Jensen was out at a hip looking and seeming club when he saw someone who should not be there. "That is a not a good sign for a night off," he muttered into his beer. He got Cougar's attention since he was down the bar and nodded. Cougar looked and said something quietly to the girl he was teasing. He walked out there and brought the kid back, handing him to Jensen. "Funny seeing you here."
Xander stared at him and he sighed. "I'm sorry. I had no idea you guys were having downtime here. Let me find somewhere else." He started to move but Jensen stopped him. "What?"
"Shitloads of things. Why?"
Jensen sighed, staring at him. "You need to talk to someone, huh?"
"No, I need to get some frustration out and I was doing okay. I usually come here or to one of the local raves. I can go hide there."
"Fat chance. That's dangerous."
"I'll be fine. I have a knife on me," he said more quietly.
"Sit, Xander." Xander sighed but sat down. Jensen studied him. Xander actually ordered a drink. That was clearly a bad sign. Xander didn't even drink wine with dinner. "What happened?" He sipped his own beer.
Xander shrugged, paying for his. "Nothing."
"Uh-huh. What sort of nothing?"
Xander smirked. "I may have been raised by girls, but that's usually my line."
"My sister taught me to argue with her that way." He smirked. "Which one did what this time?"
"Neither one did anything. Including remember our anniversary." He took a drink and grimaced. "I hate beer."
"Sometimes you gotta have the mental lube," Jensen reminded him.
"Yeah, as long as I don't end up in Aruba or something." He took another drink and went back onto the floor.
"If he isn't depressed I'd be shocked," Jensen told his beer. When he got done and he saw Xander was, he took him another one, getting a grateful smile. He pulled him closer. "Teach me this one?" he asked. Xander nodded, teaching him the current hipper than usual dancing thing. "When I was younger, I thought I might be hip, then I got into computers."
Xander smirked. "I used to dream of it but it was dashed by the reality that I had no rhythm until I left town." He finished that beer and handed the bottle off, getting a sneer from the girl but she saw his jewelry and gave in. "Danny taught me to dance because I learned to move with the bass beat in Sunnydale but I also learned bad dance habits off Buffy. Danny had to stop me booty popping and things."
Jensen snickered. "I bet it was cute."
"Of course. I was the envy of all the gay guys in the clubs up in New York." He turned around to swat at the person who had pinched him. "Taken." He shrugged and danced off with someone else. He turned back around, looking at Jensen. "I didn't actually expect to run into you guys."
"Then why come here?"
"It's one of the safer clubs. A lot of the poker buddies go here."
"That's who suggested it to us," Jensen agreed with a grin. Xander grinned back but he wasn't happy. "When was your anniversary?"
"Two weeks ago." Xander turned back around to dance back-to-front with him. That helped Jensen's rhythm a lot.
"Which one forgot?"
"Both of them. And my birthday. The other anniversary we have next week I'm not holding out hope for."
"I was feeling like Peg Bundy so I left for the night."
"That's reasonable." Jensen really was going to end up breaking a hard-learned rule. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"Nope." He looked over. "I always wanted to be smooth like he is."
Jensen snickered. "So did I. I haven't managed to pick up a woman if we're in the same bar in years." He looked at his dance partner and friend. "Want to get another beer?"
"Not really but I might."
"You can switch to something mixed and virgin."
"That's defeating the point of drinking. Which I hate to do."
"I'd hate to drink too if I had your parents."
Xander looked at him. "You read my file?"
"Of course. I read all of the group's files." He grinned. "It's part of the job, Xander."
Xander shrugged and walked off. "Maybe."
Jensen followed, pinning Xander in his seat. "If we weren't becoming friends, I would've stayed in my seat and hit on the pretty girls who're too drunk to see Cougar," he said in his ear. Xander looked at him. "Let's go. Somewhere more upbeat. This place is way too quiet. I expected louder in Miami."
"That usually happens around two."
"C'mon." Xander nodded and walked out with him. Outside Roque stopped him by grabbing him. "Let go before I kick your ass."
"I doubt you can," Roque sneered. "You didn't learn when Jolene nearly took your head off that time?" he hissed. He flinched at the feel of steel against his neck.
"Let him go before I fuck you up and make you the pro of the night," Xander said bluntly. "Because I'm not going to put up with it."
"I'm just reminding him of some of the rules Clay set down." Roque said, letting Jensen go slowly and carefully. He looked at the kid. "You wouldn't. Not with your history."
Xander snorted. "I've got a very big, bright expedience switch. I've had it since I was ten when I locked my parents out of the house while they were barbequing the neighbor's dog so they could have the hell beaten out of them." He stared at him. "Don't think I won't smarm you with hormones and tie you to a light pole with an offer on your forehead." Roque nodded, backing up. "Good boy. Why are you even still in Miami?"
"Not like anyone's going to hire a dead man," he complained.
"Go see Horatio tomorrow. He has my system right now in the lab for someone who needed it to hide from an abusing wife with his kids. He can make you a new ID."
Roque nodded. "I can do that. Thank you, Xander."
"Just go. I'm not really in the mood for a fight tonight, dude. I might fuck someone up beyond belief."
"Sure, I get that." He hurried inside with a girl who probably thought he was a gang boy from all the scars he carried.
Xander put his knife up. "Sorry if I just robbed you of macho points," he said when he saw the look on Jensen's face.
"No. Not in the least. Most people won't take him on."
Xander smirked. "I'm not most people, I'm Batman." He walked off.
Jensen caught up, seeing the surprised look. "You said we could go party together."
Xander grinned and relaxed a little bit. "Yeah, I'd like that." Jensen grinned back. "Rave or something louder?"
"Won't a rave be dangerous?"
"Not really. There's always a no man's land on the dance floor if you don't want to be touched. Everyone there doesn't really care who you are. I've seen the mayor at a few to unwind. Everyone just kinda shrugs it off. Plus if I get a drugged drink, what's really going to happen? It'll affect me for twenty minutes and then it's out of my system."
