple, going to report for duty and training. She had found someone else who appreciated her.
Speed looked up at Alexx, shrugging. "I don't know what's wrong with him. I'm not sick."
"Sugar, I love you, but you've got brain rot," she shared, patting him on the head. "You need a good dinner and then screwed into the bed." She walked off to tell Horatio that. "He's perfectly fine," she assured him, getting a moan. "He could use a good dinner and then screwed into the bed like you could create a baby." She stroked Horatio's arm. "Have fun with that and I expect him to come in walking funny in the morning." She took one of the cookies Danny held out, smiling at him. "Thank you, Danny."
"Welcome. Don was worried he was contagious." He let her see Greg's letter, watching her face.
"He wants to know about buying a ship," Horatio offered.
"Let's hope it's a nice one," she said, patting his arm again, leaving the house to go home. Since it wasn't a tragedy.
Horatio took the basket Don held out. "Dinner?"
"Dinner, lube, wine," Danny said. "Take his bike and go for a ride," he ordered, making shooing motions. "We'll watch the hummer tonight." Horatio smirked and went to grab Speed. The basket got hitched to the back of the bike and Horatio took off driving. Because Speed clearly wasn't mentally capable of it. He parked them on the beach and drug him down to have a picnic with him. It would help him and it was a nice night for it. He looked in the basket. Chocolate, casserole, champagne. Good champagne. More chocolate sauce from the really good chocolate. A full, new bottle of lube. A six pack of condoms. A towel. A gag. And a fairly large sex toy on top of the silverware but it was wrapped in shrinkwrap. He pulled the blanket out of the top and set it out, then got the dinner part out. The rest would come later. Because he couldn't let Speed work like this. He would give everyone else migraines and Eric would whine at him if he let Speed work like this.
Ryan looked at Xander a week and a half local time later. "How did we get captured this time?" he asked patiently.
"I was letting the girl pet my horse?"
"So, what have we learned?" Greg asked.
"Letting girls pet my horse is bad?"
"Flirting is bad," Ryan corrected firmly. "Flirting leads to us being in a cell while they decide if we debauched said daughter."
"I only let her pet my horse!" he complained. "My stallion is very pretty, he deserves to be petted."
"He does," Greg agreed. "All the horses needed some love."
Ryan looked at him. "Not the point, Greg. Really. Because we could all be married by the morning time."
"With the way our time runs, it'd only be a few hours for us," Greg offered.
"True," he sighed, nodding. "I still don't want to be married this week, Greg."
"Me either. I've heard marriage sucks. That you can't even have good gay sex." Xander snuggled into Ryan's chest, stroking his cock for him. "I'm sorry I let her pet my horse."
"I know. These freakish things happen to you, Xander," Ryan soothed, stroking over his back. "We're being watched."
"I don't care!" Ryan stopped him from doing anything else. "Ryan!"
"Xander, they could try to behead us for being gay, dear."
"Fuck," he muttered, pouting at the guard who came to check on them. "If I sleep with my protector are you guys going to torture or behead us?" he called. The guard shook his head. "So it's okay if I sleep with Ryan and Greg while we wait?"
"Many men sleep with other men before they're married. It teaches them how to sleep with women. Bonds them on the battlefield."
"It does," Ryan agreed, letting go of Xander's hair. Xander shrugged and went down on him. Ryan smiled and patted Xander's head. "Sorry, he's one of Cupid's."
The guard blushed and walked off, going to tell his Lord that. The priestess of Aphrodite's up there got a sudden headache and she went to check them, finding the marks on them. Including the new ones Cupid had put on Greg so he could find him if something happened while he wasn't out with Xander. They released them that night and Xander blessed the marriages fertile. They even got to leave with everything they had. The next morning found Greg riding back with the daughter who had snuck out, handing her over. "She snuck out and followed us. We didn't think that was a good idea." He turned and rode off again. He was clearly sitting oddly, like he had been taken repeatedly last night by Xander and Ryan. Which he had since this one had been his surge and oops.
Steve Ellison walked into the Miami-Dade Crime Lab building, nodding politely at the receptionist. "I need to speak to either Detective Messer or Flack please?"
"Did Xander do something horrible?"
He smiled. "You know Xander?"
"He brings in huge lunches every few days," she agreed happily. "Is he in trouble? We know he hasn't been in for a few days and neither has Ryan Wolfe. Usually that means they got taken together or he's off rescuing him. But if you need him, Lieutenant Caine is in his office, sir. He handles the really bad Xander trouble."
"No, not that sort of trouble. I'm his financial manager, Steve." She nodded and called those two to come get him. He nodded politely at Eric when he stomped in. "Good morning."
Eric stared at him. "Do I know you?"
"Steve Ellison," he said, holding out a hand.
"Ah, that Steve. Xander's talked about you." He shook his hand. "Danny or Don? Or is Xander back and in trouble?"
"No, he hasn't made a withdrawal in four days."
