Note: happens before the end of part 12, when they're chasing Xander.
Inspector Zenigata, one of the top people in Interpol, walked into the bullpen he had been told to go to by the Chief of Police. He cleared his throat when the Civilian Aid didn't immediately acknowledge him.
"Yeah, what'd you want?" she asked, looking up at him. She frowned. "Aren't you famous?"
"More or less," he said bitterly. "I need to see your Lieutenant. I got told I'm working with you." He pulled out his badge. "I'm Inspector Zenigata, from Interpol."
"He's in his office. Welsh!" she yelled.
He came out to door and frowned at her. "We have an intercom and a phone system, Vecchio. Use one of them." He looked at the waiting man. "Inspector Zenigata?" He nodded. "Come this way." He let him into his office and closed the door. "What can we here at the 27th precinct do for you this week?"
"Lupin's in town with most of his gang. He's been in town for a few days. I've chased him through the local bars but I'm stumped now." He sat down, looking at him. "I'm unfamiliar with your city and he's evading me in the morass of buildings."
"It happens to even us sometimes," he admitted, sitting behind his desk. "Can't the guy of ours that you stole help?"
"He's chasing their second gunman, Lavelle. The main group is here, complete with two of their children. Lavelle split off for some reason. He's in the Midwest somewhere."
"That's fine, Inspector. I think we can help. Stanley's former partner is still here and so is the person he was subbing in for. Let me get him back here. Do you have a hotel?"
"A small one at the Canadian Consulate. They've been very nice to us."
"I know one of their Constables. Fraser works with us."
"I haven't met him yet," he noted. "He's been absent and working here I guess."
Lieutenant Welsh stood up and opened his door. "Vecchio. Saves me from calling you. Both of you, in here." He went to sit down again, nodding at the door. "Shut it." Constable Fraser shut it then took off his hat. "Constable, Detective, this is Inspector Zenigata with Interpol. He's the guy Kowalski went to work with."
"Where is Stanley?" Ray Vecchio demanded. "He hasn't answered his email yet and Ma wants ta see him."
"He's bad about that," Zenigata admitted, standing up to shake their hands. "It keeps him from reading the memos from our boss."
Welsh snorted. "Yeah, he wasn't fully one for all the rules." He looked at Fraser. "The Inspector is staying at your consulate. I want you two to help him find this Lupin guy and his gang."
"I've got everything you'll need to know," Zenigata admitted, pulling out a rolled up folder. "I've had to brief a great number of people."
"Isn't Stanley here in town?" Fraser asked.
"No, he's off searching for Lavelle, their second gunman. He's in the Midwest at some academy at the moment. I'm not sure which. I'll leave him a message on his voicemail to check his email for your letter, detective. I stay in contact with him and the others on our team."
"Good. He's a wild guy sometimes." He sat down to read the folder. "Benny?"
"I've already been briefed by Inspector Thatcher this morning," he admitted. "She said two children were traveling with them?"
"The two Goemon children. Lupin usually leaves his offspring at home but Goemon hates to be without his children and they cause Fujiko problems when he's not there." He scratched his eyebrow. "I don't know why they're in town. There were in town a few months back to scare an investment manager who insulted theirs, but I couldn't attend to it because I had a member of my unit going rogue. Stanley's back for his trial at the moment. Then he and Myron Banks will be off after Lavelle again." He grimaced. "I'm glad they're not here. Having Lavelle with them makes it harder to catch them. Lavelle's got a sixth sense about being chased."
The Detective stood up and handed back the file. "You don't know what they're after?"
"I had a guess that it's the art show that'll be going on at the Canadian Consulate next week, but I can't be sure," he admitted. "They don't often go after artwork. I do know he'll announce himself before it. I know it'll be in a letter, it always is." They both nodded. "Other than that, I've been chasing them through the seedier bars. They're looking for information on Lavelle themselves. I keep getting lost."
"That's fine, we know most of the seedier bars in this section of the city," Ray promised. "Come on, we'll go weed down the list with where you've been." He led him out to his desk, pulling out his list of bars to check for information. He had given it to Benny a few years back. "Okay, where have you been so far?"
Zenigata put up the folder and pulled out his notebook, opening to the right page. "Here," he said, handing it over. "I need my glasses and I couldn't find them this morning."
"Diefenbaker probably found them by now," Fraser assured him. He took the notepad to look at, then marked names off the list. "Ray, aren't these all in the same relative neighborhood?"
Ray took the list to look at. "It is. It's all near where Ma lives." He grimaced. "Art show my ass. There's a Vatican exhibit coming to the area's biggest church in a few days with a holy relic." He looked at the inspector. "Sound more like their thing?"
"It does. Lupin's taken some commissions to get some Holocaust victims' artwork back in the past. I wouldn't put it past him this time either." The civilian aid brought over an envelope, ignoring everyone else but the constable.
"Thank you, Francesca," Fraser said, taking it to open it. He frowned and handed it over. "When was this delivered?"
"About an hour ago," she told him.
"Fine, thanks, Frannie," Ray said, taking the note to read. "The Vatican exhibit," he said grimly. "The church isn't that well fortified." He stood up. "Come on, I can get you there pretty fast. We've got services tonight but the widows won't mind." The inspector followed him out. "Did you drive over?"
"I did rent a car," he admitted, pointing at it. "They increased our budget this year, I can afford to rent something that runs now."
"Congrats. They cut ours again," Ray said bitterly.
"Yes, but I've been in seventeen countries so far this year. It's only July." Ray shuddered. "Exactly. In all that travels, we've caught thirty thieves, six assassins, and nearly an assassin's convention. Some of them got away but we know where and when so we can go in. It's just Lupin and his gang that evades us," he said sadly. "It's my life's work and I can't stop him."
"Hey, it's all right," Ray said, patting him on the arm. "It happens to the best of us. There's always one guy who's better than your best."
"True," Zenigata agreed. "When it was just me against the three or four it was harder. Now that I've got Stanley and Myron it's much easier, even against six of them. I have no idea where Marcus is at the moment, but I'm assuming he's at the main hideout or off at some college studying. Myron's supposed to be getting him but this trial got in the way."
"Eh. You'll get 'em. Or Stanley will in your memory if you have ta wait until they're all old and slow," Ray said with a small smirk for him.
"True," he admitted, lightening up again. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wear you down too. I'm tired and my second son is being born next month. I'm going to be lucky if I get a week off."
"That's the beauty of a broken leg," Ray told him.
"I've done that before. I've also chased after them like that," he admitted.
"You were probably younger then," Fraser reminded him. "I thought about applying to Interpol once but I decided it wasn't really worth it personally. I'd rather have a small village and a circuit to work instead," he explained.
"I wish I had stayed in Tokyo," Zenigata told him. "It's nice if you like to travel, but the force is moving on and I'm still stuck back a few years ago." He got into his car, heading out after them.
Ray got in to drive, shaking his head. "That's why I wanted to stay in touch with Stanley. That way he doesn't turn out that tired."
"I doubt he will. Stanley's only been there for a few years."
"Let's hope so. Maybe he'll show up for this chase?"
"Maybe," Benny agreed, sounding hopeful. "I've missed him."
Zenigata looked up as the priest joined them. "Father," he said respectfully. "We've been warned that Lupin the Third, an international thief, is going to try and steal three things from this collection," he said, handing over the letter. "May we please discuss your security arrangements?"
"Of course, my son," he agreed, walking him to the room those pieces were being shown in. They crossed into the school portion of the church but it was after hours so it was quiet. "How long do you think we have?"
"Maybe two days at the most," he admitted. "If I may ask, why are you hosting this exhibit here?"