"True. Know of one with decent dance music?"
Xander pulled out his phone and got into a site, looking. "There's one doing an 80/90's techno mix tonight and a straight out rave. That one's probably going to be busted though. It's on the docks and it's a pretty night for Cuban swimmers."
"They'll bust it to keep people out of it?"
"No, because the cops will get tired of the music and shut it down so they don't have to hear it any longer. That one likes the Mortal Kombat theme song about every hour."
"Then let's hit the other." Xander got them a cab and they got in. Xander gave the address in Chinese since the driver was. The guy smirked and nodded, taking them there. "You speak Chinese?"
"Some. I figure I should know enough in a few common languages to talk to whoever takes me next time."
"That's not a bad idea. We mostly know Spanish thanks to Cougar."
"It's a handy language to have around Miami. I learned more than I knew from Southern Cali living from cab drivers. I picked up some Arabic the same way. And really, what else do I do all day?"
Jensen nodded. "That's a good point. Plus a handy skill to have."
"Yup, the aliens show up and try to take Miami and we're set. Especially if they speak Klingon."
Jensen grinned. "I can't so that's a very good thing to know." The cab dropped them off and Xander paid. "I get the next round?"
"Okay." They walked up to the doorman, who was staring in awe. "I've had a shitty week. Both my boyfriends forgot my birthday, our anniversary, and pretty well that I exist."
"Mr. Harris, you're on the always permitted list. New friend?"
"Student." He smiled and walked in after their hands got stamped.
Jensen gaped at him. "They really do know you around here."
"Yup." Xander grinned.
"Do we sponsor it?"
"No, we just hide from Don here a whole lot." Jensen got them bottles of beer and came out to join him on the floor. Xander, as promised, was in no man's land where the people weren't crushed together. "Move your wallet." Jensen did that, sticking it down his boxer-briefs. Xander grinned and got lost in the music for a while. Jensen could still tell he wasn't happy.
"When was your birthday? I thought it was in October."
"We haven't celebrated my birthday in five years," Xander said. "And it was last week. Stella remembered but no one else did." He shrugged. "The October one was the mistake done by the school system of suckage."
"Didn't the school require documents?" Jensen asked.
"Nope, not in Sunnydale. There students are sheeple to be raised until they're fat, healthy, stupid, and complacent. They hate it when they get a feisty sheeple. I even tried to protest once but I got told it didn't matter anyway because I wasn't going to make it to graduation, mostly because I was stupid."
"Clearly they were wrong. You made it through graduation." Xander gave him a slight smile. Jensen grinned back. "Someone sent Wade the film."
"Shit, no wonder he was giving me the funny looks last night."
"Maybe he's worried because you're upset." Jensen moved closer when someone got up against his back. He butt nudged them and they shifted back. He looked at Xander again, pulling him closer. "Most friends would. So would most minions. They have to be extra aware of their boss's moods."
"I'm not that sort of boss."
"I know but we're pretty sure he's not used to being a free person." Xander nodded he was right. Jensen grinned. "He's probably worried you'd ask him to spar with you."
Xander shook his head. "He's a normal, I might hurt him."
"True." He pulled him closer. "So, belated happy birthday." He grinned. "Did we need to get you ice cream?"
"No, I had cake." He smirked. "No one else got cake but I got cake. Then I slept in the movie room."
"I'd do the same thing." He got nudged again and moved them. "Too crowded tonight."
Xander looked. "There's a fight." He pointed. "No bouncers. She's pretty tiny...." Jensen shook his head. Xander smiled and walked through the group, glaring. "You're breaking my attempt at a happy mood. You mind?" The women broke apart and the bigger one hissed at him. He picked her up around the waist, facing away from him and walked her to the bar. "She needs a cup of ice to cool down." He walked off again and the music picked back up. He found Jensen and smiled at him, getting back into it. "Handled."
"Well handled. Thank you. Now we have more room." He moved closer anyway. "You sure you don't want to talk?"
"No. Because I'd end up unloading and it's not pretty."
Jensen nodded. "I think I know something about that topic." Xander stared at him. He stared back. "Combat fatigue?"
"No. Not really. There hasn't been very much recently. I've been slacking in practice outside of you guys' training."
"I noticed. Even Ryan noticed you were losing stamina."
"The curse of old age," Xander said dryly.
"I think maybe it's more that you're upset and it's showing in other areas." The DJ pounded something and he grabbed his ear. "Ow! Grunge and techno don't mix."
Xander nodded, getting them drinks and they retreated to the upper level. Xander sat down against the outer wall of the warehouse and sipped his current drink. Yup, it was drugged.
Jensen tasted his and grimaced. "E. Yay," he said flatly.
"Give it twenty, it'll be out of our system."
"I know." He sat beside him. "You sure you don't want to talk? It could help. I won't say anything if you don't want me to. Not to Clay or anyone."
Xander shrugged. "It's just a crappile of things. The last time I got this way, I decided being hipper would help. It'd get me more popularity, I could hang out with more people, all that. It worked. I have other acquaintances."
"Yeah but nothing beats a real friend," Jensen said more quietly.
Xander looked at him. "After my last two, I'm not sure I want to have more friends, Jensen. What if they turn on me that way?"
"Don't tempt me to go cap their asses, Xander." He stared at him. "Even Cougar wanted to cap them. He actually swore out loud."
"Wow, he spoke?"
"Yup." Xander took another drink and let it work on him. Jensen relaxed next to him. "How bad is it getting?"
"It's like I'm invisible. Or maybe I'm like another pet to them. Something to take care of, make sure I'm fed, watered, fucked regularly." He shrugged. "They take these moods."
"They shouldn't. Pooch and Jolene don't."
"Maybe it's because Don's not really gay, he's just doing it with me."
"Maybe but I'm betting not." He took a sip. "How bad did it get last time?" He glared at the giggling couple coming their way, making them hurry off to another dark spot.
