Four Years later…
Xander made his way across that stage with a shocked smile. He graduated top in his class and in his field. Seeing the rest of team seven cheering him on, Xander gave them a copy of Ezra’s salute. Eyes sparkling in joy, Xander practically skipped to seat and waited for the awards to end. He was nervous and excited at the opportunities presented to him. While he would have liked to do his out of school internship with Bobby in Las Vegas, Xander was headed towards Miami. Since Bobby had gotten him for his two internships within the school year, Xander knew that he’d be going elsewhere for his next posting before AD Travis could snatch him up.
Walking over to the guys, Xander was pounced on by JD.
“You’re done! This is so cool! One more year and the eight of us will be together again!”
The group laughed at JD’s enthusiasm and slowly left after Xander returned his tassel and gown. The Graduation made him smile since it was much better than the ascension that he had to deal with back in High School. As they were leaving Xander turned at the sound of his name be shouted and caught a missile of Greg Sanders.
“You’re done and we got here in time to congratulate you before the convention starts, and we heard that you did really good and that you’re the best of the best that came from the program and – ackk!” Greg had begun to babble and David stepped up behind the excited DNA turned Field tech.
“Sorry ‘bout the babbling, he’s been into the sugar again. Congratulations on your good work. Too bad we couldn’t get you in Vegas again this year, we did enjoy the floor show when you managed to out Texan Nick and to beat Warrick at sounding gangster.” The wry grin on David’s face made Xander snort.
“Wasn’t hard when it came to Warrick, but Nick had the whole Shy boy Texan thing going, so I just mimicked Vin here. He’s just as bad as Nick when it comes to complements on his person.” On cue a bright red blush spread on Vin’s cheeks, and he ducked his head muttering about Californian bastards that enjoyed taunting him.
Dancing out of Vin’s reach, Xander gave the tracker a wicked smirk. The shy Texan was fun to tease, and Xander always got him to blush at least twice a day when they were in the same room. It also allowed Ezra to slowly diffuse the situation by offering Vin to help prank him.
“I can see that your brand of humor is as well received here as it was by Nick.” David smirked at the innocent look that appeared on Xander’s face.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about David.”
“Just be glad that you helped me snag my techie and I’ll let it drop.”
“Oh I am glad. You’re not as snarky, which is a shame. I liked snark.”
David snorted. “Good to know Princess. Now, shoo. Enjoy your evening before being shipped off to fake tit central.”
Xander chuckled. “Yes David. Enjoy your DNA snuggly!”
Skipping off to the Jag, Xander waved as Team Seven left the University. Humming with the radio, Xander did a mental check list to make sure that he had everything he’d need for the year he’d be in Miami.
“Ez, we did get me a place close to the lab right? I know that my stuff got shipped out and all I have to do is drive my bike down, but I can’t remember if I’m close to the lab or not.”
“You’ll be a good ten minutes from the lab. Remember, you’ll be flipping the house that you’ll be staying in to ensure that you get your money’s worth when you leave.”
“Yeah, that I knew; but most houses in downtown Miami are as expensive as the waterfront ones.”
“True, but it was a DEA seizure, considering it was a meth house at one point. So you can make a tidy profit that’ll help your nest egg to grow.”
Xander smiled. Once he had gotten a job, he had gone to Ezra to ask for help in managing his money. Anya had been the banker out of the pair of them, and had been slowly teaching Xander before she was killed when the Hellmouth closed. However, Ezra had years of study on the matter and was happy to help his friend in setting up the stocks and bonds that would enable him to have a small pocket of wealth to help him when he was in a bind. The profits from the house in Miami would be split between his nest egg and his RRSP.
Upon arriving at the Saloon, a round was poured, and Xander had to remind the others that he was driving out in the afternoon and didn’t want to deal with a hangover. While he no longer shied away from alcohol, Xander was still wary of its influence, and still drank very little of it. When Chris and the others asked why he had been so amandant about not drinking, he showed them the scars on his back and told them about his life at home with a drunk and abusive father. After that the others did what they could to make Xander see that not everyone turned that way with alcohol.
As they chatted, Buck was the first to broach the subject of visiting.
“Xan, when we get time off, would you mind if we came down for so relaxation?” The word relaxation was accompanied by a leering grin, and Xander chuckled.
“Not at all; in fact I’d be insulted if you didn’t show!” Chuckles floated around the table and Chris asked again.
“You sure about us coming down, Xander? We don’t want to cause any problems within the team that you’ll be with for the year.”
“Yeah I’m sure. I’d miss you all too much if we all stayed apart for the full year. Besides, when you visit, you can help me fix up the house!” Laughs flowed around the table and Xander was punched in the arm playfully by JD.
“I can’t wait to head on down! I just know that it’ll be fun and everything!”
“All I ask is that you give me a month to get settled before you come down; oh, and to call first.”
The night passed on with very few drinks, and the eight men wished Xander a good trip before heading home. Xander slid back into the Jag and let out a small sigh.
“Anything the matter, Xander?”
“Hmm, oh, no, just thinking about how long it should take me to drive down to Miami when I leave around ten thirty tomorrow morning to miss all the heavy traffic.”
“Ah’d say about four days, three if you push it.”
It had taken Xander a year and a half to get Ezra to stop using so many fancy words. He had mentioned that being formal in his own home was cruel to them both and Xander laid down the rule that if anyone other than himself and Vin were there, he didn’t have to used the company manners. At first, Ezra was aghast, but he eventually saw the point in Xander’s logic. He could now relax and be himself a bit more, and including Vin into that would help him in the year that Xander was down in Miami.
“So, my saying that I’d be there in two weeks will give me a chance to settle in and start the cutting for the parts that need to be cut.”
“Ah believe so.”
“Good, so, are you and Vin the first ones that’ll be visiting me?”
“Yes, we shall. We’ve already informed Chris of our plans. Ah am also pleased to say that he is still vexed that Ah call him Mr. Larabee at the office, and at the Saloon.”
Xander snickered at that, following Ezra into the townhouse once the Jag was parked.
“I can see that. Chris doesn’t realize that you do it simply to yank his chain, doesn’t he.”
“Nope, and that is what made Vin laugh so hard earlier about at the Saloon.” Xander snickered louder at the angry glint in Chris’ eyes at being called Mr. Larabee, and Vin’s laughter that caught Chris’ attention as well.
“I have a feeling the two of you will be getting a pissy deal for that.”
“Ah do believe that you are correct.”
“Night Ez, and I’ll see you before you head to work tomorrow.”
“G’night my friend.”