Plotting Puny Plots.
Tony's head slowly lifted, staring up at the ceiling. "That's not good," he muttered.
"DiNozzo, mind on the case," Gibbs complained.
"Hey, um, boss, do we think it's a bad thing if that link suddenly went mute?"
Gibbs stared at him. "Shielding I hope?"
"No, and not a 'dead' sort of mute either." He frowned, calling John. The link between them was fainter but still there. John was in a full panic. He got him calmed down. They talked about it quickly. Yeah, that was a bad thing. He emailed Cleveland. He got one back from Dawn saying that they hadn't heard anything but they'd ask and ask Connor to see if his contacts in LA knew anything. He sent back a thank you but a minute later she sent him one saying Sam Winchester was also missing. "Aw, fuck," he muttered at his monitor.
"Case related?" Gibbs demanded.
"Sam Winchester and Xander are both apparently missing."
"How? Or why?" Gibbs asked a bit too calmly.
Tony looked at him. "They're both seers, boss, and seers are the first ones that get taken out when you start a move toward power." John sent something. He had went astral but Whistler couldn't find them either. "Huh. The higher ups can't find them either. This is not good." He sent a message to someone else he knew, Bobby Singer. He'd help them if they could find them. Connor's team sent him one, letting him tell John. That was a bad thing. Tony gathered stuff. "Boss, I'm going on leave of absence. I have no idea how long it'll be before I finish stomping the demons who have Xander and Sam." He grabbed a few last things and headed out. John said he'd meet him in LA. He walked off the elevator, heading toward his car. Unfortunately he ran into the director.
"DiNozzo, are you sick?" she asked. "Or going to question someone?"
"No, I'm going to go kill the ones who have my spouse hostage." He glared at her. "Since they kidnaped him. I told Gibbs I'm on a leave of absence."
"You can't," she said. "That's not legal."
"They're demons, we don't arrest them, Director. There's no legal precedent for arresting a cult of demons." She shuddered. "Since they're going after seers, tell Gibbs to watch over Abby closer." He opened his car door and slid in, starting it and backing out with a squeal of tires.
She stared at his taillights for a moment then went up to Gibbs' desk. "DiNozzo is really pissed but he said to watch Abby for some reason?"
Gibbs stared at her. "McGee."
"Going to check on her, boss. She's not on IM." He jogged down to the lab. She wasn't there. Or in the bathroom. Or the morgue. Fortunately he caught her coming back from the break area. "Gibbs wants you."
"Why are you panicking?"
"Tony said to watch you since they took Xander and Sam Winchester," he said quietly. "Something about seers."
She shook her head. "Not me. Not my gift."
"Gibbs still wants you." She nodded, following him up there. "She was on lunch, boss."
"I'm not a seer, Gibbs."
He stared at her. "Your mother's a what?"
"Deaf lady?" He stared at her. "Oh, that stuff. Crud." She stomped a foot. "You think?"
"He clearly did."
"That's fine. I'll let you protect me but let me warn my parents." She moved to McGee's desk to do that. "I shouldn't need guards, Gibbs."
"I don't care," he said bluntly. "Let's finish up this case, people. We have more threats coming." He found his way into DiNozzo's email, he had his password and had for months. He also found an email from Doctor Jackson. That name he knew. He sent one back to him and Sam Carter. One of them should be around somewhere able to get a message to spread around.
John grabbed his sidearm from his desk. "Woolsey, I'm going to break military law," he said as he walked out of his office.
He looked him over. "You're going to shoot an annoying officer? Because I can put up a bulletproof shield fairly quickly."
"Xander just got kidnaped with the dog." He listened to the new information. "So did Sam Winchester."
"Because they're hunters?"
"No, because they're seers. Not even the Powers can find them at the moment. Which means they're off-plane."
"Is this the start of an apocalypse?"
"Probably. Seers are the first alarm system."
"Take them out, be unnoticed a while longer," he said. "Go."
"Planning on it but I'm raiding the armory for a few things."
"Give me a report later on." John nodded, going to find that and his tactical gear. Tony had his in his car. Woolsey called General Landry, finding his secretary instead. "Can you please pass on a message that my security head had to take off on an emergency?"
"Of course I can, sir. What sort was it? Medical?"
"Tell him Harris and Sam Winchester were kidnaped by someone who wanted to remove seers. He'll understand." She nodded, making that note. "Thank you." He hung up and considered it, calling him. "Take Ronon with you," he ordered then hung up on the comm. He'd probably need the backup. NCIS was good but not military trained for assaults.
John walked into Xander's house, finding his safe. He knew, and Tony knew, that he had a weapons safe. They weren't going to complain about it because they knew someday Xander would end up hunting again. It'd have nearly everything they'd need to destroy that realm. He opened it and stared. "Shit," he said in awe. "I have no idea." He plucked out a few things and some extra bullets, tucking them into his pockets. He relocked it, then the house. "They took the dog too, I guess that's a good thing," he decided, finishing up with the alarm system. He left, taking the offered ride by the Council's witches. Tony was doing the same. The demons who took Xander were in for a world of hurt. Thankfully Xander's armory had everything he needed to destroy the realms. Someday he'd have to ask about that stuff. Unofficially of course. Without letting Tony know.
Tony stepped out of the portal next to Dean Winchester. "Morning."
"Morning," he said dryly, nodding at John when he walked in. "Nice gear."
"Thank you. This thing?"
"Cult," Dean said. "No known cause, doomsday or anything."
"So why take seers?" Tony asked.
"No clue," Dean admitted. "So, what do we do?"
"We walk in there, kill their asses, then stomp off into the sunset like the rescuing heros we are," John said. "And hey, rewards are nice."
"Unlike you two, I don't get rewards that way from Sammy," Dean said sarcastically. "We're not into that incest stuff."
John shrugged. "Wasn't our idea either." He turned on the laser sight on his gun. "Let's go." They walked forward. Dean wasn't badly trained for assaults. Xander was awake and babbling, tied to an altar. Sam was still unconscious. Bleeding from an arm but awake.
"Hey, you don't touch him! It's not his fault. He was a baby! Beyond that, I can't be mated with him. My husbands would mind!"
"Hellmouth babies and demon born ones are suited to have their bodies and souls mated. It will create a strong warrior for our needs. Your husbands are inferior."
"Really?" Tony asked, stepping into the open. "I don't think I am. Do you think you are, John?"
"No, I've never been anything but exceptional." He pointed his gun at the head demon. "Give us back the boys."
"The process has already started." He gave them a smug look. "We will have our warrior."
"Fat chance," Xander said, kicking him at Dean. Dean took him out. "The other three are in the back mixing chemicals to insert into Sammy to make him bear their super warrior. Can anyone pick locks? I'd like to kick some ass."
Dean came over to undo them both. "He good?"
"They knocked him out, gave him something swirly pink and blue/purple in a milk looking thing." He looked around and pointed at the glass. "In there. They're going to mix the right chemicals, come back to molest us, get our seed, making the warrior and make Sam carry it. They consider him stronger." He rubbed his wrist. "Anyone bring me something?"
"You're the victim. No," Tony said.
John snorted, handing him a sword. "Lead. I know your temper is fairly high."
"Yes. It is," he agreed coolly. He walked into the back room, swinging at the back of the demons. He killed two. The other one was only injured. He looked down at him. "I think his brother wants to talk to you about that stuff you fed him."
"It will work! It has to work or we're all doomed! The Great Evil will come!"
John stared at him. "Worse than the First?"
"Yes! He's going to doom us all! He's a warrior, he should make this sacrifice."
Xander snorted. "No. Not happening. A big evil? Oooh, yay. Whatever will the slayers do," he mocked. "I wonder how it'll be solved."
"Take the notes," John ordered. "We'll see what's going on." John and Xander gathered notes. "Let's go."
"Small problem, the witches might not be able to get us out of here," Xander offered. "Otherwise they would've had a better chance of rescuing earlier than a week."
"It's been a few hours," Tony said.
Xander shook his head. "No, it hasn't." He looked at the living demon. "Has it?" He shook his head quickly. "Why?"
"The warrior must come into being to save us all," he pleaded. "Or else the Greatest of all Evils will kill everyone."
Xander stared him down. "Name it."
"You can and you will or I'll try to do magic on you, get a vision, and do it anyway!"
The demon moaned, shifting. "Visions?"
"Visions. Me, Sam." He smirked. "Well? I'm not that patient."
The demon sobbed, mumbling something.
"What did he say?" Dean asked.
"It translates as Powers," John said dryly. Tony shuddered. "Which would be why Cordelia and Whistler couldn't pinpoint a realm but they were worried."
"I tried to go dream walking and can't," Xander told him. "We're blocked."
"No," Tony said. "The witches are going to open a portal in a few hours. They'll send slayers if we're not waiting."
"The realm moves," the demon told him. "We're not in the same place."
Xander nodded, kicking him. "Tell me how to end it."
"You cannot fight them! That's why we need th warrior!"
Xander snorted. "Honey, I fought with slayers. I nearly killed the Powers with their last plan to turn me evil. What makes you think I'm going to give up so easily this time?"
"We cannot! They will kill us all for fighting against them!"
"Their plans were killing people for fun. The New Powers said so," John said.
"No! They are angry!"
"Sweetie, Cordelia and Whistler are the new Powers That Be." The demon sobbed. "That means they have all the slayers and everyone else behind them. Including us. If they need a special warrior, they'll ask. Not take. Taking was the old Powers. Now, how do we get home to warn them?"
"You cannot leave until the warrior is ready. Until he's trained."
Xander nodded once. "Then train me."
"No, it can't be a seer," the demon said, getting to his knees. "The visions make you unsuitable for that job."
"It didn't stop me in the battle against the First Evil," Xander said.
"Your strength is why you were chosen out of all the hellmouth babies," the demon told him. "It will go into them."
"Strength like his comes from circumstances, not by birth," Tony said. The demon moaned. "You can't make a child between to men. It doesn't work that way in humans."
"We have a way around that," he said, looking at Dean. "Surely you understand. They will destroy everyone."
"You knock my baby brother up and it'll be me destroying everyone," he promised. Tony patted him on the back. He heard a moan. "Sammy?" he called. "You awake?"
"I must transfer it soon. It may hurt, that's why we gave him the mercy of sleeping through it. I'm trying to protect him. They would come after them both."
"They already tried their crackhead plan to get us to go evil," Xander told him. The demon stared at him. "It started with the marriage. They wanted us to be turned together and go take out the excess fighters on the light."
"He got pissed enough that he nearly released all his hellmouth taint on the astral plane," John agreed.
"Wouldn't that destroy everything?" Dean asked.
"Everything connected. There'd be a few people left," Xander said with a smile. "I wasn't real rational at that time."
"So you pulled your own Rosenburg?"
"No, I only wanted to hurt two beings, and I was going to focus it into them instead of generically across the astral plane. Most everyone would've been fine unless they were up there dream walking, Dean. I never had the intention of destroying the world, I never sucked black magic and hurt those who were trying to stop me, and I never lost it that way. I just got really, really angry."
Tony nodded. "He got so pissed."
"Dude, what is it with those of us who're decent hunters doing an apocalypse?" Dean asked. "Sammy's demon wanted to do one, even though Sammy didn't want to follow him or have himself be tainted. You pulled yours. If I had to create a soul deal to save Sammy I would have and all the visions said that would've brought hell to earth for good. Summers?"
"She didn't know she was going to be raised," Xander admitted. "Didn't want it. She had earned her reward and Willow lied about her being in a hell dimension."
Dean shuddered. "More of that blindness to what she wants being the most necessary." Xander nodded. "That sucks."
"It does. Though, did your dad nearly cause an apocalypse? I'm told he was one of the better hunters out there. I would've asked him to mentor me if I could have."
Dean gave him a dirty look. "Dad was good but he was a hardass."
"Dean, the girls and Giles never taught me anything," Xander told him. "I learned it all on my own. A bit of hardass would've been nice at times."
"Nothing?" he demanded. "Not ducking, not staking, nothing?"
"No. I got the nice advice of duck to the side to keep from being grabbed, the pointy end goes in the heart. They're stronger and faster so don't get grabbed."
"Aw, shit, dude. Yeah, Dad would've if you had told him that."
"He left before I could do more than say a quiet thank you for helping drain all of that black magic she sent at me."
"Handle it and fade," Sam said as he came in rubbing his head. "What's going on?"
"They want to make a super warrior from the both of us," Xander told him. "Because the old Powers have a plan."
"Fuck them," Sam said. "Why us?"
"Hellmouth taint and demon taint works well together," Tony said dryly. "We may also be trapped here."
"Okay," Sam said. "Why are we trapped here?"
"They sealed it and moved it, it's constantly changing according to them," John said.
"Huh." He looked at the demon, scowling. "Why?"
"The old Powers are going to be a problem, the chosen warrior you were going to carry would be going against them," Xander said with a grin. "Being a seer means for some reason we're not good enough."
"Huh," Sam said, shaking his head. "I haven't had any in a while."
"They can send visions," the demon told him. "It could bring down the warrior, make him vulnerable."
Sam nodded slowly at that. "Mine didn't come from them. They can't send them to me from what I've researched. Xander's may be different for that, but that leaves the rest of us, dude. Me and Dean are hunters. Tony's a federal agent. John's a soldier. Xander's just strange but damn good most of the time." Xander smirked at him for that. "You aren't exactly the normal hunter that we're used to, Xander. Most of them aren't quite as ...bouncy." The dog came in to sniff at them. "Good, they didn't leave you alone. How long will this take in real time?"
"We'll know when they reemerge and this realm will be ended," the demon told him. "Which is why time is of the essence. We were doing what was necessary to protect all of everyone, human and demon," he told Dean, begging again.
"I get that part, but I don't like the method." He looked at his little brother. "Unless you wanna be a baby's momma?"
"No. Not my thing. I'd have a lot of problems wrapping my mind around being pregnant. Xander might be easier at it. He's used to the improbable and impossible going on. He used to date it."
"Anya wasn't improbable."
"Not arguing about impossible?" Tony teased with a grin.
"Nope. Not some days." He sighed, looking at the demon. "What do we need to know?"
"They can still bring you down by trapping you in a vision," the demon said.
"I'm used to being the backup to slayers. I can do it this time too. Train them, send us back to the same point in time so they don't get into trouble and no one freaks." The demon gaped. Xander stared him down. "You won't get a kid to train. Even if it happened, neither of us would let you treat the baby like a slayer. You want to train warriors, we're all at least partially trained. It'll be faster plus we're used to the information. Not as much to learn."
"I...." He considered it. "That's not how the prophecy led us."
"What prophecy?" Xander asked. They stared at him. "What?"
"Let's see it before you warp it," John said with a smile, patting him on the back.
"Those needed to be warped," Xander pointed out. "Or else we'd have been missing Buffy since tenth grade. Graduation would've been nearly impossible if we had Faith, since Kendra was too rigid to accept help. She was great and a good fighter but she had nothing to anchor her but the fight."
"Faith would've been there for graduation probably," Tony said, considering it. "Would she have let you guys help?" Xander shrugged. "Hmm, which would've been a problem."
"I asked her that once," Xander admitted with a smile. "Pointed that out when some of the minis broke into our talk while I was in Africa. They said they needed me to warp one they had going. Faith joked about it but that's what I pointed out. She wasn't sure if she could've handled grad. The minis were horrified at that thought and that one thanked me for warping that one. Faith too. Then think about Kennedy handling the Initiative." They all burst out laughing at that. No, Kennedy wasn't the sort of slayer who could handle bad things. She had some strange ideas sometimes, mostly about her right to be spoiled.
"Or god, the Glory stuff," Sam said with a shudder. "We would've went through three then."
"I can't see Kennedy making it through that, especially not with the sudden inclusion of Dawn. She would've freaked majorly," Xander agreed. "She's a bit straight thinking sometimes."
Dean nodded. "Just a bit." He looked at Sam then at the demon. "Prophecy?" The demon got up and went to get it for them. He handed it to Sam. "Why him?"
"He's the chosen mother. It speaks of him."
Sam looked at him. "I'm not the only one the demon tainted."
"You're the only one left alive," Xander said. Sam shuddered. "Sorry."
"No, it's a good point." He read it over, frowning. "It's in a strange language."
Xander snatched it to look over. "Want it literal or meaning?"
"Meaning, we'll go over literal in a few minutes," Dean decided.
"Whistler's job shifting was the key to this one. It says when the one who preaches balance, Whistler, shifts his role in destiny and accepts that balance isn't what he thought then the power behind the throne would show their ire and anger. That their intentions would shift to getting what they hadn't earned, which probably means their power to rule over the chosen. At that time, a chosen warrior will be brought into being from the past by merging a baby of the sinking power to hell and one who was tainted by the highest of the high.
"The ones who bring them into being shall train them to hold against the struggle that the former chosen will have as their calling is called into question and are pulled by both sides. It looks like the warrior will step in to uphold them and help them find their new spot but also help protect them from the old Powers, and everyone else too." He looked up. "Basically it looks like Connor's job only as a bouncer for the old Powers trying to get people back for kicking them to the curb." He handed it to Sam again.
"So we're doing what we're already doing, only we need to be able to tell the old Powers to piss off," Dean said, nodding at that simplification. "While protecting the girls from being pulled by both sides."
"He's one who would be pulled," the demon said, waving at Xander. "Because of who gave him his visions."
"The preacher's fingernail?" Xander said dryly.
"What?" the demon asked.
"A minion of the First popped my eye, that's when the visions started."
"You had one with the magic poisoning," John corrected. "From beneath you it devours. Which was what scared the crap out me. It made me go to O'Neill and tell him about everything since you'd be there without outside support."
"Which is why we got their help with the First," Xander said. John smirked and nodded. "You told them that far back?"
"I took Tony's fact file on Sunnydale and gave it to him so someone would know when things started to happen because the vision meant it'd be even worse. I couldn't see how worse it could get without some super apocalypse," John told him.
Xander shrugged. "It worked out and even Willow had to admit some military personnel weren't bad and evil." He punched him on the arm. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He fluffed the back of Xander's hair. "Time for a trim."
Xander grimaced. "I don't care. The dog doesn't care. If you care that much, take me to get a trim." He smirked. Then he squatted down to pet the dog.
"Xander, you said a warrior from the past is coming back?" Tony asked. Xander looked up at him. "You said 'a chosen warrior will be brought into being from the past'." Xander nodded slowly. "Are we talking a rebirth or are we talking like Buffy was brought back? Because if not, we're talking about Buffy."
"Huh. Well, she doesn't fit the next part about how it comes to be," he admitted. He had a sudden thought. "Dean, that prophecy that we diverted by you not making a deal to save Sam's life?"
"I would've went to hell, been called back, which would've loosed hell on earth eventually."
"Merging a baby of the sinking power to hell and one who was tainted by the highest of the high. That could have related back to that prophecy. That hellgate was a portal to hell, and the chosen would be considered a baby of the portal when it opened, and he would've been tainted. So bringing you back....."
"How would that make you be a baby of a sinking power to hell?" John asked, looking confused.
"When you open a portal that way, it changes you," Sam told him quietly. "You basically warp it since you're controlling it, even for a second. If it's stronger than you, it infects you, basically tainting you. If you're stronger then you'll taint it, becoming a new force for forging it. So either you become, basically, a parent or a child to it."
Xander nodded. "Giles used to worry about how Willow was being warped by the old hellmouth. That's what he called it one night while partially drunk right after she lost it and went all magic addiction. She became a child to the portal and a conduit to do its bidding."
"Which would lead back to Sammy," Dean said. "And me being the warrior it talks about?" Xander nodded. "Huh. Well, I can do that."
"Not without support," Xander assured him, looking at the horrified looking demon. "That would make sense, yes?"
"Yes, but it said a strong warrior clan of demon would bring the child into being."
Xander looked it over, shaking his head. "It says a strong line of warriors will bring it into being."
"Our mother's family hunted," Sam said, looking at Dean.
"Dad's another in that strong line," he agreed, looking unhappy. "But I didn't die."
"Which invalidates it unless we can bring one back," the demon said quickly. "Unless we can make a new champion."
"It'd make more sense to free one," John said calmly, looking at Tony, who looked confused. "Freeing one would mean that he would be able to do it of his own free will." Dean and Sam both gave him horrified looks. "Gives him new purpose than to nag you two."
"Yeah, but it'd still be bringing back the dead. The dead should stay dead. We already salted and burned him."
"He's not in hell either," Sam said.
"That's right, I got him out," Xander agreed dryly. Dean smacked him on the head. "What!"
"I wondered what you were muttering during the battle."
"Freeing the hunters that had to make deals for the good of all." He shrugged. "It happens sometimes. I'm evil that way," he finished sarcastically. "Hello," he said, spotting someone blipping in. "You would be?"
"Before you warped that prophecy you would have known me," he said dryly, staring at him then at Dean. "This one will not happen. It's not needed. They already have people who can shield them."
"Jack and Daniel?" Tony guessed. "They've been doing some of that from the higher ups in the government."
Xander nodded. "I had to help shield some from the FBI last week when that Epps guy called about a slayer working in town."
The being stared at him. "Who are you?"
He grinned. "Xander."
"Ah!" He nodded once. "You're not in either side's plans. Did you realize this?" Xander nodded. "For how long now?"
"Since I did CPR and brought Buffy back to life. Clearly not in the Codex so not in the Powers' plans. The dark didn't exactly want her brought back either."
"Good thinking, Xander. Still a bit warping. Much too warping."
Xander nodded. "That happens sometimes when you're dealing with hellmouths and don't count on how the radiation moves." The angel stared at him. He smirked back. "I figure there's a reason it tried to hug me too."
"That could be, but that's dangerous."
"For them." He stared. "If that's what has to happen it does."
John stepped between them, staring at the angel. "Not happening without backup."
"It's not planned," he admitted. "But it is a possible outcome. He has guarded them for many years without them realizing it." He stared at both husbands. "Isn't that your job to stop?"
"Or aid and abet," Sam added, looking at him. "So, is it a warrior team, are we calling a soul back, or are we going to have to knock someone up?"
"Straight answers only please, cryptic is going to give me a headache," Dean said.
"And I'm without caffeine again," Xander said cheerfully, hugging John so he could rest his chin on his shoulder to beam at the angel. "And which side are you on?"
"Which is a total third side to this fight," Xander pointed out. "It's you guys who have to worry about the normal people while we worry about the hunters, slayers, and champions."
"Doing this will impact the normal people," the angel said.
"Yes, but so will us not doing this when you guys get a sudden influx," Tony said with a small shrug. "If you're voting, give us one."
The angel considered it then looked up and back at him. "We will aid in the mission to protect the champions who protect us all." He stared at Xander. "If you don't warp this one."
"Half the time I don't even know I've warped it until later," Xander pointed out. "Give me an idea of what I shouldn't do and I'll try."
"The last battle...."
"I was in Africa for."
The angel stared. "You weren't in LA?"
Xander shook his head, letting go of John and walking to stand beside him. "No. I was in Africa dealing with the unfound slayers over there. That day I was dealing with a Native American demon who came to help his cousin take over some lands with the one I was training."
The angel stared. "That is not what we have noted."
"Then I'd check," Xander said. "Unless I went back in time to help with LA."
"No, that's not what we have either. We have you faithfully following the girls into combat."
"No, not in this realm. I needed time to grieve."
"I know of that part but we thought you got back sooner."
"They didn't even tell me. The only reason I knew about it was the visions I got about it."
"You're not supposed to have visions."
"Please take the brain ripping things then," he offered. "I'm sure Sam would say the same damn thing. I know Cordy did with hers."
The angel moved closer to him. "May I read you?"
"Go for it." He put his hands out to the side, letting the angel touch him on the face with one hand and the wrist on the other. The hand on his wrist went to his chest. "Need me to drop my anti-possession shield?"
"Please." Xander concentrated and it went down. He glowed a little bit. The angel glowed a bit. The angel's glow got brighter until the light was really bright and encompassing both of them then they separated and the angel stepped back. "You're not the one who was written into our books. He was with you though. You have senses of him."
"Jesse?" He nodded. "The vamps got him before the harvest," he said quietly.
"Hmm. Which is where our own prophecy is wrong then."
"Which is screwy since vamps never came after me that night," Xander pointed out. "They went after Willow and Jesse."
"Why not you?" Dean asked. "The dangerous ones go after you to have you but not to kill you? That's always irked me, dude."
"Xander has this ability to not be seen. To be overlooked," the angel said, smiling at him. "Which has helped him in many ways, even when it does bother him."
"Yeah, how do I turn that off? Because even when I'm saving asses they don't see me."
"Those who need to see you do, sometimes in hindsight but that's their blindness, not that skill," the angel told him. "For that she'll be kicked around at her judgement. Again." He sighed. "All right. There's already warped prophecies."
"If it was supposed to be Jesse there, of course it's warped. He doesn't fit into the same holes," Sam said.
"The Powers' prophecies don't mention any helpers at all, Sam," Xander told him. "The Powers didn't want her to have more help than the watchers. I was warping then by jumping in and bringing Willow."
The angel nodded. "You did. Thank you." Xander grinned. "Even though it hurt her at times."
"While I'm damn sorry about that time before the battle, at the time I honestly didn't think it was her. She's not the same Buffy. Not after heaven and all that."
"No one ever is when they're called back." He smirked. "Not after a few deaths."
Xander nodded. "Or even so long in battle. So now what? You guys are on the wrong book. The old Powers are power hungry and think I'm in their way at times. The new Powers are still consolidating but they had some help making new battle plans."
"The new Powers are strong. They're stubborn."
"You should've tried dating Cordy," Xander said dryly.
"Cordy?" the angel asked.
"The new female side of the Powers, Cordelia?"
"No, that's not who we have. We have Illyria."
"No, that's Fred. Cordelia, his seer, my former girlfriend, ascended due to her visions killing her and then took over when the Powers fled because I was about to destroy the astral plane with hellmouth energy. I got a bit pissed at their idea of turning me evil to take out their extra champions."
"Us," John corrected. "They were going to have you turn us to help you."
Tony shuddered. "I can't imagine me as a vampire."
Sam looked at them then at Xander. "So he was going to be evil, I was going to be evil.... Dean, were you going to be evil too?"
"No, if that prophecy hadn't been warped by Xander, he would've been our champion," the angel said, staring at them, then back at Xander. "Let me confer. I will be back shortly." He disappeared. That put a major kink in things. The heavenly book was wrong! That had never happened before!
Xander looked at Tony. "So it wasn't just me, it was them getting confused. That's good to know."
Tony and John hugged him. "We like you anyway," Tony assured him.
"Aww, mush," Dean said dryly, walking off shaking his head before it infected him. Sam followed to give them some privacy.
John kissed the back of Xander's hair. "We like you without you having warped anything," he said quietly.
"It kinda sucks to realize that I've done all this because they got the wrong person."
"It does," Tony agreed, smiling at him. "But you still managed it and earned respect, not just because you did it but because *you* did it, and you didn't have to."
Xander smiled. "That makes it a little bit better." Another being appeared. "We're still here."
"Of course we're not wrong, boy."
Xander got free and walked over. "I'm not Jesse. I'm Xander. You guys had Jesse and Jesse got turned when Buffy came to town." The angel put a hand on his head and glowed but then stepped back, looking horrified. "What? Too much hellmouth energy sucked up? Not my fault no one taught me how to shield," he said dryly. "You'd figure Giles might do that when he had the book out to teach Buffy shielding so I wouldn't have gotten possessed again."
The angel stared at him. "You are not in our plans. We have to...."
Tony cleared his throat. "The one in your plans died during the Harvest."
"Because he got pushed into my stake," Xander agreed.
"That was not meant to be!" the angel threatened, pulling up power.
Xander shoved him. "Then you should've been watching and not had the vamps going near him that night. It's not like I wanted to kill the only person who gave so much of a damn about me! The only one who saw me for who and what I fully was! Even now I don't get seen for the whole person I am!" He shoved him again. "If you planned on him that much then you should've protected him! Don't you dare blame your failings on me!" He shoved him again. The angel disappeared.
The first one came back. "He'll kill you, don't do that."
"Fuck him and the goddess he rode in on," Xander said bluntly, glaring at him. "I'm not going to be blamed by the higher ups for them not doing their own fucking job. I was sixteen years old. No one had told me anything by that point. I'm sure as hell not going to be blamed for him sleeping too long one day."
"No, you're not. He's pissed because it was his job and he failed," the angel said calmly, moving forward. "Can you maybe calm down before the remains of that taint come out here and you all die when you get sucked into the void?"
Xander growled but John pulled him closer. "He'll calm down soon. You might send that one away though." The angel looked back at the other one, who huffed and glared, but pulled a sword.
Dean shot the second angel from the other room, walking that way. "Gotta love a Colt," he said dryly, staring at the dead body then at the first one. He put the gun back. "Now that the supposed good that's really evil is gone..... now what? Apparently we're stuck here, we need to get a warrior trained to shield the slayers, and we have to get Xander calmed down again. Dude, glowing." Xander growled but concentrated, putting back up his shields. "John, Tony.... I think there's a room on the other side of this one." They walked Xander off by force to calm him down. "Sorry."
"I'm not. It's that strength that we need to defeat this last power move." He smiled. "And yes, you will need a warrior but not just one. There'll be many places that need helpers."
"Like in that anime with the women who wear the special bracelets that transform them into porno costumes with super powers?" Xander called from the outer room. "And their male guards that keep dying from the demon queen?"
"I don't watch anime," the angel called.
Sam leaned in, smirking at him. "Basically, it's analogous. What if there was a holy order or something that could defend the girls? Like maybe the Order of St. Andrew or something?"
"The one in Crimea?"
Sam handed over the book. "They were going to use it to teach the kid that I was going to be made to carry."
The angel looked at the book. "They're good, and hidden fairly well, but they wouldn't do for this." He handed it back. "That is an idea however. Thank you, Samuel. That has redeemed some of your taint."
"Not like I could've stopped him when I was six months old," Sam said bitterly. "I would've rather not had it be us."
"Don't wish!" Xander yelled.
"I saw what happened when I wished Mom had lived," Dean sighed, rubbing his forehead. "Not like there's wish demons up here, Xander." Xander walked in a small figurine, putting it on the floor and kicking it a few times until it woke up, then left.
The ones in there looked at the figurine. "What? We needed to know what's going on. We don't like the old Powers any more than you guys do. D'Hoffryn got really pissed that his mates stopped Harris from destroying them."
Xander came back to look down at her. "It might've destroyed more than that."
"So? He wouldn't have cared."
"Good point." He walked off shaking his head.
The angel shook his head quickly. "We're trying to figure that out right now. When we do I'm sure someone will hear us."
She huffed. "I never hear the good gossip." She stamped a tiny bronze foot then went lifeless again.
"Things like that happen around Xander but I don't think I'll ever get used to it," Sam said.
The angel shook his head. "Definitely a new one to me too." He looked at them. "There's a few orders that may work that way. There's also...." He looked up and smiled. "There's a chosen warrior that will be given to one of the special orders we have spread around. We knew that hunters couldn't do everything for our side. Too many have to move to the wrong side to get things done."
"Because being a white knight gets draining," Xander agreed as he came back.
"It does," he said, staring at him. "We like you learning how to forge weapons by the way."
"Does that mean they want me out of the way too?"
"No. Many of us thought that the girls could use some sense. They need warriors behind them to help them. They're still young. By the time they get to the point you're at, they're just as jaded and weary of the fight. Then they die sooner. It was a wise move to shift yourself into another skill set and be backup and a teacher."
"Teacher?" he asked, looking confused. "Half of the girls decided I ran away, dude."
"That's their problem and they will be learning better." He smirked. "Growing up is like that for most everyone." He disappeared.
"How do we get home?" Dean shouted.
"Wait for the rescue," Xander said with a small shrug. "Learn new things while we're here?" He walked off again, grimacing. "He thinks I should teach."
"I'm sure sometime you'll have a young thing wanting to hunt coming to you," Tony admitted. Xander relaxed at that. Tony gave him a cuddle but John stole him. "We'll do what we have to do, Xander. We're all like that."
Xander nodded. "We will." He rested between them. It was nice and comforting. The dog got some attention but otherwise she was happy to watch them cuddle. For now. She'd want to play in a bit.
Gibbs looked up as someone came up to his desk with a sealed envelope. "Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs?" he asked quietly.
"I am. Who're you?"
"A messenger." He handed over the letter with a smile. "It's not their fault they're stuck. Someone was using it to try to do the right thing." He left, disappearing from the elevator.
"It's not often you get a strange message; usually that's Tony," Ziva joked.
Gibbs grimaced, opening the envelope to read the message inside. He grabbed his sidearm and jacket. "McGee, you're in charge. The rescue mission DiNozzo went on got trapped." He left, hurrying down to his car. He had things he needed to gather before he showed up in Cleveland.
"Okay then," McGee decided. "Back to work, Ziva. We still have an open case to solve and then we'll figure it out." He got back to work, scowling. What now? Another apocalypse?
O'Neill looked up as someone dropped an envelope on his desk and left. He read what was inside, frowning at it. He paged Cam Mitchell to vid call him immediately. Jack wasn't able to move at the moment. He had screwed up his bad knee to the point he was in a brace. He should be in traction and having it replaced but he was being stubborn. This time he'd armchair-general it.
"Sir," Mitchell said as his head appeared in the monitor. "You look like shit, general."
"My knee's beyond screwed the pooch," he admitted dryly, sending him the letter. "I'm delegating to the next best thing, you and Danny boy."
He read it over then nodded once. "How do we get there?"
"Talk to Cleveland."
"Oh, them," he said flatly. "Is it important?"
"From that, yeah. I know Sheppard went on immediate emergency leave to go rescue his husband."
"Ah! That one is involved. That makes more sense."
"Gibbs probably got the same information since DiNozzo went from what I've heard in gossip around town."
"I'll meet him in Cleveland. Thanks for this, did you think we were bored?"
"Usually unless you're under fire," he quipped back with an evil smirk.
"As long as I don't end up married," he muttered.
Jack burst out laughing. "I doubt that'd happen. His aunts don't like you that way."
"Thank you," he said looking up. He looked at the general again. "Going, sir." He hung up and went to tell Landry and the others. "O'Neill's sending us in his place since he's screwed his knees worse than usual." He handed over the note, going to get his gear. "Daniel, get the team together, gear up. We're heading to Cleveland."
"Why do we need gear for Cleveland?" Sam called from her office.
"To save Sheppard and them."
"Shit," Daniel yelped, coming out wiping at the coffee he had spilled on himself. "Now?"
"Yeah. They're trapped where they went to rescue Xander and Sam Winchester. Landry has the note." He finished his trek to his rooms.
Daniel moaned, going to gather what he needed. He got the note from Landry on the way to the gate room. They could be beamed to Cleveland. They knew about them.
Giles looked up in alarm when bells and alarms started going off. "We're being invaded?" he demanded as he came out of his office.
"Not quite, Giles," his slayer/secretary said. They went down to see what was going on.
Buffy was staring at Daniel. "You guys are invading?" she demanded.
"No, we were sent to help rescue the trio and the Winchesters," Daniel said, handing over the note.
She read it over. "Why did they want Xander? He's a goofball. Demons don't want him that way. They want to sleep with him or kill him."
"Which would be wrong since he's married," another slayer pointed out.
Daniel stared at her. "You mean besides the fact that they took Sam Winchester?" Daniel asked dryly.
"Seers," Buffy said. "Dawn said something about that. DAWNIE!"
She came jogging out of the back. "Hey, guys. The witches can't find their new realm. They said they moved it."
"The note has something to help with that and I'm assuming Gibbs does too," Cam said patiently.
"Huh." She plucked the note, nodding at it. "Any idea what they took him for?"
"Yes," a male voice said as he walked in behind the team. He walked around them and bowed to Giles and Buffy. "We were advised it was our time to fulfill our duties, slayer."
Buffy stared at the man in the priest's clothes. "Huh?"
"I'm with the Order of St. Alexander," he said with a smile.
"Xander's a saint?" she asked, looking confused.
Daniel stared. "No, he's from a secret order that's been hiding around the world protecting people who got hurt by the spirit world for centuries."
The priest nodded. "We are."
"This is coincidence, right?" Cam demanded sarcastically.
"No." He smiled at him. "Your only part is the rescue since those who wanted to help were too zealous and mistook a prophecy. Which then later got translated and the meaning became clearer."
"Did they Xander it?" Dawn asked.
"Indeed. Well before Xander was created by the information I got told." He looked at the slayers. Then at Giles. "The Order has always supported the slayers' duty, even if they don't support the old Council."
"I've heard of such," he admitted. "You've taken in some of them that couldn't be trained so they wouldn't be killed and the like."
"We have. Now we're the ones who will help cushion them from the pulling during the power struggles."
Dawn snapped her fingers, jogging off. "I just found that one the other day!" she shouted. She came back with it, handing it to Daniel. "That's in one you probably read."
He unrolled it, nodding. "I do read that offshoot of Ancient." He read it over. "Hold on, the warrior....."
"They must've taken Sam and Xander because of the descriptions," Dawn said. "To make a super warrior who'd protect the slayers when the old Powers started their craptastic moves."
"Against Cordelia and Whistler," Daniel finished. He rerolled it and handed it to her.
"We have that one written on a large obelisk in our main temple," the priest admitted. "Yes, it has come to pass that the warrior is recalled. As we were told, the one born would not do at this time. Especially not with reluctant parents who insist they're strong enough. Though, the visions will harm those that step in," he told Buffy quietly. "They can use that against them."
"Then Xander needs to be protected."
"He has his protectors, Miss Summers. The same as you have yours and now backup to help your girls. My order is meant to help cushion you girls in your duties. So the Powers aren't being too pushy."
She smirked. "To guard us against the pushing between them?"
"That as well. As such, our Order has long known that we would have to create warriors that could fight beside you."
"A new Templar order of Knights," Giles said, realizing what that meant.
"Yes." He smiled. "Among our most cherished relics was a prophecy that some day the old Powers would come to rest outside their domain while new Powers took over. At that time, it was time for us to bring out our best defense of you chosen girls, someone who could train and help cushion you. Death has changed some, given them clarity of knowledge or purpose."
"It changed me a lot," Buffy agreed. "I almost don't want to shop now and then."
The priest laughed. "You're not the only one that was dead who has been brought back. As God dictates, so is it our job."
"You'll protect the girls with your skills?" Buffy asked. "Not work against us?"
"That is not in our orders or within our skill, slayer. We are meant to be backup. Not many of us are true warriors as you know it but many of us will try if you let us, or will back you up however we can."
Giles cleared his throat. "That would be most welcome." Gibbs showed up in a beam of light. "That's highly efficient."
"O'Neill demanded," Gibbs said dryly, looking at the priest. "Bad timing?"
"Convenient timing," Cam told him, staring at the priest. "It's all tied to why they took Winchester and Harris."
Daniel coughed. "The ones who took Xander wanted to make a warrior to protect them and the slayers from the Powers going at each other."
"Then DiNozzo and Sheppard got stuck on their rescue," Gibbs said flatly.
"Our witches tried to get to them but they said they moved the realms," Dawn told him.
Gibbs handed over his note. "Will that help?"
"Is the rest of the coordinates. Yes." She handed it off to a watching member of the coven. "Take them, let them rescue the guys?" She nodded, leading the team off. Dawn looked at the priest. She cast a truth spell. "Vow that you are not here to hurt the slayers or their lines."
"We are not here to harm the slayers in any way. Some of us may have strange ideas of helping, including one we had to remove last year for planning how to change the gift to some of the Fathers instead of making young girls do the harsh duty." He looked at Buffy. "We pledge ourselves to help you and yours. More openly than we have for centuries."
She nodded. "Okay, that's good enough for me." Dawn canceled the spell. "Let's go talk about this somewhere more of us can hear and we can all sit around. Is it just your order?"
"There's two other orders that deal with the supernatural."
"The White Orders were removed in the last century," Giles reminded him.
"They exist even if the Church does not recognize them," the priest corrected. "As well as the Order of St. Andrew, who has a lot who deal with demons more like the ones the roaming hunters deal with. They do exorcisms and things," he told Buffy. "Those sort of demons instead of those who are from other realms or remnants of the Old Ones."
She smiled. "That's good to know. We should hold a conference or something."
"We get together in six months to talk about our various duties. We'll be meeting outside Rome."
"I loved Rome," she sighed, leading him to a sitting room. "You'll have to bring me and Giles."
"That would be most acceptable, though I would caution that the Order of St. Andrew would not like witches. They ignore it in the White Order but not always."
"Eeh, Dawn can turn them into gerbils or something for slayer pets then." She gave him a look. He smirked at that. Yeah, this could work. Backup would be nice. A whole order of priests like Xander would do her girls good.
The portal opened and they were on a small place of glassy rock. They stepped out, looking around.
The witch next to Daniel handed him something. "This stone is set to tell you how to get to the portal to there. It will get warmer as you get warmer. When it's nearly burning the portal is within a hundred feet. The stone will activate it for you so you can step through. Use it in reverse to get here. Then it will call us to open this one. Also, the way is not straight. There's a few dangers that it will avoid, even if you can't see them." The portal closed.
"It's feeling warmer to the left," Daniel said, letting Cam set the lead. He grinned at Gibbs. "Been a while since you had to trek?"
"A bit, but we've had to hike to get to crime scenes too." He shifted his pack so it was more comfortable and his guns were checked as well. "Why couldn't they go directly there?"
"It would take a password they didn't have, basically," Sam said. "I asked." She smiled. "I'm translating it down from energy keys."
"Thank you. I'm used to Abby dumbing it down for me too." She smirked. His gun came up when a demon was spotted running their way. They all stopped to stare at them but it ran around them without seeming to see them. "Huh."
"Go left," Daniel ordered. They did that. "Now right again." He looked down. "It's a burrow."
"I don't want to know," Mitchell ordered. "My brain hurts whenever I hear about demons."
"Did too many of them hit on you during the invasion?" Sam Carter teased.
"Too many of them hit me, not hit *on* me, Carter," he said firmly.
"Then I guess I was the only one they hit on," Daniel said dryly, smirking at his teammate.
"Probably. You do get into trouble that way," Cam shot back.
Teal'c shook his head. "I was too busy being scared to take notice of any flirting."
"I thought it was cute the girls hit on Sheppard and DiNozzo that night," Gibbs offered. They stared at him. "He didn't tell me why he was going to LA on leave. Just that it'd be a problem. So when I turned on the news and saw an invasion, I was a bit pissed. I flew into San Diego and drove up."
Sam Carter shook her head. "I wasn't there at first but they got me there when Jack called for backup."
"I swear I don't know how the girls didn't piss themselves," Cam said, grimacing. "Half of them hadn't been in battles."
"They're slayers, that's their calling. That's why they get the special gifts and the crappy destinies," Sam told him with a small shrug when he looked back at her. "Before it was only one girl at a time."
"Yeah, I don't think we would've handled that with just one girl, Connor's crew, and whoever else jumped in," Cam said dryly.
"You guys barely managed it with who you had," Gibbs agreed. "Who were some of those people?"
"Angel and Connor's crew in LA?" Sam asked. "Or the other hunters that jumped in?"
"That young guy? About as old as the slayers?"
"Connor. Angel's son," Daniel told him. "No, we have no idea how two vampires had a living son before you ask. That was that law firm's fault."
"Wolfram and Hart," Cam said. "I saw their new office in Colorado Springs. Told Landry. He wanted to go down there with artillery."
"Me too," Sam agreed. "Think we could get away with it?"
"Send O'Neill. He probably misses threatening people," Gibbs said.
Teal'c shook his head. "Send Harris. He is a good warrior and they know of him probably. They should be scared of what he might do since his reputation states that he's unpredictable and will do anything to protect the slayers."
"That might be an idea," Cam said with a smirk. "Thanks for the evil thought, Teal'c."
"It is not evil, it is practical."
"I'm sure the lawyers would see it as evil," Daniel told him. He felt the stone. "Warmth to the right." They moved that way, having to pull Gibbs out of a hole that hadn't been there before. "I guess the path is narrow here. The stone doesn't show that." They all groaned and moved to single file. That'd be handled easier.
Cam stepped through the portal first. "Comfy?" he asked Sheppard since he was napping and Xander was reading on his shoulder.
"No pillows," Xander mumbled, then looked up at him. "Huh?"
"Rescue?" Sam said as she walked in. The demon screamed when it saw her and ran to hide. "I'm not that mean today," she called after it. "I even had chocolate with my caffeine today."
Xander snickered, pushing himself off John's shoulder, making him grunt. "Your people are here."
"Fuck," John muttered, sitting up rubbing his eyes. "Ten months?" he demanded, looking at them.
"Ten months?" Gibbs demanded. Tony came out of the back room with a bag and a box. Sam and Dean did the same. "Guys, it's a hike."
"We need them," Sam Winchester sighed. "The demon guy agreed."
"And hey, no baby making between Sammy and Xander," Dean quipped.
"I'm not ready for kids yet," John complained as he stood up. "Thankfully." He hauled Xander up. "Get that food thing you found. Don't let the portal close, guys."
"Teal'c standing in it," Daniel promised. "Are you guys okay?"
"Did a lot of training," Dean sighed. "And a lot of research." They packed things. Xander came back with two things, handing Sam the bag and handing Dean the little food making thing. Sam checked the bag then dumped the box and his bag into it. Dean did the same thing. "Will that stay?"
"If not, the witches can retrieve from it. Thank you for being a good host," Xander called. "If you have more problems, just tell us!"
"I will so I do not end up trapped with you again," the demon called from his hiding spot.
Muffin came trotting out, sniffing them, barking at Gibbs and Teal'c. She jumped, trying to get Sam's face so she let her lick her hand instead. "C'mon," Sam ordered.
Xander clipped on the leash. "So you don't rush off to chase demons." He followed them out, letting the guys take the back.
"The bag disappeared," Sam said.
"No it didn't," John told him, pointing at where Tony had it. "It loves him, still." That got a nod and they left, starting on their hike.
Daniel finally called a break time, flopping down on the safe trail. The others did the same. Sam concentrated and a small fire started. They all stared at him. "I learned some stuff too," he defended.
"No creepy magic shit," Dean ordered.
"Fine, then don't eat cooked food, jerk. Don't complain to me when your ass rebels for *days* of crapping fire!"
"I doubt it will, bitch."
"Guys," Xander warned. "Headache, me, will beat you." They settled down. He pulled out the 'food making thing'. "Tony found it," he told them. He petted it and whispered, bringing out food. The all stared. "It's edible. That's how we didn't have to pick someone to use as food." He looked at Dean. "We could probably make a stew of you that'd last for years. Stringy, tough muscles would take that long to cook down."
Dean glared then swatted him on the head. "Guys, weren't you supposed to fix that?" he demanded.
"We did," Tony defended. He was smirking though. "Just because we agreed to eat you instead of any of us or the demon...."
"I'd have to protest," Sam complained. "I don't want to eat my brother. If you become what you eat, then I'd have to listen to more heavy metal." He picked up an apple to toss into the fire. It popped and puffed up, letting him draw it out. "From Cerebinus."
Xander nodded, doing it to his own. He shared it with Sam Carter. She nibbled a bite and nodded. "See, not dangerous."
"Can it make hotdogs?" Cam asked.
"I don't know." He petted it and asked it politely for hotdogs. Two came out. Cam took those to roast on a stick.
John got his own food and the others took their turns. "Muffin, get back here," he called. She finished peeing on a rock and came back. "Thank you. Good girl." He petted her. "How long were we gone?"
"Six days," Gibbs told him. "Ten months there?"
"Give or take a few weeks for me and Sammy," Xander told him.
"You left the book you were reading there," Sam Carter realized.
"He better have," Tony and John said in unison.
Xander smirked. "I found some smut from another realm. They could see into this one. It had John and Rodney together."
"Eww," Daniel said.
"That is disgusting," Teal'c agreed. "I cannot imagine Doctor McKay as anything but loud, obnoxious, and cranky I believe the phrase is. Much less in a real marriage with the benefits of it."
"I agree with Daniel, eww," Sam said.
Cam just squeezed his eyes shut. "Please don't say things like that, Xander?"
"Then he shouldn't mention some if it had you and certain others in it?" Tony asked smugly.
"I heard the first part and tried to burn it but the damn book wouldn't be set on fire," John told him.
"Tell me they didn't try to set me up with Carter or Vala?" Cam demanded, looking at his coworker.
"Worse, you were the rebound guy for Jackson when O'Neill had to dump him because he couldn't take him to DC with him." He smirked at the shuddering going on. "As the younger slayers say, I wanted brain bleach. Xander just giggled."
"You know, in the back, that short story had you and Rodney, and Ronon," Sam Winchester offered with an evil smirk.
"Sammy, no creepy, evil thoughts either. No evil magic, no evil thoughts, no evil anything," Dean ordered.
"Please, before I puke," Cam ordered.
"Hey, I tried to convince the aunts he had two hovering, overprotective sorts and they didn't agree with me," Xander told him. John swatted him. "Hey!"
"Shut up, Xander. They weren't on my to do list in any way or shape." Xander opened his mouth. "Ah!" He closed it but smirked. "No more bad thoughts either. Muffin barks and wakes up everyone when I have to cure your mind going odd places."
"Don't look at me that way, boss," Tony defended. "It works better when John robs Xander of bad thoughts. I get giggling Xander who has more bad thoughts. I found a way to shred the book that had fiction of *us* together." Gibbs shuddered and swatted him then Xander on the head.
"Not like I wrote it!" Xander defended. "I just found it giggle worthy. It made a nice break between books on making weapons."
"Tony tore the book into tiny confetti," Dean assured him. "He would've gotten the other one but he fell asleep when Xander found it."
"I would have if I had woken up and heard more than the 'it's smut' answer," John said, staring at him. "After I tried to set it on fire, Xander removed the bad thoughts from my mind and went back to learning practical things. That one was for when he tried to get to sleep."
"He was very cuddly on your shoulder," Cam told him.
"He usually is. He'll chase me across the bed if I don't let him cuddle."
"Nearly off it twice," Tony agreed. "He and Muffin somehow have managed to steal the middle of the bed so we're both hanging off sometimes."
"Don't ask, don't tell," Daniel said firmly. "I don't need details, people. We might run into another telepathic race and they'd end up wanting you three."
"Like the ones last week at home?" Xander asked John. Who nodded. "Telepathic demons who think we're hot," Xander told the horrified looking soldiers.
"Tried to get into Ronon's mind for smutty thoughts too," John admitted. "They beamed onto the city. I wrote a report and sent it on."
"Are they native to this galaxy?" Teal'c asked.
"Yes. They're native to the city actually. In some scholarly demonic circles they think they're part of the reason why San Francisco has always been so open about sex stuff."
"I'm so not moving there," Sam Carter decided. The others nodded at that. "Will they take classified materials?"
"No. They're only interested in smut," John assured her. "I asked. Had to create a mental image to do it but I did ask." She nodded at that, smirking some. "They said the city's population was giving off bad vibes and wanted to know if they could help. I told them only if they didn't take away free will. They settled on lust bombing the dining hall before leaving in a hurry. Landry probably wasn't happy with that report but that's the room they appeared in and they knew what the city was."
"I remember hearing you yelling back at Woolsey," Xander admitted, looking at him. "Telling him it wasn't your fault demons had shown up in the mess hall."
Cam looked at him. "This makes how many incursions by demons?"
"Two if you count the guy that we had to call to get the body that washed up. He was a demon working on our side."
"I've met him," Gibbs admitted. "I thought he was a bit odd but after the invasion I realized why."
"That's the normal's disbelief working," Xander told him. "Like you see short trolls and you think they're midgets with big noses. Or,' oh, look at the funny skin condition that makes him green, dear' in the grocery store. Sunnydale was king of that problem."
"It kept them slightly sane," Carter pointed out.
"It kept them food sources," Xander corrected. "Sane or not."
Daniel nodded. "The human mind would make up a story to protect it from uncomfortable knowledge but your town had to hold a record on that. I can't believe no one realized something was going on with that high of a death rate."
"Even if they saw it they ignored it," Xander assured him. "You got used to it." He shrugged. "We went around the problems."
"I saw that when I visited," John said, ruffling his hair. "You're getting a trim."
"I don't care," Xander reminded him.
"Still. You're getting a trim or I'm making Rodney do it for you."
"Like he'll care? He'll complain you're taking him out of the lab and his precious ideas. He did the last time you made him take an afternoon off."
"Good point. I'll let Ronon cut it."
"He'll teach me to do dreadlocks."
"He might," Carter agreed.
"I would like to meet Ronon," Teal'c said.
"We can arrange that," John promised. "We rested?" They nodded and Xander put out the fire. They hiked back to the portal, letting the witches reopen it. They all looked very tired. "Were we gone that long?"
"A full month," Dawn told him. "Since the rescue team left." They all winced. "By the way, Landry and O'Neill look like they're rabid dogs. We nearly sent them after you."
"It was a day to us," John complained. "Ten months in the realm we were in but a day of hiking."
"Strange time codes," Sam said, looking at the portal.
"You try to go back there, you bring McKay with you," Cam said firmly.
"Why torture them?" she complained.
"Because it'd keep down headaches and you'd come back pretty damn quick." He walked off shaking his head. "Can I call them?"
"They're in the kitchen having dinner," Dawn called after him. Xander slipped Dawn a book with a smirk and a wink.
Tony tried to take it. "Don't, you don't want to read it."
"Why? Is it smutty?"
"Yes." He managed to snatch it, handing it to John. John handed it to Gibbs.
Gibbs looked inside. "I don't want this."
"I tried to give it to Dawn," Xander defended.
"I doubt she needs that," John said dryly.
Landry's head popped up. "You finally made it back?" he demanded, standing up.
"It was only a day's trek once they freed us of that other realm, sir." He saluted with the others.
Xander did one and shrugged. "Not my fault they wanted me and Sammy to father a super warrior to help the slayers."
"Eww," Buffy said. "We'd have to hunt that kid for being unnatural and wrong somehow if it had you two as daddies and a demon as a mommy."
"No, daddy and mommy, Buffy. They wanted Sam to carry it."
She looked at Sam and Dean. "I'm so sorry the demons decided they liked Xander that way and involved you." The priest next to her swatted her. "Hey!"
"Be nicer to your friends," he said dryly. "Is the warrior coming to be?"
"No, we've decided we're them," Dean told him. "You are?"
"Father Paul Roschfeld, Mr. Winchester." He shook his hand. "If you wish to help, any help would be appreciated. There's too much for the army of shopping girls."
Dean nodded. "We've seen them shop, dude. That's how they practice making battle plans."
"It works," Buffy pouted. "It's good practice."
Xander looked at her then at John, who shook his head, and Tony, who rolled his eyes. "Make better ones, Buffy. Do one for the day after Thanksgiving and all those sales. That would actually involve stealth and managing to steal the sacred shoes from the woman who has them."
"I've been thinking about that one. So, did they try to make you sleep with Sammy?"
"No. Drugged us, milked us, was going to implant it."
"Damn, could use some smutty thoughts." Gibbs handed over that book. She read the first page, blushing and staring at John.
"Another realm's me, not the me here," he said quickly, glaring at Gibbs.
"If he brings it back, Abby will steal it," Tony told him.
Buffy put down the book, still blushing. "Thanks, I'll take a bubble bath later." She put her plate on top of it before it got stolen by one of the minis. They were too young for that. She was too young for that. Faith too.
"Muffin, quit sucking up to Dawnie," Xander called. She came trotting in, nuzzling his leg until he let her outside. She barked and ran around chasing a squirrel before marking a bush and coming back. Xander sat in a seat in the corner. "Now what, guys? I know some of you have to go back to work."
"Yes they do," Landry said, staring at Sheppard.
"It was not my intention to take that long, General."
"We know. Atlantis had a small problem while you were gone anyway. Something about seaweed creatures?"
"Kraken," Buffy and Xander said in unison. "Pour salt in the mouths."
"I'll remember that for next time," O'Neill said dryly. "We went with flamethrowers. They retreated. Two of the guys who had swords went after them with that. Lorne is still bruised, Sheppard."
"If I had expected it to take that much time I would've brought Ronon and my team with me, sir."
"We know," Landry agreed. "By the way, Gibbs, you're going to hate us. Your director hates us anyway."
"They're moving to the city?" Xander asked.
"They are. You're nearby, right?"
"Yeah, I'm staying at the house. Why? Who's been watching my house?"
"I've sent McKay up every weekend to annoy him," Landry admitted. "Mitchell, you team has a week off, with pay, to calm down and all that."
"Thank you, General. It wasn't a hard assignment."
"That way we can make sure that you didn't take any damage from the temporal fluxes," Landry ordered.
"Sure," he agreed with a small shrug. "Flying back tomorrow?" He nodded. "We'll be there, sir."
"Rooms on the third floor for you guys," Buffy offered. They smiled and went that way to clean up. John and Tony stayed. "You guys can too. We know they want to talk to Xander."
"We'll hear it anyway," John assured her. "The bond's that way when we want it to be. Am I being relieved of command?"
"No, son. Evan Lorne demanded up and down to have you back as soon as you stepped foot on this planet. He said that for some reason they're scared of you."
"Not really. Even if they heard about the marriage they aren't all scared of Xander. Some of the chaos demons look at him like he's a god."
Xander cackled. "I'm not that bad."
"Yes you are," Gibbs told him. "We're being reassigned?"
"You are. Since you already know about the city, you're our link to JAG, CID, and NCIS," Landry ordered. "I'm sure Abby will adore that since she and Ducky are moving as well. The director was not happy with you having to take off to rescue them in the least. She hates that DiNozzo is married, she hates that she can't use it, and she hates that if she makes a move toward him she'll be out of a job."
"If she'd leave us alone we'd all be happier," Tony pointed out.
"She doesn't see it that way. She sees it as leaving assets alone to rot," O'Neill said. "She's also out on her keister. Vance is your new director and he agreed that since you guys had such tight ties to us, that you'd be our liaison since we're so deep it's not funny and we haven't had one for a while."
"Generally we're well behaved but now and then we need one," Landry agreed. "You can choose which town your team will be in, Gibbs. If it's Colorado Springs, that's fine. DiNozzo can keep traveling on the weekends. It'll cut his trip down to about three hours plus whatever layover he has. Half the time you can get nonstop."
"That may work," Tony agreed, looking at John and Xander. "At least I'd be closer."
"Or your team could move to the city and then you could see him every day and commute in," O'Neill offered. "Which may help matters greatly." He caught the young agent's eye and glanced at his mates. "Really."
"We've leaving that up to him," Xander said simply. "Tony feels that he wasn't meant to be included because the aunts didn't suck him in originally, it was a mistake to come calling while we were drugged that first time."
"I don't feel that way most of the time now," Tony defended, turning to look at Xander. "Are you still feeling that way?"
"I've never felt that way," he said, staring at him. "I told you before, that's all up to you."
"Guys, mush overload. Go have the personal talk in the pantry or something," Buffy complained. "Before you give any of the minis a show or something?"
"We're not going to jump him in front of you, Buffy," John said, scowling at her. He still walked them into the pantry. He flipped on the light before shutting the door. "He's right, we have let you decide your own place in this whatever-it-is," he pointed out. "Being on the east coast has made it harder for you to spend some good connecting time."
"Now and then I do feel like I'm an added thought," Tony admitted. "Not that I don't feel connected, but you and Xander do get to do a lot more one-on-one time."
"That's because we're on the same coast," Xander said. "If you guys come to San Fran it'll be easier. Then John can get jealous that I'm driving you nuts with my daily routine."
"You do not," John said, getting a glare back from Xander. "Okay, your bathroom routines in the morning does. The banging when you're working on something big all day can but I can learn how to block that out. We all have things that irk us about each other. You guys don't like me doing my hair. I get frustrated with the banging sometimes, and Tony gets bored a whole lot because we haven't made that much effort to make Xander's house our place too. Neither of us have done more than move in a few books."
"True. Maybe some more time would help," Tony admitted, looking at Xander. "You've done what you can, he's right, it's our job to make ourselves into each other's lives." He took a kiss, earning a smile. "We have to work this part out, it's something all people who move in together have."
"It's not like I'm not bored sometimes too, guys. It's not exactly ideal with me being alone most of the time with the dog."
"We know. We're working on it," John assured him. "Including Tony being so far away most of the time. I get double the amount of time he does with you because I only have to drive."
"I know. I don't see a way around it but I know."
Tony took another kiss and gave him a hug. "It seems so much simpler when we're dream walking."
"I think if it wasn't forced it might help," Xander said. "We didn't make this decision. That's why we're all dragging our feet. I could have added stuff to the house for you guys. I could have went out and gotten you guys extra clothes, a gym, all that stuff."
"Yeah but we never asked."
"Usually I'd do things like that without thinking about it," Xander pointed out. "I've always made sure my friends had what they needed when they needed it, and nagged when they didn't think they needed it. Which means I'm turning into someone I'm not."
"There's been a lot going on since then, and it's not a fault that you haven't been so ...clingy and hovering," Tony told him. "We don't mind that, Xander. Beyond the fact that I might have to pout if you left me one of those loud shirts you used to wear," he finished with a tease.
"I still feel that I'm not the same."
"Of course not. The final battle, all that fighting, losing people, and going to Africa, all that changes a guy," John told him. "I wouldn't expect you to be the same guy you were when I came out after Glory."
Xander looked at him. "I'd expect me to have some of the same tendencies."
John smirked. "You learned how to take care of yourself first and then everyone else. Everyone has to learn that sometime." He moved closer, staring down at Xander. He was only an inch or so taller but it was nice to be taller. "I'd have to stop you if you wore yourself out doing for us. Neither of us want you to be that giving and no receiving." Xander blushed. "Not in the bedroom either," he teased.
"I'm not used to people who'd put me first anyway," Tony agreed, moving up behind Xander. Xander leaned against him. "It's that we're not used to it. We managed to duck around it by not living together."
"There's times I do feel like a commuter center," Xander admitted.
"You also never get out of the house," Tony pointed out.
"It's never fun going out on your own and my new best female friend is Sam."
"If she was closer you could definitely take her out to make her forget work for a few hours without us being jealous," Tony told him. "Not that there's much to do in your town."
"There's some nice clubs in about twenty minutes of driving," John told him. "We go out a lot on married people date nights."
"If you wanted to stay in the city and just spend the night in a cheap motel we could," Xander offered. "I can go be geeky in a club until you come in."
"Then I might get jealous," John said dryly. "Having to beat all the boys and girls that try for you in whatever you're wearing would get is thrown out."
"It's not my fault I still draw bad girls. And twinks who think I can be a nice daddy."
"I don't," Tony admitted. "Though I am still drawing bad girls." John kissed him, making him moan.
"No getting body fluids on my pots!" Andrew yelled.
Xander opened the door. "We wouldn't do that, Andrew. You know that."
"I have to protect them, Xander."
"I know, Andrew." He let John and Tony follow him. "Sam, they think I stay home too often."
"You do stay home a lot, Xander. Then again, I've seen you drawing all those little teenage gay boys too."
"Do I look old enough for daddyhood for them?"
"No," she said, smiling at him. "Not in the least. It's where you wear the leather."
"Oh. Maybe I'll stop that."
"You look nice in the leather pants," John told him.
"TMI!" Cam said firmly.
"This is an interesting but probably private discussion," Daniel agreed, smiling at Xander. "Didn't she go shopping for those with you?"
"Yeah. I'm used to shopping with girls. They have good taste."
She smirked at Tony and John. "Has he shown you the gray ones yet?"
John moaned and nodded. "Yeah, he has. Thank you, Sam."
"Welcome," she quipped with a smirk. "He even introduced me to a very nice, slightly evil man who wanted to be my body slave last time we went shopping."
"He wasn't bad but he was looking for someone to have fun with," Xander reminded her. He looked at the guy walking in, raising an eyebrow. He was getting that special feeling. "Hi. You are?"
"Father Dimitri Pendrast. You?" he asked, shaking his hand.
"Xander." The father smirked at that name. "So, Father, what's your area beyond blood sacrifices?" The man looked horrified. He pulled him closer, staring into his eyes. "I do protect these girls to this day."
"I would never harm one who fights."
"Those who don't get your affection instead?" he asked smugly. The priest shuddered.
"Xander!" Sam complained. "It was bad enough you found a serial rapist who was trying to get us to buy a condo together. Why is it you can find serial people whenever I'm around?"
"They used to want to date him," Buffy told her.
"Now they think he's hotter for having two husbands," Sam quipped back. "And twinks for some reason."
"It's my twinkie sensing radar that's warped by San Fran," Xander said with a smirk for her. He smirked at the priest again. "Confession is good for a soul before you have to tell God." The man nodded and backed off, heading for the front door. "I'll be checking," he called.
O'Neill looked at Daniel. "You can't do that, right?"
"I never have been able to, Jack." He slugged him on the arm. "How's your knee?"
"Better now that they replaced it," Landry said with a smirk for his superior.
"Good, maybe we won't hear about his knees so often," Sam said with a smile for him.
"When your knees suck it's almost as bad as when you have a liver that goes or kidneys," Xander told her. "You can't do anything but medicate, deal with the pain and hell it puts you through, and then have it replaced or die in pain."
"Know someone who had them?" Landry asked.
"Know someone who had started down the road to really creaky knees and had liver failure too."
"It's a different sort of pain but about screws up your life and what you want to be doing all the time," Jack agreed.
Daniel and Sam both covered Xander's mouth before he could utter a word about those stories he had found.
"Something we should hear?" Jack asked.
"The realm had some funny, strange stories apparently," Cam told him. "Including ones from people who could look into our realm for amusement and paired you and a certain doctor together, and then me and him when you had to go to DC and couldn't take him."
Jack snorted. "We've been asked that more than once, Cam. You learn to just shrug it off when they ask if you're sleeping with your team."
"Stories?" Landry asked.
"That one got ripped up," Tony said. "Xander had managed to divert our attention to another one, General."
"Do I want to know?" Landry asked Sheppard.
"No, because I don't want to know. Unless you want to hear about some other-dimension natives who think I should be doing McKay?"
"No," Jack said quickly, shaking his head. "No thank you. Really." He held up a hand when John opened his mouth. "Really. I don't want to know."
"Probably a good idea," Tony agreed. He swatted Xander. "It's good that you two are close enough friends to know when he's going to say something that's going to warp our brains."
Sam smiled. "He said I'm one of his closest friends now and he sends Daniel questions he can't ask you guys." Xander was blushing a bit so she slugged him on the arm. "It's all right. We like you for the goofy, blurting out guy you are, Xander."
"I don't usually blurt things out."
"Yeah, you do," Buffy assured him. "You gave us mind wrenching thoughts now and then." She saw the look from Sam. "He did!"
"It helped you forget about the problems for a while and get back to human thoughts instead of slayer thoughts," Xander told her.
"If you say so." She stuffed her mouth. Tony patted Xander's back. John was giving her a dirty look too. Apparently she had overstepped some friendish boundary. "You guys have no idea what Xander was like before. When he got in the way, when he was there, all that. You guys didn't see him on a daily run-in."
"No, but we know how much his past affected his present," John told her.
"Were you even in Sunnydale?"
"Yeah, I did come in when I could get away from a war." She shrank back. "So let's not rag on Xander today, okay?" He smiled at her. "Friends are good. We like that he has friends, old and new."
Xander looked at him. "So if I go make friends at the local bar....."
"You play kitten poker and you'd have to nurse a whole lot of kittens with Muffin."
"Good point. I guess." He grinned. "Maybe."
"I don't mind you making friends with the local peaceful demons. I mind you playing poker with the others," Tony said. "Including the flesh eaters. They're kind of creepy and keep staring at my butt, Xander."
"Fine." He took a kiss, getting a smirk back. "I'd kiss you but your CO would mind," he told John.
"I don't care," O'Neill told him. "Hank?"
"I don't care. Too long on this job and you realize those stupid prejudices are why the aliens might win." John got a soft, quick kiss. Both generals smirked at that. "Nice one, kid. Remember, you can't sneak him onto Atlantis, Sheppard."
"With your luck, you'd have an emergency that night and he'd get caught," Jack agreed.
"I can't sneak him on anyway, generals. He doesn't have the security clearance."
"Yes he does," O'Neill said. Xander gave him an innocent look. "We have *no* idea why he comes up with a very high security clearance but he does."
Xander shrugged. "I don't know."
"Has anyone asked Miss Rosenburg since she's a hacker?" John suggested.
"Yes," Gibbs said. "McGee looked. It wasn't a hacker. Someone in the system raised him up without filling out any forms, but it was done the right way from inside DC."
"Hmm." Xander considered it. "Blakin Rogers. He's a half-demon I bought some things off of in LA."
Gibbs stared at him. "He's CIA, kid. Newly promoted to a section."
"Yeah, and the last time I bought something off him he asked me what the hell was going on in Sunnydale this time. That was during Glory," he told Buffy.
She gave him a confused look. "Like an arms dealer?"
"Well, he had some minor things so technically probably but I also bought your repeating crossbow and your last birthday present off him."
"Oh, okay. Interesting." She tipped her head to the side. "How did you meet him?"
"Kitten poker." She moaned, leaning forward to cover her face with her hands. "Hair in your food." He grinned at the stunned looking older men. "What?"
John patted him on the back. "It's all right. We know you are the master of the improbable, Xander."
"Yeah, I think that would be a good title for him. I'll check with him when I get back to DC tomorrow." Gibbs looked at the generals.
"We're just happy he turned over all the arms he found in Sunnydale," Landry told him. He noticed Sheppard's eye twitch toward his husband. "I would hope he did anyway?"
"I got into his very small supply closet. Nothing big was in there, sir. Enough in case he had to jump into an apocalypse but nothing that big."
"Bigger than a P-90?" Jack asked, glaring at the boy.
"No comment and I got it off Blakin a few months back."
"I'll be sure to ask him," Gibbs said. "DiNozzo can clean that out."
"No, he won't be, boss," Tony told him. "There's no way. I want Xander to have enough in case he needs to handle something too big because things still come for him."
"Not that many," Xander said weakly. "They think I'm incapable of protecting myself thanks to certain rantings."
Buffy looked at him. "I never said you couldn't protect yourself!"
He stared at her. "I'll let you believe that." He walked off shaking his head. "Sam, are you and Dean coming to visit soon? If so I need to wash your sheets this week."
"Don't know, dude," Dean called back from the library. "You sure whatever they gave you won't want to make you nap on Sammy again?"
"Not really. He's too skinny. Not enough muscles in the soft sleeping spots." He stopped at the front door, staring at the two priests and the man in the cloak. "Huh. Welcome back. We heard they were going to do that instead of making your son bear a chosen warrior."
"Better me than my son ever going through being a father," he said quietly.
"Mother, John. They wanted Sam to bear a child from between us. That's how they interpreted the prophecy."
John stared at him. "You stationed here?"
"By San Fran making weapons."
"Burnout." He looked at him. "I never got a chance to really thank you for saving me that time."
"What if they need you, kid?"
"Then they'll call. They know they can do that."
John nodded. "Then why are you here?"
"They just rescued us from the demons who wanted us to make the chosen warrior."
"Oh." He looked around then back at him. "My boys?"
"Dean's in the library." He pointed. "I was just teasing him. Dean, visitor!" He walked off, shaking his head. This day was just getting stranger and stranger, even on his scale. He grabbed something from the fridge, opening it up and taking a sip then handing it to John, who drank a good gulp then handed it to Cam since he looked like the beer was needed.
"Your mouth been anywhere strange?"
"Not in months."
"Thanks, kid." Cam drained the beer with a few gulps. "Permission to finish getting shitfaced, generals?"
Sam looked at the denier, Jack. "We could use it, sir."
"Denied unless your commanding officers get to go if they want," he said with a smirk. "Before I think teenage girls are worse than any enemy ever." He stood up.
"Hey, no moan, that's good," Daniel teased. They walked out together, the trio behind them. Gibbs came behind them.
"We're not that bad," Buffy complained, looking at the other general. "Are we?"
"Depends on the girl," Landry said with a small smile. She nodded, leaving them. He got something more to eat.
"Yeah, Dad, they wanted to breed Xander and Sammy so Sammy could carry a kid," Dean said as he walked in. "You know, if you had stayed around, Xander would've asked you to train him."
"Then he wouldn't have left."
"Yeah, he would have. He lost the rest of what he had," Sam told him simply. "The only thing holding him here was duty and he could have his duty somewhere else and help more. He's still hunting. Hey, Muffin, did they forget you?" he asked, squatting down to pet the dog. "You can come cuddle with us for a little while. Xander will be back soon." He smirked at his father. "He's still hunting in his area. He's now also making weapons, which meant that you got freed in time to be called back for this."
"I saw him there."
"Yeah, because he demanded," Dean told him. "Even knowing that he'd have a vision that could rip his brain apart." John stepped back at the ice cold tone. "Xander does what he can. He's kept a lot of problems out there down. When they wanted someone to clean out Sunnydale, they asked him."
"That was part of his duty, the same as watching over the girls were."
"It's better he's where he is," Buffy said as she walked past them. "That way we don't have to worry about him. Because he's better and more useful out there. Plus his husbands keep him from dating anyone too evil. It got tiring having to kill his dates." She got her snack and left again. "Nice to have you guys back. Are you staying for long? If so, let me warn the girls to carry drool buckets."
"Probably not," Dean said. She pouted. "Sorry but plenty of evil bitches to hunt out there."
"Faith has them in Mexico." She smirked. "She said to tell you that."
"I'll call her later." She beamed and walked off. Dean made sure she was well out of hearing, even slayer healing. "You still think Xander should be here? Or us?"
John sighed. "No."
"You totally underestimated him, Dad. Get over it," Sam told him snidely. He walked off. "C'mon, Muffin. Let's got for a jog!" The dog barked and bounced after him. "Good girl!" He ran into Kennedy. "Going for a run until Xander comes back."
"Where is he?"
"Talking with John and Tony. Cam took his team out too."
"Oh." She pouted. "Where did they go?"
She went back upstairs to change. She could find a nice bar and maybe they'd be there. Then she could hit on that pretty blond captain. She had to give in sometime, right? Because Kennedy was pretty, rich, and a slayer.
John looked at his older son. "Sammy still in a girl snit?"
"No, you caused this one all by yourself, Dad." He walked off too.
"They didn't say this was going to be this hard," John muttered.
"If you want my opinion, there seems to be an apology needed somewhere," General Landry told him. "I'd do it before they won't accept it."
"They're my sons."
"That doesn't mean they can't see that you're human." He looked at the other man. "Including that you're biased on some things and that you're hard headed. It took me a long time to apologize for things that I had gotten wrong and nearly screwed up in the process."
"You have kids?"
"I do. Including a daughter who I adore that runs the infirmary on my base now." He smiled. "I screwed up often enough that I worried for years that she'd never be able to find a good man to soothe her when things got too bad. There for a while I thought I had turned her insanely hateful too. Then I realized that was her being a teenager. Your boys have sense, skills, and the ability to use them together. They won't see the same things you will though. They never will. The same as they can't see why you favor your younger one."
"You do. Even the older one sees that. The same as those who've watched them after things like the invasion saw that. The reality of being him is different than the expectations of being you. Maybe you should learn your sons for who they are now instead since you've got a second chance. Before they won't let you."
John shook his head. "My boys would never...."
Dean walked in and looked at him. "Yeah I would. I may love you, Dad, but there's days when I want to kick your ass. Yours, Sammy's, everyone else who ever gave me the shit you two give me. I'm your son too, act like it." He got a beer and walked out. "Sparring practice!" A few girls squealed and came to try to beat him. It was one of the best things about being here. Doing this, he felt like a real big brother, not a stepfather to Sammy who was never good enough. Sammy said he felt the same way so it was good for them. And the girls because half of them needed the work.
John stared after his son. Then he looked at the General. "What was that? Are those girls warping him?"
"No, that was him standing up for himself. Not for his brother, not for anyone but him, John. It's about time too. You have two great sons most men would kill to claim as their own. You treat one like he's deficient and the other you treat like your deficient clone. Be a father for a bit instead of a hunter." He got up. "If it helps, talk to the priests. They might be able to help you figure it out if you don't know." He went out to the garden.
John looked at the priests who had been listening. "What?" he demanded.
"Nothing. Remember, you'll be one of those helping protect the slayers when the Powers That Were and That Be start to fight." He walked off.
"How am I supposed to do that?" he called after him.
"Be a parent, it helps," one of the girls yelled. "Because if mine nags me once more I'm going to kill her like she's a vampire!"
John sighed, going to see what was wrong with her. He didn't understand girls! Why couldn't Ellen do this job! "What happened?"
"My mother's a fucking bitch!" she shouted, throwing the phone at him. "Why can't you find a decent man up there. I've been waiting for you to give me grandchildren so I can make up for the mistakes I made with you. What, are you turning lesbian?" she mocked in a high pitched voice.
"I don't think sex is going to uncomplicate hunting any time in your future," John told her. "As for being a lesbian, who would care if you did?"
She stared at him. "I am not!" she shouted.
"Not saying you are," he said, backing away from that dangerous topic. "Just saying that you should shoot back at that one. You have more important things to worry about than finding some man to marry."
She pouted. "I wouldn't mind if they weren't all scared of us and shit. One night stands are cheezy and not my thing. I'd prefer to have a boyfriend but they're all scared off by me being super strong."
"So take a bit and find some friends," he suggested.
"I have friends!"
"Then have them find you a man. They have to know what you're like and what you like."
"They tried with the last one but he got scared when he saw me break open a padlock," she pouted.
"Life's not easy for hunters or slayers," he told her. "We don't get the fantasy lives that others do. Feel lucky you get to stay in an area and hunt here instead of always fading off into the night. Then you could pick up waitresses like Dean does."
She slumped into a couch. "I'd like a boyfriend." She crossed her arms and pouted. "I'd really like a good boyfriend. One who wanted to do things and go places and all that stuff."
Buffy walked in and stared at her. "Bad date? No date?"
"Bitchy whore of a mother who wants me to bear young for her to screw up." She looked up at her. "And I can't find a date. Why can't someone like Connor like me?"
"Because there's a few other girls who'd like the same thing and sharing that way is trashy?" Buffy offered. "Go out with that nice guy in the coffee shop."
"I tried that. He nearly fled when I broke a lock to help him." She pouted again.
"Hmm. I tell you what. We'll go trolling at the club. Maybe we'll find some hotties. We'll even go to the college clubs. That way you get up and coming future hotties."
"Going for the geekier boys would get her someone who'd be more concerned with her personality than her looks," John told her. "Shy, quiet, would appreciate you for being strong."
"Those sort can turn into fanboys who then get possessive," Buffy told him. "We've had that problem already once in the house." She looked at the girl again. "Go get dressed. Stop Kennedy from primping too. She can join us so she quits moping about Willow." She got up and fled up the stairs. She looked at John. "The slayers are normal girls."
"I have no idea what to do with girls."
"Then why bring you back?" she asked.
"Because I'm an overprotective father."
"Hmm. Well, that's nice but sometimes we need a parent who'll give advice. My mom did plenty of times before she died. We need that touch of normal while still allowing us to be slayers. Because we all know that one of the fastest ways to get to us is to move personally. Watcher raised girls don't have any idea what to do with a boy once they knock him down. None of them were allowed to date, to talk to boys, nothing."
"I can see why. There's been times I pushed that point but never that hard."
"Good! So consider us your second chance. Then go make Dean quit pouting by beating up on my minis." She walked off again, going to tart up for a night in the club. Maybe they'd all find a nice boy tonight. And Kennedy a nice girl.
John thought all the way to where he could hear fighting noises. Dean was holding his own against three of the slayers and one girl who clearly wasn't. He moved to get her down, making her turn and foot sweep him, which he allowed. She stared down at him. "Those of us who work with the slayers need to be able to handle ourselves just as much as they do. Beyond that, how often do we get a chance to beat up on Dean?" She dove back in, while the other girls had him distracted and pinched his butt, making him yelp and her crow. "Ha!"
"I'm too old for you and you're too wild for me," he said, dragging her around to knock down. She giggled and got back up, enjoying the sparring. He knocked her down a few minutes later, smirking at her growl. "Playing with the big dogs means that you need to do more than growl," he panted. One of the slayers blindsided him and they went down but he got back up and managed to keep from being pinched, tickled, or beaten, but not bitten. That witch bit him on the leg, making him yelp and swat at her.
"So am I bigger dog now?" she teased.
"A big yappy one." The others giggled and hugged them both then left him and his dad alone. The one that had bit him smirked back at him. "You have coven practice, young lady."
"Yay me. They never do anything fun. They won't even let us younger ones summon an incubus to taunt." She left.
"She's a witch?"
"Yup. Fairly powerful. They found her because her mom had summoned an incubus to show her how it was done and her mom lost control of it. A few of the slayers got it when it came after the girl to drain her." He stretched to cool down, looking over at his silent father. "Why?"
"They have to learn too?"
"Yes, Dad. They all have to learn how to defend themselves. Things come after slayer support squads just as much as they come after slayer families and slayers. If not more often because most demons think they'll be helpless."
"Which is why so many things come for Xander," Sam said from the doorway with Muffin.
"I think some demonic whore or something spread around that he's good, that's why they come for him," Dean said dryly.
"They came for him before his roadtrip," Sam reminded him. "Bug lady. Ampata."
"Yeah but he was pure then." Dean shrugged. "Have a good run with the dog?"
"She was excellent for me. Passed up doing more than barking at a poodle on the way. Nuzzled a terrier that wanted to pee on the same tree she did."
"Is that Douglas' dog?" John asked.
"Yeah. Muffin was given to Xander when he started to hunt out there. Back when he was trying to figure things out. She's done him a lot of good and still hunts a lot with him. His boys might be pissed if they knew how connected he still was to the hunting community."
"I heard he took out something major the other day," Dean admitted. "Connor and Gunn called complaining about it before you got taken."
"Gunn's funny about Xander sometimes." He petted the dog, who barked and went to find a comfy sleeping spot. She found that other nice general so she curled up next to him. He didn't seem to mind.
"I thought he wanted out of the business," John said.
"No, he needed to figure out who he was outside of Buffy's knight," Sam told him. "That's all he had been since he was sixteen and he needed the time to figure out who the real Xander was and what he wanted after going to Africa and actually being appreciated by the girls there."
"None of them tried to magic him, discount him, nothing like that," Dean agreed. "He was doing what I did at fourteen and what Sammy did at sixteen, Dad. He never got to do it when it was time. We all thought it was a damn good idea and that Muffin made him do more than just think. She's protected him from things that Anya had in her stuff, from things that have come for him and his husbands, in Sunnydale during the clean out, all that. Plus when she's with John she's protected him and his team."
"I like that about the dog but if he wants to leave..."
"Dad, he didn't want to leave. He needed to find a reason to go on more than they took his friend," Sam told him. "The same as at some point in time you had to realize you were hunting for more reasons than they took out Mom." He walked off again. "Dean, beer?"
"Please." He looked at his father. "He's right. We all came to that spot. Some of us got there when we were younger to figure out why we were going to hunt. Some of us had to look at it after we started and realized that it had sucked up every little bit of our lives and we didn't know who we were anymore," he said quietly. "Xander had to do that because he had lost himself somewhere in the battles and fighting with the girls over being seen as normal." He took his beer from Sam when he came in. "Xander said he would've asked you to train him if you had stuck around after helping him. Guess he knows now that would've been a disappointment too." He left.
"No one trained him?" he demanded of his other son.
"He's normal," Sam said, mimicking Willow. "You can't do that, you're a normal person, not a slayer." He sipped his own beer. "I think he said that they taught him the pointy end goes in the heart and to avoid being grabbed. He would've asked you if you had been there but you faded too soon and it was probably good for him since now he knows that you can't stand people who leave the physical hunting to do a job that they're great at, which is just as important. He's the one who filed that other colt down to fit the lock so you could get out of hell, Dad. Great job putting him down earlier." He walked off. "Shouldn't be surprised," he muttered. "Nothing ever changes for him."
John considered it. He had been unfair to that kid. He'd apologize in the morning when he got up. Then he'd work on the girls so they weren't so vulnerable to outside forces. Or dating bad boys and girls.
John landed on Atlantis about dawn on the east coast, holding his head. A thump behind him heralded a soft, furry, helping thing at his thigh. "Muffin?" he asked, looking down at her. "What're you doing here?"
"Note on her collar, sir," one of the Marines said. "Need helped to your bunk?"
"No, I'm good. I'm not drunk."
"Anymore," he agreed with a smile. "C'mon, Muffin." He walked down the hallway, taking her to his room. The note was a bit blurry at the moment but he could read it tomorrow. He fell onto his bed, still clothed, and patted it a few times before falling asleep. Muffin hopped up next to him, curling up against his side. This daddy didn't move all that often so she could cuddle him. Not like her daddy who wiggled all night.
Someone pounded on the door the next morning, making Muffin get up to bark back at them. They were mean! Her daddy was still sleeping!
"Shit, he brought the dog," a male voice complained.
"Fucking go away!" John bellowed. "I have an hour!"
"If you want food, you need to get up now, Sheppard. Woolsey wants you in twenty."
"Crap." He got up with a moan, letting the dog out to stare at his second-in-command. "Took us over ten months on that plane. Sorry."
"Why do you have the dog?"
"I don't know. Couldn't read the note from Landry." He wandered to the bathroom to take a cold shower. That might help since Xander was having drunken, dirty thoughts about him. Still. He sent back a whimper and Xander switched to having dirty thoughts about cupcakes and twinkies who squirted out on him in various money shots. Yeah, that was nice. He blocked him out most of the way, hopping into the cold shower. His shock woke Xander up but Xander grumbled and rolled over to go back to his dirty Hostess dreams. John came out, looking around his room. "Where's the birthday present?" He put on a clean set of BDU's and headed out, Muffin in the mess getting spoiled by Ronon and Teyla when he walked in to get coffee. "Muffin?" She followed him and his coffee, barking at the guards they passed. One stopped to pet her and she wagged her tail and licked him then moved on. John knocked on Woolsey's door. "Where's his birthday present?"
"In the armory, where it belongs."
"It's not ours."
"I'll have it moved back tonight. I didn't want anyone to break in and use it." He looked him over. "Hangover?"
"Yup. Just got back. Was ten months there."
"Ten months?" John nodded. He sighed. "Time dilation?"
"Apparently. The demons wanted Xander and Sam Winchester to breed a future warrior to protect them and all other peaceful species. A prophecy thing." He took another drink of his coffee. "I talked to O'Neill and Landry yesterday."
"I got an email from them both last night." He looked at him. "You're now splitting your job and also preparing the soldiers here for the next apocalypse."
John sipped his coffee. "It won't be here."
"No, it won't be. The president decided to cross-train all our people to that area as well in case we end up in another situation where military backup is needed."
"Okay and we can't rotate guys to Cleveland?"
"I'll get the teaching materials but I'm still learning myself, Woolsey."
"You'll figure it out with your husbands."
"Tony's team is being moved as our NCIS liaison for both bases. Gibbs got told last night."
"They are. Him, McGee, David, Gibbs, Ducky, and Abby. They're going to decide if they're going to be here in the city or in Colorado Springs."
"That may be helpful. Anything about them I should know?"
"Ziva David is the Mossad liaison put in by Sheppard."
"Huh." He nodded and made a note of that. "Good to know." He smirked. "When can you start training them?"
"Better self defense and some blade work? Tomorrow. We need more long machetes or something similar. Self defense with Ronon. I'll get demonology books from Xander and the council."
"Thank you. I need them to be as up to date as possible by the end of the month."
"That'll be about what I know by heart," John admitted. "The rest we'll be teaching from the books or we might get a slayer in."
"I don't care how you do it. There's too many of them in the city, they seem to see us as some Mecca to visit and possibly try to take over for status. Fix it!"
"Xander and I can liaison with the local peaceful community. That can keep down some of it." He walked off to get more coffee, sending at Xander on his walk. He nearly tripped over Muffin. "Sorry, poochie. I was talking to your other daddy." He petted her. "Go find Teyla and she'll play." She barked and ran off to find her littermate with the good petting nails. "Good girl," he called after her. He got some coffee from the local pot and went to his office, finding Lorne in there. "Hey."
Evan looked up at him. "Morning," he said dryly. Rodney brought back the dog and presented her then walked off. He smirked. "He's pissy today."
"Does that mean someone sent you that book of smut Xander found among the demons?" John called after him.
"Why on earth would they?" Rodney demanded, huffing back.
"Because someone in another dimension saw us on an assignment and decided you were the wife, McKay." Rodney blushed bright red. "I'm trying to make sure it doesn't spread but fair warning."
Rodney growled, glaring at him. "That's a mean trick." A book appeared on the desk. He looked up. "How did that get here?"
"Council witch." He looked at it, handing it over. The note on the front said it all: keep your filthy minds out of the coven's minds. "We tore up the one with Cam and Daniel."
Rodney shuddered. "That's disgusting!" He snatched the book and stomped off. He wanted to find these people and berate them. He slapped it down onto his desk and went into the lab to work.
Radek came in and found a book he didn't recognize, picking it up to see if it was work by flipping through it. He had to stop at a drawing, tipping his head to the side. "Are we proving this is impossible for humans to accomplish?" he called.
"Yes! We are!" He came in to snatch it away and put it into his desk. "Some hussies among the demons decided that was their fantasy and wrote it down!"
"Is good Sheppard knows you're an ass so he won't try to cuckold his husband."
Rodney glared. "I'm not like that!"
"Then perhaps you should date. Would solve that growl." Rodney glared and stomped off screaming in rage. Radek snickered. "Is fun to work him into that state sometimes. When it's not focused on me." He went to the lab but Rodney went out onto a deck to scream and rant to the open air.
Evan Lorne walked in a moment later. "Why is McKay screaming?"
"I suggested he date to ease the growl that book caused."
"Practical of you, Radek." He walked outside during the panting to catch his breath. "McKay, you keep screaming like that and I'm going to order you sedated for a week. I don't care what some strange demon thinks you're doing with whoever. Some people were on night shift and trying to sleep." He stared at him.
"Did you hear...."
"Yup. Makes my head hurt to think that someone might like you two together. At least it's not me." He smirked. "Because you'd drive me fucking nuts. Now, think you can be calmer? Go work it out in the gym or something?"
"I'm not a physical man," he sneered.
"I don't care what you do as long as you keep it down!" he said firmly.
John leaned out. "It wasn't just you they got, McKay. Think how I feel." McKay glared at him. "Not like you're a long haired brunette with big tits."
"Neither is your husband."
"Who thought it was hilarious that they thought that way. Diversity of thought he called it." He stared at him. "I have to hit the local demon council if you wanted to see if you could find the people who wrote that so you can yell at them."
"No, I might yell at all of them and then they'd attack."
"Okay, your loss. Bring you back anything?"
"No. I doubt they have anything I'd like."
"If you're sure." He went back inside, taking the book back from Radek. "Didn't think you were like that, Radek."
"Am not but is fascinating how some people's minds go."
"It is but the other one was cuter." He smirked. "We got that one destroyed though." He went to find a shredder, sending it through there. Before someone picked it up and thought it was reality. McKay stomped in. "Help me shred this." Rodney took it to do that. "You feel better?"
"Want me to find you some nice girl to date?"
"Hell no! I don't need you fixing me up."
"Fine. I won't." He patted him on the back. "I'll keep Xander from being so bad to your mind."
"Please do," he sniffed. "I'm not like that."
"I know. I'd never sleep with you anyway, McKay. Or Ronon."
"Ronon?" he squeaked.
"Yup. Fun present for a weekend."
"You read it?" he demanded.
"We were there for ten months, McKay. Xander read those to put himself to sleep since we wouldn't do more than cuddle."
"That's cruel. You're in the same area for ten months and you don't sleep with your husband? No wonder he was frustrated enough to need this trash," Rodney complained.
"It was his thing since there was no privacy."
"Uh-huh. Are you sure?"
"He said so. He said he didn't want to hear if Dean and/or Sam had more dirty thoughts back."
Rodney snorted. "Then you'd better be wining, dining, and screwing him now that you're back, Sheppard." He walked off. His phone rang. "McKay." He listened to Xander tell him that yes, it would've been nice, but that seemed too much like offering when you're trapped together that way, especially with as horny as Dean could get sometimes, and that now John would either be sweet and screw him against the fridge or over the table again on Sunday morning, like usual. Then he asked if he wanted the rest of the smut collection. "No, I think I can do without it." He heard the contents and moaned. "I really don't need that. Can't you destroy it? Please?" He groaned. "Fine, I will. Send it in after you go visit this council." He hung up and walked off shaking his head because someone had written multiple stories about him and Radek together. Multiple stories. He was going to die of embarrassment if those got out.
John bowed to the head demon. "Good afternoon."
The demon without eyes sniffed him. "You stink of our forbidden, holy city," he purred.
"I am Colonel John Sheppard, yes."
"Hmm, very nice," he sighed. "Why do you come before us?"
"We've had some ... interference from demons that may be peaceful but who want to get onto the city. At this time we cannot allow anyone entry. We're supposed to be hidden."
The head demon nodded. "I can see why that is a problem. You let humans on?"
"Limited only to family in certain areas. Otherwise there's no one allowed in the city but us."
"I can understand that problem when so many rejoice at having the holy city back."
"Yes, but for right now it has to stay hidden. Humans hearing of it would get very upset and we'd be overrun and having to defend it."
"I will talk to the clans, make sure they do not talk of it and that the attempted pilgrimages stop."
"Thank you," John said, bowing to him. "We welcome working with the peaceful community to protect us all. We're learning how to deal with things in case an apocalypse happens locally starting this week."
"Your mate will be helping?" one of the demons in the corners asked.
"Getting us information. He's not allowed on Atlantis either."
The demon nodded. "There are many peaceful ones."
"Most of us have nothing against your peaceful species. I also know that half of the peaceful ones cannot defend themselves if something happens. In that situation we would be helping."
"It is very kind of you," the head demon agreed. "We will let you know what species are in town so you can warn your people that they are peaceful."
"Thank you, that was more than I could hope for." He bowed again.
The demon smiled. "How is your stepson?"
"We got around that prophecy in a different way. It was pointed out it had already been invalidated. We had a conference with some other powers and they told us a few things that are letting us get around it. Including calling back a warrior to soften any blows to the slayers from the higher ups fighting."
"That is unusual. Did your mate do that?"
"He's one who found out it was invalidated without him getting involved."
"Interesting. Thank you for warning us. Who did they return?"
"Some priests who help with supernatural things brought back the eldest Winchester hunter. He's with the slayers right now trying to figure out how to keep girls calm."
"I'm sure that will confuse him for ages untold," one of the other demons in the room laughed. "He could barely handle two sons."
John shrugged. "I'm staying out of their family business. As long as it doesn't hurt mine. Then we'd have a war." They all smiled at that. "Remember, I do have Xander on my side." A few moaned and he smiled. "Thank you for your help and indulgence. Let one of us know if there are big problems in town."
"We commonly send an informant up to your mate's play area to let him know," the head demon assured him. "He hunts very well on his own. We were surprised considering his reputation."
John stared at him. He hadn't known Xander was really hunting again. "He's always been more than the girls thought. If only because they were teenage girls and never quite saw him as he was, only how they wanted him to be."
"Good point. Thank you." John nodded and left. "He is very polite," he noted.
"But clearly his mate is not taking care of matters."
"It is often thus when a political marriage is forced," the head demon pointed out. "Thankfully they are faithful to each other." They all nodded that was good. "Has the knight come into the city?"
"Yes, sir. He waited outside in case he made us nervous."
"That is nice of him. I appreciate that boy in many ways. He does make our city safer for us." They all smiled and got happy with the idea that the humans had.
John walked off the puddle jumper, handing Ronon a box of books. "Xander sent that for McKay." Ronon nodded. "We've got to go over what you're teaching the marines in how to defend themselves, big guy." He walked off beside him, carrying a shopping bag. They walked into the lab. "McKay, for some reason Xander sent you those and this." He handed over the bag. "I don't know what's in it." He smirked. "Demonology is being taught starting tomorrow, including to scientists in case it becomes necessary."
"What could we learn from them?" Rodney asked.
"You mean like how it was ten months where we were and not here? Or how to travel between realms? Or how to move realms?" Rodney gaped. He nodded. "All that we experienced this time." He walked off happier. He had no idea what was in the bag. He wasn't sure he wanted to know.
Ronon handed over the box. "I don't know, he said his mate said those were yours." He walked off, finding a pitiful looking dog. "Why didn't he bring you with him?" He petted her, making her happy. "We will find your father." He walked off with the dog to find Sheppard.
Rodney looked inside the bag. "Why did he give me this?" he demanded, finding the note in there. He read it and snorted. "I do not need that sort of..of device." He dug through the rest. More devices that he didn't want to think about and then a few things that made him inordinately pleased. Seven huge candy bars. The big, joke size. Those he could use. He pulled them out and handed the rest to Radek. "You can have those."
"I would have no idea what to do with them," he said, staring inside the bag.
"Use them like you would the original purpose, a woman."
"None of those that I enjoy would be that passive. Or inarticulate."
"Then give them to another scientist. I'm sure some of them could use it. Use it to get us favors."
"I could get more with those." He tried to take a candy bar.
"Those are mine," he said, slapping his hand. "Earned for worrying about Sheppard and us being attacked again."
"Fine. Mean." He walked off with the bag, handing it to their base psychologist. "Here, was intended to reduce Rodney's stress so he is not so loud in chastising those who do things he doesn't want them to do. He said he has no use, I have no idea of the use since will not chatter at me." He walked off again. He'd have to steal one of those candy bars later. He looked at the box of books, picking up the top one to flip through. He came to a picture that made him blink. "Your past is your own," he said firmly, shutting the book and put it back into the box. "I do not need to see."
"That's not my past!" Rodney shouted, glaring at him. "That's some demented individual's idea of a fantasy. Not that I know why."
"You are not the fantasy of anyone," Radek agreed. "Not handsome, not muscled, tiny dicked. No woman would fantasize about that."
"They're written by demons in another dimension and I'll have you know I've never been unable to please anyone I've slept with. Not one single one has had complaints."
"Is that because you are," he said a word in Czech.
"No, I'm not a virgin!" he hissed, glaring harder at him. "I've had many fine women and *I* didn't have to pay for them."
"Men should pay for the privilege of a woman's company one way or another. Unless you are very cheap date."
Rodney spluttered. "I am not!"
Sheppard leaned in. "What did the naughty thing do now?" He ducked a thrown test tube. "I didn't look in the bag!"
"You should have! It was ...was embarrassing!"
"Hey, I got all those stories he found of you so you wouldn't angst. Calm down."
"Calm down!" he shouted. "Why should I? Do you know what he sent me?"
"All he told me was a single geeky guy's kit. I figured it might have a porno tape."
"It had a blow up doll!" he hissed loudly. "Plus surrogates!"
"At least he was trying to make you feel better. He wasn't trying to embarrass you."
"How do you know?" Radek asked.
"I asked him just now. He said he was trying to give you a way to calm down, whatever your tastes were, so you could quit being so cranky and Buffy-like when she hasn't had a date in a while."
"He compared me to a girl?" he said, glaring at his friend.
"No, he compared you to a huffy, cranky girl who hasn't gotten laid in a while," he admitted. "He wanted to make you happier so you wouldn't be like her."
"How could he think I was!" he demanded.
"Because you're starting to act like her. You even discounted him like she does. He was trying to solve that for you. So don't bitch at me." He walked off. "Muffin?" he called. She came trotting up to him. "Why didn't you want to get into the puddle jumper?" She barked and wagged her tail. "Sure, we'll go play with the ball in my office." He took her that way, going to figure out what to teach to stubborn Marines who might just want to blow any demons away instead of respecting the more peaceful ones. All of the people on Atlantis were a bit too battle hardened at times. Muffin whined so he threw the ball again. She bounded out to get it and came back. She whimpered again. "If you had gotten on the puddle jumper, you could be with daddy right now." He threw the ball again.
Woolsey stormed down to the lab. "McKay, take the dog home to her father. Now."
"If I see him right now I'll swat him at the very least. He said I was acting like a huffy girl."
"I don't care!" Woolsey snapped. He heard a growl and looked around. "Sheppard, is that the dog?"
"Is what the dog? She's with me."
Woolsey heard the growl again. "Get down here, Sheppard. To the labs. Now!" He hung up and backed against a wall.
Rodney and Radek were staring at him oddly. "Perhaps he needs those?" Radek suggested.
"It may be. He never takes any time off." John came jogging in and paused, looking around. Then he muttered something and went to find a knife. He came back and killed the little demon, making it appear. "Huh," Radek said.
John smiled. "They feed on emotions. They must love McKay for his outbursts." He walked the corpse off, letting the infirmary have it.
"I'm not like him," Woolsey yelled after him.
"Of course you're not," John agreed with a backward wave at him.
Radek snorted. "Two yellers, that is all this city needs. Will be shaken apart by sonic vibrations from yelling." Woolsey huffed off. Radek petted the dog. "I do not know how boy does without you. You are very comforting."
John came back. "He's pouting because she wouldn't get into the puddle jumper today. C'mon, Muffin. We'll go find Teyla. You haven't gotten to pet her yet." He walked off and the dog barked at Radek before following.
"She is sweet dog."
"She's a very sweet dog," Rodney said. "There was a demon in here and we didn't notice?" Radek nodded. "It must have screwed something up."
Radek sighed, swearing at him in Czech again. "I will check results for anomalies if you give over candy bar." Rodney glared at him. "Only one. Will take one you don't like even."
"Fine," Rodney complained, handing him one of them. "There, go make sure it didn't interfere with anything."
"Hmm, and sign you up on dating sites so you find a woman who will put up with you," he muttered as he walked off.
"You'd better not!"
"Would make everyone happy," he said with a smile. "Either that or someone must call your sister. Maybe she knows of woman who will put up with you." He smirked back but Rodney took the results clipboard and the candy bar back, going to do it on his own. He was even mean enough to take the rest of them with him. "I'll get you anyway," he called after him.
"I could be nice and make Sheppard get you some of your own when he takes the dog back." He gave his second-in-command an evil look. "But only if you behave and don't do anything vile like signing me up for a smutty matchup site."
"I was going to find decent one. Not for sluts. They'd never have fun with you." He took his candy bar back and walked off to find something to do.
"Figure out that time dilation ratio he went through to see if he aged any."
"Thank you." He went back to checking the results. "Sheppard," he said, spotting him up the hall. "Zalenka needs sweets if you could handle that. Before his mind goes even farther into the gutter and I end up spammed across every personal site there is."
"He'd have to update what a few of the lesser science corps did," John said. "They thought you'd be happier with a date too. But if I can I will." Rodney pointed at the dog. "I know." He petted her. "She's a good puppy. Want to help me retrieve Xander's birthday present?"
"No. He might not like me touching it."
"I think he'd want it to be in friendly hands instead of everyone else's." He went to the armory. "Boys," he said as he walked in.
"Woolsey said he can't have it back anyway, sir."
John stared at them. "What?"
"Sir, he said it's now Atlantis property."
"No it's not."
"He can't own that by law."
"I'm pretty sure he can get an exemption. Especially since half the government knows he has it. Put it back. Tonight. Before I make Xander come and move it himself." They all shuddered. He smirked. "Because you know his now-dead fiancee gave that to him right?" He walked off. "I'll be doing paperwork with the dog." He went back to the office to handle that. Evan hated paperwork as much as he did so he had let a lot of it slide.
Woolsey leaned in. "You can't have it back. General Landry's orders."
John called him, putting him on speaker. "Xander said either his birthday present is back in my custody or he's going to make someone sorry since apparently Cam Mitchell's new girlfriend is a succuba. He could kill it for him but he's not real inclined right now. Even if you do get Sam to ask him nicely, General."
"Why is this an issue?" the general sighed.
"You had me put it into the armory."
"Because you have three people on your base who'd like to use it against everyone in the city, Woolsey. Have some damn sense. Trust me, if the boy needs it for an apocalypse, he'll want it quickly. Not having to come raid your armory. Because then there's no telling what he'll pull out of his ass."
"You might want to have Sam or Daniel talk to him about the bright, shiny, obviously cobbled together laser someone built him too, sir. You never know where Xander gets anything...outside of that CIA contact that likes him."
"Gibbs talked to him. The guy said he didn't remember Xander until Tony stepped in and mentioned kitten poker," Landry said dryly. "Then he told him he's a good guy, he protects others, and he's not going to bother him for that since it's saving him doing his job in too many places at once. What is in his hunting closet?"
"The closet, not much. The safe.... Has a few iffy things that I'd call an apocalypse closet light. The one under the work room floor I haven't gotten into yet, sir."
"Should we ask?" Landry said dryly.
"I thought about it, I got distracted. He might kiss Carter if she did. Since she's now his new best female friend....."
"That might warp her horribly. Fine, I'll have her ask over the phone or something. Yes, he can have that back, Woolsey. Training for SG personnel in demonology, Sheppard?"
"Awaiting books, starting with advanced hand-to-hand and light blade weapons, sir. Seventy percent can be beheaded and killed that way."
"Some can't be? You'd think taking off the head would kill something."
"Some have their brains in other spots," John told him. "Some you can't find a head on. There's a few that're armored and things. Including a demonic crab. Very tasty but very mean and has a poisoned spike in the claw."
Woolsey moaned. "We saw one of those recently."
"Probably. They're native to the area and very tasty. As long as you remove the poison spike it's very good. If not, pray."
Landry snickered. "I've seen one of those. Our xenobiologists got sent one to see if it was a mutation."
"No, just demonic and harmless. Basically an other-realm-native, sir."
"Good to know. Are there many of those?"
"I can compile a list once I get the books from Cleveland."
"That'd be fine with me. Carter mentioned this thing that acted like a food generator?"
"Oh, yeah, that thing. It's nice. Xander has it though. You have to be nice to it, pet it and ask it nicely, but then it'll keep producing food until you tell it to quit."
"Magical or demonic, son?" Landry asked.
"Not real sure, sir. Never investigated it since it kept us fed while we were there. Oh, all those *novels*, I had Xander turn them over to Rodney McKay earlier. That way no one could find them by accident, get any ideas, or piss him off enough to make him want to create more weapons. I believe he appreciated it but Xander also gave him some sort of single geek's kit and he was ranting and complaining about that instead."
"I probably don't want to know what it was, right?" Landry asked.
"Some of it was candy."
"The rest I'll leave to a blanked out imagination. Thank you for the warning, Sheppard. They're deciding today which area they want to live in."
"That's fine. Tony will let us know, sir."
"Fine." He hung up and cackled for a good, long time. He enjoyed that boy and his husbands sometimes. His secretary gave him a worried look. "Tell Carter to ask Harris what he has in his apocalypse vault for me."
"Yes, General." She closed the door behind her, letting him go back to cackling. It must have been Atlantis. They were always making him laugh.
Xander frowned, going to see why his computer was beeping. "Sam!" he said, seeing her on his monitor. "Problems?"
"Few things. That food thing? What is it?"
"Beyond that? Magical, demonic? Any idea?"
"Beyond created by a long lost race of very civilized demons? Not really. Why the interest?"
"We were thinking if it was easily made we might see if one can be put on an outgoing ship."
"Oh! That makes sense," he agreed with a grin. "I have no idea but as long as you don't break it you can take readings from it."
"I might do that." She smiled. "Second thing, your birthday present did get handed back to John."
"I heard that," he said smugly. "And that you're supposed to nag me about my apocalypse closet."
"Yes I am," she agreed with a smirk. "How big is it?"
"I moved the one I had in Sunnydale? It was already mine so I shipped it with my other stuff. I'm not sure if the radiation warped the shrinking spells or not though. I'll have to check that out."
She coughed, looking at him. "Shrinking spells?"
"Yeah. So they're not too big." He beamed.
"Uh-huh." She considered it. "I thought that was a crypt on your keychain, Xander."
"Welllllllll, no," he admitted. Cam rolled his chair back to stare at him. "Did you want me to tell her how to run off your succubus girlfriend?"
"Please. Or how to kill it. Either's good. How do I prevent it from coming back?"
"I'll send her that in an email tonight. For tonight, just say no. Have a headache. That's the only thing that worked on Anya. Even a concussion didn't stop her. But she wasn't really a succuba, though she would've been a great one. She was really needy."
Daniel leaned into view. "Nice diversion technique, Xander. What weapons are we talking about?"
"Cam's since he's dating a succuba."
"Uh-huh," Sam said. "Xander, how about you send me a shrunken thing so I can sample the spell? That way we know if we can get a witch on project and see if it'll be useful for shipments of things we don't want to admit. Think about it for special ops."
Xander considered it. "That costume's original owner was one of them." She moaned. "I had no idea Sierra Leon was that pretty." He sighed. "Fine. You can have one or two."
"How many do you have?"
He blew a kiss and shut down the connection. He sent back to John that he wanted his dog back please, then went to pull one or two up for her. Well, maybe three. One had gotten soaked through so it was probably unworking. He could sacrifice that. The other two had discolored so he was fairly certain that they had been broken somehow. And he sent one that he knew would work because he had tested it. He beamed, packing them into a box with the food giver. That'd make them happier. On top he laid out the photocopied sections he had on succuba. Faith had made sure he had some in case they came for him since he was always so sexually frustrated with husbands who had to visit.
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