Incie, Blinky, Succie, Boo
Don checked his watch. "Okay, it's been an hour. Either that wasn't Frank or it was a major thing." He stood up. The head of the unit glared at him and pointed at his chair. "Frank went to save Xander over an hour ago and he's not back yet."
"Your boy can take care of himself."
"He's disarmed! Besides, no Frank either." He pointed at his desk. He grabbed his jacket and headed to the lab, leaning into one of them. "Hey, Ryan." Ryan grinned at him. "Might need you. Frank went to save Xander over an hour ago. Neither's here yet."
"Uh-huh," he said slowly. "Interesting."
Don looked at him. Something wasn't right about Ryan. "Xander said there was a not me there. Let's see the tattoo, Wolfe."
Don looked up. "Speed!" He came out of a lab up the hallway. "We had a not-me at the house that Xander called about. Frank went to rescue him and hasn't shown up in the last hour, and when I told Ryan he said 'interesting'. I asked about his tattoo and he said 'what tattoo'." When the guy tried to move he pinned him against the table.
"Huh." He came to look then shook his head. "No, not there." He took Don's cuffs and cuffed him. "Well, want to tell us?"
"You'll never get him back now. He'll be one of us."
Don snickered. "Yeah," he said dryly. "Because others haven't said the same thing and lost."
"We have him now."
"Interesting," Speed said. The demon faded out, letting the cuffs drop to the ground. He sniffed. "Sulphur."
"Want to hit the books now or later?"
"How do you hunt these things?"
"You know, I don't know," Don admitted. "Xander talked about patrol." He looked up. "Can we have a clue?" he called quietly. A book fell beside him. "Thanks, Vesvold." The demon appeared, looking confused. "I asked for a clue about what has Xander this time."
He looked at the book then at him. "Incubus." He shook his head. "Get done and we'll make sure you can get to their realm so you can beat them for us. I do not like them." He disappeared.
Don opened the book, smiling at the information. "Hmm. Holy water."
"Well, H is Catholic."
"That'll work, so am I," Don said, walking out with the book. "Two hours?"
"Sure." He went to finish up and tell the others. "Eric, go look over everything Ryan did earlier since it wasn't him."
"It was an incubus."
"No, I saw the tattoo this morning. Then when he had to change at lunch."
"Then check from then on, Delko. It wasn't him a minute ago and he was screwing with evidence."
"What was he?" Calleigh asked.
"Incubus. Frank too apparently." He shrugged. "They wanted Xander and Ryan." He walked off, going to find Horatio. "Can you go get us some holy water?" Horatio moaned, hanging up the phone. "Sorry, important?"
"Phone company. They forgot to credit my payment. Why?"
"Because Wolfe wasn't Wolfe, Frank wasn't Frank, and Xander came home to a not-Don that took him back to their world. That's what the book says to use."
"When did this happen?"
"Few minutes ago." Someone downstairs shrieked. "Huh." He looked out. "What happened?"
"Danny sprayed me!" Boa Vista yelled.
"With holy water," he said dryly, smirking at her. "Something you wanted to admit?"
"You're a moron and you messed up my clothes?" she said snidely.
Danny stepped closer. "You know our boy, right?" She sneered and nodded. "You do know he used to hunt with a slayer?" She went pale. "And since we just found out Tripp and Wolfe were both taken this time...."
"Not cute anyway. Some of us aren't after him."
"Some of you suck too," he said dryly. "How long have you been turned."
"You can't prove anything."
Danny held up something. "Xander's DPP summoning necklace." She made a snatch for it. "Go tell Horatio now. Before I have to call someone and ask." She stomped off to complain to Horatio. He looked up at Speed, tossing it to him. He smirked as he caught it, strolling into the office as well. Danny went to spray the others.
DC backed away from him. "You already know I'm sleeping with a plant demon. I don't need burns."
"Still shouldn't unless it's you too or she's tainting you."
"She might be tainting me. She's young and wasn't sure. I'll tell H."
"Yeah, you will. Any others?"
"You do know that the ruby hairband he wears is demonic in nature?"
"Yeah. Vesvold gave it to him."
"Wow." He just nodded. "What has him this time?"
"Eww. Slutty sex demons. Even I have more taste than that."
"Yeah. Any ideas?"
"Good luck and ignore them. If they get you you're gone."
"Gee, thanks. Boa Vista?"
"Succubus but I think she's only half or something." He shrugged. "She's good at it but doesn't eat your soul."
"Charming." He walked off to spray the others. One other ran to tell Horatio on himself. He even checked Alexx who gave him a 'you'd better run' look. "Xander got taken by an incubus and so did Wolfe and Tripp."
"Uh-huh," she said flatly. "My husband isn't that happy."
"Just checking." She waved at him so he walked off smiling. She'd get him back some other time. He went to hand it to Don, who sprayed the others. One other one shrieked and popped off. "Huh. Wonder if he knows." He walked off shaking his head.
Don called Adam. "Where's your boy?" He listened to him say he was at home, where he was supposed to be. "Because there was a not-him just here, Adam. Incubus. Yeah, has Xander. Thanks." He hung up. "Ray's fine. He's at home." He finished his portion of the paperwork and handed it in then left. Speed met him outside. "Just you?"
"Eric's fuming. H isn't happy either. Danny's still on shift. Looks like it." He took the book to look at. "Okay, so generally ignoring the lust demons and then finding them." He shrugged. "Holy water?"
"Growled when he heard why." Don held up the small bottle. "Let's get some more."
"Sure." They headed back to the house to get stuff to hold holy water in. Then Don got the bright idea to look in Ryan's closet since that's where Xander put all his hunting equipment. He found the jugs marked holy water and the super soakers. "Not subtle, but okay." He brought them downstairs, handing Horatio one since he was there. "Let me change." He went to do that, coming out in his usual riding jeans and leather jacket. "Easier to move in," he said at the look Speed gave him.
"I can see that." He handed him his sword, getting a nod. "Think silver would work?"
"Depends on what else is up there," Don said happily, going to grab him some from the practice room. He brought them back, loading his own gun as well. Horatio gave them a look. "Coming?"
"No. Are you sure you two should go? You're both lower level GHS. They could want you."
"Then why take Wolfe and Tripp?" Speed asked him. He looked at him. "By the way, Horatio's eyes are a bit darker." The thing smoked up and faded. "Uh-huh."
"So we don't have surprise. Yay us." They finished loading up and looked up. Vesvold sent them with a guard. "Hi."
"Hi. What happened?"
"The incubus wanted him to join them? The Council told them to leave him alone since he was a hunter." They walked out of the portal to another one. "This is their realm. It's not pretty. Ignore them." They looked at him. "I'm not allowed, boys."
"That's fine," Don said happily. "Anything we didn't get by skimming?"
"If they trap you you have to repudiate them. If they do, that's really hard to do. Then you're food or one of them. Depending on the mood of the one doing it."
"Even better," Speed agreed. That got a nod and the guard left. They walked in the front door of the club, nodding at the bouncer. The guy opened his mouth. "Try it. One of you came down trying to be my mate. I'm talking to him."
"That's fine, still no weapons."
Don snickered and shot him with holy water, making him scream. "Pretty sounds," he said happily. He walked on, finding the whole club writhing in one big mound of people. The floor was carved out into a bowl shape so the ones in the center were literally being pressed together. They scanned from the railing. No Xander. They found Wolfe or someone who looked like him. "We need a sniper rifle," Don said over the heavy techno music.