"They're traveling," Eric said dryly. Danny came off the elevator.
"Steve," Danny said, shaking his hand. "Is he in trouble, something bounce maybe?"
"No, not in the least but I did want to talk to you two about some odd deposits recently. Can we?"
"Sure. Eric, the boss is in the office on the phone getting nagged."
"He'll love this. My scene was a frat prank. Body done in peach jell-o with coconut hair and cherry jell-o nipples and lips." He headed up there to tell him and show him the pictures. Because there was no way Horatio Caine would believe this one without it.
Danny led Steve up to one of the offices they used to talk in, sitting down across from him. "Before you ask, he's off realm with Ryan and Greg."
"Sanders." He pulled out a picture to show him. "That's Greg. He's another GHS and formerly part of Las Vegas' lab."
"Interesting. I got authorization for him to use Xander's cards and deposit money into his accounts." He pulled his laptop out of his briefcase and opened it, logging in again. He turned it to show Danny. "I don't know who this person is."
Danny looked, then he got into his phone and made a call. "Wyatt, my man. Get down here. Now. Bring whatever you have on whoever's been adding to Xander's bank accounts. Yes, you, Wyatt. Because I know you know and his financial manager is going to call the IRS and the SEC next. Thank you. Yeah, come see me. Bring me lunch too if you can. Some of that beef with peppers? Don loved that stuff. Thanks." He hung up. "That's the guy who handles his poker debts for him."
"I thought he quit playing."
"He did." They shared a look. "Greg's letter of confession said he had a few new admirers."
"Danny, this is more like he broke the bank in Vegas again."
"Maybe he went to punish someone and did that." He shrugged. Then he called reception. "Send the Chinese delivery guy upstairs for me please. I'm in interrogation three. Thanks." He hung up shaking his head. "Before you ask, Wyatt works for a place down in Little Singapore that keeps track of the high stakes and bad guy poker rings. They do the debt books." Steve moaned. "He's my cousin. That's why he got assigned to Xander." Wyatt came in. "How much do I owe you?"
"A hell of a lot since I've got an Econ test in two hours. What's up?" Steve showed him the entries and he pulled out a notepad to compare them. Then he smirked at Danny. "He didn't tell you about the gaudy cruise ship and stuff?" Danny slowly shook his head. "That corresponds to what I have for that. Also, the guy who paid him in drugs, they're going to be paying him in cash." He looked again. "The only one I don't have is this one for ten grand, guys. I have no idea who did that one. Is that interest?" He looked at Steve. "You're the guy who handles this stuff?" Steve nodded slowly. "Give me your card please? Xander's pitiful at this. I had to help him deposit the cruise ship stuff. They have to drag him to the bank to deposit any poker winnings."
"I thought he quit playing," Danny complained, checking the tag on the order and pulling out his wallet to pay and tip him.
"He did, with the thugs. Then again he played against the General the other day and made him curse and go beat his mistress. She reported him too. It was his own fault, the General challenged him personally to a rematch." He smirked and pocketed the money. "Anything else?"
"Any idea on the ten grand?" Danny asked.
"That one I think may've been the sale of something," Steve admitted. "It came from within the bank itself." He looked at Wyatt. "I really don't want to be involved or tied to anything illegal, Wyatt."
"We're neutral. We keep the debt books so no one can fight over it and destroy the restaurant again. We host one of the weekly games." Steve pulled out his card and handed it over. "Thanks, man. I appreciate this. The dude seriously needs to know how to use his checkbook. I had to fill out his deposit slip the last time." He shrugged and grinned. "Anything else?"
"How much do people owe him?" Danny asked.
"Oh, about twice the worth of your house. He set a limit. He wants paid if you owe him more than fifty G's." Danny moaned at that. "The General's presently in to him for about 4 and a half major bills."
"Crap and he's a drug dealer," Danny complained, rubbing his forehead. "Why?"
"The dude challenged your boy. Said he wasn't that great. It had been a fluke run of luck. Got him onto the gaudy cruise ship too. Man, that boy and baccarat, bad combo. Anything else, cuz?"
"Thanks, man. Enough for me and Don?"
"Sure. Where is the boy? The General wanted a chance to lose more to him."
"Traveling with Ryan and Greg. You can tell him he can't. He's got to pay his debts first and if he tries shit, I'm letting Ryan kill him this time."
"Sure, I'll let him know." He smirked at Horatio when he came in. "Bossman."
"Some odd deposits," Steve offered. "The local bank contacted me and neither of us knew where they came from."
"I made him use the small branch up the street from the restaurant. No way am I going to let him drive three million bucks in cash across town. There's way too many people who'd know and throw fits. Like those who had to pay him. Since they can't use it for other things and he had *really* bad timing about when he wants paid, they're not all happy to lose to him." He shrugged and smirked. "Like I said, everything but the ten grand corresponds."
"That's fine. Thanks you, Wyatt," Horatio agreed. "Did you bring a menu?"
