To Let The Lady Be A Lady.

Tara looked around the hotel's lobby then at Fred, who was shrugging a bit.  "Who are we supposed to be meeting?"

"Xander said one of Riley Finn's guys," she said, coming over.  "I have no idea what he looks like.  He said you might recognize him."

Tara looked around again.  Then she pointed.  "He was one," she whispered.  "That's Graham."  She walked over and hesitantly poked him.  "H..hi."

"Miss Maclay," he said, nodding at her.  "Why are you here?"

"Xander said we needed to brief one of Riley's guys that he was sending to Niagra ahead of the rest of them," Fred told him.

"Ah.  Riley told me to identify Harris for the guy."  Fred shook her head.  "No what?"

"Xander can't leave Sunnydale," Fred said quietly.

"Turned?  We heard things went to the crapper."  He led them off to a private area to talk.

"No," Fred said.  "The guardian's vow shouldn't be taken by people who get possessed easily.  It links them too tightly.  He can't leave the town.  He gets sick and ends up in a lot of pain past the stone markers holding the hellmouth's shield in place."

"Hell," he said, shaking his head.  "Okay, so what's going on?"  Fred smiled and handed over an information packet.  He looked it over.  "The people with Mr. Giles?"

"Hiding," Fred assured him.  She looked around.  "Where is your guy?"  He looked then got up and pointed.  The guy came jogging over.  "Hi, Fred Burkle.  I work with Angel."

"Evening, ladies.  Mr. Harris?"

"Can't leave Sunnydale," Graham said, handing him what he was done with.  "They're here to brief you and walk you through the vow?"  Tara nodded quickly.  "That'll work."  He looked at him.  "You don't get possessed easily, right?"

"No, sir."  He sat down to read it over, frowning at them.  "Aren't there people like Mr. Giles for that?"  They nodded.  "Where are they?"

"Hi...hiding," Tara told him quietly.

"Ah.  Wonderful."

"Travers blames Xander," Fred told him.  "The time code for it happening is someone else jumping into the battles.  Giles said it's happened partially before.  Travers still says it's not happening but it's Xander's fault."

Graham snickered.  "We heard the plane got back.  Riley swore about it for over three hours."  Tara blushed.  "It was good work and he can bs the explanation if necessary."  He went back to looking it over then handed it on.  "How bad is Niagra?"

"Not overrun.  The spot is behind one of the falls.  The town's a bit away," Fred told him. That got a nod.  "It's high and even having someone there would help.  It did when Giles logged onto the Cleveland one.  It went down out there within days."

"Buffy's with him I suppose?" Graham asked.  Fred nodded.  "That's good then.  Who has the remains of Sunnydale?"

"Xander and Spike," Tara said.  "Ethan Rayne.  Me if they need me."

Graham looked at her.  "We're not going to die, right?"  She scowled.  "Making sure."

"There's an FBI unit who's helping Xander," Fred said cheerfully.

"Poor people," the lesser officer said.

"Sunnydale's cleared, soldier," Graham told him.  He looked up and prayed in thanks.  "Harris has that area to hold it steady."

"Well, he's stubborn enough to keep us all going."  He went back to his briefing.  "What do I do?"  Tara handed over the full rite.  "How much blood?"

"Giles said a few drops was enough," Fred told him. "Has to be on or near it."

"Can you get back there?"

"We think there's a way.  Giles is looking that up for you.  He'll fax it to us," Fred told him.  She stood up.  "We should get back to the Hyperion.  You two can come."  They nodded, following them out to the cars so they could head back there.  She patted Tara on the knee.  "It'll be okay.  They'll handle it."

"Hopefully.  I don't like Xander being trapped."

Fred cackled.  "Sweetie, Xander's using all his toys and he's having fun right now.  He's said he might even bring the whole town down."  Tara shivered.  "That way no more evil that way."

"There will be, it'll be hidden."

"It'll take it a while to dig down that far."  She gave her another pat and turned a corner, going back to her traffic problems.  They parked and got out, waving at Graham when he pulled in.  The other guy pulled in behind him.  "Ignore the vampires.  It's early for them."

"You work with them?" the solider asked.

"Angel's the champion for the Powers That Be," Fred said dryly.  "It's his job."

"We're all going to die, aren't we?"

She smacked him on the head.  "Shut up!  Xander will win.  We know he will.  Even Lorne said so."  She walked them inside.  "People with me," she called.  Tara pinched her. "What?  Dru was running around naked after her shower earlier."

"She often did," Angel said tiredly from the office.  He came out, nodding at them, handing Fred a fax.  "From Giles."  He went back to whatever he had been doing.  "Tara, can you please make Spike quit calling about dawn every morning giggling about artillery?"

"I...I'll try," she offered, going to call up there to see what his issue was this time.  She listened while Fred went over the information in more depth then hung up, going to the office.  "Head injury," she said quietly.

"I'll send him some better blood," Angel muttered.  "What?"

"Something higher with fluffy wings and fangs."

"Fluffy wings...."  He got up to look them up then called his blood contact to get Spike a lot of blood through Don's people.  Charlie came in and looked over his arm.  "They're poisonous."

"Interesting.  Are they the original archetype for angels?"

"Could be.  They do protect some people and not others."

"So maybe guardian angels?"

"Even more likely."  He let him have the book and went back to the office.  Charlie walked around the library reading.  Both soldiers watched him walk.  "I don't eat people.  It's bad for my soul."  He slammed the office door.

"Spike's been keeping him up."  Fred went back to explaining what was going on, where everyone was and why.

Graham held up a hand to stop the babble.  "Rosenburg can't pull up something to stop or slow it down?"

"She's busy making the Watchers sorry for making Xander do their job.  Plus she has broken ribs from the car crash.  She's with the evil geek trio in Miami.  I still don't know how evil they are.  They created the Buffybot and it's pretty cool."

"They want to take over the world as benevolent overlords so they get women and have power," Charlie said, walking out reading something else.  "Have we run into these?"

She looked.  "No, they only come when the evil is so bad it's building again.  Which means Xander probably has to do something to the hellmouth again."  He nodded, walking off.  "They're the sign that the doo-doo is hitting the circular air circulation device."

Charlie smiled.  "The boys in Miami said they're going to take over Hollywood so they quit showing girl movies then the rest of the world so that everyone has to dress in bikinis or something like them if they're hot."

She snorted. "I knew a lot of geeks like them."

"They're a bit better than some.  I'm still wondering why they were opening a portal to Hogwarts."  He went back to the library.

Graham shook his head quickly.  "Warren and them?"  Fred beamed and nodded.  "Let Willow watch them.  She'll know if they're planning something."  He stood up.  "Let me get him to Niagra.  Is this our copy?"  She nodded.  "Where are we?"

"Pink highlighter.  Charlie did the math to figure it out.  His brother's a Fed and he's decided he wants to be non-violent.  Even if we do all want to stake Dru because she thinks he's adorable."

He just nodded and walked off, taking his boy to the airport to head up with him.  They'd need some backup at first.  "At least it looks like it's mirroring your old spot so you'll be dealing with familiar things."

"Hopefully.  Was that Fred girl human?"

"Yup," Graham said.  "Geeks often babble that way.  Should've heard Rosenburg when she started."  He gave him a look.  "You got your gear?"

"In an airport locker, sir."

"Good.  Let's head."  They drove back to the airport, handing in their rental cars so they could go to the spot that needed them most.  It's what they did and why they signed on.


