Note:  Written for the NaNoWriMo thingy, one of two pieces. This is the fanfic one.  Without this note and title it is 50,045 words before the editing (50,127 after the editing).  See, I made it, even though I started late!

Interesting Retirement Options

Xander looked up as the two guys walked into his new store.  He had been set up now for about a week.  He had blatantly walked away from the new Council before they sent him out as a field watcher with a slayer of his own.  He was tired, he couldn't take the fighting anymore, and he wanted to fall back to a better position that would increase his chances of living to a ripe of old age of thirty.  "Hey, guys," he said, going back to his book.  "Let me guess, got the flier?"

"How did the flier get in our car?" the lead one asked.

Xander grinned.  "My best friend's a witch.  She did a direct mail thingy to all the hunters so you guys know that we're open.  It was either that or she would've hacked you all to send it by email.  That was less harmful and she wanted to do it for me."  He put down his book, looking them over.  He pointed at a sign that said only real money would be accepted.  "Because I know the business *very* well, I know how things go.  If you can't afford it and you need it, you let me know and we'll figure it out.  You try to scam me and I'm well within my rights to sic every single slayer and witch in the New Council of Watchers on you.  Only warning you'll get," he said with a grin.

"You're a hunter?"

"Was."  He leaned on the counter.  "I'm from Sunnydale.  Xander Harris," he said, holding out a hand.  They gaped then shook it.  "I know you two are the Winchester boys."

"Someone spread pictures of my handsome face?" Dean teased.

"Nah, the girls all wanted to fix Sam's hair," Xander shot back, earning two laughs.  "Not kidding, Sam.  Fair warning, they're very insistent.  That's why I'm not there anymore.  They wanted me as a field watcher and I wanted to live to be older than I am now."  That got a nod.  "So if you run into one of them expect for them to head right for his hair, even in the middle of a fight, because they are still teenage girls."

Dean nodded. "I'll keep that in mind when strange girls come up to pet him.  What do we have for ammo?"

Xander pointed at a room off to the side of the shop.  "Blessed and not blessed.  Clearly marked and what sizes.  If you need something specific let me know at least a few days in advance.  I can about make any size I need, up to rockets for launchers, but anything in mass quantity might take me up to three weeks."

"Huh," Dean said, nodding at that.  "You give us discounts?"

Xander smirked.  "I won't make you pay the really high rate I have for the military.  By the way, move."  They moved as the door opened and someone ran in panting.  "Money up front," he said coolly.

"We need something to take out the fifteen-foot godzilla looking thing."

"I have it.  Payment up front."  The soldier whimpered.  "At least ten percent.  Riley's behind on his payments to Giles again."

"Fine," he muttered, handing over the check his boss had sent him with.  "Now, what do you have?"

Xander looked at the check then brought him into the back, letting him take something.  "I'd take this one," he said, switching it out.  "That one's a bit too much power.  It might take out the block too.  Aim for the stomach, watch out for the blue ooze that'll come out.  It'll eat anything metal."  The soldier nodded, running out and heading for the portal their unit's witch had put up.  He came out and put the check into the register, filling out a small form to go with it.  "Sorry, they're behind on paying Giles for some of the things they've borrowed in the past.  Like I said, if you guys need stuff, or other real hunters need stuff, you let me know and I'll work it out if you can't afford it."  That got a nod from them.  "So, what can I help you boys with today?"

"Holy water?"

"Got ten different versions.  Six priest blessed and four from different holy sites around the world.  Including the blessed fountain inside Vatican City."  Sam gaped at that.  He shrugged.  "I supply the Council too," he said with a grin.  "We've had things that had really picky methods of killing it."  He looked at Dean again.  "Browse if you want.  Everything's pretty well marked."  He nodded, taking his brother around to look while Xander went back to his book.  He heard the shop's phone.  "Anyone see the phone?  Willow accidentally magiced it and it runs now."  Sam found it and brought it back.  "Thanks, Sam.  Hunter's Headquarters," he answered.  He smiled.  "I've already seen them, Giles.  Can you get Willow to unmagic the phone?"  He snickered.  "Sure, I'm here.  What did you guys need?"  He pulled over some paper to make notes.  "I've got a case with me.  Give me a few days to get some lumber.  Either that or you could put the girls who're on punishment to carving."  He laughed.  "I know, that would demean the spoiled ones.  Tough.  I did it, you made Buffy and Willow do it.  Treat them like the spoiled teenage girls they are, Giles."  He made another note.  "They took the AR.  I've still got another one somewhere under the shop.  What did we need it for?"

He grimaced.  "Giles, just call or fax me the demon and I'll tell you what you need," he sighed.  "No, that won't work.  Too powerful for the little furball."  He tapped the pen on the pad a few times.  "Actually, you know that one I left with Faith?  Use it.  It'll work.  Yup.  I know she'll pout.  I'll get her something better later on.  Sure, anytime."  He hung up and went to get the base of their order to put into the transport circle in the back, along with an invoice he wrote out, with a note about when the rest would be ready.  Then he hit the button Willow had created to let her know when he had something to send them.  It disappeared and he went back to the counter.  He saw something floating above the door and laughed.  "Yes, there's anti-shoplifting spells too," he called.  Dean came back in and looked when he pointed.  "Willow put on anti-shoplifting spells too, Dean.  She wanted to make sure I was fully warded and protected against the stupid ones who hunt deer to have a head on the wall.  She really hates those guys.  Hunting for food is different," he said dryly when Dean opened his mouth.

"It is," he agreed.  "You going to sell stuff to them?"

"Not the greatest stuff, but stuff so they can hunt food.  Normal bullets.  Normal guns.  Not the blessed weapons or the artillery."  He leaned on the counter again.  "So, what did you guys need today?"

"We were mostly passing through and...."  Sam came running in and headed for the holy water stash.  "Are we out?"

"Yes!" he shouted.  "And something just popped up!"

Xander looked then got him something.  "It's picky about the holy water.  That's holy saline solution."  That got a grin and he went to banish the demon.  He strolled back out, finding Dean watching his baby brother. "He's got style."

"I helped Dad teach him," he said, looking at him.  "So, sex or other fees?"

Xander smirked. "If that's the only way you can pay and you're offering I'm hard up right now, but I don't normally hit on others.  I tend to draw deadly things.  Which you certainly are but much nicer than the last few."

"What have you dated, dude?" he demanded as Sam came back.  "We good?"

"Yeah, it's gone and not trying to eat the car's bumper."  He handed the bottle back.  "Thanks, Mr. Harris."

"Xander, Sam.  I'm not formal."  He put it back.  "I only charge a buck an ounce for that stuff.  It's easy to make."  Dean paid for it.  "As for the question in the air, let's just say that the last thing that tried to open the Cleveland hellmouth was very nice, very good in bed, and had tried to kill everyone.  It stopped her plans.  She was too tired to open it at the appointed time.  Now she's pouting at the Council for Faith siccing me on her that way."

Dean gave him an odd look.  "Chaos sorcerer?"

"Nope.  They like me for whole different reasons."  He snapped his fingers and pulled out a small brochure.  "People we in the Council trust and work with.  Subject to them going insane, being eaten, or deciding the light is too hard."  He handed it to Dean.  "Witches, psychics, seers, healers, and doctors who have a clue."

Sam took it to look over.  "Missouri's in here," he said happily.

"Yeah, Buffy heard about her and now goes to see if she can tell when she's going to die the next time.  She's not sure if third time's the charm or not."  He leaned on the counter again.  Dean was giving him an odd look.  "She was a weak demi-god from a long dead pantheon in another realm.  She wanted to bring her family here to awaken them so they could bathe in the blood and live."


"Pretty much, yeah," he admitted.  "She was cute and she gave great blow jobs, but she was still too tired to open it and bring her family over in some strange immigration move.  Swore and pouted at them for ages before she finally stomped off yesterday from what I heard."

Dean shook his head.  "Turn gay yet?" he asked dryly.

"Tried that.  The sucker went evil and started to torture others."  He shrugged and grinned.  "So no, you're my type but way too nice for me."  Dean snickered.

"I'm really glad about that," Sam admitted.  "Because there's rumors about your dating curse, Xander.  You dated Anyanka?"

"When she was human.  Took her to the prom too."

Dean shuddered.  "You need help."

Xander leaned closer.  "That's another good reason to get away from the billions of girls at the Council who think I'd like their friends."  Both hunters laughed and he leaned back again.  "So what else can I help you guys with today?"

"Shells are kinda expensive," Dean admitted.

Xander looked at him.  "Actually, they're cheaper than the retail places."

"Our usual ones gives us a box for ten."

Xander went to look at the price tags, then reset something.  "Sorry, Dawn sneezed.  She did the tags and they're back to normal."  They came in to look and Dean loaded up on some of the blessed rock salt shells for their shotguns.  Xander went back to the counter. He rang them up and took the money, giving them the change, a card, and a bag for them.  "That way you can call if you desperately need something.  If I can find the phone," he admitted, looking where it had been.  Sam looked and pointed.  "Thanks.  Blind side."  He grabbed it and put the chain back on it.  "That might keep it this time."  He looked at them, seeing the amused look.  "What?  Not my fault.  Willow charmed it.  She thought it'd hop to wherever I was.  Instead the ringing upsets it so it hides."

Dean snickered.  "You know some strange people, Harris."

"Well, yeah.  It happens."  He shrugged.  "We all know strange people and not like most hunters are normal folks."  He nodded at the stairs.  "We also have a room for rent if you guys ever need it and some personal hygiene items for sale in the back too.  Because we've all been sprayed with goo too many times and there's only three soaps that will take off ectoplasm."

"Too true," Sam moaned.  "They dry you out horribly."  Xander pulled out a bottle and let him use some of the lotion.  He sniffed.  "What is this?"

"It's plant demon based.  It's their milk.  It won't make you any more attractive to them but it works wonderfully.  One dose and even my calluses were soft."  Sam tried it and his hands were softer.  "Again, we sell small bottles of it for those times when you have to scrub for days to get clean."  He grinned at them.  "Have you guys ever thought about doing a review of hotels and diners since you hit so many?"

"I haven't," Sam admitted.  "I can think about it.  We're there anyway."  He shook Xander's hand.  "We'll probably see you the next time we're this way."

"Sure.  Remember, we do specials for Yule because of the demons that come up and one right at the beginning of October for Samhain.   Plus I do put together some very nice explosives for the Fourth," he admitted proudly.

"We'll remember that," Dean agreed, taking the bag and brochure with him.  Once they were back in the car he looked at his brother.  "He's warped."

"He fought on the hellmouth.  That's enough to warp anyone, Dean.  Especially since the rumors say he was surrounded by an airhead slayer and a witch with control problems.  Maybe running the store will make him more sane over time."

"Maybe."  He started the engine and the radio came on, letting him back out and head back to their job of the moment.

"He's a pretty nice guy," Sam said.  "Nicer than our usual gun contact.  He didn't growl at us about being kids playing with guns."

"Dad would've hated him."

"Dad hated anyone who wasn't a Winchester at times."

"Good point."  He flipped the tape over and pulled out into traffic, heading off at a high rate of speed.  They had needed the stocking trip anyway.  "We should nag Caleb into giving us a better rate too."

"I wonder if he sets up lines of credit with prepayment," Sam said.

"We'll ask the next time we're back this way."  He drove for a few minutes.  "Did the brochure have witches we can go to?"

"I think it did.  It was a small page in the back though."

"Interesting.  The Council is really reforming quickly."

"They probably had to.  They have over twenty slayers to train."

"Twenty teenage girls in one house.  It's ether a porno in the making or insanity causing."

"Probably the latter," Sam said dryly.  "I doubt sexual relations between slayers is encouraged, Dean.  Mind out of the gutter before you wreck us."

"Pity.  I wouldn't mind tape of that."  He smirked before turning a corner and heading off in a new direction toward the middle of nowhere.  Their current problem was out on an isolated former farm.  The road was very bad for the car but someone had to do it.


The next time the boys had to visit the shop Dean was limping and Sam was bruised and holding his side.  Xander took one look at them then handed over a small jar.  "Sample of Tara's all purpose bruise potion?"

Sam grinned.  "Please."  He took some out, putting it under his shirt on his ribs, moaning as it heated up and the bruise felt less painful.  "That's good stuff."  Dean took some to do the one on his shoulder.  "Who's Tara?"

"Willow's former girlfriend.  The one we lost before the First Evil shit."  He leaned on the counter again.  "She was a gentle, pure witch; it was her recipe for bruise poultices.  We lived on the stuff some months."  They both nodded.  "What's up?  Need restocked or just passing through?"

"How much for the room?" Dean asked.

"Thirty a week."  Dean smirked and handed it over.  "I will warn you I cannot cook.  I am poisonous with more than putting something in the oven and even that can be iffy.   There is a stove and a small fridge up there though."  They nodded at that, Sam going to get some groceries for them.  "No drunken parties, no pros unless you're very discreet, and I live next door if you have problems."  That got a nod.  "Top of the stairs and to the right, Dean.  I keep ice stocked up there just in case."  He smirked and went up to rest and ice his twisted ankle while Xander fussed in the store for a while.  Sam came back with a few bags.  "Up the stairs to the right.  No drunken parties, no pros unless you're very discreet."

"Not my style," Sam promised with a smirk.  "Had that problem?"

"The junior slayer who had to layover for the night hired one and they had a very loud drunken party that I had to spank them for.  And I turned in the girl since she was only fifteen."  Sam grinned and headed up to put up the beer and food.  Xander put back the bruise potion with a pat to the top of the pot.  "We still miss you, Tara," he said quietly.  He got back to his inventory.  He had a few things he had to find and buy to bless or create on his own.  Including one order he had forgotten about but it was due to go out the next day.  He sent it off a few minutes later and it was fine.  Magic was better than Fed Ex any day for weapons.  Less forms.  Sam came back down the stairs.  "Need more stuff?"

"Dean's got a concussion," he said quietly.

"Been there a few times. Need my old wind up alarm clock?"  Sam nodded so he went to get it from his apartment, handing it and the first aid kit over.  "Nap, Sam.  You clearly need it."  He went back down when he heard the tinkle of the door, smiling at the guy standing there.  "Welcome to Hunter's Headquarters.  How can I help you today?"  The symbols above the door were lighting up to show he was a demon hunter.  "Blessed rounds, holy water?  Weapons?"

"The two with the car?"

"Resting up in the rental apartment," he admitted.  "Sam!"  He came jogging down the stairs.  "He wanted you two instead of other stuff."

"Bobby, thank you."  He led him up there to let him look Dean over.  Xander came up a minute later with stitching kits.  "You're really well stocked."

"I fought on the hellmouth for seven years and I lived there all my life before that.  Beyond that, only Willow, me, and Giles can stitch anyone at the Council.  It's a handy skill since we hate the ER."  He looked at the cut on Dean's back.  "Sam, get behind the counter and get the gel alcohol.  Get me the blue vial too please?"  He nodded, going to do that.  "Dean, you want something for this or a local?  I don't have much but I have some in my old hunting kit."

"Please. I'm not allergic to anything," he said.  Xander went to get a local and he looked at his father's and their friend.  "Hey."

"What did you do, Dean?"

"The last demon used us to tear down a house.  We're still not sure it's dead."  Xander came back with the stuff he had asked Sam to get.   "Sammy?"

"New customer of the hunting trophy heads variety," he said quietly, closing the door.   "Sam's going over ammo for him."  He looked at the claw mark.  "It dead?  If not, we've got a slayer about sixty miles away."

"It took out Sarabeth first," Dean said quietly, looking at him.  "Got her neck before we got there."

Xander sighed, nodding a bit, his lips pressed thin.  "They wanted me to be her field watcher and I refused.  What was it?"

"Big, hairy, green."

Xander frowned.  "Green hair?"  He nodded.  "I'll look it up.  If I'm right, you used silver, right?"

"We tried that first, didn't work.  Blessed rounds either."

"Aw, shit, that thing," he muttered.  "Did you burn it?"

"We tried.  We think it's dead."

"If not, I'll make sure of it," Bobby promised.

"We will," Xander promised.  He injected some of the local and let it sit while he cleaned it.  "Thankfully the claws don't carry poison if it's the one I'm thinking of.  If it does, the stuff in the vial cures most of them."  He poured it on, watching it fizz.  "Yup, I know what that is.  Did you chop it up?"  Dean shook his head.  "We'll go check tonight then."  He got to work stitching him slowly and carefully, sealing the cut.  Sam walked back in but left the door open.  "He get what he needed?"

"Some armor piercing rounds for his really weak shotgun," Sam agreed.  "I suggested a better caliber but he pouted at me for saying his had a bad recoil and a low range of accuracy."

"They do that," Xander agreed.  He finished up and looked at Dean.  "Anything else need it?"  Dean shook his head.

"I've got a small one."  Sam took off his shirt with a moan, letting Xander clean and look at the one on his back.  He got two staples and a butterfly and it was good.  "Thanks, Xander."

"Welcome, guys.  I remember this very well.  Bobby, you want to watch them for a bit that's fine with me.  If you're going with me to deal with the thing once and for all, I'm leaving about nine."  He nodded at that so Xander cleaned up and put things back before going back downstairs.  He ran into Willow behind the counter, giving her a hug.  "Bored?"

"You sent me bullets?"

"You needed bullets.  The next three things are taken out with iron and your girls can't use the iron tipped crossbows bolts with any accuracy.  Faith can use a gun."

"Good point."  She looked upstairs then at him.  "I guess you heard about Sarabeth?"  He grimaced and nodded.  "It dead?"  He shook his head.  "Need help?"

"No, it's the green, hairy cousin of the polgara that Buffy never really wanted to kill because it got her covered in goo."

"Oh, that thing."  She sighed. "It's not your fault, Xander."

"I know.  Did she have backup?"

"We had another girl coming to back her up but she wasn't going to be there for a week.  A family thing kept her."

Xander nodded at that.  "Then we'll handle it."  She nodded and disappeared after one last hug.  He went to look it up to make sure he was right.  Bobby came down the stairs.  "A family thing kept her backup out of town.  She was getting another slayer to back her up," he said quietly, handing him the identification manual.  "It'll be messy."

"I can see that. Has to be under six inches?"  Xander nodded.  "You sure?"

"I ended up chopping up the last one because Buffy didn't want to be that messy.  I left an arm in a few bigger chunks and it started to regenerate.  Fire only makes it go faster."

"Then it's hunting?"

Xander nodded. "Probably.  Where was it?"  Bobby pointed at the town on a map.  "I know that area and a cop there."  He called the cop out there.  "Barry, Xander."  He winced at the yelling.  "Do not, Barry.  She was getting another girl but she was held up by a family thing.  Is it still around?  Buffy nearly got killed by one too, Barry.  You have to chop them up in very small pieces.   I'm damn sorry you lost her," he sighed.  "I am.  I know I should've been her watcher but I couldn't stand to see another girl going out to die.  I did it for over ten years, Barry.  Even I have to give up and let the younger ones do it.  She was getting backup but they were held up.  I feel miserable.  Now, is it still there?"  He wrote down where it was.  "I'll be up tonight to deal with it.  Yes, you and your mom can come yell at me."  He got hung up on and winced.  "Her big brother is a cop out there."  He put the directions down.  "It's not going to be pretty."

"She did what she had to do."

Xander looked at him.  "That's never been a balm to a family that's missing their kid."

"I know.  Still something to hold onto when the nightmares start."

"I have nightmares about worse than this."  That got a nod.  "So, want to browse?  It'll cheer me up.  Man, I sounded like I'm channeling Anya."  Bobby smirked and punched him on the arm, heading for the weapons room.  Xander went back to researching the demon.  There was one thing it could be with what Barry had said but he knew it was really rare and they'd have to take out the local witch too because she would've had to summon it.  Then again, it was Sarabeth's sister....


Xander walked in early the next morning, finding Sam on the stairs polishing a sword.  "That bored?" he asked.  Sam looked up and nodded.  "It's gone.  Bobby's at the Super Eight up the street."  He sat beside him.  "You two couldn't have taken it out and neither could she," he said after a minute of staring at the sword.  Sam gave him a silent look.  "It turned out to be something that the local witch summoned to take Sarabeth for being prettier and more popular, plus more powerful.  The family's tearing itself apart at the moment."


"Little sister."  They shared a look and he sighed.  "Her mother was there when her sister confessed.   We unsummoned it, banishing it back to the Deeper Well, and then went to find the girl.  Her mother was not amused when we broke into the house.  The girl screamed, confessed right then and there, and her mother beat the shit out of her for it.  Her son had to pull her off and glared at us.  So I told him why.  The demon had told us."  Sam nodded.  "It sucks but Dean'll be fine.  No taint from it."

"Thanks, Xander."

"Not an issue.  I may want to retire from the active hunting but sometimes things still need to happen.  I'm on for apocalypses too."  Sam nodded.  "Go to bed, Sam."

"I can't sleep.  How old was she?"

"Nineteen.  For all that she looked fifteen she was nineteen."  He stood up.  "If you want to clean that much there's a new shipment in the back that needs to be checked over and cleaned."  He smiled before walking up to his apartment and going to get some sleep for a few hours.

Sam went to find the new weapons.  The sword was already sharp and shiny.  It was something to do when he couldn't sleep.  He was sure Xander did the same thing now and then.


Xander came down the next morning, frowning at the person knocking on the door.  "Yes, Officer?" he asked, letting him inside.

"Sir, what sort of weapons do you sell?"

"Depends on what you need but it's all legal."

He looked around then at him.  "We had some yahoo out hunting bear with armor piercing rounds?  I do believe those are illegal."

Xander frowned. "Mine aren't the banned ones and they won't go through body armor.  They'll go through scales that're as thick as a dinosaur's but not body armor."  He walked him back to the ammo room, letting him look at the box.  "That's the step down from body armor piercing.  Totally safe for humans unless he got a crappy shot in.  What did he hit?"

"A car's windows."

"It might go through bulletproof glass," he admitted.  "Still won't do body armor.  I'm very careful to check hunting licenses and I have a very good bad shit radar so if someone sets it off I won't sell to them."  The cop looked at him.  "I'm from just outside LA, Officer.  I've seen worse than this area would naturally grow.  They don't get to shop here.  Some military guys now and then," he said, catching sight of Riley stomping in.  "You can wait ten minutes, Finn."

"Fine."  He went to browse in another room.

Xander looked at him again.  "I don't sell to the dangerous assholes.  I'm damn sorry he was that bad of a shot.  He was a trophy hunter."

"Who was drunk," he admitted.  "I'm going to have to check on the legality of these."

"Go ahead and take the box.  I have no problem with that."  The officer nodded, taking them with him.  He walked him out and went to find Riley.  "What's up?"

"The thing you sent sprayed us."

"I told the guy to watch out for goo."

"He repeated that.  You never said it'd spray the whole block."

"If you had gotten what he wanted it would've sprayed more than that and destroyed a good portion of the same area," he said dryly.  "By the way, Giles said you're still behind in paying him."  Riley handed over a check.  "Is it good?"

"Cut this morning," he said.  Xander went to put it in the register and mark off on the form that he had paid the rest of what he owed.  He came out with a case.  "What's this?"

Xander looked.  "The new Israeli model."  He nodded, taking it back there to open it.  Xander hit the button under the counter when he saw the officer coming back.  "Yes, Officer?"  The box was put down.  "Is it illegal?"

"Gray area.  What's back there?"

"Boxes of crap we're storing for a special military unit as a favor.  They're off on a training run in Arizona right now.  Riley's a field commander."  He pushed the button again. "Riley?"  He came to the door.  "Tell the nice officer that I'm only holding those for your unit?"

"He is," he agreed.  "We buy some of our ammo here too, Officer.  He gives us a decent rate and the guys who're strange can come talk to him since his best friend's Wiccan."

"Ah, one of those," he said, nodding a bit.  Xander grinned and nodded.  "Do you note hunting licenses, kid?"

"I usually do."  He looked at the sale receipt.  "I had Sam, a friend who's healing upstairs from an injury, do it and he didn't note the number.  Did he not have one?"

"He had one, he was just an idiot."

Xander looked at him.  "He said the guy's rifle of choice had a lot of recoil and a very short accurate range," he admitted.  "Sam tried to talk to him about getting something better as well when he heard how pitiful his was."

"How accurate?" Riley asked, coming out but closing the door.

"Sam!" Xander called.  He came jogging down the stairs. "What did he have?"

He went to get a copy, coming out with it.  "One of these, sawed off."

The cop snorted, shaking his head.  "We confiscated six guns.  I'll check to make sure we got that one."

"What did he get?" Sam asked.

"A parked car."

"With people?" he asked hesitantly.

"No, just bulletproof glass."  Sam rolled his eyes and shook his head.  "You hunt, son?"

"Have since I was little, Officer.  For the table mostly."

"That's not a bad thing in my book."

"That's the sort of hunter I prefer to sell to anyway," Xander told him. "I hate trophy hunters but they spend a lot for their trophies of choice and if I hear they're trophy hunters I charge them a ten percent surcharge for being assholes to Mother Nature."

The officer laughed.  "I'll keep that in mind, kid.  Anything else we shouldn't know about in here?"

Xander grinned then looked at Riley.  "Ask him."

"He's got sniper qualifications but only one eye," Riley told him.  "He's also a very good shot even with only one eye and he's got a good hand with crossbows and those things too."

"I saw the swords in one room," he said.

Xander just grinned.  "Sometimes you need the sharp and pointy thing," he said with an innocent grin.

The officer snorted.  "Uh-huh.  Make sure you keep checking hunting licenses, kid."  He walked out, heading back to report to his boss.

Xander slumped.  "Thank you."

"Welcome," Riley said.  "Can we have a discount next time?"

Xander grimaced but nodded.  "Sure, ten percent for the next two."  Riley grinned and went back to the artillery.  Sam put back the gun and gave him a pat as he walked past.  "Sorry."

"Not an issue.  Why do you stock that one?"

"Someone asked for it.  It's on hold until they can come in and get it."  Xander gave him a look.  "He's just now breaking into the field.  I'm going to suggest he go get training with Giles since his uncle was training him but he died."

"That's how it's usually done," Sam admitted.  "One family member trains another."   He went back to check on Dean and start coffee.  Then he came down to look around the rest of the store.  The pots of bruise potion got a look. "This stuff is really expensive."

"It's at cost for the supplies," Xander called back.

"Damn."  He came out.  "Got the recipe?"  Xander handed it over.  "No wonder.  That's really expensive."

"Yeah but it works wonders," Xander assured him.  "And it lasts a really long time, even in the trunk.  As long as it doesn't spill."  Sam laughed and nodded, going to look at the other stuff.  "You clean his stitches yet?"

"I'll check them after his shower."  He grinned and went back to browsing.  The artillery room nearly made him scared but damn the boy had taste.  He went back up there when he heard a shower come on, going to get the first aid kit from the counter.  Dean would need help changing his bandage and cleaning the stitches.  Xander had a very precise hand with them.  Bobby showed up an hour later.  "That bruise stuff is expensive but it works."  He let him see his chest.  "I had a huge bruise yesterday."

"It's nearly gone now," he said.  "Expensive how?"

"It's at cost for the ingredients according to Xander and the recipe's pretty precise but it's really good."

Dean came out in a towel.  "Why're we up already?"

"Cops came about the guy who bought armor piercing rounds.  He got a parked car."

Dean shook his head.  "Idiot with a gun."  He got some coffee and let Sam check his stitches while he sipped.  Then he went to get dressed.  He came out fully dressed. "That bruise stuff works."

"It's sixty a pot, at cost, and it might tip and ooze in the trunk but he said it lasts for a while."

"I wouldn't mind some of that anyway," Bobby admitted. "You two staying over again tonight?"

"Rented it for a week," Dean admitted, sitting down with a small wince.  "Tylenol, Sammy?"  Some was tossed over.  "Thanks.  We good with the cops?"

"Yeah.  He checked, the bullets aren't illegal to sell."

Xander came up and closed the door then went back down to the counter.   He smiled at the father down there. "You sure you want to hand-pack?"

"I can make a box for six to eight if I do it.  Yours are still ten," he admitted.

Xander nodded.  "That's what I started doing too," he admitted.  He handed him the stuff he needed and rung him up.  "If you need more, come back.  I have no problem with those who hunt for the table.  I don't like trophy guys all that much but hunting for the table gets my respect."  That got a smile and a nod.  The guy left with his young son and he sighed, watching them go.  "I have a bad feeling about that purchase," he muttered.  The guy had said he hand packed all the time.  He had a hunting license.  He wrote the number on the receipt and the guy's name too.  If the officer came back he was covered.  When he came back later he went pale.  "The guy who hand packed his bullets?"

"No.  Why?"  He dug out that invoice to show him.  He nodded.  "We know him.  He's a decent guy.  Pretty poor but he does hunt for the table.  His kid's a bit odd."

"Maybe that's why I felt funny about that one."

"He's also a bit of a racist."

"That could be it too," Xander admitted. "What can I do for you, Officer?"

"I checked up on you, Mr. Harris."  Xander quirked up an eyebrow and shrugged a bit.  "About your town near LA and what you used to do."

"What I did was necessary.  People lived because of what I did."

"I figured that out."  He leaned on the counter, staring at him.  "You handle the stuff that girl in the next county did?" he asked bluntly.  "I noticed the blessed ammo sign."

"I did.  I retired.  After ten years I couldn't go out with them anymore."

"Your eye?"

"Battle fatigue.  I've been missing the eye for the last few years.  Since right before the town fell in."

That got a nod.  "Can we come to you for that."

"You can.  I don't want to have to hunt but if it means someone's going to die, then come to me.  If I can't get someone up here to take care of it I'll handle it."  That got a nod.  "She was getting backup from another girl but she had been delayed.  We handled what got her last night."

"Good."  He stood up again.  "You know anything about the strange fairy witches we got?"

Xander shrugged a bit.  "My friend's more traditional Wicca but a bit.  Why?"

"Are they all strange, cat petting freaky people?"

"Sometimes," he admitted with a grin.  "If they've got power they're more likely to be strange.  The power and the people looking at them funny for it do it to them.  As for the cats, not that unusual from what I've seen.  The fairy part is but that's become popular in some circles.  I don't deal with their type unless they're doing something bad."  That got a nod.  "Those who call on Hecate and the like, them I'm used to."

"I'll keep that in mind.  We don't like those girls.  They're strange."

Xander grinned.  "You should see girls like Sarabeth in the middle of the night complaining about the goo under their nails and wearing a face mask while eating cheetos with a bunch of the others.  They're all training in Cleveland.  All sixty-eight of them now."

He shuddered.  "I'll keep that in mind.  No wonder you quit."

"It got to the point where I wasn't going to be able to walk out the door sometime in the near future."

"Then it was a smart decision.  You got anything else I shouldn't know about?"

Xander smirked a bit.  "If I told you that you you'd arrest me.  Those things only go to the ones I know who do the same work.  They got a direct mail flier from my Wiccan friend."  That got a laugh and a nod.  "Anything else I can do for you today, Officer?"

"Think you can get the department a good deal on decent body armor?"

Xander considered it.  "I've got six vests in the back but I'm not sure if my contact can or not.  I'd have to ask Riley for those and well, he's a friend's ex."

He grimaced.  "Those and ex-husbands can suck.  Six?"  Xander led him back to show him, letting him nod at the prices.  "That's not a bad price."

"I overcharge the military because they're mean about things."

The officer laughed.  "I'll let my boss know.  Keep on the good side of us."

"I do try."  He walked him back out, watching him leave.  He looked at Bobby.  "Hi again."

"Hi.  You good?"

"He checked me out and found Sunnydale."


"Very."  He smiled.  "What can I show you today?"

"Do you sell the recipe for that bruise potion?"

"Sometimes.  Usually only to witches since it's a potion with a blessing on it."  That got a nod.  "It's at cost for me, honestly, Bobby."

"I can see how that happens, kid.  Some of their stuff is very expensive.  Book room?"

"Hmm.  Personal reference library of identification manuals.  Other stuff I can ask Giles if he knows where I can find it."  He handed over his keys.  "My apartment, living room bookshelf.  Not the one with the playboys."  That got a grin and he went to look.  He came down with two and Xander tapped one.  "That one I can't get a copy for a few more months.  Giles has the backup emergency library from the Watchers but most of them only have one copy.  He's having some copies made and I can put you down for one."

"Please. Any idea how much he's asking?"

"Let me call."  He hunted down the phone much to Bobby's amusement and dialed.  Somehow it had come off the chain again.  "Giles, me.  How much are you charging for the reprints of those books?  A hunter was interested in one of the Webster's manuals.  That one, yeah.  That's what he wanted to know."  He wrote it down. "Send me a list of what you're having reprinted and prices?  Thanks, man."  He hung up and grimaced.  "He's only doing  fifteen copies."

"Which means it's expensive."

"But he's doing it from the original so he'll have those two and another book together."  That got a pleased look.  "But it'll be a hundred for one copy and about six weeks before they get them done."

That's not bad.  A few of mine have went over a grand."

Xander grinned.  "His too but he's got books in languages I've never heard of." That got a laugh.  "He'll send me a list and if you want I'll get you a copy then."

"Sure.  Let me consider it.  The other one?"

Xander shrugged.  "I got it from Borders.   It was twenty-five.  Say, twenty since it's used?"

"That'll work," he agreed, paying him.  Xander rang it up and gave him a bag with a grin.  "Thanks, kid."

"I'm all about helping the guys doing the job now do it well."  Someone came running in.  He looked out in the parking lot then him.   "What did you piss off, Jacob?"

"I don't know but it's trying to eat me," he complained.  "Help?  Can I borrow Willow?"

"She's in Cleveland and it's a holy day," he said patiently.  He looked then at him.  "Come into the working area," he said, leading him down there.  The preset spells on the room showed him what he had pissed off and he had the stuff he needed upstairs.  He wrote it up and brought down the invoice, plus the book so he could look at it.  The kid groaned as he read, paying him for what he needed, then he went to handle it.  Xander went back upstairs, making Bobby laugh.  "He pissed off a family curse that gotten him before.  His grandmother cursed him if he slept around.  Boy apparently did it again.  This time she was going to castrate him.  I made him get stuff to banish her and then to cut the curse on him."  He shook his head.  "He's young.  He'll learn."

"We all did," Bobby assured him.

Xander grinned.  "Willow said I'm not allowed to do magic.  It's wrong for Xanders."  Bobby cackled alle the way up the stairs, leaving his keys on the counter for him.  Xander straightened up, nodding at the two officers who came in with the one who had bothered him earlier.  They bought new vests and left quietly.  That was fine with him.  They needed them now and then.


Dean came down later that night to look at the guy cleaning the counter with glass cleaner.  "So what was it?"

"Something her sister called up to eat her for being more popular and stronger," he admitted, looking at him.  "She confessed nicely in front of her mother when we showed up to spank her for being so stupid and cold.  Her big brother pulled her mother off her."

"Pity."  He leaned on the counter.  "So, are you enjoying running here?"

"It's not bad," Xander admitted, grinning a bit.  "A lot less stress on the soul.  A lot more time to do fun things, like go clubbing and maybe find a girl who isn't evil."

"Go gay, do the world a favor," Dean taunted with a slightly evil smirk.

Xander smirked back.  "They're not any better."

"Still probably safer for us all."

"Yeah well, I'd have to find a slightly evil guy to date then.   Sam like guys?"

Dean burst out laughing, shaking his head.  "Not that I know of but I'll ask."  He smirked at him.  "You have heard?"

"Yup.  Took out one that came here to buy stuff to get him.  She didn't like it very much."

"I can see why."  He patted the counter.  "What're you going to do when you get too old to run here or you get tired of it?"

"Maybe I'll travel.  By then most of my contacts will probably be dead or in jail so it'll give me time to go enjoy some life with the slightly evil one I finally stay with."  That got a nod and a small smirk.  "Heard from Caleb.  He called up to cuss me out.  Said he still had better stuff than some stuffed shirt watcher.  So I pointed out I wasn't one of them, I was one of the hunters who used to go out and he got very quiet and asked who I really was.  When I told him he swore.  He remembers selling me some of the stuff in the back rooms."  Dean snickered and nodded at that.  "He hasn't called back since."  He shrugged and put up the cleaning products.  "How's the ankle?"

"Good.  It really costs sixty bucks to make that bruise potion?"  Xander nodded.  "Wow."

"Some really expensive components, including a bit of grated mandrake."

"No wonder."  He tapped the counter a few times.  "Is there any fun around here?"

"A biker bar that specializes in nightly brawls and the country bar that the cops all go to."  He grinned. "Next city is up a county and it's got a lot of hauntings and poltergeists plus some decent clubs."

"Interesting.  You're sure?"  Xander handed over a book, letting him look up the area.  "It doesn't say why."

"There was a few serial killers working by the college a few decades back.  That on top of the normal death rate at colleges from OD'ing, too much alcohol, and the hormone driven killings because she dumped me or he cheated on me make it a higher than average area.  Since I don't do ghosts...."

"Could be some jobs out of it," Dean agreed, taking it up to Sam so he could look it up online.  "See if there's anything up there?  There's supposed to be a lot of them."

"Sure."  He got into his computer, finding the wireless internet was available up here as well.  It was nice and he found a lot of hauntings.  "They have a local ghost hunting society."

"They'd be really pissed if we canceled out their job."

"There is a really bad poltergeist who's gone after them recently," Sam admitted.  He let Dean see the articles.

Xander walked past the door.  "That's because it's a member who passed over and got pissed because they were wrong about their theories.  They're crackpots with heat sensors and cameras."

Dean smiled.  "Good to know."  He got down to figuring out if they had something they could hunt.  That one poltergeist would be a problem but not that much of one.  The rest, well, they'd leave the wannabes and duffers their fun finding all the ghosts and making notes on them as long as they weren't harmful.  He heard Xander's shower come on then they watched him leave about an hour later.  "Have fun at the biker bar," he called.

"Going to the other place.  The bikers would want to come in and buy stuff then I'd be in trouble with the cops," he called as he headed down the stairs.  "Locking up too.  Be careful with the alarm."  He shut the door once it was armed then went to find his car.  Like the phone, now and then it liked to hide.  He found it booted up the block and frowned at it.  "Who put you up here?"  He got the ticket off the windshield and decided he'd pay it tomorrow on his way in.  For tonight, he needed a bit of fun.

The boys went back to their planning.  It was a good way to recuperate.  Even if Xander was a bit strange.


Xander came down to open the store the next morning, frowning.  He found Dean and Sam both in the gun room.  "Guys, were you in my apartment?"  They both shook their heads.  "Was anyone?"

"What decided to move itself?" Sam asked.

"The bag of profits for the bank," he admitted.  They both stared.  "I know you didn't steal it, guys.  Wondering if you had moved it on me maybe."

"No, not us," Dean admitted.  "Think you're haunted?"

"I haven't seen signs of one."  He frowned as he walked back up the stairs.  "Open the door for me and yell if someone shows up," he called as he walked.  He still didn't find it an hour later and came back down.  "Did you hear anyone?"

"No," Dean admitted.  "And you can."

"I noticed.  I put it on my desk, right on top."  He looked around.  "Anyone seen the possessed phone?"  Sam found that for him and it had the bag.  "Huh."  He checked. "Well, it's all here but fifty bucks."  He looked at the phone.  "Did you eat that?"  Dean took the phone to look at.  "Willow accidentally magiced it and apparently my car too because it keeps moving up the street and getting tickets."  The officer from yesterday walked in.  "How did my car get up there?"

"I don't know, Mr. Harris.  We were wondering why you parked up there too."

"I haven't.  I parked out back.  That's like the money bag was down here with the possessed phone today when I put it up in the office," he said grimly.  The phone hopped out of Dean's hand, making the cop shriek and back away.  "My Wiccan friend sneezed.  It did it to the phone."  He took a hammer to it and smashed it, then looked at the boys.  "Wanna do me a huge favor and go get me another phone while I bury this one?"

"We'll burn it for you once we get a new one," Sam offered.  He took some money and went to do that while Dean held a bonfire for the old phone to make sure if it was a spirit it passed on.

Xander looked at the officer.  "I have no idea how my car moves itself."

"You going to pay the fine?"  Xander dug out the ticket and took the money out of his checking account, handing it over.  "Thanks, kid.  I'll have it unbooted."

"Let me know when you do and I'll drive it back where it belongs.  But if you see my car moving without me...."

"I'll call."  He smirked, walking out to pay for it.  They had noticed the kid had found his car, finally.  Only took him two weeks.

Xander shrugged at Dean.  "I have no clue."

"Better to get these things out of the open anyway."

"I hope it's not possessed too."

"Maybe it's someone borrowing it for a joyride?"

"I have an alarm on it and it's set to shock someone if they try."

"Huh."  The cop came back and Xander jogged up the street to get his car, driving it back behind the store.  Sam came back with a new phone and the change.  Xander installed that while they salted and burned the phone's parts in the burn barrel behind the store.  They both looked over as the car started, Dean frowning.  "Xander?"  He came to the back door and looked then hit something on his key chain.  The car seemed to seize and then stopped running.  "Nice job."

"Think you can exorcize the car?"

"Sure," Dean agreed with a grin.  "It'll pay back the stitching stuff."

Xander grinned back.  "Thanks, guys.  Giles didn't have these problems when he ran the Magic Box."  He went back to the register to sulk.  Giles hadn't had to deal with possessed phones and cars.  The shop's phone rang so he answered it.  "Hunter's Emporium.  How can I help you?"  He listened to someone babble.  "Why is it my fault she's throwing a fit?"  He frowned at the phone.  "Lady, I don't deal with that stuff and I don't know your daughter.  Beyond that, I've only been in town now for two months.  I know very well it's not mine. Sure, you bring a paternity test."  He hung up and glared at the phone.  Someone needed a foot up their ass.

Sam walked back in and gave him a pat on the arm.  "The old one's gone and the spirit in it floated off too.  We're working on your car now."  Xander smiled at that.  "Other problems?"

"Some older lady just called and told me her daughter throwing a fit was my fault was because the baby was mine.  I've been here two months and she was saying the baby was six months old.  So I'm doubting that."

"Some crank?"

"I hope so."  They heard the horn going off and went to work on the exorcism.  Xander even put a sign on the door saying he was around back.  They got the car exorcized after a few starts but Sam was good with those.  Someone did come around back and he looked at the female.  "Yes, ma'am?"

"Do you run this shop?"

"Yes, ma'am, we're blessing the car because it seems to have moved itself somehow up the street to mate with a minivan.  What can I help you with?"  He led her back inside.  "Ammo, guns, hunting licences?  I just got the forms for that today."

"I need some ammo for my remmington."  He nodded, leading her in there.  She looked at the blessed ammo.  "Some people are superstitious?"

"I know some who think it's the same as blessing it as they field dress it.  Also would keep them from being sick."

"Ah."  She nodded and looked him over then smirked.  "Mr. Harris I presume?"  He nodded.  "I'm a mercenary within the hunting community, Mr. Harris."

"As long as you're not going after humans."

"No, not my style."  She picked up a box and looked at the bullets.  "Commercial?"

"I have hand packed but they're more expensive."  He handed over a box.  She looked then nodded at that.  "Need anything else?"

"It was mating with a minivan?"

"Apparently.  It keeps trying to do right by it too because it kept trying to go back there."  She laughed at that.  He came out and found Sam putting back the jug of holy water.  "Thanks, Sam."

"Welcome."  He nodded at the female then went back out back.  "Dean, it's a merc," he said in his ear.

"I heard we had some."  He shrugged.  "It'll be fine."  The car was now just a car, they hoped.  Xander came out back once she was gone and turned on the alarm.  Nope, the spirit came back.  "Turn off the alarm?" Dean suggested dryly.  Xander sighed but did that while Sam got back to work on the exorcism.  "Where did we get the alarm?"

"Cleveland."  He went to call from the store.  "Willow, me.  The guy I got the car alarm off of, he had it possessed whenever I turned on the alarm.  No, the guys here are helping me because I can't do an exorcism to save my life.  It went to mate with a minivan.  Tell him he owes me about a hundred bucks for the booting it got for it."  He hung up and went to check on things.  Dean came in with the holy water this time.  "It go?"

"It's fine and Sam's got something to scratch blessing marks in underneath it."

"Hey, if it works.  I don't deal in that area.  I like to take things apart."

"How do you do werewolves?" Dean asked.

"I try very hard not to unless they're hunting and hurting others since I have a friend who's one but otherwise, I like ammo for it.  A sword if I must."

That got a nod.  "Us too.  He live in a pack?"

"Nah, he's in Tibet at that monastery that teaches them how to control the change."

"There is?"  Xander nodded.  "Wow."

"Yeah, he came in for a visit and found the girl who swore she'd wait for him had moved to girls but he didn't change during the full moon.  Some beads, some tattoos, some meditation stuff."

"Huh."  He went to put up the holy water and came back.  "Why stock the crappy guns?"

"They're cheaper and for simple food hunting they're okay.  The one really crappy one is a special order for someone."  He shrugged.  "They sell.  Anyone who's serious is going to head for something better.  I can special order too."

"I guess that makes sense.  Are you doing okay in the business?"

Xander shrugged.  "I'm not hurting.  I made the rent for the year with Riley's purchase.  The rest is for the next few months."

"You don't own the place?"

"They wanted a lot to buy it.  I could've gotten somewhere downtown but I wanted and needed room in case something happened.  I could've gotten a really nice building downtown but I didn't want to be crowded in.  Especially if something major starts to come for me."

"That's a good idea," Dean agreed.

Xander smirked. "When I retire from here I'll ask you two if you want it first," he teased.

"Sure, we'll see," he agreed.  He walked out back again, finding Sam still scratching sacred symbols on the under carriage of the car.  He also saw a shadow shifting their way.  "What are you?"

Xander came out to look. "Dawn!"  She appeared in the shadow.  "Problems?"

"Came to see what's wrong with the car."

"The alarm was possessing it," Dean told her.  She giggled.  "Not kidding, kid."

"Aw, damn.  That must be what's wrong with Giles' car then."

"Standard exorcism worked the second time," Sam called from under it.  He found the alarm box and blessed it then marked it.  The alarm died with a wail of sound but it was fixed for good.  He came out from under the car with a grin.  "We're good, Xander."

"Thanks, Sam."  He helped him up.  "Anything else we need, Dawnie?"

"Yeah, about seven billion stakes you were supposed to make us?"

"I shipped them off last week."  She sighed and called Giles, who went to look and agreed they were there.  She hung up and nodded.  "Told you so."  He gave her a kiss on the forehead then went back inside.  He found someone peering in the window and let them in. "Sorry, dealing with the car out back for a minute.  What's up?" he asked the teenager.

"Do you do deer bow supplies?"

"I do have a few compound bows.  I can also do the paperwork for your licence."  That got a smile and the kid came in, letting him show him the various bows.  The kid looked at a crossbow.  "Not legal to hunt with in this state, kid."

"Why do you have it then?"

"Because some of us hunt in other states," Dean said as he walked in.  He looked at the bows.  "That's got to be a hard draw."

Xander handed it over.  "Not really.  You can adjust it too."  Dean pulled it back, then nodded and handed it to the kid.  "That's a top of the line bow.  Here's how you adjust the tension," he said, doing it for him so he could pull it.  "Sorry, construction worker muscles."  The kid handed it back.  "For a starter bow, one that'll grow with you, I'd suggest this one," he said, handing over one.  "It's got a good range of tension.  It will go through a deer.  It's not that heavy and it's got a good padded grip. That'll let you practice for a few months before hunting season."

He pulled it and nodded.  "How much?"

"That one's...." he showed him the tag.  The boy frowned.  "Honestly bow hunting's cheaper in some ways than gun hunting but in others a good bow is expensive.  The same way a good rifle is.  If you're going for a budget, this one's okay," he said, handing it over.  "The grip's not as padded.  It doesn't have a lot of range of tension."  He undid it for the boy since he wasn't that strong.  "It's about half as much but it's also fiberglass."

The boy handed them back.  "Can I bring in my dad?"

"Sure," he agreed with a grin.  "I have no problem with that.  Like I said, we can do your hunting license too."  That got a nod and the kid left to talk to his father.  He put them back and handed Dean something.  "Try that one."

Dean pulled that bow and moaned.  "Tight."

"I sent one through brick with that," he admitted quietly.  That got an amused look.  "Honestly."

"That's a strong bow."

"Yeah but I only recommend it for people with a lot of experience."  He put it back. "The same as I do the bolt action shot guns in the back cabinet of the gun room."  Dean went to look.  Xander went back behind the counter.  The kid came back an hour later with his father. "Hi."  He followed them in there, talking about the two bows he'd suggest since the kid was on a budget.  The father liked the cheaper one but Xander pointed out that the other was a better beginner's bow with a wider range.  The kid ended up going for the cheaper one but that was fine with him.  It'd hold up.  He didn't stock something that wouldn't hold up.  He rang them up and did the hunting license for the kid, faxing the papers over.  They took their little temporary card and it was good for them.  Xander went back to fussing around the store, restocking what had been sold in the last few days. He tossed Dean a gun on the way to the bow room.  "Right hook please."

Dean looked at it then put it in the empty spot.  "Not too weak."

"No, but it's a hunter's favorite locally."  He came back to stock the ammo.  He came out when the door's bell jingled.  "Hey."  He smiled at the customer.  "Let me know if you need something."  The sign over the door barely lit over the hunter's mark.

"Which one of the Winchester boys is here?"

"Both of them.  Sam's upstairs and Dean's playing with the guns," he said with a point at Dean.  He had come to the doorway of the weapons room.  He went back to stocking.

"Dean, we've got a massive problem with a pack down by the bar.  The new guy who took over is a punk and causing problems."

Dean nodded.  "Have you talked to him?"

"I have and the sheriff has, it's getting out of hand.  They tried the bar.  Jo and I can't get close enough because they can smell women easier."

"Coke is bad for that," Xander called.

She pointed.  "Who's he?"

"That's Harris from Sunnydale and then Cleveland.  This is his retirement."

"This is the shop we got the flier for?"  Dean nodded.  "How did we get it?"

"Rosenburg," Xander said as he came out.  "Sniper shot doable?"  She nodded slowly. "Dean?"

"That might work better," he agreed.

"I can't make one of those," she said.

"Take my personal one upstairs," Xander instructed.  Dean nodded, going to get that and a few of the silver bullets to go help her.  He'd be back that night.  Xander smiled when she gave him an odd look.  "I'm on call for apocalypses.  We have holy water too if you ever need some."

"Thanks, Mr. Harris."

"Xander, please."  He grinned.  "I'm not a hard ass.  Like I told the boys, if a real hunter needs something and can't afford it, I'll work something out with them.  The ones who try to pay me with a fake card I beat the crap out of."  She laughed and nodded.  "But if you need stuff and can't afford it but it's necessary you let me know."

"I can do that.  Caleb's been swearing about you."

"I used to shop through Caleb.  This is my retirement because I couldn't take being a field watcher."

"I can understand that.  Where are they now?"


"Damn, poor city."

"Could've been LA," he offered dryly.

"No thanks.  Too close to me."  She took a catalog and left.

Sam came in.  "Where did Dean go?"

"Werewolf pack leader causing hell with that older lady he knew."

"Must've been Ellen," he said.  "Dean go to take care of it?"

"Sniper shot."  He looked at him.  "So, how's your vacation so far?"

"Not bad," he admitted with a grin.  "Thanks, Xander."

"No, thanks for doing the car for me."

"Not a problem.  It's an easy problem to solve.  I'm going to bug Bobby before he leaves."

"Sure.  Have fun.  I'm open until eight and upstairs after that."  He nodded, heading up the street to talk to his buddy.  Xander found his book and settled in on his stool to read until the next person came in.


Xander looked up as Dean came back that night, smiling and taking his rifle back.  "It work out?"

"Yup.  The new leader came to tell Ellen they're going back to the non-aggression and relative isolation policy.  I cleaned it."

"Thanks."  He put it beside him.  "Sam's still with Bobby.  He called and said they went to have wings and beer at the sports bar."  Dean grinned and went to find them.  Xander checked his watch but decided to hang out down there for a while yet.  His rifle did go upstairs but that was fine.  He came down and found a guy in a dirty work shirt and jeans.  "Hey.  Welcome to the Hunter's Headquarters.  What can I help you find?"

"I need some ammo."

"Okay, it's in that room.  What size do you need?" he asked, walking him that way.  The guy found his size within a minute of looking.  "Only the one box?  Need anything else?"

"Nah.  I'm good as long as I catch something."

Xander smiled.  "I heard there's a good crop this year in the next county."

"Good."  He came out.  "You're pretty reasonable."

"I have no problem with those who hunt for their tables.  It's a good reason to hunt," Xander assured him.  "Do you have your license?  We have the forms here if you need one."

"I can't get it until next payday."  Xander handed him the form.  "Thanks, kid."  He paid for the shells and took the bag while Xander noted it on the invoice that he had handed him the form and his name.  "You're careful."

Xander looked at him.  "I don't want to sell to someone who's going to create a problem. Someone who goes sniper at work or something."

"That's a good point.  Are you going to run a special closer to season?"

"The first day of gun season I'll run a special on rifles and hand guns.  I do know someone who does hunt deer with a handgun so I'll include them, but shells are pretty much near what I get them for.  That said, if it's someone who hunts for the table and *needs* it but can't afford it, I'll deal with it."  That got a nod and a grin.  "It's hard when you have to do it for the table.  I hope you get a good one."

"Thanks, kid."  He left, heading home to check over his rifle.  Maybe he'd think about a new one if the kid did layaway too.  He also noticed the kid hadn't written down his address, just name and city of residency.  Which was enough for law enforcement to find him with if something happened but not too much that they'd be bothering him or he'd be sending out fliers.  He liked that.  He checked the bullets and they were all good so he was satisfied.


Xander smiled at the officer coming in on the first day of deer season.  "How many people shot their friends so far?"

"Only one shot himself in the foot when he dropped his gun."


"Drunk."  He grinned.  "Sale on rifles?"

"Thirty percent off rifles and handguns.  Today only."  That got a grin and he went to look.  Xander checked out the few needing bullets, handing them the yellow copy of the invoice sheet.  They headed out and one needed his license so he did that for him.  "It does take a few days to get it back," he warned.

"I can't go until this weekend anyway," he admitted with a smile.  Xander nodded, handing him the temporary card and his bag of bullets once he had paid.  "Thanks."

"Welcome.  Remember us if you need more shells."  He nodded and headed out.  He got the last one gone and went to check on the officer, finding him looking at a very good rifle.  "That one's got a shorter range.  The one behind it has a better one."

"Shells are more expensive," he pointed out.

"Yeah but it can do a half mile and that one can only do a quarter."  That got a nod.  He heard a truck pull in and went to look, finding someone coming out with a serious injury.  He jogged out to look at him.  "Dude, what did you do?"

"Some idiot got me.  It's just a graze."

"Get your ass inside.  Let me find some bandages."  The guy gave him an odd look so he gave him a shove.  "Go.  That's not just a graze."  He walked him in there and sat him down, going to get his first aid kit.  "Hey, Officer Bill, need this bullet?" he called.  He looked then looked at the guy.  "It'll hurt but I can do that."  He got the bullet out and put it down on the counter then found his staple gun, putting the wound back together before bandaging it.  "I don't do it often but the nearest hospital is over an hour away."  He finished bandaging him.  "Usual precautions.  Don't get them wet and change the bandage.  See your normal guy for an antibiotic today."  That got a nod.  "Now, you okay otherwise?"

"Yeah, I'm fine.  I came to talk to Bill."  He looked over, seeing the amused look. "He's good."

"I lived near LA.  I've had to field dress injuries before."

"Oooh," he said, wincing and pulling his badge out.  "Not bad kid."

Xander grinned.  "I'd do it even if you weren't a cop."  He bagged the bullet in a small plastic baggie and handed it to the other one.  Then he got stuff to clean the counter when he put back his first aid kit.  "Need anything else, Officer?"

"No, Mr. Harris. That's a really good job."  He shifted.  "Even a nice job bandaging, just tight enough."  He looked at Bill.  "That Henderson kid got me."

"I'll go find him later.  He drunk too?"

"No, but he's probably heading there now.  He saw me when I fell out of my blind.  He took off running in the other direction."

"Thankfully the kid wanted a weaker shotgun," Xander said as he cleaned the counter.  "Something higher powered and we'd be cleaning you up out there."

"True," the shot officer said with a touch of humor.   Bill showed him the one he liked.  "That's sweet."

"He's got the longer range too."  They went to look while he called their boss about picking the kid and the bullet up.  His boss was highly amused too about the kid patching him up.  It was a nice job but still.  He came out once he had gotten the one he wanted.  "Don't let us see you doing that again."

"Yes, Officer."  He grinned.  "I'm only being helpful."

"I can tell."  He let the kid ring him up after figuring up his thirty percent off, paying for it.  It was a nice gun.  Then they went to get the other kid since he'd be about ready to think they weren't coming for him and be coming out of his basement by now.  He was getting a six pack from the local store actually.  They drug him out of there and to the station begging for mercy.  Ballistics would match the gun.  The officer would have a few days off for deer hunting and Officer Bill would get to try his new one out that weekend. A few of the guys went to get their own when they heard there was a sale and it was good for business.


Xander looked up as an older woman walked into his shop.  "Doctor Murphy.  Are you going to chew me a new one for doing the staples?"


"I had to field dress some injuries when I was younger, Doc."

"You're still not a doctor."

"If it was that serious I'd have called an ambulance and held a pressure bandage," he admitted.  "Any deeper and I would've sent him on after pulling the bullet and putting one on."

She frowned.  "What sort of injuries did you see?"

"I'm from near LA, Doc."  She shuddered.  "Gun shots weren't what I usually saw but I did see a lot of knife injuries and other stabbing ones."  She nodded at that.  He wouldn't go into staking themselves on their own stake injuries.  "Muscle pulls and sprains.  I can do a good splint or brace.  Concussions I've had a lot of so I'm very good with those and the signs and symptoms," he finished with a small grin.

"Were you in a gang?"

"Hometown protection patrol," he said.

"The one who walked people home from clubs?"

"That too.  We had a lot of drug problems in our town.  The cops basically hid so we handed over people who needed it, often."

"Uh-huh."  She stared at him.  "From now on, call me if you have to and I'll come get them."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Good."  She frowned at him.  "It wasn't a bad job but it could've used some deeper stitches."

"I wasn't going to freak him out by doing a three layer stitching," he admitted.  She smirked at that.  "Staples are good and if you wanted more you could go in and do the other two layers."

"Good point.  Fine.  Don't do it again.  That is practicing medicine without a license."

"Technically I think that's practicing being a medic without a license," he said dryly.  She laughed and walked off.  He smirked at her back.  He'd do it when necessary and call her while he did it if it came up again.  Someone came in to get more ammo and the hunter's sign flashed at him.  He looked at him.  "Hey, get the flier?"

"I did," he admitted.  "Ammo?"  Xander pointed.  "Crossbow bolts?"

"Same room as the bows," he said with a point.  "Silver tipped and not."  That got a nod and he went to browse.  Xander went back to his book.  If he needed help he'd ask.  He came out with a box of bolts and a smaller box of ammo.  "That all you needed today?"

"You have a good selection."

Xander grinned.  "I'm from Sunnydale."  That got a shudder.  "I hunted with Buffy.  This is my retirement."  That got a nod and he wrote him up then handed things over once he had the money.  "There you go."

He looked at the invoice.  "Only the city?"

"I don't do direct mailing and if someone official asks that's good enough for them.  Protection for you guys too."

That got a nod.  "Safe on all counts."  Xander smiled and nodded.  "Thanks, kid."

"I'm here even when the store's closed; I live upstairs.  I forward the phone in case of emergencies."  That got a nod and he left with a catalog too.  Xander got back to his book once he had filed the invoice and put the money away in the register.  He was doing a lot of good business right now.  One of Riley's guys stomped in.  "What is it this time and money up front, military boy."

"A grendal."

Xander looked at him.  "Silver sword?"

"Didn't kill it."  He handed over a picture.

Xander looked at it then pointed.  "Protection amulet.  Get it off him and then do it."  That got a nod.  "In other words, cut off the arm and then the head."

"We can do that.  Thank you."

"Welcome."  The military guy stomped off calling his boss on the way.  Xander shook his head.  Riley really needed support staff who had a clue sometimes.   He looked up.  "Yo, Powers, Riley could really use a former Watcher to help him with the identity stuff that he has not a clue about and the military messed up on," he called quietly.  "Plus it'd get one of them out of your hair and make them quit complaining."  He went back to his book.  He heard the phone ring and grabbed it without looking.   He could do that now that it wasn't running away or trying to bite him.  "Hunter's Headquarters, how can I help you?"  He smiled.   "Hey, Bobby.  How's the boys?"  He nodded.  "I can see how that's hard.  Yeah, actually I can probably get some from Giles."  He pulled over a piece of paper to make notes.  "Sure, I can ask.  See what they can come up with.  Tell Dean it'll be okay and to come here when it's due because I warp every prophecy that I come in contact with."

He smirked.  "Yes, I do mean all of them."  He snickered.  "I'm the reason there were two slayers for a while," he offered.  "Sure.  Let me get the research nerds onto it.  Thanks, man."  He hung up and called Cleveland.  "Willow, me.  I need some research help for a friend.  No, one had to save his brother by making a darker than average deal.  It activated the Evil One prophecy.  Yeah, I'm going to butt in.  I like the guys.  That's what I need.  I can fax it.  Making sure you were home."  He sent it through the fax.  "There you go.  Yup, that stuff.  Please?"  He smiled.  "Sure, thanks, Wills."  He hung up and went back to his book.  She'd find the books in their library and it would probably have an answer.

Dawn appeared three hours later with two books and a stack of papers.  "Okay, there's six things that could go wrong."  She let him see it.  He pointed at a spot.  "We're already there?"

"His brother made a deal to save him."  He looked at her.  She nodded at that.  "So we're at that point."

"Okay.  Here's how you get past a crossroad's demon and here's how you get warp that prophecy."

Xander looked then called Dean.  "Want the information Bobby had my people look up?" he asked simply.  "There are ways around her.  I'm at the store, Dean.  Hop by."  He hung up and went back to reading. "What if she's passed it on.  There's history there with some higher ones who want them badly.  A hunting family," he said at her odd look.

She grimaced.  "Then I'd suggest blowing the hell out of the hosts of hell," she admitted.  "Who is it?"  He wrote down a surname and she nodded.  "Figures."  She put it in her pocket. "I'll see if there's some ancient reason.  Otherwise that's a good start and I'll keep looking.  Put me more in touch with him."  She handed over a hand-written card with her number.  "There you go, cutey."

"Thanks, Dawn."

"Welcome."  She disappeared.

Xander went back over the information before putting it under the counter.  They'd get there when they got there.  He called Bobby so he wouldn't worry.  "I got something and I told Dean I had something.  Dawn did.  Buffy's little sister, Bobby.  Sure, I'm here.  You're only three hours away.  I told him he could.  That's fine."  He hung up and got back to work on his current book.  Running the store was doing a lot for his reading time.  The local library was loving him for how many things he got out.


Dean stomped in two days later.  "What did you find?"  Xander handed it over then nodded upstairs, getting a nod.  Xander went to deal with the usual hunters who were trying to get their deer for the year while he sat down to read over what she had found.  He pocketed the number and went over it.   Xander came up a few minutes later.  "You done?"

"For a few."  He pointed at something.  "If we're here it'll be harder to deal with, but these two points can still happen."  He looked at Dean.  "And there's a small problem.  Dawn found out why you guys."  He got something else and handed it over.  "Ancient book so be careful.  She threatened to castrate us both if that book's hurt."

Dean read over the marked spot then looked at him.  "They're relatives?"

"On your mother's side.  She did a quick genealogy.  It's back about six generations but with your dad running into her and being capable they consider you guys a threat. It's what opened Sam to it."

Dean slumped then nodded.  "Mine?"

Xander grinned.  "There's ways.  Even if she handed it on."

Dean looked at him.  "You really think that?"  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"Because we faced the First Evil and still won," he said simply.  "This putz can't be as bad as that, Dean."

Dean shuddered.  "He thinks he's a lord of hell."

"Hell is a series of dimensions.  Which one is he a lord of?  Got a name?"  He wrote it down and Xander called that to Dawn, who faxed info back within minutes.  He handed it over, getting an evil smirk.  "The Council of old runs into them now and then."

Dean nodded. "Thanks."

"Welcome.  You guys liven up my life.  I'd be bored without you guys."  Dean smirked as he walked out, looking a lot happier than when he had come in.  Xander sent the books back to Cleveland but that was fine.  He hadn't known that deals for souls could only be called in for untainted parts of the soul.  It was interesting and anyone who hunted didn't have a fully untainted soul by any means.  He'd have to watch to make sure it was fixed.


Sam strolled in a few weeks later and the signs above the door went off with a bright flash.

"Sam, you're still reading as evil," Xander said dryly, looking at him.  "Not fixed?"

"Not yet.  Can I get you to keep Dean here?"

"Sure.  He all right?"

"I had to knock him out."  He grimaced. "He's not a happy camper."

"That happens to all of us when we're knocked out.  Did you start to get it solved?"

Sam smirked.  "Starting to.  Thanks."

"Welcome.  Call Dawn if you need more research."

"I have.  She's a nice sounding girl."

"Her sister's Buffy."

"Oh!  That Dawn."  He nodded.  "Powerful witch?"

"Who can kick my ass," Xander agreed.  "I wouldn't try to let someone take her."

"Me either.  I don't need a consort."  He shrugged.  "But I can set Dean here?"

"Sure.  Going to strand him?"

"Probably.  I need him out of this fight."

Xander stared at him. "You need someone there, Sam."

"I can...."

Xander held up a hand. "Even a slayer needs backup, Sam."  That got a slump and a nod.  "So call one."  He looked at him again.  "There's one in Chicago.  There's one up the road.  Personally I'd call Faith and Marigold, her trainee slayer."

He smirked.  "I love that you're helpful."

"Of course I am.  Bring him in.  I'll let him be knocked out upstairs.  Any injuries I should know about?"

"Concussion from the bat I took to his head last night.  Otherwise probably not."  He walked out to get Dean and drag him inside.  He nodded at the woman in the ammo room who was giving him horrified looks.  "He's going to end up dying if he's there so I'd rather have him with a concussion."  He flopped him down on the spare apartment's bed then came back down.  "He's up there.  Thanks, Xander."

"Not an issue.  Faith's in Cleveland."

"I'll do that on the way back."  He walked out, closing the door gently behind him.

Xander leaned on the counter, taking a deep breath before he called Dawn himself.  "Sic Faith and Marigold on Sam Winchester.  He thinks he can take out the threat on his own.  I've got Dean."  He hung up and went to look at her.  "Someone's going after both of them but Sam's a fussy little brother so he knocked his big brother out and brought him here."

"Poor family."

"It's the same thing that came after their father once."

"Damn.  So the younger one's got it?"

He grinned.  "With some outside help.  That's why I called Faith on him.  She'll go mess up his hair and help him kick their butts quite well."  She laughed.  "Don't worry about it, Doc.  I've got it handled.  I've had many concussions."

"Sure." She came out with a box of bullets for her office's handgun, letting him write it up for her.  "Thanks, Harris."

"Not an issue, Doc.  I hope your receptionist doesn't have to use it again."  She nodded and left, taking them back to the office.  He put up a 'be right back' sign and went to check on Dean, waking him up.  "Hey."  Dean blinked at him then growled.  "I sicced Faith on him. She's a slayer.  She's from the streets in Boston so she's got dirty fighting if he needs it.  You have a concussion."

"I'm going to send him back to death," he muttered.

Xander grinned.  "That's probably why he ran and stranded you here, Dean.  When you're better we'll call and see what Faith has going on."  He nodded slowly at that.  "For now, rest.  We'll protect you."  He went back downstairs once he had a soda and took the sign down then went back to his book.  He'd go wake him up every few hours for the rest of the day.  Then they'd talk soul protection.


Dean looked at the marks in the room he was in.  "Is this really necessary?"


"I can...."

Xander looked at him.  "If it comes for you here, that'll protect you.  So said Dawn and I trust her.  Sam's fine with Faith.  Even if Marigold does want to mess up his hair and make him a good boy.  Her words."

"She's how old?"


Dean snorted.  "He'd never go for it."

"So?  A girl's gotta dream.  I should know, I've caused many of those in the slayers before."  Dean snickered at that, shaking his head.  He handed him a few books and a bag.  "There, a six pack of soda, some chips in two flavors, some books to read.  Just stay in there."  He left him alone, locking the door from the outside.  It wouldn't stop him if he had to get out but it'd keep him from wandering.  Xander went to check over the store then he decided to keep it closed today.  He put up a sign saying that due to a personal situation he was taking a day off.  Then he went to unlock the door.  "I can take today off.  Hunting season's done with so I'm good.   If they really need something they'll call or knock."  He grabbed the phone and put it on his belt then sat down in the doorway.  "I've got a playboy if you want it instead."

"That'd make it messy in here," he said with a look at him.

"Well, yeah, probably.  If you work and all that I'd expect that."  He leaned forward.  "It'll be fine, Dean.  Faith has his back.  I have yours.  Then she'll drag him here and let you paddle the hell out of him for knocking you out and bringing you here."

"He drove me here and took my car?"

"Yup," Xander agreed.

"I am going to beat his ass this time.  Especially if he touched the radio."  Xander grinned.  "I'm very particular about my music."

"Of course you are.  We all are."  He grinned and got up, getting him something and bringing it back.  "Here, in case you get really bored."

Dean flipped through the playlists, finding a wide range of music.  "Anything Metallica?"

"Look under the hard rock one.  I've got modern and more ancient stuff in there."  He looked then nodded in appreciation, settling in to listen to it.  "Try the comedy one too.  It might make you feel a bit better."  He went to check the weapons around the shop.  He knew his personal ones were good but these he kept ready to use just in case too.  Sometimes people got stupid ideas.  Like the guy who tried to break in the night before.  He had been lucky Xander was feeling in a forgiving mood and had only gotten him with a crossbow bolt in the ass for breaking into his store.  He checked on Dean throughout the day and at dinner he ordered a good meal from the local Chinese place.  He walked in Dean's portion.  "Dinner?"

"What's that?"

"It's the standard 'whoo hoo, we saved the world' dinner," he said with a shiteating grin.

"You guys are very strange," Dean told him, taking the food.  He was hungry and it smelled good.  "Peppers?"

"Figured you could use some spicy stuff so you could belch fire at Sam when he came back."

"Sammy's getting my foot up his ass when he shows up."  Xander sat down in the doorway to eat his own dinner.  "You guys really did this all the time?"

"After each apocalypse we went to the local chinese place for their buffet and usually closed it out."

Dean shook his head.  "You're just strange, Xander."

Xander grinned.  "I think we're all strange, Dean.  Not like hunting demons makes us feel really normal."

"Good point."  He ate another bite then nodded.  "Not bad."

"No, not bad."

"Business been good?"

"Really good.  Hunting season went very well.  Riley's guys have needed a few things over the last few months.  They keep waking up this stupid thing in a tomb and no one can figure out how to kill it so they blow it up for a bit and it fades until it heals."  He ate a bite, looking outside.  "That's headlights."   He got up, leaving his food there.  "It's Sam and the girls," he called.  "Stay in there.  It's not midnight yet."  He opened the door.

"Oh, grow up!" Sam complained.

"I am grown up, you're an asexual stick in the mud who doesn't know what fun is," Marigold complained.  "Have you ever even slept with a girl?  I bet you haven't.  That's why the evil could get you, you're a virgin."

Sam turned to glare at her.  "I've had a live in girlfriend, Marigold.  I don't do jail bait and I'm *very* picky about my women. You want easy, go hit on Dean."

She smirked and ruffled his hair.  "You're so cute when you're upset.  Just like a bunny with constipation."  Faith tried not to laugh, she really did.  It didn't work but Sam huffed and stomped inside.

Xander pointed.  "He's in the work area warded like Dawn said, Sam.  Don't walk into the wards until after midnight."

"He'd better not, I'm still going to kick his ass."

"Hey that means I can bandage him," Marigold said happily.  She looked at Faith.  "That would, right?"

"Up to him, sweetie.  You never know, he might be gay and like Xander."

She pouted at Sam.  "You're not that evil, are you?"

"I'm not evil," he said, though he had on his bitchy evil face he was sure.  She snorted and ruffled his hair again. "Leave my hair alone!"

"No.  It's cute.  All fluffy and cute."  She looked at Dean.  "Doesn't he look just like a constipated bunny when he's huffy?"

He looked at her then at Sam.  "Not what I'd call that look.  But okay.  It's your ass he's gonna spank."

"Faith said that can be fun," she said with a smile.

"I've got to take you somewhere better to pick up men," Faith muttered.  She looked in at Dean.  "The crossroad's chick is dead.  The higher one's injured.  He managed to slip away before we could end him.  So if he comes for you we'll finish him off for you, Dean-o.  You good, need anything?"

"I'm fine," he promised, eating a bite of dinner.

Marigold looked.  "Look it's a 'whoo hoo we saved the world' dinner, Faith."

"My food," Xander snarled.  Both slayers backed off.  "Go make sandwiches."  They went up to his place to do that.  He looked at Sam.  "Food's in the fridge in the back room," he mouthed.  Sam grinned and went to get his own.  "Get me a soda too please, Sam?"

"Sure, Xander."   He came back with the other box and handed over a soda.  "Dean, soda?"

"I'm good," he admitted, waving his last two.  "Xander gave me a six pack and some books."  He got back into his dinner.  "How did the rest go?"

"Five by five," Faith said as she came back with her sandwiches.  She pouted at Sam.  "We're slayers."

He glared at her.  "Mine."

"Fine.  I'd sit," she offered with a grin.  He sat with his back to a wall, looking at his brother.  "So, Deany, you good?"

"I'm fine.  So far.  A bit bored but okay.  Xander let me clean weapons earlier."  He shrugged and ate another bite.  "They're all gone?"

"Into little bits that then went whoosh," Faith promised.  He smirked at that.  Marigold flopped down beside her, making her look at her peanut butter/ham/bologna/tuna fish/pickle sandwich on whole wheat bread.  "Are you pregnant?"

"Only if there's a laughing god since I'm still a virgin."  Dean moaned, shaking his head.  "I've been busy!" she defended.  "My boyfriend dumped me anyway."  She pouted at Sam.

"Still too young for me," he said before eating a bite of his dinner.  Xander took over his spot.  "What do we have here if we need it?"  Xander pointed at the wards.  "Is she sure they'll work?"

"Yup.  Even if they don't he can only claim the pure part of his soul.  The contract doesn't say a whole soul, so he can only claim the pure parts."

Faith looked Dean over then Sam.  "That means he'll get maybe half if he manages it.  So studmuffin in there will only be a bit snarly for the next year while it regrows."  She ate a bite of her sandwich and then stole Xander's fork to take a bite.  "Not bad.  Have to remember that for our trip tomorrow."

"They're not bad," Xander agreed.  He leaned against the wall while eating.  "What time is it anyway?  I broke my watch band earlier."

Sam looked at his.  "Six Chicago time."

"So five local," Dean said, considering it.  "I'm going to be bored stupid by midnight."

"Midnight in the time you made the deal," Sam corrected.  "Pacific time, Dean.  So one."  He ate another bite with a grin.  "I knew he'd protect you for me.  Even if I am going to beat him for siccing the girls on me."

Faith smirked. "Suck it up, Sam.  You're only a male, of course you couldn't beat the demon horde.  That takes a kick ass woman with style," Marigold said.  Dean snickered at that.  Sam gave her a dirty look.  "At least I was wearing clothes when you broke in that last night."

"Thankfully.  I didn't need to see that much of you."

"Awww, did it make you hot when you blushed?" Faith teased.

"She's still too young for me and I'm very picky about my girlfriends," Sam told her.  "I'd have to date for a very long time before she'd get sex.  Easy lays are Dean's department not mine."

She pouted at Dean. "You're cute but too gruff for me.  I want something gentler the first time."

Faith gave her a nudge.  "I'll find you something later, Marigold."  She beamed.  "Quit picking on water buffalo boy."

Sam gave her a dirty look too.  "My hair does not look like a water buffalo!"

"I've heard yak mentioned," Faith taunted with a grin.  "One of the demons said so."

"Which one of us killed them?" Marigold asked.  Faith pointed at Sam before finishing her first sandwich.  "Well at least you got them back for that.  His hair kinda reminds me of a few mutts I've known and petted over the years."

"I'm going to take a nap," Sam decided.  "You guys can talk about my hair all you want without me."  He looked at Dean then at Xander.  "Call me if it shows up."  That got a nod and he went to the spare apartment for a nap.  The girls were going to make him finish going insane.

Dean looked at Faith.  "I haven't done that to him in years.  Thanks."

"He's cute but way too gay for me," she assured him with a bright, happy grin.

"The last I knew he liked girls.  The same demon got his girlfriend one night."

She shrugged.  "Still gay, studmuffin."  She took Xander's fork but he took it back and stabbed her on the hand.  "Hey!"


"Fine.  I'll go order us some," she sighed, going to find the phone book and order them some food.  That way Marigold wouldn't eat the disgusting things in front of her anymore.  She'd have to tell Buffy to freak her out and make her rant for a bit.  The girl hadn't had a good reason for her blood pressure to rise for a while.

They sat around and read, or fussed at each other, until the demon showed up.  "Sam!" Xander shouted.  He got up and grabbed the stuff Dawn had said would work, throwing it on the demon as he manifested.  Dean sneezed.  "Sorry."

"Not  your fault."  He stood up, moving things out of the circle.  Xander tossed him some weapons and they both stood there together.  "Not yours either."

"You made the deal," he sneered.

"You still can't claim it all," Xander taunted back.  "You're so pathetic.  You can't even write a decent soul contract.  How badass can you be?"  The demon waved a hand and sent him into the wall.  He snickered as he got free.  "Is that all you've got?  I've seen vamps with better game than that."  He lunged and attacked, Dean doing the same but staying firmly inside the protections.  Faith jumped in when Xander shoved him out of the room, taking him on with Marigold.  The delivery guy decided to come about then so Marigold went to get it while Faith pummeled him.  She had to take a twenty from the register but she'd pay Xander back.  The delivery guy gave the one Faith was beating an odd look.  "He's a bad guy who's bothering us girls."

"Oh, okay," he agreed, heading out with the decent tip.

She put the food aside and went back to it.

Sam came down with a weapon and tossed it on the demon, making Faith sneeze and the demon smirk.  "That should've worked."

Xander shrugged.  "Cranks writing books?"  He stabbed the demon, making it howl.  "Thank god for sound proofing."  He did it again while Faith got his head and neck area.  Sam found the reason it hadn't worked and threw the asphodel on it.  It screamed in a whole different key this time then Dean stabbed him.  The demon reached for him but oh well.  It died and Dean spit on it.  Xander looked at Sam.  "The later instruction on the back of the page.  It said to add asphodel at the last minute."

"Huh.  That didn't come through on the fax."

"She forgot to flip the page over.  She had a hot date," Faith said dryly.  "One her sister pulled her away from by her hair."

"Buffy needs to quit doing that," Marigold said with a pout.

Xander looked at her.  "Shut up."  She pouted at him.  "Tough.  I mean it.  Keep it up and don't get sex for another year.  Dawn and Willow can make sure of it by making that orifice disappear."

"Then she'll draw things that're drawn to innocence," Dean pointed out.

"They come for us anyway," Faith said with a small shrug.  "What else is new?"

Dean shook his head at that.  "We had to fix that issue."

"We're slayers, and female.  They come for us anyway," Faith assured him, patting him on the cheek.  "Cute scruff, studmuffin."

"He didn't have any spare razors."

"In the car," Sam promised.  Dean turned and hit him, knocking him down.  "I know, I deserved that.  Sorry but I didn't want you killed in that fight, Dean!"

"Ask me if I give a damn.  That's only for day one of the concussion, Sammy."

"Are you sure you're not the evil Dean?" Xander asked, looking at him.

Dean smirked.  "No, I'm being a big brother who needs to beat the hell out of his little one."

"Go outside then," Xander told him.  "Finish dinner, both of you."

"You nag like a girl, are you secretly one?" Marigold asked.  Xander smacked her on the top of the head with his sword.  "Ow!  You haven't done that in months," she complained, rubbing the spot.

"Go eat and put the money back in the register."

"Yes, Xander," she said, slinking off like a defeated puppy.

"They put her with me because she's mouthy and smart," Faith teased.

He smacked her on the head with the sword too.  "You haven't been practicing.  Your form sucked and your butt kept getting in the way."  She pouted but he pointed so she went to eat.  He looked at the brothers.  "Outside."  They went to fight out back.  He grabbed his food and went up to his apartment to relax.  It had been a long day of worrying.  He hated the buildup days to the usual apocalypses. He ate another bite of his dinner and turned on the tv.  Dean came in twenty minutes later and flopped down next to him.  "Ice?"

"I'm good.  Thanks, Xander."

"Not a problem," he quipped with a grin for him.  "Sam?"

"Could probably use some ice," he admitted, getting him some and handing it over before going back to watching tv with him.  "You don't run cable next door?"

"I don't have a spare tv."

"Oh."  He settled in to watch with him.  Baywatch reruns were just fine with him.

Sam came in with the ice pack.  "The girls went to pout at the club."

"Maybe that'll fix Marigold," Xander said dryly.  He finished his dinner and stretched out, getting comfy.  Dean relaxed too.  It looked like it was over. Xander blinked, starting to fall asleep.  He didn't know why, he wasn't tired.

Sam frowned, looking at Xander.  "Dean, go get me some holy water please?"  He got up with a groan to do that while Sam tied Xander down and got to work on the exorcism.  It figured something like that would happen.  It had been too easy.  Thankfully he could still feel evil.


Xander woke up tied down and had to quip at that.  "I didn't know I charged kinky sex for rescues, but okay.  Make sure you use a condom."

Sam glared at him.  "Possessed, Xander, not kinky sex."

"Though if you want it, Sammy could obviously use laid," Dean offered from the other side of the bed.  Xander looked at him.  "Make sure any handcuff bruises won't last more than a few days."

"Sure, I can do that."  He looked up at the cuffs then twitched and did...something.  They came undone.  Sam stepped back with a gasp.  "Even if Willow did say it's bad for me doesn't mean I didn't learn.  Not the first time I've been taken, Sam."  He sat up rubbing his wrists.  "How Exorcist did I go?"

"No pea soup," Dean offered.  "No head turning either.  Real convincing though.  You nearly talked Marigold into joining evil.  Faith too."

"Faith's had evil, she doesn't need it again.  Or me."

"Well, the demon did offer them both favored concubine positions," Dean said with a smirk.

Xander shrugged.  "Been there, done that with Faith.  She didn't want to go back.  I don't do virgins either or any other slayer.  They might go psycho."  He looked over as Faith came in.  "Did you know that when I lusted after Buffy she suddenly got spoiled?"

"Doesn't surprise me any.  Then again I lost my mind after sleeping with you too.  You've got a real gift, Xan."

He stuck his tongue out at her.  "It was better than you'd had in months and that's the problem.  Not enough good sex."

She snickered.  "Could be, yeah."  She came in to give him a hug.  "That's my boy back."  He patted her on the head so she let him go.  "You okay?"

"I'm good."

"Then figure out how to get us back to the real earth."

Xander looked out the nearest window at the swirly, gray atmosphere and the small portal in the distance.  "That goes where?"

"Someplace with lots of trees.  Marigold wants to see if they have elves so she can hit on them."

"Marigold needs better taste than elves," Sam said dryly.  "Or me."

Dean gave him a look.  "I didn't know you were that bad of a lay, Sammy.  I'll let the girls know just in case."

"Shut up, Dean.  I'm not a bad lay."

"Guys, headache," Xander complained.  "Fight later."  He got out of bed and went to look at his bookshelves.  Then he frowned and looked up.  "Can't I be possessed by Tara for a bit!" he shouted.  "I've been good recently!  I even got a bitchy Watcher out of your hair by suggesting they go white lighter on Riley!"

Faith burst out cackling.  "Oh, that's so mean, X!" she crowed, pouncing him for a real hug.  "I like that!"

"He needed it.  They screwed up their classifications."  He went back to looking at the book then sighed and went to send a note through the portal to Cleveland.  He got back three books a minute later.  "Gotta love the Wicca brains."  He walked back up there with the books.  "Someone pull up spell stuff."  They went through the books, Dean finally found a mention.  Sam looked it over and went back to something in his.  Xander took theirs and his spell and went to see what they had on hand.  Since they had taken the whole shop.  They got the spell ended and back home a few hours later and Xander went to open the door for business.  He waved at the officer.  "Someone wanted a chat."


Xander shrugged. "It happens."  He looked at the hallway mess.  "Faith, come clean up!"

"Yes, X.  I'll be your willing slave.  You talked me into it."  She sent Marigold down to clean up the mess.  Sam came down to help when Dean made him.  Then the two elders flopped down to recuperate to daytime tv.  Xander came up to close the apartment door when it got too loud but that was fine too.  Faith shook her head.  "You go girl, verbally bitchslap the stupid bitch," she said to the tv judge.

"She does do good with the stupid ones."

"I still drive stick, Dean."

He laughed.  "That an offer, Faith?"

"Not on X's bed.  He'll kill us."

"One next door."  She shrugged and they went to blow off some stress for a bit.

When it got too loud Xander got the ice water from his kitchen and went to pour it on them.  "You guys are embarrassing the customers and I just got asked how much you both charge.  Use a gag, guys."  He went back down there, slamming the door after himself.

Faith giggled.  "Yeah, he's bored."  She went back to it.  The bed could be dealt with later.

"Kinda cold," Dean complained when he had his mouth back.

"Cold may make most guys shrink but you have nothing to worry about," she teased.

He smirked.  "I have more than enough to shrink by half and still please you, Faith."  He flipped her over so she was on the wet, cold spot and he got to get warm and happy again.

Xander looked up at the renewed noise and shook his head.  "Sorry, two friends in on a visit.  Couldn't wait and they're being pains.  I tried ice water."  The doctor laughed.  "Did she actually use them or did she drop them all again?"

"She took the gun to the shooting range near her place and practiced.  That way she doesn't blow a hole in the wall the next time someone breaks in looking for drugs."  He wrote her up and handed the bag of bullets over.  "Thanks, Harris."

"Welcome, Doc.  Tell her I said to practice more.  It's always good."

"She buys the next box if she does."  She went back to work, handing them to her secretary.

Xander looked up again then turned up the radio to drown them out.  Not like he could join in. Which was a pity.  He'd take that sandwich any day.  Sam and Marigold came back from their burning the demon body.  "You don't want to go up there."

"We could hear them outside," Sam assured him.  He walked up there and leaned into the apartment.  "Dean, the cops wanted to know if it was good.  If not, they said quit killing her.  Faith, he's very sorry he's inadequate."  He slammed the door and went back down there.  Faith squealed and went silent.

Xander looked up at the apartment then at him.  "She's done but he might be in pain.  She's a lot of fun but hell on the back."

"He was on top," Sam told him.

"I tried ice water."

Sam snickered.  "Doesn't always work with him."  Dean came down and smacked him on the head.  "Shirt and shoes are required in all businesses, Dean.  Even this one."

Dean glared at Xander.  "Did you have to do that?"

"You drove off a customer and made the local doctor blush."  He gave him a look.  "Next time, use a gag!  I did!"  Dean gave him an odd look.  "She was my first.  She's hell on the back."

Dean snickered, walking back up there.  "Sheets for the bed?"

"Bathroom closet up there."  He went back to his book, then looked at the pouting younger slayer.  "Don't even think about it, Marigold."

She glared at him.  "They're both too experienced for my tastes."

"Don't look at me either, I'm the sort that you don't get it before the fifth date, if then," Sam told her.  She stomped off in a huff.  "Girl issues?"

"All slayers are put on birth control that takes their cycles," he said dryly.  "For our own sanity and so they don't draw even more demons."

Sam snickered.  "I can see why."  He looked around.  "Anything else we can do, Xander?"

"Nah, we're clean and good.  Go get lunch or something, Sam."  He nodded, going to do that.  Xander finished his current book and went to get another one, turning off the tv on his way past it.  He didn't want to hear _The View_.  Really, he didn't.  If he had, he would've put a tv in the store.

Dean came back down dressed.  "Thanks, man.  Needed that."

"Been there, done that, Dean.  Stress relief is all good.  Sam's getting lunch."  He looked at him.  "Go do something."

"I just did."  Faith smacked him on the shoulder.  "Hey!"

"I'm not a something, I'm a someone."

"Didn't mean it that way," he said, smirking at her.  She smirked back and hit him again.  "Mean ass."

"Where's my mini-me?"

"She's off pouting somewhere," Xander admitted.  "Sam said he had to date first and she said Dean was too easy for her."

Faith shook her head, heading to find the girl.  "Basement," she called when she found her.  "Practice and drills, Marigold."  The girl whined.  "Keep it up, head back to Cleveland."  She went down to do it anyway.   She and the girls there had gotten into a lot of fights.  That's why they had sent her off to travel with Faith.

Dean shook his head.  "Teenage girls are a pain," he said quietly.

Xander looked at him.  "Sixty-two teenage girls in one building with eight adults, Dean.  They're more than a pain sometimes."

"Still say that's either a porno or a good cause of insanity."

"They're not allowed to have sex and yes, they do cause insanity.  Even one alone does that."

"I heard that," Faith called.

He looked toward the basement door. "It's girls like you and Anya that make me want to be gay," he called back.  Dean walked off snickering.  "What?"

Dean gave him a look, eyebrow quirked.  "Want Sam?  I'm about to head for a few days of peace and quiet to relax.  There's a whorehouse with my name in the books in Vegas."

"He'd be bored stupid."

"He'd get online at the library every day and enjoy the break," Dean countered.  "Can I drop him here?"

"As long as one of you pay for the room, Dean.  Emergencies I don't care.  Guests I do."

That got a nod.  "I can do that."  He headed out to get his car keys back from Sam since he was pulling in.  "Go pay Xander for the room.  I'm heading off for a few days of R&R."

"We can hit the same city and avoid each other."

"I'm going to hit the whorehouses in Vegas.  You don't gamble, Sammy."

"I can go play poker."

"I'm better so stay here."  He got into the car and headed out.

Sam huffed, nearly ready to stamp a foot.  But he stomped inside instead.  "He dropped me off."

Xander looked at him.  "The library's up the street.  Pay for the room, Sam."

He nodded, handing him money for the room then he went to the library to find something to do.  They had good computers to get online and it was nice.  He could listen to his music online while he played around and signed Dean up for every spam site he could find.  The librarian coughed so he smiled.   "My brother's being a butt."

"Ah.  There's a few nice ones."  She found those spam sites for him and let him sign up Dean's email there too.  She patted him on the back and went back to her counter.  "Visiting for long?"

"Some R&R with a friend.  It's been a long year," he admitted, turning to look at her.  "He's going to Vegas and dropped me here with a friend."

"That Harris boy?"  He smiled and nodded.  "You do the same strange weapons stuff he does?"

"Now and then I've hunted for the table," he admitted.  She smiled at that, nodding a bit.  "He's a nice guy but he's got crappy taste in women.  His last one was like vengeance incarnate."

She cooed. "We've got to set the boy up.  What about the two pretty ones you came with?"

He grinned.  "He told one earlier she was the reason he should go gay."  She cackled at that.  "So I'm going to say they're not going to get back together again.  The other's seventeen and looking for anyone to break her in.  I refused many times."

She nodded.  "That's always smart.  Go back to making your brother miserable, Sam."  He nodded, going back to it.  She smiled at his back.  He was a nice boy.  That Harris boy was a problem for her and her kind but that Sam was a nice boy.  Felt nice too.


Xander walked into the library that night, handing back his books and going to get a few more.   On the way he pulled Sam out of the office and with him.  "I know she's nice and she makes really good cookies but she also likes to rip heads off after she's gotten seed, Sam."  He gave him a nudge.  "Find me something Tolkeinish that's not him."  He nodded numbly, going to do that.  Xander glared at the librarian when she came over.  She shrank back.  "Did you ever meet Mrs. French, the science teacher?"  She swallowed and whimpered.  "She didn't like me after Buffy found the tape of bats."  She hurried off back to her office.  "I thought they only liked virgins," he sighed.

"Um, no.  Just proves that they're smarter than the females and worthier," Sam admitted.  "Thanks."  He handed Xander a book, getting a nod of thanks.  The boy picked three more and went to check out.  He gave her a small smile.  "Sorry.  Dean would get really pissed if I got taken this week.  He might even try to beat Xander."

Xander snorted.  "Yeah.  That'll happen.  I'd spank him and then hand him to Marigold."  He smiled at the other one.  "We still love you guys.  Just don't try it on us, okay?"  They both nodded.  "Thanks."  He took his books and Sam, walking them all out.  He gave him a nudge.  "Chinese, Sam."  He nodded, going to do that. "Nothing too spicy please."  He headed back to the shop, finding the usual officer there.  "What?"

"You know what they are?"

"Yeah, one tried to get me when I was still pure in tenth grade," he said dryly.  "She was a praying mantis."

"Damn, boy."

"That's okay, I nearly married a former vengeance demon.  A lot of people think I should be gay instead."

"I can see why.  There's rumors of something heading this way."

"Charming.  Bad something or good something?"

"Just something.  Rumors state that it'll be loud."

"That could be Buffy," he admitted.  "If so, we only go after those who hunt others."  Sam came back with dinner.  "Thanks, Sam."  The officer nodded and left them alone.  He let Sam inside, giving him his portion of dinner while Xander went to enjoy his tv.  Sam came over an hour later and flopped down next to him.  "Can't sleep?"

"No.  You going to go out tonight?"

"I'm not really in the mood for the country bar tonight.  No decent girls in town who're evil enough for me."

"Faiths' still hanging around."

"She's at the motel yelling at Marigold about her sluttish ways."  He smirked at him.  "She didn't want you to dismember her student."  He went back to watching the game show.  "Even I could answer that one."

Sam smiled.  "It's not that hard.  I don't know what their problem is.  They've got a degree."

Xander shrugged.  "Maybe they went to a school like Sunnydale.  It really sucked."  Someone pounded on the door so he got up and opened a window to look down at them.  "What?" he asked the petite blonde standing down there.  "They're at the motel, Buffy."

"I can't have a hug?"  He came down to give her a hug, earning a smile.  "I came to pick up Giles' new order since he said you forgot."

"I have not forgotten.  It went out the same day he ordered it.  He keeps forgetting where the portal lands and doesn't go look."  She walked in to call him.  He went back up to his apartment, sitting down again.  "Buffy's here."

"I heard someone."  He waved at the girl coming up the stairs.  "Hi, Sam.  Temporary renter off him."

"Marigold told me about the water buffalo hair."  He rolled his eyes and shook his head.  "But you're cute so I guess I can see why Xander would want to sleep with you."

Xander gave her an odd look.  "He's straight and so am I, Buffy."

"You need to be gay, Xander.  Really.  It'll be good for you."  She nodded quickly.  "You were right, he forgot to check."

"That's because the girls are driving him nuts.  Dean thinks it's either a porno waiting to happen or a cause of insanity at the house."

She snickered.  "Slayers aren't allowed to have sex, Sam.  It makes them lose focus and now and then we date stupider than Xander ever did."  She beamed.  "Can you send me back so I can put up signs?  Willow sent me this way."

"Sure.  Want Marigold and Faith too?"

"Please don't.  They drive us nuts."

"Marigold begged me for days," Sam agreed.  "I nearly spanked her but she would've liked it and Faith would've made popcorn."

She cackled.  "Exactly!  Which is why we don't want them there."  He got up and walked her down to the little sending spot and sent her back to Cleveland, via the dimension stuff she had to travel through first.  It didn't like her and tried to spit her out but that was fine.  She was only mildly mussed when she got back.  Then she put up a sign on the door and made one for the back of Giles' office door so he'd remember too.  Giles gave her a dirty look but oh well.


Xander looked at Sam the next day.  "I'm bored."

"I can see why.  No one's been here for a day."

"You get days like that when you run your own business."

Sam watched the city drive past and winced.  "Military jeep."

Xander looked.  "Not Riley's folks.  Interesting."  He looked at the marks over the door when the first one walked in.  Not hunters and the 'not friendly' mark barely lit.  "Yes, guys.  What can we help you with today?"  They were in BDU's and had rank insignia on.

"Sir, we need bullets for our guns," the lead one said.

"I need to see your Military ID, guys.  I'm forbidden from selling to military guys without it.  I don't want to mess with the brig this year."  They gave him a dirty look.  "Honest truth.  I can call the local base and make sure your CO said it's all right, but otherwise I'm not allowed to sell to the military guys unless it's an emergency.  That's the law."  He saw a cop car pull in and nodded at the officer.  "If you need them, Officer Bill, I got a few more vests in."  He nodded.  He looked at the guy again.  "I need Military ID, Corporal," he said.

"You know rank?"

"Yeah, I have," Xander agreed.  "I still can't sell to active duty personnel without a military ID, sir.  That's the rules.  I do play by them."

"Do you check everyone's?"

"Not once I know they're active duty.  I do remember people very well."  The officer came out with some bullets for his weapon.  "Only two today?"

"I've got range time this weekend," he admitted.  Xander wrote it up and took the money, ringing him up.  He looked at the military guy.  "If he sold to you without seeing your ID he could be shut down, soldier.  All you have to do is pull your ID and show it to him."

"I left it at home, sir."

"Got anything with the base's address on it?" Sam offered.  "Like your driver's license?  That would prove he was active duty, Xander.  If he lived on base he'd have to be."

Xander nodded.  "I guess I could accept that."  He looked at him.  "Do you?"  He stomped off.  Xander looked at the officer.  "Nice timing," he said once they were gone.  "They our local redneck militia?"

"Yup.  Gotta tell the boss about them."

Xander stopped him.  "Fair warning if they break in," he said calmly.

"I know, Harris."  He went to the station to tell his boss.  "Cap!  The militia boys were trying to pressure Harris into buying weapons and bullets."  His boss came out of the office.  "Harris said he can't sell to active duty personnel without military ID to make 'em leave.  He said it's fair warning if they break in."

"I've seen what he's got in there, it'll be a mess.  I'll tell the state boys since they're trying to watch them for the Feds."  He went to look them up and call them.  He went to see Harris later, finding him and the guest he had polishing guns.  "Nice ones, boys."

"Not this one," Sam admitted.  "But it'll do if you're going squirrel hunting."

"It's a good starter gun," Xander told him.  He looked at the captain.  "I take it you heard about my military ID or no bullets policy?"

"Yup, have.  The Feds are watching them."

"They break in here and they're toast," Xander pointed out.

"I know.  They try to come back in off-duty gear?"

"Not yet but Doc Murphy's girl came in to look at other weapons.  She had that 'not a good idea to sell to her' look so I told her how her current one was better and more subtle since I have a lot in the big, shiny, gang member with a bling fetish class.  Not really concealable."

"She didn't look?"

"She came in to talk."

"I'll check on her.  I know her sister.  You won't sell to them?"

"I don't sell to anyone I have doubts about.  Besides, active duty personnel don't have to buy bullets for their service weapons.  Only their off-duty ones."

"Two had lower class machine guns too," Sam told him.  "Not really great weapons but enough to rip someone apart."

The captain nodded.  "Know what they were?"  Sam got down one and handed it over.  "Damn."

Xander grinned.  "They're not bad but if I need that sort of help I still go for the tried and true, AK."

Sam nodded.  "Me too.  Easier to get on the sly if I have to."

The captain looked at him.  "What do you do?"

Sam grinned.  "I sell carpet."

"Uh-huh.  I know what he used to do."

"I do the same thing."

"Ah."  He nodded at that, handing the machine gun back.  "I'll pass that on.  Thanks, boys.  You staying around?" he asked Sam.

"We're taking R&R.  My brother's in Vegas trying to talk pros into giving it away for free."  The captain walked out laughing.  He looked at the amused Xander.  "He is."

"I know some who'd do it."  He shrugged and got back to work.

"Dean's good but he's not the world's best."

"Whereas I have a tongue that makes many girls moan my name," Xander quipped.

"That's nasty, Xander."

"Helped me keep up with Anya's demands."

 Sam cackled at that.  "You're worse than Dean."

Xander grinned.  "Can't be if he doesn't like oral sex."  Sam walked off snickering to get a drink.  Xander and his babies went back to communing until one of Riley's guys ran in to get something else to deal with the creature in the tomb.  "Sam, can you figure out what kills that thing for them?" he called.  Sam looked it up for him and told them, getting a nod and them calling Willow and taking some thermite with them.  He was nice enough to leave a check so it was good for business.  "What does?"

"Fire and then a spell to keep it from regenerating.  They'll call Willow and I gave him thermite."

"Thermite's pretty.  Thermite made me try in chemistry when I took it in high school.  Now that I know how to make it I'm a happy boy."

"Weapons geeks should either bow down to you or be very scared of you," Sam said, patting him on the head.

Xander grinned at him.  "Thanks, Sam.  Still undecided on the gay side though."

Sam snickered.  "I've only been there when I had to break the innocence thing, Xander. Don't worry about it."

"Then it'd be a really groping and figuring it out bed, huh?"  Sam snickered, going back to work.  "Faith would ask to climb in the middle."

"Faith's cute but I like mine a bit more subtle.  She introduced herself, groped me, and said I had balls, it was nice."

"That was subtle for Faith in a happy mood," Xander said seriously, looking at him.  Sam grinned, shaking his head.  "It was.  For Anya too."

"Is she back at work?"

"She died in the First Evil battle," Xander said quietly.  Sam reached over to squeeze his shoulder.  "Thanks, Sam."

"We all lose them, Xander.  It's what makes us fight harder," he offered.  Xander nodded at that.  "Want to go out tonight?"

"Sure.  As long as it's not the biker bar."  He looked out when the bell rang.  "I'm in here if you need anything, Officer Marge."

"My sister wanted what?"

"To talk about a second gun that was easily concealed.  She didn't look like a happy camper either and she wasn't really particular about size, weight, or durability."  He looked at her.  "The look in her eyes said she was pissed as hell and I didn't think it'd be a good idea to sell her one right then.  I can't pull off the three day Brady period since she's already got one."

"You have good instincts, kid."

"Comes from where I grew up," he said dryly.  She nodded wisely at that.  "I'm from near LA."

"Ah.  No wonder."  She looked around.  "You're well stocked for armageddon."

"No, those usually take artillery," he said dryly, earning a dirty look.  "They do."

"I'll take your word for it, Harris. You give us a discount on bullets?"

"Not unless it's in the middle of a riot then I'll bill the department."

She smirked.  "How cheap?"

He looked at her gun.  "Yours are eight a box."

"That's not a bad price."  She went to look.  She came out with a box and he put them back and got the right size.  "Those were...."

"Blessed by a priest," he told her, giving her a look.  "I don't think you need that sort of help."

"No, if I have pull on duty I need a priest after, not before," she agreed.  "Why blessed?"

"Some people prefer them when hunting.  Like praying over it while they field dress it."

"Oh.  Interesting."  She paid and let him hand her the invoice.  "Thanks, Harris."

"Welcome.  I hope she's okay."

"So do I.  I'll talk with her."

"If she still wants one I've got a beautiful little matte black number that'd be good for her hand and skill level."

"I'll let her know if she's calmed down any."  She went up to the doctor's office to take her sister to lunch and see what was going on.  Yup, her sister was seething.  It was a good idea not to give her another weapon.  Her one for work would get her in more trouble if she had to use it. "Lunch?" she offered.

"He told you?"

"No.  I went in to buy some bullets and he said he'd seen you earlier but you weren't looking happy.  Since I can tell that you're very unhappy, want to talk?"

"Not really."

"Which one?"


"Want me to talk to him?"

She wrote something out then signed it and handed it over.  "You'll be getting official reports later on."

She looked at it then nodded.  "Bring it to me and I'll gladly beat him before he's cuffed."  That got a nod.  "Might wanna warn Doc Murphy.  The militia boys were trying to pressure Harris to sell to them earlier.  Cap said he wouldn't.  Said the boy told him fair warning if they break in."

She just nodded.  "I'll let the doc know.  Thanks."

"Next time call me before you go buy a toss-away gun."  She gave her look then walked out.  "Come over for dinner tonight and cook something."

"Fine since I know you can't," she called after her.  She went to talk to the doctor.  "Doctor?"  She looked over from her patient.  "Mr. Harris had to warn the officers that the militia boys tried to pressure him to sell to them.  He said fair warning if they break in."

"Make sure we're equipped for light injuries," she ordered.  That got a nod and she went to do that while she got back to her patient.  "I'm going to hate to see the outcome of that."

"Harris is a sweet boy," she protested.

"Who can use every single weapon in that store," she assured her.  "From the swords on up."  She sighed and nodded.  "It'll be a mess."

"Well, at least you can bill the city for the patching up while they're in jail."

Doctor Murphy smiled and nodded. "That I can."  She finished her exam.  "Blood pressure's still too high, Gladys."

"That boy makes my pulse thump," she teased.

"Uh-huh.  He does it to all of us.  I caught him suntanning last week shirtless behind the store."  They shared a look and laughed.  "You still need to cut back on the pretzels."


Sam drove them back to the store, smiling at the lank, content looking boy beside him.  Xander had gotten a bit happy with a few of the local girls.  He wasn't drunk; he was mellow.  Of course when they got there they found lights in the windows.  They got out and Xander turned off the alarm with the remote before going in the back door.  He tossed Sam a crossbow and came out with a shotgun, firing at the people in there.  The six guys in camo went down and the two outside ran for the truck until Sam got them.  Then Xander got the truck's tires.  "Do the upstairs, Xander."  He went to do that while Sam checked the basement then the back rooms.  He went to get the artillery off the truck and bring it in as the cops came in.  "Hi, guys."

Xander came out to get the other two and put them back then the rest of the stuff.  "I don't like looters any more now than I did during the LA riots," he quipped.  He finished putting things back and looked at one of them, nudging him with a toe.  "I was in a good mood until I got home," he told him.  He just moaned.  "Make them quit bleeding on my floor please?"

The cops all stared at him.  "Sir, who're you?"

"The owner of store," Xander said dryly.  He put his gun on the counter.  "Sam had a crossbow."  Sam put his down next to him.  "That's what got them and the tires.  Get them off my floor before I finish them off, Officer."  She nodded and went to call for reinforcements.  He looked at Sam.  "We should go spread this message to the rest of the group."

"That's evil," Sam said.  "I should know."

Xander grinned. "You say some of the sweetest things.  Cake?"

"Cake?" he mouthed.  Xander nodded at a section of the store and his eyes went wide.  "No casualties?"

"Sure.  If we can manage it."  The captain stomped in.  "I'm not stitching this one," he told the guy he had done that for when he followed.

"Good!  Doc Murphy would throw another fit."  He bagged both weapons and took them to the car.  Then the ambulances came to take them to the jail's infirmary.  "You two okay?"

"I saw worse than this in Cleveland," Xander snorted.   "Even if it was the first time my friends had ever seen a real gang member, we saw worse in Cleveland."

He nodded at that.  "Good to know."  He looked around then at him. "The Feds want them, Harris.  Nothing funny."

"I was only going to point out that doing this was stupid to their main camp," he said with an innocent, good boy grin.  "I promise I'll try very hard not to hurt anyone else."

"No.  Don't even," he warned.  "Feds are staking out their compound after earlier.  We'd hate to see you arrested."

Xander pouted. "Fine.  Take my fun."

"Thank you."  They got the last guy.  "The truck too?"

"Yup," Sam called.  "We put everything back that we found."

"Good.  That's fine. Less things we have to take into evidence and destroy.  Make us a list."

"Want the stuff I'm storing or not?" Xander asked.  He looked in the register.  "They have about six hundred bucks of mine too and a military check."

"I'll find it and bring it back," he promised.  "No, keep the artillery off the list."  Xander nodded at that, settling in to make a list of what they had carried back in.  He took it and walked off with a nod to them.  The captain was already in there with Feds yelling at them.  He nudged him and handed over the list.  "Harris won't go blow up their compound.  Winchester will keep him in check.  Want them to have the gun and crossbow back once we're done?"

"They probably should be destroyed," the captain admitted.  "We'll see what protocol said.  After all it was self defense.  Of all of us with what they were grabbing."

The agent took the list, looking at the name at the top of the paper.  "Harris?"  He looked at them.  "Xander Harris?"  They smiled and nodded.  "This is where he retired to?"

"Yeah.  A few of us have looked up his past.  He's a nice guy who runs a good gear shop," the lesser officer said.  "He also stapled my side when I got shot out hunting one day."  The doctor glared at him for that.  "He apparently knew Xander before, Doc.  They good?"

"A few need surgery.  I've sent them on with an officer. The other boy was mean with that crossbow.  I had to send one I couldn't remove the bolt for too.  It was in his femoral."  She got back to work patching them up.  "Fortunately he chose a weak weapon.  If he had gotten a better gun we'd still be picking up parts."

"With Harris I'm shocked," the agent sneered.  "What is he doing?"

"Running a store for hunters."

The agent sighed.  "Wonderful.  Why?"

"He's retired from Cleveland," the doctor told him.  "My secretary buys her bullets from him."

"He gives us a good price," one of them said.  "Cheaper than Wal-Mart does."  That got a few nods. "Plus he helps those who hunt for the table.  Charges extra to the trophy kids out for shits and giggles."

The agent seethed then looked at the captain. "He's dangerous."

"Not to us or the town," the captain told him simply.

"Homeland thinks he is."

"Homeland doesn't deal with us this far in-country," Doctor Murphy said dryly.  "He's not dangerous to normal folk.  Only to the stupid ones who do bad or strange things."  She finished up with her current one then moved to the last one.  "Hell, these ones got warned earlier he wasn't selling to their sort."

"He did," the captain agreed.  "He let us know when one of my boys spotted them and went to see what they wanted.  Told us what they were carrying, told them they had to have an active duty military ID to get stuff.  Told them he couldn't sell without it."

That got another growl.  "I want to talk to him."

"His store's where we got these idiots," the lesser officer said.  "Up the street about a mile."  He pointed the direction.  "Surrounded by empty lots."

He stomped that way, driving a bit aggressively on the way over.  He stomped inside the store.  "Harris," he snarled.

"Oh, look, it's Captain Thong's-Too-Tight."  Sam gave him an odd look then walked off shaking his head.  "Are you sure I can't go prove a point by blowing up their armory?"

"Quite.  Why are you here?"

"I retired.  This is my retirement villa by the sea."  He waved a hand around.  "We're mopping up the blood, want to help?"

"No!  I want you in jail for the artillery you pull out of your ass."

Xander shrugged.  "It seems to go to a military unit most of the time, Agent Annoying."  He leaned on his mop, giving him a look.  "You can call Captain Finn if you want.  He can verify that I don't sell artillery to anyone who doesn't have clearance and reason to have it."

"You're under watch," he snarled.

"I know but Willow's going to quit scrying in a while and go to bed."  He stomped off red in the face.  Xander waved.  "Have a better night.  Are you sure I can't blow up their armory for you?" he called before the guy could pull out.  "Idiot."  He called Giles but found Willow already dealing with it.  He hung up and went back to mopping.  Sam was still laughing and talking to Dean upstairs.  It was good to make his friends happy.  He looked up from his mopping when the captain came in.  "Need another statement?  We were coming in from the country bar when we saw the lights on."

"No.  I knew where you were.  One of my boys verified you were there when he heard what happened."

"I saw Vince at the door."

"Gotta make holiday money somehow," the captain said.  "We should confiscate and destroy those two weapons, Harris."

"That's why I use them for break-ins.  They're not great and I won't cry if they get destroyed."  He looked up from his mopping, giving him a look.  "I'm mostly a practical man."

"Why does that Fed hate you?"

"Saved him in a bar one night."

"Gay bar?"

"No, demon bar.  He walked into the wrong place in a bad mood.  Me and a friend were getting information.  We stopped them from jumping in and eating him.  He hates us for it.  Made him feel less than manly.  So he tried to arrest us.  Had to let us go.  Homeland stepped in to make them let us go.  Homeland hates us but they only watch us because if I have to buy something huge there's an issue that would make them hide under their beds.  Besides, I don't tend to use the gun dealers that they watch."

"Fine.  He'll try something."

"His boss said if he tried something again he's going to Alaska."

The captain smiled.  "Good to know.  I'll make sure he remembers that."  He left him alone, going back to the office. "We're keeping the guns.  He said he used those because they could be destroyed and he wouldn't cry."  Xander walked in and looked at the crossbow, sighing.  "Favorite one?"

"Yeah, I didn't realize I had been restringing it on my desk and handed it to Sam.  Then again, it won't burn."  He smiled.  "It's a specific metal that'll withstand thermite."

He looked at it.  "Can it be made into body armor?"

"Yeah.  But it's very heavy to wear.  I have one somewhere I did as a trial."  He shrugged.  "Can I?"  He waved and the boy took the crossbow back, handing over another one.  "I didn't need a replacement."

"Someone'll ask."  He walked out petting his baby.  Poor thing.  Nearly got burned, not that it'd hurt it but someone nearly tried.

The captain watched the agent sneer from his seat.  "He said your boss likes him?"

The agent's face turned purple. "He left."  He called his boss.  "Sir, I found Harris.  He shot eight people breaking into the weapons supply store he's running."  The orders he got made him less than happy.  "But...."  He growled.  "Fine.  Yes, sir."  He hung up.  He went to get some air.  The captain handed him a fax a few minutes later.  It was transfer papers to Nome, Alaska.  He would get that brat!


Sam sat down beside Xander on his couch later that night.  "You good?"

"I'm fine."  He looked at him.  "I don't have a problem with self defense.   I didn't kill them.  Just make them really miserable for a very long time.  Hopefully the others will learn before I have to finish making them miserable."

"The Feds should be able to finish gathering them for this."  That got a nod and Xander relaxed again.  "Want to go back out?"

"Bar closes in an hour.  Not worth it really."

"I've got two beers in my fridge."

Xander shrugged. "I'm good, Sam.  Stressed but I'm good.  Post combat stress mostly.  I'll be noisy later and it'll be fine."

"That's how Dean does it too."  Xander shifted some.  "Cuddle, Xander.  I don't mind."

"Wound up too?"

"Yup," Sam admitted.  "That's why I wanted to go back to the bar."

Xander looked at him.  "They wouldn't go for it, Sam.  They're a bunch of good girls around here."  That got a sigh and a nod.  "Unless you wanted the half-succuba or the other few demons?"

"No thanks.  You?"

"Tried a succuba once.  I came out really tired but she said she got dizzy from feeding on me."  He shrugged and kissed Sam, making him hum and try to take control.  It was hot and sweet.  Xander clearly knew what he was doing.  He pulled back and moved to the important part, shifting into Sam's lap to get him undressed.  "Top?"

"Bottom," Sam admitted.

"I don't care either way, Sam.  I'm not opening on time tomorrow."

Sam grinned and kissed him again.  It was good.  Very hot.  Xander's fingers were warm against his chest and stomach.  He finally got them standing and gave Xander a shove toward the bedroom.  "Flat, wider surface for this part."  Xander smirked and led the way, stripping as he went.  Sam had a *very* good view of what he was getting. It was definitely worth it.  He stripped down and Xander hauled him down onto the bed to move down him, exploring him. Tasting him got a moan and Sam arching into his mouth.

Xander was sure of what he was doing and he was going to make it good.  Because stress
relief wasn't good unless it was *good*.  He finally got to Sam's cock and tasted it, making him moan and grab the bed while he teased him.  "Sure you want bottom?"

"I don't care, just do more," Sam whined.

Xander smiled and did what he needed to.  Sam's preparation wasn't that fast but he wasn't taking a lot of time either.  When he finally slid in Sam was all moans and shrieking in pleasure.  He kept shrieking and moaning, arching up into him, hands grabbing at his arms.  Xander leaned down to nibble on his throat a bit, making Sam gulp air before he came.  Xander continued on, making sure Sam was good and limp.  It had been clear to him that Sam wasn't an end game, whatever it takes fighter like he was.  But it worked for him.  He finally came and laid down with a thump.  Sam gently pulled himself away and wrapped Xander in his arms.  "Sleep, Sam."

"You too," he said in a hoarse whisper.  Xander nodded against his shoulder and they fell asleep that way.  It was good for them to have someone there tonight.


Dean made it back to the shop the next afternoon, finding the store clean again.  Nearly spotless.  Xander looked tired.  Sam looked tired.  "Long night with the cops?"

"No, they knew it was self-defense," Sam told him.  "They like Xander."  That got a nod.  "You done?"

"I am but we've got another job, Sammy.  You ready to head?"

Xander grinned at Sam.  "Good thing you did laundry today."

"Really is.  Give me an hour to finish laundry, Dean."

"Sure, I can do that."  He leaned on the counter, watching Sam head down to the basement.  "So I take it you made him relax finally?"

"He found some soul's ease," he admitted.  "Not with Marigold."

"That's even better.  She'd get clingy."

"They wanted to know if you'd give them a ride back to Cleveland.  One of the younger ones is getting hitched."

"That's three really long days of driving in the car," Dean complained.

"As opposed to three days of Faith on Greyhound," Xander told him.  "With bouncy little Marigold."  He shuddered at the thought.  "Exactly.  They wanted to beg nicely and maybe even pay half the gas and hotel costs."

"They'd be getting their own room," Dean assured him.  Xander snickered. "And all their own food too."

"They're at the motel and I told them it was unlikely we were heading back that way."

"We're heading to South Carolina," Dean told him.  Sam grimaced but nodded.  "Special call from another hunter.  He fell to a ghoul.  We've got to take it out for his family and now him.  No one we know," he said at Sam's opening mouth.  "They got me through Ellen at the Roadhouse."

Sam nodded.  "Tell them that.  They should be bounding in here any minute now."  Dean nodded, letting Sam go upstairs to fold laundry.  He came down to get the other load and clean up the mess he had made.  When he came down with his bag Xander pinched him on the arm, getting a grin back.  "Sometime soon we'll be back for more gear."

"Of course you will.  I have a lot of stock at very good prices.  Besides, who else would put up with you two arguing?"

"Good point," Dean agreed. "Sammy can be annoying."  He nodded at the car.  Sam headed that way.  "He make a mess?"

"Nah.  It's all good, Dean.  Even paid for the room."  Dean smirked and left.  "See you guys soon.  Remember the October special in the first week of the month."  That got a nod and a hand wave back.  They took off and he sighed.  "I guess I'll send them through the portal."  Faith and Marigold bounced in with their bags.  "They were heading to South Carolina, girls.  You're more than welcome to hit the portal Willow set up.  There's a small order going back anyway."  They nodded and took it with them.  The portal didn't really like that but they made it in one piece, just very mussed.  Xander got back to his current book.   It was only stress relief.  He wouldn't let himself get attached as more than friends.


Dean stormed into the store a few weeks later, seething and glaring at Xander.  "What happened to Sammy when he was here?"

"Nothing much.  We had to defend the store one night.  Why?  He having nightmares?"

"No, he's been strange and giddy and crap."

Xander grinned.  "He'll be fine, Dean.  We can check him to see if he was drugged."  Dean stopped to stare at him.  "You two ran into an incubus from what I heard?"  Dean let out a long breath then nodded.  "Him or you, Dean?"

"Him," he muttered.  He turned and hit the wall.  "You think?"

"If it marked him and is coming back, it can come back via dreams."  Dean groaned, going out to get Sam from the car.  He looked him over.  "Work room."  He pointed and Dean drug Sam that way.  "Set up the standard protection and let him nap.  If he resists it's all we can hope for until he's had some real sleep.  Because he's exhausted."

Dean nodded, going to set up the protections that he knew.  Xander walked in with a book for him and he did those figures in the salt.  Sam snored on and it's all good to him.  He came out to find Xander selling a new bow to the boy who had bought the cheap one - which his mother had accidentally run over.  This time he went for the really good one and it was better.  He could pull it now and hit a target.  He was even nice enough to throw in a new box of arrows for it and the boy bounced home happy.  Dean looked at him. "How did you hear?"

"The succuba who travels with him as a hunting team came to gloat.  I banished her after getting a blow."

"They hate you don't they?" he said dryly.

Xander nodded and beamed.  "Yup."

"What else happened?"

"A night out for stress relief."

Dean gave him a long stare.  "Sammy's not the sort to hit it in the clubs, Xander."

"Ask him, Dean, not me."

"Uh-huh.  A general service?"

Xander gave him a long look back.  "The night we had to defend the store he had a crossbow, I had a shotgun, and there were ten or so people in here."  Dean shuddered.  "Militia guys I refused to sell to earlier that day.  They weren't happy when the local doc had to patch them up in the jail infirmary and three had to hit the hospital an hour away.  Sam got one in the femoral and the bolt was the only thing stopping him from bleeding to death.  I sent the other two with gut shots.  It was stress relief and we're friends.  Anything else you want to know, ask him."

"I'll do that later.  I don't care if he's bending over and taking it," he assured him.  "If he did it might keep some of the demons from coming for him."

Xander snorted and shook his head.  "No, like me, demon magnets are born, not made."

"Wonderful.  Can we wear it out?"

"I always thought mine was the medium skills I have without working shields and a hellmouth taint," he offered.

"Sam's got some skills, he's a seer," Dean admitted.

"That could be.  Seers are pretty rare and very wanted.  Even if they only get certain types some of the higher demons keep them around as protection against people coming for them."

"So if they know that's why?"

"That and he's a hunter so therefore a challenge.  It'd be like us going after someone who's a big name on the other side for them to come after us."

Dean nodded.  "I forgot about that part.  Thanks, Xander."

"Not a problem.  I was bored anyway," he quipped dryly, giving him a look. "Make sure he eats tonight too."

"Let me get some groceries from the store.  No beer, right?"

"No, no beer.  Hydrate him, make him eat.  Treat him like he's had a magical flu."  Dean nodded, heading to do a quick run to the store while Xander checked on Sam.  He finished a spot that Sam had kicked open and watched him moan.  He walked in and sat next to him, stroking over his hair.  "You have to send him off, Sam," he said in his ear.  "If you keep him, you'll never wake up.  You'll be sleeping beauty and then what will Dean say?"  Sam moaned and pushed at his voice.  "C'mon.  You know you don't want the demon whore tag applied to you.  You can do *so* much better.  Besides, if he turns you into one of him then the slayers will all pounce you.  You don't want that.  They bruise you when they pounce.  Then they make you go lingerie shopping."

Sam pushed at him again and tried to stretch out.  "No, leave the protections alone, Sam."  He got up to finish it again and then drew a second set a few feet back from the first.  It overlapped the diagrams but that happened sometimes.  Sam whimpered.  "I know, but make him go away, Sam, or else no playing with anyone else.  Incubuses are pitiful creatures who suck and blow but can't do anything else.  You're so much better than that."  He finished the main containment circle and went back to helping Sam push him out.  "C'mon, you can do it, Sam.  The weak little sex demon is no match for how good you are in bed and he can only dream of having a Winchester's rep in the bedroom."  Sam went limp and panted, blinking at him.  "You send him off?"

"I repudiated him," he panted.  Xander smiled and petted his hair.  "Dean?"

"Getting you some food and juice.  If he comes back you need to send him off again."

"I can do that."  He sat up, curling up around his stomach.  "What day is it?"

"Tuesday of this week."  He let him see his watch, getting a small moan.  Dean came in and tossed over a juice box.  "That'll work."  He made Sam drink it.  "There, now drink and let's get on with the healing stuff.  Too much fun with the sex demon is bad for you, Sam.  Makes you want to do bad things to others."

Sam nodded.  "I know.  Thanks, Xander.  Thanks, Dean."

"Welcome, dumbass.  Where did he pick you up?"

"St. Lawrence.  I think."

Dean rolled his eyes and came in to help Sam drink his juice and then the soup he'd be warming up in a few minutes.  "Xander, can we stay...."

"Thirty a week, no drunken parties, no women of questionable virtue, and no getting the cops called from the loud sex."  He stood up and left them alone to handle it.

Dean grinned.  "Did you get the cops called on you two?"  Sam gave him a horrified look. "I don't care what you do for stress relief, Sammy.  I don't care if it's a football team as long as you're careful and not getting hurt.  Am I clear?"  Sam nodded at that.  "Good.  Friends with benefits are nice.  I've had a few and they're great after the worst hunts."  He handed him a second juice box.  "Drink."  He gulped it too.  Dean helped him up and took him upstairs to make him some soup and toast.  He came down to help Xander when he heard him yelp in pain.  "You okay?"

"It bit me," he said, kicking a box.  Dean smirked, helping him pick it up and put it into the back.  "Thanks."

"Least I can do."  He paid for the room and went back up to baby Sam some more.  "We've got to find a way for them to leave you alone for being a seer and a hunter, Sammy.  You shouldn't get more ass than I do."

Sam gave him a dirty look.  "Next incubus is yours, Dean."  He ate a bite of toast.

"Would be the second one," he admitted.  "Dad threw a fit."

"Dad knew?"

"Yeah.  Dad caught him taking me out of a club one night.  Dad threw a fit after banishing him and I nearly got the hell beaten out of me for it but he decided I'd be better off having guys because there'd be no little Winchesters any decade soon.  I shot back and stomped off, going to pick up a set of twins.  Dad growled for days."

"Was that the time in St. Paul?"  Dean nodded.  "I wondered what crawled up his ass."

"Me picking up enough sex to have charged for it.  If I had we would've had more than enough motel money for the next year."  Sam snickered at that.  "Honestly.  That whole job I was one horny little bastard and every time Dad called to find me I was with someone.  Only disappointed two.  One of those was because Dad made us leave really fast after that minister's daughter got busted for me breaking her in and he tried to come after us with a shotgun and his collar."

Sam snickered.  "Dad must've been insane with anger."

"You have no idea.  I heard about that until the year he died, Sam.  Every time I talked to the man I heard about it for the next two years and then it went back to whenever he was yelling about something or really drunk.  The one time I got drunk with him I looked at him and told him at least I wasn't doing the fifth fleet.  He nearly cried at that and wandered off to get some tequila.  I'm very proud of myself."

Sam coughed he was laughing so hard.  "I wanted film of that conversation."

"Willow or Dawn could scry that," Xander called.  "Tequila evil."

"Yes it is," Dean quipped.

Sam nodded.  "It is.  Thanks, Dean."

"I don't care if you bend him over, Sammy."  His brother blushed. "Or that.  Was it good?"

"Louder than you were with Faith," he admitted.

"Then it was good and necessary.  Not an issue with me.  You need more anyway, Sammy."  He made him some more soup and then went to look at Xander's current stash of books for fun reading.  "Xander, have you read this space ship one?"

"Not yet.  That's part of a series.  Part one's back at the library.  I've got part two and that's part three."

"I can go look it up," he decided, taking Xander's library card to go find it.  He needed something light and funny to read.  "Thanks."  He walked out and left them alone in the store.

Xander looked up the stairs.  "Sam, you need anything?"

"I'm good, Xander."

"Good.  Remember to do the protections tonight or whenever you're ready to nap."

"I can do that."  He came down and got some chalk, getting a nod of approval.  The book got handed to him and he went to draw them around the couch and bed.  That way no matter where he slept it'd be fine.  He put down the chalk and decided to nap on the couch for a bit.  He was safe here.  Xander and Dean would protect him from some kinky, leathery winged, biting, freakish demon with a hard-on.

Xander nodded when Dean came in.  "He drew the protections with chalk."

"Good."  He handed back the library card and a book.  "They said you had that on reserve."  He went back up there to check on his brother then sit down to read.  He shut the door so the snoring wouldn't bother anyone but that was normal for Sammy.  He was a lawnmower when he didn't feel good.

Xander settled in to read his book, smiling at the nice guys upstairs.   They were a good distraction.  He was really bored!  There was nothing exciting in town.  He called Bobby since he was only a few hours away.  "It's Xander.  The boys are back this way.  Resting upstairs.  Sure.  We're always here," he said dryly.  "You did?  When did I get it?"  He looked through the shipped orders file.  "I sent it Fed Ex yesterday.  I sent about twelve of them out yesterday, late.  Should get to you today or early tomorrow.  Sure, I'm here.  I'm always here, Bobby.  Bring them something to do.  Or hell, me something to do?"  He grinned.  "Thanks, man."  He hung up and leaned toward the stairs.  "Bobby said he'd pop up tomorrow or the next day, guys."

"Thanks," Dean called back.

Xander went back to reading.  It was the only fun he got anymore.  Riley's guy ran in and he looked at him when he put the usual check down.  "What did you do this time?"

"Tomb," he panted.  "Huge demon, tomb."

"Describe it?"  He pulled out a picture and Xander looked then at him.  "You guys get into the worst shit."  He got him two cases and handed them over.  "Front and back, center mass.  Then burn the sucker.  It's a really huge zombie."  That got a nod and he left.   Xander wrote out the invoice and put the check on it then put it in the register.  Dean came down the stairs so he showed him the picture.  Dean snickered.  "Really huge zombie they woke up in a tomb."

"Yeah, that's wonderful," Dean agreed.  "The military guys who work for the UN?"

"The remains of the Initiative."  Dean growled at that, low and deep from his throat.  "Exactly.  Riley Finn is Buffy's ex.  Another very good reason he pays at least ten percent up front.  Speaking of, I've got to get onto my contacts.  I'm running out of stuff to charge them for."  Dean snickered as he walked off.  "Either that or I have to pull stuff up from under the practice area's floor."

Dean came back.  "You have more stored?"

"Of some things."  He grinned.  "I looted what remained in the demon passages in Sunnydale after we left.  Then I looted some of the stupid fucks in LA for theirs too."  Dean snickered at that.  "After we close for the night I'll go down and haul up more stuff.  Most of it's huge but with Riley's luck...."  The guy ran back in, still panting.  "Didn't work?"

"Did."  He gave him a hug.  "He was trying to molest Captain Finn on his altar.  He said thank you."

"Welcome.  Tell him Buffy slept with Angel and Spike; now he has a good story for the bars."  The guy snickered and left again.  Xander looked at Dean, who had fallen down to snicker on the stairs.  "Yup."

"Damn," he said, shaking his head.  "Well, could be worse I guess.  Could be Sammy."

"Could be me too.  That's why I'm being bored to death here."

"So travel."

"I'd need to hire someone.  Not like I have anyone I trust."  He looked at him.  "The next time you get really hurt I'll travel and you can come run the shop for me."

"Sure, the next time I need to heal that way."  He went back upstairs, going to check on Sammy.  He wanted to see what else the kid had under the store.

Later on his gasp of pleasure and near coming in his pants from the artillery only got an understanding smile from the owner.  And Xander placing an order with Caleb, who was still swearing at him but he didn't want to deal with the military so it was good for everyone's business.  Another supplier got him what he needed too and it was even better.  Then he had the priest come in to bless bullets and it was perfect again.  Then they could be bored together.


Xander looked up as Bobby came in, walking around to give him a hug.  "We're so bored we're going to start raising zombies so we have something to kill."

"You do and you're in deep, boy," Bobby said, peeling him off.  "The other two?"

"Dean's nagging Sam to eat."

"Figures.  What happened?"

"Let them tell you.  I do not nark."

Bobby chuckled as he walked up the stairs, tapping on the apartment door.  "Boys?"  Dean opened the door.  "What happened?"


"The band?"

"No," Sam said, shaking his head. "But I do like some of their stuff."  He gave him a look.  "Dream walking incubus no less."

"You better?"

"I repudiated him and we're keeping the protections going at the moment.  Just in case."  He took his grilled cheese and started to eat.  "Sorry but he's nagging again."

"Someone has to. You lost ten pounds giggling at the stupid thing while you slept."  He looked at Bobby.  "Want Sam for a bit?"

"Not really."

"Then can I come work at the salvage yard?"

Bobby laughed.  "We'll see, Dean.  Xander looked pretty bored too."

Someone down there yelped then a second time.

"You good?" Dean called.

"Fucking vampire mice," he yelled, then brought the sucker up there.  "Dru's local.  Only she could ever turn a mouse."   He handed it to Sam then went back to killing the rest of them.

They looked at the mouse.  Sure enough, it had fangs and red eyes, plus a little demonic forehead ridge.  Sam threw it out the window since it was the daytime, watching it explode in the sunlight.  "UV beam?" Sam suggested.  Dean went to help Xander.  He looked at Bobby.  "Any idea where the vampire is?"

"Not a clue.  Should probably find out."  Sam nodded at that.  "You good enough to hunt?"

"I'm fine.  I'm not tired.  Dean said it was like having a magical flu.  He's still driving me insane by fussing over making me eat.  I'm going to beat him soon, Bobby.  Please let one of us work at the salvage yard?"

"Fine, Sammy.  You can come work with me.  He can help Harris since he's got all the weapons."

"Sure.  Thanks."  He gave him a hug.

"Didn't need one from you either," he complained, peeling him off his chest.  "Behave."

"Yes, Bobby."  He went to pack and head off with him.

Dean watched them go, shaking his head.  "I'm going insane."

"Not quite a Queen song?" Xander teased.  "You guys are the most fun I've had in *weeks*," he assured him at his snort of displeasure at the joke.  "I've had guys trying to buy stuff for some illegal trophy hunting.  I've had hot and cold running cops.  I'm going to kill someone.  So wanna run the store today?  They opened a new whorehouse in the next town."

Thunder went off outside.  "No women, Xander!" a female voice said firmly.  "I will not allow it.  You don't need to make them stalk you too."

Xander looked up.  "Yes, Oh Great One, but if I don't get laid soon I'm going to come spread my insanity to all the junior slayers."

Dean started to laugh at that.  "I'm not sure they can get worse."

Xander gave him an insane grin.  "Yes they can.  I've done it before.  They sent me to Africa for it."

"Poop," the female voice said.  "Fine, one woman but if she stalks you you're on your own, Mister."

"Of course.  You're in Ohio and I'm in South Dakota," he said dryly.  "Go away and quit scrying.  Before one of us strips down."  She squeaked and ended the spell.  He looked at Dean.  "Go trolling with me later and then we'll do Dru?"

"As long as we don't *do* the vampire...."

Xander waved a hand.  "Not my style.  That's a Buffy thing.  I'm not into the dead."

"Good.  We can do that.  Anyone decent?"

"No clue," Xander admitted.  "It only opened last month."  That got a smirk and they got to work killing the rest of the vampire mouse invasion.  Around closing a cop came in so he leaned out.  "We're cleaning up a mouse infestation.  What's up, Cap?"

"How do you kill those stupid mice that bite?" he snarled.  "We have one that tried to suck someone's blood out in a cell."

Dean gave him a look.  "Decapitation, sunlight, or a stake to the heart."

"A pointy mallet to the chest works just as well at their size," Xander admitted, handing over one and the spare light gun.  "Does UV spectrum light.  They also have a much better sense of smell so bait a trap."

He groaned.  "How did they get here, boy?"

Xander shrugged. "Have you seen some woman wearing ancient style clothes, talking and singing to the stars and her dolls, with brown hair?  Really pale?"

He slowly nodded.  "Yeah, Paul's cousin from England."

"That's Druscilla.  She's a vampire, an older one, and she's slightly insane.  This was her idea of a calling card and fun.  She turned one and they turned the others.  Rat poison will slow them down but it won't kill them.  They'll go whoosh in the sun like she will."

"Let us know when you find her so we can stake her," Dean offered.

"Sure," he agreed, taking the light gun with him.  They knew where the nest was.  He got down there to shine the heavy light into the hole, watching them squeal and burn.  A few tried to rush him but the pointy mallet worked very well.  He stood up and handed off the light gun.  "Get the rest of the mice with that.  Then hand it off."  That Druscilla was one sick puppy.  He'd hunt her down himself if he had to.


Xander watched as Dawn summoned the rest of the infestation to take to Cleveland with her.  "I didn't believe you," she admitted.  "Dru really turned mice.  This is going in the books as the coolest stunt ever!"  She caged the last few and stood up, taking a hug from both of them, even if she did have to force Dean to give her one, before taking them with her.

Xander handed Dean a cage.  "I saved one from the babble patrol.  For Bobby."  Dean smirked and took it to his car to drive over there.  Xander went to get a drink and reopen the shop from lunch.  Dru had escaped but the rest of the slayers were on the watch for her.  It seems Angel hadn't gotten her this time as he thought he had.


Dean walked up to Bobby in the salvage yard, nodding at him.  "We have a case that's solved but we thought you'd like to examine it."

"That strange?" Sam asked, coming over to look at the little covered cage.  "What is it?"  He peeked.  "It's a mouse.  One of the ones from the store?"

"This was her idea of a prank."  He handed it over with an evil smirk for his brother. "Two bit Xander.  One tried to drain a guy in the holding cells in the jail.  They did manage to kill one person.  Xander implanted wood just in case the demon turned them."  He walked off whistling a Slayer tune while they looked at the little mouse.

Bobby exposed the cage a bit more fully, watching as it smoked and squealed.  He recovered it.  "Into the house, Sammy.  We'll look at it after dinner."

"Sure.  I still can't believe she turned a mouse!"  He carried it inside, putting it under the devil's trap and in the shade.  He came back out.  "Some people are just cranked."

Bobby nodded.  "Extremely. With a bent shaft."  That got a laugh from Sam, who punched him on the arm and went back to tinkering.  "I wonder how old she is."

"I don't know," Sam admitted.  "Never heard of her."  He wiped off his hands so he could look her up online.  What he found made him laugh and bring the laptop out to Bobby.  "That's her."

He looked then snickered at the warning on the top of the page in big, bold letters saying 'she's insane and capable of anything'.  What they read made them laugh too.  That poor Angelus.  Sam went to plug back into the phone lines so he could add something to the comments section about this incident.  Vampire mice were a first as far as he knew.

Bobby went back to tinkering.  Sometimes that boy brought things that were too strange to the quiet of South Dakota.


Xander came down the stairs that night, dressed to go out.  "Heading to the bar," he called.

"You sure you wanna do that?" a voice said from behind him.  He turned to find one of the local militia guys standing in the doorway.

"You know, I could've sworn I locked that and turned on the alarm.  Hmm.  That makes you breaking *and* entering.  I'm not really impressed with your skills.  Get out."

"You had my boys taken."

"You're damn lucky the Feds kept me from blowing up your compound," he shot back, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I wouldn't reach for a weapon, boy.  I've already got mine in hand," he said with a slightly lese than sane smirk.  He showed him the knife.  "It's helped me go through a lot of heretics to the cause."

Xander snorted.  "I'm not part of your cause, man.  I could care less about your cause.  Really.  How fucking boring are you?"  The man lunged and Xander side stepped the attack, beating him back.   He was doing good until someone came up behind him.  Then they tried to club him on the head.  Funny thing about going head-first into gravestones, it did toughen the sucker up so he turned and punched him then grabbed his bat and went after the other guy.  He was even nice enough to hit the alarm switch, which woke Dean up.  "Dean, cops, now," he called when he heard him on the stairs.

"He's a freak and he has freakish books!" someone yelled.

"After you get him out of the manuals please."

"He's in the sci-fi stuff from the library," Dean called a minute later.

"You get me charged for those and you're going to be paying with pounds of organs."  He kicked the guy through the shop's door, making him scream as the glass cut him.  "Yay you.  You can yell."  The other guy he had knocked down and nearly out rushed him and Xander turned, batting him in the head with perfect home run form.  Then he looked at the head guy.  "You're fucking pitiful.  I know teenage girls tougher than you.  I know many teenage girls, the ones who hang out in the mall, who're tougher than you.  Camos and a gun doesn't make you tough; in your case it makes you pathetic."  He tossed the bat at the cop car pulling in.  "Get him and his asshole fucking buddy out of my store and the one who was up bothering the library books before I damn well finish them off.  I've had enough of them and if I have to do it, so be it."

"Calm down," the officer said, moving closer slowly.  "What happened?"

"Came down to go have some fun with Trixie and them."  The officer gave him an odd look.  "The last girl I seriously dated was over vengeance, dude.  I don't think this town needs that."

"No, we really don't," he agreed.  "So you came down the stairs...."

"Found that putz in the front of the store.  With a cheap knock off survival knife.  He lunged when I insulted his stupidity and his buddy tired to bat me on the head.  I got him, took the bat and used it on that guy.  Then someone yelled from upstairs and said that I had freakish books from the library so I let Dean handle him since he's in on break."

The cop ran inside to get the other guy and search the store.  He walked the guy out with Dean's help since the guy was now unconscious.  "He was apparently ripping up one of the books."

"Paperback?" Xander asked hopefully.  The guy nodded.  "Then I'm sure they can buy the library another copy."

"I'm sure they can," the officer agreed.  "What happened to the door?"

"I kicked him.  I'm tired of their pitiful party.   He called me a heretic to his cause.  I didn't know I was a 'cause' sort.  The only thing I know I cause is a lot of hunting, some kids learning what they're doing with a bow or a gun, and some wet dreams in certain bad girls.  Him and his *cause* can blow me."

"Sure," he agreed.  "Please calm down?"

"Can I blow them up this time?" he countered.

"Probably not."

"Then no, I'm not going to calm down."

Willow appeared with a crack of displaced air, arms already crossed over her chest.  "I'd pray to the Goddess if I were you, boys.  I will NOT have this stuff around my Xander buddy.  I will get pissed and I've nearly destroyed the world twice now!  I'll go back there if you try him again!"  She started to stomp that way but Dean stopped her.  "Get off me!  I like girls and unless you want to be one, hands off, Mister Hunter!"

He backed up, hands held up.  "Trying to let the cop do his job," he offered, backing up another step when she huffed.  "Let him arrest them.  They've got them on breaking and entering, destruction of property, and assault with a deadly weapon.  Let the cops handle it.  Or maybe make him really attractive to the guys who'll want his ass in jail," he said when she huffed in irritation.  "That way he has to learn how to fight better to protect his hole."

She gave him an odd look.  "That's disgusting."

"No, it's practical," he told her.

She rolled her eyes.  "Still disgusting."

"Why is it you can handle gay women but not gay men?" Xander asked her.

"Because butt sex is gross and disgusting," she shot back.  "It's nasty.  That's meant for output, not input."

Xander snorted. "And yet you want me to be gay."

"Yeah but we figure you'll find someone and put them underneath you."

"I don't care who tops, Willow."  She blushed.  "I'm all for sex, even if I'm not topping.  Now, let the nice officer do his duty.  Go check the other stuff just in case he got into the storage area underneath the store this time."  She pouted but went to do that.  He looked at the officer.  "See, I am calm."  The head guy tried to move so he kicked him in the throat, just casually lashed out and kicked him without looking away from the cop and grinning.  "Are you sure I can't blow the compound?  I'll only do the buildings.  No people damage if I can help it."

"They've got a few kids out there, Harris."

"Social workers?"

"Already working on it," he promised.  He got the first two cuffed and into his car, then the head guy cuffed and into his car.  He confiscated all the weapons, looking at the knife.  "Looks good."

"They have weak joints between the blade and the handle," Dean told him.  "Plus the blade doesn't keep a good edge.  They suck.  If you want one like that, go with the industry and military standard K-Bar."

The cop smirked.  "In the same business as he used to be?"

"Now and then it comes in handy.  My dad was a Marine," he said with a smirk.

"Then you'd probably know.  Okay, let me take these idiots...."  Willow floated one out and he looked. "Let me get another cruiser for him and one of these three," he decided, calling it in.  Another cruiser pulled in and they had to pull him down to cuff him but that was fine.

"Wills, they've got him in cuffs," Xander called.  He hit the ground hard.  "Pity," Xander said, shrugging a bit.  "Next time don't piss off the witch with PMS whose girlfriend is out of town for a month."  The man on the ground whimpered and nearly passed out from his now dislocated shoulder.  Willow came up with something.  "We missing stuff?"

"Maybe one box.  Riley's guys been back?"

"Yup.  Ran into something in a tomb in Central America.  I had to sell them two things this time and Riley said thank you for rescuing him off the virgin sacrificing altar before the really huge zombie got him this time."

"The wacky life of a military unit attached to the UN," she said dryly.  She looked at the guy then walked over and put his shoulder back for him.  "There ya go.  Let's hope you learn how to not be so stupid in the future.  Do have fun in prison and remember to not drop the soap.  I hear butt sex hurts the first few times."

"Depends on how drunk you are," Dean quipped.

"Prison, only homemade hooch and I doubt they'll have enough time to start any," she pointed out.

"Good point," Dean admitted.  "Watch out for any room that you can be trapped in, guys.  Have fun with that too."

"Maybe they'll join a real gang in prison," Xander told him.

Dean snickered. "That's so mean."

"That's one way to get protection," Xander shot back.  He smiled and waved as the officers walked off shaking their heads.  "Have fun with them.  We did!"

"Need help fixing the door?" Dean asked.  Willow looked and muttered, fixing it for them.  The guy with the glass in his back screamed as all the little pieces got pulled out at high velocity but that was the price you paid for attacking Xander in her book.

"No more torturing our prisoners please," one of them shouted before driving off with them.

"Did you use the Syrian rocket?" she asked Xander.

He considered it.  "I think it's in the back room."

"It's not now."

"I think we can fix that," Xander said happily.  "Wanna help, Dean?  It'll be fun."

"Sure," he agreed.  "But no explosives."


"No.  I don't want to deal with Federal Agents," Dean said patiently.  "Sammy sweet talks them better than I do."

"Did you give him one of the mice too?" Willow asked.  "Dawn thinks they're cute.  Especially since they like to mob Buffy."  She disappeared when Xander snickered.

"I didn't think vampire mice were her usual sort of vampire."  He went in to get some things and to change clothes.  They took the Impala, a black car in a dark forest was more difficult to spot than his own platinum one.  They snuck up on the camp, both of them mentally snorting at the lax guarding they had going on.  Xander did lay one charge in the armory since it was on its own.  His special, Dawn created Bag of Shopping would nicely hold everything in there.  Dean went to loot the rest of the camp while he looted the armory.  They met up at the car and Xander let him see inside the bag.  "For slayer shopping trips."  He watched the guard go near the armory, then checked the small camera inside.  He made the bomb beep, sending the two people in there screaming out right before he exploded it.  They got knocked down but oh well.  Xander and Dean shook hands then they went to put things up before going out to the bar to relax.  They deserved a night off.


The Captain walked in the next morning.  "I could've sworn they said no explosives, kid."

"I wasn't going to let them keep weapons and I made sure no one was inside."

"Strangely enough there were no weapons in the debris when the Feds got in there.  They seemed to think the armory had a lot before last night."

"Really?  How would I do that?" he asked with a grin.  "I'm a good boy."

"Uh-huh.  Where are they?"

"Gifts.  I can't sell them and only a few were mine originally.  Oh," he said, handing over something.  "This guy bought some for them or they stole them off him. You might want to check on him and his guns."

He looked then nodded. "I can do that.  Thank you."  He looked at him.  "Artillery?"

"Mostly machine guns.  A few handguns.  Something they managed to steal off me last night.  I really do have to have her redo the anti-shoplifting spells."

"I heard about your friend.  She tried to destroy the world twice?"

"Grief.  She lost her soulmate."

"Oh.  I guess I can understand that."  He grimaced but stared at him.  "The other one got 'em?"

"No clue.  I let Dean have the bag."

"Fine.  Keep them off the black market."

"We only deal with other hunters."

"Uh-huh.  Keep them in that circle anyway, kid.  Thank you for your help.  By the way, the two girls who said that Dean fella released them from their chains said thank you."

"I'm sure he'd say 'welcome' back but he's asleep.  Hangover."

"Fine."  He walked off shaking his head, going to send someone to check on that one guy.  They hadn't known he was one of them so they'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

Dean came down the stairs sipping coffee.  "I should take them to Bobby or Caleb."

"Caleb's on vacation in New Orleans then hitting Orlando to visit family."

"Then Bobby can hold 'em for a bit."  He walked out.  "Be back in a few hours."

"That's fine.  I'll be here.  Like always."  He went back to his reading.  Dean would do whatever with the wimpy weapons.  He didn't care.  He couldn't sell them and they were crappy guns for the most part anyway.


Dean drove into the salvage yard and got out, handing Sammy the bag.  "Dawn made those for slayer shopping trips."

"I saw something in the paper about the militia's armory going up."

"They tried to come in and beat Xander for stopping the last ones who broke in.  I met Rosenburg."

"Ah."  He nodded, opening the bag.  "Guns.  Uh-huh."  He walked off shaking his head.  "Thanks, Dean.  Where's Caleb?"

"New Orleans then Orlando according to Xander."

"I guess we can put these in a closet.  Oh, the mouse was not a happy camper when it tried to get free.  Really hard to stake or decapitate too."

"Xander used a pointy mallet."

Sam snickered.  "I can see why.  We used a frying pan then a UV light."  He closed the door of the house, handing the bag to Bobby.  "The paper was right.  The guys broke into the shop and pissed Xander off again by trying for him."

Bobby snickered.  "Those poor idiots."  He looked at the bag then inside.  "What's that?"

"Dean said Dawn created it for slayer shopping trips."

"Uh-huh," he said, just nodding at that.  "Spoiled brats?"

"Sixty-two teenage slayers in one building, Bobby.  Insanity.  Dean thinks a porno in the making but we've been told they're not allowed to have sex."

"Probably a good idea all told," Bobby decided  he looked in the bag again.  "Not really good stuff."

"Which is probably why Xander won't sell it in the shop," Sam pointed out.

"Good point."  He went to toss it into the closet.  He'd deal with it some night when he was bored.  "Dean drive off again?"

"In a hail of Rolling Stones," he agreed.  That got a quiet laugh.  "Need anything done?"

"Go borrow a junker and play, Sammy."

"Sure."  He went to do that in town.  He liked the little town, the people are nice, they always smiled at him.  He looked at something in a window and frowned.  "When did they start selling Zuni fetishes in head shops?"  He went in to look at them, just in case they'd come back to possess someone or something.


Xander looked up as Sam walked in, smirking at him.  "Bored?"

"Out of my mind."

"Dean is too."

"We needed the break but I'm tired."

"So go nap."

"Got much longer down here?" he teased, smirking at him.

Xander looked at the clock then outside.  "Don't know."  He put up the 'knock really loudly, I'm upstairs' sign up and headed up with Sam for some fun.  Not like anyone was going to be coming over anyway.  And Dean was in the basement storage area again cooing over the artillery.

Dean comes up the stairs at the pounding, letting the young woman in.  "Sorry, he's probably got his head in the fridge.  What can we help you find today?"

"Who're you?"

"Dean.  Friend of Xander's in on some R&R.  Fellow weapons person."

She stared at him then up at the marks above the door then at him again.  "Uh-huh."

He looked up then at her.  Then back up there.  "I had no idea he had those.  Interesting.  Wonder how he did that."

"Willow did that," she said dryly.  "What's he doing this time?"

Dean listened then smirked.  "Sounds like my little brother."  She blushed and shuddered.  "So, what's wrong?"

"Came to check on the duffus for Giles and get some new stakes."

"Stakes are in the back."  He showed her where and she grabbed six.  "I'm assuming he bills Giles?"

"Yup.  I'd carve my own but I suck at making them pointy enough."  She smirked at him.  "So, hunter?"  He nodded.  "You're one of the boys that keeps stopping back here."

"Xander's a neat guy and he does good stitches."

"Then your brother's the one Faith and her slutty little ho helped.  Right?"

"She was not."

"She is now.  Faith pulled her out of a sex club the other night."

"That's one way to break the innocence barrier," he said dryly.  She gaped.  "Things come more often for those who're pure.  All our sort are taught that."

"Huh.  And yet they want us to be virgin slayers."

"That's so the house doesn't turn into a porno.  Though I would like tape if and when it happens."

She hit him on the arm, rolling her eyes.  "Pervert."  She walked off shaking her head and Dean snickered, going to write down the transaction for Xander.  That way he could keep track.

He looked up at one really loud squeal.  "Dude, you need insulation," he complained.  "Really!  No wonder we got hit with the ice water."  Things got quiet a few minutes later and Xander came down about ten after that.  "Go cuddle him.  He's girlish that way."  Xander gave him a funny look.  "Seriously.  He'll pout and huff."

"He told me to come down here."

"Yay.  I've got it.  It's training for the next time I get really injured so I'm not taking up Bobby's spare room."  Xander smirked and skipped back up the stairs to go cuddle.  Dean shook his head.  "He still needs insulation."  He heard a moan and then a smack of flesh on flesh.  "Spanking games?  I didn't think Sammy could be that kinky."  He smirked as he picked up Xander's book, using the note to mark the kid's place for him.  It was better than nothing and he had been keeping to science fiction mystery novels recently.  An hour later Sam came down.  "We done with the vacation BS?"

"One more day?" Sam offered.  "Bobby's making chili."

"I'll be over."

Sam smirked.  "Of course you will."  He waved at Xander before leaving.  Since Dean was apparently cool with it.  Or else he would've said something.

Xander nudged Dean.  "We're still just friends."

Dean looked at him and shrugged.  "What do I care what he puts up his ass?"

"Good point."  He took his book back, looking at the note.  "I see our blushing maiden of slaying showed up."

"She said Faith had to pull Marigold from a sex club."

"They were hunting and Marigold wanted to stay after staking the massive amount of vampires feeding off the customers.  Faith took her somewhere else and had her broken in instead."  Dean snickered.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He went back to playing with the spare weapons.  Xander did have some good taste and it wasn't often he got to play with the heavy artillery.  He was teaching himself a lot about them.

Xander sat down with a sigh, wincing a bit but that was fine with him too.  He wasn't as bored anymore.  Now he needed a nap.


It was nearly a year before the boys passed back his way again.  Xander was really bored at the shop.  Really, really bored.  He almost missed getting hit with demon blood he was so bored.  Occasionally Bobby called him to help him with something, that way he could keep his hand in and his skills sharp.  He looked up from selling bullets before the next hunting rush.  "Hey, guys," he said.  He finished the invoice and handed it and the licence form over.  "It's still yearly," he said dryly.  "Yours is expired."

"Thank you, Xander," she said, heading out with her stuff.

Xander looked at the boys.  "You good?" he asked Dean since something seemed off with him.

"No, not really."

Xander nodded.  "Need the room?"


"Sure.  Same rules apply."  Dean paid for it and they carried their stuff up there for the week.  Sam went to get groceries but he was really quiet and not even grinning at the girl who smiled at him.  Xander got her what she needed, including a card for the local gun range.  New rifles meant practice time.  She flirted but he only flirted half-heartedly with her.  She left with a sigh of pleasure, stroking her gun.  Xander looked at where Dean was sitting on the stairs, shifting to look at him.  "What happened?"

"Fight," he said simply.  "Nothing to worry about.  We just can't be alone right now."

"That's fine."  He handed something over.  "Willow pulled out another of Tara's recipes.  That's for the annoying pain your shoulder's in.  It's a better muscle rub.  Smells nicer too."

Dean took some and put it on under his shirts, wincing when it heated.  "Warmer, but it does smell better."  He shifted and moaned.  "Oh, that's good.  Expensive?"

"Yup.  Works good when your old broken bones start to have weather aches."  Sam came in with a bag.  "Might check the fridge.  I'm not sure it's plugged in."  He nodded, going to do that.  He looked at Dean.  "Want me to butt in or just be here?"

"Just be here.  Make him quit being such an asshole."

"You're the one who ran *at* the werewolf that was rabid!" Sam called then slammed a door.

Xander blinked.  "That's one of my moves, Dean.  Congrats.  I am contagious."

Dean snickered and shook his head.  "Done it before."  He stood up with a moan.  "How expensive?"

"Twenty for the little jar.  Again at cost."

Dean paid for it and took it upstairs to work on his knees.  They were aching today for some reason.  Sam glared at him.  "New muscle rub Willow got from Tara's recipes."

Sam took some to rub on his wrist, then nodded when it heated and felt better.  "Works well.  That should last us a good while if it doesn't spill."

"We can seal it," Dean pointed out.  He worked some into his knees then put his pantslegs back down.  "Go hang with him, Sammy."


"Go."  Sam huffed but went to hang out with Xander.  Dean shook his head.  "Sometimes I wonder if he's stubborn or just stupid.  The boy's face lit up when we showed up."  He went to lay down, noticing the protections were still in faint chalk around the bed.  He went to get some to put it back on then laid down.  Never could be too careful, especially since Xander drew demons and so did Sammy.


Xander looked at Dean two days later.  They were alone in the store.  Sam and he had talked about what had happened.  Dean was frustrated and he was angry with himself and at Sam for shouting at him for doing what he had to do.  Dean was now pacing around the ammo room.  Sam had said he didn't care and they were still casual.  He walked in there, pressing Dean against a wall, his chest to Dean's back.  "You're too angry for the cause, Dean," he said in his ear, getting a shiver.  "Calm down."


"We're still not exclusive, dickhead," Sam called. "I've got the register, Xander.  Take my brother and calm him down.  Please?"

Xander pulled Dean up to his apartment, making him sit down to look at him.  "Talk."

"I'm not like that."

"Then don't talk but you still need to let it out.  If you don't it'll spill over and one of you will end up getting hurt.  I don't want to attend any more funerals, Dean.  Ever again.  Especially not this year because you lost focus because you're pissed at Sam."  Dean jumped up.  He pushed him back down.  "Been in the same state.  The girls shoved me away many times and I still stayed."

"That's kinda pathetic, Xander."

Xander looked at him then he shrugged.  "I'm loyal.  Yay me," he said, not taking it to heart.  He knew Dean would lash out however he could.  "I've always been the normal guy and lo and behold, I ended up being one of the better hunters we had.  One who saved their lives a lot.  It took them a long time to see that though.  Years of them trying to make me the donut boy and fixer of things around the shop.  Sam gives more of a damn about you than they did me.  Even if he's trying to make you slow down or whatever, Sam might have a reason.  None of us are twenty anymore.  You're closer to thirty than I am."  Dean shuddered at that reminder.  "Some day you'll have to slow down or die in the field.  Which way do you want it?"

"That depends on the day, wouldn't it?"

Xander nodded.  "It does.  It also depends if a mugger gets you or if it's on a hunt.  Hell, I nearly died from one of the pros who decided to try to rob me one night."  Dean stared in shock.  He pulled off his shirt to show off the pretty new scar across his abdomen.  "Doc Murphy was out of town at a conference.  Had to do the stitches myself.  Can't say as I did too bad even though I was a bit high on the pain killers."  He looked at him.  "I'm out of local."

"Can't get more?"

"I can but it's a tapdance to go to Giles for those things.  He thinks I should be fully retired.  When he heard a human nearly took me out he threw a fit.  Buffy tried to order me to come home and quit doing this so they could kill me by making me train the girls some more.  Willow tried to kidnap me.  That's how the cops found out.  They caught me on the bus back and drove me back here."  He sat down next to him.  "Was that the only alternative you saw at that moment?"

Dean nodded.  "It was.  I knew it wasn't going to bite me.  Maul me but it gave Sam the time to reload."

"Then it was the only option.  Even if he yells it's because he gives a damn about you.  Rabies shots hurt from what I hear.  Changing does too according to the one I know."

Dean nodded.  "I knew the risks."

"Then we all have to do stupid stuff now and then to save others.  Hell, I used to be used as the bait all the time."  Dean gave him a horrified look.  He nodded.  "Trolling on the nightly patrols.  Buffy used me as bait a lot of times."

"Crap," he muttered.  He shifted, smoothing down his pants legs.  "He thinks we should slow down."

"I think that only your body and soul can tell you that, Dean."  Dean gave him a long stare.  "Only your body can tell you when its had enough and only your soul can tell you when you can't face another one.  Then it'll tell you after a vacation if you can go back to it."

"Did yours?"

"Mine screamed at me one night that I had better not walk out the door to go on patrol.  My hand paused at the doorknob and I called myself off that night citing diarrhea.  The next night it started sooner so I walked away for a week.  After a week of just staring at myself in a motel room mirror I tried again.  I went out on a few solo hunts during that week.  That was the first time I got sick from the hunting.  The night I got back I started to gag again from the stench of the demon and it hit me that I could be doing something beyond getting stinky and tired.  That night Giles pulled me into the office and told me I had battle fatigue but he had a way around it.  If I'd agree to be a field watcher, I could help the girl go out and hunt and I could mostly move back to research and weapons.  I walked away that night.  Packed everything, found a map and threw a knife at it.  Two u- hauls later and here I am.  Bored out of my mind."

"Do you miss it?"

"Now and then I miss the blood rushing through my veins because I'm nearly dying.  I miss having to go on the all night research binges and then planning the problem for the next apocalypse.  Bobby drags me out now and then to hunt with him.  I'm thankful to him for it but damn I'm tired of seeing things die."

Dean nodded.  "I'm not at that point."

"Is Sam?"

"No.  He thinks he is but he's just tired.  He's trying to make us both be tired and there's still evil bastards out there to take out."

"There's also less evil bastards that others can take out."  Dean gave him a heated look.  "You'll never get rid of every evil bastard out there, Dean.  I wanted to get rid of every vampire when I jumped in because one took my best friend.  I thought a year, two maybe, and we'd have them all gone out of Sunnydale.  Seven years later and the population had grown by five percent since the year we started but the death rate had gone down.  With nightly patrols and hunting all the ones coming up that we could."

"They were making more to compensate?"  Xander nodded.  "How... patrol?"

"Nightly.  Cemetery to cemetery, stake in hand.  Sword or battle axe sometimes, sometimes a crossbow.  Getting them as they come up or shortly afterward while they were looking for food.  If you're lucky you get them on their first night.  Half the population was over a month old though."  Dean shuddered at the tone of his voice.  "That's what really tires you out.  Thinking about the ones I never could've saved.  No matter how good we were."

Dean swallowed and nodded. "I'm not there yet."

"Is Sam?"

"No," he said, shaking his head quickly, getting up to pace.  "Sam always wanted a life away from the hunting.  I think this is another version of that."

"He's using the aches and pains?"

"It's an excuse.  We're not twenty so we have to slow down.  We can find an area and deal with it then settle down.  I'd die like that," he said, looking at Xander.  "But I don't want to hunt alone."

"Hunting alone is a good way to die," Xander assured him.  He got up and looked at Dean.  "There is the idea of slowing down.  Being in one place for more than a week.  Letting some of the younger, stupider, more gung ho brats in the field take out the lesser things.  Things you probably did as a teenager."

"We're already passing back the easier jobs.  There's hasn't been an upswing in hunters recently."

"They're all in a warzone," Xander agreed.  Dean slumped at that.  "Take a break.  Figure it out."

"I'm not ready to stop, even if he is."  He started to pace again.  Xander shoved him back against the wall.  "I'm not really the cuddling sort, Xander."

"Oh, please!"  He gave him a hug, feeling Dean tense then slowly make himself relax.  "Even we need elemental comfort sometimes.   It holds us together.  You and Sam can do it with a punch on the shoulder.  I'm not your brother."

"Good point."  He got free and turned to look at him.  "The wall thing?"

"Easier to hold you in place?" he said with a grin.  "Or maybe my dominant nature is coming out.  Who knows."

"Whatever.  I don't see you as that dominant."

Xander smirked.  "There's a side effect to being possessed by a pack leader, Dean."  He stared then backed away slowly.  "Tenth grade."



Dean shuddered.  "Damn it."

"Basically."  He smirked a bit.  "I'm very dominant.  I'm too tired to argue with the girls in my life who think I should bend Sam over permanently."

"We aren't settling down yet."

"I know that.  We'd never be exclusive anyway.  Sam needs more excitement than this town can give him.  You both need it and more anonymity than a small town can give you.  I got called for a ghost the other day and had to look it up.  The older woman gave me a really confused look until I pointed out I took on bigger threats than ghosts usually.  I could handle it but it wasn't what I used to do.  She fed me cookies for it."

"Salting and burning the corpse."

"I know that now."

"You guys didn't?"

"No.  We had a set of poltergeists back in Sunnydale."  Dean shook his head.  "That's how I know not to refer you guys to helping Giles train other hunters.  What we fought is a lot tougher than a ghost."

"They're not always so nice."

"No but demons will eat you.  Ghosts will pummel you.  Ghosts you banish, demons you kill."

Dean nodded.  "I can see that.  Are they getting our ways too?"

"Giles found another one of you guys when I asked Bobby to talk to him because they weren't being perfectly prepared.  He sent them what your dad taught you and how.  Giles found another hunter through him and modified their field watcher training plus slayer training."

"That'll help."

"Not for long.  The world doesn't need sixty-two slayers unless something really horrible is coming.  Since it only theoretically took seven to bind the First Evil...."  Dean gave him a horrified look.  "We're all waiting to see what it was."

Dean shook his head slowly.  "It won't happen."

"It can happen.  In the last four years of Sunnydale, with only two slayers around, we had an ascension, we had a hell goddess, and we had the First Evil.  Plus a military unit."

Dean shuddered, wrapping his arms around himself.  "A hell goddess?"

"Yeah.  Glory.  She came to open a dimensional rift.  Faith wasn't even available for most of that.  She was in prison for most of those.  She was in a coma for the actual ascension because she and Buffy fought after she went bad.  She was in jail for Glory and got out in time for the First Evil battles to lead a section."

Dean shuddered.  "Then sixty-two..."

"I'm hoping it's an alien invasion," Xander admitted with a quirky grin.  Dean shook his head at that.  "It's the only way I can see something that bad.  Unless there's a major takeover of this plane by the demons to get it back that's all it can be."

"Maybe they'll fade?"

"Three have died and three new been called.  Willow can't cancel the spell.  It keeps activating the new ones as soon as they're old enough."

"Did you go to the funerals?"

"The local one.  The other two I called and they told me I didn't have to.  I didn't know them that well.  They were both younger and on newbie patrol when something jumped out that they weren't ready for.  Both were with older watchers who were left after the First Evil's purges.  They died too."

Dean nodded at that.  "Now what?"

"Now, I'm really bored.  You're still really pissed and upset.  Stress relief I can do but I'm not going to force you and I'm not going to make it mean more than stress relief, Dean."

Dean nodded.  "I could use some but I don't usually go for guys."

"The whorehouse got busted after that one decided to try to mug me.  I still say I did a good job on the stitches."

"Not bad.  The line doesn't wobble much," he assured him.  Xander grinned and he could see how Sammy was attracted to him.  "It wouldn't make you feel weird?  Doing both of us?"

"Not like we're in the same bed, Dean.  We're not exclusive.  Not like I'm hunting a ring.  Better me than someone who doesn't know and sets off your instincts by clawing too hard or hitting the wrong spot the wrong way.  I had one I nearly decked for trying to nibble on my throat."

Dean looked at him.  "You were bitten?"

"A few times.  Once by Angel."  He took off his shirt again.  "C'mon.  Your bed's comfier."

"It's a full size."

"So's mine.  Yours still has the better mattress.  Mine's a bit too soft for me."  He walked him back there, starting small.  A kiss, testing him, seeing his reflexes.  "Tell me if I hit something I shouldn't."

"Sure, I don't usually have those."

"You bite Sammy on the thigh and he tries to take your head off with a twist."


"Didn't ask."  He moved down to his throat, then back up for another kiss.  Dean pulled away with a pant.  Xander moved back down.

"I'm usually a quick and dirty sort for stress, Xander," he said, but he held his head in place because whatever he was doing was good.  "Are you sure you weren't turned?"

"Yup.  I work in the light."  He moved down then pushed Dean onto the bed and stripped off his pants.  Dean did the same with some wiggles.  Then Xander pounced.  "Fast and dirty is fine with me."

"Good.  I'm not really used to foreplay on guys."  He flipped him over, finding the lube Xander had stashed in here long ago.  He prepared him quickly then thrust in, hot, fast, hard.  Fucking him until he was begging for it.  Dean didn't stare at the scars on the guy's back.  He had his own.  Asking would bring them back to strange emotional range.  Xander was slightly younger than he was but he could see the road signs of where he was heading.  He finally came and Xander flipped them over, staring down at him for a minute.  "Xander?" he asked quietly.  Xander leaned down to tease him, thrusting down against his soft cock.  He hadn't gotten to come.  Dean reached down to stroke him, making him moan but continue to stare at him.  Dean's mind was saying it was a dominance thing but he didn't mind at the moment.  If they weren't in bed...  Then again, they were just screwing around.  Xander came and went limp, lowering himself slowly next to him.  He got another hug.  "I don't really cuddle, Xander."

"We both need a nap, Dean.  Nap.  The bed's too small for less than a cuddle after sex."

Dean swallowed but let him do it.  It did feel kinda... nice.  Odd but nice.  He hadn't gotten a lot of hugs in his life.  He didn't go out with the pretty girls for the cuddle factor but it was soothing.  Xander knew not to pin him down.  He knew to only rest an arm over his chest, something he could get free of easily enough if he wanted.  He yawned.  A nap did sound good.  He was tired and sore.  He fell asleep, comfortably warm for the first time in a while.  Not that he'd ever admit that the hugging felt nice.


Sam looked up as Dean came down the stairs a half-hour later.  "You good now?"

"Better."  He looked around then at him.  "We alone?"  Sam shook his head, pointing at the gun room.  He went to help the older woman in there who wanted a bedside gun, finding her something light, easy to maintain, and relatively inexpensive.  She walked out happy with that and a small box of bullets.  He came back.  "Now we alone?"

"Yeah.  Why?"  He sat on the stool.

"I'm not ready to quit yet.  We can keep handing off the lesser things and handle the worse problems."  He held up a hand at his opening mouth.  "I'm not ready yet and you only really need a break."

"I don't want to get to the point that Xander did," Sam told him.

"And we'll do what instead, Sammy?  Settle down?"

"We could do what Bobby does."

"I can't stand that much research."

Sam slumped, frowning.  "Slowing down?"

"Definitely.  My knees are still aching, even after that cream.  I know we're not teenagers anymore.  I can't see me with the traditional house and kids though.  Ever."

Sam slowly nodded.  "I'd like to at least get down to closer to emergency call outs like Bobby is some year," he said carefully, thinking ahead of where they were now.  "We won't be able to do this forever.  I don't want to die on a hunt."

"No.  Neither do I."  Sam nodded at that.  Someone came in and headed for the ammo room.  "So we can agree to keep it at lesser hunting?"

Sam nodded.  "I can agree with that," he decided.  "At least until the next major injury.  Then we'll figure things out for a while?"

"Sure.  I can see that."

Sam smiled.  "I knew you and Xander should talk."

"Xander's a great road sign of where we're headed.  Did you know they had patrols?" he asked quietly.  Sam nodded.  "Nightly."  Sam nodded again.  "You two talked?"  He shook his head.  "Research?"

"On the town and the rumors of his former group."

The person in the ammo room came out.  "Which ones do I use for my Magnum?"  Dean came in to find it for him.  He smiled and let Sam write him up.  "Xander taking some time off?  He looks really tired recently.  Ever since that nasty girl in the next town tried to stab him.  Fortunately he managed to beat her pretty well."

"He got stabbed?" Sam asked, looking at Dean, who nodded.  "By?"

"One of the pros at the whorehouse," Dean told him.  The man blushed at that frankness. "She tried to mug him.  Nineteen stitches it looked like."

"Damn."  He wrote down his firearm license number then handed it, the bag, the change, and the invoice copy for him to him.  "Thank you and I'll tell him you said hi, sir."

"Thanks, boys."  He left, still happy.

"Did you make sure which magnum he had?" Sam asked.

"He had it on him."

"Oh.  Good."  He leaned on the counter, looking at his brother.  "I never want either of us to get to the point he was when he retired, Dean.  I don't want to be too tired to walk out of the house."

Dean nodded slowly.  "I can agree with that.  I still don't think I'll ever be the picket fence sort."

"That wasn't a bad show," Xander said as he came down the stairs.  They gave him a clueless look.  "Picket Fences.  On NBC if I remember right."  He shrugged and looked at the invoice.  "You made sure it was for that magnum?"

"Yeah, he said he brought it in to make sure since last time he had bought the wrong box."

"That's fine then."  He filed the invoice and nudged Sam out of his way.  "Either of you two fine, tough, strong boys want to make a bank drop for me?"  They shrugged so he wrote out the deposit and handed them the bag once the money and slip were inside.  "Go for it, guys.  Thanks."  They headed out together.  Xander got back to his book.  He'd stock tonight.  This was the pre-hunting season and it was going to keep being busy for a while.


Dean came down to a fight the next morning.  "Problems?" he asked.

"No, not really. The kid thinks he's old enough for a licence and gun but he's not.  I'm not losing my license and business because he's too young.  If he wants it that much he can have his parents come buy it for him."  He stared the kid down.

"You have no idea about my parents, Mister."

"And you have no idea what shitbags mine were.  You're still too young by two years.  Get another adult to come buy it for you."  The kid stormed out and he leaned on the counter.

Dean patted him on the back.  "If he needs to hunt for the table, someone will get it for him," he pointed out.  Xander looked at him.  "If it's for another reason he'll either steal one or find another way."

"I'm not sure which one he was," he admitted.  One of the local officers came in with the boy.  "What's up?"

"You won't sell to him?"

"He's two years too young by state law for a firearms license of his own.  That means I can't since I'd have to Brady him.  He can have an adult buy it for him.  He can get anyone he wants to buy it for him but I'm not losing my business and retirement for a kid."

"Good point."  He looked at the boy then at Xander.  "What did he want?"  He pointed at the good quality rifle then at the kid.  "What were you hunting with that?"

"Deer and stuff.  I researched, it does good over a lot of range or close up."

"It does," Xander agreed.  "It's a rifle a lot of snipers use."  The cop twitched at that and so did the kid.  "I'm sorry, kid.  State law says you can hunt but you can't buy your own yet."

"I realize why after all the school shootings," he agreed.  "Still sucks."

Xander nodded.  "At your age all I had were my fists."

"Even worse."  He looked at the officer.  "Think you can, Uncle Mike?  I've got enough for it and two boxes of shells."

He considered it.  "How about something less expensive then you can work your way up?  Something still good to hunt with."  Dean went to pull down a few ideas he had.  He came back with one and handed it over.  "That's nice."

"It's the new model.  I haven't tested it personally," Xander told him.  "The last few were very good ones."  He walked out and pulled another one down, bringing it out.  "This is the one I took with me last year.  Accurate, fast, light, little recoil.  Carrying strap for shoulder carrying if you have to chase it because your aim isn't spot on.  It's also a hundred cheaper and uses a cheaper size of bullet."

The kid looked at that one.  "I heard these can have problems with scopes."

Xander shrugged.  "That depends on your scope and what you need it for.  I don't use a scope."

"Me either," Dean agreed.  "I'm a marksman and I don't use one."

"I'm in the ninetieth percentile on the range," Xander told him.  Dean gave him an odd look.  "I only have one eye, Dean."

"You do?"  Xander nodded.  "Why?"

"Long story.  Later."  He looked at the kid again.  "The skill isn't in the scope.  It's how you handle the weapon, how you treat your weapon, and how you know your weapon.   You don't need a scope to do deer.  Most people do it because they're afraid of getting too close."

That got a nod.  "I can understand that.  What about infrared?"

"I use goggles for those."

That got a smirk from the officer.  "Which can also have range readings, right?"  Xander nodded.  "Then you can compensate for the distance if you have to."

"I can but I didn't take one deer hunting last year.  I went out early evening instead of early morning.  You guys kept me busy."

The kid considered it then nodded.  "Okay, this one's cheaper and just as good?"  Dean nodded. "You have one?"

"Had one of the last model they put out.  It ended up getting broken when something rushed me and I used it to block their hit while I was out hunting.  Bent the barrel."  The cop winced at that.  "Saved me being stabbed and I got it in the head with the butt so it was just as good."

The officer looked at the kid.  "That work for you?"

"I can buy more bullets for practice?"  Xander nodded.  "There's no rules against that?"

"Nope.  No rules about you buying bullets.  Or a scope if you wanted it.  A hunting license either.  You just can't buy the gun."

"Which is so stupid," Dean pointed out.

"State law.  Even if most of the kids who've shot at their schools have gotten the guns from stealing or from relatives."  He yawned as he looked at the boy again.  "Sorry.  Early for me.  If he'll buy it for you that's fine.  He's already got a license so I'll put it under his name and he can transfer it to yours later on when you're old enough."

"Uncle Mike?"

"That'll work for me," he agreed.  The kid handed him the money he had.  Xander looked at the tag then filled out the proper invoice and form for him, handing it over as he took the money.  "I put him down for three boxes of bullets.  That way he has time to practice."  That got a nod and he went to pick them up for the kid while Dean put back the guns.  "Be sure you're careful if you're not hitting the gun range, kid."

"I always do targets at Uncle Mike's house."

"Then I guess he can call the guys to keep them from coming."  He grinned at the officer.  "I know it sucks."

"No, I get that," he agreed.  "That's the law.  This is your retirement?"

"Yup.  Kinda boring now and then too," he admitted.  "It's definitely not the life I used to live and nearly died from."

The officer nodded.  "I heard.  Thanks Harris.  You too, Dean."  He walked the boy out, taking him to his house to talk to him about why he wanted a gun of his own since he had been borrowing his father's gun for years of hunting.

Xander looked at Dean.  "It sucks."

"It does but sometimes you have to obey the law.  You'd lose the store and all the babies."

"I know."  He leaned on the counter.

"How did you lose an eye and is it glass?"

Xander nodded.  "Before the battle with the First Evil in the hellmouth one of the minions named Caleb, who was a defrocked, insane preacher, told me I'd see differently now.  Popped it with a dirty thumbnail and was going for the other one when he was stopped by Spike and Buffy."  He tapped on the counter a few times.  "I walked into the last battle without it wearing an eye patch from the surgery two weeks earlier," he finished quietly.   He looked at him.  "Not even Willow could regenerate it."

"Do you have visions?"

"I've had exactly two.  One of them was the invasion in LA, I called that one in when I got strange dreams for about three weeks in a row.  The other one was personal.  I think someone sent that since it was someone pretending to be someone close to us coming back to get us into a trap."

Dean nodded.  "I've seen that happen."  He patted him on the arm.  "You survived."

"Didn't have much else to be doing that day," he said dryly.  "Took me a while to compensate but I do good now."

Dean nodded.  "Good."  He went back up the stairs.  "Sammy's a log.  Can I borrow the ice water?"

"Be sure to flip the mattress."

"He's on the couch."  He smirked and went to get it, making Sammy scream a minute later.  "Morning, sleepy head."

"Fuck off," Sam complained, going to take a shower to get warm again.

Xander's laugh from downstairs could barely be heard by Dean but it was nice.   Xander appreciated them as they were.  He went back down there after refilling the pitcher for him.  "Going hunting this year?"

"Yeah.  I'm going Saturday night, when it starts.  I already got one buck from bow season.  The Ranger was most amazed at the bow I used since I used a single string bow."  He smirked at him.  "I did it the old fashioned way."

"Heart shot?"

"Little to the back because it was a side shot.  Got a lung.  Had to chase it about a thousand yards.  Dispatched it with a handgun when I got to it.  The Ranger asked so I showed him the arrow hole.  He agreed that was fine since it was a hand gun.  There's some in my chest freezer if you guys wanted some."

"I haven't had deer in years."  He went to look and get some out, going to cook some deer steaks for them.  He even made Xander one because he hadn't seen the guy eat since they'd gotten there.  He left the plate and walked away again.

Xander smiled. "Thanks, Dean.  Needed breakfast."

"Don't make Sammy nag.  He's too good at it already."  Someone in the shop laughed at that.

Xander smiled and dug into his steak.  It was a good breakfast and dinner.


Xander limped in from his first night of hunting.  "Hey, Dean, can I please have my first aid kit back?" he yelled.  He limped up the stairs, letting Sam have his gun when he tugged on it.  "Stupid drunk bastard," he muttered, flopping down to take off his boot and look at the graze to his ankle.  He cleaned it off and bandaged it then the one on his arm.  "Bright green doesn't look like a deer, right?  Flourescent, road worker green?"

"No.  Not in the least.  Were you in a tree?"

"No.  Stalking."  He heard the knock on the door.  "That's probably a cop since I slugged the bastard and dropped him off on their doorstep."  Sam went to answer it while he finished his other graze.  The cop stomped up the stairs so he looked up at him.  "Road worker flourescent green is acceptable for hunters, right?"

"As long as it's bright.  They usually wear orange."

"Deers can't tell that shade of green and I don't look like fall foliage.  I had that problem my first time hunting, someone thought I was a squirrel moving in a tree with leaves turning."

"That works then.  You okay?"

"Two grazes.  How drunk was he?"


"Idiot with a gun," Dean snorted.

"Yup," Xander agreed.  "Who thought I was a deer.  Thank God he was a bad shot."

The cop looked at them then nodded.  "I'll let you fill out the paperwork, Harris."

Xander looked at him.  "Sure.  Let's go do that.  Sam, I'll clean that when I get back.  You don't have to.  Be back soon."  He limped out once he had his boot back on, going to the station.  Where he hit the guy again.  "You shot me twice, I should get two hits back," he sneered.  The man backed away whimpering.  "Not like you couldn't tell I wasn't a deer!  I was wearing purple under roadworker green!"  He walked over to fill out the forms.  They took pictures of both grazes and Xander told them where to find the bullets.  The guy started to file charges against him but Xander glared and he backed down.  Xander went back to the store.  He took his gun to clean.  Dean took it back.  "I can do it."

"Go eat."

"Thank you."  He went to go eat.

Sam went to get the next knock too.  "Doctor Murphy.  He's fine.  Just a few small grazes thanks to a drunk guy with a gun."


"You didn't come to see Xander?"

"I came to see him for other reasons."  Xander came down the stairs limping slightly. "Grazed?"

"Barely a scratch.  He was a bad shot.  What happened?"  She pulled him out to look at the person in her car.  He frowned, testing them.  "Those are bite marks.  Is there blood in her mouth?"  She showed him. "Then the only thing you can do is to implant wood."  He looked at her.  "Small bit into her heart, Doc.  Or do it after the funeral and before the graveside so the family can bury a body.  Where was she?"

"The biker bar."

Xander nodded.  "We'll go nose around."

"Thank you, Xander.  I'll do it after the funeral.  I know her family."  He nodded and let her go while he went back inside to tell them about the problem.  She took the body to the funeral home and got it prepped for the embalming.  Though she did look at the funeral director, showing the bite marks.  He put things up and simply drained the blood.  "Harris said we can implant wood after the funeral and before the graveside?"

"I have a few times."

"Are we having an invasion?"

"Two in the last six months."

"Can you tell him since rumors say he used to do strange stuff like that?"

"I can, Doctor Murphy.  We'll check it out for you."   She nodded, going back to the office.  He looked at the young girl.  "You were quite pretty in life, my dear.  In death we can't let you wander and use that on others."


Xander closed the door then looked up the stairs.  "We had a vampire attack at the biker bar," he called.  Dean came down the stairs and grabbed a crossbow.  Sam came down with his laptop.  "I know we had one six months ago; the guy at the local funeral home has a clue.  Sam, coming with us?  It's a bit rough."

"I can handle that."  They headed out together, locking the store and turning the alarm on.  They got into the Impala and drove out there.  A few of the bikers gave the car appreciative looks until Xander got out.  "They know you here?"

"The last time I got overly stressed I came out for a beer and stayed for the nightly brawl," he said dryly.  He walked up to one.  "I promise I won't kick your ass this time if you don't try to hit me with a bar stool.   Good enough?"  He nodded, smirking at him.  "Thanks."  He walked inside, getting a beer from the bartender.  "Totally shitty day, man.  Drunken idiot with a gun in the woods when I went out.  Two grazes to add to the collection."  The bartender pointed at the first aid box.  Xander knew he had been rendered mute a few years back when someone had cut out his tongue for talking back to him.  It was the sort of place this bar was.  "Got it at home.  Thanks though."  He sipped his beer and they moved to a table.  "Dean, fair warning, they are mean here."  That got a nod but he went to play pool anyway.  He and Sam scanned the crowd.  He found the vampire and nudged him, nodding a bit.  Sam looked and shook his head.  "Know them?"

"Missed them a few states back," he admitted, going to play against Dean since no one else was.  "Didn't we run into him at a bar a few states back?" he asked.

Dean looked then nodded.  "Yup."  The vampire in question came over to sneer at him.  "Problems?"

He sniffed then smirked at him.  "You smell like a man whore."

"No, that's my job now and then when I get bored," Xander said dryly from behind him.  "These two nice men travel all the time and only come to help me in the store when I get overloaded."

"Sell dictionaries?" one taunted.

"Great roadtrip of life," Dean said, breaking the rack without looking at the guy.  "Car has a lot of miles on her."  He looked up.  "We've been everywhere but Alaska, Hawaii, and I think upper Minnesota so far."

"We?" the vamp sneered.

Sam smirked and waved.  "Hi, I'm his brother Sam."  The guy backed off at that.  He had caught the clue.  "Xander, do you think we can steal the tv tonight?"

"Don't know, Sam.  I might be collapsed in front of it myself.  You two can come over and watch if you're that bored on your week off."

"Sure," Dean agreed, taking another shot.  "Sammy, you playing or not?" he asked.  Sam stepped up to take his first shot and it went all right but not perfect.  "I taught you better than that."

"Oh, whine, jerk."

"No, they probably don't serve girly drinks like that here, bitch."

The bikers laughed but left them alone.  Xander had walked the vampire out back and was beating the hell out of him to make sure he was a vampire before staking him.  He came in dusting himself off.  A few of the guys gave him odd looks so Xander dusted his chest better.  They looked away.  He came over to watch the game.  "This is not my sport."  He went to get another beer and sat down again, enjoying the less than peaceful atmosphere.  It was a lot like the place he hid in Cleveland when the girls annoyed the crap out of him.


Xander looked up as the officer walked in the next morning.  "Morning."

"Why is there a bike left at the biker bar, Mr. Harris?"  He crossed his arms over his chest and stared him down.

"The same strange crap you found out about when you looked at my background," Xander said honestly.

"You knew this how?"

"Doc Murphy told me and showed me that there was one hunting.  It took a local girl."

"The one at the funeral home?"  Xander nodded.  "Hmm.  And why is there a spare bike sitting in the lot?"

"Because hunting like that is bad for populations.  They tend to decimate them when they stick around.  She asked me to handle it."

"I see.  It's gone?"

"Unless someone pulls a resurrection rite, yeah."

He just nodded.  "The bike?"

He shrugged.  "Impound it?  Have we only had the two?"  The officer looked clueless.  "There was one about six months ago."

"We've got another two missing people in town," Sam said as he came down the stairs with his laptop.  He showed the officer the entries.  Xander looked over his arm.  "Look similar?"

"The one last night was a blonde girl.  Tight body.  Bit thin."

"So he could have more made?" the cop demanded.

"We can make sure," Xander said.  "Let us figure out where he's been.  Only so many warehouses and empty buildings around here.  Beyond that, if they heard that I staked him they'll come here."

"Fine.  As long as you handle it."

"Don't I always?" he asked dryly.  The cop snorted and walked off shaking his head.  "Any idea where they're bunking?"

"One's probably local.  The other I'm not sure."  He went to look them up on the vampire tracking sites.  See if they had caught them.  Dean looked over from the bed.  "The vamp from last night might have two consorts."

"That's my idea of an afterlife," Dean said dryly.  He flipped onto his side.  "If they show up let me know."

"Yup."  He got back to his searching, sipping his soda.  He looked at the bottle.  "You weren't orange before."

"That was Dawnie," Xander called from downstairs.  "She wants a call, Sam.  Something huge is heading this way."

"Sure."  He dug out her number and called her.  "Dawn, Sam Winchester.  You had to change my soda?  You couldn't send an email?"  He smiled at the 'you needed the good flavor' answer.  "Sure.  What's up?"  He leaned on the table, nudging his laptop out of the way.  "You're sure?"  He nodded.  "Where?"  He looked up the town on mapquest.  He loved that Xander had extended his wireless internet over here but not the cable.  "That's about a hundred miles from us but there's one closer.  Yeah, we can do that.  Bobby's that way.  We're on vacation at the moment.  We can get with Bobby.  A few possible vamps."  He sent her the file he had found.  "Sent it to you."  Dean got up with a groan and found his boots.  "Zombie clan, Dean."


Sam went back to making notes.  "How many do we think is in it?"  He grimaced. That was a lot.  "Are they hunting?  Moved after Katrina and are shifting around to find a new clan home.  Huh.  Okay.  Yeah, we'll look into it.  Thanks for the head's up, Dawn.  Want us to call on the local slayer?"  He smiled and wrote down her name, address, and phone number.  "Thanks.  We'll do that and get with Bobby."  He hung up and called him.  "Incoming zombies making a new clan home," he said cheerfully.  "Someone in Cleveland called us.  It's too big for their girl but she can come with us.  Got her name and all that.  At least two hundred."  Dean gave him a horrified look.  "They moved after Katrina, they were back in bayou country until they got flooded out.  They've been moving and shifting around in smaller groups to find a new clan base.  Old zombies, Bobby.  Yeah, that sort.  We'll get her, meet you at your place in a few hours?  That'll work.  Xander's taking a break.  Thanks."  He hung up.

"Two hundred!" Dean demanded.  Xander brought up something and handed it to him.  "Flame thrower, nice.  Won't kill them."

"No but if they're rolling around on fire it's easier to decapitate."  He grinned.  "Swords too, boys?  She's in school by the way.  She's only seventeen.  Her momma's gonna scream and rant since she has a test this week.  The big standardized tests are this week."

Dean shuddered.  "I'm glad we got to miss that stuff."  He looked at it.  "What does it use?"

"Gas.  Simple gas."

"That'll work," Sam agreed.  "We'll make sure you get it back, Xander."

"Working if possible.  Feel free to raid my hunting supplies too, guys."  He went back to the register.  He'd have the two vamps.  They could take on the zombie horde.  He hated the rotten corpse smell that he could never get off his body afterward.  Dean came down with two swords from Xander's closet and a second flame thrower for Sam, who was carrying the first and his laptop.  "Happy hunting."

Sam snorted.  "Find us some lemons?"


"Takes the rotten stink off," he said with a grin.

"I never knew that.  I can do that."  He called the girl in question.  "Tell me today's not test day?" he demanded when her mother answered her cellphone.  The answer he got didn't make him happy.  "About two hundred zombies.  There's three hunters who're going to back her up.   Them.  They're going to Bobby's.  They'll call on the way to see if they can pick her up.  You sure it's not today?  Tell her I wish her luck and tonight too.  They'll try to have her in at a decent hour and I did warn them about the test stuff.  I've got two vamps locally we think.  Got one last night.  Sure, I'm here."  He smiled as he hung up, looking at the doctor, who gave him a curious look.  "Katrina sent them out of the bayou."

"Zombies?" she mouthed.  He nodded.  "What else do you deal in?"  He handed over a classification manual and she flipped through it then handed it back and rubbed her forehead, going to get her own ammo.  Someone had tried to break into the clinic again so she had a new gun waiting on her.  Xander handed it over.  "Cleared?"

"Last night."  She smiled and took it with her once she had paid for the bullets.  She had paid for the gun out of petty cash when she had started the Brady process.  He waved at her, shaking his head as he filed the appropriate paperwork for her.  That way no nasty federal or state person would be able to say he was doing stupid stuff.  He went back to looking at where things were happening in town.  He knew the usual trouble spots.  He hadn't had to patrol in a while though.  Not since the vampire mice incident.


Dean trudged in.  "We'll fix it, Xander."

"Sure.  You good?"

"I ache," Dean admitted.  "Sam's asleep in the car.  She's at home and still worrying about the test.  Bobby did the few stitches she needed from where she fell on her sword and one of them scratched her.  He made sure to clean it too."

"As long as she doesn't go over."

"She won't," he promised.  "Two-hundred-eighty-three," he said grimly.  Xander clapped.  "Thanks.  Lemons?"  He handed over a large bag.  "Love you, man."  He trudged up there to clean himself up.

Xander went to wake Sam up, making him jump when he got close to the car.  "Dean has lemons."

"Thank you."  He got out and gave him an almost hug then trudged inside.  He was tired!

Xander smiled as he locked the car for them then headed inside.  The cruiser pulling in stopped him.  "What's up, Officer Mike?"

"Have you seen my nephew?"

"Not today.  He came in to get his license a few weeks back.  I haven't seen him since then I don't think.  Is he off hunting?"

"He skipped today to hunt and isn't home yet.  He's got his cell but he's not answering it.  It's not off, it's ringing before going to voicemail."

Xander frowned.  "Where in the woods is he?"

"East end, up by where you hunt."

"I didn't get to go out tonight.  I bought lemons for Sam and Dean and then hunted down the vamp's wives."  That got an odd look.  "The biker thing last night."  That got a nod.  The department only had seven people, they all knew what one did.  "I can go look."

"Please.  I didn't realize his phone didn't have a GPS chip."

"That's fine," Xander promised.  "I can go look for him.  Let me change into something I won't get shot in again."

"The judge ordered him to rehab before the trial."

"Good place for him."  He gave him a wry look.  "Watch over my place tonight?  Both boys are exhausted."


"Came up after Hurricane Katrina.  They were looking for a new clan base."

"Damn," he muttered, walking off shaking his head.  "Call us when you find him.  I'm on duty tonight."

"Sure.  Call me if he's at home."  That got a nod and Xander went back inside, going to change into hunting clothes.  He pulled out his bright green vest as well, plus a handgun loaded with silver bullets and a few other handy things.  "Guys, I've got to go look for a hunter that may or may not be lost.  Go ahead and nap," he called outside the apartment door.  He headed down to his car once the alarm was on for the store.  Driving out there didn't take that long.  He had been out here a few times scouting around for a good hunting spot.  He parked as far in as he could get and pulled out a flashlight as well.  He walked into the woods, sniffing at the decay smells.  The woods smelled right.  It was the right sort of noise and quiet mix.  He slunk his way through the woods, blending into the shadows as much as he could so he wouldn't disturb anyone who was out here.  Though it was very late for a deer and spotlighting was illegal.  You never knew though.  He had gotten his bow deer with a set of infrared goggles.  He heard something moving in the underbrush, something too low to be a deer.  Or a human.

He moved that way, finding a trail easy enough to follow.  The kid had been eating candy and left chocolate smears on the branches and a few trees.  He thought only he hunted hyped on chocolate.  He kept following the trail, hearing other things moving that way.  He sped up a bit.  Woods were friendly to him.  He found a wolf, not expected, but fully normal from what he could see.  It smelled him and ran off with a howl.  Others answered and his stomach clenched.  Wolves ate prey, even dying prey.  He hurried on, finding someone down on the ground.  Not the kid but someone.  He shot off a flare and called it in while he started to treat him.  "I fired a flare, I found a hunter in the East Woods downed with a gunshot wound to his shoulder and wolf bites.  This is Harris.  No, not him.  Older Italian guy.  Don't know him."  He checked.  "He's got a pulse.  I did shoot the flare, yeah."  He hung up and checked his wounds.  "You're so going to be sore by the time they get you to the hospital, man.  What happened?  Your dog step on your gun?"

"Tripped," he mumbled, only half conscious.  "Wolf!" he said weakly, pointing.

Xander turned and spotted one watching him.  He pulled his gun.  "Shoo.  My prey now."  It howled and the pack came back.  "Aw, fuck," he muttered.  He shot two of them when they lunged.  The others yelped and ran off.  Those two were dead.  Someone came running.  "There's paramedics coming for him, get them here," he ordered.  The guy nodded and ran for the road.  He looked at him.  "I should've brought more than a few towels."  He kept doing the sensible thing on his wounds, applying pressure.  Someone came running.  "Over here!  Watch out for the wolf corpses!"   The paramedic jumped one and knelt beside him.  "I got here and the pack was on him, a few had taken tentative bites," he offered, letting him see.  That got a nod.  "They came back and I got two.  Don't look rabid but still."

"We can have them brought in for testing," he promised.  "Why are you out here so late?"

"We've got a lost younger hunter.  Officer Mike asked me to come look."  That got a nod so he let the paramedic have him.  "Need help?"

"We've got a board to carry him on," the other one said as he joined them.  "That's nasty."

"He was just semi lucid.  Warned me of the wolves coming back.  He said he tripped."  They nodded, letting him unload the gun for them.  They'd bring it back with them for the officers.  Xander hefted the wolf corpses for them and then he went off, back to the woods.  He calmed himself and kept going, finding a few other hunters together.  "You guys seen Officer Mike's nephew?" he asked, startling one.  "Don't shoot me.  Already had a crappy day.  Kid's fourteen, out here hunting with a new gun?"

"Saw him earlier," one admitted.  He pointed.  "He was staking out that way.  What was the flare?"

"Guy tripped and shot himself earlier.  Wolves were on him."  They all went pale.  "I got two of them.  Gray wolves so be careful."  That got a nod.  "Need flares?  I've only got one left."

"We've got some and a first aid kit," one of the others assured him.  "Thanks, Mr. Harris."

"Not a problem."  He headed in the direction they had pointed, using his flashlight to check the ground.  He smelled something off, an old corpse, and grimaced. "Eww."  He walked around it.  Someone had taken the antlers off the deer and left it there to rot.  No deer were going to be around here with wolves and a dead one.  He found the kid's blind, it was empty.  "Matt?" he called quietly.  He heard a moan an walked over there, finding him in a bush getting sick.  "You okay?  Your uncle sent me."

"Bad."  He heaved again.

Xander helped him up, looking at him.  "Food or liquor?"

"I wasn't going to hunt but I needed a day off.  I promise it's not loaded, Mr. Harris."

"That's fine, kid.  We need to go.  There's wolves."

"I saw.  I got one earlier.  That's why I unloaded and got drunk."  He pointed at another bush.  "I dragged it in there."

"Sure.  Let's go.  My car's back toward the road.  Grab your gun."  He did that and Xander went to get the wolf corpse, dragging it with them.  He left the liquor there.  So did the kid.  "How much did you drink?"

"Half a pint of rum.  I was going to have a day off anyway but that's disgusting."

"Yup.  Can be."

"Why bring it?"

"You don't want to bring other predators who might attack the other hunters.  Wolves will come looking for their own," he explained at the odd look.  "They can also check it for rabies and things."  That got a silent nod.  "You did good.  Center head shot."  The kid went to get sick.  "It'll be okay, Matt."  He called his uncle.  "Found him.  Heading to my car."  He hung up and walked the kid on, making sure he still had his gun.  He heard a growl and dropped the corpse, pulling his pistol while guarding Matt behind him.  "Back against a tree, Matt."  He did that and Xander checked around.  The corpse was still dead.  That was a nice change in his life.  He heard another growl and a reddish colored wolf came out of the underbrush.  "Shit."

"They're endangered," Matt said.

"If they attack it's still legal."  Xander shifted his stance, checking around.  "I don't see a pack."  She lunged and he shot it.  It fell.  She did look sick.  "Fuck," he muttered.  "Okay, pick him up, Matt.  Let's go.  She does look sick," he said at his green, teary look.  He nodded, picking up the older one and carrying it while Xander got the heavier red one.  They only had one other attack and this one was a wild boar.  Xander had to fire a few times at it.  "What is this?  Am I drawing creatures today?" he demanded.  Matt let out a small laugh.  "My car's out there in the moonlight.  Get your uncle here to help me drag this sucker."  He kicked it gently on the back and it tried to move so he made sure the next bullet went into the head.  It quit moving.  Matt dropped the corpse and hurried on, babbling when he found his uncle.  He was still babbling when he brought him back.  "I swear, I have *no* idea what's drawing them!"

"The red one's been hunted for a few days now.  She's sick we think."

"I noticed the flecks of froth."  He handed over his gun.  "Silver.  Just in case."

"Good idea.  The boar?"

Xander shrugged.  "Not a clue.  It came out to gore your nephew."

"It did," he agreed, nodding at that.  "I swear, Uncle Mike, it did!"  His uncle looked at him so he looked down.  "I unloaded the gun before I opened it."

"Good.  Still should've been at home instead."

"Your wife nags," he whined.

"Then go sit in the woods just outside of sight," Xander told him.  "Less chance of being attacked.  He got the gray one earlier.  I found him puking up his guts."

"That's fine, Harris.  Let's get these back to the cruiser.  Follow me back to the station?"

"Sure."  He hefted the boar, groaning a bit.  "About as heavy as some artillery."  He trudged to the cruiser, leaning it against the side.  "I've never heard of wolves acting like that."

"They've been strange recently," he admitted.  "We're not sure if they're sick or not.  Good job sending in some of the corpses."

"You don't want to leave them.  They can draw worse things."  They loaded them in the trunk and he went to his, following him back to the station.  He'd have to look up what could send wolves acting so funny later.  It sounded like they might have a rogue witch around here.  He walked into the station.  "The guy okay?" he asked the only female cop in town.

"He should be fine.  The bites are pretty shallow and the shot was hours ago.  He didn't bleed out so he's pretty lucky.  You shot two wolves?"

"Three and a boar.  All three were attacking.  One's flecked."  She grimaced and went to help unload the cruiser with him.  "Be damned if I know why they attacked."

Matt looked at her.  "They did.  I heard the shots when he got the one guy.  He found me and drug the one I got earlier.  The red one tried to pounce on the way out then the boar tried to gut me, Melinda."

She ruffled his hair.  "Rum bad for you?" she asked.

"I unloaded the gun first, Melinda.  I swear.  That was after I got the wolf coming for me earlier.  I only had half a pint and I feel like hell."

"It'll do it to you," Xander agreed dryly.  He looked at the officers.  "I found a group out there hunting together and warned them about the wolves, Mike."

"That's good, Xander.  Let me call the Rangers.  That way no one's in trouble."  He called.

Melinda looked at him. "Things keep happening to you, Harris."

He looked at the computer next to him.  "Get me online?"  She looked confused but did it and he pulled up his history page at the Watcher's Council's website.  She read it and gave him a horrified look.  "I have no idea what made them attack.  That's from people who watched it happen."

She went back to reading.  Then she stared at him.  "You only have one eye?"  He nodded, taking out the glass one for a second before putting it back in.  She shuddered.  "You're a great shot without it."

"You learn to compensate with what I used to do."  He looked at the kid, giving him a slight shove.  "Go get a drink and hit the bathroom, kid."  He went to do that.  He looked at her again.  "Aren't you glad I'm not dating?' he teased when she gave him the next horrified look.  He looked then at her.  "I nearly married Anya."

She walked off shuddering.  "Let us know when you have to."

"I got the two suckers earlier too."  He looked at Mike when he came back with a Ranger.  "Need my weapon?"

"Please."  Xander unloaded it and handed it over.  "You run the gun shop, right?"  Xander nodded.  "They attacked?"  Xander nodded.  "Any idea why?"

"The two earlier wolves I got were coming back for the guy I fired off a flare about.  He was downed and they had tentative bites already testing to see if he tasted good.  The kid got the other gray one then got drunk after unloading his gun."  That got a smile and a nod.  "Mike, I sent him to the toilet after a drink.  I also left the rum there and so did he."

"That's fine, Harris.  The red one attacked?"  Xander nodded.  "Where?"

"We were taking a more angular trip back than following how I came in.  We were about a mile from the road then.  I heard a growl, got him backed against a tree, dropped the one he had shot since I figured someone would want to test it for sickness.  She came out, growled, lunged, and I shot.  Nearer to the road the boar came out and went for the kid.  I have no idea if the rum made him smell good or not."

"We've had some strange acting animals in that woods recently," the Ranger admitted.  "She was rare but it was clear she was sick."

"I wasn't about to be bitten," Xander offered.  "Oh, there's a group still out there.  Four guys.  I warned about the wolves.  They're by where Miller caught his last year if that helps any."  That got a nod.  The kid came back.  "By then I figured his uncle was back and I couldn't carry them all so I had him get his uncle.  Any idea why they're going odd?"  The ranger shook his head.  "I ask because I have a friend who does Wiccan stuff."

The Ranger looked at him.  "We've all heard about you, Harris."  He grinned at that.  "We don't know."

"Any like my friend that way?  Maybe opposed to hunters?"

"Next town over," Mike said thoughtfully.  "They might know."

Xander nodded.  "I can see what I can find."  He pulled out his phone to text someone, getting back an okay.  "Someone'll be up to look at them later.  She'll be able to tell if it's a natural thing or not."  He looked at the kid then at the Ranger.  "Am I in trouble?"

"No, kid.  You did good protecting the young and slightly stupid."

"He knows where to go next time," Mike assured him.  That got a nod from the kid.  "We'll be talking anyway, Matt."

"Yes, Uncle Mike.  Were the four guys drinking?"

"They had a few jogger's bottles.  No idea what was in them.  None of them looked drunk and none of them smelled drunk," Xander offered, standing up.  "Let me know when I can have that back.  Before you ask, yes they're silver bullets."  That got a smirk.  "Always pays to be careful.  Never know what you'll see in the woods."

"Good point.  Thank you, Mr. Harris."  He watched him log out of something then leave.  He looked at Mike.  "Have many problems?"

"The Militia boys bothered him for a while.  Second time he blew their armory after taking the guns to give to someone who could use them.  A pro stabbed him while trying to mug him.  He did his own stitches.  Stitched up Paul too when he got shot last year."

"That's a handy guy to have around then."  He looked at Matt.  "I should cite you for being drunk in the woods.  It was still dangerous.  If something had come for you...."

"I had a taser in my hand.  I couldn't shoot myself with it."

"Still dumb," his uncle assured him.

"Yes, Uncle Mike."

"I'll let your uncle handle it and your hangover, kid.  Good job with the wolf.  Clean kill."  The kid went to be sick again.  "Looks like he's a normal newbie.  I puked after my first kill too."  He shook Mike's hand.  "Let me have them tested and warn the checking station she looked like she might be rabid."  He went to do that, finding a young brunette woman poking them. "They're dead, ma'am."

"I know that.  Making sure they're normal, Ranger."  She looked at him.  Then she smiled.  "Hi, Dawn Summers.  Watcher's Council."  He shuddered at that name.  "Give me ten more to make sure they weren't something of ours."  He nodded, getting in to do the paperwork for now.


Xander walked into the store and turned off the alarm again.  "I'm back!" he shouted, going to put up his supplies.  Dean came out of his apartment chewing something. "Break into the roast?"  He nodded.  "Save me some?"  That got a nod.  "Good.   Shot three wolves and a boar.  Found two of them as part of a pack eating a downed hunter."

"Hell," Sam said.  "He okay?"

"He tripped and shot himself in the shoulder a few hours ago.  The wolves came to see if he was tasty.  They were still being cautious in case he could fight back.  Ran them off, they came back and I got two.  Found the kid, drug him out of there after the paramedics got that guy.  Got attacked by one that may have been rabid and then a boar."

"That's strange," Dean said.

"Yeah.  Dawn's checking them.  Let me shower."  He went to do that, coming back to find her poking at the roast.  "It's deer.  I caught it myself."

"I don't eat red meat unless it used to moo," she told him.  "You're right, it was magical. Meant to drive off hunters.  Only the boar though.  The wolves were natural.  Aggressive and hungry but natural."

"This time of year?"

"Looked like they had been a bit sick but they were thin according to the ranger.  No magic on them, Xander."

"The boar?"  She nodded.  "Any idea who?"

"Terebella would know; they'd have to come into her shop for supplies.  I'll talk to her."  He nodded.  "You looked so good in hunting clothes," she teased, pinching him on the cheek before disappearing.

Xander sat down to eat with the boys.  "Thanks for cooking tonight, guys."

"Figured you'd be tired and we put it in the crockpot we found in your place," Dean admitted.  "Did you mind?"

"Nah.  Saves me leftovers for breakfast."

"You look like you haven't eaten recently," Sam pointed out.

Xander shrugged. "Been tired.  Nothing unusual.  I take these moods."  He ate a bite and moaned.  "You do good, Dean."

"Thanks.  Dad taught me."

"It's okay until you get down to deer tacos and enchiladas," Sam admitted.  Xander laughed through his mouthful of food, covering his mouth with his hand so he didn't spit.  "You good?"

"I'm fine.  They were attacking.  I still need to bag another one this year."

"I haven't done that sort of hunting in years," Dean admitted.

"Fifteen dollar license fee," Xander quipped.  "They make sure of it even if you're only in the car."

"I think I can swing that," Dean said with a smirk.  "Tomorrow night?"

"Sure."  They dug in again, eating and talking about the new calls they had been on recently.  Someone pounded on the door so Xander went to let Bobby in.  "Hey.  Dean made a deer roast."

"Sounds good."  He walked up there to eat with the boys, letting Xander get a spare plate from his apartment.  He sat down, looking at them.  "Thanks for the help, boys."

"Not a problem," Dean quipped.  "Less exciting than going with Xander to be attacked in the woods."

Sam laughed.  "Wolves and a boar," he said when Xander sat down again.

Xander nodded. "They really wanted the kid I was out there for.  After he got the wolf coming for him earlier he pulled out a half pint of rum.  He did unload the gun first and he admitted he had a taser in case he got attacked since he couldn't kill himself with it.  Found him doing the morning after part."

Bobby shook his head.  "Not real bright but better than some."

"Yeah.  Plenty of people wouldn't have unloaded the gun," Sam agreed.

"The judge sent him to rehab before the trial," Xander quipped.  Bobby gave him an odd look.  "I went out the first night and got two grazes.  Drunk guy hunting."

"Had on orange?"

"Bright green.  Roadworker green.  The last time I wore orange someone tried to mistake me for changing leaves and a squirrel."  Bobby snickered and nodded.  "I was wearing purple under it even.  There was no way he could've mistaken me.  Point-one-eight he doth blow however so he's in rehab."  Bobby had to get up he was laughing so hard.  "So it's been a craptastic week but the boys have been making me happier."

"I can see why," Bobby said dryly, sitting down again.  He dug into the roast and it was homey.  A good feeling for them all.


Xander watched the boys go, rubbing his thigh.  He ached today.  A lot.  Not that he hadn't hidden it.  Dean had seen him fall in the woods when the wolf had pounced out of the shadows.  He had blown it off but he ached.  He sat down on the stool with a sigh of relief, hoping no one came in today.  All he really wanted to do was sit and rest.  He was exhausted.  Of course, Bobby came in.  "You missed them by about an hour."

Bobby looked at him.  "Sam said you're injured.  He wanted me to come give you a break so you could hit the ER, kid."

Xander shook his head.  "It's not a problem, Bobby.  I wrenched some muscles."

"Bull.  You got gored by the wolf and Sam said you probably have a partial fracture in your lower leg.  That's why you're standing funny and your thigh hurts."  He moved closer.  "Go see someone.  I can do the store pretty well for a while."  Xander stared at him.  "Go before I have to pull out my elder status, Xander."

"Fine.  It's still nothing."  He grabbed his wallet from under the register and limped out, heading up the street.  He knew it wasn't a broken bone.  He'd had those.  They hurt more.  He limped into the doctor's office.  "Can I have a few?  I think I twisted my leg when I was out hunting the other day."

"Sure, Xander."  She signed him in and he sat down with a sigh, rubbing the really sore spots.  She went back to tell the doctor.  "Doc, Harris from the gun shop is here.  He said he twisted his leg hunting the other night.  Had that stubborn bastard look too."

"Charming.  Put him into a room.  I'm not busy today."  She went to grab her jacket and stethoscope.  She walked in and found Xander down to his boxers, letting her see the bandages.  "What's that from?"

"The wolf that pounced me and knocked my stupid butt down," he said grimly.  She sighed, coming over to cut them off.  "I've been cleaning them and doing some herbal stuff to make sure I don't infect.  It's topical and it works really well.  Has for years.  Sam narked to another friend about the limp though."

She pulled his foot up to look at his leg.  "Ever had a broken bone?"

"My arm.  Twice."

"I'm going to say that you're probably at least fractured, Xander."  She helped him over to the x-ray room and took a picture then helped him back to the other one, settling in to clean the wound while her nurse developed the film for her.  When she brought it in she grimaced.  "Yup, hairline fracture."  She let him see, getting a small shrug.  "I should give you a brace."

"Not like I do a lot, Doc."

"I don't care, Xander."

He grinned.  "I do know how to splint if I have to.  It'd only get in the way of my hectic lifestyle."

"You sit on that stool all day long," she teased back.  She looked at the knee and thigh bones.  "Looks like the rest is probably pulled muscles."  She turned around and took the bandages from him, doing back up his thigh.  "Want some antibiotics?"

"No thanks.  I like the topical stuff.  It smells nicer than me puking from the antibiotics."

"Fine.  Rest it as much as you can.  I would prefer if you were in a brace."

He shrugged.  "It'll be fine.  It's not a full break."  She nodded, handing him back his pants.  "Now that I'm out from under the glare of Bobby, how much do I owe you?"

"Thirty-five for the x-ray, fifty for the visit."  He nodded, going to pay at the window.  She shook her head, starting a chart for him.  She'd probably be seeing him again soon.

Xander limped back into the store.  "Only a pulled muscle or four.  To keep using the herbal stuff on the scratches."

Bobby looked at him.  "Scratches?"

"From the wolf pouncing."

Bobby held his head.  "Normal wolf?"

"Yeah, there's a witch I sicced Dawnie on in the next town who hates hunters.  She about beat her insane the last time."  He sat down with a sigh of pleasure, opening the soda he had gotten on the way.  "Thanks, Bobby."

"Welcome.  I'll let you rest for a few more days before I call again."

Xander shrugged.  "I've fought with worse.  I can do it again if it's an emergency."  That got a nod and he left.  Xander sipped his soda, frowning at the lack of new business.  At least no one had come in while he had been on that expensive break.


Xander looked up two days later when one of the officers came rushing in.  "Riot?"

"Big blue thing that's touching people and nearly killing them," he panted.

Xander stood up with a wince.  "You're driving."  He got two boxes from the back of the store and headed out with him, locking the door on the way.  The officer drove him to the area and he looked, then he pulled out the second case.  "I hate that thing.  I thought we had it in pieces around the world."  He dropped the case, flipping it open then pulling out the grenade launcher.  "Hey, asshole, remember me!" he called.  The Judge sneered.  "That's right, I'm with the blonde one who got you last time.  Eat this!"  He shot it at the Judge's chest, hitting him a bit high.  Then he pulled out the second case and opened it, walking forward with his battle axe to finish chopping the big parts up.  He looked at the officer when he was done, seeing the horrified looks.  "He's going to pull a Terminator 3.  We need baggies.  We need to keep them separate.  He gets back together and we have to do it again."

One ran for a nearby store to get baggies and gloves so they could pick up small blobs of blue stuff.  He put the two legs into the two cases then sealed them.  The baggies were gathered in a box for him.  He checked.  Some had went down the sewer but that would be fine.  He handed over his keys.  "Go back to the store.  In the herb room get me the green jar and the extra large blue vial with the wooden stopper.  It's purple on top."  The officer headed off to do that.  "Warn the sewer people that I'm adding something to it.  It won't explode but it could cake up some things."  The other nodded, going to do that while Xander waited.  The officer got back with what he needed.  He poured the vial into the jar and then poured it on the blue blob down the sewer drain.  It fizzed and dissolved.  He handed it back and stood up with a moan.  "Okay.  These need to go back to the shop.  I can call someone to get them."  That got a nod an he got a ride back.  "I didn't want to do that in front of others," he moaned when he got out.  "I'll get funnier looks."

"So do we, Harris."

Xander walked in and answered the ringing phone.  "I'm fine, Bobby.  It's gone."  He hung up and dialed another number.  "Giles, how in the fucking hell did the Judge get put back together!" he shouted.  He listened to the spluttering about the dead Watchers' estates being probated and mostly sold off when no heirs stepped forward.  Xander sighed.  "I've got him in baggies and a few bigger chunks in weapons cases.  Come get them.  Today."  He hung up and rubbed his forehead, looking at the amused looking cop.  "He put them with people the last time we had to destroy it but they were killed a few years back so the pieces got put into the open and someone stupid bought them to put it back together.  Somewhere around here is someone with too much money and a better occult library than I probably have.  Terebella in the next town may know who did it.  Just promise me I get to punch the bastard."  Riley ran in himself this time, panting.  "Is it after your virginity again?"

"The blue thing?"

"The Judge.  The dead Watchers' things had the pieces hidden.  Giles is coming to get it again."

He shook his head, catching his breath.  "Not the one you just took out.  There's a bigger one.  Looks like Godzilla."


"Here!" he said, pointing.

Xander looked.  "I'm going to fucking kill someone!"  He went into the basement and came out with three boxes.  He also saw a familiar car, waving at them.  Dean pulled in so he handed over the box.  "Lower stomach, it spews.  Watch out for the ick."

"Got it.  Who did it?"

"Not a clue but when I find out they're toast."

Dean nodded, going to do that for him.  Xander grabbed a gun and went out after them.  Riley and his guys brought him while the officer watched the cruiser and the parts in it, plus Xander's battle axe.  Dean parked abruptly and got out, handing Sam the case.  "Find me a spot."  He nodded, going to do that.  Dean grabbed a cop.  "It'll spew.  Clear the area.  Harris said so."  She nodded, going to do that.  He jogged after Sam, finding him setting up.  "Give me that."  He took the weapon, looking it over.  "Point and push.  Good."  He took aim, flicking on the auto targeting.   It locked with a whine and Dean moved down some.  Then he fired.  It took out the thing's lower stomach, spraying blue blood everywhere all the way back to them.

"No wonder he didn't want to do it," Sam complained, wiping his face off.

"Yeah," Dean agreed.  He dropped the used tube and looked around then at the nearest officer.  "Any others?  We heard there was one walking and killing things on the way here."

"Xander took it out and gathered the pieces.  Can we do that this time?"

Xander hopped out of the jeep, coming over to look.  "No, we burn that one.  We have a huge bonfire and make fun of it since it can't reproduce without finding an elephant."  They nodded.  "There's a portal somewhere nearby," he told her.  She slowly shook her head.  He nodded. "Oh yeah.  That's not native.  They aren't from here.  There's a portal somewhere nearby.  Guys, find the portal!" he shouted.  They spread out to do that.  "Sam, Dean, with me."  He looked at her.  "Close it down, shut them in, shelter in place."  She nodded, going to tell her boss to do that.  They went hunting the portal.  They found it and it was huge.  He called Willow.  "Found it."  He looked at it then handed it to Riley's magic person.  "Close it.  That's Rosenburg."  They looked at it.  Something was trying to come through. He looked at the head. "Let's go for the tried and true, head shots, chest shots, taking off its head.  I have no clue what that is from, the top of the head," he admitted.  The soldiers and them opened fire.  The beast died and it was good.

"We need to search for others," Dean said.  Xander nodded and headed out with him.  This was his town, he knew it best.  "How's the leg?"

"Sore as hell.  I'll soak later."  He found something and grimaced.  "My battle axe is back at the store in the cop car.  Riley, get my axe from the cop at the store!" he shouted.  Someone took off to do that.  "Get me some rounds too!"  The guy nodded at that.  They went after the demon to corral it.  The soldier was back after a few minutes with guns, ammo, and the axe.  Xander lunged in to kill the demon and watched it die.  "Good."  He took his reloaded gun from Sam.  "Alleys first.  Someone would scream otherwise."  They nodded, heading off.  One smaller demon had gotten into Doctor Murphy's office but the secretary had killed it.  Dean drug it out to make sure of it, burning it on orders of Xander.  The rest scanned the rest of the town.  They found two by the school and had to lure it away so none of the kids would see them killing them.  Sam found a demon dog in one alley but it was easily killed and burned.  They came back to find the portal still open.  "She can't do it over the phone?"

"I don't....  I can't do it."

Xander took the phone back, handing off his weapons.  "Wills, simple instruction.  I'm going to have to."  He repeated the chant as she did it, throwing the herbs the other guy had prepared and tried once before.  His Latin was better and Sam stepped up to help him with the chanting part.  It slowly shrunk then faded, leaving a body hanging on the fence.  Xander went to look.  "Hell.  Not the magic user," he announced.  "He killed them though.  It was their blood holding it up.  We've got a wacked out idiot out here."  He looked around then at Dean.  He took his gun back and limped off, taking the jeep since it had the keys in the engine.   He knew who it was.  It could only be one person.  She didn't live that far away and he found out she was out of jail on bail.  He pounded on the door, staring at the mother.  "Been watching the news?" he asked at her horrified look.

"It can't be.  We've kept things from her, Xander."

"It was blood magic, Marge."

She swallowed.  "She's in her room."  He went up there, finding her taking a nap.  "See!"

Xander nudged her, making her gasp and wake up.  "Astral travel?"

"Watching what was going on," she defended, rubbing her eyes.  "It wasn't me, Xander."

"You're the only one I know with the strength, Amanda."

She shook her head.  "My teacher.  Officer Paul's wife," she said quietly.  "And that strange guy up on the ridge."

Xander nodded.  "Come confirm."  She nodded, getting up and putting on shoes to follow him to the jeep.  He pulled back in about a half hour later, getting out with her.  "Which one?"

She tested it then looked at him. "The guy on the ridge and he'll zombie, it could reform."  She backed up and Dean shrugged, taking off his head.  The body dusted.  She looked at him.  "I remember you."  He shrugged at that.  "Xander?"

"Where is he on the ridge?"

"The east ridge, up by the caves," she said, swallowing hard.  Some of the guys were staring at her.  "I know who he is, but I'm not working with him," she defended, backing away.

"Good," Sam said.  "Don't start down that path.  Otherwise you see guys like us for bad reasons."  He looked at the local cops.  "Do we know him?"

"Barely," one said.  "He never comes down."

Xander stared at her.  "Officer Paul's wife?"

"She's in the hospital having a baby," Officer Paul said.

"Congrats," Xander said quietly.  "This sort can pull power if they know you.  Is she okay?"  He walked off calling.  "Riley, get her home.  We'll handle the sorcerer."  He walked off, taking his weapons back.  "Thanks, guys.  Been fun."  He got stopped by Sam.  "I can do this.  This is my training."

"You're injured."

"Oh, fuck, it was some claw marks!"

"You got gored too?" Dean demanded.

"And he's got a slight fracture," Doctor Murphy called, waving a bit from her doorway.  "I can treat any injuries, guys.  I'm all you'll get locally."  The few who had scratches went to her.

"I'm still better than ninety percent of Riley's guys," Xander pointed out, heading off.  He got into a cop car.  "Let's go.  I want this asshole."  That got a nod and they drove off up to the ridge.  All the town's cops.  Dean and Sam followed.  "If you see anything strange, duck.  Try behind Sam, he's really tall."  He got out and looked at the cabin.  "You might as well come out.  We know you're in there and you're a stupid fuck!" he shouted.  "You're pissing off the Watcher's Council!"  Something came running out of the cabin and Dean shot it.  He looked back. "I can do that."

"Shut up," Sam said.  "We're just as trained, Xander."  They walked in together, Xander leading point since he had the most experience with bad magic and these sort of demons.   Xander took his axe to the statue on the altar then the altar itself, making the guy scream somewhere in the house.  They followed and found him with a knife at his own throat.

"I'll kill myself!" he shouted, looking frantic.

"So?" Dean said, shrugging a bit.  "Like we'd care?  We'll salt and burn the corpse so you can't come back.  It'll save the county the cost to have you cremated."

The man whimpered, staring at him.  "What are you!"

"Hunters," Sam said, taking aim and getting the knife hand.  "He's a former Watcher."  The man screamed and rushed Xander but a foot in the gut stopped him and he fell down sobbing.

"Good," Xander said, pulling him up by his hair.  He looked at him then handed him to Dean.   "The demon's here.  Take him outside.  Do not argue," he warned them.  "Unless you want a replay of before?"  They drug him out while Xander went to face down the demon.  "Morning."

The demon laughed.  "The slayer's tagalong.  How charming and quaint."  Xander shot him.  "That will not work, young man.  I'm immortal."

"Nothing's really immortal.  Even highlanders can die."  The demon reached for him so he batted him with the axe.  The demon hissed.  "Ah, blessed silver."  The demon grabbed him and the fight was on.  Battle axe against massive paws with sharp nails.  The demon managed to bat the axe aside once but Xander picked up a side table and hit him with it instead.  He rolled to pick up his axe and came up behind him, taking a good blow around the heart area.  Maybe severing the spinal cord would be enough?  No, but the shot from outside at the demon's heart was.  He had time to look out there before the whole cabin went up in flames.  Dean grabbed him and pulled him outside, both of them coughing.  "Thanks."

"Welcome."  He looked at him.  "Still an asshole who has an injury."

"Shit happens on patrol."  He looked at the cops.  "Let it burn."  They nodded and watched the cabin burn.  He got bundled into the back of the Impala with his axe, which he hadn't dropped, he was proud of himself.  He cuddled up to his axe, coughing slightly but he was fine.  He got out at the shop and found Giles waiting.  "Handled and Havistrance is back in hell too.  Thank Dean for that."

"Thank you, Mr. Winchester," Giles said, shaking his hand.  "What happened today?"

"He opened a portal with blood magic and a sacrifice," Sam said.  "We heard about the first thing and came back to see if we could help.  Xander apparently got the first one."  Xander nodded, sitting down and taking some of the tylenol behind the counter with his current soda.  "Need more x-rays?"


"Stubborn," Dean taunted.

Xander shrugged. "I've had worse."  He took another sip then looked at Giles.  "One thing I couldn't identify right off.  Bullets to the brain killed it after fifteen.  It had twin horns like a gazelle.  A few others came out of the portal.  I destroyed his altar, they took him out after he had given up.  The demon appeared, we took it on.  Its destruction lit the cabin on fire.  I had to use some of the artillery today too.  In public.  So I might be moving the shop."  He finished his soda.  "How was your day, Giles?"

"Less interesting than yours.  Are you injured?"

"Hunting accident when a wolf pounced me last week."

"Dawn said something about wolves going odd last week," he admitted.  "Are you sure you shouldn't see someone?"

"Sam narked to another local hunter and he came in to watch the store when he made me go pay money to the doctor to tell me what I already knew."

"It could've been a really bad injury, you wouldn't let us check it," Sam told him.

Giles gave him an odd look.  "Are you two together?"

"Friends," Sam told him.  He looked at Xander.  "We can make sure it's clean if you want."

"You just wanna look at my thigh," he teased back with a bright, evil smirk.

Giles took off his glasses to clean.  "I do not need to have that mental image, Xander.  I've sent the parts back with Willow already.  What did you have to use?"  Xander made notes for him and he nodded.  "I'll reimburse you for the grenade launcher.  Thank you for handling that for us."

"The others were demons," Dean complained.

"Budget issues," Xander told him.  Giles nodded.  "I had Amanda make sure of who it was."

"That's good of her.  We still should talk to the little chippy."  He put back on his glasses to look at him.  "Are you doing all right otherwise?"

"I'm fine.  I won't charge Riley's guys for the stuff we all used today beyond that one.  Anything else we should worry about being in the open?"

"I'll send you a list," he offered.  He walked to the back room.  "I'll go this way so Willow doesn't have to come back and fuss.  Do see to the injuries.  You always were too stoic when you got hurt, Xander."  He disappeared.

"We learned to ignore the pain too," Sam told him.  "Dean does it better than I do.  Go check it since I can see blood on your pants?"  Xander looked then sighed and got up.  Dean helped him but Xander swatted at him.  "He'll handcuff you if you don't let him look," Sam called after him, taking his spot on the stool.  Riley came in, getting a nod.  "Xander's getting a gore mark rebandaged."

"Is he going to charge us for today?"

"No," Xander called down.  "Not for local emergencies.  Only if you're off saving other parts of the world.  Besides, I used the expensive thing."

He walked to the bottom of the stairs.  "Thanks for that.  Budget's getting tight with the South America issues recently."  Xander laughed, he could hear it.  "You injured?  The doctor wanted to know."

"I've got it," Dean called.  "He only needs a bandage change and a few bruises looked at."

"Sure.  That'll work."  He looked at Sam.  "So, are you two former watchers or something?"



"There's a whole group of us who handle paranormal phenomenon so no one else has to.  Ghosts, poltergeists, minor possessions, major possessions, rogue supernatural creatures.  Those things."

"Oh.  I thought most ghost hunters were guys who went out with cameras."

"No, we like to give those sort fond looks.  We handled things before you guys did.  We take out the little stuff so the slayer doesn't have to."

"We didn't think that anyone else did the work.  That's why we stepped in."

"No, you guys do a lot more stuff than we do and you have a better budget," Sam said with a small grin.  "You guys have oversight and we only answer to other hunters and God."

He nodded.  "Good to know.  Is there a way to look you guys up?  We might be recruiting soon."

"Some of them are online.  Some of us aren't.  I know that there's a lot of us that signed up for service overseas so there's not many young in the field these days.  It makes it harder for guys like Xander to stay mostly retired."

"I can see how that happens," he agreed.  "Are you willing to give us a contact?"  Sam considered it then wrote down a name and address.  "A minister?"

"He hears confession and helps a lot of hunters.  He's someone even your guys can talk to about whatever fucked up stuff you've seen.  Pastor Jim is good for that.  He might give you some names who might be willing to be recruited but I don't know."

Riley put it into his pocket and buttoned it.  "That'll work.  Our base's chaplain is now an alcoholic after hearing some of the things we've had to do."

"Jim's not judgmental but if you're screwing up watch out for his bible.  He'll hit you upside the head with it."

"Good to know."  He smiled.  "Tell the bastard upstairs he still had it with the weapons.  I'll cut the last check I owe him next week."  He left, going back to the clean up. They'd do another round with the local cops then fade into the afternoon sunlight.

"Riley said he'd cut you the last check he owes you next week and you still had it with weapons, Xander," Sam called.

"Good to know.  Thanks."

Dean came down the stairs to grab the pot of bruise cream for him, bringing it back upstairs to apply it.  Then he brought it back down.  "I hitched him to the couch and handed him the remote for the tv.  He needs to rest.  His thigh broke open.  I didn't think it was more than a scratch."

Sam shrugged.  "You've done the same thing to me."

"Point.  You've done it to me too."  Sam nodded.  "We should clean up."  They went to check the various rooms and clean up stuff for Xander.  The locals would start showing back up soon since it was hunting season.  If not, maybe he'd have a good moving sale so they could get some decent weapons cheaply.


Xander looked up as the first officer walked in.  "I'm usually much more Conan and less Marvel superhero in disguise."  He went back to reading.   "Should I plan on a good moving sale?"

"Stick to the story that you have all those in storage for a military unit, kid."

Xander grinned.  "I do.  They're the only ones I sell the artillery to."

That got a laugh.  "A half truth then."  He leaned on the counter.  "Matt said hi and thank you."

"Not a problem, Officer Mike."  He put down his book to look at him.  "Should I plan on finding boxes?"

"The town would lynch you if you did that.  You protect them now.  Expect to get called for every single bump and rattle in an attic for a while."

"That's Dean and Sam's job.  I take out the bigger threats that spew nasty crap.  You can tell Widow  Torreson yes she's haunted and they can handle that if she really wants them to."

"I'll do that."  He smiled.  "No wonder you know how to use the weapons.  By the way, thanks for getting into your profile for Melinda.  Went back in the history and found it again.  You did good, kid."

"That's why I'm retired.  I got to the point where I couldn't walk out the door."

He nodded. "I've seen it in others.  The Cap said thank you and so did the mayor but he's going to ignore that."

"Sunnydale was like that too."

"Even better.  Just lay low and send the boys out for beer and chips for you."  That got a nod.  "I will tell her about them doing that instead of you.  Nice work and now Matt has a serious case of hero worship."

"It's a soul sucking profession that pays really low wages and you end up killing a lot of things.  Most every night," Xander told him honestly.  "You can have him come talk to me and I can break any worship he has over it."

He nodded.  "I'll let him know what you said.  If he still wants it?"

"Go to the Watchers' Council in Cleveland.  They're training Watchers since the last guys got blown up by demons who wanted to take over the world.  You can also tell or remind Matt that I lost my eye, my best friend, one of my favorite female friends, and a lot of other fighters to the cause.  It's not glamorous.  It's a lot of ash, a lot of blood, theirs and yours, and a lot of slime."  He nodded.  "Sam, there's a ghost in town.  Want Officer Mike to tell the woman who's concerned about her to talk to you?"

"Sure," Dean called back.  "Kinda bored anyway.  Bobby handled the one we were going for."

"I'll do that, boys," he called up the stairs.  He looked at Xander.  "Thanks."

He shrugged.  "Old habits die hard."

"Good."  He walked out, heading to tell his boss that and make that call.  She'd rush over to talk to the boys later on with cookies if he knew her.  His boss liked that attitude and Matt was actually listening over lunch when they talked to him about it.  He'd make his decisions based on reality and went to talk to Sam and Dean when they were taking care of the ghost in the cemetery for the Widow.  That way he got another viewpoint.  It was a good idea.




Dean limped down the stairs, his leg brace heavy and stiff.  "I hate broken legs."

"You're the one who fell," Xander reminded him, giving him a look.  "Next time don't fall over me."  He shifted his own casted foot.  They had been hunting a werewolf that was bothering the next town over and had run into each other in the woods.  While catching up the werewolf had caught up to them and they had to do a tactical retreat back toward Sam.  But Dean had fallen over a large stone that had been hidden in the shadows.  Then he had tripped Xander.  So they were back on vacation and recuperation again. Xander hadn't even charged them for the room this time since they both ended up in his apartment with him.  Sleeping around him.  Though Sam had drug in the other mattress and put the two beds together so there was enough room.  Dean spread out at night.  Xander would cuddle whoever was in range.  Sam could cuddle or not but somehow he kept ending up sideways in the bed with his head on one of their stomachs'.  It was strange and freaky but comfortable.  "Where's Sam?"

"Out getting beer."  He sat down on the extra stool behind the counter.  "I'm going to ache after this one."  Xander nodded.  "Sam's back on his nagging about slowing down again."

"You won't be hunting for a while with the cast.  He'll be insane within a week."

"I'll be insane in a week.  He'll start to look at colleges again."

"There's a good one up the road.  You could open a branch of the store closer to Bobby."

"Bobby would kill us," he teased with a smirk.  "Ready to go global suddenly?"

"No but it'd let Riley go to someone who doesn't taunt him about the last demon tying him down to have his pure asshole in a sacrificial rite."

"Did it succeed?"

"With the way he was walking?  Yup.  It was also apparently large."  Dean snickered.  "He said it looked like Bacchus from that Hercules show."  Dean laughed louder.  "Exactly."  Sam came in with a few bags.  "Thank you, slave Sam."

"I'll get you back later when I leave you hanging," he taunted back.  He went to put away the groceries.  He and Dean were going to have to fight over Xander someday soon.  They were both very possessive Winchesters.  They'd end up fighting over who was going to date Xander.   He didn't want to rip his brother apart but he could probably settle down here to help in the store.

"You can still share me, asshole," Xander yelled.

Sam closed his eyes as mental images went flying across his mental eyes.  Xander between them.  Xander tied down by Dean but tempted by him.  Xander begging them both to do *anything* that they wanted.  Xander on his knees sucking them both.  Damn he was going to turn into a pervert soon.

Dean came limping back up the stairs with a naughty smirk.  "I agree.  He's a friend with benefits and if you force it that means we have to be bored here with him.  We'll share him like some fantasy sex slave or something."  Xander cackled, he had heard that.

"Could we stick closer to this region than all over the US?"

Dean considered it then nodded.  "The car's getting too much mileage too fast again.  We can do that and see if it works."  That got a nod.  "That would let us come when something happened," he said, getting out of Sam's way because he was running down the stairs to answer the sound of breaking glass.  "Xander?" he called, hobbling back down them, one hand on the railing the other on the wall.  "Are we good?"

"We just got an anti-gay boy threat."  He let them see it.  "So I'll go kick ass at the biker bar later tonight."

"Not with a broken foot," Sam complained.

"Whine, Sam.  I can still kick ass, broken foot and all," Xander shot back with an evil smirk.  "After all, I do own a gun shop."  An officer walked in and grabbed the brick and note, walking out with it.  "Hey!  I wanted to kick their asses!"

"No, Harris.  We'd hate to have to put you in the county jail.  You'd annoy us to death asking for Guns and Ammo magazines," he called.  He was new on the force but he had been warned.  A lot.  "We handle these things so you don't have to."

"I thought that was our motto," Dean told Sam.

"I doubt we can get him for copyright infringement since we never filed paperwork," Sam shot back.

Xander looked at them.  "Have I ever told you two that you're as bad for my sanity levels as Willow babble is?  Though, I kinda like it so I'm not sure what that says about me."

Dean smirked at him.  "Isn't she your oldest friend?"  Xander smirked and nodded.  "Shut up, goofball."  He kissed him.  Sam took his own and Dean gave him a punch on the arm.  "I'm not competing with you, Sammy.  You don't have to try to outdo me here."

"He's mine too if we're sharing."

"You know, Willow offered to seance your father so she could tell him about this stuff," Xander told them.  They scrambled for the phone.  That was a really horrible idea but such a very Willow thing to do.

"Rosenburg, Dean Winchester.  You may NOT call back our father to talk to him.  As much as I'd like his blessing, he'll be very grumpy since he's in hell and there's no telling what he'd teach the slayers and wannabe Watchers.  Yes I'm serious.  I don't care if he'd hate us sharing Xander."  She squeaked and hung up.  "She sounds horrified."

"Probably," Xander agreed, smirking at him.  "Sometimes you gotta do it to your friends and family so they can accept you as you really are instead of as how they think you are."

"That's deep.  Been reading Winnie the Pooh again?" Sam teased with a grin.

"The _Tao of Pooh_."

Sam walked off shaking his head.  Dean just kissed Xander again.  Hopefully with enough sex they'd make him sane again.  If not, they'd be too tired to care.

The End.