"One in the bag, bossman. Oh, his new stalker buddy? Toasted and got hit by a car last night. No worries about him or Flack's. Or even Greg's." He smiled and walked out, heading to pay the tab on the order and then go back to studying.
Steve called the bank to work out that one payment with them, finding out what it was. He relaxed and explained the others so it was all good again. He hung up and looked at Danny. "That's going to kill him."
"I tried," he pointed out. "Horatio's tried. Speed's tried. Hey, boss," he called, waving him back inside since he had went to give Don his lunch. "Any idea what gaudy cruise ship he was talking about?"
"No," he sighed. "Ray, Frank? Did either of you hear about Xander on a cruise ship?"
"They're smuggling drugs," Frank offered from his seat. He had ordered a sandwich in and was enjoying it. He finished swallowing that bite and found Don, Danny, and Horatio all staring down at him. "They invited him specially for a high stakes game with straight people. He cited that you would get mad at him if he played with more thugs." He ate another bite, mentally smirking at the frustrated looks on their faces. "He pulled a Mississippi on them," he said before stuffing his mouth again.
"Is that the ship he was thinking about buying?" Ray asked from his desk.
Horatio moaned and hung his head.
"Nope. The boy got offered a very nice ship in return for forgiving their debt to him. It's smaller than a cruise ship and bigger than most yachts." He finished his sandwich, even if he probably looked like a chipmunk and he was having problems chewing.
Horatio looked at Ray. "You heard about the ship?"
"Only that he was thinking about buying one. He asked mine and Adam's advice. Frank, wasn't that the Vice bust a few weeks back?" Frank nodded while he chewed. Danny, Don, and Horatio all went to call over there to get details. "If Xander was smart, he'd hide for a few more weeks," Ray quipped.
Frank swallowed finally and shook his head. "He'll get 'em in a good mood within hours." He looked at Steve. "So, which friend are you? New stalker?"
"Steve, his financial advisor," he said, shaking his hand. "He had some odd deposits I wanted to check on."
"Hmm," Frank said, smirking at him. "So, how much is he winning at poker?"
"He made the cost of the house in the last two months, Detective."
Frank moaned. "I'm expecting a *wonderful* holiday present from the boy then."
Ray grinned. "Last year he let Adam pick out any ten things of his that he wanted to use on me."
Frank shook his head. "I'm not the sex toy sort. My wife doesn't like 'em." The officer coming over with a folder turned and walked the other way. "Talking about Harris and gifts."
"That's all right, Detective. I'm going to do a brain wash now."
Steve looked at him. "I got a gift certificate to a high end electronics store last year. He's very good at finding decent gifts."
"He is," Frank agreed. "But the boy's trouble incarnate."
"No, that's one of the people the marks on his hips are to," Ray reminded him. "Xander's just his high priest."
"Explains a lot," Steve sighed, walking off shaking his head. "Nice having met you two, Detectives." He went to the local bank to talk to them. They had to do something about Xander's accounts. This was getting ridiculous.
"Someone needs to make the kid quit playing poker before Miami's bankrupt," Ray complained. "Or teach me so I can help him wipe 'em out."
"Could be worse. He could still be playing with thugs," Frank offered.
"No. They shot at him enough last time," Ray complained, sounding tired. "We've got to stop that boy."
"Good luck, we've all tried," Eric called. "What did Xander do this time?"
"More poker games with rich guys who weren't dealing drugs," Frank called back.
"I heard about the Vice arrest at the brothel," Eric admitted as he came over with a folder for Ray.
"The one we heard about was on a cruise ship that was running drugs," Frank told him. "Horatio and them just found out and stomped off to call Vice."
"I've got a suspect to find. Come on, Ray." Ray grinned and brought the rest of his lunch with him.
"Not a bad idea," Frank agreed, grabbing his jacket and heading out too. He had people he could go question. It would keep him from hearing Horatio rant about the boy. Hopefully. At least until Horatio called him to rant about the boy an hour later.
"I'm not your body slave," Ryan complained.
"I know you're not. That's my job," Xander assured him with a smile, snuggling up to his chest. "I'm a very good body slave," he teased, stroking Ryan's bare stomach. Ryan moaned and nodded at that. "We're only here for a few days, Ryan. I promise."
"Good." He stared in Xander's eyes. "Is Strife getting a rush?"
"You know, earlier I heard him gasping for air while he giggled. Now I'm not sure." Ryan moaned and kissed him. "Thank you."
"Welcome, Strifeling." He gave him a cuddle and looked over at the sleeping Greg. They had already worn him out so he got first sleep period. He didn't trust these people. They had taken Xander before and done it this time too. Xander went back to stroking him. "Quit." Xander grinned. "I mean it. I need to be alert. Not sleeping off another killer orgasm."
"I'm sorry you nearly died."
"I'm never letting you go that long again," he vowed. One of the guards came in and he looked at him, seeing the amused look. "If he's not cuddled, he becomes even more like his Lords and Masters, Strife and Cupid."
The guard bowed and put food down. "So we had heard. We do hope he can bless the fields tomorrow?"
"Hopefully," Xander agreed. That got a smile and the guard left them alone. "Need a bath?"
"I could use one and so could your hair probably. We should be clean," Ryan called.
"I'll have a bath set up with extra buckets for his hair," the guard agreed. One with hair such as that had to take good care of it. He had heard rumors that Lord Strife wore some of it around his wrist to play with. It was said Bards had written about his hair and longing to lose themselves in it and pleasure themselves with it.
Horatio looked at the family, plus Steve. "Did you get it worked out, Steve?"
"We did. Everything's all set up. He's in a tax shelter. All you guys have to do is to make him quit playing poker."
"Half the time he plays with thugs so they can't use the money for other things," Eric offered. "The General owes him how much?"
"Four and a half million," Danny said dryly. "According to Wyatt."
Horatio coughed. "He should have to pay that."
"He should," Don agreed with an evil smirk. "Without the drugs this time."
"Very true, without the drugs this time," Horatio agreed. "Did we tell Wyatt this?" Danny nodded. "Good. Maybe Vice can trace where he's getting the money from." He looked around then at the rest of them. "How do we keep Xander occupied?"
"Give him a new hobby?" Eric suggested. "I know the guy sucks at education but still!"
"He's taking lessons on how to sail his new boat," Danny pointed out. "He used it to seduce Greg on the boat." That got some smiles. "Is Greg going with him? We all thought Greg was going to keep him entertained."
"He does," Don reminded him. "But even Greg gets bored around the house all day. Letting Xander out into the world is always a bad idea." They shared a look. "He likes skill based stuff."
"He liked the carving kits he found at the hobby shop," Calleigh reminded them.
"See, we can encourage that one. Maybe let him do stuff like ornaments to sell for charity and stuff?" They all shrugged at that. "Like at the fair last week?"
"We could," Horatio agreed. "He seems to be tilted toward art and creating." They all nodded at that. "Any luck getting him to empty the vault into the bank?" Steve moaned. "I'll take that as a no."
"No and if he did at this moment it might bother more things." He looked over when a twinkling started and a portal opened. Then stuff got tossed out with a sleeping Greg. Another one got tossed out on top of Greg and he cuddled it, then the portal got closed once Ryan's mares and their foals came through. Steve sipped his beer. "Shopping trip?"
"Something like that," Eric moaned, shaking his head. "Princess, wake up Greg," he called. One of the mares nudged him and Greg snapped awake. "Welcome back, Greg."
"Shhh. Honey mead bad." He snuggled back in and went back to sleep. At least until the bag in his hand wiggled, then he put it down and opened it, grabbing a different one to hold and one to pillow his head.
"I do believe I know where they are at least," Horatio said bitterly, shaking his head. "Someone go get the new refugees out of the bag?"
Frank groaned but got up to do that. He looked inside the bag, then thought about emptying it as he turned it over and shook. A few women and two men fell out, plus one young guy. Then some clothes and a few bags fell on top of them. He checked, finding one female staring at him. He moved off to the side and shook harder and she came out with two trunks and hair like Xander's. He looked at them. "Welcome to Earth."
"Why did Xander bring home dancing girls?" Steve asked, looking confused.
"The only possible answer to that is that it's Xander and that's an answer in itself," Horatio told him. He looked over and said something in the language of the place they had been kidnaped together. One of them wailed and fell on Greg, waking him. He said something else, patting her on the head. She stopped and sniffled, going over to kneel at Horatio's feet, babbling something at him. He said something back and leaned back, resting his head on Speed's shoulder. "She said they were gifted to Ryan with his new Princess because he had saved her from the foul beast that was trying to harm her."
"I'm guessing the princess is the one with all the hair and the two trunks of clothes?" Frank suggested.
"You'd be correct, Frank." He looked back at her and said something, getting a nod and her going inside with her handmaidens to look around. The males with them trotted behind, carrying things for them. He looked at Speed. "She's apparently obedient."
"If they give out women maybe I'll go on the next one," Eric said dryly. Horatio and Speed both glared at him. Alexx too. He grinned. "What?"
"You'd come home with your own harem. Horatio, did you get offered a princess of your own?" Alexx teased.
Horatio looked at her. "No comment." Speed looked at his mate. "I didn't take them up on it," he promised, taking his hand to hold.
"Why did you get offered a princess?"
"I saved a Lord's daughter from the drunken guard who was trying to grope her."
"Being your noble self," Alexx said happily. "Good for you, Horatio."
"The other ones?" Speed asked, staring Horatio down. Horatio squirmed and tried to look innocent. "You said them?"
"I got offered one daughter in exchange for marrying her older sister off to someone. I turned that father down too. Plus the one I won at cards."
