Reasons for Yelling Virus Carriers To Yell.

Xander came back from his vacation looking rested, for a change, and calm.  He dropped something on Chuck's desk, looking at him.  "Go home for me tonight."

"Yes, sir."  He looked at it.  It didn't have a name.  Xander glanced at the office then at him.  "Yes, sir, I can have a wonderful dinner on Atlantis tonight."  He grinned.  Xander smirked back.  "You only have one note waiting."  He handed it over.  "Congress was strangely quiet."

"Yeah, but I'm about to piss some people off."  He walked into his office, reading the note.  The puppies bounded in and laid down in their basket.  "Good boys."  He called that person back.  It was a bit of nothingness but something he had to calm someone down about.  He hung up and got into the files he had requested to be on his desk when he got back.  He read them over, making a few decisions.  The person in charge of the base was pissing him off majorly and Jack was going to hate him but oh well.  He called someone to his office.  "Colonel, how long has it been since you've been given a promotion?" he asked casually.

Cam Mitchell looked at him.  "A while, sir.  Why?"

"Because it got noted to me that you and a few others should have had rank raises and haven't for some reason.  Do we know why?"

"I think the paperwork didn't get past the new commander's desk," he admitted.  "Again, sir, why?"

"Because something stinks to me," he admitted.  "And I'm about to make some people scream at me, General."  Cam stiffened, shaking his head.  "Yes, General, you are."

"No, sir, please!" he begged.

"You can't do worse than O'Neill did."

"I hate being called his replacement part, sir."

"Do you have a better suggestion?"


"He'll be busy sometime soon."  Cam stared at him.  Xander nodded.  "Which is why people are going to scream," he said quietly.  "Well?"

He considered it.  "If I must."

"You must.  At least until I retire and then you can talk the next guy into naming someone else."  He smiled and held out a hand.  "Give me a few days to listen to the screaming."

"Thank you, sir."  He shook his hand and left after a quick salute.  This was so going to suck for him.

Xander looked at the other ones.  Then he drafted a notice and faxed it to the Pentagon.  Within minutes he had Jack O'Neill beamed into his office complaining.  He stared at him.  "You forgot to give them time in raises," he said dryly.  "It looks political."


"Shut up, Jack.  The guy you put in there is hindering the work.  Don't think I didn't hear about the Ori ship that got real close recently.  I had to hear it from the Underground, which pissed me the fuck off, but I did hear."

Jack stared at him.  "This isn't a game, Xander."

"No shit, really?  Because I haven't fought in anything that might've gotten the world ended if we lost, right?"  Jack flinched at that.  "I've already picked the successor, who is hoping he's not compared to you again, and it'll go.  Also, I want a plan to move one of the cities."


"Where it belongs."  Jack gaped.  "If they were on earth, would you let them sit there and build strength to attack?"

"No," he said firmly.  "I still don't like that plan."

"While that's great, Jack, yay."  Jack got beamed out.  Xander called out to Chuck's desk.  "Get me Sheppard quietly please.  And no, you can't tell Lorne."  He hung up.  John Sheppard got beamed in, phone already to his ear.  "If that's O'Neill, hang up on his stupid ass."  John blinked a few times.  "That is an order."  He hung up and saluted him.  Xander smiled.  "Thanks.  Sit."  John sat down.  "How likely is it that more wraith will wander this way?"

"I've been told putting Atlantis back isn't practical."

"John, I've done nothing but fight things that wanted to destroy this earth for decades.  If they were here, would you let them alone?"

"No.  Not in the least.  Even if it was against orders."

"You have orders.  I want a comprehensive plan so you can go on my last day in office."  John smirked.  "I want the full plan, everything you'll need, all that."

"I've had some calls from other leaders wanting to have people on the city."

"I agree, this is a world-wide problem, not just a US and allies problem.  That will give them enough time to get up to speed and train the hell out of their people for it."

"The Pentagon won't like it and the head of the SGC won't."

"I don't care and I don't care.  Though the last one is about taken care of.  I'm talking to him soon."

John blinked.  "You're in battle mode," he said quietly.  "Why?"

"Because I realize I'm going to piss half the universe off.  And I don't really care.  It's necessary."

"It is," John agreed.  "You'll get some fighting."  Xander shrugged.  "Good point."  He stood up.  "I've been working on it."

"Make sure you give me what you need for weapons.  I want it within two months, that way you can establish needed infantry and specialists needs as well, plus take into account the food stores."

John smiled.  "We have that in the records."

"Yeah but now you'll have more people and some from other countries."

"Good point.  Thank you."  He saluted and left.

Xander called in Chuck, looking at him.  "Shut the door."  Chuck did that.  "I'm going to be blunt.  I'm going to be pissing off half the fucking universe, Chuck, including some of your coworkers."


"Because I'm not going to let the wraith sit there and grow stronger."

Chuck relaxed and smiled.  "I was hoping it was something like that.  Colonel Sheppard wanted to."

"I know.  I will be."  Chuck nodded.  "You're going to get a lot of shit for things."

"Why not tell Colonel Lorne, sir?"

"Because I'm not sure if he'll be able to go in the first wave or not."

"Oh.  I guess that makes sense.  When?"

"The last day I'm here."

He nodded.  "That's a good time for it and we'll be out of contact range by the swearing in.  He doesn't want the job."

"I don't know what he wants since he's apparently seeing the same therapist Buffy and Jack are, who has decided to subtly point out that I'm gay and therefore weak.  By the way, the Mountain is changing hands."

Chuck nodded.  "I figured it would.  We were all surprised when the rank raises didn't come in with the medals."

"I'm taking care of that no matter what someone wants."  Chuck grinned at that.  "Which means you're getting one too, yes.  Anyone who was there for a year goes up a step."

"Colonel Lorne can't when he's in the reserves, sir."

"He can have it once he steps out of the office.  I can arrange that."  Chuck grinned.  "No matter who wants you to sabotage things or show them the lists, even Lorne, no."

"Agreed, sir.  Should I be expecting other leaders to be calling about it?"

"Yes.  They've been calling Sheppard.  Help him prepare something to tell them what their troops need to know."  He nodded.  "Soldiers and specialists."

"Yes, sir.  I can do that.  Any other orders?"

"Not yet.  I'm about to ruin some other people's days pretty soon."  Chuck nodded and left him alone.  He petted the dogs then let them outside.  When they came back in he walked them to Chris, who would watch them for him.  "Going to the Pentagon.  Be back in a few hours.  They just went out."  He walked off, heading to the car.  Vin got to drive him today.  Xander grinned at him.  "Have a good weekend back home?"

"Much.  I got some stuff done.  Did you?"

"Ezra helped me figure out how I wanted to piss off people for the next year and a half.  There's going to be some screaming going on."  Vin nodded at that.  "Right now I'm going to chew on people for being politicians and military at the same time."  Vin snickered.  "I swear it's a disease."

"One that makes you retarded," Vin agreed.  He drove through the semi-heavy daytime traffic.  He walked Xander inside and sat in the waiting area with a book.  He had learned that lesson real well his first month.

Xander walked in and stared at the horrified looking secretary.  "Yes, I can leave the office," he quipped.  "He in?"

"Yes, sir, swearing at you."

"Good!  I'm going to make his fucking life," he said as he walked in without knocking.

"I said I didn't want to be disturbed!" he complained.

"Is that because it took you so long to become turbed in the first place?" Xander quipped, earning a stiff salute.  "Sit down, shut up, and listen."  The man did that.  "Everyone who served on Atlantis is getting a single step raise.  Effective immediately.  Like they should have when they got back."  He stared at him.  "Also, I don't care if you don't like it.  The wraith are an ongoing threat."  The general opened his mouth.

"Shut it until I'm done."  He closed his mouth, looking shocked.  "I fought too long and too hard for this world to see it taken down by mutant people eaters.  I wouldn't have let it happen in Sunnydale.  I wouldn't have let it happen in Africa.  I'm not letting it happen here.  You're to work with Sheppard on what he realistically needs and his list of desires.  Or you can pick someone to take your seat who will."

