Xander paced as he waited for Ryan to show. His friend was just finishing up a double shift and the longer it took him to get to Xander’s home, the antsier he got. He didn’t want to put Ryan on the spot, but the fact that he was going to get royally fucked if he didn’t made Xander want to cry. He liked be the enforcer, but not towards his friends, and not like this. He knew Rick would have to act if he saw it again, and that was the only consolidation that Xander had.
The knock on the door brought Xander out of his musings and he quickly answered it, smiling when he saw Ryan and Horatio standing there.
“Come on in, I have some things to discuss with the pair of you.”
“What things?” Horatio asked, curiosity coloring his tone.
“Have a seat; I’ll get you both a drink.” Quickly leaving the room, Xander tried not to hyperventilate at the thought of doing this. Handing over a beer to each of his guests, Xander sat, perched on the edge of his seat, and looked at Ryan.
“Ryan, I need you to listen and please wait until I’m done.” He got a slow nod from his friend.
“Today, I got news that there is proof that you have been gambling. Now, I know the rules when it comes to playing the games of chance here in Miami, and I was asked to get you to stop. If you are caught playing, from now on, you’ll be fired, immediately.” Xander made sure to keep his eyes locked onto Ryan.
“Why you?” Came the soft question.
“Since I know the person that told me and that they will be obliged to have you fired the next time they see it. I mentioned that your new beau will be keeping an eye on you, and that it was so new, that you didn’t want to jinx it.”
“Who saw it?” Horatio asked softly and Xander gave him a small smile.
“Rick Stetler told me,” Xander said honestly, “and that’s simply because I got his head out of his ass the first time I saw him. Told him I was in Miami for a year and that I’d do my job, and bust heads over idiots and drama queens. You’re lucky the team got their act together, or I would have been cracking skulls two months back.”
“Let me get this straight,” Ryan spoke before Horatio could, “Rick Stetler, who has a grudge against Horatio that’s bigger than New York, told you that I had to stop playing poker for money or he’d have to fire me.”
“He’d have to publicly fire you Ryan.” Xander sighed and gave his friend a sad smile. “He’d have you thrown out of the station and hound you as you got your things together. Then, all the shit you would have had been in up to date would have come across as worthless.”
“Xander, how does Rick know that Ryan plays poker?” The voice was deceptively calm and Xander coolly met his gaze.
“Rick has many helpers in the department. He told me as a courtesy since I saved his career by getting him off your ass about everything when it came to your people.” Xander got up and walked away with a sardonic chuckle, “I don’t betray the people around me Horatio, you should know that; now, I’ve given you the warning, please leave.”
Ryan and Horatio winced at the tone, Xander could take any type of hit, whether it is verbal or physical, but to call him a liar, even to his face, was a dangerous thing; both we about to speak when Xander beat them to the punch.
“I asked the pair of you to leave, I’ll let you think over your words tonight, and I might listen to your apologies tomorrow, but get out, now.”
The pair left slowly, and Ryan mourned the loss of a bridge of trust. Yes, he was wrong to question Xander’s motives, but the fact that it had been Rick Stetler, of all people, who had given the warning, had confused him.
Horatio was no different. He knew that he was on shakier grounds than Ryan, and his question did come off as accusing. He winced at the memory of the blank face that swam into mind, and he made a note to see if he could apologize for the wrong tone of voice. The question was sound, since he didn’t know that Ryan was playing poker, but they were together most nights now, and it seemed that Ryan only played rarely. It was still a concern, but the bigger worry was now talking to Xander, and finding a ladder to get out of the hole they dug.
Damn..... the bunny is still groggy from meds... hopefully I can get more out soon.... and not pass out at my computer too early.....