Title:  One Big, Happy Family.
Author/pseudonym:  Voracity
Email address: bookwrecker@yahoo.com
Rating: NC-17
Pairings:   Xander/Danny (stargate), Xander/Loki (the mythological one), Xander/Loki/Danny, Strife/Cupid, Jett/Ares, Auto/OFC
Fandom: yes (as in, many and varied)
Status: done!
Archive: will be up eventually on my page
Other website: http://www.e-fic.com/~voracity/
Disclaimers:   not mine in any way, shape, or form.  Though I'd probably not be mean enough to change their forms.
Summary:  an alternate look at Xander as a demigod and his 'ships with everyone.  Starting with the obligatory family reunion.
Warnings:   violence, light angst, mentions of past mpregs but not graphic, dirty/sweaty sex
Notes:  well, I tried to make this one Danny/Xander for an older challenge, but I just couldn't.  Apparently I can't do it without an intermediary character.  I tried, sorry.  But it is less angsty than some of my works can be, and a good sense of fun running through it.  Being posted to list for being so patient with me while I was internet-less.

One Big, Happy Family.

Xander complained as he rubbed his back.  "Why were we called up here to help move things around for the reunion?  Aren't they the ones with the powers?" he complained to his cousins.  He flopped down into a beanbag chair with a moan of complaint.  "Where are the others?  They're supposed to be helping us."  He looked at his mostly older cousins.  "No wise words of wisdom?"

"Letting you get it out, Xander," Jett said fondly, smirking at him.  "Daniel's still off somewhere working.  We left a message for him.   We're here, Blair's here, and the other few we don't associate with are somewhere at the moment."  He shrugged.  "They'll be here eventually."

"Fine," Xander sighed, getting comfortable.  "I'm not moving another thing.  If they want to celebrate Hera waking up by holding a family reunion, then the Gods can move shit.  I'm still tired from the last battle."

"You should leave that town," Jace said, pouting at him.  "It's not good for you, Xander."

"I know that, Jacie, but it's not like I can help it.  Anytime I leave, bad things happen.  Or should I have to mention how I had to get away from the people who wanted to drug and keep me as their newest pro by calling out for help?"

"I had fun," Jett said with a shrug.  "Felt good to kill again actually."  He tipped his ball cap's bill down and got comfortable in his own chair.  "There's not much else we could do anyway.  Unless we go hunt down Danny," he offered.

"I left him a message on his answering machine and in his email," Jace defended.

"Isn't Danny working on that odd thing that makes him leave this dimension or whatever?" Xander asked.  Jett and Joxer both nodded, Joxer was still setting out refreshments.  "He might not be able to get up here in time then," he offered.  "Which means he'll miss all the *fun* of this hellish exercise in ignoring the asshole who fathered some of us."

"Chill, Xander, this is supposed to be a fun event to give some of us a vacation," Joxer warned.  "Danny will get up here soon."  He sat down next to him, pulling down the bottom edge of his bike shorts so they'd quit riding up.  "It'll be fine.  The other group of kids will ignore us as usual and we'll be fine.  No one will dare say a word to you about the things you do.  Not even the happy and cheerful other group.  They don't hate you, if they did they wouldn't ask you to join them all the time."

"They're like happy little hippies," Xander complained.  "I get enough of that at home!"

"True," Jett agreed.  "I can't stand your slayer buddy either when she's on a happy and specialness kick."

"I still can't believe that every time you get that girl laid they turn against her," Jace admitted.  "It's like Aphrodite hates her or something."

"We can ask her during this thing, that way it'll give the others a chance to get away from her matchmaking," Xander suggested dryly, smirking at Jett.  "So, how is the wife?"

"Fussy, why do you think I'm here early?" he asked with a small smirk.  "She wants me to retire now."

"Hmm.  Why does Aunt Aphrodite have it in for you again?"

"Because I wasn't happy with her first choice, who was nice but we're too alike and would have killed each other within five years," Jett said with a small shrug.  "Any idea who this year's target is, Jox?"

"Um, last I knew it was Daniel since he's still giving her a migraine."  He grimaced.  "She's refusing to sanction that union since it didn't happen here."  He shifted some.  "She's working on getting him with one of us."

"I think Dan would hate my life as much as my present wife does," Jett pointed out, smirking at him.  "How about you, Xan?  Think you wanna join me when you finish growing up?"

"And live without Buffy?" he gasped, then he smirked back.  "You sure you can handle me?"

"Well...no," Jett decided finally, then shook his head as the nasty thoughts of what Xander would do to his carefully crafted reputation popped into being.  "I think it's better that you continue to save the world.  Hey, take Jox with you, that way you get a vacation now and then from the happenings in town and from Buffy."

"Just don't ask me," Jace said, waving a hand around.  "I look horrible after a fight."

"How would you know, you let your bodyguards take them all for you," Jett said meanly, sneering at him.  "Sissy boy."

"I heard that," a female voice floated out of thin air.  "Quit picking on my babies!"

"I'm one of them, you stupid bitch," Jett said bitterly, but quietly.  It never paid to piss off Aphrodite about her kids and he certainly wasn't the favorite one of them.

She appeared in a flash of light, glaring at him.  "I mean it, pookie, leave Jacie alone!"

"Yes, mother," he said coolly, glaring at her.  "I was born at the same time as him, that does give me the right to pick on him."

"Keep it up, never get it up again," she announced.

"Auntie Dite, would you mind moving so the light doesn't shine through your clothes and I don't have to see the crack of your ass that vividly?" Xander asked. It worked, getting her focus off Jett. She whirled, glaring at him, so he grinned and wiggled his fingers.  "Direct light through them, auntie.  I didn't want to know that much about your personal hygiene."

"Go find Danny," she ordered, pointing at a wall.  "Now!"

"Yes, ma'am," he agreed, standing up.  "Beats lugging stuff that Gods could snap into place."  He strolled off, going to catch one of the portals to the real world.  He landed inside Danny's office in Colorado and created a scroll, putting it on the center of his desk, all alone with a light shining on it.  After he had corrected the lighting in there so it was better to work with.  Then he grinned and shot it with a bit of power.  "Stay," he ordered.  "Until he reads you."  He turned and walked out, heading back up to the surface.

"Who're you!" one of the guards yelled, pulling his weapon.

Xander looked at him.  "Sergeant Harris, grunt core.  Why?"  The man frowned at him, looking at his clothes.  "I'm going off duty.  That hasn't been canceled, right?"  The guard shook his head, relaxing a bit more.  "I was just dropping off some notes for Dr. Jackson.  He overheard me saying something about some runes I'd seen and wanted me to take notes.  Since this is my first day free in a while, I just did that."

"Why did a grunt like you make it across the gateway?" he sneered.

"Um, because I didn't," Xander said dryly, tipping his head to the side.  "You assume a lot.  Is that good in your sort of job, Lieutenant?  I said I'd seen some, not that I saw them off- world.  I saw them at a club in LA the last time I had leave and he thought they might mean something so therefore he had me ask someone at home to get him drawings of them and have me write down what I remembered.  Next time, don't assume!"

The guard pulled up his walkie-talkie.  "I need a scanner outside Dr. Jackson's office."  He put it away and his gun moved back up again.  "We'll just see, boy."

Xander sighed and leaned against a wall.  "Fine.  Play the badass.  Ask me if I give a shit."

"I am your superior, boy."

"Maybe, but I'm apparently smarter and I'm still off duty," he said smugly.  Another guard came up with two machines.  He knew one of them would check him for an identifying isotope that most of the people wore and the other would check him for alien chemicals that a symbiot would make him radioactive with.  He held out his arms, not moving from his comfy spot.  "Which one first?"

"Shut it," the guard warned.

Xander looked at his stripes, then smirked.  "I'm a sergeant, kid.  Be nicer than your illiterate buddy.  The isotope was put into my shoulder instead of my neck.  I had an infection at the time."  The scanner going over his whole body was the one he *thought* was used for symbiots.  He almost made it beep, but decided not to.  Someone would have to come and get him and then his aunts would be *really* pissed with him.  In that case he didn't make either of them beep, which made the guards frown.  "Those things wear off?"

The guard stepped back.  "Do you have your base ID, sir?"  Xander patted himself down, coming up with the one that he and Jett had made off Danny's, handing it over with a grin.   "Thank you, sir.  Why are you in this restricted section?"

"Because I had to drop off some notes for Dr. Jackson," he said blandly.  "He said so."

"Thank you, sir.  You're free to go."  He saluted him then walked off, giving the other guard a long, heated look.

"Thanks for the fun afternoon, guys, nearly as good as the local houses of ill repute."  He sauntered off, heading back to the elevators, then up the stairs.  He noticed they recoded his ID strip when he ran it at the top, but that was fine with him.  "Sorry, haven't had leave in a while," he explained dryly, shrugging a bit.  "They never give us grunts any good time off."

"I understand," the guard up there agreed with a small sigh of his own.  "Have fun in town, sir."  They saluted each other and then Xander strolled off into the hazy sunlight.  "Lucky guy, he's got leave," the guard muttered.


"Dr. Jackson," the general yelled.  "My office, now!"  He stomped back that way, waiting on his newly returned anthropologist to appear.  He handed over the weighted-down scroll.  "What is that?  Each and every time it was moved, it shifted itself back.  Even when I brought it in here, it disappeared after a long blink."

Daniel unrolled it, frowning as he automatically translated the words.  "It's notice of a family reunion," he said, handing it back over.

"Why is it in Ancient Greek?"

"Because some of my family are odd and they don't want certain things to get into the open.  In this case, that my Aunt Aphrodite is going to try to fix me up again," he said blandly.  "Who left it for me?"

"It was left in the center of your desk by the person in this picture," he said, pulling out the picture from the security cameras.  "Who is that?  I searched under the name he gave us and it came up as not being one of ours."

"That's my cousin Al," he said, handing it back with a small grin.  "I don't know how he got in here, sir, but I didn't tell him I worked down here.  Sometimes Al seems to know things, like my cousin Jett does."

"What does this cousin Al do?" the General asked.

"Each time I ask him that, he says I don't want to know and to leave it there, then he groans and walks off rubbing his neck.  My cousin Jett usually just smirks and says that I *really* don't want that information, that it'll give me nightmares."

"Jett?  I've heard that name before," he mused, turning on his computer monitor so he could put in a name search.  "What's his last name?"

"He never uses it, sir."  He leaned closer.  "Two 't's and just hit search."  The general gave him a look.  "There's not many that it'll work on that way, but he's only in the system with his first name.  I looked him up once before but it was ranked as 'classified, sub contractor'.  What does he do?  I know he likes weapons."

"It says he's an assassin.  What's your cousin Al's name?"


He typed that in and came up with two listings, both for the same person.  One from a defunct organization he had heard rumors about but hadn't known why.  He clicked on that link, reading the report on how this one boy was responsible for bringing down a military operation.  "Dr. Jackson, did you know about his problems with the military?"

"Not that I know of.   He's never said anything about it.  He seemed to like Jack that one time I introduced them.  Why?"  He looked again.  "He did what?  Oh!  That was *them*!  He said they were trying to kill him if I was ever asked.  That's why he helped take them down.  Why is he listed as 'do not contact or engage'?  He's only twenty and I didn't think the military was that full of superstitious people."

"I'll be putting out a memo on this, Dr. Jackson," he said, glaring at his pet archeologist.  "I do not like these sort of things happening.  We have enough strange stuff around here without that."  He took the picture and labeled it.

"Sir, that's my cousin Al, not my cousin Jett," he reminded him.  "The last time I saw Jett he had black hair pulled back in a pony tail and a ball cap on."  He pointed at a security monitor.  "See?  He must be here to pick me up for the reunion."

"Go," he ground out.  He followed him down the hallway.  "How did you get in here?"

"Clearance," Jett said, holding up the unmarked pass.  "You?"

"Jett, that's my General.  General Hammond, this is my cousin Jett.  Jett, he's a really nice guy," he said calmly.  "I can't go to the reunion."

Jett snickered. "You are or they're sending the aunts en masse to come get your ass, Danny.   The giggling gaggle pissed off Xander and they want you to keep him in line.  Besides, do *you* want my mother here to come pat you on the back and find you a good lover?  You know how she is about wanting you with her favorite son."

"Wouldn't that be against the law in about forty-seven states?" one guard asked.

Jett backed away from him as the pink lightening bolt came down to seer the man's body.  "Not by her laws.  She is a Goddess, named after her area.  If you survive, have Danny bring you up so you can plead for mercy."  He looked at the General again.  "I wouldn't normally bust in here this way but I kinda have to have Danny up there...or else.  She's threatened me with having kids."

"That might make your wife quit nagging," Danny offered.

"She's hiking off into the sunset as we speak with my tv," Jett said bitterly.  "I'll have to have Auto go steal my stuff back from her again, and then we'll go through the whole 'pouting to my mother' ordeal again," he sighed, shaking his head.  "Do you want her?  She's much too nice for someone in my line of work.  She wanted me to retire recently."

Around them a shriek echoed.  "Damn it, where is that coming from!" a new voice yelled as he stomped up the hall.  "Danny, was that you?"

"No, that was my Aunt Athena," Daniel said dryly.  "She's probably pissed at Cousin Al.  There's a reunion.  Wanna come?"

"If you do, we'll try to keep the giggling gaggle of airheads away from you," Jett offered. "You could even discuss military ethics, policy, and tactics with Uncle Ar."

"I don't have more leave time."

"Go," the general ground out.  "Leave. Now.  Come back after this strangeness is done and keep it off my base."  He stomped off, going to take something for his headache.

"Okay, let me pack," Jack said with a shrug.  "I've drug Danny home before."  He noticed a new person walking up the hallways.  "Do I know you?"

"That's Cousin Al," Danny reminded him.  "I introduced you a few years back, right after I got back from my year off."

"Oh.  Hey, good to see you again, Al.  Give me a minute to pack.  You sure it won't be a problem?"

"Hell no, it'll give us intelligent people to talk to," Jett told him.  "Anything's better than a girl who thinks she's a muse, who's not all there in her area."

"Hmm.  'Sephone saw me and sent me away before Athena could yell again.  She's still watching out for us," Xander said calmly.

"Why did Athena yell at you?" Danny had to ask.

"Because I exist," Xander reminded him.  "Still.  It offends her sensibilities and dreams of how the world should work.  Coming from a dead mother was not how she wanted us to be expanded."

"I forgot about that.  Let me change and grab my bag from my locker."

"Just change.  I'm sure we can find you stuff that you've left," Jett offered.  "Or I've got stuff, Xan's got stuff, Jace's got stuff, but Joxer only seems to wear spandex these days."

"Your mother dresses him funny," Xander said with a grin. He felt the zap and jumped, putting out the small fire.  "You do!" he called.  "We'll be right there," he sighed when he felt the summoning start.  "Hurry up, guys.  The main event's going to happen and they're presenting us soon."  Danny walked away shaking his head, taking Jack with him. "Can't I go handle an apocalypse or something?" Xander complained.  "I'm good at them."

"If we have to suffer, you have to suffer," Danny called back.  "The world will survive for at least another five days without your input."

Jett nudged him once the others were gone.  "Maybe you could bring Buffy up for some comic relief?" he muttered.  "She and Dite should at least get along."

Xander stared at him for a moment, then smirked.  "What an evil thought.  I love it.  I should do that."  This time the fire that started on his ass was larger, hotter, and actually hurt until he put it out.  "Can't we make *her* get him?" he suggested with a smirk back.

"My mother, on a military base?" Jett asked, considering it.  "Fun for some people, like your mom.  I can suggest it."

"Don't you dare, sir.  No more unauthorized visitors on the base please," one of the nearby guards said bitterly.

"But she's pretty, blonde, and doesn't wear much," Xander offered with a sly grin.  "Always like that too."

"She might help morale if she came to dinner now and then," Jett agreed. "It would save me from my wife getting ideas off her about kids and settling down."

"Jace would take any and all kids you had," Xander promised, patting him on the arm.  "He promised he would save them from you...or you from them," he said with a bright grin as Danny came back dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.  "Gee, you don't quite look like a Blair."

"Blair's up too?" Danny asked.  "Why?"

"Because Grandmother's coming back," Jett said bitterly.  "We're all to be introduced this time.  C'mon.  Where's Jack?"

"Coming.  Is that such a wise idea with our family?"

"He'll only worry about you more," Xander said sweetly, grinning at him.  "C'mon, Jack, time's wasting.  We're missing all the decent food and the sober people.  The giggling gaggle will be drunk soon."  Jack walked down the hall, shaking his head already.  "Good, you're here.  Let's go."  He waved a hand at the elevator, letting Danny sign them all out, then they left from there, stunning Jack in the process.

When Jack found himself in a strange place, he looked at the person beside him.  "How did we get here?"

"Strange stuff happens in my family," Danny said as he handed him a bottle of water.  "Untampered with.   I made sure of it."  Jack nodded and sipped some, looking around at the people gathered.  "See the blondes?"  Jack nodded slowly.  "They're the giggling gaggle.  I fit in so you will, but they will coo, dance, flirt, and get on your nerves until you growl, then they'll giggle and hug you while trying to grope.  Fair warning."  He grinned as another man walked over to them.  "Blair!"  He got up to hug him.  "How are you!  I need to get you onto my project!"

Blair laughed.  "I've got enough problems with Jim, thanks though.  You look good.  Working out?"

"Necessity if you're working with the military," Danny said with a shrug.  "What can I say?"

"Good point," Blair agreed with a grin.  He waved at Jack.  "Hi.  Yes, it's me."

"You're Blair Sandburg."

"Very good, Colonel.  And you're Colonel Jack O'Neill, Danny's buddy and boss."  He shook his hand.  "Nice to have some new people up here.  Watch out for the blondes, a few are on the hunt for fresh meat.  Xander had to punch one of them earlier."

"He hit one of the girls?"

"He had to, she was trying to carry him off," Blair said dryly.  "Which made my mom pissed because she hates him anyway."

"She's going to have to get over it, Blair," Danny reminded him.  "He can't help his parents."  He nodded Jack up.  "Come on.  The rest of the family is hovering in a corner near Uncle Ares."

"Why are all your relatives named after Greek Gods?" Jack asked.

"They are the Greek Gods, Jack.  I didn't know until I was nineteen, but that's who they are."  He led him over to where Ares was.  "Unc, this is Jack, he's my boss on my project."

Ares gave him a long look, then nodded and shook his head.  "Good, you still have some sense.  That's better than some of the posers who've kissed ass to make it high enough to wear stars.  Keep our baby boy safe or else."

"I'm not the baby," Danny sighed.  "Blair is."

Ares gave him a long look, then looked at Jack again.  "Do you have a lot of problems from him?"

Jack nodded.  "Sometimes he likes to run toward trouble, sir."

"Don't sir me, kid.  It's not necessary unless I'm pissed at you.  C'mere, we'll have a beer and get away from the happy, cheerful, horny people.  Two of them have just spotted you and they're fixing their hair."  Jack readily followed him outside and away from the pouting mass of bodies.

A gong sounded and Apollo stepped up.  "All those who need to be presented to Hera come up here, and yes that does include you, Alexander!"

"Fuck you," he called.

"Now!" he yelled.

Ares stuck his head back in.  "Now."

"Going," he muttered, making sure Jett and Joxer were between him and the gaggle.  Hera appeared in front of her throne and sat down, looking only slightly older than she had the last time she had been on Olympus, but much more tired.  "Hey.  You need a footstool too?" he asked. Joxer pinched him and a few people groaned.  "I'm trying to be nice!" he shouted.  "Leave me alone!"

"No, thank you though," she said calmly, smiling at him.  "That's very thoughtful, young man.  Which are you?"

"Alexander, son of Strife, God of Mischief, and his attacker."

"Ah."  She smiled more.  "I heard from Hades about you.  Be at ease, I am not like that."  He nodded, relaxing some.  She smiled at the triplets.  "You three I know.  Who is your parent?"

"Aphrodite and the attacker," Jett said smartly.  She nodded, leaving it at that.

"Why do you call him that?" one of the blondes shrieked, which was quite unmanly of him.  "He's not that bad!  He was ill!"

"So ill he got me later?" Xander asked bitterly.  The blonde one backed off.  So he looked at Hera again.  "That's why we don't associate.  Can those of us who are still sane go play now?"

"No," she said, smiling at him again.  "I would wish that my family not be divided after all this time."

"This is one rift you'll never heal," Apollo said, glaring at Xander and Jett.  "They could associate and they choose not to."

"Sorry, not enough prozac in the world to make me put up with the giggling," Jett said dryly.  "It's not in my nature to giggle, primp, or to play in the sunshine."

"Not now, kids," Aphrodite said firmly.  "Or there'll be triplets in your future, son, just like your brother Jace."  Jett gave her a look and she burst out crying.  "That's mean!  You mean, mean boy!"  She ran off crying.

Jett sighed and looked at Joxer.  "She likes you better."

"Going," he agreed, going to soothe his mother again.  "Mom," he whined as he followed her.  "You know Jett's not going to mellow out and have kids.   He doesn't like kids!"

Hera sighed.  "I see not much has changed in millennia."  She looked around.  "Did Ares get injured?"

"He's saving a family friend," Xander told her.  "He's a normal."

"Ah.  Very nice of him then," she agreed.  She smiled at the blondes, nearly wincing at all the mass of them.  They were all blonde, fit, tanned, and had very white teeth.  She almost felt sorry for their parents.  "Welcome to the family, children."

"Thank you, Lady Hera," they said in unison.  "We're honored to be here."  Then a few of them burst out in giggles.  They hadn't even had to rehearse it, she could tell.

She smiled down at them for a bit longer.  "Go back to the party, children; I'll be talking with a few of you on and off for the next few days to get caught up."  The mass of blondes writhed off to find fresh conquests and she looked at the others.  "Now I know why you don't associate," she said quietly, making Apollo glare.  "They're not the happy, cheerful people.  Stop it."  He stomped off to deal with his true children.  "Alexander, is there anything I can do to ease the pain you radiate?"

He shook his head.  "No.  Uncle Hades and Auntie 'Sephie tried for a very long time and it'll never get better.  Even if Mom were alive, it'd still not get any better."

"That's fine then, dear.  Give me a hug?"  She held out his arms and he drug his feet but did so quickly.  It gave her the contact she needed to read his mind and everything that had happened to him.  "Thank you, dear.  Go sit in a corner and glare at them.  Take Jett with you.  He's already got his scowl in place," she said with a smile for that one.

"There's a reason.  Did 'Sclep drug you, Hera?  You never were this nice before."

"I'm fine, dear.  I had a lot of time to think about the importance of my jobs."  He nodded, heading with Xander to the snack table.  Jace curtsied and followed after them, allowing her to relax.  Hades came up to her.  "What is with him?  He gives out more pain than he should given his life."

"No one could sense him, Hera.  He's from a dead mother.  Strife had him while dead.  It took us centuries to find the boy while he played in Tartarus with Strife's injured body.  He always had some sort of warning system for when I was coming for a visit and disappeared.  It took my darling wife to find him and he should have been older by then.  As it was, he was in pain and hurting since his mother was so ill and couldn't hold him.  What Apollo did nearly killed Strife."

"How much younger is he?"

"Centuries.  He's the second-youngest.  Only Sandburg is younger and that's because Alex was in 'Sclep's DNA lab to get a scrape looked at and the samples mixed to form him.  Xander feels kinship for very few of us, Hera.  I'm one, Ares is one, though he hates Discord.  He's struck her before without much provocation.  He seems to like Demeter enough because she decided he may be the only grandchild she'll ever get," he said dryly.  "Do not try to get him to reconcile this.  It won't go well."

"Of course not. He's hurting," she agreed gently.  "The boy needs a softer influence.  Does he like Aphrodite?"

"No and she doesn't like him that much.  She thinks he's keeping Jett cynical and morose, her words, so she's set him up with some nasty pains of love.  Cupid's had to intervene before and it's not helped."

"I see.  Thank you for that.  Why are those others so alike?"

"Because nine of them are from the same mother, Athena," he said with a shrug. "There's only fifteen of them."

"Are you sure?  There looks to be a whole horde of them," she said dryly.  He snorted and nodded.  "Very well.  What of this Blair?  Whose is he?"

"As near as we can tell by his life, Strife and Athena's, but as I said, the whole Pantheon's DNA mixed to bring him into being.  He's an interesting young man.   He and Danny get along quite well."

"Which is Danny?"

"Danny is the guy with the glasses, sandy hair, who's helping Joxer."

"Whose is he?"

"Hermes if I remember right.  Daniel?"  He looked over and smiled so he waved the boy over.  "Hera, this is Daniel Jackson, an anthropologist."

"Hello, Daniel.  Which one are you?"

"I'm the son of Artemis, but raised mostly with Auto since she was in such bad shock."

"Ah."  She stood up and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  "Thank you."  She sat down again.  "How do you like it up here?"

"It's nice to visit, but my life is more important to me," he offered.  "Are you sure you wouldn't like a footstool?  Maybe some snacks or some ambrosia?"

"No, dear, thank you.  You are such a thoughtful child.  You and Alexander both," she said with a smile.  "What do you do?"

"I study aliens so we can defeat them."

"He's in a war against those blasted assholes who tried to take over," Hades added.

Hera grimaced.  "They still exist?"

"In the rest of the universe.  Not here.  Though I do work with one who's changed sides and he's fairly nice," Danny offered.  "He said he didn't know there were other ways."

"Danny?" Jack called.  "Can you come out here please?"

"Sure, Jack, give me a minute," he called without having to look.  "Sorry, Jack's my boss and friend.  I brought him up so he wouldn't have to stay home alone."

"That's fine, dear.  We can chat later."  He nodded, heading out onto the verandah to help Jack.  "Why is it that the independent ones are all like that?" she asked quietly.

Hades snorted.  "The others are more like their father," he promised her.  "Should I separate out the herd and cull one for you?"

"If you could," she agreed regally, getting comfortable.  A footstool appeared next to her so she moved it over, using it as intended.  That was very thoughtful of a few of them.  A very blonde girl walked over and bowed, then squealed and lunged up to hug her before remembering her manners and standing at attention before her.  "Thank you, dear," she said with a smile.  "Which one are you?"

"I'm Celeste, Lady Hera.  I'm one of Athena's girls."

"Ah."  She nodded wisely.  She had been warned about them.  She saw Hades salute her with his glass before moving to chat with Jett.


Danny looked at the image Ares and Jack were looking at.  "Where is that?"

"Sunnydale," Jack said in awe.  "What are those things?"

"The things that Xander kills," he said dryly.  He pointed at one.  "Is that one a pivotal bit or just in the light?"

"In the light.  The person behind them isn't near the battle," Ares said as he watched the blonde going through the army.  "Hmm.  Not bad.  She could use some help though.  All flash and no depth."  He took a sip of his beer.  "Xander asked me to look in on her and give him an honest opinion since he might have to go back there to save the world again."

"What's he going to do if he gets too old to save the world?" Jack asked.

"He'll be coming up here to help me with my job," Ares said, smirking at him.  "Even if he got too old and was injured it'd happen, but I doubt he'll die.  He's too used to death to stay that way.  He was born from a dead God."

"How?" Jack asked.

"The Gods are a bit different, Jack, just accept that it happened," Daniel said quietly, glancing around.  "How is she doing?"

"She's tired," Ares admitted, looking at the battle again.  "She's tired and she feels old.  She feels like the world has passed her by because she knows what she missed out on by being Chosen.  It's never easy.  She went from being popular to being an outcast because of this and she knows what she's missing out on."  He glanced at Danny.  "You guys could use someone like her probably, but I don't think she'll be able to give up the battles."

"It's her destiny to die so others can live, but when?" Xander asked as he joined them.  "Jox got her a footstool finally."  He sipped his water.  "When was that?"

"Earlier tonight.  Probably within a year, Xander, but I'm not sure if she'll stay or not."  He looked at the boy. "You know how much Hades hates the giggling people.  Look at what he did to Gabby."

"I saw her," Xander said smugly.  "It was kinda nice how the demons and shades decided that her permanently stuck-open mouth was good luck."  He took another sip.  "Does Jox know about that?"

"He begged and pleaded, but Hades said it was her punishment and he can't do more than what he did.  He gave up eventually," Jett said dryly. "She's still going?"

"I brought her back once," Xander admitted. "That's why we have two."

"Which may be why she's so tired," Ares admitted.  He saw Xander's hurt look and heard his sigh.  "Probably not.  Most likely she's just tired.  She's getting too old to react at a moment's notice.  She's not a teenager anymore."  He patted his nephew on the back.  "So we'll deal if it does happen.  You and I will clear the town, then we'll fix everything after that. Got it?"  Xander nodded, looking a bit happier with that idea.  "Good boy.  Now go hide, I can smell perfume coming this way."

"It's only me," Aphrodite said dryly.  "Surely he's not scared of little old me, right, Xanny?"

He gave her a long look, then nodded.  "Yup, sure am.  I've seen you ruin men in the past by giving them mushy feelings at just the wrong moment.  Let's face it, you've fucked with my love life a lot already."  He went inside to find something a bit more sinister than water but Hermes was guarding the bar.  "Beer?" he asked.  Hermes gave him a look and a head shake.  "Before I have to remember being made to love the mummy that wanted to suck out my soul?"  A beer was handed over and Hermes gave him a pat on the back.  "Thanks.  Where's Auto?  I haven't seen him skulking around yet."

"He's not here yet.  He's still escaping from a Federal prison in Montana somewhere," he sighed, shaking his head.  "I've got to fix that boy."

"Do what Aphrodite did to me, fuck with his life," he said grimly, going outside to hide.  He had heard Athena chatting as she walked toward where he was and he wanted to stay far, far away from her.  Having Athena in a bad mood at this thing would only make the giggle gaggle go after him more so they could soothe their mother.  She hated it when they did that as much as he did, but she couldn't, or wouldn't, stop them either.  He found a garden and decided to stroll around, running into Demeter.  "Not having fun watching the blondes?" he asked dryly.  She frowned at him so he shrugged.  "I had to ask.  I'm ignoring them."

"You always have.  If you hadn't, you might be a happier baby."

"If I hadn't, then the world would have ended a few years back," he corrected.  "I'm happier this way, thanks."  He continued to stroll on, running into one of the giggle gaggle out there alone.  "What?" he asked when she jumped up and startled to sniffle.  "They shun you?"

"No!" she said, starting to sniffle more.  "I just wanted some time alone to think!  We can do that you know."

"Well, some of you can," he noted.  "I'm not too sure about some of you, but I'm sure you were.  I'm out here escaping from you guys so go back to your heavy thoughts."

"How do you do it, Xander?  You watch the people around you die each and every day."

"I have to.  If I don't, then the world ends.  Don't believe me, go ask a Fate.  They're great at reminding me of that when I get ready to quit."

She pursed her lips then shook her head.  "That's not what I meant.  I meant how can you stand to watch the people around you age, get old and creepy, and then die."

"Honey, in my life, most people don't make it to the old and creepy stage," he said simply.  "You either fight and win, or you fight and die, or you ignore it and become food.  Those around me who are also aging are doing the same thing I am."

"But you're immortal!" she said hotly.  "You don't have to age!"

"I do so, I haven't hit my stopping point yet," he said grimly.  "I may decide not to.  Being like this for eternity would suck."  He shrugged and continued on.

"Xander, would you like a hug?  No strings or anything, just a hug?"

"Sure," he sighed, letting her hug him.  If not, she would pout and feel sorry for him while giving him hurt looks for years on end.

"I think you're neat.  You're very good at what you do.  I couldn't do it and I respect you for that."  She kissed him on the cheek then went back inside.

He watched her walk.  "That was odd," he decided, going back to his stroll.  She'd probably be gossiping by now, or else he had made her think and one of the gigglers might turn into a regular person again.  No one would be able to tell for years but it could happen.  He took another sip of his beer as he walked, running into one of the Fates in the back of the garden.  "Clotho, did you have to get me in with that pimp?" he asked bitterly.

She smiled at him. "I told you not to leave Sunnydale yet, Alex.  If you had listened, you wouldn't know about that sort of thing."  She stroked down the side of his face.  "Aphrodite is working her skills already I see.  Don't worry, this time she's seen sense.  Cupid has reappeared and yelled at her again."

"Hmm.  Wonderful."  He grinned.  "Thanks for the warning.  Anything else?"

"Your sticking point is coming up, Xander, whether or not you want it," she warned.  "The world will either end or continue."

"As always."

"Yes, but you won't be the part that you once were," she said gently.  "The time comes for one of the Final Battles, as spoken of by the weave.  You will have one while the others have another one.  Then you and Daniel will work together to stop the third."  He nodded slowly, paying attention.  "One you will not help, it is not your battle.  Your resouled one has that one.  One will be worse than anything you have ever seen.  Even Hell will tremble as you step foot onto it's shores.  The world will stop while you battle, but it will continue if you win.  You will have loss, but you will have Daniel after that.  Do not tell him, he will die faster," she told him gently.  "He must not know, or else it will not happen."

"I'm not going to let him sacrifice himself."

"That is not an option that I can see," she promised.  "The option is to sacrifice one or another."  She stood up and gave him a hug.  "You did make her change some.  She sees that not everyone has an easy, happy life like her," she whispered.  "Still, she is not for you.  Even though she would be fun for a few nights if you wished."

"If I did that, she'd end up pregnant.  You know their mother's dictates on that."

"True," Clotho agreed happily.  "Which would cheese her mother off so much, don't you agree?  She could never force the girl to marry you without you having a total parentage change."

He laughed.  "You're so wicked.  Is that a prophecy child?"  She nodded.  "Then I'll do my duty once again.  It's not the first one."

"True.  It's either you or Jett.  Also, do not let Joxer help in the third battle.  He will solve it but more will be lost."

"Hey, we can always lock him in the closet," he offered.  "When?"

"When she comes to you.  She knows such."  She kissed him on the forehead then walked off, leaving him her bench and the darkening night.

He sat down with a small groan of pain.  "Why does this happen to me?" he complained the open air.  He got all of a half-hour of peace before someone yelled his name and it wasn't someone he wanted to talk to.  So he disappeared and landed in Ares' temple, making him smirk at him.  "I'm not answering a summons by Apollo.  What's going on now?"

"I heard what Clotho told you, so did Joxer.  We were walking around to get away from the girls too.  So did Jett.  He said he would if you didn't want to this time."

"I don't care.  It'll happen if she wants me."  He took the held- out can of soda, handing over the beer to his uncle.  "Now what?"

"Now, it's almost dinner time and you still have to be presentable, kid," Ares growled, flicking a hand at him.  "Go change.  I put clothes on your bed."

"Thanks, Unc.  Leathers again?"

Ares snorted. "Hera would kill my ass, are you kidding?  It's your robes as one of my priests.  You and Danny both.  Jack's uniform got pulled up.  Jett's got his robes and so do the others."  Xander nodded, heading that way. "Bathe too, Xander."

"I usually try," he reminded him dryly.  "I'm not Jace and this isn't the Middle Ages."  He finished his soda on the way to the baths, getting in with Danny since they were the kind where you soaked with others around.  "Hey."

"Hey yourself.  What happened with that one girl, Honey?"

"She wanted to know how I could stand to see people around me aging.  I told her I didn't have a choice.  Why?  She come crying?"

"No, she looked thoughtful and the other girls were giving her funny looks.  Then they tried to pounce us so we left.  Why was Lachesis giving me looks?"

"They're weaving a few battles at the moment," Xander said honestly.  "Apparently we've got another big one coming up at home."

"I'm sorry."

"It'll be one of my last ones.  I'm tired," Xander told him.  "We got past Glory.  I was about to call it quits after that but Dawn needed me."


"Long story," he admitted.  "Very long, strange story as only we can tell them."

"Ah.  Better off not knowing then," Daniel agreed happily.  He didn't want to get sucked into Xander's life.  "Then what'll you do?"

"Settling down is starting to look like a much better alternative," he admitted.  "I'm kinda liking that one actually.  If only I could get Aunt Dite to leave my tired ass alone I'd be more happy."

"She said your current one was all you," he offered.

Xander snorted. "Yeah, and I *so* believe that," he said dryly.  "Have you met my girlfriend Anya?"  Daniel shook his head.  "Just wait, I'll bring her up for a day."

"Not in my temple you're not," Ares said from the doorway.  "Bring her to your Uncle Cupid's if you must but keep her out of mine and out of Hermes'.  Speaking of, I've got to help his idiot son again," he said with an eye roll.  "Got caught stealing antlers from a gun-toting weirdo that's too angry for even me."  He walked away shaking his head.

"Maybe Auto ought to retire for a bit too," Daniel offered.  Xander laughed and splashed him, getting one back in return.  "Meany.  Get clean, Xander.  You know how some of the older women in the family will check ears and navels."

"Gaia hasn't wanted to touch mine since I was about ten," he pointed out happily.

"You were trying to hide a garter snake in it, Xander.  Of course she didn't, you're odd.  You might infect her with your oddness, which would mean more animals like the platypus. " Xander giggled and splashed him again, moving closer to play fight with him.

Jett walked in, already naked, and tackled them as he dove in, shoving them both under the water.  "There, I feel better now," he announced.  The boys looked at each other and got him back, which was his plan all along.  If they kept it up, they might miss dinner.

Unfortunately Aphrodite sent Cupid to make sure they were getting ready.  "Boys," he said, arms crossed over his chest, smirking at them.  "You three are so transparent."  He shook his head.  "Now, get clean like good boys so I don't have to get wet washing your asses."  They all pouted at him.  "Won't work, kids.  Sorry.  Bliss has to put up with them too."

"But step-dad," Xander whined.  "I'll have to sit with *them*!"

"Not a chance," Danny agreed.

"Trade ya, someone brought my wife up," Jett said miserably.

Cupid frowned at him.  "Since when were you married?"

"Since our mother said so," he said bitterly.  "The first one was okay but we were too alike.  This one wants to change me into one of the giggle gaggle."

"Let me check on that for you," Cupid promised.  "Get clean, get dressed, and come on.  There's only ten minutes left and if you pick your own table none of them will sit with you."  They hurried up and got clean, running for their robes and sandals.  Cupid went back to his mother, hands already waving as he walked in. "What were you thinking!" he said, gesticulating hard.  "You set *Jett* up with a happy and *nice* person?  Did you want him to kill her?  Mom, you've got to stop!  You've nearly destroyed Xander.  He'll never give real love a shot now.  You've nearly destroyed Jett for anything near love or lust.  And hello, but Danny and Blair are taking their cues from them since there's so much trouble!"

"Son, calm down.  Anya is Xander's choice."

Cupid snorted. "Psyeah, right, mom.  And I'm *so* the fucking Tooth Fairy.  Don't you see the sparkly wand and toga?"  His mother frowned at him, her hands moving to her hips.  "Mom, look at what you sent at my baby brother!  You sent him someone who'd give diabetics shock!  Then you sent Xander demons!  Hello, are you suddenly turning evil again?"

She snorted, and rolled her eyes, shaking her hair off her face.  "Son, you don't understand the subtlety.  They'll be *fine* with it when the time's right."

"Yeah, because their good ones will have to work ten or a hundred times as hard to keep them, mom.  Not real fair.  Hello, being the evil bitch of love again!"

"I always said I was love's bitch," Xander said as he appeared.  "Can you and the munchkin sit at our table?  That way we don't have Jace, Jett's wife, or one of the giggle gaggle?"

"Sure," he agreed with a grin.  "You like her?"

Xander sighed.  "I think so.  I've convinced myself I do.  It's better than the praying mantis woman, the gay man who hated me, and the mummy.  She's much better for me than Cordy too.  By the way, remind me to kick you in the ass for that, Auntie.  I kinda needed that self esteem you capped with her."  He rolled his eyes as he walked out.  "If it's going to be like this, I'm going to go home and get killed," he called back. "I'd be happier!"

Atropos slapped him on the arm as soon as he got into the dining hall.  "You may not!" she said firmly.  "You have to fight in two of those battles before you die, Alexander.  You must, or we will die.  The first will kill us and the third will being the False Ones back.  Do you really want to be responsible for everyone here's death?"

He kissed her on the cheek.  "Chill, 'Trop.  Think about what was going on before.  Think about the one that she's decided should be my good one."  He went to the table Blair and Danny were defending from the girls.  "No ladies, not tonight.  We have to talk about icky battles and things."  They pouted but left.  He sat with his back to the corner, they had saved that chair for him specially, since Jett hadn't gotten it yet.  He had another one and it was nearer to Hades' table.  Hades didn't like him and hadn't for about six centuries so he ignored him sometimes.  Well, most of the time actually.  He looked over as Jett walked in with Cupid behind him.  "Did she get the point?"

"She said Anya's not *so* bad," Cupid offered.  "She also said it wasn't her.  It was Freya."

"Next time the Norse Goddess of fertility wants my ass to spread for her pleasure, have her come down with the strap-on herself or send one of their prettier Valkyries," Xander told him.  Jett snickered as he sat in the other safe seat.  "Truth!  Have you met my present?"

"As opposed to your ex?" Blair asked.  Xander nodded.  "Not yet.  You gonna bring her up?"

"Only if I can make her stay in Hermes' temple.  I'm sure she and Auto would get along *great*," he said mock-cheerfully.  "Then she could help Auto remember what male-female sex was like again."

"Dump her if she's cheating on you," Jett offered.

"He can't," Cupid pointed out.  "She'll go back to being demonic and then his ass is grass, and the Fates have a few last tasks for him before he retires to be a high priest.  That's why they're all looking at him right now."  Everyone looked at the Fates, who smiled at them.  "Oh, no.  It's not just him."  Xander shook his head.   "You got a clue?"

"Yeah, but I can't share it because it'll make the last of the three fights worse," Xander said.  "I'm in two of the three.  Angel's got one coming too."

"What is worse than Glory was?" Blair asked.  He had heard about that one from Hermes, who had went down to check on Xander while he was healing.

"That's the problem," Xander told him.  "Clotho said Hell would tremble when I stepped foot into it."  They shared a look.  "It sounds like we're having another thing coming out.  I'm tired of that thing.  This time, I want someone to seal it with super glue."

"Done," Cupid agreed.  "I'll talk Pops into it after it's done."

"Thanks, Cupid.  You're a great step-dad.  How's the Mom?"

"Strife's fine, Xander.  He's aware more often now," Cupid said gently.  "One of the first things he asked for was you and Bliss."  Xander gave a negligent shrug but he looked happier.  "He missed having you there."  He reached over to stroke some of his hair off his forehead.  "If you want, I'll bring you down to see him."

"No, I'll be okay," Xander decided.  "Maybe when I have to walk into hell, I'll see him then."

Hades coughed from the next table overs.  "Xander, they didn't mean Tartarus hell, they meant Hell hell.  I heard the Hellmouth is going to open and you might have to go inside it to defeat whatever it is."

"Eww, that's gross.  I'll never get free of the slime," Xander complained, frowning at him.  "Don't say things like that before I eat, Hades!"

"Sorry," he said with a small smirk.  He understood the boy better than he thought.  "You'll survive.  Don't worry. I don't want you back permanently for a very long time.    As a visitor if you would like, but not forever. It might cure him faster you know."

"He doesn't like me either," Xander pointed out dryly.

"I don't see why not, you're nearly exactly like him as a youngster," Persephone said quietly, smiling at him.  "You may come visit my new flower beds."  She shifted over then stood up to stand next to him.  "Xander, one of my handmaidens is with you now," she said gently.  "Some day she will come back to me.  The fight afterward is not the one they were speaking of, it is simply a harder duty for you to perform."  She kissed him on the forehead.  "We do love you, Xander.  You are always welcome within our household, even when my mate is grumpy and surly."  She went back to her seat.

Jett looked over.  "Why does he get all the duties?"

Xander looked at him.  "Because her handmaiden is Tara.  That means she'll be dying someday soon.  Yes?"  She nodded, looking sad.  "Willow?"

"Is your friend, Xander," she reminded him.  "It is for you to help her.  None of the others know her as you do."  He nodded once.  "Now, forget until it is time."

"Won't work on me, one of the demons tried that too," he reminded her.  "She'll be fine?"

"She'll be fine and happy, Xander," Hades assured him.  "She'll enjoy her job with us quite a lot."  Xander nodded, letting it drop there.  "Would you like to have breakfast tomorrow?"

"No thanks.  Maybe before the end of the reunion."  He shrugged. "We'll see."

"That's fine," Hades agreed gently.  He looked at his wife, then kissed the back of her hand.  "I'll miss you this time while you're gone.  Were this not an official function, I'd be showing you how much."  She giggled and blushed.

"Xan, you need me, you call," Jett reminded him quietly.  Xander gave him a look and nodded.  "If you can't deal with her, I will."

"I'm pretty sure he didn't mean that way.  If so, we're without anyone on magic support and that means the last fight will have to be physical."  He grimaced.  "At which time it'll be really bad.  Then I'll call you."  Jett grinned at that.  "Hey, if we're going into the hellmouth, I want you at my back.  You'll make sure my chubby butt comes out of there!  I want you behind me with your sword."

"Thanks, kiddo," Jett said, sounding happier.

"You know, if you two weren't so closely related, then Mom might put you two together," Cupid offered.

Jett and Xander shuddered.  "No thanks.  Xander needs someone who'll be there to hold and cuddle him," Jett told him.

"Jett needs someone who'll go hunting and on expeditions and jobs with him.  I'm tired of fighting," Xander explained.  "It'll take someone with Jett's experiences to understand me, but not him.  Please, Cupid, change her mind on that if she's got it in there."

"No, she's got someone else in mind for you.  It's a much better match, but I'm not sure if you'll get to retire."

"Cupid, whether or not she wants it, I'm going to retire after that third battle," Xander said firmly.  "I'm tired of fighting.  It's all I've done for the last five years straight, and before that life was one big battle.  Just find me someone who I can cuddle up with for eternity and we'll be good.   Right now I don't even care what she looks like, just make it so she can pay the bills for at least a year."

Cupid nodded.  "I'll tell her," he promised.  "It may not work, but I'll tell her."

"That's all I ask.  I can always turn down this latest 'great thing' she shoves my way," he said tiredly.  "I've had to kill a few of the others, this won't be much different."

"Gee, and I was going to ask if you wanted to come out to help us," Danny said dryly.  "We could use you, Xander.  You've got experience fighting odd things and won't freak at the first sight of an alien."

"Not after what I've seen," he agreed.  "But that would still be fighting and I'm tired of fighting.  Unless you can put me on Kirk's world, the one with all the nubile young blondes in go- go boots, then I'm not going.  Sorry, man."

"That's okay," Danny sighed, but he was grinning at him.  "Maybe some of your crew after you've finally solved all the problems and retired?"

"If I can, I'll send you all of them.  If Buffy's still living, I'm sure she'd love interdimensional and interplanetary travel."  He glanced around.  "Where did Jack go?"

"Ares has him at his table so he's spared the monotony of us catching up," Blair offered quietly, glancing around.  "Xander, why are some of the giggle gaggle staring at you this time?"

"Apparently there's a new prophecy child coming into being and I'm one of those who might be the father," he said with a small shrug.  "If they choose me, they choose me and I'll expect Cupid to at least keep an eye on the kid, if not take it away and bring it to me."

"Not in Sunnydale I'm not," Cupid said firmly.  "I know how dangerous your little corner of the mortal plane is. There's no way I'm letting you raise a child there."

"Hey, I was raised there," he said dryly, frowning at him.  "Did you ever kill whoever had that brilliant idea?"

Cupid pointed at the Head Table.  "Yell that way, Xander.  Your father found the surrogates for you."  Jett and Blair pulled Xander back down when he tried to stand.  "No, let him go, I wanna see this," Cupid ordered.  "He has the right to call injury on him."

Xander stood up and straightened himself out before strolling up to the head table.  Apollo noticed and forced a smile onto his face but Xander smiled at Hera instead.  "If I may, My Queen, I have a complaint to file with you about where I was forced to grow up and what's been my life since then.  Do you have a few free minutes sometime soon?  Before I kick the person responsible's ass for putting me on the Hellmouth."

She pursed her lips together, then nodded.  "I do.  I can even hear it now if you want, Alexander."

"Just Xander to you, m'lady."

"Simply call me Hera, child," she said gently.  "What is wrong with where you grew up?  Did not the person who picked the surrogates find someone decent and nice?"

"No, he found a set of abusive alcoholics that liked to try to kill me with supposed pranks, like trying to cook me when I was eight.  Or at least that's what they told the cops, but I heard them calling me Thanksgiving dinner."  She swallowed.  "That's not to mention that by sticking me on the Hellmouth, it put me in the way of every damn prophecy, demon, and bad thing in the universe.  We fought a Hell Goddess recently and most of us survived."  She clutched her water as she sipped some.  "I ask that you ask the Fates.  I asked Atropos once but she said she had nothing to do with putting me there.  That since I was there, I took over Joxer's role from Ancient Greece for Sunnydale.  I'm tired of fighting.  After their last thing, I'm retiring and I want the person who did this to me to come nowhere near me.  Never, unless I'm dying and there's witnesses available that he didn't cause it."

She nodded once.  "I will ask them, Xander.  I'm sorry.  Why do you follow my son if you're so tired of fighting?"

"Because it's all I know and all I've ever trained to do or that I'm good at," he said simply.  "Thank you, Lady Hera, for being fair enough to listen to my plea."  He went back to his seat and took a long drink of his water.  "She's going to ask the Fates."

"Did you ask for a Godly restraining order?" Jett asked.  Xander nodded quickly.  "Good boy.  Remember, we all have real homes if you need to hide from him.  He can't get into mine without dying."

Xander grinned at him.  "I need to set some of that up in Sunnydale."

"You just need to get out of Sunnydale," Blair said wisely.  He looked at Ares, who frowned at him.  "Hmm, Unc has that ' gonna piss in someone's cheerios' look again."

Jett snickered.  "Have you ever told him what you call some of his looks?"

"He's heard me say it, I have no doubt of that," Blair said smartly, winking at him.   "Hmm, he's sending Joxer.  Interesting."

Joxer made it to the front of their table and scowled at Xander. "Uncle Ares said you have bad timing and if you had told him, he would have let you do it during the formal petitions tomorrow.  That would have given it more weight."

"And more gossip, and then I'd have to deal with Athena again," Xander said dryly.  "You can repeat that to him or send his big ass over here."

Joxer smirked at him.  "I'm gonna tell him you said that."

"Hey, his muscles made his ass big.  That's what happens when you consciously flex them each and every time a person looks at them," Xander snarked.  Then he smirked at his cousin.  "Feel better?"

"Much.  I'm sure you'll be the practice dummy tomorrow instead of me."

"Nah.  I don't use a sword.  I use a battle axe," Xander reminded him.  "I'm very good at it after having to use one on many demons, vampires, and assorted bad guys."  Joxer walked back, still laughing at that.  "He thinks I'm kidding?"  Jett nodded.  "Why?"

"He doesn't think you have it in you.  He thinks you rate lower on the hero scale because you hate doing it."

"Yeah, but I might hate being dead more," Xander noted dryly, making Jett snicker.   "You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.  It's either fight or die at the moment.  You should have seen it while Buffy was dead, before Willow raised her again."

"How long did Hecate yell at you for that?" Daniel asked.

"Only that night.  Then Clotho stepped in to whisper something evil in her ear.  Which made them both smile at me.  I'm guessing this is my punishment for trying to let someone else save the world."

"Xander!" Ares shouted.  "That was mean!"

"Then quit flexing it at everyone, Uncle Ares.  They get too much of a workout and it's building them up!"  He looked at Jett again, and shrugged.  "They do.  He even did it at Cordy and Buffy.  Even at Willow, who it turns out is gay."

"Since when?" Blair asked.  "She checked me out last time we saw each other."

"Since Oz left and she got herself a Tara witch," Xander said, waving his hand around.  "How do I know?  Maybe she's bi, but she's with the Tara-loving and spelling now.  Speaking of," he said as he looked around.  "Where's Hecate?"

"Head table," Jett said, pointing at the woman in the corner.  "Go for it."

Xander trotted up there, leaning closer to her.  "Are you watching our witch?" he hissed.  She looked startled.  "She's raised someone recently, Buffy again.  She was pulled out of heaven from her aura and what Willow looked like afterwards.  I'm seeing some major danger coming from her.  She's been doing odd things, Hecate.  Please, watch her a bit closer?"

"I will," she said thoughtfully.  "I'll look in on her tonight.  I sent her a handmaiden of mine."

"Persephone said the same thing," he said dryly.  She looked stunned.  "And she said I'd be doing something about Willow once she died.  Soonish.  Maybe I could get a head's up about what I need to do at the least?"

"I will look in on her, Xander.  You do not have to fear for her going bad."

"Would that be in line with her doing a *lot* of magic?  Like changing her clothes magic?"

"You worry too much."

"Yeah, but you hate it when someone gets in an 'I told you so'."  She frowned at him.  "Fine.  Just check, please.  I've got battles coming up that are going to be the end of me.  I don't want her to be one of them."  He went back to his seat, shaking his head.  Hecate wouldn't stop her, she'd watch whatever was going on and record it to make sure none of her other people went through something similar.  He sat down and looked at Danny.  "Can I send Willow to you for boot camp?"

"You'd have to ask Jack that," Danny said with a fond grin.  "Why?"

"She *resurrected* Buffy," he said bitterly.  "Fully brought her back from Heaven by her aura and the strain she went through.  I only revived her but her soul was still near the body.  Hecate's refusing to yell at her for it."

"Wow, then I want to point her at a system lord," Danny agreed. "I'll ask Jack if we can borrow her now and then."

"Maybe one'll be a double-homicide match," Jett offered with a grin.  "I'd do pay-per-view for that."

"Why don't you like her?" Blair asked.  "She was nice."

"She's hiding behind a very strong smoke screen or the woman has the depth of a jell-o mould.  She's always happy, nice, and pleasant to everyone."

"Not always," Xander offered.  "I've seen her and Tara get into it before.  They made me scared in the past.  Willow discovered women and suddenly found the bitch side of her personality."

"Which isn't any better," Jett pointed out bitterly.  "Now she's bipolar?"

"No, she's never quite that manic anymore.  Not since her 'will' spell that nearly made Buffy and Spike marry."

"That's one wedding I'd pay-per-view," Blair noted dryly.

"Buffy wanted it outside, under a big tree," Xander said with a grin.  "He got really defensive about Angel.  She just made me a demon magnet."

"Oh, yeah, because they can't sense you already," Blair said dryly, smirking at him.  "How many want you now?"

"All of them, which is pitiful considering I'm still on the Hellmouth.  No Jim this time?  I haven't seen him having a breakdown yet.  I miss his whimpering whenever I mention demons."

"Jim said that if I tried to bring him with me this time he would kick me out and go find an evil serial killer to take me and let them keep me this time."

"Hey, we can have Willow raise one if he really wants," Xander offered with a smirk.  "How about yellow-scarf guy?"

"Let's not go there, Xander," Blair said, glaring at him.  "Unless you want to be sent to deal with him too."

"He'd love me and you'd use me for bait, like Buffy does," he said, saluting him with his glass of water.  "Isn't this supposed to be dinner?" he asked. A few people looked at him so he figured he had been loud, but he shrugged and grinned at them.  "I'm hungry.  My fiance can't cook."

"Nor can she keep a house or be a proper wife to you," Gaia called.

"She won't take those lessons off me, Grandma, wanna step in to teach her?" he called back with a grin.

"Alexander!" Ares snarled.  "You can walk over to talk to her.  Your girl isn't that bad."

Xander gave him a look, then smirked.  "Then why can't she come up and stay in the temple with us, Uncle Ares?" he asked innocently.

Ares glared at him, then smirked.  "Fine, let's call her up."  He waved a hand and Anya appeared covered in bubbles.  "Anya, welcome to Olympus."

"Put me back right this instant!" she ordered with a foot stomp.  "I was enjoying my private time without having to pleasure my man as well as myself."

"Hey, I try," Xander called, wiggling his fingers at her when she looked.  "Keep it up, I can stop that you know."  She glared at him and he gave her a sweet smile.  "Wanna stay for dinner, An?"

"No!  I was having multiple orgasms with myself.  That's much nicer than dinner with my future in-laws.  I've met enough of them in the past."  She glared at Ares again.  "Now, put me back before my batteries run out."

"What's the magic word?" Cupid teased.

She gave him a look.  "Which one?  There are many magical words within each language.  In Greek, if I remember right, there were about ten of them."

Ares sent her away with a groan.  "You were saying, Pops?" Cupid called.

"She and I don't get along.  That doesn't negate the complaint that he could have walked over to where his grandmother was sitting."

"Ares, quit," Gaia said sharply, making him stop mid- complaint.  "Cupid, you and your mother should look in on her, see if there isn't some sort of conflict within her and our young man.  I'd like to see him have a very happy marriage."

"He'll be however happy the Fates say," Hera reminded her.

"We had nothing to do with that creature," Lachesis noted bitterly.

"That was Freya," Aphrodite agreed.  "Anya was one of theirs originally."

Jett leaned closer to Xander.  "There's a direct portal to Valhalla if you want," he offered in a hiss.  Xander kissed him on the cheek and they snuck out together to have a talk with Freya.  That woman had to be stopped.  Hera gave them a long look when she summoned them back, motioning them to sit down again.  They sighed but did so.  They could go have a talk with Freya later. It'd only make them happier when they did so.

Hera clapped her hands and the food appeared.  Then Ares coughed and righted it for her, giving her a small smile.  "Thank you, son."

"Welcome, mother.  Have some ambrosia?"  He passed the bowl down to her.  It would cure all those nasty problems she had with conjuring rotten food.

"Thank you, son," she said firmly, taking a good portion for herself.  That sort of thing had to be fixed before it got out of hand and people started to talk behind her back again.


Xander snuck through the portal to Valhalla, smiling nicely at the closest Valkyrie/waitress for the heros.  "Where might Freya be hiding from my wrath?" he asked sweetly.

"She's in her chambers.  Which one are you?" she said, looking him over.  "You're a Godling?"

"I'm a pissed demigod who she's been fucking with," he said smartly, heading for where he could hear a woman shouting at someone not to mix up her potions.  He knocked politely, then kicked in the door, making her smile at him.  "Freya, leave my fucking love life the hell alone.  I don't care what sort of keeper you think Anyanka needs, let her decide that on her own and quit playing Aphrodite's game of putting shit into my life that I have to kill.  Remember, I can do that here too."   She laughed, tipping her head back.  "Fine."  He pulled out a special silver stake and lunged at her, pinning her against her table, which made her look surprised.  "I'm Xander.  You put Anyanka in love with me on purpose," he growled.  "I'm tired of the Love Goddesses wanting me to bend over for their pleasure.  Fucking tell me and I'll make you pornos.  Release her from whatever spell you have on her and do not touch my life again.  I've had enough of the problems from Aphrodite and her sending me demons to try to kill me.  I don't need it from a second pantheon."  He backed up, twirling the stake in his fingers.  "Release her.  If she wants me she'll stay.  If not, she'll be free to find someone who likes her a lot more than I do.  Next time, ask and I'll send you a tape of the sex.  You didn't have to create your own porno channel out of my life."

"Fine, I'll release her," she said quietly, staring at him.  "You are quite strong."

"And tired of Love Goddesses," he reminded her.  "In all their many facets.  Fuck love.  I've had enough of love."  She started to sniffle.  "Won't work."  She burst out in tears and he sighed, patting her on the back while rolling his eyes.  "Some of us want it the natural way.  I'd rather be alone than have someone who was blessed to be mine.  Besides, try for some compatibility.  I don't need to hear how she used to torture men.  Especially not when she expects me to perform after hearing how she tortured men.  Find her another nice former demon if possible.  'Kay?"  She sniffled and nodded.  "Thank you!"  He left shaking his head, heading back to the portal, but he did take one of the glasses of beer to take with him, grinning at the Valkyrie as he took it from her.  "Thanks, I needed this more than the drunken warriors.  If I die in battle, can I come up here instead of back to Tartarus?"  He disappeared, heading back to Ares' temple since that's where he was bunking.  He walked in sipping his beer.  Ares gave him an odd look.  "Had a talk with Freya about wielding the strap-on herself next time or asking for the porno."

"Did you threaten her?" Jett called.

"Yuppers, made her cry too.  She said she'd release Anya from any and all spells."  He went back to his room with his never- ending beer.  He was kicking back to enjoy his first flagon when Jace walked in and took it from him, then walked out.  "I wanted that!"

"Tough!" Jace yelled back.  "You're underage!"

"No I'm not!" he snorted. "I'm older than Blair and he can drink!"

Ares opened the door.  "You're only twenty in your life."

"I may be, but I'm still older than Blair," he said bitterly.  "It was not my choice to deage me back to an infant to have me start over.  At least he gets some respect.  If I suddenly decide to become an academic, do you think I could?"

"I think you're scary," Ares offered with a small smirk.  "Good enough?"

"Not quite the same thing," Xander offered dryly, scowling at him.  "Do I have to save the world all by myself this next time to get respect?  Tell me now and I'll start working on it."

"Calm down, puppy, you're fine," Jace called.

"I'm not your fucking mascot!" Xander yelled.  "Nor have I *ever* been one!"

"Calm down, Xander.  He's only teasing."

"I don't need that shit," Xander told him.  "I get enough of that in my own life, thank you."  He stood up.  "I think I'd rather be back destroying vampires and being snarked to death by the women around me who ignore me than be up here and be ignored.  If you'll excuse me."  He left, going back to his apartment to pick up his usual stake and head out.

Anya came out of the kitchen.  "Did you enjoy threatening Freya?"

"Yup, felt good.  Did she remove the spells from you?"  She nodded, giving him a look. "Good, then you now have free will.  Decide what you want and tell me, Anya."  He walked out, slamming the door.

"I'm making you cookies," she called plaintively.

"He'll be back," Joxer advised when he appeared, giving her a hug.  "Are you all right?"

She nodded.  "Freya took off the compulsion to stick with him and she told me to make my own decision based on what I knew of him.  She doesn't like him anymore."

"Have you heard about Xander's ex's?" he asked.  She nodded, smirking at him. "Aphrodite did that to him.  He hates Love Gods.  He barely tolerates Cupid and that's because he sticks up for him."

"Wow.  What he do to piss her off?"

"He exists," Joxer said blandly.  "She was trying to get Strife back for Cupid when Apollo went nuts and decided to become Zeus.  Xander came from that incident."

"Six hundred years after everyone else did," Jett pointed out as he appeared.  "Little cousin?"

"He went to hunt," she said, frowning.  "Go help him, please, Jett?  He's fragile and not that good."

"He's better than most people think," Jett said bitterly, going to help his favorite cousin calm down.  He found Xander in a cemetery having a vicious fight with one of the vampires that had just come up, waiting until he was done to clap and move closer.  "I've got to do that with some humans soon, wanna help?" he offered. "It's always better when there's blood."

"No thanks, I hate blood," Xander said grimly, walking on. "Do you think that, if I asked, Hera would let me ignore any and all family events until I mess up and the world ends?"

"No," Jett said, patting him on the back.  "It could be worse.  You could be Aphrodite's kid too."

"No thanks.  Then I'd really be in trouble and the world would have already ended a few times over," he said dryly.

"Why?" Buffy asked from behind them.  "Who's your friend, Xander?"

"This is my cousin Jett," he said, turning to grin at her, totally fake but she never noticed. "He's helping me blow off steam from the family reunion."

"Family reunion?" she asked, her nose wrinkling.  "When did that happen?"

"Right now," Jett told her. "He told you a week ago."  Her frown grew worse.  "Never mind," he muttered.  "Xander, wanna catch a beer?"

"I'll only get whined at again by your triplet," Xander reminded him bitterly.   "Do the other ones, Buffy.  I'll do this one."

"But you can't fight," she reminded him.  "What did you mean when you said you'd save the world?  I do that."

"Has it not occurred to you yet that you wouldn't have done that without him?" Jett noted.  "Or that he brought you back to life the first time, way back when?"  She frowned, and it looked like she was growing a brow ridge this time.  "Seriously.  Pond, Master?  Sounding familiar?"

"But....  That was a prophecy," she said finally, sounding triumphant.  "Someone would have."

"Buffy, he was the only one who went.  He pulled Angel with him," Jett told her gently, stepping closer.

"Yeah, but he made me send Angel to hell!" she protested. "See, he doesn't save it, he's only interfering," she said told him, staring him down, daring him to counter her.

"Buffy," he sighed.  "The portal was opened with his own blood.  It had to be closed with his blood," he reminded her.  She opened her mouth but he held up a finger.  "Go back over that prophecy and all the facts about that statue.  Only the person who started it could stop it and only with his blood and death.  That's how it's always been stopped before it ate the world in the past.  It ate the person who created the portal."  He nodded when she scowled again.  "Think about it.  If it weren't for Xander, you wouldn't be here.  A lot of people wouldn't be here."

"Leave her alone, Jett.  You're confusing her," Xander said tiredly.  "I give up for the day.  Let's go get a drink."

"Sure, Xan.  I'll even box Jace if he tries to take it away from you again."  He put his arm around Xander's shoulders as he led him away.  "Later, Buffy."

Buffy pouted and pulled out her phone, calling Willow.  "Xander just said that if I hadn't sent Angel to hell then the portal wouldn't have closed.  Is he right?" she asked, sitting on top of a tombstone.  Her friend looked it up but it was not the answer she wanted.  "Are you sure?  No, his cousin was with him.  Tall, ponytail, dark hair.  Wiry guy.  Jett, Jake, something like that.  No, they were talking about Jace.  Why?"  She grimaced.  "Eww.  Poor guy, to have a drag queen in the family that close.  Thanks, Willow."  She hung up and went on her patrol anyway.  Xander never did a good job with it when he went out with Spike.  Why should going out with his cousin be any different?


Hera looked at those she had gathered for the early morning meeting.  "We must figure out what to do with that boy, Alexander," she announced.  "He is creating an imbalance among the children.  The others will follow him, even though he's younger."

Clotho appeared.  "Hera, touch that boy at your own peril," she warned.  "He is the strength and the glue behind the world staying in orbit.  Harming him by trying to change him endangers us all.  We may not have expected him to go there, but once he was there we needed him in the weave.  So say all three of us."

Hera stared her down, then nodded. "I would not dream of changing him, simply finding a way for him to be happier.  Would that be allowable?"

"How can one be happy when you're the strength behind people who ignore you?" Ares asked bitterly.  "Those girls don't pay attention to him.  He's their strength and their force, yet they ignore him and ridicule him at every turn.  To their way of thinking he's inferior because he's not like them and supposedly special."

"He is a demigod," Clotho offered.  "He's told that *witch* that," she spat.

"She doesn't care.  He can't manifest a power, so therefore he's inferior and unworthy to do more than ferry them places, fix their mistakes, and get them snack foods," Ares reminded her.  "You've seen them ignore his ideas for the millionth time I'm sure."  She nodded.  "Was he correct?"

"Exactly correct," Clotho admitted.  "Eventually someone else came to the same conclusion and it was implemented.  He's their mirror and security blanket."  She moved closer to touch his shoulder.  "The third battle will be his last, Ares.  He will not fight again.  The damage will be too great to his mind."  Ares sighed and nodded.  "He will still be able to plan but sending him will never be practical, or something you will be able to do."

"I'd never dream of having him do more than tactics," Ares offered.

"Good.  Then we have no problem with him finding happiness underneath your careful gaze.  For he will need it.  Even now Aphrodite has a new plan in place for him."  She frowned at Hera. "The boy has every right to hate every single one of us, Queen of the Gods, but he doesn't hate all of us.  Only those responsible for the worst he has suffered."  She disappeared.

"Well, that was *charming* news," Apollo said grimly.  "Hello, I was ill."

"It was six centuries after you had been cured," Ares said, staring him down.  Apollo shifted in his seat but didn't retort.

"Whatever," Hera decided.  "Fine.  He has pain caused by us.  I will agree with his plea.  Apollo, leave the boy alone.  Do not go near him unless it is a matter of life or death."

"We usually send Jett or Hermes whenever we need him for something," Ares offered.  "I can't enter Sunnydale in it's present condition.  There's too much anger and aggression, I'll go primal again."

"His mother would be the perfect person to send after him," Hades tried.  Hera could ask to have him brought back, which would allow him to heal faster.  "He used to love his father before we found him.  He was always tending him."

"It's been too long, he'll never adjust and heal," Apollo told him.

"Really?  Then why is he even now healing and talking sense again?" Hades said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.  "He's asked to see the boy but he said he isn't ready yet."

Hera nodded.  "I wouldn't want to force that meeting.  It would be painful for both parties."

"If you had Strife brought back, he could heal and Xander could start to heal those wounds as well," Ares offered, sounding bored with the idea.  "The boy has his mother's mind but nothing beats the original in some areas.  Including keeping Discord in line."

Hera gave them both a long look, then went back to Hades.  "Wouldn't that hurt Strife more?" she asked quietly.

"You can't be considering...." Apollo started.  Hades locked him to his chair.  "I'm the God of Healing!  It could kill him again!" he shouted.

"Only someone doing it again could do that," Hades said wisely.  "Did you ever make the reparations we ordered, Apollo?"

"I took care of the child," he sneered.

"By sending him to the Hellmouth and making him the modern Joxer," Ares said.  "Did you want him to be killed at a young age?  He nearly was.  His surrogates tried to cook him one year, called him the Thanksgiving turkey even though it was only June."  Apollo went pale.  "That's beyond not caring for him.  Or don't you remember your son having to take care of a few cuts that had gone septic because no one cleaned them?" he asked bitterly, his voice nearly a hiss.  "You have no more paid those children back for what you did to their parents than you have the parents.  Those who are exactly like you are a drain to the majority of us.  Only their mother likes most of them.  Not even Cupid can find some of them a decent enough husband, someone who won't treat them like dirt or try to change them drastically.  And they're just like you, Apollo.  I'm assuming that you had some influence in that decision.  They might have even been something other than blonde and giggly when born if it weren't for your interference."

"Enough," Hera said calmly.

"Unfortunately a few of them he is correct about," Hades offered gently.  "Apollo influenced them when he went to apologize, or whatever, to Athena.  Some of us felt it happen."  He shrugged when Apollo glared at him.  "Truth, boy.  It happened and you have to own up to it.  You created Jett, Joxer, and Jace.  You created Xander.  The only one you didn't directly create was Blair and we're still not sure whose he is."  He relaxed back in his seat.  "I personally would enforce the restraining order between the two.  Xander does not want to go to Apollo for anything.  If he needs healed that badly, he prays to Asclepias, just like the rest of them do.  He's not a bard, he's a creator.  He likes to build.  That puts him more toward Hephaestus than anyone."

"If we could get him free of his sleep, that might help," Ares offered.  "Hephie would understand the boy perfectly, the same way Cupid does.  I have no idea why his mother is torturing the boy, but she is.  He went and nearly killed Freya last night over his latest girlfriend.  She's released now and thinking about her choices."

"He and pookie will be *fine*, Ares," Aphrodite's voice drifted out of the air.  "Trust me, his good one will have it in for him in a major way and he'll adore them for it."

"Someone stop her before the boy dies from this next one," Hades suggested.

"I heard that!"

"Aphrodite, enough," Hades yelled.  "He is a member of my House, not yours!  You will leave the boy alone forever more or else face me yourself!"  She appeared, already pouting. "It will not work, niece.  The boy is to be left alone.  He may be Ares' priest, but he is of my house.  He was born of one of mine.  He played and ate from my realm.  I will not have him bothered by the sickness that seems to infest you whenever you look at him.  For that matter, leave Jett alone as well!"  She sniffled and ran away crying.  "Good!"  He glowered at Hera this time.  "I've had enough of that.  Just because one son isn't a lover doesn't mean that he's any less her son and he certainly doesn't deserve the treatment she keeps giving him."

"I gave his wife to Auto," Ares said negligently.  "She seemed happier with him anyway and Jett said he'd be killing her if she started on him again to retire, to settle down, or to quit hunting."

"Jett serves a purpose, she does not," Hades said firmly.  "Let her leave."

"They are married, it can't be that simple," Hera reminded them.

"They weren't blessed by anyone but Aphrodite," Ares said blandly.   "She's a clone, Hera.  Not a thought in her head, not a brain in her body.  Xander's been forced to date some demons that wanted to kill him who still had more compassion and care for his well-being than that woman does for her husband."

"Then she and Auto should be good together?" Hades asked dryly.

"All he needed was a warm body and she can do that, quite well from what I saw last night," Ares replied smugly.  "Oh, Jett!"  Jett appeared, giving him a bored look.  "Your wife and Auto hit it off really well last night."

"He can have her if he wants.  I'm not going to complain," he pointed out.  "Good morning, Lady Hera.  Xander said to thank whoever stopped Aphrodite this time.  He had seen the demon giving him cow eyes this time."

"Perhaps Aphrodite needs an examination?" Hera suggested.

"Maybe, but then again Mom tried the same thing with me once or twice too.  She hates us," Jett told her with a small shrug.  "I'm not a lover and Xander's not focused on taking care of one like she wants him to be."

"It'd be a happier life for him if he were," Hades gently suggested.

"Yup, but that's not his life, Unc," Jett reminded him.  "Paying attention to only a lover means that the world may well end.  I think I'd hate that more at the moment."  Hades and Ares both chuckled. "Speaking of, that thing with walking into the hellmouth, he said he'd be calling me in this time.  Got any idea when so I can start to arrange things to be closer?"

Hades shook his head.  "Not this year, that's all I know.  It's still building."

"Try the Fates," Ares suggested.  "They're the ones who wove it."

"Good idea, thanks, guys," Jett said.  He nodded politely to Hera.  "I'd better go warn Hermes about the woman's greedy tendencies."  He left, going over to Hermes' temple.  "Hey."

Hermes gave him a look.  "How did you stand her?"

"I don't, hence Unc giving her to your son."  Hermes snickered at that.  "You could kick her out, just make sure she leaves most of my stuff this time.  Also, can you keep an eye on Xander for me?  He's got some massive shit coming up the line toward him.  The Fates wove three Final Battles and he's in two of them."  Hermes whimpered, one hand drifting up to cover his forehead.  "Just now and then if possible?  Maybe do a fly-by once a week to make sure it's not then?  You know how he can be about calling in extra help and this time they're going inside the stupid hellmouth."

"Sure," Hermes agreed gently.  "I'll do a routine fly-by as often as I can.  Any other good news?"

"The other one is Angel's," he offered dryly.  "No Xander needed."

"Hey!  That's a switch," he agreed with mock cheerfulness. "Then he gets to do what?"

"Retire.  Which means we'll have to guard him from my mother."

"And Discord," Hermes reminded him.  "She has a hand in now and then."

"Yup, and that's why I'm headed there next," he said, waving and heading to her small temple behind Ares.  He found her sharpening a dagger and whistled.  "You're gonna wear that blade down to nothing if you keep it up."

"Maybe, but I'm bored," she said, giving him a long look.  "I'm not the one making your mother send demons, Jett."

"No, but you won't be helping that situation either," he pointed out gently, moving closer.  "He's got bad shit coming, Discord.  He needs support, not more hell."

"I heard what the Fates said," she offered absently, going back to her sharpening.  "If he calls for me, I'll help him.  I helped him at Graduation because Ares was so far out in the middle of nowhere with a battle."

"Great.  Was that his plan or yours?"

"His," she said with a small smile. "He is my grandson."  She smirked at him.  "Though I take a free hand approach to his new girl.  I don't like her."

"Neither do I," Jett offered.  "That's now her decision though.  Freya gave her the will to choose and she's apparently chosen to stay so far."

"Hmm, we'll see," Discord noted.  The blade broke under her hands and she frowned.  "Damn it!  This was one of Hephie's last ones too."  She sighed and stood up.  "I'll be back.  Maybe it'll make him wake up."  She popped into his workshop.  "Hey, Hephie.  I broke a dagger," she called.  "You got a few minutes to fix it for me?"  She waited, it was traditional to wait to see if he'd answer.  She heard a low groan and tapped her foot.  "Hephie, I don't need to hear your smutty thoughts about your wife.  I hear enough of hers about you.  I only need this boot dagger fixed."  The body shifted and she held her breath.  They'd gotten this far before.  "C'mon, it's for my grandbaby.  He needs a few good weapons.  Hell, his axe is pitiful," she noted, manifesting it.  "See?  He needs something a lot better created for him."  The body on the bed in front of her moaned and flipped onto it's other side.  "You know, if you keep sleeping, you'll only get a headache," she said dryly, reaching down to poke him with the end of the axe.  "Get up."  He sat up, staring at her in shock.  "Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.  Welcome back."

He yawned and swung his legs off the bed.  "What is that?" he asked, pointing at the axe.

"My grandson's weapon," she said, handing it over. "He needs something better.  And I sharpened a dagger until it broke," she offered, holding it up by the pommel.  "Want me to call your wife?  She'll finally quit crying and maybe she'll quit setting my grandson up with demons."

He yawned and shrugged.  "Sure.  Let me look over the boy first.  He around?"

"Xander!" she shouted.

"I've heard that name," he admitted quietly, standing up.

"Shit!  'Sclep, Hephie's up!  Bring food!"  Feet came running, servants bringing food, the healer, and his wife, who pounced him and kissed him until he had to sit down again or pass out.  "'Dite, let the poor guy eat.  He hasn't had anything in centuries."

She pulled back to smile at Discord. "Thank you."

"Not an issue, but still let the guy eat," she said, smirking at her with her arms crossed.  "Then he's going to make my grandbaby a weapon he can take into the Hellmouth with him."

Xander appeared with Joxer, looking really confused.  "Yes, Discord?"

"Xander, this is Hephie.  He agreed with me, you need a better weapon as your personal one."

"Usually I just pick up my axe.  No one else uses it."

"It's off balance," Hephie said once his mouth was free.

"I noticed, but I figured out how to compensate for that," he offered.  "You really don't have to make me a new one, Hephaestus."

"Shut it, kid.  Hephie likes making pretty things.  Look at his wife," Discord said with a smirk at him.  He shrugged and nodded, smiling at Hephaestus before leaving and taking Joxer with him.  "I still want to know why he doesn't like me."

"You can figure that out later, you've got time," Aphrodite said wisely.  She smiled at her.  "Go away, Discord, unless you're watching."

"That's what mirrors are for," she said as she disappeared.

Aphrodite kissed her husband again.  "Welcome back, lover.  I missed you."

He hugged her.  "I'm awake now, it'll be all right," he promised, cuddling her like she obviously needed.  They could have sex later.  It'd make her feel more like her old self again.  He could tell she was off.


Xander appeared back in Ares' main temple room.  "Hey.  Hephie's up and his wife's on his lap.  Discord decided I needed a new axe."

Ares looked stunned, then smiled at him.  "Good old Discord.  You can count on her being able to wake the dead."

"Then Hades must hate her."

"Only sometimes," he agreed.  "Why won't you go see your mother?"

"Because I don't want to remember how bad it was," Xander said honestly.

"He's healed physically, Xander.  All he needs is mental healing."

"Which I can't give him, Ares.  Do you know how painful that would be?"

He nodded, shifting on his throne.  "I do.  I visit him regularly trying to help.  I planned on going tomorrow so I had some time away from all this stuff."

Xander nodded.  "Tell him whatever you feel you have to about me."

Hades appeared holding a very limp body.  "Help me here, Ares.  'Sclep!"  Asclepias came running and together they got the body situated on the floor and uncovered.  "He appeared in my throne room this morning, wandering, stable, and barely alive."  He looked up but Xander had backed himself against a wall.  "He's not undead, son."

"He is so," Xander told him. "I can feel him from here."

"He's not," Asclepias said.  He waved a hand across Strife's chest.  "That's the problem.  There's a stuck valve.  It won't open."  He forced it to work, healing the partially alive tissue until the being on the floor glowed with their energies.  Then they heard a delicate cough and looked at the now open dark eyes.  "Good morning.  Welcome back."

"Fuck you.  I ache."

"Good, that means you're fully alive," Hades said with a small smirk for him.  "How did that happen?"

"I don't know," he admitted, letting them help him sit up.  He looked around, frowning at the bare corner.  "Who was there?"

"Alexander was," Hades said gently.  "Your son, Strife."


"CUPID!" Ares roared.  Cupid flashed in a moment later holding Bliss, who was fussy.  "What did you do?"

"Not a damn thing," he admitted, staring at Strife. "Is he alive?"

"Fully, and still fully a God somehow," Asclepias announced.  He stood up and then helped Strife stand.  "Alexander!" he snapped.

"What?" he called as he came out of the kitchen.  "Making a pot of coffee.   Hello, being nice," he said bitterly, handing over a cup.  "Morning.  Welcome back."

Strife grabbed him to look at, staring into his eyes.  "I remember you," he breathed.  "I missed you."

"It happens," Xander said, getting free.  "Get used to being alive so we can talk."  Strife nodded, taking the cup of coffee to drink it all, wincing at the strength and the heat.  "Sorry, I have to get a slayer up most mornings."

"Slayer?" Strife asked.  "Why?"

"Because he works with one, Strife," Cupid said gently.  Strife frowned at him.  "Not my choice.  Here, Bliss wanted a hug too.  He did something to help this."

"Talked to Nasty Lady," he whispered, hugging his friend gently.  "She told me how."  Bliss smiled up at Strife, looking hopeful.  "We play soon?" he pleaded.

"Sure, kiddo, we'll play a lot," he agreed, grinning back at him.  "Let me get settled and we'll play a lot."  Bliss grinned and snuggled his way into the warm chest, nearly inside Strife's shirt with him.  "Ah, that's my baby boy.  Want one, kiddo?"

"No, I'm good on that," Xander admitted.  "I'm not really a hugger.  Not for trees, or for cute animals, or even of my girlfriend or family."

"C'mere," Strife ordered, and Xander sighed, hugging him for a moment before letting him go and walking off.  "What's wrong with him?"

"It's a long story, Strife, and it hurts him to see you," Hades said gently.  "The last time he saw you was when we found him down in Tartarus as a young boy while he was taking care of you."

"Huh?" he asked, looking at Ares for information.

"Let me get Bliss out of this one," Cupid said quickly, taking his son back.  "We'll be back in a few.  I doubt I could leave him anywhere at the moment."  He disappeared, going to find Xander and comfort him.  "Hey," he said as he appeared on the playground.  "Wanna hug me now too?"  Xander gave him a dirty look.  "Fine.  Here, push Bliss."  Xander sat the baby on his lap and started to swing, making Bliss giggle and hug him.  "Thanks.  You okay, Xan?"

"Um, probably not," he said sullenly.

"That's fine.  You'll like him and he'll definitely like you."

"His mother doesn't."

"Discord's funny that way," Cupid reminded him.  "Besides, she liked you enough to get you a new weapon made.  And to scowl at your girl for you."

"Don't scowl at her," he sighed.  "I just wanted her free.  If I'm her decision then I'll take that."

Jett appeared and took Bliss, walking over to the slide.  "Here, play."  Bliss cheered and ran up the stairs to slide down, then did it again.  Jett came back.  "You confused him, bro.  He's not sure what's going on at the moment."

"I doubt he's going to be happy when someone tells him and I wanna be far, far away," Xander said smartly, frowning at him.  "I don't mind Anya, guys, I only wanted her to be free of any and all compulsions."

"Which she is, and you're still hers at the moment," Cupid offered.

"We only want you happier, Xander.  If she does that for you then we'll cringe in private."  He grinned at the disgruntled look his cousin sent him.  "Got it?"  Xander nodded.  "Good.  Now...."

"Dude," Hermes said as he appeared.  "Hera's throwing a bloody fit."

"I didn't wake him," Xander defended, giving him a hurt look.

"No, but Strife got a sudden shot of memory when Apollo flashed in to check on him and he about killed him.  She wants you up there."

"Fine," he sighed, standing up and going to grab the baby.  "Come on, little guy.  Grandma Hera wants us."  He pouted.  "You can come play again soon, 'kay?"


"I promise.  Especially if you do it on a day I don't have to work," he offered with a grin.

Bliss beamed at that and sent them both back to where he could feel his grandmother pacing.  "I bringed!" he said happily, breaking into the serious mood.

"You sure did, thank you, Bliss," Hera said with a tight smile.  "Why don't you see if Gaia or Artemis have any new animals?"

"Auntie Artie not have animals up here now," he said with a pout.  Xander whispered in his ear, earning a bright grin and a nod before going off.  "I do that," he called back.

Strife looked at his son.  "Thanks, I needed that energy burst," he said dryly.  "C'mere."

"Hug me again and I'm going to have to punch you," Xander warned. Strife raised an eyebrow.  "I can read it in your body language.  I've had my fill for the century."

"Sure," he agreed with a shrug.  "That's all you, Xander."  He looked at Hera.  "Now, I want the rest of the damn story.  Why is my baby boy this way?  Why is he living *there* with *slayers* and why is he the angriest person on this damn mountain?"

"All of them revolve around the same cause," Ares said gently.  "We had no idea that Apollo had gotten you too, Strife.  Not even Hades did.  They felt Xander being born, but he couldn't find him.  So he was there with you until they finally captured him and brought him back up here.  He was taking care of you."

"Fuck me," Strife said in awe, looking at his son.

"Then Apollo decided to put me on the Hellmouth with the parents of doom," Xander finished.  "Welcome to my life, Pops.  The visitor's bureau is on the left and the peanut gallery is on the right.  Please watch for me swinging sharp, pointy things."

Strife looked at him then at Hera.  "Did anyone actually punish Apollo?"

"He was possessed at the time," she said gently.  "He was ill, Strife."

"Fuck ill," Strife noted.  "This is still his son and he's still treating him bad.  Even worse than my mother did me."

"We watch out for him when we can," Ares offered.

"When you can?" Strife snorted. "He's your damn nephew, Unc!  You did more than that for me!" he shouted.  "He deserves better!"

"I've gotten used to it now," Xander said tiredly.  "I'm going back to bed.  I seem to have developed a headache.  Talk about my life without me."  He walked off, heading back to his room, which he locked so no one, not even Ares, could get in.  Ares had allowed him that privilege way back when he had named him a priest.  He curled up on his bed, closing his eyes to at least pretend he was asleep.  This was not the reunion he had expected.  Someone knocked on the door.  "I'm not taking supplicants or begging."

"Just wanted to know if you wanted to talk," Blair offered.

"No thanks.  Go talk to my father.  He could use a counselor probably."

"Sure, Xan."  He walked that way, stopping Ares and shaking his head.  "He wants to be alone," he said quietly.  "Let him think, Ares.  This is a big change in his life and he's got his own memories to deal with."  He went to find Hera to see if he could help with anything.  He found Strife first, surrounded by the giggle gaggle.  "Off him!" he ordered, scattering them to a nearby set of bushes.  "Sorry about that.  They're mostly Athena's daughters."  He took Strife's arm to escort him back to Ares' temple.  "Don't worry, they won't do it again."

Strife nodded.  "Good.  That's just freaky.  Who're you?  I don't remember you."

"I'm Blair Sandburg.  I'm the one that the DNA in 'Sclep's lab mixed together to create."


"I'll explain it later, when everything's settled down," Blair promised, grinning at him.  He heard a pop of displaced air and drug Strife with him to figure out what was going on now.  "Willow?"

"Blair?"  She grinned.  "Hi.  Is this where the reunion is?  I meant to pop down to the Magic Box for something but instead I landed here.  Not that I'm sure where here is, but I'm still here instead of there."  She bit her lip.  "Is Xander around and in trouble?  Sometimes my powers still bring me where I'm needed instead of where I wanted."

"He's had a bad shock, but he's resting," Blair said with a gentle smile. "This is Strife.  Lord Strife, this is Willow Rosenburg, a friend of your son's."

"Hey," she said with a bright grin.  "You kinda look like him, I can see that you're family somehow," she said, completely missing what Blair had said.  "So he's okay?"

"Just fine, Willow.  I'll tell him you popped in," Blair said, smirking as she disappeared.  "That was the witch he grew up beside."

Strife looked at him.  "She didn't look too impressed with any of us."

"She's into girls now," he explained.  "The only one she's ever given an impressed look to was Cupid, and that was for his wings.  She thought they were soft and fluffy.  Said it made him look like a cute little angel."

"Ah."  He nodded once.  "No wonder my son's been warped even beyond what he had ta go through."  He shook his head. "How did she do that?"

"I'm not sure.  Hermes?" he called.  Hermes appeared in a flash of light.  "Willow just managed to teleport or whatever up here."

Hermes raised an eyebrow.  "She did?"  Blair nodded.  "Okay.  And I thought Xander was exaggerating."  Blair shook his head.  "Cool.  Let me bring that to Hecate.  We're playing chess anyway."  He punched Strife on the arm.  "I can wait for you to visit after you get done with the family stuff."  He winked and left.

Strife shook his head.  "Huh?"

"Some of the younger Gods are still asleep, Strife," he said gently.  "We only got Hephaestus back today.  We only got Hera back a month ago."

"Oh.  Okay then," he agreed, following Blair back to Ares' office, where his uncle was waiting on him.  "Do I even wanna know?"

"Probably not but you need to," Ares offered, handing over a crystal.  "I condensed it so you can watch.  Don't lose your temper in here, I like these books and the desk."  Strife nodded and headed out into the garden to absorb the crystal so he'd understand his son.  The gout of flame that came back through the door didn't singe anything beyond a curtain.

Ares looked out there.  "He was ten feet away.  I'm impressed he held it in that much.  Oops, he just disappeared."  He sent a quick thought to Hera, who was chastising Apollo again.   She got out of there as soon as Strife appeared.  "So, what was Willow doing up here?"

"Said it was an accident," Blair said with a shrug.  "We were wondering how."

"I'm wondering the same thing," Ares agreed.  "Hecate and I need to chat if she's going to do that again."  He stood up and stretched.  "I'm going to do that now.  You stay and listen for Xander.  Keep Danny from chatting him up when he gets up."  He disappeared, heading to Hecate's power signature.  "She left a mess of magic in the middle of my hallway," he said in greeting.  "It feels off for her."

Hecate waved a hand.  "I'll look in on her later, Ares."

Ares tipped her chin up, looking into her eyes. "She *teleported* onto Olympus by *accident*," he said slowly and clearly.  "Into a *warded* temple, *my* warded temple."  She got her chin free.  "That means she's not a normal witch and she might even need some better guidance."

"I sent her a handmaiden."

"You may have, but her handmaiden is having problems too," Hermes offered. "They're fighting.  I heard Xander saying that.  Tara thinks she's using too much magic too."

"The Fates warned him that Tara was going to die soon and that Xander was going to have to deal with her somehow," Ares told her.

"I said I'd deal with her later," she said firmly.

"Fine, as long as *you* deal with her and *Xander* doesn't have to," he countered firmly.  "He's got enough shit in his life at the moment.  Strife just came back."  She looked stunned and he nodded. "He doesn't need her on top of it.  So maybe you should check on her a bit.  She seemed a bit thinner too."  He disappeared.

"Fine.  I will look in on her," she sighed, getting up to do that.  She tuned a mirror into the girl's signature, watching what she was doing.  "Potions.  Hmm, that's out of balance.  She's doing it anyway?"

"She's like that," Hermes reminded her.  "Or didn't you catch that 'will' spell that she did a few years back?"

"No, I hadn't," she admitted.

"I think someone needs a case review," he said dryly, smirking at her. "Is it still my move?"  She nodded so he went back to considering his move while she watched her minion.

"Why is she doing a love spell?" she muttered, watching her work.


Jett dropped Xander back at the Magic Box, giving him a hug.  "It'll be fine, man.   Just give it time.  Strife's a neat guy if he likes you."  He punched Xander on the arm.  "Now, you behave and remember to call me if you need me.  Got it?"  Xander nodded.  "Good boy."  He punched him again then gave him a wicked grin.  "And if you're a good boy, I won't bring Jack and Danny back here with me next time."

"I don't think they'd like that too much," Willow said from where she was sitting.  "Who's watching me now?"

"Hecate," he said dryly.  "Something about violating traffic rules?"  She snorted and rolled her eyes.  "Fine, whatever.  Just remember not to stand too close to Xander so she won't kill him too."  He waved and disappeared.

Xander looked at her.  "There's three Final Battles coming up.  We've got one, Angel's got one, and Danny's got one that I'll be helping him with," he announced.  "We've got to figure out what ours is."  She got up to grab the prophecy books.  "It'll be in a few years, but the Fates saw fit to warn me now."

Willow switched to the book that listed all of the endings of the worlds, bringing it back with her.  "If it's not in here, it's a new plan," she announced, setting it down in her usual seat.  "Tara, honey, the Fates said there's a new apocalypse coming.  Want to make some cocoa so we can research?"

"Sure," she called from the kitchen.  "Xander, I called Anya to tell her you're here.  She's pouting because you didn't go straight home."

"She can come here," he called back with a grin.  He watched Willow, needing to know how to deal with her now since no one else would.

"Quit staring.  It was an accident, Xander."

"Fine," he agreed, going to get his own book to look up things.


Danny and Jack landed back on the base, right in the General's office.  "Thanks, Cupid."

"Not an issue," he agreed happily, smirking at the General, who was stunned to say the least.  "Hey, how ya doin'?" he asked dryly.  "Danny, you behave.  Remember what Ares told you about running toward trouble."  He pinched him on the arm.  "Also remember, Xan's only a call away if you get that sort of problem and he'll be here after his Final Battle in a few years."  Danny nodded. "Good boy.  Nice to meet you, Jack.  I hope you get to come up for our next one too.  It'll be in about another two years, we think.  So be safe.  A few of the girls almost acted human around you."  He wiggled his wings then disappeared.

Danny grinned at Jack.  "And you were worried," he scoffed.  "You made a great impression.  I hadn't seen a few of those girls act like real people since they discovered they could walk."

Jack shuddered.  "It was still kinda nasty being hunted that way, Danny."

"True, but we've all been there and now most of them won't ever do it again," he soothed, patting Jack on the arm.  The General coughed. "Sorry, sir, but we're back and ready for duty."

"So I can tell.  How did you get in here?"

"My cousin Cupid," Danny told him.  "He was nice enough to give us both a lift."

"Oh.  Is that why he had wings?" the General asked.  Danny nodded.  "Then I believe you should explain that, son."

Danny coughed.  "Well, sir, way back when, Apollo was possessed by something and he decided to start his own herd of children.  I'm one of them by Artemis, but I was raised by Hermes since he hurt her so badly.  I can't do anything with it, but it's my family.  I didn't find out until I was nineteen, otherwise I would have stayed with them instead of all the foster families."

The General looked confused, so he looked at Jack.  "Huh?"

"They're his family, not mine," Jack defended.  "I spent most of the weekend with Ares and his people going over some new weapons and some modifications they've made to some classic strategies."

The General sighed. "Dismissed.  I need some aspirin so I can forget I saw that."

"As you wish, sir, but if my cousin Al shows up again in a few years, I'll need to know right away.  There's a chance that there'll be a big battle and he'll be sent to help me."

"Fine," he agreed, making shooing motions.  "Go away."  They left.  "Holy Hannah, now what?" he complained.  "Never mind, I don't wanna know."  He took his bottle of pain killers from his drawer and took a few more than the prescribed dosage.  Just in case the headache would come back.


Prologue 1 - After Willow went Dark.


Danny walked back through the gateway, frowning at the General.  "Is there a problem, sir?"

"Your cousin Al just showed up," he said dryly.  "He's in bad shape."

Danny went running before he could even be told where the boy was waiting for him.  He knew he'd be in his office.  Xander wouldn't be there if he needed the infirmary.  He ran in and slammed the door, grabbing Xander to hold.  "What happened?" he whispered, holding him as tightly as he could.

"Tara died," he whispered.  "I had to make Willow quit trying to destroy the world," he whispered back.

"Shh, Xan, I'm here for you," he promised, stroking his back.  "Are you physically all right?"  Xander shook his head.  "Want to get it looked at?"

"I don't think the military specializes in spell-borne injuries," he said bitterly, pulling back.  "It's not time for the battle yet."

"I figured as much.  I got the hint that you might be injured from that one.  Now, tell me everything.  Hold on."  He picked up the phone and dialed upstairs to the control room.  "Hand the phone to General Hammond."  The phone was handed over. "Sir, it's a personal tragedy.  May I have the weekend off?  Jack can handle the negotiations.  Thank you, sir."  He hung up and grabbed his jacket, bringing Xander with him.  They went back to his apartment so they could curl up together and talk.  Xander obviously needed that sort of attention or else he'd be with Jett at the moment.  "Where's Jett?"

"He's somewhere in South America I think," Xander said tiredly, looking over at him.  "Can I have another hug?"

"Sure, Xan."  He scooted closer, hugging his younger cousin as much as he wanted.  "I have all the hugs you need."  Xander nodded, relaxing into his body.  "Didn't Hecate help her?"  He shook his head.  "Then we'll have to yell at her when we're forced to go up in a few months."

"I can't go."

"You can go. You can go up with me," Danny promised, stroking the boy's back.  "You know I'd protect you from the wicked witch up there."  He let the boy snuggle in as much as he wanted.  It was comforting in it's own way.  He liked Xander and now he knew that Xander liked him.  "How's Anya?" he asked finally.

"I left her at the altar.  Someone stepped in to show me what our marriage would be like.  I nearly turned into my adopted father," he said bitterly.  "I left her there so she wouldn't be tainted like that.  Now she's demonic again."

"Poor guy," he crooned, pulling him closer to hug him again instead of just holding him.  He noticed Xander was almost in his lap and slowly released him but the boy didn't move, simply put his head down on his shoulder.  "Hey, anything you want," he promised, stroking him again.

"Maybe later, Danny.  Not right now.  I need to grieve."

"Sure, Xander.  You grieve and I'll be here."  Someone pounded on the door.  "Go away!"

"It's me!" Joxer called.  "I've coming bearing messages and a tape."

"Leave it and we'll get it later," Daniel called back.  It appeared on the couch beside him and then Joxer left.  "Hmm, persistent."  He popped the tape into the machine and turned it on, letting Xander watch as Hecate chewed Willow a new one from a distance.

"She's as much to blame.  She could have stopped Willow," he said, turning his head away.  Daniel turned it off and went back to simply holding him.  He needed it and Danny was good about doing what was needed.


When Danny came back, Jack was waiting on him.  "What happened?"

"Willow tried to destroy the world in her grief," he said quietly, glancing around the work area they were in.  "Xander had to stop her."

"Which one was Willow?"

"His best friend, Jack.  She tried to kill him at the same time.  I had to help him with some of the cuts on his side from her spells.  She flayed a part of him."  Jack winced.  "Yeah, so he's mostly destroyed at the moment.  I left him on my couch."

"So, not the battle?"

"No, just a personal one that the Fates warned him about," he said quietly.  "He begged for help for her but the people who could have didn't.  They left it at his feet and he had to clean it up."

"That sucks," Jack decided.  "Why couldn't they help him?"

"It's arrogance of being powerful," Danny said with a small shrug. "They thought it was beneath them and Xander paid for it.  They've done that to him before.  This time, someone's going to have to listen.  That only leaves that new battle."  He went to get his stuff.  "Are we traveling today?"

"No, not until later this week.  We've got everything already from those last ones.  They sent an official diplomat."

"Good.  At least they're more prepared for offers of first daughters as a bargaining chip."  He sat down to do some translating work, glancing at Jack. "I'm fine."

"I'm sure, but you're still quiet."

"I've had a whole weekend of quiet, Jack.  I'll be noisy when we're summoned up to the next reunion in a few months."  Jack nodded.  "Do you want to come up again?  You were invited."

"Sure," Jack sighed.  "Nothing better to do around here."  He shrugged and went to his office to fill out forms.  He always had paperwork to do.

Danny smiled as he went back to his translating.  He was sure Xander would be fine now. The kiss he had gotten this morning had proven that.  Xander didn't normally like men but he had kissed him fully and had been awake and aware when he had done it, so he obviously had meant to do it.  He looked back at the section of the temple he was working on, noticing that the word Love was written over and over again.  "Ah, man, they gave me a Love Goddess' temple," he complained.  "They always hate me."

The others in the room chuckled but didn't look up from their own work.

"Anyone want to trade?"

"No," was the unanimous decision.

"Sorry, Dr. Jackson," a pretty new young officer said, pouting at him.  "What's wrong with Love?"

"Ask me when I've had a drink," he advised dryly.  "I can't recite all the problems when I'm sober.  I've made myself forget a few of them."  She nodded, so he stared her down.  He raised an eyebrow and she smirked at him.  "No."  She sighed and wandered off.  He rolled his eyes, muttering at this new person Aphrodite had sent his way.  He was really tired of her.  Maybe it had some anti-Love potion listed in here that he could get Xander to make for him.  The system lords probably didn't want love to get into the open so they'd have to have something to do about it.


Prologue 2 - After Sunnydale is Gone


Xander wandered onto the base, giving the airman at the inner gate a happy, dopy grin.  "I'm here to see my cousin Danny.  I was sent with an important family message."  The airman gave him a disgusted look so Xander pulled out his pass and waved it.  "Still good?"

"Fine," he agreed, signing him in.  "You can call him up from the red phone."

"Bet me," Xander snorted.  "Run the pass, kid."  The young man ran the pass then gave him a dirty look.  "What?  It didn't work?"

"It did, but it has unrestricted access.  You don't much look like a general."

"Not in the military, no, but of many battles, yes," he said dryly, heading down to the elevator, pass already out.  He had to go through that a few more times before he could find Danny.   He was met at the elevator by Jack and the General.  "Tell me you didn't get him killed, Jack," he demanded.

"Xander?" he asked, looking stunned.  "What happened to you?"

"Long story that shouldn't be put around most of the military, man.  I'm here to enlist, sir.  Specialist Harris, demolitions, strategy, and trouble.  Ares sent me to you for the upcoming battle."  The General looked stunned.  "It'll be within two months."  He snapped off a salute.  "Where's Danny?"

"In his office working on something," the General admitted.  "My office."  Xander nodded and followed him.  Once they were safely shut inside he looked the young man over, noticing the eye patch, the slump to the thin shoulders, the muscles that were more defined than last time.  "What happened?"

"I was in Sunnydale," he noted.  Both officers shuddered.  "The thing that made Sunnydale special was the spot where we just fought the First Evil, sir.  She wanted to end the world her way.  We went into hell to fight her.  The city's gone.  The Slayer lives, and Ares sent you this," he offered, handing over the envelope.  He looked at Jack.  "Jett couldn't make the last battle.  He broke his leg.  I did it all by myself this time.  Me, Buffy, Willow, and a few others who went in there to kill a bunch of things.  My battle plans."  He shuddered too.  "So, where's Danny?"

"I'll get him," Jack decided, heading out to do that.  "Danny!" he called as he walked.  "Your cousin just showed up!"

"What?" he yelped, coming out of his office.  "Xander or Jett?"

"Xander.  He's in the General's office.  He brought him a letter."

"Damn it, already?"  He hurried that way, tapping quickly before entering.  Xander turned to look at him.  "What the hell happened?" he asked in shock.

"Sunnydale.  Hellmouth.  Went inside to fight this time.  The First Evil and her minions were not happy with us.  The eye was a minion who was a preview of the battle."  He shrugged.  "It's nearly time. You've got a few months."

"Good.  That's good.  We can plan if we know.  Which System Lord?"

"All of them," Hammond said, staring at him.  "Fine, I'll agree to that sort of help.  I'm assuming you can stay with your cousin for now.  Then what do we do?"

"If you're lucky? You survive," Xander said simply.  "You move on."

The General nodded.  "I meant between those two.  Any special training you can give?"

"Got many demolitions experts or construction guys?"  The General considered it then shook his head.  "That's me.  I'm also one of the forces of destruction in the universe.  Just ask any friendly graduate of my year in school, after we blew it up."  He grinned.  "I'm damn good at it, plus I'm damn good at strategy for small group combat.  Give me ten people and I could probably take over this base if I had some time to do it indirectly.  Plus, I'm your conduit to Ares and his staff of strategists, which beats the Pentagon ones any day since he's pissed at them."

"Okay then," the General decided.  "What are we facing?  The note was rather vague."

"That hasn't been decided yet.  There's a meeting next week between six of the stronger Lords.  They're going to put forth a push to overtake us so their reps quit getting trashed.  Your Tok'ra agent in the midst of them isn't going to be much help, she'll either be dead or forced to go along with it by her symbiot.  After that, it'll be a small hop to attack by multiple means.  There will be an air attack but you can handle that before it gets here.  There will be people coming through each of the gateways and by transport ring.  You'll need cooperation to deal with that since some of them won't be here.  Ares wasn't sure but you may have to send the President on one of his month-long trips back to his ranch to do nothing as well."

"He's got one planned for around that time," Daniel admitted.  "Do we know which ones?"

Xander shrugged.  "Ask the Uncle yourself.  He said I'm not allowed to tell you or you'd do something dumb.  Again."  Daniel glared at him so he shrugged.  "Not my decision.  The Fates said the same thing!"

"Fine," Daniel sighed.  "I'm going back to my office.  Come down after you're done up here, Xander."

"Sure."  He kissed him gently.  "It'll come down to a decision you've got to make, Danny, and if you knew the risks beforehand you'd either wobble or make it worse."  Daniel nodded and went back to his office.  Xander looked at the General.  "Sorry.  Yes, the family is like that.  Look at how many brothers and sisters wed in the upper levels."  He looked at Jack.  "Problem for you?"

"No," he admitted.  "Not at all.  You made him smile.  That's pretty rare."

"Cool beans."  He looked at the General again then pulled out another envelope.  "For after I sent Danny away so he absolutely could not read that one.  Jett will be here in two weeks, after he's back on his feet.  Even limping he's still faster than most people.  I do know that you cannot call Blair and Jim.  Jim's senses would go nuts, even if he would be a tactical advantage, and they can sense Blair for some reason.  They may be able to sense me, no one's sure."  He sat down.  "Sorry, I'm still shagged from the last battle.  It was only a week ago."

"How did you lose your eye?" the General asked.

"One of the First Evil's minions popped it with his thumbnail."  Both officers stared at him for his bland tone.  "It's been about two weeks now.  Speaking of, got any tylenol?"  The General tossed over the bottle out of his desk drawer.  "Thanks."  He took two and handed it back.  "Now, where should we start?  The meeting?  Planning for after the meeting if we can't disrupt it?"  Discord appeared behind him.  "Helping or not?"

"Helping," she sighed, handing over a third letter to Xander.  "For you, for Danny.  The Fates relented."  She disappeared.

Xander read it, then sighed and put it away.  "Someone in his immediate team may well die, it's not been decided yet.  I'll be the one helping with that plan so he doesn't have to face that."  He looked up at Jack at his protesting noise.  "Hey, I never said I'd do it alone, but still.  Do you want Danny to have to face that?"

"No," he admitted.  "Have you?"

"Graduation.  I made the plans and set the people out.  A number of which died."  Jack nodded, that was all he needed to know.  "I will say that this will be my *last* damn battle ever.  I'm not doing this again.  Someone else can save the damn world.  There's nineteen slayers headed to Cleveland right now, let them actually do it all by themselves again."  The General looked stunned.  "What part didn't you get told?"


"For demons.  Oh," he said, snapping his fingers.  "Ares, he needs those files you forgot to give me!" he called.  They appeared on the desk, with his mother leaning beside them.  "Hey, Mom," he said dryly.  "You gonna freak again?"

"I'm gonna go revive that asshole and kill him a few more times," he said bitterly.  "You okay?  I can get 'Sclep to look at it again."

"He said it had to heal some before he could do anything, Mom," he said tiredly.  "Just give it a few more weeks."  Strife slumped but nodded.  "Remember, by the time it's too late, I'll be up there again."

Strife kissed him on the forehead.  "We were wondering if a certain scythe might help you a lot."

"I'm not sure if the scythe would work on aliens.  You can steal it and we'll try," he offered lightly.  "I'm all for it.  It's not much different than my usual axe."

"Speaking of," Strife announced, waving a hand and coming up with a new one.  "From Hephie," he said with a grin.  "Specially for this war.  After the big battle, you'll be giving it to someone who can use it in your stead.  If the scythe works then you can let them use it during the battle and you'll take that.  Got it?"  Xander nodded, that made sense.  "Good boy."  He grinned.  "Need anything else?  Coffee?  Soda?  Chocolate?  Morphine?"

"No, I just took some tylenol, it's well within my pain tolerances at the moment," Xander said calmly.  "Go check on everyone for me though."  Strife nodded and went to bug Willow some more, making sure she'd never go evil again.  "Sorry, my mom," he said, resting the axe against his thigh.  "It would be neat if the scythe worked.  You can't always use a rocket launcher primed with symbiot-cide."

Jack looked stunned.  "That would help a lot, especially if we could just get the Lords."

"Even if you got the warrior army, they may be thankful to be released," he offered in return.  "They know that they're slaves to the beasts they carry, Jack.  They know now that there's other ways out there because otherwise their bosses wouldn't be so hot to take you down a few notches on Darwin's scale.   Most of them have to be smart enough to think about what's so different.  If not, they're tools who're happily following orders."

"True," Jack agreed.

"Besides, any symbiots that are left alive have the opportunity to grow up and do this again.  I'm not suggesting genocide, but I'm suggesting we take a long-term thinking pattern.  In two hundred years someone will have to deal with this menace again even if we only leave the army alone and take on all the heads."

 "Doing so would be wise," the General agreed.  "We could leave sealed information in the Pentagon about this, and with our allies."

"That's presuming the US goes on that long," Xander said dryly.  "Leave it a few places.  Like in Canada.  No one seems to bother them."

The General nodded that was a good idea as well.  "Now what?"

"Now, we figure out our first point of attack.  Do we try for the meeting next week or not?  If so, will that dishearten them or piss them off worse?"

"It'll piss 'em off worse," Jack offered, "but we'll have to at least get in there to listen."

The General nodded.  "Good.  Who and do we know where yet?"

"So far, the meeting seems to be in a neutral location.  Like their holy spot," Xander offered.  "We could get them coming and going, but probably not in there.  I'm guessing that there might be some sort of protection or some....."  He trailed off as a new person appeared next to him.  "Huh.  You do exist," he told the little grey guy standing there.  The alien blinked a few times at him, then nodded.  "Cool.  Alexander Harris, son of Strife, Greek God of Mischief."  He held out his hand.  "Chosen Priest of Ares in this battle."

"I have heard of them and how they fought.  We shared duties with the Norse pantheon at one time," he said solemnly, shaking the human's hand.  "O'Neill, we have heard some disturbing rumors of a meeting."

Jack nodded.  "We have too.  Xander brought it to us.  There's going to be a meeting of a few of the bigger System Lords to take us all down.  They're going to try for a concentrated push against us."

"Do you know where the meeting is?" Xander asked.  "Or how to get there?"

"There are three places that they may go," the alien offered.  "Only two have gates.  The third is a spot in space where they believe their former world lived."

"Then the third would be the safest spot," Xander said thoughtfully, looking at the General.  "Which do you think, sir?"

"I would guess that one as well.  We can send teams to the others maybe."

"They are inhabited worlds," the alien offered.  "Both gates are prominent and able to be seen, Hammond."

Jack sighed.  "So we're pretty much stuck unless it's in space?"

"Yes," the alien and Xander said in unison.

"But doing it in space would keep the others from trying to interfere," Xander added.  "Doing it somewhere inhabited would bring others running unless it was their spot.  It would draw attention and they might not want that yet."

"That would seem reasonable," the General agreed.

"Very in-line with what they've done in the past," Jack agreed.  "The Tok'ra, sir?"

"Call Sam's father personally," he ordered.  "I want Jacob doing this."

"Yes, sir."  He went to send that call, hoping to get him fairly quickly.

General Hammond gave the young man in front of him a long look.  "How old are you, son?"

"I'm nearly twenty-one.  I've been fighting officially since I was fifteen.  I've got seventy vampire kills to my name, including friends.  Unofficially I had to defend myself against others before then."  He popped his neck.  "This isn't new for me, it's just the last one."

"Fine," the General agreed gently.  "Why don't you make Daniel take you home so you can nap?  You look tired.  We can gather some ideas and bring it together tomorrow morning?"

"Sure.  Maybe by then we'll be able to figure out if symbiots can feel me or not too," he said dryly, but he was smirking at him.  "Anything else?"

"No, go.  You look done in."

"Yeah, well, time kinda stopped during the time in hell," he noted.  "It was a long battle."  He stood up and saluted before leaving to find Danny's office.

"I am worried about him, Hammond," the alien said quietly.  "Is he healthy for this?"

"No, but it's his task," the General said.  "His last war."

"Ah.  Then he will fix it well enough."  He looked at the axe.  "Who made that?"

"The person he called mother said Hephaestus did."

"Good, then they've woken most of them up," the alien said fondly.  "We missed them in the past.  They were always amusing."

"They do exist?"

"They do.  We had many conferences and meetings with them.  The others will be pleased when I tell them that they are helping this time as well."  He shifted his stance a bit.  "Do you think he would mind my touching the weapon?"

"Probably not.   You're not going to hurt it, are you?"  The alien shook his head and reached over to run a long finger up the side of the handle side of the axe head.  A bright flash went off next to them.  "Ah, hi," the General said, noticing how large the person standing there was.

"Mighty Hephaestus.  Your nephew was quite tired and left this in the General's excellent care," he said respectfully, bowing to him.  "How is your tribe?"

"They're mostly awake and aware now," he admitted, smiling down at his old friend.  "How is everything, Thor?"

"The false ones return soon," he said sadly.  "Your nephew is chosen of Ares?"  Hephaestus nodded.  "Good.  Then I will trust him with our skills as well.  I was sorry when I heard his parent died."

"Strife's been brought back, but he's still pretty wary about Xander.   Xander's a reluctant warrior who wants things to end as quickly and painlessly as possible," a new voice said as he appeared as well. "He left it?"

"He all-but trudged out of here," the General offered.  "You are?"

"Ares, God of War," he said smugly.   "Thank you for getting him to rest. His mother said he was tired too."  He looked at the alien.  "Thor, I need their present specs and abilities, plus their charts.  Can you get it for me?  Just give it to Xander and he'll send it to us."

"Of course, Ares.  I will talk to the others in my Council and have them gather together what we have.   I do know that there are six going to this new meeting and then another seventeen total who could be in the assault."

"We have plans of somehow getting to where they're holding the meeting to at least spy," Hammond offered.

"Good, I like that idea," Ares agreed.  "Xander isn't allowed in space.  It'll hurt him more.  He needs to be grounded to a planet most of the time.  Even airplanes bother him at times."  The General nodded at that, it was a sensible precaution.   "Also, he's more of a guard than a guardian.  Put him in front of your gate down there and let him lead that section.  You send your best people to the off-world sites.  You send your space people into space.  You'll be fighting a triple offensive if I'm right."

"We can destroy the ones coming through space," Thor offered.  "Us and the Tok'ra."

Ares considered it.  "Good.  If necessary we may have to double up the crews or something, just in case of boarding parties."  Thor nodded, that sounded reasonable.  "Expect to have some that'll be following the things as they run."

"They're still humans, Lord Ares."

"Yes, but they're going to have to be gotten through," he noted bitterly.  "You'll have to take down the Lords, all of the ones in power or at least enough so that they can't try another thing against this planet for a good while.  If you can do that, then you've got at least a few more years to work on the others."  Hammond nodded at that.  "That leaves the less powerful members."

"Usually their queens," Thor offered.

"Not always," Hammond warned.

"No, not always," Thor agreed.  "Just usually."  He looked up at Ares.  "We will work with your nephew on this one, Great Ares."

"Thanks, Thor.  Come by for a drink sometime.  Jett's up with his broken leg at the moment and he'd love to say hi too."

"Is O'Neill one of yours as well?" Thor asked.

Ares smirked at him.  "No, Danny is.  He's Athena's from when Apollo went insane."

"Ah.  I thought I had felt something similar off O'Neill.  Perhaps it is just a distant contagion in the line then."  He shrugged and smiled at Hephaestus.  "Our engineers would love to speak with you.  May they join us?"

"Of course," he agreed. "Bring them up for a drink too."  He smiled then nodded at Hammond.  "We'll figure out the scythe thing for you before it's needed."  He disappeared.

Ares smiled at Thor, then winked at Hammond.  "Oh, well, back to the boards and battle plans.  We'll be seeing you soon, Hammond.  Don't worry that you'll be abandoned."  He disappeared.

"We have always liked working with them.  They were fierce in our defense," Thor noted.  "I too shall leave you for now.  I will bring the nephew that information.  Alexander was a great General, I know this one will be as well."  He bowed and left.

Hammond slumped in his seat, taking a few deep breaths while trying to figure out how to report this.  He finally figured out some of it and called on his special red phone.  "Mr. President, it's General Hammond, sir," he said in greeting.  "No, sir, I've just been given some special information, sir.  There's going to be another attack within the next few months.  No, sir, we're starting the planning now.  We've talked to most of our allies at the moment and they're seeing what they can do to help us. No, we've been found by a few more species that we hadn't been attached with before.  I just talked to Ares, God of War, and he said he'd agree to help us as well.  No, sir, they claim kinship with some people already down here.  He sent one of his people to me and they introduced us. Yes, sir, a normal person. No, sir, from Sunnydale.  Really?  That would be fine.  I wouldn't mind the file on that.  Thank you, sir.  No, sir, I don't think they're terrorists, I think they want to take over the world instead of just create fear and dissension."  He rolled his eyes. "Yes, sir, I'm quite sure we can handle it.  We may have to call in some more infantry people but otherwise we'll be fine, sir.  Thank you, sir, and have a nice day.  We'll let you know if you have to evacuate back to Texas."  He hung up and looked up at the ceiling, shaking his head.  "Why?"  He made sure his phone was fully hung up then went to work on the possible plans.  They'd need to hurry on these this time.  Fortunately he had some places to start.


Xander smiled as Danny brought him a cup of cocoa.  "It's odd, but Anya never did that for me," he said out of the blue, not quite sure why he said it.  He looked around.  "Butt out, Aphrodite!  You too, Freya!"

Danny laughed.  "I'm sure it was Anya.  What happened to her?"

"She died during the battle."

"I'm sorry."  He stroked down Xander's arm.  "Are you okay with that?"

"Yeah, we were friends and I'm used to losing friends," he said, looking even more tired.  "This is absolutely the last one, Daniel.  I'm not doing this again."

"I understand," he soothed, shifting closer so he could hug his friend.  "Don't worry, you have people around who will comfort you all you need.  I'll gladly hold you if you want."

"Danny, if I do that, then I might be tempted to do more," he quietly admitted, putting down his cocoa to look at his buddy.  "I'm really tempted."

Danny gave him a kiss.  "Then we'll be tempted together, okay?"  Xander nodded, beaming at him.  "But not before you get a nap and you finish all that cocoa. It's my personal recipe."

"Swiss Miss?" Xander teased.

"Cadbury's," Danny retorted, sticking his tongue out.  Xander captured it to kiss him, making Daniel moan and cling to him.  "Damn, you're good."

"Yes, I am," he said smugly, going back to what he had been doing.  He got them both out of their shirts before Danny knew what was going on.  The first time Danny let out a protest he was being laid back onto the couch.  "Shh, I'm not having any other intention than this, Danny.  All I want to do is kiss and cuddle.  You're going to have to wait to jump my ass."

"Sure," Danny moaned, letting Xander do whatever he wanted for now.  This was really good.  He hadn't felt like this in years.  Xander was rubbing his jeans against Danny's own jeans.  It was delicious and not near enough contact for either of them.  They could draw it out this way, Xander taking the time to learn Danny's body so he could be the best lover yet.  Danny felt like he was some sacrificial offering that was being explored, and then Xander finally let him come.  He went limp while the younger man worked himself off, smirking up at him.  "That's not cuddling."

"To me it is.  There wasn't any sex involved and I'm holding you, right?" Xander asked with a tired grin.  He put his head down on Danny's chest, closing his eye. "Can I nap now?"

"Go for it, Xan.  You nap for as long as you want," Danny offered, stroking the bare back. Danny picked up his t-shirt and used it to clean off underneath his jeans, then tossed it back onto the floor.

"No, not happening!" Aphrodite shouted as she appeared. "This is not what I had in mind for you two!"

"Fuck off," Xander growled, glaring at her with his good eye.  "If I wanted your input into my love life, I'd tell you, Auntie.  Now leave, before I have to get mean."  She took a step back.  "Leave, now!" he yelled.  She whimpered and left.  Xander put his head back down.  "Rabid bitch," he complained.

Danny stroked his back, soothing him back into the calm state.  "It'll be fine, Xan," he promised quietly.  "I promise it'll be fine.  She won't be doing anything against us anytime soon."  He had to believe that or else he'd be whimpering in fear at what she could be doing to them.  Apparently it was enough for Xander because he was quickly going limp on top of him and starting to snore.


Aphrodite stormed into Ares' temple.  "You've got to fix them, Ares!  Danny and Xander just got together!  I don't want them together!  They're needed in other places!"  He ignored her, making her stomp her foot and let out a shriek.

"Chill, Aphrodite," Discord said dryly.  "He's happy enough for the moment. Being with Danny gives him a reason to win this last battle."

"No, it doesn't.  Danny could die.  Are we not seeing a conflict here?  Or how that could hurt the kids?"

Ares looked at her.  "Since when have you cared?"

"Always," she retorted.

"So, caring about him nearly got him killed by his last few lovers?" Ares asked dryly.  "That's not love, that suicide.  Now, go before Strife finds out you're here."  She gave him a panicked look and disappeared.

"How is his vendetta against her for how she's done Xander?" Discord asked.

"Still going strong.  He'll be getting her back any day now," Ares said dryly, going back to the plans.  "What do you think of this one?"

"I think it's too complicated.  We've got three possible ways for them to attack.  One of them is in space.  Worry about the land assault.  You've got one in an ice cavern. It's almost impossible to get out of."

"True, and Thor is good at leading battles, plus his people are wonderful at that if they've kept their skills up."  He considered the three-tiered map and moved the top one off to the side, creating a table for it alone.  "Okay, so that leaves us two points here.  One's an ice cave and one's in the middle of the US under a mountain.  With Xander right in the way."  He looked over as Jett hopped in on his crutches, letting him see what was going on.  "Do you want to guard with Xander or do you want to go in as a frontal assault position?"

"I want the later, but I may not be able to do it with this leg thing going on," he complained, frowning at the scene.   "Let's start with the home options first. That's the first and last position, our Alamo if we have to."  Ares nodded and put that one on top, letting him look them over.  "How big is the cavern?"

"Not very.  It's got a drop-off for an entry.  It's about big enough for the gate and a tunnel," Discord told him, moving closer. "You'd be squishing guys in there to get sixty into that cavern."

"Then we can hold that one off," Jett decided.  "It's not the favorable entryway.  Are there any others on this damn planet?" he asked, looking at Ares.

"Two, and they're both dismantled," he admitted with a tight smirk for him.  "We made sure of it.  I had Hephie take them apart piece by piece.  They're both down in Poseidon's realm.  They can't breathe water even if they could make it through."  Jett smirked at him for that.  "That leaves Colorado, with Danny and Xander in the way, or Antarctica."

"Or Danny could be sent to one of the off-world sites," Discord put in.  "He's used to it, he's got their number already.  Xander's rear defense."  Jett and Ares both grunted, not looking up from the plans.  "Fine.  Have at it.  Want Strife too?"

"Yeah, now," Ares ordered, waving a hand at her.  "And food.  Jett needs it."

Jett pinched him.  "I juste ate."   He glanced around as he felt Discord leave.  "How did we do this last time?"

"Infiltration and killing," Ares reminded him.  "You were still really young."

"Okay.  Is that where Cupid said he got bloody feathers from?"  Ares nodded, frowning at the plans.  "Do we have blast shields on the room where Xander will be?"

Ares grunted, frowning at the map.  "I think so."  He shrugged.  "We'll go look tomorrow.  They're doing a strategy meeting then."

"Cool by me.  I've meant to see Danny recently."

"'Dite was just in here saying that Danny and Xander were snuggling," he said with a smirk.  "It was pissing her off greatly."

"Another thing for Strife to get her for," he said with a mean, evil smirk.

"Sorry, I agree, Danny does too many dangerous things to be with my baby boy," Strife said as he appeared.  "That's about all I'll give her."  He looked at the battle plans, moving closer to frown at it.  "That is not the environment I'd want to fight in.  Which one does the son have?"

"This one," Ares told him.  "I want him in the gate room.  He's a good battle commander and he can keep his head in the middle of a battle."  He glanced at his nephew, who looked stunned.  "I didn't think you'd want him going off world to guard a gateway out?"

"Well, no," Strife admitted.  "I'd rather he wasn't there at all."

"There's no choice, Strife, and Xan would tell you the same thing," Jett reminded him. "That axe isn't just to look pretty.  It's to be used.  It can cut through their cheesy armor and take off heads.  Just like he's done before."  He looked up at the worried parent.  "Go do a life review, Strife.  He's done this before.  This isn't his first battle.  It's his last battle.  After this he retires."

"If he's living," Strife said bitterly.

"The Fates didn't say anything about him not," Ares offered dryly.  "Help or not, Strife.  He's still got to fight.  We need him there and his experience is a crucial link to why the good guys are going to win and we're going to survive."

"You're going to send my son into certain death!" he shouted.  "He's just a boy!"

"Strife!" Ares snapped back, glaring at him.  "How many baby boys have we had to send into wars before?"  Strife slumped but he didn't look happier.  "Listen to the words we're saying, Strife.  He's experienced at this.  He knows what to do in a battle.  This isn't his first battle.  This is his last battle, ever.  Jett's going to be in there somewhere too.  The fucking Asgards are going to be in there too.  I no more want your son to die than I want to see Apollo doing a pole dance for me."  Strife and Jett both shuddered.  "The only choice is fighting or dying.  He's chosen to fight."

"Then he's a dumbass!  He's in pain and he's injured!"

"So am I, and I'm probably going to take a forward assault position if I can manage it," Jett said calmly.  Strife gave him a shocked look.  "Do you remember the last time these fakes were around?"  Strife shuddered, but he did nod.  "That's who we're up against this time.  They *hate* Danny and Jack, Strife.  They've been fighting this menace now for five years.  Xander's a six-year veteran of battles and warfare.  If it weren't for Xander, we couldn't be having this conversation.  Your choice, man.  Behave like a scared little momma or give the guy what he needs - your support and your help."

"Of course I'm going to be there with him," Strife said darkly.  "I still don't want him fighting. He's in no shape to fight."

"As Weird Al says, I'll be mellow when I'm dead," Xander said as he appeared behind his mother's back.  "No more fighting.  We heard it all.  Strife, I'm fighting. The Fates said I could be the one who makes a difference in this battle.  This is my last war.  Hopefully there's no further battles in this war that'll require my personal attention."  Strife turned to look at him, mouth already open.  "Do not start," he hissed.  "You weren't there to try and stop it when we had to go into the Hellmouth.  You can't stop this one. It's just as important.  I know the Fates told you that.  So blow your hot air somewhere I can't hear it.  I don't need it and I certainly don't need you to push your doubts about my skills onto my already weak sense of self-esteem about them.  Got it?"  Strife stared him down but Xander never budged so he threw up his hands and stomped off.  "Thank you," he called after him.  He looked at Ares.  "Sorry, I'm trying to keep him calm," he said quietly.  He looked at the scale model.  "Is that the right size?  I thought the gate was farther back."

"We'll be going over it tomorrow," Ares promised, looking at him. "Do you feel like you can win?"

"I don't have a choice, Ares.  I have to win, or at least last long enough that our side wins.  This time I'm going to guard the rear position.  Home base is mine and I'm going to have the green guys because you can't afford to have any more seasoned veterans in there with me."  Ares looked stunned.  "If we're doing multiple off-world assaults, I'm going to be down to the fathers and the injured.  Even if we call in the entire Army, they'll need them in other spots.  It's a fact I've come to grips with.  So assign the teams soon, that way I can get my guys used to taking my orders."

Jett nodded.  "Sure, Xan.  You sure you wanna do that?"

"Jett, I don't want to lead a charge.  I don't want to be a field commander.  I want to guard home base.  I'm best at it of what we've got.  I'm hoping like hell we can find a way to make sure all the gates can get back without worrying about running into another team or getting a busy signal.  Can we figure that out as well?"

"We can try," Ares promised.  "It's a good idea, kid.  Even if they end up in Antarctica they'll still be able to come home."

"Not good enough.  That cave'll be crowded and it'll end up being the guys who were just in a desert.  We'll end up with frostbite and things.  We'll need some sort of call waiting on the gate terminus."

"Or something that'll create temporary gate ends here so we can let them escape," Jett offered, looking at Ares.

"I'll look into it," Ares again promised.  "For now, Xan, we'll need you to make sure you and Danny make it to the meeting tomorrow morning."

"He's already been called back.  Someone in their allies have called and wanted to talk to him."  He shrugged.  "So I'm alone again for the moment."  He pushed back some of his hair.  "Can I help?"

"For now, we're just making rudimentary plans," Jett reminded him.  "We'll have to tour the home base tomorrow and figure out what sort of artillery we'll need."

"Then talk to Jack," Xander told him.  Ares gave him a stunned look so he shrugged.  "Kinda makes sense, yes?" he asked with a grin.

"It does.  Thanks, kid."  He and Jett disappeared with their models.

Xander looked around empty temple, shaking his head. "Fine.  Leave me up here."  He wandered out, going to find somewhere to wander and someone to talk to.  He found Auto, his cousin out of Hermes, and Jett's former wife cooing in their front yard so he waved.

"Hey, Xander!" Auto called, getting up to jog over and give him a hug.  He pulled back and his smile fell.  "What the hell happened to you!" he yelled, tipping his face up.  "Has anyone seen that yet?  I know you got injured a lot, but that's a bit much!  Is it even in there?"

"Nope," Xander said, moving his chin away so he could give his cousin a long look.  "We ended up inside the Hellmouth fighting the First Evil.  Her minions decided I should be legally blind now."  He shrugged.  "It happens.  Asc said he could heal it in a few more weeks, maybe."

"Fuck maybe," Auto growled.  "Asclepias!" he shouted, bringing his father and the God over Medicine running.  "Fix him!"

"It's fine, guys, he hadn't heard," Xander sighed, looking at the healer.  "It does kinda itch.  Any chance of regeneration?"

"Not that I've seen," Asclepias offered, lifting up the eyepatch to look inside.  "Eww, Xander.  Into my lab, now, young man.  That needs a good cleaning!"  He swatted him on the ass.  "Move!  Now!"

"Fine, going," Xander said meekly, heading off with the healer.  "Hey, Hermes.  How's it hangin'?"

"Better than yours is," he said, frowning at his back.  "Who did that?"

"Evil preacher minion of the First."

"Does your mother know?"

"Yuppers, and he overreacted too," he called back.  Asclepias poked him so he moved faster. "Sorry, can't ignore him, he'll leave me this way."  He waved and trudged on.  "It's probably fine, just needs rinsed.  I can't quite bring myself to do that yet."

"It's not fine and you need more than it being rinsed," the healer said firmly.  They ran into Hera and Gaia walking with Discord.  "Sorry, M'ladies, but I can't stay.  He needs someone to work on his eye again."

Gaia stopped Xander, looking under the patch.  "What did that?" she asked faintly.

"Evil minion guy.  The First."  He shrugged.  "Now I've got one last battle.  I'm fine.  I'll live."  He let his older cousin poke him again.  "Sorry, he's horrified because I can't bring myself to rinse it out yet.  So he's going to poke and prod some more."  He followed the poking to the office he knew very well.  "No DNA samples this time, right?" he asked before walking in.

"No, not in here, Xander.  Inside, lay down, and take off your shirt so I can check everything else."

"Why?" he whined.  "My chest has nothing to do with my eye."  Another poke so he sighed and did as ordered.  "Just don't tell my mother you had me in here.  He's still panicking about this shit."

"Xander, shut up.  It's what good parents do."  He prepared the rinse solution then knocked Xander out so he wouldn't have to hear any more fussing.  He heard a thunderclap and winced, looking outside.  All three Fates were standing there.  "You can wait," he said firmly.  "He needs that thing cleaned.  I should sic Strife on you three."  He glared at them before going back to take care of his patient.  He noticed two of the three women going to get ill when he removed the eye patch and inserted the nozzle but Lachesis stepped inside to help him.  "Have you ever thought about a long vacation when Strife finds out what he's been through?"

"He knows," she said grimly.  "We're escaping him at the moment.  This one has many good ideas, but rotten timing."  She smiled at him.  "There will be a wedding tomorrow.  If he is summoned, he'll have to do his duty."

"He's in no shape to do so," Asclepias said firmly.  "Besides, he's got strategy meetings tomorrow for your last battle."  She winced.  "So, choose.  Aphrodite or the battle to save us all?"

"We can excuse him from this most important wedding," she decided.  "Even though it could have meant a happy ending for him."

Asclepias snorted. "Not if Aphrodite is involved.  She hates him in case you hadn't noticed."  He gave her a long look.  "Does he even have a love interest coming?"

"He'll have an on and off thing with Daniel," she offered lightly, smirking at him.  "He will have one, just not right now."

"Yay me," Xander moaned.  "'Sclep, have I ever mentioned it aches when you clean that thing?  It's like you're flooding my brain."

"If you'd stay asleep like a normal demigod, it wouldn't," he chastised, knocking him out again.  "You might want to exclude Jett and Ares as well.  They're both going to be helping him."

"Hmm, that could be a problem. It will be to see who rebirths the King of the Gods," Clotho said from the doorway, not looking at them.

Atropos walked in, looking less green now.  "They will all have to appear."

"Only if we can kill the poor husband," Jett said from behind them.  They jumped and he smirked, wiggling his fingers at them.  "Hi.  Don't even think about adding me to that.  I won't have kids.  I'll have my dick cut off before that could ever happen."

"Pity since you'd make such tough children," Atropos said, giving him a long look.  "Some day you may not feel the same way, Jett of Corinth."

"Yeah, some day I may find a woman who'll want to have kids and sit home alone without me too," he noted.  "When I do," he shrugged. "Then I might consider it."

"Fine," the women complained.  "Someone will have to be the father of the new King of the Gods.  Hades wants him gone so he's pushing us for a rebirth."

"So put him into a mortal woman's stomach and let him live a happy life," Xander said with a shrug. "No one said he had to be a God this time, did they?"

"Don't say that too loud, our father will get *very* pissed," Asclepias warned.  "He's another who wants Zeus back.  Strangely enough, Athena doesn't this time."

"If she got her daddy back, her precious daughters' virginity will suddenly come into question," Jett said dryly, smirking at the shocked God of Medicine.  "Can't you drain that now?  That is really gross to look at, and that's saying something coming from me, 'Sclep."

"If you weren't bothering me, you wouldn't have to see it," he pointed out, but he did pull up something to suck the water out for the younger man.  "This will feel odd."

"Oh, just let me lay on my stomach," Xander complained, flipping over to let the hole drain.  "There has got to be a better way to do this."  After a few minutes of dripping he groaned.  "How many gallons did you flood me with this time?  It's not like I don't like water, but really."

Asclepias spanked him, making him howl.  "Stop it, Xander.  I will not listen to the fussing this time."  He flipped the boy back over, looking in his hole again.  "Well, it's cleaner, but it could use another rinse cycle."

"Over your dead body," Xander said firmly, sitting up and taking back his eye patch to clean off on his shirt.  "I've had as much mothering as I can stand for the day.  I'm going to hide from the Love Gods again."  He disappeared from right there.

"That boy!" Asclepias complained, hands on his hips, adorable pout on his face.  "Why won't he be a good patient?"

"Too many times being one?" Jett suggested dryly.  "No experience being mothered?"

"Probably both," the healer agreed sadly.  "That boy needs someone better to take care of him.  I like Danny, but he's not a nurturer the way Xander needs."  He looked at the Fates.  "Can't you make Aphrodite leave him alone?  The boy deserves a reward for doing so much to save us all."

"We're trying to but you know she has permanent authority over her selections," Clotho reminded him.

"Oh, let's let someone know," Jett said smugly.  "Yo, Unc?"  Ares appeared, looking quizzical.  "The Fates are saying that there's going to be a wedding tomorrow to bring back Zeus.  They wanted Xander."  Ares groaned and rubbed over his face.  "Xander just left before he could be fully treated, and Strife's not here yet."

"He's with Xander.  He needed an idea," Ares admitted.  "Ladies," he said, trying to sound respectful.  "Leave the boy alone.  He's injured, he's sick, and he's got Strife for a mother.  Do you *really* want Zeus's grandmother to be Strife?"  They looked horrified and shook their heads as one.  "Then I'd leave my whole house of it.  Got it?"  They all nodded.  "Give him to a mortal family to raise until he's old enough, that way he's got some sense and compassion this time."

"That is a good enough idea," Hera agreed as she walked in.  "Is that boy better?  I noticed you released him."

"No, he escaped," Jett said with a smirk.  "He's not used to being mothered or taken care of.  He hates it."

She snorted.  "I have no doubt why either."  She looked at the Fates.  "I've looked over what you gave me.  Where might Apollo be?" she asked sweetly.

Asclepias groaned.  "He's with the Muses, as usual, and they're trying to taint one of Athena's daughters."

"We'll be talking to him tonight then, dear," she said with a fond smile at Asclepias.  "Do be ready for him to run and hide.  Send him back to me if he does."  She left, going back to her viewing.  Now that she knew everything about the incident Apollo started, she *really* wanted to talk to him about some things.  "Apollo, dear, could I see you for a moment please," she called gently, smiling at him as he appeared.  Just before the chains went around his wrists and ankles, and just before the temple was shielded so tightly nothing was going to get through it.  Or out of it.


Strife appeared, breaking into another kissing and cuddling session by Danny and Xander, coughing gently.  "I hate to interrupt," he said with a broad grin.

"Now that's a lie," Danny said dryly.  "What's up, Strife?"

"I kinda need my favorite muse there.  See, Loki just challenged me to create more hell in Valhalla than he can.  He'll do something usual, like getting the Valkyries to chase him so they can't serve beer.  Piddling shit.  I need somethin' greater and better."  He grinned at Xander.  "You give such good ideas, I wanted ta know if you had anything."

Xander considered it, then a thought hit him.  He looked at Danny.  "Did you ever find any worlds with Puritans on it?"

"Puritan like," he offered, "but no real Puritans.  Why?"

"Think about it.  Put three Puritans in Valhalla.  What will happen?" Xander asked with a mean smirk.  "They're against drinking, scantily clad women, any signs of magic, and sex without a holy reason, like torturing women who're supposed to be witches for the fun and amusement of the town's elders.  Or better yet, put five in there as long as one's a woman."

"Oooh," Strife said, hugging himself as the jolt hit his body.  "That's a good idea," he moaned.  "I'll have to use that."  He blew a kiss.  "Thanks, baby."  He disappeared, going to pull some Puritans and copy them for this little excursion.  Loki was already trying but the Valkyries weren't paying him any attention.  Strife smirked and let loose his, watching as the Puritan men, one preacher and two normal men, appeared.  Then he smirked at Loki.  "Top that."

"Heathens!" the Puritan preacher yelled, pointing.  "Unholy, unclean whores and heathens.  God will punish you.  Destroy their devil's brew and make them know God's Words!"  He pulled out his bible and started in on a sermon, while his men went around to gather up the beer steins.

"Holy Father, this one doth refill itself," he said in anger, tossing it onto the floor.  "They be witches!"  He stomped on the flagon until it broke.

"Nay, then they shall burn!" the Preacher called out.  "Burn them!  We must clean this so that the Godly may live in peace and prosperity!"

"What is going on here!" Freya yelled as she came out of her chambers.  "Who the fuck are you!"  She noticed most of her men were staring in awe and horror at these new arrivals so it was apparently up to the women this time.

"Payback," Strife said with a smirk.  "For Anya."  He wiggled his fingers and left as she let out a scream of outrage.  He landed back in Ares' temple, weathering the shocked looks.  "I was challenged," he said with a small, one-sided shrug and a smirk.  "My baby boy helped me."  He skipped off, going to brag to Hermes.  Maybe he'd go watch for them and record it.

"Okay, so Xander is warped," Jett said, shaking his head quickly.  "We'll have to find him someone to understand his odd sense of humor.   Hmm, maybe Aphrodite should hear about this."  He looked at Ares, who cackled, then shook his head, handing over a mirror.  "Thanks.  Just my favorite job.  Delivery guy."  He hopped over to their temple, handing her the mirror.  "From Ares.  Strife just got challenged and he thought you might get a laugh out of it."  He hung it up on the wall and tuned it back to the beginning of the scene, back before Strife said it was payback.  Maybe she'd get the point.   He got out of the way as she watched it, watching her go very pale when Strife said it was payback for Anya.  She had done worse to his son.  She was so in for it now.  Even she knew she was going to be tortured for what she had done to Xander.  "Just think, this was Xander's idea," Jett said as he hopped out of the temple.  He ran into Asclepias again on the walkway.  "Can't you heal my leg faster?"

"No.  I told you I've done it too many times.  I'm tired of healing you so you can get hurt again."  He smirked. "But if you tell me what Strife just did to make Hermes go pale, then burst out laughing and zip off, I might consider moving it further along so you could use a cane."

"Loki challenged Strife, said he couldn't upset the normal order of Valhalla half as well as Loki could.  So he went to Xander.  Xander suggested putting Puritans into Valhalla."  Asclepias' mouth fell open and he let out a whimper.  "Exactly," he said with a grin.  "'Dite's got a mirror running of where Strife said it was payback for Anya.  My leg?"

Asclepias knelt on the walkway and healed it fully, taking the crutches and sending them back to his closet.  "Just go make Xander normal again," he pleaded, patting him on the arm.  "Please?"  He went back to hide in his closet with the crutches before Xander came up with something to torment him too. The boy was frustrated with him, even though he knew he was only trying to help.

Ares opened the closet door.  "Xander said you're safe from him," he noted, then he closed the door again and went back to his plans, walking over Discord, who was rolling around on the floor howling with laughter.  Hades appeared, mouth already open and a finger held up like he was going to ask a question.  "Loki challenged Strife, Strife's idea came from Xander.  He's the one the Fates wanted to father Zeus," he said without looking up.

Hades moaned and disappeared, shaking his head and whimpering until his wife comforted him.  "Xander just suggested to Strife that he put Puritans in Valhalla," he moaned into her stomach.  "He was also the one the Fates wanted to bear Zeus."

"It's okay.  They would never let Xander do that to us, dear," Persephone soothed, stroking through his dark hair.  "I promise, they won't let him do that to us.  We never hurt the boy.  We tried to protect him and we took good care of him once we found him.  He'll be fine and he loves us like odd grandparents."  He nodded, but didn't raise his head.  She was the best cure for a headache.


Odin appeared in Hera's temple in a gout of angry looking flames, glaring at her.  "Where is Strife?" he growled.  His ravens cawed and flapped to steady themselves on his shoulders.

"Strife was challenged by Loki," she said patiently.  "His son Xander gave him the idea."

Odin frowned at her.  "We'll be punishing Loki as well, but we'd like to talk with Strife."  He noticed the man grabbing his leg, who was bleeding all over him.  "Get off," he said, shaking him off.  He recognized him, barely, and his curiosity got the better of him.  "What's he done this time?"

"He's Xander's other father," she said bitterly.

"Oh, he's from *that* time," he said, backing off.  "No wonder he has such ideas.  Freya has promised to leave the boy alone for eternity unless he asks for her help.  One or two of the Valkyries have offered themselves to serve him if he'd come get the Puritans out of our hall.  The men tried to make them put on some horrible, scratchy dark clothes and hats without horns.  Needless to say, they're not pleased.  None of us are."

"Strife?" she called, letting him in when he came close enough to be sucked into the temple.  "Please go remove those horrible mortals from Valhalla in the interest of keeping the peace.  Do not let them up here either, Strife," she said firmly.  "Or else you will be Zeus's new father."  He shuddered, turning green.  "Understood?"  He nodded, following Odin back to get rid of the mortals.  He had made them impervious to harm from anyone but him, but they did go up in flames when he fireballed them.  The Valkyries rushed him to hug and kiss him for saving them.  The warriors cheered him for saving their beer, what was left of the never-ending barrels.  Those heathens had broken six of the twelve.

By the time he got home the next morning, he was drunk and wouldn't need laid for centuries.


Danny walked Xander into the meeting the next morning, nodding cordially at their allies.  "This is Xander.  He's my cousin and he's going to be one of the heads staying here to guard this gate."  He sat Xander beside him, smirking at Jack.  "What happened to you last night?"

"Ares needed some information," he said with a small shrug.

One of the Asgardians tugged on Xander's elbow.  "My other half said that you were evil and worthy of respect, Xander.  I salute you and welcome any suggestions you could give us."

Xander patted him on the head.  "Strife's my mom."

"I have heard, and saw the results of your suggestion last night.  As the humans say, you rock, dude."  He went back to his corner.  He had been let free to see if his unique view of the world could be of help in this matter.  He had full respect for that demigod.  Anyone who could do that to his people deserved his respect, his help, and his undying adoration.

Jack looked at Xander.  "What did you do?"

"The other Loki challenged Strife to upset the order of Valhalla worse than he ever did," Xander said with a slight shrug.  "I gave him the idea to put Puritans up there."  Then he gave him his most evil smirk.  "From what I understand, Mom's welcome to come drinking and slutting around whenever he wants."

Jack looked at the guy in awe.  "I never want to face off against you," he announced.   The General walked in and everyone stood, the soldiers and Xander saluting him.

"At ease, sit," General Hammond ordered, smiling at Xander.  "Your axe is in my office, son."

"Thank you, sir.  I'll be practicing with it later on."  He got comfortable.  "Did Ares pop in?  He said he needed dimensions and things."

"He did, he's on tour right now with Teal'c.  He agreed before anyone says anything."  He looked at the boy again.  "What did you do?  Even your cousin Jett was smirking whenever your name was said."

"My mother was challenged to uspet Valhalla's order last night.  I suggested Puritans, sir."

The General mouthed that word, then groaned and shook his head.  "I can only imagine how bad that was.  Thor, are your kind all right with that?"

"It is Loki's and his other self's nature to do such things," he said tiredly.  "We have come to the point where we only react now."  He smiled at Xander.  "Very nicely done, Xander.  I respect you as well."   He handed over a gold disk.  "For your Uncle."

"Unc?" he called, bringing Ares.  He handed over the disk.  "From Thor."

"Thanks.  Remember, no Puritans at the house, Xander."  He disappeared after a smile at Thor and Samantha Carter.

"Did he just try to flirt with me?"

"Are you on your back begging?" Xander asked dryly.  She scowled at him. "If you aren't, then he wasn't trying.  That's the most usual reaction to him actually trying to hit on someone."  He looked at the General.  "Okay.  So I know they've worked out some plans.  There's to be a small force in Antarctica.  There's to be a bigger force here.  There's to be a few off-world battles.  I suggested that we look at a way to do call forwarding or something from the gates in case we have to evacuate a few battles at the same time."

"How?" Jack asked.  "Sam?"

"Not a clue, sir, but it's an idea that we may need to look at harder," she agreed.  She looked at Xander.  "What experience do you bring?"

"I just helped bring down my Hellmouth in Sunnydale.  We just walked into it and destroyed it and the town.  That was my next-to-last battle.  The Fates sent me and I'm one of Ares' high priests."  She looked stunned.   "I'm a six year combat veteran of nightly battles and bi-yearly apocalypses at the very least.  I've killed, I've maimed, and I've gotten grossly hurt.  I've also created weapons, battle plans, and done the impossible by helping save the world a few times.  I'm a rear guard for this gate terminus."

"Okay," she agreed, liking those qualifications.  They were just as good as Danny's in the field.  "Do we have plans, sir?" she asked the General.

"We have preliminary ones.  Thor, how goes getting into their meeting?"

"Not very good.  As thought they're going to be in space.  It is hard to sneak up on them."

Xander looked at him.  Then at Dr. Carter, who he knew was an astrophysicist from Danny's information last night.  "Can we figure out how to do the cloaking thing from Star Trek?"

She blinked a few times.  Then she let out a whimper.  "That's not real," she said finally.  "You know that right."

"It's not real *yet*," he reminded her.  "Neither were computers that were voice responsive when it first came out.  Nothing is impossible unless you refuse to consider it."

"Okay.  Considering it.  How would you cloak?  You can't bend light beams in space."

"No, you could," Thor offered.  "We've never had a cloaking device work very successfully when necessary."

She gave him a long look.  "I'll look at it," she promised, shaking her head.  She couldn't believe this.  Star Trek?

"Hey, I fought demons," Xander said with a shrug.  "Until you've taken on a ten-foot tall thing with horns, slime, and icy sweat spikes shooting from its armpits, you don't know what life is," he said dryly, smirking at her.

The General coughed.  "Look at the idea and the application so far, Major Carter," he ordered calmly.  "Xander, we'll need to know when we have a plan."

"Sure.  Soon afterwards, we'll have to pick teams too.  That way they can train for specific worlds and I can have the newbies for this gateway.  That way your more experienced people can go where they're of more use," he said at the opening mouth.  "I already expected that."

"That's something we'll have to work on once we have the plans," the General decided.  "We'd never leave you with a totally green group."

"I had to marshal my graduating class into an assault.  I can do green recruits."

"Why?" Thor asked.

"An ascension.  Seventy foot snake demon who wanted to eat the town, starting with us.  I worked beside a Slayer."

"Ah!  It makes more sense now," Thor agreed, patting him gently on the arm.  "I'm sure your mother is proud of you."

"Probably, but he's still having this eye twitch each time I mention demons, Sunnydale, or Slayers," Xander admitted with a grin.  He looked at the General again.  "I'll also be the go-between for Jett so you don't have to have him around all the time if you want."

"Please.  He's very...intense."

"Jett, intense?" Xander asked dryly.  "Nah, not him, sir."

The General cracked a smile.  "Good boy.  For right now, let's get everyone else up to speed.  People, there's a meeting to plan an assault on us.  A multi-place assault."

"Hence the three-tier battle plan," Xander added.  "A space, an off-world, and a home base action."

"Jack, you're leading the ground, off-world offensives.  Thor and the Tok'ra are doing the one in space, with Jacob leading."  Sam swallowed, but nodded.  She knew her father knew what he was doing.  "That leave Xander heading the defense here and someone heading the defense at the Southern gate."

"Ares admitted that there were two other gates but they're presently torn apart," Xander told him.  "Poseidon has them.  He wanted to know if you wanted them."

"Not right now but it's a thought," the General agreed.  "It might solve some of the congestion if we can make it an incoming only."

"Do they work?" Sam asked.

Xander gave her a long look.  "They did before they ripped them apart.  Heph did it so it was done by a smith, but I can't guarantee how good of shape they're in right now."

"At the least we could probably use the parts for ours," Danny offered quietly.  Sam and the General nodded.  "I'll ask 'Don tonight.  Thanks, Xan."

"Welcome, Danny."

"You know the Great Poseidon?" Loki asked from his corner.

Danny looked at him and nodded.  "Yeah, sure do.  Didn't meet him until I was nineteen, but we have met."  He smirked at him.  "He seemed to like Jack a lot.  Thought it was neat that he fished."  He looked at the General again, smirking slightly at him.  Let Loki bother them again.  He would surely make the leap on logic soon.

"You are one of them?" Loki asked, stepping out again.

"I'm one of the children from when Apollo went insane," he agreed.

Loki bowed and stepped back, vowing silently to never touch this team again.  He didn't want to tangle with this one at all ever again.  "There is some coded knowledge from those who made the Stargates," he admitted.  "We have not been working to decipher it.  Perhaps it has something in it to do that multi- entry terminus you suggested, Xander."

"I hadn't thought of that," Thor admitted.  "I will look it over tonight with the Council.  See what they believe it holds."

"Anything could be of help," Sam agreed.  "Thank you, Thor.  You too, Loki."

The door slammed open and a flamboyant man in gold lame walked in, waving his handkerchief.  "Oh, you beautiful people!" he said excitedly.  "I bring news from Hermes."  He smirked at Xander. "And from Hephaestus for you, dear one.  For right now, Hermes said that the other gateway can be disconnected.  That there was an ice shift last night and it may not be possible to get to it without digging it out for the moment," he announced.  The General nodded, too stunned to do otherwise.  "As for Xander... Hephaestus said that the bugs were mean.  That we don't have Godly exterminators and not even he could get rid of roaches."  He was grabbed and squeaked as he was pulled away.

"Sorry," Jett called.  "We'll make sure he doesn't come to scare anyone again."  He went to torture his triplet, just to try to make him normal again.  It was his life's work to make his triplets normal and happy people, like him.

"And that was Jayce," Danny said dryly.  "One of Jett's triplets.  As you could see, he's a drag queen."  Jack snickered, putting his head down.  "We're sorry.  I'm sure he won't be coming back, General Hammond."

"At least Jayce does liven up the usual boring meeting," Xander said dryly, starting to snicker.

"He certainly did," Thor agreed, starting to laugh as well.  "I have missed Joxer.  Is he still about?"

"Oh, yeah," Danny agreed, grinning at him. "He's being pampered by his mother at the moment.  You know how Aphrodite can be."

She appeared, glaring at him.  "All of you have to come to the wedding," she announced, her gauzy overdress flowing in the breeze she had created.  Her thong panties and underwire bra were making quite an impression on anyone who didn't know her.  Sam was practically seething at the bimbo.  "It's an order, kids."

"Hera excused us," Xander said dryly.  "Otherwise this realm goes bye-bye with all you guys on it," he said with a grin.  "Ask the Fates."

Jett walked in and grabbed his mother, walking her away.  "Hera said that they're excused.  The whole House of War is.  Or did you really want Zeus to be Strife's grandson?" he asked dryly.  He walked her into the mess hall.  "These nice guys could use a touch of your help, mom."  One soldier gave him an odd look.  "I told you she was blonde and didn't wear much," he said dryly, walking away.  He was sure the military would appreciate his mother just as much as he did.

She looked around and cooed at all the fit young men and women.  "Oh, you guys are so adorable!  You need some fashion help, but I can certainly help set you up with some wonderful people.  Ooh, let me get my list."  She brought it to her, running over the names she pulled from their minds, putting the couples together by zapping them then and there.  A few wise people ran off before she could get to them but she could revise her sneaky nature and get them later.  She was sure they'd love her for it.  She smiled at one woman, who whimpered.  "Ooh, sweetie, I've got just the one for you.  She's a sweetie!  I know she's not your usual thing, but really nice.  Kinda submissive.  Likes the dresses long and lacy.  But she's so cute and she'll mellow you out so well."  She pinched the former straight woman's cheek.  "Don't worry, you'll adapt.  That's why there's toys.  You won't miss a dick at all, sweetie."

Back in the meeting room, the General looked at Xander, who was howling.  "Did he do what I think he did?"

"Yup, Jett put her in the mess hall, sir," Jack agreed, coming back from watching it.  "She's already created about ten couples and told a very straight Corporeal that she's now gay."  He sat down, joining in on the laughter.

"Wonderful tension breakers," Thor told the General.

"Very entertaining.  I could learn quite a lot from her," Loki agreed.

The General gave up and started to laugh too.  This was too much.

"Sir, can we sic her on the Gou'ald?" Jack said between laughs.  "Maybe she'd work her magic on them too."

Xander broke out in laughter.  "Anya over there," he said, nudging Danny, making him howl and clutch each other for strength while they laughed.


Danny looked at his couch as he came out to make coffee the next morning, finding Xander nearly naked on it and sprawled in a position that at best could be called lewd.  He shook his head, ignoring the little voice in the back of his head that said Xander would like to be kissed awake.  The boy was still touchy, he'd probably be jumped.  Sure enough, he turned on the water to fill the coffeepot and Xander jumped up, hands balled into fists as he looked around.  "Just me," he called quietly.  "Making coffee."

"Coffee good.  Coffee god," he grunted, coming in to watch him doing the simple task.  "I make lousy coffee."

"I'm sure it's because you always used prepackaged coffee or used the nasty instant stuff," Danny offered, pouring water into the pot so he could start the exact measuring process.  The filter went onto the little scale and he weighed out the grounds carefully from the tin he took from the freezer. "You could take a shower."  His answer was a snore so he looked back at his guest, smiling when he saw he was asleep again.  This time he was asleep on the breakfast bar.  He almost wanted to 'aww' at the cuteness but stopped himself before he could do something so outside of his normal character.  "Leave me alone, auntie," he hissed, glaring at the ceiling.  "Or else I'm siccing him on you again."  He put the grounds into the basket and turned on the machine, then decided to take his own shower since Xander obviously wasn't ready for that yet.  He snuck past his cousin, heading back to the bathroom.  He had just climbed into the warm water when he heard Xander come in, smirking at the unpleased grunt at the very bright lights.  He liked a lot of lights in the morning, it forced him to wake up faster.  He did jump when the curtain opened and Xander climbed in with him, pushing him against the wall to kiss him.  "Xander," he moaned.

"Morning," he grumbled, doing it again, then stealing the water to wet his hair.  "Shampoo?"

Danny smiled and handed it over, then got to work on his own cleaning process.  He and Xander shared the water, one rinsing while the other washed, then Xander decided that he should be sweaty again and pushed him back against the wall, kissing him and stroking his cock.  "Xander!"

"Best way to wake up," he said with a grin before diving back in.  Eventually he moved down, using his mouth instead of his hand.  His hands steadied the shaking hips, giving him a bit more control over the depth of the thrusts.  Danny was panting and trying to grab onto the wall, but there wasn't a single handhold.  Xander felt him shiver and the cock in his mouth slightly swelled so he swallowed, taking it all as it came out.  When he had sucked it all down, he licked the tired cock clean and stood up to give Danny a kiss.  "There, now that's more like a normal wake up."   He rinsed his mouth then gave Danny a deeper kiss, bringing him out of his shocked state before he left to get some coffee.  He could smell it was ready.

Danny slid down the wall, letting the cooler water flow over him and rinse away the sweat.  "Wow," he said in awe.  That was all he could do.

"Hurry up, Danny.  I'll drive us to the base," Xander called from the doorway.  "That way you can nap in the backseat."

"Don't you dare sound smug!" he called back, standing up and forcing himself to rinse off in the cold water.  He climbed out and took the towel Xander was holding out.  He was already dressed and waiting on him.  "That was mean."

Xander smirked at him.  "I enjoyed it."

"So did I, but now I need a nap."

"So nap in the back while I drive," Xander said casually, leaning against the door jamb.  "If I get lost, I'll call Jack or something."

"Sure.  Pour me a cup of..."  Xander pointed at the cup of coffee waiting on him so he grinned at him. "You make a good boyfriend, Xander."

"Thanks," he said with a grin and a wink.  "Hurry up and get dressed. It's nearly seven."  He strolled off to find his sneakers.  Danny came out a few minutes later dressed and ready for the day, carrying his tie and his security badge.  Xander grabbed his jacket and the keys, walking out with him, holding the backseat door open so his buddy could climb in and nap to his heart's content.  Xander got in and started the car, checking everything over before backing out of the parking spot.  By the time Danny was snoring, he knew he was lost, so he called the base.  "Can you hand the phone to Colonel O'Neill?  It's Harris and I'm thoroughly lost.  Hey, Jack, it's me.  I'm lost and driving the both of us in.  No, I just passed the local boy scout office.  Yeah, middle of nowhere.  No, he's taking a nap.  Nightmares and stuff."  He smirked at the sympathy.  "Don't worry, he's fine.  Just a bit sleepy.  Which way?"  He did a three-point turn and headed in the other direction.  "Thanks.  Sure.  Turn at the mini-mart, then at the seven-eleven.   Then right at the school and head for the other part of middle of nowhere.  Thanks man, we'll be there soon."  He sped up a bit, noticing the signs said he was going well below the speed limit.  The phone went back into his pocket and he got comfortable.  This was pretty country, even if there wasn't a beach and they had snow.


Xander walked Danny into the conference room.  "Sorry we're late, I got us lost and Danny was sleeping because he's had some nightmares."  He sat Danny down and put his cup of coffee in front of him.  He took his usual seat beside him and looked at Sam.  "Any luck yet?"

"A bit," she admitted.  "How lost did you get?"

"He was by the boy scout camp when he called," Jack said dryly, smirking at Xander.  "He okay?"

"Nightmares," Xander reminded him. "He's almost awake."

"He can nap after the meeting," the general reminded him.

Jack kicked Danny under the table, making him grunt.  "Not now, Xander.  I'm tired," Danny mumbled.

Xander leaned over and whispered in his ear.  "We're at work and Jack's giving you this 'you're adorable' look," he hissed.

That woke Danny up more and he rubbed his eyes.  "Sorry, sir, long night," he explained.

"That's okay, Xander said you had nightmares," Sam told him, smirking at him.  She knew it hadn't been nightmares.  Unless Xander was that bad in bed.  "He had to call in because he went the wrong way."

"I did that a few times," Danny noted, sipping his coffee.  "Sorry, General Hammond."

"Not a problem.  I'm sure you've had the same ones that Colonel O'Neill has.  As long as it's not habitual."  He opened the folder.  "All right.  We've got spies in place for the meeting.  Possibly.  We have a Tok'ra agent on one of the ships. They're broadcasting the meeting back to a Tok'ra ship who will be as close as possible.  That's the best we could do on that matter."

Xander raised a hand.  "Can't they check for broadcasts?"

"They may be able to but you can't sneak a normal human up there," Jack told him.

"They don't have heating ducts?"

Sam blinked a few times.  "They might, but the meeting may not take place on the ship that we get someone into."

"Good point," he agreed.  "Is he also recording it?"

"That's an option we've got," she agreed.  "I'll pass that back as a suggestion."  The door opened and she looked at the person walking in.  "Ah, Anise, late as always.  Tell her, Xander.  She's one of them."

"Are they all that slutty?" he asked, grimacing at her.  "Gods, woman, you're worse than Aphrodite in that outfit."  He shuddered and looked at the general.  "If I suddenly make a run for it, it's flashbacks, sir.  My aunt likes to plague me."  The general was holding in his laughter, you could see it.  He smirked at the shocked woman.  "Alexander, son of Strife, Greek God of Mischief and High Priest of Ares."

She snorted.  "They're not real."

Xander looked behind her at the flash of Jett coming in.  "She thinks we're not real, cousin."

"Hmm.  Pity," Jett noted, making her jump.  He looked up.  "Ares, one of the others is here.  Sorry we're late.  Clocks aren't always reliable on Olympus."  He sat on Xander's other side, looking at Danny, then at Xander.  "Long night?"


"Ah."  He smirked at him so Xander hit him on the thigh under the table. "Did he have visions of Buffy?"

"That's a sickening thought, thank you," Danny noted dryly.  "Sit, Anise.  Excuse my cousin's manners.  He's not the most civilized sometimes.  We've barely got him housebroken."  He glared at Xander.  "Behave."

"I try," he noted dryly.  He jumped up as Aphrodite showed up, hiding behind the General.  He noticed everyone was staring at him and glared at her. "Cute.  Become visible, 'Dite, or I'm going for the temple in Vegas to give it my special touch."  She appeared with a sigh, hands already on her hips.  "Now, did you want in on this assault?"

"Sit, she can't touch you in here," the General said calmly.

"Bet me," she snorted.  "I don't like you and Danny, Xander."

"Or me either, mother," Jett noted.  "Yay.  This is a war council.  We're going into war."

"Of course, you could be an invaluable ally and distract the other side," Xander offered.  "They probably can't throw and attack and a wedding at the same time."

She glared at him and her fingers started to tap on her hip bones.  "No, I don't think it's necessary for me to step into this grody affair, Xander.  You, however, are wanted up on Olympus."

Xander looked at Jett, who shrugged.  So he looked at his aunt again.  "By who?"


"I'll be right back," he sighed, standing up and sending himself up there.  He landed in front of Hera.  "You had her come pull me out of a strategy meeting, m'lady?"

She shook her head.  "No.  Who did so?"


"Hmm.  Go back, young man.  We need you in that battle, no matter what she thinks."  Aphrodite walked in, banging the door open with her bound captive.  "Oh, dear," she muttered.  "Autolycus."

"Let me go," he pleaded.

"Yes, let him go," Xander said bitterly, glaring at her.  "Or else I will find someone with so many diseases that you'll be sick for ages when I send them into your temple."

She let Auto go.  "This is my choice for him."

"I didn't know you still swung that way," Xander said dryly.

"I don't.  I haven't since about the fall of the Roman Empire," he said, trying to get free.  "Dad!"

"Uncle Hermes, she's at it again, and this time your son's being offered to me!" Xander yelled.  Hermes zipped in and stole his son, taking him off to get him free.  He looked at Hera.  "Can I please get an injunction before I have to show my ass?"

Hera nodded.  "Aphrodite, leave the poor boy alone," she ordered calmly.  "I doubt he would like that one's life very much."   She noticed Xander sneaking backwards.  "You, we need to have a talk."

"I'm in the middle of a meeting."

"It can wait.  They can tell you later," she said firmly, sending the order to Danny's mind so he could pass it on.  Of course, he passed out right afterward, but the message got through.  "Aphrodite, what do you have against this one?  Is it who his parent is?"

"No," Xander snorted, crossing his arms over his chest so he could glare at her.  "It's much more complicated than that.  She's hated me since the moment I turned her down when I hit puberty, and she's hated me even more because I'm not one to play around.  No matter how much she made Anya want to have a threesome, or more."

"It's like there's some signal on him that calls out of us Love Gods," Aphrodite whined.  "Freya felt it too!"

"Yay," Xander said in a bitter voice.  "If either of you come near me again, I'm going to harm one of you.  I don't care if your husband does glare at me for your new, shiny black eye."

"Xander," Hera warned.

"Yay!  She's been fucking in my life now for *years*, Hera.  She's sent things to love me who want to kill me.  She's turned my life into a mockery of love.  I won't put up with it.  As far as I'm concerned, she has no right or reason to mess in my life ever again."

"She is a Love God."

"Who I don't accept the authority in my life."  Hera looked stunned.  "I'm not one of those who you can just step up and touch in case you hadn't noticed.  Some of you, like 'Sclep and her husband, I accept that they have authority in and over my life.  I accept that with Ares.  I don't accept that she has any right to do anything in my life.  Her or Freya or any other bitch of love she might conspire with.  She can go to hell with her plans as far as I'm concerned.  I don't accept that she has authority over my life."

"Then you could end up without anyone," Hera pointed out gently.

"Yay!  I'd rather be celibate if that's the choices," Xander said firmly, glaring at his aunt again.  "It'd be more satisfying than being made to love something that wanted to kill me or being made to love someone who didn't even like me, didn't want to put up with me, and wanted to change who I am.  Trust me, I can be a bottom slut forever if I won't be able to get it up and I'll be perfectly happy with that.  Not an issue in my life.  I've been fucked by love too many times to care if it's a boyfriend doing it instead."

Aphrodite looked stunned, then started to sniffle. "I've always tried to help you, Xander."

"By sending things that wanted to *kill* me?" he shouted.  "Did you really think that the mummy girl was going to love me and let me live?"  She burst out crying.  "Yay!"  He looked at Hera again, forcing himself to calm down again at her shocked look.  "She has no purview in my life, my queen.  She has no authority in my life.  If she continues, then I'm not going to be responsible for my actions.  I've had this talk with her.  Ares has had this talk with her since he's over my life.  My mother has had this talk with her.  Asclepias has, Hermes has, even Hades has.   I don't care if she finds the best thing in the world for me.  If it comes from her I'm going to treat it as a threat and attack it.  Love Gods suck ass as far as I'm concerned.  The only one I can stand is Bliss.  Cupid I kinda like," he admitted at her opening mouth.  "He asks.  I like that.  He doesn't try to fuck up my life with a new lover.  I like that even better."

Hera nodded.  "That's fine.  When it comes to your life, young man, I'll make it so only Cupid has dominion over it.  Would that be fair?"

"As long as you make her leave me alone," Xander said firmly.  He looked over as Jett sauntered in.  "The meeting broke up already?"

"She made Danny pass out," he admitted.  "Can I get the same boon?"

Hera looked at him.  "She is your mother."

"She hates me more than she does Xander," he noted.  "Or haven't you met my ex-wife?"

"I got you someone wonderful and you tossed her away," Aphrodite accused.

"Yeah, because we would have destroyed each other," Jett agreed.  "Within five years one of us would have been dead.  Then who would have watched over Joxer and Jace to make sure they didn't get into trouble, or helped Xander, or done any of the dirty work for the Pantheon?"  She sniffed and looked at Hera, so he looked at her too.  "Personally I could care less about love.  It gets in the way of the job.  If I have to have it, then I'll find someone compatible or have Cupid help me.  I don't like my mother, I don't want to talk to my mother.  I could care less that she pushed me out last and it took so long she was in pain."  Xander gave him a punch on the arm so he gave him a long look.  "You okay?"

"I've got a headache.  This day started out kinda okay and then she does this shit."

"Alexander," Hera warned.

"Sorry.  Truth, but sorry.  I'll try to watch my mouth."

"Thank you."  She shifted on her throne, looking at her grandchild.  "Are you sure you don't want to be one of her sons, Jett?"

"I'd rather be dead."

"Very well.  I will treat you as an adopted son of the Pantheon."

"He can probably be adopted by Ares.  He's one of his anyway," Xander offered.

"If I could find him, I'd ask him," Hera noted.  "I tried to call him when you were drug up here."

"Shit," Xander and Jett sighed, heading out to Ares' temple to look for him.  They found him in bed, deeply unconscious and fully dressed.  Xander climbed up to straddle his uncle's chest, leaning down to get next to his ear.  "If you don't get up, Unc, Aphrodite's going to try to marry me off to Auto again."

"She did?" Jett asked, looking disgusted.  "He doesn't like guys.  Hasn't since about 12 AD."

"That's what he said before his father stole him."  He looked down at the limp body.  "Unc, come on, unc," he cajoled.  No response, so he sighed and kissed him, making Ares jump and flail a bit.  "Morning.  You missed another attempt by the pink one."  He grinned down at him.  "Was it good for you too?"

"I was trying to find Discord."

"She's in her temple. I saw her earlier," Jett offered.  He helped Xander off the bed and standing again.  Ares sat up to look at them.  "Want to adopt me?"

"Sure, why not.  You're already one of mine," Ares pointed out dryly, looking at the two boys.  "What happened now?"

"Aphrodite," they said in unison.

"Why is the Queen of the Gods bothering you two?"

"Shit," Jett sighed.  "Hera, it's Ares, God of Love!" he yelled.

"You're loud," he complained, wiggling a finger in his ear.  He caught sight of himself and shuddered.  "Eww!"

"No, not happening," Xander complained, thinking fast.  He'd only heard about this situation.  "Mom!" he yelled.  Strife appeared, looking concerned.  "Ares, God of Love?" he asked, pointing at his uncle.

"Shit," he said in awe.  "Where's our God of War!"

"Probably handling a sitch for me," he admitted sheepishly.  "I was challenged to combat by a lover who didn't like me."

"Was it one of us?" Jett asked dryly.

"No!  No, it was a little redheaded woman!  Very nice and sweet inside.  I put her with someone nice and sweet all around and she hated me for it.  I don't know why."  He put his hands in his head.  "Anyway, I was watching and then I'm here."

"My fault, totally my fault," Xander sighed.  "I woke you up."

"That's fine, we can switch them back," Strife decided.  "Can you get back into that trance state?" he asked.  Ares nodded quickly, lying back down on the bed and closing his eyes.  "Okay, now go back to your own body, at least to watch.  Try to make a connection to it."  He concentrated and Strife sighed, zapping him to knock him fully out.  He looked at Jett.  "I'll adopt you if we can't get Unc back," he promised.  He looked over as Hera walked in.  "Ares, God of Love."

"Hmm.  Why?"

"He needed our Ares' help and the barrier's thin again."

"Why?" she asked patiently.

"Because I'm thinking we just destroyed one of the anchors that held them apart," Xander said, looking at the body on the bed.  "Sunnydale?  Did it have an anchor or a spacer or something?"

"Athena was studying that," Strife pointed out.  "Not us."

"Oh, fuck," he sighed, shaking his head as he walked away.  "I'll go check with fussy woman.  Be right back."  He disappeared, sending himself to her front chambers.  "Athena?"

"Fussy am I?" she demanded from behind him.

He looked at her.  "Yeah.  You've always been fussy and picky about things.  Not even you can deny that," he said dryly, giving her a long look, at least until she inclined her head slightly.  "We just got a visit by Ares, God of Love.  Did Sunnydale have an anchor or a spacer?"

She raised a manicured brow.  "I have no idea."  She turned and headed back into her library, pulling down a book to flip through it.  She found what she was looking for and read it over, then sighed and put it back, taking down a book she had created to look through it since it referenced it.  "This will take some time."

"I'd rather not have to chance another me coming through," he noted, taking a seat in the corner.  "The vampire me wouldn't be that helpful."

She gave him an odd look then went back to her reading.  She went through two more books, then finally put them all away, turning to look at him.  "The Hellmouth had some sort of dividing power as well as an accessing power."

"The walls are always strongest around the doorframe because it's got to carry the additional weight?" he suggested.  She nodded.  "Okay.  Now that the door's gone, there shouldn't be more doors."

"No, there are always more doors.  The problem lies in the fact that the energy backlash created a window in the place of the door.  A very open window to use a mortal term.  With that window, all sorts of things can come across."

"How do we fix it?"

"You don't.  Hecate would have to," she advised.

"Okay, how would Hecate and are you going to tell her or do I have to?  She still hates me because she didn't watch over Willow closer when I asked her to."

"Why would she hate you for that?"

"Because she sees it as my fault that she didn't act to stop her.  Guilt I guess."  He shrugged.  "Not a clue, I'm not into dissecting minds.  That would be Cupid's ex."

"Good point.  I will go to her myself," she promised.  "Go back to tell Hera what I've said and be careful with the gateway you work with."  Xander looked stunned.  "I have no idea if it is possible but it is the most likely problem to happen."

"Thanks."  He stood up and disappeared from that spot, going to tell Hera, then going to barge in on the General.  "We've just developed a potential problem," he reported.  The General put down his red phone.  "Sorry, sir.  But you know about my town and it having what we'll call a doorway?"  The General nodded slowly.  "Well, when we took out the doorway it left a very open window.  One that can transfer itself to other portals *potentially*."  The General winced.  "Including the one downstairs."

"Oh, no."

"Oh, yeah," Xander sighed, rubbing his forehead.  "Athena just saw."  He swallowed.  "It's potential, not probable, but it's still something to think about."

"Fine.  I'll keep that in mind and keep you on call in case something happens."

"In that field, I'm only a team leader, sir.  There's a few Generals who have the information and I'm not one of them.  I can write to get it though."


"Sure thing."  He walked out, heading down to Danny's office to email Willow, warning her as well.

"The doorway we just closed a few weeks back has turned into an open window that can blow things through other doorways?" Jett read from behind him.

"The Hellmouth is now an open window that can send things through other portals," he muttered.


"There's a second hellmouth here.  She's there with Buffy and the others."  He sent the message and sat back, looking at his cousin.  We've got to consider that it can happen with this one too."

"Sure.  Just add in some ten-foot slimy things," he complained, walking away.  He went to tell Sam about the interference, hoping she could find a way to at least warn them if it was going to happen.

Xander put his head down on the desk, waiting on a reply.  Willow was almost always online.


"Okay, if worst comes to worst, we can always head to a gou'ald world and reopen a portal to the hell dimension we found earlier," Xander decided, tossing down his pen about a week later.  Everyone stared at him.  "I doubt they're prepared to deal with demons, if they even know what they are.  It'd be a way to take out one of them quickly."  Danny opened his mouth and Xander gave him a long look. "Don't tell me the armies don't deserve it, they can run.  I've done it many times."

"It would cause dissension and great defeat," Teal'c said calmly.  "I know my training was not against such beasts.  How did you defeat the one earlier?"

"Easy, Teal'c.  His kind are killed by fire.  I lit his scrungy fur."  He grinned at him.  "Don't worry, others are killed in easier ways."


"Indeed," Daniel agreed.  "Fine.  It's a backup plan."  He looked at his cousin.  "Didn't I tell you before that I didn't want to know about this stuff?"  Xander nodded, looking smug.  "I thought so.  I still feel the same way."

"That's cool.  I understand perfectly.  Even those of us who deal with it don't deal very well sometimes.  Coming in always leads to shock and horror, then acceptance because otherwise you get eaten or killed."  He looked at Jack, who was still holding an ice pack to his forehead.  "If you wanna run screaming, now's the time to do it.  Any of you really."

"I can't believe it was a demon," Sam said, still in shock.  Her voice sounded mechanical and her face was looking perfectly calm.  She was obviously hard at thought.  "How many of those are there?"

"Last confirmed count there was over sixty thousand types of demons," Xander told her.  "Now that's the count of the ones we've recognized, gotten pictures or drawings of, and figured out what they are.  After you get all three they're added to the books.  The first two categories contain about another million or so that they're trying to figure out if they're different species, more of the same only funny colored or different clans, or if they're just mutant beings."

Sam shook her head.  "Mutants now?"

"Hey, they exist," Xander defended.  "Or we wouldn't have blonds."  She gave him a dirty look.  "Willow said that being blond was a genetic mutation."

"A recessive one," Daniel added, smiling at his friend.  "As proven by geneticists."  He looked at Xander.  "Can we really guide it that way?"

"We should be able to.  We dialed in the second time we tried."

"Good point.  I'm sure they'd love to have that whole world to take over," Jack said, still holding the icepack to his head.  "Go do that, Xander, before they come back here."

"If they do, we'll do it easier next time," he assured him.  "The gate room guardians have been working with the new weapons all day."

"Fine, good, still, make them go away," Jack ordered.

"Sure, Jack.  I can just snap my fingers and make all the demons go to another world...."  He paused, then snorted.  "No, that would be mean.  Willow!" he snapped.  She appeared, looking confused.  "Have you not checked your email in a few weeks?"

"No, I have," she defended.  "We're looking for a version of the book for you."  She looked around and winced at the bruises.  "What was it?"

"Big hairy thing that smelled like rotten corpses when it burned," Xander told her, giving her an odd look.

"Oh, I remember those!"  She nodded.  "Give me another day, we can do that."

"Can you route them to another world?" Jack asked.

"I don't know," she admitted.  "I've never tried."

"The portal here did that."

"Well, poopie!"  She stomped her foot.  "Give me a day, Xan, just hang on."  She disappeared again.  Good thing since the General came in a few minutes later.

"People, what is going on now?"

"We're figuring which world we want to go to," Xander told him.  "The current plan is to go somewhere and open a portal to that same place, then lure them over."

"How would you lure them?" Daniel asked.

"Easy, I'll stand in front of the portal and look tempting.  They always come at me."

"They do?" Jack asked, looking over at him.  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"Fuck if I know," he snorted.  "It happens all the time though.  Even earlier, they all came for me.  That's why the left side of the gate room was left alone."  He looked at the general.  "Any particular world you want to torment?"

The general considered it, then shook his head.  "That wouldn't be very ethical."

"And?" Xander asked.  "I'm thinking a main world.  Somewhere they've either designed to be their showplace of civility, or somewhere that deserves it."

"It's still not very ethical."

"Again, and?  Do they deserve it for what they've done?" Xander asked.  Everyone but the general nodded.  Danny did it very slowly though.  "It's an option we can consider at this moment.  Willow's figuring out how to fix it."

"As long as it doesn't happen again here," the General decided.

"Hey, if it does, we can stop it quickly," Xander reminded him.  "That's why you've got people making a few stakes, and we imported the flame thrower."  The general nodded.  "Speaking of, you might want to train the guys in how to use it and not fry those around them.  The guy earlier didn't do that very well."

"I'll have the drill sergeants work on that later," Hammond agreed.  He didn't need more people in the infirmary with burns like he had earlier.  "Any other ideas?"  He squeaked when Willow reappeared.  "Who are you?"  She didn't look like one of their allies.

"Willow," Xander told him.  "Good ideas?"

"Yeah, actually I do," she admitted, tossing down a book.  "Got this from the local college's library.  I don't know what your portal, or whatever, runs on, but it may help.  I found the idea of a filter?"  Sam snatched it and turned to the bookmark.  "I'm guessing you deal with that?"  Sam nodded as she read, turning the page to move on.  "Okay then.  Xander, for you."  She pulled a cd case out of her pocket and tossed it to him.  "We web-crawled our fav database and downloaded it all.   You can search by characteristics."  He beamed at her.  "Anything else you need?"

"Just watch out in a few weeks, if the portals are linking some of ours may go through yours," Daniel said tiredly.  He rubbed his eyes.  "Any news on the meeting yet, sir?"

"Xander, is this your third battle?" Willow asked.  Xander nodded.  "Okay, then I'm butting out.  Tell your auntie that if she needs us, I've got a coven started in Cleveland."  She wiggled her fingers and disappeared.

"Who was that?" the General asked calmly.

"Willow Rosenburg," Daniel told him.  "His best friend and apparently a powerful being in her own right.  When did she learn to do that, Xander?"

"When she went dark for a bit," he admitted dryly, glaring at Danny.  "You mean you didn't catch her teleporting to Unc's solarium that time by accident?"  Daniel's mouth fell open.  "Hey, I stopped her from ending the world in her grief.  She's playing on the side of good again.   Besides she's the only science nerd I know who could possibly know about portals and hellmouths."

"Good point," Jack said, breaking up the argument.  "Next time get permission, Harris."

"I got permission to ask her."

"Fine."  The general looked around.  "Anything else yet?"

"Not yet," Jack admitted.  "We haven't heard back yet, sir."

"We'll need to instal this near the gateroom but somewhere safe and possibly limit access," Xander said as he slid down the cd case.  "It's a database we used to fight back in Sunnydale.  She webcrawled it for us so we don't have to get the password and log online."

"Fine. I'll install it on one of the back computers in the command center," the general agreed.  "We won't tell them what it is so we don't have gawkers but that way we won't have to password it."

"That's fine.  How many people got the routine freakout this morning?" Xander asked.

"Most of them thought it was some animal."

"Oh, it was, just a demonic one," Xander sighed, leaning back and slumping down.  "This royally sucks.  Sam, any good news out of there?"

"Some.  I think I've just figured out how to do the call waiting thing you were talking about."  She got up and headed back to her lab, not waiting for permission.  Everyone wanted this one and the general wouldn't mind, much.

"I guess that breaks us up," the General admitted.  "Colonel, get your head looked at.  The infirmary's not backed up any longer.  Xander, we need to look at the idea of a special weapons box down there."

"Back wall, right under the windows.  There's a niche in there with a door already.  I'm not sure what's in it, but if it's not important we can do that.  I'll need to run out to get some wood if we don't have any.  My axe is going to be strapped to my back again.  Sorry about having to burst into your office this morning to get it."

"That's fine.  It's excusable in those situations."  He stood up.  "Anything else?"  They shook their heads.  "Then I suggest you take the night off.  The battle could start anytime soon."  They stood up and saluted him so he left.

"And hey, not a research party needed," Xander said brightly, cracking Danny up a little.  "We used to have lots of fun during those.  Hundreds of ancient books and pizza or chinese."

"Sounds like a mess in the library," Danny said dryly, standing up and walking around to help Jack up.  "Come on, Jack.  Let's let the docs look you over.  You know Janet's going to come looking just because we were on base if she doesn't see us soon."

"Is she the pretty redhead?"  Jack nodded, looking at him so Xander smirked.  "I told her you had a mild head injury but that we were going to be doing a meeting because it wasn't a terrible thing or probably a concussion.  She said she's expecting you as soon as you get done here and she'll expect less whining than usual."  Danny snickered as he walked Jack out and Xander stretched a bit, wincing as some sore muscles pulled.  He got up and grabbed his axe off the back wall, going to find Teal'c.  He had managed to sneak out after Willow had shown up the first time.  He found him in the training area and grinned at him.  "Hey, big guy, you need to wear out some energy?"  A few of the soldiers around them gave him a shocked look.  "Not like that, you pervs!  I'm talking about sparring.  Hello, not discriminating anymore but he's still married and I don't touch taken things."  He looked at Teal'c again, smirking and winking at him.  "Though you are adorable.  Want to spar? I need more practice with my axe."

"If you wish," he agreed, following Xander to an empty practice room.  He pulled out a staff, looking at Xander's axe.  "That is a very fine weapon."

"It should be, it took Hephie a good long time to make it," he agreed lightly, stripping off his shirt and grabbing it off the bench he had laid it on.  "I need to wear out some energy.  I'll try not to go primal or to hurt you."

"Thank you."  Teal'c lunged and Xander blocked with the axe handle, then ducked under the next blow and tossed his axe aside to grab a staff.  He had realized he had almost moved in for a killing blow across the stomach.  "Thank you for not killing me."

"I said I was gonna try not to," Xander reminded him.  He attacked first this time, using the staff like he would his axe.  The handle part was used as a staff and the head was swung like he would his axe.  Teal'c was giving him an interested look but Xander was more concerned about staying on his feet.  Teal'c was better than he was, much better than he was.  "Are you all trained this well?" he panted.  Teal'c nodded.  "Shit."

"You are quite good."

"Teal'c, I know I'm going to be the trained guy with a bunch of green guys," he said, pulling back to breathe for a moment.  "I need to be better, right?"  Teal'c nodded.  "Fine, then let's work on that.  I need to be better.  They're not getting past me."  He lunged in again and Teal'c blocked him, going back to the battle until Xander made a fatal slip and he got him lightly across the back of the head.  Xander fell to his knees, panting hard, his sweat dripping off him to the mat below him.  "You win, this time."

"You did very well.  Most warriors do not fight for that long and most of us do use distance weapons.  Our staffs can shoot as well."

Xander looked up at him.  "I'll learn that next week."  Teal'c smirked at him and held out a hand so Xander stood up, rubbing his cramping stomach muscles.  "Give me enough time to get a drink and we'll go again if you want."

"If you wish. You are quite good."

"I asked Ares to train me and he's about a tenth done with me by his estimates.  I don't trip over my feet anymore."  He wandered out to get a drink, noticing some women staring at him.  He looked down at himself, then at them.  "I've been sparring with Teal'c."  They looked shocked as they went on their way.  He got a second drink from the fountain then went back into the room.  He found Joxer sitting in the corner.  "Enjoying yourself?"  He stepped on one end of his staff, catching the other.  "You ready?"

"You should cool down a bit more first."

"Then I'll be stiff."  Xander smirked at him.  "Consider me like a trainee, Teal'c.  Really."  He nodded and bowed, then attacked again.  Xander barely managed to block the shot, but he spun around and used something he remembered from his short stint of fencing lessons to help with his tripping problem.  Teal'c grunted as he was tagged but attacked again.  He was taking Xander seriously.  The boy was as much a warrior as he was.   Xander didn't last as long this time but it was still longer than he expected to last in a single combat at the gate so he was happy with himself.  This time he got Teal'c feet out from under him but the guy had a hidden dagger and got him with that.  "Tricky.  Gotta remember that too," he panted, leaning on his staff.  "Should we go again?"

"No, you should rest.  Even our trainees get breaks to rest and recover.  I'm afraid a few of those hits will bruise, Xander."

"Yay.  Not the first time.  Trust me," he grinned weakly, then coughed once.  "Eww, I hate it when I get too hot and I start to cough."  He grabbed his shirt and used it to wipe his face off as he put his staff back.  He grabbed his axe and walked out, heading back to the gateroom.  "Anything new yet?" he asked as he walked up.  The women in there stared at him in shock. "I was sparring with Teal'c.  I'm heading for a shower if you need me.  If anything unusual, beyond the normal, comes through you call me second, after O'Neill."  They nodded so he went to take a shower.  He had managed to get into it before he heard the alert.  He climbed out and slid into a pair of jeans without anything underneath them and his sneakers, grabbing his axe on the way back.

"Please let this be a normal attack," he muttered as he jogged.  He was slagged.  If this was demonic they'd be in trouble.  He ran into the gate room and looked at the combat.  "Shit!" he decided.  "This one's a 'chop it's head off'," he yelled.  He took a running jump onto the thing's back, making it roar and bat at him.  "Get it in the hip joint or the stomach!  They're vulnerable!"  The soldiers on the ground started to shoot those neat alien zat guns at the thing, making it howl.  Xander grimaced and swung his axe down, breaking a rib as it cut through it.  "There!"  They focused on it.  One of them hit him but the rest got the creature down.  Xander landed on his back and had to shake his head to clear it.  "Fuck!  They're not supposed to have armor!" he muttered as he forced himself to sit up.  He looked at the beast.  "Are you a newbie on the lists or just a new improvement?"

"According to the database there's two types that fit under his general description," the general called over the intercom.  "One of them is like you were thinking the other is this one.  This one needs to be pulled apart and burned?"

"It regenerates?" Xander asked.  The general nodded so he glared.  "Damn it!  Fine.  Someone find my axe?"  It was handed over and the soldiers looked on as he chopped the things up and handed them off.  "Burn it.  Fully.   It comes back to life otherwise," he ordered, handing off the last piece.  Then he trudged back to the showers to clean off his axe on his dirty shirt and finally take a shower.  He was tired.  He managed to sit down on the bench in the training room and then the room swam.  That was the last thing he knew for a few hours.

Joxer walked in a few hours later, finally finding him.  "Ooh," he cooed.  "You're so cute!  Such a little warrior wannabe!"

Jett appeared and slugged him, knocking him down.  "He's more warrior than you are, Joxer.  He always has been.  He's had to fight, even being more clumsy than you are."  He nudged Xander, waking him.  "Your axe will rust, cuz."

"Help?"  He held up an arm and Jett helped him sit up.  "Thanks.  I was sparring with Teal'c earlier."  He got up to wet his shirt then came back to clean off the blades.  When he was done, he handed it to Jett and finally got into the shower.  He tossed out his wet clothes, not caring at the moment.  He scrubbed down as best he could with a single washcloth, making sure his hair was squeaky, then climbed out and grabbed one of the locker room towels from the pile to wrap around his hips.  He walked out and found Jett and his Uncle standing there.  "Hey, Hermes.  What's up now?"

"Your mom's having a cow, dude."

"How very Bart of you," Xander said with a smirk.  "I take it he watched?"

"He cued in when you jumped the demon," Jett told him.

"Then have him watch what I've done all day, I'm sure it'll make him feel *so* much better!" Xander said sarcastically.  He opened his locker and pulled out some fresh sweats and a pair of underwear.  "Remind me I need to add another outfit in here?"  He slid into the clean clothes, taking his spare t-shirt to put on.  His sneakers were grungy and he groaned so Hermes got him a pair of sandals.  "Thanks."  He closed his locker and tossed everything else into the lockerroom wash basket, taking his axe back.  "I've got a few more hours before I can go home."

"I just handled one," Jett offered.  "The blonde one is working on the filter now."

"Cool beans.  Hopefully it'll mean we quit getting beasts of hell.  Thanks, Hermes.  Tell him to watch the rest.  Actually, I want Unc to tell me what I did wrong with my sparring later if you see him."

"Sure thing, Xan."  He shook his head, smirking at Jett.  "They have no idea, do they?"

"Not a fucking clue," Jett agreed. "Neither does Joxer.  He still thinks he's a wannabe."

"Fuck if he is," Hermes agreed, heading off to find Ares and Strife.  Since Strife was being restrained by Ares in his temple it was a pretty easy find.  "Your nephew wanted to know if you could watch his whole day and give him a critique of his sparring earlier, Ares.  He also thought it might make Strife calm down a bit more."

Ares snorted.  "Probably not, but I can do that.  Where is he?"

"Back at his post.  He had a nap after the last beast, then Jett woke him and he took a shower and cleaned his axe off.  He did his weapon first."

"Good.  That shows respect for it," Ares agreed, heading to find an unoccupied mirror.  He brought it back and sat down near Strife to watch it with him.  Even if he had to make Strife watch it.  He found Hermes in there with popcorn and looked at him.  "That interesting?"

"Yeah, I haven't seen him in training in a while.  My son's not that good."

"True," Ares agreed smugly.  He created a seat and tuned the mirror to earlier that day, fast forwarding it past Danny and Xander in the showers, again, and to the first battle as they were coming in.  As he watched, he made short notes on a piece of parchment.   The boy needed the critique, he had forgotten some stuff.  He heard Strife's complaining noises when his son took the flamethrower and lit the beast on fire and gagged him.  "We're trying to critique, Strife.  Quiet," he ordered absently.  The boy had good aim with it.  He was good with weapons.

"Good technique," Hermes praised.

"Very."  He moved the mirror forward past the meeting.   He would replay that part later to see what Willow had told them.   He paused it when he saw him leave the meeting area to search for Teal'c.  "Good boy, find a mentor who knows their style and learn it," he praised when he heard Xander's question about their skills.


Xander looked up from the infirmary table as Hermes came back.  "She wanted to do bloodwork and went through my vein," he said at the confused look.

"Oh, cool I guess.  Do you fuss at her like you do 'Sclep?"

"Yes," Janet said grimly, frowning at him. "You are?"

"Hermes."  He handed over the scroll.  "From Ares.  Honest critique.  I've gotta say, Xan, I was impressed.  He found a few form faults but you rock, dude.  It's amazing and I'm damn happy to have you as one of our defenders until you retire."  He patted the boy on the head.  "Your mom's free and pacing muttering about you at the moment.  Can I show Auto?"  Xander shrugged and nodded.  "Thanks.  I'm hoping for grandkids and maybe seeing you being like that'll inspire him to have one like you."  He tweaked Xander on the ear before zipping off again.

"Wow.  You're really liked up there too, huh?" she asked with a faint smile.

"They're usually about the only ones," he complained, shifting onto his side.  "The ones I used to work with didn't appreciate me, even when I saved their lives.  They didn't visit at all when I had my eye popped."  She looked stunned at that.  "I'm fine now.  I haven't had any painkillers for months."

She lifted the eyepatch and grimaced.  "Eww."

"I know, but I can't make myself clean it and 'Sclep takes a lot of joy out of torturing my poor, bony ass into being mothered.  So we'll leave it for now, until I grow fuzz or it gives me some sort of mold fever."  He pushed it back down, moving her hand.  "It's not a present worry, Doctor.  Really.  I'm under very good care for it.  The God of Healers is about as good as you can get."

She smiled and patted him on the shoulder.  "At least someone's looking after you.  You seem to need it.  Want more gatorade?"

"Only if you're running it straight into my stomach.  That stuff's nasty."

"It is," she agreed with a smile.  "But it helps when you're exhausted and overworking yourself."

"I have to be better.  I'm not letting this gateway fall.  Period, end of discussion.  Even if I die, this gate's not falling.  I'm not losing my family to some idiots who're being controlled by the big brother to a tequila worm, who wear really nasty armor that solicits many dirty jokes about doggy style, and who want to be Gods.  I'm a demigod, it's my job to make sure they don't make it onto this planet in a way that means we'll have to bring the fight here."

She nodded.  "Fine.  I'll be ready to deal with you once you're done.  I'm sure you'll be one of many."

"No, only Jett and I are coming down from the family as far as I can tell," he admitted.  "Jett may be taking an off-world, front row position in an assault.  Should I ask for help for you?"

"She'll have it," Apollo noted as he appeared.  He saw the glare.  "I bring tidings from Hera.  She wants to see you."

"As soon as the doctor releases me," he said coldly. "Leave, Apollo.  Now.  Before I have to get up and get my axe.  You're not the best fighter in the family."  He sneered but he did leave.  "Fucker."

"Who was that?" she asked.

"Apollo.  Sperm donor."

"You were artificially conceived?"

"No, he was a rapist at the time. He claims he was ill," he said snidely, glaring at the spot his father had been standing in.  "He knows better than to get within six miles of me.  My first instinct is always to reach for a weapon."  He looked at her.  "Am I nearly done?" he asked in a nicer tone of voice.

"Nearly.  Let me finish running it and make sure the bruise doesn't spread, Xander."

"Sure, doc.  Just let me nap.  Don't move the axe."

"Sure, kid."  She watched as he closed his eye and drifted off, then went to make notes on his chart.  He was extraordinary from what she'd heard already.  She looked over as a redheaded woman appeared, nodding politely at the older woman.  "Are you here for him?"

"I am.  Is he all right?"

"Fine.  Just tired.  He wore himself out earlier and I didn't realize how thin his veins were so I poked through one when I did his bloodwork.  I'll release him within the hour, as soon as he wakes up."

Hera nodded.  "Thank you.  Are any other members of the family here?"

"I don't know.  I don't really come out of the infirmary."

"Very well."  She walked off, going to find the ones she could feel.  They were having a meeting on these creatures and she wanted to know what was going on.  She found Jett in the gateroom and looked him over.  "We're holding a meeting on this subject."

"Take Xan, I'll guard while he's gone.  I've done a good bit of demon slaying in my life," he answered calmly.  "Or take Danny, he's been in on this situation from day one.  I'm only involved because of the Fates."

"Ares said he needed you both up there to go over strategy."

"That leaves this area unprotected."

"I can bring that Willow girl back."

"Fine," Jett agreed.  "As soon as they get here."  She nodded and waved a hand, making Willow appear in her tanktop and shorts, obviously about to go to bed.  "Hey.  Guard this area.  We've got a strategy meeting and we need Xan," he ordered, following Hera back to the infirmary.  He took the axe while she woke him and took his half-asleep butt back with her.  He appeared in the meeting area, looking around.  He handed Ares the axe.  "He's worn out."

"That's fine," Ares agreed lightly, smirking at him.  "I'd expect that.  Did you see?"

"No, Joxer did and still called him a wannabe."  He looked at the models set up.  Then he looked at Thor as he appeared with the alien version of himself.  "Morning.  We've got Rosenburg guarding the gateway."

"I'll send one of the slayers in training," Athena offered, going to take one down there.  She came back a moment later.  "You're set until morning."  She looked at the models.  "Which am I helping with?"

"The assaults if you must help," Ares told her.  "We'll need terrain.  Thor, any news from the meeting?"

"Very little.  We got the recordings sent but they were garbled in transmission," the alien Thor noted sadly.  "The attack is soon.  Within the month we're sure.  We've moved into place to stop them from entering the solar system."

The human Thor looked at Ares.  "What am I doing to help?"

"Either help them or help with the ground assaults," he offered.  "Keep Loki from bothering Xander.  He's our most experienced gate guardian."

"Or set up one of the stargates as incoming only in your area so you can move them back to Colorado," Jett offered.  "Sam said we can switch between three terminus."

"Good," Ares agreed, looking at the models. "That might be the most help yet, Thor.  That and be on standby in case any of them actually make it down here.  You've got more warriors than most of us do at the moment."

"Agreeable," he said firmly, looking at the models.  "Where is the one who gives Loki many orgasms dreaming of a cooperative union?"

"He's the sleepy one.  He's had two battles and a sparring session today," Jett said, pointing at Xander.  "He's our senior gate guardian."  He looked at Thor.  "Can you do anything about that?  We're all going off-world otherwise."

"I may be able to help.  I would have to ask Odin Allfather."  He looked at the models again.  "How many warriors?"

"Sixteen troupes," Ares sighed.  "Not enough to do this properly."  He rubbed the back of his neck then looked at Hera when she cleared her throat.  "Okay, let's get this started people.  Strife, you're following Jett if possible.  I'm not sure if your powers can stand going off-world but I want you with him.  That's a prime 'attack in the dark position' and you're best at those.  You and Jett are a team.  Jack has one team, his team leading that troupe.  You and Jett have another.  There's six other troupes going first thing.  Xander has gate.  Thor and his little ships have space."  Strife gave him the dirtiest look he ever had.  "Tough, deal with it.  Discord, I want you to go with one of the other troupes.  Find the one that could use you the most and go with them. Protect them and do what's necessary.  Hammond wants to spare the soldiers if possible, they are being controlled."

"It's like the big brother to the tequila worm," Xander said from where he was lying, uncovering his head.  "It's in their stomachs.  I'm more realistic.  It's nice to spare those being controlled but whoever we spare will have mature snakes within two hundred years. Each battle group of theirs follow a supposed-God's orders and has a First, or Prime, position.  They lead the personal guards and the field troupes.  They've got field commanders with each group.  They're 'attack bluntly' sort, they like to fire energy weapons, which sting like hell when you get hit with one.  Jett, it could make that funny energy pulse that you've had in the past come back so be careful or go shielded.  Discord, worry about the commanders.  The ordinary warrior is a twenty-something or older man who hasn't moved higher.  All men."  She nodded, looking at the models.  "Jett, Jack had an idea of where you were going.  We really need him, Ares."

Ares nodded and brought Jack up, covering him once he was found to be naked.  He could respect this one, he didn't even flinch.  "Sorry, Jack."  He waved a hand.  "Welcome to the info and war meeting."

"Fine."  He looked at the models, pointing at a name on the list below them.  "Jett, you're taking this one.  I'm taking the one right above it.  It's a planet we've been on before and have a lot of higher ranking gou'ald on it.  Who else is coming?"

"I am," Discord told him.

He looked at her.  "You want to take out a planet that's got something against women?"  She smirked and nodded.  "Good.  You're going here," he said, pointing at the name on the list.  "We'll get you guys familiar with the notes tomorrow for terrain and things.  We'll be running a quick lesson in how their weapons work and how they feel tomorrow morning.  Xander, be there for that."

"Yes, sir."

"Good.  You're still taking gate?"

"I'm an end-game fighter, Jack. It's my best position.  Nothing's getting past me unless I'm dead or unconscious."

"Fine."  He looked at Ares, who nodded subtly.  "Okay, that leaves ten other off-world assault teams that are unguarded.  We're sending them into infantry-type situations.  Most everyone has been drilled in that before.  Most of them are woods or desert worlds.  Discord, if I remember right, yours is a forest world.  Jett, yours is a plains world."  Jett nodded at that.  He looked at the big, blond man in the corner.  "Let me guess, you're the human version of Thor?"  He nodded.  "Fine.  Are you helping with the land assaults?"

"If possible.  We do not do as well in space.  I have warriors at my disposal as long as my father agrees."

"He will, I'll make sure of it," Hera offered.  "He won't want them back.  Last time he kicked himself in the ass for not stepping in until after the Hindu Pantheon did."  Thor nodded at that.  "Could some of the Valkyries help?"

"I'm not sure," Thor admitted.  "Let me check."  He disappeared, going to his father's side immediately.  "Father, the False Ones are coming back."  His father scowled at something.  "We are planning the assault.  Ares is in charge."  Odin nodded.  "We need more warriors and the Valkyries if they can help."

"The warriors would be destroyed, my son," he said calmly.

"Father, either we fight or we all fade away," Thor noted.  "Even Loki is helping in this battle."

For some reason, Odin looked disturbed at that thought.  "Very well," he said finally.  "Ask your sister to see if she can help in the battles.  Ask the warriors as well.  You must have their permission, son."

"Yes, Father.  Thank you, Odin."  He bowed and left, going back to Olympus.  "We can have the Valkyries and warriors, but I must check still to see if our women can be of help and must have my warrior's permission to use them."

"Fair enough," Ares agreed.  "That would destroy what was left of them."  He pointed at two maps Jack had him create.  "They'll be in these two assault groups.  They're more like what they're used to, woods.  Some water, but mostly woods."  Thor nodded at that.  "Good man, Thor.  Be at the briefing tomorrow."  He nodded.  "Where's Loki?"

"He'll be with Xander," Thor the alien noted.  "He is not a great fighter, but he can stab those with a dagger readily enough."  They looked at Xander, and got the answer of a snore.  "He is very tired, isn't he?"

"Two different demons and a long spar," Jett told him.   Thor looked impressed.

"Against one of their Primes who turned sides after learning there were other ways," Strife said dryly, gazing at his son.  He looked at Thor.  "You tell your little brother to make sure my baby boy is all right at the end of this battle or *we're* going to have one," he said calmly.

"Of course," Thor agreed quickly.  He remembered the last battle between Strife and Loki, and that had been for fun.  They'd had to rebuild part of the hall twice in one day.

He looked at Ares, who shrugged slightly and smirked at him.  "We haven't got long.  We need to get this in place soon.  It could happen this week sometime."

Thor nodded.  "Then I'll get volunteers and get them ready."  He looked at Jack, then at the alien.  "Can we find him quickly enough?"

"I can tag the base for you," Thor the alien promised.  Thor the human nodded and they disappeared together to get two strike teams together.

Jack looked at Ares.  "Okay.  We've got preliminary plans and we've got the basics of teams.  We're doing info sessions starting tomorrow morning.  We have to pick Xander's team still and one other assault team."

"Send two or more SG teams together," Hera suggested quietly.

"I would, ma'am, but we're down to the scientists and the healers now," he offered.  "We haven't been able to borrow from the main military."

"How many do you need?" Ares asked.

"Fifteen to a hundred?" Jack suggested.  "If we have to go in as a stealth team we can.  If so, I want to change things and have Jett with us."

"I have some connections at the Pentagon, I'll see what I can have them send you," Ares promised.  "Go back to your shower.  We'll be down tomorrow morning to finish picking teams."  Jack nodded and he was sent back to his unfortunately ice cold shower.  Ares looked at Hera.  "From what little we've found out, there will be sixteen head Gou'alds coming for us this time.  Ten attacking and six others we need to take out to keep this from happening again.  The ten attacking are a priority.  Xander retires after the gate is safe."   Jett gave him a long look.  "The Fates said so, Jett.  He retires once home base is safe.  Pick someone to take his place and we'll work on training them."

Jett nodded, he could do that.  "Put all the candidates onto Xander's team?"

Ares shook his head. "We can't risk that many people and we need to know how they do in battle situations as well.  Put them on the lighter duty teams."  Jett nodded, going to find someone.  "Discord, I want you to lead Thor's other team. He can't be in two places at once."  She nodded.  "Okay.  Hermes, are you helping?"

"If I can.  I'm not much good in space, Ares."

"Fine.  'Sclep, they'll need healers.  Doctors who have battle experience if possible, or just trauma ones."  He nodded, lifting his chin a bit.  "Even if you have to move around your father."  He looked at Hera.  "I want those not involved up here.  Except for the two other Kingdom Heads."  She nodded at the wisdom.  "I want Joxer and Jace guarding the entry, along with Auto if he doesn't join Xan.  If you wake up big, dumb, and stupid have him guarding as well."

"Iolaus woke up last week," Aphrodite offered.

"Good, have him guard with the two.  He makes a good guard."  He looked at Athena.  "This will be the dirtier version of war, 'Thena.  Did you want to lead a troupe?"

She shook her head. "Not in this instance.  I will lend you my warriors though.  They can get through the armor, I've already tested it."

"Good.  Give them to Jack, let him put some on each team."  She nodded at that.  "Leave two up here if possible.  Hephie, I want Jett and Jace as well armed as Xander is if possible.  I don't know if you've made anything for them.  They are our guardians."

"I've got stuff in the process.  Give me another day, Ares.  Jett will want a crossbow?"

"Yeah."  Ares brushed his hair back.  "We leave the space attacks to the Asgard.  They're good at them.  We leave the off- world to Jett and myself.  The home base is covered and we shouldn't have to worry about that.  We might have a staffing problem but that's nothing that'll change with circumstances."  Athena nodded at that.  "Good.  Gather your warriors and send them down there tomorrow for the information meetings.  They have energy weapons."  She nodded, disappearing to do that.  "Any questions?"  No one said anything.  So he looked at the Fates.  "Are you seeing a problem with this?" he sneered.

"No, God of War, we do not," they answered.  "We wish you luck.  You have our blessing on this one.  Trust your nephew."  They disappeared.

"I do, I trust both of them.  Anything else?" he asked the other Gods.  They shook their heads.  "Then get some rest and do whatever you do before major battles.  This one will be messy.  They know we exist and that we have powers this time.  There's no element of surprise and there's no time to do this subtly.  This time it's a full out assault and destroy.  Cupid, I want you with the two boys and Iolaus."  He nodded.  "They'll need Godly backup.  I do not want you down in the middle of it this time unless it's absolutely necessary.  They will remember you."  He looked around.  "Anything else?"  There was silence except for Xander's snoring.  "Fine.  Go."  They walked away talking and he was left with Hera staring at him.  "I didn't mean to usurp."

"You didn't.  In cases like this you do have dominion," she agreed gently.  "What of this one, Ares?  He's exhausted, he's injured, and he's too tired to go on.  He made a death statement earlier."

"I'd expect nothing less from him.  He's had to do it before, Hera.  I trust him.  Nothing will get past him if at all possible," he explained calmly.  "He knows how bad this is, he sees exactly what can and will happen if he doesn't hold the gateway.  He's had to do this sort of thing before with demons."  She nodded at that.  "For right now, I'm going to take him to Danny's and let him rest some more."  He lifted the boy up and took his axe with them, setting them down on Danny's couch, making Janet, who was pulling out a slice of pizza from a box on the table, give him an odd look.  "Here.  He's been asleep the whole meeting.  He's got dominion over the gateway."

Danny nodded.  "Of course.  Any new news?"

"Athena's archers will be going with the teams.  I'm off to the Pentagon.  Thor's asking some of his people."  He looked at Janet.  "I've ordered 'Sclep to find you help.  You'll need it."  He disappeared, heading to Washington to talk with his people there.  He popped into a meeting and smirked at them.  "Good, you're all here.  Colorado and their special project needs warriors to go on ground assaults.  Otherwise you won't have to worry about job security."  The generals looked stunned but two of them nodded and called up their lists to see who they had.  "We need experienced teams.  We need them to go to most desert and wooded worlds.  We're looking at infantry- style maneuvers.  We need mass and power."

"I have some who aren't that green," the top Marine in the room offered.  "Do you need a whole battalion at once?"

"We may," he said honestly.  "There's ten attacking and six we've got to take out no matter what besides them."  The generals looked impressed. "Each with their own army and training methods.  Each on their own worlds."

The Army general gave him a thoughtful look.  "Would Rangers and SEALS work best?"

"Only for a few of them.  We need numbers, not stealth in most cases.  I'll keep them in mind however."

"Who's guarding Colorado?" the Navy General asked calmly.

"My nephew and High-Priest.  He was in Sunnydale."  They all shuddered.   "My other nephew and priest is going on an off-world team.  The gate guardian has agreed to take green people if he must.  He's done it before."

"Is he mentioned in the Initiative's files?" the Marine asked.

"Yeah.  Harris," Ares said with a smirk.  They looked stunned.  "Tell me you didn't think he was a moron," he demanded.   They all shook their heads, though their faces showed otherwise.  "The boy's not got powers and he still does that job.  This is his last battle."  They nodded, understanding that.  "He's got home base. I trust him.  Even if I have to send him greenies."  He looked at them.  "We could use at least another ten troupes."

"We can give you a whole unit," the Army general offered.

"I have one as well, they're about to ship out to Iraq," the top Marine offered.

"Deal.  We can get them there afterward.  It shouldn't take too long."

"Can you help us over there?" the Navy General asked hopefully.

"I can, but not until after this is done.  This is more important.  We all die if they win."  Everyone in the room nodded, even the secretaries and those people working the equipment.  "We're running informational meetings starting tomorrow.  If we have to, we'll run another group for these guys.  Send them there."  He disappeared, leaving them to do what they needed to do.  He went to have a beer and relax.  It was probably going to be his last free time for a bit.


Xander woke up three days later tired and stiff.  He had been working himself to death these last few days, and had been working with his team too.  He had a feeling, one he recognized from getting it too many times before.  It was today.  He got up and padded into Danny's room, sliding into the bed with him.  He kissed him awake, then slowly moved downward.

"What's wrong, Xan?" Danny asked, still sounding sleepy.

"It's today.  I need the stress break."

Danny pulled his head up.  "I hope I'm more than that."

Xander grinned. "Of course you are, but I still need the stress break at the moment. It's either today or tonight."  He got free and went down on his lover's cock, making him groan and grab his head.  He removed the hands, putting them on the bed, then went back to what he wanted to be doing.  They both needed the break from the stress and to have clear heads.   "You want top or bottom?" he asked as he pulled back.  "Lube?"  Danny pointed weakly, his hand falling back to the bed.  "Top or bottom?"

"Top," he moaned, letting Xander do whatever he wanted.  This was too good to miss.  If he had the strength he'd be pushing Xander against a wall and taking him hard and fast.   He could only watch as Xander, ever talented Xander, prepared himself and went back to sucking him.  Then Xander did something very nice, he climbed on top so Danny didn't have to overtax his system.  Little did he know that Xander expected more than that from him.  He was doing okay until Xander grabbed him by the waist and forced him to get more into it.  What a way to wake up.  That was also when he realized Xander could very well kill him in bed if he was always like this.  He ended up rolling Xander under him and going to town on him, if only in defense of his poor back.  By the time he was done he was sure all his neighbors were now awake, which meant he'd be getting knowing looks and complaints later, and probably for the next few months, but he was awake and Xander was grinning and sweaty.  He flopped down next to Xander.  "Give me ten to recuperate and I'll make coffee."

"If you can speak that intelligently, I'm not doing my job right."  Xander popped open the baby wipes and cleaned Danny up, then went back down on him again, making him moan.

"Xander!" he complained.

"Shh, Danny, we both need this."

"Xan, honey, you're worse than Cupid."

Xander lifted his head and gave him an odd look.  "You slept with the step-dad?"

"Once, he broke me in!  Didn't he get you?"

Xander shook his head.  "Nope, I had to learn the hard way, with a rogue slayer and some hos."  He shrugged and went back down on him, making Danny groan and buck up.  "Good, Danny.  Good boy.  Now give me a bit more and we'll be a very happy Xander."  He grinned then dove down again, making Danny squeal.  He slacked off a bit, not wanting to hurt him, but enjoying the hell out of this.

"Xander, work, hour," Danny tried.

"Fuck work," Xander sang, swallowing hard.  Danny squealed and bucked up, making Xander go harder and faster.  This was probably one of the best blows he had ever given and Danny was apparently enjoying it.  He pulled off right before Danny was going to come, smirking up at him.  "Did you want me to finish?"

"Xander, I'll kill you if you leave me this way," Danny warned, lunging up to grab him.  He had more than enough preparation a while ago.  It was more than worth it.  Xander was howling under him and he was inspired to make sure that both of them showed up brainless.  Xander was hanging on for dear life by the time he was ready to let him go.  He was clutching the headboard and making whimpering noises, and Danny liked it. He slammed home and came, gripping Xander so hard he was going to be bruised.  Xander was still shifting back though so he pulled off and flipped him over, looking down at him.  "Fix that?"

"Yes," Xander moaned, arching his hips up.  "Please?"

Danny smirked.  "You think I should reward you jumping me that way?"

"Just get the guy off," Cupid's voice called, even though he wasn't in the room with them.  "Before you get a helper!"

Danny grimaced, then smirked at Xander, running a finger up the underside of his cock.  "Go ahead, Xander.  I wanna see you do it."  Xander moaned and grabbed himself, working himself harder until he moaned and arched up again, spraying Danny across his chest and stomach.  "Good boy, Xander."  He leaned down to kiss him, moaning into the damp mouth.  He snuggled in for a few minutes, until he caught sight of the clock.  "We're due in within a half hour," he noted dryly.

Xander looked at him.  "I'll warm the water if you get the coffee?"  Danny nodded and they forced themselves to get up instead of cuddling back into sleep.  They had a duty, they could snuggle later, as long as they both lived.  They had better both live, he owed Xander for that nip he had given him earlier.  He got the coffee started then headed into the shower.  They couldn't be late.  Not today.


Jack and Jett looked up as Xander walked in, giving him a smug look.  "Little bit late, cuz," Jett taunted.  "And boy do you look sleepy.  Nightmares?"

Xander flipped him off.  "Want some of your own?"  He grabbed his axe and his gun, finishing off his gear for the day.  "There, I'm done.  When is it?"  Jett looked at him.  "I knew when I got up this morning.  If you ask the others they probably realize it too."

"Okay, is this some sort of special warrior skill?" Jack asked.

Jett gave him a look.  "How should I know?  I'm an assassin."  He looked at his cousin again, noticing that Danny was coming in with more coffee in his hand.  "And another person who didn't sleep well.  Did Xander's nightmares wake you up or just keep you up?" he asked smugly.

"Jett, I remember how ticklish you are," Danny said sweetly.  "Don't make me prove it."  He looked around.  "No other antsy warriors?"

"Not yet," Jett offered.  "Then again, we haven't seen too many of them yet.  I can find Athena's girls if you want."

"Let's head," Xander announced, pulling his axe off his back.  "We've got maybe an hour."

"We haven't even heard anything," Jack defended.  Xander gave him a look and he found himself going along with it.  "Okay then.  We'll get ready.  At worst this'll be a drill," he sighed, going to give the orders.  The new guys had barely gotten there two days earlier.  They were sleeping in the dining hall. Athena's warriors had taken over a command tent in one of the garages so they couldn't be polluted by the men.  He was walking past the dining hall, figuring to get the women started first, when he heard the alert siren starting for the gate dialing in.  He caught the first two guards.  "Go wake Athena's warriors in the garage in the tent.  Get the other guys up, we don't have any teams off-world."  He hurried back to the gate room calmly, knowing others would panic if they saw him running like he wanted to.  He heard the first gunshot and winced, going faster now.  He hoped it was an itchy finger.  He hoped quite severely that it was an itchy trigger finger.  He walked in and found a group of gou'ald under attack and joined in, wincing as Xander let out a battle cry that would probably make his uncle cry with pride and slap him on the back.  He joined in, shooting one of the guards who had broken through the gate.  "This sucks," he announced.

"Suck it up, Jack, it gets worse," Xander called, slicing through the armor of another soldier, then stepping back to wipe his forehead off.  "Are you guys going now?"

"Yeah, as soon as they gather."  He headed out to get his people.  They needed to mop up the gateroom before they could leave.

"I want them dead, now!" Xander yelled in there.  "The more we kill the less the others have to.  If we get more than fifty, we can have pizza, the general said so!"  The guys in there cheered and more shooting was heard.

"Okay then," Jack decided.   He ran into his team and Jett, taking his pack from him.  "Let's go, kids.  We're under attack, it's time.  We all know our spots?"  They all grunted and followed, getting a few good shots off as they ran up and went through the gateway.  To Jack it looked like their target had come to them.  They weren't right, but the other side only had a few guards so they dialed out from there.  It broke the home base from the gate so others could leave.

Xander looked around the mess as more warriors walked in.  "Okay, pile 'em up!  We've got outgoing.  That means no one on the ramp!"  They moved the bodies, being careful like they had been told - not to touch anything crawling out of them.  Xander nodded. "Good job, guys.  Let's hope that's all the excitement we're gonna have.  If it is, I'll spring for the pizza and beers."  That got some laughs but his kids were going to be okay.  None of them were combat veterans, though his second in command was a former gang member.  At least he knew what fighting was like.  Farm kids mostly.  He mentally shook his head.  They'd deal and he'd try to make sure that they came home alive.   The teams marched through, heading out through the stargate lead by a member of the program.  They had been briefed about what to expect so only a few of them were green.  Some of them were shaking, but they'd get over it once they landed.  Xander looked at his guys.  "Okay, stay sharp.  The outer ring has to move first.  If you see it shimmy, you yell at me.  We can break two at a time for bathroom or sodas.   Those of you who need to change pants, do it now."  Half of the kids ran off and he leaned against the wall, looking at the emergency stash of weapons.  When Athena's warrior walked in alone he gave her an odd look.  "Weren't you supposed to go?"

"No, I was ordered to stay with you," she said, looking him over.  "You are the demigod Alexander?"  He nodded.  "Good.  Which position is mine?"

"Pick a good one.  Everyone's got to come out of the hole and walk down the ramp.  Make sure they're the bad guys, none of ours."

She snorted and found herself a spot in the corner.  None of the others would get in her way or run into her since she was on the opposite side of the door.  "This is mine."

"Good, defend it with your life."  He looked up as the gate started to shift.  "It's time!" he yelled.  "Get the others!"  Someone ran out to get the others, then most of them came back.  It was better than he had expected.  The others would be back, or else.  He lifted his staff weapon and looked at the archer, who nodded.  "Showtime," he said after the announcement of the sixth symbol locking in place.  The gateway opened and he looked at the first person coming through.  "That's not ours!  Get them!"  He fired the first shot and the others opened fire, mostly because he did.  He knew he'd have to lead the pack for the first few times.  The archer took out two and he nodded at her, dropping his staff and grabbing his axe to take out another who had made it down the ramp.  He kicked the body over and sliced into the snake coming out, then dragged him off to the side.  "Clear the ramp.  This should become routine."

The others who had been missing came back and helped with the cleanup.  A few looked like they had been crying so he made sure each of his guys were fine.  Two were sent to the infirmary for burns and shots, but the rest gathered and picked their spots.  If everything was going according to plan, the General was in the dining hall with his own personal cadre of guards.  They were a last resort though, this group was the final line in his mind.   He sent a quick prayer to Ares, then looked over as someone appeared.  "Loki," he greeted, shaking his hand.  "Welcome to our battle.  Pick a corner and defend it.  They don't leave this room."

"The mortals?"

"No, the ones piled against the walls.  The False Ones."

"Good, I missed the last battle.  I was rather...tied up," he said with a smirk.  "So, would you consent to give me some ideas as well?"

"We make it of here alive and I'll give you my idea to embarrass everyone you meet."  Loki laughed and clapped him on the back, taking up a position next to him.  "Watch out, I use an axe."

"So I can see.  It's very pretty.  Hephaestus?"

"Yuppers."  He noticed the shimmy and sighed.  "We're up."

The outer ring moved and Loki growled, holding up a hand.  It froze.  "There, now they can't."

"Neither can our guys if they have to evacuate."

"Point," he conceded, letting it come through.  The soldiers coming back were theirs so they joined the group.  "Nothing there?"

"They left."  The soldier looked at his unusual outfit, then looked at Xander.  "Sir, orders?"

"Get scanned, then we'll see," he noted.  The guards looked stunned.  "Standard protocol.  Scanner person?"  One of the guards stepped up with the scanners.  Both of them beeped and he sighed, looking at Loki.  "Knock 'em out.  Bind 'em, but don't kill 'em.  It's not their fault."  Loki nodded and did so, stacking them under the gate.  "Good enough," Xander agreed, grinning at him. "You're not too bad.  Nearly as great as mom."

"Mom?" Loki asked, giving him a long look.  "Who is your mother?"



Xander smirked and nodded. "The other's Apollo if that explains anything."

"Oh, it does," he agreed with a smirk.  "Now I understand fully.  You need a good lover?"

"I've got one of those, but thanks.  If we don't work out, we'll see."  Then he blew a kiss.  "You might not be so bad."  He looked over as the outer door opened and smirked at Hades as he walked in.  "Some of ours?"

"No, Alexander.  Not one of ours.  Are you all right?"

"Fine.  So far.  A bit tired, but it's a good tired."  Hades gave him a knowing look.  "Those guys have snakes," he admitted, pointing at the ones under the ramp.  "Can we fix that?"

"I have no idea," he admitted.  "I'll check.  Ares said that the ones coming back are all to be scanned."

"Of course.  To do otherwise would be dumb."  Hades nodded, giving him a knowing look.  "Tell Unc to deal with the off world. I've got this one and I've got backup if I need it."  Hades nodded again and disappeared. "Guys, don't make him come back for any of you.  You might like it, but probably not."

"Who was that?" one of the young farm boys asked.

"Hades," Loki told him. "God of the Underworld."

"He's Satan?"

"No, Hades.  Your faith is very limiting in how you see things.  I am Loki."  The boy looked stunned and horrified, so did a few others.  "The world is wider than you think."  He looked at Xander again.  "You allow this?"

"I can't stop them from their own version of faith.  It sucks but it happens.  They'll either learn or their faith will get stronger with evidence of others being answered."  He looked at the gateway again, wincing as it started to move.  "This shit sucks already and it's probably going to be all day.  If it's ours, we scan then let free if they're clean.  If they're not, it's the same battle all over again," he ordered loudly.  Everyone groaned.  "Like I said, if it's over fifty the general is buying the pizza and the beer.  If not, then it'll be really boring and I will.  Remember, boring saves lives.  Pray for boring."

"To which God, sir?"

"Whichever one you usually hit, son.  It doesn't much make a difference now," Loki noted dryly.  He crossed his arms, glaring at the people coming through.  He raised his hand at one of them but Xander stopped him.  "He's one of them."

"He turned once he knew there were other ways.  Teal'c's a good guy.  Scan 'em!  Leave Teal'c alone!"  The others were scanned and let go to find a new target.  "Did they all move?"

"No, they all evacuated to a specific world," Sam called as she ran up to contact the other teams.  "We're heading there."

Xander shrugged.  "Okay then.  Even easier.  Teal'c, can we free the newly wormed guys?"  Teal'c looked at them, then sighed and shook his head.  "Fine.  Get them into a cell.  Take five of my guys to help."  Teal'c nodded and pointed at the five nearest him to help him, carrying out one of them himself.  The others gulped but followed with the other prisoners.  At least this way they'd know where to store the unfortunate people.  Besides, if their commander said so, they'd let this one live.

Xander looked at Athena's warrior, then at Loki.  "It's going to be a long day."  They nodded and Loki decided to clear the air a bit by sending the bodies somewhere else.  They were fouling the air he breathed.  "Thanks. Where did you send them?"

"A big empty spot with mechanical items."

"A garage, that's fine," Xander agreed, grabbing the phone behind him.  "General, Loki just moved some dead aliens to a garage.  We're quarantining the ones who're coming back with new worms.  Thanks.  Have fun.  You're buying what sort of pizza tonight?"  He smirked.  "And beer, sir.  We deserve it after the day we're gonna have."  He hung up and looked at his guys.  "Mostly cheese.  That way he doesn't hear complaints."  They nodded, that was fine with them.  He pointed at the gate as Jack came back.  "Nothing new yet.  Which world?"

"PK-3903.  It's their training camp, kinda," Danny told him.  "You okay?"

"So far I'm only stiff.  Be safe, guys.  The General's buying beer and pizza."  Sam gave him a look, but she smirked.  "I just reminded him and he said it's mostly going to be cheese."  They headed off again, going to the new site.  Xander looked at the archer.  "You can go if you want."  She nodded, heading after them.  He let out a deep breath.  "Okay, guys, let's deal.  We kill 'em all, we go home.  We die, we go home in a pretty box.  Got it?"  They nodded.  "Good, don't make me tell mothers that you got killed.  I'd hate that."  They grunted and nodded, moving back into position.

"Sir, if they're just coming home to dial out again, do we scan them?" one of the recruits asked.

"Sure do, because they can dial out from wherever they are," Xander assured him.  "If they come back here before it's done, there'd better be a damn good reason."

The soldiers nodded, understanding that very well. They knew what desertion was.

Xander woke up and blinked at the person standing beside him.  "Wow.  It's light."  He looked at Hera.  "How long?"

"You managed to make it to the last surge," she admitted.  "You did very well, Xander."

"Thanks, I still ache like fuck.  Doc, can I have some drugs?" he called.  Janet came over with a needle. "Into the IV?" he asked hopefully.

"Nope," she assured him with a smile.  "It's been six days.  I want you to go home soon.  You complain when you're asleep.  Others complain while you sleep too."

"Is that all I did?" he teased, smirking at her when she blushed.  "Hey, I'm a growing boy."

"Growing in the wrong spots," she said dryly, shooting the drugs into his arm.  "One got past, but he was taken care of."

"One?" he asked, starting to scowl.  "I let one through?"

"He's the one who knocked you out and kicked you in the head," Hera assured him.  "Your mother is presently tied up so he'd quit pacing.  Would you like him?"

"No, not yet.  I'm sure I'll see him once I get up there."  He sat up, wincing in pain.  "He only got me in the head?"

"No, he ran over you and a few of the other guys who were still walking ran over you to get him.  The General's guards got him, Xander.  Relax.  He's not free."  Xander nodded, slumping a bit.  "You did wonderfully."  Janet patted him on the back, then took the opportunity to listen to his chest and take his blood pressure.  "Well, you're better," she sighed.

"Want the bed back?  I can sleep at Danny's."  She winced.  "What?  He's okay, right?"

"He's fine, now.  He had a broken arm and a few cracked ribs."  She handed him a shirt.  "Put it on and go to the office, Xander.  Lady Hera, he'll be back in a few hours if you wanted to assure the other fussy people?"  Hera cracked a smile at that and nodded, disappearing.  "Your...mother is very fussy.  He also attacked the other guy."

"Poor Loki, I'll apologize later."  He sighed as he put on the shirt slowly, wincing only a bit at the pain in his back.  "I'm gonna live?"

"That healer of yours said so," she agreed, helping him off the bed.  "Go, before someone else pounces you."

He nodded, wandering that way.  He waved off a salute.  "I'm a civvie, guys, just a specialist."  He tapped on the door and walked in.  "You wanted to see me once I was conscious?"

"Shouldn't you still be in bed?"

"Hell no.  I hate hospitals in all their many forms."  He sat down with a sigh of relief.  "I hate being injured.  I'm assuming we won?"  The general nodded, smirking at him.  "Okay, is that one of those 'I'm in trouble' looks or one of those 'you did good but you're a smartass' looks?"

"A bit of both.  I don't usually spring for dinner, Alexander."

"Hey, it got the guys motivated.  Besides, even your cooks were fighting."

"Good point.  Which is why you're not in trouble."

"Bless you, and thanks."  He shifted with a wince.  "How's Danny?"

"He's off world working on an alliance.  He left you a letter."  He tossed it over so the boy wouldn't have to move, watching as he read it.  "Dumped you?"

"He said I'm too intense so I'd be a good plaything," Xander sighed, tucking it into his waistband.  "Anything else needed of me?"

"Well, there's one thing. Your axe went to one of the guys on your team.  He earned it according to your uncle.  Who, by the way, said he moved the rest of your stuff up to your room.  He said he'd give you a week to unpack."  Xander smiled at that, but was slumped down some.  "No one would blame you going back to bed."

"I would," Xander told him.   He stood up with a groan.  "I hate being sick or hurt.  It sucks badly."  The General laughed.  "We lose anyone besides the sixteen snaked?"

"No, son.  We had some bad injuries but the healers your uncle sent down turned the trick.  We all lived."  He leaned back.  "You know, we should give you a medal."

"That means you'd have to acknowledge me and the Pentagon would have to know what happened. I'm good without shiny things.  They only attract attention."  He saluted him.  "With that, sir, I'm going to climb into my bed at the temple.  If you need me, yell for Ares."  He got saluted in return and turned, leaving the room.  He ran into Loki in the hall, cooing over his black eye.  "I'll bite mom for you if you want.  You did good."

"Your mother is very overprotective."

"Of course."  He smirked.  "What a shock that is!  I'm his most important possession.  Take me home or should I do the work?"

"No, I was sent to bring you."  He took Xander's arm and pulled him closer, kissing him as they disappeared.  They broke apart when Ares cleared his throat.  "Sorry, I was making sure he was all right."  Xander whispered in his ear, making him cackle.  "I will enjoy courting you, young Xander."  He bowed and left, taking that idea to work on.  It was very wicked.  Nearly as bad as those horrible mortals had been.

Xander looked at Ares.  "I'm home.  Mom's tied where?"

"His room. He's napping," Jett said, clapping him on the back, then having to catch him.  "And yet again I see that you've escaped from an institutional setting before you should have.  Let's get you to bed, Xan."

"Thanks, Jett.  Love you too, man," he wheezed.  "Damn, I ache."  He let Jett lead him off, not noticing that the letter had slipped down his pantsleg.

Ares did though and he picked it up, reading it quickly.  Then he sighed and tossed it onto the table.  "Oh, well.  Maybe Loki's not *so* bad.  It could be worse. It could be Auto or Jackass."

"You know, Iolaus isn't so bad," Strife said as he appeared.  He looked at the letter, then his uncle.  "And that is?"

"Danny telling Xander he's too intense.   They'll have a fuckbuddy thing going on.  Though, he and Loki looked cute and he gave him a great idea."

"I felt it," Strife said grimly.  He looked in the direction of his son's room. "He all better?"

Ares snorted.  "Xander?  Stay in a hospital bed?"

"Good point. Who has him?"


"I'll check on him later then."  He went to check on everything else, just in case.  He needed to wear off some energy.   He heard the scream and sighed, knowing he was going to be called soon.  As soon as Hera yelled his name he appeared. "It wasn't me," he defended automatically.

She pointed at the singing plant in the corner and glared at him.  "Then who did that!  Why is it singing those horrible songs about love and peace!"

"Because my son and Loki seem to be hooking up," he said dryly.  "You tell 'im no."  He snorted and headed off again.  "I coulda done that," he whined to himself.  He felt someone grab his arm and tensed but looked at the person stopping him.  "What?" he demanded.

"Loki only likes him because he's a good muse," Iolaus reminded him. "He'll always be your son and love you more."  He let him go and walked off. "I'm going to take some of the tots to the park if you wanted to help."

"No thanks.  I'm not in the mood ta play."  He watched the immortal walk off and looked back at the temple, then at the tight ass walking away, and decided maybe a tight ass was a good thing.  They had survived and it was time to celebrate.  Iolaus turned to smirk at him and winked, then headed off at a jog to play with the kids.  Strife growled and followed the bouncing butt.  He liked that butt.  He always had, even when it had been attached to someone who wasn't worth a thought, much less a second look.  He pounced Iolaus, making him laugh.  "What?  Think I'm funny?"

"No, just intense.  Now I see why everyone complains that your son's overwhelming."  He kissed him.  "If there's a new baby brother or sister for Xander, I'm naming it, Strife."  He kissed him again, this time taking his time to make it good.  He'd been asleep for a long time and without sex for even longer.  It was more than time to scratch this itch.  Strife's fingers were a wonderful backscratcher.


Danny looked up as he walked out of the gateway, finding someone waiting on them in the corner.  "You visible?" he asked.  Loki became visible, making Sam flinch. "He won't hurt you this time," he promised.  "It was an honest mistake."  He walked over to look at the God of Mischief and Chaos.  "What's happened to Xander?"

Loki smirked at him.  "I was wondering how attached to him you were."

"He's suddenly different?"

"No, but I wish to steal the both of you for my own personal pleasure now and then, him more often if it upsets you."  He licked his lips.  "Would that?"

Danny looked stunned, then blinked a few times.  "Oh, God."

"Only sometimes. You can switch if you want," he offered with a smirk.  "I wouldn't mind.  It would make what I could do to both of you a very intense prayer session."  Jack coughed and he glared at him.  "Puny mortal."

"Ares' favorite at the moment," Danny warned.  He shrugged. "We'll see.  You might not be worth the trouble or measure up."  He walked off, heading to get scanned then debriefed.

Loki laughed.  "Oh, we will see," he promised, disappearing.  He very much wanted to see his newest friend.  Even if he was asleep.  He popped into his room and found Jett sitting next to him, on top of the blankets. "He needs a guard for his virtue?"

"No, he needs guarded from the stupid love gods.  Watch out, they like to hurt him."  Jett stood up. "As opposed to me, who only likes to hurt people who hurt him," he noted icily. "Including you.  You'd make a wonderful toy."  Loki smirked at him.  "Remember me, I'm the bad one."

"Of course you are," Loki agreed, blowing a kiss.  "I would never hurt him. His mind would be lost."  He took Jett's spot on the bed, stroking the dark hair.  "You rest, Xander.  You are mine now.  I do protect what's mine."  He looked up as Jett walked out and slammed the door.  "Poor boy, is he jealous often?"

"Only of those who might hurt me.  He says I'm a lot like Joxer in that regard, only he gets to hurt me."  Xander yawned.  "Not yet, Loki, I've got one hell of a backache and headache."

"Let me help with that," he soothed, moving so he could work on the poor baby's back.  "Daniel has agreed that we can be together at once."

"Hmm, threesome.  Interesting idea."

Loki got rid of the shirt the boy had been wearing and manifested some oil on his hands, warming it so he could work on the tense muscles.  The boy's moans were enough to turn him on.  He unbuttoned his vest and leaned down.  "You sound very good. Do you moan like that when you're ridden?"  Xander turned his head, smirk already in place.  "Does that mean I get to find out?"

"Not in my temple you don't!" Ares yelled from the hallway, sounding like he was walking off.  Suddenly the noise stopped.

Loki looked down at him.  "You can use your gifts?"

"No, but he did give me the right to block everyone out for a bit," Xander said smugly.  "Apparently he thought I needed the privacy."   He winked and put his head back down.  "Go on with the backrubbing and we'll see if you can do more."  His new lover attacked his muscles for him, working out the remaining stiffness.  By the time he was ready, his lover was panting and humping him.  "Very nice," he soothed, shifting his legs apart so Loki could finally get what he wanted.  The older God dove in, making a meal of him until Xander was whimpering in need.  This was something Danny hadn't gotten, that he needed that intensity and heat.  This one got that point very well.  He hiccuped as he moaned, making Loki chuckle into his warm, damp skin.  "Ooh, I like that."  Loki did it again, then nipped him hard, moving slightly upward to tease a new spot.  Xander gasped and grabbed the headboard as the tongue entered him.  "Ohh, Gods, yeah!" he moaned.

"Ah, appreciation, I like that in a lover," Loki said smugly, going back to what he was enjoying.  The boy was perfect under him.  So responsive, so tight, so wanton.  It was drawing him in closer and closer.  Just a bit more loose and the boy would be his.  Not even his father would be able to claim the boy after he was done.  His muse of naughty ideas would be his forever!  He nearly let out an evil chuckle but kept it inside and went back to making the boy want him more.  All it took was the one time usually.  Then they would be addicted to him.  He finally got the hole prepared enough and moved higher up, sliding in to the deep, guttural moan the boy let out.  It was making him even hotter.  He rode the boy within an inch of his life, knowing he was going to be sore, but he didn't care!  The boy obviously didn't!  He leaned down to mark him as he came, making Xander shout and thrash as he bit into his shoulder.  Then the boy released and it was like nirvana for a moment as he squeezed around his cock.  "More," he moaned.

Xander panted as he flopped onto his stomach.  "Give me a minute to recover," he pleaded.  Now he understood why people were tired after he got done with them.  If they felt like he did, he was sorry he never let them nap and asked for a second round.  He finally flipped onto his back so he could look at his lover.  "You up for more already?"

Loki created a drink and had half of it before handing it over.  "Yes, I am," he agreed, smirking down at the younger demigod.  Xander gulped the drink and then gamely climbed on top of him.  Ooh, he was well trained already it seemed.  Loki was going to have some fun debauching this one.  Xander was wincing a bit so he went slower, at first.  Then he went back to pounding him into the mattress once he shifted them so the boy was on his back.  It was fun watching his face this time.  So expressive, just like his noises.  That was the best part so far.  The boy moaned for him, not his name but actual moans of delight.  He gave it an extra bit of effort, making the boy go limp underneath him by the time they were done.   He kissed him gently and pulled the covers over them, holding him as they drifted off.  He had so many ideas running through his head now.  This boy was amazing.  No wonder his mother had wanted to keep him for himself.   Xander snored in his ear, something that would usually bother him, but this time it wasn't so bad.  Which was odd.  He looked up.  "Freya," he growled. "Leave me alone!"

Jett broke in, blatantly swinging the lock pick in his hand.  "Love gods again?" he asked dryly, handing over a tray.  "Xander still has to eat.  He spent the last week unconscious.   No banging his head into the wall, and remember, I would love to play with you as my victim. I'm sure I could decorate you in a way that would make anyone mad at you proud."  He tested Xander's forehead, then looked at Loki.  "If he gets stuffed up, I'm killing you."  He walked out, leaving the door open this time.

Loki waved it closed and snuggled back in, floating the tray off to the bedside table for now.  The boy would need it before he took him again.  "What to work on first?  My own people or his?" he mused quietly, resting his head on the boy's chest.  Even now his wanton nature was calling out to him.  "Damn, boy, are you a siren as well?"  Xander mumbled something so he moved closer. "What was that?" he asked tolerantly.  Xander mumbled it again and he smiled.  "You were babysat by them.  Interesting.  No wonder you have so many naughty ideas."  He arranged himself comfortably across the younger man and settled in for  a nap.  He deserved one after that show.


Danny walked into Xander's bedroom that night, smirking at the slowly waking God.  "You didn't waste any time," he said dryly as he closed the door.  He handed over the tray, noticing the other one was still there.  "He hasn't woken up yet?"

"I wore him out," Loki noted smugly.

Danny snorted as he crawled in next to Xander, only taking off his boots.   He looked down at himself as he found himself naked.  "I didn't know we had a stripping charm on the bed."

"Clothes are tiresome," Loki noted, holding up a roll he had just buttered.  "Eat?"  Danny took a bite and he smiled.  "Good boy.  Did you enjoy him?"

"A lot, but he's very...strong."

"He is intense, but that suits his magical nature.  The boy will never be anyone's true pet, but most are welcome to pet him."  He took a bite of the roll.  "How should we work this?"

"I'm going to be gone for the next six months with a new mission."

"Hmm, then we should celebrate and make the most of our time together.  Between you two I'm sure you can inspire many naughty thoughts."

Danny snickered.  "I wouldn't tell him that you're using him as a muse, Loki.  I really wouldn't."  He looked down, noticing Xander was looking a bit confused.  "Morning.  Want something to eat?  You skipped lunch.  Jett was worried about you."  He shifted so he could kiss him, getting his head grabbed and his mouth attacked.  "Xander," he moaned. "Are you always like this?"  Xander beamed and nodded.  "Wow."  He dove in for another kiss.  It was very good, even without the guy brushing his teeth.  "I'll have you if you eat."

Xander sat up and took the first tray to have for himself.  He needed it, he was working off a lot of energy with his lovers.  "So, I know I gave you an idea."

"Yes, and I've gotten a few others that I find quite wonderful from earlier," Loki admitted, smirking at him. "Did you mind?"

"No, I seem to inspire.  Gotta demand though, Coyote has asked me to leave him and his people alone."

"You've met Coyote?"

"Oh, yeah," Xander said dryly, smirking at him.  "He showed up one night at the foot of my bed after knocking out my parents.  That was after the whole ghostly Natives coming back and giving me ghostly syphilis thing.  Thankfully that was cured when they passed on."

"I never heard about that one," Danny noted.

"Thanksgiving a few years back.  We broke into a tomb while constructing part of the university."

"Ah."  Danny nodded.  "I heard that spirits can get a bit pissed at that."  He stole another kiss. "Eat, Xander."

"Yes, Danny."  Xander grinned wickedly at Loki.  "Can we not torment Coyote?"

"Fine, I won't torment him but I do want to torment the Japanese Pantheon.  Would that be suitable?"

"It would, and I'm sure they'd love Tommy."

"Tommy?" Danny asked.

"The rock opera?  It's kinda like kibuki, right?"

Loki snickered and kissed him gently.  "That is a very bad idea, young one, but I love it."  He stole a second kiss then got one from Danny.  "Eat, my boys, so I can enjoy you more later."

"You'll like him, Danny, he's very strong.  Got a good thrust too."  Danny blushed.  "Hmm, ooh, I think we found a top.  Two tops for little Xander?"

"Little Xander?" Danny snorted, pinching him on the arm.  "Hardly.  You haven't been little in years."  He looked at Loki.  "Do you put up with such things in bed?"

"Often.  I like my lovers playful and willing to beg and plead for my attention."  He reached over to stroke up Danny's thigh, making him shiver.  "Ah, as a I thought.  If you are virginal I will let you decide which one of us you want first, young one.  I remember that your first one should be special."  Danny blushed again.

"I think he's a top," Xander offered.

Loki kissed him.  "I do not allow myself to be taken.  We can share the younger one for a while but eventually you will be mine as well, Daniel."  Danny swallowed and whimpered as he felt the cool hand shifting more toward his lap to tease him.  "Do not worry, we will be gentle until you plead otherwise."  He leaned across Xander to kiss him again, slowly and sensually raising his desire.  Xander moved the food out of the way and was now helping him, taking the place of his hand so he could use it for other areas.  Danny moaned into his mouth so he rearranged them, laying his new prize down.  He wanted to taste all of him.  Xander was doing very well however so he had the boy switch to him and went to work on his newest conquest.  Xander was enjoying the helping out, he wouldn't mind.  And perhaps he'd show Danny what he was missing while he took Xander.

Strife slammed open the door.  "Some of us are trying to sleep, that's a direct quote from Unc, boys."  He glared at Loki.  "Couldn't wait?"

"Why would I want to when I have such delectable delicacies in front of me?" he asked smugly, stroking through Xander's hair with one hand while the other played with Danny's.  "Are they not pretty?"

"Yeah, and one's still my baby boy, Loki.  Remember that.  That black eye won't be nothin' compared to what I'll do with him if you hurt him."  Xander pulled off and wiped his mouth.  "Son, I didn't need to see you do that."

"You're the one who walked in even though it was obvious what we were doing," Danny said in a breathless pant.  "Xander?  Please?"  Xander smirked as he went down on him again, making Danny arch up and moan.  "Damn, he's wonderful."

"Yes, he is, and quite a stallion underneath you," Loki agreed, ignoring Strife again to kiss his newest toy.  Danny moaned into his mouth and Loki chuckled, stroking his stomach teasingly.  "Do you like it?"

"A lot.  Oh, Gods, help me."

"Shh, I'm right here," Loki promised.  "Nothing had better touch you again."  He looked down at Xander, reaching down to stroke through his hair.  "Is he nearly there?"  Xander shook his head and one hand came up to tease Danny's ass.  "Ah, a good boy, Xander."

"Ick!" Strife noted, leaving them alone, and slamming the door to show how unpleased he was with this situation.  He went to the dining room to sulk, noticing how Cupid was looking like he was stoned.  "It's not that good," he snapped. He sat down across from him and pouted.  "I hate him.  He's stealing my baby boy."

"He's not," Cupid promised.  "He's making him happy and less horny.  Because that boy's got stamina like you wouldn't believe after Anya."  He smirked at Strife.  "Like someone after that all week orgy a few centuries back."  Strife swallowed and had the grace to blush.  "What's wrong?  Don't have another of those in mind?" he teased, using the tip of his tongue to wet his top lip.  "We loved it you know.  Gave Mom a kick in the ass like you wouldn't believe.  Hephie never made it to the forge that week."  He lunged over and caught his lover to kiss him, then sat back in his chair again with a smug look.  "You look sexy in your silk jammie pants."

"You're getting high off my son having sex, I find something wrong in this situations," Strife pouted.   He even crossed his arms over his chest and stuck out his bottom lip.  "My poor baby's in there with that lech of a chaos god."

"Honey, Loki makes him happy and relaxed.  Hell, he drove him to a nap earlier.  He's one of the few who can wear out Xander now.  After all, he just got done having the demonic energizer bunny."  Strife snorted and frowned at him. "That one wasn't my fault."

"No, but I still want to rip your mom and Freya a new one," he said bitterly.

"Yeah, well, they're working hard right now," Cupid said smugly.  "Against Loki, and he's still managing to hold on."  He shivered.  "Ooooooh," he moaned.  "Danny's a virgin no more to bottoming.  Xander just slid home in him.  Gooooooood technique, baby boy."

"You're getting off to my son having sex!" Strife said, looking disgusted.  "Eww!"

Cupid stood up and walked around, putting his fingers on Strife's temple to share the visions he could see.  He blocked out Xander's face and he knew Strife was getting hard.  He was even panting.  "C'mon, let's find a way to zap mom with this energy," he whispered sexily into Strife's ear.  His lover moaned and followed him back to his bedroom, letting him do whatever he wanted to him, as long as he didn't have to see his son having sex.  Then again, Strife was getting an overload of mischief energy from Loki and Danny, who were plotting how to get Xander back for this.  By the time the trio were done, and Xander was once again out cold from exhaustion, so were the older Gods, and Ares was growling.

"STOP DOING THAT IN MY TEMPLE!" he yelled down from his bedroom, then he slammed the door.   He went back to his bed and silk sheets, muttering about his relatives and how it had been wrong to have Cupid with Aphrodite.  She had tainted him too much.  He curled up under his soft sheets, wondering why they were warm.  He got his answer as Jett walked in with a bottle of oil and already naked.  "They get you too?" Ares asked dryly.

"Hell no, it's time you finally got around to making good on your promise to fuck me to death."  Ares looked confused.  "You told me back in Corinth that you'd fuck me until I bled and died if I ever messed up one of your temples again.  Well, I managed to clean up most of the mess, but I'll offer to be responsible for their mess since I let Danny in."  He handed over the bottle of oil.  "Whenever you're ready of course."  Ares gave him a long look so Jett took the opportunity to do something he'd always wanted to do.  He leaned over and bit Ares on the shoulder, licking the blood he brought up.  He smirked up at the big, bad God of War.  "Tasty."  Ares growled and pulled Jett closer, kissing him until he moaned, then slid the younger man underneath him so he could do what he wanted.  No loving touches, but Jett wouldn't expect more than a long ride.

Back in her temple, Aphrodite was vibrating with need.  It was all lust energy and hitting Cupid, she was only getting feedback from him and Strife, and it wasn't enough.  She could feel that great energy throbbing from the Temple of War, and she couldn't touch it.  It was like being moments from an orgasm and Hephie having tired hands.  She growled and went to find her Hephie, not caring that he was in a meeting with 'Sclep and Hermes.  She needed him now!  She boldly sat in his lap and impaled herself, doing what she needed to do to get off.  She growled as she climbed up but it was never quite enough.  "Hephie," she cried.  "Make it happen?  Please?"

He kissed her gently and stroked her slowly, making her calm down again.  "What's going on?"

"It's all lust!  It's like being inches from the orgasm and it's stopped!"

"Shh, baby, Hephie's got you and you'll have plenty of joy," he whispered in her ear, working her harder.  She squealed as she came, nearly deafening him, but it was enough for her.  She went limp against his chest, panting and clutching him.  He looked at the other Gods.  "Apparently it got heated at Ares'."

"No doubt," Hermes snickered.  "Loki, Xander, and Danny are one hot trio.  Xander's a bottom slut from *way* back.   You could tell that when he was a little kid.  Danny's become aggressive recently, but Loki's smooth and deadly, more than strong enough to wear Xander out."

"Twice," Aphrodite admitted into her husband's chest.

He gave her a squeeze as he grinned at Hermes.  "She said twice."

"No doubt," 'Sclep agreed.  "Xander's hyper sexual because of his age and lineage.  Add that to his training from Anya?  Oh, Loki may never get to work again."  He chuckled.  "Which would both please and cheese off Strife."

Hermes gave him an odd look.  "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Oh, hell yes.  Xander can't get hurt. Jett's not getting hurt for a few more weeks.  The only injuries I'll have to deal with will be sex-related."

Hephie blinked a few times as a thought hit his mind, he'd have to chastise whichever muse had sent it.  "Xander's a demi, he can't get preggers, right?"

Asclepias considered it, then shook his head.  "As far as we can tell, mpregs don't run in the Norse Pantheon and Xander's not a full God.  So it's not likely unless someone intervenes or gives him Ambrosia or their blood wine.  He's only an immie."

"Good," Hephie noted.  "That'd be one hellish kid."

Hermes burst out giggling.  "Loki and Strife would have to compete to see who would spoil the kid the worst. The kid would be the God of Spoiled Brats in both Pantheons."  He could see dancing ponies and dinosaurs running around driving them all nuts while they amused the future hellion.

Aphrodite lifted her head.  "If Cupid petitions Hera and she finds it's a true binding, she has the right to give him ambrosia so he's a member of both groups," she noted tiredly.  The men looked stunned.  "She can do that.  The Norse probably would cheer if we took him off their hands."

"Is it?" Hermes asked, looking serious for a moment.

She shrugged. "It could be.  They could grow into it.  The necessary materials are there."  She put her head back down, stroking her man's chest with her cheek.  "Then again, what would he do over here all day?"

"He'd probably be in the Temple of Love," Hephie noted.  "We used to use Strife all the time."  He stroked his wife's back; even he could feel the energy growing again and she'd be needy soon.  "That would make them allow Xander in as his wife and allow him to bridge across the gaps too," he offered.

'Sclep snickered.  "So Loki would be the wife over here?"

"It's entirely possible," Hephaestus said with a smirk.  He could feel the vibrations starting.  "I'll be back in a bit.  I'm going to help her into bed.  They're starting off again."  He winked as he left, taking her back to the house to have his wicked way with her.

'Sclep shook his head.  "I never want something that intense.  Something nice and sweet, but not that intense.  I don't want to have to take a break from rounds to have sex."

"Very few lucky ones get those relationships," Hermes said wisely.  "Thankfully we're not among them so far."

The confirmed bachelors looked at each other and laughed, then looked in awe as Ares' temple started to pulse in the dim evening light.  That made them laugh more.  Someone was getting more.  They'd have to find Hephie tomorrow to make sure he had survived the night.


Hera looked at the group of people in front of her.  "Loki," she said calmly, picking him to go first.  "Is this a true binding?"

"We've just barely started seeing each other!" Xander complained.

"Hush," she ordered, glaring at him.  "You created an inordinate amount of energy last night, young man."  She looked at Loki again.  "Is it a true binding?"

"Neither of us believe in those, Hera."

She pursed her lips while she thought, then nodded.  "Then there is only one way to verify this.  Cupid?"  He appeared, his hair messed up.  "You as well?"

"It had to go somewhere," he said with a smug grin.  "What's up?"

"Is it a true binding?  I must know if we should offer them ambrosia."

Cupid looked at Xander, then back at his grandmother.  "Grandma, Xander's only a demi."

"Not any longer," she said dryly.  "The Fates saw fit to fix that last night."

"I thought that lubricant was a bit tingly," Xander said thoughtfully.  Hera looked stunned.  "I didn't have that much to eat yesterday.  It couldn't have been in my food, I'd have noticed it."  He looked at Cupid.  "Is Mom all right?"

"Asleep," he said smugly.  "I wore him out."  He looked at the trio.  "No, it's not a true binding."  She sighed.  "But you may have to do something about Loki anyway.  Whenever he gets in with Danny like last night, there seems to be a fertility flux going on in that power they radiate."

"Explain," Hera demanded.

"Last night, they were radiating energy that was not only lust, but fertility.  There may be some later complications from them doing that."

"Lachesis!" Hera shouted.  She appeared, looking bemused and not in the least bit shocked.  "What did you do to them!"

"We corrected something that had went wrong a long time ago.  The only way Xander could have survived a childhood in Tartarus as a living baby was to be a God.  Unfortunately he was an unreleased one due to Apollo's meddling."  She smiled sweetly at the boy.  "Do try to learn how to shield, Xander.  It even affected us."  She looked at Hera again.  "No, this is an on-again/off-again thing between them.  Xander has a lover coming but not for a few more years.  For now, he is a God.  Their energy was what was needed for some Gods to start procreating again.  You'll find that Persephone, Athena, Apollo, and two of the muses are all pregnant, along with a few of the demi's we've had over the years.  It was necessary.  Zeus will be coming back in one of those families by the way."  She walked over to Xander, kissing him on the cheek.  "You, young man, are the gatherer of ideas.  You are hereby a storehouse of ideas, both good and bad.  You may help the muses and the other Gods that need them."

"What about where I was under Unc?" Xander asked, frowning now.

"There are those ideas as well," she offered gently.

"Yes!  He is my official muse!" Loki shouted.

"You will make sure he gets Godhood from your Pantheon as well," Lachesis ordered quietly, stunning him and making him pout.  "Otherwise many thoughts will be lost.  After all, he can only give you ideas if you're in the same Pantheon."  She looked at Hera and winked.  "The rest would be up to you, my lady."  She waved a hand and disappeared, going to laugh with her cohorts about this one.  Let Hera tell them that they're accessory figures again!

Hera looked at Loki, then at Cupid, who was shaking his head behind the boys' backs.  "Fine. I will allow this to go on without giving you ambrosia, Loki.  If it is proven to be true love between any of you, I would be forced to consider it again."  He nodded.  "Good.  Go work on that with your own people.  I think you have something like muses among your kind?"  He smirked but did as she had ordered.  He was sore anyway.  "Alexander."  He straightened up.  "It was very...interesting.  I got quite a handful of power from your antics last night.  We will be teaching you to shield soon however.  Otherwise bad things can happen.  Now, I believe Hecate needed to have a word with you.  We'll start your lessons very soon."

"What about me?" Danny asked.  "They used the same lube on me.  Did it do anything to me or not?"

"Maybe made you a bit stronger but I'm not seeing that you're a God now," she told him.

"Thank you. I'd rather not be," he requested, bowing before heading off.  He had to take a shower so he could be there in time to leave. If he wasn't already running late.

Xander looked up.  "Hecate is where?" he asked, not seeing her listed on the mural that showed where the Gods of Olympus were presently hiding.

"She's on her way I believe," Hera offered, glancing up as well.  Hecate slammed her doors open and stomped inside.  "Ah, there she is," she said mildly.

"How dare you make him a God!" she shouted, pointing at Xander.  "He infected one of mine!  She's now with one like him!"

"Huh," Xander said mildly, smirking when she glared at him.  "Who did I get?"

"Willow!  She brought back another to be hers!"

"Willow and Andrew, hmm," Xander said thoughtfully.  "Interesting mental images there.  Well, she should understand geekiness well enough.  She used to try to understand me."  He shrugged and looked at Hera. "Do I get to celebrate this?"  She nodded.  "Thanks. I'm gonna go wake up Unc and tell him the good news."  He strolled off, breaking into a jog once he got outside her temple.  He came in the back door of Ares' temple, it was closer to his personal rooms, and flung open the doors.  He paused, then ran full-tilt at the bed, leaping up at the last second to pounce his uncle.  "Hi," he said when his Uncle snarled and opened his eyes.  "Notice anything different this morning?"

"Loki made you lose what little sense you had?" Jett asked sleepily.  "Go away, Xan."

"You're a God," Ares said, looking him over.  "When!"  He sat up, making Xander shift back to sit on his thighs.  "Get off!  You touched that greaseball last night, I don't want you to spread anything from him on my bed!"

"Unc, I'm going to be part of both Pantheons.  The Fates said so," he said smugly.  "I'm now the God over ideas.  I gather the ideas before they're lost and stockpile them."  Ares looked stunned.  "Including yours."  He smirked at him.  "I got told I can celebrate this.  So can we have a party here?"

"Later," he agreed, sounding grouchy again.  "Who did it?"

"The Fates used some ambrosia laced lubricant."

"Bring it here before it contaminates someone else," he complained.  Xander concentrated and brought it, smiling happily as he presented it.  "Fine, I'll start you on your lessons later, Xander."

"There's another bit of news," he said once Ares had put some onto his finger and started on Jett's backside again.  He had expected that.  "Not only do Loki and Danny create an energy flux that made Aphrodite frustrated, but it also apparently has a fertility flux as well," he admitted smugly.  "That and I gave Willow the idea to resurrect Andrew and have him for her snugglebunny."  He giggled and got off the bed.  "Have fun with Jett, Unc, I can already feel the change starting."  He ran off, going to share this great news of trouble-causing with Hermes.  He always enjoyed it.  He found his mom there having coffee and lounging around.  "Congratulate me!" he yelled as he jogged inside.

"Some of us were kept up by you last night!" Auto yelled from upstairs.  "We'd like to sleep now!"

"Danny and Loki create a fertility energy flux," he yelled.  He headed into the lounge area, smirking at Hermes, who got up with a whoop to hug him.  "Yes, I am Godly, and very good.  I am now the storehouse for ideas."  He smirked at his mother.  "And the Fates said I had to be with both Pantheons or else I can't give him any ideas."  Strife sat up at that, giving his son a long look.  "Hera said she's not giving him ambrosia at this time.  However, I apparently created a flux that gave Willow the idea to bring back Andrew so she'd have her very own snuggle-geek."

Strife giggled at that.  "I'm impressed then, son.  C'mere."  Xander moved closer and gave him a quick hug.  "Good boy.  I'm damn proud'a ya."  He looked at Hermes.  "Aren't you?"

"Are we going to see many more interesting power fluxes like last night?"

"Danny's gone for six months," Xander admitted.  "Loki's off talking to his father, and Hera said I could celebrate.  Unc said we could hold it at his place.  He confiscated the lube the Fates sent."  He looked at Strife, who broke out in giggles as he felt the mischief energy hit him.  "So, Hermes, I know you can throw an excellent bachelor party.  Wanna do a coming out party?"

"But, Xan, we knew you were gay a long time ago," Hermes teased.  Xander pounced him, tickling him until he shrieked.  "Fine!  Let me talk to the others!" he said between laughs.  "Damn, you're good!" he panted once the boy got off him.

"I even got to pounce Unc," he said proudly.  "He was sound asleep when I took a flying leap and landed on top of him."

Strife cackled, creating multiple mirrors to check what everyone was doing about this.  "Oooh, Athena's telling her girls that you're now suitable."

"Why?  I've got Loki."  He gave his father a smug look.  "Still going to complain?"

"Yeah, but I'll live with it now," he admitted gruffly, grinning at his son.  "You behave."

"I always *try*," he promised.  "See you later.  I'm going to go find some paper and stuff and figure out how I want my office.  I can't keep them all in my head or I'll go nuts."  He disappeared, heading down to an office place to get ideas for decorating.  He was sure someone would give him space somewhere for an office.

"You'll be getting your own temple, specially shielded for you," Hephaestus said as he appeared.  "Either that or Bacchus' old temple.  One of the two."

"Hey, I wouldn't care.  He had some prime real estate," Xander offered.  "Plus it's already shielded."  He pointed at the book cases.  "Do I like those?"

"His temple's all black and grey with touches of blue and red.  Not cherry wood, Xander.  Try for something lighter."  He pointed at some white painted bookshelves.  "Those?"

"Nah, regular wood," he decided, pointing at some light oak ones.  "How are we getting things home?"

Hephaestus nudged him and handed him a wallet with a smirk.  "Don't worry about that.  Anything you buy with those will automatically go up there for you."  He disappeared, going to check on that temple for him.  Hera felt him and showed up.  "He said he could take Bacchus' old one, Hera."

"That's fine.  He can share one with Jett then.  Ares took matters into his own hands."

"Really?  Because Discord said she wanted a bigger one so he could have hers."

She considered it, Jett was under Ares' area so it would be easier.  "Fine.  Do you need help?"

"Just a bit of lightening up," he offered, cleaning up the remains left by the last tenant and then changed the decor so it was lighter.  More blues and less black, keeping the hints of silver and red as subtle as possible.  He looked around and nodded.  "I like it."  He looked behind him as Xander and his first load appeared.  "Good choices," he praised.  He waved a hand around.  "This okay?"

"Very," Xander agreed happily, looking around.  "I love this, Hephie.  Thanks."  He walked over to give him a hug.  "I'll set everything up later, just leave it piled there.  Is there a kitchen for when I get the nibbles?"

"Yes, but there's no appliances," he offered casually.

"Then I guess I'm heading to Sears," Xander offered with a wink.  "Be right back."  He disappeared again.

Hera shook her head. "He is very energetic."

"He's still young," Hephaestus reminded her.  "He'll slow down once things start to pile up on him."  He led her on a tour so she could get used to this place.  She would be the only one who could break his shields and pop in unannounced.  It was Godly law.


Strife looked around his son's temple, then nodded.  It had good decorations, nice furniture, and a sound system loud enough to shake Hestia's temple, which was on the other end of the Mount from this one.  He liked it.  He made himself comfortable and put his feet up.  "I like, son."

"Thanks, mom.  It's got a kitchen too."  He finished putting out the food trays he had bought.  "Party!" he yelled.  Gods and Goddesses started to appear, each bringing something and their own cups or mugs for drinks.  One of the muses started the stereo, turning it to an acceptable level and putting in a rack of CD's.   The younger gods and Terpsichore found open areas to dance in and Xander joined them once he realized everyone could get their own food and drinks.

Cupid sat down in Strife's lap, grinning at him.  "Good party throwing runs in the family," he teased, tweaking him on the nipple, making him wince.  "Poor baby.  Should I soothe it?"

"It's not that sort of party," Loki said as he appeared behind them.  He smirked at them.  "Xander?"

"In the middle of the teenagers," they said, pointing at him.

"Good."  He walked over there, slithering through the crowd to get to his lover.  He uncovered a small silver flagon.  "Drink, my precious muse," he purred, smirking at him.  "Become one of mine as well."

Xander handed him his glass of wine and took that one to gulp, wincing at the nasty taste.  "Eww."  He handed it back and took his wine to gulp to clear the taste out.  Then he got back into the music.  "C'mon.  You're a God, you can dance," he teased.  Loki moaned, matching with his little man to tease him and the others.  He noticed Terpsichore giving him an odd look.  "Yes, I'm shagging Loki," he said dryly.  "What else did you expect from me?"  She laughed and nudged him but they went back to what they had been doing.

Hercules pushed open the doors.  "What is going on here?" he complained.  "This is enough to wake the dead!"

"No, we're already here," Hades called.  "It's Xander's coming out party.  Be nice or go away.  Iolaus?"  His head popped up briefly as he jumped up to be seen from the writhing bodies on the dance floor.  "He's here!"

"Okay!"  He shimmied his way out of the crowd, coming out with a bright grin. "You're finally up too, Herc?"  He hugged him.  "Welcome to Xander's new temple.  Formerly Bacchus' temple."

"Won't he mind?" Hercules asked.

"Well, he doesn't really *like* Xander considering he used to kill his people, but the boy's got ideas and energy that give him a damn rush so he doesn't mind," Hades assured him smugly.  "When did you get up?"

"Just now.  Apollo woke me up."

"Hmm.  Then let's find Hera for you.  She has to talk to all the newly awakened ones."  He led him away, taking him away before he had to deal with his nephew for eternity.   He noticed twin flashes and smiled back at Cupid's younger brothers.  They were welcome additions back to the Pantheon as well.  Apparently Xander did truly wake the dead or those who wee sleeping like it.   He walked him into Hera's temple, shoving him before her.  "Apollo woke him."

"Wonderful.  He can help Joxer and Jace be our official guardians."  She looked at her stepson.  "Are you feeling better now?"

"Just fine, thank you, Hera.  Where's Zeus?"

"He died in the Twilight, Hercules.  I nearly did but was put to sleep, along with most of the other Gods."

"The twins just woke up," Hades told her.  "I'm off to find Ares to tell him."

"Thank you, Hades."  He nodded, heading off to find him.  She looked at her stepson again.  "Come, I will show you where you may stay."  She stood up and walked off her dias, taking his arm to walk him away.  "Many things have changed, Hercules.  It's now another millennium.  Many things are different."

"Do the Romans still control the world?" he asked, looking worried.

"No, they've passed on as well," she assured him, opening the door to the guardhouse.  "Here. This is where Jace and Joxer live as well.  You'll have your own room.  I believe Iolaus has been with them recently as well."  She smiled at Jace.  "Dear, you're not at Xander's party?"

"He hates me.  I do things like take beer away from him."  He sniffled.  "Hello, Hercules.  You're awake now?"  He nodded, giving Jace a squeeze on the shoulder.  "Thank you.  You can have the bedroom at the end of the second hall.  It's nice but it doesn't have much of a view.  Joxer's asleep at the moment."  He took a sip of his tea.  "Is he all right?  Xander is so fragile."

"He's fine, Jace," she promised.  "He's the God of Ideas."  She led Hercules back to his room and put him in there, then left, going to the party herself.  It was good to see all the relatives being happy.  Ares appeared and found his twins, giving them both bone-crushing hugs.  She smiled at them and got herself a drink, noticing that Xander had laid out all the traditional supplies on the same table.  She could already hear some of the younger girls giggling in the back room so hopefully their condoms didn't break.  She'd hate to have Athena dragging them in to be married off against their wills.  She sat down near her granddaughter, watching the happiness going on.  It was good to see such happiness in her family for a change.