Xander walked into the police station, realizing he spent more time here than he did at the clubs he haunted. The desk sergeant even knew who he was and just handed over a visitor's badge to him without asking what it was about this time. Well, it wasn't the usual problem but it'd be something to check about first. New York wasn't like Sunnydale. They wouldn't ignore this. He sat down next to one of the minions of Beckett. "Detective Ryan....."
"Damn, you do know our names," he said dryly, shooting the kid a glare. "You lost me ten bucks."
"Well, you two act like minions," he shot back with an evil smirk. "I'm not here about the newest date."
"Another five lost. So give me something I can win back some with, kid?" He saved the report he was working on.
"You know those wills and the former curse on my ex-girlfriends?"
"I remember laughing myself sick at that, yeah," he admitted dryly. "Why? One come back to bite you?"
"Well, I'm not sure." He put down the forms. The detective took it to look over. "I checked it over. It's a really nice, huge ass warehouse."
"And the problem with that would be?"
"It's also listed as you guys' apocalypse vault." He put down the other paper he was carrying. "That says it's NYPD property but according to her lawyer she owns it and all the contents. When he did a search, because I brought this point up to him, he said that it's still hers, not you guys'. Now, since you guys think I'm storing some *cases* in a closet and like to nag about that, I thought I'd be nice and check this one first."
The detective looked at the kid. "How do you get into these things?"
"She was pretty good in bed?" he guessed dryly.
"Clearly. Anything else in there I should know about?"
"It's clear some of it's magical," he offered. "Because it's not a huge building but it took me three days to walk *one* row."
Detective Ryan stared at him oddly. "This I gotta see." He grabbed his jacket and followed the kid, letting him drive this time. The warehouse was still in Manhattan. The kid checked his phone to get the code to press in and they walked in. He walked out, rubbing a hand over his face. The building was maybe three stories. Looked to be a normal, average, small warehouse space. Maybe a quarter of a block wide. He walked back inside and his skin darkened from the breeze in the clearly bigger than a aircraft carrier, or six, building. He blinked his eyes a few times then looked at the kid. "Who was she?"
He pointed at the papers. "Her."
He read it over then shook his head. "This is really weird."
"No, really weird is she has ties to the Watchers Council since she's storing some of their stuff too, or she stole it from them." He pointed at a box. "I remember my friend Buffy blowing up that thing to re-separate it so it would quit killing people."
"What was it?" he asked.
"A huge ass demon called the Judge. Can't be killed but you can separate it into parts. It's a leggo demon. Put it together and it's alive."
Detective Ryan shook his head quickly, staring around them. Behind them the door opened again. "NYPD," he said, holding up his badge.
"Us too," the younger detective said.
"Hi, Detectives Flack and Taylor," Xander said dryly.
"What are you doing in here?" Taylor demanded. Ryan handed over the forms. He read over both of them. "I thought this was NYPD property."
"According to her lawyer it's not," Xander said. "I went to Detective Ryan to check on that for me. Especially since it's not all weapons. Some of it's Council crap and artifacts."
Taylor looked at him then around, then back at the kid. "If it's yours, you can't keep the weapons."
Ryan coughed. "Actually, Captain Turner...."
"I heard," Mac said bluntly. "If he needs something that big, he can ask first. That's part of the reason why we keep these things; in case of invasion."
"It's a Cold War standing order," Flack agreed. "My father used to run it but it got handed into my care since I work well with Taylor." He shrugged, taking the papers to look at. "Huh. So her lawyer said...."
"It was still hers. He had no idea how the NYPD had claimed it since it wasn't in any paperwork he could find," Xander told him. "Which is why I went to Detective Ryan."
Mac looked around. "Is there an inventory?"
"Shelf lists," Xander said, pointing at one. "Clipboard per shelving unit."
Mac looked over the nearest one. "Where's the weapons?" Xander looked then pointed so they hiked over there. Ryan's phone rang and he hung back to explain what was going on to his boss, who agreed he could handle this for their unit. He hung up and caught up with the kid. Mac looked at him too. "Needed for a new case?"
"No. My boss likes the kid and he hands most of his dates to us one way or another." Flack snickered, shaking his head. "Seriously! Since he started handing them over when we asked or we do automatic background checks, my stats are wonderful. A few serial killers, a few normal murderers, a few people traffickers."
"The drug dealer I handed you directly," Xander reminded him. "Because I hated his ass once I found out how he afforded dinner."
"Him too," he agreed. "Though I liked the stripper girlfriend who still had the whipped cream on her."
"Not my fault she decided she was going to stun me with the stuff she laced the whipped cream with then use our kitchen to cook up a bioweapon," Xander said dryly.
"True, it wasn't your fault. You draw them for some strange reason," he assured him with a pat on the back. "Thank you for not trying to hide these in Tara's closet."
