Notes: bunny file is here
An Extra Xander.
Willow Rosenburg, aged thirteen, looked at her best friend and mentally sighed. Her parents were home so Xander had to stay home tonight but he wasn't looking happy with that. "I wish Xander had someone who would be there for him, protect him, and comfort him," she said quietly. Her mother looked over from the stove. "Hoping Xander's not going to have another fight with his father."
"If he was doing better in school..." her mother started.
Willow snorted. "Mother, there has never been a fight about his grades. His parents wouldn't care if he dropped out," she said.
"Nonsense, they're perfectly nice," she corrected.
Willow opened the door. "Xander, come here for a minute?" He came jogging back with a grin. "Do me a favor? Mom wanted to see how good my bandaging skills are." Xander gave her a heated look. She gave him the puppy eyes so he sighed and took off his backpack and dirty overshirt, then pulled off his t-shirt and turned around.
"What did that come from?" her mother demanded, pointing the spoon she was using to stir hamburger around. "And how did you know to do that, young lady?"
"Your books," she snorted. "And he dropped the beer bottle." She checked. "It could use some new goopy stuff, Xander. Let's do that." He shrugged, letting her get it. Her mother dropped the spoon and came over to check under the overly taped bandage, grimacing at it. "I did a pretty good job, huh, Mother?" she asked with a smile. "The stitches are a lot more even this time. Nicely tight but not too tight. And he's not getting an infection this time either."
Her mother stared at the young boy. She took the 'goop' to put over the stitches and the new bandage. "Xander, go clean up for dinner. We'll talk to you parents later."
"They're probably going to be ...asleep by then," he said quietly.
"Not when I get done with them," she said. She pointed toward the bathroom. "Both of you wash your hands. And Xander, dear, borrow a shirt from Willow. That's filthy."
"I haven't done the wash this week," he said quietly, looking down.
She stared at him. Then she gave him a hug and a smile. "Go borrow one from Willow, Xander." He nodded, grinning as he went to do that. She got back to dinner, mentally swearing and wishing that the boy had a better guardian. Clearly she needed to have a talk with his parents. Her husband came in happy and smiling. "Xander's staying over, dear." She took a kiss to her cheek.
"Because our daughter did a delightful line of stitches down his back. Apparently not the first ones she's done from my books." He gave her an odd look then went to check on the giggling kids. He pulled Xander into their bedroom to look at the bruise he could see on his hip, from 'gym class' according to the boy. Which he wasn't believing with as many scars as he had. On the way out he gave his daughter a hug for being such a good friend. Clearly she took after her mother.
Lex woke up and looked around the yard he was in. "This is not home," he said dryly. He got up slowly and stared around. He remembered a flash of light. He remembered a bit of pain but he was almost used to that anymore. He checked himself. His hands got the first stare. They were smaller. "Bloody hell," he muttered, patting himself down. No guns, no wand, no wallet. "Fucking hell!" he complained. He chanted something quietly, bringing the demon that had moved him. "I want a goddamn explanation," he growled.
"Coming from a thirteen-year-old mouth," she sneered.
"Excuse me? I'm not thirteen!"
"You are now." She let him see the wishes and smirked. "You owe the universe."
He stared at her. "Sure, let me restart my plans here," he sneered. She flinched. "Go." She fled. He sighed, looking around. "All right, apparently I need to deal with some things." He considered it, creating a priority list. He went to Willow's house. That's where he was when he was this age originally almost every night. He found them having dinner and his younger self looking upset at something but eating. And wearing a girl shirt. So someone had found out about the little medical witch-to-be's things.
He went to browse the local houses, seeing what was empty. He found a few that had been attacked by vampires but nothing too unusual for Sunnydale. On the way he considered how to deal with this. He was *thirteen*! He hated this age. He had three years to decide if he was going to let his younger self go down his path and learn to hunt. Then again, if he didn't teach him self-defense there were going to be bad things showing up anyway in a few years. So self-defense yes, saving Jesse if possible. Hunting.... He paused inside the empty house.
It was what had broken him after all.
Though it had been pretty when he had finished sinking the town during graduation.
He found the dead people's wallets and scavenged beautifully. And their refrigerator too. Then he went to get something he needed, a weapon. There were four pawn shops in Sunnydale, one up by the college that was for jewelry and immediate college kid needs. There were two lower class ones for people like his former parents. And then there was one for the demon community.
Any of the last three usually had weapons but only one would be closed right now. It wasn't like it was hard to break into it. Vampires did about every month. The owner used to have a deal with them so he could get the insurance money to offset paying out too much. He picked the lock and walked in, going to the gun cases. He bypassed his usual types, his hand was too small and they'd kill his wrists with the recoil. So that left the smaller ones.
"Pretty," he murmured to one, picking it up to pet it. "That'll work." He got a few knives and a few other things, plus the cash from the register. He'd get it back from the insurance. He snuck out, going to the hardware store to get bullets. Again, another vamp vandalized place and easy to break into. He came out with a few boxes and a new backpack. He'd need the tools and the new hand axe was handy too. Now, to stop the biggest threat to his other self. Or as he was now going to call him, the nice twin.
"Hmm, no lights at City Hall so he must be home," Lex said, strolling that way looking like a school kid coming back from a research session at the library.
Xander Harris woke up in a bright, smelly place, moaning and holding his head. "Ow, damn it."
"You know, I was so busy taking out the higher threats to us that I forgot the mundane and for that I'm sorry," a familiar voice said from beside his bed.
Xander turned his head to stare at him. "Wha?" he mumbled. Things like a suddenly appearing extra him only happened in comic books and Xander knew he wasn't in one of those. He didn't do anything to get his own special spandex suit and no one would read what he did all day for fun.
Lex smirked. "Don't ask. Long story." He leaned on the bed rails, staring at his nicer half. "Call me Lex. Everyone whimpers it in fear."
"I have an evil twin?" he snorted.
"Something like that." He stared at him. "He'll never do it again, Xander." Xander slumped, staring at him. "I'm sorry I forgot to get him first." He patted him on the hand. "The good news is that they're going to feed you in about twenty minutes. And the nurses are nicer this time."
Lex ran his fingers over a bruise on his good twin's cheek. "Don't ask. If you don't remember it's kinder." Xander swatted at the hand, scowling at him. "Dad got really mad at Mrs. Rosenburg."
"Is Willow all right?"
"She's fine. Her mother had him arrested. He got out on bail. He caught you sleeping in." Xander flinched. "You'll be okay." Xander stared at him. "Hey, if someone pulled me from my own world, deaged me by almost seven years, and made me your protector, then I've got to do that, huh?"
"Long story." He smirked. "Don't worry, it can't happen again." He stared at him. "Anyway, since you're the good twin, I'll handle keeping us safe and stuff."
"Jesse?" he asked, trying to sit up.
"I went to check on him last night. He's fine."
"Last night? How long have I been in here?"
"A week." Xander gaped. "They kept you sedated because you kept fighting with the nurses. Gave one a really pretty fat lip." Xander winced. "She said it was her fault for trying to move you while you were asleep." He patted him on the hand again. "Anyway, things will be fine. Want the tv on?" Xander nodded so he turned it on. "Cool, cartoons. I haven't seen cartoons in a while."
"Why send you?"
Lex smirked. "Because they wanted someone who could protect you, Xander. I'm not the nice twin by any means." He shifted in his chair. "As a matter of fact, I haven't been considered *nice* since I was seventeen." Xander blinked a few times. He stared at him. "Really." He grinned. "Now watch the cartoons and we can talk when we're somewhere more private and secure."
Xander nodded, relaxing and letting it go for now. "Who brought you?"
"It was a Rosenburgian wish."
"Ooh, Willow? Does she know? Because she's going to freak out at the strange stuff," Xander babbled.
"No, not yet. We'll tell her soon." He smirked. "Then we'll wait while she babbles, passes out, wakes up, and babbles some more." Xander nodded he was right, she probably would. "Watch the cartoons."
"Sure." He thought while he watched. "When did I get new clothes?" he asked.
"I got 'em."
"Oh. Are we like..." He glanced out in the hall then at him. "Are we shoplifting?" he asked quietly.
Lex laughed. "I can but no, I lifted a dead guy's wallet." Xander gaped. "He didn't need it." He shrugged. His other self scowled. He stared back. "It's expedient."
"What about their families?"
"They won't need it. I found the whole family dead." Xander slumped and nodded. He'd read those sort of stories in the paper. "Don't worry, nothing and no one is coming near you ever the hell again unless I want them to." He smirked. "Just relax, get better, and watch the cartoons."
Xander nodded, leaving it there for now. Until he got out of the hospital. Then they'd be having a talk. Clearly he wasn't the same Xander he was. Even if he looked like one. The nurse smiled when she brought in food. "Thank you," he said quietly.
"It's not a problem, Mr. Harris. The local news is coming up on channel five soon." She left.
He changed when the time went to the half-hour, staring at the top Sunnydale story. "The Mayor is dead?" he asked, looking confused. "Why would anyone kill him?"
"He might've been hiding a lot of secrets." Xander stared at him. Lex got up to close the door and came back, staring at him from his relaxed spot in his chair. "Xander, I was twenty, almost twenty-one when I got sent here." Xander nodded at that. "In my past, we had to help hunt down some of the reason for the high death rate around here."
"Gangs on PCP?"
Lex snorted. "There's no gangs on PCP, Xander. That's the worst lie ever." Xander gaped. "I'll show you when you're healthy and ready. Until then, just think horror films instead of stupid lies the mayor made to cover his friends' asses." Xander gaped harder, starting to make squeaky noises. "During my graduation, we had an attack," he said quietly. "By the Mayor." Xander slumped. "So just... Eat and we'll talk when you get out."
Xander stared at him. "That wallet thing?"
Xander nodded, digging in. He paused, then looked at him. "Our house?"
"Under police tape. Our father ran out after beating the hell out of you."
"Oh," he said quietly. "For real?"
Lex decided to protect Xander more. "Yeah, for real. I spotted him, she spotted him and screamed. I was going to deal with him but he ran." All the way to the morgue's incinerator. Which had been so very nice of him. His nicer half didn't need to know that though. He wanted him to remain more innocent this time. Xander nodded. "Eat. They won't let you out if you're hungry. We have two days anyway so it's free food." Xander dug in, watching the news. Lex watched too. They had found a lot of files that pointed at the mayor being a bad guy. It had been on the news last night. Tonight it had news that the government people had visited city hall. That had been a nice plan of his. It might even clean up the town a bit. Lex looked over, finding his nicer half staring at him. "What?"
"No, I got something from Willow." He grinned. "She hasn't figured out there's two of us yet."
"That's going to be a loud squeal of complaint," Xander said.
"Yup." He smirked. "Finish up." He inhaled the rest and put the tray aside, settling in to watch cartoons since Lex had changed it back.
"What're we doing in your life? I mean for a job and stuff?"
"Well, technically I got banished from my world for taking out so many evil things. They didn't like that. But me and the other evil thing banishers are all together." He grinned. "We've got a nice little world with two continents and all that."
"They huh?" he asked.
Lex smirked. "Again, long story. We'll talk when we're more secure. There's some people I want to introduce you to some day soon."
"Okay. I guess." Lex smirked. "Are they nice?"
"When they want to be."
"That's cool then." He shifted. "I need to go to the potty. Be right back." He got out of bed and trudged that way.
The nurse opened the door and peeked in. Lex pointed at the bathroom door. "That's fine, dear." She took the empty tray. "Did you need one? I know you can't go home and cook."
"I asked a friend's mom for dinner," he said with a smirk. She smiled back and went back to her desk to make that note.
Xander came out, staring at him. "Is Mom around?"
"With Uncle Rory. Having a breakdown probably because she realized we're twins. She thinks the liquor finally got to her brain."
"Maybe it did," he admitted. "And mine." He climbed back into bed, letting his evil twin fuss over him. "Thanks, Lex."
"Welcome." He grinned. "It's all good. We'll handle it and all that, Xander." Xander nodded and they settled in to watch tv. Xander drifted off after taking his evening meds and Lex stayed up to guard him. There were plenty of evil things in this hospital and now that he had some sharp and pointy friends he could handle that. He loved his sharp and pointy friends. Though he did miss his army of Ders that had been his last birthday present from one of his cohorts.
Xander got picked up from the hospital by his best friend Jesse's mother. "Hi," he said, grinning at her. Lex had disappeared last night so he was alone today. He slid into her car. "Thank you."
"It's not like your mother can drive, Xander." She drove them off. "How are you feeling?"
"Good. I have some pills of invincibility but otherwise I'm okay." She smirked at him. "Where is she? Am I going home?"
"The house is still locked up until tomorrow. So's she. She's in psych back at the hospital."
"Huh," Xander said then nodded. "Okay I guess. Are they making her quit drinking?"
"Probably not. She swore up and down that you're twins."
Xander snorted. "I don't think anyone's drunk enough to forget they had twins instead of a single son."
"True." She grinned. "I'm making your favorite." He bounced and beamed at her. "Jesse's already got his sleeping bag set up for tonight and all that too." She reached over to ruffle his hair once they were in her driveway. "You can go back to school next week."
"Awww, but I guess it has to happen," he said dryly. They got out and headed into the kitchen. "Hi, Jesse." He hugged him.
"Xander!" He cuddled back. "I got all your homework from Willow, who's done most of it for you." He beamed.
His mother snorted. "That's about what she's good for," she agreed. "She's a scary know-it-all," she said when the boys stared at her.
"So are doctors," Xander offered.
"True, with the way she's inhaled her mother's textbooks maybe she'll be a real doctor, unlike her parents. What happened anyway?" she asked Xander.
"Apparently Mrs. Rosenburg said something mean about me and Willow made me come back to show her latest stitching attempt," he said dryly. "So she screamed at my parents."
"Oh, dear," she sighed. "Yes, Sheila is a bit...reactive. Why did you have stitches this time, Xander?"
"I got in the way of someone digging out a plastic cork with a knife while drunk because I was making a sandwich. Of course, the thing was twist-to-open...." She sighed and nodded once. "Not too bad and she did a really nice job. Straight, didn't pull or sag. I'm guessing the nurses pulled them when it was time."
"Probably." She patted the boys on the head. "Go arrange stuff for your sleepover while I try not to yell at Willow's mother. I wondered why she was ranting that your father had run like a gutless coward."
"Apparently he was on bail that morning after she got him arrested for it," Xander said dryly.
She winced. "That makes even more sense. All right, go do boy things." They ran off. She smiled and got to work on dinner. She loved her son and her son's best friend. If she could afford to she'd take in Xander, but there was no way right now. However, that twin thing.... She went to talk to the boy she saw lurking. "Don't you dare." Lex froze, knowing that tone of voice apparently. She stared at him. "I know he hasn't been twins."
"No, someone wished him to have someone protective to watch over him." He smirked meanly. "I came from home to do it."
"Not really. Just an alternate him. Someone who's a bit more knowledgeable about how to kick ass and all that."
She nodded once. "I see. So you're not going to hurt Jesse?"
"I missed him when he died," he said bluntly. She shuddered. "I'd do anything to protect Xander and Jesse while making sure that they never turn into me." She nodded and went back inside. That did ease things a bit.
She came to the door. "You still have to go to school." She shut the door again and went back to cooking.
Lex snorted, shaking his head. "Not at Hellmouth High I'm not." He faded back into the shadows. He really was out of practice for stalking. He had to work on that a lot before he went to check on this world's version of his cohorts. He missed his asshole friends a lot. And his Army of Der.
Xander looked around the house once the officers had taken the tape off. He looked at the one staring at him. "Not like I'm not usually home alone."
He snorted. "We know, kid. Your mom's due out next week."
Xander nodded. "That's fine. Maybe she'll go live with Uncle Rory?"
"Doubt it," he said with a smirk. "Speaking of, he's babysitting you before CPS shows up." He walked off happier.
"Bet me," Lex said as he stepped out of the house. "He's in Mexico." He smirked, letting his twin in. "I bought groceries and I bribed someone into cleaning the house." Xander beamed at him for it. "Including your room." Xander went up to check it over.
"Why do I have new clothes?" he called. He came back down the stairs to stare at him. "Did you get them the same way?"
"Yup. We're sharing," he said with a smirk. Xander stared at him, arms crossed over his chest. "Don't give me that look. I know you're ticklish."
Xander snorted. "It's still wrong."
Lex stared at him. "Get dressed." Xander huffed but went to do that since he needed to shower anyway. Lex made them a sandwich, giving Xander his when he came back down the stairs. He led him out to the demon bar, settling them across the street in an empty building that used to house a fashion boutique sort of store. "Tell me when you find something you recognize." He finished his sandwich.
Xander stared, looking confused. "Why is that thing purple?"
Lex looked then at him. "Because it's a demon, though that's a harmless one." Xander gaped, making squeaky noises at him. Lex stared back. "There's some not very nice ones. Including vampires. Which is why this burg of hell has such a very high death rate." Xander made a higher pitched squeaky noise. "In my world, I became a Van Hellsing sort and helped a hunter. You won't be." Xander swallowed and stared at him. Lex stared back. He pointed. "There's another dangerous one." He told him about them, what he knew for certain and what was rumored but he made sure he knew that. It was a good, long talk about the bad side of town that Xander hadn't seen yet.
Around dark they heard a sigh from someone and looked behind them. Lex pulled his crossbow and shot him, making him go to dust. "Vampire."
Xander swallowed hard. "Why are they here?"
Lex got up and took him out, going back toward the house. "See, underneath the high school library is a... well, it's a gateway sort of thing. Or really a time/space rip in some ways."
"A weak spot," Xander said. Lex nodded, smiling at him. "Okay. And that's bad?"
"It doesn't go to nice places. Most of them would be called hell dimensions but that's in the eye of the beholder. Dean hated the one that had no music. Sam hated the one that made humans slaves." Xander nodded he got that concept. "Unfortunately that rip leaks, a lot. That energy is what blinds everyone to them being funny looking. And the death rate."
"So....." Xander said, considering it. "How do we guard against things like that?"
"Well, first of all, we're going to do some simple rune wards on the house. That way they can't get in there." Xander beamed at him. "Then you're going to self defense class while I brush up on technique." He grinned. "Because this being seven years younger sucks ass."
"I guess it would for you." He stopped him, staring at him. "Do Jesse and Willow help you?"
Lex stared at him. "Willow does."
"Why doesn't Jesse? He'd normally jump into something like that."
"Because one of them got him, Xander. Which is why I hunt."
Xander slumped but nodded, looking at his feet. "Okay. How do I stop that?"
"We're working on it now." Xander looked up at him. "I missed him like hell, other self. I really did. I don't want you to go through what I did when he turned to dust."
Xander nodded quickly. "Please?" he asked quietly.
"If I can. After all, I'm here to protect you and make you happy." He smirked. "Let's get dinner." They went home to make something simple because neither one could really cook. Rory was waiting on them. "Huh, I thought you went to Mexico after your last girlfriend."
Rory sneered, staring at him. "I know there was only one of you before."
"Yeah but then someone wanted him to have some fun so I got brought." He beamed. The older man threw something on him. Lex shrugged. "Holy water, yay?" he asked dryly. "I'm not a demon. I'm him from another realm." Rory choked. Lex walked closer, all smooth threat and evil vibes. "I protect my other, nicer side. Any other questions?"
"You..." he spluttered. Lex pulled out a knife and put it onto the counter. Rory gaped. "You can't."
"Bullshit. I blew up half of Sunnydale protecting everyone."
Rory gaped, backing away from him. "No way my nephew could do that."
"You'd be shocked since I was hunting." He smirked. "Now, anything else?"
Xander put a hand on his arm. "He won't hurt us, Lex."
"Yes he will." He smirked. "Peoria." Rory blanched and fled. He put the knife back. Lex looked at his nicer self and grinned. "Let's keep him away from Willow, all right?"
"He's a perv?"
"Supposedly he got drunk and did it. No clue otherwise."
"Yeah, let's not let that happen," Xander decided. "I'd kill him if he touched Willow." Lex smiled and shook his head. "What's Willow like in yours?"
"Scary. She got magic to work." Xander gaped, making whiny noises. Lex nodded with a smirk. "She's really powerful and scary with it."
"Wow." He paused. "You blew up the town?" he demanded.
Lex nodded. "There was a massive apocalypse battle at the high school and I spread the love around to ruin a lot of vampire sanctuary spaces." He grinned. "That's why some people consider me a bit scary."
"Why did you change your name?"
"When we got kicked off the realm, Draco, Harry's pet, decided that it wasn't a good enough name to fit the image everyone had given me so he switched it." He shrugged. "I was sulking hard but it happened."
"I guess I can understand that. Did Willow go with you?"
"Nope. Harry and Draco, who he took in during his war that he ended up being the *hero* and villain of. Sam and Dean. And me."
"Huh. That sounds sucky, like you'd get bored."
"We have a full realm together. Two full continents. Harry and Draco got the smaller one and I share the bigger one with the hunters of doom." He smirked. "You'd like them."
"Sure, I'd like that." He grinned. "New friends are always good. Will they like me?"
"The ones here aren't as...crossed over as mine are, Xander. They're a lot like you at the moment." They shared a look. "My crew of assholes are all battle scarred and to the point of 'fuck it, both sides can go' about the next one that tries to draw them in." Xander nodded he got that even if he didn't know what that felt like himself. "So we'll see." He grinned. "The ones here are still at their relative ages and younger, so fewer battles."
"We say fewer instead of less?"
"Draco nags. Harry may paddle him for it now and then but he's the poufiest nagging bitch ever." He smirked. "Which is apparently how Harry likes it." He shrugged. "He's pretty and smart but he's got a dirty mouth most of the time." They checked the kitchen and got what they wanted for dinner, starting it cooking. Someone knocked. "I smell real food so I'll hide from the Rosenburgs."
Xander grinned as he bounced out to get food. "I was just baking stuff," he said happily, taking the paper bag and hugging both Rosenburg women. "I'm better now."
"I heard," Mrs. Rosenburg said, smiling at him. "Who's staying with you, Xander?"
"My uncle. He'll be back later I'm sure." She grimaced. "It's all right. It's not like I'm not used to being the only one with sense in the house," he said with a trademark grin to make her worry less."
"I made you cookies," Willow blurted.
Xander beamed. "They'll go great with the chicken!" He hugged her again. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." She blushed and ducked her head but her mother patted her on the back. "Are you really better?"
"I'm fine. The nurses were so spoily I even got extra jell-o." Willow smiled at him for that. "It'll be okay." Mrs. Rosenburg grimaced but nodded. "Really, who knows where I'd end up if someone told them that Uncle Rory's off with his girlfriend at the moment?" he asked her quietly.
"Good point. Some of those foster homes can be a bit rough, though I know there's good ones around. Just not any that I've seen locally. You'd probably have to leave town." Her daughter gave her a pitiful look. "Fine, I won't tell anyone."
"Jesse's mom is probably checking on him too," Willow said.
Xander nodded. "Mrs. McNally is so checking on me. She made me my favorite stuff last night." He beamed. "Jesse even took the sleeping bag." Willow grinned. "Thanks for the homework too."
"You're welcome," she chirped with a grin. "I made extra notes in case you're lost." She handed them over. "That way you don't get behind." She beamed and her mother patted her again. "We're on our way to Temple services. Are you sure you'll be okay?"
"No one's here to hurt me, Willow. What trouble can I get into? The cable's off again so no tv I shouldn't watch or anything like that." She grinned and left with her mother. He closed the door and took the bag into the kitchen.
Lex looked up from stirring some pasta in a pot. "I'd never stab you unless you asked me to."
Xander swatted him on the arm. "I'm not like that." He considered it. "Am I?" Lex shook his head with a smirk. "Good!" He beamed. "So, dinner?"
"Much dinner. What did she bring? Beyond Willow cookies." He looked in the bag and they pulled out the various containers of casseroles and vegetables. And the cookies of course. "Huh. Regular chocolate chunk. If she turns you into a dog, you get butterscotch," he said dryly, putting them into the fridge. The fridge was generally a safe, bug free place in the house. The cabinets he wouldn't trust for a while.
Xander looked at him. "She turned you into a dog?"
"Buffy, not me." Xander looked confused. "That hunter I worked with?" Xander nodded. "Nicer and less brainy version of Cordy. Without the snark."
"Ooooh. Cheerleader?" Lex nodded. "Huh." He got to work checking on the chicken and making sure they had clean plates, forks, and glasses. "No milk," he complained, searching the cabinets for the powdered milk box.
Lex opened the fridge and pointed. "No, we have real milk. I hate powdered milk."
"So do I," Xander admitted with a goofy grin. "But it's easy."
"That's even easier. You go, buy some, make sure it stays cold." He patted him on the arm. "It's not even that expensive right now." He checked a piece of pasta and drained it then the chicken, taking it out to rest. He swatted Xander's hand. "It has to rest or it'll be dry." He grinned. "So said Willow's later girlfriend."
"She has a girlfriend?"
"Now. She had a boyfriend but he had to leave for a bit." Xander pouted. "Tara's a sweetheart and I'll always protect Tara from everyone." He stared at him. "Tara's a lot like what our sister would be. For less drunk reasons."
"Oh. Then I guess I'll like her." They dished up dinner and sat down to eat. Then Lex showed him how to pirate cable. That was neat and they now got a pay channel, which was wonderful. They could watch nudie flicks later that night and no one would know.
Lex faced down the next on his list of slime sucking morons and dangerous things that were best served off the hellmouth. "Vice Principal Snyder," he sneered.
"Harris," he sneered back. "What are you doing here? You'll never make it to the high school."
Lex cackled. "Really? You think so?" He pointed at his twin, who was being badgered by Jesse for some of his cookies. Snyder looked then gaped in horror at him. Lex smirked. "Yes, I know *exactly* what you're doing here, Snyder. I know all about the plots with Mayor Snakey-demon. I know all about the bullying code to break some of us so we're easier sheep. I know *everything*." He sneered. "And I'm so going to let others know." Snyder walked backward shaking his head. "Sunnydale needs to be safer now that the future wannabe snake demon is gone." He smirked evilly. "I should make sure of it for my nicer twin."
"You've never been twins before!" he said hotly.
"Yeah, and then Willow's mommy decided my nicer half needed a protector." He sneered. "Just you wait, Snyder. I'll do *fantastic* making Sunnydale safer." Snyder shook his head quickly, turning to run off. Lex really wanted his wand but he did know some wandless spells. He knocked Snyder down the stairs he was trying to run down. He fell down and cracked his head. Lex looked. "The vice principal's bleeding," he called. "Someone get one of our crummy ambulance guys!" Then he strolled off to the bathroom to check his hair and for zits. He hated his acne problem.
He hated being thirteen but he'd handle it well enough as long as he didn't become the zit patrol. He came out and found a few teachers sobbing and one calling someone more official. "Eww, is that brain matter?" he asked, pointing at the puddle of blood. The teachers got him hurried outside and away from things. Lex strolled over to where Willow was giving him a horrified look. "VP Snyder just fell down the stairs. He's got a severe head wound." Willow shuddered.
Jesse snickered. "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy." They got back to work. "Mom told me."
Lex smirked. "That's fine. I didn't expect I could keep it from you two anyway." Xander shook his head. He leaned down to kiss Willow on the temple. "Tell your Mom thanks for calling me to protect my nicer self." He smirked. She let out a loud whimper, shaking her head. He nodded. "Yeah, wish demons, Willow." He smirked. "You'll find out more some year soon." He patted her on the head. "Xander, we're due home soon." Xander pouted at him. "She's out today."
"She's going to trash the house," he muttered, gathering things up. The other two followed him home. "You guys sure?"
"She can't be drunk yet and she's not the violent drunk," Willow told him. "She's only been out for about an hour or so probably." Xander nodded that was true. They saw the ambulance go speeding past. "Poor guy. Why did he fall down the stairs?"
"He got stunned when I didn't back down from his biting comments and wit," Lex said dryly. "Then again, he's one reason why there's been some dead cheerleaders." Xander shuddered. "Yup, exactly." They walked in together. Xander's mother stared, starting to whimper. Lex grinned. "Hi, Mom!"
"Oh, god, you're a hallucination!" she said, reaching for her bottle. Lex got it and handed it to her after glancing at the label. She checked, then Xander. "You're not twins."
"Mrs. Rosenburg wanted him protected," Lex said with an evil smirk. "So I got summoned." His mother whimpered and nodded. "Anyway, she brought over dinner so we're having leftovers tonight unless you want to cook?" She slowly shook her head. "Okay. Jesse, Rosenburgian meatloaf?"
"Mom would get pissed since she's up," Jesse said. He nudged Xander with a grin. "Maybe he can ride a motorcycle?"
Lex leaned out of the kitchen. "Not only can I drive, I can drive heavy equipment and bigger trucks, plus a motorcycle." He smirked and went back to warming up stuff. "Willow? Are you staying?"
"No. My parents are gone again." She smirked at Jesse. "I'm having ice cream tonight."
"I'll see if Mom can give me two dinners." They ran out together.
Xander looked at his mother. "Are you all right, Mom?" he asked quietly.
She swallowed her pill, nodding. "I'll be fine, Xander." She stared at him. "Are you?"
"The nurses did a bang up job," he said with a grin. "And Willow made us cookies."
"That's good," she said weakly. "Do you know where your uncle and father are?"
"Uncle Rory's with his girlfriend in Mexico according to Lex and Dad.... No clue."
"Last anyone heard in town he ran to the police station to hide," Lex lied dryly. "But they're not saying why." He came out with plates then went back to get milk and brought it back. "Here we go."
She looked at the milk then at him. "No beer?" she asked calmly.
"You can't drink on those sort of pills, it can make you hellishly sick and send you back to the ER," he said, taking a bite.
"Oh," she said flatly. She dug in and when they were all done Xander did dishes. She looked confused. "You're doing that already?"
"Yeah, that way we don't get bugs again," Xander told her. "I hate bugs, Mom."
"I guess that's a good habit to get into," she admitted quietly. She cleared her throat. Lex stared at her then went back to reading. "What are you two planning on doing?"
"Protecting him by having him take self defense classes," Lex said with a small shrug. He went back to reading.
"We can't afford... not without his father's check."
Lex stared at her. "Don't worry about that." She nodded once. "And he can draw his dependent's benefits." She nodded faster. "Plus he did have life insurance."
"No we didn't."
"Yes we dd," Xander said from the kitchen. "That guy Mario that keeps coming around? He's your insurance agent. You signed you both up."
"Oh. I did?" Xander came out to find the papers, handing them over. She stared. "Huh." That was a great policy amount. She put them aside. "Has anyone done that paperwork?"
"They'd have to prove he was dead, which can take seven years if no one finds a body," Xander reminded her. "That's what Carolyn Springer was complaining about last month, Mom."
"I didn't remember much of what she said." She looked at her not-son. "Will they find one?" she hissed.
He shook his head. "I didn't kill him. I drove him off. I drove him to commit suicide maybe," he said dryly but quietly. Xander was still a bit...squeamish about things. He didn't want to upset him. He stared at her. "Someone will wonder sometime."
She nodded once. "Thank you."
He smirked. "Anything to protect my nicer self."
"Good to know." She got up to get some water and came back out to sit down. "You bought real milk?" He nodded. "It's really expensive. Powdered milk makes more gallons."
"Perhaps but it tastes disgusting and Xander's going to break bones in a few years if he doesn't get enough calcium. So it's milk or cheese."
"I remember the last time he gorged on cheese," she complained, glancing into the kitchen. Her son was blushing. She looked at her not-son again. "Are you human?"
He put down his book, staring at her. "I'm just an alternate Xander from another reality, Mom. Really." She swallowed some water. "Technically, someone made a wish to get him protected and they pulled me, deaged me, and then sent me here."
"Can they put you back?"
"Not at the moment. Even so, my friends would pick on me." He smiled. "It'll be fine. I'll protect you and him unless you turn into our father."
She shook her head. "I'd never do that." He grinned. "Are you two...sharing a room?"
"I've been on the couch."
"That's fine. I noticed it's clean."
"I bribed someone to come clean the house. Including steam cleaning the couch and every other piece of furniture. There's no more nastiness in them."
She smiled. "Thank you." She took her water and pills up to bed. She had a lot to think about. Thankfully the pills kept her calm and rational at the moment. Because this was freaky. Her son was now twins. That wasn't normal.
Lex watched his mother go answer questions for the police. They had found a few teeth and an old pin that could be traced back to their father's medical records. Xander was in school. Lex was making plans for either predictable action their mother might take. He answered the phone. "Harris household." He listened. "She's answering the police's questions about why our father was in the morgue's crematorium's oven. There, yes. Sure, I'll let her know when she gets back."
He hung up and made a note, putting it on the table. Then he got back to the magic text he had lifted from a vamp's former house. He wasn't sure if he wanted stereotypical result of her filing the insurance paperwork or not. It'd be easier without her around panicking but.... Xander could still use some parental support if she was going to stay straightened out. He turned the page, looking up when the door opened. "The insurance guy called."
She nodded, taking the note and the phone into the kitchen to call him back.
He listened. She wasn't sure if she was running or not. So he'd have to wait and see. And plan on robbing more vamp lairs. Right after he took out the Master. He had to get a special pet for that. Which would take some planning.
She came out and put the phone back then left again.
Lex waited. He'd know soon enough. Xander came home from school with Jesse and Willow. Willow frowned at the book then at him. "What?"
"That's in Latin."
"Yes, I learned to read Latin when I was sixteen." He smirked. "It's also a book from a secret society." She huffed. He put it back into the bag and settled in. "Xander, that's ..." He drew out the figure. "That's construction stuff, which we're excellent at." He grinned.
"Okay," he said, changing it that way. "Hey, that's not that hard," he said with a happy grin.
Willow smiled. "I'll keep that in mind for later lessons." Jesse moaned and took the same figure to work on. They could handle this. Lex added in some other information, which helped them both.
Xander walked up to his evil twin a few days later, staring at him. "Did you kill Mom, Lex?"
Lex smiled at him. "No. She got the insurance money." Xander moaned, shaking his head. "Maybe she went to spend time with Uncle Rory in Mexico." He shrugged. "It had a suicide clause that made it worth double."
"Ooh." He sat down. "So major money?"
Lex nodded. "There might be some left. I'm not sure what's going to happen there." Xander nodded, sitting down next to him. "I also did the paperwork for dependent benefits, filed a missing persons case about her, and Uncle Rory, and then I updated your file with DHHR so we get more foodstamps." Xander beamed. "And went grocery shopping."
"You mean we have new twinkies?"
"Yeah, but I ran into Willow's father so we have veggies too."
"Pity." He got up to look in the fridge. "Pie!" he squealed, coming out to hug his evil twin then going back to get a huge slice. He brought one for him too and they settled in to eat pie. Xander looked at the book. "It's dusty and in a funny language. Do we really like it?"
"It's on magic. I'm still teaching myself." He smirked. Xander gave him a horrified look. "We'll see if you can later on." Xander nodded, stuffing his mouth. Lex would blow his mind over those things once he had a replacement wand. Xander finished his pie and went to wash the plates then get a few new comics Lex had left on his bed. "Welcome," he called at the squeal.
Lex grinned. Spoiling his other self was so easy sometimes. A few sweets and a few comic books. He was a really cheap date. Or would be when they were older.
Lex opened the case and pulled out the higher weapon, looking it over. The Master was babbling about something, them getting free probably. Lex took aim and blew the vampire into bits and pieces. He smiled at the vampires staring at him. "What? I don't think Sunnydale needs someone like him. It might piss me off again." He sneered. "And no one wants to do that." He strolled off.
"Who the hell are you!" one female vampire yelled, following him.
Lex staked her, looking down at her ashes. "Lex." He strolled off whistling off-key. He threw back something he had modified and when it went off, the ceiling caved, burning them all in the sunlight. Lex staked the few that were trying to run but it was a good job. Now he had a few new sources of income. Though the former Mayor's stash needed to be moved before someone got wise and raided it. That would suck. He needed to get his good twin some leather pants so he could draw a decent woman some day.
Lex finished moving things to his newly hidden area - long live magic hiding spells - and went home to find Xander pouting on the couch. "What happened?"
"Cops showed up at school," he pouted. He stared at his evil twin. "Is 'going to Mexico' your code for they're dead?"
"No. Rory went to visit his girlfriend down in Tijuana." He flopped down. "Why?"
"Mom died in a car accident. Apparently she drank and took her pills."
"I warned her it wasn't a good idea. I'm sure the pharmacy and the docs did too."
Xander nodded. "Probably. The cops all sneered and said that Rory had been killed by rebel forces of a drug dealer."
"Well, there's some down there," Lex admitted. "But he wasn't in that part of Mexico. Neither was she." He considered it. Xander was giving him a hopeful, pointed look. "We can pack and hide somewhere nicer." Xander gave him a confused look. "I've been setting up a safe spot, Xander."
"Oh." He considered it. "The cop sneered I'd have to find new relatives to move here."
"Let's go check it."
Xander nodded, following him outside. They found someone in there but Lex shot him with the crossbow. Xander looked in the other rooms, ignoring his twin smirking at the idiot officer. "Why here?"
Lex looked then summoned everything back, moving his twin out of the way of the floating things. The officer... well, being on the floor meant only a few hit him. Mostly the floating trunks. Lex stared and summoned the rest by name and it came zipping in to pile itself in the spare room. He looked at Xander. "That." Xander was gaping in awe. "Vamps didn't need it." He smirked then at the officer. "Did they?"
"Some of that was the city's backup funds," he growled.
"Yeah," Lex snorted. "Because Mayor Wilkins would've let anyone touch his illegally gotten gains?" He smirked. "I can easily turn it into the Feds instead. That'll get us a great reward." The officer started to babble and shake his head. "Huh, I don't think he likes that." He called the FBI number. "Hi, I was exploring in my town and found some gold bars that're piled suspiciously in a house that's mostly underground. No, I'm serious. There's a cop here babbling about it."
He kicked him on the temple, knocking him out. "That'd be great. Thank you, ma'am." He gave the address and hung up, looking at his twin. "Which means we won't have to worry about cashing things out." He smirked and went to hide what he absolutely wanted to keep. "When did I get the higher weapons?" he asked, considering it. He moved them out of the way. He got caught by the agent coming in that Xander let in. "I'm hoping behind there is money," he said with a grin.
"Sure," he said, looking in a case. He moaned. "That's bad. Gold?" Lex took him to show him the piles. He moaned. "Damn!"
"We don't want to be in trouble but we were looking at this as a hidey spot from the relatives of fucking idiocy," Lex said. "One of them put my twin into the hospital."
He looked at the kid then at him. "Why?"
"He caught him sleeping in after being arrested for trying to stab his spinal cord."
"Dirt," he muttered. "Don't touch anything else."
"Can't I have the two things that aren't weapons? They're clothes," he said, showing him. "We could use some new clothes. I kinda found these."
The agent nodded. "Fine." He called in someone else, and they showed up with a truck. The gold got whisked off. The artillery too. The officer got taken to the ER for a statement to be taken because no one believed that the two boys had shot him and beat him. The agent stared at them once they were done. "Your parents? We should talk to them."
"One is missing, the other's possibly in the hospital," Lex sighed. "She was put in for a sudden mental snap due to drinking and then was drinking on top of her mental pills."
"That can make you really sick," he agreed. "All right. I'm not going to say a word. Do you guys have adults you can go to?" They smiled and nodded. "And you're moving stuff here?" They both nodded again. "You had better not get into any trouble or they'll put you in foster care so damn fast." They nodded they knew that. "Good. Be safe, kids. It's a harsh world but you two at least have each other." He left, going to make his report, which did include the twins. His boss could scowl but they all knew Sunnydale had crooked everything in their city. CPS was just one dirty agency. The twins were safer on their own.
Lex unhid the rest and grinned at his twin. "There's another three repositories we can raid."
"It probably belongs to the city or something."
Lex considered it. "Maybe but they'd only fight and destroy each other over it." He grinned. "We can live on it for a long time and no one would ever have to know."
Xander considered it. "We have to clean out the house. I'll think about it. Willow would be *really* mad at us. So would Jesse."
"It could fund a great comic collection."
Xander wobbled but shook his head. "They'd still be mad because it's wrong."
"It belonged to vampires, who got it from the people they ate."
"Welllllll......" He sighed. "I'll think about it." Lex nodded and they went to clean out the house. The new house had better, clean everything. No chance of bugs showing up. They each had their own bathroom. The utilities were on. They had better cable. It was much nicer and in a better part of town.
Lex got pushed into handing the other gold holding spots to the nice agent that hadn't busted them. Gold would draw attention anyway. The agent nicely made sure they got any loose money there that wasn't bound from a bank as a reward. And whatever else Lex could steal before he got there. Afterward, Lex went to check out the sewers. Everyone down there had heard of him and they would not be bothering him or Xander. He'd make sure of it. No one was touching his nicer twin without his permission.
Lex spotted Giles the day he moved in. He was waiting on him since he had seen the news of the fire in LA. He had spent the last two years teaching Xander how to be stealthy, be a bit looser of a good boy, and protecting them both. So he followed Giles back to his place, pinning him and floating him inside once he had the door open. "Thanks, I hate picking locks."
The man spluttered. "Who are you, demon?" he sneered.
"I'm not a demon." He stared at him. "I'm also not native to this reality. It was a wish thing to protect the me here." He stared at him. "Buffy's going to be fine. A bit worried, she'll want to retire because no one wants to see her going back to the mental hole of white rooms and pills." He stared at him. "In my world, I met Buffy on her first day of school in Sunnydale. I helped her, then her and Kendra when I did CPR on her and it created two, and when Kendra died I helped her and Faith." Giles gaped in horror.
"By the way, that prophecy about her dying at the hands of the Master? I blew his ass up two years ago." He stared at him. "I'll help you when you need it. Quietly but I'll help. I've spent the last two years making sure there were less threats coming for my nicer half," he said dryly. "But you will not involve my twin. You will not let him hunt. You will not do more than teach him languages if he wants. We do have a gift for it. Can we make this deal?"
Rupert Giles swallowed. "Why should I trust you?"
Lex walked over to a book and pulled it down, holding up the entry he wanted so the older man could read it. "That's my nicer half. That's where I started. And during an ascension battle we ended up blowing up a school and half the town to remove a lot of vamps. Then I went on a road trip and found my slightly as badass cohorts." He smirked. "And helped Harry Potter with his battles. Then some roaming hunters with theirs."
"Oh, dear lord," Giles muttered.
"Janus, since we saw Ethan Rayne that once in my world, well three times, or some other one?" he asked, smirking a bit.
"Y..you..you saw Ethan?"
"Yeah, the funny mark you both wear, from The Dreamer, it got set free. Then he turned us into our costumes one Halloween. Very helpful since I went as a soldier. It helped immensely around town, even when you guys all tried to shove me aside as being *normal*. And then there was the time with the youthening potion in the chocolate," he finished with a grin. "It was kinda funny watching you go all Brit punk, Ripper."
"Oh. I say...um..." He considered it. "Why would your twin...."
"Because I broke. I went with expedience. We're classic white knights. They took a friend and even before then one tiny blonde girl shouldn't have to do it alone. Which I agree with. That's why the town's thirty percent safer since I got here. Like I said, I'll gladly help, Rupert. Not a problem. You can teach my twin languages, research stuff, I'm learning magic because Harry and Draco spotted I had a lot. It's keeping certain future witches from starting down a magic addiction path."
"That's fairly rare."
"No, it's not. We have two dealers in town."
Giles slumped, considering it. "I can help your twin with those things. I'm assuming he's at the high school?" Lex grinned and nodded. "Are you?"
"Hell no. Anytime I walk into that building, the hellmouth reaches out to cuddle me. I'm cute and all but kraken just don't do it for me," he said dryly.
"There is?" he demanded.
"Yeah, right on top. You'll find that out in a few years." He smirked. "After Faith gets here. By the way, we should tell her and her watcher to get out of Boston before the really ancient vamp there tortures her watcher and creates a darker than normal slayer. We had certain similar upbringings," he said dryly.
Giles nodded at that. "I can send along that warning. Do you remember which one?"
"Kakistos or something like that?" He waved a hand. "Tortured Linda in front of Faith and started on her before she escaped to come out here for help. Where everyone expected her to be like Kendra and Caridad, when she's not. Or Buffy."
"I'll definitely talk to Linda. Kenda and then her?" Lex nodded with a smirk. "Oh, dear. But that mean she did die."
"And I did CPR."
"Shite," Giles muttered, making notes since he found he could move his hands. He looked at the young man. "I'll let you help her if she wishes it."
Lex beamed. "Thanks. Remind her help means she has friends who can help her on those really long nights. I'll make sure Xander and she meet. She and Willow became best friends."
"That's fine," he decided. "Though not the Council way."
"Our Buffy was still living at twenty-five, though she had died a second time. Willow," he said at the opening mouth. Giles gave him a horrified look. He smirked and nodded.
"Yes, let's prevent that from happening. That could...."
"Bring back the First Evil from rumors we were still getting. It was just starting to show up when I got pulled." He crossed his arms and let Giles go free.
"That's something I'll definitely stop," Giles decided. He made more notes and looked at him. "Are you sure you want your other self to meet her?"
"She was a turning point and I think he'd do it anyway with the way trouble's attracted to us. That reminds me, I have to get us both laid before Mrs. French shows up." He walked off shaking his head. "Call on me."
"I shall," he said, making more notes. This was looking truly horrifying if he didn't change some things. That boy... He had been damaged by the fighting. It was clear he was about to cross over. He did not want that 'nicer twin' to do the same.
Giles spotted the other one, that one clearly wasn't the one that had come talk to him. He had his head down and was reading a comic book. He smiled, sitting beside him at the table.
"Wrong twin," Lex said. Giles moaned. "Give it ten though, it's nearly lunch. We eat out here unless it's raining." Lex smirked at him. "The only other ones that know are Willow and Jesse, plus Jesse's mom." The trio came out babbling. "I hear Willow." He put his comic on the table and accepted his extras from Willow. "Thanks." He smiled. "This is Mr. Giles, the new librarian."
"That's so cool!" Willow said with a wiggle. She settled across from him to babble at him about books and what the library needed.
"It needs a good first aid kit," Xander said. Lex nodded. "The nurse got arrested?" he asked his twin.
"Wasn't me. I think her boyfriend's mom turned her in." He ate a bite and grinned at Willow. "Some of those are *really* boring books and you can find them online, Willow."
"Really? Huh. I'll have to look at that." She looked at Giles. "We could use a computer class too."
"We have one," Xander reminded her. "They hired one for next year." He dug in, looking at Jesse. "Maybe we'll get to take it together. It'll be fun, we can look for smut and comics together." Jesse grinned and nodded. They all stared at the school when people started to scream. "Lab mice?" Xander asked, eating a bite.
"No clue," Lex admitted. "Didn't happen last time." Giles moaned. Some people ran out ranting about tentacles trying for them. Jesse joked at one of the cheerleaders about anime girls, getting slapped. Lex got up, looking at Giles. "It's messing up your desk by now."
"Dirt," he muttered. Lex showed him the back door but he stopped the children. "No. He's trained, you are not, nor shall you be. Stay out here and distract people." They pouted but he locked the door behind them. "Yes, I believe that's a kraken," he said.
"I need the book that has the closing spell. It's dark brown leather with silver words." Giles knew that one and got it from the book cage with a few swords. Lex took one and they fought it off, doing the spell together. The tentacles had to pull back as the hellmouth slowly closed around them. Finally it cut off the last few. Lex panted, looking at him. "Welcome to the hellmouth," he said dryly, handing over the sword. "I can hear Flutey making up excuses." Lex ran out, going to hide from his twin, who'd have questions. And Willow, who'd have even more questions.
Giles sighed, cleaning off the swords. The principal stomped in. "What was that?"
Giles pointed. "It originated from there. I have no idea why but I'll be making sure it can't open again."
Principal Flutey stared at him. "Thank you. I'd appreciate that." He smiled and shook Giles' hand. "I know things are a bit odd around here."
"So I've been told by some of the children but I'm sure it'll even out." The principal smiled. "It's a good thing I used to date a girl who did those renaissance faires back at Cambridge." The principal beamed and left him to clean it up. Giles got the janitors to drag it to their incinerator, though he had no idea why a school needed one. He cleaned up the puss and goo from them being chopped and it was nice. He could handle this assignment. Now if only his slayer would show up sooner.
Lex got the letter back from the mail owl, giving it a few treats before letting it hop into her cage. He read it, grinning at Harry's response. "Hey, Xander, want to go to Scotland?"
"We don't have what we'd need to fly. I don't have a passport." He looked up from his homework. "I have an English test tomorrow."
"We can be back by then." He grinned and grabbed some chalk, doing what he needed to do on the kitchen floor. Then he hauled his twin in, finished the traveling circle's marks, and sent them there. He winked, getting an awed look back. "A real castle in Scotland that's really a magic school," Lex hissed. He winked and snuck out to find Harry.
He knew what the password was and how to get the damn painting open even without it so it wasn't a problem. He woke Harry by putting a hand over his mouth. "Hi, I'm Lex, this is my nicer twin Xander." He grinned. He handed Harry his glasses and his wand, nodding. Harry nodded, following them once he had a robe on. Lex led them to a room he had helped Harry with before. He cleaned it then looked at this version of his friend. "Hi."
"Nice to meet you in person. How did you get here?" he asked.
"Transport circle. Draco found the spell last year in my time." He grinned.
"Huh. So I'm really harboring the blonde arse?"
"He helped you a lot," Lex admitted. They sat down on the old couch in there, looking at him. He explained to Harry what had happened in his realm. How Harry had decided the war had to end after Sirius' death. How he had used sympathetic magic, after being taunted about it by Draco, to cast a curse that would flay a piece of Voldemort's skin every single day. And when he was skinless it'd regrow and start all over again. How Harry had sent a letter demanding he end the prophecy himself because he wasn't going to fight a war for the people who wanted to use him. Harry listened, nodding at some points.
"That seems awfully mean," Harry said at the end.
"Harry, do you think they don't know about the Dursleys?" Lex asked quietly. Harry stiffened. "Ours are both gone now. They were drunks. Bad drunks." Xander nodded. "That's how you and I bonded before. You rescued Draco because he was in your way actually and decided that he could help. You always treated him like a favored prisoner and never touched him or anything." Harry grimaced. "Yay," Lex said with a smirk. "Just wait a year, Harry."
"Yeah, I guess." He considered it. "Can he do that?"
"The only thing stopping it would be in your scar," Lex said quietly. "And Draco knows how to remove spirits from things." Harry beamed at him. "Yes, that means no more visions."
"That'd be nice." He considered it. "Why does he need saved?"
"Voldemort's going to go insane. All the flaying and he'll find all his other little parts. Lucius will have to help him. The spell cycle is only thirty days." Harry shuddered. "Draco is his heir and he'll want him there to be killed instead of himself. You went in to run a raid to get some prisoners Lucius had and found him as well."
"Dear me," a male voice said.
"Stupify," Lex cast, knocking him out because he didn't expect any resistance. "Mother fucker." He looked at Harry then grinned. "No, I'm not the nice fairy."
"No, you're clearly not." He looked then at him. "That's the headmaster. How did you do that?"
"I'm not nice, Harry. I've never been a nice guy. I'll never be a nice guy. After four years of fighting and hunting demons.... No one really is."
"I get that," he agreed. "Was I?"
"No. You found out that they knew and encouraged some of that treatment by keeping people from helping you." Harry glared at the headmaster. "And how it was convenient that your best friend's mom was shouting how to get onto the train. You started to put things together and it made you a bit paranoid and very angry."
"I can see anger," he agreed. "And paranoid." He sighed, looking at him. "Sirius died?"
Harry nodded once. "No way in hell. Thank you both."
Lex handed him the spells he had copied. "What you used last time. Draco frustrated you to no end but it was good for you to have someone to fuss over and take your mind off things by annoying you."
Harry smiled. "It would be, yeah. The defense teacher?"
"A Ministry plot to drive you to the same spot, Harry." Lex smirked. "Guns work on wizards though." He held up his. "I'll let you borrow."
"No thanks. Not my style."
Lex put it back with a grin. "It wasn't the you there's either." He shrugged and stood up, helping Xander up. Xander was half asleep. "Let us get back." He walked him to where the transport circle was waiting with two house elfs staring at it. "You can clean it after we're gone, Dobby and Sunny." He and his twin got in then he redid what needed it, sending them home. "See, plenty of time for the test," he teased his twin. Who shook his head, going to bed. Lex cleaned up his mess and went to his own bed. He still missed his bastard cohorts. He almost wished for his Army of Der too. They had been a kickass birthday present from Draco. And soon he'd have to talk to Sam, Dean, and John. Before that soul rending shit got started again.
Harry Potter looked over the spells, memorizing them. It wasn't a bad plan but apparently he had lost his temper in Lex's timezone or whatever. He heard a moan and looked over. "Headmaster." He looked at him. "Is it true? Did you keep people from helping me?"
"Harry, I don't know who those two were," he started, sitting up.
"Actually, one of them knew me from another reality." The headmaster glared. He stared back. "We were all about twenty-one there. Well past the end of the war."
"Harry, my boy," he started, standing up. "What did he tell you?" Harry told him about the spells and the headmaster gaped in horror. "I...."
"I want your sworn word that you did not keep anyone from coming to help me when I needed it. When I nearly died, twice."
The headmaster swallowed. "I was not involved in that, Harry."
"I see." He nodded. "Then perhaps that is the easier way. Thank you for your time, Headmaster." He walked around him and went to his room. He got what he needed and went to the bathroom to cast it. Dark magic or not, yay. He wasn't losing Sirius. He wasn't going to go back to the Dursleys. He wasn't going to trust anyone in this school who hadn't proved their loyalty.
Which made sudden sense about him rescuing and keeping Draco Malfoy. He knew exactly where his loyalties lay. Snape too. He finished the spell work and cast it, going limp. Mostly relief but he was tired. But he had another thing to do tonight. He had Dobby pop up and take him to Snape's quarters with the spell scroll. The potions master jumped up with his wand in hand. "I just met with a very interesting person from another reality who knew me when I ended the war," he said in greeting.
"This couldn't wait, Potter?" he sneered.
"No." He handed over the scroll. "That's how I did it there." Snape snatched it to look at, giving him a horrified look. Harry stared back. "I had also managed to save Draco from his father trying to kill him. I'm told Draco is the only one who can make the soul piece I carry get out of my scar?"
"He did what?" Snape demanded, tipping his head up to cast a spell on the scar. "That's very dark magic," he said, thinking about it. Harry got free and sat down, telling him everything Lex had told him. Snape nodded once. "I would not put that past Lucius," he admitted finally. "Draco does know how to remove such spirits as well. Though it's not as easy as removing one from a vase." He crossed his arms. "Did you?"
"You know that's dark magic?"
"As opposed to having to kill him?" Snape nodded that was true. "Or having him kill a whole bunch of people? Including Sirius?"
"I see. The mutt," he complained.
Harry stared at him then took off his jacket and top, standing up to let him see the scars. "That way I don't have to go back there. Which would probably be a bad idea."
Snape stared. "Why are you so scarred?"
"My uncle and aunt. Their son." He shrugged. "If you want to read my mind, I'm sure you've done it before." Snape nodded and cast the spell, pulling back a minute later with a shudder. "I'd rather not finish losing what little remains of my temper. There's no telling what'll happen this time."
"I do understand that urge," he admitted. He stared at him. "The headmaster?"
"I asked him if he would swear he hadn't stopped someone from coming to my aid. He didn't. I'm seeing why the me there lost my temper so grandly."
Snape nodded. "I can as well." He was seeing a whole different side of the 'savior of the wizarding world'. This wasn't the broken, beaten child that the headmaster had wanted. It was a survivor and a strong soul that would not break, yet. "I'll speak with Mr. Malfoy on your behalf."
"Thank you." He stood up. "I think I'm going to go sit by the lake."
"I can take points for being out after curfew and breaking in here," he sneered.
"Sure, you do that. But I think it'd be better if I couldn't be found very easily by the headmaster."
Snape nodded. "He's probably already realized you're here, Potter."
"But I'm not. Dobby?" He came in and popped him off to somewhere safer.
Snape sighed and got dressed. He went to check on Malfoy, which woke him up. "I've heard rumors that your father will be sending for you soon," he hissed in his ear, getting a grimace. "He will let you be sacrificed in his place." He pulled back. "And someone wanted a favor."
"Would it help keep me from that fate?"
"Then I'm all for whatever stupidity it is," Draco said bluntly. He sat up. "When?"
Draco nodded. "I'll let you set up a meeting for me." Snape nodded, leaving. Draco laid down with a sigh of displeasure. Why him? He wasn't Potter. Though it was probably him that needed something.
Snape ran into the headmaster. "You're up late," he said in greeting.
"I'm afraid something breached our wards."
"Hmm. I'm sure we'll figure it out. It was probably a house elf."
"No, it was two young men."
"There's something going on. Where is Harry? He's not in his bed."
"That house elf may have removed him to somewhere safer. I have no idea." He walked around him. He cast a shield as he walked, just in case. He felt the memory spell hit and winced. But he also felt another spell and suddenly he remembered. And that was a very nice demonic spell by whoever those twins had been. He did send a house elf to warn Dobby not to answer any summons from the headmaster. He went back on his hall patrol while he thought. Something very bad was coming.
Harry and Draco, the original ones, stared at each other, shaking their heads. "Lex is a pain in the ass when he's bored," Draco said.
"Yes, he is," Harry agreed. "But it was nice he was helping me." He grinned. "I'm sure he'll go help the two asshole hunters soon."
They shared a look. "He needs his army," Draco said with an evil look.
"He was missing them." He looked at the waiting hench-minis. "First Der, go help Lex in his present realm." He nodded and they sent him there.
The Council of Der met to discuss what could happen and what they needed to happen. Lex would get into a lot of trouble without them.
Xander blinked, looking at the eight-inch-high version of him. "What the hell?" he demanded. "LEX!"
Lex came jogging in and squealed, hugging his Der. "First Der!"
"You need assistance, Lord Lex." He stared at him. "Before you get into massive problems. After all, the Winchester patriarch isn't a pussy cat." He looked at Xander. Then smirked. "I'm First Der, second-in-command for the Army of Der. Prime Der sits on the Der Council."
"Draco made them for me," Lex said with a happy grin. "They were the best birthday present ever."
"Sure, but why are they so small?"
"So they can get into places he can't," First Der said with a grin. "Some of us are two-inches for super stealth ops." He winked. "The Council is made up of a Der of each of our Lords." He looked at him. "Lords Draco and Harry thought it was brilliant you went to help the him here." Lex smirked. "Let me recon the house while you two go back to sleep. I'll set up protections." He held up something. "Lord Harry found that?"
"My wand," he said with a smirk, taking it to wave. "Ahhh, such prettiness." He smirked. "Thanks, First Der." He walked off. "Night, Xander."
"Night," he said, looking confused.
The First Der climbed up to tuck him in. "Rest, Lord Xander. You probably have something to be nagged about tomorrow. Willow has tried many times, even long distance." He walked off to ward the house. Lex did some too. "Let me do it, Lord Lex." Lex nodded, going to bed. The First Der finished the wards and made a list for grocery shopping. No one in Sunnydale would even blink at his height. That was the beauty of Sunnydale.
Willow spotted First Der and tipped her head to the side, starting to make whimpering noises. "Xander?" she asked, pulling on his sleeve until he looked at her. She pointed. "What happened to Lex?"
Xander looked then at her. "That's his First Der. They were a birthday present from someone he knows." He smirked. "What's up, First?"
"Lunch. You forgot to grab it," he said, handing over the bag. "You must eat to keep your strength and fitness." He nodded at her. "Nagging one." He left.
Jesse spotted him and nearly dropped his lunch tray. "Xander?" he squeaked.
"He's the First Der."
"Oh," he said, nodding quickly. Xander saved Jesse's tray and helped him to his seat. Jesse stared at him. "Der?"
"Yup, apparently there's a lot of them." He grinned. "He's really nice."
Jesse burst out in hysterical laughter. Willow hugged him to calm him down. Jesse shook his head, moaning. "Okay," he decided. "Any other shocks?"
"We went to Scotland last night."
Jesse moaned. "I so want to know how."
"Ask him. It was something on the floor."
"Yeah, I can pump Lex for info." He dug into his lunch, shaking Willow off. "No hugging, Willow. I'm not that sort of boy."
"Fine," she sighed, getting into her own lunch. "What did he make you, Xander?" She beamed. "OH! I get it!"
Xander smirked, unpacking his lunch. He had milk, two ham sandwiches, and for some reason he had carrot sticks. He grimaced. Willow took them and traded her brownie, which Jesse stole when Xander pulled out twinkies and ho-hos. "First spoiled me." He dug in, eating everything. He had a test next period. They all did.
"I hate school!" Xander said as he walked in. "Can't I quit?"
"If you get B's this semester we're going to the beach with bikinis," Lex called back.
"Well, maybe I don't hate school then," he decided, going to his room to drop his bag and then to Lex's. He ducked the lights being shot at him. "What's that?"
"Magic." He smirked, doing it again.
"You can learn when you graduate. I didn't before I graduated." Xander nodded, grinning at him. "Also, there's going to be a demon that's going to hunt virgins soon. We need to fix that."
"There's no way anyone would have me, Lex."
"I got plenty. Even at seventeen."
Xander pouted. "Really?" Lex nodded with a grin. "Then maybe we can go to a club? Not that I do all that well at the Bronze, but maybe?"
"Definitely," Lex agreed. "Go get cleaned up."
"It's finals week."
"Fine, we'll go Friday." Xander beamed and bounced off. "No other two of the trio?"
"No, not tonight. Her parents are back and Jesse's studying like a mad monkey."
"Okay." He got up and went to help his twin study. He wanted better for his nicer half than he had.
Xander ducked over to where Lex was dancing. "Some girl hit on me but she's wearing a lot of knives," he hissed in his ear.
"Ooh, twins," the woman dancing with Lex purred, running her nail over Xander's cheek. "Cute."
Lex smirked with a wink. "The one who hit on him just scared him. You're not scary, are you?"
"Oh, no, baby, not at all." She pulled the other twin over to dance with them. The other woman got shot when she came over. Then she put her gun back into her bra so she could go back to tempting the twins. They were so adorably pure.
Xander gave Lex a pointed look, getting a grin back. She pounced and it was...strange but nice Xander guessed. He wasn't sure how he felt about her pouncing him and giving him his first blow job. Or how she rode him into nearly passing out. Thankfully Lex saved his reputation by making her squeal. So he got an interactive sex-ed lesson that he'd have to tell Jesse about later. Willow would shriek and beat him but Jesse would want to hear.
Draco met with Potter on the quidditch pitch, under the bleachers. "What sort of favor do you need, Potter?" he asked, glancing around.
"I need you to remove the horcrux from my scar."
Draco stared at him, mouth working a few times before it snapped shut. "How did that happen?"
"Apparently it happened when he tried to kill me." He shrugged. "He can't die until all the horcrux are destroyed."
"Taking it out of you won't destroy it."
"No, it won't," Harry agreed. "But he can't die until it's gone."
Draco nodded. "I know, in theory, how to do it."
"He's going to be calling for help soon."
Draco sneered. "Why would he want help?"
"Because until he ends it he's not going to be happy with missing strips of skin. A new one each day." Draco gave him an odd look. "There's a prophecy," he sighed, sitting on a crossbeam. "One of us has to die for the other to fully live. I'm not going to play that game. I could care less at the moment. I don't want him to live but ....." He licked his lips. "Frankly, the people on the Light's side aren't any more light than Voldemort is. They just use a few less deathly ways."
Draco nodded. "I knew that."
Harry sighed, looking down at his hands then up at Draco. He rolled up his sleeves, showing off a ten inch scar. "I was ten. It was within weeks of when I got my letter." He showed it off. Draco gave it a horrified look. It had a long, obviously deep trench in the middle of it. "Part of that missing area was from when they fixed the sixteen knife cuts that I didn't do to myself."
Draco looked at it. "Pomfrey can fix that."
Harry shook his head. "She's never mentioned anything about fixing any of my scars. Including the one on my chest."
"Why do you have one there?" Harry lifted up his shirt to show him, getting a shudder. "What happened?"
"My cousin decided he wanted me to remember I was a freak." He put his shirt back down. "I'm not going to go back to the people who did this. Especially since it appears that others, like the Headmaster, knew." He looked at him. "I have a godfather that he let be railroaded for something he didn't do, without a trial. I'd like to prove him innocent at the same time but I know that'll take capturing a certain death eater to do it. And then people to actually do what they're supposed to by law, which I doubt will happen." He shifted. "Right now, I want the horcrux out. We can mail it back to him so he can kill it for all I care."
"I can look at the procedure, that won't raise too many questions. Mailing it back is fairly dramatic but if you're doing what I think you're doing it'd save some lives."
"Draco, right about now, I don't rightly care," Harry said, sounding tired.
Draco Malfoy, scion of a long line of slightly darker than usual wizards, stared at the supposed hero and realized there was something darker in him than there was in his father. "How did you come up with this plan? That spell's not one Granger would find anywhere or accept as a good and legal idea. Weasley either." He crossed his arms over his chest.
Harry grinned. "I talked to someone who knew me in his home realm after I had lost my temper and done it this way. There, I saved you from your father's idea to sacrifice you instead of him by having you destroy his assigned horcrux."
Draco frowned. "What?" Harry grinned but explained it to him. Draco was scowling by the end. "That doesn't seem like a good idea."
"The one he got summoned to protect is his self in this realm. He got deaged to our age from older. Apparently there I walked away from everyone and said 'screw it'. I took you with me to protect you and keep the Light from killing us both."
Draco considered it. "You're sure they knew?"
"Yes. Thinking back, my letter was addressed to the 'cupboard under the stairs'. Even if they're done by the house elves, which I doubt, or magically, I'm fairly certain that someone mentioned something when they had to send Hagrid to find me. Hargid told me he did."
"I see." He considered his options. He had a lot of them. "I'll help you remove it. I don't think I need saved."
"If you're sure. If not, I owe you a debt," Harry said, holding out a hand.
Draco shook it. "You do." He walked off. He had some research to do. Snape had pulled the books and hidden them in his office already. Before they disappeared from the library for good. It left a lot of questions. He looked at his head of house, his godfather, and checked to make sure they were alone. "Why does he still have scars?"
Snape shook his head. "No one decided it was necessary to fix."
"Did you see them? I saw two and ...." He swallowed. "I'd have died. He nearly died."
"Apparently. What did you two decide?"
"I'm pulling it out and sending it off."
"Agreed. That's the safest option." He handed over the books. Draco sat down to read. "Did he tell you about that one that showed up?"
"Something of him. I don't understand why he needed to protect me."
"Your father would need a reason to save himself this time."
Draco considered that, then nodded. "Then perhaps I need to make some of my own plans." He went back to his research. Things were moving very quickly and there were multiple traps ready to snap around him. Including for helping remove the horcrux. His father would be very pissed off, but at least it had a chance of killing Potter when it was done. By dinner he had a clear idea of what he needed to do. Potter wasn't at dinner. Weasley was looking pissed off so there was no telling what was going on.
"I can't believe you let them take Harry!" Ginny shouted suddenly and threw a punch at her brother. "Some best friend you are!" She stomped off sobbing.
Draco glanced up at Snape, who was apparently in the dark as well. He'd find out later that the Headmaster had Harry taken into custody of the Ministry to 'help him after a run-in with a trans-dimensional being'. Which was a piece of crap lie of all lies. Draco didn't need to think too hard to figure out that the traps were starting to shut. Especially with how many death eaters were in the Ministry. He finished dinner and went to get what he needed. He didn't need to be in the same room to do the spell. It'd be harder but not impossible. It'd wear him out. He locked himself in an unused room and did the spell.
Lex smirked at the girl coming up the stairs. "Xander," he said, bringing him over. "That's Buffy," he said with a point at the girl. "You and the trio *stay home* for the next three weeks. No Bronze, no nothing."
Xander nodded. "Thanks, Lex." He ran off to run into Buffy and introduce himself. And then Willow. Buffy seemed pretty nice, if a bit standoffish. During math class, Xander looked at Jesse. "Lex said we can't go out this week," he hissed. The teacher glared. He shrank down in his chair, shooting Jesse a look. He got an understanding one back and a slight nod. Once class was out, he hissed in his friend's ear to tell him why, getting a nod and a grin back. "Sleepover?"
"My mother's asleep this week."
"I have a sleeping bag."
"Cool!" They headed to their next class of suckiness. Jesse spotted the First Der but it was fine. He was lurking to watch over them for Lex.
The First Der spotted the vampire tracking the trio and shot it with a crossbow specially made to fit the army. He ran after the trio. "There's hunters, Lord Xander. We must go now." Xander nodded, hurrying the other two up with their ice creams. He summoned his master to guard them and Lex appeared in a flash of light and smoke, killing the vampires around them quickly. The First Der smiled and made sure they made it home. Lex walked behind them. He locked the doors and First upped the wards. "Okay," Lex said. Jesse was giving them an odd look. "One of you died in my world tonight." Jesse moaned, sitting down to stare at him. "Exactly. So let's not go out tonight? I'll tell your mom you're staying over, Jesse." He walked into the kitchen to call her.
Xander hugged Jesse, then Willow. "I'd hate to miss you two." Willow sniffled and made them sit around her to snuggle until she felt better. "Willow, your parents?" She grimaced. "Lex, call her mom to pick her up?"
"Yup." He called her house. "Hi, Mr. Rosenburg, it's Xander. I was out with Willow getting ice cream and someone tried to follow us when we cut across Sunny Rest on the way back here. Yeah, she's worried but hugging Jesse. No, he can stay but I know you don't want her staying with two boys. Please." He gave him the address. "Yeah, we moved when Mom decided to move to Mexico with Uncle Rory and his girlfriend. No, we're totally cool." He grinned. "Yes, I make sure we eat and all that. Jesse's mom does too. She's presently making him cuddle her. Yup, we'll be here. Be careful." He hung up and walked out there. "Your mom didn't tell him?"
"No," she sighed. "He'll complain and call someone."
"I have the forged emancipation paperwork," First said. He grinned. The twins smirked back at him. "Therefore less problems." He and Lex got out of sight since Mr. Rosenburg didn't know about them.
Willow bounced over when she heard the car. "Huh. Xander, it's an officer."
Xander got up to hold up the paperwork.
"I heard you say they were forged," the officer said smugly.
Lex leaned out to stare at him. "No you didn't. Obliviate." He hit him and the officer wandered off drooling. He went back to hiding since another car was pulling in.
Xander grinned. "He was trying to upset us and say we're being evil."
"Hmm. I'm sure you could be with your past but you've always shown exemplary conduct around my daughter," Mr. Rosenburg said.
Xander stared at him. "I'd never hurt Willow or Jesse. They're closer to me than my family was, Mr. Rosenburg. That's why we called you, because she was a bit shaken."
"No, that was a good idea. Do you have any idea who it was?"
Xander shook his head. "Not a clue. All I saw was a human shaped shadow that followed us from the ice cream shop across most of Sunny Rest."
"That area is bad," he admitted. He hugged his daughter. "Are you all right?"
"Just a bit scared. There were those kids that were killed last week."
"I saw in the paper. Thank you for protecting each other, boys. Jesse, do you need a ride home?"
"She's sleeping this week."
"That's fine. Have fun on their couch." He looked at Xander, then around. "No adults?" Xander smiled and held up the paperwork. "Oh, interesting. Nice job, Xander."
"It kept Uncle Rory from having to come back to complain at us."
"I can understand that. He's probably happier in Mexico." He walked his daughter back to her car. "Officer?" he called. "You left your engine off and your lights on." He got in and took Willow home.
"Lex, he's wandering toward a cemetery." He went out to get into a car. "Hi," he said into the radio. "Officer Paul parked in my driveway and left his lights on but he wandered off looking like he had a head injury toward Shady Bough cemetery. He was drooling and looked really confused." He let the button go.
"Where are you, sir?"
"This is Xander Harris. I'm on East."
"We know where that is, Mr. Harris. Thank you. I'll send someone to get his car and him."
"That's fine, we're going to lock up for the night." He let the button go and got out, closing the door before heading inside and closing that door. First locked the house down and they settled in to watch tv. There were good scary movies on that they could laugh at.
Jesse looked at Lex when he came out. "Is that real?"
"There's two types of werewolf. There's the type that went to Tibet to learn how to control things like their change. They meditate a lot. There's the ones that change the three nights of the full moon. The good ones among them lock themselves up as soon as they realize. They both look like really big dogs."
"Cool," Jesse said. "Are there any in town?"
"Yeah, I know one that go bitten by his baby nephew. He locked himself up and then went to Tibet."
"Really cool," Xander said. He saw the car lights and looked outside. The officer ran after his fellow officer. He led him back to his car and another car pulled up with two officers. One got out to drive the spare car back to the station while they got the injured ones there. Xander shrugged. "They got him."
"Good," Lex said. He nibbled on a donut. Jesse stole one. First took one too and then handed one to Xander before walking off.
Xander grinned at him. "What're we doing this weekend?"
"Sure," Jesse decided. They settled in to watch the movie again. It was laughable.
Harry heard the warning bells go off and looked around. "Everyone, go to the houses," he ordered. His table full of Gryffindors went running. He had only been back for two days. It was possible he was going to be going back when the Headmaster vs Fudge issue was worked out, though he was trying hard to get out of that trap. "Hermione, get the Hufflepuffs!"
She went to help them since they'd have to go through the foyer, there wasn't a back way like there was to Gryff or Ravenclaw. Harry rushed out to help, because it had to be something terrible. Yup, there was an attack on the school's main hall area. "Shite!" he complained. Snape glared at him before sending a hex at the people. "Malfoy, if you've got a back way, use it!" he ordered when he spotted him.
"It's past them," he complained. He herded the kids back into the Great Hall and tried to lock the doors, which they wouldn't.
Harry followed and shot a locking spell that had been in the scrolls at them, chaining them up. "C'mon, there's a back way to Gryf, you can get your way from there hopefully."
"The only back way's by the main fireplace," Draco snarled.
Harry looked at him. "Then I'm guessing you're welcome in Gryffindor. Because none of us would see another student dead." He led the way up. Some of his own house was out there. "What's going on?" he demanded.
"We can't remember the password!" one shouted. "She won't open, even with an emergency!"
"Semi Transparent Bat Bogeys," Harry called. The painting opened and let the Gryfs inside but slammed shut on them. "There's a bloody attack on the damn school!" he shouted. "You'll let them the fuck in or else!"
"I will not! They're not my house!" the fat lady sneered.
"Fine," Harry said, removing the painting. She shrieked but yay. He got the door open and let them inside. "People, they can't get to their house," he noted at the heated looks he was getting. "Ron, set up a guard out by here. I had to remove the painting. Apparently other houses were supposed to die instead." He hurried out, catching a few Ravenclaws trapped. "Gryffindor's open," he called. They ran that way. Ron let them in.
Harry started to hex from the banister on the way down the stairs. Others of his Gryff friends did the same thing. The rest ranged from the stairs to the doorway. When they were finally all down, Harry took a calming breath, looking around. "Professor Snape, your students are guests in our house because they couldn't get to yours." He hurried up to 'save them' or check on them. Harry leaned on the banister, looking at the other students. "We good?" Hermione checked and nodded. "Thank Merlin."
He sighed, looking at the fuming headmaster since a painting was screaming at him. "I'm sorry, but I don't believe a painting's worth a whole house full of students dying," he said bluntly when the Headmaster started to say something about it. "If you do, why are you in charge of a school?" McGonagall gasped. "Not only did our house's painting decide that students in danger could suffer and probably die if they had made it past you, but even those in her own house that couldn't remember the password under pressure were locked out. I respectfully removed the painting. It's laying right beside the door and can easily be put back."
"What do you mean she wouldn't let Gryffindor students in?" McGonagall complained.
"They couldn't remember the bloody password." She glared. He stared back. "They were standing outside the doorway trying to remember it. The Slytherin's only means of escape is apparently right in front of you?" She gasped. "If we're going to be attacked, do you expect us to sacrifice students just because they're in a different house? If so, I'm quitting this school. Today." He walked off.
"Bit dramatic there, Harry," Ron complained, but followed him. "Though you're right, they do need a safer way of getting down to their dorms so they can be locked in."
Harry nodded. "There's no reason for house loyalties to have potentially gotten any of the students killed," he said. The Slytherins all stared at him. "I just got yelled at for letting you guys in."
Malfoy snorted. "Figures. Not like they give a damn about us."
"Mr. Malfoy," Snape complained.
"Hufflepuff's is in about the same spot," Draco reminded him.
Snape sighed but nodded. "It is a flaw that will endanger students in such an emergency."
"I'm sorry if you're pissed that I got them in here," Harry said bluntly. "But I'm not going to let them die just because they're in your house. Whoever can suck me as I've heard said." The other Gryffs cheered. Snape glared. "People, let me go do something less angry." He walked off again. "Hermione, you're in charge."
"Of course I am," she agreed. She looked. "Twins, get the Ravenclaws back to their house, so they can take a head count. Ginny, do a head count of ours." They nodded, moving to do that. "Any injuries, we'll walk you up to the nurse," she noted.
"I only need my ankle iced," one said. Snape looked at her. "Turned it on the run up the stairs."
Pansy Parkinson did the icing spell and the girl smiled. "Welcome," Pansy said, then sneered at Snape. "I won't be endangered here."
"There's no reason you should be." He walked them out and down to their dorms, doing a head count. He was missing one. "Where is Mr. Zabini?"
"Here," he said, jogging to catch up. "McGonagall asked me a question, Professor."
"Fine. Go rest, calm down, all that." He ran inside and up to his room. Snape shut and locked the house himself then went to find the other teachers. He glared at the headmaster. "That's been a flaw we've mentioned for the past twelve years, Headmaster. I don't want my students dead any more than Pomona does." He walked off again.
Professor Flitwick came down from his own headcount and handed over the painting. "It's easily put back with two screws," he said quietly. "Thankfully he spotted some of mine that couldn't remember the password under pressure and let them in as well."
"They do my house proud," McGonagall said. "The painting, not so much at the moment."
"That's a safety feature," the headmaster reminded her.
"She can bloody well let in any other student if there's an emergency without endangering them, unless you believe it'll be a student endangering them?" she asked, staring at him. "If so, I'd hope we teachers could handle them." She stomped off. She went to get a more suitable portrait until she could correct that one by yelling at it. It got stuck over the doorway and the prefects came out to set the password and tell the others.
She found the headmaster yelling at Harry. She looked at the other teachers.
"Enough!" Flitwick snapped. "He just saved students lives, Albus! How dare you yell at the boy for doing what we could not!"
Harry shrugged. "It's not something I'm ever going to hopefully ignore," Harry said. "If he wants to yell, that's fine. I've already sent a letter to the other schools saying I'd like to transfer." The headmaster gasped and backed away. Harry stared at him. "At least there, no one's going to stop people from showing up to put me in the hospital when I'm so badly injured I could've died. Either time." He walked around him. "If I can't, I'll go be a muggle again."
"Mr. Potter," McGonagall said, following him. "Let's talk so you can calm down."
He stared at her. "Did you know?"
"Not until you got here."
He nodded. "Why isn't there a CPS sort of group in the wizarding world?"
"Then where in the hell are they?" he asked calmly. "We've got two others in our house that could use them." He walked off again. He was now done with Hogwarts. For good. He had Dobby pack his things and take them to Sirius and he went too. Because he was tired, he was angry, and he was going to explode.
Lex strolled into the police station the next morning. "Someone wanted to talk to me?" he asked.
"Harris, why did you call in?" one of the detectives asked, sneering at him.
"You'd rather I had let him wander off drooling and looking like he'd had a stroke? Sure, next time I'll let him fall into an open grave and die or something." He gave him a pointed look. "I was being nice and good. Aren't I supposed to do that?"
"Yes," the detective said, glaring at him now. "Your emancipation paperwork isn't on file."
Lex looked at it, then held it up. "That's not my fault." The detective snatched it to look over, sighing in disgust. "Sorry, Detective Josh, but I did what I'm supposed to do. What did you want me to do? Because I can not warn that one of you guys could die next time."
"Why were the Rosenburgs out last night?" he demanded.
Lex took back the paperwork to put into his back pocket. "Someone tried to follow us across Shady Rest. We didn't want Willow to walk home."
"Huh." An officer came in with Xander. "Interesting."
Xander grinned. "Hi, Lex."
"Xander. Did you remember your lunch? First got mad."
"I didn't mean to upset him."
First appeared with a bag, handing it to Xander. "It's always in the fridge, next to the soda and milk, Lord Xander. Lord Lex, I'm going to do the grocery shopping?"
Lex handed over his wallet. "Sure, have fun." He grinned. "Scare the cheerleader at the register for me?"
"I can do that." He leered and left.
Lex grinned at the horrified looking cops. "That's my First Der. He's the leader of my army." He grinned happier.
Detective Josh stared at him. "You weren't twins before."
Xander shrugged. "I don't really remember never having Lex around." The officers all groaned. "Anyway." He looked at Lex. "They tried to take me out of math."
"Willow would *so* bitch," Lex agreed. He checked his watch. "It's gym class though. So hey, no dodgeball today."
"Yup." They shared a smirk then at the officers and detectives.
Lex hugged him. "He's the good twin but I'm going to teach him how to lead my army." That got a mass shudder. "Anything else, guys?" They shook their heads. "Then we'll see you soon I'm sure." They walked off. They slowly walked away, spotting a bunch of the officers heading for the church up the street. "Aww," Lex said with a smirk at his twin. "Have fun in class."
"Can't you fill in for me?" he complained.
"No! I lived through Sunnydale High with Snyder in charge."
"Eww." He shuddered but walked off, going back to class. The principal glared at him. "Last night an officer parked in our driveway and walked off drooling. We called it in and they wanted to nag."
"I used his car's radio."
"That was probably wise and a good thing to do, Mr. Harris." He smiled. "I like that attitude. It's very helpful." He listened to the bell. "I believe you have science."
"Cool. I'm told we have a sub." He beamed and walked off. He sat down, looking at Willow. "They wanted to know about last night's call-in." She moaned. "First showed up with my lunch and everything."
Xander beamed. "It was kinda cool that they ran off to pray." She moaned, shaking her head. "But anyway, sub?"
"Sub," she agreed. "I wonder if she'll show a movie."
The teacher came out with a book. "Sorry, I'm not that sort of sub." She was beautiful and a lot of the boys in the class stared hard at her chest. Until she turned around and then her butt nearly lit on fire from the staring. "We're going to go over insects." Willow raised her hand. "I know it's not what you were doing but it's my speciality." She smiled. "All right?" They all nodded and the boys all stared. The girls stared but a few looked pissed off that she was beautiful. Pity.
Xander made notes, looking at her. She was pretty but something was off. He looked at Buffy. She knew he knew. She had met Lex too by accident. He nudged her and showed her his notes, looking at hers. "You diagram better."
Buffy looked at his and nodded. No wonder she had strange feelings about her. They got back to making notes. They had to pass their classes, even if the teacher was a demon.
Lex strolled up to them at lunch, looking at his nicer half. "What's wrong?"
"Eww, Praying Mantis woman." He shrugged. "Bats," he told Buffy. She beamed and got with Willow to figure that out. He looked at his twin. "We need to visit tonight."
"Do I need to visit? We have tons of math homework."
"Yup. You can do it there. Sam's really good in math." He grinned and walked off.
"Okay, maybe he can explain why there's letters."
Willow sighed and shifted over to go over it again.
Lex and Xander appeared inside a hotel room. Lex took the guns from the three hunters' hands as soon as they were pointed at them. "I come in peace, people. Me and my nicer half and the First Der."
The father stared down at the miniature of the guys. "What the hell?" he demanded.
"Draco made my army of Der for my birthday." Lex grinned at him. "I got pulled to protect myself here. In my original realm, me, Sam, Dean, Harry, and Draco all got kicked off our home realm because the demons got really scared that the white wall of defenders were a bit...stressed by battles."
John stared at him. "Excuse me?" he demanded. "My sons...."
"I should be twenty-one in a few days," Lex told him. "I was born a few months before Sam. Right before Sam went to college, on his way there, he had a strange run in that prompted some thinking but the demons were going to drag him back into hunting so they sent him with Dean."
"Prove it," Dean ordered.
Lex stared at him. "On my twentieth birthday, we all got drunk and played Truth and Dare. It's the one game all of us can agree on, even Draco. You had to answer about your most embarrassing moment. The answer of which was 'Chicago'." Dean flinched and shook his head. "And then Sam cackled but drained another two beers before telling you it was all right."
Sam nodded. "I could use one now actually," he admitted.
"Definitely," Dean agreed. "Okay, so you know the us there. Why visit?"
"Draco found out why the demon wanted Sam and he's relatively close by." John stiffened, glaring at him. "No strings. I wanted to touch base with this version of my asshole cohorts at home. I miss my friends."
"I guess I can understand that," John admitted. "How did you get here?"
"Draco found out I have magic and he was training me." He held up his wand with a grin. "Xander can learn when he's over eighteen since I won't be blowing up part of a town to protect it from an ascension battle and vampires."
"Where are you two from?" Dean asked.
"Sunnydale," Xander said with a grin. "Out by LA."
"We know about it," John said bluntly. "Your portal is a pain and most hunters won't go there."
Lex nodded. "I know. We've had a few good lowerings of the death rate." The First Der was folding laundry. Lex stared at him. "What are you doing?"
"I like Lord Sam best," he reminded him. "He always pats me on the head."
Sam patted him. "Thank you for doing that for me."
"You're welcome, Lord Sam." He smiled.
"Lord?" Dean asked.
"Lord Draco said we were to address them that way and he created us as a present for Lord Lex." He finished and walked off. "The Council of Der is plotting how to get more of us here."
"There's a miniature of each of us," Lex said with a grin for Dean. "The last time I had the flu, the mini you curled up to fuss over me."
Dean shuddered. "I'm not that sort of guy, sorry."
Xander shrugged. "That's fine. I never expect it," Lex said. "Harry's got his Draco that he saved. You two live in your house. I play with the army." He shrugged. "Anyway...."
"The demon," John ordered.
"Yup. Azazel. He wanted a Highlander-style chosen."
"Highlander?" John demanded, looking confused.
"The movie with the guys with swords," Sam said.
Dean snapped. "There can be only one...."
"A chosen minion," John said. "Why?"
"Something like Sunnydale's portal but it has something to do with Colt. That's all we figured out."
"Colt. The gunmaker?" Dean asked.
"That's a very narrow field of research," John said, finding his phone to call someone. "Bobby, me. The demon's name is Azazel. It has something to do with Colt. Yeah, move that thing. I don't know, it might be close?" he asked Lex.
"In two years, one of his old minions that was left from his last attempt will try to get Sam possessed but Sam won't realize it except in hindsight. When it couldn't it blocked the memories until Harry removed them." Lex looked at him. "He found a few drops of blood to turn on gifts?"
"Gifts?" John asked. He looked at his youngest son.
"He had a vision right before they kicked us off," Lex said. "Because the demon was *pissed*. Apparently Sam's got lineage?"
"Mary's family hunted," John said quietly. Dean gave him a horrified look. "My former wife."
Lex nodded he knew that. Xander gave him a hug. "Xander, he's not huggy," Lex said, pulling him off gently. "Hug Sam. Sam likes hugs." Sam shrugged and let Xander hug him. "Oh, for future reference? Being the bitch of destiny," Lex said, staring at John. "Especially about someone's future plans? Gets you four years of missing things, no contact, and misery. With very little time to fix it."
John stared at him. "Why?"
Lex moved closer to whisper in his ear, getting a nod. "So yeah. Misery, regrets."
"Understood," John said. He kept himself calm. "What are you two doing?"
"I'm helping the slayer that moved there. Xander's not allowed to hunt. I ended up with a great expedience switch for battles."
John nodded, swallowing. "I can see that point." Lex glanced at Sam then at him again. John mentally swore. "Okay. He's getting self defense I'm sure?" Lex grinned and nodded.
"Every Thursday," Xander agreed. He grinned at Sam. "You guys should come visit. Lex has really scared a whole bunch of demons. And Buffy's watcher a little bit."
Lex shrugged. "It helped."
"I bet," John agreed dryly. He would keep an open mind. He splashed them both with holy water, getting shrugs. The 'Der' too. He only glared at him.
"You messed up my shirt."
John nodded. "You're a bit weird."
"Draco's a bastard," Lex said with a grin.
"What is he?" John asked.
"Wizard." He swished his wand then put it back. "Harry too."
"Good to know. I've heard rumors but nothing concrete."
"They wanted Harry to be a good soldier and die for the fight."
"Crap," John sneered.
"Yeah. Speaking of, we should check on Harry."
"I did," First said. "I removed him and Lord Draco both from the prison and to their godfather's house. Voldemort is presently insane and screaming at people to solve it. I'm setting up somewhere for them to stay more safely."
"Excellent work, First Der," Lex said with a smile. "So I take it he did follow it?"
"Yes. But once they found out the soul piece was gone, the Ministry snapped about him. They didn't want to keep an injured young man who was mentally a minion. The headmaster didn't have a use for him with it gone. So therefore he became a pawn. So now he's with the other pawns. They're safe for now until we can set up a safe area." The First looked at his lord and master. "Are you planning on taking over the town as a sanctuary again, Lord Lex?"
"Yes. I don't care if they're peaceful, that's fine. The bad...they go."
"That's fine. We'll finish setting up a sanctuary tomorrow."
"We?" Lex asked. "Did more come?"
"Not yet. I'm hoping soon." He smiled at Sam. "You are both welcome as well." He looked at them. "We should get Lord Xander back to bed, Lord Lex. He has school tomorrow." Lex nodded and they waved then disappeared.
John sighed, sitting down on the bed. "All right," he said. "Boys, I have no idea what they're up to."
"He misses his friends," Sam said.
"You don't do major magic like that for that reason," Dean said.
Sam looked at him. "Xander's a lot like me. I would if I was missing you."
John nodded. "That's fine. We can go visiting." They nodded that would be tactical to keep watch on whatever they were planning. "We'll leave after this ghost." He got up and went to pack what he could. The boys did the same and then went to bed. They could get the ghost in the morning and then move on.
Xander looked up as the new guy was brought in. "Hi, Sam." He grinned. "Willow, shift over. He's a friend of Lex's." She shifted to sit next to Buffy. Sam sat down and they went over where they were in class. The teacher gave them a fond look but went back into the discussion of the book they were reading. Afterward they walked to gym class together.
"It's dodge ball," another student said as he walked past them holding a pad over his eye.
"Yay," Xander said dryly. "Sam, it's a bad, bad thing."
"I've played dodge ball before."
"We play hard here," Willow sighed. They walked in. "I have cramps," she told the teacher, getting a grimace and a point at the bleachers. She sat down to read.
Sam smiled. "Hi, I just transferred in today. Sam Winchester."
The teacher looked at him. "Any sports you play, Winchester?"
"I ran track in the past."
"That's fine." He got him a gym outfit. "Change, Harris. You're on the losing team today."
"Yay." Xander went into the locker room.
Lex looked up from changing. "I heard. First said it was dodge ball."
Xander hugged him. "Sam's here." He skipped out the back entrance. No one was paying them attention. Their locker was in the back corner.
Lex strolled out, looking over at Willow then at Sam when he came out. "So, how was your drive?"
"Not bad. Dad had bad taste in music like always. I had a few books. The usual." Lex nodded. Sam stared at him. "You're not Xander," he said quietly. He got a smirk back. "Huh."
"First." He caught a ball. The coach picked teams, smirking at him and Sam. "Okay," Lex said. "Sam, endure?"
"I can do that." He squished the ball a few times then the coach blew the whistle. Lex had good targeting skills. So did Sam from all his time practicing with a gun. A few of the jocks on that team tried to get them but Lex dodged and even had to dive at one point. Then he got the captain of the jock stupidity team. They yelped when it hit him in the balls.
"Harris, that's illegal," the coach yelled.
"Not like you called it when they did it to someone on our side," he called back. "Be an ass to both sides or ignore it like usual." The coach glared and Lex threw one at him, spiking him in the nose. "Oops, it slipped. Oh, I'm sorry, that's what you said to your *girlfriend* last night when you got her up the ass by accident." The girls all laughed. Sam was snickering. He caught another one and hit him in the groin. "That's for her later going 'no, stop it'," he said in a high falsetto. "Girls mean no when they say no. Everyone but you learned that. Did you graduate from here too?" He got the head jock. "For trying to grope Willow." He ran off sobbing. "Good!"
Sam looked at him. "Have a bad day?" he quipped.
"Last night. I did not want my trek for ice cream interrupted by that."
"I can understand that," Sam agreed. "I wouldn't either."
The principal hurried in. "What happened?"
"My nightly trek for ice cream was interrupted by some woman screaming for help from the gym teacher," Lex told him.
"Yeah, and then he decided it was fair to spike some guys in the balls but not his precious jocks that do the same damn things. So therefore he got it back." He smiled. "That's one of the fundamentals of the game he loves to make us do so often."
"I suppose that's reasonable," the principal decided. "But I think it makes you a bit angry." He looked at the ones watching. "Does anyone need to go to the ER?" Willow pointed at a few. "Miss Rosenburg, you're not a nurse."
"She does some excellent stitches, Principal Flutey, she learned on mine," Lex said.
"I heard some rumors about that." He looked at the kid he didn't recognize. "You're new?"
"I am but he's not the first bad teacher I've seen. I've actually seen worse."
"Oh, good." He smiled. "Detention, Harris, for being too mean."
"Yes, sir. That's fine."
"Good." He walked out, letting the kids sort themselves out. Willow sighed but got the first aid kit and settled in to clean injuries. By the time the bell rang for lunch they were up and walking but pouty.
Lex led Sam to the caf and then out to their table, where Xander was. "You should cut."
"You'd do it all?" Xander asked, grinning at him.
"Go play mini golf." He fled. He grinned at Sam. "Usually I won't come out here. I hate this place."
"I can understand how not everyone likes school." Lex grinned and they dug into food. First sighed and handed him a bag then disappeared. So he shared his treats. "Thanks, First," Sam called, getting a smile back. "I thought it might be weird but I really like First." He dug in. "We have a mini-golf place?" Lex nodded, drawing out a map of all the cool areas to hang out at. Willow added in places like the library and the college library but he expected that from her. They finished up their day and went home, finding John and Dean there. "First let you in?"
"Xander let us in," Dean said. He looked at Lex. "What did you do?"
"Stopped the damn bullying gym coach," he said dryly. "And served a detention for it." He grinned. Xander looked over at him. "I was a good boy."
"Mostly," Xander corrected dryly. "Who was that girl that hit on us? That one who was so damn insistent? She called and wanted to get between us."
Lex smirked. "She's pretty, right?"
"She's creepy," Xander corrected. "She carried nineteen knives to bed."
"Girls like that you don't want to mess with," John said. "They can kill you."
"They're really fun playmates," Lex said. "I only draw the evil, pretty ones. Maybe I should go rescue one like Harry did."
"They'll be at the new hideout later," First said. "Can I hire some minions, Lord Lex?"
"Sure. As long as they won't hurt any of us." First gave him a dirty look but went to find some. They had to move things to a safer area tonight. Before someone tried something bad. By midnight everyone was moved and Harry and Draco were sleeping in a room. John stayed up to look over the wards and add a salt ward.
First Der came out to look at him. "There's almost no spirits in town, Mr. Winchester. Even then they couldn't come in because of the other wards."
"I'd rather have redundant wards. Just in case."
"I can understand that." He handed him another container of salt. "I have three more if you wanted to do the house and then the property line." He went back to the kitchen. "I really do wish we had more of the army here!" he shouted, looking up. "Damn it!" A crackle went off and a few more Der's, including the mini-Dean, appeared. Two units of bigger Ders and two of smaller ones. "Thank you!" He looked at them. "This is the new sanctuary. We are protecting Lords Harry and Draco because they pulled their plan to stop the war faster. Then the supposed light ones decided they were unstable pawns after making them so." That got a nod from the unit commanders.
"Also, we have Lord Lex and Lord Xander." One of the mini commanders moaned and mini-Dean grinned. "Lord Xander is still going to the high school. We also have Lords Dean and Sam here as of today and their father." Everyone nodded. "Minis, I need groceries. They're still eating like teenage boys. Maxi forces, help the elder Winchester set up protections for tonight. Then make a bunk room. I've been napping with Lord Lex." They nodded and hurried off. The mini Dean went to curl up with his favorite Lord and master. He loved Lord Lex.
Lex woke up to being hugged, smiling and patting his Der on the back. "Hi, Dean Der."
"Hi, Lord Lex." He smirked at him. "Let me go freak myself out." He winked and got up, hopping off the bed so he could find his other self. John stared at him, mouth open. "Hey, Dad!" The strange growling noises he got back were amusing. He found his and Sammy's shared room, sneaking in. Sam was still awake and stared at him, making some squeaky, freakish noises. Which woke the original Dean up.
Dean sat up and looked around, knife in hand. "What the hell are you seeing, Sammy?" The mini Dean hopped up and stared at him with a grin. "Okay, that's freaky shit," he said, reaching out to touch him.
"Pet the prettiness, bitch; I enjoy it like you do," mini Dean quipped with an evil smirk.
"Oh, damn." He pulled him closer to look at. "Why are you here?"
"First Der summoned some extra of the army. Since I'm a member of the Der council, I thought it needed oversight to make sure nothing too freaky was going on without us being able to watch and enjoy it too."
"Nothing like that is going on," Sam said, swallowing his extra spit. The mini Dean was *adorable*!
Dean smirked at him. "Yet." He looked at his bigger self. "That and I'm Lord Lex's personal assistant and nightmare helper. That way he's guarded." He hopped back down and went to help his lord and master sleep.
Dean flopped backwards, knife dropping from his hand to the floor. He looked at Sam. "There's probably a mini you too."
"He helps you sleep," one of the Der said. "We're going to put on redundant wards, Lords Dean and Sam." They came in to do that.
"Are all you guys mini Lex's and Xander's?" Dean asked. "Outside the mini uses?"
"There's a mini Lord Draco and Lord Harry on the Der Council as well," one said with a grin. "Otherwise, yes." They finished up and left them to consider how cute they were. "Lord John, should we go ward Willow and Jesse's houses as well?"
"Tomorrow," Xander called. "Jesse's mom is asleep this week and Willow's parents are leaving on Saturday."
"We can do that," he decided.
"Which one are you?" John asked.
"I'm Fourth Der."
"So you guys are numbered?"
"By station." He smirked. "I'm in charge of the Second Brigade." He saluted and walked off. He paused when a door opened. "We're sorry to wake you, Lord Draco."
Draco stared at him. "What the bloody hell are you?"
"The you in Lord Lex's realm created us as his birthday present. Did you need something?"
"Loo?" The Fourth Der pointed. "Thank you. I'll find out more tomorrow when I can think straight."
"My godfather?" Harry called.
"We removed him and his special friend to a safe house they had set up," the First Der said, walking in there to stare at him. "Do not worry about them, Lord Harry. They are very safe and not within England's boundaries." Harry grinned. "They'll call you tomorrow I have no doubt." He smiled. "Did you need anything?"
"The loo?" The First Der pointed and he went to use it once Draco was done. "Only one?"
"There's another on the other side of the house for the living room. At this moment that's the only shower but we're working on that," the First reported. "We have plans drawn up for a second level and an emergency basement area." Harry smiled and patted him on the head before going back to his sleep. First went to check on the plans he was working on. Fourth made excellent plans so he was now helping. Mini Dean was doing his duty helping Lord Lex with his nightmares. Everyone but John was asleep so they were fine.
"Do we have maps?" John asked.
"Yes," First said, getting them for him. "That's the full map, where all the vampire sanctuaries we raid on occasion are, where Lord Lex has instructed us to put an explosive in case we need to open up a sudden place to sunlight. That's where the hellmouth is, and the contact information for Mr. Giles, the librarian. That's marked with everyone important's residences as well."
John nodded, unrolling the map on the coffee table in the living room. It listed the major demonic enclaves as well. One of the Ders got him a classification manual for the ones he didn't know, getting a nod of thanks.
"Would you like something to drink, Lord John?" that Der asked.
"I'm just John, not Lord anything."
"Lord Draco would be upset," he said bluntly. "He's a fussy, cranky bitch when he's upset so we like to avoid that. Coffee, tea? We keep both anymore."
"Yes, sir." He went to get him some and a few of the snacks they had been working on for their own dinner.
"Thank you," John said quietly.
"You're welcome." He went to make more food. The ones that had went on a raid of the grocery stores came back and the cabinets were filled, so was the fridge. That meant they could make their bosses very good food and protect them. Lord Lex was clearly stressed out again. Perhaps they'd scout nice lovers for him as well. They were all sexy beasts like their original.
John nibbled while he learned the town and the various demons that lived in it. There were a lot listed as peaceful unless pissed off. Which was interesting. They had a lifetime of work keeping down the vampire menace around here. Or they had to sink the hellmouth. He had someone doing some research on that topic for him. That way he could watch this strange boy from another reality. Hopefully he'd catch it before he warped his sons.
Harry and Draco, the originals, looking up from their scrying, grinning at each other. "That's very good," Draco agreed.
"The army is helping Lex a lot. Though it's cute he's younger now," Harry said with a leer.
"Why do you never look at me that way, Potter?"
"Because I captured you and honor demands that I not debauch you unless you want me to. It's part of being a semi-good guy." He stared at him. "It's all up to you, Draco, not me." He walked off. "Dean, Sam, the four units and the Mini Dean got there just fine. They've already stocked the house and all that good stuff."
"Excellent," Sam said with a grin. "The mini Dean in his usual spot?"
"Yup, helping Lex's nightmares. Though he might have to help Xander's sometime too, not totally sure."
"Aw, that's right, they're twins," Sam said with a leer.
"That could be handy," Dean agreed from his couch.
"They're presently sixteen," Harry said with a smug look.
"Oooh, barely legal twins," Dean said with a leer at Sam, who threw a pillow at him. "What!"
"Lex would flip you over and make you beg," Sam said with a smirk.
"I'm the nicer, less evil brother anyway," Dean quipped.
"Uh-huh. Yank the other one, Succuba boy." Sam went back to reading. Draco had assigned him magical homework. "Draco, can I use this against Dean?"
"At the wrong strength it may take some of his skin off as well as his hair," he said dryly.
"Don't you dare or the hell you'll pay will make even Lex beg for you," Dean growled, staring down his brother. He snatched Sam's wand too.
Harry shook his head. "I'd be more nutters if I had brothers like you two." He walked off. "Going home." He apparated off.
Draco huffed. "Of course, he leaves me to do it on my own," he complained.
"Sometimes you're the princess, sometimes you're the captive," Dean quipped with an evil smirk for Draco. "Make up your mind, Draco."
"Whatever." He disappeared with a crack of collapsing air. He had to think about what Potter had told him. He was being an uptight, *honorable* thing again. Sometimes he missed the evil thinking Harry Potter that had saved him on a whim.
Dean and Sam shared a smirk and settled in for the night with the other Der fussing over them since Lex wasn't around for them to fuss at.
Buffy spotted Fourth Der and screamed, getting up on the table. "What did that to you!" she demanded.
Giles looked at her oddly. "What are you complaining about, Buffy? Did you see a mouse?"
"Why is it a girl can slay vampires and still be scared of mice?" Xander asked him.
"It's a very girlish thing to do," Giles sighed. "Buffy, get down before you step on a book."
"But..." She pointed. "Someone shrank Lex! I don't want it to shrink me too."
"Yeah, I so washed him in really hot water," Xander said dryly, shaking his head. He looked over. "Hey, Fourth. Problems?"
"Stalking you tonight for your other self, Lord Xander." He smirked at Buffy. "Along with the First Command of Minis."
"That's cool. Let us know if you run into something you can't handle."
"Lord Lex said you may not hunt," Fourth reminded him. "So you can't turn into him."
Xander nodded. "Uh-huh. But we're having a major thing tonight so it's all hands on deck."
"He didn't know that." He called home to tell First that and he went to get Lord Lex and Dean Der up and moving. As well as the three Winchesters. "They'll join you soon."
"Who?" Buffy demanded.
"Sam's daddy hunts," Xander said with a grin. "Lex knew the boys before but John's been hunting for about as long as Sam's been alive, Buffy."
"Really?" She climbed off. "No looking up my skirt," she ordered.
"Not my intention, ma'am." He knew how much that irritated her. "You're not bad girl enough for one of us." She glared. He smirked. "By the way, Lord Xander, the, as you called her, evil chick number four, called back for a date."
Xander moaned. "She's Lex's, not mine."
"She was most happy that you're twins."
Xander looked at him. "Isn't she on a wanted list somewhere?"
"Quite possibly but Lord Lex does like them naughty."
"There's naughty and then there's evil," Xander complained. "Let her have Lex if he wants it."
"Very well." He made that note to First as well.
John walked in followed by his sons. "Big situation tonight?" Dean asked.
"Lots and lots of vamps who think that the Master is going to rise," Buffy said grimly. "But no one knows who he is."
Lex strolled in. "Took him out with a low powered carbon destroying bunker buster bomb." He smirked. "So they're killing for the fun of it tonight." Giles gaped in horror at him. "If I need to do CPR this time I still can." Giles just nodded and they went to clear the Bronze of vampires.
Sam looked around. "Small club, pretty nice looking."
"Buffet," Buffy warned. "We club hunt though." She grinned. "You can help, Sam. Xander has no rhythm."
"Should've seen me the time I had to strip," Lex quipped.
"Let me guess, all the serial killers in a three county radius came to drool?" Dean asked.
"Six," Lex said proudly. "And a few agents."
Dean groaned, shaking his head. "You need better taste."
"Only the deadly like me," he quipped.
"Let's break up to be ready for when the chaos starts," John ordered. Before Lex passed that ability on to either of his sons. "Dean, take the east side. Sam, you and Xander too. Lex, you, me, and Buffy will be here. You three, go over by the emergency exit to make sure people get out."
"I can slay," Giles told him.
"You'll be getting any trying to get out," John said. "They'll rush this exit so the heavier hitters are here and those three can herd." Giles nodded at that idea. They moved into position and waited. "The DJ sucks," John complained.
"He's vamped too so low brain power," Buffy said. "Stupid minions." John nodded. The music screeched and the vamps went to game face, staring at the normal kids. A few screamed and they got to work. Over a hundred vampires. Charming! And a few coming in to reinforce what was here.
Lex smirked at one. "Dru," he said. "You're not supposed to be here for years yet."
"The stars said I should come early," she said with an evil smirk. "That the kitten is hissing back."
Lex backhanded her then Dean shot her with the crossbow, missing her heart. She ran screaming. "Batty seer bitch," he muttered. "Watch out for Spike, guys." They nodded. The vampires were going down. Most of the normals were cleared. Xander was moving to get Cordelia out of the way and Jesse was trying to help but she was fighting. "Xander, knock her ass out," he called. Xander did that and they carted her outside. Jesse got swatted by John for thinking about groping but yay. They got back to it and it was nicer. Only a few vamps escaped. Only a few of the kids got injured. Including Willow and Jesse. John got them back to the safehouse to clean up the scratches and a bite mark on Willow's shoulder.
First came out. "We've discovered a bad part in the wards but there's no way around it," he announced. Everyone stared at him. "They only work if someone's in the house."
John nodded. "I don't know how to get around that either for the undead."
"My house?" Willow demanded. First nodded. "No! We have to get them out of there!"
"We can go in the morning, when they're asleep," John ordered. "It's safer."
"I can't skip school," Willow said, staring at him.
"We can go," Dean said with a nod at his father. She beamed and handed over her keys. They settled in with Willow on the couch and Sam taking his turn sitting up to chat with her and make sure nothing tried the house. "We definitely need more bathrooms," Dean said as he came out waving a hand. "Dad, your insides stink."
"It happens," John said dryly.
"We're building them this week," First assured him. They all stared at him. "We're very good at construction because Lord Lex was." He smirked and they all got fussed over before bedtime. Then the Ders made sure they had what they'd need for tomorrow's building spree. The way it'd end up would be each set of Lords would have a suite.
"They're kinda scary yet efficient," Willow said, watching them plan things.
Sam grinned. "They're really neat and the mini Dean is adorable." Dean Der smirked at him for that.
"They're not robotic, are they?" she sighed. Sam smiled and shook his head. "How did someone shrink a Xander that way?"
"Draco in Lex's world made them."
"Oh. So magic?" Sam nodded. "Can I do that?"
"Maybe. Ask them." She nodded she'd do that in the morning. She had already given them her school books so they could deal with the home schooling story. They all settled in and those who were supposed to went to sleep. Sam could cut school tomorrow. He had study halls practically all day anyway.
John came into the library from Willow's house. He stared for a moment. "Where are your parents?" She shrugged. "You don't know?"
"On a lecture tour somewhere? The last time I saw them it was on Good Morning America."
"What about Jesse's parents?"
"His mom's got sleeping issues. She'll be up for weeks on end and then suddenly sleep for a week or two. I think she's sleeping this week. You got used to it and they used to come hang at my house to stay away from Xander's parents."
"That was going to be my next question," he admitted.
"Xander said his mom might be alive and if she is she's in Mexico with his uncle. His father was found in the morgue's crematorium. They said it was suicide because he didn't want to have his bail revoked. My mom had him arrested for cutting Xander and then he showed up after getting bail to beat Xander."
"Huh," he said, considering it. "So who raised you three?" Willow slowly raised a hand, looking worried. "You didn't do a bad job," he admitted. "Introduce me to Jesse's mother when she wakes up." She nodded and bounced off happier. John looked up then at Giles.
"They can become like your own," Giles agreed. "They're quickly becoming like my own children."
John nodded. "They're all slightly nicer than Dean too, outside of Lex."
"Well, yes, but Lex told me that they had many battles."
"That's probably why it's safer now." He settled in to read the paper. Sam bounced in with lunch. John looked at his manically grinning son. "What did you do?"
"Got Xander." He grinned. "He and Jesse were trying to prank each other so I pranked them both."
"Fine. Sit and eat, son. We've got to do some thinking."
Sam walked over to the book cage, opening the lock by feel and getting into a few books, coming back to hand them to his father. "He's in those. I saw the entries."
John took them and put down the paper, looking him up. "Giles, Lex said the demon we're going after is named Azazel."
Giles cleaned his glasses. "Those are the most definitive sources but there's some in the Chronicles. Let me get it for you." He called England to talk to the head librarian at the Council. Things started to spit out on his local fax machine, so that was nice of him.
Sam gathered and came back. "Yup, that's how Mom died," he sighed, handing them over.
John read it over. "We think that's why he tagged you, to do another try," John said quietly.
Giles looked over. "Sam, you're one of the ones he chose?" Sam nodded, staring at him. "Well, damn." He went to get another one, handing it over. "He acts to turn on any gifts that may be in your bloodline."
"That's why he fed me a few drops of demon blood," Sam agreed.
"Yes, that'll do it. That book has exercises for those that will come out with gifts. It could help you not lose your mind. Or damage it. Because some things can be quite damaging."
"Like?" John asked.
"Visions," Lex said, coming in with a bag. "Cordelia's were starting to give her brain chemistry changes the last time I scried her." He sat down, looking at Sam. "You had visions sent by the demon, not sure if you had regular ones, and you had a touch of TK."
"Telekinesis, interesting," Sam said, looking at that section. "Exercises to learn control of it."
John looked at his son. "Other hunters will consider that a bad thing, son."
Sam looked at him. "Would you rather they just pop out randomly and outside my control?"
"No," he admitted. "You train them but you keep it absolutely within the family." Sam nodded.
"Even if something happens, I'm turning this place into a sanctuary," Xander told him. "The boys are always welcome here, John. Even if you turn into a bastard hardass." Lex opened his bag and handed something to John. "First hates it when we miss meals."
John shook his head. "They're the fussiest beings ever."
"Well, yeah. They're mini Xander's." He smirked. "Wait until someone gets the flu."
"I'll hide," Sam said with a grin. "So, Dad, the cleaning?"
"Done." He looked at Lex. "Her parents?"
"No clue," he admitted. "Possibly overseas this trip?" He shrugged. "No idea."
Xander walked in pouting. "Sam, that was mean."
"Dean found stuff that'll eat your clothes," he offered with a grin.
"I need to pump Dean for that stuff," Xander decided.
John whimpered. "Sorry, bad thought."
Xander shrugged. "I have no idea if I like boys or not," he said, blushing hard.
Lex looked at him. "Want that answer or the fun finding out?" Xander glared at him. Lex grinned. "Sure, we'll go clubbing this weekend. LA?"
"No! You always pick up bad girls!" He pouted. "I like nicer girls, right?"
"They don't like us," Lex told him. "Or I'd greatly thrill some of them with oral sex." John swatted him. "What!"
"No one needs to hear about that."
"Just wait until you meet Anya," Lex said smugly. Xander shivered, walking out with a bright blush and slumping so no one could see it. "I've so got to get that boy laid again." He dug in. "At least we didn't get caught by the praying mantis shape changer."
Giles looked at him. "Excuse me? There's one in town?"
"Yeah, Mrs. French, the hotty science sub? Buffy handled her."
Giles stared at him. "Why wasn't I told?"
Lex shrugged. "Ask the girls?"
"I shall." He gave him an odd look. "Any others?"
Lex considered it. "I punched Druscila. Oh, and we have to get Buffy to look at the real files on Angel."
Giles stared at him. "What real files?"
"He's in the chronicles."
"I haven't seen.... He's not a hunter, Lex."
"I know that." He stared at him. "Dru said hi by the way."
"Druscila? Scourge of Europe?" Giles demanded. Lex grinned and nodded. He went to look her up. That was clearly a hint.
"Wasn't one of her cohorts named Angelus?" John asked, thinking back. Lex smirked and tapped his nose. "Shit. No way."
"Soul spell," he quipped.
Giles gave him a horrified look and went to look at that account. He knew that story! He moaned, shaking his head. "Dear lord."
"Yeah, and two apocalypse attempts too when he got happies," Lex said dryly.
"Bloody hell that's going to suck."
Lex smirked, taking his lunch with him to go find the gang. He found Cordelia nagging. "Shut up, Queen C, or next time we won't save you."
She gaped then looked at Xander. "You're not twins!" she said in a high-pitched squeaky voice. He shrugged and grinned. She passed out.
Lex walked over her and sat down, staring at Buffy. "You need to look in the chronicles."
"Why?" she asked. "Another bad thing?"
"Angel's in them."
"What?" she demanded, looking confused.
"We noticed he only shows up at night?" Lex asked. "That's he's real pale for such a sunny area?"
"He's not," Buffy said firmly.
"He is," Lex said.
"He's not!" She got up and stomped off.
"Go talk to Giles about it," he called after her. He looked at Willow. "She's going to need a girlfriend." She nodded, finishing up on the way to drop off her tray and then help Buffy calm down. He looked at his twin. "Stay away from him," he said quietly. Xander nodded, stuffing his mouth.
"Should we stake him?" Sam asked.
"No. The Powers That Be sent him," Lex said dryly. "He's their champion. I just don't want to see her as hurt as she was last time when he lost his soul."
Sam winced. "That's a foul dark magic spell."
"Does Willow have magic?" he asked quietly.
"She got to the scary spot of magic addiction," Lex said quietly.
"Shit," Sam muttered, shaking his head.
"Yeah. So.... Let's let Draco tutor her."
"Agreed." They finished up and took their trays in so they could get to their next classes.
Jesse paused in the office. "Cordelia Chase passed out at Xander's magnificence. She's going to whine about grass stains." He walked on while the secretary went to check on her. "Lex, what happened to Snyder? We heard so many horror stories through the years."
"He fell down the stairs. It was sick. There was brain matter and everything."
"Ewww," Jesse said but he was grinning. "Why did he fall?"
"I didn't back down at his attempt to badass me." They shared a look. "And if he told you 'going to Mexico' was code for dead, he's wrong." He went back to the library to help look things up. Buffy was sobbing on Willow's shoulder. He sighed and squatted down in front of the couch, staring at her. "It's better you know now, so you can't get too involved," he said quietly. "Just because he's a champion doesn't mean that his soul can't come unstuck."
"Did it?" she asked, wiping off her cheeks.
Lex nodded. "You gave him happies." Buffy blushed. "For your birthday. You nearly killed yourself over him, Buffy Summers, and I'd hate to see that."
She nodded. "Thank you." She gave him a short hug. "I need ice cream."
First walked over a bag. "We thought that talk might be coming soon so we had some stored in your watchers' freezer, Slayer." She smiled and patted him on the head. "There's enough there for you and Miss Willow." He looked at his Lord. "Should we watch out for him?"
"Yes, but don't kill him. That'll be messing with the Powers That Be." First nodded and left them alone.
"The who?" Buffy asked.
"The higher jackasses over the slayers," he said with an evil smirk.
"Yay," she said flatly, eating some of the ice cream sandwich. Willow had hers too. "This so sucks."
"Yeah, it kinda does, but better warned than to have him suddenly turn some night. Or kill Miss Calendar. Or try to end the world twice." She winced. Lex nodded. "Yeah, so let's not do that if possible?"
She ate a bite. "I can do that. Any other words of wisdom?"
"There's a guy named Riley at the college. He's a weenie who's part of a government program to use demons as grunts and assassins. They get off on torturing them to figure them out." John dropped the book he was reading and Giles dropped his glasses. He looked down at her. "Don't date the commando?"
"Yeah, not an issue."
"Stay away from Dru and Spike. They're powerful and she's a seer but can screw with your mind. She did it to Giles once." Buffy winced. "Spike's her baby and caretaker. Angelus drove her insane when he turned her. Spike's killed two slayers and he's a really good fighter. Dru killed the one that comes after you in my world."
"Good to know," she agreed.
"Do we know anything about Darla?" Giles asked calmly.
"School girl outfit wearing bad girl?"
"I got her," Buffy said with a grin.
"Yup. I'm pretty sure you did." He smirked and walked over. "They're under the college," he told John. "Mostly army."
"Fuck that shit," Dean Der said. "I remember you scrying them."
Lex nodded. "Yup, I remember getting sick and that says something after everything I've seen." He sat down, looking at John. "So I'll leave that to your daddy marine good sense?"
"Gladly," he assured him with a smirk. "Can we draw it here?"
"Azazel? Yeah. Well, slightly. We'll have to summon him here. He can't get past the hellmouth's barrier." He smirked. "So Sam's very safe here."
"Good." John nodded. "I might have to go out of town to lead it away."
Lex smirked. "He's keeping track of you anyway, John. That's why almost everyone Sammy's ever known is gone." He stared at him. "Down to teachers and things." John shuddered. "But right now he's hunting for his next version, which will be born when Sam's about twenty-five."
"Another plan in case this one gets stopped," John said. Xander nodded. "You said bloodline gifts earlier."
"Because he has to have a way to hook them and why go for a mundane as his heir?"
The principal walked in. "Harris, you're supposed to be in class."
"I'm in class." He grinned. "I'm actually learning genealogy work from Mr. Winchester. That way I can find anyone normal in my families."
"I meant science. Let's go." Lex smirked and got up, letting the principal take him to class, where Xander was. "Um.... hmm. Xander?" he called, getting his attention. The boy groaned but grabbed his things and came out. He stared. "Why are there two of you?"
Xander pointed at First. "More than two of us." He grinned. "They're Lex's Army of Der. They take really good care of us and make dinner and things."
The principal looked down. "Hi, Principal Flutey," First said with a grin. "How's it hanging?"
Principal Flutey passed out. "Everyone always seems to pass out at my feet," Lex and First muttered, then shared a smirk.
Xander opened the classroom door. "Principal Flutey just passed out." He shut the door and looked over but Lex and First were gone. He sighed, going back to his seat while the teacher handled it. They liked the guy, he was neat enough. And he scheduled zoo trips.
On the promised school trip that Xander had bounded around about for six days Lex spotted the bad thing happening and sighed. He looked at Dean Der, who was on his shoulder. "Do we stop the inevitable?"
"Sam went too," First said when he joined them. "What do you want to do, Lord Lex?"
"She was always helpful to me." He called John to come get them at school later that night. John asked why but Lex didn't answer. They all felt the magic go off and went to corral the pack. He spotted Harry and Draco, nodding them that way to herd the new pack. Draco sneered. "She was always good for me," Lex said quietly.
"It was nice when you nuzzled and kneaded," Harry said with a grin. They watched and made sure that Xander made it out all right with Sam. They were snuffling and looking at their pack. Sam clearly found most of them unworthy. They herded them back to the bus and the pack followed Xander. Sam was sniffing everyone. Harry smiled and scratched behind Sam's ear. "Good Kitty Sam." He grinned. "I know she's a nice hyena and they're fabulous hunters." The rest of the students started to show up so Harry and Draco left. Both Ders subtly snuck onto the bus and Lex followed them back considering things. How far to let them go? They clearly couldn't let the pack eat the principal. Flutey wasn't *too* bad. The pig.... Well.... He wasn't sure. He walked in and found John had locked the whole pack in the book cage. Lex smirked. "She was always very good for me."
John stared at him. "You did what?" he demanded.
"The same thing they did. Stepped into the mystical diagram at the hyena house."
John growled. "Seriously?"
"Yeah, but she's always been very protective of me. She's been very helpful. Gave me a lot better survival instincts and all that. She's a third of the reason I'm the man I am today. Xander should have that but not like I did."
John huffed. "And Sam?"
"They were chasing a bullied kid to help him."
"Crap," John muttered. "So his noble instincts...."
"And mine," Lex agreed with a grin. "I kept her. The rest of the pack may or may not have. Not totally sure."
"Everyone does," Giles said.
"And yet we know that other possessions don't always stick," Lex and John said. John stared at him.
"Halloween. Not this year." He grinned. "I'll let that one happen too, because it was mostly good for me. We'll just have to make plans to keep the little demons from going insane."
John walked him off by his arm to find out what he meant. That wasn't safe for his boys but when he heard why, it was a good reason. They could find a way to protect the kids too. Maybe tranquilizer darts or something? Sleep gas grenades? For now they had to get the hyenas out of the pack. They came back and found the principal huffing.
"Why are they locked up?" he demanded.
John let Sam out, keeping the others in there. Sam came out and sniffed the principal, then chattered at him, staring him down.
"What's wrong with him?" he demanded.
"Something at the zoo infected him," John said, catching Sam's collar before he could lunge at the older man.
The principal stared at him. "I'm not that unknowing, Mr. Winchester. We like blinders around here but not everyone can have total ones." He looked at Lex. "The same as Snyder fell down the stairs after talking to you or your twin."
"He did," Lex agreed with a grin. "He was talking to me and I refused to play his game and be scared of him. He was in cahoots with Wilkins actually. Trying to intimidate all the kids into easier food sources." Flutey grimaced and shook his head. "So yeah, he turned, ran, and tripped over his feet. I was going to turn him into the Feds for his crap."
"Oh, dear." He looked at them then at Winchester. "What happened?"
"Some zookeeper had delusions of being a shaman. Wanted to have a spirit joining," John said dryly. Sam was sniffing him. "Sam, I'm your father." Sam chattered and chuffed a few times. He handed him to Lex.
"You can't eat your dad or me," Lex said, petting Sam to keep him calm. He heard the higher pitched cackle and looked. "Out, girls, now!" They ran. He looked at the principal. "In truth, I'm Xander from an alternate plane. In mine, you would've died tomorrow." The principal gave him a horrified look. Lex pointed at the pack. "Buffy had me locked up but the pack... after the new mascot pig...."
"Oh, dear," he said, backing away.
Lex nodded. "So we're going to mitigate what we can so Sunnydale is safer. Xander's my nicer half and I'd do anything to protect him. Last time, I blew open every single vampire sanctuary space during a battle that happened at our graduation." Flutey swallowed. "That was Wilkin's plan though. It's ended."
"Thank heavens." Flutey looked at John. "You're clearly not average."
"No, I'm a hunter."
"We're looking at him as daddy support," Lex said with a grin. "He does a really good job and keeps me from making evil plans to take over the town so it'll be totally safe."
Flutey nodded, looking at John. "Good luck." He looked at Xander. "Pass the test or go to class, Harris."
"You can't prove I'm not a myth."
"We have you on surveillance cameras," he shot back with a smirk. "I made sure."
"I knew there was a spell I forgot to do again," he said dryly. "I can pass the test. The education here isn't the greatest." Flutey knew that so he nodded. "We can do better."
"Who's going to stop you?" John asked.
"Good point. Everyone who was dirty to Wilkins is gone." Sam was sniffing Lex's shoulder and lapping it. "He's going to bite."
"Probably but that's okay. I like Sam." He grinned. "The whole army of Der loves Sam." Flutey whimpered, shaking his head as he walked out. "Two days," Lex called after him. He made Sam look at him. "Mate mark me when you're back to normal, Sam. Not in front of your dad." Sam growled. Lex lapped him back, getting happy noises.
"Let's work on the depossession," Giles decided. "Before we see pack claiming rituals."
John pulled out holy water and started with Sam. When it didn't work on him he tried one of the normal kids in the pack. It worked for them but they were all still clearly feeling their taint. John found a book and did a better one on Sam and Xander, who were surrounding Lex to sniff him.
Buffy leaned in. "Can we come in?"
"No. A hyena would see you as a threat and either try to make you submit or try to run you off," Lex told her.
"Oh, okay." She walked off again. She'd ask Willow what that meant. Then she had to keep Willow from going to help Xander. "John has it."
She sighed but nodded. "He can do all that stuff." The principal spotted them and walked toward them. "Hi, Principal Flutey."
"Girls." He smirked. "We should talk, Miss Summers." She sighed but they followed him to his office. He locked them in there. "Unlike some, I do know a bit about what goes on around here." He stared at her. "Mr. Giles is not the first Brit to come work for this school system and he's not all that subtle either. The book cage proves that." She winced. "Are you the current slayer?"
"Yes," she said quietly. "You knew?"
"Some. It seems very odd when British citizens with high degrees and great jobs want to come work in Sunnydale's poor system. So I had a few friends do some checking." Willow winced. He stared at her. "I want it out of my school. No fighting here. If something happens, you can handle it but do not draw it here."
"I'd never do that," she said.
"Good." He smiled. "Does your mother know?"
"She'd freak out majorly. Worse than she did when I had to burn down a gym full of vampires."
Flutey stared at her. "So that's why." She grimaced but nodded. "All right. Your little...hunting club can keep using the library. You keep things down and quiet around the school. You should tell your mother though. She's a kind woman, she'll understand."
"I doubt that and I hate pills."
He smirked. "Then show her, Miss Summers." She shook her head and walked off with Willow following her. "She's going to find out," he called after them.
Lex looked up from being hyena cuddled when Buffy walked in. Xander got up to sniff her and growled, chattering laughter until Buffy backed up. He lunged and John stopped him, handing him to Lex. Sam was tensing to pounce so Dean Der knocked him down and sat on him, staring down at him. "No," Dean ordered. Sam looked so confused but sniffed, then lapped his hair. "I know, I look like a cub." He settled in on his brother's chest, getting comfy. "What's up, Miss Buffy?" Dean Der asked.
"Knew what?" John asked.
"That anytime a Brit came in to work here, a special girl showed up too," Buffy said dryly, looking at Giles.
"Well, duh," Dean Der told her. "Why would a guy who has museum and high degree credentials become a librarian unless he's in disgrace, escaping, or has plans. Hunting would point out the wrongness of that situation fast."
"Excuse me, he knows?" Giles demanded. Buffy nodded. "Oh, dear."
"He wanted her to tell her mother," Willow said. She moved closer to John so she could pet Dean Der. Sam bit her. She yelped and moved out of the way. "Hey! No with the teeth!" she ordered. She was going to throw something at him but stopped when she saw the glowing light. "Ohmygod, what's that!" she demanded, trying to shake it off.
"Magic," John said. He did not look happy.
"But I didn't do anything magicy!" she demanded. "I don't have a wand! I didn't say funny words! Nothing!"
"Did you talk to any demons?" John asked.
"We never could figure out why she had magic," Lex told him. "Especially not strong magic like she grew." John stared at him so he shrugged. "She did. She closed the stupid hole, fixed the 'us' problem once from a hospital bed after a short coma." He stared at him. "Draco could mentor her through the wand stuff."
John considered it. "It'd be safer."
"But magic is fantasy stuff, not real stuff," Willow complained. Lex pulled his wand and changed her into a hamster, which Sam reached over to play with. He changed her back after a long glare from John and Giles, and a cleared throat from Giles; it made her pouty. "Fine, it's not all fantasy stuff." She swatted at Sam because he was poking her looking very confused. "I'll talk to Draco?"
"Please do. The formal education will help a lot, Willow." She nodded with a sigh. Buffy yelped when Sam shifted and pulled her down to sniff. "Sam!" Lex complained. Xander moved to pounce her too. John hauled her up and gave her and Willow a shove, letting them escape while they got the two matriarchs settled down. They tried to intimidate John but it didn't work. Giles they made flee when they were making hunting noises while stalking him. Lex just whistled and petted them, getting more sniffs. He let his taint come forward and Xander huffed but they settled down.
John shook his head. "This town is going to drive me nuts."
"There's an alternate way to get them out of mediums," Giles told him from the safety of the check-in desk.
"Huh?" John asked.
"If he kept memories that strongly, he's got some gifts toward being a medium."
Harry appeared in a pop of air. "He does." He banished the two younger hyena spirits, getting horrified looks from their respective people. Lex let his draw back into his head. "We felt an unusual wave of magic?"
Dean Der snorted. "Willow nearly thumped Sam for biting her."
"We think the structure you and Draco learned would do her better than letting her have a free access pass to stealing books this time," Lex said.
Harry nodded. "Draco could tutor her a bit. She'd need a wand." Lex nodded. "Huh, she can possibly start there." He left to talk to Draco about that. Draco knew where the local magic areas were. So far they hadn't heard anything about a search for Harry over here. So Draco could take her most likely. Even though he sneered about it. A scroll appeared in front of them. They picked it up to read over what Willow had become. Draco decided he could make sure he tamed her. There would be no magically addicted Willow who created *mistakes* of magic. Or apocalypses. He'd test her later for wand use. If not, he knew the intricate balances of the natural arts. He had learned the darker side of those from his mother. The structure and the vow to paddle her like a house elf if she stepped one step into darkness would help her.
*** (sent to list to here)
Sam looked at his father, then at Xander, then at Lex. "I'm, um, sorry, guys."
"It's not your fault you tripped into that mystical circle," Lex said dryly. "I did the same thing once upon a time." He grinned. Xander moaned. "She was important in my life and helped me a lot. So I wasn't about to stop you, Xander."
"I get that." He flopped down. Willow came out of Harry and Draco's room. "Get anything?"
"She can barely use a wand but she shows a good current for the more rigid structures of the natural medium paths," Draco said. "We'll be tutoring her in that to make sure she doesn't slip." Harry handed John the scroll. "We let her read that as well."
John read it and nodded. "That's a good reason, Draco." He looked at her. "One step into darkness," he warned. She nodded, looking down. "Good. Now, your parents are home." She grimaced. "I'll drive you since it's night." She nodded, grabbing her bookbag and coat so he could drive her home for dinner. Her mother opened the door, giving her a dirty look. John got out. "Mrs. Rosenburg, I'm John Winchester. I'm a distant relation of Xander's. I and my boys moved here to help him."
"Oh." She smiled. "That's good you've been looking out for our daughter as well. Has she been any problem?"
"No, ma'am. She's very good and helped my son Sam with the studying stuff. My older one's just graduated." He smiled. "The boys wanted to make sure she got home all right."
"That's fine. The boys do dote on her. I'm hoping one day we'll see a wonderful engagement and wedding."
John nodded. "You never know where fate'll lead you," he agreed with a smile. "They'll see you tomorrow, Willow."
"Of course they will. We have a math test," she said dryly. John smirked and got into the truck. Willow went in to talk with her parents so she could find out where they had been. "John came over to help when someone broke into the house too," she told her father when he was still scowling. "Someone called Xander's to tell him that someone was breaking in so he came to stomp on them."
"That's good of him," his father decided. "What does he do?"
"Right now he's helping Mr. Giles in the library. I'm not sure if he's settled in permanently or not." He nodded. "Sam likes the school. Said it's easier." She shrugged.
"We'll meet your new friends this weekend," her mother said. "There's a teen picnic."
"I know," Willow said with a grin. "You can meet Buffy too. Her mom opened the art gallery."
"I saw that. It had some nice pieces," Willow's mother agreed. They settled in to eat dinner together, as the family dictated. Then Willow went to study for math. "Dear, is Jesse's mother up?" she called.
"Not that I know of. Jesse had dinner with Xander and John's boys," she called back.
"That's reasonable. It's good there's another reasonable adult to help us." She went back to finish the dishes.
Her father came in to check on her. "Why are you reading that?" he demanded.
She used the lie Dean had given her for when they asked. "It's bending physics rules and if I can figure out how and why it'll help me find a good way to explain it to Xander and Jesse. It's also got how some comics bend the rules of physics. Since both boys think in that instead of straight logic, it's easier."
"That will ruin your mind and theirs."
"Xander's grades are up again," she said. "Even in English." He grimaced. "He's still not getting letters in math but he's doing better this year."
"There should be special classes so you don't have to ruin your own education," he complained.
"Xander's not that slow, Father," she said firmly. "He might be slightly dyslexic but that's easily cured and I'm the one who taught him to read since no one else would." He backed down at that. She was starting to sound like her mother again apparently. "If the only way I can get them to understand physics is to work on comic book principles and then teach them how they're warped, then so be it." He left her alone. She huffed and went back to reading the magical theory book Draco had leant her.
Her mother came in wiping her hands on her dish towel. "Dear, did we need to have a talk about girl hormones?" she asked gently.
Willow looked at her. "We had that two years ago when it started, Mom."
"Oh. Hmm. I didn't remember that." She stared at the book and sneered. "Why are you reading that filth?"
"Because I have to explain it to Xander and Jesse. That's how they're getting physics. I can put it into this and comic language and they get it suddenly."
"Oh, I hadn't expected that." She considered it. "The non-traditional explanations would work better for those two I suppose. They're forever ruining their minds with comics."
"Mom, feel lucky I got Xander to read."
"Fine." She patted her on the cheek. "You let me know if you need things, dear." She walked off.
Willow shook her head. Her mother had some funny mind disease, she knew she and her father both did. She was hoping it wasn't genetic or contagious.
Willow came home the next day in a royally crappy mood. School had been a bitch today. All the bullies had been out and trying to pick on her for having brains and Cordelia had gotten onto her about her fluffy sweater again. So she was not a happy camper. She was already scowling and looking like a pissed off Willow.
"Dear, we should talk about girl things," her mother said.
Willow snorted. "Mother, I know more about sex things than you do," she said bluntly. Her mother gasped. "Not only from the health department, which is where I learned it all, but from having to listen to the brainless patrol get it wrong. For that matter, we had that talk two years ago too." Her mother started to sniffle. "I don't know why you don't remember it. You nearly threw a party that I started my period." She stomped off.
"It's just hormones, dear," her husband said, patting her on the shoulder. "All teens act out."
"How would you know?" Willow demanded, coming back. "I see you two maybe a month out of every year. It's not like you live with a teenager. Or else I wouldn't have had to confuse and confound social workers for the last three years." They both gave her horrified looks. "Me being really smart doesn't count in this state. It goes by age." She stared at them. "It's a great thing that Jesse's mom is available when she's awake and now we have Mr. Winchester to do dad things. Because otherwise I'd never get good advice on why boys hate me." She got herself a snack and walked off again. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go reevaluate my personal sense of style so I quit being hounded by slutty cheerleaders who believe they rule the world because they have money." She went back to her room and slammed the door.
Her father stomped in there. "You do not...."
Willow stared at him and he froze. She calmed down the accidental magic on her way to her desk. She handed him the papers. "This is the most recent one. Notice the date?" He glared. "By the way, Father." She pulled out paperwork. "She decided I should talk to the judge about a few things." She held up that other paperwork. It had the judgement. He snatched it to read and glared at her. "That was not my doing. She pushed it so they could quit coming here to nag me about being alone. The judge said if it was anywhere but Sunnydale, including where he used to work, you'd be in jail." He stomped off with it. A minute later her mother started to wail. So Willow called the temple and their rabbi to come calm her mother down.
"You are not an adult," her mother sneered from the doorway.
"The judge said I am." She looked at her. "And that's only a copy of the paperwork. He filed it and with the school when the social worker insisted. I was really confused why the social worker was having me talk with him until he told me." She stared at her. "The rabbi's on his way. He called him too." Her mother slapped her and Willow glared. "Mother, don't try that again." Her mother tried to hit her again so Willow ducked and channeled the magic. Her mother froze. Willow stared at her and sighed. "How did I do that?" she complained. She called. "John, I could use some parental help. Because I just time stopped the house I think. The rabbi's on his way over. Please, thank you." She hung up and Harry appeared.
He tipped her face up to look at the bruise. "Some ice, Willow." She nodded, going to do that. He looked at the frozen woman, who was giving him horrified looking eyes. "I'm Harry, ma'am. I'm helping tutor her in that gift." He unfroze the parents. Then he stared at her. "We've recently uncovered that gift of hers. So myself and my friend, both of whom went to school for it, are tutoring her. You just upset her enough that it came out without meaning to."
"Who are you?" she sneered.
"Harry." He smiled. "We're getting protected because someone wanted to treat me like Xander so I'd win a war for them. Pity they didn't count on Xander hearing and telling me." Someone knocked and Willow let them in, then shouting started in Yiddish. He smiled. "I believe that's your rabbi, ma'am." She stomped off. Willow slunk back in. "Yelling at you?"
"I just got looks like I'm the most evil thing ever."
"I can introduce them to Voldemort," he offered. She smiled weakly and shook her head. He looked at her. "What happened?"
"It was a day of bullies then I came home to the ones that occasionally live here."
"I can understand that. Why were they picking on you today?"
"Cordelia and her sheep got onto my comfy, fluffy sweater. The other bullies about my brains. The usual," she sighed as she sat at her desk.
He patted her on the arm. "Draco was born royal, Willow. He helped his mother shop and knows quite a lot about impression management." She beamed at him. "You can ask him later." He cast an ignore me spell when someone came their way.
"I saw you the other day, Potter," the rabbi complained. "I also heard why they want you back."
Harry looked at him. "Because they created a damaged pawn and decided it was a bad thing to leave alone?" The rabbi smiled and nodded. "That's why I'm here."
"Good. There's something bad here in town but it'll cover your tracks."
"It's under the library," Willow quipped. "It's called a hellmouth. It's a space/time rip."
"Oh, dear. I know what that is," he sighed. He looked at Willow. "They're adamant that you're now evil."
She nodded. "That's why the house is in my name. Once I was legal, my trust fund from my grandmother kicked in and the house was turned over to me instead of the trustees."
He smiled, going to tell them that. They were shrieking and unhappy.
Willow walked out to get into her father's office, holding up the papers. "It's in her will, Father. The judge knew I had a trust somewhere and went looking. They decided this problem, as he called it, had gone on long enough." She put down the papers. "The house is in my name and the trust pays for the taxes. It apparently has since I was six and she died." She looked at both parents.
"I'm not mean but I'm not going to be bullied and coerced by you two any longer. You're barely ever home. You've violated your own principles and the ones in your books. For that matter, the judge said you violated your oaths." She stared at her mother. "He thought it was a very bad thing that I knew how to do stitches. Even if it had helped it wasn't mentally healthy that no one had stopped his parents earlier. Which your medical oath says you have to by law."
She looked at her father. "You can learn to treat me as I am, which would be really nice, I'd like to be a daughter again instead of some clinical subject you sit down with one month a year, or you can go on a long damn trip." She walked off. "I'm tired of bullies. It's been a day of bullies. I reached my point of 'damn it' as Jesse's mother calls it." She stared at the rabbi. "Please mediate. I'll be in my room sulking." She went back in there and shut the door. Plus turned on music so she wouldn't have to hear the yelling the rabbi was doing at them.
Willow showed up with John Winchester the next day at the judge's office. "I need a bit of help," she told the judge.
"For what, Miss Rosenburg?"
"My parents finally showed back up and had a very bad reaction to the news." She sat in front of his desk.
"I can see the bruise."
She touched it, tipping her head so her hair shielded it. "No, that was the lighter version of the bad reaction. We had to get the rabbi in, and he about had them thrown out of Judaism." She sighed.
"The house is in your name."
"They have some of her trust held in another account," John told him, handing over the notes he had helped her get from the bank. Well, they had distracted someone while one of the mini Der had hacked.
He read it and nodded. "Did it come from your trust?" She handed over the paperwork on that. "I see it was funded right after your trust."
"All I want is what's mine," she said. "And them to go far, far away until they decide to be parents again."
"I can agree with that but I'd rather they stay away. It can only drag you down, Willow." He called their lawyer. The parents had one, everyone knew that. He came over to go over the situation. The Rosenburgs were in his office already trying to undo things. The lawyer went back to tell them there was no way out and she had found out about the 'wedding fund' and the 'college funds' that had been taken out of her trust. He brought them back to argue. It was nice Willow was acting in her own stead.
It made the lawyer confident but the judge knew she could argue her way around him easily. He was shocked when he started to agree with the daughter instead of his clients. So she was going to win. The judge agreed and put them back into her trust and helped her set up what was needed. Including a restraining order at John's request - one decent parent against an idiot set.
Jesse's mother got called in as well and she showed up to give her opinion on them going away forever and ever. She thought it was mean and glared at Willow but the judge told her why. She told him what had happened in the past and how manipulating the Rosenburgs could be so you agreed with their ideas. Including that they complained about *everything* their daughter did that wasn't straight A's and other problems.
So Willow became a free woman. The parents decided to leave town. Jesse's mother assured her she'd be watching over her as well. She had wanted a daughter. Willow hugged her and introduced John to her, so they could get to know each other. They had similar outlooks, even if Jesse's mother liked to ignore things she couldn't handle. John wasn't that sort and assured her he had Xander well in hand now with his boys. That eased a lot of worries and the judge agreed that Xander's paperwork John had was legal, even if the late judge hadn't filed it. So he did. Then it was all set.
Willow smiled at Draco that night. "I have three hundred dollars in my savings account right now." Draco nodded, looking confused. "Harry said you know how to make people look ...less like the cheerleaders would pick on me?" she asked hopefully. "I'd ask Buffy but she's a bit... well she wears shorts skirts and I don't. And tops I'd never dare to wear."
Draco smirked. "We can make you look nicer." She beamed at him. He let her walk him to the mall, which he decided he loathed. It was loud, too bright, and had too many girls in slutty clothes. But he got her things he could see her in. It was classical and looked nicer.
One girl in the store with them snorted and sneered. "Even if she wore designer things, she'd still be a failure at getting boys to look at her."
Willow shrugged. "Why would I need one right now? I have more important things to do with my life than being a teen mother, Harmony." Harmony stomped off. She sighed, looking at Draco.
"There's things to help with your temper too," he said dryly. He helped her get what she needed to look like the women he saw on those movie things that didn't look like sluts. And pants because she insisted she couldn't wear a skirt every day. Even though his mother would never *dare* to think about wearing pants, it was the muggle world and the women all wore pants. Especially jeans.
Buffy looked at Willow the next morning. "You look nice," she said with a grin. "Mom, doesn't Willow look nice?"
"That's very classical," she agreed with a smile. "Very good choice, Willow." Willow beamed at them. "Though, your hair needs some help." She pulled her over to the car and did it for her. "There, that's better." She grinned. "Now go to class, girls." They ran off chatting. She smiled and went to talk to this new parent in the group. She had met Jesse's mother recently and wanted to meet John. Mrs. McNally had said they were having coffee today to plan for the boys' holiday sleepovers. She smiled, sitting down beside her fellow parents. "Joyce Summers."
"John Winchester," he said, shaking her hand. "I've met Buffy a few times."
She smiled. "She's enough to drive you nuts at times but she's mostly a good girl."
John smirked. "My older son Dean likes to pick on her skirt habit."
"I'd like them to be longer," she said dryly. Jesse's mother laughed. "She's a very trendy girl and I understand that. Whichever one of you helped Willow did a fantastic job as well."
"Some friends of the boys' are in from England and one of them did," John said with a smile. "Draco's very image oriented as well."
Joyce smiled. "Any chance of him making my daughter quit being such a club girl?" Jesse's mother choked but was laughing.
"He calls most modern women sluts," John admitted. "He's from a very conservative area and Harry keeps trying to explain modern women to him."
Both mothers smiled at him. "Willow needed it," Jesse's mother said.
John nodded. "The night all that fighting started, Willow had been bullied by the cheerleaders again."
"That figures. That Chase girl is evil when she wants to be," Joyce sighed.
"She's got some depth she's still finding," John said. "She and your daughter ended up working together on something and didn't scratch out eyes or anything."
"That's good. Because I'm not sure if my daughter can do more than girl fight."
John nodded. "I've had her working with my boys and I taught them both self defense at a young age. My Sam's a lot like Willow and Dean's a lot like Xander. Though Sam has the temper of the universe at the moment."
Joyce sighed and nodded. "Her too. Jesse?"
"Not so much," she admitted with a smile. "If he want to throw boy fits, he tends to do that at Xander." She sipped her coffee. "Did you want to host some of the roving madness the boys get into over the holidays?"
"I can. I can ask Buffy if she wants to throw a party or anything."
"That might help," John agreed. "The boys already have much too much energy and Xander's been bouncing around all day because the only non-evil girl in town talked to him."
Joyce laughed. "Seriously?"
John nodded. "He only draws bad girls."
"His last one had a knife habit."
Both mothers stared at him. John nodded. "Well, I know Buffy's too good to attract him then," Joyce quipped. "She hates weapons."
"She liked learning how to sharpen knives with Dean the other day," John offered. He'd work her up to the real knowledge of her daughter's duty slowly so she wasn't shocked enough to have a heart attack when she heard.
"Huh, I didn't know that." She sipped her coffee. "We should get the kids together some weekend so they can be teenagers. It'll keep Buffy out of the mall and let Willow and she do some girl things."
Jesse's mother nodded. "The girl things would drive my son nuts but I can see them getting together for a girl weekend while the boys went to do boy things in the woods."
"Not until I figure out why I saw commandos in the woods," John told her. "I don't want them to run into trouble by accident."
Jesse's mother stared at him. "They did?"
"Yup. I saw a whole team out there training in the woods. That's not safe for the boys to stumble onto. Since I know they're not from the reserve base, I have no idea why they were local. There's too much chance the boys will run into problems." She nodded. "Oh, what's with their thing about exploring?"
"The boys have been all over this town with Willow," Jesse's mother told him. "Xander's parents were dirtbags."
"Willow's were absent or controlling from what I heard," Joyce said.
"That's their two modes," Jesse's mother agreed dryly. "They didn't want children. Then she appeared and fortunately was really smart." She sipped her coffee. "What did they find this time? Last time they found a hidden stash from an old bank robbery. The mayor was very pleased and they got their picture in the paper."
"I'm not totally sure but Dean was groaning about it. Who do I talk to if it is something? I know the local PD is inactive to put it nicely."
"The new mayor's not bad," Jesse's mom said.
Joyce shook her head. "He seemed a bit...slimy," she admitted. "We had lunch when I moved here over my business license and he was hitting on me badly. My divorce wasn't final at that time but he assumed I was an easy slut, which I'm not. It horrified him greatly when I said no. He tried to turn down my business license until I told him I had taped some of his comments."
"The last one got taken by some agents," Jesse's mother sighed. "Apparently he had covered up for a lot of bad things." She finished her coffee. "Joyce, did you want to throw a party?"
"Maybe a movie night to start? We have a nice tv. I can make snacks?" She smiled. "That way we can chaperone easily from the kitchen?" The parents nodded. She smiled at John. "Your older son could come too if the kids wanted."
"I think Buffy's crushing hard on Dean," he said with a grin. "She's mostly a good girl though so I don't mind. Dean's not serious relationship minded so they flirt. She's gotten better." Joyce snickered, shaking her head. "Next weekend? That's right after the huge history test I've heard complaints about."
"That'll work," Joyce agreed, looking at Jesse's mother, who nodded but yawned. She smiled. "If Jesse needs to, he's more than welcome to my couch as well," she said gently. Jesse's mother smiled back and nodded. "Go rest. I've got to open the gallery. Have a good day, John." She shook hands and walked off.
"She's a very nice but firm mother," Jesse's mother said with another yawn. "Let me go sleep. I'll talk to you when I get up, John."
"Sure. I'll watch over the kids." She smiled and left. He got another cup of coffee and made plans to find a job. Since it looked like he'd be local for a while. The demon was out of present range but they had a good plan to draw him locally so they could end him. And he'd have help from his boys and Buffy.
Joyce looked up from making snacks for the kids, letting Sam carry them off with a grin for her. She put down her spatula once the ham pieces were flipped and looked at John. "I had the misfortune of seeing my daughter the other night when I ran out for a treat."
John nodded, sitting at the table. "Make sure those don't burn and I'll tell you what I can."
She finished the snacks and brought them out then came back to sit across from him. "What was my daughter doing with your younger son?" she asked quietly. "I saw her be jumped and then suddenly there was no person attacking them."
John nodded. "They're kinda rampant around here. That's why there's so many disappeared people."
"Why is she doing that?" He sighed. "You can't tell me?"
"No, I can but it's not really my story to tell." He stared at her. "I'm in an ...associated field. I found out about her when Xander and Lex came to talk to my boys about something."
"You haven't seen him yet." He grimaced. "Kids, we're running out for ice cream," he called. "Behave."
"Yes, Dad," Dean called back.
He got her out to his truck and to where Lex was off patrolling tonight since Buffy was off with Giles' knowledge. He helped her stalk Lex, who probably realized it. If not, his patrol unit of Ders did. One of them gave him a pointed look. She gasped when the vampire went whoosh, making Lex stare at them. "You never met Joyce?"
"I met my Joyce a lot. She was the good mother of the group." He grinned. "Hi, I'm Lex."
She stared at him. "Xander?"
"Not from here, but yeah."
"Um...." She pointed at the dust. "What's that?"
He looked then at her. "Vampire." He walked her off, telling her about things while John and the Ders guarded them. They ended up at the library with Giles. Who was flustered but Joyce was insistent. She had heard rumors about her daughter hanging out with an older, scummy pervert sort in LA before that 'fire' incident. This explained quite a lot off odd rumors about her daughter.
On the way back, John made sure they got ice cream. Joyce was still thinking hard and wasn't really moving all that much. They walked in and John tossed Dean the ice cream bars, getting a nod and a grin back. Then Lex walked in and Buffy winced. John nodded they were right to wince.
Joyce paused the movie, looking at her daughter. "I went out for brownies two nights ago."
Buffy groaned, covering her face with her hands. "Mom, what did you see?"
"More than I wanted to but less than I did tonight." Buffy glared at Lex, who pointed at John.
"She asked me," John said. "This way you can quit using Dean as an excuse for being late for curfew."
Joyce stared at her daughter. "You're doing what?" she demanded.
"Not like I have a choice and I can retire," she said grimly. She leaned back. "Did you take her to talk to Giles too?" she asked them. Getting dual nods back she sighed. "I wanted to retire when I got here and then I found out that I'm still called so I still have a duty. And it's really sucky, Mom."
"Buffy..." She sighed, staring at her. "I can't pretend to understand how you're handling this."
"She's a soldier, the same as we who hunt are," Lex said. "I keep Xander from everything but the worst apocalypses. Willow and Jesse too." Joyce nodded at that. "I can't tell you it's a good, happy making thing, Mrs. Summers, but it's necessary and she didn't have a choice."
"I heard that. What about now?" she demanded.
"We can stop her heart, do CPR, and get another called; she'll still be a slayer. Just not the only one."
Joyce sat down, staring at her daughter. "Sorry?" Buffy asked sheepishly. "Surprise?" she said when her mother shook her head, getting a nod that time. Dean handed over an ice cream bar. "I didn't want you to know, Mom. The more you know the more you'll be able to be hurt. We did protections around the house to make sure no one could hurt you."
"Yes, I did," John agreed.
"I helped Draco with some," Willow chirped in.
"A unit of the mini Xander looking Ders go with us each night we patrol," Sam told her. "We're as safe as we can be, Mrs. Summers."
She looked at him. "How did you get involved?"
"A demon took out my wife," John said. "Sam was six months old." Joyce gaped in horror at him. He nodded. "We've been doing it ever since and it's nice we're settled down slightly at the moment."
"I think this is the longest we've been anywhere in years," Dean agreed. "Sammy and I are both fully qualified to go hunting on our own." Joyce stared at him. "Someone's got to protect the other mothers and fathers out there," he said more gently.
She nodded, biting into her ice cream sandwich. "I get that," she said. She looked at Buffy. "Mr. Giles told me how you're the first to have more backup than a watcher."
She nodded. "That means I get a few nights off a week so it's not an every night of slay and then homework. I've learned a lot from John and his sons. I can spar with John and not hurt him most of the time because he's a lot tougher than Giles is." John nodded at that.
Joyce ate more of her ice cream, staring at her daughter. "This is going to give me ulcers."
"If I could find a way to pass it on, I would, Mom. Unfortunately that'd take me dying and staying dead." Joyce shuddered then sighed, finishing her ice cream. The rest of them gave her the spare one that was left. Buffy had already eaten hers. "I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention. I was happy being the airhead cheerleader sort, Mom."
"It's not your fault," she said. "And I'm proud that you've become such a credit to the duty. From now on, you'll be honest with me?"
"We'll get you to go on buying trips out of town when it's an apocalypse," Lex assured her with a grin. "That way she doesn't have to worry about you."
Joyce nodded. "I can understand that." She looked at her daughter. "You're very lucky."
"I know, even if they're *guys* and do guy things." She smirked. "We need to find out how to get stuff out of laundry so I don't need a new wardrobe by next month."
John snorted. "I can teach you that, Buffy."
She gave him a horrified look. "I don't do my laundry."
Joyce snorted. "We'll talk about that later, young lady." She stood up, staring down at her. "I'm proud but a bit freaked out."
Buffy nodded. "So was I when Merrick showed up to talk about that mole that you let me have removed. I went on a total 'eww' fit on him, and at the cemetery that night. And then I staked a vampire by instinct." Joyce grimaced. "He was right, I wouldn't have believed him without it, but still gross."
"Very," she agreed. She and John went back to the kitchen. She looked at him. "How do you stand letting them go out every time?"
"I know that I did the best I could to train them. They can handle most everything. And they have the same thing when I leave them to hunt." He sat down. She sat down to eat that quickly melting ice cream bar. "You'll handle it, Joyce. You're a good mother. You have a good girl. You did a good job on her. A lot of the hunters end up in a lot of bad mental places. Especially after years of hunting."
She sighed but nodded. "I wish she could be the fashionable daughter again but I know you can't go back."
"No, and you shouldn't use that w-word. There's a whole class of demons who react to that word and make it come true." She groaned, rubbing her forehead. "We can go over it with you. I know some things that Giles doesn't and he's a research watcher originally. Though it's nice he's taught my boys more ancient languages than Latin." She stared at him. "A lot of the books are in Latin. It's one way the hunting community keeps normals from getting their hands on them so it can't hurt them."
"Oh, dear." She frowned. "Buffy knows Latin?" He waved a hand in the air with a grimace. She smiled. "I was going to be really confused if she did. She's not exactly the most brainy cheerleader."
"Willow and Sam do a lot of her research, and Giles."
"That doesn't surprise me." She leaned on the table. "Martial arts?"
"She got instinctive knowledge of a lot of them," John assured her. "I've been helping her there since Giles is a bit...delicate. Buffy can't go all out on him without sending him to the ER and it's pathetic around here." Joyce nodded she had seen that. "Willow, Lex, and my family all have a lot of first aid knowledge for minor combat injuries."
"I heard Willow stitched Xander and Jesse for years," she admitted. John nodded. "So.... what are parents of super warriors supposed to do beyond worry? And should I worry about her diet?"
"She needs to eat more," John said bluntly. "She's losing weight again."
"I noticed." She grimaced. "We can fix that."
"Protein and carb heavy," he told her. "Not donut heavy." She smirked. "Dean would live on candy if I let him, same as Xander and Lex would if the Ders would let them." She laughed. "First?" He showed up, blinking at him. "Can you guys all teleport?"
"Only the top branches. It comes with our promotion." He spotted Joyce staring at him and smiled with a wave. "Hi. How is your night?"
"You're a mini Xander," she said.
He nodded. "Lord Draco made us as a present for Lord Lex."
"Huh." She nodded. "Okay. Are you demonic?" He shook his head.
"Buffy's losing weight and Joyce can actually cook," John told First. "Do you guys use a recipe book that she could borrow?"
He nodded, disappearing and coming back with a journal. "Lex had that in his things. It's what you worked out was best for their diets. With enough energy for magic for Miss Willow and enough for energy for Lord Lex and your daughter."
She read through it, nodding. "Some of my special laundry recipes too." She smiled. "Thank you, First."
"You're quite welcome. I have to nag sometimes because they forget meals." He looked at John. "Including you."
"I start work next week at the garage."
"That's fine. We'll let you know when we hear anything about the demon coming closer." John smirked and nodded. "That way you can plot evil things like Lord Sam used to." He disappeared again. He came back to hand over the box of ice cream. "You look like you need some." He disappeared again.
She opened it and got up to dish them out some. "More ice cream was brought by First."
"I love the Ders," Buffy called, coming in to get the biggest bowl her mother would allow. She tipped her head at the book. "Recipes?"
"From Lex's things."
"Oh, cool." She left. "Guys, mint chocolate chip." The boys got up to get some and Willow settled in to chat about girl things until they got back. They needed to loosen up her style that Draco was prompting.
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