Wrecking the Plans.
Rick watched tv, bowl of popcorn in his lap. He was having a good day. He had written more than his word goal for the day. Alexis was in school again. Things were quiet. That nagging feeling he had finally disappeared earlier. Then the entertainment channel started to show something on Xander. "Paula!" he yelled. She came running out. He pointed.
She stared, watching the trainwreck in motion. "That's not a relative of his. He said he only had one uncle." She called her publishing company's legal department to have them stop it immediately.
Castle called the kid. "Tara, it's Rick. Have you seen something about a documentary on Xander's life?" He checked. "No, it's on repeat right now on one of the digital channels. I think 165 in the city but don't quote me. Yeah, that thing. Does he know? No, you have to tell him, Tara. Today." He hung up and groaned. "She's seen it, was already working against it, but she hadn't told him. He's at the cabin this weekend."
"Shit," Paula muttered. He wasn't answering his phone either. She left a detailed voice message to get in touch with her.
Xander, he had already heard through other sources. He was meeting with the people who had done it. "I didn't know I had another uncle," he said bluntly, making the guy flinch. Xander stared at him. "I hate to tell you this, but you just cost that network millions and yourself too, plus time in jail."
"I didn't do nothing wrong. They bought it," he said with a sneer.
Xander smirked. "It's still considered fraud to take money for a lie like that. Especially since we can prove it. Because that's not my mother's maiden name."
"That was on your birth certificate."
"Yeah, which was refiled six times because she was too drunk to remember stuff." The other hunter glared. Xander stared at him and moved closer. "Also, you should be aware that I'm the seer that gave John Winchester the information on the demon after his family." The man went pale. "Since I've seen the next three, there's nothing saying I have to tell anyone."
"You'd never do that as a real hunter."
"Ah, see, I was trained the slayer way. The people who handle the real, actual problems. Not the Council way but the slayer code." He stared at him. "You're quickly pushing me into a corner where I'm going to out every single hunter there is. Plus the demonic community at both levels. Then... well, you won't make it through the next apocalypse anyway so it won't much matter to you but I might miss Dean and Sam. They're stand up guys." He stared at him. "I'm sure you'll have fun in prison. I can ask them to put you near my parents or my actual uncle, Mr. Singer. Maybe you'll learn from this mistake. Because the Powers aren't unahppy with me."
"Higher demons don't count, boy," he sneered.
"They're the higher power over the slayers, Mr. Singer. Clearly you're not as smart as you think." He waved the guy with his car over. "This is him." The officer pulled out cuffs. "You made a huge mistake and if you press it, I'll have to do what I have to do. Like I said, I've already seen ahead and you won't make it through there. Tell Pietra I said hi." He walked off. He paused when he saw who was pulling in, shaking his head. "I take it you guys saw that stupid thing he did?"
"We did," Dean said, getting out of the car. "A few hunters think you've blown us open."
"He pressed it and you know what, if the Powers That Be were pissed about exposing slayers and hunters, they'd have stopped me." Dean went pale. "I'll miss you guys terribly after the next few apocalypses. You guys are stand up guys and I like the hell out of you."
"What apocalypses?" Dean demanded calmly.
Xander stared at him. "My vision this morning says that I don't have to say a damn thing." He pointed at where Sam was having one. "You better hope he's getting them."
"You'd do that to everyone?" Dean demanded. "Over this piddling shit?"
"Hmm. For taking everything I have away from me? Yeah, I might. I might jump in if Buffy needs me but no. You guys screwed the mutt. Badly. Didn't even use lube. See, if you looked, Dean, there's a shitload of prophecies that say don't piss off the seers. Nothing but morals says we have to say anything about anything we see. And I didn't learn morals or teamwork, or even loyalty. The girls neglected that." He walked around him. "Good luck, Sam. Let me know if you need some of that headache powder."
"Xander!" Dean called.
"As the story I found online said, Dean, don't piss off the seeker. We do important jobs." He gave him a dirty look. "You agreed with his actions with others. The community's heard you guys agreeing it was the right thing to do. This will also end up probably outing the slayers and the Council, which means they're going to hunt all of us down and kill us all. Congrats. They're not as nice as the higher demons. To them it's like the mob, it's all business." Dean gaped. "And I can't stop a thing because he started it. All I can do is play the hand I'm dealt." He disappeared, going back to New York to the gym. Since his life was now threatened, he should probably be in better shape again. He had fallen out of patrol readiness.
Dean glared at Bobby as he was led away. "You just had to do that, didn't you?"
"He can't do anything. What's he going to do, whine to them?"
"Who said they're backing him up?" Sam demanded as he got out. "They're scared to death this will start another Initiative style mess. You just started off the next super hunt that gets millions of humans and others killed, Bobby." Bobby snorted. Sam shook his head, looking at his brother. "He's right. I saw some guy who said I was getting the same information and to look up why you don't piss off the seers. He doesn't have to tell us a damn thing about what's going to happen."
"That will mean most of everyone will die."
Sam shook his head. "That's being optimistic, Dean. The next one is a demon plague released because some of them panicked and called on something higher to protect their clan. They might live since it'll be really pissed."
"Rats?" Dean asked. Sam shook his head. "Roaches?"
"Nope. Nothing living." He watched the cop car pull off. "We're so screwed. The Council is already coming."
"So we're wanted by both sides now," Dean said dryly.
"Yup, and the ones from England are the sort to believe in the greater good."
"Shit," Dean muttered. That meant they were screwed. They called their father. "Bobby just got arrested," he said in greeting.
"That stunt against Harris. For fraud."
"His house secure?"
"We're not anywhere near his house, Dad. And I'm doubting that. Plus, he's had three visions of apocalypses and we're all fucked."
"The boy will share them," he said. "That's the sort he is. He can't let anyone die."
"He said he never got taught loyalty, the girls missed that," Sam said. "Also, I got shown them. The guy who showed me said he was the messenger for the Powers That Be?"
"The higher authority over the slayers," John said calmly. "And, Sammy?"
"We're screwed. The Council is going to hunt us all down for the greater good. Bobby's shit is going to force Xander to out everything, even if it's sealed. I saw a nice demon plague that not even roaches survived. Not even blades of grass survived." John moaned. "I saw the demon community start protesting and fighting back too. Not the higher ones, who they screwed so none of their plans worked, but the lower ones he told us about. I saw one where millions of lives were lost due to that hunt happening, including them hunting us down. Because you guys got nervous about a fiction writer. Congrats, Dad. We'll see you in hell when we make it there. Since one of the Council is already gunning for you."
Dean cleared his throat. "Who?"
"I have no idea. All I saw was his gravestone with this year's date and the little flag on it that showed that the Council got him, I touched it and got what it meant."
"Any month?" John asked calmly.
"No. And you weren't buried near Mom either. There was a full graveyard, they looked new but I couldn't find any names."
"Will the government panic?" Dean asked.
"Possibly. They tried really hard to hide the Initiative stuff."
"All that's been removed, boys," John said.
"Nope," Sam said dryly. "They're in Homeland and alive. The good ones are aligned with the slayers too." John moaned. "So yeah, they might be protected. I don't know how this'll turn out but the vindictive shit has to stop soon. Before it's too late."
"He shouldn't have started writing about hunting," John said.
"He's not the first," Dean reminded him.
"None of them got that sort of attention or was so believable," John pointed out. "They were all done by kids of hunters and their parents were pressured to stop them."
"Xander pointed out something. There's all sorts of mentions in prophecies that say not to piss off the seers."
"Prophecy is for the weak," John snorted.
"Buffy's the only known slayer to ever twist them, and that was thanks to Xander," Dean said quietly. "We might be screwed."
"He'll show up. He's a knight."
"Yeah, one who is way overdue for a vacation," Dean said. "He'll protect his friends but everyone else is gone." He hung up and looked at Sam. "Can we stop this?"
"Go back and stop Bobby from doing that stupid thing?"
"His parents are drunks and in jail," Dean said. Sam gave him a clueless look. "Get in touch with them. They can sue the people and get it shut down."
"They might but so can Xander."
"He probably is but his mother's going to get them for libel too. It's better to have two plans going."
"True." He got into the car to do a search on his phone. "His father and mother are in New York's system. His uncle is in Montana, moved from California due to overcrowding. Apparently his DUI with homicide actually gave him time."
"We're closer to Montana." He got in to drive. Maybe they could help stop it and calm Xander down. He hoped. He didn't want to see another apocalypse battle.
Xander walked into the office of the head of the channel with his lawyer behind him. "Mr. Chapman?"
"Yes?" He smirked. "Aww, you're upset."
"Yes, that you talked to someone I wasn't related to." The man gaped. "He's been arrested for it already. You can press further fraud suits against him. By the way, that wasn't my mother's maiden name either. She was so drunk, she put her former married name." He smirked. "I do have another uncle, but he's in an insane asylum." He put something down in front of him. "That is a desist order to quit showing that stupidity."
"You can't stop the press."
"You're not the legitimate press," the lawyer told him. "You're not guaranteed the same rights."
"But you can get sued," Xander said happily. "I need to buy a new car anyway." He stared at him. "I'm not going to let you do anything else. If we have to go trial, good. Yay." He stood up straighter. "By the way, I'm told you should expect ones from my parents from their jail cells. Unfortunately they tried to screw with me too."
"You're nothing, kid," the CEO said.
"Yeah, I've heard that before right before I ended something's life." He stared at him. "Some of us aren't scared of you. I've seen worse leeches and I doubt anyone else will ever hire you with this hanging over you. Or that supposed reporter who didn't check her sources. Or even talk to the parents." He shook his head. "Pity she was so sloppy." He walked out. "Hand him the other stuff."
He smirked as he handed over the folded papers. "Notice of the lawsuit against you personally for authorizing that supposed documentary, the network for showing it repeatedly, and each time from now on it is shown you will incur another ten million dollar fine by the restraining order, and the reporter. Do have a better day." He followed the young author to the car. "Xander, what happens if he presses it to court and asks you about the poker circuit?" he asked in the elevator.
Xander smirked. "They're avoiding me like the plague but I still have those who owe me." He shrugged. "And copies of all the paperwork." He got off and got into the waiting cab, heading for the airport.
The lawyer called the publishing house to let them know it was served. That way they could put press attention on it being wrong. Though it had been a good human interest story before they found out it was a fake.
Xander walked into the bar in Sunnydale that night. "You'd think me saving your kids and some of you would count for something. But that's cool. You guys just pissed off the only seer who has all the facts for the next five apocalypse battles." The bar got really quiet as they stared at him. "And by the way, those who owe me, pay up by next week or I'm summoning you for the court case and making sure you can't lie." He smirked at one.
"Especially your clan." He swallowed, shaking his head. "Yeah. You owe me a life debt. I'm back in vindictive bitch mode. I learned it really well from Buffy and Willow." He walked out again. "The end of the week or else." He got sent back to LA by the one he had waiting. "Hey," he said with an evil smirk. Cordelia gave him a worried look, backing away slowly. "Yeah. I'm a bit pissed off."
