Xander found the local Sheriff in the grocery store the next morning. "Morning, Sheriff Larry."
He spun then looked and groaned. "We didn't plow your road, did we?"
"Nope." He grinned. "The truck got me out. Though I do think there's another storm coming."
"Weather service said tomorrow."
"I ran into a natural creature in the woods that said tonight."
"I'll make plans for that and tell the town's plow crew to get your road. Might get you last."
"That's fine. If I have to I can hike her out to the main road if the truck can't get us out."
The Sheriff relaxed. "That house is very secluded."
"Which is why I'm going nuts," Xander said, making him laugh. "Dean set up the laptop so I can get tv on it. The dish guy is due out soon to attach it to the house. So maybe soon." He looked around. "Izzy's birthday is in a few days so we've got to do some stocking."
"They're pretty low around here since this is a small town. 'Bout an hour away is a more major town. They have a Sam's Club."
Xander nodded. "I'm heading there next." That got a smile. "Dean's picking up a chest freezer for me."
"I'll tell Bill to clear your road today for you, Xander. She all right?"
"Her dad's in so he's changing diapers and ignoring her pout about not playing in the snow." That got another chuckle. "Is there just the one Sam's Club? No place else to stock up?"
"Personally I'd hit the hardware store for light bulbs and that stuff. Candles too in case you lose power."
"We have a generator and propane heat, plus a few fireplaces I've been doing wood for." That got a nod. "But no other areas?"
"You don't have pets, right?"
The Sheriff smiled. "Just get more than what you think you need for a month or so. We should be able to get you out of there sometime soon."
"Okay, I'll keep that in mind. Thanks, Sheriff. I don't mind being the last one dug out. As long as I can get out now and then."
"Agreed, Xander. Go shop. We'll make sure it gets dug out today." Xander nodded, bouncing off to do some local shopping. He went to talk to the plow crew. "Hey, Bill?" He looked up from his smoking. "We forgot to dig out the road to Kyle's old place. Just saw Harris in town."
"He's planning on stocking up, doesn't mind getting done last, but he does have a daughter. She'll be a year soon and he hinted she likes to sneak out to play in the snow."
"I can get to his now. He doesn't mind if he's last?"
"No, not in the least. He does have a truck now."
"Good of him. Going to stock up a lot?"
"Oh, yeah. Dean's getting him a chest freezer. I told him where Sam's Club was."
"Even better. Let me get that for him." He went to get his plow for that road. He knew the one boy drove a fancy classic car that couldn't handle a deep snow.
Xander came back from the last run, flopping down on the couch. "It's starting to snow again." Sam moaned but went to help unload stuff.
"Why did we buy barrels of flour and where did you find them?" Dean asked as he came in with the first load.
"In case we get snowed in for more than a month. I have a cookbook that shows me how to turn it into bread." He grinned. "Survival supplies, Dean."
"Ah." He went to get the others. Xander finally came to help since he saw Izzy was in her crib complaining about not getting to help. Dean gave him a look. "Are you broke?" He carried in another extra-large pack of diapers.
"Nearly. I'm down to six thousand dollars of what we found." Dean nodded at that. "Did I forget lightbulbs?"
"They came in the last load," Sam said, hauling in another box of diapers. "These are the wrong size, Xander."
"That's so she can grow, Sam."
Dean looked. "I think it's smaller."
"No it's not. The numbering on that brand is different." They held it up. Xander shrugged. "I'll donate it somewhere if she can't use them."
They nodded, getting the stuff into the basement storage area next to the kitchen. They finally collapsed on the couch. Dean got a fire started and turned down the heat. If they ran out of propane, there was not a lot of hope of getting a new truck back to the tank before spring. They got Izzy out and they settled in to look over what they were going to cook for her birthday dinner. Xander had gotten a lot more pizza, fish sticks, and other things as well as survival supplies. They had enough food to last for at least a month plus the survival supplies. And potatoes. Xander had bought about two hundred pounds of potatoes.
Dean looked over. "Did you get powdered milk and honey?"
"In the first load. They're above the hot water heater."
"Okay." He went back to what he was doing. Izzy was being watched by Sam but she didn't like to get near the fireplace. She didn't like the extra heat it was putting out. She crawled back to help her Uncle Dean type on the laptop for a bit by patting the keys, cooing in his ear, and making him pay attention to her instead of the clicky thing that made noise. Dean looked at Sam. "Anything else happen today?"
"The dish guy got here but we don't have a tv."
"It's in Tara's room," Dean and Xander said. Xander got up with a groan to get it, coming up to hook up the box that the guy left. Finally it was on and ...it had a fuzzy picture. Dean groaned, getting up.
"Let me," Sam said. "I had one once." He got up and put on a jacket and boots, going to lean out the attic window so he could adjust the dish. "Yell when it's got a picture."
"Go back," Dean yelled. The sound came on again. "Little more. Too much." Sam was probably sighing but oh well. "There," he shouted. Sam locked it back down then came back down the stairs. Izzy pouted that he was wearing outside gear but he took it off. "Do we get all the channels, Xander?"
He checked but nodded. "Is it sheltered?"
"Yeah," Sam agreed. "He adjusted it to what he thought would work since the tv wasn't ready for him." He sat down and Izzy crawled over to sit in his lap with a smug look. "Sure, you can sit on me. I don't mind." She snuggled in so he handed her the teddybear from the cushion. She snatched it to cuddle, falling asleep on his lap. "Awww."
"You're a very mushy daddy," Dean told him.
Sam scowled at him. "She needs it."
"She does but you're still mushy."
"Guys," Xander complained, turning it to food tv. They both gave him an odd look. "I need to be a better cook or she'll only ever eat stuffing and that level of food."
"Fine," Dean agreed. He watched for a few minutes. "She's happier than Dawn." Xander snickered and changed it to something else. "We got the whole package?"
"That way I could find something for at least noise," Xander agreed. He grinned. "I even got the adult package."
"You're the man," Dean said with a grin.
"Well, no girlfriend out here or strippers," he said dryly. Sam groaned, getting up to take Izzy to her room to read to her so she'd go back to her nap. Dean and Xander shrugged. Sometimes they didn't understand Sam. Xander tossed Dean the remote. "I've been hogging it."
"Thanks, Xan." He found something to watch, an action movie, and it was good. "Will we run out of anything? We got coffee, right?"
"Coffee, soda, cocoa mix. All that stuff. Unless you want tang, I didn't get any orange juice mix."
"Nah, I'm good. What's those bags of logs in the freezer?"
"Frozen bread dough."
He nodded at that and it was okay. "We have a pan?"
"Tara gave me a recipe where she thaws it, smooshes it out like pizza dough then she put meat and stuff in the center and folds it over the mess. You bake it then you cut it into smaller pieces or nibble on it all night. She did roasted veggies in hers."
"That doesn't sound too bad," Dean decided. "What about when you want bread?"
"I got about seven loaves. By the time we're out, we might be able to get out again. They'll keep plowing the road for us."
"That's going to be good." He looked out the door at the sound of an engine. "Huh. Who's that?"
Xander looked. "The deputy." He walked outside after grabbing Sam's jacket. "What's up, Deputy?"
"Xander, we've got some guy that's escaped from the county jail. We think he's heading out this way because his mom lives on the other side of these woods."
"I can flip off the mines if you want to search back that way. Not a problem. Or keep them off during the search."
"Please." Xander reached in to turn them off. "Thank you. You set up? I know you said were a lower California guy."
"I went to stock up today. I should be okay for at least a month."
"Good. Are you guys okay if he tries to show up here?"
Xander grinned, leaning on the railing. "Deputy, I do the same thing that Kyle used to do, only I hunted in California and I only hunted things that were attacking people." That got a gape. "There's about seven shotguns around here and yes, the ATF team that came for the mines know."
"Okay then. Your daughter?"
"She'll be taught gun safety as soon as she's old enough to understand more than 'don't touch that'."
"Good. That's sensible I guess. Does the Sheriff know?"
"I think you and the guy that plows are the only ones that didn't."
"Good to know I get to yell at the boss for not telling me." Xander grinned. "Are you as gun nut as he was?"
"I like weapons but I'm not rich enough to get all the stuff he had in the well."
"Yeah, he had an extra well space that had some money, a few pieces of artillery, and a few guns down there in waterproof wrapping."
The deputy shook his head quickly. "I'm sure the ATF guys were amused."
"It let them be creative for a bit," Dean said as he joined them. "Problems?"
"Escapee with a mom on the other side of the woods," Xander told him. "So leave the mines off for now."
"Sure. Let me get you the map." He went to do that. He brought it out. "These are the ones they haven't removed from Kyle's old set. These are ours that the ATF guys agreed on." Xander tossed down a keychain remote. "You sure?"
"Not like they're going to come up here to bust me. I registered all my guns through Buck."
"Fine. The guns?" Dean asked quietly. Xander grinned back. "Chris is still complaining about your storage areas."
"Yay him. He doesn't need to know."
"Good point." They looked at the Deputy again. "Nothing bad like that around here, right?"
"No. Kyle fixed most of it." He gave him an odd look. "She's sneaking out."
Xander turned to stop her from opening the door. "Thanks." He turned back. "If you need to come out and search, call us to make sure they're off and all that. We'll help if we can. Not like I have a whole lot to do."
"Good point. Thanks, Harris." He got back into his car and headed back to town. His boss gave him a look. "Map, ATF approved, and off-switch?" He took them to put into his drawer. "They're off now. Did you know he does what Kyle used to?"
"Yup, including collect weapons."
"He mentioned six or seven shotguns." The sheriff showed him something he had saved on his computer. The deputy moaned. "Swords too?"
"Yup. His town's so dangerous the military sent a hush team in to handle it until it slowed down. He's here because he couldn't keep his daughter safe for a bit."
"Oh." He considered it. "So he's like that one Winchester guy that used to visit?"
"Winchester is the dad of those two boys with him and the baby's grandfather," he said quietly. "Somehow one of the girls Harris knows knocked him up with that tall one's baby." The deputy shuddered. "Exactly. That's where Izzy came from."
"The blonde one?"
"No, her girlfriend, the redhead."
"That makes more sense. The blonde was too calm to do something so mean." He looked at the search area. "They said if we needed them we could ask."
"That's fine. I'm sure all three can track fairly well with what they do for a living." That got a nod. "He have the dish up?"
"It was under the eave."
"Good. Because Xander was looking a bit less than sane earlier. He said a few weeks ago he didn't have anything to do."
"He did today too." He shook his head quickly. "He really gave birth?"
"He has a surgical scar."
"Good!" He walked off to talk to the people on search. "Harris gave us permission to tramp on his grounds but there's some danger," he told them. "The ATF guys aren't done with the mines but they're off right now. We have a map of safe areas." That got a few nods. "He said to call first to make sure they're off if we need to search out that way. I know his fence ends shy of the river."
"Why does he have new mines?" one asked.
"Because that pervert tried to get his daughter and there's rumors of a cult to her," another said. The deputy nodded. "There is?"
"There is and a lot of them got arrested by the FBI when they tried to take over his old town to make it a shrine to her," the Sheriff said as he joined them. "A few are up for parole in a few months." That got some groans. "The ATF saw the plans and watched him put them in. They have a switch to turn them off if they need to get in there, which I don't think they will. They seem to like him." That got a few smiles. "Any other questions?"
"This guy knows that it's easier to get to the river from up the road," the deputy said. "He's local. I'm sure he remembers Kyle. There's not a local kid that'll step foot on his property after he shot the one girl on the butt with rock salt."
"I know but we have to cover it just in case."
"But he'll help?" one of them asked.
"Yeah, Harris said that he'd help us search if we needed him to."
"Good," one decided. "We'll let him search his own and we'll stay outside his fence."
"He said they'd turn them off," the Sheriff said.
"So?" She shrugged. "Still safer." That got a nod. "He stock up? I heard he was from southern California."
"He did today," the sheriff agreed. "I made sure."
They all nodded. He was a nice kid but a bit strange, though they all loved his daughter. She was so cheerful. It was cute how he taught her to babble like he did.
Xander got out of his truck a few days later, slamming the door. Then he walked around to pull the guy out of the back of the truck and carried him inside to put him across the deputy's desk. "Did you need him? If not, I caught him sneaking in the gate by the river." He looked at the guy. "Aren't you stupid?"
The guy whimpered. "Please, Sheriff?"
"Sure, kid. Why were you on his lands?"
"I wanted to get close to his daughter."
"For?" Xander asked sweetly.
The guy's eyes turned black. "Because she'll be ours," he growled.
Xander pulled something off his neck and dropped it on him, making him scream. "It's blessed." He grinned. "Sam can do a really good exorcism if you need him to." He walked off shaking his head and calling home. "Hey, Dean, can you swat the supposed evil thing and tell him that guy had black eyes and wanted Izzy for that special reason?" He hung up and went to get more bread. The guys ate a hell of a lot more than he did. He even got a bread pan since he had all those rolls of bread dough in the freezer. He had found directions on one bag that didn't look too hard.
The Sheriff looked at the guy. "What do I do with you?" He called out there, finding it busy. He tried again and got Dean. "What do I do with this guy? Xander left something on his chest that's making him scream." He plucked it off. The guy tried to move. "Keep it up, he's coming back." The guy went limp again. "Please. He said Sam could do a good one. Thank you, Dean." He hung up and shook his head quickly. He didn't want to know. Thirty minutes later Sam stomped in and up to the guy, hauling him up to take him somewhere to talk to him first. The sheriff followed because he couldn't let him really hurt a guy in custody. Sam even took the handcuffs back with him when the guy was back to normal and begging for mercy. Yeah, those boys were insane.
Faith looked around the town, frowning some. She looked at the guy who had brought her. "Any idea where he is?" This town was probably smaller than Sunnydale but it felt better to her slayer senses.
"Not a clue," Riley admitted. "No answer on his phone?"
"I got the baby. She cooed at me." She grinned. "She sounded happy so I'm guessing they slept in."
"Could be." He pointed. "That's an officer."
Faith jogged over. "Officer?" He stopped to look at her, grinning slightly. "Would you know how I get to the Harris house?"
"Xander's paranoid compound? Yeah, I can give you guys directions. Friends from LA?"
"Friends from Sunnydale."
"Ah." He took her to the office to show her the map. "He's here. You take this road." Riley walked in after them. "You are?"
"With her. I'm driving." He nodded and pointed. "Is the road clear?"
"Yeah, we plow for him now." They nodded at that. "The gate has an intercom. You might have to press for a few minutes. It's early for him."
"That's fine," Faith agreed. "I called earlier and got Izzy."
He smiled. "She's very mobile and tried to get away from him in the store the other day." He checked their car then them. "There's going to be another snow storm in a few days," he told Riley. "Does the hummer have four-wheel drive?"
"It's military issue. I can get us out of there if we have to, Officer."
"Good boy. Use the intercom because the ATF team dropped one of the guns they came out to get the other day."
"Guns?" Faith asked. Riley moaned. "Really?"
"Yeah, he's an armorer," the sheriff agreed. "The boy got given something by someone and called them to pick it up. One of the things fell out of their truck on the way out. They only realized later but it was snowing again."
"It's fine," Riley agreed. "I'm sure he picked it up by now. Xander likes his weapons." Faith gave him an odd look. "He got the stuff for Buffy."
She nodded. "Thank you, Officer. We'll go barge in on them." They left, taking the roads carefully. They were still snowy and probably icy underneath. Riley found the right road and headed out it carefully. "It's really far out from civilization."
"It gives his daughter room to roam I guess."
"He told me the last owner used to collect weapons."
"That makes more sense," Riley decided. They found the gate and pulled up, pressing the intercom button. They got a coo back. "Izzy, can you go get up daddy?" he asked patiently.
"Hey, Izzy. It's Auntie Faith. We need daddy," she called at the continued cooing. That got a loud squeal.
"You had better not be missionaries, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Avon ladies," a gruff voice growled.
"No, none of the above," Faith said.
"Who the fuck are you?"
"Faith. And I've got Riley with me. We need to talk to Xander."
"Next gate up the road," the voice said then hung up.
"Oops, sorry," Faith said. Riley nodded, pulling off to go up there. She scooted over to hit the button, getting a grunt of complaint. "It's Faith and Riley. X in?"
"Hold on," Dean said. The gate opened. "Follow the road, don't deviate."
"Sure," Riley agreed. He drove up that way, parking in front of the house to let Faith get out in the cleared area. He slid over to her side to get out and they hurried inside. "We irritated your neighbor."
"He called," Dean admitted. "Wait here. Take off your shoes." He went to wake up Xander, finding Izzy bouncing next to him. "What did he do, take something?" Xander swatted at his voice. "Visitors."
"Yeah, there are," he agreed dryly. Xander covered his head with the blankets. Izzy giggled, crawling under with him. He yelped and Izzy got put outside the blanket, making her pout. "You can't nibble on him today, Izzy. I think he's sick."
Faith came to the door. "X, get up," she shouted. "Before I get talked into having your next spawn by Riley or the watchers." Izzy squealed and bounced, holding up her arms. "Hey, Izzy." She picked her up to cuddle. "How's my niece?" She kissed her on the forehead. "What's wrong with your daddy?" She walked over to reach in and pinch him, getting punched at. She flipped back the covers. "Yeah, he's sick." She leaned down to kiss him, making him hum but blink at her. "Riley needs to talk to you. He brought me to play mediator."
"You didn't call when you got out, Faith."
She yawned. "I only got out a few days ago." She hauled him up, looking at him. "Flu?"
"Probably. Or Willow did it again." Dean walked off shuddering. "Let me visit the potty and get dressed." Faith nodded, strolling off with the baby. Xander brought clothes into the bathroom and came out more awake. "What's wrong?"
"Sunnydale's too infected," Riley said. "Our bosses want the town to be tanked."
Xander flopped down on the couch, staring at him. "You couldn't take out the vamps?"
"Buffy and my team couldn't together," Riley admitted.
Faith nodded. "It's very overrun, X."
Xander considered it. "Dean, can you get into the study and get me the Sunnydale plans?" Dean brought in the folder. "Are we talking college and all or just downtown? Near the hellmouth?"
"Whatever we can but we need to make it look natural," Riley said. "So we can excuse it as earthquake damage."
Xander looked at him then flipped back to another file, handing it over. "Cut it off here to save the college and your old base. If not, bring down your old base to bring down half the college."
Riley smiled. "I knew you would have something planned."
"Yeah, after the last time I got pissed at Buffy and Willow." He smiled sweetly. "Mood swings are dangerous. You should beware of those."
"She can't do it anymore. Tara made sure of it."
Xander looked at him. "If you're sure." Riley went pale. "She's not the only witch around, Riley, and Sunnydale would draw some of the chaos ones. At least from what I heard."
"I'll have it checked out when I get back to base."
"Good. Because you look pale and shaky."
"What weapon got dropped?" Faith asked.
"I picked it up but there's a drop-off to the left of the road just past the gate."
"Ah." She smiled at the girl. "Do you like snow?"
"A lot. She keeps trying to sneak out to play in it. Or to help you in the bathroom."
"We can watch out for that," Faith agreed. The baby was sucking on her fingers. "Is she hungry?"
"Probably. Go nuke a ham and cheese hot pocket and let her nibble on the small bits you cut it into. She'll love you forever." Faith went to do that. He looked at Riley. "Why now?"
"Because it's getting worse and we think another one is trying to open too," Riley said quietly. Xander just nodded. "In Cleveland."
"That's going to suck. Cleveland's a real city."
"It is. We're hoping to get there to stop it before it builds."
Dean leaned in. "What about Cleveland?"
"New hellmouth may be opening there," Xander said quietly.
Dean laughed. "Good joke, guys." Riley shook his head. "Not?"
"Not," Riley agreed.
"Oh, hell. Let me tell some people?" Riley nodded. "Is it open?"
"Trying to. Sunnydale's been fluxing. We think it's getting ready to shut for good."
"Has anyone told the Council?"
"We tried," Faith called. "They're playing stupid again."
Xander sighed. "Doesn't surprise me." He grabbed the phone and called someone. "Giles, it's me. The issue with Sunnydale? Is it permanent? Because Riley wants my plans to bring it out." He listened. "That's what he said. Has it been passed back to the Council?" He grimaced. "And what are they thinking? Because I don't need them arranging things to have someone come see me, Giles. You know they will if they feel thwarted." He listened. "Okay. Thanks." He hung up. "You put this as one of yours did it or you cover my ass, Finn. I'm not going to get tanked by some Fed under the Council's thumb."
"Deal," he agreed, holding out a hand. Xander paused then shook it. He stood up. "Want Faith to stay for a few minutes?"
Faith came out to look at him. "Can't we fax it so I can spend some time with Izzy?"
"Tara's coming back in a few days," Xander offered.
"Red's down in Devon again. That way they can whip her ass."
"If this isn't the flu, I'll help."
"Good." She went back to helping the baby cook.
Dean stomped in. "They think I'm joking."
Xander took the phone. "Which one is this? Hi, Ellen. No, it's real. We knew there's another few hellmouths around the world, Ellen. Cleveland is probably one. Giles is in LA at the shop. He'd know. Yeah, talk to him. Ellen, they're here asking for plans I made during a mood swing against the girls. Yeah, those sort for the whole area." She shuddered. "Please. They're saying it's starting to open in Cleveland so we need to be aware it'll start to build, and if it opens we're in deep trouble without someone who can close it." He nodded. "I'm at the compound with Dean and Izzy. Because the car's broken. Sure, we're here. Thanks." He hung up and called Caleb. "Head's up. You're going to be getting some new orders." He smiled. "Because the hunters in Sunnydale are saying that one's fluxing and starting to open the one in Cleveland." He listened to the deep, pained moan. "Exactly. Dean's calling around. Giles is in LA. I've got Finn here with me. Faith's here too," he admitted. "No, the Impala blew a belt. It's on order. Sure, here's Dean." He handed the phone over. "Who is tapping our lines?" he asked Riley. "I heard a gasp just now."
"I'll stop them," he agreed. Xander smiled. "Anything I should know?"
"The ATF team we've worked with to take out most of the old mines is pretty decent. They're out of the Denver office."
"I'll keep that in mind. Do they *know*?"
"Yeah, they do."
"Good." He stood up. "Faith, are you staying for a few days?"
"Please. If X doesn't mind?"
"There's the basement room. Take it," Dean told her. She smiled and went back to helping Izzy eat her hot pocket. He listened to Caleb complain. "No, we think the Council has someone in their pocket." Xander nodded. "Any idea who?"
"I think Buck knows."
"He thinks Buck knows," Dean repeated. "Sure, though nothing is being transmitted." He smirked at Xander, who pushed the button on the wall below the phone. Dean winced. "Sorry, Caleb. Xander's got an anti-interference thing on the line."
"Since I heard a giggle," Xander said. "They deserved it."
"They did," Dean agreed. "So, Caleb.... Yeah, you can do that. Not an issue. Thanks, man. Tell Dad to call." He hung up. "This is going to cause a lot of problems."
Riley smirked and called his CO. "Sir, I am here with Mr. Harris. He does, sir, but we also think he's about to experience some interference from the agent the Council has on their payroll. Exactly, sir. Mr. Winchester is here and calling around to warn others. Yes, sir. We do think it could be a problem. Thank you, sir." He hung up. "Let him look, Xander. We'll see what we can do. Though...any weapons you want to suddenly be given and honorably turn over?"
"I turn them over to the hunter we know in the ATF."
"Oh. That's good." He shook his hand. "We'll need Faith back in a few days."
"It's awfully quiet up here when it snows, Riley. She'll go nuts in a few days with nothing but Izzy around here."
"Good point. Faith, I'm heading back."
"Have a good drive and be careful on the roads."
"I am." He left, going back to the hummer. On the way he called his CO back. "Sir, Mr. Harris seemed to think that a witch decided I should go through what he did to have his daughter. Can you please schedule me with the base doc, sir?" He smiled. "On my way back from Montana, sir. No, he's hiding here until Sunnydale was safe and Faith could use him. His daughter's adorable, still, and she's staying for a few days to play with her. No, I think Maclay can, sir. Thank you. On my way back now." He hung up and sped up once he got onto a bigger main road. It was well salted and had four lanes of traffic. It reminded him a lot of Iowa in the winter.
Tara appeared a few days later, looking around. "Faith?" She looked around. "Xander? Dean?"
Dean came up from the garage. "They're out dragging the deer that got blown up back to field clean. Izzy is with me."
She smiled, giving him a short hug. "Hi, Dean."
"Hi." He grinned. "I'm fixing the blown belt on the Impala. Come help." He opened the back door. "Tara's here!" he shouted. He closed and followed her down to find her hugging and dancing around with Izzy. "She's been bored too."
Faith ran in and down the stairs to hug her. "There's *nothing* to do around here."
Tara nodded. "I know. It's good she's so sweet but I started to want one."
"You should have one," Faith said. "You'll make a kick-ass mother, Tara." She hugged the baby. "Let me get my bag." She ran up to grab it and came back down with it. "Thanks, T."
"Welcome, Faith." She kissed Izzy on the head. "I'll miss you, princess. You'll have to come see me soon in Cleveland."
"Yes she will," Xander called down the stairs. He jogged down, handing her a bottle. "Here, get her one last one." They smiled and sat down to feed the baby. They both would miss her adorableness. But they were going to be driven nuts if they stayed around here too much longer. Xander shook his head. "Maybe someday we'll get to fuss over the baby Tara too." He grinned at Faith. "Or yours if you want one."
"Probably not one for me." She looked at him. "Flu gone?"
"Yeah, at the moment."
"Do we need to get you a pee stick?" Faith pressed. He shrugged. She scowled. "Xander!"
"I'll talk to the new doc in town if I find out I am, Faith. Right now, it was the flu and it's staying the flu." She nodded at that. He heard a bang and looked back then went to help Dean out of his car's engine. "Is it possessed? It bit you yesterday. Today it tried to swallow you whole." He checked Dean over. "Did someone curse your car?"
"Maybe," he admitted. He scowled at his car. "If so I'm doing an exorcism *very* quickly." His car would *not* be like this. He would not allow his baby to be so beleaguered. The car started and hit him, knocking him down.
"Heading to the kitchen," Faith said, taking Tara with her since she had the baby.
Xander looked at the car. "Stop it, Willow. I mean it." The lights flashed. "I will fly to England to kick your ass if you hurt Izzy's favorite uncle. Take every single spell off that car or else I will make your remaining few hours very unpleasant." His hands drifted up to his hips. "You know very well I can and will. I will get Buffy to help me too." The car died and seemed to slump. He laid a hand on it. It came back so he got something and came back, shooting the taser into it. He heard Willow shriek through the radio then the magic stopped. "Tara, it was Willow," he shouted. "Faith, go start my truck! Dean's got a broken leg!" He helped the unconscious man up and out to the truck, sliding him in then walking around to let Faith handle things. "If Tara doesn't deal with her, have her tell Giles and Buffy both." He got in and slammed the door shut, reaching over to check Dean's pulse before heading down the road. He was speeding a bit and the deputy flipped his lights on. He paused, letting him come up. "Dean's got a broken leg. I'm taking him to the ER." That got a nod and the deputy backed off. "Thanks, Officer Rich." He took off again, heading to the ER. Dean moaned. "Calm down. I've got you. Willow's out of your car."
Dean sat up and moaned, reaching for his leg. "Ow. She bit me."
"She did. I got her out of there. You may need to touch the paint up where I hit her with a taser to get her out of your car."
"That's fine." He shifted, wincing. "I think I got my head too."
"You were out for a good ten minutes. We're nearly at the ER. Just relax."
"I can do without...."
"Dean, it's bleeding so you're poking a bone through."
He looked. "Damn it."
"Yup." He pulled in and stopped, then got out, helping Dean out. He helped him inside, nodding at the nurse. "His car jumped off the blocks and bit him. He was unconscious for ten minutes and it looks like the bone broke and is poking through since there's blood."
"Let me get him a chair, sir." She hurried to do that and Xander helped Dean down. "Go ahead and park."
"I'll be right back, Dean." Dean nodded, letting himself be taken back to a room. Xander jogged out then came back.
"Hey," he said, laying back on the bed at the nurse's push. "I'm fine."
"Shut up," she ordered. "Any dizziness?"
"Some," he admitted.
Xander looked in his eyes. "It's only a small concussion if it is one."
The nurse gave him an odd look. "EMT?"
"Had seven in the last ten years."
"Oh, dear." She gave him an odd look. "Car accidents?"
"Nope. Bad but not that bad." She just nodded. "How's his leg?"
"Can we cut those pants off him? He's being fussy."
"He's not my boyfriend, ask him." She blushed. "I'm his ride, friend, and kinda his in-law. He's an uncle to my daughter."
"Oh. Do you want him in here?" she asked Dean.
"He's fine. He'll hear me complaining about it later anyway." He wiggled. "Help me slide them off." Xander got his boots. The nurse helped him slide off his pants. "Glad I wore boxers today."
"It's always fun when boys like you don't," she teased, "but I'm too professional to look."
Xander shrugged. "I'm not gay no matter how many of my friends want me to be." She giggled, going to get someone to take the x-rays the poor boy would need. Plus see if the doctor wanted him to do a CT for the concussion. She came back with the doctor, finding Xander and Dean talking quietly. "Any other aches and pains?"
"No, just those," Dean told her. "Thanks, ma'am."
"Welcome, Mr. Winchester." She let the doctor check him over. "I've alerted radiology to be expecting you in a few minutes."
"Please," Dean agreed. "Can I have some advil or aleeve, doc?"
"You can have all that you want," she agreed. "Most people would ask for higher drugs."
Dean shrugged. "It'll be fine. Let's hope I don't need some heavy ass cast?"
She smiled. "It's entirely likely, Mr. Winchester."
"Can we minimize it?"
"We'll see. If you don't need pins to hold it together."
"Please don't let me need pins," he begged, looking up. "Please? I've been good."
"If at all possible. Maybe Tara can help with some herbal stuff to make it heal faster," Xander offered. The doctor gave him an odd look. "Our friend is very into herbal stuff. She's a very good witch."
"Okay. It probably won't hurt but do watch him for reactions."
"Of course," Xander agreed. "Anything else would be bad of me."
"Good. Let's get him some x-rays. Do you think it's likely the concussion is going to impact your daily life for more than a few days? If so, we can schedule you a CT."
"We live outside of town," Xander said. "By the river."
She winced. "Let's do one then. Just in case." She stepped back. "Go ahead and send him up," she told the nurse. She got orderlies. She smiled when Xander went with him. "You can call his significant other from the cellphone room up there, sir."
Xander nodded. "I should." He went to do that once they got off the elevator. "Faith, me. So far, concussion, compound fracture of his leg. Tell me she's in pain?" He grimaced. "Tara's still crying, huh? Sure, I can do that." He hung up and called John, grimacing at his unhappy answer. "I'm not going to make your night, John. Because I am in a hospital, that's why you heard the PA announcement. No, not Izzy. Dean." He started to pace. "Compound fracture of his left leg, concussion. Want the whole rant or just the partial story?" he asked at the 'what happened' demand. John said something smart so he grimaced.
"I had to get Willow out of the Impala. She was possessing it. She made it hit him and bite him. Slammed the hood down on his back. Last night the engine scraped him in an improbable way. Today she made it move, knocking him down. I got her out with a taser. Devon, England. Tara's sobbing about it. Faith's got Izzy. Giles does. Oh, did you get the call from Dean about Cleveland? It appears Sunnydale's going down and Cleveland is going up." He heard the splutter. "They're checking into it, but Dean's in x-ray and then a CT for his head. You might be able to get in. Road's nearly impassible for anything less than a pickup. It won't be plowed until tomorrow. I thought you were somewhere nearby, yeah. No, taser, John. Sent her back when it broke the link. He was fixing the belt that snapped when he tried to leave."
He felt his stomach turn and grimaced, keeping it down with some deep breathing. "No, nauseous. I had the flu earlier this week, John. I'm pretty sure I'm not, thank you." He grimaced. "I'm waiting on Dean, John. He needs me able to drive him home. I won't be able to then. Sure, come on up." He hung up. Then he went to the bathroom to get sick. He was *so* going to kill a certain redhead he knew. He came out and went down to the ER, finding the same nurse. "Can I sign myself in?"
"Sure, for what reason?"
"Either I have the flu or I'm pregnant again."
She laughed. "Were you now?" He lifted his shirt. She stared at the incision. "Really?" He nodded. "How?"
"The same redhead who made his car bite him."
"Let me get the doctor for you?"
"Sure. I'm hoping it's the flu."
"Me too." She went to get the doctor, hissing in her ear.
The doctor looked at her. "I heard about that." She went to check on him. "Flu-likesymptoms?"
"Nausea, vomiting, headache?" he asked dryly. "Or it's morning sickness. And I know that the thing that they put it into last time isn't connected to anything and I haven't had sex anyway since before she was born. She's just over a year."
"Let me check that, it could be a problem with that...organ."
"Sure. Just....tell me?" She nodded, going to get the ultrasound machine they had down there. She came back with it and he sighed, taking off his shirts and pushing down his jeans. "Go ahead. I had a few last time."
"You had good prenatal care?"
"I had pretty decent from a doc in LA but he got killed by an accident a few months before I was due. With the cult to Izzy, I went to hide in North Dakota with someone Dean knows. They found a doc to take her out so they could protect me from them."
"That makes sense. The usual place?" He outlined where it was the last time he had seen it on the ultrasound. She prepped the area and turned on the machine, staring at it. "I'll be damned, that is a uterus." She moved the wand, frowning. "I can't see any evidence of you being pregnant." She turned it off and wiped off his stomach. "Let me draw some blood?"
"I have insurance." She smiled, taking the stuff from a drawer to draw blood. "Thank you."
"Hopefully it's just a nasty case of the flu or food poisoning."
"Hopefully. Is Dean nearly done? I don't want to worry him."
"He'll still be in the CT, Mr. Harris." She rushed it up to the lab, putting it down. "It's the flu or he's got food poisoning or he's pregnant. Find it for me?"
The tech gave her an odd look. "He?" She nodded. "Okay then." She ran the sample while she waited. "Negative on pregnancy."
"Run the rest of the tests and I'll have him notified of the results." She smiled and went down to check on him. "You're not." He slumped, nodding in relief. "Have you thought about having it removed?"
"The doctor wasn't sure if it would create problems."
"Maybe you should ask an obstetrical surgeon about that." He nodded. "Good boy. If you keep getting sick, I want you to see your normal doctor."
"I will. I was going to start seeing the new guy in town."
"That's fine. We'll send you the results of the rest of the blood work."
"Welcome. For the flu, tylenol, a lot of liquids, and try some dramamine for the nausea and motion sickness."
"I hadn't thought about that." He grinned. "Thank you."
"Welcome." She called upstairs. "Is Mr. Winchester ready to come back yet?" She smiled. "Thank you." She hung up. "He'll be right back down. Let's get you back to his room." He nodded, following her back, signing the paperwork for the nurse. Dean came back in and she got the report beeped to her a minute later. Then the orthopedist came in with her. "Well...."
Dean groaned. "Pins?"
"No. Cast yes. Heavy, stiff cast instead of an air cast," the orthopedist offered. He called up the x-rays on the computer to let him see, not seeing him flinch. "Most people react."
Dean shrugged. "I've had broken bones before."
"Usual concussion precautions?" Xander asked. The original doctor nodded. "I can do that." The orthopedist looked at him. "I've had a few and we have a nice wooden seat we can put in his shower for him."
"Good. Had a broken bone?"
"Arm." That got a nod and he went to get the casting materials after fixing the bone for Dean.
Dean looked at him. "You okay? You look pale and shaky again."
"They can check you."
"They did. I'm not."
"Thank god since I've been the only one there for weeks outside of Faith. It'd be too redneck if you had my kid and my niece."
The original doctor snickered. "That would be."
The orthopedist came back with the rolling tray. "Let's get you fixed up. It's going to start snowing again." Dean moaned. "It'll be all right."
"I can run a stocking run on my own tomorrow," Xander promised. "It's not supposed to collect any more on the ground." Dean nodded, letting the doctor handle his leg.
Xander pulled back in, letting his truck idle next to the front door for a minute. He got out and walked around to help Dean out. They had given him a shot of something because he was flinching and bouncing. It had put him to sleep on the way to the truck. So now Xander carried him inside, putting him on the couch. Then he went out to park his truck back on the side of the building. He walked back inside and locked the house up, looking at Faith. "Tara still here?"
"She's talking with Willow."
"Good. Keeps me from killing her." Faith gave him an odd look. "She possessed his car."
"His car means tons to him from what you said." Xander nodded. "Shit. That was low."
"Very." He looked down then at her. "John'll be here soon. Probably late tomorrow."
"Tara will be back in a few hours. Think you can handle it?"
"Yeah. I need to do a stocking run tomorrow but yeah." She nodded at that. "Did we tell Giles?"
"Tweedy answered the phone sounding drunk and slurred 'bloody hell, I'll kill the quim' before hanging up. Tara was looking like he'd have to call her back to do it."
"If she doesn't, I will be."
"Um, X? Mood swing?"
"Nope," he said with a grin. "I had them check when I got sick there."
"Good. Because you're a bit scary."
He nodded. "I am and for a good reason." She laughed, going into the kitchen. "Can you bring that wooden stool in there into the shower for him?"
"Sure. Izzy's down."
"She'll baby him tomorrow." He picked Dean up, making him moan. "Putting you to bed, Dean. I'll wake you in a while." He carried him in there, putting him into bed and tucking him in loosely. "Rest." He went to get his own coffee. "You okay?"
"I'm fine and the car's okay now. She made sure before she left to kick her girl's butt."
He smiled. "Better her than me. Willow would be begging if it were me."
"She tried to get clean, X."
"Yeah, and then she went back to get Tara to pay attention to her." Faith gaped. "Pretty clear this is an attention grabbing move." Tara appeared still crying. "You kill her?" He pulled her in to hug. "It'll be okay."
"She's bad," she sobbed.
He nodded. "A bit." She looked at him. "She could be demonic. She's not." Tara nodded, cleaning her cheeks off. "Did you call Angel or them to say you'd be late?" She shook her head. "Then go ahead and take Faith. John's coming and I'm sure he's going to snarl at us. You don't deserve that." She nodded, grabbing Faith's things to take her back to LA. Xander went to check on his daughter then fixed the heat for the night before turning in. He was going to have a long day tomorrow.
John pounded on the door before walking in and turning off the alarms. "Dean?" he yelled.
"He gets woken in an hour," Xander called from Izzy's room. He came out with her half-dressed. "He's okay. The concussion wasn't serious. The compound fracture was put back into place without pins or anything. It's casted." John nodded once. "I've got stuff for his nausea when he wakes up again. There's coffee brewing and I've got to finish dressing her." She was cooing at her grandfather, pouting because he wasn't trying to pick her up. "Here, give her a hug so I can get her dressed?"
John took her to hug. "Hi, Izzy. You're a good girl." She beamed and let Daddy finish dressing her while John checked on Dean then went to check on his former car. It looked all right. A burn mark on the hood. One belt was clearly off and being replaced. Xander came down with her. "What happened?"
"He backed out of the garage, turned around to leave, and the belt blew. Sam went to answer the call anyway while Dean fixed her." John pointed at the burn mark. "I used a taser to cut the connection between Willow and the car."
"You sure it was her?"
"It was an attention ploy," he said quietly. "Tara went to beat her ass so I didn't have to. She's with the witches in Devon again anyway." John nodded once. "Giles does know. We called him so he could kick her ass and if I find her I'm probably going to smack her around at least."
"Are you pregnant again?"
"Flu all week but no. I had them check last night when I got sick again." John relaxed. "I'm not so sure the belt snapping and all this wasn't to keep Dean here so I'd come to like him. Sometimes Willow's mind goes that way."
John shuddered. "If it is, I get to beat her ass before I shoot her."
"I'm leaving the shooting and beating to Dean. Speaking of, I've got to do a stocking run later. Can you help Dean watch her?"
"Of course. How much do you have to stock?"
"Probably just a truck full. Coffee, soda, milk, bread. Oh, if the brownies come back, the stuff for them is overtop of the water heater and they can have any of the rolls that're left. They liked the garlic rolls I found last time."
"We have brownies?"
"Yeah, in the woods. They've been pretty good about telling us when the fence is crossed."
"That's fine I guess. They're peaceful?"
"So far. I've got honey, milk powder, and there's rolls in the fridge."
"I can do that." He took the baby. "Are you okay? Did you get the flu again?"
"Thankfully not. Even though she did try to bite my nose recently." He walked off. "I've got coffee started, John. Let me work on her breakfast while you get Dean up."
"I can do that." He carried her up there, looking at his sleeping son. He was cute like that. "Dean?" he called. Dean flinched, grabbing his head with a moan. "It's the concussion, son. Want some aleeve?"
"Axe?" he asked quietly. He blinked at his dad. "How late did I sleep in?"
"I was in Iowa." He let the baby down on the bed since she was wiggling to be put down. "No, don't touch that," he ordered. "That's a booboo." He smacked her hand, getting an outraged look. "No."
She pouted, hugging her uncle. "Baba?"
"We can get you breakfast in a minute, Izzy. You're a good girl most of the time." He kissed her on the head. "Go find Daddy?"
"I'm working on breakfast. The stool's in the shower and there's a box of trashbags and some rope in there to cover the cast," Xander called from the kitchen. He came in to get her. "Want some eggies with your juice?" She squealed and babbled at him. "Good job. You made him feel much better, princess." He put her in her highchair, making her a happy toddler.
John helped Dean into the bathroom, leaving him to handle his own bathroom and shower needs. He went to get his coffee. "Thanks, kid."
"Last night I was ready to kill her myself," Xander admitted. He fed her another bite of egg. "Can you check the canister in the back of the cabinet? See how much I have left?" John pulled it down to count, grimacing at it. "Under a grand?"
"I thought I had more."
"You probably spent it on the last stocking run," Dean said as he limped in with the crutches that had been in the bathroom. "I'll shower in a while. When I'm more awake." Xander pushed over food. "We're doing fine on food, Xander."
"We need coffee and toilet paper, some milk and bread too."
"Fine. What about your savings?"
"I've got a little bit. I'm leaving it in the bank and spending that stuff first."
"Didn't you stuff some of it into a wall?" John asked.
"That is that."
"I thought you had two stashes," Dean said. Xander gave him a confused look. "Let me look, Xander."
"I thought Chris took part of that since we found it."
"If he did, I'm going to have Buck kick his ass," John decided. He went to call him. "Buck, John. Where did Xander stash that money?" He wrote it down. "You sure that was all?" He nodded. "Okay. Running a bit short and Dean just got his leg broken. He's planning on some stocking time." He nodded, making another note. "I can do that."
"Ask him if official notice of Cleveland going to hell has started," Xander called.
"Did you guys hear that the new hellmouth in Cleveland is trying to open since Sunnydale's been fluxing?" He smiled at the disgruntled noises. "Hey, feel lucky it's not in Denver, Buck." He laughed. "Sure. Compound, small concussion. No, just a cast. Izzy's already tried to pat it. Thanks. Tell Sammy if you can find him." He hung up, going back in there. "These places, Xander?" Xander frowned, looking very confused. "Xander, when did you hide them?"
"Four days after they left?"
"Xander, what's Izzy's birthday and what did she eat for it?" Dean asked.
"The seventh of last month and she had fish sticks?"
He leaned over to smack him on the head. "Memory spell."
"I'll gut her," Xander vowed. John went to look at the stashes, coming back with money. He had known the kid had more. He also texted Bobby to see what they could do about it. Because that witch was going to get his foot up her ass very shortly. He wondered how much flying to England would cost.
Bobby texted back he sent an email. John got into it and started to paint the runes around the house. "Dad?" Dean asked. "What're you doing?"
"Protecting the house so she can't do it again."
"Oh, okay." He looked at Xander, seeing him tranced out. He called Tara. "It's Dean. Willow seems to have memory charmed Xander and he's now tranced out with the fork halfway to Izzy's mouth. She's trying to get it from him." He took the bite off the fork to let her suck it off his finger. "Please. If you're not too tired, Tara." He hung up when she appeared. He waved a hand. Another witch appeared. "Who're you?"
"I'm the head of the Devon Coven. I heard there's a problem with our student. Again?"
Dean nodded, pointing at his leg. "Broken because she was possessing my car and attacked me. Wiped some of Xander's memories so he wouldn't remember where he hid money. And now you can see that."
She looked and moaned. "That's not good." Tara scowled. "Do not give me that look, young lady."
"We trust her as a witch," Dean countered. "Leave Tara alone. She's a good girl and an excellent, ethical witch."
"Good! Apparently the world could use more."
"Willow's getting attention this way," Tara said quietly. "I won't have it."
She gave her a look. "You're the girlfriend." Tara nodded. "I'd paddle the girl if she were mine." She checked Xander and they got to work unraveling the spells around him. "What is that other spell?"
"She made him have the lock to the realm merging," Dean said with a point at Izzy. "We found out last night he's not pregnant again thankfully."
"He's been prepped to have another one." Dean whimpered. "By the same witch." Shepatted her on the head. "She's adorable."
"Everyone says that. Is that a spell?"
She looked then shook her head. "She looks more innocent and sweet next to you hunters." He nodded, understanding that. "Totally mundane though." He grinned and nodded. "Yours?"
"Niece. My brother's daughter."
"That's even better." She looked over Xander, ending the spells and making them snap back at her. And the ones underneath too. All the spells on him. "He was possessed?"
"A few times," Dean agreed. "He can't get rid of them so leave them alone."
"I can do that." She finished up and let Tara cast the protection around him. "Good work, child." She gave her a shy smile. "We get so few good witches that have potential and who don't need help to heal. We'd love to host you for some training."
Tara shrugged. "I don't know. I work with the team in LA."
"It's a hard calling. Do remember us if you need support or just to talk. Plenty of us have done the same thing." She patted her on the cheek then they woke Xander up. He flinched, looking around. "Calm down. We're here to take the bad magic off you."
"What did she do this time?" Xander asked.
"Memory spells," Dean said. "A few others. You froze feeding Izzy. You forgot where you put the money." Xander groaned, putting his head down. The baby petted him, making begging noises. Tara sat down to feed her. "You're good," Dean teased.
"I have to be," she teased back. John came in to look at her. "I'm fine. Just upset."
"I'd be pissed too if she was mine. Then I'd be single." And probably grieving but he wouldn't tell her that. Tara was too delicate for that suggestion.
The witch looked at him. "You don't have to fly over. There's a few matrons of the coven who would *love* to correct her for everyone else." She looked at Xander. "She prepped you to have another one."
"They tested, I'm not pregnant."
"No, but now all you need is the ending spell." Xander shuddered. "We can block it some, but it won't be foolproof."
"Can I have it removed?"
Tara shook her head. "It could hurt Izzy. The spell linked her to you."
"So if he gets hurt on a hunt, what happens to her?" Dean asked.
"Shouldn't be anything," the older witch said. "But if he's killed it could rebound into her. Create some backlash and make her ill. Having the uterus taken out would do the same."
"I don't want my daughter to be sick," Xander said. "Thank you for letting me know. Can I help beat her ass?"
"We'll send her back for further correction." She patted Izzy's head. "She's perfectly mundane."
"We know. I'm kinda hoping she goes to a field that has nothing to do with hunting."
"Good boy. She's well taken care of. Even if you do have help." She smiled at Tara. "We should go talk to her."
Tara looked at her. "I'll lose my temper. That would be bad of me."
"Perhaps, but we can keep you from using her soul to destroy things." She held out a hand. "Come, child. If she's yours then you should have some say in her punishment." Tara looked at Xander, who gave her a hug. "Unless you want us to tell you later?"
Tara shook her head. "I want to beat her to death with a broom." She took her hand, letting her take them back to where Willow was. Tara looked at Willow, then at the senior witch. "Stop me if I go too far?"
"Of course, child."
Tara stepped forward, staring at her girlfriend. "I'm very ashamed."
"I was trying to make Xander happy," she defended. Tara hauled off to slap her. Willow gasped, holding her cheek. "Tara?" She let out a sniffle. "You hit me?"
"I'm controlling my temper. I was in the room when the car got Dean. So were Isabelle and Faith," she said quietly. "You made Xander forgot where he put the money. You hurt Xander. Being pregnant wasn't easy for him." She looked back then at Willow. "I want to be mean to you but I'm not a mean person." She shook her head. "I can't. I'll lose my temper and hurt you." She walked off. Willow burst out crying. Tara made herself keep going out to the garden. One of the witches followed her to give her a hug.
John helped Xander unload the truck. "You okay?"
"Willow and I have been friends since the first day of school. I was pissed when I got pregnant. I'm even more pissed now. I'm not sure I can forgive her for this one, no matter the reason."
John nodded. "I'm not as forgiving as you are, kid. I would've dumped her a few years back." Xander nodded. "C'mon. We're letting in the cold air." He turned and found a happy baby playing in the snow. "Figures. Dean used to do that too." He put his bags down quickly and came back to grab her. "You need your snow suit for that, Isabelle." He carried her inside to put her on Dean's lap. She smiled, patting him until he grunted at her. "Hold her while we unload the truck." He went back to help some more. "No flour or sugar?"
"In barrels in the basement."
"Yeah, old time barrels." He brought in the last load, letting John see those supplies. John moaned. Xander grinned. "I had to look but that's how they used to store them, right?"
"Way back when. My grandparents used to have those sort of things." He checked the chest freezer. "Same deer?"
"New mine deer."
"Ah." He followed him back up to help putting things up. Dean was letting Izzy pat his hair for him. "Shower, son?"
"I did, Dad. I'm a bit sweaty since I'm next to the fireplace." He sat up with a groan, putting her onto the floor. "Go help Daddy so I can put on a thinner shirt?" She pouted. "Don't get near the crutches this time." He got up and hopped to his room, changing his shirt to a t-shirt instead of a thin sweater. He came out to sit in the kitchen. Izzy had decided to stare out the window again for now. "What's for dinner?"
"Spoiled son stew," John said dryly.
"He doesn't hardly let me cook, Dad."
"Fine." He looked at Xander. "He can cook."
"I need to cook for her. It's better for her and the more I do it the better I get."
"She'd be satisfied with whatever you can do, Xander." He sat down, picking her up. She gave him a smile and a cuddle, using his shoulder to try to reach for something. "What?" He looked, pulling over the box of animal crackers.
"She doesn't like to eat those, just look at the box," Dean said. Xander got a snack pack from the fridge before he could move. "Thanks, Xander."
"Welcome." He opened it and handed it to her, making her squeal in happiness. "You learned that off Dawn," he teased, poking her on the nose. She sucked on his finger. "I love you too, fussy." She picked up a gummy fruit treat to gnaw on.
"Aren't those too small?" John asked.
"They dissolve really fast," Dean told him. "She'd have them sucked dry before they could choke her."
"Wish they'd had these when you two were little. Sammy would've inhaled them by the crate."
"He sneaks hers when he's here," Dean said. He looked around. "You couldn't find Sammy?"
"His phone was off when I tried to call and tell him."
Dean grimaced, calling his brother's phone. "Bad news." Sam groaned something. "No, worse. Rosenburg possessed the car and it ran me down. Broken leg. Left thankfully. We think the broken belt might've been part of the same problem. No, compound fracture," he said, sighing as he moved the cast. "Heavy cast that Izzy petted to make me feel better. Dad's here too. Xander called him I'm guessing since he doesn't have 'son getting in trouble' radar anymore," he said dryly.
"I never needed it for you, Dean. Except when you went out with bad girls."
"Bad girls have more fun," he quipped back. "Yeah, so I'm stuck and the car still needs to finish getting fixed. We're about snowed in again, Sammy, but you can try. Thanks, man." He hung up. "He's with Buck. I heard JD complaining in the background."
"Did he hear anything new about the council's toady agent?"
"Not that I've heard," Dean admitted. "Want me to call him?"
"No, I'll get the guy and ask him myself. The sheriff was watching someone new to town the other day and he wasn't looking pleased." Dean gave him an odd look. Xander just smiled. "I noticed it while I was getting groceries." He snuck another fruit bite since Izzy was playing with them. She gave him a hurt look and ate another one. "You can play with your food later, Izzy. For now eat."
John looked at him. "How sure are you?"
Xander grinned sweetly. "Fairly certain he had something to do with the new person." He handed over the spatula. "Should I go ask him?"
"Go ahead. Let's see who he is," Dean agreed, handing Izzy another fruit bite. She grinned and put it into the pieces she was moving on the table. Apparently it made pretty waves of colors as she shoved them around.
Xander grabbed his outdoor clothes and headed out, sneaking around to the place where the van was parked in the shelter of some trees. He used the knife in his hands on the tire, bringing someone out of the back. "Hi, why are you trespassing?"
"We have a warrant."
"Then I'd present it since you're trespassing."
"I don't have to."
Xander knocked the guy out. He checked the van then carried the guy off, using the rope he had stored out there to hang him securely from a tree. Then he waited until the guy woke up. "I'm seriously amused that you have such a glass jaw, dude. Now, who are you? What are you doing here? And are you the Fed that's dirty to the Watchers Council or is it your boss?"
"You deal weapons."
"No I don't. I collect weapons. Anything too big that I get given, I hand to the ATF. By the way, you're hanging over a mine they didn't get to remove yet. I'd quit struggling to get out of those ropes." He stopped, giving him a horrified look. "You'll be fine and won't fall as long as you don't struggle. I'm not that mean unless you threaten my daughter. Which you kinda are." He stared at him. "I don't sell weapons."
"You're one of those freaks who believe demons are real," he sneered.
"I'm also from Sunnydale." The man went paler than normal. "As a matter of fact, I was in the middle of the protection of Sunnydale." He called a number in his phone. "Travers, Xander Harris," he said sounding kinda happy. "I have one of your toadies strung up over a mine in my yard that the ATF hasn't dealt with yet. Did you really need to know something this badly that you couldn't have Wes or Giles *ask* me?" He listened to the spluttering. "Or you can't call and ask yourself?" Travers complained something.
"No I'm not, Travers. Collecting and I hand over everything too big to the ATF. Why would I need something that large?" He listened. "Riley Finn's people made that decision. No, that was mood swing thinking for me," he said dryly. "We don't care if you don't think it's right; they can tell when it has an energy flux. Yes, without that. There's machines that can read those things." He rolled his eyes. "I don't know, ask him. I'm not in the military, Travers." He looked at the guy.
"His ID said NCIS but he's clearly in your employ since he said something about demons. Yeah, that guy. Well, it does snow in Montana, Travers. The nice ATF team hasn't been able to remove all the old owner's mines yet. So he's hanging above one. Perfectly safe if he doesn't move. Actually there are agents who know. After all, the Initiative's files are known about here and there." He smirked at the agent since he was shuddering. "Think they didn't? I had Spike, hostile seventeen, as a roomie a few times."
He walked off. "Sure, I'll let them come get him all they want. But I would call off my dogs. Remember what happened the last time you threatened my daughter? Right now she's being put in danger because of you. Exactly." He smiled sweetly at the sheriff when he drove through the gate. "If he doesn't move he's perfectly safe. I made sure of it and he's a bad Fed, Sheriff."
"Still not right, kid."
"Yay him. He's a dirty Fed sent by the Watchers Council because they're too dumb to ask me themselves. I was going to call Chris to see if he wanted him or if he'd call Internal Affairs on him." He went back to the spluttering going on. "Yes, Travers, I do not like you. I can't imagine why," he said dryly. He smirked. "Sheriff, he's over a mine."
"Figured he was."
"Next time, don't let him sneak into my daughter's room." The Sheriff winced. "Yes, Travers, I am going to accuse him of that. Now, would you like to ask any other questions since you have me on the line? Because you know, I will answer polite questions or ones you send through Wesley or Giles. It's bad enough I had to deal with Willow recently. Again." He smiled. "No, I'm not pregnant again. I've had the flu because she's prepped me to have another one. I can't or it can kill Izzy. Anything else?" He nodded. "That's fine. I was going to call them anyway." He laughed. "Travers, we do know that I know where *your* warehouses are as well?" The man whimpered.
"Yeah, me, because I snooped in Giles' stuff. That means I can find enough stuff to turn you into the Feds and all that. Easily. Especially with your hit team in town." He pulled his gun, pointing it at the van trying to get into his gate. "Sheriff, we have bigger problems. They sent an extermination and extraction team." He hung up and called Buck. "I've got a small 911. A dirty Fed to the Council who claimed he had a warrant but still snuck into Izzy's room to plant a camera and now a hunt team on my gate. Extermination hunt team, Buck. How far can I take it? Well, he's hanging over a mine at the moment but how far can I take the team?" He nodded.
"Deal. Dean's injured. Please." He hung up, looking at the Sheriff. "They won't hesitate to shoot you and him. Go get my daughter out with Dean?" He nodded, going to do that while Xander checked his gun. Xander snuck up on the wall, getting up out of sight and moving into position where he could get the van if they got out. He got there in time to blow the tire on the side with an exiting assassin. They fled back into the van. "So very stupid, boys. Not like I'm the one who'd care about your blood on my hands. Especially not with my daughter in the house."
"We're here to pick her up for training, sir," one shouted.
"She's not a slayer. Even Travers saw that when he got his jaw broken. There's no mole and even the Host said that she's a mundane. No witchly powers, nothing."
"We can train her to be a watcher."
"I don't want her to be a watcher. I want her to be normal and mundane. If she wants to join the hunting life, she can make that decision when she's of age, not before." He fired at one of the guys trying to sneak out on the other side, making him scream in pain. "The snow makes the blood easy to track," he called. "And you're pissing me off."
"You won't kill us."
"Do you think I cared who got hurt when I helped free the Initiative's hostages? I shot then and didn't care. I know I got at least a few soldiers. You guys can just add to the count." They fled back to the van, trying to back up. Xander got another tire. "That was terminally stupid." Sirens were coming. "Great. Let's hope that's backup." Two state trooper SUVs pulled in. "Guys, these nice people are trying to break in to kill me, kill everyone in my house but my daughter so they can take her to an isolationist group in England. Up to and including making a Fed dirty so he can give them intel."
"Sir, who are you?" one cop asked, looking around. "Where are you as well?"
Xander came out of his perch, walking along the wall carefully. "Xander Harris." The trooper gave him an odd look. "Seen the most adorable little girl Izzy in town?" He nodded slowly. "Her daddy."
"Okay. And these are?"
"Watchers Council people out of England. Their dirty Fed is hanging over one of the mines the ATF team didn't get to remove. The local Sheriff is hiding my daughter for me right now."
They looked at each other then nodded. "Not the first time?"
"They seem to think my daughter's a savior of some sort. This isn't the first time someone's tried to take her. The cult to her cuteness tried to destroy a town to get her." He sat on the top of the gate. "You can have my gun if you need it. They're technically on my property even on this side of the gate. All the way back to the turnoff. The Fed's van is off to the side. It has a blown tire. This one has two and one guy's bleeding."
"I can see that. Economical of you, sir. A hunter?"
Xander smiled. "Of many things." He got an odd look. "Old Kyle, who used to own this place, and I share part of the same job and calling."
"Weapons?" one asked.
"I have a few but the ATF confiscated anything too big of Kyle's that was left."
That got a nod. "Thank you for listening to reason, sir. Can I have the gun?" Xander handed it down. "Thank you. Can you come down?"
"No. They threatened my daughter. You're lucky they're alive. If I come down there, they're going to be injured at the very least."
"Sure, you sit there and work on your temper." They heard an engine. "Who's that?"
"Could be the agents I called to get permission to blow them away but it's only been a few minutes. It's more likely it's one of you guys or one of their guys." The local deputy pulled up. "Officer Rich, he's in guarding my daughter."
"We can help."
"Go untie the Fed from overtop of the mine," he offered. He shifted and kicked open the lock on the gate to let him in. "Before you ask, that guy's dirty to the same mantwats who sent this nice extermination team."
The deputy grimaced at them. "I pity you if he comes off that gateway. I really do."
"Which is why I'm staying up here. I called Buck first," Xander admitted. That got a smile. He looked at them again. "One's missing." They looked and the troopers found him trying to sneak through the gate. Xander threw something in front of the guy, making him stop and back up slowly. "I'm going to make you suffer so much that even God will beg for mercy for your soul," he growled. "Get off my land." The guy backed up. "Now!" He let the trooper take him back. Xander came down to get the blade and turn off the grenade he had hung on the handle. He stared at him. "Do you really think it's a good day to piss me off?"
"Are you pregnant again?"
"No. Willow tried and started to but she never completed it." They shuddered. "So yeah, feeling great anyway. Off my land before I go to England to destroy the *entire* Council. Remember, I'm not the nice one." The watcher backed off, letting the trooper take him. He went to help the poor deputy, handing the guy over once he had cut him down. "His truck's over there," he said with a point. "One slit tire."
"We can have it towed until his boss can give us some answers."
"Thank you." He walked back there, tipping someone's face up. "Do we remember why we don't piss off the Sunnydale crew?" He shook his head. "Willow!" She appeared sobbing. Tara came with her. "These nice people are an extermination team from the Council."
"I'll fucking kill them," Willow snarled. Tara gave her a heated glare. "No, this deserves some work. Izzy's not a slayer."
"She can become a watcher."
"Why would she want to be that stupid?" Xander asked. "If she wants to research later on, there's plenty of hunters she can do it for. Like her daddy." They backed off. "Now, Willow, Dean is somewhere around here and you owe him a most major apology. I'm still too angry to listen to one from you about restarting that spell. I'd beg and plead at Dean's feet though. Because he can probably get you from the front porch with a rifle." She went to do that. Tara followed. Then they'd be dealing with the council. Xander looked at the state troopers. "Are you sure I can't have them?"
"He's very scary over his daughter's safety," the deputy said. "Even the FBI said that when they arrested the cult to his daughter because they tried to take over a town."
"I only pulled the front of their church off and then walked inside to get her back. They shouldn't have taken her from daycare."
"Sir, you hunt... those things?" one trooper asked quietly. Xander nodded. "Are you on hiatus?"
"My town's too dangerous and I was on the town protection patrol," he said quietly. "Until it's not too dangerous I can't be there with my daughter to help. So we're hiding here kinda and I'm helping some other hunters now and then too."
"That's fine then, sir. The mines we heard were around?"
"ATF removed most of them and let me remine the fence area because of the cult that kept trying to break in. They should be off at the moment."
"I called the sheriff. He turned them off," the deputy said. "Once they got here." Xander nodded. "You calmer?"
Xander snorted. "Hell no!"
"Fine. What happened to Dean?"
"The redhead made his car bite him so he'd have more time here so I'd hit on him," he said dryly. "Which is why she's begging for mercy from him at the moment."
"Good!" He shuddered. "She's the one...." He pointed at Xander's stomach, getting a nod. "She needs to beg a lot of people."
"Well, yeah. She even tried it again but it hasn't taken." He gave him an insane grin. The deputy laughed, walking the Fed off to the car. "I called Buck for permission."
"I'll be expecting his boss to come scowl at these idiots then." He shut him into the back, going to help the troopers with the others. "Call us first, Harris."
Xander looked at him. "They make it farther than the gate, you can clean them up." That got a nod. "My daughter is too precious to risk to their insanity."
"Anything that could get their higher ups arrested?" the state trooper asked hopefully.
"They're mostly in England. Have weapons and ancient books, but most of the weapons are swords and things. They might have a gun vault. But then again they do have US warehouses for their people to use in case of emergency." He smiled sweetly. "I know there's one in LA and one in New York, plus one somewhere in St. Louis since they've got a guy there." They shuddered. "As for local? Don't know. You might wanna ask Willow if she can hack them for you."
"It might make the Feds happier to see us," one decided, hiking up to the house to check on the people up there. The redhead was a sobbing mess on the floor. "Sir, are you done beating her or can we have her help us?"
"Take her before I shoot her," Dean ordered. "Because I'm thinking putting her down for safety reasons is a good thing."
"Sure, we can do that." He hauled her up, shaking her a bit. "We need to know where they have warehouses around here, miss. Before they come back."
She wiped her cheeks off. "I've hacked the Council before. I can do it again." She let him walk her out. "I'm really sorry, Dean. I was trying to make Xander happy by setting you two up." She turned back around to trudge up the road. "This is pretty here."
"It is but he still hasn't gotten all the mines off the lawn." She flicked a hand and they went off. "You'll need to tell him if you got the new ones too."
"No. They're harder to set off." He took her back to the local police department, letting her look at their computers. When agents stomped in she smiled. "I need a better system to hack the Watchers Council from so we can find their weapons stashes."
"JD," Chris ordered. "Watch her."
"You beg yet?" Buck asked her.
"Twice. I was trying to make Xander happier. Dean makes him happy."
"Dean's straight. He's hit on every pretty girl in every place they've stopped for gas," Buck told her. "Even if they do, you breaking his leg won't make him want the boy more." She blushed, looking down. He looked at the amused looking Sheriff. "She made Dean's car bite him."
"We heard." He pointed behind him. "We confiscated their weapons, guys. They had a few good things to kill Harris and his friends so they could take Izzy to train as one of them." Chris snarled at that. "Their dirty Fed is NCIS but he's back in another cell. We had to separate them before they killed the guy. He claims he has a warrant but we couldn't find it in his truck. We did find a sniper rifle. We did find wire tapping equipment and an anti-jammer to try to break what Xander has."
"Won't work, it's partially magical," Willow said, getting to work hacking them. "Do we just need the US apocalypse vaults or do we need everything in the US? Do we need to know what they have overseas?"
"Please," Chris agreed. "The time of secret societies like theirs is over." She nodded. He pointed, looking at Buck.
"That's Rosenburg, Chris." That got a nod. "Who had done something to the Impala so it broke Dean's leg last night."
"Charming." He sneered at her. "Hurry up."
"I'm being good. Really."
"I don't care," Chris told her. She sighed but went back to hacking. Tara walked in, giving him a short hug. "Tara."
She smiled. "She's under punishment with some witches," she said quietly, glancing around. "They're saying she has to come back."
Chris shook his head. "After we debrief her on this."
"That's fine but I'm to watch her. Xander called her to deal with the Council before he blew them up for coming near Izzy."
"Can he?" Vin asked.
She nodded. Willow nodded faster. "Oh, yeah. Xander's temper is much worse since he had Izzy. That's why Riley went to him to talk about their plan on how to shut down Sunnydale since Cleveland is getting worse." She glanced up. "He made a plan during a mood swing." She went back to her hacking. "There we are, baby." She looked at JD. "Will they need their funds?"
"Leave it," Tara snapped. Willow pouted but nodded. "That's mean and the potentials will need upkeep money."
"How many potentials are there?" Ezra asked.
Tara shrugged but Willow looked. "Fifty-seven at the moment down to six months of age in their care. They think there's another four." She looked up. "All over the world." She printed that sheet then the weapons lists and emergency caches. "This is what they have listed but I'm not sure it's right since another file came up with another listing that's not on here." Chris took it to look at. She got into another file. "Yeah, that's a fake." He balled it up and she printed off the new file. "Supply lists." She handed it over once it came off the printer. He gaped then moaned, letting Buck see it. "Also." She printed off another file. "They decided to take out a family to get their potential slayer." She handed it over. "They weren't willing and the council wanted her badly."
"I can see that." He looked it over until an uptight suit walked in. "Who are you, beyond FBI?"
"ATF, Team Seven out of the Denver office," Chris said. "You're...."
"Perkins, local FBI. We have a dirty agent?"
"Dirty to the same people who sent a hit team after a year-old toddler," Willow said. "Ever hear of the Watcher's Council?"
He sneered. "On some crank sites."
"They want my friend's baby girl. It's their team and they're the ones that other agent is dirty to."
"We have their lists of supply locations, and that they have eliminated a family to get their child to train," Chris offered.
"Why are you guys involved?"
"We had a guy who used to collect weapons up here. The new guy who owns the house now has been working with us to clean up his little mining problem around his lawn. Same guy," Buck told him. "He had the dirty one tied over top of one of them from what I heard." The Sheriff nodded. "We like the boy but he's insanely defensive about his daughter," Buck offered.
"Putting it mildly," the sheriff agreed. "He dragged in someone who wanted his daughter more than once. He carried them in to put them on my desk in cuffs. Then he walked off happier."
The FBI agent looked confused. "Who is this guy?"
"His daughter is the one the cult arrested by the LA office is to," Vin said. The agent looked that up, squeaking a bit. "Yeah, that problem."
"So he's protective for a reason. Good!" He guessed. "It lists her father as knowing weapons?"
Willow looked up with a smile. "Hi, I'm Willow Rosenburg. That's Xander Harris, both on Buffy's team out of Sunnydale." That agent whimpered. "Exactly. Oh, we did hear that Sunnydale is weakening and fluxing but Cleveland is growing problems? The Initiative guys have some way of measuring it."
"Aw, hell," the FBI agent muttered. "And? More bad news?"
"Their boss said if Cleveland opens fully and Sunnydale shuts, it's going. Xander had mood swing plans they got from him."
"Sure," he decided, nodding some. "Is he helping?"
"He's not going to do anything that might injure his daughter."
"Even better. Think we can keep him here?"
"If you can find some way to let him support them both," Willow said. "And he'll still probably help the other sort of hunters."
The FBI agent coughed. "I know that name as someone who's ...found some things?"
"We get most of the heavier things," Chris told him. "He likes us."
"Izzy makes him smile," Buck agreed, getting a dirty look. "She does."
"She's a cute little girl."
"Everyone says that," the Sheriff agreed. "Even the ones around here that don't like kids." He looked at the Fed. "I like the Harris boy. He keeps to himself. Doesn't cause troubles. If we have some we can lean on him for things like fugitive hunts. He'll bend over backwards to not appear to be collecting anything harmful. He gave us a map of the mines."
"I detonated all the old ones," Willow admitted.
"That's fine," Chris agreed. "We'll pick up the remains and check this spring."
"Not the new ones," she said, looking at him. "Those are harder to set off."
"We figured they were," Vin agreed. "Boy seems to know what to do about things."
"John's taught him how to deal with things their way too," Willow said calmly. "He'll help their sort." That got a nod. "Maybe he'll be a good researcher for them."
Xander strolled in with Izzy and John behind him. Everyone stared at him. "What? I figured I'd have some paperwork to sign. Statements and those things."
"There are," the deputy said. "C'mere, Xander." He came over to look over the report and sign his statement. Xander added some, letting him nod at those before he printed and signed it. "Thank you. Dean all right?"
"Big, heavy cast that Izzy pets for him if he's not paying attention to her. He's not mobile enough to guard her right now so we had to bring her."
That got a smile. "She's a loving little hellion."
Xander nodded. "Yes she will be." That got a few laughs.
Izzy was staring at the agents, then giggled and grabbed JD's hat to try to put on. He scowled. She just laughed and waved her free hand. He put it on her head for her. "She looks better in it than you do," Buck teased.
"She's a beautiful girl who'll look good in most anything."
Xander looked over. "I'll have a lot of fun threatening her boyfriends," he agreed, cracking Buck and Ezra up.
"We'll feed you sedatives before her first date," John told him. "Is he in trouble?"
Chris shook his head. "For protecting his house and family? Even if they tried, he could claim self defense and this state will protect him for that." The sheriff nodded. "You guys?"
"If you guys don't, I don't."
"Thanks," Xander said with a grin.
"If I find more than a shotgun out there...."
"Though, the demons in LA have been wanting us to visit again." He grinned. "And the cult has a few people who're about to get out on parole." They shuddered. "They wanted us there for the parole hearings."
Chris looked at him. "If you go on another nest raiding mission, you're handing it over, kid."
"Of course. Anything too big?"
Chris looked at him. "Don't you have enough?"
"Wouldn't that depend on what the next apocalypse is?"
"Any idea what it is or in which city?" Buck asked.
Xander shook his head. "No one tells me anything. I can call LA, see if Wes has something."
"We should probably hear from one of the sources," Buck said. "Got their number right off?"
Willow wrote it out and held it up. "To Cordy's phone and she wants to be an actress so it's on her."
"Thank you," Buck said, taking it outside. "Miss Chase, Bucklin ... Yes, him. Xander told you?" He smiled. "We are. The Watchers just tried to get in to get the baby. We're arresting them but Xander said he had to come out there for parole hearings of some cult members and suggested we all need to hear which town the new apocalypse is in and how bad it'll be?" He listened. "No idea yet? It's nearly Christmas." He smiled. "I can do that. Probably soon. Yes, they tried very hard but Xander did win and got them down."
Chris came out to take the phone. "Chase, we need to know which town it's in and how bad it'll be as soon as possible. Cleveland is a real city and if we have to evacuate it'll take weeks." He nodded. "I can do that. This is Buck's cellphone and he does know about some of the hunting things. Please do include us in that loop. ATF actually. Yes, the ones taking the mines out of Xander's yard," he said dryly. "She's inside. I'm sure you'll see her soon. Parole hearings. I'll let him know he should have warned you sooner." He smirked at the snarky comeback. He could appreciate a woman with a mouth like that. As long as she wasn't under his command. "Please do. Thank you." He hung up. "Let her take something for her headache and she'll ask Wesley." He walked back inside. "She said you should've already warned her."
"I was going to warn them the day before so she could coo at Cordy and make her coo back."
"She's definitely got a mouth on her."
"Oh, yeah," Xander sighed. "And I used to date that." He shook his head. Izzy squealed and hugged him. "Thanks, baby girl. Some day I'll pick you a wonderful stepmommy who'll love you and make you into a girly girl like Dawn."
"You could take Dean," Willow offered. Xander turned and threw something at her head, making her squeal and duck. "Sorry!"
"Going to be," Xander agreed. "Because otherwise my temper is still high and then Dean gets you, Willow."
"Xander, calm down," John said patiently. "Dean gets her first and then you."
Sam stomped in and paused. "What the hell happened?" he demanded.
Xander grinned and handed over the baby since she was squealing and reaching for him. "Watcher's Council wanted her. Pity. Willow was trying to set me up with Dean and that's why she possessed the Impala and broke his leg."
Sam opened his mouth then closed it and looked at his daughter. He kissed her on the head and handed her to Buck then walked over to Willow, hauling her up. "Give us ten minutes please?"
"Let her finish hacking," Chris ordered. "Then we'll beat her ass."
"There's no we," he said with a tense smile. "First my daughter then my brother."
"She prepped him so Dean could knock him up too," John said. He was enjoying the hell out of his son's temper tantrum. He stole his granddaughter back though.
"Ten minutes?" Sam asked Chris. Chris took Willow back and put her back into the chair she had been in. "Fine," he muttered. "How is Dean?"
"Cast, small concussion," Xander told him. "The car ran him over."
Sam nodded once and Buck leaned on his shoulder. Sam looked at him. "Comfy?"
"Holding you down until she's done. Then you two can go talk in the snow."
"Sure, we can do that. Is the house secure?"
"Dean's got a shotgun. The Council's idiots are all here. As far as we know."
Xander looked at him. "Sheriff, has anyone heard a mine go off?" he asked him.
"Let me call Philip." He did that. "Philip, Sheriff Jenkins. Someone tried to invade the Harris place to get his daughter. I need to know if you hear any of the mines going off. Sure, thanks, Philip. Here at the moment. Dean's back there with a shotgun in case but his leg is broken." He laughed. "That's fine. Let me know if you do. Yeah, that one was sanctioned. A friend took out all the ones Kyle left that the ATF didn't. Thanks." He hung up. "He hasn't heard one yet but if he does he'll call."
"Sure," Xander agreed. "That'll work." Willow printed off other stuff then suddenly disappeared.
Sam looked up. "That won't save you. I have a passport too. I will get you, Rosenburg, and your little black heart too!"
"Way to channel the Wiz," JD teased.
Sam grinned. "And then I'll go mediaeval on her ass." Chris laughed. He took his daughter back, nuzzling her cheek. "Love you, Izzy. You can keep Daddy calm." He walked off with her. They could get an iced coffee in the winter. She'd like the whipped cream.
Tara looked at Xander. "I thought you were mad."
"You have no idea, but he doesn't usually have the bad temper that way," John admitted. Tara shook her head and went to follow her girlfriend so *she* could finish beating her ass. That way she wouldn't lose out to Sam's temper.
Sam came back with her, her whipped cream mustache, and his coffee. "Now what?"
"Can I talk to them?" Xander asked nicely. "Since Sam's got the baby?"
"Hell no," Chris said dryly. "It's wrong to torture people in police or federal custody."
"Go home. We'll come out to talk soon," Vin ordered. Xander snarled but nodded, heading out to the truck. John nodded politely and followed.
Sam followed too since he had a rental. "Am I driving her?"
"Her seat's in the truck," John told him. He took his granddaughter but Xander snatched her and put her into her seat, licking off some of the whipped cream to make her giggle.
"I'd share," Sam offered.
"Why? She needed cleaned off anyway, Sam." He finished checking her over then slid into his own seatbelt. She smiled at him. John got in shaking his head. Sam went to his rental car. Xander looked at John. "Why can't I kick their ass?"
"They're in official custody. If there's more, kick their ass before turning them over."
"The state boys got there before I could do more than mentally screw with them."
"Sorry. Next time we won't call as quickly."
"Eeh, it happens."
John shook his head but he was smiling. "You're an original, kid."
"I could be twins or triplets."
"Please don't. There might be a wish demon listening."
"Fine." He grinned. "You know, she'll get a crack ho plan again sometime. Do you want a grandson or a granddaughter next time?"
"Don't even think about it."
"I'm not but she tried and she might try again. Or some other chaos witch. Or even Ethan or Giles if he goes back to bad magic."
"Shut up, Xander."
"I'd like a list of all of them so I can go hunt them down."
"There's over a thousand chaos people according to the Watchers Council."
John whimpered. "How many are powerful enough to do that?"
"She primed the spell. We need to ask someone like Lorne when I'm back there for the hearings."
"Sure, I can do that." He looked down. "Awww, her nap time. That's good." John laughed. "She's been a holy terror wanting to baby Dean for having a booboo."
"That's because you're doing good with her."
"If I had to have a granddaughter, she's a good one to have."
"Yeah, I didn't want kids but she's pretty decent." John smiled. "I still need to find her a stepmommy."
"It's not easy to date when you're a single parent but you never know." He pulled up to the gate, pressing the intercom button twice before opening the gate and driving in. "I told Dean I'd do that so he won't shoot us."
"That's fine." He shifted to look at her. "John, veer right." He did that. "Thanks. One of them isn't exploded and wasn't on the map." The truck stopped and Xander got out, throwing a clump of icy snow at the mine. It went off and he called the Sheriff. "That was me. One wasn't on the map." He hung up and walked up to the house once Sam had pulled through. They found Dean making coffee. "She's had some."
"I saw the traces of whipped cream," he said dryly. Sam grinned, giving him a hug. "I'm fine, bitch, but your daughter is fussier than Tara is."
"Tara's a good role model for her," Sam said. "And you're still being a jerk, jackass."
"If you two teach her to swear you'll be teaching her not to swear afterward," Xander said patiently.
Izzy woke up and yawned, smiling and waving at the adults. "Hi!"
"Hi," Dean said with a grin. "When did you learn that word?"
"Don't know," Xander admitted. "Unless she learned it from one of the ladies at the store. They all say hi."
"Hi!" she said, smiling and waving at him.
"Hi," he said, smiling and waving back. "You're so silly." He took her to cuddle. Sam stole her. "Hey!"
"Shut up." He grinned at her. "Let's let the daddy read to you. Would you like a story?" She pulled on his ears but was babbling at him as he walked her down to her room to find a book.
Dean shook his head. "He's fussier than Tara. That's where she gets it from." Xander snickered. "The illusions are off?"
"Oops." Xander went to fix that. "Thanks for the warning."
"Welcome." He looked at his father. "So, she did what?"
"She wanted you two to get together. This was the Rosenburg version of matchmaking and hoping for new nieces or nephews."
"Uh-huh." He nodded once. "She dead yet?"
"Sammy wanted to but she disappeared."
"Damn. Well, we'll see her eventually." He took a sip of his coffee. "Need some, Dad?"
"Crap!" Sam shouted. He came out. "Xander, Izzy's roof is leaking. A branch beat it."
"Hell." He came up from the basement with a tarp. "I need someone to help me hold the ladder."
"I can. I've still got on my boots," John offered, following him outside once he had on his gear. Xander climbed up to tack down the tarp. "How bad is it?"
"Very." He looked down. "I don't want to replace a roof during a snow storm."
"It's supposed to be clear but a bit chilly for the next few days. How long will it take?"
Sam came out to look up at them. "How bad?"
"Very. We've got three holes. Dean's going to need my trundle again." He looked over at him. "Can you call the hardware store and tell them I need some roofing stuff asap? If Buck's still in town see if they can bring it up? The credit card's in the fridge."
"I can," he agreed, going to look up the number to do that. He came out a minute later. "I made sure with Buck. He said that's fine. Do you need nails?"
"Yeah, I've got an auto nailer. It's a full scale model." Sam went inside to say that. Xander shook his head. "This is going to suck."
"A lot," John agreed. "But I can help and so can Sammy probably."
"Thanks." He came down. "Dean's probably got a damp bed or floor. Izzy's got a damp area. The back storage area has one too." They went inside and Xander went to find his tools. He came out with them, taking the extra gloves to put on under his. "Thanks." He headed back out there to get things ready. Buck and Chris pulled up and he went down to get what he needed first. "Thanks, guys. Izzy and Dean both have damp rooms and so does the storage area." He went back up and got to work on prying up the old shingles. Buck came up. "I can do this. You don't have to freeze, Buck."
"I'm carrying more of the shingles up."
"Thanks." He took them and put them under the tarp. "This is going to take me a while. Call me in for regular coffee breaks?"
"Sure. Want more help?"
"It's nearly dark. Let me get on with this part and I'll be in soon."
"Sure." He went inside. "He said to call him in for frequent coffee breaks." John went up to help him. "He didn't let me."
"It's nearly dark. He'll never get finished with the area of Izzy's room by then."
"Izzy can sleep with me," Dean offered. "Or with Sammy in the other room, Dad."
"You'll be on the trundle," John reminded him. They went up to help Xander pry off the old and put on the new. "Under boards?"
"Still mostly okay. I'll replace the ones that're bad. The one over Izzy's room looks like a gap." John nodded, coming over to help put down the insulating tar paper. "I can."
"Shut up, kid."
"Fine." They got back to work. It was going to be a long night. Xander looked up then at them. "It looks like it'll snow again tomorrow."
"It's supposed to be clear up here, but snow down toward us," Buck said. Xander grimaced but worked faster. "Do we have another nailer?"
"Check my toolbox. I might have a smaller one."
"Chris, check the toolbox for another nailer," Buck yelled. It got brought up by Sam, who came to help pry off the old shingles ahead of where they were working. It was damn cold out there and they needed to get on with this. The house would leak energy like a sieve tonight if they didn't get it mostly fixed. John rigged the tarp over them for some extra protection from the cold wind. "Thanks," Buck said quietly.
"Thanks," Xander agreed. Sam just grinned. They got back to the main part of the roof. The storage areas could wait but over the main living areas had to be done. They got done with half of it before it got too dark. They tied down the tarp over the rest and headed back inside. "Okay, the front is retarred and shingled. The back isn't."
"That's fine," Dean agreed. "My room?"
"Is going to be cold and wet but there's a tarp over it," John told him. "Take the trundle, son."
"Not the first time." He looked at Izzy. "Are you napping with me?"
She waved and went back to nibbling on the cookie JD had let her steal from him.
Dean shook his head. "We spoil you horribly, Izzy." He went back to hopping in the kitchen but Ezra made him leave it alone. "Fine."
Xander winced at the sound of a crack outside. "Crap." He opened the door to fluffy, big snowflakes. He burst out laughing. John looked and groaned. "Guys, if you're going tonight, you might wanna head."
Chris looked over his shoulder. "It might already be too late. I can't see our tracks."
"Shit," Xander said, slamming the door. He grinned at him. "So." He shook his head. "At least we have cable if the dish is working."
Chris laughed. "It might go out in that mess."
Xander sighed, looking around. "Beds are going to be an issue then. Dean, you're sleeping on my bed. Sam, you and Izzy take the trundle. John, the camping gear is in the storage area, can you check it for me?" John nodded, going that way with Chris. "There's the roll away in Izzy's closet. Dean, is your bed soaked?"
"Pretty damp but I flipped the mattress. Izzy's crib is very damp."
"The roll away?"
"Fine. Was in the closet," Sam offered. "You have that other one in the attic. Dean and I slept on it a few times." He went up to check on it, bringing it down. "It's a thin mattress but it's not that uncomfortable, guys."
"That takes care of half of you guys. Unless you guys wanna shack up double in Dean's bed. Then that'll leave one person without a bed." He hit himself on the head, going down to the storage area, coming back with the air mattress. "Some of my camping gear. The sheets will fit it." They set them up in the spare rooms. John got a guest. Chris and Vin took Dean's former bed. Ezra tested the beds and took the roll away in the nursery. JD and Buck got the rest of the camping gear on the couches. Thankfully Nathan had stayed back at the office. Josiah was trying to help the cleaning up in the kitchen at the moment. Xander walked in there. "Who's cooking?"
"What do we have to cook?"
Xander waved a hand. "And down in the basement in the barrels and the pantry, dude." He went to look, coming back with a hopeful look as he looked in the freezer. "The venison in the freezer is pretty fresh. Since thanksgiving they both stepped on mines."
"I can bread the cutlets to make medallions. There's plenty of potatoes and other supplies."
"I did try," Xander offered.
"You did pretty good, kid." He patted him on the shoulder. "Let me see what Ezra and I can cook up."
"Okay. Oh, there's some canned stuff this way. Some honey and milk powder above the water heater to feed the brownies in the woods, and I think there's another case of soda and another can of coffee under the sink."
"Xander, the brownie on the back porch said this storm isn't natural," Buck called.
Xander went to make him a meal, coming out to put it in front of him. "Witch related?" He nodded. "I'll beat her ass myself." The brownie laughed, taking the stuff. "Sorry about the lack of bread but we're out unless someone can thaw and bake a frozen loaf."
"That's fine. It's not half as bad nearer to town."
"I'll gut her later on." The brownie smiled. "Thank you for letting me know. Need more?"
"No, this is good, lad." He walked off with it, disappearing into the snow.
Xander walked inside to call Buffy's phone. "It's me. Is Willow within smacking distance? Playing with the weather to strand me, all three Winchesters, the baby, and six of the seven ATF agents we've been working on the mine issue with. Fortunately I have food stored but there's a hole in the roof we have to fix tomorrow. Even if it is snowing." He moaned. "Yeah, the brownie said it was. No, not mini girl scout, Buffy. Ask Giles about them." She did that. "Well, Sam wanted to kill her for hurting Dean. I wanted to hurt her for hurting Dean to give us time so we'd fall into bed together. And now the ATF team is up here too. So, can you send her back so we can beat her ass?"
Sam snatched the phone, handing him the baby. "Buffy, Sam. How long before I can kick her butt?" He listened to her complain. "Yay." He smiled. "Exactly. So we'll have a shitload of fun when we get back there for parole hearings? Yeah, please do have him told. Thanks." He hung up. "She'll warn Epps we're stranded here in the snow."
"That's fine. Josiah said he'd cook with Ezra."
Ezra came in to clean up and see what they had. "Did we decide to stock our supplies in case the world goes dark after this next apocalypse?" he asked dryly.
"I didn't know how long we'd be snowed in. Besides, the major ones come in the spring anyway." He grinned and walked off. "Thanks, guys. Gotta figure out how to finish the roof in the snow." The wind picked up and he winced. "Yeah, she's pissed. Oh well." He sighed, going to see if the dish worked. It didn't, of course. His DSL line did. "Internet still works." Chris came in to write Nathan so he could spread the news. Someone was going to get Rosenburg even if one of them had to fly to England.
Buffy knocked on the door, smiling at the old man that answered. "Is Don here? I have a message from Xander for him."
"He's eating dinner. Do we know you, miss?"
"I'm Buffy. He helped my buddy Xander with that cult thing and he's due in soon for some parole hearings, but he's kinda snowed in thanks to Willow."
Don came to the door frowning. "What, Buffy?"
"Willow hurt Dean intentionally to keep them together hoping that Xander would hit on Dean." Don moaned, shaking his head and moving outside. "And then today the Watchers Council showed up today to steal Izzy. They're very sorry but whole because the State Troopers got there before Xander could finish showing them why they're idiots."
"Are they all right?"
"They're fine. Well, Xander, Izzy, and them are probably fine. They were earlier when Willow hacked the Council to get the ATF team that helps him with those lawn mines information." He nodded slowly. "And they caught a dirty Fed. So they're dealing with that." That got another nod. "But Willow's still on her kick and hiding in town at the Hyperion because she decided to give them more time together. So now Xander has him, Izzy, three Winchesters, six ATF agents, and a load of blizzard with a hole in the roof they're working on right now. He wanted you to know that he might not be able to get in for the parole hearings. I'm just kinda hoping the dish is still working because Tara nearly went insane before it went up. That many guys.... they're going to end up drinking or doing stupid stuff."
He groaned. "I can let the DA's office know about that. How long before you beat her enough to make her stop the storm?"
"I'm keeping my temper by spreading this message. Cordy has her to chew her a new one. Because she kinda possessed Dean's car and had it bash into his leg to break it the other night."
"She needs beaten."
"I know. Mom's going to later and Sam vowed to kill her since she primed the spell to get Xander pregnant again. No baby yet but she started it. Thankfully it's not attached to anything even if he can't remove it or it'll make Izzy sick."
"Wonderful. I'll let them know. You go beat her. I'm sure that goes against many ethical rules for her kind."
"Yeah but the demons are happy. Xander was going to come raid some nests."
"I'm sure he still will." She grinned. "Go beat her. Xander doesn't need this stress."
"We're taking bets about how long it'll be before the agents need mental help."
"If they know Xander, probably a while."
"I don't know, Willow said she's like this because he warped her."
Don looked into the house. "Save me some. I'll be back." He grabbed stuff and took her back to the Hyperion. He walked in with her and went to where he could hear Cordelia yelling. He nodded at Buffy's mother. He had kept subtle track of what they were doing in case it endangered his city again. Joyce seemed to be the most sensible of the whole group, though he did think Spike was very original but also had a good set of skills for the job they did. He hauled Willow up, looking at Joyce. "Do you want her first?"
"I can't keep myself from killing her."
"I can." He sat down and put her over his knee, no matter how much she struggled, and spanked her until she begged for mercy. Then Joyce took over for him. He called the DA's office on the way home to tell them what was going on. They agreed it was unavoidable and they'd try to call to get a statement from him. That had felt a bit too good but she clearly needed it.
The head of the Devon coven appeared, looking at the sobbing witch. She looked at Tara. "You?"
"An FBI agent who helped Xander with the cult to Isabelle," she said quietly. "And Joyce. I'm still too mad."
"Good. Then it's our turn. Rupert?" He walked in with his drink. She took it from him, handing it to Joyce. "Come along, Rupert. She's your student. Even if she does seem like Ethan's." They took her with them. Tara went too. They really wanted to teach her not to do such things. Before they had to kill her for it.
Xander ran into Dean and flipped back quickly, mumbling a 'sorry' at his sleeping body. He hugged his daughter, making her snuggle in better. It was chilly as hell in the house thanks to the roof.
Dean snuggled against his back, one arm going over his waist. "Cold," he murmured.
Xander made sure he had some of the blankets and let himself be held. Not like he could make Dean get off without hurting his leg.
Sam sat up. "Wiggle some and he'll let go," he whispered. "He did it to me when we were younger."
"Want me to take Izzy?"
"Okay." He laid back down, getting comfortable again. He smiled because they did look good against each other. Maybe they could work out something for stress relief at least. He heard Izzy snuffle and got up to grab her since Xander was so comfortable. He changed her in the bathroom then brought her back. The loose diaper was a bad sign but it could've been dinner not agreeing with her. She had nibbled from everyone's plate, even from Buck's hot sauce laden potatoes. She had charmed everyone into being her willing feeding slaves. Some day his daughter was going to break hearts and make men beg. Maybe it had been the succubus Xander had played with while pregnant? No, they hadn't found any taint. She was just naturally adorable. Dean flipped over and Izzy wiggled so Xander let her pick her own position. She decided to get between them to cuddle her uncle for a bit.
Dean woke up and blinked down at her. "Comfy, Izzy?" he asked quietly.
"Apparently," Xander agreed. He flipped over and Dean realized he had been cuddling. "It's cool, Dean. It's a natural impulse. That's why you're behind me or you'd be cuddled to death."
"If you're sure."
"Yup." He listened. "The wind's died."
"Good. Maybe it quit snowing."
"Nope," Sam said, sitting up again. "I checked when I changed her. By the way, the hot sauce she liked didn't like her."
"Figures," Dean agreed. He looked down at her. "I don't know how you're so adorable when both of your fathers are badasses."
"Thanks," Sam said with a grin.
"I taught you. Of course you are," Dean quipped back. Sam swatted him, getting a fussy noise from Izzy. "Let's go back to sleep, guys." Xander shifted and curled up again. Dean made sure he had some of the blankets too. Xander gave him an odd look over his shoulder. "You weren't covered." He shifted back so Izzy and he had some room. "Now you're not hanging off." Xander shifted back carefully then curled up again. They all settled in. It was good to sleep.
Xander woke up in the morning with Izzy against his back, Dean against his front somehow, and Sam whimpering on the trundle. Xander carefully wiggled his way out, letting Dean have Izzy. He went to the bathroom, grabbing some clothes on the way. A quick shower, dressing, then out to the living room. Buck was snoring. JD woke up some but Xander waved him back so he went back to sleep. Xander started some coffee so he could take some outside with him. His hat and gloves were quickly found and his insulated mug too. He snuck out to the porch to put on the final heavy things, letting him sneak up to work on the roof again. He took a drink then got to work checking over last night's last few shingles. He pried off a few more rows then got back to work on them. He kept it as quiet as he could. He didn't want to wake anyone else up. Even if he had woken up nuzzling Dean's chest.
Chris woke up with a snort, looking up at the roof. "He needs insulation."
"There is some," Vin mumbled. "But it's old fiberglass and paper."
"He's up working on the roof."
"Probably some gay panic."
"No, he's not like that," Chris said. "He's too open for that. Dean probably cuddled too much." He got up and went to shower before the others needed the bathroom. He saved Vin some hot water. Buck and JD wouldn't be up for a bit. Ezra would take an act of God to get up this early. Josiah was already up and in the kitchen. "He up there by himself?"
"Snuck out after letting the adorable minx in there have her uncle's chest to nibble on." Chris grunted but he smiled behind his coffee cup. "They'll need more guns to shoo the boys off."
"They should start in daycare," Vin said, coming out to get some coffee before hitting the shower. He looked in the nursery then snickered quietly. Chris and Josiah went to look, both laughing at the way Isabelle was trying to wake Ezra since she had a book. "Darlin', he won't wake up for hours. Want one of us to read to you?" he asked quietly.
She pouted at him. "No! Him!" She climbed up to sit on Ezra's stomach, cooing when he grunted in displeasure. "EzEz!" she squealed loudly. "EzEz!" She rocked and giggled, getting up to bounce on him. He caught her the second time. "EzEz!" she said happily, leaning down to kiss him on the forehead. "EzEz!" He blinked at her. "Bobo?"
He blinked at her. "What?"
"She found a book and wouldn't let us take her and it," Chris said, walking off grinning. She was going to drive him nuts having him read to her.
Sam woke up and came out looking alarmed.
"She woke up Ez to read to her," Vin said, closing the bathroom door so he could shower. Because he remembered her trying to help a few times he had been there before.
Sam walked into the nursery. "Isabelle, why didn't you wake me? I'd read to you." She scowled at him and swatted. "Hey, behave."
"She's fine," Ezra said quietly. "She obviously has taste in the voices that read and educate her."
"It's still rude."
"She's fine, Samuel. Go make her breakfast?" Sam went to put on more clothes then do that. He looked at her. "You do have very good taste in asking me to read, young lady. I'm excellent at it and your fragile little cranium will be expanded as much as I can while we're stranded in this forsaken camp up here. Though your aunt does have good taste in who could tame your father." She smiled at him and patted his nose. "Fine, we'll go back to the story." He went back to reading to her.
Sam came in a few minutes later, holding out his hands. "Want some eggies and potatoes?" She pouted at him, patting Ezra again. "Food then more stories. Let him get up and clean up, then he can come read to you some more." He grabbed her, tossing her up to make her giggle. "C'mon, let's go eat." He walked her out even though she did beg. "Sorry, Ezra."
"She's no bother. It's important to get young minds open and useable so they don't end up tragically stunted." He got up and went to the bathroom then went back to bed. It was still ungodfully early by his standards. He would wake up again at a better hour. Or she'd come back to let him educate her some more after she ate.
Dean stumbled out to the kitchen, looking at his messy daughter. "What are you eating?"
"Fried potatoes," Sam said.
"Greasy," Dean complained.
"Not that bad," Sam countered. "I'll bathe her after everyone else is done and the water heater is recharged."
"Fine." He sat down to kiss her on the head and grabbed some of his food from the bowls on the table. "Thanks for cooking, Sammy."
"Welcome. Josiah started it but I needed to get her away from waking Ezra up."
Dean hummed since his mouth was full, looking at his niece. "I'll read to you." She beamed. "Where's your mother?" She pointed outside. "Roof?" Sam nodded. Chris did too. "Let me get dressed and I'll go help."
"I think maybe someone cuddled too much," Chris said.
"Why? He didn't mind it earlier."
Vin gaped. "Really?"
"Really. He said he didn't care." He shrugged. "We all woke up last night." He finished up and went to shower and change, blow drying his hair before going outside. "Hey, Xander, need help yet?"
"Could yeah. Thanks, Dean."
"Welcome." He made it up the ladder with some careful moving, looking at the lawn. "The snow is too deep to get out."
"Someone needs to adjust the dish too. It's crooked," Xander said quietly.
"We can do that when we're over that way." He got under the tarp to help him. "That's looking better." They got back to work. "Insulation inside? It was way too cold last night."
"Some of it's old papers he used to pad the fiberglass insulation. If I had the stuff I'd use blown insulation but I don't and I don't think we'll be digging out today."
"Probably not." He glanced out then at him again. "She was clearly in a pissy mood."
"That's because she knows that she'll be beaten to death for this stunt," he said dryly.
"So why sneak out?"
"I was awake. It needed to be done."
"So it wasn't cuddling?"
"Not yours." Xander blushed, looking at him sideways. "I woke up nuzzling. Sorry."
"It happens. I'm an amazing specimen so of course you wanted to touch and nuzzle."
"And modest too," Xander joked back.
"It's hard but I gotta keep my modesty and head somehow."
Xander laughed. "You're so bad."
"Thank you. Izzy's having fried potatoes all over her hair and face."
"Does she still have baby soap?"
Dean thought back. "Some. It'll last all week. You have extra in the closet and some of it's gentle enough for her."
"Good. I didn't want her to stink and be greasy. Some of the older ladies are giving us odd looks for me being a single daddy. They said it'd be more reasonable if I was female but since I'm not..."
"One. She came out with the deputy. She was very impressed and said I was doing fine. It was screwy mental problems that couldn't give equal opportunity for being a single parent. She did ask me about any plans I had for dating. I said if I found another one that wasn't evil but still snarky and a bit wicked, then I'd gladly date as long as they weren't a danger to my daughter. She gave me an odd look so I told her about Cordy. She was impressed she let me live." Dean snickered. "Yeah. So we're supposedly looking but there's no women in town who appeal to me."
"It happens in small towns." He nailed in another panel of shingles. "What are we doing about the insulation?"
"Too much more snow and it'll help with that according to what the sheriff said.
"Yeah but we had to scrape it off to do this."
Xander pointed up. "We're due some anyway, Dean. We need to call town to see how long it'll be before we're plowed from the gate down."
"Probably days if they got it as bad as we did. How did you know about that mine? Dad told me."
"Spot vision. The truck was drifting and would've hit it."
"Good vision then." Xander nodded. "Headache?"
"That one was like an ice cream headache. I've had worse with longer ones."
"Sammy gets horrible ones each and every vision."
"Cordy's is killing her," he said quietly. Dean dropped the nailer. Xander caught it and handed it back. "Hers are gifted by the Powers, Dean. They're too strong for a human." Dean shuddered. "Unless Sam's the same way?"
"Not that I know of. We'll check by making them compare. Anyone call LA?"
"Yeah, Buffy left a message on my phone. She told Epps I might not make it for the parole hearings. He kindly went to paddle Willow for us."
"Dad and Sammy will be too. Their tempers are legendary among the hunters. They used to argue and get into fist fights before Sammy went to college."
"That had to suck."
"Yup. Especially since I was in the middle playing 'stop it before I shoot you both in the balls with rock salt'." Xander chuckled at that. "I told them that a few times. It got old real fast." Buck came up to join them. "Hey, climb under. We're doing okay."
"It looks like it." He moved to help strip the shingles ahead, glancing back at the ground. "It's going to be a miracle to get the truck cleared out."
"I didn't even think about buying a snow blower, just shovels," Xander admitted. "Sorry."
"It's okay. We can work on it. Chris is calling the Sheriff to see when the road'll be done. JD has plenty of extra energy so he can shovel for a bit." That got a smile. "How much longer do you think, Xander?"
"We're only doing the critical parts right now. The main stripe that had ice damage and damage from that stupid tree limb. The rest I'll get this spring and handle in about a week." That got a nod. "And I'll be adding to the insulation." Dean nodded at that. "I'm not sure how I can do that now without pulling the present stuff down and restuffing it."
"That's a good indoor job," Dean said.
"I'd have to have her with me and that's dangerous. I doubt I could get her to wear a mask."
"The beauty of naptime," Dean reminded him dryly.
"That's true. I can probably get a good few feet done at naptime. Sure. Once we can get out again." He heard the door open and John swear. "If they want out, someone has to dig since I only got shovels, not a snow blower."
"That's going to be a lot of digging," Chris said.
"Yeah, but dig now or dig more later when the next fit of snow comes."
"Good point." He went to check out the shovels. "Wonder if we can rent a snowblower? If they can plow the main road up to the gate, we can trudge out to meet it and then use it on the way back." He went to find the phone book and call the local equipment rental place. After he called to see when the main road would be plowed. Because he liked the kid but he didn't want to be trapped with him. And someone had to take care of the horses back on his farm. Nathan would try but they'd ignore him. Ezra came out. "JD, go start shoveling out the truck?"
"Sure, Chris. How deep is it?"
"Very. It's up to the door handle on the windy side." JD whimpered. "I'm going to try to rent a snow blower for a few days, JD."
"This or the roof," Josiah offered.
"I like shoveling better then." He went to do that with John's help. Josiah came out once he was better dressed for the weather.
"I was thinking," Xander offered. Dean gave him a horrified look. "I do a lot of it. Nothing else to do out here. If I'm here next winter, maybe I should add on a garage out by the gate? Maybe get a four-by-four to carry people up in the snow?"
"That could work," Buck agreed. "Damn long hike though if the way up is up here."
"Good point. I'll consider how to do this next year."
"Snow blower and a plow attachment for the front of the truck," Dean said simply. Xander nodded at that. "I would've thought Kyle had one."
"He broke it his last year trying to use it to knock down trees," Buck told him.
"Oh. No wonder." He paused. "Buck, didn't Kyle have an underground garage?"
"Um..." He thought back. "I don't know. John?"
"Yeah," he called up.
"Didn't Kyle have an underground garage somewhere, Dad?" Dean called. "We're hoping for a snow blower or something equally practical."
"I thought he did but I haven't seen the entrance to it yet."
"Maybe it's that funky closet sorta door in the lower pantry by the basement?" Xander offered. Dean groaned and they went inside for a coffee break to check that out. Xander showed it to him. It was a small crawl hatch in the back of the closet. It turned out to lead to one of the storage areas via the floor joists. "Call Bobby?"
"Maybe." He decided to do that. "Hey, Bobby, it's Dean. How do you get into Kyle's underground garage? We're hoping for a snowblower. That sudden storm? Yeah, Rosenburg's idea of 'here, you should spend time with him so you two get together'," he mimicked. Bobby apparently laughed. "Don't do that. Beyond that, we've been helping with the roof since a branch got it and some ice damage happened. House is cold as hell right now. Guys, firewood is in the box in the windowed porchy area out back." They went to get it and start the fire. Izzy pouted at that. "Tough, I know you like cold but tough, Izzy." He listened to Bobby.
"Buck said he broke it knocking down trees. It's up to Chris's door handle, Bobby. There's no way without a plow or a snowblower. Probably both and still the shovels. Can't. I barely made it onto the roof to help with that with my broken leg. Also thanks to Rosenburg's method of hooking me and Xander up." He listened to the complaining and spluttering. "Any idea, Bobby?" He listened then followed the directions, finding the hidden door in the living room's storage closet. "This leads...." He nodded. "So two hallways and one was a bolt hole in case demons and Feds came. The other's the hidden garage? I figure he had to. He got out during the winter. Thanks, man." He hung up and tried the door, having to get Sam to pick it for him since he couldn't get into the position needed. They walked down there, finding the bolthole first.
"Damn," Buck said.
"We can bring it back with us," Chris called. He followed to check it out, blinking at the stuff packed up against all the walls. "Survival supplies. Water. Camping gear."
"Pseudo-pillow top air mattress," Xander said. He opened a box. "Sex toys." He closed it. He'd seen enough of those from Anya. He looked in a case and whimpered. "Toy," he moaned.
"No," Chris said. He looked in there and nearly said the same thing. "How in the hell did he get that?"
Xander shrugged. "No clue," he said, looking happier. Dean groaned, heading for the other hallway, then turned back around to open the doorway he could kinda see the outline of up the hallway. "What's that?" he called at the moan.
"Found Kyle's motorcycle." He closed the door. "Nice bike." He headed for the other hall at a hop, wincing at the cold getting into his sore leg. "This does suck."
"Pain pills are in the medicine cabinet," Xander said. "Or the first aid kit."
Dean looked at him. "Anything beyond aleeve?"
"Yeah, in my emergency kit for patrols." Dean stared. He shrugged. "Being hit with your own stake hurts." Chris got the other door open for them and nearly did a happy dance at the two snowblowers. "Does it have gas?" Xander asked.
"Should," Dean said. "Unless it evaporated." He went to check, nodding. "They do." He looked at the door. "I wonder where that comes out to." He tried to open it but it was stuck. He groaned, going to see if they could dig the door out.
"Hell, we'll carry one," Chris decided. "Buck?" He came in to help him carry one of the snowblowers upstairs and outside. Yeah, he was desperate and he knew why the kid was going insane being stuck there for their own protection. JD nearly whooped in pleasure.
John looked at it. "That thing is cranky. It likes to stall unless he fixed the engine."
"The other was heavier to carry up the stairs," Buck told him.
"Where does it come out at?" Chris asked.
"Underneath the back porch." Xander moaned. "What?"
"I thought that was a root cellar."
"Not the folding doors; that's a storm shelter. He built the porch in front of the doorway to the older garage." He went to look. Yeah, it was covered. He took the cranky snowblower back that way to free it so they could get the good one, finding one of the porch supports was up against the door. Dean was trying to get it free from the inside. "Why did he do that? He knew better."
"Dad," Dean called. "There's a second door it looks like. Smaller though." He tapped on it and John blew the snow away from it. That one opened. "We have a few things of gas in the survival supplies." John went to get it while Dean checked over the other snow blower. Dean decided to be helpful by getting on the riding lawnmower and coming out to push the snow around with it. John gave him a dirty look and pointed inside, making Dean sigh but go get warmer again. John got the other one gassed up and handed it over to Chris since he wanted to leave so badly.
Chris handed it to JD. "Do not scratch my truck."
"Of course not." He went to work on that. Josiah took the other one. It was still a hell of a job, the driveway was nearly a mile long. But they could get out by tomorrow hopefully.
"Look, the ground is brown!" Xander said, pointing at a bare spot. "It's brown, Dean."
"You need to sleep more," Sam said with a grin.
"Just for that, come help with the roof if you want to be warm again."
"Coming." He got on his boots and went up with him to work on the roof's problems. "When did this happen?"
"It was fine a few weeks back when I had to get the tree branch off it but I guess it scratched something and let ice under the shingles." That got a nod and they got back to work. JD was getting all the area around the cars. Just in case they had to get out in a hurry, like another trip to the ER. Xander felt his stomach heave and groaned, sitting up to calm it down.
"Are you sure she only activated it?"
"The blood test said so."
"When did we have it done?"
"The same time Dean was getting x-rays since I had the flu all that week."
"Oh. Ow." He got back to work with a head shake. "Dizzy?"
"Slightly." He got back to work too. It had to be done. Before they froze to death or the furniture was ruined. Since Joyce had picked out the crib, he wanted to keep it in case he became a grandfather. Far, far in the future. So far that Star Wars was a reality. And he didn't mean the missile system either.
Sam felt Xander's forehead. "Dad, come get him. He's running a fever."
John came up and helped Xander down and inside, taking him to warm up and check.
"EzEz baba?" Izzy asked, watching them walk past where he was reading to her.
"If he wants to fix you a bottle ask him, sweetheart. Daddy's feeling sick."
Tara appeared. "She's very sorry, Xander."
Xander looked at him. "I feel better for some reason."
She frowned, testing him, which made him run and puke. "Huh." She called the witches she had met fixing Willow's issues. "Why would Xander be attuned to magic so much that it was making him sick?" She listened then went to make him some of her tea while they figured that out. "Thank you." She walked in there and handed it over. "Peppermint tea. We're working on the rest." She went to look in the library he had here.
John looked up. "Kyle, if that's you doing it, leave the boy alone," he said quietly. "He's like a younger version of Bobby with more weapons. Tara's a good witch, the sort we could count on." Xander got sick again. Willow appeared. "Please?" he muttered. She steeped some herbs to bring to him. John grabbed her before she could disappear again. "We should talk."
"I don't care, young lady. We still need to have a talk about ethics and why you don't do shit like that." He walked her into a room and was going to shut the door but Chris came in to help, already glaring. If she didn't learn this time, they'd burn her for the boy so he quit being plagued.
Tara helped Xander drink the herbs, getting him out to the couch for a bit. She cast the checking charm again and he turned green. She looked up. "I know you're here, but he's keeping your place safe." The ghost appeared, staring at her. "They won't let him keep the bigger weapons."
"No, he can't," Ezra agreed. "Unless he can hide them better magically." He looked at the ghost. "Really, he is trying but Chris is a bit forceful."
Buck came in and stared. "Could've sworn you were salted and cremated."
"Cremation leaves chunks sometimes," Dean said from his seat. Kyle looked at him so he waved. "Xander's daughter is Sammy's too. The witch being beaten to death by Dad merged the realms, Kyle. Xander's a good weapons nut like you were only he's less paranoid. He works on the fringes of the system and you know he hid most of it from them." The ghost nodded. Ezra scowled at him. Dean grinned. "You really thought you got all his babies?"
"No. There was a high percentage of cannibalized equipment in that group."
"Uh-huh," Xander agreed. "Kyle, look in the room with the magic books I'm keeping away from Willow," he said quietly. The ghost faded out then came back to smile at him. "Can you please leave me and Izzy alone? I don't mind the mentoring but I've already sucked in a few spirits. Since we can't fully unpossess me, it's not really going to be fun for either of us. All I need is a safe place to raise my little girl until it's safer to go back to hunting for us. Caleb gave me this place for some of my old stash."
"You could've been Kyle's son if you were from our realm," Dean said dryly. "You've got the same instincts, only yours are from that Halloween possession. You're both scary weapons sorts. You've modified a few and so did he. You can both go insane out here but manage to keep a little bit by fixing the place up."
"I do like how the mines keep giving us deer," Sam said as he came in. He sighed and went to the kitchen. "Rock salt, Dean?"
"He's not hurting anyone," he called back. "He's making sure Xander's a proper heir." He took another sip of his coffee. "Really, Kyle, he could've been your kid."
Kyle got closer to the boy, feeling him flinch away from him. "I won't." He touched his head to feel him. Then he nodded. "A good heir. Stay here and protect her while helping other hunters, Xander. It's never safe to hunt."
"I was in Sunnydale before," he told him. Kyle moaned. "I might be reassigned to Cleveland if Sunnydale falls in."
"You've got to get her to undo the conception spell too." Xander groaned. "All you need is a bit of DNA and it's making you sick, boy." He stared at him. "There's plenty of things to hide around here. And plenty I hid too. Though, the roof, not totally that branch's fault. I admit I screwed up sometimes and it's been years."
Xander grinned. "You were busy."
"Yeah. You could've put the Feds in the bunker."
"Hey," Buck complained. "Besides, we only found it earlier. With the snow blowers."
"Not that one, the emergency bunker. I had Bobby help me build it." He floated that way, showing them where the door was. "I designed this place to never be able to fully be taken over."
"I'm kinda thankful you left that money in the well since it's kept us eating this winter," Xander admitted, looking at the doorway. He opened it and Buck moaned at the stairs. "Is it under the garages?" He nodded so they walked down together. Xander flipped on the generator, finding a nice set of bunks around an entertainment center full of videos and DVD's. There were more survival supplies and more blankets in the corner. He ran a hand over the wall. "Iron?"
"Salt coated so no spirits can get in when it's sealed."
Xander smiled. "Let me guess, you were going to let some coeds move in and lurk down here?" he teased.
"Nah, girls are freakish things that're nearly demons. Good for fun but not for more than that."
"I was thinking about marrying Anya but she didn't want to be a stepmommy."
"That's her lack of brains, boy. With the way you spoil those two little demons of John's, you'd have spoiled her to death."
"She demanded I spoil her. She was formerly demonic and getting used to being human again. She learned from Cosmo and Buffy."
Kyle gave him an odd look. "Huh?"
"She used to be Anyanka, over women scorned."
Kyle stared at the boy. "Hit on Dean, boy. It'll be better for you and he's just as dangerous as a demon." Xander broke out cackling. "Seriously, before one guts you some night during a date."
"Actually, she's the first one that didn't try to kill me. Sunnydale was like that."
"I remember that show. Buffy die with Glory?"
"They took artillery to Glory. Buffy was vamped when the cult to Izzy took over the town. It let the mayor drop her into a nest while unconscious and tied up. She's souled now."
"Interesting." He shook his head quickly. "At least the First can't get out?"
"No, she can't. Though Sunnydale is looking like it'll close in favor of Cleveland."
"Stay here. It's safer, boy." He patted him on the head. "Caleb didn't give you my map?"
"He said he had one somewhere but he had to find it. Then I haven't heard from him in months."
Kyle's eyes drifted off into the distance. "That's because he got overrun. Crap." He faded out and came back a few minutes later. "Buck, one of your folk is nudging Caleb's old stuff."
"Crap," he said, going to find out who and call them. "Hey, Danet. It's Buck. You know the strange stuff? Yeah, I'm up here with Harris actually. Snowed in but one of the other hunters just died and he was the weapons connection." John gave him a hurt look. "Kyle said one of us is nosing around his stuff." John nodded. "He got overrun, John."
"You done with Rosenburg?"
"Chris is making her sorry." Buck smiled. "Where are they?"
"Bunker." He pointed. John went to look, groaning when he got down there. Buck smiled at that sound. "Caleb, yeah. He was the connection for a lot of hunters. Can you get hold of that agent and clue him in or assign it to our team once we get back? We've got a good three feet of snow and a mile driveway to clear plus waiting on the town to plow up to us, Danet. His daughter's got Ez wrapped around her fingers to make him read to her."
"It's not a chore and I do not have the skills necessary to help anywhere but in the kitchen otherwise," Ezra pointed out.
"You can run a snow blower, Ez. It's like mowing only on snow." He listened to her laugh. "Who has it?" He smirked. "Tell the little bitch I said hi and let her know please. Yeah, she's got a good clue. Thanks." He hung up. "Withic has his case." Ezra snickered at that. She knew a lot about the strange stuff. She was the daughter of a hunter. The cellphones rang. Buck grabbed his. "We're still snowed in." He smiled. "Three feet. We found snow blowers so we're working on it, boss. Chris, it's Travis. Let the witch be for a few so you can go back to beating her."
Chris came out to get his phone. John took his place with Sam for a bit. "Yes, AD Travis? We'll be lucky to get out tomorrow. They can't plow out here until the day after. We're still digging out the vehicles. JD right now. Buck's been helping since the roof sprung a leak during the storm. Where is Xander? I don't hear him up there."
"Kyle's ghost is showing him some of the hidden areas."
Chris covered the mouthpiece. "Any more weapons and they can go with us too," he yelled. He went back to it. "Sorry. Yeah, the guy with the landmines, sir. His ghost. I don't know. I let Buck handle it and tell me later on. Or beat him if he's banged up." He smiled. "Ezra is reading to the guy's daughter. No, not the ghost's, the new owner's. Yes, Izzy. She got him up at eight and made him read to her." Their boss cackled so loud Ezra could probably hear it halfway across the room. "She's adorable and giving him looks like he's God for reading to her actually. He can go do the snow in a few hours, when she goes down."
"Mine," she said, scowling at him.
Buck flopped down giggling. "She's nearly as fierce as you, Chris."
Xander came up the stairs to look at her. "You're only borrowing him. Like you borrowed the toys at daycare that day I had to put you there so I could bug spray." Izzy pouted, patting his chest. "You can borrow him for now. You have to give him back to Chris and Buck later." She scowled. "Tough. Need your morning nap already?" She sniffled.
"She'll be fine," Ezra told him.
"She'll wail when you guys finally get to leave," Xander corrected. "And pout me to death." He looked at Chris. "What other weapons?" He grinned and walked off.
"I can ask Tara to unhide them, Xander. She doesn't like weapons."
"Tara knows not to touch mine. They were my babies and pets before I had Izzy."
"Someday you'll have to clean out her stash," Dean quipped.
Chris groaned. "Don't joke about it, Dean." He listened to the boss. "If we're lucky? Three days. If the witch that created the snow storm does it again? Could be March, sir." He listened then laughed. "We're staying sane. Thank you, Orin." He hung up. "He'll tell Nathan he has to keep mucking stalls." He went back to help the Winchesters talk to Willow. Dean could have her last. He deserved the death blow since she had broken his leg. He let Dean hop in behind him and shut the door again.
Xander looked up a minute later at the wailing going on. "Banshee?"
"Dean laid into her for his broken leg and poor car," Kyle told him.
"Ah." He nodded, looking over the map again. "No hope of a second plow blade?"
"Nope. Sorry, Xander. Didn't think I'd need one." Xander grinned at him. "Insulation we do have a bit more of. You can use some of the stuff down here to repack that area up there." Xander beamed at that idea. "Though, I'd take the documents and stuff out of the crevices. Things like the deed." Xander whimpered. "Don't worry, it'll be fine, boy." Xander went up to check on those, coming down to get a paper bag for them. Then he went back up. He came down to strip some of the insulation from the basement area and put it upstairs. Buck came to help with that. It'd be warmer that afternoon to work on the roof again.
Xander walked into the Sheriff's office behind the team. "Problems, Sheriff?"
"Checking to make sure you didn't eat anyone yet, Xander."
"Nope. We even managed to dig out the Impala and fix that belt so Sam could go hunt with Dean and John could go too. They're going tomorrow." He grinned insanely. "Dish is down though."
"I'll let Craig know. His phone's down thanks to the storm. What happened?"
"Barely," Chris admitted. The Sheriff groaned. "We let Dean have her last since she was responsible for his broken leg."
"That's probably mean but good of you." He looked at them. "How much more stuff are you taking from the boy's house?"
Chris snorted. "Don't ask, Sheriff. Kyle's ghost showed up to show him all the paranoid nooks and crannies he put in." The Sheriff whimpered. "So it's good. Did Kyle buy it?"
"Got it left to him by the former owner for saving him from the thing that came out of the river. They found the old deed?"
"In the attic," Xander agreed. "Property taxes are due when?"
"Last month but we know you've had some problems. The mayor thinks she's adorable too."
"I'll go do that today then. And then get soda, milk, and bread." Ezra laughed. "How did you make her not wail?"
"I charmed her into a nap and left during it."
"She'll pout at us later then." He looked at the Sheriff. "Any other bad guys come in that I should know about since you called about a new jail resident?" He pointed. Xander went to look then came out to get stuff from his truck and went back there to fix Spike. He came out with him. "He's harmless but annoying."
"So I heard. Tara's in town and she wanted him. I meant the deputy." Xander went to do an exorcism, making him yelp but climb out of the poor deputy after a few rounds of Latin. "Do others get this insanity?" he asked Chris.
Buck nodded. "Yup."
"Don't worry about his stash unless he has to use something publically," Chris offered. "It's all hidden under some 'don't see me' thing and some look like books." The Sheriff laughed. "Kyle's very happy watching the baby now and then. The roof's problem area was fixed. They'll be fine."
"Good to know." Xander came out. "You still sane?"
"Mostly. Though they can't unprime the spell to make me have another one." The Sheriff gave him a dirty look. "Willow again. That's what started her thing. She wanted me to give Dean a son."
"I see," he said, then shook his head quickly. "A bit too redneck for the area, boy."
"That's what I said." He grinned. "Don't worry about my shotguns, Sheriff. I'm a good boy most of the time. Unless my date of the moment is evilly teasing me or something."
"Find him someone only slightly evil to date?" Buck suggested. "He hasn't had any since he played with a succuba in his second trimester. His last one used to nearly be one so that's part of it."
"I'm handling it part of the time," Xander complained.
"Not too many girls like that around here. We mostly have good girls." He gave Xander an odd look. "Though, your friends coming again?"
"Probably not. Cordy's too sick to road trip right now. We'll be going to see her for the parole hearings for some of the cult members though."
"Anything bigger than that one case and we get a call or Epps gets it," Chris ordered.
"Yes, Chris. Not like I don't know how to use them for parts."
"Fine. Spoil my babies."
"I think Ez did that," Vin said dryly. Ezra swatted him on the arm. "You did spoil her rotten."
Xander nodded. "Yeah but she's too cute to say no to." He looked at the Sheriff. "I'll be out of town next week."
"Sure. Have a good trip home." Xander grinned and went to get the stuff he needed then head home. "You sure he's fully sane?"
"As sane as he was while pregnant," Buck offered. That just got a nod. "He did celebrate the snow blower finding brown areas."
"With the winter we've had, I'm not surprised." That got a few smiles. "Have a good ride back to Denver, boys. I'll call if he gets into too much trouble." They shook his hand and left. The Sheriff looked at Spike. "Go away."
"Too bright and you've got my car locked up."
"Fine. Rich? You sane again?"
"Yeah, Sheriff. Just fine now." He came out to look at him. "Want me to get his car?"
"Please." He went to do that, pulling it around to a shady spot in the back. "Leave my town, Spike. I don't care if you are nicer than the average sort. Shoo. Now."
"Fine. Only came to see the little nip."
"I don't care." Spike strolled off. The sheriff shook his head. "At the least Harris will get rid of him in a few days. Annoying ass British folk."
Xander walked into the Hyperion, finding Cordelia leaning her head on the desk. He put something down beside her and got to work on her neck and shoulders.
She moaned. "I see you didn't lose any of those muscles," she said quietly.
"Nope. Shoveling snow helps keep them there. So does chopping wood." She smiled back at him. "Try that. Bobby knows a seer who uses that to cure her headaches." She opened the package and nibbled on the laced chocolate. She even let out a tiny moan. "He said it'll take about a half-hour to work. Though, he did suggest being changed slightly could help. You could turn into a succubus and find all the pretty men to drain dry and their energy too." She swatted back at him. "Just a suggestion," he said with a grin.
"Asshole," she muttered. "Where is Isabelle?"
"Joyce. She demanded."
"Ah." She looked back at him. "Thank you."
"Not an issue. I'd have been here last week but Willow's mystical snow storm hooking up system gave us five feet of snow when she got pissed at them punishing her."
"I heard. She still can't sit."
"We're damn lucky I had enough food stored," he told her. "Or else I'd have killed her ass." She nodded at that. "Anyway. How're things otherwise?"
"Bad. Moving toward the thing this spring."
Xander grinned. "I can exercise my fabulous nest raiding skills if it'll help."
"Wolfram and Hart."
Xander smirked evilly, holding something up. "Found that in my attic ceiling." She took it to look at and moaned. "Yeah. So they owe me money. It was with the estate of the guy that they drove off. He left it to Kyle and Kyle gave it to me."
"Ooooh. Angel!" she shouted.
"New vision?" he called as he came jogging down the stairs.
"They don't own the land. It was in Xander's attic. It used to belong to the original owner of his paranoid compound."
"You're feeling better?"
"Bobby knew of a painkiller that helps another seer. It's herbal and it's slightly addictive but it's handy," he said.
"I'll be a junkie, it works," she told him. She put the rest into her drawer in an envelope marked 'seer's drugs in chocolate'. Then closed and locked it from Fred. "Can we use that?"
He read over the deed. "Yeah, we can." He smiled. "Let me call someone. Thanks, Harris."
"Give me a list of nests too. I need to get out and do something beyond shovel snow and work on my house's roof."
"I can do that too. Bring gear?"
"Of course. Before you ask, Joyce has Izzy."
"I can get you a list right now," he offered, going to get it for him. Xander took it off to light up their lives. Literally in the case of the vampires' nests. Angel's helpful contact Lindsey came in to see what he had found. That got a good-guy's evil plan going. That could definitely help them a lot.
Xander called the guy he knew locally. "Megan, why are you answering Don's phone? No, it's Xander. I was just raiding a nest and found a huge ass bomb. Want it?" He smiled. "East side. I have *no* clue but my phone has GPS. Please. Underground by the way but the opening's about a foot behind me and I left it open. Thanks." He put it down and went back to looking at the pretty toys. He had made sure that the magical stuff had went to Gunn already. And the handguns in case any of them were special. He had even picked out a few guns to give the Winchesters a new one for the holidays if they weren't stolen. Don would know how to make sure of it. He heard running feet. "I'm down here," he called. Colby slid down the ladder. "Nice style." He pointed. "That thing?"
"That's a huge bomb," he agreed. "Disarmed?"
"Not on when I got here."
"Even better. Don, it's bigger than the hole," he called.
"There's another entry somewhere but I'm not sure where and neither was Gunn or Angel," Xander called up. "Or how to take it apart." He looked at the demon coming their way. "How are you today?" he asked in the demon tongue he could speak.
"You defile their holdings."
"Yay." He snapped another light stick. "They won't need it."
"Knight," he groaned. "Are you back?"
"Not yet. I may switch to Cleveland, not sure. I'm here to kill some time before the cult's parole hearings and to give me more things I can teach my brilliant daughter."
The demon bowed to him. "As is reasonable. We had heard she was mundane."
"So am I really." That got a nod. "If you hear of more nests that need my special touch, I'm in town for a few days."
"You took out many of them but I shall ask around. I do know of one that would make others pleased." Xander gave him a pen from his pocket and some paper from Colby's. He wrote down the address for them. "They are annoying, sing off-key too loudly, and their neighbors are bored by them."
"Thank you. Let me look at them later tonight." That got another bow and the demon left. Xander looked at Colby. "Some of them like me more than Willow does. Do youknow how hard it is to dig out from five feet of snow?"
"Yeah. To try to get me to hook up with Dean. There was a second, smaller storm later that first night that nearly got her killed." Colby whimpered. "Exactly. And she primed the stupid spell," he said quietly. "She wanted a nephew and decided there had to be one to carry on the Winchester family name."
"Barely. Still can't sit and it's been a week."
"I'd have killed her after the first time. I couldn't even imagine myself going through a pregnancy." He shook his head and shuddered. "I want shot if I end up that way."
Don came down with one of their ATF contacts. "You get knocked up by some witch and we'll do that, buddy." They looked at the bomb and other stuff. "This the only heavy stuff, Xander?"
"No, but I thought I should get you guys to get this and then come get the rest from Gunn's hiding spot. He's watching it for me."
"That's fine. I trust Gunn." The ATF agent gave him an odd look. "They're the ones stopping Wolfram and Hart from destroying the city."
"Oh, *that* group."
Xander grinned. "I'm from Sunnydale's group." The guy stiffened and looked at him. "Now I'm in Montana and I've got an ATF team who came to remove my new house's mines that the old owner put in the lawn."
"Team Seven out of Denver."
The guy whimpered. "I'm so sorry you had to deal with Larabee."
"Nah, he's nice. My daughter cooed and played with his hair the night before we got them unsnowed in at my place. She managed to keep Ezra fully occupied reading to her the whole week."
"Snowed in with Team Seven for a week?" he demanded. "How are you sane?"
"They keep wondering that about me," he said dryly. The ATF agent cracked a smile at that. "Then again, their people wondered if I drove them insane. No cable either. The dish needed fixed."
"Damn," Colby said. "I saw the pictures of your compound."
"Most of the mines are gone."
"Good!" He shook his head. "How are we getting this out of here?"
"I can take it apart but it'll take a few hours." Xander handed over his tools. "Do you know bombs?"
"Smaller and construction worthy ones. Not like that. I would've called sooner if that had been running. Or we can crack the ground and lift it."
"That'll take hours," Don complained.
Xander looked behind them, saying something back that way. A large, sightless demon lumbered their way. "Little forward, into the sun? It's got a ladder." The demon nodded, finding the hole by humming then reached up to dig the hole bigger. It came down around them. "Thank you for your help." He patted it and hummed. It hummed back and nuzzled him then left them alone. "Earth digging demons are generally peaceful and very nice beings unless you try their nests."
"Most people are until you threaten their families," Colby agreed. He looked up. "Ropes." The waiting agents got them some. They hoisted the bomb up and the other stuff that had been gathered for them. "Let's hit Gunn's storage area, Xander. Don?"
"Coming." He got into their SUV to follow Xander's truck. It wasn't that far away. Gunn met them at the door. "Xander's looted stuff?"
"Back corner, under the tarps. The rest is my people's stuff and not weapons unless it's stake throwers and things."
"That's fine. We trust you to not go thug on the populace," Colby assured him. That got a smile and a nod. Now he knew why David had said he wouldn't come. He and Gunn didn't get along. David didn't usually get along with guys who ran in gangs, even helpful ones like Gunn's. Colby moved the tarp and whimpered. "Oh, damn."
Don looked. "That's bad."
Xander looked. "Where's the rest?" Gunn pointed when the agents gaped. Xander went to remove the rest of the tarps. "Can we take a picture for Chris? He kept nagging me to turn it in."
"Sure," Gunn agreed, letting him get in position os they could take a picture for his buddies. Those ATF agents sounded like hardasses who were going to keep Xander sane and on the straight and narrow since a few of their team had went to the wrong side. Even if Buffy had a soul, she was still a bit too wild as a vampire for his tastes.
Don looked at the pile. "We can't fit all this in the SUV and his truck."
"We can lend you ours, but I don't want agents in here," Gunn said. "Too many of the guys could get hurt. They see black men massing and thing we're all thugs."
"I know you're not, Gunn," Don assured him. "If we could borrow it, I'll have it given back later?"
"Sure." He went to get the truck and bring it in there so they could load it. Xander looked then up, then muttered and floated things in there. Gunn gave him an odd look. "When did you start doing that?"
"When I sprained my back two weeks after the birth and Izzy needed a bottle. That's all I can do though."
"Good! Because I heard how magic goes wrong around you."
"Thank Willow that I have this much skill. It came out during the pregnancy."
"Another good reason to beat her."
"No, that's her primping the pump so she can have a nephew. She decided Dean needed a kid."
Gunn shuddered. "No. We saw way too much of your pregnant ass last time, Xander. You were freaky then. Please don't."
"It's not connected to anything but that is why she broke his leg and snowed us in. So he'd have the time to hit on me."
Gunn patted him on the shoulder. "Remember, you're still sane. No matter what she does to you."
"The dish is down."
"It can be fixed. Then you'll have entertainment beyond the cute one again." Xander nodded, looking at the other stuff. "That's ours, kid."
"Fine." He pointed at something. "That wasn't."
"Nope." It got put into the truck too. Gunn closed the door then drove it outside again. He ran into a few demons carrying things. "Are we handing them to the FBI too?"
"The Knight isn't keeping them?"
Xander grinned. "I've got my stash hidden from the ATF guys who like my daughter." They smiled and let Xander sort them. He got to go home with two new toys but Don got the rest since they didn't look like they'd work. And he told the demons that before sending them over.
"How did you get those?" Don asked.
"Hobla?" Colby asked.
"The orange and puce weapons guy?" Xander asked. They nodded. "He's selling junk again. You guys should get your goods back and bring Don or Gunn here to his stash." They beamed and went to be an angry mob on the weapons dealer. Don patted him on the back. "Welcome."
"Know any human ones?"
"Two or three," Xander and Gunn said together. Xander looked at him. "Eric and Paul and who?"
"Paul, David, and Morris. Sorry, he does our stakes and specialty bullets."
"Any who're going to sell to the wrong side?" Don asked patiently.
"Craig," they said together.
"He has a rep for selling crappy stuff," Gunn said. "That's why he's a method of emergency."
"Paul's little brother was into drugs the last I heard," Xander told Gunn.
"I heard he's in rehab." They considered it. "Who did you get the RPG from?"
"Nest then I modified it."
"Now, up north, there's Corboran. There's Toddy. There's Milt but he's moved to Frisco recently. And there's Chuck. He's an ass." That got a nod. "Any of them, please have. Just don't say you got 'em from me."
"We can do that," Colby said. He let Xander write down their names and areas/addresses for them. "Thanks, Xander." Gunn added his list. "Thanks, Gunn."
"Welcome but the same rules apply. It's bad for us when we have to get something. Drives the price up."
Xander looked at him. "I told Chuck if he ever sold me something unworking again I was going to turn him in after I rammed it up his ass to try to fire it. Maybe the lube would help it." Gunn laughed. "I don't mind gay men but I'll be damned."
"That's fine," Don agreed. "Those sort become victims of whoever buys from them when they get mad about the junk. Or they get fixed by someone who can." They got into the truck, Colby driving their SUV. "I'll bring it back soon, guys." They headed back to the Federal building to turn them in for destruction. The ATF agent from earlier was waiting on them. "Hey."
"What's all this?"
"The stuff he found from some nests and some of the demons handed over stuff that didn't work that a dealer had them buy."
"Interesting. Can we deal with them?"
"Harris told them to go be an angry mob," Colby said as he got out. "Wish I had that floating stuff right about now."
"That's what rookies and interns are for, guys. If you didn't scare them off, you'd know that." He called upstairs. "Sir, we have a handover of a lot of artillery cases that needs unloaded. Yes, sir. Garage. Epps and Granger, sir." He hung up.
Don got out to open the back of the truck. "Supervisor."
"Epps, where did you get this?"
"One of the Sunnydale team went raiding some of their kind's storage areas. We were also given the names of some who have a rep for selling junky stuff," Colby said. That got a grin from the ATF supervisor.
"Harris went raiding, sir," the ATF agent said.
"Why is he in town? I heard Team Seven out of Denver had him in Montana."
"Parole hearings for some of the members of the cult to his daughter," Epps said. "Visiting friends."
"Well I guess it's useful. At least the military has that town shut down."
"It'll be going down soon," Don said quietly, getting an odd look. "They said the problem up there is going to close soon and move to Cleveland by the energy studies they've been doing. They have plans to make the area safe and start over."
"Aw, shit, that'll cause hell and publicity."
"Yup," Colby said. "But it'll mean LA will be a bit safer."
"My son's in the Cincinnati office," the supervisor told him. "I'm having him move to Colorado. He's polite enough to not get in Team Seven's way."
"Xander spent over a week snowed in with most of them," Don offered. "Said his daughter got Standish to read to her the whole time."
"And Larabee didn't eat him?"
"No, apparently not."
"That girl might just be a saint then." He shook his head before calling for the rookies to come unload the truck. "Whose truck?"
"LA's team," Epps told him. "That's who he's visiting. He used to date Chase."
"That poor man. She's a bit loud."
Anya appeared, looking at them. "Leave my former pookie alone. Even if he is a mother now, it's not right to pick on Xander. The girls did it too often and look at him now."
"Are your kind making sure that no one else can turn into Xander?"
She snorted. "Hell yes. D'Hoffryn said if another Xander is ever created, he's going to take the baby away from the bad parents and have him raised by demons. It'd be nicer to our side. Though we don't think there'll ever be another Willow/Buffy combination to warp him as well as the bad family. It's sad but motherhood straightened him out a lot." She floated the rest of them out. "We do know that the Wolfram and Hart vault is bigger and badder?"
"We can't get in there without a warrant. Unless they find some way to be exposed?" Colby offered. "Like maybe someone made a wish?"
"No, but I think Xander was going to go raid their vault later on. If you catch him in the act...." She disappeared. That had been a good plan of Xander's.
"Harris is a planner," Colby said dryly. "Let me get the truck back to Gunn." He got in and drove off smiling and happy. The whole Federal complex hated Wolfram and Hart now that they knew they were behind the bad takeover attempts of LA. They only needed an excuse. And even if they used the flimsy excuse they wouldn't be giving the weapons back, even if the arrests didn't stand up in court.
to part 5