Xander smiled at him. "You're scary?"
"Of course. I'm one of the king of geeks." He let Xander relax against his side. "What did you make for dinner? That way I can beg for leftovers?"
"I pulled some chicken out of the freezer and baked it."
"Cool." He grinned. "You do spoil your students rotten."
"Well, yeah but you guys need it."
"We do. All of us could use the touch of normal." He gave him a shoulder nudge, getting a look. "You'd look really sucky as Peg Bundy. You couldn't pull off the hairdo."
Xander cackled, hugging him. "Thanks, Jensen."
"Welcome, Xander." He let the kid relax again. "Danny doing it too?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah. It's like a cycle." He sipped more of the drugged drink, letting it relax him. Maybe he did need to unload some things. "How explicit was my file?"
"Not very. Found in New York during a road trip."
"Putting it mildly," Xander said dryly. "After the Initiative fiasco that we had to help shut down, I went back to finish the roadtrip I started after grad, when I didn't get very far thanks to the car blowing up." He snuggled against Jensen's side. "While there, Giles got me an introduction to someone because he realized I was wondering about sexual things. So I stopped in at this demon brothel and club in New York. Ran by a demon named Devi. We talked and he ended up talking me into a limited, six week contract so I could make some roadtrip money and all that. Said it'd be good for me to learn myself better, and basically talked me into it."
"Wow," Jensen said. "Seriously?"
"Yeah. It was an interesting experience for the six weeks. I made about eleven mil. That's who found out about my hormones and called Adam to come break me in and teach me the GHS stuff." He took another drink. "It was weird in some ways. There were bidding wars and kidnaping attempts. Before I left, Buffy and Willow told me not to come home, so Devi got me in contact with someone who talked to Don about being my protector." He sneezed. "I hate E."
"Sometimes it helps," Jensen said. He took a sip but apparently the drug was working more in Xander than in him. "How was that? I can't even imagine."
"It was... different. It was okay some days. Some of the other people got jealous. We had little portal demons that you put up you to eat anything that got shot, including germs. I killed one of them by accident because my muscles were tensing wrong when I walked."
Jensen snickered. "Seriously?"
"Yeah." He smiled at him. "It was kinda neat. Very handy. I got free and moved into the new condo I had just bought us. Don set down some pretty strict rules for my safety, got me hooked up with a self-defense class. I had a minor meltdown that I wasn't a damsel in distress a few months later. I decided that not being myself, hiding my GHS side, was what was making me sick. Adam agreed. We worked out all that." He finished his drink and took Jensen's from him. "You got blueberry. I didn't know they made them. Huh." He took a sip. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Anything really weird?"
"A tunneling demon. He was as thick as a coke can soft and since he couldn't see real well he had me hum." Jensen shivered. "Basically, yeah." He took another drink. "I'll have to remember the blueberry ones. This is really good." He finished it. "I'll buy you another."
"It's cool." He let Xander rest against him again. "How was New York?"
"Pretty good. We eventually hired an off-duty to help me go out and around when I got too antsy. I got stolen for four months to a battle ring. I had to keep brushing off Devi because he wanted me to come back."
"Pussbag," Jensen muttered.
"His kind? No, I don't think they make any puss of any kind. Wind. They're brawlers and farters."
"Yup. Very." He grinned at him. "The tunneling guy was really nice. He died and gave me his gem mine." He went back to resting. "We should be dancing."
"Yeah, let some of the crowd thin and you to come down some."
"Sorry, my healing talent is kinda slow."
"That's not something to apologize about, Xander. That's not something you can help." He petted him. "So, Danny and Don are acting like you're the kitchen table, just there with food waiting for them?" Xander nodded. "What do you think will cure it this time?"
"I don't know. I have other acquaintances."
"You have some decent friends if you'd let them closer."
"I know. Though not all that you think."
"Ray is still a bit jealous whenever Adam and I are teasing each other. For some reason he thinks that I can distract Adam from him and I can't. I know that, Adam knows that. Ray actually knows it but he won't admit it. He used to get so jealous whenever Adam and I even sat this close."
"I'm guessing since his last real relationship went so south, that he needs the stability now," Jensen offered. "Not that I've ever had one."
"I did have Anya before we broke up when I went on the roadtrip. I knew she wasn't going to wait and not cheat. I couldn't be sure I wasn't going to cheat so we talked and agreed it'd be better. I was thinking about marrying her." Jensen nodded. "Other than that, this is my most normal relationship. She used to be a vengeance demon." He heard that echo and looked down, magicing the microphone away from near them. "I wonder how much they heard."
"Not much. We've been pretty quiet." He grinned. "What was she over?"
"Scorned women. I used to hear a lot about her job." He gave the microphone another shove away and let the magic go, which made the microphone explode. "Oops." He shrugged. "Technical malfunction I guess." He looked at Jensen. "I'm goofy on this stuff."
"That's fine." He petted him again. "Did they apologize the last time?"
"That's right before Greg came down and we had a 'maybe we should break up' talk. They promised to be better. They have been until recently. Then they slipped back into the bad mode."
Jensen got up and pulled Xander with him back onto the dance floor. He was getting morose and that was a bad thing. They danced for another hour and he got them more drinks, getting Xander a blueberry one this time. Xander grinned at him for it and they went to find a farther corner to talk in. It was nice. They could dry off the sweat and calm down some more.
Xander was a natural talker, the same as Jensen was. It was nice to have someone who talked back when you talked. They sat and talked about the house some more. Xander was thinking about doing some normal traveling. Which he knew would not be allowed by anyone in the family. Even if he took Wade with him. Even if he took the whole team with him, no one was going to allow that. Maybe a vacation to the island but not to anywhere so unprotected as London or Paris or anywhere else.