The general nodded.  "When?"

"My last day.  That gives you about a year and a half.  I know there's other countries that want in.  That's their right; it's their people to protect too."  That got a single nod.  "Also, you're going to be seeing a change in command in Cheyenne.  Tomorrow for new rank day."

"Sir, he'll complain."

"I've already heard O'Neill fussing.  Yay.  He's blocking what needs to be done.  I had to hear about that recent Ori ship through the demon underground."

"Shit," he muttered.  "One got near here?"  Xander nodded.  "I didn't hear."

"Neither did I.  Which is wrong on both counts.  Therefore, we're going to fix it tomorrow.  And fire a shrink."


"Because he's been subtly encouraging the whole 'he's married and gay therefore weak' thing."

"Oh.  I've noticed Jack's personality shifting."

"Yeah, a good therapist can talk you around to their point of view all too easily without you realizing it."  He stared at him.  "Any other complaints?"

"Colonel Lorne can't...."

"I heard.  His is effective his last day.  It can go on his change of status paperwork."

"Agreed."  He smiled.  "Any other issues?"

"I'm foreseeing screaming and ranting.  It will be by volunteer.  That's one hell of a warzone and I don't want anyone unwilling."

"That's not how we do it."

"I know.  This time, it's volunteer only."

He considered it.  "A lot of people would volunteer without realizing how hard it is."

"That's yours and Sheppard's job.  You'll have someone with some experience to train.  Find him somewhere today so I can tell him tomorrow."

"I see.  I can do that.  What about the families on Atlantis?"

"Tell me what you recommend.  And if it's going to be a permanent base or not."

He smiled and nodded.  "I'll take that option into consideration."

"It makes no sense to go back and not stay in case another one comes from that direction.  The same as I'm considering if we need an outpost or base somewhere toward the Ori galaxy that can monitor that."

"I can see that point.  I'll get with him today."

"Thank you.  Any other problems you were swearing about?"

"No, sir.  That fixed all my swearings."

"Good.  Let me know if you have more."

"Yes, sir."  He saluted and Xander smiled, walking out.

"Okay, done.  Let's book before more people get huffy."  Vin nodded, walking him out.

"Just who do you think you are walking in here like that?" one guard sneered.

Xander sneered back.  "I think I'm the fucking President and your commander, private.  And I think you just won a riding saddle in the jail of my choice."  The man blanched.  "MP's!" he shouted.  They came running.  "This fucking idiot just asked me who I thought I was to be walking around up here."

"Yes, sir, his stupidity is legendary around here," one said.  "We'll take him to the brig and talk to JAG immediately, sir."

"Thank you."  He walked off.  Once he got into the car he sighed.  "I'm going to be hearing that for a few more months."  He shook his head.

"You don't have to."

"Yes I do.  Atlantis is going home."

Vin stared at him then smiled.  "We were wondering how long that would take."

"John wouldn't let her go without him.  Now he doesn't have to."  Vin nodded, starting the car and heading back to the white house.  Where he called in a meeting.  Including Lorne.  He walked into the meeting area a few minutes after they got there.  "Shut up, sit down, and let's talk."  They all gave him horrified looks.  He sneered.

"Did you think I forgot what my job is?  I got elected to protect the people of this country for my service protecting the people of this world."  Evan stiffened.  "As for my qualifications, I might be a bit light on them but I'm not doing a damn bad job so far.  Therefore I'm going to be doing something that should have been done last year.  Colonel, effective the day we leave office, Atlantis is going home."

"You can't do that!" one of the senators shouted.  "We need her here!"

"We have the other two cities here," Xander said bluntly.  "We've given the wraith five years to regroup, grow stronger, make new ones, and build faster ships.  One may have made it this far by wandering but I'm doubting it'll be the last.  For that matter, I'm looking at Atlantis as a permanent outpost once the wraith are solved to make sure there's no problems coming from beyond Pegasus."  Evan gave him an odd look.

"We can't be the only species out there.  Some of them did evolve without help."  That got a slow nod from most everyone.  "Colonel, the issue of rank raises has been raised.  I know it was *political* that people did not get them as they should have.   As you're on reserve status, we'll have to wait on your proper one."  He nodded at that.

He looked at the rest.  "You can support me or fight me on this but I'm not the only world leader who thinks she should be back there.  It will be an earth wide project for *all* our safety."

"Sir, that's declaring war without an act of Congress, which is illegal," the Speaker of the House said.

"No, it's not.  We were attacked first.  They've already nearly made it here.  If Congress wants to bitch and whine, so be it.  We'll deal with it.  They're still going and it's a volunteer group going."  They all looked stunned.  "I'm not going to make people leave the planet to defend us if they don't want to.  I have ordered it is by volunteer for the mission since it's so far away and so hard to get communications back.

"I have had other world leaders asking when she's going back.  They know we have to protect everyone.  Atlantis is like a slayer, boys.  She needs support, backed up, and help but she's a grand fighter and she will help us protect the planet from the things out to get us and kill us all."

Evan nodded.  "Am I going?"

"I don't know.  Are you?"

"Yes.  I don't want to be president.  I'm fighting my own infection by the politician virus right now, Xander."

"Good."  He looked around.  "Is there anything you want to whine about right now?"

"How dare you," one said.  "You're treating us like we know less than you."

Xander stared at him.  "You do.  You've never been in a battle in your life.  You've never faced down a single thing that wants to kill you and is willing to die to do it.  They have.  I have.  Evan has."  The man went pale.  "Therefore those of us who protect everyone are going to do it again.  Even if you do whine."  He looked around again.  "Do we have any other comments?"  No one said anything.  "Good.  I know two of you are former IOA.  Needless to say you won't be reformed but you can offer your input into the stocking and necessary positions."  They nodded.  "The rest of you know because you should know."

"The people won't like it," the loudmouth complained.

"The people will cheer because they're worried they'll come back too," Evan said quietly.  "I agree.  If we could have, we should have launched back to Pegasus after that one got near here.  I have no idea how many worlds got eaten on the way."

"I was still getting briefed then and they said two had noticeable population dips," Xander said.  Evan stared at him.  "By the way, heard about that Ori ship."  He raised an eyebrow.

"What ship?" he asked.

"New rank day is tomorrow on the city and the Mountain."  Evan smirked.  "Any other questions?"  No one said anything.  "Good."

"Will you be telling the people this?" one of the quiet ones asked.

"Yes.  Tomorrow."  That got a nod and they all left.  Evan paused beside him.  "Are you?"

"She's my city too," he said calmly.

"Good."  He walked off.  He took the dogs back to take them outside and play some fetch while he thought.  They needed to wear out puppy energy before they started to chew on things again.

Evan went to his office to call John.  "What pissed him off this time?" he hissed.  He heard and sighed.  "No, I'm going."  He smiled.  "Thank you.  Yeah, you can.  Not like I do a whole lot."  He hung up and finished up his paperwork for the day then went to the gym.  He wasn't fully out of shape but he needed to be in better shape when they went back.  He knew what they'd be facing out there.


"How dare you!" Willow shouted once she stomped into the office.  "You don't know anything!"

Xander stared at her.  "I know a hell of a lot more than you usually give me credit for."

"Who do you think you are, Mister?" she sneered.

"I think I'm the fucking president, woman, and if you're not civil, I'll paddle your ass again!"  She flinched back and took another step back.  "Now, what is your problem?"

"You're sending Rodney away!"

"If you'd finish that degree you've been playing around with for ten years, you might have skills to go too."

"I can't take the kids!" she sneered.

"That's between you and John."  She glared.  "Atlantis is going to be a permanent base, Willow.  There are families on the other ones.  Not that many but some."

"You can't do this to us," she said.

"If it was Sunnydale and the wraith were there, what would we have done?" he countered.  She went pale.  "Even if it meant those we loved would be in danger, right?"

"How would you know?  It's not like you worried about that."

"No, I didn't give a damn about Anya at all," he said sarcastically.  "The same as you didn't about Tara."

"It's different!"

He stared at her.  "I can't believe that just came out of your mouth," he said quietly.  "I never knew you were such a switching bigot, Willow."

Rodney stomped in.  "Did she just compare us to her relationship with Tara?"

"And found yours more right.  She went back to her mother's 'that's not normative behavior' speeches."  Rodney glared at his wife.  Xander stared at her.  "You have the skills to become helpful.  Your kids are a matter that you'll have to talk about with Sheppard.  It's his city.  Until then, and until you straighten the hell up again and become human and decent, get out of my office."  She huffed off.  He looked at Rodney.  "She'll calm down in a few hours."

"I know."  He stared at him.  "It's about time."

"I know."  He gave him a weak smile.  "I've already had that same talk with Jack O'Neill too.  If you're going, take him and Buffy.  Slayers react to wraith from what the two in the program said."

"They have children as well."

Xander nodded.  "I know.  They'll figure that out.  Jack's an old warhorse and sitting behind the desk is making him antsy and edgy."

"I know."  He stared at him.  "Am I going?"

"That's between you, John, and her."

Rodney smirked.  "Are we getting more non-stupid scientists?"

"I plan on full earth cooperation for this one.  Not even the ones who hate us want us eaten by a wraith.  Atlantis is going to have her own authority if I have my way.  A subset of the military and the UN or however I do that."

Rodney blinked.  "That may work."

Xander grinned.  "I do have some ideas.  I just don't shout about them."  He saw Rodney's glance at the hallway.  "She blurts when she's upset, even if the stupidest shit comes out of her mouth," he pointed out. "She always has."

"I know.  I'll calm her down and make her apologize."

Xander shook his head.  "She hasn't been a real friend in years, Rodney.  Not since high school.  She's always thought she was more special than I am.  Even when it was proven to her that she was wrong.  It's time she grew up.  By the way, new rank day tomorrow."

"I'll spread around to be shinier than usual."  He walked out to hunt down his wife and have a loud, long argument.   He found her throwing things back on Atlantis and checked for their children.  "Radek has them?"

"Miko's back."  She glared at him.  "How dare he say that to me!"

"You decided that being in a homosexual relationship was less worthy and less loving than being in a heterosexual one.  I'm insulted on Tara's behalf too and I only know her from what I've been told."  She slumped down on the bed, staring at him.  "I think you need to work that thought out and apologize to the person who is supposed to be your oldest friend.  Though he said he thought you weren't real friends since high school."  She gave him a horrified look.

"Just don't go to the therapist that the O'Neill's are so he can't make you homophobic too."  He went to the lab to check on his precious kids.  Miko was teaching them math, which made them happy.  That made him happier and he settled in to help as well.  "We're going back," he said quietly.  She beamed at him.  He tapped his comm.  "People, a head's up.  Tomorrow is new rank day," he announced.  "I'm told we're having VIP's in to do so."  He hung up and drew out a new set of problems, going over them with the kids.


Xander walked into the Mountain, they were doing theirs first.  "Mitchell.  Thank you for meeting us," he said, shaking his hand.

"Sir," he said with a smile.  "He is not happy," he said quietly.  "He realizes something's going on."

"Shit happens when you're infected by politics."  They went down the long elevator ride coming out on the main floor.  Xander smiled at Chris, taking the box of things he needed.  "Front and center," he ordered the commander.  "It's new rank day."  He called the base-wide meeting in the gateroom.  Xander smiled.  "Thank you all for your help protecting this planet many times, even when we haven't heard.  Even when we lost brave people we should not have had to lose.  You guys do what you have to every day, even when it's hard, even when it's your own lives on the line, and the people need to thank you for that."

A few sniffled and he smiled.  "There have been a lot of medals and rank raises that have been held up by petty people with an agenda.  I'm here to fix that today."  He put the box down.  "I think it's going to take a while.  There's not a one of you who isn't noted as doing exceptional things as far as I know."  He pulled out the first few and read off the names, putting on the new rank insignia and handing over the official letters.  The medals as well when they had them.

Chuck had rubberbanded things together for each person.  Plus slipped in a letter.  "Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman."  He stepped forward looking confused.  "I know the important role that the guy who holds the doorway has.  Plus the value of an assistant who keeps things running even when chaos is flourishing.  You've served here for a long time, Walter.  Chuck said you've been at the gate console longer than he's been a super assistant."

That got a grin and a nod.  A few people snickered.  "I know how important what you do is.  You create order from the chaos, determine friend or foe, and keep us all on our toes when you need to."  He handed over the medal.  "For exemplary service in the service of earth you're awarded that shiny thing and a long letter from Chuck."  He handed it over with a smile.

"Thank you, sir."  He saluted and Xander saluted him back, letting him step back.

"We have two left," Xander said, pulling them out.  He handed one to Chris to hold.  "Colonel Carter."  She stiffened and stepped forward.  "I think you have enough pointless brass by now to make a bulletproof vest but we're going to give you more.  Everyone who served more than a year on Atlantis is getting an automatic step raise."  She smiled at that.  "And you earned a few more things for doing insane shit that worked."  He pinned them on her and handed her the box and envelope.  "Congratulations."

"Thank you, sir," she said, saluting.  He saluted back with a smile.  She stepped back.

"And now but not least, we have a major step up for someone."  He took the other box.  "You don't get many shiny things, Colonel Mitchell, but we didn't forget you."  He waved him forward, getting saluted.  "At ease.  I'm not going to stick you with these pretty stars."  A few gasped but he smiled as he pinned them on.  "I hope you continue to do insane shit that works to save us all for a very long time, General Mitchell."

He saluted him and Mitchell saluted back with a smile.  "Which leaves the dilemma of your posting since this base really isn't big enough for two generals."  The other one stared at him.  "Which is why General Clyde Deckter is going to a base in Georgia where he will be preparing people from all nations to join Atlantis."  He handed that letter to him and Cam's to him.  "Which means you might need a new chair, Mitchell.  I won't chew on you too often though."

"Thank you, sir," he said.

"Atlantis?" Deckter asked.

"Yes.  Atlantis.  She's going home in a little over a year.  We'll need the people going on her prepared for the reality of Pegasus."  He gaped.  "We've had volunteers from all over the US military and other countries' militaries as well.  Within six months you'll have to have a full program ready to train them in what they need to know.  You know what it takes to go through the gate.  You know what they need to know to survive, thrive, and win this biggest battle ever for us.  I'm trusting you to prepare them the right way."  He stared at him.  "You'll have a small corner of a bigger base to set up training areas and housing.  The base commander knows you're coming in the next few days.  That way you get a few days at home first.  Because I'm not that mean."

"No, sir, and thank you for that special appointment."

"Not a problem.  Expect the general over Atlantis to look over your shoulder a lot.  He's going to be very picky."

"I'll take his suggestions, sir."

"Thank you."  He smiled at Chris.  "Now, we have to go to Atlantis.  Have us beamed there please, General?"

"Yes, sir," they said together.  Cam called for the beam out with the box.

"Huh," Cam said, smiling at his people.  "Business as usual, people.  I mean it."  They smiled and saluted, getting one back from him.  "Go back to it.  We have to save the universe from more insane shit, that was his order."  They smiled and left him alone.  He looked at the other one.  "I'm sure you'll love the milder winters in Georgia, sir, since you didn't like our snow."

"I probably will.  I served in Texas and liked it.  Give me a few hours to pack."

"I'm not anxious to take the big desk, sir.  You take all the time you need to pack."  He grinned.  "I'm going to have some pie."  He strolled off.  There was a mass celebration in the cafeteria so he went to join in.  The all smiled at him.  "I need pie to celebrate too."  A slice was handed over to him with a fork from another person.  He sat down to get happy with the rest of them.  They deserved it.


Xander landed on Atlantis with Chris, looking around.  "You know, I might just have to come hide here some day," he quipped.

John looked at him.  "All the way in Pegasus?  You'd have to give up the horse."

"True.  So maybe just a hiding vacation."  He whistled.  "It's new rank and medal day, people.  Fall in!"  People came jogging in.  "That does include the scientists.  Some of them have medals too.  After all, you guys did insane shit too."  A few of the guys grinned at that and called them.  Xander looked around.  "I thought there were more of you."

"Some of them are UK people, sir," one of them said.

"Huh.  Well, I have a few of theirs too."  He held up a box.  The rest of the base got called in.  He smiled and stepped up on a step.  "Guys, thank you.  You guys did shit that not even I could do.  You did it to protect us all.  You suffered, bled, and you survived.  I'm sorry some of you didn't make it back and I mourn them all.  Their lives are not in vain though."  He looked around.  "Because we will go avenge them."

The crowd cheered and clapped.  "By the time I'm out of office, you're heading back.  I will let you know it won't just be the US and UK people with the Canadians.  It is a *voluntary* mission.  You have volunteers from all over the world who want to help you and work with you."  He took a deep breath.  "You guys will be honored and we will be setting up this beautiful, deadly city as a permanent outpost.  Like a slayer, she's going to protect all of humanity from the nastiest shit ever brought into the light or the dark."

They stared at him.  "Because you guys did such amazing things, things that even the slayers could not survive, you are all getting a step rank raise."  That got another cheer and he smiled.  "The rest of this shiny stuff was stuff that the political virus had blocked."  He pulled something out of the box and put it aside.  "I see a Sergeant Mays?"

He stepped forward.  He smiled and handed him the box and the paperwork.  "I won't even try to mess up the uniforms pinning on medals.  BDU's aren't for medals and you guys aren't in formal ones."  He winked.  The man saluted and Xander saluted back.  "That is your new shiny things, probably with a lot more to come."  The sergeant stepped back and he called the next one until he got back to the last two.  "Sheppard, did we forget to steal Lorne?"

"Yes, sir."  He called for him to be beamed back.  "Him, sir?"

"Him."  He stared at his VP.  "I think you were meant to have this last year," he said, holding up the box.  "Want me to try to mess up your shirt?"

"Please don't.  I was in the Senate."  He took the box with a grin and a salute.  Xander saluted back.  "Thank you, sir."

"Welcome.  Now, the last one, same as on the base, we have a new general."  The crowd cheered and hooted, clapping.  "General Sheppard, commander of the city of Atlantis, I do believe you are wearing the wrong shiny things on your collar."  He pulled out the stack of boxes and found the stars, changing them out.   "The rest is the shiny stuff to finish out your bulletproof vest.  Since you gave me mine when I wanted to hide."  He pinned the other three on him.  "Those are all yours."

"Thank you, sir," he said with a smirk and a salute.  Xander saluted back.  "Who is in control of the Mountain's base?"

"General Mitchell."  That got more cheers.  "Deckter is moving to Georgia to train for your people.  He knows you'll be looking over his shoulder and offering your opinion all the time."

"That's actually a good idea."  He grinned.  "Guys, go set up lunch.  We deserve a good lunch."  They walked out.  He looked at him.  "O'Neill?"

"I meant to fire that damn shrink," he told Chris.

"I had a word with Carter while you were handing out medals," Chris said.  "She is a beautiful city, Sheppard.  I can see why you love her."

"She is," he said, patting the nearest wall.  "She's a grand lady."  He looked at Xander.  "I might let you come hide too."

"Thanks.  I might need it."  He looked at Evan.  "Let's go back."

"Yes, sir."  Chris handed John the empty box.  They got beamed back.

Evan saw the surprise.  "Are we in an active discussion, people?"  They all shook their heads.  "Good.  I announce the President of the United States."  He got out of the way.

Xander stepped up to the podium.  "Good afternoon."  The room got quiet.  "I'm here to announce a new big thing."  He looked around then smiled.  "Atlantis will be going home in just over a year to protect us from any future wraith threat.  She will be going with a voluntary *international* force.  That way we do not have to worry that they will find us by accident or on purpose.

"We will not have to worry that the wraith will ever show up again.  That will leave us with the two cities we already have and plans from the people who studied the amazing cities the most in case we want to build another one."  That got a cheer from half the room.   Xander swallowed.  "I know some of you will not like this.  I'm aware some of you will think this is unnecessary.  I will tell you this.  In all my years of helping fight apocalypse after apocalypse, bad thing after bad thing, evil after evil, I have never met an enemy this strong and I would not have let it lie this long if I had a choice.

"Now, I have a choice.  Atlantis has a general in charge who knows her better than anyone.  She'll have a full complement of people willing to take that journey to another galaxy with her."  He looked around.  "We have plans of making her a permanent outpost.  So even after the wraith are gone, we will know if another threat comes."  That got another cheer.  "The Stargate program is looking at another outpost to do the same thing near where the Ori would have to come from.  Now, as I said, I know some of you will be uncomfortable.  I'm sorry about that.

"I am not declaring war because they attacked us first.  We accidentally stepped into that ancient war.  As our ancestors fought, lost, and ran; we will not and we will succeed and win."  He looked around.  "We are not declaring war because they declared it on humanity by eating us.  I honor and mourn all the lives we've already lost there and I will be putting out a statement making a moment of remembrance for them.

"For every one who spilled blood, shed their lives protecting us, they deserve to be honored.  The first one lost to the wraith on September 27th so I want that day to be a moment of remembrance.  A moment of silence for those who protected us all."  That got a lot of claps and a few nods.  "As for right now, we are making plans.  We will be making sure our people have what they need.  Those who have worked with the program before, you may be called in to offer advice based on what has happened in the past."

He smiled.  "As a happier end note, I will announce that I spent all morning handing out long overdue medals that had been held up by the virus of politics."  He grinned.  "Including the two new generals, Sheppard and Mitchell."  The crowd cheered at that news.  He nodded.  "I'll let you get back to your appointed jobs.  I wish you many easy discussions, people, and an easy day."  He walked off with Chris.  They had a car waiting because Xander had planned this.  Xander relaxed in the car, closing his eyes.  "Did I sound too dorky?" he asked quietly.

"No.  Not in the least.  You sounded very presidential," Chris assured him.  He smiled at Vin since he was driving.  "Atlantis is a beautiful city."

"She looks like it from the outside too."  He drove them back to the white house.

"Can I have a milkshake?" Xander called.

"Only if you don't find a gou'ald," Vin quipped.

"Then I'll get one in the kitchens."

Chris groaned and texted that to Lorne so he could have someone handle it.  They got in and the dogs ran out to bounce around them.  "Settle down," Chris ordered.  "Kitchen." They ran that way.  Xander followed, whistling to bring them back.  He was doing good with their obedience training.  They listened a lot more than the St. Bernards had sometimes.  And still let him play a lot.


Ezra walked into the apartment that night, taking off his tie.  "You look tired."

Xander smiled.  "A little bit."  He took a kiss.  "How was your day?"

"About the same as usual.  Though I did intercept Chuck hiding a call from your mother."

Xander frowned, calling him.  "My mother called?" he asked, putting it on speaker so he didn't have to hold up the phone.

"Yes, sir.  I took a message for you tomorrow but I know you don't want to talk to her."

"Why did she call?"

"Your father is ill."

"Drinking is a choice and I'm sure it's related to that.  What did she want from me?  To pay for it?"

"She didn't say.  Just to tell you that your father was ill.  Do you want me to put her through tomorrow?"

"No, you transfer her to my phone," Ezra ordered.  "That way I don't have to talk to mine."

"Sure, I'll talk to yours, you talk to mine," Xander agreed.  "Thanks, Chuck."

"Welcome, Xander."  He hung up and packed up for the night.

Xander looked at his mate.  "You sure you want to talk to her?"

"Yes.  That way you don't have to stress about that on top of other things."  He took a kiss.  "They interrupted the soap operas to show your speech."  Xander smiled.  "You sounded very good."

"Thank you for helping me write that."

"It was too important to let anyone else help you."  He took a kiss.  "Why are you tired?"

"Russia, India, and Brazil wanting in.  I told them what we were doing and when plus how to get Sheppard."  Ezra smiled at that.  "Russia kept me on the phone for almost an hour talking about his slayer's new daughter since she was there to call."

"That's wonderful."  He moved Xander's feet and sat down under them.  Xander shifted to lay his head in his lap.  "Dinner?"

"Waiting on us in the fridge."

"Excellent.  I'm too tired to cook."  He yawned.  "I had reports all day outside of the debriefing before the trial next month."  Xander hummed.  Ezra smiled, petting the dark hair.  Xander was softly snoring after a minute.  Ezra relaxed and let himself sleep as well.  The dogs raced in to jump on top of Xander.

One of the guards took a picture to show the others.  It was adorable of them.  He decided to let it slip and got enough money to have a really good anniversary.  Of course, it would be a problem when he got found out and fired the next day by Gibbs.


Xander watched ET the next afternoon, grimacing at the picture.  "I look ancient."

"You do not," Vin told him.  "It's cute.  Especially with the dogs."  They lifted their heads so he let them outside.  They came back a minute later and got petted before laying down again.

Xander smirked at the report that it had been snuck out by a guard.  "Really?"

"Fired," Vin assured him.  "Gibbs yelled for a good half hour."

"Good.  Which one?"


"Cool."  He leaned back.  "Is everyone ignoring me today?"

"They have to be.  Evan isn't taking calls."


"The reporters wanted to know why you hate them."

"For the same reason that they decided I was suddenly weak for being happy."

"I'll point that out the next time they yell at us."  He grimaced.  "When are you and Ez taking another weekend somewhere?"

"I think next month we're going to be in lower Missouri to look over a pretty campus and a city with a river festival."

"I haven't heard that yet."  He texted Chris who said they knew and was going to be briefed the next meeting.  "Okay."  He put his phone up.  "So.  What else are we doing today?"

"I'm hoping a nap.  I'm still exhausted."

Vin looked at him.  "You do look tired."

"I slept all night.  Until Ez's alarm clock went off at seven, I was napping.  We fell asleep right after he got back."

"That's almost ten hours."  Xander nodded.  "Are you feeling sick?  Sniffles?"


"Huh."  He called someone.  "Doctor, it's Vin Tanner at the White House.  The president is feeling really worn down and we're not sure why.  No, I know he beamed yesterday.  That wouldn't matter, right?"  He listened.  "In the office.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "She'll make sure the beaming couldn't have hurt you."  He looked.  Xander was asleep sitting up. "Shit," he muttered.  He texted that and Nathan came in about the same time the doctor got there.  Vin nodded at him.  "When I was calling," he said quietly.

"That is odd."  She ran the scanner over him, frowning.  "How did he get poisoned?"  Vin stiffened, sitting upright to stare at her.  "It's a slight case.  The taint is helping fight it off."  She called someone.  "This is Doctor Carolyn Lam.  I need a team for the president.  He's got some arsenic in his blood system.  Quietly."  She hung up.  "Agent Tanner, we're removing him to one of the local hospitals.  I have privileges there."  He nodded, calling Ezra.  She gave him an odd look.  "Who?"

"His husband."  He heard it be picked up.  "Ezra, your mate was poisoned.  He's got some arsenic in his system.  Doctor Lam is taking him to the hospital."  Xander woke up with a snore and an odd look at them.  "You were poisoned."

"I was?"

"Yes," Doctor Lam said.  "We're going to take you in to do a lot of blood work.  Your husband can come sit with you."

Tony jogged in.  "Paramedics are here.  Bethesda or General?"

"General," she ordered.  He reported that and helped the president up.  "You'll be fine."

He blinked at her.  "I used to lick rat traps, Doc.  I'm not going to die from this.  I might be pretty sick for a few days but I'll be fine."

"I'm sure you will be.  Thankfully the taint you have from the mermaid stuff was is helping fight it off.  That's why you're so tired."  She helped him onto the gurney and followed it.  "Have him meet us, Tanner."

"He's being picked up by McGee," Vin said, following.  Tony got into the ambulance in the front.  Vin and Chris followed along.


Ezra hung up and threw his phone, taking a deep breath.  "I have to cut this short."

"Sir, it is mandatory that you answer...." the lawyer started.

Ezra glared at him.  "My husband was poisoned.  Your petty, pedantic questioning will have to wait for another, more suitable day."  He picked up his phone on the way out the door.  "Which hospital, Bucklin?"

"General.  McGee's picking us up so we don't have to drive."  They walked outside and found him pulling in.  They got in and headed to the hospital.  The lights were on so they could break as many traffic laws as they wanted.  "Any news on what?"

"She told Tony it was arsenic, the taint was actually fighting it and that's why he was so tired."

"We'll be having her test Ezra once we get there," Buck said.  "Then make sure someone tests Lorne."

"Gibbs is already having Ducky go draw blood so we can run it."

"Good.  I have no idea how he got it."

"We're not sure but we will find out," Buck said firmly.  "Just stay calm."

"I am calm.  For now."  They pulled into the hospital's parking lot and he got out as soon as they stopped, walking inside.  "Where is my spouse?" he asked the desk person.

"Sir, we're closed right now."

"I know that.  My spouse was just brought in here."

"Sir, we don't have any female....."

"Anthony!" he called.  Tony leaned out and waved him back.  He grimaced, walking in there.  "She tried to tell me there were no women here."

The doctor snorted.  "He's not a wife."  She ran the scanner over him.  "You have some too but it's a lot less.  How long have you been tired?"

"It's been pre-trial motions and debriefings plus reports for the last week."  He considered it more carefully.  "Wednesday I was absolutely exhausted for no reason.  Last night I fell asleep within minutes of him and I don't usually find myself able to sleep sitting up."

"Okay so between Wednesday and yesterday probably," she said.  He nodded.  She got a needle and held it up.  He took off his jacket and shirt without protest.  She smiled, popping the needle in easily.  She pulled seven vials of blood and handed them off once they were labeled.  Gibbs brought in another tray of blood vials to run.  "The Vice President's?" she asked.

"Yes.  He doesn't feel sick but he has been a bit tired.  He thought it was all the arguing going on."

"Before Wednesday, boss?" Tony asked.

"He didn't say."  Tony texted him to find that out.   "Any idea what medium it was given to them through?"

"Probably ingestion but it might have been touch-given," she said.  She got reports back a few minutes later and read it over.  "That's not good.  Ezra, you show about the same amount."

"We haven't been out together in a while," he said.  "But we have had people in common around us."

"Could this be about the trial you have coming up?" Gibbs asked him.

Ezra shook his head.  "No.  I'm important but Chris's testimony is more important."

"Okay.  Could this be about Atlantis?" Tony asked.  "There's some who're unhappy."

"He hasn't really been in public since he was handing out medals and then in Congress."

She got Evan's results.  "His is infected as well.  It's just barely showing up."  Gibbs went to get him from the Senate.

Ezra considered it.  "Could it have been on something like the podium that Evan uses?  Passed to me somehow through a kiss or something?  His gums were bleeding last night when I kissed him."

"Possibly.  He touched it first, then Evan got the infection second?" she said.  He nodded.

"You probably wouldn't have gotten that high of a dose from his blood," Tony said.  "Not unless you swallowed a lot of it."

"Not that much, no."

She shrugged.  "You'll figure that out.  My job is to treat you.  I need to put you both on an IV.  I need consent to treat you both, Ezra."

"You have it."  She let him sign the papers then started their IV's.  Evan stomped in.  "You have a very minimal dosage."

"Okay.  We can treat me today?  Will I have to be admitted?"

"I can treat you with IV medicine but you'll need bed rest tonight.  You can all come back to the Mountain if we need you to."

"Take him," Evan said.  "If we both disappear, the Speaker for the House takes over and I don't want that."  She nodded, having them beamed back to be treated while Jennifer Keller came to treat him.  "Doc," he said when she appeared.

"Colonel.  Arsenic?"


"I'm sure the guards will be finding out who," she said.  She started the IV medicine and looked over the bloodwork that came in, drawing some more to check something else.  He sat down and let her do what she needed to do.  "I see his taint is working for him this time," she said quietly.

"Thank God."  He sighed, looking at her.  "How long?"

"Bed rest?  Two days.  Him?  A week probably."  She smiled.  "You'll live.  You have the least of the three of you."

He nodded at that.  "Good."  He settled in and concentrated on keeping his temper.  "Gibbs, find them.  I want them begging at my feet as soon as humanly possible.  Then I get to torture the asshole before you arrest him."

"We'll find him as soon as we can, sir."  He called Chris to start with the kitchen and the senate.  Abby was going to swab things for them.  JD was bringing her over.  He smiled at the report.   Evan gave him a pointed look.  "Abby said she's going to practice her knife work to get more spatter pictures for her artwork series."

"I enjoy the hell out of Abby.  She's a nice girl.  Bit too wild for me to date but very sweet," he said quietly.  He called someone with his free hand.  "It's Evan Lorne.  No, he's being treated for the arsenic poisoning we all have.  I'll be back on duty tonight.  He'll be off all week.  No, I don't need someone to step in for us.  He's awake and all that, just worn out.  He can handle his duties.  No, he's at the SGC's infirmary to make sure he's fine.  No one gets in there and the doctors are rabid.  Thank you for the offer."  He hung up and leaned his head back.  "I agree, politics is a virus and it's contagious."

"That's why I don't pay any attention to them outside of looking for weapons," Gibbs said.  "Need anything, Doctor?"

"Get both of us some bottled water please, Agent Gibbs.  He'll need it and I need a drink."  He nodded, going to grab them from the store in the hospital.  With Xander gone they could reopen the ER for the most part.  There would be a clear area around Evan's room but otherwise it was business as usual.  The agents could rip the city apart to find out what the hell was going on.  Because they were going to make someone beg to visit the ER.


Xander blinked, staring at Evan since he was sitting beside him.  "Did I pass out again?" he asked.

"No.  They made me quit pacing.  I was upsetting the guys."  He stared at him.  "It wasn't aimed at you."

"Who did it?"

"Someone who admitted they wanted to make me sick enough that I couldn't go to Pegasus so I'd have to stay and take over the white house."

Xander grimaced.  "They dead?"

"Begging for it."  He shifted to lean closer.  "You scared the hell out of us, Xander."

"You don't usually worry."

Evan stared at him.  "You are a friend, Xander, even when I have my head up my ass."  Xander grinned at him.  He grinned back.  "Ezra is getting dinner for you both.  The whole base is seriously worried about you."

"Is he all right?  And you?"

"We're fine.  We got light dosages from you.  Your mermaid taint was helping the arsenic poisoning be eaten faster.  Otherwise you would've died."

Xander nodded.  "Can I make them beg more?  I don't want to lose Ezra yet," he said quietly.

"He would've lost you."

"If I'm dead, I lost him too."

"Good point.  No, she's in jail.  Unless you call in a favor to have a demon pop in to eat her, you can't torture her."  He patted him on the hand.  "Want something to drink?"  Xander nodded so Evan got him some water with a straw, holding it so he could drink.  "Before you can ask, we'll be fine.  Your old liver damage isn't causing any new problems.  You'll be just fine after you rest for a few more days."

Xander nodded.  "Can I go home and rest?"

"Tomorrow.  The doctors have been fantastic superstars for you."

Xander smiled.  "They deserve nice chocolates."  Evan gave him a confused look.  "Most girls like chocolate."

"She might like that."  He shifted.  "People have been worried all over the mountain.  Are you up to being stared at?" Xander shrugged a bit.  "Okay."  He smiled.  "Mitchell wanted to come in and complain that everyone is insane."

"So are all the slayers."

"Good point."  He grinned.  "You rest.  Ezra will be back soon.  We aren't leaving you alone until you can get back to the white house."

"The puppies?"

"Chris has them at the farm.  They've decided to sleep in the barn.  Snuck out the first night."  Xander grinned at that, shifting onto his side.  Evan helped tuck him in.  "You rest."  Xander nodded, drifting off.  He settled in again, looking over when Cam walked in.  "He's been up, gotten a sit rep, reminded you the slayers are just as insane, and went back to sleep," he said quietly.

"They are, the two here definitely are."  He clapped him on the shoulder.  "Go get dinner."

"When Ezra gets back."

"Sure, I get that.  He's a good friend to have according to John."  He smiled.  "He'll be fine."

"He will be."

Ezra walked in with a box.  "Is he awake?"

"Woke up and drifted off just now," Evan said, giving up the chair for him.  Xander hummed.  "Ezra's back."

Xander blinked at him, smiling.  "I'd hate to miss you."  He took a kiss.  "Can you cuddle?"

"Tomorrow.  That bed is not big enough but we'll cuddle tomorrow."  He petted him and Xander drifted off again.  Ezra put the box down next to him so he could eat later.  He moved the chair closer and sat down.  "Thank you, Evan."

"Welcome, Ezra."  He left with Cam, going to eat and then relax for a bit.


Xander blinked at the man who walked in the next day.  "Do I know you?  You look familiar."  He knew who the asshole was but he wasn't going to give it away.

"I'm the traumatic incidence counselor," he said, sitting down next to him.  "I was wondering if you wanted to talk."

Xander stared at him.  "No, because I'd hate to have to kill you for trying to make me homophobic like you have others."  The man reared back.  He blinked a few more times.  "I could've sworn I had you fired."

"Magic is not real," he sneered.

Xander looked up and mentally called.  "I'm not supposed to show up there," a voice called.  "We did promise."

"Now," Xander called.  "I summoned it's not going to break that."  The demon appeared, making the man shriek and hop up to back away from him.  Xander looked at him.  "Yes, he got here by magic, he's a demon yet he's actually fairly nice and decent, not at all harmful, and you're still a homophobic asshole."

"That's not magic," he said hotly.

Xander snapped and set his tie on fire for him.  "Really?  Huh."  The demon snickered, patting him on the arm.  He looked at him.  "DC?"

"Loud.  A lot of loud people."

"Yay," he said flatly.  "Thank you for showing off for me."

"You're welcome, Xander.  I do owe you a lot of favors from Sunnydale."  He disappeared.

"And see, magical leaving."  The man was still thumping on his tie to put it out.

Carolyn Lam walked in and saw what he was doing.  "I thought you couldn't do that, sir," she said.

"Well, I did nearly die," he said dryly.  He grinned.  She smirked back.  She knew that was a lie.  "I fired him.  I could've sworn I did because he was talking people around to his point of view and making people assholes."

"I hadn't heard that."

"Hmm.  Talk to the O'Neill kids."

"One is here," she admitted.  She glared at the therapist until he ran off.  She let the child in.

"Uncle Xander!" she yelled, hopping up to hug him.  "Hi!"

"Hi, sweetheart."  He gave her a hug.  "I'm all right."

"Mommy said you're gay.  What's that?"

"That means I'm married to Uncle Ezra."

"Oh.  Is that bad?"

"No.  Your mommy was brainwashed and you can tell her that the next time she calls me gay."

She grinned and cuddled.  "You're so neat."

"Thank you."

"Can I see the puppies?"

"They're with the horse."

"When you get to Denver can I visit?"

"You sure can."  She grinned and snuggled in better.  Buffy walked in and gave him a dirty look.  "I think your mommy is here."

"So?  She's grumpy today.  She's having girl issues and Daddy's sleeping on the couch again."

"Yeah, that happens to all girls sometimes."  He patted her on the back.  "What're you doing today?"

"Visiting you and the mountain.  They do fairytale things here.  Did you know that?"

"I did.  I was here the other day to give out medals and things."

"Wow.  Medals are pretty."

"They are and you get them for really good work.  Like gold stars in school."

"I get a lot of those," she said proudly.  She put her head back down.  "Mommy, why don't you go be grumpy at Daddy?  That way I can cuddle."

"I think Uncle Xander needs to rest," she said firmly.

"No, I'm good.  I get to go home today."

"Are you going to Denver?" the girl asked.

"No, not yet.  Next year I get to start moving stuff back to Denver."


"But then you'll be old enough for us to teach you how to ride," Ezra said as he walked around Buffy.  "My gelding and Companion are both gentle enough to teach you on."  She squealed and launched herself at him to hug him.  Xander grinned, not minding being kicked by her.

Buffy took her back.  "You can learn how to ride when they come to Denver."

She smirked.  "Daddy said I could too."

"That's fine."  She walked off.  She had to talk to her daughter again about gay things.  "Dear, you know how Uncle Xander is married to Uncle Ezra?  We think the marriage isn't legal in this state," she said carefully.

She looked at him.  "Uncle Xander said you've been brainwashed."  She growled.  The girl smirked at her.  "Because you told me before that Auntie Willow used to be with Auntie Tara.  You said they were very happy."


"You did," Jack called from his office.  Buffy walked in there.  "You told her stories about Tara and Willow."  He took his daughter.


Jack looked at her.  "I heard the counselor we've been seeing got fired for manipulating his patients.  Also, he just told Xander magic wasn't real.  He's been trying to convince Willow of that."

She snorted.  "He's wrong about that."

"He's wrong about a lot.  He is not what I had in mind when we started to talk to him."  She glared, arms crossed over his chest.  "You accepted it with Willow and Tara but you don't want Xander to be happy?"

She huffed and sat down.  "It's not that.  What if she turns gay, Jack?" she asked quietly.

"Then she is.  She'll be whatever she wants to be, Buffy.  Whoever makes her happy will."  Buffy scowled.  He smirked.  "You look like a pouty teenager."

"I'm not a pouty teenager!"

"Then quit sulking."  They shared a look and he won.  She huffed but he won.  "Thank you."

"Fine.  Some of his ex's could still come after her."

"They're almost all in jail.  Beyond that, I'd worry more about the people coming after her because of what *we* did with our youths."

Buffy shuddered.  "I don't like that," she admitted.

He stared at her.  "I'm being offered the head diplomatic job on Atlantis."

"You'd have to leave us here."

"Sheppard is dealing with the family issue.  They have safety plans for evacuation and we can make a place on the mainland for families.  Otherwise we might lose McKay."

She shook her head.  "I like being retired."

He nodded.  "Okay."  She relaxed.  "I'd expect Willow to be stressing about that."

"She is.  She's been yelling that he can't leave her to go fight space vampires.  That's why we're babysitting tonight.  So they can have a yelling match."

"That's fine.  I'll be done in an hour.  I need to meet with Lorne."

"We can get a snack."

"We have to meet with Lorne.  The two slayers want to go."

She considered it.  "They said they react to wraith.  They're not human so we can fight them.  That would be up to Giles."

"You are on the Council's board," he reminded her.  "Which means you can make suggestions."  She nodded she knew that. "A few more want to join the program as well.  Some of the ones who're just old enough."

She nodded more slowly.  "Have they talked to the girls here?"  Jack nodded.  "Can we get them back for apocalypses?  We'll have one in the next two years."

"We can as long as we have some warning."

"Then that's their choice as long as they're making an informed choice."

"Good."  He smiled.  "Let's go talk to Evan."  She nodded, taking their daughter to walk off.  He followed.  She was having some troubles adjusting to things but she was going to be fine.  Willow had told him she went through judgmental phases in the past and recovered well enough.  She would this time as well.  Even if he had to nudge and sleep on the couch a few more nights.  She smiled back at him and he knew he was off the couch again.


Xander waved as he walked out of the helicopter.  He was walking slowly but he was doing it on his own.  The dogs ran out to pounce them and he fell to his knees, petting them with coos and love.

Ezra helped him up and took control of the leashes.  "Bed," he ordered with a smile.  They walked in together.  Ezra glared when the press secretary came toward them carrying a handful of paper.  "Not now.  He is under orders to be in bed for the rest of the week."

"Is he all right?  Is it going to complicate things later on?"

"No, he's fine," Ezra said.  "They found no lasting damage.  He simply needs to rest for the next few days."  That got a nod and the press secretary walked off.  Ezra walked his charges off, taking them to tuck them into bed.  Xander sighed in pleasure, grinning at him.  "You rest."  He kissed him on the forehead then the lips.  "I'll make sure no one bothers you."

"Can you drive off the protestor for a few days so I don't have to watch him?" he asked quietly.

"I can do so or at least make him change areas he's protesting in."  He walked off, leaving the dogs to guard him for a few minutes.  He walked outside.  "You are upsetting Xander and he's been ordered to bed for the next week," he said as he walked up to him.  "Please move your simpleton's protest up the road to another side of the building."  He stared at him.

"What happened to him?"

"Someone planning to mildly poison Colonel Lorne got him instead.  He's just out of the hospital and while he might tolerate your protest sometimes, I cannot.  Not when it's upsetting him today."

"I can move down some.  For today."

"Thank you."  He pointed.  "That is out of line of sight.  Please."  He walked off to go talk to the other staffers.  "Xander is to rest for the next three days," he noted firmly.  "No stress, Chuck."

"I've kept you informed of anything that came in outside of his mother.  I didn't think you'd be up to dealing with her."

"No, I was not.  Has she called today?"

"Earlier."  He handed over the message.

"I'll call her back before I go upstairs then."  He looked at the others.  "Do we have anything stressful to deal with?"

"Some members of congress say that sending Atlantis back is declaring war without the approval of Congress, which is illegal," the white house counsel said.

"We were attacked first."

"They said that we should have known that they abandoned the city for a reason."

"Have John talk to them?"

"That's brilliant and I'll talk to him.  Is he going to be all right?"

"He's going to be fine.  They took care of the poisoning.  He's back on good footing, he simply needs rest."

"We can make sure nothing bothers him," Gibbs assured him.

"Thank you.  He's on a soft diet," he warned.  "Soothing things because he started to cough when he was first moved."

"We can handle that," Gibbs agreed.  "By the way, your mother called DiNozzo."

"I'll talk to her after I talk to his."  He scratched his eyebrow.  "Thank you."  He walked off to his office to call Xander's mother.  "Mrs. Harris?  Ezra Standish.  No, not his assistant, your son-in-law."  She choked and spluttered.  "No, he's resting because he's been ill for the last few days.  He's just out of the hospital himself."

He listened to her complain.  "Well, you won't be speaking to him.  You can speak to me and I'll tell him what's going on but it will be months before he'll have time to speak to you because of the Atlantis project.  He's already working twenty hour days at the moment because of it."  She complained some more.  "What did you need to talk to him about?  You told his assistant that his father was ill?"

He listened and grimaced.  "Yes, I know and understand about liver damage.  He had some himself from an apocalypse battle and some torture.  He was in the hospital for weeks."  He smirked.  "Well, I do believe that cirrhosis is the price alcoholics pay," he admitted.  "I do know that he cannot donate a section for a transplant due to that pernicious DNA taint.  It would be forbidden and could kill your spouse.  No, Xander told me that his drinking is his choice.  Therefore he took the choice to have that problem pop up."

He stared at his desk while she ranted.  "If Xander had needed some when he was tortured would you have offered?" he asked.  She hung up.  "That takes care of that complaining period."  He dialed his mother's phone.  "Mother, you called?"  He listened.  "No, Mother, he's fine.  A slight poisoning but he's well and in bed for the next few days to finish his recuperation."  JD brought in a mug of tea.  "Thank you, Mr. Dunn.  Mother said hello."

"Hi, Maude," he called with a grin.  "I doctored it," he mouthed.  Ezra smirked and nodded, letting him go.  Ezra sipped, nodding it was good.  "No, Mother.  Arsenic actually.
Well, if you so chose, you could talk to your in-laws who want him to pay for things."  He took another sip.  "Yes, definitely.  No, he's incredibly busy or else he would have called you before now.  Mother, I'm not worried about his will.  That is not the man I am.  No matter how hard you tried.  Now please drop that mention.

"No, I'm quite sure he has one.  I helped him put it into legal language.  I'm quite aware of what I get and I'd rather have him than things.  Because, Mother, I'm not shallow.  No matter how much you tried.  Now, it's been a trying week and I need to fuss over my mate.  Did you need anything beyond complaining?"  He took a larger drink.  "Hmm.  He has said he can go to the Council's witches to help him carry one if we want children and of course I would be the biological father so it would come to me to raise."  He smirked.

"Mother, I would never rob my own offspring of anything coming to it."  He finished his tea.  "Now, anything else?  Because if we wanted children that badly, I could go to the same witches."  She choked so he hung up.  He went to brush his teeth and rinse out his mouth with mouthwash.  Xander woke up when he slid into bed.  "I talked to both our mothers."

"Is that why you smell like brandy?"

"It is.  JD made me a wonderful cup of brandy with tea."

"Cool."  He snuggled in, moving one of the dogs out of his way.  It whined and cuddled in again.  "I'm sorry I moved you," he soothed, petting him.  He smiled at Ezra.  "What did your mother want?"

"To make sure I was taken care of in your will or to find an heir you'd let me be an overseer for."

"If you want kids, we have to talk to the witches."

"I told her that and that I was also eligible to talk to them about carrying.  She's choking on her tongue but may take my hint to talk to your mother."


"Yes.  I pointed out you couldn't donate and yours had been injured as well due to torture."  He took a kiss.  "Rest.  They'll bring us dinner later."  He nodded, snuggling in.  Ezra picked up his book to read, smiling at the inquisitive grunt.  Since it was in French, he read it to him in that language.  Xander fell asleep with a grin.  That was good for them.


Chris answered his phone.  "Larabee."  He grimaced.  "How did you get my number, Maude?"  Vin gave him a dirty look.  He shrugged back.  "Yeah, the witches said they could help Ezra carry if Xander couldn't and they wanted kids.  Dawn would definitely help him do that.  I don't think they're thinking about it until after they're out of DC.  That way the kid isn't infected by politics."

He smirked at Vin, who was snickering quietly.  "No, I was thinking about that option myself actually.  That way I'm not alone either."  She snarled and hung up.  He put his phone aside.  "We'll have to arrest whoever she bribed to get my phone number."

"You know you're not alone anymore," Vin said quietly.

Chris smiled and nodded.  "I'm not."  Vin grinned, moving closer.  "One more year and we're back at home again."

"We hope," Vin teased.

"Xander's going to say no if they press it.  Evan too."

Vin grinned.  "Good!  It'll be nice to get back to the simple things."

"And his arms collection that Ezra will have to weed out," Chris teased.

"Definitely."  He took a kiss.  "Can we not be alone tonight?"

"You want me to get the puppies?" he teased with an evil smirk.

"Please don't.  Cold, wet noses kept interrupting my fun."  Chris smirked and took him upstairs.


Gibbs stopped them the next morning.  "For obvious reasons I'm going to shift you two off the same detail," he said quietly.

"We've been together for years," Vin said smugly.

"You got a death threat last night, Tanner."

Chris looked at him.  "Did you go behind my back and date?" he joked.

"No!"  He swatted him.  "Dumbass."  He looked at Gibbs.  "We keep it professional on the ground."

"Fine.  It's not a secret by the way.  Someone called your phone, Tanner, and it answered."


"Basically.  It was the comm officer asking about the dogs."

"Is he spreading it?" Chris asked.

"No.  Not at the moment.  He did want me to warn you that you'd be assigned to different guard teams."

Chris scowled but nodded.  "Hasn't mattered in a while but yay."

"Secret Service rules," Vin said quietly.

"Which is why I'm going to be happy to get back to Denver."

"We think they won't tap him again?" Gibbs asked.  "Or Evan?"

"No, we won't be seeing it," Vin said with a smile.  "He up and around?"

"No.  Ezra ran out to get them croissants and is spoiling him with them and reading something French to him."

"That's Ez for ya," Vin agreed, walking around him.  "Wonder if there's any croissants left."

"The chef has some on the cafeteria bar," Gibbs said dryly.  Vin grinned, going to get something flaky for breakfast.  Gibbs shook his head but Chris was snickering.  "Go talk to him.  I've got here and you were on his team today."

"Thanks."  He walked off to chew the comm officer a new one.  Someone had to.


Evan walked into the press room with Xander.  "We're going to make a short statement," Evan said.  "So just sit and listen."  They stared at them.  "I do not want to be elected for the higher office or to be VP after this term."  A few gasped.  "When Atlantis launches, my spot is as her second-in-command and that's what I want.  I've been honored to serve here but I won't be doing another term in any manner."

"Mr. Harris, are you planning on running?" one asked.

Xander shook his head.  "No.  You guys drive me nuts.  I actually started to feel infected by politics recently because I was thinking like one.  I creeped myself out."  He gave them a smile.  "It's better for my health if I don't drop dead of a stroke during a fight with someone dumb who wants something stupid."

"We were told you didn't keep any lasting damage from the poisoning," another said, frowning.

"I didn't.  It doesn't mean that Doctor Lam didn't put me on blood pressure medicine.  Apparently mine was through the roof when she checked on me.  I've been getting headaches from all the stuff that I'm clueless about and I'm going to either have a stroke or a seizure some day on some senator who wants me to be more political.  Either that or I'm going to let my temper go and I'm going to start telling people what I really think.  Because I will never be infected by the virus known as politics.  It's not the man I am.  We both hope the next people who take the jobs are just like us.  Plain spoken, non-political, able to help people that need it."

"Someone who can handle all the stuff that neither of us really get.  I know I'm disappointing my grandfather horribly but my duty is on Atlantis."

"Are you retiring early?" one asked.

"No.  Atlantis is going to launch the last day of our terms and I'm going to be on her.  I don't want to disappoint people but I feel called to that."

"Like I'm called to help the Council.  Half the new slayers haven't even had me threaten their boyfriends yet," Xander quipped.  He gave them a smile.  "We love you guys and are honored at being given this gift of an office that causes ulcers and headaches, but we'll help whoever settle in.  We know people are starting to speculate."

"Who are you going to get behind?" one asked.

"We haven't heard that anyone's announced," Evan said.  "When we do, we'll evaluate based on our criteria, but as far as I know no one's running for election."

"Thank you for being honest with us," one said with a smile.  "You're definitely not the usual politician."

"I hope the next one's more like us than the usual one too," Xander quipped dryly.  "Because that virus that makes them act that way?  It sucks.  I consider it worse to the human body than AIDS and more damaging to society too."  That got a few odd looks but a few grinned.  "It does more harm to society than any other disease in history outside the plague epidemics in the middle ages.  The conservative people who will scream about those comparisons can scream for all I care.

"I never cared what they thought before and most of the time laughed at what they complained about.  Especially the ones that complained I'm gay while showing pictures of me in my tightest and most alluring clothes."  That got more laughs.  They knew who he was talking about.  "Thank you and to the people who voted for us."  They left them alone.  They could hide in the oval office for a bit.  Evan grinned at Chuck.  "Anything new on the shouting?"

"Still some shouting but General Sheppard made a passionate speech that had some people crying.  A few that thought you were going to declare war without a Congressional resolution are bending."

"The UN Security council?" Evan asked.

"They passed a resolution that Atlantis is an international project to protect everyone on this planet, human and not.  That is before Congress and some are being vindictive for not asking them yet."

"I have that bill to present tomorrow," Evan said.  Chuck smiled.  "Do we think they'll try to turn it down?"

"I don't know," Chuck said.  "A few said that Xander called them whiny."

"They are whiny," Xander pointed out.  "In six months we'll have a partially new Congress."

Evan grinned at that.  "Yes, we will."  They went over the resolution the UN had made, then over theirs.  It was similar.  It would fly, even among the vindictive.  Especially with an apocalypse between now and the launching.

The End?

To Final Part: