Calleigh was standing on the front steps as two nice classic sports cars zipped in and parked. Not her boys. Two other interns. She got them to the right area. Her boys were about to be late. She heard a growl and looked at the engine. She blinked. "That has to be them," she decided. Sure enough they got out. "Morning, boys. You decided to upgrade?"
"Yeah, the last date kinda decided to blow them up on us," 2 said dryly. "We went with something classic and alluring, and then this update. We'll fight over who gets which one." He shook her hand. "Miss Duquesne."
"Mr. Harris." She shook both their hands. "Welcome to Miami." They beamed. "Are you set to work?"
"Do we need our stuff now or later?"
"Bring it now," she ordered. 1 went back to get it and came back. "Even with sidearms. Are we licensed?" They gave her odd looks. "Never mind. Concealed carry?"
"Yes, and updated to this state's as well," 2 said smoothly, taking her arm to walk her inside. "So, we have heard from your overall boss, who tried to suck up, and then your actual boss who groaned at the sucking up. Part of our contract was a look at some of our more common models if necessary. You'll let us know?"
"Of course I would." She opened the door. "Women's lib, boys," she said with a smirk.
1 snorted. "We know women who can kick our asses every day for a year and still demand we open doors, escort them properly, and all that. Plus be their shopping mules."
"I'm not like that. Don't worry about it." They beamed and went inside to put things in the ballistics lab. She smirked at their backs. Someone had tried to civilize those two and it was clear it hadn't worked. She led them to the internship meeting and let them go. Then she went back to get back to work. She saw someone sneaking and looked. "You should be in there."
"Why? I'll hear it from him and you had a shitload of things to get done. Better to help out and let him handle the admin stuff. He does it *so* much better." She snickered. "Beyond that, twin bond." He beamed and got gloves and a coat so he could work.
"They're doing the tour and giving out lockers."
"We can probably share, boss."
She stared at him. "Are you two the telepathic sorts?" she asked quietly.
He smirked. "Only when we're in trouble. I'll get plenty from him and you need us today." She nodded that was true. He got back to work. At least until Horatio came in and walked him out. "He can handle that and she needed the help."
"I like your enthusiasm but you need your own ID badge," he said bluntly.
"We got ours the other day."
"Yeah, when we were invited in by the night shift person." He shrugged. "She said it was good of us." He pulled his out and put it on. "See? She needs the help. She's got a bunch to do."
"Fine. Go." He jogged back there, making him shake his head. His twin walked past with a grin. "Did you get yours too?"
"Yes, and I informed the nice lady on night shift that we weren't going to be split on shifts most likely. Then I mentioned the reason that we had to switch cars for the second time in a year. She blanched and went to call her husband, who used to be married to the last date." He gave him a dry look, earning a smirk back. "Exactly. We did the nice tour, all that. All I need is our locker assignment." Horatio got it for him and he went to work as well. They were trained to be gallant and save the women folk work. It was going to be no different in this lab.
"Boys, I can do some of that," she pointed out.
"We're not used to women who can do anything beyond spar and read trashy magazines," 1 quipped. "Who'll complain if they have to break a nail."
"I'm a full fledged officer, boys."
They beamed at her. "We know." She groaned. "Sit down and do important things so the higher ups leave us alone," they told her.
"Good point." Horatio walked in. "They said the Chief greeted them?"
"I heard," he promised. "And apparently night shift wanted to steal one of them."
"We're still trying to decide if that makes her a wannabe evil girl," 2 said with a smirk.
"Not usually, though I think this time she's more greedy."
"In our contract it states that the Miami-Dade PD does not own anything we create while in their employ," 2 said, looking at him. "Though they'd probably like the credit."
"Probably," he agreed. "Is your workshop all set up?"
"Yup," 1 said happily. "We were building a new mini-tank last night for security."
"Mini tank?" she asked. 2 pulled out pictures. "Remote controlled?"
"Independent and linked to the security system we had someone set up," he assured her. "It fires tranquilizer darts and is strong and heavy enough to knock someone over, but fairly quiet." She gaped. "Even we sleep sometimes."
She snickered. "You two are a bit paranoid."
"The Aston-Martins were our second car switch this year," 1 said bluntly, looking at her. "And that was a federal director." She groaned. "Yeah, she wanted the company badly but oh well." He shrugged.
"I liked NCIS a lot," 2 agreed. "I liked most of the people there. Her... not so much since she tried to kill me with an OD of truth serum the night she came to fuck me for info."
"Eww," Calleigh said. "And language, boys."
"Yes, ma'am," they said smartly.
"Thank you." She looked at her boss. Then at them. "We don't play politics. If they try, you ignore it. You hear me?"
"Yes, ma'am," they promised with a shared grin.
"I can see why girls want to go bad to have you but I am an officer and your senior officer. I can do a lot of things on my own. You're here to finish your education, got it?"
"Yes, ma'am," they agreed. "We'll be just a bit overprotective instead of fully."
"Thank you." She hit Horatio on the arm for smirking. "Protect him. Half the bad guys in the city love him."
1 looked up. "Yeah, someone found out we'd be here and told me I'd look good as your newest pet, collared and leashed at your feet. Which meant I got to point out that I bite, a lot, and I liked weapons. The guy laughed until I pulled out two. Then he drooled. I thankfully turned him in since we had called the PD about him coming to us in our lab. I didn't want to have to clean up wannabe bad boy drool. It ruins sneakers."
"Thank you, boys. Who was it?" They shrugged. "Fine. Thank you. I'll check on that. Also, I don't want to have to pull out the leashes." He stared at them.
"We'll try, Daddy," 1 quipped. "We always try to be good boys." Horatio walked off groaning and shaking his head.
"But we are twenty-three," 2 pointed out to her. "We do club and stuff."
"We're going to introduce you two to a former coworker who got shot on duty," she said. "He's a lot like you two, smartass and all, though he's more sarcastic, and see if you guys get along."
"Sure, we could like more friends. We've been introduced to a very nice young man who took the fall for a serial killer too," 2 said with a shrug, getting back to work. "He ruined his whole life for logic."
"Ooh, that's bad."
"He's in the clear, boss, but he needed normal people things."
"Good to know." She got back to her own work. They were fast and decent at what they did. She could enjoy having interns that weren't more than overprotective because she was female. She'd break them of that habit soon enough. She had done it to every other male that had come through the lab, she would them.
She hoped. She didn't need two little brothers.
A loud purr was heard and their target looked out his door, staring at them. They got out with a grin. "We went with something so pricey no one should want to blow her up this time," 2 quipped.
"Very," 1 said proudly. "Even if Tony did bitch that we dragged the souped up old one and this one."
Speed smirked. "I ride a Ducati."
"Pretty baby but dangerous and it'd make them want us more," 1 said with a slight bounce. He grinned. "Hi, Xander and Alex."
"I was told." He let them inside. Horatio had said he was sending them over to get calmed down. "What did you two do in the lab?"
"We found a few guys smoking weed out back and kinda pounced and cuffed then walked off giggling to find someone to tell and a few other things," 2 said dryly. He looked around. "Lots and lots of books."
"I like to read. And cook."
1 gave him a begging look. "You know how to do more than fry and put in the oven?"
"Yeah, I'm really good at it," he said smugly.
"Wow," 2 agreed. "We aren't poisoning anyone but we can cook over a pit. We learned in Africa."
Speed smirked. "Do you two like to read?"
"Sometimes. We're more get out and do stuff guys," 2 said. He waved at the couch, getting a nod and they sat. "So, you were almost our coworker?"
"I got shot during a robbery."
"Pity," 1 said. "You would've made the lab lighten up. The morgue is more fun than the office sometimes."
"No, we avoid the airhead patrol," 2 told him. "As often as humanly possible. I don't know how two of them are working with only a brainstem between them." Speed cackled at that. "I don't see why I can't wear the cute shoes on a scene, Ryan," he mimicked.
Speed snorted. "How high?"
"Three inch stilettos. He let her because he was tired of arguing. She broke her ankle and foot when she fell. She also screamed and ranted that she fell into the blood pool so had to go home in scrubs and got chewed a new one. That was after her 'eww' fit all the way to the ER. Horatio said he was mean to let her do it," 2 told him.
Speed smirked. "H let another intern do nearly the same thing. She fell into a canal."
"Is drowning them for the safety of the world and future people that they put away wrongly still bad?" 2 asked.
"Yup, sorry. Let them see how it's supposed to be done, guys." He saw the envious look at his kitchen and smirked. "You guys really can't cook?"
"We can boil, bake, deep fry in our frier, and toast," 1 offered. "And do pasta." He beamed because that was his contribution.
"He can also pit cook for the whole tribe," 2 added. "I can bake chicken or meats. Though I'm told everything doesn't go in on the same temperature." His phone beeped. "Sorry, has to be Miller or Tony." He looked, putting him on speaker. "Yeah, Miller, we're talking to one of our almost coworkers."
"General Aslan said that you gave them the wrong copy of the plans."
"No, we gave them the right copy. It came from the safe, right?"
"Yup. I let his geek look over the original and his geek is still saying it should not work, that you did something hidden."
"Is his geek stupid?" 1 asked.
"Yes. But that's beside the point."
He sighed. "I can be up Saturday but the safe's copies are the right ones."
"I know. We even had a team in to build it in front of the geek and their version worked when his didn't."
"Non firing or too weak?" 1 asked.
"He put the mirror in facing the wrong way," 2 said.
"I'll point that out. Thanks, guys. Fair warning."
"Call if you need me Saturday." He hung up. "Generals," he muttered, shaking his head.
"I heard you guys design weapons. I almost thought you guys being sent to me was a subtle reminder from H that I had screwed up by not cleaning my gun."
"We're retribution for evil bitches," 2 said bluntly. "Not nice people who only screwed up. We weren't asked to be nagging either."
"Thanks." He grinned. "So why send you my direction?"
"Eric keeps saying we're like you only younger and cuter," 2 said with a smirk.
"I think I'm cuter than both of you. Experience does count, guys. Plus I don't always draw psychos."
"Can you share that secret?" 1 asked. "We'd like that."
Speed laughed. "I can see if we can work on that." They beamed at him. He could teach them things. He loved interns for that much alone and these two were going to be good students to have. He'd help 1 be more open too. It was clear he was the more shy one of the two. "C'mon, I'm fixing coffee. I allow myself one cup a day."
"Goddess of the earth," Xander 2 said. He smirked and followed them in there. Speed explained some things. Like why the stove had too many knobs. They were nice guys, not at all like he had been told.
Horatio looked at his watch the next morning. The twins were an hour late. He called up their GPS chips. He had insisted after hearing their past. It was nice Hotchner had handed over a set when he had asked about putting a dot on them. Their car was at Speed's. They were ... "Huh," he said, going down to holding. He put the scanner up, looking at the sergeant in charge. "You have two of my interns and my former CSI?" he asked calmly.
"Yes, sir, because two of them were nearly taken and we couldn't get anyone up," he said. "Then they were nearly taken from a patrol officer so the other twin went thrill kill on them."
"Hmm. The one with the eyepatch was the first?"
"Yes, Lieutenant. We took them into protective custody and weren't sure when you'd be in. They're still sleeping though." He let them into the watch cell.
Horatio looked. Speed looked good with both twins using him as a pillow. He cleared his throat. The boys were paranoid. As proven by the knife that he had to duck. "Good morning, boys."
2 moaned. "Sorry about that. Some evil bitch wanted to sacrifice Speed on her home altar and wanted to screw me in the blood." He yawned, getting up and getting his knife handed back. "Is that officer okay?"
"Yes, sir. He's just fine. It was only a graze and he has today off to be babied by his wife." The boy beamed at him. "Since he's here we can release you three to him."
"Thanks, man." He looked over, mentally nudging his twin, who blinked at him then growled. "Coffee?" he said quietly. "I know you're in a bad mood."
"Fucking evil bitches. I should finish going gay and only draw serial killers," he grumbled. He put his head back down. Speed petted him in his sleep, making him purr.
Horatio got let in and came over, gently waking Speed, who glared at him for daring to wake him. "It's time to get up. We have tea in the break room so they can have coffee."
"Too early," he complained.
"No it's not. They're an hour late." He smiled. "You've broken your habit of getting up in the middle of the night for scenes."
"Damn right, always was tired." He shifted, gently yanking on the hair he was petting. Xander moaned but sat up. "You two make the best teddy bears," he joked.
2 smirked. "I've heard that before. Thank you."
1 hit him on the arm. "Coffee."
"C'mon. Since I was on watch anyway." They gathered their things and headed to the break room. He made coffee for his twin and got some for himself then let Speed make himself tea.
Horatio followed, waving off everyone, closing them in there. "Did we arrest her?"
"And her cult when they tried to attack the squad car," Speed said, sipping his tea. "Bit old but still good." 1 leaned over to sniff. "It has caffeine."
1 looked at him. "You drink British boiled leaves? I thought you said you cooked good."
Speed gave him a shove to his head. "I do; tea is civilized and it's better for you."
"They're young, they still live on snack cakes, Speed," Horatio said.
"I wish I could still do that too." He took another drink. 1 was on the couch, finished his coffee, and laid down to nap again.
"Was he drugged?"
"Yup," 2 said. "The second wave of responding officers darted him when he almost turned the gun on them for showing up with weapons out while he was protecting us." He sipped his coffee. "He'll be normal soon, Horatio."