Speed shook his head. "No playing poker for you either, Horatio," Frank taunted. One of the other bags moved and he opened it, letting the young woman out. "Welcome to earth."
"Where am I?" she asked in English.
"He was supposed to let me out at Throman."
Horatio looked at her. "We'll get it straightened out when they come back. They might not have made it there yet. They brought the princess back here for safety reasons."
"Princess?" She headed where he pointed, going to ask her. She came out scowling. "I hate women like that. She said they were going to debauch her publically if she wasn't wed this moon. It's bad for a princess to not be wed, looks bad on the king." She sat down next to Eric, frowning at him. "Well, what can I learn here?"
"We've got some great colleges," he offered. "You're in a whole other world, you know that, right?"
"Of course I do," she said dryly. She rolled her eyes. "Men. Now I know why the Goddess outlawed you from her temples." She looked at Calleigh and Alexx. "May I have advice from you two?"
"Sure," Calleigh agreed. "What do you like to do?"
"How would she get the documents she'd need to get into school?" Steve asked.
"Let me guess, you haven't figured out how to use the laptop Xander sent you?" Eric teased.
"Oh, that way. It's back in Cascade."
"He's got a setup here," Horatio promised. "Priestess, you have a whole world to explore here and many fine centers of education." She smiled at that. "What areas do you study?"
"Languages and the arts."
"There's a few good schools here in the city," Alexx promised. "We'll get you set up with one. Xander can take care of you."
"Xander is a very strong priest of Strife. I should've known something would go wrong with my plans when they offered me the ride inside the case." She pushed her hair back over her shoulder and looked at Calleigh's clothes, then at her own. "You look much more comfortable. Women can wear pants here?" She nodded. "Good! I'll enjoy that." One of the mares came over to sniff her. "I'm still not your chew toy, horse." She gave the nose a gentle shove, so Princess went to nibble on Eric's hair for him. "The priest of Strife has been helping with her training again. Perhaps the Chosen One will spank him again. It was amusing the last time."
"What did they do?" Alexx asked.
She looked at her and smirked. "There was a merchant who didn't want the temple of Strife to be next to his store so he protested and complained long enough that the village's elders shut it down and ordered them to move. Then the priests show up. A Chosen One of Ares to handle the situation with princesses like that one," she said, nodding inside. "He had twenty-three daughters. Still probably does since no one's going to marry them now. The priest of Strife and Cupid followed once he got the other priest of Cupid free from his captor. That merchant and others suddenly started to have problems. Including that particular one going after the nibbling one there sexually in the middle of the marketplace. His wife was mortally embarrassed and ended up killing herself but it was her money behind the shop. So her family closed it on him and had him punished as a desecrater of purity, their daughter's, and a lover of animals.
"My Goddess, Athena, was not pleased when they went to bother her for a judgement since it was one of her towns." She pushed her hair back again. "Needless to say she was in a foul mood with those three priests. She swore for weeks at Strife. Xander casually pointed out he was the one who had 'dissed', whatever that means, Strife's temple. She said it was only fair then and let them run him out of town and into the woods, where he turned into a half-beast. Now none of the young women can come out and he's telling all the suitors not to marry the princesses since their father didn't stick up for him." She looked at them. "Is there a temple to Athena here?"
"No, but you can probably use Xander's altar in the basement," Eric offered. "It's to Cupid and Strife but she might not mind."
"My Goddess is fairly picky. I'll do without so I don't upset her. Thank you anyway."
Strife appeared, smirking at her. "If you had went there, you'd have been killed for being a smart woman, toots." She shrugged at that. "Here you'll serve two purposes. One of them to teach Athena what's going on in today's world here and the other to help keep Xander out of trouble and occupied." She nodded at that. "For right now, let's get you into something clothes-like and let you tie your hair up. Blondey?"
Calleigh looked at him. "Did you forget I like to play with weapons, Lord Strife?" she asked.
He cackled. "I like you. Damn I need a woman like you." He smirked back. "You'll be a good big sister to this one. Get her comfy in some of Xander's clothes for now. Then we'll work on education and paperwork stuff."
"What did Ryan want us to do with his harem?" Speed asked dryly.
Strife giggled, falling down onto his butt to giggle next to Eric. "Oohhh, I forgot about them! We'll handle it. Let Xander set 'em up somewhere. She'll be married properly within a few years." He disappeared, still giggling.
"Come on," Calleigh offered. "We'll put you into some lounging pajamas. We're like a family; Xander's run around naked in front of most of us before. We won't mind." She nodded, following Calleigh inside to borrow some more proper clothes and something to tie her hair back with. She found a cursed hair band but it got taken with a head shake. "Cursed. One of the people who gifts Xander gave it to him." She handed over a different one. "Use that." That got a smile and she took a shower, coming out clean and dressed in the lounging pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, with her hair braided. "You can't tell you're not native," she praised.
