Throttle strolled into Xander's office, his cane tapping loudly in the quiet afternoon.  "No one here today?" he asked Trisha.

"No, we had a small incident.  One of the guys was guiding a steel beam and it landed on his hand.  Xander had to drive him to the ER," she offered, smiling up at him as she pushed some of her black hair back behind her ear.  She stood up to give him a hug, showing off her smiley face plus forehead bullet hole t-shirt with the phrase 'happier now, thanks' underneath and her cutoff jean shorts.  "Should you be walking?"

"No," he admitted cooly and casually, smirking at her, "that's why I'm strolling."  He sat down and put his injured leg up, looking at the mess on the desk.  "Is he behind?"

"Nope, all that's due tomorrow.  He's actually about a day ahead by most other boss's timetable.  Then again, he likes being ahead.  That's why the site's a few days ahead."  She shrugged. "How about you?  Feeling better?"

"Much.  I'm not being fussed over at home.  It's all good."  He smiled as he heard a particular engine sound, getting comfortable and spreading his legs just a bit to look more cool for his mate when he came in.  "Hey," he said in greeting.  "Thought I'd come for lunch."

Xander grinned.  "Sure, I could eat."  He looked at Trisha, then outside.  "The boss said to call it for the day?"

"Yeah, we got that one beam in place and then we called for the day so they could go to the main building and redo the safety lectures.  That's our first accident company wide in nearly six months."  Xander grinned at that.  "Besides yours, which weren't work related."

"No, they weren't," he agreed dryly.  "Then we're free?"

"Yup, we are.  I was just holding things down until you got back."  She grabbed her jeans jacket and pulled it on.  "Don't have sex on my desk, you'll mess up my paperwork."  She grinned at Throttle.  "Have fun being lunch."  Then she left, going out to her neon green pickup.  Her music came on as soon as the engine started, making the guard jump, and she was off.

Xander shook his head, grinning at Throttle.  "So, where should I take you to eat you?" he asked with a leer.

"How about back at the garage since you're done for the day?  Charley's got a fussy car in there and she's about ready to pop it one with a blaster.  Maybe we could pick up lunch on the way?"

"Sure," he agreed, helping his mate stand so he could steal a kiss. "Or we could play a bit here and then go home," he suggested.

"That was my original intention," he retorted, smirking at him.  "Wanna go for a ride, Xander?"

"Only if I get to drive since you're not supposed to be."

"I cabbed," he admitted. "She wouldn't let me ride her yet."

"Then we'll go home and I'll coax her out for a ride, and you can help me learn more stuff."  He stole a kiss.  "When do you guys think I'll be able to go trash the tower with you?"

"When you've got your own bike and you've learned the playbook," he said firmly.

"I can drive the car for now," he offered smoothly, kissing him again. "Can't you just *show* me?"

"Nope, sorry.  Stoker has to teach it to you.  It's got a lot of stuff we don't use because it covers all the specialties."  He stole a quick kiss.  "Come on, let's go feed everyone and then we'll head out for a nice, long, secluded ride."  Xander beamed and led him out to the car, only pausing to lock the trailer, then they headed to get Charley something she'd like.  She was being a bit picky about eating recently.


Throttle and Xander rode back into the garage, looking at the car in the other bay.  It was fairly old and beaten up, but Charley was deep under it.  They could only see her feet.  "We brought food," Xander offered.

"Give me ten more, guys."

"Sure, Charley girl," Throttle agreed, getting off and taking Xander back to the kitchen.  For some reason Xander was hanging back, staring at the car.  "Never seen one?" he joked.

Xander frowned at it, then looked at him.  "Go get me the Bextra red book," he ordered quietly.  "There's something I need to look up over lunch."  Throttle shrugged and went to get that one from Dawn's room.  He didn't understand about these things but apparently it was important.  Xander walked back there and pulled Charley out by her feet.  "You might wanna get away from the possessed car," he noted dryly.  "It's trying to jump bodies.  You can tell because it's got that shimmery haze thing going."

She got up and backed behind him.  "What do we do about this?"

"Well, first I look up what to do.  I can do pretty good on people, as long as they're not holy spirits of any sort.  Cars are different.  What I do on people requires them to fight back."  He made a shooing motion.  "Back, go to the kitchen."  She walked backwards, running into Throttle.  "In the index, look up possession, inanimate objects," he ordered quietly.  The car roared to life and he dove out of the way, behind a bike, and Throttle picked up Charley to move her.  "I don't know this section by heart," he yelled.

"Inanimate objects, see Thorenson or King."

"Yeah, because I've got *so* much time to reread Christine!" he yelled.  The car turned to look at him.  "Nice demon, it's okay.  We're just going to let you jump into a better body.  That's all.  Just not one of the bikes, okay.  We can treat them like people and work on them.  You don't want them anyway, they're alien," he offered when the car looked at the bikes gathered around.  "Bikes, out!" he shouted.  They all shot out of the garage, the car seeming to swell to try to catch one, but Lil' Hoss was better than any demon.  Xander was now unguarded and he looked at the car.  "Okay, in Christine I'm pretty sure we ended up destroying the car.  I obviously don't want to do that."  He saw someone stick their head in the doorway.  "Oh, hey, she's in the kitchen."

"Thanks.  What's going on?"  He looked at his car, which somehow seemed to wiggle and turn to face him.  "What happened?"

"We were wondering the same thing.  Have you pissed off any people who have recently died?"

The owner shook his head.  "No, not that I know of.  My aunt recently died but she didn't ever like me."

"Huh."  Xander saw Charley come in.  "Out!" he ordered.  "You are vulnerable, the same as I am."  She looked stunned and a tail came through the swinging doors to pull her back into the kitchen.  "Thanks.  Let's try to keep her in there, guys."  He looked at the car again, taking a step closer.  "If you'd let me, I'd help you," he offered gently.  "I'll gladly help you out of that older body and into a newer one.  Just not the bikes or my car, dear."  The car wiggled again and turned on him, pinning him in the headlights.  "Hey, I know, I draw people to me," he agreed.  "I can help you if you want.  Can you wait an hour to get the other helpful person here?  Someone call Dawn!" he shouted.

"What are you doing?" the owner asked.  "She's stuck in there, right?"

"Yeah, but I'm trying to get her out, before the car kills someone," he said blandly.

"This is scarily like a book I saw as a movie once," the owner complained.  He walked in and the car turned on him, trying to run him down.  Xander moved him and got between them, staring at the car's headlights.  "Thanks, man."

"Outside," he ordered calmly.  "Look for a brunette young woman.  When she gets here, you can let her in.  Now out."  He nodded, taking off that way.  Xander stopped the car by standing in front of it.  He was slowly lowering his shields, finding the demon trying to taste him.  He knew he was a nummy treat for them and vampires.

"Xander, can we not get possessed today?" Vinnie called.  "I needed help shopping."

"Sure, if possible.  Someone make sure Dawn's on her way."

"She's on her way, they were out at a far park for a ride," Throttle admitted.  He came to the door, and watched the car turn itself around.  "That's just bad," he decided, backing away.

Xander coughed and lowered his shield a bit more.  "Let's not touch the husband, honey.  It won't do you any good.  He's shielded. All his people are."  He heard an inquisitive beep.  "No, stay out there," he called.  "Head over to the lair.  She can jump into you and then Oz'll have to mess with your programming."  The bike backed off and they all headed next door, going to hide.  Which got Modo up.  He came over and peeked in the door.  "Out!" he ordered sharply.  "You are possessable."

"The car's possessed?" he asked.  The car turned to look at him.  "Oh, hey, I guess it is."  He went to guard the house.  Nothing was jumping into his bike.  Especially not some nasty demon.  He slammed the door and locked it, just in case.

Xander swallowed, staring at the car again.  "We can try to help or I can call a big magnet," he said calmly. "If you wanna cooperate, it'd be kinda nice.  Usually I only do people."  The car inched toward him. "What?  You want me?  Well, you've got to get Throttle's permission first.  By the way, don't try for Charley either.  She's shielded. Dawn made sure of it."  He stepped forward a step and the car inched back. "I'm not going to hurt you," he promised gently.  "I'm not.  I'm going to touch your hood to see what sort of spirit you are."  He leaned forward, still staring at it as he put a hand on the hood.  It bucked and he landed against the wall.  "Wonderful.  I need some holy water," he called miserably.  "We might want to call Wes or Fred too."

"Already done, they said it's the same procedure and to use sea salt if possible," Charley said from the doorway.  "They said to hitch it down and I don't know how."

"Get it onto the lift?" he suggested with a shrug.  The car lunged toward Charley and he tried to get between them but the antenna shot out and caught her by the arm, dragging her out.  Xander got there in time to tackle her and stop her progress, struggling with the demonic wire.   He growled and summoned over a pair of wire cutters, using it on the antenna, which released her.  She was bleeding from it and hurried back to the kitchen.  "Get her to the hospital," he ordered. "No paramedics, drive her."  Vinnie nodded, taking her to his bike and heading off with her.  "Okay, you want blood," he said dryly, lowering his shields all the way.  He could feel the creature eyeing him, felt it tense, and then he felt it leap, but his shields went up and Throttle threw the holy water on the gaseous form of the demon as it moved. The shriek shook the garage, knocking some tools off but he didn't really care.  They could clean up later.  He looked at the demon, catching the bag of salt from Throttle's toss, knowing he was going to.  A quick circle, then a pentagram around the circle.  "Book?" he called.  It was tossed out too.  "Thanks, Rimfire.  Where's Dawn?"

"Getting some other supplies.  She said it's a higher level and to use the one on page 280," he repeated.

"Sure."  He flipped to the page and snorted. "This one doesn't work very well for me."  Dawn walked in and took the book, moving to start the banishment.  "I can do it."

"Hush," Throttle ordered, pulling him back.  The spirit tried to move toward them but it was stuck now.  Dawn had completed the first passage and it was stuck in the opening portal.  It struck and blew at the barrier around it but it wasn't going to work.  She continued to chant, sending it on its way. Throttle looked Xander over, seeing the few cuts on him too.  Nothing as serious as Charley's into her wrist, but still bleeding.  He took him back to the kitchen sink, going to rinse them off and look them over.  None needed stitches and for that he said a silent prayer to one of the Martian deities, and then the spirit yelled something and Dawn shouted back, sounding scared.  Xander went out there and started on a different spell, using his blood around the figures in salt.  The spirit formed then wiggled and screamed in pain as a dark haze came up around its feet.  It was slowly eaten by the haze, making Dawn and Throttle shudder, she was in his arms now.  Xander got finished and was panting, but then he slit his thumb and the blood was flung across the figure.  The demon went 'whoosh' as the haze finished it off.  The screams ended and so did the breeze.  They all stared at the spot on the floor, then Throttle looked at his mate.  "You okay?"

"Nauseous," he complained, holding his stomach.  "I hate blood magic."  He ran to the bathroom to get sick, slamming the door behind him.

Rimfire stole Dawn to hold and check over, finally finding nothing wrong so he cuddled her against his chest.  "It's gone?" he asked.

"Yeah, it's gone," Throttle agreed.  He walked over to the door and opened it, finding the owner cowering outside. "It's gone.  Charley probably won't be able to finish it for about a week.  That okay with you?"

"Fine," he said, staring at him and swallowing.  "Is she all right?  Did it try to eat her?"

"The antenna opened a spot on her wrist," he admitted. "She's in the ER at the moment."

"I'll pay for that too," he vowed.  "Thank you, sir, for saving her. I don't know what to say.  I had no idea."  He shook his hand.  "I'll be back in a week."  He walked off, going to have a large drink and then go to church.  "Why did someone tell me to bring her here?" he asked the sky.  "Did they know?"

Throttle put out the 'closed due to emergency' sign and then closed the door.  He found Xander still in the bathroom and got down to help him get sick, smoothing the fur on his head and back while he retched.  "She'll be fine and so will you," he said gently.  "Dawn's fine too."  Xander nodded, getting sick again.  "Rimfire, get me some cold water," he called.  Dawn brought it in and put it beside them, then laid a hand on the back of Xander's neck, easing it some.  "Thanks, Dawn. You okay?"

"Creeped out.  I've never dealt with one of hell's minions before," she admitted. "Usually it's former people and minor demons."  She went back to the kitchen, then went next door to tell Modo it was okay again.  She sat down with Rimfire to check the bikes, just in case, but she certainly wasn't ready to eat.  She looked up as Modo came down the ramp.  "It's gone.  Xander had to banish it.  Charley's in the ER with a cut wrist.  Xander's puking up his toenails for a few more minutes.  He got them out of the way."

"I saw.  I'll thank him later."

"Tuck him in later," she said with a small grin for him.  "He'll need a nap."  She patted Throttle's bike.  "You okay, baby?"  She beeped and nudged her.  "You're sure?  No odd things in your wiring?  Nothing making you itch?"  Lil' Hoss shifted. "Oh, please don't be possessed."  It shifted and shook its front wheel.  "Thanks, babe.  Rimfire, can you go warm me up some soup?"

"Sure."  He kissed her on the cheek and went up to do that for her.  She deserved it and maybe Xander could use some too.  Dawn came up and flopped down a few minutes later.  "Something else happen?" he asked, looking out at her.

"Vinnie called, Charley's getting fifteen stitches and a huge bandage.  They thought she had gotten cut on a fan blade."  She shrugged. "We'll be fine, Rimmy."  He grinned and went back to her lunch. Throttle carried Xander up the ramp and put him beside her so she leaned against his side.  "Rimmy's warming up soup," she offered.

"No, food bad," he groaned, getting up to get sick again.

"He'll be fine.  It's been one of those days for injury," Throttle told her.  "A guy at the sight got his hand stuck between two steel beams."  She winced.  "Yeah."  He shuddered.  "Rimfire, is there enough for me and Modo too?" he called, going to make sure of it. "Xander's not going to be eating anytime soon," he offered quietly, taking that bowl for himself.  Modo got one too and they sat down in the lounge area to eat quietly, waiting on Vinnie and Charley to come back.


Xander peeked in on Charley, then walked in and handed her the book he hated to use.  "Here, just in case."

She stared up at him.  "I'm not like that."

"You are," he offered.  "Just a milder version.  You've got some older shields on you.  I'm guessing someone in your past had a clue and tried to protect you."  He sat on the foot of her bed.  "You okay?  No funny feelings, no stranger than average cravings?  Nothing like a roaming anger problem?"

"No, not at the moment," she said dryly, staring at him.  "How long have you realized?"

"Since Vinnie said our minds felt alike.  I did a small thing and found your shields, and they're okay," he promised, "just not against something that massive and being pregnant can make them thinner around you and stronger around her," he said, pointing at her stomach.  "Fred said so."

She sighed.  "Fine.  I'll think about working on my shields."

"Do them with Vinnie," he suggested with a grin.  "Keep him from pouncing into your mind now and then."  She smiled at that. "I've got some decent ones and it was pushing on mine too.  It'd be a lot harder to protect you if you got possessed. Even if we got you free, the baby could come out with it and I don't want my first time holding my godchild to be an unpossession."  Vinnie snickered from behind them, in the doorway.  "I don't," he defended.  "You've realized for how long that she's possessable?"

"Since I figured out why your minds were alike."  He walked in to lay beside her, looking at the book.  "You hate that book."

"Yeah, but she's the more traditional type," he said dryly.  "She can start there and customize from there.  Think of it like a bare frame."  Vinnie chuckled at that.  "Seriously.  Some people see their shields like Star Trek, some of them see them like some dense fog around them, and some of us see them like steel plates because we need them that way," he said wisely, smirking at her.  That got a small smile.  "Or let him help you.  The big goofball beside you has some pretty good shields."  He patted her stomach before standing up.  "Protect her, okay?  I don't want either of you hurt.  Or you, Vinnie," he finished with a small grin, heading back to his spot on the couch.  Throttle held up the blankets and he snuggled underneath again.  "I gave her the book."

"Good.  We'll help her too."  He tucked his man back in and sat there reading, just so Xander couldn't get up and do more dangerous things.


Dawn snuck over later that night, after dinner, and curled up beside Charley.  "I love Rimfire, but he's got some strange ideas," she sighed.

Charley grinned at her.  "What's he doing now?"

"He's decided I don't need to shave, no matter how much I itch, because it's not something that'll do anything for him."  She looked up at her buddy.  "I don't mind not shaving now and then but I was in a shaving mood earlier."

Charley smiled and nodded.  "That is one good thing to dating someone so furry, they don't care if you have body fur too."  She patted her on the back.  "I'm almost tempted to shave everything off and then see what they do."

Dawn smirked.  "Rimfire was getting upset because I was going to shave my armpits.  He's going to blow his stack if I shaved everything."  She grinned.  "Want to?"

"Sure," she agreed.  "Vinnie could use a little bit of shock," she said with a wink.  "Nair?"

"Much easier than wax," Dawn agreed lightly.  "I'll run out and get some."  She got up and headed down to steal Charley's bike to go to the pharmacy.


Xander took a sniff and shuddered.  "Nair," he said, getting up and walking off before he had flashbacks from living with so many women at once.  He saw Vinnie and caught his arm, turning him around to walk him back outside.  "They're doing girl stuff up in the bathroom.  You shouldn't go in there."  He shook his head, walking him back to where everyone was sitting outside in the spot that would soon be their outdoor lounge area. "Give the women an hour before we go bother them.  Dawn and she are doing girly stuff."  He sat down, pulling Vinnie into his lap to make sure he couldn't go help.  "Modo, catch Rimfire."  He caught him.  "Rimfire, a word of advice from a man who has lived in a house with twenty girls and a neutered vampire.  When you smell the scent currently coming out of the bathroom or the scent of hot wax, you don't go interrupt. They'll be done when they're done and lotioned down again, and have had something to ease the ache."  He looked up at Vinnie.  "It won't hurt her, but you're in for a shock tonight," he said quietly.

"What is that chemical stench?" Throttle asked as he joined them.  "Limburger's new plan?"

"Nair," Xander said dryly.  "Learn that scent, avoid that scent," he said firmly.  "Because you don't want to know what they're doing."

"Nair?  Like with the commercials for short shorts?" Vinnie asked.  Xander nodded.  "She doesn't have to do that," he whined.  "I don't mind fur."

Xander patted him on the back.  "Just wait, you can see later.  Give them an hour."

Vinnie sighed and nodded, getting up to sit in his own seat.  "I went through the first few exercises with her, and they went okay.  She's got it pretty well so far."

"Good.  Help her customize them."  He grinned at him.  "That way you and you alone have the key to getting into her mind."  Vinnie grinned shyly at that.  "Good man.  I've got to let Throttle help me too."  Throttle nodded, smirking at him, putting his feet up to get comfortable.  "We'll work on those later."

"Sure," he agreed, opening a new root beer and sighing in pleasure.  "This'll be great when it's done in a few weeks."

"Yeah, just a few more weeks, then we've got to put the books up," Xander said dryly.

"We're not librarians and I don't do occult stuff," Vinnie reminded him.  "You and Dawn have fun with that, little brother."

"Hey, more muscle building for me," Xander said dryly, smirking at him.

"Your boss wants you to have more definition anyway," Throttle said smugly.  "You could use it."

"Yeah, you've got to be as studly as I am," Vinnie said, flexing his arm muscles. Dawn squealed and the men all shuddered.  When she came out a few minutes later, she strolled over and sat in her man's lap, grinning at him.  "Are you done with the girl stuff?" Vinnie asked.

"Yeah, we're done.  She's back in bed."  She smirked at Rimfire, watching him as he ran a hand up her calf.  He did it again, looking confused.  Then his hand went further.  Modo coughed to stop his hand once it went under her shorts.  "What?" she asked innocently.

"You're supposed to have some fur," he pouted.

She shifted, straddling his lap.  "I don't like having fur most of the time.  You're going to have to get used to having a furless girlfriend."

"Furless?" Throttle asked.  "Like totally furless?" he finished flatly.  He looked at Xander.  "That nair stuff does what?"

"Removes hair," Xander said dryly.  "Anywhere you put the stuff on, it'll eat the hair for a few weeks."  He looked at Dawn, then at the back of her legs.  "You missed a few spots."

"I'll get them later," she said, staring at her boyfriend, who had a finger back up her shorts.  Modo coughed again and then Rimfire squeaked and pulled out her waistband to look.

Modo reached over to swat him.   "Do not disrespect your girl that way," he ordered firmly.

"You totally took off all your hair?" Throttle asked her.  Modo paused, then blushed and moaned.

Vinnie hopped up and went to look at his girlfriend, who was back in bed in one of his favorite nighties.  He could tell that she didn't have any body hair below her eyebrows.  And it made him moan.  "That's so kinky," he groaned, sliding down next to her.  He ran a hand up her leg, over her thigh, and where she used to have a thick amount of hair.  "Sweetheart," he said, staring at her.  "You didn't have to."

"I don't mind, but it'll itch in about a week."

He kissed her, pressing her into the pillows while he climbed on top.  "You are so naughty," he said in awe.  "Furless."

"I thought it might be a kink for someone as furry as you," she said with a smirk.  She shifted, letting him have whatever he wanted.

He groaned and sat back to look at her, taking that nightie and tossing it behind him into the hallway.  He got a good look at her, noticing a few stray hairs, but he could take care of those.  That was so kinky!  He growled and dove in to see if this changed anything else.

Outside Dawn was teasing Rimfire with the braid she had done before her shower, making him growl.

"You're still grounded," Throttle said quickly.

"I'll take more," Rimfire growled, picking her up and carrying her inside.  She might have to tie him down to keep him from going too hard.  "So kinky," he groaned, laying her down.  He laid down beside her to touch and stroke.  Her clothes were quickly history but she didn't seem to mind.

Outside, Throttle was still shaking his head.  "Why would they do that?"

"The effect," Xander said wisely.  "That and it makes you a bit more sensitive."  Throttle looked at him.  "Anya wanted to do it a few times," he said with a shrug.  "Seemed to make her happy until the hair started to grow back, then she itched a lot and in public."  He smirked and took Vinnie's root beer to sip.  "What're we doing for the rest of the night?"

"Since it's just us, wanna hit a movie?"

"Sure."  Xander stood up and smoothed down his shirt and shorts, then grabbed his man to kiss him.  "If I had realized it'd be a major turnon, I'd have done it before I grew fur."

"Not an issue," he promised, kissing him again.  "Bike?" he called.  "Before we get too involved."  The bike moved over and let them get on, and he wiggled as Xander got very close to his tail and wiggled.  "Let's go," he said softly, heading out to find a good movie for them to cuddle during.  No one was going to be missing them for a few hours.


Xander strolled back into the office the next morning, smirking at Trisha.  "Morning."

"Yes, it is," she said smugly, looking him over.  "Have fun last night?"

"After we had to unpossess the car, yeah," he said smugly.  "Charley and Dawn did the nair thing and then Throttle and I went to the movies."  He flopped down, only wincing a bit.  "I feel so much better," he said happily.  "How're things looking?"

"Good.  Most of the crew showed up today.  They're ready to start at eight.  All we need is you, big guy."

Xander winked.  "Well, you've got me now."  He got up and stuck his head out of the trailer.  "Guys, it's two minutes 'til," he yelled.  Most of the workers headed for the building.  "Thanks, guys.  Be there in a few."  He closed the door and leaned against it, smirking at her.  "So, how was your night off?"

"Pretty good.  I did laundry and took a long bath."  She stood up and grabbed her clipboard. "Shall we?"

"Sure."  He grabbed his clipboard and soda, heading out after her.  On the way past, he flipped on the stereo and heard some groans so paused long enough to change the music in it.  It'd do until first break.


Across town, a boardroom was full of people in serious suits, looking quite serious.  "We must get past this one.  He won't allow things to go according to the Board's plans," the man at the head of the table noted.

One man raised his hand, and Lindsay leaned forward.  "Do we even have a file on him?  I couldn't find one and I don't know enough about what happened back then to know who he was before he turned."

"What is he?" another man asked casually.

"A giant mouse," the man at the head of the table told him.  "Martian.  He may still have some human weaknesses but I can't be sure without a tissue sample to test."  He leaned back, looking at Lindsay.  "He wasn't part of Angel's crew.  I looked in his file and in his personal file that he left in LA after they took over there.  He only mentioned him once or twice, never in a pleasing manner, and never gave details, just the name Xander."  He put a finger under his chin, thinking slowly.  "Lindsay is correct, we do need a proper file on him.  Do we have any sources?"

"There's a government agency that could have something," one woman noted calmly.  "The problem is that we don't have anyone there to get it for us.  They're fairly small and tightly knit."

Lindsay coughed.  "If he worked with Buffy, like we believe, then we can cross reference her file with his.  We know he was at the Initiative assault because we caught his picture on tape.  I did a cursory search earlier, but there's not much in the more public section. Again, mostly just noting his name."

The man at the head of the table typed something into the laptop beside his desk, then looked at him and shook his head.  "Name mentioned only, no cross-referenced entries."  Everyone sighed.  "What does that leave us?  Governmental?  Other villains?  Any higher demons?  Any friends who might turn?"

"Friends are a wash," the woman pointed out.  "Summers and her watcher are the only two left.  That Rosenburg witch died to protect the Hellmouth and then Limburger took her with it when he denuded the area."  She leaned forward.  "I've heard rumors that he left Cleveland to get away from Summers, but he's went back a few times to protect the area again."

"That means Summers could be tricked into it, but we can't count on it," Lindsay pointed out.  "What about her Watcher?  He's not in Cleveland."

"No, he's not," she agreed thoughtfully, looking at him.  "Where is he?"  He shrugged.  "No current location?"

"No, he's presently recuperating.  That's why the Powers brought back two new Watchers from Angel's old team."  He looked at the head demon.  "Do you have a location on him?  He's known to drink now and then."

"No, but there's one person who can always find him," he noted smugly.  "Ethan Rayne."  Everyone took down that name.  "What about this"

"ECHO?" the woman offered.  "Former intelligence, got moved in the reorganization around Homeland Security.  Their head has been in contact with Mr. Harris many times and has stayed with them in the past.  So have his top people.  I glanced over them and didn't see any gaping spots to apply pressure to any of those three.  The lesser ones may be more malleable.  We'd have to look them over more closely.  Then again, I'm not sure that they have a full file."

"We should use multiple sources," Lindsay agreed.  "There's going to be gaps in each other's knowledge. I doubt he told those agents about any *bad* things that could be used against him, but Giles may know."

"May being the operative word," the head man said quietly.  "How is this boy nearly invisible and no one realized it?"

"He was in the background," Lindsay pointed out.  "The few of us in Sunnydale concentrated on the powerful people.  The fact that Mr. Harris pulled a client out of our offices a few weeks back means we should have paid more attention to him.  Frankly, we had more on Cordelia Chase when she was alive than we do on this boy."

"He did?" the woman asked.  Lindsay nodded.  "Why?"

"The demon attacked him instead of his target.  The boy got understandably pissed.  He cowed the lawyer on that case and drug the demon off to be questioned by his actual target after he broke in the parking garage.  We also have tapes of him fighting in Cleveland?"  The head man nodded.  "Does he show as one of the Champions?"

"No," the woman said, shaking her head.  "There's no way.  He's not been handicapped by the Powers in their usual manner."

"He's gay.  He's now furry. He looks like the things he used to hunt," Lindsay said snidely.  "If that's not hobbling, I don't know what is."

"Enough," another man said as he walked in.  He dropped something on the table, then looked at the man at the head of the table.  "What did you want to know?" he asked coldly.  "The boy has turned on his own kind.  He's turned his back on everything that has been his right.  Unfortunately I gifted him before then."

Lindsay looked at him.  "Why are you helping us?"

"Because he's not one of us," the man said plainly.  "He's turned his back on his duty.  He's a traitor to the cause.  I'm sure his mate would agree if he thought about it."  He sneered at him.  "None of you will ever catch that boy.  It will taken Ethan and I to do this for you, but we want a reward."  He looked at the man at the head of the table.  "There's a silver globe with emeralds in your company's care.  We wish that."

The man looked at him.  "Screwing one of your own to get a necessary thing?" he asked smoothly, smirking at him.  "How very Middle Ages of you, Mr. Giles."

"I do what must be done and the boy knows he's open to sacrifice for the cause."  He shrugged. "That's the way life is.  He's sacrificed before, he'll do it again."

"Very well," he agreed, glancing at his computer where a new message had popped up telling him to make the deal.  "What are you planning?"

Giles smirked.  "That's for me to know and you to find out."  He turned and walked off.


To part 29a

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