They got up and went back to dancing. It was getting really late and Jensen was a bit tired but it was good to get out and have fun again. He didn't usually bar crawl with the guys so he was out of shape for it. He spotted Clay and his woman of the moment. He nodded and they left. Xander picked out the next club and it was darker. Much darker, a bit moodier. It reminded Jensen of some bars he had been in overseas. They talked about that on the floor. He had seen Xander in hunter mode. He knew about those things.
"When was your first one?" Jensen asked.
"First what?" Xander blinked up at him. He gave him a grim look. "You're flashing to soldier bars?"
"Some in Pakistan actually. Local but dirty and underground."
Xander nodded. "I've seen a few like that. Sixteen." Jensen stiffened, staring at him. "My best friend got taken by some vamps. That's why I jumped into the fight, to help him. Then I found out he was turned. During that first apocalypse even." He sighed. "He was going to attack someone else and I stopped him. Then someone shoved him into my stake. I miss Jesse like fuck, Jensen. He was like my light and my soul sometimes."
He took a deep breath. "He was the one person who saw *me* as I was, not who they wanted me to be or as a Harris, or anything else. Willow saw a protector who she could nurse back to health sometimes. Jesse saw me as Xander. Never anything more or less. We knew each other like twins. I cut two of my teeth on his ear." He gave him a sad smile. "I miss him like hell."
Jensen gave him a hug. "I wish I had one of those."
"I think you have three of them."
"Maybe. It took them a while to get used to me."
"I think that's normal."
"Probably." He walked him to a table, getting another round of stronger beers so they could talk. Xander clearly needed to talk about this.
Clay pounded on a door, hearing a complaining, walking man heading his way.
"It's six o'clock in the fucking morning," Wade complained. "I haven't had to be up this early unless there was a plan or a raid involved in over a decade. It had better be good."
"Where's Xander?" Clay demanded.
"Figured it was that question," he muttered, looking at his phone's display. "Your building, fourth floor, all health signs say he's asleep and probably sleeping something off." He put his phone back into the pocket of his bathrobe. "Why? What happened?"
"I spotted them out last night. They slipped around me at a rave."
"He probably needed to blow off steam since his boys are back to treating him like the absentee wife that they fuck on occasion out of habit."
Wade stared at him, then looked behind him when he felt a hand on his back. "Hey." He kissed her. "He's sorry he woke you up."
"That's fine." She leaned against his back. "Is there a problem?"
"Explaining something to him." Wade looked at him, giving him a smirk for the evil look he was being given. "Have you noticed Xander's been getting more and more silent?"
"Yeah. I thought he was being worn out teaching Cougar and Jensen."
"Nope. That barely takes three hours a day. His boys are coming home, falling asleep after dinner in front of the tv. Xander sees more action from his ferrets learning to play fetch with him an the dragon playing with him than he does from his boys. So I'm pretty sure, since I got a text saying that Jensen had him well in claw, that he's fine." He shut the door and walked his poor, exhausted, horny girlfriend back to bed. She was really nice to him and only wanted the occasional present.
Clay growled all the way back to their building, going to thump on Jensen's door until he opened it. "Did you forget the rules about getting between fighting couples already? Do I need Jolene to knock your head off this time?"
"Fuck off," Jensen told him. "He needed to talk." He slammed the door and checked on Xander. He was actually sleeping. He looked so young when he slept. Jensen tucked him and went back to his own bed. He was exhausted. They hadn't gotten out of the club until about an hour ago. It had taken Xander another two doses of E to actually talk to him about things that were bothering him but it was a good thing. He had helped. Don wouldn't yell at him for helping and if he did, he could yell back. Unlike Jolene, who would punch him.
Jensen strolled up to where Don was, walking him off by his collar. "He'll be right back, Frank."
"Sure." He waved, looking confused. Calleigh looked confused too. "The kid probably did something," Frank decided.
"We haven't seen Xander recently," she said.
"That's true. I'll check on the kid later, make sure he's all right if Horatio hasn't." They got back to their crime scene.
Jensen let Don go once they were in a quiet alley. "I'm going to break a rule I learned the hard way. I'm going to butt into things." Don looked clueless. "Don, when was his birthday?"
"Last week, Don. You guys haven't celebrated in years." Don slumped back against the building. "Also, when was your anniversary? Do you need a desk calendar marked for you?"
"It's not until September," he complained.
Jensen stared at him. "Not the one where you and Danny finally took him in hand, Don. The one where he started a new life. With you." Don gaped. "Yeah."
"He does celebrate it."
"I don't know why."
"Because sometimes it's important to remember that you moved on," Jensen said coolly, staring him down. "The same as sometimes you have to get the post-traumatic combat shit out too." Don flinched. "I hate butting in when people are fighting. I learned the hard way that got me hit. This time, I'm going to have to. Do you even know where Xander is?"
"I thought he went to that rave he likes. He goes there whenever he's too stressed."
"He started out at a bar. Fortunately Cougar and I were there for some downtime. He and I had a few good drinks." Don went pale at that. "Including at the rave because it helped him." He stared at him. "He's sleeping on my couch. Has been since five." He moved closer. "He said the last time he was like this, with you guys treating him like he was Peg Bundy, and you came home to slip your hand down your pants in front of the tv, was right before Greg came down." Don closed his eyes and nodded. "I'm also breaking his confidence but he told me he expected I'd come punch your ass for it a few minutes later. Do I need to?"
"No," he said calmly. "I had no idea....."
"That you see screwing him like walking the dogs?"
"Yeah, you do. Even when he's playful, you're down on it recently." He stared at him. "It's also the tenth year anniversary of when he lost his best friend and took his first kill," he said quietly. "For some that's not an anniversary they want to be alone during. Xander included." He walked off. "I'll send him to Wade later."
"Thank you, Jensen."
"Welcome. Don't make me break that rule again."
"I won't." He thought for a second then called Danny. "Did we do anything for Xander's birthday?" He heard Danny look at his calendar and flip back. "Huh, so it's not marked on yours. I apparently completely forgot. I just got chewed a new one by Jensen, who looked like he wanted to beat my ass for Xander. Yeah, we did it again, Danny." He hung up and went to think while he worked. Frank gave him a pointed look. "He talked to Xander when he was out last night."
"The last time I ignored my wife like you two ignore the kid, I cheated on her," Frank said quietly.
"I'd never...." Don started.
"Does he know that?"
"I'd hope so!"
"You need to fix it, Don. I realize we've had too much overtime again."
"Xander told Jensen he felt like Peg Bundy."
Frank blinked a few times. "I remember that show. He couldn't pull off the outfit or the hair." He stared at him.
"We're planning over lunch," Don promised. "If I have to, I'll quit." He walked off to question a suspect.
"I already got her, Flack. Do the other one." He nodded, going to talk to the other neighbor. Frank walked back to the scene to talk to Calleigh. "Did we miss a birthday within the group?"
"I sent Xander a card for his. Didn't you?"
"No. I thought it was next month."
"No, it was last week, Frank. Oh, that's why Don's in trouble," she said. "Poor Xander."
"He said he's straightening it out for lunch if he can get a few quiet minutes with Danny."
"Good! I'd hate to see them break up. It's like they're the happily ever after part of most fairytales." She got back to work.
Frank smiled at that image. It was true. "If not, Horatio and Speed definitely are."
"True." She grinned. "It's adorable to watch Speed be all tough and fuss at him too." Frank nodded that was true.
Don walked up to Sam later that afternoon. "Am I possessed?"
Sam splashed him with holy water. "No screaming so no. Why?"
"Apparently I've been an asshole for over a month and no one called me on it."
"We learned to stay out of marital disputes."
Don nodded. "At least tell me if you catch me doing it? Xander's really hurt again."
Sam nodded. "Yeah, I noticed he's been a bit too quiet. He didn't even want to go to the porn store with Dean when he offered last week."
Don nodded. "I think we're going to be spoiling him tonight."
"He hasn't been home all day."
"Really. I fed the ferrets this morning," Dean said as he joined them. "Why? Xander missing?"
"No, he apparently went out clubbing last night and ran into Jensen, who let him talk and sleep it off at his place. Any idea where he is?"
"Wade has some sort of organic tracker thing on him," Sam offered.
"Thanks, guys. Don't mind us if we get loud tonight." Don walked off.
"Sure, as long as it's not a fight," Dean said. He looked at Sam. "Why has he been quiet?"
"I think it's something to do with Sunnydale. I caught him staring at an old picture of him, some guy, and Willow the other day."
"Huh. So maybe an important anniversary?" Sam shrugged. "Where was he last night? I didn't hear them."
"He left about the same time Danny drifted off to Nightline."
"That's been going on a while," Dean said. "Maybe we should clear out for a long hunt, give them some space to get noisy and wild."
Sam shrugged. "I think the problem is that even if we're not there, they're not doing that. At all. Again from what I heard from Ryan."
"Ryan was worried?"
"Yup. He thinks they're back to ignoring him again."
"Maybe. I haven't seen Don kiss him in weeks."
"Me either," Sam said. "Ryan either."
"So.... Should we go for a few weeks?"
"We can start looking for our own place," Sam suggested.
Dean nodded. "We'd need to be able to afford it."
"Good point. Sure, let's go on a hunt upstate." Dean nodded and they went to look for one at the library. That way Xander had some peace if he wanted it. If not, he'd call the other students over for sparring practice.
Wade growled as the phone interrupted his sex again. "What?" he complained. He looked at the phone. "Sorry, Don, I'm a bit busy with the girlfriend. Like you should have been with Xander and he's still on Jensen's couch." He hung up. He kissed her and she giggled. "I swear, I was never that clueless."
"Maybe it's the gay thing."
"No, I think it's just them. I'd never let Xander go out without me if he was mine. The same as I don't you because I know someone nicer will steal you." He kissed her again, getting back to what he was doing, which was seeing how high she could moan. It was a really fun game and she got better each time.
Don showed up at the apartment building, finding Jolene unpacking the baby. "Want help?"
"Please. We went grocery shopping. He wanted to steal grapes."
"So do I now and then," he admitted. He helped her carry stuff up there. "Is Xander still here?"
She looked at him. "I thought Jensen learned that lesson."
"He had every right to chew me a new one for being a dumbass, Jolene."
She smiled. "I'm sure you can fix it."
"How do I fix missing an anniversary I didn't know we celebrated and his birthday?"
She stared at him. "How would you usually do it?"
"I'd take him out for the night, dinner, that stuff."
"Huh. Are you sure that's all it is? Jensen came down to steal pudding for them a while ago."
He sighed. "He said something about the anniversary of his first staking."
"Yeah, for some that's a hard one to have. The same as I'm sure you remember the first time you shot someone in the line of duty?" He nodded slowly. "Do you remember it every year?"
"No. I don't." She stared at him. "It was over a decade ago. I mean it was big at the time, but then the next week I had the same pussbag back to be shot again for robbing little old ladies."
"What about the first time you took a life?"
"That..." He sighed. "Yeah, I think about that one now and then."
She nodded. "I think he's doing that. Jensen doesn't usually go for pudding unless it's after midnight and he's hacking someone."
"Oh. So you think the normal stuff?"
"Maybe some talking too, Don. Your boy's still young. Aren't you his first real relationship?"
"Just about. He was living with someone before his last road trip. They broke up before he left."
"Hmm. So yeah, some talking might help."
He looked at his hands then at her. "Even if it's the second time?"
She stared at him. "If he was your wife, would you let her go clubbing without you?"
"Hell no," he said automatically. "Oh."
"Yeah, oh." She patted him on the shoulder. "Work some stuff out and talk to your boy. Clearly they need it."
He nodded, going to barge in on Jensen. Jensen opened the door, shaking his head quickly. "He gone?"