"Won't work." He beeped Ryan from his phone, watching him slap his pocket. Ryan followed the order to look up and did, then groaned. He pointed beside him. Ryan came running up and Don looked at his shoulder while Speed shot him. "Are you H's or theirs?"
Ryan moaned. "Speed, please don't?"
"Ryan, choose," Don ordered. "Ares and us or them. They have Xander and Tripp."
"Tripp's in the back room," he said, holding his stomach. "Come on, guys. It can be better than this. We have fun."
Speed smacked him on the head. "I learned that from DiNozzo." Ryan pouted at him, shifting closer. "Try it." Ryan moaned, shifting even closer, nearly nuzzling his throat now. Don sprayed them both, making Ryan yelp. "Wolfe!"
"Oh, god, it'll hurt. Badly. I'll have to go back to it. Huh?"
"Yeah." He walked him off. "Show us to Tripp and Xander, Wolfe. We'll help you."
Ryan nodded. He nodded at the two guys. "I'm initiating. Aren't they yummy?" The guard let them back, giving their backsides a long look. "Mine," Ryan growled. The guard laughed. At least until Don shot him. "Wow. You do that so much better than Xander did."
Don grinned. "You sound like an airhead."
"It's the sex, dude. It wears it out of you," a male voice said, sounding tired. "Hunters?"
Don looked at him. "Are you?" He nodded, his head thumping back down. Don handed him his spare super soaker and spare gun. "Silver. Holy water."
"Love you for it." He shot the thing trying to feed off him. "Bitch." He nodded. "That way."
"Thanks. Front door's back through the club."
"No, that's Xander," Speed said with a smirk. He followed Ryan's bouncing butt. "I'm so picking on him for that."
Don gave him a look. "He'll probably beat himself up and go on a fast to renew himself in Ares' spirit or something." He shot another one that tried for him. "Not yours." He found Tripp and got him free, smacking him on the face until he woke up. "Morning!" he said loudly.
"Fuck off. Hangover," he muttered.
"Yeah, from the sex demon. You happier here?"
"No. Kinda tired." He let Speed haul him up. "Gimme?"
"Hell no," Speed said. "Not until you wake up." They kept going, finding them feasting on a few others. Don and Speed broke them up, freeing their guests. No Xander. The guy they freed first came to help them. They kept going, finding Xander in a back room. Velvet covered everywhere. Only pillows and three female sex demons using them to molest their boy.
"Cheating on us?" Don asked. The one who wasn't him but was trying really hard hissed. He shot him. He screamed. Others tried to come that way, letting Speed get them up. "Xander!" He pulled him up, shaking him. "Look at me."
"Baby," he cooed, kissing him. He blinked at him then hissed at the things behind him. "See, poor imitations." He looked at him. "I'm not in backlog. I bled some off and let them eat it. They're probably sick as hell." He looked at Ryan, pulling him over to kiss him. "My cute ass and Ares' cute ass or not, Ry?"
Ryan groaned, holding his stomach. "Hurts," he complained.
Xander smiled, kissing him again. "I'm better." Ryan soaked it in. "Come on, we'll get you detoxed back at home." He walked out, leading the way. He looked at his hands then shrugged and pulled something out of his pocket. "Sorry, went shopping at the magic places. Got some stored stuff." He used it to conjure a fireball, wiping out the hallway's demons. The non-demons stared at him. "Morning."
"Who're you?" one demon demanded from a room.
"Harris. From Sunnydale. You're all fucked." They ran. One guy laughed. He looked at him. "Doorway's this way, guys." He led them out, pausing at the club. The song was about to change so he held them up until it did. Then they walked around the edges. He knocked out the guard again then got to the portal, looking at the guard. "Morning."
"He's one of them."
"I'm going to detox him. Like Ares would let one of his chosen be a bimbo sex demon!" he said dryly.
"Xander, you can't let him out. More could come."
Xander looked at Ryan. "Vow it as his priest, Ryan Wolfe, or else lose your favored status," he ordered, staring him down.
He fell to his knees, grabbing his stomach. "To Ares I belong. Body, blood, and soul. He will do with me as he wants. I am his to command." He took a deep breath and the pain was easing. "I am his sword, one of many, and will not let myself get too vainglorious in his image or if he chooses to favor me. I am not immortal but I will act as though I am in his service so that I can win him honor and best those who do not understand what it is." He stood up with Don's help. "I will protect those that need it for it is a warrior's job to fight wars, not innocents, and I shall not draw them into it. All hail Ares' name and godhood." He groaned, doubling over again. He repeated it over and over until the pain in his shoulder was worse than the pain in his stomach. Because this sucked badly. His shoulder's tattoo lit up, he could see the glow. He muttered his usual prayer to him, making it settle down. Xander helped him up. "Can I have some tylenol now?"
"Fine," the guard said. "Finish detoxing him. It's clear he ate or drank something." He let them through, looking at the others. "Heading to Miami?"
"We can get them where they need to go," Xander promised with a grin and a cheek pat. "Love you for being so scowly." He snorted but let them go. Xander turned and looked then muttered something, draining the artifacts he had on him. The whole club shrieked in horror. He walked off smirking. "No one fucks with me. It'll take a good, long time for them to get out of the magical cock rings." He created a new portal once they were on another demon plane, shoving the others through it. Then they went home. He flopped down on the couch. "Pets?"
"Ray Junior last night when we had to stay at the precinct," Don said, flopping down next to him. "Wolfe, go finish detoxing."
Xander pulled him over, wincing at the pain he was feeling. "I hate that feeling." Strife appeared. "Hi. How are you?"
"Amused," he said, dragging Ryan with him. "We'll be back."
"Sure. Thanks." He waved then he pounced Don. "Leather," he said, sniffing his throat. "They were pitiful trying to be you and Danny. One even tried to be Sonny and I laughed at him until he walked off pouting. One tried to be Horatio and I laughed at him too." He took another sniff then a lick, getting a moan for it. He got sprayed by Speed, getting a dirty look back. "I let them drain me. Please! Like I need to be more of a bimbo?" He went back to molesting his Don.
Speed smirked, heading back to work with Frank. He handed him to Horatio since he was outside. "Welcome. They make a pitiful you too. Xander agreed with me." He walked back inside, going to tell Danny his boys were back. He got sprayed and swatted him on the head when he found him fixing things. He smirked evilly. "They're fine. Wolfe's being detoxed." He walked off, going back to work.
Danny looked at his back then went back to doctoring the hand sanitzer dispensers with holy water. That way they'd know before Xander got taken next time. Horatio stopped him and made him walk off. "But..."
"No, Daniel. Go back to work so you can go home and pounce your boy later." Danny went back to work. He had to wrap up his case tonight. All he needed was a report. Horatio finished the doctoring himself. He did not want any demons in his lab. Then he went to talk to Stella and Mac, bringing some of the doctored solution. Mac gave him an odd look when he caught him installing it. "I knew you were running low."
Mac paused then nodded. "Reason?"
"Incubuses and succubuses. We have Frank, Ryan, and Xander back though."
"Interesting." He used it just in case then went to help him install the rest of them. He didn't want demons in his lab either. Stella gave them odd looks when she walked past. "We have Xander back from the incubuses."
"Uh-huh. Did he feed them by broadcasting so he's not in backlog anymore?"
"That's not a bad idea," Horatio admitted. Ryan suddenly appeared in his fighting leathers. "That is not work appropriate, Mr. Wolfe."