"No wonder I was chosen to come here. The Gods work in mysterious ways." Calleigh smiled and led her back outside once she had on some slippers. "Could I ask Xander to take me shopping for normal clothes?"
"You can, he needs a shopping buddy," Calleigh assured her. The priestess pointed at the princess. "I know." She led her back to her seat. "All done. Anything new?"
"Not yet," Horatio admitted. He stretched and looked at Speed. "Did you feed the ferrets?"
"They're inside, Horatio. Remember, our AC broke again." Horatio nodded, going to check on their furry offspring.
"I never expected Horatio Caine to keep ferrets," Frank said, smirking at Don and Danny. "Xander has definitely made him loosen up."
"Yes but not always in great ways," Speed reminded him. "He still gets into trouble."
"Yeah, but now it's more 'here have a princess' trouble instead of 'I'm going to blow you and your lab up' trouble," he pointed out.
"What did you call the cyanide gas?" Speed demanded.
"One of Delko's exes trying to get even with him," he said, shrugging. "Wasn't it?"
"Well, yeah," Calleigh admitted. "It was. Another psycho Eric ex."
"Not my fault. That's why I broke up with her."
"Eric, I love you like a son," Alexx said with a fond smile for the boy, "but you've got Ryan and Aiden. You don't need more than that. If you do, we're doing the bloodwork to see if you're not part of GHS yourself, dear." He shuddered at that thought, shaking his head. "Yes, we will be. Speaking of, I never did hear about the retest results," she told Speed.
"Haven't done them yet." He sipped his lemonade, shaking his head. "I'm not sure I want to know." Something inside crashed. "Horatio?"
"Someone on the front lawn threw a rock," he called. Don got up and went to beat the little brat from up the street this time.
Speed looked at the priestess. "So are you also here to keep Cordy from coming down to be Xander's secretary?"
Strife came back, testing his forehead. "You're not usually one of mine," he said, looking confused.
"Horatio thought he might be sick because Speedy said she and Marisol might be cute together," Alexx offered. "Juice, Lord Strife?"
"No, I've already got quite a rush." He looked at Speed, patting him on the head. "I'm mean but that would drive all you nuts." He glanced at Eric, who was growling. "But they'd be cute." He disappeared before Eric could pull something pointy.
"Horatio, Speed needs fixed again," Calleigh called. "He's making Eric growl!"
Horatio came out the back door. "I told you that was a sign you were getting sick. Up to bed, right now." He got him up and inside, even tucking him in with some tea beside him. "Now stay there." He went back downstairs, running into the neighborhood patrol officers. "Good evening."
"Good evening, sir. Where's Mr. Harris this time?"
"Doing a bit of traveling with Ryan and Greg."
"That's fine. He made an earlier complaint about this one young man. We wanted to know the details."
Don came out of the office with paperwork. "Here. He downloaded complaint forms off the PD site." He handed them over. "Have fun with him."
"Thank you, sir. Should I call the glass repairmen that were here the other day or are you calling someone else?"
"Which one came over?" Danny asked from the kitchen.
"We'll call 'em," Danny promised. "Thanks."
"Welcome, sir." He drug the kid off, going to have him arrested. His mother wouldn't like it but oh well. Next time she should learn how to teach her children obedience. It said something that Xander's dogs were better trained and smarter than this kid.
The family looked at each other. "I hope you guys don't mind. Speed's getting sick again."
"That's fine," Don agreed happily. "The thought of Marisol and Cordy getting together that way is one really sick idea." Danny nodded at that. "Though you know they'll end up shopping buddies." Horatio moaned and nodded. "I wonder how Eric and his mother would take that...." He walked off but Danny nerve pinched him and put him to bed too.
"Sorry, apparently it's contagious." He tucked Don in and went back outside with the food. He got the princess settled into the mirror house and came back out. "She's across the boundary." He shook his head as he sat down. "Don's sorry but he was starting to catch whatever's wrong with Speed."
"The only thing wrong with Speed was a smutty mind," Alexx said patiently.
"No, I live with one of those all the time. That wasn't a smutty mind. Speaking of, Xander's got new stuff that needs proofread. Anyone wanna read the new gay smut?"
"Why can't you?" Calleigh asked.
"Last stuff I read made Don sore. Plus, I'm still sore from Xander's going away party." Eric gave him an odd look. "Don't ask. Just accept that I am."
Frank gave him an odd look. "Don't you guys heal pretty quickly?" Eric nodded at that, still staring at Danny. "Were you hurt in other ways?"
"Xander nearly killed us," he said honestly. "That's why we had to call in the relief squad. Don nearly had a heart attack."
"Which means Ryan's going to need the extra day to recover," Horatio said wisely. "It was good thinking on his part to arrange for it ahead of time."
"When is Cordelia supposed to come down anyway?" Frank asked. "I knew he sent her tickets."
Danny got up to call her and make sure. He came back out. "Two days." He flopped down again. "So more jokes about gay hair."
"No straight guy would have hair like Xander's," Calleigh agreed.
"Macleod did," Danny said with an evil smirk. "Not quite that long but yeah. He did."
"Was he straight?" she asked.
"He dated a hell of a lot of women. I never saw or heard of him with a guy," Danny offered. The gate opened and Mac drove in, getting waved at. "Come on over. Xander, Ryan, and Greggy are off traveling."
"On purpose?" he asked. They all nodded. "We let them go with just Ryan as a guard?"
"It's a mistake we won't be repeating," Horatio assured him.
"Especially since Ryan got given a princess and her entourage," Eric agreed, making the priestess giggle. "Plus Xander imported someone to spoil. Hey, H, maybe she can keep all that stuff in the vaults and the closets cataloged."
"Then she'd never have time to study, Eric," he pointed out.
"Point." Danny shifted some and put his feet up. "Come on over, Mac, I'm not in a biting mood today."
"I was petting the horses." He came over once he had pulled the bags away from the one trying to nibble on it. That bag wiggled and Horatio moaned, going to let the people out. The two men babbled and hugged him, saying it was a horrible punishment for thieves and they would go straight. They promised they would.
"You can throw them back when they come home in a few hours," Strife called without appearing.
"One of *those* trips," Alexx told Mac, getting an understanding look. "But Ryan's princess is very obedient. She headed right inside to cook with her people."
Mac just shook his head. This would go into his mental 'only Xander' file. Because only Xander could make Ryan Wolfe that unstiff that way.
Xander finished his last turn and stopped, looking at the crowd, who stared back. "Not good?" he asked Ryan.
Ryan finished playing with Greg and looked over. "I enjoyed the hell out of it. I think they're stunned." One of the women hugged him and then pounced the man she wanted. This was a great marriage celebration! He had definitely blessed them with fruitful marriages. That broke the dam and others went to grab their chosen partners, with only one fight breaking out. Ryan coughed and one of them went back to the one who was chosen for her, taking him to have him. She was the one who screamed the loudest later on too so it hadn't been a bad decision. "Gotta stick up for geeks getting love," Ryan said happily, coming over to pull Xander in for a kiss and a cuddle. "You did wonderfully, Xan. Let's get you into a bath." Xander nodded, grabbing a sleepy Greg to do that.
"That was great," Greg said once he was in Xander's lap in the bathtub. "I need to practice more often." Someone pounded on the door so Ryan went to answer it. He smiled at Xander. "Good job."
"Thank you." He stole a kiss with a grin. "Now, I'm horny and Ryan stretched you for me," he moaned as he shifted and slid into the prepared hole, making Greg moan and clutch the tub. It was good with Greg.
Ryan came back with dinner. "Some of the older women sent it in thanks of making them remember their wedding nights as well. Even ones who can't have children." He settled beside the tub to help them both get off. Xander was still broadcasting a little bit. This would fix that and it'd be a happy night in their shared bed again. Because he was still sore from Xander last night.
Ares appeared next to the picnic area. "Did it escape your mind that aging for them might be different?" he asked Horatio. Who groaned and nodded. "It's fixed. Athena fixed hers, I fixed the princess and her people's stuff. When Ryan gets back tell him he can skip practice in the morning. He's still too sore." He looked at Eric, then back at Horatio. "Also, you might want to pray for another closet."
"Some of it can go into Tayla's place," Calleigh said firmly.
Ares looked at her. "This isn't stuff you'd normally decorate with." He brought something to his hand and put it in front of her. "It's things like that." She eeped and blushed at the carved penis lyre. He looked at Eric. "By the way, that's not Ryan, that's Greg." He smirked and disappeared.
"Greg's a what level?" Frank asked.
"Four," Horatio moaned, taking the lyre to stroke over. It was very nice sounding. "It's well made."
"It's still covered in boy parts," Alexx complained.
"Yeah, but we thought it had been Ryan's boy parts," Danny told her. "Xander's thicker and a bit wider at the head."
She looked at him. "I don't need ta know that, Danny. The boy's not mine. I love him but he's not mine. My husband would get really mad if I brought Xander home with me to share."
Calleigh looked at her. "I didn't know you and Peter shared boys, Alexx," she teased. She got swatted for it and laughed. "You said it."
"Uh-huh. The smutty mind has infected me now so I should go home."
"You all right to drive?" Eric asked, smirking at her.
"I'll be fine, boys." She stood up. "You all have a good night taunting the boys when they get back. Call me if you need me." She headed over to get in her car and drive home.
"I knew it was contagious," Horatio complained quietly, making Frank and Eric laugh.
Calleigh got up to answer the phone inside, coming out a few minutes later. "Good news and bad news." Everyone stared at her. "The good news is everyone's okay. Angel and his group got sucked into a portal that somehow connected with wherever the boys are. They got them free. Xander apparently went into high princess mode, Cordy's words, to save her since they were going to behead her. Debauched her in public no less." She sat back down. "Bad news is Angel wants to send Cordy down for an extended vacation since they picked up a new human over there and he needs time to get her settled in. Plus Cordy's having flashbacks to dating Xander. He wants them solved before she comes back to work and he has to see more of Xander's hind end than he already has, his phrase. He's also thinking about sending Wesley down and I'm not sure how Xander will react to having a Watcher in town."