"I'd expect a rough morning after something like that, Xander." The boy smiled. "Now, finish up, go shower in the locker room, and then come give me a report. We'll let him do that once he's ready." He nodded, giving Speed a hug before leaving them alone. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I don't know why she decided I was the gay one to sacrifice and he was the straight one." He finished his tea. "It was surreal. I thought going out with Eric was bad. At least it wasn't anything too terribly crappy. The boys are good company. They move well in the clubs. They protected me until her. They had been dragged off by a few women, probably her minions." 1 grunted something. He looked. "What?" He grunted it again. "Oh, someone from the Council. I can spank them later."
Horatio shook his head. "I'm thankful they protected you, Speed, but are you all right? Arm doesn't hurt?"
"I'm fine, H. They protected me and then that one there dealt with the issue when it came back." He smiled at the boy, coming over to cover him. "You, sleep more." Xander nodded, letting himself drift back off. "They're nice guys, H. Even though this one is a bit more shy and 2 has a raunchy sense of humor." He sat down and 1 wiggled until his head was on Speed's thigh. "Sure, you do that. We'll be here for hours." He looked at his former boss and friend. "We got to see two of the new interns. One limping on crutches saying she could get down if she had to, still wearing heels. The other looked like a farmer's daughter. Overalls and pigtails."
"She's on the other shift but the first is ours." He stared at him. "Are you sure?"
"We're all fine," he promised. "Let Alexx in so she can fuss." Horatio smiled and nodded. She came in to hug him and Xander covered his head with a muttered 'eww'. He laughed, patting him gently. Alexx got him more tea and tried to check on Xander but he flipped over to hide his face in Speed's side and kept the blanket over him no matter what she did. "He got sedated because he was seriously going after those idiots." Xander mumbled something. "Sure. I can agree with that. He said he's the Rambo side and the other is the lover."
She smiled. "They're both adorable boys. They need better taste in women though."
"Alexx, none of the good girls hit on them," he assured her. "I introduced them to some I knew and they were all 'whatever' and walked off. The slightly wicked one we saw out was happy but a coworker. Then the rest were evil."
"Fine." She petted him. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine. She didn't even pull on that arm." She relaxed and gave him another hug before leaving, sniffling of course. He sighed, shaking his head.
Calleigh walked in. "Is my other boy under there?"
"Hiding from fussing. He got darted."
"Fine. When he wakes up, make him take a shower and report so I know what happened. I got a call from the local FBI office wanting to know." One finger showed up outside the blanket and she swatted him. "Do not swear at me, young man. I'll let Alexx fuss more." He moaned and huddled up again. She smiled at Speed. "You look good being the protective one." She walked off.
Speed lifted the blanket. "It's cool. She's got a dirty mind."
Xander grinned. "You're cute but not evil."
"I know. I'm only sarcastic." Xander snickered and yawned, drifting off again. That was better.
Speed got comfortable and it was better. Horatio could come take a statement once he heard the tapes from the calls and the car's camera. Because it was still surreal to him. 2 walked past looking hot and unconcerned but he was like that. He wondered how this happened to them but sometimes twins were odd. Though not as odd as these two.
1 looked up, staring around. Something was wrong. He sniffed. "Calleigh?" he called. No answer. He walked out to the hall and sniffed, then went up the hall. "Um, Miss Valera?" he called, waving her out. "Do you smell smoke?"
She sniffed and nodded. "I do." She checked her lab, no smoke. She went to check ballistics with him. "Close those properly in case it's a problem." He did that and she sniffed around then back in the hallway. "It's definitely in here." She pushed the button on the phone for Horatio's office. No answer. Not forwarded. "Eric!" she bellowed. He came jogging in. "Sniff. There's smoke."
He sniffed, walking around then back into the hallway, looking up at the air vent. "I'm hoping that's just dust being burnt off."
"No, dust smells different, musty. This is wood or something," Xander said. He looked around. "Which makes *no* sense." He closed ballistic's door and went to help, finding the generator room was locked. He cleared his throat and picked it for them. "You learn things getting away from psychos," he quipped. They walked in and paused. It was stronger here but they had no idea why. "Should we call H?" he asked.
"His office didn't answer," Valera reminded him.
"He has a cell, right?"
"He might be in court." She looked at him. "Why are you panicking?"
"Because something feels *really* wrong right now but I'm unarmed."
"It'll be okay," she promised. "You have a gun."
He stared at her. "I usually have more than *a* gun, Miss Valera." Eric snickered at that. They traced the scent to another doorway that was locked with a key card. "Incinerator?" he offered.
"No, that's on the other side of the building," Eric said, trying his ID. Nothing. Hers, nothing. Xander's, nothing. Xander looked at it and then around. "Get me a screwdriver," he said. Eric gaped. Xander stared. "You don't see me doing this. My other half is better."
"He's in the field," Valera said.
"I don't think we have time to wait." Eric checked the door then kicked it in. "That'll work too," Xander agreed. They followed, finding the body burning. Xander muttered and grabbed the extinguisher, putting him out. He stared at it. "This isn't right. Eric, he's wearing a uniform." Eric called it in. "Miss Valera, can you go lead them? You're kinda pale and look like you're going to go on an 'eww' fit." She snorted but did that. He looked at Eric then around. "How in the hell? And there's cameras." He nodded.
"Maxine, get our tech to trace these cameras ASAP," Eric called. She called him to do that. "Nice catch, kid."
"Thanks. Don't move. There's a snake trap behind you." Eric looked and moved around it. Xander stared around. "This is so staged wrong," he said. "There's nothing on the walls. There's no mention of why do it here. There's no ritually stuff. Usually you don't *burn* someone for no reason to kill them," he pointed out. "Even if you're covering things up, you don't do it near vents. People find out sooner." He walked around, finding something. "I was wrong," he said, looking awed. "Huh. Eric, I do believe we need a camera and a bag."
"Why?" He walked over, looking at the doll. "What is that?"
"That, my coworker I might come to like even though you can wear long sleeve shirts down here, is a doll that witch doctors in lower Africa use when they burn supposed witches for cursing people. There's been a huge rash of them recently. Down to killing kids for their parents having bad troubles." He looked up. "I stopped a few of them when I was in Africa. My other half nearly got burnt during one for being one-eyed and evilly white while traveling." Eric shuddered. "Oh, I so took it out on that guy," he promised. "Get a camera." He went to do that. Xander looked around. The pile didn't fit the doll. He took pictures of the pile too. It was too neat, there wasn't anything tying the guy to the fire. He took a picture of the rest of the room, including the doll, and let Eric collect it. "The fire doesn't fit."
"No stake to tie them to?" Eric guessed.
"Most people don't let themselves be burned. They try to escape. So either he was drugged or already dead." Alexx stomped in. "Alexx, was he dead from something else?" She gave him an incredulous look. "There's nothing holding him in the fire. Most people would've run. Fought back, something."
"Good point." She carefully checked him. "No, he wasn't, but he may have been drugged. It looks like he died of asphyxiation with the signs I'm seeing so far."
"Which makes no sense with the African doll," Xander mused, looking at the item. He checked the thing over through the bag. "Original, not commercial." He kept going. "No tags, no local fabrics, it's all rough homespun." He handed it back and came over. "Any chance he's African?"
"Little since I think he's from Tampa originally," Alexx said. "I've seen him on a few scenes." She looked around. "I need to get him out of here."
Xander looked at himself. "I've probably got some GSR on me," he said, taking off his lab coat and handing it off. He lifted the body, moving it to the gurney for her. She smiled sadly. "I spent ten months in Africa, Alexx. He's not the first I've moved," he said quietly. He looked at the pile. "It's piled way too neatly."
"So Wolfe did it?" Eric joked.
Xander stared at him. "No one OCD would *burn* someone. Fire isn't something you can reliably control. Also, he would've seen the vents and the cameras." Eric gaped. "It's not. Fire's a weapon of anger, of shame, of hiding, but not of control. Drowning can be of control. Not fire though. Fire is cleansing and purifying in some traditions." He walked around again. "What's under the wood?" They got it undone and bagged, plus numbered so they could recreate it if necessary. He found another doll. This one a white doll in a uniform. "That's a bad sign," he said, looking at the other doll. "Same sort of homespun fabric, same roughness, not commercial.... I'm guessing that the first doll is a sign," he said quietly. "And I'm not sure why."
"Profiling can be gut instinct," Horatio said as he walked in.
"You are?" Eric asked. Xander nodded, looking a bit smug. "Damn."
"I got bored. It's easier to find us if one of us is." He shrugged, handing over both dolls. The first one was singed. "They used green wood. I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not."
"That would lead to him being caught," Eric said.
"Yeah, but a lot of serial killers love the bragging point. The 'you can't catch me, I'm too smart' points. Even the most unstable who use sexual gratification instead of power trips still like to have themselves noted. It gets them off because they know it's now a race against time. If they win, whatever they hold holy is right."
Eric nodded at that. "Why didn't you go further for the profiling?"
"It's more lectures at the higher levels and I can't stand learning things that way." He grinned. "I'm a doer, not a listener."
"I get that," Eric agreed. "H?"
He looked around. "I suspect he's right. We'll have to brief the office." They followed the officer's body out. "Alexx, as soon as you know?"
"Of course." She walked the body off. The things were taken to a lab and the cameras were taken down to see if they could still trace them.
Xander looked around. "How many pieces of wood were there?"
"Forty-nine," Eric said.
"So we may have a number pattern too," Eric said.
"Yeah, which may be a good or a bad thing." He walked off thinking. This was not looking happy making. "Horatio, can we have an independent outsider look?" he asked. "That way no one can later insinuate that we were covering for one of our own?"
"A defense attorney could," he agreed. "Speed can't do the little things."
"He can head it," Eric agreed. "Even with the range of motion issues, we can have him and an intern work it."
"Good point. Xander, call him. I've got to call the supervisors and the Chief. They're going to be yelling for hours." He walked off looking troubled.
Xander pulled out his phone to call. "Speed, Xander. The lab needs you. Because we have what looks like a serial killer who burned an officer in our building." He choked. "Horatio said so, yeah. Think about it, reasonable doubt is pretty easy if you say 'they guessed on the word of a junior profiler and are blaming my client to cover up for one of their own'," he said dryly. "We did. Eric and I. Thanks, man." He hung up. "He said twenty minutes."
"You're not a bad profiler," Eric offered.
"No but a defense attorney will point out my humble degree not being the full ride to doctorate." He shrugged. "It's the only downside of not going that far. Though I can point out I have plenty of experience in the practical sense." Eric snorted, walking off to wait on Speed. Xander scowled, considering things. He swore he had seen this written up before in a journal. He texted his twin to see if he remembered it. He had the journal name at least. Speed walked in with his case looking healthy and glowing. "The stuff's in here. Cameras haven't been touched since we put them in there. Both dolls. Alexx has the body," he said, opening the door. "I swear I read this in a journal."
"Look it up in here," he ordered. He looked over everything, uploading the photos himself. "How did we realize it?"
"Smoke, I smelled smoke in ballistics and got Maxine Valera to check with me. She called Eric. We traced it to the generator room and then a room with a keycard that none of ours worked on."
"Tyler!" he bellowed. "Get that keycard off that room. I want to know whose works on it," he yelled.
"Already on it, Speed." He went jogging to do that.
Xander got onto the journal's site, doing a search for what he knew. He came up without anything so he switched terms. Doll worked. He had hundreds so he scanned them until he came to it. "Here." Speed came over to read over his shoulder.
"Print that please." Xander did that. "Thank you. Help me here, kiddo."
"I can do that." He came over to help him take wood samples to see what sort of wood it was, if it had been wet down or treated with anything, and why the fire hadn't burned too quickly. The uniform came up to them via Ryan and he took a copy of the article to Horatio so he knew it was possible.
Two days and two bodies later, they faced down the administration. "He is mimicking native rites that have been used by other serial killers," he reported. "The first, priests burning witches in Africa. The second, some ancient drowning rituals from Greece for criminals. Japanese honor killings." He put those pictures down. "I think one will have a female and it'll be an honor killing of some sort. Probably fire since that seems to be the most prevalent." He looked at them. "I do think it is not related to the case last month that was Suti."
"Which is?" the chief asked, waving his hand.
"In India, in times past, it's not much done anymore since it's illegal, a wife threw herself on her husband's pyre to follow him. Widows were not taken in by anyone and usually didn't remarry. Though since there's an age gap, some very young brides went usually. A lot of times they had some help from some drugs but it was a cultural thing. We had one last month."
"We did," Horatio sighed. "His family got insistent and drugged her, putting her on it." He swallowed. "We're sure?"
"It doesn't feel the same. No doll, no relation to the PD, nothing that points at this guy. This fucker's annoying the hell out of us. And he's one of us. He's somewhere in the PD. He's seen others getting away with things perhaps. Maybe he's generalizing or overlaying the sins of others. Which I think is more possible." He sipped his water. "We're going to probably see a skinning one. We may see an oathbreaker, the Norse version. We may see a witch dunking."
"How do we stop whoever this is?" the chief asked.
"I'm guessing here, but I'm pretty sure that they're not directly related. Connecting them won't get you far, but if you find a common precinct, I'd say they're in there. They watched, they didn't participate. Or we'd see hints of them punishing themselves as well. Blood, pictures, that sort of thing. We haven't." He took another drink. "I can tell you that brighter minds than me have agreed with that point. I informally wrote one of the profilers I interned with and he said it was probably right and said to call immediately if they were wanted. They're in Louisiana right now. Got there yesterday so probably about halfway done."
"I can do that," he decided. "BAU, right?" Xander nodded. "Can you forward them the files?"
"Yes. Speed has everything ready. He picked Garcia's mind about more subtle connections last night."
"Good, thank you, Harris."
"Not a problem, sir. I do think we won't have one today. It's Sunday and if we were going to have one, they're late."
"Don't work on the sabbath," Horatio said. "Biblical?"
"Not with the way things have been done. I think that may be another mimic or something peculiar to them. It's not part of the ritual or the *why* of the killings. It may be the only thing that stuck with them. I don't know."
"This is going to drive me insane," Horatio said. "Mimics make very little sense."
"Actually, they do," Xander offered. "And that may be the key. Mimics do things like this because, a lot of times, they don't feel competent to do it on their own. Like praying to a lost god as you sacrifice on an altar. You hope their power imbues you. Makes you better able to do whatever. That's a generalization but a lot are like that. Then again, a good twenty percent do it because it fucks with things and they think it's a big game, this gives them the advantage over the officers and profilers. Who knows what they're going to pull out next. Like Jack on the show _Profiler_." He shrugged. "Those sort usually have a central theme. We have numerology."
"I'll be sending them a request within the hour," Horatio assured them. "I'd rather they were the first sort instead of the second." He stood up, letting Xander gather up the pictures and follow him. "Do the dolls tells us more than race and gender of the next target?"
"Some physical things. He's been doing hair colors."
"You think it's male?"
"My other half and I are split right now. He thinks female, I think male, and we're not real certain."
"I can understand that." He patted him on the back. "Can you get them on the phone?"
"Sure." He dialed it from the desk while Horatio got the stuff from Speed sent to Garcia. "Hey, Spenser."
"Xander. You're calling officially?"
"I am," Horatio said as he walked in. "Even if you can point us in a direction it would be helpful. I've had my lead investigator, who is a former member of my lab, handling it. He sent everything we have to your analyst."
"We'll call her in a few minutes then. Any today?"
"No, no bodies no the sabbath," Xander said.
"The sabbath is Saturday by technical means," Spenser said. "But that's interesting. Huh. Let me look, Xander and Lieutenant. What's the next doll look like, Xander?"
"Female. I'm guessing since he's going on more native and simpler societies' ways, that it'll be a witch dunking or something like an honor killing." He found the picture. "White doll, red hair, red dress. Shoes this time. Drawn on hose with the line up the back of the leg. Bracelet on the right wrist. The picture's in there."
"Thanks. Give me a few hours, guys." He hung up and looked over at Hotchner, who was working at the blackboard. "Lieutenant Caine just called," he said quietly.
"Thank god. Did Xander include his profile?"
"Probably. No bodies today."
He looked at his watch. "It's Sunday."
"Yeah, he noted that too. It's a mimic."
"They're going to drive themselves nuts until they can kill him." He finished up on his profile, looking it over. "That's not good."
"No, it's not, but it's interesting how the mesh of sexual traits is fluxing." He called Garcia. "Did you get something from Miami?"
"I did and it's bad. I sent it to your email, Spens."
"Thank you, Garcia. Anything stick out at you?"
"The dolls. They're strange. Handmade it looks like. Oh, Xander's profile is the last page. It's in power-point."
Spenser smiled. "That means it's arranged for us. Give me a few hours and I'll call and beg you for looking stuff up."
"Garcia, on our present case, can you find a transexual organization down here?"
"Sure can, there's four," she said, keys clicking. "Did you know we have an analyst who looks *exactly* like Xander, only a bit heavier and goofier?"
"No, I didn't," Aaron said. "Is he nice?"
"Very sweet. He doesn't have that tough guy thing that the twins have." She came up with something. "I have a single medical group that does the transformations down there."
"Send me all that please." He hung up and looked at the new presentation. "Whoever that is, that's been in the same journal."
"You're right. He noted that too. I skipped ahead to read his and he hit all the points. They're arguing about gender of the doer."
"Mimics tend to be emotionally weaker males or females." Prentis and Morgan walked in. Derek had the fax from the office. "Did you visit any of those?"
"Two of them. Both looked like they remembered someone like that but no one knew who."
"We have one group that does actual changes," Aaron said.
"They both said he was pre-op," Prentiss said.
"You still have to go through a lot of counseling, and they'd know which counselors they got sent to," Spenser pointed out. "Miami called."
Derek took the laptop to look things over. "There is something strange about those dolls. They're warnings. Or like a prophecy. Have they not hit any bigger cultures?"
"No, they've used stuff that's pretty readily available with a good library or internet search," Spenser realized. He looked them over again. "Also, they're all being pulled from the same journal."
Prentiss came over to look. "I heard the kid sent up one for a suggestion because he was stuck." She read. "Mimic?"
"Yeah," Spenser said, going back over it. Those dolls stuck out at him too. "Who would make dolls like that?"
"Any grandmother?" Derek suggested.
"No, they're too uniform in size and pattern. Xander said he didn't think they were commercial but what about an ethnic store?" He looked those up for Miami and found a good few of them. He called Xander's cellphone, getting a grunt back. "Ethnic stores that might sell the dolls?"
"Speciality shops wouldn't necessarily tag," Spenser said. "And they do look hand-made so hippie stores? Maybe a diversity sort of store, come see the world through the eyes of kids' toys?"
"I know that place! Thanks, Spens. If that breaks it, I owe you a night out and a kiss." He hung up and raced off. "Horatio, get Speed." He rushed to get the pictures and headed out with Horatio following him. "Spenser pointed out the dolls could sold in stores, not made at home. He mentioned a 'diversity through kids' sort of place."
"There's that exhibit at the Children's Museum," he said.
"Yeah, but they can't get at those and they're sold at the store up the street! The hippie shop."
"We can check," he agreed. He was hoping like hell this was a good lead. He wanted this person stopped. Now.
Xander 2 kicked back, smiling at Speed teaching his twin how to cook something besides pit meals and pasta. He called the team. "Hey, guys, it's Alex," he said in greeting.
"Did it help?" Spenser said. "If not, we'll be hopefully solving this tomorrow."
"Didn't keep more than daily totals, no cameras in the store, but she could describe the person. She spent time on the same ceremonial duty squad as most of them and the others were their partners. It was about honor, thinking that they weren't acting that way and thereby destroying the PD's honor. None of them were bad but they did so-called unnatural things that made us look flimsy minded and things."
"So high heels at scenes, sloppy uniforms," he said.
"Yeah, a few times it was being divorced." He sipped his soda. "So we're good. She was caught."
"Thank you for that idea," 1 called. "It was perfect."
"You're welcome." He was smiling, you could tell. "Hopefully the trial is going to be easy."
"She's in mental eval," Speed told the phone. "Thanks, guys."
"You're welcome as well, Detective Speedle." Speed gave the twin on the couch a dirty look. "If you're glaring at him, the other one bragged that you knew how to cook and you read a lot, but everyone thought you were like their older brother."
"A lot of the time," he said dryly. Someone knocked and he was closest. He walked over, glancing outside. "It's a guy in a uniform."
"Open!" 2 called. Speed opened it, giving him a dirty look. "General Ozcan. What's up?"
"Why are you two down here?"
"Post grad internship," 1 told him.
"You have a company to run," he said firmly.
"We're still working down here," 2 assured him. "We've gotten a few new designs plotted out and we're considering if we want to build them or not. We're not slacking by any means, General. Why is this a problem?" He tapped a key on the phone but didn't hang it up. "We checked in with Miller and Tony earlier. Submitted both designs for evaluation."
"You're letting us down, boys." He looked at the other one. "Older brother?"
"Detective." The general snorted and pushed past him. "No, I think you need to leave. Even if you do pay them outrageous amounts of money you're rude."
2 nodded. "That was very rude to our friend and coworker," he agreed. "We're still working just as often as we were when we were taking classes, General."
"I say you're falling down."
Xander 1 looked at him. "General, are you possessed?" he asked. The man growled and his eyes glowed. "Huh, Jack O'Neill lost one." He heard an explosion outside. "Hey, Spens, can you call someone. I'm about to go out of my temper range."
"Sure, boys. Just stay there and try to defeat the bad guys." He waved Aaron over to write a note. He nodded, walking off talking to Horatio. They had the number on the presentation earlier. "Boys?" he called.
Xander 2 leaned closer to the phone. "Spenser, our security system is active," he said bluntly. "Warn them. It's not going to differentiate. Warn Miller what we said as well please." He hung up and then grabbed something to beat the shit out of this idiot. Speed was shoved into a closet by 1 and things were not going to be pretty.
Horatio and Calleigh walked onto the property. "Boys?" he demanded.
"Security system, Lieutenant. It'll fire on us too."
She nodded, pulling something out and hitting the buttons. "He gave me a security bypass in case something happened and the lab was raided." They moved in and a lot of people were on the ground. "The tank was out," she said. She walked over one and headed into the house. The lab was underneath the apartment. She hurried up the stairs, hearing the grunt. She opened the closet and found Speed swearing and kicking the wall. "Who has them?"
"A general. Something was wrong with him. His eyes glowed. The boys moved into crisis mode and this was their way of protecting me. Go turn off the oven." Horatio did that for him. He came out. He pointed. "That's the general." They checked him. Knocked out by a blow to the head. "They mentioned a Jack O'Neill?"
"He's a general. I saw him on tv the other day," Calleigh said. Someone appeared outside, making her stare. "How did you do that?"
"Do what?" he asked. He walked in. "Speed."
"Miller. What the hell!" he shouted.
"No idea yet." He checked the general. Then his stomach. "Anyone seen a snake?"
"Yes," Horatio said. He pointed at it where it was crawling for the cabinet.
"Shoot it," Miller ordered. Horatio did that. The cabinet moaned. Horatio looked. "1 or 2?"
"I do believe this is Xander." He helped him out, checking him over. "Where is your twin?" he asked calmly.
"They took him. They think he does most of the work," he said, holding his head. He looked at the snake, then stomped on it. "They have no idea I'm the main builder. Or that I do a lot of the designs." He wobbled, holding his head. "Conspiracy assholes." He looked at Graham. "Find him."
"What are you sensing?" Calleigh asked.
"Darkness. He's moving. It's a ship of some sort." He groaned, leaning on the counter. Then he looked around. "Willow!" She appeared in a flash of light. "The conspiracy assholes have 2."
"Shit." She disappeared with Graham. She also blocked out the remembrance of her appearance.
Horatio looked around. "What?"
"Friend," Xander said, patting him on the arm. "I need into our tool kit down here. Help me, Calleigh?" She nodded, helping him down the stairs. "I have to make the tank not work on badges. I'll do that later." He got into something and typed in a passcode. It read his hand and the safe door swung open. She gasped. "Not like I'm leaving it in DC," he said bluntly. He walked into the vault of 'slayer weapons', picking out what he wanted. "Horatio, did you keep the GPS on him?"
"Yes, I think so." He got tossed a monitor and keyed it into the unique signature. Xander pulled out two locked cases and put them on the work table then another one. He kicked the safe shut and it automatically sealed again. He put the sword on his back, he checked the special rifle, and then the handgun. He loaded them and walked out. "Where?"
"The docks," he said. He followed at a jog. The boy was going to get himself killed.
"Xander," Speed ordered. Xander looked at him. "Safety first. Let them help. H and Calleigh will."
"If they get noted as being close, the conspiracy assholes will come for them. It did for Garcia." He got into the older Aston-Martin. The new one had a flat tire. He drove off in a spin of dirt and bad attitude. He turned up his radio and let himself seethe. Demons and now aliens. Yeah, his life sucked badly but someone was going to feel it until they died. Horribly.
"He's not reasonable," Calleigh pointed out.
"I know." He called dispatch to have them track the car, but not to intercept it. He told them he was tracking a kidnaped CSI intern and left it there. He got into the hummer with her, letting the locals and Speed clean up here. He still wanted to know who that redhead who had taken Miller was. Perhaps Xander would tell him sometime soon.
Xander walked onto the boat, shooting the first two in the pouch. One snake died, he saw it. The other groaned and held his stomach. Gut shots wouldn't kill the normals. He walked on, dropping back into hunter mode. He had learned how to do this better in Africa. The tribes counted on their hunters and warriors. He was an exceptional version of both. His twin was the same. He heard a yelp and sneered, heading down to stop them. A few people got in his way. Pity. A few less pouchy snakes to piss him off again. He walked into the main room, firing on the container they had been filling, the two helpers, then the head guy. "They wanted our kids?"
"Yeah, they thought they'd get to take over."
"Damn good thing that clause about killing the weaker one is gone," 1 said dryly. He got him free. Then he handed over the sword. "Yours I believe."
"Yes she is." They moved out and the ship was going to be very sorry. The sword had actually been made for Faith's use but she wasn't there. So it was all his. It didn't require bullets, or reloaded. It was just pretty as it swished, flicked, and thrust in his hands. Horatio showed up as they walked off the ship. Two more people showed up in a beam of light. 2 stared at him. "Keep the fucking pouchy snakes, please," he told O'Neill. "We fucking hate them. Especially since they wanted our kids."
O'Neill looked at him. "You two okay?"
"Pissed," 2 said.
"Very pissed," 1 said, reloading. "Are there more?"
"Not that many. Living people?"
"Many. Gut shots," they said in unison.
"Good job. Calm down. We thought we had gotten them all."
"Ozcan started it," 1 told him.
"Damn it. We didn't even think to check him." He went onto the ship, calling for backup. This was a mess. A holy mess. He saw the two cops. "It's that conspiracy group," he told them. They both stared at the mess. "They wanted the boys out of the way. They resorted to bombs before. This time they apparently decided they needed insurance for when they succeeded."
"Hell couldn't," 1 said.
"And did they ever try," 2 agreed.
"These ones won't." He looked around. "Let's go check on the house and Speed," he decided. 2 nodded, following him back to the car. "General, please tell us if there's some left?"
"Give us a week, boys. There won't be." They gave him weak smiles before getting in and heading off in a blast of music. "Shit they're pissed," he complained. He looked around then at the cops. "Lieutenant, I do have this situation well in hand. We had eliminated most of them. We clearly missed a few."