"It's not that big," Xander said dryly. "And I have better hiding areas, thank you."
"Oh, no," Flack said. "It can join these weapons if they're higher than guns. I know what you do," he said when the kid opened his mouth. "We got briefed after that...terrorist you guys defeated." Mac moaned, shaking his head. "I know it was necessary. We all know it was necessary. No way in hell we're letting you keep higher weapons, kid."
"Beckett gets nagging rights over it but Castle thinks he figured out where most of them are," Ryan told him with a grin. "He's technically our mascot."
"Hers, or the whole team's?" Xander said dryly. "Who says I have higher weapons?"
"Yeah, right," Mac said, giving him a dirty look. "We can store them in the same apocalypse vault, which means you'd have access when you needed it as long as you told us first, kid. The FBI office subtly let us know they knew about that situation too. That's why they wanted us to do an inventory of our apocalypse and invasion supplies." He stared the boy down. The boy stared back. Most guys looked away. This kid... he could respect him but there was no way he was leaving him with weapons. "We can add them to this stuff since you can't have these weapons either."
"That might be a problem," Xander told him.
"Why?" Ryan asked with a smirk. Beckett couldn't even get the kid to admit he got any. This was a good sign.
"Because some of them... I'm only keeping out of worse hands."
"Former dates?" Flack quipped.
"And some poker buddies who know better than to have them in the city."
Ryan stared at him. "I *knew* some of them paid you in artillery."
"And a few I left a note canceling out their poker debts after I picked out what I wanted," Xander said dryly. "Because unless they're going off-plane I don't want them here either. If they're going off-plane I can't say a word. It's not my right, but if they're hanging around down here, no."
Mac stared at the kid. "You've been taking weapons from them?"
"It's kinda an open secret that if I hear about it, I'll confiscate it. It's a tradition that I've held since Sunnydale. It's making them think up all sorts of crazy plans. Like the guy who shrank some and implanted them under a goat's skin."
"Was that when you brought us goat for lunch?" Ryan asked.
"Yup." He grinned at him. "He got so pissed. I pointed out I had heard. He was in deep and it was me or Buffy, who would coo, pet, and get hot. He shuddered at the thought of her getting hot on his weapons."
Ryan shook his head, looking at the more senior detective. "Yeah, he's like that," he said at the horrified looks. "Castle said it had something to do with a date."
"No, he didn't hit on me. Their kind aren't breeders so they consider sex disgusting."
Mac shook his head quickly. "I want them gone too. Give me addresses?"
"Today," he ordered with Flack.
"And yours," Flack reminded him. Xander scowled. "I don't care if they're your puppy dogs, kid. You're not NYPD or a Fed. They can arrest you for that."
"The ATF are still trying to figure out how I gave two of them some stuff that was broken," he said dryly. "I even left the address of the guy's warehouse in one. He was human even."
"Nice of you," Ryan agreed, patting him on the arm. "All of them below the assault rifles. Beckett said you could have those. If you need it for a book, come take notes or pictures. And no more being paid in guns? Please? You're freaking out some of the lesser officers who think that your white knight complex is going to turn you into the Punisher."
"When I was younger, I wanted to be Batman," he offered with a cheesy grin.
Ryan snorted. "I think most local kids wanted to be Spiderman. He's a local." Xander snickered. "Today. Even to Castle if you want. We know he'll do the right thing."
"Not even a few? I've had a few since that double date in high school."
"No!" He shook his head. "Not even the stuff that you took out of Sunnydale with you. Because I know you had the same deal going there." Xander slumped. "Just text Castle the address and the code to get in. I'll tell him why." The boy pouted and gave him puppy eyes.
Flack smacked the kid on the top of the head. "Stop that. I don't care if they're your pets."
"Tara gave him kittens," Ryan told him. "Which can't play with them either."
"She only shrank the unworking mine for their toy."
Taylor moaned, rubbing his forehead. "No."
"Fine," he muttered. He found some blank paper and wrote on it. He noticed something funny and stopped writing. "That's an artifact." He put it back and got handed Ryan's notebook and pen. He wrote down the addresses. "Am I going to be in trouble?"
"Only if you don't hand over all yours," he ordered. "And stockpile without Beckett's express permission."
Xander looked at him. "I'm not her minion."
"No, you're Castle's mentoree and he's her minion," he said bluntly, giving the kid a dirty look.
Flack snickered. "I heard you guys had a team approach."
"Before today I wasn't sure the kid knew what my name was. He calls me and my partner her minions." He looked things over and then at the kid. "This all of them including yours?" The boy pouted. "C'mon. At least all the demon ones."
"I'm not going to touch the ones going off-plane. Some of them are at war for really good reasons."
"I get that," Taylor agreed. "How many don't you know in the city? And any that may even think about selling to the other sort, I want gone." Xander huffed but added a few more. "Now put yours on there."