"He's asleep again," Jensen said quietly, looking back there. He looked at Don again. "Give him an hour or so. He's had a few nightmares."
"He has those. Do you think we can get him home without waking him?" Jensen shook his head. "Thanks."
"Welcome. Bring dinner. I'll go play with the baby." He closed the door, going back to his cleaning. His place was a wreck. Xander had giggled at it.
Don went to Fu's to get dinner. Xander liked the food there. Wyatt gave him a long look. "What?"
"No poker today? Is he grounded?"
"No, he's taking a nap at Jensen's." Wyatt gave him an odd look. "He was out clubbing last night."
"I heard. They looked cute. Is he on the play list?"
"I doubt Xander did more than dance with him since he was on the couch." He put in an order and Wyatt sent it back. "When was his birthday? I thought it was next month."
"Last Tuesday I think. Fu, wasn't Xander's birthday last week?"
"Tuesday," he agreed from his desk at a back table. "A few of the guys made him happy by paying him off." He waved a hand. "Why is he sulking, Detective?"
"I think because of the overtime thing again." He paid and took the bag of food, going back there. He took a short drive to think some but he knew that he and Xander needed to work this out. Clearly he had backslid and it wasn't good for them. He didn't want to lose all the insanity Xander brought to his life. Xander wasn't his pet. Hubert and the ferrets were the pets. Maybe Danny was a pet sometimes, but not Xander.
He needed to work on that. He even called his mother to get her advice. She was fortunately out of swatting range but she gave him some good ideas about what she'd want from a husband who had forgotten things. He heard his father come in and then leave again swearing. So maybe it ran in the family.
Wade threw his phone the next time it rang. "Damn it, it's my day off," he complained.
"Maybe it's Xander."
"No, it was Danny." He went back to making her squeal and wiggle. He liked it when she did that. She was probably the best girlfriend he had ever bought.
Danny hung up on the voicemail message and called Don. "Okay, I'm finally back from the 'Glades. Wade's not answering. Is there an emergency?" Don tells him in simple sentences. It takes Danny a moment and then he walked off swearing. "Shit, I didn't even realize. What're we doing? We need to talk to him and cuddle and stuff." Don said something.
"You sure? Yeah, that's fine. It's a neutral place and he's obviously comfy enough with the students. Yeah, I can bring dessert. Give me fifty." He hung up and turned, finding Speed watching him looking interested. "We've managed to go back to the point where we're ignoring Xander. I'm going to go kick my own ass since he won't."
"You forgot his birthday too," Speed said. "It was last week."
"Shit." He walked off muttering something under his breath that was less than kind to himself.
Speed went to tell his husband. "Danny just realized we all forgot Xander's birthday last week."
Horatio frowned. "It's in October."
"It's last Tuesday. The October thing was a failure by Sunnydale issue."
"Crap. He's got to be devastated."
"He is. Danny's going to get dessert so they can talk wherever Xander is hiding."
"Good! I'd like to see him this weekend too. Should we throw him a belated party?"
"I think he might think we're doing it because he reminded us."
"That would not be good, no. I have tomorrow off?"
"Yup. We both do."
Horatio winced. "We have plans."
"Yup, we both do," Speed said with a smirk. "We can take him shopping or something for a few hours if you want."
"No, I don't think he needs more shopping. Maybe just bringing him lunch?"
"I could like that plan." Speed left him to think. They were family, they'd fix this problem. Even if they had to tie Xander down and make him feel pampered again.
Don found Jensen knocked out in his apartment, it smelled suspiciously like knockout gas. "Cougar! Clay!" he yelled. The whole group came running. "Knock out gas?"
Pooch went in to check on Jensen while Clay called around. That was their job. "He's not on realm," Clay said.
"Okay then," Don decided, going to find Jensen's swords. He found one he could use and waved. "Let me go to the DPP. We'll be back later." He left the food on the counter and disappeared. The detectives there all stared at him. "Who has my boy now?"
"No clue," the rock pile looking detective admitted. He checked the board. "He's not on a known realm."
"What's the possibility of it being a fighting one that's hidden?"
"High with who it is." He looked. "Mystick, do we have Xander's location stone?"
"Yes. It's blacked out." He came over to do the locating charm. Nothing. "They're fully unplottable."
Don nodded once. "Can we send something at him like a GPS?"
"Won't that need a location?"
"Not if you're sending it at Xander," Don offered. "Like his sword?" The detectives smirked and summoned Wolfe, who had his special sword on him, like always. Don stole it and they sent it at Xander. It quivered for a minute then disappeared. They tracked it and it caused a bright flare when Xander used it.
"Fighting realm." He called in reinforcements so they could shut it down.
Don followed. Ryan too. What they saw when they landed was horrifying.
"Mother fucker, the only one I belong to is me!" Xander shouted, striking the demon again. He blasted the shield it held into bits and pieces then attacked again. It was not happy to be losing to a mere human.
Ryan spotted someone and pointed. "Buffy and Willow, chained," he said quietly.
"Secondary," Don ordered. "Can you get his?"
"Yeah." He summoned it and it landed in his hand with a note on the pommel. "Ares is not pleased."
"Good. Me either." He jumped down there and took one out that was trying to get Xander's back.
Xander stared at him, forgetting his opponent. "They captured you too?" He glared at the demon he was fighting. "How dare you touch my boyfriends!" he shouted, attacking harder.
"If you don't die, the whole slayer line will be destroyed," the demon sneered.
"It doesn't move through Buffy anymore. I know CPR." He beheaded the demon. "Even if I did die, I'd just come right back." He attacked the next one. Don had his back and it was a unique and ...nice feeling. He saw more people appear and they had guns. "They won't work unless they're silver," he shouted at Clay.
"Good thing we bummed some then." He reloaded and shot the other ones.
Don spit on one that he had killed. "Don't touch what's mine. I get pissed off and I'm worse than he is." He looked at Xander. "You good?" He moved closer. "Let me look, Xander."
"I'm fine." He got free.
Don stared at him. "I'm a stupid schmuck who needs a better desk calendar. I had no idea we were celebrating that anniversary, but I'm sorry I missed your birthday." Xander stared at him.
"Just kiss already," Clay complained.
"Fuck off," Don told him. "I have to apologize, I screwed up big time this time." He looked at Xander. "You should've said something."
"I shouldn't have to remind you, Don."
"I know. Not about the birthday stuff. That I'm kicking my ass about. I meant about ignoring you again. You haven't even climbed into my lap recently, Xander. I realized it earlier." He pulled him closer. "You're mine. I'm really fucking sorry." Xander blinked at him, staring into his eyes. "Please?" he begged.
Xander nodded. "One of us is still sleeping in another bed until I'm not pissed."
"That's cool. I totally deserve that and I need to beg and plead for forgiveness. I can't believe I slipped again, Xander. I'm so damn sorry." He pulled him closer to kiss him gently. Xander sniffled. "You're still my bitch. Danny's a pet but you're my bitch. Got it?" Xander nodded. "I even got us dinner."
"Yeah, well, these ones had plans," he said dryly.
"Fuck 'em. Can we torch 'em?"
"No. They'd stink a whole lot and we might be trapped here."
"Pity." He walked Xander over the bodies and back to the group. "What was their thing about you dying to save the blonde twat who tried to blow us up?"
"Some prophecy about something or other. No one said anything more than 'the prophecy said you have to die so the line lives on'. Fuck if I give a damn most of the time anymore." He sighed, looking at them. "Thanks, guys. I needed the rescue."
"It's the job of hero studs like us," Jensen quipped. He stared at Xander, who gave him a small smile. "The couch is still yours if you want it. Or if you need to talk, Xander."
"I know. Thanks, Jensen. Don, he's a very good dance partner. He kept me from being pinched and everything."
"That's better than I can do. I usually have to steal him back from someone," Don joked. He hugged Xander. "Let's get home if we can."
"We can," Mystick assured them. He sent them back to the building and sighed. "Of course they left us with the mess."
"I saw we burn them," the other detective said. "Most of the people here will make it out all right."
"Hey," Willow complained.
"Do shut up since you should still be in a jail cell," Mystick ordered. "Unlike the boy, I don't put up with shit."
"They pulled us up here to watch him die," Buffy complained. "This wasn't our idea and we tried to get down to help him. That's why they chained us up."
"You should have a leash." He sent them home and they burned the rest of the demon carcasses. It really did stink but that was normal. They left before the realm shut itself and took all the other hostages with them to get them home as well. They hated prophecies and fighting rings. Putting them together was just doubly sucky since it meant triple the paperwork.
Xander looked around as they reappeared. "Okay. Huh, not the house."
Don pulled him closer to check him over again. "You sure you're all right? Your healing is slow again and that usually means debris in a wound or that tumor."
"I haven't died in months," he complained. Jolene coughed. Xander looked over Don's shoulder at her. "I'm one of the immortal ones, yes." He looked at Don. "I promise I'm fine. You're being overly fussy because we're fighting."
Don stared at him. "If I knew when you were getting into other battles and challenges, I'd fuss then too. That's why you hide them from me. Remember?" He smirked and checked him anyway.
"More than I needed to see," Clay decided, leaving them alone.
"Me too," Pooch said, taking his wife. This was a domestic argument, he knew not to get between an arguing couple. He glared at Jensen, who went to the bathroom for a bit. Cougar glared at Don before leaving.
Don looked at Xander. "Have a picnic at the farm," he offered.
"Princess might bite you."
"I heal the same as you do and I can swat her nose. Besides, I wasn't suggesting we ride and have a picnic. Maybe walk and have a picnic by the stream?" Xander considered it but nodded slowly. Don got dinner and walked out. Danny was pulling up. "We're going to picnic by the stream on the farm."
"Cool. We can do that. Want me to drive?"
"I can," Xander promised.
"You cabbed last night," Don reminded him. "Did you get drugged at the rave?"
"Yup but it was kinda nice. I think I told Jensen some pretty embarrassing shit."
"That's fine. He won't tell. He'll realize it's more amazing that you survived and came out as normal as you are." Don took a kiss. "C'mon. Danny, follow?"
"Sure." They drove off to the farm. The stablehands gave them odd looks. "Picnicking," Danny called with a wave. "Without the horses. Pride might stomp on us." The stablehand smirked and nodded. They walked out together. The people taking down the other house had only taken down three trees to work on the old house out there. That was a good job and just what Xander had ordered. They found a nice place by the stream, away from the fairy rings that dotted the area. They sat down and spread out dinner to talk, eat, and cuddle. It had been much too long since they had talked or cuddled.
Wade answered the door the next morning, at a decent hour even, scowling. "She's going to start thinking I'm cheating on her with you," he told Clay sarcastically.
"I doubt it, I have taste," Clay shot back. "Where is he this time?"
"Farm. In the hay loft I think. Why?"
"He's missing practice and someone dropped heavy weapons to pay him off?"
"Huh. They know not to do that. Note it for Horatio and hand over the stuff he can't have."
"They said it's for an upcoming apocalypse?"
"Haven't heard a thing." He called Xander, getting a grumpy detective. "Danny, Wade and Clay. Someone paid Xander in artillery for an upcoming apocalypse?" Danny asked him and he nodded. "Okay, so yes, no? Thanks." He hung up. "There's a stupid prophecy, as Xander put it, that said that if he didn't die then the slayer line would be squashed."
"That's why they took him last night."
"So apparently someone was planning on it going on. Though, Xander likes to warp prophecies and make fun of them. So who knows. Note it for Horatio and warn him. I'm making breakfast." He shut the door and walked off. "Okay, he's gone."
"You two would look so hot together," she teased, stroking a hand up his chest.
"Yes, but I have taste." She smiled, kissing him. "Again?" he teased with a smirk.