"You weren't this pissed at Anya."
"You gave a reporter a quote?"
"Um... I said that you were never suicidal, just a dweeb?" she guessed.
"Not that one."
"Oh." She winced. "I'm sorry. They totally cut most of what I said, Xander. I really did not say that."
Xander stared at her. "Have fun with your visions, Cordy. You and Sam are the PTB's second choice to see them for the really bad shit."
"It'll kill her," Angel said bluntly.
"That's not my call either," Xander said, staring at him. "The Powers are not happy. Because to stop this shit, I'm going to have to out the hunters at the very least. By the way, have we noticed the Council team here to take out all of you? They're at the Hyatt." Angel growled. Xander shrugged. "For the greater good they don't want it exposed. Buffy's already on the list. I've already evacuated Joyce." He shrugged. "I can only do what I can, Angel. What did you want me to do? Let them keep going so I lost everything?"
"You could've taken the hit," he sneered. "You're meant to be a sacrifice."
"Yeah but for some reason the Mayor forgot about me a lot." He stared at him. "Also, we should be aware they do know about Willow's child. They're very anxious so they won't kill her today." He stared at him. "We know exactly who helped. I got that vision too." He looked at her. "You have a good life, Cordelia. I sent you the stuff I use for the headaches last week."
"Xander, it doesn't have to be this way," she said. "You could talk to the Council."
He stared at her. "You realize they showed that supposed documentary in sixty countries?" She went pale, shaking her head. "Yeah. In this one it's been shown five times so far. They're showing it extra in retaliation for the law suit. The judge is going to destroy them for it." He shrugged. "And there's nothing I can do because I didn't start it.
"Angel helped start it by pushing on some hunters when they were local." He looked at Angel. "Congrats. By the way, the Powers do know. You're their champion, they actually watch you." He walked off. That was all he was going to do for his former friends/near family. He had already warned Rick to keep everyone he cared about close and safe. Xander went home to have a beer. It was definitely a beer night. This was so screwed up.
Xander looked at the person on the stand the next month. "May I question him?" he asked the judge. "My lawyer doesn't want to ask a few particular ones."
"You may even though it's not usual."
Xander looked at the being on the stand. "Are you normally that color?" The judge opened his mouth.
"No," the demon said, letting his illusion drop. Everyone in there gasped.
"Why are you here today?" Xander asked.
"I owe you about seventy thousand from a poker debt."
"You're admitting that?" the judge asked. He looked at Xander. "That can go against his credibility." Xander held up a hand.
Xander looked at him. "Have I asked you to lie?"
"No. You told me to tell the absolute truth, even if it wasn't pretty. Because there's people who'll probably hunt and kill us if this information gets out."
Xander nodded. "Can your people lie?"
"No. It's something that we cannot do by our clan's gifts," he sighed. "It's why we're healers usually and therapists." The judge shuddered. "Among our own peoples, Your Honor."
"Dismissed," the judge ordered. He ran from the room, putting back on his illusion.
"I call Mr. Harris to the stand," the other attorney demanded.
"Of course," Xander agreed, walking up there and sitting down. He took his oath and got comfortable. He stared at the lawyer, who was a demon. He had recognized him as Wolfram and Hart. "Whenever you're ready."
The man stared at him. "You claim there are people who get real visions."
"Yes. That's why I had things ready before the last major battle in LA." The lawyer gaped. "That's also why I stopped another one by giving someone information I got given to save himself and his family."
"You claim demons are real?"
"To do that we have to leave the courtroom," Xander said. "Which means all the careful protections you wove around it are going to be for nothing. Which will let the information spread."
"We can go on a short field trip," the judge ordered when the lawyers both started to protest.
"Up the street short enough?" Xander asked. He nodded so Xander walked them out and up the street to the unusually quiet playground. But the orphans always hung out here. He pointed. "They're orphans so no one told them they should hide," he told the judge. "They're very nice. Most demons, even the other side's lawyer, are harmless for the most part." He smiled. "We've never hunted a harmless one on my former team, Your Honor. I've helped stop things when they were being harmed. This is going to kill them all and a good number of humans."
He stared. "They're children."
"Yes. Because of the recent problems, there's been an increase in how many there are." He looked at the lawyers, who were stiff. "I do what I did to protect them and the other humans who don't have to know. So they won't have to know."
The judge swallowed and nodded. "Back to the courtroom. Do they have social workers?"
"Not that I've seen," Xander admitted. "In Sunnydale we had a few. I haven't seen any here in New York." He walked beside his lawyer, who was texting someone. "They'll be fine. There were people watching I'm sure. By tonight they'll either drive them off or find them a better and safer place to play."
The judge settled himself in his seat again, banging them back into order. "All right," he said. "I can see why the proceedings needed to be closed." He looked at Xander. "You do have visions?"
"Yes. I foresaw a great hunt of them because the other side unwisely decided to come after me for being a good writer. They decided it outed the hunters and I was to suffer for it. Some of them even suggested killing me to make sure it stopped. Thankfully there's people who would've stopped it anyway." He looked at the other side. "Next month in LA a hellgod's going to appear again. Some of the lesser ones are going to call on him to protect them. Some of them might live past the plague he's more than happy to start on humanity for daring to hurt them. Good luck with that." He looked at the judge again. "May I be excused? I'm feeling a bit ill."
"Go then come back, Mr. Harris." He nodded and went to get a drink then hide in the bathroom. He looked at the other side. "Settle this shit so I can seal it?"
"Sir, it's still been exposed. It can still ruin countless lives."
"Will it get worse if we go forward?"
"Maybe. Only a seer could tell you for sure."
"Yes," Sam said from his seat. "It will get worse. Because Xander's going to have to hand over classified information on a government program that experimented and killed a lot of demons. Which will get their new group in Homeland taken out. Plus others."
The judge stared at him. "Are you a seer?"
"Yes. The same ones that gave them to Xander have begun to use a few others for the things only he used to see. He used to only see the really horrible things. I've never seen a genocide before, even when we were heading to help handle an apocalypse battle. Now, I have three times recently." Xander walked in. "That headache stuff works."
Xander nodded. "It's all you can do when all you see are bodies on a field. It's that or blowing your brains out." He sat down again. "Thank you for letting me have that time out."
The judge coughed, looking at them. "Do we have to go forward?" He looked at Sam. "Which one are you?"
"Sam Winchester." The demon gaped. "I know Bobby real well. He helped raise me. I also know that he's not Bobby and that we're all going to lose if he's allowed to continue this."
"You're sure it's not him?" the judge asked. Sam spilled something on him, making him scream in agony. "I suppose not. Acid?"
"Holy water. He's possessed. He's probably kicking his own ass right now." Xander sighed and slumped, looking happier. He wouldn't tell Xander he might not have been when all this started. The doors banged open and Willow stomped in. "Rosenburg."
"Sam." She stared at Xander. "They came for my husband, Xander."
"I warned you guys, which was all I could do outside of taking out their team," he said hotly, hopping up to look at her. "I warned everyone who was there. Didn't Cordy tell you? Or Angel?" She nodded, looking ready to cry. "Did you want me to start assassinating the Council? Really?"
"Yes! He's my husband!"
He stared at her. Then at the judge. "If he had, he would have been held for murder charges, young lady. Even knowing all this he'd have to pay for it," he said calmly. "Can he be rescued?"
"Riley's people are trying," she sniffled. Xander walked over to hug her but she batted at him. Sam took her to hold, letting her cry on him.
Xander looked at Sam, shaking his head. "I think your dad was with them."
"He was," he agreed. "Riley can do it. He's a decent Ranger even if he is a miserable human being."
Xander looked at the demon. "If she loses it again, you won't win anyway. She nearly ended the world the last time." He shuddered. "So call them off." He waved a hand and the retrieval team plus the captured people were there. "Where's the other one?" Xander asked.
"I don't care about the children of lesser beings," he sneered.
"Shit," Xander said. He took Graham's gun. "C'mon. That kid's the child of a Counselor on the LA demon council." Graham nodded and left with him. Willow was sobbing on her husband. Sam was staring at his father. Xander and Graham got there in time to save the child, barely, and stop the riot, again barely. Buffy helped. "They're in the courtroom," he told her across the crowd.
"Willow too?" He nodded. "Thank you."
He tossed her the gun. "I quit. None of you respect me for anything I've done. The fact that you didn't try to call off the Council, that Giles didn't, means that you wanted it to happen." He walked off, going home. He was going to move. Mars sounded nice. Maybe wherever John and Rodney were was nicer. Let them handle the wrapping up of the problem the demons has created by nudging humans.
John looked around. "Finn, why are you still here?" he demanded.
"My job is to protect Rosenburg in case she loses it again."
John slugged him. "That's not the duty." He looked at her.
"Go! Stop him!"
Sam groaned, holding his head. "The riot's stopped." He took a few deep breaths, then looked at his 'uncle'. "You've already lost. They've outed everything. The Council included so their own people can stop them. Not all people will allow the genocide and they'll stop them when they start going after hunters. Long before they can wipe out all the demon populations."
"Not before they take out the three keystone societies," he sneered.
"No, we have them guarded," Riley said. "Cordelia warned us. Remember, there is more than one seer. Even if the PTB went with the backup plan this time, it's still stopped." The demon hopped up but Riley shot him in the chest with the flare round. The demon burned. Bobby Singer got a bit singed. "Fat chance." He looked at Sam. "Xander? We're supposed to be taking him into protective custody."
Sam shrugged. "No clue. I saw him at an airport but not which one or what flight."
"Damn," he muttered, calling that in. John took it from him and stomped on it. Sam smiled at him for that. "We need to protect him!"
"I think you've done enough with the over reacting you've done, Finn." He looked at his son. "Calm him down?"
"I don't know how to do that, Dad. How do you calm down a guy like Xander when you've ripped apart his world?"
"We're going to start with an announcement that this was a hoax," the judge announced. "Then we will rip up all copies of that film. We will make sure none of the records of this trial get put anywhere, even recorded. It will be sealed permanently thanks to the deal the corporation is going to make for nearly causing all of humanity to die. And yes, I am including any other peaceful species we have on this planet, gentlemen."
The corporate lawyer swallowed. "I'll have to check on what they consider acceptable and get him to agree."
"You're going to be paying through the nose because I won't accept anything too small for him even if we do find him." The lawyer nodded, texting that back. He got an order to call in and walked out talking to them. He looked at the publisher's lawyer. "Try to get him to calm down before things get worse?" he suggested.
"I have no idea who would know where he is," he admitted. "I'll tell his publisher, she knows him better than most. She knows all his friends too." He walked out calling her. "Paula, it's Philip with legal. You need to find Mr. Harris. No, we won. He averted the problems but we won. We're in settlement talks and need him here.
"Um, no, and we're not certain of his mental state right now. He was a bit upset over some things that came out during the trial. Exactly, yes. Yes, it was that bad. Thank you." He hung up and walked back in there. "She'll call everyone she can think of, Your Honor." The other lawyer walked back grimacing. "The entertainment company not agree?" he asked dryly.
"The head of the law firm told me to kill myself," he admitted. "The CEO of the other company is begging for hell to come take him away." He looked at the judge. "I'm authorized to only offer up to three million." The judge snorted. "That's all I'm authorized and the board will have to approve anything higher, Your Honor."
"Get them here," he said bluntly. "Or inform them that they nearly caused a witch hunt and nearly got a lot of people killed, including them. We will not accept stalling." He nodded, sitting down to call.
John looked at his son. "That law firm?"
"Evil," Sam agreed. "Very evil." The lawyer glared. "I was nearly hired there, yeah I'm aware of it." The lawyer shuddered. He looked at Willow and her husband. "All right, you two, go cry at home." She nodded, taking them back there. The baby demon pouted. "I know. We'll get you back in a minute, all right?" She nodded, sucking her thumb.
"I can take her," one of Riley's people said.
Sam stared at him. "Like hell. We don't trust any of you." He picked up the baby, patting her on the back. "It'll be okay. All the mean people are dumb and we're going to stop them," he soothed.
"You're very nice for a people," she said quietly, putting her head down. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, princess." He sat down with her. His father gave him an odd look so he glared back. "She's a child, Dad."
"I know that. I've never seen you be that paternal."
"I learned a lot watching Dean." John sighed but nodded. "Can you call?"
"Definitely." He called the rest of the group. "Buffy, John Winchester. Willow forgot the baby." He hung up. The room shook as a higher group of demons appeared. "Easy! Sam's only comforting her."
"He's a very nice people," the baby agreed, holding her arms up. She kissed Sam on the cheek. "Thank you for handling the scary people for us." She let the guards pick her up. "Is it all done with?"
"Yes, dear," the guard said, staring at her. "Are you all right? Did they hurt you?"
"No. The bad people didn't and the nice people like him are sweet. He cuddles very well."
"Thank you, Winchester," he said with a nod. He took the baby, the guard unit following.
Sam grinned. "It's nice they know me."
"It's a problem," John corrected.
Sam suddenly grabbed his head, holding it with a moan. "Damn it! They're worse than the demon's visions." He squinted, concentrating on the picture. "Shit. Buffy's going to go after Xander for all this. She thinks he knew."
John called Tara to send her to calm the slayer down. Tara landed him in front of Buffy. "He didn't know. Right now he's so damn upset there's a hunt to make sure he doesn't jump off somewhere high because he didn't have a clue. All he got was the visions, Buffy."
She glared at him. "He had to know more than that."
"He warned you of what he knew. The same as he warned Dean and Sam." Cordelia nodded. "See, ask the seers."
"He ...." He glared. She glared back. "Then why wasn't he here?"
"The trial was today."
"Oh." She frowned. "The baby?"
"She's fine. Guards came to get her and she seemed comfortable with them so we let them."
"Good." She walked off growling. "Angel, he didn't know."
"He didn't," Cordelia said when he opened his mouth. "Willow, will his soul stay during an exorcism?"
"Then, John, please attempt it for us?" He nodded, grabbing Angel to walk him off. Buffy was helping. She didn't know how to do a proper one anyway. It might help with Xander's gifts later. Cordelia rubbed her forehead. "I think this time it really is brain splitting." She looked up. "Willow, can you please snatch and grab Xander, putting him in front of someone he knows, either the detectives or that other writer guy?" She nodded, working that. She had a link into Tara and Xander in case of emergencies. Cordelia looked up. "Are you happy now?" she yelled. "Leave me the fuck alone! I don't have his pain tolerance!" She went to lay down with the headache powder Xander had found that worked.
Buffy leaned out. "We heard yelling?"
"Cordelia telling the Powers to shut up," Willow quipped.
Buffy nodded. "She could use a nap." She closed the door and went back to helping. John was really good at Latiny stuff.
Xander found himself in the police station, looking around. "I wasn't here a minute ago," he said dryly.
Ryan, the only one there, looked over. "No, you weren't. Though there was a call to find you."
"Why? Did someone else need to use my ass to start an apocalypse attempt?"
"That supposed documentary? That was the start of one. Could've destroyed everyone."
"Huh. Okay. Anything we need to be aware of?"
"Yeah, the people with the contract on my life are even grumpier than usual."
"Huh. Then you can stay here." He called Paula. "I have Xander here with me at the station. Magically imported." He hung up. "She'll let the lawyer know. She said to tell you that it's done with, they're talking settlement, and it's fully sealed."
Xander shrugged. "It still probably won't stop everything and then I'll have to hunt the Council."
"Again, our job," Ryan reminded him. "Not a Xander job, a detective job."
"You can't really...."
"We have overcrowded jails that would love to house them," he said bluntly. "Go make me some coffee?" Xander nodded, heading that way. He sent a text to Castle to let him know because he'd worry a lot. Plus maybe he could help him straighten out the kid. "Hey, Xander, is Tara maybe possessed?" He read his email. "I got one from her saying she had found a nice guy."
Xander leaned out. "That would explain some things. Dean's with her and the others."
"Okay. Who's Dean?"
"Another hunter. The training team in DCIS's big brother."
"Oh. That explains that." He emailed her back. Then he walked in to grab Xander's phone and see if he had the number. "She's definitely screwed up somehow." He found one. "Sam Winchester? Detective Ryan. No, I have Xander and his phone. Tara is apparently possessed or something. Because she's thinking about guys. Yes, her. Exactly. Plus she's gone fully mother hen over him and only wants him to date, checked his mail for him, all that." He smirked. "He said Dean was with her? Do you know him? Thank you." He hung up and walked off, keeping the phone. Xander brought him coffee. "Thanks, kid. Sit, relax, let it go."
Xander shook his head. "I need to go get into a fight to do that." He slumped in the chair. "I'm wound up," he said at the look he got. "Well past the point of hiring someone in the club to fix it for me."
"If we're invaded you still can't fight anyone," he told him. "Remember, retired."
Xander shrugged. "I do what has to be done."
"That's how you end up in these situations where you can't let it go. It becomes a vicious cycle. One of these days you're going to snap."
"Yeah, probably later tonight," Xander sighed. "Hopefully it snaps."
"I wasn't talking that sort."
"No, there's too many prophecies where me being turned starts off the end of th slayers. They don't want that so they'll only kill me."
"That would be a bad thing." The kid looked at him. "What? You don't think so?"
"You know I have visions, right?" He nodded slowly. "That means I get to see a lot of what 's going to happen and the outcome. No matter how horrible it is."
"Oh, damn," he muttered. "How bad?"
"Let's see, the demon plague was probably the nicest. There wasn't anyone left to do a _Stand_ like move."
Ryan shuddered. "Okay, you need to purge some of that and I get that, but now I'll have nightmares."
"If I could get it out of my head, I would."
"No, I'm still writing sex and weapons for some reason. At least it's a fluffy counterpoint to the other things." He shifted and winced, tossing his knife on the desk. Ryan put it into his desk. "Thanks."
"Don't want it stolen. You never know who'll show up here." He looked at him. "How do you feel about drinking until you black out?"
"That might help me get to sleep, yeah. It might even lead to a fight."
"Probably," he agreed. "But it could help you too."
"Yeah but I don't want to follow my parents' bad example."
"So don't. Don't do it again tomorrow night." He finished up his paperwork and looked at the kid. "C'mon, I know a decent bar. There probably won't be any fights but it'll be fine."
Xander shook his head. "I really need a fight."
"Yeah but you won't find it without a cell in the morning and you might slip and go too far." He walked him down to the car. He saw the pouty look and mentally smirked. "Hey, I could call up my last ex," he offered.
"No offense but if she liked you she probably wouldn't like me."
"Probably not," he agreed with a smirk. He got in. Xander stared then sighed and got in. He drove him off. For some reason they ran into Castle, who showed up at the same bar. "Long night with the daughter?"
"No. She's still grounded and thinking." He looked at Xander. "You should write what you did on your road trip so she can hand it to the other parents she knows. That way they can talk about things they never dreamed about doing."
Xander shrugged. "Maybe." He paid for the first round and sat down at a back corner table to protect himself.
The other two shared a look and followed. "What happened?" Rick asked. "Paula was frantically trying to find you."
"The court case was today and it was a bad thing from the start," Xander admitted.
"Ah. She thought it might be that." He sipped his beer. "We need a deck of cards."
Ryan snickered. "No, we don't. I can't lose too much of my paycheck this week."
Xander shrugged. "I have to pick up a royalties check I think."
"She sent it."
"Then Tara hopefully deposited it but I didn't see it."
"Then maybe she's hiding it," Ryan said with a grin.
"I can only hope so." He took a drink. "You still have my phone."
"Yup, that way I hear if there's something going on," Ryan agreed. Rick held out a hand so he handed it over. "It's not the newest techno toy."
"I'm not all that technical," Xander admitted. "I only need it to make calls and sometimes text messages. Keep appointments." He frowned, sipping his glass of beer. "Has anyone seen my cats today? Just in case?"
"They're fine. Alexis went to snatch them for the night a few hours ago," Rick assured him. "Tara was apparently having a fit, she wanted them guarded." He took a drink. "When was the last time you drank?"
"Been a while." He thought back. "I think it was the night after graduation outside of my roadtrip." He finished his beer and put the glass down. "Of course, I don't totally remember all of my roadtrip." Castle snickered and nodded. "You?"
"I've had a few like that," he admitted dryly. He drained his beer and got up to get the next round. If they had to get his mind off things this way, it'd work. They could have hangovers in thanks of not having the world ended. That was the best reason they could think of.
Rick walked into Xander's place and took off his sunglasses. He had checked on the kid on and off for days. "It's a pretty day, why aren't you reading outside like usual?"
Xander shrugged. "Fighting the smut muses again. It seems wrong to write post-war calming down sex in the park where there might be kids." He looked up. "How's Alexis?"
"She's still grounded and wanting to know if you have anything else for her."
"Not right now. How's yours going?"
"Eeh, I'm on the second of the summer actually." He pulled a chair over. "Why don't you write out some of those?"
"I tried but they're really horrible and I can't do more than stare at them when they're on the computer. Besides, someone else might see them and get horrified."
Rick nodded. "True, but there is a market for really dark fiction out there. Some of my own genre is shifting that way. It could be more popular than King's stuff."
"I doubt anyone wants to read the end of the world."
Rick shrugged. "Format it and give it to Paula. You can weave a story around the seer. Maybe a new hunting series?"
Xander shrugged. "Maybe. I'm still stuck in the smut and weapons."
"There's a market for them too," Rick said dryly. "How is it going?"
"Hunting party, post war, and whoo hoo we survived the battle smut."
"You need laid," Rick said with a grin.
"Yeah but I think I wore all the bad girls out of New York."
"Not hardly. They arrest more every day."
Xander nodded. "But none of them hit on me."
"How can they when you're in here? Unless it's your stalker?"
"Good point." He frowned. "I have a stalker?"
"I think they called her off."
"Beckett nearly arrested her this morning."
"Oh. Sorry. Maybe I'll go bait her or something."
"You might. Just be careful." Xander nodded. Rick looked around. "Did Tara move?"
"She's spending the weekend with her new girlfriend in Greenwich."
"It's a pretty area."
"All the shops she likes are down there. Her new girlfriend lives with three other roommates though. So I'm not sure what's going to happen but I'm keeping all four of the cats."
Rick snickered. "I'm sure she'll try to steal one."
"No, her girlfriend is allergic." He beamed an angelically sweet smile at him. Rick laughed harder. "Anyway, why come over?"
"Checking on you mostly. No one's heard from you. We have the poker game tonight and since you did get that settlement you are rich enough to play." Xander grimaced. "I know, your first instinct is to set up something for the people who lost their lives because of it."
"Or Willow's kid."
"That's her parents' job." He stared at him. "Beyond that, I heard you were missing your usual game since they're not talking to you again."
"They're not but someone still wanted me to go save a few of them. I pointed out that most everyone was ignoring me or even shunning me because of what happened thanks to that one hunter. She said I'd still rescue the kids anyway because I was like that. I had Tara go. I'm still pissed at them."
"So come play poker tonight. We won't let you get drunk. It's a bunch of other authors. A few have asked about you." Xander shrugged a bit. "C'mon. Get dressed." Xander nodded and saved things then went into the bedroom. Rick shifted seats to look at what he was working on. "You weren't kidding, this is hardcore smut."
"Yup. It's also fairly badly written, even for me."
"It could definitely use polished. Nothing a strong proofread couldn't cure." Xander came out giving him an odd look. "Like I said, there's places for it."
Xander nodded. "But I don't want to be the next Anne Rice."
"I'd hope not. She's a bit creepy." He got up and let the kids save and shut things down, then store it in the desk safe so they could head back to his place. Alexis had let in the other guys so he grinned. "Guys, this is Xander, AKA Alexian Harris. Paula and I adopted him when his last agent freaked out because he dates bad and evil things."
"Is that why crime went down?" one quipped. "Hi, I'm Stephen, this is Dick, and that's Stephen."
Xander smiled and shook their hands. "I keep looking for my own genre's people in town but I can't find any that aren't really old, female, and/or cranky." He sat down. The others laughed and Stephen nodded.
"Quite a few are and they temp in the romance genre too. It pays better than fantasy. So, how's the writing going? I heard you're about as prolific as I am."
Xander shrugged. "Right now the muses are only giving me smut and weapons. I have no idea why but I'm not getting on with the next in the Tral universe at all outside of that."
Rick snickered. "He's one of those that has hundred page days usually, guys." They all hissed and winced. "Which is why now and then I let my daughter distract him."
"She does really good telling me when I screw up the organization and government stuff for DCIS too," Xander agreed.
"She was wondering when you'd have something else so she could shop," Rick said, dealing out cards. "Xander, this is standard poker. No strange rules."
"Sure. It's strange playing for cash but sure." They all smirked at him. "Tara won't usually let me."
"Wife?" the first Stephen asked.
"Might as well be sister. She's a librarian." They all smiled. "I think she donated half of my books recently too. Including a signed copy of one of mine." He shook his head. "She's with her girlfriend this weekend."
"It's always good when you have someone supportive," the second Stephen said. "Do you write in any other genres?"
"I tried my hand at action stuff and it sucked *so* badly," he admitted. Rick nodded that was true. "My old agent tossed it in the trash in front of me."
Dick snickered. "I've had a few of those."
"But I'm better now. DCIS gets action. No smut but action. Tral gets some action and more smut. It all evens out. As long as I don't turn into Anne Rice." That got a cackle from the room. "Seriously," he said, nodding some. "I'd look sucky."
"You would," Rick agreed, patting him on the back. "Need any cards? Ante in."
Xander checked and anted in. "Two please." He got dealt them and stared. Then at him. "You don't stack the deck, right?" he asked with a grin.
"Good, I'm glad it doesn't mean you hate me." The other guys smiled, tossing in their newest bets. "I'm out. I can't even do it with Hermes on my side. Can I get drinks?"
"Go ahead. Make some coffee, and there's beers in the fridge, Xander." Xander nodded, going to grab things for them. He got himself a bottle of water. "Still got a hangover from the other night?" he asked dryly.
"No, thanks to the family history I don't get hangovers. Though I did try to write and what I wrote sounded like I was taking an acid trip. I don't know why." He opened his water and took a sip. "So I'm abstaining for a bit."
"Probably a good idea, yeah." His mother walked in. "Hi, Mother."
"Dear. Boys. Xander." He smiled and waved. "Where is Tara? Alexis is pouting horribly."
"At her girlfriend's."
"Did her phone break?"
"It got left in a cab by accident."
"Oh. I'll let her know."
"She's got mine this weekend in case something happened since I was planning on being home."
"I'll tell her." She went upstairs to tell her granddaughter that and pick up the thing she needed. She came back down. "You boys play nicely and see if you can fix Xander up with something less than his usual evil standard." She left them alone again.
"That might help, yeah," Rick agreed dryly. "Been clubbing recently, Xander?"
"That's how I picked up the guy who gave me the howitzer on the volvo."
"Ah." He nodded. They all stared at him. "He's bi, guys. He just dates evil things."
"I have a few ex's," Dick muttered.
"Don't suggest it. Mine, Alexis' mother, thinks he's the next best thing to me." He smiled.
Xander shrugged. "She enjoyed it but she's somewhere in Europe I think. I'm hoping none of my other ex's show up wherever she is and pout at her."
They all stared. "What have you dated?" the first Stephen asked.
Xander grinned. "Ask him. His ride-along time got filled with background checks and arresting some."
Rick nodded. "Yes, we did. A lot." They all stared at him. Rick nodded again. "I think we arrested twelve of them or something."
"Something like that," Xander agreed.
"Have you heard from the west coast crew?" Rick asked.
"No. I don't really expect to either with the way things fell out."
"That sucked," Rick said bluntly, looking at him. "You can make better friends."
"I hope so. I don't usually make friends. I tend to make former lovers and then people who tolerate me."
Rick patted him on the head. "We'll introduce you around so you can pick up one of the nice, shallow socialites who wants to pretend to be evil and then others who read and things."
"Welcome, kiddo." He upped his bet. The others folded. Rick grinned, raking it toward him. "I still say you should write your roadtrip from after high school. Market it to teens and parents so they can talk about it instead of trying it."
"It's not as fun reading about it."
"Yeah but it might stop some of them if you're blunt about what happened afterward."
Xander shrugged. "I only have fuzzy memories of some of it."
"Another wild child?" the second Stephen asked.
Xander grinned. "My car exploded, literally a fireball, in Oxnard so I ended up working at a strip club. Supposedly in the kitchen." They all moaned. "Exactly. Though it was nice that the drag queens tipped me heavily the first time I had to get on the stage because I was so cutely nervous according to them." Castle snickered, shaking his head. "One of them offered to help me learn how to do drag too. I decided I looked a bit too bulky after she dragged me off one weekend."
"Handcuffs?" Castle asked.
"That pesky 'can't say no to women' problem of yours?"
Castle smirked. "Beckett's going to use that some day."
"Probably, yeah. If she was evil, I'd like her. Unfortunately she's a good girl so she's playing auntie sometimes."
The guys all shook their heads at that. The kid was a bit warped but fun.
Six days later, Xander walked up to the guys out at lunch. "My stalker is no more."
"You killed her?" Detective Ryan asked, looking him over. "Or do you need to press charges?"
"No. Neither. She decided, after I showed her some things, which was after the fight and the sex and the later fight, that I was right. Some of them are innocent and just alive." He shrugged and winced. "But she's left the city."
"You can still press charges," Esposito offered. "Because I've seen less bruises on prize fighters."
Xander waved a hand. "It's fine. I wasn't going to do anything today anyway." He shrugged and winced again. "Sorry, stitches pulling." He walked off. "Let her know so she can relax about her please?"
"Yeah," Ryan agreed. "Get your ass back here, Xander." He trudged back, giving him a dirty look. "You will press charges," he ordered. "Because people look up to you and it looks like the Mother of all domestics got you. They'll discount it because you do."
"No one looks up to me that way and I told them it was a bar brawl when someone asked. Beyond that, she's necessary and it's cool. She's back on the road and next time we might not fight first. Or afterward."
"Yeah, still not going to cut it," Ryan assured him.
Xander glared. "Drop it, please?" He walked off again. "Real guys don't bother when the fights are for a good reason. It's not like it was a domestic, just her stalking me."
"That's still assault."
"Yay. It'll cause more problems."
"We'll figure that out later," Esposito said. Ryan nodded, texting that to Beckett. "Is Castle back?"
"Yeah. The night of the trial, he and I got the kid drunk to take his mind off how horrible it was." He ate a bite. "Think she's still in the city?" he asked with a nod at her.
He glared and pulled out his cuffs. She strolled off after Xander. "If she pounces him again and it's not for sex, we get to arrest her definitely."
"Yup. Though he was heading for the precinct." They finished up and hurried back. They found Beckett arresting her. "We were going to."
"I saw her hit the kid."
Ryan smirked at her. "He didn't tell us a thing beyond to leave you alone about it." She groaned.
"I'm not pressing charges," Xander noted impatiently. "It wasn't a domestic. Really."
Beckett stared at him. "Since I saw her hit you, we don't need you to press charges and I'll be damned if I'm going to let a woman beat anyone as badly as you are."
"He got me just as much," the female hunter complained.
Beckett looked at him then at her. "He must've gotten you where you don't bruise." She walked her off. "Boys, figure out what happened." She looked back but Xander had disappeared. "Fine, we'll go find him at home later." The hunter sighed. "Tough. You shouldn't have beaten up on the kid."
"He was talking to the cops. I didn't want him to turn me in."
"I don't care and he lives up the road. He was probably out for bread. He uses this route for that and the park." She smirked. "Besides, he doesn't have to press charges since I saw you thump him."
Esposito smirked. "He's right, she is acting like his aunt," he said quietly.
"Yeah. She is. It's almost scary. I'm scared for when she has kids." They snickered all the way up there, clearing it before they got off the elevator. "Maybe she broke his muses' problem," Ryan told Beckett.
"They're having a problem?"
"It's all been smut and weapons. He can't move on."
"Oh. Then maybe she did." She glared at the woman. She hated bullies. Her minions wisely went back to work and let her handle it.
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