"To raise money for a new roof," he sighed. "The school's gym is nearly bare up there and it will cost over six thousand dollars. We've set up a donation box and have a few hundred so far."
"I'm sorry to hear that." He looked at the open room, frowning at the big windows and the open, unlocking doors. "Do you have a guard?"
"We do," he admitted, whistling. The guard came to check on them. He handed over the letter. "This is Inspector Zenigata from Interpol."
The guard read the note, then nodded and handed it back. "What's their usual method?"
"They don't have one. Sometimes it's subterfuge, sometimes it's regular thievery. Sometimes it's a mask," he said, grabbing the father's ear and pulling. "Ah-ha! I've got you now, Lupin!" he said when his face was exposed.
"Pops, I didn't write the letter. Someone got me here too." He handed over a letter and managed to get him in the handcuffs he had pulled. "Laters." He and the guard, Jigen, ran out.
"Hey!" Ray called, pulling his gun. "Freeze! Chicago PD!" They continued to run so he ran after them. "Fraser, some help?" he called.
"Coming, Ray!" He ran as well, after glancing in the room. "Be right back," he called.
Zenigata sighed and looked at this second letter. The first had fallen to the floor too. It was the same handwriting. "What is this?" he muttered, pulling on the end of his tie to get to his hidden handcuff key. He finally got it out and unlocked himself, grimacing at the two letters. He should have seen it, this wasn't Lupin's usual letter. It wasn't smug. It wasn't bragging. There weren't any 'greats' or 'astoundings' when Lupin described himself. He stood up as Ray and the constable came back. "I'm fine." He dusted himself off. "He was right, he didn't write this one." He handed over both letters. "Someone sent him one to get here."
"Wonderful," Ray said dryly. "What sort of dive do they prefer?"
"High end. Usually a suite." He followed them back to the parking lot. "Where do you think the real priest is?"
"Probably back in the library, he's like that," Ray sighed, heading that way. "Father Philip!" he called from the doorway. Philip came out of the shelves. "Good, you're alive. Someone pretended to be you just now." He came out and took the notes, then groaned. "Do you know something?"
"No, but I know why." He led the way to a locked room and opened it, letting them see the small gold box. "It's a perfectly healthy piece of two thousand year old thorn." Ray stared at him. "It's here to be carbon dated." He shrugged. "It sprouts now and then. That's why I came in, to guard it." He opened the box and dropped in some water, then bowed to it and shut the lid. "It's still there." He led them back out so he could lock the door. Ray gave him an approving look. "What can I do to help?"
"A lot," Zenigata told him. "This isn't Lupin's thing. He doesn't do holy relics. They only do strange things when Lavelle's with them these days. He handles all that stuff for them. Unless it's supposedly magical, then Lavelle and Marcus both work on it." He grimaced. "This doesn't make sense. He said he was lured here after he got me in the handcuffs."
"It's possible he was. Someone could want to set them up," Benny suggested. "Making them a scapegoat would keep them out of trouble."
"Until Lupin found them and took it from them, probably killing them in the process and handing it back," Zenigata told him. "It's happened twice. Last time was four years ago. Lavelle beat the poor bastard very coldly and left him laying in the middle of a field and personally delivered the ruby back to the former owner." He rubbed his wrists.
"Could this be Lavelle?" Ray asked.
"No." He shook his head. "Lavelle would never screw his bosses. He's loyal to a fault. Lavelle's one of those odd people. If you're a friend, you'll be a friend no matter what you do to him. He's got some that hurt him badly, that's why he's got the silver hair, and he'll still rush off to help them if they need him to. Lupin and Jigen have both earned his support and he'll never betray them. He'd probably let them kill him before stopping them." His grimace turned into a frown. "I have no idea who this is. No one's come up on our radar recently." He looked at the priest. "Do you guard the artifact or are you local?"
"I changed to local but I have guarded it in the past. That's my area. Who is Lavelle really?"
"Alexander Harris. He's from Sunnydale." The father said something in Latin then stomped off. "He won't be here, Father. He's in the States but I know he's not here."
"Thank you. I'll be right back." He walked into the office and picked up the phone, dialing an old friend. "I just got a location on two of the ones you sent out an all points on," he admitted. "One Alexander Harris, now known as the gunman Lavelle. He works with Marcus Wyndam-Pryce. Yes, him too, Derek. Fine. No, he's not here. They don't know where he is. Why?" He shuddered. "You're sure? Fine. Thanks." He hung up and turned, finding Ray in the doorway. "Lavelle and I have similar interests in the strange and unusual. Something in his area just appeared in LA. They've been looking for him now for weeks." He went to talk to the Inspector. "Can you find Lavelle? He's needed in LA for something that appeared out of the blue. Something like what caused his silver hair."
"I can't, but my guy Stanley has his email address. We use it to try and ambush him now and then. What happened? Dawn Summers is my wife."
Philip smirked. "It figures. I'm Philip Callahan. Tell her I said hi." He nodded. "I don't know what appeared, but something *appeared* in LA and he's needed ta deal with it, probably with Marcus."
"Fine. I'll pass it back to Ray and he'll deal with it."
"He still goes by Ray?" Benny asked.
"It's his middle name and Myron hates calling him Stanley and Ray hates Stan. Said it reminds him of his exwife." He shrugged. "It's shorter under fire anyway." Ray coughed. "Sorry. You're the guy he filled in for?" Ray nodded. "Wonderful. Let's see if we can't solve this. I don't like this one's timing." He walked outside, going to grab his phone from the car. "Stanley," he said when it was answered. "Good. Are you done?" He listened to the long rant about lawyers. "Stanley. Someone duped Lupin and the gang into coming to Chicago. Also, your friend Ray here wants you to read his email and answer him back, plus we need you to write Lavelle. Philip Callahan is here and called someone who said *something* appeared in LA and he's needed." He listened to the repeat as Ray wrote it down. "Good. Yeah. I could use you here. I'd rather not have either of you involved if it's a something. Interpol is not equipped to deal with demons. As soon as possible is fine," he agreed, hanging up. He called his wife. "Philip Callahan said hi and that Lavelle's needed in LA for a something that just appeared, he thought Marcus might be needed to. How are you feeling?" He broke into a smile. "Of course. Thank you, Dawn. You be safe and I'll be home soon. Yes, I promise. Even if I have to hang out at a stupid convenience store and get shot in the leg again. Love you too." He hung up. "All right, both problems have been taken care of. Ray's on his way here with Myron. We should probably start with hotels."
Ray nodded and checked his watch. "Are they gonna do anything tonight?" He shook his head. "Then let's go back to the station, divide up the phone book, you give me a list of their aliases, and we'll call around tonight while at home."
"That sounds nice," Zenigata admitted. "I haven't gotten a full night of sleep in months."
"I figured as much, you look tired," Ray said, clapping him on the arm. "Benny? When we get back, you can probably ride back with him since he's staying with you guys."
"Of course, Ray. Maybe we can exchange some stories?"
"Sure, constable. You've probably got a much nicer beat than I've got. My boss doesn't believe in paternity leave. Last time I had to be shot in the thigh." He grimaced. "You can ride back with me if you want."
"That's all right, my wolf is in Ray's car. We'll meet you back there?" The Inspector nodded and got in, heading back. "Ray?"
"I think something's going on. A something?"
Benny groaned. "There are things that your faith calls Demons, Ray. They do exist and LA is a spot of mystical convergence. It has been for a while now. That's why so many odd things happen there." He got into the car. "I'd hazard a guess that he's run into a few of them in the past and doesn't want his people injured."
"Prove it," Ray snorted as he got in to drive.
"Fine. On the way home tonight, go past the Southside Graveyard. Go past that warehouse and watch the children in there. Some of them aren't children and they aren't living." Ray stared at him. "Seriously. I know the name of Alexander Harris. One of our local Mounties was activated as a slayer a few years back. He came to get her. He was on the side of good once," he said sadly.
"Benny, are you feeling all right?" Ray asked as he started the car.
"I'm fine, Ray. Ask Father Philip, he deals with the same thing. I believe he's the one who did the exorcism the other day." Ray groaned and drove really fast to get away from this stuff. That night, he did cruise past that neighborhood. He got out to break up a fight and nearly got attacked. He believed then. Fortunately the gun drove them off. As soon as he got home, he called Father Philip and had him come over to calm him down and rebless him. Just in case.
Stanley sighed as the judge ordered the prosecutor to present the person who had saved the civilians in the line of fire. This was only making this whole thing last way too long. His phone beeped and he looked at the message.
"Inspector, did I not tell you to turn that off?" the judge snapped, glaring at him.
"You did, ma'am, but I'm still on call. That was my voice mail warning." He turned that off too. "Sorry, I forgot." He stood up with a groan of exhaustion. "Your honor, I can't find the gunman known as Lavelle and he was the savior of the civilians. I can't find him to bring him in. I know he's got an email address and I used it but I haven't gotten answered yet. If it were at all possible, I'd gladly bring him in here in handcuffs and present him. I can't though. Neither can the prosecutor. We can't find him."
"You will find him then!" she said hotly. "We need him to testify."
"Your Honor, we've had sixty different people testify as to what he did that night. Having him here won't add anything new," the prosecutor told her. "Can we please wrap this thing up so he can serve his lawful sentence? Even his lawyer doesn't protest that."
"I don't," the defense attorney noted. "We've already rested our case."
"Still. I believe we should hear him out."
Ray groaned as his phone vibrated, then walked outside to answer it. "Yeah?" he asked bitterly. "You're sure?" He smirked. "Fine. Someone go to that bar and see if he's down there. Yeah, that one." He walked back into the court room. "He did answer. There's been a sudden fleeing by the lower class criminals in town," Ray announced. The prosecutor sighed in relief. "I still might not be able to bring him into the court room. I'll try but really."
"Fine. Find some way." She banged her gavel. "Recessed until tomorrow." Everyone stood up as she stomped out.
Ray shook his head and looked at the prosecutor. "You know her. Is she a groupie?"
"Probably," he said bitterly. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Criminals seem to flee him like ants before the hose down their hill." He headed out to give his boss an update and then to call Myron.
Lavelle walked into the judge's house, putting his skeleton key set up again. He whistled as he strolled into her kitchen, making her shriek and put her daughter behind her. "You wanted to see me?" he asked.
"This is not my court room!" she snapped.
"No, but this is as close to your courtroom as I'm getting. If you really *must* have my testimony, then I'll do it by video link. Not that I can help any, but I will do that if you absolutely insist." She nodded, staring at him in fear. "Get a good look?"
"What happened to your forehead?" the young teen daughter asked.
He touched the bandage. "A really big claw." He looked at her. "You're a Slayer." She nodded. "Try to get stationed somewhere in Europe. There's more work but it's safer." He rolled his eye. "We just had a major occurrence in LA. One of the Princes appeared and started to bellow for me, much like your mom. Now, I'm gonna go catch a nap with a pro and then stretch out. I'll call Ray tomorrow afternoon at two. I won't expect myself to be up before then." He strolled out the back door and out through the fence, letting the security guys pulling up out front go in the front door.
"Lavelle," the judge said, pointing that way. "He just walked in!"
"It's all right, your honor. He won't hurt you," the cop with the security guys told him. "He never hurts non-criminals." He nodded at the daughter. "Maybe you should get her sitting down." Her mother turned and took care of her while he went to look at the lock and start his report. On the way he called Ray and told him. He laughed.
Zenigata finished his half of the list and put down his cellphone. "Nothing," he said bitterly. The constable helping him shook his head sadly. "Where are they?"
"Could they have broken into someone's house?"
"No, not likely. That's a desperation, being chased and without ammunition move for them," he said bitterly. "They might sleep their way into someone's home but I doubt it. Lupin's got to be jonsing for Lavelle by now. It's been two months." He grimaced. "Or maybe they've left town." He put his head down as someone knocked. "I don't want to know," he admitted as the young constable went to answer the door.
"Constable Fraser?" the courier asked.
"No, I'm Constable Turnbull," he noted. "I can sign for it and hand it over. He'll be back soon. He took his wolf for a walk."
"I guess that's fine." He held out the clipboard, letting him sign it. Then he handed over the thin mailing envelope, like used for CDs. "Have a nice night, constable." He checked the signature. "You've got good penmanship. It's a nice change."
"Thank you kindly." He smiled and politely closed the door once the young man had left. He set it on the receiving desk and went back to the work table. "Inspector?" he called. He heard the snore and smiled. "That's fine. I'll come get you in a few moments," he said, sneaking out to make himself some tea. The wolf came in first. "Constable Fraser, there was a delivery for you, sir. I put it on the receiving desk."
"Thank you, Turnbull." He gave him a smile as he walked past him. "How is our guest?"
"Asleep on the work table a moment ago. I figured I'd give him a few minutes before I woke him."
"Excellent. I'll do that. You finish making your tea."
"Would you like some?"
"No, I'm fine," he said, heading in to get his envelope. He found it where it was supposed to be and opened it, frowning at the CD inside. "Is it audio or video I wonder," he said, heading to the DVD player in the Inspector's office. It played music ones as well. He put it in and turned on the tv.
"Constable, go get the Inspector up. Pause this, it can only be watched once."
"Inspector," he called. Zenigata stumbled in. He rewound it, starting from the beginning.
"Constable, go get the Inspector up. Pause this, it can only be watched once," Lupin instructed. "Good to go? Good." He looked down at someone. "What? No, you can wait," he said before looking back up. "Sorry, I've got helpers." He sighed. "Today was not us. That was not me at the church, none of it." Zenigata snorted so the camera panned out the window, showing him the Alps. "I know you know where this is." The camera panned back. "It wasn't us. We chased Lavelle over to Lucern for a convention and we're just now leaving. That wasn't us who wrote the note, wasn't us at the church, though I did hear of it. I would suggest that it's some copycat. I would also suggest he's younger than I am, it sounds like he's using my first few cases instead of the later ones since I've heard it's only the two. I don't know names, sorry. This shit bothers me and I'd like you to stop it." He cackled. "You are the expert on me after all. It can only make you look good. About that paternity leave thing, got it started for you. Even if she won't agree, it's covered. Don't worry about it." Someone under the camera complained. "Fine, come up here," he sighed, picking up Ishi. "Say hi."
"Hi!" he said, waving. "Dawnie and baby?"
The Inspector laughed. "She's fine, Ishi. Just fine."
The baby laughed. "Sissy too!" he said, going to get his sister. She came in and sat in Lupin's lap, frowning at the camera. "Not frownies. Smile at 'Spector and Dawnie. She have baby."
Lotus smiled. "Baby?" she asked happily. "Mommy?" She looked up at her uncle. "Mommy baby?"
"No," Lupin said, shuddering. "No more babies." He put her down. "As you can see, it really wasn't us. We travel like royalty anymore," he said dryly. "Marcus is out of town so the whole brood is here." The camera panned until they could see the other babies, a set of twins, two other mini Lupin's, and one little girl he wasn't sure of. "Don't worry about her, we're babysitting." The camera panned back. "I wish you all the luck. Have fun. If you see Lavelle, swat him for us. We keep missing him."
"Call him, you stupid prick," Zenigata muttered. "He'll come if you call." The DVD went blank. "Well, that was informative at least." Someone knocked and walked in. "Ah, Myron," he said happily. "Myron Banks, this is Constable Fraser. He's our local liaison."
"Hey, nice ta meet ya." He shook his hand. "Sir, Lavelle just showed up where Stan was. He walked into the judge's house, scaring her horribly. He identified her daughter as being one of Buffy's proteges then left again. He'll be calling Ray tomorrow from wherever. Also, we've gotten together and gotten a suite for us. You're more than welcome to come stay with us, sir. Ray will be in tomorrow night."
"Thank you, Myron. I take it our travel budget got refilled?"
"Just this morning, sir. I had to go have a chat with our boss about that. She was not happy that you had to beg a room." He gave the constable a look. "It's policy, that way it doesn't look like we're going to favor one country over another."
"I understand. That makes sense," he agreed. "Do you need him tonight?"
"I'm leaving that up to him. I'm headed out for a drink. I made it to LA before I got your message, sir. It was a Prince who had tortured young Lavelle." Zenigata's eyes widened. "He walked up to him, backhanded him, beat him brutally, then killed him."
"No, the demon. Lavelle let out some of his very impressive anger on the thing that had molested him at one point in time, talking to it the whole time. He got clawed a few times but nothing serious. Marcus got there after him and cut off it's head, freeing the captives. Including that vampire and David, sir." Zenigata shuddered. "They're all fine, they were bait. I'm happy to say that David went to a church afterwards and prayed for quite a while. Marcus healed some of the worst cuts and decided to stay in town for a day or so to make sure everything settled again. I didn't think I needed to be there and we all know I'm not equipped to deal with demons without some serious bowel action."
Zenigata patted him on the shoulder. "I understand," he agreed. "We've got a copycat here. Lupin just sent a single use DVD showing he was in Lucern and leaving soon. All the kids are with him so I doubt he's going somewhere worse. Lotus wanted to know if her mother was having a baby like Dawn was." Myron shuddered. "That was Lupin's reaction. Ishi said hi."
"Cool. He's a neat kid," he agreed. "Anything else yet, sir?"
"Lupin said it was a copycat, there were two people from what he's heard, they're using the older methods, and he thinks they're younger than him," the constable told him. "How did they make it a single use DVD?"
"It's some sort of coating they developed," Myron said with a shrug. "He's done it to us in the past." He stretched and groaned. "Okay, what first? The criminal bulletin boards, sir?"
"Yeah, do that after you get a single drink. I've got the half-dose sleeping pills in my thing. Constable, tell your inspector I said thank you. I'm going to go back with him so my boss can't bitch me out about this as well. Where are we, Myron?"
"Holiday Inn, sir. Room 1215, under my name, Constable. Call whenever you're ready for us tomorrow. We'll be up late checking the online underworld." He went to help his boss pack, stopping only to pet the wolf. "You're adorable." He walked on.
Constable Fraser leaned out to look at his wolf. "You're not going with them, don't even think about it. You can see them tomorrow." He went to put the envelope and DVD into an evidence bag then make the office look like they'd never been there.
Ray walked in the next morning, avoiding the bandage on his neck. "What?" he snapped when someone looked at it. He sat down at his desk and put his hands on his head.
"Gee, Ray, that looks really bad," Stanley said as he walked out of the office. "Want some holy water? I've got some in my car."
Ray looked up, frowning at his fill-in. "Smartass."
"Yeah, ain't it great?" Stanley said smugly. "My boss?"
"Then Myron's probably got him." He came over and carefully lifted up the side of the bandage. "It's healed, you can take that off." Ray nodded so he did so, handing him a mirror. "It'll scar, they always do," he said, rolling up his sleeves to show him his many bite marks. "Lavelle deals with it too." He sat down, putting back down his sleeve. "So, anything new?"
"I don't know, I just got in. Call Benny, see if they found anything."
Stanley grabbed the phone, calling the consulate from memory. "Hey, Turnbull," he said happily. "Yeah, it's me. I'm working with Zenigata. Yeah, sure. Thanks." He grinned. "Hey, Benny. When can we get you today?" He smirked. "Myron should have warned you about that. I'll explain it to her. Don't worry about it. We've had to replace others. Yeah, sure. That's fine. No, my cell's there so Lavelle can do the testifying thing for the groupie judge. Otherwise I'm good. No, my backup's with me. Yeah, that number. Sure. Love ta take ya out ta dinner. I haven't eaten real food in *ages*. Cool. See ya in a few." He hung up. "He'll be over in about an hour. With Thatcher so I can explain why her DVD player no longer works. It's a copycat." He got comfortable. "Lupin sent a single use DVD from Lucern, Switzerland. He likes to do that, but it fucks the laser on 'em. We've got a duo pretending to be Lupin, using his earlier cases, and Lupin doesn't know who but gave Pops the go ahead ta catch 'em and make 'em suffer."
"It's Lupin's pet name for Zenigata. He is a father but Lupin's always called him that." He shrugged. "Lavelle and Marcus call him Gramps since they're the second generation. He does growl at that one when I slip and use it." He smirked. "So, I finally got to my email. Is Ma feelin' any better?"
"Much. The medicine's finally working. You'll have to come for dinner some night this week."
"Sure. Like I said, I've had so much fast food I'm surprised I'm not bloated." He groaned as he stretched. "Twenty-six countries since last December without a break."
"Your boss said seventeen."
"He goes after the bigger bad guys. He's got rank. Myron and I get sent after half of all the bad guys. We also get to chase them toward him. He's probably did nineteen but doesn't count driving across it. I do." Ray shook his head. "It's interesting. I've seen shit like you wouldn't believe. Last year, we had this topless set of assassins. I thought I was Bond on Octopussy's island there for a bit."
"Stan!" Francesca yelled, coming over to hug him. "Are you back! Why don't you write!"
"Nope, not fully. Here to help my boss. I do write, I just never have the time to mail." He pulled out a stack of postcards. "Here, since December. Ray's invited me for dinner, we'll talk then." She nodded, taking the postcards back to her desk to read through. Stanley grinned. "I have groupies," he admitted. Ray whimpered. "Really. I've only got three, but one of them stalked me on my cases last year. It reminded me to get her postcards." Ray snickered, shaking his head. "Yeah, it's pitiful but we never get vacations. Even when Lupin takes one, we've still got putzes out the wazoo. Oh, the assassin's convention has moved. It'll be here next month. So will Myron and I, but Pops'll probably be at home with an injury so he can see his new kid. Our boss has denied the rumor that we get paternity leave."
"He said someone shot him the last time."
"Someone did shoot him the last time. Inches off his artery in his thigh. Grazed the bone. He had to stay at home with his leg propped up for two months. Lavelle got him from across a rooftop before Lupin or Jigen could." Ray let out a moan again. "Yeah. It's like some weird family thing between them. Pops is obsessed with Lupin. The guy who went bad and shot at the civilians where I was had been one of us and he was obsessed with Lavelle. He got given life in prison this morning and they sentenced him to a max facility so he'd be safer. Then I caught a flight out here and here I am." He waved a hand around.
"No you're not," Stanley said from the doorway. The other one stood up and waved, then drove out a window. "Fucking lunatic," he said, following him out. "Lavelle! Get your mangy, silvery ass back here!"
"That was Stanley," Ray noted when his boss came out. "The first one was Lavelle, sir."
"Good. Wonderful. Fill out a report and have it on my desk. What happened to your neck?"
"I broke up a fight. Someone bit me."
