A Colonel's GHS Dilemma
John looked at his sons then at Xander, who was sulking in the corner of the kitchen bench area. "It'll be fine, Xander. We'll be back in a while. The boys have to go out and do a few things first. They promised to visit some people and take care of a few things."
"Who's going to let me out of the house?" Xander asked. "You won't even let me check the mail without someone watching."
"We're arranging for a retired military person to come stay with you and be your bodyguard," John said. "I have a friend who has a friend who knows a colonel who just retired from a secret project that it's said has some strange stuff." Xander scowled. "I had them check; he had nothing to do with that Initiative crap you guys had. NID hates him almost as much as it does your merry little band out there."
"I'm not going back."
"No, you're not," Dean agreed. "If they show up, let the bodyguard shoot 'em." He took a kiss. "Behave for him?"
"I always try. It's not like I plan on those sort of things to happen."
"I know." He patted him on the head. "We arranged with Steve to pay him directly so you don't have to worry about it."
Xander nodded. "I guess that'll be fine. Will he let me shop?"
"He's there to guard you and to make sure you're not taken while you shop," John pointed out. "If he won't let you shop now and then, you can pout at him."
Xander nodded. "I guess."
"Good boy, thank you," John said. Xander barked, getting a bark back from their dog, Bogart. John moaned, walking off shaking his head.
"Good one," Dean said, smirking at him. "What're you going to do while we're gone?"
"Go buy CD's?" he guessed.
"That could help too. Remember, Sammy's on the computer at least once a day." He took another kiss. "Behave. We'll see you in a month." He left. Sammy came in to be mushy or whatever while he warmed up the car. The military guy was definitely going to be in for a hell of a surprise. They had talked with him late last night. He had agreed. He had no idea what he was in for but he had agreed. John called to let him know they were going. Then he followed the boys out.
Xander sat and watched, cuddling the dog. "It'll be all right, Bogart. I promise it will be. If he's mean I'll turn him into a willing love slave or something so he takes me shopping whenever I want." He saw a jeep pull up and looked. "Look, it's Colonel GI Joe, from the Air Force so I guess that makes him one of the pilots." He walked out there, the dog trotting along. "You're the guy John said would protect me?"
"I am. Colonel Jack O'Neill," he said, shaking his hand. He let the dog sniff him, getting a bark back. "Nice to meet you too, pooch."
"Not always; sometimes it's because he's a hog and tries to bogart your food on you."
Jack nodded. "That'll be a good reason too. Let me get my bags."
"I'm not that helpless." He carried one in, putting it in the new guest room over top of the main garage. "You have kitchen rights and you have your own small one up here. I'm learning how to cook so you can come snatch food too." He looked at him. "I'm not that hard to guard but things happen around me and I keep getting taken."
"I heard. Sam told me a lot last night." And hadn't that been an interesting talk? He had wanted to test a friend of his after hearing about how much trouble Xander got into.
"Good." He grinned. "The martial arts guy comes in on Tuesday and Friday afternoon. I think it's Thursday." He checked his watch and nodded. "It's Wednesday so we have a few days." He looked at him again. "I promised to go buy some CD's while they were gone. Dean likes hard rock and heavy metal, specifically eighties and earlier. Sam likes a lot wider range and I'm not that picky."
"I can plan a shopping trip," he promised. "Any other usual appointments?"
"Spa three times a week to help with my backlog and obedience class for Bogart on Saturday mornings. He's learning how to be a scent dog too."
"That's wonderful." He smiled. "It'll work out fine, kid."
"Do you have any kids?"
"I did for a while." Xander gave him a hug, making him stiffen then slowly relax. "I'm not used to being hugged but thanks."
Xander grinned. "I'm tactilly deprived so get used to it. Dean even pets me now and then." He bounced off. "I'm going to look at the kitchen stuff. See what I'm making for dinner or if I forgot and already did."
"Gimme ten and I'll be there, kid." He watched him bounce, shaking his head quickly when he was out of sight. He got unpacked and followed, finding the kid and dog staring into the freezer, both had their heads tipped to the side. Xander finally pulled out a sealed glass pan with stuff and put it on top of the oven then he opened the fridge and pulled out stuff for a salad too. Jack washed his hands and dove in to help, getting a grin. "So, anything else I should know about?"
"What did they tell you?"
"About your hormones and how they can overrun your mind so you're confused now and then. How it leads to you being snatched. How you're bouncy and happy when you're backed up but you can protect yourself somewhat."
"I can. Mostly I need someone to watch my back so I'm not stolen while shopping. They keep wanting to yank on my hair."
Jack smiled because that had clearly been a joke. "I'm sure hair yankers suck for you." Xander grinned and nodded. "They said you can use a sword?"
"I learned a fairly unique style of sword work and self defense when I was younger the second time." He looked at him. "Did they tell you how I hooked up with them?"
"No," Jack admitted.
"Hmm. Did they tell you anything about my past?"
"What you did on your road trip to find yourself. I asked how you afforded the house."
"The demons were very good to me," he agreed with a slight smile. "I had four mil in ready cash when I got cursed."
"One of the other workers got jealous so he cursed me by deaging me to six. But my hormones were still out in full force and the demons still wanted me, plus about every human in existence as well since I was so cute back then." He grinned. "I got sent to the Winchesters to protect me from them."
"I did some checking before I agreed to meet with them. I know what they do and when I heard your name I checked on you too. Did you know you have a sealed federal file?"
"Probably says to leave me alone. Hopefully it says to leave me alone."
"It does." Xander gave him a look. "Yes, I have a very high security clearance thanks to the last job."
"That's cool. If I wanted to call some contacts I could probably do a pretty thorough background on you too." He grinned. Jack moaned. "Are other places nice?"
"They are. Who told you?"
"The demon underground doesn't know much about you. Just that you realmal hop or whatever."
"Not quite correct," he offered. "But still classified."
Xander shrugged. "That means you won't be creeped out if you have to rescue me from a demon plane. I consider that a benefit."
Jack smiled. "It can be. Beyond a sword what can you use, Xander?"
"I'm pretty proficient in guns. John upped what skills I had from a prior possession while I regrew up. Thanks to some traveling to train me I did it faster this time because I think I drove John nuts when I was younger. It's really hard for a six-year-old to play enough to wear out the happiness hormones."
"I guess it can be." He handed over his portion of the salad, getting a grin for it. "Do we have guns around here?"
"In the armory. Along with a few other swords and stuff. Dean and I usually sit down to clean them together about once a week."
"That's not a bad thing. Your weapon can save your life," Jack said. Xander nodded, turning on the oven. "This is a really nice kitchen."
"It was mostly already here. All I did so far was change the cushions at the table." He grinned. "It was in move-in condition when I bought it thankfully."
"That's always a good thing," he agreed. Someone knocked on the door but he held Xander back. "That's my job, kid." He went to answer it. "Yes, officer?"
"The Winchesters hired Jack to guard me while they're off playing Winchester family games," Xander said with a grin. The cop smiled back. "What's up?"
"No one's seen you in a few days so I'm doing a wellness check. You haven't picked up your orders and the shopkeepers are a bit worried."
"If I was less backed up I'd go today. Let me try to take care of it and I'll go down tomorrow?"
"That's fine, Mr. Harris. I was mostly sent to check that we hadn't missed a kidnaping." He looked at Jack. "The last one we got at the airport with federal agents because someone was trying to steal him to the Middle East."
"I'm not that sort of wife and I don't want to be castrated," Xander said with a pout. "But they drugged me so I could only slur complaints."
Jack nodded. "We can make sure they don't come near you again."
"Those ones are still in federal custody," the officer said dryly. He sniffed. "What is that stink?"
Xander pointed cattycorner across the street. "The new drug dealers who just moved in." The officer gave him a look. "I'm not profiling because they're Central American from somewhere near the bottom of that strip according to the gossip I heard. I saw them sitting outside smoking weed and one of them doing some coke on the lawn."
"Did you report it?"
"I called Vice and talked to a Detective Percher. I think that was his name."
"I've never worked with him but I'll check on it, Mr. Harris."
Xander grinned. "Please. They're noisy and I hate drugs."
"Good." He smiled. "Any other good news?"
"They'll be back in a month but Jack thinks he can protect me."
"We hope so. Another hunter, sir?"
"Colonel in the Air Force. I commanded a field unit for special situations."
"That's a good qualification." He looked behind him when the footpath gate opened. "Crap."
Xander growled. "Not making me happy." He went to look at the piece of paper taped onto the back of the fridge. Jack came to see what he was doing. "What's the last number?"
"Oh-eight." Xander punched that in then redid it with just 8 and it went in. The door hissed open and Xander walked in, looking at stuff. He grabbed one of the new handguns, looking it over. He slapped in the prefilled clip and walked out, checking to see if the safety was off. Jack gave him an odd look. That was his sort of move, not a pleasured being sort of move.
The cop shuddered. "Mr. Harris," he said quietly.
"Hush." He looked at his new neighbor, the gun behind him. "Yes? Can I help you?"
"We wanted to know if you wanted to come party with us. You're about the only young guy in the neighborhood and we have some hip things going on."
"Um, no thanks. I wouldn't want to give any of the things that want to kidnap me a second chance." The guy blinked at him. He grinned. "Also, I saw you guys smoking weed and I hate drugs."
He laughed. "Really?"
"Really," Xander said, pointing the gun at him. "I loathe drugs. Especially here, where you're now endangering my safety."
"You won't shoot me," he sneered.
Xander blew one between his feet then pointed it at him, giving him a cold look. He switched to spanish since the guy probably at least understood it. "I am the demon hunter Alexander Harris from Bocca del Inferno." The man backed up, crossing himself while muttering a prayer. "I have taken out bigger, badder, and more smelly things than you are. I planned the battle that won for us at graduation." He cocked the gun again. "Now, get out of my yard and do not use drugs in the open again. There are children in the neighborhood," he finished in english.
The man backed up another step. "I heard of you. You raped that Buffy chick."
"I was in New York at the time. Buffy told me not to come home then got drunk in a frat house and ended up dogpiling. It wasn't me. She blamed me because she's a bitch."
The guy swallowed, muttering another prayer. "Live and let live, dude. I promise." He turned and ran.
"That's going to get messy," the officer said, calling his boss. "Sargent, we just had Mr. Harris scaring off the drug dealers who moved into his neighborhood. He said he reported it to Vice, a Detective Percher. He said he caught them using drugs on the front lawn. One just showed up and he pulled a gun on the stupid dealer. Please, could, yes." He hung up. "Give it to your backup protector please, Mr. Harris?"
"I'm perfectly capable of using it," he said with a pout.
"I know but I'd rather you stuck to a sword. Less chance of you being distracted and hurting someone accidentally."
Xander shrugged. "I know." He handed it over, trying to get his usual one out of his hair. "That sucks. It's tangled." He yanked and winced but it was still knotted in. "I need someone to help me brush this mess more often." He went to get another one, picking up another katana. He came out to find another of them coming over across the street. He called the neighbor he knew best. "Tell the kids I can hear up the street to get inside please? Because the new guys who moved into the blue and white house are drug dealers; there's cops coming plus one just threatened me." He hung up and walked out there. "Hi. Did you need something?"
"You're an arrogant little boy."
"Well yeah, but if you don't leave my neighborhood I'll be the arrogant little boy who's going to destroy you. And then cackle pleasingly. I'd say you've got about ten minutes to leave."
"We will not." He rushed and Xander did one of his better dance moves, getting him with the sword against the throat when the guy tried to duck. He swallowed. "A sword, in this day and age?"
"I look hot with it," he said with an evil smirk.
"Mandy!" a mother shouted. "Get down here, come play with my kids today!"
"Jack, make sure the kids are off the street?" Xander called.
"On it." He walked that girl down there. "Drug dealers," he told the woman, getting a shudder. "Cops are coming."
"We'll be in the back of the house." She walked the girl inside.
Jack came back up. "Xander, let the nice officer arrest him."
"He came to threaten me," Xander said, shooting a glare at him. The guy moved and Xander moved the second gun he had gotten when he had went to get the sword, pointing it at him. "Yes, I brought both because I look just as hot with any weapon." More of his guys piled out of the house.
A demon appeared behind Xander. "Finally, you are off protected ground," it said, moving closer. Xander turned and gutted it then cut up its chest, making it fall to the ground screaming.
Xander looked at the dealer again. "Eight minutes. I'd be packing, baby."
"Of course I am." He pulled his own gun. Xander waved his. "You will not get us to move. You're one too-pretty little boy with delusions. That's why you need guarded."
"No, I need guarded because there's some higher powered men and women who want to own me. Pity you'll never be one. Six minutes."
"We're not leaving." He moved to hit Xander with the gun.
He ducked and got him in the knee with the sword, making him scream as he fell to the ground. "How fucking pathetic. You can't even do as good as the demons do. Pitiful fucking dealer." He clicked his tongue a few times in a 'what a shame' noise. "Your saints must be very proud of you right now." He leaned down. "You don't mess with the hunters, dear. We get mean. Even if we are backed up so far I can enslave this whole neighborhood at the moment." He stood up then kicked him in the side. "I loathe drugs." He looked at the others. "Get out of my neighborhood. It was very nice until you moved here." They ran back inside because they heard the sirens. "Sounds like time's up." Cop cars screeched to a halt around them. "This one doesn't even want to be a hair yanker, guys."
"Xander, can I have the sword?" the officer asked. "It looks like it's got a fault in the blade."
"I know. I'll sharpen that out later if I can." He handed it over. "It's my practice blade. My usual one's still stuck in my hair." Jack came over to look, unwinding a few strands. They still ended up letting it fall through the mass and catching it then Xander had to fix the shrinking spell by reshrinking it then undoing it twice. It came up in all its beauty. "Like it? I got given it at the Temple of Ares, where I trained," he sneered at the guy on the ground. He moaned out a prayer to save him. "Won't help you any." He looked at the officers. "They ran inside when I told them to go away because I caught them smoking weed and the one watching in the sunglasses openly doing coke on the front lawn when I went to get my mail yesterday. I talked to a Detective Percher in Vice about them but he hasn't done anything yet."
"It takes time, kid. I told my boss and we were going to set up surveillance but we couldn't get the closer neighbor to let us use a corner of her lot."
"You get your own mail?" one asked.
"Yes, even I have to get my own mail sometimes," he said dryly, cracking up a few cops. "They came over today to want me to join their reindeer games. I guess they figured I afford the house the same way they did or something."
"How backed up are you?" the head officer asked.
"A whole lot. It's been *days* because I pulled my back."
"Can you... hormone the house so they can't shoot at us?" he suggested.
Xander considered it, looking at Jack. "I'd consider that an ethical use," he said. "It'll save these guys being shot at." Everyone glanced at him. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, retired Air Force. The Winchesters had to do something out of town for a month so I'm his bodyguard."
"Ah," the guy in charge said. "Pilot?"
"That too. I also led a special team."
"Even better." He looked at Xander. "Think you can?"
"I'd have to get closer." He walked over to their gate, concentrating. Then he let it loose as he walked inside their gate. The guys started to wobble. "Fall down to your knees and beg me, bitches," he muttered. They all moaned and some did go to their knees. He walked into the house to make sure he got the rest. He found the nastiest smelling plants out back. "Hey, guys, I'm sure these plants don't make neighborhood rules. They're ugly and they stink." He looked at them. "It might not have reached the top floor."
"We can handle that risk," he promised. He looked at the plants. "Coca plants."
"That makes chocolate?"
"No, that's cacao plants, Mr. Harris. These make cocaine."
"Eww. Nasty shit," he muttered, walking back to where Jack was waiting. "I'm a good boy."
"You mostly are," he agreed. He smiled. "Bit less backed up?"
"A whole lot so we can go pick up those orders, right?"
"We can. Go check on dinner?" Xander ran over to check on the stuff he had in the oven. The cops smiled at him. "How many of them are there in the world?"
"That's an extra special one because of his level and his past," the officer the Winchesters usually dealt with told him. "We knew he had a violence suppression switch. It came out a few times when he had to save himself. He'll go back to the purring lap kitty he usually is later."
"That's fine," Jack agreed. "Not that I'll let him in my lap but that's fine." They all smiled. "Do we have to take special precautions or call ahead when he's in town?"
"No. We know. People get a bit happier to see him because he spends large. But if you can get him to go bankrupt our other dealers in town by playing poker with them, we'd like that." The Vice detective snickered. "We would."
"I would too," he agreed. Xander came back. "Dinner saved?"
"It was," he said, smiling at him. "I played last week and gave the money to the Chief." The detective nodded his thanks, going to help with the arrest and count.
"We're going to need an ambulance, one guy fell face first into his mound of cocaine," a female voice called.
Xander called the emergency number. "Hi, we need an ambulance at the huge drug bust across the street from Mr. Harris' house please? One of the officers said that someone fell into their mound of cocaine so they're probably about to OD. Thank you." He hung up and grinned at Jack, starting to bounce again. "I do feel better."
"It got you out of backlog?" Xander beamed and nodded. "Good job." He looked at the officers. "Need him for more?"
"No, we're good," the guy in charge said. "Thank you, Mr. Harris. They had enough guns to wipe us out."
Xander nodded. "So do I but I'm not that mean." The officers smiled so he bounced off. He caught a neighbor staring. "Drug dealers," he called. She shuddered. "I caught them doing weed and coke on the front lawn yesterday."
"Then it's good that they're being arrested. Usually we get some very nice neighbors. You're fairly decent for being your age," she said. "Even if your house is a bit busy."
Xander nodded. "But I get bored really easily." She smiled at that. "Have a better night. None of the kids had to see that." He bounced inside to check on dinner again.
Jack shook his head. He called John's cellphone. "Winchester, O'Neill. The boy's fine even though he did help take down the drug dealers who moved in across the street. He hormoned them for the cops after one challenged him." He hung up. He *so* wanted to see if they could use that skill on his last project. It'd come in very handy during an assault on a higher level alien menace. He could see a lot of uses for it. He found Xander humming in the kitchen, smiling at his dancing around. "That was pretty fancy sword work."
"It's the first style I learned. It's part of a storytelling dance series." He grinned at him.
"What happened to your tooth?"
"I tripped and fell. It'll come back in a minute." He went back to moving around the kitchen. "I planted nice trees that give fruit and stuff. They should have to too. Not nasty drug plants."
"They shouldn't have them anyway." He saw an officer hiking their way and went to answer the door. "What's wrong?"
"The green thing?"
"Xander gutted him when he said he was off protected ground."
Xander leaned into the hallway. "Sneer at it, it's not dead yet. If it is, burn it." He went back to cooking. "Want some dinner, Officer?"
"No, we're pretty good, Mr. Harris. Thank you anyway. By the way, the lunch you sent us last week was highly appreciated."
"He did?" Jack asked.
"Yeah, sent us in sandwiches from a local deli that just opened up. Our whole precinct got lunch and dinner."
"That's pretty cool," he decided, getting a smile back. "We'll be going shopping tomorrow."
"And the spa probably."
"Could be, he hasn't told me."
"They'll call to remind him in the morning. They have to because he's scatterbrained when he's backed up." He walked off happier. "Sir, he said if it's not dead it can go home. If it is dead to burn it."
"One of those," he said dryly. He glared at it, dropping his cross on it. It shrieked and disappeared. He picked up his cross to wipe it off then put back on. "That'll work too." He went to help with the count of the plants. DEA was going to be kissing their butts in a few days.
John looked at his sons, shaking his head. They were hiding locally in case O'Neill couldn't handle it tonight. Jack might not be able to handle Xander because he had seemed a bit uptight to them. Not everyone could be open minded and tolerant enough to deal with Xander on a kick. Some had even run. "Drug dealers."
"The new people across the street? I heard Xander turned them in," Sam said.
"He went to hormone them for the cops."
"Probably saved them being shot at," Dean said dryly. "Got him out of backlog too." Sam nodded at that. "We'll have to try that, Sammy." He sipped his beer. "O'Neill handling it so far?"
"He called to tell me it was handled and Xander was fine." They grinned and decided to move on to their hunt tonight after all. He clearly had it.
Jack called Daniel while they were at the chocolate shop. "Danny, Jack. I'm good. I'm playing protector for a young guy at the moment. He reminds me a lot of you," he said dryly. He glared at the person reaching for Xander's hair. "He'll swat, lady. Don't yank his hair." Xander looked back at her, scowling. She pouted and moved back. He went back to listening. "That's where I am, yeah. Why?" He smiled at the cops were keeping an eye on them, he had heard it on his scanner answer. "That's cool. Want to come meet Xander and talk to him? I think he's a fascinating young man who you'd like to talk to." He could probably study this whole hormoned out group very well and figure out if it had strategic uses. "Sure, that's where we are. Xander, where are we getting lunch? I'm going to introduce you to one of the guys I worked with."
"I don't care. Pick somewhere not too upscale since I'm not in a suit." He took his bag and the change, smiling. "Thank you." He kissed her on the cheek, getting a blush. "You feed my chocolate addiction *very* well." They bounced out, heading to put that in the cooler in the back of the porsche. Jack snatched the keys when Xander tried to drive, naming a restaurant then hanging up. "I can drive," he pouted.
"You were weaving. I'll drive." Xander nodded, getting around to get in. Jack slid into the seat, having to push it back just a bit. "How did you get this one? It doesn't seem like your type of car."
"I won it in a card game against a sheik. I won a resort and a plane too but Steve had me sell the plane."
Jack gave him an odd look. "Hormones?"
"No. We made sure." He grinned. "I'm evil at baccarat."
"Good to know." He started the engine, letting it settle into the usual purr. "Where are we going before lunch? We have about an hour before Danny can get free."
"Um... I need to hit the music store."
"Can we do that in under an hour?" It had taken the kid half an hour to buy ten pounds of chocolate so it was a reasonable question.
"Maybe not. Can we play in the park?"
"The place I like is near there so sure." He drove them that way, letting the boy go play in the sunshine. He ended up swinging, making the few kids there giggle at him. Jack settled in to watch, having to smile. A goofy Xander made you grin. You had to. He felt someone sit beside him. "Danny, you're early."
"I figured you'd be here since they're still watching you guys. Why?"
"Xander has a fairly odd hormone condition," he said quietly. "Last night he subdued a house of drug dealers with it."
"Oh." He considered that. "I've heard rumors of people like that."
"Xander also used to hunt demons."
"Those I have heard more about." He considered it, smiling when Xander jumped off the swing. "He's going to get hurt."
"As I found out, he heals pretty fast."
"That's good." He looked at him. "Drug dealers?"
"Moved in across the street and one came over to get him to party with them."
"Ah." He went back to watching the kid have fun. "How old is he?"
"Twenty-two in three days," Xander called.
"He's got good hearing," Jack said dryly.
"Very," Daniel agreed. Xander hopped off the monkey bars and strolled over. "Hi, Doctor Daniel Jackson. I used to work with Jack at the local base."
"Not the castrate me sort, right?"
Daniel gave him an amused look. "Archeology and languages, not a medical one."
"That's cool. I like you much better than I would if you were a castrate me sort." He stared at him. "Do you get into a lot of trouble?"
"Now and then," Jack agreed dryly. "I was starting to wonder last night if you two should be in the same organization."
"Well, there are many pleasures, but the pleasures of the mind have never been my sort," Xander said dryly.
"I've heard semi ancient mentions of the group," Daniel admitted. "Well, middle ages."
"We started in the sixteen-hundreds."
"That's about when I heard." He grinned. "I can tell you I'm not because I don't get to date all that often."
"Pity. Then again I don't get out of the house very much so it's all good. Next time you die, you should come see me." Jack spluttered. He looked at him. "What?" He grinned and bounced off again.
Daniel frowned, looking at his back. "That was an odd comment but it probably comes from the demon hunting." He looked at his buddy. "How long is he going to drive you the same sort of nuts I used to drive you?"
"That's cool. Lunch?"
"Sure. Xander, car, let's hit lunch." The boy pouted at him. "We can come play later. For dinner. We're going to the steak place." Xander squealed and ran for the car. Jack shook his head, smiling at Daniel. "He's a good kid."
"I'm sure he is." They headed too, Daniel following the porsche to Jack's favorite steak place. They talked over lunch; getting to know more than the shallow facade the boy was showing to everyone so he could hide in plain sight. He was a very interesting young man. Jack took him to the music store and Daniel went back to see if the military could use that sort of power on their project. Xander had nearly stunned the whole restaurant so it was a good idea. It was nice two people had tried to pay for their lunch but Jack had refused and paid for it out of the kid's wallet. Which apparently he was holding so the kid didn't get mugged when someone tried for his hair again. Yeah they could use the kid in the SGC, but the sort of trouble he'd get into would easily eclipse Daniel's own problems that cropped up now and then. So maybe Jack would quit calling him a trouble magnet now that he knew someone was worse than they were as a team.
Xander blinked at the judge. "I saw them smoking it on the front lawn, Your Honor. Of course I called them in. I don't like drugs. That's why when they came over I went to get something to protect myself. Drug dealers are often mean and a few of the higher powered ones have recently begun to see my fellow GHS members as status symbols too and started to steal us as sex slaves. Which I don't want so of course I tried to protect myself. Rape is a horrible thing I never want to have to go through." He took a breath and went on babbling.
"So when the officer came to check on me I turned them in for the second time. The guy came over even though he had seen the cop car pull in and us chatting. There's a clear line of sight to the front door from the driveway and he could've seen it once he was on the street. When it turned into a bad thing, I acted to protect myself and the officer then a higher idiot came out to threaten me so I dealt with him too. By then the officers were there since I had been stalling for time."
Another breath. "The officer in charge asked me to hormone them so they wouldn't shoot at the officers since they hadn't brought SWAT or anything, just the normally trained officers who might be killed. I always thought SWAT guys thought they were more bulletproof than they actually are, but normal officers know they're not bulletproof so they have vests and the vests don't cover all the important areas." Another breath and he got back on track because he could tell Jack was worried he was rambling.
"So anyway I had to walk inside to hormone most of them and I told them about the stinky plants that were in violation of the local community rules for plants and I missed two of the women in the house but they came out and pouted because they can't have hair like mine or have me once the hormones got them. They were diluted from going into the closet in the attic they had been hiding in you see and the officers had to pull them out. So I did a good thing because I loathe drugs and I cannot and will not stand for them to be in my neighborhood."
The judge blinked at him, looking at the court reporter. "Did you manage to get all that?"
"I'll transcribe it from the tape, sir. He talked faster than I can type but we do tape all these."
"That's fine." He looked at him. "I think it's a good thing you turned them in, young man. What's at issue is if you...hormoning them is a legitimate way to get them out."
"Your Honor," Jack said. "May I?" The judge gave him an odd look so he pulled out his credentials, getting a moan. "In my line of work, if it works it works. It's probably not any more problematic than a hallucinogenic gas the military has been using. Yes, it made them try to have an orgy later in the jail. Yes, some of them needed to shower it off before they got jumped in their cells. If they had used tear gas, they still would've needed the shower and they were going to be jumped anyway statistically speaking. In the future, we'll work on Xander lowering it so it only makes them drool at him instead of them being that far gone. It was his first attempt at that and the commander did ask because they only had regular vests, not the super kevlar gear the Rapid Response units have."
"The officer called in a few drug dealers, we had no idea it was an enclave," the DA agreed. "It was an unusual method but I can't fault the results since no officers were harmed and, like the Colonel said, they'd be getting it anyway statistically speaking."
"He's young, Your Honor. He's having trouble controlling them most of the time. He had no idea it'd be that bad when the commander told him to let loose on the house," Jack said, squeezing Xander's shoulder to keep him quiet.
He sighed, but nodded. "I can see how that happens. How does he usually wear this problem out?"
"They're gone for a month," Xander said with a small pout. The judge and the DA both blushed at that. "They are."
"I'm sure we'll find other ways," Jack said patiently. "He has other ways in place but they're not as good as the ...natural way of wearing out his pheromones."
The judge considered it. "It's no worse than using a new trial gas," he decided. The defendant's lawyer groaned. It had been a weak try to buy some time. "From time to time, departments do get trial versions of new methods. In this case, no one died, and yes, the Police Department probably should have let them shower it off but those sort of judgement calls were made by someone who was not at the scene so he couldn't have known. In the future I would caution the department to either use him at half strength or not at all because it does seem to have some ...side effects and if they do have to use Mr. Harris' gift on others, to put a plan in place to quarantine them after a long shower so no other incidences can happen. Thank you for helping them, Mr. Harris."
"Not a problem. I can't stand drugs or drinking." The judge nodded. "Can I go?" The judge nodded so Jack walked him off. He sighed once they were outside. "Thanks, Jack."
"Welcome, kid." He walked him outside, taking him home for his martial arts lesson. One of the nosy women who lived nearby gave him a dirty look. "What?"
"What did he do?" she hissed.
"His hormone condition went off on 'em," Jack said dryly. "The commander in charge asked since they didn't have riot or assault gear and they had a lot of guns."
"Oh." She shuddered. "It's good they're out of here. I know Mindy wasn't sure if they should use her lot or not to spy on them."
"It's not often a bad thing," he assured her. He nodded at the guy driving into the gate then smiled at her. "I'm his temporary bodyguard while the others are out of town and former military, ma'am. If some of their cohorts show up, let me know."
"Jack!" Xander called.
"Gotta go." He jogged that way, finding the guy had a gun on him. "Who's this?"
"No idea but I'm going to kick his ass."
"No you're not," he sneered. Jack got him on the back of the neck with a fist and he went down screaming.
"I can do it better," Jack said. He called. "This is Mr. Harris' house. Someone just drove in and put a gun on him. Thank you. He's down. I got his back." He hung up and looked at him. "Martial arts?"
Xander looked at the clock. "Should've been here by now." He went to call him. "Was I too late? The judge wanted to talk to me about the drug dealers I helped arrest yesterday." He listened. "I'll yell at Steve for that. Anything we still owe? Of course I do." He smiled. "Thanks, man. Sure, let me yell at Steve." He found his number and called him. "Someone forgot to pay my martial arts coach?" He listened. "Who did that?" He groaned. "For how long and what reason did they give?" He nodded once. "No, they're going to be sorry fuckers, Steve. Thanks, man. Yeah, go ahead and sneak it out of the others." He called the number Steve gave him. "This is Mr. Harris. One of your agents decided to lock my bank accounts without probable cause or even a good reason. I'd like to talk to him. In person if he's available. If not, I'm going to sue. And yes, I can do that." He listened to the receptionist laugh and sneered.
"We'll see, honey. Get me that agent please? How would I know? My financial manager told me when I called." She put him on hold and he found his calling necklace, using it to get a messenger demon. He wrote a note to Vesvold then sent it off. He came back to a different female voice. "And you are? That's good to know. Are you the agent who decided to lock my accounts without a good reason?" He tapped his fingers on the arm of the couch. "Lady, I won it in a baccarat game," he said dryly. "That's not my fault. It's not like I run the place. The manager does it for me because I have not a clue what to do with business stuff. That strange financial language isn't one I'm fluent in." The demonic lawyer appeared, waving to take the phone. "My lawyer's here, babble at him." He handed it over.
"Ma'am," he said, listening to her. "Yes, I would. Was a warrant presented? Because it was not to us and there has been no notice of an investigation, which your agency does have to present before the warrant. It's also considered better form to ask questions and cheaper for the agency when we have to sue you. No, Mr. Harris is not related to anyone in that area. I know of his background and he's from lower California, ma'am. A little town called Sunnydale." He heard the shudder. "Yes, he is that Alexander Harris. No, his middle name is Lavelle." He smirked at him. "It sounds like they got the wrong one, Mr. Harris."
"That's fine, but they still presented a warrant and locked my account. I went shopping yesterday."
"We used cash yesterday," Jack told him. "Problems?"
"Feds," he said dryly. "Who think for some reason I'm in the mob."
"The mob doesn't like gay men," Jack said dryly. The lawyer repeated that. "If you were, you'd be a wife and they'd never accept that." The lawyer repeated that, getting a groan. "Who said you were in the mob?"
"A Mr. Devi?" the lawyer said.
Xander smirked, taking the phone back. "Ma'am, Mr. Devi is just Devi, that's his whole name. He's also a brothel owner in New York. While on my last roadtrip I temped in there a few weeks to figure out if I was still het or bi or fully gay. That is how I made that money, yes. That was my forty percent of what I brought in." She gasped. "What else did he say?" He nodded at a few things. "I'll definitely handle him. Thank you for letting me know that. No, I left when I was cursed by one of my fellow coworkers." He smirked. "Exactly. Now, is there anything else or can you unlock it today? I do have to pay utility bills sometime soon. I think. No, ma'am, I'm a member of GHS."
She shuddered and said something. "Ten." He smirked. "Exactly. I'm not fit to run a treadmill, much less a mob. Unless they're my harem and petting my hair?" He snickered at her comeback. "Thank you for your cooperation. Next time, just come ask me. It'd save you aggravation and me too. Not to mention it'd be easier and faster without having to go to a judge. No, I left a few years back and now I'm in a relationship with my keeper. It was only to find myself. I was twenty-one on a road trip to find myself, lady. They're the ones who found out what I am." He smirked. "Good! Thank you!" He hung up, looking at the lawyer.
"Let Vesvold handle Devi. He requested that pleasure."
"He can have him after I cut the demon bastard into chunks," Xander said dryly.
The lawyer gave him an odd look. "You can't do that."
"I can so and his type'll regenerate as long as they're at least six inches big."
The lawyer shuddered. "Please let Vesvold handle it, Mr. Harris?"
"If he gets there first."
"I'll see what we can do. Give me a bit." He disappeared, going to tell his bosses and get to work on that contract. Devi wanted him to finish it. Well, he had another thing coming. The demonic courts were not going to be happy with how it got terminated. A curse always broke a contract unless it was written in.
Jack watched as three new demons popped in and left stuff then left, one of them smoking from the holy ground. "Fercryin'outloud," he muttered. "No more!" he shouted. "He's taken!"
"But the Great One will be our champion some day," one said as she reappeared. "He won't need him. He can have any concubine so that would put him back on the market."
"Sam's never going to go over," Xander said dryly.
She sneered. "You don't know that."
Xander dialed and put it on speaker. "Sam, the demons are gifting me because they think you're going to go over to their side so I'm going to be free."
"Even if I did go over, Xander, I'm bringing you and Dean with me," Sam said patiently. "And I'm not going over. You'd still be my consort." Xander beamed at the demon. "Do you have me on speaker?"
Sam spat something and the demon screamed then exploded. "Bitch."
"Eww. Messy carpets, Sam."
"It'll give you something to do," Dean said next to the phone. "Behave, Xander. Just kill them."
"The cops would come if I shot them. We had to deal with the drug dealers."
"The judge said he's not supposed to hormone the drug dealers again for the PD," Jack said. "Or they're to take reasonable precautions because they put 'em in gen pop right out of booking."
"Oh, god, they had to be pounced," Sam said grimly.
"Yup," Jack agreed. "It was a stalling tactic. Anyway, they found a good haul. Coca plants, mounds of coke waiting to be bagged. Drying stuff, cutting stuff. Some meth someone was making in an old washtub out back. The DEA is kissing their butts right now because they didn't catch them coming into the country. He's fine though. We got it straightened out with the Fed who tried to shut off his accounts thanks to some demon named Devi who apparently wanted him back?"
Xander nodded. "I still have a week and a half on my old contract but I got deaged and cursed. That should have broken it."
"I'm sure it did," Sam said. "We'll make sure of it, Xander, since we're heading to Albany."
"I asked Vessie if I could borrow one of his lawyers for a few minutes."
"Let us see if we can help that," Dean promised.
Xander grinned. "I wanted to chop him into pieces because he'll regenerate if it's over six inches."
"Good ta know," Sam said. "Are you behaving?"
"We're fine, boys," Jack promised. "His self defense trainer will be back next week." Xander nodded. "All the account stuff was straightened out. If it's not back tonight I'll call a strike team down to make her."
"That'll work," Dean agreed. "Thanks, guys. Xander, let the housekeeper do the demon parts."
"That's nasty, Dean. It's gross."
"Then you do it. You can vacuum."
"Eww." He smirked at the phone. "Are you guys having more fun than I am?"
"Not really," Sam said. "Dad picked a crappy motel."
"Not even a magic fingers system," Dean agreed.
"Not a problem. We'll see you soon, Xander. Be good and call later tonight." He hung up. He looked at Dean. "New York?"
"Gladly." They went to tell their father. "Devi tried to get Xander in trouble with the Feds to get him back," Dean told him when he found him under his truck's hood.
John looked up from changing a hose in his engine. "Really?"
Sam nodded. "Xander said he regenerates if it's over six inch pieces."
"Huh." He went back to fixing it, smiling at the engine. "I know where it is, boys."
"Good, give us the address?" Dean asked.
"We'll go together since it's a demon brothel." They smirked back and got back to making plans.
Dean leaned out. "Oh, Dad, they're gifting Xander because they think Sammy's going to go over to the dark side and not bring him as his consort."
"I'd kick Sammy's ass if he did and of course he'd bring Xander. Any others he'd pick up wouldn't know how to make him scream like a girl in the middle of the night loud enough to wake the whole house."
Dean pulled back laughing and told him. Sam pounced to beat his ass. It was a good release for them. John shook his head. His boys were strange at times.
Xander frowned at the guy walking up the street, patting Jack on the arm since he was talking to Daniel about something. "Jack, is it just me or is he not human and not demonic? Which means he'd have to be alien, right?"
Jack spluttered, but looked where Xander was. "No comment. Teal'c?" he called, waving him over. "Gotta go, Danny. Yeah, he said that." His former teammate smiled at him. "Teal'c, this is Xander. I'm guarding him for the rest of the month."
Teal'c looked at the young man, saying something in his native language. Xander beamed and said something back, getting an amazed look. "I didn't think you were demonic. That's one of the demonic languages, a really old one that some of the higher ones speak. Vessie taught me." He grinned at Teal'c. "You don't want to steal me, right? I'd hate to fight you or make Jack pout at me."
"I do not pout, that's you," Jack snorted.
Xander frowned at him. "You pouted at me when I only gave you two waffles this morning and then when you realized I had cooked instead of just toasting some eggos."
"Yours are much better," he said, using a tactic he used to use on his wife. It worked because the boy beamed and hugged him.
"This one's kind is known among mine," Teal'c told Jack. "They are often heavily guarded. It is wise to go out with a warrior such as O'Neill."
Xander grinned. "The keepers I have said I had to and they picked him."
"It is wise of them, Ash'ravam."
Xander giggled. "Not quite. Kovarat."
Teal'c swallowed. "You are nearly mythical among my kind."
"Among ours too because people keep trying to steal me. Hands off my ass, lady," he said, turning to punch her. She ducked so he attacked better.
"Whoa!" Jack shouted. "She's on my team, Xander. She wasn't trying to grope, she was trying to sneak up on me and got you by accident." He pulled her off him, getting between them. "She's not a threat, let me handle the threats." Xander nodded, walking off sulking. "Teal'c, please?" He nodded, following Xander. He looked at her. "That was totally stupid, Carter."
She nodded. "I was trying to figure out who he was and see what's in his hair that set off one of the detectors we have."
"His sword was given to him off realm at a temple of Ares," he said quietly. "And the demons love him."
"Demons," she snorted.
He nodded. "He knew the language Teal'c uses for an ancient one." She groaned. "Go apologize." He waved off the officer watching from the cruiser paused on the street. "She was looking at his hair. She's on my former team."
"That's fine, Colonel. Is the boy all right?"
"He's fine. I sent another of my team with him. Thanks for checking."
"We don't want him to last ditch effort to get away and hormone the town." He drove off, going back to report in it had been someone after Harris' hair. It was pretty hair. Looked really soft too.
Jack pointed. "Now."
"Fine," she muttered, heading that way. "I'm sorry. I was trying to look at your hair. Something in it set off a power alarm I have on me, sir. I was wrong to get that close without warning."
He stared at her then at Jack. "Is she some sort of science geek?"
"She's an astrophysicist."
He nodded. "Next time, ask."
"I will. Can I see the blue ball thing?" He groaned but pulled it out to hand over. She pulled out the meter to look it over. "Where did you get this?"
"Vessie gave it to me. It's from the realm I ended up having to take over after they kidnaped me when I was younger. I didn't like their ideas at all."
"Realm? You're sure?" she asked.
He nodded, smirking at her. "Very." He looked at Teal'c, going back to talking to him. Teal'c laughed at what he said and corrected him. He said something back, getting an embarrassed look.
She looked at him. "I do so know hand-to-hand, sir."
"If you did, I wouldn't have gotten the drop on you. Too much time in the lab rots that."
"Good point. I do need to practice later."
"I'd let you spar with the kid but I don't want you exposed to him being that sweaty," Jack said, staring Xander down.
"If there were outdoor showers, I'd go hose off."
"No, then we might have a riot," Jack said dryly. He looked around. "Gang's all here."
"DanielJackson," Teal'c greeted. "Have you met Xander yet?"
"I have. The other day."
"His people know of my kind." He grinned.
"Kovarat are nearly mythical but it is said that the highest of the High Ones have ones like them to take their minds off their duties and to focus it on the joys of the position," Teal'c said.
"That sounds like a concubine," Sam Carter said.
"Indeed but special ones with special skills that are more magic than art of the body."
Xander nodded. "Hormones can do that to you."
Daniel nodded. "Indeed. I looked up that old research to see where I had heard mention of the group. Fascinating history."
"That's Adam's thing, not mine. History is only nice to watch on tv for the gore portion and to see how the power players got away with it without getting killed for being power players and assholes who created the gore in the first place."
"Usually people need to breathe," Sam said dryly.
"You and Daniel don't when you geek out," Jack said dryly. He grinned at Xander, who relaxed again. "Anyway. Why else is my former team in town today?"
"We came to check on you, sir. Daniel said you had taken a temporary bodyguarding job. We thought you'd be fishing."
"He needs it worse than Danny does," he said dryly.
"Hey!" Xander complained.
"Kid, someone broke into the house at three to kidnap you so they could brush your hair for you," Jack said dryly. "You need it more than Danny does. He just runs at trouble."
"I used to do that but they told me not to come home," he said with a smirk. "Part of the former job."
He patted him on the back. "You really do need that mess brushed."
"We were going to the hairdresser to let her do it since I can't get all the knots out."
"Good point." He pointed. "That one, right?" Xander nodded, heading that way. "Take Teal'c for a minute." Teal'c hurried after him. He stared at her. "Well?"
"He told Daniel to come see him after he died?" she asked quietly.
"I found out why," Daniel told her. Jack gave him an odd look. "I can't tell you." He looked at her. "What else did you find? You look rumpled."
"He tried to kick my butt." She held up the hairpin with the blue ball on the top.
He took it to look at. "Hmm. I wonder what sort of power that is."
"Magical," Xander said, taking it back. "Thanks." He walked off again. "Needed this later on."
"We've been out of the field too long if he snuck up on you two," Jack said dryly. He saw an expensive car stop near Xander and moaned, heading that way quickly without running or seeming to run. Xander held the door for her and she nodded politely then he followed her in. She gave him an odd look so he said he was there for his appointment. The hairdresser came out to get him first. Teal'c sat nearby and watched him. Jack walked in and Teal'c gave up his place.
"I usually let my keeper play with it but he had some nightmares and I've had some and I can't get the underside fully free of knots. I don't know where they are but it's catching on my hair things and it's annoying me because I can feel it pulling when I tip my head forward but I can't find it with the brush. Plus I can't ever manage to condition all of it at the same time and I'm starting to get a few split ends."
She nodded, looking it over. "You do have a few tangles. Let's spray in a detangler after we take out the hairpins and stuff." Xander nodded, letting her do it. The sword that expanded got a squeak but Jack took it to hold. "Okay."
Xander looked back at her. "People like to steal me. That's for my defense."
"I can see why." She got back to pulling things out, finding a small silver band attached to the bottom side but it wasn't going to come free. "This one's stuck, sir."
Daniel came over to look, then took a hairpin to get it undone. "I've seen those before." He let Xander see it.
Xander looked then put it into his pocket. "I'll be yelling at someone later for that." That got a smile and a nod from the hairdresser.
She got the detangler and got to work on the knots. "Some of the knotting will ease up when you have it properly conditioned."
"I get clumps of it where I haven't worked it into an area or fully up to my scalp."
"A lot of women with long hair have that problem. That and rinsing it out. Your hair's too fine for a leave in but there's a few good ones that are spray on and one that's a foaming conditioner. That seems to work better since it clings easier." Xander nodded at that. She finally got all the knots out and took him to shampoo it. It was going to kill her wrists. "It's a lot heavier than it looks."
"It is, which is why I usually end up with sore wrists while conditioning."
She nodded. "The foaming one can be put in and left on for ten minutes while the water warms back up." She finished rinsing and turned off the water, sitting him up again to blot it dry. She got the can of foam, showing him the directions. "It's not a great conditioner but it's pretty decent and it will moisturize where it's a bit dry on the ends." She got it and helped him figure out how to work it in. She also slowed him down even though his arms were aching. "Do you have someone to help you?"
"My keeper's on a trip for about a month."
"That explains it." She got it fully worked in. "You can section it out and work it in that way. Like you're doing a braid." Xander beamed at her for that tip and she mentally sighed in pleasure. He was such a nice boy with very good hair. She finally got it all the way in and put him under a dryer to heat activate it. "This time we'll add some heat to make it a bit shinier. Next time it should be able to do it normally." He nodded. She went to get her sink ready. Ten minutes later she came back and got to work rinsing it out. He yelped a bit. "Sorry." She checked his scalp. "I think the dryer was a bit too warm, sir."
"It happens. Am I getting more of those white streaks where my hair suddenly bleached itself overnight?"
"Maybe. You don't color it?"
"No. It seemed like the color melted out one night." He shrugged. "It's nice, I don't get carded." She laughed but went back to it. Sure enough a few were fading out but it was fine with her. It wasn't a medical problem she had heard of. Just something odd. It was finally rinsed out and she gave her wrists a rest while his hair dripped into the sink.
Daniel came over to hand her a towel and help her with it, getting a smile. "I'm friends with his protector."
"That's fine." They got it mostly dry and she looked. "We can do a few things. I can trim the bottom edge." Xander nodded so she did that. "Do you want me to finish drying it or leave it down?"
"Braid it? That's how I usually do it. It doesn't knot as much," he said with a grin. "Plus I get waves."
"Sure." She did a thick braid and used one of the hair accessories he had to seal it. The rest got stuck in to make it pretty around the top. "There you go, Mr. Harris." He tipped her and she smiled. "Call to give me a day's warning so I can clear an extra long spot next time but I think we can do a weekly treatment."
"I love you." He gave her a hug and left to pay the bill.
She smiled at his back. "Such a happy boy," one of her coworkers teased.
"Even rough his hair's sinfully soft and silky," she said with a grin. "He needs to take good care of it." She waved as they left. Then she sat down to work on her sore wrists. That hair was heavy! Her coworker gave her some muscle rub from her drawer and it was nice.
Xander looked up, smiling at Vesvold. "Hi, Vessie."
"Good evening, Xander." He leaned down to give the boy a hug, getting pulled down onto the bed with him and the dog. "I may not be able to control myself, Xander."
"You can cuddle and not grope. If Dean can, you can."
Vesvold smiled. "I think I can do that much." He held the boy. "Did you ask the family to take care of Devi?"
"I told them what happened. I thought they might want to go yell at him."
"They did. They destroyed a good portion of the brothel and Devi managed to barely get away. Thankfully the DPP were waiting on him because they knew something was up when they saw the rest of your family in New York." He stroked over the loosely braided hair. "I must say I like it down more."
"It knots." He grabbed something off his bedside table, holding it up. "Who?"
He took it to look at and sense. Then he sighed. "Not of my clan or my species. One of the other Councilors who was going to claim you had let him put it on voluntarily."
"I don't remember anyone putting that on me."
"Nor do I and I do watch." He kissed him on the forehead, getting a smile. "I shall talk to him, Xander."
"If you're sure. If not, I can."
"No, I can. I can take that honor duel very well." He petted the dog when it looked over. "He is a very good guardian of you." Jack walked in with a gun. "I'm not harmful, O'Neill. I watch over Xander."
"I'd be his but his people might destroy him for it. He's loved me since I was little the first time."
"Yes, watching him grow up was," Vesvold agreed. He kissed the boy on the head. "Devi will be handled, Xander. Never fear of that." He smiled. "Do you need anything?"
"Are the family okay?"
"They're fine. The DPP was most amused with their tactics." He smoothed a hand over Xander's hair. "Spring will come and so will she," he said in his ear. Xander gave him an odd look. "That one, yes."
"Spring. It's possible it may be sooner. The witch searches for you to bring you home."
"The witch and I are going to go 'round," Xander assured him. He pointed at the band. "How would he have put that on me? I haven't seen any of the other councilors you serve with."
He considered it. "I do not know."
"Find out and tell me so I can make sure it can't happen again?"
"I do believe I can do that." He smiled. The boy beamed back. The dog barked so he petted him again. "Good boy."
"How's the one you adopted?"
"She's happily sucking up to my mother at the moment. She adores the little shedding beast. Said it reminds her of one of her grandchildren." Xander grinned at that. "The other one wasn't able to adapt to their new home so it's with another councilor who thinks of it like an odd cousin. He even asked it how he should vote." Xander giggled, giving him a cuddle. "Thank you, Xander. Have a good sleep."
"You too, Vessie. You need more sleep. You look tired." He stroked his forehead with a fingertip. "You're getting stress wrinkles. Smile more." He got smiled at then the demon disappeared. "Vessie's on the High Demonic Council. His people are nearly mythical to hunters and Watchers."
"Who was he talking about? The witch?"
"My former friends who told me not to come home."
"If they show up, let me know."
"Oh, you'll hear the screaming," Xander promised. "There will be *such* a screaming match." Jack gave him a look so he sat up to stare at him. "Buffy told me not to come home, to my own hometown, the one I'd been in since I was born, because she decided I was worthless again after winning two major battles for her. They wouldn't have been able to pull off the spell to hype her if it hadn't been for me." Jack moaned. "Or defeat the Mayor at graduation. Then, little Miss Perfect Slayer goes on a binge at the local frat houses because she's a freshman and doesn't have to worry about things like the nightly patrols we had been doing for four years. And still have to do." Jack let out a deeper moan. "During a party, she got into a dogpile. Her mother and she decided to tell the police I had raped her." Jack glared. "I don't want to see them. Her mom Joyce was like my own mother. Fuck 'em. If they show up, you'll probably hear the screaming halfway across town."
"If I'm not here, have them call me if you need backup, kid." He shook his head. "You have better friends now."
"I know I do. John would've kicked her ass."
"Good. Go back to sleep." Xander nodded, tucking himself back in. Jack went back to his apartment to think. Then he sent an email to Sam's account. Sam Winchester, not his Sam. His Sam would go out there to kick her ass in a fit of womanly rage. Winchester would do it with less womanly rage. Which was what she deserved it sounded like. Plus they were in the same business. So maybe they could find her someone to take care of her and teach her better ways of dealing with things than drinking.
John looked at the email that just popped up. "Jack wrote."
"Does it say why Xander hasn't written in three days?" Dean asked.
He read it over, nodding. "He's been a bit backed up and he's been flitting around the kitchen for the last few days. Vesvold was down."
"How's he doing?"
"They talked. Xander handed over a small ring that had been in his hair, the hairdresser found it, and he's warning us that the witch... Shit, Buffy and Willow are showing up."
Dean snorted. "Fat chance."
Sam came in with dinner. "What's up?"
"Jack wrote. Buffy and Willow are going to be showing up sometime soon," Dean said.
"Uh-huh. Figures. Soon like before one of us gets back?"
"Could be," John admitted. "Jack said Vesvold warned for the spring but Willow was actively looking for him. He's not that hard to find."
"Hmm, look in the phone book for his cellphone," Dean agreed. He took his burgers, letting Sam hand their father his then sit down with his own chicken sandwich. "Are there hunters out there?"
Sam took his laptop back, getting into another window. He typed into a system he hardly ever accessed. "Learned it off one of the guys in the dorm when he fixed the virus one girl sent me to show she was interested," he said at Dean's odd look. He sent the file he had at her, making her system crash, burn, and destroy itself. He logged out then logged back in and went into his own email. "Found one that got routed wrong into the trash." He moved it and put Xander on the 'always allowed' list then settled in to read it, smiling at the silliness. Dean took it when he was done, then handed it to their father. He went back to his dinner, happier now. They'd call Xander tomorrow since he didn't have anything to do but shop and he could always hold that off.
John shook his head, handing it back to Sam. That boy was happy about some of the strangest things. Splinters and grease burns. Yuck.
Vesvold appeared in front of John in the woods a few days later, scaring the crap out of him. "We must talk," he said quietly.
John lowered his shotgun. "The boys are off on the other trail. We're hunting a were that's eating people."
"I know. It's near them and they can handle it. Beyond that, I do not wish to upset them that much. It may yet push Samuel over the edge and I do not think he'd make a good leader of evil. It'd take away my job." John nodded, lowering his gun fully and putting the safety on. "Thank you." He created two chairs and sat down. "Please."
John sat down, looking at him. "This looks bad."
"It is." He held up the small silver ring. "Do you know what this is?"
"Um... Too small to be anything but an earring."
"No. It's a claiming band. If some of us or certain paths of magic users get Xander to voluntarily wear one is it sign that they are mated." John nodded slowly. "It being put on against their will or on someone underage is the sign of ownership, not of mating." John nodded again, a bit faster. He knew that many demons wanted Xander to be theirs. "In the case of this one," he said, letting him look at it. "It was put on by one of my former coworkers."
"I asked him how it got put there when he knew Xander was not his." John growled. Vesvold held up a hand. "He had put it on, or so he claimed, when another human who supposedly had claim on the boy sold him for aid in a problem and to gain knowledge."
"Mr. Giles," he corrected. John glared, clutching the ring. "My former coworker is no more. Trying to claim that which I have claimed is always a bad idea. I have known for a very long time I would one day have to prove my claim, even if Xander is never mine because the boy's past would make sure he did not go to any demon."
"True," John agreed. "It makes him wary of even the more harmless ones." They both heard the dual gunshots. "Get it?" he called.
"Yeah, got it," Sam called back. "We're good."
John looked at him. "What claim does he have on the boy?"
"He claims teacher's rights and that the boy had given him blood and skin voluntarily. In truth it was for a spell they had to do. We knew of this, as did he. Teacher's rights are iffy at best but he did not step in when the girls told him not to come home, thereby severing his rights to him if he ever had any rights at all."
"Xander said he had to do a lot of learning on his own and Giles trained the group."
"Indeed. As it looked to us." He shifted in his seat. "As such, Giles has been charged with selling a human soul that was not his own or in his possession in front of the demon courts. He is extremely sorry at the moment. His slayer tried to protest, but they said he had gone beyond that bond as well."
"So they're going to go after Xander?" John asked quietly.
"Indeed. Xander is the only one who can release him from his punishment. I have not warned him yet but I am going to warn Jack and then talk to the boy tomorrow when he's awake. He had no idea Mr. Giles had sold him. Or that his reason went along the lines of 'all GHS know that level tens are meant to belong to someone powerful who can protect them'."
"That would mean he is," John said.
"A very low level two," he agreed, standing up. John stood up too and the chairs disappeared. "I have dealt with that threat but the lesser threat can cause you problems and them problems. As is the local department is watching Xander because they heard that rumor and that he plays poker with thugs. They've been told to stop it but they're not."
"Should we move him?"
"No. He's as safe there as anywhere at the moment." That got a nod. "Actually, Jack's a very good choice. His team will help him and his job is one that calls many to service to save the world." He gave him a look. "Try to make him calm down. My beloved is still a berserker and he will end up harming people that he once cared for. It could destroy him." He disappeared.
John sighed, gathering his thoughts. They had one more thing they *had* to get. "Boys?"
Dean stepped out of the shadows. "What happened? We saw Vesvold leave."
"Rupert Giles sold Xander to another councilor on the High Demonic Council." Dean glared. "He had him marked and all that." He held up the ring. "Vesvold's dealt with that issue and Giles is in jail. The girls are looking for Xander for that reason."
"We have one we have to get," Sam said as he came out of the trees. "By the way, hellhound, not werewolf."
John nodded. "Hit the cars, let's get that one done immediately and then head home. Those girls are going to have a problem if they start shit and he did say they'd try it with us."
Dean nodded. "Pity. But hey, slayers die, right?" He walked off, going to the car. Sam was behind him fuming. His father hit a tree then went to his truck. They had to kill the other thing. It had defaced their mother's grave. Then it sounded like they were Colorado or Sunnydale bound. He called a contact out there. "It's Dean Winchester. I want to know the *minute* Buffy Summers or Willow Rosenburg leave town. They're heading to hurt Xander since their mentor tried to sell him without his consent." He nodded. "That's what I said. The one who watches over him found a small silver ring in his hair." He smirked. "Exactly. We've got one we have to do. It defaced Mom's gravestone. Then we're headed. Are they already gone?" He gave Sam an evil smirk. "They're in LA."
"I know Angel's contact info," he said quietly. He sent an email out that way from his phone telling the nicer Watcher, who had turned into a hunter, what had happened. "That's a good start. It'll reduce her impact."
"Good for me," Dean agreed. "Thanks, Tom. Probably three days then traveling time." He nodded. "Good deal. Thanks, dude." He hung up. "He'll call if they leave LA."
Sam called him. "It's us. Dean talked to Tom, the guy who covers lower California. She's in LA at the moment and I emailed the hunter on the LA team. Tom will call us if they move out of LA." He smiled. "That'll work. Meet you there." He hung up. "He said to park at Missouri's, we need to talk to her. She can stop some of the 'we've taken deals' rumors."
"Got it." Dean pulled onto the right road with a spin of tires and turned on the radio. It was time to kick some ass.
Wesley read his email then looked up. "Cordelia? Come see if I'm seeing things?" She came over to read over his arm, then looked at him. "Does that say what I think it does?"
"It does. Hey, Angel. Got a tip on a bigger bad thing that we haven't had a vision about." He came over to read.
"Need my help?" Buffy asked.
"Nope," Cordelia said. She would not need any help to kick Buffy's ass.
Angel read then nodded once. "I know the source named," he said quietly. He looked at Wesley. "You?"
"I know the name of the person who wrote." He highlighted it with the mouse. Angel nodded. "I do know that they're not the sort to do what's rumored."
"We'll see." He went into his office to get his duster. "I'll be back in an hour or so. Don't wait up." He headed out to a demon bar far underground. He walked in and a few edged toward the back door. "I'm not here for you." He pulled one demon up and walked him off. "I'm here to ask you a few questions and to get your boss down to talk to me."
"My boss died," he complained as he was carried. "Vesvold killed him over that human quarth!"
"That's what I want to talk about," Angel assured him, carrying him outside. He slammed him into a wall and got into his face. "We got sent an interesting story from Winchester."
"Immortal bastard. Now he'll never fulfill the prophecy," he said with a glare. "So?"
"About Rupert selling your boss Xander."
He swallowed. "Um..."
"I need to know what's going on. Buffy's in town. I'll give you enough time to hide and warn."
He nodded quickly, telling him how it had went down and why. What the reward was, all of it. Angel sighed, nodding and putting him down. He ran off, going to warn the others Buffy was not only in town but going after Harris for being alive and well. It was not going to be pretty.
Angel went back to the Hyperion, finding Faith had come back and she was fighting Buffy. Talk about bad timing. He pulled her off, shoving her against a wall hard enough to knock her out for a few minutes. They got Buffy and Willow moved while she was unconscious. "Not right now, Faith. There's a prior claim on her ass," he said quietly when she woke up. He was squatted down, looking at her.
"Why?" she sneered. "Got to get a Watcher? They can't take me out either."
"Because she falsely claimed Xander raped her. Then Giles sold him to a higher level demon."
She went pale, shaking her head. "That's evil. That's not B's style."
"It is," he agreed. "And if you can reform into a better girl, you can walk away. There's hunters who could use you. Wesley knows some." Wesley nodded. "Including Xander."
"Boytoy needs rescued? Because higher level or not, I can smack 'em down. No one deserves that. I heard what happens to slayers and hunters when they get taken in by demons."
"Not at the moment but it does come in handy." Angel smirked. "One of the Highest on the Demonic High Council loves Xander and would kill for him. That's how we found out about the deal."
She went limp so he pulled her up with him. "She..."
He held up a hand. "There's a prior claim. You can have her after others are done with her. Xander first."
She nodded. "I can see how that goes. Where is Tweedy 1?"
"Being punished." She smirked evilly. "We will arrange things for you to heal. I know we can do it." Cordelia grabbed her head, thumping it onto the desk. "That may be it. Stay."
Gunn handcuffed her to the pole she had been held against. "Got her. The other two are in the kitchen."
She looked at him. "You like cuffs that much?" she taunted with a smirk.
"No, but they come in handy when you or Cordy get mouthy. I can't stand mouthy women."
Angel smirked, leading his team off to tell them what had happened. Wesley swore. He had to stop Cordelia from going to get them for the boy. Wesley came up with an idea or six to help her. Fred nearly managed to get away to beat them herself and she had never met Xander. His team decided on a course of action and nodded. Wesley escorted Faith off to Colorado. Xander could use more protection and when the Winchesters got back they could help her more than anyone else to see what she had done wrong and right.
Because not all of that was her fault and she had the chance to heal. Cordelia's vision had said so. He told her all of it on the way to the car. She gave him an odd look but her eyes showed something they hadn't in a while - hope. Angel went in to talk to the girls. They started to scream back about how bad and wrong Xander was. He shot down all of it, including Buffy's delusions. Then he kicked them out of the hotel, told them to go home. Willow got them home but he knew they were planning. As long as they did it outside his city. She could destroy it if not gotten out of it. A mad slayer was a sight to behold and be very scared of when her mind figured out it was broken.
Jack answered the door the next morning, giving the young woman an odd look. "Does Xander know you? He doesn't usually like girls."
"That's because they try to kill him after he dates 'em. I'm wondering if lusting after B was enough to warp her." Xander came out of his bedroom looking confused. "Boytoy, more than I need to see anymore. Saw it once." He shrugged, staring at her.
Wesley came up behind her. "Xander, and you are?"
"Jack O'Neill. I'm temping while his family is off handling something." He let them inside. "Xander, please put on clothes? I don't want to know that much about you. Saw too much the last time, kid."
He gave him a dirty look. "Fine," he muttered, going to put on lounging pajama pants. He came back out, staring at Faith. "I'm glad you made it out of the coma, Faith. We couldn't find you to keep the Watchers from taking you. I thought they might to wetworks you."
"I was hidden under the mayor's name." She sat down, staring at him. "You're different."
"It's called growing up."
She nodded. She shifted nervously. "I'm sorry as hell I tried to kill you, X."
"I understood, Faith. You were trapped. Animals bite the hands trying to help them out too." He sat down across from her. "I'm not happy any of you found me."
"Samuel gave me your address," Wesley told him. "The only one I've shared it with is Cordelia; who would like a letter sometime soon and pictures."
Xander nodded. "Okay." He looked at Faith. "So what's with the running away this time?"
"I went after B when I woke up," she said honestly.
Xander nodded. "It was probably the high point in her life, Faith. I'm not going to step between you two, even if I won't die of it."
"If B gets you, you will be," she warned.
He smiled. "I'm harder to kill than she thinks I am." He got comfortable. "So why the chitchat?"
"I think Faith could use someone who gave a damn about her," Wesley said. Faith looked at him. "Like your first Watcher, Faith. Someone who can help you stay mostly on the light."
"Because hunting is still killing, just necessary killing," Xander agreed. "We all have a dark streak or we'd have been in tears every night or suicidal from the hunting getting to us." Faith gave him an awed look. "There's other hunters who have gotten to that point. I'm protected, kept, and nurtured by a family of hunters."
She swallowed. "Wesley thinks you can help me find someone like that."
He smiled. "I think we can." He leaned forward. "Do you want to stay on the straight and narrow, Faith?"
"I don't know."
"That's a good answer," Jack admitted. He looked down at her. "I've had to kill in combat a few times." She shivered at that matter-of-fact tone of voice. "Some soldiers need a guiding hand. Someone who can work with them, tell them where the line is. Some of them were over the line when they got there because the dark side of the line was all they knew. They still managed to make it to the light and hold onto the line."
She stared for a minute. "I killed a guy accidentally when B tossed him in a fight. I thought he was a vamp."
He nodded. "That's called collateral damage in the military and we hate it, but we all know it happens now and then no matter how often or how hard we try to stop it. Because human judgement is always behind every weapon and it has to be the final call." She went pale. "That's not a judgement. I've had to run after a guy in a crowd when he was firing at me. I know at least one of them got hit and I know at least one of my bullets went wide, even though I'm a very good shot. I've told myself it hit a building because there was nothing I could do if it didn't. More people would die if I didn't stop that person."
She turned to look at him better. "How did you not turn?"
"He didn't have someone there to tempt him to the dark side," Xander told her. "The mayor swooped in to walk you across that line." She looked at him. "Didn't he?" She nodded, slumping down. "Do you regret it? Because if Angel can come back from a century of being so scary half of Europe still uses his name as a booogie man, you can."
She looked at him. "I do."
"Then we'll help," Xander said simply. He grinned. "Want breakfast? I'm getting to be a pretty decent cook."
"It's like eleven," she said dryly.
He shrugged. "I didn't have anything to do today, Faith."
"Spa and training this afternoon," Jack corrected. He smiled at her. "You can hang with me and watch his back for a while."
She stared at him. "What are you?"
"Retired Colonel in the Air Force," he said with a smug look. "I'm playing protector for him while the family's gone."
"Huh." She looked at him. "Why do you need a protector, X? Beyond why they usually like you."
He grinned, standing up and pulling her into the kitchen to tell her the whole story about hormones and pheromones.
"No fucking way!" she said loudly a few minutes later. He got something from the study and handed it to her. "Even better than shiny. I thought things like this were a myth!"
"No. That's a former tip," he said dryly. Jack moaned, shaking his head. "Hey, Jack, do you think Captain Broomstick Up Her Ass, Wants My Hair will get along well with Faith?"
"Sam can play nicely, Xander," he assured him. "She's not that uptight when you get to know her."
"Uh-huh. She still wants to grab my hair and hair yankers suck."
"I'll make sure she doesn't grab your hair," Jack said patiently.
Faith giggled. "I can see why people want to play with it, boytoy."
He grinned. "Sam and Dean do too sometimes." She gaped. He gave her a smug look. Then he went back to making food. "Wesley, want food?" he called.
"If you're cooking I wouldn't mind but don't go to any trouble for me," he called.
"I no longer speak polite British guy, Wes."
"If it's not any trouble, Xander."
"Sure. No more trouble than making myself an extra one," he decided. She gave him a knowing look. "I'm pretty well stuck in the house thanks to all the pheromone stuff," he told her. "I never get to fuss over Dean and if I fuss over Sam, he fusses back."
"That's probably a good place to be," she offered.
He shrugged. "Could be," he said with a grin. He finished up, handing her a plate. "His since I remembered you didn't like mustard." She grinned, going to hand that one over. She came back and got handed one. He carried out one, handing it to Jack. Who smirked and nodded. "When are we going out?"
Xander gave him a horrified look. "It'll take me that long to do my hair!" He ate on his way to the shower.
"I could never pull off the hair," Faith said quietly.
"Me either," Jack agreed. "He does draw a lot of funny looking demons to touch it."
She smirked. "I can handle that." She heard a car and looked outside. "Any idea?"
Jack looked then shook his head. "No." He went to answer the door. "Yes, you are?" he called when the door opened. He knew when he saw the bald head come out. "General. I didn't recognize your off-duty vehicle."
"Jack." He nodded him to come out to talk to him. "What are you doing, son?"
He walked over to stand next to him. "Guarding a young man who needs it because his hormones get him into worse trouble than Danny and who more people want to steal."
General Hammond gave him an odd look. "I didn't think that was possible."
"Oh it is." He ate a bite of his sandwich. "He's in the shower. We're going to the spa and then he comes back for training later this afternoon." He ate another bite. "Teal'c's people had heard of this problem, sir. He and Xander chatted."
"I heard from Captain Carter." He gave him a look. "Do we have any idea what set off her alarm?"
"The magic in the ball of the hairpin."
"Magic?" he asked dryly.
Xander leaned out. "Jack, do I have to turn him into a toad?"
"No, Xander. This is my former commanding officer. The one who said I needed to retire."
He snorted. "You're too young to retire. You still like trouble too much too." He smirked at him. "Hi, Xander Harris."
"I heard that. I looked you up too, son."
Xander gave him an evil grin and let his hormones spike.
"X, you mind? I can't eat when I'm thinking about pouncing, and why are you naked again?" Faith demanded. "That makes it worse!"
Xander gave her a look. "I only wear clothes around polite company, Faith." She pointed at Wesley. "He's not looking." He skipped off, going back to his shower.
"See?" Jack asked, giving him a smug look. Hammond was sweating lightly. "Because of that, people want to steal the boy."
"Can we use that skill?"
"Ask Teal'c, sir. I have no clue. I know if he's backed up he turns into a brainless, humming, flittering, spoiling, can't even drive guy with severe hair issues."
"How does he keep from being backed up?"
"Apparently gay sex. Since I'm only bodyguarding him, he's backed up."
The General blushed. "Duly noted." He looked at the house then at him. "If we could find a lesser one, would they still be as strong?"
"Not quite. Able to broadcast I'm not sure about. I don't even know who to ask. I can ask Winchester the next time I talk to him." He finished his sandwich since he could hear Xander complaining about his clothes. "Then next time do the laundry," he called. "Find something, Xander. You have a closet and a half full of clothes."
"He cannot wear jammies out, only girls get away with that," Faith said from the doorway. "That half closet is full of pajama sets according to him."
"Them and Hugh Hefner," he said dryly. "I don't care as long as he's not naked."
"That's one mansion that looks like fun." She went to help him, whistling at the clothes. "Damn, X. Something about leather this week?"
He grinned. "I look amazing in leather pants, but I'll have to get out of them at the spa."
"Wear panties." He held up a thong, earning a dirty look. "I didn't know they made those for guys." He turned it around so she could see the pouch. "Never mind." She went back to looking, tossing over some jeans. "There, wear those. They look comfy." She let him pick out a shirt while she went to give Jack odd looks.
"He's backed up," he told her. "The spa helps with that."
"You can come. It'll help me guard him better."
"Sure." She nodded. "Any butt kicking, I'm there."
He smirked. "We'll see who gets there first. Last week it was three brothers who tried to steal him."
"Charming. Were they going to share?"
He nodded. "Basically, though they all claimed they're not gay."
"Unless they're going to have him in a frilly maid's costume cleaning the house...."
"He's got a housekeeper for here, Faith."
She just nodded. "Okay then." Xander came out buttoning a shirt. She whistled. "That looks nice on you."
He grinned. "I only buy clothes that make me look hot. It'd be a shame to ruin the hair with ugly clothes according to Sam. Dean tries to burn the ugly things on me."
She shook her head. "Your boys sound like a barrel of laughs."
"Now and then. Wes, are you coming with?"
"No, I'll guard the house and have a nap on the couch, Xander."
"Okay. We'll be back in a bit." He looked at the General. "I do know that there's some like me in the military already."
"We were wondering if someone like you could do like you did to the drug dealers to help a strike team get into a place," Jack told him.
"Probably. Maybe not at the same strength unless they're *really* backed up too. Because I was."
Jack nodded. "Okay. How high up the scale would possibly be in the military?"
"Probably not above a level five. I don't know. I know most of us don't work outside the house past level sixes and a few rare level sevens, and Ray, he's a level eight and he's a cop but he's dating another of us so he's constantly worn out."
"I see the hair didn't change the babble," Faith said dryly. He smacked her on the arm. "Ow! You're stronger than you were."
He grinned. "Wait until you see me later," he taunted. He looked at Jack. "I have no idea. Hey, Ares? Would Jack's plan work?" he called quietly.
Strife appeared, making Hammond and O'Neill both gasp in horror and back away. "Could but the higher ups don't want any of you boys or girls in tha service," he said with an evil grin at them. "They think it might be a bad or corrupting thing. Like how Xan here can make totally macho guys go for the hair." He stroked over the braid. "New conditioner?"
Xander beamed. "The hairdresser found one that's a foam. It means I don't miss as many spots because I can comb it in." He gave him a hug. "If they need that sort of help, would it be okay if I give it?"
He sent that to Ares, who also appeared. "That's not a bad plan," he said. "You'd have to have someone to guard you until you could release it and get sense back again." He looked at O'Neill. "That Hathor thing coming up? It's the reverse of what he does. Basically. Hers are twisted on what his do to your mind. Remember that." He looked at Faith then at Jack. "She'll make a good protege."
"Hey!" Faith said.
"That means a student," Xander said. "I had to learn that."
She gave him a look. "I'm not that dumb."
"I am." He shrugged and grinned. "But he does neat stuff that doesn't come with a stake or a sword. Or an axe."
She rolled her eyes. "Who're you to make that decision for me?" she demanded.
He smirked, crossing his arms over his chest. "Ares, God of War."
"And asswiggles," Xander said in her ear, making her give him a horrified look. "He does. I caught him dancing."
Ares gave him a dirty look. "I got laid better than you did that night."
Xander gave him a hug. "Of course you did. My hormones can't compete against the Godliness. After all, Cupid had to get it from somewhere to be so hot." Strife snickered, nodding. He grinned at Ares. "If they need me, do I have permission?"
"You do. As long as they guard you. O'Neill, if they need that, you go with him. I know you're going to get him back. Even if Jackson does think Xander's ideas would be a good one." He looked at him. "Behave."
"Why?" Strife cackled, disappearing with a crack of light. "He likes it when I'm naughty."
Ares shook his head. "Practice later, Xander. I need you to stay in practice."
"I do it every other day."
"Good. Do it tonight. Impress O'Neill." He looked at Hammond. "There's four left, two are in Georgia, two are in Intelligence somewhere. All below level threes." That got a nod. "You can ask, I don't know if it'd help them or if they'd agree. That is a personal topic that can get them taken if they're known about. GHS are prize status symbols."
"Concubines always have been," he agreed.
"His guy Teal'c said that he'd heard of us."
"Yeah, a few with the same problem got taken to his people too." He patted him on the head. "Take the SUV so you've got room and Faith doesn't have to ride in the trunk. She looks flexible but not that way." He disappeared.
Xander pointed. "I'm an anchor."
"I see," Hammond said.
"The tattoos," Jack said. Xander beamed and nodded. "The sword?"
"I trained at one of his temples off realm. It helped me grow up faster." He looked at Faith. "Can you get me the other set of keys on the board? I got the porsche's." She nodded, taking the others. "You cannot outright ask them," he said quietly. "If others hear, they're in danger. A hell of a lot of danger. Even if they haven't been twigged to by demons, they're going to be taken by someone."
"I know someone who might know who to ask," Hammond said. "If we need you, I'll ask Jack to come to you."
Xander beamed. "Okay. Be safe today. It's a horrible day up there according to Strife." He groaned, heading back to base to see what the problem was this time. He looked at Jack. "Sorry."
"Not a problem. It makes me less paranoid to know that someone beyond those who want you are watching over you." Faith came out with the keys. "Thanks." He took them. "To the SUV, kids."
"It's in the spare garage," Xander said. Jack nodded, going to pull it out. "Did you get the wallet?" Jack groaned, going to get it out of the safe. He grinned. "The temple was *way* happy making. All the young ones in training, the sparring, the grumpy priests who kept scowling even when I was being impressive, but they were good to me. They kept people from taking me there too. Plus I spent a lot of time learning at Cupid's temple and helping Strife and Aphrodite with stuff."
"That's actually pretty cool," she admitted. He grinned. "We'll talk later. When you're not due somewhere. What're we doing?"
"Massage." Jack came out with the wallet and went to get the SUV out of the garage. She gaped at it. He shrugged. "Dean wanted me to get something hipper but kinda protective."
Jack got out of the front, going to look in the trunk. "There's a light saying something's open."
Xander looked then pressed on something, listening to it click. "It likes to stick sometimes." Jack opened it and moaned then closed it and made sure it was closed. Xander checked another one. Jack whimpered but closed it too. They closed the trunk and Xander got into the back to show Faith the game system and stuff. She gave him odd looks. "We picked it out together while waiting on the house to close."
"Uh-huh. How did you get the porsche?"
"I won it from the same sheik I won the resort from during a baccarat game."
"I remember you doing impossible shit, X. But that's just too much."
Xander grinned. "It came with the hair."
She cackled, shaking her head. "That's good to know. I'll have to trim mine before it gets infected."
"As long as your hormones don't spike you should be fine," Jack assured her, backing out of the driveway and onto the street. He headed for the spa, letting the two young people chat and catch up, plus Xander make her relax. She looked like she had snapped and was trying to come back. Xander was good at making people think he was harmless and could help them. Look at all the people who wanted him for that skill.
Faith looked around the room he said was hers then at Xander. "It's huge. We can split it if others show up."
"Why? They stay in the ones downstairs or in my room. This way you'll have a space that's all yours. Somewhere you can retreat to and hide when you want to think. Somewhere to be Faith's place. That way you don't feel like a guest that gets the pretty sheets." He looked around. "Let's see. You'll need curtains, a bed, a dresser. A rolling clothes rack since there's no closet or something to act like a closet." He looked at her outfit. "I know you only have the one so we can fix that too. It'll keep me from shopping for more sex toys later." Jack groaned from the stairs and walked back down them. "You'll need something like a radio for when you're having downtime and don't want to spend time with us." He looked around again. "Maybe a few lamps too so you don't have to use the overhead light. Or maybe I'll change that to a better light if I can get unbacked up for a bit. That's not that hard."
"X, you don't have to go to that much trouble. Just get me a cot or something." He turned the most horrifying pout and puppy eyes combination on her. She knew she wasn't a strong woman. She hadn't been a strong woman in a long time. A fighter, a scrapper, a surviver, but the sort of strength to withstand that look... maybe not even saints and nuns had that sort of strength. "Maybe a dresser and a lamp," she groaned, trying to look away because he made it *worse*. Somehow it got worse. She wanted to hurt herself for ruining his plans. "Fine. Let's hit Sears or Wal-mart."
He giggled. "Like I shop at Wal-mart most of the time, Faith. Not anymore." He took her arm and walked her out. "What colors do you like? It'll be easier to pick out drapes and stuff if we know what colors we're looking at. Then we can concentrate on thicker or thinner and the style."
"Curtains are curtains, X," she said.
He cackled. She was beginning to see how that was a bad sign.
Faith found Jack in his room later that night, flopping down on his couch, giving him a tired look. "I'm sorry I made him shop. I know it's a punishment for bad behavior before. Maybe for being a bad slayer."
"Nah, it's just him and his hormones," Jack promised, getting her a bottle of water. "What happened?"
"Stores. Oh my God I can't even count the stores yet. My brain is fried. I haven't seen so begging shopkeepers or bowing people since some crown prince guy visited Boston to pick up an Irish hooker."
Jack laughed. "They like him around here. He spends a lot of money. Often." He sipped his beer. "He done and napping?"
"He's changing my light."
"Did he turn off the fuse?" he asked, starting to look worried.
"You have to turn off a fuse?"
Jack ran out. "Xander, did you turn off the fuse?" he yelled as he ran.
Faith grabbed the beer to finish off. She needed it and she was *never* shopping with Xander again. Unless he gave her the dreaded puppy eyes and pout. Because she still couldn't withstand that. The lights dimmed and she groaned, going to see if Xander needed CPR. Jack didn't seem worried so she gave up and went to hang up clothes. Xander woke up with a gasp. She looked back and pointed.
"Don't worry about it," Jack ordered. "Special GHS stuff."
"Okay then. Just don't let him pout at me ever again?"
"I can't dodge it either," he said dryly. He looked at the lights then went to find the fuse box so they could fix it. Before Xander zapped himself to death again.
Dean walked into the house, staring at the woman in the kitchen. "Who the fuck are you?" he demanded.
"Faith." She ate a bite of her sandwich. "Xander's in the GHS tub as he calls it."
Sam walked in and stared at her. "You're... In one of his pictures on his dresser."
"I saw that and it's a crappy shot, guys. Let me guess, Dean the sturdy and Sam the softer side?" She ate another bite.
"Not always," Dean said dryly. "Why're you here?"
"We heard from Sam about what happened with B. I woke up. Wesley decided it'd help me more to be here and you guys could use the help guarding X."
Xander squealed and pounced, driving Dean to the floor. "You're back!"
"X, naked in front of me is still giving me flashbacks," she complained, shaking her head when he pulled Sam down to cuddle and kiss him too. It was a really hot living porn picture. She hadn't realized she liked gay boys going at it, but that did look good. Three well-built young men.... All they needed was her in the middle. She blocked out that thought because it was wrong. She wasn't bad girl enough to need three men. Even if they were hot together.
"Missed us?" Sam teased. Dean was still wheezing.
"Yes I did. Jack's great but not you two and he doesn't like to help me shirt shop." He kissed them both, looking back at the door. "No Dad?"
"He'll be here in a few hours," Dean said, coughing so he could catch his breath. "At least you ate while we were gone." He shifted and Xander mugged his mouth, making him groan and grab a handful of ass to squeeze. "Not on the floor," he said when he had control of his mouth again. "Bed, tub, not on the floor in front of others."
"That's Faith. She's a slayer and she broke me in for girls." He wiggled up so he could pull them up and into the tub with him.
"I've had sex toys that were smaller than that guy," she said, finishing her sandwich. She got up to close the door, looking at the dog. "The master's out of the tub, Bogart." It growled. "I know you're possessed. We'll fix you later. Go bark at the daddy again." He ran to do that. She closed the door and went up to the converted attic room Xander had done for her. Well, he had dragged her on a whirlwind tour of four stores and then the sheet store, the music store, a lamp store or two - she got lost in there because they all looked the same at that point, and another six stores to find all the stuff she'd like. He had even tried to get her a stuffed animal. It had been a surreal journey that still made her head hurt to think about. Jack's too since he had constantly complained the whole trip. It was a huge attic, plenty of head room. Pretty quiet so she didn't have to hear more than the occasional squeal of pleasure. She turned on her stereo to block out the squealing and settled in to read for a bit. It'd be a while before they got up. Jack knocked then came in. "Sam and Dean are back."
"Wonderful. Where are they?"
"They were in the GHS tub."
He groaned. "I checked. So they're missing."
"Maybe it goes with why the dog's possessed," she quipped. They heard them return with a thump and then the sound of rushing water. "Sounds like a pipe broke." It got shut off and Xander was yelling in some language. "That's the quarth's language. They're sex demons who're kinda like Xander but they bond to a master." She went back to reading. If they needed her help, they'd yell for her.
"Jack, make the stupid ass demon go away!" Xander yelled. "I can't get Sam free!"
They both sighed and went down. Faith got the demon who had tied up the boys. Jack got the boys untied. Xander worked on the broken pipe before the bathroom and house flooded more. The demon died with a scream of pain. The boys groaned as they woke up. Xander finally got the pipe fixed and sealed back together somewhat. They looked at each other. "Gee, X," Faith said dryly. "Have fun?"
"Fuck no." He glared at the dead demon. "Can you take it out back to barbeque it?"
"Sure." She picked it up and carried it out, tossing it into the burn barrel. She lit it on fire, watching as it kept going. One of the neighbors peeked over the back fence, giving her a disapproving look. "It attacked Xander," she said dryly. "Still not human so no cops'll take it." A DPP officer showed up. "Want him?"
"Fine." He took the burn barrel and the dead demon to present to his family. Then he came back to see what had happened *this* time. Faith cleaned her hands and threw her shirt in the wash since it had purple blood on it. She went back up to her room while Xander fussed over his boys. Jack had fled at the first kissed booboo. She answered the door when it was knocked on, giving the older guy there a look. "Hey."
"Faith. The slayer Faith."
"The boys?" He'd leave that discussion for later.
"Being babied after they got snatched and knocked out."
"Of course. Xander?" Xander came out to the hallway.
"And you complain about me running around naked," he said dryly. "Hi, Bobby."
"The boys okay?"
"They're fine. So is Faith. Wanna come help me fix the broken line?"
"Sure." He walked around Faith. "Nice to meet you, miss." He wouldn't let himself stare at her nakedness.
She closed the door and gave him an odd look. "Way too polite to be normal," she decided, going up to put on a clean shirt. She came down and found Jack staring at another guy. "He's in the pictures on the dresser."
"This is John Winchester," Jack told her. "Sam and Dean's dad."
"Adopted," Jack said dryly. "I asked Xander."
"Ah!" She nodded, then shrugged. "It's all good to me even if they're not. I won't have to look at retarded babies from gay boy sex." She walked back to the kitchen. "Xander's getting help waking up the boys and fixing a broken pipe since the demon took them and the tub this time."
"Sure," John agreed, pointing.
Jack nodded. "They sent her to Xander to help her heal."
"Okay." He closed the door. "How was it?"
Jack gave him a slightly insane sounding chuckle. "You didn't warn me that they'd take me too."
"I've had worse," he admitted. "You okay?"
"Better." He watched Faith walk past with food. "You could stay and talk to us."
"Get the happy reunion stuff out of the way so I don't gag on the happiness factor. I do not do Care Bears, Smurfs, or any other emo shitting cartoon."
John smirked at her back. She was apparently a bit like Dean. "Good to know." He looked at Jack. "Other than that, everything good?"
"The Fed thing got fixed. The small unit of cops watching the house is still doing that for some reason even after being told to knock it off. My former boss wants to get others to help in assault situations." John shuddered. "Breaking in to solve a situation would be easier if they're too happy to protest."
"Still not something I want to see." Jack nodded at that. "We figure anything else out?"
"One of my former teammates creeped him out because she found magic in one of his hair things." John moaned. "She's creeped out just as much and Xander thinks she wants to pet his hair. He nearly hurt her trying to keep her from touching his hind end. Faith's good at scaring off the demons. Other than that, not much. The boy can't still long enough to fish. He cheered for the fights in the taped hockey game I brought over. I got him to look at other forms of food than American. He's learning Italian from the books. That sword style?"
"Learned off realm."
"Yeah, sureyoubetcha," he sighed. "Difficult?"
"So far only they seem to be able to do it."
Jack groaned. "Sam and Dean are too?" John nodded. "I'm so sorry."
"It only popped out recently. Stress and danger keeps it down. Anything on the Buffy or Willow front?"
"I had Carter check up on her. She fried her new computer. Wesley, who brought Faith, said Angel checked on the story he got told about that rape and found out Xander hadn't been lying. He basically kicked her out of LA until she got right with the end of her life."
John smirked. "Good. We heard she'll be here this spring sometime they think."
"Charming. Maybe I'll be around. If I'm not off fishing." He smirked. "Other than that, he's done good. He's concentrated on his training. He's doing the sword stripper looking stuff every other day." John laughed at that description. "He did the whole series for Faith over three nights. She nearly begged. Hell, I nearly begged but he let me tape it for Danny, who is an anthropologist." That got a nod. "He sent back a very long thank you letter with questions. Is he psychic?"
"Not that I'm aware of, but with his past, there's no telling what he knows." Xander bounced out to hug him. "The boys knocked out again?"
"The pipe's fixed. Bobby knew how to link the two sections back together." He grinned at Jack. "Are you staying tonight?"
"I only live a few miles away so I'll head home tonight, Xander." Xander pouted. "Do not do that at me, Xander. I will spank. Or don't you remember me doing that the last time you pouted at me?"
"That was mean," he said.
"Then quit acting like a toddler." He smirked at him. "Also, have him call Steve with you or whoever's handling it locally. He called earlier and said so."
"Yes, Jack." He beamed at John. "I made it a month!"
"I can see that. You didn't lose much weight and you look good." Xander grinned. "Go pounce the boys."
"Bobby said I can't do that in front of him anymore."
"We would appreciate that," John agreed. "Take them to your bathroom, Xander." He nodded, going to do that. Dragging Dean by the wrist and Sam following, waving at them. He shook his head, looking at Jack again. "What did Faith need?"
"Someone to show her where the line was and help her find it again. Buffy threw a living person at her during a battle and she staked him. The someone led her over."
John nodded. "I know a few who've been that way. I'll more than happily talk to her if she wants to."
"Good." He clapped him on the arm. "Let me go pack. If you need me again, tell me."
"Jack, I left you a bonus in the study," Xander called.
"Thanks, kid." He looked at John again. "He's a good boy but he needs better coping strategies for when he's backed up," he said quietly. "The whorehouse run was a bit of fun though. Had to pull him away from the women twice when they stole him because a cop asked them to and then tried to keep him." He walked off to find the envelope and then to his room. Xander had given him a nice bonus. He came down the stairs. "It's too much, kid."
"Shut up, he's busy," Dean called. "Complain some other day, O'Neill."
"Fine," he said, walking out shaking his head. Even though he was smiling. He called Danny. "They're back. Want a pizza?" He smirked. "That'll work. Meet you there." He hung up and drove to the place the rest of the team was eating at. Sam grinned at him. He sat down. "I've got to find a way to the bank tomorrow. Kid gave me a bonus."
"He seemed nice," Sam offered. "Frustrating but nice."
"He still thinks you're uptight and you want his hair."
She shrugged. "I can't see how women have hair like that, much less men. That's just...too much."
Daniel smiled. "You should see the storytelling dances he got taught, Sam."
Jack looked at him. "Are you possessed or evil, Danny? That's mean."
"Very," he said with a grin. "But no, I'm not. They ever fix the dog?"
"Yeah, it's unpossessed now. Bogart is very sorry he nearly bit the human owner and has been laying with his daddy each and every chance he gets so he gets forgiven."
"Good." He sipped his beer. "Hammond's looking for you."
"My number hasn't changed."
"He didn't want to make Xander storm the mountain looking for you if and when something happened."
"The Winchesters are home now."
"Good. Call tomorrow?"
"I can do that." He got his own dinner and beer, settling in to eat and enjoy the company. He had had fun with Xander. He had met demonic species so strange that even alien classifications were too little for them. He had met a few nicer demons. He had seen some strange things, like Xander's hair standing on end when he had taken him to the science museum. Xander was fun, but hell on the nerves. It was nicer to be retired again. Though, it was nice the alien demons hadn't shot at him. That had been a great change from his usual trips off planet. Xander's trips even usually came without mud and camping. Even if they did come with harem gear he was never going to think about waking up in ever again. He listened to Daniel go off on the symbolism of the dance Xander had learned. "Didn't make you hot?" he teased.
"I can detach myself from my physical responses so I can still think, Jack."
"You should see it in person."
Daniel smirked back. "Not until I've prepared myself for a few weeks."
Teal'c looked at him. "I would like to see these dances. My people do not have any."
"I've got tapes at home," Daniel told him.
"We can head back there after here," Sam agreed. They finished, waiting on Jack to finish his dinner, then went back to Daniel's place to watch the tapes. Even Teal'c broke and went to have some alone time after a few minutes of the first tape. They'd have to see it live sometime.
Dean woke up, looking at the boy on the bed, then around. Something was wrong. He got up, grabbing his gun off the bedside table, sneaking out slowly. He saw Faith on the stairs, getting a shrug from her and a point. "Demon?" he mouthed. She shook her head. They headed that way together, finding someone outside the garage. "Freeze," he ordered, pulling up his gun.
"I don't give a damn. Move and I'm blowing your brains out," Dean ordered. The guy froze and put his hands up. "Why did you break onto the grounds?"
"We're sitting surveillance, sir."
"Illegally," Faith said. "Your department told you to stop it." He glared at her. "Keep it up."
"We know that young man is doing something evil for the money he has."
"Not anymore. He retired after five weeks." Dean nodded at Faith. "Call." She jogged inside to get the phone, bringing it back out talking to the 911 dispatcher.
"Yeah, claims he's a cop sitting surveillance even though we know the people who were being idiots were stopped," she said. "No badge openly worn. Nothing to prove it. Please. We're around the back of the main garage." She hung up and looked at him. "You're in deep anyway, buddy. Feel damn lucky Xander's not here himself."
John came out with a shotgun. "Dean, we good?"
"Go let the cops in, Dad."
He nodded, going to do that. Two cruisers pulled up. "Around the back of the garage, guys." They looked at the shotgun. "In case he tries to get into the house. It's loaded with rock salt. It won't kill him but it'll sting like a bitch."
The officers nodded at that, going around to the back. One of them coughed. "Mr. Winchester, please back off?" Dean backed off five steps and lowered his weapon to his side. "Thank you, sir. Holster it?" Dean put it into his back waistband, getting a nod. "Good enough, thank you." He looked at the guy, wincing when the outdoor lights came on. "Hmm. You are in Vice."
"We know he's doing something wrong."
"To be totally truthful," Xander said quietly as he and Sam came out. "I spent five weeks finding myself at a brothel in New York." The man gaped. "During that time, I had seventeen clients who paid me over a hundred grand. After that, the hormones were fully blown open. That's why I got offered the contract and my hormones drew them in. When I left, I was one of the most wanted and courted things ever. That's when they put me with the Winchester clan and they protected me for a good long time. Since then, I've had things that have gifted me, showered me with stuff, and some that steal me and I come home wearing pretty things. Yes, others do know, including the department. Before you want to start yelling, I also did a privacy spell so I don't have to hear the neighbors nag tomorrow morning about more than the lights."
The officer swallowed. "Five weeks?" he demanded.
"I made approximately eleven million in cash, gems, and gold girl's jewelry for some reason. My very last one went for nearly a hundred grand before the curse hit me. Plus tips. That was my cut of it. I made forty percent." The man swallowed. "So no, I don't do anything bad anymore. Before the road trip, I worked and protected others. Then my friends became bitches and the one tried to accuse me of rape even though I was in another state. Since then, I've mostly stayed so backed up I can't balance my checkbook. How do you guys think I'm managing to run an evil empire?"
"You play cards with drug dealers."
"Yeah, I like playing cards and they need their wallets lightened so they can't move in as much product. The chief is very amused and told me that it was fine as long as my keeper agreed but he wanted me to be safe so I couldn't be hurt."
The officer swallowed. "The new girl? We think you're training her to take over."
"Faith is an old friend who needs some breathing room. We had a pretty similar upbringing." Faith gave him an odd look. "You never got to hear anyone go off on the drunks that raised me?" She groaned. "Or anything else?"
"Not like Red liked me, Xander."
"Good point. Let's just say that there's a good reason why I put up with Buffy and Willow for years."
She nodded. "That's a trap many kids fall into. Saw it a lot." She looked at him. "If you must know, I woke up from a coma before coming out here."
"We know there's a warrant for your arrest, ma'am."
"For killing an assistant mayor."
She glared at him. "He was shoved at me during a fight. It was an accident."
"Not our call to make."
"No but I can make a very good one to get her an excellent attorney," Xander offered, looking at her. "You shouldn't have to, Faith."
"If I gotta go, I gotta go, X. That's part of paying for my shit. You and Wes made me see that."
He nodded. "Let me call a lawyer first?" The officer nodded at that. Xander summoned out the phone, making the officer shriek. "Shut up. It's less impressive than me pulling my sword." He called the number he had for Angel. "It's me. How's the law firm thing going?" He smiled. "Because there's a warrant for Faith having the assistant mayor shoved at her, Angel. Yeah. I'll fund it, not an issue." He smiled at her. "He'll send one out tomorrow. Can she turn herself in? She won't leave the house tonight."
"We'll be watching."
"No you won't," the responding officer told him. "The whole PD was told to end this surveillance. You're in violation." He looked at him. "We will be sitting one on the street since one of the drug dealers did get out." Xander nodded at that. Faith nodded too. "Get breakfast, come see us as soon as the lawyer gets here."
"I can do that." She looked at Xander. "You don't have to."
"Shut up, Faith." She glared at him. He glared back. "It's not right that she shoves the guy at you while you're defending yourself from being attacked. She should be paying, not you. Yours was a mistake in the heat of battle. Hers was stupidity and not warning you."
"That may be but it was my stake."
"Then we'll deal. Not like I can shop all the money away anyway." She smirked at that. "Really." He listened to Angel again. "Thanks, man. Yeah, home. By tomorrow. Thank you." He hung up. "He'll be flying in by seven. He has one he can talk into it." She nodded. "He's pretty decent. One of the former Wolfram and Hart's people."
"Good enough for me. I was expecting a public defender."
Xander shrugged. "They're overworked. Leave them to the people that can't afford something. You can." He looked at the responding officers again. "Do we have to keep the lights on? And can we remove the surveillance gear? It creeps me out thinking that they're wacking off to me having sex."
"We can," he agreed. "We'll do that tomorrow, Mr. Harris." That got a nod. "Let me get him back to the office to be screamed at. My partner will be on the street." He walked him off. His partner nodded and went to sit on the street. The outdoor lights got turned off as soon as they left the gate.
"X," she started.
"Shut up, Faith. Let me do this for you. If I had jumped earlier, you never would've went to the mayor." He walked off, going to sulk in bed.
"We know it's hard when you have pride, but it can only help you," Sam told her. "If you're serious about paying for the mistakes you made there's better ways than being in a cell."
She nodded. "Thanks, Sam."
"Welcome. Let's go back to bed."
Dean nodded. "Let me do a turn around the yard." That got a nod and he did that with his father. Then John went back to bed and Dean went to talk to Faith since she was in the living room. "He does it because he gives a damn."
"It's still my fight."
"He's giving you what you need to fight and find a better way to atone." She looked at him. "Will sitting in a cell really help anyone? There's ways of getting you therapy without it and there's plenty of ways of helping you find your footing that don't come with someone shoving you all the time to follow a schedule that's nearly unnatural. Plus think about your skills in prison, Faith. You might hurt someone else when you're jumped."
She slumped, nodding. "I can see that happening," she admitted. "I don't like that about myself."
"Then we'll get you help. Like Xander said, he has more than enough. We have contacts with other hunters. There's got to be someone out there who can do shrink duty. Someone who can put you on the straight and narrow again. Then you'll atone by saving others."
She sighed, nodding. "Good point. Thanks, Dean."
"Welcome, Faith. It'll be fine. Maybe a night or two while they wait for a bail hearing." She grimaced. "It happens. You should've seen it when Sammy and I went to prison to fight the evil bastard trying to take it over." She gave him a horrified look. He nodded. "Yeah. Got that fixed with some contacts after we got Xander so they're not after us." She slumped, grinning slightly. "It'll be okay. Xander said so and if he has to he'll go hormone the judge or something."
"I can see him doing that."
He nodded. "So can I. Sometimes he gets wild hair up the ass syndrome. Sammy too."
"He did back in high school too. He came to me trying to get me to come back. I nearly choked him."
Dean nodded. "You felt protected, Faith. It's a great thing." She gaped. "He explained it to me earlier. We've never heard some of the Sunnydale stuff."
She swallowed. "And you trust me?"
"As much as I do anyone who's not family." He grinned. "Go to bed. You'll want the rest." She nodded, going up to do that. He went back to Xander's bed because it was huge and warm, plus he was comfortable being snored on by him. He had almost missed being snored on and hearing the yelp when he laid on his hair. This time he had to yelp and disarm Xander's hair for him since he hadn't. "No hairpins in bed. I'm not into that freaky shit, Xander."
"Quit, it'll snarl," he muttered. "Weapons for when they come again."
Dean snorted. "If they come again I'm going to shoot them. No hairpins in bed unless you play that way with Sammy." Xander shifted to land on his shoulder, cuddling up. "Better." He laid down, getting comfortable. Yup, the being snored on thing was nice.
"I don't like the hairpins in bed either," Sam called from his room. "I'm not into pain."
"Shut up, boys," John called.
All three men looked up when Faith laughed. She'd get used to them.
Xander let out a loud, echoing belch then sighed in relief.
"Gas medicine's in the bathroom cabinet," John and Sam called from their rooms.
"He'll fix it later," Dean called back. Xander let out another one then sucked on his neck. Dean got up to get the medicine and make him take it since it was one of those dissolving strips. Just putting it on his finger then letting Xander suck it off worked very well. Even if Xander did make some disgusted faces. He climbed back in and got comfortable behind Xander. He liked that Xander would roll over in a few minutes to cuddle him. He could be across the foot of the bed and Xander would move toward his warmth. Of course, if he thought you were running away from him, he'd bite. Dean tried to be quieter when he yelped but Sam and Faith's laugh came through clearly.
John looked at Dean's neck the next morning then at Xander. "Should we put a mini-fridge in your room, Xander?"
Xander gave him an adorably confused look. "Huh?"
He pointed at the bite mark. "Before you turn into a cannibal and take his head off with your teeth?"
"He thought he was escaping and bit him for it," Sam told him from behind his coffee cup. He took another drink then put it down. He pushed Xander's soda closer, getting a happy boy grinning at him and a kiss before it got inhaled. Dean poured him some more before sitting down with his breakfast. They had made Xander conform to Winchester hours this morning. Someone knocked so John went to get it. Sam looked. "Is that the lawyer?"
"It's the neighbor." He looked at her. "Sorry about the lights, ma'am. We found someone sneaking onto the property."
"It was in the papers this morning," she said, holding it up. Police Officer Arrested For B&E in Upscale Neighborhood.
"His people brought him in. We stopped him then called."
She huffed. "The lights?"
"So we could make sure he was the only one," John assured her. "We turned them off as soon as they took him away. I can see if there's a less bright bulb that can go into those."
"Please do." She stomped off.
John closed the door. "Or you could buy real curtains that block out the light," he muttered as he walked back to the kitchen. Faith came down the stairs. "He said he'd be here in an hour."
"I should try to eat."
"You should," he agreed, handing her his plate. She smiled weakly. "Request to be put into solitary, Faith. It'll make you safer."
"Bend a bar in front of them," Dean agreed. "Point out you can hurt someone but you don't want to."
"Won't that look bad? Solitary is for bad things."
Xander shrugged. "If you ask for it and your lawyer says that, it shows that you're worried about your skills coming out to hurt someone."
"Again," she finished.
"That was still an accident, Faith."
"What judge is going to believe that?"
John looked at her. "You'd be surprised."
"In LA especially since they have such a large demon population. They even have someone on the City Council." She gaped. He nodded. "Really." Someone rang the bell from the gate and Xander went to the panel. "Yes?"
"Sir, Lindsey McDonald. Angel sent me."
"Enter." He opened the gate for him then closed it afterward. He walked out to meet him, staring him down. "Let me make this clear. I want you to work in Faith's best interest. Not the best interests of Wolfram and Hart. Not Angel's or Buffy's. Faith's."
"Agreed. Our senior partners don't really have a desire over her at the moment. They're trying to decide what's best for the company's interests. If we move fast enough that should counteract any moves they make."
"It was an accident."
He nodded. "So Wesley told me. Is she inside?"
"Yes. The cops are waiting on her to turn herself in."
"That's a good sign." He walked in there with him, looking at Faith. "Miss Lehane, I'm Lindsey McDonald. I'm with Wolfram and Hart, but Angel and I are uncomfortable allies now and then. As it suits me," he admitted. She nodded once at that. "Mr. Harris has made it clear he's going to give me to one of his suitors if I act in any interest other than yours."
"Let's talk and hear what happened. There's a good chance we can plea down to probation or something."
"Use the study," Xander ordered. "There's notebook paper if you need it under the printer." He nodded, walking her in there. Xander refilled her plate and brought it to her with some coffee, giving her a hug before closing the door on his way out. He sat down, giving Sam a look. "Is she going to be okay?"
"She'll be fine," he promised. "Wolfram and Hart's a huge company with some very good lawyers."
"Who work for the wrong side," Xander told him. "That's why I made sure he was working in her best interests."
Sam nodded. "Sounds like a good idea."
"So they started the evil lawyer stereotype?" Dean asked.
"Yeah. The senior partners are all seriously high demons." Dean and John both moaned. "They're Angel's archenemies. From what Cordelia said Lindsey uses Angel to get him out of trouble when he gets in too deep but he'll act in his best interests. Though he's right. A few of the new suitors have hellhounds and things I'll feed him to."
John patted Xander on the back, handing over the jelly. "Have some sugar, Xander." He grinned, loading up his toast so he could nibble. Lindsey came out. "We're all in here."
He walked in there. "What do we know about Sunnydale's PD?"
"All corrupt to the old mayor and the system. I'm not sure if Faith would get a fair shake from them since the mayor basically adopted her. One's so dirty he tried to keep Buffy under charges when they found out the guy she killed was a robot who had been trying to hurt her and her mother."
"Damn," Sam said in awe.
"Most of them won't investigate anything unless it would further the mayor's plans. They certainly don't answer domestics, especially at night. They write off the homicides and disappearances with casual disregard for believability. How many wild animal attacks and gangs on PCP can you have in a year?"
Lindsey sneered. "That's wonderful. It could help us a lot. Do they have a CSI team?"
"They barely have detectives and an ME. The Initiative's people were better suited to investigating and they didn't."
"Very interesting. That could help a lot." He walked back in there to talk to her about how much evidence they had. Unless they had her doing it on film it was questionable at best. All the vampires who saw were probably dead. All the other demons too. The mayor was if he had witnessed it. That made it her word against Buffy's about whether or not it was accidental or intentional. They could even make it look like Buffy had done it but not charge her. Reasonable doubt was enough. They'd paint it as a friendly fire incident.
Xander came in before they left, handing Lindsey something, getting a gasp for the check. "Your fee." He looked at her. "I know it feels like you're not being punished, but think, Faith. You've been punished since you got called," he said quietly. "Yeah, he died and it sucks, but you're going to die right back protecting someone some day. Not to mention that he was one of the bad guys, even if he had a change of heart."
"He was being blackmailed."
"There's a choice there, Faith. He could have walked away. He didn't have to go on that assault that was pretty clearly a setup." She gave him a look. "You don't send a vampire legion out to take on two slayers at once in a well-lit alley. You don't do it anywhere someone would overhear and come running. You also lead them into an ambush. These weren't minions. These were higher level vamps. They had more brains than that. Even I did before that possession."
She nodded. "You think he set us up?"
"I think the mayor did. Or Trick did. Take your pick."
She considered it. "He was still being blackmailed. He thought he was helping."
"Faith, he knew you were a slayer. The mayor's records noted that he knew you were a slayer. That guy's files did too. He researched the group."
"Hell," she muttered.
"It's not like he was a little kid. He made his choices. Buffy made her choices. You made yours. Yes, you deserve some punishment, but your life's already been to hell. You do what you have to protect yourself." She nodded. "That way you can come back to the girl you were before the group ragged on you too much."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Sometimes you say some really wise stuff, X."
He grinned. "Of course I do. It comes from my butt...." She laughed and swatted him. He looked at Lindsey. "Should she ask to be put into solitary for her strength?"
"That is one thing that might look very good. We'll try." He looked at her. "Ready?"
Xander went up to pack her a bag, coming down to hand it to him. "She'll need some jeans and t-shirts."
"She will." He walked her off, taking her out to the patrol car. "I'll be following in mine." She nodded. "This is Faith Lehane."
"I know, sir. You're her attorney?"
"Yes. Before you hand her over, I'd like to talk to the detective coming to pick her up."
"He's been in since about five this morning being very smug from what I heard."
"Toady of the old mayor, who was an evil bastard," Faith told him. "When grad went down, the whole department was dirty, down to the janitors. All to the mayor."
He groaned. "Then we'll talk with my boss. See what we can do."
"It might be easier if we put her in LA County. It has a women's detention center," Lindsey offered.
He shrugged. "Take it up with the boss, sir. Ma'am, I'll have to cuff you."
"Do it in front please? I've, um..."
He held up a hand. "I can do that." He cuffed her and read her her rights before putting her into the car. Lindsey went to get his and followed him back. He walked her past the Sunnydale cop and into his boss' office when they got there. "Sir, there's allegations that the one picking her up is dirty."
"The whole department is," he agreed. "I did some checking." Lindsey walked in. "You're her mouthpiece?"
"I am. Lindsey McDonald. Wolfram and Hart."
The senior cop gave him an odd look. "Don't you guys become bigger bastards than the dirty cops?"
"Often. Mr. Harris was quite generous to have me take on her case."
He nodded. "I talked to the LA County prosecutor since there is apparently none in Sunnydale at the moment. He's expediting it to be moved to his city instead."
"That would work out better. LA has a women's correctional center."
"Good. Cuffed in front from injuries?"
Faith picked up a golf club. "May I?" He switched it out and she bent it into a little folded mass. "It'd be better if I didn't feel I had to struggle."
He looked at the mass then at her. "That's damn impressive, miss."
"While she's here, she's worried about another prisoner making her hurt her."
"Agreed, she can be in a single cell," he decided, putting the mass of former putter down. He looked at her, staring into her eyes. "I hope it works out for you, child."
"I didn't mean to."
"Good. That's the best thing about beating yourself up." He nodded at his officer. "Book her into a single cell until we can get jurisdiction proven." He nodded, taking her to do that under Lindsey's watchful gaze.
He came back ten minutes later. "Slight issue, sir. She was a juvie when it happened. Late sixteen. Her lawyer looks really giddy about that fact."
He winced. "That could work for or against her. They'll have to see." He answered his phone. "Captain Ross." He listened. "She did hand herself over. She's being booked into a single cell." He looked at his former putter again. "That's what we're worried about since the whole department is apparently corrupt. She might know something about that since it's said she was the protege of the old mayor and he was the corrupt one. No, I know Mr. Harris. Personally. I've talked with him numerous times, ma'am. He is not a criminal mastermind. The boy can't balance his checkbook." He grimaced.
"He did? Huh. Probably had a good reason then, but he's still not evil or in a gang. Uh- huh." He hung up and called someone else out there. "Ma'am, Captain Ross in Colorado Springs. No, we didn't since she just accused one of our better citizens of being a criminal mastermind behind the town going to hell when your state police said it was the mayor himself and he was trying to escape notice." He smirked. "Because one of his detectives arrested a young woman for protecting herself and her mother from a robot, ma'am. Exactly. No, we have a lawyer here from Wolfram and Hart for her. Yes, them."
He smirked at his underling. "You should also know she was a minor at the time. Late sixteen." He nodded. "I think it'd be better if someone who had a clue handled the case, ma'am. Because I'm looking at a putter that was crumpled into a six inch folded mass by the same young lady." She stuttered something. "Yes, I do believe she is. Please. Thank you." He hung up. "Tell him she's being redistricted to LA County since Sunnydale doesn't have a prosecutor."
"Gladly." He walked out there. "Detective?" He got a bored look. "The Captain was just informed that LA County is taking over this case since Sunnydale doesn't have a prosecutor. They'll probably be sending an amended release form." He walked off, going to tell her that. She gave a statement when her lawyer nodded, telling him exactly what had happened. He groaned at it. It wasn't pretty. It was nice Harris had tried to help but too little too late in her case. Now it looked like he was willing to step in again. It might help her a lot more this time. He finished her statement, letting her read it once it was typed so she could sign it. He went to file it with his boss and escorted her down to a cell. One of the monitored suicide cells. She looked very upset. Crappy beginnings had led to an accident that was disturbing but not that uncommon. Lindsey got permission to sit with her for a while until they played possession tag or dinner time, whichever came first.
Xander walked into the station, going to the desk sergeant. "Is it all right if I bring a newly arrested prisoner lunch? She hasn't been arraigned yet."
"I don't know. We'd have to check it."
"That's fine." He handed over the bag. "I made it all myself but the apple." The guy smiled, checking it over. "It goes to Faith Lehane."
"I'll send it down, sir." That got a smile and a nod. He handed over the note and glanced at it then took it down there to the jail guards. "For Lehane."
"Not with his hair." She looked at him. "Lunch and a note of support."
He checked it then nodded, walking over to slide it into her cell. He glanced at the note before handing it over too. "From a guy with hair."
"Xander. He's a buddy." She took the note first, smiling at it. Then the lunch. It was good for her. Better than the slop the others were getting. She needed real food to keep herself healthy. Because some day she'd have to face Buffy down again. Or some other higher demon. It was good too. "He's a pretty decent cook. Better than I am." Lindsey grinned at that, eating a granola bar from his briefcase. Finally a lawyer showed up and stopped outside her cell. She finished up her sandwich and put the apple and chips behind her. "A friend brought me lunch."
"I can tell." She looked at her. "You don't look that dangerous. Yet your file says you're criminally insane."
Faith shrugged. "Files can be wrong. They got my birth father wrong since my mother guessed." She was let in. "Who're you?"
"LA County Prosecutor Simmons."
"Grace," Lindsey greeted. "They gave it to you?"
"They tried to give it to the new girl but she was going off on tangents about the hype the mayor planted. Called Harris an evil genius mastermind."
"Xander's GHS," she said quietly.
"I heard." She looked at Faith, crossing her arms over her chest. "I've looked over the admittedly flimsy case they have on you, Faith. The only thing they really have is Buffy Summers' words."
"Which doesn't mean a whole lot since Miss Summers recently lied to a police department and told them she had been raped by a friend who was under a curse and in another state after she told him not to come home. She's also become a regular at many frat parties."
DA Simmons nodded at that. "So I've also heard." She looked at Faith. "I know of your calling, Miss Lehane."
"That's good. Is it going to matter? That's why I did my little putter demonstration upstairs. So I'd be put in solitary and not hurt anyone."
"That's a good idea. I know what you're capable of."
"I'm not that naive anymore, DA Simmons."
She stared at her. "I can see you're not. Where were you hiding?"
"Sunnydale General Hospital in the long term care ward. I was in a coma since the night before grad. Buffy put me in it when I attacked her."
She sighed. "We'll work something out, Miss Lehane. It seems like you may have been taken advantage of." She looked at the bagged lunch then her. "Your benefactor?"
"Mr. Harris," Lindsey said. "He had Angel retain me personally. Paid me this morning."
"We would like to settle this quickly and quietly. There are still that group out there who would love to take her out."
"So Angel told me." She looked at her. "Are you back to your calling?"
"Xander said he'd help me find a way to stay straighter. Said there were other hunters who tripped a few times too."
"Hmm." She looked at her. "Coma?" She nodded. "I'll have to get the records." She looked at Lindsey and they retreated to a corner. "I think she'd be in danger in jail."
"The Watchers have already tried to have her killed when she was with Angel. That's one of the reasons they evacuated her to Mr. Harris."
"Hell." She looked at the girl then at him. "Can Harris protect her?"
"I think they can protect each other. I also think he's a good support system. He needs someone to fuss over."
She considered it. "Three years probation. One wrong move and she's inside for five years."
He considered it. "Year?"
"We can't go that low on manslaughter."
"It was accidental. Man 4?"
"Man 4." She considered it. Then she nodded. "Two years probation and if she screws up she's in for eighteen months?" Lindsey smiled. "Let's see if she'll take it." They walked back over. "As of this moment, I can do a decent enough deal to give you Manslaughter 4, which is accidental and not a felony. That would give you two year's probation. That means lifestyle and travel restrictions. No drinking, no drugs, you'll be tested for both routinely. No traveling without permission. You'd have to have a job within reason. If you screw up, you'd be in the slammer for eighteen months."
Faith slumped. "Would helping protect Xander count?"
She considered it. "You can work that out with your parole officer. I can have you assigned to one who also knows what happens. No getting caught doing anything but defending yourself or him. No patrol. No hunting."
She nodded. "But after two years I'm clear?"
Faith looked at Lindsey. "Is it a good deal?"
"It's an excellent deal." He squeezed her shoulder. "It's a very good deal. The best you can get without a self defense plea."
She nodded, looking at her. "If we're sure the judge'll agree?"
"He should." She smiled, holding out a hand. Faith hesitated but shook it. "Good. Finish lunch; I'll have you moved."
"What about the sperm sample upstairs?" she asked, picking up her apple to eat a bite. She looked at it. "What the fuck? That's not a normal apple."
"It's one of the new hybrids," Lindsey told her. "One of the people at the office has one every day. They crossbred three types to get that one."
"Uh-huh. What ever happened to normal red apples?"
"They go to make applesauce," he said dryly.
"No wonder." She took another bite. It was still pretty good, not that she'd admit it.
The DA smirked at her. "We'll deal with him. We have an arrest warrant waiting on him." She went to present it to the captain. "Sir."
"You look like a prosecutor."
"DA Grace Simmons, LA County ADA." She handed over the paperwork. She saw the mass of former putter and shuddered. "Man 4. Two years probation," she said quietly.
"That'll work but you need to warn them that Harris gets drugged and kidnaped now and then."
"I can do that." She pointed and he smirked, having two officers go arrest the guy for them. He screamed and ranted the whole way about Summers, Harris, and Faith being evil and trying to take over the world. Pity the guys all knew Xander. They all knew the only time Xander got evil was when he was backed up or playing pranks on Dean.
Xander looked around the house. "We should go to the plea hearing." John nodded. "Can we use it to do a sale at the same time?"
Dean nodded more quickly. "We should because your office is kinda scary again, Xander."
He pouted. "Not my fault."
"I know." He looked at him then at his father. "Do we know who to go to in LA?"
"We do. We can call ahead and warn them." He looked at Xander. "What about the box in Denver?"
"We'd have to take the SUV," Sam pointed out. "There's no way we could carry the stuff in the office in the Impala or your truck. The SUV has some security."
"Technically, Adam said we can fly," Xander said. "Or fly the stones there and pick it up on the other side."
"That'll create a problem unless we can fly with it and take the cars," Dean said. "I'm not leaving the Impala behind."
Xander considered it. "I have no idea how this stuff works."
"We can ask Jack," Sam offered. John tossed him the phone. He smiled, dialing the number they had all memorized. "Jack, Sam Winchester. We had a question. Xander wants to go to Faith's plea hearing and do some of the cleaning out of the office storage area at the same time." He nodded. "That's the basic idea. None of us know how to move that much stuff and us to LA safely. Sure, we're all here. They're taking her back to LA tomorrow afternoon. The DA I talked to said that she'd have her hearing in about three days." He listened, taking the paper from Dean to make notes on. "Thanks, Jack. The cars?" He nodded, making another note. "We can probably do that. Do you think we should take the stuff from the box in Denver or just the stuff in the office? Sure, you can come see. The safety deposit vault is in Denver but we've got way too much stuff in the study too." He grinned. "We're home and you can even have dinner." Xander nodded. "What're we making?"
"I don't care. What do we want? I have some beans I've been soaking for that Indian recipe but I can do the pork stuff he liked or the beef stuff."
"He said he's making something Indian with beans but he can do pork or beef, whichever one you want." He nodded. "That'll work. Sure, we'll be here." He hung up. "He said the beef dish. The caf at his old job did chicken all day."
"He's back at work?" John asked, looking confused.
"Recalled to duty," Sam said.
"Painful." He went back to reading but paid attention to Xander going to cook. He looked at his sons. "How backed up is he?" he asked quietly. Dean waved a hand in the air in a so- so gesture. "Fix it?"
"Later," Dean promised. "Before we go." He shifted and called Steve and Adam on conference call. "We're going to Faith's plea hearing and cleaning out the stuff in the office and possibly some of the stuff in the vault in Denver. That's what we're planning with Jack later. Thanks, Adam. LA. Sure, Steve. We'll make plans and let you both know later. Thanks, guys." He hung up and went back to watching tv. "They'll call the right people and Steve'll get access to the vault and money for the plane or whatever." John nodded, grunting a bit. Xander yelped. "You okay?"
"Stupid knife bit me again." It got thrown out of the kitchen.
Sam got some holy water and went to test it for possession. It seemed to happen a lot around the house for some reason. John came to help when he yelped but Dean ended up breaking it with one of the hammers in the armory. Xander would get more knives. It'd give him a reason to shop.
Dean looked at the entertainment cabinet, frowning at it. It was labeled. It was cute. "Xander, thank you for not making my good music have to slum with Sammy's chick rock."
Sam walked in and smacked him on the arm. "You haven't seen me listening to Enya yet, Dean. That's chick rock." He looked. "He did. Yours, his, mine."
"So mine doesn't have to mingle and possibly breed with your emo crap rock," Dean agreed.
Sam shook his head, going to hug Xander. "Dean likes the way the tapes and CD's are sorted."
"I thought he might. That way he doesn't play case roulette again."
Sam laughed. Dean had that bad habit and sometimes what he opened was not what he expected when he slipped it into the player. "We should get some more."
"There's more but I ran out of room and I couldn't decide what sort of shelving unit I wanted because I couldn't find any more like those. I even brought in a picture from my cellphone. Well, Jack brought it to me when he realized I was out shopping by myself." That earned him a pinch. "Jack's kinda uptight."
Sam took a kiss. "Uptight or not, it could've gotten you hurt. Then we'd be miserable." He gave him a look, getting a grin back. "We can decide that after we get back from LA."
Dean walked in, taking his own kiss. "The music looks good, Xander. Even if some of yours is strange."
"I needed stuff to get low to. Buffy taught me how to booty shake."
Dean gave him an odd look. "I could've sworn we taught you better than that." Xander grinned. That had been a good night.
"He said there's more but we need more shelving units."
"We can find some and paint them the same color."
"I can't find the same door style."
"So mix and match. Put two with glass doors on the outside." Xander squealed and hugged him, going to call the store he had seen those at. Dean popped his neck and they went to wait.
"You sure you can deliver it today? Thank you!" He hung up and called the music store. "It's Xander Harris. Is my order in? I know some was and I haven't been down to pick it up. Please? I'm at home. I can send John down. Thank you! Getting them delivered from Mason's. If they don't mind I wouldn't. Sure! Thanks," he said happily. "Need the card number?" He read it off and they charged the delivery fee to it for him. He hung up and snuggled in with them. Bogart sniffed then came in to lay across all their laps, getting comfortable. Dean had to get up and get the door when the delivery truck arrived, showing them where they were going. Three huge media cabinets were carried in and deposited. Then boxes and boxes of stuff. Then a fourth cabinet. Xander bounced over to hug the guys and tipped them a fifty each, making them happy delivery drivers who got to be pounced by other people later from the pheromones sticking to them. Xander dove into the boxes. "Should we sort the movies alphabetically like we do the tapes or by genre and then alphabetically?"
John walked in and paused at the new stack of boxes and the new cabinets. "What's that for?"
"DVDs," Sam said.
"Hmm." He came over to open the rest of the boxes, then looked at Xander. "Did you leave any there?"
"Of course I did. We need them though. We get bored and it's not like you're going to let me go to the movie theater. We don't have a drive-in locally so I had to do it this way." He looked at Sam and Dean. "Which way?"
"Alphabetically," Sam decided. "We'll pretty well know what genre it is and it's easier to find when they're in order." Dean nodded at that. Xander beamed and got to work. Fortunately it was mostly packed that way anyway.
Dean pulled Xander into his lap to tease, making him calm down. They ended up going to the bedroom while the others unpacked.
"Much lighter than books," Sam decided, coming over to help. They filled the first cabinet then looked around. "We'll need more." John groaned. "Dad?" He went to call the place and order another set while Sam moved the couch a bit to give it room. "Order ones without the doors," he called. John grunted and said that. They agreed it was fine and they had some there in the same shade. They got sent and the delivery drivers got tipped again, without the pouncing this time, but it was still good to them. Sam finally got all the tapes, CD's, DVD's, and the few albums they now had for some reason shelved, then sat down. He looked. There was enough room now for some decorative touches so he added a small shelf fountain on one and some small statues off the desk to another. That was nicer. He sat down again, sighing in pleasure.
Xander yelped. Then he cackled. Dean groaned. It sounded like a normal night was starting.
Jack came back from planning with John, shaking his head at Daniel's odd look. "I should've looked in the closet in the study."
"Xander's been hoarding presents. They're going to Faith's plea hearing while getting rid of some of it."
"Did you plan military transport?"
"No, we found a private plane company and got a good rate to move them there. John and Sam picked a hotel that had security. They already talked to them about the stuff going." He flopped down in a chair, giving him a look. Then he held up a hand about his usual waist height. "Box of stones this high," he said quietly. Daniel moaned. "Plus a few bricks of gold, silver, and one we think is platinum but no one's sure." Daniel slumped, shaking his head. "That's not counting the vault in Denver. We talked to the bank and they're very happy he wants to reduce the size of the vault. They'll send it directly to the bank in LA for them. They'll get to evaluate it and the bank out there will send whatever doesn't sell back. They're expecting to get a good third of it back."
"Will the shops out there be able to handle that much?"
"The guy who's the national head arranged for the shop most of the members out there go to to hold a sale with a few buyers. They sent pictures ahead." Daniel whimpered. "They were happy."
"A lot of rich people are probably going to be happy. What about the nature of where they came from?"
"They have a demon community out there and they do know. Some of the buyers are demonic."
"The only problem is if some of his wannabe suitors decide he's doing it because he needs money."
Daniel looked at him. "If I *ever* start to emote that way...."
"I'll make sure you get worn out better, buddy. I promise." He stood up. "So they're set, they called there to give Faith that news. They're going to be gone for four days they think. Then they're going to deal with the probation issue as soon as she's assigned."
"Hopefully they agree."
"They should. They're going to find one who knows what's going on too."
"Even better. Any other cheery news?"
"I got them in touch with someone I know in LA in case they have problems out there. With that sort of large community, it'll be a problem." He walked off, going back to his office. The general stopped him in the hall. "Xander needed some planning support. He's cleaning the storage bin of presents out of the closet while going to Faith's plea hearing."
"Do you need time off?"
"No. They should be able to handle it. I gave them a few names in LA in case they needed more backup." That got a smile. "Of course, if we *ever* need a ransom of gemstones, I'm going to Xander for help." He went back to his hike to his office. They had hid it down a small tunnel on him. It showed they really didn't want him back but too many bad things happened without him.
The general shook his head. "I feel sorry for that boy," he decided. "No one should have that sort of problems."
Xander looked at the man coming in to help with the sale, giving him an odd look. "Please don't try to kidnap me?" he begged.
The demon bowed. "I would not. It would be bad for business."
"Oh, good." He relaxed. "So I'm guessing you know what happened?"
"Indeed." He sat down to look over the stores they had. "This is all of it?"
Xander pointed at the bedroom behind him. "John's guarding it." He looked back that way. "Guys, the jeweler's here," he called. "He won't steal me, it's bad for business."
"Good to know," Sam said as he walked out of the bedroom.
The jeweler swallowed, bowing carefully to him. "Samuel."
"Ease off, dude, he's not allowed to go bad," Dean said as he joined them. He and John pulled out the other two boxes. "This is a better workout than hauling water for camp or chopping wood." Xander went to get the other three, floating them out.
The jeweler gaped. Then he swallowed before getting into the boxes. Drooling on them would decrease their value. Someone knocked and John went to get the door. "What are you wanting to do?"
"The vault is overcrowded," Dean said. "Whatever you don't have sold, we need it appraised and sent back to Denver." He sat down, pulling Xander closer. John let the tall, pale, dark haired guy in.
"Hey, Angel," Xander greeted. "How's Faith?"
"My source over there says she's fine and Wesley is visiting her at the moment." He nodded politely at the demon then looked at the boys. "There's a few of the bigger names in town who are very nervous you're here. They think Buffy will come back."
"I spanked Dean straight, I can do it to her too," John promised. "Coffee?"
"No thank you," Angel said. The jewel dealer shook his head as well. Xander got handed a soda, Dean and Sam got coffees, and he sat down with his.
"A bit edgy but she's doing good in solitary. One of the people said something in the hallway and Faith snarled. They backed off."
"Good," Xander agreed. "Let them know I'm only here to do these two things. Maybe a bit of shopping. I wanted to look at the big chef's store," he told John. "That way I can replace the three knives that were possessed."
Angel gave him an odd look. "Knives?"
Sam nodded. "They wanted blood."
Angel shook his head quickly. "There's three or four big shops for kitchen stuff in town. Cordelia wanted to see you too."
"Cordy can come find me."
"I'll let her know that." He smirked. "Willow's still looking. If she hears...."
"I'll beat her too," John promised. "If she's been hacking since she was eleven or so, she needed it sooner."
"Her parents were shrinks," Xander said. "Who never seemed to be around."
"Charming," Sam said dryly. He grinned at the dealer. "It's fine."
He nodded. "It's good to set a schedule for one such as him."
Xander looked at him. "Does anyone know anything about guys like me who've ended up running into Jack's project?"
The demon gave him an odd look. "There are?"
"One of his coworkers knew what I was and we talked. If so, I'm sure some are unwilling or willing to change to someone better to them."
"It might be. I will ask. If so, should I tell you?"
"We can tell Jack or his people," Sam agreed. The dealer gave him an odd look. "We had to handle things so Jack O'Neill guarded Xander for us since he was temporarily retired."
"It is something that can be looked into," he decided. "If I cannot tell you directly, I will tell Vesvold."
"Thank you. How is he? I haven't seen him in weeks."
"He's been fine but the one who tried to claim you's position is open so it's been election time."
Xander stopped himself from growling. "The one is paying?"
"Good." Sam stroked over his hair, calming him down. "It sucks! I thought of him and Joyce like my parents!"
"It does suck and I'd like to kick both their asses," Dean agreed. "For now, calm down. We'll deal with it when and if it happens." Xander nodded, making himself calm down. He looked at Angel. "How's the city otherwise?"
"We're not in apocalypse season."
"That's always a good thing," Xander agreed. He looked at the dealer. "How do you want to do this?"
"I think we should take them to a neutral area. I have one set up. We'd let them come with guards. I have some that would work or you can ask Vesvold to handle that for you."
"We can," Dean assured him.
"You'll be with him. Making sure no one else gives him anything."
Sam shrugged. "I can take him to the kitchen stores."
"Cordelia can help guard him," Angel promised. "They used to date in high school."
"Thank God patrol was keeping them down then," he muttered. "Or maybe that love spell was the hormones?"
"It's possible," Angel admitted. "It was strange." He looked at the dealer. "I'll help whichever one is." Vesvold appeared, looking at Xander. "You can but he said you've been busy."
"I have been very busy but still I yield time enough to watch over you." He ran a hand over Xander's hair, getting a smile. "Your dog is pouting at your neighbor."
"It's not a problem." He smiled. "I can lend him a few guards. Faith will be fine." Xander nodded at that. "Are you all right?"
"The closet was getting crowded plus I need to be here for Faith. I'm taking advantage of being here for Faith to clear out the overcrowding."
"It's noble of you," he praised. He stroked his hair again, getting a look from John. "I know you don't approve, Winchester. We'll see what happens when they're all older." He smiled at Xander, getting a small shrug. "Good boy." He looked at the dealer. "They can be in charge of the guards. I will bring someone to do the carrying." He disappeared.
Dean looked at Xander. "He's not pushy. That's nicer than the others who want you."
"He's a nice guy," Xander defended. "If he wasn't a demon I'd probably have fallen but I'm still kinda wary since he is. My history.... Even though he's not harmful and he's a nice guy and I like him as a good friend...."
Angel coughed. "If he seriously took up with you, there's those who would see it as a flaw to be taken out of the clan."
"Which is one of my main objections. I don't want them to kill him because he likes me and he's a really great guy." Vesvold appeared, handing him a flower then disappeared. "Aww."
"Sappy," Dean said dryly.
Xander pinched him. "Some guys do good with that stuff. Even if you don't it's okay." He grinned. "Sam makes up for it."
"That's a good thing. I'd hate to be mushy. It'd ruin all my muscles."
"Son, hoof in mouth," John said bluntly.
Sam cackled. "Dean has his mushy moments but they're more subtle."
"That's right. He gets me soda when I need caffeine. He makes sure I get a good breakfast. He helps me clean guns." Dean nodded, smirking at Sam. "Sam does the mushy stuff that you'd expect." He hugged him. "You learned well from Jess."
"Thanks, Xander." He stroked over his hair and the boy tipped his head to get more. He scratched his scalp gently, making Xander moan.
"No making that noise in front of others," John ordered. Xander sighed, sitting up again. Dean let Xander cuddle his chest.
Angel nodded at the dealer. "Set it up?"
"For the day after her hearing." That got a nod and he finished taking inventory before leaving. Angel followed to set things up with Cordelia.
John and Sam gathered the stones to the more secure bedroom again then they let Dean get Xander to bed. He was clearly getting backed up worse. Dean could do all the unmushy stuff he wanted to cure it in private.
Cordelia met up with Xander at the hotel's lobby, looking him over. "Leather to go pot shopping, Xander?"
He looked at her, nodding. "I look good."
"You do but the hair...."
"Do not say a word about the hair, Cordelia Chase, or I'm having something cut yours."
"Fine," she muttered, coming closer. She looked him over. "Kitchen?"
"I'm learning how to cook. I'm pretty good. Want some coffee or soda before we go?"
"Aren't we waiting on someone else? Angel said you're not allowed to go anywhere alone."
He huffed. "You're not alone." He smirked and walked out with her to the cab stand. "Car?"
"Cabs it is then." He grinned at her. "Unless I suddenly end up with a car somehow." He shook his head. "If I think like that, I'll have it happen and have to throw a fit so no thinking about it."
"No babbling, Xander. I haven't been babbled at in a while. My tolerance is lower than it ever was in high school."
"No reason to be nervous either. I haven't changed. You're the one who grew the hair."
"Someone wanted me to have the hair and I thought it'd be pretty cool. I grew it with the self defense style that came with sword work." He patted himself down. "Fuck, the wallet." He called up there. "Who has my wallet?" He patted himself down. "No, I don't have it." He concentrated and it came flying at him from someone's purse. He looked at her then checked the ID. "Lady, you don't look like me," he called. She gave him a horrified look. Someone from the hotel came over. "Mine." He let him see it. She tried to run but hotel security stopped her. The cab peeled off in a burst of tire smoke. He sighed. "That looks like it was a bad sign."
Hotel security came over. "Mr. Harris, are they still up there?"
Xander called. "Security wants to know where things are." He nodded. "No. They're with the gem dealer," he said quietly. That got a relieved smile. "And thirty armed guards." The security guy shuddered. "It'll be fine." He looked at her then back at the hotel. "Can I have the two cases from the safe? I think it'd be safer if I do something other than take a cab today." He nodded, going to get them for him. He handed them to Cordy, getting a smirk from him. "I know, she's safer." He nodded. "Can we get a safe ride to 8th?" He nodded, getting them one.
"Xander, they never bowed that way to my father," she said once they were in the car.
"I brought in six large safety deposit boxes of gems," he said in her ear. "Look in the cases, Cordy." She looked and squeaked. He gave her a look. "That's a small bit of stuff." She gave him a look. He smirked. They pulled into a car dealership and got out. "Thank you."
"Welcome, sir. Do you need a ride later?"
Xander shook his head. "It'll be fine. Thank you." He tipped him and they got out. They saw the salesmen fawning over a star up the row. He let her look around with him. "Something fun but safe enough. I have a porsche at home and an SUV."
She gave him an odd look. "You have a porsche?"
"Won it in a baccarat game."
She rolled her eyes. "Dumbass."
He smirked. "Behave or I'm making you shop."
"Like that's a trial," she said dryly.
He laughed. "You haven't been shopping with me," he said in a sing-song manner. He pointed at one. "That one." She went to look, nodding at it. She tried it on for size and she looked good in it. He looked okay and it was decent on all the high points he'd insist on. Or Sam would insist on. He looked around then sighed. "Hmm. At least it's a major star." He leaned on the horn and they all looked. "Hi, I'd like this one today and I'm paying cash." Two of them rushed over to help him. "Sorry to interrupt, sir. Love your work but I've got to outfit the kitchen again. I killed too many knives learning to cook." That got a smirk and the guy went back to picking out his options. Xander handed over one of the briefcases. "It'll be in her name so she can watch over it for me. I'll be driving today." He pulled out his driver's license.
"Of course, sir." He took him into the office to do the paperwork. The bundles of cash were quickly and easily counted. "You need to go here to file the title and pay taxes."
"I can get him there," she agreed. "Thank you. It has an alarm?"
"It does. It also comes with a free year of On-Star and XM radio." They smiled at that. "Thank you for being patient with us, sir."
"Not a problem. I know how guys like that get fawned over even when they don't want it." He took the keys, letting her have the briefcase back and they walked out with the paperwork. He slid back into his sunglasses, undoing the alarm. He slid in. She put the briefcases in the trunk, putting three bundles into her purse before sliding in. He made sure everything worked and they went to file the title and pay taxes, then used On-Star to find the kitchen stores.
Sam looked up as one of Vesvold's guards came over to where he was eating lunch. "What's wrong?"
"Xander had to buy a car."
"It's in Miss Chase's name."
"Then he's spoiling her."
"There was an attempt to take his wallet and the room key." Sam just nodded once. "It's been stopped."
"That's fine. As long as he's fine?"
"Quite well. He's going to be fine we think. It's cute, he squealed at the copper pots. Then he went to fondle the cast iron section."
Sam smiled. "I'll let Dad know. Thank you."
He smiled. "We'll let you know if they're more than petted."
"Has he been?"
"One older lady petted him and said it was good his gay boy girlfriend was so supportive."
"That's not that unusual." The demon smiled, going back to tell his boss that same information. Sam finished his lunch and went back to help with the inventory and appraisal. They had to do it before they sold them off. It'd help the tax department and the bank too.
Cordelia got out of the car at Angel's lair, looking across the hood at Xander. "Did you really need the bread machine?"
She sighed. "I hope your kitchen is huge."
"Yeah, it is."
"Uh-huh." She walked inside. "Gunn, can Xander have some help carrying?" she called. He came out of the office with Wesley. "How's Faith?"
"She's doing fine. Still edgy because it's so noisy. She has a problem with sleeping due to that issue. I got her a puzzle book since it was allowed. She's keeping to herself and helping keep herself calm with it." He came out to look at the car. "A rental? I thought your family brought their cars."
"They're doing the inventory," Xander said. "Since the lady tried to snatch my wallet and the cab pulled out suddenly when that was discovered, it was safer." He handed Cordelia the keys. She gave him an odd look. He tucked them down her shirt. Then he grabbed a few things. "Let me get a ride back to the hotel when the guys are done."
"John's coming," Wesley told him. She pointed at her bags, getting a smile from Gunn.
"Did we have fun, princess?"
"A lot of fun. Even if I am exhausted." She walked inside with her bags of shoes. "Xander, heel."
He barked but came in with her stuff. "All yours." He kissed her on the head. "Go take a nap in the bathtub with the new bubbles." She snorted. "You can. That's why I got you the bubbles." She gave him a look. "It was."
She looked at the two guys who had helped. "I don't do a tornado through the mall anymore, right?" They shook their heads like loyal friends. "He did. I'm tired. Can you guys make sure he's not stolen by anything while I go take a nap and regret throwing him over?"
"Sure," Gunn promised. Xander kissed her and she moaned but went upstairs to pout in the tub with the new chocolates he had made her get. He looked at Xander. "Are you better?"
He grinned. "It's not nearly as good as sex but it's kinda fun." He bounced out when he heard an engine, pouncing John. "I got new pots and new knives and even a few new spoons."
"And a few new machines of some sort," Gunn called. "I have no idea what they do."
John nodded. "We've seen that a few times." He walked him inside. "What else happened?"
John looked at him. "I heard about the car, Xander."
"It was necessary and Cordy needs a Princess Mobile." John sighed, shaking his head. "But I got all the stuff out of the car."
"Good." He grabbed a few of the bags, looking at the names on the boxes. "What's a bread machine?"
"You put in the bread making stuff, turn it on. It mixes, lets it rise, then bakes it."
"Instead of using a bowl and a pan?"
"Ah." He'd let Sammy fight that battle. Especially since it said you could set it and leave it all day then come home to fresh baked bread. Then again, that may be the best feature of the machine for Xander so he wouldn't have to worry about forgetting it. He waved at them. "Thanks for watching him, guys." They left, heading back to the hotel. After they left, Angel's hotel got invaded by guys wanting Xander but they managed to get them down and then sent them off with the cops since they were human.
Xander sat down behind Faith, giving her a smile. "It'll be okay."
"If you're sure."
He nodded. "I'm sure."
She turned around when the judge called the hearing to order. "We are here for a plea agreement?" he asked. Both lawyers nodded. "The defendant is able and willing to make a full confession?"
"She is," Lindsey said. He stood up. "We know it's a bit unusual but we'd like this sad chapter to be done with so the young woman in question can heal."
He looked at him. Then at her. "Heal?"
"She's just out of a coma, Your Honor," DA Simmons said.
"She looks healthy."
"She spent nearly a year there."
"I see." He read over the file they had furnished. "Why is she in solitary?"
"We requested it based on the fact that she was worried she might hurt someone," Lindsey said. He handed the bailiff something. It was looked at then handed over. "She did that in front of a police captain when asking to be separated, Your Honor."
He looked at it then at her. "You can do this anytime you want?"
She nodded. "I thought it might be bad if someone tried to jump me and I don't want to hurt anyone. That's why I asked."
He sighed, putting the former putter aside. "That's a fairly decent reason." He read it over. "You're willing to give a full confession?"
"As long as the records are sealed, Your Honor," Lindsey said. The judge gave him an odd look. "There's things that could impact hers and others' lives."
"I can see that. Who are those in attendance? Do they need to be removed as well?"
"I'm her friend and I've known her since she appeared in Sunnydale, Your Honor," Xander told him. "This is my guardian."
"You need a guardian?"
"Why? Is it relevant?"
"Probably not but Faith's going to be joining my household to help protect me."
"It appears it is relevant." Xander handed over a card to Lindsey, who handed it to the bailiff. He looked at it then moaned. "I know one of you." He looked at him. "Why is she helping you?"
"She's a friend and we used to be in the same situation, kind of. The same non-paid job as well."
He nodded. "Anyone not involved, clear the courtroom please?" They did that. "Miss Lehane, what is going on?"
"I'm a slayer, sir."
"Vampire slayer. Called and destined. Like Buffy Summers."
"Her I've heard of. You're that Faith." She nodded. "I can't hold that against you." He looked at her. "Tell me in your own words what happened?" She let it all out, the whole problem that happened. He mentally sighed. Then he nodded. "I will have the records sealed." He looked at Lindsey. "Your bosses are helping her why? You're not known for helping the good guys or those stuck in bad situations."
"Mr. Harris hired me. My bosses are grumbling about this." They wanted Faith on their side but it was very clear that going after Xander was a very *bad* idea for their continued life expectancies.
"Very well." He looked at the agreement. "I'm assuming Mr. Harris is not in LA any longer? My friend would've heard."
"I'm in Colorado Springs."
"That's a good place. I hear it's very pretty. She'll be on your protection patrol?"
"While helping herself heal at the same time."
"That sounds like a good plan."
"I used to do it for Buffy."
He looked at him. "And yet...."
Xander nodded. "2nd roadtrip brought them out."
"Ah." He tapped the folder a few times. "I do think it's too light of a sentence but I will uphold the deal made. As long as Miss Lehane knows what this means to her life?"
"Yes, sir. We've went over what probation would entail. I can do that, as long as if I'm attacked I can defend myself or Xander."
"That would be acceptable. Reasonable even." He looked at DA Simmons. "You're satisfied?"
"Mr. Harris?" He got a look. "You're willing to help her with these restrictions?"
"I am. Even if Dean or Sam or John have a beer, it doesn't mean she'll get one. I hardly ever drink myself. I try to keep myself out of trouble and out of being kidnaped or attacked. I do a lot of training to keep myself out of trouble."
"That's fine. You can find her someone to help her work over those issues?"
"Wesley Wyndham-Pryce has."
"There's also others who do the same job in the family. We better than most know how easy it is to slip across the line. John has promised to help her any way he could. He's a hunter and raised his two sons to hunt."
"That's fine." He looked at her. "You will use this chance to get better?"
"As X pointed out, a slayer is punished for everything we hunt by dying for it eventually when we're not good enough."
He frowned. "That's a bit morbid but probably true. Very well, I'll agree to it. I'll have someone move your probation to Colorado. Is there someone there who would know?" he asked the DA.
"Two actually. One's the daughter of a hunter who was recently arrested for thinking Mr. Harris made a demonic deal." Xander groaned. "She works in the next county but we think we can get it transferred to her. If not, there's one closer who was a Ranger and ran into that world a few times on missions."
He nodded. "That'll work." He banged his gavel. "So be it. Two years probation and eighteen months if you mess up."
"Yes, Your Honor," she agreed, clenching her hands.
"It's not as long as you think, young lady, and if you're living a decent enough life it's going to help you anyway." He signed it and handed it to the bailiff for Lindsey. "When are you leaving?"
"Two days if we can," Xander told him. "If not, we can stay for a few more days."
"They'll discharge her today," Lindsey told him. "Why two days?"
"Sale of the stuff in the closet that the thieves keep trying to get."
"Oh." He looked at her. "We'll get you transferred out tonight."
She nodded. "I do have one question." The judge looked at her. "B...Buffy is being a bit of a bad girl right now thanks to the liquor. If she shows up to get X... What am I allowed to do?"
"Protect yourself and him, Miss Lehane. As long as you don't kill her or there's a good reason, like she's going to blow you up or you're going to be killed somehow."
"You're welcome. It's an intelligent question." He looked at them. "Get checked out and go with them." She nodded. The bailiff led her off, Lindsey following to make sure there weren't any problems. "Mr. Harris, this does mean she's not allowed to handle any weapons you might have."
"The armory is locked. Unless I need it or we're cleaning." He shrugged. "She never really liked more than knives anyway."
"Good." He watched them leave. "Lock the transcript, my eyes only." The DA nodded at that, signing that request before handing it over. Then they left too.
Faith came out of the jail a few hours later and found Xander sitting on the hood of the car he had given Cordy. Cordy was inside. She gave him an odd look. "I'm not going to let you get that far away. I need you to come snark with Cordy at the new hairpins that Dean doesn't like either."
She gave him an odd look. "I'm not taking part of the harem thing."
Xander shrugged. "Girls don't usually do it for me anymore anyway, Faith." She gaped. He stared back. "Not like Dean'd let me top him."
"Basically." He grinned. "But faster healing so I'm not sore too often." She gave him a hug and a slap on the back, getting into the back of the car. Xander got into the front.
Cordy looked at him. "We need to crack on the whole hair package, not just the hairpins." She started the car and headed back to the hotel. They found cops there. "Gee, Xander."
He groaned. "Please let them be okay." He got out and a cop came toward him. "I'm a guest staying here. Harris. These are friends."
He looked at him. "Sir, we're responding to a federal warrant in your room."
"That'd be funny since they took care of that and removed it from the system."
The cop blinked at him. "They did?"
"They did." He walked past him, going up there. "Excuse me," he said from the doorway. A cop tried to grab him. "Touch my hair," he growled. The cop backed off. "We have proof the arrest warrants were removed, guys. What the hell are you doing?"
They stared at him. "Sir, this agent said it wasn't."
"We have information saying these three men have been moving a good quantity of gems for an arms dealer, sir."
"Really? Considering the gems are *mine* and they're from people who'd want to sleep with me who I turn down, I sincerely doubt that. Especially since the weapons we have for my protection are in another state."
The Fed sneered at him. "Mr. Harris. We wanted to talk to you too. Bring him in, boys." One of the cops grabbed him and went flying into the wall. "That was a mistake."
"No, you pretending to be a Fed is a mistake," Xander said dryly, walking closer. He snatched the earring by magic and tossing it into the hall, watching him scream and grab his ear. He didn't change. Xander got the other one when he found it and the guy changed. "Now then," he said dryly. "Who sent you to get me and the family?"
"X!" Faith called. "Please?"
"It's fine, Faith. Stay there." He let loose some of the hormones on the cops that had went for their guns to make sure he wouldn't be shot for attacking that fake Fed.
"Sure." Cordelia pulled her away. "We should call Angel or someone," she hissed.
Cordelia shook her head. "No. Not even."
Xander leaned down to get near to him, saying something in his native language. The demon screamed and wailed. He straightened up. "Guys, the stones are safe?"
"Very," Sam agreed.
"You will be ours, you will fulfill the destiny," the demon sneered.
"Get this thing out of my suite before I snap his neck," Xander ordered coldly.
"Sir, he's still a Fed, even though he's orange."
Xander looked at the ID then tossed it over. "That's not real."
He looked then swallowed. "You're right, it's not."
Xander looked at the other one, who backed up. "You want me, come get me."
"You're only a concubine," he sneered. Xander gave him a look as he let loose of the full hormone package. The demon moaned. Xander let it go further. Then he let it blast. He sneered back. "Please?" the demon moaned.
"Hell no. I have *no* mercy." He took off his shirt and showed that his pants were riding a bit low, showing some of the tattoos. "Did you think I wear these for no reason?"
The demon stared at him. "They're not real." Xander walked closer and the demon backed up. "They're not." Xander put his finger on one, letting him feel the power in them. "Oh, God, please!" he begged.
"Go kill yourself," he ordered coldly. "Not in front of us." He ran off. Xander looked at the cops, smiling some. "Hi, guys. I hate people who threaten my safety. Who wants to take the statement?"
"I'd like an explanation."
"He's GHS," John told him.
One of the officers stared at him. "Usually they're much softer."
"I'm also from Sunnydale," Xander said dryly. A few officers crossed themselves. He nodded. "Yeah. That's the training behind the hormones." He drew them back in. "Someone open a window so they can fade before I have more willing worshipers?" They did it for him. "Thank you. Can we unlock them now?" One of the guys came forward to do that. "Thank you." He patted him on the arm. "I have a lot of respect for good cops. Where I live has a lot of them and they're very helpful to me or whoever's taking me back." He looked at the senior guy. "Thank you."
"I'd like a better explanation." Xander walked him into another room to tell him the whole story, from the beginning. The guy moaned a few times but he eventually understood. That was good. Xander let him go and he waved his guys off. He even apologized to the guys. He told the manager that the Feds were fake and had been found out by the guy who had been bothered. They relaxed and made sure that the rest of the things they had stored were fine. Xander came down to go over it with them. The cops agreed, set another one on the hotel since it might lead back to the theft attempts for the gemstones, and they left.
Xander looked at the girls in the hall. "It's good."
"Must you?" Cordelia asked. "If they thought Faith was involved she would've went back."
"That's why she was in the hall." He shrugged. "More people who wanted us." He walked over to Sam, pulling him up. "You okay? I know they wanted you this time."
"I'm fine, Xander." He gave him a hug then the other two got beers. Faith grimaced but took a soda. Xander and Cordelia with her. Sam looked at his father. "Sorry."
"I guess it'll keep happening," he said calmly.
"I want that prophecy to deal with in the usual way," Xander said.
Cordelia gave him an odd look. "Just because you've warped like three, doesn't mean you can do this one."
He smirked. "Of course I can." He smirked. "If I can create two slayers...." Faith choked. "I'm the one who did the CPR that brought Buffy back when the Master killed her."
"She said Angel did."
"Yeah, she said that a lot," he said dryly. "I had to get him out of his apartment at crosspoint because he was scared of his grandsire." He took another drink. "Then he told me he couldn't do CPR because he doesn't breathe."
"He talks, that means he takes in air," Sam said. "If we can find a copy." One floated down. "Thank you!" A few new stones came showering down.
Cordelia looked up then at Xander. "You're so spoiled," she taunted.
"Now. I wasn't always spoiled."
"No, in high school you were more like spoiled meat." Faith gave her a dirty look. "I've known Xander since kindergarten. All the greatest hits of his family. All the 'my mother doesn't cook' issues he used to have. The cops being called. All that."
Xander nodded. "Yeah. Those things." He looked at Faith. "Mine were drunks. Bad drunks. If they ever find me they're going to do something for money."
"Willow might help," Cordelia warned. "They've talked to her."
Xander shrugged. "Let her become a Harris. I'm a Winchester by raising now."
"Thankfully we're better," Sam said.
Xander grinned. "Just imagine if I had been born one of you and broke out in puberty the first go-round."
John shuddered. "Damn it, Xander. That's a horrible thought. That one demon would've come for you instead of Sam. We might have two of you in trouble."
"Hey!" Dean complained. "I am one too." Faith gave him an odd look. "Sam and me both. Both half as strong."
"Thank god for that. That means you can handle Xander," Cordelia said.
"Yep, we enjoy it," Sam said cheerfully. She blushed. Faith cackled. Dean swatted him and John took another drink to hide another moan. "We'll be handling that backup again later." Xander gave him a slight leer.
"Probably starting with spanking," Dean said.
"But I don't like spanking games," Xander pouted.
Dean looked at him. "You're going to be lucky if the cops aren't affected," he said quietly. "Though, it was a good save."
"Welcome. Always happy to help."
John looked at him. "Behave or no shopping for a week, Xander." Cordelia cackled at that threat. "Or you have to take her and only buy her and Faith things."
"Oh hell no!" Faith said, hopping up. "I'm still having flashbacks to shopping for my room!" Xander pouted at her. "Uh-uh! No! No shopping for me! Or with with me! Whatever!"
"He can spoil me all he wants," Cordelia said graciously. Xander squealed and jumped up, grabbing some things before walking out with Cordelia being dragged behind him. "Xander, I can walk," she complained on the way to the elevator.
"We'll get called later when she's begging for mercy," Dean noted.
"Angel can whine," John said. "It'll make his happiness curse last for a while longer."
Faith gave him an awed look then punched him on the way to the bathroom before she peed herself from the laughing.
John rubbed the sore spot on his arm but it was fine. She was happier.
Cordelia flopped down at the Hyperion, just fell to her knees on the floor. She gave the guys staring at her a pitiful look. "I'm so tired," she whimpered. "They said Xander couldn't shop for anyone but someone else. He dragged me through ten stores in three hours."
"Only ten?" Gunn teased.
She let out a whine. "Ten. Oh, my god, it was ...." She fell onto her butt. "I've seen more clothes than all of Europe can wear in a year. Save me? Don't let me go again?"
"You don't have to go again," Angel soothed, coming over to pick her up. He dropped her onto a couch. He managed to avoid the grab attempt but Gunn got pulled down. Angel went to get her some water. She looked like she needed it.
Wesley came over to help her. She clearly needed help resuscitating herself. "Xander was quite mean to drag you off like that."
She looked at him. "You have no idea." He patted her on the hand, handing her the water Angel had gotten her. "You'll protect me, right?" They all nodded. She smiled. "I love you guys." She gave them a hug, no matter how much they tried to get away. "Can we give him to Fred for a while? She could use some new stuff."
Xander bounced in beaming happily and nearly manic. "I heard that." She flinched. "Of course I got stuff for Fred and everyone!" He gave her a hug around the head then gave Angel something. "That's all hers. I'm going to go have some fun." He bounced off. Dean caught him outside and pulled him to the car, taking him to cure him. Cordelia had sent a desperate text to have him cured.
Angel went to look at the reason he had keys. He stared at the truck waiting. The driver gave him a look. "Keys?"
"To the back door." Angel nodded, going to look at what was back there. He whimpered when he saw the boxes and bags. "Want some help?"
"Sure. Gunn! Wesley! Fred!" They came to help him unload the truck with the driver. Cordelia nearly cried at the sight of the bags. Fred came bouncing down to help unload the truck. Angel smiled, but let her haul all the stuff she wanted. When they unpacked it was stuff for the clothes, the clothes themselves, stuff for the kitchen and the office. A computer that came to life with Cordelia's laugh as the start up sound. More clothes and some shoes too. Fred grinned and tried on a pair but it was too small for her. Cordelia pointed at a set of bags so she grabbed her stuff to go try on in her room. Angel looked at her. "At least he's spoiling you."
She nodded. "Way too much. I've never said this before, I may never say it again, but I'm not shopping ever again." She laid down, covering her eyes with the cool cloth Fred had gotten for her headache. She needed a nap. She had no idea how Sam and Dean handled Xander but clearly they were the master at it. She'd cede her princess crown to Xander and the title to them.
Xander got home and hugged his house's door. "I'm back. Are you still okay?" He petted it until Sam reached past him to slide the key into the lock. He ran inside, then back outside to the neighbors. "Can I have my dog back?" he begged.
"Sure, Xander." She went to get the dog, who barked and nearly pounced Xander. "He's been a good boy for me."
He kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you for watching him for us. It went great and Faith's okay." He bounced off to play with his dog in his yard.
The others watched and let him wear himself out. He could unload the truck later. While John rested. Xander had worn himself out to keep from worrying about Buffy or Willow showing up. He was still in hyper mode and would be until he wore himself out for good.
Xander laid in bed later that night. He was reflecting. He was tired. He was still worried. He started to move but Sam pinned him to the bed. "I was going to clean guns."
"If they show up, I'm going to beat their asses," Sam whispered in his ear. "No matter who starts it. Quit worrying. You're stressing yourself out. You're driving us nuts."
"No, don't be. Just relax. If it happens it happens." Strife appeared and knocked the boy out. "He'll be fine."
"I know. Make him have *fun*, not be worried."
Sam smiled. "Park?"
Strife smirked and nodded. "That'll work." He disappeared.
Sam smiled, texting something to Dean's phone from his. They'd handle it the morning. They had an amusement park nearby and Xander would squeal for hours at it.
Two months later Xander watched the news, frowning, tipping his head to the side while petting the dog. The guys were off doing something official with the DMV today. He had no idea what they were doing but that was fine. He had been left at home. He decided to try to call someone he knew out there. "Hey, Jack, would you like something like a weapon?" He listened to him complain he was busy. "Uh-huh. Want a bigger weapon? Because I can find you some. Uh-huh." He hung up and went to get under the armory. He brought three big things out to the SUV and got in, heading out with the dog to protect him. He decided to run back in to get one thing he had found that he had no idea what it did. He drove out to the base, smiling at the guards. "Colonel Jack needs these. He had me store them when a friend gave them to me and it sounds like he needs them now."
"Sir, we can't call him up here. We're in lockdown."
"That's okay; if I can home in on him, I can get them down to him." He grinned and got out, opening the trunk. He got the cases out to the ground then concentrated. Finding spells weren't that hard. Neither were banishing to someone spells. The dog barked. "Hush, Bogart. Let Daddy work." He concentrated, finding that nice Danny guy. He sent them to him. He beamed at the guards. "There you go. Tell him if he needs me to find more, let me know." He got the dog back into the SUV then got in to drive them home. He did stop for donuts but that was fine. He couldn't figure out how to make them at home yet. By the time he got home, the base was reporting the problem 'breaking in' had been caught and arrested. He beamed at the dog. "We're very helpful today. Jack was helped by us."
Bogart barked and wagged his tail, happy that the daddy was happy.
John opened his phone. "What's wrong?" he asked. The DMV worker gave him a dirty look. "Something's wrong at home or they wouldn't call." He listened. "DMV. What did he do?" He groaned. "Uh-huh. Sure, we'll go look together when you get free. Probably an hour or so. Thanks for the warning, Jack." He hung up. He looked over where Sam was still waiting. "Sammy, where's the cases?"
"Something happened where Jack worked and Xander dropped off some cases that were helpful?"
Dean looked over from his spot in line. "No clue," he admitted. "I haven't seen 'em. I didn't bring any when we moved him." He finished up and headed to get his new license and pay his taxes. That took another line. Sam joined him once he had his new license. John got his license and they headed home. He had paid his taxes first. They walked into the house together, finding Xander cuddling the dog while staring at the visualization for the music channel. Dean leaned over the back of the couch. "Did you think someone might protest that you have artillery?" he asked quietly.
"Huh?" He blinked at him. "What?"
"Artillery? Someone official might protest? Did we think?"
"He needed it."
"It was stupid and we can get into trouble for it."
"Are there any more?" John asked.
Xander shrugged. "I needed them and some were presents." Someone pounded and Jack walked in. "Hi. Did it help?"
"Where are they, Xander?" He stared at the boy. "You may not have military grade weapons in Colorado Springs. At all."
"I need them."
"No, you don't. There's other ways of dealing with it." He glared. "Where. Are. They? Before I have to tell my CO you got them to Danny by magic."
Xander sighed, getting up and taking him to the storage area under the armory. He had to go look up the number again but that was usual for him. John followed with Dean.
Dean fell to his knees, staring in awe at the room. "Holy mother of God."
Xander beamed. "See, helpful."
John pulled Dean up. "Before you get too happy, son."
"I think it's too late," Sam teased. He looked and moaned. "Xander, why didn't you tell us you had this?"
"Because I wanted it to be a surprise in case we needed it."
John patted him on the back. "No, son. No one guy, even you, needs these."
"Ya think?" Jack demanded. "No, he can't have them." Xander pouted. "Do NOT do that at me, Xander." Someone pounded on the door. "Stay." He went up there, giving the cops an interested look. "Yes?"
"Sir, the alarm company said Mr. Harris got into the armory twice in about three hours. Is there a problem we can help with?"
"Xander gave me some stuff to help us on base."
"Ah." He nodded. "Can we see, sir? Since he's not here and bouncing?"
"Xander!" he called.
Xander came up, looking sheepish. "Sorry to worry you guys."
"Why did you get into the armory twice?" one of them asked.
"Jack needed stuff on base."
"How did you get it to him?" the other asked. Xander floated over the phone. "Oh. Okay. Is there some reason we can't look?"
Jack nodded. "It was a present and only three fit in the SUV."
"Oh, that stuff. You're going to confiscate it, sir? Before we have to arrest him?"
Xander pouted. "I might need them."
The cops shook their heads. "No," they said in unison. "Sorry."
Jack smiled. "Thank you for backing me up, guys." He waved and shut the door, walking Xander down there. "I don't care if it's armageddon. That's why there's the military."
"I don't think I want another of those. I've dealt with a few."
Jack and Dean both stared at him. "No," Jack said, shaking his head. "Doesn't matter. We can give them back if we need it. For now, no." He looked around. "I have no idea how I'm getting this back to base without notice. Xander, that floating stuff?"
"I don't feel like hurting my brain today. Comas hurt when you wake up according to Faith."
"We can heft them out and say it's a present," John said.
"Do you *really* think my boss will believe that?"
"No but don't give him an option. He already knew Xander had stuff."
"Good point. He presently isn't sure where I am." The doorbell rang and he stomped up there, staring at Daniel. "The general?"
"Sent me to see what you're doing and where those very handy items came from."
"Are there more?" Jack nodded. "Are we taking them?"
"Good. Because I brought a truck. Based on the background I did on him, I figured he probably had a lot more."
"That works." He went down to help them carry the stuff upstairs. Since Xander had gathered it, he could help carry it back up to the truck. "Now." They got to work carrying things up to the truck and Jack's car. They still didn't all fit but John got the SUV and the rest, following them back. Even if Xander did pet each case and say goodbye. Jack pulled back onto base and into the entry of the mountain base, parking and getting out. The general gave him an interested look. "Presents to Xander, sir."
"That's who showed up?"
Jack nodded. "Yes, sir."
"How did he access the base?"
"Magic," John said as he got out of the SUV. "Xander's fairly weak but he can banish things." He pointed at the trunk. "Got more of them. If I find more, I'll call Jack. Dean and I'll go over the house later, sir. You have my word if I find it, it's yours."
"Thank you. You would be?"
"Winchester, sir. Marine, retired."
"Good to know, son." He looked at Jack. "I'd like a more comprehensive report."
"Sure, if you want to go talk to Xander, go for it, sir. Just take the aspirin with you." He pointed at the guards. "Unload it please? It is weapons, I'm assuming they will work." He looked at his boss again. "He's pouting. I'm not going to deal with the pout." He went to help unload.
The general looked at John. "Would *you* like to explain?"
"Not really. There's a problem if more people know. The more who know, the more likely it is we'll have to rescue him from somewhere."
"The same one that had the hormone condition?" John nodded. "Okay. How did he get them?"
"Did anyone tell you anything about Sunnydale, sir?"
"I looked the boy up."
"He was the planner out there. He was also weapons support since the slayer didn't like them and the watcher didn't like anything modern. So he gathered what he could to keep them out of play. Some people heard of this and gave him some of those. Some of them he may have found on his own. He won't tell us."
"This doesn't bother you?"
"No. Frankly it's a good sign that Xander can relate back on his former usual terms even when hormoned. It shows we're keeping him down."
"Uh-huh," the general said. "Who might have given him those presents?"
"No idea. Xander might not even know." A demon appeared, handing over a list, then left. "But Vesvold might know." He looked before handing it over. "Some are human."
"That's greatly helpful," Jack said dryly, hefting another one. John dove in to help. "At least the kid will rub out any cramps later, Winchester."
"Hopefully. He's sulking bad." He got finished with the SUV's load. Daniel and Jack got the soldiers to get the rest of theirs. "Need more?"
"Search the house," Jack ordered.
"I can do that."
"Anything beyond a handgun or an assault rifle."
"If I can. You saw him petting them like we were putting the dog to sleep." Jack moaned, nodding. "I'll do what I can though." He looked at the general, who waved John off. "Thank you, sir. Hope to see you for something happier next time." He left, going back to help Dean search the house. Sam met him at the door. "Any others?"
"Don't ask. He won't talk to us. He's locked in the bathroom sulking over his lost pets."
John sighed. "Dean?"
"Down there. The alarm company told him there may be another door. They think." John nodded, going to check on that. Sam went back to trying to get Xander out of the bathroom. He saw Jack stomp back in and head down to the basement. That wasn't going to make anyone happy. "Xander, let me in. Now." Xander let him in. He closed the door behind him. "Anything other than the room in the basement?" he asked quietly. He nodded, looking pitiful. "Then we'll handle it but if there's anything too big, make it appear down there. Like it had been cloaked."
Xander squealed and hugged him, casting the spell to transfer things. "Nothing bigger than a grenade launcher," he whispered.
"We can accept that." He went to find his father and Dean. "Dean?" Dean looked over so Sam drew him off. "Nothing larger than a grenade tube," he whispered in his ear. That got a nod. "It's cloaked."
"Done," he agreed. "Here?" He nodded. "Thanks." He went back. "Xander had some cloaked but Sammy got him to unhide it."
"That's fine. It'll be fine," John said. They finished getting the stuff that appeared out to the truck. By the time they were done it was well past dinner time. Xander was pouting in the kitchen to some stir fry. They got handed plates then Xander went to sulk in the backyard with the pouting dog. John shook his head but he ate. Xander wouldn't poison him. Probably. Jack left and he looked at the boys. "How much did he hide?"
"No comment," Sam said. "Nothing too huge, Dad."
"Good. I'll accept that as long as it stays hidden for apocalypses." He looked at Xander. "If you hadn't done that, you could've had the rest."
"But he needed it."
"They're the military, they had some."
"If they did they wouldn't have had to lock down the base from the stuff they deal with coming through. They expected them to use the weapons we've taken and modified, not our weapons. They probably have no experience with ground based weapons with explosive or concussive force since the demon underground said that theirs are energy weapons."
"Is that like the strange looking thing in the box in the armory?" Dean asked.
He beamed and nodded. "Yup. One of them knew I know Jack so he gave it to me in case they come after friends of Jack."
"You're an incredible amount of trouble," John said. Xander gave him a hurt look. "But fun and you liven up our usual lives." Xander sulked. "Don't do it. It won't work. You do bring strange challenges to our lives."
Xander looked at him. "If and when they come, you'll thank me."
"When? Isn't that sci-fi movie talk?" Dean asked.
Xander leaned closer. "You do know that Jack's job is to travel to see them?" Dean moaned, shaking his head. "And that being Americans, we seem to have pissed them off? In great and many ways?"
"Shit," Dean muttered.
"Yup. Just about. So when they come...."
"We'll be here," Sam said dryly. "Still alive." John gave him a dirty look. "We will."
"You may be."
"No, I will be and they'd better be. You I'll ask a wish demon to make immortal." He shot him a look then went back to eating.
"No evil thoughts," Dean said firmly. "Either of you."
"Yes, Dean," Xander said.
"Yes, Dean," Sam echoed.
"Thank you, boys," John said, eating another bite. He would not complain. He wouldn't. This time. If the aliens came it'd be fine. They'd handle it like everything else in Xander's wacky life.
Faith came out to join them from her meeting with the probation officer. "It go okay?" Sam asked.
"It went fine. He understands and he's heard of Xander. He's heard of both problems because he's a Watcher of a different sort. So we're working on stuff at the moment." She sat down. "But for right now we're okay. As long as I don't drink, don't get caught fighting, or with weapons."
"You got to miss moving them earlier," Dean said. She gave him an odd look. "Xander helpfully gave Jack a few things when they were nearly shut down due to an invasion problem. Showing the pretty stuff he had stored under the armory."
She groaned. "Boytoy!"
"What?" he whined back. "It's good!"
"It's not good, X," she said. "I can't be part of that."
"You're not. Jack took it all."
"Good! Better!" She went to get some dinner, coming out to sit down and eat with them.
"I made real food. You didn't have to eat sandwiches."
"I'll eat this and that," she reminded him, going to get some. She came out with the pan for the guys. John took the rest when the boys shook it off. The pan went back inside then she sat down to inhale food. "What else did I miss?"
"Vesvold knew who gave them to him." John looked at him. "I'm pretty sure it was only the stuff we handed over."
"That'd be good." He ate another bite. Faith gave him a look. "What?" he demanded.
"It's freaky seeing you this way when you're usually bouncy, happy, and slutty."
"I still am."
"It just means we wore the hormones out enough," Sam quipped. Xander swatted at him. "I'm glad we managed it. It's good to see you back to your normal self, Xander."
"No one liked the old him so it's odd that we'd see it." Faith said.
"I'm sure plenty did, they just didn't get the chance to appreciate him," Sam said, glaring at her.
"No, he was pretty much a punching bag emotionally," she said. "The girls used him."
Xander looked at her. "Faith, they've heard."
"It's clear they didn't appreciate him, Faith, but we're not bitchy girls," Dean said.
"Good point. You're not B or Red. By the way, saw Red in town." Xander moaned, sliding down in the chair. "I don't know why. She didn't see me I don't think."
"We'll go to a higher alert level," John said. "Bogart, watch for the bad guys." The dog raised his head and barked, then looked around before putting his head back down.
Faith smiled. "He's a good dog."
"He's a very good dog," Sam praised. Bogart looked at him and barked, then went back to cuddling the daddy. "One of the best things Xander's ever bought." Xander grinned, blushing some.
"He's around back!" someone yelled from the front.
They groaned and got weapons while Faith mentally prepared herself. A delivery guy walked around the house. John signed and took it, giving him a tip so he'd leave. He looked at it. "Legal letter." He opened it, looking inside. "Ah, it's a parent gram." He gave it to Xander. "Say no. If you give in, they'll keep coming back."
Xander read it over, then sighed. He called the number on it. "How are my parents suing me for finding a life outside the liquor bottle and away from them? As far as I know, there's no way that's legal." He listened. "No, that's not legal, sir. I'm sorry but it's not legal. Children are supposed to grow up and leave the house. Even if it wasn't about that, I'm not giving the drunk bastards a dime. No they didn't. I've found out I was adopted." The man spluttered. "Or found. Since I've found out a few things about my heritage...." He smirked cruelly. "Even without that, why would I pay the abusive drunks a damn cent? With as many times as the cops had to intervene? Or try to intervene?" He hung up. "They're trying to sue me for leaving the house."
"They can't do that," Dean said.
"No, they can't," John said, staring at something. "You aren't very stealthy, I'd come out." A petite redhead walked out. "Miss Rosenburg. How are you tonight?"
"I'm here to bring Xander home."
"This is my home," Xander told her.
"It's pretty clear you've made a deal of some sort, Xander. This isn't you." She waved a hand at them. "They're clearly not human."
"Actually, they're hunters," Xander told him. "This is John Winchester. He's been a demon hunter for decades. When I got hit with that little deaging curse, his family took me in to protect me."
She snorted. "And I so believe that."
Xander pulled a picture out of his wallet, walking over to show her. "You know very well my family never took me anywhere and you know what I looked like at that age," he said quietly. She glanced then glared at him. "Now, how old was I then?"
"Ten." She shrugged. "So?"
"Do you remember my family taking me to Kansas?"
"No. Again, so?"
She laughed. "That doesn't work."
Vesvold appeared. "No. Don't, Vesvold." He looked at her again. "He's on the High Demonic Council. He's wanted me since I was that age the first time. Want to see other pictures? Sam took a lot for me so I had happy childhood memories."
"And how did that happen?" she sneered.
"Jealous guy at the brothel I was discovering my sexuality in for five weeks. I made more money than he was." She shrieked and tried to hit him. He tossed her onto the ground. "Also while regrowing, I got to do a bit of studying. A few very good years of studying really." He handed the picture back to Dean. Then he looked at her again. "Now, was there something else?"
"You aren't like this," she said, getting back up. "This isn't the Xander I grew up with."
"Yeah, I am. I'm still the same Xander but now I know how to use what I have to protect myself. I even know how to get rid of suitors who don't have a clue and want me anyway." He turned to throw a hairpin at one, making him shriek and disappear. "I said no." He looked at her again, seeing the shocked look. "He wanted me to be his bedtoy but I'm not into that. Dean and Sam are more than enough to fill my dance card."
She glared. "There is no way this is you," she said hotly, moving closer. "You're not like this."
"I am like this. I have been since I went on that roadtrip and you guys told me not to come home." She tried to glare harder. "You said it with her, dear. It's your own fault. Now, we're having dinner and you're interrupting. By the way, if you're going to help my parents, you should realize how illegal suing me for leaving them is." He glanced back at them then at her, seeing her concentrating. He smacked her on the forehead. "Do not try magic, Willow." He stepped back, shaking his head. "I don't know you since you became a bitch. You're one of the reasons I left, Willow. You turned into this strange, bitchy, odd little person when you finally grew up. That's not the friend I wanted or needed. I refuse to be brought down by my friends. Instead I have people who actually like me and don't mind when I go into goofy, hormone overload mode. They even let me drag them shopping and spoil them."
"This isn't you. I will fix whatever spell that demon has on you."
"I have no spell on him, Willow Rosenburg. I keep others from having a spell on him. I've loved the boy since he was very young. I'm the one who turned in Rupert for selling him without his consent." She shrieked and launched a magical attack at him. He dissipated it, earning a horrified look from Faith. "Yes, my kind do magic. It's not often used by my clan but we do have it and it is very strong. That's why we're a founding race, child." He looked at her. "Would Hecate approve of your tactics?"
"Don't know. If I see her, I'll ask," Xander told him.
Strife appeared, looking at him. "Calm down. Ares is starting to get that special headache."
"She has us invaded and he's going to be getting a full blown one," Xander shot back. "Willow, this is Strife, God of Mischief. I'm one of his priests."
She looked where he was then snorted. "I don't see anyone." Strife appeared and she gaped. "No way! You're a demon."
"No, toots, sorry." He grinned. He looked up. "Hey, Auntie? Got one of yours going rogue!" She appeared, looking at Willow, then sighed, shook her head, and disappeared again. "Looks like you're on your own, chicka."
"I doubt that," she sneered, pulling up more power. He patted her on the head, taking it from her. "Hey! Not fair!"
"There's no *fair* in a battle," he said dryly. "You should've learned that *long* before now."
"We'll see." She made them all relocate, without the demon or the God. "Let's see if you're really spelled or not."
Xander sighed, pulling something out of his hair and looking around. "Faith? You good?"
"Fuck no. We're surrounded, X."
Dean checked his gun, then his sword got pulled off his necklace and enlarged. Sam did the same, handing her an extra one. "Here you go."
"Thanks, studly. Need this I think."
John took Dean's gun so he had a better one than his single gun.
Xander enlarged his sword. "Bring it."
She summoned the demons. "We'll see who is the real one."
Xander backhanded her. "Yes we will." The demons came rushing and he jumped in first because he was one of the better fighters among them.
Willow woke up to see Xander in battle for the first time. He was moving in ways that she shouldn't like. He was doing things with that sword that shouldn't be possible for a human to do. The others were backing him up. She frowned. It had to be the hair or the sword. She summoned the sword but Xander ducked a blow by a huge fist and summoned it back, then shoved her so the demon tripped over her. Then he took out that one when she screamed. She made a grab for his hair to test it but Dean slapped her.
"Don't touch the hair. He kills whatever touches the hair."
"That's got to be the source of this strangeness then!"
"I saw him grow it out. I doubt it." He gutted another demon, letting it fall on top of her. He got back into the fight. She could protect herself. He had to protect Sam and his father. His father was more vulnerable. He was a normal human and was running out of bullets. Xander yipped and got the next wave down. They were down to the injured and a few tried to get up. Dean got them.
Sam hauled Willow up. "Send. Us. Home," he snarled. "Now. Before I end you."
She tried to back up a step. "You wouldn't."
"Yeah I would." He looked back at Xander, who was panting. "Shit. Dean, he's down." Dean went to calm Xander down from the battle rage but Xander got free and Sam, well, he got out of the way since Xander's target was Willow. She screamed and transported them back. Including Faith even though she hadn't meant to.
Strife knocked Xander out. Then he knocked her out. Faith looked then at him. "He'll give Ares a massive headache again." He looked at Dean. "You good?"
"I'm fine. He'll be good?"
"He'll be fine. Whadda I do with this piece'a crap?"
"No idea, don't care."
"Let Jack see if she can be of use," Sam said with a grin. "Hacker, science geek, witch. She'll be crushed by all the geniuses but oh well."
"That's so evil," Strife cooed, patting him on the head. "I like it!" Discord appeared, giving Sam an odd look. "Look, Ma, it's a Rosenburg."
She looked then snorted. "Pitiful and pathetic." She looked at Sam again. "Are you sick? You're not usually that bad."
Sam grinned. "Thank you."
"He's in backlog," John said. "He turns evil when he's backed up. Dean turns strange."
They nodded. "That figures," Discord complained. "Cupid and Aphrodite do evil so well when they want to." She disappeared.
Strife looked at her then took her to Jack, handing her over. "She fucked up. She decided Xan was evil and had him attacked." He disappeared.
Jack looked at her. "Huh. Medic," he said dryly. "I think she needs something." He put her on the ground and shrugged at the odd looks he was getting. "I didn't do it."
"Obviously," Sam said. "Who was the guy in leather?"
"Ah." She nodded. "Interesting names some people have." She got to work.
Jack watched the medics take her away. "She got dropped off here for some reason." He went back to what he was doing. Someone would deal with her and then he'd find out what was going on this time. Because he had *no* clue.
Xander woke up tied to the bed. He blinked at the straps then at the man staring at him. "Was I that bad?"
"You tried to thump Dean while you were out of it," John said, undoing him. "You good?" Xander nodded. "Because it's now Tuesday."
"What was it the day of the fight?"
"Strife knocked you out because you went off the deep end again."
"Crap. Did we solve the problem?"
"Willow's with Jack. Still. She's under arrest at the moment because she tried something." Xander gave him an odd look. "Sam suggested it."
"Jack's going to hate us."
"He doesn't. He thinks she might be helpful." He patted him on the head. "Want some lunch?"
"Sure." He got up, going to the bathroom then padded out to the kitchen. Sam handed him his extra sandwich. Xander hugged him. "Are we okay? I'm sorry, Dean."
"Not a problem, Xander. You were reacting to someone being there." He pulled him down to let him sit between him and Sam. He liked the three-quarters square bench seat they had in the kitchen. Xander snuggled in while he ate. "What're we doing if she or Buffy comes back?"
"I'm all for spanking them," John said. "They clearly need it."
Sam nodded since his mouth was full. Xander looked at him. "Would it help?"
"I'd hope so." John got them more food and put some in front of Xander. Xander beamed and dug in. "We'll handle it as it comes, guys. Xander, do you have to go back to court for that thing with your parents?"
"No. I can call for a lawyer and deal with that today." That got a nod. "We'll see which way works better." He went back to eating. "Sorry, guys."
"Not a problem," Dean said patiently. He patted him on the back. Sam grinned at him. "What, bitch?"
"Being a bit touchy-feely," he taunted. "Are we backed up?"
"If I am you can blow me."
"Boys," John ordered. "Stop it."
Xander sighed, then looked up. "I know I'm not at home. Dean smells wrong." The scene blinked out. He looked at it then shook his head. He concentrated on his feel from his marks. He could feel them so he was somewhere. "This looks like a hospital and I'm getting bored." Nothing changed. He started to broadcast. Life came back really quickly. He looked at the pretty pictures that appeared. He groaned. "Cute. Really." He centered himself. He felt air start and looked around again. "Still cute." It went white again and he sighed, then growled something he had learned from one of the demons who had tried to own him. An officer appeared, looking confused. "Where in the fuck did Rosenburg send me?"
The DPP officer pulled something off his wrist, looking at it. "I'm not entirely sure." He looked at him. "Why are you here? Rosenburg?"
"The last thing I remember before I gave into the battle rage was Willow Rosenburg showed up. She took us to a demon plane with a hell of a lot of demons. I was with Dean, Sam, John, and Faith. Strife and Discord showed up for a minute I think, maybe. Or maybe it was a dream? I woke up with those who weren't mine or my version of them."
The demon nodded slowly. "Okay." He checked it again then looked at him. "This is very strange. It's an unclaimed realm." Xander frowned and storm clouds appeared. "It appears it likes you."
"That's nice and all but I have a home. I don't need a realm. I've given away the other ones I ended up with."
"I've heard." He tapped the crystal and was suddenly back in his office. "Um, sir, Mr. Harris is somehow in an unclaimed realm trying to get free after a battle with Rosenburg and some demon horde?" he asked. His boss gave him an odd look before the medics pounced him. "I'm not insane! Take the tester crystal!" They did. They'd fix it or him, whichever the problem was.
Xander looked around. Then he sighed and pulled a hairpin. He centered himself because he was upset and doing major magic while upset was a bad thing. He could end up in Mongolia or some alternate Mongolia in some other alternate realm. That would probably be a bad thing and Dean would nag for years. He slowly closed his eyes, tracing the symbol he had studied but not learned all the intricacies of. Slowly he dripped blood to made a dot outline of the figure. He walked it, dropping more and more drops between the old drops. He had to reopen his hand a few times but that's what it took. Finally the symbols were done and dried.
He stepped into the center, looking down, picturing home. This was not going to be a pleasant trip. He looked out and chanted the ten line verse, sending himself spinning across the multiple universes. He had to watch. Even if he had closed his eyes he would have seen but if his eyes had been closed he would have seen more than the physical, he would have seen the auras, the problems coming for them, and the scenes of violence going on in the places where the realms intersected. This way he only saw the physical horrible things going on. He finally landed back at home, swallowing the bile, calming his stomach down. He kicked dirt over the dried blood and patted himself down. He walked off, finding the nearest bar. He walked and put his wallet down. The bartender looked at him. "I don't give a damn, just make it go away."
"How experienced at drinking are you?"
"My parents are drunks so I have a beer now and then."
"So nothing too heavy. Got a preference for sweet or not?"
"I love chocolate but I don't give a damn." He poured him a good drink with rum and pointed at a back table. "Thank you."
"Welcome, kid." He watched him go sit down in the darker corner and sip his drink. When he got through he sent him another few. Finally the guy he was looking for came in and he pointed. "Wanted it to go away. He on the roster today?"
He looked then groaned. The off-duty cop leaned closer. "That's Harris. I'm thinking it was worse than the usual kidnaping." He got handed the phone and dialed the number the whole PD had been given. "It's Sergeant Forls, sir. Is Mr. Harris allowed to drink?" He nodded. "What's he having?"
"His third rum and diet coke. He'll probably make two more."
"He's doing rum and diet coke. Third one presently." He listened. "Charlie's down on Isis. Thanks, sir. He's fine. Just wanted it to go away. Thanks." He hung up. "They'll be down soon." He got his usual beer and went to bother the young guy. At least no one was hitting on him. "What happened?"
Xander looked at him. "Do you really want to know or want a pretty lie?"
He considered it. "Lies are nice but will it help?"
Xander shook his head. "One of my friends showed up. My best friend since childhood. She decided I was evil and took me and the guys and Faith to a place where we were attacked. We won the battle." He finished his drink. "Can I have another?" One was handed over. "Thanks." He sipped it then put it down. "While there, somehow they got out and I got shoved into a pseudo reality. One that had people like this but were pretending to be mine." The cop shuddered. "I realized that and got free. So I ended up in this formless white place. Looked and smelled like hospital sheets." He took another drink. "I couldn't get free so I had to pull something massive. Half of the drinking is to cure the backlash headache I have."
"We've seen your sword."
"Same thing only harder and worse. To get back here, we had to go across each and every single connecting ones. Which means I had to see what was happening in each one where it touched." He took another drink. "And I had to look because if I closed my eyes I'd see it anyway and more." He looked at the cop. "Ten realms a minute, just long enough for your brain to take in what was going on as it tested wherever you were against your personal energy to tell when you're home." The cop took a drink at that, looking a bit green. "It took two hours to get home," he finished quietly. The cop gave him a look. "I saw me, I saw others, I saw wars, crimes, horrible things that my brain refused to see. Things I can't stop, can't effect, can't change." He finished the drink. "And tonight I don't want to see them again."
"It'll last longer than that. Like combat, it changes a man."
Xander nodded. "My high school graduation was attacked by the mayor's people. He was doing all sorts of horrible things in the same sort of complicated mess that Faith and the rest of us deal with in quiet. The only way to stop him was to hold a defensive action long enough to get the people out of the way and to blow up what he became in the school. Right before then he was over seventy feet long." The cop shuddered. "In snake form. He ate the principal, which most of the students cheered. I led the defensive action. I lost a tenth of the class to that and those escaping injuring each other or getting in the way of the defensive action. And that was probably one of my worst things but I'm not so sure at the moment."
The cop finished is beer and put the glass down. "Is that why the hormones came out?"
Xander smirked. "Danger keeps it down. That and I had a nympho girlfriend, kinda. It was okay until I went on my roadtrip and let myself experience things. Though yes, it's nice that I don't have to think abut some of that all the time and they understand." He looked over at Dean since he was walking over. "Hey."
"Hey." He settled in beside him. "We noticed you didn't come back and not even Vesvold could find you."
"I had to do that realm traveling with the blood."
Dean shuddered. "I remember what they told you would happen."
Xander nodded. "Two hours. I'm trying to decide if some of those things are worse than Grad."
Dean shook his head. "That's from an area that you weren't personally involved in. You can't change it, do anything, or do more than watch. For you, it's like a really horrible movie. Grad you dealt with personally. You had to deal with all the things that went down before and after. That's worse because you had to see it, feel it, taste it. A movie is always less creepy than real life and even if it gives you nightmares, you can forget a movie."
Xander nodded. "Thanks."
"Welcome. You done? Want one last one? Sammy's panicking and Dad's not much better. Even Faith lost her cool."
"Then I guess I'm done." Xander looked at the cop. "Thank you. I'm sorry for your nightmares."
"It's cool, kid. Just try to sleep tonight. The rum'll help." Xander nodded, letting Dean walk him out to the Impala. He got up to get another beer, finding the kid's wallet was still there. He called Dean's phone again. "He left his wallet. Sure, I can do that, kid." He hung up. "He said to use it for the bar tab I'm going to run up with my nightmare fighting and then to donate it to a good place that needs the help to help others." The bartender smiled. "Then give him back his license in the morning since he shouldn't drive tonight anyway."
"He sounds like he's a good kid."
"He's seen some scary things in his life."
"No doubt. What's with the hair?"
"Don't now. No idea. Seems to come with the hormones. The younger Winchester has floppy hair and seems to be worse off than this one that got him is." He went to find a new friend, going to ease his own nightmares for the night.
Dean walked Xander into the house, letting Sammy pounce him into a wall to cuddle. "He's fine. He had to do that mass traveling thing and it got bad."
"You're okay. We couldn't find you. But you're okay?" He checked him over by patting him down. Then he took a kiss. "You're okay?"
"I'm okay. Just... The traveling was bad, Sam."
He pulled him to the couch to cuddle again. "It's all right, Xander." John walked in. "See, Dad."
Xander looked at him. "Was time running really fast there? You look older."
"It's worry." He gave him his own look over and hug. "Rum?"
"I had to hit a lot of other places to get here momentarily. I saw a lot of shit I don't want to see again."
"We can handle that." He patted him on the head. "Go shower and climb into bed so Sammy can fuss and Dean can do his impersonation of his mother." Xander nodded, letting them take him to the bathroom. "Faith, he's back," he called up the stairs. She came skipping down to check him over herself, even though he was down to a thong. Then she smacked him on the face and stomped off.
"Sorry! It's not my fault she left me there!" He looked at Sam. "On the pseudo-realm they gave her to Jack."
"So did we," Dean assured him. "Jack's probably confused why but oh well. At least the real brains will knock down her attitude issues." He got the tub ready and helped him into it, then Sam climbed in too. Dean sighed, shaking his head. "Whatever."
Xander pulled him into the tub too, cuddling both his men. "I got scared."
Sam gave him a tight squeeze. "Me too."
Dean nodded. "He was." Xander grinned at him. "Okay, I got worried when Vesvold said he couldn't find you and neither could the DPP officer that somehow got to you." Xander cuddled him too. His boys needed reassurance. He could do that. He was good at it. Sam was good at cuddling and Dean needed it.
Daniel knocked on the door the next morning, getting Faith. "Is Xander here?"
"Yup, still in bed. Guys, get X up and able to think," she called, letting him in. "So, how are you enjoying the cranky bitch?"
"Who is she?"
"The best friend Xander had since kindergarten. Who told him not to come home."
"Okay. Why send her to us? We're a classified project."
"She gave herself some pretty good clearance and she can do strange things that might help you; plus she's a bit smart but not too bright."
"Clearly. She mouthed off to Sam when she woke up. Janet nearly took her head off." Xander came wobbling out, blinking at him. "Xander, can you please put on clothes so I don't get thoughts that'll mean I'll be beaten by your boyfriends?" he asked politely.
Xander grunted at him, blinking sleepily. "She's been bad."
"We know. Jack already wants to beat her or spank her." He was trying very hard not to look below Xander's neck. "Why send her to our project?"
"Because she can be useful if she wants to be and it'll help her find herself again. Because otherwise she's a bad girl." He frowned, looking at him. "Most guys sweat."
"I'm trying not to look. It'd be disrespectful."
Xander hugged him. "You're good and nice." He went back to his room, going back to bed.
Sam walked out a minute later. "We suggested it because half the demon underground do know. She's a hacker, has a lot of science skills, and combat experience from the periphery in Sunnydale. I have no idea how much of the actual hunting she got. Unfortunately she has special girl syndrome and she's dangerous. She attacked all of us to try to cure Xander from the evil deal he had made by moving us off realm and having us attacked by an overwhelming force. Thankfully, Xander's a berserker. A lot of her problem is the special girl syndrome Buffy, who is now a lush, has been promoting and the fact that no one's ever challenged her. The school out there was pathetic to put it nicely. The only school they could qualify for was Sunnydale's branch of the U of C system." Daniel shuddered. "She may have gotten into another school but she decided not to go to be with Buffy. Xander said she got into Yale but turned it down to go to UC Sunnydale."
"For an ideal?"
"For the special girl moments. They're roomies, best friends, she nearly ruined her first ever relationship by kissing Xander. Then the girls blamed him."
"So we're her atonement?"
"If you want to think of it that way. I think she has the skills you guys can use if you harness her right and using her skills will teach her better habits. Consider it like boot camp for the newbie. Deconstructing to make her a better person."
John laughed as he came out of his room. "I think it could help her. How are your people taking to her?"
"They're not. Severely not. I'm not sure we can keep her though."
"She's a hacker. Have one of yours search her out," Sam said. "Put her in under 'do it or go to jail'," John suggested. "It worked for Vietnam."
Daniel nodded. "That's true. I'll see what the general thinks. There's some great minds at the program. How does the undergrown know?"
"No idea," Sam admitted. "I'm sure we'll find out."
"Maybe she knows," John suggested.
"I'll ask. I'm sure the science corps would love her."
Faith leaned down the stairs. "Red floated things while hunting and maybe staked now and then. She might not be able to handle full contact but when she's normal and not bitchy she tries for nice, kind, gentle, and sweet. The sort people like."
"So first contact?"
Faith shrugged. "All I know about you guys is that you deal with strange shit that's worse than demonic and stranger than them too." Daniel nodded a bit. "So yeah, see if she will. Make it a that or go to jail choice. Then show her jail. I'm a badass. I grew up on some of worst streets of Boston. I couldn't hack jail."
Daniel nodded. "I'll see what I can work out with the general."
"She won't blink at anything strange," Faith pointed out.
Sam looked at her. "When you're done with probation, do you think that's something you might want to apply for?"
She snorted. "What use could I be to them?"
"Faith, half of our people are military grunts who get trained to handle things when situations go bad. Most of it's field work and field training. Something you already have a lot of."
She shrugged. "I'll think about that."
"Thank you." He looked at Sam. "I'll try. If not, it probably violated a lot of laws."
"She already knew and she has a high enough clearance thanks to her hacking."
Daniel moaned. "We'll look into that." He smiled. "Thanks. He okay?"
"Now that he's home." Daniel nodded, heading back to base. Sam looked at his father and Faith. "Hour, guys, please?" He went back to help Dean wear out Xander, which would help him wake up.
John shook his head, looking at Faith. "You good?"
"I'm good. Wish I had someone to make the squeaky, squealy noises with but I'm pretty good." She grinned and went upstairs to enjoy herself. An hour would be enough time. John groaned, going to workout in the backyard today. It'd get him out of hearing range.
Daniel came in from his deeper background check, handing it to the General. "Sir, they have a good reason for sending her to us. Not only is she a fairly decent hacker from what we've found, but we've also found she has an extensive background in hunting, magic and other things we may have to deal with some day, and she's unwise enough to have given herself a clearance level above Jack's ability to find."
"Oh, holy Hannah," he muttered. "The other reason?"
"She went after Harris, who was her childhood friend, and decided he had made an evil deal. She transported them to a plane where they were attacked by an overwhelming force. Fortunately Xander is a berserker. They won."
"She's now evil?"
"Xander and Sam said that she and Buffy had a special girls moment. Or ten." Jack walked in. "And that they were in college, drinking. Willow's incredibly bright, one of the few students in that system Sam Winchester called pathetic to be offered a chance to go to school out of town. She has the skills we could use, she has sins we can use to get her to use her skills, and she has a lot of the training we give the Marines, General. Plus we're not sure how the underground finds out about us. We're not sure if there's a leak from a hacker or what. Our people are too overloaded to find it."
He considered it then nodded. "I'll get us permission." Jack handed over the paper in his hands. "You called from a normal phone?"
"It got faxed to my office. Along with a note saying the Watchers Council wanted their girl all alone."
"And this Buffy girl?"
"Drinking," Daniel told him. "A lot of drinking and thinking she's special. As proven by the rape charge she leveled against Xander when he was in another state because she told him not to come home."
The General considered it. "Can she be reformed?"
"With detoxing and some guiding I'm hoping so. I am worried if they find out where Harris lives," Jack told him. "There will be a battle and Xander's more than skilled in many forms of fighting so he'll win. If he doesn't, Dean will."
"So we can keep them confined?"
"I think there's going to be a problem with the issues she's supposed to handle," Jack admitted. "But I'm not sure how we'd handle that for her or with her. Xander has some horrifying stories about apocalypses."
"We can ask that Angel guy," Daniel suggested. "See if they'll need her and if so, can they reasonably call her back in time to handle the big issues."
The General considered it then nodded. "Will she do it?"
Jack shrugged. "Does she have a choice since they gave her to us? Or else we're stuck with one slayer with combat trauma who's on probation. This way it saves her life because Xander thought they were going to wetworks Faith for going bad. They will do it to this one since Faith said the legacy passes on through her, not Buffy. That means she's expendable."
The General nodded. "Have her picked up."
"There's an Army reserve base in the town," Jack said. "Xander had to break onto it once to get something for her to use in a mall."
The General moaned. "I don't want to know."
Jack smirked. "On it, sir." He saluted then went to make that call. It'd be good training for their guys to practice some stealth snatching and theatrics.
Daniel smiled. "I'll take Sam and go talk to Miss Rosenburg." He walked out with the folder, showing it to Sam. "He agreed. Like they did before. Military or jail."
She smirked back. "She's not that good."
"She's never been challenged. She was top brain in her school."
"Oh, one of those."
"In a crappy system," Daniel admitted. "She can hack and we don't have anyone to find that stupid leak."
"Good point." They walked into the room Willow was being held in, letting the airmen shut the door behind them. "Willow Rosenburg. Hacker, semi-scientist, witch, hunter." Willow glared. "In deep trouble for giving yourself presidential security clearances."
Daniel sat down, looking at her. "Willow, may I use your name?"
"You'll probably do it anyway. Even though I'm not going to fall for psychological BS."
"That's fine. I'm an anthropologist, not a psychologist like your parents." He took the folder back and slid it over. "Anything in there not look correct?" She looked then slumped, shaking her head. "Good. Because we have an offer to make you." She stared at him. "There are people who believe your life is better suited helping more of humanity."
"I helped save the world."
"We do it monthly," he said patiently. She stared. "The demon underground knows about us somehow."
She nodded. "Yeah, I heard. There's a few who work on base to make sure you're not going to create the next huge problem." She shifted. "So why the jailing?"
"Oh, this is not jail," Sam assured her. "Jail comes with a tiny room with a lot of extra noise. Bad food. No having any freedom. We might let you have some now and then and it's a lot quieter, plus no cellmate to molest you night and day whenever they get the chance." She smirked. "Plus you'll get a chance to prove you have some brains once you've straightened yourself out."
"Buffy needs me." Daniel handed over the other sheet of paper. She glared at him. "How dare they!" She got up to pace.
Daniel cleared his throat. "Buffy will be joining you here shortly. Once she's dried out." Willow stopped to stare at him. "You can prove your worth to us and help us save everyone, repeatedly. You can prove that you do have skills with people who are certified geniuses in many fields across all the sciences - physical, practical, and theoretical. You will have to prove yourself because they all know you got sent to us for attacking your oldest friend." She glared at him. "Who hasn't really changed. He's simply gotten more trained and let his body rule him now and then. Before the danger kept it down. Now he's not in as much." She sat down on the bed again.
"Or you can go to jail for giving yourself such a high clearance. Which would be a federal crime so you'll be in Leavenworth and it's possible that the current administration will see it as an act of terrorism from a domestic militant group. With the power behind the Watchers Council they could already be setting you and her up for that." She glared at the wall but slumped down further. He stood up and pushed the chair back into place. "There will be rules. You have about a day to make your decision. She'll be here by then." They walked out together, going to the observation area. She was back to walking around talking to herself. He looked at Sam.
She gave him an evil smirk. "I want to send in McKay."
"Sam, are you presently being overtaken by an alien symbiot or something?" She hit him to the shoulder. "Ow."
She walked into the lab, finding her pain in the ass working. "We are getting a new helper who has to prove her worth."
"I heard." He looked at her. "Why is the little brainless wannabe my problem?"
"She needs to know what it'll mean to prove herself. She came from a crappy system and ended up on top with enough brains to give herself presidential level clearance." He stopped working and turned to stare at her. "She was accepted at Yale and decided not to go to stay with the demon hunting team she was working with."
"Demons," he snorted. She nodded. "You're joking, right?"
"No. We can prove it but it blew my mind too."
He grimaced. "Is she willing to work and learn?"
"She has a day to decide. I'm not sure I want her in my labs. I like her a lot less than you at the moment. You'll either drive her off or make her get stubborn enough to stay."
He nodded slowly. "That works for me. I could use a good proofreader." She pointed and he went to the observation room. Daniel handed over her file. He grimaced. "It doesn't say much about her skills."
"Then test her," Daniel said.
McKay smirked. "Thank you, I think I shall." He went down and opened her door. "On your feet. Someone wants to know what pitiful things you can already do. We doubt you have enough of a clue to work with such esteemed geniuses as myself but perhaps you can be a lab flunky." He pointed. "Now." She put on her shoes and followed him silently. He'd find her deficient areas quickly enough. It was clear soon enough she had the skills, but her training had been pathetic to put it nicely. "How bad was your school?" he demanded after she had to look something up. "You should learned that in high school chemistry."
Willow looked then looked up her school's yearly stats on the computer for him. "That's Sunnydale. It was meant to hold us as a feeding ground, keep us from killing each other before we were culled." She got back to work on the formula he had been staring at. "You forgot a negative." She pointed and added it then finished it. "Like that?"
He looked. "Yes, like that. I was working on that last night when I couldn't sleep." He gave her a different one since she seemed competent enough to wield a calculator. He sent that information to Sam. They really had to do something about that. The best minds had to protest all those other minds being rotted and mistreated. They might have missed another genius in the making. She growled from her office, making him smirk. It'd do her good to yell at someone. She had been bored recently and she did scare officials more than him. She went to get all the scientists to make a protest to the state about that school. They had multiple award winners on staff and that school was that bad.
"Oh, well," Willow quipped. "They deserve it anyway. I wish them luck and to stay out of town after dark."
He looked at her. "I still don't believe in demons."
She looked at him. "I'd bring you but you'd scream like a girl."
"As would you I'm sure," he sneered.
She snorted. "No." She smirked. "There's got to be some in town."
Jack O'Neill leaned in. "We do not threaten to have the other scientists eaten, Miss Rosenburg, and you'd have to take him to Denver to do that show and tell. There's very few half ones in town. We know that thanks to someone's hormone condition." McKay gave him an odd look. "He has hyperactive pheromones."
"Can't they fix that?" Willow demanded.
"The only stuff that wears it out can kill him if it's used more than every two months or so."
She frowned. "There's got to be a cure. That and the haircut he needs."
"They like his hair," he said smugly. "Everyone likes his hair."
"Faith's still a bad girl."
"Faith got walked across the line in a collateral damage incident, Willow. Not like she went hunting for the line."
"She did later."
"For the guy who walked her across the line. She's going to come back. She's made a good start. If that guy Angel can, she can." Willow went pale. "Good. McKay, can she handle it in here?"
"I've tested her in the lesser maths. She appears to be competent enough with that. I'll run her through the other areas but she'll have some catching up to do since her schooling was so far below standard it's nearly in the dark."
"There's the educational program. Sam's used it, Danny's used it, I'm sure she can too." He walked off.
"It will be hard for you but at least you'll be doing something more useful than magic."
She snorted. "I can do both at the same time." She floated the chalk she was working with. He smacked her on the head. "Ow!"
"Don't do that or they'll expect you to do it in the field." She groaned, going back to work. He smirked, going back to his own work.
"What are you working on?"
"Something far, far above your limited understanding."
She looked then pointed. "That won't work. I tried to explain it to Xander a few times that it was beyond human abilities so far and he kept coming up with questions. You'll want to account for vibration from the rapid traveling as well." She went back to her lesser problem while he scowled. She could smirk at the board. Treat her like a silly child again!
Comic book geeks were annoying he decided. Always thinking strange thoughts. At least it gave her a reason to think higher thoughts.
Buffy woke up, holding her head. "This is not a hangover."
"I think you've had plenty of experience with those already," a male voice said.
She stiffened then looked at the guy. "Why did you drug me? New version of the Initiative?"
"No. We would've taken them down too." He handed her something. "We're saving yours and Rosenburg's life."
"I can handle the Watchers," she snorted. "I have in the past."
"When the team got there, we had to rescue you from them." He leaned down. "Being drunk means you can't protect yourself or your mother." He stood up straighter again. "She's fine by the way. Our guys got the ones coming for you both." She stood up. He pushed her back down. "She knows where you are, relatively. Not the actual location but that we have you, that you're safe, and that you're going to be drying out. She agreed it was a good idea." He crossed his arms over his chest. "There's things we have to talk about once you can think straight. Is your head all right?"
"Good enough. The headache will be gone in an hour or so." He tossed her a bottle of tylenol and pointed at the glass of water beside her. She took two and looked at him again. "Why snatch me here?"
"It was us or jail, Miss Summers. Miss Rosenburg created a lot of problems when she hacked. The FBI was looking at both of you. They didn't mind it so much when you do your job but being drunk means you're not doing your job."
"Someone has to."
"Angel said he had someone to do it."
She slumped. "You talked to Angel?"
"We talked to Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley. We talked to Miss Rosenburg, your mother, and Mr. Harris." She stiffened at that. "One of the guys here knows him. The family he's with needed someone who could help him while they were out of town and the family had some mutual contacts." She looked at him. "He encouraged us to give you this chance. He thinks you can come back to the side of the light. I think if you do, you have the chance to do a lot of good work with people who could use your training and skills to save everyone."
"No. Not here. There's apparently a few harmless things working on base but no."
She swallowed. "Can I see Willow?"
"Later. She's being tested to see where her true limits lay. Since your school was so horrible."
"Well, yeah, but it was only meant to give us something to do until we were killed for food and fun."
"So we've heard." He moved closer. "The underground knows about what Jack and Daniel, Doctor Jackson, do."
She frowned. "I've heard a bit. Something about an ancient gateway and old enemies we drove off once but they're back since you guys opened the gateway again."
"Something like that."
Vesvold appeared. Buffy gave him a dirty look. "From Xander." He handed it over. "It explains what you do," he told the soldier. "In her native language."
"Hmm. I'm not up to date on modern teenage slang."
She looked at the demon. "Who are you?"
"I am High Councilor Vesvold."
"How do you know Xander?"
"I first found myself entranced by him as a child of seven or eight. In his first childhood. He was an adorable child with a will that could match my own. As I watched him grow I fell in love. Even when his hormones came out on his roadtrip and someone jealous turned him into a child again. Xander is wary of coming to me but that is reasonable with his past and one of his reasons is that he doesn't want someone to try to harm me for the sin of loving him."
"They don't like gay demons?"
"Having a human is considered beneath my race."
"Pity. It'd be good for Xander to have someone who can love him since the rest want to kill him."
He smirked. "That's because they were not worthy of him. The ones he has now are but they are quite fun to watch over. Hunters such as you and Xander are."
She nodded. "I heard. I still think it's wrong."
"That was your own fault. You must live with your decision."
"I know." She looked at the military guy then at him again. "This stuff?"
"Is a worthwhile project and you could do some good here, plus retrain your body so it is better than it was before. They have one coming up that could be a good place for you to work."
"What about Sunnydale?"
"It's mostly slowed down and Angel can handle it. If not, he'll be able to get you back for it. There are other hunters who are moving into the area. Xander's family asked a few and they agreed."
She sighed, looking at the letter. It gave her all she needed to know. "What about my watcher?"
"The last we heard he was in jail for selling Xander against his will."
"He said it'd protect him."
"He tried to send Xander to someone who was not for him," Vesvold told her. "Which means that one died very badly while I was protecting the one I prefer."
She looked at him, swallowing. "Are your kind dangerous to humans?"
"Only if they touch what's mine."
"Good to know." She read the letter again then looked at the military guy. "How long do you need me for?"
"It'll be better if you just sign on. It'll protect you. We'll let you go handle any sort of problem that's going on. If it's bad enough your team may even be able to help you."
"There's always small problems going on."
Vesvold nodded. "While that's true, there's ones that handle those as well. Not to mention Faith is healing."
She considered it. "What would I be doing?"
"At first you'd be training to go on missions." He smirked. "Any grunt can be trained, we think you're better than they are."
"You'll find out as you detox, Miss Summers." He moved closer. "You'll be able to call your mother whenever you want. If you prove you're back to being a human instead of a lush, then you may even be able to talk to your other friends. They would probably want an apology first."
She nodded. "I know. I was bad."
He nodded. "It's good you realize that. That's the first step to changing your behavior." He nodded at the door. "Bathroom time." She looked at herself and grimaced. "We'll let you have some stuff to wear once you've signed on." She nodded. "Good. Any other questions?"
"Let's try a year and then we'll see. You might want to stay."
She nodded. "My mother would agree?" He handed her the phone. She called home. "Mom?" She smiled, hearing her being okay and telling her to agree, plus some good reasons. She nodded. "Okay. They want me for a year."
"You'll be able to visit a few times when we've got downtime."
"They say I can visit." She nodded. "Thanks, Mom. I'll be safe. I promise. We'll talk soon." She hung up and tossed him his phone back, standing up to look at him. Then she shoved him against a wall and off the ground. "If anything happens to my mother because I'm not there, there will be hell to pay," she said calmly.
He kept himself calm. "The local reserve base is watching over her for you."
She huffed but let him down. "Then let's do this. Is Willow all right?"
"She's fine. She's been taking tests to see how much she really knows. That way she's in the right lab and they can guide her through further education." He opened the door with a remote. "Let's go." He walked her up to the office, saluting the general. "General Hammond, Miss Summers has agreed."
"That's good." He waved him off. "Go ahead and sit, Buffy." She sat, smoothing down her skirt. "I know you know some of what we do." She handed over the letter. He read it. "We have got to find that leak."
"They're worried that you're going to either go Initiative or have a problem that not even I can solve."
He looked at her. "We've done all right so far. Going on five years now."
He smirked. "We'll be able to find you a place to help us protect everyone while you find yourself again."
"I'll get to see my mother?"
"Like any job you'll be earning vacation days and you can use them during downtime. I won't say downtime hasn't been canceled for an emergency..." She waved him off on that. "I figured you'd seen that before."
"Finals and apocalypses come at the same time every year."
He nodded. "Here we don't have many apocalypses but we do have a college program you'd be welcome to enroll in."
She considered it. "I'll think about that. Patrol and school didn't go together so well." She looked down. "That's one of the reasons I think I started to drink. To finally have some really free time."
He smiled. "We get mandatory downtime after injuries and after so many missions." She smiled at that. "We've also all seen a lot of combat over the years. Most of us have seen the people around us die. Some of us have lost teammates. They do understand what you've seen and you'll be able to understand what they've seen."
She nodded. "It might be nice. I can't tell my mom about that stuff. She's... she's gentle and nice. She's a *mom* and I can't change that."
"Here we're all soldiers, Buffy. We've all seen the same things or will be eventually. It's not a pretty job...."
"But someone has to do it so the moms don't," she agreed. "Okay, I agree." He found a packet, letting her fill it out. Once she was done he summoned her guardian back. He took her to get her processed in and to a shower. She got BDU's to put on and it was like she was one of them. They dropped her off with Jack for boot camp; he'd get her through it and she'd be taught to use her specific gifts better.
Xander woke up from his wake up, smiling up at Dean. "Hi." He pulled him down for a kiss.
"Afternoon." Xander gave him a grin. "Dad said to wake you up, it's nearly time for training." Xander got up and went to braid his hair while he washed the rest of him. Dean went to tell them he was up. "He's doing his hair." He nodded at the trainer. "You're early."
"You're backed up and your watch is misset," John noted dryly. Xander came bouncing out and down to the basement when he saw the trainer, getting a head shake. "Sorry he was late."
"It happens with him now and then. He's not too late." He went down to find Xander warming up. Xander got done and moved into the form he called. He was a good student. When he remembered things. He moved him into the next thing he wanted him to know, going over the move with him until he could do it in various combinations of what he already knew. Sam and Dean came down for their turn to train with him and Xander. They were already better trained but they were getting much better under his tutelage. He had Dean and Xander spar since they were the better fighters in this style. Sam had a few he was better in, it took advantage of his longer limbs and more graceful nature. Ten minutes before the end of the session all three stiffened and looked up.
"Relax, guys, it's Adam," John called a minute later.
"Okay." They went back to it.
"Psychic episode?" the teacher joked.
"Sometimes we can tell when someone's in the house," Dean told him. He attacked Xander and Xander ducked then did something he wasn't supposed to but it got him down. "Good," Dean praised. "Didn't see that coming."
Xander grinned. "Plus I got to see you on your back," he teased.
"All you have to do is ask to be on top," he taunted back.
Xander pinned him against a wall, moving closer. "What if I want to be on *top*?" he asked quietly.
"Then we'd think. That's probably more Sammy's thing." He smirked. "Is that what you want for your birthday?"
Xander shifted closer. "I could like that." Dean gave a negligent shrug so Xander squealed, hugging him.
The trainer rolled his eyes. "I see we're done for the day." Sam chuckled, shaking his head. "Go shower, boys, before your sweat overpowers someone." They retreated to their bathrooms to shower after a quick hug of Adam on Xander's part. He walked up the stairs, taking the water John was holding up for him. "Thank you."
"Welcome. How are they doing?"
"I'm going to move them onto another form soon. They've about mastered the first two forms I can teach. Are they going to go higher?"
"We're not going for belts. I want them able to handle anything anyone throws at them during a fight or a kidnaping attempt."
"They're doing fine with that goal. I can teach them one other then there's a few other fighting forms they can learn and a few more meditative forms as well."
"Would going higher protect them more?" Adam asked.
"There's special moves masters can use. I've gotten them to brown belt levels so they'll be able to counter most anything that's thrown at them. Even some of the specialist moves. The boys are all good at thinking on their feet. They can also take a few blows and go on. Now, some of the higher fighting forms are just different enough that they may not be able to counter everything."
"Are there local teachers who can teach those?" John asked.
"Two of the three I think they should learn but I know they don't teach outside their dojos."
John considered it. "Will they do private lessons there? Because we don't want the boys to accidentally hormone someone."
"I'll talk to them for you, John. It's possible they have a small class. More opponents means being better able to counter strange moves."
"True. The third?"
"I'm not sure she'd be willing to teach the boys. She teaches at an abuse shelter. I'll ask."
John nodded. "Please. We'd gladly pay them what we do you."
He smiled. "Steve is very generous." He sipped his water, nodding at Adam. "They've mentioned you a few times. Their mentor?" He nodded. "It's nice to meet you. Should I try for Saturday?"
John looked at the calendar then shook his head. "That's Sam's birthday."
"I know. I'll see them Monday then." That got a nod and he left, going back to his own gym to shower and get ready for his next class. If he carried the boys' hormones with him, they'd try to pounce him. After the first time he understood why the boys were fanatic about their safety. He hadn't wanted to be pounced that way. It had been disturbing to him and the big, tough, macho guys he trained, plus the three teenagers, to have pounced him.
Xander came out of the bedroom, pouncing Adam for another hug. "How's Ray?"
"He's doing good." He moved Xander off his lap, getting a sheepish grin. "He's thinking about changing departments to somewhere warmer. We're not sure where yet. Other than that, we might do some traveling. Ray's never been farther than Canada but the Mounties are driving him nuts this month."
"I'm sorry. Should I go pout at them?"
"He did." He smiled at the two coming out of their rooms. "Good session?"
"Very," Sam agreed, getting him and Dean a bottle of water. "What's up? Just checking on us?"
"That as well." He looked at Xander. "There's a few who wanted to learn the dances. The tapes weren't very clear."
"We can do new versions on better quality DVDs," Sam agreed. "Maybe even in time for the next convention."
"Which is in Boston in two weeks." Xander winced. "Steven's made reservations for your family, boys." They all smiled at that. He slid the formal notice of reservations over to John. "There. Is Faith coming? If so, you can figure out where to put her but she'll have to keep to the same silence the rest of the guests do."
"Of course I am," Faith called. "Or I can stay here and feed the dog."
"Bogart's coming with us," Xander said.
John checked then nodded. "We can do that."
She came into the kitchen. "I can stay."
"Okay, if you want," Xander agreed. "I know you'd have to check."
"I would but we'll need me to guard the house and the stuff that's still in it."
"It got moved back to Denver," Dean told him.
"Not the tv and stuff, guys," she said dryly. "Thieves would like that more than they would the pretty stuff. You have to be higher than street thugs to be able to dump them."
"Good point," John agreed. "If you want to, we won't mind."
"Don't have sex in my bed," Xander quipped.
"X, your bed is scary. It's huge and even the dog gets lost in it."
"He likes to cuddle in it," Sam told her.
"That's because he's fixed and X's hormones are as close to a bitch in heat as he'll get."
Xander snickered. "I am a bitch in heat but he doesn't even try to hump me, Faith. He's one of the few I don't attract."
She patted him on the head. "Thank god." She went to get something to drink, looking at him. "If you go, no shopping for me."
"Shut up," he shot back.
"Need midol, Faith?" Dean asked.
She nodded. "Well, yeah, but there's none in the house." She sipped the coffee. "X, can I borrow the porsche?"
"Can you even drive?" John asked.
"Um, I know how. I've hotwired a few cars."
John groaned. "We'll go to the pharmacy and the grocery store later." Xander moaned. "For regular things, Xander. Not the stuff you want to pick up. You can go tomorrow after your spa session." Xander nodded at that. "Go put on a real shirt, Faith." She went to do that. He shook his head.
"You could give her driving lessons," Dean offered. "You did ours."
John looked at him. Then he walked off shaking his head. It was a good idea but he hated to do driving lessons. They always wrecked his nerves. Faith came bouncing down the stairs and out to the truck. He had to move Xander's porsche but that was fine. He liked driving the elite little excuse for bad gas mileage now and then. It was meant for fun and fast speeds and it was good for it but it was a damn uncomfortable car. They got into the truck and headed for the pharmacy and the grocery store. Xander wouldn't fuss if he picked up the standard things like rice or pasta. Or water, beer, and soda. Because Xander was out and he'd be looking for some soon. Faith got an extra 2 cases of soda. He smirked.
"He'll complain soon." He handed her the box of midol, letting her open one to take it now. "Thanks."
"All women do it. Even Mary did."
"Yeah but they didn't have Midol back then." She smirked. "Did you hide?"
"I pulled long shifts those days and brought home a treat at the worst day."
She smiled. "Ice cream?"
"We can do that." She went to get what she wanted. Xander wouldn't care and neither would the boys. She came back with individual pints since she wanted cherries and Sam didn't like them. They went to get some of the usual things. The truck was full but that was about normal for them. The grocery store was used to them. The guy even helped load the truck bed for them. Faith tipped him, a habit she had learned from Xander, and they got to go home. She had gotten an extra pint of ice cream for the trip home to make her PMS feel better. It made her feel less likely to slay everyone and more likely to go hide in the tub. The guys came out to unload the truck and Sam gave her a hug for the ice cream. She smiled, going in to watch Xander cook. It was better than any cooking show because Xander would swear when he did something he decided was wrong. Plus she got to smell all the things, even the burning garlic Sam threw into the garden out back. Xander was still learning but they'd eat it anyway. It'd make the boy happy. Which was the most important thing. A happy Xander didn't pout at her or give her puppy eyes that she couldn't defeat.