"Anyone who's not one of them, we'd like to handle," he said.
"They're endangering national security," Jack said bluntly. "If we don't want them, you can have them." Horatio grimaced but nodded that was acceptable. He couldn't argue. "If it makes you feel better, some of them were stupid enough to try to bomb the BAU office."
"It doesn't but thank you for that warning they're that stupid." He looked around again. "They were messy."
"They learned it in Africa," Jack told him. "Training those girls and helping protect their families."
"I understand why," he assured him. "Let us go calm them down." He took Calleigh back there, walking into the clean up. Both boys were cleaning their weapons on the couch. He sat down across from them. "What's that vault?" he asked quietly.
2 looked at him. "Council special order weapons."
"Long, involved story if you don't recognize them by that," 2 assured him. "And I'm not in the mood for show and tell tonight."
"I understand that. Are you both all right? No injuries? No sore spots or cuts?"
"Few cuts, I've treated them," 1 said quietly. He looked up. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Horatio and Calleigh."
"No, it's good we know you can do that," she assured him, giving him a gentle pat on the head. "We both understand about protecting the group, boys. Horatio does more than his fair share of the same thing." They gave them weak smiles. "Speed's first order was to turn off the oven."
They smiled. "He's in the bathroom swearing at us for shoving him in the closet," 2 admitted.
"Speed does hate being protected against his will but thank you for doing it," Horatio said. They smiled and relaxed some more. "Do you need tomorrow off?"
"Check the cars? They seem to have a hard-on for explosives on our cars," 1 said.
"Of course. We'll check the whole area." He patted them both gently. "Good work, even if it was messy," he said quietly. He went to do that personally. He was former bomb squad. He knew how to handle most of them. Swords not so much. Calleigh could go gun geek and get them talking about the weapons, which would calm them down. She might even get them to give a full report. They might not want to, wanting to protect her, but she could wheedle and if not, Speed definitely could by sulking that he could protect himself and they had hurt his feelings by not letting him do so. Then he'd hear so he could protect them all, even the twins.
Three days later, O'Neill looked at his fellow general-in-the-know and his colonels. "The pouchy snake epidemic, as a certain pair of twins named them, is mostly over. There's only three left that we know of."
"Why didn't they send a female at them?" Colonel Mitchell asked. "It would've made more sense."
"They're bisexual. A queen might not have attracted them. Or they might've tried but not managed it. They did try to take sperm but weren't successful. The twins are hell with weapons."
"Can we get them to deal with the Ori?" Mitchell joked.
"With their past associations, I'm sure it'll come up," he said dryly, shocking them. "They're *Council*." Landry moaned, shaking his head. "Retired," he added with a smirk. "By the way, that computer geek in the FBI that looks just like them? Cousin of some sort. I checked to make sure no one had cloned them." He relaxed. "They are safely contained. The boys have good backup in Miami. Their boss knows it's about that conspiracy and that it's classified. He sulked some but not that hard. No one blew up their new shiny, spy cars. And I bought us a mini tank that can deploy from the MALP and fire off things that might help us. They were using sedative darts. We can make something more useful." They both smirked. "They even gave us the coding for the program. They didn't make that part but it's very nice. Compact, sweet I'm told." He whistled and the tank rolled in and stopped beside him. "Our new toy," he said proudly, petting it. "Can be dropped and programmed to hit targets then recalled. It's a ground based UAV with weapons."
Mitchell whistled and it turned its turret toward him. "It's cute, sir. What can we arm it with?"
"I was going to ask Carter that."
"She's at Area 51 for the next month," Landry said. "They sucked her into a lab citing strange power sources."
"Not the power cells?" Jack made sure.
"No. Those are base only and she pouted when she couldn't take the one she had made for her laptop but oh well. I can understand why. That's going to be making them money for decades to come."
"They still charge us a smaller rate," Jack said smugly. "Said we do things the way their former team would." He looked down. "Rover, let's go visit." He stood up. "I'm going to Atlantis since she's not here." They both smirked. "Zelenka seems to like their designs."
"Sheppard sent an email saying he loved those two and if they were female could he date them, sir," Mitchell offered.
"They're bi but they only draw evil bitches according to them." He walked off. He had a few things to handle before getting on the ship to go there.
Jack got beamed down with his friend. He had given it all sorts of commands on the way up. They had made it almost game-like to add commands. "Find Sheppard," he ordered. The mini-tank rolled off, going up the stairs as quietly as it could and found him, bumping into his leg to make him yelp. He smirked. "The boys' newest toy. They were using it in their security system."
He looked down, rubbing his leg. "It's cute, sir."
"It's got weapons. It can fit on a MALP."
"It's a pretty toy then." He picked it up to look over. The wheels spun but he put it back down with a pat. "Find McKay?" he offered to the general. The tank took off to find him. "He's in chemistry yelling," he called after it.
Jack and Sheppard followed it into the transporter. It keyed the switch with a small beam at the buttons. "We managed to make him compatible with Atlantis."
"I love those two."
"They're both bi so offer. I won't mind," Jack said dryly. "They like us." They got off and he could hear the yelling. The tank rolled off and shot small, rubber balls at the people being yelled at.
Rodney McKay stared down at the tank. "What the hell are you?" he demanded.
"New toy," Jack said. "Make it more weapons." He walked off with a smirk. He needed some coffee.
"From who?" he called after him. The tank popped up his turret to show him the design mark. He stared then at Sheppard. "They're not coming up, right?" The tank ran into his leg, making him swear and hop around. "Sorry!"
"No, but they like mean people so if you're bi...."
"I am not." He sat down, staring at it. "What else can you do?" It shot a beam at a computer and his full specs uploaded. He got into them, nodding some. "That is very interesting." He kicked one of the minions awake and showed it to him. "See this? We're making him more weapons."
"O'Neill loves them," Sheppard told Zelenka with a grin.
"S'good," he agreed, staring at it. "You are nicely compact."
"O'Neill said it'll fit on a MALP."
"Even better. We could use something to sneak up and view closer." He picked it up to look over. It went quiet in his hands, earning a smile. "Good boy." He checked underneath then put it down on the table. "Weapons?" It opened the storage areas and presented them.
Rodney and he stared. It was well armed. They could make better weapons for it. Plus make more of them. When Ronon walked in with the general the turret moved toward him then it came over to look at him closer. "What is it?" Ronon demanded.
"The two boys that made us the new weapons made it," Radek said with a happy look. "It apparently likes you."
"I like weapons as much as the next warrior but it's tiny." The tank shot a rubber ball at him, making him yelp. "That hurt." The tank rolled off, going back to Zelenka for more petting/examination. "Is it intelligent?" he asked.
"Not fully but it is programmed to have a 'home' owner," Jack offered, shifting his snack and coffee. "No matter who borrows it. The programmer soaked us for it but the boys cut us a nice, reasonable rate that they said was going into clubbing clothes so they could get laid again."
"From what the boys joked, wherever they are will have less bad people," Radek said dryly. Rodney glared at him. "They said they draw killers and psychopaths."
"And pouchy snakes as they called them," Jack said.
"I like that better than snake heads," John decided. "How many last time? I remember Radek said a few were trying their patience with that Trust crap."
"More of them and this time they kidnaped one of the twins so they could have sperm. The other one made a mess that made the clean up team green in that bad way. Almost all gut shots too."
"Good to know," Ronon said. "Pouchy snakes?"
"Gou'ald," John interpreted.
"Ah." He nodded and they went back to playing/testing the new toy.
Horatio looked at the twins as they walked in, clearly they hadn't been home yet. Their hair was still fussed with and they were sweaty. It wasn't that hot out yet. "You should not close down the clubs and then come directly to work," he said bluntly. "You'll fall asleep on the job, boys."
"We've had longer days," 1 assured him with a grin. He got the dark blue leather pants this time and his twin had the black ones. They had opposite-matching t-shirts that showed they did train their bodies fairly well. "We didn't drink or anything either, dad."
"Uh-huh," he said, watching them walk. "Change."
"Nothing in the locker," 2 quipped with a grin. "Besides, these are so well broken in we can bend and reach in them. And it might help in interrogation." He walked into ballistics. His twin went to get them sodas for breakfast. "Morning, boss lady."
"Xander." She stared. "Change."
"Nothing to change into."
She glared. "That's not exactly professional and we do have standards."
"Which I meet up to quite well, and we didn't drink or anything so relax. If someone complains, we're bachelors and haven't done laundry in weeks."
"Clearly and setting a bad example," she complained as the other one came in with their sodas.
"Not with how loud you complained," 1 said. "I got winced at because they decided I'd be chewed a new one too." He handed over the extra can and they gulped breakfast. "There." He smirked. They put the cans in the metal recycling bin in the hallway then came back, putting on lab coats.
"We didn't even get to pick up someone last night," 2 told her.
"That's strange. No more stalkers?" she asked.
"No, not right now." They sighed and got to work.
She shook her head. "No drinking?"
"No, boss," they said in unison.
"Fine. Do not come in wearing leather pants again unless you have to."
"I should set you guys up for field work."
2 looked at her. "Why would that bother us? We've been in the field in these pants during our training. We can do it again." Not like they didn't pick all their clothes so they could hunt in them. If they could kick ass, they could crawl around a scene in them. She huffed off to talk to Horatio. They shared a look and shook their heads, getting back to work. "Hair's messed up."
"I know." He smirked. "But it looks cute, right?"
"Very cute." He smirked back and heard someone in the next lab complaining about them. "Hey, she went to talk to the other snake."
1 looked at that wall then at him. "Eww."
"True." They finished sorting and got into files and bullets. It was their job and they loved it.
Maxine Valera walked in and stared. "Leather pants, guys?"
"We were having fun at the rave, big sis," 1 quipped with a smirk for her. "We were good boys though."
"Uh-huh. Jackets off." They did and she moaned. "No evil wenches or guys?"
"Nope," 2 said. "Unfortunately not." They got back into proper dress and winked at her. She walked off snickering.
Natalia Boa Vista walked in. "I heard you two were out doing bad things," she said dryly.
2 sneered at her. "No, we weren't."
"You two are setting bad examples for the other interns."
2 snorted. "I'm not their role model and neither is my twin. If they can't figure out how to dress themselves, they're as brain dead as the ones who wore heels, even chunky ones, to scenes. Oh, and by the way, why are you flashing that much cleavage?" She gasped and backed up. "Yeah, I'm the blunt one in case you got us mixed up, and I see way more than I want to see. You're making us very uncomfortable." She stomped off. "You might also check since those white pants are see through and it's clearly a gray underwear day too!" he called after her.
"Boys!" Horatio snapped.
"Not my fault she came in wearing 'fuck me' clothes and we were disgusted," 2 told him. "At least I look good in leather and a tight t-shirt. If you don't want to stare at me, you don't have to. With that much push-up bra cleavage, you do have to stare at her. She's doing it on purpose and it's also clear those pants are see through and a bad choice since she's wearing gray underwear with dots." Horatio moaned. "I thought someone might want to tell her that before she walked out and made us all look like cheap whores again. We just look like we closed down the clubs."
"Or were out hunting," Xander offered.
"Or that." He shrugged. "We wore it in Africa for a few battles too, boss. It's good for our morale sometimes."
"Are you sure you two didn't drink or get exposed to anything?"
1 sighed and took off his gloves. "Test us," he said bluntly. "Before someone accuses."
"I am not accusing."
"No but someone will. Or Eric will tell one of his women and she'll assume. Then you'll have to hear rumors and I'll have to hear rumors that'll make him growl."
"Fine," he agreed, taking them to do that, and her since she was clearly inappropriately dressed. Heels, really? In this job? She should know better. The boys came out spotless and she came out with some mild over-the-counter anxiety medicine. He went to talk to her about that. The prescription stuff wasn't allowed. That was riding a fine line.
Calleigh walked into the lab later on. "You two didn't even show up with a beer."
"We know," 2 agreed dryly. "Why would we?"
"It's been weeks since we had a beer and then he got kidnaped," 1 agreed. "Did she ever change those pants? Because I can only hope that someone else pointed that out."
"It's not really professional," she told them.
"Neither is she," 2 said with a small shrug. "I'd want told if my pants were see-through."
"Me too," 1 agreed. "Or ripped or anything like that."
She sighed but went to talk to her. "Max." Valera smiled at her. "Can you maybe point out the boys were right and they are see-through?"
"I did. She huffed at me and said they're cute."
"They're trashy," Calleigh said bluntly. "And if she's going on a scene and there's a reporter, they'll start saying we're all like that."
"I know." She smirked. "I tried."
"Maybe Horatio can try. Make it somewhat blunt." She looked around. "Or maybe just a really bloody scene," she muttered. Making Maxine laugh. "The boys are comfortable in theirs."
"I've seen that a few times. No wedgie pulling either."
"No, neither one does. I hope they're wearing panties."
"Boys don't wear panties," she teased. "If you haven't seen that, it's been way too long, dear."
Calleigh snorted. "Maybe. Work does get in the way unless you draw people you need to arrest like they do." She walked off once her friend was giggling. She stopped Horatio, who was scowling. "The boys are right, she looks trashy," she said quietly.
"The boys are going out on the next field case," he said.
"I'd send her to the biggest blood pool today," she said quietly, making him snort and smile slightly. "It's apparently dress like a ho day. Have you seen the brainless trio?"
"Unfortunately I just reminded one that she can't wear her present clothes in the field. Skirts really weren't practical, especially not short ones. Or the shoes she's wearing."
"I say we get someone tougher in," she said. "Can Taylor come down for a few days?"
"The boys might like that," he admitted. He patted her on the arm. "Here's another one. It's like there's a spell over Miami."
2 walked past. "No there's not. We would've heard about that from our Wicca friends." Calleigh snickered. "I know we were at a rave, but is there an all day rave going on?" He got his soda and went to talk to her. "Honey, I can see Hello Kitty panties," he said from behind her. She squeaked and pushed her skirt back down. "Thank you." He sipped his soda. "Were they good?"
"Not bad," she admitted. "I didn't set my alarm."
"You can't hope to crawl in that."
"No, I know, but my locker's bare, Xander."
He stared. "I might have a shirt. Because sparkly top has things that fall off, like glitter."
She looked and nodded. "Yeah, they do. Damn it, it'll take too long to get home and change."
"Let me see if I have a shirt." He walked her out, checking his locker then the emergency bag in the car. That held their suit bag right now. "I need to hang that up but I hate suits." He handed her the dress shirt. "It might be longer. Got a belt?" She nodded, putting it on and adjusting her present belt over it. He closed his trunk and walked back inside. "It's the best I could do, boss."
"I'm sorry, Lieutenant, I totally screwed up and forgot to set my alarm after a date with my fiancée last night. It will not happen again and I'll be putting some more of my clothes at his place since he proposed." She smiled, shyly showing off her ring. "How do I protect it with the gloves?"
He smiled and looked at it. "It doesn't have any sharp corners so it shouldn't tear the gloves." He let her hand go. "If you're that worried, ask a jewelry store to put an invisible wire cage around it. They can do that." She beamed and strolled off. "The shirt does look better," he decided.
"Her last one was blowing glitter," Calleigh said. She smiled at that twin. "Suit bag?"
"Yup and you won't get me into it without an emergency court date. It doesn't fit."
"Shoot. That way one of you would look professional."
1 leaned out of ballistics. "I look just fine and hey, we'll know if any other evil wenches are in the department." He leaned back in. "Call on line three, Calleigh."
"Thank you." She moved to a more private phone to take it.
Horatio shook his head. "You two did not set a good precedent this morning."
Two shrugged. "I've actually hunted people in these, Horatio. We wore them when one of the tribes we were with got attacked and wore them through getting the people that they took back." Their boss shuddered. "I know I can handle a scene in them, even if I do sweat a bit. The same as he does. And I don't think *we're* the bad influence." He nodded at where the brainless trio were talking to Boa Vista like she was their big sister.
"No, I don't believe so," he decided. He looked at him. "Be more professional please."
He grinned. "Speed dared us." He bounced off.
"That does figure," he admitted. He went to pull all the interns into a meeting about professional dress. That one he could understand. The boys actually had clothes they could crawl around in. The rest.... He hated heels. Calleigh wore some sometimes but they were modest, thick, and not going to sprain her ankle. Right now, his interns looked like the club whore patrol.
When half of the women said that Boa Vista had called their outfits cute, he went to reprimand her as well. Because she wasn't exactly professional looking either.
Alexx looked up as Boa Vista and three of the interns walked onto her current scene. "Oh hell no!" she ordered with a point. "You are not wearing that, ladies. You all look like trashy little club whores. Go change." They glared. She stared back. "I can have you suspended for a day. You know better too," she told Boa Vista. "There's cameras and you can see right through those pants. Plus, the dead don't need cleavage." She huffed off to call Horatio. "Now, ladies. You look like you're selling it. You *should* know better by now." They pouted all the way back to the hummer.
She called Horatio herself. "Get me someone else here, someone who can do the damn work and doesn't make us look bad." She heard the problem with that issue. She sighed. "Her I can accept. Send me the twins then." She grimaced. "Well, if they say they can crawl around in it, good. Because they'll be on their hands and knees today and I don't want to hear doggy style jokes." She hung up and the waiting officers snickered. "Interns," she complained. The twins got there a while later and came over. "At least you two only look like you closed down the clubs."
"Alexx, we can and have hunted in these, including during tribal and village warfare situations," 2 said dryly. "We're more comfy in these than not. Besides, Speed said so."
"Uh-huh. I'll be beating my boy later on then."
"We told her those pants were see-through."
"So did I. Why did everyone go club whore today?"
"Because she's their mentor."
"That'll be stopped," she decided. "Even if I have to help him rewrite the damn dress code so no one assumes *I'm* like that." They smirked and got down to help her, including crawling around to find all the pieces of the broken necklace. They could move in them and weren't afraid of dirt. One had to brush his hair back a few times. "Haircut, baby."
"Sometime soon," he agreed. "Not this week."
"Yes you can," she ordered.
He looked at her. "I don't need one that badly. It's the way it's styled." He got back to gathering beads. "Did they grab it to yank it off her?"
"It looks like they grabbed it and it broke," she admitted. "Bruising on the neck suggests just before death."
"Possibly a 'give me that back, we're over' move?" 2 guessed. He looked at her clothes. "She looks nice and this sort of necklace belongs more on a hippie than someone in that sort of outfit."
"Could be," she decided. She gathered the body and they searched the area under her. "There's a slope," she reminded them.
"We know," they agreed, moving down there once they were done. There was a drain culvert from this artificially raised area in the park. They'd have to search in there for anything too they guessed. Not by hand, because that was gross, but by fishing line and camera. They got back and dusted off, wiping down their knees. They looked just as good. Calleigh stared at them. "What?" they asked in unison.
"You two spent a case on your knees and you look that good?"
"We wiped down the dirt," 2 said. He went to lay out the little beads. She had a picture of her in it in her wallet so they could make sure they got all of it. Up front was a teddybear charm with a birthstone. They stared at it then he went down there. "Alexx, was she a mommy?" he asked. He held up the necklace piece. "It was in the center by the picture."
She stared at it then shrugged. "I haven't gotten that far yet. I'll look." He smiled and left her to it. Maybe they wouldn't have to worry and she had family that would step in quickly. "Poor girl. You didn't need to die that day, did you?" she told the body, working on the clothes.
1 finished putting the necklace back together. They had found all but one bead. He walked it down to her. "It's been processed and I think her people would like it back with her," he told Alexx quietly.
"Thank you, baby boy. Did she have a son?"
"He died last year in that bus accident." She moaned, shaking her head. "He made it for her as a present according to her sister. Something at summer camp a few months before. She never took it off."
"Then we'll make sure it goes with her to the funeral home." He gently hitched it around her throat and she made a note on the forms that it was to stay with the body. They closed the drawer and she looked at him. "You okay?"
"I'm fine. We know who her boyfriend is. He went to talk to him with Eric a bit ago. I stayed to put that back together. We're missing a bead but I don't know where it is."
"Maybe it's with the killer," she offered.
"If so, it goes between the two blue ones in the front. Her sister asked specifically if we had gotten the whole necklace back."
She nodded. "If it comes back, I'll see if we can include it. It's hard sometimes."
"Yeah but humanity as a whole is still an animal. We just think of better reason to hunt than food." He walked off. He really wanted to find that missing bead. His twin knew this so he was on the watch for it. He did his report and handed it in. This one, there was going to have to be someone slipping up. "Here, Horatio."
He looked it over. "The necklace?"
"On her. We swabbed each bead for sweat and skin." He smiled and nodded. "Her sister said she never took it off."
"I can understand that," he promised. "I've done it myself, Xander."
He smiled. "Maybe you should hire someone to come in and talk to them about professional dress codes at other labs? Since most of them aren't going to be hiring on here?"
"I hadn't thought about that. A professional coach might help. It could also help them with resumes and things." He gave him a look.
"We had a seminar at college and we're surrounded by girls, Horatio. We know how to shop, we just hate it." He grinned. "Besides, Tony upped our wardrobe before we came down here."
"I got told that. Usually you two do fine. Though the jeans are a bit tight."
"We're twenty-three. We're single. We're not going to wear married guy jeans."
"I understand that reason but you do draw attention," he warned.
"Then you know who the evil bitches are," he quipped with a smirk.
"Also true in your case. I'll consider that idea."
"Welcome." He walked off, strolling down to ballistics. "Boss, need me?"
"You were off an hour and a half ago," she pointed out.
"The case demanded," he said bluntly.
She smiled at him. "Good boy." He barked and wiggled his butt, making her laugh. "Go get lunch and wait to take your twin home."
"He's with Eric questioning." He got a new can of soda from the machine and went out to the car. He did their weekly check in a bit earlier than usual but he knew his twin was nearby. He finally slid in beside him. "Bad?"
"Boyfriend's an ass. They argued about her moving on and marrying him so she could start a new family. He grabbed the necklace to stop her from leaving. Said he thought it was time she took it off."
"Grief moves individually for each person," 1 said. He stared at the whore walking out of the building. "I suggested a professional counselor."
"That might help, yeah. Home?"
"Please. I could use a long night in front of the tv." He started the car and backed out, taking them home.
One of the interns looked at their mentor. "How do they afford a hundred-fifty thousand dollar sports car?" she asked.
"Rumors state that they have money from some sort of company they inherited or something." She shrugged. "I haven't asked."
The one that had borrowed the shirt coughed. "The boys started a weapons design company a few years back," she told them. "They've sold some pretty nice things over the years." They all gaped. "That's why they're ballistics techs." She walked around the group.
"Why are you wearing their shirt?" Natalia asked.
"Because I stupidly didn't have enough clothes at my fiancee's house and forgot to set my alarm. This way I didn't look like I was for rent or lease." She looked at one of the others. "By the way, we noticed you dropped things from your top onto samples." She walked past them.
"Wolfe complains about everything," she said snidely.
"It was Eric who noticed it," she called back. "Not Wolfe. I had him on my scene all day."
"Crap. Someone might listen to him," she muttered.
"Eric's a guy, you can get around him," Natalia assured her. "I have." They all smiled and relaxed at that. "I'll talk to him tomorrow." They got in and headed home. She called Eric to see if he wanted dinner. He was apparently soothing his nagging mother's need for him to be around so she'd do it tomorrow night instead.
Xander looked at his six-month review then at Calleigh. "I only got one low mark?"
"Yes, and that's because you joke around a lot. Sometimes we need you more serious."
"Sometimes those are to break tension," he pointed out. "Before you all stroke out."
She smiled. "We realized that and I added that. Your twin got the exact same one."
"He's in court." He put his aside. "Thanks."
"Welcome." She smiled. "You two are all but the highest on this internship. On of the night shift girls lives for the scene and hunt." She patted his cheek. "No more bad shirts, Xander."
"This time it's legitimate laundry," he offered. He smirked. "It's cool."
"Fine." She went back to being nosy. The whole senior team had graded each intern and their scores had been averaged. A few of the ladies had gotten very bad scores and were pouting at Eric. "Hey."
Eric gave her a grateful look. "Hey. The boys?"
"Got counted down for their tension breaking humor moments."
"That's not always a bad thing," he said. "But now and then it's annoying. So are the ugly shirts."
He snorted. "They can do laundry."
"They can but they haven't. At least it's clean. Speed might appreciate those."
"Probably not. He called one a herpes sore walking." She laughed at that. "Seriously. He almost broke and took them shopping."
"It used to be loud hawaiian shirts," Xander called as he headed for the break room. "Alexx, for some reason your phone blipped to ours." She smiled at him, grabbing the phone in there and the only blinking line. He walked over. "Anyway." They smirked at him. "I'm not expected anywhere and if I am, me and him can switch clothes suddenly since he's in court." He shrugged. "It'll work well enough." He smirked at the person walking up to him. "Tony, did we screw up that badly?"
"Nope, I did not want to trust these to a courier," he said, handing over the roll of plans and the box. "From Abby."
"I need to write her. It's been a few days." He took them with a grin. "Thank you."
"Welcome. Why are you wearing that?"
"Uh-huh. Buy more good shirts? Please?"
"We only shop when you make us."
"I know." He patted him on the head. "I'm also down on injury leave and a little bit of vacation."
"We have a spare room."
"I have a hotel room and hot and cold running beach access," he said smugly.
"Have more fun than we would and no babies," Xander quipped back. He laughed and walked off. Xander looked at the senior techs. "We do miss Abby. She liked our shirts."
"She's not in Miami. Different places have different ideals of dress." He walked off smiling. "That counselor?"
Eric nodded. "Next week."
"Good!" They walked off to get back to work now that the gaggle of whining girls had left. "Did any flunk out?"
"A few were very close but someone gave them good marks in some things."
"Think it was Ryan?"
"No, I don't think it was Wolfe. He graded harder than the rest of us. He gave the boys' above average instead of higher marks."
"Huh. He is a hard grader. I find them wonderful. I hardly ever have any work to do."
He snickered. "They are protective of you still."
"I know. They try so hard too." She went back to ballistics. "That candy had better not be open."
"It's not. I'm looking over the grading comments on the plans." He moved to the next one. They had liked most of them and only suggested minimal changes. They had only vetoed two as being too weak. One was voted very derivative. So maybe they'd see if they could come up with something different this time. The other design teams had gotten similar criticism from what Miller had said. Maybe they'd do something that was vehicle mounted this time. He'd ask his less evil clone later.
"What are you wearing?" someone asked from the doorway.
Xander looked back. "Nice jeans, a good enough shirt with a t-shirt underneath it, and boots. Why? Who're you, Miss Fashion?"
"That is not professional, young man. I can see why I was called in."
Xander snorted, standing up. "Lady, we have to crawl on the ground on some scenes. I have dress pants but I know very well I might be going out today and that's an intern's job. So no, you weren't called for me. You were called for the whore patrol up the hallway who believe they can crawl on scenes in pointy heels and skirts that show their thongs." She grimaced and stomped off. He looked at Calleigh.
"I like you in the dress pants, but you're right, they'd be ruined. You've got mud next time." She handed out the slip.
He grinned. "Charming. Let's bring her to a scene." She smirked and he walked off. "Hey, bossman?" Horatio came out of trace. "Since she needs to know what we have to do to advise people on clothes, let's bring her to one." He grinned his most innocent grin.
He smirked. "Large blood pool?" he guessed.
"I'll bring her out," he said quietly. "Drag Mr. Wolfe with you."
"Yo, Ry Ry, we've got mud. A body calls."
"Wonderful," he sighed, coming out of the trace lab. "Let me get out of my vest."
"Sure." He walked off to grab his kit and check the hummer for supplies they might need. Including a tranq rifle since they were going into the everglades.
Horatio went to find the counselor, who was berating half of his staff. "No, Eric is dressed appropriately for this job. As was the twin you saw in ballistics. Yes, we do want them to look professional but they have to be able to bend, squat, and crawl if necessary." She grimaced. "I can take you to some scenes so you can see what we do. Lab personnel have more leeway, though I do think that's a bit cluttered, Miss Valera."
She looked down then at him. "Alexx gave it to me for my birthday tomorrow."
"Happy birthday and make sure it will not shed." She smiled and walked off. "She does not go into the field so she can wear skirts if she feels like it," he told her.
"So you're an administrator?" she suggested.
"Sometimes, though I do go help on scenes. I get less messy than others most of the time. If I have to go on those, I change into jeans as well."
Eric nodded. "I've ruined a lot of dress pants on this job thanks to the ground we're on." He smirked at the pouting girls. "Of course, interns and newbies always get the worst jobs."
"Of course," she agreed. "That's universal. I would like to see these crime scenes. The lab personnel I can inspire to wear something more...professional."
"As long as they're comfortable and have no range of motion loss," he ordered.
"I can see why." She walked out with him, and they followed the other hummer. "The young one and the one who looked like a teacher?"
"Yes. We don't really care about Mr. Wolfe's sweater vests. It makes him look more harmless. The same as Harris was dressed reasonably well today once he buttoned his overshirt. The other is in court so he's dressed up."
"Hmm. Most of you would keep suits in your lockers?"
"The smart ones, yes."
"That's realistic. The shorter skirts?"
"I would like to see banished."
She smiled. "Be honest, which ones am I there to help?"
"The interns, particularly the female interns. I'll also be introducing you to Miss Boa Vista, who seems to think with her cleavage some days. We've had one intern break her ankle because she insisted on wearing the cute three inch heels to a crime scene." She shuddered. "Professional means clean, able to move if necessary, and does not have to mean a dress or a skirt in the lab. It can't impede their motion or anything else."
"Have we had many problems like today?"
He snorted. "Today was a decent day. Only three of them looked like they closed down the clubs. We've had days when all the interns did but the twins wore leather pants and t-shirts, which allowed them a lot of movement. Even on a scene they had to crawl on. They generally pick clothes that they could get into a fight in if they had to. Their past was like that." She nodded. They pulled up at the scene. "Frank," he greeted. "This is our lab's consultant for the intern class on professional demeanor."
"Please, god, make them quit looking like whores," he begged. Xander snickered. "You in those leather pants were bad enough."
"I looked good and we found another evil bitch in the PD," he called back. "He sent us stalker letters." He grinned back. "C'mon. You can move to the line, ma'am." He and Ryan ducked under the line and looked. "Hey, buried body. Yay."
Ryan snickered. "We'll have to shovel her out and filter the mud."
"Yay," he said again, still sounding sarcastic. "Speed's going to love this story. Can't we vacuum up the mud?"
"No," Horatio said. He came over to look. "This is probably going to be one of the more messy scenes this month," he told her. Xander suddenly looked around and ran for their hummer, pulling out the tranq rifle and bringing it back. The growling was not a good sign. Xander shot it and it yelped. "Nice move," he praised calmly. "Warn us."
"Yes, sir." He handed it back. "Guard our sixes please," he said dryly.
"Of course." He smiled. "His in-school was with NCIS."
"What was the dress code up there like?"
Xander grinned at her. "Our mentor is very goth, with pigtails."
She nodded slowly. "They can do that?"
"In the lab."
"Oh. I see." She nodded. "Is it supposed to be twitching?"
He walked over to check it out, taking out the dart. "It's a bit too strong for it, Horatio. You might get a Ranger down here." He called that in and then went to help Ryan shovel mud. "Can't we get the brainless patrol to come do this?"
"That's an evil thought," Ryan joked. "I'm not sure they can put the heels inside the hip waders."
Xander snorted. "Hip waders? They'd scream at them." He silently begged. "We have more than one body."
"Where?" Horatio asked.
Xander pointed. "Bubbles. Smells like decomp." Horatio carefully walked over to look and nodded, calling for more help. "Thanks, boss."
"Welcome, Xander." He patted him on the back. "It'll probably be your twin."
"No, he's presently chewing someone a new one somewhere." He called him and got ignored. "Huh." He put the phone back and then called Eric. "Whoever's coming, hip waders. That body's more buried. That'll work." He hung up. "He's got the triplets of brain loss."
"Poor guy. He'll have to go to a sports bar later to rebuild his manliness since they were talking pedicures earlier," Ryan said dryly. "Shovel, Xander." They got back to shoveling the body out.
Alexx showed up about an hour later, when they were nearly done. The other team was still going 'eww' every few minutes. Even Horatio had slipped once on the mud. "Well, it looks like we should've charged tickets for wrestling."
Xander leaned on his shovel, looking at her. "Don't tempt me." She cackled. "They've got one, we've got one."
"I have the ground penetrating radar with me, baby." Eric said a loud prayer and came up to get it.
"Why can't we operate it?" one of the girls called.
"Because we're interns and interns get the shit jobs," Xander called back. "That's true in all organizations. The lower you are, the more shit you get. When you finally get to boss interns around, you can make them dig." Ryan and Eric both nodded at that, looking smug. "Feel lucky we don't have gators. Then one of you would have to have the tranq rifle and none of you are good shots so I'd get out of digging." He smirked evilly at them. "You missed a good chunk and it's flowing back in." They huffed and got back to work. Xander moved one more shovel full. "There!" he said happily. "Alexx, before she's sucked back in?"
She got the body moved so he and Ryan could check the mud underneath. "This one's been here a while but it's not as bad as he could be." The counselor was covering her nose. "I know. You get used to it," she assured her.
"Lemons," Eric and Ryan ordered. "Lots of lemons."
Alexx swatted Eric on the leg. "That too." She smiled. "Clothes that can be washed, repeatedly, are a good idea out here. Though this is the worst I've seen this week." She got the body bundled up and came over to look at the other one. "Let's not mangle the body with the shovels, girls. I need it whole to figure out what happened." They groaned but were more careful. They had only broken an arm! Alexx looked at the cadets being brought in. "Oh, you saint," she told Frank with a happy smile.
"Save the interns for the worse work. Dig, boys and girls. We have bodies sucked into the mud."
"Found another one," Eric noted. He put a flag. "That's the skull." He kept going.
"Dig *around* the bodies," Alexx ordered.
"Put any mud through the sieves, ladies and gentlemen," Horatio ordered. "That way we can make sure nothing that's evidence is escaping. Dig about six inches from the bodies so you don't hit them, and watch out, the mud is slick." They nodded, coming down to take shovels from the interns. He checked Xander's hands. "Good work."
"I worked construction and I pound metal," he said dryly. "Shoveling is hard but not that hard." The girls were whining about the bruises and torn blisters on theirs so he sighed and handed the stuff he used on his own. "It stinks, but it'll keep down any infections from anything in the mud and it'll help heal those blisters." They pouted but put it on. He stretched, popping his back. "Ow." He leaned against the hummer, taking a long drink while they dug. "Ry." Ryan looked over. "Three bodies?"
"Probably related," he agreed. "Or killed at the same time and no one caught them so they sank after a good rain."
"You haven't lived until you've had to get the shark that ate someone," Eric joked. Alexx shuddered. "Then she has to open it to get the parts it ate." The girls all turned green and wobbled off. He looked at the professional counselor. "This is probably the worst that we get. Now and then we get water bodies or bodies in the everglades themselves. This is on solid ground instead of the marshes."
"Normal ones, you're kneeling or squatting down," Ryan told her. "Taking pictures, picking up things, all that stuff."
"And can you maybe have a talk with Boa Vista about unbuttoning her shirt when I walk past because I complained about her cleavage?" Xander asked her. "I had to, because I was going to puke. She's gross."
"She is not," Eric called.
"Eric, hush. She is too. And she was wearing see-through pants."
Eric looked at him. "She's decent."
"On what scale? Skanky club whores?" The girls all glared at him. "Please! We *all* saw that 'cold sore' on her lip? Wasn't!" They huffed off.
"Ladies, we still have to process anything that comes out of the mud," Eric called.
"We're nasty and dirty!" one complained.
"Welcome to being a CSI," Ryan said dryly. "Death is disgusting. Usually the body expels any last urine or feces within hours of death. There's blood, there's decay, there's bugs. This is the life of a CSI. Then we clean up, go back to the lab, process evidence, and go question. If you can't hack the field, look into being a lab tech." They pouted. "I'm immune to that look, ladies."
"Don't look at me, I only draw evil bitches," Xander said dryly. "And I've seen worse than this in the past. Walking into a village that had been taken out in some civil wars and finding chopped up, decaying bodies in the sunlight, and knowing you could have saved them if you had been two days earlier, that's worse. Especially when you knew 'em." One started to cry. "This is field work, ladies. It's all messy, blood, and even guts sometimes. You should've gotten this on your in-school." He walked over. "Junior, you," he said with a point. "Quit arching your back. You'll kill it and spend the next four days in pain." He walked back to the hummer and turned on the radio, getting a few smiles for it. "It helped my former construction crew," he told them. They got back to work. They ran into another body and they had to go back to help gather it. Then the last body came up. Xander stared. It had horns. "Huh," he said, looking at Alexx, who had let him know she knew. "Well...."
"It's probably implants, baby," she said, gathering him quickly and efficiently.
"Let me know if you find any weapons with him," Xander ordered calmly. "The last guy I knew who had implants like that had a special gun and he said most of them did." He walked back there. It looked like he'd have to go talk to someone tonight instead of vegging in the tub. His twin and Calleigh showed up and he walked over, whispering in his ear.
"I can do that," he promised.
Frank moved closer. "Those were horns, right? We've seen horns and claws before, kid."
Xander 2 nodded. "How much do you know?"
"Enough to shrug it off most of the time."
"Good, come help me question. I think I know how to get his ID quickly." Frank nodded, taking the hummer back to the place Xander knew. It was a fighting club/gym/proving ground for young warriors. He walked in and nodded at the head trainer. "One of those," he said with a point. "Was found in the 'glades by Eastern Pack. It was an older body, decayed down to bones."
He considered it. "That had to be Daniel then. He went missing about three years ago and no one knew why. He was dating one of them and we figured they ran off but not even his sister's heard from him."
"Did he have his gun on him? It hasn't been found yet."
"No, his sister holds it to his shrine."
"Thanks. Is there any way to positively ID him?"
"I'll ask the local patriarch. You sure it was there?"
"We were just digging bodies out of the mud."
"Eww, yeah that's by Eastern Pack. I'll ask. Let you know."
"Thank you." He shook his hand. "Is anyone any good for sparring?"
"No. You trained with slayers. You have funny reflexes and you'd damage us." He smirked. "Or we'd kill you and get them all down on our ass as well as your twin."
He shrugged. "Good point." He grinned. "This is Detective Tripp. If you can't find one of us, let him know."
"Granted." He shook his hand as well and let them leave. Then he called the local patriarch. "Harris just dug up one of us out by Eastern Pack's lands." He listened. "That's what I was thinking. It's been three years. Do we have dental records or anything for a full ID? Probably. Woods does respect others." He nodded. "He said him or Detective Trip. Thank you, sir." He hung up and waved at the ones paying him more attention than their current battles. "Go back to it. They found a body and wanted an ID." They nodded and got back to it.
Xander walked into the morgue, as ordered. "Yes, Alexx?"
"He identified the odd one by scent." She patted him on the hand. "And the other two by scent for species."
Xander nodded. "I can tell them if you want."
"Please. That way they're claimed." Xander nodded, taking the notes she had made and heading off. She had no idea what had happened. She didn't think those sort of beings mixed amongst themselves.
2 walked into the pack 'office' for lack of a better word. "I need to talk to the alpha please," he said respectfully.
The one behind the desk sniffed. "You aren't one of us." He pulled his ID out. "Has someone been arrested?"
"We found bodies nearby. Our ME wants to notify the families."
"Oh. That's important I suppose." She went to get the alpha's wife. She was wise. She could probably kick this young one's butt.
Xander bowed to her. "Alpha."
He smirked. "Yup. You saw us digging?"
"I did get told of it." He handed over the notes. "We had hoped those two ran away," she sighed. She handed it back. "The third was probably one of the priests."
"I can ask them later. Our ME has them and wanted their families told so they could claim them."
"Do we know what happened?"
"From what I saw on the bodies? It looks like they were shot, but she'd have to make that determination."
"I'll tell her family and have them call. ME Woods?" He nodded. "Thank you. If they smelled fire, it has to be one of those Zaparat priests."
He grimaced. "I don't like them but it's the job." She smiled and patted his cheek, handing him a cookie. He grinned and nibbled. "Thank you, Elder."
"You're welcome, Harris, and we'll handle it." He nodded and left. "Find me Marjorie." The receptionist ran off to do that. She took a cookie to nibble herself. This was not going to be a happy talk. They had wondered about that child. They would've accepted her relationship and she knew it.
Xander walked into the small store, heading back to the temple.
"Humans not allowed!" the shopkeeper ordered.
Xander stared at him. "I'm Council. I'm also PD and I'm notifying someone of a death. Shut up." He walked through and paused at the temple. "Full mass decoration," he sighed, taking off his shoes and socks. He walked out, finding a priest. "Father."
He jumped, staring at him. "You're human."
He pulled out his ID. "I'm PD and we found a body that may be one of yours."
"That's bad." He led him back to the sanctuary, so no one could see a mere human in there. "Alpha."
The older priest looked up and stared. "Hunter."
"Father." He sat down when it was pointed at, properly respectful. He handed over the note. "We found three bodies. We've identified the other two and notified them."
He read it over, then sighed. "That sounds like our young zealot priest a few years back. We thought he had wandered off on a quest. If not, it's one of two others."
"Our ME has their bodies and needs to know where to send them. I'm here to notify because I know the community."
"You Sunnydale people did do us right most of the time," he praised. Xander grinned a bit. "You're with the local department?"
"Our after-school internship. We're both CSI."
"Ah." He nodded, handing the note back. "How old?"
"She did not tell me that. I can call and check but that would mean electronics in here."
"Please don't. We can come down later tonight or tomorrow night."
"Let her know first please. She has children to get home to and doesn't always stay late."
"That is good of a breeder pup." He smiled. "You visited the pack?"
"Before here today. We found the identity of the other one first by his horns."
"Good work then. Go. Well talk to her." He nodded and left, the priest following. "At least he is respectful of us," he decided, making notes in the chronicles about this. He should be able to tell by the devotional marking on his priest's bones. He went out to talk to the shopkeeper. "Please call the ME and arrange for a time to come see the body?" He nodded and did that, making notes for him. "Thank you, my son." He went back to his office. He had a book to find and his shelves were not arranged properly.
2 was sitting on his hood when his twin, the pouting interns, and the professional counselor came out. "Brother mine, are we on for pizza tonight?"
"I'm good with pizza. Chicken?"
"Pepperoni?" he countered.
"Supreme with chicken?"
"I like pepperoni."
"I have to testify tomorrow. I don't need to belch."
"Good point. Chicken supreme then." The interns were glaring. "What?"
"It's not payday," one sneered.
Xander 1 shrugged. "We design weapons as well, dear." He smiled sweetly. "That's why we drive the pretty, fast car." She huffed off. He waved. "Later." He smirked at the counselor, who was looking amused. "At what income level do you get to make the move from strange to eccentric?"
"At least five million a year," she said dryly.
"Then we're on track to be eccentric for a while," he decided. "My turn?"
"Yeah, I was out on notifications so it's your turn to drive."
"You two don't have separate cars?" she asked.
"We have a 1968-9 DB6 Volante, also an Aston-Martin, but this is Miami and they don't really like having classic beauties." 2 shrugged. "They have poor taste in most things with what they consider pretty too. Shallow is not the same as pretty." He slid in and his twin got in to drive. They backed out and headed for their favorite pizza place on the way home. "Think they'll try to suck up?"
"Nope. Everyone else knows. If they haven't heard the gossip, they're pitiful beyond the cheap whore skirts."
"Well, yeah, most of them are," he agreed. "The trial today went well enough but the secondary defense attorney is an idiot."
"What did he ask? I felt you blistering him."
"No, that was mentally. It would've looked bad if I had told him what I was thinking. When he demanded to know what I was thinking I told him very simply I did not want to pay the contempt of court fees for my blunt, honest, learned opinion on his bad manners or stupidly phrased questions. Oh, he thinks we're sleeping together."
"You do cuddle very well," 1 quipped. "Sure, I'll go in being the nice one."
He smirked. "You do do it better than I do."
"Yeah, I do." He smirked back and pulled into the pizza place. He walked in, chatting with the desk girl. She loved them. She'd like to tie them down and have them both but she wasn't nearly evil enough for them and they knew it was only a fantasy, she wouldn't want to keep them. So for now he could flirt. He got their pizzas and went home to veg in front of the tv. His ass and back hurt from the digging. It had been a while since he had spent half the day digging in the earth.
Xander walked into the courtroom the next morning. His hair was pretty, but a bit messy and sexy. His suit was dark gray, with a nicely bright tie. He had his platinum earring in and his platinum bracelet. He had the folder he'd need and nodded at the prosecuting attorney before taking his spot next to the seat.
"State your name for the records," the bailiff ordered.
"Alexander A. Harris."
"Full name," the judge ordered.
"The A is only an initial. We couldn't figure out what to use as my middle name when we ended up fixing the part where our parents decided we were only one child." The judge stared at him so he pulled out the name change paperwork. "That is what we had to file."
He looked it over, nodding slightly. "Your parents used the same name?"
"Our parents decided they had only a single son. They were also heavy drinkers."
He handed it back. "That is what the paperwork says, finish swearing him in." Xander took his oath and sat down.
The defense attorney stood up. "How do we know this isn't the same one from yesterday, Your Honor?"
Xander held out his hands. "Beyond the fact my twin is missing an eye and I'm not? Bailiff, what do you see?"
"I see very recent blisters and possibly the formation of new calluses."
"Yesterday, while my twin was testifying, we had a few bodies we had to dig out of the mud," Xander said bluntly. "I got to dig because I'm an intern." The attorney sneered. "I know teenage girls who do that look better, even ones who aren't cheerleaders, so please restrain your sneering for your abused wife, Counselor." The judge choked. "As proven by the papers over the last two weeks, sir. There have been six domestic calls to his house I do believe." Xander looked him over. "Since he's not the one that's being abused...."
The judge coughed. "Please be as restrained in your opinions as your twin would be, CSI Harris."
"I will if he will, Your Honor." He grinned. "I don't want to cause any hard feelings."
"Thank you. Counselors, you may start," he said with a wave of his pen. He did make a note of that fact to look up later.
The prosecutor went over the facts he had done in his reports, letting the boy go over each report. The defense attorneys tried to interrupt a few times but Xander's answer shot them down. Then it was the defense's turn. "Mr. Harris," he said bluntly, standing up. "How do you afford to drive such an expensive car and wear such expensive suits?"
"I also design weapons," he said bluntly.
"I believe that was your twin."
"No, I believe we each half own the company and we both work in it," he said bluntly. "You can check with him if you want. Or our XO, or our DOD leak." He shifted to cross his feet. "Beyond that, six of my earlier designs and ten of his earlier ones sold recently to a general looking for special ops weapons for an English company. More of mine would have but he had a budget he had to stay within," he finished blandly. The lawyer's eyes bulged. Xander stared at him.
"Beyond that, we *did* just sell our former apartment in DC. It was in a fairly fashionable neighborhood but near our former college. A two bedroom, open concept loft style apartment went for nearly three mil. Our house down here was only about one. Plus some repair costs since it needed some." He stared at him.
"Or are you asking about the few things we found while on our trip in Africa? Because yes, we did end up inside a cave with some of the village we were with at the time and did find a few little rocks with platinum in them and a few loose diamonds. Then again, I could also claim the time I was taken and my twin wasn't, and the problematic pirates I helped bring down from the inside because I was a bit peeved," he said bluntly.
"I do believe the local government ... no, I'm wrong, the local government guy was scared as hell of someone taking them down and making them miserable so I asked him to get the representative from a friendly country they trusted to hand the artillery over to. There was a doubt about military integrity and the rumors of a wanted coup. I believe the people they called were with the Moroccan government. At which time I earned a high reward for being pissed off and handling it. Plus for handing over enough armaments for a small battle cruiser. They let me split the money with the other hostages and slaves they had."
The defense attorney choked, staring at him in horror. He smiled. "Why did you do that?" the other asked.
"Would *you* like to be kept as a hostage?" Xander countered in a patronizing tone of voice.
"Probably not. I would probably fight back but I wouldn't be able to bring them down."
"That was late in our trip. Before then we had been in villages that had been attacked, been on hunts, and I am a fantastic shot usually," Xander said blandly. "Plus I learned a lot from Rambo and other movies of that sort." He sipped the water provided for him. "That did go into a money market fund for myself and my future comic needs and desires."
The defense attorney that had choked calmed himself down. "Which of you is the better shot?"
Xander shrugged. "We're about equally good but my twin is better with handguns. I'm better with higher weapons. We both have very good aim with things like artillery though."
"I see." He stared at him. "So you do half-own the company?"
"It's in your twin's name."
"Actually, if you look, it's in our *original* name. Which was both of ours. We switched after filing for it. The college advised us it would be a good idea."
He stared at that paper then at him. "He didn't change his."
"We both changed middle initials." He handed over that paper. "He mentioned your confusion about that."
The man read it over and groaned, handing it back. "Fine, it's both of yours." Xander nodded, taking another sip. "Which of you is the better ballistics tech?"
"Actually, we rate the same. Though he has a better hand at finding minute little clues and I'm better at figuring out the bigger picture. He has more of an artistic bent than I do. That's why he can find what's wrong with a scene within a few minutes. I can do the same but it takes me a bit longer and I go at it from a different mental angle. Before you ask, I'm also a certified profiler, though I've only been through my masters for it. I didn't want to deal with more lecture classes. We're both hands-on people."
"Oh." He looked. "So you can profile crimes?"
"Yes, I can."
"Have you done it on this one?"
"There was no need to do it on this one. The man confessed when we brought evidence into his questioning. He had that sweaty, better-confess-before-I-get-punished anxiety that you see when people aren't very good at keeping big secrets to themselves."
"Do I look guilty of having to kill people to protect myself?" he countered. The man gaped. "Those pirates and the times where the villages we were in got attacked didn't end in a tickle fight," he said facetiously. "Some people can handle that sort of knowledge better than others, counselor. A lot of times we call them soldiers. Sometimes we call them officer, CSI, or even agent."
"Oh." He stared at his coworker. "We didn't get a taped confession."
"It was a preliminary interview and the cameras were off that day for maintenance all over the lab. It was tape recorded I do believe." He looked at the prosecutor.
"It did start a few words into his confession and it was handed over, Your Honor." He dug out that notice and handed it to the bailiff. "We sent it by courier. Their receptionist signed for it. It was noted which case it was for. It was also a cleaned up, meaning the background noise was cut out, version and the pure version so they couldn't claim we tampered. The lab was having some work done that day to some broken windows and it came through on the tape."
The judge looked at it. "I believe they're in evidence as well." Xander pointed at a sealed bag on a table. "Yes, that is it. Thank you, CSI Harris."
"Not a problem, Your Honor." He looked at the defense attorneys. "For the next question I can see running across your face as your internal hamster wheels turn, actually I'm the nicer twin. He's the meaner, more sarcastic, more blunt twin." They both groaned. "Now, what else did you need to know, gentlemen?" he asked.
"Do you have problems working with women? Your boss is one."
"No. We've mostly only had female friends for years now," he said bluntly. "Our boss might complain that we're a bit overprotective of her, but otherwise no, we get along just fine. We do our work, we do it quickly and efficiently, we don't cause her problems, and we don't cause problems in the labs. We tell jokes when we're stressed and we date people that would make her cackle as they're being arrested but otherwise, we get along just fine. You can ask her if you want. She's on your list."
The prosecutor nodded. "She is on their list, Your Honor."
"That's fine. They can ask her then. Any relevant questions? Since you're both so stunned you're acting like first year law students?" They shook their heads. "Then this CSI Harris is also released from this trial. Thank you."
"You're welcome." He smiled at the prosecutor. "If you need copies of that paperwork, let us know." He left.
"If I had known, I would have presented it with the witness list, Your Honor."
"It's fine. It was reasonably handled by him." He stared at the defense team, who were hissing. "Let's take ten so they can act like teenage girls and gossip," he said, banging his gavel. He went to his office to call the lieutenant over the lab to tell him he had a good smartass pair with those two. He probably already knew but that one could be a bit scary sometimes.
Horatio caught up with Xander when he was coming in. "Pirates?" he asked.
"Yes. They thought we were aid workers and managed to get me. I was a bit upset. I was a bit upset with a knife in my hand and then a few guns in my hands." He shrugged. "They got the point. Hopefully before they died. When I called an operator from their camp phone, I told her I was a hostage who had just freed myself by making a damn mess and described the area and the license plates. She connected me to some cops, who came out to arrest the rest.
"They didn't want to deal with the weapons because they might get stolen back so I suggested if they couldn't, they might want to call someone military or a friendly country's military that could. The Moroccan ambassador was in and volunteered his since they were ancient and needed destroyed anyway. They had bought cheaply on the black market by buying the really ancient, Cold War stuff."
He shrugged during his babble. "But they did say to split any money that wasn't packaged as being from a bank or anything with the other hostages. I found their drug stash and their money stash for it. The other two hostages were aid workers and took their cuts and the drugs to burn."
Horatio sorted through the babble. "How many were there?"
"Nineteen, twenty, something like that."
"You took down twenty pirates?" Frank asked as he joined them.
"Something like that. Yeah. Why?"
"How?" Frank asked.
"I was really in a bad mood." He grinned. "Aren't you glad I'm the nice twin?"
"Yeah, I am, kid. Know anything about our drug dealers?"
"OH! That guy. Yeah, well, he wanted to flirt and I said I only date guys with money to discourage him." He shrugged again and shifted the weight to his other foot. "He said he had money; I scoffed with the knock-off silk shirt he was wearing. I pointed out I made more than he did in a day, that's why I could wear what I was. He took me out to show me his porsche. I showed him mine. He whined. He said he could show me things that would blow my mind. I sighed but let him. Took me back to his drug hideyhole. Six guards got knocked out when they came to try to separate us because I was having a girlish hissy about drugs being bad for me and my superior body. Then I called Vice." He grinned. "Did they want more information from that?"
Frank stared at him. "How do you do that?"
"I don't know how I date evil shits, Detective. He was a pathetic evil shit. Miami needs better evil shits around here." He walked off shaking his head. "Dear, I'm back."
"That bad?" his twin called from the firing pen.
"Yes. They kept getting stranded. I had to point out I was the nice one and I told them about the pirates. Their hamsters quit turning their wheels for a few minutes." He put down his bag and looked at the boss, who was staring at him. "What? Don't like the hair?" He checked it in a mirror. "It hasn't fallen yet. I still look pretty, right?"
"Yes you do, Xander. You should let Alexx see how pretty you are in that."
"Tony's ex helped us buy the suits." He grinned and went to tell Alexx that. She agreed he looked nice and sent him back up. "She said I looked very handsome but I wasn't femme enough for pretty." Calleigh snickered and nodded. "So, anyway, work, boss?"
"Sometime," she said dryly. He took off his jacket to hang up and got his lab coat. She shook her head, going out to talk to Horatio and Frank since he was still there. "Is Xander going to ever be normal?"
"Probably not," Horatio sighed, taking off his glasses to look at her. "Why?"
"I was stunned and he checked his hair."
"He told us how he took down some pirates that had him hostage," Frank said.
"Ah. She nodded. Horatio put back on his glasses with a snicker. "Did the judge complain?"
"That he was a bit hyper and mean."
"Yeah, he can be." She walked off shaking her head.
Frank looked at Horatio. "Where are you going to get him interviews?"
"I'm not sure if Mac could handle them," he admitted.
"They can't move the company to New York," Alexx said, coming out with a folder. "I asked. They said the DOD doesn't want it in New York because it's a security risk." She handed over the folder. "I pity Detective Taylor for not having them, but oh well."
"Good point," he admitted. "I'll talk to the boys about that later on. They'd have to ask their teams as well since they'd have to relocate." He looked inside the folder then at her. "Tell me you're kidding."
"No. Small caliber burn through their bodies. The mud covered up the holes through the breastbone and spine."
"Ask the boys if they know anyone who has made lasers that portable."
"I did when one came down to let Calleigh regroup mentally. He said there's two design companies down here that he's sure are working on it."
"Good. We can check on that then. Thank you."
"Hey, Alexx," Frank said. "Would it surprise you that the goofy one had gotten himself free of being kidnaped by shooting people?"
"Nope. I love the twins but they're mean when they need to be. I had to help clean up on that ship when one of them got taken. He said he was the more warrior side."
"Do you think there's been others?" Horatio asked.
"Only them, the good Lord or whoever watches over them, and whatever agents caught it would know," she said dryly. She walked off. Horatio would ask one of those sources, though the agents might actually be the only one that would answer him.
"I'd hate to be their guardian angel," Frank decided. "I'd have way too much work." He walked off to Horatio's snickering.
Horatio took the file inside and went to ask the boys about any other incidences that might come back to bite them on the stand. Because that story would probably have made the rounds of all the local attorneys by now.
Spenser opened his email, grinning. "Our Xander said that he had to subtly bite a defense attorney for being stupid."
"How?" Derek asked from his desk.
"He told them about the pirates."
"What pirates?" he asked, turning to look at the younger man. "He knows pirates?"
"He got himself free of some in Africa. Twice." He sent back a response and answered one from the other twin, who had signed it 'the other Xander', to tell Horatio all about them. That way he wouldn't worry about them in the field. Just not make it too bad sounding so he wouldn't worry in the other direction. He put down his laptop, still smiling.
Prentiss looked over. "What's happened?" she asked before sitting down. She had been in the bathroom.
"How is he liking Miami?"
"Good now that he's rebuffed and turned in the wannabe drug kingpin that tried to interest him too hard. He said he was a bit mean on his first case testifying. He told the lawyers their mental hamster wheels had gotten stuck." She snickered at that. "Told them about one of the times he had to get free from pirates."
"Like Jack Sparrow? With guy liner and all that?" she asked. She hoped anyway. She could see them in that sort of outfit and drunk on rum.
"No, like African pirates, like you see on the news," Spenser said with a smile. "Twice but he only told them about the first."
"Ah." She nodded at that. "That doesn't really surprise me about Xander." She shook her head. "Xander's goofy and sweet, but underneath that is a soldier."
"Yeah he is," Spenser agreed. "Both of them really." He forwarded the email to Tony and Garcia. They'd find it cute too. Tony sent back a 'which time' to him. He answered and Tony sent back a laugh. So apparently it was a boring, paperwork day over there too.
Garcia walked over. "We need to tell him to calm down and not tell people those things before they get scared of him."
"If they do, they'll go all goofy and smile and hum something," Derek said dryly. "That'll knock that out pretty quickly."
"Then again, their present lieutenant has had to fire in the field a few times and he's just as much a knight as those two are," Spenser said. "He does the same sort of improbable, slightly suicidal things that the twins do sometimes." He smiled at Garcia. "You might find a list of really good labs to suggest to them. That way they can find a good one."
"I heard someone suggested Denver and the team that they were wanting them to liaison with nearly quit and shot their bosses," she said.
"The boys aren't that sort of trouble," Derek said. He leaned back in his chair and put his feet up.
"No, but they have plenty of problems without hyper twins who create weapons. One of the analysts in the ATF was seriously in awe of the fit they threw."
"Why would they?" Spenser asked.
"Apparently one knew something about them and decided it was too dangerous to have near them. The company and them. Something about some serious problems the twins drew."
"Only if they date," Prentiss said dryly.
"Xander did say he had found a pretty young thing," Garica told her smugly. "Not in the least bit deadly." Prentiss snorted. "And Alex said that he was busy beating the whore patrol interns off them at the moment." She walked off.
Spenser nodded. "Quite possibly. They're good techs, they've got money, it'd be a status symbol for another tech to land them."
"If they're smart, they have a prenup," Derek said.
"Oh, I'm sure they do. I find it more amusing that half of everyone thinks Alex is the only one that works and runs the company. Anyone who's met them both knows that Xander's the more weapon oriented."
"They're both scary when they want to be," Prentiss pointed out. "It's just that they don't want to be. Probably because it'd mean those psychos wouldn't date them anymore."
"They did try to attract good girls the last time I went out with them," Spenser offered. "It didn't work all that well. But it was nice that the three serial killers were buying all the drinks." She moaned and turned away.
"You're welcome for the save that night," Aaron said as he walked past them. "Problems with the twins?"
"Ours decided to put down a stupid defense attorney by pointing out he had taken out some pirates that had him hostage."
He stopped to look back at him. "If my son ever turns out like them, tell me so I can help correct it sooner?"
"If he starts toward the hunting lifestyle, we'll gladly help," Derek said, staring at him.
"Thanks. I might need it some day." He went up to his office, going to finish the paperwork of the day. "Let DiNozzo work before Gibbs complains again."
"Sure," Spenser called, getting back to his own email.
Xander looked at the list of labs that had openings, frowning at things. His twin was up in DC ranting about their friend Zach's treatment. Apparently someone had signed him up for a new medicine that he didn't need, which was making him lethargic and suicidal, and was something he hadn't agreed to participate in. 2 was really letting them have it so he was happy. 1 had already called a contact up there to get him into a better facility anyway. One that would honor the deal he had made to stay out of jail but would treat him better. He had also called Hodgins to let him know so they could be pissed on his behalf. Plus send back that babyman shrink he was working with. So now 1 was considering their options for moving the company and them. Someone knocked on the apartment door. "Who is it?"
"Me," a male voice called.
"Come in, Graham." He walked in and shut the door behind him. "How'd you like the tank?"
"I think it's adorable it let me pass after scanning my ID. I wish I had known that before it hit me with the rubber ball," he admitted, rubbing his chest. His boss just grinned. "We've got to talk about the lab move. I know you're considering where. 2 told me." He sat down. "How long is the possible list?"
"Not very in ballistics." He let him see it. "There's an opening in Denver, like the ATF head wanted but I heard that their team out there, the one he wanted me to liaison with, was throwing a fit."
"From what I heard, they nearly took the building hostage after reading your dossier. They said they get enough strange, dangerous crap as is."
Xander smirked. "We'd let them borrow if they were nice."
"I'm sure you would." He looked down the list. "Homeland didn't want you in New York. They convinced others it'd be a bad idea."
"It's a top lab. We could put the company upstate and commute up on the weekends. Or in New Jersey."
"True," he admitted. "But they'd want you closer, like before. They're pouting they don't have you two to fix things and bounce ideas off of." The rest of the list was pretty boring labs. "Chicago?"
"Remaking the system. We could do a lot of work there but there's not going to be dual openings on the same shift in the same lab so we'd be separated."
"That's out then and I know the guys and ladies wanted less snow if possible." Xander snickered. "Though it was nice your arctic and snow gear worked very well last weekend during the show-off times." He patted him on the back. "O'Neill fell in love with one of them." Xander grinned at him. "What about federal level ones?"
"That's going to come with problematic shit. People who want to butt in, say we owe them or they own us."
"Which would suck," he agreed. He handed over a letter. "Came to the office. They had no idea where you were interning."
Xander took the opened envelope. "Good?"
"Not bad. Federal but not fully, just oversight."
Xander read it over, staring at the idea. He sent it at his twin, who said he'd talk to them later. He faxed the copy to his hotel room for his later reading pleasure. "That might work, or we might be able to interest them in Zach."
"I talked to Gretchen, the head of that program, and she was interested in Zach." 1 beamed at him for that. He grinned back. "We all know the kid didn't do what they say he did."
"He fell for logic."
"It happens." He pointed. "Albany's lab?"
"Smaller, not really a lot of work. It's not like there's a ton of gang-bangers there. Detroit's maybe."
"You'd hate Detroit, Xander. Trust me, I hated Detroit and I was there for three weeks."
"It's a bit more run down with a lot of the businesses closing recently. The auto makers are on shaky footing so unemployment's high. Which leads to higher crime rates and all that, which would give you more work, but a lot of it you'd hate. There's a few police departments who are blaming all their local gang and drug activity on people from Detroit too. Even a few agents have been acting like Detroit is the new motherland."
Xander nodded. "I can understand that." He considered the list and faxed it as well. His twin had to have some say in it. He leaned back. "I don't know."
"The federal one is a good option and it's got three offices. You could keep us in DC."
"I hate being in DC. Too many nosy fucks who want in our business."
"Yeah, but it's got less psychos."
"But a heavy demon contingent. Especially with all those politicians. Soul sucking to get part of theirs back."
"Good point." He cleared his throat. "They have an office by Denver. You'd actually be working out of the Denver Federal Building." Xander stared at him. "Which would probably make that team unhappy but they do a lot of interesting cases and a lot of cold ones as well." Xander nodded at that. "They could use both your skills and your twin's. Or there's an office by Seattle."
"Hmm, home of rain and coffee. None sound truly appealing."
"You'd be doing some traveling to cover for lab problems or when staff are overloaded. I have to let you know that she did mention she knew about demons. She was apparently not called seven years ago." Xander stared at him. "She's been removed and the spell didn't get her."
"Very." He smirked. "She's not a bad lady. She seemed very nice. Seemed a lot like Buffy and that she'd kick my ass. She has enough clout to have heard of my former project and made it very clear if you guys were going that way she'd kill all of us."
Xander nodded. "I like the sound of that but I don't like those areas." He considered it. "Traveling would mean the Council would expect us to handle some things if they happen near us."
"Maybe but I think the girls want you to retire."
"Yeah," he snorted. "And then they call up wanting weapons and 'can you come watch movies with us' and all that," he said dryly, shooting him a look. "They don't want us there but they want us there."
"You know how they can be better than anyone, Xander."
"I know." He sighed. "I don't know. I'd like to be in New York's labs but that'd be problematic."
"Very. Homeland is in a psycho fit about New York. They think you can't make a safe that sturdy and they think ours isn't. I told them to try it and three agents ended up in the hospital for a week." Xander smirked at that, nodding some. "And they only got through the first level. I don't know."
"Was it on the list?"
"They had one opening, not two. The second could probably be opened up shortly though." He considered it. "It's pretty country."
"Yes it is but they want you away from all the east coast cities."
"They don't run our company, Graham."
"I know that. They did try to have DiNozzo fired from NCIS for moonlighting with us and not discouraging you."
"Demon cock sucker?"
"Maybe. Not real sure. I suggested moving you guys to Cleveland and they had a seizure. Literally. So maybe." He shrugged. "Riley's suggesting you guys for the Denver office too. They don't have anyone out that way to nark back if something huge is happening. No slayers in the area or anything."
Xander stared at him. "They can't have it both ways."
"I know that. I told him that. He pouted. His wife swatted him again."
"Hmm." He shifted, shrugging some. "I don't know."
"With that one program, you might get some international travel as well. They'd have cold cases and people like Interpol might call. She said she's been working up to that. She wanted me to sales pitch you softer before she showed up to annoy your current boss, who hates her."
Xander smirked. "Why?"
"No clue." He stood up. "But, I think it's a good idea to get out of DC."
"So do I. Too many people in our panties with us from Homeland and other supposedly nice agencies."
"Want to talk to her?"
"He's up there. He can."
"Good." He grinned. "Anything new? The board is pouting that you're behind."
"We've had two ninety hour weeks," he admitted. "Kidnaped kids." Graham moaned but nodded. "The last stuff we did is downstairs and it's only half done because of that case." He got up with a small moan to show him what they had done over the last few weeks. He got back to work on the few they hadn't completed and it was better. Graham took them up to the approval board for him. He ordered a pizza and went to sit down and think. Why would that person hate Horatio? He was a decent, nice guy.
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