"No, Beckett was told to deal with his," Ryan told him. "It can go into the same vault, but no." He looked at the kid. "Tell Castle."
"He's writing today."
"He'll be happy. His wrist is screwed up again. He sprained it yesterday."
"I know. He got something from Tara for it."
"Then text Alexis. That way she can annoy her dad."
"She's in school." He checked his watch then him. "That'll get me bitched at by her dad."
"Kid," he warned. Xander slumped but wrote that down. So he texted it to Castle, who could go find it and tell Beckett. He got back one and replied. So he'd handle it with her. They got to work on the current weapons and Mac got those demonic arms dealers turned into the halfie ATF agent he knew. Because someone was in trouble.
Castle got into the warehouse building. It was a bigger U-Store place. He looked. The kid's cargo container was cute. He closed the door behind him and got into it, staring at it. "Huh." He called Beckett. She came to look too. "Not as many as I thought."
She stared then around. She went to talk to the guy working the desk. "Does Mr. Harris only rent the one unit?" she asked.
The guy stared at her oddly. "Xander?"
"Yes, him," she said.
"Are you Council?"
"No, I'm his overlord," she said bluntly. "I'm Beckett."
"Hi, I'm Rick Castle," Rick said from over her shoulder.
"He said you might need something for research." He looked at her. "He said you're mean to his dates."
"I only arrest them," she said blandly. "How many?"
"The whole thing?" he guessed, waving a hand.
"Does anyone rent any of them off him?" Rick asked while she was stunned.
"A few but they're demons." He shrugged.
"I want that list," she said. "If I have to I can get a warrant but we're moving all his weapons to our city's apocalypse vault."
"Wow, we weren't sure we had one," the demon said.
"Yes, we do."
"Huh. You know, that means it's going to be fair game to steal from there? Because no one's stupid enough to steal from Xander. Rosenburg's scary, especially now."
"I heard she's about three months along," Castle said with a grin.
"We heard, dude. We're all praying for mercy when she's got mood swings."
"Tara has a plan."
"Thank her Goddess for me, dude." He handed over the clipboard of renters. "He'll pout at me."
"He's pouting at the guys who are handling the apocalypse vault," she said. She walked off to look at things. She texted the kid she was going to kick his ass after the second semi-full storage bay.
"He has good taste," Rick said. "For an army."
"Maybe, but still!"
"Who is with him?" he asked quietly.
"Ryan and two of the officers on the board of the apocalypse vault." She smirked at him. "He texted me that the kid inherited the warehouse and contents."
"Which is why we're getting this now." Her phone got a text and she read it then looked at him. "I owe you five bucks, Castle. That goat did have a story behind it. Someone had imported some shrunken weapons under its skin." He shuddered. "Ryan said they're in bay 12." He went to look and moaned, slumping against the wall. She looked and shook her head. "Any other shocks?"
"I could've sworn that the kitty toy Alexis accidentally borrowed thanks to a kitten playing in her jacket was a mine but it was too tiny," he told her.
"Tara can probably shrink things."
"Probably," he sighed. "So hopefully it's not working since I tossed it back to him." He texted that to the kid. "Yeah, he disarmed it." She shook her head, calling the other detectives to come get this stuff too. Plus a warning that they might be considered fair game now without the kid being scary and possessive over them.
Taylor looked at the kid that night, staring at him. "All your excess of weapons were safely added to the apocalypse vault."
"I've already heard where you guys moved it," Xander assured him. "And made the three demons who were thinking about breaking in stop."
"Thank you for that," he said. He handed over an agreement. "That is what the FBI and ATF sent over." Xander read it over, grimacing. "They're not real pleased since we're not in Sunnydale and you could have come to us."
"I went to the ones I trusted in LA," he told him, looking up. "I have no idea beyond three I know are dirty who to go to out here."
"I can understand that," he assured him. "The ones you...wrote about, we're probably safe."
"Which is why you remember today," Xander said bluntly, staring at him. "If I didn't trust you, you wouldn't."
"I understand," he assured him. "Sign it if you agree. No more poker debts or we're going to arrest you for them."
"How about if we set up a joint custody space since your apocalypse vault is now overflowing?" he suggested. "Because if I call you as soon as I get it, they won't give me any and I'll have a lot of problems confiscating."
"That I may see as long as I know you can't take them out without permission." He walked off to call the agents and the rest of the vault's controlling board. They agreed that it was good and it would keep the kid out of trouble or using it. He came back ten minutes later. "They said that would be fine. At your warehouse." Xander wrote down a bay and access code. "Is it that now?"
"Beckett changed it on me earlier. She had already agreed with that because it was that or cats and I don't want paid in cats."
