The Last Man standing.

Xander showed up at the reopening of the Library of Congress's building, smiling at the man speaking.  He noticed when an agent spotted him and shook his head at his worried look.  When the speeches were done, Xander walked over to the curator.  "Mr. McRee?"

"Yes?"  He smiled at the young man.  "Do I know you?  A graduate student?" he asked politely.

"Watchers Council."  The man's mouth fell open.  "Rupert Giles found this in the library the other day and he wasn't sure why *we* had it."  He handed over the wrapped book.  "That was what it was wrapped in when we got it.  It was in a former Watcher's private library."

He took gloves from his assistant and carefully unwrapped it, gasping in shock.  "Thomas Jefferson's journal," he said, sounding awed.  He smiled at Xander.  "Thank you.  Are there others?"

"We have a bigger library than you do," he admitted.  "A lot of ancient books among them.  I have no idea what's in our library most of the time."  He grinned.  "But you might call to talk to him since we may be looking for a preservation person soon.  The librarians have all nagged at Giles about that, and as he's a research watcher formerly he understands why, but he's been too busy to look."

"I'll definitely do that.  Where are you now?  London?"

"Cleveland."  He handed over one of Giles' cards.  The man beamed and went to his office to safely store the precious tome.  Xander looked at the agent and pulled a folded manilla envelope out of his pocket.  "That needs to go to O'Neill today.  Some of the people on the Council are contemplating treason," he said quietly.  "Against us and you guys."  He handed it over.  "You'll make sure he gets it tonight so Willow doesn't have to freak out that blonde lady again?"

"Yes, Mr. Harris, I can do that."

Xander smiled.  "Know me from what?"

"Um, Mr. Finn...."

"Knows about that."

"Oh."  He grimaced.  "I'll hand it to his guards within an hour, sir."

"Thank you."  He turned and ran into a reporter.  "Damn, I thought I was stealthy."  She was staring at him.  "Am I that funny looking?  I put on the formal patch with the rhinestones," he quipped sarcastically.

"You were the man who got the person who was going to harm General O'Neill and Prince Charles."

"I led the team that got him," he corrected.  "Why?"

"Who are you?"

"Batman."  He walked off happier.  Both his missions had been accomplished and no one really wanted that journal in their library anyway since it wasn't paranormal related.  They really could use a good archivist at the moment.

The agent stepped off to call someone from a private broom closet.  They showed up to get the information.  Anything Council related was now delegated to Homeworld Security.


O'Neill got the information two hours later from his old boss.  "General Hammond."  He pointed at a chair.  "What is this?"

"Harris gave it to someone at the Library of Congress event."  He sat down, smiling some.  "You know I'm not a general now, Jack."

"Still feels weird to call you George, sir," he quipped.  He read it, grimacing.  "That's not good."

Hammond nodded.   "It's not.  Some of the information we have on the Council has been compromised by that source."

"I know that they have a large library, I was going to suggest Daniel go nose around in it for things on Atlantis or the Ori."

"That's not a bad plan.  How is Sam Carter doing?"

"She's still freaked that magic is real," Jack said with a grin.  "She's trying hard to keep her equations on paper instead of writing on the walls."

"I remember her in that state," he admitted dryly, smiling back.  "Anything else that's coming?"

"Not that we've heard."

"People are starting to get very interested in Harris."

"I find him a bit creepy but a lot like me," Jack said, sitting down behind the big desk.  "A bit smartass but gets it done when it has to be done."

"I've gotten a new profile done on him.  We've updated his background information and that of the rest of the Council higher ups.  The boy is a lot like you, Jack."  Jack grinned.  "I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not though.  How many of you can we take?"

"Maybe I'm the prototype.  After all, Sheppard is like a clone some days."

"True."  He grinned back.  "How are you handling things?"

"I haven't made any new enemies," he quipped.  "It's almost a record."  His former boss laughed, nodding.  "Other than that, the governors are driving me insane.  Hyt handles most of the public stuff for me, which I thank him for every day, but I get pounced now and then by an ambushing reporter.   I almost asked one the other day if she was possessed by a larva gou'ald but I stuck it at possessed."  Hammond snickered.  "I heard there's a nasty online rumor that some people want Harris for president."

"Thankfully he's under the age barrier," Hammond agreed.  "How is the election going?"

"It's nasty right now.  There's so much fighting, I'm not sure if any of them are going to be good choices.  They couldn't agree on what day of the week it is, much less what to do if we're attacked."

"We'll work it out, we always do."  He stood up.   "I heard rumors there's a move to keep you as well."

"I'd kill someone," Jack said bluntly.

"Get them together and point out that there are other threats out there, Jack.  See who backs down."   He left him to his misery.

Jack considered it.  "That's not a bad idea."  He wrote up a scenario and called Hyt.  Who was clearly quickly redressed.  "Should've told me you were in jammies, Hyt."

"I was only reading.  I heard Hammond was here."

"He's having the whole Council's backgrounds reworked."  He handed over the information on that plot and then the scenario.  "I want to see the front runners answer that.  Or everyone running for this job.  We know it'll happen sometime and damned if I want someone who doesn't know how to lead a battle."

He read it over.  "I'll give it out as a method of measurement from you."  He walked down the hall to the Press Secretary's office.  "O'Neill thinks the current yahoos running for office are weak.  He wanted them to do a scenario."

"Most would balk," she admitted, taking that to read over.  She smirked.  "Is he certain it will happen?"

"Sometime."  He left, going to work on that plot from his bed.  His laptop worked just as well up there and he could get comfortable.  He had no idea what was wrong with his back.  He'd have to have someone check it soon.


Hyt looked at the people in the room with him.  All the people running for president.  "O'Neill knows that it may happen and he wanted to make sure some of you had the balls to deal with issues going on."  He slid down the packets.  "Inside is a scenario of what may happen at some time, built on fantasy language so no one gets the wrong idea that it might be reality play-acting."  He looked around.

"Depending on the answers is who he'll support."  They all nodded at that, looking uneasy.  "Frankly, he's expressed disinterest in the lot of you because you can't manage to pull your heads out of your asses long enough to quit fighting with your prostates.  It doesn't do the people any good if you can't quit fighting."  He walked off, leaving them there.

They left to go to their various camps.  It was a military application so they understood why but they didn't like the scenario at all.  A few blew it off.  A few answered snidely in the scientific realm.  A few...  They took the time to answer it thoughtfully.  They needed O'Neill's support.  One saw through it because he had heard rumors about things like that and answered it honestly that he'd let the people who knew how to handle such things advise him and do what's best for the people to protect them.


Jack walked up to the podium, looking at the mass of reporters.  He hated this part of the job.  "Listen up."  They stared at him, cameras on, tape recorders on, pens ready.  "I gave the people running a scenario test.  Mostly to see who can think outside the box, who can reason and think beyond their own current knowledge, and who can handle an emergency situation at least hypothetically."  One woman raised her hand.  "Don't."  He looked at the rest.  "For right now, we have three that answered in ways that would protect people should something happen."  He put them aside.

"Frankly, one I'd like to see take over an agency instead because he has sense.  One I'd like to see take this job, I'll support any of those three that have some sense.  So, if I had to today, I'm narrowing down my *personal* choices to the Governors of Nevada and Maine, and former Senator Mills."  The reporters all started to babble questions.  "Stop it.  You're worse than cadets."

They quieted down.  "Again, these are my personal choices based on this scenario test.  They each have their points, their shortcomings, and I hope that the people pick someone who can do a *good* job.  I would recommend that they all talk to past presidents to see what the job actually entails because I had no idea how much butt kissing I had to do on a daily basis."  He walked off.

The Press Secretary stepped up with a smile.  "As he told you before, he's blunt."  He took questions about the scenario and other matters.  He avoided saying anything about Harris and the Council, as ordered.  He had no idea what was going on with them.


Xander looked up from his escort duty of a young slayer to the hospital for x-rays.  He spotted one of the snoopy, bitchy reporter types and mentally groaned.  Hopefully she was there for a reason instead of him but he was to be disappointed.  "What?" he growled.

"Are you ill, Mr. Harris?"

"I'm escorting a young woman for x-rays."

"Oh, I see.  Helping a friend then."  She smiled, sitting next to him.  "There's been rumors by a few people that they'd like you to back up O'Neill as president."

Xander gave her an odd look.  "I graduated with a low average, didn't go to college, do things that I can't talk about with others, and I'm too young by what I remember from civics class."

"That is a good point but if Regan could be an actor with mediocre grades, you might be able to."

He snorted.  "No thank you.  I'd make enemies very quickly and I'm much too blunt for diplomacy."  He stood up when the limping slayer came out.  "C'mon, we'll get a milkshake on the way home."

"Thanks, Xander."  She glared at the reporter.  "Are you one of the evil chicks that like to hit on him or something else that's dangerous?  If so, I'll get off these crutches and hurt you if you bother Xander."

"Chill.  She's a reporter," Xander sighed.  He walked her off.  "Thanks," he said in the elevator.  "I needed that protecting."  She giggled and hugged his arm.  "How bad?"

"They'll let us know tonight."

"Wonderful.  Chocolate?"

"Sure.  You can bounce around doing PT later."  He grinned at her smartassness and they went out to the car.

The reporter wrote her story and sent it in.  That was a very interesting thing to know.  Plus adorable how the young one tried to protect him.


Hyt walked past Carter in the halls, handing her the paper.  "For Jack."  He shook his head, stopping in the White House infirmary to get something for his back pain.  He really had to get that checked out.

Carter read the story, snorting and going to hand it on.  "To lighten up your day from Hyt."

He read it, snickering.  "I need someone to protect me from evil women too."

"I tried for *years*," she reminded him dryly, going back to her office.

Jack shook his head.  "That was usually Danny's fault," he told himself.  "Not mine."  He got back to work on the current peace plans.  Some countries still didn't want to be peaceful.  A few had hardliners that wanted to take over.  That really was a sucky thing.  He didn't want the wars they had going on.  If he could stop them, he would.  Maybe Harris had something that would eat those sort?


Jack looked up from his steak and beer out with the agents and a few other generals when a cheer went up in the other room.  "I wonder who won the game," he quipped.  One of the generals went to look, coming back pale and shaky.  "What?  Another attack?" he demanded.

"You might want to put down the knife, sir."  Jack gave him an odd look.  "You just won the primary by sixty percent."  Jack dropped the knife and fork, staring at him.  You could almost hear a subvocal whimper.  "It's you against Mills, sir."  He sat down to refill his glass of beer from the pitcher.

"No!  Hell no!" he shouted.  "I don't want it!"

"The people have spoken," one of the agents said.  "Sixty percent?  That's very good."

"He was written in on the other side's tickets for thirty percent by what the reporter said," the general told them.  You could now hear the whimper easier.  "So I'm pretty sure we're dining with the next president of the united states."

"Hell no!" Jack complained.  They all smiled at him.  Let him get it out of his system now.  "I have no idea how to do this shit for real!"

"Regan acted, sir.  I'm sure you can do at least as good as he did," one of the young agents said.  "If you turn it down, people will feel you're ungrateful and the next person in the job will have a harder time.  Step down after a year, turning it over to a good VP."

"Don't even look at me," Hyt complained.  "The doctor says I have to retire and go do things I've always wanted to do."  Jack stared at him.  "That back pain was my kidney shutting down," he said quietly.  "So I can stay until November as long as I'm low stress.  I'm starting on dialysis next week because the good one is only working ten percent of the time."

"Shit.  I'm sorry to hear that, Hyt."

"Me too.  There's hope for a transplant or something from one of the stranger projects."

"Area 51 has some stuff that might help," he offered.  "Talk to Hammond."

"I will.  Thanks, Jack.  And Congratulations, Mr. President."

"Don't start," he complained.  "I'd screw it up so fast."

"At least you've led men," one of the other agents noted.  "You've been in the field combat position, you've led a program, the other world leaders are scared to death of you."

The other general nodded.  "They are, Jack, and you know you can do the job.  You've done okay so far.  When Congress comes back, it'll be a bit more politicking but they already know you don't play games.   It could be worse, it could be Harris.  He's like your clone."

Jack shook his head quickly.  He didn't want to think about his clone doing this job.  It'd drive him nuts.  "Who would I pick for VP?"

"One of the others who lost to you is the usual thing," the young agent said.  "Or pick someone who fills in your weak spots politically."

"For that I'd need Sheppard back here."  They all smirked at him for that.  "I take it you guys have met John Sheppard?"

"His father," the generals agreed.

Jack nodded.  "The son's more stubborn.  He's on my old project."

"Is he thirty-five, a natural citizen, lived here for 14 or more years?" the young agent asked.

Jack considered it.  "I think he's thirty-three."  He grimaced.  "This is going to suck.  I hate doing paperwork now."

"Suck it up for the good of the people," Hyt told him.  "Pretend you're a Marine if you have to."

Jack gave him a dirty look.  "I do plenty of things that Marines would give me awed looks for."

"I've heard that," he quipped back with a smirk.

"You have no idea."  He sighed and drank the full glass of beer, getting another one.  He really didn't need this in his life.

"Look on the bright side, sir.  All those women who think older men are sexy will be hitting on you," the young agent said.

"Go get more beer to take that thought out of my head," Jack ordered.  He went to do that, laughing the whole way.  He went back to his steak.  He clearly needed a last meal as a normal person.  Because, yup, the world might end now.  He kept expecting a huge rain of fire to come down from God vomiting because he was laughing too hard.


The Press Secretary stopped by the next morning.  "Questions are being asked about your views on things and your personal life, General."

"Tell them I'm a freak of nature, I have a clone in the Air Force academy, I'm divorced, my son killed himself by accident with my gun, and I wasn't aware I was running," he muttered.

"I can spin most of that.  Dating?"  Jack gave him a dirty look.  "Favorite show?"  He pointed at his Homer-head candy dispenser.  It was currently filled with nuts; everyone in the White House knew that.  "VP pick?"  Jack shrugged.  "Campaign person?"  Jack shrugged again.  "Okay.  I'll start there. Anything bad in your war record?"

"Classified.  Most of it is."

"Your views on the current wars?"

"Let's get them self-sufficient faster."


"Alternative energy is cool and necessary," he sighed.  "I know people working on it.  Must we, really?"

"Yes, you must."  He smirked.  "I'll call someone brilliant I know to come interview for your campaign head."  He walked off to get those facts ready for a release.   The general always made his job so much easier by not having scandals he had to worry about.

Jack put his head down with a groan.  His secretary brought him in some of that herbal painkiller the Harris boy had given him and some water then left him alone.  Jack mixed them together and drank it as fast as he could.  It tasted like ass but it worked well.


Jack had the dossiers in front of him of everyone qualified to be his running mate.  Which was a phrase he blocked out of his mind with a mental beep.  None of them could cover in case of problems.  None of them were more than politicians.  Some were smart.  Some were good at glad-handling and all that stuff Jack hated.  No one was worthy to help him screw things up.  Because he knew he would.  That would be his legacy, he screwed up the US.  He was sure of it.

"I need Sheppard," he muttered.  He picked up the red phone and called Landry.  "Hank, do you think I can talk Sheppard away from Atlantis?"  He listened to him complain.  "Seriously.  Hyt's sick.  Yeah and he's about what I need."  He nodded at the interesting facts.  "When are they coming back?"  He smiled at the 'due any week now' answer.   "I know, we'll clone him," he joked.  "Thanks, Hank.  Yeah, let him swear at me himself."  He hung up and put all the files together off on the corner of his desk.  Politicians, yuck.


Atlantis finally landed and settled into cloaked city mode.  They were all calming down, getting ready for whatever happened next, when the phone call hit John's desk.  It was strange to hear a phone after all this time without them.  "Sheppard," he answered.  He listened.  "General, are you feeling all right?" he had to ask.  He nodded.  "Yeah, I can go see the general asap.  Thank you, sir.  Let me warn people I'm going to be gone for a few hours."  He hung up and went down to the labs.  "Rodney, you might want to prepare everyone for the problems going on politically."

"Why?" he asked absently as he worked on things.

"Because apparently O'Neill is our pro-tem president."

Rodney gave him an odd look.  "Are you sick perhaps?"

"No.  Unfortunately not.  Also, O'Neill wants a sit rep?"  Rodney printed off the reports he had been working on, handing them over.  "Thanks, I'll be in DC for a bit.  Prepare a briefing on the current political messes going on?"  He left, going to the beaming area.  "Ellis, this is Sheppard...."  Before he could finish, he was beamed to the White House.  He stared at the general.  "Are you currently being overtaken by some sort of symbiote, space virus, alternate entity that we haven't got a name for, or something else evil, sir?"

"You should've heard my 'hell no' rant when I got the nomination, Sheppard."  He held out a hand, getting the reports.  He looked them over.  He handed over a disc.  "Briefing for the city's staff on the current world politics."  He looked at him.  "I need someone with your upbringing and style to run with me."

"Evan Lorne, sir."

"Too young."

"So am I by a year," he said, smiling happily.

"I can handle a year," Hyt called from the outer office area.  He walked in and nodded at Sheppard when he got saluted at.  "Nice landing, Colonel."

"Thank you, General Hyt."  He looked at O'Neill.  "You're joking, right?"

"No."  He nodded and the door got shut.  "We have the Ori showing up any year now.  We have your wraith.  We apparently have species we didn't know about who're down here already and mostly peaceful."  He stared at him.  "I need a guy who can handle the emergencies and Cam said no first."

"Jackson," he suggested.  "Or Carter?"

"He's a discredited scientist.  They'd never accept him," Hyt said.  "It's him or Mills, Sheppard."  John shuddered.  "Carter's too politically divisive.  Plus she tends to have too much tact at the wrong time."

John shook his head.  "I'm still too young.  What about other former presidents, senators, governors?  Hell, another actor?"

"I've looked over everyone who might share a viewpoint with me.  With Atlantis down here, I can slip you there most of the time, but you'd have to sit in on some senate hearings, so some minor council work, and then deal with the politicians so I don't shoot 'em."

"I'm a horrible choice, Generals."

"I'm about down to you or someone I'd hate personally," Jack told him.  "Any hole in a storm, Sheppard."

"Yes, sir, but I'd rather not be the hole in question, just on top."

Hyt cackled at that, patting him on the back.  "I understand fully, Sheppard.  If I wasn't sick, I'd ask.  Unfortunately I am."  John slumped.  "You can still be on your city most of the time."

"I'd have to be here most of the day," he complained.  "My geeks would blow us all up.  Ask McKay?"

"He's Canadian and he'd screw up things worse than I will," Jack assured him.

"I'm not ready to retire my commission, sir."

Jack looked at him.  "You can go on reserve status," he offered.  "Not like I won't be jumping in if something happens."

"They'd never accept me," John complained.  "I'm not a politician, I know nothing about the current politics....."

Jack shook his head.  "Someone assassinated every single world leader, members of anything congress-like in any country, and all the hardline clerics that are preaching war, Sheppard."  John slumped, whimpering.  "If not, pick me someone.  There's the stack of supposedly acceptable people."

John took the folders and left, going to whine to his friends.  They'd help him make sure he wasn't the Vice President.  "McKay, I need an intervention," he called once he was back on the city.  "Before I go insane!"  He stomped up the stairs to his office, making Lorne give him a dirty look.  He handed over the CD.  "Briefing on the current political messes since there's no president, congress, nothing."  Lorne gave him a horrified look.  "Get with McKay later to brief everyone."  McKay and Radek walked in with Woolsey.

"As of this moment, General O'Neill is the forerunner for the next President."  Woolsey grabbed his chest, starting to pant in pain.  "Med team to my office for Woolsey's heart attack and bring me some headache medicine packets."   They came rushing in and one of them did drop packets of tylenol on his desk.  They walked Woolsey off.  John looked at the others.  "O'Neill has asked me to be his VP, people."  He pointed at the folders.  "Those are the ones that they're suggesting.  If I don't find a replacement, we're all screwed."

McKay gave him an odd look.  "I found evidence of a cult....."  Lorne held up the disc so he snatched it and ran it, whimpering at what he saw.  "How in the hell!" he demanded.

Radek shook his head.  "Is fascinating but strange."

"Very strange."  John picked up the first folder to start sorting them.  "Lorne, find anyone acceptable not in here."  He turned to start a search running of who was still left.


John Sheppard walked up to where Jack was watching the Marine Ball.  He had dressed up, done his hair, all that.  "Sir," he said in greeting.  Jack smirked at him.  "I have three names."  He handed over the short list.  "We ran a program to help pick.  Those are in order of the program.  Radek and Rodney like the second choice.  I like the third.  Lorne likes either of those better."

"Thanks," he said, looking it over.  "Wrong party on yours."

"She might flip."  He sat down beside him.  "Her stated views are more in line with yours."

Jack considered it then nodded.  "I'll talk to the people they hired for me."  He put it into his shirt pocket.  "How's the city?"

"Good.  The briefing on all this got a lot of attempted non-sniffling.  We're working to be ready in case you need us."

"Excellent news."  He patted him on the arm.  "You didn't have to come."

"Yes I did.  The news vultures are saying you're going to announce it tomorrow."

"Well, for that, yeah."  He smirked, getting one back.  "I want to send the mini-me to you."

"We'd be glad to shelter him, sir."

"Thank you."  He walked off to talk to someone.   He tried to avoid all this mess but at least here he was surrounded by military people.  They'd protect him from the stupid stuff.

John got some appreciative looks and let himself be danced off by a pretty Major.


Jack's clone, Jon Tyler O'Neill, got beamed into the White House, staring around in horror.  "I know this is freaky for you," the clone told his original.  "Why suck me in?  One of us should have a normal life."

"Want to stay in the program?"

"You know I'd be back there if the last president had let me."  He looked at the closed doors then at him.  "Not admitting I exist?  Someone might think I'm a love child," he quipped.

"That's one thing I'm worried about.  I don't want to have to explain how you came to be," he shot back.  Jon smirked at him.  He smirked back.  "The lost city is back."  Jon mouthed 'Atlantis' getting a nod.  "You're going there.  Make sure they're getting ready for field combat, moving the teams to the mountain or in case something this Council has happen has backup."  He handed over the orders he had drafted.  "That good with you?"

"Will Sheppard fuss?"

"He knows you're coming.  That'll put you over training.  I'll be sending newbie teams to you too."

"Sure, I can do that.  What about my stuff at the academy."

"Finish it long distance.  Sheppard's working that out for you.  Also, have Carter fix the science command issue today."

"I can nag her.  I saw her in the halls of the academy earlier looking for someone."

Jack nodded.  "You sure?"

"It'll be less boring than taking all that over.  Though a few things have changed," he said dryly.  "Just don't suck me in here.  Before I go find a quantum mirror."

Jack snorted.  "It could be worse.  I have to keep in mind that all the countries haven't aligned so I'm not the planetary president."

Jon snickered.  "That would be worse, yeah.  Have fun with the pretty women who'll throw themselves at you."  He got beamed back.  He ran into Carter.  "I have orders," he said smugly.

"I heard."

"My originator said to fix the science command issue."

"Done.  He won't like it."

"Pity."  He went to pack and tell the commandant of the academy that he was being reassigned for a bit.  They'd arrange his school work for him.  Carter joined him with the kid of one of the people on the mountain who had apparently been injured so she was bringing him back.  They drove off.  The mountain wasn't that far away.  He could beam over from there.   When he landed, he grinned.  "Major Lorne."

"O'Neill."  He stared at him.  "What rank did they give you?"

"No clue," he admitted, looking at the orders.  "It's not listed either."  He handed it over.  "I'm training for the gate teams, emergency teams, and newbie training."

"Yay," Lorne said flatly, smirking evilly at him.  "Have fun with that."

"Too bad we can't really fish off the piers now."  Lorne laughed, assigning him space to train and live.  Jon walked around to get used to the city.  It did seem perky to him.  He ran across John Sheppard in the labs.  "I'm doing training."

"I got a faxed copy earlier," he said with a grin.  "Altantis, this is Jon O'Neill."  The nearest wall seemed to hum and sense him.  "She's very alive and likes you.  Or else you'd have been beamed into the bay.  She did it to one that broke something the other day.  Thankfully we rescued him from the sharks."

McKay smirked at him.  "I don't know why with how stupid he was."

"Do I have to do safety drills for you guys?"  They both shook their heads.  "Cool.  Any teams you want me to start with?"

"I'll get you a list tomorrow and files," John assured him.  Jon grinned.  "Also, if you want to fish, use the north pier.  There's some good fishing there.  We're catch and release unless you're cooking it in your room."

"Thanks."  He walked off, going back to his room to unpack.  This was going to be an easy assignment and keep him out of Jack's little problem of the press stalking him.  So good for both of them.


Jack looked at the assembled press people.  "I think you guys are insane for wanting me to stay," he said, smiling slightly.  "I'm not sure how badly I'll screw things up.  I hope not too bad."  That got a few laughs.  "But, since I'm the one the people seem to want, I have to give in with good grace and do the formal things.  Like picking a running mate."  He looked back at the hallway, waving a hand.  She walked out.  "This is former Representative Nesara Runit."  The people gasped.  He smirked.  "I find her views close to my own.  Her honorable intentions to be close to my own.  Her abilities in a panicked situation to be close to my own."

"Make no mistake, I was all set to sit at home and complain when he was too blunt," she said with a smile.  "Then he approached me to help him with the things he doesn't excel at.  I hope I can live up to that."

The reporters clapped.  Jack smiled.  "Any other questions?"

"Sir, do you like Futurama?" one male reporter asked.

"I do.  I like them, the Simpsons, comedy stuff."  He looked at her.

"Sorry, I don't really watch tv," she admitted.  "I'm a book nerd."  She smiled and a few smiled back.  "Any other questions?"  No one said anything so they went to talk and go over what needed to be done for the campaign.  Jack had no idea how these things went.  Which was a refreshing change.  She was used to piranha.   Jack was a shark but sometimes one you could call civilized and pettable.


John called the whole city together.  "People, as you know, this week is election week," he announced.  They all nodded.  "If you're voting, we need it today.  We have absentee military ballots.  For those in other countries, the main base sent over yours since most countries are having one very shortly."  That got a few more nods.  "We're not going to tell you how to vote.  If you do vote for the general, don't tell him.  He's still a bit freaked out."  A few laughed.  "Get them back to Woolsey today."  He pointed at the pile on the stairs.  They picked up what they needed from it and walked off.  John got his own and went to fill it out in his office.  McKay came up.  "Big problems in the Canadian elections?"

"Not yet.  It's in a few months."  He sat down, putting his feet up.  "Are you voting for O'Neill?"

"I think I might," he admitted with a smile.  "To pay him back for almost naming me his VP."

Rodney shuddered.  "That's a disaster in the making."  John nodded quickly.  "Have you heard anything about this guy Harris that's been talked about?"

"Yup.  The general filled me in."  He smirked.  "It appears magic is real."  Rodney spluttered.  "Carter did that for a few days then got really pissed off.  She's dealing with that.  Harris was the guy who helped get all the cult members after they did the assassinations."  He went back to it.  "What is this proposition?"

Rodney looked.  "To ban alternative languages in classrooms for primary education."

John ticked the box he wanted on that and went on.  He finally got done, sealed it up, and put it aside.  "Let's hope it goes all right."

"Unless the wraith or the Ori show up, it should be fine," Rodney reminded him, getting up and going to gather ballots.  It was going to be a long night watching the news.


Jack came back from the funeral for his VP.  It was six weeks until he was sworn in.  He had no idea there were gou'ald down here.  They had gotten the wrong car and blown hers up.  Fortunately his guards got the bomber and the snake when it came out.  He only heard about it afterward.  He flopped down in his chair, looking at his chief of staff.  "Well?  Got any ideas?"

"Who did you want before her?" he asked quietly.

"John Sheppard.  He's a colonel on my old project.  The problem is that he's six months too young."

"We can ask for an exception with the Supreme Court."  He went to send a message that they needed to talk about this issue.  Jack could deal with this issue for now on his own.  Things were going to be insane until the swearing in.  This was going to make it worse than usual.


Jack got beamed onto Atlantis, looking around.  "It's pretty in the light here."  Woolsey came out of his office, giving him a long look.  "Where's Sheppard?"

"Hiding.  He said if you showed up, he's not here and he's invisible."

"Hmm.  Atlantis, where is John Sheppard?" he called.  A light on the wall glowed and he followed them down to the labs.  He walked in looking smug.  "Sheppard."

"Damn it."

"That's probably the nicest thing you'll call me for the next four years."

"Oh, no!  I don't accept!  I'm not giving up the city for the white house."

"You can stay on the city for the most part.  Just look like you're living in DC.  You'll be on reserve status.  Doing the admin here will give you enough time in to keep your commission for when you're done."  He smirked.  "The same as I am."  He moved closer.  "Four years and then you're free," he said quietly.  "We're both free.  For right now, we have to control the rage.  People are vindictive and we'll have more hate crimes.  I need backed up."

John looked at him.  "There's got to be others."

"Not good ones.  By law, the president can pick the new VP outside of the line of succession.  You're the best I have."

"Should I start playing romantic music?" Rodney asked sarcastically.  "That way you can woo him?"

Jack reached over to swat him.  "No!  Though it's freaky that I have women tossing themselves at me.  That hasn't happened since I was his age."

"He has plenty of experience with that," Rodney assured him.  This time, John swatted him, getting swatted back with a scowl.  "I'm not your pet."

"You'd make a good dog," he joked with an evil smirk.

"I can ask Rosenburg if she can do that so Carter can test what magic can do," Jack offered.  Rodney huffed off.  He looked at John.  "They've cleared you since you're so close in age."

John huffed.  "I really don't want to.  I'll screw things up.  No one will accept me."

"Half of everyone has heard from your father about what a good man you are," Jack told him.  John growled.  Jack shrugged.  "I didn't ask and he thanked me for thinking of your career."

"I don't want stars either."

"I know.  But I need backed up here.  Cam's not old enough.  He's younger by a few years.   My second choice would be Lorne but he's a year too young.  Everyone else are politicians I'll have to work against or have agendas that will compromise the city and the mission."

John sighed but nodded.  "I don't want to do that much."

"Some senate hearings.  A few boards that are mostly philanthropic.  You get to name 5 kids to each of the military academies.  You can let all those women tease you all you want.  It'll save me from them."

John rolled his eyes.  "Fine."

"Thank you, Sheppard."

"You owe me."

"I know.  I owe you a lot."  He clapped him on the arm.  "Show up tomorrow.  Wear a uniform or good clothes."  He left, being beamed back.  His secret service agents were freaked out by the beaming but oh well.  They'd get used to it.  "Expect Sheppard tomorrow the same way."

"Yes, sir," they said.

"Relax, guys.  You'll break and snap in half."  He sat down to go over things.  His Press Secretary leaned in.  "John Sheppard will be here tomorrow."

"Thank you, Jack."  He went to slip out a hint that there was an announcement tomorrow.  People were going to be stunned.

Jack took some milk and cookies to his room.  He wanted some alone time to nurse his new headache.


John Sheppard walked in wearing his dress blues, hat under his arm.  "General."  He saluted.

"At ease, Colonel," he said, shaking his hand with a smile.  He grinned at the press people.  "I know it's very soon but I had to pick someone I could trust at my back.  Someone who would want the same things I do, to protect everyone in this country the way I will.  This is my choice, Colonel John Sheppard, USAF."  He got out of the way.

John nodded.  "Thank you, General."

"Colonel, are you related to the Sheppards that run an engineering and research company?" one reporter called.

"I am."  He smiled.  "That would be my father's company."  A few more pictures got taken.

"Sir, where are you serving now?" another reporter called.


"Did you serve with General O'Neill?"

"Same project but not really at the same time.  I once flew him to an outpost.  Other than that, we haven't done more than have casual conversations.  He knows me from my record, my service protecting and guarding my base, and that I do have the views that he wants."  He pointed at one.  "You?"

"Colonel, are you going to resign your commission?"

"I'm going on reserve status."  He pointed at another.  "You?"

"Colonel, some personal information?  Are you married, single?  Dating?"

"Divorced."  He smiled.  "I'm told now and then I flirt but otherwise, I'm a bit picky."

"Any children?" one woman asked.

"Not that I've been told.  I would hope I would be."

"Colonel, we know the General likes the Simpsons.  You?"

"I find them funny sometimes, but I like Family Guy a bit better."  He smirked.  "I'm all for comedy as well.  I like dramas, sports, comedies.  I'm a normal guy."

"Does your ex-wife know?" another female asked.

"I don't know.  We haven't talked in a while.  I imagine she's finding out right now if not."  He pointed at another.  "Last one?"

"Sir, what do you hope to do while being the vice president?"

"I hope I can help the general protect everyone in this country.  I hope to be there when he needs me to do more...diplomatic things.  I'm a bit less blunt," he finished with a smile.  He nodded and left, being led to the oval office.  John walked in and put his hat down.  "We've arranged things?"

"Of course.  He'll be over later with your paperwork."

"Are you sure you want me?"

"Yes," he said impatiently.  He glared at the younger man.  "You'll do fine."

"Yes, sir."  He sat down.  "What do I need to do?  I did a search on the hereditary duties."  Jack tossed over a folder, letting him read it over.  "How many eyes-only briefings are we getting that day?"

"Two others.  One started to come talk to me, realized who I am, and then laughed and said he couldn't tell me anything I didn't already know."  He smirked.  "Our favorite Major of tact and diplomacy is helping us."

"I'm sure he'll have a lot of apologizing to do for me," John quipped back.  The head of the Air Force knocked and walked in.  John stood up and saluted.  "Sir."

"Colonel."  He waved him down.  "I'm told that you're going on reserve status to make sure your general is backed up?"

"Yes, sir.  So he told me."

He laughed.  "Did he order you, Sheppard?"

"No, sir, but as the geek I was hiding with said, he nearly needed the romantic music."  Jack threw a paper ball at him.

"That's good."  He handed over the paperwork.  "That takes effect the day you get sworn in."

"Yes, sir, thank you."  He sat down to sign them.  He handed them back.

"If you should retire from this glamorous position, I'll rescind these and reinstate you."

"Thank you, sir.  I'll try not to let this turn me into an alcoholic."

The general smirked.  "It's not that bad."

"Sir, want the position?" John asked.

"Hell no.  That's why we voted Jack in."  He nodded at Jack and left.

Jack nodded.  "They sent me as the messenger and had Hyt tell me."

"Sucks large, sir."  He got comfortable, going back over his list of duties.  "So how much realistic time can I get on the city?"

"At least a few days a week, if not more."

"That'll work.  I hope.  The geeks are getting restless by the way."

Jack picked up the red phone, calling Landry.  "Let the people on Atlantis have some leave time, Hank.  They need some.  They're getting restless and they're just back from combat.  Also, evaluate them for battle stress and other complications that might mean they're not ready for later things."  He hung up.  "That'll fix that.  Do you have a tux for the inauguration ball?"

"No.  Nothing presently fashionable."

"Fix that today, Sheppard.  I had to as well."

"Yes, sir, if I must shop I will."

"Good."  His phone rang.  "What?" he answered.  "That's fine.  Thank you."  He hung up.  "Your brother is here.  Someone told him you'd be here."

John nodded once.  "He'd be better at this."

"So have an advisor," Jack said with a hand wave.  "Go shop, get pretty so all the shallow ones can throw themselves at you."

"Yes, sir."  He got up and went to join his brother.  "Morning."

"John."  He shook his hand with a smile.  "How are you doing?"

"I'm good.   Freaked out but good."  They walked off together.  "I've been ordered to find a tux."

"You need more than a tux."  He led him out to their car and got him in.  A car with two guards fell into place behind them.  "Think you need the guards?"

"No, but it's protocol."  He shrugged.  "I can't really upset that."  They pulled into a parking spot next to a designer shop and got out to go inside.  The guards followed, nodding at the clerk.  John smiled.  "I'm going to the inauguration ball.  I'm told I need a tux."

"Yes, sir," the clerk said, walking him into a private room.  That way the guards could relax.  She'd find out later who she had fitted and nearly groped.


John watched as something ran into the ball he was at, staring oddly at the creature.  "Is it streaking?" he asked the guard next to him.

"No, sir, I'm not really sure what that is.  Please don't get too close."

"I'm not scared of anything like that."  A young woman came running in and tackled it then dragged it off.  "Huh, really strong," he noted.

"Must be one of those Council people then," the other guard said.

John nodded.  "I want to hear more about that."

"So would we, sir."

"Okay."  He watched as the thing tried to come back in but a man with an eye-patch came in to grab it by the ear and drag it off.  A few hooted and whistled at him, getting an intolerant frown and a wave.  "Any idea on him?"

"That's Harris.  We have no idea otherwise, sir."

"When you know, I want to know.  That's interesting."  He sipped his drink.

The guards went to make sure the demon problem was done with for the night.

John got talked into dancing with a young socialite who clearly was beneath his brains.  His and Rodney's rating for the stupidity of the new staff that came to Atlantis was too high for this one but he'd endure.  He only had 4 years of this, right?


Jack looked up as Harris was walked into his office the next day.  "What was that?"



"Slayer nagged and it's now going to rehab."

"Any others I'm going to have to see in the press?"

Xander shook his head.  "Probably not?"

"Fine.  The local girl?"  Xander wrote down an address.  "That's a prep school."

"She's seventeen.  All the slayers are called as teenagers.   Then they get training time, mentoring, all that."

"Who decides who gets called?" Jack asked a bit too calmly.

Xander shrugged.  "The slayer line was started way back when, during cave painting days.  They started the line, they wrote all the books, all that, until they got blown up.  The fact that there's more than one is partially my fault and majorly Willow's due to the problem that blew them up."

"Explain that?" Jack said.

"I did CPR, which called a second slayer while the first was saved.  The line went through her."  Jack nodded slightly at that.  "Originally, it was one is called, fights, dies, the next is called."  That got a stronger nod.  "With the CPR, we have two, one that calls the next and one that doesn't.  Then we had that huge ass problem and Willow activated the *entire* line.  So now they're all called at fifteen, train for a few years, then get posted.  Then they get backup, support, more training, all that.  Before it was one watcher, one slayer, usually from very early in their lives."

"Okay, so before they were covert warriors, now they're soldiers," Jack said.  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Why is she out at seventeen?"

"Her mother demanded."

"Oh.  Okay."  He looked him over.  "Should we call her or you when the next one happens?"

"Her.  I'm going back to Africa to get out of cellphone range.  Before I smite my bitchy friends and then stomp off after having to destroy their bodies."

Jack smirked.  "Nagging?"

"That too.  So I'm going to go where my girls appreciate me."

"That's fine.  We'll call her or Cleveland if we have issues.  Be safe."

"I'll try.  Be safe and good luck, General."  He walked out looking happier.  He had a flight coming up in a few hours out of the country, out of nagging and whining range, and away from spoiled girls.  His girls in Africa weren't spoiled in the least and treated him like a friend, not a pet.

Jack looked at his guard.  "Thanks."

"Welcome, sir.  The colonel is waiting to see if you need him today."

"He has 3 weeks to pick his candidates for the military academies.  Give me his cast offs so I can pick mine."  That guard nodded.  The other handed over a few folders.  "Gee, thanks," he said dryly.

"Open spots that need appointed, sir."

Jack grimaced.  "I'm hoping I can do that."  He got into them.  He had no idea how to pick someone to be the head doctor in the country.  Or the head of the FBI.  Then again, he had advisors.  "Mark!" he called.  His chief of staff came in.  "Tell me about the people open for these."  He handed them over.

"Okay."  He sat down to go over each position, the type of person it needed, and the current bets for who might fill it.  A few Jack made more notes on but otherwise he agreed with the odd makers.  He'd have to interview them later.


Six months later, Xander made a call.  "Jack, small issue.  Are there any teams anywhere near where I am in Africa?  Because me and my three girls are facing about 900 people in a militia who want the girls."  He listened.  "Really?  Not even a quiet team that's just done?  Damn.  Okay, well, fair warning.  You're going to hear that I'm mean.  Thanks, man."  He hung up and walked off to get creative.

"Xander, who is Jack?" one of the girls asked.

"President O'Neill.  We had to read him into demons and things; totally freaked him out."

"You know a president?" she asked, looking confused.

"Before he was a president.  Barely."  He smiled.  "He's a general."

"Oh."  She nodded.  They were going to have to help him protect them all.  His phone rang.

Xander looked at it then answered it.  "Do I know you?" he asked in greeting.  He listened to the genteel British voice.  "How close are they?"  He grimaced.  "That means they're with the militia, dude.  Thanks anyway though.  Well, I'd get them to pull back.  I'm not going to be gentle.  Thanks anyway."  He hung up and texted Willow to let her know that someone had tapped his phone or the white house phone.  Then he got back to being creative.

His phone rang again.  "Hey, Giles."  He listened.  "I know you did not say to sacrifice one of the girls and then rescue them later," he said dryly.  He hung up.  "Apparently Willow's doing spell work on Giles again," he said sarcastically.  "I'll talk with him later."  The girls all relaxed.  He grinned.  "He said to rescue you later, but I'll be damned.  You girls aren't expendable and if they can't ask, they don't need the help."  They cheered and got to work with him.


Xander blew the first bomb and watched.  He looked back.  "Where's Tam?"

"She went to put the calf back," the nearest girl said quietly.

Xander grimaced.  "Set it off if they move closer."  He walked out to find his errant slayer.  "Tam?"   She made a noise from the barn.  He looked then waved her over.  Someone yelled and came toward him.  So Xander killed him.  They went back inside.  "Set them off."  Most of the other bombs went off.  Xander went to look at the one that didn't.  He used his cellphone to set it off since they had a remote jammer.  They went off too.  He saw a few living.  "Next time, ask," he said firmly.  "We'd help if you asked."

He walked back toward the house.  "Clean up your mess, gentlemen.  Before the creatures do it for you."  A few tried to come up but Xander set off another small charge and it made them run.  "Ah," he said as he walked in.  "Better again."  He slammed the door.  "Maybe now they'll ask us to deal with the thing that we dealt with last week."  The girls handed him a bowl of ice cream.   He had taught them how to use the churn he had found in Cairo.  "Thanks, ladies.  Let's do a turn around the house and then we'll relax."  They nodded, taking a different route around the farm.  They came back to make a calming down dinner while they waited for the next thing to happen.  Because it always seemed to.


Jack got the report on the problems in Africa the kid had called about, nodding.  "Well, it looks like he handled it all right without backup."  He let John see it since he was in the office.

John read it over.  "I've never seen an explosive that does that."

Jack took it back, nodding.  "Me either.  Huh.  Wonder if he'll share."  He put it aside after putting a sticky note on it with a note about the explosive.  "We have two other intelligence reports we need to go over."  He let John have them.  "I think we'll need to talk to the others about one but the other I'm not sure if we should get involved or not."

John read them over, tossing one back.  "Stay out of that one, sir."

"That's the one I was thinking needed help."

John shook his head.  "They'll mutually destroy each other but if we step in, they'll both attack us."  He handed back the second one.  "That's a Brit territory.  Let them."

"They passed it on."

John grimaced.  He shook his head.  "No.  It'll end up miring us again."

"Good point.  I was hoping for some subtle covert work."

"Probably not, sir."

"Pity."  He made notes and put them aside.  "Anything on the senate's plate?"

"Nothing huge."

"That's a good thing then.  Anything that's being whispered about?"

"Two things.  They're already talking about midterm elections.  A few aren't sure they want to stay."

"Okay.  Anyone important?"

"A few on some important seats."  He shifted to put his feet up on the coffee table.  "I emailed you a list."

Jack got into his computer, finding his password inside the desk where they made him put it.  He read the email, nodding at the points it made.  "Okay then."  He printed it and put it into a folder labeled 'gossip'.  "Anything you see we need to look at?"

"Cost of living for military families?"

"True, it's about time for that."  He made another note.  "There's a lot of details I keep missing."

"Sir, with all respect, that's why you have an assistant.  She said she was bored yesterday."

"True.  I can let her keep track of some of that.  She's been in this town longer than I've been alive."  He paged her, letting her come in.  He handed over the gossip file.  "Summarize and let me know what I need to worry or think about in that mess."

She read it over, nodding.  "I can do that, sir."  She went back to her desk to call around.   That way she had what she needed to tell him.

Jack smiled at John.  "Good job.  Yours?"

"Keeps playing phone tag with Rodney to annoy him."  Jack laughed.  "I missed my check in this week so he's been nagging."

"That sounds like him, yeah."  One of the staff members brought in an envelope and left again.  Jack read it, grimacing.  "My Secretary of Health and Human Services just quit.  Her father is ill and she's needed at home."  He put it aside and called his chief of staff in.  "Did you see this?"

"The resignation for the DHHR secretary?"  Jack nodded.  "She told me last night.  She's been wrestling with it for days."

"That's fine.  Get me good candidates?"

"I'm already compiling."


"Welcome."  He left, going back to his office.

John looked at him.  "The diplomatic ties?"

"Are going pretty decent.  We have a G-8 meeting next month sometime.  Are you going with me?"

"I can if you want."

"It's in Geneva."

"Then I might."  He shrugged.  "Wouldn't bother me any."

"Good."  He smiled.  "Because I'm totally lost there."

John nodded with a smirk.  "I know, sir."

"Thank you for being subtle."

"Not a problem."  He stood up, pushing down his shirt again.  "Let me go do some puzzles in my office."  He walked off happier.

Jack shook his head.  John was such a smartass sometimes.


Xander got pulled back to the US, against his will, but the girls said they needed him.  He had no idea why they needed him.  Hell, the Secret Service was into it now.  He walked into the house.  The girls all gave him dirty looks.  "What?  Buffy called.  Get over it already."  They slumped.  He walked back to the office area.  "You yelled, M'Lady Buffster?"

She smiled.  "The girls need you."

"They need spanked," he corrected.  "A lot."  She slumped.  "They're spoiled."

"I guess.  They seem pretty normal to me," she said.

"That's because you were spoiled."


Xander looked at her.  "Two of my girls had to be taken from their villages because they were out of food, Buffy.  They were going to sell one off into marriage for a few meat cows."  She shuddered.  "So no, you're spoiled.  We're all spoiled."

"I guess."  She shrugged.  "I need you to straighten them out.  We're coming up on that battle."

Xander stared at her.  "Where's Faith?"

"Scotland?" she guessed.

Xander stared at her for a minute.  "Did Willow do something with magic that made you turn back into the fifteen-year-old airhead?"  She hit him on the arm.  He smacked her on the forehead with the heel of his hand.  "Really?"

"No."  She pouted.

He walked off shaking his head.  "Practice room, now!" he shouted.  They mostly scurried that way.  A few didn't.  He gathered them by their hair.  The first thing he did was line them up and beat them each in turn.  He stared at them when they were done.  "If I can do that, you're out of practice, sloppy, and going to die soon.  Isn't the first rule still in effect?"  They groaned but nodded.  "I swear I'm having someone check for magic.  Where's Dawn?" he shouted.

"With Faith!" Buffy called back.

"You too!"  She huffed but walked in.  He attacked and beat her for a change.  He stared at her.  "Are you feeling puny?  You were better when you were dying from the flu, Buffy."  She gaped.  He stared back.  "Really, you were."

"I....  Maybe it is magic."

"We'd better find out, huh?"  She nodded, getting up and going to call Willow's phone in Devon.

Xander looked at the others.  "Okay, let's fix this shit.  Line up, let's do it again."  They lined up and tried to beat him again.  A few actually managed to get him down.  Yeah, someone magical was causing problems.


Xander found the problem and walked into the lair of the new problem.  There was one easy way to solve this.  He ran into Riley Finn.  Pity.  He had lost his sense of subtle, fair play in Africa.  There was no more problems.  Then suddenly someone popped up in front of him.  "Hey, Warren," he said with a smile.  He shot him.  "Bye, Warren."  He set the bomb and walked off, letting it go off behind him.  He shook his head as he walked out and into agents.  "Hi, Xander Harris, Watchers Council."

"I heard, sir.  What's going on?"

"These were the people going after the girls.  Pity."  He walked around them, shaking his head.  "Willow, bring me to Devon please?" he called.  He disappeared.  He walked into the coven's building and found her pacing.  He backed her into a corner, staring her down, making her shrink back.  "Spells are bad on the slayers," he said coldly.  "Remove every single one," he snarled.  "Or we will go round, Willow.  Am I clear?  You're endangering their lives."  He shifted closer.  "They're so weak right now, they were no problem when two agents rushed in to try to save them."

She whimpered.  "If they're weaker, they can't find them to target them."

"If they're weaker, they can't save their asses," he snarled.  She shrank down some.  "Fortunately I still know explosives.  Therefore less problems.  Act to solve the problem by tracing them, not weakening the defense system."  He let her go.  "Fix it, Willow."

"I will.  I promise I will."

Xander stared.  "Remove every single spell, Willow.  Every single one.  Now."

"It'll take me some time."

He stared at her.  Then at the witches watching.  "Will it?"

"Not if she's removing it."

Xander pulled his gun and pointed it at her.  "I promised myself you would not get to the point of being on that cliff again, Willow.  If I have to, I will make sure you never reach that junkie point again."  She started to cry.  "Remove them.  Now."  She ran around him and broke a few things.  He stared at the witches, who nodded.  "Make her remove the rest.  She only weakened the girls in the US."  He walked off shaking his head.  He really had to do something about that issue.  He went back to Giles, who was glaring at the girls.  "The slacking was only half their fault and Willow's removing the spells now."

"Excuse me?" Giles asked calmly.

"All this slacking?  She was weakening them so they wouldn't be found.  By the way, problem solved."  He walked off again.  "Ladies, get dinner, stretch, and let's go again."

"Yes, Xander," they sighed.

"The girls in Africa must be super slayers better than Buffy," one hissed to her best friend.

Xander looked back at her.  "They're allowed their slacking times but they work up to their potential and keep in practice."  She shrank back.  He grinned.  "Though, yeah, two of them are as strong and as good as Buffy.  The other's only been called for a year."  He pointed.  They went in to warm up.  He moved to warm up as well.  This time, the girls were better.  Much better.  "Good," he decided.  "Keep going against each other."  They sighed but went back to practicing.

Buffy leaned in.  "Xander, you're mean."

"You're slacking.  You've gained five pounds."  She huffed.  "Come join in, Buffy."  She sighed but came in to work out too.  "You wanted me to come beat the spoiled out of some of them," he quipped.  "Dawn, get my girls?" he called when he heard her.

"Sure."  She got the girls in and pointed.  "Xander's running practice with the other slayers, ladies."  They smiled and went to beat them.  Buffy gaped at a few moves but they were good.  Her level of good.  The youngest one was still really good too.  Dawn smiled at the two agents she had also let in.  "What problem did you come about?"

"That little conspiracy against you," the lead agent said.  "We heard it was partially fixed and we'd like to talk to Mr. Harris about how he did that."

Xander leaned out of the practice room.  "Dawn, show them the recipe for that demon snot bomb."  He went back in there.  He saw the spell starting to fall again.  "Dawn?  Can you get me to Devon?" he called.  She came in and canceled the spell.  He grinned.  She shivered.  "I think Willow and I need to have a junkie talk.  I promised myself she would not get to the point where she was when she hit that cliff."

"Sir," one of the agents said, walking in.  "The president wanted to talk to her about the magic versus science debate that his former project is having.  I'm sure they can help her calm back down from her kick."  He looked around then at him.  Xander nodded.  "They will be very corrective."

Xander smiled.  "Sure, you can come with me.  Dawn, can you?"

"Of course.  Give me your gun, Xander."  He muttered 'like I need it' and handed it over.  She smiled as she sent them off.  For some reason the girls from Africa weren't affected.  Dawn got them to the kitchen for a snack while the others came out from under the sleep spell.

Xander walked into the building, seeing the sighing witches.  "This nice agent wants to offer her a job after I break her curse."  He found Willow in her room.  He pulled her up, over his knee, and paddled her until she was screaming and begging.  Then he kept going after waving his hand a bit to get the feeling back in it.  By the time he was done, she had released all the magic in her.  No more spells were active.  Nothing was backlogged.

She was breaking down, her ass was worse than cherry red, it was probably a bit bruised, but it was ended.  He put her on the bed, staring at her.  "No more," he said simply.  "We're your friends.  We cannot let you go down this path again.  Never again, Willow."  He backed off.  "There's an agent here who wants to have you work on the science versus magic thing.  The president himself asked."

"They won't want me now," she sniffled.

"He knew before he asked."  She stared at him.  "It's your last shot at redemption.  Got it?"  She nodded, getting up with a hiss and a wince, giving him a hug.  "I love you like a sister but damn, girl."  He got free of her.  "Go talk to the agent."  She nodded, going to talk to him.  One of the senior witches came in.  "Thank you."

"Sometimes it takes the hand of the Goddess in a stronger body."

Xander stared at her.  "Sometimes it making her realize she's gotten to the junkie point again and stopping her," he countered.  She flinched.  "Not teaching her how to do tiny things."  He looked and broke a few important things that might hold power.  The released power went into the power sink she had to sleep with.  Then he threw that out the window. It broke with a pretty crash and tinkle.  One other thing got a long stare and he just cracked it a bit.  It was a statue of Tara.  He wouldn't do that to her.  The energy inside dissipated.

He walked out.  "It's all back into the earth mother," he said quietly, staring at her.  "Tara's statue has a small crack but I didn't break it."  She nodded, smiling at him.  "The rest is history."  She smiled at that.  "Behave, write letters."  He tweaked her ear as he walked around the agent.  "Let me get back to the girls.  They've been slacking."  Dawn brought him back.  "Thank you, munchkin."  He kissed her on the cheek, staring at her.

"I'd never go there," she reminded him gently.

"I know.  Thank you."  He went to the kitchen.  His girls were nibbling on things they hadn't had before.  "Dawn made nachos.  Cool."  He sat down to nibble with them.  The others showed up a few minutes later.  "Practice in the morning, ladies."

"We have chores," his girls reminded him.

"I know.  It'll be fine for an hour or so."  They nodded and dug in again.  This cheese stuff was really neat.


Jack got the report from his people about what had happened, nodding at the information included on Willow and magic addictions.  "Good for him," he said quietly.  "Where is he?"

"Cairo today, shopping for his girls' needs."

"Decent."  He put it aside with a smile.  "She already at the Mountain?"

"Yes, sir.  I had Colonel Carter take her."

"Excellent work.  Thanks."  He nodded and left.  Jack made a few notes for himself on what he wanted to see.   Then he sent an email to McKay so he could join in.  That way both chief scientists could swear for a bit.  John was let in so he handed over that folder.

"I'll have to tell Rodney.  He'll want to curse at magic too."

"I sent an email."  Jack smiled.  "Harris sounds like a mini you."

"He does," he agreed.  "Any idea what he was talking about with the cliff?"

"Not yet," Jack admitted.  "I'm hoping it's in his profile by now."

"You think we can ask the kid?" John suggested.

"Probably won't be complete."  He shifted.  "I'd ask Finn but he was captured last night during the raid on the conspiracy group."

"Wonderful.  Any idea how that got started?"  Jack shook his head.  "Do we need to maybe insert someone in there?  Maybe an arms master?"

"Danny is going over to the library as an archivist and linguist.  Mr. Giles has already agreed.  By the way, that is a headache inducing talk, John.  He's worse than McKay when he's in an explaining mood at times.  Apparently he never gets to fully explain anything to the girls."  John smirked a bit, nodding too.  "So he'll fit in there.  We're keeping Rosenburg for a while to go over what magic can really do for the normal sorts and the exceptional ones like she is."

The red phone rang.  "That's gotta be Landry."  He picked it up.  "Yeah?"  He listened.  "That's fine, Landry.  Anything new on the Ori front or other problems?"  He listened and nodded.  "I have no idea what to do about them.  Um...  What did Rosenburg say?"  He listened then shook his head.  "No, not a good idea.  I'll have someone show up and figure that out.  Give me twenty."  He hung up and dug out Harris' card, calling him.  "It's O'Neill.  We just found demons in my old program."  He listened.  "Why are you in Switzerland?  I thought you were in Cairo."  He nodded.  "Good to know.  Do I need to warn anyone?  Even better.  Who's still local?  Cheyenne?"

He nodded again.  "Please do send her my way and I'll have her sent out there.  Thank you, Harris."  He hung up.  "We'll be meeting with the senior slayer in a bit."  A flash of light heralded a petite blonde girl with her hair pulled up in a semi-respectable bun.  "Miss Summers?"  She smiled and nodded.  "How did you get here?"


"Your sister?" Jack asked.

"Yup.  We were told you've seen Willow do it before.  Why?"

"Wondering.  Is she going to have problems like Miss Rosenburg?"

Buffy grinned.  "No, she's got more than enough power.  Really.  So, what's up that you need a slayer for, Mr. President?"

"Our old project just found some demons working there, Miss Summers.  We're vital in the role of Homeworld Security so we need you to make sure that they're peaceful, working toward the same goals we are, and whether or not we have to worry about them being possessed or anything else," John told her.

She nodded.  "Can't Willow?"

"No.  She's basically stuck in a lab with others testing the limits of what she can and should do," Jack said.  "Plus how it interacts with real science, theoretical science, and things like high power energy applications."

"Oh, okay.  Well, Willow likes science."

Jack smiled.  "In return, we have a very bored linguist and book nerd that would like to come take up residence in your library.  Doctor Jackson has been in many situations that were life threatening so you don't have to worry he'll be someone you have to protect."

She grinned.  "Giles would love another adult person who reads to talk to.  We usually aren't that way."  She looked at the hotty VP.  "So many of the girls have your picture up on their walls.  A few wanted to join the military because of how yummy you looked in your uniform that time.  We've told them that it might not be possible because of our gifts but you're the universal symbol for drool for us."

He cleared his throat and smiled.  "Thank you for letting me know that, Miss Summers.   If they want to go military, I can send someone good to talk to them about possible careers, especially with their unique gifts."

"We're kinda worried that someone might take some of us to experiment on.  We almost sent Xander as a messenger to the NID morons."

Jack smiled.  "I know their head personally and I'll have a talk with him about leaving you girls alone."  She beamed at him.  He stomped on an inappropriate thought.  "Let's get you to Colorado."

"Cheyenne is in Colorado?"

"Cheyenne Mountain, NORAD's base," John told her.

"Oh!  Okay."  She nodded.  "I've heard of what you guys do but not where."  She shrugged.

Jack picked up the phone to call.  "Hank, she's here.  Also, get me a face-to-face with the moron sucker at NID."  He hung up.  General Landry got beamed in.  "Buffy, this is General Landry.  He's over the project at the moment.  He'll give you a secure place to talk to the demons we found so you can make sure they're good people."

"That's fine."  She shook his head.  "Is that like Willow'porting?"

"Not quite from what we've figured out."  He tapped his earpiece and had them beamed back.  He smiled at her thrilled look.  "It's a bit more handy.  There's a conference room you can use."  He led her into it, letting her set herself up while the MP's got all the demons up for her to talk to.

Buffy looked at them.  "Three of you are chaos sorts.  Why?"

"They do create great chaos, more than the Great Knight does," one said with a happy grin for her.  "We wish to bask in the glow and worship the cause."

She considered it.  "You're not harming the project?  Nothing like Ethan would do?"

"He would be proud of us as well," that one assured her.

Buffy pointed at a corner.  "We'll talk more in a few minutes.  Baldy," she said with a point at one of the MP's.  "The green one next to you is from a clan of hired assassins.  The blue one with gills is wearing a crappy illusion.  Should've bought better, dear.  And the one directly in front of the general is evil as shit since he's one that helped shoot politicians."  They gathered those.  "The rest, outside the chaos sorts, are all peaceful clans.  Guys, are we here to hurt the program?  If you lie to me, I'm bringing Xander back.  He's been meaner since he ran away to Africa."  They all shook their heads quickly.  "You sure?"  They nodded.  "Then they're cleared."  Landry walked them off to talk to them about any special gifts they may have.  Buffy looked at the chaos sorts.  "Tell me what you're really doing here."

"The Prince said that the chaos here needed to be filtered and helped to a useful purpose because it is too much even for Janus to hold," another said, coming over to sit down.  "That the flow here must be filtered so it does not create havoc and ruin.  The Prince said that our people are necessary here to keep things from getting worse.  That we would tip things in the balance to the positive side instead when most necessary."

Buffy considered it.  "What if the balance goes the other way?"

"Around here, that is called an attack," that one said with a smile.  "They do much like your team would have."

"I'm happy to hear that.  Xander respects them a lot."

"The Great Knight knows that most of us here work for the advancement of humanity and today the power flow is growing so we've been more visible nearer to the source.  Which was why we were caught."

Buffy looked at him.  "You have to tell them that, and put it into words they get.  They get attacks, battles, those things.  Is that why it's growing?"

"One nears but does not come near yet," he assured her.  "Within months it will be too near.  Then the chaos would get too much even for us and we may have to call in the Prince."

"If you tell them that, they'll try to head off the problems," Buffy told him.  He smiled and nodded, getting up to go do that.  The others followed.  She looked at the remaining ones.  "You guys in are in such deep shit I should bring Xander so he can work off his foul mood again.  Clearly, Africa's being bad to him."  She stood up.  "Who sent you?  Why are you here?"

"You are but a slayer, another will always come," one of them sneered.

She smirked.  "No, I'm the Mother Slayer.  There's already plenty of us here."  The demon tried to hit her but she was still Buffy.  And Buffy was damn good at what she does.  All three of those were down and groaning withing minutes.  She pulled out a knife to clean her nails with.  "Now, wanna give me what I want to know or should we talk some more?  I can channel Faith.  She'd be very proud of me."  She smiled sweetly.  "So would Xander."

"The Knight will fall," one sneered.  "There will be no more knights soon."

She stared at him.  "Someone's going to take out hunters?"  He nodded.  "We'll get a warning to them somehow.  I've met a few."  She sat on the edge of the table, staring at them.  "Any other news I need to hear before we kill you?"  One gasped and moved away.  "Try it, Junior."  She looked at the other two.  "Well?  I don't have patience and the girls got me up *way* early today."  The general came back in.  "So far we've got a plot to take out hunters, them getting in your way.  That one's a world peace demon who's willing to kill for it."

"The enemies are spoken of as one being that will never let us have peace," that one said.  "That we had to help stop it, even though wars are not ours ways, because it would destroy humanity and all peace."

Buffy stared at him.  "Then you tell us because what you guys did means you're not welcome here."  She looked at the other two.  "Spill it, toddlers.  Before I let Xander spank like he did Willow."  One tried to get up but she kicked him back down.  "Eww, you got snot on my boot!  They're new!"  She kicked him again.  "Idiot demon."  She stood up, staring at him.  "I'm not going to ask again."  They babbled and tried to move away.  Buffy looked at the general, smiling.  "Did you need more than that?"

"Can they be killed easily?"

"All three can be beheaded.  That one can be shot too if you have lead," she said with a point.   He shuddered.  "That's why we use stakes and things.  Though I'm told the other type of hunters use guns."  She shrugged and smiled.  "Are there others, General?"

"Not at the moment.  I'll have Doctor Jackson go back with you, that way you can introduce him if you don't care?"

"I don't mind.  Giles could use more adult friends who read."

He smiled.  "Thank you, Miss Summers."  He went to get his anthropologist and send him to his doom.  A house full of teenage girls was doom to most adult men.  He had those three put in cells.  Miss Rosenburg was kind enough to know how to behead for him even.  She did it magically by snapping her fingers.  So even less messy than usual.  Landry sighed in pleasure once she was gone.   It was lucky no one had gated in.


Buffy walked Daniel into the house.  "This is our slayer house here on the hellmouth.  Giles, I brought you a new friend," she called as she led him back to the kitchen.  "This time of day he's making tea.  He said Andrew doesn't boil it long enough or something."  She shrugged.  "Giles, this is Doctor Jackson.  He's an anthropologist and language person.  The president's project had him but he's bored and wanted to book nerd in our library."

"I've heard of your theories," Giles said, nodding politely.

Daniel smiled.  "I'm told that we can share limited information since we believe that you have histories that would support what we know to be true.  Including the war against the False Ones in Egypt and the Chappa'ai."

Giles stiffened, staring at him.  "Excuse me?"  Daniel nodded back.  "Oh, dear.  Well, that explains much.  We thought those against demon king sects."  He took his tea off.  "Come, Doctor Jackson, let us talk.  Thank you, Buffy, and you do look nice today."   He shut them in his office so they could talk without interruption.  The girls knew not to bother him during tea time unless it was an emergency.

Buffy got a few cookies Giles had left out and walked off to gather stuff for laundry.  She hated doing laundry but Andrew was great at it.  She handed it over with a pout.  He huffed but walked off with it.  "You should talk to the new nerd, Andrew.  He does freaky things that had chaos demons in glee."  She skipped off.

Andrew shrugged.  "I know what he does already.  Star Trek's still better."  He sorted things for her by level of goo and pink or not pink.   It was the only way to do Buffy's laundry.


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