Hellish Hosts Helping Out.

Xander bowed to the demon.    "Thank you for seeing me, Great One."

"You are an amusing enigma to many, boy.  That is why I agreed to hear your pitiful request."

He handed over something.  "It's not much but I'm still learning how to craft."

The demon opened the present.  It was a very pretty sacrificial knife.  "Pretty.  Well balanced.... a bit simple."

"As I said, I'm still learning.  I've only taken up crafting in the last year."

"Then it is a good job for that level of skill."  She stared at him.  "A gift was not necessary."

"It was a token of appreciation and I'm told you should always bring a gift."

"It does make you seem more polite."  She stared at him.  "Seer, healer in some cases, hunter.  Why come to me?"

"You know of the current situation that's going to kill everyone?"

"How you managed to scare the old Powers That Be so much that they went into final apocalypse mode?  Yes."

Xander grimaced.  "The chosen didn't like their methods and I'll be damned if I was going to fall into line.  Especially since they had no idea who I was.  They thought was more like Dean Winchester."

"Interesting."  She looked him over.  "I have knowledge of that one and you are not like either one really."

"No.  In addition, they thought I was someone who had died years ago.  One who was turned and I ended up staking."

"That is amusing of them and very like them sometimes."  She stared at him.  "I cannot undo your bad decision."

"I'm not asking you to.  I'm asking for two things.  The knowledge to make a weapon to help during the upcoming apocalypses and for your support in having them move the battle off this plane and world.  If they call the chosen, so be it, but the normal people do not deserve to be destroyed for this.  Even other higher powers have shown some worry over that matter because it will take out everyone's power base."

"Interesting."  She considered it.  "You are right, the fight will end humanity in all it's mess and fury."  She stared at him.  "How far are you willing to go to get this granted?"

Xander shrugged.  "I can only weigh the need against any offer you would make and judge for myself if the price was too high."

"Are you willing to die?"

"In the battles, yes.  I'm not going to leave a bunch of little girls to fight on their own.  Especially not since this is my fault."

"Not fully your fault."

Xander slumped.  "Plenty still blame me.  I blame my own temper.  I nearly pulled my own apocalypse that night."

"A mere ten percent of humanity would've been ended," she assured him.

"For someone who works on the Light, that's unacceptable," he reminded her.

"True."  She stared at him.  "The weapon you already have the knowledge to make."

"I need to know what to make, not just from Colt's journal."

"Ah, that is a problem.  But not the way I was thinking, young one."  He gave her a confused look.   "One who is blessed can again bless other things."

"So someone like Ethan could bless weapons to Janus, but that might get him involved as well."

"Yes, that is the basic way it would be done," she agreed.  He was clearly missing the point.  "You are vowed to one already."

"No I'm not."

"Yes, you are."

"No, I'm vowed to help the slayer line.  I'm vowed in my friendship to Rosenburg.  I'm vowed to my spouses.  I've never taken another serious vow."

"Yet I see it in you.  Why do you have visions?"

"They decided I should," he said dryly.  "From what we know, I had the latent gift that was slightly awakened after Willow nearly killed me by black magic poisoning.  Then the minion of the First Evil finished activating it."

"That is not all to that story," she warned.

"We figured the hellmouth had tainted me heavily because of that gift."

"We think it likes you."

"Clearly since it let me live so long without being able to protect myself and doing stupid things like sleeping outside."  She stared at him.  "It was necessary at that time to protect myself," he said quietly.

"Hmm."  She came down to look at him.  "You read as a scion of Chaos."

"It seems to enjoy me," he admitted.  "But I never swore to it."  He stood still while she walked around him, then powerful fingers grazed his skin.  He didn't let himself flinch.

"You absorb power, young one.  Very easily."

He nodded.  "I've never known why."

"Have you ever said 'I swear' while bleeding?  Even incidentally bleeding?"

"A few times as a child but I took most of them back," he admitted.  "Childish things like 'I swear I'll never try that again'."

"You shared blood with their chosen?"

"Many times.  We were best friends and could count on each other when things went bad.  He bandaged more than a few scrapes of mine, the same as I did his."

"Was one incident a bad one, where you were both injured?"

"Yes," he said, remembering that night.  "One of my father's friends nearly killed us both."  He looked at her.  "I remember us getting away barely and hiding.  We used our hidden stash of bandaids to help each other and got Willow to bring us more."

She nodded.  "What did you tell him?"

He choked up but forced it back down.  "I will do my best to protect you."

"Which you did.  That was not fully him as that vampire."

"Staking him was not my decision.  He was pushed onto my stake."

"He was not your first kill."

"No.  We found an animal, a dog, that had been severely beaten and stabbed a few times.  There was no way it was going to survive and it was in a great deal of pain.  Jesse and I agreed that making it suffer more was cruel and there was no way our parents could help or let us take it to someone.  He got a pillow and we smothered it to put it out of its misery."

"How did you find it?"

"They had thrown it in my backyard because it was the bullies that kept trying to pick on us," he said quietly.  "They taunted us that we'd be next."

"What happened to them?"

"They were in a supposed car crash the next day.  I don't know if it was that or they were outright killed by something.  When I told my parents it was good, they got very upset with me until I told them about the dog.  My father gave me a beer and said it was a man's job to do things like that.  That was about the last time I got approval from him."

"Hmm, something did take them out.  Something protects you."

He shook his head.  "There's no higher being that I swear allegiance to, Great One.  There never was."  She put a hand on his forehead, showing him something.   He stared at her.  "That's not me.  That's Jesse."

She pulled back, giving him an alarmed look.  "You shared much blood with him?"

"That night we both bled on each other.  We bled on each other all the time from scrapes, cuts, and other injuries.  Child things."

She stared at him.  Then showed him something else.  "No, that is him, isn't it."  He nodded.  She stared at him and started a whole new reading.  "That one protected you a few times.  He still hovers because you have not let him go."

"I can't forget him or forgive myself for that."  He lifted his chin slightly.  "I'll regret that long after we're reunited in death."

"Of course you will."  She sighed, staring at him.  "You are either the most lucky person or the most arrogant one ever."

"It's dumb luck," he said dryly, making her smirk at him.  He shrugged slightly.  "I wasn't about to let them do it on their own when I could help.  There's no reason to have only one little girl do it on her own."

"She's got gifts."

"Yes, and I heard that I didn't for *years* on end.  It never mattered then.  Or else I would've walked away and let them die."

"Good point," she admitted.  She laid another hand on his head, pushing aside the ghost that was trying to protect him with a warning at him.  He flinched back.  So did the boy.  "He does try to protect you."

"He probably thinks I'm being dumb."

"Probably.  He might also be correct."  She read him again then sighed.   "The theory of blessing is still yours."  She looked at him.  "Every side has power, even those that aren't in this fight.  Most of the higher beings can only be taken down by one of the Highers or their high priests."

"Which I don't have time to become," he begged.  "I have to go back to fight with the one that's going to destroy Atlantis tonight."

She gave him an odd look.  "It's back?"

He nodded.  "Just this year.  One of my husbands is it's military head."

She frowned and read deeper into his mind, seeing those links.  She eased the one to the ghost since it was wide open.  The ghost raged but oh well.  His mates might be having headaches but she needed to know.  She pulled back to look at him.  "You really are perfectly normal, but very dark."

"Hunting does it to one," he said quietly.  "Is there something I can make or do to help?"

"Two things.  Find faith," she said bluntly.  "Janus would enjoy you."

"I refused his siren's call a few times."

"True, you have, and it was wise of you.  He's mad because of that."  Xander shrugged.  She smirked.  "Fine.  There are others."

Xander felt the husbands eavesdropping so he dropped his shields again as firmly as he could before looking at her, noticing her smirk.  "They're echoing.  There's many gods I can admire for being powerful and doing what they thought was necessary but none of them have ever spoken to me as someone I should personally follow.  It would be wrong and profane of me to do that knowing that I couldn't follow them fully."

"True."  She sat down, looking at him.  "There is one that can help."  She floated a book to him.  He caught it to look at it.  "It is the power behind the name."

"My mate knows of him and his works."  He looked at her.  "Including where he comes from."

"Do you know of him from that?"

"I've gotten flashes of that information but I mostly ignore it since I'm not supposed to know."

"Good.  You're leaking to them again."  Xander sighed and took something out of his pocket, pressing it against his wrist.  He hissed but the drug soon stopped all broadcasting.  "That is not a good plan."

"It'll keep them from overwhelming me with visions."  He put the rest of the vial into his pocket again.  "I know very well they will punish me for daring to stand up for myself against their idiotic plan."

"Was it?"

"Yes.  If I'm turned, who said I'd go after the slayers or chosen?"  She gaped.  He stared back.  "I know very well not to mess with a slayer if I'm turned.  At least not until I'm a lot older and more powerful.  For that matter, I'm not sure I can be turned with the taints and exposures I've had."

"The hyena would not stop them, young one."

"Would the mermaid since they can't be turned?"

She gave him the oddest look.  He seemed to get that a lot from higher powers.  "I heard that thought."  He smiled.  "I did not sense it."  He took off something and then took off a chain around his ankle, then another around his opposite wrist.  It showed some tattooed small marks.  He pulled out his knife to slice into two of them.  She gasped.  "I went to someone to help me hide them from the group before Buffy got more urge to slay me," he said dryly.

She stared at him.  "That is interesting."  She came down to look him over.  "That trip you took changed you."

"The road trip or Africa?"

"Both."  She compared the new reading to the old one.  Before she had ignored the small taints as him having slayed something.  Now she could sense the mermaid and a few other demons' taint on her powers.  "You must ask the one that spit on you to stay out of it.  He will listen to you."

"I will."

She looked at him.  "Put those back on.  No one was supposed to have those."  Xander did that and smoothed over the lines so they could be reconnected by the scab.  She stared at him.  "Yes, there is a way for you to bless things.  There is a long held open spot among the various pantheons.  One of the protector."  Xander nodded.  "There are six that have been created."  She gave him a different book but let him keep that first one.  It could help him sometime.  She could see him needing it.  He looked then pointed.  "Yes, many of them look like you, young one."

"Merlin was one of the Ancients," he muttered.

"He was.  He was also batty."  He smiled at that.  "Does he still exist?"

"I don't know.  You'd have to ask Doctor Jackson.  That's his team's job, not my mate's."

"Interesting.  I may visit him.  The Dwarf King owes me a rematch anyway."  She smirked at him.  "There are four weapons left.  Each one forged their own."

He nodded, looking at the book again then back at her.  "I have one already?"  She nodded.  "Do I bless it to anyone in particular?"

"I would personally bless it to one who has the power to back you up."

"So you want me to bless it to a super physicist?" he asked dryly.

"Smartass," she said, giving him a dirty look.

"Sorry, I forgot myself."

"There are no pantheons presently outside of the Great Ones who try very hard to keep humanity going.  You were right in that part."  She stared at him.  "There are still people you can bless it to and it would give them a boost as well.  Also, have your very amusing mate bring a hurting warrior into the cadre of familyhood.  He needs it to survive this battle.  He has nothing to fight for beyond ideals and those can be broken."

"I'll tell him."


"What sort of weapon should I make?"

"What will be most useful to you?"

"If I build artillery I'll get put in jail," he told her.  "Almost no one fights with swords or axes anymore."

"That's a point I hadn't considered."  She stared at him.  "You'll figure it out.  Share that with your spouses as well."  He nodded, bowing to him.  "And I will grant your boon of asking them to argue and pummel each other somewhere else.  Before I lose all my followers.  They really are trying my patience."

"Thank you, Great One."  He bowed.  "Let me know if you anything you need of me in the future."

"I shall."  She sent him to the demon in Africa.  That way he wouldn't have to fly.  It was nice of her.  She went to the meeting, appearing as one of the minor demons they would mostly recognize.  "Slayer," she greeted.

"I know you're not Anya since she's dead," Buffy said firmly, pulling a weapon.

"I cannot appear in my usual form.  It would stun you stupid and blind."  She gave her a  smug look.  "I chose one you would know."

"Who are you?" Jack asked.

"D'Talenra."  She looked at the plucky little thing.  "Never have we seen such a Guardian as that one.  It was very kind of him to ask us for our help in having them go away."  She looked at the former ascended.  "You are the one he spoke of, yes?"

"I don't know," Daniel admitted.  "I'm assuming you're talking about Xander?"

"Yes.  The Knight Protector."  Daniel gasped, staring at her.  "You know, I have not seen one born for many centuries.  Merlin was the most amusing but this one I think may just be up there with him.  Does he exist?  He owes me a poker debt."

"No, unfortunately he faded," he said quietly.

"Pity."  She looked at the husband.  "Did he give you that message?"

"Yes.  And I know which one to pull in."

"Good."  She looked at Tony.  "He has the makings of a good Knight Protector as well.  Interesting."  She looked at Jack, Daniel, and Buffy again.  "I have sent the boy to talk to someone who once tainted him.  Those trips really did do him good."  She smiled.  "I will support his desire to have the Powers fighting elsewhere.  I don't need amused *that* badly and it is a pain to rebuild things."  She looked at Jack.  Then back at Buffy.  "The others will probably agree but do be polite."

"I'm going to ask them," Sam told her.  He had let Dean hold Muffin for now since she was growling.

"A seer," she said, smiling at him.  "A tainted one but not by your hand.  Your mother was a fool to make that deal of hers."  John growled.  "I meant no harm but it was her deal that tainted her sons."  She looked at them.  "Be polite.  Some of them are very grumpy.  Some of them are even worse than a supposed God you just toppled in ego."  She pointed a finger at the table and three books appeared down it.  "Be aware that someone will have to be blessed," she told Buffy.  "And you can't kill the boy for what has happened to him since nothing was supposed to.  He was meant to be a Protector of a Pantheon.  He diverted his destiny to yours, but it did help him to find one that would be a warrior king to protect.  We like that even if he does know it was done for the wrong reasons."  She looked at John and Tony.  Then at Sam Carter.  "If it must be, a new Court must be formed."  She looked at Buffy again.  Then at John Winchester.  "Reformed one, you will have to go off plane to protect them if they fight here.  There is no other way to keep them from being called.   They already nudge them in their dreams."  She looked at Buffy again.  "You and your other half will be there to battle the evil.  You will survive.  I do not know about the other half."


"No, child.  Not him.  He has earned his rest.  If he chooses to jump in again, he will be like your Knight was when he was but a child."  She nodded at that.  "For now, it will stand.  I will talk to the other Higher Beings.  None of us need this sort of amusement.  Even those of us who were bored."  She disappeared.

"What's a Knight Protector?" John asked Daniel.

"The protector of a Pantheon is the same thing," he said, sighing a bit.  "Like the holy champion of a pantheon.  The one the Gods sent to take on their evils."

"So Merlin fought the evils coming to the Camelot Court by creating things and using them against their enemies," Sam said.  Daniel nodded.  "There's probably others."

"Norse mythology had a few," Bobby said, considering it.  "A few chosen warriors who defended the bridge and the realm."  He looked down at Daniel.  "They weren't really happy folk.  Usually orphans that the court took in."

"Xander's past isn't pretty," Buffy said quietly.  "Is that why him?"

"I think that drive to protect and jump in would've pushed him there," Tony admitted.  "I have the same thing.  That's why I gave up everything I had to become an officer."  She nodded at that.  "Sometimes you find a higher calling than just helping victims."

"So him jumping in suited that urge in him," she said.  John nodded at that.  So did Daniel.  "What else do they do, Daniel?"

"That depends on which one it was.  A few were well trained guards, deciding who got in to see someone.  Some were true defenders.  Some meddled to make sure things went well."

"We've seen him doing all that," she said.  "Anything else, like funky powers?"

"No.  None of the ones I've heard of had special powers.  The one in India had some gifted to him during a few battles but nothing else."

"But the new Court comment bugs me," Sam Carter said.

John Sheppard nodded.  "Yes it does.  Especially since she looked at me during it."  He leaned his elbows on the table.  His aunt grumbled.  He scowled at her and she backed off on her etiquette lesson.  "What would it take to form a new court?  Even one like Camelot's?"

"They were all more advanced," Daniel said.

"And among us, we have a few good knights," Jack said.  "We have McKay and Sam as our Merlins."  Daniel gaped at him.  "We have our own court here.  You were ascended and there's every chance you'll go back.  You're wise, our knowledge source.  I'm like an old king getting ready to pass my title and sword onto a few knights.  Which one was she talking about, Sheppard?"

"Cam Mitchell I think."

"Who's also got specialized fighting skills.  The same as you do and you brought Ronon with you, not to mention Teyla.  Vala's a sneaky little shit sometimes but she's loyal to Cam.  You each have your own protectorate."

"How many of the old Courts go back to his job?" Bobby asked.  "Since I figured out what he was doing a while ago."

"Camelot and two others," Daniel admitted quietly, looking at John.

John smirked.  "So my protectorate, and then the main protectorate.  Which really has an accessory Knight in Tony and Gibbs."

"So you're saying that you're moving like the mythical people?" Buffy asked.  "Higher and higher in power?"

"Most of the beings had higher skills," Daniel corrected.  "What the normals thought of as magic.  Though we seem to have both."

"John definitely has us," Aunt Thelize assured him.  "Rosenburg, Miss Summers?"

"In England sorting out a new slayer house."

"Where we want her to stay for trying to make Xander pregnant," Tony quipped.

John Winchester shuddered.  "She needs to be fixed."

"She's on a tight leash and the Devon Coven will take her out," Buffy assured him.  "They've told me so."

"They said that the last time," John pointed out.  "When I was there to help the kid with the magic poisoning she gave him."

"They got her weeded and straightened out," John reminded him.  "This was a more recent hair up her ass problem from the magic addiction.  I shot her on the astral realm.  She knows the next one will be in her head instead of her knee."

"I still think you showed great restraint," Tony said, patting him on the back.  "If I had known I would've killed her."

"She did what?" Gibbs asked.

"Started a spell to put Xander into heat and prepare his body to make a fake uterus so he could get knocked up.  She decided it'd make him happy," Buffy told him.

"I don't want her back in the states unless it's an emergency," Gibbs told her.  "Before she ends up hurting Tony or getting the rest of my team by accident."

"Technically, she can probably get him from England."

"The girl can be a thorn in legitimate and legal magic user's sides," Aunt Thelize told them.

"I know I advised the people trying to figure out magic via science to take her out of the equation since she was basically a freak of nature with how powerful she was.  Though I do suspect that she's linked to both hellmouths, Buffy."  John gave her a smug look.  "The sensors we have on the Sunnydale one went off recently about four hours before she tried to knock up Xander."

"They said they can't unhook her.  She drew from it wrong.  If she's killed," she said when John Winchester opened his mouth.  "They could both open.  Unless she goes willingly and keeps them closed.  That's why the coven over there won't let her drive anymore, in case of an accident."

"So if she gives it up to sacrifice herself during the battles coming up, it's good," Dean said.


"We'll be looking for a way," John Winchester told her.  "Because she's gone far beyond what most hunters would accept as good behavior, Buffy."

She sighed.  "I know.  We've got her to see the addiction and how bad it is."

"Every addict backslides sometime," Tony said gently.

"Yeah but killing her for it beforehand is cruel.  It's like shooting a dog because it might become rabid some year."

"True," he agreed.  "But you know that the first time she starts to slide, they'll take her out and some will have itchy fingers."

John Winchester nodded.  "Unless they can firmly contain her, she's a danger to humanity, Buffy."

"I know but she's helping.  She's channeling all that into helping with this.  We can talk about her after this battle series.  We might need her strength."

"We might," John Sheppard decided.  Buffy relaxed at that.  He looked at the hunters.  "She's got the strength of a coven on her own.  We might need her to help close a hellmouth or even contain something magical that they unleash."

"I guess," Dean said.

"We'll be watching though," John told him.

"Of course you guys are.  Your sort of hunter do take out the bad witches," Aunt Thelize agreed.  "A lot more than the ones in the family do.  They tend to stay out of witch related problems if possible."  Sam Winchester smiled at her for that.  "There's a few who wanted to burn the three of us for the marriage and bonding."

Tony looked at her.  "They weren't the only ones."

"I was starting to like that idea myself," Gibbs told her dryly.  She shuddered.  "Especially when DiNozzo suddenly started to pop up visions at some of the worst times."

"It's solved."

"We still get some bleedover," John corrected.  "Some headaches too."

"I'm sorry," Sam Winchester told him.  "Are you okay?"

"I got my first one aimed directly a few weeks back," John admitted.  "Thankfully I was in the middle of paperwork."

"I only get carryover and if some of the vision relates to anything I'm involved in," Tony told him.

"Mostly I do too but we had a threat to the city."

"I'm sorry."  He patted him on the arm.

"Hold on, he has layered visions?" John Winchester asked.

John Sheppard nodded.  "A lot of the times he'd get a really strong vision and then I'd get part that related to me.  I'd see his and mine would sparkle a bit more so I paid more attention to it than to his part."

"That's how it works for me too," Tony agreed.  "Now it's really muted so we only get our parts and a mid-range headache even if we don't get anything."

"I've never heard of that," John said, looking at Aunt Thelize.

"We knew Xander's mind was unique," Buffy said dryly.  "Could that be from the hellmouth taint too?  Or what some demon did to him when he got caught?  Or the mermaid taint?"

"You forgot the possessions," Aunt Thelize said.  "We don't know.  We do know it's a long shot of Xander ever being turned because of the mermaid taint."  John Sheppard relaxed at that.  "If so, he would not be like the normal vampires and any he make would probably be more like him since that's carried in the blood."

"We only found a small contamination," Sam Carter told her.

"Dear, we noticed it earlier.  He's hiding some of it," she said with a smile.

"Yeah, I felt when that went on because I was having to fight some instincts that kept saying he was still fully tainted and possibly looking for Buffy fries," Buffy told her dryly.   "Willow took him to someone who did something to hide it."

"It also hid whatever happened in Africa," Aunt Thelize said, looking at John, who only smirked back.  "You know what happened?"

"Every single minute," he said dryly.  "And no, I'm not sharing."

Tony shrugged.  "I only got some flashes, nothing big, and that was when he was hyenad's out that time thanks to the shaman.  I got it when he bit me."

"In his mental hyena form, letting her forward, it took down his shields fully.  That's how I got it too," John admitted.

"She came out again?" Buffy demanded.  She looked at John Winchester.  "Why don't you guys consider that a bad thing like you do Willow?"

"Because his is a possession and she's doing it on her own," he said bluntly.  "We might've been able to get her out of him."  John and Tony both shook their heads.  "No?"

"He's a medium.  He sucks up very well," John Sheppard said dryly.  "Right, Sam?"

"Nine from the cleanout in Sunnydale," he said.  "John and Tony both had some too."

"Hell, the dog got possessed then," Tony said dryly.

"Teyla too," John admitted.  "She woke me up by staring at me silently."

"I'll try to find a way to block that for you three," Aunt Thelize said.

"Us too," Buffy agreed.  "I'll tell Giles.  Before she tries to get me again."

"You were a female in her pack lands, Buffy," John Winchester told her.  "Pack dynamics would make her either fight you to drive you off or to bring you into the pack as a beta to her."

"So since I beat her is that a good thing?"

"You didn't.  You knocked him out," John Sheppard told her.  "So she's seeing it as a tie.  She still has a pack and lands. You went back to your pack and lands.  The shaman that wanted him in better touch with her was very pleased once they finally got him to revert back."

"If she was so active in his head, why didn't she come out again in Sunnydale?"

"She did.  She helped him track down a lot of things," Tony said with a small shrug.  "She probably realized that those were neutral grounds, between the packs that all packs had to deal with.  All the evil things that might come for her pack members so she had to work with you.  She came out subtly to help him hunt and track.  I asked him after she came out the other night to help him track and that's what he said."

"That is so f-ed up," she told them.  "Why is it that Xander can do those sort of things?"

"The same thing that makes him a potential Knight Protector," Daniel said with a cough.  "All of them were someone who finally got noticed for doing something when no one else would.  They were orphans who were taken in and taught because they showed promise.  With no current Courts down here, his skills were exerting itself to keep him protected until one could find him."

"If we'd had a school for Knights, he would've went there?" Gibbs suggested.

"Exactly.  Mostly to get away and to be known for himself.  They're all-but forgotten in history and mythology but they had very important jobs."

"The head knight of the court would," Jack agreed.  "Sheppard, get Rodney onto the database again."

"I will.  I'll take the dog back too in case he doesn't get back in time tonight."

"Sure," Sam Winchester said, smiling at him.  "She's napping on my feet."

"That's cool.  She does it to me a lot."  He looked down at the dog, making her lift her head.  "Are you liking the Sammy?"  She barked and put her head back down.  He smiled at the younger guy.  "It's cool, Sam.  She always goes after people she thinks need a cuddle.  That's why she likes Teyla so much."

"What is her thing with Ronon?" Jack asked.

"I think she sees him like a huge littermate.  He hunts, he growls, he just needs a nice owner to pet him like she gets.  Until then he's a packmate.  Teyla too because she pets so nicely."

Daniel smiled.  "Did you tell Ronon that theory?"

"I teased him about the pack being together.  He growled.  She barked at me.  He looked at her and growled.  She barked and lapped him to death.  He finally broke and laughed, making her a happy dog.  Oh, she gets along very well with the cat that swum out to us to have her litter."

"We have cats on Atlantis?" Jack asked.

"Yes, sir.  She had kittens in Rodney's lab."


"She swum out one night.  Security pinged something on the pier.  They couldn't find her.  She finally wiggled her way into the heating ducts to eat the swamp rats we had.  Rodney found her during a repair and no one can seem to remember to get her back to the mainland.  So she delivered five kittens.  She spends time in our shrink's office and rooms then in the lab or with Rodney since he used to have cats.  There's a bidding war on who gets bed holding rights for the kittens.  We've kept it from Woolsey because he'll have a fit to end all fits."

"Yes he will," he said dryly.

"General, it's not like we're going to have many battles now.  The guys need something."

"I know.  I don't like the idea of cats getting into ancient technology."

"She meows at the AI for the database.  The AI coos back.  We like her and you'll have a mutiny if you try to have her sent off."

"Fine," he muttered.  "No more and she gets fixed."

"Yes, sir.  There's no other cats that we know of."

"Female cats find a way," Gibbs assured him.  "Even locked in a house."

"I've taken her to the vets for Rodney.  I can make him take her to get her fixed."

"Good!" Jack ordered.  "This week."

"Yes, General.  We'd have to tell Woolsey."

"Get a day pass and go, Sheppard.  Make the appointment before hand."

"Yes, General."

"Thank you."  He shook his head.  "Anything else we should know?"

"I managed to kill a small demon that fed on emotional outbursts.  It was growling in pleasure at Woolsey throwing a fit.  He panicked."

"I'm sure it liked McKay's fits at the science team," Sam Carter said dryly.

"Yes but it liked Radek swearing at him more."

"Ah, that sort," Buffy sighed.  "They're annoying and invisible."

"It was but this one's gone."

"How do you expose them to normal sight?" Sam Carter asked her.

"Paint.  Anything that would make an invisible thing suddenly have an outline."

"They can hang on walls," John said.  "I'd try smoke."

"That's not a bad idea.  Will they hurt anything?"

"No, they hang and feed, and growl at their favorite targets," Buffy said.  "Dawnie nearly had a whole colony that followed her as a teenager."

"I'll try infrared first," Sam Carter decided.  "Thanks for letting us know, you two."  Buffy smiled at her.  Xander appeared.  He wasn't wearing the same clothes.  Now he was wearing light colored animal skin pants and no shirt.  He had daubs of paint on him and his hair was a matted, knotted mess.  He looked up and they all winced at the redness in his eyes.  He blinked and it was gone.

"You good?" John asked.

"Yeah.  The demon lords over there are agreeing to ask them to remove their battle from this plane.  The one that didn't want woken was.  He was not a happy camper and they didn't have caffeine to help him wake up.  We got him to end the plague he sent out too.  The other one showed up to greet him and agreed with my request without me having to ask.  Then he had his followers paint me to remove the effects of him spitting on me that time.  He apologized too.  He hadn't seen I was a seer who might have healing gifts."  He shrugged, sitting down.  "So we're good on that end.  The plague was stopped."

"Any chance you're carrying it, boy?" Bobby asked.

"No.  Why?"

"Plagues bad," Dean reminded him.

"It was a cholera-like thing."

Sam called someone and they beamed him off to check him over.  "Let's make sure of that before the rest of us get sick."

"We weren't close enough, right?" Buffy asked.

"No," Sam Carter assured her.  He got beamed back.  He still had the paint and his eyes were red again.  He blinked a few times and it went away.  "The red eyes?"

"Traveling.  It's activating some sort of funky side vision.  I'm seeing little plasmoids in the beams."

"Describe them," she said.  He took some paper to draw them out.  She looked at him.  "How...."

"No clue."  He handed it over and sat down again.  "Okay, how far have we gotten?"

"Very," John told him.  "You good?"  He stared him down, daring his spouse to lie.

"Good enough."  He put on the chains, then took Daniel's gel pen to remake the broken lines on the tattoos.  They flashed lightly then hid themselves.  He tossed back the pen.  Once he had hitched everything down, the paint disappeared too.  "Why?"

"Will that paint come off?" Tony asked.

"No clue."  He looked at his bare chest, then shrugged.  "No idea."  He smiled at him.  "But this means I can go handle the thing in the Bay tonight.  John, can you watch the dog?"

"You want her that close?"

"In case any of her followers get onto the city, yes."

"Okay," he agreed.  "I can do that.  Muffin, you're going home with me tonight."  She barked, going to sniff the daddy.  She growled but he nuzzled her and she lapped him.  "Need a shower?"

"Probably.  She growls each time you guys beam me anywhere."

"Have we?" Jack asked.

"Once," Daniel admitted.  "During the clean out we had to remove the exploration group from a collapsing tunnel."  He looked at Xander.  "I thought it was the goo on us."

"I don't know why she barked at you but she barked at me until she could make sure it was really me."

"That's good to know," John decided.  "Anything else of note?"

"Eat, you're losing weight again," Aunt Thelize said.  "Xander, he said you had healing gifts?"


"That's interesting.  Can we...."

"Hell no you can't have sperm."

"Fine," she said, backing down at that.  Tony was snickering.  "We should make sure there's future kids."

"I don't want kids," Xander told her.  "They'll be as fucked up as I am because I'll end up exposing them to hunting way too early.  Or I'll make them violent and possibly serial killers because of the hunting.  So no, no Xander kids.  If John and Tony want kids, I'll be a loving uncle."

"Not on my to do list," Tony assured him.

"Mine either at the moment," John assured him.  "Calm down, Xander.  Kids are a long way off and Willow won't do it again."

"He accidentally tripped that and had to remove a lot of magic that she had put on me.  I told them the witch was under new control.  He said it was a good thing before the old Powers added her to their side."  He looked at Buffy.

"She hates them like we do."

"She hates Cordelia.  That's why she captured her to power the spell to knock me up."

"Crap."  She texted the witches and Giles.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He got his own sandwich from the table.  "Excuse the lion hides, guys.  At least it's not a loincloth sort of outfit or feathers.  They had an argument in what to dress me."

"Why would they put you in a shaman's outfit?" Daniel asked him.

"Probably because I have gifts that way," Xander said dryly.  "Talking to spirits, seeing spirits, affecting spirits."  Daniel moaned, shaking his head.  "Yeah.  The shaman on my trip realized that and trained me with what they could."

"I know someone you should talk to.  He's worked with native Shaman in Central and South America," Daniel said.

"Cool.  I could use more friends."  He stuffed his mouth.  "So, anything else good come of this?"

"Yeah, we have a working plan," Jack told him.

"Good!"  He looked at John.  Who stared back.  "The brother thing?"


"That's cool.  I like and respect him."  He nibbled some more.  "Any other plans we need before we go kick asses?"

"Finish lunch first," Aunt Thelize said.

"Yes, Auntie."  He got another sandwich.


John reappeared on Atlantis with the dog.  "Rodney, call Xander now.   He's dealing with the thing in the bay tonight.  He'll need you to make sure the shields are as high as possible during it since he's got to blow the hell out of it."  He walked upstairs, sliding back into his comm earpiece.  "Team meeting, my office, now," he ordered.

Woolsey came out of his office.  "What's the meaning of this!" he demanded.   "We're not under attack!"

"We will be later tonight.  Chuck, find her on the sensors.  We need to know her relative height and thickness."  He walked into his office and the team leaders ran in a few minutes later.  "Can I see it too, Chuck?"  The picture appeared on the monitor in there.  "She's coming out again tonight."

"What are we doing about it?" one team leader said.  "The last time she popped her head up, we were rocked with the waves until McKay figured out how to use the shield to block waves from hitting us."

"Xander's got to basically pop her once she's out of the water to drain her so she can go dormant.  That means he's got to taunt her out of the water, break her link to it, and then keep hitting her with high powered weapons until she finally pops a hole."

"Will he need his birthday present?" one asked.

"We don't know yet."  He looked at the scan.  "Chuck, relative size?"  The measurements were put up.  "That's six stories," he said.

"Yes it is," Rodney said as he walked in.  "He needs advice on which is the most strong explosions."  He put down his tablet and looked at it.  Then he changed the view.  "This is how she got up last time.  We need more power.  After the flight, we've got to be careful."

"Can we divert from something else?" John asked.

"Probably.  I don't know what."

"I don't care what, Rodney.  We're going to be in deep crap for a while tonight.  We don't need life support now, we can probably do without fans."

"I know.  I'm working on it."  He handed over his earpiece.  "Your spouse."

John switched it out.  "Hey.  What do you have stored?"  He listened to the list as Xander was looking at it.  "I agree, lesser then let her have it once she's out."  He listened to him think it through.  "That'll work.  What about a tether situation?"  He made a note.  "I can have someone doing that, yeah.   You were right, Rodney can get a jumper to do that."  He let him see, getting a nod.  "He said he can do that.  How many do you have?  Sure, after this, I want to see."  Xander quipped and hung up on him.  "Okay, we've got a plan going."  He handed Rodney back his comm piece, not caring he wiped it off before putting it into his pocket.  "Once she's up, he'll be taunting her with smaller explosions while he backs off so she has to follow him."

"Will she, sir?" one Marine asked.

"Xander's an expert at baiting and drawing people out.  He spent years annoying demons."

"One of the jumpers has a shielding function that can be used to block any tether she'll form," Rodney said.

"We can't expose ourselves to the city," Woolsey said.

"Your choice," John told him.  "We can be overrun by her, at which time our shield fails completely as we sink again, or we can help kill this problem before it kills us and the rest of the city."

"The IOA...."

"Can sit and spin," Rodney told him.  "I'm not dying for some demon queen to raise and kill us all."

"You can go talk to the IOA all you want, Woolsey, but right now, we're heading to a major set of apocalypses."

"More are coming?" he demanded.

"Yeah, because the old Powers are pissed.  The new Powers that took over, which O'Neill helped straighten out the plans for, are going to have to defend.  The last time beings of this magnitude showed up to rumble, the Sahara used to be pretty.  And then the Gou'ald showed up because they thought Egypt was weak from the rebuilding."  Woolsey shuddered.  "As of this moment, we are going to be killed so I'm taking control as Military Head of Atlantis.  If the IOA doesn't like it, screw 'em.  Let them talk to O'Neill since he agreed."  He looked at the team leaders again.  "I want everyone evacuated that isn't essential to defending this base," he ordered.  "O'Neill has arranged for us to hide at one of the defunct NIKE sites.  If they aren't going to be useful helping with the shields, can't come up with some weapons in case she bothers us, or a single medical team I want them gone.  He's starting in three hours.  I want them safe within two.  Download everything you can," he told Rodney.  "Appoint whoever you want."

"I'll be here."  He looked around.  "Pack light.  If we sink we have an automatic shielding set up to activate."

"We can do that," the team leaders agreed.  "Piers, sir?"

"Two teams at the most for base defense.  All we'll be doing is making sure she doesn't land on us.  The shield should be able to handle everything else.  If she bats at us, we make her regret it.  Which means I'll need the birthday present."  The marines laughed at that.  "Go."  They left.  "Rodney?"

"It's actually a subprogram we had written after that tsunami."  He left.  "Radek, go configure Jumper 4 to do this," he said, showing him.  "The rest of you, get the hell off the base.  We're going to be dealing with that thing coming up tonight.  You have two hours to get out of here.  Download what you can and be on the next-to-last flight off base."  They rushed off.  Rodney sat down to deal with the shields.  This would take some fine tuning and with everyone off base he could steal power from the rooms.


Xander looked at the huge ass demon that was staring at him.  "What?"

"Puny human," she sneered.  "You dare approach me?"

"Not quite," he said, firing at her.  She tried to grab him but he backed up.  She was limited in reach since she wouldn't come out of the water.  Rodney finally got the shields up beyond defense of the waves and zapped her with the energy from them.  She shrieked but he kept her from swatting the city by hitting her with another explosion.  She got out of the water to chase him down.  Rodney's part of the plan went off to block her access to the water while Xander hit her with a few more pieces of artillery.  She finally sprung a leak and started to run out.

She shrank down into a pile of skin as she deflated.

Xander looked at her.  "Eat me," he said dryly.  "Pitiful supposed higher being."

The jumper landed and the pilot came out.  "We get her?" Evan Lorne asked.

"Yeah.  She's finishing draining."  He looked at it, grimacing.  "Think we can put her in a  box?  That way we can sneer and make fun of her, or scare newbies with her?"  The body twitched.  They stared and Xander fired off something else, making her splatter more.  She let out a small scream but then sounded like she was blowing bubbles.

"I'm so glad we never got this before," Evan said.

Xander grinned at him.  "So is John."  He smirked back.  "Got a big plastic box?"

"Surprisingly enough, I have a large storage container with a lid," he quipped.

"Cool."  Evan got it and Xander scooped her into it.  It took a few tries.  She was slippery.  Then Evan sealed it and made sure it was closed.  "There, now we can scare people with her."  A few demons screamed and rushed them.  Xander turned and shot them.  He left one standing, staring at them.  "And?" he asked it.  It burbled and waved its fins.  "No!  I'm not going to let her go!  Fucking bitch wanted to help the Old Powers destroy all you guys."  The demon whimpered and burbled something else, letting out a fart too.  "Exactly.  She's one of them.  Now she's handled.  Let me know if more show up.  Remember, I'm the hunter locally."  The demon nodded and waved his fin.  "Tranq darts, of course.  That way we could stop anyone who needed it if they panicked but if they were bad guys I'd have plenty of time to deal with it."  The demon nodded and ran off flapping his fins.  Xander shook his head.  "Okay."  He looked at Evan.  "What does the great husband want?"

"I don't know."  He tapped his comm.  "Colonel.  She's in a box."  He listened.  "I can do that."  He looked at Xander.  "Sorry."

"That's okay."

"Can't you usually hear him?"

"Yeah, but I blocked him off earlier when I was doing something he wanted to beat me for."  He shrugged and grinned.  "Let them tell me if they need me.  I'm going to hide my ass before the cops decide I'm dangerous."  He waved and closed things before shrinking them and putting them into his bag.  "Later, dude."  He headed for his car at a jog.

Evan shook his head.  "His husband is a nut," he decided, getting into the jumper and cloaking it so he could take off and head back to the city.  He landed and got out, carrying the box.  "Your demon queen," he said dryly.  "She's not happy.  She's still blowing bubbles."  He walked off shaking his head.  "He headed for safety because we could hear sirens."

"Figures.  How many more little boxes did he have with him?"

"He had six that he had to pack but the bag looked a bit lumpy."

"I have got to look at his artillery storage area under the floor," John muttered.

Evan laughed.  "Sure, you do that."  He walked off happier.  "What else is going on tonight?"

"Something huge."  He looked at the box.  "Rodney to the jumper bay, or you, Radek."  He hung up on the comm and stared at it.  He could hear faint bubbling.  Rodney walked in.  "The bitch."

Rodney stared.  "What do you want me to do with her?"

"I don't care.  Find a way to destroy her for all I care."  He walked off.  "Just don't let her recharge with water."  He went back to the gate room.  "She's down," he announced, hearing cheering from those who were still on base.  "Fall back, we're having General O'Neill and a few others showing up sometime soon."

"Too late," Daniel called with a smile.  "We can't get the right phrase."

John went to the AI room.  "Can you please show me where the Court room was?" he asked politely.

"The Council had no court," the AI told him.

"Not the judicial court, the Court of Power."

"We did not have one."

"The one where Morgan and Merlin would've met for their council," Daniel said as he joined him.

"We did not have one of those."

John crossed his arms over his chest.  "I am the new Knight of Atlantis.  I want to see the meeting table so I can log in."

"That room is sealed until a King of Power comes."  O'Neill walked in.  "You are not."

"I am," he said, logging in.  She stared at him.  "We have been named the new Court.  This is the new Knight of Atlantis."

"There is no way for us to log into that system any longer."

Rodney walked in and hit a sequence, making her fuzz up.  "Now, where is the meeting room?"

"It is in the East Tower," she said.  "Only those who are on it may enter."

"That's fine," Jack said.  "Anything else we should know?"

"Once you get there, they will have to approve you."  She faded out.

"Okay," Jack said.  "Where in the east tower?"

"I think I've seen the window.  We have one that we know doesn't fit any room on any diagram," Rodney said.   He led them outside, pointing at a window.  "That one."

Jack looked up.  "How do we get close to it?"

"There's a hallway not eighty feet above it," John offered.  He got them to a transporter and transferred them to one closer.  Then to another one near it.  "After you, my king," he said with a wave at a wall.

Jack moved up to it.  He concentrated.  Something twanged and he moved toward it.  He concentrated and the handpad slid out of the wall.  He put his hand on it and winced at the small pain it caused.  The wall opened to a large door.  "I think this is it."

John checked the door then kicked it.  He heard the creak and pounded two more times.  It opened.  "It works in the movies."

"I bet," he said dryly.

"The Queen does it when she goes to talk to Parliament."  He let them in and got out of the way.  "Our round table."

Jack walked in and nodded.  "Yup.  It is.  Okay," he said into his comm.  "Beam Carter, Mitchell, and the other two here.  Watch out for the table in the middle of the room."  He hung up and looked at John.

"I have no idea how we start this."  He looked up, then at Daniel.  "Any idea?"

"Not yet."  Cam and Sam Carter appeared.  "Hi."

"Hi," she said, looking around.  "This is...old fashioned."  There was wood paneling, a large wooden table, and a lot of chairs.   She looked at them.  They had carvings that were different.  "Daniel?  What do they mean?"

He looked then pointed  "Yours or McKay's.  The other's behind it."  They glared at each other.

"Oh, fercryin'outloud, McKay, sit behind her this time."

"Why me!" he demanded.

"Because in this court, the king's people are at the table and the local knight protector's are behind us," she said smugly.

"Ego doesn't become you," Cam told her.  He looked around.  "Just us?"

"No," Daniel said.  He tapped his.  "Is he safely stopped?  Good.  Bring the bag with him if you can."  He hung up.  Xander appeared and had to blink more this time to clear the redness.  "What is causing that?"

"I don't know," he admitted, stepping out of his spot.  The shields came up and slammed him against the wall.  "Huh."  He struggled and concentrated, using his taint to create a small force against the energy.  He got free and walked to the table, putting something on it.  The shield threw him back against the wall.  "Sure," he said, concentrating and pulling the dagger back to him.  The shield tried to come up but fizzled against it.

"The shields," Rodney said, bringing them down for them.

Xander heard the info over his earpiece.  "Rodney, the city's people are wondering why there's a floating light."  Rodney growled.  "Can't you just exclude *me*?"

"Of course I can."  He did that and Xander fell onto his butt.


"You didn't complain when you got clawed but you complain when you fall a foot?" John asked.

"Yeah.  I'm like that."  He stood up and put the dagger back on the table.   "A holy knife."  He bowed.  "For the king."

"When did you get time to make that?" John asked.

"Africa."  He looked at Jack again.  "What can I do to help?"

"How do we start this?"

"Well, I'd call an expert.  Cordelia, can we have a minute please?"

She showed up.  "What now?" she demanded, looking around.  "Oh, wow, I didn't expect this."  She looked at him.  "What did you do?"

"Want the demon queen in the box?" he countered.

"How....  Never mind!  I know you're the king of fuck ups and screwing things up but making it work.  I don't want to know!"  She sighed, looking at Daniel.  "Does he give you headaches?"


"Great, so it's just me and Buffy."

"Do you really want to be part of that group?" Sam Carter asked her.

"No."  She looked around.  "Let me get someone....  Hey, Oma!" she called.  The Ancient faded in.  "I can't be involved in this or the old Powers will attack them and all this will be destroyed.  They need info."  She faded out.

Oma looked around.  "What are you doing in here?  You have not created your own Court.  You have not earned it."

"You mean beyond taking what you left behind and making new things from it?" Daniel asked her.  "Or how we've recovered a lot of other things?"

"That is ours that you built off of."

"And everything the Ancients did was built off someone else's work," Daniel reminded her.

"You have no protector."  Xander waved his hand.  "What are you?"

"Human, though I've fought many things in the past that have added bits and pieces due to blood taints and things."

"That is not real."

He created a light in his hand, making her shriek.  He undid it.  "Yeah, it is, especially since I'm one who's been helping the chosen of the old Powers That Be."

She calmed herself.  "We do not know how that works."

"I don't have that problem," he pointed out.  "We have our court, we're building the local court that the King rules over from the Mountain court."

She considered it, staring at Jack.  "The Asgard have one of their own."  She faded out.

"If I could get Thor...." he started, glaring at the kid.

"Not my fault!" he complained.  He grimaced then looked around.  Then he pulled off something and muttered something into it, tossing it on the table.  "The higher beings in Africa said to add that to the table.  I think he meant literally."

"What is it?" Rodney asked.

"It's the start of a power crystal of some sort," Xander said.  "He said that you have one, somewhere in something, there's one on the other base somewhere.  One was in Pompeii at one time, but I can't be sure if it was broken by the explosion, and one's lost to history he said.  So it's MIA."

Oma Dessala reappeared.  "How did you get that?" she asked him.

"The one who accidentally spit on me during a fight gave it to me to give to the people here."  He smiled.  "He told me where the others are."

"We do not believe in such things."

"Get that box up here," Rodney ordered into his comm.  "Yes, that room.  It's open."  He hung up.  A few Marines brought the container in and dropped it beside him.  He opened it and pointed.  "You're still doubting this?"

She stared then at him.  "How did you defeat that?"

"I made sure our shields kept her out of the city."  He pointed at Xander.  "He did it."

She turned to him.  "How did you do that?"   He opened his bag and pulled out something, unshrinking it and putting the case on the table to open it.  She gasped.   "What are you?" she demanded.

"The slayer's knight.  Now theirs."

"You are not fully human."

"It's not my fault I got bled on during a fight," he complained.  John patted him on the back.  "I'm very human, thank you.  I just had some mermaid taint and a few others tainting me after fights."

She grimaced.  "Who would speak for him being here?"

"We were joined with another one," John told her.  "He's my spouse.  Leave him alone or piss me off too."

"Well."  She stared at them.  "He is...."  Xander unsnapped one of the straps holding the weapon.  "It won't hurt me."

He smiled and held it up.  "Yes it will.  It's blessed by a high priest of Janus."

"I met him," she sneered.  "He's not what you think."

"Actually, you met the representation of his name.   As proven by some of the taint I carry that was done by the same high priest turning us into and giving us the memories of the ones we wore the costume of thanks to his power."

She stared at him.  "It is not true."

"Ethan!" he called.  He appeared and looked at her.  The Ancient looked very upset.   "You were saying?"

She stared.  Then looked at Jack.  "Do you deal with that in your Court?"

"If it comes up.  Mostly we deal with science.  In this current problem, we'll have to deal with some of it."  He looked at the box.  "Can't you cover her?  It's gross."  Rodney put the cover back on her.  "Thank you."  He looked at her again.  "This time it's the Powers That Be against the Ones That Ran."

"Why did they run?' she asked.

"Because their chosen decided not to be pawns," John said.  She cackled.  "We nearly destroyed them for their plans to take out the protectors of humanity."  She stared at them.  He patted Xander on the back again.  "Our wedding was part of their plans.  They wanted us to become evil to take them out.  They had no idea who Xander was.  They thought he was someone else."

"With that taint I can see why."

"No, they thought I was my best friend, who was killed before any of this happened.  Even the angel we talked to recently didn't realize that until he read me.  It seems like the only time I get respect it's from the demons."

She floated closer, testing him.  "Well, that's not good."  She floated back, wiping off her hand.  "Can't they weed that out?"

"I don't know.  If they want to, I'll let Rodney or Sam figure it out for me.  For right now, I've got to help protect this city from the higher beings having a brawl.  We have to get Jack sworn in."

"Stop whatever you're doing," Woolsey ordered as he walked in.  "The IOA...."

Xander flicked his fingers and knocked him out.  "Holds no real power and I'm tired of your pissy attitude, Woolsey."  He looked at the ancient again.  "They were hoping you'd have a book of protocol and perhaps know how to get them logged in.  Because saying so isn't the same as being so sometimes."

"You...." Sam started, pointing at him.

"I'm not under the authority of the IOA.  I could care less what their cranky ass, whiny opinion about anything is.  Especially not about protecting people.  Clearly, they're on the wrong side this time.  I can feed them to the box'o demon there if you want."

"Calm down," John ordered.  He looked at Ethan.  "Having fun?"

"Loads.  Janus is nearly shivering in joy."  He smirked at the boy.  "He can yell at your spouse for that."

"I can call in some favors and have Congress eaten," he said bluntly.  "Or have their soul deals called in.  They're all panicking and gathering their people before the apocalypses," he quipped with a smirk.  "Think they'll forget them?"

"No," he admitted.  He smirked at him.  "You're insane."

"It's being married and people wanting kids.  Please go nag my aunts back."

"I shall.  Later."  He took Woolsey with him.

John looked at his mate.  "Did you have more sugar?"

"Before the battle in case I needed to run."

"Did you eat dinner?" he asked patiently.

"No, I was busy then.  Did you?"

"No.  I had a Power Bar."  He sighed, putting him into a seat but Xander jumped like it was biting him.  "What?"

"Yours."  He sat down in his.  His phone rang.  "What?" he complained into it.  He walked into the hallway to take it.  "Repeat after me, Rona.  I'm a slayer, help me with this one or Xander is going to call in all his poker debts tonight.  In cash, artillery, or jewels.  Yes, I mean it," he said when the demons groaned.  "No, she's gone, Rona.  Need backup for the other two?"  He smiled.  "Wonderful.  Arguing with the spouse about my sugar intake.  He thinks I'm being bouncy and violent."  All the demons laughed.  "Help her and I'll give you guys another two weeks.  If not, well I've got my hunting and apocalypse bag with me because of her earlier.  I can come take out the stress of official sorts butting into an apocalypse by telling them they can't do things to protect people."  He hung up and walked back inside to flop down again.  "Buffy sent slayers to handle her earlier.  Rona's handling the other problems for the rest of the night."

"Good," Jack said.  For some reason he was glowing.  Rodney switched the crystal so it was on its tip instead.  The glow took over and flashed.  "Ow," Jack complained, rubbing his eyes.  He looked around.  "So that's what that did," he muttered.  "Cam, you're being officially adopted into the Court.  You're my local protector of that Mountain Court.  Sheppard, you and your nutball spouses are the local protector for this Court.  Carter, you and McKay are my science advisors and the creators.  Danny, you're my wisdom.  Try to keep me from starting a war or six this time."  They nodded at that. "Kid, you're the official Knight Protector of this Court.  Your job, when you're not saving everyone, is to protect the members of this Court.  Am I clear?"

"Yes, Jack."

"Good."  He clapped his hands.  "Now what?"

Xander pointed.  "The table's opening."  They crowded around to look.  He glanced over shoulders.  Cam shoved him off so he moved over to look over Sam's shoulder.  She never minded.  She smiled at him.  "Cam's mean and wouldn't let me look over his shoulder."  She giggled.  They went back to watching.

"That's the chair's view," John said.  It switched.  "There's another chair?"

"Maybe it's a throne?" Xander guessed.  It changed to that view.  "Where's that?"  A diagram showed up.  "Okay.  Is there a dot for that second viewing spot?"  One appeared.  "Huh."  John smiled at him.  "It seemed practical."  Something else popped up a dot.  "What's that?"

Rodney looked at him.  "A kitchen.  Apparently they think you're bouncy too."

"Keep it up and I'm taking my dog home tonight."

"Yeah, you probably should," John said.  "Woolsey spotted her during the attack and threw a fit."

"Can't I just wipe his mind?"

"No.  That's wrong," John reminded him.

"Yeah, but ...."


"Fine.  If he starts on me?"

"Be creative, not evil."

"Yes, John."

"I'd like to keep my job, Xander, and they're the ones who decide that."

"I won't be mean."

"Thank you."   He and Jack shared a look.

"It's special when a guy like him cares enough to protect your skinny butt," he said.

"I'm still leaving that up to him," Xander reminded him.  He yawned.  His phone rang.  "Not right now," he said into it then hung up.  A few minutes later it beeped with a message.  He sighed.  "Okay."  He straightened up.  "I've got to go.  The slayers need help with something."  He handed Rodney his earpiece.  "It's on the local tactical station."  He handed over his police band radio as well.  "They've been calling for me to talk to city hall for the last little bit so we could discuss the movie stunt that had panicked the city."  He gathered up his weapons.  John took it.  "They need it."

"It comes back tomorrow to be kept in my room, Xander."

"Fine.  Whatever."  He looked up.  "Ethan?"  He disappeared.

John looked at Jack.  "How do I deal with this?"

"Confiscate it," he said bluntly.

"I'm going to."

"Thank you," he said dryly.  "Any other nasty surprises he's hiding?"

"Who knows.  He won't tell me.  If I ask, he'll divert our attention with the dog.  Or going to stretch or work on the forge."

"We'll deal with the IOA thing," Jack assured him.  "We all know it wasn't your doing, it was his."

"Thank you, General.  He was a bit cranky."

"I'd think a major battle like that would make me cranky," Sam told him.

John looked at her.  "I don't think it was that sort of cranky."

"No, it's partially whatever he gave himself to block you out," she said smugly.  "And the fact that he's pissed that Oma treated him like a creature."

"That didn't make me happy either," he admitted.  "Now what?"

"Now, we make sure the others realize it," Oma told him.  "He should not be here."

"He's my spouse, even though we weren't totally willing," John said firmly.

"If you cared for him, you would go into battle with him."

John stared at her.  "He knows I have to be here now and then."

"A true warrior comes home because he has a reason to," she noted.

"He has plenty of reason to, including our dog."

"I think she's nagging you for not being an attentive husband," Cam told him.

"I'm very attentive."

"People, problems, please?" Rodney complained.  "I hear enough of his marital woes every day."

"I don't talk about him that often," John complained.

"Enough!" Daniel said.  "I'm agreeing with Rodney.  We can get into his marriage later.  Oma, what do we do next?"

"It's already been sent out that you think you're ready to start your own Court of Power."  She faded out, giving John a smug look.

John concentrated at Xander.  He could barely hear him.  He was pissed.  He sent a calming thought at him and got pushed off because Xander was pissed at the slayers.  He tried again and Xander growled at him.  So he stopped for now.  He straightened up.  "Okay.  I think I should find him and help them.  For some reason the slayers are annoying him and he's about to blow them up."

"Find out about these poker debts," Jack ordered.

"Any other hold he has over the IOA too please," Daniel said.  "General Landry would like it as well."

"Yup.  I'll ask once we're done."  He let Jack have him beamed to where Xander was fighting.  Xander had one bloody arm.  "What the hell!" he demanded.

"Who're you?" one of the girls demanded, sneering at him.

"His husband."  He walked around her.  She tried to grab him so he pushed her into a nearby wall.  She groaned as she hit.  "Rona."

"John.  He's fine.  It's barely a scratch but the scab broke.  He's fine."

"He's not fine.  He can't use his arm."  He made Xander let him look at it.  "Let me help," he told him.

"I'm fine.  You can tell them to blow you for the nagging."

John stared at him.  "No, I won't.  They were right to nag.  I should be hunting with you more often.  Now, quit fussing at me.  Also, they wanted to know what you had on the IOA."

"Half of them are demons.  A few are even flesh eating demons."

"Thank you."  He finished tying the torn part of the kid's shirt over his arm.  "Where is it?"

"There's two minions and then the visiting queen," Xander sighed.  "From the LA Pantheon.  Ethan's trying to help."

"Does he still have Woolsey?"

"No, he gave him to some Satanists he knows."  He walked off.  "C'mon, ladies.  Let's go."

"Which one are we getting?" Rona asked.

"All of them eventually.  The minions are up the street with the cops, beating the crap out of them."  She nodded and they followed.   The lesser slayers were grumbling.

John looked at them.  "Complain louder, let them know we're coming," he said dryly.  He looked at Xander, who looked serious.  "Plan?"

"Same as earlier.  Down and out."

"Good deal.  How many do we have left?"

"Should be plenty."  They walked around a corner and he sighed.  "Rona, you have the scythe, take the one on the left."  She nodded, leading the slayers that way.  He and John pulled out lesser things and blew it into the other minion.  His seven-foot body screamed and turned on them.  "You're in my city.  Leave, before I get pissed."  The thing lunged at him and Xander pulled out his battle axe and went after it.  John found a zat in there, for some reason, and hit the one the girls were dealing with.  It screamed in pain.  Two strikes knocked it silly.  He hit Xander's twice and screamed too.  Then they merged.  "Did I do that?"

"No.  They're 'zoids," Xander called back.  "Rona!"  She lunged in opposite him.  They cut the being in half.  It screamed and he chopped off the limbs.   He was panting when he was done.  One twitched and John got it with the zat.  Xander breathed hard, looking at the staring cops.  They all looked horrified.  "What?" he complained.

"Sir, were you in LA?"

"No, I was in Africa training some of the slayers there.  This is John, he was."  He walked off, grabbing his bag.  "Ladies, let's find the other one."

"Sir, if she was about six foot and blue?  We have her in jail."

"Named Illyria?"  They nodded, smiling.  "No, she's actually on our side.  Did she get the other one?"

"Yes, sir, they were fighting and she won."

"Good for her."  He smiled.  "She's an ancient God-King."

"Oh.  So....  Let her go?"

"Probably should, yeah.  But good work with her, guys.   You shouldn't have too many more of these."

"Um... I don't want to ask," one said, moving closer.  "But...  Earlier there was a problem on the docks?"

"Yeah, there was," he agreed with a smile.  "It's solved too."  They nodded and beamed.  "But I'd rather they be mad at some unknown Indie film shoot.  People get really weird around demons sometimes."

"Sure, I can agree with that," that officer agreed.  "We can clue them in and let them make up a cover story.  Are you local if we have more demon problems?"

"Usually I'm in Alameda.  If there's a problem I usually hear before you guys do.  Most of the local demon community is very peaceful.  They have their own council.  They tell me if there's a problem bothering humans."

"Sure, we get that," he agreed.  "Thank you for that information.  Are those coffins?"

"No comment," Xander said with a grin.  "We're coming up on an apocalypse.  That's why they were here.  I'll hear if you guys have any more and show up."  He grabbed his bag and walked off.  "Ladies?"

They followed.  John waved and followed.  On the way he looked out toward the Bay and groaned, calling in.  "Rodney, I can kind of see the main tower and the west side, plus the very bright glow of the main tower's lights."  It faded out. "It's cool now."  He hung up and jogged to catch up to Xander before he could disappear.  "Hey."

Xander looked at him.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Where did you get the zat?"

"Is that what it's called?"  He nodded.  "Won it in a poker game."

"Ah."  He patted him on the back.  "Come help me calm down by playing with the dog?"

"Your city hates me."

"My city loves you.  It's the blood taint that was calibrated into the shields.  Rodney excluded you."  They ran into Cam and Sam Carter.  "Handled."

"Good.  How did you get a zat?"

"Poker," he said dryly.

"Where did they get a zat?" Sam asked.

"She said something about an idiot who wanted her to bow to him so she kicked his butt and bit him to take it from him.  She had some hand thingy too but I couldn't get it."

"Can you introduce us so we can bargain with her?" Sam asked.

"Sure.  Why?  Is the hand thingy important?"


"Okay.  Sure.  The next time I see her I'll call."  He smiled.

"Good.  Now, Jack wanted us to make sure John wasn't a lenient spouse who let you keep artillery."


"Sorry," Cam said with a smug look.  "Shouldn't have brought it out."

"I sent her some of it."

"Not good enough," Cam said.  "C'mon, we're going back to the city."  He looked at the pouting slayers.

Sam pointed.  "That is Ghirardelli Chocolate company.  Tomorrow, they'll open, have a tour, and a huge gift shop."  They beamed at her for that.  "The hotel up the street is good and relatively inexpensive."

"Do I need to treat any injuries?" Xander asked them.

"No, it's mostly bruises, Xander," Rona assured him with a smile.  "Good work."

"Hey, I'm always up for backing up slayers," he told her.  She hugged him and walked the two pouting ones off.

"Why did he have to make a hottie like that one gay?" one complained.

"Their aunts said so because the Powers had a plan to make them evil so they'd kill us all.  That proves the Powers That Were are evil."

"Yeah, taking hotties and making them evil and gay would only get Buffy," one quipped.  The other huffed at her.  "It would!  She dates evil guys!  And you can't tell me Angel's not a bit gay.  Spike too!  Spike even calls Angel gay."

Xander groaned once they were out of hearing range, shaking his head.  "Sorry."

"They were mean for other reasons.  Making me your spouse might've been the only good thing they've done."  Xander gave him an odd look.  "What?"

"You've been hit on the head?"


"You've been cursed or something?  Because I can ask someone how to help you."

"No."  He almost sighed, knowing where this was going.  Someday, he was going to find Xander's parents to beat them to death.  He really was.  Or he might let Rodney do it, he was fond of Xander.  And Carter looked nearly maternal about him at the moment.  So, hey, backup.

"You're being mushy," he said quietly.  "You're not like this."

"You don't know that."  He walked him back to the jumper.  "I'm flying."

"I'm flying," Cam corrected.  "I haven't flown in a while."

"You never flew one of these," John said.

Xander gave the boys a strange look then looked at Sam.  "Were they infected with something?" he asked quietly.

"No."  She smiled.  "He had to make sure you were okay."


"Because he's your husband.  They do that sort of thing."  He still look confused.  She stroked his back.  "It's something people in a relationship do."

"I checked on Anya a lot but I know what I'm doing."

"Which means that you need more fussing.  And maybe some stitches."

"It's only a scratch."

"I could see bone," John corrected from the copilots's seat.  "It's not a scratch, Xander."  Xander ran toward the back door but John had anticipated that and closed it.

"Hey!  I don't want whatever infected you guys."

"You infected him, kid," Cam said, lifting them off.

"Cloak on," John noted.

"You and the dog can have the night napping on him.  Jack said so," Sam told him.

"That's sweet of him but John's not happy with me.  We'll fight."

"If you avoid it, you'll fight more and be more hurt.  So argue, then you and the dog can hide.  He likes to track from what I heard."

"That's really kinky, Sam," Xander complained, blushing some.

John looked back at them.  "Why is it you can walk into an S&M club by accident and not care, but the idea of being hunted down like the prize you are makes you blush?"

"Because I'm not?"

"Not blushing?  Yes you are."

"A prize."

"Shut up, Xander.  Yes you are and I'm tired of you putting yourself down."  He turned back around.  "Don't you dare touch that door release either.  Remember, the bay is very cold and it has sharks."

Xander looked at Sam, who shook her head.  "Real friends don't let their friends escape cuddles.  Sorry."

"Damn it, he's going to kill me," he muttered.

"I heard that.  I have no intention of doing more than hovering while someone decent does your stitches," John assured him.  "Then we're going to sleep for a week."

"By then they might have the idiot back."

"Maybe," John sighed.  "We'll deal with him when we have to."

"You sure you're not mad or cursed or something?"

"Quite," he said, giving his husband a dirty look.  "Quiet.  Let us fly."  Xander nodded, sitting down to watch them fly, for now.  He'd escape on the base.  That way he didn't have to be doctored and he could rescue his poor dog before she thought she needed her own gun.

"She hangs out more with the scientists," John said, hearing that thought.

"Then she's a lot smarter than I am."

"You're plenty smart, Xander," Sam assured him.  "You were the victim of the worst school district ever."

"If you say so."  He knew how to argue with girls, maybe he should try that on his husband since he wanted to argue?  John gave him a dirty look.  He shrank back down.  They finally landed and John pulled Xander out, keeping hold of him.  Cam tossed O'Neill the bag of weapons.

"Aww, just what I wanted," he said dryly.  The boy was floated up and had to sigh at that.

John touched his comm.  "McKay, didn't you exclude Xander?"  The shield went down a moment later.  "Thank you."  It went back up when they went inside.  He glared at the nearest wall.  "Watch me destroy half the buildings because you don't like my husband," he told it.  It released him and gave him a small nudge with a door.  "Okay, that's good."  He walked him off.  "He needs stitches, General."

"That's fine," he said dryly, waving and smirking at the boy when he gave them a 'save me' look.  "Do we think he's that upset?" he asked Mitchell quietly.

"No, probably not.  Worried, a bit pissed, nothing that horrible.  He won't beat the kid like I would for having that sort of artillery."

Jack looked in the bag.  "He brought a honeymoon kit too I see," he quipped.  Sam coughed and blushed, walking off.  Jack poured out the contents, letting Daniel repack anything mundane while he got all the pretty little boxes.  "How do I make them grow?"  They all grew, nearly knocking him down when a few tipped due to lack of balanced stacking.  "Never mind."

A few marines came jogging over.  "Sir, are these more of Colonel Sheppard's personal armory or the regular one?" one asked, helping him out from under a case.

"Sheppard would say his," Daniel said.

"We can stack them in his office then," one decided, getting a few others to help.  "Where did he find all these?"

"That nutball husband of his had an apocalypse vault," Daniel told them.  "He decided he might need it and it appears he was at least partially right."  They snickered, carrying the weapons off.  "You okay?" he asked Jack.

"Yeah, I'm good."  He dusted himself off, watching as McKay walked past grumbling.  "See how the kid shrank those," he ordered.

"He didn't, he paid someone to do that.  I asked when Carter got the first set."  He walked off shaking his head.  He didn't need to know how many the boy had been storing.  Maybe it was that hoarding compulsion some people had?


John walked Xander into the infirmary and pushed him onto a bed.  "It's just a scratch," Xander complained, hopping back up.

"I could see bone, it's not a scratch."  He pushed him back down.  Xander wiggled and slid off the other side of the bed.  "Don't make me ask Teyla or Ronon to come hold you, Xander."

"I don't need stitches.  Just a better bandage.  Maybe a few butterflies."  He took John's comm when he reached for it.  "Oh, no!  That's from that curse or whatever you got hit with.  That's why you're having the strange gooey mental thoughts and the bondage ones.  I don't like being tied down."

Ronon walked in with the doctor.  "What did you do?" he asked Xander.

"I backed up the slayers.  What do I usually do during an apocalypse?"

"What got hurt?"

"It's a tiny scratch."

"Doctor Keller, I can see my husband's arm bone," John told her.  "Ronon, help me catch him."

"Perhaps there is something else she'll find if she looks him over?" Ronon asked him.

Xander glared at him.  "It's not like I cheat, Ronon.  He'd have heard it if I even thought about it.  He does whenever I admire my neighbors rollerblading."

"They are pretty," John assured him.  "I have no doubt that the only thing she'll find is injuries he's hiding, Ronon.  Now, help me catch him before he wiggles away again."  Ronon shrugged and grabbed the boy, helping hold him down while he wiggled.

Doctor Keller looked at him.  "Make me knock you out," she said.  "Miss time with your spouse because you're in here all night."  He settled down at that.

"Thanks, Doc.  He's decided I'm cursed because I had a mushy moment."

"Some guys have very few of them," she said dryly.  She undid the make-shift t-shirt bandage and looked.  "That's...disgusting."

"What?" Xander asked, looking at it.  "Why is it black blood?  Did I get more mermaid taint?"

"Maybe it's where the shields keep catching you," John offered.  "We can ask Rodney."

"I'm taking some for tests," she told them.  "I can share with him."  She got all the samples anyone could want while stitching him up.  "Any others?" she asked.

"No," Xander said, looking pouty.

"You know, if he finds one on you, he'll drag you back here," Ronon told him.

"I doubt a hemorrhoid is going to freak him out too much."

Doctor Keller got the full body scanner and ran it over him. A shield came up again.   Xander growled and muttered something.  The lights went down, the shield fell down, and John gave his spouse the most interested look.

"Looks like I need to do an ATA test too," Keller quipped.  She finished the scan.  "There.  The dog's with Daniel in the library.  Go cuddle or whatever.  If he does have a hemorrhoid, be gentle around it before it ruptures," she told John.

"Thank you, Doc."  They let Xander up, walking him off.  "Muffin!" he called.

"It's amusing when we don't hear you screaming," a Marine complained.  "Though the dog is nice to have around.  Sir," he said with a sneer at Xander.

"I can throw that demon back in the water if you want," he offered dryly, staring him down.  The marine quickly walked off.  "Apparently he didn't like that idea."  He whistled.  The dog came running to growl at him.  He let her nuzzle and sniff him, still growling.  "It's not like that one bled on me," he complained.  She tipped her head to the side.  "I don't know.  C'mon, bed time, Muffin."

John nodded.  "It's the daddy.  Ask the mean, loud one why the blood taint came back so strong suddenly."  She ran off.  "If she goes to find Rodney...."

"My dog's smarter than me," Xander said dryly.  Ronon cracked up laughing.  "She is."

"She clearly might be.  Go to bed.  We'll find her and deliver her."  He followed the dog, finding her yapping frantically at Radek and him looking confused.

"You are not Lassie," Radek told her.  "And we have no wells."

"Her father is showing more than the usual demon taint and it scared her," Ronon told him.

Radek sighed.  "Did he transport or was he beamed?"  Rodney's head popped up.  "We know those can change body chemistry."

"In that case, we can use the transporters here in the city to weed some of it out," Rodney said, grabbing something.  "Come on, dog.  We'll fix your human so your other father can finally sleep.  Before he eats someone."  They walked off, finding Sheppard trying to pull Xander off Woolsey.  "Interesting."

"He said the IOA decided we're wrong to use what we have to keep ourselves from being destroyed," John said.  "Xander, let the man go."

Xander stared at him then sniffed.  "Not one of the flesh eating ones on the council.  Or the half-demons."  Woolsey gave him a horrified look.  "Yeah, we know.  The Council caught them eating out in London the other day."  He smirked.  "We are just out of two battles.  Do you think it's wise to try to piss someone off just out of a battle?  With battle nerves still coiled and all that good stuff?"

"I...I...two?" he squeaked.  Xander let up on the pressure, letting him breath easier.  "Two battles?" he demanded.

"Yeah, she had minions and we had someone visiting from the LA Pantheon," John told him.  "Plus the battle for here.  I don't know why the mermaid taint is coming forward so much."  He scratched the back of his head.

"Transporters," Rodney said, making John groan.  "We've had to compensate for other genetic instabilities being brought forward too.  Xander, let him go."

Xander looked at him.  "You may be a pack member, but I do not take orders from you."  He snarled at Woolsey again, making him flinch away.  "Leave my pack alone," he growled.  The dog barked.  "Even that one."

"I'm supposed to be in charge, we have to maintain order."

"That makes you sound stupid since you're now a scientific outpost.  Especially in the middle of the biggest series of apocalypses coming."  He let him go, staring at him.  "As for your snide question of who let me on Atlantis?  General O'Neill."

"You're a civilian....."

"We do have spousal visiting rights," Rodney said coolly.  "He's right about that.  Also, O'Neill wanted him here tonight because of what you tried to interrupt earlier."

"Who were they?" Woolsey asked Xander.

Xander smirked back.  "Slaver demons.  Ethan decided you were annoying the crap out of him too.  Purely on the say-so of some chaos breeding demons.  Congrats."   He looked at Rodney.  "What do the transporters have to do with all this?  Beyond the red eyes I get every time."

"It brought forward the demon taint to try to compensate for it most likely.  I can probably reverse it so you can apologize later on."

Xander smirked.  "He clearly doesn't know who or what he's talking to since I'm the liaison the Watchers Council gave to the program.  Complete with raised clearance.  Beyond that, I already knew all this.  Shit, people, the demon library in Pasadena has schematics, stories, and full histories of it."

"Can I get those?" Rodney asked.

"If you ask the local city council they might be able to get them for you.  I'm over my lending limit since I got some for Jackson."

"Excellent to know.  Thank you."

"Welcome.  They were on the ones who might help the Powers or join in."  He looked at Woolsey.  "You have no authority over anything because you answer to Gretchen, who is a flesh eating, chaos bred demon from another plane.  For that matter, the IOA has very little standing and the slayers in England do not like them.  We've had to talk them out of slaying the demons on your council many times.  Your fellow IOA people are going to be on the wrong side in this upcoming war between the Powers because the new ones won't let them take living victims.  Now, is your priority Atlantis or is your priority sucking demon dick?"

"You're very blunt," he complained.  "How do I know that's the truth?"

Xander looked at Rodney, who shrugged.  Then back at him.  "Ask her how Cibral was.  It's a very famous demon restaurant in the underground."

"Beyond that, I need him to undo the damage the transporters did," Rodney interrupted.  "Or else he'd just be tired instead of tired, flowing demon taint, and is that black blood on the bandage?"

"We noticed that earlier," John admitted.  "I haven't shown him anything classified.  O'Neill had him brought onto base, then he went to handle another battle, which I followed to help him with, then Mitchell brought him back on O'Neill's orders."

"I was told to keep him off this base.  The Council hates him."

"If it makes you feel any better, I can go steal the zat, that's what it's called, right?" he asked John, who nodded.  "I can go steal it back from O'Neill since he confiscated it and hit you so you forget you saw me."  The dog barked and wagged her tail. "She likes that idea."

"No, thank you.  I'd rather not be hit with a zat stun."  He looked at McKay.  "Is this all that taint from the transporters screwing him up?"

"No.  You did get him after two battles," John assured him.  "I was taking him to calm him down and rest, but you got in the way.  Like any soldier, he's on an adrenaline high right now, Woolsey."  He walked Xander off.  "Rodney."  He followed with the dog.

Woolsey sighed but went to his office.  He ignored the boxes stacked in Sheppard's office for tonight.  He'd do something about them tomorrow.  He found O'Neill in his desk chair.  "The IOA does not want that boy on Atlantis."

"Tough.  They have no say over him since he's a spouse and there is conjugal visits."

"They said he's a danger to the project."

"No, he's not, and I don't know why they'd say that.  He's done nothing but protect us so far."  He sat up.  "For that matter, I don't care what the IOA wants, Woolsey.  We're dealing with things outside their jurisdiction.  We may have allowed them to be formed but I don't give a damn.  I haven't given a damn. Their petty ploys are getting dangerous to my soldiers.  For that matter, I'll have McKay drop the shields in an instant if you or they annoy me again over some petty ploy they've cooked up to supposedly help us all."  He stared him down."

"He said half of them are demons?"

"I asked the head of the Watchers Council.  The report they got from one of their people stated that seventeen top members of the IOA are confirmed demons and there's another sixteen they're not sure about but seem to be at least demon tainted worse than Harris is.  They also had a meeting at a restaurant that serves living victims."  Woolsey shuddered.  "You're being played."  He stood up.  "What are they doing with him?"

"McKay thinks it's the transporters that brought forward the demon taint.  Why are you glowing?"

"Earlier.  We enacted some extra protection for the program and the city."  He walked out.  "Leave Sheppard alone.  We're facing at the very least three apocalypses within the year."

"Why?" he demanded.

"Because the old Powers, who your bosses like, are asses who wanted to kill everyone.  It took me, the mini me, and Danny to straighten out their former game plan when they fled.  Now they want their jobs back and the new ones can't give in or everyone will die.  Take your pick which side you're on."  Woolsey nodded at that.  "Until then, yeah, Sheppard can have conjugal visits so Harris can pet his apocalypse closet goodbye tomorrow."  He walked off.  He swore, sometimes the NID idiots that bothered them were better than the IOA ones.  Especially the paper pushers.

Woolsey sat down to videocall his people.  "Sir."

"Richard.  How goes your city?  Did you manage to keep that freak out of it?"

"No, I didn't."  The man he was talking to glared at him.  "Nor will I be as it was pointed out he did have the rights to conjugal visits.  I can't deny one's spouse and allow the others."

"Then cancel it."

"I can't do that, I'll have a mutiny and end up back in that camp of the slaver demons I got sent to earlier."  The man gave him an odd look.  "The former chaos sorcerer we had on base working as a nurse put me with them when I tried to follow orders earlier to stop them.  I'm glad they thought I was old and stringy."

"What were they doing?"

"I don't know.   I don't really care.  O'Neill was handling it after the major demon rose up around us.  I was not included in that conversation or situation."

"Did the demon kill anyone?"

"We had one person washed overboard by the waves but he was rescued.  She was defeated and her two lesser minions in town."

"How dare they!" he shouted.

"They're doing what they're supposed to be doing.  I don't particularly want to be destroyed this week."

"The city isn't important."

"Yes it is!  We have no idea how much more is hidden here!"

"No, it's not."

Jack walked in and stared at him.  "The kid was right, you are a flesh eating demon."  The demon hissed and glared at him.  He smirked.  "Leave the Knight Protector alone.  He has enough clearance to take over the city."  He hung up on the idiot.  "Saw enough?"

"Yes," he complained, looking at him.  "They're going to replace me."

"No they won't."  He made a call.  "Slayer Damara?  General O'Neill.  Yes, Jack.  They're fair game.  They tried to have Atlantis destroyed earlier, to kill the people, and protested that they had defended themselves.  Give me any information you find on them directly please."  He hung up and looked at the present head of Atlantis.  "It's going to get worse, Woolsey.  Protect the city.  You nearly died a few times doing it before.  Do it now when it's easier."  He walked off again.

"Does Sheppard have to keep all those in his office?"

"If he can shrink them again they'll all fit in his desk."

Woolsey slumped, shaking his head.  This was insane.  He looked over  and all but a few had shrank down.  He didn't want to know.  It was probably his husband's fault.


Rodney checked the fourth run through the transporter.  "It's going the wrong way," he muttered, recalibrating it.  "Okay, try it again," he ordered.  Xander huffed but did it again.  This time the black sludge stayed and the boy came back looking very human but pissed off.  "What?"

"It crossed," Radek panted as he jogged up.  "One of the new ones crossed transporter lines with him."  He undid that mistake and brought Xander back.  Still human.  Xander slumped but John caught him.  The dog sniffed him and barked, nuzzling the daddy's thigh.  "There, take him and make him sleep," he told the dog.

"Thanks, guys," John said, walking Xander up the hall to his apartment.  The dog barked at them and followed.  He opened the door and let the dog go first since she insisted.  She went to water the tree on his balcony so she was being good.  He put Xander on the bed and took off his boots before going into the bathroom to clean himself up.

Xander woke up and blinked around.  "Huh."  He sat up.

"Lay down," John called.  "Get comfy."


John looked out.  "I hate it when you get insecure so stop it.  I couldn't stand it in my girlfriends and I hate it when you do the same thing.  So drop it.  Right now, we're going to sleep.  We both need the rest after earlier."  He disappeared again.  "The shower's here if you want one."

Xander stripped and came in to take a shower.  "Are you sure...."

John made Xander look at him.  "If I was mad, I'd be yelling.  I'll yell tomorrow about all this."

"I...I didn't mean to upset your boss."

"Technically he's not my boss.  He might try to have me removed as Atlantis's head of the military."

"If I heard right, O'Neill told the slayers to have a field day with the IOA."

"Good!  Take a shower."   Xander nodded, getting in to do that.  John smiled, turning on something.  A sonic shower would do good with the goo on him.  Xander yelped and covered his ears.  "Sorry.  Forgot they're more sensitive than mine."

"It's okay," he said loudly.  John turned it to hot water and Xander nearly melted.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He went back to cleaning himself up for the night.  He saw a few spots of scabs and stripped down, getting in to wash Xander down so he could check those.  "I can help," he said when the boy stiffened.

"You're still mad at me."

"I might be a bit pissed but if I was mad, we'd be sparring, Xander.  Now, let the topic go.  For tonight, it's a conjugal visit."

"Sure," he said, sounding tired.  Xander let him help him wash his back, grimacing when he checked the two small sores.  "I sat on the wrong thing in Africa."

"Ah."  He helped him rinse off then did his own shower quickly.  Xander got out and John smirked.  "Clearly you're not used to showering with us yet."

"You guys don't do that at home."

"No, not often," he agreed.  He finished up and came out to dry off.  Xander was giving him shy looks.  "Bed."

"It's tiny."

"We'll fit."  He got Xander under the covers and laid down behind him.  It was his way of napping with him, more comfortable to him.  The dog came and hopped up behind them so he shifted them over.  Xander let out a small moan.  "Sore?"

"Little bit.  I'll be better tomorrow."

"Good."  He willed the lights off and just held him.  Neither one could sleep yet but that was fine.  John had to think about what he wanted to do if he was removed from Atlantis for Woolsey and Xander getting into it.  He had no idea.  Xander's mind was in a fuzzy state so he stared at his hair.  He gave him a gentle mental nudge, getting a grunt back.  "Sleep."  Xander flipped over to hold him.  He smiled.  "It'll be fine."

"No it won't.  I shouldn't have attacked him.  Even if he was going to try to have me sent into the ocean."

"He can kiss my ass."

"You love your job."

"Yeah, and I'll still probably be in the SGC."  He shrugged.  "Then we'll move you to Colorado."

Xander snorted.  "Snow and no beach?"

John smiled.  "Yup."  He smoothed a hand down Xander's arm.  "It's fine, Xander."  The dog barked quietly.  "You sleep too."  She got down and went to sleep in front of the doorway.  "Okay."

"It's nice, we have the bed again."

"You and she usually make Tony and I sleep on the very edge," John said dryly.  He gave him a squeeze.  "Sleep.  We'll deal with it tomorrow."

Xander shook his head.  "I can't sleep.  I'm too wired from the fight."

"Me either."  He kissed him.  That was the most sure way to wear them both out so they could sleep.  They were even conveniently undressed.  He had lube stashed somewhere.  Muffin sniffled at them then picked up something and brought it over before going out onto the balcony to sleep.  John and Xander snickered.  She had brought them the oil John used for leg cramps.  Xander shrugged and decided it was a good thing.  He moved down to make John sigh in pleasure from a blow job.

John tensed slightly at the intrusion into his ass but it was good.  Xander was playing his body like a symphony.  The stretching was barely noticeable with the way his husband could suck him.  He was groaning encouragement and probably getting a bit loud but his neighbors could leap.  Xander finally slid into him and looked down at him, giving him a gentle, long, slow ride that made him grip the bed.  John let himself go, just enjoying it for now.  He finally came and Xander kissed him, holding him.  John went limp, holding him back.  "Now I need a shower in the morning," he teased.

"You would anyway.  You sweat most nights."  He kissed him again.  John yawned in the middle, making him smile.  "Sleep."  John nodded, drifting off.  Xander laid there thinking for a bit longer, hiding it from both of them.  He had to do something about this series of battles.  It was his fault.  His damn temper.  It made him do stupid things.  Like earlier.  He'd have to apologize tomorrow.


John woke up alone and blinked, sighing.  Not even the dog.  He got up and cleaned up, then headed out once he was dressed.  He found Xander in Woolsey's office and glared at him.

"Chill, I was apologizing, John."  He looked at him.  "It's the pack imperative to protect them."

"I've seen studies on the pack mentality.  What started that in you?"

"A possession by an alpha hyena back in high school."  Woolsey gaped.  He nodded.  "She's very happy and about the only one not nagging us to have kids."

"I think I heard a 'cubs' comment one night," John said, leaning on the doorway.  "Why didn't those shrink?"

"They were probably opened."  He shrugged.  "I can reset it."

"You still can't have the artillery back," John pointed out.  He patted him on the back.  "Are you two still fighting?"

"No," Woolsey said.  "He was right.  A lot of the IOA board were demons who wanted the old ways back.   They were arrested last night at that cannibal's place with a lot of others."  He grimaced.  "I'm told the police got sick."

"Yeah, that place and the one like it in LA is really disgusting," Xander agreed.  "At least the ones in Sunnydale could buy it from the hospital."  He shrugged.  "Okay, since we've saved this city and I have to go back to work...."

John tapped him on the shoulder.  "On what?  And can I see that dagger?"

"Each Knight Protector finds or makes their own weapon."  He let him have it.  "That's the most practical I could have since an axe or a sword isn't used as much anymore."

"No, it's not," he agreed.  He could feel the magic in the blade, handing it back carefully.  He moved closer behind Xander.  "So you two are done spitting and hissing?"

"Yes," Woolsey sighed.  "Are you going to leave to help him with those fights?"

"We're on to protect this coast to the Mountain if something happens.  We have no idea where they're going to fight."  The dog barked.  "Morning, Muffin."  She went to a window and barked.

Xander looked then went outside, staring at the large man.  "Hi."

He stared at him.  "There was not supposed to be a Knight Protector for many years yet, until they got better at adapting things."

"The Powers are fighting."

"I've heard, young one.  You were right to drive them off for their plans."  He patted him on the head with a smirk.  "It will not happen here or I will destroy them myself.  They do not have my permission to fight in my waters."

Xander smiled.  "So you're not mad that I took out that cousin of them last night?"

"No.  She's annoying.  Jealous because I wouldn't sleep her with her once."  He smiled and patted John on the head.  "Knight."  He looked between them.  "Hmm, that gives the Knight Protector stability and a reason to come home.  Good."  He smiled.  "I have talked to the other ones of us in the waters.  They are not fighting here."

"Thank you for that wonderful news," Xander said with a beaming smile.  "Do you mind if I surf later?"

"No, I have never minded people enjoying my domain for fun, young one."  He sank down again.

Xander smiled at the watching people.  "Poseidon."  He beamed.  The dog barked so he looked.  "Oh, hey," he said.  "What's up, Todd."  The merman bubbled.  "Sure, I'll keep that in mind.  This is my husband.  Can you leave these guys alone?"   He nodded and disappeared again.  "Rodney, you guys have a light out underneath and one of the antenna like things is cracked."  Rodney groaned.  Xander walked around the stunned people, running into Carter.  "Hi!"

"Hi," she said with a smile.  "Poseidon?"

He nodded.  "Yup."

"That's good news.  I send Jack the film."  Xander beamed.  "I'll send them to Giles."


"Cam is going with you and John to pick up the rest of your artillery."

"Nope.  Because I'm not going home."  He smirked.  "I've got to head to LA."

"Uh-huh," she said dryly.  "Why?"

"To close down a really disgusting place.  Plus in case Sam and Dean need more backup than Rona."

"No," Cam said.  "You can stop at home first.  That way the dog can rest."

"I was going home after that."

"Sure, they can show up for a cookout tonight," John said as he walked past them.  "Breakfast?"

"Food?" Xander said, perking up.  "Caffeine?"


"What was that?" Rodney shouted.

"Poseidon," Xander called back.  "He's a nice guy when you don't piss him off."  He looked at the dog.  "Food?"  She barked and followed the daddy to the food.  John made Xander get real food and coffee, then more coffee when he inhaled it.  Rodney stomped in and stared at them.  "It was nice of him," Xander said when he spotted him.

"It might have been but he disappeared."

Xander gave him a confused look.  "Why would he stay?"

Rodney groaned, smacking himself on the forehead and stomping off.  The dog jogged after him to nuzzle him then came trotting back.

"That was nice of you, Muffin," John said, petting her.  He let her have a few more pieces of sausage.  "LA?"

"Yeah, since they busted the restaurant in London, I figured I'd show the nice agents I know in LA about that one."

"They might like that.  Woolsey, what did O'Neill want us to do today?"

"Settle back in, go over the systems to make sure it's working and solid.  The shield went down?"

"We had some ghostly images and a really bright tower light."


"The cops caught us handling the other two demons," Xander told him.  "They told their people to please don't make people panic."

"Even better!"  He looked at the dog.  "Is she eating all the sausage?"

"No, just mine," John said.  He handed her some of Xander's eggs.

"I think we might have a can of dog food around here," Woolsey sighed.  The dog pounced him, knocking him down to lick him.  "What are you doing!" he complained.

"She's happy that you thought of her," Xander said with a smile.  "Muffin?"

The cafeteria worker brought out a paper plate of wet dog food.  The dog got off Woolsey to follow her, lapping her before digging in.

"Thank you," Xander said, smiling at her.

"It's no problem.  She has better manner than some of the scientists."  She went back there.  "There's new eggs just put out."

John took their plates to get seconds.  Since Muffin had eaten half of his and Xander needed more since he hadn't eaten lunch or dinner yesterday.  Xander beamed and dug in.

"I'm going to gag on the sweetness," Woolsey muttered as he left them alone.  "Sheppard, those get shrunk again or they go in the armory."

"Fine.  We can shrink them again," he told Xander, who beamed.  "We'll meet you at home in about three hours?"

"Sure.  Pick up something to put on the grill?"

"Yeah, I can do that."  He dug in, watching Xander.  He'd have to break him of the desire to go solve all the wars since it wasn't really his fault.  Not that he wouldn't feel the same.


Xander walked into the FBI office, smiling at the agent that had questioned him.  "Want to see something really gross you guys will hate?"

"Does it involve weapons or drugs?"

"No, living victims."

"Yes, I do."  He grabbed his jacket and Xander took him down to a restaurant.  They were closed but they were carrying in people.  "What are they doing with the cadavers?"

"They're not dead.  That's a flesh eaters restaurant."


"I'd assume so.  I don't know many human cannibals that eat out.  But you have seen one star eating there in the news."

Don got out of the SUV and snuck closer to peek in the windows.  What he saw made him nauseous.  He snuck off calling his people.  They showed up with lights, sirens, and with the health department.  They rushed in and some agents puked.  Others wanted to shoot people.  They all agreed it was disgusting.

Don's boss and the head of the health department stomped over to him where he was outside fighting the stench of dead flesh.  "How did you know about this?" the head of the health department asked.

"One of the people who would've been at the invasion if he had been local enough told me."  He kept himself from puking, backing away.  "Sorry, stench."

"We understand," the health department person said.  "Those are demons?"

"Most likely.  He did say that he saw a star eating here in the news."

"That's disgusting," his boss decided.  "Good job."  He walked off.

"Thank you.  We had noticed a sudden fleeing of the homeless in certain areas of the city and had wondered."  He left.  "Oh, Agent Epps, lemon juice takes that off you."

"Thank you for that."  He looked but Harris had disappeared.


Xander came out of the portal to LA, looking at the watching demons.  He turned on the tv and pointed.  "They got the one in London too."  He beamed.

"What did the flesh eaters do to you?" the bartender complained.

"The IOA," he said dryly.

"Never mind!" he said, backing away.  "They bothered your husband."

"They tried to screw with my pack."  Everyone stared at him.  "How many of you know I get possessed really easily?"  They all nodded.  "Hyena, tenth grade?"  They all groaned and some money and cats changed hands.   "Speaking of money, poker debts?"  They all groaned.  "Two weeks, guys.  I've got to spoil the husband because I fucked up last night."

"He forgave you," John said from his seat at a poker table.

"If you're sure."

"But pay him in something besides artillery, please.  Otherwise we have to confiscate it," Cam told him.  He and Sam were learning from someone else.

"Hey, Spike," Xander said.  He walked over.  "Don't play that card, Sam."  He looked at them.  "Weren't you guys going to figure out what we were grilling?"

"Daniel did," she said with a smile.  "You done?"

"Yeah, that place is down."

Cam looked at the tv, grimacing.  "Yuck."

"Very.  And now some star is going to freak out because she ate there."  He walked off.

John caught his hand.  "Give me some luck before I have to go adopt a cat to pay them."

Xander looked at his hand.  "Have you discarded?"

"Not yet.  This is the crappiest hand."

"Yeah, it is.  But then again the dealer cheats all the time."  He pointed.  "Those three."  The cards were exchanged.  John smirked at him.  Xander smiled back.  "So I make a decent luck token?"

"All you need is the slinky dress like the ones in Vegas wear," he taunted bak.

"I can't imagine me in a slinky dress, John.  Tony maybe.  He has the legs for it."  He started to walk away but John pulled him back and sat him next to him.  The demons shrugged at that.  "Okay."

"That way you can't go hide things."  The dog barked at them.   "It's okay, we'll go soon, Muffin."  John Winchester came out of the portal.  "Winchester."

"Hey," Xander said.  He petted his dog.

"What the...."  He looked around.

"Peaceful demon bar, John.  What's up?"

"The girls in London are high."

"From getting the flesh eating restaurant?"

"I don't know.  They did?"  Xander pointed at the tv.  He watched then shuddered.  "Eww."

"Very, which is why I told them," Xander agreed.  He smiled.  "Any other news?"

"No, not yet.  What are they doing?"

"Kitten poker," Xander said.

"I don't need to know," he decided with a sigh.  "Spike, the girls want you back."

"In a few."  He looked at Xander.  "There's another problem in the area."


"Something else in the water?"

"We saw Poseidon."

Spike blinked at him.  "How in the bloody hell do you get into those things!" he demanded.

"I was barely awake.  He showed up to tell us they won't be fighting in his waters."

"That's good to know," John decided.  "Was that the problem, Spike?"

"Possibly."  He was still giving Xander funny looks.

"After working with him and even living in his apartment, you're still surprised at what he can get into?" John asked without having to look.  The demons laughed.  "He said he talked to the other water denizens.  They won't be fighting in the water."

"Excellent news," John decided, pulling Spike with him.  He'd save the tamed vampire this time.  Before they both lost their minds about whatever Xander got into this time.  They went to be pouted at by the youngest slayers, which would save a little bit of their sanity since they wanted a pet.  Spike handed them his last kitten from the poker game.  They cooed and left them alone.  Buffy glared at them.  John turned on the tv and pointed.  "Xander did it."  She watched then walked off nodding and holding her head.

Xander grinned at his mate.  "I like that look on their faces."

"Clearly," he said dryly.  He took a kiss.  "Behave and we'll go cook."  He let Xander tell him to dump a card he wanted to keep but the next one was very good and a wild card.  He won two cats but let them keep them.  "The dog might get attached."

"The city could use a few pets," Cam teased.

"We have six cats thanks to the mother cat," John said dryly.  "You didn't see the tabby in the lab, Carter?"

"I did but I decided to ignore it."

"She swam out."

"I figured someone had smuggled her in," Cam said dryly.  "The kittens were cute.  They tried to attack Ronon's hair in the gym."

"Did Woolsey see them?" John complained.  "We've been ignoring telling him."

"He had a small blood pressure spike but O'Neill laughed and said she had swum out, to get her fixed before there were more kittens, and the first time one got hurt he'd steal them for the main base and some allies," Sam said with a smile.  "Then Woolsey went to the infirmary to lay down and make sure he wasn't having a stroke."

"She swum out," John defended.  "She's Rodney's cat and the shrink's her other mother."

"There is pet therapy," Cam said with a shrug.  "Jackson pointed that out."

"Yeah, that's what broke Woolsey," Sam agreed.  She folded.  Cam won the hand and had them send the cat to O'Neill.   They left, going with the boy.  "So, Xander.  We saw your closet.  Very nice machine gun you can't have."

"It was a present."

"Tough," Cam said.

Xander looked at him.  "Are you playing bad guy so I can't pout at John?"

"Yup.  It's me or Gibbs, kid."  He clapped him on the back.  They walked in to find O'Neill at the grill, Daniel in the kitchen, and the dog headed to water a tree.   "So, this closet...."

Xander huffed but took them that way.  "Blessed paintballs," Sam read.  "Good idea, Xander."

John looked at her.  "There's a lot of good ideas in his head."

"You're so sappy," Sam teased.  "Was last night good?  We heard you guys got a bit loud."

"I did?" Xander asked innocently.

"No, he did.  One of his neighbors complained and got told it was a conjugal visit after a battle.  They decided they wanted to see their own spouse."  She looked.  "Not the bigger vault?"

Xander moaned, opening the trap door for her.  "See?  Nothing."

John looked at him, shaking his head.  "Nice try."  He smirked.  "Floor vault?"

"Floor vault?" Xander asked innocently.

"Muffin, let's load up for hunting," John said.  She barked and bounced over, pawing at the floor vault.  "Good girl!  Yeah, that's what I want."  He found the release latch and opened it, staring at the row of little shrunken boxes.  She pawed at one.  He took it out to look at the markings on it.  "Yeah, I like that one too.  We can use that."  He tossed it to Cam.

Cam read it then looked at the kid.  "How in the hell?"

"Poker debt," Sam said, looking at him.  "They said you were a shark."

"Wellllll...."  He shrank back, running into O'Neill.  "What's for dinner?"

Jack looked at the box, holding out a hand.  He read the side then swatted the kid hard.

"Ow!  You learned that from Gibbs!"  He rubbed the back of his head.

"Yes I did.  It's very handy," Jack said.  He walked over to look in the vault then at the kid.  "How much did they owe you in poker debts?"

"Um, about a thousand kittens?"  Muffin barked.  "Maybe a few more.  I don't make them pay me with artillery."

"No, but they know you enjoy weapons," Cam said with an evil smirk.  He looked at John.  "Have you ever considered spanking?"

"No, I don't think it'd help."  He stared at his mate.  "Well?"

"Well what?" he defended.

John smirked.  "No artillery.  They can arrest you for that.  We'd hate to bail you out.  Gibbs might not let Tony bail you out.  So let me hold the hunting closet.  I won't get in trouble.  You won't get in trouble.  We won't lose you to prison.  You can get it back whenever you need it.  I promise I won't complain if you need some of it unless you want to blow away someone who irritates you in traffic or something.  Please?" he asked more quietly.

Xander sighed.  "That'll leave me without things."

"It won't.  You can get it from me."

"I can't make it to the city and then back to the emergency."

"I can have it beamed to you if it's that desperate," he assured him.  "Right, General?"

"I think that'd be a good thing, yeah."  He stared at Xander.  "Your choice.  Gibbs said it's gone or he's tossing you in a cell."

Xander groaned, patting something on the wall.  It unhid the other two floor vaults and another case against the wall.  That one had guns.  The other floor vaults had money and other things.  John found the passport in it.  "Theft risk with the demons."

"Can't they find this?" Cam asked.

"No, it's higher magic," John said, staring at Xander.  "You're seriously scary yet impressive.  Not even Ronon can be this scary and impressive."  Xander gave him a hesitant look.  "That's a good thing."  He gave him a hug.  "Anything else?"

"If I tell you...."

"I'll definitely spank before we give you to Gibbs when I find them."  Xander groaned.  "C'mon.  I'll give you a nice reward," he offered.

"I'll be without anything I might need," he complained.  "If I'm in the middle of a fight even beaming it might not get it there fast enough."

"I'd hear," John pointed out.

"If I'm going to start having visions from them I'll have to block you out so you're not affected."  They heard Tony's opinion and he countered it.  Tony shot back that he'd never get to visit him in jail.  Plus that it'd hurt his and John's job.  Xander growled at that threat.  Tony got him calmed down but John was backing him up.  "I can't!" he told John.

"You'd better.  He's right."

Xander glared at him.  "I've had some of them for years."

"That was Sunnydale.  This is the rest of the world.  You showed your gifts a few too many times," John said bluntly, staring him down.

"I get his point," O'Neill said.  He didn't want to witness a full blown domestic argument between those two.  "Yes, in the middle of a fight it might take too long to get it to him.  Then again," he told Xander.  "You can pack before battles.  You'd do it anyway.  You probably over pack, the same as we do."

Xander stared at him.  "Half of them I run into.  Usually without warning."

John squeezed his eyes shut and concentrated.  The rest of the hidden symbols popped up.  He patted them and looked around.  He looked at his mate.  "We will be packing you a kit, for the car," he said calmly.  "We'll pack you a good kit.  You can have anything you need but artillery and if you need it, you'll let me know.  Because right now I'm not sure if I'm scared or impressed."

Xander stared at him.  "I might need more than that.  It's not like you hunt, you don't know what I carry with me."

"I've seen your kit."

"That's only half of what I carry."

"So we'll look at the whole thing," Jack said tiredly, looking at him.  "Poker debts?  Really?  All this?"

"Not all of them have weapons."

"Yeah," Daniel said, smiling at him. "You can make a lot of things into weapons, Xander.  We love that about you."  He patted him on the back.  "John, take him out to grill while we look."

"But....  They're like my kids," he sighed.

Cam looked at him.  "Seriously?" he asked, giving him an odd look.

"It's not like he had pets before," John defended.

"I've seen others," Jack said to break up the argument.  "Ronon's the same way after all the time he spent living on his wits and weapons.  Teal'c too sometimes but he's got a family."

"This is actually perfectly normal behavior," Daniel agreed.  "It's rational for what he's done in his life.  I'm impressed he found someone to shrink it for him.  I'd guess a lot of this was carried with him to Africa."

"I had to get Willow to send my pack so I didn't have to bring it through Customs," Xander admitted.

"Which, again, totally reasonable," Sam agreed, looking at Cam.  Who threw his hands up and walked off shaking his head.  "If all you had to rely on was Buffy, Willow, Angel, and maybe a few other friends, plus whatever you could make, steal, or borrow to save your life, you'd do the same thing, Cam."

He came back.  "I know I can depend on myself and my own skills."

"What skills?" Xander snorted.  "Everything I have is because of a possession."

Cam stared at him.  "That's either seriously fucked up low self esteem or he should paddle you for putting yourself down."

"Cam," Sam warned.  She gave him a pointed look.  "There's a ton of stuff you don't know."  She patted Xander, making him relax slightly.  "He had a good family," she said in his ear.  Xander shook his head, walking off.   "John?"  He nodded, following him.  She glared at him.   "Do you realize how many of his cohort group he saw killed?" she hissed.  "Even without knowing why.  His graduating class was just over a hundred.  It started at over six hundred."  He shuddered, backing away.

"He had parents that were bad enough I wanted to track them down to beat them," she hissed.  "His school was full of evil little toads who treated the kids like farm animals.  He was learning things that I got in middle school in high school."  He slumped.  "He jumped into a war without training, without any sense of what he was in for, unlike us when we volunteered.  We got training, weapons training, and a lot of other things that he had to learn on the job.  With girls who thought he was too normal to help and kept shoving him away even when he saved their asses."

"I've seen guys that have had their whole team shun them because they were a bit weird," Cam admitted.

"Did it look familiar?" John asked from behind him.  "Xander took Muffin for a run."

"Can you still hear him?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah, his mind's in turmoil.  He's having flashbacks to them.  He's still blaming himself for this whole situation."  He looked at Cam.

"Do not even glare at me.  I don't know anyone like this."

"I do.  He and Ronon are like scary brothers."  He looked at Jack.  "He's doing the three mile loop."

"We can clean the weapons out in that time," he promised.  "We'll sort out a quick pack, a hunting pack, and groups of things to send him later on.  With his input."

John nodded at that.   He stared at something and pointed.  "That's a self destruct."

Jack groaned, packing everything while Sam and Cam disabled that.  The pile of little boxes was like Christmas.  Sam pulled out a mini camera to check around the spaces, pulling out more trays of little boxes of weapons.  John didn't watch because it would bleed back to Xander.   Jack stared then nodded.  They packed it up and Sam took it to do an inventory.  Cam went with her before the kid blew up at him.  "It's clear."

John came back.  "We sure?  I really don't want to have a felon for a spouse."  Xander told him something.  He sent back what he was thinking.  Xander groaned then growled and he winced as he attacked the vampire who was trying to taunt him.  "He, of course, just got attacked."  He jogged out, heading for where he was.  They all jogged together when they were all home.  On the way he got a branch and got it while Xander struggled.  "Hi," he said.  Muffin barked at him.  Xander panted, staring at him.  "Welcome?"

Xander punched him on the arm.  "Thank you."

"Not a problem.  I know you can handle it most of the time.  You simply forgot a stake."  He stared at him.  "Really, must you?" he asked quietly.

"Yeah, I do."

"Make a deal with me?  Get a hunting kit?  Just solidly pack one?  We'll help you.  We don't want to make the job any harder than it is."  He moved closer.  "Please?"


"You have enough tactics to get around not having enough weapons on hand immediately.  You know damn well that even if you've blocked us, you can still break through it and yell."

"Actually, I can't with this stuff."

"Then we'll make sure you can."

Xander stared at him.  "I still have to be there."

"It wasn't your fault!" he reminded him.  "It could've been anyone!"

"But it wasn't, it was me."

"It was us," he corrected.

"It was me.  I started it.  You came up to try to stop me."  He looked around.  No one was around.  "You didn't have to.  You wouldn't have hurt them."

"Bullshit."  He stared at him.  "Did you ever think that we all have these guilts?  Hell, I helped wake up the wraith," he said quietly, glancing around.  "By accident.  We all have something if we're soldiers."

"This is my second," he said, looking down.

"I don't care if he had his soul, it was the right thing to do," John said firmly.  "I don't care if it hurt her or not.  He started it, his blood had to finish it, and I'll be damned if you're going to blame yourself for doing what needed to be done."  He moved closer, making his husband look at him.  "I would've done the same thing.  Cam too.  Sam and Daniel and Jack too.  Ronon would've probably taken him out himself," he admitted, making Xander give him a weak smile.  He petted the dog's head when she nudged his hand.  "No one blames you for that," he said calmly, making his mate stare at him.  "Even if Buffy does, that's because she was being emotional about it."  Xander shrugged.  "If we asked Dean and Sam, what would they say?"

"I should've done it for him long before she did.  Probably when she failed to get him in the mall after the Judge."

"Did you ask?"

"Sam and I got a bit lit and talked about it," he admitted.  "He suggested I do the mansion while he was sleeping."

"It's not a bad tactical solution.  Might've gotten you in more trouble though."

"Probably, yeah.  Unless I could've blamed it on methane demons."

John smiled.  "Now, can we go work out packs?  That way you have a good hunting pack, one that won't make me worry or a widow?  Plus packs for my office so I can send you things right off."  Xander opened his mouth.  "O'Neill agreed with that."  Xander closed his mouth.  He took a kiss.  "So, just calm down, please?  Is there anything else hidden?"

"Go home!" someone shouted.  "Make out there!"

"We have military guests!" John called back.  They huffed off.  He looked at his spouse.  "I don't want to ask for conjugal visits in a prison, Xander.  I'd rather bring you back to my room."

"Your bed's tiny."

"We can all fit," he said with a smug look.  "The kid can sleep on the balcony."  He petted her.  She barked and lapped his hand before sniffing around the dust pile and growling.  John looked.  "It's dead, Muffin."  He saw something move.  "Okay," he said, putting in his comm.  "We're at the park up the street, just below the circle back to the main road.   Come see this huge worm," he said dryly.  "That was in a vamp."  Jack choked and spluttered.  He looked at Xander.  "Any others?  You know Tony's going to have to nark."  Xander sighed but nodded.  "Where?"

"Warehouse of the guy who shrinks it for me.   A few more hidden around the house.  One I was fixing by the forge."

Cam came jogging up, staring at the pile of dust.  "Damn it!" he complained.

"Yeah, exactly," John agreed.

"I've, um, seeing a lot of those recently?" Xander said hesitantly.  "Six or seven.  I've always burned them," he defended when Cam stared at him.

"All in the same area?"

Xander nodded.  "Yeah.  Is that the snake thingy that we heard rumors about?  Because I'm not sure a vamp would work for that.  Doesn't it have to be a living body?"

"Unless they adapted to the vamp virus," John said.  "The thing in the blood that turns, that acts like a retrovirus?"  Xander nodded.  "Okay.  So maybe the queen that did it got hold of some or they're adapting to remain hidden?" he guessed.

"There's a huge underground community," Xander said.  "And better hosts than vampires.  I'm surprised the demon doesn't mind them."  He considered it.  "We need to find another one."

"Later," Cam ordered.  He stabbed the gou'ald larva.  Muffin panted and wagged her tail at that.  He smiled.  "Good to know you approve, dog.  C'mon, let's get home."  He looked at Xander.  "I get that they're your lifeline, Xander.  I shouldn't have said that."

"It's cool.  No one understands.  Even John and he's in my head."  John swatted him.  "Did you pick that up off Tony?"

"Yup."  He took the leash and they walked off.  "One by the forge?"

"Daniel found it," Cam promised.  "Sam found another six around the house with a sensor."

"You're missing two then," Xander said.  "Bedroom?"

"You keep one in your bedroom?" John asked.

"How often are people attacked while they sleep?"

"Good point."  He cleared up the confused look, shaking his head.  "Plus a warehouse where the guy that's doing it for him uses."

"Sure," Cam agreed.  "Xander?"

"Must I?"

"Yeah.  You can have it back for use but not to hold.  Like your birthday present."

"I never see my present."

"It's in my room hiding as a seat."

"Is that what that was?" Xander asked him.  John nodded, smirking at him.  "Muffin looked good modeling on top of it."

"She's not the show model that would make me buy something," Cam quipped.

John laughed.  "For some things but not weapons.  I want scantily clad bikini girls."

"They never talked to me," Xander said with a small shrug.  "I don't get the pretty ones."

"He's plenty pretty," Cam told him.

Xander smirked.  "He is.  I'm very lucky since I'm not pretty."

"You're fairly pretty," John said.  "Even with the eye patch."  He smiled.  "Tony's our pretty one."

"So we're agreed, we'll let him play luck and put him in the slinky Vegas dress and heels?" Xander teased back.

"Sure."  Tony complained at that thought.  "It'd even help those people who don't want us all to be men.  Like the aunts."

"You guys are sick," Cam told them.
"Tony was bred for pretty," John said.  "People in that group usually are."

"Or they have surgery," Cam reminded him.

"Maybe his mother but not him."  He heard his comm come on.  "Evan, what's wrong?"  He listened.  "No, he can't touch them.  Because we're in the middle of an apocalypse?"  He smiled.  "Tell him they'll bite.  Plus he's going to need them back."  He listened to Lorne tell him that.  "You know what, tell him to get the hell out of my office and get any back, Lorne.  Because if he touches it again, the next battle, I'm bringing him with me.  By force if I have to."  Lorne said that and Woolsey called all those back.  "Thank you.  We'll be back later or tomorrow.  General's decision.  Need anything?  Sure, I can pick you up a copy of that.  Or look in my room beside my bed.  That's fine.  Make sure the present's still in there."  He hung up.  "Woolsey wanted to claim all of it for our armory."

"O'Neill's ready to hand him back to whoever Rayne gave him to last night," Cam said.  They walked in through an open wall.  "General."  He looked over from the grill.  Cam held up the snake on his knife.  "He's seen a few of them."

"Damn it," he muttered.

"We're not sure why," John admitted.  "We were thinking about finding one and asking, sir."

"Please do."  He looked at Xander.  "Don't you dare pout at me.  I get enough of that from Danny."

"Need the bonding spell?" he asked.

Jack glared at him.  "Not.  Cute."

"John said I am."

John nudged him with an elbow.  "He spent years denying that rumor.  Now Cam is."

"I heard that rumor.  Repeatedly."

Cam groaned.  "Not true.  I like cute girls.  Bouncy breasts, that sort."

"I know a few or I can introduce you to my bikini rollerblading neighbors," Xander offered.

"I might take the introduction to the neighbors."  He sat down.  "How have we sorted it?"

"It's going well.  Carter found a few stolen things."

"Lorne had to stop Woolsey from taking the stuff in my office," John said.

Jack came in to get his comm earpiece, walking off once it was in his own ear.  "Major Lorne, O'Neill.  Get Woolsey.  Then cover your ears.  You're too young to hear what I'm going to yell at him."  Evan handed it over and walked off.  Woolsey was complaining about that.  Jack let out a growl at him and let him have it, closing the sliding doors so no one else had to be fumed at.  Woolsey gave it up.

John leaned out.  "I told him if he took it, I was bringing him to the next battle we had to be in."  He took his earpiece back.  "Woolsey, they're being held because we've got at least three apocalypses we think coming up.  No, no prophecy.  Higher powers going to battle.  The last time, there was a very pretty city in the vineyards of the Sahara.  Yes, that Sahara.  And that was two fighting.  We have four at the very least.  Good, I'm glad you're going to leave it alone.  Later, after dinner.  After we find a vampire with a larva.  Yes, one of those. No, we found one earlier.  We're going to find out where they're coming from, then I'm bringing my team and Lorne's team to fix it."  He listened.  "Good!  Sorting it out into different packs so he has what he needs at critical times."  He hung up and looked at the general.

"We're going back tomorrow.   After we get all those set up.  DiNozzo will be here in about an hour or so.  Gibbs wanted to see the pile."  Xander moaned, laying down on the couch.  "Vision?"

"He heard you."

"Good!  Next time, give it directly to you."

"Not all of it was weapons."

"No, some of it was in cash and other things he could probably use.  We don't mind that.  Just tell them no more artillery."  John nodded, going back in there to comfort Xander.  Jack smiled.  He made a good husband most of the time.  Though he'd hate to see those three really fight.  Xander was a smartass and could lash out.  So could John.  The only worse one would be including McKay.  He turned the ribs.


Tony walked into the demon bar on the way home.  Gibbs was behind him.  "Guys?"  Everyone stared at him.  "You all know I'm Xander's other husband, right?"  They all nodded.  "You guys pay him in artillery *ever* again and this guy, my boss, is going to make me arrest my husband.  With the current schedule of apocalypses, you guys will die too and I'll have prison visits.  So can we *please* not pay my spouse in weapons ever again?  If you absolutely must, give it to John or John's people.  They can legally hold it since he's military."

One raised his hand.  "Current apocalypses?"

"You didn't hear the old Powers That Be fled, new ones took over, and now they want their old job back?"

"Who're the new ones?" one asked, wincing.

"Xander's ex, Cordelia.  Used to work with Angel as his seer and then the Messenger.  And Whistler."  That got a few more winces.  "They've got the slayers and Xander, plus most of the rest of us behind them.  It'll hopefully be okay, but....  Even if he needs it, it goes to John.  We just had to empty out his stashes.  Anyone who presently has any of Xander's weapons, give them to John.  Okay?  Please?"  The demons all grumbled and nodded.   "Thank you.  Have a good night."  He and Gibbs walked out.

"So that was a demon bar?"

"One with a peacefulness clause.  Xander plays kitten poker there."  He smiled.  "They were paying kitten debts in artillery and cash."  He got in to drive since he knew where they were going.  He parked and got out, walking inside.  John smirked at him.  "What?  Making myself plain before I have to arrest him."  He kissed Xander, staring at him.  "See, that way he can still hold it for you."  He took another kiss.  "Dinner?"


"Cool.  Hey, General, there enough for us?"

"Yeah.  Then we're going to lose Sheppard and Xander to finding out why some vampires have some extra beings in them."

"I heard that conversation."  He shuddered.

"Do I need to know?" Gibbs asked.

"Some vamps have gou'ald, boss."


"Because no one is going to check their stomachs," Jack said dryly.  "Kids, come eat."

Tony carried out plates, going to sit with his husbands and eat.  They needed to cheer Xander up again.  Muffin came over, sitting and staring at him.  "What?" he asked, tossing her a piece of cheese.  She barked and caught it in midair, then went back to begging the nice general person.   At least until she smelled that stupid demon.  She ran out front, barking and growling.

Tony got up and went out there.  "What's up?  Muffin, sit."  She sat, snarling at the demon.

"There is truly a war?" the demon asked, staring at the dog.  "She is very attentive."

"She's like our kid," Tony said.  "And yes there is."

The demon stared at him.  "Why did they flee?"

"The pawns tried to prove they weren't and fought back."

"That would take a lot of energy to scare them.  Was it Rosenburg?"

Xander came out.  "No, it was me."  The demon gave him a horrified look.  "The whole marriage thing was their plan to ruin the slayer and chosen lines."

"Gay marriage would ruin them?" the demon asked, shaking his head.

"No, but having us turned afterward would," Tony said.

"But...that one cannot be turned.  The mermaid taint would not allow it."

"That's okay, they all think I'm my friend Jesse, who died during the Harvest."  The demon cackled.  "Yeah.  And they expected me to be like Dean Winchester."  The demon rolled around.  Muffin gave it a funny look.  "So now they're trying to get back."

"The warrior born?" he asked, making himself get up.

"Would've been great if they hadn't had the wrong people.  Instead, John Winchester came back to guard the youngest slayers.  It was screwed before I got pulled before anyone can say it."

The demon stared at him.  "If we ask politely, would you possibly warp a prophecy about a child coming to be on another realm?"

"I can look at it and see if it can be."  The demon nodded, hurrying off.  Xander looked at his dog.  "See, he was nice.  Not all their sort are mean.  But good job defending the house, Muffin.  Go get treats."  She ran inside to jump on John and steal his dinner.

"Hey!" John shouted.

Xander snickered, going in to save their plates.  John took half of theirs in payment for that mean stunt.  Jack came out to give them seconds.  They were growing boys who had a lot of activities planned for later.  Both before and after the hunt.

The End.

To part 14

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