"Oh, yes, if you can get it up." She let him do whatever he wanted on the table they never used. It was a good use of breakfast.
Xander woke up warm and nuzzled, yawning as he stretched and cuddled whichever boyfriend was under him. He hummed, tasting them. Danny. "Morning, Danny."
"Morning, Xander." He stroked down his back. Don nuzzled Xander's back, making him moan and stretch back against his face. "You comfy?"
"Very. I could flip around some of the hay if you wanted."
"Nah. You're a comfy pillow." He grinned and took a kiss then bent his head back, getting one from Don. "Morning."
"Morning." Don stroked a hand over the damp, slightly sweaty skin. It was already another hot day in Miami. "We should be able to be found later on."
"Wade stuck me with some sort of tracker," Xander admitted.
"Yeah but every time I've called in the last few days, he's been in the middle of sex," Danny said with a grin. "He growled worse than you did the last time someone cut your hair."
"That's bad." He snuggled in again, letting Don cuddle up to his back. He was getting sweaty but that was fine. "We'll have to toss out this hay. The horses won't like where we cuddled last night."
"All the horses know what we smell like," Don assured him. "They can use it for the floors. They won't mind. Especially not Pride." He stroked a hand down Xander's side. "I've missed this and I didn't even realize it. I need this more than I do most things."
Xander looked back at him. "Then why do you keep making yourself miss it?"
"I don't know. I'm screwed up but I'm working on it." Xander nodded, relaxing again. "Did you two have fun in the clubs?"
"He's a decent dancer and it was nice. He made me take a rest break every hour or so. We talked some then. He pushed a bit but I guess he needed to talk to someone instead of at someone."
"I've seen you do that too," Danny admitted. "Which always bothered me in some ways. We need ta listen more." He kissed him. They all heard the barn door open and Princess go nuts kicking her stall. "Who is it?" he called.
"Us," Horatio called, letting her out. "Why are you still inside, Princess?" She nuzzled him. "I missed you too. The same as I'm sure Ryan has. He's behind us." He pointed. She ran outside in the rain to find her master. Ryan immediately petted her and got her calmed down, taking her back to the dry barn to soothe her. Horatio climbed up the hayloft to smile at them. "We heard you were hiding out here." He sat down, looking at the trio. "Princess was kicking her door, Ryan."
"I suck because I haven't seen her in a few days. She was probably worried I'd been captured or something." He calmed them both down. The clone of her was much calmer usually. It was something they had all noticed. Once he got them calmed down, he petted the others, making them happy. "Hi, guys." He got them some carrots from the bucket on the wall, making everyone happy. "I see we were fed and cleaned up this morning. If it wasn't raining I'd let you guys out."
He opened the other door, letting in fresh air. That calmed them down more. "I know, you only get closed in during the really bad storms." Princess was stalking him so he turned and petted her again, making her happier again. "You're picking up my OCD, aren't you?" he teased with a smile. She nuzzled him so he got that spot on her neck that she loved to have him scratch. "Good girl, Princess."
"I rode her yesterday," Xander called.
"Thank you." He got the curry comb, which she loved. Though she wouldn't go near her stall. He checked and found the snake she had stomped on. "Good girl, excellent job, Princess." He took the carcass up to the house, startling the farm manager. "Princess stomped it in her stall."
"We'll put out traps. Thanks for letting us know, Wolfe."
"Welcome." He went back down there, being followed the entire way by Princess. Yup, she was definitely stalking him. She was back in protect the human mode again. "We have got to teach the new guys to ride in case they need it," he told her. He looked outside at a crack of light that didn't come with thunder. "Huh. This way, sweetheart. We have food and a nice stall for you." He opened a spare one. "Guys, toss me down some hay please?" Horatio looked and groaned but tossed some down. The little thing trotted over happily, letting Ryan fix a stall for it. It nibbled on the oats, being a happy unicorn foal.
Xander looked down. "I think that's the one from before. Is this like custody visitation?"
"Maybe," Horatio admitted, petting over his hair. "We were going to come have lunch with you." Xander grinned. "Because all of us but Calleigh thought your birthday was in October as well."
"No, it was last week. She sent me a card?"
"She said she did."
"Huh. I have to check the mail. I haven't recently. Wade actually talked to the mailman and got things from the gate the other day."
Horatio smiled. "He's turning into a good assistant for you. He threatened one of the poker circuit who was thinking about harming you. The poor thing even nicely confessed when he ran behind me for protection from Wade."
Xander shook his head. "I'll remind him he's supposed to not kill people."
"Thank you." He grinned. "Not that I didn't. I sent him home to his girlfriend to put him into a better mood."
"Everyone needs that now and then," Ryan agreed. Speed walked in with the basket. "Get a ticket?" he teased.
"No. Calming down Eric and Aiden. She's freaking out about a gray hair. He's laughing his ass off so she almost kicked him around and beat him with a pan." He handed up the basket then climbed up into the hayloft, looking down. "The unicorn is back." Xander grinned and nodded. "Cool." He put out the blanket and food. "Wolfe, come eat."
"I'm coming." He put Princess into her stall but didn't close the door. She'd only kick it down if he did it right now. He climbed up. She walked over to stare up the ladder. "You can't climb. Horses aren't that good at ladders. I'm up here with the Xander." He waved some of Xander's hair at her, making her relax. "You're so good at protecting us. Thank you, Princess. Go nap." She went back to her stall to finish her breakfast.
"She has more personality than some of the rookie cops we've seen," Speed quipped.
"And about half the detectives," Horatio agreed, cracking Don up. They made Xander sit up and eat but that was fine. His boys still cuddled him and so did Ryan. Ryan had to steal him for a few minutes to get his but yeah, that helped. Xander finished calming down and Danny talked about his hours with Horatio since they were climbing again.
No one wanted Xander to go stop all the overtime the city needed. It might look bad on Miami and the lab.
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