Notes: this is a trial fic, never done this fandom before. Just read in it and started watching it so sorry if I mess up too bad!
Xander looked up as his boss walked over to where he was doing estimates, standing up and looking at him curiously. His boss, the guy who owned the company not his site manager, NEVER came to the site. He only went where there were problems or when they first evaluated new jobs. "Is there a problem, Boss? I didn't know we had one that bad, but if so, tell me and it's handled."
"Not here, Harris, Santa Clara." Xander looked confused. "One of the other sites is having bad difficulties and I need a problem solver since I've got a site in crisis up north. You do good here."
"Me?" Xander asked, straightening up a bit more, looking surprised and happy. "They need *my* help?"
"Truthfully, they need a foot up their asses," he noted dryly. "You're a good manager and they're far behind and already over budget. I have the feeling that they're going to end up bringing down the company. I need you to go there, fix it, report to me daily. You know my usual rules, you tell me if you have to break them. I want this job done correctly, finished on time in two weeks, and I want to know the reason why it was happening. Can you do that?"
"Sure. Two full weeks?" He nodded. "Sure. I can do that. I'll travel up tonight. Should I expect to pay for housing or am I staying with one of the guys?"
The boss handed him a fifty dollar bill, that's when Xander knew it was really out of control. The boss was the original tightwad and required forms filled out in triplicate with receipts just for water bought for the sites with company money. "You can work that out, I'll reimburse you for reasonable expenses, Xander. Have fun and be safe."
Xander nodded, taking the money and heading to his car. He caught his site manager's eyes and nodded behind him. "I'm off to Santa Clara."
"Good luck and watch out for Eric."
"Sure." Xander got into his car and headed for the house, packing a small bag. He could always do laundry there, most towns had a laundromat. Then he went to tell Giles, finding him and the ladies in the shop. He walked in and they all looked at him, then the clock. "I'm being sent out of town for two weeks. The boss needs me to fix another site that's gone bottoms up. Sorry I can't help with patrol this weekend."
"Not a problem. We can do it without you," Buffy assured him. "Where are you being sent?"
"Santa Clara, the *other* vamp heavy town in the state," he noted dryly. "I'll be safe and I'll have my cell. Laters." He waved and headed out, going to his car. He hadn't had a long road trip in a while, not that this was one but it was nearly as good as a vacation.
Xander pulled into the site's parking area and parked, looking at the building. Well, he already saw some problems. He got out and locked the door, then pocketed his keys as he walked up to the site. "Yo!" he called at the site manager. He turned. "You the head?" He nodded, walking over. "Xander. The boss sent me down."
"We're at full crew," he noted, shaking his hand. "I don't think we can handle more workers."
Xander snickered. "You're Eric? My boss warned me about you," he said with a smirk. "Let's try again. I'm Xander Harris, crew lead from Sunnydale. The Boss sent me." The guy looked horrified. "He said I'm to find out why you're behind, fix it, and it's to be finished on time, no matter what."
"We're not that far...."
"He paid me gas money up front," Xander told him. The guy whimpered. "Run me through the problems and get the guy without safety equipment off the roof."
"This is my site...."
"The boss said it's not," he noted dryly, pulling out the handcuffs he had packed, just in case it was a people problem or a vamp problem. He cuffed him to a nearby fence and walked into the building. "Team meeting, three minutes!" he yelled. "At the tables now!" He strolled that way, watching the guy come off the roof and nearly fall. Well, that would be stopping. He noticed Eric struggling and went back to his car, getting his tool belt and his pointy stick of encouragement out. He shut the trunk and came back, noticing everyone was taking the time to get a drink. "Guys, I'm Xander, I'm from the Sunnydale crew. The boss showed up at my site today and said you've got problems. He's decided I'm fixing the problems." Everyone looked at Eric, then back at him so he grinned and put the pointy stick of encouragement onto the table. "As I said, I'm from Sunnydale."
"I heard about your crew, you do okay," one of the older guys said quietly. "Why is the boss so worried?"
"Deadline's in two weeks. You guys are tons over budget." He looked around at the winces. "Let's put it this way. The boss handed me fifty for gas up front, promised to reimburse me for my room and reasonable expenses, and said it's being finished on time." Most of the crew winced. "Now then, what is causing the delay? Materials? Issues with the owners? The local nightlife population?"
"No, *they* pretty much leave us alone," the older guy said. He scratched the back of the head. "There's been a few real problems. The owners won't pick the finalizing details. We've had some staffing problems for a few days with some bad mexican food that got handed around. There was a small material delay but that was at the front of the job. I don't know why we're that far behind. We've got about twenty-six days of labor left. When's the deadline?"
"Two weeks." The guys all hissed. "Okay, we can call in the owners, have them tell us the final decisions and get them special ordered. We can solve the manpower problem. The boss said to tell him if I had to break any rules. I also saw a problem." He looked at the guy who had been on the roof. "You're not wearing safety gear."
"It gets in my way."
"I don't care. You wear your safety gear or else you don't work. I'm not losing people to preventable accidents. The last time *my* crew had an injury it was when I was startled and my hammer hit my foot. Before that, it was....the year the site crashed in and landed us in some Native American remains. You wear your safety gear or you don't work. Period. That is company policy and I do enforce it for *everyone*." He looked around again. "All right. Does someone know the owner's number?"
"They're relatives of mine, I can have them come in and tell us the paint and knob choices," one guy offered quietly.
"Good. Today if possible. Even if I have to stay a few extra hours. Speaking of, what are you guys working?"
"Nine-to-four-thirty with a half for lunch," the original spokesman noted.
"Okay. My crew works nine-to-five but they get forty-five for lunch and a fifteen in the afternoon as well as the free morning break. Can we agree to that?" Everyone nodded. "Good. Now, if we have to, is anyone going to have problems with overtime? The boss was *adamant* that we finish on time. Not that the company can be held responsible for the lateness if it's the client's fault, but he wants us on time and said we could break the no overtime rules. Anyone got a problem?" One guy raised a hand. "Family?"
"I'm a single father. The daycare closes at five."
"Then you leave at four-thirty and take fifteen less on your lunch," he offered. He nodded, accepting that. "Any other conditions or concerns before I start the tour and inspection?"
One guy raised a hand. "I'm diabetic."
"If you have to stop and eat, let me know. I'm the sort to work with you guys. You can make up the time during lunch or breaks." He nodded, accepting that. "Please don't make us take you to the hospital because you're being stubborn. That'll just make us have a worse safety record, even though it wasn't really an accident or job related." The guy smiled and nodded again. "Good. Anyone else?" The roof guy nodded. "If you'd rather I can put you inside, man. I'm firm on the security and safety stuff."
"Why did you bring out a crossbow?"
"It's my pointy stick of encouragement. I was going to use it on the idiot back there," he said, nodding back at Eric without taking his eyes off him. "Now, let's head back to do a tour. Anyone with any concerns about the site show me now. I need to know that stuff up front." Everyone headed back to their work area but the old guy. "You the senior?" He nodded. "Cool. That works for me. What's the real problem?"
"We've got wiring that's been installed upside down and there's been some ...accounting problems with a few of the checks," he said quietly. "We could use more people if we're going to be hitting the deadline."
"Is the contract without that clause?" He nodded. "Who negotiated it?"
"Eric," he admitted. "The same person who said we were having accounting problems."
"That's funny, my crew doesn't," he noted dryly. "Okay." He glanced around, then up at the roof. "Get down and put on your safety harness!" he warned. He handed the guy his keys. "Go to my car, get my video camera out of the trunk. I'm doing a filming for the company's records." He looked at him, then up at the guy on the roof. "Get down and put on the safety equipment or you're fired!" Xander warned. The guy didn't listen. He pulled up his pointy stick of encouragement and fired it next to the guy. "Last chance, put on the safety gear or you're fired." The guy gave him a dirty look but did put on the safety harness. "And tie it off! I'm not helping you with a workman's comp claim!" He watched as the guy tied his line off, then hung his crossbow on his belt. He took the camera and the keys. "When's the next inspection?"
"After hours tonight but he was having problems so he might reschedule."
"Good, then if there's too much crap we may be able to fix it. Was it on purpose, bad training?" he asked as they walked inside.
"Mostly Eric saying that the plans said to do it that way, even if it isn't right. That we were required to do the plans even if they're out of code and in violation. All the guys here are well trained."
"Good. Then I hope like hell you guys get a really good supe when I'm gone," he offered with a grin. The guy nodded and smiled back. "I'm not mean, really." He turned on the camera and focused on the walls around them, then looked at him. "Someone painted the drywall and put them up?"
"Yeah. That's what the owners wanted," he said with a shrug. "That's what Eric said."
"I'm sensing the hint of a pattern here," Xander noted dryly. "Who does mudding?"
"The guy on the roof."
"Fuck me," he muttered. The guy laughed and nodded. "Okay, lead me through this puppy. Then I'll call the boss. Starting tomorrow, I'll be working with you, just one of the guys."
"We could use more help."
"You guys got a vo-tech?" He nodded, smirking a bit. "Then I'm good with them. I'll see what I can do." He walked the guy on, filming everything. There were code violations out the butt. Someone was going to need an asshole transplant. He walked out and checked the guy on the roof, then glared. "Get out! You're fired! You knew better when you took it off!" The guy gave him a dirty look. "I'm going to call the cops if you don't get down, now!" The guy came down and slipped on the ladder. "Nice try," he sneered when the guy laid there. He pulled out his phone and dialed the local emergency number. "Hello, I'm Xander Harris, I'm the temp crew lead out on the Borgson Industries site. We just had a guy who refused to wear safety equipment fall intentionally off a ladder. No, he's laying here moaning. Come get him before I kick his ass please?" He smiled. "Thank you, ma'am. Of course I am." He hung up and found a phone book, sitting on the break table to make a call to the local school.
"Hey, I'm Xander, I'm the temp crew lead at the Borgeson site. Yup, we need people. Somehow, the former supe got them behind and screwing up. They're a good crew, but we need some folks. Especially ones who can mud and do drywall. Yeah, no, he told them to paint it and put it up without being mudded. Yup, oh, yeah," he sighed. "One of our guys, who's responsible for mudding, just intentionally fell. I'm already taping things. Sure. No, we start at nine an hour. Three?" He looked at the house. "Maybe four. The former worker's salary will cover three, I think I can beg for a fourth if you've got another trained. No, I can pair them with an experienced guy. Not an issue. Just as skilled as possible and with drywall experience. That's fine. Tomorrow's good. We start at nine. If they wanted to start today, I can find the forms in my briefcase since it's only one. Thanks, man. No, really. Thanks." He hung up. He looked at the site, then called his boss.
"Boss, Xander. Oh, yeah. Big issues, boss. Like wiring installed backward, no mudding when they did the drywall. Eric. Yeah. Guy on the roof who refused to wear safety gear. I ordered him to and he put it on then took it off while I was inside doing the tour and taping. Boss, I'm serious. Me and the senior guy here are thinking insurance job, man. Yeah, I'm taping everything. Oh, yeah. There's no way I'm letting this shit go on. Oh, and I've already fired the guy who fell intentionally off the ladder when I made him come off the roof. No, I fired him before he came down and he slipped on the way down. Bad timing really, that's going to hurt his comp case a lot. No, I used the pointy stick of encouragement, like I did with Bergess that time. Oh, and I've taken the liberty of replacing him with four vo-tech kids. Nine an hour, so his salary will cover three. I did say that at least one had to be able to mud. Oh, yeah. Boss, Eric told them to paint the unprepped drywall, then put it up without mudding the joints. This has insurance screaming out of it. Oh, I heard about that lacking clause. That why?" He smirked a bit. "Eric negotiated it. It doesn't have the 'if the clients hold us up it's not our fault' clause. Yeah. No, they're holding us up too. One of the guys is calling them. I don't know boss," he noted as the ambulance backed into the lot. "Gotta go, cops are here. Yup, I'll save all the tapes and tape the inspection. Love you, man."
He hung up and waved the guys over. He pointed at the idiot. A cop car and an unmarked car pulled up behind them and he waved them over too. "I'm the temp head of the site, the boss sent me for irregularities popping up." He grinned a bit. "He refused to wear his safety equipment. I had to order him to put it on three times before he did so then had to remind him to tie off the leash." Both guys winced. "I went inside to tour and examine, I came out and he was out of it again. I fired him and he slipped on his way down the ladder. Make sure he remembers he's fired from this job and if he wants a job on the next site he's gonna have to beg really prettily. Please," he offered with a grin. The EMTs headed over to check on their patient. "He was laying there moaning. I didn't touch 'im," he called. "Otherwise I might have hurt him." He looked at the cop, then at Eric, who he was staring at, then back at him. "He deserved it. The boss sent me to fix his issues." The cop nodded, taking notes on what he had said. He grinned at him. "Where's the motel?"
"Downtown, near the pier. You're here how long?"
"Two weeks is the deadline and the boss said we're finishing on time," he noted dryly. "And I'm stopping any and all issues. So if you've had to be called out before, I'd like to know. That way I've got a good idea of any other problems coming."
"Where you from?" he asked.
Xander grinned and smirked a bit. "Your sister city, Sunnydale." The guy just nodded and Xander pointed at his crossbow. "My pointy stick of encouragement. I shot an arrow next to his foot to make him put on the safety gear." The cop snickered and nodded again, finishing the notes. "By the way, I'm a crack shot with it. I couldn't have hurt him even if he dove in the way."
"Fine, sir. You're...."
"Harris. I help the blonde one," he offered with a slightly evil smirk. "Hopefully I won't have to here?"
"No, we're pretty calmed down at the moment. We'll let you know though." He went to get the guy's identity and all that stuff for his report.
Xander looked at the other two people standing there. He looked them over, then at them again. "Well, you don't look like you're here to apply for a construction job. What's up? Inspectors? Complainers? Spouses?"
"No," the younger guy offered. "We're NCIS. We're tracking someone about some questionable expenses they've charged the government for over the years."
"I don't think I filled out any military requisitions," Xander quipped. He pointed at Eric. "Him?" Both guys nodded. "Sure," he offered dryly. "You can have him, just give me my cuffs back please. What was it? Creative accounting? I've heard we had a problem on this site as well."
"Yeah, for over ten years," the other guy noted. "Since he was a supply guy in the Navy a Norfolk."