"He's called him for advice in the past," Ryan offered as he came out. The two thieves got glared at so they ran back through the portal. He walked Xander's horse out, letting him go free and roam. Xander got the other bags and Greg got his two, plus Ryan's free one. Ryan turned and bowed. "Thank you, Lord Ares. Cordelia?"
"She'll be down the normal way," he promised patiently. "Give yourself time to rest and relax, Ryan. You'll need it."
"Thank you, Lord Ares. Anything else I should watch out for?"
"Your horses nibbling on the bags?" Greg suggested. "Since it'll rip 'em and everything inside will be sent to a black hole?"
"Technically it'll be sent to a place where the demonic mafia rules," Ares said impatiently. "It's just really hard to get it back. No, Xander, that wasn't an invitation or a hint." He zapped some power next to the foal and mare, making them back away from the bags for good. "I trained you better than that." She snorted and went to nuzzle her herd stallion. "Put those inside, boys. Behave for a few more days. Remember, you've got to set Ryan's princesses up and the new priestess to Athena." He disappeared and the portal crackled and snapped until another two things came through. But they disappeared almost immediately, leaving the things they had been carrying on the ground.
"Not my fault," Xander called. "Cupid told me to dance for that marriage celebration!"
"Now we know why it's a bad idea," Ryan told Greg, who nodded at that. He was still walking funny too. "Go sit on Danny. He's sore too by the way he's sitting." Greg wobbled that way and sat on him with a sigh of relief.
"Did Xander do mean and kinky things to you?" Calleigh teased.
"I think you're catching whatever Speed has," Horatio said firmly. He looked at Greg. "Want a bath?"
"That's how I got this sore. There was a water monster."
"Water monster?" Eric asked. "Like Nessie?"
"Not quite but I feel like I did get taken by her. No, the water monster Xander." He put his head down on Danny's shoulder. "Protect me too?"
"Sure," he promised, stroking Greg's back. "You can even take a bath and not have Xander pounce you." Xander snickered and kissed him on the top of the head. "It's not nice to make them that sore."
"I'm sorry, guys."
"Xander, baby, I love you," Ryan offered with a sweet and gentle smile. "Go find a toy. We'll play with the toy." The dogs ran inside to find their ball. "See, go play with your dogs." Xander bounced and went that way, all the bags floating inside and into the practice room. Ryan sat down with a small moan of complaint. "I want faster healing," he whined. "Why can't it be instantaneous?"
"Because it's not," Eric told him. "How long have you been sore for?"
Ryan looked at him. "Since before we left. Do you remember what it's like to ride when you had a sore ass?"
"Not very well."
"I do." He put his head down, letting Calleigh play with his longer hair. "I know I need a trim," he said into the table.
"You poor baby. Why don't you go soak?" she offered.
"Because somehow Xander knew and teleported into the bath to have me again the last time," he complained, looking at her. "Danny and Don are going to need help wearing him out tonight. Have fun with that, Eric." He put his head back down, falling asleep there once his mares came over to guard him.
Xander's stallion came over to nibble on Horatio's hair, making him look up. "Yes, we saw you. You're still very handsome." He patted the soft nose. "Watch for the boy and the dogs. Xander, play with them out here," he called. He threw the ball out the back door and the dogs came rushing out and he bounced out to play with them in the yard with the horses too. He even switched to a bigger ball so the horses could play.
"That's too cute for anything but a hallmark card," Calleigh said, taking a picture. Eric and Horatio nodded, making Tayla giggle and nod too.
"Hey, Xander, any new funny stories?" Frank called.
"A town dedicated to Athena thought Greg and I were the perfect virgin sacrifices," he called. Tayla moaned at that. "I ended up making them beg to get us free."
"That's one of the reasons I got sent with you. So no one else could make that mistake,"
Tayla promised. She petted the dog that came over to sniff her, smiling at him. "You're a very good hound." It ran back to play and bounce around the daddy for the tennis ball, getting it thrown. She sent a silent prayer to her Goddess for strength, and then one to Ares for his headache after having watched over the trio for a while.
"You have no idea," Strife's voice called. "I had fun." Greg whimpered. He appeared. "I did."
"I'm sore, Lord Strife. Please not today?"
Ryan lifted his head. "We still think he's your son." He put his head back down when Xander cackled. "See?"
"Well, he's mine in other ways," Strife said smugly, smirking at his boy. "Good job!"
"Thank you. What do you think of the ship?"
"True, very safe, and if this turns into Waterworld, you've got it handled." He disappeared again.
The others all moaned. They didn't want to know any more. None of them did.
To next part: