Dealing With Doorways
Tony walked into the dream plane, looking around frantically. "John!" he shouted. "We need some help!"
"Busy!" got called back. "Aunts drugged me!"
Tony groaned, going to his 'spot' and tapping until John showed up. Naked, hard, dripping with sweat, but there. Tony was trying hard not to stare at him. "The aunts drugged you?"
"Yeah, why? What's wrong?"
"We can't get your people and have four of you in custody in our cells. They're making threats and one threatened to blow your project open. We don't have jurisdiction but if we hand them to CID they will let them spill."
"Call O'Neill," he said, looking distracted, back at his spot. He should get back there. Xander would catch cold with how sweaty he was.
"Can't. He's not answering. Jackson's out of town or wherever he goes when he disappears. I don't know anyone else's number."
"You have my phonebook copied. Call McKay. Have him tell Woolsey." He turned to look at his spot. "You know, this is probably a bad idea," he said.
Tony held him from moving, looking into his eyes. "If they did drug you, you can fight it, John."
"I am. I haven't taken Xander yet." He smirked. "Yet."
"Uh-huh." He patted him on the top of the head. "Cold shower."
"Can't." He walked that way, accidentally taking Tony with him, only with the way these things worked, he ended up in Xander and Xander on the dream plane or in Tony's body. "Huh," he said, staring down at him. "You're not Xander."
"No, I'm Tony. His mind is really cluttered." He concentrated, getting out and going to kick Xander out of his body. He came back to himself, finding Gibbs staring at him. "Sorry, boss. Accidentally switched with Xander. He gave me a better contact." He dug into his desk drawer for the numbers he had copied from John's phone.
"What was wrong with your cousin?" he asked quietly. "He moaned."
"The aunts drugged him to try to get him to marry John." He shrugged. He was feeling strange himself. "If I suddenly go into heat, lock me somewhere," he ordered. "I think some of the spell transferred." He crowed when he found the list of numbers, finding one on it. "Rodney McKay, Tony DiNozzo, NCIS. Yes, John's cousin Tony. No, I know where he is. The aunts drugged him and Xander to try to get them to screw and be married that way. We have four of your group's or your parent group's people in our cells due to various charges who're threatening to spill. I can't reach O'Neill or Jackson. They're out of contact."
He smirked. "That's why I'm calling you. I figure you can tell someone, they can tell someone..... Thanks." For some reason he was sweating. He wiped it off. "I think one of yours and three of theirs by the patches but I'm not totally certain." He wiped off some new sweat. "Gibbs, here at NCIS. Thank you." He hung up. "Boss, he'll tell his project coordinator, who'll call their higher up."
"That'll work. Why are you sweating? The building's cold."
"I think they're sharing, boss. When I went to talk to them I think some of the drugging herbs passed over. Like I said, if I go into heat...."
Willow appeared. "Let us handle it." She disappeared with Tony. "Here you go, one cousin," she said happily. "Now what?"
"Now, since he joined into the bonding, he'll have to be bound with them."
"What?" Willow demanded. The youngest of the three aunts zapped her mind. She came back grinning and giggly a few minutes later. "Have fun, Tony." She disappeared, knowing she had helped that very important family with something. She should go back and ask about Xander but she could do that later after they were done with Tony.
Gibbs glared at the blank spot. "I'm going to skin that girl alive," he decided. He knew who she was. Tony had given him a run-down on who was around his cousin that could cause him problems.
Tony was sent into the room and locked in with them. "Hey, guys?" he asked.
"interrupting the other way wasn't enough?" John demanded, looking up from licking one of Xander's nipples. They made him make such pretty noises when he tormented them.
"They said I screwed it up." He sighed, coming over. "They had Willow steal me."
"I was helping McKay do something to fix a conduit in case of an electrical storm and woke up here, needy and panting," John told him.
"I just got home, staked two vamps going for younger slayers, and turned, then ended up here," Xander moaned, arching up against John. "John!" he whined.
John smirked and went back to what he was doing. Xander was very appreciative. He was appreciative enough to grope him back. It was very welcome at the moment. "If you're staying, you'll sweat through your clothes pretty soon, Tony."
Tony moaned at what John was doing to their younger distant cousin. "If you do that, they'll win."
"Only if one of us is taken," Xander moaned, giving him the most steamy look he could. "Please?"
Tony was unbuttoning his shirt before he realized it. He made himself stop. "Guys, if this happens, they win. We're gay for the rest of our lives."
John looked up at him. "So I won't make you or him ride me," he said bluntly. "I can't fight this. He can't fight this. We can do plenty of things up to that point."
"Even if you do fight it, it's already done, we're encouraging a honeymoon," one aunt called before opening the door to bring in water and glasses. "You're already bound, boys." She smiled and left them alone. They were very pretty together.
Xander poked John. "Skin us some Aunties?"
"I'm all for that, yeah." He went back to what he had been doing. Then Xander flipped him over to play with him. The nice, warm mouth was heaven sent since it had been so long. Way too long without anyone hitting on him. And yeah, that mouth was sinful. Pure sin. Oooh, there, yup. "You need a haircut. The long hair looks goofy on you. Good handhold though," he said, moving his head off that spot to a better one.
"No barber's in the African plains," he said dryly. "Not really a concern for me either, John. Besides, it goes well with the leather trench I found." He nipped him and moved back to play like he wanted to. John laughed and tried to get away but oh well. He squeaked a high-pitched noise when he did the next thing so that was better.
"That's very hot to watch," Tony said, starting to really feel the effects now. That earlier sweating? Nothing compared to what he was doing now watching John and Xander play. He wanted to join in and plunge himself into Xander too. He finished stripping and laid down. He couldn't fight that compulsion. "John, stop me?" he begged.
"I won't let us be married," he promised, taking a kiss.
"Greedy," Xander said, taking his own. "Share." Tony moaned when Xander moved to play with him. "As long as there's no actual butt screwing, we're good."
"You're very good," Tony moaned, shifting onto his back.
"Yes he is," John agreed. "How new are you at this, Tony?"
"Topped once in college to see what it was like. He apparently liked it enough because he climbed on top the next morning before going back to his own room." He groaned and spread out like a cat so Xander could do whatever he wanted to him. "That's so nice, Xander. Have you done this before?"
"Few times. John?"
"Twice. Fooling around in high school." He got Xander's back, licking up the sweat on it. "If I was going to do this, you'd make a pretty wife."
Xander pounced him to knock him onto his back and make him squeal in pleasure. "If this happens it's going to be mutual. I'm not a girl. I'd look stupid in heels."
Tony moaned at that image. He came to help him torture John. It was torture because they knew they couldn't finish it. "What about handjobs?" John panted. "Please, Xander?"
"I can do that. But I need one back," he said with a teasing touch to the hard cock.
"Oh, yeah. I'm horrible at it, but I'll try. Whatever!" His voice went up on the last syllable because Xander had swallowed him nearly all the way down. "Oh, damn!" he said, trying hard not to choke him by thrusting up. He pulled Tony over to play with him. It'd keep him from coming sooner. "You'll make a good wife too," he teased.
Tony bit him on the nipple, making him hiss and arch up against him. "No I'm not. Gibbs said my ass is his, but he won't do this." He went back to playing. Xander and John were having fun with his body. For now. John got off with a groan, relaxing back into the bed. "Better?"
"Still hard," he moaned, looking down at Xander. "Thank you."
"I'll do whatever I can," John promised. "I'll try not to bite too." He flipped Xander over, trapping him between him and Tony. Xander was playing with Tony for now. It was so nice. John did get some lube out to slick up his fingers. That'd help a lot. Xander yelped when he pushed in two. "Clearly you've had some fun," he teased.
"Much. Road trip," he moaned, spreading his legs. "I thought we agreed we wouldn't give them the satisfaction."
"I'm not, just playing." He tried his best to blow him. Xander was happy enough with that and the fingers in his ass. John wasn't even trying to stretch him, just playing for now. Xander was wiggling and making pleading noises. It was very nice. Tony was already ready to come. John was nearly there again. "These herbs are better than viagra," he said.
"Definitely," Xander agreed. "Have to try this some other time."
"From now on you can put a woman between you," one of the aunts called. "That way there's a hope of carrying on the family."
"Most good girls won't go between three guys, even as pretty as we are," Tony shouted back. "Quit! It won't happen if it's forced!"
"It's already done, boys." The voice faded out.
Xander snorted. "I think not. Some bond, not the full one."
John nodded. "I can tell. Damn, Xander." The boy flexed against his fingers, making John want to push in three instead of the two he had in there. "Some day, that'll feel fantastic around me."
"Maybe," he teased. John did something mean and withdrew them. He whined and tried to get them back. John smirked at him. Tony took pity on him and did it for him instead. So he paid attention to Tony's needs. Tony was very needy. Apparently it had been a while. "He's being mean," he said against Tony's chest. He had found a spot that made Tony whine pretty noises at him. So he was using it for all it was worth before he did the fingers thing to Tony to get him off again.
"You're going to make a wonderful wife," John teased. "Both of you."
"We're not your space harem," Tony teased back.
"That's right, you're both mine," Xander announced then cackled. John shut him up with a kiss. "Who else gets into the things I do?"
"I think that's why the aunts pulled this plan out," John said. "That and none of us have had any recently."
"I had to kind of buy my way out of a gun runner's household," Xander admitted. "But he wasn't that good." Both men stared at him. "I made him use a condom and I used a female condom on myself. Lots and lots of slippery stuff too to make sure it wouldn't rip. You never know what someone has, especially in some parts of Africa that're AIDS epicenters."
"That's not a bad idea," John agreed. "How did you get it up you?"
"Not my thing."
"It might help right now," Tony told him. "Because I'm about as needy as he is." He hissed the last word because Xander got free of his fingers and went down to suckle on him. "Oh, that's nice," he moaned.
John teased Xander's ass with his fingers again, kissing and comforting Tony. "He's very good."
"Road trip," Xander quipped. "Got to figure a lot of things out."
John looked down at him. "You worked in a brothel?"
"Strip club. Learned a lot semi-dating the lead dancer."
"Semi-dating?" Tony asked, then tensed up. "Xander, that's mean!" he complained. Xander swallowed him all the way down, making him go limp. "Oh, that's better."
Xander came back up, looking at him. "Like Anya, he wasn't interested in the 'going out' parts of dating. He really did remind me of Anya."
John hugged him. "It'll be okay."
"I know. You cuddle really good."
John smirked. "Among my many other talents." Xander wiggled so he went back to teasing him while he sucked on Tony. It seemed to work very well for them. John was getting needy again. Tony reached over to tease him so it was better. They could handle this until the spell or whatever wore off. "How long," he panted into Xander's back.
"Four hours at the most. If they go for eight it could kill us," Xander said, moaning and wiggling now. He finally got off with a muttered swear. Tony got to finish himself off and John.
John kissed Xander. "He does taste differently than I do."
"It's where he dates society chicks and you eat MRE's."
John snickered. "We've got a base garden again. By the way, the beer? Much appreciated."
"I'm glad I had Willow send it for me." He snuggled between them. They both cuddled him. It seemed like the thing to do. "How long has it been?"
John checked his watch. "Three hours since I got taken. Two since Tony interrupted at the wrong time and got caught." He took a kiss.
"You want me to blow you again, don't you," Xander teased with a smirk.
"Yes. Your worship is greatly appreciated." Xander gently bit one of his nipples then pulled back until it snapped back, making John hiss. "That's mean."
"Not really. Mean was I scratched Anya sometimes too."
Tony moaned, shifting closer. "Damn the spell."
"If they don't quit, someone's going to have a heart attack then they're all shit out of luck!" Xander yelled. The spell eased again. He kissed both men then wiggled down to tease them. They could kiss and play but apparently he was the only one among the three that could give good blowjobs. "If we do end up together, I'm not the bed candy. You're both going to be feeling the heft of me making you scream."
"My usual line is something like 'let me show you the real beauty of the stars as I send you flying to them," John said, sounding sated and calm. He was hard, again, and he hated this spell. But damn, Xander was excellent at what he was doing. And the fingers in him were nice too.
"I don't use cheezy pickup lines," Tony said with a grin. "They're attracted to the whole package."
"I'm not anywhere that a uniform would work to pick up women," John reminded him.
"You are now," Xander teased.
"Still not allowed off base. I wonder if I could get a strike team to rescue us though."
"Don't know. Jackson was wherever he goes when he goes out of contact. O'Neill was MIA fishing as the guy put it."
John laughed, then yelped as Xander did something mean and found his prostate. "Oh, damn!" He was wiggling and humping those evil, wicked fingers of doom. Xander cackled into his blow job but that was perfect. He came and went limp. "I think I'm dying."
"You're not," Tony said.
"Or I'll have to pull out what I learned from the shaman and make sure of it," Xander agreed. He and Tony played and touched for a while. They both got off and needed a nap too. It was excellent to be with people who understood the male body.
General Landry walked off the elevator on Gibbs' floor, walking over to him. "Thank you for letting me know while I was in flight, Special Agent Gibbs."
"General, I know I didn't need to hear what your group does. I respect the classified rating." Especially since it would rot his brain and he'd turn into Abby or DiNozzo.
"Even better." He looked around. "Sheppard's cousin off today?"
"A redheaded witch just stole him for a family thing."
"Redheaded.... Rosenburg?" he guessed. Gibbs nodded. "Damn it. Any idea why?"
"Before she came, he was catching some sort of fallout from what he said was the aunts trying to force that one boy Xander and John Sheppard together. For a few seconds I even had Xander in my agent's body."
"Damn it to hell." He grimaced. "Does he have her number?"
"Probably somewhere." He pointed at Tony's phone and phone book on his desk.
Landry called it once he found it. "Ma'am, this is General Landry. I will have my colonel back within an hour, able to move, walk, sit, stand, and perform his duties to the US or I will be there with a strike team and agents to arrest you on charges of treason." He hung up. "She tried to protest but oh well. Now, my people I need to beat?"
"This way, General." Gibbs smiled. The man's style he could appreciate. "MIA fishing?"
"With O'Neill, it's entirely possible he found trouble while he was fishing. Wouldn't be the first time. The last time NID got involved and he had to kick them around too. He said that gives him great fun every now and then," he said dryly. Willow reappeared with Tony so he caught her arm. "Oh, no, young lady, we're going to be talking. DiNozzo, my boy?"
"Reasonably okay, sir. They tried to get them to bond together. They knew and felt it so it never went that far." He winced as he moved. "So he's still technically single."
Gibbs looked at him. "Why can't you stand?" he asked.
Tony stared at him. "How do you think three witches would bind two action-oriented men together, Gibbs?" Gibbs groaned. "I'm going to hit my tylenol bottle. Excuse me, guys." He wandered that way slowly. He also stole McGee's pillow and sat down with a hiss of pain. Xander's fingers had been overly excited in his ass. He was sure John couldn't sit either. Xander hopefully couldn't either but he seemed to be enjoying it more than they were.
Gibbs came up to stare at him. "Do we need a medic?" he asked quietly. Tony shook his head. "Are we sure?"
"Yeah. Nothing went that far, boss."
"Do we need a shrink to talk to?"
Tony stared at him. "Can't say as I was against it. They're both very good people. Didn't want it then but that was the bonding ritual herbs." He glanced around then at him. "No, I don't need a therapist to talk about it with, boss. I'm good. I don't blame them, they were in the same state and probably worse. I just hope I'm not the most sore."
"Are you sure you don't need a medic?"
"Gibbs, I've never bottomed before, even for the wicked, evil fingers of doom those two have," he said bluntly. "I'm allowed to be sore."
"I didn't need those details, DiNozzo."
"Yell at my aunts, boss. They're convinced we're now a trio of happily married men."
"Uh-huh." He walked off. Landry had needed some privacy to yell at his people. And Willow. She got the ass chewing of her life. Which he'd get to finish when Landry let her go. She would not be stealing another agent for any reason, even if the world was going to end.
John and Xander reappeared on the SGC base in a flash of light. "I don't think I'm supposed to be here," Xander pointed out.
"Shut up, kid," Landry said since he appeared right behind them. "My office." They walked that way, trying hard not to look like they were in pain.
They ran into Daniel on the way. "Guys, what are you both doing here? Are we going to have an apocalypse?" Daniel asked, starting to look worried. It was his first day off in a while, but the others who could probably help handle it were already off base.
"The aunts decided to go with their plan," Xander told him. He pulled his hair back and tied it off again. He really did need a haircut. That, the dark black denim trench coat, the black pants and gray shirt, plus his sneakers and weapons was a very good look though. Not with the hair but a good look. And hey, washable which leather wasn't. His new leather trench coat he had won in a poker game with some of the mercenaries was safely packed away from any goo, slime, or blood.
Daniel looked him over then nodded once. "Were you wearing that before?"
"I just got back, staked a few vamps to say hi to the girls, and got snatched," he complained. "John was doing repairs."
"I'll call out there and tell them you were rescued from the evil aunts."
"Please," John agreed. "I'll never hear the end of this." They walked into the office and John slumped into a seat, carefully not sitting on his butt. Xander was able to. John glared at him. "Why aren't you sore?"
"Because last month I spent about ten days riding a camel."
"Damn it," he muttered.
Xander grinned. "Could be worse. Tony's got to be worse."
"True." Landry walked in with the head doc. "I don't need Doctor Lam, sir."
"I'm not here for you. Mr. Harris, I need to make sure you didn't bring anything back from Africa."
Xander looked at her then at John, who nodded. "She's cool. She's not NID."
"Fine." He took off his jacket, letting her pull blood. "Thank you for not digging."
"You have good veins," she said with a small smile. She left them alone after putting painkillers down in front of both of them with bottles of water. They both took them by the time she was back in her infirmary.
The general looked at them. "I have no idea how to start this conversation so I'll be blunt. Do I need to file change of status paperwork, Sheppard?"
"If we had went all the way, yes. We didn't, sir. The aunts said that they considered it fully done but we don't."
"There's a slight bond but nothing that huge," Xander told him. "If we had been fully bound I probably would realize when he was in danger and react to it. As of this moment, it's more like he's coming for a chat in a dream walk."
"Can you expand on that topic?" Landry asked.
"Family gift, sir. We can basically hold family meetings during a shared dream walk. It's how we knew when to help where."
Xander nodded. "I did call sometimes but dream walks are more of a 'what did you do this time, Xander' meeting area."
Landry stared at him. "I heard you had a vision about the invasion, Mr. Harris. Are there any others coming?"
"I haven't seen anything like it," he promised. "I saw a few bad things with the tribes I was helping but that was localized."
"Okay, so probably not?"
"Not as far as I know. How has the fallout been?"
"One reporter got very good pictures of the boys fighting, and a lot of the girls too. They looked most of you up with some illegal help of a few agents. There's been some hero worship at the demon hunters." Xander snickered, shaking his head. "Plus some slayer wannabes."
"Figures. They'll quit when they find out the life isn't glamorous."
John nodded. "It's a lot like military service only you don't get paid."
Xander nodded. "In a constant combat zone. When you hunt, you do what you have to do, then move onto the next target. When you hunt on a hellmouth it's nightly patrols of ending the lives of seriously bad things," he said at the general's curious looks. "Staking a vamp means that they go whoosh and don't get up the next night."
"So you're saying it's exactly like having to hunt and kill an entrenched enemy combatant," Landry said.
"It is," Xander agreed. "Every night when you're a slayer or working on the hellmouth. Roaming guys like the Winchesters take on more what the family does. A ghost here and there, a creature eating people, some problems that're bigger but still problems. You get it, you move on to the next target."
"That makes a lot of sense," Landry decided. "There are people within the government who want liaison with the slayers and their council."
"Go to Cleveland, talk to Rupert Giles," Xander told him. "As far as I know he's the head of it."
"I can tell them that. They did want some hunters on hand for those sort of things. They looked into Captain Finn's background before you mention him, Harris. They were not pleased."
"Neither were we. That's why we stopped them."
John nodded. "I did some of the searching and told General O'Neill about it, sir," he agreed. He finished his water. Xander handed him his. "You sure?"
"I'm used to living on a lot less," he pointed out. John nodded, sipping that one too. "As for hunters in the government, they have some who could learn. Finn's group got some things wrong while they were making notes, but Finn did learn the slayer way we used in Sunnydale. If they want to train that badly, have them talk to Giles about coming in to train with the junior slayers."
"That's not a bad idea," he agreed. "What about the roaming ones?"
"They're pretty contact based. They live and get jobs out of their cellphone's phonebooks. I'm sure they have meeting areas but I don't know any of them. I only met their dad when he came to save me from Willow nearly destroying the earth in her grief." He shifted to cross his feet. "She's grieved, moved on, and it's better again," he said at his horrified look.
"She has an addiction to her magic, General," John said quietly. "At that time, her girlfriend was killed next to her. She lost it and backslid. Hit Xander with a lot of magic."
"That organ damage you had to heal," he said.
Xander nodded. "It took me three months to fully heal the damage she did," he agreed. "They still take liver function bloodwork way too often for my liking."
He called the infirmary. "Run that for liver function as well please. A few years back he got poisoned and it was injured." He hung up. "Just in case."
"Thanks." He grinned. "I'm sure the girls were not happy with the aunts?"
"Buffy sighed and said you had probably tried to date whoever stole you."
"No, I never dated the aunts. They're kinda scary," he said, cracking John up. He heard an alarm and looked around. "If you have to, we can wait in here. I'm sure he'll keep me out of trouble, General."
"That's not that sort of alarm, kid. Don't worry about it." He stared at him. "Will this affect his work?"
"As far as I know, it shouldn't. If we had been fully bound, it shouldn't have either after a few days." He shrugged. "What did they have with them?"
"Rosenburg is getting information on that for me. She's to bring it to me and only to me. That way I can give it to you three."
"I know you have to be hyper protective of John, sir. Bad things happen around him and you have to rely on him to help remove the bad things before they eat us or use us. I realize that *real* well."
"I've always been able to read John a bit better than the others. I can get information from him that he's not even thinking about. I've ignored it the whole time because it's not my job and I was too busy caring about my own world-ending problems and the girls I was working with."
"That's reasonable. Thank you for that."
Xander nodded. "Not a problem." Someone knocked then walked in to hiss in the general's ear. "Like I said, he can watch me sit in here and not do anything," he offered.
"She can wait," he told him. The messenger nodded at that. "Tell her I'm debriefing someone and I'll be there in about ten minutes." The aide left. "Sorry, allies."
"I've heard." He smirked. "There's a good underground about you guys."
"I've heard of that," John agreed. "But I don't know where the leak is."
"An Initiative person who knew Finn was leaking back to him when he panicked that they were going to end the world. Finn decided that he didn't need to tell Buffy, that they could handle it, but he did keep tabs on him and what was going on in case Buffy had to be alerted. I have no idea what he thought she'd do against an energy weapon, but that's how he was retrained. His office has a massive leak of two human looking half-demons who are going to report to everyone if they slip back to their old ways. So we know everything that gets leaked to him. One sends reports to Buffy now that she's in Cleveland."
"Buffy and the girls would probably end up setting up resistance cells or something," John admitted. "If something that big got out, we'd need fighters and they're well trained."
"Willow might just suck them into a demon dimension," Xander said dryly. "Therefore no more problem. Which was probably what Finn was hoping for."
The general shrugged. "I have no idea about that stuff. Is magic useable in this program?"
"How would I know, sir? I don't do magic. If I even thought about using magic, a certain redhead would show up and nag about how spells went wrong around me when I was younger. That seems to have settled down since graduation but she's still paranoid. I do know that the Initiative had a sorcerer that Giles and Buffy handed over for being annoying. I know if he got freed, he'd run the other way if military people showed up asking for his help."
"They did?" John asked, looking at him. Xander nodded. "Before or after she knew?"
"After. She was dating Finn." They shared a look. "Ethan showed up to annoy Giles. Turned him into a demon for a day."
"That still doesn't warrant sending him to be tortured."
"No, but I didn't have a say in that decision," Xander pointed out. "That was Giles. Riley was convenient."
"Damn it," he muttered.
Landry coughed. "Ethan.... So I can look him up to make sure he's not being a victim still?"
"Rayne. British citizen. Chaos sorcerer, high priest to Janus."
"That doesn't sound good for people," he admitted, but he did look him up. "Listed as escaped custody of a special operations project, do not go near, is allowed to be free now." He looked at him. "Do you think he'd help us?"
"I think he'd probably start having flashbacks but I've never sat and talked to him. Willow is a techie witch. Very heavily into computers. I know she's got a duty to the council but she might know other technical witches."
"I can ask her when she brings that information."
"If it's been more than a half-hour, sir, she's already back in Cleveland telling the others." He pulled out his phone, getting the desk phone handed over. He dialed the number and leaned back again. "Tamara, tell Willow that she has no right to look at, use, or gossip about the spell that my aunts wanted me under and she was due here a while ago so I know she's been doing all three. And tell her I will spank her since she participated in the kidnaping portions. Thank you. Yes, it's Xander." He hung up. Willow appeared, glaring at him. He glared back. "It's my life."
"Shut up," John told her. "Spoiled little bitch moments don't impress anyone, Willow. You have no right to tell the girls anything about his private life without his consent. The same as he can't tell them about yours." She slumped. "Now, spell and that information?" She handed it over with a huff. "Good, be debriefed about what magic can and can't do." He read it over while the general walked her off to ask her those special questions. "Hmm, the feeling bond was supposed to be temporary." He looked at him. "You're really annoyed with her?"
"She didn't have any right to tell the others anything about this."
"They are your friends."
"No, a few are my friends. The rest I barely know. Which means that they won't respect me and it'll be just like it was before with them. Buffy will think I can't handle myself. Willow will decide to put me down because I'm not the special one. Someone will probably make a joke that I went gay to get attention." John gave him a shoulder squeeze. "Sorry. Venting. I need to see a therapist instead."
"Don't go back," he said quietly. "Not yet. Be independent for a while. It'll do you good."
"I think Africa did me a lot of good. I grew up a lot." He stared at him. "But yeah, I was thinking about retiring when I was over there. Then I realized I'm not really trained for anything else and what good is a one-eyed carpenter with a lot of battle experience."
"Go to vocational school."
"Maybe. I'm still considering it. I have money stashed away. I can live on it for a few months at the least."
"Good." The general came back. "Did you make her cry again?"
"I gave her good reasons why he was pissed at her. She's pouting."
"Yeah, and then she'll start making jokes about how I went gay to fit in better," Xander said dryly. "Just like before. It definitely means the girls won't respect me."
"Take a foreign posting," the general suggested. "That way you don't have to deal with them all the time."
"A few of them see me going to Africa as running away," he admitted. "I'd hate to beat them all. I think I'm going to live my own life for a while and see what happens."
"That's always a mature decision," he agreed. "You were too young when you jumped in, Harris. It's time to finish finding yourself."
"I did a lot of that with shaman assisted boot kicking."
The general laughed. "I'm sure they decided you were spoiled because you had the cushier life over here." Xander nodded. "But did it get changed?"
"A lot. Even if I do still miss coffee and tv."
"Us too," John admitted. "Soldiers started to pout when they couldn't get an antenna signal. McKay had to set up a satellite receiver." The general snickered and nodded. "We are spoiled by having things we want." Xander nodded. "So where are you going to be?"
"I'm going to pick up my crap in storage in Cleveland and then.... I'm not real sure," he admitted. "I don't know. Got a city you want to visit more?"
"Not really. Family home?"
"After earlier? Nope. On my shit list. DC?"
"Gibbs would freak but Tony said his coworker Abby might like to meet you." Somewhere in his stomach he felt that churning sensation that it was wrong to suggest that. "Do what the older people do, retire to Florida?"
"I can't stand humidity anymore," he said. "Maybe Seattle then. I could stand some rain. Or maybe Hong Kong. I don't know." He stood up and stretched then sat down again. "Sorry, sore back."
"I'm surprised you can move as well as you can, son," Landry told him. "You're thinking about going international?"
"I like to travel," he admitted. "I learn a lot that way instead of in books. Plus I met some very nice contacts dealing with the people who wanted the tribes I was working with. There's a few that I should go threaten again." John shuddered. He grinned. "It wasn't that bad."
"Tony told me about the duel with the arms dealer, Xander."
"He was a drug dealer, get it right,"he said dryly. "And I won." He smirked. "Maybe I'll go find Oz in Tibet."
"He's back in LA. We looked him up when we figured out the whole group wasn't in Cleveland."
"I hope they're liking having a hacker then," he decided. "Right now I'm ties free. Is there an area you'd rather I didn't hit? Mostly because he'd come visit now and then?"
"I'd rather have him near at hand for visits," he admitted. "Instead of having him fly all over the world for them."
"Then maybe I'll move to San Fran and set up shop there, then travel." He snapped his fingers. "If I can find a contact to dump some things through it'll be easier." The general gave him an odd look. "Not like I don't live by the Boy Scout motto, General."
"I was hoping you weren't talking about heavier weapons, Mr. Harris. Arms dealing or selling is still a crime."
"Well, I do have a few guns, and the arsenal if they haven't confiscated it. Which they probably haven't. Um... I have some great pictures. I have a few things I need to hand over from shaman who made them for the girls in my life. Then I've got one thing that could be sold that is higher. And a contact list that some people might want to know about. I can do that through Tony though."
"What sort of weapons did the girls keep?" John asked. "Buffy doesn't like guns."
"No, but she likes light artillery." He smirked. "Let's just say I looted a bit here and there. Especially when the flaming poof Dracula showed up with his bitches. I didn't like eating bugs."
John shuddered. "I remember you telling me about that. You looted his stuff?"
"Yeah." He smirked. "Annoy me and I'll get you back." He smiled sweetly. "The girls left a lot of stuff. He left furniture. Gaudy, girly furniture."
Landry snickered. "He's real?"
"Yeah, he's a different species than we're used to dealing with," he admitted. "He was trying to get Buffy."
"That figures I suppose. A figurehead would be gone after faster."
"Yup." He shrugged. "We'll see. I can probably sell that stuff fastest. But housing out there is atrocious."
"So move just up the coast. There's wine country in one direction, a few colleges in the other."
Xander thought about it. "I can look online later. Then travel from there."
John coughed. "Wasn't there a thing from the president waiting on him, sir?"
"That would help, yes." He smiled. "The president said that anyone who used to do the job and came forward would get a one-time payment if they could answer questions about how you handled things."
"A few hunters have come out of the closet because they wanted the money," John told him.
"As long as I was kept anonymous and not put in front of the people or something like that, I might not mind that. Depending on what they ask." A demon appeared next to him. Within a heartbeat he and John had guns on it. "You wanted....."
"Are you Alexander Lavelle Harris?"
"I'm Mr. Atrhoshoked. I'm with Borkretell and Dkdkehennel."
"Which has to be a demon law firm with that name," he said dryly. "I ran off one of you trying to bother the slayer I was working with. So why are you here?"
"And can we prevent more of you from popping in?" the general asked.
The lawyer looked at him. "I can only go where legal matters necessitate." He looked at him. "Our law firm is over the probate of Miss Anyanka Emmerson's estate. The one you ran off was trying to notify you, sir. I waited until you were calmer before showing up."
Xander shuddered. "I didn't want to be reminded of that. It all sank in Sunnydale."
"Mostly," he corrected. "Some of it did not. Including some things that she was pushing to get from a friend's estate." He stared at him. "We need to see you about those."
"Later," Xander ordered.
"We can take you with us and it will only be a few moments in this plane."
"I'm going with him," John ordered.
The demon stared at him. "I see the start of a mating bond."
"The aunts got pushy," Xander said dryly. "We're from the Family Dokenstat."
"Yes we have known about your kind. May we?" he asked the general.
"Make it less than an hour's time here."
"I can definitely do that." He took both men with him. The general went to talk to the off-worlder he had waiting on him.
Xander and John showed back up a few minutes later, looking at each other. "It's a nice place," John told him. "Even if you do have to scrub, paint, and break the magic stuff in the back room."
"True." He grinned. "Airy, I can wander, I can have a dog. You can visit with your buddies if you want."
"Thanks, Xander." He grinned and sat back down. "I'm guessing he's with the ally." Xander shrugged and sat down again. "You've got to be in pain," he muttered quietly.
Xander grinned. "After a while I quit showing it. Who would care if I was and the girls would ride me worse if I was."
"I guess that makes sense with your life," he decided, squeezing his shoulder. "You still okay?"
"I have no idea D'Hoffryn had destroyed other demons when Anya had to be removed the second time. Or that he had that curse waiting because I had warped her to have a conscience."
"I think you were good for her," John said, earning a happy smile. "I can't say the other way, still, but I know you cared for her so I won't nag."
"Thanks, John. Every time I dated the girls would nag and push it back in my face."
"I'm not a cranky girl. Though, you still need a haircut because you look way too girlish with Van Hellsing hair."
Xander cackled. "It wasn't intentional."
"I didn't figure it was," he assured him. "You can use some of that furniture in the new place."
"Nah. Too girly definitely. I'll find something."
"You could change out cushions and things."
"Maybe." He shrugged. The general came back. "My ex was pushing to get some things from some friend's wills."
"There's no longer a housing gap," John told him.
"That's good news," he said with a smile. "So you're all set?" He sat down again.
"Pending getting all my things out of storage, yeah."
"Even better." He looked at him. "I will warn you that the agents asking those questions to hunters have been known to leak names."
"I'll ask around before I take them up on it then," he decided. The general nodded. "So, can I give him a lift home?"
"I can give him the rest of this weekend," he promised. "I was told that the bonding would not continue if things happened that may be covered under don't ask, don't tell." He gave Sheppard a pointed look.
"I still like women, sir."
"I don't care, Sheppard. The same as I don't care about the rumors of Jackson's time on SG-1 before." Sheppard snickered. "I don't care that there's rumors of you and McKay or you and Ronon or you and Teyla."
"Ronon did have that hovering, silent, overprotective mother hen thing going on," Xander said dryly. "And he said Rodney nags."
"I don't care," Landry said to stop him. "I have no need to know as long as it doesn't hurt his performance on the job. I'm giving him this weekend because I doubt he can do much of anything with how sore he is. Plus they might nag and ask questions we aren't allowed to ask in the military." He gave Sheppard a pointed look. "0800 Monday, Sheppard. Call for a pickup somehow."
"Thank you, sir."
"Not a problem. Your family does bring some extreme circumstances to us. Shoo, go." They left together. He took something for his headache. O'Neill had shown up in that incoming wormhole with the Asgard. That had been his advice. Especially since he thought those two might be cute together, his words.
Xander looked around his house. The demon moving company he had hired had gotten everything to him, including a lot of books he didn't remember having. He realized they were from the old library and shrugged. If Giles wanted them he could call and move them back to Cleveland. Instead, he had a special call to make. "Hey, Dean, Xander Harris. No, just back a few days actually. Big thing though, I'm moving. I need some help blessing my house and destroying the working area in the back. I'll even pay you guys for the help. No, all unpacked," he said, opening a stained glass panel to let the breeze come through. Most of the windows in the house moved one way or another to leave it fairly open to the breezes.
It was a huge house: five bedrooms, four baths, study that didn't have moving panels, huge kitchen, living room/dining area, magic room, and a covered deck/lanai area outside. Plus some trees. Fairly isolated as well. On top of a fairly sturdy hill near the water. "West coast. No, I didn't want to hear them nag. Retired to rear support and apocalypses basically, yeah. Maybe if something happens near here I'll deal with it. There shouldn't be though. That's cool. I've even got a room you two can share. The others don't have a lot of furniture yet. About an hour from San Fran. The house with the stained glass, yeah, how did Sam know?" He grinned. "That's pretty cool but that's where I am. Sure, please do. Like I said, I'll pay you guys for the help so you don't have to hustle motel money for a bit. Thanks, guys." He hung up
John came out of the kitchen with a beer. "I think this is nearly the perfect place, Xander. Even if there is a containment circle in the back room." He handed the boy a beer, getting a grin back. "Figured you could use one. It's painful when you move on."
Xander nodded, taking a sip. "It was time though." He walked him out back, showing him the view. "This is why I love it. This and the openness. Sam said he'd seen it before. It's on some sort of mystical tour thing." He took another sip. "I need a good soaking tub out here."
"Your bathroom has a moving wall that lets you open it up to the water view." John took a drink. "And it's got jets. The secondary main suite has a cast iron tub in it for deep soaking too. It looks out on the trees."
"I need to send Tony my address."
"I already emailed it to him. Plus emailed McKay that I was fine and they had gotten the witches that stole me." He smirked. "His back needed a translator. I'm not so sure which person he got to write it back."
Xander laughed. "That figures. Friends should worry about you."
"Cousins definitely do. I worried the whole time you were in Africa. With your luck you could've caught a fever and died." Xander gave him a slight shoulder-to-shoulder nudge, getting a smirk back. "It was possible."
"It only lasted two weeks." He took another drink. He ignored his phone when it rang. He knew who it was. Someone had told someone in Cleveland that he had moved. He shut off his phone. John took it to turn on and see who it was. "Cleveland?"
Xander called them back. "Hey, Oz." He listened. "No, I'm good. I'm a lot of good actually. No, I'm here and maybe traveling a bit. Why?" He smiled. "Thanks, man. You can come meditate on my lawn if you want. Just no drama. I can't handle drama anymore. I grew up and out of it." He smirked. "That's cool. I'm here if it's critical. Thanks, man." He hung up. Then he turned off his phone. "Someone told Connor."
"He was a bit strange when we talked before LA happened." He looked at his cousin. "You didn't ask."
"I got plenty of bleed-over from you during that conference later that night. That's why I sent the beer and hostess stuff."
"It was highly appreciated on the base. Even the ones who didn't drink had some of the popcorn and chips." He smirked at the sound of an engine. "That them?"
"No clue." He went to answer the door. "Ah-ha! You were really close like you said," he said with a grin. "Come on in, guys."
Dean strolled in, looking around. "This is really nice, Xander. Even if the walls are movable."
"It means I don't feel trapped in here," he said quietly.
Sam grinned. "How was Africa?"
"Pretty, hot, dangerous, sweaty. A lot of work, some fighting. I can't explain it really," he admitted.
Sam smiled and nodded. "I understand. I saw this place on a tour once with Jess." He went back to the working room. "The last owner was said to be a white witch."
"Mixed. I looked her up when the lawyer said that Anya had inherited it from her friend via the sister who was a witch," Xander admitted, leading Dean back there. "You guys can use that room," he said with a point. "My cousin John is in and he's got the secondary main suite." He grinned. "Beers in the fridge too."
"That's cool." He looked across the inlaid diagram. "You'll have to put in a new floor."
"I know but I don't know how to start breaking this one apart without possibly calling something here or something equally bad."
"I do," Dean assured him with a grin. "You sure you can pay us?"
"Yeah. This came from an inheritance from Anya," he said quietly. John walked behind him, giving him a pat on the back. "Thanks, John."
"Hey," he said with a wave.
"Going to help?"
"I do not touch magic stuff because I know it likes me enough to eat me. Like it does Xander." His cellphone rang and he looked at it. "That's.... Ronon?" He walked off. "I'm still awake." He listened to him complain about McKay's complaining. "No, Ronon. The aunts decided to pull their plan to get me hitched." He took a sip of beer and snickered at his complaint. "I'm not bringing back some leggy thing with fussy hair no matter what McKay says. The aunts wanted me to marry Xander and Tony. We held it off though." He took another drink, draining his bottle so he could toss it into the recycling bin.
"Hey, my first trash in my first house," Xander said happily, cracking Sam up.
"You two are goofballs," Dean told him.
"I'm at Xander's right now. He's got a house up the coast from us. It's very pretty. Monday morning at 0800. Landry's orders. Woolsey throwing a fit? No, I'm a bit tired and sore," he admitted. "Ronon, they *encouraged* us to marry," he said bluntly. "Yes, that way." Ronon said something. "No, he's still bouncy and not showing that he's in pain. I don't know how since I am." He went back outside.
"Anyway. Things going okay? Anything I can bring back for people? I can do that. Thanks, man. Calm Rodney down if you can. I know, he sent me a swearing email in French. Thanks, man." He hung up. Then he went back to start on dinner. He was a passable cook. The younger guys were in there breaking the lines of the working area. Yeah, Xander would have to replace that floor. Anya had money so it'd be okay. He brought in plates thirty minutes later, handing them over. He went out to get his and the guys went outside. He followed, sitting at the outside table to enjoy the view. "The guys on base wanted me to bring back a few things, Xander."
"You can borrow my car to shop," he promised.
"Thanks." He smirked. "No calls from Cleveland yet."
"My phone's off," he said dryly. Dean gave him a look. "I don't want to hear the drama."
"I can understand that. I heard how some of the girls talked about you. The one you sent over for her safety corrected them a lot while we were there. Buffy and Willow both gave her dirty looks but she told them off for you. Then told them that perhaps being a slayer and friend was too much for her. Faith stepped in and got it stopped. Even though she agreed with both sides somewhat." Xander nodded. "Are you going to invite them out?"
"I don't know. Maybe. Maybe Faith. Definitely Kuria." Sam smiled at that. "She knows where I am. She had some freaky Xander sensing radar."
"I wonder if that would spill over to Tony or me," John said.
"Huh." He stuffed his mouth with a bite of food. Dean and Sam both stared at him.
"The aunts tried to get their way," Xander told them. "Tony accidentally got caught."
"I'm so sorry," Dean said. "Being that gay must be a drain on you."
"Haven't fully went there, that's what kept the bond from fully forming," Xander said dryly, making Dean smirk back. "Though I am fantastic. The arms dealer I had to sleep with to get away from said so."
Sam choked at that pronouncement. Dean slapped him on the back until he could breathe again.
"Things like that happen around Xander," John said dryly. "That's why the aunts want him safely married to me."
Sam moaned, shaking his head. "That's just so wrong! Being gay won't stop it from happening."
"He should know. I tried to push many men on him to make him go gay," Dean said dryly. "Didn't help him getting into trouble. A few of them were worse than the girls he dated."
"Dad told you not to do that again," Sam pointed out.
"Dad's dead, Sammy. Please go gay and don't give me nieces or nephews?"
"Shut up, Dean."
"Make me, bitch."
"Jerk, you're acting up so they won't know you secretly want them," he shot back. "Denial that strong is often hiding a closet doorway."
"Not me. I only love the ladies."
"I didn't know that you picked up ladies. I thought you picked up cheap women," Xander teased.
"No time to woo a real lady. A cheap roll in the hay is good enough when I'm needy. I'll work on a real lady some year when I retire."
"Or knock up some waitress so I have relatives," Sam shot back.
Dean looked at him. "I use condoms. I'm hoping you do, Sammy. Before you catch something I can pick on you about."
"I've never caught anything, thank you."
"That's because you never have fun. You're uptight and tense because of it. Maybe if Xander doesn't want his cousin, you can have him instead."
"That'd be one fun bed," John said, considering it. "Tony and I might like that." Xander pinched him, making him yelp. "Hey!"
"Shut up, John," he said, giving him a smug look. "Sammy wouldn't need a woman ever again after me. He'd be totally turned to the male side of lust."
"Uh-huh," John said. "I'm not."
"I didn't make you beg me either," Xander said with a smug look. "There's a reason all the bad girls want me for themselves."
Dean snickered when Sam said, "That happens to you too?"
"He's got bad girl magnet power," John told him. "His last ex was Anyanka, vengeance over women scorned." Dean choked and spluttered this time. "Before then it was Cordelia, the queen of snark. And what was her name?"
"Ampata. She was a restored mummy."
"Yeah, her," John said with a smug look. "How many bad girls in Africa?"
"Four. Three dangerous ones that I wanted to make beg. Two did beg very well. One wanted a quick thing and walked off. The other one was a widow wanting to know how American women did it differently. The chief said it'd be reasonable and she enjoyed the hell out of it. I told her how to use this on her next husband and he'd be very happy and do what I did. She went as the second wife to one of the village."
John and Dean both gaped at him. "Wow," Sam said in awe.
"The two deadly ones?" Dean asked.
"Um, one was running arms to a war band. She only wanted a one night thing. The other two were mercenaries."
Dean shook his head. "Worse than even Sammy."
"But we know if there's a huge, horny demon it'll come here," John said, looking at Xander.
"I'm not going for the demonic. Skilled like one in bed, but not a real demon, thank you. I might even be willing to settle down some day."
John shook his head. "Way strange for you, Xander. Clearly Africa grew you up too much."
"I'm all for guns and games but maybe a steady thing would be nice. Someone to go out with and talk to."
"I think that sounds like a good idea," John assured him with a smile.
"Ask Tony if he'll move in front of Gibbs. Watch Gibbs get possessive."
"Maybe." He gave him a sly look. "I can tell your mother hens that."
"Please don't. They're already trying to figure out how to keep Willow out of the city." He stuffed his mouth again. "By the way, Rodney said she screwed with the shield. The aunts had her steal me too."
"Aww, that's so sweet of them," Dean teased.
"Which is why my general had a long discussion with her," John said smugly.
"It might've helped," Sam decided. "When we were there, someone ended up blinding her to keep her out of the new magic books." Xander shuddered. "Yeah, she went back to Devon for a few weeks."
"That's always a good thing," Xander agreed. He saw a flash of light inside. "I'm out here." Faith walked out with a bag over her shoulder. "Running away?"
"Yup. B and Red are having one of their knock-down-magic-the-nagging one fights. Got a spare room?"
"With no bed," he admitted. "But there's a couch."
She smiled. "That'll work." She saw the view and took a deep breath. "It's pure here."
"It is. That's why I liked it enough to take it," he agreed quietly.
She looked at him. "Good choice, boytoy." She sat down. John waved his fork at her. "Nah, I'm good. Thanks." She looked at Xander. "Emergency backup?"
"If you need me I'm there."
"Cool. I'm heading overseas soon."
"I thought about that," he admitted. "Have fun in your city. Learn to explore and have some fun, Faith. Remember, fun helps ease the nightmares."
"I remember. Trust me, I've hid at the movies many times recently." She gave him a smug look. "Germany?"
"Has really good beer," John told her. "It's a complex area that's got some immigrant areas as well. A lot of north African countries have been migrating up for work there and France."
"It has a winter too," Xander told her. "Since you'll be in Berlin. I know Buffy had her heart set on Rome."
"She already did."
Xander considered it. "Brazil's house is probably going to be a lot of fun. Almost no one's worked down there. You'll have the jungles, the beaches, and the city with slums. Some violence issues, some drug dealer issues, but probably about as bad as Boston was."
She considered it. "Probably not. Too much work for me."
"So hit the one outside of Mexico City," Dean offered. "They put it outside the city because of the local Church's involvement. You'd be in a village. They have celebrations, they watch out for each other. The city's about ten minutes away."
She nodded. "I might. Right now I'm not real fond of snow."
"So make it mandatory that the slayers work in different houses for four months of the year so they don't get stale and burned out," Xander told her.
"That's not a bad idea," she admitted. "I'll look over the various houses later." She looked at the view again. "This is really great. Especially the way the house opens up."
"It's my sanctuary against drama," Xander told her. "Which you don't usually bring."
"I did bring two letters from B and Red."
"I might read them later."
She smiled. "You definitely grew up."
"Had to. Things are harsher there." She nodded she understood. "If you can stand dry heat, go to Egypt's house. You'd have to conform to local rules about clothing and stuff but it's ancient, seriously mystical in some places, and the demon threats are pretty low outside of some water demons. Most of the desert ones won't talk to people."
"I'll think about that as a temp spot. I'm not sure I could go without flashing some titty now and then."
Xander gave her a smug look. "For visitors the rules are a bit less strict. You'd have to cover your head, but you can probably show and not tell all you wanted."
"We'll see. Three of the girls are native there." He nodded. "It blew their mind when they got to Cleveland and B was wearing clubbing clothes."
"It blew my teenage mind many times," Xander said dryly. She cackled at that, giving him a bat on the hand.
"What I saw her in blew mine too," Dean admitted. Sam nodded quickly, stuffing his mouth. "He wanted to dress her."
"There's a few times I wanted to hand her a real shirt too," Faith said. "She used to wear these backless things on patrol all the time. And heels."
"Like low back halters?" Dean asked.
"They'd look wrong on her small chest," Xander said. "No, these were the ones with the straps around the shoulders and no back at all."
Dean shivered. Sam moaned. "Yeah, she baited very well."
"She said that was boytoy's job," Faith told him.
"Not when you're dressed like that."
"She and Fang went on date patrols."
Sam snickered. "I met Angel. Why would anyone want him?"
"He understands me," Faith and Xander mimicked in unison then he stuck his tongue out at her.
"I don't have to worry about a normal guy who won't understand or who'll get hurt trying to help," Xander finished. "She also called him tall, dark, cheesecake a few times."
"Uh-huh," Dean said.
Sam shook his head. "He's probably the same temperature as cheesecake should be." John cackled, shaking his head. "I can't see it and don't want to."
"Spike's back," she told Xander.
Xander nodded. "The moving demons told me that."
"He said hi."
"Not at this moment. If he had asked about three months ago there was the accidental hallucinogenic plant exposure."
She stared, mouth slightly open. "No way."
"Yup. Was kinda nice. The hyena and I cuddled for a good few hours." She shivered.
"Was that when you showed up and bit Tony?" John asked.
"Earlier than that. The shaman wanted me more in touch with her after that."
"Bit...." Faith asked.
"Dream walk. A hyena showed up instead of him when Tony called."
"Oh. Okay. I have no idea what you're talking about."
Xander grinned. "Neither do we half the time. It's because he's so math smart." Sam cackled, shaking his head.
John pouted. "I'm a very normal guy, Xander."
"Uh-huh." He smirked. "You understand science way too well for that."
"Normal guys can be science and math smart. Even then, Rodney still has to use little words now and then with me."
"Yeah, he seemed like Fred," Faith said. "Does he babble in bed too?"
"He's not into me. He's into botanists. He needs someone who understands his giant brain."
She looked him over. "Pity. Does X?"
"It's not a fair representation. I'll have to try it again sometime and let you know." She smirked at him.
"I can make you beg anytime you want," Xander quipped. "Just pop on over."
"I don't think I have any leave time left," he admitted. "There's going to be people who're jealous that I got taken this time."
"Have Willow kidnap 'em," Faith offered. "The minis could use some man pussy that wasn't afraid of strong women."
Xander looked at her. "Why would they want gay men?"
"Half of them aren't real sure what to do with a guy in the first place. As long as he swung a bit, they'd be fine."
Dean snickered and nodded. "Half of them thought sparring was foreplay too. They pouted a lot when I beat them off me and Sammy."
Faith nodded. "Seriously, X. I was about to drop kick some into a brothel the other day for being twittering virgins."
Xander shook his head. "A hyped up slayer is great sex but they'd probably destroy the brothel."
She smirked. "Glad to know I left a lasting impression."
Xander stared at her. "Of course you did. That's why I have so much stamina now." She blushed and looked away. He smirked. "Aww, did you hear Anya's stories?"
"From Red. It was damn scary, X. Being gay is probably better for you. You might not wear another guy out."
John snorted. "Bet me. Even with the spell or whatever working on us he still ran circles around me and Tony. Tony ended up cuddling him in self defense to make him take some downtime during it." He looked at his cousin. "If you liked handcuffs, I might be able to send you someone."
"Nah. I don't mind tying someone else down but I have to know the one doing me *real* well or I panic and kick their ass."
"Good point," Faith said, starting to blush. "You're a bit more wild than I thought, boytoy."
He smirked. "The roadtrip showed me the way to have stress relieving fun, Faith."
"I don't need ta know," she said quickly.
"But if you want to share stories," Dean offered with a grin of his own.
"Oh, the stories that aren't fit to print in Penthouse or Hustler," Xander sighed, shaking his head. Faith was now bright red. So was Sam. John was starting to blush. He grinned at them. "Want to hear about the three half-succuba strippers who came in as a special event and their manager?"
John squeaked, looking at him. "There's no way." Xander stared at him. "Please tell me there's no way?" he begged a minute later. Xander nodded. John slumped. "In one night?"
"Anya wanted a lot even back when we were screwing before the prom." He shrugged. "Hunting does give you fantastic stamina. Right, Dean?"
"I can't manage above twins, Xander. Haven't been able to do triplets since I was twenty-two." Sam was making squeaky, horrified noises. "I think you walked in on the triplets, Sammy. Didn't you?" Sam fled to the bathroom. "Very pretty sorority sisters."
Xander sighed and nodded. "College girls. Hmmm." Faith went inside shaking her head.
John patted him on the back. "We'll make sure you won't kill any future lovers, Xander." He scraped his plate clean and took it into the dishwasher. Xander and Dean's came shortly afterward. Sammy's plate went into the bathroom with Faith so she could calm him down. They both needed the thoughts they had calmed down. His plate eventually came out and got ran with the others. Yeah, it was good to be home.
John was 'ported onto the base the next day, waving a hand at the boxes. "From the SGC and the shopping lists I got sent," he told Woolsey. He looked at McKay. "Willow is *very* sorry she stole me. Landry got her for over a half hour. Then again later on."
"Why did she steal you?" Woolsey asked.
"The aunts had her steal me so they could enact their plan to marry me off to my fifth cousin so he'd calm down. He was just back from Africa." Woolsey went pale and shook his head slowly. "Since I spent most of that day drugged out of my mind..... Well, let's just say there was a reason his ex girlfriend quit complaining about not enough sex."
Rodney was spluttering. "That makes no sense!" he complained. "Why marry you off to... to.. HIM!"
"Because the aunts like the idea," he said bluntly. "Have since they introduced both of us to the family ideals. Since Xander can't have kids according to a mystical source, they decided he should be gay and help the best of this generation raise our own spawn. They said we could easily find some woman to put between us for that." Rodney gave him a horrified look. He shrugged. "They were insistent and the drugging made it pretty fun. We're not bound though. We managed to hold off just enough to keep that from happening. Oh, and he invited you up to a cookout the next time we're both off base together. He lives up the coast now. Beautiful view at his house."
"Are you still drugged perhaps?" Woolsey asked.
"Doctor Lam said no. She was sure it was an infection of Xander's dirty mind."
Woolsey walked off shaking his head. "I don't want or need to know."
"General Landry said the same thing when he had us rescued." He looked at the waiting Marines. "Clothes, personal hygiene items, towels and sheets?" They grabbed the boxes to haul them off. "The top box has tied bags with names on them from personal shopping lists," he called after them. He looked at the remaining one, his second-in-command. "Now that the insanity in my life is down again, did I miss anything?"
"Not yet, Colonel."
John smirked. "I managed to hold it off. Really."
"Was it bad?" Rodney asked, then covered his mouth for a second.
"Nope. He's very fun. Bouncy, a bit hyper, but fun." He shrugged and walked off with them. "He did invite you and Ronon to a cookout the next time we're up that way, Rodney."
"That's fine I suppose. Not Teyla?"
"He doesn't want to warp her or see if the slayer specialness disease is catching somehow from him."
"I see." He stopped him to look at. "Perhaps we should hit the infirmary?"
"I'm fine. She checked me over before I got sent back. Your bag was in that top box too." Rodney glared at him. He stared back. "Yell at the aunts. They've been trying to get this plan going for years." He looked at his second-in-command. "Xander wasn't in LA. He was in Africa at the time."
"The one-eyed one who sent the beer after LA?" he asked. John nodded with a small grin. "He sounds....interesting."
"He's a nice guy. O'Neill wanted to recruit him for the longest time."
His second simply nodded at that statement.
"It'd make it easier if your aunts won," Rodney said dryly.
"Yeah but I'd have to make sure I got stuff done." He walked off again. "I have seven reports we have to correct and send back, only two of them are mine." He handed over the USB keychain. "O'Neill likes grammar rules." He went to hand those to Woolsey. He looked at Rodney once he was in his office. "So?"
"Are you sane!" he hissed. "You just admitted that your aunts wanted you to be gay in front of the Marines."
"Which means they might protect me from the aunts!" he shot back. "Or Rosenburg and the slayers!"
One of the marines tapped then walked in. "Sir, most of us could care less where you stick it as long as it's not bad for the project. Since he likes to spoil you and calm you down, we don't rightly care."
John smiled. "Thanks for that. We're all fighting it very hard."
"It might make you relax again."
"I'm hoping that there's not a general call out for hunters to take up a duty for the US," he admitted. "Some people are calling for it. Last time they went to torture for science and happies as Xander put it. His group ended it. He was in the Sunnydale group."
"The dark haired young guy?" John nodded. "He's cute, sir." He smirked. "The few bigots on base know to shut up about it. If it happens, so be it. We'll let one of you kick their asses in practice. If not, then maybe your next one won't want to kill you."
"Xander was dating arms dealers in Africa and a few mercenaries."
The marine nodded. "You're definitely better for him and he sounds like he's dangerous enough for you, sir. I'll let them know it's a mercy marriage to keep you both out of trouble. Don't worry about us." He left them alone.
John smirked at Rodney. "I have some good people under me."
"You may but the scientists are a bit more provincial."
"Half of them don't know what sex is, McKay." Ronon walked in with the USB key. "Woolsey unhappy?"
"Very." He stared at him. "He's a strong warrior."
"Who quipped that he thought I was dating you. Again."
"That has been suggested by some of the Marines," Ronon admitted. "I told them women sound and taste better. One asked me if my people ate others."
"Some of them are a bit dumb," he admitted dryly. "You're invited for a cookout sometime when we're up that way."
"That's fine. I trust your cousin not to harm us." He looked him over. "You can stand. It must not have been good."
"That was Friday, Ronon. The drugs only lasted about four hours. I've been able to sit since later that night."
"Pity. You could use the stress relief."
"After what the spell did to me? I couldn't get it up for two days. Sorry but I got more than enough until Rodney or Radek blow something else up."
Ronon hmmed. "It sounds like fun." He walked off again. "Maybe when I find a woman."
"The slayers wanted to hit on you."
"They're too young and inexperienced. It'd have to be one who could keep up with me."
"I'll introduce you to Faith," he called after him. He looked at the stunned stupid scientist next to him. "McKay?"
Rodney shook himself free. "How did you do that?" he hissed.
"Herbs drugging us. They were insistent. Anything else you want to know?"
"Are you and he....?"
"The aunts added in Tony by accident. They decided I needed a harem. Or he needed one to calm him down.
"That's ...too dirty for my mind." He walked off rubbing his forehead. Perhaps a nap would clear it but then he might have thoughts he didn't want all night. He didn't want to imagine that.
John sat down to fix his two reports and send them back. Then he went to see Woolsey since an IM had popped up ordering him to. He walked that way. "You needed to see me?"
"Thank you for the new treats. Are you in shape for duty?"
"That was Friday. I got the weekend off to recover and help him finish moving."
"I see. The Marines don't mind? I noticed the visit."
"He said they don't. Ronon thought it'd calm both of us down."
"That's fine. I don't want to hear any details."
"Not like the bonding took, Woolsey. Otherwise I'd have a roommate or two by now. We'd have an NCIS person here too since the aunts accidentally included him."
"Have they known?"
"Yes. Since the first time I had to go help Xander. Back in Antarctica. I told the base commander then that the aunts wanted us to marry but we ignored them."
"I suppose that happens in some families."
"They want the stronger warriors to have backup and someone to help train the next generation, sir."
"That's reasonable with what your family does." He stared at him. "Is it likely to become an issue?"
"Not in my mind."
"Good." He shifted in his chair. "Where is your cousin?"
"Up the coast by about an hour. He has a great house that has moving walls over most of it so he can have it open. He's used to be in the open after nearly a year in Africa."
"I'm sure he learned a lot over there. Are there other things that will tear you from this project at a moment's notice?"
"He hasn't foreseen anything. The usual apocalypses will now be in Cleveland. They have all the slayers there for that. He's on for apocalypse duty but I'm a call of last resort. The last few were just that bad."
"Yes they were," he agreed quietly. "What if some senators do get their way?"
"I hope I'm exempt due to this. I talked with a few of the roaming hunters and they said that most of them are avoiding it like the plague. A few have taken that money option if they spilled stories and gave information but never about another hunter. Xander was warned last night that some of them *really* want to talk to him. His answer was 'call Cleveland'."
"Better. I don't like that sort of ...habit."
"It's like being in an eternal war, Woolsey. Those that roam, they take out a target and move on while saving people. For those like Xander who hunted on the hellmouth it's a constant combat zone with some friendlies who're demon and some who aren't so friendly. For the longest time, slayers were 'kill them all' but the current ones do learn the different species and only take out the ones causing problems. Yes, he did say it was a lot like combat, killing and moving onto the next target."
"So hunting is like the hell of an eternal Vietnam," he decided.
"That's about how it sounds. I've never been more than trained in case it became necessary."
"That's good. So no more apocalypses?"
"The big ones happen in the spring. There's usually some activity in the fall but recently that's been human created instead of demon created. If I get a call out, it's horrible."
"Some people thought you simply took off again."
"No, sir, that's one reason why I told them what happened in the control room."
"It will probably go down in Atlantis history as one of the most bizarre kidnapings," he decided with a small sigh at the end. "So you're back to duty?"
"Good. Fortunately you do have a few vacation days left if you wanted to go visit him."
"I can do that now and then when I have a weekend off. He's invited Ronon and Rodney too."
"He's not sure if what makes slayers treat him like he's dumb will rub off on her yet."
"That's reasonable I suppose." He stared at him. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'm fine. Doctor Lam made sure I was fit for duty. The drugging we took is totally out of our system. Even if he was here I wouldn't need to cuddle him unless he was pouting."
"That's what happens among people who are close from what I've seen. Fine. Go back to work. What was wrong with the reports?"
"General O'Neill loves grammar."
"Oh, that stuff. Fine. Dismissed." John went back to his office. Woolsey got back to his reports. This was definitely one of the strangest stories to come from Atlantis. And it happened here on Earth.
Tony walked into work Monday morning. "I'm back." McGee stared at him. "What?"
"What happened to you Friday?"
"The aunts decided I should be married to Xander and John."
"Your cousins?" he asked hesitantly. Tony nodded, sitting down. "Are you all right?"
"We managed to fight off the drugging enough so I'm not married," he said dryly. "Xander got word of an inheritance and a house out by San Francisco. Beautiful views. Very open." Gibbs strolled in. "Morning, boss."
"You fit for duty?"
"Not even sore," he assured him. "John said that the stuff they drugged us with is out of his system so it's out of mine too most likely."
"Good." He stared at him. "You managed to fight it off?"
"Yes, boss. I'm not married to either of them."
"Even better. Your cousin's nice but a bit...harder than makes anyone comfortable."
"He's also fallen back to rear guard/apocalypse support. He's moved into his new house. Gotten a haircut thanks to John and a few friends that came to help him bless the house."
"Even better," he decided. "Rosenburg is in deep if she tries anything so stupid again. She's on probation. She's also back in England."
"There's a very strong coven over there that's been watching over her since the time she hurt Xander in her grief. I had to run to Sunnydale then."
"I remember that. It's good she's healed some but addiction is hard." Tony nodded he knew that. "You can't....."
"Good." He gave him a dirty look. "You have a report to do." Tony pulled it out of his bag and tossed it over. "You did it at home?"
"Not much else to do. My DVD player isn't working at the moment and I couldn't sit."
"I don't need to know," he complained. He read it over and put it into the folder. "Anything else coming?"
"Not that they've heard. If so, they're in Cleveland."
"Which does not make me happy," McGee said. "It's too close to DC. Things could spread."
"There's groups that'll form a fence if they have to," Tony assured him. "John's unit does that if necessary since he had to get a few involved in that." McGee relaxed at that. "We did before Sunnydale fell in. That's why I got called out to deal with stupid people." He looked at Gibbs again. "It should not interfere unless something comes here to track me down. Though, if some senators get their way, I'll move to Mexico. I'll send you a postcard."
"You're already in federal service. They can't make you do more, DiNozzo. Your cousin John either. Xander would be more iffy but they might make him in training or command."
Tony snorted. "He'd never take it." He turned on his computer, finding a message from the director in his email. "Boss, upstairs?"
He looked over and grimaced. "No idea."
"Going." He went up there, waving at the door. The secretary nodded so he walked in. "You wanted to see me, Director?"
"I heard what happened on Friday, DiNozzo."
"We managed to fight it off enough so the bonding didn't take."
"I see." She stared at him. "If I had known you went that way....."
Tony interrupted. "I don't, Director, and you asking that is a violation of federal law." She glared. He stared back. "Don't ask, don't tell applies to us as well," he said firmly. "As I said, I fought it off long enough that I'm not married to my fifth cousins. Is there anything else you wanted to know about?"
"You don't have to be so uptight. I could offer you some undercover time."
"No thank you."
"Are you sure? It could be a boost to your career."
Tony stared at her for a moment. "Director, if I wanted to boost my career on my back, I'd go sleep with a few senators who've hit on me," he said bluntly. "Male and female. I *earned* my way to the top. I don't have to do pity fucking to get there." He walked off. "Boss, she decided I could sleep my way to a better post. I told her no." He sat down again.
"I'll deal with her whenever she shows up," he said quietly. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I bluntly told her we had fought off the drugging so I'm not married to my fifth cousin. She suggested I could be doing some undercover work. I said if I wanted to get a higher post on my back, there's senators of both sexes that've hit on me. Then I walked out."
"That's an answer I like."
"Senators?" McGee asked.
"Six or seven now," Gibbs told him. "Three female." Tony nodded. "During investigations."
"One was during one of those charming black tie events we all hate to attend," Tony told him. "Watch out for Missouri's senator, Probie. She thinks you're cute." McGee shuddered, shaking his head with a small moan. "Exactly." He looked at Gibbs. "So, boss, new case?" he asked, sounding hopeful.
"Not yet. Don't go make one either," he said when he spotted the director and Ducky coming down the stairs together. He saw Tony had noticed. "Ducky, anything new coming in down there?"
"Not yet, Jethro." He looked at Tony. "Anthony, do you perhaps need to see someone?"
"No, why would I?" he asked, staring at him. "You saw me Saturday, Ducky. Did I need to see someone then?"
"Well, no," he admitted.
"Then why would I need to see someone now? I may be a bit pissed at my aunts, but other than that I'm perfectly fine."
"It can be traumatic," he started.
Tony snorted. "I dabbled back in my frat days, Ducky. On top only but I still dabbled. It's not the guy I am. So no, not a problem. Even if I did, Xander and John would be highly overprotective, would growl worse than Gibbs does whenever I got hurt, and would eat people who annoyed me." He stared him down. "Since they're out on the west coast...."
"Good to hear," Ducky said with a smile. "If you should need to talk...."
"I know where your office is and Xander has some *wonderful* plans on how to get back at the aunts. Including making the slayers adopt them." Ducky snorted, walking off shaking his head. He stared at the director. "Believe it or not, I am capable of going to seek help when I need it, Director. I have been since I was very young." She huffed off. He glared at Gibbs, who nodded he'd take care of it. "Thank you," he mouthed, getting back to his official email. "Boss, SecNav wrote." He forwarded it since it was a cute memo.
Gibbs read it, shaking his head. "I doubt it. You already have federal service. It counts." He sent him an email stating that and to leave his agent alone before he left the agency. Since most higher ups didn't want to see Gibbs without a buffer between him and them, they liked Tony on his team. He spoke their language and translated back into non-greedy human.
"Hey, boss, one of the other cousins suggested I start testing congress members for selling their souls," Tony joked. "He thinks if we can take out the corruption at the top of the chain it might slow down the lesser problems." He grinned at him.
Gibbs was staring at him oddly. "I don't think I want to know how many members of congress or agency heads have sold parts of their soul for power, DiNozzo. If you do, do it on your own time."
"I'd never want to get that close to them, boss. They might hit on me some more. How I got Xander's bad girl magnet power I never have known but I remember dating good girls before."
"Huh?" McGee asked, staring at him.
"If they're deadly, bad, or slightly evil girls, they're attracted to Xander. That's why we can't have him in DC for too long."
Gibbs nodded. "Definitely keep him out of the city, DiNozzo. Another thing I don't want to see. Did he give you any more information?"
"Some arms dealers I've passed on since they weren't military related. A few other things." He shrugged. "That one commando team having a problem. He said he slept with a few mercenaries. One arms dealer to get free when he got caught handling a problem. Some local problems that were still minor compared to a warlord."
"Good! Keep him on that coast or Cleveland."
"He said he wants to do some more traveling."
Gibbs nodded. "It's good for you. Teaches you things."
"That and he said there's a few arms dealers he wants to remind to leave him alone."
Gibbs shook his head. "No, I don't think that's wise."
"He's twenty-two, Gibbs. How many of us were wise then?"
"I'll write him an email," he complained. Tony forwarded one to him. "Thank you." He saved the address down and started a new one to the kid to remind him that retired meant out of trouble for everyone, including him.
Don came onto the dream plane swearing. "Damn demons!" he shouted.
Xander showed up a minute later. "What? You interrupted my painting."
"New house. Painting."
"Oh." He scowled. "Damn demons in New York."
"The slayer in New York's name is Candy Mysis. She's in upper Harlem. She's a cute little girl, about seventeen."
Don blinked. "You got a list of who's where?"
"My opinion was asked for. She's native."
"Okay," he decided. "Seventeen is awfully young."
"Some got called a lot younger. You have to be seventeen to go out to a field position."
Don nodded. "So she can help the ones picketing City Hall?"
"No clue. Are they being peaceful?"
"I don't care, Don." Don scowled. He stared back. "Slayers are to take out demons causing problems, like those who hunt or start apocalypses. Not the peaceful ones."
"I have no idea what they are but they're annoying and want the right to eat people."
"Then probably not harmless. Call her. She's in the phone book."
Don sighed, calming down. "Thanks, Xander. Want to come visit?"
Xander shrugged. "Don't know. Want to come out? I've got a beautiful house and no stress."
"I might take you up on that since the city wanted me to make 'em go away." He faded, going back to his body. He woke up from his nap in the locker room, going to the nearest system to look her up. Then he called. "Miss Mysis, Detective Don Flack. Have you seen the news?" He smirked. "No, my cousin Xander gave me your name. Please. I'll meet you there." He hung up. He hated that his bosses had seen what had happened in LA and that he had been there. He wanted a handy obliviate right about now. He stomped off. "Mac, c'mon! You're coming with me."
"Where?" he called, giving him a dirty look.
Don glared at him. "City Hall. Since you so thoughtfully told my bosses where I was so they could spot me in LA, I got called to handle them protesting. Now, get shit and let's go."
"Fine," he agreed, trying to stay calm. "What do I know about them?"
"I don't care! You got me noted, you can help me handle it. If I have to, I'll send you to my cousin so he'll teach you." Mac groaned but went to get his kit and follow him out to the car. The demons were drawing attention. The girl met them there. She was clearly native. "Miss Mysis?"
"I am. Detective Flack?"
"Cool. I only met Xander for a few days." She walked through the crowd, him and the other cop behind her. She cleared her throat, staring at a demon. "Do you mind? You're interrupting my soaps. Not that it holds up to the drama in Cleveland, but I still wanted to see who she proposes to."
The demons stared at her. One sniffed. "Slayer," he moaned, moving closer. He reached for her. She broke his hand. He howled but the rest backed off. "Mean."
"Touch me again, flesh eater," she warned. "I don't care if it is a peaceful protest. Your kind eat living victims. Get out of my city." They ran. She huffed and looked at Don. "You need a better scary rep."
"I don't want a scary rep. I'd rather be the call of last resort," he told her.
"That's fine." She smiled. "You're kinda cute too." She pinched him on the butt as she walked past him. "Your boyfriend's not too bad either."
"He's not mine."
She looked Mac over. "He'd make a nice daddy."
"He spanks hard."
She smirked. "Good." She strolled off. "I'm going back to school next week."
"That's fine. Keep in touch please."
"Of course, sweetie. Maybe you'll find more nummy looking things for me to tease." She headed back to the subway.
Don glared at the mayor. "Call her," he said bluntly. "Not me." He walked off. Mac followed shaking his head. He smirked once they were in the car. "All slayers seem to love drama."
"She's a slayer?"
"Yup. She's our city's slayer. She's native. In Harlem."
"Well, now I know," he decided. "She won't really hit on me, right?" Don stared at him. He groaned. "Never mind. I'll brush up on my hand-to-hand in case I need it."
"She might like that. Some do." He drove off. That would hopefully take care of some of the problems.
The mayor could choke, splutter, and complain all he wanted to the press. Don was a last resort, not a first one.
Sam called their family friend Bobby once they were on the road again. "Hey, Bobby, it's Sam. Had a question for another guy. Do you know anyone who has a demon hunting trained dog for sale? No, not for us. For Xander Harris. Yeah, the one Tony DiNozzo called you to help that time by getting Dad to him. Well, demons are still going to come after him. He's back from Africa by about a week. He's got a house.
"He's finding himself instead of jumping directly into hunting again. Yeah, that's why. He's a bit bouncy and hyper, but he needs it to be outdoor trained. I know you trained Rumsfeld but I wasn't sure if you knew of anyone with a litter that was ready to be adopted. Yeah, he'd love it and it'd help protect him.
"Especially if they hated magic since his aunts aren't against using it to drug him to try to marry him off. Yeah, same guy. You do? Yeah, bouncy's great. Xander's hyper, his house has all these moveable walls so he can feel the wind and things. Huge house. Like five bedrooms and we helped him destroy the working room huge house. One level. By the ocean.
"Have you heard about the mystical house tour? It was on that. The one with all the stained glass moving windows? That one." He grinned. "That'd be great. Yeah, I can give you his number." He repeated it. "Thanks." He hung up. "He knows just which dog Xander needs. One of his buddies has one and had to retire but he's got a very bouncy black lab that's about two years old."
"Xander would adore that," Dean agreed. "It'd give him something to care about too. Something to make him quit thinking and play again."
"Exactly," Sam agreed with a grin. "He could use the bouncy time." Dean shot him a pleased look. "Do you think there's going to be more to that drama?"
"Yup," he answered. "I'm sure the aunts are still trying."
"Damn. Maybe we can watch the three of them destroy them."
"Maybe," Dean agreed. "Or wave as they fly off to Devon, England." Sam snickered, relaxing again.
John answered his email's summons, looking at the short message from his youngest aunt. He clicked on the link since it said it was a present Xander might like for his next birthday. Day-glo fetish wear popped up. He stared at it, blinking a few times. Then he replied that Xander didn't like those colors. He liked the brighter reds and blue, the goth shades mostly. Even if he did wear hawaiian shirts. And he wouldn't look good in them anyway. A few minutes later she sent one back of 'black leather is always appropriate'.
His reply said simply 'if you're a vampire'.
Her next message had suggestions of some wonderful restaurants and places in the city he was near.
He sent back that thanks to her stunt he had no vacation or off days left so he couldn't get off base. Though he would pass those on so Xander could eat out and learn to like food that wasn't cooked over a fire again. He waited but nothing new came for ten minutes so he was happier. At least until Woolsey stomped into his office. "Let me guess, the computer monitor saw my aunt's hints and decided to be offended like some Puritan virgin?"
"What were you doing? He said something about leather and fetish gear?"
"She suggested that he might like some for his birthday. I corrected her color choice and vetoed her next idea of black leather always being appropriate. Then I had to point out that she had used up the last of my vacation days with their stunt a few weeks back when she suggested some nice restaurants in the city for a romantic dinner."
"I hate your aunts," Woolsey decided.
John nodded. "I love my aunts *so* much I'd like to make them targets."
"Go ahead. Some of the Marines could use some target practice." He walked off shaking his head so he could reply back to the watcher over the computer usage. Sheppard's aunts needed to be tranquilized. Or euthanized. Something to make them stop.
Tony got the same suggestions. He sent back that the colors would look bad against him so therefore he wouldn't dream of buying them. The black leather was nixed as being cheezy. Which it was in a lot of ways. Plus it'd give Xander bad ideas about them being turned. The list of romantic dinner places in DC gave him a moment's thought. "Boss, can I tell my aunts you won't let Xander take me out on a date?" he asked.
Gibbs stared at him. "What?"
Gibbs sighed, shaking his head. "No, you can't go out on any dates with Xander in DC. You don't have enough leave time to go to wherever he is to date him there either."
"Thanks, boss." He sent that back verbatim. The aunt sent back a huff and ordered him to check on their poor youngest husband. He sent back that they weren't married. That was only legal in a few states and DC wasn't one of them yet. Even if they had been in Massachusetts, it wasn't legal without going in front of a justice of the peace or a minister with the proper paperwork. Since the aunts had forced them to be too busy to do that, it wasn't a legal marriage. Even if it was, it'd mean he'd probably lose his job and his retirement accounts. She didn't send back anything after that. "Got a good site for Abby, boss," he said, sending it to both of them. "From the aunts. I don't know why since we'd all look sucky in those colors."
Gibbs stared at the site that popped up when he clicked on the link. "Where are your aunts?" he asked calmly.
"One's in Pasadena, one somewhere in lower Texas, one's in Chicago I think. Why, boss?"
"So I can have someone pick them up for being pushy and distracting you."
McGee shook his head. "Abby sent back an IM saying that they're cute but not really in her colors, Tony."
"Mine either," he said dryly. "Then she suggested black leather. I kindly pointed out it would give Xander vampire hunting flashbacks."
Gibbs nodded, walking off calling someone to go talk to that trio of nosy aunts. He wanted his normal agent back!
Tony smirked at McGee. "Need the list of restaurants she sent me?"
"Please. I might need them someday. You don't?"
"I've been to most of them and I have favorite places to go on dates." He forwarded the list. McGee got to read the whole thing since his aunt hadn't cut out any of the prior messages.
The director stomped over to glare at him since Gibbs wasn't at his desk. "Why is he looking at day-glo bodysuits?" she demanded. "Is there an undercover I don't know about?"
"He's in the elevator," he said with a point. "On the phone." She went to get him out of the elevator so she could complain to him. Ziva was giving him an odd look so he smirked. "What?"
"You're evil," she said.
"Which means I should be attracted to Xander if I was female, but I'm not. Are you attracted to my cousin, Ziva?"
"I've never met him," she said stiffly.
"Yes you have," McGee told her. "He was the guy out here to get the Initiative mess straightened out."
"Yes, and I'd still like to kick their butts out of Homeland Security." McGee gave him a worried look. "That's where the ones who weren't arrested went, Probie. They're in Homeland guarding our asses from people just like them."
"At least they won't have to profile so much," he said blandly.
Tony snickered. "That's about the only good thing, yes." He heard the director shriek and smirked. "Sounds like he told her." Gibbs popped him on the head extra hard on his way back to his desk. "She asked, boss. She didn't ask why I had, but why you had it and if it was for an undercover."
"Get some chocolate, DiNozzo. You're going evil again." Tony went to do that. He shook his head, closing out the sites and his email. "Anything else come of this?"
"She sent him a nice list of good restaurants that he handed over for my future dating needs," McGee said. "He offered to introduce Ziva to his cousin, and said he'd rather kick the butts of the remaining Initiative people out of Homeland Security."
"Me too on that last part. We won't let his cousin Xander warp Ziva though. That's cruel and unusual punishment."
Tony came back giggling. "Boss, Sam Winchester, one of the hunters we know, got Xander a dog." He showed him the pictures. "She's trained to hunt but her daddy retired."
"She's supposed to be bouncy like he is."
"Even better. A dog would do him some good."
"He's been doing a lot of thinking."
"Which is usual while you're finding yourself." He stared at him. "Is this relevant?"
"Happier family news." He forwarded those to John's email, getting back a happy smiley face for it. "John likes her too." He sat down to nibble on his candy bar. The director huffed back up the stairs with her own chocolate. So maybe she had PMS again. The horrified look on her face was probably priceless when she thought Gibbs was buying day-glo, latex fetish bodysuits. He sent that idea to Abby, who easily hacked the security footage to get him a picture. Yup, that was going in his special folder. Gibbs glared at him so he got back to work. For now. He was having a happy day.
Xander looked down at his dog, getting an adoring look back. "Hi, Muffin. Are you happy here? Do you like it? Let's go explore." He led the dog around the house under her last owner's careful watch. She enjoyed the outside enough to mark a few spots. She enjoyed the bedrooms enough to test jump on each bed to sniff them. She rolled around on the bed that Dean had slept on. She liked the kitchen, nuzzling his leg when he got into the fridge for some lunch meat to share with her. The old owner laughed, shaking his head. "It won't spoil her training, right?"
"No, it won't. I trained her to get treats when she did good."
"Good." He gave her half and nibbled on the other half. "I can make you lunch if you want."
"No, boy. She's happy, that's all I need to see." She came over to sit and stare at him. "Do you like him, Muffin? He's a hunter too and he'll be good to you." She looked at Xander then at him. "Go to him, girl. You're his dog now." He stood up. The dog stayed sitting, staring at him. "Go to the boy." He walked her back over. She sat beside him, staring at him. "Good girl." Xander got down to pet her. He smiled and left while she was distracted. He heard a few barks from his truck but the boy had her toys and he saw a ball be thrown. She was happily racing after it. She'd do just fine with the boy.
Xander was doing a meditative kata someone had taught him when he heard the dog go to the front of the house. She never went that way to pee so he came out of it to see who was there. "Hi."
"Do I know you?"
"Oh, yeah, you worked with John. He said you were a mega-brainy science sort but you still kicked butt."
"He said that about me?"
"Over multiple talks, yeah."
She smiled. "Good to know. I'll have to tease him about that." The dog kept staring at her. "Is she friendly?"
"Muffin is very friendly."
She let the dog sniff her, getting down onto one knee to let it since it wasn't getting closer. The dog bowled her over, standing on her chest, staring down at her. "Huh."
"I didn't train her to do that," Xander admitted. He came over. "Muffin, leave the nice lady alone. She won't steal me like Buffy tried to do last night." Muffin got off her and licked her face before she could get up. "Get the ball!" he said. She ran to get it and he played while Sam got herself up. "Sorry," he offered with a grin.
"She's good at defending you from blondes?" she teased with a smile of her own. You had to. The kid was goofy and cute.
"She met Buffy last night and hasn't really had a lot of fun with blondes recently." He shrugged. "Sorry."
"That's okay." She followed him outside to sit near him. The dog came out, curling up next to her. "You're very loving," she praised, petting the dog.
"She's very cuddly," Xander agreed. "So, is John in trouble?"
"No but some people higher up wanted me to come talk to you today."
"The hunting senators?"
"They wanted me to approach you as well but that's not why I'm here."
"Good. I gave them the answer they should have, 'go talk to Giles'." He shrugged a bit and shifted. "So what's up?"
"Some of the higher ups are worried that this...attempted marriage is going to hurt John if he ends up in combat or something."
"He didn't call when I had to hunt down something last night that was trying to eat my palm tree so it'd squish me."
"So there's no bond?"
"John and I are tighter than the other cousins when it comes to the dream realm. I can see stuff off him even when he's not sending it. I'm guessing this is bringing that link a bit closer. I have no idea but I'm not a great researcher and I have no idea where to begin to look up telepathic bonding rituals between trios of men." She nodded slowly at that. She was still petting the dog too. "Tony called at the wrong moment and accidentally got sucked into it."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"He's still single and straight," he offered with a smile. "A smart woman would be wonderful for him."
"Unfortunately I'm in Colorado and he's in DC."
"Hey, I had to try."
She smiled. "You did. So there's no carry-over?"
"Sometimes, when I'm really calm, I can feel whether or not John's agitated or asleep. Anything really strong." She nodded that she understood that. "You're taking this awfully well."
"With what I've seen and done, a slightly telepathic link doesn't bother me, Xander."
"Cool, though I guess after meeting aliens I wouldn't freak out either."
"Have known. Willow hacked in to check on who John was. She's always been concerned that the military will create another Initiative situation. Me, I'll trust most of the military to a point. Mostly not to want me for any reason. Anyone that John trusts I'll trust deeper than that."
"Which is a good thing. Even though you did steal that one weapon from the Army," she told him.
He shrugged. "It was necessary."
"I can understand that. We've had times when we had to use higher weapons and not think about the consequences because the situation was that bad."
"I heard something about that from the underground. They were not happy. Or with that McKay guy about his."
"Sometimes you have to though," she pointed out. He nodded he knew that. "So you're not going to out the project?"
"Why would I? It would endanger John and others. Frankly, if we're at war with strange things, I'd rather have a military unit that was trustworthy most of the time handle it than individual hunters like we have against the demon menace. You guys can do things we'd go to jail for. I fully expected someone to show up about that grenade launcher some day."
"No, it's listed as a necessary use and left there." She looked down at the dog then at him again. "So you won't out us even if someone asks? There's some senators that know who hate us."
Xander nodded. "I'm sure they'd hate me more but I don't care what anyone thinks anymore. Especially since most of them have bitchy attitudes and don't know a thing about me. Hell, even my friends didn't know me that well and they're friends."
"Good. That was one thing we were worried about. Do you think this bond you have with John will end up growing stronger?"
"I think if we both forced it to work, we could probably manipulate it that way but why? Especially since neither of us really want to be married to the other. If I wanted him that way, and he wanted me back, then we might be working on it. If it was something that was going to protect us and we were hunting together, maybe. But unless he suddenly switches off swanky women with good hair and legs, he won't want me."
She stared at him. "I think if you two weren't cousins, you'd be scary best friends," she said.
He grinned. "I'm a very scary best friend," he quipped.
"I'm sure you are. Especially with the way you jump in to help others." She smiled at him. "John's got almost no leave time."
"None of that was me."
"I know. There's an agent going to each of your aunts to order them to stop it or face jail time for kidnaping charges of an agent and an active duty service member, plus you."
"Theirs would carry more weight."
"Yes it would," she agreed. "We're hoping they listen."
"Me too. I like John. He's one of my favorite people. I don't want to ruin our friendship with the sex stuff. It always makes things go odd and awkward when you add the sex stuff."
"Not always. I'm still very good friends with someone I ended up in bed with thanks to an alien virus."
Xander smirked. "I did hear a lot about that in the underground. There was some betting that Doctor Jackson was a bit pissed."
"Not really." She smiled at the dog. Then at the boy. "Do you think it might help if you increased your awareness of him? That way you could help him if he was in danger again?"
"I think that'd be like unrequited love," he pointed out. "Some day I'd like to have someone who meant a lot to me again. I doubt they'd understand that sort of bond being in place. Even if it wouldn't hurt me."
"I can definitely understand that reason. If you do feel that he's in danger will you call someone?"
"I've got General Jack's and Doctor Jackson's numbers."
"I can give you mine." She wrote it down for him. "I'm basically on base most of the time anymore." Xander grinned and nodded. "You know, Jack was still thinking about recruiting you, Xander. You could do a lot of good on our projects."
He shrugged. "I'd probably irritate them and draw all the evil women to want to invade so they could have me. That would suck for whoever was on my team."
"We have Sheppard already doing that," she said dryly. "Plus Jack, Cam, and Daniel." He snickered. "If you want to think about it, call us. We'll gladly tell you how it goes."
Xander shrugged. "I have the memories of a soldier already, Sam. It's helped a lot but right now I need to finish finding myself. I kinda lost myself in all the drama that was Sunnydale. I was starting to feel very invisible again."
"Combat can do that to you," she said quietly, looking at him. "You feel like you start to lose yourself to all the things you see, all that you have to do to protect others. Then one day you wake up and realize you're not the person you thought you were and if you're still human you feel really grateful. You try to take a vacation to get it back but it's like there's an invisible wall between you and most people. They can't understand combat, or in your case hunting, and you can't understand how they sit there, having shallow little lives that don't really mean anything when you've had to do what you've done."
"Exactly," Xander agreed. "I'm doing good getting back the 'me' part but I think I've been missing him for years. Between the girls and their ways of wearing me down so I'd go away because I was supposedly so normal and couldn't do the job like I had been for years, and the drama with Anya, all that stuff, I think I've been lost since about high school."
She nodded. "Going to Africa was probably the best thing you could've done for yourself. You learned a lot about yourself. As you finish working it out, you might even find a job that you like more than you did carpentry."
"I love carpentry but the depth perception thing sucks right now."
She nodded. "I'm guessing it would with only one eye." She smiled. "You'll get there. Start by seeing if you still like the same fun things and food. That's something that changes as you get older, the same as your personality does, but some things remain the same."
"I've been doing some of that. I realized how shallow I was back then."
"You were a teenager. You're supposed to be shallow." He shrugged at that, grimacing a bit. "Really. It's what all kids are until they're forced out of it by life. Some people never grow out of it."
"There's one of those at the grocery store," he agreed. She laughed. "I'll think about it but I don't think I'm ready yet."
"I can agree. Once you've figured more of yourself out, then think about it. For right now, finding yourself again is a higher calling. Especially when an apocalypse could happen any month now."
"In Cleveland," he pointed out.
"Which the people in DC hate. It's too close to them and they're all worried about demons taking over Congress or Homeland or something."
"With how many of them probably made deals? Too late on part of that," he said dryly.
"Tony got suggested for looking at that issue. His boss told him he couldn't. He'd be creeped out."
"Yeah, me too." He grinned. "So the person listening in?"
He pointed. "There's almost no one out here. I heard a car right after you came in."
"Damn it," she muttered. She heard the car drive off. "I'll get them later," she promised. "Or I'll tell Jack and let him chew on someone. He's bored this week."
"John did have a complaint." She looked at him. "He said some of the guys were getting antsy."
"They could use some shore leave," she agreed. "I'll bring up that point since no one's seeing common sense." She stood up. The dog looked at her. "You're a good dog, Muffin." She looked at Xander again. "You call if you need me. Not like I'm not used to helping save the earth too."
"Cleveland could probably use some more watchers with common sense," he offered with a smirk.
"I'd end up spanking some shallow thing. Because I know all teenagers go that way now and then." She smiled. "But I'll think about it." She ruffled his hair then left him alone. She had to find out who was spying. She found them waiting on her back at her house. NID. Yay! She stared at them. One male, lesser agent, and one female pushy one that she was going to smite. "Didn't he promise to destroy you people if you came near him again?" she demanded. She pushed her emergency switch. Ten minutes tops and she'd have backup.
"I need to talk to you about the boy you were talking with," she said bluntly. "We think he's not a human. We're sure he's not an alien but we don't know what he is."
"He's very human. I could tell if he wasn't."
"His bloodwork done by your base's labs says he's not."
She snorted. "You're full of it. Really. He's a normal man."
"Why does he have other's memories?"
"From what I've heard, it was from a possession caused by a chaos sorcerer in his eleventh grade year." Two MP's came rushing in. "She's NID, she wants a relative of someone in the project for testing. Drag them back to Landry," she said, pulling up her ID. "Before she kills another civilian."
"He's not human!" she said, struggling against them.
She called the boy, putting it on speaker. "Xander, I found out who it was. It was NID."
"Why did the crackpot patrol of torture whores want to know about me this time?" he asked. "Not like their Initiative file on me was any good."
"She says you're not human."
"I was exposed to mermaid essence back in high school. We fully detoxed it. Two possessions. My time in Africa. Which one is she talking about?"
Sam took the papers in the woman's bag to look at. "These say he's perfectly human, just better than average. Since he's been hunting demons for nearly ten years now, I'd expect that. Xander, I'm having her arrested. Watch yourself."
"I always do around them. Hell, if they come here, I'll let Buffy have them. Or Willow. They love them just as much as I do." He hung up.
Sam smirked. "I'm coming with you."
"Captain, the general's coming," one said.
"That's fine. Search her here to make sure she doesn't have any other weapons on her. NID are like that and enjoy it." Landry walked in while they were frisking her. "Sir. She's decided Mr. Harris is not human. She was eavesdropping on our talk."
"I hate these freaks. Anything that points to it?"
"No. Not in the bloodwork. He's simply well trained. He did mention he had been exposed to what he termed mermaid essence but it was detoxed. A few possessions."
"I don't need to know unless he's coming in."
"He has some time yet to finish refinding himself," she said quietly.
"I can totally understand that. I did that after a lot of battles." He looked at the struggling woman. "We'll arrest her for now, boys." They nodded, dragging her to the car. "What showed up that was different?"
Sam looked them over, pointing at something. "That's something I've seen in Teal'c's blood, it means he uses oxygen better so more's getting to his cells." She looked over the other pages. "Other than that, it seems perfectly normal." She let him have them. "I have no idea, sir. I would warn Doctor Lam that she's got a leak."
"I'll definitely do that," he assured her. "Be safe."
"Oh, general. He said that some of John's coworkers have been getting antsy."
"Shore leave," he groaned.
"I'll arrange that today. Thank you for reminding me."
"Not a problem, sir." He left, leaving her to think about things. She had been where the kid was. It had reaffirmed her seriousness in science. With that kid, it was a toss up if it would send him back to hunting or not. He might try being normal for a bit.
John sat up when his system beeped a new email sound. He opened it and smirked. That was an excellent idea. He sent back a list of people he had sent off for an extra afternoon off. They got approved immediately. He called a base-wide meeting, going to look at everyone. "If I read your name, SGC says you have a week's pass," he said once they were all there. Woolsey glared at him. "I sent the most critical first. You're to pick the next fifty to go, in batches of twenty or so."
He looked at the group, reading off names. Those people cheered. He looked down at them again. "The rest of you, put in request paperwork. If you're that burned out, make sure we know that. It goes through Woolsey like normal but General Landry lost his email address." He handed over the order. "Shoo." They left to pack or fill out forms. He looked at the head of the expedition. "He really did lose your email address."
"I see that." He glared at him. "Those who're going?"
"Needed emergency relief from duties in the last week."
"I suppose that's fine. That leaves me ten more to go at this time and then another twenty for the next batch."
"At your discretion if something comes up like a family event," he agreed. "I've got a priority list I was going to send over later this week for leave requests."
"One. His sister's getting married next week. I already added him. I was going to have Willow steal him for a few hours." He walked off.
Woolsey shook his head. "That's irregular," he complained but it was already done so he couldn't refute it. He got the list a minute later and it had a long list of names in priority of who needed it first and how long it had been since they'd had any. Some of the people hadn't been off Atlantis in three years. Those people should go first if they wanted to. And the pregnant woman. He didn't want her to deliver here. It'd look bad.
McKay stomped in thirty-two minutes after he had sent that additional list. "If you send her off, you have to send her husband," he pointed out. "He'll have to be wherever she delivers." He walked off shaking his head and muttering about pissing off the scary, pregnant woman in the labs.
"I didn't know she was married," Woolsey muttered. McKay went onto the list for the next set going before he lost any more brain cells from the job. His language skills were leaving him again with what he was muttering.
John leaned in a minute later. "Fair warning." Woolsey moaned, holding his head. "NID wants to test Xander to see why they think he's not normal. He is but he's trained so they're wondering about things. They're idiots and Xander wants to destroy their whole base. So if they come....."
"I'll make sure you can hide and take him with you," he said dryly.
"Thanks." He smirked. "And his dog." He left him to his misery. "Put Milkins back on please. His wife's claiming she's going to divorce him."
"Fine." He added that name and the husband's name, amending his prior orders. That made for two more happy people. The rest had nearly buried him in leave requests. He sorted them out and prioritized by length of time being gone, if it was something like a family wedding or just a general 'please give me time off' request, and how long they wanted. Some people wanted a lot more leave time than they could probably get. Well, unless they broke their leg or something while they were gone.
Xander walked into Tony's unit six days later, staring at him. "If I ask politely would you please have your boss growl his little growl at the idiots so I don't have to shoot any more of them for breaking into my house?"
"Huh?" he asked. "Boss!" He looked at Xander. "Which idiots? We're in DC, that's not real descriptive around here."
"Xander," Gibbs said as he came around the other end of the row.
"Can you please growl at the idiots I have locked in my trunk downstairs for me?"
"They're NID and sent by the wonderful Captain Finn, who's now decided I'm not human. They said so when I questioned them."
"Didn't your local police...." Gibbs started. Xander gave him a dirty look. "Do they know?"
"Yup, and I called someone who said to present them to you since Finn was Army but now he's Homeland. They said to let you work your scary magic and she'd help shut them down again while you watched them cry."
"I can do that. DiNozzo, go help him bring them to an interrogation room. How did you get them here?" he asked Xander.
"Private flight." He smirked. "They're very sorry." He walked off with Tony. "Did you get funny links from one of the aunts?"
"Day-glo fetish gear?"
"Yeah and I got one for leather. So I kindly told her what I saw of what the vampire me would become. She was crying and said she'd quit suggesting leather." They walked around the guards staring at his trunk. "NID agents, guys. They're probably diseased."
"They're going to an interrogation room," Tony ordered. The guards helped them pull them out. They had been pressed very tightly in there. He had no idea how Xander had gotten five of them into the extra-roomy trunk. Two were still crying. Xander followed. "Xander, since they're in custody you can't make them cry anymore. That's mine and Gibbs' fun."
"Sure, have fun with that," Xander agreed. He followed them into an interrogation room. Gibbs came in after them and shut the door. "Hey, Gibbs, can't we make them leave me alone somehow?"
"I've called the agents who should arrest them. They'll look into stopping them for you, Xander." He looked at the boy. "Why don't you take DiNozzo and calm down? That way he doesn't have to scare them too much."
"But they're pretty when they cry," Xander said dryly.
"Yes, but they can't confess when they're sobbing like five-year-old girls. What did you do to them anyway?"
"Things I learned off a roommate." He walked off with Tony.
"You did what Spike would've?" Tony asked as they walked. "Let me introduce you to Abby. She's nice so you probably won't get to hit on her, but she's a good friend." Maybe she could get him to calm down. Xander using Spike's playbook was a very bad omen of Xander going evil to protect himself. They all wanted to keep Xander out of evil bitch mode.
"Sure, I could learn to like knowing sweet girls instead of Buffy and Willow types."
"They might be better now too." Xander shot a look at him. "Still?" he asked quietly, stopping them in the hallway.
"Willow was all 'it's good that they're making you gay' last night when she called. Buffy was making it sound like a soap opera out there ready to go boom. That plus the older stuff. I mean, did they really ever see *me*? Even Willow, who thought she could tell my pulse across the room? Is that why I considered being with Anya normal?"
"I think you're very special for helping her so much," Tony told him. Xander relaxed and grinned again. "Most people wouldn't have taken the time to help her move on that much. I know John and I both thought she was a harpy who needed new nest linings." Xander grimaced but shrugged. "But if being the helping one of your relationships is good for you then I'm all for it as long as you find someone that won't drag you down with them."
"She did eventually quit wanting her powers back," he offered.
"That means you helped her heal, Xander, and that's a great thing, but we both thought it had a lot to do with your low self esteem. Which, granted, was partially your parents and partially them pushing you aside all the time." He brushed some of the boy's hair off his face. "You need another hair cut."
"I barely got this one."
"It looks good on you." He stared into the brown eye and eyepatch. "I think, that since you're growing up and taking a long look at what you want and what's around you, that you taking a look at them is reasonable. I also think that some of the damage they did to you might never heal unless you can work your way through it. I'm not saying go to therapy if that's not what you want to do, but I do think that maybe you stepping back from hunting for a bit is a good thing. It'll help you be more yourself and not just the same Xander mask you've worn for years. Because we knew there was more to you than they saw back in high school." Xander nodded at that. "We were waiting for you to see that."
"I think I did the night I stopped Jack in the basement," he admitted quietly. "I realized then I could do it on my own."
"Yes you can. But you shouldn't have to be alone. You get morose and pout when you're alone. That's why we were so happy that you got Muffin. Speaking of...."
"Neighbor just to the right is feeding her for me tonight."
"That's fine." He gave the boy a hug, letting him sink against him. "You're doing good rebuilding yourself, Xander. Never doubt it. Some of this is the extreme introspection that all the hunting is making you do. Though, I will tell you that even if you go back, there's a different Xander for hunting than there is for off-times." He grinned down at the boy, who smirked back. "That's normal human behavior. We're all different under stress."
"Welcome." He let him go. "C'mon, we'll let Abby pump you for information on vampires."
"She's kind of goth."
"Oh, cool." They walked into the lab together, finding Ducky in there talking to her. "Tony said I should come meet you before I got any more ideas about making NID agents cry from my former roommate Spike."
"You had a roommate named Spike?"
"Yeah, he decided to quit being William when he was turned way back when." She stared. He grinned. "Anyway, we left Gibbs with the NID whiney babies up the hall."
"I should get back to make sure they don't try to hurt him," Tony admitted. "Abby, can you watch my cousin Xander for me?"
"I sure can." She pulled him over to a stool, looking him over once Ducky and Tony had left. "You dressed up to come see Tony?"
"I thought since it's DC I might get ambushed by the same people I told to go to Cleveland if they wanted to talk about hunting. It's better to tell them to bugger off if I'm dressed up instead of in dirty jeans or something like gi pants."
"That could be," she agreed. "So. You hunted vampires?"
"And anything else that needed hunted on my hellmouth with our slayer."
"Wow, so you know Buffy. You're that Xander," she realized.
He grinned and nodded. "Yup. Taking time off to see what I want to do now."
"That's very cool. Besides, I doubt your body can react as well now as it did when you were seventeen."
"No, not really. It aches more now," he admitted. She giggled and nodded she understood about that. "So what do you do?"
"I'm the forensic goddess around here."
"I have no idea what that is," he admitted. "Beyond what they show on the Discovery channel. I should've done better in school."
"Some people are people smart and situation smart instead of book smart, Xander. The book smart are different anyway." She smirked. "Beyond that, there's plenty of people who'd rather be you than me."
"Yeah but they all think that you win the heroine and swing off with her while your slayer goes to hunt down the next nasty thing."
"True, but not all are like that. There's some agents trying to work out a hunting curriculum at a local college. Even with your Mr. Giles' help."
He considered it. "PE for stamina. Martial arts, weapons. Sometimes you need hand-to-hand or staking, sometimes you need guns - depending on what you're hunting. And sometimes you need explosives. Criminology or something else that'll teach you how to hunt down someone by figuring out who they are and why they did it. Sometimes that's important. Definite tracking skills needed through all sorts of environments. Including urban ones and in the sewers.
"Languages because most of the books are in latin or funky ones that have no relation to anything you can study anywhere else. Field medic skills at the very least. Insurance companies don't really like it when you get staked on your own stake. I've done a lot of our stitches and pulled some too. Plus knowing when something's broken versus sprained has helped. Research skills will be necessary for the book work." He looked at her. "Beyond that, the rest is personal, depending on what you hunt, and fashion decisions. Some of the slayers go out like Buffy did in clubbing clothes. I went out in things I could get slime out of."
She finished that note and put it under her keyboard. "I'll write that to them later," she promised. "What about teaching the actual hunting? Do you think you might go that way?"
He shrugged. "I think half of them, if they're agents, have probably already killed in the field." She gave him a horrified look. "Even if they're former people, going whoosh still ends their unlife. That's something that'll drag them down more than anything."
"You know, I never considered it that way."
He smiled. "I didn't want to think about it until I had to take some time to look at my life in Africa."
"But that's a good thing," she reminded him. "Because you can't be sixteen forever."
"No, I can't," he agreed with a slight smile. "Even if I do have just as much energy most of the time." She nodded she did too. "But I think if they truly want to hunt, I mean really feel that it's their calling and duty, because it'll have to be, then they've got to realize what it means exactly. I know a lot of us got into the field because of something that happened. We got exposed in a way that left some vengeance mostly."
"So what brought you?"
"My best friend got taken. I still can't stand vampires because of that," he said quietly.
She nodded. "I can see how that happens. I know I've heard that some went into it because someone near them got killed by a demon."
"In a way it's like making a fanatic," he told her quietly. "You feel that you've lost something important and you have to get it back by taking out everything that took it from you. That urge will burn brighter than anything in you. It'll push you to get what you need. If those agents aren't feeling that, then they're going to get burned out very quickly. Like any soldier in a war zone would. Those of us with a reason keep going even when we're injured, even when our life is going to hell around us, because it matters to us that no one else is hurt the same way we were. Even if we have to take them all out, no one else will have to deal with what we did."
She sat down on her stool, staring at him. "But you've grown out of that urge."
"It's still there," he told her. "But I also realize it's not just my fight. Any that come near me, they're gone. The others someone else can help me take out. We'll never get them all. It's an eternal fight of the light's warriors struggling in the dark to defeat the dark."
"Which is why your aunts got so pushy," she realized.
"Due to a few incidences in my past I was told by a mystical source that I won't have children. So they decided I could be part of a mated pair of hunters and help train the next generation of us."
"Then why Tony? He's not going to be that sort of hunter."
"He accidentally got sucked in when he showed up at the wrong time to get John's help while we were drugged and it sucked him into the issues."
"I guess I can understand that. John seemed like quite the warrior when necessary."
"Yeah but he's found a place where those skills are in better use now. He has the skills, the drive to be that sort of knight for everyone, but not the need to make his war against the demons. So he chose a better way of doing it."
"Which is what you're trying to figure out now," Gibbs told him from his spot listening to them talk it out. Xander nodded. "You could go military. He could help you get in with experience credit for a higher rank."
"The rules would drive me nuts, Gibbs. I can't live with the constant pushing and rules and all that stuff that would make me do things their way instead of the way they needed to be done. You see an enemy line and count bullets. I see an enemy line and my mind goes to explosives, higher weapons, or ways to get around them without letting them know. Most commanders don't want that sort of insight."
"No they don't. They want people to follow orders," he agreed. "O'Neill's project has a lot more of the free thinkers."
"Which is an option I'm keeping open once I'm more comfortable with myself. I'm not sure I could stand all the science and things. I think that might be even more weird than I can take. I'm not real sure yet."
"Which is reasonable," Gibbs told him. Xander grinned and nodded. "So now what?"
"I go home to my dog, I play some more fetch, I do some more meditation, I cook dinner sometime soon." He yawned. "I finally get a nap because I wasn't about to sleep with NID anywhere near me. Even tied up."
"That's probably a very wise thing," Abby said. "Are they going away for a long time, Gibbs?"
"Their boss is protesting but us pointing out that they broke into a house to capture a citizen who isn't special, just been through multiple battles and weird events, meant that they're in trouble."
"Especially if Willow hears that NID is back," Xander warned. "I called her and she didn't want to deal with them but she had that 'apocalypse coming soon' distracted sound."
"There's something going on but I'm not sure what," Abby told him. "The energy readings have been fluctuating again." She tipped her head to the side. "What about making things for the slayers and other hunters?"
"I wouldn't mind. I love weapons. I'm not sure I can improve the gun or crossbow though."
"No, but you can make specialty guns," Tony said from behind Gibbs. "Maybe bless them like the Winchesters said that colt of theirs was? Plus forging other things."
"That might be good," Xander admitted. "Plus it'd let guys like John have some speciality things too if I wanted."
"Yes, it would," Gibbs agreed.
Xander nodded. "That's not a bad idea. How do you learn that? I know there's those ads for gunsmithing classes."
"Start there, some blacksmith training might help too," Abby said. "They'd make swords."
Xander nodded. "That's actually a very good idea," he decided. They smiled. "Thanks, guys." He hugged Abby then Tony. "I'd offer you one, Gibbs, but you might growl at me and like it." He walked Tony off.
Abby hugged him. "I'll share." She smiled. "Can we go wave at the NID guys as they're dragged off?"
"They're already gone."
"Damn." She let him go. "Are they going to stay gone?"
"I hope so but Fornell did say that Harris wasn't in trouble for protecting himself." Tony walked back in. "He gone?"
"Yup, headed for the airport. By the way, he wanted to know what you wanted him to do with his weapons contacts."
"Turn them in," he said bluntly.
"He might need some of them, Gibbs," Abby protested. "The Council doesn't have an arms master."
He stared at her. "No!" He walked off shaking his head, leaving a message on the kid's voicemail. Tony came up humming. That whole family was going to drive him nuts. Because Abby was more strange than he could handle most days. Xander and Tony? Way too much strangeness.
To Story 5
Back to Cousins of Power index