. . . Is Change My World.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the shows in this chapter. Including, Buffy, CSI, CSI NY, Criminal Minds, Magnificent Seven, and House MD.
Beta: Queen Sereya
Spoilers: I’ve only watched a few episodes of House MD. I mashed together an early episode ‘Histories’ with the plot line where House needed to hire three new doctors and wound up hiring over 30 to weed down. Some of the dialogue in that scene comes directly from the episode ‘Histories’. In my story, he kept Chase, but got rid of the others.
Warning: There is some character bashing. If you like Ecklie, I suggest turning away now.
AN: Sorry, it took so long to get this out. Unfortunately, real life got in the way by way of car accident and hospital. But I’m better now. Sadly, this is the last chapter. I’m amazed that I actually got this far. This doesn’t mean I won’t return to the world of Xander Grissom if the muse hits.
Fair warning, there is a lot of time jumping./babble/
Chapter 12: . . . Is Change My World.
//NY Manhattan PD//
The Manhattan Police Department was a busy place and it didn’t help that they had just had a serial killer. One that had caused them to call in the big guns, the best Behavioral Analysis Unit the FBI had. Now after a week of terror, the city could relax. Was it any wonder that none of the BAU team noticed the small child entering the room.
Morgan was taking down the pictures , Hotch was sitting at the table, his head in his hands, while Gideon sat in the corner, watching his team.
Xander looked around the room. He had been visiting his Daddy for a month and had barely seen him. Now that his Uncles and Aunties were all happy, his Uncle Don had brought him to see Daddy. But while Uncle Don was talking to the nice lady at the desk, Xander wandered off.
Not that he wanted to, it seemed that the big peoples favorite lecture was ‘no wandering off’ and he wanted to be good, but he had to find /him/
. He didn’t know who /he/
was; he just knew the person needed him. Nodding his head, he approached Hotch.
He hugged the first sad man before moving on.
Hotch looked up in surprise as small arms wrapped around his leg. He looked down to see the small child hug him again before patting his leg.
“No sad.” The others looked at the child in shock. Hotch glanced at his team before looking down to see the child release his leg. The child continued into the room, a determined look on his face. He seemed unconcerned of all the disturbing pictures tacked to the wall.
Xander stopped in front of Gideon. The two stared at each other. Xander frowned in thought. He looked at Gideon, his head tilted to the side. Finally, Xander nodded his head and launched into action. He scrambled onto Gideon’s lap. Xander gave him a big hug, which Gideon returned in surprise.
Xander pulled back. He placed his small hands against Gideon’s Cheeks. Gideon stared at the child’s cherubic face. No child should look so solemn. Studying the young face, Gideon blinked in surprise, the child’s eyes held a wisdom that belied his age of three or four years.
Finally, the child nodded as if finding something in Gideon’s eyes. “Youse sad. Bad sad. No be sad. Bad guy gone. Youse help Daddy. No more sad daddies. Happy time.”
The group stared in shock. Who was this kid? And why was he so focused on Gideon who was staring back. Morgan approached the kid cautiously. “Uh . . . kid? Are you lost?”
Xander blinked and looked at the black man. He shook his head. “I’s hewre.”
Gideon chuckled. “Yes you are. But I think Derek wanted to know if anyone might be looking for you?”
Xander looked down at Gideon’s chest and chewed on his bottom lip.
Suddenly the door slammed into the wall. Everyone turned to the door to see an exasperated CSI standing in the doorway. “Xander! What are you doing? Bothering these nice agents. You know you’re not supposed to wander away from Uncle Donny. He’s worried sick about you.”
Xander pouted, clutching tightly to Gideon. “I’s sorry. Had to.”
Danny blinked, noticing how the child clung to the FBI agent. He frowned. Xander didn’t usually cling to strangers. “Had to what?”
“Sad man need me.” Xander said firmly. “Had to.”
Danny looked at Gideon who Xander was still hugging. “Sad? Like you thought Ecklie was?”
He thought back to the last person Xander had insisted was ‘sad’ and had to stop the shudder. He had heard about the man losing it. After the many ways Xander had tried to cheer the man up continued to back fire, the man had snapped. Ecklie had insisted that the child was tormenting him deliberately, but every time the child had been questioned, Xander had insisted he was only trying to make Ecklie smile. According to Greg, one day he started to blame everything on the kid, even a case where they had the suspect in not only custody, but also confessing. Last he had heard, Ecklie was in a mental hospital, drugged up.
Xander shook his head. “No. Not need smilies sad. Bad sad. Forgetted sad. Be dummy sad.”
Gideon looked down at the child in his lap. “I’m not sad child. I’m relieved we could as you said catch the ‘bad guy’.”
“No! Youse sad and youse hurt . . .” Xander shook his head and placed his hand directly over Gideon’s heart as he finished, “hewre.”
The others waited for Gideon to deny the child’s accusation, but he just stared at the boy. From the corner a hesitant voice asked, “Forget what?”
Everyone turned to stare at Reid who was looking at the child. Derek asked him, “What do you mean ‘forget what’, Reid?”
“The child, Xander,” Reid nodded his head at Xander. “He said Gideon was forgetting something . . . so what did he forget?”
Xander turned from Reid to stare back at Gideon. “Youse forgetted. . . bruders an’ sissies help with hurts. Youse not ‘lone. Youse not lost.”
Gideon stared at the child. How did the child know how he had been feeling? After he had lost his team to the bomber, he had taken a teaching position to feel useful. Then they had asked him to lead a team again and with Spenser following him, he had agreed. Spenser, who was like a son to him. He glanced at his team and Xander quietly scrambled down.
“C’mon Xander,” Danny said reaching out his arms, “We’d better go find Uncle Don.”
Danny picked up Xander who looked back at Gideon as they left. Everyone in the room remained silent as they thought about what had just happened.
Gideon looked around his cabin. Everything was locked up. All the food was gone. All that was left was to write the letter. He sighed as he sat down.
It had been six months since he had met that perceptive child in New York. He had hoped that being with his team would help him. They saw the same things, the same degradation of human kind, but it seemed that these past few months had been showing him the worst of humanity. He was beginning to think he should never have come back after the bombing. First Reid being kidnapped and then what had happened to his girlfriend . . . It was just too much.
He finished the letter and sighing placed his reading glasses on the table beside the letter.
"Running away?" A voice asked quietly.
Gideon gasped in surprise and closed his eyes shut. He hadn't expected anyone to go looking for him this soon and he had hoped that he would be gone by the time he got here. Starting to get up to turn, he said plaintively, "Reid. . ."
"No!" Gideon froze as Reid's voice rang out. "Don't turn around. This conversation is hard enough as it is."
Gideon sighed, but nodded his head in acquiescence. "I wrote you a letter. . . "
"And that's supposed to be enough?"
Gideon winced at the hurt he could hear in Reid's voice. "I tried to explain why I had to do this. . ."
"I know you have your reasons, Gideon. But, your actions affect others. If anything the recent mess with the unsub Frank and Jane should prove that."
Softly Reid's voice continued, "I'm not saying this to hurt you. What happened to Sarah was terrible, but it wasn't your fault." As Gideon opened his mouth to protest, Reid said sharply, "It wasn't. Yes, Frank may have been focused on you, but it was his decision to hurt others."
Gideon choked out. "I'd hope you'd understand why I had to. . . That you could forgive me. . ."
"And I'm trying to understand your reasons . . . eventually; I'll even be able to forgive you for leaving. . ."
Gideon sighed in relief, but tensed as Reid finished, "But I won't forget."
Gideon whirled around to look at Reid, only he wasn’t there. Gideon blinked. He walked forward a few steps. Reid couldn’t have left that quickly. He glanced back at the letter before turning to stare at the closed door, the window, which had previously been shut, was cracked open and the nonexistent wind blew the curtain softly inward as if somebody had just passed by swiftly.
Xander made his way confidently down the hall. He had gotten bored waiting for his daddy to finish and decided to see if his Uncle Sid was in. He hoped Uncle Sid would tell him a story. He may be five, but he still loved his Uncle Sid’s stories.
His steps slowed as he passed one of the big rooms that had lots of chairs and a really big table in it. He had heard his uncles calling it a cough-french room once. It was a room for people to talk, which seemed silly to Xander as people talked everywhere, so why have a special room for talking. Someone was in there now and they were happy too.
He poked his head in, but none of them noticed. Slipping in quietly, he waited patiently for one of the big men to notice him. He would have been afraid of all the strange men, each of them seemed like a giant they were so big, but all seven of them gave off feelings of being happy, so Xander wasn’t scared.
The ATF group, otherwise known as the Magnificent Seven had just finished a bust that had netted them a gunrunner that had been selling guns across the country. It had taken months and Ezra had been undercover for most of the time, but they had finally had the raid that morning. Chris Larabee, leader of the bunch, was looking over his men with a faint smile. They had not only caught their target, but his entire operation. So it was with a bit of pride in his men that he was contemplating taking them out to a bar to celebrate that night.
Vin was the first to notice the kid. He jerked up, the chair he had been leaning back on two legs fell down with a thud. The others turned to look at him and then turned to see what he was staring at. Both Chris and Buck took a step toward the small child that was standing silently at the end of the table, but each froze mere steps from the tousled haired youth. The boy couldn’t have been more than five and he clutched a stuffed black spider in one hand. Seven pairs of eyes stared at Xander in surprise.
Xander chewed his lip nervously, before shyly saying, “Huwo.”
Chris and Buck exchanged a look, before Buck crouched down next to the child. “Hello, little man. My name’s Buck and that’s Chris. What’s yer name?”
Xander looked at the man with the big bushy moustache, his brow furrowing in confusion. “I’s not a man. I’s a little boy. ‘An I’s Xanter.”
Chris smiled and crouched down on the other side of the child. Gently he questioned the child, “Yes you are and I bet yer a smart little boy too.”
The group grinned at Xander’s enthusiastic nod. “I knows I smart. Daddy and Papa says I weally smart.” Xander paused and then motioning Chris closer, he whispered or at least tried to whisper, even though they could all hear as he asked Chris, “Can youse tell them I’s too smart for school?”
Both his Daddy and Papa had told him he would be going to pre-school soon. He didn’t like that idea, not one bit. He’d be away from his family and with strangers . . . all day! It didn’t sound fun at all. Maybe these nice men would help him.
The whole group couldn’t help but grin at the child’s innocent question. JD couldn’t help a small snigger as he watched Chris choke back his own laugh. Chris gave a mock glare at JD before he turned back to the child. “Well I don’t know ‘bout that kid. School can help ya to be smarter, so you can grow up to be like yer daddy.”
Xander’s eyes widened in thought. “I’s could find the bad guys like Daddy?”
Chris nodded. “Yup. Now do you mind answering some questions?”
Xander shook his head. He didn’t mind. They all seemed really nice and friendly.
Picking the child up, Chris sat the boy in a nearby chair. “My men and I were wondering what you were doing here all alone? Is any one looking for you?”
Xander shook his head. “No. Daddy’s sleeping on the bad paperwork.”
Chris raised his eyebrow in curiosity. “Bad Paper work?”
Xander nodded. “Uh huh.”
Before Chris could ask Xander to explain, a dark skinned man stuck his head in, his eyes widening as he spotted Xander. “Xander!”
Xander looked up and grinned. “Unc'a Hawke!”
Sheldon Hawkes shook his head as he entered the room with a smile. “I’m sorry if he’s disturbing you gentlemen. Xander has a habit of wandering.”
The group shook his head. Ezra spoke up. “The child has been pleasant and courteous. In fact, he was about to enlighten my associates as to why he was meandering the halls of this establishment of law.”
Sheldon blinked, digesting Ezra’s words. Then he turned to look down at Xander. “What are you doing here, Xander?”
Xander looked up hopefully and in a small voice asked, “Unca Sid’s stories?”
Sheldon sighed. “You know you’re not supposed to bother him when he’s working.” Xander pouted the group couldn’t help but smile at how cute the kid looked. Sheldon shook his head fondly and continued his questioning. “But what are you doing here. Did Mac bring you in? I thought you two were going to the fair this afternoon.”
Xander nodded. “Daddy says we needs to stop by first. Daddy needed to kill the bad paper work so it didn’t make bread bunnies.”
Everyone looked at the child in confusion. Chris cleared his throat, making Xander look at him. “Bread bunnies?”
Xander nodded and explained. “Daddy says the bad paperwork would bread bunnies if he didn’t finish them and then he puts his head on them so they don’t runs away.”
Everyone looked at each other trying to decipher the child’s explanation. Suddenly Ezra started to chuckle. The group stared at him. “I believe the child meant the paper work would breed ‘like’ bunnies.”
The group blinked, their eyes widening as the realized what the child had been trying to say. All the eyes turned to the child who simply nodded in agreement.
Xander rocked back and forth on his toes. He loved school. His Papa always made sure to be home to help him get ready for the day, making sure his clothes were on right side out; unlike the first few times he had gotten dressed all by himself. Of course, it was a long time ago, when he was three. Now at the big age of six, he went to school every morning and only needed his Papa to double check that everything was right. And he wanted everything to be perfect today. Today was his day for ‘show in tell’. Now he was standing near the classroom door, his ‘show in tell’ object tucked safely in his backpack by his feet as his friends tried to guess what he had brought. He didn’t notice the nosiest kid in his class begin to poke at his bag.
A shrill scream made him cringe and whirl around. There was Sally Bastion, the girl who had to now everything, screaming hysterically about ‘yucky’ spiders. She had gone in to his backpack and taken out the small plastic container with small holes on top. To make it worse, she had opened said container and spilled poor Baboo on the ground. Now she was shrieking and pointing.
Xander frowned as he crouched down to gently lift up the little guy. He had been so proud that his Papa had let him borrow his newest pet, who Xander had named Baboo. Xander started to stroke the poor terrified creature and he turned to admonish the snooping girl.
“Hush, you.” Xander said sternly as he glared at the girl, whose mouth snapped shut at the look. “You’re scaring poor Baboo.”
Sally attempted to glare back, but Xander paid no attention, all his attention was focused on calming Baboo down. After all, wouldn’t you be scared if you had been shaken, dropped and then screamed at.
“How can ya tell?” Mark, one of Xander’s best friends ask.
Xander nodded at Baboo. “His hair . . . It’s standing up. Papa says that’s how they show they’re scared.”
Just then, their teacher approached and Sally immediately jumped on her to complain. “Mrs. Close! Xander brought yucky poison spiders!”
Xander scoffed as he put the now calm animal back in its container. “Not a spider. Baboo’s a Tarantula. Papa said he was an African Red Baboon Tarantula. They don’t hurt people.”
Mrs. Close crouched down to Xander’s level. She glanced at the closed container. “While it’s nice that you brought him to show, why don’t we keep him on my desk for today, so he doesn’t get scared again, okay?”
Xander tilted his head and finally nodded.
Xander trudged through the front door, his eyes down cast. Not even noticing the figure sitting on the couch, he made his way to his room. Dropping the book bag he had gotten for his eighth birthday by his desk, he plopped down on his bed and buried his face in his hands. He knew it was rude not to say hi to his sitter, but he wasn’t up to chatting and she’d understand when he apologized later at snack time.
The figure whose warm smile had dropped as he watched the child’s sullen march had followed Xander to his room. Softly, he asked with worry, “Xander? Little one?”
Xander gasped, his head shooting up. Leaping off the bed, he pounced his dad, tears streamed down his face. Not caring what he was doing there so early, he cried, “Daddy!”
Mac had been planning to visit in a couple weeks, but broken pipes at the crime lab had the higher ups asking his lab to take early vacations where possible. After a quick call to Grissom, he had jumped at the chance to see his now eight-year-old son sooner and now that he had seen his son, he was worried. He frowned as he gazed down at the sobbing child in his lap. This wasn’t like him. He had barely seen his son’s face, but what he had seen, worried him. Gently, he tilted Xander’s face up and Xander winced as Mac gently brushed his fingertips against the child’s black eye. “What happened, Xander?”
Xander pulled his head away and looking at the floor, shrugged. “Nothing.”
Mac looked at the child in his lap sternly and Xander hunched down as if he could see the dreaded look. Softly, Mac admonished him, “Xander…”
Xander ducked his head while his dad continued, “This black eye isn’t ‘nothing’ . . . Wanna tell me how you got it?”
Xander glanced at his dad’s concerned eyes and then turned his gaze back to the floor while mumbling, “I got in a fight with Billy Bronsten.”
Mac frowned. “The bully you told you Papa and me about?”
Xander nodded slowly. “Uh huh.”
“Didn’t we tell you to ignore him?” Mac asked.
Xander looked up, his eyes pleading. “I tried Daddy! I tried to get away from him and not listen like you said and even tried to tell my teacher when he started pushing me like Papa said to when that didn’t work. But Mrs. Ingle said that it served me right and I should be kept away from normal students before I contaminate them like I tried to do to Billy.”
Mac frowned. “Oh, really?”
Xander nodded. “Uh huh and when the other teacher came over, Mrs. Ingle said I provoked Billy and now I got a note for a parent conference. . .”
“Don’t worry. Your Papa and I will take care of it,” Mac assured the child.
Xander nodded and sniffled before asking, “Daddy?”
Mac ran his fingers through Xander’s bangs giving him some comfort. “Yes, Xander.”
Xander looked up. “What does ‘fag’ mean?”
Mac choked. “What!? Where did you hear that word?”
Xander blinked. “Mrs. Ingle called me a ‘little fag’ when the other teacher left. What does it mean?”
Mac sighed and looked down at his son who was gazing up at him with trusting eyes. “It’s a not very nice term for someone in a same-sex relationship.”
Xander tilted his head. “Like Uncle Greg and Uncle Nick?”
Mac nodded. “Yes, like Uncle Greg and Uncle Nick. But it’s not nice to say, so I don’t want to hear that from your mouth again, understood?”
Xander nodded earnestly, then he mimed locking his mouth shut and throwing away the key, making Mac smile, before he laid his head down on his Daddy’s chest.
Mac rubbed his back lightly, putting the child to sleep. His eyes stared at the wall, burning bright with anger as he said to himself softly, “I think your Papa and I will be having a long talk with Mrs. Ingle.”
Both Grissom and Mac showed up at Principal Down’s office five minutes before their appointment. They were dressed sharply and each had grim expressions on their faces as the Principal ushered them in. “Come in, Dr. Grissom, Detective Taylor. I appreciate you coming in on such short notice. Hopefully we can have this mattered settled today. Please sit down, gentleman.”
Neither man took the offered chair.
“No thank you, Principal Down,” Mac said.
“Oh please, call me Robert. May I call you Mac?” the principal asked. He had found that parents became less uptight if they started a meeting out on a first name basis and he had the sinking feeling that this one wasn’t going to go well.
Mac frowned. “No, you may not, Principal Down.”
Robert fidgeted in his chair nervously as the two men stood in front of it.
“Where is Mrs. Ingle, Mr. Down?” Grissom asked.
“Ah. She’ll be along momentarily,” Robert said.
Just then, Mrs. Ingle strode through the room. She stared in surprise at Mac’s presence. She didn’t think he would be there. She glanced at the two men, standing side by side and wrinkled her nose in disgust. She settled herself down in the chair next to the desk and the two parents finally sat down in the chairs facing the desk.
Robert began. “Now, we’re here to discuss the inappropriate behavior of Alexander in Mrs. Ingle’s class.
Mac glared. “I’d rather discuss Mrs. Ingle’s prejudiced actions toward my son.”
Robert blinked, as Mrs. Ingle gasped and gave Mac an affronted look. Robert glanced at his teacher before asking, “What sort of actions are you referring to?”
“For months now, she has been harassing our child,” Grissom began. “Claiming homework was never turned in when I went over it myself the night before with him. Turning a blind eye to rampant bullying. Xander is not the only child, Billy Bronsten has tormented. Other parents have complained as well.”
“But today was the last straw, sir,” Mac said. “She not only lied about who started the fight. She called Xander a ‘fag’. No child should be belittled in their school. They should feel safe.”
Robert’s eyes widened and he turned to his teacher. “Mrs. Ingle? Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
Mrs. Ingle turned from the heated glare of Mac and Grissom, her face twisted in a snarl. “That child is a brat. Doesn’t listen to instruction. Always causing a ruckus on the playground. He’s clearly picking up bad habits from his ‘fathers’”
She said the word ‘fathers’ as if it were a bad word, showing her dislike of gay couples.
“Xander has some trouble focusing because of his ADHD, but has never had trouble doing what was asked of him,” Grissom said. “And we have been aware of the continuing torment that the Bronsten child has been doing on many children during their recess. I know for a fact that many other parents have complained about the boy.”
Robert nodded. He had received numerous complaints about the aggressive tendencies of the child.
“Also Xander has never had a problem with his daycare or his afterschool activities,” Grissom continued. “They all say that he is a quiet, friendly child, always willing to help.”
“Frankly,” Mac said, “We have had enough.”
Robert gulped at the twin stares. “What do you want?”
“We want appropriate disciplinary action taken on the Bronsten child, before someone gets hurt,” Mac said. “And the immediate removal of Mrs. Ingle. It’s clear she has no fondness for homosexuals, despite that fact that we are not in a relationship. I do not want someone so biased teaching my child.”
Robert gulped at the twin glares now turned on him, pressing him to fix things. “You have to understand, Mrs. Ingle has been with this school for thirty years-“
“No, Mr. Down,” Grissom interrupted. “You have to understand, if you do not take action, we will remove Alexander from this school and sue for emotional damages against our son.”
Xander stood with his fellow associates, watching as the man he hoped to work for seemed to be ignoring all three of them. The first girl, whose name escaped him, was trying to inform the man about the new patient, a teenage girl with a broken wrist. It was a pointless task, the patient wasn’t even theirs, but then again he had heard that House was a jerk. Besides, it gave them something to do, since House had sent the other applicants to do various other tasks.
Xander studied the gruff doctor as he continued to stare at what appeared to be a home drawn comic book. He glanced at his associate as she stumbled to a stop and asked quietly, “Dr. House?”
Not even looking up from his reading, House made a lazy circular gesture with one hand before turning the page. “Continue.”
She blinked in confusion. “You’re reading a comic book?”
“And you’re calling attention to your bosom by wearing a low-cut top.” He looked up as both female doctors gasped. “Oh, I’m sorry; I thought we were having a state-the-obvious contest. I’m competitive by nature.”
She frowned, affronted by House’s lewd remark. “My shirt is perfectly appropriate for a hospital setting.”
House just stared at her chest and smirked.
Xander snorted and everyone looked at him. “Personally, I thought she was just trying to win your favor Doctor House by showing . . . well, showing off.”
House smirked at him. Normally, House wouldn’t consider taking on anyone so young as one of his ducklings. The kid was just out of medical school. Top of his class too, if he remembered the resume he had glanced over.
He had the trio continue their report and just sat back as the two females began to argue over the cause of the injury according to what the patient had said.
Xander just shook his head as the girls decided that they had each visited a different patient. “Three seventeen year old girls, all with the same injury, all receiving said injury in different ways. Yeah, right.”
The two female doctors glared at him. One snidely asked, “Why would she say she had a riding accident to me?”
Xander rolled his eyes. “Obviously, she doesn’t know what happened and is making stuff up.”
“First thing you learn in this job,” House spoke up, “is everyone lies. Now you, Buggy, tell me why the patient would give three different lies about the incident.“
Xander grinned at the new nickname; apparently, the man had done some background on his family history. He shrugged at the question. “I’m not sure yet, but I know there’s only one patient.”
Xander looked at his fellow doctors as if they were idiots. House just sat back and smirked. He could really get to like this kid.