Making Soothing Plans.
"Xander needs a safe haven place like he has in Colorado," Sam
decided. It had been a crappy day. Andrea had made fun of
his shirt. He had been pouty all day long. His father's
ghost had come back from that other GHS realm and had been so horrified
he could only give him horrified, shocked looks like he was now an
incubus. Yeah, his life sucked today.
"What safe haven place?" Dean asked around his current lick of ice cream cone.
"You didn't see the hidden entryway in the library?" Sam asked
him. "You've got drips on this side," he said dryly. Dean
turned it and licked that side clean, shaking his head. "The
bookcase behind the desk swings open. It leads to this river stone
passageway. It has a showerhead at the end, then opens into a
little walled off grotto with a cast iron soaking tub. So you can
clean off the day and then go have a long, calming soak."
"Huh," Dean said, considering it. "Where would he put it?"
"Either by that statue or back behind the hot tub. Or there's an area by
the back fence that might do with less work. Personally I'd put
it back behind the hot tub toward the back fence."
Dean considered it. "There's about fifty zillion trees back there, Sam."
"I know. They had to remove ten of them for the new workshop
area. If he'd put it against the side wall, it'll be easier.
Or there's the area by the statue, which is still freaky."
Dean snorted. "What statue?"
"The statue is somehow linked to Xander. So if you stroke it,
it'll get off and wear his hormones out a bit. We hid it in the
woods." He pointed behind him. "That way and about ten feet
into the woods."
Dean got up and went to look, coming back shaking his head.
"Someone did a good job sculpting him." He sat down, eating the
last bite of cone. "I'm so glad I'm not that high up."
Sam grinned. "Well, you say you get all the chicks," he taunted.
"Shut up, Sammy. Tell Xander your idea."
Sam nodded, writing Xander an email. He knew he was on some sort of ruins tour with Wade and Paul.
Xander looked at the note then around the grotto Wade had brought him to
when he got a bit nauseous. "This feels...like home," he said
Wade looked at him. "It's a good place to kill people. I
killed one over there once for hitting on me." He pointed at a
group of rocks. "He was ugly and had no dick."
Xander looked at him. "Sam suggested we put in a grotto like in Colorado."
"He suggested by the statue or behind the hot tub."
Wade considered it then nodded. "That's possible. It's not
going to need a huge lot of area. You could move that touchy
statue there too." Xander grinned at him. "I know it's in
the shade in case you get a sunburn from it." Xander nodded,
looking at the waterfall and lake grotto. "How would you get the
water out there?"
"If we put it behind the hot tub, there's a water line already to
that. It can be diverted. I can figure out how to make a
Wade shrugged. "It's your house." He smirked. "Fake rocks?"
"We can use real rocks. The water will mostly be warm year
round." He shrugged. "I'll think about it." He took a
picture and sent it to Sam. Including that Wade had happy memories
of killing someone here. Sam sent back a smiley face. "Sam
likes it too." They walked off together. "What is that
"Decomp," Wade said, grimacing.
"No, not decomp. I've smelled that. Including on Danny after
a few very bad scenes." He looked around, going hunting.
Wade walked up behind him. "That's gross," he decided, calling
their tour guide. They had taken this tour while the others went
to the more well-known ancient temples. Xander was a bit elevated
today and he needed him worn out since Paul had thrown out his back
yesterday fighting off someone for one of the others in the group.
The tour guide looked then grimaced. "No wonder he got a
headache." He called his boss, who sent out the local
police. He led them to it. Xander and Wade were back at the
temple talking quietly. "They think it was some arm's
dealer's second-in-command named Wade," he told them. "They say
he's local but nothing to worry about."
Wade looked at the officer. "No, I didn't do this. And now
I'm his second-in-command and he doesn't deal weapons. Thanks
though." He smirked at the horrified and panicked look the officer
Xander swatted him. "Quit panicking the locals. I don't want
to spend the rest of today convincing them that I don't sell arms."
The officers walked over. He said something in the local
language. Xander answered in something else, frowning. They
stared at him then said something in that one, smiling at him.
Xander explained that comment and they nodded and backed off. Wade
looked at him. "What did he say? He gets languages a lot easier
than I do."
"He mentioned the group," their tour guide said. "And that's why
he needs someone as ...powerful as you." He nodded at Wade.
"I told them I needed someone like you to steal my cute ass back,"
Xander quipped, looking at him. "By the way, thank you for the
stealing back last night before I came around."
"I'd never hear the end of it from Anya if I let someone keep you," he
shot back with an evil smirk. "Even if I would get all your
"Actually, my will leaves them to Jensen. But I left you the house and the dogs."
"I don't like pets."
Xander patted him with a grin. "Unless that special way happens you can ship them later."
"Good point. Of course, if you die for real, I'll knock Jensen
senseless, steal your collections, and enjoy the hell out of them."
"He'll get you back."
"Maybe. He's still a geek."
"Ah! But he's a warrior geek now," Xander taunted with a smirk.
"True. Or he'd have Cougar snipe me."
"Also possible. Or Pooch."
"Are you ever going to tell me what went down between you and Pooch?"
"No." He smirked. "We're ignoring our past run-ins."
"You know Pooch? Losers Pooch?" their tour guide asked.
"The Losers are the Miami retrieval team," Xander said with a grin. "Jensen and I are buddies."
"Oh," he said weakly, looking at the officers.
"We're in with a tour group," Xander said calmly. "Calm
down. I'm not evil. I'm not mean unless I have to steal
myself back. Just calm down."
He nodded, saying that to the officers. They agreed that was
fine. "Do you know who might have done that?" the tour guide
"I have almost no contacts here," Wade admitted. "It's been years since I was in Thailand."
They nodded when the tour guide told them that. They took their
hotel information then left. They did promise not to say anything
about one of the group being in the country. There were people who
should not hear that information.
Wade looked at Xander. "Did you have to tell them?"
"Do you have any other reason that I'd need an assistant like you that wouldn't make me look evil?"
Wade considered that. "Major businessman?"
"That sounds shady."
"It does," he agreed. "It's the hair. If you had shorter
hair you could say something about being in finance, being an
heir.... That's not a bad idea."
"That's not," he agreed. "I can stick to that story from now on." Wade smirked and nodded. "Sorry."
"It's not a worry. The locals are decent about not wanting more problems. If we were in Bangkok we'd have problems."
"That's why I didn't want to go to Bangkok. I heard about all the problems."
"Yeah, it would be." He punched him on the arm. "Are you really thinking about a full waterfall and lounging pool?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "It'd be nice to have a place I could
unstress when I need to. Apparently Sam found the one in
Denver. Dean didn't though."
"I know that you need that sort of space, especially after bad days.
Like the day you decided to break up with them." Xander
nodded. "Do you really want to dig up all those trees?"
"There's a place back there that doesn't have any. I can do a
natural stone wall around the outer edge. Build the waterfall and
"You have that huge front yard that has a small fountain," Wade reminded him.
"I asked the realtor I work with when I flip homes. She said if I
added much more out there it'd devalue part of the house. She also
thinks I have too many trees around the gate."
"The lot on your right, not the pagan ladies but the other one, is for sale."
Xander shook his head. "I asked. The community's by-laws say
you can only own one and a half lots. They were scared of some of
us creating huge, tasteless estates. The guy in charge asked if I
needed more trees. I said I wanted to prevent another disastrous
"I thought someone bought that."
"They did then they died of an OD with no will and no heirs. Since
she had just barely bought it they refunded the money to her estate for
the taxes. With the housing market it's a good chance it'll be
empty for a while."
"Do you pay community association fees?" Wade asked.
"No. Well, we have a yearly thousand dollar maintenance fee to
upkeep the guards and shack at the gate. The by-laws say they can
take a community-wide vote for an extra one in case of hurricane
"That makes sense. Did they ask for one when the old neighbor blew up the house?"
"No. Though they did sue her to get it back since she had only
owned it for a month and had violated the community by-laws. I'm
wondering if the guys read the by-laws when they bought the house."
"I'd hope so," Wade said.
"Me too but I have no idea." He shrugged and shifted. "I'm not sure what I'd do if I had to move."
Wade looked at him. "Why would you have to?"
"You didn't hear why we moved from the house near the station and lab,"
he said dryly. Wade slowly shook his head. "Between the
*person* who gassed the house so he could break in and steal things, who
later came back to kill the dogs, and the sacrificial cult that
kidnaped me back to Sunnydale to kill my pretty ass, we had to
move. Danny and Don bought the current house when I was getting
back from Sunnydale that time. We had a few extra days due to a
horrible storm and my lack of ID."
Wade shook his head. "If you have to move, you're going to a
society-style house with gates and all that. Or we'll move to
Denver permanently and you can work on the farm and the trees out
there." Xander nodded he could agree with that. "Did you
have an area in mind?" Xander looked up something and showed him
the old real estate listing he had on his phone. Wade looked over
the amenities. "Pool would be nice, yeah. I can see your
mutts going wild with a pool."
Xander nodded. "I thought about doing that instead of the hot
tub. Maybe adding a small hot tub to the side, but I'd never get
around to cleaning it."
"Possibly. You could get the Wonder Twin Winchesters to do it."
"Possibly. I'd have to fence it because of the kids."
"True, that's the law." He considered it. "A motion alarm on the easy-swing gateway?"
"Expand the deck." He got into Wade's phone. He had a
sketching app for when he needed to work out something. "Move some
of the outdoor kitchen area's stones this way. Put in an
in-ground with a shade overtop of it. Nothing cheesy like a
greenhouse looking one but maybe like a canopy from the trees? Use
the stones to create a 'deck' area around it. The fence can be
wrought iron so it's sturdy enough and doesn't need yearly repair.
That would take up all that area and we'd have to move the sitting area
by about three feet but we could put in a huge pool if I turned it
sideways instead of matching the bedroom." He undid it and
resketched it. "Then back in that corner put the new grotto.
Which would only be a problem if I ended up putting up a salle."
Wade considered it. "That cramps your entertaining and training
area. You won't have as much area to spar. Though I like the
length-wise one more. Just move those seven trees and push it
back into the trees and put a deck on the house side."
Xander sketched that and nodded. "That'd be nice, yeah. And
before we move the theater goes up to the current practice area and that
gets turned into a formal dining room. That way it's saleable."
"That's what I thought it was at first from the outside. It's a bit small for real practice."
"It's good for teaching and when I have to do something from the trunks."
"Yeah, it would be," he agreed. "I like the actual salle in Denver instead though."
"Me too. I thought about putting one out back by the back fence
but I decided to keep training outside. Which means I really need
to redesign the back yard. Though, if I do put in a pool, we can
gather there on the deck area and they can keep the kids out of
it. Or I'd put in a tiny pool for them."
"You'd still need the fence."
"Yeah, but I can put up a nice retracting fence or something."
Wade nodded that was true. Xander grinned and nudged him with an
elbow. "I can even put in a garage remote feature." Wade
snickered but nodded. "And if I move the seating over there that
gives us a lot more party and training area." He sketched his
thought and Wade nodded he liked it. "So a lot of open playing
area and training area with more seating and a value added feature for
the house if and when I end up selling it."
"Put in two-person seating groups for all the couples and some single
seats." Xander nodded. "Tables between them for the
food. Or seating groups in some places so you can still have the
group dinners where you can look at everyone."
"I'm going to use the current furniture. It's not broken yet but
I'd add some seating around the pool area. That can be dragged
around." Wade nodded at that. "Replace the two picnic tables
or donate them to a park, add in a nice, long stone table maybe?"
"That'd be nice. Matching the ground stones?" Xander nodded. "That'd work."
"And I could do it all myself, maybe with Dean and Sam's help. Outside the pool."
"That's not that hard, just a lot of digging."
"There's walls and stuff that have to be done specially."
"I didn't realize it was more than a concrete filled hole with tile."
"It kinda is but you have to have the drain lines and special liners."
"Huh." Wade nodded. "What about the four trees you'd have to move?"
"I have three weak ones but they're not together. So I'd end up taking out about seven total I think."
"Patrick's going to kill you," Wade said with a smirk.
"He's so busy I'd let Eric's father do it maybe. Or just hire a
pool company. I can take out the trees if I have to. Those
aren't fruit trees either. They're all evergreens I think.
And one maple maybe."
"I know that area. You'd need to remove enough for the pool's
shade." Xander nodded that was true. "You'll figure it out
by the time we get back."
"And then I'll probably have Dean and Sam oversee it for me," he quipped
with a grin. "So I can go swimming once I get back."
"They'd probably like some time doing something beyond digging up supernatural things."
"Sam hates to dig."
"I don't blame him. I used to hate routine digging jobs too."
Xander grinned. "Aren't you glad I don't make you do that?"
"Definitely. Thank you." Xander smirked. "Can they do the tax inventory?"
"I'm calling imps. Lavelle taught me."
"Excellent. Are the bobsy twins checking the present warehouse?"
Xander texted that to Sam to make sure he remembered. He got back
one saying he hadn't this week but he would in the morning. "He
"I'm sure he'll have fun." He yawned and stretched a bit.
Their guide dropped them at the hotel and he gave him a pointed look
then a tip. "For the privacy."
"Of course," he agreed quickly, heading back to the office.
Wade followed Xander back inside, taking their messages. "Everyone else back?"
"They've been back and are now shopping."
"We're going tomorrow," Xander said with a grin. "Is there a spa attached to this hotel?"
"There's a call in service for some things," the desk girl said. "Did you need a manicure?"
"I could use a massage. My leg's a bit crampy and my shoulders are tight."
She smiled. "I will call one, Mr. Harris."
"Thank you." He grinned and headed up to his room. Wade made
sure he got in then went to his own and Hubert the cuddly,
nicer-than-his-girlfriend dragon. He'd definitely have to make her
give up the flying monkey when he got home. Though she shouldn't
mind if he found his own baby dragon. It'd be just as deadly as
the monkey, though less colorful. Hopefully it'd bite less too.
The next day, Sam walked into the lab with a box, signing in with a sigh. "Presents Speed needs to see."
"For him or Xander?"
Sam grinned. "For him."
"Oh, dear." She paged Speed, getting him and Eric.
"Presents?" Eric joked. "Even though Xander's in Thailand?"
"They're not for Xander. They're for Speed." He let him see
inside. Speed moaned, touching the very soft, gauzy outfits for
the baby. "Card," Sam said, handing it over.
Speed read it, slumping down. "Did you tell Horatio?" Eric took the card.
"No, I came to give it to you." He handed it over. "I did talk to the DPP. That's a human."
"Crap," Speed muttered.
"And he's the son of the guy that wanted Mellie as his wife."
Speed stared at him. "Really?"
"Yup." He grinned. "I figured you wanted to talk to him."
"Yes, I'd love to talk to him," he said sarcastically. "At the end of some of Xander's artillery."
"If H lets you borrow," Sam quipped. "Other than that, I didn't
get to tell Horatio because he was moving the two white tiger cubs to
the zoo and then got called somewhere else."
"Why tiger cubs?" Eric asked.
"Apparently he had cooed at some in some zoo in India. I'm just really happy there's no new elephants."
"Yeah, me too," Speed said dryly. "Or that H doesn't have princess
hair anymore." Eric walked off snickering. "He did!"
Sam grinned and pulled out something else. "From Xander. He was plotting."
Speed looked over the diagram. "That'd add more seating to the
outdoor area and the fence is a nice touch. Legal probably
too. What's this area?"
Sam looked then grinned. "A safe haven grotto for destressing. Like the one in Denver."
"I saw that one. It looked like something I'd love to have after the bad cases."
"He'd let you borrow it."
"I know. How did he want that laid out?"
"Apparently he found a nice, comforting spot in a waterfall."
"That'll be nice. A privacy wall, a lot of bushes so you feel like
you're walking into an actual grotto in a forest since he has his
own. Would that take up that whole bare area back there?"
Sam nodded. "Huh. That'd be nice. We could weave the
wall between the trees."
"Out there he trained some roses up the outer wall."
"I saw. It's pretty and we'd adore that. Let me know if you need help with the planning for him."
"I can do that. Have fun destroying that guy. By the way, I
talked to Greg. He knows about him because he offered to give Tony
a surrogate so he could have a backup wife candidate. In front of
Gibbs. Greg called to see if I knew that stupid human."
"Shit," Speed said, smirking at him. "I'll call Greg." He
walked off calling him. "So, Greggy, was it the father that wanted
my baby girl who wanted your future step-child or was it his son who
sent my baby girl a bunch of very pretty, gauzy things?" He
cackled. "Oooooh...." he said with a hiss and a pleasured moan at
the end. "I'm so helping if Gibbs hasn't gotten them yet."
Calleigh leaned out of ballistics. "Did that moron come back?" she demanded.
"Sent Mellie pretty things. Offered to get Tony a surrogate so he
could have his future daughter." He smirked. "I'm going to
have *fun* now." He went back to get the box from the reception
desk and walked off again. He handed them to Calleigh. "Tell
me if they'll fit her."
"Sure," she said, pulling back in to look them over while calling
Horatio. "Speed's in evil bitch mode, Horatio. Someone sent
Mellie pretty things." She hung up and looked them over.
They were pretty clothes. Very girlish, very light for Miami's
extreme heat. The right size for her too. She wondered how
he had known. She'd have to check on that since the fathers
Xander looked at his phone while they were taxiing to take off from
Thailand. "Calleigh said the moron who wanted Mellie has two other
possible wife candidates already and his son wanted one from
Tony." He sent a quick one then turned off his phone. "She
didn't leave very much for anyone."
"Pity," Wade admitted. "He sounds like he'd be fun to
torture." Paul, Xander's escort, looked at him. "The guy
walked up to Speed, Xander, and Adam while they were shopping with the
two kids and demanded that Speed hand over Mellie as his future wife."
"Mellie's a year old," he said.
"Just under," Xander agreed with a grin. "I'm flying home for a
day for her birthday party. He kept claiming we'd warp her.
He owns a weapons design company." He looked at Wade. "Was
he behind the explosives?"
"Both sets," he agreed. "He did have someone hack your engineer but they
only got the spiders. They erased them and your engineer sued his
company, which suspiciously went bankrupt recently."
"Aww, how sweet," Xander said dryly. "I'll have to thank Jensen for that."
"I'm told he was teaching his niece white lighter hacking," Wade told
him. Xander snickered, shaking his head. "Clay turned him in
to other contacts again too. All his people were already snapped
up and retrained to work for a better class of dirtbag."
Xander grinned. "That's why I saved my engineer, so he wouldn't have to go to people like that," he told Paul.
"That's a great thing." He smiled. "I'm sure he does a lot of really neat things."
"He does. He works with the other people I give grants to so they can do things like remake the bags and stuff."
"That's very handy." He checked, they had all the pets.
Hershey hadn't wanted to go into the bag this morning. Hubert woke
up and climbed out, climbing into his parent's lap to snuggle.
Xander petted him. The stewardess gave him a funny look but during
the last flight all the dogs had gotten to come out. Hubert went
to sniff the other members of the tour group then came back to cuddle
the daddy. When his human got cuddly and sleepy he moved to Wade
so his human could get a nice, quiet hand job. It made his human
feel better and more sleepy. Plus he could deal with his human's
pet. He was training him very nicely to be a good pet stepparent.
Calleigh came back from her trip to DC to destroy that whole family
happy and with treats. She had gotten a full day of shopping while
doing the reports. Greg had even given her Xander-style tips of
where to go. So it had been a good working vacation. She
smiled at Horatio since he was there to meet her, handing over the
report. "There you go. One disgusting human is now in jail
begging for mercy," she said cheerfully. "His son is trying
to cut a deal for lesser sentences."
He smirked. "Thank you, Calleigh."
"You're welcome." She walked off with him. One of the
transit cops stopped them. "Yes, Officer?" she asked, pulling out
her badge. Horatio pulled his.
"Ma'am, as a formality, the system flagged you for going up with one bag and coming back with three."
She smiled. "I took the day I was doing reports to do some sale shopping. You're welcome to check them if you want."
"Please. It's a formality but if I don't I can lose my job."
She waved a hand with a smile. "I fully understand that."
She handed him the slip and let him get her bags for her. He came
back. "With the baggage fees I should've shipped them but there
wouldn't be anyone there to get them for days probably with the hours we
work in the lab."
He grinned. "Case get you up to DC?"
"Yes. We had a businessman who wanted a few children as his future
wives." He shivered. She grinned. "I had a *lot* of
fun destroying him. It made the shopping all the sweeter."
"I'm sure it did, ma'am." He closed up the bags and stood up, holding up a bottle. "It's not your name."
She looked. "Greg must've dropped it. That's his blood
pressure medicine." Horatio looked at her. "He's dealing
with politicians." She looked. "Empty."
He nodded. "That's not a banned drug by any means. You have a
nice day, ma'am, sir." They nodded and took her bags with
her. She did call Greg to tell him she had that
bottle. He took the information and told her to toss it so
she did after taking off the label to shred back at the lab. The
transit officer made his notes and unflagged her in the system.
Calleigh got out of her car at Xander's house, seeing the mess going
on. "Boys?" she called. "Was the back yard robbed by some
Dean leaned out with a grin. "Xander's having us put in a pool."
"Okay." She smiled. "That makes more sense." She walked into the kitchen. "Just a pool?"
"He's redesigned the sitting area too," Sam said, showing the design to her.
"That's nice. It'll seat more people. A nice large table
that someone will say is an altar." Dean snickered, nodding a
bit. "We can handle that. Fence for the pool? It's the
"Yup," Sam said, showing her the sample Xander had chosen. "With a remote control feature."
"That's smart thinking." She handed it back. "Are you boys
doing okay out here by yourself?" Dean pointed at the ghost.
"Oh, that must be your dad. Hi, I'm Calleigh. I work with
Horatio and Speed at the lab."
He nodded. "Pleasure to meet you, ma'am. I met Speed."
She smiled. "We all adore him and Mellie."
"She was adorable," John agreed. "Some day my sons can raise something just as cute but as tough as you are."
She smirked. "Flatterer." She looked at Sam. "Are you
sure you're all right? No one's cooking. No one's taken you
shopping. You're standing in for Xander on the poker circuit."
"Nah, we're good," Dean assured her. "Sammy took cooking lessons
from Xander. Ryan sometimes cooks or he does. Hell, I even
do some cooking sometimes." She beamed. "The pool area will
be done within two weeks."
"There's some water line stuff that needs to be done," Sam said.
"Ah!" She nodded. "Well, I'll buy a new swimsuit so we can
christen it with a family-wide pool party then." They both
nodded. "That'll be after Mellie and Toby's birthday. That's
a shame. They'd enjoy that."
"Xander put in a shallow pool thing outside the fence for the dogs and
the kids," Sam said with a point at the design drawing. She
giggled and swatted him then left. Sam looked at Dean. "It
is your turn to cook."
"Yeah, I know it is. Especially after I lost two hundred earlier at poker."
"Dean," John warned. "That's a bad habit."
"Dad, he won six grand this week," Sam said dryly.
"I don't like you boys gambling all the time." Sam and Dean stared
at him. "I know pool sharking is bad but still. Plus you're
playing with thugs, son."
"I know, Dad. Most of them are really nice guys as long as you don't cross them in the business sense."
"Most are also really scared of Xander," Sam quipped. "Because
Xander has a 'I'll do worse back to you' policy." He
grinned. "He does it very well."
"If not, we'll just borrow Wade the flying monkey," Dean agreed. "They all hate the monkey."
"I don't much like Wade the monkey," Sam admitted. "But he's fun
to watch when she sends him to nibble on people who annoy her."
"Yeah but we still had to save the shoe shop girl," Dean said.
"I know. Wade said to paddle her and I did. She pouted but
agreed it had been selfish of her. Thankfully the lady took the
payout and Anya went home to sulk to her vibrators. I think the
lack of sex is warping her very badly."
"Could be, yeah."
John looked at them. "Are you both suffering from some sort of possession? A form of unknown mental illness?"
"You learn to appreciate Anya, Dad. I thought she was a bit...loud
at first and then I started to talk to her. She's a really decent
young woman who was a vengeance demon for a thousand or so years."
"She helped me a lot with demon classifications and with getting Xander
to smaller, less trendy stores when he wanted to boredom shop," Sam
"Wade said he's already got a half bag of stuff for the kitchen and the
shelves in the living room," Dean told him. "He warned me to move
some of the pictures around to make space and to find a new spice rack."
Sam looked at the two they had then at him. "Sure, I remember
where we got those." Dean grinned. "Or we can find a bigger
one." He looked in the pantry. "It's full."
"We can ask Jolene what can be tossed or stored somewhere else," Dean
said. He looked. "Isn't honey supposed to be in the fridge?"
"No. It's the only permanently shelf stable food ingredient
that'll never go bad. It might crystalize but all you have to do
is warm it up a bit and it'll smooth back out. They found honey in
Egyptian tombs that was still able to be smoothed out. And you
can use it on cuts like you would neosporin."
"Huh," Dean said. "Food network?"
"Yup." He grinned. Dean smirked back. "I'll ask
Jolene's opinion tomorrow." Ryan stomped in. "Bad day?"
"Calleigh's a bit too happy."
"She showed up here," Dean told him.
"Wonderful," he said dryly. "Dean, it's your night to cook."
"Fu's?" Dean offered.
"Sure," Ryan and Sam agreed, going to the living room.
"It's really quiet without the dogs," Sam said.
"It is. Don wanted Danny to get him one too."
"They're never home," Dean called.
"That's why Danny hasn't gotten him a new dog," Ryan called back. "What's with the backyard mess?"
"Pool," Sam said.
"Huh." He looked up then at Sam. "If he has to move will he have to do more work?"
"The theater's being moved upstairs to the practice room, the present theater's being turned back into a dining room."
"Good to know."
"We should move that statue to Denver," Dean said.
"Not a bad idea," Sam admitted, texting that to Xander's phone.
When he didn't get an answer he looked at the time. "They must be
on the plane." Ryan nodded. "I checked the present
warehouse. Nothing new beyond a few old books."
"Magic or ancient?" Ryan asked.
"Magic. I put them in the trunks since they were a flesh-covered copy of
the _Necrinomicon_ and another dead things book. I sent a nice
note to the demon that he wasn't accepting the present but I was hiding
them before someone broke in and took them to do harm. And that
Xander was out of the country right now. He said he'd write to him
about them and see if he'd accept them."
"He'll hate that," Dean warned.
"Just him. The others won't send things. They might miss him and it'd be stranded at the hotel."
"I hope that doesn't set a bad trend that will piss Xander off.
Wade still doesn't think Xander's more dangerous than he is," Ryan said.
Dean and Sam giggled. They knew how dangerous Xander could
be. Wade was a pussy cat compared to Xander's temper when he
really let it go. Dean went out to pay for the meal and talk to
his debt book keeper. The guy thought he had found an old one that
wasn't balanced out anywhere by a payment but he was new. The old
debt book keeper had retired. Dean called in Xander's to make
sure he was right, and he wasn't. But hey, Xander's debt
book keeper was bored at the moment so Wyatt could help this new guy
learn better. Because the ATF agent was pitiful with accounting
Paul opened up the suite's door, finding a demon there with a large box. "He's not accepting presents."
"My master said that only he could send me home," he said stiffly.
He noticed the three growling dogs. "No dragon?" Paul
pointed behind him. "Good morning, Hubert." Hubert snorted
smoke. "I must, it's my assignment and if I don't he'll kill me."
"Xander's asleep. He'll kill you," Paul said dryly. "Xander?"
Xander stumbled out naked, looking at the staring demon.
"Hell. No. And if someone is trying to give me something I'm
coming up there to destroy somewhere else."
"He said you'd have to send me home," the demon said sheepishly.
"I'd rather not be here but it's a life debt, Harris." Xander
handed him his DPP calling stone, letting him go there. They had
public terminals to many other realms. The necklace dropped.
Paul handed it back and Xander went to shower and do his hair.
"You have two hours," Paul called.
"It'll take me that long to unknot my hair."
"I know it will." He petted the dogs and the dragons. "You
guys are very well trained." They barked and ran in to take over
Xander's bed. It was the next best thing to his lap. Even if
Ramses would rather be in the shower with him. Hubert too.
They both snuck in and got happy with the daddy-scented water and him
giving pets to them as he cleaned himself up.
Xander came out a half-hour later with his hair wrapped in a
towel. "They have a pitiful hot water tank here. Only lasted
thirty minutes." He went to get dressed and braid the hair.
That'd do for the day. Paul came in to do a more manly thing than
a braid for him. "Thank you." He took a kiss and returned
it with a grin. "Breakfast?"
"Order's coming up. There's no way I want you in the dining
room. There's no fans, a/c, or air circulation in there.
"Maybe that's what happened to the hot water." Paul smirked but
took him out to get the tray from room service. "Did you order
caviar?" Xander asked when he opened the cover.
Paul looked at the bill. "No." He looked at the food.
"Huh. That's an interesting transformation. I guess since it
was eggs before they could be transformed into smaller eggs."
Xander snickered, shaking his head. Their original breakfast's
reappeared, kind of. They clearly weren't chicken eggs.
"Those are very good, a bit salty, and the yolk has a touch of a bitter
aftertaste. It's grown off-world from a pigeon relative that's as
big as a wild turkey."
"Okay." He dug in and it was good. The caviar cut the yolk's
aftertaste very well. The dogs got the scraps and were
happy. Then they went to tour the local area. The hotel had
dog walkers and Wade was at the hotel. Though Paul did send him a
message about the attempted present giver. He got one back and
grimaced. "Wade had to deal with someone who tried to give you a
very girly ruby necklace."
"Yay," Xander said flatly. "I'm not for rent or sale. Not
even for really pretty things. And if it was something like
earlier, I'll get to go destroy someone else." He beamed at his
escort. "I have so much fun doing that to over forty realms so
"Sure," he agreed. He had no idea how Xander would do that.
He knew he was a capable fighter but to destroy a whole lot of
demons? Or a whole realm?
Dean looked at Patrick, the guy who ran the construction company that
Xander used when he was flipping houses, as he got out of his
truck. "Hey, Patrick."
"Dean. What's going in now?"
"Pool and a few other things."
"Xander wanted a pool." He shrugged. "He knew you guys were busy or he'd have asked you guys."
"We are," he agreed. "I had to hire on six more guys." He
looked at the temporary mess. "What's with the trench into the
woods?" Dean got up to show him. They had the pipes on this
end done and only had to connect them back to the main water line.
He and Sam had done the waterfall's wall and the pool guys had put in
the 'pond' area. They had laid the rocks around it too. Sam
was working on the walls. "Huh," Patrick said. "This is
Sam grinned at him. "Thanks. Xander found a waterfall area that just spoke to him like the grotto in Denver did."
"That's cool. And a very nice treat. Just these two things?"
"Rearranging the seating area, adding a stone patio area and the fence," Dean said.
Patrick smiled and nodded. "That'll work. This'll be great
when he's done with the plants out here." They walked back up to
the house together. "My darling twin got asked about the house he
owns by the station?"
"I thought he sold that years ago," Sam said. Dean looked at him. "Where they originally lived."
"Oh. I thought they sold it too." Patrick shrugged. He
called Xander. "Patrick's here. Patricia got asked about
the house by the station?" He listened then handed the phone over.
"Hi, Xander," Patrick said, walking over to sit down on the table for
the grill area. "She got a seriously interested person who wanted
to know about renovating it and what you wanted to sell it for. I
have no idea. I've never even seen the house. Sure, I can
have Don do that. Any idea what it's worth? I can tell her
to fair market value it. Was it originally listed?"
He listened to how that had happened. "I understand that
fully. Sure, who has the keys?" He took the phone to get
them from the desk. "I'll take her to look at it in a bit.
Thanks, Xander. Sure, I'll call." He hung up and handed Dean
back his phone. "When it didn't sell he had it repainted,
cleansed from the suicide cult's ideas of fun, and then rented it.
As far as he knows it should be free, that the renters left last
year." He went to his sister's office to tell her that.
She called that realtor when he told her who had it. She agreed
they didn't have it or the rental contract anymore. Steve agreed
that they shouldn't have it rented right now either and offered to drop
off the keys. He had the emergency sets. They said they had
them and drove over there. Of course, there were squatters.
They called Don, who came out to talk to them.
It turned out to be one of those days in Miami and they had to move
within a week. Thankfully they hadn't done any damage to the
house. Patricia got Steve and her client in there. Steve to
handle any negotiations on Xander's behalf. Patrick gave them
ideas about upgrading and what it'd cost. They decided they liked
the house. They could handle the small cliff down to the
water. They made an offer and Steve called Xander to see, but
accepted it. They signed it and Patricia started the paperwork to
sign over the deeds. She noticed one was in Don's name and asked
Xander how to split that. He told her to give him half. Or
give each of them a third. However that worked for her.
Xander hung up and signed, leaning on Paul's shoulder. "We finally
sold the house by the station. I didn't realize Don's name was
still on the deed. I thought I had it removed when I listed
it." He sat up at the gentle nudge. They were not in a gay
friendly area right now. "Steve said their name's on my house
"You can buy them out."
"They're stubborn. They won't take it."
"They will," he said.
"Danny thinks this is all some mid-life, learning about myself thing. That I'll go back some day."
Paul looked at him. "The other?"
"He's seeing the same problems he saw before, then backslid once he
wasn't paying attention to that anymore. It was like he'd fix
things for six, seven weeks, then slowly drift back down to the point
where I got played with like I was a new dog."
"Why is their name on your house if you bought it?" Wade asked as he sat down.
"Because I was still stuck in Sunnydale and they bought it to get me out
of the old house since the cult had nearly destroyed it. I didn't
want to go back there. They had broken Spot's front legs.
They had hurt one of the ferrets too. So they quickly bought that
one. They had to take out a small mortgage to get it quick enough
but Steve paid that off within a week of me getting back. He had
to rearrange some of the bank accounts because of what had happened and
how I was left without any access to anything because they hadn't taken
my ID with me since they planned on killing me."
"You can buy them out," Wade said. "They'll be stubborn but they
will give in, especially with Horatio helping apply pressure."
"He paid for it," Paul said.
"By law he'd have to pay them something to get them to relinquish their
rights," Wade said. "Probably the equal value of the property
percentage they own."
"That sucks since he already paid for it."
"Money's not really any sort of object," Xander pointed out
quietly. "I made six mil the week we left, Paul." Paul
gaped. "Auction not poker."
"The other's coming up next week," Wade said. "Think you'll be getting some of it back?"
"I have every other time."
"Huh." He ate a bite.
"One thing keeps being bought and sent back to me," Xander said with a
grin. "It's a little ruby knight statue. Very nicely carved
but it never has a name on the card. Plus it's got some sort of
thing on it."
"Thing?" Paul asked. Xander flicked his hand in the air.
"Oh." He nodded once. "Okay. We can't find out who
"A quarter of the stuff that gets sent doesn't come with a name.
Mostly they're 'I'll see you soon' sort of cards," Wade said. "We
can find usually all but ten percent of those."
"Then a lot of those send a second thing so we track that one because
they're trying to lead us to them," Xander added. "I almost hired a
PI to do that but the poker buddies are wonderfully informative anytime
someone huge is in town to see me."
"That's because they don't want the drama of you having to save yourself
from them," Wade quipped with an evil smirk. "They keep running a
few people who want introduced out of town."
"Good!" He nibbled on his lunch, getting a dirty look from Wade. "It's a bit warm."
"Uh-huh. Eat like a normal person, Xander."
"Yes, Wade," he sighed. "So how is your furry, flying counterpart doing?"
"Horatio gave her Mellie's kevlar vest. I'm told the thing does
good in it and doesn't get hurt anymore, which pissed her off.
Apparently someone scored a lucky shot but it didn't kill him because it
was normal ammo. Since then she's bought a lot of monkey clothes
for the thing. She even bought one of those stomach carriers for
it. People worried she had spawned again and were thinking about
telling Horatio to take the kid from her."
"Did she prove it's just your furry namesake?" Xander teased.
"Yup. When one of the officers who play poker asked her she
introduced him and apparently he went to have nightmares because the
flying thing was eating a finger."
"Disgusting," Paul complained.
"Yay," he shot back with another smirk for him. "We've probably talked about worse."
"Probably," Xander agreed. "I know I did when I was still around
the girls all the time." Wade shuddered. "At least Roque and
Buffy are slightly happy. He's very happily screwing the evil
tendencies out of her. She hasn't tried to blow me up in weeks."
"If she does next time I'll send him a nice condolence card after the
fact," Wade assured him. Xander beamed at him. "Any other
news from out there?"
"He's got a happy hobby of Angel tormenting. Which I like a lot
myself. Gunn thinks Roque's a big scary mo-fo, with a lot of
knives, and the gang decided they respected Roque for his service and
his badassness. They even taught him how to stake properly and use
their stake throwers." Wade grinned. "Wesley's told him
about the various people in the Council in case they show up for him
again in hopes that Roque'll feel like removing their taint from the
earth." Paul shook his head.
"A few of them came after a kid in Miami. Just about Toby's
age. He had the slayer mole," he said quietly, glancing around
then back at his escort. "They killed his mom, was going to kill
him for daring to be born that marked, and all because of a stupid
prophecy that was self-fulfilling in their case. We got to protect
the baby when a gang kid told me someone had found him beside the
road. Their weird things meter was off the charts that day."
"Then the bobsy twins found a hunter who'd take him in and train him,"
Wade finished. "I don't doubt that the duty's important for the
girls but even I see things wrong with the way they're treated."
Xander nodded he did too. "They come to Miami and I'll get to have
some fun before they come near the family. Mellie doesn't,
"No, if she had the slayer mole, they would've turned her over."
"Damn," Paul said. Xander nodded. "I can get behind not
liking them very much." Xander grinned. "Are they a threat
"They've had a low level contract on my life for years but I doubt it'll
ever be taken up," Xander said with a tiny shrug. "I kinda
created that whole two slayer situation and jumped into a fight that
they hated. It was only supposed to be a girl and her watcher, not
her friends and family."
Paul nodded. "I'll see what I can do when I'm on London's team. We don't need that sort of stress."
Xander grinned. "No, you probably won't." He caught someone
staring at them and stared back. "Yes, I realized you were a bit
ago. You dress like Wes did when he first got to Sunnydale."
"Mr. Harris, I was going to ask for you to intervene in a serious threat
we have upcountry," he said quietly, coming over to join them.
"There's a demon trying to take villages to worship him and as
slaves. My potential is only eight."
Xander and Wade shared a look. Then Xander nodded because Wade
nodded they could do that. "I'm only in town for five more days."
"I only heard you were in town earlier."
"I need details. I'll try." He nodded, handing over an
envelope. "Thank you. I hope your girl turns out like Buffy
did only less judgmental and evil sometimes."
He smiled. "'I'm hoping she lives as long as she did too."
"The last I knew she's still alive. Or did something happen in LA?" Xander asked.
"She is? She's not in Sunnydale."
"She's in LA working on their problems with her boyfriend. She's
up there about once a week. She's dating a former commando."
"Huh." He considered that. "Interesting." He went to
call that information in. It would save his and his potential's
life if Harris could end them.
Xander looked at the information. "That's a Sam and Dean sort of
demon, not a Xander one. It's a possessing one. So Wade,
let's make sure you know the exorcism ritual?" Wade nodded he
did. "Thanks." He grinned. "I don't need more of
them." He ate while they looked it over. Xander paid their
bill and they went to gear up in the hotel room. There was a tour
group and they planned on slipping away anyway toward the end.
That'd be the perfect cover. Paul got into the car with them and
they stared at him. "You don't have to."
"I'd better learn with as many could come for my future charges."
"Okay." Xander let Wade drive. He'd never been to the area
and had no idea where they were going. Xander did text someone
that they were going to visit someone upcountry that had just said they
were semi-local so they'd be missing the dinner. That way the
security team wouldn't worry.
A day and a half later, Xander felt miserable. Inside and outside
miserable. He was bruised and still healing, after almost a day of
fighting. Mentally, he was wincing each time he had a thought.
Wade waited until they got back to the hotel to stare at him. "It
was the demon that killed them, not you. You did everything you
could to make them let them go. They were already dead when we got
there." Xander looked at him, shaking his head. "Even if
you had went psychic for a bit you couldn't have made it let them
go. They were zombies, Xander."
"There were little kids," he said quietly.
"Most of them are still all right. All but a few that the demon
could get because their parents didn't protect them." He stared at
him. "It sucks but there was nothing you could do about that."
Paul cleared his throat. "He's right, Xander. Though, every
single soldier would be feeling the same way right now. Probably
even Wade at one point in time."
Wade glared at him. "I never liked it when kids died." Paul
backed down at that point. He made Xander look at him.
"Beyond that, you did not cast the spell that killed that demon.
That Council moron did. You were trying to make him give up the
souls. You nearly had him giving them up when the idiot used his
distraction to kill him. He's responsible for the deaths and you
made sure he heard that. Hell, I made sure he felt it."
Xander nodded, looking down again. "It's something we've all went
through, kid. Cuddle in with Paul if he'll let you." He
looked at Paul, who nodded.
"Physical contact has always helped settle me so cuddling is good for
both of us." He led Xander to the bed and the dogs followed,
Hubert settling on Wade's lap staring at him. He smiled. "I
think he's worried about you."
"He's a great friend. Less fussy than Anya would be right
now. Doesn't shop. Doesn't demand sex every two hours, even
if I'm exhausted." He petted the dragon, letting that calm him
down. Right now, he could almost see letting Anya have her way
with him for an hour or so. It'd be good, positive, grounding
contact for him too. Paul did text someone about what had
happened. That way they could pick up the Council Prick and have a
talk with him about his 'mundanes always die' attitude. There was
no way he wanted that anywhere near any of his charges. Or
himself. Hell, he didn't want the guy existing near Wade so maybe
his new bosses would like to talk to him.
A few hours later in England there was a meeting of a secret
council. "So you killed the demon but it killed 314 villagers,"
the head of the panel said. The watcher nodded. "Were there
any problems you wanted to report?"
"Harris was there." A few hissed. "He was trying to reason
with it," he sneered. "Apparently he was going to sacrifice
something else for the villagers."
"Some people do care about the average lives lost," one reminded
him. The others glared at him. "If he could have gotten them
free, he could have killed it afterward. Harris is that
resourceful and demons do listen to him. We've seen it in the
"Harris is another complication we must deal with," the head of the
panel noted. "He's becoming powerful. Demons are listening
"One died and left him his seat on the High Council," another said. "That Vesvold one."
Another shook his head. "No, I know who holds Vesvold's
seat. Harris has his seat because he's owed it for other services
to other realms. Apparently he's stopped some battles and
things. Stopped a few tyrants." Everyone stared at
her. "It's said that he's brought order to many realms.
Including one vampire realm that wanted him to be their queen but he
killed the leader, made them democratic, and then left them to it.
There's mentions of him helping fix problems on over forty
realms." The head of the council looked confused. "Also, as a
side thought, the boy has done some other off-realm traveling.
Including being taken to one where a true temple of Ares sits. He
now wears marks to them. I'm told by a watcher in Las Vegas that
they're imbued marks. He and that Jace woman are both anchors."
The head of the panel looked at her. "Why?"
"He suits more than three temple's ideals. If they're imbued, he
had them done officially there. He saw ones to Ares, ones to
Artemis, and ones to Cupid. He saw a few more he couldn't get a
clear line of sight on. He wears a girdle of marks."
"So he took training at least at the temple of Ares," another said,
thinking about it. She nodded. "Do we think he learned the
craft of war?"
"Yes." She smirked. "When Miss Summers begged for help for
that minor battle apocalypse, one of our contacts out there noted he had
trained there extensively and he had some sort of miniony military
group with him."
"They're the ones in Miami who help rescue kidnaped people," another
said, shifting in his seat. "They work with the crime lab a lot
and Harris was dating members of it."
"So they were friends. There was still a miniony assistant sort?"
"Hmm. I know nothing on that one. We can ask."
"No need," another said. He usually stayed quiet. "Harris
now has a problem that draws demons more than usual and he hired an
assistant that used to work with an arms dealer. The guy is
slightly psychotic, likes to kill, and likes Xander's cooking from what
I'm told." They all stared at him. "Wade is not one to be
trifled with but he is helping the boy when the demon problem comes
out. Which Miss Summers mistakenly decided was a dark deal since
he has money now, but we all know that he got it from whatever he did on
the demon planes to solve problems. It could have been gifts, it
could have been payment for helping end tyrants, I'm not sure, but he
does have a very nice house in Miami. And one in Denver. He
bought a large plantation-like farm there with houses for his friends
when they wanted to retire from Miami."
"So...." the head of the panel said, considering it. "He does have
sway with demons?" That one nodded. "He was probably trying
to use his seat to get the demon to give up so he could kill it, or
have his *assistant* kill it?"
"Harris is no lightweight," he warned. "He took out a clan of
warrior demons out by LA when someone was trying to play games with his
destiny. No one's sure why they were bothering him but he did take
out a whole clan according to the rumors."
"Seven," the female member with friends in Miami said. "Though
he's right. There's many people who respect Harris for his
fighting ways. Whole street gangs respect Harris." The head
of the Council gaped at her. "He has made some vast, strange
contacts and they do respect him. Hell, they let him make an
apocalypse warehouse in Miami for its needs."
"So he's got real weapons," the head of the panel said. They all
nodded. "Dismissed, Prestons. We'll talk about your duties
later." He nodded and left.
"I do agree. 314 villagers is too many bodies," she said
calmly. "If he had sense he would've let Harris get them free then
killed the demon."
The head of the panel snorted. "They're villagers. Since when have they mattered."
"They left orphans that have to be taken care of in an area that is prone to problems."
"That's their fault for letting the demon in."
"That sort doesn't have to be let in. It can appear and start
pulling souls." They stared at her. She found the entry and
showed them. "That's what he killed. They did not have to
agree, which makes that a tragedy. Which means we'll have to make
nice with their country again."
The head of the panel pushed it away. "Whatever as the young
things say." He considered it. "Harris could cause us
problems. He has driven all the watchers out of Miami."
"We pulled him back when his girl ran away," another corrected
him. "We never sent another one outside that disastrous attempt to
kill the male slayer born."
"I have checked on him. The hunter they have him with is teaching
him very well about hunting things. Not to respect us but about
hunting demons. We've removed him from the possible line of
succession?" They nodded. "Then there is no problem and we
overreacted. Harris is known to warp prophecies very often.
He turned that gift to that one."
"I'd still rather that child was made safe," the head of the panel said dryly. "He's not suitable anyway."
"Actually he's going to be a very strong hunter." She
smiled. "His adopted mother and sister are both very strong
hunters. She's slightly older but adores him as any sister
should. He's already complaining about Latin lessons." They
smiled. It was good to hear.
He looked at her. "You can't promise he won't turn against us."
"I can promise you that if you go against him and don't kill him, he will. And his new 'uncle' Harris will help him."
"Point. Which brings us back to the point that he must not be allowed to interrupt our work again."
"We've had a low level contract on him for years and no one wanted it,"
the quiet one said. "Which I disagreed with because if it was
taken, we'd all be in a demon realm right now." A few
shuddered. "He steps into apocalypse situations. We could
easily guide him to the ones we wanted him to help with. Thereby
saving some of our people in battles."
"Yes, but if he warps prophecies," the head of the panel started.
"Usually so they're easier to win," another told him. "I
agree. We need to guide that boy into where we could use the extra
hand and let him keep settling down demon realms so they stay
there. That way they don't have to migrate here. Beyond
that, Slayer Summers is getting very ancient."
"Her boyfriend has stopped an assassination and grab attempt both," the
quiet one said. "He is a former commando. He is very
psychotic at times. Even the LAPD begged for him to quit dealing
with our bag and tag team from what I saw of the report."
The head of the panel shuddered. "If we could long-distance handle
them it'd be better. That way the younger slayers would fall back
"The line doesn't go through her. It goes through Lehane, who we
can't get to. She's also guarded by the Powers' champion," the
quiet one said. "We cannot go against the Powers. They
clearly have something in mind for that one before she passes it on."
Everyone nodded. They knew they couldn't go against a higher power. The higher power could end them.
"I say we up the bounty on Harris. Even if he could be in battles
for us, he's too dangerous to let loose. I'm sure the Powers
wouldn't like his anchor status."
"He has visions," one said. "And he trains hunters. He's got
two who were doing fairly well before and now they're much better
hunters taking out the harder problems that our girls can't get
to. As far as I'm concerned, Harris is one of them now. To
be used to handle things we cannot get to immediately and to keep the
tiny things quiet."
"Beyond that, him dying would cause a problem on the High Council," the
one on the end sighed. "He holds the proxy of at least forty
realms." The head of the panel shuddered. "That means that
he has more of a vote than most of the others. Only Rhu can
overrule his vote. Thankfully he has some sort of political proxy
who knows what to do in his place," she said dryly. "That way he
doesn't have to warp all of them so we'd see more migration."
"How do you know of that?" one asked her. "Not doubting that figure but cite your source."
She smirked. "There's a retired watcher in Miami."
"Heins," he said. She smirked and nodded. "So he heard?"
"Quite. Also that he has enthralled or has contacts among many
gang members. Apparently he uses them like he used to use the
kitten poker circuit in Sunnydale. Which may explain how he has
that house of his. Heins was laughing over something a few years
back because someone paid the boy in drugs. Apparently the lab was
quite pleased with how he destroyed that whole pipeline." They
all smirked. "So he is beneficial. I'm also told that he's
used some of that to help young people like he grew up go to school and
find a career that doesn't involve weapons and an early prison
sentence. Some sort of scholarship or something." She tapped
together her notes. "His benefits do outweigh his risks and he
would not go against the Council itself. That would be suicide."
"He does tell others about us. During that raid in Miami, someone called Wesley."
"That was the head of the crime lab, who Xander knew. Xander was
guarding the baby because someone in a gang found him hidden safely but
abandoned when the mother tried to escape." They all
sneered. "She got killed within a few blocks of where she hid
him. They got him to Xander and he protected the baby. By
the way, his assistant was the one who outed that we had went to Max for
genetics work." The head of the panel stared at her. She
smiled. "He hired Wade, yes. He's currently on some tour of
the world according to Heins."
"Who's watching his house?"
"The hunters, his new boyfriend in the lab, and the commandos helping by
gathering the kidnaped from Miami. Who, by the way, Miss Summers'
boyfriend used to be part of." She smiled. "But he
apparently turned his back on the team to save his own behind so they do
not talk. That is also where Miss Rosenburg's daughter is."
The head of the panel shuddered. "She's with the head of the
crime lab. Anya's son, with Harris' assistant, was taken in by
that man that we watch occasionally, Adam Pierson? His boyfriend
is a detective and adopted her child."
"So he's woven himself a new group," the head of the panel said. She nodded. "That's even more dangerous."
"They'd handle anything down there. Heins said that a lot of
people were worried that there'd be some major incident in Miami while
Harris was gone. Apparently he's helped keep some peace.
I've even heard that he sponsored a peace talk between gang members at
some pancake restaurant because they were making his boyfriend work
overtime." She smiled. "It seems more beneficial to maneuver
him toward our goals than to take him out and watch the chaos that
would come. Which we might have to fix."
The head of the panel grimaced. "I'll up it to a million.
That's still very low and if he has that sort of influence no one will
want to take it. If not, it'll stay until he's truly a problem,
which means we can up it instantly." They all nodded that was
reasonable. "Until then, find any problems in his path and send
them to him," he sneered.
"He's taking a vacation and I doubt he'll do anything if we send it to
him," the quiet one said. "That one he only got because the local
potential was eight."
"Hmm. Do we have his itinerary?" Everyone shook their
heads. "Pity. See if we can get it. Heins might have a
contact." She nodded and they broke up.
Xander looked up from breakfast when a well-dressed man sat across from
him, Paul, and Wade. "Yes, Officer? Or are you an Agent?"
"Agent, Mr. Harris." He stared at him. "What happened?"
Xander winced. "I was asked to handle the demon." He put
down his fork and sipped his juice then put it down. "The local
potential slayer is eight-years-old."
"I heard. I deal with the problems they cause."
"The Council or the demons?" Wade asked.
"Both." He smirked. "Why are you in his employ?"
"Because Wade makes sure less people try to kidnap me," Xander said
firmly. That got a nod. "Beyond that, I was taking the demon
into releasing them. Some Council idiot decided to use the spell
to kill him before I got the villagers free," he said quietly.
"Which led to the scene they found," the agent said. Xander
swallowed but nodded. "Was there a chance to get them free?"
"He had talked them into giving up most of them and only keeping ten percent, none of them children," Paul said quietly.
"I could've gotten them free I think," Xander said. "Once he was
less powerful, I could've used more authority or even another spell to
get the others free then killed him. Or Wade would've killed
him." He swallowed again. "I so yelled at that idiot.
Wade yelled at the idiot."
"I punched him," Paul said.
"Good!" The agent looked at them. "This is only a formality."
"The kids that were left behind?" Xander asked quietly.
"There's an orphanage."
"They should have to support them," Wade said.
"Getting the Council to do anything is like pulling cactus spines out of
your butt," Xander said. He looked at him. "I spent all
night feeling guilty and was going to check today to see if there was
something I could do to help the orphans. I know it wasn't my
fault that he did the spell. I didn't even know he was there, but I
know that they'd let those kids go to hell because most of them don't
care. I'm sure the Watcher that did it got a 'good job' pet on the
back for the 317 deaths."
"He probably did," the agent agreed. "We're not asking you or expecting that."
"I fought for years against their kind," he said quietly, staring at
him. "I backed up a full slayer. Three in fact." The
agent shuddered. "I know it wasn't my fault. I know no one's
asking, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let them get so far down
that they're destroyed. They've got a hard enough life as
is. If me throwing some money in can help them get the counseling
they need so they're not scarred for life, to help them become good
people who later have loving families and good jobs, then I want
to. Because I know the people responsible won't be."
The agent nodded. "They could like that. Though most would probably want to go back to farming."
"Can something be set up in their village?" Paul asked. "That way they have their houses and any remaining relatives?"
The agent considered it. "That could happen." Xander opened
his bag and pulled out a block of cash, handing it over. The agent
stared at him. Xander added a second. "That is quite a lot
"I'm going shopping later. This serves a better purpose."
"It does." He put it into his jacket pocket. "Thank you for caring about those left behind."
"I hope I always care about that. Otherwise I'm no better than the Council is."
"True." He smiled. "I'll see that it gets to them, not
someone who would take some of it as bribes." Wade nodded.
He looked at him. "You settled down?"
"Not hardly. There's half of everyone who wants him as their purr kitten."
He shuddered. "How long are you in this country?"
"Another two days," Paul said quietly. "We're on a tour. We were on vacation when asked to handle that."
That got a nod. "I understand. Have a good vacation and try
some of the native-style cooked bird. It's very tasty." He
left, going to report to his bosses, who would want some of it as bribes
but he knew that the boy wasn't responsible. The Council needed
their asses bitten again. They got someone from a group up that
way to come down so they could make plans. The children would have
a good trust fund to help them set up their future farms or for the
Adam looked up from his playing with Toby, nodding at the man walking
toward them. For some reason he was worried about him. "Do
we know you?" he asked when the man headed for him.
"I know of you, Mr. Pierson. Someone wanted to know where Mr.
Harris is going so they can make sure nothing else happens near him."
Adam stared. "I don't know what you're talking about." He
stood up and grabbed his son, who fussed. "Quit." Toby
quit. Adam stared at the man. "Even if I did know what you
were talking about I would not tell you. I'm sure anyone would be
concerned about their privacy and security these days."
Cupid appeared, wings hidden so only those two could see him.
"Hey, baby," he said, taking him to cuddle. Toby squealed and
hugged him. He smirked at the guy. "Do you know who I
am?" He swallowed but nodded. "Are you certain?" He
smirked more brightly.
"Yes, Lord Cupid," he said quietly.
"You and yours leave my buddy Xander alone. Permanently.
Before I lose my mind and start molting feathers, and have to tell my
Dad, who trained him *personally*." The older man nodded quickly
and took a step back, bowing some. "Good watcher. Now, go
tell your lapdogs that Strife and Dad protect Xander. That Xander
is sacred to us, and if they don't take that price off his head
immediately I'm *so* going to pretend to be those Powers and destroy
their asses." He beamed. "Strife is very bouncy
today." He nodded and left, hurrying off. He looked at
Adam. "It went up to a mil."
"Shite," he muttered. Toby snickered. "Thank you for the timely save."
"Strife loves Toby." He kissed him on the head. "Also,
Rosenburg's not in spirit form of any kind so the marks aren't working."
"Excuse me?" Adam demanded.
"She's used sleep spells to make sure you didn't hear her sneaking in to
talk to either child." He handed him back with a grin.
"Strife wanted her but...." He waved a hand. "He's a bit
tied up. Gotta go back to that." He changed to his kilt
instead of leather pants and flashed out.
Adam took Toby and his things to the car, taking them to the lab.
Speed was in today but Horatio was at court. He signed them
in. "I need Speedle now," he said quietly.
"Is something wrong with Mellie?"
"Not exactly." She paged him with a 911 message. He came out quickly. "Him, sir."
"Hey, Adam, Toby."
"The reason we haven't been able to stop the Rosenburgian infection
process going on is because she's been using her *skills* to knock us
down so we don't hear her. She's not in spirit form."
"Huh," he said. "Yeah, I'm going to fix that shit." He gave
Toby a hug then handed him back. "Calleigh decided we should
christen Xander's new pool when it's done."
Adam smiled. "The children would love that." Speed grinned back. "Do let me know."
"Of course. Go find out where she is? They'll tell Toby."
"I can do so." He walked off. He went to Fu's. A few
of the people greeted the baby, who happily waved at them and called
them names. "I said quit swearing, son," he told Toby, scowling at
him. Toby just cackled and waved some more. He rolled his
Fu shrugged. "I don't know how to cure that."
"Not why we're here," Adam said with a smirk. "Rosenburg is in town."
"Excuse me?" Sam demanded, coming out of the back room.
"Shithead!" Toby squealed.
Sam scowled at him. "Bad word, Toby." Toby pouted. "Now, say something nice?"
"Hi." He smiled and cuddled him. "That's much nicer.
Thank you. We don't need you to sound like a thug." A few of
them laughed. "She's what?"
"Apparently she's in town and has been keeping us asleep when she visits the babies."
"Oh hell no," he said dryly. He petted Toby since he was being
petted. "Why don't you take him and Mellie to the play area at the
"I can do that. Speedle wanted to know where she was."
"So do I," Sam agreed. "So will Jensen." He smiled.
"True. Perhaps I'll gather Jolene and the babies as well." He took his son back. "Let's go to the farm, Toby."
"Ooooh. Horsies!" he squealed even louder.
"If you're lucky." He gave Sam a visual order, getting a grin back. "Do have fun, young one."
"Oh, I will." Adam snickered as he walked the baby
out. He looked around. "The redheaded menace that warped
Xander is where?"
"Uptown. One of the spring break places," one of them said. "Though she might know who you are, Sam."
"That's fine." He grinned at Fu. "Let me go cash out."
He went to do that and pay off his debt then walked out to find that
out. He knew which gang was up that way. They weren't
*friends* or anything but they wouldn't want Rosenburg. They hated
magic and demons. The guard outside their meeting bar sneered at
him. "Shut it, dude. Rosenburg's in town." He
shuddered. "Going toward H and Adam's kids." He walked
inside. "Where's Rosenburg staying? She's been breaking in
to see Toby and Mellie."
"The redheaded menace that hacked Xander?" one asked casually. Sam
smirked and nodded. "Eastern. Though I think she checked
out last night."
"She moved to The Bayou up by the college," another said. "She said she was thinking about enrolling."
"I'm wondering how she got out of Federal prison," Sam said dryly.
"For hacking Xander again." A few shuddered. "And for doing
magic on the babies the last few nights."
"She's a Winchester thing then," one decided. "If we see her, we'll gladly hand her to you for salting and burning."
"Xander would appreciate that." He grinned. "Thanks,
guys." He left to go to the FBI office. They had a poker
contact there. "Is Rosenburg on bail?" he asked.
"She's out?" He turned to look that up. "No. She's listed as in jail."
"She's by the college."
"Sure, let's go, Sam." He got his things and followed him out to
drive over there. They watched and sure enough, she came out for a
soda. "Huh. I wonder how she's still in jail." He
looked at him. "You can have a few blows."
"She's been sneaking into H and Adam's houses by magic to visit the
babies. We found that out when Toby started to squeal poopie
head." He looked back there and she was staring at them.
Thankfully he had protection marks against magic. He touched his
contact's arm, waking him from the spell. "Now she's trying on
"Hell no. Think we can get Wade the monkey?"
"Yup." He called her. "Rosenburg's in town. Bayou
motel. Thanks." He hung up. "She's out getting her a
"The monkey's female?"
Sam grinned. "She didn't realize it when she got it." Anya
showed up and stomped up there with her cuddly cannibal monkey.
She started to yell at Willow. The monkey lunged over to bite
her. Willow tried to spell the monkey but Anya defeated it and
beat her until she was unconscious. Then let the monkey bite her
until Sam and the agent got over there. "Thank you, Anya."
"I don't want that in town. She might spell more of us." She
sneered at the unconscious witch. "How did she get bail? I
doubt she went the short skirt route."
"No, she's still listed as being in there," Sam said with a grin.
Anya looked at her then nodded. "Tattoo the damn magic draining
marks, Sam." She cooed and Wade flew back to her. "Good
monkey. Such a good girl, Wade." She fed it a granola bar
from her purse, which the thing liked. She thought they were foul
so that's probably why the monkey loved it. "Let us know if we can
help some more," she chirped. "We're going to finish getting
pretty for her helping SWAT later." She strolled off petting her
Sam grinned at the agent. "Can we stop off that long?"
"I don't know anyone who'd do it."
"I do. Speed probably does too." He grinned. "There's the gang tattoo artist."
"Good point." He hefted her up with Sam's help and to the
car. Then he went back to pack her things. Her computer
showed she was trying to hack Xander's account again. He called
Jensen to meet them at the tattoo shop. Jensen took the computer
from him when they got there. They walked Willow in, still
unconscious. "She's supposedly in a federal jail cell in Colorado
but somehow she's here. We know she can use magic," he said
Sam finished the marks, then added two more. "These need to go
somewhere on her chest or back. This one on one of her wrists and
that one on an ankle. It'll keep her from drawing magic."
"I hate that shit," he said bluntly. "And can this cancel my poker debt, Sam?"
"Sure." He grinned. "You didn't owe me that much." He
sat down beside Jensen, who was happily ripping down what she had
done. "Is it going to hurt Xander's shopping in wherever he is?"
"No." He grinned at him. "They're going to the luxury show in Singapore as a side trip tomorrow."
"Awww. A whole lot of things that people will want to give
him." The tattoo artist snickered at that. He made the
transfers for her. He even had something in his personal stash
that would keep her out for a bit. That was nice of him and Sam
grinned at that practicality. He sat down to work on the
marks. It wasn't like they were hard figures to ink.
"Can I keep a copy of these for anti-magic stuff?"
"Sure," Sam agreed. "Who needed it?"
"There's a young mother whose kid has it. She's freaked majorly
that the baby was floating bottles. She's had a few full
right-wing fits about magic being evil."
"There's an easier way on a baby. Dean can do that. Send her
to Dean." He nodded. They watched while Rosenburg was
done. She quit glowing in the light. Her hair seemed to lose
its luster. She looked a bit less healthy too.
When she was done, Jensen handed back the laptop. "It's all
undone, all that she was hacking. All the information you need on
that is in the file on the desktop. I laid a virus so as soon as
it's copied off, the harddrive will destroy itself. I also wrote
Steve and Xander an email from it." He grinned. "Have fun
"I plan on it." He let Sam put the laptop in the car for him while
he slung her into the back. "You get off here, Sam."
Sam grinned. "Thanks, man."
"No, thank you." He shook his hand and they left.
Sam got a ride from Jensen back to the poker hall. They both could
use a game today. "Done," Sam announced. They
cheered. "She's still listed as being there." A few
winced. "Yeah. We fixed that shit. Oh, and any babies
with magic that the parents are panicking about, send them to
Dean. There's things we can do with henna to limit their skills
until they're older so they can make their own choices." That got a
nod and a few texted some people. "Thanks, guys." He went
back to his game. Jensen joined him.
The poker contact walked the semi-conscious, but still high body into
the US Marshall's office. "This one is supposedly in a jail cell
"I can check." He typed that in and looked at the mug shot then at her. "What attacked her?"
He shook his head. "I heard. I don't need to know but I
heard." He called out there. Then he hung up with a
huff. "They swear up and down that she's out there doing
"Magic. Which is why she has new tattoos."
"We can baby those while we straighten that out." He called his
boss, explaining things to him. He had heard about her since he
had been in the LA office. He had a contact in LA go out there to
break that spell. At which time they'd hand her back. They
made sure the block doctors they had for their cells knew about the new
tattoos and that they had to heal correctly. Otherwise she'd just
do it again probably. They did not need that sort of
scandal. They got an FBI computer expert down to get that file for
them as well. Once he heard how Jensen had rigged it he made sure he
made a full copy of her files. That way they got everything.
Xander got the email and grimace. "Wade, I got an email from Willow."
He took the phone to get into it, nodding and sighing. "No, you
got one from Jensen. She was in Miami." He handed it
back. Xander's face hardened. "Apparently they fixed it."
"Jensen said he's working on stopping the 'poopy head' thing that Toby has going too."
"Why did she sneak in to see Toby?" Wade looked at him. "That was her thing as a child. She could not swear."
"I don't know. Could it be why the mutt showed up?"
"I don't know," Xander admitted. "Did she sneak in to see Mellie
too?" Wade texted that question to Jensen, who sent back a 'yup
and we've had a wicca you like test Toby'
answer. He showed it to him. Xander relaxed and
nodded. "How did she make bail? I doubt her parents would
have paid for it." Wade snorted, shaking his head at the next
message. Xander took his phone back to text in another
message. Jensen sent back that Sam had handled it. Xander
grinned and quipped something back then texted Sam. Who said he
had covered all magical bases, just in case, and they had checked Toby,
he was fine. So he could relax and go back to his partying, though
they were going to christen the pool without him. Xander rolled
his eyes but said that was fine and to have a cookout. He put his
phone up. "They're going to christen the new pool without us."
"That's fine. I'll get plenty of time to stare at Calleigh in her bikini." He smirked.
"You know, John Hagen probably said the same thing. Are you two still freaking out about looking so much alike?"
"Yup." Paul shook his head with a moan. "Something brought Hagen back after he had ..."
"He decided to take the easy way out right behind Calleigh in ballistics
one day," Xander said quietly. "They used to date."
"A few people freaked out when they first saw me. I kept getting
'Hagen' and had to look him up," Wade said. "Then he comes back
and now he gets asked if he's me." He sipped his water. "We
done?" They paid and left, going back to the open-air
market. "Remember, we're going to Singapore tonight,
Xander." He nodded with a smile.
One of the other tour members looked over. "We're not leaving for two days, Wade."
"He's got tickets to the luxury show," he said. "That way he knows what someone's going to give him."
"Ah." She smiled at Xander. "Spoiled?"
"Maybe. I'm not sure yet." He grinned. "So we'll join the tour at the next place."
"That's cool. Have fun at it."
"Last year they debuted a razor that was platinum with laser sharpened
sapphire blades that's almost eternally sharp," Paul said, grinning at
her. "Plus new decorating items and luxury bathroom suites, all
"I might just have to splurge and build another house," Xander teased with a grin.
"I'd want to see Dean's reaction to a solid gold bathroom suite," Wade
joked. "He'd be so disgusted that they were wasting it that
way. Especially in the toilet."
"If it's solid gold, you can yank it out and melt it down," Xander
pointed out. "Therefore it's cleaned and you can use it for ready
money in case of emergencies. Though a solid gold tub doesn't
sound that comfy and it might discolor your skin." They moved
on. "Some oils and bath salts might corrode it too." He
looked at the other member. "I looked up last year's when Paul
told me about it. They had crystal, like real crystal, bath salt
containers, extravagant oils, yachts. New weapons." He
grinned. "This way I know what's possible so I can estimate for
She cackled. "That's so bad, Xander."
"His last auction came in at just under seventy mil," Paul said, making her moan.
"And it was furniture, books, a few pieces of smaller jewelry.
Nothing huge," Xander said with a small shrug. "I keep a warehouse
for that stuff. If they don't take it back it goes on auction at
the end of the year. There's a nice sign saying I don't care what
you bring me, I don't accept and if you don't take it back I'm selling
it. They leave it anyway."
"Sam said that he found two white tiger cubs," Wade said. The
other member moaned, shaking her head. "Yeah, not the first
one. Last time's audit there were miniature buffaloes.
Speaking of, they gave them back to us since the zoo didn't know what to
do with them. The owner of them conveniently died recently and
left them to you anyway, so they're at the farm."
"I guess," Xander sighed. "Can they go to Denver?"
"That would drive Larabee nuts and you'd have to hire some farm hands
sooner," he said dryly. "And why did you put up the bigger barn?"
"Cows. That way we can have milk and stuff?"
Wade looked at him. "I guess that would save on going to the
grocery store." Xander grinned. "Or some day you can sell
"Maybe cheese. A few are going to be beef cows. We'll have to make a special enclosure for the goats."
"And a separate barn space," Wade agreed dryly. He looked at that
member. "Some off-realm types," he said dryly at her confused
look. "The goats will eat *anything*. They ate a drunk
person who came out to pet them."
"They're tougher than a lot of us," Wade assured her. "They'll eat
anything that comes near them. So we can't keep them with the
"Or near the kids," Xander agreed. "Do they get to go play with the miniature buffaloes?"
"I'm not sure they're tame enough to pet," Wade admitted.
"We'll have to see." He held a hand about his waist. "Only this tall. He sent me a box of them."
Wade nodded. "Six in the box."
She giggled and patted Xander's hand. "Remember, the insanity is
cured by a good spouse, dear." She walked around them still
"I need a new one of those," Xander agreed. Paul snickered but nodded. Wade nodded faster. "Or two maybe."
"My sister has a daughter that is of marriageable age," the seller at
the stall they were at offered with a smile. "Very pretty.
She cooks very well."
Xander smirked. "I'm a very good cook myself but I'm in the US and
she'd have to get all that paperwork." He sighed but
nodded. "And I can't have kids so she'd be stuck with just me and
"That is a pity." He smiled. "If you wish to meet her anyway, just come tell me."
"I will. Thank you." He shook his hand, paid for his fruit purchases, and they walked off.
"Women from this region are often quiet, efficient sorts who are a bit
subservient," Wade offered. "I thought about getting one of my
own. Then I decided Anya was cheaper." Xander snickered,
shaking his head. "Though she does understand my past and likes
it. So I guess I made a good choice. Even if I do need to
find her a chastity belt to zap her for her sex needs."
Xander patted him on the back. "Remember, I used to give her more, Wade."
"Don't remind me." Paul gave him an odd look. "Back when he
and Anya were dating in Sunnydale, she wanted six, seven a day. He
was working construction and had patrols."
"She used to complain in public that she didn't get enough orgasms," Xander agreed.
Paul shivered. "No wonder you have such good stamina now."
Wade nodded. "I had to limit her to three times a day before I had
a heart attack and I'm in fantastic shape. Then this one takes
belly dancing and pole dancing lessons with her." Paul shivered
but nodded. "Speaking of, there's a few male belly dancers around
"Really? The one I trained with didn't say that there were."
"Yup. We're booked to see the show tonight so you get more wicked ideas."
"Thanks," Paul said with a grin.
Wade smirked back. "I'll benefit when he shows Anya."
"The first time I knew they were dating, Jensen and I had been taken
together. They dropped us off at Wade's since we had been at my
house and the CSI had to clear it," Xander told him. "I had no
idea other than he was dating someone. He lets us in and we run
into Anya outside. It got a bit tense and strange, then Jensen and
I had to go watch cartoons because she jumped him."
"He sent me a chiropractic gift card."
Paul burst out cackling, shaking his head. "That's just bad."
"I needed it," Wade assured him. "And a new patio set because we broke part of it."
Xander nodded. "She still doesn't like my bed. Said it's too big. Cordy used to say the same thing."
"There's too much wiggle room for Anya to chase me across it in the middle of the night," Wade said. Xander grinned.
"He does too," Paul assured him.
"I heard." He shook his head. "She complained that I don't chase her back."
"Anya didn't realize that was cuddling until I told her," Xander said. "Have you worked on her bunny phobia?"
"Oh, yes. We've almost cured it but she still hates them and thinks they're evil."
"Bunnies?" Paul asked them.
"It has to do with her first husband, way back when," Xander said dryly. "Before she got her job."
"What are you getting my spoiled thing for her birthday this year?" Wade asked.
"A book on sex tips."
"She'll love that more than the jewelry. She did finally get that straightened out in her mind too."
Xander rolled his eyes. "I don't care if she doesn't appreciate it."
"I know." They went to the jewelry section so Xander could look at
new ideas. He found something nice for Calleigh and bought
it. Then they went back to the hotel to rest. It was really
hot out again today.
Hopefully it'd be cooler on the next part of their trip.
to next story
back to GHS Empire index