"Um, sorry, H. Ares just had to pull me up to kick my ass verbally." He shrugged. "I'm going to Xander's so I'll change there then get back to work." He hurried out, his sword on his back.
Mac looked at Horatio. "They're talking about giving us our lab back and adding another one. Want to transfer back to New York and the sane people?"
"With as many GHS and immies as are up there?" he asked quietly.
"Good point. LA?"
"Might be nice. Pretty. We'd have to deal with Angel again though."
"We can do that. That's not that hard."
"Hmm. Let me consider it and talk to Speed later tonight."
"Sure. You do know I caught him Gibbs-smacking someone?"
Horatio smiled. "He claims he learned it off Tony." They finished with the installation then they went to their offices to finished paperwork. Speed walked his file in. "How do you feel about LA?"
"I'm pretty enough but Eric isn't and he'd pick up something bad from one of the wannabe starlettes. Then we'd have to listen to him complain while he healed from whatever funky VD they're carrying." He walked off. "I like Miami, H."
"Fine," he muttered. Xander sent him a text message, making him laugh. "Sure, you can help us clean out the demons so they leave you alone, Xander." He got back to work, listening to a few people shriek when they used the hand sanitizer. Ryan walked in wearing normal clothes but his leather vest. "Cold?"
"Ordered." He handed over what he had. "I'll go see what it did wrong." He went to do that, taking it from Eric. "Thanks."
"Where were you?"
"Their realm is like a big club where everyone's getting some," he said dryly. "Even me." he got back to work at the glare. "Not my fault."
"Uh-huh. We'll be talking later, Wolfe. Including your ass in that sling of yours." He walked off, making unholy plans of his own. He had to splutter when Danny sprayed him. "Hey!"
"Making sure," he said happily. "Because you had that unholy look and we don't need tainted." He walked off, looking at Ryan. "You good?"
"Out of backlog."
"Hallelujah." He went to be happy about that on his break then got back to work after a few minutes of mental dancing. Not like he'd do it in public.
Horatio shook his head but he was smiling. His people were good, but insane. Maybe that's what made them so good? Either that or it was Xander's fault.
Xander looked up from the couch when the rest of the family came in. "I was a good boy."
"If you say so," Adam said dryly.
"Okay, except for the challenge I was a good boy."
"And the poker game," Adam reminded him.
"He really got challenged?" Ryan asked.
"Yes, by an Inspector General Kremps."
"I remember him," Don said. He shrugged and gave Xander his cocoa before laying down next to him again. "Someone should order or cook dinner. We're tired."
"I agree," Speed said, flopping down at the end of the couch, pulling Horatio into his lap. "Where is Ray Junior?"
"Um...." Xander said, picking up his phone to text him. He got back the same 'not right now' message. "I think he and the girlfriend are going at it since he didn't want to be bothered." He let Horatio see the response.
Horatio pulled out his cellphone and called. "The rest of us are about to have dinner. What did yo want? No, with Xander. Thank you." He hung up. "He's excusing himself after this hand with the fraternity brothers."
"I play with frat brothers?" Xander asked.
"Apparently he does," Speed said dryly, leaning back, stroking up Horatio's back. Ryan walked in. "You done?"
"All done." He flopped down in front of Xander, getting petted. "Thanks for the help, guys."
"Not an issue," Don said dryly. "You might come after us if you stayed one of them."
"But I'm not in backlog," Xander pointed out.
"Then maybe we'll ask one now and then when you're supercharged," Danny said. He shifted and got comfortable again. "What're we doing for dinner?"
"The place on eighth?" Xander offered. Everyone stared at him. "They've changed management since they accepted the bribe to knock us all out so they could steal Horatio."
"Let's not risk it tonight," Speed said. He gave Horatio a squeeze, getting a smile. "Check the freezer?" Horatio went to do that. "How many did you feed, Xander?"
"Five, six? Most of them walked off pouting when I made fun of them." Adam gave him a look. "The succuba and incubus patrol."
"Hmm." He grimaced. "Let's try for calm soon, shall we?" They all nodded so he looked at his boy. "Why weren't you stuck at work like the others?"
"Two days off mandatory after a shooting before the review," Ray said grimly. "Oh, guys, Stetler's back to fuming. His confused look from when we broke in to get his assistant is now gone." They all shrugged. "He's pissed we didn't warn him."
"Couldn't. The other idiot might've heard," Eric told him. He looked at Ryan. "When were you taken?"
"Lunch while I was changing. The not-Frank got me when I pulled my shirt over my head."
"I was in there," Eric said, thinking back.
"They can create limited illusions to cloud your mind," Don said. "That's how they change people to entice you." The others stared at him. "The book said so." Everyone else nodded. "So, Xander. Poker game in DC?" Xander moaned. "How much did you lose?" he teased.
"He came home with six bags of money after lending Melissa some," Adam told him. "The game in New York got closed down early when the other gentleman tried to shoot Xander. Then the Feds that were following him around to get a better understanding saw him taking a challenge so we had to explain."
"Then we had pizza," Xander said.
Don kissed him. "You're incredibly strange but we love you in spite of it."
Xander gave him a hug. "Can we go for a bike ride later?"
"Sure. Even though that won't get you out of counting the money and putting it into the bank."
"Steve's coming down to kick the local guy's ass."
"Even better. He can help you count it and put it into the bank," Danny agreed. He looked into the kitchen. "Want help, Horatio?"
"I'm trying to decide between pork or beef."
"Put in both," Ray called. "Xander's probably starved and so is Ryan."
"Sure." He did that, stopping his nephew from coming in so they could have a talk in the backyard. "Raymond."
"It was a friendly little card game, Uncle H. I swear. The rich boys' frat. One of them wanted to ask out one of my female friends. She brought me as a chaperone for her date with another guy. Then they decided it was okay so they left and I got stuck there since she had my car. So we ended up playing poker talking about hot girls." He gave him a pitiful look. "I made six hundred bucks."
"Which will be going in your college fund," Horatio assured him, staring at him. "I do not like this method of income generation for Xander and I do not like it for you, nephew. Gambling is not legal and it is not healthy. If someone tries to shoot you, you'll die, unlike Xander."
"Then why continue?"
"Because I need about another six grand for my college fund to pay for eight years of school. That way I can get through my masters."
"In?" He shifted, taking his hands off his hips.
"I'm torn between business and psych at the moment. If I go for the later one I'll definitely need more money."
"There are grants."
"Not if you have a college fund in your name."
"By that level there's other methods, including work study, which will pay your tuition but you work about twenty hours a week around campus."
"There is?" Horatio nodded. "Huh. I didn't know that." He shrugged. "I'm still thinking which one I want to do."
"We were told Steve was coming down. He has an MBA. He can help you with that if you ask."
"I'll do that. Thanks, Uncle H." He gave him a hug. "I promise I'm safe."
"Ray, you're not Xander," he reminded him quietly. "I don't want to see you hurt. They have hurt Xander in the past when he collected on his debts. There's a great many reasons not to start down that path."
"I know," he sighed. "Xander still needs me to help him."
"Xander shouldn't be playing poker either," he said dryly, giving him a look. "We were going to stop that hobby totally." He looked inside then at him. "Has Xander been stocking his new weapons yet?"
"Some. He said he hasn't found a lot of stuff that he likes." He shrugged. "You took some of his favorite things."
"Then why doesn't he get new ones?"
"He can't find them. Some are older. A lot of the newer stuff was meant to be mounted on a vehicle and he doesn't want that. We have an appointment Wednesday to look at someone's stash to see if he wants to buy him out. I'm not holding out much hope. He's got explosives but not a lot of other stuff. Though I think he has one Friday that I wasn't going to." He shrugged. "Not a clue, Uncle H. So are we good?"