"I don't wanna know. Put a report on my desk by the time Kowalski gets back here." He went back to his desk and took some antacid. It was going to be one of those days apparently.
Stanley saluted his boss, now in cleaner clothes. "Sorry, sir. Had to try and catch Lavelle again. He walked in here pretending to be me and no one noticed."
"Shit," Myron muttered. "Ray, bathing?"
"I haven't made it to the room yet, Myron. I changed in the bathroom and put on more deodorant." Myron pulled out his room key and handed it over. "Thanks. Holiday Inn?" Myron nodded. "Cool. Sir, do you need a report on the silver loon's actions?"
"No. How good was he?"
"Had me down pat, down to the height," Stanley said grimly. He walked away, heading down to his car to go back there and shower this time, then change again and have some laundry done.
Zenigata looked at Ray. "Really?"
"Really. He talked ta Benny too and he couldn't tell the difference either. How does he do that?"
"His boss taught him the art of disguise." Myron pulled out a picture and handed it over. "That's Lavelle too."
"How? He's a guy, right?" Ray asked, looking at a picture of the notorious gunman dressed in a short school girl outfit. "You can't tell," he said flatly.
"No, you can't," Zenigata sighed. "He and Stanley are about the same height though." He grimaced. "What did he call me?"
"That wasn't Lavelle," Zenigata said firmly. "He only calls me Gramps." He picked up the phone and dialed Stan's backup number. "Stanley, he called me Pops. No, shower. You stink. It could have been our copycat. That means I'll want a full verbal report. Yeah, I'm sure. He called me Pops."
"He mentioned that a Marcus and Lavelle both call you Gramps, but that you get pissed when he slips and calls you that, or when Stanley slips and calls you that."
"Did you get that? Yeah, that's a big lead," he admitted. "Hurry back." He hung up. "Even better. Very few people know Lavelle and Marcus both call me Gramps. Not even some of their groupies."
"He handed Frannie some postcards for Stanley," Ray told him, pointing at the bagged stack. "He had information on the case Stanley just finished testifying at. He also said he had some groupies. Said one of them chased him all last year."
"Oh, he does," Myron said dryly. "That means they know a lot about Stan, sir, but not me?"
"Probably," he admitted. "You're harder to imitate though. Lupin can do me. Lavelle can do me and Stan. You're harder." He picked up the post cards, looking at each one. "That is Stanley's handwriting. It may have been stolen from his room. Can we get these fingerprinted?"
"Sure," Ray agreed, leading them to the appropriate lab. "Hey. We need these fingerprinted. There's a possibility Kowalski's prints are on there too." He handed over the stack. "The other is probably our copycat thief."
The technician smiled. "Sure. Frannie said something about some post cards. Do you think they were stolen?"
Ray nodded. "We do. He'll be back soon but we should have his on record."
"All right, Detective. Give me a few hours?"
"Sure. Thanks. Oh, this is Zenigata. He's Interpol, Stan's new boss." He waved and walked out.
Zenigata nodded politely. "Whenever you have a moment or three," he suggested kindly. She was obviously pregnant, like his wife. She smiled and nodded. "Thank you." He headed back up after Ray. "I need a desk job," he complained. "I got to miss all the kicking and stuff this time."
Ray gave him a look. "So have a third and get injured before the birth." He shrugged. "Or retire."
"I might," he said bitterly. "I'm in my third decade of chasing Lupin." He sat down, looking around the office. "This is nice. Our office is a hole with fake walls and Dawn's posters. Even when we get dirt, we get a cleaner in almost immediately. I think they have sensors and come in to make sure we all feel repressed by the walls being so clean. You can eat off our desks because they straighten stuff on us."
"Did you have to train 'em?" Ray asked.
"Very much. They threw out notes and things. I lost six cases one cleaning fit." He grimaced. "Now they straighten and tidy." He smirked. "Did he say anything else?"
"Yeah, he said he answered my email, asked how my mother was. It was something I wrote in my last letter to him."
"I'll have him get in there and weed things out again. It can only help us. I still think it's a groupie but the last I knew he didn't have a male one. Though, a groupie being a copycat would get him the attention of Stanley and Myron." He considered it. "We're dealing with a sick and diseased mind, I know we are." Ray grimaced. "It'll be fine. He won't come for you." He glanced around again, enjoying the dirt and nastiness of the peeling paint. "Maybe I should have us moved out of headquarters. She's wanted our offices for the new profiler corps anyway."
"Hey, if you can manage it, why not," Ray agreed. "Will they pay for it?"
"They'll have to. Lupin costs us too much annually. Oh, did anyone tell you yet? The biannual assassin's conference switched to here next month?"
"Yeah, the imposter did," Ray said, thinking back. "He had bite marks on his arm, he checked mine like a pro and showed me his. They were on his forearm. He used the word 'wazoo' about the strange stuff he's seen. Said at one point in time he felt like Bond in Octopussy because of some topless thieves or something." He shrugged. "Hey, did anyone bug my desk yet this week?" he called.
"I did," his sister, the civilian aid, admitted. "Why?"
"Did you tape this morning?" She nodded. "Good, pull it for me so he can hear." She went to do that. Ray leaned closer. "Don't expect it to be great. Frannie tries but she's not always successful. Last time it was so loud you almost couldn't hear."
"I'll keep that in mind. We've had the same problem a few times," he admitted. He looked over as the Lieutenant came out. "We're waiting on fingerprints and brainstorming about the crook this morning."
"Fine, not a problem. How are you liking our city?"
"I enjoy the dirt," the Inspector said honestly. "Our offices are scrubbed so clean there's no charm, no life, not even a germ in the bathroom. I missed having a real office like this one." He shrugged. "It's quirky, but we have cleaning people who come in and scrub our floors each night so we're made aware of how bad we are for working there. I think it's psychological conditioning of some sort."
Welsh chuckled. "I'm sorry."
"Eh. It's not a problem. Last year I got to run though the cardboard city on the edge of Calcutta. Where the poorest of the poor live. The thief ducked into a shanty where they were doing illegal abortions and tried to take the mother hostage. My job is not for the nicest of all folks. Regular cops routinely quit when they get assigned to our duties. If I ever saw the inside of my office, I might hate it more, but all I know is it's depressing when I'm there."
"Maybe it'll get better soon," Ray soothed.
"I hope so. This is my third decade of this. I've got crooks all through my career but I get laughed at because I can't catch this one set." He groaned as hands came over to work on his shoulders. "Dawn!" he said, looking up at her. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to help. I know Lupin nearly as good as you do." She hugged him. "Poor baby. His thirty-second anniversary is coming up in a few days."
Ray winced. "I'm retiring after twenty," he told her. "I'm Ray."
"I know. Stan's got a great picture of you on his desk." She shook his hand. "Dawn Summers-Zenigata."
"You're a thief," Ray said.
"Former and the statue of limitations has run out already," she promised. "He made me turn good and now *forces* me to help him."
"Sure, I force you to help me. Who was it that rearranged our office so you'd have a desk?"
"I had to. You won't let me use yours. Ray growls at me when I use his. Myron's got porn in his that his don't want to know about. I'm not sure what adult watches anime porn, but it's scary," she told this Ray. "Speaking of other Rays, where is ours?"
"Showering. He chased a not-him out of here and through a few dumpsters." He stood up and sat her down. "Stay there."
"Yes, dear," she sighed, shaking her head. "I'm not broken, really."
"You're eight months pregnant, sit there," Myron ordered. He frowned at her. "I got rid of all that."
"Sure you did," she said dryly. "The cleaning lady found a whole package of it with your name on it. I think Lavelle thought you were bored."
"Fucker," Myron muttered, shaking his head. "That's it, the next fancon we find him at, I'm challenging him and shooting him."
"Psyeah," Dawn snorted. "I'm sure you will. Because Stan will *so* let you do that. We've got about as much chance getting one of Buffy's proteges in Europe."
"That's another thing he said. He said Lavelle identified the judge's daughter he broke in on as being like that. Used those same words."
"Andrew," Dawn sighed. She looked up. "You remember Andrew, right?" He nodded. "I can almost bet one's him and he would be able to mimic some of this stuff. Plus, you know, big geek. Probably found Ray at a con." She leaned back against his chest. "I wish someone hadn't brought him back."
"I'm sure she's very sorry, no matter where she ended up," he soothed, working on her shoulders. She moaned. "Myron, will we have enough beds?"
"Sure, boss. Not an issue. Ray and I have curled up in the past."
"I know," he said dryly. "And each time you do, he has nightmares and screams."
"There's a couch. He can curl up out there if he's bothered by it," she soothed, stroking his hands.
"What the hell are you doing over here?" Stanley said as he walked back in. "You are not supposed to be out of the office!"
"Love you too, Stan," she said dryly, blowing a kiss. "I was warned to get out of Paris by an anonymous email. I'm guessing our boy wanted me over here too." She held up her arms and got a hug. "How are you, big brother? You smell better than they said."
"That's because I finally got a shower," he noted, smirking at her. He looked at Ray. "You know how I always complained about dumpster duty when I was here?" Ray nodded. "Bombay smells like that most of the year."
"I take it you sent out laundry too?" Myron asked dryly.
"Hell yeah. Otherwise I'd be stealing clothes." He looked at his boss. "Life in a super max, sir."
"Good. Maybe they'll give him some help," he said bitterly. "Bombay smells worse than most dumpsters, Stan."
"Maybe," he admitted. "All I know is that I smelled like one by the time we left last time. Then we came back to the nice, clean office and they were very nice to freshen the air for us."
"I'd still rather have dirt." He looked at the guy. "Stanley, when did you start getting dark roots?" Ray lunged and caught him. "Thanks. Let's make sure."
"It's not Andrew, but he might be the second player," Dawn noted, stroking her stomach.
He looked down at her. "Ishi and Lotus said hi last night on the DVD Lupin sent to tell us it wasn't him. She wanted to know if her mother was going to have another baby just like you."
"She'd better not," Dawn said firmly. "That woman is a disaster for us. The first one she interrupts while we're having sex so you can talk Lavelle out of a panic and through the birth, then the other lands you on a train for nearly a month."
"Why did they call you?" Welsh asked.
Dawn snickered. "They were trying to do a job on a cruise ship but it was aborted because Fujiko went into labor with her first child. That and another group of thieves used the old gas and grab trick at dinner the first night. Anyway, Fuji went into labor on the ship. The doctor was shot in front of them all by one of the remaining thieves while she was in labor. Then everyone decided they couldn't bear the horrors of watching a pregnant woman push out a kid so they nominate Lavelle to do it. He has them call him," she said, nodding back at her husband, "because they can't think of anyone else to call. They interrupted us having a teasing contest, the only sex I got from him for months on end, to have him walk them through the birthing process. Then he gives them a week before he goes after them again. Her second one they found her in Tokyo, alone because everyone else was doing something to help Lupin impregnate his chosen mothers. He finds her, goes in. Lavelle pulls a gun on him and makes him help. The asshole who broke and went bad gets locked in a closet. Now, understand, a newborn can't travel by plane. They're in Tokyo. Japan is an island. So what does my best friend Lavelle do? He gets them on a train.
"Myron got the first leg, Myron and Ray got the second leg. Myron, Ray, and the hubby here get the third leg. It's decided that they can't arrest Lavelle with the newborn in the way, it'd be horrible if the baby got hurt. They decide to wait until the whole group gets there to arrest them. It's also nearer to home, less shipping and handling on them. Lavelle and Jigen escape the morning they were to be arrested before anyone realizes they're gone. Lupin allows himself to be caught but escapes on the way to the station, and we weren't even going to try for Goemon with his newly delivered wife and newborn. He would have killed us without a second thought." Everyone nodded. "So what does my husband do? He starts off on another chase of Lupin, chasing him around Switzerland. This was the night he was supposed to come home and propose to me. Instead he's chasing Lupin around the Alps. Four days later, I send the kids to the sitter and go after him, kidnap him, sending Lupin a dirty note on the way, and carry his butt back home so Ray and Myron can continue the chase. And what does my adoring husband do?"
"Complain," Zenigata told her. "Like any good cop would."
She frowned at him. "I feel a mood swing coming on."
"Sorry, Dawn." He gave her a kiss on the forehead. "I'll try harder."
"You've done very well since then," she assured him, giving him a gentle pat on the hand. "You learned to delegate, I'm damn impressed with you. You might even get sex after I push out this one." He laughed, giving her a smile. "You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Remember the last time?"
"Yes, I do, and I'm quite glad we didn't pull a Fujiko."
"Oh, yeah. If that had happened, I would have asked her for the sneak attack castration plans she's drawn up."
"She'll never use them."
"She hasn't gotten pregnant since the second one. Just wait. The seer saw in another three years." He shuddered. "When she's getting close, you're going to be at the house, with me, and your guys are going to be guarding us in case a real apocalypse happens this time."
The real Stanley walked in and Dawn grinned at him. "We got one."
"Do the words 'boat trip' mean anything to you?" he asked her, giving her a hug.
"Yeah, but I was warned to get out of town by an email. So I came here. Besides, if I give birth here, we're all in trouble. We are too damn close to Cleveland and my sister might show up."
"I've always wanted ta kick her in the head," Stanley said, ruffling her hair. "Naughty cat burglar."
"Hey, I stole art, thank you," she said seriously. Then she giggled. "This is the real Stanley."
"Good. We like that. Report, Kowalski?" Welsh asked.
"Sure," he sighed, following him with his boss.
"Some things never change," Fraser said. "He still hates paperwork."
"At least we found them a good translator program so they don't have to struggle with foreign dictionaries most of the time," Dawn noted. "You'd be amazed at how much more paperwork there is in Iran than there is Paris - all of it to be done in Iranian."
"Times sixteen," Myron added with a shudder.
"Poor baby," Dawn cooed, giving him a hug. "Does my other big brother need a secretary?"
"Yup, sure do," he agreed with a grin. She pinched him on the nose and he frowned. "When did you start doing that? That's a Lavelle move."
"I saw him do it and it looked cute," she defended, pouting at him. "I'm me, Myron."
"Maybe we should check just in case," he said dryly.
She grimaced then kicked him on the shin. "Meany."
"Sorry, Dawn, but I am paranoid like your old man sometimes. It happens with how good Lavelle is."
"Still a meany," she pouted. "I'm gonna go call you names while I'm in the bathroom."
He helped her up and watched her walk that way. He was still frowning. "We really should check to make sure it's her."
"Lavelle is that good?"
"Yeah," he groaned. "He's that good and he knows her. She is his best friend." He shook his head, going to tell his boss the bad news. He tapped on the door and stuck his head in. "Sir, Dawn just pinched my nose."
Zenigata frowned. "When did she start doing that?"
"That's a Lavelle move," Stanley pointed out.
"Maybe I'm paranoid," Myron said with a shrug. "We all know how good he is at disguise and he would know what being pregnant was like."
"Where is she now?"
"The bathroom, pouting that I'm a meany, sir."
Zenigata headed that way, tapping first. "Dawn?" he called. He walked in, checking around. He turned and found Lavelle behind the door, as himself. "What are you doing?"
"Dawn's fine. I just heard the most neat rumor. Lupin took your boss hostage over your leave. She didn't appreciate it, she canceled all leave. So we're back to square one." He pulled out his gun and blew out his hip. "Sorry, you need longer this time. It'll heal quickly, it'll be a few bone screws at the most and they won't hinder anything, not even sex." He blew a kiss. "Pat the preggy belly for me."
"Lavelle!" he groaned, clutching a wall.
"Shh, Pops," he whispered, helping him to the floor.
"Shh, I mean it," he warned. Ray came in. "Who're you?" he demanded.
"Your worst nightmare?"
Stanley popped his head in. "That's not Lavelle. He's a rightie." He went to call someone for his boss. "The not-Lavelle capped him in the hip," he announced. "He could probably use an ambulance." People went rushing to help him. Stanley picked up his cellphone and sighed as he dialed Dawn's. "It's me," he said. "The not-Lavelle just got your hubby in the hip. We're in Chicago." He winced. "Oh, damn. Um, hold on, let us come back," he told her. "Just hold on, okay, Dawnie?" He hung up. "My, she's in labor. Lupin took our boss hostage over Zenny's paternity leave. We need ta get home."
"Going," Myron agreed, heading out to the car. "Wrap up here, stay with the boss. Bring him home as soon as possible." He jogged out to his car, heading for the hotel and then the airport. There were higher priorities.
Stanley went back to the bathroom. "Hey," he said, brushing some of the older man's hair off his forehead. "I called Dawn. She's in labor, our boss is being held hostage by Lupin over your paternity leave. My went." His eyes widened and he smirked. "I'll call. He'll be here tonight," he said quietly. "You behave, young man. I think Lupin had a knee shot planned so you'd get some time to play with them too." He left, following the ambulance, all the way to the hospital, then he took off his illusion choker and became Lavelle again, heading for the airport. "Poor Dawn," he sighed. He picked up his phone and called Stanley's. "Hey, it's me. Your boss was just shot in the hip by a not-me. No, not too bad. He wanted your attention it seemed. That's okay because everyone already thinks you were there. Dawn's in labor, I sent Myron to her. Your boss is presently being held hostage by my boss over your boss's paternity leave. He'll be fine though. No, you were here according to them. You know I do you so well, Ray. Now if only you'd let me *do* you, you'd be one really happy guy." He smirked.
"No, I'm off for a spring break week at Disney, then another con. Your boss will need help getting home and Ray really would like to see you. You need to check your email more often. Oh, you also promised to have dinner with his mother in a few days and by then the laundry I had sent off for you will be back. Sorry, but she is ill." He laughed. "Sure you will. Hey, I could have become Myron, consider it a compliment," he said, then he hung up and put his phone down, speeding up a little bit. He put on his choker one handed so he matched his driver's license, pulling over to accept the ticket gracefully. "Thank you," she said, batting her lashes. "I love a man in uniform. Can I do anything to help you write that little old ticket for me?"
"No, ma'am, just your license and registration," he said firmly. She dug them out, checking the ID before she handed it over. He tried very hard to ignore her flirting, he really did. In the end, she was just too much for him and he had to give in. It was very good.
Lupin hung up his phone. "That was Dawn. Pops was hit in the hip while apprehending the copycats." The ICPO's top person groaned in misery. "It's a small bone wound, it should be fine according to what she was told. Lavelle was there as Stanley and passed well enough even his friends and former partner didn't realize." The boss started to cry. He looked at her. "So it looks like we can let her go, as long as she signs the order for future paternity leaves. Even cops like to hold their children. Now just sign the nice paper and you can go free," he told her. She gave him a cold look of hatred. "If not, I can have Jigen start to sing again. He's been listening to Barry Manilow all night to help you remember your humanity."
"He makes the whole world sing," Jigen agreed.
She grabbed the pen and signed it without reading it. "There," she spat. "Now untie me, you heathen!"
"Okay. All you had to do was ask nicely," Lupin told her, undoing the ropes. He bowed and kissed the back of her limp hand. "You have a nice day, my lady. Thank you for your wonderful cooperation. Let's go." He and Jigen backed out, heading off into the early evening.
She walked to her desk and plugged back in her phone, starting to cry when she heard that song playing over the hold music. "Why me?" she asked when a voice answered. "Help, please?" She hung up and put her head down, allowing herself to cry.
Xander left Disney World a very happy camper. He had slept. He had played. He had even done some shopping and sent some presents to the kids, both big and little, at the house. This morning he had heard of a fantastic exhibit he wanted to see in Vegas, and maybe do a little shopping there too. He climbed on top of his rental bike, his main one was only ridden on European roads, and zoomed off humming the Top Gun theme. He had watched that last night while he had made his plans for the new Vegas job, in between the conventions of course. He only needed one stop before then. It would blow his allowance for the month but he could handle that. If he had to, he'd go out of his clothing account or call their wonderful money person Murami. He stopped at the first payphone he saw and did that, smiling when she told him she'd add some more money to his shopping account for disguises, and reminding him to be good and careful. He agreed and hung up after a kiss, heading for the comic book store he had seen the sign for. The world's largest? Really? He'd have to go there and make sure it wasn't a lie.
Lupin pulled up in front of the resort Xander had been at and went inside. "Hi. There's a person here by the name of Alexian Larvis. Is he still here?"
"Oh, no, sir, you just missed him. He said he was going to a convention but I'm not sure which." She checked the computer, he didn't leave any notes for anyone. "I'm sorry, sir, but could you please have him call us? He left some things in his room."
"Sure," he agreed, writing out his address. "This is his mailing address. He's my man."
"Ohh, I bet you two are so cute," she cooed, smiling at him.
"Thanks. Go ahead and send that there. There's no indication of which one? He said he was going on vacation and didn't tell me where so I couldn't tell his coworkers when they called to have him come back to work."
She shook her head. "Not in the least, sir, sorry." She shrugged. "I wish I could, but I don't know anything."
"That's fine," he said, heading out to his car. He zipped off again, heading for downtown. Surely Xander would be flying? He saw the signs for the comic shop but decided he probably hadn't stopped. He was running low on his allowance by now. After all, he hadn't done much yet.
Xander woke up from his most vivid dream ever, shaking his head to clear the mental images of him being sent back to the Feudal Times in Japan with Goemon and him in female form so they had to pretend they were married when Xander had to run to his family for protection because she had been injured. "Damn, that was bad," he moaned, holding his head. He felt the extra hair and smiled, getting up to check the artifact he had stolen last night. He carefully finished packing it up and put on his dual kimonos and proper slippers, then remembered to tie his obi before walking downstairs to FedEx it. They really were a thief's best friend. He padded back up the stairs and packed, heading out of the hotel. "Goemon would get a kick out of that," he told himself. It had been listed as his family's portrait. He had even included a brochure for the exhibit in case the big guy wanted to come look at it. He got into his car and took off, leaving Vegas far behind. On the way out of town he took off his illusion choker and let down the window. At the first rest stop he pulled in and changed into the more male version of the kimono. He was sweaty and it was thinner than anything in his bag. Then he headed for Dallas and the comic and anime convention down there. He had his favorite outfit already in the trunk.
This was so cool! He had missed this sort of fun with Lupin being so grumpy recently. He had done tons and remembered to share it as well. Jigen would be so proud of him.
Lupin came back from his mission, shaking his head. "The evidence guys are very strict around here. I can't beg, borrow, or steal a copy of that surveillance tape." He flopped down and Lotus climbed into his lap with her stuffed sheep. "Morning, Lotus."