"That's fine. We can agree with that." A new agreement got faxed and he read it over then handed it to the kid. He read it and signed it. "Thank you. Now, as for the rest of that mind-altering and swear-producing warehouse, any other weapons....."
"Would probably be artifacts or magical," Xander pointed out, leaning back some. "I found a few earlier."
"Don't sell those without warning us."
"I'm not. I might have someone come tell me what they are, but otherwise no."
"The insurance people would probably like that," he said dryly.
"She paid the insurance on it for the next thousand years. It's somewhere in the office."
"Even better. Now, are there any other dangers in this city that we who know about the underground need to be aware of?"
"You guys know about the nasty law firm that has a contract out on your lab for daring to win against them?"
"No, I did not," he said calmly. Xander got into his phone and Mac wrote down the fax number for him. It came out a few minutes later. He read it over. "That is very good to know. Anything else that might impact anyone that you might have met while traveling?"
"Some against Jack's guys," he admitted. "I think I emailed those to him."
"Good. Make sure later." The kid nodded. "Let me know if there's anything else we should hear. That way I can be just as protective of my people as you are of yours."
Xander nodded. "I know it's a hard thing."
"Sometimes but they need it."
"Yeah." He wrote down something else. "That's a storage bay with records from Sunnydale's intelligence underground. It might have things in there, I don't know." He looked at him. "We worked with the team that's headed by Epps in LA on the Sunnydale shutdown."
"Good to know. Where is that?"
"I have someone from there."
"Yeah, she's a bit... mentally flaked," he said quietly. "Or she was there."
Mac nodded. "I can get with Epps to look that over," he promised. "Just let her draw us a map." The boy beamed at him. "Tell us in the future?"
"Yes, Detective Taylor."
"Thank you, Xander. Go home. Play with the cats." Xander fled. Mac smiled, gathering things together to go to his office and call that agent. If the kid trusted him, he was probably a stand-up guy. The federal phone book online had him listed. Like most agents his desk phone was probably forwarded. If not, it could wait until tomorrow.
"Yeah, Epps," he answered, sounding angry.
"This is Detective Taylor, NYPD."
"What can I do for you, Detective? A case out this way? If so, I can't access records because I'm on my way to a bust."
"Actually, I think this is something that can wait a few hours if you'll call me back. I was just given your name and the address of Mr. Harris', or someone's, information source drop."
"I see." He paused. Then he huffed. "In LA?"
"No. In Montana."
"Then I know someone I can refer you to, who was in Sunnydale and the kid freaked out majorly, who can help you go through it and pass out things. He's in fugitive recovery."
"That'd be fine," he agreed. "He said he didn't know who to trust out here. I pointed out the few he knew he could so we're good now that we've taken his weapons for our city's invasion vault."
Epps let out a bitter sounding snicker. "We found the local group's out here. He was very thorough taking the poor things in to be adopted according to the local sources."
"He did the same here. Plus inherited some."
"Make the kid quit playing kitten poker?"
"He's got a few detectives who watch what he dates," Mac assured him. "They're over that too."
"Thank God." He sighed. "I'll call Ian tonight and have him call you, Detective. You're in which extension?"
"I'm the lead of the Manhattan Felony lab."
"How.... That new series," he said dryly.
"Yes it was. Plus I'm on the board over the vault."
"Even better. Let us know if anything comes back to us. Thank you." He hung up. He called Ian as they were pulling onto the street. "It's Don Epps, Ian," he told his voicemail. "Harris came up with a new information drop from Sunnydale in Montana. He gave it to the head of the Manhattan Felony lab, a Detective Taylor. Harris said he trusted me so he called me, I'm referring you because we just got handed a damn terrorist cell. Thanks." He hung up.
Mac Taylor met the agent he had talked to at the warehouse with Danny Messer. "Agent Edgerton," he said, shaking his hand. "Detectives Taylor and Meser, NYPD."
"Hey." He shook Danny's hand. "Did that kid creep you out too?"
"Kinda," Danny agreed. "But he's damn handy to have around and we finally convinced him we'd baby his weapons like he did."
"He seems like the sort to coo over them," Ian agreed. They got into the warehouse and he stared at the long rows of filing cabinets. "This is a lot."
Mac went over the first few. "They're sorted. This one's NYPD." He opened it, finding all the information on the last few offers against officers. Including more on the one against his lab.
Danny snooped. "It's alphabetical," he said. "ATF starts the first one." Ian went to start there. He was federal so that was reasonable. Danny helped with the NYPD drawers. "Hey, I didn't know someone wanted me dead." He put that aside. The guy was in prison. "Ah-ha! Current ones." Mac shifted to look those over with him. They saw a moving shadow so he stared harder. "Harris sent us here," he called.
"That is fine," a timid female voice called quietly. "He told me why. It is reasonable."
"If you want, you can help us," Mac offered.
"I am only the librarian. Like the great Tara, I only shelve things." She scurried off.
"Good to know," Danny told Mac, who nodded. They kept going and it was better. They had a lot of stuff to hand over. Ian moaned a few times but they only smiled at it. It had sounded like it was good.
"Damn it, he knows where most of my captures were before I did. I need his pipeline of information," Ian complained.
The detectives smiled. "Learn to play kitten poker," Mac called.
"No thank you! I learned about that in Sunnydale." He came over reading a file, handing it over. "Your neck of the woods."
Mac looked it over. "He got arrested last week for DUI. He nearly ran into a scene and my second-in-command made him sorry." He handed it back with a smile. "She was very pissed that he was drunk and decided to play with her hair while he was in the car."
"Yeah, that's a good reason to be pissed," he said, going back to his section. He called in some of the local agents to copy things for them. They could do paperwork because he hated it.
Mac walked into the office, staring at the redhead who looked like he had a headache. "Want me to run out and get you some tylenol?" he asked quietly.
Horatio Caine's head popped up and he smiled at him. "Mac Taylor, why are you in Miami?"
"I had an information drop and library handed to me by someone that tends to freak out federal agents."
"How much can we trust?"
"It's from an underground poker circuit. A lot of it was on hits that were put out. The records went for the last ten years. I have this lab's in the trunk if you'd like it."
"You know I would. Many current?"
"Yes, and who was rumored to have taken them." The redhead smirked at him. "It is very well notated. The one who gave it to me is mostly normal but he's a fantasy writer and this is his poker circuit."
"Ah." He followed him down to the car, seeing all the boxes. "That is a lot."
"Yes it is," Mac agreed. "Every single offer, no matter from what source. Including some syndicates and major drug lords."
"Nice of him. Why did he hand it over?"
"I asked after we made him hand over the artillery he inherited for our invasion vault."
Horatio looked at him. "I remember hearing about that vault."
"He inherited a warehouse that had a lot of it. He nicely checked on custody since we thought we had owned it. We wore him down since he was also taking in weapons from that underground circuit to keep them out of worse hands. A white knight."
"Charming. Is he going vigilante?"
"No, not in the least. Not unless he has to protect someone who needs him to. Like his roommate. Even the FBI has run into him and his friends for protecting things, like their former town before the FBI shut it down."
"No, the town. It was that dirty."
"I heard about that," he admitted, tipping his head to the side and taking off his sunglasses. "Tell me more."
Mac smiled. "Inside, Horatio. It's hot down here."
Horatio put his glasses back on. "Of course it is. Miami is heat and passion that leads to a lot of deaths." He helped carry in the boxes with a few officers. They had to make a few trips but that was fine as well. Once they were in the air conditioning, Horatio took off his glasses again. "Now, tell me more about this little secret underground, Mac. I don't want something like that down here."
"I have no idea if there are any down here." He texted the kid who took a few minutes but gave him some names. "Ah, you do have a few on the kitten poker circuit." He showed him the names, getting a shudder. "I take you've been there?"
"One scene at that third one down," he admitted. "It was very disgusting. Cannibals dressed as giant rabbits."
"That's more interesting than his usual poker buddies," Mac said. If Horatio didn't believe in demons or didn't know, he wasn't going to enlighten him. Why give the man nightmares? They got bottles of water and sat down to go through all the files.
Danny Messer waved the truck back onto the loading dock, waving it to stop when it got close enough. He waved at the rookie officers. "Up to the lab, on our third floor, to the end of the hall and that empty room with just a table." They nodded and got the boxes onto handtrucks and up there. It still took three trips but that was fine. The rookies and the truck were released back to their usual jobs. Stella, the second-in-command, showed up with another female detective. "Hey, our new homicide detective?"
"No, I work with Harris. I'm Detective Kate Beckett," she said, shaking his hand. "I wanted to see how much of this was ours."
He looked at the boxes. "The precincts and years are marked, Detective."
She smiled. "Call me Kate. I have the feeling we're going to be at this for days." Stella laughed and nodded. They got into their individual boxes.
"He seems like a nice kid," Danny told her as he read to sort farther.
"Most of the time but he has this bad habit of jumping into things, mostly to protect people." She looked over. "Honestly, I like the kid. He's a nice guy. If he wasn't so intense I'd consider all the times he flirted with me." They both smirked at her. "But he draws psychos for dates and everything he does he attacks. Protecting his roommate and himself. Protecting me once because my fellow detectives and ride-along civilian decided I'd be safer with him than at the station. Writing. He's just very intense. I've heard he cuts loose well enough but he's still on guard thanks to people wanting to keep him. Mostly because they're evil and want to sleep with him," she admitted with a huff.
Stella shook her head. "I heard rumors of a guy like that in LA at a convention a few years back but I thought he was an urban legend."
"No, that was Harris," Kate told her blandly, giving her a look. "He had to move. His publisher said so." Stella shook her head. "He's the same Harris that puts out those fantasy novels."
"How did you meet him?" Danny asked.
"My civilian ride-along is his mentor." She smirked. "Harris is like a younger, less slick version of Castle. He told me what was going on when we had to question him about one of his ex's. Then I got the file from LA." She rolled her eyes. "Even if he dates guys, it's bad."
"He'll find one some day," Stella assured her.
"Only if they're bad and then reformed," she shot back. "We keep a list of who he's dated more than once on our murder boards so we can compare names. We've had a few that wanted him and that's how they proved it to him. Not to mention his draw of the serious dark, psychotic sort. Though he'll hand them in if he thinks they're too evil. He's dragged in more than one or their names and his looser background check."
Danny snickered. "I'm so glad I'm not that bad."
A younger woman walked in. "Is this casework?"
"No, Lindsay, this is stuff from an information drop on people who've put out contracts on us," Stella told her. "We'll be calling some precincts later to come get their boxes so show them up."
"Any on me?"
Danny looked at her. "Not that I've seen yet." He got back to work. "Hey, Stella." She looked over at him. He let her read the one he was glancing over. She stared at it then glared at him. He grinned. "Good ta know?"
"Very! Thank you." She took it to read deeper. "I see that is why I had that car crash right before that trial. They were weak." She put it aside.
Lindsay looked at the boxes. "Why is one marked Flack/Taylor/Reyas?" she asked.
"That's who that box covers," Danny said. "Flack'll be here soon too. Reyas retired last year."
"So it's his dad's?"
"No, it's all his," Danny said dryly. "His dad's are further back. This only goes back 4 or 5 years." She shuddered and walked off.
"Reyas was a good detective," Kate agreed quietly. "But an ass to female detectives sometimes."
Stella nodded. "I remember. He pinched me and I swatted him. Got in trouble with my sergeant at the time but he laughed it off. He told me women detectives have to have bigger balls and more brains than the average male detective."
Kate smirked at her. "That makes me feel better for decking him when he tried to hug me once." Danny snickered. "I did."
"I'm sure you did. The man got punched nearly daily I think." They moved to the next box to sort.
Flack walked in looking displeased. "Where's my stack?" They pointed at the box. He read the index and looked at them. "Just me?"
"Only goes back 5 years," Stella told him.
"Ah." He carried it off. Mac was in his office. Reyas was coming off the elevator so he head nodded. "This is our box with Taylor. We can be comfy in his office."
"Sure." They went that way and he got his stack. They had put in notecards to show where they were separated. He read them over, shaking his head. "Some of this is ancient history being brought up again by their kids."
Don smirked. "I only inherited a few of my dad's beefs but I've got plenty of 'you put my daddy away' ones."
Reyas nodded. "Me too." He looked at him. "You look a lot more like your mother, Flack."
"Just don't pinch me on the ass like you did her, Uncle Dick."
"Fine." He smiled and got back to work, making Mac shake his head. "Even if you are pretty enough to be a girl. What's this I heard about a fantasy author using you?"
"Not just me but yeah. Apparently I'm cute. He offered to make me an elf too," he said dryly.
Reyas looked at him. "Your father would flip out."
"I told him just to watch him choke, splutter, and swear," Don said with an evil smirk. "Ma said he was being bored and lazy around the house." Mac snickered. "He was. Ma said he wouldn't even take out the trash. So I was his payback for not giving in."
"I'm so glad I never had to have that sort of talk with my father," Mac told him. "He would not have been amused if I got put into a book."
"I don't know, Mac, you'd make a good elf," Reyas said. Mac scowled. He smirked back. "Most of them today look like too-pretty sissy boys."
"Gee, thanks," Flack said dryly. "That one liked me because of my stare and physical prowess." He looked at his 'uncle'. "Or are you hitting on me?" he asked dryly. "Because sometimes I'm dense about that stuff; overloaded from all the offers."
"Your father would shit," he said bluntly.
"Nah, only if I dated Harris. Then I'd better pray for an exorcism," Don joked.
"Harris found these?" Reyas asked.
"Yeah. You know 'im?" Don asked with a smirk.
"I know his mentor and heard about him in some similar circles. He's mostly a nice kid until you attack around him." He got back to it. "For some reason it doesn't surprise me that he gathered these. Poker debts?"
"He said his poker circle dropped them there," Mac told him.
"Figures." He finished up and hefted his stack. "Thank you, boys." He left, going to complain to his walls at home. He had always felt pissing people off meant he was doing a good job. This just proved it. He had a whole bunch of badges of honor for his duty.
Flack smiled at Mac. "Dad and he used to play poker too."
Mac smirked back. "You are pretty but not my type."
Don snorted. "I know that. Don't worry, you're too butch for me too, Mac. I could never date a butch guy like you." Mac snickered and they finished up their piles and went to help the other sorting team. Don got to carry his precinct's back. The higher ups were not going to be amused by any means.
Tara came home the night all the switching and handing over was done, staring at the moping man on the couch. "What happened?" she asked, bending to pet the creeling kittens. "What? I'm back. I told you I'd be back. It's not like I disappeared." She put her purse in her bedroom, and one immediately decided to lay on top of it for her so she couldn't have it back. She smiled and changed into something to lounge around in. They all followed her to the kitchen to get a drink then to the living room. Xander's kitten ran over to pounce him again, getting petted. "What happened?" she asked again.
"They finished taking all the toys."
She rolled her eyes. "You're lucky they didn't arrest you for that, Xander."
"I know, but they know I wasn't going to use them on normal people."
"Still. You're not military or an agent."
He looked at her. "True, but...."
She shook her head. "You know they're paranoid. They probably decided it'd help protect you from your next girlfriend." She sipped her water, having to shoo a paw out of her glass. She stared at the cat. "Is your bowl empty?" The cat silently meowed and nudged her with his head, getting petted. She shook her head and he was snickering. "She'll do it to you sometime."
"I think she wants to be a bad girl. She's still trying to live inside my t-shirt with me."
"It's nipple fixation since she wasn't breast fed," she joked.
"Then wouldn't she be up *your* shirt?" he joked back.
"You're her parent. That means you should feed her." She took another drink and put her glass down. Which meant it was fair game for paws, tongues, and in one case a whole head. She saved the glass from tipping over and breaking, gently prying the struggling cat out. She apparently hadn't realized water in a glass was the same stuff she hated in the sink during a bath. That one went to hide behind Xander and hiss at the glass. "You did it to yourself," Tara told the kitten.
Xander petted her, calming her down. "Relax. Next time, don't drink her water." The cat snuggled into his side with a smug look for Tara. "We need to teach them to not drink out of the toilet. Last night I went in to pee and nearly caught one of them. She almost fell in when I flipped on the light and I didn't see her when I started. She scurried off to hide."
"I'm sure the first one that gets hit will tell the others," she said dryly.
"Maybe." He petted the other two, making them quit trying to pounce her shirt. "Of course they'd probably run in to hide with you." She grimaced, shaking her head. "So how do we keep them out of the toilet?"
"Put down the lid?"
He pointed at his. "I got woken up by her trying to get the lid up this morning."
She sighed. "We'll figure it out. Miss Kitty never had those problems. Even when she got out in the dorm. She just went to cuddle the cheerleaders and interrupt them having sex."
"I'm sure she had fun giving them odd looks for trying to breed." She snickered, nodding some. "But, the new babies will be shared."
"Thank you. You worried me you know."
He smirked. "They made me after that one inheritance hearing I had that morning ended up being a very large warehouse full of weapons and artifacts." She moaned, shaking her head. "Much larger than it should be as well." She slumped. He pointed at the paper he had written on. "Writing the address on that led to all the spells being taken off it."
She took it to examine then looked at him. "That's some complex spell work," she said, putting it back down carefully. "Does it work when you're writing on it for other purposes?"
"That depends. Did that hidden chamber in your library open?"
"I wondered why that suddenly became more visible," she muttered. He smirked. She pinched him on the arm. "It's a personal collection." She picked up her glass to take a drink. The kittens all stared at her so she huffed and went to refill their bowl. It was still full but she rinsed it out and refilled it, plus added a few ice cubes to keep it cold. They batted at them but she let them for now. Everything was a new kitten toy to them. It made her feel happy to make them learn something new. Even when she had to go clean up the mess when one fell in. Xander was snickering but that was fine this time. He could get the next mess. "Did you do the litterboxes?" she asked.
"Yup, before I went there. I figured it was about as good as the shit I'd see with the lawyer."
"Funny," she said dryly. "Which hearing was this morning?"
"The people stealer? Or was she the 'pedestrians for points' girl?"
"The one who hit walkers with her car on purpose."
"What did she want?"
"To donate eggs to you since clearly you needed some."
"Not really." She took another drink. One of the kittens pounced her so she let her drink out of the glass too, carefully tipping it. That one purred and snuggled into her chest. "What else did she want to give you that you protested?"
"A lot. I did protest. The judge thought it was funny until my lawyer told him how many there were."
"Did he still giggle like a schoolgirl?"
"And then some," he said dryly. "Especially that one he had turned down hearing due to personal involvement ended up being one of mine. It was his hated sister-in-law. He said that in open court. He wished me well and warned that there was probably some demon lurking for her soul."
"I banished one of those recently. I can do it again," she reminded him. He grinned back. "That bad?" He smirked and nodded. "Shoot."
"Yup. We'll go over it after the last one. That way we can sell at least half of it on them."
He smirked and leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. "One of them came up with fake marriage records too." He changed the channel and the cats all sped off at the rapid gunshots. He changed it back and settled in to a cat free lap.
"That was mean."
"Yay. They needed to hide and nap anyway. They're ignoring the kitten imperative."
"True." She got comfy too. She loved watching Law and Order with him. They found the same stuff funny.
Xander walked into the Hyperion the week before the annual writers' convention. "Angel, I need someone who can look at mystical artifacts and tell me what the hell they are and what's dangerous."
"Why not ask one of the Watchers?" he asked quietly.
"Because they might've been theirs originally. A few have nicely noted cards written in Britspeak."
"If not, probably family," he agreed. "What sort of artifacts?" Xander handed over the copied pages from the shelf inventory. He read, starting to scowl, eyebrows going up instead of down a few times. "This is...."
"From an ex."
"The curse?" he asked dryly. Xander nodded. "A few were theirs but Wes wouldn't tell them."
"I might sell some of them back but nothing that can be used as a weapon. An officer spotted and picked up a quill pen to look at, finding it was poisonous."
"You had officers in there?"
"She also had a lot of the NYPD invasion vault."
"Ah!" He nodded at that, then shook his head. "I heard they got yours."
"Yup, thanks to hers. I can get into them if I have to but I have to warn first. Mostly while I'm getting into them."
"So they know?"
"Yup, and someone made sure there's a team in the New York ATF office that saw the Sunnydale report; someone in the local FBI that saw it. It got handed to the fifty officers and detectives who're in the know to handle demon things. They all think I'm highly overprotective." He grinned.
"Did you prove them wrong yet?" Gunn asked as he came out of the office.
"Hell no. They sent people to rescue Tara before I could go. They decided I'd be messy." They all smirked at him. He grinned back. "Beyond that, most of the community is peaceful. The ones that aren't, we're watching and they know it." He shrugged. "When vamps were being paid to take out targets for Wolfram and Hart, I let SWAT do it." They all groaned. "One of them was in on the underground."
"Wonderful," Angel said. "The vampires?"
"Gone. That was that troop going after detectives to turn."
"I'm glad they're gone," Buffy said, coming down the stairs with a yawn. "Big news?"
"I needed referred to someone who would be able to do an inventory of some mystical artifacts I inherited from the ex's." She gave him the oddest look so he grinned. "That curse."
"Wes could. Or Giles."
"Some probably used to be Council owned."
"Ah!" She nodded at that. "Wes was saying something from his father's collection got stolen last year. Wes?" He came out of his room and down the stairs. "Xander inherited some mystical crap."
Angel handed over the list. "His ex probably stole some."
He read it over, nodding. "I dare say that's clear." He made notes next to them. A few he had to look up.
"I need to know what needs to be put into a locking box, Wes," Xander told him. "An officer picked up a quill and we had no idea it was a poisonous source."
"Oh, dear," he said with a wince. "Peacock looking?" He nodded quickly. "Did they poor man get an antidote?"
"Tara spotted him changing colors and fixed it with a general one."
"Even better." He went back to marking down what he knew, putting stars next to things that should be locked up. It was a lot of the list. "Was she going for weapons?"
"Yeah, they cleared out the mundane weapons for the anti-invasion vault."
Wes moaned, shaking his head. "We heard you were made to hand over yours."
"Ah." He went back to the list. "Is this complete?"
"Not by a count. There's at least a hundred not on those and that's not all the lists. I was going to tempt someone into coming to check them out and give me a real inventory with those."
Wesley looked at him. "Let me have a bed for a few weeks."
"Sure." Wesley smiled and walked off to call Giles to make sure he could handle Watcher duty locally for a few days. Or possibly a month. This would be a wonderful vacation. It was what he was trained for.
Xander looked around. "Anyway, we've got the writer's convention this weekend. I was asked politely by my publisher to please not have emergencies or demons show up at the hotel this year. Unlike last year or the year I had to leave to help with a battle." They all smirked at him. He shrugged. "We've got a bunch of newbies this year. Only two of us on the young writer's panel have been there."
"We'll try," Angel said. "Where is it being held?" Xander handed over a copy of the itinerary. It also had the sponsored shopping trips. He read it over, nodding. "We've got two nests near there and a routine poker game in their backroom."
"I doubt most of the authors will be doing that," he admitted. "But the nests? Can I help?"
"Sure," Buffy decided. They went to clear those out. Not that they wouldn't refill in a few weeks. Xander called someone to pick up the stuff to donate it somewhere. She gave him a smug look. "It means the next ones can't use it." He walked off with her to cool down and get a drink on their way to the next problem. It was their usual routine. The others could handle the other local problems. That way it would be a quiet convention. Castle had nearly begged him to make sure nothing came near Alexis this year.