Xander snickered, shaking his head. "Gotta love it when the idiots figure out how to turn the bureaucracy against itself. I have to make an official disclaimer at this point. The company is more than happy to cooperate but you've got to get a warrant. Things like this can damage the company and the Boss said we can only hand over anything like that with a warrant." The guys nodded. "I don't want to, but...." He looked at the guy. "This site's stuff is in the office. Give me a minute to do a general check." He got up and headed to the trailer, opening his phone again and hitting the button for his boss. "Boss, never guess who's here to arrest Eric. No, not the Feebs. NCIS. He's been using creative accounting since his Navy days." He walked into the office and everyone inside the house heard the scream he let out. He came out with the phone closed and livid. He pulled the older, pretty boy off to the side. "The boss said you may photocopy anything you need since he's got this site's stuff here and others, but he wanted to know if you wanted the underaged-teenager porn and used condoms on the desk. Any original documents, he still needs a warrant."
The guy smiled. "Kiddie porn?"
"Barely legal at best. Young teen going through puberty at worst. Probably just underage in whatever state it is that has fifteen as the legal age. Plus plenty of DNA evidence in plain sight. Excuse me for a minute." He walked into the house. "If any of you left that gross and sickening shit on the office desk, you're fucking well fired and you'd better go clean it up and confess or else all HELL is going to come and nibble on your nads for it! That's disgusting leaving it there and the source of the dirty condoms and spilled shit on the desk is even worse! I want to know who did it and I want it NOW! As do the Fed's." One very scared looking guy came out and whispered in his ear. "Can you press charges?" he asked quietly. He nodded. "Come with me. I'll give you all the break you need for this. Yo, Senior!" He looked over. "He's going on break, you're getting four kids tomorrow. Set up whoever works with them today." He walked the guy off, noticing the kids. "Hey, sit. I'll get you the forms in a minute." They nodded and he walked the guy to the people in the office. "His little brother has been visiting. He's fourteen," he said quietly to the Pretty Boy. "He's got as long as you need to talk to him."
The guy nodded. "Thank you for your help, Mr. Harris."
"Not an issue. Take all the cleaning stuff you want. Make him clean up the rest. I can even lend you my pointy stick of encouragement if you need it." They nodded. "I mean it, whatever you don't take, he cleans up. Tell me if you find the creative accounting on this site too please. It'll make my hunt later more pleasurable." He walked out to his car, grabbing his briefcase and bringing it back to the table. He smiled. "Hey, guys. I didn't expect you until tomorrow. Sorry you had to witness this, he's having some creative accounting issues and I got sent to handle it." He found the normal forms and went to copy them in the office, bringing them and some pens he had carefully checked to make sure they weren't covered in anything nasty. "Here, fill these out. We'll be putting you with an experienced guy to mentor you. You guys start at nine an hour. We start at nine in the morning. You go until five. You get a morning break, lunch, and an afternoon break. We're pretty fair and I joke around but this site is getting done within two weeks time. Who here does drywall?" They all raised their hands. "I love you guys already. Senior!"
"It's Steven, Harris," he called as he came out. He nodded at the guys. "If you've got time today I'll introduce you to your mentors. For now, ignore the Feds. They're not here for most of us, just the former boss."
"And he's only the site supe," Xander offered with a grin. "He's of little importance in this company." They smiled and got to work. He picked up his crossbow and pointed it at Eric, who went pale. "The boss suggested I use you as a target," he offered dryly. "Not only have you disgraced this company, but yourself and your former commission. He waned to know why. I was thinking insurance. Yo, Pretty Boy Fed. If you need a copy of the initial taping of the site to help out, you need to let me know," he called. He looked at the guy again. "You can tell me or them."
"Blackmail," he whispered. "They knew about me and Rieva and Antonio."
"Rieva? A girl AND a boy? I'm not impressed," Xander noted dryly. "So they're in it for the insurance, you're in it for the insurance and to keep your job. Splitting it?"
He shook his head. "I'd get money from the workman's comp settlements and some from the insurance, then I'd be allowed to go away."
Xander nodded once and shook his head. "You're a fucking moron, Eric. You really are." He got up and went into the office, walking around the stain he didn't want to know about. "Hey, who's Rieva?"
"She's my daughter," his worker said, looking at him. "Why?"
"Eric mentioned her with Antonio. You're taking her to be examined, man. Go as soon as you can. Or they can go with you."
"I'll go with him," the younger guy said, helping him up. "I can finish the statement down there."
"Thank you. If he harmed my daughter," he started.
Xander laid a hand on his arm. "If he hurt your daughter and he gets out, get a cousin who's leaving the country to hurt him. Until then, write a prisoner in his jail. He's going away for a long time and they're usually more than happy to help make him the bitch of the block for hurting kids." The guy nodded, smiling ferally at Eric before leaving. Xander looked at the other guy. "You were military? You don't seem like the sort. Party boy, pretty boy in the college maybe, but not military."
"I wasn't, I'm a crime scene specialist."
"Good, then this doesn't sicken you like it does me. Let me know what you need, Pretty Boy. I'm off to work with my guys. I'm here in town until this job is done." He headed back out, going to grab his tool belt and walk inside. He looked at Steven. "Make sure I remember to note that I gave him permission to leave early," he said quietly.
"Rieva's his daughter."
"That's what he said. Apparently his little brother was somehow involved and he was talking about his cousin too. You knew?"
"I'd seen her once. I warned her and her mother to watch out for him."
Xander nodded. "Tell the Pretty Boy in the office anything you know. The boss said he could even photocopy stuff if necessary. I want this shit settled, man. I don't like it. Anyone else helping him?"
"One of the former guys in town. One other guy here. He's hiding from you," he offered with a small smirk.
"Friend of the family guy. He likes them barely legal and he stopped when he saw Rieva coming in that one day. Do you mind gay guys?"
Xander shook his head. "Doesn't bother me a bit. I even accept gentle flirting though I'm not personally gay. I just know guys who are like to hit on me," he offered with a grin. Steven laughed and nodded, going to get that guy and drag him out to the office, then check on the kids. Xander got to work taking down some of the old wiring to put it in correctly. During the inspection tomorrow he was going to be doing a second tape. This did not happen on his watch. Someone screamed outside and he walked out there, pulling up his crossbow and planting one at the screaming person's feet. "Shut up! There's anti-noise ordinances around here!" She glared at him so he glared back. "You are?"
"I'm sorry. I know the name of a good law firm. Need it?" She snorted and turned back, going back to hitting him. "Remind the Fed in the office I want my cuffs back." He went back to work, she could have him for now.
The Fed walked into the house, looking around. "Man, he messed this up big time."
"Tell me about it," Xander noted as he worked. "I'm hoping we can cure it in time." He looked at him. "You arrest him formally?"
"Yeah. I also took pictures of his wife's beating." He looked around again. "You've got some work cut out for you."
"It was all for insurance," he sighed. "That's why the wiring was put in backwards and other safety hazards. They'd get the insurance and sue the company. He'd get a payoff from each settlement and the guy who fell was in on it with him." He looked back at him, then turned around when he saw the guy staring at him. "What?"
"I called my boss to see if the photocopies would be enough and told him about the warrant demand. That's pretty reasonable considering construction places live on their reputations and he would have ruined this whole company for it." Xander nodded. "Who are you?"
"Yeah, we got that. We ran a background check on you. Your file says to ask you what happened to the Initiative."
Xander snickered. "Do you really want to know, Pretty Boy?"
"I'm more than a pretty face."
Xander snorted, shaking his head. "You may be but it's not like I play that side of the fence. The Initiative basically imploded under bad command decisions when their shit got in the way of our lives. You can quote me on that if you want. I'm not sure your boss has high enough clearance to find out what the Initiative was originally, but if he was, tell him to rest easy, it got fixed." He grinned again. "Anything else your leash holder wanted? I heard you federal boys liked and needed a firm guiding hand on the riding crop now and then."
Tony looked confused. "I'm not like that, kid. I'm very straight."
Xander snickered, bending down to laugh. "I'm sure you are, Pretty Boy. Not like I care one way or another. I'm very open minded. It's all good to me if it is to you." He got back to work. "I'll be calling the boss tomorrow morning if there's anything I need to know about and you need passed on."
"Yeah, sure," he offered, leaving there still looking really confused. He leaned against the car, calling the home office. "Gibbs, DiNozzo. The kid said, and I quote, the Initiative basically imploded under bad command decisions when their shit got in the way of our lives. You can quote me on that. He also said that he's not sure if you've got a high enough clearance to find out what the Initiative was. He also has decided that I'm gay. Do I come off as gay and a sub?" He heard the shocked silence. "Had me on speaker again, boss?" He smirked a bit. "Yeah, he keeps calling me Pretty Boy and he said that he'd heard many of us needed a firm hand on the riding crop and leash." He snickered at the foul comment coming over the line. "Sorry, boss. Repeating as ordered. Also, we've got some very good DNA samples here. Apparently he was involved in some underage activity with both a male and a female teenager. Did you get the stuff I faxed from the office? When Harris called about the office and what was going on, the boss said to photocopy everything. If we want originals, we'll need a warrant. Hold on, let me ask. Harris?" Steven looked over. "Okay, or you. Where does information from the last few jobs he's worked go to?"
"Usually into company storage but I know he's got a bunch in the office."
"Thank you." He put the phone back to his ear. "One of the workers said he's got a lot of the past information in his office. No, he told Harris he was being blackmailed due to his taste for underage flesh and that the couple who had hired the company were using it for insurance. Apparently his boss is livid over this. Even I heard the scream when Harris told him about us. No, boss, Harris went and threatened the crew if they had been involved. One guy, poor guy, here had both his daughter and his cousin hurt and his little brother forced to cooperate or join them. He's off with them at the hospital. Also, I took pictures of the guy's bruises. He was handcuffed, apparently by Harris, when his wife got here. I formally arrested him after that. By the way, is it illegal to carry a crossbow in California? Because he's got this 'pointy stick of encouragement' that he's used a few times today. Yeah, him. Boss, I'd just like to know what the hell that boy is and get him to quit calling me Pretty Boy. I feel like I'm in some bad C-grade prison film at the moment." He smiled. "Sure. Thanks, boss. Yeah, Probbie went with the father and family to finish the statement and get information from the exams. You want me to fax more stuff back or start going through it here?" He nodded once. "There's a small motel or something. Harris is going to be staying there too. Thanks, boss." He hung up and looked behind him, then at Steven. "Lock the trailer, I'll be back later for Harris to walk me through the usual sheets. Tell him to wait on me here. I've got to drop him off and hit the motel."
"Get a room for Harris too," Steven ordered. "She'll understand and hold him one." He nodded, that was more than reasonable. He watched as the agent got in and drove off, going to close the trailer door. He did take a look at the desk, and Xander had been right, that was nasty and sickening. He walked inside. "Harris, Pretty Boy Fed said he's getting a room next to yours and he wants to go over the forms and sheets with you. I told him to warn the motel you're coming. They've only got six rooms."
"Thanks, Steven. I can wait on him." He looked at him. "I'm so sorry those kids had to see that."
"They'll tell their younger siblings and it's possible more will come forward," he offered quietly. "What about Mertz?"
"If he can come back tomorrow, I'm good with that. If not, I'm good with that also. The boss said he can have the next few days in vacation and just start on the next site." Steven nodded, going to call and tell him that. Xander shook his head, sighing a bit as he got to work on a bit of pipe that wasn't fixed and attached yet. He was going to be too tired to eat later. This was not fun. His phone vibrated and he pulled it out, putting in his earbud. "Harris." He listened and nodded. "Mertz, right?" He grinned. "No, I already checked. The boss said if you can't come in tomorrow, you're on vacation until the next site starts, man. He wouldn't do it to you. He's not a mean guy, just stingy. Sure." He grinned a bit. "Your kids okay? Yeah, the pretty boy fed'll be around for a few days if they know about more kids or a stash or anything. You just take whatever time you need for your family. If it were me, I'd be screaming and hitting things by this point. They'd be treating me too." He grinned a bit. "Oh, you missed it, his wife heard. They had to take pictures to show he was beaten before he was formally arrested. Tell her I hope she's okay. Make sure they do all the disease and blood tests. Yeah, if you need me, man. I'm here. Laters." He hung up and went back to screwing in the clamp he was going to need. "That just sucks," he muttered. "I'd have killed the SOB by now. Feds or no Feds."
Tony DiNozzo tapped on the motel room door, holding up the handcuffs. "Sorry I'm so late. We had to ship him and stuff back so I had to ride escort."
"Not an issue. I ordered a pizza if you want a slice." He let him into his room by getting out of the way. "Friendly advice, Pretty Boy. Don't walk around at night. There's things in this town that hunt people. You're much too cute to be dead already." He closed the door and sat down, handing over some forms. "Okay, these are the standard forms. Did you take accounting in college?"
"Yeah, two semesters to get past the basics." He sat down to look at them. "Cost sheets, pay sheets, who's this?" he asked, pointing at one. "You only had a thirty person crew?"
"I only have a twenty-four person crew including the new kids," Xander offered, counting names. "Ooh. He was paying a bunch of extra folk. The boss might be pressing charges if you let him go." He handed it back. "I'll get a full crew list tomorrow so you can compare it."
"Thank you." He found a paper plate and the pizza, taking a slice and sitting down again. "So, you're a site supervisor?"
"No, I'm Crew Lead in Sunnydale," he offered with a grin. "That means there's a supe above me. We've been working on a school recently so we've got a bigger than average crew."
"Do you like the work?"
"A lot. I get into some demolitions now and then," he offered with a slight grin. "I also get into some nasty fights to break people up." He shifted and lifted up his shirt, showing off the bruises. "Two guys over the same girl a few days back." He put his shirt down and got another piece of pizza. "It's a good job. I make about twenty-one an hour." The guy looked impressed at that. "For getting really sweaty, a long workout every day, and getting to lord over some kids who don't have a clue and a lot of guys who only need prompted around break time and at the end of the day." He took a bite. "You?"
"Detective, then to NCIS. I'm from the North East."
"Sorry, I'm a Sunnydale boy born and bred," he offered with a grin. "Did your boss have a migraine or a stroke when he had someone hack to find out what the Initiative was?"
"Neither yet; you're right, he didn't have clearance." He shrugged. "He'll be here to take over for McGee tomorrow."
"That's cool. The other boy looked really confused."
"He's not used to thinking that guys who commit one crime often do more than that." He shrugged. "That comes with experience."
"True." He ate another bite. "Soda machine's beside the coin laundry."
"Good to know. What's hunting? I didn't take this town for a hotbed of homicide."
"Oh, you'd be surprised. It's always the happy, pretty places where they hide," he said dryly. "Just don't go out after dark unless you *really* want to go for a run to save your life."
"Okay. Gibbs won't like it but he'll be in tomorrow."
"That happens." Someone knocked on the door and he got up, smiling at the officer standing there. "Hola. Problems?"
"We've got a few feeding and we can't get close enough. Can we borrow the crossbow?"
"Or I can use it. I'm a damn good shot," he offered. "Stay here, Pretty Boy, I'll be right back." He grabbed his pointy stick of encouragement and headed out with the cop. He knew he was a vamp, he was too pale to be alive. "Trap or not a trap?" he asked once they were in the car.
"Not a trap. I don't like to kill and they're causing me paperwork."
"Understood. Pretty Boy wanted to know about the Initiative," he smirked.
The cop shook his head as he backed out. "Oh, well. I'm sure he'll force himself to forget sometime. Or else he'll drink himself into a grave." He headed the car toward the beach. "They're doing it romantically."
"We don't get much of that. We don't really have much beach area. A few docks, but no real beaches. We usually hunt in the cemeteries and clubs anyway though," he offered. The cop groaned. "Yeah, it's just easier when they're just coming up. So, how many?"
"Four. How many arrows do you have? By the way, he's following us."
"More power to him. Make sure he isn't eaten. His boss is coming in tomorrow." They pulled up beside the beach and he got out, sitting on the hood of the car to get a better height. He took aim and hit the first one, making the girl he dropped scream in fear. The others stared around and he got a second one. The third tried run so he only got him in the thigh. Then the fourth was stupid enough to turn and look at him so he grinned and waved before getting him. He hopped off the car, leaving his crossbow there and heading down to stake the other one. The girls backed away from him. "Do you know how stupid you are to be out here at night with the fucking vampires!" he shouted. "Did you WANT to die!" They screamed ran off. He turned and found another one behind him. "Hmm. Not as bad as Spike, not as big as Angel. Local Master?" He nodded. "Pity." He attacked, and the guy fought back instead of running, which was nice for now. Fortunately, Xander fought dirty and the vampire wasn't really going to be able to do more than hit him a few times. He finally grabbed some sand and threw it in the vamp's face, then staked him. He dusted himself off as he walked back to the car, checking on the girl he hadn't noticed in the sand. "Shit. Officer!" He came trotting down and he pointed at the body. "Check her mouth."
"I can smell it from here," he offered, looking at him. "Nice work."
"Thanks. I'll walk back so you can handle that." He nodded at the few people staring at him. "I'm from Sunnydale." That got some amused looks and he shrugged. "It happens. I only hunt the hunters." He headed back to the car, taking his crossbow from the agent's hands. "Do not touch the weapons you aren't qualified to use. Didn't they teach you that in the Academy or something?" he asked, heading off. Two guys came out of a comic shop and he smirked, hanging his crossbow off his belt again and shaking their hands. "Five. You're welcome."
"Who are you?" one demanded coldly.
"The Harris?" the other asked. He nodded, smirking a bit more. "Welcome. Moving here?"
"Visiting. I'm fixing the site." He shrugged. "I work for a living, sue me." He grinned and walked off. "Tell me if you need me while I'm here, guys. Just no all night hunts. I can do those before I go." He whistled as he walked off, happy that he only had a few more bruises now. And one swelling eye but he knew how to get that fixed quickly enough.
DiNozzo pulled out his phone. "Boss?" he asked in a shaky voice. "Since when did people turn into dust and blow away when a guy with a crossbow hit them?" He watched the kid walk off. "Harris!" he said, sounding a bit hysterical to his own ears so he calmed down. "Then he went and fought with another guy and used a stick on him. Boss, what's going on around here?" He got back into his car and locked the doors. "Gibbs, I need to know if he's dangerous! He just walked off whistling after killing five people. No bodies, boss, and the cop came to get him to do it. I doubt they're going to charge him. Yeah, I need to know and so do you since you're coming out here." He hung up and went to drive around the small town. Something was not right! People didn't turn into dust, they bled and screamed when they were hurt! This was not good! His poor embezzlement case was now really wrong!
Xander opened his door at the quick knock the next morning, looking at the older guy standing there. "Let me guess, you're Pretty Boy's boss and he gave you a panicked phone call after I had to stake something last night?" he offered dryly, leaning in the doorway. "I'm off to work if you wanted to tail me. I'm pretty sure he sat up all night with his gun in his hands. By the way, there's a peephole between the rooms. If he's that paranoid now, which is a possibility, then I'd have him use it."
"Mr. Harris?" Xander nodded, grinning a bit. "What is going on?"
"That depends. Have you talked to the local cops?" He nodded. "What did they say?"
"Oh, good! The truth," he offered with a grin. "Did you unseal the Initiative files yet?"
"Do you want to do this out here?" Something was off about this kid. Most people did more than smile when he glared at them. It was like this kid wasn't scared. "I'm not sure the general public needs to hear about this."
"There's only two of us here, Agent...."
"Gibbs then," he offered with a small smile. "And the villagers know the monster's around. They've lived with this for years." He turned and grabbed his jacket and bag to take with him, and the keys, then walked out and closed the door. "I'm off to the site. Feel free to follow me around if you want."
"We can arrest you for that. It was witnessed."
"You can't prove they were alive," he noted dryly. "Empty threats make me want to giggle. Anything else, Agent Gibbs? If not, remember this. I helped take down the Initiative, who were psychotic military people bent on torture and world domination. You don't scare me. I've seen worse things that are four feet high and purple. No matter how scary you are to normal people." He headed out to his car and got in, heading to the site.
Gibbs watched him drive off, then tapped on his guy's door, getting one paranoid agent yanking it open and hugging him. "Get off, DiNozzo," he complained, pushing him inside and walking in to shut the door. "Get hold of yourself."
"I can't! He's not right!"
"Yeah, he said he's seen more scary things that are purple and four foot tall too." He shrugged. "We can still break him."
"No we can't!"
"Yes, I can," he noted dryly. "Did you get anything before he got called off to take care of that problem?"
"Yeah, a bit. He's paying for people who weren't there. It's showing the same pattern as he used when he was in the Navy." He handed over the forms they had been looking over last night. "He said that's the normal forms they use. They're fairly uncomplicated, but they don't add up either. His accounting sucks." He took another calming breath at the stare he was getting. "He said he'd get us an employee list today, Boss. That way we could compare things. We also know he's got information from the past few jobs in his trailer, which we have open access to, but to take out any original documents we need a warrant." One was handed to him. "I'm not sure if we should stay, Boss."
"We're staying. This other strangeness made the FBI and Fornell moan and take cover. Besides, there's information floating around that hints that Harris has military training. His file's incomplete and his background is just too clean for the skills you said he had. They want to know why and figure out who he works for." And truth be told, so did he. Gibbs knew he had scared covert ops agents in the past. So why wasn't that kid scared?
"So you're staying?" He nodded. "Thank you." He hugged him again and got a slap across the back of the head for it. "Sorry, Boss, but he scares me."
"Yeah, he's a bit creepy," he noted, getting free. "Did you get any sleep?"
"No," he admitted. "I was going to nap before he got back tonight."
"Do it now, I'll go there and check out the office." Tony nodded, heading back to bed, his gun going under his pillow. Gibbs went to get his own room and make some calls before he headed over. There was no way a kid without training could do that sort of job on five people. His eyes and body posture had shown that the kid had combat experience, so either he was lying or he was being protected by someone.
Gibbs walked onto the site after lunch, looking around. It wasn't a big house, but it could probably be pretty once it was done. It looked well crafted as well. He nodded at Harris, who pointed at the trailer. He walked the kid off. "You busy?"
"No. Getting the staff set up for the afternoon." He got free and went back to his meeting. He finished giving orders and walked back to the trailer, letting him inside. Gibbs handed him the warrant. "Then it's yours. What do you need from me?"
"Well, the FBI needs a more comprehensive account of what happened to the Initiative."
"And they can blow me. They know this. I scared the last guy they sent to ask that question. I'm wondering if he's still curled in a corner crying and sucking his thumb."
Gibbs looked him over, then nodded once. "Which branch of the service?"
"None. Though I was possessed by a PFC, Army," he offered with a goofy grin. "That was just an odd Halloween though." He shrugged and smiled a bit more brightly. "Really. I'm nothing more than my background says."
"You might be able to pull that off with some of the morons the FBI hires, but not with my guys. Not after DiNozzo saw you hurt those guys last night."
Xander shrugged. He knew Willow had already cleaned all their backgrounds years ago. It had been very nice of her to erase their files when she had done hers. "It's still not military training, Agent Gibbs. I can't tell you what you want to know." He walked into the house. "Happy hunting."
Gibbs stared after him, something was definitely not right about that boy. He walked into the trailer, seeing the remaining mess on the desk and grimaced, pulling on some gloves. There wasn't any way he was touching biological contributions. He did call Abby and asked her to see if she could find anything about him in *her* area since what DiNozzo and the cops told him were 'vampires'.
"Yo, Pretty Boy, you hungry?" Xander called as he walked toward his motel room door. "Or should I call you Agent Pretty Boy?"
"I'm still not like that," he called, opening his door. He looked at the box in his hands, then up at him. "Do you live on takeout?"
"It's not like I have an ex-girlfriend who cooks." He shrugged. "I'm surrounded by women who can only make cookies and mix cakes." He opened his door and walked inside, noticing the careful rearrangement of his stuff. "Did you have fun?"
"Gibbs had fun this morning actually," he noted from the doorway. "Is that chicken?"
"Fried things are bad for you," he said as he took a piece.
"Yay," Xander said with a smirk. "With my life I'll either live to be one of the world's oldest men or die while I'm still young, hot, tight, and needy." He shrugged and sat down with a chicken leg, nodding at Gibbs as he came to the door. "I can feed you too."
"Thank you, Mr. Harris."
"It's Xander, Agent Gibbs. I have a first name, you may use it," he noted dryly. "So, I got a call from someone today wondering if you were someone who should be told about me." He ate another bite, looking at them. "You could try asking more detailed and focused questions. Shut the door, Pretty Boy."
"I have a name," he complained.
"Everything's got names. Even snail mommas probably name their kids." He shrugged. "You look and act like one of those boys who lives to be put on his back and ridden hard and well, or to be put on your knees and the leash held by a gentle, yet firm hand."
Tony blushed at that and shook his head. "None of my girls were ever like that."
Gibbs sat down, looking at the boy, taking a piece of chicken when the box was held out for him. "Thank you. So, vampires?"
"Yeah, they're real." He finished off his leg and dug into the box, getting a thigh. "Sorry, I like dark meat better, it's usually less dry." He leaned back again, getting comfortable while he picked it apart. "They do exist in horrifyingly large numbers and are not that easy to kill. Why? Do you have some wandering around DC?"
"No, not that I know of," Gibbs noted dryly.
"If so, Abby's probably met them," Tony offered. He was once again slapped across the back of the head. "Sorry, Boss."
"Abby would tell me if she had been in that much danger," he noted patiently. He looked at Xander again. "So, who taught you how to fight?"
"Experience. Some trial and error, some necessity, some kids who decided to be bullies. If you do something long enough you get good at it." He picked off another piece and ate it, then dug into the skin. "Sorta like pickup lines, Agent Gibbs. After a while you finally score." Tony chuckled at that, he understood that one.
"I don't use 'em. I've had enough women in my life."
"Me too but they won't go away and leave me alone," Xander said dryly. "I have to keep dealing with them."
"You could move down here," Tony offered.
"I don't want this crew full time. I like my crew at home. I just don't like how the girls in my life treat me."
"Women, they like to be called women," Tony told him.
Xander snorted. "You've never met Willow, have you?"
"No, but Abby said she's very nice," Gibbs noted dryly, smirking a bit. "Said she talked about you the last time they met at a hacking convention."
"Abby? New Orleans girl? Got a few tats? Pretty cute in pigtails?" Xander asked. They both just nodded, looking a bit scared. Xander beamed. "We chatted one night while Willow was in the bathroom and she showed me pictures. Tell her I said hi."
"I will the next time I call in," Tony assured him. He glanced at his boss. "I'm sorry, but you're just...odd. You're this goofy guy one minute and this hard-ass soldier the next, worse than some we've seen in the office. Why?"
"Experience. It happens to the best of us," Xander noted patiently, eating another piece of chicken. "Oh, Agent Gibbs, did he remember to tell you not to walk around at night?"
"I've got a stake. Abby tucked one into my jacket pocket when she heard where I was going."
"And you're very experienced at stabbing people in the heart? Because unless you are, you're gonna be dead with a stake," he noted dryly. He stood up and grabbed his bag. "I got asked to do a quick patrol down on the boardwalk. Take some more chicken. My boss is paying half." He went into the bathroom, going to get changed now that he had remembered he had been asked to go out. He came out in dark gray pants and a black t- shirt, with a black overshirt over it. Then he put on a hat and waved, grabbing his keys and wallet as he headed out. His boots were still in the car. So was his hunting kit - that was something you didn't leave in a hotel room. The nice cops had even given him directions so he parked near the boardwalk and strolled toward the activity center. It was nice: a ferris wheel, a few kiddie rides, a few places that had street musicians. It looked like one club had an open-air stage in the back for concerts. It was a pretty town. That's why he knew it was just as bad, if not worse, than Sunnydale was. Too pretty was always a clue.
He called home. "Giles, is there a Hellmouth in Santa Clara? No, I had to dust five last night. The cops around here recognized me when I called about an idiot on the job. No, I'm wandering toward the music." He pulled the phone away from his ear and put it back once the screaming had stopped. "Buffy, need I remind you I've been doing this as long as you have," he snapped. "I'm more than competent and careful enough, even if there are two NCIS agents wandering around somewhere behind me. Oh, tell Willow Abby works with them and she said hi. Ask Giles if there is or isn't. It's a very pretty, safe looking, mild mannered town. Yes, another one." He listened to the answer. "Thanks, man. Any other intel?" He listened to that, nodding a bit. "Good. I'm there. Of course I'll be careful and tell the screaming one that too, maybe you could smack her on the head for me?" He hung up and sighed a bit. There was a major coven in the area. Wonderful! Really! Along with a huge clan of vampires, but no known other demon activity.
He moved on, going to look around the various diversions they had created to ignore the danger. It was nice, there was a calm feeling about the town. He could almost see settling down here permanently. And hey, no more Anya! He nodded at the guys inside the comic book shop, getting a nod and a grin in return. He decided to go back and stop in there. "There's two Feds following me, guys. One Pretty Boy, one soldier. They've got a bit of a clue because of last night, but not a great one. So, where's the clan?"
"Out in the rocks. They've got about sixty members now," the younger, lighter haired one said quietly. "You think it can be handled?"
"I know it can be handled," he noted dryly. "The question is can it be handled subtly." He grinned at them. "I've been asked to go wandering about hither and thon. Anywhere in particular I *shouldn't* go?"
"Yeah, the goth club. That's their area and we're not that brave to back you up," the other said patiently. "That's a no fire zone as far as we're concerned because it makes the more peaceful ones mad if we try."
"Okay. It's where?"
"Can't miss it, it's a dark blue building with lights," the younger guy offered, smiling at the two older guys coming in. He got them the *special* comic and handed one over. "Here, sample issues," he offered with a smile. "Welcome to town." He grinned at Xander as he walked off, then at the two guys. "Are you looking for something in particular?"
"No, we're following him," Gibbs said. "You know him?"
"We're in the same line of work," the older one said. "It's only polite to check on the local experts."
Tony just nodded and got out of there. He looked around the boardwalk but didn't see the kid anywhere. "Boss," he called.
His boss came out, looking around. "He's got to be headed for people." They walked that way, finding him in the middle of a crowd listening to music. He was kinda swaying with it but not quite dancing and it was pretty decent. Then the guy winked at someone and moved on, letting her follow him. Gibbs sneered. "Uh-huh. Oldest trick in the book," he muttered.
"Boss, she looked really healthy." But he followed anyway. They found them kissing and he shrugged. "Sorry, kid. He thought you might be in danger."
Xander snickered. "I'm sure he does." He looked at the girl, smiling at her as he laid a finger on the side of her neck. "Nope, she's got a pulse. Sorry, guys, just making out. I *am* a young man after all." The girl giggled and kissed him again. They left him to it and he wasn't about to tell them that she was a succubus. He tipped her head back, stealing one last kiss. "Baby, why don't you fly home to your master," he whispered, staring in her eyes. "You can't feed tonight."
"I'm grooving on the vibe," she cooed, stroking his cheek. "I promise to be a good girl, Xander. I'm not going to drain anyone."
"Fine," he agreed, kissing her again. "Promise me on your powers?"
"Unless I'm attacked," she agreed, smirking and running her hand over his crotch. "Hmm, no wonder Anyanka used to brag about you. You're not a little boy at all, are you?" she purred.
He smirked a bit and shook his head. "No, not really. But then again, I've got to work hard all day long and all that," he said, sounding sad about the fact. "Maybe before I go. After all, when I go back to Sunnyhell, I'll need *good* memories to tide me over and I'm supposed to be patrolling tonight. Know where I should go?"
"Mmmmm." She moaned and licked up his throat. "If I can nibble and blow you, I'll escort you there," she promised with a sultry grin.
He looked around, both ways, then shrugged and she unzipped his pants, getting to it. She loved her job and he was horny. It wouldn't affect his fighting any. Besides, it'd been way too long since he and Anya had last gotten together. Nearly a year. He came and she cleaned him up, putting him back into his pants. He felt a bit drained, but nothing unusual. "Good girl," he praised, teasing her clit with a finger. "If you're really good, I'll reward you before I go."
"Ooh, please," she moaned, leaning into his touch. She gasped and sank her mouth onto his shoulder to cover up the noise she was making since the band had gone quiet. She came and smiled, then nodded, leading him off to somewhere he should be hunting. She'd hold him to rewarding her later.
Tony checked his watch, then shook his head. "Couldn't have been more than a quick blow," he noted dryly. "Either that or he's got no stamina, which I doubt from his fighting."
His boss gave him a funny look. "You timed it?"
"Yeah. Most guys don't go for *that* before going out to do strenuous activity." He followed the boy and girl, noticing she was changing her appearance. "Boss, you catching this?" he asked quietly.
"I am. I'm wondering how she's doing it." They walked into a club and they both stopped to stare. "That's not that goth club those boys in the comic shop said not to go into, right?"
"No, they said dark blue with lights. That's black with lights. Temptress does sound like one of the haunts Abby would hit though." They walked up to the door, flashing their badges. "We're following Harris."
"He said you were. You still have to pay the cover," the bouncer noted. He smiled. "We're not under investigation so that doesn't hold much weight here."
Gibbs handed it over and they walked inside, watching as the boy mixed through the crowd. Every now and then he'd move but it wasn't really spectacular.
Tony caught one though. "He just dusted someone," he hissed in his boss's ear. "I saw her hair disappear." Gibbs looked at him. "He did, Boss."
"Let's go find the boy." They found him back with the girl from earlier. "New girlfriend?"
"No. My last one would be *really* upset if I moved on. She's just a good time girl." He grinned at her and she got off his lap and headed to the bar. "Needed something?"
"I saw one disappear," Tony hissed.
"Then you're the only one, Pretty Boy." He looked over as a male walked up to them, making Xander smirk. "Good evening."
"Evening. Are you with my cousin Bethany?"
Xander grinned. "More she's with me. Don't tell me you're into her too?" he asked with a small wink. He shivered and shook his head. "I don't play that side of the fence. Maybe you should ask Agent Pretty Boy here if he'd like a... dance. He's awfully uptight." Tony started to splutter but the incubus drug him onto the floor. "He'll be fine. She said he's not here to hunt. Just nibble. He's getting more from soaking up the blown-off energy from the crowd."
"What is he?"
"An incubus." He smiled at Bethany as she came back, taking his beer to sip. "Your cousin was very pleasant."
"I'm sure he was. That man is so *cute*," she offered happily. "Is he gay? I can't tell."
"Personal opinion, yes, but hiding it very hard behind hitting on every woman in existence." He looked at Gibbs. "Only you'd know," he offered. She giggled and leaned closer.
"He hits on a lot of women but I've never heard of him playing the field."
"Pity. Bob would look so cute under him," she sighed, shaking her head. Gibbs gave her an odd look. "I take it studly here told you what I am?" He nodded, sipping his coffee. "I'm being a good girl tonight, Bossman, I promise I am," she offered with a little wink and a grin.
"You're still not my type."
"Pity abut that too," she offered, grinning at Xander. "How about you, dear?"
"For some reason I keep ending up with the dangerous sort who want to kill me," he noted dryly. "I don't know why." She giggled at his frown. "I really don't." He shrugged. "Then again, I also end up with demanding bitches as girlfriends, like Anya was. That woman never met a home shopping channel she didn't like."
Bethany smiled. "Maybe you should try for Bob. He wouldn't want to kill you."
"I tried a guy like Bob once," he noted dryly, taking another drink of his beer. "It was fun and all right, but didn't really catch much of my attention. Neither did the orgy I ended up in that was full of horny guys while I stripped." He stood up. "Come on, Bethany, duty calls and all that."
"Can we walk outside when you're done in here?" she asked as she led him back onto the floor. "I hear you've got a toothpick system."
"I do," he admitted happily. "It's in the car, but I've got it with me. I also have my battle axe with me."
"I thought you left Anya and Willow at home," she teased.
"Not those, the harder one. This one's even harder to pick up than Buffy." She giggled at that, leaning against his chest as he danced with her. "How many more? I count ten."
"I count twelve but two aren't feeding presently. Come on! Let's go have fun!" she whined.
He grinned and finished his beer, tossing it in a nearby plant. Then he moved closer, dancing his usual way with her. She moaned and leaned against him, letting him ooze sexuality all over her so she could absorb it. "Never mind," she said with a hazy, feel good voice. "I like it here just fine."
Tony finally got away from Bob and came running back to the table, sitting next to the wall so he'd be harder to grab. "I don't know what he was, but he wasn't normal," he said, sounding a bit panicked now. "Do I come off as gay?"
Gibbs looked at him. "How would I know, DiNozzo?"
"Point, Boss." He watched the kid dance with the girl and nearly drooled. He could almost see the haze coming off their bodies. Then some guy stepped up to them and tried to take her. Xander kindly looked at him for a moment, head tipped to the side, before he hit him in the throat, in the chest, and then stomped on his foot, giving him a shove away, then he smarted off and went back to dancing with her, going back to the oozing sexuality on the floor. "He's good. I wonder if he could beat Ziva."
"She's well trained and he's supposedly got no training," Gibbs noted. "I doubt he could take her." He looked at his agent. "Are you okay?"
"Just panicked, Boss. I'm really not gay."
"I don't care, DiNozzo, pull yourself back together again. He'll be leaving soon. I heard her saying something about going out for a walk."
"Oh, good," he said, nodding a bit. Bob came back and he shifted closer to the wall. "Hey. We're about to leave."
"Oooh, pity," he offered, heading off to dance with the little food source. He was hot and good and filling. He needed someone like this permanently but she apparently had her hooks into him. Pity about that but maybe she'd share? It'd make him last less time but he wouldn't be too greedy about taking his half of the boy's energy.
Xander gave him a knowing smirk and winked before walking off and taking his lady back to his car. He opened the trunk and she oohed, running a hand over his battle axe. "That has saved my life many times, dear," he offered, removing her hand. "It was also recently blessed." She pouted and he gave her a long look. "Really."
"Fine." She watched as he put a belt around his waist then slid something under his overshirt. He strapped something to his wrist and started to close the trunk but Gibbs picked up his battle axe. "That's blessed."
"I don't have a problem with holy objects," he said sarcastically. He weighed it then handed it back to the boy, who swung it a bit with a grin before putting it back in place. "Nice hardware."
"Thank you. It's a fashion statement in my life," he offered with a grin. "We're going for a walk." He locked the trunk and pocketed the keys, walking off with her. He could feel the vampires in the crowd and used the little switch in his hand to shoot high-powered toothpicks into their hearts. Some people were still talking as the people beside them went poof but he was sure it was all right.
"You're very good," she whispered.
"I try," he offered smugly. He looked at the person who was standing in his way, raising an eyebrow. "Morning. Did you realize you still have coffin hair?" The guy ran his hands through his hair, sneering the whole time. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Xander Harris," he offered with a grin, sticking out his hand. The vampires all backed up, looking very scared. "I've been asked to wander around tonight. I wonder why," he noted facetiously. "Shoo, boys."
"But we're hungry," one whined.
"Then do what Angel does and visit a slaughter house to get what you need," he whined back in a very good imitation. Most of them ran and he looked at the leader, who was still fussing with his hair. He stepped forward and put it into place, then grinned. "It's so hard to do your hair when you can't use a mirror. I know Spike's always had that problem." Then he dusted him. He walked on with a small shrug, taking Bethany further down the boardwalk. "What time is it? You stole my watch when we went into the club."
She looked at it, then at him. "Nearly ten."
"Hmm. I should get to bed soon. I've got to work tomorrow." He took his watch, his wallet, and his car keys back from her, then his stake as well. "Thanks, babe. Why don't you go feed off the darker vampire lovers?" He winked and strolled off. "Remember me."
"Oh, I will," she purred, watching him go. He held up a hand and his car keys flew into them. Then he grinned back at her.
"Willow," he offered with a sweet smile. He made it to his car and inside, then headed back to his hotel room so he could finish the chicken, take a shower, and go to bed. Or actually, take a shower and finish the chicken while in bed. Someone knocked on the door. "I'm going to sleep soon, Pretty Boy. You should do the same."
"I am not....." He was drug off.
Xander just grinned. He loved picking on the guy, he got so flustered!
Gibbs listened to the updated information, taking a few notes. "Thank you, Abby, that was very helpful." He hung up and looked at his field agent. "She found out more about his reputation."
"Does he realize those used to be human?"
"I don't know but I don't think it matters much to him or he's blocked it out." He leaned on the table. "Abby found out about their little group in Sunnydale. They've got a small gang of people who go out hunting like that. Vampires, bigger demons, things like what you and he were dancing with last night."
"That was a what? No wonder I didn't feel like getting free of him, he must have done something to me."
"An incubus." He shrugged. "Or so he said." He leaned back, sipping his coffee. "Do we have enough on this embezzlement case?"
"No! There's still a lot of paperwork to go through. He never got me that employee list either." Gibbs handed it over. "Gee, thanks, Boss," he noted dryly. "Anything else?"
"Yeah, he's rated as 'do not annoy' in the FBI's database. He's got a 'watch' picture in Homeland Security because they've had to steal a few weapons, and he's got a major past outside the town he lives in. Apparently something's blocking him there," he noted bitterly. "They say he's a big goofball until he leaves town."
"So he's hiding from his friends?"
"His friends do the same thing he did last night, DiNozzo. Why would he?"
"I heard him talking to someone, sounding really annoyed," he offered. "Someone named Willow? Something about being capable of being out on his own?"
"They don't appreciate him?" Gibbs asked.
"Maybe not, Boss. How many kids have you seen with secret lives? He does read like someone without a lot of self esteem to me. He also reads as someone who would probably become normal once he's away from the lifestyle."
"With the killing he's done, I'm not sure that's possible."
"I'm still a sniper, DiNozzo." He looked outside as the maid trundled past, then looked at him again. "You won't ever get an assassin out of the business for real. Even if they retire, they still itch to do that one last job and usually keep themselves in shape and in the loop."
"Boss, I don't care about that. Think about what the Marines could do with that boy. Or the Navy. I bet he could pass SEAL training easily."
"I know he could pass SEAL training easily," Gibbs pointed out. "He'd also have to explain how he got so good."
"You think he can't lie?"
"I don't know," he admitted, taking another drink of his coffee. Someone tapped on the door so he got up to get it, smiling at the maid. "We're okay for right now." She handed him something, her lips pressed together. "Where did you find this?"
"In that boy's room," she said, walking off.
Gibbs opened the letter with his name on it, reading over the notes he had been made. He kicked the door shut and sat down again, drinking as he read. "Well." He handed it over. "He's blocked out that they're human."
"Used to be human, Boss. Humans, even dead humans, don't turn to dust with the application of a pointy stick." He read it over. "Where is this?"
"How.... Can we trust this?"
Gibbs shrugged. "I don't know. I know two of the people in it. Jen definitely won't like it."
"Madam Director needs to remove her stake," Tony noted dryly.
"She's not as bad as she could be."
Tony looked at him. "Boss, I don't care if you did bang her night and day for five years straight. She's a bitch. A very big bitch who needs a gallon sized dose of Midol." Gibbs snorted at that. "For that matter, she needs to quit pampering Ziva. She's got to learn some harder lessons. She's still dangerous to the team."
"I know," he sighed. "She's trying very hard."
"Yeah, very hard to get on our nerves. Can't we just put the kid and her in the same room for a few hours? Please? Let him make fun of her."
Gibbs looked at him. "That's torture and the United States does not condone torture of its agents, DiNozzo."
"Then make him stop with me!"
"If you were secure in your sexuality, you'd be laughing like he is."
"No I wouldn't! That sort of rep gets around and ruins your chances with the ladies."
"You don't date *ladies*, you date easy little girls playing dress-up."
"Whatever, Boss, he's still annoying me and having fun at my expense and it's cutting into my babe time."
"I'm sure if you wanted to you could pick up the girl he was with last night," he offered with a small smirk as he finished off that cup of coffee. "He's apparently not serious about her."
"What was she? There's no way she's human. I'm wondering if he is!"
"He is. I took a DNA sample from his room and sent it back to Abby. She said he's completely human."
"Oh, good," he offered bitterly. "Now what?" He looked at the note again, then at his boss. "Should we tell Abby that vampires are real?"
"I'm not going to do that," he offered. "What was he using last night?"
"This little nozzle that shot toothpicks at high velocity. Was that a battle axe in his trunk?"
"Along with an AK-47, a few grenades, and a few other things that we probably shouldn't have seen," he noted dryly. "Including a silencer made for the machine gun. I'm wondering who made that."
"They make those?"
"Not that I was aware of but apparently someone does."
"You think the kid does?"
"It's possible. I don't think his toothpick thing from last night is on the market either. Think about an assassin using ones dipped in some sort of poison. They'd only have to hit them somewhere on the body." Tony shuddered. "I'm not sure what to do about him," he admitted. "He's working for the good of mankind, but he's dangerous."
"I'm all for running home and never seeing him again," he noted. His boss smacked him again. "Hey! That's a valid option!"
"Not in this case. Go get more on the embezzlement and child porn angle. I want this case so solid this guy goes away for embezzling from the Navy and from his current bosses. Ziva broke him to find his contractor for the stolen weapons he used to sell. I'm going to go over the Navy side of the case, make sure it's airtight. You seal yours against it so we can get the Federal Prosecutors into it." Tony nodded, standing up. "Try to stay away from the kid."
"At least he feeds me," he offered with a small grin. He grabbed his jacket and keys, heading back out to the office to see what else he could find. He saw the boy talking with a cop and listened in as he struggled with the trailer's doorknob and the key. Ah, the vampire cop had gotten dusted, but it was after they had left.
"Succubuses are real?" the cop asked a bit loudly.
"Vampires are so why wouldn't they be?" Xander noted calmly, staring him down. "I'm sorry about your loss, officer, but I was already tucked in bed last night, just like the nice Federal Agent eavesdropping can tell you. Pretty Boy?"
"I've still got a name!"
"Sorry. Hot Ass?" he offered with a smirk.
"I'm still not gay, Harris," he said, glaring at him. "I like very beautiful and smart women."
"Ah, then the bitch inside must be yours. She reminds me a lot of Buffy." He shrugged and looked at the officer again. "I went home about ten. She probably went to go feed some more since I left. Ask her."
"Fine," he complained. "You think we'll be okay? With that one last thing we wanted you to do and all?"
"I think you'll be fine but you should probably keep track of statistics and new people. You don't want a sudden power vacuum to be filled." The cop nodded and headed off. "I really am sorry about his loss, officer. He seemed very nice and polite." The officer smiled and nodded, going back to his car. He looked at Tony. "Would you mind getting Hell's Minion off my site, Hot Ass?"
"The name is Special Agent Tony DiNozzo," he said firmly.
Xander grinned. "Should I send you flowers for finally telling me that?" he offered with a wink. "Or should I just call it out in the middle of the night?" He walked off whistling, getting back to work. He loved his new playmate. He was so cute when he got flustered! "Yo, she bitch from Hell, or Satan's Mistress, whichever you are, if you're a Feeb, one of your guys is outside!" He found his spot and grinned at the guys around him, making them laugh a bit. It was kinda cute if he did say so himself.
She stomped out, looking at Tony. "That is one irritating person," she said hotly.
"He thinks I'm gay, Ziva, feel lucky," he said bitterly. "Why are you here? Gibbs is back at the motel."
"I got the surveillance he wanted."
"Again, he's at the motel. Unless you want to work on the embezzlement and weapons dealing with me? It's a lot of paperwork."
"I'd rather not stay here." She glared back at the house then stomped off.
Tony laughed. "At least he's not just doing it to me."
Gibbs grabbed the boy before he could walk into his room, dragging him down to his. He turned on the tape, watching the boy's face.
Xander watched Buffy fight, then groaned, rubbing his forehead. "She staked a human. She's going to go bad." He dialed the Magic Box. "Giles, is Buffy all right? Because one of the feds here showed me a tape of her staking a human," he said coolly. "I'm fine, how is she!" He listened, sighing and nodding. "Hopefully she'll get more help than Faith did. Because we turned on her for it. So help her." He sighed and rubbed his forehead again. "When I'm done here, I'm coming home. Even if she doesn't like it." He glared. "What the fuck do I care if she doesn't like me in the town! At least I didn't stake the human! I'm still stable and doing her damn job! Yay, Giles. When I'm done here, I'm coming home. If she doesn't like it, I don't need to see her, do I?" He hung up and looked at him.
"Don't start looking smug, Gibbs. She may have been my friend but she just burnt that bridge. She knew not to do that." He walked out, stomping off. He went back to his room and called his boss, giving him the daily report. When he was done, he got up and looked over himself, then he went out to get a beer. He needed a beer. He wanted a beer. There was unfortunately someone in his way. He growled and the boy just raised an eyebrow. He grabbed him by the wrist and spun him around, getting into his car. He backed out, heading back to boardwalk. He found a real bar and headed in, putting his keys on the bar. The bartender looked at him. "I have stupid female friends who hate me because they fuck up their own lives while I'm out of town." The bartender took his keys with a nod. "Beer me, please."
"Sure. Cash?" Xander took out a fifty and handed it over then stuffed his wallet down his pants. The guy drew a beer. "Tell me when you're empty, kid."
"Thanks." He got down to serious drinking, liking the buzz he was building. Someone behind him coughed and he glanced back but went back to his drinking and watching the tv in the corner. He didn't get a lot of time to just sit and stare at the tube. The guy sat beside him and he grunted, taking another drink. "I'm not good company."
"I realize that. What's going on?" Gibbs asked. "Should you be doing that?"
"Believe it or not, I'm old enough to make that decision on my own," he noted dryly. He waved a hand and drained that beer, handing over the glass as he got his next one. "Thank you, man. You're saving me from going home to scream at someone for being a dumb bitch."
"What did your friend do?"
"Attacked the wrong person." He snorted. "She wasn't paying attention and it's now come back to bite her on the ass so she's blaming me for being out of town." He took a longer drink this time. "I'm going home whether or not she likes the fact that I'm going home when I'm done here." He drank another one and put down the glass.
"Slow down, kid. At least enjoy it."
"Butt out, Agent Gibbs. I don't need a father. I had one of those and he's bastard enough for you, the Pretty Boy, the Mistress of Satan, the soft guy who first showed up and then some." He finished that beer and put it down. The bartender nodded and got him another one. "Tell me when I'm out of cash. I have a pretty good tolerance thanks to bad genes."
"You've got about ten more," the bartender offered. "What's your usual one?"
"I'm not usually this much of a lush," he noted bitterly. "I just happen to hate women at the moment."
"Well, there's always Bob," Gibbs said dryly.
Xander looked at him. "I tried that once. It didn't do that much for me. It was nice but not that great. I've also had better blows than I got from that one guy. Therefore I don't think so." He looked at the bartender, shrugging. "Don't ask me, dude, he's just following me around."
"It happens," the bartender noted, looking at Gibbs. "You a stalker?"
"Federal Agent, NCIS. We're here for the guy we arrested off his site for arms dealing."
The bartender looked amused. "Eric? Yeah, I knew 'im. He was a decent guy but in the last few years he sorta snapped and went odd. Then again, that's also when he started looking at the younger set from what I heard."
Gibbs looked at him. "Any idea why?"
The bartender leaned on the bar, shaking his head. "Not really. About that time his girl left him. He'd met her while he was in the Navy. She huffed off one day, I'm not sure why. Name was Emily Sue. She was a sweet girl in public but she was about to kill him at home from what I heard. We all heard her screaming at him about someone named Pettery. Something like that. She'd start screaming at him night and day for months on end, then suddenly she'd stop for a few weeks. Then she'd start again. I don't know why."
"That's very helpful. Do you remember Emily Sue's last name?" Xander offered. "I'm sure they could track her down."
"See, she's one of the *disappeared*," he said, staring him down.
"Has she survived so far?" Xander asked, finishing that beer.
"Yeah. So far. I saw her a few weeks ago. She's a blonde girl, about five-five, maybe ten pounds on the positive side of perfect. A bit curvy. She's in with the local clan."
"Even better," Xander agreed. He stood up and waved. "I'll see if I can find her." He strolled off, heading for the boardwalk. He stopped into the comic shop, lounging in the doorway. "Emily Sue?"
"Blonde girl, wearing blue velvet tonight. Reminds me a bit of your Dru and Spike," one told him.
"Thanks." He walked off, heading down toward the beach. Most of the vampires were laying low at this time of night. He found the one he wanted at a bonfire and walked up to her, waving a hand at the others. "I just need her. The Feebs need her about Eric." He hauled her up, looking at her. "Emily Sue?" She pursed her lips and nodded. "Cool. They want to know about Eric and his nasty habits of selling arms, doing creative accounting on the jobs, and sleeping with underaged kids. Let's go. You can leave later."
"You'll stake me," she complained, getting drug along.
"No I won't. I'm in a bad mood thanks to Buffy and I'm not in the mood to stake anyone tonight. Just don't make them call me out of my funk later." He drug her back toward the motel, handing her to Tony. "Eric's late girlfriend. I promised you'd let her go if she didn't do anything and helped." He walked off, going back to his room. He found a cup of coffee and sniffed it, smirking a bit. "Thank him for the Irish, Pretty Boy!" he yelled. There was a hole between them and the walls were thin, the boy sneezed all last night. He finished the coffee and laid down, watching tv. He even turned it down when someone pounded on the wall.
Xander made it to work the next morning, only ten minutes late since he had to get his car keys from Gibbs and he wasn't exactly a pleasant person in the morning. He nodded at the guys. "Sorry, I have bad female friends who suck and blow. I got a bit lit and had my keys at the bar." He got his tool belt from the office and headed inside. "Are we running late?"
"Inspector's in there," someone yelled.
He was only a day late, but okay. "Wonderful!" He found the guy and shook his hand. "Xander Harris, acting crew chief. Sorry I'm a bit late. I had to retrieve my keys."
"I heard. It's not a problem," he offered. "So far, it's much better. Before I've had to get the crew to fix six or seven things. The wiring one is perfect this time. The framing took four to fix. Usually this crew is much better."
"It was Eric's fault. An insurance job," he shared. The guy looked at him. "The couple were blackmailing Eric. They were going to have the building burn, sue the company and claim the insurance. He's already admitted it and they're pursuing a case against them," he said quietly. "Just in case you get called out to investigate a sudden fire. Our company has been doing taping each day. I'm not letting my company go down for this."
"Good man," he agreed, shaking his hand again. "The deadline is when?"
"Next Friday. I think we can get it done."
"I think you might actually come in under deadline," he promised. He signed of the form and handed it to him to sign. Then he walked out. He walked out and smiled at the crew. "You're perfect, the first time this job!" he called as he walked past them. "Good job getting back on track!" He got into his truck, nodding at the woman getting out of her car. "New to the crew?"
"Federal Agent," she said in her accented voice. "NCIS."
"I heard Eric had pissed off someone higher up. Good luck with him. I hope he suffers for what he did to those kids." He started his engine and pulled out.
She stomped up to the work site, finding that boy. "You!" she said. "Get out here."
"I don't answer to 'hey you'. I have a name. Either use it or blow me." He got back to work, gently tapping in the nail for the trim he was working on. She tried to grab him but he flipped her onto her back and stared down at her. "Honey, I don't know how it works where you came from, but here you've got to have a warrant to grab someone like that. Now, either get off your ass and get one or you can stay down there and we'll just walk over you for the next eight hours." He got back to work.
"Why is it that women believe they're tougher?" one guy complained. One of the teenagers from the vo-tech.
"Childbirth," Xander offered. "They can withstand a lot of pain. Trust me on this." The guy sighed and nodded. "That doesn't mean they can be rude and snotty, but they're stronger. I couldn't live through childbirth. Thirty-six hours of pain, pushing, and straining to get a ten or eleven pound ball of future misery? I don't think so. My future wives will not have kids either. We'll adopt." The guys around him laughed.
The woman stood up. "Who do you think you are?" she sneered.
Xander handed off his hammer, took off his toolbelt, then drug her outside by her arm, tossing her further into the yard. "Unless you have a warrant you have no reason to be on my job site. Until you do have a warrant, go cry in your milk and leave me the hell alone, woman. I don't know you, I could care less about you and what you want, and I'll be damned if I'm going to let you harass me. Now, get off my site, get out of my sight, and leave me the hell alone!" He turned and went back inside, calling the motel. "Dearie, are either of the agents there?" He smiled. "Please put me through to Pretty Boy. Thank you." He waited while the phone was answered by a cheerful voice. "Come get your hellbitch before I consider having her turned so I can stake her. Or else I can get meaner." He hung up and went back to reclaim his tools. He heard the yelling start a few minutes later and went out there with his hammer but someone thoughtfully took it from him. "Gee, thanks," he said bitterly, standing in the doorway glaring. She turned and started in on him and he just crossed his arms over his chest and glared harder.
"Boss, I think his glare is nearly as bad as yours," DiNozzo offered. He got smacked again. "Sorry, Boss, but it's true." He moved closer. "Harris, please don't hurt her."
"I don't make a habit of harming humans. Then again I'm not sure she is human," he noted dryly, staring her down. She shivered and turned away again. He glared at the boy. "Pretty Boy, you, Gibbs, even the soft and squishy one from the first day have free access. Get her the hell out of here before I beat her ass. I know bigger and bagger sorority chicks and lesbians."
"I'll tell Gibbs you feel uncomfortable with her working this case," he promised, going back there. "Boss, he's not going to bother us but he wants her gone. He's more than helpful to us on this case."
"He attacked me!"
"You grabbed me. What did you expect?" Xander shot back as he moved closer. "What is *she* doing here anyway? I thought you guys were nearly done."
"We are," Gibbs admitted. "She's here to lend the last push to the effort. She's still new to the field and the Director thought it'd be good training."
"Can your director and my Buffy meet?" he offered dryly.
"No, I don't think that would be a good idea." DiNozzo muttered something so he smacked him for good measure. "That's not a good idea either."
"We could sell it online, Boss. Chick fights are very good and they're both apparently very skilled fighters."
"I want him off this site," she demanded. "He's obstructing justice."
"I *run* this site, little girl. I'm the one who turned him in for the underaged kids. I'm the one interpreting and helping your senior agents when you get stuck. So *I* belong here, you're still learning and should *learn* from them. Especially from your mistakes." He looked at Gibbs. "I don't want her here. She's interrupting our work and we're on a strict deadline. So either make her clean the desk or make her go back and do secretarial shit."
"Women can do more!" she sneered.
He glared at her. "I know women who make you look like one of those nice and sweet little girls, lady. I know women who're smaller and more deadly than you. I have nothing against women, just you. Women like you are the reason why Pretty Boy there isn't liking women. How does it feel to drive men away from heterosexual relations and breeding?" She shrieked and went for him so he punched her, making her back up. "I don't care if you're a girl or a man, but if you attack me you're just plain stupid, bitch. If you don't believe me, ask your boss and Pretty Boy there." He rolled his eyes. "Get her off my site before I smack some sense into the bitch. I know women who're worth ten thousand times what she is." He went back inside shaking his head.
Gibbs was screaming at his person. Tony was hiding inside the trailer, looking at the paperwork while trying to avoid touching the desk. He looked out. "Boss, can she come clean the desk?" he called.
"Please Goddess yes!" Xander yelled. "Before I burn the damn thing! Break!" Everyone headed outside to get a drink and relax. He came out, looking at Tony. "Pretty Boy, if she doesn't clean it, either take it or drag it out so I can burn the shit. Check the drawers and things too."
"Already done, Harris." He came out of the office. "I need you to explain some papers to me."
"Coming, Pretty Boy."
"Can't you *please* use my name?" he complained.
"No," he offered with a grin. He walked that way, taking the paper in question. "You're much too fun to leave alone. I haven't had a real playmate in years," he offered with a grin. He leaned against the side of the trailer. "This isn't one of ours," he noted, handing it back. "Hold on." He called his boss. "Boss, did you have Eric doing profit and loss statements? No, they found a few on letterhead. Um," he took it back. "September last year, profit of ten thou, loss of two at the bottom. Yeah. September nineteenth. Last year. Yeah. I thought it was odd too. You in the office? Sure." He hung up and walked inside, sending it to his boss's office. Then he handed it over. "He wasn't sure but it didn't sound right." A fax statement came back a few minutes later and he handed it over. "It's not ours. It could be for his accounts I guess. I'm sure you guys already have those tagged." He yawned a bit. "Sorry. Was Emily Sue helpful?"
"Very," he admitted, looking serious. "We let her go afterward. She's leaving town in a few days." He grinned a bit. "You're good at this."
"Sometimes we have to research and hunt," he noted dryly. He shrugged and walked off, heading back to the building. He coughed and looked at his watch. Everyone grumbled but got back to work. "Guys, I'm impressed. The inspector thinks we'll make it on deadline!" That got a weak cheer. "If you do, I'll try to talk the boss into pizzas." That got a few smiles. "So let's try really hard. We should have about three *real* days of work left if we all pull hard and strain."
"Yes, Xander," they agreed, grinning as they got back to work.
Gibbs came in, looking around. "This is nice. My boat's not this good yet."
"Thank you. These guys have worked under bad odds and bad orders. They deserve a good job. I'll tell 'em you said so." He got back to helping hold up the cabinet the guy next to him was screwing in. "She gone?"
"Yeah, she's back at the motel. I told her to leave you alone."
"Will that work?"
"Probably not. Don't have her eaten or anything, okay?"
"I try very hard not to let anyone be eaten," he said dryly. "Though, if she starts again, I'll drag her down there and hand her over. With any luck they won't turn her." He turned back to his task, shifting the cabinet back to level. "Sorry, Paul."
"Not a problem, Xander." He looked at Gibbs, then at him. "Maybe you should take that before he spills the coffee, man."
"Yeah. Someone come hold for him," Xander ordered. One of the new guys came to help him, watching closely what he was doing. "Good, you learn this too, kid. You'll be a great construction guy." He followed Gibbs out. "So what's up?"
"We're looking in those boxes. We did drag the desk out."
"Thank you." He walked into the office, looking at the names on the boxes. "Where are these?"
"We think around here and a few local towns," Tony told him. "We were hoping you could tell us."
Xander took down the names and addresses they had pulled and sent it to the office for particulars. A fax came back quickly. "He said his secretary was going to be sitting next to the fax machine all day. He figured you'd be in the last 'what are these' phases. Three of these weren't company jobs," he noted, handing it over with a frown. "One of them is in Sunnydale but I don't remember them or that job and I've been with the company for about a year and a half now, Gibbs."
"Interesting. Is Sunnydale small?" Tony found a few more listed as 'Sunnydale' and handed them over too.
"About a thousand people plus the two colleges." He shrugged. "I know most everyone in town. Let me call Willow, if she's not being cranky herself today." He called her, coughing when she giggled. "Not now, dear. We've got Feds here wanting to know about a few jobs, supposedly in Sunnydale. I don't remember the Ketondrat family or the...." He looked at the form. "Or the Averies? It said it's on Seventh? The other was the Smiths on Vurg?" He listened. "Hold on, let me hand over the phone. No, they work with Abby. They've been following me around for a few days." He handed the phone to Gibbs. "Willow." He looked at Tony. "You ever wanna just run away?" he asked dryly.
"Sometimes. Then again, you've got some very scary friends," he said quietly.
Gibbs looked at him. "She said that she's not scary and you're being an asshole, Harris. She said that Buffy's not in her right mind."
"No shit," Xander said dryly. "She still want me to go away and not come home?" Gibbs nodded. "Well, tough. I'm coming home and if she doesn't like it, that's on her. Sunnydale was my home first, even Willow moved there after I was born there."
Gibbs handed the phone back. "She's yelling. Get her back on track?"
Xander listened and suddenly laughed. "Willow, why would I care?" He snickered at the silence. "Yeah, it's not like you're *supportive* or anything," he offered sarcastically. "It's not like you want to hang out with me. I can live in my own home without that oh so helpful attitude. Now, give the nicer Federal guys what they need so I don't have to send Satan's Mistress there to question you." He handed it back, then sighed and held his head. "Why do I even bother?" he mouthed to Tony. "So, you hitting on the hellhound, Pretty Boy?"
"I flirt now and then but I'd never sleep with her. I like fun women."
"I'd like to meet a few fun women but all I ever meet are dangerous women who want to kill me."
"Well, Bob's still an option," he noted smugly.
"Been there, tried that. Wasn't good enough," he noted with a smirk. "It was okay but nothing great or to coo about, or even cuddle about afterwards." Tony just blinked at him. "Neither was the orgy I got trapped in later that night. A lot of horny guys, but nothing to write home or cuddle about. There was an excellent sucker there though. I wouldn't mind that for stress relief."
Tony shuddered. "I don't want to know," he said finally. He looked at his boss when he hung up. "Boss, anything good?"
"We've got to hit Sunnydale after this. We think one's his contact with the weapons."
"The one on Vurg," Gibbs admitted. "Where is that?"
"Downtown. It's a small street, about four buildings. Mostly shops with apartments upstairs." He shrugged. "The head shop, a music store." He considered it. "An empty one. The last one is kinda run down and I think it's an occult store of some sort. Bookstore I think." He shook his head. "Nothing too bad from what I remember. I'll show you when I get back there if you don't get cooperative cranky women in the Magic Box."
"The Magic Box?" Gibbs asked.
"Yeah, where we all hang out. That's the best and easiest place to find Willow."
"Sure. Can I send Ziva?" Gibbs asked.
Xander looked at him. "She might find love there with the cranky people but otherwise she'll be fine. Then again, she might get eaten."
"Which might be an improvement," Tony noted.
"Think about her haunting him forever," Xander told him. "Forever and ever, her always being there, always watching you, always outside your house every night?"
"Put that way, I'll hope she just dies and doesn't get turned," Tony said. Gibbs swatted him again. "Sorry, Boss."
"No, if she's going to get eaten, I'd rather see her dead than turned too," he noted. "It's still not polite."
"Sorry, Boss. You know my manners are lacking at times."
"Yeah, but usually it's around a pretty girl. So either you want me or him." Tony looked horrified and shuddered. "That's what I thought." He looked at Xander. "Have fun with him."
Xander looked him over. "I bet he's incredibly easy to spoil, but does he cook?"
"When I'm starved."
Xander shrugged. "I order. So you're better than I am. You want top or bottom the first time?"
Tony whimpered and shook his head. "No, not gonna happen. Sorry." Xander just grinned at him. "Bastard."
"Some days," Xander agreed happily. The fax machine spit out something and he looked at it. Then he handed it over. "From the Abby monster."
Gibbs looked at it and smirked. "Good. Very good. You're done when?"
"Next Friday." He wrote a note and sent it to his boss. "There, I'm all yours unless something happens inside. What can I explain to you?"
Tony handed over a few papers. "These. Cost estimates?"
Xander looked and nodded, then looked at the 'after' pictures. "That's way over budget. Way, way over cost. This first one is probably over by ten grand." He handed over the folder, open to a page he found. "That's the actual costs. The last column is the markup I'm guessing. He wasn't counting contractor discounts. So he was probably pocketing that too." He leaned forward, showing it to them. "Okay. On anything this size, and my home crew is working on a school, you get a contractor discount. You get, pretty standard at most home stores, ten percent. With the bigger orders, you can ask for up to ten percent more, but that's up to the store." Both agents nodded. "These are *at* cost, not at *discount*." They both looked like they understood. "So he took that, then charged them more for the materials he bought on top of it. He got greedy."
Tony leaned forward and tipped his head a bit to see better. "Then what's this?"
Xander looked at that notation. "Security. Probably a site guard or someone like that. Either that or he was paying security, like paying protection. It's not unheard of in the field. There's still some people who work for the older powers in the world." Both of them nodded. "I'm not sure which case it is in that point. None of these jobs should have had major security issues. Maybe some minor vandalism, like teenagers tagging it, but nothing that would need that sort of payment."
"Okay." Gibbs considered it. "On the employment papers were at least five names each and every job that weren't on the company rolls. Could they be illegals or from a firm that he subcontracted from?"
"We don't really subcontract in this company. We expect our guys to do anything we need unless it's something like a security system installation or something like that high; high end stereo systems recently or security systems. That would be charged back to the client, not on that sheet. The client would usually subcontract and we'd be walking them through the site and letting them see where we were at." He leaned forward, resting on his knees. "That shouldn't be on there, neither should any company expenses, things like food trucks." He paused. "Any site security would be on the company expenses too," he decided. "I think that's how my boss does it." They both nodded. "There's a separate form for job expenses, company expenses, and client incurred expenses so we can break it down for the accountant. That way we know who's responsible if something goes over budget, like this site did, or in case something really horrible should happen and their new stereo system is mis-installed and the house burned. My crew had one of those and we had to prove that the family had hired someone to wire that while we were renovating their house. That way our butts weren't in the court system. That's why this insurance job is so very muchly being taped each night. Just in case the couple has a sudden spike of fireplace madness some night."
Tony nodded slower. "Okay. Can we get copies of the normal forms for comparison?"
"Sure. Let me call Henry." He pulled out his phone and called his boss. "Bossman, Xander. No, the Feds here ... ooooh, you didn't hear about that," he said with a smirk. "Not only was Eric doing creative accounting here, he was doing it back in the Navy and possibly selling arms. No, they need comparison forms for the things they've found. I don't know. His for site expenses has things like security, five grand for security in a month." He raised an eyebrow. "No, not this job. No," he said with a small smirk. "As it turns out, this was an insurance scam job. They were blackmailing Eric due to his taste for early teens and making him fall behind so they could sue the company for breach of contract and shoddy workmanship, while then burning the place for insurance. He had a guy here for a worker's comp award too. Yeah, fell after I fired him. Poor schmuck, he won't get it now. No, I told the cops on him when they came to pick him up off the ground. He also refused to wear safety gear and I told them that too. I already told the boss, Henry.
"Yeah, just as comparison. No, the Talbridge would be good though. This first example is about the same size and if I remember right, we went to the same suppliers and all that. Sure. No, we're on track again. Fully. We might actually come in under deadline. Most of the stuff was easily fixed. Thanks, man. Sure, Monday after next. Our deadline's Friday. Oh, watch my apartment for the blonde chick that had the job temporarily. She doesn't want me to come back for some reason and I'm thinking she's a bit loose mentally at the moment. Thanks, man. You got the fax number here? Sure. Love you too." He hung up. "He'll find 'em and fax 'em over. Most of the time all those records are sent to the home office for review but that was our last job so he still has 'em. It's about the same square footage but it's a higher end home. This one was pure wood everywhere, soft, expensive woods, and a high end security and total-home system. If I remember right, the thing cost less than this one in the suburbs and this area costs less to build in than Sunnydale does." The fax machine behind him started to spit out things so he got up to check it, adding more paper since it was out. They got the whole file and he smiled. "Henry's a really thorough guy," he offered, taking the personal note at the end of the file. "The boss is proud of me and coming tomorrow," he offered, handing that over too.
"I'm proud of you, kid," Gibbs promised, looking up at him. "You handled a bad situation well."
"I try," he offered with a small grin. He looked at the clock, then outside. "Guys, did I forget lunch?" he called.
"Yes, bless you," someone yelled from inside.
"Thanks, I could use a lot of those recently." He pulled back in, looking at them. "You guys mind if I eat?"
"I was going to send DiNozzo out for coffee and food anyway," Gibbs offered, comparing the documents. "These houses are pretty close in design."
"That's what I thought too. That'll give you a better understanding of how the company costs things."
"It's a good comparison," he agreed. "He overcharged the materials totally compared to this." He let Xander see it. "He's marking it up originally too."
"Damn," Xander said in awe. "He's got to have made millions from this. Did you find massive bank accounts?"
"Not yet." He pulled out his phone and called the home base. "Abby, find me his bank accounts. Not only was he pocketing up to a twenty percent discount from the store, he was marking things up from there as a material's quote and then adding another ten percent markup." He smirked. "The kid here thinks it's more like fifty by this point. We're looking at good money."
"Has anyone searched his house?" Tony asked as he stood up. "Kid, you got food?"
"Yeah, I drove through and picked up extra breakfast," he offered with a small smirk. "It's handy. I can microwave."
"Sure. Boss? Pizza, chinese?"
"Chinese. The usual and coffee."
"Make some, Gibbs," Xander snorted. "I don't care if you suck down crew coffee." Gibbs smirked at him. "You're keeping the she-bitch off my site, you're entitled to the coffee pot."
"Thanks, kid. DiNozzo, put on some coffee before you go."
"Yes, Boss." He went to do that and head out for lunch. At least they were nearly done. The Federal Prosecutors were going to charge Eric with them in a joint case. He ran into one of the local cops at the restaurant, nodding politely at him. "Did our coworker head back to the motel?"
"She did, she's got the last room," he offered with a small smirk. "I heard she didn't like Harris?"
"No, she came on awfully strong and he put her down for it, including flipping her onto her back and sneering." He smiled at the waitress, speaking in her native language to order their lunch. "To go," he added. She giggled and headed back to put that in. "Sorry."
"No, it's good. I'd never go Fed if you guys have to speak other languages."
"It was an easy elective," Tony offered lightly. "How's the town?"
"Pretty decent. Harris has handled the majority of our issues recently. We've got one left and he said he's handling that before he leaves. I'm almost hoping he leaves Bethany here. A lot of the guys like her." He took his order with a smile and a nod. "Thank you. You have a nice day."
"You too," she offered, handing Tony his bag once he had paid. "Have a nice day."
"You too," he said, heading off. He did stop to get a soda for himself, but otherwise he was good. It was hot today! He had forgotten how hot the desert got in the summer. He pulled back onto the site and found Ziva there staring at the silent guys. "David!" he called. "Leave the nice, hardworking men alone!" He walked into the office, letting his boss past him. "I got you your usual, Boss." He sat down, digging out his food and soda, smirking at the breakfast sandwich the other guy was eating. "You should eat better."
"Yay," Xander said before finishing it off. "I really don't need parents," he promised once he had swallowed. "I had some of those, unfortunately." He stood up and dusted his hands off, heading out there to stop the screaming going on. He took the direct route, knocking her down and dragging her off by her collar. He stood on her throat while he picked her car door, then hauled her up and into it, slamming it before she could move. "Go away. Before I have you arrested for threatening my crew." He dusted himself off as he walked back there, then shrugged at the amused look on his guys' faces. "What? I hate rude people." He belched. "'Scuse me." He got some water from the cooler and went back into the trailer. "Any of you guys good at accounting?"
"No," they called, mostly in unison.
"Neither am I," Gibbs said as he came in.
"It's mostly simple math, Boss, but Probie's sounding bored. Abby said he was down there helping her." He pushed the bag over to his elder. "Here, eat. Before Kate comes back to nag me for not making you."
"I know a few good banishing spells," Xander offered quietly. "She'll be able to come back if necessary."
"No, we don't mind her showing up now and then," Tony promised.
"You believe in ghosts?" Gibbs asked.
"With what you've seen here, you doubt?" Xander countered.
Gibbs nodded. "Until I see real proof."
"Okay. Well, if I see one, I'll show you." He sipped his water as he mentally added the difference between the two sites up. "He must have made nearly sixty thou on this job alone," he decided. "Selling arms is a multi million dollar business too."
"We're already checking the usual spots."
"Yeah, but I doubt he's that stupid if he's been doing this that long. Especially under the Navy's nose. Have you checked under Emily Sue's name? Or if they have kids or pets?"
"She'll run that next," Gibbs assured him. "DiNozzo was right, kid. You've got a pretty good mind. Why don't you go to the Academy?"
"And give up show business? I like building things. I like the feel of completion when it's done. I like the bossing the guys around. This is my life and I like it, even if my friends are twats most of the time." He looked outside, then at the clock. "Ten minutes," he called. They finished eating and cleaned up, refilling bottles and mugs before heading inside. "I like this crew."
"You could stay," Tony reminded him.
"I want to go home. I'd miss my hellmouth." He shrugged and sipping his water, then suddenly sat up and grabbed one of the forms, looking at it, then at the ones they had gotten out of the office. "Here," he said, pointing at someone. "I know this name. He was Army, I think. One of the Infantry units at the local base near Sunnydale." Gibbs took it and looked at it, then called to get information on him. "I bet this is much easier at home."
"Oh, definitely," Tony agreed. "We could get McGee to have it pulled up within an hour. Ziva could break him. We'd have fun."
Gibbs hung up. "He's part of the investigation." He stared Xander down. "Grenade launcher?"
"What grenade launcher?" he asked, looking perfectly normal.
"One used in the mall there."
"You wanted the world to end?" Xander countered. They both shook their heads. "Then oh well."
"How did you get the passwords? Off the record. It could lead to more leads."
"Easy. Due to a Halloween mishap, I became PFC Harris, Army," he said smugly. "I knew them. I convinced the guy I was going in there to make out. He gave me five minutes. I got to make out and take what was necessary to save the world."
"Oh." He frowned a bit. "That thing you left me."
"It's called a prophecy and if you can find it and stop it you'll be fine. If you haven't stopped it within two weeks of it happening, statically you won't. Call. Me. We'll come help." Gibbs nodded at that. "Please, no Feebs and weak idiots."
"Not an issue. They don't like us," Tony told him. "Gibbs scares them."
Xander looked at him. "Why? You don't look like some scary monster."
"I was a sniper."
"Yipee. The CIA has at least fifty of those who're truly psychotic. We ran into a pair of them in Sunnydale, there to take us down for stopping the Initiative," he said quietly. "They lost too." Gibbs moaned. "It wasn't actually us. We found out about them when we did a minor background to figure out who the newest annoyance creatures of the night were. I'm thinking that's when my 'do not annoy' rating happened."
Gibbs nodded. "Abby mentioned that. What happened?"
"They got stupid and went out after dark and got eaten. Pretty standard really," Xander offered. "One got staked, the other staked himself since his ...partner was gone."
"Ah. How sweet," Tony said dryly.
"Yeah, but he told Buffy they weren't together, he just couldn't go on without his partner." He snorted. "So Buffy went 'ewww, gay vampires' all night and we laughed at her homophobia. Why is it that she can accept lesbians but not gay men?"
"She doesn't want to think that anyone wouldn't want her," Gibbs told him. "I'd say she's got a fairly shallow personality."
"Only at times. Then the job calls," he noted bitterly. He finished off his water and looked at the forms again. "Okay, onto the company expenses form."
Xander nodded at his boss as he showed up and beamed at him. "Guys, the head boss is here," he called. He knew that suddenly, even their one remaining slacker, started to work. "Come on in, Boss. We're going pretty well. I've got it taped daily for you," he offered as they walked. "We passed the electrical inspection just the other day and we're doing the final one Thursday. We think we may just come in under deadline," he offered with a small grin.
He looked around then at his worker. "I like you, kid. I really do. Even if I did get a call from a federal agent about you throwing one of their people off the site."
"Her boss and coworker were here but I'll be *damned* if anyone's going to stand there and scream and yell at me or is going to grab and threaten me. I ordered her to go, she came back even more huffy. I drug her off then."
"Was that wise?"
"Do I care?" Xander countered.
"Good point. Okay, show me around."
He walked him through the house, pausing to let him touch and inspect trim work, the carpets, the windows, then got a smile. "Boss, since they've turned this around so massively, can we do a company-sponsored pizza party?" he begged. "They deserve it."
"If you guys get done before five on Friday, whatever time up until quitting is yours for it and I'll spring for the pizzas personally," he assured him, smiling a bit. The guys around them cheered. "This is damn good work, Harris."
"Thank you, sir."
He looked at him. "You want this crew?"
"I love my hellmouth," he noted dryly. "Besides, Zoras is next in line for a crew of his own. Just warn him about Eric in case any of this comes back later to bite him."
"True. I'll move you to second in Sunnydale then." He clapped him on the back. "Good work, Xander. Now, let's go check on the Feds."
"Sure." He grinned at the guys. "No slacking while we're gone."
"Of course not," Steven agreed. He grinned at the guys. "Remember, we've got to get done before noon to have the good party," he pointed out. They got back to work harder than they had been. They'd get paid for those hours too, that's how a company sponsored one went.
Xander tapped on the trailer door before opening it. He'd nearly caused Tony to fall out of it yesterday afternoon. "Boss, Special Agents DiNozzo and Gibbs. Gibbs is in charge," he offered. "Guys, my boss. Shift over, Pretty Boy." Tony glared at him but did move so he sat down. "We've been going over the various papers we use and what's suppose to be on them." He found one really heinous example and handed it over. "It's really wrong," he offered as his boss took it.
He looked it over, then looked at Gibbs. "If you guys don't get him for it, I want him for it."
"Sure. We've got him on arms theft and selling, plus a federal case of embezzlement. The state case comes after that."
"That's fine. I'm good with that." He handed the sheet back. "Those kids?"
"Two more have come forward," Tony offered quietly. "They're fine too, not too traumatized."
"Good. At least it wasn't really little kids. I can't forgive it but it could be worse." Xander nodded at that. "That one guy, you seen him yet?"
"Nope. Haven't heard a thing about him but I did tell the cops exactly how it happened."
"Good. What about the owners?"
"They're probably going to go to jail too," Xander offered. "The local sheriff was looking into that problem with the Feds. The Sheriff told me last night that they're considering that part of this case a local case so they'll be keeping them probably."
"Good." He smirked at Xander. "You sure you don't want to stay? Henry said your house was trashed."
"I kinda expected that. Which one?"
"Again, expected. Anya go clean it up for me?"
"Your ex is still a trip but Henry said she did," he offered with a grin. "She still insane?"
"Oh, yeah," he moaned, sighing a bit. He shook his head. "I need to meet normal women, Boss."
"I know you do, Harris, but whoever you end up dating is usually at least good for stories or staring at." He shrugged. "You provide a lot of amusement to the rest of the crew."
"Anya's slept with half my crew and they all said they couldn't see how anyone could marry her or keep up with her demands," he noted dryly. The boss laughed and nodded. "She got you too?"
"My secretary when she was in town. She got her drunk and into bed. Even my girl said she's a bit too much and too wild for normal tastes." He shrugged. "Still, we think it's really amusing." Xander grinned at him. "You're doing good. You got any more problems?"
"Not yet," Xander promised. He heard a crash and leaned out the doorway. "What the fuck was that!" he yelled. "Do I need to bring out my pointy stick of encouragement again!"
"The dumpster just got set down too heavily," one voice called.
"Please don't use the crossbow on us," another called.
"Fine. Thank you." He pulled his head back in and shrugged. "The dumpster guys are really heavy handed around here."
"As long as it's not wrecking the house. Is the roof done?" Xander moaned and held his head. "I thought you might not have gotten anyone up there again."
"I'll go up and check later, Boss," he promised. "I didn't even think about the roof. Good thing I was going to do a head-to-basement inspection Saturday for any final little things that needed corrected or done." His boss smiled and nodded, clapping him on the back before leaving. He looked at them. "That's Taylor, he runs the company," he offered. "He's a really nice guy. He's even doing a company sponsored pizza party if the guys get done before five on Friday. They've worked their asses off for this job."
"It shows," Gibbs offered. "They've done really good work."
"Thanks." He grinned a bit. "Need me more?"
"No, we're just making sure we've got copies of everything. We'll be heading out this Sunday."
Xander grinned. "I'll miss playing with your Pretty Boy here, but oh, well. I guess he'll get to find a new playmate or help Abby be a happy girl." He got up and headed inside.
Tony looked at him. "Boss, can we leave early?"
"No, DiNozzo, get back to faxing stuff."
"Yes, sir." He got back to work feeding things through the fax machine. Gibb's phone rang and he snickered at the yelling about using the fax machine for that.
"Paper's cheaper than freight shipping," Gibbs pointed out. "Yes, Jen, I'm serious. Because it's still cheaper than freight shipping. Yay. This way they've got records too." He hung up and handed over a few more. Then he called his desk. "McGee, make sure you're collating what's coming out of the fax. Yes, we've been sending stuff all morning. I'm sure Abby is drowning in paper right now. Either that or it's coming from the Director's office. Sure." He hung up. "He wasn't aware we were sending more and he just asked permission to duck Jen for the day."
"Is the 156 extension in her office?" Tony asked guilelessly.
Gibbs just looked at him. "I'd smack you but you're too far away, DiNozzo. Consider yourself hit again."
"Love you too, Boss."
Tony walked into the office Monday morning and paused. There was a box on his desk. He looked around, then sighed and walked over to it. "At least someone appreciates that I'm back," he muttered, opening the shipping box. Inside was a letter with his name on it and a big box of chocolates. He read the letter first and blushed. "Man!" He heard the elevator ding and stuffed it back into the box, taking out the chocolates and tossing the box toward his trash can. "Chocolate, Boss?"
Gibbs looked at him, noticing the remains of the blush, then at the chocolates. "One of your ladies missed you?"
"Harris," he grumbled.
Gibbs snickered. "Did he send you a note too?"
"Yeah, thanking me for being such a good playmate for him and letting him have a very fun and relaxing vacation. He said I took a lot of the stress out of his life." He got the box opened and held it out. "Eat some before I get too fat to fit into my clubbing jeans."
Gibbs took one and sat down, shaking his head. "At least he likes you."
"Yeah, probably more than." Someone from the secretarial pool showed up and put a bunch of poppies on his desk and he moaned. "Boss, I think I have a stalker," he complained, finding the card. "Oh, this one said that blowing it on me means that his ex can't demand he buy them for her. The poppies are so I can make my own headache remedy. Along with the instructions."
Gibbs snickered, shaking his head. "I'll have him stop if you really want me to, but he said I'd sound like a father demanding he propose."
Tony looked at him. "Not funny, Boss. I happen to like my women, thank you!"
"Ooh, flowers," McGee said as he came off the elevator. "Poppies? An old friend?" he teased.
"No, a new one," Gibbs told him.
"Oh, really? Was she pretty, Tony?"
"It's from the guy we were bothering on that case, McGee, get over it," he demanded. "He sent them to me so I could make my own headache remedy." Abby came up and squealed, pouncing him from behind. "Hi, Abby," he moaned. She slid off him and moved around to hug him again. "Thank you." He gave her a gentle squeeze. "That's from the lunatic we had to deal with for a week."
"Oooh, you poor baby." She stole a chocolate. "Just remember, that thing you faxed over, we might have to call him."
Tony shuddered. "Let's not go there, okay? I like my sanity levels." He moved the flowers out of his way and sat down, eating one of his chocolates. He noticed the puppy eyed look and raised an eyebrow, eating another one. "Problem, Probie?"
"No, Tony, not a one." He sat down, looking at his morning email. "Boss, the director called for a staff meeting in ten minutes," he noted. "All of us. She said I'm the only one who was checking my email."
"That's why I don't check my email, McGee."
"Sir, the follow up said if you're not up there at that meeting she's going to fire you and burn your house and the boat," he noted, looking at him. "Maybe Tony should give her the flowers?"
"I don't think she needs a headache remedy," Gibbs noted dryly. Tony just smirked. "Okay, let's go sleep through another meeting. I'm sure she'll be trying to tell us allll about staffing and paper we use." He stood up and Tony handed him another chocolate, then locked the box in his desk. "Thanks, DiNozzo."
"Looked like you could use it, Boss." He brought the flowers with him, handing them to her with a smile. "From the nice crew chief we worked with during that case, ma'am. He said to thank you for the nicer people staying and offered his further help if we need it." He sat down and checked to make sure he still had the card in his pocket.
She smelled them and smiled. "That was very nice of him. Who were you working with, Agent DiNozzo?"
"Xander Harris," Gibbs noted from his seat. "He's a bit odd, but...." He looked at the paper set in front of him by Abby, then groaned. "Well, those caves you were staring at caved in and now they're topless," he said, handing it down to Tony.
"Poor caves," Abby sighed, sitting down next to him. "I hope no one was hurt."
"No, they probably got Harris to go in and check," Tony offered, looking down at her. "He's very strong."
"He is," she agreed happily. "I've been chatting with Willow about that event she thought might be coming up. I've got all the information they have downstairs, including how to stop it if we can find out beforehand."
"Good work, Abby," Gibbs praised. She beamed at him. "Go steal some of DiNozzo's chocolates before he eats them all."
"A lady sent you gifts?" the director said, frowning a bit. "Here?"
"No, Harris sent them because he made fun of me all week," he noted firmly, staring back. "We told him he should meet you because you're just his type, Madam Director, and since he's thinking about moving here in the next year or so.... He's a very nice guy, if a bit of goofball, but very strong and very deadly. He took out Ziva when she threatened him." She shivered at that. "We're just keeping him happy."
"Do you need his address to send a thank you letter for the flowers?" Abby chimed in.
"No, that's fine, I'm sure I can look it up," she noted. She stared at McGee, who came in late. "You're late."
"I was waiting for Ziva, Madam Director." He sat down and pulled out a notepad and pen. "Sorry."
"Fine." She glared at them. "Your team has used the most supplies of anyone in this building this year! Could you not have brought them back with you!"
"There were fifteen cases of documents, plus the comparison samples we got off the company, plus the videos made of the site for the federal and state cases. I consulted UPS, it would have cost more to ship it." He sipped his coffee, staring back. "Besides, we have a toll free faxline. Next time, send us with a copy machine and we'll do it that way instead."
"You had a warrant."
"Yes and they're pursuing legal action against the man themselves, that means they need copies of those same documents and the attorney over the case said that photocopied samples were enough. So next time either find us a copier and send it with us, then pay shipping back, or move the fax machine and have McGee parked beside it for longer. Besides, we saved you about five dollars by faxing instead of shipping. You can note that to the bean counters, Jen."
She glared hotter. "They are not bean counters....."
"Yay," he noted. "Same thing." He shrugged. "Abby, McGee, did we find the accounts?"
"Under Emily Sue's name, sir," McGee said respectfully. "Two of them were released to the name holder but otherwise they are all frozen. We offered to track her down for the Prosecutor working with us but he found a death certificate?"
Tony nodded. "False alarm and she's probably in hiding. She told me she was scared of some of his friends and we'd never find her again. Did she draw it out Thursday?" McGee nodded. "We talked to her Wednesday night."
"Fine. Should I continue to try to find her, Boss?" McGee asked.
"You can try but I doubt you will," he noted. He finished that cup of coffee and got up to refill it from her pot since it was filled and waiting on him. "Faxing satisfied the major needs of all the parties involved and it was more cost efficient, even if McGee did get a lot of paper cuts from the fax paper," he noted dryly, sitting down again.
"You didn't file for any food related expenses," she noted.
Tony handed over the receipts he had gathered. "I was doing that today, Director. That's also the receipt for the motel rooms, minus Ziva's. I'm hoping she got her own because I forgot to pick one up for her for those two days she threatened Harris and made him want to kill her."
"She did what?" she asked, staring Ziva down. "You threatened a cooperative witness?"
"He was acting up and not letting me into the trailer."
"We had the only key, Ziva," Gibbs noted dryly. "He couldn't have let you in there."
"He picked the locks on my rental car!"
"So? He still couldn't have let you into the scene of an active investigation. That is against the law and he knew that. He told me that's why he did it, and then you threatened him and forced him to escalate until he threw you off the site. Then I had to throw you off the site twice more." He stared her down. "You were in the wrong to start with him."
"He's just a construction worker," she said bitterly. "How could he put me on my back that way?"
"Practice. Some people do get it," Tony noted for her benefit.
"I still say he's a covert agent, undercover or something."
"No, he's not," Abby told her. "I checked everywhere. Xander barely graduated high school. His high school was attacked during their graduation celebration, which touched off a gas explosion that took out the school. Mr. Harris was responsible for some people making it out of there alive and protecting some of the family members. No one in covert ops would have worked ten fast food jobs in a year either. They would have killed the customers." Ziva glared at her. "He's just what he seemed, Ziva, a mildly trained construction guy with really good credit and an ex who hoovers money from him."
"I still say he's not. No one's that clean."
"Oh, I didn't say he wasn't a bit off," Abby told her. "One of his friends is a hacker and she about cleaned his background up of a few spots. Things like a D&D last year for walking down the street singing off-color songs. Nothing more major than that incident and his SAT scores being really high for nearly flunking out."
"He said something about that," Tony noted. "He said it was because he wasn't being bothered by Willow and Buffy nattering at him or something to that effect."
She nodded. "That can help," she agreed.
"What's a D&D?" McGee asked.
"Drunk and Disorderly, Probie. That's where they picked him up and took him to dry out for the night for being an annoying prick."
"Did he tease you?" Abby cooed, grinning at him.
"He called me Pretty Boy all week," he noted dryly. "Kept trying to hook me up with a guy named Bob. I told him I wasn't but he's a bit stubborn."
"Awwww. Well if you need that sort of help, I have a great friend who would love to date you, Tony."
"I'm still straight, Abby," he noted patiently. "I'll always like my women."
"Fine. Just make me tell my friend with the piercing and the ten-inch extension that he's not going to get fun things with you."
"Extension?" Ziva asked, looking really confused.
"His measurements, Ziva, guys measure those things over here too," Abby told her.
"This is not the place to discuss that!" the director shouted.
"Oh, I don't know, it's very enlightening," Tony offered. "But I'm still not gay. Sorry, Abs."
"Enough!" she tried again. She was panting heavily now. "I do not want to hear this topic of conversation again! This is not fit conversation for the office! We have a non-disclosure and a non-discrimination policy in this office! I will not let it be breached."
"Then we can't brag about who we're dating?" Abby asked her. "That's really unfair. You can't really get along with your coworkers unless you can share little details like that. It makes for a tighter team when you know more about the people who will be at your back. If I couldn't talk about when I go out clubbing or any dates, I wouldn't feel comfortable working with the people here."
Gibbs looked at her. "You're dating again? I didn't hear about that."
"Kinda," she offered with a shy grin. "It's only the second one tonight, Gibbs." He patted her on the back with a smile. "If I get serious, I'll run him by you so you can do a background check, threaten him with you and Tony kicking his ass, and then let him meet McGee so he can be really scared that I work with *nice* people." She sipped from her soda.
"Sure. Just tell me when I need to start making up good threats," he offered.
"Just glare at the guy, Boss. It's enough for everyone but Harris." He winced as he got hit across the back of the head again. "You didn't."
"He wasn't scared of Gibbs?" Abby asked, looking stunned. Everyone was scared of Gibbs when he scowled or glared!
"Told him he'd seen scarier four-foot high purple things," he told her. "I'm not sure I want to meet something like that."
"Barney," she said, nodding. "He's much scarier and should only be that high."
The director huffed. "This is also not workplace conversation!"
"We're talking about the people on our last case," Tony told her. "She knows a bit about him anyway." He looked down at her. "Just don't date him, Abby? Please? He only likes dangerous women for some reason. I'd hate to see you become scary."
She smiled. "That's the nicest thing you've said this month," she squealed, getting up to hug him.
The director stomped off, slamming her office door.
"Good job, kids," Gibbs noted once everyone was silent. "Let's wrap up that case and hand it over for closure." They got up and went back to their desks. Their goofing off period was over with.
It was almost a year later when Tony next ran into Xander, and that was at the Mall in Washington. There had been reports of military officers firing into a cloud of gas so they had been sent to check it out. He looked around, then looked at his boss. "We didn't stop it after all," he complained.
"That's okay. We can handle this."
Someone behind them coughed. "Just give Willow two more minutes and it'll be closed, hopefully with any bodies spit back out," a familiar voice said from behind them. Xander was grinning when they turned to look at him. "Hey, Gibbs, Pretty Boy. Welcome to the newest Hellmouth. Ours snapped shut and the one here was forced open. We were thinking someone wanted to eat Congress but they couldn't get the output any closer. The actual opening is up the block a bit." He grinned at them, then the cloud dissipated. "Ah, there you go. Any and all bodies are now yours." He nodded and headed for the redhead you could now see. "Way to go, Wills, but there's Feds here. Behind me are Pretty Boy and Gibbs, from when I had to go to Santa Clara that time."
She squealed and bounced over. "You work with my friend Abby. Hi! I'm Willow."
A blonde girl pulled Willow away. "She's sorry. She just sucked in a bit too much energy while closing it." She walked her off, whispering in her ear.
"Have Abby call me, we're all moving here to take care of the problems," Willow called back.
Tony looked at his boss. "I want a transfer," he said, staring at him. "I really do."
"He won't be popping over for the games and a beer, DiNozzo, calm down. We've got a scene to process." He walked him on, going to figure out what had happened. He got the Marines who had been shooting into the cloud pulled aside so they could be debriefed. Everyone else went back to work on the scene, Ziva having to change film since she had been taking pictures of the cloud itself.
A higher pitched male voice came out of the ground as a ball of light appeared. "Man, this ain't Woodstock either. Dude, do you know where Woodstock, the Anniversary one, is being held?" it asked Ziva.
"Dude?" she asked. She realized what she was talking to and moved closer. "What are you?"
"It was in New York," Xander called. "Just up the road from the original spot."
"Thanks, man! You so rock!" it called out and then faded out.
Gibbs looked at it, then at Xander. Who only shrugged. "Ghosts. They're often lost." He followed the girls, heading to find himself a place to live since they had to move here now and Giles had ordered him to come along. "Hey, Pretty Boy, got any good club recs?" he called as he walked. "I'm living out in the 'burbs."
"No," he called back, shaking his head. "Because then I might run into you again," he muttered, trying to ignore the urge to panic.
"No, I'm not talking about S&M clubs, Buffy. He swears up and down he's straight and not into kinky stuff. That's *you* not everyone else in the world," his voice floated back toward them as they continued to hike off. "Besides, I doubt he's your type. He seems to like them sweet and nice. Abby said so, that's how I know."
"Boss, I really, seriously, want that transfer now," he noted calmly.
"Denied, DiNozzo. I'll talk with her if she comes to bother you."
"Thanks, Boss. What happens if she starts to stalk me or something?"
"Then you can have my couch for a few days. Get back to work. I'll tell Abby to tell them to leave you alone, again," he complained. He heard a rumble and a new body appeared. That was what made him reach for something for his headache. "DiNozzo, the earth burped up another one."
"Sure thing, Boss." He turned to take pictures of that one too. It was partially eaten. "Boss, isn't that Buffy?" he asked. "Harris!" he bellowed. He came jogging back so he pointed at the body.
"Hmm. We were wondering when she got removed from us. I thought it was when she got into bondage and stuff, so let me know?" He walked off, going back to Willow. "She's not the real one," he called as he walked. Willow said something and the fake Buffy turned into a pile of goo. "Good work!" Willow burst out crying, clinging to him. "We will go on," he soothed, patting her on the back. "We have in the past and we will again. And hey, no more freaky bondage Buffy." She swatted him and got into the car to head to their motel.
"Boss?" McGee asked, sounding confused.
"Denied, no one is transferring out," Gibbs ordered. "If I can put up with Harris and Rosenburg living in my city, you can put up with Harris and Rosenburg."
"Yes, Boss," everyone sighed, hunching down a bit. They all knew Gibbs didn't like the unexplained and strange stuff, so he was in a doubly foul mood now. He'd have to go question Xander himself and when he was done, they'd all be gone for the rest of the day so he couldn't snap at them. It really was self preservation.