Three days later, Xander was making his way to the break room for his lunch when he spotted Ezra and Vin. Letting a bright smile spread on his face, Xander took several long strides before tapping Ezra on the shoulder.
“Ez, Vin, I’m so glad you guys made it! Why didn’t you tell me when your flight got in, I would have picked you up!” He gave both men a strong hug and pulled back, leading them to the break room.
“We’re here to help ya make popcorn pard. Chris will be here soon, and we thought you’d like to see the floor show.” The twinkling blue and green eyes made Xander cackle in glee.
“I am so there.” Entering the break room, Xander spotted Ryan and waved.
“Hey Ryan, these are my friends from Denver, Ezra Standish and Vin Tanner. We’re here to make popcorn so that we can watch Chris and H show down. Wanna come watch?”
“Why?” Even as he spoke, Ryan was gathering his food and putting three bags into the microwave.
“Simply because the testosterone match will be highly amusing and Ah do not wish to miss our astounding Mr. Larabee and your Lieutenant Caine from their verbal match.” Ezra’s eyes were glowing with mirth and Xander began to chuckle at his friend’s desire to watch Chris rip strips off of someone else.
“What does Mr. Larabee have to yell at H for?” Ryan’s tone was confused and Xander gave his friend a small sad smile.
“He waited too long to correct an attitude, it got you hurt in the process.” Xander patted Ryan’s hand. “Congrats, you are now one of Chris’ men!”
“Oh, okay, I think.” Ryan looked at the three before him with wary eyes, and suppressed mirth. Hearing the microwave ding, the three bags were pulled out and poured into a blow before they left the room to hunt down the battle between Chris and Horatio.
Seeing Chris and the others around the receptionist desk, and Horatio making his way to the group, the three got comfortable, and motioned JD to sneak over.
“Agent Larabee, I’m glad you could make it.” Both men shook hands and Xander nearly choked when they sized each other up.
“So am I. Now, Lieutenant, why did you call us and not the ATF group down here for the disposal of the weapons and drugs heading to the incinerator?” The Larabee glare was aimed at Horatio, and Xander bit back a smirk when Eric, Calleigh and Alexx showed up as well.
“The ATF in the area just got a group of younger agents, and since the last three disposal trips were all attacked at one point in time from between the lab to the incinerator, the Chief and I decided to ask for an outside group to help deal with the transport.” Horatio was now fiddling with his glasses, like he wanted to put them on, but knew that it would be useless as they were inside, and not about to go outdoors.
“He’s telling the truth about that Chris. When I called the ATF here they mentioned that they had too many green Agents for this, as well as the fact that the Mala Noches kept trying to get their stuff back whenever there is a dispo run.” Buck’s voice seemed to calm Chris down, which caused Xander to give Vin and Ezra a smug smile. Maybe some matchmaking wouldn’t go astray.
“Fine, but I get to pick who works with us. I know that you’ll have to be on this trip with us Lieutenant, but I get to pick the CSI and Lab tech that goes with us.” Chris made sure that Horatio knew who was boss for the run.
“Very well, though, who do you plan on taking with you?” Horatio had a feeling that it’d be Xander and possibly Calleigh, but he wasn’t too sure about that.
“Xander Harris and Ryan Wolfe.”
“What?!!” Eric’s voice was heard and Horatio turned a glare similar to Chris’ on his CSI.
“Eric Delko, you will cease to act like a child and you will obey Agent Larabee’s ruling. If you don’t like it, too damn bad. I trust Ryan and Xander to do the job, and I know that Larabee’s men won’t let anything harm our staff. Now, you will go back and work on your cases, or I will have you confined to the lab. Do I make myself clear?” Blue eyes were dark with anger at Eric’s reaction, and he waited for the agreement.
“No buts,” Horatio growled. “As of today you are confined to the Lab CSI Delko. If I hear that you are causing any problems for our visiting agents, we will be having words. Am. I. Clear.”
“Yes H.” The voice was a mixture between petulant child and guilty coworker making Xander bite back a snicker.
As the group ate the popcorn, Josiah and Nathan came over to where Xander and the others were sitting.
“It is good to finally meet you face to face Ryan.” Josiah spoke softly, as to not deter from the amusing sight of Horatio Caine and Chris Larabee facing off.
“Xander said that your eye was hurt. Would you mind if I looked at it?” Nathan asked just as quietly.
“Alexx wanted to check it later, if you want, you can come down while she looks it over.” Ryan gave into Nathan, after hearing Xander’s tales of what the black man did to Vin once when he refused to be treated by Nathan or the doctors. He refused to be pinned down and checked over like a child, so he gave into the will of the EMT with some dignity intact.
“I’m glad that you can show a heavy hand Lieutenant.” Chris’ mocking voice stilled the group eating popcorn, and Xander’s eyes narrowed.
“While I admit, that trying to let my team grieve, on their own may not have been a good idea at the time, I’d rather discuss that with you in private and not as a floor show to the entire department.” Horatio’s voice was cold and Xander bit back a wince.
“Oh I’d say that it’s very informative.” Rick stepped out of the shadows as he watched the scene between Horatio and Agent Larabee unfold.
“Who the fuck are you?” Blue-green eyes glared at the man that seemed to ooze duplicity.
“Sergeant Rick Stetler, IAB.”
“Why do you care what I say to Horatio Caine?”
“He’s been like that since my brother Raymond was killed as an undercover operative with narcotics.”
“So he’s like the FBI in regards to Ez.”
“If you mean looking for something, anything, wrong with what I do, then yes.”
“Private it is then.” As the workers of the lab began to disperse, Rick gave Xander a nod and left the floor as well.
“Why did he nod at ya Xan?”
“Cause I got bigger balls than him and got him the information he wanted on Raymond’s case. You gotta love the assholes that forget to protect important documents from hackers’ sticky fingers.”
“Who got it for you?”
“Abby did. Oh, she wants us to visit, since she’s almost positive that I’ll be the next her, just for ATF and Chris instead of NCIS and Gibbs.”
“Damn pard, you don’t do things half way do you?” Buck’s voice filtered over the group as they began their trek back to the break room.
“Why do things half way when you can go the extra mile and piss a whole new level of people off?” The cheeky grin made a new appearance, and got a booming laugh out of the group.
“That is true. So, what do you do for fun kid?” Buck poked Xander to emphasize on ‘fun’.
“I work on the house or I go for a spin on my bike. Oh, I’m also helping Ray with his Halloween costume. He’s going as Cordy.” That caused the group with him to suddenly start coughing, while Ezra burst into laughter.
“Oh dear, now that will be an amusing sight!”
“Yeah, and I was wondering if you could help me with it Ez. You could help him with the vocal lessons, as I got the movement and clothes down pat. He’s fun to work with too.”
“Ah shall endeavor to help you and your young apprentice out. Besides, Ah cannot, in good conscious, leave his training unfulfilled because Ah did not help him when you asked.” Xander opened the door to the break room and ushered the group in to sit and enjoy a quick meal before they had to return to work.
“Good, good. So, did you guys drop your stuff off at the house yet, or were you waiting for me to finish work today before you swarmed my home?”
“I’m hurt that you think we’ll swarm you! We’ll simply be living in your back pocket.” Buck winked at Xander causing him to laugh.
“Well, only my room and two spare bedrooms are fixed. Ryan is staying in one because Alexx wanted to make sure that he would be alright, and he has to stay with me at least until tomorrow, for her peace of mind. So, who’ll be sleeping where?”
“Chris and I can share a spot. We’ve done it before and have no issues with it.” Buck spoke with a thoughtful look on his face.
“Ez and I can bunk together.” Vin smiled at Ezra’s nod.
“Josiah, JD and I can share a room.” Nathan smiled at the agreement to his statement as well.
“Alright, so, JD, Nathan and Josiah, you can sleep in the living room. The couches are sofa beds, so that’s not an issue. Chris and Buck can sleep in the other spare room, while Ez and Vin can bunk with me. I love day beds.” Seeing that everyone agreed to the arrangements, Xander and Ryan cleaned up their meal just as Horatio and Chris entered the room.
“Gentlemen, I do hope that everything is going well at the moment?” Chris hid a smirk from the redhead and his eyes twinkled with mirth.
“Everything is fine H.” Xander gave him the patent ‘good little boy’ smile and watched with suppressed glee at the new wariness that began to show on his boss’ face.
“I wanted to step up the run outside of the lab. Apparently we have a mole in our department, and I’d rather not have this leaked to the wrong people.” Chris nodded at that and everyone took on a serious expression.
“We can meet at my place. We’ll all be there tonight, so I’m sure you could stop by to help us plot out a route that we could use.”
“Thank you Xander. Then I shall see you gentlemen later. Ryan, could you show them around the labs?”
“Sure thing H. Come on, I’ll give you the nickel tour and let some of the techs dazzle you before we go down to see Alexx.”
With that the group split off, Xander going back to ballistics, and Ryan beginning with the Homicide Detectives before moving back to their work area.
23,260/50,000 - sooooo close!!!!! *is excited*