Filling In Another Hole.

Xander looked at the letter he had just opened, looking very confused.  He showed it to the woman in front of him.  "I have no idea what that's about."

She read the letter, frowning at him.  "It's where you do dangerous things, Xander."  She handed it back.  "Go talk to them.  They might just raise your insurance premium."

"Is there an office in the city?"  He called information but she waved him off and got him the directions from her computer.  "Thanks, Paula.  I'm working on something new."

"Of course you are.  Is it something good?"

"Dean cackled so hard at it."  He grinned.  "And they're in it."  He followed the directions to the insurance company, frowning at the receptionist.  "I got a letter from you guys saying that you're canceling my health insurance?"  He showed her.

"Let me get you an agent to talk to, sir."  She called one for him.  He sat down to wait, rereading the letter.

Xander stood up when the agent came out.  "Hi.  I've been with you guys since I was fifteen."

"You paid premiums when you were fifteen?"

"Yeah.  The state health insurance wasn't accepted in town and I had allergies really badly that year."  He showed him the letter.  "I don't know why."

"Let's look your account up, sir."  He led him back to the office.  At least this one wasn't angry.  He found it.  "Very nice history," he assured him with a smile.  "Only late three times in ten years."  He kept going.  "Oh, I see.  It's got you listed as a high risk."

"Is that because of those false rumors that I drink a lot?  Because I don't.   They're all bs."

"No, I think it's more your other job, sir."  He smiled.  "It's listed you as a demon hunter and writer.  They're both higher risk categories.  One because of fans and threats, the other due to all the injuries."

Xander sighed.  "I guess I can understand hunting being one but writing?"

"Some of you do get death threats."

"Yeah, I've had a few contracts on my life, including by a church," he admitted.  He considered it.  "Can I just pay you more?  I like you guys.  You guys cover the necessary things, like my GP and the people who had to look over the infections in my blood."

"You have chronic illnesses?" the agent asked, opening up a new file.

"No, I fell into some burial remains and kinda got gifted with some blood spores at one time.  But that's all locked by Homeland Security."  The agent stared at him.  He shrugged.  "I can't say more than that."

"All right."  He added that to the file.  "Any usual health issues?"

"Now and then I have some allergies.  My GP is making sure that any future concussions don't bother me.  I'm mostly retired from hunting unless it's a huge emergency or an apocalypse battle.  Even normal people can get hurt by those."

"Yes, but they'd be hurt running away.  You'd be hurt running toward it."

"I guess, usually it's because I drew their attention the wrong way."

He nodded. "That's why hunting is such a high risk category."  He looked over the results he was getting.  "You're outside our highest risk category."  Xander whimpered.  "I see we have your premium for this month so we can cover you until the first."

"I just sent in next month's the other day.  How does this effect my life insurance policy with you guys?"

He looked and nodded.  "I see that's been put on hold too.  Apparently someone listed you as a suicide risk."

"No.  I don't usually think of that option," he said dryly.  He was still confused.  "Who does insurance in that risk category?"

"There's a few, they also usually do officers and fire department personnel."  Xander nodded once.  "Or military accounts."  Xander nodded again.  He went back to looking over everything in his file.  "It looks like they canceled yours at the end of the term, which is last month.  And we should have sent you a check."

"Not that I've seen."

He looked.  "No, I see it's pending."  He put a rush on it.  Then he smiled at the young man.  "There.  That'll be sent in the next week.  I wish you luck finding a good health insurance that covers what you need."

"Me too," Xander said, shaking his hand.  "Is there something I should tell the other agent?"

"Just tell them what you told me and they'll be able to craft the policy for you."

Xander nodded, leaving.  In the cab he called his doctor's office and pulled out a pen.  "Hi, I'm a patient and my insurance is being assholes so I'm switching.  Which ones do you guys take?"  He wrote that down.  "Any idea if they do high risk ones?"  He nodded once and crossed through a few of them and then added another one.  "Thanks."  He hung up and paid the cabbie when he got out.  He signed in and headed up to the detective's floor.  They were all tense.  He sat down beside Esposito's desk.  "Who does you guys' health insurance?  Mine decided I was too high risk because of the hunting and being a writer."

"Being a writer's high risk?" Beckett asked, looking at Castle.

"Death threats."  He considered it.  "Mine won't do very high risk, kid, or I'd offer them."

Xander nodded.  "He suggested I go to the company that does PD, FD, and military ones.  They canceled my life insurance too."

Esposito called someone.  "Dalia, Javier.  I have a friend looking for new insurance but he was told he was really high risk.  No, not prior health issues, job.  He's a writer and a demon hunter part time."  He listened, nodding.  "Yeah, him.  Seriously?  That's craploads higher than ours.  Huh.  Can you guys or who?"  He wrote down a website address for him.  "Thanks."  He hung up.  "She said her company's probably very expensive for you but to try this site.  They can give you quotes.  When it asks if you're military, say yes."  Xander nodded, pulling out his phone to do that.  He smiled.  "Have you been dating?"

"No.  I've been writing myself being the great inheritor of the Lord of all Chocolate realm.  They want me to marry Dean and Sam, like half of everyone does."

They all stared at him.  "What?" Detective Ryan asked, looking confused.  Xander shrugged but was typing.  "That I want to see," he decided.

Rick texted Sam's phone.  They were still in the city.  They could email a copy of what Xander had.

"That's not nice," Xander said without looking.  "Leak a bit to the fan club too please.  Paula said my sales are down right now."

"Sure," Rick agreed.  Beckett's email beeped.  He checked and let them all read it.  Beckett burst out laughing.  Rick looked at Xander.  "Your muses are weird."

"Yes, they can be," he said dryly.  "You know, it's possible it's happening somewhere else."

"Don't tempt fate," Beckett ordered.  She actually smiled at their murder board.  That was seriously cute.

"Damn it," Xander muttered.  "They won't talk to me."

"Then there's the office of last resort," Beckett told him, writing down an address.  "Expensive but good coverage.  They cover nearly everything."

"Yeah but will my doc take them?" he said with a pout.  "I don't want to have to break in a new one.  It's bad enough she had to get permission from Homeland to tell the new doc in her practice and they said no."

Rick nodded.  "I would too.  Talk to them, get a quote.  Talk to Esposito's friend and get a quote.  Then decide."  Xander nodded, taking her name and address then the other one to go talk to.

"I'm so glad I can go through Blue Cross," Ryan said.

"Me too," Esposito agreed.

Beckett nodded.  "They don't do well on women's problems so I go through the other plan."  They grinned.  "They won't pay for birth control or anything.  Almost none of the female officers do."  They got back to work.


Xander came in that night, staring at Dean.  "The only way I can get insurance is if I marry and they have some.  Or if I pay about thirteen grand a year for it."  Dean winced.  "Mostly because I'm a writer."  He sat down to sulk.

John pulled out his insurance card to note the phone number, handing it to the kid.  "They cover most hunters."

Xander looked at it then at him.  "They won't cover me because writers get death threats.  If they ignore that that's my main source of income it becomes a fraudulent account."  John shuddered.  "So I get to decide between the really expensive one, quit writing, or marry someone and insure them so they can get me on as a spouse."

"Will they do that for gay unions?" John asked.  Xander nodded.  "All of them?"

"The main ones I like.  And that would get me back on my old one.  I asked them and he suggested that was an idea.  And my premium would go down about two hundred a year.  He asked if I had one."

"As long as you don't get sick, you can wait and see if you can find something more reasonable," Dean said.

Xander shook his head.  "I checked with everyone.  I used one of those online quote places that I called.  Not a damn thing."  Dean shuddered.  They needed their health insurance too often.  "If I was in college, my parents could put me on theirs," he quipped.  "Federal law says twenty-six."

"How good is the high priced one?" Sam asked.

"Crappy and my GP won't take it.  So I got to talk to a Homeland agent as well.  They didn't want her to tell her new partner about me.  His suggestion was the one that's thirteen grand a year."

Sam shook his head.  "If I had one I'd try to put you on it, Xander.  I'm using crappy cheap insurance."

Dean stared at him.  "We need to fix that, Sammy.  We get banged up too often for the cheap stuff."

John nodded.  "Definitely."  He went back to making dinner.  "I'm using that pork steak you had out, Xander."

"Thanks, John."  He petted the cats that came to bother him.  "Beckett liked the new part."

Dean grinned.  "So do I."  He settled in with the cat that thought he was her human.  She was never far from him whenever he was there.

Beth, Tara's girlfriend, walked off the elevator without knocking.  "Xander, we have a major problem."

"Of?" Dean asked.

"Oh, thank the Goddess.  They were going to steal you guys and make you stay around here for some reason.  Something about the higher ups wanted some happiness?"

Xander looked at her then up.  "If this is a plot to get me married, let me know please so we can protect them."  Nothing.  He looked at her.  She shrugged.  "Why bring them back here?"

"I don't know and she's trying to talk to them.  It's that same coven that you had to take down their accidental portal to a hell dimension."

John looked over.  "That's one reason why we all showed up, Beth."

"They decided this is cosmic balance to get away from the three fold rule.   I have no clue, John."

"We need anti compulsion wards," Sam said, looking some up.  He and Dean got up to draw around the doors and windows.  Xander put his usual anti-magic circle's lines back in place after he moved the throw rug over the majority of it.  Dean looked and nudged Sam, and they both walked over, letting Xander seal the last line.  John got the wards while the pork steak cooked.

Xander's phone rang and he looked at it, typing back a nice text to Rick that he couldn't join the poker game tonight, he was fighting off some teenage witches' desire for gay porn by marrying him off.  He got back a 'what' from Alexis and gave her better details.


Alexis read the text then texted to Tara.  Who told her it was a possible reason for them wanting to compel Dean and Sam to stay in the city with Xander.  "Hey, Dad, Xander's doing foolish romance novel stuff."  Rick shuddered.  So did the two guys already there for the game.  "Apparently those teen witches who said they accidentally set up that portal are now trying to compel Dean and Sam to stay in New York.  Xander said him and those two are in the middle of an anti-magic area to protect themselves from a marriage plot."

Rick considered that.  "Why those two?"

"Dark enough but still light?" she quipped.  "Know about the hunting stuff?"

Rick nodded once.  "Could be.  Is Tara there already?"

"Yup, she said she was trying to talk them out of it with Detective Ryan."  She grinned.  "Apparently they all think he's hot.  He called for backup to get the teen witch drool off him."

Rick dialed someone.  "Do you need me too?" he asked.  He listened, rubbing his forehead as he leaned back.  He took the glass of wine his daughter poured him with a nod, gulping half of it.  "Tell them they can't do that.  That puts them on Rosenburg's path and then tell them about Father Morgan?"  He nodded.  "Or call Beckett?"  He groaned and hung up.  "Tara's now trying to keep one of his boyfriends from beating the teen witches to death." She cackled.   He called Beckett, then hung up and texted her.  She was supposedly taking a long soak tonight.  Maybe even with bubbles and a good book.  She sent back a growl and she was already heading out to save them.  His question of 'need my help' got back a firm, capital letters, 'no'.  "Okay."  He finished his wine and got up to get more.  "Guys, want a beer?"  They nodded, accepting them.

"To things only Xander can get into," Stephen said, saluting them.  They clinked glasses and Alexis giggled, saluting them with her bottle of water then drinking.  "Who do you think will win?"

"I'm hoping Beckett gets there in time to save the witches from his ex," Rick said, texting that to Xander.  "And that Tara can paddle them all into better behavior."

"Clearly someone has uncool parents," Alexis teased.

"I wouldn't care if you took up the craft, Alexis.  I know you know what ethics are."  She laughed and nodded.  "If you want to, talk to Tara."  He rubbed his forehead again.  "Just don't get your grandmother into it.  She'd never believe until she cursed someone who got her part."

"She has a voodoo doll for that."

"Figures."  They got back to the poker game.


Xander called an ex.  "Which one of you is bothering the teen witches who like Dean and Sam?"  He listened.  "Thanks.  Yeah, bad idea syndrome all around tonight."  He hung up and looked.  "John, I need the black address book from my top right desk drawer please?"  John got it and flipped until Xander got the number he needed to dial.  He called him.  "If you kill them, Beckett will arrest you, Barry.  I know you're an agent.  Arrest them if you must, but don't kill them."  He listened.