Xander hung up the phone from Spike's babbling.  "You need a vacation," he taunted, going back to his lunch making.  Ethan wandered in and sniffed then groaned and walked out.  "Yes, it's Spam.  Deal with it!"  He went back to his frying for a sandwich.  Something bellowed from outside.  Xander opened the door.  "Do you mind?  I'm trying to make myself lunch.  I'll burn you later."  He slammed the door and went back to the stove, leaving Spike cackling in pleasure.  The demon was still giving the house confused looks from what he could tell through the windows.   Xander finished making his sandwich and walked outside eating it.  "So, what's with the bellow?"

"Guardian," it hissed, sniffing him.  "Unholiness."

"I know, it's Spam.  I learned to like Spam since my mother didn't cook.  Lay off my lunch."  He ate another bite and stared at it.   The demon was still looking very confused.  Xander ate another bite while it figured out what it was going to do.  The demon gave him a pitiful look.  "I'm a master of the puppy begging eyes, dude.  Really.  What do you want?"

"Your blood.  It grows!"

"I noticed.  I'm going to handle that this afternoon."

The demon shook his head.  "You can't."

"Bullshit."  He finished his sandwich.  "Any other words of wisdom or can we end this happy talk?"

"You must not!  The winged ones must flock here!  Bless us all!"

Xander snorted, taking the axe Ethan was holding out the door.  "I don't want them here.  Why do I want demonic pigeons on two legs in my town?"  The demon gave him the confused look again.  "You tell them the guardian doesn't like them. They stink and their feathers are ugly.  Okay?  That they're flying rats like pigeons are."  The demon nodded at that.  "Then tell them to go back to whatever hell they came from.  Before I send them."   It nodded, lumbering off.  Xander walked off.  "Heading to fix that again."

"Use the spell."

"I did the last time and it grew!" Xander yelled back.  "I don't want more demonic fanged pigeons."  He sped up to a jog, seeing something flying above the hellmouth.  Those things were nasty to kill.  He really hated them.  Xander walked in and cut one on the wing, making him shriek and bring others.  Thankfully he could sneak past the rest while they were dealing with their kin.  He stepped into the hellmouth and intoned the spell, then drew things back into himself.  It went dark again.  The winged ones shrieked in pain and writhed on the floor.  He went out to chop them up, bringing Ethan back the feathers.  He said they were important in some spells so he'd be nice.  He found an old plastic bag and loaded up as many as he could pluck, turning to find the hellmouth glowing again. "Already?"   He walked back into it and found himself in South Dakota.  "Wow, that's a weird summoning," he told Bobby.  "Give me a sec.  Gathering feathers from winged fanged demon pigeons."  He disappeared, going back to that.  Ethan came up through the sewer port in the old basement, taking the bag from him.  "Bobby wanted a confab.  Be right back.  Want the axe?"

"No, that's fine.  I need a snack."  He went to see if he could feed on these demons.  Spike hadn't been sure.  It definitely made him feel high.  "Hmm."  He bit another one.

Xander sent himself back there, waving his free hand.  "Sorry.  Ethan's gathering his own feathers."

"Winged, fanged demonic pigeons?"

"Look like angels only they have fangs and they stink like pigeons," Xander told him.  He walked over to the truck. "What's up?"

"Heard from Fred.  She said someone's on their way to Niagra."

"Good.  Someone finally found Riley for an explanation of the plane showing back up."  He grinned.  "How's everyone else?"

"Buffy called to have me smack you on the head."

"No, thanks.  Already have a headache from the demon pigeons."

"Describe 'em a bit better?"

Xander wrote down their proper name and handed it over.  "Them."  He turned to lean against the side of the truck.  "You wonder if Sunnydale was ever this nice and calm?  Clean?  Smells nice?"

"Probably when the natives had control of it," he offered.  He handed him something. "Mail."


"Research council."

"Cool.  Maybe they can tell me why the stupid thing keeps growing again even with me there."  He read it over, smiling at the words of encouragement.  The information was what he needed.  "Good to know."  He beamed and let im read it.  "Anything else I should know?"

"They're covering Cleveland.  Costa Rica might be open again.  Riley was trying to get the Watcher to leave to but he refused."

"That's because the obvious and sometimes the good things pass by Riley fairly frequently.  That's why his people chipped Spike."  He gave him a look.  "Oh, Spike with a head injury giggles about me shooting off artillery."  He stood up again, taking the letter back.  "How's the boys?"

"They're good.  They're taking care of a demon cult this week.  They'll check on Willow for you before they head back to help Angel with their next thing."

"How many miles does their car have on it?"

Bobby smirked.  "It was their daddy's car.  He hunted since Sammy was six month old.  Probably millions by now.  Dean keeps it in good shape."

"Huh.  Wonder if he can tell me why mine is making sucking engine noises."

"Blown hose."

"Good to know.  I'll go raid the autoparts store once I find out where."  He hugged him.  "I should get Ethan back home.  Just in case Spike tries to set the house on fire or something.  You can let them know that Dru's still driving Angel insane.  She was running around naked singing about her hair being a pretty dress when Spike called this morning."  Bobby snickered at that, nodding a bit.  "Exactly.  Even Charlie's figured out what her problem is and wondered if they could take the voices out.  Tara swatted him."  He stretched.  "Thanks for the fresh air."

"Making sure it worked, kid."

Xander winked.  "Well, as long as I'm close.  Call first."  He waved and headed back.  He found Ethan wobbling around.  "Tell me you're high and not poisoned," he complained, walking him off with his feathers, back through the sewer highway.  Once he was back in the house he called Angel.  "Those winged pigeon thingies are a drug to you guys?  Ethan's humming about the stars being pretty after nibbling, Angel.  A lot of feathers.  Info I'll fax Fred from the Research Council."  He hung up and did that, having to go back for the rest of the feathers with two trash bags.  He waved at the gate guardian when he came down.  "What's up?"

"Stuffing a bed?"

"Expensive and necessary spell component."  He finished loading them up then handed the spare trash bag.  "Here, for Angel via Don and his people."

"Sure, sir.  You okay?"

"The winged things should stay dead.  If they come back we're having more problems."  That got a nod.  "You think your boss would mind if I did some demo work there?"

"I don't know, I'll ask up the chain, sir."  He went to do that, handing the agent in there the bag.   "From...."

"I heard," Colby promised, putting it in his car then coming back.  "You've got to be at least partially insane to do this all the time."

"From what we've learned, he's been doing this since he was sixteen."  Colby shuddered.  "So I guess this is the peak of his insanity maybe.  Where are the friends he was worried about?"

"Tara's in LA, helping both spots.  Willow's healing in Miami with some other geeks.  Buffy and Giles were on the plane so they're back and in Cleveland, handing that one."  He looked at him.  "Are you feeling yourself going insane too?"

"Yes, sir, but I have a priest who tells me it's God's plan to have him fight it for us.  That's why he was born.  That's his reason."

"I'll have mine pray for him too then."  He went back to his surveillance post.  Interesting, yet horrible things happened down there all too often.  "Did he ask about blowing the town up again?"

"Yes, sir.  Would it help?"

"Don't know.  We're trying to figure that out.  Fortunately we got the FEMA team up here.  Three of them blanched at what was going on.  They apparently knew first hand.  They agreed that the town is gone for good.  It'll be like Love Canal."

"That'll work," he decided, going back to his post.  "Reporter," he called a minute later.

"Let her get eaten too," he muttered.  He walked out there anyway.  "Ma'am, this is a restricted area."


"Because it's dangerous and something was killing people."

"Then why is the electric, water, and gas service still on?"

"Because it is.  You don't need to know.  You want to know more, go back to LA and ask the head of the FBI."  Something pounced the van from above and screamed right before eating her.  "I think I need a break," he said a minute later, wiping the blood off himself.  "I didn't flinch.  I definitely need a vacation."  He looked at the soldier, walking him inside to treat him for shock.  His boss sent someone else out to take the gate position and for him too.  He headed back once Megan was there, going to drop off the feathers.  He walked in the trash bag.  "From Xander."  He handed them to Fred. "He said they were feathers, spell components, and Ethan was high from the things they plucked them from."  He walked off, going home to shower and get drunk.  He *really* needed to get drunk.

Fred looked then shrugged.  "Ethan and Xander sent us demonic feathers?" she called.  Angel came out to look, smiling and walking them off.  "He said Ethan got high off the demons they came from."

"Yeah, it does that," Angel agreed, heading to store them for now.  Those would be a good payment for a very long time.

Fred shrugged and went back to her studying.  Charlie was helping her catch up to where she had been before she had been taken.  It was helping her a lot to get back into her studies.


Xander walked out to the gate, handing the agent in there some cocoa.  "You sounded like you needed it."

She smiled.  "Was I thinking that loud?"

"Yup.  Ethan heard you since the demonic pigeon thingies made him high."  She laughed at that.  "The other one all right?"

"The flying lizard ate a reporter in front of him and the other guard."  She took a sip.  "He'll have flashbacks for a while but he should be fine in a few days."

"Good."  He smiled.  "By the way, the problems are about to get worse next week but we should have it solved soon after that."

"Thought it was going to take about another half a year."

Xander shrugged.  "Not always."

Spike came up out of the sewer and grabbed him to nibble on, dragging him back down.  "Cocoa doesn't smell drugged but this is a shape shifter.  Damn tasty."

"Good to know," she said, making a note of that.  She made sure she wasn't feeling drugged before finishing the rest of her cocoa.  She was proud of herself, she hadn't screamed this time.  Maybe they needed to move the fence past the stone markers that held the hellmouth inside.  She got up to talk to the guard, finding him down.  She called it in and waited, watching while his boss came running.  "One of the things was a shape shifter.  Spike ate it."


"The blond guy with the leather duster."

"Oh!  Him.  Ate him."

"Said he was tasty."  She went inside to call the house.  "Are there more shape shifters?"  She smiled at that note.  "Thanks."  She hung up.  "No, only one in town and Ethan agreed he was still tasty.  He came in being Xander."

"Ah."  The medics got his boy up and took him for treatment.  He decided to take his turn on the fence.  "Any idea how bad it's going to be?"

"The shape shifter said they think they'd have it fixed next week so I think they're going to go after the boys again.  I'll warn them later."

Xander walked up to the fence, looking at them.  "Did you guys see Spike?"

"He ate the guy trying to be you," she told him.

"Oh."  He nodded, then shook his head quickly.  "He probably got brought by the demonic pigeons.  If you see anymore let me know."

"They said they were going to solve you next week."

"Yeah, I'll get to celebrate my birthday by blowing something else up," he said mock cheerfully.  Then he walked back to the house shaking his head.  One of the flying demon pigeons tried to snatch him but he stuck his tongue out when he ducked fast enough.  "There's someone who's more evil than even me and you're annoying me.  She'd brush you off and make you cry!" he called.  "I know you can't beat Willow.  She's guarding a ton of magic and you're here because you're too weak to face her in Miami!  Did the big daddy demon ground you to the hellmouth?"  The demon sneered and flew off, heading east.  He smirked as he walked inside, shutting the door and laying down for a nap.  Ethan was still walking around mumbling but that was fine with him.  He'd warn Willow later.


Andrew came jogging out of his room the next morning.  "Willow, Xander's sent you a present for his birthday.  He said it's major, huge spell components masquerading as flying demon pigeons."

"Demon pigeons?"  She took the printed email to look over, then nodded slowly.  "Uh- huh."  She went to look them up since he had included their proper name, having to call Angel since the online source didn't have much.  "Hey, Fred, it's Willow.  Much better, thank you.  No, Xander sent down two or more annoying demon pigeons."  Fred cackled and told her what he had told her.  "How do I kill the spell components flying this way?"  She took notes. "Thanks, Fred.  I'm trying to make sure they're being good boys.  Even if they are still trying to pick up the skanky hos around here.  You too.  Have a good day."  She hung up and went to find some cold iron.  Someone in Miami had to have some.


Willow looked up as one of the winged demons hovered overhead, snorting.  "You're the bad thing?  No wonder Xander called you guys demonic pigeons."  She shook her head.  It shrieked and dove at her.  She used a spell to rip off the wings, making it plummet to the ground and break its neck.  "Wow.  An intact heart too.  I'm so proud of myself."  She got to work taking out the needed components, putting them into the plastic tubs she had brought with her.  Someone walked over and she smiled.  "Don't worry, they only spread a few diseases.  That's why we're taking them out."  She finished up then backed up and raised her hands above her head, chanting quietly.  The body turned to goo.  She put her arms down with a beaming, happy look, checking her components.  "I owe Xander a good prezzie for sending me these."  She picked up the stack and walked them to the rental car, ignoring the guy who was giving her horrified looks.

He pulled out his phone to call his boss.  "H, I think you need to come to the park by the canal," he said quietly.  "Because there was a body with a young woman chopping it up but she did something to it and it turned to goo and blue blood.  That's what I'm not sure of.  She smiled and told me they only spread a few diseases."  He hung up, staying right there.  If his boss got lost he could GPS his phone from the hummer.

Horatio parked in the nearest parking lot and was walking over to his CSI when he heard brakes squeal and a young girl pulled in with a crossbow, jogging in the same direction.  He followed, hand near his gun.  This was not looking good.  He got there in time to see his CSI under ...aerial attack?  From what looked like a mythical angel.  With fangs.  And the girl was firing at it.  She finally snarled when it kept dodging and sneering at her.

"So what if I'm not the shot Xander is!  Big effin' deal!" she shouted, then she spat something and its wings got ripped off too.  Same result due to gravity.  She sneered.  "Try it now."  She looked at the two staring guys.  "Hi.  Sorry.  The demonic winged pigeons are nasty things that bring evil."  She floated it up.  "I'll go dissect my spell components somewhere more private."

"Hold it," Horatio ordered.  She gave him an odd look.  "That is human looking."

She looked then at him.  "It's not."

"It is," Eric said calmly.

She shrugged.  "It's still not human."  She pulled the knife off her belt, ignoring the guns they both pulled.  She cut open its chest.  "See, not human.  Blue blood.  I guess they decided it was fitting since they're pretty high in hell's hierarchy."  She floated it off anyway, taking it to the rental.  Into the trunk it went and she beeped before heading off.

Eric put his gun back slowly and pointed at the greasy spot on the grass.  "That's the last one she was doing.  I walked up while she was cutting it open.  She said to not worry because it only carried a few diseases, H."  He looked at his boss.  "I'm going to find a priest.  Want me to come back after that to process this?"

He stared at the spot, slowly putting his gun back as well.  "We need to figure out what's going on, Eric.  There's something very wrong going on here.  First embezzlers that aren't, with the Treasury's files disappearing and their own people handling it but not pressing charges.  Three wailing people seeking asylum at the lab, then disappearing only to show up a few days later being much calmer and not needing it.  Then this."

"Demons?" Eric asked.  "Didn't the wailing people say something about demons?"

"Yes, and I thought they were linked to the embezzlers but the Treasury is convinced it was handled in-house."  They shared a look.  "Go find a priest, come back and process this scene.  We'll figure it out.  I'll track down the girl."

He nodded, going to find a priest to get his head on straight so he could do this.  Though he did take the time to block off the area with hazard tape.  Just in case some kid got into it.  If they were demons he didn't want kids to get into it.


Willow skipped into the motel room two of her geek buddies were in.  "I'm so happy."  She flopped down beside Andrew, getting a grin back.  "The demonic pigeons came.  I got them harvested.  Well one harvested and one whole.  Even if there were guys with guns and sunglasses there.   One was going to attack the guys with sunglasses too so I did a great thing.  My contact loved me for having one whole and one in parts.  I'm so proud of myself."

"You did great, Willow," Jonathan said, beaming at her.  "Get paid?"

"Yup.  Now I can find Xander a good birthday present to send back through Angel."

Andrew grinned.  "He could probably use it.  His last email this morning sounded a bit off."  He let her read it.  She snorted, shaking her head.  "Code?"

"Pre caffeine and he's missing his sex."  They both sighed and nodded at that.  "Anya dumped him to go be a ho in Las Vegas."

"I knew that was her," Jonathan muttered.  "She was an expensive, complaining ho too."  He went back to typing.  "Anything else happen?"

"Just the two guys with sunglasses and guns."  She beamed.  "What're we doing today?"

"Well....  Andrew and I are working on something for Warren for when His Grumpiness wakes up," Jonathan offered.  "Then we'll see what happens."

"You guys know we're supposed to be staying out of trouble, right?"

"Xander told us Ethan had been down here trying to take over the world before Xander called him.  He told us we could try too."  Andrew beamed at her.  "It's not a bad thing.  Just some minor stuff to see how much we need to control the whole populace."

She rolled her eyes.  "Guys, still a good guy."

Jonathan leaned over to look at her.  "So help us."

"I should stop you."

"We're only going to use it at the club," Andrew whined.  "Please, Willow?"

She gave him an odd look.  "Will it take away self will or consent?"  They shook their heads.  "The girls will be able to turn you down?"

"Of course, but they won't want to," Jonathan told her with a small pout.  "It's to help us draw them in."

"You know, they already make pheromone aftershave, guys," she said dryly.

"Doesn't work so well on me.  I'm allergic," Jonathan complained, pouting worse.

"Besides, I tried some and still got turned down," Andrew said.

"The women were stupid and couldn't see you for the magnificent guy you are," Jonathan reminded him.  Andrew smiled and nodded.  "They're incredibly stupid.  Even stupider than Harmony was."

"You guys know she was vamped, right?" Willow asked dryly.  "She was sleeping with Spike at one point in time because he was missing his Dru."

Andrew shuddered.  "I'm sorry, I have taste.  He must've been desperate."

"Well, yeah.  Dru went to have fun with slime demons, the ones with horns, in Brazil because Spike wanted in Buffy's Viccy's panties.  She was a decent shag," she said with a light blush.  "But nothing else according to him."

"The football team said the same thing," Jonathan said dryly, going back to his email.  "Anything else good happen?"

"Help me find something for Xander's birthday?  He needs a great present since he's stuck in a house with Spike and his vampy Ethan.  I don't know what to get him besides weapons anymore."

"We should send him a single guy kit," Andrew told Jonathan, getting a nod back.  "We can help in a bit, let us finish our email, Willow."

"Sure."  She gave him a kiss on the head.  "As long as they can still refuse if they want to, I can't really say much.  Not after I did that stupid will spell that nearly got Spike and Buffy married."  She bounced out, going back to her room to get ideas on what to get Xander.  What did you get a guy who was one of the few people who was keeping a plug on the world-endage drain so it wouldn't get sucked down like dirty dishwater?  Especially since he wanted to blow up the town so he couldn't use anything really major for a while.


Dean pulled into Miami, listening to the local news station.  They'd been hearing strange rumors recently about angels in Miami.  Which couldn't be right.  They knew the motel the geeks were staying in so they headed there first.  They'd probably know what was going on.  He parked and got out, looking at the room Tara said they were in.  There was some noise in one of them.  He walked up there, Sam behind him, slightly shaking his head at the video game noise.  He knocked, getting a bouncy young man.  "Hey, where's Willow?  We're checking on her for Tara."

"She's up the hall," Andrew said happily.  "Willow!"  She stuck her head out of her room, goop still on her face.  "She's perfecting the scary woman look."

"Hi," Willow said, smiling.  "I know I don't remember much from the hospital...."

"We're Sam and Dean," Sam said, pointing at each of them.

"OH!  Yeah, Tara reminded me that you guys were nice guys.  You were out helping the Xander!"   She let them into her room, going to clean off her face.  She bounced out and sat on the bed, looking at them.  "How is he?  And Tara since you probably talked to her in person since I have."

"She's good," Dean promised, sitting on the dresser to look her over.  "She's doing a lot of work helping Fred and Charlie.  She said Charlie's brother Don and his father Alan have been trying to adopt and feed her again, which makes Fred giggle and Charlie beam."  She beamed at that, nodding a bit.  "Xander's slightly insane thanks to Spike and Ethan."

"I'd expect that.  Spike can cause that by casual contact."  She shifted.  "So, what's the what, guys?"

"We're here to check up on you, see what's going on with the rumors of angel's proclaiming the end of days, that stuff," Sam told her, sitting in the only chair.

She waved a hand and snorted.  "Demonic pigeons."

"Demonic pigeons?" Sam asked.  "I've never heard of that species."

"Well, not technically but Xander coined the term and he's right, they were a lot like them."  She grabbed her laptop off the bedside table and opened it to her research, letting him see it.  "See, demonic pigeons."

He read it over, then handed it to Dean.  "The angels."

"Huh."  He read it over then looked at her.  "Do we need help slaying them?  We know you had broken ribs."  He handed her the computer back, watching as she stroked the top of it.  She was one of the super geeks like the boys up the hallway.  He thought she was with the fuzzy, kermit the frog green with orange and purple polka dots sweatpants she was wearing.  Only geeks wore clothes that bad.

"No, I made sure Gravity is still a law."  She beamed.  "I got to hand one to my contacts while it was whole and one after I got the spell components.  They're really expensive things.  So I have enough to get Xander a great birthday present."

Dean grinned.  She was babbling like Tara had warned him about so she was clearly feeling better.  "Good.  How did the rumor get started?"

"Two guys with sunglasses and guns were there.  One of them saw the first one as I was dissecting it.  They both saw the second one.  One of them probably said something.  Or maybe one of the other people in the park."  She shifted again.  "Why else are we here?"

"Just those reasons," Sam assured her.  "Though Tara did want us to take some black suede skirt and burn it?"

She blushed, ducking her head some.  "The boys insisted.  That way I could go to the clubs with them to pick up the skanky hos.  They're not having a lot of luck down here.  The people really don't seem to appreciate brains."

"I had that feeling in LA now and then too," Sam said with a grin.  She gave him a curious look.  "I nearly finished Stanford and was headed to law school."

"Oooh."  She wiggled.  "Can you take the boys out tonight?  I'm too pooped to pop and they wanted to try out their new pheromone mix on the ladies again.  Not that the last version worked very well and it kinda smelled like they were dogs in heat, but they thought it'd be okay."

"I can do that.  I do pretty good picking up the ladies," Sam promised.  She bounced over to give him a hug.  Then sat down again.  "How's the ribs?"

"The pain divergence spell is great!" she said happily.

"Still hurt?" Dean asked.  She nodded.  "Is it like being high on pain killers?"

"A lot but I'm not as fuzzy headed.  Any word from the other hellmouths?"

"Not a lot," Dean admitted.  "One of the military guys went to handle Niagra last week.  Fred briefed him before he went according to Charlie when he called the other day.  Dru was driving him nuts and he wanted to know how bad it was to stake her," he said at her confused look.

"Angel will go nuts, so will Spike."

"That's what he decided after some probability math."  She nodded at that.  Someone knocked on the door so he went to look.  "Hey," he said, letting the geek from earlier in.  He sniffed.  "Dude, whatever that is, it's going to drive women off."  He waved a hand in front of his nose.  "You stink."

Willow sniffed the nodded. "You do stink.  You smell like a camel in heat instead of a dog in heat."

"Maybe it's because you're a lesbian?" Andrew asked hopefully.

Sam shook his head.  "No, sorry.  You know, Willow suggested that since I'm a Stanford level geek but I do pretty well with the ladies I take you guys out to a better club."  Andrew hugged him then went running back for his room.

"Shower!" Dean ordered at his back.  "Now!  Women don't like stinky men!"  He closed the door, looking at Sam.  "You sure you can?"

"Yeah.  I do okay when I'm trolling.  Not like they're looking for an ideal woman."

"No, they want the skanky hos," Willow told him.  "Warren bagged one but she got him too drunk to nibble on her.   They only had the sex."

Dean just nodded at that information.  Geeks were clearly different in their desires and these ones were simply desperate.  "Okay."  He looked at her.  "Want an update on Sunnydale's demons while they do that?"

"Sure!  That way I can be all helpy and stuff again.  Like I should be."

"Once you're healed you can go help Buffy," Sam said gently.

She pouted.  "But Xander...."

"Willow, the way Xander took the guardian's vow means he can't leave Sunnydale," Sam said gently.  She slumped, looking at her hands.  "Tara and Ethan tried to give him some room but it reopened the hellmouth part of the way.  They're working on that problem but Xander doesn't think there's going to be a Sunnydale when this is done with.  Giles told Bobby, our contact in our circle, that Cleveland's looking like the choice to open full-time.  She'll need you up there."

"I can understand that," she decided, looking at them.  "What'll Xander do?"

"FEMA's already seen and said it'd be like Love Canal," Sam told her.  "Xander's thinking how to turn it into a hole in the ground."

"If anyone can, Xander can," she assured him, thinking about it.  "Methane from the sewers maybe or something like that.  I don't know.  I'll help when he's ready for that."  They nodded. "Then what'll he do?"

"We're not sure," Dean admitted.  "We'll figure it out."  She nodded.  Someone knocked so Sam reached over to let the two boys in.  Dean looked at them.  Mentally he slapped a hand over his eyes.  "Sam...."

"Guys, let's fix the tragic shirts," Sam said, getting up and walking them back to their room to work on their clothes.  They dressed like geeks.

"Do you get a lot of the skanky girls?" Jonathan asked.  "Or just the easy ones?"

"No, I usually get nice ones that still put out on the first date," Sam admitted.  He looked in their closets, finding them something to put on.  He handed Andrew a different pair of pants too.  "Stains."  He nodded, going to change.  Jonathan took over the bathroom after him.  He handed Jonathan the brush on the dresser, getting a nod.  Then he took them out to a club that'd be open this early.  It was nearly dinner time.  Something would be open.  On the way over, Sam went over the careful use of lines and how not to seem geeky or like they were feeding them a line.  They'd get some practice but it'd be good for them.  Sam let Jonathan pay cover to let them inside, smiling at the bouncer.  "Teaching them the finer points," he said at the odd look.

"Little brothers?"

"Friends."  He pointed at one girl - one of their wanted skanky hos.  "Friends don't let friends do girls like her, guys.  Okay?"  They nodded.  He walked them to the bar to get them very mildly mixed drinks to calm them down then let them loose.  He ended up having to teach Andrew how to dance by finding a cute girl and sending her out there with a 'he's a friend and it's his first time away from college, can you help him a little bit, he's sweet' offer with puppy eyes thrown in.  She smiled and went to help him.  Jonathan had some moves.  Not many but some.  The girls were giving him 'dork' looks so he went to help him better.  The girl helping Andrew was making him sweat.  He smiled at him stuttering out a line, making her giggle and give him a hug but help him learn how to move better.

Geeks had to stick up for each other and these two geeks clearly needed laid.  It was his duty as a fellow geek that got some to help them out.  Because damn were they pitiful!


Tara opened her email, smiling at the long message from Willow.  "Willow wrote."  She sat down to read it with Charlie reading over her shoulder.  She giggled at something. "Poor Sam.  Andrew and Jonathan?"

"Looks like they got the geek ideal, they scored pretty girls without any hideous diseases," Charlie said.  She gave him an evil look.  "It is.  We all hoped for girls back in those years."  He walked off smiling at Angel when he ran into him and Wes.  "The geek trio had some help from Sam in the clubs."

Wesley smiled.  "I'm sure he gave them all the pointers they needed."

"Yup.  Andrew said he's finally had a girl and it was better than he expected.  Warren's still trolling at the goth clubs after hours.  Jonathan got a pity date but that was fine with him.  Next time he'll work on his smooth moves so it's more than pity for him going home alone."

Angel shook his head.  "Any other good news?"

"The angels in Miami that were proclaiming the end of days are the same demonic pigeons Xander told you about."

"That's better news."

"But Willow's email sounded like one of the officers down there caught her dissecting one.  She said they had sunglasses and guns.  She didn't mention jewelry so it's probably not gang guys or their cliques of rappers and wannabes.  It probably wasn't a bodyguard or military by what she said and the way she said it.  So I'm suspecting that the crime lab down there may have seen her."

"Instead of regular officers?" Fred asked.

Charlie nodded.  "Most normal officers wouldn't be in the park at two in the afternoon, Fred.  Not without her noticing a problem that was drawing them.  They're too busy to do that.  Crime lab staff keep odd hours and could have been there gathering evidence from an older crime scene.  It's a more likely probability.  You can work on that problem if you want."  She beamed and got to work on it for him.  She decided against astrophysics since she knew what was out there now, so she was working with him and Larry to see which field she wanted to end up in if she got to go back to school.  He looked at Wesley again.  "Dean said they'd be back this way soon at the bottom of her email.  That she's loving the pain divergence spell too."

"That'll end as soon as her ribs heal," Wesley said wisely.

"Which can take weeks," Fred reminded him.

"I remember doing it once," Charlie admitted.  He smiled at Tara.  "Anything else going on tonight?"

"It's an atypically quiet night in," Wesley said with a smile.  "Go home, get some food, Charles."

"Sure.  Tara, come on.  I'll even help cook dinner."

"I'm going to soak and then go to bed," she protested.

He looked at her.  "You're going to sulk, not soak."  He picked her up, grinning at her.  "This super strength stuff is pretty cool.  Night, all."  He walked her out to his car and put her beside it, weathering the pouty face.  "Come on.  Don's up there tonight so he'll be back later.  That way you can get any news first.  Dad's out of town so you don't have to blush at him trying to baby you.  He always did want a daughter."

She sighed.  "I'm okay to take a long, hot bath tonight."

He leaned closer.  "I'll pout if you don't get into the car."

She patted him on the cheek.  "You have nothing on Spike or Xander pouting."  He was sweet and she didn't want to upset him and make him pout.

He broke and laughed, then shrugged.  "Someday I'll be as good as they are.  For now, I'll even make ice cream for dessert."  She sighed, rolling her eyes.  "Come on.  You know you want to."

Dru wandered out, nearly dancing while humming at her stars.  She stroked up Tara's neck, making her jump.  "Go, my yellow kitten.  Enjoy the pretty stars while you can.  Even the one who tries will not save everyone."

Tara rounded on her, eyes narrowed.  "He's done it before, he will this time!"  She slapped her.  "Leave Xander alone!  You know damn good and well it's happened before and been stopped.  It will be this time too!"  She huffed off back inside.

Charlie looked at her.  "She's right. There's a very good chance they can stop it as long as they get Xander's magic worked out.  Nearly eighty percent."

She groaned, holding her head.  "The numbers are pointy, bunny.  Please, stop?"

He smirked.  "No.  I like numbers.  They're even more fun to play with than your dolls, Dru."  He walked inside and got Tara, carrying her out again.  "Dru upset her," he told Angel.

"I'm about to paddle my childe," he muttered, coming out to get her.  It'd do him good.  Remind him why he was happier now that he was less evil.  It truly would.  "Dru.  Inside."  She pouted but went when he pointed.  "Leave Charlie alone!"  He opened the car door for Charlie.  "That way Dru can't bother you later either," he told Tara quietly.  "She's going insane, more insane, something like that."  He went inside to find a belt.  A good, strong, leather belt.  She really could use a good spanking.

"See?" Charlie said with a grin.  "A good reason to come have dinner with me so I'm not all alone and Amita can't come ask me more questions I don't know the answer to yet."

"Fine," she sighed, getting into the car.  He walked around to get in and drive before she could change her mind.  She looked at the hotel, shaking her head.  She needed to go help Xander again.  It'd be safer than her being here surrounded by strange vampires.  Because there was no way Charlie was a *normal* vampire.  He had ice cream cravings, that was just the tip of the strange with him.  He backed out and headed to his house, making dinner like he had promised, with her help because she was like that.

Don slammed the door as he walked in.  "Please tell me that's food and not ice cream you're making," he called as he headed for the kitchen.  "Hey, Tara."  She waved.  "Charlie?"

"Ten more minutes.  Go shower."

"I did before I came back.  We had a small slime attack."  Charlie handed him a bowl of ice cream.  "Food first, Chuck, then ice cream.  Before Dad yells at you again."

"Fine," he muttered, putting it back into the freezer.  "Go clean up."  Don went to do that while Charlie got dinner out onto the table with her help.  Don came back freshly scrubbed.  "Slime?"

"Yeah.  Ooze maybe.  Not really sure from where.  I was outside and it suddenly hit me.  None of the flying things either."

"Willow ran into two," she said quietly.

"Is the evil spreading?" Don demanded.

"No, Xander taunted that they were in Sunnydale because they were scared of the evil that Willow has," Charlie said with a grin.  "We think some of the crime lab caught her dissecting one for spell parts."

"Eww," he said, shaking his head quickly.

She patted him on the hand.  "That's why I use a lot of plants."

"Good.  Much better.  I like that much better.  You can teach Charlie, see if he can do it too."

"Dru said I could but she's being a bit strange again," Charlie admitted.  Don gave him an odd look.  "Stranger than normal, how about that?  She's started to call the numbers pointy and says they're giving her headaches when they attack her.  Apparently I'm thinking about my current problems too loud for her."

"You can tell?"  Charlie grinned and nodded.  "You've been spending too much time with her.  We need to get you away from Dru."

"Angel's staging an intervention," Charlie said happily.  "He was walking off talking about belts."  Tara blushed.  "I think he meant to spank her, Tara."

"I like the Lithium option, it usually works faster," Don assured her.  "Think a good dose would work?"

"No blood flow," Charlie reminded him.

"Damn," Don muttered.  He helped carry out the last pan Tara had been working on, holding her chair for her.  Their father did teach them manners.  He sat down.  "Anything else going on?"

"A quiet night in," Charlie said  happily.  "News from Willow.  Sam, Dean's little brother Sam, took Jonathan and Andrew out to the clubs in Miami to teach them how to pick up girls."

"I remember doing that for you so you weren't lame."

"It helped too.  Thank you."  Tara snickered quietly.  "All really smart geeks need someone to show them.  Our brains get in the way of our smooth moves."

"That and he can't dance," Don said, dishing himself up something. "Eat, Tara, you're too tiny.  Dad would complain."  She blushed and dug in.  "Anything else good going on?"  Charlie shook his head.  "Well, I can tell you the three guys up there are nearly insane.  Ethan managed to somehow break the hot water heater so we heard Spike screaming this morning at his ice cold shower.  Xander walked outside and looked up for a minute then went to the hardware store to get what he needed to fix it.  Then he told them to move next door."  He ate a bite of dinner.  "He told me later they're driving him insane.  Spike pointed out every time Xander lost a few sanity points the hellmouth strangely calmed down.  So Xander picked up a frying pan to go after him, taunting him about not being his next Dark Princess because he was bad in bed.  I don't know how he knows."

"Buffy and Harmony," she said quietly, taking a bite of dinner.

"Buffy....  The slayer Buffy?" Charlie asked.  Tara nodded.   "I would've thought that would've bothered her calling."  She shrugged.  "Who's Harmony?"

"A former friend of Cordelia's.  She got turned and went bad.  She and Spike dated for a while.  He complained about her lack of brilliance a few times," she said.

Don shook his head.  "I'll watch out for her then."  He stuffed his mouth.  He looked at Charlie.  "I was wondering a few things."  Charlie made an inquisitive noise since his mouth was full.  "Where did you wake up?"

"The morgue," he said quietly, looking at his plate.  Tara gave his wrist a squeeze so he smiled.  "Thanks."  He looked at him.  "The morgue attendant caught me but she got me calmed down when I first woke up.  She told me I was giving her a pathetic look so she couldn't stake me.  I hopped up and went to hotwire your car then hide in my office."

"No one told me you had been attacked.  The first I knew you were missing and no one could find you."

"The sunlight burned so I was in the big cabinet behind my desk most of those two days," Charlie admitted.  "It's not that uncomfortable once I had my seat cushion in there with me."

"It's better than having to undig yourself," she said, giving his wrist another squeeze.

"True.  I would've freaked out very badly if I had to come out of a casket.  Probably would've jumped you or dad, whoever was sitting there, to cry on them."

"You did when I found you," Don reminded him.

"I was scared!  I was starving, I could hear your heartbeat up the hall and somehow knew it was you.  I was trying to stop myself from hurting you."

"You did a good job," he assured him.  Charlie relaxed at that.  "Thankfully I remembered there were some sealed files dealing with you guys."  Tara gave him an odd look.  "One of Colby's buddies was killed in Sunnydale.  I had to pick him up from the bar.  He babbled on the way home, nearly passed out.  I thought he was using code words or going insane or something.  What does a gornsth look like?"

"Little ball of fur.  Looks like a tribble but it has a lot of teeth.  They like to come sniff Willow now and then.  They're another species drawn to the hellmouth but they're not that fierce unless they're starved."  She cleared her throat.  "If it was in custody it wouldn't surprise me if it was starved with the way the Initiative treated its prisoners.  Or injured."

"Fortunately you guys ended them," Charlie reminded her.  She nodded, eating another bite.  He stroked over her hair.  "Now that Don knows he'll pass on the information if they start to reform so they can be stopped again."

She gave him a look then Don.  "They're out of prison?"

"Most of them aren't.  A few of the scientists couldn't be formally charged, no proof they were more than assistants.  They got probation and a lot of academic trash thrown at them."

"Which is usually enough to make sure they can't find a job, friends in the community, go to lectures or conferences, anything.  Their professional lives are over with and no one would ever think to give them money," Charlie told her.

Don nodded.  "What he said.  A few were doctors and they got moved to a military medical facility to work.  The rest went to the UN for the hunting squads."

She grimaced.  "Were they punished?"

"They have to live with what they did every single day, Tara," Don told her.

She stared back.  "Not like they cared while they were doing it."

"I know.  They're being looked at like specially trained goldfish.  When they can't do this anymore they'll be flushed and put somewhere out of danger to others.  Retired with disability for mental problems from what I've heard.  They're going to try to keep them in the same area in lower Texas so they can keep an eye on them.  All their files are tagged as they have violent instincts so anytime they run into anyone official they'll know.  The ones who go back to that sort of behavior in the real world will be getting it."  She nodded at that.  "Is the base still up?"

"We couldn't destroy it.  It'd take down part of the college and woods."

"Damn," Charlie said, shaking his head.  "That's a huge area."  She nodded, eating again.  He scraped his plate.  "There's ice cream for dessert."  The other two smiled at his quirky behavior and finished up so they could have ice cream with him.  They took it to the backyard to enjoy the quiet night.  At least it was quiet until screaming started up the street.

Tara ran around the house, staring at the creature up there.  "Oh, dear," she sighed.  "Inside!" she shouted, pulling up her newly created battle instincts.  What had Xander said?  She listened to his words of advice on hunting when she had first went:  anything without a head is a lot more likely to be dead.  Start there and move down if you have to.  She pulled up magic, looking at the creature trying to eat cars.  She felt the power come at her call, felt it channeling up to her hands.  She concentrated on forming it into a small ball, then sent it at the demon, making it burn the neck area.   It went through the neck and the head fell off, making it drop the car and fall on top of it.  She panted, blinking at the damage.  "Oops."

"Tara!" Don called, grabbing her to sit her down.  "Charlie, watch her."  He went to help the people near the demon.  He could hear fire trucks.

Charlie looked at Tara, noticing she had passed out.  He got her inside to the couch, putting a throw over her so he could call Angel.  "It's Charlie.  We had a huge demon on my street trying to eat cars.  Sounds like it.  She took its head off with magic.  Fireball."  He smiled.  "She's channeling Xander."  Wesley laughed.  "How do I make it disappear?"  He nodded. "Thanks."  He hung up and looked at her then jogged out to help.  He stopped one officer.  "Detective Winslow handles this stuff on this side of town," he said, staring at him.  He nodded and went to have dispatch call them.  He helped Don.  "She's asleep."

"That's fine.  Help lift this limb?"  Charlie leaned on the lever with the others and pushed.  Vampire strength was good for this too.  The hand came up and the people trapped in the car got out, running for the fire trucks.  He checked and got the two purses and the carseat out, handing them off.  Then they let the hand go.  They got a dog trapped out from under it's foot and it was good.

Detective Winslow pulled up a few minutes later already swearing.  "How did it die?"

Don showed his ID, which was always in his back pocket these days.  "A friend of the family."

The detective looked at him then walked him off.  "Initiative?"

"No.  Epps, handling the Sunnydale issue.  We have a Sunnydale resident at the house.  She helped."

"Rosenburg?" he asked, sounding hopeful.


"Oh, thank God!  There's two more downtown."

"Let me see if she'll wake up.  She passed out.  You do know you can call Angel for these things?"

"Wyndham-Pryce can't use magic that way."  Charlie walked Tara out of the house and over to him.  "Tara, there's two more downtown."

She nodded. "I can if I have to."  He nodded, letting the Federal boys follow with her.  She found the spot there were in and frowned.  They were bigger.  The magic was starting to hurt.  She called Xander, using the picture phone.  "Is there an easier way than fireballs to the neck?"

A big silver box thumped on the ground beside her.  Charlie looked.  "I think that's a yes."

She hung up, nodding.  "He said to hit them in the stomach.  It'll make them back away from the people and it'll be slower but still kill them.  Chest shots might be hard with the way they're bent over.

Don looked at them.  "I've never fired one of those."

She pulled it out, looking at it.  "Xander pets them now and then."  She focused, letting Don brace her.  She was still a tiny-ish young woman and these were hard for Xander to fire off.  She took his advice, turning on the auto targeting.  It locked and she fired.  It went through the first into the one behind it.  They both bellowed and dropped the minivans they were trying to nibble on, falling down together to die.  It was slower, took a few minutes, but it worked.  She put the launcher down carefully then blinked.  "Now I know why Xander likes artillery," she said quietly.

Don hugged her.  "Good job."

"Thank you."  She looked at him.  "They should check for trapped people.  Xander said he can't send the gooifying potion by magic."  She called Fred.  "It's Tara.  Gooifying potion for the demons downtown?"  She smiled.  "There.  One in Charlie's neighborhood.  Thank you, Fred."  She hung up.  "She'll bring some down," she told the detective.  She looked at Don  "I'm not a teddy bear," she said quietly, making him laugh and let her go.  "It was nice.  You cuddle nearly as well as a girl."

He smirked at her.  "Dad tried really hard to make us sensitive guys," Charlie said with a grin.  Don punched him on the arm.  "Hey!"

"Shut up, Charlie."  He shook his head, watching as the rescue crews went to look for trapped people.  He could see Fred was down there now.  She was dissolving parts for them.  "Fire/Rescue must see you guys a lot."

Tara nodded.  "If we're not careful.  Usually we disappear."  She looked at Don.  "We should."

"We should.  How did they get here?"

"Ask Fred.  She'll know where they came from."

"I can do that," Don agreed, getting them both back into his SUV to take them back home.  Charlie went to make them more ice cream while he called the hotel.  "It's Epps.  Where did they come from?"  He smiled at the 'they're natural, they came out of the sea to get some minerals they needed for breeding purposes' that Wesley gave him.  "How often do they happen?"  He nodded.  "So like dolphins beaching themselves it's pretty rare?"  He smiled.  "She's fine and she did good with the artillery Xander sent her too."  He hung up on the spluttering.  "We've got to get you cleared for a handgun, Tara."

She shook her head.  "No.  I don't hurt things if I can help it."

"Even if it's someone trying to hurt you?" Don asked.

She slumped, shrugging a bit.  "I try not to.  It goes against the oaths."

"There's no faith that says self defense is wrong," Charlie told her firmly.  "Even yours."  She nodded, accepting that.  "It could help during one of the issues.  Silver bullets or blessed ones or something."

She smiled at him.  "I'll think about it."

"Good.  Now lay your silly butt back down and take a rest.  You're still pale and shaky."  He went back to his ice cream, looking at Don.  "Natural?"

"Came out of the sea to get cars for their minerals.  They needed it for breeding."

"Well, still a quiet night in since there wasn't an attack," Charlie decided, eating another bite.

Their father walked in.  "Did you see the mess they created this time?" he complained.

"Yeah, Dad.  Tara took the three demons out," Charlie said with a grin.

"Wow.  That's impressive."

"I...I had a weapon," she said quietly.

He looked at her.  "So?  Still impressive.  I bet Don couldn't do that."

Don shook his head.  "Never used that sort of RPG launcher in the past," he admitted.

"See!  Take pride in the work, Tara."  He looked at his younger son.  "Did you eat anything other than ice cream?" he asked patiently.

"We left you a plate in the fridge," he said with a grin.

"He ate," Don promised, rolling his eyes.  "He nibbled on Amita and Megan earlier too, Dad."

"Good!  It's a good thing."  He went to get his dinner, coming out to eat.  "Tara, want half of mine?"  She shook her head and shifted some on the couch.  "No, you stay there.  Unless you want to borrow Don's room?  He can sleep on the couch."

"I have plenty of times," Don agreed.  "Then again I do have my own apartment and dying plants."  Charlie laughed.  "My neighbor complained they were dying and bothering her."  He waved. "I'll see you guys tomorrow."  He headed out before Tara could get up the courage to ask for a ride back to the hotel.  It was good for her to be around normal families.  Her dad would get her straightened out and all the funny things her last one had done to her would be fixed.

Charlie got up to get Tara more ice cream and sat down with his second bowl too, getting  a small smile.  "Dad has one in the freezer."

"Thanks, Charlie."  He shook his head.  His younger son was really strange.  He was odd before, but genius odd.  Now....  Even Angel said his thing with ice cream was strange when he asked.


Dean pointed at people for Willow's education.  She was woefully behind in some things.  "Those are cops.  They aren't usually happy when they have to run into hunters."  She pouted.  "They like to arrest us for handling things they don't like to think about."  He pointed at one.  "That's a CSI guy.  They're often eggheads but they're very people smart ones.  They're the ones who tell the others who did things and then try to trap you when they question you.  They're bad about that really.  If you give them an answer like 'demons' they tend to get huffy and mean."  She frowned at him.  "They do.  They only believe in science and if it can't be proved or hasn't been proved they're never going to accept the answer.  Even if you do it in front of them."

"So we should leave Miami?"

"Probably," he agreed, looking at her again.  They were watching the officers in the park where she had dissected the demon a few days ago.  "Xander said Ethan warned him and you guys that the crime lab and cops down here were very good."

She nodded. "I guess."  She looked at him.  "Where do you think we should head?"

He walked her off.  "It's a toss-up.  Bigger cities are easier to hide in.  Smaller ones ignore things."

"Hmm.  We should be hiding.  Especially with the boys' plans.  By the way, if they take over the world, they're at the motel discussing what part to give Sam."

He grinned.  "If they do, I'm sure Sammy'll make sure I get some nice chicks now and then."

"Of course.  They might even be wearing bikinis if they have their way."  He laughed at that, walking her back to the rental car.  No way was he exposing his car to their scrutiny.  "We'll handle it, Dean."

"Good.  We'll head off with you four to make sure you can settle in safely.  Then we'll go check on Xander for his next issue."

She gave him a hug.  "You're good to my Xander buddy.  Thank you."  She got into the car, letting him get in to drive.


Back at the motel, the boys were looking at maps.  "Sam's not fully on our level but he'd make a good head of our research council," Jonathan offered.  The other two nodded.  "Plus he could identify people his level or better so they'd get the training they need.  That way guys like Xander would get their full potential."

"I can see that," Warren agreed.  "What about Willow and Tara?"

"Canada?  Or Australia?" Andrew suggested.  "Since we're going to hold Australia pure for meetings they could run that.  They'd be sensitive to the native issues and want to keep it pristine for people.  Plus it'd be a very fun, open place to play."

Warren considered it.  "I could see them taking over either.  Willow's nearly on our level so either one would work for her.  We would need someone to take over Canada eventually but I figure you two's kids will some decade."  They both beamed at that.  "Did we finish getting Xander a single guy's kit?"  They both nodded.  "Good."  He looked at them.  "So, what's the first step?"

"The pheromones don't work as an attractant but as a repulsor they're wonderful," Andrew offered.

"The robots are good to go as soon as we can get personalities into them.  That would help a lot," Jonathan agreed.  They nodded, looking at how they were going to split up the world.  Willow walked in with Dean.  "Hey, guys."

Dean looked at the map, knowing what it was.  Andrew had babbled at him about their plans.  He had thought it was cute the guys who couldn't get laid wanted to rule the world.  Then again, with these three?  "Who's taking Africa, Central, and South America?"

"We're going to leave them alone for now but as things progress and our rule gets more solid they'll want to join us anyway," Warren told him.  "We'd let a history geek we chose do Africa.  They'd have to be a bit diplomatic to help stop all those civil wars and none of us are.  They'd be responsible for training one of my fellow evil overlord's children to take over for them."

"Central America would merge when their economies started to merge with ours and they became more prosperous," Jonathan agreed.  "The same as the Asian islands will when I take over Asia."

Andrew nodded quickly.  "I'm not going to stop them merging into one huge country," Andrew agreed.  "That way I'll have about as much area as those two will once they're on board.  Willow, we were talking.  We need someone to take over Canada and someone to take over Australia.  We plan on keeping Australia pure so we can hold safe meetings there.  Would you and Tara like one of those?"

She smiled.  "I don't know.  I'll ask her."  They beamed.  "What about Sam?"

"Sam and that guy Charlie can head our research council," Warren said, looking at her.  "They can go out to identify more smart people too so we make sure they get the good training.  That way guys like Xander aren't overlooked.   They can even set up a boarding school since a few of them needed to be taken from their homes to get to their full potential."

She gave him a hug around the throat.  "He would've loved that.  Thanks, guys."  They all smiled at her.

Dean coughed.  "Guys, her doing the demons brought police attention.  They're still trying to figure out what happened.  Time to make a quick, quiet exit."

"New York?" Andrew suggested.  "It'd be a better area for our plans."

"It would," Warren agreed.  "That good with you, Willow?"

"We'd need to find a safe hotel up there."

"Outside the city," Dean cautioned.  "It's expensive as hell inside the city.  The closer to Manhattan you get the worse it is."

"I looked up real estate there once. You can pay a grand a month for an efficiency that has rats and roaches," Jonathan agreed.  "In a bad neighborhood where you'll be killed fairly quickly.  We could hit DC.  Start with a smaller big step."

"Sure," Dean agreed.  "As long as we leave tonight."  They nodded, going to pack things.   "If you're flying, all weapons go in the checked bags or they'll be confiscated.  Even crossbows."  Willow nodded.  "Only small bags as carryons too.  They've got restrictions."

"Yes, Dean," they agreed.  Fortunately they had the Evil mobile.  Jonathan pouted at it.  They had kept it under a tarp so no one could get into it.

"Sammy can drive it," Dean said, rolling his eyes.

"He's a good minion," Warren agreed, handing Sam the keys when he came from helping Willow pack her gear.  "Thanks, Minion of the First Level."  He headed down to the rental car.

"Thanks, Sam.  Don't worry about the rattle, it's nothing according to our mechanic," Andrew agreed.  Willow skipped down.  "Put everything but one bag into the Super Evil Mobile, Willow."  She nodded, doing that.  Going back for her laptop case and one bag.  They came down with their laptops too.  Then they headed out to the airport.

Dean looked at his confused looking brother.  "They decided you and Charlie can run their research council when they take over.  That way you guys can identify your level of geek and up to make sure they get the good training."

"Oh.  Okay.  Where am I taking their Super Evil mobile?"  He still had that confused look.  Those geeks were scaring him a little bit but Dean looked calm so maybe he was wrong and they couldn't do their plans?

He called Willow.  "DC or New York?"  He nodded.  "Thanks."  He hung up.  "DC."

"Okay."  He headed that way, going off with Dean following him in their car.  Maybe they should have someone else watch the guys.  Someone other than Willow since she was helping them a lot with their ideas.  She had refined a lot of ideas based on current socio- political issues and psychology models.  Then again, Andrew had been complaining that they wouldn't need kids for a while if they had trained Xander to his full potential....  So maybe one of the other hunters should watch over the geeks.  They had some contacts in DC at the moment.  It might be a good idea to warn them they were coming.


until the next update: