NOTES: I did not create the M7 ATF Uni, I have no claims on it. I am borrowing the concept as the original author set out the rules for and am giving her full credit for it. I simply needed some really overprotective people in this universe. <G>
Listening Is Half the Battle.
John sighed, putting down his tofu burger when the election results were brought in to him. "Did Xander eat steak?"
"I think they let him have a chicken fried steak." He smiled. "Congratulations, Mr. President."
"Don't start that yet. It's going to take me weeks to get used to that. Why can't I retire?"
"I don't know, sir, but I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun assuring world leaders that Mr. Harris isn't really as mean as he seems." He left, going to a post-election party the staff was holding.
Jack leaned in a few minutes later. "No steak?" he teased.
"Tofu. Xander had chicken fried steak. We never told him not to eat steak on these days."
"You only won by a fifty-six percent margin."
"That's better, so maybe I'll only have one term," he agreed. Jack walked off snickering. "I know, with my luck there'll be an apocalypse right before the election again," he complained. He called Xander. "We never eat steak on the nights that we can be elected for things," he told him. "It gets us elected." He listened to the happiness of having had chicken. "Even better. No, tofu. I was being extra careful. Turn on the news, Xander." He did and heard the bellow.
"I'll see you in a few days." He hung up on the new ranting. Xander was due out in a few weeks so he'd make it to the inauguration. He didn't know why people felt so secure with them in office. The other world leaders didn't really adore him. A few were downright scared to death of Xander and the girls. Would that really make them safer?
Buffy showed up the next day with sympathy flowers and a new suit for Xander, who was glaring. "I didn't do it," she said smugly. "You got press attention back before the first time they elected Jack and they think you're hot."
"Can't I say no?"
"No. Jack said you can't."
"Basically." She smiled. "You even get shiny new guards."
"Yay," he said blandly. "Anything else I need to rant at the Powers about?"
"I haven't seen Cordy yet."
"She'll show up during the swearing in probably," he pointed out. "To tell everyone they're idiots."
"Maybe." She hung the suit up. "I have jeans and a t-shirt in there too. The suit in case you need to get out and have attention, the jeans in case you can sneak off." She smiled at him. "The VP's house is pretty nice. John said it's a sweet place. Has a huge kitchen and a cook." He grimaced. "It has a gym too so you can slowly work your way back up to not-a-slayer strength." She grinned. "The girls sent cards." She handed that packet over from her purse. "Your girls are swearing at the Powers with you."
"They know I'll hate this and it'll end ice cream binges with me."
"Not really. John and I had a few. Feel lucky you're not Prez, Xander." He shuddered and grabbed his side. "Exactly." She smirked, walking off to get him a slayer guard. Since demons came for him. She came back with a picture. "From Dawnie."
"I didn't get to see her yet?"
"She can't travel yet. The doctor said so." She kissed him on the forehead. "Have fun." She walked off again.
He put the picture of the baby next to him and opened his cards, smiling at the notes the girls wrote. He loved his girls.
Xander limped into a suit shop, looking at the sales clerk, who was giving him an awed look. "Apparently I have to have one and a tux for the balls," he said grimly. "I'm still sore on my side so can we arrange that and hide the gun and stake holsters?"
"Of course, sir." He led him back to a private room so his guards could relax some, taking his measurements, looking at the bruise. They could let his pants ride a bit low this time so the waistband wasn't near there. Xander called someone and they ran the account number he had. "Mr. Giles said it was much cheaper than Mrs. O'Neill's," he quipped.
"If I have to wear a ballgown, someone's in trouble," he quipped back, sounding tired. He signed the slip and they left. The suits would be done in a few days. Xander got taken to the hotel and everyone let him nap for a bit. He was just out of the hospital. That only left shoes and jewelry to go. He could do that some other day. He could not shop like a slayer yet.
Buffy and Jack attended the swearing in, both smiling and clapping for them. Xander shot her a dirty look but Jack snickered at it. They had everything shipped back and were escaping back to Jack's house in a few hours. It would be good to help John decorate if he wanted to, and Xander because he was hopeless at matching anything.
John's date for the ball that night wasn't usual, it was his ex-wife. They were back on friendly terms and he didn't want to make a statement by bringing a new date. Xander didn't have one but he was still sore and limping, they all understood that. Buffy and Jack finished the ball and left, going back to their peace and quiet. Finally! And it meant less shopping for Buffy.
Xander limped into the White House the next morning. "You decorated in creams and pale blues?"
"No, it was already like that. I didn't decorate anything but the master bedroom," he said dryly. He looked at him. "How are you feeling?"
"Pukey again. I'm fine though." He sat down with a sigh. "The candidates for the military academies?"
"Sixteen," he said, handing them over. "You need some more." Xander nodded. Their press secretary walked in. They had kept all of O'Neill's staff since they knew how they worked. "Problems?"
"People are asking if he's dating the young woman among his guard."
Xander looked at him. "She's the local slayer."
"I can spin that." He looked at John. "Anything you want to announce?"
"Good." He smiled. "Today's a fast news day talking about last night and the clothes mostly. They said they understood why Xander didn't bring a date or dance." Xander nodded. "How is your injury doing?"
"He'll be off the cane in six weeks according to what his doctor told Jack," John told him. "Outpatient treatments for another month past that." That got a nod and a dirty look from Xander. "Jack made sure."
"Buffy was being nosy," he countered.
"Probably," John agreed. "How often are you going to rotate your slayers?"
"Every four months with the other guards. She'll be going in about three because she's got a job starting then. One of my girls from Africa will be up then to make fun of all the shopping."
"Sounds reasonable to me," John agreed. Xander grinned. "I hated shopping. I did what Jack did, picked a suit shop and only went there."
"We can pick different ones if you want," Xander offered. "I have no intention of wearing suits. Dress pants if I have to but not suits. No ties."
"That's fine," John agreed. "Unless it's something formal. You can argue with your assistant for that. She used to nag me often enough." Xander nodded. "I kept Chuck since he's a wonder assistant and came with me from the city. The whole city got drunk last night from what I heard."
Xander smiled. "They wake up Willow?"
"Nope. She's due to wake up soon though." He looked at him. "We'll go to the UN thing in two weeks to let you get used to the other countries' people." Xander nodded, getting up with a quiet moan. "Take something, Xander."
"I can't be on painkillers in this job," he pointed out. "Besides, it only hurts when I bend." He walked off.
John looked at his press secretary. "Anything else I need to screw up today?"
"Not yet. A few calls of greeting I'm told." John nodded. "Have fun, sir." He walked off, going to tell that to the press corps so they wouldn't worry so much about Xander. They all paused when they heard Xander swearing.
"Ran into a doorknob on the sore spot," he called. "Sorry to yell like that."
"See, he is like O'Neill," the press secretary said with a smile.
"Sir, we're going to have a problem," the head fo the Secret Service said once he was let into the oval office.
"What now?" John complained. He looked up. "Big problem, little problem, your guys don't like the slayer helping him?"
"They adore the slayer helping him," he said honestly. "Have you seen who and what he dated though?" He handed over the list. John snickered, shaking his head. "Honestly, sir. He can't date that while in office. He shouldn't date that after he's out of office."
"Yell at him," he offered, handing it back.
"I can't. His current one is an assassin," he said quietly.
"Ah. Xander!" he bellowed, bringing him limping in holding his side. "Ran into another doorknob?"
"Yes, damn things," he muttered. "They're all on my blind side and I can only compensate in battles. I never had a problem with doorknobs in Africa." He looked at the head of the Secret Service. "Big problems?"
"You're dating an assassin."
"She's not here for John or any member of Congress." They both gaped. "I'm real realistic about how I only draw bad and evil girls."
John cleared his throat. "That's probably a problem with your job," John pointed out.
"She said she'd give it up if we ended up married."
"Yeah, not going to work," John told him with a smirk. "Date a CIA spook or something, Xander."
"The last one of those I dated, I turned in for liking torture."
"We can set you up with some nicer agents who are still naughty," the head of the Secret Service assured him. "We have in the past, sir. Let us help you find someone nice to date. Is there any sort of hair preference?"
"She should have some. I'm not that shallow."
"Okay, well, I'll put out a call that you're not that shallow and like women, or do you like guys more maybe?"
He shrugged. "Tried it a few times. After a few ex's especially."
"Okay. We can work on that." He smiled. "The FBI already has your girlfriend in custody, sir." He left. He knew a lot of agents liked to play on the dirty side. Men and women.
John looked at him. "How do you do that?"
"No clue but that's all I've ever really dated. Anya was one of the nicest, she didn't try to kill me. Cordy too."
"I've seen Cordelia," he agreed. He sighed. "I'll mine some of my contacts too, Xander. Then the people around here who like events can plan one for you hopefully. Even if it's with another guy since it's legal here in DC."
Xander shrugged. "I'll see." He walked back to his office.
"You have to open Senate today," John reminded him.
"Oops." He went to put on a better shirt and head over there with his guards. His slayer walked on the side of all the doorknobs for him, earning a grin. They got driven down to Congress, letting him walk in and talk to the people. He had no idea what he was doing. They had taught John Sheppard the same things though so they were used to them. They got him settled and changed out his chair for one without armrests because of his side. The rest of the senate filed in and Xander stood up to give the speech Buffy had given him. Then he banged the gavel and they got down to chatting instead of business. He looked at the majority leader, who smiled and waved off his concerned look. They were doing business their way. He'd get used to it. Of course, he couldn't really bring in a puzzle book today either. He'd learn.
Xander got dragged into the suit shop with a sigh. "Why do I need more?"
"You need good clothes," she reminded him. "Dress pants, nice shirts."
"Polo," he offered. "Nice, yet a bit casual."
"Too informal for the senate."
He looked at her. "You know, I only have my savings until the first paycheck," he said dryly.
"I know. Buffy checked," she said smugly. "You can afford some new shirts and a few new pairs of pants. You won't need a real suit for about six weeks."
He stopped her. He pointed. "I'm not the fancy sort. Unlike John, I grew up in Sunnydale to working parents who didn't make that much. Let's stick with things I'm comfy in, Kamria."
"Fine," she muttered. "You still can't wear the ugly shirts."
He rolled his eyes, looking at his guard. "Do you have a tranq dart for her?"
"Yup," he assured him. "Or your next girlfriend, sir."
One of the clerks came over. "Sir," he said with a smile. "Are you increasing your wardrobe or changing your fashion statement?"
Xander gave him an odd look. "I'm all about the comfy. Usually I'm a jeans guy. T-shirt, maybe an overshirt. I used to work construction. I have to be able to swing a sword or hide a weapon." The man swallowed but nodded. "Please," he finished. "Before she drives me further insane."
"This way, sir. Let's see what you like of our Casual Friday collection. That would be nice enough shirts and decent dress pants that are more giving and easily washed."
"That's a good thing. Dry cleaning sucks." He smiled and showed him what he had. Kamria pointed at a few things but got scowled at. "Too high maintenance for me."
"For Senate days," she countered. "No tie but a nice dress shirt should be good, Xander."
"I can't hide a weapon under one," he pointed out.
"You have guards for that. They can carry an extra gun for you to grab," she said happily, looking at the guards.
"We're already carrying an extra one each," the guard assured her.
Xander grinned. "Usually I have a multi-purpose harness on my back waistband."
"I've noticed and you can do that whenever you're wearing a jacket," the guard said. He pointed. "From personal experience, those shirts are soft, not dry clean only, and nice feeling, sir. Soft enough for your side as well."
"How long will that be going on?" Kamria asked Xander.
"Six more months. That's why I let my pants ride a bit low." He picked out a few choices. She put a few back and changed the colors on him, and one's size. He picked out a few short-sleeved shirts and one sweater. That was nice enough for Kamria and the guard but casual enough for him. They checked out and Xander got dinner for them on the way back. That was the end of his savings until he got his first check so no more shopping. Thankfully!
Jennifer Keller was let into the oval office, smiling at her colonel. "Colonel."
"Doc," he said with a grin. "What's up?"
"I want to look at Harris' side. It should be healing better than it is."
He nodded. "He's in his office." He got up to walk her down there. "Xander, this is my city's doc. She wants to scan your side. We've got some advanced stuff."
"Sure," he said, taking off his shirt. She blushed a bit but he grinned. "If John likes you that much you're probably not evil enough for me."
"Probably not since I'm a good girl," she agreed. She opened the carrying case and put the unit on her hand, running it over his side while she looked at the display. "I think we can do a bit of faster healing on it," she offered with a smile. He beamed back and nodded. "It may hurt a bit."
"I can swear. They're used to it because I run into doorknobs. Marta, I'm doing something for my side. Expect swearing," he called.
"Yes, sir." She closed the door. That was an unusual treatment but she didn't want to be nosy. She was only the temp while the usual one was on her honeymoon.
Keller pulled out the other device. "It will heat up," John told him. "I had it used on me to fix a broken rib and it felt like it was burning."
"Okay," Xander said, moving to his couch and laying down for her.
"That'll work," she agreed. She put the device on his side, making him swear and grab the couch frame. "Easy," she soothed. "Relax the muscles or it'll hurt more."
"It feels like it's digging with a spoon now," he complained, shifting so he had a better hand grip. He panted, letting out small swears while it worked. That did hurt like a bitch. Finally she removed it and he panted. She put on something else and he did swear louder at that. She stroked over his hair to calm him back down but that one hurt worse. John came over to help. Finally it was done and Xander was down to one huge bruise from the healing and a lot of pain.
She pulled out a needle and stuck him before he could complain. "This is a light sedative so you can nap for an hour or so," she said quietly. "Rest and by the time you get up all you'll have is a bruise, Mr. Harris." She stroked over his hair again, helping him sleep. She smiled at John.
"It never reacted that way to me."
"His DNA warping was causing the slow healing."
"Oh!" He nodded. "Did it detox some of it?"
"Some of the remains in his liver, not from his blood. His liver is fully healed." She repacked everything. "He'll be fine to limp less soon and shouldn't have as much problem when he runs into a doorknob." She looked at his eyepatch. "They can put in a fake one if he wants."
"I think he has one but he never uses it," he admitted. He smiled at her. "Thank you, Doc."
"Not a problem, John. You know that. You should've called me sooner. We could've done this in the hospital so he could've had drugs." She got beamed out.
John opened the door. "Thanks for waiting, guys. Doctor Keller fixed the whole problem. Marta, call his doctor to have him get a check up and make sure for the records." She nodded, finding that number to call him. He saw the edgy guards and smiled. "It hurt and it burns but it's handy and it fixed all the damage to his liver. He's got a bruise. She gave him a light sedative so he can nap off the pain." That got a terse nod. "Good men." He left, going back to his office. It would help Xander relax some more. Hardly anyone would think about attacking them. Outside of Riley Finn's people. He called the head of the Secret Service to get an update on that situation. It had to get fixed sooner.
Xander met with the new diplomats, nodding at the few he knew. A few gave him horrified looks because they knew him. "Not my choice, the people decided while I was in the hospital," he pointed out dryly. "Though it's nice to see some of you again."
"Do you have a slayer with you? Some of our people would like to test themselves against one," one of them said. "That way we know we can handle our own problems."
"I have one of the alpha slayers with me but not one of the two senior ones. Kamria?" She walked in. "This is Kamria. She's technically DC's slayer." He looked at her. "A few of these guys brought people to spar with you. That way they know if they measure up."
She shrugged. "I could use some sparring time. Sparring with John is neat but I almost miss sparring with Ronon." She smiled. "That'd be fine." They smiled. "We'll arrange it tomorrow?" They nodded and she went to make arrangements for some gym space. Plus for another slayer to come guard Xander. He'd get into trouble if one wasn't with him. Just look at all the trouble he got into with more than one with him. They might have to rescue him again if he didn't have slayer backup.
Xander smiled. "She's been worrying."
"I understand why." John walked in with his guards behind him. "Mr. President."
John smiled. "Let's not be that formal, guys. I'm just John Sheppard. Same as before." They all smirked at that. "The same as Xander's that sort too." Xander nodded. "So let's get down to making sure we have some peaceful relations and what should happen if things try to attack this planet." This was going to be a long meeting.
Xander walked into the briefing room, looking at the press secretary. "You needed to see me?"
"I hate to ambush you."
"I don't care, dude. Just spit it out, Martin. It can't be that horrible."
"There's a report floating around that you're not fully human?" one reporter asked, looking hesitant.
Xander stared at her. "Well, I have been possessed a few times. That left a memory taint. I have been exposed to demon DNA due to an undercover incident back in high school. That's barely a taint and all it's done so far is render me infertile." He shrugged. "What did you want to know about it?"
"That DNA taint, it can't make you do anything?"
"I'm a bit better of a swimmer," he said with a grin. "We had a swim coach that was infecting the team with mermaid DNA." A few gaped. He smirked. "I went to see why they were turning into black, slimy, people eating monsters. It was in the sauna." He crossed his arms over his chest. "It doesn't make me do anything. I don't tend to eat fish anymore because of that. A few were casual friends so I don't want them caught or anything. Other than that, it can't make me do anything. If I'm possessed, the slayer who's part of my guards will handle it. None of them have wanted me to do anything really. I've learned a lot from them. One was a hyena matriarch, the pack leader, and I learned a lot about hunting and tracking from her."
"So, it can't make you vote certain ways, won't tilt you toward things?"
"No. All my views are from hunting and growing up in Southern Cali, guys. Really."
"Do you dislike fishing as a career?" another asked.
"I'm all good with fishing as an industry. I just personally don't eat fish because I always get a bad thought of them being caught in the nets." He shrugged a bit. "It's a personal mental block more than anything."
"So, no lasting effects beyond the memory taints and that little bit of DNA?"
"You'd have to ask Colonel Carter. She had a look at it a few years back when I was found to be dating."
"Dating who?" one asked.
Xander smirked. "I believe that's still classified. Ask her that question." He left.
The press secretary shrugged. "We can ask her to brief you guys. Let me make that call today. Anything else we want to know about?"
"What else possessed him?"
"You'd have to ask him that and I don't think he's going to share," the press secretary said. "Let me call her." He went to his office to call Colonel Carter's office. That might get everyone out of trouble.
John leaned into Martin's office. "Xander told me. You might be warned that I was part of a problem while I was in Pegasus that got me infected with bug DNA. In case it comes out." He walked off.
The press secretary shook his head quickly. "They're going to drive me insane. Oh, Colonel, thank you for not being your voicemail. No, not about his bug issues. Someone found out Mr. Harris had some DNA tainting and got a bit panicky. I wanted to know if I could get a report on it and what he was dating when you found it." She said something smart and he shuddered. "Seriously?"
Her answer of 'he only dates dangerous things' didn't make him happy. It clearly meant more creative briefings in the future. "That would be helpful, yes, ma'am. Thank you." He went to tell them that. "Colonel Carter will prepare a briefing about how much DNA tainting there is for you and she'll be here to present it in about 2 days. She has to dig up some of the reports but she did say it was minimal at best. Basically only a few chromosomes."
"Who was he dating?"
"She said that's classified," he reported. "Though apparently she thinks his taste in women is questionable for some reason I haven't heard yet. We'll see." He smiled. "Give us a few days to find the reports she did." He left them alone to swear in his office.
John walked in and stared at him. "Don't trash Xander that way again, Martin. I really don't like it and I'm not as nice as Jack was in case you forgot."
"Yes, sir," he said, looking at him. "He dated a gou'ald?"
"Yeah. He's dated a few assassins too. Plus a few arms dealers...." Martin shuddered. "If you think you can't handle it, find a replacement, Martin." He left him alone. He still had to find Xander someone dangerous yet nice to date. Someone good for the people.
Someone let two agents into the oval office, making John stare at him. "Problems, gentlemen?"
"Yes, sir, and it's going to be a headache for everyone," the agent in the lead said dryly. "We have information that your successor has knowledge of arms dealers, has actually bought artillery, and has stockpiled some sort of paranoid's arsenal."
John snickered. "You guys have heard of the Council, right?"
"Of course," he agreed.
"You do know that he was the arms master there before the last president talked them into taking on an ATF agent?" The agent in the lead gave him an odd look. "Xander bought the artillery for them most likely. Though I do know he did date some arms dealers."
The secondary agent coughed. "With what he's bought, we're not sure that's even a safe state, sir."
"Chuck, get Xander," he called. Xander walked in a minute later. "What is in the Council's armory right now?"
Xander shrugged. "You guys made us take in Roger to take some of my job from me." He looked at the agents. "What are you guys worried about specifically?"
The lead agent stared at him. "There's been evidence you were buying weapons while you were out of the country."
"For the slayers down there but we used almost everything, outside of one. That one's stored in the slayer house's armory for the next time I have to deal with a sixty foot demon."
The secondary agent coughed. "How did you use something that was sub-nuclear?" John spluttered.
Xander smirked. "Well, to be honest, I stripped it down as much as I could, used a crossbow to fashion a launcher, and shot it into the thing's crotch, where it's brain was, and it got destroyed before it ate the rest of a village. I was without the slayers and fifty caliber rounds weren't working. That was all I had on me at the time. Though, I didn't buy that. I confiscated it from someone who had it. The rest of the things he had, I turned in."
The lead agent blinked. "That would've been dangerous, sir."
"The demon had already eaten over two hundred people and fifty cows. It was going to keep going if it wasn't stopped. What did you want me to do, cry?"
"How did you find out that the person who had the weapon had it?" the secondary agent asked.
"Well, because I fucked him good and hard the night before and he was going to reward me for it." He smirked. "He was going to refill my ammo for me but I thought that might be a bit much to have in civie hands." John snickered. "And since I showed such good taste, and let him give me a blow job before I left, he still refilled my ammo case. That's how I knew that fifty caliber rounds didn't work."
"Is that normal for you?" Chuck asked from his desk.
"Sometimes," Xander admitted. "Which is why John's trying to get me to date some nicely dangerous yet good for the world agents." He looked at the other two agents. "So, what else can I tell you about, boys?" He smiled.
"Sir, are you dangerous to this country?" the lead agent demanded calmly.
"Not usually. I don't know, John, do you think I'm dangerous?"
"Only when we're being attacked," he said bluntly. "The Council has the right to hoard some weapons up to a certain class. That's something the ATF agent in their armory oversees."
Xander nodded. "I pouted at him for days for taking my weapon cleaning and petting time."
"Are you sane?" the secondary agent asked.
"Mostly. I've been surrounded by women for a *long* time so I can't be fully sane sometimes. I have PTSD about shopping trips with the slayers." He shrugged. "I know the two arms dealers I've dated since I got back from Africa have both pouted that they got arrested. One still writes me dirty letters about missing the sex."
The lead agent looked at John. "Should he possibly be examined by someone?"
"No. Xander's fine, guys. Really. He's not dating any arms dealers while he's here in DC. We'll find him some nice agents who might like him. Without forcing anyone or anything." They stomped off. He looked at Xander. "Anything else I need to know about?" he asked dryly.
"No. Not that I'm aware of." He shrugged and went back to his office. He did miss his weapon petting time. He might have to take the guard's guns to clean later on them since he couldn't have his armory in DC.
John sighed as he walked into the press room. "To displace all the rumors, no agents are being asked to date Xander. We're trying to set him up with good women who aren't dangerous the way his last few were. No one's making any lists of pretty agents or anything like it. It was noted that if any of them might like him to arrange for them to meet. Because we'd like Xander to date *nice* women. So would the slayers." A few snickered.
"Honestly. Especially since his last girlfriend was infected with a gou'ald and the one before that was an assassin." They all stared at him, a few mouths were open. "So if there's agents out there who think he's cute, and they want introduced we're not going to complain. We'd never force it or anything like that, guys. Now, anything else?" They all shook their heads. "Good." He smiled. "So let's stop this rumor before it gets out of hand, please." He walked off. He shot his new press secretary a dirty look.
"It wasn't me, sir. It was the agents who showed up to talk to him about his weapons collection."
"I'm moving my stuff from Africa locally," Xander called. "That way I have weapons I can pet without making the guards pout at me when I confiscate theirs to pet and clean on them."
John winced, shaking his head. "Nothing bigger than a shotgun, Xander."
"Thank you." John went to talk to someone about his weapons. He decided Xander would love to learn wraith, ori, and gou'ald weapons. He got the arms master from the Mountain to come teach Xander. It'd keep him less bored and make him a happy boy again who might not need to date for a while.
One senior Secret Service agent walked into Xander's office, staring at him. "Sir," one said. Xander looked up at him from cleaning one of the agent's guns. "Are you confiscating their guns for a reason? Because you're scaring a few of them."
"I'm cleaning them. Half of them haven't. Frankly, a few of the guns I've cleaned were filthy. It's giving me something to do so I can't make the politicians cry."
The senior agent gave him an odd stare. Then he nodded. "Sir, ask instead of stealing."
"I do ask. Usually. I did take one that was jammed open earlier." He pointed. "I haven't gotten to it yet."
He looked it over, shaking his head. "I'll write him up for that, sir."
Xander grinned. "I like weapons petting time. It's like meditation for me. I don't mind cleaning their weapons for them if they want. I usually try to ask unless I see one that's that horrible."
"No, that one I'd want someone to clean on him," he decided. "Do you do the same to your slayer's weapons?"
Xander snorted. "She's possessive of her weapons. I taught her *very* well. She's been laughing all day about me cleaning for them."
"Did you do the President's guards' guns as well?" Xander nodded. "From now on, ask please, sir. I understand why you clean weapons when you think. Frankly, I have three daughters I'm raising alone. There's been plenty of times I cleaned weapons." Xander grinned at that. "From now on, please ask, and don't creep them out."
"I'll try but a few are still giving me wary looks after Kamria and I sparred the other day."
"I've heard. You're getting different guards because of that." He smiled. "Do you run like the last president and this one?"
"I only run if something's chasing me to eat me. Or I'm really trying to duck the gross women at the club."
"Good to know. We'll bring in someone who can protect you better by backing you up." He left, going to tell the Director of the Secret Service. Really, they were used to people like that. Usually you called them retired from combat, but that was really light compared to the vice president's fighting history. None of the Secret Service wanted to face down a demon invasion or anything. If he couldn't find agents to guard him, the guards were going to quit or transfer agencies.
Xander walked into the Denver Convention Center for the meeting, grimacing as he looked around. "Cheerleaders?" he guessed, looking at the decorations.
One of the agents near him coughed. "Later this week is the state cheerleading finals, sir."
Xander smiled at him. "That's good to know. I'll keep Kamria from it so she doesn't try to challenge them to a moves contest." He looked at her, but she was shaking her head quickly. "You would."
"Like you, I've been bored," she complained. "No demons are trying to date you anymore," she quipped.
Xander shrugged. "How do I know?" He looked at the agent walking his way. "Are we set up? And do I have a pile of puzzle books for the times when they're going to talk over my head?"
"No puzzle books," he said. He looked at the lone female guard. She was short, wasn't wearing a weapon, and he had no idea who she was. "Girlfriend?" he suggested. "If so I can make sure we have a nice waiting area for her to hang out in. That way she's not bored by all the financial discussion."
Xander stared at him. "First, slayer," he said with a point. "Second, fired. Get out of my face." The man recoiled. He smirked. "Get out of my face now." The man ran. He looked at his guard. "Go find me someone who can actually be in charge who isn't snide?" He walked off with Kamria and the other guard. "You can arm wrestle with the guys if you want," he said quietly to her.
"That'd be fine. The other guards might be a challenge and I welcome it." She smiled at theirs. "No offense but you can't really arm wrestle very good."
"I know I can't match a slayer," he assured her. They examined the meeting area. He let Xander look at the box he found. He couldn't disarm bombs and the vice president could. His boss was going to freak out. "Sir," he complained when Xander lifted it out of the box.
Xander waved a hand, walking out there. "Yo, agent in charge!" he bellowed. An agent, a younger one, came jogging over. He held up the bomb. "In the meeting area. I disarmed it." He handed it over. The agent was gaping so he smiled. "What? It seemed like the thing to do." He walked back in there.
"Sir, we should evacuate you," the guard said, grabbing him by the arm, giving Kamria a pointed look so she'd agree.
"Sure, we can go back to the car until they clear it," she decided, walking out beside him. A foul tempered looking blond man was stomping their way. "Let me guess, you're the unlucky one who got put in the place of the snide former agent in charge?" she guessed.
"I am." He stared at him. "Who disarmed it?" Xander raised his hand. "How do you know to do that, sir?"
"I learned a lot over the years as the slayer's arms master." He looked at her then at him again. "Are you going to have the same problem that snide fucker did about her being my slayer guard?"
"No, I've seen what slayers can do, sir," he said dryly.
Xander grinned. "Thank you. Want us to wait anywhere specific until you can clear the building again?"
"We have a safe room set up, sir. Follow my teammate, Agent Dunn." He took the bomb and let JD walk them off. He saw the slayer hadn't moved. "Ma'am, problems?"
She grinned. "Xander is called a white knight for a reason," she said quietly. "He will jump in. A lot. We hate it about him sometimes because he has a problem with getting injured. Also, guard his left side since he's blind there." She jogged to catch up to them. The young agent was cute. She might get some flirting in. It'd be a nice change from all the really ancient politicians that wanted to flirt with her.
Xander was patient and joking with the young agent, making him laugh and his own agent relax. Kamria was flirting and it was good to see. He had worried about her dating habits in DC. All the old guys were making her stay single and pouty. Eventually the blond guy came back scowling. "Was it against me or someone else being bored here?"
"Your slayer actually," he admitted, looking at her. "Apparently they're paranoid about slayers."
Xander snorted. "I'd like to see them in person if they're not under arrest."
"No, sir, they're found and being arrested. I have the rest of my team going after them."
Xander stared at him. "Is the rest of your team hardasses like you?" The blond smirked an evil smirk. "Good. Though if you want to bring them here so you're sure they have your back, go for it and let the snide asshole search them out. Whatever makes you feel comfy, dude."
"That's something I haven't been called in a while," he admitted dryly.
Xander grinned. "You scowl really bad, but it's nice to have someone looking out for me that I can trust. My guys are good, and so is Kamria, but if we're going to have problems I'd rather have people at my back today. I'm sleepy and cranky, which will lead to me being mean."
"We hate you in that mood, sir," his guard said, shuddering slightly.
Xander looked at him. "You hate it more when I date."
"I do, sir, because your usual dates end up in arrests after a background check," he said bluntly. He looked at the local agent, who was snickering. "Are we clear?"
"We're clear." He let them out and back to the room. "I'm glad we managed the crowd outside," he said.
"They come out for John, not me," Xander told him. "Unless it's a crowd of bad boys and girls, I don't get rushed that way usually."
"Sir, please don't mess up their city by dating," the second guard begged. "Pretty please?"
Xander scowled at him. "I'm not like that! I also tend to stop them myself before you guys have to step in and be paranoid."
The local agent shook his head. "I don't want to know."
Kamria smiled. "Xander only dates the dangerous, deadly, and pretty. We're really sorry if anyone here crushes and tries to get his attention." Xander smacked her on the back of the head. "Ow! You learned that from that NCIS guy!"
"You bet," he agreed, giving her a dirty look. "Quit. Before I sell you off into marriage to someone I think is nice." She nodded, piping down. He smiled at the lead agent again. "Sometimes it's like they're family." He pointed. "Mine?" He got pointed at a different one and sat down. "Thanks and let me know if we need to be meaner again please."
"Yes, sir." He went to arrange the teams and get a better investigative team than the snide, fired one to search out the problem church members.
Halfway through the meeting, Kamria frowned, looking around. She signaled the guard and got up, walking outside. Two of the local agents followed scowling. She ran into the demon outside. She looked up at him. "Well, you're harmless, but Xander's inside. So what's going on and why did you show up?"
He leaned down. "Slayer, there is a person who is hunting us. He is not a slayer and he has taken out a few of our ruling council," he growled.
"I'll stay when Xander goes back tonight and see if we can stop him and hand him to the agents."
He smiled. "Thank you, slayer."
"I'm Kamria." He nodded and stood up, walking off. She grimaced. "Any clue, guys?"
"We can pull up the local's records," one of them said. He went to do that.
She walked back inside, leaning down next to Xander's ear. "We have a hunter in town taking out the local ruling council," she whispered.
"Good hunting, be safe, take an agent with you," he said quietly. She nodded and left. He shifted, smiling. "She got asked to handle a slayer issue," he said when he realized they were all staring at him. "Go ahead, even though I'd want some of this plan explained to me. Why are we making people spend more and save less?" They explained it to him again. He shook his head. "Then what happens if we get a problem on Wall Street? It does tank now and then, right?" They all nodded. "Then what happens if we have another one? Shouldn't we be telling people to responsibly spend and make sure you save some?"
"The economy is built on spending, sir."
"I get that," he agreed. "But I also get that in the last week my retirement fund lost three percent because the stock market was on a downward swing. Which would affect savings and jobs, right?" They all nodded. One looked like he got it. "Will telling people to buy really expensive, pointless things really help turn that around?"
"No," one said, then sighed. "You're right, we do have to take into account some savings. Especially for things like college funds and retirements."
"Or weddings or houses," Xander added. "So why don't the major car makers do what they usually do when sales are bad? Sales, incentives, all that stuff."
"They have. It's not enough to create more spending because banks are getting a bit twitchy."
"Will more spending help that or hurt that?" he asked.
"Hurt," one of the guards said. "The local banks won't give out any sort of loan unless you already have a substantial savings." They all glared at him. "That is the local economy."
"Which I get," Xander agreed. "I know we got into trouble a while back with that." They all sighed. "Not that I take out loans. I have a retirement account in case I make it that far. But.... Shouldn't we be telling them to buy stuff that'll last a long time, things that're necessary? Encourage them to renovate, buy new appliances, all that?"
"That is one thing that could be helpful," the chairman of the talk agreed. "Spending on that level would also increase personal wealth because it would increase the assets in their houses." The others nodded that was true. "You think those sort of buys instead of less durable things?"
"I think new cars are great, but there's only so many drivers who can afford the really expensive sort of car that you guys want them to buy. I think a lot more can afford to redo their kitchens and bathrooms, which will create jobs and spending both. Plus talking about saving a bit more so people realize what they'll need if we hit another bad economic moment or it takes a while for all this to come together."
"True," the chairman agreed with a smile. "It would be all right to do that." The others nodded. "That's a very good idea, sir."
Xander smiled. "Thanks. It made sense to me."
"Sometimes common sense is the best thing there is," the agent who had spoken up said.
Xander smiled. "Not that I'll fuss if people buy diamonds, gold, and all that stuff. If they want to spend five hundred bucks on a bottle of really gross tasting champagne, that's up to them." The agents all snickered. "I'm kinda against that personally but I know some people need to be able to point to it so they prove they have self worth. Personally, I'm not one of those but I understand it." They all smiled. "Can we tax the really ridiculous shit to help the economy?"
"They'd fight and they're the biggest campaign donators, sir," one said with a wince.
Xander stared at him. "Okay, and? I'm against taxing basic, necessary things, like food, but if you buy bling just to have bling, then it should be taxed. Like cars over sixty grand? Or jewelry over thirty thou? That way you don't catch wedding sets or nice presents on the anniversaries. That nasty champagne could be taxed."
"That's one way to fill in the deficit," one sighed. "But they will vote you out of office, sir."
Xander stared at her. "Okay, and the problem with that is? I'm not going to bow down to anyone who's like that. I don't care what people want to over-use personally but I'm not going to change to suit those people."
"Many politicians would," she said.
Xander shrugged. "I'm not a politician. I got appointed when I was in the hospital because us fighting an apocalypse made them feel safer," he said with a smile. She nodded. "I'm not used to this stuff. This makes very little sense to me most of the time. The parties, all that, make *no* sense to me. Neither does the dressing up stuff. I look sucky in a suit."
They all nodded that was true. He did look bad in his present suit.
Xander heard a scream and jumped up, heading for his slayer at a run. "Kamria!" She yelped again and fell just about as he got out there. "Damn it!" He pulled his gun and shot the demons trying to kill her. "Where in the hell did you come from!"
"The hunter," she moaned. "He released them." She went limp.
"Get her to an ER, people, and tell them those sorts have poisoned fangs. Tell them to call the main house and they'll send over the remedy." They gathered some of the drool while they got an ambulance there. Xander looked around. Two more flying things were coming their way and he moved the agent out of their line of fire, hitting them both center mass. They fell down and died. He scanned, scowling. "Dawn!" he shouted. She appeared. He pointed. She swore and moved to help Kamria. "Can you feel a summoning set?"
She looked around and pointed. "That way by a few miles."
"Good deal." He looked back at his agent since he had pushed his way out. "We have someone summoning demons."
"Sir, you're the Vice President, this is a slayer's job," he said calmly.
Xander stared at him. "I'm both and oh well. Not like the locals will understand how to break it up or protect themselves. You can stay here if you want." He took off his jacket and handed it over. "Go with her and Dawn in case they come for her again." He went to the limo, opening the trunk to get into his hunting kit.
"Sir, that's our job," the lead agent ordered.
Xander looked at him. "You think you can handle demons?"
"Yes, sir, and have recently."
"Then come with me. Unless you guys know how to take out a summoning circle?"
"I do have a person who studied it," he admitted. Xander stared at him. "You can trust my people. Go with your slayer, sir. That's your job right now." Xander huffed but nodded and climbed in with her. The guards all relaxed. He glared at one. "Of course it's his job, it's his calling. Like a former priest can't not give blessings." He called his people and they headed out to track that problem. The ATF office had a witch on staff. She could find it. She pinpointed it for them and they headed off to end it.
Xander looked up as Buffy walked into the hospital room. "There was a hunter here to draw slayers to them," he said quietly. "So he could attack the slayers."
She nodded. "That sucks huge." She came over to look at Kamria. "Is she okay?"
"Punctured lung, fractured kneecap, lots and lots of infected bites and cuts."
She nodded. "She's coming back with us."
Xander rubbed over his face. "I should've went."
"The local team said they got him and he's in jail begging for mercy," she told him. "Jack said to remind you that right now you have to protect more than us girls."
He looked at her. "You're sure it's not the same job?"
"Yeah, most of the time." He shrugged back. She smiled. "I'll take Kamria with me tonight. You need to appear in public so they don't think you got hurt too."
"Yeah, maybe," he sighed, standing up. He kissed her on the head, making her blink at him. "Buffy said I need to make people less paranoid. She'll sit with you for a bit." She nodded, clutching Buffy's hand. "I'll be back later."
"Let us get her to Cleveland, Xander. You can visit by video conference," Buffy said. "Make people quit worrying."
He nodded, leaving to do that. His guards met him outside the room. He walked out into a press ambush. "My slayer will be fine," he said calmly. "The one who did it I'm told was arrested by the local ATF agents who impressed me earlier."
"Sir, was it a prelude to an attack?" one yelled.
"No. They wanted slayers. This has nothing to do with the average person or an attack. They wanted to take out slayers probably for some craptastic mentally incapacitated reason." He looked around.
"Sir, will you have another slayer on duty with you?" one asked.
"Yes. Soon probably. They're used to how I think since I kinda freak out the Secret Service guards sometimes." He smiled at them. "Nice job earlier." He looked at them again. "For right now, she'll be moved back to the slayers house so she's got medical treatment for the demon poison she got from the bites. Buffy's here to make sure she's okay." He pointed. "What? You're nearly crying."
"Sir, why do you have a slayer as a guard?"
Xander stared at her. "Because even now demons could come for me. They freak the Secret Service out too." He walked around them. "Let me thank those agents, guys." He got into the car and the guards got in after him. He looked at the driver. "Let's pick them up dinner or something from somewhere nice." The driver nodded, pulling away from the curb. "I won't possibly insult them by getting them donuts."
His senior guard coughed. "Sir, you pushed all the agents out of your way to fire on the demons," he said calmly.
"Guys, you have no idea what to do with demons," he pointed out. "You've said repeatedly that they freak you out. It's better if I do it and you guys don't have to freeze."
"You shoved one of them out of the way too, sir," the other agent said.
Xander shrugged. "Sorry, I'm used to handling things."
"Sir, you're retired," he pointed out.
"Slightly," Xander agreed. "Like John, I'm on reserve status. You can't take the reflexes and training out of us, guys."
"True," the senior one said, looking at his junior agent then at him. "You could teach us."
"I will if you guys want me to."
"It might help if someone taught the Secret Service, sir," the senior one.
Xander sighed, staring at him. "You guys are switching out because of this?"
"Sir, our job is to protect you," the junior agent said. "Clearly you won't let us."
"I would if it was a normal threat."
"Sir, you disarmed the bomb before we could warn anyone," his senior agent pointed out.
"No, that's your training," he sighed, shaking his head. "You're used to being alone or with a very small group and handling things without anyone helping. You can't stop that sort of training, not after twenty years." Xander nodded. "We'll make sure your next guards are used to such incidences though. Plus we can take the training back to the Secret Service so they're used to dealing with demon things too. After all, they might come for the President or even the next one." Xander nodded at that. He smiled. "Thank you, sir."
"It's clear you guys aren't comfy and I don't want you guys to have problems because I handled something."
"Our director knows you're like that, sir," the junior agent said with a smile. "He warned us, sir, but we were clearly not fast enough."
Xander rolled his eyes. "You guys did a good job. I'm probably the toughest person you'll ever guard." They smiled and nodded. He leaned over to shake their hands. "Have a good time once we get back, guys." The driver stopped and he got out, going to get them dinner from the nice steak joint. Most guys liked steaks. If not, he got extra sides so any vegetarians could have that instead. He came back with the box and they went to the Federal Building. Xander went up with one of his guards. The local assistant director met him at the elevator. "I wanted to thank them for their help." He shook his hand.
"They're doing reports, sir."
"I've done a few of those in my time but probably less exacting than yours." He walked with him into the office area. "Guys, thank you for helping my slayer and with the hunter." He put down the box with a grin. "From one of the local steak places." They all smiled. "She'll be fine. They're moving her back to Cleveland tonight to treat the demon poison better." He shook the blond's hand. "Thank you for trying to talk sense into me too. My guards do that now and then." He smiled. "Good luck and easy cases, guys." He left, going back to the car.
The blond looked in the box. "Seven dinners, guys, and it looks like rolls." They came over to browse, exchange sides if they didn't want that type of steak, and eat while doing reports. It was nice of him.
John met Xander at the airport. "You okay?"
"I'm fine." He shrugged. "Kamria will be okay so I'm fine."
"Good." He clapped him on the arm, staring at him. "They yell at you for jumping in?"
"Kinda, but they realize that's what I was trained to do." His guards nodded. "But they do want me to train them to deal with demon issues in case it happens in the future."
"Dean Winchester wrote it for you. I suggested it last month," John admitted. Xander nodded at that. He saw the swallow. "Hey, we'll work it out. Even if I have to coopt some agents who can handle the post-combat stress problems and instincts you have. Mine had that problem all too often." Xander nodded. "C'mon. Let's have a beer?"
"Sure, I could use a beer." They went to the car, the Secret Service forming their escort detail. Xander looked at him. "How do I not do that?" he asked quietly.
"I don't know since I do the same thing," John admitted with a grin. "You should've heard them freak out when Jack jumped in to protect himself and his guards the first time. I thought it was an emergency with all the yelling. They gave me such dirty looks when I said 'good job'." Xander smiled. "So, I heard you fired an agent?"
"Snide ass bastard," he snorted.
"I got a report and the video from the place, Xander. I agree, he was snide. Technically you can't really fire him. I have forwarded that to his director and he agreed he was snide and suspended him. He's going to Alaska to guard Sarah Palin so he gets used to women who think out loud."
Xander grinned. "I wish him luck."
"I did too. How did you like that team?"
"They seemed nice," he said. "I treated them to steak dinners for their help."
"I heard, and I liked that idea," John assured him. He grinned. "Their director was thinking about asking them to come to DC as part of your guard unit."
"I think they probably have lives in Denver and that's a really long commute. I don't want them to hate me."
"We'd only ask, not demand," John assured him. "They might know other agents who could handle our instincts too."
"Maybe. Do you think they hold conventions for those sort of agents?"
John grinned. "I don't know. It's an interesting thought." The car swerved. "Problems?" John called.
"The Secret Service has stopped the suspect car, sir."
"Okay." John got comfortable again. They swerved again.
Xander and John both pulled weapons to check their clips, just in case. When the car was stopped, Xander pushed John back down and locked him in before getting out to handle the incident. John was more important than he was.
"What are you doing?" John shouted.
"You're the President, more important," Xander called back. "It's my job to protect you too, John." He got the other one coming his way, staring at it. "Huh. John, it's Riley." Cars came screaming up with flashing lights. He pointed. "That's Riley Finn!"
Two agents pounced him. "Sir, his ID says his name is Jack Ryan."
Xander stared at him. "He's a former Ranger. How hard is it to get a new ID?" They nodded and arrested him anyway. Xander walked closer. "So, how are you enjoying the slayers?" he asked dryly.
"I'm not who you think, boy."
Xander snorted and took something off his neck, putting it on Riley's head. The illusion around him wobbled and ended. "Really? You sure?" Riley tried to get it off him and kick Xander but the agents were good. "I don't know how you kept getting away before but I hope this time they fry you for it." Xander took it back and put it back over his neck. "Are we clear, guys?" They all nodded so he let John out of the car. "Sir."
John looked at him. "I could've protected myself, Xander."
"You're the president and I don't want your job," he said bluntly. "Therefore you're going to be overprotected for the next 3 years."
John snickered. "I understand. I'd do the same thing to Jack." The agents gave him a dirty look. He smiled at Xander. "See?"
He looked and nodded. "Yeah, I saw a few of those in Denver." He looked around. "Thank you, guys."
"Welcome, sir," they said patiently. The Director of the Secret Service walked over and got them back into the safety of the car. The agents smiled at him for that. They got them back to their residences for their beer and it was easier.
The blond agent from Denver looked up as his boss walked into his office with someone he didn't know but who was clearly a higher up. "Yes, sir?" he asked, putting down his pen.
"Son, what can I bribe you with to take your whole team to DC for the next few years?" the other higher up asked.
"Are you certain? We could use you guarding the White House. Our people are good but they're not getting the Vice President or President's mindset all that well."
The agent stared at him. "Why us?"
"Because you actually got the Vice President to listen to you, Larabee. He followed your orders. Half the time, my guys have to run after them both when things happen. Like the other night." He turned on one of the news channels. They had been running the incident for two days straight. "Mr. Harris said that it's his job to be the President's last guard of resort. Which I can agree with. Usually Sheppard would've grabbed a gun and gotten out to help. My people are used to normal higher ups."
"You don't have any prior combat vets?" Larabee asked.
"Very few and they can't stand the demon issue that Harris brings. We're thankful he put in a slayer guard but Harris does things like confiscate guns to clean them on the agents." He looked at the agent again, sighing. "We really could use your team."
"We have homes, horses, and my farm here, sir."
"I get that," he admitted. "We could still use you. We can rotate one of you out every few months if you'd want."
"There's really no agents in all of DC that can handle the kid?" he demanded.
Travis coughed. "Apparently things like what happened at the convention center happen all the time," he told his agent. "He's been known to jump in and protect his guards."
Larabee nodded. "He did the same thing to us."
"We can't get him to understand that we're there to protect him," the Director of the Secret Service said. "We had problems with O'Neill but he was a higher up by the time he got elected. He was used to his people being protective over him because he was in charge. Neither of these two are used to that. Sheppard is a lead from the front lines guy and Harris is used to having to prove himself to overprotective girls repeatedly before they listen to him. He tends to treat his guards like playmates half the time and trainees the rest."
"I understand your concerns, but Denver to DC is a hell of a commute to clean the barn every night."
"Can we rotate one of you out at a time?"
"I can't really be missing part of my team for the next three years," he said.
The director, clearly a desperate man, sighed. "What if we can let you have a farm out there for the time you're out there? That way you can mothball your one here and move your horses, plus your whole team, to DC. To be honest, there's people in your DC office that hate our Vice President because he's the former arms master for the Council. Apparently he dated a few arms dealers as well." Chris Larabee burst out laughing. "Not kidding. He used something that was just this side of nuclear on a huge demon in Africa after having received it from a dalliance he had."
Chris snickered. "You want me to teach them about horses as well?" he snorted.
"Sheppard's family has some. Harris might not have ever seen one. We're all for keeping him from being bored so he can't date while in DC. Because honestly, it's a bad thought and even the dangerous agents think he's a bit too needy. The one I know dated him came in late after missing a day. She was limping, had the scariest smile on her face, and couldn't sit.
"All she could answer to 'what happened' was 'oral sex'." Chris snickered. "Please? We'll bend over backwards. We need him protected, if only from himself, and the boy listened to you. He won't even listen to Summers-O'Neill most of the time and he listened to you. The last person he listened to was O'Neill, who told Sheppard he was right to guard him during that incident."
Chris smirked. "I'd have to discuss it with the team. You'd have a full farm for me?"
"Yes. We have three that are confiscated, one's near Camp David, one's about twenty minutes outside of DC proper, so probably an hour commute from the White House at the most."
"That's a hell of a commute," Chris complained.
"There's one closer but it's a crap pile that needs fixed," he admitted. "Which you could probably get Harris to help you with. He used to work construction before he went to Africa."
"Let me talk to my team. I'll let you know in an hour." Because it was pathetic to see the higher ups beg like that. Chris still couldn't believe that there wasn't a single agent in DC who could talk the boy into sense. The two higher ups went to Travis's office. He called his team together into his office. "Shut the door, Vin." He shut it. "The higher up you were ignoring on purpose is the director of the Secret Service." They all groaned. "He thanked us so much for help at the convention that he wants to move us all to DC."
Ezra snorted. "They can't get anyone else who the boy will listen to?"
"Apparently not. They've even offered us a farm space near the city."
"They're clearly desperate," Josiah said. "Why?"
Chris pointed at the tv, turning up the volume. They all watched and Vin moaned, shaking his head. "Yeah, he sounds like us," Chris said dryly. "Him and Sheppard both." They all shook their heads. "They're desperate, boys. I told them we'd argue for an hour or so."
"He seemed like a nice guy, pretty plain spoken," JD said.
"He seems like a very down-to-earth sort," Nathan agreed.
"He's a gun nut," Chris said. "They said he's been taking the agents' guns to clean on 'em." They all snickered. "That he used something this side of nuclear in Africa." That got one gape from Ezra. "You heard rumors?" he guessed.
"Apparently he dates arms dealers," Chris said. "So we'd have some work there." They all groaned. "But they think they need us. Anyone got any suggestions to put in our place?"
"Not off the top of my head," JD admitted. "Is he really that hard to guard?"
"Like with the demon at the meeting, he pushed his guards and us behind him," Vin said. "He's a lot like Chris, only more agreeable."
"Can we actually move the horses that way?" Nathan asked. Chris nodded. "Are we agreeing to go? Rain's gonna hate that."
Chris nodded. "I'm not real fond of it at the moment either."
"Does the boy have an external home he might be visiting?" Ezra asked. "As opposed to the usual vacation spots?"
"Not that I've heard," Josiah said. "Sheppard doesn't seem to either. Now and then they take off to Camp David to relax and drink heavily one night from the rumors."
Chris nodded. "I've heard that too. Don't blame 'em. I'd do the same thing." AD Travis walked in and looked at them. "It's a nightmare to move us."
"It's a nightmare if you don't," Travis told him. He changed the channel. "Someone tried to attack him again. Sniper and ground issues." He looked at his best team. "I'll hate to lose you guys for three years, but we need you in DC."
"I don't want to mothball my farm," Chris said.
"You can visit it all you want," he assured him. "The usual rotation is three on the high profile targets, one off. We can rotate all you boys off each one. So you'll get three months of each, one month off in the office or wherever. Maybe even at the farm. We might be able to arrange it. That way you can come home now and then."
"There's a lot of people who count on me," Vin reminded him.
"If something happens to Sheppard, we get Harris as the president and he's clueless about things. Even for a year and you guys can train some of them tougher?"
They looked at each other. "A month back here fully in Denver?"
"I'll make sure," he promised, going up to do that.
Chris looked at the others. "This is truly a cluster fuck."
"Yes it is," Nathan sighed. "I'll tell Rain. A full year?"
"To train some guards so they can do their job the right way? Probably," Buck agreed.
JD shrugged. "I wonder if they're computer people too."
"I don't know. Sheppard works with mega-brains," Buck told him. "That McKay guy and his people."
Chris nodded. "So he's used to smart and problems. I read some of the mission statements that got released from his project. They were all screwed and did what they could."
"So we should be fine," Ezra decided. "I can help them shop possibly since they both look impeccably shabby half the time." They all smirked at him. "Fine, we will acquiesce with reservations as long as our needs are met."
Chris looked at the others, who all grimaced but nodded. "It'll be different," Buck said. "Whole lots of agents who need beaten for slacking. We've got most of the ones here beaten into shape."
Chris nodded. "Yup, all too many." He looked around. "Anyone not agree?" Vin grimaced. "I know but you can come back and make sure things stay safe every few months. They said three months on then a month off. Rotating between the two teams."
Vin nodded. "I need ta warn some of my friends."
"Go do that, I'll make sure the deal stays." They all nodded and left him to make sure the higher ups weren't going to screw them over. He liked Denver. A lot. He had good memories here. When the higher ups came in he looked at them. "Did they ask for us?"
"No," Travis said. "Harris had his guard call and complain that we were taking you from your job out here when he heard about it."
Chris smiled. "I like the guy for that much."
"Can we agree?"
"I need to look over that farm to make sure it's a safe place for the horses," Chris said.
"I've called the DEA. They have a seized former horse farm that is within forty minutes of the White House, on a good traffic day, that has a nice sized house and a bunk house, plus a ten stall barn." Chris nodded so he pulled up the information file on it. "Will that do? The ASPCA was using it on loan for the last six weeks when their usual facility for horses and larger animals had a water leak that required a lot of rebuilding to fix."
Chris looked it over then nodded. "Any trails?"
"Many. It's near a national park as well." He smiled. "I think you'll like the area and I'm sure both of them would like some time out of the city themselves. Before they drink themselves to death some weekend at Camp David. Neither of them really get what to do as the commander in chief and frankly, if Harris gets it anytime soon we might all die. Not from an outside attack, but because he'll be bored and date someone who'll blow us all up."
Chris snorted, shaking his head. "We can help the boy learn his job better."
"Thank you, Special Agent Larabee," he said, shaking his hand. "I'll have the paperwork done tonight so we can get you to DC in a few days. No one's doing anything for a few days and Mr. Harris was relieved he could play sick and miss the Senate for a bit." He left, going to call the director of the ATF and let him know they had agreed of their own free will. The man owed him a bottle of expensive scotch for saying they'd have to bribe them with really big things.
Chris looked at Travis. "A year?"
"You hope," he reminded.
"A year," he said more firmly.
"We'll talk about it in a year," he agreed. He left them to do whatever, including pack their desks for the next year of being in alphabet agent city.
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