"I know.  That's why we're sitting in the middle of a anti-magic ward."  He listened again and nodded.  "That's interesting.  They're both pretty straight though, Barry.  Yeah.  And if that was Willow that just appeared, since I heard the static from the flash, feel free to yell at her too for that drinking thing."  He hung up and held his head.  He called Paula to warn her.  "It's Xander.  You'll want to be sitting, have a drink in hand, and possibly some valiums."  He smirked at her quip.  "Because Tara is trying to talk the teenage witches into not marrying me to Dean or Sam tonight.  Yup, by compulsion and all that.  Blood binding and all, Paula."

He hummed.  "That's why I suggested the valium and the drink?  We're trying but I think Willow just showed up there.  Beckett sent a text saying she was going to back up the nice minions and Tara.  One of my ex's is there too but he's an agent.  Yeah, that's why I'm giving you warning."  He hung up when she started to rant, wincing.  "She clearly needs two valiums tonight."  He sighed.  "Sorry, guys.  They're saying it's karma repair for the portal."

"Blood bindings only work in certain rituals," Sam said.

"No, Sam, this would be the full blood and cord binding, then consummation event sort of thing.  They wanted the ideal neo-pagan, books-written-by-the-confused-witches-who-think-you-fly-on-the-broomstick-the-wrong-way, romantic wedding.  The only thing we're missing is the altar outside in the woods and ceremonial robes sort of one.  The romance novel for young, misguided witches one."  John shuddered.  "I take it you saw that?" Xander quipped with a grin.

"I saw some of those books and laughed a lot."

"I remember the witches that came out and said that you don't fly on broomsticks like they did in Harry Potter.  I figured that they're ruining their brooms's brush if they're doing it their way," Dean said.  Xander nodded.

"So, are we the handsome prince or you?" Sam asked to make Xander laugh.

Xander looked at him.  "I think we're joining two covens to them."  John snorted, shaking his head.  "Or at least two covens of hunters."

"Marrying the two systems so they can overlap?" Dean joked.  Xander nodded.  "Think they'll try again?"  Xander nodded again.  "Can they be stopped?"

"They're teenage girls with little sense," Xander said.  "That may depend on if Willow joins in or not."

John looked in his phone book.  "Father Morgan," he said as he walked off talking to him.  "John Winchester.  Actually, no, giving you a head's up.  Apparently the witches from that portal incident are presently trying a Rosenburg style trick to marry Xander Harris off to one of my boys.  Tara's presently trying to calm them down with detectives but we're not sure if it'll work.  They're protected," he assured him with a grin.  One of the cats was running down the stairs very wetly yowling.

"One of his kittens fell into the pool.  No, just a head's up in case something serious happens.  No, have dinner.   If they need you to help yell, I'm sure someone has your number, Father.  Yup, just in case.  Especially since Xander was on the phone with someone and thinks Rosenburg herself showed up.  No, that letter was her, Father.  And she hid it by using her daughter's gifts.  Exactly.  We're not sure but they're presently guarded.  Have a better night if you have to go yell."

He hung up.  "Go inside, cats."  Two more ran down.  He groaned, going to find the fourth one.  She was on the edge of the building staring at the power lines between them.  "Don't even think about it," he said, snatching her and carrying her inside.  "Xander, you need a fence.  She was thinking hard about strolling across the power lines."

"I've got one on backorder."  He took that cat too, making sure they were all inside the circle.  Dean was petting his.  Sam was petting the extra one and Xander had two in his lap.  The symbols around them lit up.  Xander blinked.  "Pretty light show."  The boys nodded.  John was growling at them and batted at one.  "Shit, one had a daddy kink," he muttered.  Dean and Sam both gave him a horrified look then looked at their obviously magiced father.  Dean texted Tara.

"Dad, you're under a spell," Sam called.  "Fight it really hard, Dad."  John was clearly trying.  "Dean, holy water?" he asked quietly.  Dean shook his head.  "Salt?"  Dean nodded.  "Dad, do a salt ring!"  John struggled but made it into the kitchen and poured some around himself.  He relaxed and did a better one.

"At least you're near the stove so you can turn it off before things burn," Dean quipped.

Xander snorted.  "This could take hours."  The lights got brighter and one tried to burn the floor.  Xander slapped at it.  Sam used the chalk he had been using earlier to redo the symbol.  Xander took it since it was singeing Sam's fingers.  Xander texted with his free hand.  Someone was going to get their foot up his ass.


Beckett looked at her phone.  "People, Xander said he didn't want to sleep with their father," she announced.  "And he'd rather become a demon consort than have someone tied to him unwillingly."

"Since he knows most of them in town, I'm sure he can," Esposito agreed.

"We'd never get him again, so therefore I'd get to kill you all," Barry said with a smile.  The witches gave him a dirty look.  Especially Willow.  "You're already on a hitlist, Rosenburg."

"It'll make him happy."

"Really?  Having someone who doesn't want to be his tied to him for his entire life will make him happy?  Especially since he's honorable enough to not play around for his needs, even if they wouldn't be able to touch him again?"  She gaped.  "And they're the same way.  They'd probably all die a lot sooner."  He crossed his arms over his chest, staring at her.  "You will be taken out soon.  I hope you have a will?"  She whimpered.  "I'd go hide somewhere *far* away from everyone Xander's ever dated, young lady."  She flashed out.  That killed the spell's power.  He glared at the other ones.  Four of the five were crying.  The other looked certain.  That one....  "Tara, is that one possessed?" he asked with a point.

She looked and nodded.  "It appears so," she agreed quietly.  "Huh.  So this was a plan to make them all miserable and quit hunting?  Because it certainly would've ended a few demons when they were mad."  She got her unpossessed.  "Why?"

"That would make the hunters easier to find," she sobbed.  "They want the Winchesters."

Beckett snorted.  "There's a website that tracks them so they can stare at the Winchesters' butts.  They don't need to be easier to find."  She handcuffed that one and the others.  She looked at Barry.  "Get out of my city.  Tonight."  He pouted but nodded, leaving.  She sighed.  "Someone call LA?"  Tara waved her phone.  "The office?"

"Joyce.  Buffy's mother."  She finished cleaning up after them and walked off chatting with Joyce about what had just happened.  Joyce may still be a bit ill but she was a mother and Willow clearly needed a mother's touch.

"Hopefully her mother has more sense than the daughter," Detective Ryan complained.

Beckett smiled.  "She does.  She called to check on Xander a few weeks back."  They grinned back.  "Castle's having a poker game.  I was reading in the tub."  They nodded and went to hand the witches to someone who could do paperwork tonight so they could go home too.  She got to go back to her bubble bath.  That was nice and maybe Xander could be less paranoid for a while.


Joyce walked into the Hyperion.  "Where is Willow, Gunn?"

He stared at her.  "Sobbing in her room.  Are you going to beat her for using Olivia?"

"She did what?  Apparently I missed something when I was in the hospital."  He explained things to her.  She nodded and went to find something in the armory.  It nicely had Dru's name on it.  It was four inches wide, two thick, and had a great handle.   She walked up to Willow's room.  "I don't believe in corporal punishment," she said as she walked in.  "For you I'm going to make an exception.  Gunn, come get Olivia?" she called.

"She's not supposed to be here," he said, coming in to grab the baby and walking off calling her daddy.  "Found your little girl."  Daniel asked what he was talking about and who he was.  "Joyce, she made Daniel forget them."  He winced at the scream of pain.  "Okay.  Well, Daniel, come to the Hyperion Hotel now.  As in right now, so we can fix that please."  He hung up.  "Wes?" he called, walking toward his office.  Wesley met him in the doorway.  "Daniel doesn't remember Olivia."

"Dear Christ," he muttered.  He flinched and looked up at the new scream.  "Buffy?"

"Joyce has Angel's paddle for Dru."

"I suppose she earned it this time."  He got what was needed and canceled the spells on Olivia.  Her daddy showed up a minute later and took her to cuddle.  "Let's get the coven locally to remove them all, Daniel.  That way you're both free."

He flinched at the new scream.  "Can't say she doesn't deserve it," he said, his accent coming out stronger.  Wesley drove them over.  The witches were most kind to Olivia and Daniel.  And sent a nice curse at Willow.  Daniel almost cursed her too but he didn't want to involve a wish demon in his relationship.  "Your ma will learn one day," he whispered in her ear.  "Then she'll straighten her ass out."  Olivia hugged him.  "I love you too, pumpkin."  The witches smiled and added some nice protections in henna on both of them.


Willow showed up at the local diocese house in New York, sniffling.  "Is Father Morgan here?" she asked the older nun who answered the door.  "I think I backslid."

She looked at her.  "He's up on the roof, child.  Use the fire escape."  She pointed.  Willow nodded, going to walk up it.  She closed the door and locked it.  She could feel something evil coming off that child.  She didn't want to make the Father work harder tonight.

Father Morgan looked up when he was joined by an evil feeling thing.  "Did you suck up a hellmouth, Rosenburg?"

She sat down.  "What?"

"You feel like an evil oil slick, child."  She stared.  He pointed at the plants around her.  She looked and whimpered, moving to fix the ones that were being killed.  "Let's fix this."  He dragged her to the fountain he had kept blessed.  He dunked her head in and let her scream into the water.  Clearly something was fouling her again.  If he had to beat it out of her, so be it.  That's why he was known as Black Morgan.  When she quit struggling he pulled her up to look at her.  "Well, you seem more pure."  She whined and dunked her own head.  Clearly it hurt less this time.  She didn't scream as much.  He'd let her do it as long as she was willing.  It'd save his energy to undo whatever she had done wrong.


Xander looked up from his 'hanging out in a coffee shop' time on his way to the park when Sam sat across from him.  "What's up, Sam?"

He handed over the message he had written down.  "Paula called and said that one left her the same message."

Xander read it and shrugged.  "Then he shouldn't comment on things without being asked or trash my rep for no reason on the rumors of something going on.  It's not exactly professional behavior."  He balled it up and tossed it into his empty cup, sipping from his new one.   "I'm not dismissing anything.  Paula knows I'm a vindictive asshole about those things."

"I agree, he shouldn't have," Sam said.  He grinned and pointed subtly.  "Reporter."

Xander shrugged.  "Okay."  He smirked.  "I'm going to the park then the bookstore."

"Dean said we have no more room in the car for fun reading books."

"Tara knows a nice used bookstore that you can exchange books for credit on new ones."

"I might go there."  He grinned.  "Are you going to be secure enough in the park?"

Xander looked at him.  "Why wouldn't I be?"

"There's a bad thing in today's paper saying you should be hunted down and expelled from the city to make sure what happened at the school doesn't happen again?"  He got up to get a copy of the paper and brought it back.  Xander read it and laughed.  "We're not worried?"

"She's a member of that church that put the hunt order on me for being a fantasy writer."  He handed it back.  "If they come up to me in the park, I can handle it until officers get there, Sam."

"I know but it looks bad and then Paula would chew on someone."

Xander smirked.  "If we go from here to hanging out in the park, there's going to be someone who says we're dating."

"Serious?" Sam asked, grimacing.

"Yeah."  He grinned.  "They do that, Sam."

"Good point but you're not a starlette that they usually like."

"Thank God, or I'd have to shop."  Sam burst out cackling, making some of them stare at them oddly.  Xander grinned.  "It was just a joke."  They went back to their own little things.  Xander smirked at Sam.  "So, anyway....  Did you read the battle scene in the chocolate lords one?  I screwed it up badly I think."

"I hadn't.  I can do that for you."   He grinned and left Xander alone.

Xander finished up and took his new coffee to the park.  On the way he texted his attorney to tell him someone was trying to pressure his publisher about that suit.  Xander put an update up onto the website about that, subtly, but pointed at an earlier interview.  Someone corrected the link for him but all he did was say 'thank you'.  The website's comments all agreed he had said he was a vindictive bitch about screwing with him and that if they had done it they deserved it.  It made him have warm fuzzies and he posted a funny quip he had put into the newest book.  The 'leaked' section was well liked.  He settled in on a bench to read.  He was conveniently near a park entrance point in case something happened.

"You evil thing!" someone shouted.

Xander blinked but it was some woman yelling at her boyfriend.  He went back to his book while they fought.  At least until someone stomped over and kissed him.  "Woman!" he shouted, pushing her off.  "I don't know you!  Quit kissing me!"

She pouted.  "You're a better man than mine."

Xander looked at her boyfriend then at her.  "I don't know him well enough to say that, but I'm staying out of marital matters that I'm not naturally part of.  Sorry!"  He got up and walked off.  He ran into another woman who tried to grab him and kiss him.  "No!"  He dove into a cab.  "Twelfth precinct?"  The cabby nodded and drove off.  Xander paid him and got out, heading inside.  Two different girls tried to grope him.  "Not right now, ladies," he said, trying to be charming.  He nearly dove onto the elevator.  All guys.  He sighed.  He got off and walked over to Beckett.  "Do I seem different to you?  Like women throwing themselves at me sort of urges?"

She gave him a confused look.  "What?"

"Old spell, which was totally my fault, but I'm having women hunting me and I want to make sure that the women who're trying for me today aren't because of that thing coming back somehow."

Beckett shook her head.  "I still don't want to do more than paddle you, Xander."  She smiled.

He sighed.  "Thank you!"  Some woman walked up behind him and ran her hand up his back.  He turned and took his wallet back.  "You can't have it."  She kissed him.  He pulled back.  "I only date the lighter bad girls.  Are you one?"  She pouted.  He smirked.  "Why try me?"

"You're famous so therefore you have a lot of money."

"In the bank, not on me.  And I'm not as wealthy as an actor or someone."

"So?  I can use your wallet to get me out of the city."

Xander pointed toward the river.  "There's bridges.  Go steal a car."  She snorted but stomped off.  Beckett pointed and she got arrested.  He stared at her.  "It's been like that for the last hour.   Are you sure it's not that old spell coming back?"

"What spell?" she asked.  Xander explained that whole love incident spell.  Including that Cordelia had broken up with him for her image.  She just nodded then batted him on the head.  "Idiot."

"It was my first real relationship!"


"I was seventeen."

She nodded.  "You acted like a seventeen-year-old girl."  He shrugged.  "No, I don't think it's coming back.  They're just wannabe bad girls."  Xander relaxed and beamed at her, starting to walk off.  Until two female officers stopped him to kiss and grope him.  "Maybe I'm wrong," she decided, letting the minions get him free.  Xander made sure he had his wallet and things then gave them confused looks.  "Ladies, are you just really happy fans?" she asked.  They smiled and nodded.  "Okay.  He's making sure since he's had people grope him for no reason today."  They laughed and left.  Xander looked at her.  "Still not that old thing, Xander."

"Thanks."  He fled.

The minions shared a look.  "When I was seventeen and it was my first relationship, I might've too," Esposito admitted.  "Since then I grew up, grew manly, and got cool."  He sat down.

"You had your first relationship was that late?" Detective Ryan asked.  He sat down.

"That was a bit late," Beckett teased with a smirk.

Esposito smirked back.  "No but if I was as geeky as him, it might've been.  My first girlfriend was when I was twelve."

"I waited until I had fully finished developing," Beckett said.  She sat down, making notes on that spell in case they saw someone else that stupid.  Xander probably wouldn't be the first.  Or the last.

Kevin Ryan looked up from typing into his computer.  "We've had two cases of that locally.  It was put down as 'massed drugging in high school'."  He smirked.  "Both girls."

"Well, Xander was raised by Willow," Esposito complained.

Beckett nodded.  "I was never that sort of girl."  Castle walked in with coffee and a grin.  "Did you hear about that spell on Xander?"

He paused.  "The teenage witches managed it finally?"  He handed out coffees.

"From high school," Esposito said.  "A love spell?"

"Yeah, I heard about that.  Did it come back?"  He sat down.

"He thought it might have since random women were kissing him."

"There's been two girls who've done similar things," Beckett told him.

"That I'd expect from teenage girls."  Castle smiled.  "I'm so glad my daughter has sense."

They all nodded that was a good thing.


Xander walked into the apartment then turned and locked the door.  He even put on the deadbolt.

John Winchester looked over from watching the news.  "Bad day?" he joked.

"I'm still not sure that the old love spell from high school didn't come back."  He leaned his head on the door.

"Love spell?" John demanded.  "Rosenburg....." he started.  Xander waved a hand.  "You did what!"  Xander turned around to lean against the door and tell him what had happened back then.  John was still glaring.  "If you did that again...."

"No!  I haven't wanted or needed to.  Considering some of them were willing to kill me if I didn't break them in....  Not my thing!"  He walked toward the kitchen.  "But I've been groped by strange women all day."  He grabbed a bottle of soda and went to his office.  "I'm putting this into a book.  That way it's a warning so someone learns from my youthful mistakes."

"You should've had sense by then, Harris," John complained.

Xander came back to look at him.  "It was my first relationship, John.  To this day, I still feel things for Cordelia."  John grimaced.  "What if your wife had done that?"

"I would've walked away.  I had more women who would've filled in."

"I didn't."  He walked off again.  He opened the doors to the garden.  "Did they deliver the fence stuff?"

"Yes.  It's up there."

"Thank you."  He went up to put them in.   That way the cats wouldn't try to visit other buildings and get hurt or killed.

John looked up then texted his son Sam.  Sam pointed out teenagers in love did stupid things and at least it hadn't been Romeo and Juliette.  John put his phone up and went up to talk to the boy.  He clearly needed parents back then.  Actually the kid could use a real parent now.  "I heard from that stupid news station that your mother's getting out."

"She's out in Cali.  They'll send her home.  She's not coming here."  Xander looked over.  "I'll be damned."

John smiled.  "That's good to know.  She filed that she was coming out here to be closer to your father."

"I doubt she'd be able to afford it."

"Probably true.   Rent out here is horrible."  Xander nodded.   "How much did this place cost?"

"Nine hundred thou and change but I got six-fifty from the last place."

"That's a lot."

"Even the normal houses out on Staten Island are really expensive.  Beyond that, he's not on Riker's anymore so she'd have to go upstate."

"True."  He considered it.  "That's not near Albany but still expensive."

Xander nodded.  "If so, she's not coming here even to visit."

"Good idea."

"Did she make a statement?"


"Shit," he muttered.  "Did Paula call?"


Xander called her.  "My mother's making statements?"  He listened.  "No, she's not coming anywhere near me.  I'll have that restraining order redone."  He grinned.  "That'd be helpful."  John caught the cat sneaking past them.  "Thanks, John."  He listened.  "Thanks, Paula.  If he's never going to do it again, maybe.  Right now, no.  Because I was raised by girls, Paula, and I learned how to be a vindictive bitch from Cordelia."  He grinned at John.  "He yelled at me earlier about that love spell back in high school.  I know, Rick wanted me to write a book about my misspent youth to warn other parents.  Sure."  He got the other cats.  "Inside, kittens."  He pointed and they ran.  John walked past him.  "Thanks."  He listened and nodded.

"That'll work.  I don't like it, but he's done it to others.  He had no facts and assumed, which trashed my rep, Paula.  Which would definitely affect sales!  He had no right to do that."  He nodded.  "Fine, I'll let them talk settlement.  No, I don't.  Thanks."  He hung up and texted the lawyer.  //Paula's making me tell you to talk settlement if you think it's at all possible we'll win.  Then it can go into a donation.//  He put his phone up and got back to putting in the pretty iron fence with clear plexiglass backing.  It made the wall closer to armpit height instead of low hip height.  It was much safer for people and kittens.


Xander looked at the entertainment reporter the next day, adjusting his shirt so it sat better.  He smiled at her.  "Thank you for asking me to make a comment."

"You've been in the news recently," she said, smiling at him.  It wasn't a happy smile.

"Hmm.  Not always by my own choice, but yes."  She nearly flinched.  He smiled.  "I've taken what I felt was appropriate action based on the bs that was going around at the time.  I don't need my reputation trashed because someone felt inferior.  A writer's rep is something that can kill their careers."

"I know."  She smiled.  "So, your mother's said that she's moving to your house in New York when she gets out?"

Xander laughed and shook his head.  "No.  No, in fact I'm asking for a new restraining order."  She gaped.  "Because my mother sent me a bomb that also had cocaine in it.  She was pissed off that my father went to jail for trying to blackmail me.  That was her reaction.  So no, I don't foresee any family reunions anytime soon."

"I understand that feeling.  I'd agree with it.  So a new restraining order?"

"We're going before a judge tomorrow.  I've also sent a certified letter to the warden at the prison she's in that she is not welcome at my house.  That's what my publisher and agent wanted me to do as a first step."  His phone beeped.  "I thought I turned that off," he apologized.

"That happens to a lot of people."

He looked and frowned.  "Shit."  He called them back, holding up a hand.  "John, they're with who?"  He listened.  "No, she's not coming to my house.  The warden knows that, the judge got the same letter.  Her lawyer got the same letter.  She's not coming to my house and I'm not making a damn bit of change in my house to humor the California Department of Corrections.  You can also tell them that we're getting a restraining order tomorrow."   He mouthed 'I'm so sorry' at the reporter before getting up and walking off stage.  "Hi, yes I am.  No, she's not welcome in my house.  Because the insane, drunken bitch sent me a bomb filled with cocaine," he said dryly.

"I didn't want anything to do with her drunkenness when I was in high school, I definitely don't want it now.  I sent you guys a certified letter stating that.  Along with the warden."  He listened while they complained.  "I don't care if that does derail her parole.  I'm not doing a damn thing for that woman.  I don't care if she gave birth to me or not.  You know what?  When you start paying for me to see a therapist over her shit from when I was younger, then we'll talk, but until then no.  I don't care if I'm her son.  That's not my fault.  She's an adult.  If I had done that I wouldn't go begging back to them.  Go to a halfway house, whatever, but she's not coming to mine."

He hung up and took a deep, calming breath then called Paula.  "Paula, department of corrections people are at my house to tell me what I need to change because I'm her only relative.  Get them out of my house however you can, even if you have to shoot them.  No, I'm at the entertainment station's news people's studio," he said dryly.  "If I was there, I'd be hanging them off the roof.  Thanks."  He hung up and called John again.  "They leave or I'm coming home to shoot them.  Paula said I could."  He hung up and one of the assistants on hand took his phone with a smile.  "Thank you.  I'm trying not to throw it."

"I know," she said quietly.  She unhooked his microphone.  "Go calm down in the green room.  You can come back to this."  He nodded, going to do that.  She looked at her boss.

"Thank you.  He's a bit pissed off."

"I think he has a reason.  If my mother tried to blow me up I wouldn't want to talk to her either."

"Good point.  Me either."  She got settled and waited.  Xander came back a few minutes later.  "Finish calming down, Harris.  We can wait another ten minutes."

"I doubt ten minutes is going to make much of a difference.  I'm going to go to the gun range."  She smiled and got him remicrophoned and they went back to the interview.


John hung up.  "Mr. Harris was very upset.  He's already called his lawyer and agent."

"By law he's her only relative."

"She tried to blow him up.  We've already had one restraining order."  Sam came off the elevator.  "Sam."

Sam smiled at them.  "By law, you cannot make a victim of a violent crime house the offender.  That is federal law."  They gaped.  "I may have started my law degree but even I know that.  And Mr. Harris is going to sue you.  A lot.  She tried to kill him.  You can't make him house her.  Especially since he had walked away from her as soon as he was eighteen and had a job that would pay for rent."

"She said he's lived with her," one of them said.

"He spent four months living in the basement, paying them rent, until he could afford his own apartment.  Since then I doubt they've spoken."

"By law she has to go to a relative or other suitable situation."

"They have halfway houses," Sam noted.  "Those are a legal alternative.  If his uncle is out of jail for his DUI habit, I'm not sure which side he's on."

"It can't be another felon," the other agent sighed.

Sam shrugged.  "He's not going to let her come here.  He'll kill her if she comes here.  I've never seen anyone have a screaming, trying to crawl up the walls nightmare about anything until I saw one of his about her."  They nodded.  "So no, she's not coming here.  If your department tries, there's going to be a lot of press coverage, a lot of lawsuits, and she'll still be out there."

"For that matter, it's only been two years since she went to jail.  Attempting to bomb someone with a powerful bomb with drugs included only gives you two years?" John asked.

"The prison's overcrowded and it was felt she wouldn't do it again."

"He's not changing for her, she's won't be able to drink here, and he's going to send her onto the streets first," Sam told them.  They nodded.  "I'm sorry, guys.  I know you're doing your job, but no.  There's no way Xander would accept that."

"We understand, sir.  Tell him we're sorry?"

"Of course," Sam agreed with a smile.  "He's probably heading to my brother since he's on the gun range.  That way he could blow off the steam in a constructive way."

"He has guns?" one of them asked.

Sam found a video on his phone, showing it to them.  They gaped and nodded.  "Understood," the other one said.   Sam smiled.  "Are you his...boyfriend?"

"Friend.  We're up here hunting something."  He grinned.  They nodded and left.  He called Xander.  "They left, they won't come back, it's going to be okay so calm down," he said into his voicemail.  "Go to the gun range.  Dean's there."  He hung up and called Dean.  "Xander might be joining you."  He hung up and got the cats to cuddle.  "That was a good thing."  He texted Paula to let her know.

"He was at the reporter's studio," John said.

"I'm sure she's horrified by him swearing but they'd handle it.  Xander can make her have wet panties and it'll be fine, Dad."  He grinned.  "Xander's getting good at that."  John nodded, settling in again.  Dean's cat jumped over to stare at John, then meowed at him.

He petted her.  "Fine."

Sam grinned, going back to the other three.  Beth walked in and stared.  "He's at the studio."

"He wanted me to bring him a handgun for the range."  Sam pointed behind him.  She got into the gun cabinet.  "Which one, Sam?"

He looked.  "The blue case."  She nodded, taking out that case.  He took it to check, making sure it was unloaded.  Then he handed it back.  "That'll work."  She smiled and left with it.

John looked at him.  "That's a puny gun."

"It'll take him longer at the range.  He could use the time."

"He could," John decided.  He went back to petting the insistent cat.  She was laying beside him and kneading his thigh.  He looked down.  Then shook his head.  "You're a bit strange, cat."  He still petted her.  She might be his only future daughter-in-law.


Xander walked into Paula's office once he had calmed down at the gun range.  Dean was in the car.  "I'm sorry if the interview today is going to look really bad on me."

She shook her head.  "She sent me the full video and how she edited it.  She took out all the swearing.  Not that I wouldn't."  She smiled.  "The lawyer has gotten the restraining order."  Xander relaxed.  "We've faxed it to the Department of Corrections with a copy of the letter we already sent them.  And to the prison."  Xander finished relaxing and nodding.  "Do you have any other shocks?"

"Not yet.  Why?"

"You were having coffee with Sam?"

"He brought me your message.  Later that day I got pounced by strange women.  I'm worried that it might be Anya's groupie curse since it wasn't the love spell back in high school coming back."

"I'm sure it's not either.  Just a crop of new bad girls in the city."  He grinned.  "Are you and Sam perhaps thinking about dating?"

"Sam wants that normal thing.  The kids, the tire swing for them.  Father's days."  She nodded she understood that.  "Which I can't give him."

"I can see that?  John or Dean?"

"John's been being very parental for the last few days," he admitted.  "He yelled about the love spell back in high school.  Dean's nice, and I like him as a friend, but he likes breasts."

"Okay, so I'll kill any rumors in that direction."  Xander grinned.  "The witches?"

"They did get through to them.  Willow's in a motel room uptown so Father Morgan can help her again."

"Again?"  Xander nodded.  "Okay."  He grinned.  "There's another premiere."

"Should I since I went to the local one?"

"You could."

"Wouldn't it look like I was a media whore?"

"It could."

"Then I'll abstain unless they want me to."  She nodded, sending the producer an email to make sure of what she wanted.  He stood up.  "Thank you for being reasonable and nice."

She smiled.  "You're like a cousin I can guide, Xander.  Things like this I can help with if you want me to."  He grinned and left.  She got back to his newest thing.  It was an older one but she liked it a lot.


Xander flopped down once he got home, looking at them.  "She'll stop the rumors that we had coffee, Sam."  Sam grinned.  He looked at the content kitties.  "Guys, I could use some furry love."  They snored at him.  He rolled his eyes.  "Fine."  Dean handed one of the ones from Sam's lap to him.  "Thanks."  He cuddled the kitten, getting complaints and batted at.  He kissed her on the head.  "Relax and let the daddy cuddle, Homer.  He had a bad morning."  He petted her, letting her hop down and go back to bother Sam.  He moved to sit next to Sam and they all came to him.  "I guess we don't like that chair?"  He petted them.

"Maybe you need to febreeze it," John said.

"Maybe but they've always hated that chair," Xander said with a grimace.  He shrugged and petted them.  "Do we have money in the house?  I wanted to order dinner and not use the bank since my last royalty check hasn't cleared."

"Is that a problem?" John asked.

"I have a shitload in investments but the savings account is running low.  The checking account is usually healthy but I want to leave it there in case something happens."

"That's wise," John agreed.  "You could have eighty years of handling things."

"It's not that likely," Xander countered.  "Maybe forty."  Someone knocked.  "Open," he called.  They opened the door.  The three Winchesters glared.  "That's not an invitation, guys.  Not even vamps can do that.  And if they've made it this far, there's no way I don't know them."

"Good point," John decided.  He looked at the detective.  "Yes, Detective Taylor?"

"Xander, someone said you were threatening agents?"

"No, I said if they made my mother move in I was going to shoot them."

Mac Taylor looked at him.  "Why?"

"They were trying to relocate his mother to here from prison," John told him.

"Didn't she try to blow you up?" Mac asked.  Xander smirked and nodded.  "Then I guess that's reasonable."

"I was stressed," Xander admitted.  "I can write a letter of apology."

"No, they didn't say anything about that," Sam said, looking at his father.

"I never repeated that part.  I was trying for tactful but firm."

"No, we got it from a reporter," Mac said.

"I was at an interview when John called.  I swore, I threatened, I had a hissy fit," Xander admitted.  "I'm calmer now."  Mac smiled and nodded, leaving them alone.  He looked at Dean.  "Thank you."

"Welcome."  He petted his cat since she had walked over John to get to him.  "Hi, sweetheart.  You're better than a wife."

John snorted.  "Not really.  Human wives can do a lot that cats can't."

"Including sleep with you in that nice cuddly way," Xander quipped.  "I'd love one of those myself."

"You got a letter," John said, finding it on the table and handing it over.  "That reminded me since it's got a kiss on it."

Xander looked it over then opened it, staring at it.  "Um...  Not a good thing.  Dean, see if Mac's still outside in his car?"  Dean looked and shook his head.  "Then maybe we should see Beckett or a minion of Beckett.  Now."

"Drugs?" John asked.

"No, an invitation to my death.  Um...  Hmm.  My stalker from LA is out of jail.  And wants me to travel to the Middle East with him."

Sam called.  "Detective Ryan, it's Sam Winchester.  Xander just opened a nice invitation from someone he said was his stalker from LA who invited him to the Middle East."

"Which would get us killed since they like to kill gay men," Xander said dryly.

"He wants to know why he hasn't shown up before."

"Because I subtly had him arrested for trying to kill Tara," Xander said.  "Through my last agent."  He carefully put it down.  "And he's on three terrorist watch lists."

Sam repeated that and hung up.  "They'll come over here for dinner."

"That means I need to dip into the bank account for pizza."  Xander got up to check his account online, grimacing.  "Someone locked it.  Interesting."  He found something and used it instead.  It went through and he called the agent he knew.  "It's Xander Harris.  Two things.  Um, my stalker from LA.  Yes, him.  Sent me a nice invitation.  Middle East.  They're coming.  And who locked my bank account?"  He smirked.  "No, she can't.  And if they did, I'm suing them."  He smiled.  "No, I handled dinner.  Please."  He nodded.  "One of Beckett's guys.  Thanks."  He hung up and put down the phone, walking out.  They were coming off the elevator.  "The Homeland agent said it can't be him, he died in jail two weeks ago."

Esposito looked at him.  "Why call him?"

"Because someone also locked my bank account."

"Shit," Ryan said.  He went to look that up.  "Not the FBI.  Or Homeland.  There it is," he said.  "Unlocked.  Department of Corrections for investigating your finances."

"She's not coming here."  The detectives stared at him.  "My mother's getting out."

"She only got two years?" Esposito demanded.

"Yeah, and they were going to relocate her here!"

"Hopefully you threw a fit."  Xander and John both nodded.  "The invitation?"

"No clue," Xander said, handing over the envelope.

He looked it over.  "I don't know.  It's in his name.  They're sure he's dead?"  He called a contact in the FBI.  He walked outside then back in, pacing as they talked.  He nodded once.  Then he hung up after a quiet 'thank you'.  "He's in Witness Protection."

Xander stared at him.  "Wouldn't that mean they'd stop him from stalking someone?"

"The agent I talked to will warn him off," Esposito said.  Xander smiled and hugged him.  "Get off, kid."  Xander pulled back with a sheepish look.  "Which agent?"  Xander handed him the card.  He called him to talk to him.  Ryan got the pizzas from the doorway and brought them up with the cats helping.  Xander went down to get the one that had snuck out.  He came back and got a piece of pizza, sitting down while holding the cat.  The cat complained.

"Then don't escape," Dean told it.  It pushed at him but Xander handed him off to Dean.   They settled in to give ideas if he comes back.  Because what they got from his file was bad. Even among Xander's dates, he was bad.

"Did you two date?" Ryan asked.

Xander shook his head.  "No.  He hit on me in the club and I said no.   Because even my bad shit radar went off with him."

"Yeah, good idea," Esposito said.  He ate a bite of pizza.  His and Ryan's phone went off.  "Castle."  He called him.  "We're at Xander's talking about his former stalker that's in protection."  He listened.  "Seriously?  Kid, turn on E."

Xander did that and watched.  "Hmm.  Well, I'm already suing him."  He texted his lawyer.  //If he hasn't gotten a settlement offer, the report today on E! canceled any hope.  Thanks.//   He put his phone down.  "I don't have an anger issue.  Most of the time."

"You'd have the right to a lot worse one," Ryan said.  Xander nodded.  "I'm proud you managed it."

"I kept scaring Willow when we were younger so she made me calm it down."

John growled at something.  "Do we have that reporter's number somewhere, Xander?"

"No, and neither does Paula.  We had to call people who knew others to get the interview I did with them."  He looked at his phone.  "But I do know one."  He found her number and pulled it up.  "Sam?  Can you counter it?"

Sam, Dean, and John shared a look.  "They already know about us," Dean said.

"Sam would give better face time, sound more reasonable," John decided.  The three nodded.

Xander hit 'send' and listened.  "Marian, it's Alexian Harris.  Yes, about that shit.  I have a hunter here who would like to talk to you.  Do you have about ten minutes?"  He smiled.  "Well, we're at home right now.  Sure.  That'll work.  Thanks."  He hung up.  "Sam, go steal a shirt from my closet?"  He got up and went to do that.  He came down in nice jeans and a decent shirt.  Xander and Dean adjusted seats outside.  The setting sun made a nice backdrop and wouldn't bother the camera.  Esposito let them in.  "Thank you," he told the reporter, giving her a hug.  "He's doing it because I'm suing him."

"I heard."  She patted him on the cheek.  "Nice setup, boys."  Sam grinned and shook her hand.  "You're really tall," she said.

He grinned.  "I hear that a lot."  She grinned and helped the camera guy set up.  "Here?" Sam asked, sitting down.

"Other side."  He switched seats.  She sat down and the camera guy nodded.  "I'm here with a rebuttal of something a certain doctor of addiction has said," she told the camera with a smile.  "This is Sam Winchester."  Sam smiled and nodded.  "Sam, he said that hunting is anger issues?"

"Most hunters...  My family has been hunting since I was six months old and a demon took out my mother."  She shivered.  "Most of the hunters I know started hunting because someone they loved was hurt by a demon.  Or they were.  It's not anger in the sense he meant.  It's a lot of 'I'll get that thing back' and part 'it'll never hurt another person'.  If he had talked to a lot of officers, I'm sure quite a few went into law enforcement for the same reason.  To make sure people are protected from things that are killing people."

"So it's not because you're taking out your anger on them," the reporter said.

"No.  Though I won't claim that some times we aren't doing that when we deal with something, it's not the reason we hunt.  You don't come into this life just because you're mad.  Maybe if you become a boxer or something but not a hunter.  Hunting takes research, a lot of research, physical exertion, and a lot of traveling to deal with things that people don't want to admit exists and hate that you made them see."

"I didn't want to know about the demons in this city," she admitted.

"Most of the ones in the city are peaceful and nice beings," Sam said with a grin.  "Last year, there was a plan to make us stay with Xander.  They were the most polite I've ever seen when they broke our legs."  She gaped.  "He apologized.  He said it was nothing personal.  He got another one to call Xander and check on us."  He grinned.  "It was a plan to set us and Xander up.  We were already friends," he said with a smile.  "He babied us for weeks.  One of his cats tried to adopt my brother.  He told our father so he wouldn't be able to complain."

"Seriously?" she demanded.

"It was another hunter's plan at setting us up."  He smiled.  "It's made our friendship close and we're still good friends."

"How many injuries have you had since you started to hunt?"

"Well, we were allowed to hunt on our own when we were late teens.  I think I went on my first non-parent supervised hunt when I was sixteen and promptly broke my foot."  He grinned.  "I took off four years for Stanford and then got brought back into it by the demon that was hunting my family; the one who got my mother also got my girlfriend.  Since then I've had a broken arm, the one broken leg and one badly bone bruised one from that demon, and a few concussions.  A few strained shoulders from digging up remains to salt and burn them.  That's how you banish ghosts," he said at her confused look.

"Dean, my brother, has had a few good concussions and a broken rib, plus there was a plot to nearly kill us by that same demon's daughter.  It would've crashed a semi into our car, which would've probably nearly killed or really killed my brother.  He got electrocuted once and nearly died from it too."  He scratched the back of his neck.  "Dad's had more injuries but he's tougher than Dean and I are because he was a Marine when he was younger.  He retired just after he got married."  He grinned at her.  "Dad can still kick our butts in sparring."

"So you're saying it's not anger, it's like being an officer or an agent who got affected so you made sure that it couldn't happen to anyone else," she said.

"Yes, I am."  He grinned.  "Someone has to hunt the bad things before they take out more kids and families."

"What was your last hunt?"

"We had shown up in New York to handle the portal problem if it came back, but we also handled a haunting just outside the city to the north and I think Dad handled one that was haunting a funeral home?" he called.  John nodded.  The camera swung to him and back.  Sam smiled.  "Dad's hunted a long time."

"You're twenty-eight?"

"Almost twenty-nine."

"He's been hunting since you were six-months-old?"  Sam nodded.  "How did he handle hunting and watching you two grow up?"

"Dean was four years older and he did some watching when we were older.  Sometimes a few other hunters babysat during hunts.  We didn't have what people would say was a traditional or a comfortable growing up but we did grow up strong and knowing that we had to help those that weren't expecting a ghost to kill their families.  Or a demon to attack them while they were playing in a park."

"You went to Stanford?"

"On a full ride scholarship."  He grinned.  "I was within a semester of starting law school when my girlfriend was killed."

"How often did you guys move?"

"Every few months," Dean called.  "Which is why Sammy's brains are so impressive to us."

She smiled at him.  Then at Sam.  "That is impressive."

"We learned a lot on the road, but it's not a life that any of the ones in it would encourage for anyone.  That's why Xander's fairly graphic fantasy novels about hunters set off some panic and let some kids realize they didn't want that."

"That's why that one hunter worked against him?"  Sam nodded.  "Is he still one of you?"

"He's apologized and he was possessed at the time.  That was the demon's plan but he didn't want to bring too much light to us."

"I think I can understand that.  But to counter his comment, it's not taking out anger?"

Xander came out.  "There were days I took out the normal teenage frustration hunting.  It's not that common or uncommon.  It's not why we started hunting."

"Why did you start hunting?" she asked him.

"I had a friend that I had known since before I could babble.  I had to steal the pictures of us in the same playpen from my mother when I left."  He went into his office and came out.  "That was Jesse."

She looked then at him.  "He got killed by a demon?"

"He got turned by a vampire."  She gaped.  "And I ended up having to deal with it.  I kept going to make sure that the thing that did it to him was ended.  And when it was, I found that I had to keep going, no matter what the people I was with thought about me being normal."

"You're considered normal?"

"I'm not a slayer, not a witch," he said dryly.  She shuddered.  He smiled.  "That was my feeling but Willow and Buffy were certain I was normal."  He put the picture back inside.  "Like this family, I got into it because it had taken someone who was closer than a brother to me."  He put his hands in his pocket.  "It's not a healthy life.  I should've went and joined the military or gone to the academy and become an officer to channel that, but I didn't.  I started to write.  I kept helping during hunts and apocalypse battles.  And personally, I don't think he's ever had anything he's ever cared that much about."

"He's a father."

Xander nodded.  "If he's a good father, would he kill the thing threatening his kids?"  He walked off.  John patted him on the back.  He shrugged slightly.  "Still sucks that I staked him," he muttered.

"It does," John agreed.

"His first," Dean said very quietly.  John nodded, patting the kid again.  Esposito handed him a piece of pizza, getting a grin.

She looked at Sam.  "Your girlfriend?"

"The demon that was hunting the family had a bad habit of pinning people to the ceiling, cutting open their stomachs, and then setting the ceiling on fire."  She shuddered.  "I got to see her just as the fire started.  I got back from helping Dean try to find our father when he had went off the grid to hunt that demon, laid down on the bed, looked up to find her giving me the helpless look and the fire start."  She shuddered.  "I tried so hard to save her."  He took a calming breath.  "I did."  Dean came out and Sam walked off to spend some time in the bathroom.

Dean smiled.  "Sorry."

"No, that has to be emotional for him, Dean.  Thank you for countering that rumor."

"Guys like him will never understand.  They decided that emotions are not something to live with.  I feel sorry for them for that but we protect everyone because it's a drive to us, like cops get.  We're soldiers in a very dirty war that no one wants to think about going on.  It's not military service but it's still a duty and an obligation.  The same as if only a third of people could see the people blowing through red lights to cause accidents, it's their job to stop them."

"I can agree with that.  It's not something I could do, even if it did affect me personally.  Some people are meant to do things like military service and some of us aren't but we should all honor them."  He grinned.  She cut and they packed up, taking it back to the studio to edit and hand over to the right people.  It was a moving interview.  A powerful one.  And Sam was cute.

John looked at the bathroom but Dean was off helping Sam calm down.  He went to talk to Xander.  "He's probably be proud."

"He'd be proud that I got famous," Xander admitted, looking up.  "But not that all this had happened.  He was an avoid the fight sort most of the time.  Pranks but not fights."

"Not everyone's meant to fight, Xander."  Xander nodded.  "You did good helping and protecting people though.  He'd be proud of that."

"I'd like to think so."  He smiled.  "I do miss Jesse a shitload."

"We all have people we miss, kid."  Xander nodded.  "Come eat."

Xander nodded, coming out to get some pizza and going to hug Sam.  Dean wouldn't but Sam needed a hug.  It was what being raised by Willow had done, he had an excellent hug needing radar.

John sat down.  "Sorry," he said quietly.

Esposito shook his head.  "No, don't be."

"Do we think he's looking to find someone that special?" Ryan asked.

"Probably," John agreed.  "I'm not sure if that's going to come easily though."

Xander came out.  "No, Jesse was the only good boy I've ever drawn."  He sat down.  The cats came over to pounce, even Dean's.   He petted them and Dean's roamed across him and Dean both to get Sam to pet him.  He smiled.  "Thanks, kitten."

Sam grinned, petting her.  "Thank you, sweetheart.  I needed the love."

"She gives good lovies," Xander agreed, petting the others.  Someone knocked and they scattered.  "In the house," he called.  They came back in.  He got up to answer the door, letting in Beckett and Castle.  "We already saw the shrink and countered it."

Rick smiled.  "Good.  I didn't want to bring that information."  They came in to settle in and talk about the stalker.  They didn't like the sound of this one and Beckett had gotten his full file.  "Eighty-three kills," Rick said.

Xander nodded.  "I'm guessing that's why my bad shit radar went off when he hit on me."

"You never dated him?" Beckett asked.

"No.  I helped my first agent get him arrested when he came after Tara."

"That's sad," Beckett decided.  Xander nodded.  "You really should date Dean or Sam, Xander."

"The witches wanted Dad," Dean joked with a grin.

Beckett shook her head.  "I can't see that.  He'd nag and treat him like he does you two, Dean."

"Yes, I would, and I don't plan on remarrying anyway.  No matter what some little teenage witches want to be spanked for trying."

Rick smiled.  "I'm so glad my daughter has sense."

"We're all glad your daughter isn't one of those brainless daughters," Esposito told him.

"I'm hoping I never have one of those," Xander sighed.   "Whenever I adopt."

"Some day you'll find the right semi-evil one and maybe it'll be the right time," Beckett said with a smile.

"With his luck, he'll have one show up out the blue," Ryan joked.

"Don't tempt them," Rick reminded him with a smirk.  "Some of his might."

"I'm just hoping Willow didn't curse anyone to fertility when she did the other things."

John shuddered.  "If she is, not even the baby will save her.  We'll make sure Daniel has her."

"You know, she was thinking she was pregnant again," Beckett said.  Xander shook his head.  "Miscarried?"  He nodded.  "Pity."

"Yeah but she's just addicted to her powers.  Maybe not having one right now is a good idea."

"Probably," Esposito agreed.  "Father Morgan still have her?"  John nodded.  "Probably a good idea."

"Willow pulled her tried and tested memory spells too.  Fortunately they got that solved."  Xander plucked out another piece of pizza and handed it to Sam, getting a grin.  "You need to eat.  I heard the hunter groupies are looking forward to finding you and pouncing you."  He whimpered.  "They want to spank Dean but they want to pounce you for cuddles."

"I think we'll avoid them for a bit longer," Dean decided.  Everyone smirked at him.  They made good plans for the stalker showing up.

Because he would.  He wanted Xander in that special bad boy way.


Xander walked past two officers on lunch break.  "Guys, slight problem.  He's in witness protection and not supposed to be near me," he told one.  "Sorry about your lunch."

"Oh, come on, Harris," the guy complained.  "You're going to get me busted?  I haven't even touched the pretty blonde now that you're not living with her."

"Tara's like my fucking sister," he said, glaring at him.  "You tried to kill her.  You're damn lucky you made it to jail."  The guy sneered and threw a knife.  Xander ducked and grabbed it off the ground.  "No, this is how you throw a knife," he said.

"Don't you dare!" the officers shouted.  Xander glared.  "We saw him do that, so we can arrest him," one said.  Xander handed over the knife.

"Hiding behind minions," the idiot snorted, sneering at Xander.  "I thought you were stronger.

Xander stared at him.  He saw someone behind him and sighed, then looked at the officers.  "Am I still a good enough boy to tell him that my ex who's an assassin is behind him?" he asked quietly.

"Thanks for that warning, sir," the other officer said.  "Stand still," he snapped.  "You try to run and we'll be really pissed.  After all, we're on lunch."

"I'll buy you guys lunch," Xander offered.  "I'm nice that way.  I do for Beckett when she has to arrest a bad date."  He smiled and waved.  "Hi, Brit."

"Xander!"  She smiled and waved.  "Did you have him arrested for trying to kill Tara?"

"He's in WP."

"Awww, that's so sweet.  I'll have to tell Barry."  The guy gave her a horrified look.  "You're not worthy of our Xander."  He whimpered, looking at Xander.

"She's really nice and loves oral sex."  Xander beamed at him.  "So does Barry.  And he's an agent so good for my career too."

The guy growled and lunged at Xander.  "No one gets you but me!"  Xander and he fought.  The officers stared.

"Kick his leg," Brit called.  "He's got a weak right knee."  One of the officers did that and ducked Xander hitting the now empty spot.  "Nice shot, Xander."

He pushed back his hair.  Then he grinned.  "I have nothing to do tonight, Brit."

She laughed.  "Unfortunately I do and he's in Portugal.  Next week?"

"Two book signings?"

"We'll do dinner when I'm back."  She winked and walked off.

"Ma'am, we need a statement," one of the officers ordered, following her.  "Even if you're an assassin or whatever, we still need a statement."

"You're so adorable," she cooed, pinching him on the cheek.  "If I didn't like naughty boys like Xander, I'd pounce you."

"My wife and four daughters might mind," he said with a smirk.  She laughed and gave him what he needed.  Xander gave them his nice gift certificate to the steak place up the street he hadn't gotten to use yet.  He called first to make sure it had a balance too, he didn't want to give a bad present.  The officers stared at him.  "We can't accept presents, sir."

"I ruined your lunch.  You need lunch to save guys like me.  You can ask Captain Montgomery.  I've done it for his unit after they arrested an ex."

"We'll ask him," the other decided, taking it.  The captain could hand it back.  "Which unit is he in?"


"We can do that," they agreed, gathering up their lunch mess and heading for the car.   When they got to homicide everyone was nearly at the snapping point.  He put the guy in the chair next to the nicer looking female detective.  He'd heard about her.  "Detective Beckett, ma'am, we just rescued his ex from him.  And got the nice assassin to give a statement.  And you can give Mr. Harris back the gift card too?"

Captain Montgomery came out.  "Keep it, guys.  He'll pout."  They gave him a dirty look.  He called to clear it with Internal Affairs, and got them dinner to take home.  He looked at the guy in the chair.  "What did you do?"

"He was going to go with some floosy assassin.  I'm *so* much better," he huffed.  "Even if she does like oral sex."

Beckett looked at the statement.  "Brit's in town.  The officer said she's heading to Portugal."  Esposito called the transit authority people so they could arrest her.  They had a few warrants in the city from her job.  She looked at him.  "Xander means no when he says no.  He's very certain who he wants to date and who he doesn't."

"You're just jealous because he'd never have you," he sneered.

She laughed.  "I don't want the kid.  I've never wanted the kid.  I'm not that much a bad girl."  He slumped down.  "Let me call someone to come pick your stupid ass up."

"Called Barry," Ryan said with a grin.  "He's very happy to come up to New York to pick him up."

"Do we really want to trust him to one of Xander's other boyfriends?" Montgomery demanded.

"I can defeat that little *agent* anyway.  No matter what that *assassin* weakling said," the guy sneered.

"You'll be in cuffs," Beckett said.  He lunged at her and she hit him.  He went down.  "No wonder Xander didn't want you.  All his can spar with him."  The guys laughed.  "Get him to holding."  They dragged him down there to do the booking slips.  She shook her head, looking at her boss.

"Nice punch," he said.  "Chocolate?"  She glared.  He smirked.  "It's a fair question at times."

"This case is driving me nuts."

He looked then at her.  "See if Xander dated them yet?"

She went over his file of who he dated and moaned.  "Barry's already in town I think."  The Homeland agent that Xander worked with over his blood issues stomped in.  "Is FBI Agent Barry Sinclair in town?"

"Yup.  We arrested him earlier for taking out a terrorist."  He smirked.  "He did a nice patriotic job but he wasn't supposed to sneak up behind him and shoot him."

"Wonderful."  She handed over the booking slips Esposito handed her.  "Arrested him too.  He's in Witness Protection for some reason."

He looked then nodded.  "I'm guessing you tried to call Barry because of him?"  She smirked and nodded.  "I'll call their handlers.  Why does Harris not have health insurance?"

"Because it'd be thirteen grand a year," Esposito told him.  "Unless he marries someone and they put him on their plan."

He just nodded.  "That's sad."

"If he was just hunting, he'd get covered.  Apparently being a writer is too dangerous and at his age, even the writer's insurance plans aren't risking it.  He's too wild."

He just nodded.  "I gave him the name of the one I know about."

"That was thirteen grand a year," Beckett said dryly.

"Ow.  Okay."  He smirked.  "We have three other terrorists in town."

"Has Xander been dating?" Ryan quipped.

"No, we called him last night and told him he was not allowed to date this week."

She called Xander.  "Where are they?"  He quipped something.  "Yes, them.  You know, you keep that up and we'll have to make you get spandex.  Which means a lot more time in the gym, Xander."  She wrote down the address, handing it to the agent.  "He'll be right there.  I have a *what*?"  She listened.  "That's insane.  Yeah, I'll have Castle told.  He's off reading to an elementary school today."  She hung up.  "I have a *fan* who came up to Xander to ask him about me, guys."  They smirked at her.  "I'm not going to be guarded by the kid again.  Tara doesn't live there so I can't bum clothes."

"Sure," Esposito agreed.  "We can arrange that if we have to."  He caught Ryan texting.  "Castle?"  He nodded and put his phone up.  "Terrorists?  I'm assuming that's what Xander was saying?"

"He just disarmed a smaller truck bomb."  The agent walked off to handle that.  "You know, last time he was a real hardass when he was here," she said once he was in the elevator.  "This time, I think Xander warped him somewhat."

"Maybe that hardassness makes him want to date the kid," Montgomery quipped.  She cackled, shaking her head.  "So this one was Barry?"  She nodded.  "Wonderful!"  He went to take an antacid.


Xander got escorted to John Winchester's side in the park by his homeland agent.  "Pick him out a flattering spandex costume and make him do gym time.  He's not near built big enough yet."  He walked off.

"Did you get the other one?" Xander called.

"Yup, sure did.  Thanks, Harris."

"Not my fault.  One wanted me to sign his book."  The agent just waved.

John stared at the young hunter.  "Demons trying a takeover event?"

"He's from Homeland."  John stared at him then reached over and smacked him on the head.  "There were only three and they did stop me to ask me to sign their books."  John did it again.  "Hey!"

"You need drugs, kid."

"That would ruin the muses and make Paula *very* pissed off and she's scary."  He jogged off.  "Dean, I need lunch," he called when he spotted him.  "You're driving."

"Of course I'm driving.  Where is your car?"

"Somewhere uptown?  I'll get it later."  Dean just nodded, taking Xander to lunch since he was buying.

John groaned, rubbing his face.  "Jesus, that kid needs someone to calm him down."  Someone sat beside him so he looked at Castle.  "The Homeland agent said he needed a superhero costume."

"He has one in his closet from when he used to go to conventions."  John slumped, shaking his head.  "If we could find him someone to date, I'd stick them in a closet together.  Unfortunately, the only good ones he draws seem to be some darker agents."  John shook his head.  "Or your sons."

"I asked them both, neither one's more than playful with him."

"Any other hunters?"

John shook his head.  "I don't know of any that even play that way and the only female ones I know are older or hate him."

"Pity," Rick said.  "Beckett sent me to talk to you about that."

John nodded.  "Does he only do this when he's not dating?"

"As far as we can tell it definitely picks up when he's not dating.  I have no idea about what happens when he's in a relationship.  He hasn't had one since Anya.  Beckett also said it's amazing that we're importing them from Chicago now.  Maybe he should do a book signing tour."  He smiled.  "See other places' bad boys and girls?"

"He'd have to have security."

"You have no idea but yes he would," Rick said.  John stared at him.  "Other things that have happened that you probably don't know about."

"Sammy told me that a demon tried to make him sick once."

"That too," he agreed.


"Yup.  Last time we got him some nice military guys.  Paula's setting up one so he'll have to do some shopping.  He'll need kitten sitters."  John nodded.  "So if your boys want to settle in for a few weeks.....  It's a six-week planned tour."

"I can tell them that.  Shopping, Sammy can probably handle.  Or Beth."  Rick nodded that was true.  He swallowed.  "Guards....  I have no idea."

"We know a general we can ask.  Plus paranoid Homeland agents."  He smirked.  "We arrested one of his past dates this morning for killing terrorists the wrong way."

"He said whatever he did happened because they stopped him to sign their book."

Rick nodded once.  "That doesn't surprise me."  He stood up.  "He goes in three weeks."  He left with a smile.  That series of who was killing Xander was still going hard.  Beckett was laughing at the preview copy he had leant her when he got back to the station.  "John will make sure the cats have someone to fuss at them.  Sam can help Xander shop."

She called the number in her phone.  "It's Beckett.  Harris is going on a signing trip in...."

"Three weeks," Rick said.  "It's six weeks long."

"In three weeks, for six weeks of traveling.  Outside the US, Castle?"

"Two in Canada."

"Canada."  She listened.  "Yeah, we need a list of recommended bodyguards.  I doubt it since Sheppard is SGC," she said dryly.  "So is McKay.  Yeah, that's who did it last time.  Thanks."  She hung up.  "He'll get a list of approved bodyguards."

"Could help.  He'll want someone he can talk to.  Paula even scheduled him a weekend at the cabin."

"That's nice of her."  She went back to reading.  Barry had confessed to the murder so they had wrapped up that case and paperwork already.  "You really think it's going to be Bethany?"

"No.  She'll get weeded out in three chapters."  He smirked.  She gave him a dirty look.  "It's got so many twists and turns to keep you guessing through all seven books.  Speaking of, I'm still working on book four."  He got up and went home to do that.  He walked in and kissed his mother on the cheek.  "Mother, Xander's going on a book signing trip."

She moaned.  "The poor US."  He smiled.  "Maybe he'll find someone worthy after all.  Go write, Rick."  He nodded, going to do that.  She shook her head, making sure her granddaughter knew when she came in.  She could help Xander shop.  She liked to do that sort of thing.


Xander looked up from writing when John walked into his office, giving him a confused look.  "What did I do this time?"

"You're going on a signing trip."

Xander whooped and called her.  "It's true?  I'm going to travel?"  He beamed at John.  "That's so cool!  No, I've been writing.  Chocolate lords.  Thanks, Paula."  He hung up and got into his email to find the orders, the plans, and the itinerary, with the huge note at the bottom to find a bodyguard, Beckett was compiling a list.  "That's wonderful!  Now all I have to do is find kitten sitters."

"That's us," Sam called, leaning around his father to beam at him.  "How many cities?"  Xander showed him, still bouncing on the balls of his feet and beaming in happiness.  "Cool!  That's a shitload of flying."

"At least it's not driving."  He beamed at John, showing him.    "Even a weekend off in there to deal with things."

"She told us."  Xander hugged him before bouncing off to show Dean.  John shook his head.

"Xander likes to travel and he never got to see all the US like we did," Sam said, staring at him.

"I can understand that.  I have no idea who I'd get to protect the boy though."  He took it to look over, writing notes on the side.  "Don't go near these spots," he told him.  "They're hunters bars.  There's still some pissy hunters."

"Okay."  He nodded, beaming as he grabbed his keys and wallet, heading out.  "Homer, get out of the elevator!"  The cat ran.  "Dean, do a tail count please?"

"I can see two of the other three," he said, going to check his room since it was 'his' cat.  He found her in the closet organizer, tail up, snoring hard.  John came in a minute later, staring over his son's shoulder.  "They got it from their mother," he said quietly.  He heard a meow.  "Go back to sleep, kitten."  He petted her.  "Wondering where you were."  He walked off shaking his head.

John gave the cat a confused look.  "I didn't know cats slept upside down like that."  He walked off shaking his head.

"Doing their impersonation of their mother?" Tara teased when he came down the stairs.

"Tail up in the shoe organizer in my closet," Dean agreed.  He settled in.  "He got told he's going on a signing trip."

"International again?"

"Canada so he should bring his passport anyway for that crossing," Sam told her.  She beamed and pulled up their old list to make notes for him.  Sam looked.  "There's got to be laundromats on the way, Tara."

She laughed.  "If he remembers.  He brings one bag of signing clothes, one of regular clothes."

"Baggage fees," John reminded her.  "Internally they're still high."

She nodded.  "We can handle that I'm sure."  She went to check his email, getting the list.  "Hmm, all summer.  So he can pack shorts and a few pairs of pants."  She went to figure that out for him.  She could compress it down to one bag and a carry-on  that also had his laptop.  Plus his needed papers.  She came down.  "I can't find his health insurance card."

"That's because they decided he was too high risk," Sam said.  She moaned, shaking her head.  "Thirteen grand a year."

"Damn," she said, then covered her mouth.  "Oops," she said behind her hand.

"That was our feeling too," Dean quipped.  "In less lady-like language too."  She swatted him, going to look up something.  She came out and handed it to him.  "That's  a demon company.  Would they insure him?"

"For a year."  She smirked.  "The local agent is one that owes him tons of kittens."  She gave him an innocent look and strolled off.  "That'll let him have a year to figure things out."  She left.

"If I ever get to settle down I hope my wife and Tara get along," Sam said.

Dean nodded.  "Yeah, she's a good friend to have."  He counted tails.  "Homer?" he called.  He went to get him off the elevator, bringing him back upstairs.  "I don't care if the warehouse does have mice," he told it as he walked off.  "No hunting in the warehouse without human permission."  The cat meowed at him, looking pitiful.  "You do that nearly as well as Sammy does," he said with a smirk.  "But you don't have the same power of puppy eyes.  Even kitty eyes aren't as good as his."  He handed him over.  "Here, tell him how to beg properly."  Sam swatted him.  Dean smirked.  "It's the truth!"

John shook his head.  "You two drive me nuts, you know that, right?"  They smirked and nodded at him.  He sighed.  "Fine."  He went to look in the freezer.  "There's....  looks like some freezer burned fish."

"That was from an event and it was bad," Sam told him.

John tossed that out.  "Two really freezer burned steaks."

"Ditto," Dean said.  They got tossed too.  John moved to the fridge to clean out the vegetables that were well beyond mushy and all the way to slimy and/or growing things.  Sam got up to do the cabinets.  They sent Xander an email saying he needed groceries.  He sent back a web address.  John snorted.  "No, we can grocery shop," he said, sending that back.  Xander sent him where the wallet stash was.  He got some money and took the boys grocery shopping.

"Cat food," Sam said.  "He's nearly out."  He pointed.  "He gets it from there."  They went in there to get the spoiled furry things food and then to the grocery store to get real people food.  Which was less expensive when you didn't let the stockboys pick it for you.  It meant you could find deals and sales.  They got back and found Xander dancing around with a meowing, fussing cat.  "Homer sneak out again?" Sam quipped, taking the cat to pet.

"Yup.  I found him in the elevator so we danced back in here."  He patted his cat.  Homer was glaring at him.  "You're not allowed on the elevator, cat.  Tough shit.  Deal with it."  He moved to help put up groceries.  "Why did you buy meat?"

"Because you were out," John said dryly.  He showed him the fridge.  "See, all the bad things got tossed out.  That way you don't get food poisoning and have to postpone your trip."

"John, with the way my mother cooked, I can pretty well eat toxic things.  Hell, I used to lick rat traps," he said dryly.  "My mother thought that was adorable of me."  John shuddered.

"We're not as indestructible, Xander," Dean quipped.  "We need real people food."   Xander rolled his eyes but nodded.

"It cost less than sixty bucks," John told him, handing him the receipts.  "Including the really expensive cat food Sam said you buy."

"Usually I'm so immersed I just do an online order and let them deliver."

"That's not good for you.  You need to get away from the computer more, not less, kid."

He shrugged.  "Tara always grocery shopped.  She complained I got too many bags of candy and not enough vegetables since I didn't like them like she did."  He walked off.  "Thanks, guys."

"Welcome," Dean and Sam quipped.  They were being pounced by the cats.

Dean looked at the one that had claimed him.  "I didn't abandon you."

"They're used to Xander being home all day," Sam pointed out.  "The last time he left and came back, they did the same thing."  Xander nodded.  "Ah!  No going to write."

"But I got the next fight scene," he complained, going to do it.  "That way they can wrap up the apocalypse battle and then the prince and heir can take over.  I hope."

"You have until dinner," John ordered.  "We're going to make you do normal guy things."  Xander nodded, settling into his desk chair to get back to work.  "Do other authors do that?" he asked quietly.

"Castle doesn't that we've seen," Dean told him.

"Rick's doesn't have muses.  He pulls his out of real life.  Mine comes from the ethereal voices of doom," Xander called.

John nodded.  "You know, they make medicine for that."

"Yay.  The muses would hate it and then I'd have to get a real job, John."

"Good point.  At least this problem of yours pays well."  Xander stuck his tongue out at him.   "Do other fantasy authors do this?"

"They tend to set office hours and stick to them.  I write about ten hours a day.  Half the time I'm proofreading or playing solitaire to let my wrists quit cramping."

John nodded.  "They make people who can fix that wrist problem for you."

"It's not carpal tunnel.  It's cramping higher up my forearms that does the same thing but not for the same reason.  I've already talked to my doc and she said massages help that.  I have a massage wand somewhere in the storage closet but I keep forgetting to pull it out and check it over."

Sam went to look at that.  "Broken," he called.

"Damn."  Xander found something online and ordered it then got back to work.  "One'll be here in two days."  He got back to it.  "I can't bring that with me, can I?"

"They might want to search your bags if you did," John admitted.  He went back to make dinner.  His boys had learned how to make decent enough meals but Xander either hardly ever cooked or never cooked real food.  There was a whole cabinet of junk food.  "Xander, what was the last meal you cooked?" John called.

"Shrimp and pasta," he called back.

John nodded that was fine.  "No vegetables?"

"I can't stand most of them so no."

"Are you really that picky of an eater?" Dean demanded, staring at him.

"Yes.  The only time I've gotten food poisoning it was from mixed vegetables.  Therefore I don't eat them."  They all nodded they got that.  "I eat potatoes, I eat corn rarely if it's still on the cob.  I eat broccoli now and then.  I'm okay with that.  Even when Tara does try to make me eat salads."

"She packed for you too," Sam said with a grin.

"Cool!  Two bags?"

"One bag."  He handed over that note.  "She said he owes you kittens?"

"I talked to him.  Even with the poker debt it won't cover anything but ER visits.  So if I get attacked again I'm screwed."  He put it aside.  "I'll talk to him again later."  He went back to crafting the battle scene.  "I write sucky fight scenes," he decided.

Sam patted him on the shoulder.  "You need to have more action."  Xander nodded, letting Sam help him.  He could think it but didn't know how to describe it.  Which had been a problem for a while for him.  Dean came in to help with that too.  That way Xander wouldn't realize their father had grated some carrots and zucchini into the meatballs for dinner.  He had learned to do that to them when Dean's hatred of vegetables had appeared.


Xander smiled at the bodyguard people Paula had arranged for him to meet with.  There were three different companies offering.  "Hi, guys.  I'm Xander."  They smiled and shook his hands.  "First, there's some things that I can't tell you.  Homeland Security says so."  That got a short nod.  "But I can tell you last year a few demons decided to try to infect me with a version of their plague.  I spent some time in the hospital for it.  Which is one of the main reasons why I'm supposed to have a bodyguard.  Though I don't mind," he assured them with a grin.  "I need someone to talk to.  I tend to think while I babble.  It helps me calm down."

One of them coughed.   "How wanted would that plague be, Mr. Harris?"

"Homeland has locked all my blood test results."

He nodded.  "So you need someone who can truly make sure no one snatches you?"

"Not all that often.  Now and then I'm attacked.  There's fundies that hate me being a fantasy writer, some hunters who still hate me, and now and then a few demons might try something, though I'm fully able to deal with that issue myself."  That got a nod.  "That and I date evil things.  I have no idea why I draw agents who have been undercover a bit too long, some that went a bit over the line a few times, a few political assassins."  They all moaned, shaking their heads.

Xander shrugged.  "That's who's drawn to me.  I have no idea why.  It's kinda nice though.  Usually they don't want to kill me anymore.  Haven't since graduation from high school actually."  He blinked a few times and grinned.  "I need someone who's able to remind me that I have to be somewhere, can block some of the bad things but if they're nice enough we can go have dinner?  And, you know, keep the fundamentalists off me?"

"We looked up your last trip," one told him.  Xander nodded.  "Who shot at you and are they still a problem?"

"The Watchers Council would dearly love me killed but they can't do it.  See, I kinda inherited a warehouse that has mystical artifacts and if they take me out, then the person who inherits it from me is going to use it to kill them."  He grinned.  "So they're not interfering.  Them or Wolfram and Hart.  I'm do-not-touch to them at the moment because I nearly destroyed them the last time, after that demon plague thing."

"Who was guarding you after that one incident?"

"Two guys that work with the SGC."  He grinned.  "John and Rodney were great.  John escorted me places while Rodney was trying to get some memories I picked up on a trip thanks to Rosenburg out of my head safely.  They let me babble about what we were visiting and the nice people, and kept me from dating anything too evil.  But they're kinda busy and I wouldn't ask for that sort of favor.  General O'Neill suggested two of your companies I think."

They nodded.  "I know Jack," one said with a smile.  "I used to be SGC."  Xander beamed at him.   "How often do you get pounced?"

"By fans?  I don't mind."  He shook his head.  "Fundamentalists who want to scream at me or beat me for being a good fantasy writer, I mind."  They nodded.  "The same as I play kitten poker a lot with the demon underground.  It keeps me in the loop of the bad things coming and helps me get pretty new weapons that Detective Beckett claims I can't have until there's a battle."  He leaned on the table.  "Now, I have gotten a few bitchy comments recently from reporters because I'm suing one of their sources for his butthole speaking without his brain's permission.  And they're not real pleased that I'm kinda unhappy with them for trying to trash my rep for four months and no one mentioned a word to anyone I know."

"We saw how you countered that," the other one said.  Xander nodded.  "You're suing them?"

"Two of the reporters and the 'source' that they went to.  And Willow.  But I'm getting her in the demon courts.  I'm not going to be mean to her daughter or husband.  Some demons really hate that too but they're just usually pouty toward me because they know I could've went to kick some ass and didn't."

"How trained are you?" one asked.

"According to which source?  And in what way?" Xander countered.  "I can beat off a mugging.  I usually have a pretty good idea of what I can handle and what I should run away from.  When someone tried to shoot me in New York, I ran instead of ducking and then attacking."  They nodded.  "That was before the Watchers Council got their shit together though.  I've been pretty threat free for a while.  Nearly six months.  Only the two hate groups.  And one anti-gay church that seems to like me as a pinup.  They keep sticking my picture on a hay doll and burning it at the stake.  Last month I sent them popcorn for their next cheery bonfire and thanked them for buying all those books they burned."  He grinned.  "I thought it was very nice of them."

The one that was former SGC laughed, nodding.  "That's about how you have to deal with people like that.  Sheppard and McKay got along well with you?"

"We didn't have any problems after John got pissed off that I handled my own stitches that time.  Then Doctor Lam pounced with Vala."  The guy shuddered.  "I like Vala.  She reminds me of my last girlfriend, Anya.  Very blunt with a strong mind."  He beamed.  "Oh!  Anya came out to yell at the stupid church again.  They were shouting something near where she's a nun and she came out to tell them exactly why I was gay and how it was better for me since she had been my ex and who she used to be.  A few ran from her.  She was so happy.  Even if she did have to do penance for letting her temper come out."  He grinned.

"What's your daily schedule like?" one of them asked.

"At home?"  They nodded.  "Get up, get soda, sit and watch tv with the cats until the muses wake up from the caffeine, then go write until I'm starving and then eat."  He shrugged.  "I'm kinda boring most of the time really unless I have a date planned or there's something Paula said I had to go to."

"You're how old?" the former SGC member asked.

"Twenty-five in another four days."

"Happy birthday."

Xander grinned.  "I never expected to make it this far so thank you."

"While you're gone are there any known apocalypses or battles coming up?" he asked.

Xander texted someone, getting an answer back.  "One in Lisbon, but I think that's in Europe so the Council would handle it."  He texted someone else.  "Faith said not in any city in the US that she's heard and she asked because I bragged about the trip."  He put his phone up.  "Though the stop in LA may be ...tense with the team out there."

"Good to know," they agreed.

"Do you drive?" one asked.

"I do drive, I know we're flying though.  I can drive, yes.  I like to drive.  If whoever wants to drive though I'm fine with that.  It gives me more time to look at stuff."  That got a nod.  "I'm real realistic.  I'm a plain-spoken, former construction worker for the most part.  I'm a southern California boy who only body surfs, not regular surfs.  I have a horrible diet according to John Winchester, which is why he's sneaking vegetables on me again."  They smiled.  "Mostly they're there to keep me out of trouble, keep the truly evil from pouncing me, and for someone to talk to.  If they can also keep a schedule it'd be really great."

"Do you mind former military guys?" the former SGC member asked.

"No.  As long as they're not assholes I don't care."  He grinned.  "I can't see the 'grunt and point' sort of soldier liking my fans very much."  He shifted.  "John was very much like traveling with a friend but he kept track of things for me.  And he helped when we ran into a woman in labor in Germany.  He even sparred with me a few times.  Rodney and I talked.  Rodney realized if he told me something I learned it but from books I'm hopeless; he wanted to bomb my former school.  Too bad we did to blow up the mayor in it."  He let the frown clear up.  "I'd like them to be more like John did than the Secret Service guys if that makes sense.  The 'hey, Xander, let's go visit the native pubs and restaurants' not the 'no, we can't go anywhere tonight, there's bad girls in the lobby casing someone else'."

"We can see how that'd be helpful," they said after looking at each other.  They smiled.

"We'll pull up some individuals so you can interview.  It will be an interview both ways," the former SGC member told him.

"Okay.  And don't listen to Jack about the guy on the plane?" he begged.

That one stared at him.  "That was you?  Jack swore about that for *days*, kid."

Xander nodded.  "It needed to be done and I had the chance."

He nodded.  "We'll find you someone to do that for you."  Xander beamed and nodded.  "What about around town?"

"No one here really wants to kill me outside a few churches that think I draw the demons into town.  And maybe an ex shows up now and then."  He shrugged.   "Beckett has that file.  She knows I'm getting a bodyguard for the trip so I'm sure she'd expect someone to ask."  He sat up.  "Oh!  And we saw Agent Larabee out of the ATF in Denver a few months back.  Someone was being vindictive and tried to get him to confiscate the babies that Beckett already took.  So he can be an independent source of intel too."  They smiled and nodded.  "Thanks, guys.  I don't want to be paranoid but ...  Even if I was totally against it, Homeland said I had to have one this time too."  They nodded and he shook their hands before leaving.

"He does remind me of Jack O'Neill," that one said.  The others snorted but nodded.  "I'll see you guys in three days to hold interviews?"  They nodded it was fine and went to do a deeper background check on the boy.  He went to talk to Jack.  O'Neill had a good sense of people after talking to them.  Plus he could get a report from Sheppard and McKay faster that way.


Xander looked at the two possible bodyguards, then at the single company rep.  "They couldn't?" he asked the guy that had been SGC in the past.

"Their people didn't think you needed someone with their skills."

"Huh."  He nodded, looking at the two.  "Truth, guys, I'm a bit weird.  You're there to keep anyone too bad off me, make sure I eat and get to things, and let me babble at you mostly."  They both snorted.  "That does come with two churchly death threats, every now and then something higher wants to kill me, and I tend to date the darker side of nice people."

"We were briefed, sir," one said.  "Where are you going?"

"Around the US, twice into Canada, and we're flying if that's going to bother you."  They both shook their heads.  Xander let them see the itinerary.  "I know I got spoiled by my last one.  It was like traveling with a friend."  They both smirked.  He shrugged.  "I know I'm a bit goofy and fun loving.  Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that.  Maybe even the two bitches."

"LA is going to be a tense spot?" the one on the left asked.  He was a tall, fit, tanned white boy who screamed 'midwest farm boy' and had floppy medium brown hair getting into his hazel eyes.  The other was taller, African-American, and bald.  Very muscled, looked a lot more serious.  Looked tough.  Wearing casual BDU's and a t-shirt.  The other was in jeans and a button-up shirt.

"I'm figuring if they show up, there's going to be screaming when I at least pull their hair out by the handful.  And if I run into Willow it's possible I'm going to kill her ass.  You can pull me off her.  I adore her husband and daughter so I wouldn't want to do that to them."  They smirked again.  "Seriously, it's probably not going to be too difficult of a job.  I'm a nice guy until we're attacked.  And I'll jump in if we are attacked."  They both nodded they knew that.  "I'm not expecting any battles, any pouncing outside maybe picking up a new one-night stand, and I'm pretty open about that.  Speaking of, if you guys know someone, please introduce me.  Everyone's throwing fits that three of my last five ex's are up on felony charges."  The black guy laughed, shaking his head.  "Not my fault!  Barry decided to kill terrorists the wrong way and the other two were just being mean and showing off.  They were having a *duel*," he said dryly.  "Over who was going to kill Willow."

"So you really do date bad guys?" the white boy asked.

"Not on purpose but that's all that're drawn to me.  At least they don't want to kill me anymore, ya know?"

"I know someone who dates a lot like you, kid."

"Is he single?" Xander asked.  "Because I'm picky but not that way."

"He might be.  I'll check."  He grinned, looking at the other guy.  He handed over the dossier he had.  "His past dates from LA."  The guy read it and moaned.  "Marines?" he asked him.  That got a nod.  "I was Army."  He looked at the kid.

"I got possessed by someone's spirit on halloween, he was army," Xander offered with a grin.  That got a dual head shake and one from the guy in charge.  "Can I babble at you guys?  Treat you like we're just on tour and sightseeing?"  They nodded.  "Good.  Do you think you can handle things all the time?  I don't know how that works.  Even those two switched off now and then when John had to go groan in the bathroom because I flirted and drew someone dangerous."

"We can arrange that," the head guy decided.  That got a nod.  "How would you feel if one's wife and child showed up for a weekend?"

"We have a planned stop at the cabin," Xander said with a point.  "I own it.  It has guest rooms and you guys can easily go snuggle.  Or if we're at the hotel and you think it's safe, just let me know you're getting wifely snuggles and I'll order room service.  And then fight off the waiter."  They grinned.  "As for kids, I don't mind kids.  I've watched Rosenburg's daughter Olivia a few times.  I adore Olivia.  She might even make me adopt some year."

"What's the main reason that no one can tell us about?" the black guy asked.

"You mean like the stuff Homeland said I can't mention?" Xander asked, grimacing some.  The head guy nodded.  "There's more than the demon plague that they tried to get me to carry around New York City last year, yeah."

"I had a service hacker I know get into those files," the black guy said.  "It's not pretty."

"No, it's not."

"Can it be cooked down?"

"Yes, but that's why it's sealed and I hope like hell no one else is telepathic around him?"

"No, he forgot it and did not tell a soul.  I trust him."  Xander nodded with a grin.  He looked at the other one.  "Some of his dates, we will need to frisk for needles."

"I figured it was worse than what was stated."  He leaned over to whisper something and he shuddered.  "Damn."

"The things that happen when you fall into a grave," Xander said dryly.  They both shuddered.  So did the head guy.  Xander grinned at him.  "Did Jack tell you how we met?"

"Yup, and about that alternate him, sir.  He thinks they're still insane."

"You know, I'm not real sure.  They weren't when I was there."

"If it came down to saving your friends or Olivia, which is it?" the black guy asked him.

Xander considered it.  "That's a situation I hope never to be in.  I'd feel torn.  Olivia could go to Tara.  Or there's hunters I could ask for help.  Including Faith.  I'd be kicking my own ass no matter which way it went.  To be honest, Faith would probably try to keep me with the baby instead if it was that bad because she could ask John and his sons to step in and help.  I'd give them the artillery Beckett keeps confiscating but if it was something that was threatening Olivia mundanely I'd definitely have to help.  Tara hates guns.  John and his sons could handle most anything but I'm not sure they could handle Olivia pouting at them.  I know I can't."  That got a grin.  "Sorry, that's one of those worst case scenarios."

"I get that," he agreed.  The other one nodded.  "So?" he asked him.

"I...  I'll be the backup.  In truth, my nerves would be shot with screaming fans like some rock stars get."

Xander shook his head quickly.  "I don't get those.  I'm not a rock star.  I get geek fans."

He grinned.  "I'll be the backup and switch out with Pooch whenever he needs a day off, Xander."

"Okay, I can accept that."  He shook his hand then the other guy's.  "I'm heading home after this.  Did you want to check anything at the house for what I've packed?  Tara probably didn't pack any weapons since we're flying the normal way."

"There's ways around that."

"I know.  I FedEx my weapons all the time."  He grinned.  Pooch laughed and nodded.  "Tara mostly packed good shorts and pants, a few goofy t-shirts, and sneakers.  They all know I'm a geek."  That got a nod.  "We're trying hard not to incur the wrath of the baggage fees."

"You could ship that ahead too."

"Sometimes that takes more than a day," Xander admitted.  "Which would suck.  I've got a carry-on with two changes of clothes, one good and one casual, and my laptop plus the stuff I'll need on the plane."

"Medical needs I should hear?"

"My insurance is really skimpy.  They decided me being a writer was too high risk," he said with a wince.  "So I'm making due until I can find something."

"Good to know.  No food allergies, drug allergies?"  A folder was handed over.  "Huh.  The pretty doctors treated you?"

"Yeah, Doctor Lam got to go gushy over all the stuff in my blood last year.  I like her, she's a nice lady.  I need to send her chocolates or something."

"She said you sent her fifty pounds for her birthday, Xander," the guy in charge said.

Xander grinned.  "Because she made me better.  She still deserves it.  Hell, she bullied her way into fixing my rib when it was broken."

"I heard.  He was chopping wood with a broken rib because his friends had pissed him off," he told his guys.  They both winced.  "Exactly."

"That's how I met Jack O'Neill.  He got all sorts of paranoid when I moved into the cabin next to his."  He grinned.  "Now it's in Michigan."

Pooch nodded.  "That's not a bad area."  He smiled.  "If we run into serious problems...."

"I'll drop back from goofy author to hellmouth backup to the slayer mode," Xander said dryly.  "I do it often enough whenever someone tries to mug me.  I got asked to be nicer to the poor muggers on the subway the other day."  He sat down.  The three military guys were laughing.  "Seriously.  One ran off the back of the train and onto the tracks to get away from me.  But I was kinda sleepy and in a bad mood."

"I want to do a DNA test, make sure you're not related to someone I know," Pooch said dryly.  He handed back the folder.  "We can handle it."  Xander beamed.  They signed paperwork and got Paula involved.  She agreed it was a good idea and warned him that things happened around Xander, like babies being born in an alley.  Xander shrugged at that mention.  She handed over the official itinerary.  It had another stop on it but that was for a convention and Xander loved conventions.  So he didn't mind.

"You guys aren't allergic to cats, right?" Xander asked before he left.  "Because I know I can lint roll forever and still have cat fur."  They shook their heads.   Xander beamed.  "That's so cool.  I'll see you guys in a few weeks."  He bounced off to have lunch.

"Eat real food, not sugar," Paula ordered.  "And go over that proofreading."

"Yes, mistress."

She huffed.  "I love the boy," she told them.  "Even when he does frustrate me to no end.  I will kill you in an extremely messy way if you let my author be hurt.  Am I clear?"  They nodded and smiled.  "Don't discount those of us behind the desk.  I know over a hundred uses for a stapler and I have creative people I can ask for more ideas."  She left them alone.

Pooch looked at his boss.  "You weren't kidding, the kid is like his son."

"Yup.  And draws the same sort of evil bitches."  He shrugged.  "Have fun, guys."  They left together, going back to the office.


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