"Babababababa," she said, dancing her sheep around on his chest and stomach.
"Yes, it's a very nice sheep," he said patiently. "Goemon?"
"There's a piece missing," he admitted. "It's listed as a family portrait, circa 1639." He grimaced. "Early Shogunate."
"I bet that's what our loon stole," Jigen said with a smile for the precious daughter. "Lotus, why don't you go let your sheep graze on the bedspread. It's stuffed, it should eat cotton."
"Tay," she agreed, grinning at him for the brilliant suggestion as she went to do that.
"Thank you, Jigen," Lupin said dryly.
"I noticed your patience has been a bit short for the mini-uses since the Smithsonian incident," he said.
Lupin groaned, shaking his head. "How did five kids take apart a rocket capsule?"
"I still like how they suggested we put the dinosaur back together," Jigen told him. "With the head under the tail."
Goemon grunted. "My favorite was the Natural History museum with all the pretty gems that Lotus decided we should have to make us quit having a headache."
"Goemon, not to be rude, but don't your kids have a home?" Lupin asked.
"They do, but it is being fumigated from the cricket invasion," he reminded him, giving him a look. "Marcus will be with us shortly."
"At least they listen to him," Jigen said in disgust. "So, boss, this exhibit, then what?"
"Then we find him again and go pounce him until he begs for mercy and to be taken back home," Lupin growled. "Possibly with handcuffs, leather cords, and a paddle."
"This revenge fantasy of yours is getting more ornate," Goemon pointed out. "I'm starting to get worried about you." He returned to his review of the exhibit's contents. "It's quickly turning into an obsession."
"It is not!" Lupin said angrily. "I'm not obsessed, just upset at the loony bitch."
"Call her," Jigen ordered. "She'll come back."
"No she won't, she's pissed at us," Lupin said miserably.
"At you, not us," Goemon reminded him.
"Fine, at me then, happy now?" he asked, getting up to go sulk in his room.
"If you called, she'd come back on the first plane out," Jigen reminded him. Lupin threw something at the door. "He would."
"I agree, he would, but Lupin removed his number from our phones and I don't know his."
"Neither do I," Jigen admitted. "What about Fujiko's phone?"
"She's having a slight case of temper and is sulking at the baccarat table." He shrugged. "She can only spend her own money. We have to double sign any checks from the joint account."
"Very wise of you," Jigen agreed. "Can she forge your signature?"
"Not on these checks. It takes a thumb print as well." He gave Jigen a smug look. "It helps." He went back to his review.
Jigen got up to answer the door, letting Marcus inside. "Thank you."
"It's not a problem. I was heading home anyway," he noted, smiling at the children. "I heard someone's gotten presents at home," he teased, picking up the children to hug.
"You spoil them," Goemon said dryly.
"They're not from me. I only brought more pictures of demons to show them, Master. Xander apparently spent a great deal at Disney World."
"Oh, Gods, no, not a singing Goofy doll," Jigen moaned. Lotus and her sheep came over to cuddle him. "Thanks, Princess."
"Bababa," she offered, holding it out to him.
"I'd rather hold you than the sheep. You hold him while I hug you." She smiled and snuggled in. "That's a good girl. You're very comforting."
She reached up and pinched him on the nose like her mother did her father.
"Until you do that," Jigen told her. "No nose pinching, Lotus. That's your mommy's thing."
Lotus giggled and hugged her sheep harder, making him squeeze her. She danced her sheep around. "Babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababbabababababababababbababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa babababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababababa bababba."
"Lotus," Marcus called. "Sweetling, please. I had to deal with drunken people on the plane. Give it a rest, all right?" She smiled and showed him her sheep. "Yes, it's a beautiful sheep, precious, but Uncle Marcus had a headache. Come cuddle me, make it all better?" She slid down and came over to hug him, letting her sheep dance around on him. "Thank you, love." He gave both kids a squeeze. "I missed you while I was in the city of Hellbeasts."
"Marcus," Goemon warned.
"Sorry, but it was." He gave them both a kiss on the head. "May I tell you two a story?"
"Xan-Xan," Ishi said firmly. "Xan-Xan story."
"Ah, I see the problem." He smiled at them. "He'll be back soon, poppet, can I fill in until then?"
"Your phone has his number on it," Jigen figured out.
"Yes, why?" he asked.
"Lupin erased all of ours where we had his number stashed."
"Ah. He's headed for Dallas for the comic convention, then to Sacramento for a weekend convention, then to that city in Arizona that's not Phoenix, the one I can never remember. Oh, drat, it's nearby and everything."
Lupin came out of his room. "He's headed where?"
"Dallas and then Arizona, that city near Phoenix that's not Phoenix, the one I can never remember but it's very close by. Commuting distance if I remember right."
"Conventions," Goemon noted. "Very predictable of him."
"Hey, he went to see Dawn's new baby too," Jigen pointed out. Lotus was now humming nursery rhymes at her sheep. "Lotus, please," he begged.
Marcus used the oldest trick in the book, he handed out extra-large, unswallowable lollipops. All day suckers actually. Jigen and Goemon both gave him looks, one pleased, one not so pleased.
"You'll rot their teeth," Jigen told him.
"She quit humming, I'm happy with that," Lupin told him. "When are these conventions?" Marcus shrugged. "Can we find them online?"
"You should be able to. I'm not sure how Xander does but I know he finds most of them online."
Lupin smirked and went to hack into Xander's email account, satisfying himself on some things. He found an email confirmation of receipt. "Goemon, he sent it to your house. Fuji signed for it," he called. He checked the mailing list folder, finding two lists listed. One was apparently for conventions so he clicked on a message about the Dallas convention, noting it was already done with. He got out of there and did a search for Dallas's website. Surely the arena or someone had listed it.
Jigen woke up when Lupin crawled in beside him. "Our loony bitch is missing," he said bitterly. "I even went and pounced Myron and Ray, they don't even know where the Dallas convention is. They always know where they are because they get Pops to pay for it under cover of looking for the loony little assmuncher."
Jigen gave his head a shove. "I'm trying to sleep. He's fine, Lupin."
"He's not fine! He's been out by himself for months! He could start to enjoy it!"
"He'll never enjoy it while he has to pay for sex," Jigen reminded him. He yawned and closed his eyes. "We'll go to the one in Tempe or wherever. We'll catch him there on the last day, long before he can leave."
"Yeah," Lupin agreed, lighting up. "We can. We know where and when that one will be."
Jigen nodded, mostly asleep again. "Yeah, and then we can fuck like bunnies. If you'll let me sleep."
"Jigen, can I cuddle?"
"As long as you don't grope." Lupin sighed bitterly and curled up against him. "Thanks." He drifted off with a small smile on his face.
Lupin laid there and added to his revenge fantasy. Xander was now naked, covered in butterscotch after being paddled satisfyingly and tied down. Damn, he needed his woman. He stroked Jigen's stomach. Maybe he'd bend him over his bike and take him that way? No, tying him across the desk at the main house to paddle him and then take him hard and make him beg was the better option. That would be much more satisfying than butterscotch and he liked the office.
"Unless you're planning on bottoming for me, don't do that," Jigen warned.
"Fine." He got up and went into the bathroom. Jigen smirked and shook his head, letting himself sleep. Soon Xander would be back and he could quit wearing the anti-invasion underwear. The really weren't comfortable but he didn't trust Lupin a bit. Lupin moaned Xander's name from the bathroom and he undid the top latch, giving himself some room to expand. He felt the same way but he wasn't the horniest of all living bastards either - he wasn't Lupin. Though he would get to Xander first if he had his way. That way he'd get some untainted Xander in.
To part 14
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