"We're fine but you're not to play poker anymore, Raymond."
"Yes, Uncle H," he sighed. He walked inside.
"I mean it, Ray. No more."
"Yes, Uncle H. It was a spontaneous game to talk about the hot chicks around me." He flopped down next to Ryan, getting a pet as well. "Spontaneous game started when the girl I was chaperoning left with the guy in my car," he explained.
"How much do you owe the rich boys?" Speed asked.
"I made six hundred. My last hand, if I hadn't had to fold, would've been enough to finish my college fund so I could get my masters."
Xander petted him. "I'll cover it, Ray."
"No, I'm making my own money for my own education. Or else I won't appreciate it as much," he said firmly.
"I like the sentiment but the method of income generation is still bad for you," Horatio said when he rejoined them. "For Xander as well."
"But..." Xander started.
Don made Xander look at him. "No more playing poker, Xander. Please?"
"But I'm *bored*," he complained. "They're not going to hurt me. They still joke about the last time someone tried. Though one guy did have to be taught that the lab people are not my personal pets. He thought I spoiled you because of that. I had to tell him differently then I let Stetler have him to tell him how I wasn't really spoiling the department, just their work records."
"Is that why Rick was trying to taunt us about 'special treats'?" Speed asked.
"Probably," Horatio admitted. "Why go to him?"
"Who better to know that I don't spoil you guys than the one who watches you closely enough to know when you missed a spot showering?" Mac, Stella, and Sheldon walked in. "Hi, guys."
"Xander," Mac said, smiling at him. "How was the trip?"
"Pretty decent. The Feds were okay. I got to know a few of them pretty well because they followed me around all weekend. They're going to talk to the people who're wiretapping me to tell them to stop it since there's no reason to do it. Other than that, the Don and Ian Feds were very nice. The psychologist one nearly took notes all weekend. He was respectful but he was studying us." Adam snickered at that. "He got pulled into the cuddle pile and nearly had wet dreams in there. The others just kinda stared in confusion. Especially the one from the local office. He tried to get me to out other members and I gave him a dirty look before walking off giggling. You'll be happy to know he didn't get a directory."
"Why were two of the Feds following you around all weekend?" Stella asked.
"Gibbs sicced one of them on him in DC after he handed over those very nice presents and then ran into a sheik who had tried to take him before," Adam said dryly. "He and Agent Edgerton ended up driving up together. Xander even let him drive because playing poker all night had kept him unkidnaped." Danny moaned. "Gibbs also had him put on a GPS bracelet. Anytime he's anywhere in his territory, Xander's to be wearing it." Xander sighed but nodded at that. "The other one is out of the LA office and was one of the responders to the mess he had to make to save everyone. By the way, the psychologist was BAU, Horatio."
"The profiler corps?" Speed asked, looking confused.
"He made a good point that we end up on their caseload all too often and what sort of profiler would he be if he couldn't understand us as well."
"Interesting," Ray Junior said.
"Was that why they saw Xander taking a challenge?" Eric asked. Xander and Adam both nodded. "The others?"
"Gibbs was there, he followed Adam around and subbed in for Tony when Greg made him too sleepy," Xander said with a grin.
"Because you gave Gregory chocolate flavored stimulant lubricant and a pair of padded handcuffs you had made him," Adam said dryly. "He also helped our new level nine a lot this weekend, including giving her some of his poker winnings," he told the family.
"That way she can set up somewhere secure to live," Xander told them with a small pout. Don kissed him. "It's a good use of the poker money, right?"
"It is," Don agreed, smiling at him.
"No more poker anyway," Danny added. "Unless you're gambling somewhere like Vegas, for charity, or to help the PD." Xander pouted for real. "Tough."
"I'm *bored*!" he complained.
"We're working on it, Xander," Don soothed, making him nod and cuddle him again. "Horatio, dinner?"
He checked his watch. "Should be another twenty minutes." Everyone went to clean up while Eric and Danny checked on the food and the others grabbed plates and things. Don wasn't letting Xander up.
Stella came back with her plate once it was filled. "So, why did Don and Speed have to take off?"
"Some incubuses took some of us," Ryan admitted. "It was kinda fun." Don swatted him. "But bad of me. Very, very bad of me. I should not want sex anymore." He sat down in his spot then ate his first bite of dinner.
Eric looked at him. "We've had sex recently."
"Six weeks ago isn't recently," Ryan said. "And before then it was about two months earlier. Mostly you tossing me against a wall when you've had enough and are stressed out." He ate another bite, looking at him. "By the way, I'm going clubbing tonight. It was great being in the middle of the clubbing pile they had up there." Speed smacked him as he walked past him. "It was."
"It might've been but if you revert we're going to have to turn you back the hard way," Speed reminded him, settling Horatio next to him. Danny brought Don and Xander plates then went to get his own. "Mac, we found out that Xander can let them nibble on him and it takes him out of backlog."
"That's a good emergency plan but not for everyday use," Mac said. Don nodded at that and so did Xander.
"We also found they were going after hunters again," Don told him.
"Also interesting." Stella leaned against his leg. "Want the chair?"
"I need to redecorate, don't I?" Xander asked.
"There's something to do," Don agreed.
Danny leaned over to look at him. "Not too much leather. Leather and humidity equals sticky leather."
"Use the poker money," Ray Junior said.
Xander gave him a look. "I didn't get that much."
"Six bags from the trip," Don said, thinking hard. "You've been hiding it somewhere again from the ones around here because the bank accounts haven't went up."
"I paid the house taxes," he said proudly. "And the IRS again." He beamed. "I'm being a good boy. Oh, it's your turn to pick checks. Danny and I have picked the last two times so it's your turn."
"Sure, I'll pick the checks this time," Don agreed. "I paid the cable bill too."
Xander gave him a hug. "Thank you."
"Was your job anyway," Xander said with a grin. Danny snickered at that. "And I'm not hiding that much money, Ray."
Ray Junior snickered. "Sure, Xander. I know how much you win and how much I've won for you." Xander went pale. "Tell me you haven't been spending it all?"
"No, but I'm nearly done with the holiday presents."
"Nothing too shiny," Adam reminded him.
Xander gave him a look. "Fine. Spoil my fun." He went back to eating. He had a new plan for Adam's present. "Are we doing Christmas, Solstice, or what this year?"
"None of us are Jewish or Arabic," Horatio said. "Adam, Ryan?"
"I like Christmas," Ryan told him. "Though I did put myself down as a guardian for the pagan celebration, H."
"That's fine, Ryan. Adam?"
He shrugged. "I'll go with whatever the others go with. I'm not particularly religious."
"Xander?" Speed asked then ate a bite of dinner. Xander did cook very well, even when he cooked and froze.
"I'll bow to group pressure but I'm putting up the tree," Xander told them. They nodded at that. "Are you sure you guys wouldn't mind if I redecorated?"
"As long as there's places to cuddle, there's comfy spots to watch tv, and it's not a huge bed in the living room," Don said, finishing with a grin.
"I could join the two front rooms," he offered.
"Take out the small hallway and foyer?" Danny said, looking at the small wall. "I don't know if I'd like that."
"It'd be bigger and we could spread across the whole front of the house," Ryan told him, finishing his dinner. "The door would be shielded somehow for safety?" Xander nodded. "Then you could walk in and walk around."
"Not like anyone uses that door most of the time anyway," Xander pointed out.
"Good point," Don said, considering it. "It'd let us have one huge seating area."
"And expand the ferrets' cage," Xander agreed. "Plus a lot more seating."
Don shrugged. "No leather couches, Xander. Get the A/C fixed too?"
"Oh, yes I so am," he agreed. "If you guys like a sort of style, let me know soon? I'll get magazines."
"Sure, we can do that tomorrow after work," Don agreed. It meant the whole living room wouldn't look like Xander's antique bed.
Don Epps walks into his office and puts his bag down, looking at the agents there late that night. He had called this meeting because it was late and now he understood why they weren't to pass out information. "We need to talk somewhere we won't be overheard, taped, or bugged," he said calmly. "What I learned this weekend I'm sharing, against orders." They nodded, heading for a room they usually used, the kitchen. It was the only place in the whole building, outside the bathrooms, that didn't have cameras. Don checked just in case, then he put down the folder he had grabbed, putting it on the small table in front of them. "Before you ask, the convention was great. The people there are really nice. They desperately need protection. On the way home I had to stop seven different kidnaping attempts at the airport and another three at the one here in LA." They all stared, Megan giving him a horrified look. "Also, Charlie does know, has known some since college, did some math for them."
"So, this group is...."
"A group of people who're cursed with hyperactive pheromones. They are *literally* the most kidnaped group *ever*. Out of the ten times, six were for one person." They all shook their heads. "Who lives here in LA." He pointed at the folder. "That's the information packet we got given by the board of the organization. It was founded back in the sixteen hundreds." He got some coffee and sat down with a small sigh of tiredness. "I kinda feel sorry for most of them. When the condition activates they go from fully functioning, sometimes really tough individuals, to people who need protectors, people who take care of mundane things for them, and to be protected in case assholes try for them." Ian walked in and he waved. "Staying?"
"Heard about the airport. You get her home?"
"Her keeper was waiting. I escorted her to him and then followed them home." He nodded. He grinned at his team. "Ian and I followed one of the highest of the people around all weekend long."
"I swear I drove people off each time we had to stop. There was a highway cop that stopped us to check the license because his SUV is huge. I nearly had to beat him off the kid sleeping in the back." Megan snatched the information to read while Ian got some coffee. He sat down too. "I went by way of Dallas. They had a riot with the local agents having to come in to get them out of there. A bunch of Asian guys in cowboy gear tried to steal a few of the lower levels and one of the upper ones at DFW in the baggage claim."
"Does Xander fly?"
"If he does he charters."
"Good. Then he only has to worry about a pilot."
Megan waved it. "Can't be. It's impossible."
"No, it's not," Don assured her. "That's where we were all weekend long." His little brother Charlie leaned in with a grin. "Belinda and your former friends in college, Duane and Missy, all said hi. Belinda and I are seeing you together on Tuesday."
"She's been elevated?"
"No, dumbass, I'm testing you," he said, giving him a look. Charlie cackled at that. "Come help." He walked in and shut the door.
Ian looked up. "A light just went on." He got up and got the camera out then handed it to Don to destroy. Don tossed it to Colby, who dismantled it then reinstalled it. "Good job." He looked at Megan. "Yes, they are real. There's twelve in town but one's moving to DC with the new senator."
"The slutty little ho of his assistant?" she demanded. Don nodded. "How in the hell?"
"Elevated pheromones which create a miasma of lust around them and draws people to want to own them," Charlie said. Him teaching this lesson would let Don drink the coffee he looked like he desperately needed. "Back in the old days, they were almost always concubines or mistresses. The group started as concubines talking to each other about why they were favored and sharing tips. Then someone found hormones and it clicked. The group's got about three thousand members, though about two hundred are presently listed as permanently missing, presumed dead." Colby stared at that, mouth slightly open. He nodded. "People believe they can own these people like they're pets. Exotic, desirable, wanton pets. It's the modern version of a concubine. One of the ones in town has been taken about twelve times since she was found and she's a very low level."
Don nodded. "Xander, the guy we followed around all weekend, we had to beat people off him. He was shopping or eating. Not trying to attract anyone. They simply wanted him." He took a drink of his coffee. He was exhausted.
"Why can't they control it?" David demanded.
"Only so much you can do to wear out pheromones," Charlie pointed out. He took one of his dry erase markers to draw on the table. "The normal 'I'm going to be a pleasure boy for a rich person' group is here on a continuum of sexuality." He marked another point further down. "This is considered the average person. Most researchers don't go beyond the point of the little pleasure beasts." He marked a point further up the scale. "This is a level three GHS and they go up to level ten. The upper range for them is technically infinite but they haven't had anyone really strong in centuries."
"Except the one in Florida," Don said dryly. Charlie gaped at him. He handed him something. "The test they did during the convention since he wasn't quite backlogged and wasn't anywhere near worn out. They're apparently trying to find an average score on him. They can't."
Charlie looked, nibbling on his lip. "There's no way he's not in danger, Don."
"He's in Miami and they all know. He's dating two cops, has others in his protection committee and as friends, and he spoils the crime lab down there since one of his lovers is in there. The guy that came up from Miami knew him by first name."
"Damn," Charlie whispered, then shook his head. He marked a point off in the air, holding his marker there. "By this test, this level ten is here on that same scale." David groaned. Colby whimpered.
"Crap, we forgot to mention the cult," Ian said quietly.
"I have his email and the emails of his people down there," Don offered. That got a nod. "We'll write them tomorrow." He looked at them. "Out of the eleven we have staying in LA, four are levels tens or nines. Another one rides the line between eight and nine. The rest are lower levels and able to do normal things as long as they're worn out." He leaned forward. "If they're not worn out or someone talks about them and the wrong person hears, they're going to be somewhere on that map in the back probably. Like Charlie said, they've had members who were taken and no one can find them. They've had members who were used and then killed."
"It's likely that the men are castrated upon their breaking," Charlie admitted. "That way their new owners don't have to worry about them."
"Why doesn't everyone know about this?" Colby asked, getting up to pace. "That way we could protect them."
"Because they have the right to a quiet life," David said, looking at him. "Think about it, Colby. If we all knew, we'd be keeping them under surveillance. We don't have the manpower and that would make it easier to track them."
"There's people in certain field offices, in major areas where they congregate, that now know so that we can handle it when something happens," Don agreed. "Beyond that, most of them have their own protection. That's why they have a system of protectors and keepers; the higher levels are taught security measures. Each convention has a self-defense lesson run by one of the few cops in the group. He's a member and a mid-level."
"The level ten that Charlie's holding the point for helped teach that because he's got some extreme training. The newest level nine is sixteen. He mentored her all weekend about her security, how to handle things, and then gave her a loan so she could find a secure apartment to live in and help her find a protector," Ian told them.
"There have been a lot of protectors and keepers who've come out of the military and different police departments," Don agreed. "The higher ones often have full security details. Xander's work so he doesn't but he can handle himself. He often has someone with him even if it's another member."
"So we need to know why?" Megan asked.
"Because of the ten attempts I had on the way back from New York," Don told her. "If they happen, we're going to be handed the case to find them. Kidnaping, especially international kidnaping, is our job, not the local department's."
Ian smirked. "There's also a problem that some of those idiots who want new pets give them things. Xander got a working prototype warhead and five dirty bombs in the construction phase. One had the chemicals and he admitted he stole it from the guy because he didn't want him using it in his city. Then he arranged for the police department to arrest them on other charges so they wouldn't know. He called Gibbs and handed them over to NCIS."
"Even I've heard of Gibbs," Colby said, giving him a look. "They get along? Gibbs wouldn't tolerate flirty behavior."
"They found fifteen in the military," Don said with a grin. Colby shuddered. "Eight still are. They asked to make sure they wanted to be there. As for Gibbs...."
"He's got personal knowledge. One of the people who was on his team in the past was one," Ian told them. "He didn't know why until he met Mr. Harris. That was never clarified for us as to how. We didn't ask. Gibbs helped run self-defense lessons with Xander when the usual teacher was passed out from too much sex."
"To illustrate how big of a change this can be," Don said, leaning back some. "Anyone remember the last situation in Sunnydale? They all shuddered but nodded. "Harris is the same Harris as helped Miss Summers take down the Initiative and blow up the high school to save us all. That's who we were with all weekend long."
Charlie burst out laughing. "Oh, damn."
"He's now a flghty, fun, cutesy, semi-violent, down to an expediency of me or them, bouncy guy who draws stupid people who want to own him."
Megan shook her head slowly. "He was said to be a hardass. That he was cold and mean when necessary, but bouncy otherwise."
Don nodded. "Exactly." He passed over a picture. "That was Xander Sunday morning. He's now an expert swordsman and has a self-defense style I can't figure out how to beat. Someone recently gave him an island full of very possessive cyborgs. I asked about the rumors, he told me everything. Yes, they did chase one of Gibbs' teammembers around with a sextoy. It was Sanders, the cute guy out of Las Vegas that he recently hired. Greg, Xander, and DiNozzo are all friends actually." He smirked at his team, watching them pass on the picture and mentally compare it to the one the Initiative files had. "That's how drastic the change was when the hormones and pheromones turn on. He went on a road trip after the Initiative thing and ended up finding himself at a brothel. They opened it and called the national head for him."
Megan slumped. "How often will we have to deal with this?"
"Maybe now and then with a kidnaping, an inappropriate gift, things like that. The agents decided to gather the people in our regions to talk to them. That way they know us. They trust us. They know where to find us. Ours have my home address and Dad's. I did tell them I'd be telling my team and pointed out one was a profiler in case it was needed and my brother already knew since he helped. The ones here agreed it could help. The one in Miami told Xander to handle himself since he had things going well for himself and he'd handle the others outside his family group. Xander agreed unless something drastic happened. Then the department would call him. He's going to introduce himself to the lab and the people who know down there. They've got some in the department itself."
"If they're wearing it out, they're normal people," Charlie assured her. "As long as they're wearing it out there's no way to tell - they don't broadcast, they don't draw strange things. Lower levels only need a lover who has a clue and is a bit creative. It's said that level fives get a housekeeper, level sixes get real keepers; level sevens get to be the wife. Level eights get to be the creamy filling. Level nines get to be the paranoid creamy filling. Level tens are true concubines and they're lucky if they ever make it out of bed. Most people are okay to work up to level sevens. The five, six, and sevens usually work in more artistic or less physically demanding fields, with a few exceptions. Including the few cops in the society. There's a level six in a crime lab. A level seven in a federal agency. A few other officers in the level five or six range." He came over to sit down.
"They have multiple lovers?" Megan asked.
"The higher levels they have to. Most level tens don't get out of bed," Ian told her. "We were told they often have two-to-four lovers and a few who sub in when theirs are tired or surge. Because some things can make them surge. Including being bored, some herbs, those things."
Don nodded. "We saw Xander being bored."
Ian shuddered. "Don't remind me." David snickered. "The kid's bouncy. Has been bouncy by reports. He's worse when he's backed up. That's why they drove to New York then he chartered a flight to fly him and his oversized SUV back to Miami."
Megan handed Colby what she had been looking at so he could put it back together and hand it to Charlie. "So now and then something may come up?" Don nodded. "I can see that."
"One thing was stressed. We do not talk about it where others can overhear," Don said firmly. "Ever. In the office, in our homes, nowhere someone will find out a name. If we do, they're gone and if they can find their directory or get them to name names, others are gone."
"The former Director of NCIS met Harris and tried to sell him," Ian said quietly at the stares. "She decided another one was her personal property. Not your diary if it's online, nowhere. Their safety and the safety of those around them are too important for that."
Megan nodded. "I can see why."
Charlie looked at Don. "Why would I be?"
"Your math funks," Megan said. "You've said often enough that math is your preferred pleasure and lover, and then you get lost in it, Charlie."
Don held up a hand. "You're teaching one already. She's going to do the blood test. If we find one we think may be, there's a fairly simple blood test. One of those add drops from the bottles tests. If we do, I can call one of them or you guys can and we'll get them tested. That way they can get help, they can get support, and they find out about the herbal allergies that come with the condition."
"I notice they upped the list," Charlie said.
"One of their CSI did the tests to find out the new ones," Ian said. "They have their own research council."
Charlie looked at him. "Sanders?"
"On Gibbs' team?" Colby asked with a grin. Don held up two fingers. "He's got *two*?"
"They're together. He said it helps. He'd beat them to death individually. If they start to get that scatterbrained feeling he sends them off for a ten minute break together. It fixes that for both of them." He looked at his brother. "He was a CSI out of Vegas. When they outed him in his department there things started to get tough for him so his buddy Xander brought him to Miami. They set him up in a lab, got him samples of every herbal thing they could, down to herbs used in cooking, by new agers, all that. Then they let him find out with samples of blood from various members."
"Wow," Charlie said. "How long?"
"A little over a year." He looked at his team again. "They've had people die from things on that list. That's why we have the list. If we *must* to get them safely out of somewhere there's a dosing instruction on the back of the list to weed it out. It's only in emergency situations or if they're broadcasting so hard that they're even taking out their help. Or when we're getting them out of somewhere. It's never to be used more than once every few months. Harris and two others nearly died from it."
"So we have permission to talk about him?"
"Among those who have to know we're allowed to use him as examples," Don told her. "Otherwise, same rules apply."
"Though he does have some safety in Miami since he's been playing poker with the thugs down there," Ian said dryly. Don snickered. "Really, he is. I asked and he told me some of the guys he played with last year who aren't part of it now. They're mostly in jail on mob and murder charges." They all stared. He smirked and nodded. "Yeah. He's bored. That's why a bored GHS is a bad thing."
"If he knows the lab, Caine will spank him," Megan said.
"Caine's one of his protection committee and family that he's gathered around him," Don told her. "He's tried. He's also the one who took out the slave auction interestingly enough."
Megan shuddered. "Okay. Now what?"
"This is FYI," Don told them. They all nodded. "Go. Have bad dreams." They walked out, going home. He looked at Ian. "Want my spare room?"
"Saves me on hotel costs. I'm due back in DC to deal with the ones coming in with the new senators too. I'm going to shoot myself."
Don smirked. "Let Gibbs handle it."
"Gibbs said it was my job. He's higher in the hierarchy. He's going to assign Sanders to help me or DiNozzo. I'll be there to guard them. They're going to hold a city-wide to pass around the safe places and restaurants list. Until then, we heard that you guys have a wanted person you need me to help catch." He grinned and stood up. "Same place?" Don nodded. "I'll pick your lock. Thanks, man. Later, Charlie." He walked off.
Charlie looked at Don. "I can't be."
"You're wearing it out if that's true," he said quietly. "I'm still having her test you."
"Which one? Belinda?" Don nodded. "Is she going to hit on me?"
"Yup," Don agreed, smiling. "She thought you and Amita looked like you were casual yet settling for whatever you could get." He stood up. "Let's head home." He gathered up the information and took it with him. There were too many nosy people in the building. Charlie shook his head, following.
The young, geeky agent walked into his unit the next morning, putting papers up on the board in the meeting area. He had told the other men on the team to meet him in there. He didn't know the women well enough to trust at the moment but he trusted these two. JJ blatantly walked in and shut the door behind herself. He shrugged, he could probably trust her. Hopefully the professional demeanor would stay through this talk. "My convention this weekend was very productive. These are fifteen cases we've dealt with that included members of the society." They sat and stared at that. "It's a pheromone condition. It gets them taken. Often overseas. We've dealt with them in various ways for the last forty years that I could find records for."
He waved a hand. "If we have another case with a member of the society, tell me!" He looked at them all. Gideon was in the back but only watching him for now, smiling one of his unreadable smiles. "They're doing the best they can with the hand they've been dealt." They got up to look at the cases, some of them frowning at them. He highlighted certain lines. "That is the code the BAU has been using for GHS members. Though, one thing we were ordered to deal with. We do not talk about them in public. Ever. Any member, past, present, or future. It gets them taken and then either their retrieval team, who are all Special Forces, or we have to deal with them. There's presently two in DC, about seven in Baltimore, and another one in the Virginia countryside. In January we're getting another five from the new senators. The two presently in town are also agents, not FBI."
"The one who I heard gave Gibbs the bombs?" Derek Morgan asked quietly.
"Was one of them, not an undercover agent like the rumors said," he said, nodding a bit, grimacing some. "He's a nice guy. He's in Miami. They have all his stuff worked out down there. We have to worry if more of them cross our desks. The usual methods of taking them are drugging or regular kidnaping methods. Some from the homes, some in public, a lot of times with a ruse play like 'oh, they passed out, help me get them to the car'." He tacked a map to the board. "This is the last known area of the kidnapers they know about, those who have acted in the past, and the ones who presently have one but they wanted to stay. For whatever reason. Their extraction teams will generally, with some qualifiers, leave them there if they say they want to be there."
"So, breaking them means they stay," Hotchner said.
Reed nodded. "And if they're male, they're castrated right after they agree to stay as part of the 'marriage' ceremony to their pets." The man all shuddered. "These are only the cases I could find. I'm sure there's more. The one I know, the Granois case, wasn't listed the same way. They said she was and she got referred to us my first month." Hotchner nodded he remembered that one. Then he sat up, staring at him. He stared back. "Stolen from her home and family. The cult leader that had her ended up killing them both. The agent in charge of this information is trying to find a way to see if any other agents are affected, just for their own safety. The group doesn't like that idea and was very firm on the subject. The lower levels can wear themselves out so they're no different than most normal people."
Morgan raised his hand. "How many members worldwide?"
"About three thousand. Two hundred missing and presumed dead from kidnapings. At least one cult out in the Midwest to the nice guy in Miami." They all nodded at that. "They only want him back and it was started by his mother. She was glorifying what he was doing when he was back in Sunnydale, before his problem became evident." He looked at them. "From what we know, most larger Vice departments know. They find them often wearing things out in whorehouses. Or finding themselves in one. If we find one, there's a simple blood test we can administer. It's one of those 'drop a few drops of this and that onto a sample' sorts." Garcia came in and he smiled. "Hi."
"Hi." She looked then at him. "GHS convention fun?"
"It was very fun to watch and very educational. They've built a fairly close fraternity among themselves. They're supportive, they teach each other good strategies for coping and self defense."
"How do you know?" Morgan asked.
She smirked. "I used to date a level three. I hit on DiNozzo now and then too. He's so cute. He's scared yet turned on by my brain. Abby and I talk about how cute his butt is all the time."
"Not in public?" Reed asked.
"Oh, honey, we never mention that part. Just him in his suits." She patted him on the cheek. "There's three current cases around the office that hold them. Two are cold one isn't. It's the other team's."
"I want it," Hotchner told her. "Unless they have good leads." She nodded, going to tell them that. "How often will this become pertinent?"
Reed shrugged. "Who knows. How often are they going to be taken?" Garcia walked in. "How many times has Tony been taken?"
"Sixteen in the last few years I think, two by Gibbs when he got hormoned by accident." She handed the file over. Reed took it from him and read it. "Got an idea?"
He nodded. "Yeah, she's out of the country." He pulled the map out of his packet and handed it down. "They often end up there." He pointed. "I heard at the convention they think she ended up here in upper Saudi Arabia." Garcia nodded, going to search that way. He looked at his team. "So."
"So," Morgan agreed, taking the file to look over. "Standard kidnaping with drugging," he said, handing it on. "From the grocery store?"
"They have to eat too. They do appreciate chocolate a lot. All the hedonism helps wear them out." He took the file back, nodding slowly at it, writing down what he had heard. The agent it had been assigned to came in. "I heard about her kidnaping and some rumors at the convention I was at. Some of her friends think they know who did it. Garcia's looking."
"Good to know. Would it matter?"
"Not totally but the group has a higher than average kidnaping rate." That got a nod. "If something like this hits your desk, give it to me?" He nodded, it'd mean less work for him. "Thanks." He grinned.
"Not a problem. So, why do they want the hedonistic little sluts?"
"Who said they can help it?" Reed asked. "Some people do have unfortunate hormone conditions." The agent walked off laughing. He pointed. "That's the other reason they don't talk about it in public and neither do we."
Hotchner nodded. "Fine. If I get one I think is, I'm handing it to you. How would you check?"
"There is one?"
"That won't get into general hands, but yes. Only a few of the agents this weekend got one. The one in LA did. He was following the guy in Miami around all weekend long beating people off him." He shrugged. "It happens." He put the case file down on the table, smiling when Garcia came back to hug him. "Found her?"
"Found her. Emailed Abby about it to see if there was some sort of rescue service?" He dug it out, handing it to her. "Thanks, sweetie."
"Even better." She went to email him as well as getting Abby to do it. She'd pass that over in case no one over there had it. Abby's 'oh, paul, I know him, he's a sweetie and a huge teddybear,' with a smiley face was cute.
In Miami Horatio looked up as an email was put in front of him by an agent. He read it over. "Where are they?"
"Midwest. Upper Iowa at the moment." He stared at him. "Are you?"
"None of your business."
He held up a hand. "I'm over it in Miami, Caine. If you are, I want you covered by Harris' protections. I'm making it very clear that I'm letting Harris handle his own since he has it. If it's that bad, you'll let me know if you need me too."
"Good. How many in the family? Adam said five and I'm assuming he was counting himself?"
Horatio texted someone then nodded. He considered the advice Speed gave him. "Speedle and I are. Adam. Don Flack. Ray Kowalski."
"Shit," he said bluntly. "Wolfe or Delko? I know Delko's a slut."
"Not our sort," he said blandly, giving him a look. "Ryan is a priest of Ares and protects Xander and the family. Eric does as well. They're some of Xander's relief committee."
"Understood. Your nephew? We see them together all the time."
"He is. Lower."
"Good. That'll make his life a lot easier. How high are you?"
"Past the midpoint."
"Speedle and I are together," he said quietly.
"Great. Good. Then it works for you. I don't have to worry about you. Are you usually hunted?"
"Not often. We handle it. Xander handles his."
"You do know that Xander has *three* people stalking him at the moment?"
Horatio sighed. "We know about one."
"Xander may be able to handle some things but go talk to his poker buddies. And make him quit playing?"
"We are trying on that last part."
"Good! New guy to the poker circle is a massive arms dealer." Horatio printed off something and handed it over with a smirk. He looked at it. "As long as *you* have *direct* oversight."
"I do. Once he finds what he wants."
"Good. Ask his poker buddies anyway." He looked around then at him. "Anything I should be aware of?"
"Ray is not allowed to play poker anymore either. Do not yank on Xander's hair. Watch out for the hairpins and swords with Xander."
"I can handle that, we have the circle under surveillance too. Wouldn't yank his hair anyway, I saw someone nearly die from doing it to him at the convention. Epps, out of LA, had to save the guy's life. Literally. He was doing CPR while your boy huffed and complained, then stomped his foot."
"He does that. They do vex him," he agreed.
"Think he'd do that dance thingy to get some people to talk for us?"
"No. His boyfriends will not allow it. Also, he's having some renovations done. If you know a good, bonded company, give one of us the number."
"I have six in my desk. I know one of the others got taken like that recently." He gave him a look then he handed over his card. "Photocopy and hand out as needed. I'll let you guys handle your own since you're such a top-heavy group. Also, the beheading thing that happened? Keep it out of my sight so I don't have to write a report."
"Good. One of them pulled Harris into an alley and I nearly stepped in until I heard him handling it and then beat the bastard until the lightening storm happened. From now on, anything strange and I'm calling him." He walked out, going to see Tripp. "I know you know Xander." He nodded, looking amused. "I'm assigned over their cases if something happens in the local office." He handed over his card. "Harris has himself covered and his family too. Anyone else or if it's too heavy for you guys, let me know." He walked off. The email was going to his boss but otherwise that'd be fine.
Frank went to see Horatio, watching him walk off from the same window Horatio was. "The FBI really briefed local agents?"
"In about twelve offices, Frank. Including someone in the Behavioral Analysis Unit." He looked at him. "He's letting us handle ourselves."
"That's fine. If you guys can't or you all disappear I'll alert him."
"Thank you. He does know."
"Figures." He shrugged. "It's your safety, Horatio. You know that. They could've picked a bigger asshole."
"True." He looked out the window again. "He has the email about Xander being allowed weapons too." Frank walked off laughing. Horatio tried to call Don again, getting him. So apparently he was off the stand. "It's me. Do you know Xander has *three* stalkers according to the FBI? Plus his mother's cult still wants him back?" He smiled. "That was suggested, yes. Iowa. It shouldn't be a problem but FYI. That's true, forewarned in his case." He laughed. "Exactly, Don. Let me know what you find out." He hung up and went back to watching outside. It was starting to rain and it was nice.
Don got off his bike and walked inside the poker den that was the center of the circle, looking at the men playing. Then he walked on, finding the ones Xander played with. He blatantly sat down and stared at them. "Gentlemen, and Andrea." She nodded, smiling a bit. "Let me repeat what Horatio already said. Xander is not allowed to play poker anymore. We feel it's too evil for him to bankrupt all of you, even if it is helping slow down some of the crime in the city." That got a few laughs. "Ray Junior is not allowed to play for him either. They are not allowed, even if he's depressed or angsting about the IRS again. Am I clear?" They all nodded. "If he continues to play, he's going to be punished. So will all of you." He smiled again. "Though we would like to know what else Xander has been doing since he only told us about one stalker and the FBI thinks he has three?"
"Five," one of the guys said.
"And one new one that's scouting him to take him but Davorit went to talk to him," the guy dealing said with a small shrug. "Pity."
Don smiled. "Can we please get a full file? Information and all?"
"Can we get ours back from Xander?" Andrea, who was an assassin, asked.
"I've looked recently and haven't seen anything about your ten known kills, Andrea." She went pale. "But I'll gladly look again." He smiled sweetly, his best little boy grin. "Also, anything he has stored, emergency kits, money, that shit? Bring it to us at the station so we can count it and deal with it. Especially if someone was stupid enough to give him drugs again." They all nodded and sighed. He stood up. "Pay him if you owe him. We'll find some other way to stop you guys."
"Did someone shoot at him again?" the dealer asked. "Usually you guys get upset with his poker habit when one of us tries to hurt him to get out of paying him."
Don shrugged. "How would we know? Xander won't tell us." That got a moan. "He said he has it handled. We want him to do safer things. Before we have to get involved." He winked. "Agreed?" They all nodded. "When can we get the stuff?"
"Within the week," one sighed. "The office not the house?"
"If you send it to the house, he'll try to hide it," Don said dryly. "I can't protect him if I don't know and yes, I am still Xander's protector. Clear?" They all nodded. "Good. Pass it around, guys. Oh, Xander's going to be doing some redecorating the house. So if you know a good spot, include a card." He strode out, his leather jacket floating a bit behind him due to momentum.
Andrea tipped her head. "Pity such a nice ass is gay." She smiled at the others. "Think he realizes he looks like Snape in that?" They all laughed. "Think we should tell Xander since he's in the other room?"
The dealer went to talk to him, walking him out to hand him back to his lover, who was waiting to pull into traffic. "Here, he cabbed since his 'vette is in the shop for an oil change." He walked off again.
Don pulled Xander onto the bike and handed him the helmet, getting a sigh. "Tough."
"One last game?"
"Please? Just the last hand? Just today? You can watch. I have *plans*." Don sighed and turned off the bike so they headed back inside. "He said I can have one last day, guys." He beamed and sat down again, taking back his cards and checking them then the pot. He checked the other guys then put in half his chips. The other guys groaned and one unwisely bet. Xander took the pot.
Don walked Xander into the office with dinner for them. "Xander just helped lower our drug pipeline by over seven million dollars. The two dealers who still owe him about two total are very sorry they played with him." He sat Xander down and handed out the food. "Also, his oil was changed so the food was carried in his car instead of on the bike." He sat down next to Xander, feeding him a bite. "Behave now?"
"I only wanted the one last game. They wouldn't let me into the last one with you there."
Don smirked at him. "That's probably a good idea since they were all armed." Xander gave him a horrified look. "Tell me Ray isn't," he hissed. Xander shook his head quickly. "You sure?"
"Yeah, he'd be at Fu's."
"No, we picked him up," Ryan promised as he came in with Ray.
Ray flopped down and handed Xander a rolled stack as big as his fist. "Your cut."
"Complete." He grinned. "So I'm out."
"Don drug me out by my belt."
Ray grinned at Don. "Remembered about the hair?"
"I know how sharp those pins are," he snorted. He looked out the doorway. "FOOD!" The others started to trail in. He looked at Xander, stroking his back. "You'll be too busy with the redecorating and the construction stuff."
"Should I fix the garage?"
"Please," Don agreed. "See if they can fix the deck around the hottub too."
Xander nodded. "Yes, Don." He dug in, smiling when Don fed him a treat. "Thank you."
"Love you even if you do help us lower crime."
"It's my old life coming out in new and unusual ways," he quipped happily. "Protecting people against the bad things."
Ryan looked at him. "Keep it up, we'll give you a badge and a job." Everyone else who heard shook their heads, even Ray Junior.
"Uncle H would never put up with him in the lab," Ray said dryly. "He'd kill you for suggesting it, Ryan. I'd run."
"H, Ryan said if Xander kept helping us stop crime he'd get a badge," Eric yelled.
Speed walked in and smacked Ryan on the head again then grabbed his and Horatio's food so they could eat in the office.
Everyone laughed at that. It was cute of the manly husband.
to part 52: